WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Still Standing!" - Jake La Motta

I find that for my own sanity, (such as it is) that it's usually best to think moment to moment. To not look too far ahead or too far behind.

I mean, I do like to study history and read about people who lived long ago, in places lost in shadow, but usually I'm in the moment to moment of discovery and usually relating what I'm reading to my ever always now.

Still, human beings seem to have this weird propensity to count things. Days, years, decades. I must say that these last 10 years have been quite strange. Much of it is a blur. It's weird what we remember and what we forget.

I'm pretty sure we tend to forget the really important stuff. And what we remember is pretty sparse and lame. Oh yeah, that's my life we're talking about.

There was a lot of smoke and thunder. And people I know and love, died. Some things happened that can't be changed or erased. I guess that's how it works...

And well, finally, left in the corner of the ever present moment, "still standing!"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Importance of Being Oscar

"The soul is born old, but grows young.

That is the comedy of life.

The body is born young and grows old.

That is life's tragedy."

Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crazy Mixed Up Kids

You know, maybe there is a whole community of Gods.

Just like the Greeks imagined.

And maybe really they are just a bunch of crazy, mixed-up kids.

Kind of like high-school on steroids.

That would explain certain things.

Monday, December 28, 2009

"I've rolled in the dirt." - Tom Waits

This morning, while I brewed up a pot of coffee, Tom Waits' voice was riding the radio waves. He was hawking the latest Terry Gilliam movie in which he (Waits) plays the Devil. Talk about type-casting!

Of course, it sounds like a must-see film. Another Quixotic, snake-bit production from the over-heated cortex of Mr. Gilliam. Heath Ledger was to star but during production he drifted off into the sunset riding on 8 prescription drugs. Got to love our medicated mafia. Yee haw!

So Gilliam improvised a solution, multiple actors (including Jude Law and Johnny Depp) pitching in and finishing the film. This kind of stuff always happens to Terry Gilliam.

Anyway, here's my favorite line from Waits this morning: "A shadow of a shadow is light."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

World's Greatest Dad - Movie Magic

I totally agree with this little write-up about the soundtrack to Bobcat's "World's Greatest Dad."

One of the essential elements for me for an "all time favorite film" is the soundtrack. It's what can make a scene transcendent, indelible. It's what can get me to see a movie over and over.

And maybe my two favorite songs of this great soundtrack are "Love is Simple" and "Don't be Afraid You're Already Dead," by Akon/Family. Perfect marriage of image and sound. Now that's movie magic!

Don't need no stinking CGI! Just a great script, superb acting, committed work with absolute heart. Thank you Bobcat!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Genius of Bobcat Goldthwait

We had a nice Christmas day. We went to a Vietnamese place Pho Xe Tang -- Tank Noodle Restaurant on Broadway in Chicago. A really "authentic" place. A nice clean, well-lighted room. It was really bustling when we got there. The food was fresh - I had the Ginger Chicken. The menu is chock full of stuff. Loved it!

Then we watched a great little gem of a movie. It's called "World's Greatest Dad." It has to be one of the best movies released in 2009. I'm putting it on my all time favorites list which includes little movies like Rushmore, Donnie Darko, The Big Lebowski, 24 Hour Party People.

It doesn't sound very promising - Robin Williams playing a dad. But guess what? It's beautiful, very funny, and heartbreakingly sad. Probably not in that order. I mean it's both corrosively and endearingly funny. Robin Williams gives it all he's worth. You've never seen him give a better performance. The movie was written and directed by Bobcat Goldtwaith and I just love what he did - a fully realized vision.

A classic line from Goldthwait: "I am what I hate."

I have been told that I must seek out his other controversial movie "Shakes the Clown" which has been called “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”

I figure it is a must see.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I Knew

My grip sort of loosens.

I can feel life sort of rushing out from between my fingers.

I have no desire to hold too tight.

This is a new development.

I observe myself and others.

It's like I'm watching life go on without me, although, I'm in it too.

There's a new disassociation, a disorientation.

It's neither agreeable nor disagreeable.

"Ever since I was a little ball of golden light, I knew what I wanted to be."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Pieces of Light

We showed a Black Forest highlight reel to a small group of folks last night.

A few minutes of color and flash.

Kind of a butterfly glimpse of the theater work we've done over the last 10 years.

That's how it goes.

The smoke clears and you're left with little pieces of light.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hold That Tiger!



This cheery holiday card came to me via e-mail. Armed with a computer and Photoshop and the world is your oyster.

It's hard to not be totally amused by Tiger's predicament. To go from the perfect image of the determined, focused, hard-nosed golf pro to the ultimate "player" is kind of dizzying.

One minute you are the ultimate brand spokesman, the next you are some kind of global laughing-stock. It's hard to feel sorry for the guy and at the same time you fear for his sanity. He went from totally boring golfing dude, to some kind of Turbo-Casanova. Wow.

Now if his pretty wife actually did go after him with a nine-iron, well it's almost like an O. Henry story. And if she didn't, well can we just say she did?

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Empty Void...


The Lovely Carla and I worked on our little storefront space yesterday. It's been slow going, but we are making progress. Our goal, as per Papa Hemingway - "a clean, well-lighted place."

We put up curtains, we painted, we moved stuff around. Listened to tunes while we worked - The Flying Burrito Brothers, Marianne Faithful, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (their new disc of movie soundtrack music is moody and haunting!) and Neil Young.

We are working towards a little "art sanctuary." A little space where anything can happen. You must create a void to fill a void.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grease

"Ain't nothing any good without it has some grease on it." - Tina (former Annie Mae Bullock, of Brownsville, Tennessee) Turner

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Amazing Vibe of Love

The days are getting really short. Kind of go from a dim darkness to a dark darkness. And all the shades of gray in between.

In the midst of the gray, we have been showered with gifts and validation and love. By people we hardly know.

How odd. Living for days on end, on the kindness of strangers.

If feels good, unreal. Don't want to jinx it.

The repressed Catholic in me (after all these years still haven't totally throttled that beast) thinks we don't really deserve it.

There's a tinge of guilt. So absurd. Probably best to just ride the amazing vibe of love...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hard Lessons

The hardest lessons...

1. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward.

This seems absurd. The result is you end up in the same place right? I don't know, over time I have learned that sometimes you do have to go backwards to go forward. I guess it's sort of a Zen thing. Or maybe it's cuz the earth is round?

2. Sometimes you just have to show patience.

This drives me mad. I mean the clock is ticking. Not getting any younger. Time may be relative, but it stops for no man. I need shit to happen now! Still, sometimes patience is a virtue. No one said a virtuous life is a happy life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Microbes - Abbie Normal!

So according to the Medea Hypothesis life is it's own worst enemy.

Sort of has the ring of truth, don't cha think?

And paleontologist Peter Douglas Ward wants us to know that:

"Multicellular life, understood as a superorganism, is suicidal."

So all you superorganisms out there take note. If you've ever been to a bar late on a Saturday night, you know what he's talking about.

"Succeeding at suicide would return Earth to the microbial-dominated state that has been the norm for most of its history."

The Microbes shall inherit the earth! All hail the microbe!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life During Wartime

The boiler is working.

The radiators are radiating.

Steam is filling our apartment.

Outside is colder than, (as Tom Waits once said) "the ticket-taker's smile at the Ivar theater."

It's a battle of elements just to keep our bodies warm.

We survive as a result of a war.

And that's just one of a million tiny wars that make up a life.

Viva la resistance!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Snakes

The snakes are sleeping.

No, they are awake, but laying low.

They never sleep.

They lie in the grass, coiled like fists.

Ready to spring at any moment.

And those moments always come.

You think you can be-friend them.

But this is not the case at all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friends

Playing that Human Game is such a trip. Put a bunch of humans in a room together. Fill up the punch bowl with some unholy concoction and watch the room spin out.

"It's a party!"

"We're having fun!"

As I've said before, fun isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Still, being human is pretty much the only bet left. At this point all one can do is kind of play out the string and see what happens.

Still I'm glad I skipped the punch bowl and stuck to the red wine. The morning after, I find myself in a state of wonder, stuck with the usual questions.

"Why?" "What happened?" "What does it all mean?" "Where am I going?" "Why a Duck?!"

And of course, these questions turn out to be my bosom buddies, my life-long best friends. They never fail me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Adapt, and Die a Little Later"

As they say, "adapt, or die." Of course, what they mean, "adapt, and die a little later." Or as the Lizard King once put it, "No one gets out of here alive."

And I guess that can be sort of depressing, or or sort of liberating, depending on the quality of the brew, the curvature of the earth, and whether it's a good hair day or not.

So a sub-zero day doesn't mean huddling on the floor of your apartment praying for Spring.

