Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cantique de Noel aka O Holy Night sung by Pavarotti

press play and close your eyes:

The music was written by Adolphe Charles Adam (1803-1856), a French composer best known for his ballet "Giselle." The lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. At the time, it was frowned upon by church authorities who denounced it for lack of musical taste and "total absence of the spirit of religion." I like the last verse:
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cuts Like a Knife - Bryan Adams

Press play:
Cuts Like A Knife....
For my surgeon, I'm sure my procedure was very routine. Compared to other operations he did Tuesday, my ACDF (anterior cervical discectomy with fusion) was like an electrician fixing two sockets that were shorting, not like replacing the wiring in a whole house. But for the patient, it was a fairly big deal. Waiting, draw blood, EKG, waiting, gown and silly socks, waiting, IV, waiting, answering the same questions over and over. They must have asked me 7 times, "what are you having done today?" in order to make sure they didn't take out my spleen or amputate my leg or something. By the time the surgeon and the anesthesiologist came to see me I had it down, "ACDF, through the neck, C5-C6 & C6-C7, take out the disks, put in a cage full of cadaver bones and my marrow (from my hip), put a plate across the vertebrae, and we're out." Then the doctor wrote on the left side of my neck and off they took me. On the right is an xray (not mine) of what it looks like now.

It got me thinking a lot about how amazing it is that people had surgery 100+ years ago, and lived, much less were "cured." Battlefields, disgusting facilities, etc. Even 60 years ago, when my grandparents had back surgery, they were in full body casts for three months. And I was sending notes from my BlackBerry within 48 hrs.

And then I realized that for most people in the world, the medical standards of 1950's America would be a significant improvement. It makes the projects we have on the GlobalGiving site focused on safe health treatment even more resonant for me. Our health care system may suck by some standards, but I tell you what, we've got it pretty damn good.

And it sure was nice to get to pick the music I listened to off the doctor's Ipod in the operating room. Bruce Springsteen, Badlands, was playing as I drifted off. I asked for the "The Rising" but they thought that was too grim.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Naive Melody, aka "Home" - Talking Heads

Press Play:

I just finished the last of several short trips taken during the last couple of months. Destinations included Northern California, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Indianapolis and, most recently, London England. I returned from London a couple of days ago having royally messed up my neck. The last two days have been aided by Vicodin. Is this what House takes? Hard to imagine how he can pop two of these (he's always popping two pills at a time) and do his life-saving work.

But I digress from the title/point of this post. Do I? Does it have a point? Home. I have noticed that often when I am away, I have a strange it to be "home?" And what is home? Sometimes I consider California home. Sometimes Maryland/DC. Sometimes being with Debbie, or being with Meredith & gang, or being with the birth family. Sometimes it's just a sense of being that is independent from other people. And of course at Fannie Mae we were "showing America a new way home." Did we mean it literally? Hmm.

Songwriters have written about "home" forever, often metaphorically:

Michael Buble: Another winter day has come and gone away, in even paris and rome, and I wanna go home
Daughtry: I don't regret this life I chose for me, But these places and these faces are getting old, So I'm going home.
Jack Johnson: I try to understand, what I can't hold in my hand, and where ever we are, home is there too
Bonnie Raitt: And Home, Sings me of sweet things, My life there has it's own wings
To fly over the mountains, Though I'm standing still

Talking Heads: Home, is where I want to be, but I guess I'm already there.

So this bodes the home a place or a state of mind? Yes, I say, yes!


Thursday, November 6, 2008


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Start Me Up - Do you have as much energy as Mick?

Start Me Up - Rolling Stones

I was chatting with my mom yesterday. She's been calling a lot to check on my "condition." This has to do with a herniated disc I am dealing with at the moment. During the conversation we got to talking about the amount of energy it takes to live life...and how some people have an abundance of it, while others need periodic (daily, or vacation-y) rejuvenation periods. And yet others have an abundance of energy even in the face of adversity and, let's face it, age.

I was reminded of this conversation this morning when my alarm went off at 6:30 am and the thought crossed my mind that maybe I wouldn't get up, shower and get on the metro. But I was determined to go root on my Women's Foundation friends who were running the Marine Corps 10k. (I was supposed to be running too, but did I mention I have a ruptured disc? )

Granted Lisa and Julie are 14 and 22 years younger than I am, but it still is impressive for anyone to get up before dawn on a weekend and plod the 6.3 or 26 miles that 20,000 people ran, jogged, walked, and cranked today. Cranked? Yep, cranked. The most amazing thing about going to a race like this is seeing all the people who not only have the energy, but the fight, to get up before the crack of dawn, strap on their prosthetic leg or have their buddies lower them into their wheelchair or "hand-crank" bike, and go for it.

As I stood waiting to wave my little sign for Lisa and Julie I watched the winner of the wheelchair category power by...

And then a guy with a titanium leg, from the knee down, cruised by - ahead of both my friends.

