WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Coach Gets Fired!

A big-time NFL coach gets fired. It's kind of an interesting story. Creative, innovative guy, very successful in college, fails spectacularly in the NFL. Some folks talk of hubris and over-confidence.

If you are known for being unconventional, your every action will be scrutinized. And that was the case with Chip Kelly. 

Brings up all these thoughts about "what's a leader?" Football is insanely violent and dangerous. Grown men bashing their heads, risking their bodies on every play. They are big, fast, muscled specimens risking it all for money and fame.

Coaches are the guys who come up with schemes and game plans. And they are the ones who must fire up and motivate these players to gladly risk everything on every play. They must be "leaders of men," playing a very destructive game.

There's talk of "culture," and "emotional intelligence." I think of Vince Lombardi, considered one of the greatest football coaches of all time. He is a mythic figure from my childhood. When I was young, I hated Lombardi. A fierce, uncompromising hatred. I was a Chicago Bears fan, and for a brief time my family moved to Wisconsin, and I lived in a world of Packer fans.

Lombardi was held up as some kind of shining god. A leader of men, a purveyor of success and winning. Everything was about winning. Famous quote: "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

I hated that mindset. I hated it all. I hated Lombardi with a passion. 

What's funny. Much later, long after Lombardi was gone, when he was just a myth and a ghost, I picked up and read a book about him. And I kind of fell for him. I fell for him hard. I realized that he really was a disciplined, funny, passionate, loyal, gifted man, who could inspire others to risk everything on a football field.

I realized in the middle of all that macho bravado and football smarts, Lombardi created a culture of love and loyalty. And an ethic of excellence. Talk about a change of mind and heart!

My hatred turned on a dime. Funny. So yes, smarts and scheme are good. But when it really comes down to it, there's "culture" and "emotional intelligence," and "love!"

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Determined to Live Your Life.

You see people spinning out. It doesn't take much. One false step, one false move. Down and out. You try your best to "keep your eyes on the ball," but there is no ball in the air to track.

People try to put you in a box. They tag you with a number. Think they've summed you up. Sometimes you do it to yourself. The summing up is deadly.

It's an ugly frame of mind. Although, it sometimes comes as a simple, clear-headed accounting. It can be so invalidating. Invalidation is lurking around every corner. It's sneaky. Powerful. 

What to do? Carry on. One step, one thought, at a time. Still, less thinking, and more doing, is good. You want to be clear-headed, clear-seeing, focused.

Determined. To live your life. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Limbo Doesn't Feature Now!

Limbo. We were talking about limbo. Kind of stuck in a weird realm, between holidays. 

I remember being a young boy, convinced that I'd end up in limbo. That was on my better days. A bad day, and I thought Hell was for certain.

I remember a Nun telling us that in Limbo you could "See Jesus, but couldn't touch him or speak to him." Jesus always did seem a little bit untouchable. And to be honest, I was always a little bit afraid of Jesus. He seemed like a serious guy, with not much of a sense of humor.

I never thought Heaven was for me.  The Nun was gonna end in Heaven for sure. And I could never imagine myself hanging out with that Nun.

So Limbo. Or Hell. 

And I didn't really sweat it. Burning in the flames of Hell for eternity just didn't scare me. I don't know why. Something wasn't adding up for me. Even in 3rd grade.

Now Limbo wasn't exactly scary either. Just seemed boring. Like a waiting room. Or an airport terminal. Waiting for a plane that never arrives. Boring. Being bored. Eternally. Now that was something I could imagine.

Anyway, for a long time I found myself, rebelling against my Catholic upbringing. But somewhere along the line I realized that if I was struggling against the Church, the Church still owned me.

I just dropped it. I dropped it all. Limbo. Heaven. Hell. Jesus. None of it made me blink. I let it all go. My childhood now seems like a dream. A dream I had. And I woke up. And that dream is just like any other dream. Sort of interesting. Sort of diverting.

I'm on to other games. And Limbo doesn't feature in it.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Sit and Glow in the Light!

Ennobling Our Minds in Difficult Times...

And aren't we always living in difficult times? So, yes, we need to be constant when it comes to ennobling our minds, our selves.

Remember the "end is always near." Ever since the beginning of humankind. The doomsayers are always saying doom. Doom sells.

If you are of a pessimistic frame of mind, you can find all kinds of evidence to make you feel smarter. You may think you are smarter than the next guy. That's a foolish thought.

Let us be optimistic. Let us celebrate our mind's strength and sense of wonder. Let's ennoble ourselves! Let choose the sunny side of the street. Let's sit and glow in the light!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Explodes the Old Myth and Gives Us a New One!

A friend sent me an article that talks about the tech behind Tarantino's "Hateful Eight." (See previous post). Old lenses on a shelf. Old projectors. An amazing "roadshow" concept. So yes, I highly recommend that if you are going to see this movie, you see it now, in it's special 70 mm format.

It's an epic, shown in epic form. Is all this fuss and attention to the tech worth it? Yes!

Tarantino presents a new classic Western, and then totally subverts the form. He explodes the old myth and gives us a new one. The more I think about the movie, and what Tarantino was exploring, and his attention to detail, the more I think it's one of the great American movies. Essential.

And he has his finger on the pulse. The old wounds and the still fresh wounds. There's racism, sexism, materialism, all the isms! And Tarantino pushes it all to the outer limits. So powerful, refreshing, overwhelming. Funny And beautiful too.

Yes, and hateful too! 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

70 mm Epic!


3 savvy film-goers. Totally blown away by Quentin Tarantino's 70 mm epic, "The Hateful Eight." Big time cinema experience: no previews, over 3 hours, an overture, an intermission, and chapters to the story.

Tarantino resurrects old technology and shows us what 70 mm cameras can do. A feast for the eyes. A feast for the ears too. Enrico Morricone provides the musical score. You really can't do better than that.

Great acting. A story well-told. Plus you get Tarantino's over the top violence, over the top language, and cringe-inducing laughs.  You cringe and laugh.

We loved it. A great way to spend some of our Christmas 2015!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Choosing the Happy Idiot!

A Happy Idiot? Essentially an Optimist by nature? Not a bad choice. You might be wrong lots of the time, but being wrong wouldn't necessarily bum you out. You'd just carry on, with a smile on your face.

Maybe you'd often be "bemused," a confused, puzzled, "tolerant" amusement, but you'd also often be genuinely "amused," you'd find a light, gentle and pleasant way to entertain yourself and others.

You wouldn't be a wise-guy. You'd be sort of sunny, and goofy, and always look for a silver-lining. You'd be sort of silly, and sometimes even simple-minded. You'd choose simple-mindedness, because it's a little easier, and useful. You'd find your head less cluttered.

