wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Might As Well Enjoy It!

When I was a little kid, growing up in the last century, I never really thought too far ahead, it just was not in my nature. I still don't really think too far ahead. And I don't like to dwell very long in the past either. It just isn't something I like to do, and don't do often.

But when I was little, I must say, the year 2014 never seemed real, anything after 2000 seemed like the way distant future. The impossible future. A future of antiseptic, hermetically-sealed chambers, with flying cars, and strange, time-saving gadgets.

And well, there are lots of things that turned out differently than I thought they would turn out way back then. And although I don't look back often, and don't look forward often, I have learned that much of what I thought would happen didn't happen.  And maybe that's why I kind of stay "here now." Saves lots of time from worrying about things that will never actually happen.

And then of course, lots and lots of things have happened, and I do think about the world in ways I never thought I'd think about the world. And the world became a very different place from what I thought it would be. And surprisingly I am still here. At least right now. And that's pretty much all we have, right now, and if we must be here, we may as well enjoy it. That's the best advice I can give. To myself, and anyone else who would ask me for advice!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Long Live the Anti-King!


So yeah, it's weird. I've been reading Neil Young's book, and listening to his records, and learning some of his songs too.  At the same time, we are working on Elvis songs. Cruising thru YouTube, watching Elvis performances, (it's sad and invalidating) trying to select a handful of songs to do for an upcoming performance.

I realize I was learning Neil Young songs as almost an antidote to working on Elvis songs.

It's The King and the Anti-King. One wears big white suits. The other wears flannel shirts and jeans. One has a big, over-powering voice, the other has a shaky, fluttery kind of voice. One recorded lots of songs, but all of them are covers, the other pretty much, or almost exclusively wrote all his own songs, and his music is a record of his mind and his days.

One represents glitz and in-authenticity, the other seems homemade, authentic, full of heart and soul… at least this is how it seems to me.

One I often find ridiculous, and one I always find compelling. One sort of invalidates the whole pop culture/celebrity thing, (for me) the other seems to be working to an internal clock - one of mystery and loneliness and heart.

Both indulged in lots of mind-altering substances. Legal and illegal. One died fairly young, and one is still doing great work all these many years later…

Turns out "better to burn out than to fade away," is a pretty good line, but not really a blue-print for living! I'm sort of repelled by the King, (although I do love the early Sun Sessions Elvis) but I gladly, whole-heartedly embrace the Anti-King!



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Love & Chemistry!


Just finished Neil Young's "Waging Heavy Peace." Loved it.  Not much to say, except Neil is a great story-teller, and a real original, and he has a pretty amazing life-story to tell.

It's all there in his music… listen to Tonight's the Night, or Zuma or Harvest, or Rust Never Sleeps, or On the Beach, or Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, or Ragged Glory or After the Gold Rush, or… hell, listen to all of them… and add in Journey to the Past, and Harvest Moon, and American Stars & Bars, and Comes a Time and if you are ambitious listen to the Buffalo Springfield records, and maybe CSNY's Deja Vu too… and don't forget Weld! And Arc Weld too!  And La Noise!

And for sure check out the Neil Young and Crazy Horse Live at Fillmore East, and Neil Young live at Massey Hall… and hell, anything else you can get your hands on… and preferably you have a vinyl copy of his records, and you still have a phonograph player and you live somewhere where you can really crank the volume, and PLAY IT LOUD!

As Neil says, it all comes down to "Love and Chemistry!"

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Messy!

Yes, people disagree about stuff, I mean, pretty much everything. Always will. It makes you figure out what you believe and what you don't. It can make for messy times. Messy conversations. Messy politics. That's the breaks, that's the world. We need to figure out how to go forward even with the disagreements. No one has a monopoly on truth. It's sometimes hard to figure out what the truth really is.  It's good to listen. And to think. And to re-examine all of your beliefs and opinions, often. Maybe daily. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

American Id Running Rampant!

Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a stunner. It is over the top, balls to the wall film-making of the highest order. Certainly a masterpiece, up there with his other two great American epics "Good Fellas" and "Casino." And Leonardo Dicaprio as Jordan Belfort is hilarious and amazing.

This is a very, very funny movie. Ridiculously funny. And freaking appalling. It's an example of Capitalism Unbound. It's the freaking American id running rampant. Belfort is addicted to sex, to drugs, to money, and to the deal. He is the American/Capitalistic Wolf. A salesman extraordinaire. Belfort shows us that more is more and more. And who doesn't want more?! All the freaking time?!

And it's definitely a movie of our times - what about business ethics? What about decorum? What about shame? Is there any morality in the land? How old world, Baby.  What if Motley Crue were stock brokers - only in this case, there is more money, more sex, more drugs - it's kind of like that… but crazier too.

This trailer hooked me a few months ago and assured that I would be in a theater seat the day it opened. Kanye West's song is not in the movie, but it's great in the trailer… Wow!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Musicians & their Influences

If you (like me) read lots of books by and about musicians, you often read about musicians writing about their influences.  And it's often among the highlights of the books…

For instance…

Richard Hell writing about the first time he saw Patti Smith doing r&r poetry.  Patti Smith writing about watching Jim Morrison locked in battle with an audience. Pete Townshend describing entering a small club in London and seeing Jimi Hendrix on stage playing guitar. Jimi Hendrix describing how he'd carry around a Bob Dylan album with him everywhere he went. Bob Dylan describing how he wanted to become Woody Guthrie, and about the first time he listened to Robert Johnson. Neil Young describing how Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" changed his life. Marianne Faithful describing watching a young Mick Jagger dancing and singing in a small flat in London. Keith Richards' describing how Chuck Berry taught him everything he wanted to know about playing guitar. John Lennon describing how hearing Elvis Presley's  "Heartbreak Hotel" blew a door open in his existence.

Etc.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

R. Kelly vs. Jim Derogotis

I know it's Christmas… so yeah, have a Merry Christmas… 

I wanted to wade into the R. Kelly vs. Jim Derogotis story.  Even though it's "stomach-churning." It seems Mr. Kelly has a major problem. And lots of people have known about it for a long time. And well, the hits keep coming, and supposedly hip institutions like Pitchfork and Bonnaroo are "enablers" and "co-signers" and anyone buying Kelly's music, should maybe have a re-think.

I applaud Derogotis for standing up against the pop machine…

"The saddest fact that I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody." - J. Derogotis

It takes guts to be the only one standing up to say that maybe the Emperor has no clothes. This is not a pretty story.  Thank you Jim Derogotis!

Maybe the tide has turned. Maybe people will open their eyes. Maybe we shouldn't look away...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Neil Young - Living the Hippie Dream!


I wrote about buying Pete Townshend's autobiography over Neil Young's autobiography in a blog post here… and you know what? I was wrong. I mean, I did enjoy Pete's book, it was a pretty good read, although it's also a little disappointing, seems Pete is kind of a tortured soul, and he didn't really enjoy the glory years of the Who as much as I do, but Neil's book (I'm only on page 77) is a truly great read. And if there's one thing I can say about it, Neil certainly isn't bullshitting anyone.

