WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Secret Thread Embedded in America's Creative DNA!


I am not sure I can convey how excited I was to find that this film from Martin Scorsese dropped recently on Netflix. I have lately been on a major Bob Dylan kick. I mean, I pretty much have been for my whole life. My mom turned me onto Dylan when I was a wee lad, and over the years I have always come back to the man and his work. Paraphrasing Joan Baez: Not everyone "gets" Dylan, but if you do, if you fall under his spell, there is no-one better. You fall hard for the work and there is nothing else that comes close. 

There are so many Dylans that I love: The Young Woody Guthrie Inspired Folk Troubadour, The Wild Mercury Mouthed, Cowboy Junkie Stream of Consciousness, Wild-Haired Rock and Roller, The Basement Sage, The Countrified Gent, The Rolling Thunder, White-Faced Prophet, The Born-Again, Fire & Brimstone, Apocalypse is Coming Preacher Dylan, The Burned Out Rocker, The Ancient Sage, The Old Man of Letters and the Nobel Prize, etc.

That's the exciting thing, Dylan is always changing, morphing, evolving, creating. Paraphrasing him from the film: Life is not a journey to find ourselves, it is an adventure where we create our selves. He not busy creating is busy dying!

It is amazing to see and hear Dylan in 1976 - in fine voice, passionate, committed, with an unlikely, overstuffed caravan of co-conspirators. Dylan's music is the secret thread weaved into the foundation of American Music. The key thread in American culture's unique DNA from the 60's onward. Dylan is the connecting line from poets: Whitman, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Waldeman, Patti Smith, all the various Visionary Poets & Beats; folk/blues contingent: Rambling Jack Eliot, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, all the rock and roll outlaws, the Beatles, the Byrds, The Band, The Stones, all the various forms of Americana. Plus don't forget Sam Shepard the great, surreal American playwright who makes an appearance. Also Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson, Ronee Blakely, Chief Rolling Thunder. What a collection of unique creative souls!

Growing up I was always a big Beatles fan, they were the first to introduce me to Pop Culture and r&r, but early on, even as a little kid, I was struck that while the love-able Mop Tops were conquering the world singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand," Dylan was writing and singing epic and classic folk songs like "Blowing in the Wind," "Masters of War," "The Times are A Changing" and "A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall." The Beatles may have been more exuberant, looked like they were having more fun, Dylan hit you right between the eyes with his amazing imagery delivered by his razor-sharp vocals, lyrics seared deep into your consciousness and dreams. Not  much later, Dylan too, picked up an electric guitar and took everything to another level, think "Bringing It All Back Home," "Highway 61 Revisted," and "Blonde on Blonde." A fantastic phantasmagoria of roar and thunder!
Kicky r&r exuberance, the sound of electric Fender guitars, married to surreal images & stream of consciousness genius.

All of my major influences, the core of my creative consciousness, my awaking to another reality, show up in this movie. To watch it is to see the great American creative revolution in music, in culture, roll out right before your eyes. Astonishing. Beautiful. Inspiring. Essential viewing.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Power/Powerlessness!

Is this true?

You don't really understand power, it's uses, it's limits, until you experience powerlessness? Maybe our need to feel powerful needs to be undone. We see time, and time again, that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Our whole crazy, capitalist, consumer culture is the perpetual motion machine selling us some weird, corrupted, seriously misguided idea of power. Power over nature, power over women, power over other men. Power over death. A conception of Power that tries to sell us eternal life.

All total b.s. Lies. All flattering lies trying to build us up, when what we really need is to deconstruct, to take ourselves apart piece by piece, to find the vulnerability of a life of powerlessness. To discover the "holes in our souls." We need to face the reality that we are really, truly, madly deeply powerless in face of the most important things in our life.

Birth. Death. Aging. Love. Hate. Here we are: Powerless in the immensity of the Universe. And it's okay. In fact, it's kind of wondrous and beautiful, even if pain and suffering are embedded into the world and the fabric of our bodies.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Saboteur!

Saboteur. 

"A saboteur is a person who makes a mess of a situation on purpose. You might call your little brother a saboteur for letting the air out of your bicycle tires, but you could be a saboteur in return by filling his shoes with cold spaghetti. Saboteur is a noun that is fairly new to the English language; it was first used in the early 1900s, and it refers to a person who deliberately destroys or obstructs something. It comes from the French word, saboter, which really and truly means to kick something with an old-fashioned wooden shoe. We can only hope that one day the word Nikeur might enter the English language to mean a person who kicks something with a sneaker."

And what if you kick yourself with that old wooden shoe? You'd be a "self-saboteur." How much of our lives can be explained by self sabotage? Is this all some kind of test of character?  How much was luck, fate, wrong place wrong time, or right place, right time? Who knows?

