IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: MORE PRETTY FLOWERS & A VERY VERY COOL TREE

You don't see these crazy flowers just everywhere, you know, so please to enjoy more lovely Pacific Northwest beauty! Most of these were taken on the stunning grounds of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Washington. Check out that awesome tree!

SEATTLE, MAY 30, 2012

Five who gathered at a local cafe for their morning beverages, time to be spent with friends who knew them well.

One who drove her Mercedes SUV in the city, like any other day.

One who drove his family through the Central District.

One, new to the city, who stood by the Space Needle, taking in all around her.

One whom everyone knew was a powderkeg, unstable, "off."

Five.

One.

One.

One.

All but one are dead today. The one that remains fights for life.


Did you wake up today thinking that you would be shot to death?

Did they?

Murder-suicide. Stray bullets finding their ways to the innocent.

How many of you have known someone who was killed by a gun?

Raise your hands, America, let's take a count. My hand is up.

Forty-nine states have laws allowing concealed carry guns.

Forty-nine.

It's far easier to obtain a firearm than it is to obtain ongoing, effective mental health services.

If you had x-ray eyes for just one day so you could see everyone who carries a gun where you and your family go everyday, by the criminals and the crazies and the guy who thinks he might get robbed someday or the woman who is jittery after an assault or the NRA-booster who feels like he's exercising his God-given Constitutional right to bear arms and just itches to be a hero someday...

...you would fall on your knees and weep.

Guns are made for killing living beings, and that's just what they do.

Where are the proud representatives of the NRA at the funerals of the 30,000+ people who die each and every year in the United States from gun violence?

Did you wake up today thinking that you would be shot to death?

Did they?




VIDEO: MISS NINE'S ANIMATION FOR "DATING COPS" BY THE INTELLIGENCE

MissNine learned a valuable lesson yesterday, and I didn't even have to lay it on her like a wet smelly blanket for a change. She and I were hanging out at home, she was bored out of her skull, and I once again informed her, as I was working over processing photos, that I didn't have a tattoo on my head that said "ENTERTAINMENT COMMITTEE" and that there were lots of fun things to do. After skulking around in a preteen funk type of way for awhile, her ears latched on to one of the songs I was playing on my computer while working, and then asked me if I could play it again. I did, and then she asked me if it would be OK if she could make a video for it, having recently took an afterschool class on basic animation for the iPad. I knew that this song already had a very funny and cool video but hey...why not? Go for it, kid, I said, and told her I could help her with editing if she got stuck.

I'm delighted with her efforts, and she was so stoked to see it move from drawings to video to YouTube. The Lesson Learned? As she was watching it on my computer after it was ready to upload to YouTube, she turned and said to me, "Look! This all came from me being bored! Now there's something new!" BINGO! I thought, and smiled.

"Dating Cops" is by The Intelligence, from their 2007 "Deuteronomy" album and you can purchase it from In The Red Records or on iTunes. Enjoy all one minute and twenty-three seconds!

"Dating Cops," The Intelligence









PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: BRONCHO, SAILOR MOUTH @ THE SUNSET, SEATTLE WA, 5/26/12

On this Memorial Day weekend, many of my fellow local concert photog friends and music pals made the journey out to the beautiful Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington to experience all that is the mighty Sasquatch music festival. But this little black duck made the trek into Ballard on Saturday night to the Sunset to see the first Seattle gig from BRONCHO, an Oklahoma-based band that made my last year's favorites list with their fast n' fun 20-minute-long debut recording, Can't Get Past The Lips. My devotion to great garage punk is deep, and there was nowhere else I was gonna be!


RESCUED FROM STORAGE: MY 1965 FENDER ELECTRIC XII GUITAR!

We got it, I guess, about 20 years from a guy who lived in Westminster, Colorado from an ad in the newspaper, and for a good price. But around that same time I was also in college, having my first kid, and adult responsibilities soon took precedence over me banging around on a cool guitar. It's been stored away for many, many years.

Oh, how I missed it! It's a late-1965 Fender Electric XII, which as you might guess is a solid-body electric 12-string guitar. There's little doubt that this was a single-owner guitar -- it's in nearly flawless condition, came with the original Fender case, and even had the hangtag with it. Swoon! 


MY SMACKDOWN, STRAIGHT-TALKIN' HERO OF THE DAY: DAVID M. ON YAHOO! ANSWERS

The more that religious extremism infects the world, the more destabilized, divided, and hate-filled the world becomes. I'm FED UP and PISSED OFF. Think whatever you want to think, believe what you need to, but KEEP OUT OF MY LIFE AND MY COUNTRY'S LAWS. How DARE anyone be so ARROGANT to think that their views are the only correct ones! PISS. OFF. I don't give a CRAP if you think like I do, but GET OFF MY LAWN. ALL THE WAY OFF and don't claim that common-sense neutrality is forcing you to do ANYTHING. Pharmacist who doesn't want to give women birth control pills? GET OUT, you are incompetent and disgusting. Legislators passing state laws FORBIDDING obstetricians to tell pregnant women of fetal defects or birth risks if they believe it might lead to an abortion? GET OUT, you immoral, heartless mental cases. A pastor telling his flock that all homosexuals should be killed? GET OUT, and go to prison as a person of trust attempting to incite murder.

I HAVE HAD IT. ENOUGH!

I give today's post up to one David M., and the tireless work of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I found this printed in their newspaper Freethought Today, and am reprinting it here unaltered.

