wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Anonymous Citizens

I suppose what separates the Great Powers from the Not So Great Powers, is the capacity to inflict damage on the anonymous citizenry without any compunction. At one level, there are the Great and Mighty who breathe in the heady air of Empire, then there are the poor people who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So the Big Shots get to divide up the maps, draw up the treaties, pat themselves on the back at another well-run campaign. Then there are the little people, nameless, faceless, with bloodied heads, dead children, blasted homes. They are the innocent bystanders, the collateral damage. They are the poor, down-trodden refugees. And as Woody Allen once said if you are a refugee all you do all day, every day is FLEE!

It is a sad, disgusting story. It happens all the fucking time. Change the names of the countries, change the names of the territories, it's happened on every bleeding continent. It is the never-ending story.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yo La Tengo

I'm listening to Yo La Tengo this morning. One of the great bands from Hoboken, New Jersey. The core of the band is a husband/wife duo. He plays guitar and she plays drums. They channel early Velvet Underground and they certainly seem like cousins to Sonic Youth.

Still they have something unique, which they churn out with great regularity.

There is something to be said for longevity. Yo La Tengo is the kind of band, a kind of sound, that grows on you. Repeated listens. Beauty and dissonance. They have flown under the radar for a long time. And that's cool.

Here is a very funny video. Yo La Tengo goes to Rock School. They didn't learn much. I can't find any Hobbit references on the discs that I own...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Healing Has Begun

I had a strange, healing dream a few days ago. It felt like all night I was channeling energy from different people. It was like I was running other people's energy through my body.

First a Kenyan runner, then a South Korean woman, a Serbian soccer player, a snooty New York socialite, a small Chinese farmer.

It was kind of disturbing, not the most restful sleep. It was like running an AC current through a DC cord, or maybe like playing a Guns N Roses song on a cello.

When I woke up I was in a pool of sweat, the pillow, the covers, were soaked. And it was like a fever had broken, I was alive, my hands and feet tingled. It was like my body was renewed.

I have been riding this newness for a few days. So strange.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Here Comes the Sun


If you pay attention, you can't help seeing that over the last few thousand years buckets of blood and carnage can be traced back to organized religion. Who Got the Gravy? has a nice overview post on the subject which I guess got my wheels spinning.

Any time, any day you can see see the blood-letting in action.

I'm thinking we took a wrong turn when we turned away from the Sun. Oliver Morton recently reminded me how powerful is that big gold thing up in the sky. I think we should go back to basics.

I think the Pagans had it right. The Sun gives us life. All of us. We are equal under the Sun. It is warm, life-giving, non-judging. There is no dogma. No rule book. No do's and don'ts. There is no secret club. No hierarchy.

If we look up to and worship the sun it does not make us any better than the next guy. Or the next worm or monkey either. There's only one Sun. But really we don't have to thump each other over the head proving or disproving the point.

I'm putting my faith in the Sun God. I do believe it will rise today and tomorrow too. It's gonna shine down upon me whether I like it or not. Maybe it won't save my soul, but it will certainly tan my ass. The Sun's only agenda seems to be to support life. All life on the planet. Now that's a Deity I can get behind!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Dignity of a Man

Harold Pinter has died. He was a fabulously great writer. I remember when I first took up acting, doing a scene from the Caretaker. It totally fired up my imagination. I became a Pinter fanatic. I ended up buying the multi-volume collection of all his works.

No one quite wrote plays like Pinter. His plays, The Homecoming, The Caretaker, The Birthday Party are hilarious, mysterious, hard, brilliant. Very much like the man. When he won the Nobel Prize in 2005 he delivered a blistering speech about the Iraq debacle. Warmed my heart.

His work can't be reduced to politics, but I do share much of his supremely caustic view of the American Empire. We must always look in the mirror and try to discern the truth.

"When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror - for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us. I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man." - Harold Pinter

Friday, December 26, 2008

It is an Energy Thing People!

Did you see the Oliver Morton penned Op-Ed in the Times a couple days ago?

I mean I guess we all knew this, but it is good to be reminded that SUNLIGHT powers all life...

"It is this sunlight, endlessly refreshed, that allows the grass to grow, the birds to sing — and you to live. The Sun’s energy flows through your breakfast cereal, your morning coffee, your veins and your mind. It animates you as it has animated almost all the Earth’s life for billions of years."


We are all connected. Every living thing. Don't forget it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two To Tango

The weather here forces one to stay indoors. I think it also validates the idea that there are bigger forces in the world working on our little hills of beans. Sometimes things are imposed upon us, and we must deal with them, whether we like it or not.

The world has some demands which we must meet. There are debts to pay. Agreements to keep. Still it's all just our choice. It takes two to tango.

But the world isn't always the greatest dance partner. Sometimes it steps on your toes, throws you to the floor, flips you in the air. The tune is called and the dance commences.

You have to keep your dancing shoes nearby. Keep on dancing. Indoors. Outdoors. Whatever.

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Icicle

Yesterday it was so cold. Sub-zero, wind-chilling, face-freezing. Dangerous cold. I went out once. Snagged a newspaper (some habits die hard) and a hot chocolate.

First day of winter. It was a hibernation day. Slow movie. Zombie slow. Wake me in the Spring.

The news was crazy. Flying shoes. Crumbling pyramids. Rich people fleecing other rich people.

I was feeling a day-long groggy. Still recovering from my Spiritual Epiphany watching a James Brown cover band (see previous post) Saturday evening.

My party shoes have some serious miles on them. A little party goes a long way.

I seem to have arrived at a new place. A new face.

I imagine an icicle forming and then melting. Over and over.

One.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Divine in the Funk

Could a simple but widely-awake Pilgrim get an ecstatic glimpse of the Divine in a short but intense set by a James Brown cover band?

Last night I believe I did.

I saw a Hispanic Punk channeling Mr. Brown in all his sweaty glory. I saw a rag-tag five-piece horn section pumping up the funk. I saw a charismatic group of needy souls get up and get down. I saw white girls finding bliss in the Funky Chicken.

The Divine was in the Funk.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dancing on Air

One man had a dream to build the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

One man had a dream to bring down the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

One man had a dream to string a wire from one tower to another and dance between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Man on Wire is an extraordinary movie about an extraordinary dreamer who dreamed to dance in the air.

Amazing. Inspiring. Improbable. A dream.

The movie has a superb soundtrack. One of my favorite cuts is early Fleetwood Mac's Albatross. Beautiful. The band mimes for the cameras. Check out Peter Green fingering his famous Les Paul.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hocus Pocus Dominocus (the little dominoes fall!)

Last night we went to our favorite Psychic School and we learned that there's a lot of energy around Giving and Receiving. Who would of thunk it?

I realized I'm good at neither. Which does not bode well for my great spiritual quest.

"I am a rock, I am an island. And rock feels no pain. And an island never cries." - P. Simon

I am not a rock. I am not an island. And I do feel pain. And I do cry.

Anyway, just by exploring this highly-charged subject I kind of blew up all the silly pictures that I have carried around with me. I did not know.

It's kind of a mind-blower to discover something about yourself. I suppose there is much we all don't know we all don't know.

The snow and ice is falling on our heads this morning. And I am ready to receive it! And I'm ready to throw myself into the day. I am the gift that keeps on giving.

Our lives are gifts. They are ours to give as we choose. And as they say, in a weird-ass way, by giving we receive.

It's a strange calculus.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Criminal Enterprise Launched by Madmen

The re-writing of recent history is already going forward. We must not let it happen. Memory is our friend. We must strive to remember the good shit and the bad shit too. It's the only way we learn, as people and as a culture.

Bush and his enablers want us to believe Iraq was just a great little adventure to establish a shining new Democracy. And who could have predicted it would go bad, and really wasn't it all worth it any way?

Matt Yglesias calls us "An Empire of Sentimentality:

"The harsh reality is that this was not a noble undertaking done for good reasons. It was a criminal enterprise launched by madmen cheered on by a chorus of fools and cowards." - Matt Yglesias

Let us always remember...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Malady!

