The last time I suspended writing this blog, it was because I had a heart attack. I’m pleased to report that my health these days is, overall, fine. But this time–the dog didn’t eat my computer, no, but a fire ate most of my home. It spared the room where I keep my computer, recording equipment, and musical instruments, but vaporized my book and music libraries, along with most of my clothing. My wife, Cindy, got to keep most of her clothes but likewise lost the bulk of her library. We are staying with friends until we can move back into temporary quarters (any day) get temporary electric service (manana, it seems), and start the process of rebuilding. We’ve got a crackerjack architectural team, Howard Switzer and Katey Culver, on the redesign, and my son the crackerjack carpenter ready to put ‘er up when the time comes. Meanwhile, we are refugees, albeit high-class refugees. We have a great place to stay, and it’s much easier to lose your stuff and keep your friends than vice-versa. I know, because I’ve done both.
You could say, I suppose, that my feelings of foreboding helped manifest our own personal collapse, while America sails blithely (and blindly) on, and, indeed, we suspect that the fire that broke out was smoldering for a couple of days before it went critical, and if only, if only we had looked harder, we could have prevented much of the loss. But I didn’t, and so here we are. Hey, the Nashville Fire Department came in with an infrared heat detector and couldn’t find anything–then they thought they’d put it out, leaving major smoke and water damage but most of the house intact, at 1AM a week ago last Wednesday, and by 3 AM it was roaring back, and that’s when it ate the house and all that was in it. IF we’d accepted the Red Cross’s offer to pay for a motel room, the whole place would have burnt down–but we chose to camp on our land, and thus were close enough to call the fire department back when we noticed the renewed blaze.
The house was a disaster before the fire–poorly insulated, bad windows, rotting sills, rotting floors in the bathroom and laundry room, only two small windows on the south side. We’d been talking for years about tearing it down and building something saner. We just assumed we’d give ourselves a chance to get our stuff out before we did the demo. Ah, well…..
Here’s the gist of the radio show I’d do if I had the time and energy to put one together for early May:
The US cruises blithely on, as if it could never fail, just like the Roman Empire before it.
While the media were totally focused on Boston, pipelines leaked in Arkansas, a fertilizer plant blew up in Texas, two LNG barges exploded in Alabama, and an oil refinery caught fire in Michigan, causing far more damage, deaths, and injuries than the Boston fiasco.
But that’s big business, big American business, not a disgruntled Muslim immigrant–and on that point, I have yet to see anybody note that the guy who, way back in the 1950s, started the Muslim Brotherhood, the granddaddy of all “terrorist organizations,” which recently took power in Egypt with the US’s blessing, came to the US as a young student, prepared to admire our country, and became disgusted with our superficial, materialist values–as am I, and you, and a great many other Americans, all of us sensible (or is it cowed?) enough not to take up arms against the currently all-powerful Security State. Instead, we just cultivate patience, hunker down, and hope it falls apart soon, without too big a chunk landing on us and ours.
Meanwhile, a big chunk has landed in my lap, and it may take a couple of months or more for me to dig my way out of this one.
Jim Bement will be taking my shifts on the show as well as his own. He’s an experienced DJ and a good talker, and I’m sure you will enjoy his shows. You can learn more about him at:
music: Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House”
Jimi Hendrix, “House Burning Down”
Kate Wolf, “Carolina Pines” (link is to an excellent cover by “The Gordons”)