Election 2020

Election 2020
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Paying Attention!?!

Not saying I am Manic/Depressive, or as they now say, Bi-Polar, or anything, but if I did happen to pinball from deep, dark gloom to over-stimulated exuberance and back again; sometimes in an afternoon, or sometimes even in a conversation, maybe it's not a sign of an illness that needs to be remedied, or medicated, but maybe it is just a sign of me "paying attention!"

Not a flaw, but a feature of an engaged mind.  And I suppose if I did have multiple personalities, well, I guess they could come in handy every once in awhile.  Although, I suppose that means my wardrobe choices would explode exponentially...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Inflationary Philosophizing!

You may ask: What's up with all the dime-store philosophizing?

And I may answer: Dime-store?! Don't you think with inflation and all, it should at least be called "dollar-store philosophizing?!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Gifts!

On the "good" days, LIFE and THE WORLD seem like these amazing gifts that have been handed over to us.  On the "bad" days, we find out that there are these strings attached to our gifts, and these strings are a tangled mess of contradictions and contingencies that assure that these "gifts" can (and will) be taken away without a moment's notice.

As they say, "reality bites!"

And no one knows how many good days and how many bad days are included in the package.  The gifts we receive are complicated and not simple.  And life and the world are complicated and not simple.

And our gifts are bigger than us.  Still, it really is bad form to look a gift-horse in the mouth.  So we accept our gifts as gifts, (even if we don't believe in or care about the gift-giver), warts and all...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Notes on Living

Things they don't tell you about life...

Time is precious, I mean really, really precious, but you will find that you squander lots of your precious time on stupid and pointless things.  

You will spend huge swaths of time doing and saying things you don't really want to do and say.  You will learn that most people live that way too.

There will be times, most of your time really, where you don't know yourself, and you don't know the world either.  And then there will be times when you know yourself, and not the world, or you will know the world but not yourself.  And of course, you will find that you and your world are moving targets.  Both are amorphous and constantly changing.

You will come to realize that both of these statements are "true:"  Everything that lives is holy AND Life is cheap.

You will be stupefied by how easily you can accept totally crazy and illogical information into your life.

You will spend lots of your time searching for meaning, and then one day you will realize you are actually required to "invent" meaning.  This will be inspiring and deflating simultaneously.

You will find that if you can be alone and not feel lonely, you have a "leg up" on living.

You will come to realize that living comes easy, and you will suspect that dying comes easy too, kind of like falling off a log.  This will not be a happy realization.

You will come to the conclusion that EVERYTHING COUNTS!  Even the stuff that seems arbitrary or trivial.

You will wonder if the ride was worth it and you won't hesitate to answer "YES!"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yeah, I mean, I'm fine...

"Yeah, well, I'm fine...  I mean, except for the cats.  Yeah, I'm pretty allergic to them.  I mean, I love them and all, and they always come to me like I'm a magnet or something, but it turns out they are quite toxic to my system.  I try to avoid them.  And yes, well then there's the dogs too.  I mean, I guess I'm pretty allergic.  I mean, really, they are totally toxic to my system.  Just touching them can send me into violent allergic reactions.  But other than that... I mean, oh, well, of course... there's the people.  Some of them are like toxic black holes.  They suck the energy out of a room and send me reeling.  Totally toxic!  But, I mean, other than that... yeah, well, I'm fine!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Telepaths in Chinatown

We found ourselves in a very unlikely place last night.  I guess I would describe it as an Asian Techno bar in Chicago's Chinatown. Sort of Clockwork Orange meets Blade Runner meets WHAT?!

It was a benefit for a young filmmaker raising funds for a new work.

The Telepaths played an unlikely acoustic set in this most unlikely setting. The act directly before us was a young, hot, Asian Chick playing cool beats and lush soundscapes on her laptop.  She was exactly the right act in the right place.

Three of the Telepaths - two acoustic guitars and our lead vocalist got up next.  We pushed our "garage rock" into the night.  We did a tight little set of some of our best originals.  We were totally into the fractured weirdness of the moment.

The audience was polite.  

