Archive for November 2004

Oh So Motley

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We kept our date at the Showbox last night and saw Ozomatli.  The venue was packed and kinetic, and the show was fast-paced and superbly played - they just kept bringin’ it.  As I mentioned below, their latest album is called Street Signs, and ranges from Salsa and samba to ska, hip-hop and has some middle-eastern influences as well.

They played a lot of numbers from the album,  mixed in with some old favorites.  One really interesting number featured a clarinet solo by the sax player.  My wife asked me what he was playing, and at first I said it was a soprano sax, but it sounded more like a bass clarinet, except it was straight.  It was indeed a clarinet, but it appeared he had an extension at the end sort of like a trumpet mute that produced the bass clarinet sound.  Once he removed it, it sounded like a regular clarinet.  I’ve never seen that device before.

At a certain point, after playing Saturday Night, a sort of musical party invitation, the band just partied down.  My wife said, “This is turning into a drunken Mexican wedding!”.  Almost as soon as she said that, the band left the stage and started wandering around the crowd (see picture), stopping here and there to play, then moving on.  I turned to the stage and saw the hands breaking down the set, and sure enough the band eventually just played its way out the door and the show was over.  Great time, great music - see them if you get the chance.

While You’re Still Grooving on Tryptophan…

A picture named BirdiesInBondage.jpgA few years ago, I was doing some work in North Carolina at a plant that processed turkeys.  They’d bring them in by truck, hang them by their feet on the conveyor you see inside the door, stun them and send them on their way to fulfill their low-fat mission in Subway shops, and in your refrigerator.

This was by far the largest business in town, and almost its raison d’etre.  Yet the city limits sign, superimposed, proclaimed it a “bird sanctuary”.  Turkeys aren’t the smartest things in creation in the first place.  How many of them, dear reader, do you imagine approached the city limits, satchels in their hand and hope of a better life in their countenance, read the sign (if they could) and exclaimed, “Hallelujah!”?

“Now Hiring” were undoubtedly the last words these plucky adventurers ever read.

Got Our Tickets

and we’ll be heading to the Showbox Saturday night to hear Ozomatli.  I’ve been playing their Street Signs album almost nonstop for a month.  We first heard them at the Bumbershoot festival 4 or 5 years ago.  They’re an Afro-Latin-Worldbeat group that features an ass-kicking horn section and a ton of energy.  Should be a rockin’ good time.

Free Range Gluttony

A picture named TurkeyDay2004.jpgDinner was intimate, with just wife, son and mother-in-law.  Here’s a crotch shot of our organic, free range turkey, a pinot rose and our “good” china.  My wife stressed throughout the day how our turkey surely died happy, as if somehow she’d have to coax us out of some PETA-induced guilt to eat it once we saw it.

Fat Chance. Whatever its mood when the axe fell, it was delicious.

A happy Turkey Day to you all, and have a great weekend.  If you shop, please do so in moderation (and remember my favorite color is blue).

A Break In the Weather

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A drizzly night and morning gave way to a window of muted sunshine this afternoon, and Mrs. Perils and our son and I scurried out for a pre-turkey walk around town.  We headed up to Woodland Park, where the gentleman above, in a stylish Spongebob pullover, was straining to waylay exiting zoo visitors to watch him perform magic tricks.

I was determined to plow on by him, but my wife engaged him, and we stayed to see him do several tricks with neckties, cards, handkerchieves, little fuzzy balls, and salt.  He was actually very good.  When my wife drew several bills out of her wallet, held them before him and asked, “How many dollar bills am I holding?”, he said, “Almost enough!”. 

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We continued from Woodland Park down the hill to Fremont, on to Gasworks Park, and back up the hill to our house and the aroma of the roasting turkey.  The sun broke beneath the sheath of clouds just as it was setting, producing a dazzling reflection off of windows of west-facing houses on Capitol Hill.  My camera battery died as I tried to take some sunset pictures at Gasworks, so you’ll have to close your eyes and imagine it, or click here for a facsimile.


Landslide Victory Gives Washington Governor Mandate

STill blind here.  But the browser font is just large enough that I was able to do some forensic reading of the Seattle Times.  The machine recount of votes for our governor’s race was due this afternoon, and it appears the Republican, Dino Rossi, won by 42 votes.  Out of 3 million cast.

Each party can now pay for hand recounts in selected counties, and all sorts of litigation is sure to follow.  In the spirit of good humor and civic peace, they may as well settle it by a coin flip.  In another situation, I might be able to countenance this and laugh away a negative result, but Chris Vance, the Republican state chairman, has been such an asshole through the recount process that I’m not inclined to hand him anything in the spirit of good citizenship. 

STill, this whole mess is the result of a bungled Democratic canpaign strategy. 

