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A Blind Eye's View

by Dave Cohen


In looking around at Durham's Earth Day celebration, I noticed that there wasn't a proper receptacle for my banana peel (no, I wasn't just glad to see you). Sure, there were more trash cans than you could shake a stick-sized, twice-recycled, post-consumer piece of cardboard at, but there just weren't any compost buckets. Surely at a celebration greener than the dye in a McDonald's shamrock shake there must be somewhere to properly dispose of unwanted vegetable matter (and I'm not talking about Ronald Reagan). No composting? Why, something must be rotten, but not rotting, at Earth Day! Luckily the folks who were hawking home compost bins were kind enough to let me avail myself of their worm bucket. Oh, and they let me throw the banana peel in there, too. I guess it's cool to compost at home but not downtown. Maybe what Oedipus said was right: Love your mother (earth), but not where people can see you.

From picking through your soon-to-be mulch, we move quickly to grinnin' and pickin'. I used to say that if your grass were blue you'd been smoking too much of it, but that was before I attended Merlefest, which is the biggest annual bluegrass festival you could shake a used banana peel at. It's in honor of Doc Watson's late son Merle, and it takes place in the lovely open air of Wilkesboro, not far from the good doctor's NC home. Just about anyone who's anyone in bluegrass music shows up to play, and the music can leave you slack-jawed (assuming you didn't start out that way). Of course, some of the diehard older fans can be a bit, um, zealous. Don't try standing in the aisles during one of the main performances. Under the right circumstances, "down in front" can be simply a warning of projectiles approaching at head level. I'll tell you, any naturalist who claims that lions can be highly territorial has never encountered an aging couple of bluegrass fans guarding their lawn chairs. And my doctor wondered how I got those banjo marks on my back....

Not long after Merlefest, I decided to satisfy my post-dosed Jerry Garcia jones at a JGB concert. For those not in the know, JGB used to stand for Jerry Garcia Band. The namesake having moved on, his band, in an effort to retain brand/band recognition without seemingly profiteering from the dead (as one friend noted, it's interesting how the Grateful Dead can't continue without Jerry Garcia, but the Jerry Garcia Band can), turned its acronym into a real name. You've just got to love acronyms, but you've just got to hope that the Samuel Houston Institute of Technology never turns its acronym into its name (and if you can't figure that joke out, you may well have this acronym for brains). Nomenclature aside, the concert, and unfortunately most of the concertgoers, smoked.

I must admit that since the JGB show I haven't had much time for music. April and May are the big months for basketball and hockey playoffs, so I've been gaping at my television the way deer stare into headlights: with numbed fascination. While killing time between periods (you know, what an editor does), I decided to partake in the great American pastime myself, so I began channel surfing. (If only I had web TV I could surf channels and the net at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking!)

I made the horrible mistake of landing on ABC during one of their sweeps weeks programs and was again reminded why lobotomies aid in the enjoyment of prime time. ABC was doing all of its shows in 3-D, but not tasteful or inventive 3-D. No, the creative talent at the network instead opted for the circa 1950 visual effect of sticking things in the camera and thus into your face. As I hadn't been issued the obligatory 3-D glasses, I could merely torture my retinas with blurry buffoonery that was supposed to make the average Nielsen family froth with viewing pleasure. Any port in a storm I suppose, and any ancient gimmick will do when your ratings are low enough to stare up at plant roots. Of course, we here at A Blind Eye's View need no such ploys to grab your attention. Hey, who needs kitschy gimmicks like a 3-D eye logo when you've got a veritable plethora of pithy remarks?


Note: Because of a planned increase in the number of pithy remarks contained in this column, next month I'll be issuing pith helmets to all the readers of The Prism. Ah, if only this were a cooking column maybe I could get some free cookware in return for my pithy remarks. After all, everyone can use a pot to pith in.


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