Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For the record

if someone gave me a choice for tonight of either front row Springsteen concert tickets or Neil Finn tickets, anywhere in the concert hall, I'd take the Finn.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Refugee Wear and Prayer

One of things that came out of Chrisy's trip to South Africa in May is a friendship with a man named Luc. Luc is a political refugee from the Congo. Living in South Africa now, he can't go home. Luc's name is Kabongo. In order to raise money for him to live, NieuCommunities, the organization that made Chrisy's trip possible, developed T-shirts with Luc's picture on them. They are actually really hip shirts. The graphic above is what's on them. Should you want to purchase one on-line you can go here to Kabongo Refugee Wear. Proceeds support Luc.

The T-shirts are not why I am posting this though. Below is an e-mail that Luc sent yesterday. It is very interesting and I wanted to share this with you all . . .

Hello everyone,

I thought I could share with you something that has been preoccupying my heart and mind. The Democratic Republic of Congo, my country of origin, has been in the headlines lately because of a big event that is happening soon. This coming Sunday, the country will hold its first ever "democratic" elections since its independence from Belgium 46 years ago. There are close to 40 presidential candidates. Most of them do not have a strong support base in the country. They represent a tribe, an ethnic group or province. Looking at all these candidates, one has to wonder if a solution to the country's problem is about to be found. The country still has to find a gatherer, someone that at least half of the population feels he/she is patriotic and could lead the nation toward a better destiny.

I am personally looking forward to these elections because my hope is that the population of the Congo will finally become the priority for the elected leaders. The country still has to be a nation and my desire is that the next authorities will help the country move toward that.

Africa has a problem of leadership. As a continent, we are known to be community driven, but we still have to prove how well we can serve our communities of origin.

So please join me in prayer for the Congo, my beloved country.



Finally, Luc is getting married to a South African woman named Petunia. If you want to read a really interesting post about how Luc had to give a dowry in order to marry Petuia, you should go here to Buying A Bride on Rob Yackley's site. It really is a very interesting and touching read.

Here is a picture of Luc (center) with Chrisy to his right as well as five of Chrisy's friends from Church. Luc and his Orange County women.

Please be praying for the Congo as well as Luc.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

July 24, 1993

13 years ago today Chrisy and I got married. Happy Anniversary to us.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Leonard Cohen

Since my brother-in-law, Michael, posted the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's "Waiting for the Mircale" in a comment to my Top 100 Living Songwriters post yesterday, I wanted to talk about Cohen. He came in number six on the songwriter list I posted. Anyway, I figured a new post would be better than just doing my own long comment. I love the lyrics Mike posted. And, although I agree with Mike that his singing is not for everyone; I, for one, love his voice. I thought its tone was particularly haunting and perfect for the opening to NATURAL BORN KILLERS.

The first time I heard of Leonard Cohen was in 1988. I was at Orange Coast College, going to school during the day and they would frequently have bands playing out in the grass area. I stopped to watch this one guitarist and he did a song that just drew me in, totally capivated me. After his set I asked what that one song was and he said it was "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen. I immediately went out and bought "The Best of Leonard Cohen" CD with that song on it. It remains my favorite Cohen song still. Here are the lyrics:


Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said, "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.

--Leonard Cohen

I've been looking for that Best of Leonard Cohen CD and I cannot find it. I think I may have traded it in.

I don't know how many people have heard that there is a new documentary out in theaters right now about Cohen. It's called LEONARD COHEN: I'M YOUR MAN and it's getting good reviews. It's got other good artists in it too like Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, and U2. I would love to catch it. Sadly, it's not playing within an hour of my house.

Thanks to Michael for getting me to think about Cohen's great lyrics. He is a true poet.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Top 100 Living Songwriters

Back in March I posted my top twenty Best Living Songwriters. I put mine in alphabetical order because I couldn't bare to try to put say Kris Kristofferson before or after John Hiatt or whatever. Ranking seemed difficult. In that post, I noted that Paste Magazine was conducting a poll in order to put out a list of the top 100 living songwriters. The new issue of Paste is out and they have published their top 100. This is their list as decided by their writers and critics. Keep in mind that these are LIVING songwriters.

