It's all a matter of perspective.

Friday, September 10, 2004

It is interesting on this third anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, to go back and look at some of the things that were said on that day. Early on, there was some misinformation floating around about other attacks that never really happened. I heard about a plane hitting the Statue of Liberty, and about car bombs in DC. I particularly remember the gas scare. People (at least in my office) were convinced these attacks meant the supply of gasoline would be disrupted. At one point my coworkers were even taking turns leaving the office to run out and fill up the tank.

Lots of people made a lot of predictions and presumptions in the hours and days immediately following the attacks. Senator John Edwards had a particularly lousy appearance on Charlie Rose that night where he was made to look like a lightweight by the likes of fiction writer Tom Clancy. The President made a so-so speech to the nation on television. Later, through a bullhorn, he was inspiring and uplifting while speaking off the cuff to construction workers in the New York rubble. "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!"

My favorite opinion writer, John Derbyshire, wrote an article for National Review Online less than an hour after the attacks started. NRO reprinted it today and it holds up after three years as more accurate and important than ever.
Let nobody think that Americans are incapable of facing this foe and defeating him. Let nobody think that this country is any less able to "face the naked days" than she was in 1861, in 1917, in 1941 and 1950. We shall rise to this. We shall take our revenge. We shall absorb these blows, and strike back a hundred times harder. Let America's enemies crow today: Tomorrow they will tremble, and weep.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Playing music live for an audience is the most interesting of pastimes. This past weekend Cosmic Debris played twice. Friday night we played for two and a half hours in a small club in Little Rock. This is a place we love to play. The room is small, but just the right size for our crowd. It always sounds good, and a lot of my friends were coming out.

Alas, Murphy’s Law would reign over the evening. Brian, our sax man, was twenty minutes late due to an unfortunate key inside the locked car incident. This put us off of our game. Also, it was our first time to play together in well over a month. I, personally, stank. I made all manner of mistakes. My guitar tone was awful, I forgot how songs went, and I even stepped on my cable and unplugged my instrument during an important part of a tune.

At the end of the night, Luke (our lead singer) said to me, “Is it really worth it? You have a family just like me. Is it worth it to be away from them every weekend if we are just going to embarrass ourselves?”

And I did not have a good answer for him. So I thought about it. All night Friday and all the next day, I considered that maybe I was too old. Maybe I had missed my chance. Perhaps I was fooling myself and wasting time that I could be spending on more important matters.

Saturday night we were scheduled to play for four hours at a large, former strip club in a nasty town where we would just as soon not go. We booked this gig because the money was good. There were no expectations of anything but a night of hard work in a smoke filled room, with a moderate paycheck at the end. By the time we arrived and started setting up, I had decided that we needed to set an intermediate goal for ourselves. I told the other fellows in the band, “Let’s just use tonight to get back in the groove. Let’s relax and stretch out. We need to remember how to play with each other. If it sucks at times tonight, and they never ask us back here, then no big deal.” After all, I thought, the important gigs are in Little Rock. This one is a glorified rehearsal.

Well, to spare you the details, Saturday night we played perhaps the best we have ever played together. We were musical, experimental, tight, exciting, and entertaining. It came very naturally. All of the solos were new and unpredictable. Everyone had an amazing time, and we came away totally rejuvenated.

So now I will tell you the really weird part about playing music. The only comments I got from the crowd after Friday night’s show were positive. I convinced myself that they were just being nice, but the fact is, people seemed to really enjoy themselves and the place was relatively full for the entire night. Saturday night, after playing my little heart out and improvising some of the most emotional and intense guitar solos I have ever mustered, this is the comment I got from an audience member: “Nathan, you should really turn your guitar up some more next time. I really could not hear you at all on your solos.”

So who do we do it for? Us I guess. Is that bad? No it just can’t happen any other way.

Friday, August 20, 2004

There are several chances to avail yourself of the smooth sounds of Cosmic Debris in the next few weeks. The only questions are 1) How late will you stay up, and 2) are you packing heat.

Tonight, August 20, you can catch us at The Living Room, 3610 Kavanaugh, at 10:00 PM. We had a blast last time we played this room. The cover is $5, the refreshments are first rate, and a good time is virtually guaranteed.

Saturday, the 21st, we start our tour of Hot Springs at Jesters on Grand Ave. We will play the Customary (for Hot Springs) four sets.

