Election 2020

Election 2020
Gaseous Little Baby Man Dirigible Implodes!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Take Care, Folks...

We went to a musical event last night. A local neighborhood get together. Lots of folks getting up to play music, plus a great DJ spinning vinyl. He had me in the palm of his hand when he put on Buffalo Springfield's "Mr. Soul." Neil Young's voice cut thru the crowd like a knife. Folks, dancing, chatting, laughing, it was quite fun. The Looming Global Pandemic was in the air. I mean, it seemed to be on everyone's mind. Still, everyone just did their thing. Damn the torpedoes.

When we got home we washed our hands: soap, warm water, singing the Birthday Song to extend washing time. That is what the Authorities tell us to do. "Wash your hands, and don't panic." That's pretty much the extent of their advice. The more the authorities try to reassure us that everything is fine, the more I can't help thinking this is gonna be an epic problem. It's a trust thing, I know.

Words of reassurance from the authorities are making me panicky. Very unlike me.

I think back to that great Edgar Allan Poe story "The Masque of the Red Death."  Folks partying while Death comes knocking on the door. I know, overly-dramatic. Covid-19 is not "the Plague," but still it sounds like a nasty virus, and something to avoid.  Sickness, and rumors of sickness are in the air. Don't want to lose it. Best to keep calm & collected, try to "be careful."

"Is that all there is? Then let's keep dancing." - Peggy Lee

It's those invisible strings I'm worried about. We are all connected. We are all permeable, we are all vulnerable. Take care folks. Wash your hands, frequently. Oh yeah, and don't panic!

The a.m soundtrack - Stevie Wonder's "Talking Book." (1972). Little Stevie Wonder grows up. It was Stevie's 15th album (!). Fabulous. Something very, very funky & new. Who knew that synthesizers could be so soulful and funky? When it was released in 1972, and made the airwaves, it announced itself as something really, really new and extraordinary. A master music-maker unlike any other. The sound of that clavinet on "Superstition" was a complete revelation and head-turner. This was the sound of moment and the future. Stevie Wonder. Truly a wonder, an innovator, so human, so inspiring. The album sounds so real, beautiful, immediate, of the moment, so many years later, even this morning. It is the perfect medicine. Calming. Reassuring. Art. Love. Funk. Cool. I mean, Global Pandemic be damned!

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Global Pandemic - A Change of Consciousness!

I have Covid-19 Virus on the mind...

Not panicking. Washing my hands frequently. You should do the same.

The USA and the leadership has been living in a bubble. The GOP and their Toxic Clown Leader have prided themselves on disregarding, Facts, Truth, Science, Reality. And no doubt their Climate Catastrophe Denialism is the most serious offense to the country, the planet, the ecosystem & Human Beings. But their muddled response to the looming global pandemic is also a crime. No this is not political, although, of course, there will be political consequences for folks who have been lying to us ever since 2016. They have been Gaslighting us with impunity. And seemingly, it has worked well for them. Up to now. I hazard a guess: Covid-19 will be a "Trump-Killer."

I do think a new day is dawning. Covid-19 is changing the consciousness day by day. Seems finally Gravity, Math,  Science, Biology, Truth, Reality, Facts will rule the day. Dividing people, stirring up hate, pissing off Liberals, treating your rich buddies to tax cuts and free cash, will no longer carry the day. We need some honest, smart, clear-headed people in charge. I do think that will be the big "take away" to this Global Pandemic.

There are some things you just can't wish away. You can't just lie, lie, lie, day after day. Finally the lies come back to haunt. Maybe having a Clusterfuck of a healthcare system (where vast swaths of the population don't have access to quality healthcare without bankrupting themselves), in the richest country on the planet is non-intelligent?

Virus.

I began to think about how a virus moves thru a population. Very similar to ideas, whether healthy or sick ideas.

Ideas = Virus
Popularity = Virus
Fear = Virus
Hope = Virus

Affix the mask to your face. Avoid large crowds. Blue Wave 2020.

The a.m. soundtrack - Son Volt's "The Search." (2007). I think of this as a great find. I picked up this CD a couple years ago at Reckless Records in Chicago for $4.99. It was in the used CD bin. Hell, it's a great time to buy CDs. I love my little spinning silver discs. And I think this record is "underrated." It's a hell of a good album. A bit of a departure for Son Volt. Horns. Yes, saxophone and trumpet on "The Picture." It works. The guitars are kick-ass throughout. Jay Farrar is in fine voice. On some tracks he sings in a bit higher register. Jay is just an amazing singer-songwriter. A tight, tough r&r band. I woke up with Jay's voice in my head, singing, "Always dreaming, it's the search not the find."

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Toxic Clown in Chief vs. Covid-19.

 Yes, I have been tracking with the looming global pandemic, Covid-19 a virus, think of it as a nasty agent of change. It also sort of seems like a symbol, a metaphor, hints at problems in the human herd.

A sickness running thru our intimately-connected, always on, over-stuffed, over-staffed, global population. How to contain, what can't be contained? There are so many of us. We are all so very intimately connected.

What are the links between us? How do we pass on information & disease? Are there invisible connections, invisible links? Who is safe? Who is untouchable?

When this U.S. President tells us that everything is under control, and there's nothing to worry about, well, of course, we are most likely on the precipice of a disaster of epic proportions, I mean, not to be an alarmist, but since it's the Liar in Chief, the Toxic Clown who is telling us "no worries," you can count on all hell breaking loose. When he announces that he has put his trusted, science-denying VP in charge of dealing with a pandemic, try not to laugh out-loud. On second thought, yes, laugh, let it out, laugh all you want. Ayatollah Pence is now in charge? Yikes, I mean, the mind reels.

This is all starting to look like a badly-made, poorly-thought out, sci-fi, horror-show.

What happens when the Idiots, the Liars control the levers of government? I suppose we will find out. And yes, the President is a toxic, deadly disease too. He is a human virus that has infected us all. It would be a perfect climax to the story if Covid-19 and the Toxic Clown could meet under the cover of night and fight it out. Toxic Clown vs. Covid-19. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Covid-19.