The Lovely Carla tells me that all the problems of the world can be traced back to one thing: BIG MAN MONKEY BUSINESS!

Post Script: I told the Lovely Carla that I'd be happy to be Little Monkey Man if that would help.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And that's OK!

Who to trust? The Priest, the President, the Banker? Sorry, no can do, and that's the Trifecta. It's over. The End of the World as we knew it.

Time for a new narrative.

Once upon a time...

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Semi-Permeable Membrane

How much of what we know comes through osmosis? How much can we absorb? Are our brains, our beings, just like a big resilient paper towel?

What can we learn from the amoeba? Why did I think of 7th Grade Science Lab this morning? Is the great Amoeba in the Sky sending me a message?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Iraqi Welcome Wagon

President George Bush made an unannounced visit to Iraq. I guess this means he was secretly flown into the Green Zone, a fortified city within a City, and kept under wraps so no one could get a could get a clean shot at him.

He is there to assess his handiwork.

I have a suggestion. When Mr. Bush's term is finally over, how about if he and Laura move to Iraq? He's expended so much time and energy there. He staked his Presidency on the place. Wouldn't it be a great gesture for him to move into the great new Democracy he established in the Middle East?

And I don't mean in some heavily fortified compound. How about a nice little bungalow in Fallujah? I'm sure the grateful citizens would be happy to roll out the Welcome Wagon for him.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dog Chronicles

I was walking Bear. Or is it, Bear was walking me?

Bear is a dog. Bear and I have a deep connection. Can't explain it. Bear doesn't think she's a dog. Doesn't like to be around other dogs. Doesn't act like other dogs.

Bear takes me places. Shows me secret paths. Likes to frolic on the beach. Likes to roll in the sand. Likes to let the wind blow through her hair.

Bear and I walk the wild places. The overgrown areas. The nooks and crannies. Near the rocks. Near the crashing waves.

We like to chase the waves. We like to chase the seagulls. We like to watch the light playing on the surface of the lake. We like the snow, the ice.

The whiteness, it makes us feel lighter.

Bear has a delicate animal grace. A delicate assurance.

I follow her. She cuts a deeply honest path.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Differ

Yesterday the Lovely Carla said to me: "You can't just plug in your iPod and hide from the world!"

I'm sorry, I beg to differ.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Splat!

It is a time of failing. Bankers, Auto Execs, Politicians. Our Capitalist Utopia has turned out to be made of Plastic! We don't make anything anymore. Except Debt. Which is basically a number followed by another bunch of numbers on a computer somewhere out in the virtual world.

In the time of this Great Failing I think we are also witnessing the Great Unveiling. The liars and their lies are being exposed on a daily basis.

Pretty soon there really won't be any place to hide.

And then what are we left with? We're gonna have to figure out a better way to live on this planet with each other.

Or else we gonna hit that Wall of Suffering at full speed. Kind of like a bug hitting a windshield - 80 miles an hour - on the big highway.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For...

I've been on a U2 kick lately. I've always loved the band, hadn't really listened to them for awhile, and then kind of re-discovered them. Last night, I watched their concert movie Rattle and Hum from 1988. Hat Tip to Paula G.

It's a really well-made movie, shows the band in fine form. They have always been able to provide rousing arena rock shows without becoming totally cheesy.

Here's my favorite clip. Two Irish rockers come to Harlem. Music is some kind of communion...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Down-sizing

For awhile I thought it was just me. But I realize it's not just me. We are shrinking. All of us. Day by day. Getting smaller by degrees.

It's hard to see because it's happening to each and every one of us. So proportionally everything seems normal.

And maybe getting smaller is just part of the process. Finally we are so small we will just sort of disappear.

From a speck of dust to nothing.

It's weird. Really, really weird.

Monday, December 08, 2008

It Would Explain a Lot!

The Lovely Carla informed me yesterday that Jesus, (you know that guy in the Bible) was gay. She went to this tapestry show at the Art Institute and I guess there is lots of "foppishness" on display. I Googled it (Google is kind of like our modern Delphic Oracle don't you think?), this morning ("Was Jesus Gay?), and well, I guess I'd say the jury is still out.

But really, if we are talking about the same guy who turned water into wine and brought dead people back to life, I'm thinking it wouldn't be totally inconceivable to think that the guy was open to exploring the various forms of human sexuality.

Plus he shunned his family, moved to the City, hung out with a bunch of dudes. Didn't he love show tunes too? Who knows?

Like Solomon I think I'm willing to slice the baby in half on this one.

I'm going with: Jesus was definitely Bi!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Rock and Roll Religion

We played a rock show last night at the Red Line Tap. It was a "Toys for Tots" Benefit. The Lovely Carla always reminds me it's about having the "right intention" and in this case, giving toys to needy kids is about as right as rain.

What a great event. One of our best crowds ever. They came out to see three bands: Muff Puppy, WWSP and the Telepaths. We ended up with a pile of toys (over fifty toys) and a rollicking bar full of festive people.

It was all so satisfying. I played in two of the three bands. Which for me is some kind of NIRVANA. I am lucky to be able to collaborate with some great people, number one the Lovely Carla of course, and then the hard core rockers of the T-paths.

The T-paths are so messy and fun.

I broke a string, almost blew out my amp. It was rock and roll perfection...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Recreational Drollery

Do I have a sharply-honed sense of humour or am I just displaying an unusual amount of "recreational drollery?"

Beats me.

I do think in order to survive this roller-coaster ride we call life, one must find ways to amuse oneself. Laughter is the best medicine for our terminal condition. Once it dawns on you that your time is limited on this ball of confusion, that you and everyone you know is going to die, you have to arm yourself with some kind of antidote.

Humour is probably the best we can come up with. Is life a tragedy or a comedy? Your choice probably helps decide whether you are an optimist or pessimist - or at least whether you primarily sport a smile or a grimace.

Of course, there is "gallows humour" a type of humour that "arises from stressful, traumatic or life-threatening situations."

But doesn't that just describe a typical day on the planet?

So a comedy is a light and humorous drama with a happy ending, whereas a tragedy is a drama in which the protagonist is overcome by some superior force or circumstance.

I suppose the trick is to somehow see the "overcoming" as freaking hilarious!

Friday, December 05, 2008

All About the Hair

We played a party last night. At Celebrity Salon. One of the coolest places devoted to all things hair. We played multiple sets, just about every song we know, plus a few we don't really know at all.

It was a well-paid gig. And a blast too. We got some great feedback from the crowd. One guy actually compared the Lovely Carla and I to Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Something about the great chemistry we create onstage.

Not sure if we should take that as a compliment...or not...I mean, didn't they end up hating each other?

Certainly Stevie and Lindsey have better hair. And much bigger bank accounts! Chemistry? What chemistry?!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Adventures of Big Chief Jimmy Thunderpants

This is not a movie soon to be at your local cinema:

"The Adventures of Big Chief Jimmy Thunderpants" - The saga of a lowly guitar-tuner, a foundling, an orphan, living on the coast of Lake Michigan. Thunderpants makes his daily bread working in a guitar warehouse tuning cheap Chinese-made guitars. His days are filled with broken strings and fret buzzes.

By a series of odd occurances and strange coincidences Thunderpants is discovered to be the long-lost Chief of a mythical Native American Indian tribe. It is a rebel tribe that wants to bring the buffalo herds back to the cities of North America. Thunderpants is entranced by the Lovely Rebel Indian Princess "Two Deers Behind a Tree" who shows him the true meaning of Rebel Indian love and introduces him to the joys of living in a Teepee.

A wild joyride of a movie. Heartwarming and befuddling. Two thumbs up. Way, way up.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Reality Sandwich

I do think we've entered the "anything it takes to eat" phase of the economy. The Lovely Carla and I have been early adopters, we've both been free-lancers the the last couple years (sometimes more "free" than "lancing," although lately, more "lancing" than "free") and we've made cash playing music, walking dogs, and in the Lovely Carla's case painting portraits.

