Thursday, October 27, 2005

Did I mention that Atticus has started crawling?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Daniel Glinsky Sun, Oct 16, 2005 at 12:09 AM


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Title: Tanita Tikaram Lyrics Lyrics



Daniel Glinsky
Rare Lyrics Webmaster
P.O. Box 350
Mount Austin, NSW
Australia, 2650


I like this one, not Tanita Tikaram, from his site....

from the depth of the pacific
to the height of everest
and still the world is smoother
than a shiny ball-bearing
so i take a few steps back
and put on a wider lens
and it changes your skin,
your sex, and what your wearing
distance shows your silloutte
to be a lot like mine
like a sphere is a sphere
and all of us here
have been here all the time

you brought me to church,
cinder blocks, flourescent light
you brought me to church
at 7o'clock on a sunday night
and the band was rocking
and the floors were scrubbed clean
and everybody had a tambourine

so i took a deep breath and became
the white girl with the hair
and you sat right beside me
while everybody stared
and through the open window
i think the singing went outside
and floated up to tell
all the stars not to hide
cuz by the time church let out
the sky was much clearer
and the moon was so beautiful,
that the ocean held up a mirror

as we walked home we spoke slowly
we spoke slow,
and we spoke lowly
like it was taking more time
than usual to choose
the words to go
with your squeaky sandle shoes
like time is not a thing
that's ours to lose

from the height of the pacific
to the depths of everest


and this one is Tanita

If I was a Londoner, rich with complaint
Would you take me back to your house
Which is sainted with lust and the listless shade
If I could have held you once more with that light
It's nothing to you, but it keeps me alive
Like a Valentine's Day, it's a Valentine's heart, anyway
The king and the ages, they fall by the plan
It's always the tired and the ordinary man
(It's the) challenge it's funny and such
I want to see you again
I want to see you again
It's so simple and plain
But I'll come back and see you again
The lie is the angel, it doesn't exist
I tell you it's funny but you like just to twist all my words
It's a shame you're so young
My word, it's a shame I'm so dumb
I figure a house with the smoke and the fence
The people round here would be pleased
Take my word on this
I would believe just in you, just believe in you
And five days to catch me around with my ring
As I visit the friendships which meant everything to the girl
With the clown's face, to the girl with the clowns face, round here

Rosa Parks.

Two things....


from Miss Sarah Vowell who will articulate, yet again, what many of us cannot: Thank you. What follows is from her book and also can be heard at the end of this lovely program.


According to Reuters, on January 20 in Washington, a special guest at the Florida state inaugural ball was introduced by country singer Larry Gatlin. He said, "In France it was Joan of Arc; in the Crimea it was Florence Nightingale; in the deep south there was Rosa Parks; in India there was Mother Teresa, and in Florida there was Katherine Harris."

I leave it to my Indian, Crimean and French colleagues to determine how the Florida secretary of state is or is not similar to Teresa, Florence or St. Joan. As for Rosa Parks, Katherine Harris can get in line. Because people these days can't stop comparing themselves to Parks. To wit:

The mayor of Friendship Heights, Md., has proposed an outdoor smoking ban because, according to the Washington Post, "citizens with asthma or other illnesses 'cannot have full access' to areas where smokers are doing their evil deed. The mayor compares this horrific possibility to Rosa Parks being sent to the back of the bus."

A California dairy farmer protesting the government's milk pricing system poured milk down a drain in front of TV cameras, claiming that he had to take a stand, "just like Rosa Parks had to take a stand."

A street performer in St. Augustine, Fla., is challenging a city ordinance that bans him from doing his act on the town's historic St. George Street. The performer's lawyer told the Florida Times-Union, "Telling these people they can exercise their First Amendment rights somewhere other than on St. George is like telling Rosa Parks that she has to sit in the back of the bus." (Which is, coincidentally, also the argument of another Florida lawyer, this one representing adult dancers contesting Tampa's ordinance outlawing lap dancing.)

