Vote Blue 2020

Vote Blue 2020

Sunday, September 20, 2020

If Joe Wins, the Toxic Clown Prez Promises to Disappear! Yay!!!

OMG. This is the greatest pledge our current Toxic Clown Prez has ever uttered. If Joe beats him on Nov. 3rd he promises to go away. Yes. Best news I have heard so far today. Let's make sure it happens. Vote Biden/Harris... Vote Blue 2020. To never hear or see the Toxic Clown again?! Mercy, that would be so, so wonderful. Good for the Nation, the World, good for our collective Mental Health. A good start to a new beginning, a renewed Democratic movement, and a Progressive future. More heart, humanity, compassion, empathy & love. PERFECT!

 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Time To Fight Tooth and Nail...

RBG was an amazing woman and Judge. A towering American figure. She will be greatly missed. Her passing reminds us that one human being can make a difference.

I expect there will now be a brutal political battle over her replacement. I hope the Democrats fight tooth and nail to prevent the Toxic Clown Prez's nominee, whoever they happen to be, from being confirmed. It should not happen.

Let's elect a new President, a new Senate and then confirm a new Supreme Court Judge. This is an existential fight. We need to fight for our Democracy. Democrats, stand up and be counted. Get Up, Stand Up, Don't Give Up the Fight.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Funny. Life.

Life. You know this rollicking, over-stuffed force that surges thru everything. Life. This overpowering phenomena that animates us, and animates everything surrounding us. We are just a little strand, a fiber of life. We have our little portion. Nothing special. Every insect owns a portion too. Every little critter, every little being under the sun. Every plant. Life. Energy. As Wm Blake once wrote: "Eternal Delight."

There is an ebb and flow. Maybe really we don't own a portion. Life/Energy flows thru us. We are just little vehicles, containers, or little packages that serve the ebb and flow. Sometimes we exude excess energy, sometimes we are nearly empty, needing a good recharge.

Funny. Life.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Renew, Recharge, Reimagine...

Quiet, concentrated listening today.

Yes. Take a deep breath.
Less  talking.
Try to still the internal monologue.

Tend to the silence.
Tune out the noise.

Seems like a capital idea.
Renew, recharge, re-imagine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sometimes Democracy Does Not Deliver...

No, unfortunately, sometimes Democracy does not deliver the "Best & the Brightest," instead, we get the "Worst, Dimmest & Most Toxic."

That Loud Fat Toxic Clown walking thru the ashes of decimated forests in C.A. was on the radio yesterday morning refusing to acknowledge the reality of "Climate Change." Can we re-brand it as "Climate Catastrophe?" Or "Murdering our Interconnected, Life-Supporting Ecosystem?" 

I mean, Shite. Find the dumbest, most pig-headed person in your neighborhood, make them President. He or she would be infinitely better than that Freaking Toxic Idiot. He must go...

Biden/Harris 2020... 



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Test, or No Damn Test...

Great sleep. Disturbing dreams. That's new. They are also so mundane. So real-world. Sometimes I am working at a company I hate. Or I am engaged in conversation with people I don't like. Or I'm taking a test (damn, I'm always taking a test), and missing something important, like the location of where the test is being held, or, hilariously, I can't find a pen, or, well, of course, I don't possess any of the knowledge needed to actually pass the test. A mission of failure.

Still waters run deep. I think I'm doing fine. That all is well with the world, but my mind is a warring, whirling, disturbing thing. Yeah, and then making the coffee this morning, I think, well of course, the message is crystal clear: You Just Can't Pass the Test.

Seems so damn pessimistic. I mean, I think I have decided that that is a "lie in my space." Fuck that. I don't need to live up to anyone else's conception of what my life is supposed to be, or what my life means, or adds up to.  Even if these doubts, slings and arrows are coming from my own overheated mind, my own consciousness. My own "judgement." WTF?

I decide to choose a alternate narrative. At least in my waking hours.

The a.m. soundtrack - U2's "All That You Can't Leave Behind."  (2000). I play this one this morning as an affirmative act of defiance. I actually play the first track twice. Loud. In the kitchen. Feel the adrenaline rush. "It's a Beautiful Day." ! Exclamation point. This record looms as a major statement. It didn't seem like that when it first came out. But today, 20 years later, it looms as some grand opus of optimism, hope, grace. It acknowledges loss, death, pain, separation, but still the sound, the intensity, the passion in the grooves carries you, lifts you up. Recorded before 9/11, before the Iraq Debacle, before the Torture Regime, before "hatred of the other" became a national pastime, before the Economic Meltdown, before Obama, the Toxic Clown and the Raging Global Pandemic. Like they say, a more "innocent time." Although of course, no one was innocent then either. It's a beautiful day, you got a problem with that? Beautiful, yes, test, or no damn test...

Monday, September 14, 2020

A Break...

It is amazing...

a bit of sun
cooler temps
long bike ride
a sit-down on a bench
watching the trees sway
waves crashing into the shore
folks out and about
most with masks
physically-distant
all is good with the day.

a good meal
wrote a new song
read a book
listened to music.

i mean, yes things are dicey...

still, at least for one day, the motto:

"what, me worry?"

Sunday, September 13, 2020

My Tribe...

When I am pushed up against the wall by the gruesome daily news and circumstances out of my control, I reach for a lifeline. I turn to Art. A great movie, (for instance, yesterday we watched P.T. Anderson's great magnum opus, "Magnolia"), or a good book (lately I have been reading r&r origin stories - Television, Patti Smith Group, Talking Heads, Ramones). I turn to My Tribe. Who and What constitutes My Tribe?  Artists. Creators. Filmmakers, Writers, Musicians, Poets, Painters. Anyone who does the Good Work of creative expression.

This has been my go-to mode most of my life. I mean, since I was a Wee Lad. It started with Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island." I found Freedom and Adventure in the pages, the words, the images conjured up in my head. Later it was the Beatles, Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan that totally captivated me, took me to other places beyond my little room.

I have spent most of my life in that land. It is a land without borders. It is filled with wonderful characters, I mean, Saints, Holy Fools, Prophets: Sam Shepard, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, John Lennon, Dylan, Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, Paul Bowles, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Jimi Hendrix, etc.

You can time-travel in an instant. Fill yourself up with the Power and the Glory of words, sounds, creative explorations of all kinds...

I recommend it.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Cascade...

"Cascade of Failure."

I remember being at the hospital and hearing a Doctor say those words.
One system fails, and it leads to other failures, a cascade, 
and then, finally, total collapse.

Feeling the effects of a World-Wide Cascade this a.m.

An Ecological Catastrophe
A Political Calamity
A Brain-Dead Leader
A Raging Global Pandemic
A Loud, Ignorant, Malignant Populace

Our fellow creatures are dying. 
Our Beautiful Little Blue Planet, 
our Life-Supporting, 
Interconnected Ecosystem is Dying.
Yes, this is a time of grieving.

No way around it. 
It's has been a week of darkness and rain in the Heartland,
raging, fiery, hell-scape in California.

Life. Love. Loss.

The a.m soundtrack - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "Ghosteen."  (2019). An album of loss & sadness. Grieving. Sad. Gorgeous.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Messages...

I get messages when I'm sleeping. Don't you?

I don't know if it's just my own brain downloading info, or angels beaming to me, or if some other grand, invisible being is checking in. I mean, who really knows?

Last night I got some great song ideas. A little sonic to-do list. And I also got the message that: "Food is medicine."

I mean, I guess I already knew that. So it was just a reminder. The best medicine is food. A varied diet. I do think this is true. Best to stay away from the pharmaceuticals if you can. Go for organic stuff made by nature.

Nature seems to be wiser and older than us. And there is a payoff there. So good food, you know the stuff grown in the garden, the field, the grasslands. Vegetarian. Avoid that factory farm shit. And don't forget spices & herbs.  I do believe that garlic and cayenne pepper (for instance), are healing and magical. Really. I mean it. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

A Dastardly Bad Year...

2020.
No doubt.
A dastardly bad year.

Who knew?
We had hope
we had faith
we thought the year
would be a good one.

A year of clarity.
A pivot year.

And, you know,
it may well be.

Maybe darkest before the dawn.
This is a year of clear-seeing.
So much trouble.

I envision a decisive turn
to honesty, responsibility,
empathy, competence, good
government on November 3rd.

Voting Biden/Harris. 
The alternative is too, too gruesome.

In the meantime, we are swimming
in lies, incompetence, corruption,
complicity with evil.

We are still in the dastardly bad 
part of a dastardly bad year. 

YIKES!

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Sometimes Hot, Sometimes Cold, Always Changing...

It's hot. It seems it's always been hot, and always will be. 

It's cold. It seems it's always been cold, and always will be. 

It's always changing. Sometimes slowly, sometimes in a flash.  We adjust in the moment. Don't even realize we are adjusting. Then one day we wake up and we realize everything is different, everything has changed; the air, the tilt of the sun, the temp, the cells in our bodies, the lines on our faces, the hairs on our heads.

