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Musings and Meanderings

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The RNC Day Two

Catching Arnold now. Apparently he became a Republican cause he liked Nixon. That's old tricky Dick for those of you who don't remember him, or live in the retroactively re written history that the rest of this party lives in. Maria does not look amused nor happy to be surrounded by Republicans. I'm sure the ghost of her cousin will be haunting her tonight.

Apparently its ok to respectfully disagree and still be patriotic as long as you are a Republican according to Arnold. But if you are a Democrat and participated in "the True Lies Convention" I guess you are not.... I would like to remind readers what Howard Dean said at the DNC:
We are not going to be afraid to stand up for what we believe in ever again. We are not going to let those who disagree with us shout us down under a banner of false patriotism.

Personally I found his speech to be jingoistic and highly offensive. It also showed a lack typical lack of a grasp of the facts. But I think he hit the nail on the head about what the difference is between the Republican's and the Democrat's.

He claimed true leadership does not look at the polls. Well this is true, but true leadership looks to the opinions of the people who elected them, and does not assume that they know best. The arrogance of this administration is what angers so many in this country. Its like the Federalist Debates of the late 1700's. Are the American People capable of making their own decisions or should decisions be made for them by those who think they know better for you? If you are the former then I think you are probably today's Democrat, the latter then I think you are probably today's Republican.

Ok George's girls are major babes. Enough said about that. And about interesting as the Heinz girls. Moving on..... Oh and their hamster didn't make it... Mrs. Bush must have been a uber babe if she looked anything like Jenna... Ok I'll stop now.

Mrs. Bush was quite charming and and all I expected. I couldn't expect anything more than what she said. And frankly I was not super interested in what she had to say. Like she said at the beginning, "if you were to ask me over Coffee why you should vote for my husband"... Well what else would she say?

There are some interesting themes throughout this Convention so far. One is an attempt to dispute the Kerry/Edward's claim of "Two America's". Rudy and Arnold both used derisive comments to poke fun at the "Two America's" claim of Kerry/Edwards. More on that later this week I hope.

Another is the rehashing of the Compassionate Conservativism theme. Trotting out programs like "No Child Left Behind" as proof that it works, when this one of the most underfunded programs in the last four years compared to what was promised. Another sign of the self delusion that this Administration lives under. Like claiming the Economy is turning around. Like claiming WMD's in Iraq. Like providing a tax cut for the rich and then claiming they are for the middle class. Its like Georbels Big Lie. Say it loud enough and long enough and people will believe it. And they do.

A third is completely associating 9/11, patriotism and being a good American with being a Republican. 9/11 and the response to it is the reason to re-elect Bush Administration. I'm afraid being a sales person my outlook is: "thanks for what you did for me then, but what are you going to do for me in the future." Point being where is the plan for the next four years? I've not heard it.

A fourth is this patrician belief that if you just work hard you can do anything you want in America. This one just boggles me and Republicans use this as the basis for their obstruction of any programs that would benefit the less fortunate. Not every American is equal. This is a fact of economic life, yet in the rose tinted world of the neo conservative, every one in America can grow up to be whatever they want. Go see the inner cities George, and tell me all American's have the same opportunities.


posted by Mike 11:00 PM

Monday, August 30, 2004

The RNC Day One.

Catching the McCain speech tonight. So far the McCain reason to re-elect Bush is that he waged war on Saddam Hussein.

A war that we started, the first war America has waged without direct provocation in modern history. There is no link between Iraq and 9/11. Multiple reports have determined this. However I am on record that this war was necessary, but it was was predicated by lies and deceit.

Then they trotted out the family survivors of the 9/11 flight. But they didn't say anything as to why we should re-elect Bush.

Guess this is going to be a 9/11 fest. Nothing wrong with celebrating and remembering 9/11. But to politicized this event as some sort of memoriam to the greatness of George Bush is revolting. What happened tonight with these three women is completely shameless. Completely shameless. I hope the 9/11 family survivors protest this most strongly.

And then came Rudy. How can you not like Rudy. But Rudy, we didn't finish in Afghanistan. Its still going on, its the forgotten war. Why is it the forgotten war, cause it didn't play in Peoria like Iraq would. Rudy was right, no one has the corner on the 'right' ideas. Personally I'd rather see moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats get together to run the country. But Rudy this is not YOUR Republican party. It's the party run by the neo conservatives. And Rudy, they have the wrong ideas.... Finally Rudy, it isn't good leadership to stubbornly stick to bad ideas without being open to change.

