Chinese New Year

I’m in the middle of reading Michael Moore’s “Dude, Where’s My Country?” and suddenly feeling a responsible member of society. Today’s lyrics (below) were written in 1992 but seem more poignant today.
The kids and I saw the Chinese New Year’s parade in Chinatown on Sunday. This was the first time I’d been in Chicago’s Chinatown since I was probably 10 years old. It was really cold, so we wound up in one of the restaurants for lunch. Then we hit a couple stores and picked up some cheap stuff at one of the little shops. I picked up this awesome tea — a blend of chamomile, spearmint, catnip, valerian, and skullcap. Two mugs of this stuff on Sunday evening and I was falling asleep by 10:00, which is highly unusual for me on a Sunday night.
We also saw Cheaper by the Dozen on Saturday, which was a lot better than I’d expected. Steve Martin was playing his usual cynical-yet-loveable-Dad character, and Bonnie Hunt was, well, she’s always great in whatever she does.
In the last week, we lost Ray Rayner, Bob Keeshan, and Jack Paar. Jack was a bit before my time, but in the films and videos I’ve seen he clearly had a gift.
(And on a cynical note, I will never get why people thought Steve Allen was so brilliant. Above average, maybe. Henry Morgan mentioned in his autobiography that working with Steve Allen was like being a full time straight man: not something a truly brilliant person like Morgan was suited for.)
Today’s song lyric comes from the band XTC on their album “Nonsuch.” Like I said earlier, these are appropriate lyrics in these days of the “Patriot Act.”

Books Are Burning
(Andy Partridge)
Books are burning
In the main square, and I saw there
The fire eating the text
Books are burning
In the still air
And you know where they burn books
People are next
I believe the printed word should be forgiven
Doesn’t matter what it said
Wisdom hotline from the dead back to the living
Key to the larder for your heart and your head
Books are burning
In our own town, watch us turn ’round
And cast our glances elsewhere
Books are burning
In the playground
Smell of burnt book is not unlike human hair
I believe the printed word is more than sacred
Beyond the gauge of good or bad
The human right to let your soul fly free and naked
Above the violence of the fearful and sad
The church of matches
Anoints in ignorance with gasoline
The church of matches
Grows fat by breathing in the smoke of dreams
It’s quite obscene
Books are burning
More each day now, and I pray now
You boys will tire of these games
I hope somehow
This will allow
A phoenix up from the flames