Election 2020

Election 2020
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Like Intelligent Bands!

I like it when bands I like appear to be intelligent people, who like to do the good work. And I like when bands I like are politically aware and promote equal rights and non-discrimination. So yes, I like that Wilco canceled a show in Indianapolis to protest a new "Religious Freedom Law" which really seems like  "Thinly Disguised Legal Discrimination."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Unexpectedly Satisfying!

Henry Rollins, when he was singing with the Rollins Group, had a song, don't remember the title, but the chorus or main verse was something like: "Sometimes things don't work out... sometimes happens all the time."

It became one of our inside jokes around here. Funny, but oh so true. Conversely, sometimes things do work out. Much better than you could imagine. Such was the case yesterday. 

whitewolfsonicprincess hosted a Sunday afternoon "variety show," at the Red Line Tap. It was all my own idea, and I guess the big question was, "Will folks come out on a Sunday afternoon to hear and see music, standup comedy and go-go dancers?"

The answer was/is a resounding "Yes!" We ended up with a great little crowd. It was all so cool, and chill and fun. Surprising. Unexpected. Almost feels totally satisfying. Sometimes things do work out!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Whole Thing...

Yes. It's scary. Being a Human Being. And there's really only one good strategy. To embrace it. Embrace it all. Sounds simple, maybe simple-minded. But that's OK. If we embrace, and accept, and let it all come down, we open, expand, learn, grow.

Resistance is futile. And takes too much energy. And makes us stiff, brittle, hard, and small-minded. We stop growing. And coil up. 

So the embracing is not weakness, although, maybe we think it is, it's actually strength in action. But it's fluid, and easy, and we think passive. But an active, engaged embracing is not passive. It's the whole thing.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

There's a Human Being...

People. Human Beings. They are a mystery. Being one of them doesn't really help. Studying Freud and Jung helps a bit. We are complicated messes. A whirlpool of thoughts, feelings, emotions. We wear masks of irrationality, masks of rationality.

We can do amazing, beautiful things. We can do horrific, unimaginable things. We usually save the best and worst for each other.

"Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent." - S. Freud

Yesterday I was at the lakefront, the wind was whipping across the water at a furious velocity, the waves were crashing into the shore with a wild, madness, there was an endless parade of white frothy waves pounding the shore. There was a roar, an overwhelming roar coming from the lake.

And on the shore a woman, in her middle years, was shouting back at the wind. She was either hopping mad, literally, she was hopping with fury, or she was exuberant, thrilled, over-joyed with some secret win. It was impossible to tell if it was fury or joy. Words tumbled from her lips in a torrent. It was impossible to understand what she was saying. She roared, brayed, shouted, jumped up and down, little, ridiculous, jumps, like a little pop-up doll.

She was so preoccupied, in her little world, she didn't notice me walk past.  I just thought, "There's a human being..."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Result of the Battle!

Does it take more energy to be positive, than it is to be negative? I don't know. I Googled that question this morning and came across Tiny Buddha, who tells me that the original Buddha said: "The mind is everything. What we think we become."

Is that true? I don't know. Who am I to disagree with the Buddha? Some times I feel my mind is like a battlefield. There are the positive thoughts and the negative thoughts and they battle it out. The battle itself is sort of tiring and defining. I suppose I am the result of the battle.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Powers of Recovery!

Our "powers of recovery," are amazing. Knock us down, we can get back up. Expend lots of energy, somehow, it all comes flooding back. You wonder where it comes from. And you wonder if this power will always work. You know, you find yourself in a deficit of energy, but you recover, again and again, until one day you don't.

There are limits. You won't grow back a severed limb. Lose a finger, it's gone. Still, it's true, just like that old watch, we can "take a licking and keep on ticking." It's a power! Recovery!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Love the Struggle?!

You gotta love the struggle. Right? If you love the struggle, you have it made. You can expect the struggle, and meet it head on. And then you struggle. And then, well, it works out one way or another. And then there's the next struggle. And you meet that one too.