Next weekend, the 27th and 28th we will make our debut at Boogies, 421 Broadway, in Hot Springs. Again, four sets a night, this time starting at the barely reasonable hour of 11:00. Come to these shows if you are feeling ultra-rowdy.

Labor Day weekend starts early this year. On Thursday, September 2nd, we make our debut at the White Water Tavern, 2500 W 7th St. This is very exciting for us, as it is THE club in Little Rock to hear local musicians. The music starts at 9:30 and will go on until we run out of people to play to. If you have never seen us play, this is your big chance.

Thank you for your support

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Tonight at prayer time, Wylie Allman Greer (4) prayed, "Thank you for Greatness, and thank you for all of our freedom, and make sure it is all about Love!"

Friday, August 06, 2004

-----Original Message-----
From: Nathaniel Greer
Sent: Fri 8/6/2004 11:46 PM
Subject: Disgruntled Customer - Unauthorized Charge and Overdraft Fees

Dear Sirs,

I apologize for the lengthiness of this letter. My thoroughness speaks to my honesty and authority.

This past Spring I ordered Dish Network service in two rooms of my house. I signed up online and was charged a one-time payment of $49.95. I paid this fee with my Visa Check Card and the amount was dully debited from my checking account. About a month later a gentleman from Today’s Satellite in Little Rock, Arkansas, came out and installed our Dish Network system. My Dish Network account number is (x).

The system worked pretty well for about two weeks and then stopped working. First we could only get about half of our channels, then we could only get the locals, next it stopped working in one room, finally it stopped picking up any channels at all and we called in a trouble ticket. Again, someone from Today’s Satellite (different person than the installer) came out to work the ticket. This technician determined that I did not have line of sight and uninstalled my system. He took all of the equipment with him that day: Dish, LBM, Receiver, and Remote Controls.

Around a week later I took a call from Today’s Satellite in which a store manager asked if he could conference me in with Dish Network so that we could verify that my equipment was uninstalled. This would allow him, he informed me, to get paid for the uninstallation and would keep me from getting charged for unreturned equipment. I spoke with the Dish Network operator and the store manager, verified my information, waited on hold for a while and went about my business.

A week or so later I received an empty box in the mail from Dish Network with a note requesting I return my receiver and remotes. I immediately called Dish Network and told them I had no equipment. The call center agent assured me that I could throw away the box and not worry about it. Furthermore, he informed me that there was a positive balance on my account of nineteen dollars and some change. He said that he would mail me a check for that amount. Around one week later I received the check and cashed it.

On July 16, there was an unapproved charge from Dish Network on my Visa Check Card for $380.34. I first noticed the charge on July 19. I called the Dish Network toll free number to inform them of the mistake. I was told that the charges were for unreturned equipment. I explained that I did not have any equipment, and then I was assured that the money would be returned to my bank account immediately. Before I hung up the phone the Agent told me that I should see the money in my account immediately if my bank offers “real time updates” (they do not). Shortly after I got off of the phone, my wife, who was quite pregnant, went into labor. We spent the next few days in the hospital and Dish Network was the furthest thing from my mind.

Back at home on June 22nd I checked my account and notice that I had not been refunded the money. Now the lack of funds had caused a number of checks to bounce. I called Dish Network and was transferred to Paul Bowen in the Executive Office. He told me that he would transfer the $380.34 to my account immediately. Mr. Bowen also tried to give me the nineteen dollars that was in my account. He seemed very surprised when I said that I had already received that check. He further told me to fax him a copy of my bank statement, (which I did first thing the next morning) and he would make sure that I was reimbursed for the overdraft fees that were plainly Dish Network’s fault.

On July 27th I left a voice mail for Mr. Bowen because I had not yet received the $380.34. I did receive that money on July 28th. On August 2nd I left two more messages on Mr. Bowen’s voice mail inquiring about the overdraft fees. Mr. Bowen has yet to call me back.

The afternoon of August 4th, I called back and asked for someone in the Executive Office. After fifteen minutes I was transferred to a Chris Patricca. He informed me that he found my bank statement fax in Paul Bowen’s box, and would pass this information along. He promised me I would get a response in 24-48 hours. It is now Friday night, August 6, 2004, approximately 54 hours since I spoke with him. I have had no response.

