Ah! Home ownership. It took half of a day just to buy the stuff I thought I would need here at the house in Tucson. I walked until my feet ached at both Home Depot and Lowes. I bought a new ceiling fan for the living room – one with a pull-chain. That’s right, a regular old ceiling fan.
You see, the one that’s been up there since I bought this place is a fancy remotely controlled unit with three fan speeds and a remote dimmer for the lights which are made to resemble bells, or perhaps Morning Glories hanging, down from the ceiling. The whole assembly measured over 25 inches from the ceiling to the bottom of the glass lamp “bells” (I also bought a tape measure). It was probably designed with a very high ceiling in mind, one so high perhaps that a pull-chain would have been impractical or just looked ugly.
But the brilliant folks who owned this house before me decided THEY should have such a remotely controlled lighted fan even though the living room ceiling is but eight feet high. This means that the lamps have been hazardous to any visitors taller than me. Worse than that however, is the blasted remote-control. We’ve been through two. Now the fan’s receiving unit appears to have failed. And guess what – there’s no manual switch! I had to find the right breaker on the fuse panel to turn off the fan (the lights quit long ago). This fan is an illustration of my old adage: Just because we CAN (build/do/have something), doesn’t mean we SHOULD. Sometimes, low tech is right tech.
Celebrating Competence (a rare commodity)
Many folks have heard me wax about how I appreciate competence more as I grow older. It doesn’t matter what the task is, when I see someone who really knows how to do their job, I enjoy watching it. I’ve been saying that for years. I just discovered that H.L. Mencken, the famous “sage of Baltimore” said the same thing long ago:
• The older I get the more I admire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field from adultery to zoology. –H.L. Mencken
Well, recent encounters lately with the uninformed, unmotivated, “zombies of retail” have only heightened my longing to observe and celebrate competence.
ME: “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt your break, but do you carry chimney caps?”
ME: “I need a chimney cap – that “hat”-like metal thing with a screen that covers your chimney flu and prevent birds from nesting in it.”
CLERK: “Did you look in plumbing?”
I long for the past age of “craftsmen” who could make complicated work look easy. I remember watching a friend of mine in the window business years ago frame out some new windows in his own home. He handled the metal bender with swift precision. After having only briefly examined the opening, he quickly created metal flashings that fit perfectly. It was a joy to watch.
Michael Fath’s Incredible Guitar!!
BUT HERE’s a Bright spot! Michael Fath is perhaps The MOST competent guitar player you’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing perform. What? Never heard of him? Did you like Jeff Beck? Liked Hendrix? Well then it’s about time you heard Michael Fath. Start here with Michael’s Website, and go right to the “Merchandise” page and click on “Yesterday’s Child”. Go to the “buy” tab and listen to a sample of the title cut. Wow. Go on now, Buy It!
I grew up with Mike. His late brother Eddie and I were childhood pals. So when I took my bride to Virginia last fall, for her birthday, we went to see Michael Fath perform. He played Jazz that night with his Viceroy Jazz Ensemble. It was incredible. Mike gave us a copy of his recent Jazz CD “In My Life” and a copy of “Yesterday’s Child” which is progressive rock mostly, with some jazz, and even a supercharged country number. Well, I had a “senior moment” and left the CDs in my brother’s car. But he just mailed them to me. So, on our long drive to Tucson, I heard “Yesterday’s Child” for the first time. It brought to mind the Jeff Beck records I used to listen to years ago. I heard licks every bit as inventive as Stevie Ray Vaughn, but with better clarity and articulation. Fantastic.
Michael, I have long been your friend, but now I humbly stand also in your long and growing line of FANS.