Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Today in history

Fifteen years ago I met my wife. Somebody brought her to a bar to see my band play, and we began flirting immediately. Two years later we were married.

Also on this date, in 1986, I went to a Grateful Dead concert in Portland, Maine after a long winter of personal turmoil and despair. The snow snapped me out of my depression and started me on a new path. It was a major turning point in my life.

While the 3/28/86 show was good, this gem from 3/28/73 is mind-melting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Teaching the controlled economy to youngsters

UPDATE: This story has been analyzed better by other writers. Here are some:
Southchild: Legotopia Revisited
National Review: Banning Legos
John Enright's Rhyme of the Day: Let My Legos Go

Two teachers from Seattle decided they had to stop the natural evolution of a system of trade. Their story is documented in Why We Banned Legos.
Children dug through hefty-sized bins of Legos, sought "cool pieces," and bartered and exchanged until they established a collection of homes, shops, public facilities, and community meeting places. We carefully protected Legotown from errant balls and jump ropes, and watched it grow day by day....

Occasionally, Legotown leaders explicitly rebuffed children, telling them that they couldn't play. Typically the exclusion was more subtle, growing from a climate in which Legotown was seen as the turf of particular kids. The other children didn't complain much about this; when asked about Legos, they'd often comment vaguely that they just weren't interested in playing with Legos anymore. As they closed doors to other children, the Legotown builders turned their attention to complex negotiations among themselves about what sorts of structures to build, whether these ought to be primarily privately owned or collectively used, and how "cool pieces" would be distributed and protected. These negotiations gave rise to heated conflict and to insightful conversation. Into their coffee shops and houses, the children were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys — assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive. As we watched the children build, we became increasingly concerned.

No doubt, to socialists, the emergence of a microsociety led by market principles is disturbing. What's telling is their absolute blindness to the truth of their actions. Following the accidental weekend demolition of Legotown, the teacher stepped in and banned the Legos.
We met as a teaching staff later that day. We saw the decimation of Lego-town as an opportunity to launch a critical evaluation of Legotown and the inequities of private ownership and hierarchical authority on which it was founded. Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation. We knew that the examination would have the most impact if it was based in engaged exploration and reflection rather than in lots of talking. We didn't want simply to step in as teachers with a new set of rules about how the children could use Legos, exchanging one set of authoritarian rules with another. Ann suggested removing the Legos from the classroom. This bold decision would demonstrate our discomfort with the issues we saw at play in Legotown. And it posed a challenge to the children: How might we create a "community of fairness" about Legos?
Given that the "community of fairness" is an artificial construct imposed from a central authority, it is likely that the builders of Legotown learned a completely different lesson that the one planned. After much guided discussion to wean the kids away from notions of ownership and power, the group settled into a grim Soviet model of play.
"It's important that the little Lego plastic person has some identity. Lego houses might be all the same except for the people. A kid should have their own Lego character to live in the house so it makes the house different."
But not too different, of course.
From this framework, the children made a number of specific proposals for rules about Legos, engaged in some collegial debate about those proposals, and worked through their differing suggestions until they reached consensus about three core agreements:
  • All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.
  • Lego people can be saved only by a "team" of kids, not by individuals.
  • All structures will be standard sizes.
  • With these three agreements — which distilled months of social justice exploration into a few simple tenets of community use of resources — we returned the Legos to their place of honor in the classroom.
Who teaches your children, and what are they teaching? If these kids are lucky, somebody will slip them a copy of Anthem before it's too late.


There's been a big turnover this week. We had a massive die-off last week, and the toll included my favorite rat Jenny, her son Vanilla, and three pink-eyed whites. Joining us this is a family of four Siamese rats. I'll post pictures when I get a chance.

