Jury Duty Terrifies Me

It is 8:30am and I am sitting in the jury lounge to see if I will be called to serve as a juror for the District Court of Montgomery County.  My stomach is in knots, not only because I have a huge amount of work to do and this is a kind of crummy week to be missing time at the office, though that is definitely part of it.  The knots also are not only because today is my 13 year old daughters last day of Chemotherapy for Hodkin’s Lymphoma, though that is certainly a part of it as well.  But the elephant in the room –  the bloody and incredibly sad elephant – is Patty Rebholtz.  I’m thinking of Patty and really, really, not wanting to hear my number called.

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John Scalzi on the Penn State Child Rape Issue

I love his books, and have been reading his blog for years.  John Scalzi’s recent post on the Penn State Child Rape issue is excellent and pretty much says everything I would were I as good a writer as he.  He also analogizes the situation with an Ursula K. LeGuinn story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” that I had forgottern about until I read his post.  Extra bonus points!

If your underling comes to you to report that he saw another man, also your underling, raping a small child, but then left that small child with the rapist, you should a) call the police immediately, b) alert your own superiors, c) immediately suspend the alleged rapist underling from his job responsibilities pending a full investigation, d) at the appropriate time in the future ask that first underling why the fuck he did not try to save that kid.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/11/10/omelas-state-university/

Death Grips – Guillotine

Yeah, I guess you could listen the the new Kanye/Jay-z album. Or you could, instead, venture over here…way the fuck out into left field and give Death Grips a listen. Something about it (spare, industial, confrontational) reminds me of The Beatnigs.

“We obviously had the option and foresight to not use a seatbelt, but that misses the point. It is not real – the outside is static, the inside is static, and the seatbelt is fucking static. Everything is static, just eating away at the individual. The material world and many things within it are designed to keep us half-dead, and we’re trained to think these things are keeping us safe. We reference the weaponry of fear and our music and vision isn’t about being hard or tough, it’s about being real and raw, and feeling our shit. We counter with energy, everything is energy.”
– Flatlander, Death Grips

Pop-Cultural Root of all Evil and Aggression

“Today, though, I want to talk about the pop-cultural root of all evil and aggression, which is not Scattergories, not Grand Theft Auto, not the music of The Screwed Up Click. It is the insidious, grudge-fueling, wrath-provoking waste of four hours that is the Parker Brothers classic Monopoly. The evil is right there in the title! Would you play a game called Anti-Trust? In which your goal was to drive up the price of gas and force everyone to take public transit? I say ye nay. We as a people have agreed for some insane reason to sit down with our families and try to drive them out of their homes. The republic is built on the sacred bond between citizen and property, and this game is about taking it away! How un-American is that? I mean, you might as well drive that little pewter car over the little pewter dog!”

Trey Graham, Pop Culture Happy Hour

Goodbye Brian Lanker (1947-2011)

I’ve known Brian for nearly as long as I’ve been alive; certainly as long as I can remember. He and my dad worked together at the Topeka Capitol Journal beginning when I was around 4 years old. When Brian and his family moved out to Oregon it was due to his encouraging dad to interview at the Eugene Register Guard that we relocated as well, undoubtedly completely changing the direction my life ended up taking.

Thanksgivings at the Lanker house and Halloween with Brian playing the part of “Mogo” and “terrifying” the many kids that gathered each year at the Newnham’s house remain among the best memories I have. Brian’s eye for beauty and love for life were evident in the art he created and the food he loved. Brian and Lynda’s kitchen is still my favorite I’ve ever been in.

While his book “I Dream a World, Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America” may be his best known work, for me I’ll always treasure the autographed poster of Paulina Porizkova that he gave me after shooting the 1984 swimsuit issue for Sports Illustrated as well as the accompanying story of dinner with she and husband Ric Ocasek (no way!!!). Years later I was able to relay the story back to Ric when I met him at CBGB while on tour with my own band. He remembered the dinner with Brian and laughed when I presented a picture of myself in drag, signed, for him to give his wife as a thank-you from 16-year-old me.

I’m very sad to hear of Brian’s death this past Sunday and would have dearly loved to be able to see him just one more time. Thankfully my own kids got the opportunity to jump all over him (well, Rowan did most of the jumping) five years ago during a trip back to Eugene. My thoughts are with Lynda, Julie, Jackie, and Dustin. Love to you all. Goodbye Brian.

NYTimes look back at a truly amazing talent: http://tinyurl.com/6gyl2hd

Epson Promotional Video featuring Brian

Phenon – Hey Soul Sister

While I may not be the biggest fan of the song, I could not be a bigger fan of the singer. I think I need to upgrade that PC; It doesn’t seem to be able to keep the video and audio even remotely in sync. Regardless, the girl can sing. She has a solo in her Honors Chorus concert tonight, and landed a role as a “Silly Girl” in her school’s performance of Beauty and the Beast. Just that many steps closer to her dream of being either a rock star or to perform on Broadway. Sigh.