Yahoo! Answers: How to save your child from atheism
(Yahoo! Answers lets readers online ask questions which other readers respond to.)
Q: What is the best way to stop your child from becoming an athiest [sic]? I don't want any of my children to be punished by God.
A: David M. -- 
Do not educate them, or expose them to critical thinking, logic, or science. Lie to them constantly about how the world works. Feed them a steady diet of mumbo jumbo dressed up like real knowledge -- the [creationist] jumbo jet in the whirlwind, for example -- and pretend that it is deep wisdom.
Make them loathe their own natural bodies and functions. Convince them they are small and weak and worthless and need redemption. Tell them everything enjoyable is grievously wrong to even think about, and that their only fun should be in groveling to an invisible friend. 
Ensure that they resent anyone who is not like them in every way -- skin color, nationality, political opinion but especially creed. Make such people out to be evil and vile and give them -- impotent minorities all -- the fictional power to somehow oppress and persecute the vast majority who do think like you.
Teach them to laugh at and dismiss out of hand any faith but their own. Early -- early, mind you -- make sure they are taught the differences between superstitious deadly error -- that one raving lunatic in the desert told the truth about a vicious god who killed people, and divine eternal truth -- that another raving lunatic in the desert told the truth about a vicious god who killed people.
Instruct them with all severity and import to never question for themselves -- to never think for themselves -- to never live for themselves -- but to seek answers only in one -- just one -- particular set of semi-literate Bronze Age folk tales.
Above all, and this cannot be over-emphasized, make sure they cannot spell, use correct grammar or understand basic English words.
That should do the trick.

 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

VIDEO: "BOWLED A STRIKE" BY MELVIN G. FROMM JR.

OH BOY.

I'm reeeeeeeeally happy to bring this to you today. Because of the Wonders of the Interhaps, I can spread the gospel of Melvin G Fromm Jr.! I really don't know much, or anything, about the man, but when I came across his song "Bowled A Strike" on the incredible outsider/found music site The Other Side Of Music I knew it needed a video. NEEDED!

So, without further giddy blather, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Mr. Melvin G. Fromm Jr. and...

BOWLED A STRIKE!



You can get your own copy of "Bowled A Strike" on the...fascinating "Easter 2012 Compilation." More of Mr. Fromm's stylings can be heard here.

I fully expect ALL of you to be singing this around the house from now on.



MY SON'S ADVICE TO A FRIEND WHO WAS ATTACKED

Yesterday, the only child of some of my closest friends, a very sweet and smart young girl, was stalked and attacked by an older boy, a stranger to her, as she walked home from her elementary school in the suburbs of a large city. The boy had in the past already made his presence known to her and her parents by following her, but had run off when questioned. This time, there was no one else around, and when the girl tried to walk away from him, he pushed her to the ground, taunted her, and then punched her in the face. She was terrified. Her parents, of course, called the police but nothing has come of it yet. No one knows who the boy is, or can think of any reason for his actions.

My heart is heavy, and my mind swirls with so many emotions and thoughts. It's likely that all of us have had some sad experiences with bullying or violence, and those experiences can leave deep emotional scars, not fully realized until perhaps years or decades later in life. Physically, we heal, but the mind will keep asking, "Why? Why me? Why didn't I do this or this or this? What if he had a weapon? What if it happens again? Is this how the world is going to be for me?" Children who experience bullying or violence are far more likely to turn those experiences inward, blaming themselves and internalizing the ugliness that is put upon them by others. It's often left unsaid to parents or teachers or counselors or friends, because it's either just too hard to talk about or the feelings are so overwhelming they can't even be identified.

As a parent, I am heartbroken and furious. I want to lift this lovely child, whom I've known since her birth, up and away from anything hurtful and set her down in Candyland, while I go find and throttle her attacker. But I can't do that. What I did do was speak to my middle son, Mr14, after he finished up school today, as I wanted to get the thoughts of someone close to her age. I respect his opinions on this issue particularly. He has now had 8 years of martial arts instruction, has earned a 1st degree black belt, and his fine program has focused a great deal on conflict avoidance and resolution, and how to react quickly in threatening situations. I've seen him handle difficult situations with grace and control because of it. Without saying any of my opinions, I told him what had happened, and then asked him for advice. I thought it was pretty damn solid, and wrote it down as he said it.

Me: So what do you think?

Mr14: The best thing is always to do the things so it doesn't happen in the first place! You don't know if the guy is crazy or what. You have to kind of think like he might be thinking to make sure you don't get hurt. You can do stuff and still, like, get around and do what you want to do.

Me: Cool.

Mr14: The main thing is to always go around with a group of people and always have a phone! Trust me, there's no bully who is going to mess with you if you are with a bunch of friends! They won't even bother. They only look for people who are all alone and can't call for help.

Me: The Buddy System!

Mr14: Right! It's more fun to hang out with friends anyway! Also, another thing to do is change what you do every day. Go home a different way sometimes or maybe stay later at school and do more work or take sports or something. If the guy can't predict exactly when you are going to be around, he'll give up. You can look different, too. Wear a hoodie or something.

Me: I like hoodies.

Mr14: I know, you wear them all the time! Also, maybe you can either ride a bike or take a bus to school so you are faster or with more people. You can have your parents take you to school and pick you up or take a taxi.

Me: I think that could get expensive.

Mr14: If someone is coming after you, the main thing you want to be thinking is, "RUN!" Running away is always better than getting in a fight, especially if you are smaller than the other guy. You can run into a store or a friendly person's house or run onto a bus or a school if you have to. You should also be screaming as loud and mad as you can the whole time, like "BACK OFF!" or "HELP!" A lot of times bad guys will go away if you make so much noise they can't stand it.

Me: I can yell REAL LOUD.