On the wild side, I found a defunct intruder in the basement a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately the concrete floor was very cold, and she was well-preserved at the time of discovery. Last week also saw the removal of an unhappy cherry tree in the yard and a large brush pile that was home to a lot of rats. This opens up a whole new area of what used to be the disreputable corner of my property. I'm still seeing some rats running around, but as I block their tunnels I hope they move along.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

What I learned between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

  1. When you take Gredenko's money, you take on his problems.
  2. If it's there, Chloe will find it.
  3. When in doubt, use the autistic savant.
  4. What happens in Denver stays in Denver--unless you owe Doyle a favor.
  5. A 300 kT payload delivers a message loud and clear.
  6. Never get between a man and his payload.
  7. Chloe and Jack use Sprint's PCS Picture Mail™.
  8. Milo has feelings for Nadia. If it's there, Chloe will find it.
  9. When in doubt, pin her to the wall and kiss her hard.
  10. heh heh heh...Jack said "hostile" *drink*
  11. Jack Bauer is...The Savant Whisperer
  12. Gredenko not martyr, is soldier.
  13. Daniels still has no neck.
  14. When things get Really Heavy, the split screens come in with sound effects.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Playlist, March 25, 2007

Set One
The Ed Palermo Big Band; Sleep Dirt; Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (2006 Cuneiform)
Chie Imaizumi; A Change for the Better; Unvailing Kindness (2006 Capri)
Don Braden; I Hear a Rhapsody; Brighter Days (2001 HighNote)
Larry Willis; Insidious Behavior; Blue Fable (2007 HighNote)
[mic break 10:28 a.m.]

Set Two
The Jodie Christian Trio; How Insensitive; Reminiscing (2001 Delmark)
The Stryker Slagle Band; Latest Outlook; Latest Outlook (2007 Zoho)
Pete Christlieb with the Lori Mechem Quartet; You've Changed; Live at the Jazz Cave (2006 Cognito)
Coleman Hawkins; I'm Beginning to See the Light; The Best of (2004 Fantasy)
Coleman Hawkins; Greensleeves; The Best of (2004 Fantasy)
Gene Bertoncini; Greensleeves; Body and Soul (1999 Ambient)
The Nate Najar Trio; I'm All Smiles; I'm All Smiles (2006 Blue Line)
[mic break 11:15 a.m.]

Set Three
David "Fathead" Newman; Naima; Life (2007 HighNote)
Typhanie Monique & Neal Alger; If You Love Somebody Set Them Free; In This Room (2007 Tymoni)
Typhanie Monique & Neal Alger; Black Coffee; In This Room (2007 Tymoni)
[phone conversation with John Motavalli and listeners]

Set Four
Russell Gunn; Bitches Brew; Plays Miles (2007 HighNote)
Wallace Roney; Shadow Dance; Prototype (2004 HighNote)
James Taylor Quartet; When In Rome; Message from the Godfather (2001 Ubiquity)
Shirley Scott; Oasis; Oasis (1990 Muse)
[mic break 1:45 p.m.]

Set Five
Roni Ben-Hur; Minor Fable; Anna's Dance (2001 Reservoir)
[2:00 p.m.]

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Playlist, March 18, 2007

Set One
Renaissance; A Trip to the Fair; Scheherazade and Other Stories (1975 Sire)
Bobby McFerrin; Fertile Field; Beyond Words (2002 Blue Note)
Rebecca Parris; My Ship; You Don't Know Me (2007 Saying it with Jazz)
Jeff Baker; Stolen Moments; Shopping for Your Heart (2007 OA2)
[mic break 10:35 a.m.]

Set Two
Thelonious Monk; All the Things You Are; Criss Cross (2002 Proper)
Oscar Peterson; Oscar's Boogie; Genesis (2002 Proper)
Count Basie; Broadway (1940); America's #1 Band (2003 Sony)
Count Basie; Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie (1940); America's #1 Band (2003 Sony)
[mic break 10:54 a.m.]

