Saturday, April 23, 2005

Media Clergy

With the death of one pope and the election of a new one in the days of "on demand" media the spotlight is on the Catholic Church in a way not seen since the molestation hysteria. As far as I'm concerned these two issues go hand in hand, media and Catholicism. The "big media" is telling us how the last pope reacted to molestation, and how the new one might. The biggest question I have is what are the true numbers of these cases compared to all the Church? I don't condone those priests that did these crimes, they should be jailed, or the ones who covered it up and that goes all the way to the top with J.P. 2, he could have done more as far as I'm concerned. The year that Elizabeth Smart decided to take a ride with her internet boyfriend and then her parents cried kidnap (yeah, that's what I think really happened), the actual number of child kidnapping cases was down. However the attention that was put on the case made everyone think that this was a strange new epidemic. I spent 11 years around clergy. Everyday, and in close proximity, sometimes even alone. Not once did I ever see anything that even remotely resembled sexual advances. One of the most influential people in my life just happened to wear a Roman collar. I spent a great deal of time with this man and never, ever, did anything like that happen. There are millions of priests and nuns in this world and a select few have to ruin it for them. Gone are the days of the Catholic Youth Organization trips that are only accompanied by the clergy of the school/church, if they even happen at all. Gone are the days of trusting the very people of the cloth that have nothing but love for their congregation, people of all faiths, races, and tax brackets. I include myself in that group of untrusting people too, as a parent, I have to. Isn't that sad?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Block Party


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Licks and Picks

Since the left side of my brain is pretty much controlling my actions lately I decided to invest my tax return into a guitar. I bought a Squire, which is the lower end of Fender, so it can't be that bad, it looks like a Telecaster, which is what Prince used to play in the early 80's. It's electric, by the way. So now I have a guitar, three picks, one strap (that says "Mississippi Music Company" and I think that's kind of cool), one case, and two books to aid me on my adventure.

So I get this thing home and take it out and get ready to play, and then I realize that I know absolutely Jack about playing. I figure that the books will teach me something, and they have taught me a little, but I'm "Me Generation" remember? I look at these guys on TV (That aint workin'/That's the way you do it) and I think, "It doesn't seem that hard.", Yeah, OK! I now have cramped my hand to the point of tears more times than I can count and just like Bryan Adams in the Summer of '69 I've played it 'till my fingers bled, and that is a terrible feeling, just so you know. I've broken a few picks too. After all that heart ache and pain you'd think I've learned some amazing stuff, right? Well, Gentle Reader, not so much. I've learned one song that was in the book, and that's just six notes, the first six that the book teaches you. I've learned one "lick" that Dave Matthews used in one of his songs, and I think I learned to play "House of the Rising Sun" but I'm not sure, it doesn't sound right to me for some reason.

One would think that I would give up with all this let down, but that aint good enough for me (and my Bobby McGee), I love it. I tried to play after my fingers where bleeding and I was very upset that I couldn't because it just hurt too bad. I've got a drive and desire that keeps me going. I keep having a vision of me entertaining some small smoky bar or something like that. So off I'll go, breaking picks, strings, and my fingers, and maybe with all that breaking going on I'll get a break and have "The thrill that'll getcha when your get your picture on the cover of the Rollin' Stone."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Phi Kappa Dave

After a few days of pondering my next rant to you, the Gentle Reader, I decided that I would stop thinking about it and it would hit me. Sure enough it did, right as I was falling asleep last night. So with out further delay:

Every year I make my "pilgrimage" to one of two music cathedrals known as Virginia Beach amphitheater or Pittsburgh's Starlake amphitheater to worship the music gods. My music mass is lead by the Dave Matthews Band (from here on out referred to as "DMB"). Now I was a late bloomer to the DMB band wagon, I first saw them in 2002, and that was a last minute decision. I woke up one morning and said, "Hey DMB tickets go on sale today, I guess I'll buy some." I went to the show not really knowing any songs, other than the ones on the radio, and only knowing one band members name, the obvious one. I walked out of the show like a drug addict. I was addicted to the music, the words, the talent, and the chemistry that the band has with each other.

So like any good college boy, 'cause that's what I am now, I decided to do some research on this band, I won't bore you with the details, but I found quite a bit. One thing that has stood out was an article that was written by someone I don't know, in a magazine (Which is every magazine...) (Only CJ will get that reference, I'm sure.)) that I can't remember, and it said something like, "The frat boys have their Grateful Dead." Now at the time it didn't bother me, but as I kept feeding my addiction, it grew to bother me. I now own every studio album except one, and I don't own most of the concert albums, because, for the most part, each concert is the "same" but I have a couple of those.