You are left to ponder. Or not. You hope the future is truly unwritten, and maybe there are new lines to write. You hope that wooden shoe doesn't appear out of the foggy mist to kick you in the shins. Look in the mirror dude... what do you see?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Best Music in 2019, So Far...

Best Music so far in 2019.

Ok, well, to be truthful, for me, the most significant record released this year is the one my band recorded, "The Alternate Boot: Vols 1&2." A long time coming, a labor of love. We released it, got some nice reviews, t-shirt sales, cd sales and streams, a fantastic string of shows, including a transcendent release party in February, growing our band sound, and fan base, show by show; progress has been slow, but steady. Our sound evolving, morphing, live shows getting more fully-realized. One of the most significant projects I have ever worked on. Our band of musicians are an inspiring creative outfit dedicated to the vibe. You can purchase your own copy on Amazon here!

What else?

Two releases have captivated me this year.

One is the 2 cd set: The Bootleg Series Vol 13: Trouble  No More 1979-1981  This is full-on Jew for Jesus, Evangelical Bob Dylan. I was one of those Dylan fans horrified when Bob turned up "born again." This album is a mind-changer. Listening to these live cuts many years later is a revelation. One of Dylan's most fertile, creative periods. One of his greatest live bands, he is in superb voice, singing with passion, conviction. It's a stunning collection. Jim Keltner on drums, Spooner Oldman keys, Tim Drummond bass, Fred Tackett on guitar, Carlos Santana guests on a track. And quartet of backup singers (Mary Elizabeth Bridges, Carolyn Dennis, Gwen Evans, Clydie King, Regina McCrary, Regina Peebles, Helena Springs, Mona Lisa Young) is breathtakingly good. Spiritual renewal. I have lived with and loved these songs for a couple months now. Great gospel music. Some of the best ever written and performed. Really. That good.  It is such a pleasure to hear Dylan singing his heart out, to us, and to the Lord.

The other record I "discovered" this year, and have not stopped spinning, is a record that was actually released in 1998, Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue. I read Jeff Tweedy's book and I fell in love with Tweedy's solo album, "Warm" (2018), a major work, Tweedy at his soulful, beautiful, very revealing best , and fell into a major Wilco vortex. I own every Wilco album except their first. Wilco's discography from "Being There" (1996) - "Schmilco" (2016), and every record in between, is absolutely magnificent. I can put any Wilco record on and find new things to love and be inspired by. If you pressed me, I'd have say to that Wilco is my favorite band of the moment. No doubt. Great band. By the way, I think, in order to really "get," to understand the secret code, to reveal the DNA of the band, be sure to check out their live album, recorded at the Vic Theater in Chicago, "Kicking Television," (2005), and watch the DVD, "Ashes of American Flags" (2009), (I have seen it many, many times, and always find it thrilling), a band working at it's absolute peak. We are now talking the current band, a much different musical animal than the Mermaid Ave. crew, the lineup from "Sky Blue Sky,"(2007) til today features the incomparable Nels Cline on guitar and Glenn Kotche on drums. I'd also say Jeff Tweedy is one of the few songwriters I'd even consider in the same sentence as Dylan. Yes, I do think he's quite brilliant in his own quirky way.

I was aware of "Mermaid Ave." for years, but resisted buying it, thinking it was just a gimmick, a marketing ploy. Bragg and Wilco taking Woody Guthrie lyrics and conjuring up songs? For some reason it just didn't appeal to me. One day in early 2019 a friend asked me if I ever heard the record, and recommended it. I was so enamored with all things Tweedy, so I snagged a used copy at my local record store. Boy was I ever wrong. Mermaid Avenue is a complete joy, a stunner, a fantastic labor of love, pure sonic gold. Wilco has never sounded looser, more fun and more creative.  Tweedy and Bragg really bring a passion to Guthrie's amazing, touching, funny, superb lyrics. There isn't one false step.  A great, joyful, inspiring, spine-tingling, record. I think Jeff Tweedy was sort of liberated singing someone else's lyrics. It's fantastic to hear Jay Bennet on guitar and piano and Ken Commer on drums, the original lineup of Wilco, tearing it up with not a care in the world. I mean the band sounds loose, powerful, sloppy, r&r perfect. Another completely breathtaking album. Who knew?!

This is where my head, my ears have been at this year...  playing songs from our latest record with my phenomenal band, and time-tripping to the distant past, listening to music so powerful, so lively, so inspiring, so of the moment. Doesn't matter when it was recorded. Kind of surprising, lost in time, and enjoying every last moment. Wow.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Will We All Be Sucked Into the Vortex of Stupidity?


King Idiot. It's best to ignore him. To tune him out. To not read his idiotic tweets, to not listen to his blabbering on the radio, to not watch his dementia-like, fat-carcass, slobbering performances on TV. Listening to the Idiot King will only make you much stupider than you already are. Plus, he will piss you off. You will be outraged, shamed to know that this man supposedly speaks for you and your beloved country.

