Why Citizen D

When I started this blog, I picked the screen name Citizen D because, at that time, I had just left a job at the Wal-Mart home office.  Rather than for my first name, David, the D stands for Disappear.  It was a reminder to me that, whatever happened, I couldn’t disappear into the drone of society and just be another faceless citizen, that I had an obligation, as a citizen of humanity and a child of the creator, to make a difference in the lives of others.  Wal-Mart, at least in my opinion, was diametrically opposed to that attitude during my tenure; I felt it was a breeding ground for non-thinking, capitalist, Mr. Sam worshippers.  That’s why it inspired me.

While I still believe that, just like every one of us, I have an obligation to make a difference, I cannot carry on as Citizen D.  The details are crucial, but they aren’t important for this forum.  So, before I close this thing down, I just wanted my readers to know why I chose that name.  If the blog has made a positive difference in even a small way, to even one of you, then I accomplished my goal.  Thanks for reading.

For the last time,

Citizen D

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Two Lists

Because lists are much easier than actually writing (work has been busy this week), here are a couple of lists.

Good News (stuff I’m into recently):

1. Portishead – specifically, Third. This is a sorta cheating because I recently wrote a post about it. Still lovin it.
2. Cat Power – all her music. Again, sorta cheating but really lovin it.
3. LCD Soundsystem – specifically, The Sound of Silver. LCD Soundsystem lives at the crossroads of rock and electronica where they mash up the genres and all the kids dance.
4. Discussions about belief in God.
5. Reaper – This CW show, about a guy in his early 20s who works as a bounty hunter for the Devil (capturing souls escaped from Hell), is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows. It’s clearly not the same, but has the same tone as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
6. Iron Man. Action packed popcorn muncher? For sure. But it’s extremely entertaining. Plus, I’m glad to see Robert Downey, Jr. starring in a huge hit.
7. Music Mart in Little Rock on South University. If you want a car stereo, drop in and see Richie. He’ll hook you up.
8. Senor Tequila also on South University. For all your Mexican food needs.

Bad News (recent irritations):

1. The Democratic Party’s nomination process.
2. T. Glenn Pate – he’s a local doctor who, every weekday morning, is featured on our local NPR affiliate for about three minutes. Each week, he discusses a particular medical condition or topic all week. This week, it’s about cleft lips and palates. This morning, after hearing him say the word cleft all week long, I just turned off the radio. I couldn’t hear him pronounce that word once more.
3. NPR’s seemingly constant focus on negative stories.
4. Oak catkins. They’re pretty much gone now, but they were a major source of irritation for a few weeks.
5. Complacency.

Wednesday Rant – Just Gross

Almost every day, because I try to stay well hydrated and because I have a tiny tank, I make several trips to the restroom at work. When I do, I frequently find an unflushed toilet. Seems like I find it around the same time every afternoon. As such, I’m convinced there is only one villain, a repeat offender if you will. Really, is it so difficult to reach a couple feet and pull the handle? Regardless, even though I may never know who is responsible, I know that this guy needs to drink more water – his urine is so dark it’s almost brown. And that’s just gross.

Death Knell

I know it’s duplicative of a million news sources, but, Hillary, Indiana and North Carolina are the end of the road. Hang it up. For the love of God, let us move on. I like to watch politics and even I’m tired of this thing dragging out. More to the point, I’m scared of whether or not it’s improving McCain’s prospects. There are a million opinions about that, but it can’t hurt him.

Cat Power at the Beale Street Music Festival

This past Saturday was, despite living relatively close to Memphis my entire life, the first time I’ve attended the Beale Street Music Festival that kicks off Memphis in May. In years past, there have been acts who have tempted me to make the time commitment (for example Foo Fighters, Spin Doctors, The Black Crowes). But I’m pretty much not willing to suffer through the inevitable irritation of being in a crowd unless I really want to see an artist live. So, this year, because I love her music, but also because I’ve read that her live shows can be highly entertaining even if erratic, Cat Power (stage name of Chan Marshall) finally enticed me to make the two hour drive from Little Rock to Memphis.