Those guys have energy. And fight. Here's to them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gimme Some Truth - Jakob Dylan (for John McCain)

I do not profess to be a hero, and I do respect the men and women who choose to serve our country and put themselves in harms way.

BUT my frustration over John McCain's abuse of his military record is boiling over into downright anger. How many times did we hear during the Republican Convention that he was a "war hero?" How many times did we hear the story of his capture, torture, bravery, etc? How many times will Sarah Palin say, "he's the only person running for president who truly knows what it means to sacrifice for our country?" And how many GD times have we heard - and will we hear - "Country First."

What a load of crap. Please, read this Rolling Stone story that sheds light on the true military record and experience of John McCain. It's more the story of a mean, bratty Seth Rogen in a uniform than Tom Cruise in TopGun.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who's Your Partridge Family? - "I Think I Love You"

Press Play and enjoy:

On Friday night my friend Lisa went to see New Kids on the Block. I can't even tell you one song by "New Kids" but Lisa, I'm sure, sang along to every song as if it were 1992...16 years ago. Lisa is 30 years old. When I asked her who was at the concert she said, "pretty much a bunch of 30 year old women."

So it got me thinking about my early musical immersion and what inspired the same level of enthusiasm for me when I was coming of age. And while there were a lot of choices from my early teens, it was definitely at an earlier age that I first became obsessed with a band. It was The Partridge Family, whose TV show I never missed, that filled that role for me when I was 8-12 years old.

I wanted desperately to be Laurie Partridge. OK, let's be honest. I had a wicked crush on Susan Dey, who played Laurie Partridge...but I didn't know that then. I played the back of the couch (aka piano) while my friends air-banded their roles as Keith, Danny, Shirley and the rest of the gang.

The Partridge Family is broadly mocked these days, but the truth is that they had some very highly regarded songwriters and musicians working with them. Shirley Jones, for god's sake, is an icon. And now we all know that Danny Bonaduce was destined for infamy.

To this day, I believe I could sing every song they recorded. Just like Lisa can sing all those New Kid songs.

What's your Partridge Family?

ps: have you noticed how the GlobalGiving birds are like the PF ones?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Weight - The Band

Press Play;
The weight.mp3
Take a load off Fannie, take a load for free;
Take a load off Fannie, And (and) (and) put the load right on me.

Got up late this morning and walked into the bathroom. Thought it was weird that Debbie had the radio on at 9am on a Saturday morning. First thing she says to me is, "they took them over." I don't have a clue what she is talking about and look at her quizzically. "THEY TOOK THEM OVER." And then I know what she means. It was expected, but still I held out hope. Our former employer is about to become a true government entity. Sigh.

I feel very melancholy about this. It's hard to believe it's been 8 1/2 years since I walked out the doors of 4000 Wisconsin Avenue, and away from a 14 year chapter. The thickest chapter of my adult life so far, for sure. Fannie Mae was the place I grew older and up, the place where I met some of my closet friends and my real life partner. It was the place where I learned not to be constrained by what Jim Collins calls the "tyranny of the or" - mission and markets are compatible...indeed mutually reinforcing. It was at once a dynamic, frustrating, progressive, hierarchical, generous place that I came to love and loved me back.

Fannie and Freddie were a grand experiment - not quite fish, not quite fowl. Two entities developed to serve America's homebuyers while also enriching shareholders and employees. And now - for reasons that have been, and will be, discussed and gotten only partly right by the media - the grand experiment is over. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will become, for all intents and purposes, fowl. Not fish. In my mind, fish swim relatively freely in oceans and streams, they run the risk of getting eaten by the larger guys, picked at by the smaller guys, and caught by the fisherman. Fowl these days tend to live in a small yard or coop, get fed only when someone feeds them, lay a few eggs now and then, are constrained from flight, and their future is always dependent upon the benevolence of their "owner." Yes, the experiment went a-fowl.

And then there is the issue of the people who were counting on some form of Fannie Mae stock for their retirement or next chapter. ESOP? Nope. Stock options? Nope. Loyal shareholders who hoped Paulson's bazooka strategy would work? Not so much. And there are a million questions about pensions, retirees' benefits, and myriad other issues that are real to real people.

It's just so sad and disappointing. Pride, arrogance, a feeling of invincibility. They'll kill ya. And they did. Kinda like learning about John Edwards' dalliances, but worse. So much promise and historically so much value provided and created. As Robert Frost wrote, "nothing gold can stay."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Joking - Indigo Girls (for john mccain)

You were only joking, brother

With all due respect to Sarah Palin, who has made history and who clearly is a talented, accomplished woman, like so many women I are some facebook and twitter status updates of people I know after the announcement:

newsflash: 24 years later, Republican Party follows suit (white male, D)

yes she is exactly who you need and who this country needs (white female, former HRC supporter)

is liking's comment, "Brilliant Pick or Dan Quayle in a Dress?" (white male, not sure)

Sarah Palin may be a woman...but she is still a gun-toting pro-lifer (white female, D)

is incensed and insulted, as all women should be (30yr old white female, D)

thinks Sarah Palin looks like Tina Fey (white male, not sure)

is wondering what kind of president Obama will be. (white male, R lobbyist)

now realizes that the universe wants Obama to lead the U.S. For reals, not just in the dream land in my head. (white female, D I think)

isn't sure what more to say to his daughter who, upon hearing John McCain's choice for VP, shouted "Is he on crack!" So far, I've said "no." (same R from above)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Galway Girl - Steve Earle

Watched a really horrible movie last night - PS - I Love You. The absolute best thing about the movie was this song, which we heard twice - in both cases sung by "Irishmen." Totally the best part of the movie.

