February 9, 2004

"Talked to you as I climbed up the stairs, I told her."- Lemonheads

Late Thursday night or Friday morning of last week my Aunt Judy, who kicked mucho ass, died suddenly in her home. This was quite a shock, and it is sad. I grew up with two very hip aunts, one on each side of the family, and I can't claim that either is a favorite. But Judy, a fearless proponent of the arts and fierce derider of bullshitters, was particularly close to me. When email came into being, she was pretty much the only other person out there who had it, and we forged a strong friendship when I was a freshman in college by swapping messages. At the time of her death Judy had already lost her son and husband to various cancers, but was an incredibly upbeat person. She treated everyone equally whether they were a top executive or a janitor, something that was underscored by the throng of people who came to an open house in her honor at her home yesterday afternoon. She treated every one as a peer, including me and my friends; she had just referred a student to my man Luke for guitar lessons. And she was always trying to network everyone together. She would call out of the blue to say one of her former students was in the area and I should have drinks with them. She wasn't a big fan of my current career, but only because she always had bigger ideas for me. Over Christmas she joined Me, Lopez and my mom in visiting my very old grandmother, and remarked after the visit that I would be very good at working with the elderly.

Some bullet points: Judy loved Classical music and the Beatles. She owned a succession of cars, and would get a new license plate for each one bearing the word "Peace" and then the numeral corresponding to the number of car it was. When I pulled out of her drive this morning her white Volvo, Peace 4, quietly stood by. Anyhow, while I knew she was an amazing woman and veritable friend to all (unless you pissed her off by foisting injustice or stupidity upon the larger populace, in which case she would call your direct dial or email you to bitch you out for being a thoughtless dumbass, or, perhaps worse, she would tool on you in a Letter to the Editor to one of the many local or regional papers she read), my family and I are stunned by the outpouring from Swarthmore College, where she served as an administrative assistant in the music department for three decades, and from the community at large. Already over the last three days performances have been dedicated in her honor; I learned on the phone today that compositions are being written in her honor and a portion of the music department at Swat will be named for her; A relatively known local painter, a close friend of Judy's, will be painting her portrait, which will likely be hung in the lobby at the college's music offices; Food was donated yesterday by a local business she patronized for years, and a bazillion people showed up to the open house with flowers and still more food.

Judy was my aunt. She loved cats, the Phillies and swore a fair amount. She was 68.


In other news: I located the online home of Campbell Maritime. If you've got something big in the water in Seattle, my man Two Can can get it out or move it around for you. In true Two Can fashion, his latest dispatch reports that "I have many drinks, and plenty of tang. Just like the astronauts." Amen to that brother.

For those who are down with Kam Fong, the existence of this band (in Florida, no less, the last known state of residence for the man in question) should be sort of interesting. Unfortunately it bears no relation to Roper.

Not that I have watched more than 10 seconds of it, but I think the coolest thing online right now might be the live TV feed at Reuters.com, which runs a constant unedited and unmediated stream of Reuters video from around the world. The other day it was running eerily silent raw video from Moscow after the subway bombing there. This is something that comes close to the hackneyed idea of the "true promise of the Internet," at least as far as the media is concerned.

This is a little stale but worth noting: Why is no one talking about how, within hours of Bush backing off of his opinion on Iraq's pre-war weapons status (and consequently agreeing to set up a commission to investigate pre-war intelligence), Tony Blair agreed to do the same. Is Halliburton pulling Blair's strings too? Cheney must have long arms. Unfortunately, the equivocation doesn't seem to have helped the BBC's position in the scandal that has rocked them (like Klauss Meine and the boys). Read this. And this.

Finally, I am quite taken with a handful of music blogs I have started reading recently, and can unreservedly recommend them to you all. Clap Clap Blog. Flux. The Rub. And of course, NYLPM and its new offshoot, Pop Nose.

That is all.

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