>Last night, after spending a good chunk of a beautiful Sunday indoors working on a planning session with my new boss (can you feel the bitter remorse? smell the autumn leaves? the ones I didn’t get to go hiking in?) I came home feeling slightly deflated and in need of some airy-fairy televisionary entertainment. Flipping around, I literally found nothing but sports, re-runs and boring folderal on the usual network channels (whatever can still be captured by the Rabbit Ears, at least until February) but lo, and behold – my clicking finally turned up the perfect thing; Steve Carrell in what looked to be…. yes, it was! The Forty Year Old Virgin! Woo hoo!
I had only seen this movie one time (as opposed to some folks I know who will consider it a crime *not* to see good movies over and over until the dialogue becomes part of daily parlance),so I was just swollen with excitement. Joy unbounding. But you know what they say about undeserved happiness.. right? Crap, I forget, but it goes something like ‘you can’t always get what you wa-hant’ and ‘nothing good comes for free’…. but…. anyway, I guess the fact that this channel was somewhere between 20 and 33 should have clued me in to the horror that lay ahead when I found out…
I was watching the G-D CHANNEL! Well, okay technically not *the* G-d channel, since He only knows that there are WAY more than just one in the DFW area and it wasn’t even one of the Big top Two, but there it was… good wholesome advertising, nucular families (sic: Bush) and lots of groovy messages about the Christian way of living. Not that I am harshing on that at all.
I just find it very amusing that the only good stuff left on non-cable tv is not on any of the three top networks. And also very ironic that it should be on a Christian station. As my grandma would say, “bless their hearts!” And bless Steve Carrell. I would think our saviour would be funny too.
>I guess it’s nothing new to discuss how America has a huge blind spot when it comes to music. For some reason, we’re in love with musical artists from the British isles of Ireland, Scotland and England. But where at all on the radio are the rest of the musicians harking from places beyond that?I have recently fallen in love with listening to an online musical sharing site called Last.fm and because of the connections it helps me make I have discovered that there is a lot of great music beyond my near-Quaker obsession with the 60’s based folk modes of the Joni Mitchells and James Taylors of my youth. I had literally stopped listening to music from the last decade, having had my eardrums denuded by the crap that spewed throughout most of the 90’s and early 2000’s. Yes, Grunge, I’m talking to You. And Heavy Metal, you’re right behind.
What I have been finding out, much to my amazement, is that the new cool music is coming from well beyond the shores of the British isles. I’m talking about Other European Countries. What will it take for local stations to notice this discrepancy? Is it all too much for them to digest, given that they are paid robots of the recording companies?
What I find the most ironic is that some of the most beautiful music I’ve discovered, such as Ida Maria (Norway) , the National Bank, (Norway) and Jenny Wilson (Germany) are only touring as far west as Ireland. How tragic is it that what, when America still lauds as some of the most “inciteful and cutting edge” musical artists hail from Ireland – let’s just say Bono, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor and their ilk, are the ones we can expect to gain huge following at our stadium concert venues, but those of eastern European or northern European descent? We never hear of them.
When is this wonderful global economy going to reach where the kids can appreciate it?
For me, I’ll have to continue to dig deeper within my group of Last.fm neighbors and my actual local neighbors, who happen to be quite musically versed themselves. I guess the moral of this story for me is that anything worth knowing about is worth spending some time digging around to find out about. But also, we in America are still racist pigs and dig on Northern European music. And while I am personally a gigantic sucker for traditional Irish Music, I don’t agree that they should guard the gates of Rock and Roll for the New America.
Let Europe have a chance. Let them rock for once.
>Today I finally got to see this incredible new Audubon Trinity River Center that opened in South Dallas last week. This place has been in the planning and building phases for half of the last decade, and no doubt has had many bird lovers on the edges of their seats for the last few months, hoping it would meet their expectations.
I can report that it does; with a couple of qualifications. The architecture of the building actually exceeds my incredibly high expectations of what it would look like. In terms of the physical experience of the space, I was blown away. The architects really did their research and did an incredible job of marrying the landscape with the structure, which was no small feat considering the internal dictates of that structure. The multipurpose focus of the Audubon Trinity Center is so complicated in fact that it takes no less than five separate tracts to explain the many programs it is bolding trying to champion within
Despite the shear quantity, I will gladly spend the time to become acquainted with their programs, because I believe that this is the Real Deal. It’s the kind of thing that will turn the minds of many sophisticated residents who so famously enjoy the sounds of their own voices as they whine about how Dallas lacks this or that in terms of cultural or educational sophistication. I can report to them that Dallas is finally on track to becoming World Class when it comes to bird watching as well as nature studies. True, the birds have not really ‘found’ this place yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The location is situated in a prime spot for the many, many species of migrating birds that make their way through the Central American Flyway enroute to Mexico and Central America.
As you exit the wonderful building and take to the trails, things do change. Though the many gravel and sand-paved trails that wind around the grounds are intended to educate about birds, frogs, and fish, there is still very much the aura of serious heavy machinery in the immediate vicinity. Let’s give the place a break however and congratulate them for opening within the actual time frame they stated in their press releases, and be cognizant of the fact that the place is located at least partially on a rather recent landfill. The reuse of the area is such a positive aspect that one simply needs to recognize there’s a time factor in the replenishment of the land, especially in a dry place such as north Texas. Hopefully the many water spigots scattered throughout the area will encourage quicker regrowth the natural Trinity River foliage and thence the natural fauna as well, but surely time is needed. In the meantime, I highly recommend a visit if you only check out the main hall, which is fashioned as a multi-age learning center, replete with fossils, actual tanks with Trinity River animals (like the awesome soft-shell turtle), video clips, and games, like Create a River, and my favorite, the huge 30 foot scale-model of the Dallas downtown shoreline of the Trinity where one can induce a real, water-included-500 year flood and watch as it inundates areas all around downtown. So you weren’t around for the last flood in 1908? No problem. You can watch it recreated in front of your eyes. There were more adults huddled around this amazing model than kids, and they were all mesmerized. It is simply astounding. Go see it yourself. And don’t forget, the kids will probably like it too