Monday, October 23, 2006

Goodbye to an old friend

This morning, Monday, Oct. 23, 2006, my wife and I lost an old and trusted family member, our cat Hendrix Johnson, affectionately known as "Meow." Meow had contracted a rare and fatal disease called Feline Infectious Peritionitis. It was only in the last several weeks that he started struggling with the worst symptoms of the disease, so he didn't suffer much. He had lost quite a bit of weight over a period of several months, though. Even though this is an infectious disease, there is a good chance that he did not pass it on to our other cat, Kayla. We will know in a couple of days, after we get the test results.

As many of you know, we are very attached to our animals, perhaps because we don't have any children. This was my first animal as an adult, so it is proving difficult for me. I think it might be even worse for my wife, since she couldn't be here with him during his last days.

Meow has always been a special cat. He turned up on our doorstep during a tropical storm in Miami, back in 1993. He actually climbed two flights of stairs, sat right outside our apartment door, and began meowing very loudly. When we took him in, he was very sick. Indeed, he was prone to illness all throughout his life. He grew accustomed to going to the vet, and the staff grew quite fond of him.

Don't get me wrong, though, he lived a good life! Meow traveled with us from Miami to Northern Virginia, back to Miami, and finally to Greenville, Illinois. He lived through the addition of another cat, followed by a dog, to our household. He was always an indoor cat, so he never had to brave the elements. However, we always tried to find houses with an outside screened porch, and we arranged supervised outside forays so he could eat some grass!

I certainly hope that he also knew how much he was loved during his lifetime. I know that many of our friends cherished him as well, especially our Miami friends, who spent alot of time at our house over the years.

For those of you who didn't know him, I will tell you that Hendrix Meow wasn't your typical cat. Rather than being aloof and independent, as cats often tend to act, he was very personable and friendly. He always wanted to be near people. No matter where we were hanging out in the house, he would follow, and sit near us. He was also usually there at the door to greet us when we came home. Indeed, if we had been gone for a few days, he would meow angrily at us when we returned, as if to say "where have you been?" In short, he had quite a personality! We sometimes felt like he was a dog in cat's clothing. He would often join our dog Butch next to the dinner table, begging for food!

I named him Hendrix after both Jimi Hendrix and jazz singer Jon Hendricks. However, he seemed to prefer jazz over rock! I won't even get into how he got the nickname "Meow." It's a long story.

If you would like to see some recent photos, you can view them at my dot-mac site. Goodbye, Mr. Hendrix Meow Johnson! We will always cherish your memory!
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

R.I.P. C.B.G.B.

Legendary New York nightclub CBGB closed its doors on October 15, after a long battle with the landlord and developers intent on urban renewal in the Bowery. I recognize the importance of urban renewal to some extent. However, when it comes to a landmark as important to our culture as CGBG’s, the birthplace of punk, I think this is a tragic loss.

CBGB always championed alternative art and culture, and perhaps that is why the powers-that-be did not consider it worthy of saving. If you look back on past works of art that today are highly valued and appreciated, they were often ignored or even suppressed by society in their own era. They also were usually very critical of the status quo, which is most likely why they were suppressed! I am confident that future generations will recognize the important contribution CBGB made to our culture in its relatively short life.

I tend to be a conspiracy theorist, and I could go on and on about how these are the same people who want to censor or neuter artistic expression, or how developers only do these things so that already wealthy landlords can make huge profits, but I won’t. I will say, however, how sad I am that I never got to see a show at CBGB before it closed!
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gig Stories, Part 2

I heard a new one tonight, and I had to share it. A gentleman came up to me in between songs, and said the following:

"Listen, you guys might want to turn down a bit, because we can't hear you very well."

Think about that one for a minute. I've been trying to figure it out for hours.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy 70th, Steve Reich

I'm a day late, but I wanted to wish Steve Reich a happy 70th birthday! If you are unfamiliar with this pioneer of Minimalism, do yourself a favor and Google him or click on the link in the preceding sentence. Better yet, buy a CD or attend a live performance of his music!
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