We were definitely like fish out of water.  Yes, that was the ticket. We flopped around, and did our r&r thing, mouths gasping for air, taking big gulps and spitting it back out with conviction.  

It was all kind of weird.  Chinatown!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Creaky Stage

Yes, well, the world's a stage, and the stage seems to be a little creaky and it's shaking, and the planks are coming undone.  Still we must play and strut about, because well, that's what we do.

And just how do we want to play the scene?  Well, the script has been abandoned, it seems this is all just an improv now.  So be quick on your feet, listen and just say "yes."  It might get you into trouble, or it might just get you to the next scene.

And what kind of play is this anyway?  There are lots of opinions from all quarters, which everyone is pleased to lay on your head, but no one seems to have a hold on the truth, if there is a truth.  The truth is, dare I venture, well, the truth is that this is just a play, and well, that is all.

All we can do is carry on and hope the stage holds until the curtain falls.  Is there a curtain?  Does it ever fall?  Who knows?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blood in the Streets!

Yeah, still got the Dark Ages dancing in my head. This Doors song came to mind while I was perusing the latest news:

"Blood in the streets, it's up to my ankles, Blood in the streets, it's up to my knee, Blood in the streets in the town of Chicago, blood on the rise, it's following me..."

The Doors sound damn good this morning.  And prophetic too!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Laughs During the Dark Ages

You think, "Today could be the meltdown."   You think, "We live in the Age of Debt and Dissolution."  You also think, "Entropy!"

Those kind of thoughts just pop into your head.

You also think, "There must have been some laughs during the Dark Ages."  You think, "There must have been parties too!  And happy people."

You think, "Yes, the Dark Ages were probably dark, but people lived their lives and some of them were probably happy, at least some of the time."

You think.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Open Door Policy Prison

No!  Not giving up!  Not by a long shot!  I refuse to be entrapped by the "prisons of the mind."  I think we can dissolve all the mind-prisons with one clear thought, one clear image, one clear vision.

I do believe in a Transformative Change of Consciousness!

My Liberal Disposition makes me open-minded, tolerant, optimistic.  And I am sometimes confounded by the close-minded, the intolerant, the pessimistic.

But my mind-prison has an open door policy where clear-seeing is a guiding principle.  So yes, let's see the world with clear, open eyes, and open hearts

I see a way forward, even if I also see those who delight in throwing obstacles in the way!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

About Time!

Did Obama really think he could change Politics?  That he was really gonna be this post-partisan force that could bring our country together?

I mean "symbolically," just by getting elected, he made some of us feel better, but that was never gonna be enough.  For quite awhile now it's been clear that his enemies will not lift a finger to help him or the country.

And his open, extended-hand approach has been a big joke!  If you continue to try to embrace the guy that's kicking you in the shins, you look like a patsy.  Obama has looked like a patsy.

So maybe, he's finally concluded that in order to be re-elected he needs to change course.  I guess I'd say yeah, ABOUT TIME! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Fat Pigs Are Squealing!

Hah!  The GOP is squealing "Class Warfare."  They are nothing but a bunch of fat and satisfied pigs.  They and their corporate cronies have been feeding on the Republic for a long time now.  They are so fat and satisfied and expletive deleted shameless!

Yes, I say bring the class warfare on!  The haves have been warring on the have-nots for a long time now.

It takes a village to raise a class of millionaires and billionaires.  It is time they paid their fair share once again!

When America was strong the highest marginal rate was something like 95%.  Oh for the days of glory! It is time for the debt-loaded Serfs to RISE UP!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Satisfying and Unsatisfying at the Same Time!

I guess the Lovely Carla and I have a Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney kind of thing going in our heads and our lives.  It's that "Hey Kids, let's put on a show," thing.  Something drives us forward to want to "make show."

Last night it was "Neil Young Night."  It was quite the show.  We packed this little coffeehouse with an overflow crowd!  We had 8 different acts all doing Neil Young songs.  I do think the spirit of Shakey (even though he's not dead yet) sort of hung over the event.

The energy of the night was sort of haphazard and flakey.  The little coffeehouse was unseasonably hot.  Every act seemed to have some glitch or snafu.  But the songs were solid, some were beautiful.

