Faux Fu's EP

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Voices & Choices

Yes. We are in the era of "Voices & Choices." That's the way it should be. We are all here, on this little blue planet, this little spinning globe; we have a short window to do what we have to do before we melt back into the great unknown. So while we are here, might as well speak up, say what's on our minds, feed our heads with the best and brightest from the hearts and heads of our fellow humans. Plus don't forget the non-human sources of wisdom. I am thinking of the flora, the fauna and all the other pretty and not so pretty creatures with which we share this space. So many lessons and examples of how to live, to think, to feel, to see. I mean, check out an old, looming tree or the backyard garden; learn how to grow, how to stay alive, how to always be ready to improvise & evolve, and  how to turn to the light and soak it in.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Moment By Moment...

Maybe you don't usually think of it like this...

It is actually life-affirming, to have "shit to do." You know. A reason to get up. It can be simple things like: feed the cats, or the little birdies, or water the plants, or make a pot of coffee, or do the mundane tasks that will pay you a few shekels and get you to lunch. Reasons to move, to keep busy.

Besides your JOB, you can fill your days up with all kinds of activities. Some of them are "cooler" than others: play your guitar, sit on a bench, watch the waves roll in, ride your bike, read a few pages of a Roberto Bolano novel (one of my new obsessions), or put your amazing, high-fidelity, headphones on and listen to a Grateful Dead live show (another one of my latest obsessions).

Yes. This has been the summer of Bolano and the Dead. I have been filling my head, my ears with words and sounds. Long, rambling novels, such as "2666," (2013), "The Savage Detectives," (2012) and my latest shimmering, incandescent head-tripping discovery the Grateful Dead's three CD concert: "5/8/77 - Live at Cornell" (released in 2017), and, of course, a long-time favorite album, so vibrant, alive, graceful and majestic, the two CD "Europe '72" (1972).

Our lives are made up with little things. Lots of little things. Add them up and it can all be quite fulfilling. Transformative. A life, well-lived, moment by moment. It really doesn't take much to make it all compelling. A Helpful Tip: all of your little obsessions come in handy.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Blank Mind, Blank Page...

Blank mind 
blank page 
this morning. 

I type anyway

Words
tumble by 
I grab a few. 

I want to fill the void. 

An impulse. 
A habit. 

Words. 
Sometimes
most times 
they just flow.

This morning
head is empty

feel a bit like 
Richard Hell's
___________
Generation

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Heat Dome...

The Weather People are telling us that the "Heat Dome," is coming to the Heartland. A Dome of Heat and Humidity is projected to settle over most of USA and cook everything. Yikes. Yesterday we got a preview: blazing sunshine, high humidity, lots of sweating, dizziness. It is summer, so, well, not totally unexpected, but this heat trend seems to be pointing to a new normal. 

What is a Humble Pilgrim to do? Hydrate. Add Electrolytes to your water. Drink major quantities of cold beverages: water, tea, kombucha. Stick to the shade. Hang with the greenery. It also helps to have a "cool room." One spot at home with A/C.  You need to find time to chill out. Wring out the sweat from your t-shirt and your socks (!?!).

You know, it's just the Weather. But the Weather dictates so much. We just take dictation. Go with the flow. When it's this hot, the flow is slow, muggy, hazy, & lazy. We still have so much to do. That's life. Sweating is just part of the deal. Can't help wondering if the Tricky Monkeys have outsmarted themselves. 

Did we fuck it all up? Just wondering.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Chaos and it's Synonyms are Winning...

"Chaos is winning!"

That was me speaking to my companion late yesterday afternoon. 

We had a fine day, but all the news was pretty much disconcerting & disturbing, and we both have that uncanny feeling that everything is coming unglued & unmoored. 

I think of Roberto Bolano, (I am so happy  to have "discovered" that amazing novelist during the lockdown and post-lockdown, up to today, I have read 2666 & Savage Detectives  - to read them is an  exquisite, life-changing experience) and, you know, taking off from Bolano, it's like we are now lost in the Sonoran desert in the mid-1970's, riding in a borrowed, dusty, rusty-old Chevy Impala, traversing hard, dirt roads leading to a grand-nowhere-infinity, chased by hard-boiled, snake-bitten, killers, with a long-lost, finally-found, but now dead, poetess in the back seat of the car.

You know, it feels like the center is not holding...

I went to the great Google this a.m. and typed in: What is the opposite of Chaos? 

The answer (not unexpected): order, orderliness...

But how about synonyms for Chaos? What a fabulous cornucopia of cool terms:

Synonyms for chaos chance-medley, confusion, disarrangement, disarray, dishevelmentdisorder, disorderedness, disorderliness, disorganization, free-for-all, havoc, heck, hell, jumble, mare's nest,
mess, messiness, misorder, muddle, muss, shambles, snake pit, tumble, welter

These are the days...

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Mother Nature on the Run...

Those of us who have been "alive, aware & awake" over the last few decades know that, as Neil Young once sang in "After the Gold Rush" (1970): "Look at Mother Nature on the run, in the nineteen seventies."

I mean, I don't want to be alarmist, but signs of the GREAT UNRAVELING of our Wonderful, Interconnected, Life-Supporting, Ecosystem is happening RIGHT NOW.

The evidence is everywhere. Floods. Fires. Locust. Ungodly Temps. Rainforest Dying. Permafrost Melting. Species disappearing at an unprecedented rate. Crazy-ass new viruses jumping species. 

OK. Maybe I do want to be alarmist. The amazing web of life that spawned us is DYING before our very eyes.

It's like we are all that dumb COVID patient who refused to get vaccinated, being wheeled into the ICU, gasping for breath, just about to be intubated because the virus is destroying him from the inside, and asking "Can I get the vaccine now?" And the Doctor or Nurse looking into their eyes, sadness welling up, and replying "Sorry. It's just too late."

We are getting awfully close to that situation Planet-Wide. Yikes. Human Beings you are fucking up, big time. Wonder when the "Cascade of Failure" kicks in? I am praying for an intervention for all of us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Always Moving, Always Radiant...

Yesterday...

A classic, Midwestern, Summer Day...

It's hot, it's humid, the air is thick. Sweating is a given. A busy day, riding your bike to your appointed rounds. You take a break, buy yourself a bottle of mineral water, and you find a shady spot and sit like Buddha on a plush green lawn facing the lakefront.

You try to take a photo of your classic Motobene 10-speed, and instead, you reveal the underlying mystery of our always moving, always Radiant Universe.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Not Healthy!

This opinion piece from Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times is absolutely brilliant.

The fucking understatement of this still-young century: "A socially healthy society would probably never have elected Trump in the first place."

What would an "Everyday Kind of Pilgrim" say to that? "Fucking A!"

Also, Billionaires Blasting off into Space for a few brief minutes of a cheap and expensive thrill is another sign: Not healthy!

Monday, July 19, 2021

That Kind of Universe...

Sometimes you forget
but you should remember
that we live in a Universe
that encompasses & embodies
everything

all life

everything
animate 
inanimate

And CHAOS
and DISORDER
and ENTROPY

are features
not flaws

It's that kind of
UNIVERSE...

Best to 
get your
head 
around it...

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Right...

I don't know, for some reason, Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills' lyric from "For What It's Worth," is running through my head this a.m. It is sort of a "go-to" posture...

"There's something happening here
But what it is ain't exactly clear..."

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Pandemic of the Unvaccinated...

There is now a Pandemic of the Unvaccinated in parts of the country where there is plenty of vaccine to go around. Talk about the height of stupidity. We have reached a new watermark. There are the fear-mongers, the grifters, the shysters, the blow-hards, the conservative confidence men & women, the liars, the political opportunists, the disinformation merchants, the sowers of chaos; they are selling ignorance, fear, stupidity, anti-science, anti-common-sense & bad juju. They are selling Illness & Death.  I am amazed that many of my fellow Americans are buying into the con.  WTF!?!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Of course...


I suppose it might sound a bit trite, easy, obvious, and cliche. It's just a riff off of Joseph Campbell's great line: "Follow Your Bliss."

But, you know, our time on this planet is limited. We all are on a journey. A journey of self-discovery and self-actualization. We are all heroes of our own long and winding narratives. We are here to figure out what we can figure out, and to do our best to live with heart, soul and love.

We are here to experience life to the fullest.

We aren't alone. We share life with life-forms of all kinds. We are important to ourselves, and at the same time, if we are fully awake, we realize that life is a gift and the Universe is a hard, intimidating, awesome place that is not "all about us."

So, yes, "Do what you love," is probably the best advice you can give anyone. Find what you Love, and do that. As much, and as often, as possible. Maybe you love many things? If so, you are lucky. 

Fill your life with the things you love to do. I know, simple.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Vanished Time...


Late afternoon yesterday we went to the movies, something we haven't done for more than a year and a half. It was a bit strange, surreal. Time-tripping to a past that doesn't really exist except in our heads. There is no normal, so it wasn't "getting back to normal," but it was a jaunt to a time when we did things we "used to do," like taking the train, and going to the big movie theater in the big city.

It was all a bit of a ghostly trip. We wore our masks, even though we are fully vaxxed. The train was pretty much empty. Late afternoon empty, but even emptier. And the streets of the city were deserted. So many boarded up spaces. So many missing businesses. So many missing pedestrians. There was a deep emptiness in every step. Not exaggerating. There was a profound void in the city streets that seemed to expand and swallow up what used to be there.

The theater is located in a big city mall. Totally empty except for one lonely hair salon. We trekked up the stairs to the little black-box theater spaces. Big empty theater. 5 lonely souls seated and waiting for a late afternoon movie. They renovated the space. The cramped theater seats are now plush barcalounger-type seats. I refused to push the button. Reclining back in a barcalounger just seems so uncool.

What did we see?

"Summer of Soul (... Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)" (2021)  a totally fabulous film directed by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson. 1969 in Harlem, NYC. A pivot point in our culture. A pivot point for "Black" America. A pivot point for the music of our lives.  

Just totally knocked us out. So many great performances: Mahalia Jackson, Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, the 5th Dimension, B.B. King, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Hugh Masekela.  Astonishing.  

A vanished time. But, still, so many resonances with today. A history of where we've been and where we are now, and well, maybe where we're going. Racial injustice. Violence. Drug abuse. Fighting in the streets. Protest. Hope. Joy. Craziness. Beauty. Music. Inspiration. Soul. Blues. Funk. Community. The amazing, contradictory human story.  Essential viewing. No doubt.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

"Pretty Out There."

Funny conversation last night in our little creative, dream-bubble. I found myself reassuring my main collaborator & partner in crime that when someone describes our band's (whitewolfsonicprincess) music as "pretty out there," it is not a knock, but a badge of honor. You know, we need to own our very unique & strange brew of creativity. Whatever flaws or limitations we have need to be incorporated and accented. Those quirks and flaws are features. Really. You know... Kick out the Jams, Damn the Torpedos. We need to be us to the absolute MAX. It's the only way. And that "Pretty Out There" comment validates that we are actually on the right track.  No doubt. Rock On!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Zero-Gravity = Cheap Ego Stroke = Whitey On the Moon!

Billionaires blasting off into space to float around in zero-gravity for a few minutes, seems to be the stupidest & costliest of cheap thrills ever. As someone else pointed out, maybe it just perfectly demonstrates the ridiculous, unsustainable income disparity between rich and poor? Maybe it's time to adjust the tax code for filthy-rich billionaires?  WTF. The planet is burning. The people are jumpy. Lots of problems on terra-firma that need to be addressed. Some rich dude burning cash and fuel on a mad ego-burnishing-quest.  This is not a positive new trend. Reminds me of that great Gil Scott-Heron tune inspired by the first Moon Landing: "Whitey on the Moon." Yikes. Come on Humans, we can, and must do better.

Whitey On the Moon
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)
I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)

The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
I wonder why he's uppi' me?
('cause Whitey's on the moon?)
I was already payin' 'im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)

Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
An' as if all that sh*t wasn't enough

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an' arm began to swell.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Was all that money I made las' year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain't no money here?
(Hm! Whitey's on the moon)
Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)

by Gil Scott-Heron - 1970

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Class of No Definition...

I refuse to be defined by others. Really. I will define myself. Human Being. Citizen of the World. Earthling. Radiant Being. Player. Poet. Prophet. Maladjusted Creative.

And don't put a number on me. I am not a number. Really. 

I am living here, now, in the moment. I can look backwards, I can get reflective, tell a story or two, but my past, and my stories, don't define me either. I can look forward, but it all looks misty and uncertain to me. And you know, I'm fine with all that.

I don't sum myself up, and I refuse to let anyone else sum me up either. I don't pine to belong. I am happy not belonging anywhere except in my "Own Private Idaho."

Alive. Aware. Awake. Ready for what's next. That's about it.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

We Can Heal Ourselves...

You know they tell us, do the work. Work on yourself to make yourself a better version of yourself. Sounds a bit self-absorbed, but, you know, maybe it's true, maybe this working on ourselves is necessary? 

How to go about this work? 

I'd say sitting still, meditating, getting comfortable in your skin, noticing your thoughts, desires, emotions. Noticing the hot buttons, the things that set you off. Getting your head clear. Yes, clear consciousness is important. 

Are you living someone else's picture? Are you living your life, or someone else's idea of how you should live? What are you loyal to? What fires you up? What are you passionate about? What do you want to do with your time on the planet? Where do you want to go?

Hopes. Dreams. Flow activities. What do you LOVE to do? Do it. Often. Give yourself up to something bigger than yourself.

I do think we can heal ourselves. If we are attentive. Alive. Aware. Awake. We must be patient, disciplined, kind, gentle, and go forward with grace & humility.  Be kind, to ourselves, and to others.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

A Battle for the Body & Soul of Jimmy

Yesterday, Dumps and Sunny were in a battle for the body and soul of Jimmy. You know, it's crowded around here. I think I was feeling the effects of a super-hot and humid day, 2 days previous, so, you know, I was dehydrated to the max, feeling, sketchy, arbitrary, ephemeral, and the Great Unseen Hand had a firm grip on my skull and was pressing down on me like the Vise of Doom. I turned to some aspirin and Electrolytes, and drank plenty of liquids. Still, I was "out of sorts" pretty much all day, I did make it thru, and by the evening, slowly, but surely, Dumps faded away, and Sunny emerged unrivaled and unscathed.

Totally Sunny this a.m. The Vise has lifted, the Unseen Hand has vanished. I feel hydrated and ready to face the day with a renewed enthusiasm. Of course, the coffee helps, and a nice, long, restful sleep did wonders. Amazing how you can bounce, when you think bouncing is impossible.  So, well, the sun has burst thru the clouds this a.m. so I am feeling with it, back "in sorts," in-line with the day. I wonder what this new day will bring?

Friday, July 09, 2021

Questions...

Yes. Living the Questions. Truly, Madly, Deeply. Every day. Every night. The Questions multiply, deepen, get more twisted, convoluted, and frankly it's all a bit maddening. 

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Befuddled Questioning...

I woke up with the word "modality" dancing, like a wave, or light beam, in my head. My reaction? Hunh? You know, befuddled questioning. I had to look up the meaning this a.m.

"Modality is about a speaker’s or a writer’s attitude towards the world. A speaker or writer can express certainty, possibility, willingness, obligation, necessity and ability by using modal words and expressions. Speakers often have different opinions about the same thing. These speakers are looking at the same thing."

"Here are the main verbs we use to express modal meanings: Core modal verbs: can, could, may, might, will, shall, would, should, must, Semi-modals: dare, need, ought to, used to"

Right. Necessity and ability.  Kind of defines the boundaries our lives & days, and well, modality opens a whole can of worms.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Consumed by What We Consume...

"In Peace lies Wisdom."

Maybe so. So much of our lives are consumed with the Hurly-Burly, the Loud, No-Nothing Talkers, the Noise-Makers, the overblown Flash & Dazzle of Pop Culture. And of course it is easy to be hi-jacked, diverted, consumed, by the things we consume.

Sometimes we just need to stop.

Turn to the silence. Turn to the solitariness. Turn to the simple. Turn off the 24/7 Noise Machine.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

The People Are Jumpy...

"The People are Jumpy." - Sunny Jimmy

Yes, indeed. 

My friend thinks it is all because the planet is heating up. It's getting too hot for our brains. Our brains are getting cooked, and we are getting wackier, jumpier, gnarlier, ruder, stupider, more pissed-off, less reliable, and less sensible.

I think she has a point.

And here in America most us are armed to the teeth with weapons of war and mass destruction. Plus lots of us are day-drinkers and opioid-users. Seems like a dicey, unstable situation.

You hope cooler heads will prevail. But, you know, it's getting harder and harder to stay cool. We have decided to choose optimism (see previous post), but there is a creeping sensation at the base of our skulls that danger is in the air.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Optimism is a Choice...

Still, even in the face of all that, (see previous post), optimism is a choice. Maybe it's an inherited trait too? I don't know. To think, to hope, to dream. To live in the moment with as much attention, enthusiasm, heart and soul as you can possibly conjure up. It is an act of will. It takes a bit of gumption, discipline, determination. You need some luck and pluck. See the light all around us. Lean into it.

The A.M Soundtrack - Alabama Shakes' "Boys & Girls"  (2012). The Gospel According to Brittany. A total blast of fire, thunder & unbridled joy, & enthusiasm. A monster statement of creative purpose. What is the message? Hold on, Hang Loose, You Ain't Alone.  It is a head spinner, a heart warmer. Some fabulous grooves, a band giving their all, fronted by Brittany Howard's overwhelmingly powerful voice and guitar. Yes. Highly recommended. Kind of sets the tone for the day. What is the setting? Soulful & Optimistic!

Sunday, July 04, 2021

America, We Love the Con...

Sure. Let's celebrate, it is July 4th 2021, blow-off some fireworks, at least in our heads. Happy to be here, still kicking. Born in the USA and feeling pretty lucky. You know, Democracy, Freedom, Equality, Pursuit of Happiness, and all that.

Nice, high-minded concepts. 

For sure, being born somewhere else on the planet could have been a really dicey proposition. "So much trouble in the World." - Bob Marley

But you know, it is complicated, and this is a profoundly Imperfect Union. Those high-minded concepts bump against some hard, deadly, soul-killing realities:

Genocide - "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"
Racism/White Supremacy - Slavery, Ku Klux Klan, Trump-ism
Wars & Atrocities
Institutional, Societal, Political, Psychological Inequality
Gun-Crazy
Murder Inc.

And the Eternal Con - "A sucker born every minute."

The Hustle
The Sales Pitch
The Scam
The Hoax
The Lie
The Big Lie
The Cheat

We love to sell and to be sold. We love to lie to ourselves and to others. And, remember all those fireworks are made in China. Cheap thrills: Gunpowder, Smoke, Razzle-Dazzle and BOOM! That's America, Baby!

The A.M. Soundtrack - Wilco's "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel" (2001) - Great early Wilco record. Great American Band. 
The cash machine is blue and green
For a hundred in twenties and a small service fee
I could spend three dollars and sixty-three cents
On Diet Coca-Cola and unlit cigarettes
I wonder why we listen to poets when nobody gives a fuck
How hot and sorrowful, this machine begs for luck
All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new
We want a good life with a nose for things
The fresh wind and bright sky to enjoy my suffering
A hole without a key if I break my tongue
Speaking of tomorrow, how will it ever come?
All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new
I'm down on my hands and knees
Every time a doorbell rings
I shake like a toothache
When I hear myself sing
All my lies are only wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new
I would like to salute
The ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
Filling up shopping bags

- Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Doing the Work...

Doing the work. 

Turns out the Universe is too big for us to fix. It ain't happening. The Universe will do what the Universe will do. That's a fact. 

And Humanity? 

Too many of us running around on this spinning globe. Everyone has a story. Everyone has their own point of view, their own reasons. Everyone must look into their own souls to figure out what's what.

So, doing the work, means doing the work on ourselves. Trying our best to live with Heart, Integrity, Love, Laughter, Grace, Kindness, Honesty. Maybe try to live as your own better angel, and in that way, serve as an example to others? 

A tall order. But that's really the work. Live with the questions, and sift thru the muck and madness to see if there are any tentative answers to be had. And you know, we can live without answers. We are bounded by Mystery.

And that's OK...

Friday, July 02, 2021

It is a Purposeful EVIL, Which Means We have a Slight Chance...

Thinking about Evil this morning. Our planet is burning up. Our mass industrialization and catastrophic use of fossil fuels is coming back to bite us all in the ass. Chalk it up to general stupidity, madness, greed, and yes, purposeful EVIL.

"Evil, in a general sense, is defined by what it is not—the opposite or absence of good. It can be an extremely broad concept, although in everyday usage it is often more narrowly used to talk about profound wickedness. It is generally seen as taking multiple possible forms, such as the form of personal moral evil commonly associated with the word, or impersonal natural evil (as in the case of natural disasters or illnesses), and in religious thought, the form of the demonic or supernatural/eternal.[1] While some religions, world views, and philosophies focus on "good versus evil", others deny evil's existence and usefulness in describing people."

What of "Ecocide?"  - "... substantially damaging or destroying ecosystems or by harming the health and well-being of a species, including humans."

Actively, intentionally, destroying our interconnected, life-supporting web of life is so profoundly stupid, greedy, and selfish. Evil perpetrated by my Species. Takes ones breath away. Literally, figuratively, metaphorically.

Page 373 from Bolano's "Savage Detectives" - Two Poets in a heart to heart conversation...

"... the heart of the matter is knowing whether evil (or sin or crime or whatever you want to call it), is random or purposeful. If it's purposeful, we can fight it, it's hard to defeat, but we have a chance, like two boxers in the same weight class, more or less. If it's random, on the other hand, we're fucked, and we'll just have to hope that GOD, if he exists, has mercy on us. And that's what it all comes down to."

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Two Souls on a Bench...

My companion and I picked up some new habits during the pandemic lockdown year. Lots more time together, lots more biking, walking and hanging out. Luckily, we seem to be getting along just fine, our time together is quite special. One of our most gratifying new activities: a sit-down on a bench. 

It is a new habit which we will most likely continue in this slowly emerging, post-pandemic, post-lockdown reality. So, yes, late yesterday afternoon, after a busy morning and early afternoon, I turned to my companion and said: "Let's go for a sit-down."

We grabbed a couple cold kombuchas at our local coffeeshop and headed to the lakefront. There are a few pretty private benches in our hood, and sometimes we do go for a private sit-down, but there are also some very public benches too, and sometimes we decide a public sit-down is just the thing.

We have one favorite bench, it's facing Lake Michigan, there are trees, a little brown slatted-fence, a public beach, and the vast body of water that is always in motion, always changing, and always breathtakingly beautiful. The horizon is wide and deep. A symphony of water, clouds, sky, sunshine. Some days super-calm, some days a roiling, boiling, hurly-burly of churning thunder.

If you sit in one place long enough the world will come to you. Some days that is how it feels. Yesterday was that kind of day. Sitting on that bench we were in a vortex of positive energy, a strange attractor for all kinds of attention. It was a sunny & warm day and 100's of our fellow human beings were out and about, walking, biking, running, beaching. 

We sat on that bench. We owned it. And folks kept passing by smiling, saying hello, nodding their heads. It was like everyone knew us, and well, since we are on the lakefront every day, it's not impossible. A man stopped by and chatted with us for a bit, and it turns out my companion may have found a new client for some graphic arts projects. Funny.  Sitting on bench. It  felt we were on a stage in the midst of a dramatic performance. The world came to us. And what was the performance? Two Souls on a Bench.

The name Descartes came up in a conversation with a passerby. Rene Descartes.  Not your usual daily reference. Although, in our wealthy, educated, progressive, blue-bubble, not totally surprising that one of the founders of modern philosophy would come up. I nodded. Yes, I knew the name, the man. "I think, therefore I am."

We finished our drinks. Watched the waves rolling in, and then headed home.  Later, reading in bed, on page 365 of the Picador edition of Robert Bolano's "Savage Detectives," I came across these sentences: 

"And while I was at it, I'll tell you, I even thought about that bastard Descartes. Just to give you some idea. Descartes."

Hmmm. What is the Universe saying to me? Let's just chalk it up to a strange coincidence. A little synchronicity.  Maybe I need to go back to that bench and think about it all.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Primary & Peripheral...


Reading Roberto Bolano's "Savage Detectives" (1998) English translation (2007)* one of those essential, life-changing experiences. It is oddly true, what we read can alter our consciousness, expand it, deepen it, change it profoundly. That is amazing. Words on a page can be a life-changer. The power of story-telling. The magic of language to conjure up images, evoke feelings, trigger thoughts, open doors to another way of seeing, feeling, being. Can reading, totally, madly & deeply, giving oneself up  to an exquisitely told narrative make us better or at least more human human beings? I do believe so. The best works can alter us fundamentally. Heady stuff. 

This one is fascinating. 54 different narrators. There are peripheral characters, and primary characters, and the peripheral characters sometimes turn out to be primary, and the primary ones turn out to be peripheral. It's a mirror of our own lives.

In the pages you will find mystery, poetry, dirt, sex, violence, beauty, love, hate, the great cloud of unknowing. Like I said, a very overwhelming & profound experience. Life-affirming. Life-enhancing. Life-changing. Really.

Hat-tip to Patti Smiths' "M Train" - a mind train that goes to any station it wants.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Swirling Dichotomies...

Went to see the Frida Kahlo Exhibit: "Timeless" at the College of DuPage over the weekend. I realized I knew very little about Frida Kahlo. Iconic Woman. Iconic Mexican Artist. A striking-looking woman. A strong, beautiful, vibrant and fiercely intelligent woman. Someone who made art while living a life  battling physical challenges, illnesses, and devastating injuries. 

Her paintings are overwhelmingly powerful. Especially her self-portraits:


The other thing. 

Her personal history is a microcosm of the 20th Century. She had a stormy, on-again, off-again, on-again relationship with the 20 year older Diego Rivera, famed and world-renowned muralist. The powerhouse couple was dubbed "The Dove and the Elephant."


Frida & Diego, a universe of swirling dichotomies embodying the 20th Century and resonating today:

Art vs. Commerce
Male vs. Female
Beauty vs the Not Beautiful
Communism vs. Capitalism
Poverty vs. Wealth
Old vs. Young
Healthy vs Illness
Photography vs Painting
Revolution vs. Reaction
Power vs. Vulnerability
Love vs. Hate
Loyalty vs. Betrayal
Marriage vs. Divorce

An amazing story and exhibition.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Germs & Bad Ideas...

Germs & Bad ideas. 

Very similar. You can't see them, but they can invade you, make you sick, make you do weird things, and do damage to your body, head and spirit.

That was on my mind matriculating thru a long Sunday journey yesterday. We were exposed to lots and lots folks, some masked, many not; you assume everyone has been vaxxed, but, you know, the reality is that many have not been, and have no intention of doing the right thing.

And those Germs and Bad Ideas are fellow travelers. The incredibly overweight dude smoking a cigarette, eating a greasy, over-stuffed hamburger, refuses to sully his body with a vaccine. Worried about "impurities," and side effects, don't you know?

It is sort of funny. In a not funny way.

So, there were times when it was best to just keep my mouth shut, sit back, relax and watch the Human Show: Germs & Bad Ideas.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Life is Not a Biz...

The thing is, Life is not a business. If you are thinking it needs to "pay-off" you are mistaken. Yes, we live in the Belly of the Capitalistic Beast, and in that unforgiving system, everyone needs dollars and cents to keep going, but the "do-re-mi" is not the song of our lives. Nope. Life is a mystery, and something we experience, it is open-ended, and a bit arbitrary. It's a gift (a gift that can be snatched away any time),  that just is.

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