It's all a matter of perspective.

Friday, October 25, 2002

The biggest problem with having a beautiful, sweet wife who is also a gifted decorator and homemaker is that our house has become so comfy that all of God’s creatures want to live with us. In the past six months we have been infested with roaches, ants, fleas, ants again, and now this: Yesterday I trapped and killed seven mice in our kitchen. Seven. onetwothreefourfivesixSEVEN! And I may not be through. It is just gross.

One thing about it, the bastards do not stand a chance when they get in to my house. I am a rat killin’ sumbitch. My secret . . . crunchy peanut butter. They are powerless against it.

Sniff. Sniff. Mmmmmm peanut butter. I’m so hungry. This is great. My favorite thing right here on the ground just for me to eat right up. Mmmmmm peanut bu . . . SLAM!!!

I had to be at work at 7:00 this morning. I usually come in at 7:30. Some observations:
  • It is still pitch black dark at 6:45 in the morning.
  • There are a suprising number of people out at 6:45 in the morning.
  • Thirty minutes makes a huge difference. I usually feel like crud in the mornings, but I really did not want to get up this morning.
  • when you come in at 7:30, you have to search for a parking spot. At 7:00 you can park it anywhere you like.
Actually I got here at 7:07. I am the most punctual guy in the world – after noon.

There are basically three types of posts that I make to the blog here. 1) News or political commentary. 2) Personal notes to my intelligent and talented readers. 3) Humor or parody. I am an aspiring humorist. That is what I want to do in life. My heroes are P.J O’rourke and Christopher Buckley and Douglas Adams and Neal Pollack, guys like that. I have noticed lately that when I post short humor pieces or parodies on my blog, they get no comments.

I realize that I am being neurotic, but I just wondered what the reason was for that. Have I left nothing to say? Are they not funny? Do you skip over them? Do I smell funny? Don’t leave me! Please! I can change, I swear!

Thursday, October 24, 2002

I am writing a piece for my Expository Writing class about the history of Jazz. This morning I have been scouring the Ken Burns web site for stuff to steal. I found this great tidbit about the Kansas City Jazz scene:
Competition between Kansas City musicians ran especially deep. "For some reason," Claude "Fiddler" Williams remembered, "Kansas City was different from all other places because we'd be jamming all night. And it you come up here ... playing the wrong thing, we'd straighten you out." "Regardless of how much anybody played or where they were from," said Mary Lou Williams, "when they came to Kansas City they found out how little they were playing." The trumpet player Buck Clayton compared Kansas City musicians to gunfighters. Lips Page, he recalled, used to slip notes under the hotel-room door of visiting trumpet players reading, "Meet me tonight at such-and-such a club."

The pianist Sammy Price remembered going home at 10 o'clock to change his clothes after playing at a session only to return to the club at 1 a.m. to find they were still playing the same tune. There were informal cutting contests for high school kids, free-for-alls for professionals, and the equivalent of heavyweight championship contests between the top musicians in town, often held at the Sunset or the Subway, the Reno or the Cherry Blossom. Kansas City jazz rewarded both individualism and cooperation. In order to provide a pleasing background for a succession of soloists, those waiting to play were expected to master complex harmonized riffs: "It showed a young guy that came in there," the bassist Gene Ramey recalled, "that he didn't just have to learn how to play a solo, he had to learn how to team ... [how] to breathe at the same time." Kansas City jam sessions were most like camp meetings, Ramey continued, "completely imitated from one of those revival meetings, where the preacher and the people are singing, all that living, and there's happiness all around."

One evening in 1933, the great tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins himself was in town with Fletcher Henderson's band, on the last night of a week long engagement, part of what would be one of the struggling band's final tours. After the show, he carried his horn into the Cherry Blossom at 12th Street and Vine, looking for challengers as he did wherever he went. Three of Kansas City's best tenor players were waiting for him: two whose styles owed much to his, Herschel Evans and Ben Webster — and 24 year-old Lester Young whose unique laid back style couldn't have been more different than Hawkins'.

