bunt sign

Wednesday, January 9, 2002

What I hate about when things change is that I have to "adjust." I get into a routine that works, and then I have to find another way, just because someone somewhere made a decision without thinking about how it affects me.

This week the programming geniuses at KNBR-AM in San Francisco disrupted my life by replacing a show I listened to every morning while I was running my errands. I got a lot of good information from the Dan Patrick Show, a discussion program about sports with people who know what they're talking about. It made me look smart, because I could pass on the news before my friends heard it.

Now that time slot has been given over to a local call-in show, featuring any idiot with a cell phone who happens to be driving on the Bayshore Freeway (or the Nimitz or 101 or 280) and nothing to offer but an opinion. If I wanted somebody's uninformed opinion, I'd listen to KGO. And if I needed to hear what the idiots were saying today, I'd switch to KSFO.

It's not that I don't believe idiots have a right to their opinions. It's just that I liked things the way they were. Now I'm listening to the oldies station while I'm driving in the mornings. At least there's something I can count on. The music of the fifties and sixties will never change. I'm comfortable with that.

They call them "oldies," but they were cutting edge rock and roll in their day. No need to sneer. Nothing any of the rap-metal-alt-funk artists perform today would have been possible without the Penguins, Gene Vincent and the Temptations. That goes for boy bands and dance pop, too. We had to crawl first.

Not that there's anything wrong with crawling. Are parents who see their baby crawl for the first time any prouder than they will be when the baby takes its first steps? Is it any less of an achievement, in context, than a child running her first race or winning his first tennis match? Or climbing a mountain or finding a cure for cancer? The early advances don't lose their magic just because a person has gone on to other accomplishments.

lotsa green

Looking back toward the house and yard, through the garden.

If I had a point, it would be that the wondrous things we celebrate in context can thrill and delight us just as much on their own, without regard to the context. That's how I can listen to Lesley Gore and Macy Gray, the Archies and Sugar Ray, Elton John and Kid Rock. (You'll notice I didn't stray too far off the main road of modern music. And I have to admit that like almost everyone else I prefer the music of my youth.)

That's also why the baby's first step never loses its power to amaze and delight. It doesn't need context, because it's a miracle all on its own, forever.

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Latest recommendations:

Steve, Evaporation, January 8, A Man, A Mission

Dana, Bobofett, January 9, Detarded

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One year ago: Out of the Tunnel
"It's the prerogative of the minority to stand up for itself and, if necessary, howl about the abuses of the majority."

Two years ago: Not a Critic
"Some day I want people to invite me to dinner and ask me to bring my ... whatever."

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