Orange Gearle

family, friends, politics, music and technology... that's what it's all about

Saturday, September 30, 2006

meet laila lynn

All 7 pounds 8 ounces of Laila (prounounced Layla like the Eric Clapton song) arrived at 8:55 AM Friday, September 29, 2006.

These pictures were taken during her 34th, 35th, and 36th hours. A short movie here and here. All the pictures can be downloaded here. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

my kinda drug

Truly, truly I say to you, I do not purposefully invite drama into my life. Honest. But of course, once again, this week has been amazingly full of it. Who else do you know that has dealings with the police department and the department of human services on unrelated subjects within a 48 hour time period??? (Neither of which were directly related to my work or home, of which I am thankful) Are you kidding me?? Good grief, Charlie Brown. Anyway, I haven’t been sleeping well for both personal and professional reasons. There are students in my class that I have growing concerns about and money is not my friend. But as Stacey Earle says, “I’ve got what I need, and maybe a little more,” so I can’t complain. And after tonight I really can’t complain about much of anything at all.

Have I mentioned lately how lucky Eastern Iowans are to have CSPS?? I’m baffled at the amount of pure talent that I have had the fortune to experience there.

Tonight was no exception, despite the fact that the Cedar Rapids’ air smelled like cat’s ass this evening (really, I’m not kidding, it did).

Eric Bibb. I’ve been awake since 4 a.m. but I cannot go to sleep without first writing about him.

People wonder why I spend all my money (that I don’t have) going to concerts. People, I’m telling you, live music is the best drug I will ever take. If that’s the way I self medicate, please do not condemn me for taking back pop cans to got to concerts if I have to. I know I should save my money, but my thoughts are: I’ll never have enough to float above water anyway and I can’t take it with me when I go. I know, not very…uhh…responsible, but I gotta love something, right?

Each time I leave CSPS I think to my self, “Self, why did you think it was important to sit in the front row, you now have a literal pain in the neck.” But guess, what? I did it again. I arrived early enough (about an hour early) to get seats in the front row, center. There were no tables tonight; Eric Bibb would surely play for a full house. My good friends Helen, Kirsten and Wendy arrived soon enough to tell kid stories we each witnessed this week.

Rachael Davis opened the show. She was so cute! Her hair was in pigtails; showing off the tattoo behind her ear (it was oval-like – the shape of a flattened coin – you know, the ones that you get at fairs or other souvenir shops?), and it was the logo of a music festival at which Rachael played. Wendy and I asked her after her performance. She played a beautiful guitar (I have no idea what “brand”), a banjo, and a ukulele. She also sang a couple of songs a capella. She had a sweet voice, and seriously, she is very cute, with dimples. I loved her striped pants and her giant FORD belt buckle. Wendy has seen Rachel before and was very excited to see her again. Wendy also said that she is going to purchase a uke and learn how to play. Her husband plays the accordion, I’m sure they will play beautiful music together. ☺

But Eric…back to Eric.

He leapt to the stage wearing a bright purple -- almost pink -- sweater and, of course, that type of hat that all blues guitarist must wear. It must be some sort of prerequisite or something; some sort of rite of passage for masters of this genre. Anyway, the sweater and hat were great. And I’m telling you, he is so NOT ugly. ☺ He played the happiest blues I’ve ever heard. Many of his songs were about love (and not necessarily love lost, which is a bit refreshing). He also sang about his heroes. There was a song that he did in particular that was very specifically about heroes. I wish I had that one to share with you, but I couldn’t figure out the code of the set list (that I stole) until I got home, so I didn’t know the title until now. Therefore, I didn’t purchase a CD that included it. In fact, I’m still not certain it’s the right title but is something like Still Livin’. It named several of his heroes or inspirations in the music world. I enjoyed that one. I couldn’t find it at the iTunes store either, maybe it’s new. He also sang a song called Connected. It was awesome, and also about heroes. The CD that I bought is called A Ship Called Love.

Eric told this great story about when he got to sing his song about B. B. King on live TV, for B. B. King! The song is called Tell Riley. Very nice. I had my camera with me, of course. Did you know that my camera takes video, too? I happened to turn it on at just the right moment to catch the end of that story, and the full song. I apologize for the last little bit of the video…for some reason it’s out of sync. It may have had something to do with the fact that my battery was very low. Also, I was trying to record it on the down low, so it’s not exactly centered. ☺ However, it is much better quality than the last video I took.

