Election 2020

Election 2020
Gaseous Little Baby Man Dirigible Implodes!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Art Brut - Charismatics! New Pic Too!

The Lovely Carla and I ventured out to a rock show at the Metro last night. We were quite pleased to find that smoking is no longer allowed inside the club - what a brilliant policy (we thank you, our lungs thank you too!). Two relatively new bands. One I've heard before, The Hold Steady and one I hadn't, Art Brut. It was an enjoyable night of loud and spiky r&r delivered fast and furious. Art Brut was the real revelation. They are quite good. Especially live. Their frontman is funny and charismatic. The music is sort of edgy - reminded me of a Brit version of the Strokes (sort of). Anyway, it was all thanks to the Telepath's drummer, our very own man about town - Bruce Wayne - Mr. Big Bang. He is a musicologist of the first rank. There's nothing quite like a spirited r&r show. It's kind of like a revival meeting. In this case, it's the slashing guitar notes, the pulsing bass lines, the ringing drum shots, and the articulate British dude stumbling around and swinging the microphone like a lasso that conjures the unameable power of the holy ghost.

UPDATE: Listening to a couple of cuts from Art Brut's recorded output, I'd say they're better live than on "memorex." On reflection, I'd say the Hold Steady probably make better records, but there's was just something about Art Brut that I loved. They seem a little decadant and dangerous and happily sloppy, (someone who knows them says they're great and fun drinkers), eventhough they're well-rehearsed and pretty tight. I guess it's something about "charisma." A hard to figure and hard to package commodity. I guess, you had to be there. And isn't that how a lot of rock and roll goes? That moment. That night. Never to be repeated. Yes, that's it. Art Brut has some kind of undefinable charisma that transcends the tracks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Moondog's Corner - Center of the Universe

Stand in one place long enough and just possibly the world will come to you. Happened to a guy dressed as a Viking who used to hang out on the corner of 54th street & 6th avenue in New York. His name was "Moondog." He was blind. He wrote music. In braille.

Famous people came to visit him. Marlon Brando, Muhammad Ali, Martin Scorcese and a bunch of folks recorded his music: Elvis Costello, Julie Andrews and Janis Joplin. He composed and recorded classical pieces and little ditties such as this one:

Oh lord, wont you buy me a mercedes benz ?
My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So lord, wont you buy me a mercedes benz ?

Oh lord, wont you buy me a color tv ?
Dialing for dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh lord, wont you buy me a color tv ?

Oh lord, wont you buy me a night on the town ?
Im counting on you, lord, please dont let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh lord, wont you buy me a night on the town ?

Oh lord, wont you buy me a mercedes benz ?
My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So oh lord, wont you buy me a mercedes benz ?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Life Raft

You know, when it all comes down to it, it's all about the passion. And well, maybe (as per Buddha Boy), compassion.

As this mad, media-saturated monster of a virtual world we have conjured around us, begins to teeter, authenticity (that rare unicorn-like quality) starts looking like some kind of life raft.

"You got any room on that boat?"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Elvis and Dylan

I'm lucky to live in a city where I can hop on a train and in less than an hour I can step off the train platform and walk right into the Chicago Theater. Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello were in the house last night.

It was a very spirited and rousing show. And well, surprise, suprise, it was Elvis who really blew me away. I mean, I cannot criticize Bob Dylan, in my book he's kind of like a river or the grand canyon, or a willow tree. He just is, love him or hate him. I happen to love him, or maybe it's not him, he's a cantankerous, strange and quirky dude, but his music, his poetry in all it's various guises is a gift that keeps on giving. David Kehr talking about Errol Flynn's "The Adventures of Robin Hood," once remarked that the movie was "beyond criticism." (Errol Flynn jumping around in green tights - could be ridiculous, but for some reason it works!). That's how I feel about Dylan. No one, especially not the little man in the black hat and shiny black suit with stripes down his pant legs can live up to DYLAN. There's the man, the work, the myth.