Set Three
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messenters; Lester Left Town; Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter (2004 Columbia)
Weather Report; Palladium; Footprints: The Life and Music of Wayne Shorter (2004 Columbia)
Hard-Bop Saxophone Quartet; La Fiesta; Don't Step On Your Neck (1999 Sea Breeze Jazz)
Stanley Turrentine; Stuff You Gotta Watch; Do You Have Any Sugar? (1999 Concord)
Stanley Turrentine; Too Little Love; Do You Have Any Sugar? (1999 Concord)
Jeni Fleming; Lush LIfe; Acoustic Trio (2004 Jeni Fleming)
Art Farmer/Jim Hall; Blig Blues; Big Blues (1979 CTI)
[mic break 11:39 a.m.]

Set Four
Charles Earland Tribute Band; Deja Vu; Keepers of the Flame (2000 HighNote)
Charles Earland Tribute Band; Memorial Day; Keepers of the Flame (2000 HighNote)
Charles Earland Tribute Band; What Love Has Joined; Keepers of the Flame (2000 HighNote)
[mic break 12:08 p.m.]

Set Five
Art Farmer/Jim Hall; Pavane for a Dead Princess; Big Blues (1979 CTI)
Jim Hall; Concierto de Aranjuez; Concierto (1975 CTI)
[mic break 12:47 p.m.]

Set Six
Typhanie Monique & Neal Alger; Caravan; In This Room (2007 Tymoni)
Typhanie Monique & Neal Alger; Never Can Say Goodbye; In This Room (2007 Tymoni)
Dean Schmidt; Harry Whodeanie's Magic Impromptu Blues; I Know Nothing (2007 OA2)
Dean Schmidt; The Farewell Song; I Know Nothing (2007 OA2)
Toni Jannotta; Midnight Sun; Jazz at the Rance (2001 TCoB)
Randy Johnston; The Hat Man; Hit & Run (2002 HighNote)
[mic break 1:26 p.m.]

Set Seven
Rich Wetzel's Groovin Higher Jazz Orchestra; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Live! (2002 Rich Wetzel)
Frank Zappa; Cruisin' for Burgers; Make a Jazz Noise Here (1991 Barking Pumpkin)
Renaissance; Ashes Are Burning; In The Beginning (1978 Capitol)
[2:00 p.m.]

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Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Pancake's Day

Today is St. Pancacke's Day, the anniversary of the death of a misguided young woman who learned the hard way about playing chicken with heavy machinery. Rachel Corrie, a product of Evergreen State College and a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, died protecting a terrorist smuggling tunnel.

She was not crushed by the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer; if she had been, there would have been no body to recover, just very wet and nasty clothes. She was alive when loaded into the ambulance. Being more valuable to the cause as a dead martyr than as a live volunteer with a loud mouth, what happened next is a matter of speculation.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Giuliani Derangement Syndrome

They're seething at the Gothamist at the very mention of Rudy Giuliani's candidacy. Highlights from the comments:
I have never seen someone enjoy the deaths of 3,000 americans so much...

I hope America wakes up to Rudy's past before 9/11 because he wasn't a
good mayor and could make an even worse president than Mr. Bush. Maybe
a great fascist dictator but not a good president.

whether or not he gets the most votes, giuliani will be "elected" the next president. (even if it takes another "9/11")
And those are just the first three. Personally, I'm more distressed by the faux-Yankee Stadium facade than by the candidate.

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I love Eric Simon's prospect tracker at Amazin' Avenue. If you're a Mets fan, check out his Make-The-Mets-O-Meter. It lists the players, their chances of making the team (up, down, or even), and a pithy yet piquant comment.

Let's go Mets!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rats, Philly style

These rats are right at home in the Philadelphia subway.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Big stink this weekend

Wow. Three big events, one weekend.

Friday, March 16th is St. Pancake's Day, the anniversary of the death of International kill the Jews Solidarity Movement's precious martyr, Rachel Corrie.

Saturday, March 17th is the Really Big March on the Pentagon, sponsored by communist front group International ANSWER. Things should get interesting as Gathering of Eagles has a permit adjacent to ANSWER.

What am I forgetting? That's right, the big vomit-fest celebrated annually on March 17th wherever morons gather. The Long Island Railroad has banned alcohol from their trains. Amateur's night. Bah.

