27 February 2009


My favorite people who are no longer with me are Mel Batten and my grandmother, Millie Osborn.

I'll start with Grandmother. She is still the most precious person to me that I've known. I was her first grandchild born with blue eyes and so was special to her. Special to the point that I was the only grandchild with a pet name ... "My Precious Blue Eyes". It was so iconic that my oldest brother decided to roast me during her wake. But now, even all these 13 years later, it brings tears to my eyes. I miss her so terribly. I wish she were still here to give me love, advice, comfort, and support. I know that for as long as I can remember her, she is still here. But it would be so nice to hear her voice, to hear her say that she's proud of the person I've become, to hear her say how much she loves her Precious Blue Eyes. I would give anything for that right now.

Mr. Batten. My second father figure. The man who gave me my confidence back. I miss him so much. I think about Mr. Batten almost on a daily basis. I have so many memories (a certain toilet papering comes to mind) but the one memory that sticks in the forefront of my mind is a bus ride home from Calvert County after a long Tri-County Honors Chorus rehearsal. I was sitting alone in a bus seat and Mr. Batten moved to sit beside me. We talked a while about the rehearsal. I gave him a hard time about giving me a hard time during rehearsal. And then he said something that has stuck with me even after all these years. "You are the son I would have had." I knew how special it was then. And I know how much more special it is to me now.

The hardest part of life is that it ends. And those of us left behind are left to deal with the aftermath.

24 February 2009

Random Music Tuesdays: "Mama Look-A Boo Boo (Mama Look-A Bubu)" by Harry Belafonte and Danny Kaye

It's been a while since I've brought you random music so I think it's about time I bring it back. To start us off anew, I figured I would present a video (a first for Random Music Tuesdays!). This is Harry and Danny performing one of Harry's biggest hits on The Danny Kaye Show on 27 April 1966.

There is some confusion among people about this song; people can't seem to understand it. I think this confusion is rooted in the Americanized title of the song. The most popular spelling for the title is "Mama Look-A Boo Boo", which makes this a completely nonsensical song. However, the alternate spelling, which I included in this post title, is "Mama Look-A Bubu", which makes much more sense since bubu is Jamaican slang for fool. Keep that in mind as you listen to the lyrics.


20 February 2009

Hello? Is Anybody Home?

*cough cough* Hey! Diarist! Diarist? Hello?! *cough cough*

Oh! Um ... hi! Hello there! You startled me.

Yeah. Well, your door was open. What's with all the *cough cough* cobwebs? Did your cleaner take a vacation or something? Is this some emo trip you're on that we should know about?

Sorry about that. I've been busy with other things. You know, like making ends meet and keeping a roof over my head. But I'll clean up around here soon. I promise.

Mmm hmm. Just like you promised that ...

He-e-e-e-e-ey. Have you seen the whole house? I know you in the back have. But you, the eager one. Have you? No? Then ixnay on the omisespray and have a look around. And when you're done (and I haven't tidied up any) there are some fantastic links on the right to some fantastic reading that could occupy your time until I get my sh!t together here.

Go on now. Enjoy!

But don't break anything.

09 February 2009

That's My Coucilmember!

Marion Barry has once again failed to file tax returns. But this time the Feds want him incarcerated. It seems as though The Night Owl won't be able to snake his way out of this one.

I can't really blame Barry for his actions. He's used to living a life free of consequences (minus one minor hickup). Besides, it's not like the Federal government isn't full of role models for him to emulate.

No, the only failing I can find in all of this is that the Ward 8 Councilmember isn't part of the Obama administration.

06 February 2009

"Yeah. I don't want to cure anybody here. They all deserve to have whatever they have."

That quote is taken from Pete's Dragon, a 1977 Walt Disney movie. In the movie is Doc Terminus, a "salesman" who isn't all that he appears, as he peddles his powerless "cures" onto the town's pliable population. It's a timely quote because it sums up what your government thinks of you.

While the President puts on his best Doc Terminus impression and members on Congress struggle hard to find a middle ground, I think it would help us, the ones who will be paying for all of this, to reflect on what came of the first bailout:
The Bush administration overpaid tens of billions of dollars for stocks and other assets in its massive bailout last year of Wall Street banks and financial institutions, a new study by a government watchdog says.

The Congressional Oversight Panel, in a report released Friday, said last year's overpayments amounted to a taxpayer-financed $78 billion subsidy of the firms.

But this is the Obama administration and the Democrats have the majority in Congress. Hope! Change!

Mmm hmm. Would you like some snake oil with that hope and change?