I suppose this is a little bit of that Vince Lombardi ethic... or maybe it's a variation of the Buddhist "life is suffering" thing. To love suffering sounds pretty masochistic, but I think you can trick yourself to love the struggle. You know, no pain, no gain.

I mean, don't look to struggle, that would be a negative way to look at life, but don't be surprised if the struggle finds you. And then engage, and do your best.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Rotten Movie!

A snowstorm yesterday. I slogged. All day. It was Biblical. Epic. Like one of those Cecil B. Demille flicks. I was being challenged by all the dark elemental forces Cecil could conjure. I mean, it was a rotten movie. And I was Charles Heston, raging against the wind. I spent much of the day just trying not to fall off my bike, yes, I was riding a bike to get to places I had to go. I was being paid to get to these places, and to do things I was supposed to do. Not a lot of money was dispensed to me to do these tasks. It seemed like a dark joke, right? 

And there were a few close calls. How close? I don't know. But, for instance, I'm riding a bike down an icy, snowy street, the cold pavement is rolling below my boots, and I hit a patch of ice, my front tire goes into a scary wobble, and there's a automobile bearing down on me on my left shoulder. I didn't fall, but there was that moment, probably a micro-second, where falling seemed like a distinct possibility. Did some smiling, bored God just flip a coin? And then what? Who knows. But falling in front of a moving car, isn't something I was up for giving a try. Anyway, I straightened out, got to where I was going, and made it back home safe and sound too. By night fall, the streets were pretty clear. There was a shining slice of a silver moon staring down at me. The little village was so quiet. I wondered, do people live here? Where are they all? What do they do? How do they make it? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Every Help... Or Not!

I was in this room, and on the wall was a coat of arms and the motto: "For the Brave and the Faithful nothing is difficult."

That seemed a little too breezy for me. I mean to be brave, you probably need to be a little naive, innocent, or a little stupid, and faithful? I suppose it's pretty damn important to know just what you intend to be faithful to...

But this got me thinking about coat of arms and family mottos...

You can trace one side of my family history to the O'Connor clan in Ireland. I don't have lots of Irish blood in me, but the little I do have, was very much celebrated in my family. So this morning I'm swimming back, looking at the history of the O'Connors.

Their motto? "From God every help." Now if you have your doubts about God, this really has a nice resonance...

And when I say, "nice resonance" I mean, some folks say we are made in God's image, so the reverse is true too, right? God looks just like us? Now, what I think that means is that there is actually a multiplicity, a universe of Gods, and they all work at cross purposes.

So there is the God of Love, but there's also the God of Hate and they spend lots of time duking it out. We are the pieces on the chessboard. God of laughter, God of Tears. God of Good Luck, and God Bad Luck. Some Gods are hard-working and diligent, some are fat and lazy, and barely phone it in. Sometimes they make accommodations with each other... "Okay gimme 10 inoperable cancers, and I'll give you one Super Powerball Winner."

Some Gods are fuckups and losers, some are overachievers. Really, doesn't this explain it all quite nicely?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Appearances Deceive

The mighty do fall. One minute you live in a mansion on the lakefront, the sound of waves lulling you to sleep, the next minute you're holed up in a shack, behind someone's dilapidated house. The floor of your shack is on a slant. If you had a bowling ball it would roll from one end of the room to the other. There's a funky smell in the place, sort of a weird, burned, chemical smell.

You would never have guessed you'd find this guy, in this place. Alone with a dog. Everything looks a little harder, more frayed, less clean. The light is a little brighter around here, everything is a little more washed out, less vivid. More real, but less substantial.

You used to sort of envy this guy, maybe looked up to him a bit, he seemed to have it all; beautiful wife, nice car, big, imposing house. Everyone seemed happy. Satisfied. Established. When you tell the guy you are surprised to see him in his new digs, that his "breakup" seems most improbable, he explains it all with two words: "Appearances deceive."

Yes. They do.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

We Should All Go to Rehab!

