DeGraw solid, honeyhoney sweet


Apologies to my readers for leaving the political realm for this post, but this is my blog and I will write whatever the hell I want to on it.  Today I want to write about a concert.

I went to see Gavin DeGraw at the Square Room last night.  I actually got to meet him a few hours before his show, which was a bonus.  He was walking around Market Square in Knoxville.  He seemed to be shopping, but he was kind enough to stop and talk with me for a minute.

DeGraw, musically, was about what I expected him to be.    He sounds a lot like his albums.  He surprised me once; while playing “Mountain to Move”, which is a quiet song, DeGraw turned to his lead guitarist and said, “hold on.”  The music stopped.  DeGraw was annoyed.  He said, “I can’t play over all this talking.”  He then respectfully told the audience to either shut up or leave, and started the song from the top.  The crowd submitted; the room fell completely silent for the entire song.  It was unexpected and stellar.

But the best surprise was the opener I had never heard of, honeyhoney.  There were only two members, a guy named Ben and a gal named Suzanne.  They were uber-talented.  Ben played guitar (and drums, sort of, if you can imagine what that might be like simultaneously), and Suzanne played violin, banjo, and sang (beautifully, but not all at once).  I was so impressed that I bought their disc, First Rodeo.  That’s right, I paid for music.  I listened to it in the car on the way home.  Enjoyable.  Where the hell did this band come from?  I wondered.

Upon arriving home, I wanted to see what sort of youtube presence they had.  I searched “honey honey,” and though there were a ton of hits, I was disappointed to find they were all Mamma Mia and ABBA videos–not that there’s anything wrong with Mamma Mia or ABBA.

Google hooked me up with their website, and as it turns out, I am the one out of the loop, not them.  Unknown to me, Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe have apparently gained relative fame as honeyhoney.  For instance, Kiefer freaking Sutherland is in their video for “Little Toy Gun”.  When I heard Suzanne sing that song live, I mentioned that she sounded almost exactly like Amy Winehouse (she did, but not as much on the record).

Fortunately, Suzanne does not look like Amy Winehouse.  She is an adorable, down-to-earth redhead (for now) with an edgy sense of humor and a welcoming smile.  From what I gathered, Ben is no slouch either.  I’m no judge of masculine sexiness, but when honeyhoney first came onstage, someone nearby asked if Ben was Gavin DeGraw.  The girl next to me noted that he was, “way too good-looking to be Gavin DeGraw.”  I’m not sure if that’s a knock on Gavin or a compliment to Ben.

If you don’t know Gavin DeGraw’s music, climb out of your hole and give it a listen.

I encourage all to visit honeyhoney’s website and listen to them as well.   Feed these relatively famous starving artists by purchasing their music and/or groupie gear (they have cool t-shirts with crows on them).


My interview with The Pakistani Spectator

Pakistani politics

I would like to inform my readers of an up and coming Pakistani website called The Pakistani Spectator.  Its webmaster, Ghazala Khan (who may or may not be a descendant of Genghis), is committed to the free flow of ideas throughout the world.   It is people like Khan who–more than the overpaid CEO’s of biased, failing media conglomerates–are laying the foundation for lasting global understanding, friendship, and peace.  Websites like The Pakistani Spectator are creating a global forum in which the humble average citizen of one country may speak openly with the humble average citizen of another, and these two would-be-strangers may find a common interest in peace that their governments and corporate media would have hidden from them.

If Americans wish to truly know a foreign people, they should look not to the solitary voice of that foreign government, but to the myriad voices of its real people.  This is a luxury only the blogosphere can provide, and it is the luxury that people like Ghazala Khan help provide to the world.  The greatest tool for peace that humans have is direct communication, and never before has that tool been available to so many.

Thomas Paine wrote, “Man will not be brought up with the savage idea of considering his species as his enemy, because the accident of birth gave the individuals existence in countries distinguished by different names.” If, after more than two centuries of lying inefficaciously upon our bookshelves, and lying ceaselessly to the hopeful minds of multitudes, those words are to finally become truth, humankind may owe less gratitude to Paine’s enlightenment than to the free exchange of ideas across the worldwide web.

I agreed to an interview with The Pakistani Spectator, which may be found here.  I encourage all to bookmark the website and watch it grow and develop into a large and peaceful online community.

Debunking the “beauty of the two-party system” myth

Republicrat beast
“Government is a beast” – Thomas Paine

I copy the following from a conversation I had with a Democratic friend, because I think his is one of the most common arguments in favor of the status quo, and I think it is faulty.   My friend said,

“The compromise of Democracy or Republicanism or whatever you want to call it (I think you’re splitting hairs – nobody is advocating mob rule) is what makes our country great… the constant push-pull of left and right that always eventually ends up in the middle.”

My response was this:

Is it great to bomb Pakistan?  Is it great to invade Iraq?   Is it great to detain people without evidence?  Is it great to start wars and support the pre-emptive first strike doctrine?  Is it great that the government can listen to your phone calls, read your emails, etc.?  Is it great to condone torture?  Is it great to imprison non-violent drug users?  Is it great to reward failed business practices?  Is it great to call dissenters terrorists?  Is it great that both parties support all of these measures?  When policies like these have become your cherished middle ground, is the push-pull of left and right really so great?  I think justice is great.  Many have died willingly for it, and i think they were all great.  Supporting moderation in the pursuit of justice is the mark of a person who is not great.”

There is nothing beautiful about two parties whose petty quarrells never fail to bring more government, more police, more imperialism, and less freedom.

The Second Amendment’s wisdom

Weapons, in the hands of a free people, are a general danger to none but tyrants and criminals. The leader who would ban private ownership of arms considers the citizens enemies, and himself above the law. To attempt such a measure without properly amending the sacred contract upon which our government is founded, is a gross denial of justice. It is to assert that there are no laws, but only rulers.