Friday, July 27, 2007


Baby Mackie: "I think Snave worries too much about politics."

BonnieBird: "I agree, Baby Mackie. Snave needs to mellow out a bit. He should drink more beer."

AbbyCat: "When is dinner?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Thanks to my friend John for this actual photograph of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales after hearing FBI Director Robert Mueller's testimony in today's hearings, which you can read all about here:

I'm hoping this will be the nail in Gonzales' political coffin. It certainly looks like a smoking gun, anyway. I don't see how on earth he can get around this one. Not only should this just about sink Gonzales entirely, it should also be extremely damaging to what little credibility the Bush administration has left.

If Gonzales has a shred of decency in his bones, he will resign right away... although I would rather see him continue to try and hang on, because that means Dumbya would have to explain why he isn't firing Gonzales or asking him to resign. Seeing Gonzales squirm is fun, but seeing Dumbya squirm is even more funner.

This stuff keeps piling up on the administration at what seems to be an exponential rate. I think the rate of negative events for the administration is now at the point on the chart where I drew the big fat X, and soon we will see events happen so rapidly that the administration will be at the little X, the point from which I think there is probably no return.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Friday, July 20, 2007


Video link. Language not suitable for playing at work. Totally weerd, had me in stitches, particularly from about halfway through until the end.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I'm taking a couple more days off from the blog. We're taking my younger daughter to her college orientation on Saturday, I'll probably get back to blogging by Sunday.

Only 549 days left!

Feel free to comment on this or any other recent posts here! Have a good Friday and Saturday!

Here are a few things I might be seeing during the next couple of days:

View of the Blue Mountains, not too far west of La Grande, Oregon. The first 30 minutes of the drive west from town on I-84 goes through pine and fir forests. Then the freeway descends 2,000 feet to the rolling hills of the agricultural and grassland area around Pendleton (home of the Pendleton Woolen Mills and the Pendleton Round-Up... yee haw!)

This Oregon Trail marker is out in the flatlands near Boardman, Oregon. This is what the scenery looks like about 45 miles further west along I-84 from Pendleton. Boardman, population about 2,500, is trying to get a NASCAR facility built near the town. How exciting!

About two hours more, west past Boardman, this is Vista House viewpoint above the Columbia River gorge. The viewpoint is about 30 miles east of Portland, Oregon. I-84 is visible in the lower center part of the picture. If we have some time, we might take old Highway 30 instead of the freeway, because the old route goes past numerous scenic waterfalls.

College orientation will take place here. P.S.U. (home of the Vikings) is basically in downtown Portland, kind of at the south edge of downtown. It's a comfortable campus, and it borders Portland's series of downtown "park blocks". Lots of nice old trees, and an occasional street crazy here and there!

Monday, July 16, 2007


Huh? WHOSE bad? 8-)>

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


A while back someone tagged this blog as a Thinking Blog, but I didn't know what that meant, and I spaced it out. Was that you, Lizzy? To whoever it was, I apologize for not acknowledging the honor in the way I should have. Now, Two Crows of "Preserve, Protect and Defend" has also tagged me with this honor. Normally, if you get tagged as a Thinking Blogger, you are supposed to tag five more bloggers, but because I know I have been tagged two times, I feel the need to honor ten blogs instead of the usual five. Here they are, and if you want to go visit them, they are listed in my list of links at the right. Surf and enjoy!

Major Conflict - J. Marquis' blog is absolutely cool. He posts his own astute comments along with some of the best articles he culls from the internet. J. puts up good pictures and illustrations, and he is never one to shy away from a fight or debate. Besides, he is a great lefty!

The OCD Generation X Liberal - namely, Lizzy. Whether she is posting her excellent links, her great commentary, or pictures of her smushy-faced dogs, it is a great place to go for thought fodder and a healthy dose of love and humanity.

Pissed on Politics - Polishifter is often angry, and I think that is a good thing... because I also tend to think he gets angry about things we should ALL be angry about! He goes about it in a very incisive manner, dissecting and shredding current political events in ways that make the perpetrators look like fools. Power to the pen! Keep up the great work!

Couch Warfare - Damien Morgan is an art hero in my world. His blog contains some of the best original political artwork I've seen anywhere. It's ART, not merely illustration. Plus, he has a good grasp on what's right and wrong, and it comes out in his posts and comments.

A Thought Vacuum - Sheryl is someone who has a lot on her mind, and the thing is, the things she has on her mind are captivating and interesting. She is a good progressive, and she loves art and music. She often posts links and information about good music we won't hear on the radio in America, and she is very dedicated to ridding our country's government of neocons.

