homegrown.

The PG ran a story about bacn today, taking the time to identify the term and discuss some of its ramifications. The reporter spoke with two people — a PR guy and an author from New York, a woman who works for a software firm in Florida, a representative of Best Buy based in Minneapolis, a consultant from Atlanta and a marketing dude in Los Angeles.

Wow — that’s a well-sourced story, right?

Wrong.

Want to talk with someone about the term, its creation and its meaning? How about talking with one of the people who created it? They shouldn’t be hard to find — because they’re RIGHT HERE IN TOWN. Want to talk with an Internet security specialist? How about someone at CMU? We’ve got marketing people, consultants — hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people right here in Pittsburgh who can intelligently address this topic — and the PG is calling faceless guys in New York instead.

To me, the single most impressive thing about attending the first Podcamp Pittsburgh was the discovery of the depth of expertise, knowledge and experience that exists here. After year two, though, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. If the PG wanted to find local sources, they could have started by looking at the bacn site I referenced above and checking with any of the six people who are named there.

Guys — this could have been a great local story. Guess you forgot about the “local” part.

gd day.

 

baaarton

On May 8, 1977, GD played one of its legendary shows — one that frequently shows up at the top of the list when Deadheads are discussing the best shows of all time — at Barton Hall at Cornell University.

It’s not clear to me whether Carolyn Peterson, the mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., attended that Cornell show, but she is smart enough to know her history — she’s declared May 8, the show’s 30th anniversary, as Grateful Dead Day in Ithaca.
Here’s the text of the Mayoral Proclamation:

Whereas, the Grateful Dead have been recognized by many highly credible organizations, individuals and entities including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as significantly important and integral to the musical and social fabric of our contemporary culture, and;

Whereas, on May 8, 1977, the Grateful Dead performed in Barton Hall on the campus of Cornell University in the city of Ithaca New York, a concert that is widely acknowledged and regarded as a defining and transcendent occasion and example of the art of contemporary musical improvisation, collaboration, musicianship, and performance, and;

Whereas, many tens of thousands of individuals who were not in attendance that night in Barton Hall, have become knowledgeable & familiar with the extraordinary nature of the performance on May 8, 1977, through the trading and sharing of recordings of the show, and;

Whereas, the cultural identity and perceptions of Ithaca as a community, have been informed and bolstered by the widespread acknowledgement of the magic of May 8, 1977, and;

Whereas, it has been said many times by many people that, ‚Äúthere is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert”;

Now therefore, be it resolved that as Mayor of the City of Ithaca, and in heartfelt recognition of the thirtieth anniversary of the May 8, 1977, concert performance, I declare May 8, 2007, as Grateful Dead Day in the City of Ithaca.

No word if there will be any kind of official ceremony — like maybe outside Barton Hall at 4:20 p.m. — to mark the occasion.

snow. and other stuff.

I’m not sure what to call what’s been falling for the past several hours. I know our truck was covered with ice when I walked out to the parking lot to head home. I know that the truck was pelted with something frozen during the entire trip.

And I know, thanks to The Wife, that the 10 inches of snow we had on our front porch was beaten down significantly by the same freezy, icy shit, so the traditional Snow On Uncle Crappy’s Front Porch photo, shot just a short time ago, is much less impressive than it would have been at, say, 3 this afternoon.

I also learned a couple of other things, both on the way home:

1) No matter how good your wiper blades are, they will leave a narrow strip — the only unwiped section of the windshield — right in front of your eyes.

2) I’d like to have a hand grenade for everyone who thinks its fine to leave all the snow they just plowed from their driveway in the middle of the road. While the grenade would do a fine job of leveling the 15-inch piles of snow I had to drive through on the way home, I was thinking more along the lines of lobbing it into the garages of the offenders. That, boys and girls, would be beautiful.

dedications.

That’s for HP, a regular Uncle Crappy reader, Kewyson, another regular Uncle Crappy reader, and the Coochie Doctor, who’s looked at Uncle Crappy maybe once. Hah.

That’s for Pennsylvanians everywhere, on the eve of Penn State’s Big Ten quarterfinal game against my Buckeyes.

And that’s for all of us. Because as soon as all this basketball stuff is over, baseball season can really begin.

be good family?

If you attend enough big live shows featuring hippie bands, you’re bound to see people or cars wearing shirts or stickers that ask us all to “Be Good Family.”

After last weekend in Saratoga Springs, I think most members of my “family” can fuck themselves briskly.

The Wife and I had tix to see both Phish shows in Saratoga last weekend, and we both were looking forward to the trip. We found a nice private campground about 30 minutes north of town; The Wife found info about the local brewpub. And two shows at SPAC, which I had always heard good things about.

The show we attended was a nightmare, though, mostly because the folks who attended weren’t interested in being good family or whatever other happy-sounding hippie bullshit we (I do it too, for christsakes) like to throw around.

It’s as simple as this: we staked out a place on the lawn, but when the show started, we were swarmed, pushed, elbowed, talked, cellphoned and puked into submission. The Wife never did actually see the band on stage, thanks to the entire basketball team from the Sisters of the Poor High School in Fuckneck, N.J., who decided to park themselves right in front of us, even though I asked them to move on so MY WIFE WOULD HAVE A CHANCE OF SEEING THE GODDAMN SHOW.

