Welcome 2010!

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
Oprah Winfrey, Queen of all media

As we eagerly await 2010 and head into year six at Toner Mishap, I will attempt to start writing here more frequently. Not that anyone has really complained about the lack thereof, but it’s my way to share bits and pieces of life as I see it through my tinctured glasses.

The last two years have been exceptionally busy and stressful at work. There are some very hopeful signs 2010 will be different. Potential help is on the way and other encouraging signs that the workload will be a bit more manageable.

This all means that I plan to have more personal time for writing and photography in the coming New Year and throughout the decade. I have some goals I anticipate meeting; a few that I will share are:

Grant writing – Work to become a nonprofit grant writer in my spare time, which I hope will lead to ways to spend my semi-retirement years. My goal is to write at least two grants this year.

Reading – Increase my reading total from 13-15 books a year to 20.

Riding – Get on my bike much more this year. I started out with good intentions, but emergency gallbladder surgery put a major crimp in my plans. Not sure I want to push myself for 60- or 100-miles rides, but who knows.

Publishing – I want to publish my own little iBook of photos and essays.

Spending – Spend much less in 2010.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!

Marcus Miller Tutu Revisited Leverkusen 2009

Marcus Miller Tutu Revisited 30th Leverkusener Jazztage
Leverkusen/Germany, 7th November 2009


Marcus Miller, b, bcl
Christian Scott, tp
Alex Han, reeds
Federico Gonzalez Pena, kb
Ronald Bruner, dr


1. Tomaas (M. Miller / M. Davis)
2. Backyard Ritual (G. Duke)
3. Splatch (M. Miller)
4. Hannibal (M. Miller)
5. Jean Pierre (M. Davis)
6. When I Fall In Love (E. Heyman / V. Young)
7. Tutu (M. Miller)

Bitrate 320

Marcus Miller Lugano Switzerland 2008

Marcus Miller - Estival Jazz
Piazza Della Riforma
Lugano - Switzerland
4th July 2008


01 Blast [10:40]
02 Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder) [7:25]
03 Jean Pierre [17:15]
04 Panther [9:08]
05 When I Fall In Love [9:17]
06 Power [5:52]
07 Just Like A Woman [7:53]
08 What Is Hip [8:29]


Marcus Miller: Bass, Bass Clarinet, Sax
Alex Han: Saxophone
Jason "JT" Thomas: Drums
Federico Gonzales Pena: Keyboards

Bitrate 320 CBR FM Broadcast

Thank You Democrats!

From the New York Times:

The Senate voted Thursday to reinvent the nation’s health care system, passing a bill to guarantee access to health insurance for tens of millions of Americans and to rein in health costs as proposed by President Obama.

The budget office estimates that the bill would provide coverage to 31 million uninsured people.

And Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said the business model of the health insurance industry deserved to die.

“It deserves a stake through its cold and greedy heart,” Mr. Whitehouse said.

A State of Happiness

“One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, novelist, dramatist, and historian

New research by the UK’s University of Warwick and Hamilton College in the U.S. has used the happiness levels of a million individual U.S. citizens to discover which are the best and worst states in which to live in the United States. New York and Connecticut come bottom of a life-satisfaction league table, and Hawaii and Louisiana are at the top. The analysis reveals also that happiness levels closely correlate with objective factors such as congestion and air quality across the U.S.’s 50 states.

The full report can be found here: full report or the New York Times story can be found here

1 Louisiana
2 Hawaii
3 Florida
4 Tennessee
5 Arizona
6 Mississippi
7 Montana
8 South Carolina
9 Alabama
10 Maine
11 Alaska
12 North Carolina
13 Wyoming
14 Idaho
15 South Dakota
16 Texas
17 Arkansas
18 Vermont
19 Georgia
20 Oklahoma
21 Colorado
22 Delaware
23 Utah
24 New Mexico
25 North Dakota
26 Minnesota
27 New Hampshire
28 Virginia
29 Wisconsin
30 Oregon
31 Iowa
32 Kansas
33 Nebraska
34 West Virginia
35 Kentucky
36 Washington
37 District of Columbia (not a state, just a state of confusion)
38 Missouri
39 Nevada
40 Maryland
41 Pennsylvania
42 Rhode Island
43 Massachusetts
44 Ohio
45 Illinois
46 California
47 Indiana
48 Michigan
49 New Jersey
50 Connecticut
51 New York

Please set aside one hour of your life immediately for the greatest piece of film analysis. Ever.