It happens by the hour, by the day, by the month, by the year, by the decade, by a lifetime. Time. We have nothing but time, time is fleeting, time is ephemeral, time doesn't exist, time is everything, time is nothing.

Take your pick.

It's finally good sleeping weather around here. Long, restful sleep. Except for the dreams. Lots of dreams. Strange. Familiar. Disturbing. 

Last night, I was at a large building, supposed to take an important test. Can't find a pen, can't find the room, can't find the test, have no place to sit, don't really know what I'm doing, where I am, who I am. Frantic. Unsure. 

I finally get my hands on the test. It's in a language I can't read. Hah! So yes, I guess my dream was a message, or a display, a little performance. Reminding me of my life in the day-time world.

A bit like a stranger in a strange land, sometimes hot, sometimes cold, always changing.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Lost in the Rabbit Hole of Sound...

Yesterday, I got lost deep down in a rabbit hole. I mean, between a pizza party, watching the last episode of that glorious documentary on the Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 90's, "The Last Dance," (such a superb movie, inspiring, exciting, entertaining, heart-breaking, beautiful, oh so human, tells the story of an amazing group of human beings, changing the world. It's a world I know well, I lived thru it too, and now it's a time and place long gone, before 9/11, before the Iraq War, before the torture regime, before 8 years of Bush/Cheney hell, before financial crisis, before Obama, before the Toxic Clown years, before the raging global pandemic, a way of life that can never retrieved, except in film and memory), and a long, meandering bike ride on the lakefront, I was chasing sound. I am working on a musical project. Lost in the sound-waves, riding the vibes. It's all very spontaneous, intuitive, improvisational. I have no clue if any of these tracks will ever see the light of day, if they will ever find life beyond my own headphones. There is something so exciting about working on a project, something so cool about totally submerging into the flow. It is freeing. You drop your ego and give it up to the moments of sound. I love the process. First the inspiration, the exploration, the experimentation, the total abandonment of "play." Then there is the futzing, the editing, the culling, and trimming and sometimes trashing. You go thru the stages. It's all very satisfying. Finally, you have a few tracks. You think they're pretty good. You wonder if anyone will ever hear them.  Maybe. Who knows?

Monday, September 07, 2020

Living with Clarity

I slept. Had disturbing dreams. I dreamed I was back in business. Selling computer software. A fraud of a company. I felt like a fraud too. There are great chunks my life (decades long ago), where I spent time with people I didn't respect, didn't trust, didn't like. I did a lot of acting & pretending to get along. Years of Fear & Loathing. WTF was I thinking?

I mean, I was young, clueless, didn't really know what life was about, and how I was gonna navigate thru it all.

Not a very healthy or rewarding way to live, or to make a living. Living lies in cahoots with other folks lying too. I think much of our economy, most of the jobs available, are all about living with lies. The successful folks are ones who have perfected living with the lies. I found there were always much better liars than I. So even in that I felt a bit like a fraud and a failure. I couldn't really carry on the charade all that well. I think I lived with the fear of exposure. And the fear of realizing that I was truly wasting away.

I don't do kind of thing anymore. It's a soul-killer. The things I do are things I truly like to do. I keep it simple. Don't make lots of $, but I feel like I earn my money honestly. I think there is nothing wrong with working hard, doing a good job. 

I like living simply, humbly, honestly. I don't lie to myself or others. It's cleaner, clearer and just all-around healthier. 

Anyway, in my dream I was back in the fraud biz. And I couldn't hide it anymore. I was heading for a confrontation. A "come to Jesus" moment. The dream was about a reckoning. I didn't get to the end. Don't know how it all turned out. I have a weird a.m. hangover this morning. Glad to be alive, awake, aware. Living with clarity...

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Time-Traveling...

Time-traveling.  

We all do it. I remember living thru the 1980's (just picking one decade out of many possible candidates). Now long gone. I mean, totally, that world does not exist. You can name Presidents, you can list events, but you can't really conjure up the days, the smells, the air, the vibes, the moments, the tiny tick-tocks in which you lived. The years are like passing rivers. They rush over you, you can't cling, you try to swim or float along, you are carried, sometimes you sink.

You look up and there's another decade, a random collection of years, gone.

Today we wake into The Raging, Global Pandemic 2020 (Year One). A strange time in which to find yourself. Lots of things you used to do, you don't do. You spend lots more time thinking about bacteria, and the danger of other people breathing on you.

Spending long days at home or riding a bike. Writing songs, playing music. Streaming movies. 

Life just ticks along. Everything is different today. And tomorrow will be different too.

We can open our minds, fire up our imaginations, put ourselves in other times and places, times and places in which we lived, we were there, but we are not there now. In fact, there is no "there, there" now. Oh yeah, there are some foggy memories. Events. Photos, movies, literature reflecting those times, but of course those are just glimpses. Not the real thing. The real thing evaporated moment by moment, then, and now. 

The a.m soundtrack - A dark, rainy morning in the Heartland. Listening to Natalia Lafourcade's  "Hasta la Raiz." (2015). A blast of sunshine. Gorgeous vocals, great band. In Spanish. I don't understand a word. The cover of the CD conjures up the past. The music mashes up sounds from the past, present, and future. The future is in the grooves. Great record.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Hope. Yes.

Hope. Yes.  Can't be afraid to Hope. I mean, you have to nudge Hope out there to conquer the Fear. You have to let it float. They will shoot at you, try to knock you down, try to steal that Hope and turn it to Fear. But you must hold on tightly. Keep it close. And at the same time let it loose, let it fly. Let it see the light of day and soar into the clouds.



"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the Soul
And sings the time without the words
And never stops at all"

-- Emily Dickenson

Friday, September 04, 2020

Of Course the Story is True...

Is there really anyone on planet earth who doesn't believe this story is true?

Trump: Americans Who Died in the War Are are 'Losers and 'Suckers. Read it and weep.

Come on. Are you sentient and alive? Of course this man disparaged our fallen soldiers. Haven't you been paying attention? This creep, this toxic swamp of a human being, disrespects everyone that isn't him. Of course he would refuse to visit the graves of fallen soldiers if was going to get his hair mussed. Of course he would call the fallen ones, "losers."

If you know anything, you know this man goes out of his way to knock down bronze star soldiers, fallen heroes, anyone who normally, and rightly demands respect. Come on. I mean, even the folks who like this guy, know that this is how this guy acts.

No doubt. No kidding. Of course. It's a total shame and disgrace, but really, come on, that is how this human paraquat rolls...

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Almost..

One day, the highlight is a conversation of art, life and what's it all about (see previous post). The next day, the highlight is almost swallowing a hornet. Yikes. 

Almost. I mean, we're sitting on a bench, sipping ginger beer, reflecting on a beautiful summer day. A "sit-down" in the middle of one of our rambling bike rides on the lakefront.

The cicadas are buzzing. The trees are swaying in the breeze. And yes, there are a few bugs buzzing around our heads. We have been forewarned.

I take a cold, refreshing sip of ginger beer, and I can feel something on my tongue, something foreign, something alive. Yikes. I have an immediate, instant, reaction. I spit out the mouthful of liquid onto the ground below. At my feet, there's a little, soggy hornet, soaked in ginger beer. One wonders if he feels like he hit the jackpot of sweetness and sugar, or does he too, realize he almost got swallowed into the gaping maw of death?

He staggers away into the grass. My friend conjures a dire picture with words: "You could have swallowed that hornet. He could have stung you. You know a hornet like that can sting multiple times. He could have stung your tongue, your throat, stinging you all the way down. Who knows, maybe you have a bad reaction, your tongue blows up, your throat swells, you can't swallow, you can't breathe, you turn blue, I have to call 911, the ambulance comes to get you... I mean, oh... my... goodness..."

I reflect on the scene of mayhem. Scenes of my life pass before me. Life. It's a funny thing. I realize I've dodged a bullet, instantly, luckily, escaped an existential threat. Shite. Just sitting on a bench, sipping a ginger beer, so innocent, so unaware. Danger lurks, even in a simple sip, the stinger is just a sip away. Everything hinges on one word. Almost. Yep. Almost did. But didn't...

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Interview Yesterday...

Yesterday afternoon I was interviewed for an art project I am working on. Funny. I can really talk. I mean, once I get going, who knows where my mind will go? I was rambling on about the "singing Universe," about how everything in the Universe is musical; alive and vibrating. How Planet Earth sings at a certain frequency. How rocks & trees, and dirt, and stars and beings are all alive, made of the same stuff, both waves and particles, how every is connected. I was a on a roll. I talked about the fundamental mystery of the Universe, how we are on a journey of discovery. How meditation and contemplation has helped me focus and tune into this glorious reality.

Holy Shite. 

I sometimes forget all these ideas are trapped inside me. I talked about creativity, spontaneous creation, pure sound, dropping the ego and synching with a greater force. I talked spirituality, creative visualization, psychedelics, playing guitar, exploring new instruments, open tunings, fooling myself into an undifferentiated, unconscious flow. Yes, I talked flow activities. Getting lost in the moment. Being alive, aware, awake to everything. 

I talked about r&r, jazz, classical, r&b. I talked Kerouac & Zen. I talked basketball, Michael Jordan and the Bulls, Lebron James, social activism, and Black Lives Matter. I talked about the deep divide in America. Those with eyes and heads open and those deaf, dumb and blind. I talked about growing up in Catholic grade school. Rebelling against the Nuns. My insight that yes, indeed, I was going to hell. No doubt.

I recounted my adventures in Jamaica, in Edinburgh, Scotland. A trip to France. My hitchhiking adventures across USA. 

We connected, my interviewer and I. We agreed we were both committed to the Progressive agenda of Justice, Equality, Love & Empathy, Art. We talked Art. How it's important to do the work. The work is more important than the latest trend. That sometimes you tune out the noise, and connect to a deeper sound. We agreed the new "mindfulness" was a movement worth exploring.

Yes, well, the words just spilled out of me. Not sure what it all added up to. I can talk. My mind is a roiling landscape with lots of threads, detours, and rabbit holes. Afterwards I was tired, empty. I wondered what the hell was that? Did I say what should be said? Who knows? The words, they just rolled out...

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

One Large Swirl...

The Universe is one large swirl. Every day is "groundhog day." It's a mysterious place. The same, but different, but the same.

This morning, no sun, I wake up late. Later than usual. I wake to the sound of two little dogs screaming bloody murder at each other. It happens every morning, but usually I am already up and brewing coffee in the kitchen. This morning the daily bloody ritual happens right outside my open window. Two little dogs that hate each other. They yap, growl, yip, scream; pull furiously at their leashes, trying to break away and rip each other apart.

These little dogs do this every morning. You might want to ask why their owners do the same thing every day? Why do they bring these dogs to the corner? Why do these dog hate each other? Why is this little corner ritual played out every day? 

Who knows? Might as well ask why the sky is blue. 

The a.m. soundtrack - I have been playing this one every morning lately - "Cha Cha Palace"  (2020) by Angelica Garcia. A glorious, wild ass record. The music, moves and grooves. And so many great sounds. And so many great lines: "Karma is a Knife." "I don't believe in Death." "Lucifer is Waiting." Yes, Angelica is onto something really great here. A total knockout.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Nasty & Stupid?

Could it all get lots more nasty and stupid? 

Yes. Indeed. Expect it.

The Toxic Clown Prez will not go down easily. Expect the worst. The absolute worst. It's not hard, he is a bottom-feeder, a toxic-troller of great range and distinction. As his sister said on a secret recording: "He has no principles." He doesn't care if the country burns. In fact, he'd love to make it happen.

What to do? Be cool. Take it easy. Tune out the noise. Keep your head. Keep calm. Wear your mask. Avoid those MAGA-hat wearing hordes. They are Ignoramuses. The Barbarians at the Gate. How stupid can stupid be? Very, very stupid.

The antidote: Meditation. Silent contemplation. A good book. A great record. Play. Have fun. Take care. Sleep well, eat well. Go for a long walk. Smell the roses.

Stay positive. Vote Blue. Vote early. Main thing, vote: Biden/Harris 2020. Blue Wave America...

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Looking for Signs of Intelligent Life on Planet Earth...

Planet burning up
Natives getting restless
Pickup trucks, Trump signs, rifles
Burly, young, men, ignoramuses
Looking for trouble

The rest of us need to chill out
Cooler heads unite

There are those fanning the flames
They are edgy, itchy trigger-fingers
They must be ignored

There are bigger fish to fry
Bigger problems to tackle
We need brain-power
Love, Compassion, Empathy
A bit of Human Intelligence

Looking for signs of Intelligent Life
on Planet Earth

Saturday, August 29, 2020

We Must Never Forget...

We must never forget... 

Blame nature for the virus, blame our Toxic Clown Prez for his incompetence, corruption, ignorance, denial in response to the virus. The man is a total disgrace. We deserve so much better.


Friday, August 28, 2020

The Dog-Star Rages...

The Dog-Star Rages - I'm Sirius! 


"The dog days
or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

The English name is a calque of the Latin dies caniculares (lit. "the puppy days"), itself a calque of the ancient Greek κυνάδες ἡμέραι.[1] The Greeks knew the star α Canis Majoris by several names, including Sirius "Scorcher" (Σείριος, Seírios), Sothis (Σῶθις, Sôthis, a transcription of Egyptian Spdt), and the Dog Star (Κῠ́ων, Kúōn).[2] The last name reflects the way Sirius follows the constellation Orion into the night sky.[3]"

Right. It's hot all over. Some parts of the country are totally on fire. I'd say that the "Dog-Star Rages!" 

What happens when the Dog-Star Rages? You become a Dog. Your tongue hangs out. Your ears droop. You are all teeth & fur. You are itchy, grouchy, you bark often. You just feel Doggy. Your tail doesn't wag, it hangs limp from your backside. You just don't feel up to it. The days are just too damn hot, too long, nothing happens, everything seems to come to a hot, sticky, standstill. Even sitting in the shade provides no relief. The breeze is hot. Tired. You are bone-tired. You have the A/C cranked at home, but it just doesn't do the trick. 

You wonder is this the FUTURE? Is this Climate Catastrophe in action? Your brain is too doggie to figure it out. You just roll over and play dead. You do have enough energy to click on the radio. You hear that "Sleepy Joe," is now "Joe, The Destroyer." This makes a smile come across your doggie face. Our little Toxic Clown Prez is now whining about "big, bad, Joe."

Hah! OK. Maybe there is some life in this old dog. "Joe, the Destroyer!" Good morning! Makes you want to sit up and bark! Woof, Woof!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

We Have Work to Do...

Melania's Rose Garden. If we are going to kill the American Dream, it will be with bling, corruption, lies and Authoritarianism... 


One of the things required of an "intelligent" human being (is that an oxymoron?) - the ability to embrace contradiction. To hold opposing ideas in your head. 

For instance: America is a great country. A melting pot. A democracy. A fabulous experiment in melding peoples and cultures. A multi-cultural extravaganza. Born in Revolution. Land of the Free. Home of the Brave. Walk the streets of New York, Chicago, L.A. amazing. Think of the American characters that have inhabited the place, characters born and bred here (just a few names off the top of my head that inspire me): Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Patti Smith, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, Crazy Horse, MLK Jr. Barack Obama, JFK, Malcolm X, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Andy Warhol, Black Elk, Sam Shepard, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Tweedy, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, James Baldwin, Jack Kerouac, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, David Foster Wallace, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Ceasar Chavez, Otis Redding, RFK, Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters, FDR, Dorothy Day, Gloria Steinem, Howling Wolf, Sitting Bull, Thomas Merton, RZA, GZA, Wu-Tang Clan, D'Angelo, QuestLove, David Letterman, Georgia O'Keefe, Jerry Seinfeld,  Joe Biden, Aretha Franklin, Robert Johnson, Townes Van Zandt, Tom Petty, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, John Belushi, Wes Anderson, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, etc.

On the other hand: No doubt, the country has deep, entrenched problems. It was birthed in revolution. And forged in Genocide. We totally wiped out the American Indians. We built our economy on Slavery. Human abomination. We built a society based on White Supremacy, and it is reflected in all of our institutions. It all may seem like ancient history, but it's not. You can see the results and the scars, and the pain & suffering in the streets today. We have a lot of work to do to get to that better ideal of a land of Truth, Justice, & Equality for all. We aren't there yet.

So yes, the contradiction. Wonderful ideal of a country with a bloody, sordid, unjust, unequal history. The goal: a more perfect union.

I was texting with a friend. He tells me he doesn't post about wearing masks, racism, Trump, BLM on social media. He thinks it destroys friendships. I pointed out "some friendships aren't worth the time." I prefer to weed out the racists. You know, life is short, no time for assholes. Also lately, I think "Silence = Complicity." Also, lately, getting my advice from PUSSY RIOT!



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

3 Things I Learned this A.M.

Things I've learned since my first cup of coffee this a.m. listening to the radio...

1. Racist people really, really don't like being told they are racist. It really, really pisses them off. They won't accept the idea of racism. They will do anything they can to deny, deflect & defend themselves. They will happily vote for a racist to prove they aren't racist, by pretending that the racist they are voting for isn't racist. They will happily support a racist America, because well, their racism is just fine and dandy, and actually doesn't even exist and even though America was founded on Slavery and Genocide, and the Constitution was written to exclude lots of human beings, that history is just fake news, right?! I mean, in their minds, racism isn't a thing. Even though institutional racism is deeply entrenched in all aspects of our society and has been since the founding of the country and every day, even up to today, racial justice and equality is not a given, it's a struggle, a vision, a way forward, the progressive ideal, but no, for them, anyone talking about Black Lives Matter is just a lying liberal who wants to take something from them. I mean, can't we just leave all those poor, god-fearing, racist people alone?!

2. The planet is on fire. We human beings have really fucked up the interconnected fabric of life, the ecosystem that allows our species, and all the other pretty creatures that live here, to live here. We humans will try to adapt: we will flee, move to higher ground, turn on the A/C, etc. But we are having a real hard time dealing with this issue. For instance we are still clinging to fossil fuels. We continue to burn, burn, burn thru our resources and damn the torpedos. Seems lots of fire, storms, flooding, & fleeing is in our future. Will be burn our pretty little blue planet to a crisp? Hmmm...

3. White Christian Evangelicals really do have their heads firmly up their asses. Seems their Jesus is a White Supremacist, he is also anti-Gay, anti-Abortion, and Pro-Trump. Holy Shite. I'd like to reclaim Jesus for the Peace-Loving Hippies. Jesus was a bit of a left-wing radical, he was most-certainly a "person of color," his parents were refugees, his mom was an unwed mother, impregnated by an Angel. Jesus was always on the margins of society, hanging with street people & prostitutes. He was a champion of the "little people." He was always preaching Love, and Forgiveness, and non-violent protest. He also raved against the money-changers, and he railed against rich people and powerful church-types. He lived in a commune (primarily with other men), turned water into wine, multiplied fishes and loaves (talk about "socialism" and a free lunch!!), walked on water and partied with the best of them. I mean, hell, whatever happened to Peace, Love & Understanding? 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Simple, Common, Decency...

Yes. Still thinking about Joe Biden. I think he will make a great President. Why? He's a common man. Decent. Empathetic. Genuine. When he said his campaign was about "Love, Light & Hope." I truly believed him.

USA 2020. We all chase the bling. 24/7. We crave attention. We want to be rich and famous. We all want our 15 mins. (Warhol knew). So many of us are loud, proud, opinionated, always chattering away, always consuming, always "be closing."

The loudest and the proudest are those who "know" the least. There is the constant, needing, wanting, grasping. We are insatiable. Gobbling up resources. Gobbling up the air. Gobbling up each other.

Maybe it's time for a little common decency? You know, maybe a little more humility, grace, silence, contemplation? A movement of Care. Caring for each other. Caring for the planet. Caring for all that lives. Hint: everything lives... everything is holy.

This is so "counter-cultural." Maybe it really is time to "live with less." Instead of acquiring things, we lose them? Let's get back to basics.

Simple, common, decency? That would be a start. Yes, let's say this is the new movement, the dawning of a new era. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

More About Words...

Words. Powerful or paltry? 

I believe in the power of words. It's probably why I start every morning writing in this blog. It helps me clear my head, find out what's on my mind. Try to make some sense out of the crazy reality that surrounds me, or to try to find some light and clarity in the darkness.

Writing words down. Can it change the world? Who knows? I tend to like to think so. I do think being a writer, or thinking of myself as a writer has been a defining thing for me. Even if the words I write down can't change the world, it may change me, and well, that's a start.

Taking the time to contemplate. Running thru the crazy thoughts in my head. Trying to "make sense."

Thinking/hoping a well-placed word can enlighten, can lead to understanding. Or at least maybe a cogently posed question can lead to further exploration?

Words.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Words & Images...

Yes. I do think we live in a world of "magic." Words have power (see previous post). The right word, whispered in the right ear, at the right time, can move mountains. We know words can enlighten and confuse. Words can open and close doors. You can conjure up incredibly beautiful worlds, and create incredibly dark dystopias with words.

Words. Double-edge sword. Use with careful discretion, Grasshopper. 

It's the same with "creative visualization." Conjuring pictures in your head. Very powerful. You can create images of incomparable beauty, and of complete darkness and ugliness. These images only reside in your head, but they are little bubbles of energy. They can change your being, from the inside out.

Funny. Some of our most powerful tools and weapons are just on the tip of our tongue, on the page, conjured up in our minds...

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Of the Moment...

 Joe Biden gives the speech of his life, and the speech really does seem to be the perfect expression and response to the moment in which we find ourselves. I watched and listened, and was totally blown away. I wondered to myself, "Is this the best political speech I've ever heard?" Maybe. I mean, it ranks up there with pretty much any speech I have heard or read or remember. Maybe it seems like the greatest, because it is so "of the moment." And this moment seems so dire, so important, so defining. "Fighting for the Soul of America," indeed.

Makes me wonder about the power of words. The Poets and Magicians of old believed that words themselves had power. Power to conjure, power to animate, power to influence, power to change events, power to cloud men's minds, power to clarify, power to envision an outcome, and power to make an imagined outcome a reality.

Probably the greatest speech of all time starts with the words... "I have a dream..." You know, MLK, conjuring a vision. A vision that has slowly, oh so slowly been rolling out over the last few decades. The words are powerful. The vision is clear. People were inspired, animated, willing to march, to protest, to vote, to legislate, to live and dream, to back up those words with actions.

But you know, everything takes time. And it feels like we are running out of time. Today, time seems to be slipping away. Our American Dream seems to be morphing into a Toxic Nightmare. We really, really need to change course.  Yes. So, one simple action: Vote Blue, Vote Biden/Harris 2020.

Who knows, maybe it will be the first step in a new era? One can dream...

Friday, August 21, 2020

Toxic Clown vs. Decent Human Being - Not Hard...

 The American Election 2020.

Darkness, Division & Fear vs. Light, Love & Hope.

Not hard. Really. It's pretty damn simple.

Biden/Harris - Blue Wave 2020

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A Better American Dream...

Black & White.

Maybe it really is that simple. A country birthed and built on the blood, sweat, tears and the untimely deaths wreaked by Slavery & Genocide. Yes. USA. That is our heritage. 

It seems like ancient history, but it's not. You can see the scars, the pain, the aftermath, the result in the streets across the land and in the faces and hearts of the people from all walks of life.

Some of us hope and strive for a "better union," a new day, a more equal America. Surprisingly, some of us just don't. 

I truly believe many of those in the GOP are the "basket of deplorables." They are the folks who just don't care. They don't like Black people. They don't like immigrants. They don't like Liberals. They don't want to care. They have no heart or empathy. And they just don't want to feel guilty about it either. They are also enemies of Democracy. They don't want folks to vote, because they are out-numbered.

And their not-caring, their blind hatred has led to deep bat-shit craziness. They are truly lost. They are unreachable. They are terrible people. They really, truly are. Haters. Racists. Folks who just refuse to care about themselves or others.

I mean, I suppose it's our duty to say, "Hey, if you'd drop the hate, you'd be welcome too." But it seems this is a deep unbridgeable divide.  LBJ famously said that when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1965 that the Democrats would lose the South for generation. Maybe longer than that. It's true. That was when the GOP became the home of racists and they are welcome there today. 

We are still living in this deep divide. Last night Barack Obama gave a speech. It truly says everything that needs to be said. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Wake Up America. I mean WTF. Vote Biden/Harris 2020. We must reclaim our hearts and souls and a better American Dream.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Modeling Behavior...

We watch the little ducklings follow their mother swimming around in the pond. She never lets them stray too far. They do what she does. They duck their heads in the water, after she ducks her head in the water. They eat the kelp, when she eats the kelp. They go to shore, when she goes to shore.

The kids at the tennis court follow the tennis pro around on the court. He shows them where to stand on the court. He explains what the lines on the court are called. He shows them a backhand, they do a backhand. He shows them a forehand, they do a forehand. He shows them how to volley they volley. If they "mess up," He tells them, "Don't worry, stay positive." 

We ride our bikes on the path. The mom, wearing a mask is pushing a stroller, in the stroller the child is wearing a mask.  

Modeling. Right?! That's how we learn. "Monkey see, Monkey do." 

If you hang around with cool, classy, intelligent, creative, dynamic people, well, some of that might just rub off on you.

If you hang around with assholes... well, you know, I mean, you get my drift, right?!

I remember reading a Herman Melville book about life on a merchant ship. Choose your job, choose your friends wisely, Grasshopper. If you work in the hold, expect darkness, hard labor, sweating, straining, a confined, cramped existence. If you work in the crow's nest, (job for clear-seers, enlightened, aware, awake), it's light and sunshine, and stormy weather, and sometimes a scary ride, but a much more expansive view, lots of time to yourself.

Yeah. I consider myself "crow's nest" material. Head in the clouds, sun glimmering in my eye, sensitive to stormy weather, tossed and rocked, easily.

It's important who you hang with, what you choose to do with your time. It really does define you and your life and opens or closes opportunities accordingly.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Mulch for the Process...

Strange days, indeed. That would be an accurate description of our present circumstances. It feels like the planet is off-kilter, spinning madly, frantic, wobbly, or as the Temptations once sang in another contentious era: "Ball of Confusion."

Except now, more people, more madness, more confusion, more ignorance, more churn and burn, more hurly-burly. I mean, how much hurly-burly can human beings take on?

Uncertain times. Uncertain days. The Great Cloud of Unknowing descending across the planet. It has never felt quite like this before, I mean, I am speaking personally, now. Other times in my life there seemed to be an illusion of normalcy, of certainty, although, I think I always knew that was a false sense of security. 

My father used to say: "No one ever promised you a rose garden." Roger that. Whatever promises were made, or implied, never really materialized. Life is just an improvisation. Long-form. One step at a time.

Where is it all going? No one really knows. We just carry on. Do the best we can. Pray the pieces don't fall on us. I come up with the same cliches, the cliches that guide my life: Lean to the Light. Stay Humble. Find some Grace and Joy in the doing and the being.

Create. Oh yeah, I am big on the Creative Process. I live for Art. I believe that Art can change a life. How does it do it? Just by the doing. So yes, I think of myself as an Artist, doing his Art. The hurly-burly is just mulch for the process.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Time is Fluid...

Time. It is fluid, fungible. Relative.

"The days run away like wild horses..." (hat tip: Charles Bukowski). 

One day sort of schmears into another day. Woke up not knowing the name of the day. Just another one in a long line of days. Lately, thinking back to early days, some of my earliest days are my most vivid days. Alternatively, some decades just seem like a mist, a fog, a great cloud of unknowing. I mean, I know I lived thru some decades, but can't really grasp them. My memories don't really reside there.

Memories connect me to people, times and places that no longer exist. Times and places long ago, in a galaxy far away. So weird. 

What is alive in me today? I guess we shall see...

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Rituals...

 I woke up early. Ok. It was more than early. It was still pitch-dark out there. I woke with a thought about "rituals." Thinking we need rituals.

I thought of my early church days, as a child, in catholic school. There was that amazing ritual of the communion host and the golden cup of wine. Somehow it was transformed before our eyes by the priest into the body and the blood.

I didn't totally buy it, but I did marvel at the theatrics. Add in that stinky incense the priest would spread around the place, and all your senses were captivated.

Now it's much more, simple, basic, maybe mundane, but still powerful rituals.

Of course the pot of coffee in the morning. Essential. Drink it down in big gulps listening to the radio, or reading the New Yorker, or playing CDs on the BOSE, or working on new tracks.

The daily shower. Cleanse yourself Pilgrim.

Daily meal. One meal a day. That works best for me. A varied diet. Vegetarian. No meat. Do not eat dead animals. Why take death into your body? Nonsensical. Barbaric.

A long bike ride. This is new for our pandemic summer 2020. We always ride. Every day. It's essential. Clears the head. Gets the blood pumping. Even if you are tired, it's worth it. Don't hesitate. Get on that bike!

Meditation. Deep contemplation. Short or long session, doesn't matter. Sit and breathe. Clear your head. Connect to the Universe. It's not hard.

Daily Kombucha. Yes. This is also new for our pandemic summer. Freshly-brewed, on-tap at our local micro-brewery. Zingy, zesty, refreshing. Takes the edge off. Good for your biome. No doubt.

Stream Netflix or Prime. Lately we are into Super-heroes. "The Umbrella Academy." Funny. Light. Engaging. Smart. A primary diversion. Necessary in these crazy times. Go to another time and place, with other problems. Problems that aren't really your problems.

Read a book in bed. Yes. Every night. I can blast thru books at an alarming rate. Lately reading about RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan. Funny. I'm not really into the music (I do love the "Ghost Dog" soundtrack), but RZA is interesting, enlightening, and, from another world. Engaging read. Lots of wisdom in the pages.

Sleep. Try. I mean, don't try. Just do it. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Be That Kind of Garden...

I have read many, many books over the years. Uncountable. Lots of wisdom in those books. I have probably forgotten more than I remember, but maybe, everything counts, maybe every sentence, every word really was recorded somewhere in my consciousness? I mean, once in awhile that wisdom comes crashing back in.

We can't really "fix" the world, unless we "fix" ourselves first. Tend to your own garden, mister. This is not a selfish thing, it's practical, pragmatic way forward. You work on yourself; you cultivate a better you. And then you try to lead by example.

So act like the better person you'd like to be. I mean, if you have to, "fake it to make it." Yes. Gentleness, kindness, compassion, love, empathy. 

Be that kind of garden.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Tips for Better Living...

More tips for better living (you realize, I am primarily talking to myself):

Always best to be onto the next thing. 

Keep yourself occupied with projects. 

Lose yourself in the doing.

Dream of Better Days.

Do things you don't normally do.

There really is no normal.

You might find that you can do things you never knew you could do.

Better than you thought possible too.

Tune out the noise machine.

Tune out the nay-sayers.

They don't know shit.

Do.

Live.

Dream.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

How To?

Yes... 

How to "fix" the world?

Encourage & Cultivate Better Human Beings...

Empathy, Compassion, Love, Intelligence, Justice, Equality, Diversity, Inclusiveness, Creativity, Heart, Spirit, Mind, Soul, Grace, Humility, Gentleness, Silence, Meditation, Contemplation, Mindfulness...

That would be a start...

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Remake, Renew, Rebuild, Re-imagine A Better Day, A Better America, A New American Dream - Biden/Harris 2020!

If you've been following along over the years, this will be no surprise. I am wildly, totally, enthusiastically, supporting Joe Biden for President, and Kamala Harris for Vice President. I think it is a fabulous, exciting and inspiring ticket. Two really great people. Full of intelligence, great ideas, experience, empathy and compassion. All qualities sorely lacking for a long time now.

It is time to remake, renew, rebuild, re-imagine a better day, a better America, a new American Dream. Let's end the nightmare years on November 3rd 2020. Vote Blue 2020...


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Hypothetical Good News...

Let me pose a hypothetical: you know, "involving or being based on a suggested idea or theory : being or involving a hypothesis."

Let's say for the sake of argument, you get some really good news. I mean, like uncommonly, unbelievably good news. I mean, like news that fundamentally impacts & changes your life. Seemingly for the better.

I mean, so, what do you do? Do you throw your fist into the air and shout" Yes!" Do you do a little dance in the living room? Do you  decide to have a pizza party? Do you celebrate? Do you tell yourself, you knew it was gonna happen all along, and really, well, WTF, you deserve some good news. Right?

OR...

Do you doubt the news? Are you suspicious? Do you tell yourself, "It can't be true." Do you search the small print? Do you figure there is a catch, or that someone is conning you? Do you suspect that you are a fool for even falling for the hint of good news? Do you surmise that really, this good news, must be bad news in disguise?

I mean, do you live in world where "good news" is even possible? Or is it all just illusion/delusion? It's one of those existential questions, right? Is there Good? Is there GOD? What if you could (as RZA suggests in his book, see previous posts),  "harmonize with God?" Or you know, "run the gold?" What if you could be in tune with the Goodness of Life? What if you could imagine things sometimes working out for the best?

Ok. Well, as they say, maybe it's best to not "look a gift horse in the mouth." Maybe you accept the gifts that come your way, no questions? Maybe you decide to enjoy the good news until further notice. Yes, why not? I mean we are talking hypothetically here...

Monday, August 10, 2020

A Little Dance of Creativity...

 So, yes. The two of us, long-time collaborators, we sheltered in the late summer afternoon under a magnificent canopy of trees. They are my new best friends (see previous post). I mean these trees have been around for a long time, I finally checked in with them. I have been observing & communing with them. They are breath-taking, and breath-providing, beings. They provide much-appreciated shade, and, well, of course, much needed oxygen. And they absorb carbon-dioxide, which we humans have been spewing into the atmosphere for much too long. We really shouldn't take trees for granted. We should thank them, honor them, and bow down to them in humility. As my friend always reminds me: "The trees don't need us, but we need the trees."

Our new "pandemic ritual" has been to imbibe a freshly-brewed, on-tap, kombucha from our local micro-brewery. So zingy, zesty and invigorating. Takes a bit of the edge off too. There we were, under the trees, sipping our special brew, working on a new song. Actually, my new thing, we weren't "working" we were just playing. The songs "come when the come." They truly are gifts. And we were being gentle with the new chords, the new lyrics, letting them flow together. Just trying out different sequences, different accents and cadences. It's a gentle alchemy. 

I was playing a borrowed guitar, an old Martin, made in 1972. A pretty amazing instrument. Old Spruce with a Mahogany neck. Martin is the American-made, acoustic guitar of choice. You have heard all the great players, play a Martin. The older, the guitar, the better. Their guitars mellow and deepen as the years roll out. The wood opens up with age. This one was a vintage, D-18. One of the finest in their line of fine guitars. Strum a chord and it rings out forever. It was an honor just to hold it in my hands.

So we played, and played, under the shade of the trees. Something so pure about an acoustic guitar, and a voice. Playing for the trees. Brand-new lyrics. An old Spruce guitar giving voice to the chords, sending out vibrations into the air, floating on the breeze. Will this song ever be played for an audience, will it ever be recorded? Who knows? There was just the purity and beauty of the moment. Can't hold onto it. Let it ride. A little dance of creativity in the late afternoon. Pandemic Summer 2020.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

A Being, Out of Place...

Okay. This doesn't occur every morning, but it does occur many mornings. I wake up with no clue where I am, and I find these burning questions on the tip of my tongue:

Where am I?

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What am I made of?

Of course, there is never a satisfying answer to any of these questions. I just stumble through my days in a great cloud of unknowing. I do the best I can. This morning I wake up in a neighborhood of wealth and luxury. It's definitely foreign territory. I don't really belong here. I am surrounded by enormous mansions, some of these gargantuan homes are over 100 years old. Big, looming, houses, near one of the largest, of the quite large, Great Lakes. I have no clue how anyone can afford to live in such a neighborhood. Unimaginable wealth. 

I am surviving on a "wing and a prayer," I am a marginal character, on the fringes, relying on the "kindness of strangers." It is so odd to be here, knowing that I don't really belong here. It's all just smoke and mirrors, luck and pluck. I can't even trace the chain of events that brought me here. It's a long, crooked path; one with scenes of failure, adventure, misadventure, bad & good luck. I mean, it's all quite strange. Not totally disagreeable. I mean, in some ways it is totally, thoroughly, amazing. 

I am in some luxurious paradise. Like I said, I don't belong here. A "Stranger in a Strange Land." A bit like Dorothy or no, maybe more like Toto in Oz. Funny. The last few days it has all been about the light. I really noticed the light of the days. And the trees. I am surrounded by these magnificent trees. I mean, the trees are even more amazing, enthralling, inspiring and profound than the homes. I do feel a connection to the trees. Once I noticed them, it's all I can do now: observe the trees. I am drawn to the trees. I study them, commune with them, meditate under them. They almost seem holy. I think really they "own" the neighborhood. I mean, they are the "real" inhabitants. We are just guests. All of us Human Beings. Maybe all the people are actually squatters, invaders?  I'm not sure, but definitely I feel like a squatter, an invader, a being, out of place...

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Matter of Light...

It's a matter of light... the tilt of the sun, the shadows stretching across the grass, the glow in the crashing waves, millions of tiny grains of sand sparkling. You can feel summer ticking by, a slow, gradual fade the daylight, getting slightly, oh, so slightly shorter. There is a glow in our faces and hands, a spark of light in our eyes, we know this isn't forever, the night descends, a blackness with a hint of light, luminous-luxury, the fading moments of another lost summer.

Friday, August 07, 2020

"Basic Messages..."

At the beginning of RZA's book "The Tao of Wu," (yes, a thrilling read, much wisdom in the pages, and an amazing origin story of  an amazing American, Hip-Hop artist), there is an introductory chapter by his teacher, Kung Fu master, and a refugee from China's Shaolin Temple, his name: Shi Yan Ming. A truly amazing character who has had a profound effect on RZA.

These are the "basic messages" Shi Yan Ming conveys to his students...

1. Life is Beautiful.
2. More Chi - "the vital force of every living entity." Train Harder.
3. Be Honest with Yourself and Be Honest with Others.
4. Respect Yourself and Respect Others.
5. 100% Express Your Beautiful Life.


Hard to argue with any of these general principles. You could actually use them as a code for living. Yes. I do believe that is a capital idea!

Thursday, August 06, 2020

A Nightmare Unlike Any Other...

A nightmare...

Picture it:
A large gathering. Maybe like the Grammy's, or the Oscars. Lots of famous people, celebrities from all over the world. Everyone dressed in their finest duds. There are TV cameras, this is a major event that is being broadcast across the globe. Imagine billions of eyes  riveted to screens, paying close attention to what's happening. You are there, on the spot. You are expected to sing a song. A song you don't know. It's a Radiohead song. One you have never heard before. Funny. You have always had a difficult time understanding Thom Yorke when he sings. It usually takes many listens before you can begin to parse out the lyrics to his songs. It's one of the pleasures of listening to Radiohead. You take in the sound first, you let the sound-waves of the band and Thom's voice wash over you, and you come up with meanings later. But this is different. There is no pleasure in the not knowing. You don't know the lyrics, you don't know the melody. You have no clue how to sing this song. Someone has given you the sheet music, and it looks like Egyptian hieroglyphics. No help. In fact, the sheet music just confounds the problem. You have a "situation" on your hands. No way out. There you are. Nervous as hell. Sweating. Stumbling thru a song you don't know. This is your big opportunity to make an impression on billions of people around the world. And you are flailing, stumbling, halting, doing a really poor version of a mystery song you don't know. You think to yourself: Thom Yorke is going to be very displeased with my performance. There is no way around it... yikes...

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Sanctuary...

Some times I find myself playing "caretaker." Usually taking care of a furry, four-legged soul.

I am in a grand old house, two blocks from the shore of a Great Lake (don't forget, as the sign says, it's "a dangerous body of water"). Yes. Dangerous & beautiful.

I find myself in a weird cul de sac of luxury. It is not disagreeable.

I have been reading RZA's "Tao of Wu."  It is a tale of poverty & riches, ignorance & wisdom, Gangsta and Holy Man.

I am also streaming Kung Fu movies. I wanted to see what RZA saw, to know what RZA knows.

So, I watched, The Five Venoms, The Thirty Six Chambers, The Return to the Thirty Six Chambers.
Funny.

I am not really into Kung Fu. But after wading thru those crude, but entertaining films, I found an exquisite masterpiece by the great filmmaker Wong Kar Wai: The Grandmaster.

So beautiful, powerful, enlightening. Renews my faith in the power of art.

So what else? I am drinking a new brew of coffee: Andes Mountain Brew.

And I am stuck on playing one record, over and over and over again: Led Zeppelin II (1969).  Page is a riff machine, and really just a fabulous guitar-master. Bonham is an exquisite drummer, (I can even listen to his drum solo on Moby Dick, over and over), power, yes, but a precise grace too. Plant does a bit of over the top caterwauling on a few tracks, but he also sings with passion and nuance especially when he sings about Frodo and Gollum, and John Paul Jones is the secret weapon on bass and organ.  Jones never makes a false move. Is Led Zeppelin II the greatest album ever made? No, probably not, I mean it's not even Led Zeppelin's best album, there are 3 or 4 others that rank up there with the best, but II does sound fabulous in these comfy digs. Play it loud on the BOSE, it sounds majestic.

So, yes, things are different here. Lots of time to contemplate & meditate, to water the garden, to take long, rambling walks. Whatever is happening out in the world, I can kind of keep it at bay. This is a time of sanctuary and renewal.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

The Movie...

The movie...

You know, the movie has been playing long before you came in, and it will play long after you leave. You are in your seat, you have your popcorn, and soft drink, you are trying to take in the action on the screen. You think you know some of the actors, you kind of think you know the gist of the plot, but really, it's all guesswork. There are long stretches where you have no clue what's going on. You find yourself closing your eyes and dozing in the slow parts. You wake up and are on the edge of your seat for some of the tense parts. You find yourself trying to lay down in the aisle, but it's too constricted. You'd like to hide under your seat, but you won't fit, there's old candy wrappers, and empty popcorn containers under there. It's sticky too. Your shoes sometimes stick to the floor. You are stuck in your seat for long stretches. You do take bathroom breaks. You slink out to the lobby, it's bright and empty. The bathrooms are shiny and clean. Antiseptic. Someone has been working hard to keep things clean. You want to figure out what's going on. You'd like to know, is the movie an action flick, a mystery, a comedy, a romance, one of those weird, foreign flicks that you'll never get? There is no one around to ask. You realize that the movie will run long after you are gone. So you really won't know  how it all turns out, you won't find out if it's a "feel good" flick, you know, life affirming, or a sad film, a multi-hanky, tear-jerker, or inconclusive, or mysterious, or maybe a cliff-hanger, a first in a series of movies, maybe it's franchise film and there will be a sequel, a prequel, or a later reboot? I mean, "only the Shadow knows..." So, back to your seat. Sometimes you zone out and just watch the colors on the screen, the soundtrack washes over you like water over a rocky shore. You can't make out anything specific, it's all just sound, color, fury & thunder...

Monday, August 03, 2020

Future/Now Self to Past/Then Self...

A Close & Dear Loved One sent me some old Polaroids of a few other Close & Dear Loved Ones. Glimpses of a time and place now long gone. One photo was a younger version of me, decades younger. I look pretty fresh. Not sure if I ever saw that photo before. I also look a bit surprised and bemused. Expectant?

What would my Future/Now Self tell my Past/Then Self?

Here goes:

"Don't worry. The future is not what you think it's gonna be. Nothing is gonna be what you think it's gonna be. So maybe don't think about it too much. You really don't know what Life is, and the questions you have about Life and Yourself and Others too, are just going to multiply as you go. The Mystery of it all will deepen. Try to take it slow. Time rushes by in a blur. Pay attention to all the little details. Keep your eyes open. Lots to take in. The details, the little things that you don't think are important, actually are important. Most of what you think you know is wrong. Don't worry about it. Most of the decisions you make are gonna be wrong too. Maybe, instead of "trusting your gut," try flipping a coin? I mean it's sounds crazy, but really the coin-flipping is probably just as good as anything. Be yourself. Don't worry about what others think of you, or what you think other people think you "should do." There is no "should do." Do what you do, but, I mean, really do it to the max. Own it. Be alive & awake in the moment. Those moments, everyone of the moments of your life are precious. They roll out really fast. One day you wake up and realize long stretches of your life now exist only in your head. All you have from the past are stray memories, long-lost photos. Remember: You will lose just as much as you gain. That's OK. I mean, that's Life..."

Sunday, August 02, 2020

More Thoughts On Masks...

Of course, once you pose the question: Why is wearing a mask during a pandemic even a question?

The answer easily emerges: Because it is a highly charged issue, that illuminates all the differences alive in the Human Herd.

Yes, "Elementary, my Dear Mr. Watson."

Hamlet asked: "To be or not to be?"
We ask: "To mask or not to mask?"

It's an existential question. Highlights all the fundamentals of believing and disbelieving that Humans embody.

What is Life?
What is Death?
Is there an Afterlife?

Are we guided by...

The Fickle Finger of Fate?
The Various modes of Luck: Good, Bad, Random, Blind?

Is the Universe Guided and Watched Over by an All-Powerful, All-Knowing God?
Or is it a place where Life has emerged, and Humans must take responsibility for their own actions?

Do you believe in Climate Change? Do you believe Human Beings have wrecked the interconnected web of our ecosystem? Do you believe Humans can remedy the situation?

Or is it all in God's hands? God's Will?

What of Human relations? Are we all in this together, or are we all alone? Is it a brother and sister hood of Humans and connected souls, or is just a grand contest of one against one? Are we all on a journey of discovery together, or is it just a grand competition?

What of Politics? Is just a game of Power? The mighty vs. the weak? The wealthy vs. the poor? The haves vs the have nots?

Democracy - We all collectively decide.
Autocracy - Strong-Man Decides.
Communism - Each according to their needs.
Socialism - We need to take care of each other.

Or something else?

Do we need to care about other people? Do we need to take care of each other? Or is it just about "Freedom?" Don't tread on me...

You see, a little conundrum like wearing a Mask in the middle of a raging pandemic brings up all the issues that confound us. We wrestle with this shit everyday. Welcome to the wonderful world of Being Human.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Mask or No Mask...

This current crisis exposes all the flaws of our system & culture.  And you know, the flawed nature of being human.

Thinking optimistically, it is an opportunity for change, growth, evolution & progress.
Thinking pessimistically... hmmm... maybe not...

I guess we shall see.

This "mask thing" really highlights the weird nature of our human predicament. To wear a mask or not to wear a mask. It seems like a little thing. A safe thing. A logical, rational thing. But it is quite amazing and instructive to see how some folks really, really don't want to have to care about anyone else. They just don't want to be told to care, they just don't want to. So they just won't wear a damn mask. Nope. Not gonna do it. Funny. Weird.

The mask is symbolic. It's a way of saying, "Yes. I do care. About you, about me, about the health and safety of the human herd."  And the science, the data tells us that wearing a mask cuts down on transmission of the virus. One person wearing a mask helps a bit, two people wearing masks, helps even more, two people wearing masks and keeping their distance, really dramatically cuts down on transmission. Nothing mysterious about any of this, it's just basic common sense.

But...

There are some folks who really, really don't care about other folks. They just don't. And they don't want to feel guilty about it either. 

There are some folks who really don't care about anyone or anything except themselves.  And who knows, maybe their dirty little secret is that they don't really care about themselves either? That's psychology. Those maximally selfish ones? I mean, basically these are the dyed in the wool assholes amongst us. Maybe there are more of these than we ever realized? You these are some to the same folks who refuse to wear a seat-belt, or refuse to quit smoking, or who continue to drive drunk, who like to play with guns, who like to bully other people, and yeah, vote for toxic-clown, reality-tv idiots.

If you are not one of these folks it's a bit bewildering, eye-opening, surprising, confounding. Maybe pisses you off a bit too. WTF. Get it together people. We are all in this together, whether you want to believe it or not.  

Mask or no Mask. Says a lot depending on which way you decide to go on this issue...

Friday, July 31, 2020

Gonna or Not Gonna...

Events conspired.

A barrage of news. Elevated temps. Feeling a bit under siege. 

We were sitting in the shade. Taking a break in the late afternoon, in the middle of a long bike-ride. Hot. Sweaty. Alive. We were talking about the events of the day, and of our time on the planet. A very-typical kind of conversation for us. Everything under the sun up for discussion. A daily existential examination.

My friend told me this line that came from my mouth did not sound Zen, no, maybe too much of that "under siege" feeling, too much of an air of resignation, but, you know, I do think it's "true:" 

"Whatever is gonna happen, is gonna happen, whatever isn't gonna happen, isn't gonna happen."

The a.m sound track - Fever Ray's "Fever Ray." (2009). Stunning. Electronic. With great heart and soul. Beautiful. Different. Amazing. The lyrics to "Dry and Dusty" get me, cut me open-wide, every time: 

"Never leave me
Walk close beside me
Your hand my hand
Fits so easy
No tomorrow
Let us stop here
We did some great things
Didn't we?
Dry and dusty
I am a capsule of energy
You speak softly
We are capsules of energy
Work as I've been told
In return I get money
Small feet in the hall"

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Bat-Shit Crazy...

Turns out. I mean, maybe it has always been so, and maybe, really, we always knew this, but it is now pretty clear, I mean, blindingly obvious, that, many, no, ok, most, of our fellow Americans are pretty much "bat-shit crazy." 

You know. This pandemic thing isn't a "hoax," it is not a liberal conspiracy, George Soros and Bill Gates are not conspiring, they are not trying to fool and cheat us and plant microchips in our asses. 

I mean, Blame the bats

"The new coronavirus appears to have circulated unnoticed in bats for decades, scientists found. Horseshoe bats are the most plausible origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, researchers led by Maciej Boni of Pensylvania State University’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics said in a study published Tuesday in Nature Microbiology."

And you know, wearing a mask is no big deal. Trying to stay safe and healthy is not a radical idea. It's not an infringement on anyone's right. There is no specific right to be a "selfish asshole." Not in the constitution. I mean, I know there's that gaudy phrase:  "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

I know. A bit nebulous. But really. Some of this shit is just common sense. Get it together, people.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Crooked Wheel...

The crooked wheel.
A broken spoke.
You can learn to live with it.
Don't even notice it.
You ride your bicycle everyday.
That crooked wheel wobbles.
You just adjust.
You acclimate to the wobble.
You wobble too.
You don't even know it.
You are totally unaware.
You are a badly wobbling entity.

One day, your front tire goes flat.
You take it to the bike shop for repair.

The bike tech wonders how
you could even ride
with such a bad wobble.

You shrug. You "didn't know."

You leave the bike there.
Walk home.

Hours later 
you pick up
your bike.

New tube.
Fixed spoke.
No more wobble.
Crooked no more.
Newly aligned.

It's like a new bike.
A new ride.
You fly straight.

You roll down the pavement, the path, with ease.

You can learn to live with the crooked wheel.
But you don't need to.
You can wake up.
Straighten up and fly.
Straighter than an arrow.
With ease... 
broken
crooked
wobbling
no more.

Sometimes a change of consciousness 
is one flat tire away.

The a.m soundtrack - Chicano Batman's "Invisible People." (2020). New sounds. Just "discovered" this band, actually tipped to it by Greg Kot of Sound Opinions. Per Greg: One of the "best of 2020, so far." Fun. Funky. Great catchy tunes. A melting pot of influences. Sounds so new and refreshing. Chicano Batman, the kind of Superhero we could use right now. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Together, Alone...

J.P. Sartre -- "Hell is other people."

Seems a bit harsh. 

I'd say: People are the problem and the solution. Look around, most of our problems are caused by other people. People will be the ones to provide solutions. People = Both Hell & Heaven.

It is strange to realize that all one's "anti-social tendencies" are now survival strategies. The less human contact the better. The lonely path is the safer path. Time for silent contemplation. So necessary. We are left to our own devices: reading, dreaming, living in a world of solo actors. Living inside our heads. A long path of discipline.  Smart. Safe. Aware of germs, religiously washing our hands, staying clean, clear-headed in everything we do and say.

At the same time, living this solo trip, you realize we are all the same. We are all in this together. And if we are to solve the major and uncountable problems confronting our species, we must work together. One great community.

Still a touch of  lonely paranoia seems rational & reasonable. We are all in this together, but of course, we are also in it alone...

Monday, July 27, 2020

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sunday Believing (inspired by the late great John Lewis)...

I do believe 
we need to 
imagine 
envision

a better world 
a better way
a better day

Act like we
are
what we
want 
to be.

Let Love
guide us.

Turn from
Hate
Fear
Worry
Doubt.

Lean to
the light.

Don't be afraid
to embody
the Good
the Right
the Beautiful.

Imagine
Envision
that we live Now
in the Beloved Community of Souls.

The a.m. soundtrack - The Dirty Three's "Ocean Songs." (1998). Majestic. We need to listen. To the ocean, to the trees, the grasses, the wind. We need to humble ourselves. Take in the vibes around us. There is love all around us. Life. Love. Beauty. This is a record to savor. Guitar, Drums, Violin. Everything is in the grooves...