You could think of big subjects, look at the big picture, but it would be just another form of entertainment. You'd discover all kinds of activities that made you laugh, and admit you really didn't know what you were doing. 

But the doing would be sort of fun, diverting, and in a weird way, unexplainable to yourself, amusing.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hope Runs Deep - That's My Movie!

I have a friend who is a movie reviewer. He gets all kinds of "movie swag," in his day to day work. We recently hosted a musical event and my friend brought a box of swag to share with everyone. One of my other friends fished around in the box and pulled out a hoodie with the slogan: HOPE RUNS DEEP, right in the middle of the front of the hoodie. I happen to live with this other friend. 

A couple of days ago, I saw the hoodie sitting on a chair. I picked it up and put it on. I have been wearing it every day since. I have sort of adopted the motto. It's the right message, the right time.

Hope. It's such a large part of my life. Maybe yours too? I think of the other slogans associated with hope, Stud Terkel's "Hope dies last," and "Hope is not a plan."

Hope can be used and tossed around like a hot potato. 

I know that "Hope Runs Deep" is probably a movie tag-line. I don't want to Google to find out which movie. I have decided that it's the new tag-line for my own movie...

Ok. I did Google the tag-line. Seems it's from a movie about a Chilean mining disaster... funny... in a not funny way... I think I will still wear the hoodie!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Everyone is Named!

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about our IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign. I mentioned that we were so excited because so far we had 25 backers for our campaign! The friend actually laughed at that, and said, "Not much of a crowd!"

I guess it isn't much of a crowd. More like a Generous Group, a Quality Club, a little Cabal of Creative Co-Conspirators. Yes, it's true, our slice of the "market" is quite slim, our work is "not for everyone," mainly because most of the world hasn't  heard about it. We have no marketing muscle, no real buzz, but we have a very committed group of folks who appreciate our music, and well, I guess, us. People willing to support our creative efforts.

So not worried about the size of the crowd, don't really care if you want to call it a crowd, or not. We know the people who have donated, they are friends, and family. It's the best kind of support, people who know us as people and as musicians and creative beings. Not just a nameless crowd. Everyone is named, everyone is unique, and cool. That's the best kind of support and acknowledgement!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

They Burn Heretics!

I'm not the first, the last, or only one, thinking that the whole "franchise reboot" thing is just a sort of sad and maybe slightly pathetic nostalgia trip.  You have this image of 40 year old men (& women), in their rec rooms playing with their treasured "light sabers."

Folks wanting to experience again what they experienced when they were young and impressionable. We want our Pop Culture to tell us that we are still young, we are still relevant, we want the new and exciting, but we want it to be new exciting just like the previous experience was new and exciting. New and improved, but not essentially different at all.

If we can hold onto that initial experience, and rekindle it and experience it again, it's sort like a Pop Culture fountain of youth. A celebration of the initial joy and innocence. Again and again. It's sort of ridiculous, but if every one you know is experiencing the same exact thing, it can't be bad, right?

Any one who points out the silliness of it all, is just out of step and just doesn't get it, and is a first class spoil-sport. And if you actually attack the whole franchise head on like Ryan Smith, you are a heretic! They burn heretics! Be careful Ryan Smith! It is a dangerous game to tell the Emperor that he is buck naked!

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Difficult Year.

2015. This has been a difficult year. Bounded by sadness, loss, tragedy. I suppose this could be said about any year. Anyway, how to carry on? Must remember that there is more than sadness, loss, tragedy. Better to take it in and carry on. Take in the sadness, take in the loss, take in the tragedy.

Somehow we must transform that "darkness" and deepen our lives. Still, we must see that life is more... it's more than the enveloping sadness...

There's joy, hope, curiosity, energy. There's life. After sadness, after loss, after tragedy. So acceptance, not denial. Denial tries to erase. Can't erase. Erasing takes our own humanity away.

Sink into our humanity. Revel in it. See the light, the beauty, the laughter, the joy. It sits side by side with the sadness, darkness, ugliness, the tears.

We get to have it all. Must embrace it. And carry on.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

An Extraordinary Movie!

We saw an extraordinary movie yesterday. It is called "Youth,"  Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel star in it. Two actors at the "end of their lives," playing characters at the end of their lives. It's an honest movie. So powerful. Beautiful. Sad. Wise. It's hard to describe. Words do it an injustice. Perfect vision of sound and image. Gorgeous. It's a gift. Highly recommended.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Creation and Destruction!

Last night we Netflix-ed two documentaries: "What Happened to Nina Simone," and "Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me." I didn't know much about Nina Simone, I knew a lot about Big Star, because I read that great book about Alex Chilton.

People. What a tangled web. You don't want to "judge" people, better to try to understand and empathize, but of course, there's only so far you can go, and then you are left with, "I wonder what was going on in their heads?"

We are left with great music, and the enigma of what it means to be human: flawed, talented, charismatic, compelling characters living in the world. Messy, chaotic, crazy, silly, misguided.

Nina Simone. It's all in that voice. Listen to any song she sings. It's all there. And Big Star? Three records of power and beauty. A "star-crossed" band. Nothing went right for them. Still, they created shimmering, gorgeous, r&r.

Chris Bell a conflicted, lost genius. Tortured, sensitive, with an over-blown ego. Easily hurt. Brilliant singer-songwriter.

And Alex Chilton? I find everything he did, everything he played, everything he sang, compelling, brilliant, and a little confounding too. Creation and destruction in equal parts.

That was the theme of both movies. Creation and destruction. Beauty and madness. Things falling together and falling apart.

I can highly recommend both movies!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happily Out of the Stream!

It's sort of gratifying to realize that sometimes you just aren't in the stream with all the others. The hype machine, the anticipation of the big event, the hoopla - it all just rolls off your back. You think it's probably a generational thing. Yes, you saw the first 3 movies, they were mildly diverting, but, really, no great shakes, not one of them would make your top 100 movies list.

You didn't see the "prequels," oh maybe you saw one of them, and it was really bad, stilted, clunky, bad dialogue, sort of silly, and dumb, even all the marketing tie-ins, games, toys, etc. couldn't change your opinion. You think that the whole "franchise" concept, is just the worst thing to happen to the movies. People more impressed with the marketing, the big budgets, the CGI stunts.

These aren't movies, they are "events." Sort of big, clunky, events - lots of sound and fury, signifying very little. But of course, if others find the whole thing amazing, exciting, and just the best thing, well, more power to you! 

Still, there is a certain pleasure when you realize that someone's powerful, entertaining, all consuming force has no power over you.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Ask, Part Two: The 3% Are the Doers!



"The Ask" part two. This is an update on our IndieGoGo campaign for our next record, "The Shadow of the Marigold." Backers have backed our project, funds have flowed in, some folks have claimed perks. It's quite an interesting experiment.