What to do dear Pilgrim? "See and wait." Wash your hands. Frequently. A global pandemic is coming to a theater near you.

The a.m. soundtrack - Iggy Pop's "The Idiot."  (1977). A dark beast of a record. A collaboration with David Bowie. Iggy & Bowie in Germany. This one was recorded in Munich. Art-rock. Dark. Moody. Bowie pretty much recruited the band, wrote the music, recorded it quickly in a session or two, and then Iggy kind of vamped & improvised lyrics. It kicked off a very fruitful period for both Iggy and Bowie. I woke up with Iggy's disembodied, zombified voice this morning. "Calling Sister Midnight." Iggy was calling me in the dark of night. I had to put it on the box this morning. Ominous...

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Morning Chronicles of a Bad Catholic.

Ash Wednesday 2020.
Markets are crashing.
The pandemic is brewing.
Snow is falling.

What's a Bad Catholic to do?

It's been eons since I had ashes thumbed onto my forehead. Catholic grade school. Our class shuffled from the school room to the Church for a long morning service. Waiting to get my ashes. So vivid. I can smell the incense, see the Priest lifting the golden chalice, everyone kneeling. Those memories from another time and place long gone. Although, I suppose not gone at all, etched into my being.

What was that all about? Death, guilt, resurrection, sin. Something to do with Jesus, a life-size plaster-cast of Jesus hung on the cross above us in church. Crown of thorns, chalk-like, plaster-flesh. A shabby loincloth. Wounds in his hands and abdomen. Artful dabs of red for the wounds. You would look up there once in awhile to check to see if maybe he moved, blinked, smiled, laughed. Nope.

I had a ventriloquist dummy at home named Jerry Mahoney who was more animated than that "plastic Jesus." Jerry's mouth moved. You could try to throw your voice and make that dummy talk. I was never very good at doing that Ventriloquist thing. Usually Jerry sat in a corner of my room, in his suit, white shirt & tie, glassy-eyed, frozen expression, silent, a bit creepy.

Jesus and Jerry seemed from the same clan.

I remember tossing Jerry off our bike rack (a little wooden house for bikes and tools my father built) near the driveway. I'd stand on the roof, and fight with Jerry, punch him, kick him, toss him into the air and watch him crash to the driveway. That was entertainment.

I was pretty much a little feral animal. Shuffled from room to room by the adults. I couldn't wait to be outside, by myself, on my bike, or maybe in my room reading "Treasure Island." Parrots and Pirates! I liked to get lost in my own head. I had no clue what was going on around me. The adults all seemed a bit scary, way too serious. They lived in a world I wasn't really interested in.

Ashes. A black thumb-print of ashes on my forehead. I had no idea. What did this all have to do with me, with Jesus, with Jerry? Something about death right?

The a.m. soundtrack - Dengue Fever's  "Venus on Earth" (2008) - I have out of control disease and global pandemic on my mind this morning. This album is a bit exotic. World music. A weird, fruitful hybrid. East meets West. A California band, fronted by a female Cambodian singer named Chhom Nimol. Kicky. Cool. A bit psychedelic. Trippy. Cheap electric guitars, horns, seductive vocals. I have no idea what the songs are about, I just love the vibe of the project. An outlier. Cambodian fever.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Believing...

"You Must Believe."

It's the title of one of our whitewolfsonicprincess' songs. And it's pretty much our motto for life. You must believe, in something. I mean, you don't have to believe in a damn thing, but if you don't, I think it just makes for a bleaker, tougher trip.

Nihilism is a Death Trip.

Believing makes the trip livable. It helps to have a "belief system" that drives you, captivates you, motivates you. Maybe "system" is too confining. Best to keep your beliefs amorphous. Better living with Believing.

It's best to steer clear of the "Isms:" Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Totalitarianism. 

If you absolutely have to have an "Ism," closer to the mark: Existentialism (you are responsible for everything in the Universe, you are guilty and responsible), & Buddhism (life is suffering, sit under a tree, contemplate your navel, and reflect on your karma!).

You must be careful what you choose to believe in. You may have to stick to it, or  be required to defend it.  You can try to finesse it all by believing in believing. It's sort a weasel way out. But it is useful. Or believe in something very nebulous or abstract.

Believe in Love. Believe in Art. Believe in A Better Day. Can that type of belief survive under torture? Beats me!

Believe with all your heart and spirit and soul, but be willing to change at a moment's notice. So, a sort of "pragmatic believing." What works? And if it doesn't do the trick? Try something else on for size. Gods? Devils? The Cosmic Giggle? Random Luck & Fortune? Little People? UFO's? Truth? Beauty? Evolution? Revolution? The Scientific Method? String Theory? Reincarnation? Meditation? Yoga? The Golden Rule?

I don't believe in dying for a belief. Martyrdom is a Loser's Hand. It's just a little too Messianic.  I believe in Living. Living with Belief. Better Living. Living better for/with belief.

The a.m. soundtrack - PJ Harvey's "To Bring You My Love."  (1995). PJ conjures up the dark spirits. Hoodoo. Voodoo. Love. Darkness. Desire. Monsters. Subterranean phenomena. Killer album. Tough. Powerful. Mystical. Fabulous. A classic. Big fishes eating little fishes. PJ is a conjurer, a Sorceress, a serious Woman calling upon the dark and light forces for purposes unnamed; nefarious, and otherwise. Remember, if you conjure up Gods, the Devils are right around the corner waiting to pounce! It's a package-deal-thing.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Growing Vaporous...

New thought.

Really, this one came to me this morning, mid-cup, drinking a hearty brew named "Love Buzz," listening to the radio, sitting quietly, expectantly.

Not often new thoughts just pop up in my brain.