No it's means, bringing out the heavy artillery: one pair of long-johns, two pairs of socks, three pairs of gloves, the dead man's boots, two sweaters, one long wool scarf, a pair of shades, and a fluffy, almost impossibly silly hat.

Almost makes the day livable. Whatever it takes, baby!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Big Freeze

The Big Freeze has descended upon the Heartland.

There's probably a lesson in the experience.

Don't know what it could be.

As Yoko Ono once sang," Give me something that's not cold, cold, cold."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Song Writing

After hearing some of our music, someone suggested that the Lovely Carla and I should teach people how to write songs. I think they meant it as a compliment. This is exactly the kind of thing I recoil from (or should I say, this is exactly the kind of thing from which I recoil?).

I know songs are crafted things. Some songs are formulaic. Some notes and chords naturally go together.

You can study great songs (for instance get a Beatles chord book), and see how chords and notes and melody and harmony work together.

But for me song writing is kind of like...

imagining new cloud formations

drawing circles in a pond

catching smoke rings

riding a sunbeam

It is like another branch of magic. Too much thought and analysis of the process can kill it. And misses the actual thing entirely.

It's kind of like you can dissect a cat and catalogue all it's parts and then put it back together, but then you are left with a dead cat. I think what I love about music is like that too. The dissecting and cataloguing is one way to study, but then you are left with bits and pieces that don't really add up to that ineffable beauty and mystery of a perfectly realized song.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Surviving the Onslaught

L.A. was sunny and 70's every day.

Back to Chicago means the deep freeze. Snow, cold temps, no sunshine, just big gloomy clouds.

Still, it is home. Don't need a compass to tell me where I am.

And maybe there's something to be said for braving the elements and powering through?

Sort of like you get a sense of accomplishment just by surviving the onslaught?

It's an illusory way to live.

We pretend that just by living, not succumbing to the gloom, we have found some kind of measure of success.

Every tiny win is a win...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sweet Hand Job

As they say, "necessity is the Mother of Invention." And I think they really got that one right. And of course the definitive Mother of Invention, the Mother of all Mothers was Frank Zappa. And if he didn't exist, (or if he hadn't existed - goodbye sweet and sweaty Frank!), we would have had to invent him.

Now what's sort of funny and true about our insanely inventive consumer paradise is that much time and effort is spent on convincing us that really superfluous stuff is really, totally necessary.

And of course, most of it is total crap - mostly now made in China. Still, we are inundated with dazzling, relentless messages that without said crap, our lives are completely meaningless and full of misery.

I mean, our lives may be meaningless and full of misery, but probably not because we don't own even more superfluous (I love that word!) crap. So a lot of what life is about, is finding out what is necessary, and what is not. Most of what is necessary can not be purchased at your local mini-mall. And most of our insanely inventive consumer paradise is just a sweet hand job!

We are left with necessity, and it is a hard-headed Mother. And when one is confronted by that hard-headed Mother all one can do is invent like a mofo!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Brew

Too many days in a row of the same brew is not a good thing.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

No Failure Like Success... - B. Dylan

We did our Toys for Tots rock show last night. We were the openers, which was great. Turned out there was pretty much a full house. Our new drummer is so grounded and professional, he brought a whole new solid foundation to our sound.

We didn't realize this was really a missing ingredient for us. Sometimes you don't know what you're missing until you're not missing it.

I played my beat-up old Hohner guitar. It's like an old pair of boots. I probably take it for granted. But it's a monster of an acoustic guitar, solid and resonant. I can really get a nice percussive sound out of it.

The Lovely Carla sang like an angel. There is a new sound gelling, and it's exciting.

We raised money, and loads of toys for the kids. The night was a complete success. Sometimes things actually do work out.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Zing and Zest

Last night we had one of those magical sessions. We played music with a new drummer. He has an old 60's vintage kit. He is a professional, totally grounded individual. Such a contrast to the Lovely Carla and I. And maybe the magic is in blending such different energies?

We ran through our set for our Toys for Tots show tonight at the Heartland Cafe. We're on the bill with three other bands. This will be the first show with our new drummer and I hope we can bring it like we did last night. Suddenly tunes that we've played for awhile found a new zing and zest.

We all felt the adrenaline rush. There's something about a group all working together in the moment. It's like we've kicked open a new door to a new sound. We've never sounded tighter. The songs have never sounded better. Now the question is, can we do it all in a foreign place in front of a crowd?

We will find out...

Friday, December 04, 2009

"I guess when they said Tiger was working with his putter, they were talking about something else."

I don't know why I find the Tiger Woods thing fascinating. I think it's because I'm in awe of the Monster Media Machine. It is an amazing, multi-headed, never-sleeping beast. One that Tiger has ridden to enormous fame and fortune.

And if Tiger rides the Tiger, well, that Tiger can turn on a dime. One minute you are feeding on the spoils of victory, the next you are the meal.

The Monster that feeds you also eats you up and spits you out. It is an insatiable beast. Doesn't care about anything but being fed. Tiger wants his privacy, which is totally understandable. But the private Tiger and the public Tiger merged into one being, many dollars and many years ago, and that Tiger is just more fodder for the jaws and belly of the Machine.

The main lesson I draw from the whole thing? Sometimes it is best to keep your putter in your pants! Although, I understand this is easier said than done.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Orwellian Tragedy

Zero Hedge kind of sums up my feelings about Barack Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

"Nobel 'Peace' Prize winner Obama escalates war in Afghanistan in act of Orwellian tragedy."

Of course, even though I voted for the guy, he never called me for my advice. Still, if he would have asked, I would have said, "Don't fucking do it!"

I do think the dude has good intentions. But of course the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I'd hate to see another promising U.S. President go down in flames trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube of another cluster-fuck.

Oh well, I realize our biggest export is guns, and boots, and tanks, and bombs. Maybe there's something wrong with that?!?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Post L.A. - Pure Vibe!

Back home. It was all smooth sailing yesterday. We cabbed, and bused, and planed. As we waited to board the plane yesterday, I got a call from the booker at the Rainbow. They actually want us to come back and do a show! Surprise.

I guess our Open Mic thing went better than we thought. Now that's a kick in the pants! Not sure, but I think we're gonna plan another L.A. trip and play the Rainbow! Look out L.A.

Anyway, it's great to be back home with my coffee maker, my own bed, my own private little world. Still what an amazing trip. It is very humbling to realize that we have some great friends - generous, kind, brilliant, beautiful.

Not sure what we've done to deserve all the love and attention. But one thing I learned on the trip, I can just let it all go! No guilt, no pain. Just pure vibe. I wonder how long that will last?!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day Seven

Our trip took a decided David Lynchian turn yesterday. We went to the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd. for the Monday night Open Mic.

It was quite the experience. The Open Mic is upstairs, sort of looks like a ship's galley. Kind of a hostile room filled with the Monday night regulars - comics and musicians. Not too funny. The air of desperation kind of hung over the room like a black cloud.

We were definitely outsiders. The young comic before us was doing a harsh Don Rickles type schtick and he did a riff on our name - WhiteWolfSonicPrincess.

I did admire his ability to improvise a bit in the moment, but the vibe was not welcoming. Still we gave it our best, did two songs and tried to fill the room with our sound. We got a polite round of applause from the hard core group. Not exactly satisfying, but we met the challenge and survived to tell the tale.

After doing our two songs we left the Rainbow and waited for a bus across from the Roxy. There was a total carnival scene in front of the Roxy: rock and rollas, wise guys and good fellas, skin-heads, bikers, hot mamas, incredibly large tattooed women, incredibly thin girls balancing on impossible spiked heels, there was "Golden Shoes Guy," and "Falling Down Pants Guy," and yes, even a dwarf.

It was all so L.A. surreal. And the bus trip back home was a freak-show carnival ride too. Bus people anywhere are such a very special crowd.

Our last night in L.A.: Memorable.

Another travel day today. Shuffling from one compartment to another. Soon back to the Chicago reality. Wonder what's in store?

Monday, November 30, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day Six

The days are flying by, doing things we've never done before, in places we've never been.

We've sort of "broken the routine" which is one way to look at the world with new eyes.

Went to Palm Springs. Came back.

Our hostess is one of the sweetest, most generous people I've ever met.

We are lucky.

Went to a wonderful dinner party, had superb vegetarian chile with some great friends.

We go from one genial haze to another.

Not a lot of time to think, or worry, the newspaper seems like a lifeless thing in my hands.

The stories seem to be about another time and place.

Worlds away.

I'm still sort of like a stone, skipping across the water, wondering if and when I stop, then what?!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day Five

We hit the road to Palm Springs. Big, snow-capped mountains. A large wind farm. Pulled into the Ace Hotel. It's a trip. Maybe used to be an old HoJos or something. The food is great, the rooms are funky and comfortable. Some weird 70's motif.

