This time of year I am always drawn back to one of my favorite things: photography. Not because I take particularly good photos technically speaking but because there is so much that seems worth taking photos of. This time of year we share our acre of desert with so much new life...from baby rabbits to tiny lizards...and I am always scrambling not to find my camera but the one thing that always goes missing, the charger! Luckily I found it in time to get these shots...
I was going to write my own piece about the highly questionable goings on around the Facebook IPO, but I found this comment online and decided it said it all...
"The problems with this IPO were evident from the start. First of all, half of the shares being offered for sale in the IPO were the shares of insiders. This is highly unusual as in most IPOs insiders are precluded from selling for at least 180 days. This helps to prevent the kind of pump and dump we saw here. The insiders unloaded a ton of shares at the IPO prices and the stock is already worth more than 10% less. If this does not smell fishy, I do not know what does. Couple that with the blatant price manipulation of the first day of trading by the underwriters and this demands an SEC investigation. The underwriters were buying shares on the first day of trading to artificially increase demand and prop up the stock price to try and keep their big investor happy. In the meantime, any retail investors who bought stock on Friday at the open have now lost 20% of their investment in just two days. The fundamental financials of the company did not support the IPO price and that was readily apparent to any savvy investor. To go public with a P/E of over 50 is just completely absurd, even for a "growing" internet company. Neither the growth rate or the earning supported the valuation and the rapid price slide proves that out. I am sure that many who took shares in the IPO initial allocation sold out while the underwriters propped up the price and are now laughing all the way to the bank while the retail investors who bought at the market price during the early trading on Friday have taken a bath. To try and blame the 30 minute delay in the start of trading due to computer issues at NASDAQ for the stocks pitiful performance is a joke, it had absolutely nothing to do with it. As I said, there needs to be a full scale investigation of this entire IPO."
So the New Mexico Music Awards were last night and my three finalists remained my three finalists. But, as I said before, and Arthur Ashe said far more eloquently, making it to the awards was reward in itself.
The highspot of the evening was seeing Jacy Oliver - producer and guitarist on my next album - win for Best Instrumental against some formidable opposition. The other half of his band CassoVita, drummer Ben Durfee, was with him to accept the award. Two amazing musicians who totally deserve their success. Ben is also on my next effort.
While I'm here...and too lazy to do a separate post...this is my latest favorite comment at Jango Internet Radio:
“ THE VOICE VERY NATURALL, AND MAGIC SLOW ”
So if you want hear more of Mr Magic Slow, beneath a flagless moon is available directly from my NMMA nominated web site davetutin.com as are my previous album Raised In Vain and my various books including my latest collection of poems, The Momentary Truce.
ps. Thanks to the stranger outside the Hard Rock Casino who loaned us the glasses so we could see the eclipse. We could not stay outside long enough to see the full "ring of fire" but what we saw was amazing.
Just stop and imagine for one moment. Imagine that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans had never been enacted, imagine that two expensive wars had never been started, imagine that the incredibly badly planned and poorly managed increases in spending on the Department of Homeland Security had been better planned and better managed. This country would be even wealthier right now than it still is (incidentally, we are still ok - the Republican battlecry of the the danger of deficits is totally disingenuous. If elected they would probably do little to reduce the deficit and would spend to be successful, just as Obama wants to do.) Anyway, I digress, the point of all this is that the economic situation we find ourselves in is 100% the responsibility of the former president not the current one. That is simply a fact. The costs of healthcare reform etc come nowhere close to adding to the deficit what Bush did in multiple ways. It is now unquestionable that his tax cuts are the single biggest contributor to the deficit and that influence will only grow in future years.
It was in this environment, some years ago now, that I saw an interview on TV with a man who had lost everything.
He had lost his job, lost his house to foreclosure and lost his life savings in bad trading on Wall Street. Now, the latter is his own fault - although many people were taken in by the false optimism around the time of the housing boom and thought all investments would go up and up. People had all that wrongly aquired home equity to spend after all before we realized it was wrongly aquired!
This interview, believe it or not, lead me to write:
This is one of the two songs that are finalists in the New Mexico Music Awards. Tomorrow night we will be making the trek down to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Albuquerque to see if it, or the other song I have as a finalist FADE TO BLACK, make it further. Whatever happens, the recognition of being a finalist is cool with me.
Listening to this song I expect most people hear it as a simple love song. But it was indeed provoked by the very political situation I just described.
It was triggered by a turn of phrase. The man being interviewed was talking about how lucky he was that his wife had stood with him through it all, as they lost their income, their home and their savings. Most of us might have said something simple like, "I don't deserve her." But not this man. With tears in his eyes he said, "I am undeserving of her love."
