I'm still on vacation!

So breakfast is watermelon (/me shudders a bit at the potential for stereotyping, but watermelon is Good for You), some damn fine coffee, and WKCR. The previous DJ, on his first-ever shift, finishes with some Count Basie circa late-1930s, which rocked like a motherfucker -- I'm now seeing how the Basie band was considered so cool back then (and how they were able, in the 50s, to briefly get some mileage out of the burgeoning rockmania of the day) -- and then a half-hour of Joe Williams songs, backed by a slightly-later version of the Basie band.

I remember, as an insomniac little kid, watching Williams various times on the Tonight Show; Johnny, Doc Severinsen, and the band would be all excited about having Joe "sit in" with the band, and I'd be impatient for the sitting-in to be over with, because George Carlin or Bob Newhart would be the next guest, and that's what I'd be waiting for, not this old, white-haired gentleman with the corny baritone.

But this morning, years later, it was different, hearing the original recordings of songs like "Every Day I Have the Blues", not corny at all, but a lively piece of both jazz and rock history.

Next on KCR was Phil Schaap, the legendary jazz DJ and historian (and my onetime electronic mentor of all-that-is-jazz), who plays Charlie Parker music each morning, and, today, various live recordings of Bird from the 40s, done by überfan Dean Benedetti. Back, long ago, when Schaap was on WBGO, it was a joy to start the day with a strong cup of coffee, a nice joint, and the bop tracks o'wax he'd play; the radio reception wasn't all that great, but it was good enough -- the music was buzz-enhancing, regardless of static.

I'm finishing a brief assignment this morning, a quite unusual one: distilling disparate text-file lists of strip clubs into a common format, for later inclusion in someone's database. It means, uh, stripping the remnants of HTML tags in some cases, stripping a ton of newline characters in other cases, and making note of missing info -- the absence of a phone number here, a city there. I sat in the CyberCafe in Soho last week, with the webmaster of the porn sites that use the aforementioned database, looking at some of the sites, feeling a bit squeamish there, wondering if any of the cafe patrons were glancing over at the GIFs and JPEGs of, uh, "busty beauties" and the like. But, then again, I would have felt squeamish even if the place were empty -- my interest is in the actual nuts and bolts of how the sites are done; the oft-raunchy pix just bring out (further) the prude in me.

My source of entertainment during all this text-manipulating, aside from trying to craft regexes that can do the heavy lifting, is looking at the names of the clubs, places like Jiggles, Twin Peaks (or Twin Peeks in some cases), the Playlate Club (get it?), Knockers, and C.R. Fannie's, stand out from the mostly-generic strip-club names.

I remember going into a couple of the North Carolina places on the list, during my brief stints as a cab driver, in search of customers who'd called for a ride home (mainly my job was dispatching, managing, and customer-service -- I rarely had to deal with clubs in person). As a musician, I'd played in one or two of the places on the list, either before they were strip clubs, or on non-strip nights. I'd never choose to set foot inside any of these places -- you'd have to pay me, which was the case, actually.

Last night was the first night of the Republican Party convention. Party conventions are now elaborate, maddening infomercials, and I'm glad the broadcast television networks have cut back their coverage in recent election cycles -- they should go a step further and make the parties pay for the airtime. The last good convention may have been the Democratic Party convention of 1972, when unruly political fireworks could still occur and keep things going well into the night; by contrast, the GOP convention in Miami Beach that year was perhaps the first modern one -- all tightly scripted and happy-face, a made-for-TV coronation/infomercial. Feh.

This year's fête is the first one I've experienced as a Republican. When I first registered to vote (in 1984), I was in North Carolina, and there was no escaping voting -- we needed to oust the twin scourges of Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms, and my girlfriend's mother was in charge of registering new voters. To end the questions of "When are you gonna register?" (in a strange Bavarian/Carolina accent), I registered, but as a Democrat, but I vowed (to myself) that I'd register Republican, should I find myself back in the New York/New England area again. I passed up on my first chance, but now I've gone and done it, while I applied for my driver's license.

But there isn't really anyone to vote for in "my" party. As a kid, there was Rocky, and NYC Mayor Lindsay, and several others, but those people either died or changed parties over the years. Or both. The one Republican I voted for in North Carolina (a Wake County official) switched to the Democrats as well, a couple of years ago, so while I've been true to my 1984 vow, there doesn't seem much point in doing so. Ralph Nader is the Green Party presidential candidate, and Al "Grandpa" Lewis is the senatorial candidate, a couple of folks I admire greatly, but the old "don't waste your vote (this is your conscience speaking)" adage rings through my head when I consider pulling the lever ("lever"? I guess they don't have those any more) for them. No amount of cheerleading by the great and good (though sometimes wrong, if not wrongheaded) Marvin Olasky can convince me that W isn't talking out of both sides of his mouth (with his fingers crossed behind his back) when he utters anything in "compassionate conservative" mode. And if you have to go such lengths to affix the adjective "compassionate" to your spiel, maybe something's wrong with your spiel to begin with.

What's the Compassionate Conservative Death Count up to now?