Sunday, June 22, 2008

Do Ya Wanna Dance?

Do You Want To Dance turns fifty this year. Here are five amazing versions of the classic song...

I love Del Shannon's raspy growl:

Cliff Richard and the Shadows made the song sugary sweet - Bobby Darrin and Richard must have compared notes. And I love the moves of the band members. Look at the way those shoes shine!

The Ramones just rock it:

The Beach Boys take it on a surfer groove (note Dennis Wilson's use of the floor tom):

And finally, check out Bobby Freeman's soulful original, which still has power a half a century later. It's got almost an island feel to it. Thanks for a fantastic song!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Turn About Is A Bitch

So John McCain is crying foul because Obama broke a campaign pledge about public financing. Boo-fucking-hoo. Republican candidates have always had an overwhelming advantage in 527 muscle. So in the past, what did they care if they spent exactly the same as Joe Democrat on the general election? They knew that they'd be able to deploy their forces of darkness to outspend their opponents, with the added bonus of avoiding responsibility for the vitriolic, misleading ads run by these political entities. A win-win for them.

Now that there is a democratic candidate who has figured out how to inspire a great number of people, and marshal relatively modest resources to raise enormous sums of money, Republicans have their undies in a wudge. Let's recall that opting out of public financing is a perfectly valid, by-the-rules thing to do. The fact that Obama did it shows me that he's gonna take the gloves off and really fight to win. That's encouraging. And while Obama isn't perfect, and he isn't some savior, he is running a very publicly-financed campaign, to my way of thinking: thousands of small donors are bankrolling his run for president.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Exactly My Thoughts

Dan Savage always seems to find an interesting, funny and fresh way to talk about issues that are important to me. Take his column last week:
Homos are marrying in California as of this week (congrats to all), and should a tornado—or an earthquake or a meteor or the Incredible Hulk—flatten, say, San Francisco's City Hall during a big gay wedding, respected leaders of the religious right will rush to cable broadcast studios to insist that the tornado/earthquake/meteor/Hulk was God's divine judgment, His righteous wrath, the Baby Jesus' latest temper tantrum, wocka wocka wocka.

"I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing," said the Rev. John Hagee, John McCain's ex-BFF, when asked about Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans just before a "massive homosexual rally," a.k.a. an annual street party called "Southern Decadence," was supposed to take place in the French Quarter. "I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans."

And God got his way: By drowning all those little old ladies in their attics in the Ninth Ward, God prevented that massive gay rally—for one year.

So how does a douchebag like Hagee explain away the tragedy in Iowa last week? A tornado struck a Boy Scout camp, killing four and injuring scores more, and the Scouts are famously anti-gay and anti-atheist. Well, we need only to consult the same interview with Rev. Hagee to learn the answer: While all natural phenomena represent God's "permissible will," says Hagee, "it is wrong to say that every natural disaster is the result of sin… No man on Earth knows the mind of God."

See how that works? Not every natural disaster is the result of sin, you see, because sometimes natural disasters happen to us, not just to them, and when they happen to us, well, the Lord sure moves in mysterious ways, and no man on Earth knows the mind of God. But let a natural disaster strike San Francisco this week, next week, or ever again, and Rev. Hagee will be able to read the mind of God like it was a large-print edition of Highlights For Children.
That cracks my shit up!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dead Letter Office

Over the year and a half that I have writing a blog, I have accumulated over thirty drafts that await publication, revision, or deletion. I really ought to do something about these orphans.

There are many reasons why I abandon a piece. Most often, I read the post and find it to be lacking in interest, humor, factual research, or passion. Other times I leave it because I find a piece that says what I was going to write, usually with more elegance (there are a lot of good writers out there!). There are times when I hesitate, and then the subject becomes no longer topical. Then there are those occasions when I simply forgot what my point was, or I have just plain run out of gas that day.

So what do other writers do when they start an essay but run into these sorts of roadblocks? Or do they simply avoid them altogether before they begin a post? Do most writers finish every essay that they begin? I invite you to share experiences and opinions in dealing with these questions.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Do You Want To Be A Good World Citizen Or Not?

Europeans are very pleased to say goodbye to George W. Bush. Not surprising! I've lived through seven presidents. In my lifetime I don't think the world has been happier to bid good riddance to an American president. My experiences abroad have suggested to me that most folks like the American people and all things American well enough, but they despise our leaders and our foreign policies.

Let's do something about that.