Thursday, September 24, 2009

Soapbox brow

George's blog features an epigraph extolling the combination of high and low brow cultures to the exclusion of middle brow.  I tend to agree.  I'll happily leave the middle brow to, for example, the Average Man 's proud tv-holic obsession with quality programming. 

Yet it may be I enjoy higher highs and lower lows than George.  To his low brow tendency toward esoteric punk, for example, not at all in itself a bad tendency, I prefer something more on the lines of this bar band called Soapbox I rocked to recently on my trip to Florida, whose broad appeal may not sink quite so low as tractor pulls, but defintely pleases the same impulse.

First, you have to imagine the band much later in the Bud Light night than in the (deilightfully homemade) clip below, at the point when the lead dude with his raspy silk voice and beer belly screams Hank Williams Junior's questions to the crowd, which the crowd lustily answers:

Why do you drink? To get drunk.
Why do you roll smoke? To get high.
Why must you live out the songs that you wrote? To get laid.

Second you have to realize that this band has a pretty boy fronting a couple of ridden-hard and put-away-wet female musicians fully looking the part of rockers who stay up late and party hardy, biker chicks who've chosen to ride their own electric guitars, and do it as well as the next good ol' boy.  They covered everyone from Jimi Hendrix and Nirvanna to The Beatles and The Stones to Van Morrison and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, as well as, of course, Lynard Skynard and Marshall Tucker. 

I felt I got a taste of Southern fun.  Along with everyone else (except my mother, who got a little too much fun), I had a blast.

I'll leave my argument for higher cultural highs for another post.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Park

To commemorate signing the lease for another two years at our place in Sycamore Canyon, I'm posting (with the enabling assistance of my first digital camera) a series of pictures, especially as an enticement for those friends and family who have not yet visited.  The first series is of the most distintive part of the spread, the party part:  The Park (as dubbed by the friends who moved us in, though we found out the previous residents also called it The Park), which is accross Coyote Creek from the rest of the property.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Agribusiness and the Obama health plan

Michael Pollan wrote in the NYT about the "elephant in the room" of the health care debate:  American obesity, which is the prime driver of higher health care costs.  He sees the uncontested provision in the Obama health care plan that insurance companies will no longer be able to exclude sick people from coverage as the beginning of the end of agribusiness as we know it.

AGRIBUSINESS dominates the agriculture committees of Congress, and has swatted away most efforts at reform. But what happens when the health insurance industry realizes that our system of farm subsidies makes junk food cheap, and fresh produce dear, and thus contributes to obesity and Type 2 diabetes? It will promptly get involved in the fight over the farm bill — which is to say, the industry will begin buying seats on those agriculture committees and demanding that the next bill be written with the interests of the public health more firmly in mind.

I like not only his unimpeachable insight into the food industry but also his political savvy.  He understands how corporate money runs this country--and how laws might be manipulated to get the money on the good side.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Clarity of Robert Reich

Most everyone I know has been disheartened--make that sickened--by the healthcare debate.  Robert Reich explains why in The Guns of August, and Why the Republican Right Was So Adept at Using Them on Health Care .

Big Table Designs

Check out the blog for my furniture: Big Table Designs.
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