The pool is warm. The air is cool. Reading Okervil River's tour diary.

I borrowed an Epiphone acoustic guitar from the lobby, and the Lovely Carla and I worked out a song last night. Sort of a celtic, drone thing. I love when the songs flow.

We're hanging round the pool this morning. The sun dancing in and out of clouds. The whole itinerary has been worked out by our hostess. We're just going with the flow. It's kind of an amazing journey. Like it's all been worked out for us and we just do the steps that have already been laid out in the future.

Kind of strange, but it's all good too. I am a feather waiting for the next stiff blast of wind.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day Four

I woke up in L.A. living someone else's life:

Eating someone else's food
Sleeping in someone else's bed
Driving someone else's car
Listening to someone else's music
Reading someone else's paper
Blogging on someone else's computer

And what is a man?

I'm a fish out of water
kind of flopping around
on the shoreline
gasping for air.

It's kind of scary
and exhilarating.

Am I me or someone else?
All the evidence points to
a major identity crisis
but I have evolved (or is it devolved)
into some very specific, crusty
character.

I'm a character actor
searching for a role
that would support
all my particular quirks and foibles.

I don't think that film
is gonna get the greenlight

Friday, November 27, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day Three

I don't know what it all has to do with the Puritans; who of course, ended up doing a real number on the Indians, and really, I mean, it has nothing to do with the Puritans, although that may have been the genesis of the whole thing anyway.

We did the Thanksgiving ritual in L.A.

What is the meaning of a ritual enacted in a totally foreign environment, disconnected from any context? The sunshiny L.A. context of no context Thanksgiving.

Our hosts put on an exquisite feast, a superb meal, which came in meticulously thought-out and executed courses. We ate like kings. Not sure what we did to deserve all this, but we are here and living high on the hog. That hog is the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day Two

It was one of those days that just elongated forever. It was basically three acts.

Act One: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

I spent most of the day in the back seat of a sleek black convertible with an 18 pound turkey - plucked, be-headed, gutted, chilled. At the wheel: our beautifully dazzling L.A. lawyer friend, long tresses flying, driving around town at breakneck speed. I was totally helpless, and just let go. A very Zen day. Kind of like a leaf or an empty plastic bag just floating in the breeze. We ended up at the farmer's market and had a fabulous Mexican fiesta at the Loteria Grill. Highly recommended!

Act Two: My Dinner with Andre

Great friends, great food at Paru a vegetarian Indian place in Hollywood. One of those long, rambling dinners, with no detours, no worries, no doubts. Seems everyone at the table was an artist, a writer, a singer, producer, director, actor, clairvoyant. Everyone creative and interesting, beautiful and alive. That sounds like a typical L.A. gathering.

Act Three: The Big Lebowski
Back in our adopted home in Silverlake. Ingested a few happily agreeable substances to top off the night. It all worked on me to perfection. It was all giggles and belly laughs. Everything seemed funny. Everything perfect and in its place. Got a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Finally crashed late in the night. Slept like a very content and blissfully burned out Lebowski.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

L.A. Diary - Day One

Yesterday was travel day.
It's amazing your life comes down to
this street corner
this el stop
this train car
on road with these folks.

The mundane world of flesh and bone.

And in one frame of mind, it is still amazing that we can hurtle through the sky at 38,000 feet in a big metal tube. Although, our education tells us it's nothing special. And the actual ordeal is so much of a boring zombie walk. Carrying our bag of bones from one waiting room to the next.

Traveling is all about trusting all these people that you don't know, hoping that they do know what they are doing, they do know how to fly a plane (and land), and all the other strangers around you don't want do you harm. Our lives are built on these vast networks of trust.

You have to forget all you know, all you've read and seen, just to move forward with peace of mind.

Anyway we made it. And we find ourselves in some one else's paradise. Our hostess is a dazzling force of nature. We are staying at this incredibly beautiful L.A. home sitting on a hill overlooking some of the most expensive real estate in the world. We have fallen into the lap of luxury. It's very strange, waking up in someone else's reality. Everything glows.

It's enough of a mind bend to throw one into some kind of existential vortex. I'm there but I think it's going to be a memorable velvet glove-type experience.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

L.A. Diary

We're heading to L.A. for Thanksgiving.
When you think of Turkey Day
don't you think:

freeways
traffic jams
burning hills
Arnold the Govenator?

We are staying with friends:
A young lawyer
a hot, Kate Hudson look-a-like
and her boyfriend
a young creative director.

A perfect L.A. couple.

Don't know why exactly
they wanted us to visit,
but they did.

So we will be there for
6 days.

I will be keeping an
L.A. Diary.
I'm bringing a notebook and pen.

Wonder if I still know how to write
without the aid of a keyboard?

Not sure how often I'll get
to blog and post.

We'll see...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Puddle Master!

Working on my third cup of coffee this morning
I start making fun of Will Shortz on NPR.

The Lovely Carla points out to me: "Will Shortz is a Puzzle Master.
He doesn't just do puzzles, he makes the puzzles. What are you a master of?"

Sunny Jimmy: "Me, well, I am a Puddle Master!"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weeding Your Garden


One good thing about being on the planet for awhile

you get to do stuff, and then realize,

"Well, I never want to do that ever again."

It's sort of a process of elimination.

Maybe you don't really know what you want to do with your life.

But you find out in little drips and drabs what you don't want to do.

Probably not the most efficient way to live a life.

But it's what us life amateurs call "The Process of Weeding Out."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gimmee the Covers

I've been doing a little project that will probably never see the light of day. I've been learning and recording stripped down versions of some of my favorite songs and then recording them in my own little home studio.

Just me and an acoustic guitar. Then a bass track and a little electric guitar accompaniment. I'm trying to do it as "live" as possible. No fancy studio tricks. Just stark, raw performance. I think I'm gonna call it: Gimmee the Covers.

I'm pretty happy with it so far. Now of course, since it's all copyrighted stuff, I can't really sell it or put it out there. So I realize it's all just kind of a Zen thing.

Still, it's been very gratifying to learn the songs, step through the chords, learn the words, put it all together. Somehow I think my choices of songs tell a story in themselves. Some songs I picked because I just love them. Some because I thought I could actually do them justice, some because they are obscure, odd or funny, some because I just wanted to try out the guitar parts.

Here's the list so far:

Roll Another Number by Neil Young
I'm Only Sleeping by John Lennon
Knocking on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan
While My Guitar Gently Weeps by George Harrison
Play with Fire by Jagger/Richards
Comfortably Numb by David Gilmour
Powderfinger by Neil Young
One Step Closer by U2
Rain by John Lennon
Jumping at Shadows by Peter Green

I'm gonna do some more. I'm working on Bob Marley's Redemption Song at the moment. To my ears, even when it's me playing it, it sounds like one of the greatest songs ever written.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Footprints

Some days it is like
you walk
and leave footprints
and then you
turn around
get down on your knees
and erase them
like they never existed
in the first place

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Amazing Rush of Joy

Yes, admittedly,
it is rainy and bleak this morning.
Still, I get this amazing
rush of joy from just being alive.
Where does that come from?

I guess when push comes to shove
I do believe in magic.

I mean, if you define magic
as: shit happens
and you don't really know why
or how.


I think by that definition
our lives are book-ended
by darkness to darkness.

From being born to being dead,
a mystery to a mystery.

And the mysterious interlude
in between.

And that's okay...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anti-Heroes, Cads and Clowns

As it has been said
the age of
Kings and Heroes
is over

It's like we now
live in the age of
anti-heroes, cads and clowns

Like we're stuck in
an Ionesco, Beckett or Pinter play

It's all just an absurd comedy
but serious shit happens
all the time

dark, sad, irrevocable events

A bad sitcom filled
with death
and the ends of things

But it's all so silly
inconsequential
and there's a laugh track

The laughs come
all the time
even at the most
inappropriate moments

There's some cosmic joke
hanging over everything
like a black, mirth-filled cloud

Monday, November 16, 2009

Riding A Cloud

Spent most of yesterday
in our new space

just a clean empty room

playing music

Sort of like riding
a cloud all day

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We are the Vampires

We decided to watch
True Blood

It's about Vampires
and brain-challenged
folks in the South

It's one of those shows
you just kind of
let wash across
your eyeballs

and hollow out
your brain cavity

Sort of enjoyable
sort of stupid
sort of clever

Lots of sort ofs

I guess we all
relate to Vampires
because they are creatures
that live off of other creatures

Sort of like us

The needing, wanting, grasping
is kind of funny too...

Still my favorite part
is the opening credits.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nasal Drip Blues

The Lovely Carla tells me this morning:
"It is the season of phlegm."