Wake me up when it's Sunday morning and time to do radio.

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What I learned from watching 24

The following things were learned between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

  1. Use the tools provided. You may have to undo a man's belt to get the tool.
  2. Do not provide a cuckoo bird with sharp tools.
  3. When in doubt, bring a belt to a gun fight.
  4. If the other guy brings a knife to a gun fight, shoot him and take the knife.
  5. What happens in Denver stays in Denver...unless you work for CTU.
  6. Being with a disgraced former president causes feelings of ambivalence. Unless you're a cuckoo bird.
  7. If you're going to mouth off to your new supervisor, wear blended fabrics because they don't wrinkle.
  8. The script writers disappeared Cynthia McKinney Chappelle and Gee Wali faster than if DHS had sent them to Gitmo.
  9. The Vice-President still has no neck.
  10. Don't interrupt the VP when he's still talkin'.
  11. John Cage Lennox is still a weasel. Who wants to bet he sent the Secret Signal to the Ambassador of Bombyourassisatan?
  12. Anya Subaru wears pants in family.
  13. In Soviet Russia, pants wear you.
  14. Agent Pierce's game has been slowed down by his hootchie mama.
  15. "Institutionalized" and "house arrest" have very comfortable meanings for presidential families.
  16. When grocery shopping for a cuckoo bird, only buy fruit that can be peeled by hand.
  17. When consulate is under lockdown, do not attempt hanky-panky in basement.
  18. No silent clock, no ex-ex-POTUS. Take that to the bank.
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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Playlist, March 11, 20007

Set One
Nick Russo; Little Hands; Ro (2007 Nick Russo)
Nick Russo; Come Home; Ro (2007 Nick Russo)
Chie Imaizumi, Adversity; Unfailing Kindness (2006 Capri)
Frank Zappa; Food Gathering in Post-Industrial America; The Yellow Shark (1993 Barking Pumpkin)
Frank Zappa; Welcome to the United States; The Yellow Shark (1993 Barking Pumpkin)
Frank Zappa; A Pound for a Brown/Exercise #4; The Yellow Shark (1993 Barking Pumpkin)
Edsel Gomez; The Minetta Triangle; Cubist Music (2006 Zoho)
[mic break 10:53 a.m.]

Set Two
Frank Sinatra; New York, New York (with Tony Bennett); Duets (1993 Capitol)
Bobby Broom; Can't Buy Me Love; Song and Dance (2007 Origin)
Grant Stewart; Lush Life; In the Still of the Night (2007 Sharp Nine)
The Great Global Warming Swindle (introduction); UK Channel 4
Frank Kimbrough; Lucent; Play (2006 Palmetto)
Dr. John; Come Rain or Come Shine; Mercernary (2006 Blue Note)
Dr. John; Perdido; Duke Elegant (2000 Blue Note)
Wayne Wallace; Chromatic Love Affair; The Reckless Search for Beauty (2006 Wayne Wallace)
Dave Brubeck; Indiana; Essential Dave Brubeck (2003 Sony)
Dave Brubeck; Perdido; Essential Dave Brubeck (2003 Sony)
[mic break 11:51 a.m.]

Set Three
Bobby Broom; Little Rascals Theme (Good Old Days); Song and Dance (2007 Origin)
The Detroit Swingtet; Minor Swing; Gypsy Djazz (2006 Ranch)
Andrew Distel; Embraceable You; Stepping Out of a Dream (2007 Andrew Distel)
Miles Davis; There is No Greater Love; Love Songs 2 (2003 Sony)
[mic break 12:27 p.m.]

Set Four
Miles Davis; Oleo; In the Blackhawk (2003 Columbia)
Red Garland Trio; Perdido; At the Prelude (2006 Concord)
Red Garland Trio; Bye Bye Blackbird; At the Prelude (2006 Concord)
Miles Davis; Bye Bye Blackbird; In the Blackhawk (2003 Columbia)
[1:03 p.m.]

