Jerry Garcia Week: A Simple Twist Of Fate

jerry 2Jerry Garcia was born on August 1, 1942 and died on August 9, 1995 at the all-too-young age of 53. So that means, once again, this week is officially (at least here at The Hal Blog) Jerry Garcia Week.

Misunderstood by those who thought the Grateful Dead were more about drugs than music, and beloved by those who tapped into the sheer emotion that was voiced through his intimate and vulnerable playing, Jerry Garcia was and will forever be one of America’s greatest contributions to the world of music.

Though best known for his music with the Grateful Dead, Garcia also toured regularly with various incarnations of The Jerry Garcia Band. An opportunity for the musician to play both covers and solo originals, The Jerry Garcia Band was a soulful incarnation that moved effortlessly between the evocative poetries of Bob Dylan, the spiritual ecstasies of gospel, and the deeply heartfelt rhythms of rock and blues. It was a more intimate setting and environment than that of the Dead and it gave Mr. Garcia a chance to settle back and play without the pressures of a world-famous rock and roll band. The jams were long, the pace laid back, and the nights undeniably magical.

I saw The Jerry Garcia Band many times over the years, from the nightclub environs of San Francisco’s The Stone, to UMass’s dirt floor Cage. The experience was always mesmerizing and transcendental. It usually started as a warm feeling deep inside and spread throughout the body like a hot toddy on a cold winter’s night. There were always wide smiles, hairs standing on end, and euphoric, rhythmic dancing.

garciaHere’s a taste of The Jerry Garcia Band doing a cover of Bob Dylan’s SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE from the Capital Theatre in Passaic, NJ on March 1st, 1980. Thanks to Youtube, the song is split into two parts. I’ll take it any way I can get it.

Enjoy and celebrate the music of a man who embraced what he felt inside and translated it into both delicate and soaring sounds that touched the hearts and souls of all who chose to go on this journey with him.

Jerry Garcia is joined here by John Kahn on bass, Ozzie Ahlers on keyboards and Johnny de Foncesca on drums.

Jerry Garcia Week: A Simple Twist Of Fate

That Pesky Obama Birth Certificate

According to staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as “supporting documents” to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.

Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a brief statement this past Monday:

“I … have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

According to Media Matters:

On Fox News, Obama Nation author Jerome Corsi claimed that the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama “has a false, fake birth certificate posted on their website.” In fact, the Hawaii Department of Health has confirmed that the birth certificate posted online by the Obama campaign is “a valid Hawaii state birth certificate” and has called speculation about Obama’s citizenship “pretty ridiculous.”

More from

The document is a “certification of birth,” also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents’ hometowns. The short form is printed by the state and draws from a database with fewer details. The Hawaii Department of Health’s birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department…

The scan released by the campaign shows halos around the black text, making it look (to some) as though the text might have been pasted on top of an image of security paper. But the document itself has no such halos, nor do the close-up photos we took of it. We conclude that the halo seen in the image produced by the campaign is a digital artifact from the scanning process.

The copy of Obama’s Birth Certificate on the Obama site
Blowup of text
The Obama birth certificate, held by FactCheck writer Joe Miller
The raised seal
Alvin T. Onaka’s signature stamp
Blowup of certificate number

Will someone just let Lou Dobbs touch the damned thing so we can move on?

That Pesky Obama Birth Certificate

Racist Anti-Obama Sentiment Inevitable

barack-obama-1Did anyone really think America could elect a half-black president and not see the racism inherent both here and around the world rear its ugly head? Well, what may seem quite discouraging may, in fact, be a good start toward moving beyond this ancient brand of intolerance. Allowing these backwards thinkers out into the light makes it easier to recognize and address the issues that create and sustain these misguided, fearful beliefs.

We as a race seem to be drawn to finding differences in one another. We seem to have a biological/social need to create “us” and “them”. More progressive thinkers are apt to study and understand the roots of such feelings and reactions and try to move beyond being victim to such desperate, small-minded attitudes. But there are many people the world over, quite possibly a majority, that do not think deeply enough or hold enough self-awareness to do much more than react to what is stirred within.

Now I know that sounds like I’m holding myself aloft and placing myself lovingly in the former category, but I too must fight off any prejudices and learn to understand my own actions and reactions. I am not without fault here. I am, like so many others, a product of the society and education my country has offered me. And while much has changed for the better during my lifetime, I am still a reflection of the world around me. I just try and see it as clearly as possible with eyes wide open. Or as open as I am capable of at this time.

GlennBeckOn our own shores here in the States, we have attention-hounds like Glenn Beck who can’t seem to clearly separate what brings him a measure of celebrity and what is actually damaging and potentially life-threatening. His recent comments about Obama have no positive outcome. They are mired in hatred and self-importance and appeal–not so much to those who find his outrageousness amusing–but to those who actually believe what he says and desire to act on it.

Earlier this week on Fox and Friends, Beck claimed that Obama is “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don’t know what it is…” When confronted with the facts that Obama’s mother was white and that many members of his Administration are white, Beck replied:

“I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.”

Of course anyone with half a brain can see that Beck is either just looking to stir the pot because it garners him lots of press, or he’s just plainly and simply an idiot with no common sense whatsoever. Either way, what’s clear is that this guy himself has some deep-rooted issues that would benefit greatly from some long and very intense therapy sessions. Let’s go back in time and confront little Glenn Beck and figure out where all this hatred and anger came from. Who was it that beat you up and made you such an angry person, little Glenny?

cnn_lou_dobbs_portrait-thumbThen, of course, there’s CNN’s Lou Dobbs who appeals to the desperate “birthers” and their tired belief that Obama is not, in fact, an American citizen and is therefore a false president. Even though Obama has produced his birth certificate on more than one occasion and it has been verified by all those who need to verify and authenticate such things, these people and Mr. Dobbs himself keep calling for the President to produce that same certificate. I guess people really only hear what they want to hear.

