Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Have Finally Found Me a Home

Man, I am well pleased, indeed…

Always wanted a place to kinda call my own out here in cyberspace, ya know? I’ve got a website, and I like it a lot, but that wasn’t it. I got this blog site and it’s very cool, and truth be told, I wouldn’t last long without having a place to blather like this, but it’s not quite it either.

Now, with the help of a bunch of wonderful friends, I have found me a home. It’s called The Luthier Community and it is quickly becoming The Place for me. Actually, it was from the get go, it’s just turning out better than I imagined!

See guitar building is the shit for me, and here’s why. I have always had what we call a busy mind – I don’t know if that’s common or not, ‘cause I don’t go to a lot of parties and say, “Well, I get a song stuck in my head and it won’t go away, does that happen to you?” Or turn to somebody at coffee hour in church and note, “I don’t always sleep well ‘cause at 2 am, my brain is kinda like a hamster with a brand new wheel, ya know?” Like a lot of special folks, I am creative, but I often felt like creativity was something I did to try and stay focused rather than something I’m passionate about. Now, making guitars, I am passionate about. My friend Hesh says “guitar building is how I find my center and nothing else seems to come close;” that says it just right.

I’ve always dug teaching other people how to get good at the things I was good at; from skiing to rock climbing and firefighting to police work, I wanted to share the passion I had found for how to be good at stuff that many people considered too difficult for them. I am passionate about making guitars and I want to share that too. As a guitarist, playing in front of an audience with a guitar I made eclipses even the debut of a song I wrote – It’s that big a rush…

So a website dedicated to that seemed natural, and I gravitated towards them when the ‘net came into being and such sites started to pop up. I belong to a bunch of 'em and have been very active on a couple, but none seemed just right, and I eventually realized that the reason for that was that they weren’t mine. I’m not knocking anybody else’s site or the people behind them when I say I’ve just always felt that I can do this better than anyone else, (Heck they better feel the same way about themselves of they’re playin’ the wrong gig!) Now I’ve been given the chance and I am running with it.

TLC is filling quickly with a great community of folks that I admire and respect and enjoy hanging with. I’ve traveled cross country to meet some face to face and made genuine new friends as a result; how many websites can you say that about? Most of all, it’s a place where those attributes I like seem to be shared by the rest of the members; there are plenty of places online where one can go and run into nastiness and cut downs and just plain mean spirited folks who seem to delight in fucking with others; I believe that the anonymity of the ‘net makes that all the easier – If you don’t really know ‘em, you don’t have to care, and it shows… Our place is the antithesis of this; I am doing what I am doing because I genuinely love it; I dig meeting all these other folks and getting to know them as much or more than their work. But don’t get me wrong, the best teachers know that they learn every day, and if they don’t, they’re not looking hard enough. With instrument making more than any other art, I have found the folks to be genuinely willing, in fact eager to share what they know with other. It’s not about ego, it’s about sharing and learning.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Who said that?

“Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with the right or left instead of right and wrong;” Richard Armour said that. He was a poet who obviously understood American politics just fine. An unknown pundit noted that, “Politicians are like diapers; they both need changing regularly and for the same reason; whomever that was, they were wise indeed…

Alexis de Toqueville noted that, “There are many men of principle in both parties in American, but there is on party of principle;” too right you were and are, Al.

The venerable Albert Einstein said, “All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field;” oy vey ist mere – too right!

Claire Sargeant, who McCain trounced in the ’92 Arizona senatorial campaign, said, “I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough;” she was dead on, however she had not apparently anticipated Sarah Palin…

Is all that tripe about being doomed to repeat the past correct? Well, according to Plato, “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber;” AKA, apparently so.

Are we in the US the only ones who have these issues? “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where they is no river;” Nikita Khrushchev said that, so apparently not.

Clarence Darrow, the famous jurist, noted that, “When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it;” with McCain old and infirm and his good friend Sarah as running mate, that’s very, very true…

Is there any great voice not soured by politics? “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry;” T. S. Eliot says no.

And good ol’ MO Udall, whom I liked very much actually, hit GWB right on the nail head: “We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.” Or if you prefer the thought fleshed out, look to John Kenneth Galbraith; “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness,” ouch, the truth hurts, doesn’t it?

One of my all time faves comes from John Quinton, “Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel;” bingo, bango, bongo, popcorn!

Another comes from P. J. O’Rourke, who happens to be, by the way, a conservative, “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.”

And for a final thought, I return to Galbraith for what I hope is in the hearts and minds of voters, given the alternatives before us this time around; “Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative.”

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em and watch yer top knot...