Hat tip to dreidelhustler.

E-Verify Works, Con't - By Mark Krikorian - The Corner - National .

Another testimonial (I googled the writer`s name and this seems to be genuine):


I say with interest your brief article on e-verify. I desire to see you from personal experience E-VERIFY WORKS.

I am employed by a pretty significant construction company in the [name redacted] area of Texas. We use on the place of 475 people.

A few months ago, in April, we received a letter from the INS [sic] saying they were passing to inspect our employees documentation provided when we hired them. We convened a merging of our managers to discuss this. It seems that our H/R department had started going through our employment records and establish some "suspicious" information; i.e. they believed that at least some of the recognition that our employees had provided was fraudulent.

We discussed our options; do we distinguish our employees what is happening and grant them the opportunity to "voluntarily terminate" their employment, or do we only go over all our records and let the chips fall where they may. Some of our employees had been with us almost 20 years (i.e. shortly afterwards the "last" amnesty). We decided it was but just to separate our employees we were being audited, and that the data they had furnished when they applied would be turned over to the INS unless they chose to finish their employment.

Personally, I felt my partition had aught to care about. The previous H/R manager had "verified" that all my employees had legal status less than 2 years earlier. One of the other division managers, of Latino descent, basically told me I had no clue. His idea was that between 1/3 and 1/2 of our employees were running under fraudulent documents.

When we explained to our employees the audit we were passing through, and gave them the chance to voluntarily terminate their employment, they scattered like flies. There wasn`t the least bit of hesitation - they left within MINUTES of being told.

We suffered a setback, but we recovered. We immediately instituted a policy of utilizing e-verify for all replacements. We were surprised by how many people with fraudulent documents tried to get through anyway. It took a pair of months, but we recovered.

All I can say is E-VERIFY WORKS. I firmly believe if ALL EMPLOYERS were Needed to use it, the illegal aliens would voluntarily self-deport. They would take no alternative if there were no jobs available.

We want to do this mandatory.

An additional reason to make E-Verify mandatory for all new hires is to even the acting field between legitimate employers like this and crooked ones that knowingly hire illegals - because right now it`s difficult to order the difference.

5 Questions with Michael Runion

As far as I know, Michael Runion was born and raised in the suburbs of Ventura County—although he has made L.A. his home for the past 10 years, and it’s fair to say Los Angeles is his true home. There is a certain quality to his songs where I hear these worlds colliding. Un-jaded in the smog, the self-proclaimed King of LA.

An opening slot followed his last release “Our Time Will Come,” on the Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley band summer tour of ’09. The title track off the aforementioned record has a very soft, minimal, country swing feel to it with Runion’s lilting whisper-of-a-voice cooing, “Well, the moon’s playing dead to trick the ocean, and the hills they sleep on their side.” Dylan-esque blues almost … à la “It takes a train …”

Pumping up his new Tour Ep with the garage rock cruncher “Maxine,” Michael is up to his usual: making unique and wonderful music and bringing it to beautiful people.

1. When you're making music with a group do tend to be a leading voice or let things shape themselves?

Depends on the group. I have a band that I've assembled that accompanies me on my solo material, and I tend to be the main voice when we work together. I have a pretty strong idea of what I want to achieve, which I think comes of as intimidating, from time to time. I have another band, JJAMZ, which functions as a proper unit. Democratic and all that. It shapes itself.

2. You've travelled quite a bit...is there a place out there, other then LA, where you wouldn't mind hanging your hat and why?

