Election 2020

Election 2020
Gaseous Little Baby Man Dirigible Implodes!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Meager Narrative

He was living a very meager existence. And it was getting old. His supply of meagers was dwindling, they were running out like rats jumping ship. He couldn't really imagine a life without meagers. But the cold reality was staring him in the face. He was thinking it was time for a little improv!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Bananas Nation!

America: The Bananas Republic.

The President calls a press conference to present his birth certificate and to declare that yes he was of woman born, that he really is a human being, that he was birthed in Hawaii, which is actually, despite Don Ho and those all tacky leis, part of the United States.

The Donald, Mr. Trump, that over-stuffed dude with that horrendous growth on his head, (no don't tell me that's just a comb-over, something hideous has parked itself on that man's head), is being taken seriously by the Tea Party. Seriously. Really. I mean as a Presidential candidate. The man is a clown, a carnival barker, 4 times declared bankrupt, inherited his father's wealth. Only in the Bananas Republic.

Oh yeah, and don't forget other potential Republican Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and well, the list of seriously deficient, sadly pernicious clowns continues to grow. Beyond scary. It's hysterical!

And yes, we are all in debt to our eyeballs too. No, it's past our eyeballs, in debt well over our big, empty heads. We are juggling three wars, and we maintain the largest military since the dawn of man. And just how are we supposed to solve our ballooning debt problem? Well, we intend to beat up on old people and poor people, and immigrants, and needy children too. Must keep America safe for the crony capitalists, the kleptocrats, the bankers and rich fat fucks.

Hell, this is the Bananas Republic!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mixing Session #2

We did another mixing session yesterday. There are going to be lots and lots of future sessions in order to get a full recording of 10 or 11 songs. We did finish one song, and took another one from scratch to completion.

Turns out mixing brings up all kinds of questions, and some answers too. It's kind of like Philosophy 101...

What is an accident or a mistake? Is it, as Brian Eno tells it, a secret or hidden intention?

When is less more, and when is more more? Should you turn this instrument up? Or should you turn everything else down? What is perfection? Is it a chimera? Is it attainable? And if so, is perfection actually lifeless?

Do the "mistakes" or imperfections actually make a recording unique? And beautiful?

Just because we have lots of studio tricks and effects, should we really use them? Is it happenstance or fate that we used this guitar, this pickup, this kit, this bass? How did we find ourselves in a room together?

Can we capture the magic of the moment and preserve it forever? Or at least until the technology fades away and falls to ashes? If we can re-do a mix over and over, when is it officially done?

Is it all just madness? Why do we love to do it?!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bush's Gulag

I've dipped my toe into the festering cesspool, the NYT articles on Gitmo. I think you can judge a society on how it treats the weakest and most vulnerable among us. That would include the poor, the indigent old, the immigrants and the lowest of the low, our imprisoned, suspected terrorist enemies. There are supposedly some really, really bad actors at Gitmo, but it's hard to tell the good guys, the bad guys, the guilty, the innocent, amidst the human degradation.

A civil, moral, society ruled by laws would not have built and maintained a torture center like Gitmo. Crimes against humanity were carried out in a systematic way. It's sickening and corrosive. And even though it was done in our name, and done for our "security" it shows a brutal madness beyond the pale. Did it really make us safer?

Supposedly the torture has stopped under Obama. But who really knows? Gitmo stands. We are all darkened by the shadow of that horrific gulag.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Don't Need No Stinking Hell, Heaven Neither!

Maybe Ross Douthat is a smart, principled, catholic, conservative, but some of his columns for the New York Times just come across as a kind of parody of a smart, principled, catholic, conservative.

Is this dude kidding?*

This one about hell, had me laughing, and scratching my head. I mean do we really need hell to make us more human? Do we really need the threat of eternal damnation to give our lives and the choices we make a certain gravitas? Do we need the threat of punishment hanging over our heads in order to fill our lives with kindness and grace?

And as long as we are on the subject, do we really need heaven? Do we need the promise of a reward after shuffling off this mortal coil in order to live with love for ourselves and our fellow sentient beings?