The campaign is nearly 50% over and we are 35% funded. So I guess that means we are a little bit behind on reaching our funding goal. But since we selected "flexible funding," we receive funds at the end of the campaign even if we don't hit the goal. So in that way, we really can't fail.

Some backers have been very, very generous and haven't claimed anything. Others have selected the t-shirt or the forthcoming CD. We have also been booked to play a House Concert in 2016!

We really didn't know what to expect, so in some ways this has totally been gratifying and exciting. It's humbling to find out that people will dig into their pockets and send cash. It's a tremendous act of support.

It means so much to a little, independent band doing the best work they can, hoping to get their music out into the world. We are testing the limits of our fans and friends base. It looks like we aren't getting support from strangers. Makes sense.  

There seems to be a pattern, almost a law - 3% of the visitors to our site end up backing our campaign. 3%.  You wonder, is it the 3% who do everything? 97 % of us just pass on by? Is it true the 3% are the doers? Is it all just math?!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Wonder and Journey of Our Lives!

Maria Popova caught up with Helen MacDonald's "H is for Hawk." What Maria says about the book brings back the profound joy and wonder I found when I read the book. Maria's take on Macdonald's book makes you want to read it again. All I can add, you should read this book now!

And there's this: "Some things happen only once, twice in a lifetime. The world is full of signs and wonders that come and go, and if you are lucky you might be alive to see them."

That's the wonder and journey of our lives...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chump-hood Stickiness!

I think Paul Krugman is onto something. Trump and the Chump factor. No one wants to admit that they are a Chump. So instead of admitting that they are fools, or have been fooled, the Chump will cling to their Chump-hood with all their might, and insist that they are right, and always have been right, and how dare you think that they aren't right. 

This "Chump-hood stickiness," has gotten us into big trouble. Over and over again. Mad and pointless wars, bad and unhealthy food, pollution and global warming, racism, sexism, and political, social and cultural idiocy of all kinds. 

There is nothing scarier, or more dangerous than a chump clinging to their foolish claims and views. All kinds of sadness, madness, mischief, and stupidity ensues. You can't argue or reason with a confirmed, determined Chump. They are a class all by themselves.  Marching over the cliff. And they would be glad to take you with them.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Contemplating Our Future Selves!


It was a warm December day around here yesterday.  Near 60 degrees. We spent lots of time wandering deserted beaches. Great time to contemplate our "future selves," and a better day. But best not to get too caught up in the future. Never know what it actually holds. Doesn't really exist. It's just a thought bubble we conjure up in the moment. But if it gives a sense of hope, faith, belief - that's good. I'm big on believing in believing...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Respect!

Respect.  Look for the good, the valuable, the important. In life. In the world. In each other. It's there. Sometimes we need to look. And look. And look a little harder.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bullying, Profane, Dickhead

I have written some posts about Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police. But I think Charles Pierce does a much more admirable, succinct job. Give Charles two sentences to sum it all up quite nicely...

"Rahm Emanuel is the mayor of Chicago. In this capacity, he largely has been the same bullying, profane, dickhead that he has been through his entire political career."

Yeah. Pretty much.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tune In and Tune Out!

Yes, this seems so true.  The Internet's "outrage meter" is on "11!" There is an event, or action out in the "real world," and then there is the reaction to the reaction to the reaction to the reaction, etc.

It's sometimes hard to get back to the original thing that happened. You only see mirrors of mirrors. And you can ignore the first thing, and just get caught up in the reaction phase of the event.

Our communications technology just heightens the madness and absurdity. How come our toys and technologies just expose us as fools and charlatans? How come we all end up playing the game?

So, you do your best to tune in to the essential stuff, and tune out the rest. But that requires lots of fine-tuning. Not so easy. Getting harder.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"He Had to Do It!"

I accidentally tuned into Chicago's public radio station WBEZ last night to listen to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's speech to the Chicago City Council. I do think it's worth listening to the complete speech. Not the sound bites. Not just the political reaction.

I can't remember ever hearing a speech like it. Ever. Not often do you hear a politician say they "own" a problem, not often do you hear a politician say they are "sorry." Not often do you hear someone's voice break while talking about parent's "burying their children." Not often do you hear a politician accept that there are major, systemic problems rampant in their city. And change, major change, and reform, must come. Not often do you hear a politician "welcome" a Federal investigation.

To be honest, I didn't think Emanuel had it in him. Not sure I believe him. I'm not a fan or supporter. I don't think he has been a "good" mayor. I never got the impression that he cared about anyone or anything except power and other power brokers. And as my friend put it, "He had to do it!" Yes, it may have dawned on the Mayor that he has lost the trust of the people of the City. Trust has been broken with him, his administration, his police force, and his cops on the beat.

You wonder if this was a speech of political desperation. Is this just a ploy, political theater, acting? Hard to know. Obviously Emanuel wants to keep his job. And he sounds like a guy that knows he has lost the trust of the people he serves. You wonder if there's more smoke, more tragedy, more political dirt to be uncovered.

Still, just as political theater, it was a pretty extraordinary speech.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

No Matter How Big, No Matter How Small

This is the kind of thing you "know," but then, events conspire to reveal it to you again, and it hits you deep inside, and changes your outlook on everything...

Every action, every thought, no matter how, big, how small, counts... absolutely...

Is that a "good" way to live? Yes, it is, it is mindful living. Essential. The only way to live fully.

Every breath
Every thought
Every bite
Every chew
Every step
Every _____
Etc.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Advice. Given. Taken.

Advice. Given. Taken. We do both. Give advice. Take advice. Or not. How is it that some advice just rolls off our back, like water off a duck's ass? And then one day, that same advice hits home? 

Or sometimes someone gives you advice and it pisses you off, you think, how dare someone tell me what to do, or how to do, or whatever, and then, another day and time, their words strike deep into our solar plexus, and the light-bulb pops on, and our world is transformed.

That happens too.

And usually it's simple stuff. How to hold something. How to entertain an idea. How to chew, or breathe. What to eat. What not to eat. Often the best advice is so simple, you think it's "simple-minded." That's usually a clue that the advice is worth taking in.

Examples? Play guitar? How do you hold your pick? Do you pick with upstrokes & downstrokes? Where do you strum  - near the neck or bridge? Think of intervals! Thinking of music as "intervals" on a fretboard changed my life!

I listened to this show On Being, "The Evolution of Medicine," early Sunday morning.  Every word of this show hit home. Every word. What was so powerful and eye-opening? The breathing & eating advice. World-shaking. Changes everything. Simple. Advice.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Inhabited by Beings

Inhabited by beings. It's a concept I learned about in some of our "psychic" work.