Well they said they were going to make Kerry a object of derision right after the DNC. Rudy started them on the path. Good to see the Republicans taking the high road here. Good thing it wasn't a personal attack though. Whew. Its gonna be a long four days for me. But I will watch at least the final hour of each day. Or try to.

Im out.
posted by Mike 11:12 PM

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Odds and Ends

Day trip to NH

Alex and I set off at 9am for NH to see Dad and Kathy yesterday. To our great delight cousin Anne also came out to visit, though she arrived a bit later in the afternoon. We got there around 11am having made great time. Dad was out so Kathy and I had a nice chat about life, the Universe, and everything. Dad came back with the NYTimes (NE Edition) so we consumed that, looked at the pictures I brought from scout camp and Giants Training Camp. I brought the Giants pics cause they were taken with the old camera Dad had given me.

Kathy made this mad good lunch and the neighbor's children Chelsea (13) and Tayor (15) came over. We did a little birthday celebration, as it was Chelsea's birthday tomorrow (13) as well as Alex's on Monday. They are the ones that took such good care of Kathy when she was stuck in NH after breaking her ankle. They also played with Alex when he was out this summer. The kids went swimming later in the neighbor's pool and Kathy, Anne and I went over to watch the kids and ended up chatting with the parents for a while too.

We had a lovely dinner in town at the Old Mill, in a brew pub/restaurant. The food was good and the company great. Finally I headed home around 9pm after doing a bit of book shopping with Dad at the great "sincere" bookstore in the Mill. I took the longer way home, the highway, and we got home around 1130.

The Republican Contention.. Convention starts this week

Oh goodie. This blog will try to be nice about what's coming up this week but frankly its really hard. After four years of extreme right wing policies and agendas the GOP is rolling out all their moderates. Just how dumb is the American populace?

Well I'm guessing they will swallow this one hook line and stinker... HALF the Republican platform is apparently about what a wonderful war time President we have. This as the Economy sinks lower into the doldrums every month. Report after report about how people have less income, health care and standard of living here in the US keep coming out.

Ok so summer comes along NOW?

And what is up with this? After the coolest summer on record in a long while the last two days have been just BEASTLY. The standard mid July 3H day - Hot Hazy and Humid. The car was so hot this afternoon when we went out that Alex nearly burned his hand on the metal of the seat belt. Thank you for A/C. At least we sleep cool and comfortable with the window unit in the bedroom.

The continuing birthday celebration.

So yesterday Alex got a Gameboy SP and a new game from Dad and Kathy. Birthday celebration day one, two days before the day of birth. TODAY we had best friend numero uno Lucas over, and I took them to "Laser Tag". They played for 45 min and had a great time. We walked over to Zombie Planet as well (the local game shop) and looked at Hero Clix, and other neat geek stuff. I'm helping Alex to find his inner geek, and Lucas loves the stuff too. As soon as GURPS 4th Edition comes out I am going to try to do some GameMastering with them on weekends.

The final bit of birthday weekend is tomorrow. We will entertain Tyler all day. This is Alex's best friend numero dos. We were going to do Laser Tag tomorrow as well but turns out the one we went to today is closed tomorrow. We will figure out something to do no worries.

And finally.. bad parent department.

Liza looks at me at 825pm and says.. Alex wants something to open tomorrow morning. Now I've been with him 24/7 the last two days. I'm like don't we have anything? Um no... OOPS.

So I ran up to the dreaded Wallmart this evening and got Alex some cool gifts. There is a new CSI board game, so that's cool. Apparently they have re released some of the old arcade games in these handheld joysticks you can connect to your TV (amazing technology) so I got one with Ms Pac man, Galaga and three others built in. That and a little hot wheel car.

His biggest gift is that we are redoing his room. New paint, which we just got cost from one of Liza's accounts. New shelving. Making it a better place to live in. We want to get a half bunk bed, one with the bed up high where he can put his desk below it.

posted by Mike 11:22 PM

Saturday, August 28, 2004

ONE WEEK TODAY

In a lot of ways this has been one of the toughest weeks. At nine o'clock tonight I hit one full week cold turkey from cigarettes. The days are pretty easy, but the nights are not. I try to stay awake as long as possible so I literally collapse in exhaustion so Im not twitching. As the week has progressed it has been better bit by bit at night. I do tend to twitch a bit btw 930 and 1130, but that was my most intensive smoking time.

So I've been mega crabby to Alex and Liza, but I'm trying not to be. Its really not easy. Like a thousand tiny pins in my nerves. And my head buzzes starting around dinner time.