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Folks are Getting Lax...

Oh my. Folks are getting lax.

I think even really smart folks, those who are listening to "the science" are getting a bit casual on this whole virus thing. My friend and I stopped over to check out an outdoor, neighborhood concert yesterday. Nice summer evening. The cicadas buzzing.  5 musicians on the lawn, set up between between houses. About 25 folks scattered around, drinking refreshments, grooving  to the music. Most everyone was wearing masks, but a few did not. And a few folks actually got upfront, close and personal with other folks. One person actually pulled down her mask to talk to another  person. Hah! That's pretty dumb.  Another person came up and wanted to hug, and had to be delicately fended off. It was all a bit disconcerting. It's the first time since the lockdown we have been around that large of a group. My friend and I are pretty Covid Militant. We were a bit shook up. Probably won't be doing anything like that again for awhile.  Just not worth it. Even though we all crave human, social interaction. We must assume that Covid is everywhere,  everyone is infected. Maybe a bit paranoid. But, well, being militant, that's the safe and smart way forward.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Long Days in Pandemic...

My days in pandemic.

I have fallen into a weird rabbit-hole of day to day existence.

Long walks.
Long bike rides.
Long meditations.
Long song-writing sessions.
Long lunches.
Long music-listening sessions.
Long reading sessions.
Long streaming video sessions.

My days are long. I mean really, really long.
Time has slowed down to a crawl.

We wear masks outside at all times.
We wash our hands frequently.
We rarely converse with other folks.

It's a weird hermit-like routine. Not totally disagreeable.

We do tune into the news. The news is all bad. More illness. More death. The "Trump Virus" is loose in the land. The corruption and incompetence at the top is breath-taking, soul-killing. Democracy is being pummeled to death. You wonder how anyone can support the Toxic Clown Prez, but you realize there are brain-dead Zombies afoot in the land.

We hope the sensible, rational, intelligent ones can hang on til November. It's seems like a life-time away. We may all be thru with the Virus, but the Virus is not thru with us.  Hanging tight. In for the LONG haul. Hope to make it to the light...

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Glimmers of Light...

Glimmers of light. It doesn't take much to crack thru the gloom...

Nancy Pelosi just knows how to put words together. She is now calling the Coronavirus, and all the corrupt shit that has descended upon us over the last 4 years the "Trump Virus." Yes. Exactly. I mean, perfect. I burst out in laughter on that one. I have adopted this as my go-to phrase too.

What else makes me smile? I found myself in an automobile yesterday. A rare thing nowadays. The windows down, summer day, radio blasting at maximum volume. Two songs defined the afternoon and left their imprint on my consciousness, two classics: The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," and Stevie Wonder's "Living in the City." Perfect dichotomy. Two of our greatest songs. Left me breathless, and well, strangely inspired, and hopeful.

And...

Reading about the "Wall of Moms"  and "leaf blowers against tear gas" in Portland. 

"A group of women who call themselves the Wall of Moms has drawn national attention, clad in bike helmets and goggles. They link arms to form a protective barrier between law enforcement and Black Lives Matter protesters who took to the streets after the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police."

Yes, just like "Athena of Portland" (see previous post), this just renews my faith in the Human Project. Peaceful, non-violent protest.  Folks taking to the streets, demanding justice and a better day.  Hopeful. Sometimes Humans Beings really can do the right thing. Dare I say it, "We Shall Overcome!"

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Power and the Glory of Athena of Portland...



I must say that I was totally knocked out by this story. This image is astonishing. Let's just say that I have a new hero, or is it a new heroine? "Athena of Portland:" - As the newsprint tells us: "She emerged as an apparition from clouds of tear gas as federal agents fired pepper balls at angry protesters in the early Saturday darkness. A woman wearing nothing but a black face mask and a stocking cap strode toward a dozen heavily armed agents attired in camouflage fatigues, lined up across a downtown Portland street. The agents, dispatched by the Trump administration over vociferous objections of state and city officials, are part of a force that has fired projectiles at and detained activists protesting nightly since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police May 25."

To put yourself in the line of fire. Naked as a jay-bird. Exposed. Vulnerable. Peaceful.  Maybe a touch crazy. Who wants to be that vulnerable in the face of tear-gas, billy clubs, and burly men? I mean, talk about intentionally putting yourself into harm's way. But maybe crazy-cool, like a crazy-cool kitty-cat. The wonder of the eternal feminine. The joy, the mystery, the power of a beautiful, unarmed, naked body. "Pussy Riot," indeed. 

Amazing. Poetic. Lyrical. Myth-making. Totally renews my faith in the Human Project! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Go-To Phrases...

Some "go to" phrases...

I think of myself as "Covid Militant." Seems sensible. I am only listening to the experts, the scientists, doctors, folks with their heads screwed on straight.  I do think it's smart to tune into the intelligence, and to tune out the stupid. It's not that hard to do. 

Avoid the loud-talkers, the raving mouth-breathers, those who think they know shit, when it's clear they don't. BTW - We really need to stop entertaining ourselves by listening to idiots. It has been a very destructive trend in our culture. Check out the radio & cable TV personalities who trade in stupidity, and weird-ass conspiracies, I mean, don't check them out, TUNE THEM OUT! Pollution. Brain pollution.

I think of Neil Postman and Roger Waters, early on they told us we are "entertaining ourselves to death." Death and stupidity.

As an antidote, seek out the intelligent ones. Those dedicated to clear-seeing, clear-speaking.

Try to find an "Unwarped Perspective." Life. It tends to warp us. We need to find ways to "UNWARP" ourselves. Clear-seeing, clear-speaking, clarity in everything we do.  Meditation helps. Silence helps. Good sleeping helps. Dreaming. Yes, dreaming is essential. Eating well. Sticking with vegetables is recommended.

Alive. Aware. Awake. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hard Lesson #2

We must live with contradiction & complication. We must holding opposing ideas in our heads at all times.

For instance, (one of my favorites), "Life is cheap. Everything that lives is Holy."

Or, you know, (see previous post), "Life is suffering. Life is a joyous gift."

Wm. Blake once wrote: "Some are born to endless night, some are born to sweet delight."

Most of us get both: Endless Night AND Sweet Delight. It's all about proportion. You hope for less of the one, and more of the other, but how it all ultimately gets doled out to us is sort of a mystery.

We want to know what we can't know.
We want to do what we can't do.
We want to be what we can't be.

But we can know and do and be. We get the chance. To do the best that we can do. Yes. It's true.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Hard Lesson #1

We may all start out young and innocent, but it doesn't take long for that to change. We learn the "hard lessons" fairly early in the game. 

Lesson #1, and maybe the only one we need to learn...

"Life is Suffering." - Buddha 

Yeah. No way around suffering. We all suffer. We can't solve suffering, we can't avoid it, or talk our way out of it. There is no denying.  Life is suffering.

Think:

Loss.
Death.
Pain.
Worry.
Doubt.
Fear.

You get the idea.

Unsolvable, unreconcilable.

We must live with suffering. Learn to live with suffering. And still carry on. Not move past, not deny, just live with suffering as best we can.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

A New Era Beckons...

I am, (surprisingly), feeling relatively healthy and optimistic this morning. Maybe I shouldn't trust my feelings, I mean, feelings are like germs, they are invisible, and they can really turn you, but this morning my feelings are strong and surging, (maybe blame the morning coffee brew: "mind, body & soul"), they are like waves crashing over and thru me, and they are relatively healthy and optimistic waves, at least that's how they seem to me. Maybe a bit strange and off-target?

I mean, in the bigger picture, it seems we are in the crash and burn phase of our global crisis. Lots of folks seem lost, clueless, or actively, stupidly mendacious.

But now, this a.m. I am choosing to think this is the beginning of a new era. An era where we appreciate science, rationality, facts, reality, truth and truth-telling. An era of progressive humanity, fully-realized in all aspects of our personal and global lives. It's a lot to ask. A lot to envision. And well, it may seem a bit heady, foolish or overly-sunny.

And not everyone will be on-board with this new era.  They will need to be pushed to the side, marginalized. I mean, we will welcome all comers, but there are always the hold-outs, the last Stalinists (I am reminded that folks cried when Stalin, the unimaginably murderous strong-man, died), I mean some folks will never "get it," they just become obsolete.

Onward, upward. A new era beckons...

Friday, July 17, 2020

When You are Inspired...

Inspired. Right? That's how we want to live our lives. Totally inspired. Enthusiastic. Alive. Aware. Awake. In the moment. In the flow of life. Open. Embracing. Expansive. Always growing, morphing, changing. 

It's not easy. And maybe it just happens, or not. Are we born that way, or does it descend upon us?

When you are feeling it, in every cell of your body, the feeling is the absolute best. All your senses are sharp, focused. Ideas are dancing in your head like fireflies. You are ready for the next thing, pretty much whatever is coming down. You are always, always onto the next thing.

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