Dear Sirs, your company stole the equivalent of one week’s pay from me, brought me financial ruin, and then ignored me. At this point I have creditors calling me and I still have late bills (with late fees) that I have no money to pay. I have been gracious, patient, and polite each of the times I have had to call and deal with your company’s mistakes. My patience has worn thin. I am not trying to pull any sort of scam; I just want you to make this right.

I have attached a .pdf of a report I pulled from my bank account. It shows the charges against my account from the period in question. You can plainly see that the overdraft charges total $261. Furthermore you can see that the total of checks I wrote during that time never equal the total of $380.34, therefore I would have never been overdrawn if not for your unauthorized charge.

Please make this situation right as soon as possible. It is the ethical, righteous, and proper thing to do.

Thank you for your time,

Nathaniel W. Greer

Friday, July 30, 2004

Miles Simon Cash Greer was born on July 20th at 3:10 PM. So far, he is very mellow. It is still hard with the newborn and the odd hours and the trying to behave one’s self, but you should see this kid. He is pretty neat.

Last night he was up late and I laid him on his back in my bed and drug over the laptop. I surfed through the music folders and found Freddy Freeloader from Miles Davis’ modal masterpiece All Blues. Miles Greer listened very intently and seemed to enjoy it very much. Next I put on Johnny Cash moaning Trent Reznor’s dirge, Hurt. For this one Miles was almost paralyzed. He tightened his legs up a little and cocked his head. For the duration of the song he sat perfectly motionless, eyes wide, straining to take it all in.
We have not tried Paul Simon yet. Do you have any suggestions as to which song we should give him? I’m thinking Late in the Evening.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

This blog turns two years old this month. If memory serves, that is about the time to start potty training. Therefore you can look for much more cursing here in the future.

Actually, as you can tell from my recent output, you cannot look for much of anything here in the near future. Did I loose interest? Perhaps a little. More accurately I lost time. When I started this blog I was working at a call center where I never left my desk and had a fair amount of free time each day. Since then I have been moved to Network Support and I spend very little time at my desk and rarely get caught up on my work.

Furthermore, when I started this blog I fancied myself a Writer. I was studying writing at university, surfed and the classifieds every week for writing jobs, and wrote essays, short humor pieces and poems all of the time for my pleasure and amusement. I have since gotten over it. Not that I wouldn’t still love to write for a living, I have just been forced to face the reality that it is not likely any time soon.

Why is it not likely? Well, had I finished my writing degree and sought work as a technical writer in the market in which I live, I would have had to take a pay cut. Now perhaps this is honorable for some people, but not for those of us who have three other people to provide for and live paycheck to paycheck.

In addition to leaving me with little time to write for pleasure, my new job also left me with little time for homework. My grades quickly turned in to the kind that gets you kicked out of school. Rather than giving the establishment that pleasure, I said, “You can’t fire me, I quit!”

Then we sold our house and moved across town to a fixer-upper that had twice as much room. I spent six months pouring all of my free time into making this vintage 1940 worn out house our comfortable and modern home. I finished that up (ha! You never finish fixing up a house) just in time for my wife to get pregnant and sick. My sweet wife lives with 24 hours a day of vomiting for her first trimester. She had to move home to her mother’s house in order to be cared for, and to have someone to care for our little boy.

This led us into a three month period that I like to refer to as The Dark Ages. I found out that our house has the sparsest of insulation, and is impossible to heat in the winter time. A $300 gas bill led me to turn the Thermostat all the way down and close off the entire house except for my room, where I stayed in the bed, layered in clothes, huddling over an electric radiatior, watching the history channel or Democrat Primary coverage on MSNBC. One night I found myself wide awake in bed at 3:00 AM on a work night (morning) watching some show about the illuminati or something on TV, smoking a cigarette (I don’t smoke, let alone in the house) and drinking from a plastic half-gallon jug of Heaven Hill Vodka. This was the moment I realized that my family had to return to me, and soon.

Luckily they did return pretty soon after that. Miss J got to feeling much better and at this point is about ready to have that kid. We went to the doctor today. Only about two more weeks.

Another strain on my already tight schedule has been this rock-and-roll band that I joined, Cosmic Debris. We play most original tunes and I could not be more proud of our music. All of the guys in the band are top notch musicians (excepting me) and furthermore, are all cool guys to hang out with. We are well rehearsed, tight, and even enjoy a modest following of about 40-50 people per gig.