So whine and complain. But ya know what. Its my blog and I'll whine if I want to.
posted by Mike 9:00 PM

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I get more and more depressed

I don't think that the American Public is capable of making an informed choice for any elected position, nor for that matter, an informed choice on anything.

I'm convinced there is no left wing media, nor right wing media, its simply Corporate Media.

If it doesnt fit into a byte or sound bit, then it doesn't go out. There is no place for complicated facts, intimate discussion nor intense investigation of the issues. There is only time for sound bits and talking points.

America does not read anymore either, newspaper readership is waay down, magazines like Time and Newsweek are so dummied down so as to have a reading level that would not challenge a 7th grade student.

So as long as the Right Wing is controlling the agenda, there is no hope for progressive America.

I'm sure I'll be less paranoid and depressed tomorrow.

posted by Mike 10:33 PM

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Some Odds and End


Most important
On Saturday Night, in the MIDDLE of a cigarette, I said FUCK THIS, stubbed out the cigarette, then I poured the 3/4 of a pack into my hands and broke them in half. Shoved them in the trash and said NO MORE. I had been waiting for some closure, ie the end of a pack, at night, so I coud start the hypothetical new day by quiting. That day never came, so I figured it was symbolic to finish half way through and break up the pack.

Its now over 60 hours, no gum, no cigarette. Doing the Pachyderm CT method again. I thought of chewing the nicorette gum on Sunday night but I remember though I quit with it once, it really just drags out the cravings over weeks, and I finally just had to go cold turkey on the gum too. Sunday night was tough, literally crawling out of my skin, last night not as bad, I was sucking on throat lonzenges yesterday.

Alex is back for good
Well traveling boy is home for the summer, that is the 18 days that are left. We have to wrap up his proper uniform, he needs to read two books etc. We may run out to NH for a day or overnighter but thats it for travel. Anyway I went out Sunday afternoon to Mass and came back Monday morning. We had a wonderful Japanese dinner then watched the Starsky and Hutch remake which was horrid. We got back on Monday afternoon. Rented two movies for Boys night in: Cody Banks 2 and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Cody Banks one was pretty good but number two was so bad I had to let Alex finish watching it. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen was another Disney/Lindsay Lohan vehicle and it was way cute.

The Jungle Outside
Spent most of this day mowing raking and pulling weeds after my morning job search. The grass was jungle length, the weeds were up to the windows and I had to buy new oil for the mower. So it took quite a bit of the afternoon. But then again I wasnt as out of breath when I was done as I usually am, so there is always good things to be said.


posted by Mike 12:53 PM

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Another long blog break

Yea its been a bit since I blogged last. Two weeks I think.

The first week I was at Rotary Scout camp with Alex and the troop. From the 8th to the 14th, fresh air, exercise and a bit of sun. The bug count was pretty low cause it has been a cool summer. We didn't get any rain till the end of the week which is astounding because for the previous three weeks we had gotten rain every evening, sometimes very heavy.

Now this was not roughing it in any sense. We slept in Canvas tents on wooden platforms on cots. We ate at the dining hall and got three carb laden meals a day. The food was barely passable but I guess it was good for camp cooking. They site has some excellent showers as well so we were not wanting for cleanliness if that was wanted.

The boys were very programmed, from 9 to noon and 2 to 430 they were in merit badge classes. Alex earned his basketry, leatherworking, finger printing, emergency saftely and mammal studies merit badges with his patrol that week.

As for me I attended some of the classes with Alex and his patrol. Hiked around the site a bit, and chatted with the other adult leaders as well. Evenings were nice as we all sat around the campfire and enjoyed each other's company. I do admit to scurrying home three days for a quick visit, one of which was required because I had job leads on the answering machine. The other two days I just felt like getting out of camp for a bit.

We got back on Sunday am and recovered all day Sunday and Monday. I was pretty sleep deprived because the cots were not exactly comfortable, and my hip was aching a bit a few nights. Ironically my worst night sleep was Friday night so I was a Zombie when I got home.

The plan was Tuesday to take Alex to my sister's in Mass, but he woke up on Tues am at 4am wheezing. So I took him to the doctor that am and it was just a severe allergy attack. They put him on clarinex and an inhaler. So we went off to Mass anyway, just later than planned, so I got back at 11pm.

Other fun taskes this week included looking for a job. Cleaning Alex's room top to bottom so as to begin to get ready for painting his room. Helping my mother in law set up her TV/Stereo system and other fun chores.

