wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kerry's "Dangerous Idea!"

"John Kerry tells the truth..."  and if you are the Secretary of State, well, that is just not tolerated. I have always been confused by the idea of "democracy, "and a "Jewish" state, they seem like two different things, not one thing. Especially when many, many people, 1.6 million of them are "Arabs," who happen to live there too.

It's a very charged issue, with lots of angry people on both sides. And neither side really wants to compromise or recognize the rights of the other side. But neither side can wish the other away. There are probably no simple answers, that's why it's been a thorny, bloody problem for a long time.

And a "two-state solution" seems too contrived too.  What if instead all people in the land were given all their full human rights? One state, like a mosaic, like a true democracy? I know even asking the question is controversial... but if we drop the mask, look clearly, it's obvious that  a "Jewish" state or "Muslim" state, or "Christian" state is already part of the problem, and anti-democratic, and leads to the latest "apartheid" state.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Million Ways to Be Stupid!

There are so many stories in the news this morning that seem to prove that there are million ways to be stupid, and very few ways to be smart, and well, many of us just go with stupid. It's so much easier, and there's lots more company.

I could link to a bunch of really stupid stories, but I mean, why spread the stupid? Open your eyes and ears.

It turns out that stupidity does not go away if you happen to have lots of money in your bank account. Turns out rich people are just as stupid as any one else, and in fact may just have more opportunities to display, to flaunt their stupidity.

And the stupid really burns. And it's possible it is going to doom us all. And I guess there is some poetic justice in that, Maybe our elaborate cultural edifice will crumble because of our super-human stupidities.  

Maybe we really will get what we deserve. I guess, that is called "Justice!"

Monday, April 28, 2014

One of the Best, If Not the Best!

Speaking of "live shows," the National were recently in Chicago, and they played a four-night stand at the Chicago Theater. We missed it, but it's exciting, and kind of rewarding, to think that the National are popular enough to fill that theater four nights in a row.  I wrote about their "High Violet" record here. 

I did seek out a live concert, and found this amazing show they did outside the Sydney Opera House. What a perfect match of band and venue.  5000 screaming, engaged Aussies. The National have quietly become one of the best, if not the best, working band in the land. I love the way they have slowly built up a following, without a Top Forty hit, without altering their very serious and challenging approach.

They are so "un-rock-star-like." Which I like very much.  Totally rewarding. The songs grow on you, the strange, elliptical, evocative lyrics have a real emotive punch, and the band is just such a musical power-house. The show literally left me in tears of joy by the final, exhilarating note.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quite the Show!

I wrote about last Friday's whitewolfsonicprincess show in our r&r diary here.  It truly was an extraordinary night.  Didn't know what to expect, for some reason I was a little worried about how many folks would come out to see us. All the cosmic forces worked in our favor.  The band was tight and focused, and loose and lively. And the audience was incredible. The place was packed.

Now I am a believer in the idea that your show can not be dependent on the audience. And you must play with complete commitment no matter if the audience is big or small, sober or drunk, lively or dead, engaged or indifferent.  It doesn't matter. You must play with total focus and commitment! 

But it just so happens that this night's audience was totally with us every step of the way. And there was an amazing group of folks in the room - artists, poets, mathematicians, yogis, theologians, philosophers, directors, actors, teachers, public defenders, writers, psychics, clairvoyants, radio-hosts, photographers, film-critics, singers, musicians, performance artists and a few "regular citizens" too.

The room was totally alive, we felt like we were really connecting. I've been riding on a cloud ever since… yes, it was quite the show.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Embrace and Let Go!

Yes, I understand, this is easier said than done. But it took me a long time to even think this...

We must embrace the world, and let go too. It's kind of a Zen-like idea. We must open our minds, open our arms, and embrace the things of this world. And hold tight. But then we must let go. Let everything slip out of our embrace, just let it all slip away. And the real trick, and I'm not even sure it's possible, but it's what we should shoot for - we must embrace and let go at the same time, all the time.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Web of Conspiracies!

I wrote about about our crazed, conspiracy-obsession here.  But then my mind raced, my mind wandered...

If you take a simple definition of conspiracy - "an agreement among conspirators," and apply it broadly... well...in a way, couldn't you say all of our lives are bounded by deep, secret, mysterious conspiracies?

For instance, the conspiracy of physics, of biology, of cosmology. There are all the dark forces starting with The Big Bang on down through the ages. And there are conspirators, actors on the cosmic scale, on the cellular scale, on the subatomic scale.

