I Don't Wanna Hear It

Thursday, March 23, 2006

George W. Bush is a Prophet

A self-fulfilling prophet.

Monday, February 27, 2006

All of the Love of Rock'N'Roll

Made my grand return, or sorts, to the stage Saturday at The Roadhouse at Route 6 and Meridian, in unincorporated Porter County, near Valparaiso. For two songs I took the mic for Voodoo Chili, the Calumet Region's finest bar band. I sang the backing vocals on The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go," doing the call and response part, en EspaƱol of course! (And in Ecuadorian Spanish, nonetheless! See the liner notes to the Clash On Broadway boxset.) Then I took lead for my favorite call-to-arms, "The Blitzkrieg Bop," by my heroes, The Ramones. Beth said it was the fastest version she'd ever heard, clocking in at about 52 seconds. That's 80 seconds faster than the studio recorded version, and about 40 seconds faster than the Bruddah's played it live.

Thanks to good buddy Dr. Jimbo Lane for the heads up (his son plays guitar and is lead singer) and to the guys fer letting me belt out the numbers. In my younger days I had an aversion to bar cover bands, but Voodoo Chili kicks ass, and they have superb taste in music. Biggest thanks to them; you guys rock! Lead guitarist Big Voodoo Daddy Tim might not look the typical rocker (Beth loved his Bubba Gump hat), and could be the granddaddy of today's crop of rockers, but he's got a helluva lot of charisma and is a natural on stage. Like the great Charlie Harper of the U.K. Subs, those whose love for rock is true never cease to rock.

And of course, thanks to Beth, who said I looked (and sounded) pretty good up there! Hard to believe, but it's been about 5 years since I rocked out in front of a crowd.

The Afterlife Has Become a Funnier Place.

Very saddened this weekend to learn that two of my long time favorite actors, Don Knotts and Darren McGaven, entered the great Screen Actors Guild in the sky. I've been a fan of both since I was a little kid; Knotts through his work on The Andy Griffith Show, for which he earned 5 Best Supporting Actor Emmys (though the show's fans know that he was far more than a supporting figure; Knotts MADE that show.) And McGaven, who played what I think is the greatest movie character even created: the foul-mouthed, irrascible Old Man in Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story.

Knotts and McGaven both created very realistic on-screen personas of the type of person that was easily irratible yet unfalteringly loving and loyal to friends and friendly strangers alike. Though not the biggest names in the biz, they worked this style better than most of their contemporaries, and certainly far better than any American "humorist" today. The self righteous and self-absorbed nature of Americans born after the Great Depression ensures that few any entertainers come close to the affectionate but crotchety charm of Knotts and McGaven. (The only person who comes close is the caustic Lewis Black.)

Barney Fife:

"Like they always say...the quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth like a gentle dew from Heaven...well, you're not talking to a jerk you know!"

"Boy, giraffes are selfish! Always running around... looking out for number one..."

"Nip It! Nip it in the Bud!"

"Oh, you're just full of fun today, aren't you? Why don't we go up to the old people's home and wax the steps?"

The Old Man:

"Sons o' Bitches! Bumpuses!"

"Fra-Gee-Lay! It must be Italian!"

"All right. I'll get that kid to eat. Where's my screwdriver and plumber's helper? I'll open up his mouth and I'll shove it in."

"Well, for Christ's sake, the Sox traded Bullfrog... the only player they got for Shottenhoffer. 'Four Eyes' Shottenhoffer, a utility infielder. Got a whole goddamned team of utility infielders."

(Speaking about the Oldsmobile) "Son of a bitch would freeze up in the middle of summer on the Equator!"

"Hold it! Don't anybody move! A fuse is out!"

R.I.P., Gentlemen.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ooh that's gonna smart.

The Christian Science Monitor gives a quick overview of programs that will be cut under Bush's proposed 2007 budget. Lotsa pressure on those most dependent upon a beneficent social system: invalids, the elderly, little kids, the poor. (It's OK, they probably did something to deserve it.)

For those too lazy to read, here's is a picto-graph of where your money and the next generation's and the next generation's and the next generation's... is going to go.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Desiring general intellectual betterment, and for want of stimulating endeavors opportuned by the dominant society, and towards a more structured discourse on matters pertaining to history, political economy, and the arts the suggestion has been put forth to form a Junto.

Participation should be open to all who complete and comment upon the following titles:

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (selections)
something relating to the nature of Universals and Particulars (Peter Abelard, I suggest)
Plato's Five Dialogues
The USA Patriot Act (+ 2005 additions)
Please Kill Me

Plus one additional title pertaining to any subject and of any style or genre, chosen by the prospective communicant, who will then briefly answer a short set of questions drawn up and agreed upon by the members of the group with regards to common issues and themes apparant in the aforementioned tracts.

Matters of protocal and order will be established at an early meeting by any persons interested in forming such an organization.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

December, 1979...

I was two and a half years old, and remember very little from the end of the Seventies. My mom rediscovered these pictures recently and, de-yellowed thanks to photoshop, they are presented here for your edification. I remember nothing about this trip but am amazed to be able to date my first trip to Chicago, and pleased as punch to see I first got there as hundreds of millions before me had since the 1850s: by train. In my case it was the Chicago, South Shore, and South Bend railroad ("The South Shore"), one of the few and great neutral grounds of the Calumet Region.

... waiting for the train

Happily starting the day in East Chicago, IN, waiting for the South Shore train to the city. The trip most likely would have occurred by car (or not at all, considering how much my old man just luvs driving into the city) had the state of Indiana not authorized the creation of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) two years earlier.

The movement of people and money from the northern to the central and southern sections of Lake County, IN decreased ridership along the South Shore after midcentury. Nevertheless, it remained the most convienient link between The Region and Chicago. Despite the twin curses of declining profitability and the need for massive infrastructural upgrades the line was promised and provided with sources of much-needed revenue when the state formed NICTD to operate and initiate improvements to passenger service. Annual ridership has doubled since NICTD formed in June, 1977, due I think in large part to the fact that the company operates for the public service, not private profit.

... heading home

Originally uploaded by samuelnbarnett.
Randolph Street Station, heading home.

... minding the gap

Randolph Street Station, minding the gap. The old, orange South Shore had been in service for decades, and were phased out four years later. I'm glad to see that I indeed had riden on them.

... on the train

Originally uploaded by samuelnbarnett.
On the train, thinking real hard about something. The train brings thousands of Regionites, bleary-eyed and quitely private as the sun rises and sets over the south shore of ancient Lake Chicago.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'm Justa Hunka-Hunka

A woman in Western Australia reportedly stabbed her parter with a pair of scissors. The offense? Repeated playings of Elvis Presley's "Burning Love."