Friday, December 31, 2004


I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand.

Once again, Kim DuToit hits a home run with his commentary. This one brought up an interesting memory from a couple of years ago. A Muslim co-worker's mother passed away and he had to take a couple of months leave of absence to attend to things in the Old Country with his father (he comes from a large family and apparently there were minor siblings). The natural impulse I have when a friend or co-worker goes through such an event is to offer to help in any way (which of course given that the event occurred in the Old Country, was an impossibility), or at least to comfort the family, usually sending lots of food to the house where the mourners live. I inquired with another Muslim co-worker from the same country if such a thing was appropriate or permissible (never mind possible), and his advice was that it would just be better to make a charitable contribution in the woman's memory. He suggested a particular Islamic charity. I felt chilled to the bone after that conversation.

Kim's readers always contribute incisive comments. This one from Acegarp is a particular favorite:

Our taxes are not supposed to provide welfare for other countries. I don't even like them being used for welfare in THIS country.

Damn straight.

On a much less somber note, I had the opportunity to visit a high-end guitar boutique with my good friend and bandmate yesterday. A seriously cool selection of high-end R5 and R9 top Les Pauls, but my Beatle obsession took over. There was a spanking new Gretsch 6122SP hanging on the wall, and I decided to give it a whirl. Damn, that axe played wonderfully. Beautfiul neck on it, tell the truth, way better than most original examples I've played. The build quality was awesome. Due to time constraints, we really only had about 45 minutes to check things out at the shop, but this place was an absolute pleasure to visit. Guitars only, no pro audio and the like, and very few low-end pieces cluttering up the joint, mostly primo stuff. Great amp selection, and very helpful staff. It's about 75 minutes or so from me, well worth the trip. The only big problem is that playing that Gretsch has thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into my Les Paul plans. To quote Bugs Bunny, "If I dood it, i det a whippin". One I can get away with. Two, well, we don't have a doghouse, but the shed in the back yard might serve as an impromptu substitute. Decisions, decisions.....

Finally got around to listening to the new U2 "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" last night. I don't care for "Vertigo" at all as a single, but the rest of the album is in the U2 comfort zone, typical chimy delayed guitars and the like. Decent songs, nothing hugely grabs me yet.

I also watched about half of Glass Hammer's "Lex Live" DVD. I'll post a more detailed review over the weekend, but first take is that it's not bad, but not really extraordinary in the prog vein. The songs reminded me a lot of Yes, with a lot of Keith Emerson-like keyboard parts. The sound mix wasn't great. The background singers could barely be heard over the band and even the band's lead vocals weren't mixed high enough for a good portion of what I heard. Very good chops indeed instrumentally, but nothing hugely original enough that's made enough of an impression yet.

To everyone, my best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year.


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