There are dark doings, behind the reality of all things. Unknown, unseen things, behind all things. So yes, in a way a conspiracy, a web of conspiracies - we are entangled.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Like A Secret!

It's so simple. But true. Every step counts. Every breath too. We may not remember each and every one, most assuredly it's not in our consciousness, many steps and breaths forgotten, not considered important, so like the constant lapping of waves, or the blowing of the tree branches. Moment to moment to moment.

Still, every step is etched in our bodies, every breath too. Every one counts. The body knows, the body remembers, the body holds this knowledge, like a secret, a deep secret that will be revealed when it's time to be revealed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Brilliant and Thrilling!

This opening credit sequence from True Detective is absolutely brilliant and thrilling. And so happy that the Handsome Family gets some well-earned exposure!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Conspiracies!

I do think we are a conspiracy-theory obsessed culture. We've been lied to so often by the "powers that be," and each other, that it's hard to take anything at face value. If you accept the narrative "as is" you are considered a simpleton. Plus watch any movie, and you will see that anything that happens is not what it seems, there is always a dark secret, a cabal of bad ones pulling the strings. And there have been lots of plots and dark doings. We have been lied to, the truth has been buried. Over and over again. And we tell ourselves this is the way of the world.

But I think we are almost in a Post-Tramatic-Stress Syndrome type situation. We see plots everywhere. We never take the simple road. We no longer trust "the truth." We don't even know what "the truth" means anymore. We are a totally paranoid society.  Maybe for good reason. Of course, we are being lied to and spied on - so our paranoia is well-founded, but even when there are simple answers or explanations, or a truth appears, right before our nose, we doubt it.  We don't trust it. We don't trust anything, even ourselves.

A society without trust, a society with only doubt and fear and elaborate theories of grand conspiracies -it's a sort of madness. A crazed, hair-brained sickness. A hall of mirrors enclosed in a hall of mirrors.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Poisoned, Corroded, Desiccated - Our World!

When Jim Jarmusch makes a movie, it's always a major event. Check out "Dead Man," "Ghost Dog," or "Stranger than Paradise," if you have any doubts.  I had read a review of Jarmusch's latest "Only Lovers Left Alive," and the reviewer said something like… "his bleakest movie since "Dead Man." Now, I consider "Dead Man" to be one of the greatest movies of our "modern era," so this was high praise indeed.

"Only Lovers Left Alive," is sort of an "artsy" vampire movie. Which is a good thing. And it's got some simple and powerful things to say about our, damaged, corrupt and zombie-fied world. Jarmusch uses old world, traditional film techniques, which stand out in today's film landscape as radical stylistic choices - beautifully composed shots, slow, richly-detailed sequences, long takes, stately, dramatic camera movements.

And Jarmusch celebrates a world of old, well-made things. Forgotten things. And holds them up as the important, funky, intelligent, refined things of our world. Two Vampires roam the streets of an abandoned, corroded, desiccated Detroit. These Vampires are intelligent, they read the classics, they collect fine instruments and books. They listen to old 45s.  They live in another reality. One of taste and intelligence. They are elites. Artistic aristocrats.  So contrary to our world of the moment.

And the Vampires lament a world gone by. There's the rogues gallery of "heroes" - Iggy Pop, Edgar Allen Poe, Franz Kafka, Christopher Marlowe, Thelonious Monk, Neil Young, Charlie Feathers, Oscar Wilde… But their world has been over-run by the human zombies, who have poisoned the air, the water and even their own blood… oh yes, this is our world...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Simple Things!

You are left with the simple things… a restful sleep, a good meal, surrounded by a few beings you know and love, engaged in activities that totally consume you… that's pretty much the best of the world. You can learn to respect, and revere, the mystery, and ultimate unknowability, of existence, and this reverence for a limited understanding, can be a source of strength, of a strange beauty, and of a certain, maybe, whimsical hope.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bounded by Mystery

We are bounded on all sides by mystery. All the important stuff - life, death, love - are really quite baffling and mysterious. We think we know what these things are, and we do to an extent, but what we know seems so paltry, and arbitrary, and conjured up, compared to the immensity, the totality of these things.

We experience, but don't fully know. And if we are uncertain of these things, the most important things, then well, we really are out to sea. And we grapple with wisps of smoke, with clouds, when we try to grasp meaning. If we ask "why" we are left in darkness. Every questions spawns more questions. 

So we live with this darkness, these mysteries, always.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Art. Transformed My Life!