Yes, and how best to use it?

Maybe I will sing the blues...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Magical Thinking

Well, I'm finally down to this:
it will happen
because it has to happen.

I mean,
impossible things
happen all the time
i guess
proving
that they are not
truly
impossible.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Normal?

Normal!?
What's normal?

If you are
circus people

normal is

walking tightropes
swallowing swords
juggling knives
taming lions
tossing dwarfs
wearing funny pants
cleaning up after elephants

don't give me
normal

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Pug-like Existence

If you associate with
fat little beings
who can't breathe
all big brown eyes
stubby legs
and pushed-in faces

you will find pretty soon
that you can't breathe
your blue eyes
will start to turn brown
your long legs
will begin to shorten
and your face
will start to contract

blame it on
your mirror neurons

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Recycling Program

Belief in reincarnation
isn't such a great leap

it's basically
just a recycling program

if humans can think it
can't be all that outrageous

nature doesn't waste
waste is just fodder

for life

energy is energy
it has to go somewhere

maybe there's no
justice in reincarnation

just the luck of the draw

one life a human
next life a butterfly
maybe a slug
or a rat

or bacteria

H1Ni1

it's all the same

life

Monday, November 09, 2009

Connectedness of Things

I was reminded this weekend
everything is connected!

I sometimes forget,
and then
everything seems disconnected.

Maybe the forgetting is part of the process.

But the connectedness of things
makes sense to me.

And then I experience it.

I get in that zone where
everything is itself
and is something else
too.

Everything is Illuminated.

Light and dark
shines on and obscures
all things.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dumb, Fat and Happy

Much of Pop Culture
is about
watching and listening
to people
pretending to be
dumber than they really are

for our entertainment

which admittedly
can be entertaining

but I don't think
watching
dumb pretenders
makes us smarter

probably makes us
dumber than we are

or content to be
in a happy bovine stupor

smug and superior

but of course it's a con

which is maybe the point
and the purpose

and we actually pay good money for it

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Church of the Vibe!

Sting on the radio
this morning
promoting a new album
says music is his church

i am a life-long member

head and heart
swimming
in melody, harmony
dissonance too

it is
The Church of Vibration

you find
a frequency
and let it ring
for life.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Surfing Zero Hedge

I've been surfing over to
Zero Hedge quite a bit lately

As they say,
1st rule of Fight Club is
don't talk about Fight Club

Not sure I know
all the rules of the game
numbers
tend to make my eyes glaze

One gets the idea
there is
another reality
beneath the reality
of reality

Sort of like germs
there's another agenda
another mission
not clear to the naked eye

It will all manifest
in time

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mini-Horrorshows

I pinballed
from one
mini-horrorshow
to another
yesterday

shaved ass
blood on the tracks

toothless mouth
big watery brown eyes

extra-terrestrial
beings
begging for treats

I had to laugh
it sort of hurt

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My Camera

Didn't bring my camera yesterday
didn't take any snaps
of a glistening autumn day

no glimpses of the shimmering lake
no shots of trees exploding in technicolor
no record of clouds navigating the blue sky

i guess you had to be there

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Flaming Golden Orb

After many days of the monsoon
many dark cold days
in a long string
like a black pearl necklace

a flaming golden orb
emerges and traverses
an improbably blue sky

makes me want
to fall to my knees
and conduct
a prayer service

i sacrifice my gloom
on a sidewalk altar

dogs and birds
giggle and applaud

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dogs have intelligence too

Dogs have intelligence too
their noses can detect:
seizures, cancer, psychosis

we judge dogs
at our peril
the more we judge
the less intelligent
we become

it's the same
with other species
too

we flatter ourselves
and get dumber
by the second

don't do that!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Funny Hat

Sometimes
it's probably best
to just ride the wave
wear a funny hat
look at the clouds
and try not to
think so hard.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dumps Vs. Sunny

Certainly is it the dichotomy I live with. Dumps and Sunny are the battlers, I am the battlefield.

Each wants to win. Each has their strengths.

On the Dumps side you have: pestilence, war, death, stupidity, hatred, prejudice.

On the Sunny side you have: coffee.

And the winner is: SUNNY!

Friday, October 30, 2009

We are over here, they are over there...

Don't know what Obama is gonna decide on the Afghan Clusterfuck. Hope he figures out how to bring the troops home. Seems the U.S.A. is just following the same zombie steps that helped bring down the Soviet Empire.

Then again maybe that's the game. Maybe Obama is our Gorbachev, a decent, intelligent man who happens to be at the wheel when an empire crumbles.

And maybe crumbling empires are good things.

Still the lesson seems to be simple: We are over here, they are over there, it's their home, who the hell do we think we are?

How many times does this lesson need to play out? Maybe the Afghans need to figure it all out for themselves?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Avid Reader

I'm an avid reader. As David Bowie once remarked, "If I'm reading bullshit, the quality of my thinking is basically bullshit."

I suppose if I'm reading genius, the quality of my thinking is basically genius. But that's just my educated guess.

Is there some kind of secret narrative being transmitted to me? Here are two lines that jumped out at me as I was reading this morning...

In the Sports pages: "It's human nature to force explanations on things that sometimes neither have nor require an explanation."

And in the New Yorker: "According to a second theory, people are always trying to outdo one another; if everyone in a group agrees that men are jerks, then someone in the group is bound to argue that they're assholes."

Why do I think these are glimpses of some secret narrative? Is someone or something beaming messages to me?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Humans - Long Distance Runners

I always thought I was running for a reason. Even if I didn't know the reason.

Like I was running for my ancestors or something. Or I was looking up in the sky for "birds of prey" to see if they were circling, and I was running to beat them to the prize.

Or I was running after some mythical animal that I was hunting. They pant, I sweat. Advantage me.

Or I was being chased by something. Something big and invisible.

Supposedly people can outrun horses over long distances on a hot day. Man, I know I bet on some ponies on hot summer days that I could have probably out-run.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Unfolding

You are a character in a story. There's parts of the story where you think you've been doing the writing, but then again, that might be a false impression.

And the story just gets curiouser and curiouser. It's a little maddening. You think you'd like to know where it's all going, how it will all turn out.

But then again, maybe it's better this way, the only way it could really be, you are playing your part, even when you don't know what your part is, and events just unfold. There's a mystery in the unfolding.

Maybe there's a higher purpose or meaning. Maybe not. Really it doesn't really matter. It's probably the unknowing that makes it all worthwhile going through.

Probably.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wake Up Call

sunny jimmy: I guess, I see it as a wake up call.

lovely carla: How many wake up calls can one man have?

sunnyjimmy: About one every hour?!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Heal That

This morning we hear more stories of bombs - car bombs and suicide bombers. We do share our lives with people of no conscience. Or people who believe so deeply in ideas that other people, or even their own lives don't count, they are only considered obstacles or a means to some distant goal.

Every car bomb, every suicide bomber undermines all civilization. They undermine all of us. They destroy our supposed brotherhood. It's a sad thing. And really we are helpless in the face of it. I suppose that's the purpose and reason of terror. It's a cold logic that burns every human bridge.

That's not the world we want to live in. The world of terror. But it is there. Maybe not on our street. But that's probably more to do with luck than anything else.

We want to lean to the light, to do the right thing. We want to love our brothers and sisters. And we do.

But what of those with no conscience? What of those with random murder in their hearts? There's a hatred that burns for that coldness, that randomness. That evil.

How do we heal that? Or do we just pretend it doesn't have anything to do with us? Do we tell ourselves we can easily fix it, if we just shuffle the deck anew? Do we pretend those people aren't people like us?

Do we tell ourselves we are not implicated in those horrible acts too? Does that help? Does that heal?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Be an Upright Person, Handle Situations Correctly, Become a Boss!"

"For a person to live on earth, he has to face two worlds: the boundless world of the outside, and the world that exists inside a person."

A nice little conundrum we have on our hands don't you think?

Every man, woman and child a Boss!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Adventures of Wrong Guy!

Names. I got a million of them. Some I've encouraged, some have just come out of the blue. I answer to all of them. Sometimes I'm just happy that I'm still around to be called anything!

There's the typical offshoots of James such as Jim and Jimmy. Then there's the ones a little off the ranch: Seamus, Jamos, Shamous, and Hamos. Really.

My dad used to call me J.R.

Sniveling Weasel used to call me T-Bone.

Lots of people call me Jimmy Jammer or just Jammer, or even improbably, Jam Master James!

The Asian Couple over at the dry cleaners came up with some good ones: Cowboy and Long Guy.

Talking about me, the Asian Woman tells the Lovely Carla: "He rook rike Cowboy!"

And the Asian Man calls me Long Guy, which actually comes out sounding like "Wrong Guy."