Which is okay. Actually more than okay. It's been kind of great. Some how we've been able to keep our own little bubble afloat. We've been lucky. Something always seems to turn up just when things start looking dire.

In order to stay sane, I've basically broken my reality up into little increments - make coffee, check e-mail, make phone calls, walk a dog, play guitar, read a book, run on the lakefront, eat beans, make more phone calls, check e-mail again, eat more beans, read another book, play guitar some more, work on my next play, read the newspaper, write my blog, etc.

I do keep up on the global scene. Most of the news on that front is pretty grim. I break the grimness into increments too. That way it's all more digestible. Somehow we just have to be able to digest the whole thing. Without letting it choke us. I do believe it's possible.

Reality is consumable one little bite at a time...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

National Wig and Bag

Every time I get stuck at the Howard El stop, waiting for a train, I look down from the platform and survey the street. It's one of those hard-luck avenues. You don't want to be down there by yourself on a cold December night. Unless of course you're looking for some cheap and illegal thrills.

Up on the platform, I always get a bird's eye view of the street. It's the best vantage point.

There is a store on the avenue called National Wig and Bag. I am fascinated by this store. I mean I have conjured up a product that is multi-purpose.

Wig and Bag

You know what I mean? One way it's a wig. And one way it's a bag. National Wig and Bag.

If you hold it upside down in your hand you can carry things in it. If you put it on your head it's a new look.

If the Lovely Carla is with me on the platform, I repeat the routine, as if for the first time, every time, like I never thought of it before. I have done this countless times. Whenever I'm stuck at Howard. Which is often. This is a great source of laughs. Always, every time. If not always for the Lovely Carla, at least for me.

One way it's a Wig! And. One way it's a Bag! It's National Wig and Bag!

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Time for Every Season

Snowflakes are falling. It always happens in these parts, this time of year. Sometimes I wonder why I live in a place where long cold winters are part of the drill. Days are short. Gray is the predominant color.

Born here is one reason, I guess. I've got some roots here. Not sure that really explains anything.

There are things I love about Chicago. It's a great theater town. And music town too. It's flat, in the middle of the country. And I guess there is something reassuring about going through the seasons.

Turn, turn, turn...

I usually do some of my best writing in the winter. A hot chocolate never tasted so good as when you come tramping in from a raging snow storm. There's actually almost a satisfaction that comes with over-coming the hostile elements.

I can be happy on a gray day. Now that's an accomplishment!

And then there's the lessons of nature. Everything will change. Maybe overnight. There's some kind of cycle. Death and renewal. There's possibility in that. And I guess that's good.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Basking

We played a rock show last night. A nice club. Full of people. They listened. Very satisfying. The greatest feeling in the world.

Still basking in the sunny glow this morning.

They tell us that a big snowstorm is coming to the city today.

Let it come down!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Love and Truth

Yes, Slumdog Millionaire really is a great movie. It's does everything a rousing, feel good movie should do. It's a fairy tale in the best sense. Danny Boyle has made an extraordinary film. The look and feel is amazing. You leave the theater thinking yes, maybe LOVE AND TRUTH can carry the day.

I believe...

Friday, November 28, 2008

We are not two we are one...

Turkey day. I avoided the bird. I ate a Turkey roast made out of mushrooms. Mushrooms?! That's right, mushrooms. It was quite good. Throw in some vegetarian gravy, a healthy dollop of mashed potatoes, some mixed vegetables and it was quite the feast. I brought over one of my favorite movies, Darjeeling Limited for the family to see.

It's one of those movies that makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me marvel at how good a filmmaker is Wes Anderson. It features a wonderful Kinks song called "Strangers." I do think it is a wise film. For me it is quite transcendent. I couldn't find the Kinks clip on YouTube, I guess copyright issues, but here are the lyrics to the song and a nice clip from the movie.

Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one
Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one


Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Sweet it Is!

It is so sweet to see the mendacious idiots (they know who they are) swimming in their own feeble idiot-hood.

How sweet it is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Get right with God." - Lovely Carla

I've been listening to lots of music on my iPod. I've loaded up full discs from the Beatles, Sigur Ros, Dylan, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Sparklehorse, Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Patti Smith, Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Van Morrison, Dire Straits, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Flaming Lips, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Sonic Youth, Drive By Truckers and U2.

It's weird what you pick and choose. There's something about the intimacy of iPod. It is a very different listening experience. And since it's so small, you can take it anywhere, so it's like having a constant soundtrack to my life. I'm sort of in a rambling, shambling Wes Anderson or Martin Scorcese flick.

Short on plot, heavy on character, and odd situations.

Anyway, I loaded up U2's disc "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." It has never been one of my favorites, (seemed too poppy, too lightweight) but over time it has really grown on me. I always loved the title, and the first song, "Vertigo," is one of their great pop singles.

Now after about 15 listens or so, I've come to love the whole thing. I realize (okay I was slow on the uptake) it's "spiritual" music. Bono is usually singing about God, and although you might think that's a little pretentious, he usually does it with maximum style, grace and panache. Plus the band is superb. This is excellent, mature, richly realized music from probably the best band ever to emerge from the Emerald Isle.

The music is uplifting, exhilarating...a strange feeling is creeping over me...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pure Madness

I do think our global financial system is pure madness. It wasn't totally apparent for a long time. There were hints along the way. Then it started to become clear that money was being created out of thin air.

And one day everyone woke up and realized that air really wasn't the best collateral. And some bills finally do come due.

How much of our wealth has been built on an airy fiction? Trillions and trillions. Weird.

It's also clear that our way of life, especially here in America is totally unsustainable. Our planet can't survive it. Or at least all the living things on the planet can't survive it.

And now it's just so strange to watch the scrambling going on. Trying to re-inflate the balloon. The more re-inflating, the more crazy it all seems.

I suppose this is an opportunity to re-make the world. I suppose...

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Humongous

I received an e-mail message this morning from Christine Dunham. I don't know Christine. Here's what she had to tell me:

Beyond question, any woman will be 100 surprised with your humongous.

Just imagine! It will be overly easy!

LUCKYBIG.COM


I Googled LUCKYBIG (I mean, hell, can you blame me - it will be overly easy!) and the first thing that came up was Strapya World. Seems Strapya World sells an amazing lucky charm called Golden Big Excrement.

"In Japan Excrement is called Unko."

Wow, there truly is an amazing world of wonders out there!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Euphoria Surfing

I've been riding waves of euphoria the last few days. It's kind of an unnatural state. How long can I stay up on the surf-board?

The ocean of our world is a churning mass. We asked for CHANGE. And it looks like we've got more change coming than we bargained for. I see this as a good thing.

I mean it's gonna be a wild ride.

What happens when we get what we've asked for? Some problems are resolved, and new ones are introduced.

This morning before coffee the Lovely Carla and I laid in bed, the morning sun streaming through the windowpane.

"Living with lies causes pain."

"Living with the truth causes pain too."

"It's a pain thing."

"Yeah."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So Bad, It's Really, Really Good!

I don't know if this makes any sense, or not, and that's okay, I'm used to it.

There seems to be some strange calculus we live by. Really bad things happen, or we lose someone or something, and then by some weird inverse calculation, we realize how precious some people and things are and this loss or defeat, leads to some kind of breakthrough, or enlightenment.

The list of really important things kind of gets smaller. And amplified.

Our experience and understanding deepens. So by losing we gain.

So sometimes the pain wakes us up from the numb zombie state that descends upon us as we navigate through the swamps of human existence.

So by this calculus bad shit can lead to good times. An accumulation of bad shit can open a door to euphoria. Dealing with real scumbags can open us to the uncommon beauty of humanity.