It isn't the first time I've watched a really bad movie and come away thinking, "well, at least there was that song in it." So, here are a few other examples:

5. We Don't Need Another Hero - Tina Turner from MadMax Beyond the Thunderdome. I barely made it through that movie. Tina, on the other hand, belted out a great one.

4. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston - from The Bodyguard. OK, so this movie wasn't a total zero, but pretty freakin' cheesy fare. This may be the best demonstration of the pipes that Whitney had pre- "crack is whack."

3. Kiss from a Rose - Seal - from Batman Forever. Val Kilmer? What a disappointment.

2. You Got It - Whoopi & Mary Louise Parker - From Boys on the Side. First, it's against lesbian law to say this movie sucked, but, um, it was not so good. This scene, however tear-jerky, was a killer, and the soulfulness with which thew Whoopster sings is breathtaking. And then the movie ends with Bonnie Raitt doing her version of this great Roy Orbison song. personal favorite example from a recent movie

1. Mr. Brightside - The Killers, as butchered by a Cameron Diaz sing-a-long in the awful movie, The Holiday. This seemed to have promise - Cameron Diaz (that smile), Jude Law (those eyes), Kate Winslet (that accent), and Jack Black (that humor). UGH.

Of the four of you who actually read this blog, got any to add?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Daughters - John Mayer

John Mayer - Daugh...

"So Mothers be good to your daughters too..."

This morning I read a blog post that I can't get our of my brain, and the refrain of John Mayer's song is the background track. While the song is more about fathers and daughters, there is that cautionary reminder in the final line of the chorus.

The blog post was written by a lovely woman I met at a conference a month or so ago, and since then I have been reading her blog. She is not a "super blogger" in the sense of Dooce or her peers, and maybe because of that - and the fact that we seem on first blush to have a fair amount in common - I like reading her posts. I'm not linking to the post I refer to, because I don't in any way want the author to think that I am judging or criticizing her, and while they say that once you put shit out there in the blogosphere it's public domain, it just doesn't feel right.

But here's the gist of the post: Explanation of why distance had been created by blogger and her mom - values, lack of interest in her kids, her life, disappointment. Young daughter asking mom, "why don't we ever see our other grandma? " Mom trying graciously to explain history, hurt and distance in a way that doesn't justify, but is honest. Next line:
My mother died tonight. I'll never get a chance to try to bridge the chasm between us. But I also know in my heart that it was unlikely that the attempt would have made a difference.

That kicked my ass. Wasn't expecting it really. Got me thinking.

The relationship between mothers and daughters is so very complex. I think about the little microcosm here in our house. My relationship with my mom is quite good. She lives a country away, but we email ongoingly, talk every other weekend, share a lot of core beliefs, values, and foibles. Not perfect, and I have disappointments, as I'm sure she does, but we are lucky.

Debbie's relationship with her mom is very good now, but that wasn't always the case. Now they talk daily - mostly because of her Dad's cancer treatment. I have watched Debbie work hard to bridge the differences and hurts and to forgive, if not forget. That is awfully hard to do and I admire her for it. But I also totally get that it is not the best or healthiest path for everyone.

Debbie and Carly's relationship is more of the "modern" type - they laugh, they fight, they make fun of people together. They like the same kind of music (mostly), we know a whole lot about her friends, boys, fears, and accomplishments. As time has gone on, they even play beer pong together. If I had a dollar for every time Carly said, "Mom, you are going to be in the room with me when I give birth," I could buy a bottle of Grey Goose.

I have two goddaughters, and they have two mothers. That presents twice as much opportunity for warmth, support, fun and unconditional love. And of course, 2x as much opportunity for disappointment, and the other yucky stuff. I have confidence the former will be the case, but of course time will tell.

Several of my friends have had girls - ranging in age from 10 to two months. These mothers are 21st century - open, empowered, strong and spectacular (in my humble opinion) , just as i suspect my new blogger friend is. They have the chance to get it "more right." I know they will.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Girls in Their Summer Clothes - Bruce

06 - Bruce Springs...

