12 strings, stunt potholes, and moderating

It’s Friday, and time for a catchall.

Yesterday on the way to work, I was listening to Tom Paxton’s “Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation.” (That’s the first line of the chorus, which continues, “Have no fear of escalation, I am trying everyone to please; Though it isn’t really war, I’m sending 50,000 more, To help save Viet Nam from Vietnamese.”) On the money as the lyrics are–in the voice of a soldier coping with our interference in a civil war, and mostly lighthearted–that’s not what this is about.

This is about the sound–the sound of the acoustic 12-string guitar, the only accompaniment in this song. A well-played acoustic 12-string is, in my experience, one of the most impressive and expressive “human-powered” instruments around. I don’t seem to hear it much any more; maybe it’s too tough to play, or maybe everyone’s in love with electronics. (Or maybe I’m listening to the wrong music.) In the folk-music era, though, there were some great 12-string performers. In Berkeley, I remember one guy who did a credible transcription of “Great Gates of Kiev” from “Pictures at an Exhibition”–and it was as though an orchestra was playing.

That’s one piece. The second: Stunt potholes!

Today’s paper has the Governator filling in a pothole in San Jose to show how wonderful it is that he’s not taking away as much of the transportation budget as originally expected. (He’s stealing a couple billion extra from our under-funded schools instead, but then, they’re run by Special Interests–schoolteachers–so they’re an easy target. We now know that Arnold’s definition of Special Interest excludes any corporation that gives him campaign money and includes anybody who doesn’t, particularly if they represent or include actual workers.)

Great photo op.

Only one problem: The pothole was created so that he could fill it in. Not that San Jose doesn’t have potholes; the residents said there were plenty of them a couple of blocks away. But apparently they weren’t photogenic enough, or something. So a bunch of workers went out and dug up the street in the morning so Arnold could help fill it in in the afternoon. Perfect for an actor: A stunt pothole.

Sorry. I try to avoid politics, but this was just too precious. In case you care, I didn’t much like Davis either. California’s last really good governor (in my opinion) was named Brown, and the first name wasn’t “Jerry”–I mean Pat Brown, Jerry’s father. That was a long time ago…

Third and final piece: Expect posting to be even more irregular over the next two weeks–and expect comment moderation and responses to comments to be nonexistent or nearly so. I still don’t understand what causes some comments to require moderation while most don’t, but there’s been just enough spam that I’m unwilling to open the moderation gates entirely. If your comment doesn’t show up for a while (as much as two weeks, in this case), it probably doesn’t mean I’m censoring it; it probably means it hit the moderation triggers and will show up…eventually.

2 Responses to “12 strings, stunt potholes, and moderating”

  1. Ruth Ellen says:

    Oh, wow. I thought I was the only person left in the world that still listens to Tom Paxton.

  2. Eli says:

    According to the San Jose Metro, the Chron was wrong about the photo op, there were real potholes and ditches on the street where the Gov was AND at least one of the residents quoted in the Chron were misquoted.

    I don’t know if anyone else has picked up on this supposed correction …

    re: CA’s last good governor — AMEN.