Is that a thing? Yes, I believe so. You are a human being. You have some kind of physical integrity, you have a body, a mind, you have habits, and routines. You think and say stuff. You walk around in the world.

You don't know it, but you can be infested with other beings. You are the host, and invaders enter, and inhabit you. And take over the control panel. And once other beings take control, all your habits and routines are subject to change. How you look, how you think, how you act in the world, suddenly morph.

How do these other beings do it? Sometimes it happens in a blink of the eye. A word, a thought, can open the door.

Or it can be food or drink. Or alcohol, drugs. You can't see yourself, when you are inhabited. You don't know! You are blind to the infestation. Your body, your mind, is held captive by other forces. 

I have witnessed this phenomenon. It's a sad and scary thing to witness. You are helpless. You can't do anything except sort of guide the victim to a safe environment. Try your best to get them somewhere where they won't hurt themselves or others.

It's kind of like a voodoo thing. Do I believe in voodoo? Yes, I'm sorry to say, I do... the voodoo comes from anything that can enter a being... and a being can be entered! 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Judgement

To judge and be judged. It's a human thing. Is it better to welcome judgement? Is that a sign of strength? Or should we try to drop judgement? Is that even possible?

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Ask!

Yes, I read Amanda Palmer's "The Art of Asking." I put it down thinking, "I'm not Amanda." And I'm not. But I do, like her, consider myself an "artist," I'm a writer, an actor, a director, a guitar player, a singer, a songwriter. Maybe I'm not as focused as I should be, but I like to explore, and try new things. I don't make lots of money on any of these activities, but if you took them away from me, it would be like robbing me of a "reason to live."

Anyway, my creative collaborators and I do our work as if it is the most important thing in the world. And it really is, I believe in the transformative power of creativity. I believe it and live it, and celebrate it in others. 

This is all a roundabout way of saying that our band whitewolfsonicprincess has been working on a new record for nearly 3 years. We expect to release the record as a limited edition CD and hi-res digital downloads in early 2016.

It is called "The Shadow of the Marigold," and it is the most finished and fully realized work we have ever done. We are asking friends and fans and strangers to support our effort to release this record. So we have turned to crowdfunding on IndieGoGo.  Check out our page. Lots of cool premiums. Claim one! We are truly an independent band, no big label, no corporate daddies. We do it all on our own. Follow the dream. Do the best work we can. Leave it to art. It's something good. Something important. As we say, "it's a beautiful, well-made thing."

Friday, December 04, 2015

People Need to Fix It!

Yes, it is madness. A hearty thank you to the NY Daily News for this powerful front page:


I don't know if New York's Daily News is an esteemed newspaper, or not, but it has filtered back to me, that their Editors have consistently called out the lunacy of our "gun culture."

And the "cowardice," of many of the politicians, who have decided that we just have to live with "all guns/all the time."

There are politicians on the NRA payroll who tell us, there's nothing to do, nothing can be done except to "tsk, tsk" at all the mayhem, and to pray for the victims. If these idiots want to leave it all to God, get out of the public square. We need smart people willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work of making this a better place.

It is irresponsible and despicable to wring your hands and act as if nothing can be done.

There are plenty of common sense measures we could take, to make this a much safer place. Off the top of my head: strict licensing (it should be harder to get a gun than to buy a car), national gun database, ban assault weapons, ban bullets, require expensive liability insurance for gun owners, generous gun buy-back programs, mental health examinations for anyone who wants to buy & own a gun - I am convinced gun ownership itself is a sign of mental illness, etc.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Pros Come Through!

If you check out recent posts, you can see that I've been on the "Chicago Police Scandal." The dash-cam really hit me hard. 

The cold disregard for life is really, really disturbing. And a bunch of Cops on the scene did not accurately report the event. And it took some determined folks to bring it all to light. Almost didn't happen.

The professional writers over at the New York Times Editorial Board say it all quite well, so I feel it's important to to link to their editorial...

Lots of great stuff... The Mayor's "willful ignorance..." "complete lack of comprehension," "too little too late," and "lost credibility."

And there's this: "The Justice Department, which is already looking at the McDonald killing, needs to investigate every aspect of this case, determine how the cover-up happened and charge anyone found complicit. The investigation needs to begin with the Police Department’s news release of Oct. 21, 2014, which incorrectly states that Mr. McDonald was shot while approaching police officers with a knife. A dash cam video that was likely available within hours of the shooting on Oct. 20 shows Mr. McDonald veering away from the officer when he was shot 16 times, mainly while lying on the pavement. Why does the video completely contradict that press release?"

Good stuff. Nice to see the "pros" come through!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"Hates the Weak!"

Rick Perlstein has a great article on Trump. Brilliant. Explains a lot. Here's the last line: 

"... they love him because he - like them - hates the weak."

I began thinking this is the crux of not only Trumpism, and our current Political culture, but also a fundamental pillar to many of our societal problems, and well, hell, it may even be the key to much of the History of Mankind. The whole shebang!

Why is it that human beings revere the "strong-man" and hate the weak? It seems to be so. I mean, if you know your history you see a long, unrelenting string of the strutting strong ones followed by the teeming hordes.

Think of all the strong leaders, the Big Men, the Big Daddies, the Kings, the Dictators, the Rulers, the Presidents, etc.

Remember, people cried, when Stalin died. So yes, maybe it's because we are essentially hierarchical creatures.

So when we see a Big Strong White Cop shooting down a Young Black Kid, many of us actually identify with the Cop! We see ourselves as the powerful one in the equation. 

On the other hand, why is it, how is it, that some of us always see ourselves in the weak ones? How is it that some of us do not revere the strongman?

I wonder if it's in our DNA? Some of us want to bow to the power, and want to be powerful themselves, others want to rebel against the power, and identify with the "have nots," the weak, the downtrodden.

Think of the "weak ones," those who suffered, and stood up for the sufferers: Jesus, Gandhi, MLK, Mandela, Dali Lama. They all represent our "better angels."

So anyway, this is deeper than the race issue, deeper than economics, deeper than politics. You can look at all our human turmoil and ask, who is strong, who is weak? And which side do you want to be on?

Whenever I see the strong vs. the weak, I always, always side with the weak one. I don't know why. Maybe it was being raised "catholic," maybe I just see myself in, and have empathy with, the underdog. Maybe it's as simple as: "There but for the grace of God go I." Not exactly sure why, but when I see the power squashing the little ones, I immediately, viscerally, totally identify with the little one. Every time.

I guess just put me in with Tom Joad: 

Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Good Chicago Policing!

You watch that dash-cam video. And you can't get it out of your head. Beware where you put your attention.

You think, expect, hope, that people will join together and demand justice, and a change in the system. But instead you find out that the Police Union is "standing by" the murderer.