Liberty Lost - Like Polishifter, 1138 is often angry, and angry about things we should all be paying more attention to but aren't. He often speaks from experience. He deeply values humanity and all our welfare. Check out his site!

Who Hijacked Our Country? - Tom Harper tells things like it is. He lives in a small town like I do, and thus he gets to experience rural conservatism at its finest; I can identify with most of his perspectives. Tom is the master of posting quotes and using cross-outs in a creative manner to reveal true, hidden meanings. Thanks for being there and being thoughtful, Tom!

Mandelbrot's Order From Chaos - Chaotic Farting Fred ("MC") is a blog friend of mine. We may not always agree on a number of political issues, but we agree on enough things to realize that the rift between right and left is nonexistent more often that it is present. More people need to visit his weblog, as he writes well, injects equal amounts of fact and emotion into his posts, links to good music, and isn't afraid to tweak a nerve here or there!

Blognonymous - Kvatch is Der Frog Kommander. Go to his fine weblog not just for information and talking points, but for A GOOD TIME! There is occasionally a friendly poetry competition, there are often good snarky posts and comments, and it is for people who like to think. The group of people who comments there on a very regular basis is too fun a bunch to miss out on!

The Dark Stuff - I go to Howard Davis' blog (J. Marquis also writes there now from time to time!) for culture. Howard has some good podcasts available, and he loves good music. He is also good at provoking thought when it comes to his political views. I love his weblog!
PT Cruiser - PT has a particular activity down to a fine art form. If you want to know what it is, you need to go visit his weblog. His weblog makes me think, and his job is making as many people think as he possibly can. Go to his site, and learn!
Whoops, that's eleven! Oh well... !

Some others I didn't mention that deserve mention (see my links) are When the World is Running Down, Lew Scannon is Unbrainwashed, Morning Martini, Reconstitution, Undeniable Liberalism, Truth Serum, Sumo Merriment, Getexis, and The Gay Agenda. I didn't have enough slots to tag them all... but I would endorse them for being tagged as Thinking Blogs, should any of you want to visit their sites and award them!

As Two Crows told me, here are the things to remember about the Thinking Blogger Award:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.
Two Crows, I hadn't been to your weblog before today. Thanks again, and I think your blog is a goodie! It's now linked here at this site! Also, how do I display the thinking blogger award and link to this post? Yes, I DO live in a cave! 8-)> Thanks!

The following is from . If you go to the link, the propaganda posters are fun, and the information is interesting food for thought:

Fascism is a term commonly used as an epithet for any ideology that a person doesn't like. Nevertheless, it is a real political phenomenon which can be defined (if with some difficulty) according to particular characteristics. When we look at what fascism really is, we discover that it is not something which must be limited to Germany and Italy of the mid-20th century. It is, instead, a phenomenon which might conceivable occur in any nation at any if the conditions are right. America is no exception.

Robert O. Paxton, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, defines fascism in his book The Anatomy of Fascism as: "A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

It should be clear that there is nothing fascist about "Islamofascism," so that's an example of people using the fascist label as a means of attack rather than as a serious description. Fascism is more like a religion than it is like a political movement. Fascism isn't motivated by rational conclusions about economics, political philosophy, or social policy. This makes real religions like Christianity well suited for integration with a fascist movement. If fascism occurs in America, it will be Christian in nature because only Christianity has the power to motivate a mass-based movement with a passionate concern for unity, redemption, victimhood, and nationalism. Christian fascism will also be convinced of its own righteousness, moral purity, and godly intentions.

This image was taken from a World War II poster of an American prisoner of war saying "Don't Let Me Down" and "You are still free to work." Americans are free to work, but how free are they to enjoy the rest of the liberties which Americans fought and died to protect in World War II? Overt repression in America hasn't started, but once a people unjustly puts others in shackles, they put on their own shackles as well. One is imprisoned by the brutality of the other; the latter is imprisoned by the need to perpetuate their own brutal methods lest the repressed rise up.

America is supposed to be a democratic nation founded by "we the people" and based upon the will of the people. This conception of government contrasted sharply with European traditions that rulers were essentially chosen by God and thus the decisions of rulers were effectively divine mandates. Unfortunately, more than 200 years of democratic tradition have failed to extinguish the religious impulse to attribute divine agency to democratically elected leaders. There are many who believe God is responsible for George W. Bush being president -- including, it seems, George W. Bush himself.