Do we really need to believe this stuff to be decent and fulfilled and "moral?" I think not Dear Pilgrim. And just where do we go when we die? Don't really know. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was kind of like that place we were before we were born.

Be here now. Sometimes it may seem long, but it's brief. And can end at any time. Love it.

* If you are a pious, rule-following Catholic you are to believe that the ascetic, flesh and blood, Hindu, holy man M. Gandhi is in hell because he wasn't baptized, and he didn't think Jesus was exactly the bomb. And there must be a hell because Tony Soprano, a fictional HBO character, can't be admitted into heaven. HUH?!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Unplug from the Crazy

Saturday night we found ourselves at dinner with a very nice couple. We found out in the course of the conversation that the guy works as a sports psychologist. Now normally when I hear "psychologist" I run for the hills. I was a psychology major. I know those people; many folks of that genre are like the "black holes" of the spirit. Think B.F. Skinner.

But this guy was funny, and cool. He works with athletes and obese kids. It became clear that his real-world experience and results-oriented approach keeps him grounded and level-headed. He said lots of funny, sensible things. Who woulda thunk it?!

I especially loved his idea that our present culture is crazy; that our "normal" approach to food, to education, to politics, and all things social is actually bat-shit insane. He works with folks to unplug from the crazy and to make lifestyle choices that work for them.

You have to choose another crazy, the crazy that works for you. It's not easy. You have to gain some knowledge, be disciplined, and go your own way, which is against the great stream of our existence.

First step, assume that everything you know, everything you hear from our Global 24/7 Pop Culture Behemoth is probably propaganda for some corporate entity that actually wants to make you a brain-addled, consumerist-crazed, fat fuck.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Celebrate Away!

Yes, and let the endless partying begin...

"I'm just celebrating the vastness of our ignorance." - David Eagleman, Neuroscientist

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mixing Session #1

We were back to the recording studio on Thursday. The basic recording is done. Now it's onto mixing. It was a real eye-opening session. Our recording engineer broke one of our songs down to it's basic elements and then put it all back together again.

We started with a fairly simple track- just bass, drums, acoustic guitar, vocal, tenor sax. We brought in sample some tracks to use as a sort of template for the type of mix and sound we are hoping to achieve, we listened to the tracks and talked about what we liked and what we didn't.

We ended up using Cat Power's "The Greatest" as our base example - a real nice mix. Our engineer started tweaking our tracks - he made the bass a little cleaner and warmer, he pumped up and tightened the sound of the snare drum, he added a little echo and reverb to the voice, added reverb to the sax and added a little compression to everything.

The final result was startling good. To our ears our track stood up well in comparison with our example. Suddenly a decent track sounded multi-dimensional, full, strong and complete. We walked out of the session riding on a cloud. There is a ton of work to do, but we saw a glimmer of how good this set of songs could be... to be continued...

Note: Of course our track doesn't have piano or a synthesizer, and Carla's voice isn't really like Cat's, and we have a sax, and our drummer uses cymbals, so in many ways our song is nothing like this example. Still, check out the feel of the drums and listen to how Cat's voice is mixed in with the band.
That's what we're going for!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Amen Obama!

You know some cliches are cliches for a reason. For instance: "It always darkest before the dawn!" Obama is back on the case saying all the things that should be said...

"This isn't a matter of charity; it's a matter of what we think it is to live in a good society. And I think it is good for me, it is good for my life if when I'm driving around, I'm saying to myself, you know what, that school is producing all kinds of kids who are smart and are going to help build America's future.

"And I drive around and I see some seniors, and they're out for a walk. And I know, you know what, I'm glad that I live in a country where in their retirement years, they're going to be secure. That makes me feel good. That's the kind of country I want to live in. That's the kind of country you want to live in. And we've got to make sure we're willing to fight for it." - B. Obama

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Patients Are Not Consumers - Krugman

Exactly. And obvious. And symptomatic of our dollar-addled times.

"The idea that all this can be reduced to money — that doctors are just people selling services to consumers of health care — is, well, sickening." P. Krugman

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Multi-tasking Idiots!

It turns out, if you are a chronic multi-tasker, (and more and more of us are), you are actually making yourself an idiot!