Growing up in Northern California, we went to the beach pretty frequently. Generally a day trip. A couple of times my folks rented a house and we stayed for a week in or near Santa Cruz. 40 years later I come to the Outer Banks with la familia and friends each late July/early August for a week. The experiences are somewhat different:

1968: "Stop fighting with your brother about who sits in the 'way back,' it's only a 45 minute drive"
2008: "Let's drive 4 hours to Norfolk, stay the night, and drive the second 4 hours on Saturday am"

1968: "Make sure you pack a sweatshirt, it'll be chilly at night"
2008: "Close the doors, it's letting in all the hot air and the AC can't keep up"

1968: Cliffs, wetsuits, the Big Dipper and frisbee
2008: Dunes, sting rays, Kitty Hawk Kites and cornhole

1968: "Donna, you have been in the water for four hours, it's time to come out."
2008: "Donna, are you ever going to get that lazy butt out of the chair and go swimming?"

1968: "Ok, everyone, put on your baby oil."
2008: "Who's got the 42 SPF?"

1968: Forecast for the week: Sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny
2008: Forecast for the week: Sunny, Scattered Thunderstorms, Sunny, Isolated Thunderstorms..."

1968: Sittin on the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
2008: Breakout - Miley Cyrus

1968 or 2008, there aren't too many things better than the beach.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan

I spent half of Friday and most of Saturday at the BlogHer 08 conference. I was definitely not the "prototypical" attendee. I have this pathetic blog, and I post on the GlobalGiving blog every so often, but in general I was there as a partner to the organization, not as a blogger. Ahem, BlogHer.

I came into the office today and about half of the members of our gargantuan team asked me, individually, "how was the BlogHer conference?" And each time I said the same thing - it was fascinating.

And that is what it was.

It was a business conference.
It was a party.
It was sorority.
It was a therapy session.
It was a comedy central special.
It was a drama queen event.
It was a hyper-wired community.
It was the mommy bloggers and the shark advertisers.
It was the netroots and the RNC's digital woman.
It was not very racially or ethnically diverse. Honestly.
It was Wii fitness, Lesbian Dad and the makeover booth.
It was twitter, ustream and blogspot. nonstop.
It was east, south, north, west.
It was lipstick lesbians and white trash moms.
It was fabulous.
It was alive.
It was crazy making.
It was inspiring.
It was fun.

It was every woman.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Down Under - Men at Work

It's been a while since I thought about or listened to this song. It was released sometime while I was in college for sure - maybe 1983. I remember that we all thought Men at Work was really cool, with "Who Can it Be Now," and then "Land Down Under." Australia seemed like an exotic place a LONG plane ride away. We got into it when a bunch of friends who played on the UC Davis women's basketball team went to Australia to play.

I was reminded of Men at Work while mulling over the book I just finished: The Road From Coorain, by Jill Ker Conway. All I knew about Conway was that at some point in the 70s she became the first woman President of Smith College. The book is a memoir of her formative years, first on the family sheep farm in the outback, and then in Sydney in the 1950's. I had first seen the book years ago, but recently my mom sent me a copy, suggesting I might enjoy it. I was only moderately enthusiastic about reading it, but cracked it open nonetheless.

I'm so glad I did.

Life for educated, intellectual women in Sydney in the late 50's probably wasn't that different from life in most parts of the United States at the same time. Jill Ker was a girl under the manipulative control of her widowed mother. But more so, she was coming to grips with her self-expectations as an Australian, as a woman, as a professional. Toward the end of the book, which ends when she is about 25 and heads to Harvard to get a PhD, Ker Conway writes aggressively about experiencing explicit and initially devastating discrimination in the job market.

And then I thought, "Wait, why was there not a woman leading the most famous women's college in the world until the 1970s?" Hmm. I realize how much I, a 45 year old, took for granted about what doors were open to me in the 1980s as I went to college and entered the working world. But I grew up in a very progressive household - my mom was the 12-year old tennis champ of San Francisco Parks & Rec in 1942 for goodness sake. I guess my frame of mind was shaped by having played sports, and the changing views and rules of that era - including the passage of Title IX - but I was in a cohort that represented the beginning of a different mindset.

The evolution of womens' views about their "equality" has really been on my mind for the last few months - Hillary's run at the White House, seeing Billie Jean King (Can you say Women's Sports Foundation?) in DC recently, a conversation with someone working on Obama's "women's outreach" strategy. This last one - the Obama friend - mentioned that they are debating inside the campaign what to call this "woman thing (my words)." And she admitted that "they" are mostly women 45 or older, for whom the term "post-feminist" is insulting at best.

At the same time I'm struck by the crop of female summer interns we have this year at GlobalGiving. These young women don't feel hindered by their gender. They do not relate to "the women's movement" or the concept of "feminism" in the historic definition of these terms. It's all pretty much a given for them. But they do appreciate the leaders who paved the way for them. And they do realize that, conceptually, women are still not equally compensated for the same jobs, are still objectified in many/most US sub-cultures, and are still sometimes subjected to institutional sexism. It's just not how they view the world.

As someone who came in the "tweener" generation, I feel a strong obligation to be a bridger between the generations that came before and after me, who seem to not really understand each other's perspective yet.