There are reports of President Bush claiming that he was chosen by God to be president during this time in history. There are also reports of Bush claiming that he speaks to God, with God giving him instructions on foreign policy -- including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. If Bush were alone in this it might simply be dismissed as egotistical delusions, but many of Bush's Christian supporters completely agree. They believe that Bush was placed in office by God, that Bush's authority is derived from this divine mandate, and that Bush's policies are all the Will of God.

If people believe their leader is placed in charge by gods, they are less likely to question, challenge, or oppose his decisions. This is what makes such beliefs popular with authoritarian, totalitarian, theocratic, and fascist rulers; it's also what makes such beliefs inimical to democratic systems. If God, not the people, is the sovereign power responsible for Bush being president, then it means Bush is ultimately responsible to God rather than to the people. Democracy requires the principle that citizens, not gods, choose their leaders and that the government is founded on human reason rather than divine agency.

This is fertile ground for Christian Nationalism and Christian Fascism because it allows for the excision of democracy, democratic elections, the separation of powers, constitutionally protected rights, and everything else which makes America a secular and free nation. People who say that Bush was placed in office by God are denying that Bush's authority and office derive from the will of the people. People who say that Bush is doing the Will of God are denying that the American people have any right to challenge or stop Bush. All of this is unequivocally anti-democratic.

Snave's Note: I am all in favor of keeping America secular and free, and for religion to keep its proper place, which I believe is in the church/synagogue/mosque/etc., in the heart, in the mind, and in the home. In that last paragraph I posted, I think what the author means is that what we often see is an abrogation of responsibility on the part of the fundamentalists. The world can be a tough place, especially when you have lots of responsibilities, right? Do many of the fundamentalists feel overwhelmed and hand their responsibilities over to their god? Do they give themselves credit for things they accomplish? If they screw up, are they terrified of their god? Sounds like hell on Earth to me.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I just don't get it. "Running with the bulls" is a tradition, that has been going on for a long time, but it seems about as silly as competitive eating or large-scale food-fights, and it seems to generate just as much interest in the news as other similarly-silly activities do.

What in hell is so fascinating about this stuff? I don't think it qualifies as "news", and I tire of hearing about it when there are much more serious things going on in the world. Call me a curmudgeon, but I think "running with the bulls", competitive eating (i.e. the recent hot-dog eating contest and all the attention it got), gigantic food fights (where is it, Italy, where they throw tomatoes or oranges at each other?), watching people beat each other up ("pride fighting", kickboxing, boxing, cage fighting, etc.), or sitting in front of a TV watching other people play cards (i.e. televised Poker tournaments!)... come about as close as possible to defining the term "dumbshit".

I would even go so far as to include the phenomena of millions of people watching cars going around and around on racetracks wasting energy for hours at a time. Especially when the cars and drivers are covered (just about every available square inch) in advertisements... sigh...

O.K., O.K. everyone to their own. One man's trash is another man's treasure, etc.... but please, someone explain the attraction for those things I mentioned above. I just don't get it.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Woody Tobias, Jr. of the Gay Agenda (see links) tagged me! I have to post eight random factos or habits about myself.

1. I am paralyzed by heights... sometimes. I can become petrified with fear when I get about four or five feet up a ladder, but I can stand close to the edge of a cliff or the edge of a roof without being bothered too much.

2. I don't like any kind of cheese that has the slightest scent. Somehow my senses of taste and smell combine strongly enough that about the only cheeses I can stand to eat are cheddar, jack, American, Colby and mozzarella.

3. I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that manifests in hoarding/collecting, counting, and checking behaviors.

4. I can often tell what classic rock song is playing on the radio when I hear less than one second of the song.

5. I actually voted for a Republican in a presidential election once (Gerald Ford in 1976, when I was too young to know any better). I have changed parties from Democrat to Republican several times to vote in Oregon's closed primary elections for local Republicans I like, and then I've changed back to Democrat, or most recently to Green.

6. My first car was a black 1962 Rambler Classic, a very ugly car that was recognizable all over town. The police used to pull me over a lot because I had hair past my shoulders (this was in 1974-1975).

7. My wife and I met as a result of me answering a "personals ad" her sister put in the Seattle Weekly. My wife didn't know the ad had been submitted at the time. She got 38 responses to the ad, I was one of the two she went out with. She decided to go out with me because I Sealed the letter I sent her with a Felix the Cat sticker.