Mr14: I know! You could blow out a guy's ears!

Me: Thank you!

Mr14: When you are running or trying to get away, try to be unpredictable. Run in weird ways, like zig zags, or turning back. Never run into the street or an alley, though. If you see something you can throw at the guy to hit him or block his way, do it. It doesn't matter if it's a parked motorcycle, just do it.

Me: So what happens if you can't get away?

Mr14: Keep yelling as loud as you can. There are things you can learn to defend yourself, but if you can't and the guy keeps hitting you and you have no chance to get away at all, get into the smallest ball you can and protect your head and neck. You'd rather take a hit to your arm than your head. Try to pay attention to what the guy looks like with a lot of detail so you can tell the police. Always be ready to get away.

Me: What would you say to our friend?

Mr14: That it's not her fault at all and that she did a good job because she's still here and that there's lots of good people who will always want to help. Don't let people freak you out! Just be safe.

Me: Thank you, sweetie.

Mr14: You're welcome!

Please feel free to add your own advice or experiences in comments. It is appreciated.


IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP & GUEST POEM: ALL FLOWERS HAVE A STORY

Some more beautiful spring flowers to share with you, because sometimes even a single lovely image can bring a moment of peace and warmth to an otherwise grey, stressful day. MissNine and I took these (I honestly can't remember which one of us took each one, but you can click them to enlarge) and she wanted to add this tiny poem.

All Flowers Have A Story
Some flowers may fall and rot.
Some flowers may be pampered by getting watered and getting sun.


All flowers have a story.


~~MissNine, 5/23/12







VIDEOS: BIZARRE BIRDS!

Are birds weirder and funnier than the goats I often feature on this humble internet repository? Well, I'll leave that up to you to decide for yourself with today's video featurette! BIRDS!



This insanely proactive owl actually transforms its features according to the size and type of Other Threatening Owl it faces, from Paula Deen with Graves Disease to Dracula. He needs his own show.

Transformer Owl



These tic-ridden Birds of Paradise seem like the Loonies of the bird world. Ladies drive them crazy.

Birds of Paradise



Here is a bird that sounds like a hip hop DJ.

DJ Bird



I'm not sure what this Laotian bird is mimicking. Sounds like a ditto machine to me.

Laos Bird



But Best Mimic Award has to go to Mr. Lyre Bird.

Lyre Lyre



My favorite bizarre bird of all time is certainly the Great Argus Pheasant. Look how he's a jerk to the tiny lil ol Mouse Deer!

Great Argus vs. Mouse Deer

video

But I love the Great Argus MOST because of its OBNOXIOUS NOISE. I love this video.

Great Argus Is SO LOUD



And, just because, I'll end with a goat, which is not, to my knowledge, a bird, and SO WHAT.

Screaming Goat

IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: MORE WEIRD STUFF FROM VALUE VILLAGE!

After an exciting run of awesome sunny warm weather, Seattle-ish has now returned this week to grey gloom and annoying moistness. What better way to protect yourself from the elements and be entertained than to high-tail it over to a thrift store to look for oddities? It's an activity that is failure-proof, unless the roof leaks or something. Here are a few photos from my trip.

The knick-knacks and glass stuff always seem to be placed right as you walk in to any Value Village. There must be some solid marketing reason for this. This brown pig frightens me.






































IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: SEATTLE/TACOMA SPRING GUITAR SHOW, BELLEVUE WA, 5/20/12

Even though I am a pretty limited guitarist, I really like guitars, kind of in the same way that I like cars but hate to drive. I'd like to have lots of cars and guitars if I were a rich person because then I could, I dunno, play "You're Gonna Miss Me" on a top of a '64 Jaguar XKE one day, and "Liar Liar" on top of a '67 Camaro SS the next, and then "Coral Girls" on top of a 2012 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works Coupe. Don't think I wouldn't do it, either.

Anyway, not being a rich person, instead of the above today I attended the Seattle/Tacoma Spring Guitar Show 2012 at Bellevue's Meydenbauer Center just to drool. Oh, there were so many cool things, from new Tele Custom Shop beauties to old Silvertone weirdoes. I took a few photos of details that caught my eye.

Now I'm kinda sad I didn't get this first one. It would have gone really well with my red 2008 Acura RDX and this song.


ONCE UPON A TIME...OR MAYBE TWICE: THE BEATLES' "YELLOW SUBMARINE" @ THE ADMIRAL THEATRE, WEST SEATTLE, 5/19/12

When I was small, there was no event more important to me than a Beatle Event. It didn't matter what it was -- a new Beatles single getting a first play on my local WOKY-AM, a Beatles television appearance, or -- OH MY GOD -- a Beatles MOVIE in the THEATER. Nothing would take precedence over these. To interfere in my Beatle Moment would be to risk facing a tiny spitting cobra of the most deadly venom, with possibly also a spinning head and fire exploding from my eyes and lava spewing from my ears. KEEP AWAY FROM THE YOUNG BEATLE FAN UNTIL THE EVENT IS OVER, PEOPLE. NOTHING TO SEE HERE. BEATLES!!!

