by Ed Naha :
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
by Ed Naha :
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The first grandchild of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, weighing in at seven pounds, four ounces.
When it was announced shortly after Gov. Palin was named John McCain's running mate that her teenage daughter was expecting, it triggered national debates on teen pregnancy and marriage, abstinence education, the VP vetting process, the privacy of political families and, well, just about everything.
Bristol Palin is 18, as is her boyfriend of three years, Levi Johnston, a former high school hockey player. Both have dropped out of high school -- she to complete her diploma through correspondence courses, People reports, and he to become an apprentice electrician, he told the AP this fall. They have said they plan to marry in 2009. (Johnston's mother Sherry was arrested earlier this month on felony drug charges for allegedly selling OxyContin.)
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Pittsburgh Pirates' pitcher Dock Ellis who said he was under the influence of LSD when he pitched a 1970 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres passed away yesterday.
Dock Ellis, the former major league pitcher best remembered for his flamboyance and social activism as a member of the great Pittsburgh Pirates teams of the 1970s, died Friday December 19th of a liver ailment in California. He was 63. Dock Ellis won 138 games over 12 major league seasons. Ellis spent 12 years in the majors with Pittsburgh, the New York Yankees, Oakland, Texas and the New York Mets. He retired in 1979 with a record of 138-119. but was best known for several colorful incidents on and off the field.
Dock related the LSD story in 1984 while he was co-ordinator of an anti drug program in Los Angeles. He said he didn't know until six hours before his June 12, 1970 no hitter that he was going to pitch.
"I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego , but I didn't know it. I had taken LSD..... I thought it was an off-day, that's how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon. At 1 pm, his girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, "Dock, you're pitching today! She got me to the airport at 3:30. I got there at 4:30, and the game started at 6:05pm. It was a twi-night doubleheader.I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria.I was zeroed in on the (catcher's) glove, but I didn't hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters and the bases were loaded two or three times.The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me."
The Pirates won the game, 2-0, although Ellis walked eight batters. It was the highpoint in the baseball career of one of the finer pitchers of his time, and arguably,one of the greatest achievements in the history of sports.
In May 1974 -- in an effort to inspire a lifeless Pittsburgh team -- Ellis beaned Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Dan Driessen in the top of the first inning. After walking Tony Perez, Ellis threw a pitch near Johnny Bench's head and was lifted from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh.
Ellis went 19-9 in 1971 for the Pirates, who beat the Orioles in the World Series.
Off the field, Ellis spoke freely about racial issues, once telling reporters that he wouldn't start against Oakland's Vida Blue in the All-Star Game because Major League Baseball would never start "two soul brothers'' against each other.
Ellis suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and was placed on a list to receive a liver transplant in May. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Ellis had no health insurance, but received help paying his medical bills from friends in baseball.Bill Scaringe, an agent who represented Ellis after he retired, said Ellis worked for years in the California department of corrections helping inmates transition from prison back to the community. He also ran a drug counseling center in Los Angeles. Scaringe said. "Dock was such a likeable person -- very gregarious, very outgoing. I would set up personal appearances for him, and after like 30 seconds, people were like relatives or neighbors. Dock was very easy to talk to. He was just a pleasure to be around.
That was Dock, peace be to his ashes .
Friday, December 19, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Norman has never worked a straight job for one day of his life. He has only ever played music. Pittsburgh has had some great rock bands: Gathering Field, The Silencers, Joe Grusheckey & the Iron City Houserockers, Rusted Root, Donnie Iris, The Clarks and Billy Price to name just a few. Among all these, Norman Nardini is a legend. He is working tonight, somewhere, at a festival or in a dive bar he's playing his rust belt rock & roll, his three piece band working man's music. It's American heartland music, like Seeger or Bruce or Mellencamp or Petty, no different than any of them and certainly no less. He's lacked a great commercial success but what the fuck does that have to do with making great rock and roll ?