You might think that this would translate into more work than we can handle, but that is just not the case. Booking gigs in Little Rock has turned out to be the most frustrating experience of my life. I have played in a lot of bands, and this is the by far the best I have ever been associated with. We play songs we write, and we play them well. I have seen all of the groups that get regular gigs in Little Rock (I used to cook at a popular bar) and we are better than 90% of them. I just don’t understand why doors keep slamming in our face. We don’t expect to sign a deal with Epic and move to Los Angeles. We just want to be able to play live a couple of times a month.

So, aren’t you glad I haven’t been writing to you much lately.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Greer
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 5:48 PM
To: Nathaniel Greer
Subject: My thoughts on the eve of the Open

1) Tiger will be a factor (but not win) because Shinnecock takes the driver out of his hands whether he likes it or not.

2) Look for an old guy to make some serious noise (Tom Kite, Jay Haas, Tom Watson, Stads, etc.)

3) Padraig Harrington will scare the harrington out of us and make us think (God forbid!) that a foreigner might win our open.

4) The wind will blow....lots!

5) Corey Pavin will still need his 4 wood to get home on 18 - but it won't matter to anyone but himself. (He really needs to grow the stache back and get some Just For Men gel.)

6) Sergio is also a good possibility if he doesn't hit driver at the wrong time. However, the New Yorkers are still pissed and he probably won't be able to deal with the heckling (which I think is exactly why Monty is a no show in the Big Apple.)

7) Finally, my prediction for a winner...........

Mickelson makes it two in row (if the blade putter is still in the bag and he leaves the flop shot at home.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I fell asleep last night while watching Band of Brothers on the History Channel. Therefore, I dreamed all night that I was involved in warfare. It was not WWII and I was not in Bastogne though. It was more like I was in an Eastern European Communist Block country and I was involved in an uprising that was being violently put down by the Soviet Military. There was a lot of guerilla sneaking about and ambushing. But the most memorable part of the dream came when the Soviet soldiers started machine-gunning a crowd of protesters. I heard a voice next to me say, “That is enough already!” I looked over and there stood John Kerry with his poofy hair and three-thousand dollar suit. He wheeled around a big black cannon and pulled out one of those big Q-tip looking torches that you see them using in the PBS reenactments of the Napoleonic Wars. Apparently this 19th century cannon was a semi-automatic, because the Senator put five shots in quick succession into the Soviets and blew up a couple of tanks. The soldiers retreated to oppress another day as the crowd cheered and lifted a triumphant John Kerry and me onto their shoulders.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

As it turns out, Bill Clinton is exactly like we always imagined he would be.
Anson said that those who socialize with Clinton say there's no off switch even when he's relaxed. One unnamed friend said of Clinton, "He just talks. You don't really have a conversation with him. He never asks about you. He never asks you your opinions on anything. He just loves to talk and have an audience.

"He is just self-absorbed. Totally. Not really interested in anything does or what they think. Except what do they think about what he is doing and what he is saying."

Another said, "He's like a walking Google. I don't care what word you put in, he will keep going and going."

Others describe him as a man who hates to be alone and who dominates every social setting he is in.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I have always suspected this, but now I finally have the evidence:

You are a MASTER of the English language!

While your English is not exactly perfect,
you are still more grammatically correct than
just about every American. Still, there is
always room for improvement...

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, March 22, 2004

About five years ago, this short guy with a goatee started coming up to me every Sunday after church. I would be on stage packing up my instrument and he wanted to talk about acoustic guitars and country music. And he knew a lot about both. He knew a lot about talking too, and my sweet wife would usually be ready for some lunch by the time we got through. “James Taylor plays Olsen guitars. They are the greatest acoustics ever. Have you heard that Steve Earle is making a record with Del McCoury and his band? Steve usually plays Gibson acoustics, but I bet he plays a Martin like a good bluegrasser on this record. I have a Taylor with koa sides and back. I play guitar too, and sing. I used to lead worship at my old church.”

I told him that I hoped he would get to play with us soon on a Sunday morning and I meant it. I love playing music with new people, especially people I liked and I was sure that I liked this guy a lot right from the beginning. (That is saying something too, for I am an antisocial creature.)

Finally one Sunday morning I showed up for rehearsal and Mark Currey, the guy that liked to talk about music, was already there, guitar case and a gig bag in hand. Pastor Tim said, “Why don’t you teach the guys your tune to start with.” Mark passed out chord charts to the band. The song looked simple enough. God’s key of G. One verse, then the Chorus repeats one line four times, “We bow down to the Lord our God.”

