Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I just had an idea

I just had an idea. I keep getting e-mails from concert venues - that I quickly peruse looking for musicians I know about.

What if I'm missing the musical experience *of*my*life* simply by not recognizing a musician? I mean, I will remain loyal to Bruce Cockburn, but I think there's room in my life for another band, you know?

What I'm wondering is if I should, twice a year, either arbitrarily pick, or have chosen for me - a concert to go to - just to learn new stuff.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Bice is Right

(I'm excited about this - because I feel like my blog lately is turning into the all-admiration society... which isn't me. Just today, I told my friend Cara that there are very likely more people I don't like in life than don't like me. Isn't THAT snotty? Well. Takes snot to know snot, so here goes with the snotty blog.)

Ok. I'm a fan of reading the Washington Post when I have a few minutes' break during the day. Today, I found a blog by Joel Archenbach ( that annoyed the piss out of me. It's short, so I'll post it here:


Mercifully this is the last week when I'll have to mention American Idol. I only watch it in a pathetic attempt to connect with mainstream American culture. After this, I'm back on the porch with my science magazines, my history books and my futile dreams of a weedless yard.
Bo Bice had a stronger night than Carrie Underwood, though both got mired in melodrama, this strange sickness that infects a certain kind of pop music, requiring prolonged screeching notes and agonized expressions. You don't know if you're watching a singing contest or someone being tortured.
Bo seems to have more talent, performing presence and range as a singer, but Carrie will win. Carrie's so darn cute! Bo looks like a hippie freak, let's face it. Looks like someone you'd see drinking malt liquor out of paper sack. He's a "Southern rocker," a category of performer that is virtually a synonym for "now in rehab." He's old, he's already a professional, while Carrie is the amateur, the rookie, the underdog, the cutie-pie, the perfect blonde. She's a plastic figurine inside a kids meal at McDonald's. Of COURSE she'll win. And if she doesn't, the TypePad blogging tool will allow me to delete this item as though it never happened


Ok. First let me comment on his snot-nosed comment, "I only watch it in a pathetic attempt to connect with mainstream American culture." What a bunch of hooey! First off, there are many ways of connecting with mainstream American Culture. I think Joel should start with going to the mall, renting Napoleon Dynamite, watching Star Wars with a Trekkie... Hanging out at Starbucks... It's certainly a better start than telling the American Public that they are essentially pathetic for watching a tv show.

If he truly felt American Idol was this beneath him, he should do what Dave does: not watch it. David would neither know Bo Bice from head lice, nor Ms. Underwood from Underoos. He could care less about what he calls "That Karaoke Show..." In fact, Dave feels no need whatsoever to connect with mainstream culture, but I guess that's where he and Joel Achenbach diverge.

AND. If Joel thought Idol was so beneath him, he may not have such magnanimous opinions on the subject. He would not know the history of the contest - he would not care who's cute, who looks pained when they sing, and who drinks what out of a paper sack. I would imagine Joel knows all about Paula Abdul - and the accusations that she's drugged up on the show - and gives her number to cute idol contestants (offering to "help" them)... I know. It's beneath people like Joel, who no doubt enjoy some of the higher aspects of culture, yet cannot look away from Paula, Randy and Simon...

Next, I'm completely miffed that Joel has the nerve to suggest that Bo is a hippie has-been. Hello, Joel - you look like a baby boomer - and you certainly sound like one who spends a lot of time with boomers. Haven't you noticed, there are a lot of hippies out there? Haven't you noticed that designers emulate those clothes? Haven't you seen all those people on the streets humming Pete Seeger tunes? Such wardrobe choices have gone from the cult-culture - to the mainstream. I actually have no issue with Bo Bice's wardrobe (even though I think he'd look better with shorter hair)

I predict Mr. Achenbach will be glued into his (highandmighty) tuffet, just drooling to prove that Carrie Underwood wins.

I need to say here, that there is nothing wrong with watching American Idol. I don't condone tv watching over other more personal activities at all, yet I like the show. I actually miss Simon's more "honest" moments, like when he told a auditionee, "You should hire a lawyer and sue your voice teacher..." I will admit I haven't watched much of it this year... It actually conflicts with another of my low-brow loves, "The Gilmore Girls" (btw, I cannot believe for a minute that Rory will not return to Yale next season!), but I've kind of followed the show during GG commerical breaks.

