WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Saturday, September 29, 2007

SERJ IS ONTO SOMETHING!



Serj Tankian, the leader singer of System of Down, is on tour promoting his new solo album. Serj has a lot going for him. A political conscience, a strong voice, he looks like a young Zappa, and well, he's a kind of crazy Lebanese dude with something to say. He is quite quotable:

WE ARE THE CAUSE OF A WORLD THAT'S GONE WRONG

CIVILIZATION IS OVER! ELECT THE DEAD.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Religion of the Ad

I watched the TV show "Mad Men" last night. I thought it was quite good. It looks like it's taking off from movies such as "The Apartment," "Sweet Smell of Success," and "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter." Looking back at 1960 from the eyes of 2007." It's kind of hard-boiled, hyper-active and ridiculous too. The Nixon/Kennedy election and packaging of the president is a backdrop that lends it some gravitas.

Anyway, between scenes, a quote flashed on the screen from the artist Kit Williams. It seems so true, and obvious, I guess it's kind of a cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason don't you think?

"The engine of ancient society was religion but the engine of contemporary society, as I see it, is advertising." - Kit Williams

And why is it we want to fill ourselves, our lives with beautiful lies, hokum and crap? The human being never tires of blowing smoke up it's own collective ass...

By 2007 there is only the spin and the spin of the spin...we are all in the middle of the vortex. We all know it. And well that's all part of the game too...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Homage to the Forefathers

Feeling pretty good this morning. White Wolf and Sonic Princess rocked out at the Elbo Room in Chicago last night. What a nice room, great sound, the sound guy was a pro. I actually worked with him when I appeared as a solo acoustic act opening for the Amino Acids at Gunther Murphy's (RIP) a long time ago now.

This road show thing is kind of new to us. When we do theater, the audience comes to our place, the stage is our home turf. Each audience is different, each night is unique, each performance is it's own world, but the set, the room is ours. Not so in the rock & roll thing.

As David Thomas of Pere Ubu once remarked, "rock and roll is moving large black cases from one part of town to the other." So yes, we must do the "schlepping." Not so bad for me, guitar and amp, but for our drummer it's a good way to build up the biceps.

We were second on the bill, only played for 1/2 hour to a very tiny audience (I was gonna say "tiny crowd" but that would not be an accurate description). But you know, for a Wednesday night it's to be expected. I was pleased to have a small group of cool people really giving us a listen. The reaction was warm and encouraging.

Overall, it was one of our best outings yet. A pretty tight set, the rockers rocked, the slow ethereal ones were slow and ethereal. This morning the Lovely Carla tells me that a Hindu Holy Man was there last night talking about the full moon. He told her that this moon asks that we "pay homage to our forefathers." I didn't know it at the time, but I'm pretty confident homage was given and received.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Trees Talk Too!"

A friend of mine, a fellow-traveller, a great spirit, sent me a very funny file. It's called the "worst album covers of all time." You can find some of them here.

The one below is my favorite. I wonder what kind of music these two characters made together. Plus since Ricky is undoubtably made of wood, the title "Trees Talk Too," is really sort of touching...



UPDATE: Well I went for a run and it dawned on me that Geraldine and Ricky were not a singing act, but of course, a ventriloqist act. I suppose the real pleasure of listening to the album was to put the thing on the the turntable, turn off the lights, lay back in bed and imagine Ricky speaking and Geraldine not visibly moving her lips at all!

There's more to the story: turns out Ricky also played golf, and well, when asked why he was always smiling, Ricky would reply, "I got Jesus in me!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Daily Hate

It's kind of fascinating to watch the "daily hate," (who is next?) that is being directed at the President of Iran. I mean, the guy might be a buffoon, and a holocaust denier, but it seems to me Iran isn't the only country headed up by a buffoon who has a slim grip on reality. There's another country I'm thinking of, it's starts with a U. and ends with an S., that has caused a world full of mischief all by itself.

Anyway, I'm sure there are big problems in Iran, and well, it's not a place I'd like to live, and I wouldn't vote for the guy that runs it, but I wouldn't vote for the guy that runs our country now either.