I was in thrall to Gabriel Garcia Marquez' novels. Still am. I was reading Marquez, on a major Marquez kick, at the same time I was heavily into listening to Smiths records.  The 80's. Had an amazing stereo system that was always playing at ear-splitting volume in a tiny apartment.  Marquez conjured another world. I loved "One Hundred Years of Solitude," but I think the "Autumn of the Patriarch" is really my favorite Marquez. It's "difficult" read. Rambling, pages-long sentences. Snaking through my consciousness. Magical. Other-worldly. Marquez reminds me of Melville. Two authors that rank above everyone else. Although I guess I'd put David Foster Wallace in their camp too. You can't deny their power, the totality of their all consuming work. Takes over your life for awhile. I'd read Marquez in silence. It would take concentration to track with him. Then I'd take a break, and put a record on. Often it was the Smiths. Their sound really had nothing to do with what I was reading, but in strange way it was the perfect counter-point. It was kind of an accidental mash-up that made some kind of perfect artistic sense. Art. Transformed my life.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Fire!

You tell me, "You have to learn to tame the fire." And I think to myself, "I'm only happy when I am stoking the flames." I want those flames to lick the sky. I want that fire to burn, baby, burn.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Sucker's Hand

This is good - "How Irony is ruining our culture." And it invokes one of my heroes, David Foster Wallace. We are swimming in a culture of irony, sarcasm, cynicism.  We try to outdo ourselves by distancing ourselves from anything real and heartfelt. The real, the authentic, the heartfelt, are considered a sucker's hand. We are afraid to commit to any kind of honesty, it's easier and considered hipper to sit back and sling the sword of irony. Maybe dropping the irony, dropping the sarcasm and cynicism is scary, leaves you naked and defenseless. And maybe it's just such a "rebel move," to drop the mask. To be open. Open-minded, open-hearted. Alive in the moment, armed with nothing but a simple, defenseless honesty. Maybe sometimes it is worth it to play the sap, in art and in life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wheel or No Wheel?

I've probably written a blog similar to this one before, but really, I don't mind…

Do I grab the wheel and hold on with dear life? Do I white-knuckle it? Do I grit my teeth, clench my jaw, hold my arms rigid and will that damn thing to move? Do I keep the game going with "force of will?"

Or do I just let go? Take my hands off the wheel? Relax, sit back, experience the ride, even if the ride is going nowhere? Do I even give up pretending to care? Do I just float, or sit, and not care whether I'm moving forward or backward or not moving at all? Do I just let the idea of "wheel" and "motion" and "will" evaporate?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Follow the Rabbit, Into the Rabbit Hole

Remember when I blogged about "bliss?"  It was so long ago. 2 posts ago. And well, it seems like a million miles, and a million years ago now. Like it never happened. It just evaporated. Like it was just a mirage. And isn't that a kick in the rear? The famous line, "follow your bliss" seems like such a sad joke, just another rabbit hole to fall into.  And that's the nature of bliss, and transcendence, and even enlightenment, or joy.  These states seem to just appear, descend, take us over for a brief time, and then just as suddenly vanish. It's all so ephemeral and sometimes seemingly arbitrary. So like the weather. And it changes day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute.  And we know those intense and lively moments did happen, but when they are gone, you are just left with an echo, a reverberation, a glimmer of light… that now only exists in your mind. You hold it in your mind, but it seems to slowly fade, every moment going forward. And you wonder, "Did I really feel and know that?"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Being the Devil

"Yeah, and remember when that woman read your fortune, and she said that you "lived with the Devil?" And she pointed at me? Remember that? That was pretty funny. And well, I guess, maybe "being the Devil" isn't really what it's cracked up to be. Or maybe it's all just been "main-streamed" and it just doesn't have the ominous, fire and brimstone kick it used to have. Maybe you can  just be an ordinary, cut-rate, dime-store Devil, a little weary and worn out, and not very scary, and well, almost cuddly, in a sad, sort of debauched, sort of way?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oh Yes, This Is Bliss

Okay, I suppose you can define bliss…"euphoria, utter joy, supreme contentment." But how to explain it? How to understand what brings it on? 

A sunny, warm, blue-sky day.  Bare trees pushing upward. Little green shoots in the ground. Birds hopping, flying and chirping. No compelling reason to do anything but sit still and breathe. An ocean of good feeling floods my body. Unexplainable. Oh yes, this is bliss.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The World of The Smiths!