In fact, American Idol has proved a valid point to me. I am encouraged by the winners. They haven't been the prettiest, the thinnest, or the most marketable at first glance... But they're all pretty talented. I'm proud of America for out-trumping good looks with talent. Way to Go, guys!

Ok. I need to get back to Joel's blog. He may be right. Carrie Underwood just may win - but Bo Bice has outperformed her in several very important ways that cannot be ignored. First and foremost, he sings on key. And even though Randy hasn't pointed it out, she's PITCHY. PITCHY. PITCHY. Two. Bo Bice is very very versatile. He sings rock and the blues - with music and without. Three. Stage presence. Look. Bruce Springsteen has made a career of good writing and stage presence. He's not that great a singer. Bo Bice not only walks on stage with poise, he can actually sing. AND play an instrument (which makes even Dave respect him!)

My prediction is - even if Bo doesn't win tonight's competition, he'll sell more records than Carrie, and very likely outlast her fame. That's honestly what I think. I'm sure both will have a good run in the public eye. I just think Bo has consistently out performed her.

So Joel - go back to your yuppie parties, get the bartender to pour you a mint julep, and head to the opera. You're way too high-brow for troglodytes like me.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Twenty Dinner Dates, both Alive and Otherwise

I mentioned to someone today that I wouldn't mind having dinner with Maya Angelou... Then I got to thinking. Here are the top ten living people I would like to have dinner with (that I don’t already get to have dinner with, or could have dinner with if I’d just remember to call them):

1) Bruce Cockburn (pronounced “CO-burn”) - A fine, fine singer songwriter
2)Maya Angelou - An all-around amazing woman, who knows the glass is half full - and it’s for her...
3) Willem Dafoe - A fine, fine actor
4) Arlen Specter - A man I admire for continuing to work while fighting cancer. And no, I would not trade my dinner with the Senator for dinner with Lance Armstrong, although I admire him for fighting cancer as well...
5) Madeleine L’Engle - who has inspired me to write since the fifth grade
6) Anne Lamott - The woman who puts my thoughts into words. I just love her.
7)Jon Hassler - Although I’m still a little mad at Mr. Hassler for killing off his character, Miles Pruitt, I believe it would be a very enjoyable evening.
8) Tom Waits - just because our birthdays are the same day - and I have some technical questions about some of his music.
9) Errol Morris - After dinner, I’m hoping Mr. Morris would offer me a job as his personal assistant.
10) Condoleeza Rice - Think what you want about her politics, Ms. Rice is a multi-talented, smart smart woman who has the poise, presence, and abilities I’d like to be around.

Here are the top ten dead people I’d like to resurrect at least long enough to have dinner with me:

1. John Calvin - I have questions about common grace
2. Charles Schultz - I’d just like to say thanks for all the Snoopy
3. Warren Zevon - a fine, fine singer/songwriter
4. Ingrid Wakeman - a woman I once made dinner for before she died of cancer. My food had nothing to do with it... For further reasoning, refer to Condy Rice
5. Kenny, although I suspect he’s not really dead
6. Walt Disney - who I’m sure has something to teach me about fearless pursuit of dreams and the Country Bear Jamboree
7. Andy Warhol - C’mon - I shouldn’t even have to explain this. I don’t want to talk - I just want to listen.
8. C.S. Lewis - author of many, many fine thoughts
9. Rosa Parks - Everyone should have Rosa Parks on their list of people to resurrect and have dinner with
10. Mr. Lincoln - Four score and seven years ago....

Brave and Startling Truth

Today, I attended Lehigh University's Commencement Ceremonies - something I was glad to do because Maya Angelou was the keynote speaker (I can't remember who spoke at my college graduation... sigh). Anyway - it was a great speech, where she encouraged the graduates like this:

“I know that the future looms ominously to some of us,” she said. “I know you are inheriting a world of blood thirst and anger and wild rage, but I also know that there is hope and you are it. I know that there is love, and you are it. I know that this nation, with its great institutions and its history, belong to the citizens who inhabit it. And I know that the future, with its sadness and joy, its despair and ecstasy, belongs to the young hope, which is who you are.”

I'm kind of hoping that more than just graduates heard that word - because I think it's good encouragement for all of us. She also read a bit from "The Brave and Startling Truth" - I know it takes up a lot of space, but I"m going to paste it here anyway. Happy reading, and thanks, Dr. Maya Angelou.

