29 August 2008

Pirate Joke Of The Week

Two pirates were adrift in a lifeboat following a dramatic escape from a valiant battle. While rummaging through the boat's provisions, the pirates stumbled across an old lamp. Secretly hoping that a Genie would appear, the first pirate rubbed the lamp vigorously. To the amazement of the castaways, a Genie came forth. This particular Genie, however, stated that he could only deliver one wish, not the standard three. Without giving any thought to the matter the first pirate blurted out,

"Make the entire ocean into rum!"

The Genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash, and immediately the entire sea turned into the finest rum ever sampled by mortals. Simultaneously, the Genie vanished. Only the gentle lapping of rum on the hull broke the stillness as the two considered their circumstances. The second pirate looked disgustedly at the first pirate and after a tension-filled moment spoke:

"Ye've done it this time, mate-e! Now we're goon to have to pee in the boat!"

28 August 2008

He Said What?!

It's bad enough when someone else puts words in your mouth, but it's another thing completely when you do it to yourself.


You know, I am a believer in … in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. Uh, and I think that … if I were seriously to consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now there may be some people who are comfortable doing that, but I am not one of those people. — Barack Obama, 2004

Oh snap!

27 August 2008

Learning

I'm trying to learn. The basic idea really isn't that hard to grasp, but the actual lesson ...

... I'm not sure that I can learn it.

This class is so difficult.

Why couldn't I get into woodcraft?

26 August 2008

Random Music: "Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" by Digable Planets

In a nod to a musical post by my brother, this song reflects a period in hip-hop when artists were looking to their funkier, jazzier, groovier heritage. This period happened during the middle 1990s when acts like Us3, Lucas Secon, and P.M. Dawn were all trying to make their mark. Unfortunately, gansta rap held on to hip-hop with a violent stranglehold and the world is a far worse place for it.

But enough editorializing.

Not so much drawing directly from old school jazz as being heavily influenced by it, Digable Planets weaved smokey rhythms with hypnotic rhymes to make a very unique product. The song I've chosen was one of the more popular songs of 1993 and spawned one of the most endearing catch-phrases ever put to voice.

Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat) - Digable Planets

23 August 2008

Change We Can Belie*

So, it's official. Barack Obama has selected his running mate. And whom did The Agent Of Change choose? Not Jim Webb. Not Kathleen Sebelius. Not Chet Edwards. No. The Man Who Would Save Us From Washington Politics chose ...

Joseph Biden.

Did you Democrats wake up this morning with a hangover, like someone slipped you a mickie last night?

For someone who has campaigned on the promise of changing the partisan and business-as-usual politics of Washington to choose the sixth-longest serving member in the current Senate (and who has voted primarily down party lines) is a bit shocking, wouldn't you agree?

If you wanted to keep the Republicans in the White House, this is most certainly the way to do it.

Unless of course ...

... no ... I can't say it ... it ...

... it's simply too scandalous!

Okay, I will.

I think, Democratic Party, that your only salvation is to nominate Hillary Clinton at your little party later this month. She was your best hope during the primaries and you blew it because you were so enamored by the young, handsome, charismatic, silver-tongued Senator from Illinois. I'm betting that you're starting to see who he really is now. And I'm hoping that you're feeling a little regret at your decision. Because Senator Obama is not the savior of the Democratic Party. He is not the one who will usher in a new era in Washington. He is not the one who will win you back the White House.

I'm not saying that Senator Clinton is, either. But I'll tell you what I do know. I know who she is as a politician. I know where she stands on issues. I know she is not her husband. And I have far more faith in her ability to defeat all other challengers in the general election.

But she didn't deliver in the primaries, now did she?

You Democrats were far more interested in showing "party unity" (whatever the hell that is) in order to show America that we all can get along and that you were the people who could make that happen. Senator Clinton was simply keeping in step, like the good Democrat she is. That was her major miscalculation. If she had come out swinging, as she should have, she would be your presumptive nominee and she'd probably have a hefty lead in the polls ahead of Senator McCain.

So, talk amongst yourselves. Figure this out and quick. Because you're right -- this is a very important election. It would be a shame if you couldn't win the one election that started out as a bow-wrapped gift.