We played the song down and got to the end, but Mark kept going, leading us on without a plan. He repeated the line from the chorus over and over. And he meant what he was singing. He was worshipping the Lord, and we had to follow him. He was seriously worshipping and church was still an hour and a half away. We bow down to the Lord our God. We bow down to the Lord our God . . . Mark continued and threw in vocal ad-libs in between and during the line; each pass was more intense. Finally with a quick sideways glance he told us to end it.

Pastor Tim cornered me after church and asked what I thought about the new guy and his song. I said I loved it, that it was exactly what I was looking for in worship music, and that Mark had a great voice and a great song. “That guy really knows how to flip out!” That stuck. Mark became Capt. Flip Out from that moment forward. Mr. Bush could not come up with a more appropriate nickname.

The next fall Celebration decided to have a Harvest Party on Halloween night. Someone asked Mark and me to play some hillbilly tunes. We tore through a passel of favorites, finishing up with Carrie Brown. Carrie Brown is an up tempo bluegrass knee-slapper sung in cornpone two-part harmony about a guy murdering another man over a girl he had just met in line at the grocery store. A killin’song. In church. On Halloween. It is a treasured memory for all who attended.

When Pastor Tim was asked to do the music for the first Sharefest worship service in Alltel Arena, everyone who went to our church and played an instrument got to be in the band. Mark was the only one to be recognized in public later that week. The lady in the car behind him in the Burger King drive-through flagged him down as if he were a rock star – and this was before he had rock star hair.

Besides playing at church, Mark, Dan, Roach and I have played a handful of gigs as The Mark Currey Band. Two of the gigs were in Hot Springs, one of which was our most spiritual experience ever. (Upstairs in a dark loft with thirty high school kids who were ready for the flip out.) Besides that, the most memorable was a concert in Hampton, Arkansas in a huge metal barn. The walls were lined with the taxidermied shoulder-mounts of dozens of wild boar – real Arkansas Razorbacks. The place smelled like the killing floor of a pork slaughterhouse. The audience was a couple of old black ladies, who told us we were too loud and were correct about that. On the long ride back to Little Rock we rescued a poor family who had ran out of gas in a particularly remote stretch of highway. Upon reflection, they were probably the whole reason that God sent us that direction that evening.

Mark took me to Eureka Springs once. We performed at the annual folk festival billed as “Ferndale Cutoff.” Our set list was all classic country gold and Steve Earle. We performed in the park while Miss J and Miss Kim chased our kids back and forth in front of the stage. Mark introduced another great killing song by querying the crowd to find out if anyone present had ever murdered anyone, been to prison, or murdered anyone in prison. Never has such a clever joke bombed so hard. The silence was deafening. Crickets were the only sound.

The first time that Ms. J and I went to Mark and Kim’s house for dinner was memorable for several reasons. First of all, earlier that day I had cut my index finger on my left hand very severely and it was stitched up and in a brace. Second was Miss Kim’s wonderful beef stew. Third was my first encounter with Rocky the Yapping Rat Terrier. Oh how Mark despised that animal!

Not long after that Miss J and I decided to host a church small group (Home Team) in our house. Neither of us wanted to lead it, and Mark had some experience in that, so he and his family joined up. We became fast friends that fall over Big K sodas and cheese dip. The meetings usually went like this: Everyone would eat snacks, Mark would play some tunes on his guitar, Mark would introduce a topic or a scripture and we would discuss all around it for far too long. Then we would pray for what seemed like hours. Sometimes we would all pray together, sometimes we would separate and the men would go to the back room. Mark prays beautifully. He never runs out of things to say, but he never says anything extra. This is a rare gift in the semi-charismatic, non-denominational, small group prayer world.

The most special part of Home Team was getting to know the Currey family and watching those beautiful kids grow up. I think everyone in that group felt like they were part of that family. Not the Home Group family, but Mark and Kim’s family. With a dozen adults and a handful of kids in a 900 square foot house, things were rarely boring. During one of our intense prayer times little Caroline – who was about two at the time and potty training – came waddling down the hall with her pants around her ankles exclaiming, “I did it! I pooped in the potty!” Prayer time was over. Everyone cheered for Caroline and laughed together. Miss Kim went after the reward chocolates.