Like millions of other Beatle fans who were little kids in the '60s, I felt like the band kinda liked us. They were so friendly and funny and cute, but still irreverent and unpredictable enough to be unlike the other adults in our lives, and therefore were even cooler. Their music was accessible to everyone, a few confusing tracks on the "White Album" excepted. So I wasn't at all surprised to find out that the Beatles were going to release a full-length animated film called "Yellow Submarine" in 1968, just excited beyond excited because the Beatles made a cartoon movie for me! At age six, sitting in the dark theater next to my  very patient mom, eating buttery popcorn from a red-and-white striped bag, I remember the warmth of the familiar Beatle voices in song filling my heart with multi-colored butterflies to match the ones onscreen. (I had no clue then that their speaking roles in the film were voiced by actors.) The animation was so rich, so completely new, so languid and funny and busy and strange, so saturated with color, both delicate and dense, it was almost too much to take in, as one of the film's tunes sang. It was -- and remains -- the grooviest thing ever made. My mother tells me I left the theater with the biggest smile on my face, the event over, the Beatles and love winning the day yet again.

It was with the same sense of happiness and importance that today, a stunning 42 years later, I arrived at West Seattle's historic Admiral Theater to see "Yellow Submarine" once more on the big screen, a new print restored for digital 4K theaters, each frame done by hand. This time, I bought two of my own children along, MissNine and Mr14...but we skipped the popcorn. Of course, I had already shared my older VHS and DVD copies with the kids at home, but viewing this film in a proper movie house during this extremely-limited theatrical release, I felt, was truly how "Yellow Submarine" should be seen. They were excited, too...because even all these years later, kids still feel that the Beatles kinda like them.

As the movie unfolded on the huge screen in front of me, I felt the same big smile come over my face again. This time, seeing such detail with adult eyes and having Time as my extra guest, I was again simply awestruck. The seemingly-limitless flights of imagination, the incredible amount of work it took to make, the overwhelming beauty...this "kids' cartoon" turned out to be an important, groundbreaking piece of art. If you could only choose one thing to put in a time capsule to represent the 1960's, "Yellow Submarine," in many ways, might be the perfect pop culture choice, for its art, music, humor, subtle political points, and messages of love and peace.

The soundtrack, using the most recent crystal-clear Beatles remasters, was so rich and clean that I gasped at the first note sung. It really did sound like the band was singing right there in the theater, with even little Beatle breaths and bobbles. What nearly made me cry? When I realized that many in the audience were quietly singing along with each song, a little wispy, sweet undercurrent, which swelled at the end of the film to all of us singing along to "All Together Now," followed by claps and cheers as the house lights came up.

I first walked in to see "Yellow Submarine" as a six-year-old kindergartener; today I walked out as a 50-year-old mother of three...but I feel just the same joy and wonder. That is the gift that the Beatles and "Yellow Submarine" gave me, gave my children, and will give their children someday. Magic.

And damned if we didn't win a "Yellow Submarine" tote bag in the raffle afterwards!







































"Yellow Submarine" Official 2012 Trailer


THE CRIME OF THE QUIET CHRISTIAN

I am perfectly comfortable with accepting the fact that I shall leave the planet knowing not really all that much more than I did when I got here. I mean, I can do a little math and run a washing machine and proofread a legal brief and train a dog. I can drive a car and make a grilled cheese sandwich and catch a baseball and make puns until someone begs me to stop. I can do stuff and make stuff and think stuff and learn about how others have done stuff and made stuff and thought stuff, and even with my best and most sustained efforts, I know that I can never know as much as I'd like to know. That's OK; we're all here on a limited one-time-only engagement, so I understand my parameters.

But there's something I'd really like to understand before I go, because it's something I have a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around: how "good people," in particular those who align themselves with the Christian faith and the Bible, can stand by and say and do nothing while other "good Christians" use the Bible to justify discrimination and hatred towards other human beings, whether by direct action or by the manipulation of laws.

I understand that the Bible is interpreted in many different ways. God can be a Groovy God, who loves all people no matter what. God can be a Situationally-Groovy God, where he digs you if you don't murder people or eat meat on Fridays, but if you do he might deny you gate access and send you down to to the Lucifer Lounge if you don't do a major repent pitch. And then there's the God Who Hates Everyone, who finds everyone just totally lacking, filthy sinners who should be DAMN GRATEFUL he doesn't smite everyone RIGHT DAMN NOW. But which one is the right Bible interpretation? After all, you cannot "sort of" be a Christian. If you are a Christian, you have to totally buy that there is a God and that Jesus Christ was his son and died to save you. You believe that the Bible is the sacred word of God, and that if you don't follow the word of God, he will be mad at you, and possibly All Mankind, too. The Bible also says all sorts of other things about not judging people and showing kindness to those in need.

How do Christians, most of whom are probably decent folks and not soulless sociopaths, allow their faith to be hijacked by racists, homophobes, and misogynists? How? How do you not stand together, bound by your values given to you by your faith, to protect the dignity and rights of ALL humans, even those who may be of a different race, culture, gender, religion, or sexual orientation? How can you sit there and identify as a Christian, believing that God gave you this world as a tremendous gift, and allow searing hatred to flourish in his name? There are over 2 billion of you in this world -- quite a powerful number. Yet where are the united voices screaming against protecting pedophiles in the Catholic Church, against fundamentalists who screw with the United States Constitution to make sure that no woman can access safe reproductive services or earn a fair wage, or against consigning the LGBT community to lifetimes of scorn, shame, and scraping for the same legal rights as those folks who happened to have been born heterosexual?

It's not good enough that you say, "well, that's not how I feel, that's not how I feel God is for me, I don't think Jesus would have done that," etc. It's just not. Those who use the Bible as an excuse for sheer hatred are representing ALL Christians in the world, unless their views are no longer accepted as legitimate expressions of the Bible's tenets and their influence and power are removed. You can't sit there and shake your head and say tsk tsk when because of the very concentrated, gun-sight focus of a few, millions of others suffer. As a Christian, aren't you supposed to stand up for your beliefs? Why don't you?

