Saturday, April 3, 2010

rebirth after death

Last spring after my paternal grandparents died, my co-workers took a collection amongst themselves and gave me a gift card to a local nursery. I bought four fruit trees - one for each grandparent, 3 of whom are were now dead. After some time, it was clear that the apple trees had some kind of blight. (below)

The peach trees were also suffering, (above) though not as bad.
I didn't know if any of them would survive.

Meanwhile, in fall, I set out bulbs that me and those same co-workers "procured" from the University gardner.

This spring is shaping up to be quite nice here at The Lodge. :-)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I started my day walking into work with my grandmother.

Every spring morning that is sunny and crisp with patches of dew kissed daffodils here and there, is a morning I get to walk with my grandmother. It may only be as long as it takes me to walk from the car to the office but, in that time, I'm a child again and we outside in her garden or walking to town or hanging out laundry or some other chore. But always I am by her side again and we are enjoying the smell of wet new grass.

I ended the day with my grandfather, her husband. I've never filled my mower's gas tank or smelled gas anywhere else that I didn't think of him. So, as I mowed my spring crop of wild onions, he sat under the pine tree in a plastic lawn chair whittling his cedar stick and spitting tobacco juice to his left. Every once in a while I caught him smiling at me, especially as I mowed around the peach tree I planted in his honor last year.

She will be 98 in September 2010. He died in 1998 when he was 88. I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Watz in the name "Reform"?

My first problem with the Health Care Reform bill is that it needs to say health *Insurance* reform, not health *care* reform. I don't think there's anything wrong with our "care". Doctors are not incompetent but, to call it health "care" implies that they are. They are not the problem. The problem as far as I can tell lies with insurance companies. But, of course, they can't call it what it really is because the lobbyists are SO powerful - and that's not party specific. That is a systemic political illness.

The other problem I have with the bill (admittedly not knowing everything that's in it), is this decades old practice of throwing in crap in a bill that has nothing to do with the over-arching issue. This state wants this, and that state wants that; they throw it all in together and get crap passed that, ordinarily, would never see the light of day. But again - this is not a party specific problem, or even bill specific - it is a politically systemic illness and, as I said, nothing new.

All this to say, I don't disagree with folks who are not for this bill. But where I see us going down the wrong road is when we start saying things like Nancy Pelosi is the anti-Christ. Granted, she ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she's certainly no worse than G.W. Bush - the President who started an unjustified war that has now lasted longer than WWII and was, in no small way, the first nail in our economic coffin. We had a financial surplus up to that point.

However, specific politicians alone are not the fault; after all, no one person, not even the president, has such far-reaching power as to pull a trigger by themselves.

I've come to realize that our so-called *democratic* political system is severely broken and THAT is the real problem we ought to be fighting to fix. Unfortunately, we're all so caught up in 24-hr sound bytes (even the smartest among us) that we're virtually blind to what's really happening: That being that we have essentially become a two-party system with backroom deals that the American public only hear about if the *media* deems it so. This manner of behavior simply doesn't work and it started long before Obama or Bush or even Clinton. We've now allowed our representatives to create a division that, if we're not careful, could rival that of the Civil War. I'm totally serious about that: we are coming very close to such a precipice.

There are extremists in both camps but, at the end of the day, I believe the majority of the population is in the middle and unfairly represented. We, as a nation, are able to discuss issues in a civilized manner and come to some agreement where everyone wins for the most part. Yet, civility no longer sells magazines or boosts ratings. Ya gotta think that Patrick Kennedy was on to something last week when he railed against the media for their lack of real news coverage. If anyone is the anti-Christ in this country, it's them.

Who cares who Tiger Woods slept with? Who cares if Eric Massa groped his employees? Who cares what party is the majority this season? I care about whether my parents get the health care they need. I care if my military friends are asked to fight a war that gets us no where. I care if my representative is dishonest with what I have charged him/her to do on my behalf. I don't give a shit what they do in their bedroom and I don't care what they had for lunch. I care how we keep this country alive and thriving.

Voting matters. I say we create a law wherein, if our collective elected bodies can't do anything more than fight, say no, make deals in the backroom, or pull a filibuster or some other underhanded charade, we send the whole lot packing and elect a new batch that will govern on the up and up. In that same reform we allow the American people to VOTE on the tough issues; like health "insurance" reform. That way there's no party finger pointing - we decide where we're going.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Don't Fence Me In

So sings my sweet pal Callie Cardamon on her latest release, Easy Street. The only problem...I just can't see Callie on a horse. But, then, I can't ride either so, what do I know?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Speaking in Tongues

I had such an interesting interview with artist Marjorie Guyon yesterday. She and her beautiful agent, Alaina Simone, talked about her latest project Nation of Nations. In that conversation I was reminded that artists think deeply, considerately, passionately.

I've been surrounded by academics so long that their insistence to be right, without doubt, unequivocally perfect, that it crushes the possibilities of what might be, what could be - perception. It's all about perception. Even the sciences - it's all perception, isn't it? Today it's this rule, but tomorrow some other genius will find something better, truer - another perception is born. is one person's perception. It just is what it is. You're not forced to study it or accept it as truth, you're just asked to look and think.

I'm not happy in academics. I miss the freedom of art.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

RCC Continued

I love Facebook (when the developers haven't screwed it completely). I created a note yesterday with all the band name suggestions we'd gotten - 149 of 'em - with the 150th quickly following the post. Some are really, really good. Some are just funny. Some are sick (yet somehow funny, but that's just me). But the one that always sticks out is Red Couch Conspiracy, as I mentioned yesterday. Dan is at peace with it - Pete hasn't chimed in because he's "winter camping" right now (I don't know if that's code for -"I'm freaking out so, I've gone to sleep in a tent in the UP in the dead of winter and hope I don't wake up"). Whatever....

