30 July 2008

Political Debates

I ran several blogs before starting The District Diaries. Each of them was very political in nature and covered my opinions about, well, everything political. I shut each of them down and erased all traces of their existence for the same reason every time ... I hate debating politics. It is a frustrating exercise in futility. It stresses me out. It exhausts the hell out of me. And I won't do it anymore.

See, politics to people is on that same personal plane as religion. People hold on to what they want to believe and who they want to embody what they want to believe very strongly. And trying to sway someone's mind on a politician or on a political position, for the most part, is akin to trying to sway their hearts on religious matters. You'd do better to punch a bull in the nuts.

I will continue to post my opinions about politics and politicians. But I will not have a debate over any of it. You are free to post your own thoughts on your own blog. And, as always, the Comments is available to you to voice your opinion, so long as those opinions do not directly attack me or any of my readers.

But if you try to drag me into a fight my only responses will be " ... " or "okay".

That is all.

29 July 2008

Random Music: "Murder In The City" by The Avett Brothers

I've been doing a lot of introspective analysis the past week-ish, evaluating my place in life, where I've come, what I've still to face ... typical "getting older" stuff. This has all been sparked by my impending birthday in the not-too-distant future.

Those who know me well know that I enjoy my age and I look forward to getting older. I've never thought much on what it actually means to get older, what it actually is to be old. So it came as quite an unpleasant surprise when the reality of age hit me hard recently. With each passing second we each draw closer to the end of our life and it is that fact of mortality that inspired my song selection this week.

I'll have a post up sometime tomorrow or Thursday that will delve into the last paragraph in a bit more thoughtful detail. For now, enjoy this song by The Avett Brothers.

Murder In The City - The Avett Brothers

25 July 2008

Personal Randomness

I've been asked more than once this week if something is wrong with me. One who knows me well noted the other day that I am "off". I didn't and won't deny it. I've been fairly unfocused and I haven't been sleeping well as of late.

The problem is that I don't know what it is about me that is "off", only that something is not quite right in my world. This will have a negligible effect on any of you; in fact, the only thing you might notice is that I might be "quieter than normal" (whatever that means exactly). Just know that I am fine (truly) and that I’m allowing my brain time to process whatever it is it's processing. Once the puzzle is solved, I'll fill you in.

Until then, thank you for your support and concerns and respect for my privacy.

24 July 2008

Next Weekend's Musical Affairs - A Few Promotions

Next weekend, the first weekend of August, will prove to be a very musicalicious time to be had by all participating.

First, if you recall, Friday 01 August is TOWN's talent contest. $1000 will be awarded to the winner of this monthly competition. Don't you have a talent you've been dying to show the world? Don't you want $1000 dollars? Then contact TOWN (info@towndc.com) and get in on this.

Second, I spoke more than once about an artist who hails from the New York City area. Mario's music is emotional and moving (in many senses of the word) and just plain fantastic. And on Sunday 03 August at 1800 (that would be 6 PM), he will be performing a FREE show at the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage. This, I believe, will be his first-ever performance in Washington, D.C.! And we don't want it to be his last. So all you fans out there really need to come and show him some love ... and bring a few friends as well. You and they will not be disappointed.

Third, after the Mario concert ... since you're in the area ... you should come join me at Cobalt's Sunday Night Karaoke. It's the perfect venue to relax a bit, kick back a few drinks, jaw with the friends, listen to some more awesome singing, and (if you've had enough liquid courage) sing a number or two yourself. We have a brand new shiny bar space and a brand new shiny karaoke system ... but the same old dull hosts. The door opens at 2030 (that would be 8:30 PM) and the show starts at 2100 (that would be 9 PM), if all is well. Am I laying it on a bit thick? I certainly hope so. We've worked hard to make a safe, fun, laid-back environment and we want you to enjoy it. So do come.

What are you waiting for? Break out those dayplanners (or smartphones or granite tablets) and put these events on your calendars!

That is all.

22 July 2008

Random Music: "Take A Chance On Me" by ABBA

I've chosen this week's song in honor of the release of a certain movie based on a certain play based on the music of a certain pop group from a few decades ago.

My earliest memory of this song is not from radio play, since my parents were staunchly against popular music at the time. Instead (and ironically) it was through the Muppets that I was introduced to this tune (as well as other Pop, Rock, Jazz, or any other music that wasn't Christian or Classical). Have a look at my twisted childhood.

You can see how this would have a lasting impression on an impressionable youth. It wasn't until years later, when my parents' zeal waned a bit and I was old enough to make my own decisions that I finally heard the original recording. And now, my faithful readers, you too may have a listen.

Take A Chance On Me - ABBA

18 July 2008

Yet Another Reason Why I Do Not Support Barack Obama

I understand that Charles Krauthammer is a right-wing pundit. This post in no way supports him or his positions, in general, because I generally don't. But, in my opinion, he is spot on in his Op-Ed column today about Senator Obama.

I have yet to know for what Senator Obama stands and for what he will fight ... other than his own hubris and his own rise to the highest office in the land.

