WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Thursday, February 28, 2013

B52's? Oh Yeah!

I forgot how much I love this band... they are everything Pop/Rock should be... funny, exuberant, fun. Super cool too... and man, does that song stick in your head, and bring a smile to your lips? Yes, it does...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Whatever Happened to Self-Deprecating Humor?

The best comment I heard about Seth McFarlane's performance as host of the Oscars came from one of my close friends...

"If you are so in love with yourself... well, F^%CK You!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Paradox of Pop Culture!

We went into an Oscar induced tail-spin.  Sunday evening we had jumped into the Pop Culture pool with both feet, and totally submerged ourselves in the spectacle. And really, despite, and because of, all the glitz and glamour, and gushing, and Gucci... it was truly gruesome.

Pop Culture is a grand leveler.  It's kind of like a monster guillotine.  It elevates and chops down simultaneously. No one gets out unscathed.  You can't argue with Pop.  It just is, kind of like a mountain, or a hurricane, or the air we breathe.

But it is sometimes totally oppressive. Yes, the image is all.  Everything is reduced to what you can see.  It gives you the false idea that everything is material.  All can be reduced to what the eye can consume. It's deadening.  A killer.  Even as Pop shouts at you with words such as "hope" and "dreams" and "magic" and "beauty" and "creativity" it's all a hustle baby!

There are few souls who seem to keep their heads.  But of course, it's hard to tell who or what is genuine and who or what is just a seamless fabrication.  Lots of acting and simulating, and sublimating. What a weird display.  How invalidating, even as it is supposedly honoring and validating.  Paradoxical!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Smarm is Too Smarmy!

Yes, we watched that ridiculous, over-blown show where well-dressed people get up on stage and hand each other little gold statues.  It's a pretty demeaning little spectacle.  These human specimens are pumped up and primped and then everyone kind of goes into a weird hate-on...

Stephen Marche sums it all up quite nicely: "The smarm is too smarmy and the hate is too ferocious to fill the same stage."  

That's entertainment!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Lover's Quarrel

You try to imagine how a lover's quarrel could go so wildly out of control, could devolve so badly, and horribly, that it results in a beautiful young girl, dead on the bathroom floor, with 3 bullets in her body.  You imagine yourself as a fly on the wall.

You can imagine the shouting. A Valentine's Day argument running off the rails.  Two lovers saying things in the heat of the moment that maybe they'd later regret.  Hurling threats.  Verbal daggers. Insults. It would have to be pretty bad.  I mean, really, it would have to be so super-bad, to go so awfully wrong.  Or maybe, it would be something not said, that really took it all to another level...

The Man, in a mad fury, asks "And what does he have that I don't have?"

The Woman, behind the door, matching his fury... "Well... I can think of at least... two... things..."

4 shots ring out! 

Scene.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Improbable Saga of the Blade Runner

The saga of the Blade Runner.  You couldn't make it up.  Sometimes reality really is stranger and more complicated than fiction.  If you did make this one up, no one would believe it.

Infant born without the fibula bone.  Legs amputated at the age of one.  Grows up to become a world-class runner using carbon-fiber blades.

Shoots his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.  He claims it was fear (sounds improbable) that sent him into a shooting frenzy. The police claim it was anger (seems more plausible).  Beautiful model-girlfriend sitting on the toilet, locked in the bathroom, ends up dead with three bullets in her body.

The shooter is young, rich, handsome, a hero, a celebrity.  And he walks out on bail.  Something just doesn't seem right about that.  A normal person, or a poor person, the Average Joe, you just know that kind of guy would be rotting in a jail cell waiting for his day in court.

Blade Runner sobs uncontrollably in court.  The tears are probably real.  Even if he did shoot in anger, you think in the cold light of day, the dude would like those bullets back.  People are forgiving.  Guns and bullets are not.  We have a dead girl.  And a shooter.  A simple case. An improbable saga.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Read it Like a Poem

You can "read" life like it's a long, rambling non-fiction book. One damn fact after another. Or you can "read" life like it's a rambling book of fiction.  Facts and fabrications are in some grand, elegant dance.

