Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Back in the SwingLess easy than I thought to acclimatise, even with filling the day with distracting banalities and all the routines of getting back onto some sort of payroll. Random fin-du-jour thoughts:
- My early morning Safeway/Starbucks hazelnut latte and NYT have yet to retrieve their gloss. No sooner seated than I ignored the paper and ogled the bustling shoppers as if I'd just emerged from some jungle, which in a way I have.
- From what I did manage to take in from the newspaper, there's a lot of news about. Having gone relatively TV-less for the past 6 weeks, I'm wholly out of touch with the world: tsunami goings-on, Palestine, the further gaucheries of Bush ...
- Speaking of whom, my return is badly mistimed. I should have checked the inauguration date and ensured I was well away from the overblown nonsense: pomp, gravitas and ceremony are not American fields of expertise.
That said, it's odd to be back where people aren't constantly clasping my hand in sympathy over my country of domicile. It's almost as if people regard that grotesque 'tsunami' of votes that returned Bush to the White House as a mini-calamity of itself.
America is viewed as an unrivaled power with but a single focus and wholly uninterested in foreigners or any sort of consultation. Bush himself is, of course, deeply disliked and held in contempt. People seldom use his P-word title in the same breath lest they cheapen the office and insult others of genuinely presidential stature. Nor is anyone in any doubt that not single mangled syllable comes from his own pigmy vocabulary but from writers skilled in scripts that lend themselves to Bush's genius for reduction ad absurdio.
- Tsunami - as usual, its the good old Beeb but I liked Boostmarketing's take on the fake version.
- Trust William Safire to get to the heart: a tsunami (Japanese tsu, 'harbour', nami 'waves') is *not* a 'tidal wave', the high water water wave caused by the movement of the tide which sweeps round the earth twice in 24 hours and is due chiefly to the effects of lunar gravity. A tsunami is the wave induced by an earthquake or submarine landslide.
- TV: truly it's an Idiot Box, or have NBC 'Today''s Couric and Lauer got even sillier and more frivolous in my absence?
- I must spend more time in our local police station. I went there to file a report on my stolen check and found it fascinating to sit on that bench just inside and listen as each newcomer detailed their woes.
- As usual, guitar picking Islander Bill Frisell is the only music to jolt me from my torpor.
I've been listening to 'gone, just like a train' (sic, lower titling on the album) and marveling at not just BF's playing but the drummer to royalty Jim Keltner and bassist Viktor Krauss (yes, bro of Alison).
Cover design: Love the music tho' I do, I'll never share Frisell's fondness for those bizarre Woodring daubs he so favors.
He did it to us with his ace album with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones (see right), which I promptly shoved in a plain wrapper so's not to flinch every time I reached for the masterpiece.
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