I must say that's got to be my favorite. Wrong Guy. As in, Wrong Guy in a world gone wrong, or Wrong Guy in a world gone right. Either way, I'm gloriously WRONG!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Healing Will Begin!

Hey everyone please check out this great new Blog Talk Radio show hosted by my wonderful Psychic Meditation teacher Kris Cahill! It premiered on Tuesday October 20. And will come at you live every week.

The show is a great introduction to Kris - a truly wonderful inspirer. Her first topic is HEALING!

.

Also please check out her Psychic Everyday blog too!

BTW: WWSP's song "Everything is Everything" opens the show. Very, very, very cool!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No Idol Moment for Jimmy!

I turned down my "Idol" moment. No, not the nationally televised version. A local variant. A producer approached me and asked if I'd like to be a Judge for a local Idol contest to be broadcast soon, live on TV.

At first I just didn't know what to say. Who doesn't want to be on TV? And maybe I could promote my band or theater group on the air-waves. Still, it just seemed weird. Me as a Judge. Me as Paula Abdul?!

I didn't want to disappoint the producer. A great guy. A class act.

Still after a day of contemplation I politely declined.*

I just don't see myself as a judge of anything. Even if it's all just for show. I mean, since I'm a performer myself, all my sympathy is with the people willing to get up on stage and give it a go. I'd hate to be the guy giving and taking away points!

I know what I like, but who am I to evaluate someone else's performance? I have never actually watched "American Idol," although, I'm pretty sure I know what it's about. I have no desire to see the show. I do not like the idea of turning everything into a contest.

That is not my conception of life. And I think of my favorite performers and wonder just how they'd do in a national singing contest - Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith - they probably wouldn't have gotten past the first round. Hell, even the other guys in Buffalo Springfield told Neil Young he couldn't sing.

B.D: "The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer..."
IDOL Producer: "Next!"

N.Y.: "Oh to live on Sugar Mountain..."
IDOL Producter: "Next!"

P.S.: "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but..."
IDOL Producter: "Next!"

No, there will be no Idol moment for me. Unfortunately, I dance to a different drummer! And it's not on TV!

*Maybe this wasn't really a good test of my ethics or beliefs. There was no money on the table. What if there was, a lot or even a little cash could have changed my mind, I may have just bit my lip and done the thing. Who knows?!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"The Tragic Evolution of an Industrial Economy into a Financial Finagling Economy..." - JK

I do think there is a palpable and prevalent sense that we've been hoodwinked.

James Kunstler: "The sense that Wall Street has pulled off a coup d'etat and taken over the machinery of the United States is the most powerful meme out there now, and its power is growing in magnitude every day among all classes of Americans. I can't say how much it reflects reality. Even if it is a result of sheer happenstance - the tragic evolution of an industrial economy into a financial finagling economy - the citizens will still experience it as a stealing of their future."

And according to this article Capitalism as we know it is Dead!

"Once a society becomes successful it becomes arrogant, righteous, overconfident, corrupt, and decadent ... overspends ... costly wars ... wealth inequity and social tensions increase; and society enters a secular decline." Success makes us our own worst enemy."

Sounds familiar?!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Questions and Answers

Usually I just stick with the questions. But today I take questions and provide snappy answers too! These questions came to me from various questioners over the weekend - I tackle them now!

1. What should we do about Afghanistan? This one is easy. Get the hell out. Now!

2. Should I go on the drugs? No, do not go on the juice. You will blow up like a freaking balloon and you'll never get off!

3. Are we all getting crazier? Yes.

4. Is it obscene that Wall Street is swimming in money so soon after the Big Bailout? Yes, totally freaking obscene.

5. Is Obama gonna save us? It depends on how you define "save" and "us."

6. Where you going Big Man? I don't rightly know!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Night was...Moist

Our band WhiteWolfSonicPrincess was a late addition to the Around the Coyote Fest's musical line-up last night. We played to a handful of the art hipsters of Wicker Park in a cavernous old lumber yard. It was an un-heated space - exposed brick and aged timber. And the night was cold and damp.

The sound guy was superb, so when we fired up our amps and p.a. we filled the room with our jagged sound - the vocals were warm, the bass and guitar were mixed right. My little amp was pushed to it's limit.

It all came off well. We all love to perform. And our set is really becoming refined, a mix of songs and fiery poetic narratives. We are getting a little more theatrical in our approach. It feels like the right direction for our little outfit.

Smiles all around! And the hipsters warmed to us too.

UPDATE: Also on the bill last night was this great band Moxie Motive. They did an unplugged set, acoustic guitar, cello, violin and trumpet. Their lead singer Matt Duhaime has a great voice, he sings with passion. We watched transfixed. When he finished with John Lennon's "imagine" he had the lumber yard in the palm of his hand.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"When the truth is found to be lies and all the joy within you dies don't you want somebody to love" - Grace Slick

Went to see the Coen brothers new movie "A Serious Man" last night. Those dudes know how to get under my skin.

As the lovely Carla so eloquently put it, their movie "makes you laugh at the same time they punch you in the gut." That's entertainment.

I think it works on so many levels. Another one of those works that throws you into an existential tail-spin. Although, maybe I'm just partial to existential tail spinning!

Really good stuff.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Limbaugh is Still a Big Fat Idiot!

Hey, I guess sometimes money doesn't have the final say. Sweet.

Maybe being a fat, imbecilic blowhard has consequences.

It is "poetic justice" when someone is felled by their own hubris. A verbose man strangled by his own words.

And of course, Al Franken was right all along.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Welcome to the Illusion We Live In

If you really want to validate your intuition that we human beings don't know "shit from Shinola" about the universe, well, just spend some time with the folks who study and theorize about it for a living.

For instance, take a gander at this little essay that made the NY Times Science section by Dennis Overbye.

If I'm reading this thing correctly, the universe is actually rippling backward in time (!?) to sabotage the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. Why would the universe do this? Because the Higgs boson (no, this is not a type of Buffalo), which the collider is designed to unleash, is so horrific to the future of everything, that it must be killed in it's cradle.

So the theory says that the Large Hadron Collider will never work. It will always and forever be sabotaged by universal forces looking out for it's own self preservation.

Got that? The universe is conspiring against us so we don't completely, totally fuck things up. Physics has to be the ultimate trip, eh?

So, as the Bhagavad Gita told us many years ago - everything we see is Maya - Illusion. Or as William Blake once wrote: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

The trouble is taking massive doses of LSD or mescaline won't really open up those narrow chinks for long.

No, maybe the real "tragedy" of our existence is to be able to imagine the universe as it really is, but never be able to actually perceive it.

All come on and no come. And behind the scenes, under the cover of the great clouds of unknowing the real shit happens!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hall of Dementia

Malcolm Gladwell tells us why dog-fighting and football are equally barbaric.

It is estimated that the typical football player from high school, college, pros takes thousands of hits to the head. Kind of like a high speed car accident over and over.

Why is it entertaining to watch large men destroying their brains on fields of green? Why is it entertaining to watch two pit bulls tear each other to pieces?

I must admit I am horrified by the brutality of football. I must admit I almost never miss a Chicago Bears game.

Don't see how you can take violence out of violent game. The brutality is an in-born feature. I guess, if we were truly "civilized" football would not be tolerated.

Men and dogs brutalize each other for our entertainment. Really, what are we thinking?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Dog Difference

According to the Dog Whisperer, dogs will not follow an unstable leader.

Of course, as we have so very painfully learned over and over...

human beings will.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Onion

It's kind of like peeling an onion. You keep digging deeper, figuring you are going to get to the heart of the matter, and as each layer is peeled away the onion gets smaller and smaller.

You get to the end of the peeling process and all you're left with is a bunch of layers sitting on the cutting board. The essence of "onion" is the accumulation of layers.

There is no other essence beyond the layers. Or at least not one you can see.

You realize that's the story of your life...

You are no wiser, but you have the makings of a hell of a sandwich!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Something Out There

I think it is true.

There is Something Out There.

And we don't know what it is.

We get hints. We see glimmers. But The Something is never revealed.

There is a Mystery built into the Universe. It is built into our DNA.

It is what drives the Story forward.

But "forward" may be just another riddle.

And the "riddle" may actually be a Circle.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Golden Vibe!

Fan-fucking-tastic! Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize!

In a world of turmoil Barack is a beacon of light. No doubt.

Ever since he was elected my peace of mind quotient has sky-rocketed, even as the seemingly intractable global problems seem to be multiplying.

You just know the guy intends to do the right thing.

Whether it all works out is an open question, but just the intent is PURE GOLD!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Man Vs. Dog

I hang out with humans.

I hang out with dogs.

There are differences.

The most significant difference I can discern?