Last night I guess King Idiot was on the TV telling the world, that yes, indeed, he would cheat to win an election. He did it the first time, and well, hell, he'd do it again. Seems like a terrible thing to admit. But there it is. I mean King Idiot is too stupid to realize he just admitted to everything he was accused of in terms of "colluding" with Russia. You shake your head and think to yourself: "What a fucking Idiot!"

And you wonder what can be done. Does supreme mendacious, corrupt idiocy trump everything else? Don't forget King Idiot has his rabid followers who will never admit this man is a plague and a blight on our teetering democracy, they blindly cling to King Idiot's billowing trousers mouths open craving their own taste of idiocy. The rest of us, are left to ponder the black void of idiocy at the heart of the land.

Will we all be sucked into the vortex of abject idiocy? Shite!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Energy... Of Course...

Energy. We all know what it is, right? I mean we all talk about it, quantify it. We act like we understand it. We can explain how a machine uses energy to "run." There are many forms of energy. Many uses of energy. Energy animates all of our machines and technology. It also powers all the pretty creatures on the planet, including us. There is the material of energy, the molecules. Oil, coal, solar, food, are just types of fuel that powers everything.

There is also the invisible energy that surrounds us. You can feel the energy of a room. The energy of the person sitting next to you. I think when we are talking about the aura of a person, we are picking up an energy field surrounding someone.

Play music in a tightly packed room. Feel the energy surge and feedback in a loop. It can be so powerful, transcendent. Feeds us. It feels a bit magical, spiritual. Maybe spirit itself is just a form of energy? 

Alternatively, when we see something dead, lifeless, we realize that the energy has dissipated, evaporated, or transformed in some other way. We wake up in the morning after a long sleep, feeling refreshed, and are surprised to find that energy surges thru our bodies, surrounds and overwhelms us.  

As William Blake once wrote: "Energy is Eternal Delight!"

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

"Don't Worry... Just... Be..."

Yeah. Over here we met the day half-way. Didn't push, flowed. I do recommend it. Not always easy to do. Living easy. Riding the wave. Didn't make anything happen, the day just rolled out like a beautifully complex oriental carpet.

Made me think of that aborted paraphrase of that great, and slightly annoying Bobby McFerrin song: "Don't worry... just... be..." Yes. Glory be. There was glory in the being. Sunshine, warmth, shimmering blue water, people everywhere you turned. Couldn't avoid anything, anyone. Better to just let it all come down.

A long, fulfilling day. Nothing happened. Everything unfolded. Maybe that's how you do it.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Weird Energy Void...

Weird. This morning feels like a total "energy void." Almost like the day is just standing still. Expectant. Waiting. Like the world is taking a breather. No spin. Freeze-frame. Pinned to the canvas.

I wonder if I should "try to make something happen?" But I don't think that's how it works. Something will happen, pretty sure, whether I do something or not. What is this feeling of "void-ness?" Is it me? Or is it the world? Hard to tell.

I think I will have a bit more coffee and see what turns up...

Sunday, June 09, 2019

A Very Good Omen!

A person died.
They cleared out her apartment.
A lifetime of stuff.
Someone dug up her lily.
Put it in a plastic bag.
Why?
Just because.

Weeks passed.
My friend had taken the plastic bag
and brought it home. It sat on the
back porch like a corpse.
She mourned the dead person,
mourned the dead lily plant.

My friend decided to replant the lily.
She has a flower garden in the back yard.
Maybe the lily was just dormant?
Maybe it could somehow come back to life?

Maybe?
She had no real hope. She just did the re-planting.

Time passed. Days. Weeks.
One morning, green shoots pushed thru the dark earth.
The lily was alive. Resurrected.
The rest of the garden thrived too.
Beautiful flowers and greenery in a small
plot of land in the back yard.

One day a small, baby dove appeared.
The baby dove decided to make the garden
her home. She was there all day, every day.
Overseeing the flowers, the greenery, the
resurrected lily plant.

My friend put seeds and bread out for the baby dove.
The baby dove was a new friend, a new spirit in the garden.

My friend and I decided it was all a very good omen.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Like Water or Serpent!

Yes. The best laid plans some times just crumble like a cookie. Vanish in smoke right before your eyes. What to do? Be nimble, quick on your feet, willing to have a re-think. Why not? No worries. You loved an idea? Oh well, try another one. Closed door? Instead of beating your head against it, you can alter your course, find another opening somewhere else. Yes. Be like water. Or be like a serpent. "Serpentine! Serpentine!" Move on. Move forward, backward, sideways too. Whatever.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Why Worry?!

Listening to the news from around the globe. Checking the headlines. The big question: "What could possibly go wrong?!"

I mean, hell, the corn is good. Alfred E. Neumann answers that ponderous question with another pithy question: "What, me worry?"