And the more you are an idiot, the less you think you are an idiot. Perfect!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No Matter How You Look At It

We live in a universe of life and light. This life and light is bounded by darkness. Our lives are filled with light, and this profound darkness kind of bookends it. There's no getting around it...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Messenger Germ

What is the upside of a nasty germ totally hi-jacking your body? Knocks you down a few pegs. You get back to basics. Can I breathe? Can I walk? Can I eat? How long can I stay conscious today? How come everything seems underwater?

Reminds you how fragile "health" can be. You wonder if this sickness is some primitive punishment for cellular blood-acts never named, or an ancient curse for some secret transgression.

And then, when you are on the mend, let's assume you are on the mend, it's kind of like slowly re-surfacing to a new reality.

What's important? What tastes good? Is this a second chance?

The germ is a messenger and a message. Message received. What now?

Sunday, April 17, 2011


So you have to ask questions. That's how you get things moving. The answers are not so important.

You open your eyes and you see. You see how wrong things really are, and that's the beginning of the process of change...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Never Normal

Yeah, never really wanted a "normal" life. Always wanted to push against it.

Of course there are the up and downs, the re-invention/failure thing. That comes anyway.

Yes, better to reinvent. But the failure is necessary too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dancing in the Dark

Some days you think you know what you know.

And then some days, you know you don't know even what you thought you knew.

We will call the latter; Dancing in the Dark Days...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Progressive's Hope. Still

Maybe what is extraordinary about "my" Obama, yes, I'm reclaiming him after his speech yesterday, is that he is a "boundary-crosser." It's hard to put him in a box and say "this is what he is, and this is what he will do."

I do think he is a savvy operator. And he's the progressive's hope. And he's articulate, and thoughtful. And just when you think his silence betrays some kind of lack, he gets up and delivers a great speech where it all comes together.

I suspect he is a great card player. And maybe, just maybe he has a stronger hand than appearances lead to believe.

Still, there's the talk, and then there's the walk. Can the boundary-crosser carry the day?!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Great Game

I keep thinking Obama has some grand strategy that is gonna kick in at any moment. So, yes, well, he has disappointed me in some profound ways, (Do I really have to enumerate them?), but hell, he didn't get elected by me alone to do my bidding.

It is painful to watch him "negotiate" with the crazy wing-nuts of the right. It's kind of like watching someone wrestle with a muddy pig. No matter how "above the fray" he tries to be, some of that piggy slop sticks to him too.

Then I think (maybe hope) that he's playing a very smart, closely held, game. Maybe he's a bunch of moves ahead of everyone else? And once all is said and done, my Missionary of Hope will emerge triumphant and my fears of him being the Missionary of Botched Compromises will turn out to be illusory.

Maybe he's not playing poker or chess, maybe he's playing Twister, or Charades, or Statues, or We All Fall Down!

UPDATE: You know "my" Obama may not really be "the" Obama. I think I'm probably more liberal than that guy with that job. My idea of hope and change, may have always been much different than that guy's idea of hope and change. I mean, he was Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and well, he is a millionaire, and he was a successful one-term Senator, and maybe I thought he would be the voice for the poor and the downtrodden, but maybe that's never really been how he saw himself. Maybe he's always considered himself the Great Compromiser, and Re-conciliator and maybe he's quite happy with the way his first term is panning out? I voted for the Symbol of the man, and I ended up with the man. So, I'm left with Hope. Hope for the best!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not As Bad As Chernobyl, Not As Bad As Chernobyl; OOPS, AS BAD AS CHERNOBYL!

I hate to be an alarmist. But if the alarm is ringing, what are you gonna do? The canary in the coal-mine dies first...

The more I read about nuclear power, the more I realize the whole thing is just a fantasy, built upon a house of sand.

We pretend that it is a safe source of energy. And we hope nothing goes wrong. And maybe nothing does goes wrong for awhile. But then inevitably, something will go wrong. Horribly wrong. And that should be the deal-killer.

Also we just kind of forget that we have no clue where to bury the waste. And some of that toxic shit is supremely toxic for a long time - a million years?! And maybe because a bunch of dorks in business suits and hardhats tell us that everything is OK, we just go along with the whole charade.