Our set was all over the map.  We did a sublime version of "Needle and the Damage Done."  Carla's voice was strong, beautiful and heartfelt.  I totally blew it on "Through My Sails,"  I somehow fell into a different rhythm  and I could not get out of it.  The band played along (uncertainly) and Carla adjusted but it was not the song we rehearsed!

We did a superb version of "Powderfinger" and pretty nice versions of "Down By the River" and "Stupid Girl," and then the heat got to my electric guitar and all hell broke loose (appropriately!) on "Fucking Up."  I was out of tune and flailing.  We closed with "Rocking in the Free World," which was ragged and completely un-tuneful.

Also, as the Lovely Carla pointed out to me "Rocking in the Free World" did not work as a rousing closer.  Something just not right about singing about being "free" in today's America of debt and dissolution.  It rang hollow and out of time.  A song that has not aged well for this age!  "Fucking Up" seems to be a much better anthem for our time!

Anyway, it was rough.  I ended up in a pool a sweat, damning my guitar!  The heat and humidity made it impossible for me to stay in tune!  Maybe there's a message in there somewhere.  Nice event.  Satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tonight's the Night!

Hey on the off-chance you live in the Chicago area, you have nothing to do tonight, and you just happened to stumble across this blog, then all indications are that you are destined to come see this show tonight!

We have 8 performers all doing Neil Young songs from various stages of his career.  Our band WhiteWolfSonicPrincess will be doing a little mini-set of songs; both quiet acoustic numbers and raucous rockers too.

It's all happening in a little cozy, coffee-house with great food and drinks and leopard-skin print couches!

I have had such fun learning these tunes.  I do have a special affinity with Neil.  And our band, what can I say about our band?!  We have kind of gone through an extensive fermenting process and have become quite the potent potion!

Tonight's the night! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Embracing Contradictions!

Yeah, well, I think we must embrace our contradictions.  Of course, first we must know ourselves enough, and be honest enough, to see our contradictions.  Then we must acknowledge them and accept them with humility.  This is what we would call wisdom.

Those who don't go through this process are called hypocrites!  They are legion!  Many of them attain high stature in society!  And they tend to want to tell other people how great they are, and want to impose their greatness on others.

So yes, embrace your contradictions.  Celebrate them.  But don't get uppity about it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Instead Marching to Joy!

Sleep-walking in the kitchen this morning, coffee still brewing, not quite awake yet, I hear a voice on the radio intone: "We are marching to doom now."

No.  I refuse.  I will not march to a doomy beat.  I must march to a different drummer!  I declare it will be a march to "Uncertain, unreasonable,  joy!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

He who touched it, and turned it to shit.

This last Bad Decade of course, was the BUSH decade.  It's clear that Bush's 8 years fast-tracked the destruction of America that will reverberate for... well, probably FOREVER!  The terrorists did their thing, but the Bush Presidency, the man and his merry band of stooges, manifested the devastation on all fronts.  

Think: 9/11, 2 pointless and endless Wars, WMD, Katrina, tax cuts, pentagon spending, Global War on Terrror, Homeland Security, extra-ordinary rendition, enhanced interrogation, Abu Graib, torture, Guantanamo, Bank crisis, sub-prime mortgages, financial bubble, bank bailout, etc.

Crisis helps define character.  Bad things happen to everyone.  But the question is how does one handle adversity?  Bush and his brain-trust failed miserably.  Clearly major fuck-ups.  And they enabled other fuck-ups left and right.  And still others, who may have known better,  stood by silently, or actually helped him fuck up!

Bush truly was the man who "touched it and turned it to shit." What an amazing record of mendacious failure.  Notice he isn't mentioned much in our national discourse.  The GOP has not recovered from the Bush debacle.  America ain't the same.  The Bush years are a gaping BLACK HOLE in the fabric of the republic!  A wound that isn't healed by a long shot.  It's a wound that can only be denied!  At our own peril!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Not a Pretty Decade

Read this article by George Packer in the New Yorker.  It's a must.  He kind of does a recap of the last 10 years of our national history.  He shows in stark terms how we have become a nation in decline on so many fronts.