By four o'clock in the morning they were looking for a fresh piano player. Mary Lou Williams was fast asleep at home:

Around four a.m., I awoke to hear someone pecking on my screen … Ben Webster was saying, "Get up pussycat, we're jamming and all the pianists are tired out now. Hawkins has got his shirt off and is still blowing." Sure enough, when we got there, Hawkins was in his [undershirt], taking turns with the K.C. men. It seems he had run into something he didn't expect. Lester's style was light ... it took him maybe five choruses to warm up. But then he would really blow ... That was how Hawkins got hung up. The Henderson band was playing in St. Louis that evening and Bean knew he ought to be on the way. But he kept trying to blow something to beat Ben and Herschel and Lester. When at last he gave up, he got straight in his car and drove to St. Louis. I heard he'd bought a new Cadillac and that he burnt it out trying to make the job on time. Yes, Hawkins was king until he met those crazy Kansas City tenor men.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Hello. You are listening to NPR member station KNEE and we are going to have to interrupt Jed Ledbetter’s Ozark Mountain Jubilee for just a few minutes to bring you Boulevard 2002.

This wonderful programming that you have been enjoying costs money to get on the air. Other radio stations constantly interrupt their broadcasts with piercing, aggravating commercials that they have sold to local car dealerships or small time politicians in order to afford to keep playing the same top-forty drivel that you can hear anywhere else. Here at KNEE, we follow a different business plan. We play no commercials, and we give you the best programming on the far right end of the AM dial. How do we do that? We let our listeners pick up the tab.

If you are a regular listener and you have not made a pledge yet, shame on you. Do you realize that you are stealing from the public? Or how about we just stop broadcasting, how would you like that? Not very well I would think. Honestly, where else are you going to hear great programming like everyone’s favorite call-in auto repair show: Goofy Grease Monkeys? Or perhaps you are a fan of long running NPR Quiz show, What’s the Difference Between a Beaver and a Weasel? Irregardless of which KNEE programming you frequent, it costs money to get them on the air. These shows count on you, and you are apparently a thief and not worthy of our trust.

But KNEE realizes that it takes more than just award winning programming to get people to part with their pocketbooks, so we are offering this special deal: If you call right now with a pledge of twenty dollars, KNEE will ship you a lovely purple bumper sticker that says, “I’ve got KNEE on the brain!” A pledge of fifty dollars will get you a very cute pink plastic KNEE key chain that you can keep for one year at which time you either return the key chain or renew your donation. Pledge one hundred dollars and KNEE will send you the precious CDs, The Best of Garrison Keillor Wheezing into a Hot Microphone, and Michael Feldman’s Whad’ya Know about Sex. Remember people, these products are not available in stores.

If you act now and buy a special five hundred dollar Gold Membership, KNEE will reserve you two seats at our annual Arbor Day banquet in which we recognize the sacrifice made by the volunteers who read the local news and weather once every other hour over the KNEE airwaves. That’s right, for only five hundred big ones you can meet a dozen or so local semi-celebrities, and buy yourself the peace of mind that comes from knowing that KNEE will be on the air for at least six more months.

No we have to get back to more folk music and corn-pone humor on Jed Ledbetter’s Ozark Mountain Jubilee. Stay tuned, because we will be back in twenty-two minutes to goad you for money with more from Boulevard 2002. Call . . . pledge . . . or be prepared to suffer the consequences of your actions.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Children’s music makes me happy. I love how it can be directed at a younger audience, but be more intelligent than most of what most adults listen to. I love that Bob Dorough can write lyrics meant for eight year olds and they are more poetic and more intelligent than anything you will hear on MTV. They seem to grossly underestimate us. That is the story, the lowest common denominator. That is why we have The Bachelor and Christina Aguilera and Josie and the Pussycats. Three is a magic number. Somewhere in the ancient mystic trinity, you get three.

I forgot how much I enjoy going out to the red barn after the boy goes down and plugging in one of my three sweet axes and just playing stream-of-consciousness for about thirty minutes or an hour. It is not long enough, but it is nice. A relaxing way to end the day. A good creative outlet when there is nothing left to blog. The only problem is that between work and school and you all, my fingers ain't got much left in them by the end of the day.

