Tuesday, January 27, 2009

National Day of Norsemanship

It is a strange time of year.   This leg of winter is always a haul.  The holiday spirits sag, the only other holiday in sight with even the slightest bit of fun factor is Super Sunday, which is not really a holiday or even a sporting event so much as a marketing extravaganza.  I've always found it the most American of all of our national holidays in this way.   For MLK Day we all summon our better angels for a few minutes in the car if the radio happens to replay the "I Have a Dream" speech.  At least if you're a person of paleness.  I've never once had a white guy say to me, "Happy Martin Luther King Day"  or "Keep the Dream".   It's probably a very different experience in African American communities, but I live in Vermont.  I wouldn't know about that. 

Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day...let's admit it; for most Americans these represent three day weekends.   We might hang out a flag here and there.  Get misty-eyed during the closing credits of a rerun of The Fighting Seabees on TMC,  but mostly we barbecue and take care of our yards.  It's not that we shouldn't care more.  We just don't.  (Note to indignant readers:  I'm making a cultural observation here not a scientific one.  Plenty of people care deeply about the meaning of these holidays.  Just not most people.)

Super Bowl Sunday, on the other hand, is made for the Anglo-Saxon race which has been, and for at least the next few weeks, will be the dominant influence on American culture.   Super Sunday is all about violence and consumption.   This is what the Norsemen were all about too:  pillage, grab some women, pop the top on the local food stores, and kick back.  This sounds an awful lot like the 4/4 broadcast beat of the Super Bowl -- 1) Shot of play action including grunts and flying spit.  2) Cut to cheerleaders, then scan the crowd for loonies and hotties.  3) Go to commercial for pillage.  4) Repeat.   All of the same glands are firing which motivated the vikings (not the NFL team) as they sacked ancient London.  By the end of the day we're likely to be wearing horns or cheese on our heads.   For those of northern European descent this is as close to a day of ancestral observance as we get.   

For the rest of us there is always the Sacred Riddle.   This year it is XLIII.   Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Change is Coming

Wow. Obama has been in office less than 24 hours and already my back feels better and my coffee is staying hot longer. Funny, he never mentioned these benefits during the campaign.

In honor of our new president I am commencing on some changes around this website. It's not really in honor of him. I was going to do it anyway, but 'tis the season.

You may notice this website over the next several weeks getting better and more up-to-date. Come to think of it, you may notice our federal government doing the same thing. But they truly are unrelated. I'm going to be moving this blog up to the homepage and plan to get more responsible about updating this and the commentary on the site so that if you happen to come back over and over and over and over and over, which of course you will, you might actually see something new.

Also, many of you are requesting CD or digital downloads of some of my older recorded works. Some of these are available now and those links will be appearing soon. The rest of it we're working on. There are a lot of archaic and nuisance rights and things involved in this. It all takes time and agents and sometimes lawyers to work out. In the meantime we're going to be marginalizing those audio works that are only available on cassette as that is for all intents and purposes a dead medium. Will it make a comeback someday like vinyl? Being that there is no audio advantage to it and the tape itself ages and becomes brittle, probably not. If you are one of the six dozen people still listening to cassettes, I hear Circuit City is having a heck of a sale on CD and mp3 players.

So don't be a stranger. I'll be doing Wait-Wait this weekend, and will fill you in on all the scrumptious back-stage details including who designed PJ O'Rourke's gown.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

News from Jupiter

Here is a news bulletin -- They've completely run out of things to worry about in Jupiter, FL.   We should all move there.  Twice in two days I've received emails asking if I am the voice behind a recurring sound bite on a local radio station that says, "Ya know sometimes I just like to strip down butt naked and jump into a pool of chocolate."   They say it sounds like me.  They did not say it sounds like something I'd say, let alone record, but one can make the leap -- so to speak.

I could formally deny it here and now, but this would give the teeming Jupiter, FL press corps the excuse to print, Bodett denies jumping into a vat of chocolate butt naked.   I might as well have done it, if you see what I mean.   If I did ever say it I was drunk.  And I haven't been drunk in a very very long time.  If I didn't say it, you're drunk, Jupiter, FL.

So, kind residents of Jupiter, go back to your lives.  There's nothing to see here.  Besides, the very thought of being in the same vat of chocolate as my butt is, in the words of my youngest son, icky.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Masterminding Revelation

Lake Superior State University recently published it's annual list of words and phrases that should be banned from use. This year's batch is well-chosen and I agree that "Going Green", "Carbon Footprint", "Bailout", and "Wall Street/Main Street - among thirty others - have been used and abused beyond their ability to communicate anything. I have a couple of my own I'd like to add.

Revelers -- News stories over this past New Years weekend were filled with stories of drunks, idiots, and cretins wreaking havoc on polite society. But instead of referring to them as drunks, idiots, and cretins -- who did everything from drive snow machines into oak trees at 70 miles per hour to mooning and attacking reporters to critically burning two girls in New Hampshire by throwing white gas on a bonfire -- they were uniformly described as "revelers". I'm sorry, but a reveler is someone who blows a plastic horn with bucket on his head and kisses pretty strangers in Times Square at midnight. Someone who throws white gas on a bonfire in a crowd full of young people is a drunk or an idiot or both. These stories would have much more punch and deterrent affect if they told the truth. "Last night in upstate New York two drunken morons killed themselves when their stolen snow machine collided with a two hundred-year-old oak at the edge of Lake Such-and-Such." Or. "Sloppy drunks in Lake Tahoe bared their big white hind ends and slobbered on a female television reporter attempting to do a feel-good piece on local celebrations." Wouldn't you love to see that just once?

Mastermind -- This one has bothered me for years. Psychotic and scheming criminals of all stripes, if they manage to pull off a caper more complex than what a six-year-old could imagine, are universally anointed "masterminds". They are psychotics, sociopaths, schemers, scammers, sick puppies, even monsters. They are not masterminds. That title should be reserved for those among us who pull off the truly great works of our time. The Steves, Jobs and Wozniak, masterminded the user-friendly computer which became the Mac. Bill Gates masterminded affordable software packages that became ubiquitous and changed the way the world works. Nelson Mandela masterminded the end of apartheid. Warren Buffet is the mastermind of Berkshire Hathaway. Bruce Springsteen was the mastermind behind the E Street Band. Political genius, LBJ, masterminded the final passage of the Civil Rights Act. Barack Obama masterminded the most improbable ascent to the Presidency in our nation's history. These are truly master minds at work. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is not in that league. He is the sick bastard who thought up the idea of flying passenger jets into buildings full of innocents. How smart do you have to be to read an airline schedule and give a couple dozen psychopaths box cutters? Were the business people behind the predatory lending practices and toxic securities bundles of the past ten years masterminds, or greed-driven short-sighted deluded gamblers? Let's call a scoundrel a scoundrel and get on with masterminding a way out of this mess.

That would be something to revel about.

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