Or maybe best of all, you can "read" life like it's one long, rambling poem.  There are facts and non-facts, but everything is a signifier, or a symbol or a "metaphor," for something else. And you and your life and all the things in it are part of this poetic mosaic.

And everything is itself, and something else. And everything is connected. And everything has multiple meanings. And you can immerse yourself in this poetic mind-scape and always be enchanted, and amazed.  Yeah, that's the ticket!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Perfect Gun - Yes, Perfect People - No

OK... this is my fourth post on guns... so maybe I am on an anti-gun jihad!  I always thought that line "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," from the NRA was ridiculous.  But obviously it is true. To a point.  People do kill people.  And people with guns are much better at killing people than people without guns.

The problem is not the gun, the problem is the people.  Yes, I agree.  We are good at making a perfect gun.  A gun that can mow down lots of people in a blink of the eye.  We aren't good at making perfect people.

I mean, show me a person that never gets mad, or never does something stupid, or never acts irrationally, or gets depressed, or gets confused, or inebriated, or stressed or self-obsessed.  

OK. So maybe an assault rifle in the hands of the Dali Lama, or Mother Teresa, or Gandhi, doesn't worry you, but I'm in the camp that says, put anyone in a difficult situation, and look out, anything is possible.

People act in weird and irrational ways all the time. It's part of who we are.  People can forgive people. But those guns and bullets, they are not forgiving at all!

Mother Jones tackles 10 Pro-Gun Myths here.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Human Creativity at it's Best!

I am not on an anti-gun Jihad. I think our obsession with guns, and the whole gun culture is pretty damn crazy.  Just another manifestation of our twisted human condition.  We can't help ourselves. We are human beings.  Do we lean to the light or the dark? Do we run with the life trip or the death trip?

You can't really fight the crazy.  Maybe the best is to point out how crazy it all is and then support sensible ways to make guns a little less available and all of us a lot more accountable.

But I am wildly excited to find out about Jewelry for a Cause... seems they make bracelets out of guns and bullets.  Guns and bullets from Newark, NJ.  And portion of the proceeds goes back to Newark to support their gun buyback program.

I love it.  Human creativity trumps all!  Bracelets trump weapons!  That number on the bracelet is the original serial number of the gun...! Totally cool!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Logic of Guns

So yes, still on the guns issue... see previous post...

If you are insecure, afraid, powerless, have low self-esteem, are slightly paranoid, or bored, and get a kick out of shooting things - well you probably already own a gun.  Those are pretty much the reasons you'd want to own one.  

And if you own a gun, you are still probably insecure, afraid, powerless, have low self-esteem, are slightly paranoid, etc, but now you also have a weapon.  And you are danger to yourself and to others.

Most gun owners probably don't end up shooting themselves or others, but maybe it's just a matter of circumstance, a matter of luck.  A matter of the odds.

All of us are subject to rage, to stupidity, to irrationality.  It's built into our systems.  Add a weapon designed to kill, and it's not surprising that lots and lots of people end up killing. There's a cold logic there... 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The "good guy" with a gun, is just as likely to be the "bad guy" with a gun...

If you assume that "rationality is a mask," a mask that all human beings wear, then when the mask falls and humans do something irrational, it's not so shocking or surprising.  I mean, I guess it is always shocking or surprising when supposedly "rational" people, who we think we know, do something "irrational," but I think it's actually part of the human thing.  So anything you can imagine, can and will be done.  Even those things that you can't imagine being done by people you think you know. People will do those irrational things. And you will be shocked and surprised.  Sometimes you'll even be shocked and surprised by some of things you do too. I go with that idea that we are all capable of the best and the worst.

So when you read that an olympic hero shot his girlfriend, or that 20,000 of the 30,000 gun deaths in 2010 were suicides, you might be shocked or surprised, but really you probably shouldn't be.  That kind of stuff is almost predictable.  The irrational is with us always.  And you realize when we talk about gun control there is a huge blind spot in the conversation. We like to pretend that there are "safe" and rational reasons to have guns in our culture.  But that's probably not true. And the people who are attracted to guns are probably not as "mentally healthy" as they pretend to be.