What a strange alchemical process. And by that calculus, it seems at this particular time and place, I have never had it so good.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Somali Pirates Hi-jacked My Imagination

'
I've been hi-jacked by Somali Pirates. I guess I'm pleased to find that there is still room for Pirates in our world. This is sort of reassuring, or maybe kind of disturbing, or unexpected, and I guess that's okay.

I first read Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, when I was 10 years old. The first story I ever wrote was a Pirate story.

Then I saw the 1934 Wallace Beery flick and I thought he was a great Long John Silver. Then there was the great Errol Flynn and the equally great Basil Rathbone in Captain Blood ("Up that rigging, you monkeys! Aloft!").

Lately Johnny Depp has taken a whirl. Lots a swash, and a heck of a lot of buckling too. I mean Depp is great, but he sort of reminds me of just the most foppish member of a band like Motely Crue. Or maybe not like Motley Crue, I mean Motley Crue.

When it comes down to it, I think Wallace Beery and Basil Rathbone are my favorite Pirates. Maybe just a little grittier and supremely odd-ball characters. They didn't just act that way, they were born that way.





Here's the final duel between Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in Captain Blood. I always rooted for Basil to somehow pull this one out. Anyway what a way to go!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shoes...

I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop. And really, I wonder, how many shoes are there out there anyway? Can we expect a torrential downpour of shoes?

And then what? Are socks next? And then is it just a bunch of naked feet up there? Is that when we finally get Peanut Butter Jelly Time?

Shoe-less and Sock-less?

What's gonna happen next???

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy...


It's over. That's the Trifecta.

I must remark on the passing of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was the greatest power trio in rock and roll. Slapped together by Chas Chandler. It featured the greatest rock guitarist ever hatched. He was a lefty who played his Stratocaster guitar backwards, strings reversed. He'd play the thing behind his head, with his tongue, his teeth. He made it all look so damn fluid and easy. The guitar was an extension of his being. It was his one trusted friend.

Hendrix started in the USA on the Chitlin Circuit. He honed his chops playing with Little Richard and James Brown. He was kicked out of one band after another because he'd end up upstaging the bandleaders.

Anyway, this master trickster, part Cherokee, a boundary-crosser, ventured to London and got matched up with two lilly-white Englishmen. Noel Redding on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums. With a little help, all three sported excellently improbable Afros.

The rest as they say is history. Hendrix flamed out first. Early. Redding next. And then finally, recently, Mitchell. What an amazing trio. Check this clip out. The Experience plays for German Youth in 1967. Watch the Kinders try to dance to Purple Haze.

It's almost like some psychedelic alien band touched down on planet earth to show the humans what kind of music they played in another galaxy. What a psychedelically joyous noise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"I'm erect. Why aren't you erect?" - Show Girls


I'm probably not the target audience for the upcoming Tom Cruise flick, Valkyrie. I mean, I look at this picture of Cruise in a Nazi uniform, poofy pants and eye-patch, and after the giggles subside, I shake my head in dismay. Are you freaking kidding me? Cruise as a heroic Nazi? I don't think so.

80 million dollars? I try to imagine Cruise with a German accent. Or maybe better yet, have the whole thing in German with sub-titles. And why not have the sub-titles tell a completely different story? Kind of like that early Woody Allen movie.

I forget, did they ever decode the chicken salad recipe?!

I don't know, Hollywood is a wacky town. And maybe this ridiculously improbable thing will be some incredibly successful blockbuster. Could this be another Show Girls? Something so freakishly bad it turns out to be a shamelessly great treat?

Highly doubtful.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Kids Who Always Colored Outside the Lines

We had a band rehearsal yesterday afternoon. It's tough giving up watching the Bear game, although it was not a good afternoon for the Bears, they got slaughtered by their long-time rivals the Green Bay Packers.

Sitting on the living room floor watching the Bear game is usually when I come up with my best guitar riffs, (there's something about all that mayhem and testosterone on the TV screen which compels me to strum my guitar aimlessly that leads to new fret-board discoveries), but we have a rock and roll show tonight, yes, that's right, a Monday night show at Reggies Music Joint.

Really looking forward to it. The big draw? $1.00 tacos and $3.00 micro-brews. Who could refuse!?

Anyway, we spent the afternoon at the Peter Jones Gallery running through our catalog of songs, and it turns out there was an art show going on out in the gallery. And there were a handful of artists (one of our favorites - Shirley Hudson) there that we hadn't seen in quite awhile. It was some kind of homecoming. Our people. Some of them we've known for 15 years or so. It's cool to see that they all are still going strong. Making art, exploring new things, keeping the flame burning bright.


These are the Strange Birds. The ones with the shiny, colorful feathers, the ones that don't really belong to any flock, except maybe the flock of no flock.

It hit me - these are the kids who always colored outside the lines.

A beautiful breed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Live with a Clairvoyant

The Lovely Carla has been telling me that "something is wrong" for a long time now. She pointed out to me early on that the the human way of life on the planet is "unsustainable."

She also was an early bird on the disassociation between money and any underlying reality. She works in the world of advertising which is it's own little mirror-world, and she noticed a number of years ago that not only the money kind of clouded everything, but the money and the reality of the world diverged. Completely.

And then this phenomenon flowered on a global scale. And then, remarkably, amazingly, the world kind of hiccuped and suddenly everyone realized the whole thing was a lie, a sham, a swindle, a boondoggle.

Presto Chango! Once belief is gone, the game is done.

I'm thinking we're in the "game is done" phase. What happens next is anyone's guess. But I figure putting the game back together is not in the cards.

This article in the New Yorker kind of examines the whole money phenomenon. The Money Went Post-Modern! And it turns out Jaques Derrida really is a Sage, or Magus.

We have entered the world of Simulcrum - the mirror world. But the mirror is cracked and reality has started bleeding back into the picture. Everything we know is wrong.

So now it's back to reality in a big way. What happnes next? Suddenly my personal Clairvoyant isn't seeing so clearly. I guess it's Back to the Mattresses! Or else we Sleep with the Fishes!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Beer Nuts and Foot Rubs

I know I should probably just let Bush go. But he is still the President. Oh Fuck.

Here is our fear-based leader on the free market: "The crisis was not a failure of the free-market system, and the answer is not to try to reinvent that system."

So knowing everything we know, it's safe to say: The crisis is a failure of the free-market system, and the answer is to try to reinvent that system.

That was easy. Take whatever the man says and assume the opposite!

Bush added: "Free market capitalism is far more than an economic theory. It is the engine of social mobility, the highway to the American Dream."

So that means: Free market capitalism is only an economic theory. It destroys social mobility and leads to a dead end. Kiss the American Dream Goodbye.

Bush is host to the economic summit. That's the summit where all the King's horses and all the King's men try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. I'm thinking that egg is beyond repair.

We need to lay a new egg.

Thankfully, as the Biggest Lame Duck ever hatched, Bush will now be providing beer nuts and foot rubs. According to one of the economic advisors: Bush will be "providing the snacks and making sure everyone is comfortable..."

Bush has finally found his calling.

Friday, November 14, 2008

sanjay, providing the steady and swinging, many-handed, shiva-like beat on drums.

I must sing the praises of our drummer Sanjay. I've called him a many-handed Shiva, and really it's no lie. Our band is so lucky to have such an amazing force behind the drum kit. We've been on many multi-band bills and inevitably the drummers from the other bands come to pay homage to our drummer. He is that good.

Sanjay has heard so many compliments over the years, I don't think he really hears them anymore. He just plays. He loves to play. He trained as a jazz drummer, played in that esoteric world for many years. And then he kicked open the door to a much more expansive view of music. Technique is one thing, spirit is another.

He is open-hearted, open-minded. Intensely creative.

The best is when I look back at him to see him in "the zone." Eyes closed, locked in that sacred space, a slight smile fluttering across his face. It seems he hears and sees everything. He gets lost in the music, and he loses nothing.

All to the benefit of our band WhiteWolfSonicPrincess. I'm continually amazed this incredible musician continues to play in our band. It's a great validator for what we do.