In the meantime, Stacy Yelton, who came up with the name RCC, sent along this very interesting article on how all the good band names are taken. Fortunately, Googling RCC only turns up my blog! doesn't turn up anything either, though there are lots of conspiracies out there.

So, there's this new thing called reverbnation (thanks to Matt Burke for turning me on to it) and I've created a Red Couch Conspiracy profile there. It's sparse yet but I may throw together some snippets of of our songs just so you can get a sense of where we're going.

In the meantime, here's the note I created on facebook with all the names my friends have come up with. Enjoy!

Take That Charlie
Slap Charlie
Up In Ya
Bend Over Charlie
Chainsaw Critters
Face Velocity
Screaming Zucchinis
Portable Squirrel
Potable Squirrel
6 Minute Abs
Once in a Bleu Moon
Once with Bleu Cheese
Terry, Tereski, and Tood
The Electric Intestine
Bleu Greene
Kopana Terry and the Fuzzy Sphincters
Kopana Terry and the Killer Titties
Kopana Terry and Kapow! Tings!
Poppy Twang and the Bluebirds
kopana terry and the pool boys
super blue moon pool
The Wilsqueezblues
Kopana Terry and the Killer Time
Kopana Terry's Killer Time
Killer Ko and the Daydreams
Pool Hall
Pool Haul the concrete Pool
the cement pool
the Pool Cues
Pool Time
Skip skool for the pool
Skip Sckool and the Pools
Pool of Drool
What Would Ko Doo the Great Danes
Once With Bleu Cheese Dressing
Once With Roquefort
Once With Gorgenzola
Koko and the Puffs
Koping skills & the Trauma
Spill in isle 3
Deere John and the BushHogs
Red Couch Conspiracy
watch me play these instruments
Trout Grinders
bordello botox
Crouching Squirrel, Chainsaw Charlie
Witchita Wheat
It's my favorite sofa
Letters To Lennon
kitten vortex
Pussy Magnet
Red Pussy Magnet
Dang! That's all I gotta say about that
Dewey Decimal System
East Coast Seismic Warning
Flow Charts
Power Point Presentations
Kopana's Man Band
Aunt Pannies Mannies
Aunt Mannies Panties
koping skills and the lorazepams
lack of sleep
Dreamy Ko and the Sleepers
Hot Flash and The Night Sweats
Kick-Ass Birthday
I'm Graying Here
Here Comes the Gray
Not today Gray Grays Labotomy
That Guys' Band
Space Anatomy
Shell of a Man
Michelle and Man Shells
That Guy and Ko
Ko Guy Ko
Ko Man Ko
Bang Sum Guy
Any Given Holiday
Koko Kollective
the kopa kopanas
kopana blue
The KoKo Kochos
Ass Kickin Ko's
Ass Kickin Mo's
Gravel Drop Travellers
Stone's Throw Caravan
stonecipher road/trail/lane
Kopana Stone Shakers
Kopanana and the Mandrills
Blue Ko and the Crew
Blue Ko and the Hue Crew
Bluestone Road
De Cypher
Blue De Cypher
Common thread
Cut and Paste
Off Base
Word Smith
Tune Smiths
Sleazy Cheesy
Rock-on !!! and always rule the day
Floating Feathers
Sky ward bubbles
stone of hope
mountain of dispair
Hot Koko and the Mellows
a stone's hope band name
name band
insert name here
band camp
flirting with elves
screaming tin pickle boxing the bald husky
befriending the big goodness
Witchita Wheat & The Threshers
Me and The Boys
Bittersweet Downs
TV Snow
Nekkid Mole Rat
Yes, No, Maybe
Sleeping Lizard
Reptiles in Repose
Resting Reptile Reclining Reptile
Kopana and the Drunken Militia
Kopana Moonshine and the Stills
Sweet Grass and the Foggy Bottoms
Kukla Kopana and the Ollies
Kops and Robbers
Ted Kopana and the Nightly News
Hats on a Drunken Worm Band Name
Bootilicious and the Hot Pockets
Blank Book
French Terry

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Red Couch Conspiracy

This is the working name for the least for now. Speaking of "the band", everyone keeps asking about it so, here's the skinny:

(rehearsal space, December 2009)

About 6-7 years ago I said to an old guitar player pal, Pete Poggione, that technology was catching up so we could play together again since he was then, as now, living in Michigan. That grew into the idea of "Pool" as in a pool of talent wherein people I had known or played with over the years could be in the same band from anywhere in the world.

At Christmas 2009, three of us from said Pool got together at my house and began writing/playing some stuff; myself, Pete, and Dan Kibler from Harrisburg, PA. Three days later was born "Red Couch Conspiracy" or RCC for short.

(Left: Dan Kibler, Right: Pete Poggione)

We've currently got 9 songs and we're scheduling our next rendezvous when, I suspect, we'll finish writing said songs, write a few more, and actually record (for real this time) a good portion of them. Once that happens, we'll be able to invite other guests from the "Pool" to fill in the gaps. But it was pretty clear in '09 that the core of the band was the three of us.

Words can't describe how grateful I am to Pete and Dan. I have a renewed sense of self, and a renewed sense that my life won't end with a day job and a pocket full of stress. There is hope on the horizon and it's name is Red Couch Conspiracy.

What do we sound like, you ask? It's a little hard to categorize (but we must, it is the human way, after all). It's actually easier to say what we are not: we are not country, blues, or jazz. We are not opera or classical. We are not Top 40 pop, rap, or hip-hop. I would venture we sound like a mix of Squeeze, Wilco, Crowded House, Over The Rhine, with a hit of blues and touch of The Stones and Mellencamp. So - if you can come up with a category for all that, then that's what we sound like.

(Above: Kopana and her Mannies on the Red Couch)