Soon after we met, Mark and I started trading emails almost daily, and our after church chats have only gotten longer over the years. About a year ago I talked Mark into installing MSN Messenger on his computer at work. Since then we have chatted at length almost every day. This past summer when I went to Alaska for a week, I took my laptop so that we could keep in touch. How cool it was to be sitting in downtown Juneau, Alaska, and chat with Mark like we were only 4 miles apart instead of 4000. It made the trip more special to me to be able to describe what I was seeing to my buddy back home.

And really, I have become addicted to these instant message conversations. I can’t imagine how I ever got through a workday without having him around. Sometimes our personalities compliment each other, other times we feed off of each other, but never once have we run out of things to talk about: work, church, family, friends, and especially music. Mark has become a mentor to me.

Mark may be forty, but he is a young forty. Just look at his hip young hairstyle. Like Martin guitars and homemade dill pickles, he just gets better as he gets older. His voice sounds better than ever, he is playing guitar better than ever, and he keeps turning out better and better worship tunes. But more importantly he is still becoming a better father, husband, and friend. Mark’s disposition has changed recently. These days he has the confidence of a man who knows that he is right were he needs to be. Maybe that comes to everyone with age, but I think Mark has worked hard and started to be refined into an insightful Christian gentleman. I love him and hope that he keeps popping up on my computer screen with pithy comments for as long as I am around.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The following are quotes from the speech President Bush delivered to the Republican Governor's Association. I got them from the Bush/Cheney 04 email newsletter. The full text of the speech is available here, and it is a good read. But I thought that the passages highlighted in the newsletter were worth passing along. How could anyone listen to this stump speech and not be swayed? Well, I guess a lot of people are and will be, but this is music to my ears.

First on the economy:
Come November, the voters are going to have a very clear choice. It's a choice between keeping the tax relief that is moving this economy forward, or putting the burden of higher taxes back on the American people.... Our opponents talk about job creation, but they're against every one of these job-creating measures. Empty talk about jobs won't get anybody hired. The way to create jobs is our pro-growth, pro-entrepreneur, pro-small business owner agenda.

Next on Personal Liberty:
The American people will decide between two visions of government: a government that encourages ownership and opportunity and responsibility, or a government that takes your money and makes your choices.... On issue after issue, the American people have a clear choice. Our opponents are against personal retirement accounts, against putting patients in charge of Medicare, against tax relief. They seem to be against every idea that gives Americans more authority, and more choices, and more control over their own lives.... I trust the people, not Washington politicians, to make the best decisions for their own money, their own health, their own retirement, and their own lives.

The War on Terror:
It is a choice between an America that leads the world with strength and confidence, or an America that is uncertain in the face of danger.... Our opponents say they approve of bold action in the world, but only if no other government disagrees. I'm all for united action, and so are the 34 coalition partners we have in Iraq right now. But America must never out-source America's national security decisions to the leaders of other governments. Some of our opponents are skeptical that the war on terror is really a war at all. They view terrorism more as a crime -- a problem to be solved with law enforcement and indictments.... After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States -- and war is what they got.
Damn, that is tough!

This stump stuff is pretty good, (a lot of it is rhetoric and will be quickly refuted for example, "against putting patients in charge of Medicare." I doubt Mr. Kerry will let that stand.) but will get tuned up and better as the campaign trail goes on. I would say that conservatives should be pretty optimistic right now about November. That said, it is a long way off and there is still plenty of time for the topic of conversation to get shifted. I hope this gay marriage thing blows over soon.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Dan has created a new Yahoo Group for our band. You can join in the fun here:

Subscribe to cosmicdebrisband
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Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Institute of Medicine in Washington and Health Canada have determined that you do not necessarily need eight glasses of water a day. Furthermore, Beer and Coffee do not have a diuretic affect on the human body, but rather add net water to your system.
The independent institute sets nutrition recommendations. The nutrition, pediatrics and geriatrics experts concluded the average North American woman requires about 2.7 litres of fluid a day and men need 3.7 litres.

The fluid doesn't all have to come in form of water. Milk, juice and soup all add up, and even a cold beer or caffeinated coffee count.

The belief that beer or coffee draw fluid from the body is mostly a myth, according to University of Alberta physiology Prof. Susan Jacobs-Kaufman.

"It has very, very little if any diuretic effect," said Jacobs-Kaufman. "Overall, you're still gaining fluid for it to go back out of the kidney ultimately."
I am a big water drinker, but I am also a big coffee drinker and a big booze drinker. Lucky for me, they are all healthy!