I posted a few live cuts from our show last Wednesday (Magnificent Bird, and Lady in the Sand). If you get a chance, check them out. They are a little rough, we hadn't played them out in public before, (the guitar and drums were so loud on stage, the Lovely Carla and I couldn't hear ourselves singing) but I think we captured a new spirit and direction for the band.

Just listen to the drums.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women..." - M. K. Gandi

Wednesday night. It's drizzling, it's dark, I'm on my way to the city. I get a text message from the Lovely Carla, "I'm getting nervous."

Yes, as we like to say, (as per Laurel and Hardy, or I guess maybe not), "Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into."

Our band (minus one, our bass player Sara is out of town), played at the Elbo Room last night. We were one one of four bands on the bill as part of benefit for Apna Ghar a woman's domestic violence shelter.

There's nothing better than expending your creative juices for a good cause. Of course, we challenged ourselves. We debuted a bunch of new music we've just written, never yet played out in public.

Our set went pretty good. I've got the cd to prove it. I might post some live tracks. We'll see.

And the benefit was a great success. A great turn-out. One of the biggest crowds we've ever played for, and they raised a boat-load of money for the cause.

Positive feelings all around. There are some really amazing people in the world. Working together, we can do wonderful things.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WTF Duck?!


Bush - Lame Duck. Doesn't quite do the man justice. How about Pathetically Lame Duck? Really, Really, Really Lame Duck? Get Your Ass Out of Dodge Lame Duck?

And what kind of Duck was he in his prime? Power Mad Duck? Total Incompetent Duck? Everything He Touches Turns to Shit Duck? What the Fuck Duck?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Enlightenment is a State Located Just North of Hysteria, Southwest of Catatonia

# One

Judge Candy Extracts a Rail-Spike from His Head...

Judge Candy remembered pulling out the enormous rail-spike that had been lodged discretely in his frontal cortex. It was not a normal rail-spike. It was greatly over-sized, gigantic; it must have come from the Giant's Railway Yard. The rail-spike was the color of obsidian even though obsidian was not a color, but a type of glass, a mineraloid.

There were spatters of blood, some mucous-type stuff, and what looked like happy smiling sea urchins sliding out the brain cavity at the pulling of the spike. The urchins quickly scurried under the fat, stubbly, unsmiling couch and Judge Candy wasn't sure there had been any sea urchins or not. The blood and mucous were suspect too. The major-league divot the spike had left in his cranium filled in like a bowl of pudding swallowing a bullet.

Rail-spike. What rail-spike?

This all happened (the discovering and pulling of the spike) in the moment of the lifting of the darkness. There was an age; Judge Candy lived in this age, and it was dark. And then said age was over, or maybe "overing," or at least lightening. It was in the faint glimmering, the sputtering re-ignition of the light that Judge Candy noticed there was an enormous rail-spike protruding from his head. He skulled the mirror and the mirror skulled him back. To say he was surprised would be an understatement. Judge Candy was literally Gob-Smacked. Which was not a common event in his vague existence, but then again, he had been Gob-smacked in the past too. Judge Candy would have said "the distant past," because to him everything seemed distant, even the present moment, the least-est, latest, Breath Moment.

So yes, Judge Candy was Gob-smacked to find that there was a rail-spike on (or better yet, embedded in) his person that needed extruding (that is until he extruded it). And Gob-smacked that there was light again. He did not think these things were possible. Judge Candy remembered how the light slowly ebbed away. It did not happen overnight, although, night would have been a good time to institute the darkness. It would have been just an elongation, a persistent continuation of the absence of light. And who would have noticed? Who would have protested?

The light was just a bulb and the bulb just got weaker and dimmer and weaker and dimmer. But it was such a slow process it wasn't really noticeable, even though Judge Candy thought he was quite the sharp cookie. In this case, the Sharp Cookie was crumbling around the edges, there were crumbs in his hair, on his shoes, and tracked into the Oriental carpet in his living room. Still it was amazing how much a person (in this case Judge Candy), could really get done (swab the deck, re-arrange the pots and pans, re-calibrate the Venetian blinds) without the assistance of light.

So the dark lifted, (just a little), the bulb throbbed with new life. He couldn't pinpoint the moment, pinpointing moments was one of those existential tasks that Judge Candy took to like a fish to water, but really it was a task much like trying to tack a cloud into place. No matter the technique, the clouds always moved on unimpeded and all he was ever left with was a mouthful of tacks.

The clouds had their own ideas. Bigger ideas than Judge Candy was willing to birth. So there were no clouds stitched to any of the walls or ceiling of his apartment, but lots and lots of tacks - some firmly inserted in mouth and some not (these stragglers were strewn about willy-nilly). That was the kind of Cloud-Tacker Judge Candy turned out to be - sloppy, inept, all over the place. Always surrounded by sharp, dangerous objects. No pinpointing the moment. It was a great source of frustration for him. Made him want to make toast, by the loaf.

And what of the rail-spike? Judge Candy flung it across the room, he saw himself in short pants, throwing it like a javelin, throwing it a great distance, an Olympic-proportion distance, and it hit the far wall point first, (talk about pinpoint accuracy!), and stuck fast. It quivered like a dying animal, the spike had deeply wounded the blank, uncaring wall, and it seemed to find some pleasure in that, it was some kind of freak, a decadent, a DeSadish rail-spike. Obsidian.

Judge Candy mumbled the words, "Good riddance." And even before the words hit the surface, a great pool of loneliness welled up in his chest like a big percolating glop of lava. He knew this lava, was friends with it. But it was a friendship that only increased his loneliness; it was always a multiplier never a subtracting factor in the loneliness equation.

Lava.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The World of Light

There are big changes and small changes.

Large realities are shifting and little personal things start to morph. Ever since the new reality peeked out from under cover of the "dark ages" last Tuesday night, I have noticed that a large dark force has lifted from my head.

I think I was like a character in Sam Shepard's "Unseen Hand." Some whacked out Bush-Doctor had an invisible grip on my head, and my spirit, and he'd squeeze hard at unpredictable times. It was a long spell, cast in the year 2000, and it's been 8 years of dark, monkey-man squeezing.

How did I let this happen? I don't know, I fought, kicking and screaming for 8 years.

About 2 years ago, I found a new mantra, and I'd repeat it like a Tourette's syndrome victim - "Ba rac ko ba ma. Ba rac ko ba ma. Ba rac ko ba ma."

And then the spell lifted. I do believe in Mary Worth!

So I imagine a world where good people don't torture their fellow humans. I imagine a world where the Guantanmo Gulag is torn down. I imagine a world where we bring our soldiers home and let Iraqis figure out how to heal their own country.

I've got my mantra and I won't forget it.

And this morning I don't have to swear a blue streak at the radio. I don't fear the Bush-Doctor. I laugh. I don't have to wake up wondering "What is the new outrage?" "What horrible thing is now being done in my name?" "How have the dirty bastards fucked up today?"

I know there's still a world of shit to wade through, but the monkey-grip is already a distant memory. Everything is lighter.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I love Loveless


My latest musical obsession is the band My Bloody Valentine and their disc Loveless. I don't know how I missed them the first time around. The disc came out in 1991. It really is an amazing piece of music. And for me it's best to hear it as one piece. I've been listening to it for about a month pretty consistently and it continues to blow me away.

It's especially delicious to hear this music on an iPod. You let the music, the pure sound, totally engulf you. Some of it is intense, some of it is pure shimmer.

I guess it was this article in the NY Times that got me interested in checking them out. The back story of the guitar genius Kevin Shields is fascinating. Shields is a perfectionist, kind of a strange obsessive himself, who brings a truly innovative approach to the guitar.

Shields had a sound in his head and he fully realized it on Loveless. It's hard to describe. His guitar washes over you like a wave. It's a beautiful noise, the vocals are buried deep in the mix. It's pure sound. Quite beautiful, on the edge of a sparkling chaos. A great achievement.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Breaking the String!



