f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 26, 2006

momentary pauses

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:27 pm

It is always a pleasure to agree with a smart, good-looking woman. 

Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel is right: we all need

to “Update Our Insults,” and stop calling political opponents Hitlers,

Stalins, Nazis, etc.  (Washington Post, March 26, 2006)




“Present differences deserve to be described in contem-

porary terms. The purpose of public speech is not just

to restate anger but to clarify the principles and evidence

that fuel it — in ways that invite discussion, not inhibit it.

The demons are already among us — so let’s muster up

some new analogies and declare a ceasefire on such

[antiquated] demonizing rhetoric . . . “

Sadly, though, I must report that Katrina has raised my expectations,

only to dash them.  In the second half of its awkward title, her WaPo

op/ed column today seems to promise New Names to Call,in place

of the historically outdated epithets.    All we get from her are quotes

from politicians (and actors) calling their adversaries by the old slurs.  

There is not even one suggested, modern substitute.  As weblogger

Jacques Hawtrey points out, we don’t even get a reference to a re-

cent, infamous eponymous Hurricane from Katrina.

tiny check  Sorry, K, this workproduct doesn’t   “C-GradeG” 

merit so much as a C grade.  I’d be happy to

make a few suggestions, but that would be

condescending — especially to a woman who

has an entire magazine staff to help her research

and brainstorm.

Maybe a WaPo editor mistakenly cut out the bottom half

of the op/ed piece.  Maybe Katrina was too busy preparing  

for Sunday morning talk shows.  I’ve got a “soft-spot” for

ya, Young Lady.  So, you get another week to finish this project.

Please no Electra or Delilah tricks.  You might still get a

B+, if you live up to your potential.


on the face

that last night called me names

morning sunbeam



      from Almost Unseen



umbrella vert  Another admission:  Mother Nature has let me down, 

too, recently.   I’m among those described today the NYT op/ed

piece, A Momentary Pause, by Verlyn Klinkenborg (March 26, 


“I have to keep reminding myself that it is only late March.

I have been so eager for spring that it feels as though time

has almost stopped. One reason may be that it was warm

a few weeks ago and then the cold returned, putting the

season on ice. But there is something else going on as well.

Scientists say that spring comes earlier than it used to. The

snow cover dwindles sooner and bud break comes earlier.

And yet our awareness of that makes it feel as though spring

comes even earlier than it is already coming. Global warming

accelerates faster in our heads than it does in fact. March is

not quite the new April yet.”


You’ll find the same over-anticipation of “Spring-like weather” at

the joint haiku weblog UKKU Spring Haiku, and at my own

dagosan’s haiku diary

late March —
not a lamb
in sight




Of course, we all know that the spring equinox scarcely ever brings

consistently mild weather.  But, even those of us who really dislike

summer’s heat, seem to yearn for early Spring.  Although few of us

will be mending any fences, we might all try to follow Klinkenborg’s


“In the country it’s easy to find yourself leaning forward

all through the year, always waiting on the next season,

getting through your life as though you were walking into

a stiff wind. This is one of those days when I catch myself

in that posture — pitched forward into the gale of time. So

I’ll try to slow down and straighten up.”


“THNLogoG” One woman who never disappoints the haijin in me is

our most Honored Guest Carolyn Hall:


thunderstorm —
in a blue vase  




Sunday morning
ants on the rim of my
coffee cup  



the stranger’s binoculars
                 from hand to hand
chicks in the heron’s nest 





wilderness trail
the manicured poodle
still on a leash


“thunderstorm–” – (I:4, Dec. 1999)

“Sunday morning” – (II:1, Jan. 2000)

“the stranger’s binoculars” – (II:4, April 2000)

“wilderness trail” – (II:11, Nov. 2000)


afterthought (11 PM, march 26):  I meant to mention the op/ed

piece today by Washington Post ombusman Deborah Howell,

perspective on how hard it is to please the military, civilians

or reporters, with press coverage of Iraq by the Post.  After

noting that many readers see coverage through their own

political filters, Howell states:

“After talking and corresponding with Post staffers and other

journalists with Iraq experience and experts in and outside

the military, I find no easy resolution to the complaints.


“Here’s why:


actin’ naturally: buck owens is still picking and smiling

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:42 pm

I was a Buck Owens fan long before I knew it.   In my sheltered, urban,

Northeast childhood, “Act Naturally” was a Beatles song, released in 

1965, when I was fifteen — the flip side to the most covered song in record

history, “Yesterday— and the anthem, sung along with Ringo Starr, for my

youthful (and not-so-youthful) romantic failures. 


                                                                        record cover ActNaturallyLabel

Act Naturally (J. Russell – V. Morrison)

They’re gonna put me in the movies
they’re gonna make a big star out of me
We’ll make a film about a man that’s sad and lonely
and all I gotta do is act naturally

The biggest star in country music in the 1960s made not the slightest

dent on my psyche.  Not when he achieved 15 #1 hits in a row, nor when

he adopted the red, white and blue guitar, that became his trademark at the

end of that decade, to show his patriotism, while I concentrated on Viet Nam

War protestation.




It took me a few decades to realize that Buck Owens had his first #1

country hit with “Act Naturally” in 1963 (click here to hear Buck and Ringo

sing the tune together).   My ignorance was due in part to city-folk bias

against country music, which also kept me from becoming a fan of the

Hee-Haw tv show, where Buck was a co-host from 1969 to 1986.  (see

Washington Post Buck Owens obituary, March 26, 2006)


                                                                                 BucLogoN crystal palace


I missed out on a lot of fun and good honky-tonk music — even after

I became a big country music fan in the late ’70s (thanks to a few friends

who played in country-rock bands).  Buck went into a voluntary retirement,

just when I would have most appreciated his brand of guitar-driven, pared-

down, strong beat, “American music”. 

Streets of Bakersfield Lyrics
(Homer Joy)

You don’t know me but you don’t like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

BucGlitter owens                                                             


It wasn’t until he recorded “Streets of Bakersfield,” in 1988, with country star

(and actor) Dwight Yokam (on the Buenas Noches ..” album), that I finally

focused on this remarkable man and musician, who seemed to enjoy himself

so much, even when singing about mean streets and broken hearts — and

even though he had to buck the sappy trend in Nashville country music, to create

his own “Bakersfield sound” in blue-collar California.


                                                                                                       DYoakam yoakam


In 2000, newer generations got to hear Buck Owens sing “Act Naturally” again,

on the soundtrack of Denzel Washington’s Remember the Titans (2000).  It

is sadly ironic that it took his death yesterday, to get millions of us to cue up

one of Buck’s albums and enjoy his music today.  Buck Owens deserves to

be remembered far beyond the Country Music community.  He is surely

still doing what comes most naturally to him — plucking that patriotic guitar,

tapping his foot, and smiling.  My foot is tapping, too.  Seventy-six years is

not enough for us, Buck, but thank you for taking us along your journey.


 BucOwensMug  You can find a 27-page, multimedia bio, at Buck’s official



p.s. This site with “Act Naturally” lyrics, has this sad link:   



Powered by WordPress