What a great character. Neil is a strange one. So unique, so original. A "weirdo" an iconoclast, a singular being.  He's into things I'm not into, things like Lionel trains, and classic old cars, and he's also into things I'm very much into, like old tube amps, vintage guitars, following the muse, and MUSIC!

I must admit that Neil is one of my favorite singer/songwriters of all time, up there with Bob Dylan and John Lennon and he is absolutely my favorite guitar player.

"But you know life has her ways. Nothing is obvious, and you never know what is going to happen." - Neil Young (from "Waging Heavy Peace").

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lost in Elvis-Land!

Yesterday I was still in Elvis-land.  Played some Elvis songs at our little rehearsal studio with another guitarist.  It's amazing what can happen if you add just one more musician to the mix. Simple chords and notes suddenly take on a little more resonance, a little more nuance.  

Simple additions open sonic doors: they deepen and add granularity. You think such a simple, plain thing of adding a second guitar shouldn't have such a profound effect, but it does.

I sang those songs. My humble voice mouthing those words. It wasn't Elvis, but didn't sound bad. At least I was in tune, on pitch.  It's something.

Also got in two intense conversations about Elvis with two different musicians. One plays saxophone, one plays guitar.  Seems everyone who knows and loves Elvis, really has their own version of Elvis too. I realized their versions of Elvis were really different and a reflection of them too. Elvis is more than just a man, more than just a singer… he is a way of life, a way of looking at life.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Handsome Hero/Great White Whale of Excess

I don't want to turn this into the Elvis channel, but the King is on my mind, getting ready for a performance of some Elvis songs in early January.  But it's true I am totally fascinated by the King. Growing up I was not a fan. As a young lad I was in the Dylan/Beatles/Stones camp, and Elvis was so much a part of the cheesy entertainment establishment in the late 60's & early to mid-70's.  I always thought he was kind of a joke.

The movies were terrible. The Vegas Elvis was the epitome of bad taste.  But of course, that was not the whole story.  If you did a little digging, it turns out that people like Dylan, Keith Richards, Neil Young and John Lennon were tremendously influenced and inspired by Elvis.  Especially the young, early rocker Elvis.

Later I discovered and devoured the original Sun Sessions, and that haunting, amazing voice - so beautiful, so strange, so unique, finally hit me like a freight train. And if you dig a little, you will find amazing music - Blues, Country, Gospel and Rock & Roll.  I saw Jim Jarmusch's "Mystery Train," and then finally I read the two volume biography of Elvis written by Peter Guaralnick. It is a masterpiece. One of the greatest biographies I've ever read… of any kind, I'd put it up there with other great bios I've  read (and I've read lots of them). 

And the Elvis saga almost seems Biblical. Mythological. And so American. It's an inspiring ride. From very humble beginnings in the South to wild fame and fortune and then a horrifying, numbing, drug-addled decline. And Guranlnick captures it all in vivid and beautifully written detail.  It's an improbable, impossible story… and Elvis is the young, handsome hero who morphs into the great white whale of excess. 

It's a story of the birth of rock and roll and it becomes a story of the madness of celebrity culture too, and so much more… and finally you are left with just a man… Elvis… and that haunting, over-powering, improbable voice...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

And Well, What Exactly is an Elvis Song?!

So here is an interesting question (at least to me), what exactly is an "Elvis song?" Well, it's not so easy to define.  He wasn't a song-writer, and he sang lots of songs and recorded at least 759 of them.

And if you do "Get Back," or "Hey Jude," or "Bridge over Troubled Water," aren't you really cheating? I mean, Elvis may have recorded them, but not many of us really think of them as Elvis songs.

So then is it only "the top forty hits" that count? Maybe, but man, does that eliminate lots of great songs, and maybe the best of Elvis' work was not on the top forty. He sang Country, Gospel, Blues, Rock & Roll, and Schmaltz and Dreck, and just about everything in between too.

And if you sing an Elvis song, you find yourself trying to sing like Elvis.  I think this may explain the Elvis impersonator phenomenon. You not only want to sing songs he sang but you want to sing them like he sang them.  Elvis had such a big, distinctive (some might say bombastic) style that sometimes totally overwhelmed songs he sang. This was both good and bad. Elvis became the King, and everything he touched became Elvis, and just like King Midas this kind of became a tragic flaw too.

If you find yourself in Las Vegas, big, bloated, fat, drug-addled and sick, and all the adoring fans are still flinging their underpants at you, and you are forgetting lyrics, and stumbling around onstage, and everyone is still telling you that you are "the King" that can do no wrong… well, do you kind of find the whole thing sort of hollow and unfulfilling?

Anyway, not sure how to resolve the "Elvis Song" question… here's Elvis in rehearsal doing the Beatles "Hey Jude"… "let it out and shove it in!" Hah!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The King's Call!

One of my friends knows I'm on an Elvis kick and he sent me this song that Phil Lynott wrote about the demise of the King…

"Me, I went to the liquor store, I bought a bottle of wine, a bottle of gin…"

It features Mark Knopfler on guitar… how did I miss this one? The song takes on a little extra gravity when you know that Phil didn't make it very far down the road either…(love that Gretsch White Falcon!)...




Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Rocker, the Cheesy One, the Great White Whale - Your Choice!

In January we will be doing some Elvis songs, or I guess, since Elvis was not a song-writer, songs that Elvis covered, for a gathering of folks drinking whiskey and eating cake. At first I was thinking of doing songs from the legendary Sun Sessions, I mean it really was the birthplace of Rock & Roll. But it turns out that another performer has snagged most of the songs I was considering.

So, there's all the other eras of Elvis to consider, including the cheesy Hollywood Elvis of the early to mid-sixties, or the era of the Great White Whale Elvis, where all taste and decorum and "integrity" was pretty much obliterated by adoring fans, massive quantities of drugs, large and improbable jumpsuits, mountains of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and questionable song choices. 

But you know cheesiness, dreck, mutton chops, and enormous white suits with over-sized collars and belt buckles, and tastelessness, that was all part of the glory of Elvis. This one is from the cheesy Hollywood era… and it's pretty cool - in a silly, cheesy kind of way! 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cobain Channeling Leadbelly!

This aired on MTV twenty years ago. I always thought it was a masterpiece too. It's funny, Nirvana was a very loud, very electric band from Seattle, but it was their unplugged set in New York that was a total revelation. And Cobain channeling Leadbelly is one of the most beautiful, haunting, chilling and sort of scary performances I've ever listened to and seen. Cobain's voice seems ancient, other-wordly. Such a big force coming out of that little fragile-looking man. There's real pain. And death hovers all around this set… amazing… three months later Cobain took his own life… the man burned… and rocked, and lit the world up with his passion…


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Big Things Really Aren't

According to this science article - "Life does not exist." Another example of how we have built our understanding of the world and our place in it on castles made of sand.  Our understanding of all the big things that make up our world are suspect…

Life
Reality
Death
Time
Memory
Love
Health

It's all a little unsettling… but as Kurt Vonnegut once wrote in "Slaughterhouse Five" ... "So it goes."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Reality! Really?!