Check out this illustration from Patrick Moberg.

About time America! I mean, well past time. I mean, what the fuck took so long? I mean, are you freaking kidding me?

What a long string of silver-haired, pasty white guys. Eureka! We have finally broken the string. How sweet it is.

I always thought America was a great place because of it's messy, all over the map diversity. And it never dawned upon me that it was called the "White House" for another reason.

And maybe we can retire that evil, tired old mind-set? Yes we can! I mean, I guess we have!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Rahm Emanual Will Kick Ass!

In my professional life (such as it is) I work in the Energy field. Very appropriate for me. Energy - it's invisible, you can't see it. It's like magic really. Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus pushing an invisible boulder up a hill.

Now that I think of it, it's probably an invisible hill. Yes, that's right, I'm Sisyphus pushing an invisible boulder up an invisible hill.

Now that's hard work. Or if not hard, totally baffling, or at least not always fulfilling.

Anyway I work (such as it is) with some really incredibly talented and cool people. Why do they tolerate me? Who knows. One of them I'll call the Golden Girl. She is an amazing person, dazzling energy, mind like a steel trap - maximum integrity, great sense of humor - she truly has it all.

We were talking yesterday, still jazzed and buzzing about the new Obama era emerging before our hungry eyes. I could tell the Golden Girl was ready to join the team. We were talking about Rahm Emanuel (Motherfucking Change you Can Believe In) and what a great thing it would be to be one of those (Axelrod, Podesta, Jarrett) who will get a chance to work help craft and implement the Obama agenda.

I don't feel envy often. It's just not in my makeup. I figure I have a row to hoe. And I'm must do what I must do. Still after the conversation with Golden Girl, I too was a little wistful thinking about how cool it would be to be part of the Obama team. There is so much work to be done.

By the way, if I could make one suggestion, how about The Lovely Carla's dream candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. for head of the EPA. He is brilliant and has real passion for environmental issues. Now that would really be Change We Can Believe In! Someone who actually cares about the environment running the agency that make the rules and regulations and enforces them. What a novel idea!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hot Dog Day

I live in one of the Bluest of Blue neighborhoods in the country. There was a beautifully festive mood in the hood yesterday. Kind of like Hot Dog Day. That was the big day, once a year, when I was kid in Catholic grade school.

The Hot Dog Man would come to school and everyone would get a hot dog and a Coke. I remember watching in amazement when the Hot Dog Man would stand in front of the class and hand out the goodies. It seemed like a benevolent alien being had descended upon us to bring us joy.

That same feeling carried me through the day yesterday.

Yes it is thrilling and amazing that the Obama movement is blowing the doors of our Bleak House open wide. At the same time, as Paul Krugman describes it, the Monster Years are ending.

Multiplies the joy many, many times over.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pure Unadulterated Joy!


Joy. Pure unadulterated joy. It's hard to really put it all into words. It's not often, (it would be nice if it was oftener), that we get to ride that feeling.

Nationalism is a mug's game. Pride is one of the deadly sins. So I'm not gonna say I'm proud of America.

But I am extremely happy to be from a land that can elect a man the caliber of Barack Obama to it's highest office and ask him to serve. It's time to show the world the best aspects of who we are - for way too long we have shown the worst.

It's a dream come true. Amazing! Dazzling! Obama!

UPDATE: Yes, the Socialist, the Re-Distributionist won. Big-time. Glory Be.

UPDATE II: I just got a call from a good friend who used to live in Chicago and who returned to his native land Poland a few years ago. He is happy beyond belief. The world really needed this too. The Bush nightmare (good riddance) is over.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama Tsunami

I'm cautiously optimistic this morning. No scratch that, I'm wildly, over the top, out of my head optimistic. I'm figuring on a blow-out. A landslide. I'm expecting the pundits to be having conniption fits trying to explain how they missed it. I predict the Obama Tsunami.

Of course, I could be wrong. I keep going over to Nate Silver's site and salivate over his computer simulations. I have decided to believe that Nate has the hard numbers that validate my optimism. I guess we'll see.

I've voted in every Presidential election in which I was eligible to vote. My first vote was for Jimmy Carter vs. Gerald Ford. I've backed more losers than winners. Kind of like my record at Santa Anita. I certainly have voted more with my heart than my head. I figure, since I always have something to say, I better back it up by voting. Otherwise, I should just shut up. And that would be just too painful.

I do think Barack Obama is head and shoulders the best candidate I've ever had the opportunity to back. I do believe he is the right man for the time. He has the chance to be one of the greatest Presidents we've ever had.

Who knows?

Go vote, except if you're thinking of voting for the other guy, then I suggest you just sit this one out. Your country, no scratch that, the world will thank you. GO OBAMA!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yes We Can

I'm not under any illusion that one man can solve every problem. Some of the problems we face are big - so big only a major change of consciousness is gonna give us shot to transcend. That takes a lot of brains, creative visioning and a lot of coordinated action.

If ants can do it, so can we.

I do believe one man can make a difference. Going with a Counter Factual Fantasy I am convinced that a President Al Gore would not have invaded Iraq, would not have built a Gulag at Guantanamo Bay, would not have committed war crimes, would not have tortured and spied on innocent people. I do believe that over the last 8 years George W. Bush consistently made wrong calls just about every time he was asked to make a decision on every issue that came his way. Bush has proven that one man can make a difference.

My good friend Kris has pointed out to me that we do have George Bush to thank for opening so many eyes. Maybe a President Obama would not be possible without the complete and utter wreckage of the Bush Presidency. If Gore had taken office maybe this transformative change would not be possible? Who knows? What happens is what happens I suppose.

Still, knowing what we know now, I believe Gore and his team should have fought tooth and nail to count every last vote in Florida. Constitutional Crisis be damned. The Democrats should not have laid down. But of course that is water under the bridge.

Tomorrow everything can change. I mean the sun and moon will still be up there, we will still be spinning around on this ball of confusion, seasons will come and go, people will die and be born, all of it will still just BE!

But the Doors of Perception, the Doors of Conception can be thrown open to a new reality in our hearts and heads. And everything can be different. YES WE CAN!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm Faux America!

Dick Cheney emerged from his undisclosed location and put the knife in McCain's back yesterday. Kind of reminds you of that scene in Godfather II when Al Pacino kisses his brother Fredo and you know it's all over for the disloyal little weasel.

I think the death knell has finally tolled for the "real America." 3 days left. And hell, isn't it time we discarded that useless old picture?

If a McCain/Palin rally represents the Real America, then give me the FAUX AMERICA! I am a proud citizen of the Faux America! Faux Americans live in places like Chicago, LA, New York, San Francisco. We are a Rainbow Coalition.

We are informed, forward-looking. We don't believe in Torture, we don't think America is a Christian Nation, we don't think White Evangelicals have a monopoly on truth.

Check out a McCain/Palin rally. It's white, white, white. Old, old, old. There is very little diversity. It is rural. It is backward looking. I'll be happy to include them in our new Faux movement as long as they don't get in the way. The old reality has been a complete bust.

Let's go Faux.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Words to Live By

Not sure why this came to me this morning...

A glimpse into my psyche:

1. Like Willy Loman I sometimes believe I'm riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And really, I don't shine my shoes that often.

2. Like Blanche DuBois I rely on the kindness of strangers. And really, it turns out some aren't so kind.

3. Like Alfred E. Neuman I think "What, me worry?" And really, I do worry.

4. Like John Bradford I say, "There but for the grace of god goes John Bradford." And really, I don't even know who John Bradford is, I mean "me." Or I mean "I." And really when I say "god" I'm thinking something along the lines of the unified field in sub-atomic physics, or a harmonic in music, or the vibration of a color in light.

