Category Archives: Life

Superstar

GodLovesEverybody

Many of the people who claim to speak for him are full of shit, but Jesus was and is a superstar.  It’s easy to forget that when we’re bombarded with fundamentalist idiots who use religion as a weapon of oppression.  But God is Love, and Jesus loves all of us.

Happy Easter.

That Sound You Hear Isn’t a Sound at All

Panic

Thankfully, I don’t hear bombs exploding in my head, like some who experience Exploding Head Syndrome (more here) do, but I often have some sort of auditory dream that wakes me up.  In fact, I had one this morning.  I “heard” (not for the first or 10th time) a loud, brief, irregular knocking sound, that woke me up.  Sometimes, it’s someone calling for me.  It happens enough that I have learned (because it is statistically impossible that this many loud noises would immediately stop as soon as I “wake up”) that these are not dangerous things.  I don’t wake up particularly startled.  I just wake up, listen to confirm that there’s nothing happening, and then go back to sleep.  Like a lot of people, I also have the occasional hypnic jerk, but those are different, and only seem to happen once in a while when falling asleep.

Based on a little research, it seems that quite a few people have some form of this.

Interestingly, I don’t have any other sleep issues, and only rarely have any trouble falling asleep.

The End of Saturday Morning as We (Used to) Know It

bullwinkle

I don’t know when the ritual of Saturday morning cartoons went on life-support, but it was sometime between when I was a kid and now.  It probably had a lot to do with the hundred or so channels kids have today compared to the 3 or 4 we had back in the day.  Videos, both the DVD and on-demand kind, surely played a role.  As did the ability to time-shift via video recorders.

Well, whenever the decline started, it has now ended.  There are no exactly zero cartoons on major television networks on Saturday morning.  Pajiba sums up the melancholy that many of us Bullwinkle and Touche Turtle fans feel:

Saturday morning cartoons were an institution for a couple of generations of American children, our first introductions to stories and characters that we cared about as things made real instead of just the noisy blur of younger entertainment.

Saturday morning cartoons were a big part of my young life.  I remember looking forward to Saturday morning in front of our television, paddling around the few channels we could get, looking for my favorite shows.

I’m sure many of my favorites have been forgotten over the years, but some of the ones I remember seeking out include:

Quick Draw McGraw

Touche Turtle

Wally Gator

Jonny Quest

Speed Racer

and, of course, one of the few that remained popular with all three of my kids, Scooby Doo.

My kids haven’t thought of Saturday morning as a special time for cartoons in a long time, if ever.  But it’s still a little sad when something that used to be so special is finally and forever gone.

Awesome Songs on TV Shows

Pajiba, an awesomely named site that is a fairly recent edition to my daily feeds list, has a good post on The 12 Best Songs to Close TV Show Seasons.  I can’t argue much with the list, at least as far as the listed episodes I’ve seen.  But they got the one they picked from The Wire (yes, it is the best TV show ever) wrong.

They picked the song that played at the end of the series finale: The Blind Boys of Alabama’s “Way Down in the Hole.”  And that’s a good one.

But the best season-ending song from The Wire, and maybe the best ever, was this one from the end of Season 2.

Sobotka, Ziggy, Clay Davis, Beadie (Beadie!), Lester, Proposition Joe, Nick at the end….

Every camera shot in every scene in every season of that show was perfect.

South of the Big Four

southofthebigfour

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve grieved over finishing a book, but for the past week that’s what I’ve been doing.  A week or so ago I finished Don Kurtz’s South of the Big Four.  When I was reading it, I knew I loved it.  As I neared the end, I dreaded finishing it.  Now that I’ve had time to think about it, it has become one of my favorite books.  Ever.

Here’s the Publisher’s Weekly summary.

In gracefully unencumbered prose that evokes isolation and loss, this first novel uses the story of two Indiana men in order to pay elegiac tribute to America’s dwindling number of small farmers. At 30, narrator Arthur Conason chooses to live on the deserted property of his late father, a failed farmer, and work the fields for neighbor Gerry Maars. More successful than Arthur’s dad was, the abrasive, resourceful Gerry displays a tenacity that Kurtz clearly means to be emblematic of people who are unable to loosen their ties to a way of life whose increasing hardships break both the heart and the wallet. Though the solitary Arthur keeps his distance from everyone, his relationship with Gerry deepens as he grows to see his employer as a surrogate father. Kurtz effectively portrays the rhythms and the socioeconomic facts of this threatened world, but he stumbles when addressing his characters’ psychological or moral dilemmas. Their motivations remain unclear (e.g., we don’t understand why Arthur drifts in and out of relationships with successive women, or why these women seek him out). But he does handle the novel’s structure skillfully, seamlessly taking Arthur from the present to the past and back to the present as he struggles to come to terms with “an ever more impatient world.”

That’s pretty accurate, but it’s way more than that.  It’s simply the best example of rural realism I’ve ever read.  It’s not action-packed, but neither is life.  Life is hard.  Sometimes the good guys win.  Sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes there aren’t any traditional good guys.  There’s just people.  Trying to make it though another harvest.  Another year.  Another day.

One of the many passages I highlighted in my copy (an awesome, under-used Kindle feature) sounds a lot like a conversation I heard between my uncle and my mom around 1970, and a little like one I had with another angry mom in 2014.

big4passage

Virtually every line of dialog in this book rings true, and could easily be  something I heard growing up and living among farmers and rural people.  I felt like I was hearing a compelling story from a friend or neighbor.

I love this book so much.

And the Astrodome and the First Tepee

The first pro football and pro baseball games I saw in person were in the Astrodome. It was truly a wonder to a country boy like me.  But like the rest of us that came to be in the 60’s, it’s old and decrepit.  People are still trying, against all odds, to save it.  I wish it could be saved, but at some point we have to accept that it’s not going to happen.  Hail Marys need someone to catch and run with the plan.  With every heaved idea that thuds to the ground, it seems less and less likely to happen, especially without the taxpayers footing the bill.  It’s a shame, but that’s life.  We get old, we fall apart, we go away, people might talk about us wistfully for a while, and that’s it.

NOBI18-140721

I wish a was a trapper
I would give thousand pelts
To sleep with Pocahontas
And find out how she felt
In the morning
On the fields of green
In the homeland
We’ve never seen.

Today’s Public Service Announcement: Wildlife Edition

danger

Here at Newsome.Org, we want to not only make your life richer in tech and music, we want to help you extend it.  So, we have the following suggestions.

One, don’t mess with anteaters.

Two, don’t try to cook a cobra.

Three, if you forget one and two, use a farm implement.