Wow. We Are Still In America, Right?

Today I saw an article on Rolling Stone's web site.

Here's the link.

This scares me. I mean, don't you think there are a few more pressing matters facing our nation and world right now other than Howerd Stern and Bono? This is the perfect example of a bunch of ex-student council presidents thinking they know what's best for us.

3/3/05 Update: How come none of you fascist mother f*%kers has commented on this? How can you not be as outraged and disgusted as I am? You fucking sheep! Just follow along, do whatever the FCC wants you to do. Pretty soon you'll be fined for thinking something obscene.

For those of you too lazy to follow the link, the editorial is about how the FCC wants to impose fines that are comparable to those levied for serious crimes for the utterance of a single word or two that may be deemed as obscene or inappropriate. Now go read the editorial, do some research, and get pissed!

Knockin' On Heaven's Door

The song "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by the legendary Bob Dylan is most likely one of the best known songs in the history of rock or folk. It is also probably the most covered song ever. Hundreds of bands, from professionals to garage bands have this song in their encore arsenal. I'd be willing to bet every guitar player in the US can whip off that famous sound, or at least wants to.

For me the song has always been a favorite, although Bob Dylan's version was not the first version I'd ever heard. The song is easily in my "Top Five Songs of All Time List." I first heard it on a shitty, rediculously over-priced bootleg tape of a Guns N' Roses concert. (I was actually ripped off, since the concert had been shown numerous times on cable - the famous live show at the CBGB). On that tape was the live version GNR did, before they put it on Use Your Illusion (was it I or II?) . I was blown away. The deep well of despair in the voice of Mr. Rose, the soaring heights of what is, in my opinion, one of the best guitar solos of all time, the simple yet hypnotic rythm of the song - all transported my fourteen year old mind to a place I'd never thought music could take me. Man, what a great song.

Now, I've been a wanna' be guitarist for about twenty years, forever trapped in that transitional stage between ultra-beginner and it's-now-getting-a-little-challenging beginner. The one song I've wanted to know how to play, since the day I first heard it, was "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." But being blessed with zero natural musical ability, I need someone to show me everything. Today someone did. My friend and colleague Rodger showed me in just a few minutes the rythm pattern I had not been able to discern for myself since I was a freshman in high school. I can't put the guitar down. I am again caught in the simple but soulful embrace of the song, once again imagining my rock and roll fantasies, this time with real sound. I am Bob Dylan.

Rodger also had a cool idea. See, since I am such a fan of the song, I have acquired numerous covers of the tune. How cool would it be to put together a compilation CD? Of course, it would be a legal nightmare given all the copyright stuff, but it would still be worth it. I bet someone's already done it. I haven't checked. Anyway, I'm off to rock out to Mr. Dylan's song. "Mama take this badge from me. I can't use it anymore. ..."

Just look...

Just look what a Henry Rollins spoken word event can get started.

http://www.skippy.net/blog/2005/02/13/happy-birthday-henry/

I love a good discussion. It's what this country is all about.

Hunter Thompson Dies a Sad But Unsurprising Death

Upon learning this morning of the apparent suicide of the legendary American writer Hunter S. Thompson, I was struck with one over- powering thought: I'm not surprised. Here is a man famous for blazing new, often controversial trails in the world of journalism. Here is a man who clearly lived life by his own terms, putting out into the public view habits and behaviors usually kept secret. Here is a guy who owned a compound stocked with peacocks and firearms. I recall watching an interview with Mr. Thompson one evening years ago (I believe it was 60 Minutes) where, just so the reporter would have some good footage, he spent some time shooting gasoline filled conatiners to see how big of an explosion he could create. I don't know if he ever attempted to blow up the peacocks.