The "good guy" with a gun, is just as likely to be the "bad guy" with a gun... same guy, same gun...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Land of No Walls

One day I hit the wall.  I'm tapped. Energy zapped. And I'm up against the wall.  With no way out. What's funny, there is no wall.  Not really. It's in my head. I can will it away. I can make it invisible. I can find a trap door. I can chop it down with one blow from my hand.  Sort of like Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile." So yes, there's life beyond the wall. There is a land of no walls. Imagine it. See it. Or if there are walls, no worry, they are easily defeated.  Good to know. Important to remember.  Next time you find yourself up against a wall.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bi-Polar Life!

A classic "Dumps" morning.  The coffee is powerless. The stupidity sits like a black cloud.  The futility sits there like a fat duck.  The painful memories and list of defeats swim through my consciousness.  Maybe it's lack of sleep, and low serotonin levels? Who knows?

A classic "Sunny" morning. The coffee is powerful.  The stupidity is a funny little vapor cloud. The sea of possibilities beckons.  The list of accomplishments and good times swim through my consciousness. Maybe chalk it up to a good night's sleep and restocked serotonin levels? Who knows?

And the capper to the "Sunny" morning... singing a John Denver song... shiny happy people!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thinking?!

There are many mornings, when you turn on the radio and listen to the news, and one question will keep popping up, one question with a couple variations...

"Oh my God, what the hell were they thinking?"

"Sweet Jesus, what the heck was he thinking?"

"Holy Mackerel, what was she thinking?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Palace of Lies!

"You must stop living in the Palace of Lies."  

Am I the only person around here (I mean, one not in an institution or muttering to themselves on the street) who gets messages when they are sleeping?  I was startled awake by a voice.  A voice not my own.

This has happened before.  

I'm left with questions: Was it really a message for me? Or was it a wrong number? Who the hell was saying these words? What palace? What lies? What?

Makes me think I'm on the wrong track. Barking up the wrong tree.  Wrong.  Wrong time, wrong track. And what's the destination? And just what am I supposed to do? Truth. I must seek out the truth! My truth. And live it! But where do I start?!

Monday, February 11, 2013

What River?!

Sometimes you get that feeling that "life is passing you by."  Which I suppose is true. And you are passing through life too.  Sometimes life is like a river! Sometimes you feel right in the flow of the river, and river is carrying you along, and everything is cool. Then there are times that river rushes right over you, and you are flailing around gasping for air.

And then sometimes you crawl over to the shore and just sit back and watch that river flow.  That's kind of the writer's perspective.  You're not in it, but you see it, and imagine you are, or you imagine someone else is in there, or maybe you imagine another river all together.  Or maybe you imagine a mountain range instead.

But whether you are in the river or not, the flow continues.  So, yes, on the shore, you imagine being in the "center of the river," but the river has no center.  And it is passing you by...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Even If You Are Making It All Up!

Yes, well, you do realize that you can't "change the world." I mean, the world changes on it's own, it's always changing, and you change along with it, I mean, you are changing every minute, and you can't control it, or stop it.  I think we like photographs, or we don't like photographs because they freeze a moment.  They are a false thing.  A true thing too. Or maybe, I mean, a truly false thing.

The best times are when you are in the flow of life, and you see and experience and you don't try to hold or cling to anything.  These times are rare, or maybe not so rare, but you can't will them into being, they just come, or they don't.  And you can love those moments, but you don't get to keep them or hold them.  They pass through you, or you pass through them.

So it's best when you are not holding or clinging.  But it's hard.  You sometimes love the world, and the things in it, and you sometimes love yourself too, and you want to hold that love, make it last, but of course that's impossible.  The good part of that is that sometimes you hate the world, and the things in it, and you sometimes hate yourself too, but those feelings are fleeting, and they will pass too.

