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New Neil

Apr. 28th, 2006 | 08:06 pm
mood: Friday, and new Neil
music: Neil Young, Living With War

Right now at http://www.neilyoung.com. Living With War. Take a listen, take it to heart. (Play it very loud.)

[Wrote that at Track 1, now I'm on Track 7. This is most f*ing thing I've ever heard. Wow. Neil, this is IT.]

Why is he touring behind CSN&Y as an oldies act??? I don't get it. He needs to back this up. He needs to back it up FOR OUR COUNTRY, not the hit machine...

That's it. Over. Most blown away I've been since Freedom. And more.

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Spokes of a Wheel

Apr. 25th, 2006 | 07:02 pm
mood: satisfied
music: Guy Clark, Old No. 1 & Texas Cookin'

Ithaca was beautiful, even in the rain. This is the kind of place one might consider living. It's a strange place, a small Madison or Berkeley, but once you climb the hill to Cornell, it's not small at all. The place is huge, and old and magnificent. Then there's the Commons, what downtown Buffalo should have been like after closing off the traffic, and Collegetown, a really cool place clinging to the side of the hill just down from Cornell, with lots of Asian restaurants (we ate Japanese -- did you know Sopporo is brewed in Guelph, Ontario?). Because of the hills and the lake and creeks, you have to go downtown before you can go somewhere else, like spokes on a wheel. Ithaca College is no Cornell, but then Cornell doesn't have its world-renowned reputation as a music school. I was very impressed with Whalen Hall, a very state-of-the-art facility. Madeline's was delicious, every sip and mouthful (we missed a bit of the opening of Twelfth Night because of it). Besides that excellent college production, took in a brilliant Tchaikovsky symphony, and a personal recital with cello, violin and piano having a very thoughtful conversation with each other that was as good as anything I've ever heard. Right there -- two of the most beautiful waterfalls God made; one falling freely forever, the other a wide gentle slide down the rock. The Economy Inn was out of Nabokov's Lolita (the great American roadside it took an immigrant writer to notice); I would share Humbert Humbert's contempt (he would have said Lo's contempt) for the box-chain sleepfactories down the road, had our pervert protagonist survived beyond the telling of his tale. The sun broke through in Hammondsport, as we sampled the legacy of the great Dr. Konstantin Frank at Vinifera Wine Cellars while overlooking a placid Kueka Lake. We remembered meeting the great old man himself back when we weren't closing in on his then-age, and noted his winery still put it all into the product and not the pseudo-Sideways sippers at the ridiculous Heron Hill down the road. Speaking of old guys, a retired artist sparked a conversation while we took in the moment of sun at the Hammondsport docks outside the gorgeous old train station, and his soaking wet English hound waited. Finally saying our farewells, the mutt ran after us, barking furiously, no longer placid as the lake, almost desperately. Seems he didn't want us to leave the old guy alone. Oh well, we'll be back at some point, boy, one way or another.

Flickr Shots

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Hearts of Gold

Apr. 15th, 2006 | 10:23 pm
music: Neil Young, Prairie Wind and more

Saw two movies this weekend: Good Night and Good Luck and Neil Young: Heart of Gold. The films had a few things in common. One, they were portraits of two of the most significant individuals of my lifetime (OK, the first was just about the time I came around). If they weren't perfect films, I liked the side they erred on; wonderfully straightforward in telling their stories as their subjects themselves handled their craft -- saying everything that needed to be said, and not a bit more. Compared to the entire careers of their subjects, each film could be accused of being narrow in scope; however, the filmmakers chose to show us one part of each man's career, and let it represent his significance. See them for yourself and I think you'll see what I mean. No BS, honest, straightforward, lean and on target. And thank heavens for Edward R. Murrow and Neil Young (really needed these after seeing Walk the Line -- one can only hope some filmmaker will some day do for Cash's story what Rick Ruben did for him on disk, and keep Hollywood away from it all).

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Free Range Chicken

Apr. 14th, 2006 | 08:46 pm
music: John Prine, Diamonds in the Rough

There's another new book out called "The Omnivore's Dilemma : A Natural History of Four Meals." Heard the author on PBS talking about a "free range" chicken farm he visited in California. Certified free range. Evidently, thousands of chickens are kept in a shed for like four out of their six weeks on earth, or something like that. Well, on the fourth week, they open up a small door that leads to a nice yard area. 'Course the chickens have never known anything other than the shed, that's where the other chickens are, and their food. There is just no conception of going outside at that point. So they don't. But because they're technically allowed to for a week or so, they are free range chickens. Certified.