8. I did not learn to tie my shoe until I was about nine, and I ate my boogers until I was about 11 or 12.

So there are the facts on me. Here are the rules, as stated to me by Woody, Jr.:
1. All RIght, here are the RUles.
2. We HAVe to post these RUles beFORE we give you the facts.
3. PlAYers start with eight RANdom facts/HAbits about thEMSElves.
4. PEople who are tagGED need to write on their own blog about their eight things and post these RUles.
5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagGED and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a COmment telling them they’re tagGED, and to read your blog.

Thus, I now tag the following (all are listed in my links):

J.Marquis of "Major Conflict"
Lizzy of "The OCD Gen-X Liberal"
Chaotic Fred of "Mandelbrot's Order From Chaos"
Kvatch of "Blognonymous"
Damien Morgan of "Couch Warfare"
Tom Harper of "Who Hijacked Our Country?"
Elvez73 of "When the World is Running Down"
Sheryl Zettner of "A Thought Vacuum"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Our band is playing what will probably be its LAST JOB next Monday.

For the 4th of July, we will play at the community stadium from 7-10 p.m., and it looks like I will be SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM after our show and before the local fireworks show starts. That has me much more nervous than playing rock and roll music in front of the crowd.

Then, we will end our band's life in a horrifically anticlimactic and mundane way by playing at a local chiropractor's birthday party for a couple of hours on Monday the 9th. That sounds like something that would happen in a shitcom or a humorous short story, eh! If you're laughing out loud, I don't blame you. I'm sure it will be fun, but it doesn't really seem like we will be "going out with a bang"...

After the Chiropractor's Birthday Gig, both our guitarists are leaving. Mark is moving to Austin, TX to go to a recording school, and Steve is pretty much just hanging it up, or "retiring". I don't know how anxious I will be for Joel the drummer and Mike the bassist and me to try and replace both guitarists right away, if at all. I view the hiatus from practicing, with goals in mind, as a chance to concentrate more on some home recording. Continuing to play music with the drummer and bass player might give me a chance to get off of the keyboard at times, and to get out the guitar and try some bad-sounding primitive stuff in a trio format, and that might be fun... although me on guitar wouldn't be something we would do with a view toward taking it out in public... hehehehe..

Anyway, I really want to take some time to sit down with my 8-track digital recorder and, well... play with myself. Heh. If I end up playing in another local group, or if the remaining three of us keep things going and recruit a new band member or two, I'll keep you posted. And once I get some of my own songs done here at home, I'll see about getting them posted on this blog for you to hear.

All good things come to an end, including Standard Deviation as a band. We now finish things up on good terms, and it's very likely we will all continue to hang out together and that we'll stay in touch with Mark once he has moved. The friendship and camaraderie have always been the most important thing about our band. That is what made it an ideal situation, really, no matter how good or bad we sounded at times. For me, it's all about playing music with friends, nothing more. Once it becomes more than that, it becomes a job, and thankfully, being in this band never felt like a job.

Now it's time to look for other activities that don't feel like jobs, and hopefully I'll find some that involve music!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


For lots of my friends who happen to be in my age group, I often think conventional wisdom is that the last good rock and roll music was played by Cream, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, etc. and that rock and roll is basically dead and has been for years. They seem to believe there "isn't any good rock and roll music anymore" and I hear them lamenting about "Whatever happened to rock and roll?" Well... rock and roll never died. It changed. It went underground for a while but came back wearing different clothing and different hairstyles. So if rock and roll is still alive and kicking, just what bands are out there that have something to say and who say it ways that are artful and new?

For starters, I have to say I LOVE the Dandy Warhols. For not really having a bass player they sound great live. I guess Zia McCabe plays bass on a keyboard, which is fine. Their songs tend to have very simple/primitive chord progressions, but I love Courtney Taylor-Taylor's voice, the powerful metronomic drumming of Brent DeBoer and the guitar sounds Taylor-Taylor and Peter Holstrom create.

A friend and I were talking recently about differences between newer rock bands and the older bands. I observed that in today's music scene I don't see as many rock performers consciously trying to create "art" as I used to, and that today there is more of an outrpouring of gut-bucket energy within the young bands... but maybe that isn't so. When I consider bands like The Arcade Fire and The Dandy Warhols, I think what they do is not only an outrpouring of energy but also artful.

I strongly disagree with that notion that really good rock music kind of die in the late 70's to mid 80's. I believe that rather than dying or getting worse, rock music began to change around that time. Disco had mostly already happened, punk was underway and New Wave was getting started... and to me, those things didn't necessarily signal a form of musical death, but rather the onset of a gradual paradigm shift for rock and roll as it later incorporated many of those elements. "Classic rock" groups continued to put out albums, but attention from critics and writers seemed to shift away from them and toward newer acts.