I love Germany. Berlin is pretty amazing, and the couple times I've played there the response has been pretty great. Scandinavia is fun. Japan is pretty fucking rad. There's nowhere I would rather shop. Japan turns you into a consumer, for sure. I don't think there's anywhere else I'd live in the United States besides Los Angeles. New York wears me out, and every time I'm there it's like a vacuum is attached to my wallet. Great to place to visit, but LA is my home.

3. Do you want your music to be a viceral or more atmospheric experience?

Hmm, I'm not very excited about those choices. Somewhere in between. Visceral, I suppose, trumps atmospheric. I want my songs, which are simple and straightforward, to be understood right away. I want you to get a feeling of what I'm trying to accomplish by the end of the first verse. I'm not trying to be mysterious or elusive as an artist.

4. Do you tend to fly solo or are you part of a creative community?

I would consider myself part of a community. The majority of my friends are talented musicians, and we keep things close and collaborative. I like my space, don't get me wrong, but I need groups and gatherings or I'll go crazy. It's gotten to the point where I don't really go to shows of bands I'm not friends with, because I go to so many shows already to support people I know and admire. It's very inspiring to constantly be surrounded by people that are busy pursuing what they want to do.

5. How would you paraphrase the body of your solo work?

My body of work is a lot like my real body. Slim and tender, but trying to get toned.

5 Questions with Simone Rubi

I used to book acts at Buffalo Records based in Ventura, CA. Simone was friends with the owner of the shop, John Healy. One summer night she brought in her keyboard and played some songs from an album she was working on at the time, called "Explode from the Center". I didn't see her again until a few months later in Stockholm. She showed me around the city and helped me get a show at a vegetarian restaurant named Hermans.

Simone Rubi is powerful. Catch her if you can. Look at your watch, whatever time it is, chances are Simone is up to something interesting. As half of the dance-pop duo, Rubies, you can hear Simone sing, and sing well. As an artist working on everything from album covers to art installations, you can see Simone create. Always creating, always collaborating. She is a true inspiration and a wonderful friend, just ask any of her friends.

1. What is the hardest part of having a band?

I think the hardest part is making sure everyone in the band is happy and fulfilled. Whether it's on tour, performing, dealing with royalties, or being sensitive to what works musically for everyone as individuals. Everyone is different when it comes to staying inspired and motivated to make the whole thing work.

There are so many facets to being in a band- it's very much like family or a relationship. Being conscious of what everyone needs. Kind of feels like a family business. Mixing business with pleasure. The other hard part for me is to handle most of the business side of things and also write songs. It's two very different mind-sets and some days it becomes very overwhelming to handle all aspects of a band, especially when you put a lot of expectations on yourself and set your goals high.

2. When you perform live, do you create the vibe or does the audience create the vibe?

Both. Some shows start very mellow and the audience seem very distant or cold- and that really pushes me to convince people through our music that what we are offering is a fun and honest place to be. Especially when we play places like Japan or Russia- where culturally it couldn't be more different- those shows are very challenging and often the most rewarding because we've not only accomplished performing our songs, which is very comfortable for us, but we've accomplished understanding each other and the audience in a whole new way.

The audience can sometimes encapsulate a very tiny version of an entire culture. The way they respond, or dance, or facial expressions and how they clap and cheer. Most often though, we like to bring a certain vibe to a place that is inviting people to dance and join us on stage. We want to bring everyone into our house (stage) and have a dance party in the bedroom.

3. What is your take on the current "music business"?

This is a hard one. There is no rule book. There is no real 'school of rock' for people that spend their lives devoted to make money playing music and writing songs. There is no guarantee ever. No consistent pay check. You work super hard to get a promise in the form of a contract- that keeps you going- and sometimes pays the bills if you get a song licensed for tv or film- but I don't think there is any real promise in the music business. I think it's completely up to the band or songwriter to believe in what they are doing and also have a smart marketing approach if you want it to be your career. I also think everyone is so completely used to downloading music for free- which is great to promote your music- but I also think at this stage, we can all figure out ways to still support musicians by still buying their music. Even if it's $1 a song. It's worth it.