Thursday, June 06, 2019

This Seems Important.

This seems important. 

I think the murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post correspondent is one of those stories that will not just disappear. And it shouldn't. There is something rotten in the body politic.

There are folks in Washington D.C. who have some explaining to do... I wonder if we will ever get to the bottom of the matter?

As they say, "Democracy Dies in Darkness." We need to shine a light...




Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Avoid, Evade, Defuse...

Don't match crazy with crazy. Don't match anger with anger. Don't match cynicism with cynicism. It's a losing game. You just feed the craziness, the anger and the cynicism.

The first impulse is to match the energy with the same energy. But all it does is heighten and multiply the thing you actually want to avoid, evade or defuse.  "Serpentine, Serpentine!"

"How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb!"  Not a question, an instruction, a "how-to!"

Bono and U2 were on the case in 2004. We all need to be in the business of dismantling, defusing, repurposing.

The Tao tells us to "be like water." You know, be soft, pliable, permeable, flowing, transparent. Who are we to argue with Ancient Chinese Wisdom?

Breathe. Think. Be silent. Set your intention on the positive. When you act, make it an act of affirmation. We can remake the world. What are the best tools? Humility. Love. Grace. Silence. Humor. Compassion. Empathy. All these "soft" qualities are our greatest strengths.

"A change of consciousness can happen in an instant." "Instant Karma!"

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Fill My Life Up with Light!

I am at sea this morning. Casting about for meaning and purpose. My dreams were clogged up with airports and passenger lines, and the most mundane of human things. Late for flights, late for meetings, lost and unsure where I was going next. Dreams of flailing about!

I wake up looking to make a pot of coffee.  Kickapoo coffee beans. I do know that Kickapoo was a Native American Indian tribe. I run thru all the Indian tribe names I can think of off the top of my head: Crow, Shoshone, Comanche, Cherokee, Navajo, Cheyanne. I think of Dee Brown and his great book "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." If I were to name books that "changed my life," Brown's book would be up at the top of the list for sure.

I can mark my life by key texts at every time in my life, again, just off the top of my head: The King James Bible, Treasure Island, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Slaughter House Five, Catch 22, On the Road, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, The Great Plains, On the Rez, Erections, Ejaculations and Other Tales of Ordinary Madness, Lolita, Speak Memory, Desolation Angels, The Sheltering Sky, Infinite Jest, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Moby Dick, The World According to Garp, Dog Soldiers, Dispatches, A Bright Shining Lie, The Snow Leopard, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Zen and the Art of Archery.

I turn to the Flaming Lips this morning for my soundtrack. Can't go wrong with their stone-cold masterpiece, "The Soft Bulletin." Never fails to give me a swift kick of adrenaline. I would run down the key albums of my life, but then, this post would basically take up the whole morning. Figure lots of Dylan, The Band, Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Stones, Nick Drake, Steve Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith, Lucinda Williams, Nick Cave, Sly & the Family Stone, Who, Kinks, Miles Davis, Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin, Gillian Welch, Fairport Convention, Richard & Linda Thompson, Sinead O' Connor, Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, Grateful Dead, etc. Oh yes, Flaming Lips, Radiohead, The National, Wilco, Drive By Truckers... the list is long & endless...

How to fight that listless, lost and flailing about feeling? Music, Art, Poetry, Love... I fill my life up with light, sound & thunder!

Monday, June 03, 2019

False Starts this A.M.

I had a couple of "false starts" this morning. I started typing and then deleted what I typed. A rare indecision. What to write about?

The first words I heard on the radio this morning: "Vile & Ridiculous." I know who they are talking about, don't even need to ask. Fuck that guy. He doesn't represent me. He is a plague, a scourge, a blight on the land, a man who conjures a certain toxic mind pollution.

While making the coffee this morning, I was reflecting on a heavy-duty conversation I had yesterday. I am such a lousy worrier. Death, taxes, financial stability. These topics very rarely pop into my consciousness. I spend so much time thinking about lunch, and how I am gonna occupy myself. No time for those big-time worries. Of course, I do worry about the planet, the fate of my species, whether good will conquer evil, when will Americans stop shooting each other, but those big time worries are just standard operating procedure.

Those topics always intrude. My little bubble of blue-sky happiness can be punctured at a moment's notice. Still, I am very good at putting my intention and attention in other places.

I'm spinning Dylan discs on the box, listening to Dylan right now, I have been on a major Dylan kick the last few weeks. What's that line sticking with me this morning? "I'm not going to hell for anybody."

I mean, yes Bob, exactly!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Human Beings Being Human!

What is our job? You know as Human Beings? To try to rescue a little meaning from the abyss of meaninglessness, to skull out a bit of order in the yawning vortex of disorder? Are we here to experience what we experience when we experience it? Is that all there is?