In 1975 he was a bass player for the rock band Diamond Reo. Norman left the band to start Norman Nardini & The Tigers as lead singer, lead guitar and song writer. The 1981 release "Eatin Alive", recorded live at Cleveland’s legendary Agora Club, received a 4 Star Review from Rolling Stone’s record guide. The Tigers toured together through 1986. CBS in 1983 released "Norman Nardini and The Tigers", which featured Norman’s longtime friend, Jon Bon Jovi, on background vocals. In 1987, CBS released "Love Dog" which featured Rick Derringer, Dr. John and Paul Schaeffer. Throughout the 90's, Norman continued touring and released 3 CDs on New York City's Circumstantial label . 1991’s "This Ole Train" took Norman over to Germany for a tour with the Blues Brothers. In 1998, Moondog Records released "There Was A Time" and more great stuff has followed. 1993's "It's Alive" is live and alive Norman at his best. He's the real deal. He makes friends easily, shares his toys and jams well with others.
..."Norman Nardini is the epitome of rock'n'roll. He lives it and breathes it. The greatest compliment anybody can pay a player is that he lives it. God bless him for it.." ~Jon Bon Jovi
Here are my friends Norman and Whitey Cooper and Harry Bottoms doing "Rock & Roll City" in the Beachland Tavern, a neighborhood bar, the kind of place where they are most at home. With Norman , it's all about the music and the buzz he can pass on to you in the night.
If you want more I recommend the "Smoke Two Joints " video, above.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Last fall I was driving along a country road when I noticed an apparition in faded blue truckin' along the side of the road. Normally my curiosity would have demanded I stop and inquire just what was happening but I was running late for an appointment. I had to go along without stopping but wondered several times in the days afterward " who was that cat ? " Did I really see that or was it one of the acid flashbacks the government always promised me but never paid off on ? Several days later I read a story in the local newspaper reassuring me that I did still maintain my tenuous hold on reality. It was written by my friend Colleen Nelson, an illustrator, artist and free lance writer. I have never been accused of being overly religious but I do like to think I have a spiritual sense that recognizes and embraces the good that exists. My philosophy is that any one that practices love and gentleness has my support. It is nice to know something of the story of Pilgrim George, a good soul who walks the walk. The story Colleen wrote follows:
Drivers on their way to work on Tuesday morning might have spotted a tall, robed figure striding through Rogersville, on State Route 18- 21. The details of his dress were startling against the backdrop of Victorian houses, casual American dressers and passing vehicles – hooded robe, wooden staff and thick sandals keeping a steady pace. Curiosity won out over being late for work for one West Greene resident, who found the nearest place to turn around and drive back to find out what the heck Gandalf was doing out here in the boonies, snowy beard flowing, walking like he had some special place to go. Meet Pilgrim George, not of Middle Earth, but of this earth, just passing through, as he has for more than 30 years. He had left the highway and was sitting in the flowery grasses beside the creek, drinking water from a plastic bottle and being entertained by a young gray tabby cat who was delighted to find a fellow sojourner taking his ease in the natural world. "Yes," he admitted, eyes twinkling in an open, friendly face that was weathered and tan. His glasses were held in place with tape, but the big icon around his neck glistened with gold leaf and there was a wide embossed cross at the top of the staff beside him. A rosary encircled one wrist. "I’m a pilgrim. I left Cameron, West Virginia this morning and I’m on my way to Uniontown." After more than 30 years of making the road his home, from here to Jerusalem and back, Byzantine Catholic church deacon George Florien Walter knows a thing or two about the kindness of strangers. He doesn’t carry money or food, just water and a tent. His pouches and bags contain day-to-day necessities, including needle and thread for on-the-road repairs. His sandals are made of pieces of tire tread, bolts and wire he finds along the berm. The bottom of his wooden staff is shod in tread as well, neatly tied and tacked. On the road, those who are intrigued enough to say hello sometimes supply lifts to the next town and even breakfast at McDonalds. Passersby offer meals and showers, reporters write stories about his travels and those who ask are blessed. "For