There's a whole bunch of money on the table. And we need the electricity. But that doesn't mean we should be stupid, and crazy, and poison ourselves and all life on the planet!

Dmitri Orlov says: "if it turns out that the way you've been generating it happens to be criminally negligent, then you shut it all down. If you have less electricity, you will use less electricity. If this implies that economic growth is over and that all of your financial institutions are insolvent and your country bankrupt, then—I am sorry, but at this point in time that's not even newsworthy."

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's Just A Picture

It's therapeutic to stop the internal monologue once in awhile. Maybe not so good for blogging. But good for the soul...

I meditated on a bench yesterday and just took in the world. It was sunny, 80 degrees in the heartland. Everyone was out. It was almost like we all just woke up from a long gray sleep.

I found the calm center. I became the Eye in the middle of the hurricane. Found peace and strength deep inside.

Sometimes the world may appear to be going to hell in a hand-basket. It's just a picture of the world. Don't have to embrace it.

I luxuriated in the silence, the calmness, the transcendence. Meditation is just one of those amazing tools we have, and we can turn it on at any time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Picture/Big Picture

When I concentrate on "the little picture" things seem pretty good. Roof over my head, food on my plate, making music, writing, keeping my head clear.

When I concentrate on "the big picture" things don't seem so good. Billions of us on a planet that seems stressed out. The planet has a fever and we are the pesky little germs. Multiplying like we're going out of style.

You wonder, have we "topped out" as a species? And can we really "think as a species" to come to some kind of consensus about keeping the game going in a life-affirming way for all living things?

We are good at the individual thing, and the tribal thing, and the nation thing. But can we work together as a species to make sure we all thrive in a sustainable way? Can we really even think that way?

That's kind of an open question for a Sunday morning...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Recording Session #6

Still working on a new set of music with Victor Sanders at his Lakeview studio. We had a special guest for our recording session #6: Steve Gibons, an amazing Chicago violinist who heads up the Gypsy Rhythm Project. Steve laid down some beautiful sounds on three of our new tracks.

Steve is an intense, soulful presence. He came in, put the headphones on, and brought his "magic." It was so inspiring. Humbling. Steve brought pure beauty and poetry to the task.

It all happened in a very focused flurry. We didn't know what he was going to do. He ran through the tracks a couple of times and just gave it his all.

We were so grateful. Speechless. Sometimes music can elevate you to another consciousness. Steve's performance took us all to another place. Breath-taking, poetic, beautiful...

Friday, April 08, 2011

SouthSide on the Town - WhiteWolfSonicPrincess

Hey Southside on the Town reviewed our 4/2/11 Elbo Room show. Highlights...

"Reminiscent of the flower power generation, this local band still keeps that spirit alive within its music, sound, and lyrics."

"The music had a flowing melodic Folk/Americana vibe..."

"There were moments in which this band expressed a poetically mystical side..."

"SouthSide highly recommends feeling the groovy-ness and spiritual essence of WhiteWolfSonicPrincess..."

Plus she said some nice things about our wonderful drummer.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Things I'd Like To Fix, But Can't Fix On My Own, So I Should Just Stop Worrying About, But Can't, Because Well, I Worry About Them...

I was gonna come up with the list. But really do I need to bother?!

There are so many things I could put on this list. But I don't have the heart to type them out at the moment.

Hell, I am not a Megalomaniac, really... these "issues" are not solvable by "me." Maybe they are solvable by "us," but I'm losing faith in the collective wisdom of my species.

Let's just say our "to do list" is getting long and messy and ridiculously apocalyptic!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I Know They Are Out There

I know there are cool, creative, progressive, forward-thinking, generous and kind folks out there. People dedicated to social justice and equality.

People ready to help their fellow man, willing to reach out to the poor, the old, the downtrodden, and to help them pursue a healthy, happy, sustainable existence.