This song (Saucer n' Cup) made me cry. Seriously, it was a bit embarrassing, but a great reason to sit in the front row -- no one behind you can tell! I loved this part of the song…

She’s like the sunshine
After weeks of rain
Her love and disposition
Is sweet as sugar cane
Ever since we met
Everything is new
We go together
Like the grass and the morning dew

She’s all I ever wanted
In a woman and a pal
It’s nothing less than destiny
She was born to be my gal
Ever since we met
Everything is grand
You know you’re looking
At a satisfied man

Imagine finding the person that is your lover and your best friend, your destiny, the grass to your dew. Well, if you believe in all that stiff. ☺ (Ok, everyone, brush away that “you had me at hello” tear – sappy, I know).

Take a listen to Shingle by Shingle. (part of it quoted below)

Shingle by shingle
I’m patchin’ up the roof
Row by row
I’m bringin’ in the crop
Love makes a change
I’m livin’ the proof
New water’s in the well
And I’m grateful
Every drop

Eric Bibb. If he’s ever in your area, you must see him.

CSPS has a couple of art exhibits that are amazing right now. Both Iowa artists, actually. Well, I take that back. Both received their MFA from the University of Iowa. David Van Allen is a Cedar Rapids Artist, and Amy Cropper resides in Wisconsin. It’s interesting, I’ve been to four shows in September at CSPS, and each time I’ve been there, I’ve had a different art experience. I think that’s why I like art. Each time I’ve been I’ve really enjoyed David Van Allen’s photographs. You can check the style out by clicking on his name above. Anyway, the first time that I was there this fall there were random paintings littering the main stage area. It was rather strange; very unlike CSPS. They were on the floor and benches and certainly not adequately displayed – they looked stored. I'm pretty certain that they are for the big fundraiser coming up, called Off the Wall. So they were just there temporarily. However, that first visit of the season, I enjoyed them more than I enjoyed the displayed art. ☺ In fact, I didn’t like Amy Cropper’s stuff much at all. They are all some “bird” theme, and not really my taste, I suppose….or so I thought. Now, I'm kinda digging this ink/oil slick (whatever that is) stuff. So, each subsequent visit (including the times that I’ve stopped in to purchase tickets in advance) I have not be able to take my eyes off one of her pieces. It’s called One is For Sorrow. At least I think that's the title. Perhaps I am thinking of this poem, or maybe this piece is inspired by the poem? Regardless, I want to buy it. I visit it often and imagine it in my home. I try to imagine where I would put it. Next time I go, I will try to sneak a picture of it and post it here. I’m sure a picture won’t do it justice, though -- for many reasons, but mainly because it’s the texture that I love the most.

Hey, it’s Friday now, and that means it’s a jeans day. However bittersweet Fridays have become for me, I love jeans days.


UPDATE: Ok, the links to the songs do not work. If anyone knows how to "unprotect" a protected music file purchased from iTunes let me know. I have a feeling I will never purchase something from iTunes again.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

bush's brain found lacking

Ya think?

I just had to share this article with you, if for no other reason than the title. Here's a snipit to intrigue you, or not....

Thirty years ago, political reporters hailed strategist Hamilton Jordan and pollster Pat Caddell as the creative visionaries responsible for the dizzying ascent of Jimmy Carter. After Ronald Reagan supplanted Carter in 1980, news magazines rhapsodized about campaign manager Jim Baker's sagacity and image-maker Mike Deaver's mastery of the metaphors of TV visuals. Lee Atwater, the architect of George Bush's 1988 victory, inspired a generation of Republican operatives with his amoral fixation on racially tinged hot-button issues. Bill Clinton employed a different Svengali in each campaign, embracing James Carville's quick-response war-room partisanship in 1992 and four years later Dick Morris' split-the-difference triangulation.

This brief tour of the modern political wing of the Mensa Society should invite skepticism about the Cult of Karl Rove -- the belief shared by reverent Republicans and downcast Democrats alike that the president's top political advisor is unequaled as Machiavelli with a BlackBerry.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

number seventy-two

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Tonight after work I went to a coffee house called The Blue Strawberry. My daughter(s) were away for the evening and I didn't feel like going home. School was not appealing to me, although I had some reading to do, online news to catch up on, and emails that needed to be composed. The Blue Strawberry has free wireless, is sort of on the way home, and makes decent grub, so I decided to give it a try. It was as expected, a bit sterile, but ok. Light jazz background music (eh), love seats, sofas, and soft chairs to sit on, and great smelling coffee. I don't drink coffee, but I enjoy the smell.

