Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A New Take on a Great Song

Normally I prefer the traditional arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner. I'm kind of an old fart that way. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the artistry that Hendrix brought to the party. Usually it's the pop star who can't remember the lyrics or who get so wrapped up in the vocal gymnastics of how long they can carry a melisma (look it up, but it is rampant on American Idol for instance) or sometimes they even sing the wrong song entirely. For the love of all that is holy America the Beautiful is NOT the national anthem!


That being said, I was sent a link to a video by a group called Madison Rising of their performance of The Star Spangled Banner, and I have to say that I am impressed. They recorded this in response to two statements that I have to admit kind of piss me off too.

"The Star Spangled Banner is stupid and embarrassing."
- Bill Press, Current TV

"No one has the Star Spangled Banner on their iPod."
- Comedian Daniel Tosh



So here it is. Enjoy...I did.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The End is Nigh...More or Less

It was alsmost seven years ago that I picked up The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.  At that time I only had the first five of what was then an eleven book series.  I had inherited them from my late brother-in-law who spoke of them with great enthusiasm.  I thought to myself, "self, if he thinks they're worth reading, they probably are."  Well, I dove in.

It wasn't until I was in book four that I discovered how many more there were.  I got to be a little discouraged.  I had just read an 11 book series by Terry Goodkind and really wasn't up for doing it again with another high-fantasy novel series.  So I put it down for a bit thinking that I'd just hold out until the series was finished and read the rest.

Enter cardiac amyloidosis.  In 2007, Robert Jordan was diagnosed with this invariably fatal disease. It brought his books back into my attention and I started to read them again thinking that the more people he had on his side and hoping for him to beat the odds the better.  He fought hard, but this disease is a mean one and he fell in 2007.  With his passing I put the books down again thinking I didn't want to finish the last book that wasn't really the last book and be left hanging for an end to the story.

Now it looks like this story will finally have an end, or start a new begining (the Wheel turns and ages comes and go). 

Mr. Jordan had intended one final volume, "even if it were to be a 1,500 page" beast.  Brandon Sanderson has stepped in and brought that beast under control though it has taken three volumes to do so.  Apparently Mr. Sanderson took one look at the notes and outlines left behind by Mr. Jordan and realized that one volume was an impossibility.

I guess that the point of this little ramble is that come January 8, 2013 the last book will be released and roughly a month after that my journey through that world will conclude.  While I am very excited to see how all of the multitude of story arcs will resolve, I'm also a little sad that it will all come to an end.

Oh and as a side note, sometime in March I will have the complete 13 volume set for sale if anyone is interested.  (I'm kidding. I never sell my hardback books, and I just give away my paperbacks.)

Tole

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Green Marks on the Floor

My family is on our third dog in as many years. We have had a truly bad run of luck where our canine house guests are concerned.

First came Buddy. He was a cute little min-pin and was brought to us as a rescued puppy. We soon learned that he has been abused so badly that he had some sort of personality altering brain damage and soon grew into a very aggressive, bite for no reason source of fear for my children. After the third time he bit one of my children with zero provocation, he was transported to the Humane Society where he reportedly bit two more people. I do not need to expand on his fate.

Second, my neighbor who fosters dogs and cats for the humane society brought us Shasta. Shasta was a chorky (chihuahua/yorkie mix) and was absolutely beautiful. She was slowly acclimated to my children by our neighbor while we saved up for the adoption fee. She house trained in three or four days. Every trick or behavior we encouraged she adopted. She loved my kids and they loved her in return. We lost Shasta to an attack by a large dog while my kids were walking her. It was so traumatic for them to see her killed right in front of them. Recovery and grieving took some time. (And before you ask, nothing was done to or about the other dog as it no history of aggressive behavior.)

That brings us to Gidget. Gidget is another fostered dog from my neighbor. She is a sweet little rat terrier and only about 5 months old. She was malnourished and sickly when we got her, but my wife put that to right in short order. No one is allowed to be underfed in her house!

We've had Gidget for about 3 months now and she is still a little unruly, as puppies are want to be. This brings me to the green marks on the floor.

I came down the hall this morning to find three crayon or marker marks on the laminate flooring in my living room. Each is about six inches long and they are about a foot apart in a straight line with one another. As I geared up to educate my children on why we can't have nice things and how it is not acceptable to write on the floor, my wife says, "Wait, they're green? Like a green crayon maybe?"

"Yes," says I. At which point she begins to laugh.

It seems that Gidget has developed a taste for crayons and had snacked on a green one yesterday morning. She was later seen doing another doggy thing (dragging her fanny across the floor to remove some irritation) and lo and behold three green marks!

Ain't life grand?

Tole