Is life a job, a mission, a lark, a song, a cry, a tear, a rainstorm, an earthquake, a mad quest? Or all of those things? Yes, I will probably go with "all of the above." We are subject to the jeopardy of living in bodies and we open ourselves to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, daily, yes, every single day.

We hold chaos in our hands. We juggle balls of darkness and light. We live in the world, and create it one breath at time too. We are not gods, or god-like, just simple, humble human beings. Human Beings Being Human!

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Morning Conundrum!

Not sure.

Sadly, sweetly optimistic, or unhappily, positively pessimistic? I wrestle with my own psyche this A.M. There are so many levels to this conundrum. It seems important and inconsequential simultaneously. I am a mystery wrapped in an enigma, even to myself. Best not to self-absorb. Best to look outward, but not too far-ranging. Rainy day, Dylan on the stereo, "I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to..."

I'm reading about Beto O'Rouke's presidential quest. Looks like his fate will rest on how he comes across on TV. "To have any chance, he must turn to television, where empathy, careful listening, and voracious curiosity are not the coin of the realm."

Faintly ridiculous. If you aren't a hit on TV you aren't a hit. And TV is the great leveler. The fish-eye medium that really does turn everything to shit. Aye, there's the rub...

Friday, May 31, 2019

Democracy Dies in Self-Satisfied Laziness and Boredom!

Logic:  "In general, we can respect the directness of a path even when we don't accept the points at which it begins and ends. Thus, it is possible to distinguish correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning independently of our agreement on substantive matters. Logic is the discipline that studies this distinction—both by determining the conditions under which the truth of certain beliefs leads naturally to the truth of some other belief, and by drawing attention to the ways in which we may be led to believe something without respect for its truth. This provides no guarantee that we will always arrive at the truth, since the beliefs with which we begin are sometimes in error. But following the principles of correct reasoning does ensure that no additional mistakes creep in during the course of our progress."

I am not good at math, I mean, I am terrible at simple math (thank the lord for calculators!),  and Algebra & Geometry were a distant land and a language way beyond me, but I actually received an "A" in my college Logic 101 class. To be honest, it totally surprised me.  Seemed totally illogical! Anyway, I do think Robert Mueller (see previous post), is presenting an obvious case, and most of us either didn't read his report, don't want to read the report, don't care to read the report, and/or are actively misrepresenting what Mueller actually documented in the report.

I guess people don't read anymore. They just stare at their smartphones and swipe. Human Beings, you are so silly, so lazy, so disappointing. Get it together people! The bad actors amongst us are counting on us not paying attention, not doing the good work of trying to figure out what is really happening all around us. Democracy Dies in Self-Satisfied Laziness and Boredom!

This cartoon from the New Yorker is... elementary... please god... read the fucking report!



Thursday, May 30, 2019

Whatever Happened to Reading Comprehension?

The Sphinx speaks... 

What was the gist? READ THE FUCKING REPORT! 

If you have any working brain cells, if you have any reading comprehension skills, you will discover what we know about Russia interfering in the 2016 election, how they hacked the DNC, and weaponized info to the detriment of Hilary Clinton's campaign and to the benefit of Trump's campaign. It is the definitive account.

Mueller did not charge any Americans in the "conspiracy" but you will read how Trump's campaign did everything they could to benefit from the Russian hack. No one person on his team ever thought to notify the FBI that the Russians were infiltrating the campaign. Damning. And to be continued. Roger Stone and Wikileaks figure in all of this, more to come, soon.

You will also understand that the man in the oval office is supremely unqualified to be there.  Part two of the report documents 10 instances of obstruction of justice. Mueller tells us that the only reason they didn't indict the President is because they were following regulations that told them it was not possible to do so as per the regulations. The report did point out that a President could be charged for obstruction once he left office. Anyone saying anything different in public is totally, fucking, lying. Especially be sure the tune out the fat, blabbering, jabbering man claiming "no obstruction, no collusion." He's delusional. Actually whatever he says, assume the opposite is true. I mean, to put it plainly, the slobbery man is lying his ass off!

Tune out the lies. Read the fucking report!

You wonder do any of your fellow citizens read anymore? Is it all just tapping away on their smart phones like distracted monkeys? Not comprehending a damn thing? Read the Mueller report. It is the roadmap to Impeachment.

Let it come down!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The End Times!

Tornados in the heartland. An astounding number of tornados yesterday. Freaky.

"What is a Tornado?"  - "A tornado is a violent rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of up to 300 mph. They can destroy large buildings, uproot trees and hurl vehicles hundreds of yards. They can also drive straw into trees. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide to 50 miles long."

Crazy-ass winds. Major flooding. Strange temps. It's getting weird out there. "It was the weirdest of times, and the strangest of times." Welcome to the Thunder-Dome!