The event at Columbia seemed to go quite well. Everyone got to have their say. I wonder how Bush would do in a room with Iranian students?

The mad, foaming at the mouth hysteria that has risen up against the Iranian President seems almost manufactured.

And no, nukes or no nukes, I don't think it's a good idea to start bombing another country any time soon. If we are thinking that Iran is a "rogue nation," I guess I'd say a little self-reflection is in order.

UPDATE: Hey here's some additional insight from Professer Juan Cole regarding the Iranian President. I think it's safe to say Cole really knows his shit:

"Instead, the U.S. State Department denounced Ahmadinejad as himself little more than a terrorist. Critics have also cited his statements about the Holocaust or his hopes that the Israeli state will collapse. He has been depicted as a Hitler figure intent on killing Israeli Jews, even though he is not commander in chief of the Iranian armed forces, has never invaded any other country, denies he is an anti-Semite, has never called for any Israeli civilians to be killed, and allows Iran's 20,000 Jews to have representation in Parliament.

The real reason his visit is controversial is that the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state. "

Monday, September 24, 2007

Diabolical Madness

This is from Juan Cole:

"The argument about whether Cheney/Bush went into Iraq over petroleum is not interesting. Of course they did, one way or another. The question is what exactly they thought they were doing about Iraq's petroleum. I would argue that they threw public resources (perhaps as much as two trillion dollars worth when all is said and done) to secure profits for private companies. Otherwise, the US public will never, ever realize the sort of savings from the development of Iraqi petroleum that would compensate them for the blood and treasure they have spent in Iraq. (Not to mention the opportunity costs of squandering so many resources on a quagmire, when the public investment could have been put to much better uses)."

I'm not an econ wizard, but I do know that if you're gonna spend a Trillion dollars on anything, there better be a nice ROI. If you're spending a Trillion dollars and in return you get blood and hatred and endless war, well folks there lies a diabolical madness. "Public Money/Private Gain." Should be the new Republican tag line.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fancy Medals Ain't What They Used to Be

Last week one of our Four Star (how many stars are in the sky?) Generals marched down to the Senate to tell our brilliantly noble representatives how great everything is going in our foreign occupation in the land of Iraq. Seems everything is really peachy keen over there. Now some people may think that it was all just a big PR stunt, and an elaborate cover story to basically shore up support for President Pissy Pants ("presidentin' is hard work!").

Now I'm not one to question a guy with so many fancy medals on his chest. I mean he sort of looked like the second coming of Patton or Eisenhower, or Alexander or something. But it turns out another guy with fancy medals on his chest thinks this guy Petreus is just an "ass-kissing lickspittle," or something like that...

Well if one tip-top fancy medal dude is calling out another tip-top, fancy medal dude, what's a simple, humble pilgrim to think?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BLACKWATER

Imagine a counter-factual world. A world where let's say there was a foreign force in Louisiana (I'm just improvising here). This force is there to protect foreign Ambassadors and other high-level tight asses.

Well, let's say it's been kind of topsy-turvy lately in the streets of major cities in Louisiana, lots of violence and bad shit happening everyday. And well, there's an "incident," this foreign security detail is involved in a bloody shootout and a bunch of people end up dead. A new family - father, mother and little baby are shot up and burned to cinders in a bullet-riddled and combusted vehicle.

Let's just say the locals are up in arms. A lot of bad feeling all around. People saying something must be done. Then it turns out that a couple of years ago, a special order was passed, (unknown to the locals) that this security detail and in fact, any other foreign contractor in country is IMMUNE to any Louisiana LAW! And well, on one level the mad conception of the whole thing is fucking perfectly beautiful for the foreign occupiers. For the locals not so good. Who could imagine such a world?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Weather Vane

We are so much like the weather. Carbon-based weather vanes. One day to the next; one day, unlike any other. Ever again.

There are isobars, and barometric pressures, and moon tides. There is this big solar daddy hanging over us all. He's consistent, but changeable too.

