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Archive for February, 2012

Invite David Bazan.

This last Sunday I was fortunate enough to host Mr. Bazan (or Dave as he likes me to call him) at my house for one of his living room shows.  For those of you who don’t know – this very blog is named after one of his songs, so to have the man playing in my house was certainly a highlight.  For the past few years Bazan has been playing these intimate venues with about 40-50 people in attendance – alone or sometimes with a friend backing him.  At our show he played an electric into a tiny amp, no mic, and a simple floor lamp by his side.

Bazan played for a little over an hour, with quite a bit of dialogue in between songs where he would answer questions – a practice that he encouraged, rather than was forced upon him.  It was very refreshing to hear someone speak frankly about the struggles of being a musician – most especially in the financial sense.  Knowing my pride, I would have tried to play it up as if I was killing it, but Bazan admitted to performing these house shows because of the practicality of them being more profitable than traditional shows that require a lot more cost and effort – and that it is needed to be able to keep playing music for a living.

He played a selection of songs from Pedro, Headphones, and his solo albums.  His “$300 guitar” didn’t quite keep tune, and the playing wasn’t flawless by any means – but it was more than made up for with the power of his voice, and the overall coolness of such a rarefied show.

After the show, Bazan stuck around briefly and folks were able to grab pictures and buy some albums.  Though I hosted the event I didn’t really talk to him much, other than a couple phone calls leading up the the show – but he seemed like a very genuine and likable guy, and this night only served to enhance my love of his music.

God bless you, David Bazan – whether you want it or not.

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Our dear friends and traitors former writers/co-founders Greg and Elijah recently celebrated the 2-year anniversary of their blog, Lost in the Cloud.  Sharp readers will see the correlation between them leaving and the precipitous decline in CAI’s monthly posts – oh well.   I would be remiss if I didn’t celebrate them – even though they proceeded to write some of the most popular posts on the entire interweb (see link above) that could have made CAI world famous.

If only because Greg is my brother, I can’t hold a grudge.  The twice a year we see each other would be terribly awkward.  (sorry Boog!)  The twice a decade I see Elijah is even worse.

Anyway – if you’ve never checked out their blog, then now is the time.  They’ve even provided quick links to their favorites of the last two years.  Good work, fellas  – we are proud of you and hope you keep it up for another 2 years.  Then it’s probably time to retire… I mean, honestly how many NOTW’s and Fairie’s Aire’s can you have in a lifetime???  At least we got one of them.

Congratulations!!

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I’ve been thinking about this year’s big game a great deal. It’s important to do so, you know.

Anyway, here’s what’s going to happen. Before the game even starts, we’ll run out of 7 layer dip. I hate that. It’s okay, though, because I will have had my fill by then.

A very important decision we’ll have to be made before the game starts, and the outcome of that decision could have broad implications on the entire event — margaritas or beer.

Beer has been my strategy for the entire season. It’s what’s gotten me to the Super Bowl, and there is certainly wisdom in sticking to what works. On the other hand, margaritas go very well with 7-layer dip, and after all, it is the Super Bowl, so I have the whole season to recover.

My prediction is that I’ll probably make the worst of all decisions, which is to choose both. This decision is a lack of decision, and I’m sure I’ll pay for it by the 4th quarter while I’m still trying to act like I care about this game.

I predict that there will be a bowl of nuts, a bowl of chips, a bowl of dip, a bowl of snack mix, and a bowl of candy. All of these bowls will be super. There may even at some point, be a bowl with salad in it. It will not be super; it will be salad — a salad bowl, if you will. A super salad bowl if you rather.

Deep inside, everybody at the party will want to see Madona at half-time, but nobody will admit it, so the host will turn the sound down during half time, and most of us will download her performance later.

At some point during the game, a party guest will make a political joke that will make a different party guest very mad. But we’ll all laugh just to be polite. At some point during the game, somebody will say something about Tim Tebow. If nobody else does, then I will.

What am I forgetting? Ah yes, the winner. I predict the winner will be supermarkets and liquor stores. Unless you live in an area where supermarkets can sell liquor. Then the winner will be supermarkets or super liquor stores.