My friend tells me we are in the "End Times!" I mean, hasn't it always been the End Times? It does seem like we have crossed a threshold. We have entered a new Phase of Abnormality! I sort of, kind of  believe her. I don't want to think that we have destroyed the basic web of life, that we have fractured our supporting habitat for our meager existence, but the dark, forbidding signs are all around us.

And don't forget that the Mad, Idiot King is still on his fricking anti-constitutional throne. No one has the heart to tell him it's actually a golden toilet. No one has the heart to tell him he is living on borrowed time, that there is a trap-door underneath the toilet, with an orange jump-suit, handcuffs and a long, well-deserved bill of indictments waiting to be served.

Still, we are all suffering for the King's lunacy & idiocy. Something is rotten in the State of the Nation. Putrid, stinking death rises up from the slobbery mud.

Crops will die. Locusts will descend from the heavens. Rivers will flood. Dogs will walk backwards and speak in tongues. Winds will rip heartland towns to shreds. The airwaves will be filled with thunderous lies, the cries of falsely-imprisoned migrant children, and the gnashing of razor-sharp teeth.  A reckoning is coming. Yikes!

"It's hard out here for a pimp!"

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Addicted to Cheating!

A rigged game. 

You can't help coming to that somewhat cynical conclusion. Human Beings are always looking to better themselves, they always want to "one up" the next guy. So much of our human activity seems to be a game of status, resources, wealth. It's a fundamental thing.

If you play the game, you want to play to win the game. Seems no one really wants to play fair, that's for the suckers, it's too risky, I mean, no one wants to lose. So there is all that rigging and cheating going on. Look around, it happens in just about every realm. Human Beings can be so petty, so prone to cheating. We are the clever, cheating monkeys.

If you decide you don't want to play the game, or don't care about winning, you often end up on the short end of the stick; lacking in status, resources, wealth. It may be a sadly defeatist, somewhat foolishly noble position, but it's also a very precarious position to be in.

There are the movers and shakers and then there are those who are being moved and shaken. How to maintain a certain integrity in the whole process? Play a different game? March to a different drummer?

Yesterday morning we were on a bike path, riding through parts of our town where we never venture. We passed an iron-cast statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Hah! So incongruous. A statue of a skinny Hindu in simple robes. A simple noble man preaching nonviolent disobedience, we put that scrawny noble being up for all to admire, put him up on a shiny, seemingly indestructible pedestal.

Here in the belly of the beast: the needing, wanting, grasping consumer culture, cheating our way to Nirvana, we want to pretend that Gandhi is our hero, but really no one wants to be that man: too simple, too thin, too poor, too honest, too vulnerable, too idealistic, too dead.

We are so addicted to hustling each other, we can't help but hustle and lie and cheat ourselves too. We like to whisper lies to each other, whisper lies to ourselves. W.C. Fields once told us: "You can't cheat an Honest Man." The honest ones are few are far between. Seems the only honest ones are dead and cast in iron.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Day of the Dead.

The dead are with us. Always. Everywhere.

Part I

Hector and Gabriela visited the old cemetery; a place of stone, trees, grass. It was a sunny day. The stone monuments glimmered, the grass was thick green. They drove their car to the resting place of one of their dead. There were a few other visitors. The old man  was there. Any day, any time of the day, he is always near where his wife and daughter are buried. Sometimes he sits in his car doing crossword puzzles, or listens to the the classical music station on the car radio. Today he was standing with another man next to an old pickup truck. Hector and Gabriela parked their car, exited, stretching a bit after a long ride. Gabriela was carrying a pair of scissors and a bouquet of flowers. She walked over to the old man and exchanged greetings.

Hector waited, staring into the sun. It blinded him for a moment. All he saw was light all around him. Gabriela came back to him and they walked to the grave. Hector sat down in the shade of a tree, he sat Indian-style, legs crossed, he closed his eyes, emptied his head. Gabriela trimmed the grass from around the grave marker, it was nestled in deep, green grass. She then laid out the flowers in a circular pattern, big yellow flowers, each like a little sun creating a small circle of suns.

They sat in silence for a long time. The wind lightly blowing through the trees the only sound. No words. A few teardrops fell from Gabriela's eyes. Hector could feel a surge of energy course through his body. It was like the wind blowing lightly through the trees, but he was the tree, his arms and legs the branches. Time passed. Time stood still.

They rose together and hugged each other in the shade of the tree. They walked back to the car. No words. They drove the small winding cemetery road, passing hundreds of stone monuments & gravestones. Hector's cell phone rang. He took it out of his pocket and saw no call, no number, and  no missed call message. He frowned at the phone and put it back in his pocket.


Part II

The next day Hector and Gabriela were on the train heading to the city. They were heading to one of their favorite restaurants, and then off to a theatrical production. They meditated together. It was their usual practice. Eyes closed, sitting in silence, deep breaths on public transportation. Hector was totally exhausted. Weary. So weary. More than weary. He could feel himself sinking under the weight of an enormous weariness.