We've kind of pin-balled from crisis to crisis and have not performed very well as a nation or as people.  And you can feel it in the air, hear it in the conversations, see it in the eyes of your neighbors.  

We are on a losing team.  Sort of like the Chicago Cubs.  Obama is the coach.  And the team doesn't know how to play the game anymore, can't even agree on the rules of the game, and is in a corrosive state of constant bickering. 

Obama can try to rally the team, he can make sunny speeches about a sunnier future.  But in the meantime we are sinking in a mess of our own making. 9/11 blew a hole in our bubble.  And we basically reacted like a bunch of spoiled children.  We plunged into pointless wars, tortured people, and shopped and traded houses like a frenzied horde of idiots.  And the corporate powers robbed us blind.

Not a pretty picture.  Not a pretty decade.  Hope the future is better!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tune Out the Gloom

I had to tune out the gloom yesterday.  Yes, really bad things happened.  And will happen again.  That seems to be part of what living is all about.

And we can't forget, or bury our heads in the sand.  No, we have to do our best to see clearly.  And acknowledge that we just don't know, and can't comprehend it all.

But I'm not good a wallowing in negativity.  Just goes against my grain.  So, we observed the anniversary by getting our band together at the Music Garage to blast through Neil Young songs in anticipation of our show this coming Saturday.

I do have a major Neil Young obsession.  I love playing his songs.  When our band kicked in, and the voices came together it propelled me into seventh heaven.  That's something worth remembering too!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Taking Advantage of a Tragedy

Yes, 10 years later this seems clearer than ever...

"What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?" - P. Krugman

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lombardi Counsels

Vince Lombardi always counseled: "run to daylight!"  I have always taken the advice to heart.  Give me a glimmer, even just a tiny, fading glimmer of light and I will run to it, no doubt.

I know there's that moth to the flame thing.  And there's the Icarus thing too.  But hell, sometimes you have to choose your life-narrative, your guiding myth, and just go for it! 

So even a glimmer of daylight is worth celebrating!

I must admit I used to hate Lombardi, I mocked him.  I denied him.  I thought he was put on a pedestal by the worst of the advocates of "positive thinking."

But then the light, yes, the light dawned! And those simple bromides just stuck!     

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Political Junk

Yeah, I listened to the big speech on the radio.  Accidentally.  I was planning on missing it.  Trying to wean myself off the political junk.  But, I tuned in and that man's voice was radiating across the radio waves.  

So I listened.  The guy can certainly do some excellent speechifying.  Maybe one of our best speech makers ever.

And you wonder, do words have meaning and import and staying power, and can they create new realities?  I guess we will see.  But as Kevin Drum highlights in his post about the speech...

"The GOP has created a political feedback loop that is calculated to destroy President Obama’s credibility as a change agent. They’ve figured out that when government is gridlocked and sclerotic, even silly and absurd, no one in Washington comes out smelling like a rose. No one seems reasonable, because nothing gets done. The reasonable man just looks weak."

So, yeah, the guy's opponents are dead set against doing anything, especially anything the guy wants to do.  They think gridlock and a bad economy works in their favor.  The country be damned!

Those GOPers should be held to account!  Wake up America!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Those Who Should Be Shunned!

And those who cling to their beliefs the hardest, and those who talk the loudest, and those who strut around like they own the place, well, of course, those are the real certified lunatics who should be shunned, tuned out, or laughed out of the hall!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Ideologies Die Hard!

I think John Robb's latest post where the Hollow State meets the Crisis of Capitalism is some kind of definitive diagnosis of our current condition.

Or at least it's an enlightening framework in which to see our whacked out world.

And let's say the global capitalist condition is sort of terminal! And the hollow states grappling with the problem are clueless and powerless shells.

Old systems die so that new systems can emerge.

Later in the comment thread Robb says something like: "Communism = central planning, Capitalism = central banking..."

We are all locked in a fatal embrace with a system in the midst of it's death rattles.  It's unsettling.  And you realize that the people in charge trying to "fix" the system have no clue that the patient is already brain-dead.