Brave and Startling Truth,
for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
A Brave and Startling Truth

We, this people on a small and lonely planet Traveling through causal space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we discover
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And alow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign lands
When the rapacious storming of churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tramble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged may walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Not the Garden of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled in delicious color By Western sunsets
Not the Danube flowing in its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the rising sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade, the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cantankerous words
Which challenge our existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Can come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils or divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
And without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and marking time.
You do own to hear me faintly
as a whisper out of range,
while my drums beat out the message
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,
that I fly from man to man,
but if I'm just a shadow to you,
could you ever understand ?
We have lived a painful history,
we know the shameful past,
but I keep on marching forward,
and you keep on coming last.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you've heard me crying,
and admit you've seen my tears.
Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb in my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.
Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

In Bed with No Fortune

I don’t know if this is just a bit of regional hoo-hah or not, but my friends and I always found it amusing to read our fortune cookie fortunes and conclude whatever advice has been uncased with “in bed.” So. For example, if my fortune read, “Tomorrow will be the best day you’ve ever had,” we would add “in bed...” And after that, we’d leave the restaurant and experience the best day we’ve ever had in bed. Easy.

Well, last week, I had the strangest day I’ve ever had - IN BED. I was having lunch with the president of my company. The actual building we were in was half restaurant, half mattress store.

We left the restaurant, and as we were passing the window of the mattress store, we started talking about the Tempurpedic mattresses in the window. I asked the president of my company if she’d ever tried a Tempurpedic mattress. For those who don’t know - they are pretty cool pieces of technology. When you lay down on one, they sort of just adjust to your body curves - very very comfortable. Kind of like when you adjust the sand on the beach to your body... nice.

Anyway, my coworker had not tried one - and wanted to. “Let’s go in,” she suggested. Fine. We both sat on separate Tempurpedic mattresses, right next to each other. We both said “ah.” at the same time. We both marveled at how a bed could be so comfy. Then the salesman spied us - and rest of this story is really embarassing - but I'll tell you anyway.

The salesman gave us a 20 minute dissertation on Tempurpedic. Their benefits, the fact that this mattress cured his mother’s ailing back issues.... The cost/benefit analysis, and the different types of Tempurpedic beds one might invest in, etc... We were both off of our respective mattresses at this time. The salesman then told us we had to experience the rest of the Tempurpedic system, and made us lay down, side by side - on the same queen sized bed... as he worked the controls that adjusted the head and feet. “Now you’ll notice that you feel no back strain whatsoever. (our feet went up - in bed)... “Now, you can push this button, and it automatically adjusts to the perfect position for watching television (in bed). Now, as I lower you both back to the flat position, you’ll notice how you feel as if your back stretched... (we flattened out - in bed)...

Then, we both flung a leg off the bed - we were just tooo ready to get up and get back to the office... “But wait. Get your legs back up there...” said the salesman. He then adjusted the mattress a couple more times, explaining that we would get 220-bucks worth of free Tempurpedic pillows with purchase of a queen sized bed - a bed that was beginning to feel like a shared boat ride...

He finally allowed us off the bed and we were able to leave the store... Somehow, I was a little disappointed that no one handed me a glassine bag with a fortune cookie in it. If they had done so, I believe my fortune may have read, “Don’t go into mattress stores, or you may end up with your boss...” Yeah. You get it.

I guess it’s fair to mention that my boss and I have yet to discuss this, joke about it, make any reference to it - or even return to the same restaurant.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Last Sunday, I went to see a tribute concert entitled “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” At the start of the concert, a slightly stooped old man walked onto the stage, carrying an open-back banjo. The audience immediately leapt to their feet and cheered. The 86-year old Pete Seeger had yet to say a word. Already, it was a cool show.

In 1950, Pete Seeger founded a magazine called Sing Out! It was a publication birthed from a New York City-based urban folk co-op called People’s Artists. Pete used the magazine to share not only political and labor-related tunes, but also songs by up-and-coming folk, gospel, and blues artists. The magazine survived severe financial problems – yet always managed to restructure and continue.