All that said, Dylan has a very tight and solid band backing him these days. There were only two songs that I thought they really murdered. I'd suggest to Bob that "Positively Fourth Street," and "Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol" just should not be re-arranged in some weird, faux Lawrence Welk manner. I get the feeling that Dylan believes he has the right to do anything he wants to his songs, even arrange them out of existence. Like Piccasso in his later years, no one around him can say "no." Sometimes a good collaborator can save you. Anwyay, that said, these guys know how to do that old-timey stuff as per Dylan's "Modern Times," but it was when they rocked out on the up-tempo numbers where they really grabbed me. I guess, when I go to see Dylan, all those other times I've seen him still resonate with me (Dylan backed by the Band, Dylan backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Dylan backed by the guitar masters Charlies Sexton and Larry Campbell). All in all, happy to see Mister Dylan still going strong. He's a true American treasure.

But it was Elvis Costello opening for Dylan who stole the show. One man, one guitar, one voice. He absolutely tore the house down. I've seen Elvis before, with the Attractions, with the Imposters, in fact, I saw Elvis when he first came to U.S. shores all those years ago, at a little club in Schaumburg, Illinois way back when "My Aim is True," first hit the shelves, he's always been good, but this time around, you realize the man really is a master.

Elvis (excuse my French), fucking rocked. So much passion, so in the moment. He had the audience in the palm of his hand. he was wielding an Epiphone Acoustic/Electric, the same model J. Lennon used to play, it was hooked up to a small tube amp, and he got a perfect, creamy overdriven sound to back his superb vocals. I can't say enough. It was so powerful, so inspiring. When he quoted Lennon's line, "I don't want to be a soldier mama, I don't want to die," in "Wake Up," when he did a rousing, punkish, version of "What's So Funny about Peace, Love and Understanding," he hit the bullseye. The audience roared with delight. It was one of the best performances I've ever seen. Totally unexpected. Elvis truly is the King. This one writes his own songs too! Elvis lives!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"authorized and ordered crimes of torture to be carried out ... as well as other war crimes."

Yes, well, sometimes there's a glimmer of light. I know sometimes justice is slow, or never comes, (or doesn't exist?!), maybe this never goes anywhere, but this is good news from Europe, or at least it's a first step. We have our own homegrown Milosevics and Pinochets (think Rumsfield, Cheney, Bush) and one can at least hope that they one day there is some kind of reckoning, that they "get what they deserve."

I suppose just having to be a Rumsfield, a Cheney, a Bush is punishment enough on some karmic plane. But in this human element, it would be good for all of us to bring these guys to account for their crimes against humanity.

Tonight I am going to see Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello at the Chicago theater, and I'm really looking forward to it. My band, the Telepaths are thinking of adding Dylan's "Masters of War," to our set list when we play in early December. I'll let Dylan have the last words. He is of course, speaking of those who build the death planes, who build all the bombs, those who "hide in your mansion/as young people's blood/flows out of their bodies/and is buried in the mud."

And then the final stanza: "And I hope that you that you die/and your death'll come soon/I will follow your casket/in the pale afternoon/ and I'll watch while you're lowered/down to your deathbed/and I'll stand o'er your grave/Til I'm sure that you're dead."

Here's Eddie Vedder giving it a whirl:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life - I recommend it!

I hate nostalgia. I love history. Makes sense? For instance, I listen to music from the sixties or seventies or eighties, not because it reminds me of a lost time, or reminds me of who I was back then, I'm not fondly looking back through misty eyes, hell no, I listen because some of that music still resonates with me NOW. When that snare drum shot rings out to start "Like a Rolling Stone," it's the kick, the immediate adrenaline rush of now that grabs me by the lapels. I'm thinking there are some songs, some novels, some poems, whatever, that are so much of the moment, that they are beyond time. The moment stretches out forever and you can dip in and you are alive in an ever-expanding nowness.

At the same time, the now, is the aquarium we swim in. Sometimes there just seems to be too much now. I find it refreshing to read about times and people who lived long ago. Partly to see a glimpse of a lost world, and also to illuminate, or to put on fresh eyes to see what's happening today.

So lately, I've been reading a biography of Percy Shelley. An English poet. I kind of get the impression that he and his fellow poet, Byron, if they lived today, would be fronting rock & roll bands. I see Shelley as kind a kinky Ray Davies, and Byron, well of course, he'd be the lead singer of the Doors.

I came across this yesterday, something Shelley wrote in a notebook in 1819. It seems to me, not so old really, no, I think it could have been written today, and well, there's a real kick when someone from another time and place hits the bullseye in your head, this moment.