While learning of the death of anyone who has died by their own hand is sad and unfortunate, I can't think of any other way Hunter S. Thompson would go. I suppose lung cancer or liver failure could also be considered possibilites, but those are just too mundane for Hunter Thompson. No, in the end, while the timing may be surprising, the method isn't. And while the world may never know the reasons for his suicide, what despair may have driven him, it is my guess that his suicide was Mr. Thompson's way of giving everyone the proverbial finger one last time. Perhaps he did it because it was the last great rush yet to experience. Perhaps he did it because all the other vices and chemicals couldn't give him peace. Maybe he did it because death is the last great untold story, and who better to cover the underbelly of the afterlife than Mr. Thompson? Even now he is probably at a typewriter hammering out the first draft of Fear and Loathing at the Pearly Gates. Well Mr. Thompson, no matter why you did it, I hope you rest in peace.

An Age Old Debate Renewed...

Which is better - to read the book(s) first or to see the movie?

Hootie Update

Last Friday my lovely wife and I took the dog to an oncologist. We wanted to explore treatment options for her now that her seven pound tumor has been removed and she's as energetic as I have ever seen her. I went in thinking that dog chemotherapy would be a touch pricey, and so I was prepared for a somewhat high figure. Man, was I under the mark.

The doctor showed us two estimates for chemo to treat osteosarcoma, one less expensive and one more so. The more expensive option had one less treatment and was less stressful on old Hootie's kidneys. One estiamte was for about $400 and one was for about $900. 'Okay,' I think to myself. 'This isn't too bad. I can swing $400 to buy our dog an extra eight months of life.' Then I realize that the $400 is per treament. Not each. So that's $400 times five. Two grand for eight months of life.

I knew right away that there was just no way. My wife took only a day or so longer to come to grips with it. We'd already cashed out on the mega-expensive sugery, so chemo is out. What did all the money for surgery buy us? An extra four months of Hootie time. I'm not complaining. It was worth it. At least now we have some time to prepare for the loss of our dog, and we can have a little more control over when and how she goes. This way we can enjoy the dog for one more spring and hopefully summer. That is totally worth it. I just wish we had a magic wand to fix it all, but we don't. We do have our Hootie though, at least for a while.

Man, I should have been a vet.

Latin is cool...

Bibamus, moriendum est.

Wordpress: Broken Comments

We at elfboy.net seem to be dealing with a strange issue involving the comments functionality. I assure you I'm not blowing you off, but it looks that way if you notice that comments on the blog are not readable. I am working with my crack technical team to fix this issue. Please be patient, especially you spammers.

Thank you for your support.

The Year so Far...

I have just completed what could easily be described as the most eventful, stressful, and intense period of my adult life. The past three weeks have been packed with challenges and things to get done - far more so than I normally prefer. In case anyone cares, I thought I'd share the highlights.

  1. My dog was rushed to the animal ER due to a large unexplained mass in her chest. She ended up having surgery to the tune of $4500 (which we don't have) to remove a 5-7 pound tumor that has since been found to be malignant. The vet belives it to osteosarcoma. Either way it ain't good. We are discussing options, including chemo. (Yes, for a dog).
  2. Last week I had to finish preapring my students for Confirmation. This is more stressful than it sounds. This included taking 65 children on a day-long retreat.
  3. I basically planned and exectuted the school's spelling bee last week with only tyhe help of my loyal colleague Rodger, who has also been massively stressed out.
  4. My dog has cancer.
  5. My wife, in a decidedly inconvenient bout of bad timing, has been out of town for five days, leaving me to feed the dog her pills three times a day. This actually sucks even more because one of those pills is a steroid called Prednizone, a side effect of which is that the dog has to piss every threee hours, day and night.
  6. I have parent-teacher conferences last week, making for a delightful 14 hour day.
  7. That was my second 14 hour day in a row.
  8. My dog has cancer.

Now I realize on paper that doesn't sound like much, but added all together, at once, it's kicked my ass. I feel better now though that my life is, for the time being, somewhat back to normal as of today. I also feel better having bitched about it a little.

Man, it's been a hell of a year. I wonder what's next.

New WordPress, A few Kinks

Today I upgraded elfboy.net's version of Word Press to 1.2.2. Notice the new look? Yeah, that was an accident. No worries though. I can fix it in a jiffy, although I like the new look. I may take this as an opportunity to change the look of the blog, as I was getting bored with the old layout anyway. Everything else pretty much seems to work fine. In any case, hang in there dear reader, whilst I solve these little kinks. Cheers.

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