Friday, February 06, 2004

Dude, I would totally drive this.
Finally some press! Jim Harris writes about the Musician's Showcase this week in the Arkansas Times. Here is the money paragraph:
Poeboy Society barely escaped a strong performance by first-timers Cosmic Debris. Obviously, Cosmic Debris members have played somewhere, a lot, and for such a new band were amazingly tight with their jazz-influenced rock. Poeboy's edge came in the overall stage presence and crowd response, as the musicianship edge clearly was in Cosmic's show.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Upcoming Fox TV shows:
  1. The Littlest Groom. 12 female dwarfs compete for the love of a hunk; well make that a chunk of burning 4 foot 5 inch love. Just when you have accepted this premise, a group of normal sized babes are brought in to compete against the little ladies.
  2. When Animals Attract. A National Geographic show about mating rituals among animals. It should include plenty of doggystyle.
  3. Celebrity Spelling Bee. Nothing else needs to be said about this one.

Honestly, you can not parody this. Fox’s New Development team is a load of freaking geniuses.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

For anyone who cares, and I know that John Barber does, here is the board tape from last Thursday’s show at Juanita’s. First a few notes, or reasons why this sounds so crappy:

This was our first gig in front of a live audience. We were playing in the Arkansas Times’ Musicians Showcase, and were the third act of four that performed that night. We arrived while the first band was playing and stood outside on the sidewalk while until they finished and loaded out. When they were out of the way, we moved all of our gear into a closet next to the stage while the second act was setting up. When the second act was done, we waited patiently for them to break down, and then had fifteen minutes to set up and start playing. We got no sound check, or even time to tune our guitars. The first time I tried my mic was the first time I sang a note on Chevy Nova. I had nothing in my monitor at all. Because of this, my background vocals occasionally sound like I am doing a Linda McCartney impression.

Now for a word about the curious genera of Rock and Roll board tapes. When you play in a small club like Juanita’s, you are in a small room, maybe 1000 square feet. You have a loud ass drum set, moderately loud guitar amps, Dan’s holy thunder bass amp, a fairly quiet sax, and very quiet voices. All of these things go into a 12,000 watt PA to be mixed to equal levels in the room. Obviously, the things that are the loudest on stage are going to be at the lowest levels in the mix – the things that are quietest on stage become the loudest in the mix. If you have a good sound man, and Juanita’s has the best, then all of this sounds perfectly balanced in the room.

When you get a board tape, you get the levels as set on the board. The stage volume is not a factor, since you are not in the room and can not hear the actual guitar amps and drums. Therefore you get very little drums, a little more guitar (Luke’s guitar is louder than mine on the tape because I had mine turned up louder on stage), a lot of sax, and an uncomfortable amount of vocals. There is no singer in the world whose voice will stand up to the scrutiny of a board tape without some gaffes. (An exception to this is Mark Currey, who always sounds pitch perfect and soulful on even the most horrible mixes.) Luke weathers this very well, but you should listen to it while cutting him some slack.

With all of this in mind, go and enjoy. Tell me what you think.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Matt Labash is in New Hampshire this week.
Up at the campus's Dominic Hill, John Kerry prepares to march down to the debate with a firefighter's union and their bagpiping corps, who are playing something that sounds like Dean funeral music. For a moment, Kerry's bus, the "Real Deal Express," almost grinds its candidate into the pavement as it hurtles down the hill. A line of Deaniacs obstruct the way, causing Kerry and company to knock into the back of their bagpipers, who are getting their kilts flipped up and worse. The Deaniacs then burst through the line, and the Kerry supporters start pushing back. The whole thing plays like a battle scene from "Braveheart," or it would've if "Braveheart" had featured a man dressed like a giant penis getting hip-checked into a snow-bank.

The debate itself, as has now been well-documented, is boring beyond description. In the light of Dean's meltdown, all the frontrunners seem intent on being their campaign-brochure selves, only less so. After sustaining a sore throat and a week of nightmare press, Howard Dean appears to be sucking back his own words even as he says them, causing Joshua Green of the Atlantic Monthly, sitting next to me in the press room, to comment, "It sounds like a guy trying to hold in a bong hit."

Friday, January 23, 2004

With karate I'll kick your ass
Here to Tiennamen Square.
Tonight was our first time to play in front of people, and it went really well, almost perfect. We performed to the best of our abilities and received a huge crowd response. We did not win and will not be advancing to the finals of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, but then again, we never really expected to. This was our first gig for Pete’s sake.