*Click title for more

22 August 2008

Pirate Joke Of The Week

Long ago, when sailing ships ruled the waves, a Captain and his crew were in danger of being boarded by a pirate ship. As the crew became frantic, the Captain bellowed to his First Mate,

"Bring me my red shirt!"

The First Mate quickly retrieved the Captain's red shirt, which the Captain put on and lead the crew to battle the pirate boarding party. Although some casualties occurred among the crew, the pirates were repelled.

Later that day, the lookout screamed that there were two pirate vessels sending boarding parties. The crew cowered in fear, but the Captain, calm as ever, bellowed,

"Bring me my red shirt!"

The battle was on, and once again the Captain and his crew repelled both boarding parties, although this time more casualties occurred.

Weary from the battles, the men sat around on deck that night recounting the day's occurrences when an Ensign looked to the Captain and asked,

"Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before the battle?"

The Captain, giving the Ensign a look that only a Captain can give, exhorted,

"If I am wounded in battle, the red shirt does not show the wound and thus, you men will continue to fight unafraid"

The men sat in silence marveling at the courage of such a man.

As dawn came the next morning, the Lookout screamed that there were pirate ships, ten of them, all with boarding parties on their way. The men became silent and looked to their Captain for his usual command. The Captain, calm as ever, bellowed,

"Bring me my brown pants!"

Happy Birthday ...

... Ben's Chili Bowl!!!

Read yesterday's article in The Washington Post for a brief history, a few notable fans, and what direction the Washington, D.C. establishment will be heading.

Then go get yourself a Bill Cosby’s Original Chili Half-Smoke.

Heart attacks never tasted so good!

21 August 2008

A Little Self-Promotion

Get thee a Metro Weekly (or get thee someone to get thee one) and turn to Page 42.

Who's a celebrity?

That's right, biotch.

20 August 2008

Today's Top Story

Ding Dong The Bigfoot's Dead!



What's that? WHAT?!

The deuce you say!

Not Bigfoot?

Well, yes, I suppose it could either be that or this or ...

... wait for it ...

... THIS!

19 August 2008

Random Music: "Happiness Runs" by Donovan

Originally titled "Pebble And The Man" and recorded on his album "Donovan In Concert", Donovan reworked the song a bit, retitled it "Happiness Runs", and made it part of 1969's "Barabajagal". Although I can't find it confirmed anywhere online, I understand that this song was a product of his visit with The Beatles to the Maharashi in 1968.

It's a song that speaks to me, sometimes pulling me out of my blues and sometimes fueling the fire.

First see this post and then I'll continue my thought on this.

I strive every day to be happy. I try to balance this desire against my respect for other people. Let me tell you that they tend to be opposing schools of thought and action. If I wished to be truly happy, I would do as I please and damn the consequences. But I believe in the truth that every action has a reaction. And so I restrain myself quite often.

This means that I don't always say the words I wish to say, I don't always take actions I wish to take, I don't always follow the paths of my heart that I wish to follow.

And so I'm not always happy.

But things do come around; life is a circle. Where I was happy once, I will be happy again. It's only a matter of time.


Happiness Runs - Donovan

A Question To Ponder

How would things be different?

16 August 2008

Pirate Joke Of The Week

A pirate walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Hey, I haven't seen you in a while. What happened? You look terrible!"

"What do you mean?" the pirate replies. "I'm fine."

The bartender says, "But what about that wooden leg? You didn't have that before."

"Well," says the pirate, "We were in a battle at sea and a cannon ball hit my leg but the surgeon fixed me up, and I'm fine, really."

"Yeah," says the bartender, "But what about that hook? Last time I saw you, you had both hands."

"Well," says the pirate, "We were in another battle and we boarded the enemy ship. I was in a sword fight and my hand was cut off but the surgeon fixed me up with this hook, and I feel great, really."

"Oh," says the bartender, "What about that eye patch? Last time you were in here you had both eyes."

"Well," says the pirate, "One day when we were at sea, some birds were flying over the ship. I looked up, and one of them shat in my eye."

"So," replied the bartender, "what happened? You couldn't have lost an eye just from some bird shit!"