Reality? What is reality?  Maybe there's only "reality." With quotation marks. Even the most solid, real things sometimes seem fungible - flexible, changeable, interchangeable.  Fluid too.

You can easily blow a hole in your own reality. It can actually happen in a blink of the eye. What do you believe? What do you choose to believe? What do you see? And what do you choose not to see?

Reality is a relationship. It can work for you, work against you. You can choose how you engage with it. You can embrace or deny it, but still, you meet reality halfway, and your half helps make reality what reality is or at least what you think your reality is…

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Happiness Baby!

Maybe the struggle, the over-coming of obstacles, the concerted effort despite the vast pool of those twin dark matter evils -  hostility and indifference -  really is what makes all things worthwhile? 

Free and easy is nice. But nice isn't enough. I never got it that in Camus' "Myth of Sisyphus" - you know the one where the dude rolls a boulder up a hill, and then when he gets it to top he loses his grip and it just rolls back down? And he does this over and over and over? I never quite got it that we are to "imagine Sisyphus happy!" 

How did I miss that? I always thought Camus was using the myth to illustrate futility and the absurdity of our existence. But I didn't get that futility and absurdity would vanish or be rendered powerless if we imagined that the simple rolling of the rock makes one happy.

And well, I guess, it's true… and all those years of futility and absurdity and rock rolling that I have endured? Happiness Baby!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thoughts After Seeing the Coen Brothers "No Country for Old Men" for the 3rd Time!

We can imagine we live in a world of large and powerful forces, forces which we can't name, can't understand, can't control. We must contend with these forces, or maybe, really, we just bend to their will. We can imagine that we have autonomy, and we can imagine we have a say in our "fates." But the powerful forces that hover above and around us don't really take our imaginings into account.

We can imagine we live in a world of power and probabilities. We can imagine that everything is basically a coin toss and every decision, every event in our lives is an event of luck and percentages. We can imagine that there are other forces and reasons to our lives, but again, our imaginations are pretty much bounded by our heads.

Our hopes and dreams are vanities.  But maybe we do need a little bit of vanity to carry on. But those forces that guide and bound our lives don't really care and aren't influenced by our imaginings, or vanities, or reasons. It's a hard, clear-eyed way of looking at existence. Maybe it's no country for old men, and really, we are all old, or will be old. We are all implicated in this hard country.

Still, it is the country we live in. And living, is our thing, and living does have it's upside. Sometimes.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Weather Just Is

I hate stories about the weather. Someone's house gets blown down, or the river washes it away, and some well-coiffed TV personality with a microphone asks the poor schlub how it feels to have his life's dreams evaporate before his eyes . Not too freaking good!

Yeah, the weather just is, and we must endure it. I can understand how Midwesterners think that extreme weather can "build character." Sometimes just strapping on your boots and heading out into the elements seems like a true act of courage.

The elements can damage you. They can impair you. They can kill you. You must respect the elements.  And yes, I suppose, survival is an honorable thing. You do what it takes to get through the day. You brave the elements and do your best to endure, to make it in one piece.

At least for a time. This time. This day. The weather. Hah!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pearls of Wisdom!

I always have to have a book to read. I'm between books right now, I have a few on my "wish list" but haven't actually plunked any money down yet to buy one.  So I'm browsing through some books that I've already read. I have a couple from Chuck Klosterman. They are easy reads, sort of funny, covering music and pop culture.  They almost seem like throw-away kind of books.

If you read Klosterman you will read about Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. You will read about Cocoa Puffs, and the loneliness of Billy Joel. You will read about TV shows you've never seen, like "Saved by the Bell." You will laugh and be amazed how someone can really like the band KISS, and can devote lots of time listening to and describing the pleasure of listening to a long list of "hair-metal bands," that you will never listen to.

Also you might come across some cool insights… little pearls of wisdom…

"The goal of being alive is to figure out what it means to be alive…" - C. Klosterman

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Enjoy!

"Enjoy your day in the sun!" 

Seems like good advice. Even if today there is no sun - just clouds, and snow.  And even if the temperature is a harsh "sub-zero." 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Little Knit Caps for All!

It's funny. We were recently in L.A. Temps were pretty much in the mid-sixites. All the beautiful hipsters - boys and girls were wearing little knit caps. They are all the rage. Nice accessory, pretty much a "fashion statement." They were everywhere!

Here it's near zero degrees. Those little knit caps are essential. And you need to pull them down low, way down. Not so fashionable here. All the lonely gray people wear them here too. Not so beautiful, just sensible. Not so fashionable, just reasonable.

And those L.A. hipsters sort of seemed like "posers," but really, who are the silly ones? Those who choose to be fashionable, or those who choose to live in the land of frozen tundra?

Monday, December 09, 2013

Random Wisdom!

It's funny. Maybe the most liberating, profound advice (see previous post) comes from a fortune cookie. Something that was just randomly typed up and inserted in a cookie and then randomly left on a table, and then just randomly picked up, cracked open and read. And usually this method of conveying information just makes you laugh, or shrug, or yawn or whatever; the words don't really stick… but then, maybe this time, this message, really, really hits home, and you think: "Wow, how come no one ever told me that before?" And it really resonates. And you carry it with you, and pass it on...

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Joy Yee - Words to Live By!

Maybe it's no surprise that my favorite restaurant has the word joy in the name.  Joy Yee Noodles. And no surprise that it's a great place for a vegetarian to dine. And the pictures of the food on the menu don't really do the food justice. The food is better than the pictures!

And I was so happy to discover yesterday that they will pretty much make whatever you want. Even if it isn't listed on the menu.  Black mushrooms with Thai Curry Noodle? No problem. 

And yes, you always get a fortune cookie with your bill. I never eat the cookie, but always crack it open and read the message. Yesterday's fortune was a keeper, and actually used a semi-colon!

"Just be yourself; you are wonderful."

Words to live by!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Conservative Right was Wrong about Apartheid Too!

Yes, we should emulate the example of Mandela. Be humble, forgive, move on. But also, we should remember, that the U.S. was a long-time friend of apartheid, and friends to the oppressors that ran South Africa. 

And yes, the Conservative Right was wrong about apartheid, and South Africa and sanctions for a very, very long time.  They were the useful idiots and they were kind of a star-studded group - names like Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms, William F. Buckley, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson - they actively worked against sanctions and helped keep apartheid in place… a rogues gallery of rogues.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Mandela!

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would 
lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my
bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”  - 

Nelson Mandela

27 years in prison. Willing to die for his cause. Fighting against an obvious evil - apartheid.  He was a firebrand, a revolutionary willing to fight, and also a man of grace, strength, power. A humble man who walked out of prison to lead a country. Once free  he embraced non-volience and reconciliation, and he brought a people together. An amazing, inspiring human being.