To stand by and do nothing? How do you do it? How do so many of you accept this? What should I take from your tacit acceptance of the narrow-mindedness and bullying that goes on in the name of YOUR religion? That you are too lazy to bother to do something? That you feel it would be hopeless to try to change anything? That you, more or less, agree with the vitriol? Are you afraid you might be booted out of "the club" if you say anything, and you are afraid you will lose friends, community, family? Do you think it's OK as long as it doesn't affect you directly? Or do you just not think about your role as a Christian at all? What should I think about Christians and Christianity in the end, when I see no major leaders coming forth to guide people in love and kindness, only hate and bitterness? What lessons do I learn when I see 9-yr.-old Josef Miles, who had the bravery to stand up to the Westboro Baptist Church, yet no one else stands with him?

Maybe I understand after all, and maybe I wish I didn't.




THE 4TH GRADE BAND CONCERT

Ah, I do remember my days in the school band very well, especially the excitement of our concerts, the culmination of all our months of hard work and lessons. The night came, the school auditorium filled up, we dressed up, acted spazzy backstage, and felt a mixture of pride and relief when it was all over. I started out on clarinet in 5th Grade, switched over to drums the next year, and continued on in band until 10th Grade, when the new band instructor and I had a protracted showdown and I ended up quitting...as he had wished I would. After all, "girls shouldn't be in the drum section," he complained to me, "They are distracting to the boys there." It is my sincere hope that karma revisited him often and heavily in the following years, perhaps in the forms of particularly painful romantic liaisons that inevitably met in dissolution and failure, or nonstop lifelong hiccups.

This year, MissNine's small school began a band program for the first time, and she chose to play coronet -- in fact playing one that belonged to her Grandpa Bob, which came to us after he died in 1993. I am certain he would have been thrilled. The 4th Grade gathered up in the gym last night to play their very first concert, which I think went really well considering they had only 40 contact hours of instruction this year, and most of the kids had never played any musical instrument before.

Despite the expected misplaced honks and variations on pitch and timing, I think the kids showed a lot of poise and maturity. No matter what, it's hard to get onstage and do anything, especially when you are only nine or ten years old and you still really need and want your mom and dad and siblings to be proud of you.

The sound, both comic and sweet, was...well, just perfect, really.

The 4th Grade Band Concert





I MADE YOU MORE CHILDREN'S BOOKS


THE SASHA DOLL

I was, I think, a bit of a toy maniac when I was a kid. I really LIKED TOYS A LOT. I mean, all kids did, but I think I spent more time fantasizing about having all kinds of toys more than the average kid. It's not like I was toy-deprived -- I had plenty, and also co-opted all my brother's toys (Hot Wheels! G.I. Joe! Creepy Crawlers! Cap Guns! Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots!) so I'm not sure why I spent hours poring over toy catalogues looking at things I knew I would never own. Greed? Maybe a bit. But I didn't want to own them just for the sake of it or to brag (although maybe a bit). I wanted to love them. I wanted to give them a home. Even a lowly 79-cent Hot Wheel car, I thought, would be better off with me than stuck with some terrible boy who would either leave it in a sandbox to rust or send it flying out a second-story window off a plastic orange track system of many-hours construction.

I got to thinking about this today as MissNine was brushing the hair of one of her beautiful American Girl dolls. She has like five or six of them, courtesy her grandmother, who is a bit of a late-in-life toy maniac herself. I would have DIED to have even one of them when I was her age...which reminded me of the one doll I wanted SO BADLY and never received.

I can still recall the feeling of my little heart's flutter and ache when I would see the beautiful Sasha dolls from Germany in the Marshall Field's glass display case in the toy section of the upscale department store. I thought they were by far the most wonderful dolls I had ever seen, almost real in their pretty, somber faces and lovely detailed clothes. I can remember standing there and staring at them while my mother would be off shopping elsewhere in the store, how I didn't want to leave them when it was time to go, and the strange sadness when I did, like they needed me to take them home and care for them. Me, particularly.

I knew the one I wanted most of all, a girl with long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and tan skin. I didn't want the one who looked like me, with regular old brown hair, boring blue eyes, and pale skin. I wanted the one who looked like how I wanted to look, although I never thought about it so directly then. I wanted  to cherish her, admire her, brush her hair so so gently, keep her far away from grimy hands and dog hair and definitely away from sandboxes. Perhaps if I owned her, in some way, I would be beautiful too, a reflection, a proximal effect.

I knew, logically, I would never own a Sasha doll. They were simply too expensive, and my family didn't have that kind of money to spend on toys. I asked every Christmas anyway, for many years, until the Christmas came that I was too old to play with dolls.

I suspect that my mother remembers those Christmas lists, that her heart ached far worse than mine not to be able to buy me the beautiful blonde doll, and that my daughter's doll collection is, really, meant for us all.


VIDEOS: 1980's KIDS DANCING TO BAD 1980'S MUSIC

I really, really, really didn't like the '80s. After the torpid hippie disco bad facial hair sleazefest that was generally the '70s, as a newly-minted adult I was looking forward to a fresh start in music, fashion, and culture. But aside from a scant few bands and neon hair accessories, I got pile after pile of WEAK ASS New Wave bands with terrible Synsonics drums and yelping whiny vocalists, giant hairspray metal bands with stuffed crotch leather jeans, and Madonna writhing around on the ground like a dying flounder in cheap lace. There was nothing to do but wait it out until the '90s came around and things started to improve again.

At least I can be thankful that I was grown-ish in the '80s and not any younger and susceptible to the forces of Crap Culture. My deepest sympathies go out to the Children of the '80s...but not quite so much that I cannot make fun of them. Please to enjoy with me!