He turned to Gabriela and said, "I'm fading away." She looked at him, concerned. "I am so, so weary. I am more than weary. It's like I am carrying the weariness of all those dead souls we visited yesterday. Can it be? Can it be that I am carrying the weariness of all the dead?"

Gabriela said, "It could be." And then Hector said, "I was thinking about that phone call yesterday. Who do you think it was calling me?" Gabriela replied, "It could be anyone. Maybe your father?"

Hector nodded. "Yes." He continued to sink deeper under the weight of this enormous weariness. His father had been dead for years. He could feel the enormous, endless, always growing weariness pressing down on him. He could feel his own weariness accumulated over the  many years of his life, the weariness of those he knew and touched, the weariness of all those he ever knew or touched, the weariness of those still living, of those long dead, of people he never knew, never met, people long, long, gone. He felt like he was beneath an ocean of weariness, under a volcano of weariness, in a place of deep, serious, heaviness, a heaviness beyond heaviness.

Gabriela said, "Hector, stay with me." Hector could see himself rising up from his seat, he could feel his body falling away into little particles, he could see his flesh becoming iridescent, his bones disappearing, becoming a small breeze passing through the train car.  Gabriela said, "Maybe it's better to take it all in, embrace it, don't let it go, just go into it?" As she said these words, Hector could feel his body coming back to him, he noticed his fingers & toes, his arm & legs; he was whole, he was inside his body once again. It happened instantly.

Hector, said, "Yes, that's right. Go into it. That feels right." The weariness didn't dissipate, he could still feel it pressing down on him, but it felt like it belonged to him now. Outside and inside, the same. The train arrived at their stop. They exited the train. Gabriela reached out to hold Hector's hand. They walked gently, silently into the shimmering, waiting day.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Art of Living...

The Art of Living...

We are all artists, whether we know it or not. Living is an an art. Not a job, not a business, not science, not logical, not a straight-line narrative.

Living is like a cloud. A wave. A mist. A fog. It's not easy to understand. It's not easy to grasp. Being alive. We think: It's kind of a good thing in itself. As they say, "better than the alternative."

Although, even that is probably off target. We don't know life. We don't know death. We don't know.
We practice the art of living. Some of us do it consciously, some of us do it unconsciously.

We are all left to wonder. How do we fashion ourselves. What's it really all about?

The questioning is another part of the process. Asking questions with no clear answers. Carrying on. Anyway. That's the art of living.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Plain, Simple Reality of Life!

I heard a phrase this morning that rings a bell...

"That experience just doesn't translate." 

Exactly. Even if you are a writer of distinction, it is hard, maybe impossible, to convey some of our most profound, core experiences. You actually have to experience the experience to understand it. This is especially true of anything that comes to us truly, madly, deeply, completely.

I think of some of my great insights or epiphanies, or a few of my transcendent experiences that I have had over the years. I am unable to really explain, or adequately convey. As soon as I try to write down, or verbalize, it seems so partial, paltry, almost misses the point entirely.

So yes, a mystery wrapped in a mystery. Our deepest, most important experiences sit with us unexplained, unexplainable, untranslatable.  That's just the plain, simple reality of our lives.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts!

What's happening with Little Baby Man? 

Death by a thousand cuts. Maybe paper cuts.

"Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until Great Birnam Wood, to high Dunsinane Hill, Shall come against him."

"Little Baby Man shall never vanquish'd be, until his Deutsche Bank financial records Shall come against him."


Oh poor Little Baby Man. Those incriminating banking files have sprouted wings and will soon be flying off to Congress. Oh poor Little Baby Man... don't cry...

I love that Nancy Pelosi has Little Baby Man's number. She's running circles around him.

"Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, has spent the past 48 hours doing to Trump what he has done to so many others. She lifted up his skin, got under it, and began scratching furiously. Asked at her weekly news conference on Thursday whether she was concerned about the president’s well-being, she replied: “I am,” adding she was also concerned about “the well-being of the United States of America”.And then she delivered the coup de grace: “I wish that his family or his administration or staff would have an intervention for the good of the country. Maybe he wants to take a leave of absence.”

As Rick Wilson explains: Nancy Pelosi's strategy is working... Poor Little Baby Man!

We all need to brush up on Psychology. And Pathology. Nancy Pelosi - she's smarter, tougher, saner. Poor Little Baby Man has no chance, he is unraveling! A case study for America!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

I was Ready to Go in for the Kill!

I had a "situation" yesterday.

I won't go into the gory details. Suffice to say, it was an unexpected conversation. Words were tossed my way by someone who really doesn't know me, (I don't really know them either).

How did I react? Internally I was absolutely infuriated. I mentally prepared an onslaught of razor-sharp, cutting words in return. I was ready to go in for the kill.