As I find myself growing older, the story of my life growing longer, I believe that instead of becoming "set in my ways," instead of "hardening" my views, instead of getting slower, heavier, more concrete, I seem to be turning vaporous.

I am lighter. Less substantial. More sensitive. More liable to change. More fungible. More permeable. Less connected to the world. Sitting lighter on the day to day. More like a feather. Or a leaf. Carried this way and that in the breeze.

My nerve endings are super-conductors. Reaching beyond my body. I seem to see more clearly. Not quite X-Ray vision, but I am seeing through and beyond things. Weird. I have premonitions. Intuitions. Dreams. They come to me as real events, as real as "reality."

Everything counts, and now, I seem to count everything. Sensitive to light, to temperature, to what I take in, to what I hear, see, smell. All my senses seem to be getting stronger, more attuned, more plugged in.

I watch myself, even as my sense of self sort of flickers. I notice my thoughts, my feelings, the workings of my body as things beyond me, outside of me. Not sure exactly what "me" is.

So, yes, I feel less like a body of bones, organs & flesh. More like a cloud, a vapor, a mist. But with a heightened ability to sense the world around me.  It's a bit strange. I feel more delicate, even as my feelings, my senses are sharpened, more perceptive & receptive, more amped up.

The a.m. soundtrack - The Dirty Three's  (an Australian instrumental rock band, consisting of Warren Ellis (violin and bass guitar), Mick Turner (electric and bass guitars) and Jim White (drums), which formed in 1992.)  "She Has No Strings, Apollo" (2003). What to say? Hard to write about music. It really is best to just experience it.  To let the vibrations wash over you. The Dirty Three is a band led by the great Warren Ellis, more famous for his work with Nick Cave, but this project is just as important, compelling, beautiful, graceful, powerful, inspiring. Three amazing, incredibly-gifted musicians with a fabulous affinity for each other. Every one of their albums (we own 4 of them, shite, why don't we own every one of them?!) are just wonderful. Each has a bit different mood, each album stands on it's own, but all of their work speaks of joy, thunder, rain, darkness & light.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Soundtrack for a Life.

We need space. To breathe. To think. To reflect. To contemplate. To meditate.

So we create space for ourselves.

But the Universe works in funny ways. Create a space and everyone and everything will come crowding in. Crashing your little party of space. It's just the way it works.

So it's a constant battle. Create the space. And then spend time fending off the invaders of that space.

It's a way of expending your time. It's necessary. You need space. You really do.

The a.m. soundtrack - Nick Cave & Warren Ellis' "White Lunar." (2009) - compilation composed with Ellis[91] (2CDs. Disc one contains high lights from The Proposition, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and The Road. Disc 2 contains work from The English Surgeon and The Girls of Phnom Penh, as well as four unreleased pieces "from the archives." Yes, listening to disc one now. A perfect soundtrack for a human being creating space. Cave and Ellis are an amazing musical combo. A great collaboration between musical co-conspirators. So much inspiring, powerful music spread across many projects (Bad Seeds & Grinderman) and albums. This one is a moody, reflective, soundtrack for a life.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Shelter from the Storm.

What to gravitate to?

You know, the world is burning. Everyone seems stressed, frantic, unsure, confused, panicky.

Where does one find shelter?

Dreams. Love. Poetry. Music. Beauty. Intelligence.

The a.m. soundtrack - Bon Iver's "Bon Iver." (2011). What to say about this record? Beautiful. Justin Vernon's voice is an extraordinary, compelling, luxurious instrument. It carries such weight, gravity, emotion, beauty, vulnerability, grace. I must admit, I can never understand the words of the songs he is singing. His voice conjures such a spell, it is just the tone, the timbre, the expressiveness of his being, the way he enunciates vowels that captivates me. Sound. Pure sound. Really, Vernon is a magus. Casting a spell of beauty. Spell-binding. Beyond words. Beyond meaning. The meaning is embedded in the beauty. It is overwhelming. Inspiring. Powerful. The sound that beauty makes when it enters one's consciousness.

Friday, February 21, 2020

An Unattractive Species.

Yes. You do lots of reading, lots of "seeing & waiting," one grand theme seems to carry over from day to day, person to person, government to government, country to country, era to era.

There are those in power vs. those out of power. There are the rich vs the poor. The haves vs. the have nots. The oppressors vs. the oppressed. Those who create suffering vs. those who suffer.

The divisions fall along standard lines: biology, religion, class, sex, geography, social mores. It's kind of an ugly story. Human Beings at war, always, with other Human Beings.

We look to the skies for help. We invent Gods, and other realms where we hope things will be sorted out for us. "Pie in the Sky When We Die."

Standard, musty textbook stuff. Cliches. Do humans really have to live like this? Do we really all need to play this same game over and over and over? Do we really need to live thru these cliches? Seems the answer, at least at our very, very Human Level, is YES, WE DO!

It kind of pisses you off. The hatred, the uncaring, the suffering, the power trips that are played out over and over. We are an unattractive species. Very unattractive.

You get older and you think this suffering is just built in. That is what it means to be Human. You can and you will suffer. And if you are waiting for Justice, or Truth to prevail,  don't hold your breath, you will just turn blue.

Fuck it. Right? "There will be blood." There will be injustice. The strong will pummel the weak, just because they can. You will be pissed off. Supremely pissed off. Get used to it.

The a.m. soundtrack - Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got." (1990). The record starts with the Serenity Prayer, which is hilarious, because, of course, Sinead is super-pissed off across most of the tracks. She is praying for Serenity, but she is feeling really pissed off. What is she pissed off about? Church, Government, Men; the Powerful who are always, crushing, stifling and silencing the Powerless. A gorgeous, powerful, overwhelming record. A major artist statement. Artful. An uncommonly beautiful voice, full of heart and emotion. Fierce. Angry. Self-righteous. Political (goddamn Maggie Thatcher). Includes a great cover of a Prince song. Sinead wears all of her emotions on her sleeve. Dares you to knock them off. Puts me in mind of John Lennon. Another fierce artist who always led with his heart and chin. No holds barred. Nothing held back. Sinead pours blood across these tracks. It's a record for the downtrodden, the sufferers, for the oppressed, for the pissed off. It is liberating. ANGER IS AN ENERGY! Don't fucking forget. Never fucking forget. There is a mad, hopeless hoping in the act of fierce-caring...