Set Five
Hal Galper/jeff Johnson/John Bishop; Chromatic Fantasy; Furious Rubato (2007 Origin)
From The John Gibson Show, March 9 2007: Maryscott O'Connor of My Left Wing goes after that "centrist" Markos
Larry Willis; Rhythm-a-Ning; Blue Fable (2007 HighNote)
Frank Zappa; The Torture Never Stops (Part Two); The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life (1991 Barking Pumpkin)
[mic break 1:47 p.m.]

Set Six
Emerson Lake & Palmer; Hoedown; Return of the Manticore (1993 Rhino)
Dean Schmidt; Eme Efe I Know Nothing (2007 Origin)
[2:00 p.m.]

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Carnival of Bauer

The new Carnival of Bauer is up, and there is some funny stuff. Check out Jack Needs A Suit!: A "24" Picture-Book and The Logan Bris: A "24" Picture Book! Yours truly is represented as well, but if you've scrolled down, you already know this.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My LaunchCast station

This is old news, but I've been listening to my customized Yahoo! Launch radio station for years. It has more prog rock and things that you don't hear frequently on my WPKN program. It's nice for times when I want to hear music I like in a random way.

My station.

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Rats enjoy a day in the Sun

The New York Sun has an article about rats today.
Many watched last month as rats nearly turned a Greenwich Village KFC/Taco Bell into a Cirque de Soleil stage, resulting in subsequent fast food restaurant closings and the removal of a health inspector.
The article mentions a friend of ours who adopted two of our baby rats a couple of years ago.
One who does not hate rats is illustrator Drusilla Kehl, who has 23 so-called fancy rats as pets. She said domestic rats are as different from street rats as a pedigreed dog is from a wild dog. One thing the pet and wild rodents have in common is "they live short and breed fast."
I don't have any tattoos, but if I were ever to get one, it would be a rat drawn by Drusilla's partner Matt. (The article got his name wrong.)

Oh, a note for the Sun editor: if something is "so-called," then so call it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What I learned watching 24

The following things were learned between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Cigar trimmers are dangerous, especially in the hands of Jack Bauer.
  • The sovereignty of foreign consulates is to Jack Bauer as packaging is to rats.
  • Need your power turned off or on? Call Chloe.
  • The Vice President has no f'n neck.
  • If the VP offers you Kool-Aid, politely refuse.
  • Cynthia McKinney Palmer's plot line was disappeared more efficiently than if the government had done it.
  • Fear the reaper, but don't trust the Biscuit.
  • Telling the Secret Service that you knew about a plot to kill POTUS is one thing; convincing them that you are innocent is another.
  • If you know about a plot to kill POTUS, it might be better to keep the tape over your mouth.
  • Yes, there was something between Mary Todd Logan and Red Foreman, and they make a cute couple.

UPDATE: Unnnamed sources say that while in Chinese prison, Jack was tortured with hours of Renaissance.

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We said goodbye to my wife's uncle today. He was old and sick, and just wasn't himself any more. He sure didn't look like himself in the casket. That's one more reason why I want to have a Jewish funeral; no makeup and nobody seeing me look like a bad mannequin of myself.

It was bitter cold at the cemetary, perhaps 15°F with a nasty wind. Everybody behind the immediate family crushed into one big huddle to keep warm, and people were trying not to laugh as the priest said his final words into the wind.

The reception was nice. There was another funeral in the next room of the restaurant behind a glass partition, and one guy really looked like Elton John. Despite the sad occasion, we enjoyed being with each other and remembering the departed.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Playlist, March 4, 2007

Set One
Dean Schmidt; Pop Star; I Know Nothing (2007 0A2)
Dean Schmidt; Days of Guns and Roses; I Know Nothing (2007 0A2)
Scott Colley; Usual Illusion;l Architect of the Silent Moment (2007 CamJazz)
McNeely/Sill/Spencer; In Your Own Sweet Way; Boneyard (2007 Origin Records)
Pat Metheny/Brad Mehldau; Ring of Life; Metheny/Mehldau (2006 Nonesuch)
[mic break 10:34 a.m.]