Call me picky, but breathing second-hand smoke, unfair dairy pricing, and not being able to mime (or lap dance), though they are all tragic, tragic injustices, are not quite as bad as the systematic segregation of public transportation based on skin color. And while fighting for your right to lap dance and mime and breathe just the regular pollution and not the added fumes of cigarette smokers is a very fine, very American idea, it is not quite as brave as being a middle-aged black woman in Alabama in 1955 telling a white man she's not giving him her seat despite the fact that the law requires her to do so. And, oh, by the way, in the process, she gets arrested, and then sparks the Montgomery bus boycott, which is the seed of the civil rights movement as we know it. The bus boycotters not only introduced a 26-year-old pastor by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., into national public life, they, after many months of carpools, walking, and court fights against bus segregation, got the separate-but-equal doctrine declared illegal once and for all.

I would also like to mention rocker, marksman and conservative activist Ted Nugent, who, in his autobiography "God, Guns and Rock 'n' Roll" refers to himself as "Rosa Parks with a loud guitar." That's so inaccurate; everyone knows he's more like Mary Matalin with a fancy deer rifle.

It's not just people on the right like Katherine Harris and Ted Nugent who seem especially silly being likened to Parks. I first cringed at this "Rosa Parks c'est moi" phenomenon last October at Ralph Nader's lefty rally at Madison Square Garden. Ever sit in a coliseum full of people who think they're heroes? I was surrounded by thousands of well-meaning, well-fed white kids who loved it when filmmaker Michael Moore told them they should, like Rosa Parks, stand up to power, by which I think he meant vote for Nader so he could qualify for federal matching funds. When Nader himself mentioned abolitionists in Mississippi in 1836 and asked the crowd to "think how lonely it must have been," he was answered, according to my notes, with a "huge, weird cheer." I think I'm a fine enough person — why, the very next morning I was having people over for waffles. But I hope I'm not being falsely modest by pointing out that I'm no Harriet Tubman. And I'm certainly no Rosa Parks. As far as I'm concerned, about the only person in recent memory who has an unimpeachable right to compare himself to Parks is that Chinese student who stared down those tanks at Tiananmen Square.

I was reminded of those Naderites the other day when I was watching a "Sports Night" rerun on Comedy Central. Dan, a television sportscaster played by Josh Charles, has been ordered by the network to make an on-air apology to viewers because he said in a magazine interview that he supports the legalization of marijuana. He stands by his opinion and balks at apologizing. His boss Isaac (Robert Guillaume) agrees, but tells him to do it anyway "because it's television and this is how it's done." Dan replies, "Yeah, well sitting in the back of the bus was how it was done until a 42-year-old lady moved up front." A few minutes later Isaac looks Dan in the eye and tells him, "Because I love you I can say this. No rich young white guy has ever gotten anywhere with me comparing himself to Rosa Parks." Finally, the voice of reason, which of course was heard on a canceled network TV series that a cable channel airs opposite "ER."

In defense of Ted Nugent, the street performer, the mayor, the dairy farmer, the lap dancers, the Naderites and a fictional sportscaster, I will point out that Katherine Harris is the only person on my list of people lamely compared to a civil rights icon who is actually being sued for "massive voter disenfranchisement of people of color during the presidential election" by the NAACP.

-Sarah Vowell

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"The only song of mine that's been done by others is 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes,' which was recorded by Judy Collins and Nina Simone. In a way, I'm glad: it makes a song more personal when it's your own--although, own up, I was knocked out when they did that song!"
--Sandy Denny (Melody Maker, 15 May 1971, interview by Ray Coleman)

Last night we were driving home, me and the kids, and I was playing Nina Simone's version of Who Knows Where The Time Goes with the windows open. Gabrielle asked me if it was a man or woman singing and I said woman. She had asked me the same question two weeks earlier when I had played Antony and the Johnsons.