Originally I was leaving today to go get Alex, spend the night and come home tomorrow. However his stay was extended a day so I'm doing the overnight tomorrow.

That leaves just 18 days till Alex starts back in school. My how the summer has flown.
posted by Mike 2:43 PM

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I Robot.

Back in the beginning of July when I heard that this movie was coming out I decided to (originally) re read my copy of I Robot. Haveing done so, I decided to re read the 4 "Robot Novels". Having done so I decided to re read the 5 Foundation books as well. Yea it was a great tour de force of some of Asimov's great works, and now that I have read the final Foundation book I'm going "back" to his later books on the Prelude to Foundation.

Reviewing or discussing these books would be a couple of days blog on their own. No, my point is that I have been immersed in Asimov for 30 days, reading nothing else in the way of fiction. With this mindset I took Alex and Lucas to see I Robot with some trepidation as well as some excitement.

I cannot say I was disappointed. I have been trying to come up with an analogy as to just how this movie fits in with the worlds that Asimov created in his four Robot Novels and the final Foundation Novel. Its not really a good analogy, but it is KIND OF LIKE what the Lord of Rings movie did with the original story. In the LotR there were minor plot changes and character developments that did not exist in the book, but were very comfortable modernizations in order to make good film.

Although I Robot does not stand up to any of the LotR it does have this in common. It fits into Asimov's world very well.

Other than the three laws the major holdover from the short story collection is Dr Susan Calvert. Her screenplay characterization is a very reasonable stretch from the character in that ties the short stories together in the book I Robot. A tad warmer than the book, but we are selling movies here. Bridget Moynahan does a very good job of portraying the robotologist, and even gets in some good action sequences in the process.

Det. Spooner, as played by Will Smith is given enough back story so that this does not become a carbon copy of James West and "J" thank god. Albeit slightly, Mr. Smith does stretch himself in this movie, making him not as two dimensional as these previous characters.

Of course the third star in this movie is the special effects. I decided early on to pay attention to the background in as many of the crowd shots as I could and was rewarded with nearly seamless integration of Robots going about their daily lives in Chicago 2035. As the film moved forward we were treated to our introduction to the NS5 named Sonny. The special effects here are quite outstanding and in no time I had successfully suspended my disbelief and was watching a Robot, not a special effect.

I won't spoil the story for those who have not seen it, but the action gets very fast and furious right till the end. I became very attached to all three major characters, and their resolution of the plot was believable within the genre.

I had seen an interview with Will Smith and read a few articles about him and his dedication to bringing forward the Sci Fi genre as a movie type more into the main stream. I went into the movie with an open mind full of Asimov and came out satisfied that I'd not only seen a great action film, but also a new part of Asimov's world, and the was the most satisfying part of all.
posted by Mike 11:11 PM

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Thoughts on Fundamentalism in general, and Islamic in particular

Of course what is being practiced by these fanatics in Iraq today is not Islam. I know you know that so don't think I'm preaching to you of course!

Through out time immorial individual or small groups of men have used the guise of their Religion to further their strictly political or power ends. These people have never represented the face of their true faith, but have always perverted it to gain their own ends. Alas in today's highly armed world, these small groups of fanatics are able to wreak ever increasing destruction, all while wrapping it up in the blanket of their fundamentalism.

Probably more than ever before in human history fanaticism threatens world peace and individual freedoms. I see no difference between the Islamic Fundamentalist who blows up Christians, the Judaic Fundamentalists who seize Palestinian's homes and property or the Christian Fundamentalist who kills "Abortion Doctors". Their degrees of damage to the social structure of their community or the world may vary, but their danger to the peaceful coexistence of peoples of different beliefs is identical.

What the solution is to this situation is of course the terrible question for today's world. Although it is patently obvious that as these groups come to the surface and begin their reigns of violence, they need to be nipped in the bud by the World Community, it seems also obvious to me that it will be a never ending battle unless the causes of these extremist views are ameliorated.

Of course each situation calls for different solutions, but much of the unrest in the world today is sadly and squarely on the shoulders of the Islamic world. It is no coincidence in my mind that it is the same Islamic world which on the whole experiences the most abject suffering and poverty in the world as well. As long as these conditions exist new generations of terrorists will always be coming to the fore.

I think it behooves the Western world to do what it can to reduce the horrible conditions that breed this sort of hate. This is not an alternative to hunting down and killing Fundamentalist Terrorists who threaten individual or world peace, but must be done in conjunction with it. Policies like this mean that Dictators like Saddam Hussein must be removed of course, but that there is a program in place to "win the peace". It means the Western world must once and for all take a stand on a Palestinian homeland and stop turning a blind eye to the the actions of the fundamentalist Zionists in Israel. It dictates that the Western World do everything in its power to help the poor lift themselves out of poverty in these countries.