Dogs don't lie!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Saint Vincent

When I was a wee lad, my dad tried to instill in me that good old Vince Lombardi philosophy. At the time, I thought it was all a bunch of horse-shit. Lombardi was a coach, and his team the Green Bay Packers were perennial champs. Big deal.

But somewhere along the line, the Lombardi vibe seeped into me. So yesterday, when things got really weird, and yes, they got really David Lynchian weird, I kept telling myself, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."

I realize Lombardi is really my Patron Saint, and when things get dark I never fail to "run to daylight."

Now that's a surprise!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Mixed Nuts

Awhile back I came across John Cassidy's take on the financial meltdown. In it he used the phrase "rational irrationality."

The phrase has been haunting me ever since. I mean, it was kind of like a "rosebud" moment, a single phrase that explains a life and culture gone off the rails.

Each person in a global chain performs a "rational" act, add them all together and the result is totally irrational, I mean, completely fucking crazy! And you can see it everywhere you look.

Bankers end up selling toxic assets (shit sandwiches), that they know are total crap, because, well, because they will make money, everyone else is doing it, and if they don't maybe they don't get promoted, or maybe they even lose their jobs. People got loans for houses they couldn't afford because, well because someone gave them the fucking money!

The Meat Industry ends up selling actual shit sandwiches that kill people because well, the guy at the factory doesn't want to work too hard, is trying to conserve energy, keep his job, the executives are watching the bottom line, the vendors they sell to won't inspect the meat because they are afraid they might find something and lose a supplier, and the person buying "Select Angus Beef" is pleasantly surprised that Sam's Club, or wherever, sells the stuff at a reasonable price.

Of course the result is death or disfigurement from a hamburger.

Cemetery employees were burying people, digging them up and reselling the plots. Hell, it probably made sense at the time. They needed to sell cemetery plots, they ran out of room, what the hell were they supposed to do?

We have reached the point where we can't even bury our dead!

You can run down the list - there are rational actors with rational reasons that can explain the long global chain that results in air we can't breathe, water we can't drink, food we can't eat. ETC.

And we all "tsk, tsk" and go on like it's all just GOD'S PLAN. We are freaking Nut-Jobs! Rational Freaking Nut Jobs!

Monday, October 05, 2009

We are the People Who Eat Shit and Say it Tastes Good Too!

Hey, do you eat hamburgers? I quit back in the early eighties.

If you still do eat burgers, you should check out this front page story from the NY Times yesterday, "The Burger That Shattered Her Life."

Kind of tells the journey of a burger. And it's not a pretty journey. Turns out the Meat Industry is just a bunch of cheap- ass sons of bitches who really don't care whether the ground beef you are cooking up on your stove is safe or not, as long as their profit margins are high.

As long as it's cheap, they are happy. Here's the nub of the story...

"Hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria. Using a combination of sources — a practice followed by most large producers of fresh and packaged hamburger — allowed Cargill to spend about 25 percent less than it would have for cuts of whole meat."

And what was it that destroyed that poor woman? E.COLI! And where does that nasty pathogen come from?

SHIT! Eat it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Freudian

I'm a big David Letterman fan. I don't stay up and watch often, but when I do, Dave comes across to me as great curmudgeonly old friend. He's got a unique schtick. Often his jokes aren't really jokes. Sort of a weird post-modern type of comedy.

One quirk which for years drove me batty: Monica Lewinsky jokes. Years after Clinton was out of the White House, Dave was still reaching back to the Lewinsky well.

I mean, sometimes it was funny. But Dave seemed sort of obsessed with INTERNS.

Well it turns out it was kind of a Freudian thing...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Weeping and Wailing

I think it's kind of funny, all the weeping and wailing about Chicago not getting the Olympics. A lot of Chicagoans breathed big a sigh of relief. We did not want to sign on for that boondoggle of a reality show. Our little Mussolini of a Mayor will have to find something else with which to burnish his flagging reputation.

I think some people are surprised that the rest of the world doesn't think the USA is the center of the world. Hard for some of us to swallow but true. We aren't. Even if we do have the great omniscient Oprah!

I don't buy the ideas that this tarnishes Obama in the least. The IOC did him a great big favor. The Olympics are a silly sideshow. And the Chicago Fat Cats would have surely mucked it up. We don't need it, we have the Chicago City Council for pointless games and brute displays of strength.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Olympic Fever Blisters

We'll find out later today if Chicago is to be an "Olympic" city. Obama made his pitch. The guy is quite the salesman. Despite my own misgivings, I think the odds are good for this teeming metropolis to get the "prize."

One must be careful for what one wishes for. Obama may rue the day. I guess we'll see.

We aren't just the "Windy City" anymore, the world probably knows us more as the place where Oprah and Michael Jordan made their fame.

So if we are to be an Olympic City, does that mean I have to go into training? Pump iron, jump hurdles, develop a synchronized swimming routine?

Just what does the average citizen need to do to Olympicize!

UPDATE: Oh JOY! It's Rio. That's great news! Obama got to do his thing. He did a favor for the Chicago Pols, but we don't have to suffer through the Fat Cat Feeding Frenzy the actual winning would have put us through. Obama is truly a blessed man!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Forget Rio Too...

Ok forget Rio too. I mean, it's weird, yesterday I wrote about how it would be better if Chicago didn't get the Olympics. If you check out the latest New Yorker you'll probably decide that Rio isn't a very good choice either.

Did you ever see the movie City of God? That will give you an idea of what's going on over there. I mean I'm sure there's lots of great tourist hotels and shimmering beaches, but according to Jon Lee Anderson's article "Gangland," there is a brutal street life where entrenched drug gangs rule the roost. 5,000 murders a year.

You've got 10 year old kids running around with Nikes and automatic weapons...

"They are a totally entropic and anarchic group of young people who have figured out how to get what they want, which is basically, clothing, cars, and respect."

Might make the Olympics a little more interesting, but probably not what the IOC had in mind.

Okay, how about Tokyo?!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Loving Chicago is like loving a woman with a broken nose." - Nelson Algren

I'm a long-time Chicagoan. I was born here. I love the City. The winters here, not so much, but it's part of the Midwestern ethic. It's part of our gritty mythology. We can live in a place that is both friendly and brutal. We could move, but maybe we're a little dim, or maybe mobility is considered kind of flighty.

The weather in Chicago is a game and a metaphor. Change is eternal.

I love living here. Even though that love is colored with pain. Our great Chicago poet is Nelson Algren - check him out if you want to revel in the grand seediness, the hard-bitten streets of a City on the Make.

So, all that said, I am rooting against Chicago getting the Olympics. Give the games to Rio or Hong Kong, or where-ever. This City is corrupt. To it's core. Maybe that's part of the charm.

But the Powers that Be in this city are salivating at the thought of hosting the Olympics here, and those of us who live here know it's really just a boondoggle. An excuse to ask the first question any Chicago Alderman worth his salt would ask (as Mike Royko - that great Chicago newsman told it),"Where's Mine?"

Michelle and Barack have signed on to lobby for a Chicago Olympics. I think it's a mistake. Give it to Rio. We don't need to feed the beast. Obama has more important fish to fry. This place is a two-bit pit of greed. The Olympics would just be one more grand folly.

Our Fat Cats are fat enough. The streets and trains and schools are crumbling. We don't need no stinking games. This City is a game.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Old-Fashioned Habit

I read plays. It's kind of a quaint, old-fashioned habit, sort of like collecting stamps or butterflies. Plays are really meant to be performed, but there is a special pleasure in reading a well-written play, and there are some really great playwrights writing great plays right now.

It's not all just Shakespeare, Beckett, Pinter, Ionesco, Shepard and Tennessee Williams...

I'd include Martin McDonagh and Jez Butterworth in that group. I have read most of McDonagh's work and it is funny and brilliant. He is a true Irish Bard of high distinction. His work is funny and brutal. His first movie, which he wrote and directed was In Bruges, one of the best movies I've seen in the last few years.

And Jez Butterworth (Come on, you can't lose with a name like that!) has written two really excellent plays Mojo (I saw a great production a few years back at the Mary Archie Theatre) and Jerusalem. I just finished Jeruselem and I really enjoyed it. Butterworth is a master word-smith and his melding of high and low culture, fine art and pop clutter is superb. Funny as hell too. Both of these dudes come from the British Isles. They are keeping the flame burning bright. Rave on!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Druid Priest/Aleister Crowley/Les Paul/Wizard from the Underworld/Schtick.

We ordered up a bunch of new cds. Always on the hunt for new sounds. One of the discs I picked was from Sunn O))) yes that's not a typo. I checked them out on YouTube and well, they are definitely doing something...

Sort of a Druid Priest/Aleister Crowley/Les Paul/Wizard from the Underworld/Schtick.