Ever feel like a free range chicken?

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Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Apr. 8th, 2006 | 01:32 pm
mood: Good Party
music: Rhonda Vincent, One Step Ahead

There's a new book out that sounds real interesting called: Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. About how we mess things up when we try to control or take over foreign governments. Ultimately, the "policy" collapses; it has to. Iran is a good example. We put the Shah in power and it worked real well for about 10 years; then, all hell broke loose and that destabilized region is the next powderkeg. This is what we have accomplished in Iraq. There is no way to stop the deaths of innocents now, thanks to the failed Bush policy -- innocents in Iraq or here. A pessimistic view? Perhaps. But historically borne out. We had containment over there while we could have concentrated on port security, Iran, N. Korea, Bin Laden (remember? still missing while regrouped Taliban increase attacks in Afghanistan)... Instead we have destabilized an entire region, making everyone everywhere much less safe and lighting a fuse that will set off a number of future explosions around the globe. Yes, there really are serious repercussions in electing a complete idiot. (I realize I ended with an ad hominem attack, but I just couldn't help myself.)

Speaking of which... isn't this far more significant than what Nixon did? Tricky Dick was right, it was a third-rate burglary that he covered up. Dubbya purposely leaked classified information, without telling CIA or Congress, for the sole purpose of starting a war for which he knew he had no other justification. Which is worse? And don't even talk to me about the high crime of getting a little on the side from an intern (at least the ringleader of that fiasco has now fallen hard, see last post). And to finish the week, the hardcore Republicans have stopped an attempt at an immigration compromise, making a bad situation worse for years to come. The midterms can't come soon enough.

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The Hammer Gets Hammered... Ah, Sweet Revenge

Apr. 4th, 2006 | 09:58 pm
music: Van the Man's latest

Celebrate one and all. The Hammer is no more.

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So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Apr. 3rd, 2006 | 07:47 pm
mood: Rainy Friday night (was)
music: Gordon Lightfoot, my own 30 best burn

In honor of the greatest sports event on TV, the Masters, this week (the official start of Spring).

So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice. --Bill Murray in Caddyshack

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Rhonda Vincent, Others at the Mayville Bluegrass Festival!

Mar. 30th, 2006 | 06:25 pm
music: Emmylou, Wrecking Ball

Mayville Bluegrass Festival - (tho they really need to update this site!). Hold June 17-18. Nothing like a summertime bluegrass festival!! Got to make it to this. Besides Rhonda, Richard Greene and many others are going to be there. (BTW, check out this clip of Rhonda (clip 303) on Woodsongs. I've watched this three times - it's an hour-long show. Especially love the song her father taught her, "In the Land Where No Cabins Fall" - what a performance! Also, "If Heartaches Had Wings" - just bought One Step Ahead as that song is on it).

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Getting There (Is Like Heaven Before You Die)

Mar. 25th, 2006 | 12:30 pm
music: Son Volt, Trace (damn this album is fine!)

This was the first song with a buddy in college (Frank Balazs where are you now?), me the words, he the music. Well, college and the Old Log Cabin (tavern) on the Canal, now the Long Homestead, a historic landmark (you wouldn't even recognize it). So while not the best, a sentimental attachment maybe.

"Getting There"

Bright headlights shining down a rainy road
Showin' reflections of the miles yet to go
Your pack of cigarettes is emptying fast
While the radio plays mostly sad and lonesome songs
And the time since morning seems so long.

A roadside neon sign flashes VACANCY
Your mind and body plead not to pass
But some stronger force pulls you through the rain
A desire that's growing deeper with every mile gone by
'Cause getting there's like heaven before you die.

You thought you could live without her, you had no plans for leaving
A letter in the mail and nothing more
But too many "I miss yous" just build a growing pain
A moment's memory repeats a sad refrain
With so much against you, how could you remain?

So with your thoughts of coming home getting closer by the mile
You hear a voice call your name from down that broken line
With the knowing that its end will mend a broken love
The wipers wiping clean the rain and tears that you've cried
'Cause getting there's like heaven before you die.


© 2006 WJ Harnack

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Out on the road today...

Mar. 22nd, 2006 | 06:19 pm
mood: grateful
music: Hendrix, Are You Experienced, Side 2

Out on the road today
I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said,
"Don't look back, You can never look back."

-- from Don Henley's "Boys of Summer"

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