I do wonder what happened to these kids when they grew up. I will say no more.

80s Children Dancing to Madonna



Aw, jeez.

Emu's Pink Widmill Kids: Dance Electric



Even Vin Diesel. EVEN. This is not the strongest breakdancing I've seen. Nnnnnnope.



Oh dear lord, I had forgotten about Kids Incorporated. Michael Jackson inspired legions of terrible dancers.



Sigh. The '80s MTV-style-quick-cut was the death knell to the ATTENTION SPAN. Sorry, Teachers of the World.

Do The Locomotion



Yeah...nothing TOO CREEPY about a dancing Jordache Jeans commercial that does a close-up of a pre-pubescent girl's BUTT. *FACEPALM*

video




Call me Ms. Get Off My Lawn, GO AHEAD I DON'T CARE! But I think THIS was COOLER. PFFT. PFFT!

Kiddie-A-Go-Go, WCIU-TV, Chicago, 4/29/69




PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: X, THE SUICIDE NOTES @ SHOWBOX MARKET, SEATTLE WA, 5/12/12

I sincerely doubt that when the band X (John Doe on bass and vocals, Evene Cervenka on vocals, Billy Zoom on guitar, and DJ Bonebrake on drums) began playing together years ago in Los Angeles that they could have imagined that they might be performing to a raucous, sell-out crowd in Seattle in 2012. More likely, they were imagining maybe getting 50 bucks for a gig and keeping themselves in ramen for another week. Yet, against formidable odds, this is what has happened. X, West Coast punk progenitors and the most talented band that came out of the late '70s/early '80s scene, is currently on a 35th Anniversary tour, years past the time when many of their peers broke up, burnt out, changed musical directions, or died. They are still here, still performing with the same energy and drive, still fun as hell. If you were in Seattle and not at the Showbox on May 12th...you should kick your own ass. Hard.


(artist: David Gallo. weaponsofmassdesign.com)
























GUEST IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: DOLLS IN THE GARDEN

MissNine gets to show her photos today of some of her dolls posed in our front garden. They are now all safely returned to the Great Indoors, no doubt gossiping to each other about their magical adventures amongst the giant flowers.










IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: MOTHER'S DAY TEA & THE RETURN OF THE FRIDAY MARKET!

I've teamed up with MissNine to bring you photos of a lovely afternoon we spent together today in some absolutely gorgeous Northwest spring weather. We shared my iPhone; whomever had it in hand at the time took the photos. First on the agenda was Mother's Day Tea at her school, where we Moms were treated to a snack of our choice from a handprinted menu, served to us by the kids. (You may click on the photos to enlarge.)


MISS NINE DOES NOT LIKE "ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY"

On a normal day at 8AM, I like to be unconscious. Comfy, warm, and all delightfully unconscious in my bed, because it's pretty likely that on any given night, I am not even hitting the sack until 3AM. However, this week my taxi skills are needed in both the morning and afternoon school runs, so I've been sucking it up with a large travel mug of fine Stumptown coffee and sunglasses, just like a celebrity would.

The only redeeming thing about morning rush hour traffic for me is the chance to listen to the radio for this hour-long round-trip. I rule the radio choices when I am driving, as is my Sacred and Inalienable Right, just as it was for my parents. "AIEEE, DAD! Please please please! Let me listen to something good!" I would sputter in caged frustration to my father, as he listened to "Fat Lady Polka" or something for the millionth time. Totally and utterly unimpressed with my pleas, he would smile a small evil smile and say, "When you drive, then you can pick the station." "Pfffft!" I would huff. "Pffffft!!!"

Which brings me to this morning's radio fun. My backseat captives, MissNine and Mr14, usually have no complaints with my song selection through the SIRIUS XM dial, unless I turn it up too loud. Flipping through the channels, I landed on 1966's "Elusive Butterfly" by Bob Lind. Now, this is a song I would normally flip right past -- I didn't like it at ALL in 1966 and I don't like it now. But today, I felt my dad's small evil smile creep over my lips, and I left it to play, betting that MissNine would have some spontaneous comments. BINGO!

You might wake up some mornin'
To the sound of something moving past your window in the wind
And if you're quick enough to rise
You'll catch a fleeting glimpse of someone's fading shadow
Out on the new horizon
You may see the floating motion of a distant pair of wings
And if the sleep has left your ears
You might hear footsteps running through an open meadow



MissNine: What the heck is this guy talking about?


Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love



MissNine: Nets of wonder? What?? Haaaahaha! Nets of wonder????


You might have heard my footsteps
Echo softly in the distance through the canyons of your mind
I might have even called your name
As I ran searching after something to believe in



MissNine: Hahaha! Mind canyons! He's calling her stupid!!


You might have seen me runnin'
Through the long-abandoned ruins of the dreams you left behind
If you remember something there
That glided past you followed close by heavy breathin'



MissNine: Oh, god. Mom! This is terrible! Why are we listening to this??


Me: (evil smiling with sunglasses, sips coffee)


Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love



MissNine: The butterfly is going to get tangled up in the net of wonder and DIE.


Me: I think that's the point. Sort of.


[Instrumental Interlude]


MissNine: Can't you turn this off now? Please?

Mr14: Yeah, Mom, this is bad.

Me: "When you drive, then you can pick the station."

MissNine: That's not fair!

Me: (larger evil smile)

Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love

MissNine: Whew! It's done! What a weird song!

Me: Eeeyup.