You realize that much of your life is caught up in how you "feel." But how you feel isn't really all that important.  Maybe not important at all.  Maybe not even important to you.  And maybe that's for the best too.  Maybe it's best to experience and live what you experience and live.  And what you feel about it all is pretty much irrelevant. But you don't act like it's irrelevant. No, you act like everything is important. Everything in some mysterious way is holy or sacred, even if you're not sure if anything is holy or sacred, even if you are just making it all up!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Little Blue Planet is Just like a Volkswagon!

This morning I Googled, "how many people on the planet." The answer as of this morning - 7.065 billion.  Seems we've been on a major upswing since the Great Famine and the Black Death!

Kudos to you human beings.  That's a lot of reproduction.  You'd think with all that rutting and producing we'd finally come up with the perfect human.  One to top all other examples, and then maybe we could stop trying.  But no, we haven't gotten there yet.  Let's keep pumping out folks, folks!

We all have jobs to do here people!  Come on!  Let's see how many human beings we can crowd onto this little blue planet!  It's kind of like seeing how many college students we can get into a Volkswagon! 

This got me thinking about Warhol's "15 minutes of fame" comment.  I think many of us are shit out of luck on this one.  It does seem like people are famous for lots of silly and stupid reasons. Some are famous for being famous.  And some (Kim Kardashian?) are chewing up way more than their allotted 15 minutes.  I'm afraid there aren't enough 15 minutes for all 7.065 billions of us.

So okay, that means that many of us must toil away in obscurity for the duration of our days.  Come on.  It's all right. Don't be disappointed. Some of us just have to buck up and toil away in the darkness of our own shadows.  I say fuck it! Toil away!!!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Mr. Mo Ukulele Raconteur!

What can I say? You should watch this video. You should be so lucky to know Mr. Mo Ukulele Raconteur. You should be so lucky to be as exuberantly happy as is this snappily-attired gentleman. You should be so lucky to smoke what he's smoking, or drink what he's drinking, or pop what he's popping.

Although, really, I just think he was born to be this way. For some reason this video makes me think of some out-take from a not yet released David Lynch film (I mean that as a compliment!). An American original! 

 

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Irish Hair!

Human #1: I have really weird hair.  My hair has a mind of it's own. It's been like that my whole life.  My hair does what it wants to do, when it wants to do it.  I have no control over it.  I mean, no one has hair like me.

Human #2: No, that's not true.

Human #1: It's not?!

Human #2: No. You have IRISH hair! Lots of people have IRISH hair!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Buzz-Kill the Spectacle

When the spectacle works, the observer is rendered speechless and thoughtless.  All one can do is experience/endure/consume the event.  If there are words, they are words like: "Wow," "Awesome," "Amazing," "Wonderful," "Holy Shit!"  Each new spectacle has to "out-do" the last iteration of the form.  The "wow" factor has a short shelf-life.  What is "wow" this moment, might not be so "wow" in the next moment.

If the observer has the ability to step back, to think, to ask questions, the game is almost up.  If the observer is watching him or herself watching the spectacle, if there is already a distance, there is something wrong with the connection.  If the observer thinks to ask any of the following questions, there is a major BUZZ-KILL that any grand spectacle may not be able to overcome: "What is this shit?"  "What is this telling me?"  "What is it saying?"  "What are the underlying assumptions?" "What does it all mean?" "What am I feeling and thinking while I'm watching this?" "Who cares?"

If the observer is often in this buzz-kill mode, chances are we talking about a "subversive mother!"


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Spectacle of the Spectacle

Yes, I watched that Super Spectacle. And then the half-time spectacle within the spectacle.  Then there were all the mini-spectacles interspersed throughout the night.  I watched the whole thing with the sound turned up.  So it all washed over my eyeballs and filled my ears.

I "read" it as one grand narrative.  The Apotheosis of Pop Culture.  Guy Debord only had an inkling of this phenomenon. "The decline of being into having and having into merely appearing."

Did Guy know how seductive it would all be?  And weird? There were so many angles, and wormholes.  Sex, violence, humor, absurdity, cynicism.  The religion of selling stuff, and buying stuff. None of it was "offensive," all of it was palatable. And most of it was amazing.  Sort of boring too.

Everything you know is right! Yawn! Amazed and bored. You are the perfect American. The perfect denizen of POP.  