The band is called MEN at Work...miles to go before we sleep.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Food Glorious Food (Originally from Oliver!, redone for the movie "Ice Age")

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I am periodically accused of being a beer or wine snob. And when this happens I give my standard answer - it's not worth the calories if it's low quality and sucks. I truly believe that. I'm also self-aware enough to know that I am a food snob. Not that I don't enjoy french fries or a pizza - but they have to be GOOD french fries (you know, real potatoes, a little crunchy but not overcooked, not too thick, etc) or pizza. I admit it. I am a pain in the ass on a road trip.

The other day I picked up a book I love given to me by my friend Allison Wolff - The Intellectual Devotional - and I opened it to a random page, as I often do. Lately the random pages have seemed to be less random. Regardless, that day's page was on Epicureanism. I've of course heard this word and used the awesome Epicurious website to find new recipes many many times. But I didn't know much about the origin of the term. Here's what I learned:

Epicurus (341-271 BC) was a greek philosopher.

Epicurus was fundamentally concerned with ways to be happy. Not just shopping, eating and drinking. He gave us three basic rules for happiness:

1. Have good friends and spend lots of time with them. Live with them if possible.
2. Be free. Loosen as many ties to business and politics as possible. Be self-sufficient.
3. Reflect. A well-lived life is one that is thought about, reflected on, and lived thoughtfully.

As much as the notion of "epicureanism" has an elitist tinge to it, Epicurus himself was a proponent of egalitarianism...even let slaves (yes, darker skinned people) and women (egads!) into his classes. Crazy dude.

The Epicurean crowd divided pleasures into those that were static and those that were kinetic. They believed that sating static pleasures (e.g. having a philosophical conversation) doesn't diminish your desire - it typically makes you want to do more. A kinetic desire, on the other hand (e.g. the desire for food), is satisfied and then you experience the lack of that desire. They warned against these kinetic pleasures because they, in today's vernacular, can lead to addiction. As a result they believed we should live relatively austere and simple lives, with only an occasional luxury.

So I was thinking - I guess when I get called a beer snob, or whatever kind of eating and drinking snob, I could just say, "no, I'm an Epicurean," but then I read one more piece of the story. These guys "lived communally and abstained from political activity." Oh well. Bring on the Bud Light and Dominos.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Only for A Little While (Sugarbeat) and Same Ole River (Sam Bush)

Didn't make it to Telluride this year but I listened to a lot via took some time to find/scan old photos, and made this little show.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Umbrella - Originally Rihanna w/Jay-Z, covered by Marie Digby


When the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunshine - Jonathan Edwards (for Mom on Mother's Day)

Press play (sorry for the low quality video):

Today is Mother's Day, 2008. I was supposed to be finishing up a really nice 24 hrs with my mom right now, dropping her off at the airport in Burbank to head back to Northern California. But instead, I am lying on the couch on my friends Meredith & Kate's, watching 60 minutes, and hoping that the Immodium I took two hours ago kicks in before too long.

The original plan was a great one: I had to be here in LA for a cool conference Friday night and Saturday, and then I'm guest-teaching a class at UC Irvine on Tuesday. Mom was to fly down Saturday afternoon from No Cal, we'd have a nice dinner in Santa Monica, stay on the beach at the Georgian Hotel, walk on the beach this morning, and spend the afternoon at the Getty Museum in Malibu before her departure. Sounds great, huh?

But instead, I found myself running to the bathroom when I arrived in Burbank from Portland on Friday afternoon, somehow managed not to toss my cookies on our new contact at Evite. and made it all the way to Eagle Rock before depositing my breakfast and lunch out the car door two blocks from my destination. Despite the fact that Meredith would barely let me near my goddaughters for fear I would contaminate them with my "bug," I was glad to be in a familiar place. (ok, fair enough, since they are all traveling later this week and who wants to travel with a barfing, diarrhea-y 5 year old?).

While I was bummed to miss Friday's opening reception at the home of Sex and the City creator, Darren Star, I was sure it would pass quickly and I'd be up and at 'em for the conference on Saturday. No such luck. I just couldn't do it. My body was not cooperating. Midday, mom and I decided there was no way a nice dinner or evening in a $300/night hotel together would be fun for either of us, so she bagged the trip. By last night I had consumed about 2 oz. of applesauce and a piece of toast. Woo Hoo. But the aches were overwhelming. Thank goodness for the heating pad, soda, and TLC provided by my friends.

Today's been better, went for a little walk, ate a banana and some eggs. But that did NOT agree with me, hence the Immodium.

My mom's great. She always made me feel like I could be whatever I wanted to be, and she and my dad continue to be my biggest fans. She's funny, smart, politically-savvy and knows how to IM. I would have loved to see her for Mother's Day, but whatcha gonna do? Next year for sure.

Oh, why Jonathan Edwards? Cuz every time I hear this song it reminds me of being about 10 years old driving down the street with my mom, and her turning down the song in the middle where the lyrics are, "He can't even run his own life, I'll be DAMNED if he'll run mine." Ok, so she didn't like her 10 year old swearing out loud. For Father's Day I'll write about my dad and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Karma Chameleon - Culture Club

Press Play:
Culture Club - Kar...