"Well," says the pirate, "I really wasn't used to the hook yet."

15 August 2008

XXIX Olympiad

Am I the only one who loves that the Bulgarian Volleyball team has a player named Gaydarski?

Happiness Runs

According to a certain singer/songwriter who was quite successful in the 1960's, happiness is a track and field star who apparently loves canons. And on most days, I'm apt to agree with him. But on other days, like the days I've been having recently, happiness seems more like the depiction of a certain legendary leader when facing a certain Leporidae in a certain movie by a certain comedy troupe.

Happiness runs, alright.

I know that this is what is at the core of my most recent funk.

How has happiness become such a focal point for me of late? What has caused such a drastic shift of perspective of my personal happiness?

It all started a little over a month ago and has slowly boiled, with unknowing stirs of the pot by friends and acquaintances. (That post pretty much sums up everything I've been told over the past month by people.)

What stings about it all is that they're right. I am most happy ... truly not-a-care-in-the-world happy ... only when on a stage with a microphone in my hand. I feel the change; it's transforming; I'm a different person for those brief moments. My first real taste was when my best friend in high school, Steven Benton, and I performed our first original song, Higher Ground at our high school baccalaureate in front of our graduating class, friends, and families. It gets renewed every time someone asks me if I'm a professional singer.

I'm not. And therein lies the issue.

Well, do something about it, moron.

Okay. What?

Start with a demo CD.

With what money? Do you know how long a demo CD is? About five songs long. Each song recording, at the bare-bones minimum, will run about two hours apiece. Do you know much that will cost? Twelve years ago, it was about $300 an hour. Adjust for inflation and do the math.

It's only been a problem lately because of what happened in July. And because I have no boyfriend or spouse to fret over. And because I haven't felt a fulfillment of any sort in a few years, until that fateful night in July.

That night on that stage in front of those people, I felt something. It was intoxicating. It was right.

Um ... yeah. Did you miss the point about you being a moron?

I know. And I'm a self-defeatist. I think it runs in my family. Good things just don't happen to me; instead, life likes to empty its bowels on my head.

Except, for one night, a good thing did happen. And it gave me a spark of hope that more similar good things can also happen. And it also gave me a deep, unshakeable sadness that maybe ... perhaps ... I have wasted the last nineteen years of my life in the daily grind of simply getting by.

13 August 2008

Good For You But Not For Me No Longer

I like to believe that I am a good friend. I'm good to people I love. I'm even good to people I don't like that much. It's how I was raised ... do unto others as you would have done unto you. Building positive karma.

Except that all of this positive energy has been outward facing, I've been neglecting myself, and I am officially depleted.

I can't do for any of you for a while. I need some me time. That's going to include quiet nights at home. It's going to include getting laid more than once a year. It's going to include telling people to leave me alone and fix your own mess. It's going to include giving no explanations for my protracted silences or solitary activities.

In short, I'm going to be a selfish ass for a bit.

I hope you're all cool with that.

12 August 2008

Random Music: "Black Beatles" by Loo & Placido

This song is just straight up party, brought to you by the DJ team of Loo & Placido. They are one of the first to legally sample from The Beatles' discography. Loo & Placido are masters of the mashup.

This one mashup samples The Beatles' "Girl" and "Run For Your Life", The Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get Retarded", Ludacris & Pharell's "Fatty Girl", Kelis' "Caught Out There", and The Clipse's "Grindin' (Remix)". It doesn't sound like a combination like this should work. But it does!

Black Beatles - The Beatles Vs Black Eyed Peas Vs Ludacris & Pharell Vs Kelis Vs The Clipse

09 August 2008

Happy Birthday

My day of birth is wrapping up and it has been one of the best I have had. Two of the people closest to my heart co-conspired to throw me an intimate party. Those whom I love dearly were present. We drank. We ate. We drank. We played games on the Wii. And we drank some more. (Patron is mother's milk, I don't care what you say.)

To you guys: I can't express enough in word or action how much you mean to me. I don't know what I did in my previous lives to deserve your presence but I am so very grateful that you are all here.

To those who were there in spirit: See above.

And to those who sent me messages (including a certain recording artist), thank you so very much. Getting older isn't easy but you certainly help the transition be less painful.