four months of the year I walk hundreds of miles. The rest of the time I’m a poustinik, a hermit ". His yearly pilgrimage will end at Mount. St. Macrina, near Uniontown. Thousands of Byzantine Catholics from all over America have gathered here for 74 years for a Labor Day weekend of prayer, teachings, fellowship and good food. Walter shouldered his pack and took up the staff the first week of May to visit shrines and celebrate holy days in the states he visited. For many, this chance meeting takes on a religious significance that reaffirms their own faith. Pilgrimages are part of all religions, and as such reflect the universal need to seek a conversion experience – a journey that brings a life change. For thousands of years, the faithful have made the journey on foot to holy places or shrines of special significance. The experience of walking great distances teaches that the way of getting there was just as important as the destination. For Walter, 67, his pilgrimage of faith is a global love affair. He has walked through 41 countries, starting with a pilgrimage from Barcelona to Jerusalem 38 years ago at age 29. He has logged more than thirty eight thousand miles, once traveling up to 30 miles a day, now down to a sage 10 to 12 miles through the heat and sudden showers of May through September weather. The tradition of traveling on foot is preserved at Mount St. Macrina and is honored by the many processions that take place this weekend. Ceremonies are accompanied by the singing of prayers and brightened by pilgrims like Walter, who put on the vestments of antiquity and poverty and walk their connection with divinity. "I’m living the life God intended for me," Walter said simply as he got in the passengers seat and headed to town with his new benefactor, who dropped him off at Bowlby Library and gave him directions to St. Anns Church on High Street. It was just another blessedly giving and receiving kind of day in the life of Pilgrim George.
Monday, December 8, 2008
This is really fascinating to me . I like to study the times that existed between the major events ( wars, plagues, forward leaps of collective consciousness ) of the world to fill in the spaces existing in my knowledge. I read books titled The History of Europe 1920 - 1935. It's necessary to know not just what happened but also how it all came about due to the years preceding. This short video does nicely as far as to show how the worlds religions have evolved. Only 90 seconds to expand your understanding of how we got here, where we are now , as people, in this shrinking world. Because religion, like it or not , drives most people's lives to some degree and we all have to live with that fact and in some sad cases people die with that fact burning into their freakin' eyeballs. Reason enough to stop and get a realistic perspective.
This is from a very interesting site called Maps Of War.
How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go !
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
A few days ago Blue Gal reminded us that it's that wonderful time of the year again.
Frank Zappa died December 4, and was born (earlier, they tell me) on December 21.Two years ago, the blog known as The Aristocrats declared that December 4 through 21 should henceforth be known as Zappadan: the days of the year between death and birth, that ethereal time when there was no Frank, so we must celebrate him to keep his spirit safe until his birthday again.Or it's just a great excuse for a party that has nothing to do with the greed and debt festival known as Christmas in America. In any event, it's a labor of love with the hope that Frank would be proud.
There are many stories of delightful and wondrous things taking place at this time. Every ones heard of the lady who, last year during the festive season , went to the DMV and applied for a new licence plate , received it , all paperwork complete, no lines , no red tape and even was offered a doughnut. Last year on December 4th, I put several dull razor blades in an old record sleeve of Frank's Weasels Ripped My Flesh and a week later when I shook them out over my oak coffee table they were so sharp that as they fell they stuck in the wood and could only be pulled out with pliers. Babies conceived during this season have a higher I.Q. than average and dogs adopted during this time are noted for their loyalty, intelligence and skills with a Frisbee. I had a one night stand during Zappadan that turned into a beautiful 4 month relationship. It really is a magical time.
I think it was someone at the Onion who said " If you don't like Frank Zappa you just haven't heard the right album yet ". Here's one of my favorites, Montana, and this live version is smokin'.