As above, so below. There is only constant change, moment to moment. This feeling of continuity is really just a helpful (sometimes) illusion. Helpful, and then, not so helpful too. Can't hold on. To anything.

It's a little frightening. And a lonely row to hoe.

Good days you can ride the wave, and crash in the surf, and get back up, over and over. Until you are done. That's a life.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Everything is Everything


Lately most of my creative energy has been channeled into music and the band I co-founded with the Lovely Carla, the band with the improbable, unwieldy name: White Wolf and Sonic Princess. Sometimes when our bass player and drummer join us we then become White Wolf/Sonic Princess and the Enthusiastikatz. Now that's a real mouthful! How about WWSP&E?! I can see the letters plastered on the sign outside Madison Square Garden. I still have no problem thinking big!

Anyway, for some odd reason I was thinking it was a cool name when I came up with it, and well, whether it's cool or not, we're now kind of stuck with it. And well, isn't that how life goes? Stuck with these eyes and this nose and well, why exactly was I born at this time and place? Is there a reason? So many questions, so little time.

So our band has a round of very cool shows coming up, at some really fine establishments such as the Elbo Room and Uncommon Ground in Chicago, and Mother Fools in Madison, Wisconsin. Some amazing bands have marched through the Elbo Room over the years and well, Uncommon Ground is famous for really propelling Jeff Buckley's short, brilliant career.

So we've been rehearsing intensely, as a duo and as a four-some, really trying to hone our stage act. It's an interesting process, an evolution, hard work, and fun as all get out. At the same time, we've been in a real creative, song-writing phase. I posted our latest effort here. It's a real collaborative effort called "Everything is Everything," which sort of encapsulates a philosophical, maybe metaphysical outlook on our mad, mad, world. Plus as they used to say, "it's got a good beat, and you can dance to it."

I think it's funny too. I encourage you to give it a listen. Check out all the crazy loops towards the end. It's just a little pop confection, but sometimes, just maybe, that's enough!

Friday, September 14, 2007

"Buy One, Get One Free"

Last night, I'm in a taxi cab. The driver is in the middle of an extended monologue. He's a little older than me. He's from Pakistan, he's been in America many years now, he has a home, children, grown children. He works like a dog. Seven days a week. Never takes a vacation.

"Buy one, get one free. Buy one, get one free. Do you know why they say that...because Americans are not free."

And then this, "cheesburgers, cheeseburgers, cheeseburgers. All Americans eat is cheeseburgers."

There some other stuff he's saying, not sure what, can't follow it all, his voice makes me think of Andy Kaufman, but this guy is animated, funny, he keeps his eye on the road, the words roll out in a steady stream.

"I was young, in Pakistan, watch the TV, Lucy, Bonanza, Man from UNCLE."

Now this really makes me laugh. I was young, in America, I watched Lucy, Bonanza and Man from UNCLE too.

That's the America he thought he was coming to, that's the America I thought I was inheriting. Little kids watching TV worlds away, thinking the little black and white images on the screen were the world. And it kind of boggles the mind to think what that crazy, mixed up vision: Lucy, Ricky, Hoss, Little Joe, Napoleon Solo all added up to.

Somehow it wasn't the vision we ended up with...or maybe then again it really was...who knows? America is still a wacky domestic comedy, a western myth, a spy show, all jumbled up in our heads and on our multi-purpose screens.

And what are we left with? "Buy one, get one free."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Keys to Success

So, yes, this is really funny, sort of sad, and absolutely true. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Different

One morning you wake up and everything is different. What you cared about yesterday, and the day before, maybe you no longer do. It's cool outside, not blazing hot. You're not edgy. You slept well. The coffee is really fine, but it's a new kind bean you never tried before. You think some things you never really thought about. Like yes, Kanye West probably is a genius and Hip hop is an amazing genre of music that you should know more about. And yes, when Kanye throws a fit about not getting any awards, well, of course, you actually agree with him.