This song, it's a live recording from 1969 in New York, and Nina being Nina does this thorough introduction that is at once both rambling and melancholy and beautiful and I thought, that is why I love you. There is a blessed moment in the beginning of John Malkovitch's The Dancer Upstairs where three men are in a car driving into the mountains and this song is playing. The driver asks, as Nina wearily talks before the song, "Why does she talk?" And a man replies, "She is preparing to sing."

We are recording tonight and if this were a recording we'd be trying to do some things but actually I'm too tired to do. But as Faye Dunaway, I think it was, she said, when Bonnie and Clyde come out, she said she tried to give people what they wanted. That's a mistake, really, I know. You can't do everything, you use up everything you've got trying to give everybody what they want. But I will learn my lesson soon, and then you will buy more records, right, cause you're gonna see me. Let's see what we can do with this lovely, lovely thing that goes post all racial conflict and all kinds of conflict, it's a reflective tune. And sometime in your life you'll have occasion to say, what is this thing called time? You know what, what is that? The clock, you go to work by the clock, you get your martini in the afternoon by the clock, you drink your coffee by the clock, you have to get on the plane at a certain time, and it goes on and on and on. And time is a dictator, as we know it. Where does it go? What does it do? Most of all, is it alive? Is it a thing that we cannot touch and is alive? And then one day you look in a mirror, how old, and we say where did the time go? We leave you with that one.

-Nina Simone. Who Knows Where The Time Goes. Recording live session 1969 Oct. 26, New York, Philarmonic Hall

I cleaned out my sketchbook so that my wife may use the plentiful untouched pages that I have neglected. What follows is a sample of everything that was pulled out of it, that fell out of it: letters, music lists, drawings from friends, photos, letters from people and general melee...I actually left out most of the letters because they are too personal. The one I left in I did so because it speaks on its own and in no way do I want to disrespect the person it was written to. I hope I didn't. A lot of this stuff spans the last fifteen years.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Last night, driving home from daycare I stopped at a gas station. The man's name tag behind the counter read, "Noor." There was a tiny plastic camel on the edge of the cash register and I wondered who had given to him. Daughter, granddaughter, niece, nephew...Did he put it there, finding it perhaps in a box of something that was sent to him and decided to put it out. Maybe it reminds him of home. I wondered where he was from.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Most women's pictures are as boring and as formulaic as men's pictures. In place of a car chase or a battle scene, what you get is an extreme closeup of a woman breaking down. I cry too, maybe three times a week, but it's not in closeup. It's a wide shot. It's in the context of a very large and very mean world."

-Frances McDormand

I love Frances McDormand. She has to be one of my favorites ever.

I remember being young when I first went and bought REM's Murmur. I had saved my money as I always did and headed to the record store as I always did. I begged a friend for a ride. I bought Murmur and X's Los Angeles both on cassette tape. I was years late to both of them but I was just learning myself.

After hearing about this yesterday, I remembered how much I really loved Murmur. It was one of the most influential albums in my life. I carried that cassette, listened to it in stereos and cars. Such a great album. Still haven't heard anything like it. I love that back of the room shout at the beginning of Pilgrimage. I somehow feel that it could never be mistaken for anything other than an American album. Not in the Alabama Toby Keith kind of way. I mean more like crickets green and roads and four boys in Athens. Is that a fair assessment?

When I first saw the cover of Los Angeles with the flaming X I was so transfixed by it. Then I actually listened to it, to Johnny Hit and Run Paulene. God, I know this sounds cliche but it just sounded so raw. The big thing on the radio at the time was Aerosmith and to hear this in comparison was like peeling off the carpet and sitting on a bare concrete floor. That's the only way I can describe it. I still have that same feeling today. Their voices together. John Doe and Exene Cervenka. So good.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Not one to quote Bono or U2, especially nowadays, but there is a lyric from their new album that I like. I haven't really heard that much of the album. I stopped listening to the band awhile ago but I heard this song somewhere and was struck by this line:

"Freedom has a scent/Like the top of a baby's newborn head."