Mandela!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Moving too fast for conditions!

It's a sad and tragic thing. Death. And Paul Walker, an actor in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, dying in a fiery crash in a Porsche, out on the road in California, well, it is sad, baffling and strange. A story almost too symmetrical, too neat, almost like an O. Henry story.

They could make a movie about it. A young, blue-eyed actor, riding high in a big time movie franchise that features cars moving too fast for conditions, dies in a car moving too fast for conditions. Don't know why this story has resonated with me.

You see someone who looks like he has it all. Fame, fortune, good looks. And it's snatched away in an instant. "An accident." Maybe really doesn't make a very good movie after all.  Kind of leaves you baffled and hollow at the end. And the thrill of riding too fast is a cheap thrill and not really worth it!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Conservative Right - Always Wrong!

Yes, all this hostility from the Conservative Right to "Obamacare," and the certainty that subsidized health insurance is some crazy, Rube Goldberg contraption that can't possibly work, seems so irrational. If you've ever worked in the tech industry, the idea that a website has "bugs" is so "ho-hum."

It's funny how out of touch with reality the Conservative Right has turned out to be. Maybe it was always so.  You think even a broken clock is correct occasionally, but almost by definition it looks like the Right is always, always wrong! Funny!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Irish Curse!

I wrote this r&r diary post over at our band website about the great, sodden, Shane MacGowan.  I ruminated about the state of the man's liver.  Doing research for this post, I also discovered the meaning of the "Irish Curse."  I always thought it was a tendency to over-imbibe alcohol, but supposedly it's the propensity to having a less than average-sized penis!  Who knew?! I mean, what about Bono? Suddenly all those great songs have a new resonance… "I still haven't found what I'm looking for…" 

Monday, December 02, 2013

JP Morgan Chase's Twitter Fest Breaks Bad!

This from Matt Taibbi is funny and heart-warming!  JP Morgan Chase's little Twitter-fest breaks bad. Really bad. What started as a cool little PR event idea for the bank, quickly became something else entirely. Maybe "the people" are not as brain-dead as those well-heeled bankers think…

"Can I have my house back?"

"I have Mortgage Fraud, Market Manipulation, Credit Card Abuse, Libor Rigging and Predatory Lending AM I DIVERSIFIED? #AskJPM"

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A Long Day & Night!

Yesterday. Woke up early on the West Coast. Up in the hills, looking down on the blinking lights of L.A. Oh yeah, there's the Griffith Park Observatory.  Isn't that where Sal Mineo died? Finished the day late in the wee hours of the morning at a little bar on the North-side of Chicago. Playing guitar and singing in two r&r bands. It was a long day. A very long day. And we wrung out just about every emotion and feeling you can think of: exhaustion, joy, exuberance, edginess, satisfaction, neediness, wanting, thirstiness, hunger, fulfillment. Burned out this morning. But wouldn't change a thing. That was pretty good day and night!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Designated Enjoyer!

For those special occasions call the "Designted Enjoyer." He or she is called upon to enjoy everything and anything at the totally appropriate time. The "Designated Enjoyer," will not let you down. You need a food taster? You need someone to admire a view? Try out a stew? Imbibe a cold beverage? You name it, the "DE" will be there for you. He or she will even enjoy things you positively cannot enjoy for yourself. The "DE" will enjoy even the thoroughly unenjoyable. I mean, who you gonna call!?

Friday, November 29, 2013

What If?

What if you woke up to a place where you were liked, by likable folks, and you weren't required to do anything except exist and enjoy yourself? And your needs were simple, wants we're few, and well, you just lived in the moment without guilt, fear or doubt? And the weather was nice, no clouds, or rain, or cold. You were in the hills looking over a little city of blinking lights, and it was quiet and comfortable, and you ate we'll, slept well, played your acoustic guitar and the acoustics of the room were great and you sounded better than ever? What if?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Out of Town Guests!

We are the "Out of Town Guests." We have vacated our usual lives. Stepped into another zone, another area code. Time doesn't matter so much here. There is daylight and darkness. We sleep in someone else's room, in a big, white, fluffy cocoon. Don't have to think too much or try too hard here. It's fun and funky. It's short stay. Could fall into an existential cul de sac, but really, I mean, come on, why bother?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Great Sleep!

It's not often, but once in awhile, you have one those sleeps that stand out. You have an outstanding sleep. Maybe you were really tired, maybe you are in unfamiliar surroundings, maybe you've just let go of everything. And you hit the pillow, and it feels soft as a cloud, and you sink into the bed, and it envelops you like a kind embrace. And it's quiet, ungodly quiet. And you dream, but even the dreams seem like they are borrowed from someone else and they just drop you deeper into a zone. And you awake, alive and refreshed. Sleep!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fate? Whatever!

Fate.  Sometimes we must put ourselves in the capricious, uncaring, hands of fate.  I mean, sometimes we can't or don't choose to do so, but we find ourselves in the midst of events and powers that are well beyond and above us. Sometimes we may propel ourselves into the winds of fate without thought - unconscious, unknowing, clueless to what we are venturing, what we are risking.

And then, sometimes, we hurl ourselves into the gaping maw with eyes wide open.  What the hell? You have to live. And taking risks, well, that's just the way of the world.  So fate, yes, sometimes fate just takes you. What can you do? Let go. Let it come. Whatever.

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Think of the Universe as a deck of cards."

Parallel Universes. How do you get your head around that one? "Think of the universe as a deck of cards."

Right. Or a house of cards. Strange. Mysterious. That's your universe for you. Puzzling. Godspeed Pilgrim!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

We are The Gods And Devils

"Yes, of course, we had to invent all of these religions, to help us process how the world works. We invented Gods and Devils and assigned powers to them. And we imagined that they oversaw us, and cared about our comings and goings.

We had to do this, it is just too scary to think that Human Beings are running their own show.  I mean, nature conforms to the laws of nature, and Human Beings have to play by those natural laws too, but beyond that, it is Human Beings who are in charge, calling the shots.

That is truly a scary situation. We are the authorities, all of us, collectively. And most us really have our thumbs stuck firmly up our own asses. We are in charge. We call the shots. We really have to rely on each other to make the whole narrative roll out in a "compassionate" way, or not...

I mean… Holy Shit!"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Horror & Epiphany

I was thinking about some of the horrific, cataclysmic events that pop up often, and that seem to shape our lives. The JFK assassination was one of them. Add in the murders of MLK and RFK and right there is a tale of the sixties in a nutshell.

Think of all the wars over the years -  wars big and small, and all the death and human wreckage those wars spawned. Think of the hurricanes, the tsunamis, the floods, those natural events that killed, devastated and uprooted. Think of all the little personal deaths we all endure.

If I were a pessimistic person, I'd say that it's the negative events - the Pearl Harbors, the 9/11s that have the biggest impact on our lives. If it's big and momentous and memorable, almost by definition, it must have wreaked lots of havoc on lots of people.  

So, is it true that we are ruled and bound by calamity? 