I don't think this means handouts, I think it means giving a hand, be it economic development programs, educational programs or medical help. Actually all three are of equal need. When I speak of the Western World of course I mean not only the US but the EU, Nato and other "First World" alliances. One thing I do know, the US cannot do it alone, we don't have the resources nor the world standing.

I'm sure you are waiting for me to turn this into some sort of comment upon the present political situation. I do believe however that these problems are bigger than grubby US politics. I am fairly hopeful that you agree with most of my thoughts on this subject. For us to be able to possibly disagree upon which group of people would implement these types of policies best is what democracy is all about.

posted by Mike 11:02 PM

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

WHAT liberal media???

I don't think I've ever done this, but today's blog is simply a copy of an op-ed piece in the NYT discussing the absolute tavesty of the so called cable news channels in their coverage of the Democratic Convention.

No wonder there was no bounce, if this is where the Average American gets their news.

No way could I have said this better. So here it is.

Reading the Script
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: August 3, 2004

A message to my fellow journalists: check out media watch sites like campaigndesk.org, mediamatters.org and dailyhowler.com. It's good to see ourselves as others see us. I've been finding The Daily Howler's concept of a media "script," a story line that shapes coverage, often in the teeth of the evidence, particularly helpful in understanding cable news.

For example, last summer, when growth briefly broke into a gallop, cable news decided that the economy was booming. The gallop soon slowed to a trot, and then to a walk. But judging from the mail I recently got after writing about the slowing economy, the script never changed; many readers angrily insisted that my numbers disagreed with everything they had seen on TV.
If you really want to see cable news scripts in action, look at the coverage of the Democratic convention.

Commercial broadcast TV covered only one hour a night. We'll see whether the Republicans get equal treatment. C-Span, on the other hand, provided comprehensive, commentary-free coverage. But many people watched the convention on cable news channels - and what they saw was shaped by a script portraying Democrats as angry Bush-haters who disdain the military.
If that sounds like a script written by the Republicans, it is. As the movie "Outfoxed" makes clear, Fox News is for all practical purposes a G.O.P. propaganda agency. A now-famous poll showed that Fox viewers were more likely than those who get their news elsewhere to believe that evidence of Saddam-Qaeda links has been found, that W.M.D. had been located and that most of the world supported the Iraq war.

CNN used to be different, but Campaign Desk, which is run by The Columbia Journalism Review, concluded after reviewing convention coverage that CNN "has stooped to slavish imitation of Fox's most dubious ploys and policies." Seconds after John Kerry's speech, CNN gave Ed Gillespie, the Republican Party's chairman, the opportunity to bash the candidate. Will Terry McAuliffe be given the same opportunity right after President Bush speaks?

Commentators worked hard to spin scenes that didn't fit the script. Some simply saw what they wanted to see. On Fox, Michael Barone asserted that conventioneers cheered when Mr. Kerry criticized President Bush but were silent when he called for military strength. Check out the video clips at Media Matters; there was tumultuous cheering when Mr. Kerry talked about a strong America.

Another technique, pervasive on both Fox and CNN, was to echo Republican claims of an "extreme makeover" - the assertion that what viewers were seeing wasn't the true face of the party. (Apparently all those admirals, generals and decorated veterans were ringers.)

It will probably be easier to make a comparable case in New York, where the Republicans are expected to feature an array of moderate, pro-choice speakers and keep Rick Santorum and Tom DeLay under wraps. But in Boston, it took creativity to portray the delegates as being out of the mainstream. For example, Bill Schneider at CNN claimed that according to a New York Times/CBS News poll, 75 percent of the delegates favor "abortion on demand" - which exaggerated the poll's real finding, which is that 75 percent opposed stricter limits than we now have.

But the real power of a script is the way it can retroactively change the story about what happened.

On Thursday night, Mr. Kerry's speech was a palpable hit. A focus group organized by Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster, found it impressive and persuasive. Even pro-Bush commentators conceded, at first, that it had gone over well.

But a terrorism alert is already blotting out memories of last week. Although there is now a long history of alerts with remarkably convenient political timing, and Tom Ridge politicized the announcement by using the occasion to praise "the president's leadership in the war against terror," this one may be based on real information. Regardless, it gives the usual suspects a breathing space; once calm returns, don't be surprised if some of those same commentators begin describing the ineffective speech they expected (and hoped) to see, not the one they actually saw.