I AM ANGELINA JOLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have had a deep look into your soul and have realised...

Icon: more criitical conclusions from Intelligent Giving

Buddha are Angelina Jolie

WHOAH THERE! If you're not counselling refugees or pressuring Hollywood producers to finance Ecuadorian co-operatives, you’re signing off charity cheques like so many autograph pads. Unless you’re telling us porkies.

Maybe you should glide by the message board and let us all know how to be glamourous and good all at once.

This from a little thing called Karma Calculator.

Let me just say that I think Angie is the bomb. Brad too. And I am a believer in karma for sure. If you aren't, just think about how happy and healthy the lives of Dick Cheney, Leona Helmsley and Michael Vick were/are.

I hope I can live up to my new found identity.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Born to Fight - Tracy Chapman

Press play

This is a great video of Tracy Chapman singing one of her (many) spectacular songs, "Born to Fight." I was really glad to find this video this weekend, since it is just the anniversary of MLK's murder, the riots in many cities, including DC, etc. This video was taken at a tribute concert to Nelson Mandela, the ultimate fighter.

But what prompted me to find this song was watching the women's NCAA basketball final four earlier tonight. Stanford, sort of a home town team for me, beat the #1 ranked Connecticut Huskies and advanced to the Championship Game. I know most people think of Stanford as an elitist, white, insular place. And there surely is some truth to that description. But it is also a place where athletes, as long as they meet the academic standards to get in (which are not wimpy) can shine.

Think Tiger Woods, Kim Oden, and now, Candice Wiggins. Wiggins is the first four time All-American in the history of Stanford Basketball. She is smart, tough, and an amazing three point shooter. As a former point guard, it is a beautiful thing to watch her leadership, her passing, and her "whatever it takes" spirit. And of course everyone things Geno's Connecticut team is a dynasty. Geno, take that. Go Cardinal.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Superstar (Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, from JC Superstar)

Happy Easter:

Despite the fact that only about 5 people ever read this blog, I debated with myself for nearly an hour about what song from my catalog to pick for today's post. It's Easter. So, being the child of the 70s that I am, I vacillated between something from Jesus Christ Superstar and something from Godspell. I know both make some people cringe. Why couldn't I just pick some Jesus song? Well, that felt a little too straightforward for my liking.

This internal debate causes me to go back and refresh my memory about the two "God-themed musicals." Jesus Christ Superstar came first, in 1970, but Godspell followed just about a year later. Both of these musical-plays-turned-movies were written by super-famous folks. Superstar by the amazing Andrew Lloyd Webber who, of course, is also responsible for such small hits as Evita, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera. And Godspell was written by Stephen Schwartz, whose accomplishments other than Godspell include little shows like Pippin, Pocahontas, Wicked, and Enchanted.

Godspell was like Marcel Marceau meets Haight Ashbury, but most of the songs were pretty straight-up "God is love" kinda fare. At Catholic masses all over the place, including the hippie mass my mom took me to at St. Clare's, people were singing "Day by Day." The more radical services included the opening piece, which was a little more raucous - "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord." Like all good hippie mass songs, that one involved guitars and a tambourine. It was all pretty tame.

JC Superstar was far edgier, much harder rock and roll, and the songs didn't really lend themselves to the mass thing. And there was the issue of what might be perceived as some controversial depictions of Jesus' posse: Could Mary Magdalene be a whore andpossibly be a love interest for Jesus? This was underscored (pun intended) by the song I Don't Know How to Love Him, which was sung by the lovely Yvonne Elliman in the movie version (Her other claim to fame was singing background on Eric Clapton's version of I Shot the Sheriff). And then there was the big controversy in my mind as I got older: Why was Judas portrayed by a black man?!?! Well, probably everybody back then was more black than what we think of as "white" now. But casting Jesus as a waif-like white dude and Judas, the traitor, as a black man, struck me as aggressive.

Enough. I chose Superstar. It's the finale, it's the resurrection. That's what Easter is. But it's also two other things. One, the lyrics are a reminder of the questions that continue about Jesus in many peoples' minds. Second, it's an amazingly entertaining period piece - check out those outfits!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Coconut Dog/Morning Dew (Traditional/Solas)

SLAINTE! Watch/listen to these talented musicians:

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of us (even those of you without a drop of Irish blood). While I am only 1/4 Irish, I definitely feel a connection to my Irish many different ways. One of them is music. I even own a bodhran.

I have been a fan of Celtic/Irish music for many years. First exposed to it, like most "Americans," through The Chieftains. A trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1992, hanging out with the local bands in small venues, sealed the deal. But when I started listening to it for real was after hearing a series of interesting performers at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. TBF is NOT just a place for hillbilly music - it's an amazing platform for any music that has some sort of "roots" base. And the range of performers within the broad rubric of Celtic is a good indication of the diversity of music heard in the beautiful box canyon every summer solstice: Natalie MacMaster, Wolfstone, Chieftains, Ashley McIsaac, Maura O'Connell, Great Big Sea. I first heard Solas at Bluegrass too - in 1997. They are an amazing group of musicians, combining innovation and 21st century approaches while respecting the beauty of the original music.