I don't claim to be a musical expert, but I have a deeper appreciation than many people I meet, and I actually take time to sit down and read DMB's lyrics, which are actually very deep, for lack of a better word. Then you have these kegger hand stand frat boys that have no appreciation, who come to my musical mass and hoot and holler when there is a drinking or pot reference in the music, or they're getting too drunk to even remember the show. Then they roam around the parking lot, post concert, yelling, because when your drunk everything you say is very "intelligent", so you have to make sure all the people hear you. I actually left one show in Pittsburgh to find two fraties answering natures call on the sides of my truck. I asked them if they where marking their territory and they said "no", and said something about the Virginia plates and the NASCAR sticker on my truck. To which I replied by hitting the panic button on the remote from my pocket and they just looked at me stupidly. It drives me absolutely bonkers (I always wanted to use that word) that I have this deep love of the music and the talent and the poetry of the DMB and these fratties have to show up and put a damper on my "high" after the show, by hanging out the car windows and yelling to "see some titties!" OK that part I don't mind, because I enjoy a good pair of boobs exposed to the elements as the next guy.

However, even with all this, I will continue to buy tickets, make my pilgrimage, listen to all the CD's for a month after the show, and attempt to learn the songs on my own, with my guitar in hand...but that's another rant.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Cheese and Whine

Well I think the first attempt at commentary went well, I got some good comments. Thank you to all that read it.

I feel the need to clarify that this is not meant to sound like the whining of the "Me Generation". This is simply me stating my opinions and random thoughts that come across my mind when I'm driving, reading, watching the little bit of TV I do, or any other activity from the day. I don't know if any of my Gentle Readers think that I'm a whiner, but incase you do, just know I'm not looking for sympathy or throwing a pity party. I'm sure over the course of this endeavor I'll upset someone, and I'm fine with that. I'm fine because that's what writing and opinions do for people. There are no two people in this world who agree on everything so we're all bound to upset someone sooner or later. The true test comes when both parties can look at the others opinions with respect and not anger.

I've always been told, "If your going to bitch, don't just bitch. Bitch and come up with a solution." Well this may work in the job-place, but there are something that bitching and solutions can't change. As much as we wish or hope that we could change them we can't. This is the hard part of life for me, "What if I went left instead of right..." I can't do anything about it now! Find a way to push through! Be strong! Easier said than done, I think. I try not to regret anything, but I do, and I think we all have things we regret. I also hear that "everything happens for a reason" well that's fine and dandy but I'm nosy and I want the damn reason. Goes back to that "Me Generation" (NOW! NOW! NOW!) why wait?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Funeral For A Friend

I woke up this morning around 4:00AM EST to watch the funeral service for Pope John Paul II. Now this is a strange event for me because I grew up Catholic and this is the only Pope I've known and also a whole generation has known. Now I'm an American and therefore I was one of the Popes unruly children, when I say unruly, I mean as Americans we didn't completely agree with what came out of Rome, but I was still a Catholic and for the most part stuck to my roots, as did many others. He was very conservative and that roused a great deal of anger from the forward thinking Americans, but we still embraced this man when he came to our great land. I had the privilege of standing in the St. Louis Cathedral where he said a mass while in New Orleans, and that was a moving thing for me. Mostly because I'm a history nerd and seeing "exact" locations always makes me feel a part of that event, but now it has even greater meaning, standing where a great world leader once stood, seeing what he saw, I don't know how to explain it, but it was quite an emotion.

When it's all said and done, personally I admire him. I admire him for his convictions and unquestionable faith. I admire him for standing up for what he felt and believed to be right. I admire him for coming out of Soviet Poland, where the Church was looked upon badly, to become the leader of said Church and starting non-violent revolution against that same regime. I admire him for reaching out to other faiths. I admire him for standing up to those who doubted him in his own Church. I admire him for praying with the very man who tried to kill him. I admire him for pushing the boundaries of his office, for being a Pope like no others before. So yes, I dropped a few tears in the early hours of the morning and out side my bedroom where I watched on my 13 inch television, the sky was crying as well, the sky expressed the emotion that my self and many others felt, not just Catholics, but all people from all walks of life and all religious beliefs and some who have no belief at all. It was as if the world was crying over the loss of one of her children, as she has done so many times before.

Here's the other thing about the death of J.P. 2, last year we watched the funeral of Ronald Reagan, who was, for almost the first ten years of my life, the only president I knew. So here we have major figures of my life dying off. Now I didn't know these men personally by any means, but, I remember being a child and these two where everywhere. I knew them before I knew friends and now they are both gone. It's like my memories of my youth, kids I went to school with, events of my childhood, all of which are slowly dying. Not dying in the physical sense, but getting further and further away. I'm having what John Mayer calls a "Quarter Life Crisis", I'm facing mortality and feeling the panic of being stuck between the sheltered harbor of childhood and the rough waters of adulthood. I have rounded the cape and the continental drop off is fast approaching. I realized that I started high school ten years ago. I'm at an age that seemed like another world to me when I was younger. However I know, at the same time I've got a lot more years coming...