I've been on a Smiths kick lately. That most cult-like of cult bands. Think 80's Manchester. For me, they are a timeless band, with a timeless discography. They never made a false move. They were unlike any other band on the planet. To my ears they never sounded like anyone else, and no one sounded like them.

I think it was Terry Flamm over at Broken Hearted Toy that re-fired my Smiths love. A nice little review of Johnny Marr's The Messenger.  And then I watched Marr and his band rip through a great set on the Apogee Sessions. Inspiring!

So I just received my copy of Tony Fletcher's book on the Smiths! I expect all roads and thought-trains will lead to and thru the Smiths for awhile…

And then I found out that Johnny Marr is a vegan, a marathon runner, a tee-totaler and a Buddhist.  Oh yeah and probably one of the coolest, greatest guitar stylists who has ever walked the land! And then I found Johnny Marr's great website! Oh man, just the best… check out his guitar collection. Amazing. And what's also amazing is no matter what guitar he plays, no matter what amp, or what strings he uses, the sound is always all Johnny Marr!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Fox Out-Foxed!

A fox. If you think of your self as a "fox;" smart and cunning, tread carefully. I've been there. I've been "foxy" trying my best to assess the situation, to maximize my potential upside. Sometimes the fox can out-fox himself. So then, an experienced fox also has to wonder, "Is this a case where I'm trying to be too clever? Have I out-clevered myself?"  And I guess there's nothing worse than a self-reflecting fox. Instead of acting in the moment, on instinct, you are stuck in analyzing the situation. Doubt and confusion are at odds with smarts and cleverness.  You have to hope you haven't set yourself up to make a real hash of things. You can see victory, you can see defeat. And you are torn.  

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Are You Rich? OK. Then Save Your Breath!

Sometimes "the truth" is just so obvious, so bland and homely, it's so mundane, I mean, it's almost so true its not even worth saying or thinking about, the only thing you can say is "Of course, I mean, I knew that, even if I didn't know I knew that!" Such is the case with Kevin Drum's latest post which actually has some data and charts to back it up... "Nobody Cares What You Think Unless You're Rich!"

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Stunned Joy!

The last few days I have been posing a question to myself. And I've been wrestling with this question. Don't have an answer, it's the question itself, that kind of makes the point.

"Isn't it odd that you are here? That by luck and circumstance you find yourself alive and conscious? So much had to happen, had to unfold, for this to happen. Maybe a universe of circumstances and occurrences had to happen to finally land on "you." And you have a window on consciousness. This window is unique, unlike any other, and it's open for a relatively short time. So this being true, why are you wracked with guilt and anxiety? Why do you wrestle with an existential uncertainty? Why do you have doubt? Shouldn't you just be happy and in a state of wonder? Shouldn't you be thankful that you've lucked into a conscious life? Shouldn't every moment be bounded by a sort of stunned joy?"

Monday, April 07, 2014

Ezra Klein - "How Politics Makes Us Stupid!"

This is an amazing, eye-opening post by Ezra Klein - "How Politics Makes Us Stupid." It examines how we use reason to trick ourselves to adhere to our tribe's worldview - cultural and political.

It explains how some of our deepest political disagreements are immune to the accumulation of "evidence." If the evidence is a threat to our identity within our social group, well, that evidence can be denied, or reformulated, dismissed, discredited. 

We can use "reason" to trick ourselves that our beliefs are believable. Even if the evidence shows us that our beliefs are wrong.  We can use reason to disarm reason. Big example - Climate Change. How can intelligent, engaged people bury their heads in the sand? Well, if all their friends and family have their heads buried too, it's almost a tribal requirement.

And what happens when all the ice melts? 

The whole article begs us to question our own cultural/social/political biases.  What are the biases that our tribe holds that leads us to close our eyes to the "real world?"

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Few vs. The Many

If you are a progressive, you tend to believe that we are moving towards a more equitable society, an open society that recognizes the rights of all. You tend to think that this is the inevitable arc of human progress. You actually see progress, and not just the churning wheel.

And over the last 30 or so years, you could point to progress on some key social fronts, women's rights, gay rights, minority rights. But at the same time there seems to be a fundamental inequality that underlies everything. Economic Inequality.

And that inequality undermines everything else.  There is a new book, that is all the rage, "Capital in the 21st Century," and it seems this book lays out the case that inequality is inevitable in late stage capitalism.

So yes, the 99% vs the 1% is not a mirage. It's an inevitable state that unrolls as capitalism hurtles onward. It's natural and inevitable that wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands. Money makes money, and works for itself. And more and more people are left out in the cold.

