Friday, December 21, 2007

open wounds

From David Brooks' superb Times column:

The presidency is a bacterium. It finds the open wounds in the people who hold it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Few things are less comfortable
than a mountaintop;
few things are more comfortable
than a coffin.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Some guys feel like penguins when they wear black tie and dinner jacket, but I've always enjoyed it. Maybe it's because I always pick out really nice comfortable ones. (My current one is great but it's getting a bit old. Hellooooo, China.)

The other day I played a tux gig, then hung the tux back up, on the end of the row of suits. That's where I usually have my navy-blue blazer. Yesterday I had a Protag gig at Luna; usually I wear suits for these, but last night I decided to go a bit casual, with the blazer and slacks. So, I grabbed it and put it on, and only several minutes later felt that silk lapel and realized I'd put on the wrong thing.

I said, "Hey!" Catherine wondered what was wrong. I said, "I thought I'd put on my blazer, but got my dinner jacket instead."

She couldn't stop laughing. I thought, hey, that's valid, that's not ridiculous. In retrospect, though, I now realize that was a fairly Thurston-Howell-the-Third-ish thing to say.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

facial hair and presidents

Just got my face waxed last night.

Facial hair is a weird thing, no? Hair in general is weird. The other day I looked over at a friend, and it struck me that he would look particularly good in a powdered wig. When I said so, he was absolutely flummoxed, as well he should be, because that's an odd thing to say.

You can get a good history of hair in America by looking at all the Presidents in order. Powdered wigs from Washington through Madison. Then Monroe shows up with dark, slightly receding, slightly long hair, and that's that. The powdered wig probably started dying out long before 1817, but it was dead enough for a President not to have one by then.

And everyone's clean-shaven. Who's the first bearded President? Lincoln. The second? Ulysses S. Grant. Then, from there out, it's an unbroken line of beards, mustaches, and bushy faces till William McKinley took us into the twentieth century. TR and Taft immediately follow, both with walrus mustaches, but they're the last gasp. No president ever since has had any facial hair.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Montana Sky

Janet, the wife of the pastor of the church I play for on Sundays, mentioned to me that they'd lived in Montana for years. My mind leapt to a song I only think about once a decade. The first time I heard it was right when it had come out; the second was when I thought of it again and suggested that Duane Cottrell sing it; the third was just a few weeks ago.

It's a haunting and quite beautiful song, especially when liberated from its original orchestration, now dated. The next week I sang it as the offertory.

Montana Sky