This is sound. This is theater. This is some kind of sonic ritualistic convocation. Matching hoods, a bank of amplifiers, a smoke machine and ear splitting, down-tuned guitars makes for a sonic spectacle.

Kind of funny, kind of dark. This is a band Satan might dig.

I'm sort of jealous, I never get to play that loud! And you figure the hood makes dressing for a show a no-brainer!

UPDATE: The Mind Reels: Is it all giggling and grins back in the dressing room after a show? Or is it ritual blood-lettings and grim murmurings? I mean just how do these dudes chill out?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sort of Counter-Intuitive Saturday!

Things I suspected but didn't know (which is subject to change) conclusively until yesterday...

1. Chickens are hot!
2. All the hype can render the music un-listenable. When you are reborn as a Video and Monopoly Game it's way beyond over! Forget the Fabs give me Yo La Tengo!
3. Vinyl (scratches and all) really is better than CD.
4. Yoko Ono totally kicks ass!
5. Neil Young's "Greendale" is a masterpiece.
6. The Doors and the Kinks wear really well.
7. Little speakers matched with a sub-woofer - sonic nirvana!
8. Lunch time Indian Buffet - the good life.
9. The Benedictine Monks brew a hell of a good Belgian Ale.
10. Every time I watch an episode Mad Men's Dan Draper sends me into an existential cul de sac . Maybe it's the hair?!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

“Capitalism is an evil and you can’t regulate evil. You have to replace it with something that is good for everyone.” - Michael Moore

Love Matt Taibbi. A must read. Check this out. Haven't seen it anywhere else.

The rot is evenly distributed across the system. Corruption has seeped into every nook and cranny of our empire.

I think that 's the premise of Michael Moore's new flick too.

Now I guess we've all been convinced that nothing can be good for everyone. We've all bought into the self interest thing. What's good for me isn't good for you and if you're suffering - tough shit.

There's the Wise Guys and the Dupes. We all want to be a Wise Guy. But in order to be a Wise Guy you have to find a Dupe. It's like a Clown Show where each clown rises in status, by knocking the next clown down a peg or two. It's sort of tragically funny.

Then again, what's good for the individual might not be good for the species. And when we have billions and billions served that conflict becomes more and more conflicting. Who thinks for the species? I don't know. Is it even possible?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Some Say Ice, Some Say Fire!

Okay the old story told us that this Dude and this Chick ate an apple and they got kicked out of paradise. Maybe that's not the way the story goes...

Instead, the Dude and Chick were given the keys to paradise, and they just weren't satisfied. So they started making changes, drastic changes...

And instead of Paradise, they cooked up a big Towering Inferno made up of plastic and garbage and all kinds of silly junk.

And then the Pointy-Headed Ones told them that they were fucking things up and they had to change their ways.

And then, well... they didn't listen!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tickling the Dragon's Tail

When I contemplate Bioengineering I remember last century and the great melding of Science and Military Genius.

Two Atomic Bombs were dropped on Japan - one on Hiroshima and six days later on Nagasaki. Two cities with big civilian populations. One of the greatest war atrocities ever imagined.

Check out this timeline. It is chilling.

And a bunch of scientists, including our one great heralded genius, Albert Einstein, helped build the beast. They had their reasons. Everyone always has their reasons.


There are limits to reason.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Better Mouse One Bio-Brick at a Time

Okay, this article by Michael Specter in the New Yorker is a real eye-opener. It seems the Industrial Age is over and the Bio-Engineering Age is beginning.

We will now be building new life forms with BIO-BRICKS! This could save us from ourselves - we will be able to build organisms that generate totally clean energy, we can build organisms that digest carbon dioxide.

We can build a better mousetrap and a better mouse!

So far Scientists and and Science students are going to town on this stuff. So everything being bandied about seems benevolent.

I couldn't help asking myself as I read the article - what about the military?! I mean, if history tells us anything, the great military industrial complex has to have their hands deep in this stuff.

Someone in the Pentagon must be tinkering with BIOBRICKS with the intent of creating a new generation of weapons. And what about building a better Army - one BIOBRICK at a time?!

So yes, if we can create life from basic building blocks (like LEGO), then we truly do have what some would call GOD-LIKE powers. And just what kind of GODS will we be? Nature has been working on this stuff for millions of years. I wonder what we're gonna come up with in the next decades?

Are we gonna be gratified or horrified? Anyone want to hazard any guesses?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Inborn Feature

But then the bleakness of the human adventure is just one of it's inborn features. As George Carlin would remind us, the planet will be fine, it's just the life on the planet that is gonna be toast.

A ball of fire, or a chunk of ice? For the planet it's just another geological era.

So what role to play here? The Doom-sayer gets a little old really fast. I'm not really wired that way. The Eternal Optimist seems sort of silly or blind. Does one live with eyes closed or open?

Probably a little of both. So, it's probably best to just improvise the moment. We don't really know how it's all gonna come down.

Expect the worst, hope for the best. And live lightly on the land. That's about all I got.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kill the Ecosystem

The evidence seems to be piling up: We are our own worst enemy.

We are clever, greedy little bastards. Which worked for us for thousands of years to be fruitful and multiply.

But what may have worked to our advantage has been at the expense of everything else.

We forgot we live in an ecosystem, and if we conquer that, and try to re-engineer it, well, I guess we will find out the limits of our own cleverness.

Kill the ecosystem and the clever, greedy little bastards are fucked too!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Man

I get the sense that Barack Obama is a smart, reasonable man with a pretty high-level job, in a country filled with dumb unreasonable people.

I wonder how that's all going to work out?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art of the Night

Our bands played a new club (for us) last night, The Lucky Number. A very cool place.

The best thing: we played in front of the great big open window that framed the Chicago night. As we played, I could look behind me and see a thriving city night scene: bikers, cops, the el, street people, hot boys and girls out for a night of frolic.

We fronted this scene. It was just so cool. It was like we played the night, and everything was in that big open window frame.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Five Fingers!

I don't know what came over me. I bought a pair of these kooky shoes. I went for the basic black. Why aren't they called Five Toes? Maybe that didn't really market-test well.

Anyway, I've had them for a few weeks. I've put about 20 miles on them running. It's true, it does feel like you are running barefoot.* They really look freaky too. I noticed that my running style has definitely changed.

First time I ran with them my calf muscles were really sore. And I do feel more vulnerable running in these things. I'm not sure, but I think I run a little more carefully, I seem to work harder, maybe go a little slower.

Still, it's weird, I like them. I feel more sure-footed, and I kind of like being able to really feel the surfaces I'm running on. Now I really notice: crushed stone path, green grass field, hard black pavement, pointy-headed gravel.

Plus, I can go with the theory - these shoes with toes let you run more naturally. Millions of years of evolution came up with the human foot, maybe wearing shoes that fit like a glove and let your foot do it's natural thing is right and good.

I've tried every running shoe known to man - add these to the list - FIVE FINGERS!

*UPDATE: This is truly contrary to everything I believed about running shoes. I have been a long-time runner who believed that he needed cushioning and stability - gel, rubber, air - whatever it took to keep my feet encased in protection. Naked, bare feet? I did not think I could run that way.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Popism = Taoism

I don't know what took me so long. I finally got around to reading Andy Warhol's "Popism" (published in 1980) which gives us a glimpse of the 60's through the Andy Warhol prism. It's based on Warhol's diaries. It seems definitive!

Warhol looms as the Godfather of Pop. And it seems everyone who was anyone in the 60's came through Warhol's Factory where Andy churned out paintings, prints, movies and The Exploding Plastic Inevitable!

You get a glimpse of lots of people, famous (mainly) or not: Candy Darling, Viva, Ingrid Superstar, Edie Sedgwich, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Tennessee Williams, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Paul Morrissey, Billy Name, Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground and a cast of thousands.

Andy's journey runs parallel to what was in the air. Andy is our mirror. And Pop, which started as a sort underground sensibility in his little circle became the Global Religion it is today.

There's lots of "dishing" and gossip, but lots of great insight too. Warhol was our Lao Tzu. Really. And the book is laugh out loud funny! According to Andy some of those years were fueled by "Mother's Little Helper" and everyone was speeding like a amped up MOFO.

Andy's definition of POP - what was outside was now inside, and what was inside was now outside. and everyone could do everything.

Warhol was the absolute genius of our time. Then, as an instigator, the Source of the Nile, (or maybe not the source, he was a sponge soaking it all in, and a mirror who reflected back an extraordinary world without judgement. Andy was SO REAL. In that way he reminds me of Dylan at his best too - Highway 61 and Blonde on Blonde - a sensitive soul reflecting back a world off it's hinges.) and maybe even more so now, as our all pervading, all penetrating Patron Saint.