Simply, because the top of a newborn baby's head does have a certain smell. Aside from the smell of hair salons it is my favorite smell in the world. If you corner me and press me to describe it I couldn't. I don't remember it. I do remember smelling Atticus' head and having the feeling of hope. Simple as that. I don't know if that sounds, well, cheesy or contrived but it was so strong, so vivid. It was like a smell that was evidence of the transport from another world. A short temporary residue. Much like freedom, it was quite fleeting, leaving in its wake instead everything that inevitably must follow.

I don't know if that what Bono was talking about. Like I said previously, I really could care less, but he knows that smell, hence the lyric, because of his children. Beyond the nose, the glasses and the ego (that is an American Landmark as much as is the Statue of Liberty) I can look at him and say, I know you. And he can look back, man that he is, just a man (which is nothing and everything and a lot more than you think), and say, I know you too. Like my friend Jon Cates used to say when we were both younger, passing ships. And we waved. And kept walking.

Someone asked me on Sunday if I disliked his president. If I was a liberal. I said no, first off, he is my president, our president. Second, I don't know him. He's never been to my house, met my wife, my kids, pet my dog, talked with me about education and healthcare and my neighborhood and what it means to be an American. So no, sir. I'm not terribly fond of his policies. Nor his actions. But I don't know him. Somewhere, sometime long ago he held babies in his arms, his babies, and he smelled that scent. And for the tiniest moment the world opened a pinprick of light onto him and he smelled hope. And what has followed?

Monday, October 10, 2005

I had so many things to discuss in these pages it feels like my head was going to spill over the sides. And now I am struggling to put it all down in this alotted time. I had an EMG on Saturday. It was a very painful experience. It did however conclude that I have sensory nerve damage from the chemo. The neurologist upped he shock voltage as there was no feeling in my topical nerves. Well, at least that is verified.

I missed the rest of what sounded like an amazing story by Audrey Niffenegger on WBEZ/NPR on Saturday night. I can't remember the full title of the story...wait, I took a break to search and found that it's called The Night Bookmobile. I was so engrossed by it and then, as usual, I had to run off. It starts off with the narrator walking up Ravenswood and she eventually sees the Bookmobile on the corner of Ravenswood and Belle Plaine which is right around the way from me and a corner I know well. A seemingly inconspicous one but one where forever it will make sense to me that yes, of course a bookmobile would be there.

That was preceded on Friday night by listening to Afropop Worldwide and listening, among many other things, to Vieux Kante. I grabbed Atticus and we moved to the radio and just stared it for a few minutes also listening to Gabrielle in the background running around the house.

I want to say congratulations to Megan and Jamie for letting us witness their union. Irene and I journeyed to Delavan, Wisconsin for their wedding on Sunday. Much love.

And there is this article, which I read to my friend Bina on the phone a few weeks ago which, well, speaks for itself. I digress....

From The New York Times...
September 18, 2005
Close Encounter of the Human Kind

With the first busloads of Katrina refugees about to arrive in San Antonio, the call went out for physician volunteers, and I signed up for the 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. shift. On the way, riding down dark, deserted streets, I thought of driving in for night shifts in the I.C.U. as an intern many years ago, and how I would try to steel myself, as if putting on armor.

Within a massive structure at Kelly U.S.A. (formerly Kelly Air Force Base), a brightly lighted processing area led to office cubicles, where after registering, new arrivals with medical needs came to see us. My first patient sat before me, haggard, pointing to what ailed her, as if speech no longer served her. I peeled her shoes from swollen feet, trying not to remove skin in the process. Cuts from submerged objects and immersion in standing water had caused the swelling, as well as infection of both feet. An antibiotic, a pair of slip-ons from the roomful of donated clothing and a night with her feet elevated - that would help.