Ideologies die hard.  Especially when they were total figments of our imagination to begin with!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Road to Nowhere - Of Course!

Last night we watched Monte Hellman's great movie, Road to Nowhere.  It's a low budget, no name actor kind of film.  Made by one of the our greatest filmmakers.  

How do you suffuse every scene of a movie with style and intelligence?  How do you make a movie that warps time?  How do you make a movie that changes your perception of the world?

How do you make a movie that keeps you guessing, and in the dark; and instead of being annoyed, you love it for it's mysteries?  And how do you do it all without digital effects?  And with out speed of light, roller coaster editing?

And again, how it is that every scene, every image is so layered and seems to throb with intelligence?

My take: it's a movie, within a movie, within a movie where telling what's movie, what's myth, what's a dream and what's reality is really hard to discern.  Sort of like our lives in these post bubble times.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Zeppelin Obsessions

In order to stay positive and up-beat, it's sometimes necessary to tune out the bad news.  A little bad news goes a long way.  So you filter out much of the world.

This is a defense mechanism, and a strategy for happiness.  Obviously, there is also a downside to filtering out the news of the world.  You miss stuff. 

Still you make choices and you end up following your own private obsessions.  And then one day you realize you have spent lots of time ruminating over Led Zeppelin and their over-powering alchemy of sound.

And how does this obsession manifest itself?  Well, for one I'm totally immersed in this great book by Erik Davis.  I've read it a couple times.  It is totally enlightening and wise and informative and it's about magic, alchemy, the power of myth and the transformative properties of music!

And also I have become obsessed with this great post-Zeppelin disc by Robert Plant & Jimmy Page: No Quarter!  Picked it up at the used cd store for $1.99.  For some reason, I was under the mistaken impression that it was a misfire and coasting on old stuff.  Not at all.  Powerful and unique - a re-imagining of some classic songs combined with new inspiration and input from a host of other great musicians!

My obsessions are not on the clock.  Fuck the clock!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Free Range Blogging!

Well, if you are a "free-range" blogger, you let your self out of the cage frequently.  And you range freely over topics.  Which means your blog is sort of unfocused and confusing.  

You come here expecting... what?!  

You ask yourself "What is this supposed to be about?"  It would be nice if there were a theme.  Or it would be cool if there was some kind of expertise on display.

But that doesn't seem to be the case at all.  And this somehow seems symptomatic of a whole range of activities that you are engaged in.

It somehow seems symptomatic of your life.  And maybe that says something!  And maybe you need to take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Even if you really don't want to, and it's probably way too late in the process for rehabilitation.  

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Anti-Bubble Bubble - Think About It!

Nate Silver has a super-wonky post about the nation's confidence in America and confidence in Obama.   Not as clear-cut as you might think.  But what we think seems to have a big effect on what we think!

I'd chalk it all up to the Anti-Bubble Bubble!

First we were in the Bubble Bubble Years.  We were in a bubble where everything just inflated! Our houses inflated, our incomes inflated, our hopes and dreams inflated.  We all got big and bubbly and full of hot air.  And we assured ourselves that this was the new normal and it would never end.

And then, for various reasons the bubble popped.  It all just got too bubbly.  And then everything suddenly de-flated.  Our houses, our incomes, our hope and dreams: all suddenly flat and life-less as a pancake.  And now we think that this is the new normal and it will never end.  The Anti-Bubble Bubble!

And Obama and the Bubble or Obama and the Anti-Bubble are kind of in a fatal embrace...  

Friday, September 02, 2011

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Crisis of Capitalism!

Yes, it is a crisis of Capitalism itself!  That rings true!  And all the talk, and all the proposed solutions, seem so paltry, so contrary to reason, so wrong-headed.  And there is a war of rhetoric and a war of unreason.  And finally you just want to tune it all out!

But tuning it out then leaves it to the loud-mouths, the no-nothings, the do-nothings.  They thrive on the cynicism.  

Capitalism is eating itself.  It's eating the planet, eating up the resources and the people.  It has become this ravenous dysfunctional beast.

It serves itself, not us.  We are on our own!

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