Set Two
Al DiMeola; Red Moon; Consequence of Chaos (2006 Telarc)
Al DiMeola; Cry For You; Consequence of Chaos (2006 Telarc)
Mordy Ferber; Formerly With No One; All the Way to Sendai (1990 Enja)
Bill Frisell/Ron Carter/Paul Motian; Raise Four; Bill Frisell/Ron Carter/Paul Motian (2006 Nonesuch)
Wayne Wallace; The Reckless Search for Beauty; Tune Up (2006 Patois)
Wally Dunbar; Nardis; Jazz Eleven; Everything in Time (2001 Consolidated Artists Productions)
[mic break 11:12 a.m.]

Set Three
Andrew Distel; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life; Stepping Out of a Dream (2006)
Jane Stuart; It Might As Well Be Spring; Beginning to See the Light (2006 Jame Stuart)
The Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet; You Go to My Head; Afraid of the Heights (2006 Ardijenn Music)
Jeff Baker; Yardbird Suite; Shopping For Your Heart (2007 OA2)
[mic break 11:36 a.m.]

Set Four
The Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet; Anthropology Afraid of the Heights (2006 Ardijenn Music)
Eddie Jefferson; Ornithology; Godfather of Vocalese (100- Muse)
Charlie Parker; 52nd Street Theme; The Complete Live Performances on Savoy (1999 Savoy)
Charlie Parker; Salt Peanuts; The Complete Live Performances on Savoy (1999 Savoy)
Joe Lovano; Abstractions on 52nd Street; 52nd Street Themes (2000 Blue Note)
Joe Lovano; 52nd Street Theme; 52nd Street Themes (2000 Blue Note)
[mic break 12:09 p.m.]

Set Five
Alister Spence Trio; Mercury; Luminescence (2006 Rufus)
Chie Imaizumi; A Change for the Better; Unfailing Kindness (2006 Capri)
The Ed Palermo Big Band; Mom and Dad/Oh No; Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (2006 Cuneiform)
[mic break 12:42 p.m.]

Live in-studio performance: The Bluelights

Set Six
Shirley Scott; Alone Together; Oasis (1990 Muse)
Thomas Mariott; Sky Dive; Both Sides of the Fence (2007 Origin)
[2:00 p.m.]

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Saturday, March 03, 2007


"Carpet of the Sun" unplugged.

Renaissance was one of my absolute favorite prog rock groups, and a defining part of the soundtrack to my sophomore year in high school. I recently downloaded "Tales of 1001 Nights." My wife and daughter were both taken with the music and Annie Haslam's voice. Then a strange thing happened. On Thursday night, I listned to Renaissance on my iPod before going to sleep. On Friday morning, my radio came on just as "A Trip to the Fair" was playing on WPKN (big thanks to Art Bell for that wonderful coincidence).

In some ways, the group was overblown and a bit pretentious. The pseudo-classical arrangements were rather elementary, and the ostinato grooves not all that impressive. On the other had, it had all the right elements for a laid-back prog rock band: the simple rock arrangements topped with sometimes very interesting orchestral arrangements (especially Jimmy Horowitz's work on Turn of the Cards); acoustic piano and guitar over Jon Camp's rocking Rickenbacker bass; and of course, Annie's amazing voice.

Word is that there is soon to be a live DVD from one of their 1970s concerts.

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Friday, March 02, 2007


They are loud this morning, but that's because I'm much closer to them. The street flooding spilled over into my basement office, and I'm working in the kitchen with a nice view of the feeding station. They don't seem to mind the weather.

I am disgruntled. Water poured into the corner behind my office wall and spilled onto the finished floor. It's a mess, and my peel-and-stick tiles are all peeling and unsticking. There's a big project ahead involving moving the desk so I can replace the tiles.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Temperature: 32°F

A bunch of chozzers, they are. I filled the tube feeder two days ago and the sparrows cleaned it out. I filled it again today along with the window feeder, and they're still going at it.

One house finch was at the window a couple of days ago; the only one I've seen since the fall.

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