I am still swimming in the middle of David Carr's "Night of the Gun."  It is amazing, and a little daunting to behold how much degradation one human being is willing to endure to pursue an addiction. There are many levels of degradation. Sort of like Dante's levels of hell.

There are some events that I can relate to, some of the mindless craziness. I think back on some of my risky, crazy days, but my risky and crazy is really many levels up from the abyss that Carr explores and sinks into. By the end of his years of hell, he is shooting cocaine with a determined relish.

Carr was in and out of rehab 5 times. Finally the 5th time stuck. What's kind of interesting, a lot of what Carr writes about in rehab reminds me of scenes from David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest." Even some of the characters sketched by Carr resemble characters sketched by Wallace. Maybe there is a sameness about rehab that every one experiences?

And just like in Foster's book, I kind of get the idea from Carr that maybe we all should be in rehab. We are all addicts of one thing or another. And we do need those simple, AA aphorisms that people make fun of, but then base their new lives of sobriety on...

One Day at A Time.
Nothing is Fair
It Is What It Is

Friday, March 20, 2015

Okay Maybe Just Taxes!

If you've tracked along with my "thought-stream" lately, you know that I have been kind of reeling from the illusory, ephemeral nature of our existence, and how the certainties of life sort of vanish upon reflection and concentrated intention.

But, as they like to say, there's always death and taxes. And then well, yesterday, I almost whooped with joy when I came across this notice about Alan Moore's forthcoming novel "Jerusalem."

Moore tells us his novel will explore the space-time continuum and "disprove the existence of death." So I guess we are just left with taxes! After a while wiping away certainties becomes pretty much exhilarating!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Essential Memoirs

Memoirs. I have been reading some really good ones. I mean the great ones. Two of Mary Karr's books, "The Liars Club," and "Cherry," and right now I'm in the middle of David Carr's "The Night of the Gun."

Both writers really delve into the craziness of being human. And all the wreckage of a life. Addiction, madness - being human. All the ways human beings debauch and try to muddle through a life. These books all have lots of humor, insight, and horror. They also are sort of "redemption" stories, they are written by people who emerged from the wreckage of too much of everything, and lived to tell the tale. 

Just living and telling the tale seems like a victory. David Carr also spends lots of time, reporting on his own past life, like it's just another story he must research, and he finds that his own memory is quite fallible. There are stories, the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and then there is what happened, and the stories and the "what happened" might not really be the same thing at all.

These are great books. Essential books. Mary Karr is a poet. David Carr is a gifted writer & journalist. You will be  amazed, you will be horrified. You will be enlightened. You will reflect on your own life too. I have been sent into my own hall of mirrors, recalling events from my life. What really happened? Did that really happen the way I recall it? There is a tale to be told...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crappy Lessons!

Yes, that's a lesson too. Sometimes the "bad guys," win. You see folks who really go out of their way to harm others, who can justify any inequity, who never admit they are at fault; you see those folks cruise along, happy as pigs in shit, with all the perks of a successful life. It's doesn't seem right. But it's part of the world, part of the fabric of our lives. We have to learn to live with that kind of thing too. It's another one of those crappy lessons included with all the others lessons we learn, whether we want to or not.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Muddle!

The longer I live, the longer I think about my life, (and the lives of those around me), the fewer prejudices and/or preconceptions I seem to carry with me. They are all demolished by my experience of life. The things I thought I knew or understood, I no longer do. The certainties I was hoping to base a life on, seem to vanish before my eyes. All it takes is a little concentrated attention, and I begin to realize that what I thought of as certain, is actually pretty fungible. Oh yeah, there's death, there's always death, but that kind of blows a hole in everything else.

Do we read the world as one grand metaphor? Or a mountain, or endless river of metaphors? Is everything actually a sign or symbol of something else?

Or do we read the world literally? Is everything exactly and only what it is? Are there no signs, no symbols? Only the literal reading of a life of stuff?

Or do we read it all metaphorically and literally? Or is the answer "none of the above?"

That's the kind of muddle that whirls around in my head...

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Vanishing Dot - That's Our Existence!

Yes, "Ghost in the Machine" isn't only a really good Police album. It's a phrase that was coined by philosopher Gilbert Ryle. Good old Gilbert takes on body/mind dualism. He tells us that mind is a ghost, invisible, lurking in the machinery, rising from the machinery, not different than the machinery. 

The more you look, the more you see that you don't know what is what. Memory, self, consciousness, mind, even, as Cecil Adams explains it, "the present," is sort of a chimerical creature.

We are told that we should "live in the present," but it turns out it doesn't really exist. It's a dot, a vanishing dot. You can't really live there at all! It's getting pretty lonely around here. Just what illusions can we cling to?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Thinking, Feeling, Empathetic Machine!

I tune into the radio early this morning, brewing coffee, getting ready for the day, and a Scientist is on the waves telling me that I'm just a "mechanism." A collection of moving parts, a machine, an organism made up of little machines.

I am a thinking and feeling machine. Even if my thoughts and feelings are sort of illusory. I choose to let those thoughts and feelings guide me, lead me through a life. This might just be a sort of shell game, where I fool myself. But it's a game that I have chosen to play.

Isn't that how it goes? We decide to play like a good machine. A machine that has empathy for others, that follows the golden rule, that tries to love. Because it's a choice doesn't make anything less real, but maybe more real.

I am the kind of mechanism that chooses to pretend I'm not really a mechanism. A machine that lives, and laughs and cries and has empathy for the other beings on the planet. A machine that tries to live up to being a fully formed, human being, even if that is a sort of fiction.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Messy Moment

Yes, it's a messy world. We might pretend that it's more ordered, rational and logical than it is, because that's a bit more reassuring, but really it's all so messy, and we are messy too. We reflect the world we live in, we are the mirrors of the messiness.

So, yes, disordered, irrational, illogical. These too reflect our world, and our understanding of it. Sometimes you can't even trust yourself, your memories, your grand narrative. Lots of this is made up in the moment, we re-imagine the past, we conjure up a future, but these imaginings and conjurings can disappear in the blink of an eye.

We are left with the moment. The messy moment. And we try to figure out just what that moment is, and what it means. But it gets messy.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Positive/Negative - You Choose!

I could go into specifics to kind of illustrate my point, but let me instead talk in generalities to kind of make a broader point.

Have you ever had something go wrong? Really wrong? Or have something happen to you that you just knew was bad, that seemed to be a terrible step back, or a really unfortunate occurrence? 

And then, it turns out, it was really a fortunate event? That what you thought was so wrong or bad, now seems so right or good?

Now maybe it's just a trick of the mind, a lie of consciousness, where we can turn that lemon into lemonades, or maybe anything that happens is then hard to tell whether it's good or bad, or maybe nothing is good or bad, it just is, and then we must deal with it.

We judge a situation, or event, before the actual ramifications become clear. Is this just all rationalization? Is it just a test of our character, the flexibility of our minds, to navigate the world?

I don't know. I do know that certain events have recently happened to me that seemed to be really negative, and then well, all the ramifications as time rolled out turned out to be quite positive. So the initial event, was it a negative or positive occurrence? 

I guess we get to decide. And maybe we have a lifetime to decide. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Love Living in Klosterman World!

I love living in Klosterman world. The world according to Chuck. It's a pretty cool place. He is a self-described "contrarian." He will explain how David Koresh and Kurt Cobain are similar, and how Cobain really is the leading figure in "guilt rock," he will tell you how ABBA is beyond irrelevant/relevant, he will show you how the NFL is both super-conservative and super-liberal, he will examine the intricacies and difficulties of time-travel, he will review the cinematic and novelistic depictions of life on the road, he will explain how the Unabomber is yes, a mad, crazy, murderer, but at the same time might be right about how technology enslaves us. Chuck is funny, surprising, brilliant, convincing, and yes, enlightening too. I love living in Klosterman world! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Task!

