Friday, September 23, 2005

E pluribus unum

The Vatican is probably going to firm up its doctrine forbidding even celibate gay men to be ordained, and this New York Times article describes the anguish of gay priests and seminarians in response. "I always feel like I'm 'less than,'" says one gay priest. "I feel like a Jew in Berlin in the 1930's," says another.

I sympathize, but I must say that my reaction to gay Catholic priests and seminarians who feel betrayed and marginalized is much like my reaction to gay Republicans who feel betrayed and marginalized: in your heart of hearts, can you honestly say you're surprised?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Takes the edge off

The National Enquirer is reporting that President Bush is back on the booze.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Live music tomorrow

Hey kids, come on out to the Shamrock Bar tomorrow night, Sept. 22, for a performance by my honkytonk band, the World's Greatest Lovers. The show starts at 10 pm, and best of all: it's free. The Shamrock is at 117 W. Main St. in downtown Madison.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Little things

It's all about the simple gifts, and I received today's simple gift as I was out driving around: the Who's "My Generation" came on, and although I know the song very well -- I once was a Who fanatic -- I had not heard it in quite some time. It was bliss. I have always had my doubts about Who singer Roger Daltrey, but I found myself transfixed by his performance on the record, especially his famous stuttering: "Why don't you all f-f-f-fade away." It's an utterly original trick he's doing, and utterly mysterious and great.

I've heard various explanations: the recording studio was cold, he was imitating someone on amphetamines, he did it once by accident and it stuck. But it makes all kinds of sense in a song about defiant young people: sometimes young people do baffling things just because. Perfect.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Good word

As the snow flies on a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
A poor little baby child is born in the ghetto
And his mama cries, 'cause if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another hungry mouth to feed in the ghetto

People, don't you understand, the child needs a helping hand
Or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me, are we too blind to see
Do we simply turn our heads and look the other way

Mac Davis, "In the Ghetto"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My throbbing wrists

Should you ever undertake the unhappy task of transcribing an interview, as I am doing now, may I commend to you the software program Express Scribe, from the Australian company NCH Swift Sound.

Express Scribe plays audio files, as iTunes, Windows Media Player and Winamp do. But those applications are mostly for playing music, whereas the designers of Express Scribe had the transcriptionist in mind: the program assigns commands to function keys -- play, stop, rewind, and so forth -- and makes them available from any Windows program. So as I type and listen to a digital file of an interview, I can stop and start the playback without having to switch out of Word, or even move my fingers from the good old home row. That may not seem like a big deal, but transcribing is so dreadfully boring (I never do it unless I must) that I welcome anything to streamline the process.

Express Scribe is free for the downloading. That is the right price.