2012 year in review

Posted in Golden (State) Years, Whatever Else on December 31st, 2012 by bill

So here we are again, at the end of another trip around the sun. How was it for you? It was a pretty good year for me, I must say, and I’d like to think I had company.

My New Year’s resolution (as always) was that everything I did this year would be funky, and while that remains an idealistic and impossible goal, I think my percentage ended up being pretty high. Possibly a personal best.

It was not necessarily a great year for blogging — I just scanned through my output for 2012, and it did not take long. I missed a whole month for the first time in the seven-year history of The Philter, and quite a few posts were little more than quotes from people like Andy Warhol and Carl Jung. Still…let’s accentuate the positive here: Some things were written, and some of them were not too bad.

It was a good year for politics, at least in terms of the naughty being smitten. Somewhere tonight, I imagine, Karl Rove is drinking heavily and indulging in whatever kind of depraved sexual fetish motivates his twisted existence…but I like to think that he is not enjoying it. Mitt Romney is probably sitting by a warm fire fueled by bundles of cash and making snarky comments about the 47% — but at least he is not going to be president, and that is something to celebrate.

And of course we made it through all that Mayan Apocalypse business, which turned out to be an even bigger fizzle than Y2K. There are those who say that what really happened was some kind of cosmic shift in consciousness, and maybe they’re right and it’s just too early to tell. I certainly would like to believe that we’re entering new age of enlightenment where some of the more pernicious forms of stupidity will become less common, or at least more treatable. I mean, as of this writing, with six hours to go till 2013, the Warriors are 11 games above .500…truly, truly, anything is possible.

Happy Festivus 2012

Posted in Whatever Else on December 23rd, 2012 by bill

Time again to gather round the Festivus Pole, take part in the Airing of Grievances, and prepare for the Feats of Strength. Oh happy day!

The celebration of Festivus seems to be gaining momentum with every passing year. This time The Google even got into the act, festooning their logo with a Festivus pole.

It is only a matter of time before Festivus supplants Christmas as the most-celebrated winter holiday… and then I suppose we’ll hear Fox News whining about a “War on Festivus.”

The Best Liner Notes Ever

Posted in Dancing about architecture on December 12th, 2012 by bill

A little while back, I can’t remember how, I stumbled across a reference to a musician named “King Pleasure.” And of course I had to learn more. Here is a quick summary of what I discovered:

King Pleasure was a jazz singer who was born Clarence Beeks (children of the 80s, take note: this was the name of the shady character in Trading Places who leaks the annual orange report and ends the film being buggered by a gorilla). He was one of the pioneers of a style called “vocalese,” where a singer takes an existing instrumental solo and turns it into a vocal melody with words.

I’ve heard some of it and it’s not really my bag; but there is no doubt that the King himself was a remarkable personality. According to the liner notes of Moody’s Mood for Love,

The story I heard was that his name stemmed from his activities as a performer in sexual exhibitions…. While still at [the record label] Prestige he put together a club act, complete with a “massive, purple, swiveling throne” and “a special mike…built into the throne’s arm,” as described in the July 1954 issue of Metronome.

Those liner notes are pretty good, but they are not the Best Liner Notes Ever; that distinction belongs to King Pleasure’s own notes to his 1960 LP Golden Days. And I quote:

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Here We Go Again

Posted in Whatever Else on December 5th, 2012 by bill

I woke up this morning and realized that the world is supposed to be ending in less than three weeks, and I have done very little to prepare myself. Then again, I didn’t do much preparation when Harold Camping predicted the Rapture in May of 2011, or again in October, and that seemed to work out just fine.

I’m not sure what I’d do to get ready anyway. Get right with God? Never a bad idea, I suppose, but would take too long. Run up big credit card bills that I have no intention of paying? Would be fun, but I have to hedge my bets just in case the Mayans were full of shit. Start saying goodbye to everyone and telling them I love them? Too much melodrama for my taste.

No, I think I’ll just sit tight and wait this one out. I am not what they call a “prepper,” although I have acquired some knowledge in that area, having edited several books on the subject. I always end up having ambivalent feelings about the whole concept…while I can’t say it’s necessarily a bad idea to be equipped for the collapse of Western civilization (or as the preppers like to call it, TEOTWAWKI, or the End of the World As We Know It), it seems like it’s awfully hard to prepare for it without starting to wish for it. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money.

I’ve always been pretty sure that if civilization goes I’m going to go with it and been at peace with that idea. Though watching the chaos in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (I refuse to call it “superstorm,” that’s just dumb) has given me some second thoughts. So this Christmas I may be asking Santa for canned soup and propane canisters, just to be on the safe side.