She left, bailing as the meathead who was standing on our blanket shouted the lyrics to NICU in her ear. I asked him if he was cool with the fact that he had ruined my wife’s night; he looked as though he might have seriously considered this notion briefly, but he got over it just as fast. She came back down a song later and I joined her on a spot behind the lawn where we could sort of hear and could at least watch the show on TV.

That was fucking fun. Drive 500 miles to watch Phish on TV. Great.

And then, during the break, The Wife headed back to the beer garden in hopes of finding some liquid relaxation. I’m 37, and I was tired, so I sat down, in an area where no one can see the stage or clearly hear any music, during the set break. People walking by. I get stepped on. I get kicked. Finally, when some drunk asshole is so oblivious to my whereabouts that he STEPS ON MY CHEST AND FALLS ON TOP OF ME, I have had enough. I roll him, grab the collar of his t-shirt and he gets to hear exactly what I think of the experience I’ve had at the show so far. Fuckwad never said a word, never said he was sorry, just scrambled off as soon as I let go of him.

During the second set, I would occasionally wade back into the lawn a bit, far enough that I could hear the music and still see one of the televisions. I’d alternate that with spending time on the blanket with The Wife.

Phish played a great show that night: three or four tunes from my final tour wish list, ungodly jamming (Piper was a half-hour long!) … and I got to listen to muddy sound while I watched it on a video monitor.

Here it comes.

The part I didn’t want to write, but I will, despite the fact that it makes me sound like an AARP member shouting at the kids to “sit down so I can see the concert, goddammit.” I started going to Grateful Dead shows in 1984. Saw them somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 times. And while I freely admit there were plenty of assholes involved in that scene (I offer a torn-down fence at Deer Creek and mountains of fucking garbage outside Three Rivers after my final show in 1995 as evidence), I NEVER HAD AN EXPERIENCE LIKE THAT AT A DEAD SHOW. NOT ONCE.

In fairness, let’s consider a couple things. Could it be a difference in bands? Probably not — enough Deadheads made the transition after Garcia’s death, and Phish has always attracted the same kind of people. Is it generational? Possibly. Is it a New York/Boston crowd vs. the Midwesterners I’m accustomed to? Also a decent chance that this contributed, but then, I saw nothing of this at shows I’ve been to at Philly or Darien. Could it be that alcohol is the current drug of choice? Our favorite legal drug doesn’t exactly promote happiness and brotherhood, but it is good at making people aggressive and pukey, two characteristics I saw plenty of at the show.

Mass consumption of the brown acid? Hmmm.

To boil it down, I had a miserable time at a show that under any other circumstances would have been an all-timer for me, and it was largely because of the people I came in contact with that night. I can’t begin to explain how disappointing that is to me.

Some of this wasn’t anyone’s fault but the folks who run SPAC (ooop — that would be Clear Channel) and the state park that hosts it. The show was clearly oversold — it was impossible for everyone who had lawn seats to be in a position to actually see the stage — there just wasn’t space. I don’t have any idea about how many lawn seats were sold, but a good place to start would be cutting that number by at least 5,000 people.

And as good as the state park police were in getting people into the area, they were nowhere to be seen after the show. The Wife and I followed the advice of a cashier in the local Target and took the back way in, along a road that’s called Pine Littered Boulevard, or something of the like. We were directed to grassy area adjacent to a couple of tennis courts and near the golf course’s clubhouse. In the afternoon, it was gorgeous … but we discovered in the evening that there were no lights, apparently anywhere, on that side of the park. The Wife and I got turned around a couple times, but eventually found the courts, and by extension, the car. Victory!

My ass. We pulled the car to the driveway where we entered the lot, and sat. Turned car off. Listened to enough of a mix tape that these Canadians had put together that The Wife got out and gave them her email address, in the hopes we could get a copy. We didn’t move for about 45 minutes.

Eventually I noticed a line of cars snaking out the other side of the lot we were in. I turned around and followed, only to find that we were following the cart path alongside what I remembered to be a nice, fairly straightforward par four hole on the golf course. We drove around the fairway, the clubhouse and behind the course’s maintenance building. Made it to an actual road. Waited some more. Did pass a couple of state park police cars, whose occupants were sitting inside smoking or playing with the radio.

The show ended at 11:30. We left the state park grounds at 2 a.m.

At some point while waiting in the traffic, it occurred to me that if the exact same thing were to happen at the 6-20 show, I would have a much better time if I sold our tickets; we could spend a little time kicking around Saratoga, get something to eat, and actually have the chance to enjoy our kick-ass camping space that evening.

That’s what we did, with no regrets — not even after getting home Monday and seeing the Sunday set list.

So I’m not bothered by the fact that I didn’t go to the second show. But I am bothered that so many of my “brothers” and “sisters” just didn’t give a shit about anyone but themselves Saturday night.

And the fact that I’m apparently old enough to be concerned about having a place to sit down during a show? That’s even worse…

We still have tickets to the Camden show in August. And we’re going. In the interim, we’ll see some Dead shows. Those’ll be different, because they’re generally not going to sell out, so we won’t be dealing with crowds of the same size … or age. Based on what I’m not sure, but I still have faith that we’re not going to be that disappointed again.