Sunday, April 26, 2009

Batshit insane politicians

Phil Plait of the Bad Astronomy blog has been keeping up on some recent Republican insanity (Republican insanity might actually be redundant). I seriously don't know whether to laugh or be afraid. This is a United States Congresswoman:

Yes, the same one that wanted a McCarthy-like hunt for all the left-wing "anti-Americans" in the US Congress.

The scary part? She actually got re-elected after this. And her eyes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Concerts - not mine for once

I haven't seen many live concerts. Well, I've seen lots of live concerts—heck, I've been in lots of live concerts—but not many involving world famous people. The first one I remember (although, granted, my memory is notoriously bad — just ask my family) was:

Miles Davis
When I was in high school, we had a Japanese exchange student, Yoshiyuki, stay with us for a couple of weeks. Miles Davis was apparently really big in Japan at the time and just happened to be playing in Berkeley while Yoshi was here, and Yoshi was a HUGE fan. All he could talk about was Mile Daybees this, and Mile Daybees that. I wouldn't be surprised if he had coordinated his trip to coincide with the Miles Davis concert. I had never heard of Miles Davis. So my father bought tickets, and we found ourselves in an auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus.

Yoshi was ecstatic, but my father and I weren't that impressed. All Miles did was walk around blatting notes at the ground while his band played. I was more transfixed by the wall changing colors behind him. It was far out! Lest you think I'm kidding about the blatting at the floor, note the third photo down on the Wikipedia article. Blatting. At. The. Floor. He obviously did it a lot.

Yoshi ended his visit by insisting on making dinner for us which consisted mostly of tofu from a can. It was still shaped like the can, and looked like canned, white, opaque, cranberry sauce. This English family of the '70s thought it was extremely odd. We ate it politely, but I don't think any of us had the courage to try tofu again for years.

SIDE NOTE: I was up late last night writing this because I couldn't sleep. Today, one of my Friends M (I have three Friends M) sent me an e-mail which included the sentence, "It was kind of like you seeing Miles Davis." I got the e-mail on my BlackBerry and FREAKED! I was saying to myself, "CRAP! I must have accidentally posted it, but it was only HALF DONE!" Turns out I hadn't posted and it was only a coincidence. I'm just really, really boring, and apparently tell the same stories over and over again.

Maynard Ferguson
I didn't always play just the bassoon. I started out on alto saxophone, and played it in my high school jazz band. The jazz band rehearsed before school and I got up really early (Hey, an hour early is a major sacrifice when you're a teenager) for four years.

In about 1980, we got to go to Reno, Nevada and compete in the Reno Jazz Festival. That particular year, we had a lot of musicians who played more than one instrument, and our band director arranged one of our pieces so that at a certain time, we all put down one instrument and picked up another. Instead of a row of five saxes, we had a flute, clarinet, oboe, bass clarinet and bassoon. In the brass section which normally only had trumpets and trombones, we had at least one French horn and a Sousaphone. We won third place in our division against some stiff competition.

The headliner that they had come and play for the school bands was Maynard Ferguson. Since I recently just had a not-so-great experience seeing another trumpeter, I wasn't looking forward to the concert. Certainly not as much as our trumpet section was. I don't remember much, except that I thoroughly enjoyed it, loved the music, and Maynard Ferguson could play really really high notes. And he didn't point his trumpet at the ground once.

Billy Joel
In high school, my brother's friend won two tickets on a radio show giveaway, wasn't a big Billy fan, gave them to my brother, who knew I was a HUGE Billy Joel fan, so he gave them to me. Yes, I DO have the nicest brother in the world. Who doesn't read this blog, so I don't know why I'm being so nice to him. If I was really mean, I'd stick in the photo of him with orange-peel teeth that he texted me, but I put that as my wallpaper at work, instead. Where was I? Oh, right. Billy Joel. I took my future ex-husband, David.

Fantastic concert, and since it was in 1982, he hadn't had that many hits, and I knew almost everything he sang by heart. AND people all over the building lit up as soon as the concert started and I got slightly high from all the secondhand weed. At least I imagined I did. I asked David what it was, and he said the same thing he said when I asked him what the F-word meant. "What do you think?"

