Friday, November 30, 2001

"Another important contribution, often overlooked because of all the funny stuff associated with his Hindu-fetish: there would have been no sitar on Norwegian Wood without George. All the Indian influences that came to define mid-life Beatles were there because George introduced them. It's easy to laugh at his religious silliness and Maharishi obsession, but musically, he put it all into place right when it needed to happen. There would have been a lot of less-interesting John Lennon songs without George's contributions. And let's not forget: Layla would never have gotten written had not George married Patti Boyd first."

True, true. And frankly, Harrison would be a hero to me if he never played anything other than the 12-string electric guitar part on And Your Bird Can Sing
Musician, film producer and former Beatle George Harrison moved from soft-spoken to absolutely silent yesterday when he passed away from cancer at age 58. Earlier reports that Harrison was "dying of embarrasment" over the hack production of his last few records by ex-ELO guitarist Jeff Lynn are now presumed to be less than totally accurate.

Many Beatle fans ranked Harrison down with Ringo in terms of talent. I probably thought the same, but I was wrong. That started to dawn on me in the late 1970s and 80s when Harrison's Handmade Films produced a string of interesting flicks like The Life of Brian, Time Bandits and Mona Lisa. Anyone who can succeed creativity in multiple fields derserves a second look.

Being bored to tears with the eight Beatle songs played over and over on radio stations everywhere, I went back and listened to their albums with fresh ears. Finally, Harrison's contributions - both songwriting and playing - stood out to me (oddly enough, so did Ringo's playing). Though he was only 19 when the band hit the big time, Harrison knew how to play what was needed when it was needed. He didn't take pompus, indulgent solos. He supported the song rather than overshadow it.

My suggestion? We stop calling him The Quiet Beatle and start remembering him as The Tasteful One.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

I don't know really. But since folks are asking, I'll say what I think is correct. "Blog" is a contraction of the words "Web Log." Say that fast and you get Blog. The trick here is anyone can do this for free. You need not know any HTML programming. As says, "Push button publishing for the people." I like that. And as far as I'm concerned, that's the future of the web. Fancy graphics and multi-million dollar corporate commerce sites will be few and far between. The web should be for the rest of us.
"I checked out your blogs and will continue to do so... I can assure you they will make me smile even if those other folks don't get 'em... ;)
(N - NJ)

"That blogging thang is funny. Although I call it Blorting."
(A - NJ)

"Who made up a word for "writing little observations and launching them into cyberspace"? Nonetheless, it was sweet and caused a little sentimental pang to think about your tomato garden."
(T -NYC)
"First you have to explain to me what "blogging" is, then you can tell me why you're doing it."
(J - L.A.)

"Please leave me off your e-mail lists from now on. I really don't care to be friends with you."
(K - NYC)

"You sound like an angry liberal who sees the tide slipping away and with it the left wing agenda."

Oohhh boy, we're rocking now. BTW - I didn't even know there was a left wing in this country, let alone a left wing agenda (where have all those Green Party Congressmen been hiding?)

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Robots Learn Soccer (and the Game of Life) "Tucker Balch, a researcher at Georgia Tech, has been using computer simulations of robots to investigate the workings of human society."

I almost didn't recognize Tucker when I saw his face popping out of the Times today. Good to see he's doing something weird with his life. In similar photos back in school, he used to try and sneak curses and smut on the board behind him. Email me if you find any.
"Attorney General John Ashcroft today appointed Kenneth R. Feinberg, a Democratic lawyer with extensive experience in mediating complex and emotionally charged disputes, to run the multibillion-dollar federal fund set up to compensate the families of those killed or physically injured in the September terrorist attacks." A Democrat to Run Fund for Sept. 11

Does this seem odd to anyone? Feinberg (left) is a democrat and a lawyer. If he was a union member, he would hit the trifecta of people Republicans loath. So why would Ashcroft (right) put him in charge? My guess is Ashcroft wants a few thousand widows to scream on TV about getting hosed and then he can say, "look, it was a Democrat who screwed you over on those payments."

I hope I'm wrong.

Monday, November 26, 2001

"President Bush cited waiting in longer airport lines as the sort of sacrifice that public-spirited citizens could make to support the war against terrorism. When President Kennedy told us to ask what we could do for our country, he had, I like to believe, something more ambitious in mind than standing patiently with our luggage." The Long Drive Home

This NY Times article reminded me of something I've been pondering. Since Sept. 11, We've been surrounded by flags - on bumpers, store windows, my Mother's blouse. In fact, there appears to be a contest in my parents cul-de-sac about which house can display the largest flag. Okay, I get it, and really, I don't mind. If flying a flag makes you feel supportive, by all means do it.

But I'm mortified my a recent poster seen in many Orlando businesses which transforms the American flag into a shopping bag under the heading American Is Open For Business. Have American business owners become so devoid of shame that they are ready to hijack the flag post-tragedy to boost sales? Well, gee, need I even ask? Of course they are! But that knowledge doesn't make me feel any better. As a long-time subscriber to the anti-consumerism message of Adbusters, I've long believe America was too wrapped up with the with the need to shop. Since September 11, consumerism has been pitched differently. We've been lectured in no uncertain terms that it's our duty to get our there and spend, baby, spend. Spend until it hurts, because if you don't then the terrorists will have won.