And all that concentrated wealth skews our politics and our society. And the only way to reverse this a program of drastic measures with the goal of income redistribution.  This smacks of "socialism," or "communism" or whatever, but without a political class working against income inequality at the root, we end up with a wealthy few lording over the unhealthy many. It's a flaw in capitalism...

Saturday, April 05, 2014

These Queens!

Since I was the one who came up with whitewolfsonicprincess, I am a little bit sensitive about "band names."  I get those vacant looks of incomprehension, I get those sideways smiles, I get those mumbled "Huhs?" and even those "Oh cools."

Queens of the Stone Age. Never took this band seriously. The name conjured up a loud and unmusical Hair Metal Band. Maybe a loud and unmusical Gay Hair Metal Band. Which isn't a bad thing, but not the thing I was interested in sitting down and listening to.

And then I saw Josh Homme. He's big, burly, I thought he was a screamer, or one of those guys who specialized in "rage."  Well it turns out he's much more complicated and interesting than that, he's got a great voice, can do some nice upper register singing, he's a killer guitar player and an accomplished songwriter.

A friend turned me onto this band, and their newest record "Like Clockwork" has really captivated me.  I hear a layered, very musical record, I hear a big guitar sound, I hear a very tight, focused band exploring new territory. I hear a trace of David Bowie in Josh's voice. And that's a good influence.

These Queens really bring it.  Sometimes a name, an image really doesn't tell the story, at all. This track features Elton John on piano. Yes. Sir Elton John!


Friday, April 04, 2014

I Crave the Deal. I Crave the Wheel.

I crave the deal. I crave the wheel. I used to be a "wheeler-dealer," but now that seems so far away from me; another time, another place, another me. Still, it's part of my psychic makeup, part of my genetic entity.  I come from a long line of "deal-makers," and extremely skilled talkers. I can conjure, I can envision, I can lay out the scenarios with the best of them. 

But lately I've been stymied, halted in my tracks. My words fall on deaf ears. The visions that I envision don't come to pass. I'm shut out.  It's a little maddening. I can feel the rush of the deal. I get a little glimpse of the kick from putting it together, and watching it take flight. I can see it. I can taste it. I'm sure it will all unfold.

And then silence. Nothing. The moment passes. It's a kick I can only imagine now. And I wonder why. Was it all just talk? Am I not seeing clearly? What's missing? Is it me, or the times? Is it bad luck or fate? Is it a new destiny? Or is this just part of it, the part where everything seems useless, where all my visions turn to smoke, where I hit the wall and see no alternative path. But then, the deal emerges, circumstances change, and my ship comes in.

I just don't know... but I crave...

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Dark Cloud Day

I don't know, it's dark and rainy this morning. It's kind of like a black cloud has entered my head and just won't leave. Even the coffee, which is quite good, can't make the cloud go away. I read the newspaper, I tune into the radio, everything sort of washes past me. Nothing to hold on to. It's all just chatter, info, that really doesn't grab me. Or fire me up.

It's a dark cloud kind of morning. I'm not down. I'm awake. Alive. But nothing seems important. Or compelling. I don't have a lot to say. And that's just the truth of the moment. I've been trying hard to live in the truth, in the moment. And to pick up on the reality beyond the reality. There is a clarity. The clarity of a black cloud. Which seems like a contradiction. Holding on, and letting go, at the same time. 

I observe myself going through the motions of the morning. Planning a day. This will be a "floater," quiet, indistinct. Another day, a day of clouds and rain, and just getting through it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

You...

Hah... sometimes you want others to do the work, others to provide answers, others to tell you that everything is gonna work out...

But it doesn't really work like that. You are the authority. You have to do the work. You have to provide the answers, or read the signs, and if everything is gonna work out, it's because you worked it out.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The United States Torture Regime!

The United States Torture Regime. The lowest of the low. It was unleashed by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield.  It really made you think that the U.S. had no "moral authority" left, that everything we accused the bad guys in the world of doing, we were doing too.

It was a nightmare, and a blight on our nation. And made us all secret collaborators. The "gatekeepers" of our nation were committing crimes against humanity.  The fear of terror brought out the worst in us.

And now it seems that there is a report floating around that details how the CIA tortured and lied about the torture, and pretended that the torture was a useful tool, and it really was not.  It's amazing what people will do to cover their asses, to lie, and coverup crimes, to protect themselves and the organization they work for. Human beings excelling at being inhuman...

Blog Archive