If I were an optimistic person, I'd point out that happiness and enlightenment are always available. Maybe in a blink of the eye. These conditions can descend at any time, any place.

Maybe the difference is one of scale. The horror, the calamity comes to us complete and whole and we all experience it pretty much the same.  These events are "public" events. Lots of people experience the same thing.

The moments of epiphany, of happiness, of connectedness to the universe are essentially "private" events. We experience them usually alone. They can be powerful and life-changing too. But they also seem insubstantial, ephemeral and can vanish in a blink.  And when you blink, you wonder if they really, really happened at all.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dallas - A Place of Death

50 years ago today, JFK was gunned down in Dallas, Texas.  A relatively young Democratic, Irish/Catholic President.  My family was Democratic, Irish/Catholic (with a little Lutheran/German and Polish/Catholic mixed in).  We identified strongly with our Irish/Catholic heritage.

So this was a big blow in our family.  And I think the reverberations from those shots are still ringing out these many years later, really.  How many hours did we spend around the dinner table debating the who, what and why of that mind-bending event?  Countless hours.

I do think that assassination changed something fundamental inside of us. It affected the whole family. It's hard to say what exactly changed, but there was a new well of sadness, and maybe an edge of cynicism, that just sort of settled around us and colored our view of America and the world.

I grew up thinking Dallas, Texas was a very, very evil place. It's kind of irrational to write off a City. But it's true. I've never looked kindly on Dallas. It's a symbol. A place of hardness, a place of death. A place where young Democratic, Irish/Catholic Presidents and their dreams, go to die.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

You are a Character Actor!

"You will become a character actor in your own drama. You always have been a character actor in your own drama. Your drama is just a small subplot in a much bigger drama, but that's another story. You often thought you were the leading actor, the dashing hero of your loopy little narrative. But you are a character actor - you specialize in eccentric, unusual roles. Your role is eccentric and unusual. And it grows more eccentric and unusual as you roll down the road. You can't fight it. You can't be re-cast. You must embrace the eccentric and the unusual, there is no alternative, otherwise you will just be a silly, fading star clinging to a false vision of yourself."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Showing Up!

Some days it's just about being in motion. Lots of energy expended going from one place to another. You want to accomplish great things, realize your dreams, but instead you are just showing up at places you need to show up, when you need to show up. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Path

I consulted the Oracle. I often do. Many times I am left with a cryptic message. A head-scracther. Yesterday it was all pretty clear.

The Oracle said: "Follow the path of heart and meaning."

Yes, indeed. And well sometimes you choose the path, and sometimes the path chooses you. But when it comes to it, there is really only one path worth traveling...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Shades

Can I really be that simple? When reading about Keith Richards, listening to the Stones, I tend to wear those retro, mirror-shades that Keith used to wear. And then I adopt those retro, dark shades when reading about and listening to Dylan. Really? Are you sure? 

Still, I never, ever wear those bug-like shades that Bono wears. I don't care how deeply I go into U2's catalog, or how many books about that band I read. I mean, come on, really?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Before Thought

Nostalgia for the past. Fear of the future. Maybe it's best to be in the moment. The moment before thought intrudes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Turmoil!

Turmoil. What a great word. "Extreme confusion or agitation." That sounds like a normal state of being. "Commotion or tumult."  Sure, of course, you bet. Signs of a life well-lived!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Source, the Sorcerer, the Oracle

This may sound like an overstatement, I mean, I know it is, it's a ridiculous claim, overwrought, over the top, but time and time again, Bob Dylan has saved my life. When I really hit bottom, or feel lost, lose my way, question my own existence, I mean when the chips are really down, I turn to Dylan, and he never let's me down.

I'm reading a little book on Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" and it just totally fires me up, pulls me from the brink and illuminates me. He never, ever let's me down. He is the source, the oracle, and the 1965/1967 vintage Dylan cannot be beat.

Listen to the music, read the books, watch the performances and interviews, learn the songs. Amazing, confounding, maddening, inspiring. The best. And the kind of work that can deepen and enrich a life.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Engaged, Consumed, Doing

I heard it said by a wiser one than I. "The struggle to succeed is more consuming and satisfying than being successful." Looking at my own life, I think I've been happiest when I have been totally engaged in the struggle. Partly this is because I just didn't have the time or energy to think about anything else, I was just occupied in the doing of the thing, whatever it happened to be.  So to always be engaged in the doing is probably a good way to conduct a life. Engaged, consumed, doing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Surrealistic Hangover

Strange and disturbing dreams. Do I recount them? Nah. Rest assured, it was a long night of tossing and turning. Nonsensical. Surrealistic. Lots of scenes going nowhere. Characters appearing and then disppearing. Maybe it would be fruitful to analyse these strange emanations. Maybe not. Awake now. And feeling a little bit of a surrealistic hangover. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Everything, Yes, Everything

Everything breaks, wears out, falls apart, wears down, runs down, fails, dies. They call it entropy. Happens to all things, all beings, all. There's no shame in it. It just happens.

Monday, November 11, 2013

One step!

" I  caution you. Just take one step at a time. I know you think you should be thinking ahead, but sometimes that's not the best strategy."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Still on the Vegetarian Kick!

And what of "Buddha's delight?" If you are a vegetarian, shouldn't you follow the enlightened path? And if it's prepared well, and you add a little bit of hot sauce, well, meat never even crosses your mind. What would Buddha do?

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Conjuring Sonic Magic with a white Strat!


Just watched the American Masters episode: "Hear My Train a Comin." A very cool little film about Jimi Hendrix. It has lots of interviews with folks with first-hand accounts of Jimi Hendrix. There are some great interviews with musicians - Paul McCartney, Chas Chandler, Stevie Winwood, Billy Cox, who knew him as a consummate, dedicated musician, and with women and family members who knew him as a shy, humble and charismatic presence.

I've read books about Hendrix, bought the records, seen some of the great footage of live performances, I own a DVD of his performance at Woodstock, and the real excitement and kick of this film is the new footage I've never seen before and really, to try to understand and to experience the "genius" of Hendrix you need to see him in live performance. Video is the next best thing.

I recently read Pete Townshend's autobiography and he writes about how seeing Hendrix for the first time in a small club in London was one of the greatest moments of his life. Pretty high praise, indeed. I own a white Stratocaster, it's my prize possession, and I probably own it because of Hendrix. I mean I don't think I thought of it consciously at the time, but somewhere in the back of my mind I have an indelible picture of Jimi Hendrix standing on stage, possessed by the music, white Stratocaster in hand conjuring magic. Really.

The one omission in the film? No mention of LSD. I mean "have you ever been experienced?" And what of "Purple Haze?" I guess the filmmakers wanted to emphasize the music, and not dwell on the drugs, but to talk about Hendrix and not mention LSD and it's influence on Jimi's head and ears (psychedelic!) seems to be a glaring omission. Still an eye-opening little film!