All in all, I am very proud of our performance. We accomplished everything that we set out for. We played the songs perfectly. We had a great time. We got to play at Juanita’s – on a stage where I have seen Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Warren Haynes, Melvin Seals, North Mississippi All-Stars, Merl Saunders, Oteil Burbridge, Duane Betts, Victor Wooten, J.D. Blair, Chris Duarte, Ian Moore, and many more of my heroes. We impressed a more experienced band to the point of them offering us opening slots. And I feel certain that the Juanita’s people will invite us back to play again.

So lookout for Cosmic Debris (suddenly and consistently pronounced Kos-mick Dee-Briss). We reign. Runner up.

And furthermore - Look for a tape of our performance on this blog in the next few days.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I realize that I am late on finding this article that Matt Labash published last Friday. Matt, an admitted reality TV junkie, rips into Nicole Richie from Fox's The Simple Life with his trademark sardonic wit. Here is a sample:
Critics, always in need of finding larger social implications, have misguidedly written thousands of words on how the ascendance of Paris Hilton means our culture is now so addicted to celebrity that we are willing to reward people with fame who've done nothing to earn it. Last summer, an Associated Press writer even diagnosed the condition with the coinage "PAC"--for "pre-achievement celebrity." But it's hardly a new grievance. Andy Warhol marked the same phenomenon in the '80s. And Homer took notice of it well before then, having written, in the "Iliad," "How vain, without the merit, is the name."

But if critics have correctly diagnosed the problem, they've undersold it's severity by pegging it to the wrong poster girl. The mystery isn't why Paris Hilton can become famous for having done nothing (she did, after all, allegedly make out with former Madonna girl-toy Ingrid Casaras in a bar). The true mystery is how someone like the charmless Nicole Richie can become famous for nothing more than being the friend of someone who's famous for nothing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

This is one of the acts we will be competing against. Things are not looking good for Cosmic Debris. We don't even have a web site! Be sure and check out the lyrics.
Up in dog town 72115
We’re coming up Yeah we’re bring it Live
Up in dog town 72115
We will get you off and leave you to die
Wait a second. 72115 - Dog Town - These guys are my neighbors.
My new band finally got our first gig. We will be playing at Juanita's tomorrow night in the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. Soon the world will be ours. Cosmic Debris - We Reign. Supreme.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Comments are back up. Feel free to tell me what you think about previous posts.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Dennis Miller's new CNBC show is starting soon. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reprinted a New York Times article about him and it.
"Did you see the Democratic debate the other night?" he asked. "To me, Dennis Kucinich's politics are more scrambled than Rod Steiger's dream journal. And Clark? He's a wizard in many ways, but when I hear him speak, it's almost like he's slumming. There's a mensch discrepancy there. At least John Edwards, who to me is a reasonably shallow guy, at least he can dog-paddle around in that park and not look out of place."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

For Sale: 1/6 scale model of Christopher Walken's head.
Fark has a link to the Top Ten Drug War stories of 2003. This is number ten:
On May 16, New York City police tossed a stun grenade into the home of 57-year-old Alberta Spruill, city worker and church volunteer, who died from a heart attack during the mistaken drug raid. On May 23, NYC police accidentally raid the home of teacher Joe Celcis. Police smashed open the door, handcuffed several people, pointed a gun in the face of a 12-year old girl and ransacked the house for 90 minutes before realizing they had the wrong address. On Nov. 5, cops in a Charleston, SC, suburb burst into the mostly white Stratford High School at 6:45 a.m. with guns drawn and ordered mostly black students to get down on the floor while cops searched lockers and book bags for marijuana; students who didn't move fast enough were handcuffed. No drugs were found in the 45-minute raid. Seventeen of the students are suing the school district.
The article also notes that a Swiss Addiction Research Institute has released a study that claims tobacco is responsible for 71 percent of all drug related deaths in the world. All of this goes nicely with the news last week that an ad agency overcharged the government millions of dollars for producing anti-drug PSA's. To me, the most shocking part of that story was not that we were overcharged, but that the budget for the ads was $684 million. Who out there still believes that our Drug War is a wise use of resources? Who in Washington will stand up and lead a movement to put an end to this? Surely it will have the support of all but the most ignorant of constituents.