I arrived about forty minutes before Ms. Marshall was scheduled to begin. The band, who played on the Cellular South stage before her, was just finishing. Lucky for me, as they finished, and as the stage crew made necessary equipment changes, the crowd dwindled to a handful of people and I was able to move forward to within about twenty feet of the stage. By the time she started playing, though, the area was again packed. While I waited, incidentally, I was freezing. When I left Little Rock, it was sunny and around seventy degrees. But beginning about fifteen miles west of Memphis, I spent the rest of the afternoon under a thick blanket of clouds that dropped the ambient temperature closer to sixty. The temperature, in combination with the wind from the Mississippi River, made a poor choice of only a T-Shirt and jeans.

A few minutes past the appointed time, some musicians wondered casually onto the stage and picked up their instruments. Given the weather, I was not surprised when Chan appeared on the left side of the stage, holding a coffee mug, and wearing a black hoodie with Stax printed across it in big, bold, red print. I did find it interesting, however, that she was also toting an SLR – whether or not it was digital I have no idea. She stood, on the edge of the stage, for two or three minutes drinking her (presumably) coffee, looking at the crowd and smiling. Then she walked to the center mike, removed it from its stand, walked to the right edge of the stage, put down her mug and camera, and immediately broke into song.

I think describing live music in words is, at best, difficult. But of the live acts I’ve seen, I can easily place all of them into one of two categories: (1) those I like more because of the live experience (Pearl Jam, Fiona Apple, U2, Garbage, etc.), and (2) those I like less (Counting Crows, Jimmy Buffett, Rage Against the Machine, etc.) Cat Power resides firmly in the first category. In fact, while there is no danger of me becoming Chapman to her Lennon, I’m now mildly obsessed with her music.

For most of the concert, she stayed on the right side of the stage, near where she had deposited the mug and camera. If she hadn’t seemed so happy between songs, I would have attributed it to a touch of stage fright. Instead, I got the feeling that she was simply flattered, and a little embarrassed, that people showed up to hear her play. So, instead of hogging the stage, she stayed to the edge and let her band share the spotlight. In that way, her performance was almost naïve, sort of the stereotypical reluctant star.

At the same time, she was, in her self imposed right-side-of-the-stage exile, very theatrical. For instance, a couple of times during “Silver Stallion” she held her hands out in front of her, as if holding the reigns of a horse, and sort of galloped a few paces. She accompanied almost every song by some sort of physical movement of that kind; I would not describe any of the movements as dancing. I related: the few times I’ve been on a stage (never as a singer), I was uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do with myself. Even though I got the idea that Chan Marshall can, unlike me, dance if she wants, her actions felt like she didn’t know what to do with herself. I found it wholly engrossing, and honest. And the honesty is probably why I loved it so much. In a world full of so much pop confection, it was refreshing to see someone perform honestly.

At the end of the concert, she lingered on stage, waving hello to her fans, and taking pictures with the SLR. Again, it was as if she was amazed that people wanted to see her sing, and she wanted to take pictures to remember the moment. Loved it.

Shout Out

To the from scratch ladies:

The tabbouleh rocks! I started with a modest portion, but then went back and had a second, much bigger one. I’m waiting for the stomach ache. So far, so good. I especially liked the cucumbers. I’ve never before had it with cucumbers. The texture is a nice addition.

Mayday

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Bush’s silly grandstanding on the USS Abraham Lincoln about the mission in Iraq being accomplished. It’s almost unbelievably comical that he happened to chose May Day for his gaff. I can’t believe it’s been five years and there is still no end in sight. Really, what else is there to say except that, if McCain Bush 3 manages to get elected, I can’t even begin to think how much longer we’ll be there.

That reminds me of the other important anniversary that this month marks. It’s the fortieth anniversary of May 1968, the student initiated protests in France that are considered to be the watershed events that led to a sea change in French society. I’m not saying that I wholly agree with the politics behind May 1968 and I’m not suggesting that I want to see the widespread worker strikes that followed the initial student protests in France, but I can certainly respect that the French people were pissed about their government and did something. Maybe we could use a little of that in the United States now.