You'd think "good Cops" would want to distance themselves from the shooter. Doesn't their "code of silence" empower the "bad Cops?" 

Isn't the Fraternal Order of Police doing themselves a disservice? Do they really want to give the public the impression that the video shows what they think is good Chicago policing?

And yes, this is the "story within the story..." Cover-Up in Chicago! The Mayor, the State's Attorney, the Police Union all part of an effort to bury the truth. There's the crime, and the cover-up of the crime!

UPDATE: Yeah, it's not just one "bad apple." The Chicago Police Department is a corrupt institution - known for torture and police brutality. The Mayor just fired the Chicago Police Department Superintendent.  Think the Mayor is feeling the heat?! Shouldn't he be the next to go?!

Monday, November 30, 2015

We All Come from Wolfpacks!


We watched the documentary "The Wolfpack." It scans like fiction, you think it's fiction, but it's not. Very entertaining, disturbing, enlightening. So improbable.

Six brothers. Locked in an apartment. Their whole lives. They watch movies. All their culture is pop culture. They act and recreate movies as a sort of daily ritual. They act in and re-enact movies like "Pulp Fiction," Batman," and "Reservoir Dogs."

They do it religiously.

Sort of like "Lord of the Flies" in an apartment on the lower East side of Manhattan. The movie makes you think. About "socialization." About cults. And religions. And families.

And how we are all isolated by what we do. We are all members of wolfpacks. To greater and lesser degrees. There are the inside worlds we inhabit, and the outside worlds we matriculate in. They collide and influence each other.

What do we value? What do we do? Who do we emulate? And with the choices we make, who are we serving? Ourselves? Or others? How to live with integrity? And freedom? How to make our lives our own?

Great movie.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

More Alive/Less Sensitive!

Yesterday, practicing cover songs for an upcoming show. 6 songs. Played them with two singers at our rehearsal space. Me on guitar. 6 songs, and we played each of them around 5 times. Multiply that and you get 30 songs. In a few hours. 

My fingertips. Every note etched into my fingertips. If you play guitar, you know about callouses. They are essential. They are your "badges of honor." You are changed by playing. It's almost like the strings, and where you place your fingers, are tatooed. You wear the changes. You are battle-tested. Hardened.

We recorded the last run-thru of songs and I just listened to the recording this morning. They all sound better than I thought they would. Satisfying. And my fingertips seem different. More alive, and less sensitive, at the same time.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Disappoint/Surprise

Yes. People disappoint. That's a theme. 

Sometimes they surprise too. That's a theme too. 

Count on being disappointed and surprised. You wonder if it all evens out. Maybe if you extend the timeline into forever. 

Some days, some decades, it all seems like disappointment. Then again, there are always surprises along the way.  That's just the way it goes...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sad. Hard to Explain.

You find out some one you know is a flaming, bone-headed racist. How to explain it? An intelligent person. One who has never actually had personal experience with people they feel "superior" to.

Baffling. Really. 

I mean, I know we all have some in-built bias, probably encoded inside us. Is it true that racism is "hard-wired in our brains?" Then none of us are exempt. But it is something we can recognize and work against. It is essential. To find empathy for our fellow beings. 

Celebrate and honor the differences between us. Maybe idealistic. But it's the only way.

 This deep hatred of people because of their "race" is just so confounding. Not something understandable. Sad. Hard to explain. Ugly.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Few Heroes in an Ugly Saga!

A 17 year old gets gunned down by a Chicago Cop, and a dash-cam video (see previous post) is finally released. And then all this latent ugliness and bias comes out. Arguments about racism, Good Cops vs. Bad Cops, Good Kids vs. Bad Kids.

Your lying eyes see what looks like cold-blooded murder, but then you are surprised that your fellow citizens can't agree that murdering a young black kid, even if he was up to no good, is not a good thing. It's hard to believe that there are "sides" to that argument. I even read a post where someone said the kid "got what he deserved."

So yes, racism, ugliness, bias, stupidity, willful ignorance is rampant among us. The video just kind of brings all that out into the light of day.

Now the story became a story of a video, and "will the people riot." But there's actually another pretty amazing story within the story, that's even more interesting.  None of this would be in the public conversation without an "Anonymous Tipster," and "an Activist/Journalist" named Jamie Kalven.

Someone within the Chicago City Administration saw the video and realized it did not confirm the story told by the Cops on the scene. In fact, of course, it totally contradicted the story told by those Cops. That kid did not rush the Cops with a knife, he was in the distance sort of tacking away from the Cops. No way was that killer-Cop threatened, or fearing for his life.  Not believable!

And the City Administration and the Chicago Police Department wanted to bury that video. They did all they could to assure that it would not see the light of day. Luckily, the Activist/Journalist, once he was tipped off, decided to fight to get it released. And luckily a Cook County Judge agreed that it should be released.

So yes, there are some "heroes" in this terribly ugly saga: an Anonymous Tipster, and Activist/Journalist, and a Judge.  A few good people. People not happy with the cover story, not happy that the truth was buried. 

The difference between living in a totally corrupt place, and a maybe not quite so corrupt place? A few good people with the idea that the truth should be brought into the light of day. So yes, a Cop who committed a crime, and people of power and influence trying to hide that fact. You wonder if the perpetrators, the man who killed, those who knew the truth,  and those who lied and covered it up, will be held to account?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes!

They tell you, "don't believe your lying eyes." You can watch the dash-cam of a Chicago Cop shooting down a 17 year old black kid here. The kid may have been in the wrong place, wrong time, maybe that's a knife in his hand, but you think the "death penalty" isn't quite justified for the actions of this kid. The Cop shot at the kid 16 times... mind boggling... chilling... how often does this happen?

If you do believe your lying eyes the dash-cam seems to show a cold-blooded murder, an execution of a 17 year old kid. I know it's a Cop doing the shooting, and Cops do have tough jobs, but murder is murder. There is no reason that Cop should have "feared for his life." If he did, he is in the wrong job.

It took a year for this video to surface. A reporter was tipped and had to go to court to get it released. Some might say it looks like  Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the States Attorney Anita Alvarez were covering up for political convenience. Isn't that a crime?! What they call "Obstruction of Justice?!"

Makes Spike Lee's "Chirac" so of the moment. Unfortunately. I for one look forward to seeing Spike's movie. I still consider "Do the Right Thing" one of the greatest American films ever made. Tony Fitzpatrick talks about "Chirac" here. There is something seriously wrong in Chicago, in the Police department and the Mayor's office.

Here's the "Chirac" trailer..


CHI-RAQ Trailer from 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Life of Fakery!

Someone hit me with this one, and it's resonated around in my head for awhile. I mean I've heard it before, but the conversation where it popped up was such an unlikely circumstance, I was down and out, staring at the abyss...

"Fake it till you make it." 

You know, it's a "positive feedback loop." Act like the thing you want to be, and in that way, you will become the thing you want to be.

I think about it, and well, much of my life has been faking it. No one told me I could be a writer, actor, director, song-writer, singer, guitar player. I just decided these were things I wanted to do.

I started doing them. And continued doing them. I faked my way through.

Now some folks may say it's all fakery. Still. But my life has been consumed with pursuing these things of fakery until finally my life is made of all these fake things. And it's a genuine life. A real, genuine pursuit.

A complete and convincing (at least to me), fakery.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Oh Yeah, and Clive Owen too!


More thoughts (see previous post), on the gorgeousness and fabulousness of "The Knick." We're about half-way through the 1st season, and caught up in a great narrative. The time is 1900 and the new century is one of discovery and invention. Thomas Edison is around hawking electricity and x-rays and the 1st phonograph.

And the key characters of the show are surgeons who are innovators - creative, driven, supremely passionate and flawed beings, trying to do things no one has done before. 

So yes, the form of the show, as conceived by Steven Soderbergh, and the theme of the show are totally aligned.

Soderbergh is an innovator - creative, driven, supremely passionate about creating a unique, beautifully filmed series. He pushes himself to create scenes in a new way. And uses the latest technology. But what's brilliant and uncommon -  he uses cutting edge technology, and his painter's eye, to film like the old masters. This is not a CGI fest, but a merging of old and new worlds.

So yes, available light, candlelight. Powerful digital camera, giving us exquisitely composed scenes. A powerful dichotomy. 

Also wanted to mention the soundtrack. The music pulls you out of it all. It's sort of a "techno," keyboard-driven sound. Not of the time at all. But for me this works beautifully too. In a way, the music is the atmosphere of imagination, and creativity, and technical invention that hovers over all the action.

The series seems to celebrate the best of us. Flawed beings that are able to transcend themselves to discover, experiment, and achieve things that have never been attempted or achieved before. And of course, there's the obsession, the delusion, the ego, the misguided, un-channeled passion that drives and consumes us all.

It's a time of sexism, racism, classism, ignorance, and hubris. Oh yeah, just like today!

Did I give you the impression that I think this series is absolutely brilliant? Oh yeah, and Clive Owen too. Thrilling!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Gorgeousness of "The Knick!"


Watch a few episodes of "The Knick," and you very quickly realize you are watching something "revolutionary." Actually the first scene of the first episode will tip you off that something extraordinary is going on with this cable TV series.

Yes, the characters are compelling, there's great acting going on, a dynamic narrative, but it's the look and feel of the show that is something new, something different, something really unique. I actually Googled "What kind of camera is used filming The Knick?" 

It looks like rich, saturated film, you know, the old kind of technology used by masters like Stanley Kubrick, but you find out that no, Steven Soderbergh uses a digital camera called "Red Epic Dragon." And its small and light, and can film in very low light, any available light like candlelight. 

And Soderbergh uses it like a master. This show is a labor of love, and a feat of technical mastery. Really. And it's beautiful. Nearly every scene is rich, layered, colorful, beautiful. Made me immediately think of Kubrick, you know like Kubrick from "Eyes Wide Shut."

Soderbergh shot every episode. He works quickly, he edits the series too. All handheld, puts the camera in unique places, gives us a true feast for the eyes. A true, a pure, auteur approach. Pretty amazing. High art. Gorgeous.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gold Coins in the Garden!

A great little web article about Paul McCartney and John Lennon. 

"I think John's whole life was a cry for help." - Paul McCartney

And maybe that's why Lennon was so compelling, fascinating, exciting. And of course, Paul an amazingly creative, charismatic, musical genius. What a great song-writing team.

When I think Beatles music, I think: joy, exuberance, inventiveness, creativity, energy, melody. And all those things are there in the tracks. But what gives it all power is that very real pain, loss, doubt, and an insatiable unhappiness, unsettledness. Maybe it's that combo that makes the music so over-powering.

And what of their joint prophetic dream? They both had the same dream!? The mystical path on practical feet!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Stuck on Wonder!

Aging. It happens to everything/everyone. You get older. Although, I like to think that really it's just our experience that is getting longer.  

That Dylan lyric rings in my head: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." And it's true. I feel younger than ever. Less sure, less set in my ways.

The things I was so sure about as a youngster, I no longer feel sure about. So much is tentative, everything is on the bubble.

I am much more comfortable saying "I don't know." To all life's certainties. Not sure there are any certainties. Oh yes, there's death and taxes. But there is the great cloud of unknowing and exemptions. Don't forget exemptions! 

So much of what goes through my head now is not definitive, not assured, not certain. I am open. Open head, open door... I wonder. About everything... that's kind of a young thing that I'm stuck on.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Not Weak At All!

I am pleased that Kevin Drum takes us through all the gory details. Those cads who try make out Obama "weak" on "national security" and terror, should take a stroll through Drum's latest post.  Not weak. Not at all.

And those who are criticizing Obama's approach really offer nothing.  And isn't that a pattern? There is an intelligent, engaged, pragmatic, cool-headed individual in the White House. Most of his rivals are just talking heads, speaking lots of words, saying nothing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The GOP - Cringe-Worthy!

Yes, it takes a crisis to remind me how happy I am that Barack Obama is President of the United States. The GOP is a cringe-worthy entity. Their candidates for President are a bunch of mealy-mouthed idiots. Truly.

It is truly disgusting how they are using the terrible events in Paris to hype the fear and panic here. And of course some of them are pounding the table demanding we send more troops into harm's way. Does everyone forget how that worked out in Iraq? Isn't that how this whole thing devolved into the mess we have today?

Yes, as Obama says, a party that is fearful of 3 year old orphans kind of gives up their credibility as a viable party.  So pathetic! Kind of funny too. But really, really pathetic.

And yes, this is a good political doctrine to live by: "Don't do stupid shit!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Consoling a Friend!

Yesterday, I found myself in conversation "consoling" a friend. I was consoling, but could have been very easily the consoled one. As I have said before, we are all one catastrophe from catastrophe.

A positive thing happens and you feel positive. A negative thing happens and you feel negative. A series of positive or negative things happen and you think you are blessed or cursed.

I found myself saying things like: "You must believe, in something, even it's just believing in something. I love clear consciousness, clarity, and I think we are all more than our bodies. Maybe you can turn this bad thing into something good? Use this time to heal and do something. Something greater than yourself."

Was I really talking to a friend? Or was I really talking to myself? Maybe both?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Exploiting the Terror!

Yes, of course, (no surprise), Paul Krugman gets it exactly right. There are people who will want to exploit our fear of the terror. So predictable. The conservatives see this as an opportunity to use for political advantage. Remember how badly they responded to the attack in New York? Cooler heads. We need cooler heads. Good thing our current President is a smart, pragmatic man with a clear head. We need to think and act with clarity. Not with fear, panic, or terror reverberating in our heads.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's Personal

Sadness. It wells up. That's the main thing. People wreaking horror, death and pain on other people. Makes you wonder, "What's wrong with people?"

As a tolerant, liberal-minded person, I stand up for equality, liberty, fraternity. We do have to call out the hatred, the backward, the radical fringe. Some choices, some ways of living, some practices, some beliefs are just not acceptable. 

Still you wrestle with your empathy and compassion for all that lives. 

But what do we do in the face of hatred? The terror-makers? How do we call out those who stand against a free, democratic, liberal-minded, socially progressive world?

Enemies of freedom? Radical ideology of any kind. Fundamentalism. People with the idea that they have all the answers. That there is a better world than this one. Anyone who will kill another human for an idea or religious belief. These folks are seriously sick.

Do we harden our hearts? Do we strike out in retaliation? Do we hope for some fleeting, ephemeral, impossible "justice?"

This kind of attack is "personal." It's an attack on all of us. All who want to live. What do we do?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The City of Light Under Attack

A barbaric, terroristic attack on the City of Light. Sends one into a spinning vortex. The slaughter of innocent bystanders, people going about their daily lives. Unimaginable, unconscionable. Leaves one grasping for answers. No answers come. How to deal with human beings willing to die and take others with them? 

Our great experiment: a free city, open, tolerant, welcoming. Human beings of every kind living together. It's an attack, on all of us. Anyone who lives, and wants to live free and happy.  So sad. You fear for the future. It's easy to search for easy answers.  There are no easy answers.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Elvis C. - More than a Footnote!


Elvis C.'s book is long (see previous post), so a 2nd post about it seems fine to me. There is lots of bitter, "gallows humor" in the book. The kind of humor a lapsed Catholic of Irish descent always revels in. Seems all was not peachy keen for "Little E." Like most of us, much his pain and turmoil came from his own hubris and a long series of self-inflicted wounds.

Anyway a few additional thoughts and tidbits...

Elvis burst on the scene like a hyper-active, angry and guilt-ridden Buddy Holly. Bigger glasses, even more nerdy, certainly pissed-off and edgy. He became famous for his insolent smirk. Funny, bitter, witty. Maybe too witty, too self-satisfied. But really thoroughly guilt-ridden. A chip on his shoulder.

Some of it was a pose, but the essence was real. Elvis was funny & angry & guilt-ridden. Right out of the box.

Like he says in the book, I'm paraphrasing, he wrote bitter songs for a certain kind of creep. His sudden success blew his life to smithereens. There was lots of wreckage along the way - broken vows, broken promises, broken beer bottles.

He was punched out by Bonnie Bramlett in a bar in a Holiday Inn in the late 70's. Elvis was blind drunk and belligerent, and said some terribly derogatory things about Ray Charles and James Brown. Bonnie laid him out (You go girl!).  This event hung over Elvis like a black cloud for many, many years. Chalk it up to too much booze and hubris. 

Over the years there was a mellowing. And Elvis became a go-to collaborator. He's played with everyone, written songs with some of the greatest song-writers in the Universe. Most of his work has a melancholy mood. But he really, really knows how to write a compelling lyric. 

The last few years he writes about characters. Not so much his own personal history. He tells us it's better for his head and heart that way.

What I love about the book, it makes me want to listen to music - Joe Henry, the Pogues, Allen Toussaint, Solomon Burke, Burt Bacharach, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney.

Just like Elvis, my taste in music has grown over the years. Suddenly all those odd detours and unique collaborations that Little E. took are intriguing and compelling. The last few days I have been listening to the record Elvis made with Burt Bacharach. It has been sitting on a shelf for years. I dusted it off and it's been on infinite replay the last few days.

It's not r&r, by any means, flugelhorns & strings, it's some kind of brilliant, shimmering, chamber-pop, or something like that. Pretty amazing stuff. So yes, Elvis. This Elvis too. More than a footnote.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Calling Yourself "Elvis!"


Almost done with Elvis Costello's book. It's thick. But reads well. You might think this Elvis is a footnote to r&r history, but not many people can say they have co-written songs with Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, and Allen Toussaint.

Elvis (Declan MacManis) is a wordsmith. He has a way with words. You can hear it in his songs, and the music of his prose. The book jumps around a bit, which to me seemed like a good thing. You get a portrait of Liverpool, of Elvis' family, a deep and moving portrait of his big-band vocalizing father.

I consider Elvis one of my r&r "discoveries." I inherited the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, but discovered Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones, Talking Heads and Elvis. I was at the first show he ever did in the Chicago area. A tiny club. Up close and personal. I was a believer.

Certainly "My Aim is True," and especially "This Year's Model," are essential records. I kind of lost touch with him over the years. I fell for the angry young man with songs of "guilt & revenge." He sort of lost me when he revealed himself to be a "song & dance man."

As a friend of a friend once sneeringly said to a friend: "You like music, I like to ROCK." But over the years my taste has morphed, and I'd say I do like to rock, but I love music. Music of all kinds.

So now, Elvis' range of influences, projects and collaborations are quite breath-taking and impressive. There is a sadness, "unfaithful," and "disappearing" are key words in the title. There are lots of scenes and events included in a busy life. But you also get a sense that much is left unsaid, or referred to only glancingly. Lots of pain and heartache worked out in lyrics.

Think a Liverpool-raised, lapsed Irish-Catholic, prone to drink, and anger, and guilt, and revenge, and "unfaithfulness." With a love of music, and an extraordinary musicality.  Yes, to take on the name "Elvis" was an act of hubris, arrogance, a joke, and a marketing gimmick. But much of his musical life has been pretty extraordinary. And music, songs, are central to all that happens in this life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

One Step, One Step!

One step. One step forward. One step back. 

Sometimes it means standing in place. Lately I've been involved in a range of projects, and all of them seem to require infinite patience. Maybe that's a good thing? 

But then, some days, it's clear that I don't have infinite time. So yes, patience, but then very impatient to get things completed. But everything takes time. More time than originally thought. It's like running in mud, or on a treadmill. Running. Running. Going nowhere.

Slowly, oh so slowly seeing some progress... but it's hard. I can hear that clock ticking, always, always ticking. Steady. Constant.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Just Play!

Work. Right. It's all we have. Well that's a little bit too Puritan. There's also play. We have work and we have play. You want to make your work as fun and creative and amusing as play, and you want to make your play as serious, all-consuming, rewarding and fulfilling as work.