The boy came back from Mee-Mee’s yesterday and when I got home from work, boy was he glad to see me. (And I, him) He sat on my lap, straddling my legs, facing me. He kept looking at me and grinning and then he would fall on to my chest and then he would lean back and grin and then he would fall onto my chest. This went on for about ten minutes, until the television finally distracted him.

So this morning blogspot was down and then this afternoon, our internet connection was down, and now that it is back up, I am not much in the mood. Too tired. I can not seem to get the sleep thing happening lately. As I mentioned earlier, the boy is up a lot at night. I can not seem to convince myself to go to bed until it is way too late and I have ruined any hope of a peaceful night’s sleep. Sometimes I go to bed and stare at the ceiling. Sometimes I have too much caffeine. Every morning, Wylie gets up and wants me to get him some milk at a time that is too late for me to go back to sleep and too early for me to get up. So I get up and take a shower and mess around making tea and adjusting my pompadour until I still end up being five minutes late for work. If I showed up for work on time, I might catch them talking about me, except that no one else is here that early. Just Laurie. She wouldn’t talk bad about anyone.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Saturday night I got to play music and read stuff that I have written and play more music and read more stuff of mine to a nice group of about forty or fifty people at this great little party that Ms. J and her thecomfyhome threw for our good friend, Lady Amy-Amy, who was turning thirty. It was really nice to get to read something I wrote to a friendly crowd that was paying attention and listening to every word. It was exhilarating to hear them laugh at the funny parts. It was reassuring that they laughed at the parts that I though were funny and not at the parts that I meant to be not funny. Also it was nice to have them completely stop paying attention when we started playing music, because we were playing background tunes and if they had stopped and listened, they would have heard that we had not rehearsed any and really were not very good. Everyone just starting talking among themselves as soon as the music started back. That was fine because me and Dan had never played with Mark Bennet on the piano with us. As it turns out, he is a really good musician. I knew that he was a piano performance major working on his senior recital, and I figured that he was going to be a technically impressive musician, but I was pleasently surprised to find out that he can not read the notes any better than I can, and also he is a wonderful improviser. But then at the end of the night, all of the people said good job even though they did not hear what went down. Ms. J was happy with us and said that we made the party with our background music and funny readings, but she was wrong. She made the party. She always does. That is why she has thecomfyhome and that is why everyone will want her to throw their parties for them, just as soon as they see what she can do.

October 21, 2002

Mr. A.G. Lafley, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive
Procter & Gamble
1 Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45201

Dear Mr. Lafley:

As a man with a house full of Procter & Gamble products, and a man with dry skin that shows signs of aging, I was very excited to discover your Oil of Olay Total Effects Body Visible Anti-Aging Moisturizing Treatment on the shelf of my local market. I have used Oil of Olay products often in the past to try and reduce the signs of aging and stimulate surface cell renewal, and I have had moderate success. As the label on your Oil of Olay Total Effects Body Visible Anti-Aging Moisturizing Treatment touted it as an improvement over old treatments, I felt certain I would not be disappointed.

I am sorry to say, Mr. Lafley, but the product did not perform like it should have on problem areas such as my arms, legs, and chest. While I have no known allergies to any of the items listed in the ingredients, when I rubbed the Oil of Olay Total Effects Body Visible Anti-Aging Moisturizing Treatment into the aforementioned areas, they immediately broke out in a red, puffy rash.

I do not think that it is unreasonable to say that this is not acceptable. As a long time customer and appreciator of the large line of Procter & Gamble products, I would appreciate it if you would send me another product in your line that would address my wrinkling and aging needs without turning me into a swollen, itching mess. If you do not have an acceptable replacement product, then a full refund of the $3.79 the Oil of Olay Total Effects Body Visible Anti-Aging Moisturizing Treatment cost would be acceptable. I have included my store register receipt and proof of purchase from the bottle label.


Nathaniel W. Greer