If rock and roll seemed to kind of go away for a while, I think there has been a definite resurgence during the past 10-15 years and that what we have now is a big picture in which, while things may often not sound unique at first listen, performers tend to embrace and absorb past influences into a new kind of musical outlook that we see manifest in groups like The Dandy Warhols, who seem to fuse a lot of classic rock ideas with steady beats and with what almost amounts to "trance rock" or "stoner rock" psychedelia.

Newer artists have shown us you don't have to play flashy solos on the guitar to be a good guitarist, that you don't need to have a traditional two guitars + bass + drums lineup with an occasional keyboard to sound good, and that you don't have to be on a major record label to be good. I think it's a shame that this new sense of musical freedom hasn't been glorified by radio to the point where we see more rock music on charts like Billboard. If things worked now the same way they did 30 years ago, we might have seen bands like The Dandy Warhols getting songs like "Bohemian Like You" into the Top Ten.

When it comes to what constitutes the "top-of-the-pops" today, I find things depressing. It seems like L'il So-and-So and DJ Whatzis/Whozis create hip-hop influenced ballads and rap/pop stuff that hogs the charts, along with the usual pop divas and guys like Michael Buble, all undeniably talented, but somehow very musically and lyrically generic to my ears. I haven't been as flexible as I would like when it has come to embracing much of what is in the higher levels of the Billboard charts of today. However, when it comes to the current state of rock and roll music, I get excited just thinking about it.

Some of the older, more established groups such as Rush maintain their relevance and just seem to get better with age. Some of the younger bands like The Arcade Fire and The Hold Steady maintain a new tradition of taking the best of the "old", fusing often-disparate sounds into new, bold material that is still "art" as far as I'm concerned. If you listen to the total sound of a band as well as analyzing the separate parts of the music, I think you'll find there are specific groups for which you feel like you "get" what the band is trying to accomplish. The scope of the efforts of newer rock bands seems truly impressive, especially when you find music that is nothing like any you have heard before! It seems as if sounding unique in today's rock world would present numerous difficulties, the primary one being "Oh, that band is just a rehash of so-and-so from ten years ago". On the other hand, newer bands that take older ideas and refine them and run with them (like the Black Angels with their darkly psychedelic "Passover" CD) are just as welcome for me, because I have always liked dark psychedelia.

If I find that I tend to "get" what artists are trying to do more than I used to, does that just mean that I have heard so much rock music by age 50 that it is easier for me to understand more music at deeper levels? Who knows. Or, is it that I have refined the ways in which I listen, by broadening my rock and roll tastes? Is it kind of like becoming more musically "tolerant", in a sense? I find that I now like music I tended not to like as much 25 years ago, and that if I hear a band that derives some of its sound from such music I didn't care for earlier, I often don't mind that new band's product.

I'm a rock and roll fan in middle age. For rock and roll fans in my age group, is determining whether I like a newer rock band the end result of judging how many familiar elements are present in the music and how many of those elements fit together in a way I like? Or is it that I like it just because I like it? I really can't answer that, but if anyone ever tells me "rock is dead" I find myself telling them I think they are probably taking on that attitude because they have been overwhelmed by all the new music and don't know where to begin when it comes to listening. They probably got overwhelmed enough at some point that they just stopped paying attention to what is new. I always ask them "What rock artists do you like?" and find that I can usually give them the names of a few newer bands who have been influenced by some of their older favorites.

The "Yellow House" CD by Grizzly Bear fits into the "nothing like I've heard before" category, and while I wouldn't say they have suddenly become one of my favorite bands, I find their music fascinating. I have heard "Yellow House" four or five times now, and I like it better each time I hear it. I can hear some odd things in their music, maybe an occasional arrangment nod to Van Dyke Parks or some vocal harmonies that sound like they could have been arranged by Brian Wilson, or even some guitar work that borders on "alt country". They use autoharps, clarinets, banjos and other instruments that aren't traditionally "rock", and they successfully bury many of their influences, making their music sound unique, so that the listener may find himself or herself thinking "This is a gloriously different sound, but where have I heard them before?" Grizzly Bear is a rare kind of group to hear in today's scene or any scene.

Even if you like the "old", there is plenty you can find to like in the "new"... because of all the "old" that came first, the "new" has so much to offer. You just have to listen!