Jun 20, 2007

Get right

Now, back to this trip I mentioned.

One of my favorite southern expressions is "Getting right with God."
It generally means getting your ducks in a row, getting your act together in a very profound and overarching kind of lifestyle way. See also, "Come to Jesus". We're not talking "Hey, that shirt doesn't go with those pants." It's more like, "Quit dicking around because you'll probably die from this."

I like this saying because, like many southern expressions that sound overtly religious, "Getting right with God" really isn't about God. Or depending on the breadth of scope with which you view religion as a concept, it really, really is. But it's from the south, which makes it more exotic. In the end, it has everything to do with dropping the narcissism and kicking yourself in the ass.
After spending some quality time on one of the most amazing patches of real estate this country has to offer, I submit that more of us need to Get Right with The Land. It's not about Al Gore or global warming or Green Party politics. Or, depending on the breadth of scope with which you view your environment as a concept, it really, really is. In the end, it has everything to do with kicking yourself in the ass. The Land is the great unknowable, it is the ultimate justice, the one place to be unique and anonymous, huge and insignifigant at the same time. It's beautiful and hostile and it would just as soon pose for a picture as crush the last breath out of you. The Land shelters lizards and kills baby deer. You don't have to hold a degree in theology to get where I'm going with this.

The Jemez indians of Northern New Mexico got it:
"In our culture, there is no word for 'religion', it is simply the way you live with the land"
(paraphrased from the interpretive center)
We don't quite get it yet, but sometimes we come close. We have to Get Right with The Land, we have to quit dicking around and recognize, get real, come to Jesus, make it count, win one for the Gipper because, well, this sh*t is serious.

To illustrate my point, I invite you to get right with this (from Flickr):

Now call your mother, stop antagonizing your co-worker and quit feeling guilty about things that have nothing to do with you. You're going to die soon.

Overheard conversation #46

In the Denver airport, waiting to fly back to Seattle:

Dude: You live in Seattle?
Guy: Yep.
Dude: I couldn't live there. I mean it's nice, but...
Guy: You don't like the rain?
Dude: It rains all the time there!
Guy: The summer's really nice, though.
Dude: It's raining there right now.
Guy: Is it?
Dude: I don't know. Probably.
Guy: I don't think it is, actually.


Guy: It's nice, too, because you take out your cell phone or PDA and you can read what's on the screen.
Dude: You mean 'cause...?
Guy: Yeah, 'cause there's less glare. You don't have to, you know, worry about covering the screen with your hand or whatever.
Dude: Yeah, that's pretty good, I guess.

Seattle, Washington: Less glare!

And if you're wondering why we were in the Denver airport, it's because Ida and I took a trip here for our anniversary. Hot rocks!

Jun 10, 2007

Get your mind out of the space gutter!

I don't blog on a daily basis, so I don't usually blog about daily news items, but this article was just too good to pass up.

Alternate headline: "Shuttle, space station dock successfully dispite thermal blanket tear. Station to undergo routine pregnancy test"

Come on! Am I right? NASA is getting DIRTY!

Jun 7, 2007

Truth Hits Everybody (Live)

I've seen a lot of reunion tours, it's true. I also own a lot of Greatest Hits compilations, which, according to my band mate E., are for "old women and high-school girls". This may also be true, but let's be honest, classic rock owes its continued appeal to these compilations. Anyone want to delve into Foghat's second album? How about some live Eddie Money?
Er... no, thanks. Hits only, please. And maybe some long-time faves of the band. Or maybe just one.

Last night I saw The Police play their first show on an American stage in over 20 years. [I just like the way that sounds.] And in the end, it was the best thing about the show. Which is not to say that boys disappointed, but The Police have never been anything other than pretty much mainstream pop-punk-ska-reggae-Sting, and they've never apologized for it. They missed the punk movement altogether, largely because they were too good, too handsome and too well heeled. Last night's show proved that (at least in the case of the first two) they still have nothing to apologize for.

I went with my pal K., a longtime arena-show companion from way back - Boston, REM, Yes, CrosbyStillsNashandsometimesYoung - we've seen a lot together. Though I hadn't been to an arena show since I last went to the dentist. And I reeeeeeally need to see the dentist.
The Police, as K. said, are one of The Three Bands. The ones that you pay $xxx/ticket and climb over your own grandmother to see, if only on the principle that it is your rock and roll duty to see them live.
I think my Three and K.'s Three are different (besides The Police, his includes Talking Heads and mine includes DLR Van Halen), but the idea's the same. Confidential to K.: I swear to G-O-doublehockeysticks I will pay you back for the ticket.

The Show:

Concert-going wardrobe rules (as remembered from high school):
No jacket, dress in layers.
No collared shirts. You're not at work, you're here to rock.
No t-shirts from other bands/tours. No one cares who else you've seen.
Shoes you can stand in for a long time
Use your pockets for essentials (drugs and booze included) but keep it simple. Bulging pockets are SO uncool.
You don't really need to buy the t-shirt.

Number of times I made this joke: "I can't believe The Cops are playing Key Arena!" - 1.
No one there was young enough to get it anyway, and K. didn't think it was that funny.

Sting and I had the same haircut: Advantage, Sting.
I have more hair: Advantage, me.

Stewart and Sting never came to blows onstage, which was a drag but probably good for Stewart, who looked like a winded skeleton throughout the entire show. With all the Tantric crap Sting does, he could most likely snap Stewart in half. With his mind.

Songs not played (of course) we wish were:
"Be My Girl (Sally)"
"On Any Other Day
"Does Everyone Stare"
"Miss Gredenko"

Song we wish they hadn't played: "Don't Stand So Close to Me". Trying to split the difference (almost exactly) between the original and crappy '86 versions, they failed failed failed. Yuck.

Unexpected highlight: "Invisible Sun", complete with video images of war, starvation and poverty. Subtle. Simple. Impactful. Best Buy.

Gold Star for doing all his musical homework and nailing the extra credit bonus solos: Andy Summers

While most of the evening's numbers came from ZenyattaGhostSynchronicity timeframe, "Next to You", the first song from their first album, closed out the set. Get it? It's like a circle!

Number of beach balls in the crowd - 1
Number of camera and camera phone displays visible from our seats - 1,000,000
Number of terrible photos I took with my phone before putting it away and watching the damn concert - 4

Sting kept saying, "This is Seattle, right?" and we all kept saying yes, so I don't know why he kept asking.

Stewart Copeland seriously looked like Skeletor. With glasses. And a headband. And golfing gloves. Conclusion: Stewart Copeland is a TOTAL DORKWAD.

So they played The Rock Hits, we all had some fun and they made, and will continue to make, a veritable sh*t ton of money playing this tour. Strangely, I feel no ill will towards them for this. Not like I do towards, say, The Eagles. The Police never have to apologize for being old, well heeled and precocious hit-makers any more than I have to apologize for buying Message in a Box: The Complete Police Recordings. That's what people like about them and, I hope, about me.