The ailments common among the refugees included diarrhea, bronchitis, sore throat and voices hoarse or lost. And stress beyond belief. People didn't have their medications, and blood sugars and blood pressures were out of control.

I prayed, as I wrote prescriptions, that their memories of particular pills were accurate. For a man on methadone maintenance who was now cramping and sweating, I prescribed codeine to hold him. Another man, clutching a gym bag as if I might snatch it from him, admitted when I gently probed that he was hearing voices again. We sat together looking through the Physicians' Desk Reference. "That's it," he said, recognizing the pill he hadn't taken since the storm hit.

Hesitantly, I asked each patient, "Where did you spend the last five days?" I wanted to reconcile the person in front of me with the terrible locales on television. But as the night wore on, I understood that they needed me to ask; to not ask was to not honor their ordeal. Hard men wiped at their eyes and became animated in the telling. The first woman, the one who seemed mute from stress, began a recitation in a courtroom voice, as if preparing for future testimony.

It reminded me of my previous work in field clinics in India and Ethiopia, where, with so few medical resources at hand, the careful listening, the thorough exam, the laying of hands was the therapy. And I felt the same helplessness, knowing that the illness here was inextricably linked to the bigger problem of homelessness, disenfranchisement and despair.

Near the end of my shift, a new group of patients arrived. A man in his 70's with gray hair and beard came in looking fit and vigorous. One eye was milky white and sightless, but the glint in his good eye was enough for two. His worldly belongings were in a garbage bag, but his manner was dignified.

He was out of medicine, and his blood sugar and blood pressure were high. He couldn't pay for his medication, so his doctor always gave him samples: "Whatever he have. Whatever he have." He had kept his shoes on for five days, he said, removing the battered, pickled but elegant pair, a cross between bowling shoes and dancing shoes. His toes were carved ebony, the tendons on the back like cables, the joints gnarled but sturdy. All night I had seen many feet; in his bare feet I read resilience.

He told me that for two nights after the floods, he had perched on a ledge so narrow that his legs dangled in the water. At one point, he said, he saw Air Force One fly over, and his hopes soared. "I waited, I waited," he said, but no help came. Finally a boat got him to a packed bridge. There, again, he waited. He shook his head in disbelief, smiling though. "Doc, they treat refugees in other countries better than they treated us."

"I'm so sorry," I said. "So sorry."

He looked at me long and hard, cocking his head as if weighing my words, which sounded so weak, so inadequate. He rose, holding out his hand, his posture firm as he shouldered his garbage bag. "Thank you, Doc. I needed to hear that. All they got to say is sorry. All they got to say is sorry."

I was still troubled by him when I left, even though he seemed the hardiest of all. This encounter between two Americans, between doctor and patient, had been carried to all the fullness that was permitted, and yet it was incomplete, as if he had, as a result of this experience, set in place some new barriers that neither I nor anyone else would ever cross.

Driving home, I remembered my own metaphor of strapping on armor for the night shift. The years have shown that there is no armor. There never was. The willingness to be wounded may be all we have to offer.

Abraham Verghese, M.D., is the Joaquin Cigarroa Jr. Chair and Marvin Forland Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Helping the kids out of their coats
But wait the babies haven't been born
Unpacking the bags and setting up
And planting lilacs and buttercups

But in the meantime I've got it hard
Second floor living without a yard
It may be years until the day
My dreams will match up with my pay

Old dirt road
Knee deep snow
Watching the fire as we grow old

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done

How many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map

Old dirt road
Knee deep snow
Watching the fire as we grow old
Old dirt road
Rambling rose
Watching the fire as we grow well I'm sold

-Leslie Feist

I love this song and its lyrics and I adore Feist. They have this thing in parts of Canada where they call each other by there last names so instead of Leslie it's Feist. This song makes me think of many people but I'm posting it for friends who are beginning new journeys: joined, linked, roomed, hitched, lincoln squared and all other connective-nesses. Much love.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I just posted a comment on Rick and Rose's Radio Zero site and unwittingly put down my URL and realized how dank and depressing this journal gets at times and I thought what if people visit and think I am crazy so aside from the Radio Zero plug here you go.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My sister gave me the gift of this quote many years ago. I have held it in a notebook for years, almost ten, knowing that someday I would need it. That someday it would make sense. It was from one of her favorite tv shows and she was kind enough to share it with me.

