A Few Updates

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Time to catch breath. I've blogged on far more topics than I expected to when I started this up. I have received so many kind comments, both on- and off-line. I intend to continue it indefinitely, because I love writing it.

Some of the things I've blogged about deserve another quick look:

Salute to Ray Davies was prompted by the upcoming release of the longtime Kinks' leader's first solo album. I expressed nervousness about whether the CD would be good. The late Kinks albums were pretty weak.

Well, the album, "Other People's Lives" is out and it's not merely good, it's great from beginning to end. It manages to capture everything fans love about Ray, and yet sound quite different from anything he's done before. That might be because, as he explains in the liner notes, his Kinks songs were written in the studio, which suggests they were written to order, on deadline, with an expensive clock running, perhaps a little slapdash. This time, Davies labored his songs. He risked overthinking, but the extra effort pays off. I can't tell you what my favorite song is yet. There might be a "Waterloo Sunset"-level masterpiece among them.

Some will miss that shambling Kinks style. Ray's brother Dave was a guitarist of little technique and a lot of attitude. The skilled session musicians on the new one, aided by digital recording technology, come up with a much different sound — more rhythmic, more soulful, more American. Davies' vocals are strong and, as in his best Kinks music, very human. "Other People's Lives" is not to be missed.

I asked "Will There Be Flowers?" in Borrego Springs this March. I didn't make it out there, but apparently there is only a limited bloom due to the late-arriving rainfall. Things are a little more colorful in Death Valley. North of Los Angeles, the California Poppy Reserve is flourishing, and probably worth a trip. Check this site for desert wildflowers sightings throughout the desert southwest.

Hee Seop Choi is on the Red Sox's disabled list. His Dodger replacement, Nomar Garciaparra, looks like he's heading there, too, along with another new Dodger Codger, Kenny Lofton. To paraphrase Earl Weaver, Ned Colletti just got a lot dumber, and a lot closer to his injury snake-bit predecessor, Paul DePodesta.

The Tunguska meteor theory of global warming hasn't picked up much traction, although one of my commenters endorsed it. I'm not sure if I even endorse it! But I like asking questions.

Nobody's bought the former Knight-Ridder newspapers that McClatchy put up for sale, but bids are coming in, including a combined bid from the Newspaper Guild and Ron Burkle's L.A.-based Yucaipa investment firm.

Blogging turns out to be a good way to connect with old friends and forgotten enthusiasms. I wrote about the history of Elliot Mintz, spokesman for Paris Hilton and, before that, John Lennon, and got lots of great memories of 60s and 70s radio lore in the comments area. This blog has put my family and me back in touch with several long-lost friends — what could be more gratifying? People my age are starting to finally live their dreams, to rethink their careers, and to cherish the good health of their loved ones. It's also been wonderful to hear from other bloggers whose work I greatly respect, and from my fellow denizens of the greatest site on the whole Internet, Dodger Thoughts. Your kind words about this site mean so much to me.

Back in December, I started this blog with a somewhat dramatic, breathless recounting of the last three weeks of my last job — including a ferry ride across an icy lake that struck me as symbolic of my situation. In that post, I mentioned that, shortly after I lost that job, I was indicted. Now, 15 months later, I finally get my trial, starting tomorrow.

I've gotten so many wonderful notes of support and good wishes, and I'm so grateful for them. Many of these notes say something to the effect of, "You must be so stressed out." Well, the adrenaline is certainly pumping; I'm highly alert. But, no, I'm not stressed out. I'm a fortunate person. I have an amazing wife, a wonderful son, a brilliant and supportive family, and so many great friends. And, I believe our justice system ultimately will be fair.

During the trial, which will last about four weeks, blogging here will be light. There might be a guest comment or two. I'm not going to use this site to address my case while it is going on. If I do post, it will be the usual stuff I write about. Whatever that is.

3 thoughts on “A Few Updates

  1. John, best of luck with the trial. I hope it doesn’t take too much of a mental toll on you. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and of course, your comments over at Dodger Thoughts. The old saying is “all I know is what I read in the paper”. Well, all I know about you is what I read here and at Jon’s house. And what I know, I really like. Again, best of luck.

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