mackknopf: (Celtic Cross)
I went to Tuscaloosa last Sunday for the first time since the tornados to view the devastation and visit my Aunt Brenda with Mom and Dad.  I'd seen pictures, but there's nothing quite like seeing for yourself.  Tragically, the tornados hit mainly the poorest parts of town, though some of downtown and near the campus was hit as well.  The University of Alabama and the hospital escaped unscathed, I'm glad to say, as did my aunt's neighborhood.  But Alberta City, where the Mexicans and other generally poor people live?  It looks like cluster bombs went off.  I can only compare it with pictures I've seen of destruction in Afghanistan.  I had no idea the area affected was so large.  


Brenda and her husband, Jimmy, drove me and Mom around in their SUV.  One of the first buildings we passed going in was used for a temporary morgue, though the bodies have since been moved.  By now, some of the trees and destroyed cars had been removed, but by no means all.  Jimmy went out to this area with his chainsaw shortly after the tornado, along with a lot of others, to help clear the roads.  They're passable now, and I'm told that the scene looked much worse when fallen trees were everywhere. 
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mackknopf: (Typing Away)
Today (well, two hours ago, before Tuesday turned into Wednesday) was Bob Dylan's birthday.  He started off as one man, one guitar, and a harmonica.  Plugging in for the bands came later.  I experienced his music out of order (sort of how I read books, actually), so I never had the experience of being shocked by his musical transformation at the Newport Folk Festival.  I doubt it would have bothered me, though.  I like most everything he's done, though not his newest stuff.  His voice is just about gone, so I didn't go hear him when he came to Birmingham a few months ago.  This makes me sad, that I feel he needs to retire, but he's still touring (off in China, last I heard).  I guess, Bob, you can keep playing as long as you like.  When you retire, though, Dad won't be surprised if you get the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Always reinventing himself, the amazingly prolific Dylan has created a vast body of work. And oh, the song writing and composing -- what a treasure!  There are some who never liked his voice, but I always did, rough or high, until a few years ago.  To quote Don McLean in his song "American Pie," it's a voice "that came from you and me."  Never technically perfect, it's always been full of passion, ideal for folk music or folk rock.

I've seen Bob Dylan a number of times and enjoyed every concert.  I'm not sure how I can tell you how much his songs have mattered to me, or the connection I feel to the man.  Wherever he is right now, I hope he had a great birthday, full of friends and love.  I'll leave you with a few quotes, though I could quote many more from memory.

"To live outside the law you must be honest."

"At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew/ Round up everyone who knows more than they do."

"Peace will come with tranquility and splendor."

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mackknopf

March 2012

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