5. Like the teeming masses I'm always asking "What the Fuck?" And really, I mean it, what the fuck.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Low Information Voter

I recently heard the phrase, "low information voter." I guess that's another way of saying the dumb-shit vote. Seems that's who McCain and Palin are frantically trying to win over in these last desperate days. McCain is flinging so much putrid mud, he has totally besmirched any claim to his "Hero's Halo." Another myth bites the dust. Palin has gone rogue, she is a killer Stepford Windup doll. I think it was Jon Stewart who dubbed her "Bible Spice." What a complete horror-show. Counting down the days...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Socialist, A Secret Communist in Kindergarten

Obama has rolled out the humor on the campaign trail. God bless him. Maybe no better way to deal with the desperate arrows (they do no harm) from McCain, who is now starting to look like the Rodney Dangerfield/Don Rickles of politics. Is there a future for McCain in Vegas?

I guess I too was a secret communist in kindergarten. I remember sharing my cardboard bricks with the other kids who wanted to play with them too. And I remember sleeping with my comrades on the simple rugs we brought for nap time. Long live the Proletariat!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dawn of the 23 Percenters

Certainly the Bush Presidency is a prime example of how deep is the well of human futility. Unless of course, the man was working for the Oil Companies. Which isn't out of the realm of plausibility. Everyone besides the Oil Execs have to be pretty disgusted with the last 8 years.

Even Richard "I'm not a Crook" Nixon in the sordid days of Watergate did not have "approval ratings" as low as the current President.

None of this is that surprising to me. The guy didn't win in 2000. It was the Supremes who tossed it to the Cowboy Diana Ross (Sorry Diana!). The guy shouldn't have won in 2004 - the Zombie-Voters were just sleeping-walking to the polls.

Bush is jet-trash on the side of the road. And all of us are just road-kill on another one of his careless escapades. But hell, that era is stumbling to a close. Every blooming thing is wrecked and reeling. The state of the nation is fucked. A smoking, teetering wreck.

Dare. I. Say. It? Worst. President. Ever.

Oliver Stone's movie may be worth seeing, but I just can't stomach it. There's no way I want to re-live the significant moments of that man's life. It's all too painful. I can't sacrifice another brain cell for that dude's inept existence.

A scary thought: the man actually thinks he's been doing a great job. The complete and utterly dis-functional delusional aspect of this thought is the essence of bat-shit crazy.

Anyway.

Perfect time for a new man, new era. I for one have a bottle of wine sitting in my kitchen waiting to be uncorked on that joyous Election Day. Do I also do a Jagermeister shot for every Battleground State that goes blue? Maybe too extreme. I don't want my bed to be spinning.

I don't want to count the chickens before they hatch. But I can't see this turning out any other way. It must be. The world needs it.

Still I wonder about those 23 percent. Who are the people out there who think that Bush is doing just a bang up fine job? Who the fuck are they? I mean it. WHO ARE THEY?!

Maybe they can get work as extras on the next Wes Craven movie or something?

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Reality has a clear liberal bias." - Rob Corddry

Some folks have tried to make "liberal" a bad word. It's not.

There have been a few people who have been right about a lot of things these last few years. One of those who has been more right about more things is the recent Nobel Prize winner for Economics - Paul Krugman.

Krugman is a liberal. No apology necessary.

His blog Conscience of a Liberal is always a must read.

And his columns in the New York Times are always thought provoking. I love this one from yesterday.

Wow. And check out this from Scott Horton in Harper's "Palin's Nightmare."

It's time for all of us to wake up from this horrific 8 year nightmare.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brothers In Arms

Last weekend we went to see the new movie What Just Happened? It's one of those flicks that seems to be about something else, something other, something deeper, than what it at first appears to be about. Those are the kind of movies I really like.

One of my favorite moments is when the Dire Straits song, Brothers in Arms starts playing. Almost brought me to tears. Here's Mark Knopfler one of the great guitar players (notice he doesn't use a pick which really enhances his killer tone) giving a superb rendition at a birthday celebration for Nelson Mandela.

What's great about life, some times the good guys really get to have it. And we all know it when it happens. A sweet lesson for us all.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You Tube Nation

This is brilliant and hilarious and oh so true. It may be the best two minutes I've seen yet.

8 years of Bush - Iraq, Katrina, Foreclosure, Unemployment, Spiraling Medical Costs, Stock Market Mayhem, Death of Capitalism, End of the Conservative Movement.

McCain and Palin are are just the last putrid emanations from the Zombie Party.

CHANGE. VOTE.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Goodbye George

I recently wrote about hanging out with a bunch of old-timers in my neighborhood. There's a coffeehouse down the block from my apartment, and it is a great meeting place for people from all walks of life. I've made friends with some real characters.

I found out yesterday that one of my good friends passed to the other side. He was a tough old bird, light as a feather, always had something to say, always had a gleam in his eye. I made a point to keep up with baseball via the NY Times, just so I could talk baseball with the man.

He was a life-long Chicagoan, but also life-long Yankee fan, which he reminded you by the Yankee cap fixed to his majestic, hairless, dome of a head. It seems his boyhood visit to Wrigley field to see Babe Ruth play against the Cubs had something to do with it.

That dome was filled with humor and stories and wisdom. He had seen a world that is now long gone.

George is gone. The silence will be deafening.

Life is humbling. Very, very humbling.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pie-Eaters


Some eat caviar, some peanut butter and jelly...

Hey if there's a pie and 1% of the people get the largest slice, and 90% of the people get the smallest slice, well, hell, isn't it obvious that things aren't gonna turn out so well for any of the pie-eaters? Gated communities gated against the hordes can't make gates tough enough to withstand hungry, angry folk.

I mean, didn't Kings and Czars, lose their jobs and heads for this kind of unjust disparity?

It wasn't supposed to work this way. At least that wasn't the American Dream we were sold. Did Karl Marx write a song about this?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Clown Balloon

It is fascinating to the watch the conservative movement devolve into a laughingly bad Clown Show. There are all these over-stuffed clowns, some very highly paid, who just spew the most ridiculous venom and frankly just completely stupid shit.

It used to be these guys would talk in code. See Nixon (The Dark Prince of American Politics) and Reagan (the smiling Grandpa of American Politics) for how to appeal to the fearful, racist, and frankly hateful silent masses without being so blatantly overt.

The media is crawling with these Conservative Clowns: Hannity, Limbaugh, Bennet, Hewitt, O'Reilly.

Some of them actually pretend to be serious political analysts. The best antidote to this stupid shit is to get a healthy dose of Jon Stewart, or Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, or now the fabulously cool Rachel Maddow. Here's Rachel easily deflating the Conservative Clown Balloon...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

IPOD Nation

I found an IPOD just sitting there on the running path like a little sparkling treasure. Some poor soul lost their IPOD. And I am now a member of the IPOD Nation. Yes, it is freaking cool. I guess I'll be retiring my Walkman.

I'm a runner, which means I cover a lot of territory on the Lake Front. I find all kinds of things. Money, jewelry. I actually did a series of paintings (I'm not really a painter!) using objects (toys and thing-a-ma-bobs) I have found on my jaunts.

I did think of Ling Ling, I did wonder where I was on the Life Line. What if I just wiped the IPOD clean and loaded up my music and carried on like it was my IPOD all along? Was I closer to Love or Fear on the Life Line?

What did I load up first? Electric Lady Land from Jimi Hendrix, every Sigur Ros disc I own, and Beatles, lots and lots of Beatles music. All head music.

Anyway, back to Ling Ling. If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, you probably never saw Donnie Darko. You should.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Something is Happening

Over the weekend I cruised the channels streaming on the Idiot Box. What complete madness.

It doesn't matter which channel you land on, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, the Chattering Idiots are legion. The lies and disinformation comes in a never-ending stream. Looks like we have dismantled the Tower of Babel and reassembled sections of it in TV studios through-out the land.

I clicked off the thing in disgust. As Michael Moore once asked, "Dude, Where's My Country?"

Anyway, I went back to print yesterday. Paged through the Sunday New York Times. I was looking for facts, not opinion.

This blew me away...