Friday, November 08, 2013

"I Everything Too Much!" - Bob Fosse

There is a new biography of my favorite choreographer (Yes, I have a favorite choreographer, don't you?) and the Director of one of my all-time, all-time favorite movies, "All That Jazz," (Roy Scheider's tour de force!) yes, a new book about that incandescent candle that was Bob Fosse.

Love this quote from the man himself... 

"I drink too much, I smoke too much, I take pills too much, I girl around too much, I everything too much." - Bob Fosse

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Higgs Boson - A Blink and it's Over!

As they peel back the layers of the onion that is the universe, they keep coming up with more questions, more layers, more strangeness. The Higgs Boson is just another baffling conundrum.

And there's this: "The idea is that the Higgs field could someday twitch and drop to a lower energy state, like water freezing into ice, thereby obliterating the workings of reality as we know it. Naturally, we would have no warning. Just blink and it’s over."

For some reason this isn't all that disturbing to me. Maybe it all disappears in a blink. Maybe our permanent record isn't all that permanent. Oh well. Leave no footprints in the sand. Very Zen.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Action & Reaction

In physics there is the "law of action & reaction." I think that's the case in human social interactions too. For every action there is a corresponding reaction. Now this would explain the push and pull of politics. That feeling of one step forward, one step back. Still, sometimes, it seems like there is a forward progressive movement that is sort of unfolding. And the forward movement would explain the furious counter-forces of reaction - those who cling to the old ways, the old prejudices. I root for the progressive forward movement. I think it's the way to a better world - more open, more equal, more equitable -  but I don't think it's "inevitable," and I expect there will always be the push-back. And the push-back can over-take us and derail us for years and decades. Sometimes progress comes really, really slowly. But progress is worth it, and worth fighting for...

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Discovered & Embraced!


Reading David Byrne's book on music, (see previous post), and his description of how CBGB's became a "scene," reminded me of my own rock & roll education. I inherited and embraced The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Bob Dylan, but I discovered and embraced The Ramones, The Talking Heads, Television and the Patti Smith Group.  I'd say a pretty well-rounded musical foundation.

Monday, November 04, 2013

How Music Works - Really!

Just finished reading David Byrne's masterful and supremely enjoyable book "How Music Works." It's a book that will make you smarter, and make you wish you were even smarter than you are. You learn something on just about every page.

Byrne, the former front man of Talking Heads, describes himself as "mild Asperger." It's something Byrne turned into a strength and a career. And if you listen to his lyrics and his disjointed, yapping, yelping vocal style you realize it really, really worked for him.

Anyway, a great book about a great subject: music. And he really delves into every aspect of music and  how it permeates our lives, affects us, enriches us, etc.

And Byrne is just such an interesting, inspiring being, and his take on collaboration and creation is just so open-hearted and democratic.  He makes you want to read more books, listen to more music, to be more creative, and more collaborative too.  

It's not a rock biography, it's a biography of music. If you are looking for stories of sex & drugs and rock excess, well, there are many other books you can find that cover those topics. Seems Byrne is just too busy creating, reading, thinking, collaborating to waste his time on the cliche rock life-style.

This book will feed your head and your soul!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Meat is Murder - Thanks Anthony B.

I must say, it's Anthony Bourdain, who has single-handedly propelled me back into the "strict vegetarian" camp.  We were surfing the cable channels (a very mindless and unrewarding activity) and stumbled across Bourdain's new show on CNN.

I am actually sort of a "fan" of the man, enjoyed his book "Kitchen Confidential," and I have found his world travel/food excursions usually sort of entertaining and surprisingly informative. He's an interesting guy, inquisitive and by focusing on food, he illuminates lots of interesting things about culture all over the world.

We happened to catch a few minutes of a show on his visit to Sicily. In the episode we watch a pig being executed - shot in the head and then cut wide open. It was a sad spectacle, but a necessary step if you like to eat pork.

It wasn't so much the murder that was so revolting (although it was sad and revolting) but the snide, sneering, smirking way that Bourdain reacted to it.  What a leering idiot. I understand that if we eat meat, murder is part of the cycle, but doesn't death of a creature, any creature require a little bit of dignity or solemnity?

Anyway, it's not a big deal for me to give up meat. I primarily eat chicken, but it's a once in a great while thing. Bourdain reminded me so vividly that meat-eating is actually pretty disgusting. Maybe if more people actually saw the process from murder, to gutting, to cutting, to packaging to the grocer, well, maybe vegetables would look lots more appetizing.

And the meat processing industry is a horror-show. Vegetarianism is a much more eco-friendly lifestyle! Meat is murder, and if we are going to live off of the death of something, harvesting a plant, or plucking a fruit or whatever seems oh so much more life-friendly and civilized!


Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Can it really be this simple? 

Pre-morning coffee - things are bleak, can't figure anything out, the world looks dark and forbidding, and it seems life has passed me by.

Post-morning coffee - things look rosy, I've got it all doped out, everything is light and welcoming, and I feel like I'm swimming in the stream of life.

This seems sort of delusional. And maybe just a manifestation of caffeine addiction?

Friday, November 01, 2013

Words Matter

I didn't realize that what Western scientists call the "Big Bang," has been called the "Cosmic Orgasm" by Eastern Mystics...

This seems instructive for some reason...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Innocence is a Relative Term

Of course, innocence (see previous post), is a relative term. What if you are kid today and other kids are selling heroin in the halls or parking lots of your grade school?

Or what if your fellow school mates are carrying knives or guns with them to school? Or what if drones fly in your neighborhood? Or car bombs explode often? And your mom isn't at home, or you don't have a mom, or a home? And you don't know if you will have a meal today or not?

Some kids don't really get to be kids. And innocence is a relative term, a relative state of being.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It was a more innocent time, because we were kids...

Yes, this is so obviously true, it's easy to miss.  When we think of the past, we think of it as a more innocent time. This is because, if we were lucky, it was, for us. We were children then. And if you were a kid growing up in suburbia, (especially), you grew up in a sort of sheltered utopia.

Your needs were few, and they were met. Your desires were simple. Your mom fed you when you were hungry. You spent lots of time playing, daydreaming and wandering the neighborhood.

Now there's lot more to think about and do.  Still, things also seem a little crazier today. More people, less resources. More information. Less understanding. But if you are a kid, you still live in the world of kid things and one of those things is a semblance of innocence.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Rosemary's Baby" - It Extends Backwards and Forwards!


We saw "Rosemary's Baby" at the Music Box Theater on Sunday. It's not really a "scary movie," at least not when you see it today, it's more of a "social satire," it's a supremely well-made movie, one of Roman Polanski's finest. It's about "selling out," a kind of quaint concept now that basically everyone is already sold.

You can "read the movie" as a self-contained document, or you can look at it as a pop culture crossroads, a map of our culture.  Here's what I mean...

The movie is about the Dakota. A big old building just off Central Park in New York. When it was filmed, (in 1968) it probably was just a cool old building to use. But of course today it's a famous building. Yoko Ono lives there. John Lennon was murdered in front of it.