People not mesmerized by ego and money. People who know we are all in this together. I know they are out there. I'd like to meet them. I wonder what planet they live on?!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Nuclear ClusterFuck

I do think we are seriously stupid. Or delusional. Or just plain in denial. And we must be hypnotized by the money. We have serious, monied people from all walks of life telling us that Nuclear Power is safe, it's clean and it's our future.

Then you read that in Japan they are dumping 11,000 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific ocean as a result of their nuclear clusterfuck. Of course, we are told there is "no immediate threat to our health."

BTW - the water they are dumping into the ocean is contaminated 10 million times legal limits!

The mind reels.

And what about renewable energy? What about building the largest solar array ever conceived by man in the Mojave Desert? What about another idea for our "energy independence?"

Anybody out there?!

Monday, April 04, 2011

What Engages?!

The last few days, our little music video has elicited a range of responses including: funny, dark, menacing, silly, insensitive, catchy, dazzlingly playful, well-intentioned, somber, and in bad taste.

I strongly believe in following the creative impulse, even if that impulse leads you over a cliff. In fact, I'd say that's my main working method when it comes to our theater work with Black Forest.

I've always gone with the idea that if something totally engages me, it may engage someone else too. I haven't always been proven right on this idea, but hell, you have to draw your lines in the sand somewhere.

What engages? Human hopes, human fears, and the working out of that humanness in the world...

A wacky little blast of madness, triggered by real world events...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Love the Show!

Played a WhiteWolfSonicPrincess show at the Elbo Room in Chicago last night. We were the openers for a 5 band night.

We do love that rock club. They always do a nice job on the sound, and the staff is unnaturally courteous and helpful. Which is an amazing feat considering they do multi-band shows every night.

I thought we did a good job. Our little four person outfit has really bonded, we have grown into our songs, and the interplay between us is subtle and intuitive. We all listen and play off of each other. Our bass/drum combo is extraordinary.

I played my acoustic standing up, (got a new strap) which sounds like a little thing, but every detail counts. It allowed me to be a little more expressive, I could see more (wow our drummer does some amazing things back there on the kit!), but every once in awhile my strap started slipping, I was some times sort of wrestling with my guitar. Gotta make that work better.

The Lovely Carla did some of the best singing I've ever heard from her. We went first last night, and being the opener is kind of hard, people were still wandering in, the room was a little cold, it was a challenge to make us to focus on each other. Focus we did.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Big Star's Lost Masterpiece - I Finally Found It!

Is it possible my favorite record of the moment, which I just discovered a couple days ago at the used CD store, was recorded in 1975, was shelved as too uncommercial, and was the swan song for an unlucky, un-star-crossed band?

Yes, it is possible.

I'm talking about Big Star's "Sister Lovers," I guess it's also known as "Third." It's certainly a strange, unholy mess, packed with weird and beautiful music. Some kind of pop masterpiece, featuring one of the greatest vocalists to stand in front of a microphone - Alex Chilton.

I don't know how I missed this record, this band. I was vaguely aware of Chilton from his number one Top Forty hit "The Letter" recorded with the Box Tops, a band he fronted, when he was 16 years old. I was also aware that Chilton died in 2010.

Anyway, I'm totally bowled over and captivated by this record. It's amazing, beautiful, funny, sloppy, all over the map. I guess Alex was struggling to make a career, and he was at war with the producers and the demands of the record industry. Seems Alex had the saboteur working inside him, (it shows on some of the cuts) even as he had a stunning creative spirit coursing through him.

There are so many take your breath away tracks: Femme Fatale, Kanga Roo, O Dana, Big Black Car, Holocaust, Dream Lover, Take Care. My Rykodisc version has bonus tracks, live stuff, a cover of a Kinks song, Whole Lot of Shakin Going On too. It all works in some left-handed, off-kilter way...

Highly recommended. One of my favorites discs of all time for sure!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Poison Cloud Coming From Tokyo - The Music Video!

No one asked for it, but we couldn't help ourselves. First, I was totally obsessed with the recording of the song. Then, the Lovely Carla became obsessed with the making of the video. Collaboration in the best sense of the term!

So now Poison Cloud Coming From Tokyo is a music video! Where's MTV when you need it!?! What are we saying?! Renewable energy anyone?

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