"Life and the world, or whatever we call that which we are and feel, is an astonishing thing...we are struck with admiration at some of it's transient modifications, but it is itself the great miracle. What are the changes of empires, the wreck of dynasties, with the opinions which supported them; what is the birth and the extinction of religions and of political systems to life? What is the universe of stars, and suns...and their motions, and their destiny, compared with life?"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Murdering Mother Nature or "Oedipus. You can't handle the truth!"

If you want to know how poorly we are taking care of our planet, you should check out CNN's Planet in Peril. I didn't see it all, (frankly some of it is quite painful to watch!), but it is impressive in it's scope and there is a ton of new information to process. To sum up, our wealth and affluence and prosperity are killing the planet (all of us are culpable - every last one of us!). Seems that our great technological/industrial paradise is squeezing out the planet-wide ecosystem that spawned us. We truly are murdering Mother Nature and at an alarming and accelerating rate. Did you know that our world-wide population has grown by 400% since 1900? Unchecked growth (don't the economists tell us this is a desirable state?) in nature is what we call CANCER! Human Beings are now a Cancer on the Planet! Yikes! Not so good for one's self-esteem.

Reminds me of one of my heroes, the famous beat poet Gary Snyder.

Back in the 70's he wrote a truly great book called "Turtle Island." That's what the Indians called the territory we now call the U.S. Anyway, Gary was kind of like the canary in the coal mine. The lone poet/prophet whistling past the graveyard. And well, now that we know we are turning this blue planet into a grave, can we somehow stop it?

It's kind of funny in a sort of sick way, we are the uppity monkeys that just don't know our place. Everything in an ecosystem has a job. At some point, we got it in our heads that our job was to destroy the ecosystem and replace it with Orlando, Florida, a faux paradise of glitz, a desolate, god-for-saken amusement park of cheap thrills. Not so amusing after all. And is it our fear of Mother Nature, our fear of death, that drives us to killing everything that is not us and in that way, we actually assure our own destruction? Maybe there's a play in there?!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wake Up and Smell the Roses

Supposedly a cow, a horse, a pig, a dog, a cat, a mouse, a bug, etc. (I mean there's a long list of fellow creatures on this planet, although according to the latest count, species are disappearing at an alarming rate - and may I ask if we finally kill off all off our fellow species, won't it actually be quite a lonely damned place to live? And if you listen to the news (oh god no!), the water, the air, the soil, and of course the ice, is all being polluted, corrupted and destroyed by our heavy-handed presence - so I mean, what's the end-game here?) these creatures don't fret about their place in the world, although, I'm thinking this might just be more of that human hubris we've all grown so accustomed to, who are we to say what goes on in the mind of a pig, or cow or a mouse?

But as a human being, a guilt-riddled, brain-addled specimen, no doubt, I sometimes wonder what exactly I'm doing here. I mean, I've kind of opted out of the "be fruitful and multiply" directive. My seed has not engendered an offspring, no indeed, instead, it has fallen on deaf eggs, and in my book that is a good thing. Does the world really need any kind of facimile of me? I dare answer, "I think not!"

So, what purpose? Some days it's not even a question. Just glad to be alive. Other days, well, is it my job to enjoy, or only to endure the pummeling of the world? Maybe I don't really have a purpose or job at all. Aye there's the rub. So, what's the matter, except the matter? On the other hand, as my father used to say (quoting someone else) "I never promised you a rose garden." And if I don't have a rose garden to haunt, can I still take a whiff and smell the roses?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Turning Guns to Butter!? (or how about "I can't believe it's not butter!?")

A must read from Chalmers Johnson:

"There is, I believe, only one solution to the crisis we face. The American people must make the decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge, still growing military establishment that undergirds it. It is a task at least comparable to that undertaken by the British government when, after World War II, it liquidated the British Empire. By doing so, Britain avoided the fate of the Roman Republic -- becoming a domestic tyranny and losing its democracy, as would have been required if it had continued to try to dominate much of the world by force."

Two wars and counting! Big Dick and Little Bush are itching for more. Anyone for dismantling an empire? How would that play in Iowa, in New Hampshire? As Nick Lowe wrote, and the other Elvis once sang, "what's so funny about peace, love and understanding?" Who will step up to the plate?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Sometimes a record whaps you upside the head and you can't get it out until you play it to death. Then it's imprinted forever. Or at least until they finally put the pennies on your eyes.