Today, Sing Out! Magazine is not only one of the world’s foremost resources on current music, but houses the largest folk-music inventory that I know about. They publish Pete’s autobiography, and the famous folk music sing-a-long book, “Rise Up Singing.” The actual magazine is published 4 times/year – and is accompanied by a 20-song CD sampler of today’s best and brightest folk artists. (I’m plugging, I know – but if you’re interested,

My friend, Scott is the managing editor – and thought that since the 55th anniversary of the magazine coincided with Pete’s “retirement” from writing his “Appleseeds” Column, a tribute was in order. I can’t believe a) how much work the show was, b) how great the show was, and c) how many amazing artists were willing to fly in from all over the place – just to sing two songs and do a finale with Pete Seeger.

Holly Near, Stephan Smith, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwartz, Janis Ian, Odetta, Judy Collins, Bruce Cockburn (my favorite!), Natalie Merchant, and Pete’s old band mate, Ronnie Gilbert (one of the original “Weavers”) attended. Many of the performers sang a capella (Can we expect anything less from ‘Sweet Honey in The Rock’s Bernice?).

The evening was full of the required political songs, but many of the artists sang funny folk songs – about English being a crazy language and how self-important people should write their autobiographies. Ronnie Gilbert then read a passage from HER autobiography, where she talked about Pete Seeger’s involvement in the progressive party – and sang of how both donkeys and elephants made up the merry-go-round...

In all – a generous evening full of exceptional and generous musicians. During the evening, I sat next to a reporter, who told me all the artists had to submit their song requests. Several asked to sing, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Pete himself planned on playing it – but gave it to Bruce Cockburn because he liked that version better (Recorded on Appleseed Recordings' "Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger," available at Scott tells me that Natalie Merchant walked around back stage calling Pete “Mr. Seeger” all evening. All the artists let us sing along. The evening ended with the audience singing “Goodnight Irene.”

For me, it was cool to sing "The Hammer Song," (which I've been singing all my life) with one of its authors.

Fran and I then had coffee with the reporter – and went home thinking the evening was even better than we thought it could be. So. Happy Anniversary, Sing Out! You really know how to throw a party. And Pete? You can retire, but you can’t stop singing!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

All Before Nine AM

Too many weddings! This morning I had a need to veg, so I stopped at a yard sale. I immediately wished I hadn’t. The homeowner noticed I was looking at a table full of Barbie Dolls – Actually I wasn’t really looking at the dolls, I was sort of browsing across the aisles on my way to the other side of the garage. When she walked over to me – I happened to be right in front of a table full of dolls. She said the following… Abridged.

“Hello. Are you interested in Barbie Dolls? I have three of them here. Oh, and one Ken Doll – And lots and lots of clothes. There must be at least ten outfits here – All kinds of stuff. I saved it for my daughter’s children but they’re not interested in dolls, so here they are… Oh, and I have porcelain dolls too if you like them. All sorts of dolls.

You know? My husband goes to Saylorsburg when he needs to find things – and if you ever need ANYTHING – you should go to that flea market in Saylorsburg. You wouldn’t believe it. If someone’s looking for a lamp – you know, so (demonstrates) high – they just go there. “I’ll find it!” They say. And they do. They get there at 5:30 in the morning with flashlights looking around until the place opens. Yeah…

Then she stopped for a breath and sighed, “Porcelain.”

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Value of Digital Photography

I'm sorry I haven't been here for awhile - busy week - But I wanted to tell you about the worst day I've had in awhile (that's some promo, eh?)

Anyway, for those who may not know, I photograph weddings as a freelance gig. It's usually pretty easy - the kinds of people I work with are really very cool. I've had relatively few horror stories, and the extra income is nice.

So I get to my bride's parents home on Friday - I pull out my two bags of equipment (that I so carefully packed on Wednesday - because it's been a busy week... and look to begin.

All I have to say is this:

Really great, upscale high-end consumer camera; $1500
Portable hard drive, card reader, and appropriate battery: $450
Brand Spankin' new light meter: $220.

Battery Charger AT HOME Plugged into my kitchen outlet, where it's charging the battery I ALSO forgot: USELESS.

Thank goodness I have a backup film camera.

Other notables about this particular wedding was how much and how early the entire bridal party started drinking... About 2 PM. I left the reception at about 10:30. Still drinking Coors Light... I have no idea how those people were still walking! Anyway, I'm only continuing on because I want to share the most ridiculous drunken pick up line I've ever received at a wedding... "Hey, would you like to take my photo first thing in the morning?"


Sometimes Dave tells me the only good way to end a day is to end it.