Happy 70th

May 24, 2011
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Choosing a favorite Bob Dylan song is impossible.  It would be wrong to let his 70th birthday pass, though, without a singing his praises.

Hmm…  My voice is even worse than his.  I’ll let David Bowie handle this one.

Song For Bob Dylan


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Song of the Day — David Bowie

January 28, 2011
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Ok, universe.  You passed the test.  I have been a monster ever since getting home tonight from work, haven’t written a thing in two months, posted almost no music, have abandoned this blog, and now, surfing the net, riding a wave of needy and fragmented, I dropped by here to prove to myself that I am alone.

Found a whole bunch of visits.

What are people looking for?  I can only guess.  Who visited?  Not a clue.  The WordPress ticker gives me raw numbers and nothing else.  But people keep coming here looking for something, and I don’t do porn or cute animal pictures — or both — so… yippee!  A fabulous source of guilt!  Oh, I feel bad for not writing.  I’m a bad, bad boy for not posting songs.  I deserve punishment…

Oops.  I said no porn.  Ok.  Here are a couple of songs off of Aladdin Sane, which I’ve always thought of as “Ziggy Stardust, the leftover tracks”.  That may sound snarky, but is actually high praise.  Anything even remotely attached to Ziggy is a gift from God.

Drive In Saturday

Panic In Detroit



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Song of the Day — David Bowie

May 24, 2010
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Thanks, new friend.

Andy Warhol

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Addendum of the Day — David Bowie

May 19, 2010
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I realize now that those 3AM musings managed to do what I could not do in real life: ignore the presence of David Bowie in the room.  Oh, yeah.  Mr. Velvet Goldmine, Mr. Glam Changeling was not beside the point.  He just got subsumed by one of the most satisfying births since, oh, the beginning of the mammalian era.

This song, “Fascination”, is one of a few stellar products from his mid-70s, post-Ziggy/Aladdin-freak, pre-Berlin-cool phase, when he embrace the Philadelphia Sound (which to my ear consists of funked up R&B with cool electronic gizmos).  Although others are worthy of Best Song of the Phase status (most notably “Fame”, which he sings with John Lennon, and “Young Americans”), “Fascination” reminds me to dive through that portal.  The music is like a magnet, the words give it focus, and when I listen to this song I feel like I am body surfing and have caught the best wave of the afternoon.

Check it out.  If this style is at all your style you’ll like it.  If this song is an old, forgotten friend already, then say hello again.


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Song of the Day — David Bowie

May 19, 2010

What a silly time to write.  3 in the morning, while on call.   Following two women each of whose labors are slow, each of whose babies are doing fine.  I could nap for half an hour.  Tomorrow I will regret not sleeping more.

Tonight I am fascinated.  And once again Late Night Exuberant Nick indulges himself at the expense of Morning Slow-Moving Grumpy Nick.

Thus it has always been.  Thus it remains.

There’s a reason that Harold and the Purple Crayon kept me so absorbed — Harold understood that no matter when the portal of fascination opens, you must take your purple crayon and dive through it.  Go exploring.  Indulge.  It’s a crime against yourself to do otherwise.

Today I got to be present for an amazing labor and delivery.  A young woman from Guatemala, standing all of four feet, eight inches, having spent all of five months in this country, pushed out her first baby — an eight pound, five ounce boy.  Pretty standard story, so far, to my eyes.  We get a lot of Guatemalan Harolds here, keeping their heads down and working their purple crayons to draw new lives for themselves.

What was unusual was her two older sisters.  They were utterly acculturated, speaking perfect English with only slight accents.  Though they were in their mid- to late-20s, they had a total of only one child between them.  They were almost as small and thin as my patient, and worked constantly.  One would murmur in her ear during contractions while the other refreshed the damp cloth and wiped her forehead.  One would draw the bath while the other calmly and forcefully reminded the patient that she was going to do this, that she should breathe through this contraction.  The patient took a few baths.  Each time, when I walked in the room afterwards, the fronts of her sisters’ shirts and jeans were soaked.

After a while, I decided that these women must have attended many births.  I knew that their mother (whose body had borne 9 children) was a midwife.  Not only were these two sisters engaged throughout, nurturing her, coaxing her, reminding her that she was strong enough to get through this, they also had a mastery of the small touches.  The face cloth.  The back massage.  The well timed joke.  It was no surprise, when the disc that monitored her baby’s heartbeat slipped off, that one of her sisters absent-mindedly picked it up, swabbed more gel on it, and replaced it.  Perfectly.  Found the heartbeat immediately.

The aftermath of a normal, healthy birth is always a warm, euphoric scene — a similar feeling to that of a dressing room after a successful performance.  It’s always satisfying to catch the new mom’s attention and explain to her exactly what she, personally, here, today, did that was amazing, and why that means she is likely to be a great mom.  I never lie.  I never have to.  Maybe three or four times I have felt like I couldn’t find meaningful praise, and those times have skipped this spiel and just said congratulations.

Today, I got to do this, and then lingered longer than usual to praise her sisters.  That’s when I found out that, though the eldest had been through her own labor, neither of them had ever attended a birth before.  I must have looked surprised, because the younger of the two then launched into the story of how they had talked to everyone they knew, and had taken books out of the library and watched “many many videos.”  Clearly, this was the project of the entire few months since they had found out about their newly-arrived sister’s pregnancy.

I said, “Excuse me, but we read a lot in medical school, too.  You’re not supposed to be this good at it without experience.”

She laughed briefly, to show me that she got the joke.  Then said, “but it was FASCINATING!”

It is.


One last thing.  Roll your eyes if you want to.  Yes, I’m talking to YOU, my dear.

I want these people in my country.  I’m talking about people who grab their purple crayons, who bust their butts to make good lives.  This is not at all about lefty-liberal politics.  This is me wanting to surround myself with people who work hard and show initiative.  I love that.

You can unroll your eyes now.

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