Blogging via IFR (Instrument Landing - Grease the Runway)

Well, I’m back from Atlanta & Charleston, and actually relishing the Seattle drizzle.  After a couple of days rushing around taking care of Seattle business, I’m ready to just sit home and veg for a couple days.

I finished up about 2 today, got a ling-needed haircut, and decided to pack up my laptop and walk over to Zoka’s for a late-afternoon  espresso and a ruminative blogging session.  The place is usually pretty busy, but, because of the rain and the resulting inability for people to lounge at the tables outside, there were no seats available.

So, I set out for Cafe Maree, another half-mile or more away.  No sweat, I need the exercise after a week of sloth on the road.  I walked in, ordered my coffee and set up my laptop.  As the screen came up, I realized I had left my reading glasses at home.  I really can’t do much,if anything, on the computer without them. 

I groped around the IE menu to set the font to “largest”, groped to the far corner in the taskbar tray for my radio icon and clicked.  The Radio composition box, at least, is big enough to see, so I plopped my cursor inside it and started typing this.  If there are misspellings, or if the handwriting is illegible, you know why.

The ruminative post I was planning, then, is postponed due to rain and low visibility.  Consult your travel agent to book a later post, or reroute to another blog. 

Doing the Charleston

I seem to have gone dead the last month.  None of the usual clever buzzings in my head, working a lot and traveling all over the place.  I spent last week working about 40 miles north of Atlanta, not doing much besides working, eating and sleeping. 

Yesterday, my mom flew down to Atlanta, and my Atlanta brother and I picked her up and we drove to Charleston, SC to visit our middle brother.  As we did last  year, we’ll spend today watching our Buckeyes (we’re all Ohio State grads) get thrashed by Michigan, then roast oysters over a wood fire. 

The last time we were together was last month when my dad died, and it will be interesting to see how the center of gravity of the family has shifted.  Mom’s doing pretty well - getting out with friends to see plays, hosting bridge club.  (That may seem plucky on her part at first, but you have to realize that bridge winnings are an important income stream for my mother ;-)  )

It’s a lot easier to deal with this game here in the Eastern time zone, where kickoff is at 1 pm.  We’ve watched it twice before here in Charleston and lost both times.  We’re all pretending to be mature, bemused, nonchalant…my bet is one or more of us will be screaming for the coach’s head by halftime.  And that’s if we’re ahead, that’s how we Buckeye fans celebrate victory.  If my sister in law is smart, she will have acquired a cheap used car for us to roll over and set afire after the game.

Election Angst

… still hangs on.  In Washington, it’s prolonged by the governor’s race that has yet to be decided.  I’ve made some fun of Georgia’s having a governor named “Sonny” (I’m in Atlanta for the week).  Now there’s good chance we’ll have one named “Dino”.  Christine Gregoire, the Democratic Attorney General, is in a virtual dead heat with a small-time realtor and state senator named Dino Rossi.  Gregoire started out the campaign way ahead, but played “prevent” defense throughout the campaign while Rossi, an anti-choice Catholic with a very conservative voting record, took a lot of Republican money and painted himself as a moderate.  No way it should have been that close - it’s another example of Democratic campaign strategies that can’t find the end zone.

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As a partial cure for election angst, you might be intrigued by The Seattle Stranger’s proposition that Democrats and progressives, as a way to gain the cohesion of message and self-image that the Solid Right seems to have right now, target its politics towards an Urban Archipelago:

Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion–New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on.

The article goes over the top quite often, in typical Stranger fashion, but the focus it provides is intriguing.  It also allows us to quit blaming everyone in “red” states (fuckthesouth/) and reach out to like-minded folks stranded on progressive islands there.  I think this article, plus other reading in this issue, might raise your spirits some.




Much as the Kerry campaign was wont to flog the fact that the Bush economy has been bleeding jobs, there are signs that the economy in some sectors is actually very robust.  Look no further than the bare-boat charter industry, a collection of plucky entrepreneurs who, given a fighting chance at operating competitive businesses by an adroit web of state and federal tax incentives, have deployed an enticing fleet of vessels for rent to an adoring public.

The Seattle P-I has published a series of stories about how buyers and sellers of luxury yachts use a combination of sweetheart tax laws and criminally lax enforcement to avoid millions of dollars in federal and state tax.  Chief among the dodges are:

  • the monstrous Section 179 depreciation deduction allowed on federal income tax (like, 1/2 of the boat’s purchase price in the year of acquisition) for purchasing business assets.  We’ve mostly heard how this break helps low-lifes finance SUV’s on a December shopping spree, but it’s also applicable to yachts costing millions of dollars. 

  • they play a multi-state ruse in order to avoid paying sales tax on the boats’ purchase, while the rest of us land-bound tools have no choice but to pay taxes on our modest purchases.

These guys say that the tax breaks help them stimulate job growth as they pursue their humanitarian mission of cruising and befouling the state’s waterways.  Thank god somebody’s looking out for the working guy.