The movie is about an actor selling his first-born son to the devil for a Hollywood career. But this character is played by John Cassavetes a stubbornly independent, avant garde filmmaker who never compromised with the Hollywood machine.

Mia Farrow plays his wife. Mia spent time with the Beatles in India, the Maharishi supposedly made a pass at her, and Lennon wrote "Sexy Sadie" as a result. He also learned finger-picking from Donovan on that trip and wrote "Dear Prudence," about Mia's sister.

Mia is so young and child-like in the film. She seems too young, too innocent to be a mother. She also is a dead-ringer for "Joan of Arc," and an early silent film about that Saint. Mia was also "sainted" by Woody Allen later in a movie called "Alice." And of course Mia ended up in a blood-feud with Woody Allen when he ended up in a relationship with Soon Yi, a girl Mia had adopted.

The movie came out in 1968. In 1969 Polanski's wife was murdered by the "Manson family," a weird, satanic-like cult that resembles the cooky satanic cult in the film. Sharon Tate, Polanski's wife was pregnant at the time of her murder. Polanski did "sell his soul" to the Hollywood machine for a few years. And he made some great movies, including "Chinatown." Later he fled Hollywood when it was discovered that he had had sex with an underage, child-like girl at Jack Nicholson's house.

The film is filled with all these amazing character actors. It's kind of a history of film with Ruth Gordon chewing up every scene she's in like the shark in "Jaws." Plus there's Ralph Bellamy, Elisha Cook and "Gladys" from that old Andy Griffith show. 

The movie seems like a document of Polanksi's fascination and horror with working in the belly of the beast of Hollywood. It's a tribute and an indictment.  It's a weird movie to see today. It extends backwards and forwards.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Will Miss Lou Reed - Linger On

This morning, on the radio, I hear that Lou Reed has died. I first heard Lou Reed on the radio in the early seventies. I remember being a kid, listening to the FM radio station in my room, the Velvet's "Rock & Roll" came on the radio. I had never heard anything like it. It sounded so "New York," smart, edgy, raw, kind of funny, sort of trashy, a little bit dangerous too. So un-Beatles.

I remembered that moment! It was one of those records that opened my eyes and ears. There was a big world outside of my little world and the Velvets and Lou Reed came from another side of the world. 

Lou Reed was never a role model when it came to life-style. He was the rock & roll animal. You wouldn't really want to do drugs like he did drugs. You probably wouldn't want to have sex with the people he had sex with. You didn't want to live inside his head.

But the music, the lyrics, the voice, the dedication to making rock & roll songs that mattered, yes, that kind of artistic integrity was admirable, and inspiring. In that respect he certainly was a role model.  Lou Reed was a major force in r&r and a major voice in my life. And his music still means a lot to me.  I will miss Lou Reed.

 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Age of Bullshit, and Bullshitters

I do think this is the Age of Bullshit. And of the Bullshit Artist.  There are whole industries devoted to churning out bullshit. And there are fortunes being made founded on the apotheosis of bullshit. It's a business model, a way of life.

There are media empires, governments, churches, multi-national corporations, book clubs, financial advisors, business savants, all dedicated to the power and glory of bullshit.  Check out Hollywood too -the dream factory of bullshit. And the music industry - the snappy pop of bullshit.

We swim in the stuff. Live it, breathe it.  It's overwhelming. And amazing too. Lots and lots of people believe their own bullshit, and the bullshit of others. It's hard not to join the herd of bullshit. It's fun. And lively, and seductive to just submit. And churn up some of your own.

Bullshit rules!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Always...

At least you can tell yourself...

"I don't always lose."

"I don't always win."

"I don't always do anything."

"There is no always."

And maybe you can be happy anyway... but probably not always...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Descends and Lifts

The black cloud descends. And it seems like it's always been there. Hovering, smothering. Making everything dark.

The black cloud lifts. And it seems like it's never been there, it never existed. There is only sunshine. And a fresh breeze. And everything is bathed in light.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Don't Go Down There!

"Don't open that door. Don't go down there. That's where the bodies are buried. That's where all the broken stuff ends up. It's not pleasant down there. There are ghosts, phantoms, spiders, snakes. Don't open that door. Don't go there. You go down there, you may never come back..."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Don't Bogart!

Are drugs a scourge on our society? Yes. Should marijuana be legalized? Yes. Will it happen nationally in our lifetime? Ask Kevin Drum, he predicts it will be legal by around 2020. 

I'm definitely for a sober, clear-eyed existence. But some recreational mind-altering seems fine to me. I think the pharmaceutical industry is disgusting, and that the medicalization of drugs is a big problem. And I think prohibition of drugs has just made for a thriving underground market. 

Drug addiction should not be "criminalized,"but treated as a "disease." Seems simple. It would save us lots of $ and heartache, and free up lots of prison space.

It's all a long way from Country Joe and the Fish... maybe this smacks of a more innocent time... but really come on, don't Bogart that joint my friend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Hard Streets are Harder

There is this sense that the hard streets are harder. That people are more cynical, sarcastic and cutting than ever. That the drugs are more effective, and more prevalent. That there are more guns, and more people willing to use them.

That the bonds of society are frayed. Less loyalty. Less trust. Less love. More money, less well-distributed amongst the herd. Everything seems faster, more connected, and less fulfilling or enlightening. Huge gobs of money are lavished on people who maximize human trivialities - see the radio charts, the movie charts, the Wall Street fat boys.

Maybe it's just a sign of "growing up." Of getting older and seeing things with a colder eye. But the hard streets seem hard, really, really hard.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Doing is the Meaning

I suppose if you are thinking of, looking for "meaning" you are already lost, but sometimes being lost is just fine, maybe essential, and not a bad state at all.

Lost means you've dropped some of your preconceptions, you've kicked them out the door, and you are looking with new eyes.

Maybe it really is as simple as finding the meaning in the doing. And you don't get hung up on meaning, you are just in the doing, and the doing is the meaning.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Enjoy the Music, Change the World!

Yes, earlier this week our band whitewolfsonicprincess released two digital albums to bandcamp. One is our debut CD as a band called 10+1...

And the other one is a 5-song EP of a live show recorded at a nearly 100 year old church with other-worldly acoustics... Very happy with both albums and love bandcamp. It's just a great little ecosystem for bands, every kind of music available from all over the globe. 

We are also putting a little of our idealism into action, 50% of all proceeds from our digital albums will be donated to the Earth Network's Canopy Project. Their goal is to plant 10 million trees in 5 years in impoverished communities all over the world. Stunning. Cool. We are honored to give back... Our new motto: Enjoy the Music, Change the World!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Day, My Song!

I'm declaring today, "my day!" So yes, it's my day and I'm gonna just enjoy it. Every moment. And my theme song is gonna be this one. Alex Chilton mangling "Sugar, Sugar." Yes, he totally mangles it. Glorious, isn't it!?@!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Pure Poetry on the Tongue!

Pure poetry...