I like this massive list. I am so pleased to see Bruce Springsteen at number three. I just can't tell you how cool I think that is. I decided to bold the 15 songwriters from my list that made it to the Paste list (I had five that didn't make it). Why would I do that? It's all about me and my correct opinion of course! That said, I would love to hear what you think. I put links for each block of ten. If you want to read the commentaries then just click on those. The write-ups are pretty good. Again, this is NOT the reader's poll. Here is their list:

1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young (Buffalo Springfield & Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young)
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan
5. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)
6. Leonard Cohen
7. Brian Wilson
8. Elvis Costello
9. Joni Mitchell
10. Prince

11. Randy Newman
12. Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)
13. Paul Simon
14. Stevie Wonder
15. Willie Nelson
16. David Bowie
17. Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland, Jr.
18. U2 (Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullins, Jr., Adam Clayton)
19. Patty Griffin
20. Van Morrison

21. Lou Reed (The Velvet Underground)
22. Lucinda Williams
23. Elton John & Bernie Taupin
24. Jeff Tweedy (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo)
25. Chuck Berry
26. R.E.M. (Peter Buck, Billy Berry, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe)
27. Radiohead (Thom Yorke, Jonny & Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway)
28. Robbie Robertson (The Band)
29. Tom Petty
30. John Prine

31. Carole King
32. Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
33. Pete Townshend (The Who)
34. John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
35. Steve Earle
36. Beck
37. Smokey Robinson
38. Kris Kristofferson
39. Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham)
40. Burt Bacharach & Hal David

41. Ray Davies (The Kinks)
42. Loretta Lynn
43. Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown)
44. Al Green
45. Jackson Browne
46. David Byrne (Talking Heads)
47. Sufjan Stevens
48. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
49. Cat Stevens
50. Public Enemy (Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler)

51. Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham
52. Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)
53. James Taylor
54. Aimee Mann
55. Dolly Parton
56. James Brown
57. Morrissey (The Smiths)
58. Sly Stone
59. Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs)
60. Jimmy Webb

61. John Hiatt
62. Sting (The Police)
63. Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention)
64. Andy Partridge (XTC, The Dukes of Stratosphear)
65. Bill Mallonee (Vigilantes of Love)
66. Charles Thompson aka Frank Black (Pixies)
67. Conor Oberst aka Bright Eyes
68. Allen Toussaint
69. Merle Haggard
70. Alex Chilton (Big Star, The Box Tops)

71. Vic Chesnutt
72. Michael Jackson
73. Julie Miller
74. Over the Rhine (Linford Detweiler, Karin Bergquist)
75. Rox Sexsmith
76. Will Oldham aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy (Palace Music)
77. Bruce Cockburn
78. Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices)
79. Stephen Malkmus (Pavement, Silver Jews)
80. Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason)

81. The Flaming Lips
82. John Darnielle (Mountain Goats)
83. Fleetwood Mac (Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie)
84. John Linnell & John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants)
85. David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones)
86. Sam Beam (Iron & Wine)
87. Lyle Lovett
88. Parliament (George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell)
89. Victoria Williams
90. Nick Cave (The Birthday Party)

91. Drive-By Truckers (Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Jason Isbell)
92. Alejandro Escovedo
93. Joseph Arthur
94. Sam Phillips
95. Patti Smith
96. Jimmy Cliff
97. Josh Ritter
98. Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo)
99. Outkast (Andre Benjamin, Antwan Patton)
100. T Bone Burnett

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Third Option

I'm standing at a crossroads
one road looks exceedingly rough
though I've never seen its end
and know not what awaits me at the finish.

The other path is redundant
I've traveled it before
seen its many pitfalls
been challenged by its beasts.

It's my path.

Only I have crafted that rut
I traveled to the end many times
always let down by the result
the terminus looks just like the trailhead.

Behind me is a void
a lonely dark ravine
almost certain death.

Too scared to move on
I turn and jump
I'm beaten now
the fight is over.

I find freedom.



--Shenandoah Lynd


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I thought I would fool around with the form known as haiku--from Japan, an unrhymed poem having three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Here they are . . . .

She slaps my belly
Baby's idea of music
Tummy timpanist

Bees flew past the flue
The chimney is infested
My honey's fireplace

At the break of dawn
I crack your hard shell open
Eggs cannot be beat

--Shenandoah Lynd


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Awake 'Til Dawn

Here's a poem I wrote in 1987 in Key West, Florida as well as two pictures I took. I was with my buddy, Matt Jones. It's no wonder I couldn't sleep that evening since our "hotel" in Key West was a 1977 Pontiac station wagon.