Sparklehourse's album, "Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain," wasn't like that for me. I bought the cd sometime in 2006, just after it came out. Played it once in awhile. Liked it, but it kind of washed past me, if you know what I mean, it sat in a stack of other discs, filed under "nice background music," but still, I didn't listen to it very often. I gravitated to other stuff.

Well, I do think this thing is some kind of masterpiece. Totally hypnotic. Captivating. Creeps up on you. I "re-discovered" it one afternoon, and now I play it obsessively. Not exactly sure what it's all about. But it's about something. And I can't get enough. Makes me think of Yo Lo Tengo on some tracks, but only tangentially. Then it has it's own unique sounds. Unlike anything else. A haunting, ethereal beauty. And some rocking tracks, and some dissonance, and fractured surreal lyrics.

It's all the brain-child of a guy named Mark Linkous. Seems he's had a strange and difficult existence on the margins of musicland. Anyway, I love this cd...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Torture Logic!

Why am I so tortured about the torture debate? Not really sure. Maybe I've been on the losing end of that bargain in another incarnation. Or maybe my powers of imagination and empathy somehow make it real easy for me to see how you could find yourself under the screw for no good reason. Maybe it was all those formative years sitting through Benediction and taking in the stained glass re-enactment of the stations of the cross. I mean, that seemed to be a case where a fairly likeable dude who talked about love was whipped and pummeled and nailed to a tree for what was in his head. I guess the injustice of it all kind of seeped into my DNA.

So, eventhough I know torture goes on, it's been employed by many nations, many police forces, many armies, it's usually been condemned. I mean some of the great practitioners were folks like the Nazis and Stalin, and the French, the Spanish. Or for years if you wanted to know how to torture you'd go to folks like the KGB or the CIA for the latest methods. Again, I realize that bad shit happened. Happens still.

What's amazing though is how you now have a President, a Vice President, an Attorney General (or Attorney General to be) who basically has decided to "redefine," what torture really is, because if we do it, even if the Geneva Conventions says what we're doing is torture, it must not be torture because well we're doing it!

So you actually have a statement sort of like this (I'm paraphrasing what I heard on the radio this morn): If it's torture, it's unconstitutional, we don't do anything unconstitutional, so we don't torture, even if we do what we are doing looks like torture, don't worry it's not! Also this Attorney General-to-be tells us that we have a "war president" (remember this is a never-ending war!), and as WAR PRESIDENT our Commander in Chief can do anything to protect us! And by the way, if he does it, even if it includes torturing us, or ripping up our constitution, well it's all ok, because once he does it, it's actually legal and constitutional. And NO ONE CAN TELL US ANY DIFFERENT.

Is this what it's like to live in a BANANAS REPUBLIC!?

UPDATE: I just wanted to add to the list. Of course, just about every country, every army, every police force, every bully has at some time used torture, to either get information, or well, maybe just for the sadistic pleasure of having power over another human being. George Orwell's definition of power - one man's boot-heel crushing another man's head. Elizabethan England along with being a such shining, verdant village idyll was also a terror state with Catholics and Protestants torturing (the rack and screw) and murdering each other for what was in their hearts and minds. There are many arguments against torture - doesn't work, false confessions, brutalizes the tortured and the torturer. It's immoral, it's wrong. There's some thresholds a man, a force, an army, a nation should not cross. Once crossed we are lost. When dudes in suits with big salaries start hedging on the meaning, the definition of torture, I think it is safe to say that our ship of state is on shaky ground. The more boot-heels, the more pain, the more brutality, the weaker we become. A hollow bully of a nation.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"He Lifts Me Up!" - The Belfast Cowboy

I read obits once in awhile. Is it some magical-thinking way of proving I'm not dead yet? It's a way to find out something about people you didn't really know. A person was born at this time, did this, did that, died at this time, and at this place. There's so much left out. You know that the simple facts tell you something, and still the facts basically miss the essential stuff of what makes a life.