Look, I'm pro-capitalism. I used to work for Dow Jones and enjoyed it. But if a company can't handle a quarter or two of slow sales, then that company should seriously ponder its business plan. Let's face it, that's what we're looking at - a quarter or two of slow sales, tops. Hell, it's barely two months since planes crashed into the WTC and air travel was about 85% of normal for Thanksgiving. The nation is already recovering economically (although the dot com bomb and recession are different stories).

Instead of allowing people time with their families to heal or reflect and perhaps contribute to the greater good, we're told - GET IN HERE AND SHOP - AMERICA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS! It has become unpatriotic to not be in debt up to your eyeballs.

I'm not buying it. If the Bush Administration wants to offer some real ways that average citizens can contribute to the anti-terror effort, fine, I'm all ears. Americans would love to offer a meaningful contribution of labors and energies. But if the only contribution government hacks can think of is Max out your credit cards and stand on lots of airport lines for two-hours, I'll pass. If you need me, I'll be puttering around in the garden.

Thursday, November 22, 2001

We went to the beach at 5:30 pm to watch the sun set. Missed it by 10 minutes, but it was still pleasant to walk in the sand and watch old Italian men play bocce ball. Driving home on a two lane road as darkness set in, we noticed a dark car cruising toward us at less than 20 mph. A long line of cars trailed behind. The dark car was flashing a left turn signal but not turning. Its headlights were off. We flashed our brights several times. No response. As we passed, we saw two tiny, grey-haired heads just barely popping up from behind the dash board. They drove on, no tail lights, turn signal still flashing, the line of cars behind them growing.
Tryptophan is the "drug" contained within turkey that makes people sleepy. That's why everyone drifts off for a nap after Thanksgiving dinner. My question - If my Thanksgiving Turkey contains tryotophan and makes me sleepy, why don't I get sleepy after eating a turkey sandwich for lunch? Does lunch meat processing nullify tryptophan? Is it a matter of dosage and freshness?
I guess one of the reasons people write Blogs is a desire to connect. It's like throwing bottles stuffed with messages into the ocean. No matter how hopeless, you dream of a response. I'm pleased to say my blog got it's first response today. A nice person named Rachel sent this email:

I just wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying readin your blog. It's awesome. Keep up the great work. Rachel

Thanks Rachel. Her email's subject heading was rockin' the suburbs. Cool. From her uninhibited use of the word "awesome" I guess Rachel has spent some time in the 'burbs too. She referred me to her own way cool blog at It revealed that Rachel's family was having turkey at NOON!

Hey, it might be a tradition, but a Noon start for Thanksgiving makes it hard to justify serious drinking, which is often mandatory for enduring family events.

Anyway, I'm pleased to say my Mom came through like the Mom of day's gone by, rocking our event with a killer bird and all the fixings. I'm off to have pie now - if I can pull my son off the plate before it's all gone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

We're having Thanksgiving with my family in Naples tomorrow. Mom is already cooking the side dishes, ensuring they will be lifeless mush by the time they're served. Speaking of which, Mom has announced Thanksgiving dinner will start at 1:00 pm.

1:00 pm.

She says the early start will aid digestion. I think the early start means they'll start eating leftovers at 3:00 pm.
I always wonder if my son's attendance at the local Methodist pre-school affects him in any religious way. Tonight, Natalie, Jake and I drove home from dinner with friends in Naples. In the darkness, Jake, who's a huge sports fan, shouted out for absolutely no reason, "Pete Sampress!"

Natalie played along and asked, "Wow, do you know any other tennis players?"

"Andre Agassi!"

"Good. Anyone else?"

There was a pause. Jake mumbled then shouted again. "God our father!"
Walking my dog yesterday, I run into John. He's a nice guy in his early 60s. Kind of Mayor of the Block. Knows everybody and their pets. John is getting out of a car with his Mother, who's ancient, but alive. For a lady creeping up on 100, that's about as good as it gets. She shuffles over wearing a bright red sweater and I quip "Oh, what a lovely sweater."

"A little black boy gave it to me. He comes around and gives me all sorts of things."

"Oh God," John sighs. "Don't pay any attention to Mother, she's having hallucinations. Everything in the house - 'Oh a little black boy brought it.'" He talks loudly, right over his deaf Mom, who is still muttering.

"Yes, this lovely red sweater, he gave me. He's a little black boy." She raises her withered hand as if formally holding a teacup. "And he's no bigger than my pinky."
I grew up in the suburbs. Long Island to be exact - the very epicenter of the 'burbs. My hometown was just a few miles from Levittown, that pre-fab community so wonderful the developers went to Pennsylvania and duplicated it right down to the name (learned that from a song by The A's - how's that for New Wave credentials?). Once I realized I could, I left. But after a few decades in the "real world" doing real world things -- working on Wall Street, playing in bands, writing countless (usually forgettable) magazine articles -- I find myself back in the Suburbs, wondering when life starts.

Lately, I've noticed my mind is slowing down. I can't think very fast anymore. I lose track of words. This could be the onset of brain disease or maybe the effects of daily chats with my 3-year-old son who's deep in the world of "poopy in the potty." Whatever. I have to fight it. Hence, this little blog. Daily reports from my Suburban Limbo. The weird, the wonderful, the distortions of reality. From the pool to the tomato garden, I've got ya covered.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

So this is the world of Blogging? I've been reading these blog thingies for a while (check out and figured I'd give it a shot. It took all of 5 minutes to set up and now I'm publishing. At least I hope I am. We'll see after I press Publish. Here we go!