The sun has laid to rest
and along with the sun
the island sleeps
Beds are full
yet heads are empty

People safe under sheets
safe until dawn
When they awake the moon will be gone
The night wind won't blow the palms
In the morning the crickets
won't be singing their songs
Stars won't fill the sky
because at dawn we kiss the darkness goodbye

No rest is the price I will pay
but I'll receive something
I can't get from the day
A heart full of love
A night full of wonder
My bed may be empty
but my mind is full
and tonight sleep will pass me by

--Shenandoah Lynd

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Listen Up

There's a fine line
between optimism and denial

As I struggle to
out-hope your negativity, I
lose touch with my
own dysfunction

I leave
no room forGodto work on


He'd just as soon
repair my


but, convinced that I am
I strut my
faux completeness
in front of your

Tuning out the truth
is like a drug for me
and I want
and another hit

My espoused beliefs
say, "I like it so much better
on a level playing field."

Yet, looking down upon
your smallness
makes me feel so


That faint whisper
you hear from
up here on my pedestal
is me saying,
"Don't worry,
there's nothing wrong
around here."

--Shenandoah Lynd


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Loose Tongue: Bible/Song Meld, part 3

Here is a bit of scripture that came up today as well as a song that has been on my mind and in my ears.

My dear brothers and sisters,
be quick to listen,

slow to speak,
and slow to get angry.

Remember my loose tongue

Forget what I just said
I'd crawl over broken glass
If we could start again
Before our plans were made
When the world was young
The house is falling down
Because of my loose tongue

Shouldn't say so much
Shouldn't talk so loud
No sooner on your lips
Than it's all over town
In all our given days
How many gone to waste
A good man has been hung
Because of my loose tongue

Your skin is changing its hue
Your guard is coming down fast
Looks like someone I knew
Uncovered happiness at last

All the wagging tongues
Too much information
In the future now
Under massive doubt
The papers on the street
Get trampled under feet
And they settled for princely sum
Goodwill is coming down
And when it rains
Your well is full

The song, in italics, is Neil Finn's "Loose Tongue"
from TRY WHISTLING THIS (Work/Parlophone, 1998);
the Bible passage, in bold, is James 1:19 (New Living Translation).

If interested:
Bible/Song Meld, part 1
Bible/Song Meld, part 2

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Friday, July 07, 2006

One Art

Here's the poem I mentioned in my previous post that was read in the movie IN HER SHOES. For me, this is a very penetrating poem. Read it outloud several times and it will probably hit you. Or, maybe it's just me because of some relational loses I've had; it really has an emotional impact upon me.


The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
The art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

--Elizabeth Bishop

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Outta the Queue

With Chrisy recovering from her hysterectomy, we've rented a bunch of movies. It's been so great to sit with my wife and do nothing! Since I've been trying to shed my movie-snob image, some of these rentals are things I normally wouldn't have watched. Maybe you're looking for something to rent this summer and this will help. If you've seen any of these and want to argue, I'd love it. Here's a brief rundown. I usually rate films from 1 to 5 stars. 1 star is a turd and 5 stars is utterly amazing. There are no 5 star films here so I just put them in order of best to worst with a few comments. Here there are:

METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER--Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky (2004)
a documentary; I was captivated by the band's struggle to make an album amidst emotional chaos, Hetfield's recovery, and the threat of dissolution hanging in the air; it really is like a marriage and I loved watching it unfold

16 BLOCKS--Richard Donner (2006)
I didn't expect to like this so much, but I did; I love that it argues there are no "lost causes" when it comes to people and how it shows that "coming clean" can offer redemption; Bruce Willis was realy good in this

THE ISLAND--Michael Bay (2005)
okay, so it does end up decending into a standard action film, but I adored the beginning and the premise; a good screenplay about clones; I cannot believe that I enjoyed a Michael Bay film so much; I am partial to both Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor though

DOMINO--Tony Scott (2005)
first, let me say that I cannot name a bad movie with Keira Knightley in it, she's great; this is a gritty, fast paced movie about a bounty hunter; don't rent it if you are worried about "purity" but do rent it if you like the post-Tarantino hyper-grit type film

ALL I WANT TO DO aka STRIKE!--Sarah Kernochan (1998)
this is probably a movie for teenage girls, but I rented it because I'm fond of Kirsten Dunst; it's about an all-girl's school in the 1960s; when the girls learn that they're supposed to merge with a boy's school they become saboteurs; I really enjoyed it; fun

AN UNFINISHED LIFE--Lasse Hallstrom (2005)
another good film from Hallstrom; I really like Robert Redford too; this movie reminds me that resentment is like drinking the rat poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die; Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman; Jennifer Lopez wasn't bad; nice film