The loser will be Home Depot.

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So yesterday I saw a flurry of activity on my Facebook news feed which I thought was unusual.  The usually heavily loved and supported Susan G. Komen for the Cure was being lambasted by many people after news spread that it was pulling grant funds from Planned Parenthood that had been targeted towards cancer screenings.  Many people were sad about the development, and saying, “shame, shame on you” Komen, intimating that this was grievously putting women’s health at risk.  And not only that they were putting women’s health at risk, but they were doing it on implied orders from the VRW (vast right wing) and religious right as a means to try and defund PP – them being the largest providers of abortions in the U.S.

I proceeded to post an inquiry on my wall about whether PP was the only entity that offered cancer screening – and that this backlash against Komen seemed to be more people angry at a pro-life agenda than anger at reduced cancer screenings.  A civil discussion (seriously) ensued from both sides.

But this whole episode served to highlight a couple things that I think can be learned about people’s feelings on these related matters.

  1. Many thoughts are illogical — One of the commenters was outraged at how this affects women’s health and that it was hypocritical of a women’s health organization to remove funding.  She then proceeded to imply that she would be removing her support from Komen —- thus removing funding for women’s health.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Komen put women’s health, specifically breast cancer awareness, on the map.  According to trusted resources (wink wink, wiki!!), since its inception in 1982 Komen has raised and invested $2 billion towards research, education, and health services.  The amount of funding they pulled was $700,000, and PP’s revenue last year was over $1 billion.  So it seems illogical, and disingenuous to try and state that 1) Planned Parenthood is really going to suffer, and 2) that Komen has hurt women’s health.
  2. Abortion infects everything — Whether you are pro-abortion (I refuse to use the word choice, I consider myself being reserved for not saying pro-death) or pro-life it is impossible to deny that anytime this subject comes up it causes emotions to boil and inflated feelings to emerge from both sides.  As I said in the post above, many people want to paint this as a critique of Komen’s irresponsibility towards breast cancer screening.  But that is false I think.  In addition to the reasons above, there hasn’t even been enough time to determine if Komen reapportions that money to another organization that performs screening as well.  Let’s even suppose that Komen had simultaneously (and now I wish they had) announced just such an organization as the recipient of the money.  Do you think there would still be no uproar?  I believe there still would have been.  Because at the core of this is the fact that Komen’s actions do seem to stem from internal affiliation with the pro-life movement, or at least succumbing to pressure of pro-life groups (though I still haven’t heard what that pressure was).  So while this is ostensibly about cancer – it is actually about abortion.  The issue that infects everything.
  3. Finances don’t really matter only agendas — There are a lot of dollars floating around this story.  Grant money de-funded, annual revenue for the different organizations, money that Komen will lose from potential donor loss, and $650,000 raised by PP in the hours following the news.  But what remains true is that neither organization is going to stop doing the work they are doing.  We’ve already identified that $700,000 won’t hurt the billion-dollar Planned Parenthood, and though Komen may in fact lose some support, they will not stop trying to follow a mission of ending breast cancer.  So what has all this hoopla done?  Just added a news story for people to get worked up about, and to attack each other.  What if the pro-life gang had said, “dang, it’s just $700,000 let’s just let them have it but we won’t renew in the future”?  And what if pro-abortion folks had just shrugged and said, “stupid pro-lifers – I’m going to go donate some money to Planned Parenthood now”?  We could have avoided this – but no, agendas must be met.
  4. Both sides have idiots — As is obvious I am rabidly pro-life, but when I hear and read about people protesting at abortion clinics and telling the girls and women they are going to hell I want to punch them in the face.  No – I want to hurt them.  Not very Christian of me, I know.  But when I hear people rage against the horrible religious right, when they proclaim this is a woman’s choice and my opinion does not matter, or when Planned Parenthood staff are caught covering abuse, or encouraging teen abortions I want to punch them too.  No – I want to hurt them.

Those are my thoughts.

Oh wait – one more.  If this is not a life, then why does it need to be removed?

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