Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yay, Oregon!

In recognition of Obama's ginormous victory in Oregon (as in Portland, Oregon), I dusted off the ol' college diploma last night. I had already been wearing flip flops all day in anticipation (closest thing I had to Birkenstocks). This morning, I treated myself to a triple-grande soy sugar-free mocha latte, cranked up the NPR and relished in my lack of hatred of Black people. When in Rome...

Of course, Hillary won by 35 points in Kentucky, but, not unlike many of the southern states, she was boosted to victory by good old fashioned racism. To look at that after typing it, my first reaction is that it seems ridiculous and bitter to say that, or least unfair. Then I remember the exit poll statistics and I realize it's very sadly true. Twenty-one percent of voters in the state admitted that race was a factor in their voting. Of that 21%, 9 out of 10 people voted for Clinton. And that 21% are just the people that admitted to voting based on race. Who knows what that number jumps to if you include the more closeted bigots and ignoramai (plural for "ignoramus"). I don't think it's a stretch to connect that to racism.

How sad is this? It's 2008 for the love of God. I guess it's not really shocking to see such blatant racism, but it is really disappointing.

Hillbilly Bob shouts from the back, "Hey, what about the overwhelming number of Blacks in South Carolina admittedly voting for Obama based on race? That's racism too! We're even!"

I think that's equally foolish, but a far cry from racism. There is a difference between voting against someone because they are Black and voting for them because they are Black. I know many people feel there is absolutely no difference between the two and that to say that constitutes "reverse racism," one of my least favorite phrases. To that, I would just say there is only no difference if we live in a vacuum. But we obviously don't live in a vaccum; we live on top of a landfill of hundreds of years of outright slavery and institutionalized oppression of African-Americans. To pretend that just because the institutionalized aspect of racism is officially gone (if somebody says "affirmative action," I smack them in the mouth), that racism as a whole is defeated is at the very least unrealistically optimistic if not naive and sheltered.

Okay, I've just spent the last ten minutes arguing with and lecturing to...myself. Yeah, time to get off the soapbox, I think. The Lakers won so why am I getting myself all worked up? Sorry about that.

Just one more thing though...I also find it despicable that Hillary seems to embrace the support of these people. I realize no politician is going to ask that votes in their favor be thrown out, but I was shocked (though I shouldn't have been) to see Clinton using voters' racism as an argument why the Black candidate shouldn't be the nominee. As if the ignoramai should be rewarded for their dim view! Great leadership, Hill! Unfuckinbelievable.

To be fair, I am going around the way a bit in interpreting her quote. She didn't refer to the racially-motivated voters exactly. No, she only referenced "hard-working white Americans who had not completed college." However, you can bet that Hillary knows that the voting records of both demographics are not aligned by coincidence.

Wouldn't it be great though, to see a candidate throw out votes based on racism? I doubt it's democratically be possible (unless you're a Florida Republican), but how refreshing would it be to see a candidate stand up and, with so much personally at stake for them, say "I don't want to win that way. A vote for me based on racism is not a vote I want in my box. Strike them from the record." Politics like that can only exist in movies, I guess.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Music Monday

You've probably already heard of these guys as they have gotten some popularity from various TV shows I don't watch (Grey's Anatomy, The Riches, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, etc.), and movies by Nicole Holofcener (they thank her in the liner notes). But what the hell, I love 'em. I would describe their music as quietly infectious pop-folk. Quietly infectious in that it's not catchy in the repetitive, simplistic way that beats you over the head and gets you singing along despite hating the song. It's the kind where you might catch yourself humming a melody, not even sure where you might have picked it up. Pop-folk in that it's got the sound and instrumentation of folk music without the depressive, bleak, sacrificial inaccessibility that your deep singer/songwriters often have. They do sing with a little sadness it seems, but it's a sweet, resigned sadness. It shouldn't matter, but another thing I love about this group is their story. The Weepies are Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, both solo musicians until they met at one of Steve's shows and became friends before partnering to form The Weepies, falling in love somewhere along the way. They are now married with child and three beautiful albums. It's like Once, except neither was a Hoover-fixer-sucker-guy and they actually ended up together. This is the cover from their latest album, but they're all great.