DREAMER--John Gatins (2005)
this is the "INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY" DREAMER about a horse and, more importantly, the relationships between fathers and their children; I thought the casting of wonderful Kris Kristofferson as Kurt Russell's father was genius, it really worked; it's a family film and I loved it

IN HER SHOES--Curtis Hanson (2005)
after BAD INFLUENCE, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, and WONDER BOYS, why not see a Curtis Hanson film? turns out this is a pretty good movie; I thought Shirley MacLaine was terrific; I admit that I was touched when the slacker sister, Cameron Diaz, read poetry to an old guy in a retirement home (by the way, the poem was "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop); right after that, she's called "smart" for the first time in her life and it has an impact; then, at the end, they use one of my favorite e.e. cummings poems, "i carry your heart" which Michael Hedges put to music in 1990; I was hooked

GAME 6--Michael Hoffman (2006)
I love the textures, characters, and dialogue of this film; Michael Keaton is a playwrite who is more concerned with game six of the World Series and specifically the Boston Red Sox than opening night of his best play; Robert Downey, Jr. as a ruthless critic was great

GRIZZLY MAN--Werner Herzog (2005)
a documentary; this is about Timothy Treadwell, a guy who lived with bears in Alaska; Treadwell is insane; I don't mean insane like "brave and crazy" either, I mean insane; this is like watching a train wreck

DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN--Darren Grant (2005)
I cannot believe I rented this; I thought it was a dumb "Big Mama's House" type movie with fart jokes and then a friend told me it was "good" and "sweet" too; the morals in this film are wonderful and I found myself endeared to the values: forgiveness, redemption, service, and people dating who actually don't have pre-maritial sex

--Sam Mendes (2005)
after AMERICAN BEAUTY and THE ROAD TO PERDITION, I really wanted to see this Mendes film; I thought it was okay; I liked how it did show me the isolation a Marine felt during the Gulf War, but it's not among the great war films like FULL METAL JACKET

LORD OF WAR--Andrew Niccol (2005)
Nicolas Cage is a gun runner; I loved the political angle and the nihilistic take on global politics, but there is too much narration and, I thought it was just okay

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS--Stephen Fry (2004)
I admit I rented this for a few moments of Peter O'Toole; based on a popular and funny English novel, "Vile Bodies" this is a film about the upper class in the 1930s; Jim Broadbent is, as always, wonderful

PHONE BOOTH--Joel Schumacher (2003)
I finally rented this because a few people tried to tell me that I would like it even though I had sized it up as a dumb action film (Schumacher); it was mildly interesting

ANACONDA--Luis Llosa (1997)
heard that Jon Voight was classic in this (as always, he is) and I admit to liking Jennifer Lopez; this was just a creature feature

THE PINK PANTHER (Remake)--Shawn Levy (2006)
this one the boys picked out and insisted upon; I wish I would have forced them to rent the original from 1963 with Peter Sellers; nothing against Steve Martin, but Sellers is just too great to have somebody else do Clouseau; mildly funny, but why remake this?

MR. & MRS. SMITH--Doug Liman (2005)
what a waste of time; I did not like this movie and I really do like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt; this was just a dumb chase movie; there was one funny line when they were confessing their lies to each other and Pitt says, "I knew I saw your dad on Fantasy Island!" That was it

BEE SEASON--Scott McGehee & David Siegel (2005)
some people liked this movie; trying to see what I didn't get, I looked up Ebert's review and he loved it, his highest rating and I totally disagree; I couldn't stand this movie, maybe you want to rent it and see if you can? the character development sucked beyond belief; are we supposed to hate Richard Gere like his son? he wasn't so bad and wasn't so great; it's about a spelling bee and I could care less if the main character won; I didn't "get" anyone nor did I care about them

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We Wear The Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be otherwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

--Paul Laurence Dunbar (1895)


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Heard on Conan

The latest Hollywood rumor is that Britney Spears has been writing poetry about her marriage. The rumor got started when Britney was overheard asking someone, "What rhymes with deadbeat?"

--Conan O'Brien

That was from a recent "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" monologue. Funny! I wish I wrote that
joke! Classic!

Honey, is "Kev-beat" a word?

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

All The Young Dudes

Here's a really cool video of Travis doing a cover of Bowie's "All The Young Dudes." It's from the site Just click here: video. Thanks to Hellynelly!