On St. Paddy's Day it's way better to listen to stuff like this than drink that horrible green beer.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Well Alright (Buddy Holly, et al done by Clapton/Winwood 2/28/08)


Last week Debbie and I went to NYC for about 48 hours. Why so short? Because she had been traveling for almost two weeks for work. Why, at all? To use the Xmas tickets I gave her to see the show of a lifetime (ok, the lifetime of someone over 40-something). Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood met in the late 1960's and collaborated (along with Ginger Baker and Ric Grech)as Blind Faith.

Blind Faith's single, eponymous, album came out in late 1969. I was seven years old. So being, um, on the late cusp of the baby boomer generation, I remember the album from my older brothers' collection. I am sure my parents did NOT approve of its cover. I remember the song "Can't Find My Way Home," but not because I heard it then...maybe later during my brother Chuck's Traffic stage. And of course this song, "Well Alright," was originally done by Buddy Holly and has been covered by lots of folks. While the Blind Faith version is, in my opinion, the best by far, two others are worth a little trip down memory lane:

Santana did a version in the late 1970's. Here's a video of his band performing it in 1980 - and Carlos actually sings back-up, a rare occurrence for him:

And, of course, we must pay tribute to the originator. Although there is no video, this is worth a listen:

Friday, February 15, 2008

One Love (Bob Marley)

This is fun to watch and listen to:

Yesterday was Valentine's of the most overhyped "holidays" in my view...maybe that says more about me than the day. To fight my inner cynic, I made a playlist on my iPod to play at work yesterday. I included all songs in my library that have the word "love" (or include it, aka "Lovely Rita) in their title. I was only moderately surprised to find that of my 4,000+ songs, 285 of them have a title containing those four letters - L-O-V-E.

If I go to iTunes and search on "love" I get a gazillion results.

My 285-song playlist included some classics and some funny results, that represent the spectrum of the human condition vis-a-vis the concept of love. A few examples:

What's Love Got to Do with It - Tina Turner
Love Hurts - Gram Parsons
Love Has No Pride - Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt
The One I Love - REM
Runaway Love - Ludacris
Love Shack - B 52's
Falling in Love Again - Billie Holiday and, of course,
Love is All You Need - The Beatles (Duh)

But the song that captures the vibe of what love really has to do with "it' is Bob Marley's One Love...and you can't help but sing along:

One Love!
One Heart!
Let's get together and feel all right.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Lucky One (Alison Krauss)

Alison Krauss - Th...

Tonight is the 50th Grammy Awards, so it seems fitting that I would post something on my episodic blog. Why Alison Krauss? Because she has won more Grammys than any other female. Period. Shocking, isn't it?

Here's the rundown on her achievements:
  • A total of 20 Grammys
  • Her first win was 18 years ago - 1990 - for the best bluegrass song
  • Every award she has won has been in the Country, Bluegrass or Folk category with the exception of being part of the Album of the Year team for "Oh Brother Where Art Thou's" soundtrack
  • She is nominated tonight for Best Collaboration (with Robert Plant) for a song from their very cool album Raising Sand AND for Best Female Country Performance.
She is a Renaissance woman for sure.

It's 8pm. Time to watch to see if the "lucky one" wins again.

UPDATE: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant won the 2007 grammy for "Gone, Gone, Gone." The 2007 Grammy program was horrible.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Raining in Baltimore (Counting Crows)

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Debbie and I went up to the Ram's Head Live in Baltimore last night to see Adam Duritz of Counting Crows play a benefit acoustic set. I won the tickets on 94.7 The Globe Classic Rock radio station a couple of weeks ago. I called and identified the name of the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou ("What was the name of the movie starring George Clooney that had a bluegrass soundtrack produced by T-Bone Burnett?"). Yeah for Weazel.

The performance was awesome. The venue was so-so. And the crowd sucked.

