One Reporter's Opinion

Proud sponsor of The Partnership for an Idiot-Free America. Andy's random observations -- a potluck of politics, a mix of music musings, and whatever else transcends the transom. (Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are copyright of this blogger. Some rights reserved, subject to the terms and conditions specified under the Creative Commons license.)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

And one more... a laughing gull doing its best imitation of the dove of peace (although it's carrying seagrass rather than an olive branch):

Pair of snowy egrets (Egretta thula) parading in the shallows:

The green heron (Butorides virescens) playing hide & seek on a bridge piling.

A common dunlin (Calidris alpina) scouring an oyster shell bed during the aforementioned 'Teague trip.

A first attempt at bird blogging...

Here's a pair of laughing gulls (Larus atricilla) in the back channel off Chincoteague, VA (7/4/2004):

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

"Gary Shandling... Gary Shandling... Gary Shandling... Gary Shandling... Gary Shandling..."

Yeah, that's what started through my head when I heard about this nascent revolution. Leave it to me to get a piss-poor Butthole Surfers earworm in my cynical haze.

I know people are pretty pissed about this whole George W. Bush debacle. I sure am. And I've gotten some good righteous anger up about it, and what have I done?

I've read a few books. I've had talks at parties. I've made snarky comments on blogs. I pulled the lever for "the nominee" during the primary. I've gone to a screening of Fahrenheit 9/11. And I've given up a goodly amount of free time with my wife so she can go work on the Kerry campaign.

In other words, not much (aside from the time with my wife, which I miss quite a bit).

First, by way of an overview, my take on the furor over F9/11:

It occurs to me that while conservatives don't want this movie to be seen, most people I've talked with much about this flick on this side of the fence have deep reservations about this movie because of reservations they have about Michael Moore, and have said (in very broad terms) that if this movie is going to be made, it needs to be made differently. At least that's my take on it.

And while some criticism is surely warranted from both sides of the coin, it bugs me that some people hold higher standards for their entertainers in this country than they hold for their elected officials.

As a lifelong INFP, my perceptive side does battle with my ideals a good bit of the time. It's difficult for me to pass judgment on people's considered opinions when I know their hearts are in the right place. But I think maybe, just maybe -- Moore's really onto something and it bears considerable discussion regardless of the warts of his most recent movie. He's talking about the extent to which privilege has become so fully enmeshed with power in our day and age. He's outlining the modern-day conundrum of class here in bravery's home (which isn't supposed to exist, after all). He's talking not so much about the resurgence of imperialism so much as he is talking about how it's coming more out in the open. Conspiracy theories aside, there are points made that the punditocracy greeted with mordant chuckles of "grasping at straws" and "wild conjecture." But still, you gaze upon the [edited for effect] vacant stare [of [the president]] and it does take you to a place where you're staring at the hole in the NYC skyline and you gotta ask, "What in the blue fuck went wrong to let this happen?" I'll be the first to go on record as saying when a Bush -- or anyone, for that matter -- is asking not to hold inquiries into the failures that led up to 9/11/01 that they don't really have "national" security in mind. It's as simple a game as CYA, the same petty micropolitical bullshit that keeps so many of my co-workers in positions of gainful employment. "Ulterior motives?" Uh huh. What a damnable understatement.

Anyway, I heard John Kerry today talking about the scramble of people to reach the middle class, and how much he felt for those people. (I leave assessment of his veracity to the fertile imagination of whosoever decides to read this wriggling bit of mental effluvium.) But it struck me that this statement belies a huge truth: upward mobility is The Struggle which defines so much in American life for the underprivileged 98%. And hell, there's no mention of the middle class either trying to work its way forward, nor is there any mention of how many in the so-called middle class is scrabbling and scrapping in order to keep even the bare modicum of what that status accords today. Much of that is borne as high-interest unsecured loans, revolving at the hands of MegaCorpBank (conveniently located at the corner of Usury and Shylock in a town near you).

So I look to this November with significant trepidation. I really don't believe Bush has my best interests at heart, so I will dutifully pull the lever for Kerry (add /Edwards after this morning). But do I believe that things will change significantly? I struggle with that. When confronted with that question... say I'm discussing the effects of jobs moving overseas, and major employers running their HQ from bank boxes in Grand Cayman... do I believe that John Forbes Kerry will lift the first finger to put an end to that practice? My Majick Mental 8-Ball says "No."

And when confronted with the idea that Bush might win, with some apparent hijinks afoot -- will there be an ensuing revolution? Again, the 8-Ball says little to reassure me. But I'm supposed to ask again later.

But then again, the 8-Ball is about as reliable as a NY Post VP cover story. So I suppose that's about as good as it gets.

And that's gotta be good enough for now.
OK, so -- without much more ado...

August 24 is going to be one heck of a day for music.

Mike Watt & the Secondmen will release The Secondman's Middle Stand. 'Bout time, y'all.

Guided by Voices will release Half Smiles of the Decomposed, the final album of their storied career. (I tend to believe that Bob's had it with the GbV vehicle, but god knows what else will come of Circus Devils, Lifeguards, Acid Ranch, Airport 5, Go Back Snowball, The Soft Rock Renegades, Howling Wolf Orchestra, Hazzard Hotrods, Nightwalker, Lexo & The Leapers, or bands yet to be named. Tour shortly to follow, reportedly. Bet your ass I'll be there, wherever they get somewhat close. Watch out for me in Carrboro, Athens, Louisville, Birmingham, Memphis...)

And Steve Earle releases The Revolution Starts... Now. (Sheeya. If only.) But with song titles like, "F the CC," I can imagine that this one's going to be a barnburner. Hopefully this CD will take up where Jerusalem fell short.

And speaking of the revolution...
Consistency was never one of my strongest suits.

That said, I have few excuses for not updating this blog on a regular basis. I will, however, outline what the few of them are.

1) This was hardly meant to be a profession. I have a profession, and unfortunately, my unfettered internet access went fettered a while back. The web nanny even caught on to my blog once I tried doing my own FTPs and not relying on Blogspot to host ORO.

2) Inspiration is difficult to come by when (a) you grapple with long-term self-doubt issues like someone like me does, (b) you grapple with emotional troughs that embolden those old self-invalidating voices, and (c) when you just don't wanna. Somewhere along those lines lies the truth of the matter.

3) I figure that if I'm blogging more than The High Hat comes out with new material, I'm doing fairly well.

Yet I have figured out a few things to say, and then I'll figure out where I wanna go from here.