In St. Louis Missouri 100,000 people came out to see a young Senator from Illinois talk about what would do if he was given a promotion to the new job he was seeking. 100,000 people in St. Louis Missouri!

"Something is happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?" - B. Dylan

UPDATE: I think there are three islands of sanity in TV Land - The Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and the Rachel Maddow Show. The rest is pretty much complete dross!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Letting Go

As my little adventure continues, I sometimes wonder when it will all start to make sense. Does it make any sense to try to make sense of the wave you're riding - or is it best to just let go and ride? Is life just a long letting go?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"He is Ready."


If you know anything about Chicago, you know that the Chicago Tribune's editorial page is a solid fortress manned by a full contingent of die-hard, rock-ribbed, midwestern Republicans. The Trib always endorses the Republican for President. ALWAYS! 160 years of always.

Yesterday they endorsed Barack Obama for President. Of course in many ways a total no-brainer. But this is significant. I mean seismic. I'm sure some Republicans choked on the their morning muffins when they opened up the paper yesterday!

Cool.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Praise for the Younger "Old Guys"

A clarification regarding my previous post. There's no sin in growing old. Or if there is, it's the original sin that we all carry with us (which of course is total hooey! "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine..." etc). Once you get on the merry go round there's no stopping. The genetic program kicks in, and well, it's a wild ride - hold on for dear life.

Some of my favorite people are old guys and dead guys - "old timers," or long time "dead and goners."

I pal around with a bunch of old guys. I'm heading there myself. I always wince when I hear people say "aging actress," or "aging rocker" or AGING ANYTHING. It's meaningless.

Everything and everyone is aging. As one of my favorite old guys once said, "rust never sleeps."

Age can bring humility, wisdom, and of course, experience. We are born with all these incredible gifts, and then things change, morph, evolve. Some of the changes are cool and some not so cool. You just have to ride the wave.

Or not. It's up to us, what we bring to the show. I'm always inspired by those who stay open, alive, curious, with a wild, crazy ass sense of wonder and humor. That's the kind of old guy I revere and hope to be.

Is it better to "burn out than to fade away?" Dealer's choice. But it certainly makes for a good song. Here's Neil when he was a younger old guy. Neil has been an old guy since he was a young man. Maybe he's been around the block a couple lives already.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Strange, Satisfying Narrative

The story unfolds...

I'm so glad we don't have to watch any more debates, although, I do think they have been very enlightening. One man seems ready to assume the role of world leader, the other seems to be playing a "demented lunatic."

Probably not a good sign for the old guy if the Undecideds (who are those freaking people anyway?), are laughing at you.

I'm not one of those who believe that everything is pre-determined, I believe we dance with destiny and we can call out the tune as we go, but I also think there are forces at play bigger than us.

Isn't it sort of weird to know that the newly sworn-in President is scheduled to rededicate the Lincoln Memorial on May 30th, 2009? If you were a script-writer, you couldn't plot it anymore perfectly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chaos and Old Night? Sounds like Home!

"This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night." - Henry David Thoreau.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"A Mean, Rotten Cocksucker." - Matt Taibbi

I think Matt Taibbi is my new journalistic hero. He writes about Karl Rove in the latest Rolling Stone. I haven't actually purchased a Rolling Stone magazine in a long, long time, but I'm thankful for the "internets." I do remember when Rolling Stone was a true countercultural touchstone. I loved those searingly great issues from the early 70's when Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman graced the pages.

Here's Taibbi on the the current Fox Political Analyst, the "boy genius," also known as "Bush's brain."

"Rove is not a genius, or even very clever: He's totally and completely immoral. It doesn't take genius to claim, as Rove ludicrously did last fall, that it was the Democrats in Congress and not George W. Bush who pushed the Iraq War resolution in 2002. It doesn't take brains to compare a triple-amputee war veteran to Osama bin Laden; you just have to be a mean, rotten cocksucker."

It's so refreshing to read something so plainly, perfectly true. Thanks Matt.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." - B. Dylan

No this is not a post about Bill Ayers. The weather man tells us it's to be sunny and 80 degrees today. But there are clouds everywhere you look. Can't trust the priest, can't trust the banker, can't trust the weather man. Seems the list is getting shorter or longer, depending on whether it's the Trust List, or the Can't Trust List.

Note: Dylan tells us to "trust yourself." But this is freaky. Dylan with a dangly earring! If I can't trust Dylan to know how to accessorize appropriately where oh where do I turn?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winning Ticket

The last few years, the Lovely Carla and I have had a running conversation about how the world as we know it, has to change if we are all going to be able to live happy, fulfilling lives. We are both eternal optimists and we do buy into the ideal that all of us can "have it." Life is not a business or a contest with winners and losers.

Being born is a winning ticket. Or at least should be.

We do think this "change of consciousness" is coming. The bubbles are bursting before our eyes. Not sure how it will play out. It may be painful. It may be fun. Probably a wild ride. But it will be essential, primal, and most likely beautiful (Wow, the coffee is good this morning!).

Those people open to change will find it much easier to handle than those clinging to the old pictures. Some of us will probably spontaneously combust, heads will explode. There will be ugliness. No doubt.

We have seen this change emerge first in the fringe communities, like in the creative community, the writers, artists, poets, singers-songwriters. They are kind of like the canaries in a coal mine. Then there are spiritual leaders and political leaders who are emerging, pointing us in a new direction, (see the Dali Lama and Al Gore and of course Barack Obama for prime examples).

I think this global economic meltdown is just a manifestation of this shift of consciousness. It's ironic that the keepers of the Temple of Doom, may hasten the new era. Not by design, but by the inevitable running out of the string of a false picture of the world. Unlimited economic growth, just like any unlimited growth in nature is a CANCER!

The new paradigm will emphasize living within one's means, living in harmony, living with less. Unplugging from the grid. Living with love for the planet. Renewable, sustainable, and with maximum grace. This utopia will not be imposed upon us, it will emerge from us.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Death by Derivative - Party like it's 1999!


Maybe we should have been spending less time worrying about that dude with a beard and turban sitting in a cave somewhere in Pakistan, planning the fall of Western Civilization, and more time worrying about that Ayn Rand Acolyte on Wall Street with the glasses, the shiny shoes and the three-piece suit, promoting unregulated derivatives.

Death by Derivative?
What you don't see can kill you!

I think I finally get "trickle down economics." The Big Time Money Boyz get drunk on "abstract instruments" like Credit Default Swaps (Question: Just how many credit default swaps can dance on the head of a pin?), they fill their fat, greedy bladders, and then well, they end up trickling down on the rest of us.

Will the history books tell us that Alan Greenspan was the real Enemy Number One?

Wow, carnage on the street. And really maybe it's not so much a panic, more like people just woke up and realized the Emperor was stark raving naked! And of course, there must be a reckoning.

What's the song from the Brazilian Girls? "We just want to have a good time. All the time. Some people have nothing and want nothing and are free."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Floats Like a Butterfly, Stings Like a Bee

Hey, in my book, the young whipper-snapper ran rings around the crotchety old dude once again.

And he did it with style and grace.

Is it possible such a completely screwed up country, going down the tubes at an accelerating rate, could actually do the right thing?

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Real American Idol

MONEY!

So is it the death of Wall Street?

The man who gave us Platoon, The Doors and Scarface tells us: "Money was worshiped and continues to be worshiped, maybe that will change now." - Oliver Stone

Maybe, maybe not. I wouldn't count on it, unless the money no longer holds the value of the ink printed on it.

Although I admire Mr. Stone and I did appear in one of his films (I was an extra on Natural Born Killers - I played a dead guy!), I recall he did make Alexander a stinker of epic proportions and he actually cast Angelina Jolie as Colin Farrell's mom. Poor Colin ran around in a little white toga with a really ridiculous blond hairdo.

So Mr. Stone's judgement is not infallible. Still, I think he may be right about the money cult. Maybe, just maybe it has run out the string...

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