Fairly soon after David and I broke up, I lived in an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area with William, my Dalmatian Charlie, and my cat Pepper. Charlie weighed 75 lbs and I lived in one of only three apartment complexes in town that allowed dogs over 15 lbs. Because of this, virtually EVERYONE in the complex had a huge dog, and there were several large areas to allow them to run around.

The guy downstairs had a golden retriever that played with Charlie occasionally. He won tickets (the guy, not the golden retriever) to a Basia concert at the Concord Pavilion from a radio station (Gee. Sounds familiar. Probably the same station), and asked me if I wanted to go. I had never heard of Basia and I was in the process of getting a divorce and certainly didn't want to start dating anyone, especially not someone I saw as frequently as the guy downstairs just in case it didn't work out, but for some reason I said yes.

He drove, and I was acutely embarrassed for him because...the poor guy had the worst flatulence I've While in the car. With me. The silent-but-deadly kind. I was too polite to say or do anything and just pretended I didn't notice. Nowadays, I would just exclaim, "DUDE!" and roll down the window while making rude gagging noises. That's what I do with Bill, anyway.

The main thing I remember about Basia was that she hurt my ears. I think I knew Time and Tide and Promises, but that was about it.

Fortunately Basia's opening act was:

Spiro Gyra
Again. Me. Never heard of Spiro Gyra. I was completely blown away. They were AWESOME!! (although I would have said something like, "Bitchen!," or "Outragous!," except that I was a complete unhip dweeb who only started using, "Cool!" relatively recently. Yes, I was a real Joanie). Basia was even impressed that they opened for her.

And any band that's named after filamentous green algae is fine by me, anyway. I would probably have liked them if they had been called Cyano Phyta.

Billy Joel redux
Or maybe it was Billy Joel's dad. Well, I certainly don't look the same 26 years later, either. I blogged about it here, so I won't say too much other than it was FANTASTIC and he's still got it. Whatever it is.

Leon Redbone
Very recently, my Friend M and I saw him in Sacramento. He was really good, and really funny, but I had some personal things going on so I had a hard time listening. It could also have been due to the two Long Island Iced Teas. We were slightly disappointed to find out (before we went) that he did NOT sing I'm Just a Bill OR Conjunction Junction.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Angels make sense for once!

So why doesn't he reduce human misery and suffering?
Apparently God and all the angels have Australian accents, too.

Found on Pharyngula

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It's been a long couple of weeks, but taxes are done and maybe eventually I'll feel like talking about other crappy things that happened. But not right now.

Right now I'm just going to say WOLVERINES!! Which you won't get unless you follow The Bloggess on Twitter. UPDATE: I guess I should note that I saw this while skiing the other day. Or maybe that's obvious. Wolverine Bowl: about this steep \

Wolverine fact: The first documented wolverine in California since 1920 was photographed last year by a graduate student who had set up a remote camera to study the effects of landscape change on American martens. It caused quite a stir. Click here if you want to see a good picture of a wolverine butt. They have more recently captured video of what they're pretty sure is the same wolverine.

Contrary to the title of the article, the pine martens the student was studying are NOT birds, and are, in fact, members of the family Mustelidae - the same family as the wolverine. I think they were getting them confused with Purple Martins. You'd think that something called Science Daily would have done a better job with their fact checking.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Brilliant post. Did I say brilliant? I meant boring.

I haven't posted recently, and I think that, along with Mr Farty, this may be my crappiest post ever. Not that Mr Farty's post was crappy. It was totally awesome! It said so in the title.

Right now, I could either be sewing my pirate costume full pirate regalia for an upcoming Flying Spaghetti Monster party, or writing this post, or sleeping. I've had a couple of gin and tonics, and if I can do this:sober, imagine what I can do completely drunk slightly tipsy. (Sorry for anyone who already saw this on Twitter (Hi Lesley!!). Strike while the iron is hot, unless you're ironing suedecloth. That works better on medium. (Speaking of Twitter, as soon as I twittered about male and female strippers, The Bloggess started following me. I'm just sayin')

[WARNING: Completely arbitrary change of topic]
Remember the post about Twister the one-eyed wonder horse? You know. The post before last? Someone (named David) pointed out to me that perhaps Twister is NOT soaking his hay to soften it up, but is, in fact brewing his own alcoholic beverage. A sort of hay beer. He does occasionally bump into things, which I attributed to his blindness, but maybe he's just tipsy.