I read a bit, worked a bit, emailed a bit, and by 7:00 I was ready to leave. As I walked around the corner to find my way toward the door this is what I saw:

Despite the buildings, telephone wires, and pollution, it was a beautiful sight. As I traveled the ten short minutes home, the sun disappeared below the horizon completely, and it was gone. The picture doesn't do it justice...the pink and salmon colors reminded me of the Florida sunsets that I enjoyed this past December.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

how dare you, mr. president

Keith Olbermann

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Monday, September 11, 2006

young 9/11 reflections

I found this interesting....probably because the young lady is my daughter's age. Have a listen here.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

happy birthday

Brandon, Seth and Alissa

Thirty years ago today my nephew Seth was born. His wife Alissa and brother Rich organized a surprise birthday party for him Saturday night. They were successful in pulling off the surprise. In fact, he had been whining for days to his family and friends...because no one was willing to celebrate with him!

I enjoyed talking to Seth's friends and the David Arquette look-alike bartender. The Captain and Cokes were quite nice as well. Due to the amount of alcohol consumed by many, I will leave the stories to private conversation, rather than this public (read by 5 people) forum. I am encouraged that Seth has at least two liberal friends. Rich, the Republican, even said that Josh was the most politically intelligent person he knows (and Josh is a democrat). Hmmm.....I think he really meant: the most politically intelligent person he knows besides his aunt.

How do you like Seth's newly shaven head? I like it. It suits him well.

Full res photos can be downloaded here.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

go hawks

One year and ten months ago I held this little man in my arms for the first time. I held him while we watched the first Hawkeye Football Game of his life (Iowa v. Purdue - Hawks won 23-21). Now check him out. (more pics here)

Friday, September 08, 2006

rigged elections

Programmer Finally Testifies: US elections rigged

Just watch it. It's old, but I just found it (thanks to Mom). So watch it anyway.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

random political thoughts

I'm not going to mention Katherine Harris. Nor will I ask you to write ABC and demand that they pull their laced-with-lies fakeumentary due to air next week. It would be silly of me to bring up this nothing-new-but-all-in-one-place article about DeLay's corruption. And Condi. Oh Condi, Condi.

But I cannot allow the evening to go by without bringing this poll about Bush (unconvicted, probable felon) polling lower than fellow republican (and convicted felon) ex-Ill. Gov. George Ryan to your attention.

A new St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll finds U.S. President Bush is less popular in Illinois than former-Gov. George Ryan, who faces sentencing this week.


In Illinois, only 32 percent had a favorable opinion of Bush, while 35 percent had one of Ryan, also a Republican. That difference was within the poll's 3.5 percent standard of error but Ryan had a significantly lower negative rating, 56 percent, compared to 67 percent for Bush.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

we will not drink again

Ok, this was pretty good. Olbermann is right on lately. You can watch it here. Trust me when I say, I didn't just like it because he used the word scurrilous. But it helped. Here's the transcript (emphases mine):

It is to our deep national shame—and ultimately it will be to the President’s deep personal regret—that he has followed his Secretary of Defense down the path of trying to tie those loyal Americans who disagree with his policies—or even question their effectiveness or execution—to the Nazis of the past, and the al Qaeda of the present.

Today, in the same subtle terms in which Mr. Bush and his colleagues muddied the clear line separating Iraq and 9/11 — without ever actually saying so—the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, “a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.”

Make no mistake here—the intent of that is to get us to confuse the psychotic scheming of an international terrorist, with that familiar bogeyman of the right, the “media.”

The President and the Vice President and others have often attacked freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press.

Now, Mr. Bush has signaled that his unparalleled and unprincipled attack on reporting has a new and venomous side angle:

The attempt to link, by the simple expediency of one word—“media”—the honest, patriotic, and indeed vital questions and questioning from American reporters, with the evil of Al-Qaeda propaganda.

That linkage is more than just indefensible. It is un-American.

Mr. Bush and his colleagues have led us before to such waters.

We will not drink again.

And the President’s re-writing and sanitizing of history, so it fits the expediencies of domestic politics, is just as false, and just as scurrilous.

“In the 1920’s a failed Austrian painter published a book in which he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany and take revenge on Europe and eradicate the Jews,” President Bush said today, “the world ignored Hitler’s words, and paid a terrible price.”

Whatever the true nature of al Qaeda and other international terrorist threats, to ceaselessly compare them to the Nazi State of Germany serves only to embolden them.

More over, Mr. Bush, you are accomplishing in part what Osama Bin Laden and others seek—a fearful American populace, easily manipulated, and willing to throw away any measure of restraint, any loyalty to our own ideals and freedoms, for the comforting illusion of safety.

It thus becomes necessary to remind the President that his administration’s recent Nazi “kick” is an awful and cynical thing.

And it becomes necessary to reach back into our history, for yet another quote, from yet another time and to ask it of Mr. Bush:

Have you no sense of decency, sir?


Murtha also responds to Bush's latest war speeches by saying (and I love these quotes):

"This is a failed policy wrapped in illusion."


