When I was in first grade, back at Scripps Elementary School in San Diego, I was interested in the same sort of things as most other six-year-olds. Riding bikes, going to the beach, playing with Hot Wheels cars, and kickball were high on the list. Star Wars—an obsession that stays with me to this day—was still a year away. What was also happening in 1976, though, was a presidential election. Former House Minority Leader Gerald Ford had assumed first the vice presidency, then the presidency as the Watergate scandal racked up its political casualties. In 1976, Ford ran against former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter.
One day at school, probably late in the election year, I was involved in a brief—yet intense—schoolyard confrontation between six-year-old supporters of Ford and similarly-aged fans of Carter. "We want Ford!" chanted one side, while the other had a Carter mantra going. I remember one kid had fashioned a sign out of a piece of notebook paper and a paper clip. As the two mobs approached each other, seemingly on a collision course to a pint-sized rumble, several teachers stepped in and reminded us that we were supposed to be hanging off the jungle gym, not debating an election we were still a dozen years away from being able to vote in. The respective mobs quickly dispersed, and all was well. I honestly don't even remember what side I was cheering for, although knowing the way my mind worked, I likely gravitated toward Ford, since his name sounded like a car.
I'm telling you this story, a tale that until just a few days ago I had all but forgotten about, because for a large part of 2012 I have been engaging my "friends" on Facebook in some pretty heated political discussions.
Now, I love a good debate, and I've had some pretty passionate exchanges with folks, but earlier this week I realized that by both taking and laying the political bait, I was basically resorting to acting like that six-year-old from 1976. Actually, given some of my retorts to folks on Facebook, I was actually far more mature at six. It made me think, and then (as more often than not happens), it caused me to write this:
"All right, I'm done. I'll admit that I like a good argument (my favorite Monty Python sketch, I mean after the Lumberjack one and the Cheese Shop one? The argument sketch), but in this election year I've finally hit the wall. From now until election day I will neither post, nor contribute to any political discussions. It took a particularly sad incident recently to wake me up and see how little I'm accomplishing by arguing on FB. No one's going to change my mind, and I'm not going to sway anyone with different ideals than me. Hell, I'm not even that political. I'm going to get back to talking about what really moves me: music, film, photography, all things geeky, and most importantly, my beautiful family. Oh, it'll be hard going cold turkey, because like I said, I REALLY love a good debate, but politically I'm going dark until election day in 3...2...1..."
To my surprise, I was immediately deluged by friends who gave me virtual pats on the back for stopping a little of the madness. Well, there was the one guy who called me a very rude name, but I've known him for years, so I'm fairly certain he was joking—or else he was asking about my cat. It definitely will be tough going cold turkey. I almost immediately found myself reaching for the keyboard to comment on a political post, only to literally slap my own hand away before I broke my promise. I'm sure as the election draws closer I'll be doing that more and more often. No matter how the election plays out, I'll likely have some things to say on election day, which is when I'll allow myself to break my self-imposed silence. For now though, I'm going to concentrate on what truly interests me.
Take the local band A Fragile Tomorrow for instance.
This band consists of three brothers, 18-year-old Brendan Kelly and Sean and Dominic Kelly, both 20, as well as 26-yea- old Shaun Rhoades. These guys have been tearing it up for the last few years, and in that time they have had the chance to play with everyone from Amy Ray of Indigo Girls, to The Bangles, to Matthew Sweet. They play a heady mix of rock and power pop, and if you haven't heard them yet, you're really missing out on what could be the next big thing out of Charleston. Heck, they've really already busted out of the "local band" label.
The guys were nice enough to give me a sneak listen to their new album, "Be Nice Be Careful," which they plan on releasing on January 8, 2013. The band worked with famed producer Mitch Easter, who has also twirled the knobs for bands such as R.E.M, Pavement, Suzanne Vega, and Velvet Crush. If you're a fan of high-energy power pop with great guitars (Brendan is so good at 18, I can't imagine what he'll sound like on his axe in another decade) and wonderful vocals (mostly by Sean, but it's a group effort), then you'll want to mark your calendars so you can pick up a copy. In the meantime, check out the band at their website www.afragiletomorrow.com for more info, and try to see them live when they're in town, which these days isn't often.
Also, send out some positive energy to Dominic, who went into the hospital earlier this week for an emergency appendectomy. He's going to be just fine, unless you count that incriminating video his brothers shot of him rambling while still coming down from the anesthesia. It's floating around YouTube, and it's hilarious, although Dom would tell you otherwise.