There was a game.  It was the excuse for it all. There was brutality on the field, a mechanized, choreographed mayhem.  They kept score too. And the half-time show was a martial display of Amazon woman in S&M gear, taking high-end pole-dancing to a fine art.  It was magnificent. And ridiculous. Simultaneously.  Numbing too.

Super-pumped and primped Gods and Goddesses strutting across the screen for our pleasure.  And then the power went out.  So perfect.  A reminder that this POP culture monster we have created still lives in a world where gravity holds.  Pop Culture rules the planet, we have comodified everything we can touch, and even those things we can't, but there are things on this little blue planet that are not inexhaustible.  

"In the darkness you shall know the truth."  There are things in this life that you can't see, that you can't own...

The Spectacle as mirror.  It was all there. Mind-boggling. And mind-numbing.  Super!

Monday, February 04, 2013

No One's Role Model

"Yes, well, I don't recommend you do what I do.  I don't even recommend that I do what I do. I mean no one should eat the way I eat. And no one should sleep the way I sleep. And I don't recommend spending your time in your waking hours the way I spend my time in my waking  hours.  I am no one's role model.  Not even mine. I mean, I do what I do, and I'm not apologizing for what I do, but it's not a recommended way to live.  You wouldn't plan it, or dream it this way, I know I didn't. I don't know who to hold accountable.  Besides me. So yes, I hold myself accountable.  I'm the only one here. And I have wonder what the hell I was thinking.  Was I thinking? This all seems like some weird assignment given to me by a real Joker.  A Joker with a strange sense of humor. I suspect the Joker is me. I might find it all funny, I mean, sometimes I do find it all funny, in an existentially unfunny kind of way.  I think of Samuel Beckett.  Did he write this script? Did I dream myself into a Beckett play? Do I see myself as the Beckett of my own existence? The jokes on me. I laugh. Laughing is necessary, but not necessarily recommended. Yes, laughter makes up for all kinds of life's maladies. Still not recommended! Go make up your own existence!"

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Songs, Life and Death Stuff

We tried on some new songs with our band at yesterday's rehearsal.  It's an interesting process.  Some songs immediately sound right out of the box, they come out almost fully formed and we all make choices in the moment that build upon the initial idea.  And the song sort of materializes right in front of all of us.  It can be really thrilling when it happens.

Other songs kind of clunk along, they are not yet ready, and they are sort of fighting to come into being.  You have to be careful not to judge too harshly in these early stages.  We've found that some songs take time to reveal themselves.  We have to try them on and kind of mess around with them a bit.

The messing around part can be sort of frustrating, but it's actually just part of the work.

Then there are some songs that just don't cut it.  If we have to work too hard to make them sound decent, well we might just be barking up the wrong tree.  Wrong song, wrong band.  And you need to just cut them, trash them, and bury them on the spot.

So the process is about listening. You come up with the initial burst of inspiration, and then you bring a cold eye and ear to it.  Either you honor and nurture the thing, or you just kill it.  It's actually life and death stuff. And it's play too.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Wonderment

Excavating my dreams.  The world inside there is topsy-turvy.  Kind of a mirror of my daily existence. With maybe a few less rules. Gravity doesn't hold. Dead people are alive. Past, present and future all kind of collide.

I'm a lot less tangible. Sometimes I have a body, sometimes I'm just a consciousness. Like just a presence on the periphery.  Sometimes I'm smack dab in the middle of the action. The plots are usually like a really poor art film.  I mean, lots of special effects all adding up to unanswerable questions.

Not exactly 4 star stuff.  And then the next morning, there is a feeling of unease.  What was that all about? Seems I should learn something. And maybe I do.  I sharpen my sense of bafflement. Wonderment. I guess that can be useful.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Want

"Yes, you want it.  Maybe you want it too much.  Or then again, maybe you don't want it enough. I mean, maybe you need to hold onto your want tighter, or maybe you need to just let it go. Or maybe your wanting is just a side-show. Maybe you don't really know what you want. I mean, you think you do, but you are buffaloing yourself. Or maybe you don't really want what you want. You know?"

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