Luckily, in this age of the Internet it's possible to bypass the filter. At c-span.org, you can find transcripts and videos of all the speeches. I'd urge everyone to watch Mr. Kerry and others for yourself, and make your own judgment.

posted by Mike 11:13 PM

Monday, August 02, 2004

I hate to say I told ya so...

Last Thursday I believe, I hypothesized upon the chances that the Republicans would be able to stay positive in the next few months. Slim to none would have been my conclusion.

In this Sundays NYT, one of the front page headlines reported this:

Bush Planning August Attack Against Kerry

WASHINGTON, July 31 President Bush's campaign plans to use the normally quiet month of August for a vigorous drive to undercut John Kerry by turning attention away from his record in Vietnam to what the campaign described as an undistinguished and left-leaning record in the Senate.

Mr. Bush's advisers plan to cap the month at the Republican convention in New York, which they said would feature Mr. Kerry as an object of humor and calculated derision.


Calculated Derision? Humor?

Makes me think I'm back on the elementary playgrounds of Dilworth Elementary. It's the same feeling I got when these people first got into power and I began reading reports of how they reacted to the Clinton Administration's briefings on Foreign Policy. Something to the effect that the "real men" were in power now and "we know what's best".

Me thinks there is too much Testosterone in the Republican Party.

So the $64,000 question has to be: What is the tolerance of the American People for a Negative Campaign? Here is my take on this turn of events.

The people who are Democrats will be outraged. But this does not matter, because they are already voting against Bush, or for Kerry, whichever you prefer.

Republicans voters will laugh their proverbial arses off in derision, further polarizing the division between the two camps. But this does not matter either because they are already voting for Bush.

These people have already made up their mind. But what about the independent vote?

This could seriously back fire on the Republicans. I think the independent mind is very tired of negative campaigns. They thirst for information so they can make an intelligent choice on who should lead this Country for the next four years.

In fact come November (pick a day the campaign is finally decided) the negative campaign by the Republicans could be seen as the big one that got away. The big mistake. The Massive oops, and lead to the downfall of Karl Rove. Ok this is a good thing.....

Little by little, I feel more and more confident that this election will put these people out of office. It's hard to get confident, so many elections have looked good only to have the American People chicken out at the last minute. I will say it again and again, I don't doubt for a minute that these people in power will do anything short of a coup to stay in power.

The Negative campaigning makes me worry because, I will admit it out loud, I have no faith in the general public NOT to believe whatever is spoon fed to them via the TV. And we have not even discussed the "voting machines" they are putting in Florida. I just can't see Jeb letting the state slip away, he made sure it didn't last time.......
posted by Mike 10:23 PM

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Dead at SPAC

By all rights this should be a review of the Dead show tonight at SPAC. I'm sure many of you know that I'm a big fan and love the newly re-formed Dead. In the time that they were on hiatus as a band, before they reconstituted as The Other Ones and then as The Dead if feels as if each artist got a better feel for who they were as individual artists. When they came back to together their sum being the greater of their parts was even more powerful because of this new identity.

Also frankly, and this is heresy to many Dead Heads, I feel very strongly that from the mid 80's to the end in 97 Jerry Garcia really dragged the band's sound down. I do miss his voice that is for sure, but his drug induced playing really got on my nerves near the end. As a consequence I don't really listen much to the shows I have from that time period.

So if I'm such a fan, why am I not there this evening?

I'll tell you. The cost. Now it's not because I'm out of work. L said that if I wanted to go up alone I could. So lets break down the projected cost of seeing the Dead tonight. First of all lawn seats are $50.00. Sitting on the damp grass on your proverbial arse, with a relatively bad "view". This in itself is completely outrageous. Then throw in the obligatory $30 T-Shirt. Add $20 for miscellaneous like parking and food (which is outrageously priced at any venue) and you are looking at a cool $100 to see the Dead. If I had brought L and Alex, of whom both would greatly enjoy the show, we are now up to $150 or more.

This is just to see the richest rock band in history. That's right the richest rock band in history. Somewhere the Dead lost the idea that the show is for the fans and not the money making operation they have become. So maybe Jerry is missing after all. I don't think he would have put up with these prices.

So I will stick to downloading the legally recorded audience recordings from the tour and enjoying the band's music in the comfort of my home and car. YES I should support the band if I collect their shows, which they allow to be taped. But at these prices, who needs it?

posted by Mike 7:06 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind