WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Saturday, November 30, 2019

21st Century Druid Music.

This is cross-posted at whitewolfsonicprincess.com

Chalk it up to the Fomorians.
We played the Montrose Saloon last night. A late-night, Black Friday show at one of Chicago’s funkiest, friendliest, music-meccas. We were on a bill with acoustic opener Rollo Time and one of our favorite bands Flapunco – think flamenco inspired shredding/Led Zepplin-like/Dark-Cabaret/Punky-Rock/Power Trio fronted by Freddy Krueger’s Daughter. Freaky-cool.
We played last. Our 7 piece band over-flowed across the stage. We have a big, nuanced, layered sound, maybe too much for that little stage. Lots of sound issues. Feedback, weird over-tones, at one point the vocal mics died.
Chalk it up to the Fomorians. Our favorite Shamanic Practioner, Joan Levergood was in the audience, she had past battles with those freaky beings, and well, we surmised that those ancient Irish creatures, “hostile and monstrous beings from under the sea or the earth” came out on Black Friday to mess with us. Shopping be damned!
It was an intense and frustrating show. You can’t expect perfection, but you do always see it out there dangling in the golden abyss. The highlight of the night? An audience member who usually exclusively listens to classical music, sat through our set and really took it to heart. Afterwards he remarked our music was “21st Century Druid Music.” What to say? Yes. Fabulous. – Jammer

Friday, November 29, 2019

Damn the Torpedos, Pie!

Usually I eat for fuel. The essentials. The basics. Usually one meal a day. Don't want to overdo it. I am careful of what I put in my body. Food is medicine. I do believe. Probably the most important medicine we put in our bodies. Look at the maladies of the human body, most of them can be traced back to a poor diet. Science now tells us we should be very aware of our biome, our "gut bacteria." There are millions of little critters living inside our digestive tract. They are our friends and allies. How we treat them, what we give to them for sustenance, is key to their survival, to their health, to their character and quantity. You are only as good as your colonies of bacteria. Might sound icky, but it's true. Much is riding on how all you take care of your gut bacteria. So, yes, I usually eat for fuel, not so much pleasure. I am careful about consuming too much sugar, fat, salt, I avoid meat. I am a vegetarian. I view not eating meat as good for me, for the planet, for all those pretty creatures trapped in the clutches and horrors of the meat industry, and those icky little creatures in my gut. This is a long-winded way of saying yesterday, was a celebration of food. Vegetables: potatoes (scalloped, mashed, sweet), Brussel sprouts, corn-bread stuffing, asparagus. 3 platefuls. It was glorious. Thanksgiving, indeed. And then, an act of pure pleasure: Apple/Cranberry pie. Oh my. I am hoping my gut bacteria were as pleased as my taste-buds. Who knows?! Anyway, damn the torpedoes. Pie!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019!

My life...

Thanksgiving Day 2019.  Living with two dogs, a boxer, and a little bug-like breed unknown, in a big old mansion by the lake. I am the caretaker, taking care. Turns out if you are nice to the doggies, feed them, take them on walks, give them treats, pat them on the head and ocassionally shout words of encouragement, they will be your loyal friend for life. Or at least, looks like a good bet they won't maul you and eat your sorry carcass when you have your guard down.

There's a lesson there.

Easy morning. Reading about politics. Our political foes are showing "willful resistance to the facts." Yes. That's not for my team. We want to know the facts. We want to root out the truth. And look it square in the eye. We want to know the truth, intimately, and damn the torpedoes.

I'm drinking a coffee brew I've never had before, "African Roots" - "complex & bright with exotic fruit." Yes. Add in a bit of oat milk and you have a potent, delicious, brew. It's got a kick, I can feel the adrenaline coursing through my body as I type these words onto this page. Coffee really is my drug of choice. It agrees with me. So glad I found it.

I have a delicious r&r soundtrack on the box this morning. Blasting music in this big old mansion on a fabulous, classic, old-style, stereo system. There are speakers located all over the place: living room, kitchen, entertainment room. It's glorious. The whole place is rocking & vibrating. It gives the place a whole different vibe.

Right now it's an odd, random, CD mix I'm spinning: Buffalo Springfield's "Again," Nick Cave's "Skeleton Tree," ("they told us our gods would outlive us, but they lied..."), Neil Young's "Harvest," ("searching for a heart of gold...),  & "Zuma" ("what a killer..."), and The Trees a British folk rock band (1969-1971). I just "discovered" them. I own two of The Trees albums. Both are fabulous. British freak-folk. A bit old English, a bit "prog-rock," a bit trippy and odd. You might think Fairport Convention, but really The Trees have their own unique vibe. Two guitar players, one acoustic, one electric, very nice, captivating, mesmerizing. Right now I have their 2nd disc in the mix: "On the Shore." I actually really love both of their records. One of the great "lost" bands. Seems they re-emerged and their records were re-released after a band name Gnarls Barkley sampled one of their songs.

The perfect soundtrack for a sort of gloomy morning. Nowhere to rush to this a.m. No sunshine, except the supernova blazing in my heart and head. I suppose that will have to do. An easy day today. Food, family, friends... furry, and otherwise.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Hair Travel.

Life is like a movie...

Talking to my friend on the phone this morning. It's a windy day here in the Heartland. My friend asked me: "What about air travel today?" I replied: "What about hair travel?" So windy. You just know your hair is gonna go a million ways at once.

Hair. It's a big topic. A major concern. A good hair day? A bad hair day? I am happy just to have hair. Even my good hair days are bad hair days, but having hair is good, better than no hair.

Why is that?

I don't know. I grew up thinking the long-hairs were the cool ones. The Hippies. The Freaks. Rock & Rollers always seemed to have hair. Of course, over the years, there have been some cool bald guys. I think of the basketball icon Michael Jordan. He made bald cool, for sure. Guys started shaving their heads.

But really, you know, Jordan is one of the exceptions. I try to imagine myself bald and it's not pretty. Cue ball. Hair. It's a hairy topic. I have almost always kept my hair long, thinking there's some mojo in those follicles. Probably not true, it's all just vanity, a little bit of madness.

In high school I had more hair on my head than any other boy in the whole school. I actually got kicked off the basketball team in my sophomore year because I wouldn't get my hair cut. I was a hair rebel. Funny. It turns out I wasn't very good at basketball, especially sophomore year, I was sort of short and pudgy, I didn't have growth spurt until Junior year, so really, the team, the coach didn't miss me. I disappeared into my own little world.

Hair, it actually seemed to help me be invisible. At least, I thought so. Most of my high school days I spent reading, playing guitar and trying to be invisible. Hiding behind long clumps of hair.

My life, the movie: Hair Travel. Travels in Hair.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Don't Forget Soul

Soul. You know, "the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life."

Soul. Don't forget Soul. It's another one of those invisible essential essences, one which we often forget, overlook or pretend doesn't exist.

Soul.

I came across this Alice Walker quote, while I was looking for something else, it's from a letter she wrote to Barack Obama when he became President in 2008. It seems appropriate and of the moment now, too.

"I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life…

Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world." -
Alice Walker

Monday, November 25, 2019

Show Up. Stand Up. Stand Out. Speak Up.

Show up.
Stand up.
Stand Out.
Speak Up.

Don't hide.
Don't give up.
Don't pass the buck.

Today.
This day.
This moment.

We can all
do our part
be responsible
be aware
be awake

The past can teach us
the future can beckon to us
the present is where we act.

We can live
with heart
love
soul.

Every day. Every moment of every day.
It's required.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Stuttering...

I heard an interview with Atlantic writer John Hendrickson this morning on NPR. Hendrickson wrote this article about Joe Biden's stutter, and Joe's battles trying to "overcome" stuttering. Hendrickson is also a stutterer.

The article might make you re-think some of Joe's verbal stumbles. You could listen to the way Biden speaks, and the success he has had in politics, in a new way. Maybe Joe's story is really a story of triumph and overcoming, a story of disability and adversity, and powering thru? I think that's how I will think about it going forward.

"Biden regularly characterizes stuttering as “the best thing that ever happened” to him. “Stuttering gave me an insight I don’t think I ever would have had into other people’s pain,” he says."

I did want to mention, Hendrickson's interview destroyed me this a.m. His difficulty speaking on the public airwaves was so different and jarring. Not what we usually hear on radio. It reduced me to a pool of tears. I don't exactly know why it hit me so hard.

My heart blew wide open. Can't explain it. A huge well of sadness came flooding thru my body.

I cried like a baby this a.m. I was hit in the solar plexus. It is amazing how much we all take for granted. I have no problem speaking. I come from a long line of talkers. Words roll off my tongue easily and with volume; the gift of gab. I come from a long line of gifted gabbers.

Still, when I was a child growing up, I was painfully shy, I was shy as teenager too. Growing up with the Nuns in Catholic school was a terrifying thing, and I remember having real difficulty speaking in class, reading in public. Doing any kind of public speaking in a classroom or auditorium was a world-shaking, harrowing thing. Getting words out took effort. My shyness was a great source of embarrassment. It's funny at home, and in small groups I had no trouble speaking up. I was kind of a quick talking, smart-ass.

The shyness is something I kind of put behind me.  Or let's say I put in a compartment. Taking acting classes and doing theater really helped me over that hurdle.

Early in my life, I had a friend who had a terrible stutter. Maybe that was what was resonating this morning? I don't know. I do remember kids picking on other kids. I remember seeing kids being picked out from the crowd, being picked on for faults, flaws, disabilities. It is amazing how mean human beings can be to other human beings.

Anyway, tears. They flowed out of me like a river. Crying for my fellow human beings. Why can't we all be just little bit more gentle and kind to each other? Not one of us is perfect, and maybe our flaws are really some kind of badge of honor or courage? The flaws are what make us unique, and beautiful? Maybe our suffering makes us more open and forgiving and helpful to others who suffer too?

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Do You See What I See?

I must admit I lost a bit of my mojo yesterday morning when I realized that some of my fellow citizens just refuse to see what I see. I do believe in truth (see previous post), truth is not Democratic, or Republican, it's isn't left wing or right wing, it's just plain truth. Facts are facts. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to get to the basic facts, but it's not impossible, it's very doable and necessary.

So yes, obviously, the President abused the power of his public office for his own personal, partisan gain. Here in Illinois we have a long sordid history where Governors have done the same thing, both Democrat and Republican Governors who have abused their office for personal/partisan gain. Those Governors went to jail.

This is not hard. This is not confusing. This does not require believing some vast conspiracy. Our Little Baby Man President is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. He even released a summary of a call documenting his crimes. Indefensible.

Easy to see. Easy to understand. Next steps? Full-on Impeachment. That's the essential, necessary, and patriotic thing to do...

Friday, November 22, 2019

Believe in Truth!

I'm reading Timothy Snyder's little book: "On Tyranny - Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century."

Highly recommended.  Essential. Of the moment.

This rings loud and true this A.M.

Chapter 10: Believe in Truth.

"To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights."

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Gordon Sundland - Burning Down the House!

I live with a clairvoyant.

It's not easy. I went to "psychic" (actually a misnomer, let's say meditation and creative visualization), school too (I have a diploma somewhere around here), but my partner is an extraordinary spirit, uncommon. I would say she exceeds me in the clairvoyant realm.

Both of us do our best to stay grounded, to find our calm center, to practice meditation and to employ creative visualizations.  The goal is always clear-seeing.

Yesterday my clairvoyant friend woke up singing "Burning Down the House" from the Talking Heads. The perfect soundtrack for the day. This was before we tuned into the Public Impeachment Hearings to mainline the latest testimony. I am a longstanding political junkie.

We listened to million dollar donor to Trump, current U.N. Ambassador, Gordon Sundland burn down the house. Funny. He named names in a quid pro quo conspiracy.

Yes. Gordy's testimony was a bit squishy, he didn't remember everything you'd think he'd remember, and some of what he didn't remember is probably pretty damn damning, but what he did remember is pretty damn damning too.

What did he remember? There was an extortion/bribery racket going down. Yes, Trump and all his co-conspirators knew about it. Yes, it's plain as day our President abused his power for his own political purposes and gain.

How are the Impeachment Hearings going for the Democrats, for the Country? Just peachy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Living Narrative.

Narrative... a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.

Yes.

What's the story, Morning Glory?

To understand our lives, and our place in the Universe, we need a working narrative. It can change, morph, grow, get confused, be complicated, be contradictory, etc. It can fold back on itself. Memories can be re-weaved.  So even our memories and experiences are up for re-interpretation and recasting. Still we always need an overall framework to explain events to ourselves and to others.

It's probably important to update the narrative often, to be willing to change, correct the story as new information, new events and new facts appear. It's okay, and maybe essential to revamp, renew, and rethink. Sometimes it's true there are times when, Everything We Know is Wrong...

Yes. A narrative. The greatest story ever told... each one of us is spinning and weaving the threads of a living narrative. Always.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Every Day.

Every day. An adventure. Each new day, untouched. Wonder what will happen today? Never really know. There are always little surprises along the way. What is the theme? A life. One step at a time.

We hold reality inside us, in our hearts and heads. There is the incoming, the outgoing. We are in the middle, a permeable container.

Breathe. Eat. Walk. Talk. Think. Dream.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Back to Basics.

It's Monday morning. Back to basics.

Clear-seeing.
Clarity.
Clear-headed-ness.

Music.
Love.
Laughter.

Spirit.
Love.
Mystery.

Truth.
Justice.
Facts.

Resilience.
Resourcefulness.
Stick-to-it-ive-ness

Fire.
Creativity.
Imagination.

Dreams.
Dreams.
Dreams.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

We Have Living To Do!

Some of my friends want to jump to the endpoint. They look at events unfolding and want to rush to the conclusion. I think it's a strategy they employ for not building up their Hopes, which they figure will be sadly and definitely crushed. So it's better to shoot Hope right in the middle of the heart, get to the messy and disappointing conclusion, drag Hope's sad carcass off to the wayside, bury her in a deep grave and move on.

Obviously if you jump far enough ahead in your thinking, you will be royally fucked...

The Universe is Expanding.
The Sun will eventually die, and all life on the planet will die.
You and everyone you know and love will die. Some of us will die early in our lives of horrible accidents, murders, & diseases.
The planet most likely will overheat, making things very dicey for Human Beings and all the other Species on this little blue planet.

Multiply the People, Multiply the Suffering.

It is a pessimistic view. But it is a viable survival strategy. A way to try to minimize the pain when things go bad. It is understandable. You could make a case that we are heading for disaster and there is no stopping the trajectory. You could make a case that human beings are foolish, ignorant, intolerant, selfish, greedy, corrupt, and they will always do the wrong thing.

Look at history. Look at today's newspaper. Look into your heart.

Alternatively, I say, well, shite, man, "The Future is Unwritten." Human Beings are fully capable of doing the good and right thing too. There are humans filled with Love, Grace, Hope, Good Feeling, Positive vibes. Creative, intelligent, vibrant, resilient, resourceful souls trying to muddle through. Human Beings looking to create a better day, a better way. A future.

Best not to look too far ahead. Stay in the present. What can done now? Can we live in this moment with Love, Heart, Compassion, Grace, Responsibility, Integrity, Kindness?

There are always surprises. The unexpected. The mysteries of the human heart and head. We don't know where this all goes. It's a battle. A chaotic, swirling mess. Hold on tight. I mean, whatever, man, Hope dies last. No sense jumping to the conclusion. We have living to do.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Sometimes the Truth, and Facts Matter...

I checked the JimmyDumps archives, looks like this was my first post about Roger Stone. The tell was the Nixon tattoo on his back. Not subtle. Yesterday, the man, the provocateur, the "rat-fucker" and dirty trickster was found guilty on 7 counts. Remember Stone was the go-between Wikileaks and the Trump campaign. Remember Wikileaks was weaponizing emails stolen by Guccifer a Russian hacker, meant to help Trump's campaign cheat to win the 2016 election. Remember Stone is an expert liar, a man who has all along been lying to protect our deeply corrupt Little Baby Man President. Turns out sometimes the Truth Matters. Sometime Facts Matter. Sometimes Justice is rendered. Sometimes the bad actors amongst us have to face the consequences of their acts.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Maybe My Tube Can Be Re-Filled?

William Blake wrote: "Energy is Eternal Delight."

Energy. Is it infinitely renewable? I don't know. Life seems to be attracted to Life, and Life seems to find a way. Yesterday (see previous post) I wrote about Hope. This morning I wonder, is Hope infinitely renewable?

Life. It does seem like a miracle, but of course, it's also a slog. I always fall back on my favorite Vince Lombardi quote: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

It always does seem to get tough. We want to ride the vibe of Hope, Love, Energy, Good Feeling, but there is no denying there are other forces out there too: Despair, Hate, Torpor, Bad Blood.

It is a battle of Good vs Evil, Light vs Shadow, ETC.

I don't want to be a happy-go-lucky, naive Fool. I want to lean to the light, I want to carry Hope forward, I do want to work towards a Better Day, but I also know that there are folks, political, social movements, governments, shadowy groups of people who don't give a good goddamn for any of my Hopes and Dreams.

It's all a Mystery (another one of my go-to ideas). Energy. It flows inside and outside. Some days you feel like you can fly. Other days you feel like a tube of toothpaste, all squeezed out. How do we renew, recharge, refill ourselves with Hope, Love, And Good Feeling?

Beats me. We just trust the process. Maybe my tube can be refilled? I mean, yeah, for sure.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

"No Man is Above the Law Day!"

Yesterday was light work day for my partner and I. It was sort of a little bonus day. So cold and icy outside, we spent most of the day inside. We listened to music, we watched some movies, we watched (on-line) and listened (on the radio) to great chunks of the 1st Day of Public Impeachment Hearings.

It was a beautiful day.

What started as "Anything Can Happen Day," morphed into, "NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW DAY!" We had a little pizza party with our flock of little birdies.  Yes, we ordered a pizza with everything on it: mushrooms, onions, cheese, bribery, extortion, corrupt backchannel, abuse of power, & quid pro quo.

So, yes, it was a day of celebration. It was good to see a few Americans stand up for the Constitution & and Rule of Law. We have high hopes that facts, and truth will overwhelm spin, disinformation and the bad fog of raw power and partisanship. We don't know how this will all play out, I mean, who really knows? We don't know, the future is unwritten, but we aren't afraid to be hopeful and be positive. We are optimistic realists around here. Imagineers too.

We still live in a reality where truth and facts and laws matter. We can envision a better day, a better government, a better country, a more perfect union, a better future. Yes, we can.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Life of an Addict.

"Know thyself."  Classic Delphic Maxim.

Yes. I think it's a good idea. If we are to live a life of clarity, it's best to start with yourself. You will spend most of your time living with yourself, so you should know the landscape, the features, the flaws, the pitfalls, the contradictions. You also should be aware of your blind-spots. Know what you know, but know that you don't know.

I am an addict. I have an addictive personality. I have discipline, but if I drop my guard, that discipline goes right out the window. As Oscar Wilde once said, "I can resist anything, but temptation." When I see a homeless person on street, someone struggling with substance abuse issues, my first thought, after I drop a coin into their cup is: "There but for the grace of God, go I."

For instance, chocolate, okay, maybe not the most pernicious, debilitating substance, I love it, it agrees with me, but I can totally eliminate it from my life for long stretches. It may not be bad for me, but once I start, I am insatiable. Always wondering when I will get my next fix. Yesterday, my friend gave me a little chocolate monkey, fine Belgian chocolate, locally made, infused with some delectable cream, a little monkey so cute, friendly, and delicious. I ate it in two bites.

No harm, right? It totally lit me up. Seriously. I was soon jumping around the kitchen, animated, gesturing, speaking in tongues. One little chocolate monkey just lit me on fire. Crazy. And of course, I wanted more. If a box of chocolate monkeys was in my possession, I would have gladly eaten the whole thing in one go.

That's the life of an addict. Good thing there were no more monkeys. If you have an addictive personality, the key to survival, the key to a good life, is to choose your addictive substances very carefully. So heroin, or opioids, crystal meth, cocaine, whiskey, junk food are definitely poor choices.

Coffee. Yes. Coffee. That is the one substance I have convinced myself I can live with. For instance, this morning. I wake up, a slight cloud of despair over me, it's a cold morning, the deep freeze in the heartland, it's gonna be a dark and cold day, a darkness kind of enters me... then, well, I brew my coffee, I drink a few cups, and well, euphoria!

One pot. Just one. Oh yeah, and maybe later today one potent cup from the local coffeeshop. I can manage my addiction. Yes. I can.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Reality TV is Not Reality, etc.

"Propaganda, all is phony." - Bob Dylan

"The more I see the lies, the more I hate the lies." 

We are being swamped by the lies. It takes all your powers of concentration to stick to facts, to peel back the onion, to try to get basic truths. Opinions are not facts. Sean Illing explores "How Fake News Conquered the World."  Disinformation is destroying the public mind, flooding our collective consciousness with garbage. It is a strategy, a marketing ploy, and way to render us powerless and befuddled.

"It’s also exceptionally cynical. The point, Pomerantsev says, isn’t to sell an ideology or a vision of the future; it’s to tell people that “the truth is unknowable” and that the only way forward is “to follow a strong leader.” This new style has not entirely replaced the old 20th century model of propaganda, Pomerantsev says, but it’s becoming increasingly widespread.

The book, titled This is Not Propaganda, is a disturbing look into the world of spin doctors, political operatives, and digital strategists, basically all of the people working in the shadows of the information war. Pomerantsev’s background gives him a unique perspective into the modern political circus, which is increasingly indistinguishable from reality TV."

Monday, November 11, 2019

Don't Lead With Your Chin.

Turns out my flip-phone (see previous post), rose from the dead. My "communication space" is fine. Calls made, received, both sides of the conversation alive and well. Maybe the phone just needed to sleep? I took the battery out, blew into the microphone a couple times, and let it sit.

Turns out sleep is essential all around. Yesterday, I woke up "sucking on a lemon," hat-tip: Thom Yorke, went to sleep late, got up early, I was brittle all day. This morning, well-rested, full of vim and vigor. Transformed. Ready to take on the world.

It is a weird journey. Feelings swirling, a goddamn hurricane inside every damn day. I got a text message from a friend yesterday, she was looking for advice, she didn't put it like this, but, boiled down to it's essence, basically her question was: "Why are human beings such shits?" 

I had to laugh at the one. Yikes, I mean, sad, but true, the question totally answers itself: "Human Beings are shits, because, well, Humans are Human, and often Human Beings are shits." No surprise, right? I mean, are you awake? Check out the headlines in the newspaper, the TV, online, radio, etc.

Of course, Human Beings are not only shits. Sometimes they will surprise you. Sometimes you even can surprise yourself. Best advice: Just don't lead with your chin. Sleep well. Recharge. Connect. It's a big world out there, do your best to navigate through the shit and the shits, and remember, the future is unwritten. The new day is untouched!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Voiceless.

"They" say there are no accidents. Who are they? You know, other people. For instance Deepok Chopra.

So I didn't accidentally drop my old flip-phone twice yesterday, and I didn't accidentally break the damn thing, it was not accidental that I find that I can dial up friends and relatives, I can hear them on the line, but they can't hear one damn word I say. It's all just hidden intention

I think this may be some kind of ideal situation for some folks who know me. They can talk all they want, they can regale me with stories, secrets, long rambling monologues, and well, I can't get in a word edgewise. I mean, I can babble all I want, but it all falls on deaf ears.

Voiceless. That's the hidden intention. What can I learn when I find my voice has no power, no ability to get across to another human being? Maybe there is some deep lesson here? Maybe it's time to just be intentionally quiet? Save my breath for other things? Maybe that breath is intended to fortify me for other things? Trashing my phone, what did I really intend, what does the day and the near future portend?

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Wake Up to the Signs and Wonders.


Yes. Unfortunately, I often forget, but I do believe, we all truly live in a world of signs and wonders. Often we are sleeping, sleep-walking through the day to day. Sometimes an image, an event, an insight, a song, a poem, a pebble in our path, makes us pull up, slaps us upside the head, shakes us awake. The mystery of life is all around us, it's like another realm, an invisible membrane, that floats above us, and surrounds us. Sometimes it leaks into the plain sight of day, sometimes it grabs us by the lapels and demands us to see.

This image from that amazing, illuminating, inspiring photographer, Michael Doubrava, is an example of one of those "signs and wonders" that changed the trajectory of my life, and changed the direction of the lives of a handful of significant folks that I know and work with. Funny. One strange, mysterious, luminous image on a t-shirt, it started a conversation which led to a cascading sequence of events, opened doors to new collaborators, new creative projects, new friendships, whole worlds of good work and creativity.

The direction of lives changed. Forever. Lots of great creative work ensued. It's funny to think that it was all so arbitrary, lucky, fortuitous.  A chance encounter. A casual conversation. A glimpse of the mystery. A creative shock. The world shook. Minds connected. And nothing was ever the same. So odd, and such a small moment, almost easy to forget or overlook.

Better to acknowledge the magic of the moment. Yes. Signs and wonders, they are around every corner, maybe even on the next t-shirt, the next blink of an eye. Open your eyes. It's easy. And essential.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Always Close to the "Creative Being."

What is it with my on-going Dylan obsession? I blame Paul Williams. His writing about Dylan is so eye-opening, inspiring, makes me see old albums with new eyes, opens my ears to records I sort of took for granted or overlooked the first time around. This morning I have "Planet Waves," "Street Legal," and "Infidels" on random play. Fabulous songs, great lyrics, superb bands, Dylan in fine voice, pretty much in his post-young-wunderkind-prime. I agree with Joan Baez, not everyone falls for Dylan, but if you do fall, you fall hard, really, really hard, and no other artist, no other body of work has the same bite, kick or resonance.

Williams sort of positions Dylan as an archetype, not just a man, a performer extraordinaire, and everything in his life is open to his creative self. Everything in his life is material, mulch, the fertile, luminous ground for poetry, imagery of heart, beauty, bitterness, sadness, fire, alchemy.

Dylan becomes the Magician, the Artist, the Poet, the Lover, the Evangelist, the Prophet, the Seer, the Fool, the Emperor, the Juggler, the Joker, the Alchemist, the Wicked Messenger, the Prodigal Son. Dylan is everything. A man, a twisted, flawed, brilliant, crusty, a curmudgeon of a human being. I sink into his work, into his vast catalog of songs and always emerge inspired, fired up.

I feel like Dylan helps me get in touch with my own "creative being." And really, that is the most important thing for me. To always be close to that creative spirit, to carry it with me through every day. Dylan's music is a doorway, a portal. Always open and ready to let me in.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter.

Two posts ago I linked to an op-ed by Martin Scorsese, Art vs. Commerce. I take Marty's point, if you go to the big movie multiplex today all you will find are the big soulless theme park movies. Grand hollow spectacles. Art is nowhere to be seen. It must be confounding, disturbing and heart-breaking for a filmmaker like Scorsese who came of age when art films actually had the opportunity to find a mass audience. Commerce has swamped Art. No doubt.

I remember seeing some great "art films" at first-run movie houses, the audience totally packed to the rafters, films like "Magnolia," "Taxi-Driver," "The Deer Hunter," "Apocalypse Now," "Scarface," "The French Connection," "The Exorcist," "The Shining," "Eyes Wide Shut," "Boogie Nights," "The Godfather (both I and II).

Those movies were able to cut through and reach a wide audience. Nowadays those films would either not be made, or would be found streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime. The movie business is a hard master.

But you know, Art will find a way. I also remember going to "art houses" to see movies by Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, Werner Herzog, Jean Luc Godard, Louis Malle, Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lean, Francois Truffant, Orson Welles. These films had just as much an impact as any of the others. Often I saw these films in nearly-empty theaters, with students and other cranky, off-kilter souls like me.

So yes, Art vs. Commerce. In the multi-plex, Commerce is triumphant, but you know, Art will find a way. It's like water. The creative impulse, the creative spirit cannot be crushed. It's the same in the world of Music, or Theater, or Poetry. Folks will create, they will put work out into the world. And if you seek you will find. All that is Gold does not glitter.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Empty Vessel.

Nature abhors a void.
Clear a space
in your room
in your head
it will be filled.

It is good to clear
open the door
open the window
see what flies in
what scoots out.

Empty vessel
waiting for
the next thing.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Art vs. Commerce.

I liked the print edition headline better: "The Dying Art of Filmmaking."

I know exactly what Martin Scorsese is writing about. Scorsese and I come from a time when movies,  those shown on the big screen, were an "art form." "Cinema as an equal to literature or music or dance."

Theme Park spectacles have swamped the art movie.  No doubt. Check your local multiplex. How many damn Marvel super-hero movies can we stomach?

"For anyone who dreams of making movies or who is just starting out, the situation at this moment is brutal and inhospitable to art. And the act of simply writing these words fills me with terrible sadness." - Martin Scorsese

Monday, November 04, 2019

Beat a Drum, Close Your Eyes, Let the Visions Come...

Clarity. Lucidity. Clearness. Transparency.

So many resonances yesterday. The day after (see previous post), my night with the Shamans. I felt like an empty vessel. Cleared out. Opened.

The Poets and the Prophets, they follow their visions, they listen, and act, they embody new information. During the drum circle I envisioned an amazing scene. It seemed so real, but at the same time it was like a day-dream, I knew that I was in a room, banging on a drum, but at the same time I was in another realm with strange beings, in the midst of strange and momentous happenings.

How do I explain it to myself? I am a long-time meditator. I often do creative visualizations. So nothing strange or weird about conjuring up scenes in my head. Vivid, lucid, dreams. I know when I am awake in the world, and I know when I am in the middle of dream. The two realms do not bleed into each other.

So, no, it doesn't feel like madness. Just affirmation of my creative sensibility. It's the same force I use to write songs, or write plays, or dream, day-dream. I have always felt really close to my creative being. It's one of the strongest aspects of myself.

So yesterday, back to the "real world." Walking around in a familiar environment. But in a small way, everything was transformed. Everything was more real, more defined. Everything alive, full of possibility. Maybe it's always like that, but I noticed it. The world glowed around me. I seemed more defined too.

It's funny to be reminded that the mundane and extraordinary sit side by side at all times. There is the sacred and profane, the brilliant insight, the hair-brained idea, the sublime and ridiculous, the holy and the silly. Sometimes it's just a matter of degrees, a matter of perspective. These simple things can have maximal impact.

A small thing, a simple thing. Beat a drum, close your eyes, let the visions come. It's a trip, a journey. Momentous, but simple, mundane too.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Hanging with the Shamans.

For the second year in a row we celebrated the Day of the Dead by hanging out in a roomful of Shamans. I wrote about last year's experience here.

This year, what to write? How to write about the unwritable? How to know the unknowable? The short answer, last night was a powerful, transcendent, inspiring event. It was an amazing experience.

I focused on the drum, on drumming , on being one with my drum. I became the drum. I could feel my body sort of melt away, and I was just the act of drumming. Pure motion. Pure sound. There is something powerful about completely "losing yourself" in the moment.  Hard to explain. Just one of those things to experience. The summing up pretty much misses the mark.

There was a journey, a healing; a community of musicians, seekers, healers and seers all converging, focusing their energy in one unified experience. Nothing quite like it. Sort of like a church service, but much more primitive, other-worldly.  I went to amazing places. Discovered amazing things. Really. I would love to tell you all about it, but I think the power of it all would diminish in the telling of the tale. Better just to embody the knowledge, the experience. It's deeper, more profound that way.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Day of the Dead, 2019.

Yes. Today. November 2, 2019, The Day of the Dead. 

Just a note: You will be dead. We all will. Everyone we know and love, and everyone we don't know and don't love too. Many have come and gone before us, and (most likely), many will come and go after us. It's a bit daunting & humbling. Being human. Kind of puts us all in our place. No immortality. Living forever just doesn't seem to be in the cards.

We don't really know what death is, maybe we find out, maybe we don't, maybe it's just a grand mystery or maybe there will be some astonishing reveal. No sense in worrying about it, no sense in being afraid. It's natural. Part of the process.

I fall back on the idea that life is a mystery and death is a mystery too. There's a light in that mystery. We just don't know. Maybe death is just a reconstitution, a reincarnation, a transformation of energy? Everything is energy. Everything is connected. Everything is something else.

It's that kind of confusion and contradiction that frees me. What's it all about? Who knows? We are just human beings. We don't know. Maybe we can't know. We are born, live and die. Part of some grand cycle.

We walk into the movie theater. The movie has been playing for a long time, almost an eternity, and we will exit well before the movie finishes. We get to see what we get to see. We experience what we experience. And then... well... I suppose we will find out... or not...

Friday, November 01, 2019

We Need an Impossible Future


If we are going to save ourselves, our species, in the face of our own stupidity and greed, and the shredding of the life-giving ecosystem that supports human and all other life on the planet, we need some good ideas and pronto. We really need to think out of the box.

We need an Impossible Burger... we really, really do. "To dream the impossible dream." Turns out Pat Brown is the "Man of La Mancha." I highly recommend you read this article from the New Yorker, a few issues back: "Can A Burger Help Solve Climate Change?" Pat Brown - "A sixty-five-year-old emeritus professor of biochemistry at Stanford University, Brown is the founder and C.E.O. of Impossible Foods. By developing plant-based beef, chicken, pork, lamb, dairy, and fish, he intends to wipe out all animal agriculture and deep-sea fishing by 2035."

Fuck yeah. That's ambitious. A better burger. Not just a veggie burger. A burger that tastes like meat, better than meat, the best freaking burger you've ever eaten. Funny. I haven't actually eaten a hamburger since early in Ronald Reagan's Presidency. I'm pretty much a vegetarian, with a few lax carnivore episodes. Giving up meat has not been hard. I am shocked more folks aren't vegetarians. Seems like the healthier way to go. I mean, better for our bodies, better for our planet. Come on, folks, give it a try! Vegetables!

It is safe to say, we need more vegetarians on the planet. We need to eliminate meat, eliminate the meat industry as it stands. We need less cows. Less cow burps and farts. They are helping kill our ecosystem, we are mowing down our forests so those cows can graze. Insanity. Yes, really, I know it sounds silly, ridiculous. Our addiction to burgers, our addiction to fast food is helping destroy the interconnected web of life. Seems impossible. But it's true. We really do need the Impossible Burger. Have I eaten one? Not yet. But I plan on tracking one down soon. I am willing to sink my teeth into the impossible. I'll let you know how it goes, but really this is a great idea. Necessary.

Pat Brown could help save us from our own doomed madness. I wish him the best. We really do need an Impossible Burger. We need the Impossible. Go on, give it try. A better idea for a better world, and a real future.

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