"I've been all through the country… There is a sentiment out there, an intensity that I haven't seen since Watergate."

Video here.

I'm saddened, but not at all surprised that Bush/Rove/Cheney/Rummy are continuing to use fear to try to win elections. I'm even more mournful that it continues to be affective with some...

I work with a friend that considers herself "more republican than democrat". I will never understand how an educator can be a republican...but that's another story. One of the things that she has said to me over and over is: "I just feel safer with a Republican in office." I gave her the book, What's the Matter With Kansas? (which I know is not really about fear as much as ecomonics and those "morals" that people keep talking about) and I am hopeful that between her mother and I, we will help her to "see the light". :-) Pay attention! I know they are scary, but don't let them scare you!!!

Ok, one more video. See Max Cleland's response to Gonzolas insisting that Iraq was a major front in the war on terror AND downplaying the importance of Osama here.

BLITZER: Do you agree with the attorney general as far as his assessment of the importance or lack thereof, if you will, of Osama bin Laden overall in terms of the war on terror?

MAX CLELAND (D), FORMER GEORGIA SENATOR: I don’t agree with a damn thing the attorney general said. It is al Qaeda, stupid. It is Osama bin Laden and his terrorist cadre that must be killed or captured, period. If we don’t have high government officials in Washington who understand that, we need new high government officials.

Now, maybe it shouldn't be, but that's just funny.

Monday, September 04, 2006


I had this whole long thing written about a concert that I attened on Sunday...but it's not finished...and so tonight I decided to just share the lyrics to this song by Jen Chapin:


satin shadows
silken air
hands on eyes
I feel you there
fingers folding
round my waist
I know nothing but the taste of skin
we are nothing but skin

wrinkled forehead won't allow
me to rest in your soft now
trusting trusting
I'll let go
into secrets that you know in your skin
we are nothing but skin

in the dim light from the bar
I can see you not so far
I can watch you lost in your song
then I remember you belong to my skin
we are nothing but skin

It was much better live than on the CD and overall I say "eh"...but I love the lyrics.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

mountain stage

Ok, I love Mountain Stage. I just love it. I don't always get a chance to listen, but I should. Today the line up was Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Buddy Miller, Jamie Hartford, Billy Joe Shaver, and the great Emmylou Harris. I know, all very country for me, but I loved every moment of it.

Each week is very unique and interesting. This week's was actually a rebroadcast from last November.

The coolest part for me is, many weeks there are artists on that come to little ol' Iowa and perform at CSPS. How lucky are we that we have CSPS? I'm simply amazed by it actually.

Here's a Jimmie Dale Gilmore song that I liked. I like it because of the water references, but I suppose that's obvious.

Just a Wave, Not the Water
Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Thirst is not the answer, oceans come and go
I loved her seven seas worth, Lord I loved her so
But she let me down so easy, one slow drop at a time

I would've killed myself but it made no sense
Committing suicide in self defense
But I lost everything I brought her
When she said babe, you're just a wave, you're not the water

Centuries ago we were living on the gold coast
She was still in love with a long, gone, cold ghost
I was only trying to turn back the tide of her tears

I felt like an endless ocean, rolling through the fog
Full emotion drifting like a weather beaten log
I even thought that I out-thought her
Till she said babe, you're just a wave, you're not the water

I said someday we'll love again, then you'll know the score
I've taught you everything I know and maybe even more
That's true she said, more than you ever will

I've said I've been your raging river, precious African queen
I've shown you everything that I've ever seen
But she knew more than I had taught her
When she said babe, you're just a wave, you're not the water

Well I followed her far and wide with all of my will
Water on the move, you know it never stands still
And I moved every muscle, just to prove it can be done

Then up some old sad river, where snow white lilies float
I came to her for mercy, but I hardly rocked the boat
She seemed surprised that I have caught her
But she said babe, you're just a wave, you're not the water

She said babe, you're just a wave, you're not the water

"Committing suicide in self defense." Love it. "You're just a wave, you're not the water." Wow. I love that. "Did you really think one man, could hold back the ocean's tide?" Nope. Maybe just a wave, but not the water.

Emmylou Harris gave a spectacular performance of the cover Love Hurts, and a great original called Strong Hand (it's about June Carter, which makes it even better).

Mountain Stage is on every Saturday from 2-4 CT on KUNI. Give it a listen. It's obviously not just on KUNI, so check your local NPR stations for times in your area (that's for the three people outside of Iowa that read this).

I really wish I could OiNK. If you know what it means to OiNK, invite me to OiNK. You need an invite to participate, and I've lost my invitation.

How's that for code? Heh.