Some think Byron, Keats, Shelley. Or maybe Ginsberg, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti... or Shakespeare, or Dylan, Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, Jim Morrison...

This morning I think Intelligentsia's copywriters: "Organic Kurimi Ethiopia - intense floral aromatics are typical of Ethiopia coffees, though rarely as well articulated as with this coffee. A remarkable perfume of hibiscus and rosewater on the nose leads to a delicate cup with a silky mouthfeel and soft pomegranate notes."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Royal Scam!

False Idol. If your highest value is the almighty buck, if money is everything, and everything is money, if every thing can be bought and sold (and dear Pilgrim this seems to be the state we live in), well then, everything is basically flim-flam. We live in the midst of the Royal Scam. And we are over-run with scammers, flammers, and con men. Then everyone is just working an angle. Everyone is on the take. If all you can trust is the buck, well then, trust is paper-thin! And maybe not even worth the price of the paper!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Paper With Some Nice Pictures On It

It's kind of funny that it's a band of right-wing lunatics, elected by a bunch of right-wing lunatics that is making good old USA look like a big, flimsy, teetering behemoth.  You wonder if a deal will be hatched before the deadline. And it all just looks like an accounting fiasco. And the all-American dollar looks like a little piece of paper with some nice pictures on it. And it's not some exotic foreign power that threatens to bring the country to it's knees, but a group of homegrown fanatics who claim to know what's best for everyone else.  It's kind of funny and pathetic and a sign of the times.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crazy-Making Ideas!

And what makes us so crazy? (See previous post).  Well, I'd venture two things primarily drive us completely nuts.

1. We know we are going to die. We don't want to die. For some wacky reason, we think we want to live forever. Stay young and live forever. We kind of hope death will overlook us. This is impossible and life is always reminding us that this is impossible. And probably not even good for us. So we live with the irrational hope and the rational reality. And it makes us nuts.

2. We think we are the center of the universe. I mean, again, it's obvious we are not, but we want to be the center of the universe. And we want everyone to worry about us, and make love to us, and care about us, and well, think of us as essential.  And again, life kind of puts the lie to this idea. We are not the center, not even close, we are just beings, lucky to be alive for a short time (a blink of the eye) in the grand scheme of things. So again we live with the irrational hope and the rational reality and it makes us crazy...

At least that's my theory this morning.  You can find much more in the literature from Freud and Jung. They have lots of cool ideas about all of this too!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Irrational as in Not Rational!

Yes, I do think the stalemate in Washington D.C. is instructive. It kind of proves one of my favorite ideas about human behavior, that we are all essentially irrational. As in "not rational," not reasonable, not clear thinking.

Even (maybe especially) well-dressed, successful people, people of distinction and accomplishment - crazy! Now of course, there are levels of craziness. And there are ways to disguise the crazy.

People rack up degrees and awards, and reward themselves with prizes and possessions, but still, when it comes down to it, deep down, they are irrational little children.

Rationality is a game we play, a mask we wear. And we can play the game, in fact in polite society we need to "play rational," but it is a game and often the mask falls away and there is no hiding.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Both Are Essential


Maybe you are lucky, or maybe you are unlucky. Whatever. You find yourself up early, on the lakefront, and you see the sun rise over the lake. This happens every day. But you are there this morning. And the actual experience is not quite captured or completely digested by your intellect.

Yes, you know the earth rotates around the sun. And that it's all a matter of angles and circumferences, and physics. But the actual witnessing of that burning round object ascending over the lake is still mysterious, and a little awe-inspiring.

And it's funny. On the one hand it makes you feel small, just a tiny being observing this massive rotation in the sky, but on the other hand it makes you feel connected to something big and important. There is a sort of "one to one" relationship with that big burning orb that confers some kind of meaning or profundity on you too.

There is the observed, and the observer. And they are in a weird way equal. They need each other. And both are essential, at least for a few moments...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Well-Received!

Well, yes, my little documentary about the Windy City Rollers was very well-received by one of the founders of the league... and what's my secret? Turn the camera on, point it and shoot!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Klan without the Hoods, Fascists without the Brownshirts, the Taliban without the Beards

Should I pile on the debacle that is the Tea Party? Sure, why not? What a revolting political movement. So retro, so backward, so blind. Think of the Klan without the robes, or the Fascists without the brownshirts, or the Taliban without the beards. It's a backward looking fundamentalist movement that is at war with the modern world. It is a movement that is so clearly racist, sexist, bigoted, irrational. Calling it crazy is maybe being too kind. There is a rationale to their movement, but it is a rationale based in fear, in hate, in denial of basic reality. That's the Tea Party. Here's hoping it has finally run out the string...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gibbering in the Street

"Nobody sane likes the GOP anymore." I think it's true. Harsh. But true. The whole Tea Party thing is just the crazies banding together, trying to deny reality. The country is beyond them. And they can't feature that. They are in denial, big time. And they are clinging to their vision like crazy people. You can't negotiate with crazy people. You have to tune them out. Still, there's lots of them, even if they are a minority of a minority of the population. But their craziness is sort of their strength. And they have commandeered one of our political parties. It's pathetic. And terrible. And lots of people should hang their heads in shame. They have empowered the crazies. And the crazies are just crazy. They are racists, sexists, religious bigots, nuts. There's no there, there. No point. And we can't go back, and won't go back, and their vision is actually completely mad, crazy, dead-end.   The non-crazy need to isolate these crazy creeps... walk away, leave them gibbering in the street.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What Do We Care About?

Yes, I think we should be awake. And aware. Of everything. I mean, maybe we are, whether we want to be or not. But then to what do we pay attention? What do we care about?

There is power in willful ignorance. Power and weakness. What we ignore can bite us in the ass. And what do we care about, and what do we not care about? 

You filter things out, you choose to care about some things and not care about others. This is a tricky business, but it is essential.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Confederacy of Under-Achievers

Have you noticed it's the Wall Street traders who broke Wall Street? And it's the politicians who broke government? And it's the capitalists who broke capitalism? And it's the Priests who broke the Catholic Church?

It's "the leaders" who put the lie to the idea of following anyone (or anything). And the people who put the lie to "wisdom of the crowd." Think Confederacy of Dunces...

Monday, October 07, 2013

Demon Out!

Yes, our local Episcopalian Church does an annual "Blessing of the Animals." People bring their pets over to get blessed. Very open-minded.

We missed our chance to bring our little blue bird, a parakeet, who we call Mr. Pink, to the church. We don't need that little sucker blessed, no, he needs an exorcism! His head spins. He's always chattering and spitting out venom. Chases the other little birdies.

Mr. Pink, I'm talking to you!

"Demon Out!"

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Not Like Those People

"I don't eat like those people. Or think, or dress like them either. I don't have any of the same habits or tendencies. It's like we are different species, although, really, we are not. They are human beings. I am a human being. I don't know how it happened. And there's no bridging the divide. Really. And that's OK. As long as they keep their distance. We are cordial. We are not hostile towards each other. They go their way, I go mine."

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