"For the first time, I feel time like a heart beat. The seconds pumping in my breast like a reckoning. The numerous mysteries, that once seemed so distant and unreal, threatening clarity in the presence of a truth entertained not in youth, but only in its passage. I feel these words as if their meaning were weight lifted from me knowing that you will read them and share my burden as I have come to trust no other. That you should know my heart, look into it, finding there the memory and experience that belong to you, that are you, is a comfort to me now as I feel the tethers loose and the prospects darken for the continuance of a journey that began not so long ago. And which began again with a faith shaken and strengthened by your convictions. If not for which I might never have been so strong now as I cross to face you and look at you, incomplete, hoping that you will forgive me for not making the rest of the journey with you."

My journey, for those who will undoubtedly have a quick reaction to that last line, is far from over.

My days, nowadays, are filled with a great tremendous sadness, something like an empty pit I have fallen into except it is nearly tangible. I can feel it in the base of my diaphragm and in the labored breath that accompanies my more low energy moments. I remember this sadness and I think that maybe sadness is too strong a, maybe too romantic a word. It doesn't account for the feeling of being in the middle of a large ocean and that fear in your chest as you look out and it just keep going and going.

It is a strange feeling, one that encompasses your whole being. You don't see life as a series of stitches in the larger quilt, you don't see ahead. You see now and only now. It is both selfish and narcissistic. It is young no matter how old you are. The bad part of young, the fear, not the mischievousness. Clarity seems like a lost love.

Looking at it now, from the distance if these words, of this written narrative, I can see that it contains a lot of fatigue and a lot of bad choices. Funny how you can see the path ahead, not so linear-ly, but at least a contour to guide you. The path isn't always dark. That is just some shit they sell you in lines of verse. It can be clear as day, snow covered even with a black line pointing the (maybe) way. The question is, do you walk it? Do you smoke, drink, run, hide? Do you take your pills daily? Do you do what you do? From the distance of there words, it seems clearer. It seems to take some shape....I know you stranger, don't I?

Last Monday I went with my father to get a days worth of tests. Where we went to my father knew a lot of the people from when he was a doctor, when he worked at the free public health clinic. When I was waiting to get my blood drawn, my father turns to me and says Kathleen is going to draw your blood. I say ok, dad. He shakes his head. No, you don't understand. Kathleen is going to draw your blood. About twenty years ago or more, Kathleen comes into the clinic. Man you should have seen that place. No hot water. Government gave us a free clinic and it was an old building but you use what you get. Kathleen was working the perfume counter at Walgreen's and was a single mom raising two young girls. She came in to ask for a job and she said she had no experience but everywhere she went they said you needed experience and how were you supposed to get experience without getting a job? So my dad and my aunt, Dr. B who is Filipino but is blood like my blood, looked at each other and basically said this lady's got some heart and spunk and they hired her. She had no experience and started doing lab tech work. Twenty years later, my dad says, and she went to school and is a lab tech and her girls are grown and this is her lab. Kathleen is going to draw your blood. Do you understand? And like a child magically transformed as I look at him, I say, yes, dad, I understand. And I do.

Michael Chabon's Summerland has been saving me the past few days. "A baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day."

I am sorry I haven't returned phone calls and replied to emails. I seem to have been faraway. No paint, no sentences. Only a little baby starting to grope at words and crawling many miles a minute and a ten year old discovering her older self and looking at the world through seemingly new eyes. Such is life.