But I do have to agree with the good Doc ... neither Congress nor this President wants to cure us; they only want to expand on their wealth and power. If we allow them to push through this "economic stimulus recovery", then we deserve to have whatever we have.

05 February 2009

Pictures From Recording

I promised pictures and here they are. They aren't much but they should give you an idea of what Mario brought together for his new album.

04 February 2009

Obama Economic Plan - Quote Of The Day

Maybe you've heard that President Obama's economic recovery plan now tops more than $900 billion. To help you grasp how much that is, here is a quote from Temple University math professor and author John Allen Paulos:
A million dollars a day for 2,000 years is only three-quarters of a trillion dollars. It's a big number no matter how you slice it. A million seconds is about 11½ days. A billion seconds is about 32 years, and a trillion seconds is 32,000 years. People tend to lump them together, perhaps because they rhyme, but if you think of it in terms of a jail sentence, do you want to go to jail for 11½ days or 32 years or maybe 32,000 years? So, they're vastly different, and people generally don't really have a real visceral grasp of the differences among them.

Let's look at that again ... a trillion seconds equals 32,000 years. That is the jail sentence that the President wants to impose on us, the American people.

Let that sink in for a moment. Then get mad that your government wants to make us foot this monsterous bill for something that more than likely isn't necessary and won't work.

Random Thoughts (NYC Edition)

I've had a few clouds passing through my brain this week and I thought I'd share. Lucky you.

  1. Big cities are big cities. Although they each have their own flavor, they're pretty much all the same. I feel just as comfortable and "at home" here as I do in The District.
  2. New Yorkers aren't as dickish as their caracatures would lead one to believe. But then maybe I haven't met any real New Yorkers yet.
  3. The only advantage that New York City has over Washington, D.C., that I can tell, is sheer volume. Them's hardly be braggin' rights.
  4. Speaking of volume, it seems that, no matter the neighborhood in NYC, there is a Starbucks on every friggin' corner. This is both a fantastic thing and a blight on the face of the earth.
  5. Macs rule. I hate that I had to take my Vista instead.
  6. As fun as this trip has been, it will never trump last year's trip with The Brain.
  7. That last thought makes me sad.
  8. Oh ... did I mention how fantastic Mario Spinetti is? I did? Well, he is.
  9. Buses should never be cancelled over 1.5" of snow. This would never happen in The District. *cough cough*
  10. The more work I do with music, the more I hunger to be doing music for a living. It makes me wish I had been born 15 years later than I was. Yeah, yeah ... it's never to late to blah, blah, blah. Reality is that in certain areas of life it is too late. The music business is a young person's game -- start young, make it young. Technology has truly brought power down from the few to the many and if it had been around when I was younger I would have a musical career today.

02 February 2009

My Semi-Secret Mission In NYC

Several of my readers know that I'm in NYC the first half of this week. Only two or three of you know why.

And now so will the rest of you.

I was invited by one of my favorite new recording artists to lend my voice to three songs on his upcoming debut full-length album. (If you don't know about Mario Spinetti, check my posts here and here, then go to iTunes or Amazon and buy his currently-out EP.) Originally, Mario sent out an invitation to his fans to participate in one of the new songs on his upcoming album. I responded (as you knew I would) and got the nod. The fantastic twist in all of this was that not only would I be adding my voice to the 50+ chorus on the new song, I would also be singing with his close vocalist friends on two other songs as well. This was quite a surprise to me, as Mario has only briefly met me twice and we've only chatted online about six times.

Mario is simply one of the sweetest, most gracious people I've ever met. He treats all those around him equally (both in comparison to each other and to himself). He truly appreciates the talent and energy of the people around him ... in fact, it fuels him and drives him forward. It was an education watching him interact and direct and pull out of the singers present what he needed from them. To get that from a room full of performers without becoming overbearing or diva-like is an accomplishment.

Singing with these two choirs filled me with emotions I haven't felt in a long time. I felt part of something greater than myself (relationship aside *MUAH*) that I haven't felt since The Consort. In a way, I felt undeserving ... the odd man out in this gathering of friends. Yet here I was, joining them in voice on some mighty powerful pieces of composition. I can't express enough the gratitude I have for being allowed to have been a part of it all.

And these performers! Yes, they are all New Yorkers which would lead one to think that the carry some level of pretension, and maybe they do. But if they do, it wasn't on display last night. It was refreshing to have been pulled in and treated as if they had known me their whole lives. The support given, the energy shared, the joy that permeated the room was ... what's the word? Real. Honest. Free. I truly wish them all the best in their various endeavors.

I have some pictures from the 50+ chorus along with a short video of Mario giving instruction for the recording of that one song. I'll be posting them when I get back to D.C. later in the week.