Those who found themselves horrified and frightened by both the election and re-election of George W. Bush never stooped to such mindless levels in such a massive way as the Obama-haters have. Sure, there were some real crazies on the left fringe, but nothing as front and center as these fellows. One starts to believe that the right-wing itself is a lunatic fringe. But… in an attempt to not create an “us” and “them” I will state that there are enough smart, intelligent, forward thinking Republicans out there who do not support or endorse such comments and behavior. Just look at how many conservatives jumped ship and refused to follow McCain and Palin when they became the representatives of the most dangerous fringe elements of the right.

30settler2_190Now, these feelings are not reserved for Americans only. It was reported today that thousands of Jewish settlers in the West Bank have protested Obama’s request for a West Bank settlement freeze. According to the New York Times:

Rabbi Yigael Shandorfi, leader of a religious academy at the neighboring settlement outpost of Nahliel, said during the ceremony. “Our hope is that there will be roads, electricity and water.” The message to President Obama, he said, is that this is Jewish land. He did not use the president’s name, but an insulting Hebrew slang for a black man and the phrase “that Arab they call a president.”

But the slurs didn’t stop there:

Yitzhak Shadmi, leader of the regional council of settlements, said Mr. Obama was a racist and anti-Semite for his assertion that Jews should not build here, but Arabs could.

And one wonders why peace is such a difficult thing to achieve. Hatred and non-communication is so much easier. Strong emotions replace common sense and an ability to converse intelligently with a constructive goal to bring people together. It’s so much easier to point fingers and ride the wave of hatred and intolerance.

And I in no way mean to suggest that I am immune from it in my pointing it out in others. It’s simply an observation. And a concern. And I clearly have an intolerance of such behavior. An intolerance I must continue to address and learn to understand.

Racist Anti-Obama Sentiment Inevitable

James Van Der Beek Unearthed in Archaeological Dig

Picture 1

As a result of having worked with Mr. Van Der Beek on THE PLAGUE, this came as no surprise to me.

An archaeological dig in Turkey unburied former teen heartthrob James Van Der Beek, finally revealing where he’s been for the past decade.

While the goal of the dig was to uncover ruins from the Ottoman Empire, the archaeologist who first saw Van Der Beek showed no surprise and calmly announced, “I found him. We got Van Der Beek,” and continued on with his work.

“It makes perfect sense that he was buried under there,” said the man who made the discovery, acknowledging that’s the only place he could have been since the end of Dawson’s Creek. “What doesn’t make sense is why he was buried so deep. He was among artifacts from thousands of year ago. Literally hundreds of feet in the ground.”

Van Der Beek, known for playing characters you want to smack, dusted himself off and headed toward the camp to grab a glass of water, as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. Crew members say he slapped a few people on the back, said “thanks, homes,” and walked off.

And as soon as he came, he was gone.

“I almost didn’t report it in the log,” the crew leader recalled, referring to the discovery as ‘no big deal’. “If it had been Joshua Jackson, then we’d have a something to write home about.”

-Dan Abramson,

James Van Der Beek Unearthed in Archaeological Dig

Shatner, Palin, Beat Poetry. America The Beautiful.

The things you miss when you’re away. I was up in the mountains for the past four days living the rustic life and, upon my return, was greeted with the wondrous sounds of William Shatner reciting Sarah Palin’s farewell speech as beat poetry. You don’t see this in the mountains…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Shatner, Palin, Beat Poetry. America The Beautiful.

Craig Ferguson Figures Out Why Everything Sucks

I consider this post to be a companion piece to my post from earlier this week, DIY Plastic Surgery? WTF?

Craig Ferguson, as his cold-open for the Late Late Show on Tuesday night, discussed America and the world’s obsession with youth and the extremes they go to in order to obtain/maintain. While this pre-monologue is certainly partly amusing, it is also fairly serious and not far off the mark.

And while we’re at it, here’s another serious and extremely heartfelt monologue Ferguson gave in 2007 about Britney Spears, alcoholism and his own 15 years sober. It is quite personal and extremely unusual for a late night host. But this is one of the many reasons I enjoy Ferguson’s show and Ferguson himself. He’s easily the funniest guy on late night, but he is also the most sincere.

Craig Ferguson Figures Out Why Everything Sucks

New Rider “Marmaduke” Dies at 64 news indeed. New Riders Of The Purple Sage founder/singer/songwriter John “Marmaduke” Dawson died yesterday in Mexico of stomach cancer.

NRPS was part of the S.F. music scene back in its heyday. They opened for the Grateful Dead more than any other band and Dead members Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart were actually NRPS originals. Even Dead bassist Phil Lesh played with them in the early days.

From Relix:

According to Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally, “Garcia wanted to practice pedal steel guitar somewhere other than his living room, and his friend John Dawson had a Monday night solo gig at a pizza joint in Menlo Park, so Jerry said he’d come down and back him up. We’ll never know if Jerry was aware of the material John had already written, but it was wonderful stuff: ‘Last Lonely Eagle,’ ‘Garden of Eden,’ ‘Glendale Train,’ ‘Henry.’ With material like that, the band simply had to become a reality, and so it did.”

In the late 1990’s Dawson left the band and moved to Mexico claiming he was tired of touring. The band reunited in 2006 without Dawson, though with his blessing. They recently released a new album.


New Rider “Marmaduke” Dies at 64