The highlights:
  • The show was a benefit for the Johns' Hopkins' Pediatric Epilepsy program. It was totally organized by some 40-somethings whose daughter was treated there after having some pretty scary seizures. The Harris' are doing good stuff, and raised $260,000 around the event. Check out The CarsonHarris Foundation for what they are doing.
  • The concert was fabulous (what i could see/hear - more on that in the lowlights section of this post). It was Duritz and two former roommates - members of the band Lonestar - on acoustic guitar. They come out, with a wheelie Coleman cooler of beer, plunk down on the stage and proceed to play some very innovative versions of lots of Counting Crows songs, and quite a number of covers. They had planned a great somewhat Baltimore-themed set.
  • Adam played a song from pre-CC days that he hasn't performed since 1989. It was from a band called The Himalayans, and the song was called "Save My Life." It was fun to hear.
The Lowlights (I'm sure I am old and crabby and I was tired last night, but...):
  • Sloppy drunk is never pretty. For the first half of the show we stood (there is no seating at Ram's Head) in the balcony. During the warm-up we staked out a place with a view. But the shit-faced couple to our right were so blotto that they morphed from taking about 4 feet of space to taking (to quote Debbie), "the space of five people" at the railing. Needless to say, for a short girl like me, that pretty much meant no seeing Adam. And then there was the stumbling, and American Idol-like performance by the guy, throughout the set, augmented by constant groping and making out. The spilling of a drink on the woman next to them was a nice touch. Did I mention he had a wedding ring and she did not. Jeez - take it somewhere else where you can drain the mini bar and perform your rendition of "Rain King" in private.
  • So, we go downstairs to SEE and HEAR the show. Why do people go to concerts in small, intimate venues, and then stand around talking throughout the show? Between the well-meaning, big swinging dick investment bankers who were sponsors, the "VIPs," and the partiers in the back, there was a constant drone of chatter during the show. Show some respect people. Go to a freakin' bar if you want to talk the whole time.
Ok, now I've vented. Time for a run. Adam, please come back again. I promise to be less grumpy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday (Stevie Wonder)

Press play to watch and listen:

Steve Wonder wrote this song as part of the campaign to establish a national holiday in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And today is the 2008 date of that holiday. Watching some tributes, clips of Dr. King's speeches, and thinking about what he and others made possible, I got to thinking - "could there really have been anyone who was AGAINST the idea of a holiday in his honor?" Of course, lots of folks.

They said it would "cost us money." They didn't like the idea of singling out one man for a movement (can you say Ghandi?), and it would be crazy to believe that the fact that he was a BLACK man didn't have the greatest weight for the detractors.

Today the Seattle Times re-ran a story they originally ran in 1983, a year before the first MLK Jr. Holiday. It is most definitely worth the read...some great history and facts, but also a view into the times.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

We are Family - Sister Sledge

donna and drew at wasabi
Originally uploaded by dcisme
Ok, no audio or video on this one. Just a photo of my nephew, Drew, and me. We are at a sushi place in Breckenridge Colorado.

I first saw and held Drew when he was 2 + 1/2 weeks old, loved watching him grow up, hung out in Ocean Beach, have had a blast in Breckenridge pretty much every year since 2000, watched him graduate from high school and play in the all-star football game in San Diego this summer, and am proud of him as a young man.

When we met at the airport in Denver last Saturday (along with my sister in law, Carol, and four (YES FOUR) of Drew's buddies), I was taken aback by the five o'clock shadow and maturity in his face...and it's only been a few months since I last saw him.

Drew is smart, handsome, a great athlete and, despite 18-yr old appearances, very sensitive and caring. We had a great time skiing/snowboarding together this week, especially today.

His brother, Davis, is great too. More on him in another post.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves - Eurythmics


I'm not a huge Hillary fan. But I have to say that this morning I am happy for her. Silly pollsters, Silly so-called experts. Silly, silly press.

The fact that the networks, and every cable news station on Earth, has been playing her "getting emotional" video is infuriating. Mitt Romney "got emotional" several times in the last couple of months, but the press did NOT play it to death. I'm not a DOUBLE STANDARD-ACCUSING GIRL, but this is just too glaring not to call FOUL.

Who knows who will win the Democratic nomination. I have been a John Edwards supporter since 2002, but it's not looking so great for my man. Whether it's Obama or Clinton, we have to unseat the current regime.

Today, I say, Go Hillary. You deserve a moment of emotional celebration.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Auld Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg

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I meant to get this posted yesterday, the last day of 2007, to complete my trilogy of acknowledgments of departed musicians. The saddest "celebrity" loss of this year for me would have to be Dan Fogelberg. He died just a couple of weeks ago after a pretty long fight with cancer.

My history with Dan Fogelberg goes back to my adolescence, when my friend Lisa (dubbed "the cakaholic" by my brother Chuck) and I used to play the Souvenirs album incessantly, singing along to Mornin' Sky like we had been born in bluegrass territory, and whispering the lyrics to "Song from Half Mountain" as if every word was a song unto itself. And oh, was he a cutie.

Just for the record, this took place long before Dan became a household name for pop hits like "Longer," "Run for the Roses," or the song highlighted in this post. His music then was less layered, more acoustic, but the lyrics were no less complex or thoughtful....maybe just a little less accessible in the pop music sense.

I remained a fan through those popularity spikes, but in many ways enjoying his alternative albums even more - Twin Sons of Different Mothers with Tim Weisberg, and the bluegrassy High Country Snows.

I remained a fan even after seeing him perform at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1993, seemingly overly drunk or stoned or something and pouting about the sound...leaving the stage once or twice, and putting on a crapola show.

I remained a fan despite the groan that emanates from my partner any time she hears his name, or any song he sings. (Do you detect a bit of a theme in these posts?). It's been tough, at moments, to stay true to my love of Dan over the years in this household, but I have managed.

I remain a fan. Why? Because I think he had a great gift for songwriting.
Oh, and he was a cutie.

Bye Dan. Hello 2008.