Undeserving. Why did that word impact me more than the simple way of saying what he wanted to say? Why did he choose it? I'll never really know but it was powerful. I suddenly found myself trying to evaluate the difference between not deserving something and being undeserving of it. I never reached a conclusion but I did write a song!
The starting point was the idea of something connecting the past and the present - all our actions are a continuum, one thing leads to another and we can change paths at any point if we are aware that the path we are on is a road to disaster. Unfortunately we do not always see this until it's too late. The thing I felt connected all different time periods was the wind - "There's a cold wind blowing out of the past to right here where I stand - it's taken everything we thought would last, everything that we had planned." A little nod to Dylan's Blowing In The Wind? Probably - but unconsciously.
From there the words just tumbled out. Saying the same thing in different ways, really. "There's a cold wind blowing, you feel it too, you feel it on your skin - it's everything we thought was true, all we wanted to begin,"
But holding it all together? The love of that woman. But I chose to write this song in the first person, trying to put myself in this man's position - "I know that I am undeserving, I know what I'm undeserving of - I know that I am undeserving, of your time and your love."
Time crept in there - I guess I now think of time as one of the most valuable things we have, if not the most valuable. So losing everything else even if you retain someone's love means you have lost time for showing, sharing and nurturing that love. So love is a great thing to retain but even it is unavoidably damaged in these situations.
This song almost did not get recorded. I had the words, the melody and the chords but I was playing it on guitar. And it just wasn't interesting enough to rise to the top of the pile of songs I was considering for beneath a flagless moon. I tried different keys, different melodies but the original worked best. I just couldn't get excited about it as much as I liked it. Or maybe the simplicity of the tune was making that nod to Blowing In The Wind a bit more obvious than I felt comfortable with?
Then in one of those moments we can never explain because they are unconscious, I picked up a ukulele for the very first time in my life (I'd bought it for the studio, thinking I'd have other people play it if I wanted it on a song). And the version you hear on the CD is the first attempt to play this song on that instrument. Not the first take after many rehearsals...the first rehearsal, that I happened to record! I have never sung this song again to this day.
My good friend and collaborator on DEEP SALVAGE - Jeff Shattuck - is working on a much more rock 'n' roll version of this song using an earlier version of the lyrics. Can't wait to see how it turns out!
Should you ever need to explain it to someone, this is what a homophobic biggot looks like. His name is Bob Marshall.
"Marshall argued that Thorne-Begland’s past advocacy of gay rights would interfere with his neutrality on the bench, particularly in cases involving homosexuals. “He can be a prosecutor if he wants to, but we don't want advocates as judges," Marshall said." - msnbc.com.
Read the full embarrassing story. He didn't actually mean he doesn't want advocates as judges, he meant he doesn't want gays.
The first time I heard the phrase "on the wrong side of history" it sounded more than a little pompous. But the more blatant the anti-gay, anti-women, anti-minority, anti-worker dialogue of the Republicans becomes the more appropriate that phrase becomes.
The tone of this conversation was such that you'd have thought Obama was making gay marriage compulsory for all men rather than living up to one of the "self evident" truths listed in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal." We've long forgiven the Founders for using the masculine to mean all people but it seems some of us still think gays are less than equal - or should be.
I remember, years ago, witnessing the most excruciatingly boring procession I've ever seen in a German town, the name of which I erased from memory. Why was it so bad? It was dozens of marching bands playing the exact same melody over and over, which was bad enough, but the whole procession took three steps forward and then two back (or was it four forward, three back? Aaahhh!). It took a lifetime for the whole thing to pass by. And I was trapped in a doorway, forced to watch the entire monotonous farce.
Sometimes I feel like America is that procession. We seem to make progress but then, oh don't forget, we have to take two steps back! Actually, in the case of the new wave of ultra-right wing Republicans, it's more like two steps forward and three back. This conversation just prompted me to make another small donation to Obama's re-election campaign. Please do the same here.
A song that is very dear to my heart - Merciful Release - from my new album beneath a flagless moon was just awarded runner-up status in the Song Of The Year awards. You can find out more at songoftheyear.com. Below is what the folks running the show have to say about it...
I am always happy and surprised when my songs get recognized in this way. I will never win Song Of The Year, I know, because my material simply doesn't set out to be that commercial. But to be acknowledged in this way is always satisfying. My thanks to Sharon Gilchrist (mandolin) and Deborah Domanski (vocals) who contributed to this song. And my thanks to the passing of time that enabled me to hit that final note!