I came across this obit for Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual holy man who founded a meditation center in Queens back in the sixties. He became a guru for some famous people, including the musicians Carlos Santana and John McGlaughlin. I came across his name many years ago. I was a fan of Miles Davis' haunting "Bitches Brew" album, which led me to listening to the great guitar work of John McGlaughlin, which led me to his band Mahavishnu Orchestra. I learned McGlaughlin was a disciple of Chinmoy.

A guy named Jerry Goodman was the violinist in Mahavishnu Orchestra and many years later, I met a guy named Fred Glickstein, who was also in a band with Goodman, a Chicago based band called The Flock, one of the great, lost, psychedelic rock outfits that came and went after a disc or two. Anyway, I kind of count Fred as one of my friends. He lives near me, we chat once in awhile, trade e-mails. He's totally unplugged from the music scene, but he's got a million funny stories. He's a sparkling soul and I'd glad I know him.

Anyway, so in some weird way, I feel connected to Chinmoy via Davis via McGlaughlin via Goodman via Glickstein. So I read Chinmoy's obit with quite a bit of interest. He advocated meditation (yes!), vegetarianism (well, I guess ok!) and celibacy (are you sure? I mean you got to let it out sometime captain!). He was an athelete who slept only 90 minutes a day (that sounds totally crazy to me - isn't that how we break prisonsers at Guantanamo - I mean I need a good eight hours to be somewhat coherent?!), and who ran ultra-marathons and did some heavy lifting.

Here's the really funny part. It seems Chinmoy was a spiritual leader who "literally" lifted people up. He physically lifted them. It was one of his great acheivements. I mean who else can boast that he lifted: Sting, Muhammad Ali, Neslon Mandela, Sid Cesear, Desmond Tutu, Yoko Ono, Jesse Jackson, Susan Sarandon, Eddie Murphy and Richard Gere!?!?

No, he did not lift Van Morrison. But still, when all is said and done good ole Sri was quite the uplifting holy man!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dancing on the Precipice

I recently read about the late, great, French pop songster, and bad boy, Serge Gainsborough, and well, eventhough, I've never really heard his music, he seems like just my cup of tea. I guess he sort of reigned supreme in France during the late sixties, early seventies.

I was lost in the Dylan/Beatles/Stones/Who/Allman Brothers milieu at the time, I had no place for an ultra-hipster (think of a French Bogart who could write songs and sing) like Serge. I am ripe for him now. I plan on ordering some discs from Amazon to kind of catch up. Anyway, this quote from Serge (he believed he was an ugly man - eventhough beautiful women were wildly attracted to him, and he had relationships with many, including at the time, the great sex kitten, Brigitte Bardot), has resonated with me. I've been carrying it around in my head for weeks, and I thought I had to put it in the blogosphere. Here it is:

"Beauty fades, ugliness endures." - Serge Gainsborough

It's something I can relate as per my own self-image. I've always been uncomfortable in my skin. Ever since I was little, as soon as I could see myself in a mirror, or a photo, I have been disappointed. There's nothing quite like a disappointed Narcissist! But as life has gone forward, my strangeness, my self-perceived "ugliness" has sort become a badge of honor. I'm not worried about fading beauty, instead, the accumulated rust starts to turn into a dark, weirdness that is undeniable. Something endures. And the endurance itself becomes a virtue. Of course, entropy rules and well Serge finally gave up the ghost, just as we all must. Serge is gone but ugliness endures!

So anyway, this is all just a preamble to what I really wanted to write about - THE TELEPATHS! It's a band I'm in. I play guitar. It a combustible, anarchic outfit that specializes in energy and mayhem. We played out last night at Sylvies, a smoky and muggy little rock club. We did a 40 minute set. It was raw and exhilarating. I think we are undeniably the "sweatiest rock and roll band" in the city. I don't know exactly what it is - get the four of us up onstage, and suddenly the adrenaline kicks in and anything seems possible.

We were sloppy, and almost lost it completely a couple times last night, and well there's some kind of amazing kick when you realize you are dancing on the precipice. I hope we never lose that mad and loose r&r ethic. It's a cool thing, so different from the work I do with the Lovely Carla in my other band White Wolf Sonic Princess. There we are shooting for some kind of ethereal beauty. The Telepaths are definitely on the extreme other end of a dichotomy.

I feel lucky to be exploring both sides of that weird-ass equation...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Cow Jumped Over the Moon...