I hope that each and every one of you continue to be an active presence in my life for the rest of my life. I can honestly say that I am more enriched because of you.

P.S. - To Cameron and Mitchell ... I love you both. That's really all I think I need to say. You understand the rest.

08 August 2008

D.C. Loves Ugly; Church ... Not So Much

The District's Historic Preservation Review Board decided back in December to make one of the many churches in our fair city an history landmark. The congregation that worships in that building (The Third Church of Christ, Scientist) didn't much like this decision and, in turn, is suing the city to have the status removed because, they say, "it is difficult and expensive to maintain a 400-seat sanctuary that usually draws 40 to 60 people on Sunday".

I'm all for preserving those structures that most and best reflect the beauty of our city. And I do understand that sometimes it is necessary to take such measures to save structures that aren't ... how to say ... aesthetically pleasing to everyone.

But this is a church. A house of worship. A living, breathing building. So in this disagreement, I side with the church. This building is not only hideous but it is unwelcoming and, as anyone who has seen the J. Edgar Hoover Building would agree, it is extremely difficult and expensive to maintain. It does place undue monetary restrictions on how the church can serve the city because the church has to sink so much into the maintenance of the building.

What? You haven't seen the building? Well then, here it is:

Pirate Joke Of The Week

A pirate walks into a bar, swaggers up to the barkeep, and demands ...

"A pint o' rum or yer life, ye landlubbing dog!"

The bartender, being a reasonable man who happens to like his life (thank you very much), grabs a large glass, a bottle of fine dark rum, and begins to pour. And while he's waiting for the glass to fill he sizes up the pirate, having never seen a real honest-to-God pirate before.

This pirate is in full pirate gear -- gold earrings, patch over the eye, a big filthy white blouse covering his swarthy chest, tattoos everywhere ... the whole seven seas. But protruding from his breeches is the unmistakable form of a steering wheel.

The bartender sees that the glass of rum is just about topped off, so he passes the glass across the bar to the pirate, who nods curtly and takes a huge swig of the rum. Pleased to have his belly warmed by the libation, the pirate slapped a doubloon on the bar-top and turned to walk away. But the bartender, whose curiosity was piqued, called out to him ...

"Wait! One second please. I see there is a wheel in your breeches. Isn't that uncomfortable?"

And the pirate turns back, fixes him with a beady glare from his lone eye, and replies ...

"Arrr, it's drivin' me nuts!"

05 August 2008

If I Were God ...

... I so totally would!


Random Music: "Ubi Caritas" by The Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Indianapolis and "Ave Maria" by The Trinity Choir, Boston

I sang in a formal choir of one flavor or another pretty much non-stop from my sophomore year of high school in 1987 until I left The Consort (formerly The Charles County Community Consort) in 2005. In those eighteen years, I have performed a countless number of choral pieces. I do have my favorites. The two that I'm showcasing today are my most favorite. They are both sacred choral arrangements and both are performed a cappella. Call me a choral snob, but that's just the way I prefer my choral music.

The first is a four-part composition for SATB choir titled Ubi Caritas by Maurice Duruflé. This is the first song for which I look when I am feeling troubled to my soul. The words are as follows:
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus et ameamus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Amen.
And the translation is as follows:
Where there is charity and love, God is there.
Love brings us together in one Christ.
We therefore rejoice in it.
Let us fear and love the living God.
And from the heart let us devote ourselves with sincerity.
Where there is charity and love, God is there. Amen.

Ubi Caritas - The Christ Church Cathedral Choir


The second is a seven-part composition for SAATTBB choir, bass voice solo and tenor voice solo, titled Ave Maria by Franz Biebl. The song begins with the bass solo, followed by the choir which sings as two separate choirs - the male voices begin the chorus and the female voices reply. Two tenor solos act as the verses of the song. The song hits its crescendo in the final "chorus", with the first tenors and the first sopranos vocally reaching toward the heavens, carrying the prayer to the Blessed Virgin.