You get obsessed with a task. And you worry over it. You're like a little monkey. You dream about it. You fantasize. You drive yourself crazy over this little task. You become your own little taskmaster, and it's all you can think about. The world narrows down to one little point, one little task. It's all you can do. Your head and body is flooded with a desire to get to the task. It's kind of a madness, certainly pretty absurd. But you can't help yourself. You are stuck on the task!

UPDATE: And what was the task with which I was obsessed? I have a Tubescreamer guitar effects pedal, it was noisy and not working correctly, so I opened it up and started re-soldering, and re-soldering, and re-soldering. What started out as a device with one problem ended up as a device with many, many, many problems. I became totally obsessed with trying to repair the thing, and basically destroyed it. I should have given it to a monkey. He might have had a better chance of fixing the thing. I ended up trashing it! I am now in the market for a new guitar effects pedal. Some obsessions are not worth pursuing!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Weather - Do We Need to Discuss It?

I'm writing about the weather again. I mean, on the one hand, I think, the weather just is, do we really need to discuss it? Still as a species we spend lots of time thinking about, and talking about, the weather. We spend lots of time, and use lots of our technological ability trying to "predict," the weather. We even have a 24 hour TV channel devoted to the weather. So yes, we are obsessed with the weather, for good reason, or no.

Yesterday was a unique day around these parts. The day actually caressed us. I mean, there was a little taste of Spring in the air. After a long, brutal Winter. I'm not foolish enough to think that Winter is through with us, but there was this glimmer of a new reality.

So yes, instead of being slapped around, instead of being kicked in the shins, instead of being burned by the face-freezing chill, instead of the burden of trying to bear up under the hostile elements, the day seemed to embrace us with a warm and friendly hand.

We were hugged by the day. Kissed, caressed, welcomed. So weird. Could it be true?

Monday, March 09, 2015

Not Everyone has the Eye

Yes, as my photography teacher once said, "the camera always lies." It can tell beautiful white lies, or it can tell dastardly black lies. It can paint a pretty picture or bring out the ugliness.

Capturing a moment, freezing it in place - right there is a major falsity. Life doesn't stop. Moments don't freeze.

Everyone has a smartphone nowadays. Every smartphone is also a camera. Everyone with a camera thinks they are a photographer. And that's a lie too. Or maybe not a lie exactly. Some people can take great photos any time, any place. They have a "good eye." They notice details and include them, or exclude them, they frame a shot, they select.

Others really are clueless. What is the opposite of having a good eye? Not having a clue. Not knowing what makes a good photo, and what really doesn't. Just clicking and shooting. It's not enough. And just because you take a photo doesn't mean you need to show it, share it. Really.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Lost Hours!

One night you are out late, and then, up early. You are short a few hours of sleep. The next night, you are early to bed, late to get up. Not sure if you ever "catch up," but you hope you may have recovered some of those lost hours. 

You awake with three questions...

1. What time is it?
2. What day is it?
3. What is my name?

Saturday, March 07, 2015

That One Lesson

There is that one lesson that you learn again and again, and if you "learn" the same thing over and over, did you really learn anything?

Nothing really turns out the way you think it will. I mean it. Nothing. If you think about an upcoming event, or the next evening, or what you're going to do tomorrow, or how it's all going to work out, well, guess what? You are wrong. Almost always.

And if you aren't wrong, you never quite get it, you never get the nuance of the situation. You never really predict all the variables, and how you will experience it all. The experience is always more foreign, deeper, richer and surprising than you think it will be.

You'd think this would teach you to not expect, anticipate, figure on anything. But that seems stupid in a way. So you want to be the smart guy and you decide you know what to expect, but really that is the height of stupidity, a badge of not knowing anything.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Evolving, Growing, Morphing

I wrote this r&r diary entry yesterday about how a band should always be moving forward, evolving, growing, morphing.

Is it true? I think so. You want your r&r bands to be adventurous, to try different things. There are exceptions. Some bands are just good at one thing. No need to alter the formula. I think of The Ramones as example one.

But I think the creative impulse leads to experimentation. Or at least if you are open and true to the impulse. Keep it real. Keep it live. Keep it moving.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

A Reality to Experience!