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Belly of the Beast...

"Revolution is not a dinner party." - Chairman Mao

Mao may have said the line first, but I heard it first in a song. I don't remember what group, what album. It was a catchy musical moment. Reggae from Jamaica.

We live in the belly of the beast. Some of us are the consumers, some of us are the consumed. Lots of "isms" and "schisms" floating around. Right. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism.

Be the change you want to see. Right. Change. Do you have any spare change, man? That Do Re Mi makes the beast dance.

This old empire seems to be teetering. The rich get richer, and the planet just burns. So many people. So many poor people. So many needy ones.

I don't know what to think about it all. Something has to change. I wonder what's next?

The a.m. soundtrack - an odd-duck of a record, a concept album by Ry Cooder "Chavez Ravine."  (2005). It is excellent. Chavez Ravine was the "Poor Man's Shangri-la" - "a Mexican-American community demolished in the 1950s in order to build public housing. The housing was never built. Ultimately the Brooklyn Dodgers built a stadium on the site as part of their move to Los Angeles." A community totally destroyed, bulldozed. The people scattered to the wind. That's what happens to the poor, the weak ones. Pushed around, bullied, ignored, oppressed. Folks, the common ones, fleeing from here to there and back again. Day to day. So yeah, maybe Revolution is in the air. The Revolution will be televised. I am sure. Just another cheap TV show for the teeming masses. You think something's got to give, but not sure, never sure...

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Life is People. Do You Care?

What to care about? What is the right equation? Is it a math, or a resource problem? If you care about everything, isn't it basically the same as caring about nothing? Who has that much care to give, or to not give?

Puts me in the mind of the "Serenity Prayer:" 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Right. And what "God" are we calling upon? What if the dirty little secret is that we can't really "change" anything? What if courage is irrelevant, and we humans just don't have that kind of wisdom at hand?

I mean, hell, what do I know? Too much caring can be detrimental. Caring is a business. It is not something in endless supply. We are not perpetual motion machines. We need to refresh, recharge, retrench, re-think.

Do we care about Humanity? Or do we pick some humans to care about? Do we care about the planet, or some things on it? How do we measure out our caring?

New idea. Care greatly about the things you love, and, well, the rest, parcel out your caring very carefully.

Take inventory:

What can I do?
What can I change?
Who can I touch?
How do I help?
How do I stay positive?
How to heal, both myself, and others?
Is healing even possible? 

Are we all in a sense "Doctors" to and for Humanity?

The Hippocratic Oath: “I swear by Apollo the physician, by Aesculapius, Hygeia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment the following oath: To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; to look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone, the precepts and the instruction. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone. To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion. But I will preserve the purity of my life and my art. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the diseaseis manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners (specialists in this art). In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction, and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves. All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or outside of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.”

The a.m. soundtrack - Bill Fay's "Life is People."  (2012) - I think of this record as an obscure gem. A friend tipped me to this one. It is a healing record. Powerful. Spiritual. Even some of the titles will give you a clue: "The Healing Day," "City of Dreams" "Be At Peace with Yourself." There is also a fabulous cover of a Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennet's "Jesus, Etc." Fay is charismatic, he is backed by a great band, perfectly realized tracks, a gospel choir, the record is a little church service. Good medicine for the soul. A humanistic manifesto, with great spiritual overtones.  Love.

"The Cosmic Concerto (Life is People)"
There are miracles,
In the strangest of places
There are miracles,
Everywhere you go
I see fathers,
Hold a little child's hand
I see mothers,
Holding a little child's hand
I see trees, trees,
Blowing in the wind
I see seeds,
Being sown by the wind
It's a cosmic concerto, and it stirs my soul
I see grandmas,
Blowing kisses into a pram
I see grandpas,
Scratching their head in amazement
It's a cosmic concerto, and it stirs my soul
It's a cosmic concerto, and it stirs my soul
Like my old dad said,
Life is people, life is people
In the space of a human face,
There's infinite variation
It's a cosmic concerto, and it stirs my soul
It's a cosmic concerto, and it stirs my soul
Like my old dad said,
Life is people, life is people
In the space of a human face,
There's infinite variation
Life is people, life is people, life is people
Life is people, life is people, life is people
Life is people

Bill Fay

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Scary Fascist Vs. Scary Socialist.

Let's get this out of the way...

If the election is going to be a contest between a Scary Fascist vs. a Scary Socialist, put me in the Scary Socialist camp.

I am not afraid of Medicare for All. Or Free College for All. Or better, more robust Social Programs. I don't worry about tackling Climate Change head on. I don't worry about my government working to help the poor and working families. I don't worry about a wealth tax, or trying to close the gap between the filthy rich and the rest of us.

In fact, of course, I actually believe all that is good and necessary.

We are in the midst of a Existential Crisis of Governmental proportions. Our Democracy is under attack. It would take too long to list all the problems, outrages and bad deeds (for instance: caging immigrant children, ripping them from their families), of the current administration. Let's just say, the White Nationalists, the Ugly Fascists are on the rise. Ugly.

We must make sure they fall, they fail, epically on Election Day 2020. Yes. No doubt. Blue Wave 2020.

I hope, pray, and visualize it! Let it be so...

The a.m. soundtrack - "Junun"  (2015). Intense, beautiful. A two CD set. Disc one is playing at the moment. A brilliant collaboration: Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur, Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead), Nigel Goodrich (long-time Radiohead producer), and the Rajasthan Express. A glorious horn section, married to powerful percussion, ethereal vocals (male & female), Johnny Greenwood's guitar and computer soundscapes. It was all recorded at Mehrangarth Fort in Rajasthan, India. Paul Thomas Anderson filmed it all. The film is magnificent too. I wrote about the film here. The music just washes over you. I have no idea what the vocalists are singing about. It seems profound and important. Beautiful.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Authors of Our Own Existence.

Monday Morning.

This is usually the time reserved for an existential crisis. You know, time for the eternal questions: 

Who Am I? 
Where Am I Going? 
What Is It All About? 

We live on a spinning planet, a moving target. Turns out we are moving targets too. Life is change. Nothing lasts, any answers we come up with really are up to us.

As Philip K. Dick once wrote (if I recall correctly, which is dicey in itself): "You are the Authority."

We are the Authors of our own existence. We make it up moment by moment.  It's a bit scary, but maybe liberating too.  

Crisis? Yes. What crisis?!

David Bowie: "Where the fuck did Monday go?!"

The a.m. soundtrack - David Bowie's "Blackstar." (2016). Bowie's 25th and last record. I do believe it's his masterpiece album. Recorded with a fabulous Jazz Quintet led by saxophonist Donny McCaslin. Stunningly, shockingly great. Bowie was ill, getting treatments for cancer during recording sessions. He knew he was facing death. Mortality, sickness, thoughts of saying goodbye to the things we all love in the world, fading away into the great unknown, hanging over the record. It's  a dark, beautiful, powerful, soulful and blazingly original statement. How does an artist confront death? By doing his work. Doing the good work. Putting himself completely into the act of creation. Creating masterful, fully-realized music. It was produced by his long-time collaborator Tony Visconti. Gorgeous sound. Rich, lush, layered. It's playing right now on my little Bose Music System, and the fullness of sound fills the room, takes your breath away. Every track... shockingly, stunningly fabulous.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Reading Fiction. I Recommend It.

Reading. Reading fiction. I recommend it. I used to do it almost exclusively when I was young.  Then later in life, I gravitated to "non-fiction," histories, biographies. I also got totally obsessed reading books on music and music-makers. Lately, I am back to fiction. There is something extraordinary and uncommon about a good novel. It is an art-form unlike any other.

I am reading Marlon James' masterful "A Brief History of Seven Killings," (the spirit of the great music-maker Bob Marley hovers over the story). Before that I disappeared into Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov." Crazy, agrarian, pre-communist Russia. Mad emotion unbound. Time-tripping, indeed.

The best novels take you to other worlds, you inhabit other human beings. You live in other minds. It is so refreshing. Humanizing. It's best to sink into and experience human beings who are foreign to yourself. Expansive. Opens your head, your heart, your spirit. Bathing in other conscious beings.

You learn. You experience. You change. The process changes you. Art working on you on a very intimate, all-consuming, enveloping level. Subtle & powerful.

The a.m. soundtrack - The "Before Night Falls"  film soundtrack. (2000). A great film by Julian Schnabel. Our first introduction to the amazing Javier Bardem. What a tremendous actor. A beautiful, heart-breaking film, based on an autobiography by the Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. The soundtrack is a compilation of 60's Cuban music with some original orchestral music from Carter Burwell. Gorgeous. Other-worldly. It all rises to a heart-swelling climax. You inhabit a time and place that no longer exists. Except, of course, in the grooves, in our hearts, heads, souls.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Floating. Adrift.

Floating.

Adrift.

Sort of fell into a zone of expectation.

Not sure what's happening.

Alive. Aware. Awake.

That's about it.

Let's see what turns up today.

The a.m. soundtrack - Harry Nilsson's "Nilsson Sings Newman."  (1970). An uncommon gem. Two incomparable singers and songwriters - Nilsson and Newman. Harry's voice always makes me sad, even when he's singing a funny song. I mean what an amazing voice. An original. Unique talent. Under-rated/under-appreciated. Harry's voices embodies so much emotion & beauty. Heart.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Reading is a Superpower!

Reading is a super-power. The human imagination, another super-power.

Sub-zero freeze here. But who gives a damn? I'm time-traveling and head-tripping.

The last week or so, I have been living in Jamaica 1976. Reading Marlon James' fabulous novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings." (2014). I am nearly 200 pages into the novel (total pages 688), and already, I am hoping it never ends. The story is told by 75 different characters. Amazing book. "The Singer" (Bob Marley) hovers over the whole thing, the early action all revolves around him too.

It wasn't long ago I was buried in Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov." (1879-1880). I lived and breathed crazy, emotional, irrational Russians, day by day.

From old-world rural Russia to concrete jungle, urban Jamaica in few leaps of the page.

It's funny, I do feel super-empowered. Hell, a hefty tome, an over-stuffed novel, a long, rambling narrative? No problem. I mean,  over the years I've read Melville's "Moby Dick" (1851) twice, and I even tackled David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" (1996). I read every page of Jest, 1079 pages. I read every damn footnote too.

I do not feel intimidated by a fat book at all. Super-power, indeed.

The A.M. soundtrack - The Rolling Stones' "Goats Head Soup" (1973). Some folks over-look this one. It's actually a fabulous record. I highly recommend the 1994 CD Virgin remaster by Bob Ludwig. Sounds tremendous. One of the best sounding Stones records ever recorded. Primarily recorded in Kingston, Jamaica. The drug-ravaged, tax-exiled band chilling out on the island. Keith Richards deep into his heroin addiction. Supposedly the legendary Producer Jimmy Miller was strung-out too, nodding out often during the sessions, cutting Nazi symbols into the recording console. Keith perks up enough to deliver one of his greatest songs: "Coming Down Again." Mick Taylor plays some of his finest lead lines. Jagger also has fabulous moments especially "100 Years Ago," and "Winter." The ballads stand out as the best songs, but I do like the rockers too. Maybe only the last song seems a bit "trying too hard." "Star-fucker," hah! Debauched, decadent r&r. Murky. Druggy. I believe this one definitely stands up to their other classic albums, (Beggars' Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street), I mean, a most excellent record. To listen to it today is pure pleasure. The Stones had quite a string of masterpiece r&r albums, for sure.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

On the Other Hand, Still Breathing...

I hang with a crowd that's worried, confused, gun-shy. People have been pummeled by bad news, unwelcome surprises. Lots of disruption and uncertainty. There is almost a certain paralysis of the brain. Folks just don't know what to think or do. Maybe try prayer?

Welcome to the Terror-Dome.

I do my best to stay positive. It's not easy. I fall back on my old tricks: meditate, read books, listen to music, play music, write music, write in this little blog, drink lots of coffee, eat well, sleep well, walk the neighborhood, try to keep my wits and sense of humor. Oh yeah, and praying too. I pray to the Great Cosmic Giggle.

I do try to keep up with "what's happening." Which is kind of deadly for the spirit. Most of the news bubbling up into my consciousness is pretty bleak and disturbing. So I do a lot of mental jujitsu. Sure, things are going to hell in a hand-basket, but on the other hand, still breathing.

A global pandemic. A rogue Monster President destroying everything he touches. A lawless, corrupt and corrupting U.S. Attorney General. Puts me in mind of Nixon's AG John Mitchell. He did end up in jail. Is William Barr following in his footsteps? One can hope that justice will come to the bad actors. What else? A snowstorm coming. Bitter cold in the heartland.

Yikes!

The A.M. soundtrack - Explosions in the Sky "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone" (2007). A band from Austin, Texas. Instrumental. No words. Refreshing. No. Words. Moody, r&r. Guitars. Lots of electric guitar. Yes. Guitars. Shimmering. Music that puts me in mind of expansive horizons. Rolling thunder. Meteors crashing. Silence. Noise. Thrilling. Satisfying. No. Words.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Slime and Corruption Oozing from the White House.

The slime and the corruption continues in USA. The President is an amorphous blob of toxic goo. He oozes into every nook and cranny of our lives. I think he is an aberration, a mutant viral infection. I mean, he is toxic and dangerous. A global-pandemic, swamping the one spiraling out of China.

Still, happy to say, the anti-bodies are forming. I do think we will rise together and dispose of this diseased human being and his toxic-waste trail, in November 2020. I do hold out great hope that he and members of his administration will be held accountable. Prison terms for some of them seem perfectly appropriate. Orange suit for the Toxic Orange One.

I can see a complete house-cleaning coming. I mean, I still harbor a "fierce hope" for humans, for USA, for Democracy, for the planet. But in the meantime, lots of ugliness. I do think there is a vast middle. Much of our politics is being pushed to extremes, but most of us are trying to be level-headed, rational, common-sensical.

I think/hope/dream that cooler heads will prevail. But then again, what do I know? The planet is heating up. Maybe all of our brains are being fried in the process? What will humans do when push comes to shove?

The A.M. Soundtrack? Beck's "Sea Change."  (2002). A cool masterpiece. Acoustic guitars and lush, powerful orchestrations. Music that sits lightly on the day. A bit melancholy, a darker shade of beauty. Maybe reminds a bit of the legendary Nick Drake. My friend tells me she hears a bit of Gordon Lightfoot too. Yes. That's good. Beck is sort of a chameleon. He is is not who you think he is; he grew up hard in a tough, low-down, dangerous neighborhood. He was a marginal kid on the margins. Not a child of white privilege. He hid out in the library. Pretty much a self-taught human being. The more you know and read about Beck, the more of an interesting character he becomes. "I'm a loser, baby, why don't you kill me?!" Maybe that line was never as ironic as we thought. I highly recommend this profile of Beck in the New Yorker. "Sea Change" is a great record. Helps one chill. And right now, we could all use a little bit of a chill-down.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

America What Drugs are You On Today?

America what drugs are you on today?

This a.m. I hear on the radio that the North and East is wracked with opioid addiction, and in the West it's all about methamphetamine (and guns, a deadly combo). Plus of course, everywhere, alcohol flows like water through every little burg and town in the land. And don't forget pot. Medicinal, and recreational.

And then there are the countless pharmaceuticals that doctors prescribe for every malady, real and imagined. Drugs. They are legion. We are all hopped up on something for sure.

There's also chocolate (sugar), fast food (fat & salt & sugar), and my favorite poison, coffee (caffeine is both my religion & savior).

One thing America can agree on, we love our drugs. The drug war is a scourge, a plague that pushes the whole thing in a deadly, punishing, and counter-productive direction. The narcos just love that we've made a class of drugs illegal. Good for a thriving black market. Empowers the narcos and gangs. Good for prices. The money flows, the drugs flow. And everything is copacetic.

Should we all blame Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg and those other Drug Utopians? Or was it all inevitable, with no one to blame, except maybe just the human condition? People just don't want to confront too much cold reality.

America what drugs are you on today?

What is the a.m. soundtrack? The Incredible String Band's "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" (1968). Take one listen to the these original British Freak-Folk and the first question that comes to mind: "What drugs are these people on?" Trippy. Acoustic. To my ears a bit of Monty Python mixed with a dash of Syd Barrett &  a drop of Robin Hitchcock. Were they all on psychedelics, living in mud huts in the forest? A utopian, Manson family? Weird shit.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Only Give a Shit About the Important things, like the people & things you Love!

This seems important and of the moment.

Worth a read. An "Asshole Survival Guide." How to navigate in a world of Assholes? I am thinking of a prominent orange a-hole we all know, but really aren't the assholes a scourge and plague amongst us?

I mean, they are legion.  I like this: "Not giving a shit takes the wind out of an asshole's sails."

Not giving a shit. Maybe only give a shit about the important things, like the people & the things you Love!

The A.M. Soundtrack - Luluc's "Sculptor." (2018). I was slow to come around to this one. My friend loved it from the first listening. I found it hard to get a handle on. It's almost too beautiful. I thought it was insubstantial. I now think I was wrong. Repeat listening pays off. I do understand. Gorgeous. A Hushed Beauty. There's substance to the lightness of touch, the grace of the voice and note. A passing cirrus cloud. A slight, gentle warming breeze. A smile. A flower. A rich perfumed scent. A life-affirming breath. Perfectly-realized. A simple, kind, act of grace. Something to love.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The Mad, Hurly-Burly River of Thoughts!

Get out of your head.

That is a strategy for coping. Meditation helps. Which is weird, because you are basically sitting quietly, focusing your mind. There a few handy techniques: picture a scene, repeat a mantra, or a short prayer, concentrate on each breath, still the mad hurly-burly river of thoughts raging inside your crazy-making head.

Remember you are more than your thoughts, your feelings, your body. Sometimes, it's easy to forget. You get carried away, lost, sort of like drowning in a sea of your own conjuring.

Last night I had a weird panic-attack. Funny. A day of rest, a day where I really had nowhere to go, led to an uncommon, and strange attack of panic just before going to sleep.

I had spent most of the day working on new songs. One of my favorite things in the world to do. New lyrics, new riffs, new chord progressions. Finding rhythms & melodies. But the day was a drift. I mean, I was adrift. That's probably when we are most vulnerable, when we are at the whim of the moment, the day. No telling where you will go.

Of course, that's also an opportunity. You get to choose new paths, grab onto new ideas. Create new realities.

Anyway, the panic passed. I sat up in bed. Concentrated on my breathing. One breath, one breath, one breath. Cleared my head. Found a calm center and then had a nice, long, restful sleep. That "under siege" feeling seems to have passed. Clear head, clear breathing this morning.

What is the A.M. soundtrack? The National's "The Boxer." (2007). A great American band. A fabulous record. The first piano notes of the first song on this record grab you. "Fake Empire" is one of the anthems of the 2000's. Matt Berninger has a unique, soothing, baritone voice. It sounds "reassuring," it's seductive, but his lyrics always take you to unexpected places. I mean he is a superb lyricist, always surprising, sometimes he takes you to very dark & twisted alleyways. He is a man with a raging, contradictory tornado inside. He sounds like a man grounded, but he is actually a man awhirl. We own a bunch of the National's discography. Every record is exceptional. The band is tremendous. Bryan Devendorf is one of the great drummers. No cliches. Everything well-executed, layered, songs often build to satisfying crescendos. Surprising. Shimmering production. Great stuff. No doubt. Oh yeah, of course, we all do live in a Fake Empire. Half-awake. Didn't you know?!

Stay out super late tonight picking apples, making pies
Put a little something in our lemonade and take it with us
We're half awake in a fake empire
We're half awake in a fake empire

Tiptoe through our shiny city with our diamond slippers on
Do our gay ballet on ice, bluebirds on our shoulders
We're half awake in a fake empire
We're half awake in a fake empire

Turn the light out say goodnight, no thinking for a little while
Let's not try to figure out everything at once
It's hard to keep track of you falling through the sky
We're half awake in a fake empire

We're half awake in a fake empire

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Damn those Flying Monkeys!

We call it Saturday. It's just another day in a long string of them. That long string is my life, your's too. This is a rare Saturday where I have nothing on the schedule. Absolutely nothing. Nowhere to go, no one to see, nothing to do.

It's a bit disorienting.

Usually, even on a day like this, I usually have "things to do." Places to go. So, maybe I will I decide to enjoy it, I don't know, or just drift. Breathe in, breathe out. No needing, wanting, grasping today. Just being. In the moment. See what turns up.

I still don't know what to think (see previous post), lately, I have this feeling of being in state of siege. A weird feeling of being overwhelmed by events in the news, and in my personal life. You know, I lost a good buddy earlier in the week, and really, it was like being hit with a house. One minute walking around feeling ok, then brought down low, like that bad witch in that old Judy Garland movie.

It isn't Kansas any more. It's all gotten a bit sad and surreal. And frankly things don't look so good. You know thinking about the bigger trends. I do hope things will work out, but, you know... who really knows? When do the flying monkeys make their entrance?

The A.M soundtrack? Sigur Ros "Agaetis byrun" (1999). I dare say, my favorite album. I mean, I have lots of favorites, and maybe they change with the whims and breezes of the day. I have my enthusiasms and I can be easily carried away. I don't know. I discovered this one a year or two after it came out. I have probably listened to it more than any other record from the 2000's - to Now. I used to fly from Chicago to L.A. often, and during flights, I would always listen to this record on infinite repeat, and the white one too "()" (2002). They are both majestic. Instrumental music, with an ethereal voice singing in a foreign tongue. I have no idea what the words are supposed to mean, and really it's doesn't matter. The music is beautiful, overwhelming, transporting. I have had some amazing, and powerful meditations listening to Sigur Ros. Some powerful insights which I can't reduce to words either. I also used some of their music in theatrical presentations over the years. This music always, always affects me madly, deeply, profoundly. I do believe it is my church music. Sacred. Emotional rescue. Life-affirming. Damn those flying monkeys.

Friday, February 07, 2020

What's Important?

A bit off-track this morning...

We are calling it "Existential Crisis Friday" around here. Usually the "E" Crisis comes on a Monday, but hell, why not get a jump on it a bit early?

What's important? Can I trust my senses five (and more)?

Can I trust...

What I see?
What I hear?
What I touch?
What I taste?
What I smell?

And what about my sense of space, etc?

Blasted with sensory data. Sometimes it's a bit hard to process.  I don't know what to think today.

The A.M. Soundtrack - David Johansen and the Harry Smiths. (2000). White boys singing the acoustic, country blues. Pretty chill record. Classic old American blues songs. The first time I ever saw and heard Johansen (live show), he was the lead singer of a sloppy, swaggering and swaying r&r band, wearing high heels, ratty furs, done up like a tacky hooker from New York. The whole band (The New York Dolls) looked like tough as hell, debauched dudes dressed up as the trashiest women you could imagine. These guys looked like fallen, drugged-out and sinful women who would slit your throat just for kicks. Pretty impressive. Eye-opening. Shite, can you trust your senses five? The Harry Smiths are a whole different ball of wax. Johansen sings these songs with authority, elasticity and conviction. No mascara. Songs of death, loss, sorrow; you know all that very, very human stuff. Trust me.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

What About Conscience, God & History?