POP!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Perfect Place

I just lived in my head yesterday. It is a pleasant enough place. I ended up walking about 2 1/2 hours. And the weather was perfect. Sunny, 80's. The lakefront was glistening.

Sometimes the moment will just expand, and moments were quite expansive yesterday.

And as they say, everything was perfect and in it's perfect place. Even me. I mean, not perfect, no, for sure, oh so human, but still unaccountably in the perfect place.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Strays

Always Evolve and Grow.

Watch out for those Uninformed Strangers.

What's in my head is wilder than what's on it.

Pop!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Live there Too!

When someone would ask William Blake where he lived, he'd reply that he lived in that special land called "The Imagination."

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dream Brother

I just read "Dream Brother," by David Browne. What a haunting read. Browne tells the story of the Buckleys, Tim and Jeff. Both were singer/songwriters, Tim, the father, and Jeff the son.

The book is well-written, it alternates chapters between the two men. I didn't know much about Tim, who died at 28 of a heroin overdose, but I knew a lot about Jeff, who at 30 drowned in a river in Tennessee.

Jeff was an extraordinary singer who had a "five octave voice." His influences were wide-ranging - from Edith Piaf, Nina Simone, Van Morrison, to Led Zeppelin and Robert Johnson. Maybe he was too wide-ranging for some tastes. To me it was all amazing and dazzling. I discovered him early from his glorious live set a Sin e in New York in the 90's. Later he released "Grace." One of my favorite records of all time.

Jeff was one of those sensitive souls who seemed too lit up for the world. He wore all his feelings, and his heart, on his sleeve. The description of his final day is just so haunting and heart-breaking.

Simple steps, he did this, he did that led to his death that day. One step different and maybe he would have lived a long wonderful life. The dude really resonates with me. A person and an archetype - think Keats, Shelley, Cobain.

Of course Jeff Buckley was very much his own extraordinary star.

The day I read the chapter about Jeff's drowning, I had a lucid dream in which I lived through a plane crash. I ended up swimming to shore, alive. It was one of those life-changing kind of dreams.

In some weird way I feel like he was my Dream Brother.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lazy, Greedy and Cheap

Michael Pollan writes in the NY Times that we are killing ourselves with our fast food diet.

"We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet."

I read somewhere else that since we tend to be lazy, greedy and cheap, changing our eating habits will be very difficult. Plus we have a huge coporate food industry working hard to keep us addicted to their calorie-filled shit sandwiches.

If you think of it, much of what we think of as innovation can probably be traced to our desire to sit on the couch and stuff our faces with fat, sugar and salt. We truly are the Bubble People!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"You Lie." - Congressman Joe (Dumb-ASS) Wilson

I suppose we need to thank Joe (Dumb-Ass) Wilson, the esteemed Congressman from South Carolina.

I had my doubts whether one speech could change minds and move an issue forward.

And maybe without Wilson's Tourette's Syndrome-like outburst, health care reform would be dead in the water.

Not now. Obama lives under a lucky star.

Can I get an "Amen!" from the Amen Corner?

"AMEN!"

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Good Vibrations

A gathering of the neighborhood tribes yesterday. We invited everyone, and told them to bring something. Every one did, and there was an amazing feast. More than enough for everyone. Isn't that how it should always work?

Everyone gives. Everyone shares.

We played music. I got into a long droning jam with a banjo player. Sort of a shimmering Celtic kind of thing. It was so exhilarating. We both did an open tuning thing. The sound was really captivating.

The good vibes washed over us all as the sun set in the west. Even the nay-sayers just could not fuck with the good vibrations. It was sort of funny to watch them crumble under the blanket of good neighborly feelings. The bad vibes were just totally out-numbered and out-flanked.

Sweet!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Alien Visitor

I do think I'm comfortable cataloguing the death of a culture. And it's not a fatalistic enterprise, or maybe, it's isn't only a fatalistic enterprise, because at the same time there is new life. Our cultural life mirrors the natural world. Things are always dying and being born.

I think Dickens line is always appropriate: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

You can't be overwhelmed by either. And it's probably never as bad as you think, and maybe not as good as you think either. It's the process of life and death that can be a little mind boggling.

We're all implicated in the process. And every moment teeters on the edge. That's the nub of it all. Which is weird. And I can only ever really feel alien to the whole thing.

So as an Alien Visitor you live a life, and watch it unfold before you too. Cataloging the little deaths and births along the way.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

"Consume, Be Silent, Die."

I saw the above quote written on the wall of an abandoned Blockbuster.

The urban blight is growing. Strip malls were bad enough; their cheap ugliness defacing the landscape and the people who inhabit it.

But dead strip malls are a malevolent plague, and they are multiplying like diseased zombie blood cells. Enough zombie cells and the body is transformed into a giant, supperating, beast.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Slow Ebbing

Of course, Post Civilization is a slow motion phenomenon.

All systems break down, but I'm thinking this drift toward entropy is going to be a very slow, no, a painfully slow ebbing.

If the apocalypse comes it will be a supremely boring event. We might even sleep through it. And then one day, we wake up, and we find that the earth has moved beneath our feet.

The old world gone, a new world birthing.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Vampire Chic

I read this in the fashion section of the New York Times. So it must be true...

We are now living in...

"the kind of world in which everything is bleak; it's POST CIVILIZATION."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Stupid and Dangerous Primates!

You sometimes get the idea that we're pretty clever. We are the primates with thumbs who somehow got smart.

Then you hear about something like texting while driving. And you have a total re-think.

Plus you just know that whatever is being texted is totally inane.

Holy Freaking Shit! We have thumbs. That's about it!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Nutty Country

Invade other countries? Yep. No problem.

Bomb civilian populations? Yep. No problem.

Detain and torture people? Yep. No problem.

Affordable Healthcare for anyone who needs it? Are you freaking kidding me?

I'm sorry, that cannot be tolerated!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Whistling Past the Graveyard?!

When does being positive in the face of doom and gloom become ridiculous?

My life will be the answer!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Tao...

"Do something beautiful in the form that suits you best according to your own temperament." - Guy de Maupassant

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Healer, Heal Thyself

We are awash in drugs. Legal and illegal. I do think that Big Pharma is a blight on the human population. Timothy Leary preached the power of psychedelics to liberate humanity, but of course there was a downside to turning on and tuning out.

I don't think Timothy envisioned the complete pharmaceuticalization of our brain-scapes. I'm pretty sure the Corporatization of drugs has helped addle our brains, and has accelerated the "pop goes the weasel" devolution of our Pop Consciousness.

Big Pharma keeps churning out new snake oil. Purported to cure all ills, real or imagined. But at the same time The Placebo Effect is getting stronger!

Taking a harmless sugar pill can cure you! If you think you are healing yourself, you are healing yourself. Freaky cool. Do you know how many dollars we could all be saving!? Bring on the Placebos!

Healer, Heal Thyself!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't be Denied

One of my favorite lines from Neil Young...

I mean, I guess it's my motto...

"Don't be denied."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reason?! I Don't Think So!

Listening to the radio this morning, someone said...

"Reason will win out."

Hmmm. Nice thought.

That's not exactly how it looks to me.

For reference please see last 10,000 years of human history!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Musical Influences...

I don't know why I was thinking of this yesterday...

I inherited the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, and Bob Dylan.

But I discovered The Ramones, The New York Dolls, Television, Talking Heads and Patti Smith. The New York contingent.

Plus throw in Elvis Costello too.

They were/are totally mine.

Patti Smith...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Still thinking about "Inglourious Basterds."

I'm now thinking Q. Tarantino intentionally or not is telling us that Pop Culture trumps all.

Pop Culture kicks all ass.

History does not matter: Pop Culture will re-write the story.

Ideology does not matter: Pop Culture explodes all ideas.

Nazis? They are just Pop Culture Stooges.

Pop Culture eats everything. And regurgitates it in technicolor.

The most important thing: Is it hip? Is it cool? Is there a great soundtrack? Does it make us feel good?

Pop Culture is kind of like a really devoted dog. It gives us unconditional love.

It's love with an expiration date. The individual dogs come and go, but "dogginess" lives forever.

Pop is immortal. It's the only thing left to us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To that Special Lying, Cheating, Little Weasel!

A special shout-out:

Once a lying, cheating, Little Weasel...

Always a lying, cheating, Little Weasel...

I do not envy your sleep patterns...

Who will call you out next?

The Truth will out.

And it burns!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Steal Your Shit.

You are cruising along, enjoying the scenery, and out of the blue, you are reminded...

The bastards want to steal your shit!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

White Space

Gonna paint walls today. Really looking forward to it. Something cool about white paint in an empty room. The absence of image. The absence of things. Just a white wall, an enveloping blankness. Sort of hopeful.

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