IPHONE PHOTO ROUNDUP: THE SCHOOL SCIENCE FAIR

Yes, tonight was MissNine's school Science Fair, all set up in the gym to share with the parents, excitement in the air. The kids patiently stood by their white boards and explained how their experiments turned out, while parents ooh'd and ahh'd and nodded in somber scientific agreement. When patience lost its novelty, the kids ran around and looked at their peers' cool stuff, poked at each other and several guest rodents, and smiled a lot. I questioned one young towheaded scholar about visual and auditory memory differences between genders, ate some Science Popcorn and a Science Marshmallow, and took some pics of some of the project details that caught my eye.


PREVIEW: THE 3RD ANNUAL HARVEY MILK FESTIVAL, SARASOTA, FLORIDA MAY 10-12, 2012

I don't know that you would expect that I -- a West Coast livin', solidly librul, garage punk lovin' heathen -- would consider the state of Florida something of an adopted second home. But I really kinda do. For all its faults, political, racial, religional, and hurricanical, it still remains a state that has some of the loveliest places to hang out in the nation, and some amazingly cool people. I've made some wonderful friends from all over the state, from the Greater Miami area to Gainesville to Sarasota, who have more than impressed me with their warmth, humor, hospitality, talents, and commitment to create and support alternative arts and progressive thought. Here in Seattle, I am spoiled. There are a prillion clubs and theaters that feature the kind of music and art that I like, and Dems generally rule the day. In Florida, it is wildly the opposite. But that doesn't mean that Florida is a done deal or that Reverend Governor Cletus Standyerground is always going to have the last word. It's important that the rest of the nation notices and applauds efforts in Florida to increase tolerance and understanding under the heavy weight of a population whose most-familiar face often seems to give little value to either concept.

So, with that in mind, I am very glad to tell you about the 3rd Annual Harvey Milk Festival coming up this weekend (May 10-12, 2012) in Sarasota, Florida. From their site: 
The 3rd Annual Harvey Milk Festival (HMF) will take place in Five Points Park, located in the historic downtown district of Sarasota, Florida from May 10th-12th, 2012. The festival’s mission is to promote emerging artists in music, art, and film, raising awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality.
Admission is free.
HMF is held in honor of the late Harvey Milk, an American equal rights activist and politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to a public office.
Founder and HMF Board President Shannon Fortner believes this year’s lineup will continue the tradition of celebrating artists who foster equality, earning the festival a national reputation for discovering new talent.
The 2012 HMF headliner is Breton. Hailing from the UK, Breton is comprised of filmmakers and musicians who create edgy cinematic live performances to compliment its dubstep/electro-house sound. The Guardian tagged Breton as ‘the multimedia Massive Attack.’ In March 2012, the band’s debut album ‘Other People’s Problems’ debuted in the top 5 the Amazon UK charts. The US album release was April 3rd.
Co-headliners include Minneapolis minimal synth-pop trio CLAPS and Sarasota locals MeteorEYES.
Other musicians scheduled to appear include The August Name, The Pauses, The Sexual Side Effects, Cassolette, HenryHenryHenry!, Elysian Sex Drive, The Northwest, The Send Offs, and (the) Umbrella Cult.
At the opening ceremony, Artist John Baden of San Francisco, California will present a special paint on wood art piece to the festival and the city. Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell and Sarasota City Commissioner Carolyn Mason plan to attend, reading the city’s proclamation.
The official after party for the music portion of the festival will be held at Throb Nightclub. The special guest performer will be DiDa Ritz from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The five-dollar cover will be donated to the festival for any attendee wearing an official HMF bracelet.
On May 10th, HMF will host a screening of the music documentary Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death Story of Patty Schemel at the Selby Public Library. The film, which includes never-before-seen footage of Kurt Cobain, depicts the gripping true-life story of Hole drummer Patty Schemel’s battle with drug addiction at the height of the band’s fame. A reception for the film will take place at The Ivory Lounge following the screening.
On May 11th, ‘The Silent T’ Art Opening will be held at The Ivory Lounge, presenting work from local and national artists on the theme of equality. The band Sons of Hippies is set to perform.  

If you are anywhere near the beautiful Sarasota area this weekend, or even if you'd like to take a last-minute sun-and-fun vacation (Sarasota has THE best beaches in the USA, you know), I encourage you to attend HMF 2012 and enjoy some great bands, films, art, and good company. Even if you cannot be there, you can spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, bid on this awesome Vox guitar and Fender G-Dec amp, and SUPPORT the Festival's sponsors, which include Seattle's own Starbucks.

What does "stand your ground" really mean? People refusing to lie down and be shamed, bullied, intimidated, and harassed by those people who use the legal system and false morality to build a world on the shaky, hopeless foundations of fear, ignorance, and blind hatred. To celebrate the best in people through art, to fight the good fight and honor a good man...these are good, good things.










PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: TY SEGALL, WHITE FENCE, THE PHARMACY, & TEA COZIES @ CHOP SUEY SEATTLE, 5/5/12

When I arrived home last Saturday night around 2AM from Seattle's Chop Suey club, I noticed that not only did my clothes, hair, and camera gear have beer all over them, but there was beer actually in my shoes. On my shoes, of course, but also inside my shoes. This will give you some idea of how "Cinco de Ty" went, as I have been referring to the Cinco de Mayo quad-bill garage-psych-pop spectacular starring California's Ty Segall and White Fence, and locals The Pharmacy and Tea Cozies. As a well-experienced garage rock concertgoer, I expected a rowdy crowd for the holiday as well as a packed house at the small venue even on a night with lots of concert choices, so I can't say the beer explosion was a total surprise. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else; this was the show I most wanted to see this year in Seattle, and others could enjoy the Tacoma Dome with Van Halen's Diamond Dave preening over his hairplugs and adjusting his codpiece or something.

