In our creative realm we always talk about the "good work." If you are going to do the work, or if you have work to do you should try transforming it. Make work, work for you. Make work play.

Then you have it knocked. Right? 

Kind of that Zen idea. If you must sweep. Sweep. Everything is contained in that motion, that activity, that action. And if you give yourself totally to what you do, by that commitment you fill everything with meaning.

That's the idea at least. No mindless actions. All actions fully mindful. Make work play. And then play. Just play. 

Monday, November 09, 2015

Tell the Story Your Way!

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. 

Memoirs. Autobiographies. People telling stories of their lives, as they remember it. Think the "unreliable narrator." Because of course our "memories" are not infallible. Just because someone remembers something, doesn't prove it happened, or happened the way they remember it.

And story-telling is an art. Not a science. What makes a great story? Editing. What you leave in, what you leave out. So we tell a story based on our memories, and it's an act of recall, an act of creation, an act of imagination, an act of discipline.

What's true, what's not true? Who gets to decide? If you are the writer, you decide. Then the reader decides whether what they read sounds true, seems true, is a good story. If it's a really, really good story, you are carried along and go with it.

Is everything "literally" true? Or is a really great story, told with verve and gusto better than true? A really good story is art, poetry. It's own kind of truth.

I think of Nabokov, Keith Richards, Amanda Palmer, Elvis Costello, Mary Karr, Patti Smith, Helen MacDonald, David Carr - I read their stories, and decide to ride along with them. Their truths shine through. The way they choose to tell a story. The way they choose to believe it all happened the way they remember it happened.

And yes, we all tell our stories. We tell the stories of the lives we want to live, want to believe we lived. We tell the stories of who we want to be. We pick and choose from a universe of facts. We tell a good story that we think people will want to read. We all get to make history. We tell it our way.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Adversary Gave Us Evolution!

One of the guys running for President thinks that "The Adversary" encouraged Charles Darwin to come up with the theory of evolution! And who is the Adversary? Well, you know, SATAN!

And we really haven't recovered, have we? Darwin really did a number on us, he left us with a major, freaking head-trip. Dear Brothers & Sisters, we are not so different than Chimpanzees!  Humans and Chimps - oh so closely related! How diabolical! 

Once that thought is released into the land. All hell breaks out!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Jean Genet - Favorite Thief!


My favorite thief? We should all have a favorite thief, right? As Bob Dylan once sang, "You must be honest to live outside the law."

Ok. I will go with Jean Genet. Orphan, poet, writer, spent lots of time in prison. Sprung by Jean Paul Sartre. Genet wrote his first novel on toilet paper in prison. It was destroyed by one of the prison guards. Genet just wrote the whole thing again. That's determination.

Genet - favorite thief!

Friday, November 06, 2015

You Can't Really Say the Truth!

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" 

One of those very ridiculous questions. Always asked seriously. And a serious answer is expected.

You can't really say the truth, right? For instance, you can't say:

"I don't see myself at all. I see a blank, a blackness, a hole in the fabric of reality. I'm not there at all. In fact I don't see myself now either. Just don't see myself. I look in mirrors and I am always surprised that I'm still here. So yes, I struggle every day just to be here. In the moment. Hope that answers the question..."

Thursday, November 05, 2015

After Reckoning - Denial!

Yes, so what happens the day after the day of reckoning? See previous post. 

Well, it's a new day. A new frame of mind.  And like my partner pointed out to me, the day after the day of reckoning you are free... 

Free to go back to your normal, finely-tuned, and oh so effective "state of denial!" Think Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein: "What hump?!"

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Day of Reckoning!

Yesterday was a day of reckoning & accounting for me. Facing the music. Meeting with folks to discuss things. Folks and things I'd rather just forget. But forgetting just isn't going to cut it. So anyway, off on a wild goose chase across the city to take care of business.  At least it was a gorgeous day. So yes, even for me, head filled with worry and doubt - a beautiful blue sky, a sparkling afternoon, sunshine and color. People of all stripes dashing past me on their way to... wherever...

A Morrissey lyric kept running through my head, appropriate, and not so subtle: "What a terrible mess I've made of my life."

Morrissey is a "go-to" lyricist. And isn't he just one of the greatest songwriters of all time? Another day, and another mood and maybe this line would be keeping me company: "There is a light that never goes out." But no, it was not that kind of day.

If I were to sum things up. My life. I mean, I hate to do it, not my normal mode, the summing up is a gruesome frame of mind, a gruesome game. One I work hard on avoiding. But anyway let's see, where do I start...

At least...

... I'm not dead yet.
... I haven't killed anyone.
... Things could be worse.
... I still have all my body parts.
... Everything still works.

Maybe the bar is set a bit low? But anyway, that was my day of reckoning. You get down to the bottom. And then there's the looking up.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Amanda Palmer - Wind-Up Twitter Machine!

I was reading Elvis Costello's new book (he's a funny, intelligent, interesting writer), but then took a detour to read Amanda Palmer's book "The Art of Asking." Amanda is super-famous for her Kickstarter campaign for one of her records. She raised over a million dollars, with over 25,000 individuals donating to her campaign.

Amanda is a very, very unique individual. Her book has a few  simple, powerful ideas. Probably the most intriguing, is that it's OK to ask. It's a powerful tool. And surprisingly if you are open and honest, lots of people will be open to helping you, if you are willing to reach out. And Amanda has really lived this idea. Amanda has totally surrendered herself to "the crowd." Crowd-surfing, crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding. 

Human beings are social animals. We need each other. To ask for help is a risk, it's scary, there's the looming fear of rejection but all of us need and want to connect to others. No man or woman is an island. There are no "self-made" people. We come from a long line of others and those others help make us who we are. We can connect, it's as simple as being forthright, honest, vulnerable and willing to ask.

Amanda gave a TED talk that now has over 7 million views that pretty much contains the essence of the book. The book fills in details. You learn more about Amanda. Maybe sometimes you learn more about Amanda than you want to, but that's the way she lives her life. She shares. She tweets. Always. Obsessively. She is a master of sharing and "over-sharing." 

She certainly has used social media to the max. And she was ahead of the wave. Early adopter. Surfing social media for all it's worth. Pretty amazing story. She started out as a living statue, one of those folks dressed up, out on the street, performing for the crowd. And then she has gone on to a pretty impressive career, maybe not so much in music, but definitely in the "asking" and "self-promoting" biz.

I did wonder somewhere in the book if all this asking and openness and over-sharing is a bit too much? What's personal? What's private? When is it best not to ask the crowd for advice or help? And what happens if the crowd decides they don't like you, and don't want to help you? Amanda has some stories about that too.

When is enough, too much? I guess Amanda will find out. And she will tell us about it, in detail. For sure. Check her Twitter feed, she's probably tweeting right now.

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