The Election Season In Under Five Minutes

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Why I'm Starting To Not Hate why.i.hate.dc

Remember this post from February about a certain website? No? Then read it really quickly.

Done? Okay, I'll wait.

Alrighty then.

It seems "Rusty" has left D.C. to move on to the greener pastures in Columbus, OH. (Stop that snickering!) Like "James F." before him, "Rusty" held a contest to pick the next Hater Of DC. That Hater has turned out to be "Liz". "Liz", it turns out, is an excellent hater. Don't believe me? Compare this final post by "Rusty" with this post by "Liz" on her third day in the Big Chair. Note the difference in language. Note the harsh, abrasive, manic tone of "Rusty" compared to the soft, subtle, almost tender tone of "Liz". (I say "almost tender" because she is, after all, a hater.)

I enjoyed "James F." and even "Rusty" from time to time. I can't say that either of them totally wowed me or won me over with their hate. But "Liz" ... she's a wiley one. She might just make me a fan of why.i.hate.dc yet. (Damn you!)

17 July 2008

Indigo Girls And Healing

I'm sitting here at Wolf Trap with Second Brain, Tuffie, Sam, and friends listening to the Indigo Girls concert. (And I say listening because where we're sitting, we can't see them.) They are pheonominal, as always. Yet I find myself a bit meloncoly. This show has been difficult at times. The Girls have been a musical part of my life for the past 14 years-ish. I cannot help but think about the things I've gained and the things I've lost and the things I've gained and the things I've regained. It's funny how "the circle of life" is not a cliché statement.

All in all, this has been a great night.

The Power Of Suggestion

Have you ever seen a bug crawling around all over someone else? Did you notice that they were completely unaware of what was transpiring? Then have you brushed, scratched, or jumped at every tiniest sensation?

Yeah, me neither.

16 July 2008

This TOWN Truly Has TALENT Part 3

Do you think you can compete against a couple dozen other talented contestants to win $1000? Then bring it!

From TOWN's webmail:
Friday, August 1st
Anyone can compete...you can do anything on stage (basically anything) and the audience decides who wins - GRAND PRIZE IS $1000
Contest starts at 10pm.
To sign up for the contest - email us at info@towndc.com

What are you waiting for? Email TOWN to sign up already!

Sony Wega Trinitron 32" Flat Glass-Screen TV - $300

I recently purchased a new television, which means the old television must go. If you're interested in buying the aforementioned old television, see my ad on Craigslist and contact me via email (found on my Blogger profile).

15 July 2008

For My Lame Friend

Read about the story behind this picture on Second Brain's site. (Yes, you are lame but don't worry, G. I go'cher back.)

Random Music: "Disco Friends" by Just Jack

I was introduced to the music of my latest subject by Peanut First Brain. Jack Allsopp, a.k.a. Just Jack, is a British performer who doesn't quite fit into a particular musical genre. At times he's very Hip-Hop. At other times, he's old school Groove. Take another listen, and he's straight Pop.

Today, we're focusing on a song from his sophomore album Overtones. A read through the lyrics should make the meaning fairly clear, but in case you're having some trouble understanding, you can get it straight from the horse's mouth at SongFacts.

I know a few people like this ... the ones who are pushing forty yet still dress and behave as if it's 1994, they are still twenty-three, and raves are thriving. Sad cases trying desperately to hold onto their youth in the most embarrassing ways possible.

The song, however, is no sad case. It starts a bit tragic, just like the subject. But it has a funky, low-key groove. And the synthesized vocal in the chorus is pretty sweet (although I have absolutely no idea what it's saying).

See if you can't help but sway in your seat as you check out this tune.

Disco Friends - Just Jack

11 July 2008

Dear Apple,

I love your products. Honestly. I boast of your goodness to anyone who will listen. You're almost a religion to me. Which is why it hurt me in my soul that you let me down today.

See, I have the original iPhone. (Which I love. Did I mention that I love your products?) Yesterday I upgraded iTunes to Version 7.7 in anticipation of the new iPhone software. Today you released iPhone 2.0 software. Color me tickled pink! (Okay ... don't. Pink isn't a good color on me.) Like a good lemming, I upgraded. (All good lemmings should upgrade.)

Oh, wait.

All good lemmings did upgrade! Which is why my iPhone was a brick for FOUR HOURS until it could connect to your iTunes Store!!!

Guys. Seriously. I understand that everyone wants your stuff. But maybe, perhaps, if you can find it in your collective heart ... next time you do something as massive as release new hardware and software ON THE SAME DAY ... maybe, perhaps, you can ensure that you have the capacity to handle the crush of cyber-people who will be trying to get the latest-and-greatest.

I don't like having my faith shaken.

Your Blind Follower,
The Diarist

09 July 2008

A Short Play: "An Apology Would Have Been Nice"

Scene: Nationals Park, Section 141, Row H, Seats 28 & 27.

Players: 40ish male, 30ish male, 60ish female, 8ish child

Two males are sitting their seats, mid-conversation. Female and child walk down aisle and stand in aisle just behind Seat 28.