YOU ARE NEVER TOO BUSY FOR A GOAT

Between photo processing from last night's awesome show at Chop Suey (details tomorrow!) and helping out with MissNine's science fair project (OF COURSE), eating Brazilian cheese bread and pizza and drinking coffee, I HAD NO TIME FOR ANYTHING ELSE. Therefore, what you get today is a video of a goat hanging out in Manhattan.

It's why you come here, right?

Goat In NYC




THE MOST DISTURBING MICHAEL JACKSON FAN ART IN THE WORLD (NSFW)

Oh my.

Oh my.

Um.

Uh.

OK.

I think...I think I will just say no more, other than the visions of Jackson as Peter Pan-Jesus-Winged Wood Nymph-Not Pedophile-Not Asexual-Savior of Humanity-Trumped Up Royalty is well represented here. Please keep this post away from children and other people vulnerable to not being able to unsee these. Thank you.




HAIKUS FOR A FRIDAY EVENING AT MARSHALL'S

Discount store! Hello!
We meet again, post-dinner
I have had sake.

Pretty platform heels
I love you all, yet I know
I cannot wear you.

Asian Man! Move on!
Your sideways cart is blocking
Me from bras, dammit!

I have no need for
A single dining room chair
And don't know who does.

Bath sheet! So fluffy!
Yet I know that with one wash
Your fluff shall be snuffed.

Lady looking in
Size 2, I hope you have a
Daughter; you are 12.

My god! Everything
Is so ugly tonight, like
Lucifer threw up.

I consider jeans
The Pull Test is enacted
Not enough spandex.

My daughter brings an
Orange neon skirt to buy
"Duck hunting?" I ask.

Ninety dollars! What?
I hardly bought anything!
Lucifer chuckles.




THE ART OF JEANNE ROE: "MY LIFE ON A BAR NAPKIN"

How very surprised and charmed I was to see these amazing little pieces of art appear on my Facebook stream yesterday -- so much so that I instantly wanted to share them with you. Jeanne Roe is an Oconomowoc (WI.) High School classmate of mine. We knew each other casually back then -- everyone knew everyone there, more or less -- but didn't connect again until the Facebook era. I had no idea that she was an artist until she posted these to her FB wall. These clever and spontaneous doodle-drawings, strongly reminiscent of the work of James Thurber, were made over a nine-year timespan, often done on bar napkins, hotel or airline notepaper, or other available scraps as Jeanne traveled the world, finally landing for good in Austin, Texas. They are such a sweet document of some of the moments of her life... skiing and swimming and camping, boyfriends and best friends, grumpy bar patrons, and devoted pets, sketched with a vibrancy that shows Jeanne's delightful personality. I just love them.

Nowadays, Jeanne runs a cool little store in Austin called Navidad Farms, which has sells the best damn pecans you've ever tasted and other unique Texas-style gifties. I am so glad she decided to share these drawings with her friends, so glad she allowed me to repost them here, and I hope you can share them, too. (Click on the drawings to enlarge.)

We are always more than people can see.

"Marci & I" - Rome, Italy, 1987






















MY TEN NEW SUPERHEROES

I was never much of a fan of the Superhero comic book/film/tv genre; maybe that's because I am not a dude and am also easily bored and irritated by fantasy conceits like unicorns, lottery-playing, Renaissance Faires, anything Comic Con, and organized religion. My sole true exception to this is Batman, of the Adam West "NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BATMAN!" type, not the angst-ridden later-years derps with the ugly costumes and uglier Batmobiles. OK, I thought Silver Surfer was alright, but only because he looked cool and surfing is cool, and maybe Spiderman, but only the Tobey Maguire Spiderman because he was so adorable. That's it. But maybe I'd like Superheroes more if there were some new ones I could relate to who weren't blowing up CGI villains at 200 million bucks a shot every stupid summer. Here's a few I suggest go into development with Some Skullet-Headed Movie Guy With A Spray Tan Who Lives In Brentwood.

1. Expired-Milk Man: He dashes into homes to save people from the horror of taking an unintentional swig of soured milk.

2. Kotexia: Appears at the scene of menstrual mishaps with a discreet supply of pads and tampons. Crusades tirelessly for women of child-bearing age never to wear white pants in public.

3. Dee Ehm Vee: Has ability to alter time and reality to make desperate and anguished citizens waiting in line at the DMV believe they have only been at the facility for 10 minutes. Wins Nobel Peace Prize.

4. The Student Loan Forgiveness Fairy: Waives a pink pen, and permanently transfers billions of dollars of crushing student loan debt to the Koch Brothers.

5. Skrill-Axe: Appears with golden axe to destroy any boombox or loud vehicle blaring Skrillex in public. Beloved.

6. Doo-Man: Delivers any errant dog dumps back to the doorsteps of misguided, civically-disrespectful canine owners, wrapped in Eternal Flames That Can Never Be Stamped Out.

7. Grouperman: Gathers up all your local savings deals in one email, rather than 50 per day.

8. Snidely Criblash: Goes to the overblown, over-decorated, extremely tacky homes of multi-millionaire celebrities, sells all their crap to a sheik in Dubai, and then gives the money to homeless shelters.

9. Catty-Woman: Makes whispered, painfully horrible and funny comments about other women in public dressing rooms. Feared by all, but respected.

10. Binky Boy: Ends national-disgrace Congressional filibusters by inserting pacifiers covered in Krazy Glue into the mouths of Rotten Republicans.

I await patiently the 2013 summer movie season.