Then I paused. I swallowed my pride. I laughed. I took a few deep breaths and decided this was not a fight worth having. I just stopped. I cooled off. Let it go. Responded with a cool, calculated silence.

Yes. It was good. Satisfying. Sometimes you really don't have to take the bait. You can bite your tongue, pull in your horns, be the "bigger person."

The fury passed. Instead of escalating it, I totally defused the situation. I must say, I have not always been this "smart," there have been times in the past where I would have reacted with inflamed emotion. But I have learned that this fury, this flaming emotion is toxic. Not just to the person I was going to direct it upon, but also toxic to myself.

So. Instead. I did a Gandhi.  Silence. Coolness. Non-violent. Non-confrontational. It felt wonderful.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Venture Forth Into the Murky Mist!

"What can go wrong?" 

That's one of those really stupid questions. It's the kind of question you might ask when you are just about to embark on a new adventure, or start a new project, or engage with someone or something you have never engaged with before.

Why is it a stupid question? Because, of course, Dear Grasshopper, the answer to the question is plain as day, I mean, it may as well be tattooed on your forehead, or written in ink on your left hand.

What can wrong? Everything can go wrong! 

Everything! Every Last Thing! That is something you learn over time. There is a saying in the Theater world, you don't really know your show until everything goes wrong at least once. You don't really know anything at all until all the things that can go wrong, do go wrong. You might call that experience. 

Should this prevent you from new adventures? From trying new things? From starting new projects? Meeting new people? Etc?

No! Of course not. I say "Damn the torpedoes!" Right? Sure, everything can, and probably will go wrong, that's just built into anything we take on. But even with this knowledge we must venture forth into that murky mist! Do your best to prepare. Figure on detours, walk-backs, re-thinks, falling-down and picking-ups. Come on. Give it a go. What can go wrong?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Normal" is a Chimera!

The "new normal" isn't normal. "Normal" is a chimera. We are always in flux. Ever-changing. Just when we start to get used to something, it's already gone, disappeared into the mists of time. Life: It's a moving target! You are a moving target too. Your head, your thoughts, your body, always morphing, changing, aging, transforming. We are hanging on this spinning rock, gravity doing its thing, basically, we are holding on for dear life. Our little blue planet spinning out in the great, dark expanse. That little blue planet is changing too. And the Universe? It too is expanding, changing, moving. Weird, aye?

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Better Taco!

Yesterday I discovered a "better Taco." A small thing, right? But, you know, our lives are made up of many small things. Lately, I have been determined to eat as "clean" as I can, more veggies, less fat, no animal protein, primarily organic food. All good for me and the planet. My friend and I found ourselves at a local Mexican restaurant yesterday. We started with some superb guacamole and chips, and then I ordered the "Simple Taco" with veggies. Pretty basic, three soft-shell tacos with cilantro, onions & potatoes. Simple. Clean. So good. Really. It is the better taco! Hard to believe but it made my day. A small thing. Essential.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Start a Conversation and See What Happens!

So much to do, so little time...

Last night we were in a safe oasis, a little art space. It was quite the beautiful setting, filled with an amazing collection of people from all over the world. We made connections there that were only possible because of reality of this fantastic, welcoming little art space. Folks creating and connecting. A community of artists, and of people who like to hang with artists and creative, open-minded, open-hearted people. We realized you can easily reach out and connect.  Anytime. You just have to show up, be aware, be awake, be open. Let your guard down, speak, listen. We made so many new connections with so many people. That's how it's done, one person at a time, one on one. So yes, of course, we can all try to "fix" the world. How do we do it? Human Being to Human Being. One person to another person, and so on, etc. So many people to meet. So little time. I mean, it's daunting. Impossible. Too many billions of us, on this raging, needing, wanting, seething Ball of Confusion. So you pull your horns in a bit, you just try to do your small part. You say "Hello," to someone you don't know, someone you just met, you open your heart, your head, you have a conversation and see what happens!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

"Be Like A Leaf In The River... Just Flow!"

"Be like a Leaf in the River... just flow!"

My friend, has a friend, a woman from Cambodia who now lives and works here in the States. Yes, she's Buddhist. Yesterday, my friend was in conversation with her friend at work. My friend's friend laid that line on her. She told my friend that it was a line that her mother would always say to her. Very Zen. This morning my friend laid that line on me, before I had even had a chance to make the morning coffee, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Really. Funny. Simple line. Simple thought. Yes, be like a leaf in the river, just flow. You don't know how you got there, you don't know where you are going, you are floating along, carried along by a power bigger than yourself. Not that weird, or novel of an idea. I mean, it's probably something that I've heard many times before, but this morning, it just resonates with the power of plain, perfectly realized truth. A little world-cracking epiphany. Just perfect. Perfectly simple. Seems so right.  Life-changing. Life-affirming. I mean, exactly. Right?

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