The words to this piece are among the most sacred in the Catholic faith. In The Consort, we always referred to singing this piece as "reading from the holy Biebl". Yes, it is that powerfully written that I just performed blasphemy. Yes, it should bring a tear to your eye. And, yes, this is my favorite of favorites of all the choral music I have ever performed. The words are as follows:
Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae
Et concepit de Spiritu sancto.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

Maria dixit: Ecce ancilla Domini.
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

Et Verbum caro factum est
Et habitavit in nobis.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.
Amen.
And the translation is as follows:
The angel of God visited Maria
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Maria said: See the servant of the Lord.
May it happen to me according to your word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

And the Word became flesh
And lived among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
Holy Mary, pray for us now and in the hour of our death.
Amen.

Ave Maria - The Trinity Choir, Boston

04 August 2008

On Intimacy

According to Dictionary.com:
in·ti·ma·cy [in-tuh-muh-see]
noun, plural -cies.
  1. the state of being intimate.
  2. a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
  3. a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.: an intimacy with Japan.
  4. an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like: to allow the intimacy of using first names.
  5. an amorously familiar act; liberty.
  6. sexual intercourse.
  7. the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar: the intimacy of the room.
  8. privacy, esp. as suitable to the telling of a secret: in the intimacy of his studio.
I am a fiercely private person. Getting close to people or allowing people to get close is difficult for me. There are a few people, due to the length of time we've known each other and the histories of our relationships, who have a level of knowledge and understanding that could be considered intimate. But to say that we are intimate friends would not be entirely correct.

As with the last post, the idea of intimacy has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. I think that it's due in part to recently working with my ex on repairing some of the things that we broke. I think that it's also due in part to finding two people with whom I share a brain. (There will be no explanation for that.) These two things have lead me to muse on how much of myself I am currently willing to show, how much of people I care to know, and to what ends this all will lead.

One person in particular gets and understands me more than any other person ever has. We connect on a level that transcends description. Whole conversations are had with one single look. We know when something is wrong with the other, even if there is no physical evidence of it. We seem to be the most comfortable and most at ease when we're around each other. It's the type of relationship that would drive a boyfriend into a jealous rage. Yet even with this one particular person I hold back and guard those parts of me that I deem most fragile.

One voice in my head (you know who you are) would tell me that I should drop the walls, learn to trust, and allow at least one person to know me completely. My history, however, has taught me differently - that everybody will betray the trust that is granted them.

Speaking generally, of course.

But that voice would be right. I should let go of my issues. I should send away the ghosts that haunt me. Yet history is a very large specter and will not be exorcised so easily.

02 August 2008

On Aging

Riddle me this, my faithful readers ... what is the lifespan of a human being? For my mom's parents, it was less than 70 years. For my dad's parents, it was past 80 years (I think). If you believe that life begins at inception, then I have three siblings who never even made it out of the womb.

My oldest brother is standing on the threshold of "Life After Forty". My baby sister will be entering her mid-twenties. I, myself, will be crossing into my late thirties this year.

My grandpa was dead before I knew him. My grandma died of Alzheimer's. My grandfather was ravaged by cancer. My grandmother suffered a fatal heart attack. My parents both are diabetics with high blood pressure; my dad has already survived one heart attack.

All of these things have been swirling in my mind as of late. To use that tired cliché, I'm not getting any younger. I have no spouse. I have no children. My parents, like my grandparents before them, have these built-in support systems on which to rely as they take that slow unyielding march into their twilight years. What will I have when I hit retirement and then life after?

I grant you that all of this mental handwringing I've been doing is quite pointless. I may not make it through today, much less the next 50 years. So why expend the energy on such thoughts?

Because there is always a chance that I will live into triple digits. Because there is always a chance that I will succumb to a debilitating disease. Because there is always a chance that I will need to be taken care of as I grow older.

And you all well know that I can't help but to plan for all outcomes.

But there is no plan for this. There are no children. There may not be a spouse. Yes, there are friends, but let’s be honest ... y'all ain't gettin' no younger neither.

As I have stated before, I hadn't thought much about getting older. These thoughts have been an unwelcome and unpleasant intrusion into my quiet, calm mentality; and I'm having a little difficulty processing them.

There really is no point to this post other than to put to "paper" the fears that keep me awake at night. Perhaps this will allow me the ability to work through this moment.