A lot of the music business is based on response and enthusiasm that the band creates firstly with their songs and then the label or band has help with a publicist and some radio publicity. I think no matter what, it's really important to trust and like the people at the label that you work with. There is always a risk that they just want to be excited to work with you if you have some sort of buzz- but can also be very quick to forget about you and work with the next band that comes along. At the core, you have to be really happy with the music you're making and hopefully that will come across.

I've noticed a whole new strategy for making 'it'. I have friends that have been signed and received huge advances and then there was a ton of pressure on them and then they ended up disappointed and the songwriter became jaded and lost the plot. A better way is to do a slow build that isn't based on doing a bunch of press- gain your fans naturally but help them become familiar with your music. The fans that find you and the ones that will stay with you through your musical career. Not the ones that bands force their music on- or the fans that labels get you by marketing you as a trendy band.

4. What is your favorite album cover of all time?

I don't have a fave. I like so many.
I really like the cover for Studio's album 'Yearbook 2'
Also "History of Melody Nelson" by Serge Gainsbourg.
Also "Bare Trees" by Fleetwood Mac.
Hmmm...and dare I say, the Rubies album cover?
It's true. I really love it.

5. Is there a place in Europe that you don't care if you never see again?

Sometimes the really touristy spots of Europe can kill all romantic notions of old world historical Europe. Rome has changed a lot. The area near the Colosseum is just filled with cheezy tourists. You are shoulder to shoulder with obnoxious people. I love the piazza Navona area though and Trestevere there. I didn't love Faro in Portugal. It's hard though because I can find beauty almost anywhere. Even the dirtiest of streets and the most desolate of houses. I am curious and interested in the every place.

for more on Simone: www.simonegoes.blogspot.com

The Moon is a Dead World: Book Review - The Dead by Mark E. Rogers

Book Review - The Dead by Mark E. Rogers
The Dead

the short The Moon is a Dead World: Book Review - The Dead by Mark E. Rogers

The Dead is a mere title, but one that does not mimic the complexity of the level within. Rogers' 1989 novel has been reprinted by Permuted Press in a tome containing over 30 original illustrations by the author. Rogers has managed to play in zombies with an intricate religious plot that hinges on sin and repentance.

We are introduced to Gary, an atheist who begins the floor with strange dreams about his father's death that come true. Disappearances, strange mechanical failures, and shared nightmares preclude the zombie apocalypse, which soon becomes a struggle for survival when Gary and his family, especially his brother Max, are targeted by the big bad daddy Legion in his request to damn them to Hell.

The primary aim to get up about Rogers' story is the fact that it manages to give free of the stereotypical zombie genre to admit a logical plot about religion. Zombie films tend to make note of some kind of religious aspect as a case of the zombie outbreak, specifically blaming God for the distress caused, but mostly it remains two-dimensional in scope. Rogers' plot is more focussed on the Final Judgment, and zombies are only a side-effect of that event. This makes the floor so much more intriguing - instead of requiring the subscriber to trudge through 300 pages of zombie mayhem which differs but slightly from others of the same ilk, we get drama that originates from the battle of religion.

One of the better things around The Dead is its reluctance to skip right into the violent, gory nature of zombies. Instead, we're hardened to creepy, atmospheric dreams and frantic conversations that form the lead-up to the Last Judgment so much more eerie than being thrown into the process right away. Rogers has done a secure job of creating tension throughout the piece, enough to keep the reader going without knowing just what is happening.

The zombies are intense, especially because they can't be killed with just headshots. They're practically unstoppable, continuing to raise even when they're in pieces. It makes the action much scarier when the opposition is barely susceptible to weaponry. Legion also has some solid dialogue that gives him a very menacing quality.

The apparatus is good, it's no lie, but there's a place where Rogers starts to suffer a hold on concluding the story. The redemption of the right is somewhat confusing; some suffer, some don't and are just divinely spirited to Heaven. There are a few instances where the ideas are presented but never cleared up; for one, the mechanical failures don't appear to have sense, because the entities that are creating the problem seem to be against the zombies.