If you can't read the picture (I can't), the album is Late Last Night by Robby Hecht, a singer-songwriter out of Nashville by way of Wisconsin. This was one of those artists and albums that I had never heard a whisper about, just picked up a pair of headphones at a Fingerprints listening station and made a great discovery. Well, great personal musical discovery that is. He already had an album and a representative to get him on the player so it's not like I stumbled upon the guy strumming on a riverbank or anything. The music is similar to The Weepies' in that it's a sort of mellow, relaxing, acoustic folk with a discernible heart and engrossing warmth to it. I have heard Robby Hecht compared to Amos Lee and I think I would agree that he has the same soulful voice and sentimental disposition (musically speaking of course as I don't know him personally). It could just be the newness of the cd I'm experiencing, but Hecht's melodies seem to resonate a little more with me than do Lee's, in general. They are more lullaby-like and I am a sucker for such a thing. My favorite such song on the album is Freight Train Lady (see link above). It wasn't the first song I heard, but it's the one that clinched the purchase for me. It chokes me up, I tell ya, it chokes me up!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Movin' On

Moving is such a strange experience. No matter how many times I go through it, it still sneaks up on me.

Once I find a new place and start making plans in my head for what's gonna go where and what color this room and that room is going to be, the excitement for a new era of my life can really take over. The first steps towards that next phase, however, almost always mean looking to the past. Tonight I pulled down some boxes that I don't think I've gone through in two or three moves and I found cards, letters, and pictures from old friends, old school papers, awards, and student IDs. I came across this one little album that had all high school pictures in it...Good God, we were tan! All of us! You'd think we attended school on a cruise ship in the tropics! I was quite fascinated by the many different ways I wore my hair in that 4-year blur. Why didn't anybody tell me to cut it? Beyond hair, it was funny how different I looked over all from year to year in that short span. I guess that could be indicative of me being a kid and not fully knowing who I was yet. Which is not to say that I know now, but a picture of me taken today might show me wearing the same clothes and hairstyle as I did four years ago, albeit with the occasional weight fluctuation.

It always makes me smile to go back and find all this old stuff, but why is nostalgia always tinged with the slightest sense of sadness too? That's what I'm saying, it's such an odd sense to feel both the anxiousness for your new life and the loyal affection for "the good ol' days" simultaneously. I guess overall it's a fun thing. I just wish I could have remembered where all this shit was those times when I felt lost, like I didn't really know who I was or where I was going. I could have been reminded so easily, at least about the former. The latter will always, to some degree, be a mystery...which is a good thing.

Then there's the simple physicality of moving, of course. The hand-broom of good friends sweeping up of your life from one place, the dustpan known as UHaul carrying it a matter of miles to be dumped in a new place, spread around again. There's an uncomfortable level of residence pergatory involved in this way too. As pictures are taken from the walls and boxes begin to stack around me, I can feel my sense of home dissolving around me. I don't care where you're moving to, until you actually get in there, there's nothing more lonely than coming home to an array of boxes, hearing your every step echo the emptiness around you.

On the flip side, when I finally do lock the door on the former abode one final time, set that last box down in the new place, and crack open a cool beer (or wine...or champagne...anything with alcohol really), man oh man is that sweet relief.

Twenty-four days to go!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Moving in next door to the folks! With the prime location, ample space, below-market rent, and back area for Darth Grillious, we couldn't pass it up. Moving in May 31st! Who wants to help paint before then? Details on housewarming party to come...

Friday, May 02, 2008


Note the start time. Not 8:00, not 8:30...8:01, folks.

--Iron Man, baby, Iron Man! Wooooooo! Tonight is your night, bro...It occurs to me that I haven't been to a movie in a damn long time, which is weird because I love going to the movies. Well, I can think of no finer film to go back with than this year's first summer blockbuster. Popcorn will be had. Maybe an Icee. Maybe there's something new that I don't even know about.

--What's the best job you ever had? I was thinking this week that I think my two favorite jobs were working at Borders and the Alumni/Special Events office in college. And neither paid very much. I guess that shouldn't be surprising. Part of their appeal, I'm sure, had to do with the time in my life I worked those jobs, when my checks went to clothes, music, booze, and gas rather than student loans, rent, gas (at a completely different level obviously). But it's not that simple either. Before it ever got to the discretionary spending, I enjoyed the work itself. What a concept! I need to figure out how to get back to that somehow. I wonder if Starbucks is hiring.

--Looking at an apartment today. Two bedroom, one bath, nice unit, good parking, great location, below market price...and also right next door to my dad and stepmom. No shared walls, mind you, but still. I'm not sure how I feel about the idea. I'm conflicted. The benefits: father-son comraderie, shared barbecues, beers, the like...always someone there to feed the cats, sign for packages, borrow a cup of flour. I don't think I need to list the potential negatives. I just don't know, ya know. I suppose it's hard for anybody to weigh in since the situation is determined by everyone's unique relationship with their parents. Tough call.

To be continued...