One year, one Oscar, one Nobel Prize. Not bad. Add to that the guy wins the popular vote in 2000...

Of course, as we all know the Supremes stole the election from the man...and well, we're stuck with the Idiot Monkey, who takes the country down a sordid path of buffoonery and misery...

Do we always get the President we deserve?

Al asks us to think as a species...sounds like quite the leap...

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Ghost of Jeff Buckley

Last night White Wolf Sonic Princess (WWSP) played out at Uncommon Ground. It was such a blast. I mean, we were nervous as hell. For some reason, eventhough we've done a bunch of shows already, it really seemed like some kind of coming out party for us. Plus, because of the logistics, it was just the Lovely Carla and I. No bass, no drums. We were up there in a very intimate room, one guitar, two voices. About as naked and exposed as you can be. I guess maybe doing a standup act would be one step beyond.

It was a challenge and a kick. It all kind of went by in a blur. But we really savored it too. Uncommon Ground is a very cozy and intimate room. It's got to be one of the best places to play in Chicago. There were some familiar faces, in fact, much of my life in the last few years were kind of represented at some of the tables there. I've really been on a spiritual/creative quest and some of the kindred souls I've met along the way came out to support us. It was very gratifying.

Plus there were plenty of new faces too. We got a warm response. Good feeling all around. Even the Lovely Carla gave us high marks! As we packed up for the night I stood under the portrait of Jeff Buckley and thanked him. He's gone, but inspires still.

Still kind of riding the positive vibe this morning. No post performance crash yet. Maybe I can stay in the bubble for a little while.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Let It Rock...

Can rock & roll save your soul? Not sure about that. There is much debauch and wreckage associated with the r&r lifestyle. Early death. Fallen idols. Alchoholism. Drug abuse. Blasted and broken lives. Too many peanut butter and fried bannana sandwiches.

On the other hand, I do believe r&r feeds and fires the soul. It may not be enough to save a soul, but it certainly stirs it. Last night, I spent a few hours in a dark rehearsal space with a couple of other souls. It was hot, not really transcendant. We blasted through some numbers, originals and covers, elemental r&r songs, played loud.

Turn up the volume, crash through a chord progression, feel the kick of the drum, and throb of a bass guitar. The failures, the defeats, all the bad shit of the world had to wait for us outside the doors. You can't barricade the doors. Finally you have to pack up and go into that dark night. The world is waiting for us all with all it's pain and glory, it's claws and embraces.

But for a few minutes you get to rock, and it lights something inside. It may not be enough, but then again, the soul thing doesn't work by number and logic...instead it's kind of like magic...and sometimes a maple fretboard points you in a certain direction...and it's something.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Drunken Monkey in Your Head

The Lovely Carla went for an acupunture session this morning. At lunch she hits me this sage advice: "beware the drunken monkey in your head...it is a monster!"

I'm thinking that my drunken monkey may have something to bring to the table...maybe I can redeem him for valuable prizes later?!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Disinterested Ongoingness of Everything

Tom Stoppard's play "Rock & Roll" is coming to New York. He writes about it in the latest Vanity Fair. It seems he was originally intending to write a play about Syd Barrett the great lost frontman of Pink Floyd, but then took a creative detour.

This line at the end of the piece really resonates: "every story, made up or otherwise...is secretly about time, the disinterested ongoingness of everything, the unconditional mutability that makes every life poignant." - Tom Stoppard

Friday, October 05, 2007

Just because he says it, doesn't make it so...

It's been said over and over...and well, not sure if our country can really deal with the depths of the degradation and destruction this man has unleashed. THIS MAN IS A LIAR AND A CRIMINAL! He should be hauled down to the Hague for trial for war crimes. The crimes committed by this nation stain us all...

UPDATE: What a fucking weasel! If there's any doubt about "advanced interrogation techniques" qualifying as torture, I submit that as a test (mind you only a test!) that Bush be subjected to a few weeks of the approved interrogation measures to see how well it all agrees with him.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sweet Smell of Success

I can't really go into the specifics...I must protect the innocent, the not so innocent and the completely guilty. Let's just say, I've recently been involved in a business deal where mucho bucks have been discussed. It was very early stage, but if it all panned out, I stood to make a lot of money. Now, it turns out that someone that I greatly admire, someone who I've worked with for many years, someone who has inspired me, someone I can honestly call a friend, basically asked me for a bribe to make sure the deal happened.