Female to herself: "I bought these season tickets months ago." She leans on railing without directly addressing the two males.

Male in aisle seat turns to female. Female repeats, "I bought season tickets months ago. Seats 27 and 28."

Second male takes out his season ticket and shows it to the female. "What section?"

Female responds, "Section 142."

Second male clarifies, "This is Section 141. Section 142 is back there." Second male points behind him to other section.

Female, "No this is 142. I've been sitting here all year."

Second male replies, "No ma'am. 140 is in front of me. This is 141. 142 is back there."

Female walks to top of section, checks the aisle signage, calls the child to her, then walks to her seats.

End Scene.

08 July 2008

Random Music: "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by Mr. Groove Featuring Darryl Johnson

To continue along on the "This TOWN Has TALENT" string, this week's random music features one of the competitors in Friday night's competition, and a good friend of mine, Darryl Johnson. I've known Darryl for about a year now. He is one of the regular talents found at Cobalt's Sunday Night Karaoke. The man is a sweetheart and he can sing. (So, for those of you who thought that my comment about the bar being set high was unnecessary gloating, wait until you hear this man. Then you'll know what I was really talking about.)

Darryl was invited to provide the lead vocal track to Mr. Groove's cover of The Temptations' classic "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" on their album Little Things. Kids, he brought it! (See this review of the album.) Take a listen to the track, then check out the "making of" video.

Papa Was A Rolling Stone - Mr. Groove

05 July 2008

This TOWN Truly Has TALENT

Last night TOWN held its first of what will be a monthly talent contest, This TOWN Has TALENT. It is open to pretty much anyone to do pretty much anything that they believe will impress the judges and, more importantly, the audience.

Last night, sixteen hopefuls pitted their talents against each other. This is how it went down. We each had to sign a standard agreement with TOWN. We informed the TOWN people running the operation behind the scenes (the fabulous X Faction dance group) our name and what talent we would be showcasing. We were all randomly assigned numbers. Then we all waited upstairs in the Quiet Room for the competition to start.

One by one, our usher took us from the Quiet Room to the downstairs backstage area. When our hostess, Ms. Lena Lett, called your name, you were given four minutes to wow the judges and the audience with your talent. Once you were finished, you were allowed to stand in the audience and watch the rest of the show. The judges chose the finalists; the audience chose the winner.

I was Number 15 of 16 performers. I knew a few of the other people in the contest and knew the competition would be incredibly tough. (*coughDarrylJohnsoncough*) As the next-to-last, I only was able to see one person perform, so I really had no idea how well (or how poorly) the previous contestants did.

My name was called and walked up the steps from the backstage onto the stage. The room was packed! Wall to wall! I hadn't seen it that busy since Memorial Day weekend. I performed "Walking In Memphis" by Marc Cohn. If you're not familiar with it, here it is.

Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn
I have to admit, although it didn't show, I was nervous as hell! There were so many people and I couldn't hear myself on stage. All I had to gauge how I was doing was the reaction from the audience. Which was very positive. So I couldn't have been stinking the joint up that badly.

And having Ms. Blair Michaels doing her best Paula Abdul impersonation certainly helped easy my nerves. (Not the I-can't-finish-a-coherent-sentence Paula, but the I-am-so-loving-this-performance-I'm-going-to-stand-and-applaud-you Paula.) Thank you for that, Ms. Michaels!

The finalists were:
  1. a short, incredibly built Asian guy who did ballet in his underwear,
  2. a drag queen and companion who performed to a Beyoncé tune,
  3. a burlesque dancer, and
  4. me.
Then the judges were taken back stage, we were again assigned random numbers, we were given thirty seconds to perform a piece of what we had done earlier, and the audience chose the winner by applause.

And the winner was Yours Truly.

And, honestly, the winning was icing on the cake. I was happy to have just sang in front of that crowd. It is such a high being able to do what I love to do, what I was born to do, even for only four minutes.

And for that, TOWN, thank you from the bottom of my heart. This talent competition is a fantastic idea and one that I hope that TOWN can continue. But they can only continue it if you people keep competing.

So keep bringing the talent! The bar is set high (from what I've heard). And, now, I'll be watching.

*cue thunderbolts and lightning*

02 July 2008

Random Music: "Moonlight In Vermont" by The Consort (Solo By Robert S. Bise)

I apologize for my tardiness in posting this week's Random Music. I had legitimate reasons.

This week's offering is very special to me. It is a classic piece of World War II era big band jazz music written by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf. The universe contains a good many excellent recordings of this song, but the version I am posting today was performed by The Charles County Consort.

(Well, technically, it was performed by Yours Truly with Lyn Schramm on the piano and Bill Thomas on the drums.)

There really isn't much to say about this tune other than it is a beautiful piece of music. I hope that it piques your curiosity to discover more (and better performed) WWII era big band jazz music.

Moonlight In Vermont (Solo By Robert S. Bise) - The Charles County Consort