Okay, that said, some things are still the same. Britney is still a clueless ding a ling. Bush is still a corrupt and dispicable idiot. Washington D.C. is a warped and sick place. Everything still looks like it's going to hell in a handbasket. But somehow it doesn't trouble you. I mean, well, there's a cool breeze coming down from the north, and the air is fresh and the sky is blue and you can put on a sweater and feel comfortable. And no one is shooting at you. So, well, at least, there's that...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cretin Nation

In moments of clarity I tell myself that it's fruitless to worry about (and blog about) our latest thirty year war. I mean, our military will not be coming home any time soon, and who knows, I'm sure there are other backward places where the Joint Chiefs are planning to show off all their shiny new weapons. And I suppose there's no way to stop any of it. This blood spilling thing is such an integral part of our nation's glorious history. And then, on top of that, we have such an idiot running around the planet representing us. Did this cretin actually say we are "kicking ass" in Iraq? It's mind-boggling trying to imagine what makes this man tick...

UPDATE: There must be some kind of barometer or index or formula that can explain it. As the ignorance quotient increases, simultaneously, the arrogance quotient increases too. So, the stupid man, is too stupid to realize just how stupid he is, instead he sees a very simple, black and white world, (it's only a reflection of his own stupidity) and he comes to believe that he is pretty damn smart after all. All those brainiacs that make him feel small, are just full of hot air. So his stupidity rolls out like an endless carpet, and his arrogance overflows like a freshly poured Guiness Stout. Everyone in his path suffers. If he's got a really big important job, the wreckage is completely overwhelming...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tax Cuts!

Is OBL now funny? That's how it works right? First time tragedy, second time comedy?

Anyway Matt Ygelsias and his commenters seem to think OBL is positioning himself for the Republican presidential nomination. OBL is for tax cuts. All we gots to do is convert to Islam!

Update: OBL cited Noam Chomsky as a writer he admired. I agree. But I wonder if Noam really appeciates being cited by the most hated man in West? Probably won't be as good for book sales as an endorsement from Oprah, but is all PR good PR?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Forever and Ever War

John Robb over at Global Guerillas (sometimes you read something that really opens your eyes - "Once upon a time I woke up!"), tells us why we will be at war indefinitely...

"If you think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end with this US presidency, think again. These wars will likely outlast the next several Presidents. The old Vietnam era formulas don't apply anymore. The reason is that the moral weaknesses that have traditionally limited the state's ability to fight long guerrilla wars have dissipated, and modern states may now have the ability and the desire to wage this type of war indefinitely.

For all intents and purposes, the US isn't at war. The use of a professional military in combination with corporate partners has pushed warfare to the margins of political/social life."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Illuminating & Obscure


A long weekend. Kind of got lost. A good kind of lost. On Saturday, went to see a dance performance choreographed by Sara our friend and band bass player. It was really cool. I don't often go to dance performances. I don't know why. There's something about movement and music, these bodies in this moment, doing these things, that is so of the moment, a celebration of the moment. No text. Very refreshing. Of course, it was inspiring and sad too. Even in the beauty, the perfect execution there's the recognition that each moment, no matter how extraordinary, passes, is passing, is gone. Anyway, here's a web-link to a description of the piece, (Ghost in the Machine) plus a nice photo montage of the work. And then, here is one of my photos. Taken in low light, manual setting...it's illuminating and obscure at the same time. Oh how very dichotomified!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Liars!

Let's be perfectly clear. Our leaders, our military is lying to us. There is a coordinated campaign to lie about "progress" in Iraq, so that we will keep troops there forever, or at least until Bush steps down. The next President, (whoever stoops low enough to get the trophy), will have to deal with this debacle. And even some of the Democrats are hedging on whether they really will bring the troops home (as far as I can tell only Bill Richardson - does he really have a snowball's chance in hell of winning, has said he'd bring them all home immediately). We live in Orwell's paradise. Winston Smith is our mirror image. It's probably easier to just relent and ride with the lie. But the reality on the ground has a funny way of not conforming to the PR. America's motto should be "eat shit and say it tastes good!" All I can say is fuck them all.

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