It was presented in such a friendly and logical way. "You take care of me, I take care of you." And of course, I think of myself as a "deal-maker," not a "deal-breaker." I hesitated. I did not dimiss the idea immediately. I tried it on for size, I actually consulted with a couple collegues to see if it was something we could "work out."

At the same time, I knew it was wrong. And in my heart, I knew I could not do it. How to respond? Well, I came back with both barrels blazing. I ripped the deal to shreds. I probably lost a friend. I passed up the bucks. I told my friend he was making a big mistake. I even threatened to blow the whistle (this is probably something I won't do!)

Was I naive? I know that many deals are made by "greasing the wheel." Much of Wall Street and Washington too, and every State Capitol in the land has it's practitioners of the bribe. I am not on a high-horse here. I don't feel righteous, I'm not putting myself up as some moral example. I actually feel really bad that I had to blow this deal to smithereens.

I'm writing about it to just get it all out of my system. Kind of like letting the poison dribble out my veins. Corruption comes with a smile and a dollar sign, it comes at you all friendly-like, with logic and practical terms. It tells you if you want to "play with the big dogs," you have to play along. It's a sweet seduction that kills something.

UPDATE: The Lovely Carla tells me to be careful about getting too self-righteous here. She reminds me of a previous case where I did take care of a friend, I did take care of myself too. She's right. There's a slippery slope here. And no clear lines. Subtle degrees of corruption. I guess it's a case by case process. You hope you make the right choices.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Don't Believe in Superman...but...

I don't really think it's our mission to "lead the world," I mean, what if we could live a good life, take care of our children and our planet? Try our best to lean to the light? But I really like this quote from Barack Obama:

"To lead the world, we must lead by example. We must be willing to acknowledge our failings, not just trumpet our victories. And when I'm President, we'll reject torture - without exception or equivocation; we'll close Guantanamo; we'll be the country that credibly tells the dissidents in the prison camps around the world that America is your voice, America is your dream, America is your light of justice."

It sounds like a start to some kind of vision of redemption...I wonder if he'll have a chance to realize it...?

Monday, October 01, 2007

On the Road

We took our R&R roadshow 139 miles north to Madison (a city on a hill between two lakes Menota and Mendota), Wisconsin over the weekend. We played a show at Mother Fools, a comfortable little coffeehouse down the road from the Capitol building. Madison is the state Capitol and a college town, and this time of year, it's really all about football and beer. There's the Wisconsin Badgers college team and of course, there's the Green Bay Packers. Plus lots and lots and lots of beer.

So our band was battling the Badgers and lots of cold beer for the entertainment dollar. Football & beer won. It was me, the Lovely Carla and Sanjay our drummer extraordinaire (think a combo of Maya, Krishna and a Smurf and you kind of get a little flavor of who Sanjay is - we are so lucky to have him in our band) in Madison (there was a full moon too!), for a White Wolf Sonic Princess gig.

We were sort of fish out of water. Swimming upstream in a river of beer. We played to the vegan-soy-latte crowd. Not really a crowd, just a few stray, like-minded souls hiding out from the football-mad, beer-soaked hordes in a cozy little coffeeshop. We did two sets - nearly 2 hours of music. All originals. It went so well, quite the satisfying show. Some enthusiastic applause, nice words and smiles from the audience. Then, well, the night was still young, what else to do (?!) we couldn't resist, we jumped into the mad frat-boy fray with both feet. We found ourselves at a bar where the beer mugs were liter-sized, and another place where all beer on tap was freshly brewed right on-site.

We drank with gusto, happy with all we'd done and then we watched the football crazies get really sloppy, over-the-top drunk. We got a little fuzzy headed too. It was quite the scene. I can't really sum it up, but if our country is on the skids I think our obsession with football and beer might have something to do with it.

Anyway, Sunday morning the streets of Madison were pretty deserted. I'm sure there were a lot of hangovers, although, the three of us we were just fine. Had a nice breakfast and then it was back on the road to Chicago. I'm really getting addicted to performing. Music is such a cool kick. We are really refining our sound. More shows are on the horizon...I live for this shit!

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