I'm reading a Chuck Klosterman book now. You know, the one where he examines how David Koresh of the Branch Davidians cult that burned up at Waco, Texas was really very similar to Kurt Cobain of Nirvana? Both messianic leaders who cultivated a loyal following.  Leading to blackness.

Klosterman quotes Frank Herbert from Herbert's novel "Dune." I never read the book, could barely watch David Lynch's big-budget, really crummy,  and barely-watchable movie of it.  But I came across this great quote from Herbert, via Klosterman...

"The mystery of life isn't a problem to be solved, but a reality to experience." F. Herbert

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Connoisseur of Cold!

If you are from the Midwest, you are known for consuming large, robust, over-stuffed plates of food. Eating big is a strength, a sign of optimism and power. Packing layers of fat on your skeletal frame is considered a good, practical idea. It's smart.

Why? Winter. 

If you are from the Midwest winter looms over you. Winter is something you tackle, take on, endure. It's a contest. A battle of wills. There's Mother Nature; big, threatening, overwhelming, all-consuming Mother Nature. And then there's you. Fat little you.

You become a connoisseur of cold. Maybe unlike the Eskimos you don't have 50 or more words for snow. Snow is snow. But you do have an intimate understanding of cold, and there are many, many kinds of cold.

Bone-chilling. Face-freezing. Biting. Bitter. Sloshy. Damp. Wet. Brutal. Icy. Dry. Freeze-dried. White. Grey. Cold that cuts. Cold that numbs. Cold that brings you to your knees. Cold that clutches your mind.

All you can think and feel is cold. It's all pervasive. All -invasive. All knowing and seeing. Cold.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

How Much Realness Can You Bear?

Existential despair. Yes that's so old world. Too French. It might have once been cool. But now it seems sort of silly, lumbering, slobbery. Not so much intellectual, as self-indulgent.

And movies with tragic endings? Used to love them, sort of wallowed in the angst and sadness, and marveled at how real world and "true to life" they seemed. Now watching those kind of movies seem like hitting yourself with a tasseled rope. Aimless, pointless. Not necessary. 

The real gets a little too real. And how much real-ness can you bear? You have to celebrate the little victories. If you are waiting to only celebrate the major wins, well, the waiting and the waiting, and the waiting is the hardest part.

And there are the simple pleasures. Those are the treasures of our lives. A good meal, a great cup of coffee, a new record that you really love. Playing music in a band. The sunlight reflecting off the lake. A bright day. A day of no major pain. Victories.

And self-deception. A little healthy self-deception. Might not actually be an evasion of the truth, just a necessary survival technique.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Lord Litter's Magic Music Box International! Cool Club!

In case you missed it, here's is Lord Litter's Magic Music Box International radio show that features a whitewolfsonicprincess song. I have listened to a couple of shows, and Lord Litter really loves to find unique, off the beaten track music. Love his show! So happy to be included in the club! It's a club made up of those who aren't trying to be in any one else's club! You get the unique perspective of a very adventurous, and intelligent musical sensibility. Lord Litter plays what he wants, when he wants. That's a rare good thing.

And what does Lord Litter say about us? Lord Litter: "Quite a unique sound, pretty difficult to put somewhere… so let's just call it whitewolfsonicprincess!"

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Knocking on the Door!

Death is always knocking on your door. Always. Since the beginning. There was that "special needs" neighborhood kid that died young. It was a major knock on the door. All those pets who came and went. Speedy your little pet turtle floating around in the bird-bath, lifeless, waiting for a bird to steal his carcass away for a meal. That was a hard little knock.

Over the years, all the great and small. The big-time ones, the little common ones. All knocks on the door. Rap, rap, rap!

Lately the knocks come harder and more often. Or at least that is how it seems. No way to tune out the knocking. It's like another heartbeat that matches my own heartbeat. Kind of a shadow heart beat that follows me. Where ever I go.

Okay, I get it, the knock is music too. The knock of death. Always rapping. One of those raps is made just for me.  Yes, true. Hope to keep it on the other side of the door for a little while...

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