There's also a disposition to trust too often on religious dialogues to promote the plot. There are times when whole chapters are devoted to the characters waxing philosophical on their own ideas of religion, and piece it adds good characterization, it can get a little tiring to wade through all of the mumbo-jumbo.

But summationally, The Short works good to combine suffering and sin with zombies in a crazed world, with characters who are continually tested by ultra-stressful events. There's some great imagery here that provides a thick atmosphere, one which can become creepy in the correct setting. While the illustrations could be best in printing quality, they do add a lot to the story alongside it, and Permuted Press' new variant of Rogers' novel thankfully reprints this worthy zombie read. Labels:

Wendell Berry

After class a student shared a great poem with me, so I thought that I would share it with you all. It captures a lot of what we talked about today in class. Oh to feel resurrection in our bones...

Sabbaths (IV)

The woods and pastures are joyous
in their abundance now
in a season of warmth and much rain.
We walk amidst foliage, amidst
song. The sheep and cattle graze
like souls in bliss (except for flies)
and lie down satisfied. Who now
can believe in winter? In winter
who could have hoped for this?

by Wendell Berry from Given (2005)

Thank you to all that shared today. I've really enjoyed this class. See most of you next term!


The Party of NOPE

What John McCain gets for leading his party of nattering nabobs of negativism -- the party of NOPE

Wonderful Writing

I unplugged my computer. “I unhooked the power cord and the two external drives that I have, and the optical mouse with the little red eye in its belly, and the speakers, and the monitors, and the scanner, and the printer, and the keyboard… and I laughed pityingly at them…My computer was as if amputated--all of its ways of connecting to the world were gone, and it was just a black obelisk with a rich man's name on it. It couldn’t reason, it couldn’t speak, it was imprisoned in its frozen memories, its self was in a state of suspension. It could not add anything to what it had done, or remember anything that it had done.”

Nicholson Baker from “The Anthologist”

Bill Evans Group Leverkusener Jazztage 2002

Bill Evans Group Feat Les McCann Live At Leverkusener Jazztage 2002


01. Cool Eddie
02. Older Days
03. Sneaky
04. Your Soul Looks Good To Me
05. Compared To What
06. Shuffle
07. Big Mama

Bitrate 256 CBR

Pat Martino Quartet Keystone korner San Francisco 1977

Pat Martino Quartet Keystone korner 1977


Pat Martino Guitar
Delmar Brown Keyboard
Mark Leonard Bass
Kenwood Dennard Drums


Disc 1

01 Joyous Lake
02 Mardis Gras
03 Sombrero Sam
04 Fall
05 Cat House
06 Along Came Betty
07 Dearborn Walk
08 Line Games

Disc 2

01 Solar Garden
02 SongBird

Pat Martino Quartet Keystone korner
San Francisco CA March 2, 1977

FM Broadcast

Incognito Live In Jakarta 2009

Incognito Live In Jakarta 2009


01 - I Can See The Future
02 - Pieces Of A Dream
03 - Deep Waters
04 - Without You
05 - N.O.T
06 - Can't Get You Out Of My Head
07 - Talkin' Loud
08 - When The Sun Comes Down
09 - Morning Sun
10 - Always There
11 - Clav Interlude
12 - Colibri
13 - Reach Out
14 - Nights Over Egypt
15 - Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing
16 - Everyday
17 - I Hear Your Name
18 - Still A Friend Of Mine

Recorded live at the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta 2009

Atonement Slides and The Reading Report!

Hello to you all,

Perhaps this is the first time that you knew that this class had a blog, but here you are now!

First, here is the link to the power point slides for today's discussion on Atonement.

Second, here is the link to the Reading Report that is due in class next Wednesday.

Oh, and I heard a very disturbing thing today. Bacon fat may actually be beneficial to your health! Boy, that really messes with my brussel sprout/bacon atonement theory...

Great class today!!

Happy Advent!