Mitt Romney votes to convict Trump for "Abuse of Power."

That was surprising. 

Hell. I am one "bad Catholic" who agrees with the Mormon Senator from Utah, at least on this one issue: "Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine." - Mitt Romney

Turns out Mitt was the only persuadable Republican out of 53 members of the Senate. I do want to give old Mitt a slight "tip of the hat." I think he did the right thing, when it would be just as easy, or maybe easier to go along with the Republican "coverup." Of course, in the larger picture, it didn't matter, there were nowhere near enough votes to remove the President. 

But it is worth watching his speech. It's seems heartfelt and honest. I mean, I cannot look into the man's soul or read his mind, I can't be sure of his intentions or motives, except, maybe we should  just take the man at his word?

I mean, he tells us he struggled with the decision. He is voting against his party, a party he has been loyal to all of his life. His father too was a notable Republican. He knows he will be vilified and bullied by the President and his followers. He knows they are those kinds of folks.

Mitt tells us his decision was guided by his "Conscience," by his "God," and by "History." Big words. They almost sound false in these cynical times, but really, isn't that something we should admire, is there still belief in honor?

Someone making a decision as if it meant everything in the world. I think he did the right thing for the right reasons.  I mean, I suppose he could have done the right thing for the wrong reasons, but ultimately don't we have to acknowledge that no matter how he came to his decision he did the right thing? A small thing. A big thing. Everything. Nothing. You decide.



A.M. Soundtrack - Jim White's "The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus!"  A weird-duck of a record. It's great, but odd. How odd? Well, it is supposedly based on a true story. So, I'd say "true-story odd." The record is dreamy, lyrical, word-rich, beautifully played and produced. Nothing else like it. The cd booklet includes the full story. I think I need to go back and read it. It's sort like a Flannery O'Connor short story. I forget lots of the details. Safe to say it's a weird-ass, American tale. This record is probably out of print, hard to find, but worth tracking down.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Sticking to Facts and Truth.

Yes. Personally, I am working hard on sticking to the facts and the truth. It's not easy. Nancy Pelosi's simple act of defiance, ripping up Little Baby Man's State of the Union speech last night was a beautiful moment.

"The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people." - Nancy Pelosi

It's gonna get crazy around here. Looks like the Senate will vote to acquit Little Baby Man today. I wonder, will even one Republican break ranks and defy this corrupt, authoritarian, lying scumbag administration?

Probably not. Still, no matter what, this President has been Impeached, for life.

I am not a worrier. But I worry a bit about my fellow Progressives too. Everyone seems so sensitive, conspiracy-minded. There's a lot of hyper-active hurly-burly, huffing and puffing and hyper-ventilating.

I recommend deep breathing and silence. Go for a long walk. One step, one step. Keep your feet on the ground, keep your head, keep your cool. We need to keep it together people.

A.M. Soundtrack - Nick Drake's "Five Leaves Left." (1969). A "lost masterpiece." I mean, when it was released in 1969 it pretty much sank without a trace. I didn't "discover" the record until the 1990's. It's a stunner. A hushed and beautiful record. Drake is a brilliant singer and guitar player. He's playing alternate tunings, and singing in a darker register. Shimmering. Breath-taking. Moody. Reflective. He recorded most of these tracks live in the studio accompanied by a full orchestra. Produced by the great Joe Boyd. Just totally fabulous. The truth.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Goodbye Old Friend.

I entered the house, standing in the kitchen. Somehow, last evening, my little furry, four-legged buddy (see two previous posts) had made it upstairs, two flights, all by himself. He had slept upstairs with his owner. He was still alive, hanging by a thread. His breathing had gotten more labored, more shallow.

I called his name. He heard my voice. He perked up, carried himself to the top of the stairs, and waited for me.  He was so thin, you could see the bones of his back, his ribs, the crown of his head poking through. Five days with no food. Only a few sips of water. Unexpectedly I thought of the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia used to sing at the Acid Tests in 1967 - "Death don't have no mercy." You wonder how those young acid heads in San Francisco took in that message.

I picked him up, carried him downstairs, put him on a little cushion. Every one of his breaths came hard. The owner and I talked a bit. We marveled at our little buddy's will to live. The determination to make it. But we both knew the end was very, very near. Nothing we could do. Helpless in the face of death. No mercy, indeed.

The owner had made an appointment at noon. The clock ticked down. The idea was to ease his transition. I put my hands on my little buddy's head, (his crown chakra) and silently mouthed a little prayer, wishing him safe passage to the other side. He looked at me with big, brown eyes. Silent. Always so silent. No whimpers. Nothing except his shallow breaths.

I picked up him and took him to the large, gray, Ford Explorer. A perfect vehicle for liftoff, transcendence. We looked at each other. His eyes locked on mine. I nodded, smiled, and closed the door. Goodbye old friend.

The A.M. Soundtrack - Patti Griffen's "American Kid." (2013). A gorgeous, acoustic guitar-based masterpiece. Griffen's "tribute to her late father." A superb collection of songs, every one heart-felt, powerful, beautiful, sad. Cody & Luther Dickenson (sons of the late great, legendary Jim Dickenson - remember the Rolling Stones "Wild Horses," Jim D. played the tack piano on that classic song) provide fabulous accompaniment.  A perfectly played and sung album. One of the finest records ever recorded, every time I listen to it I am inspired and shattered, in a good way.
God is a wild old dog
Someone left out on the highway
I seen him running by me
He don't belong to no one now

Dropped him out on 93
Mange was setting in on his hips and on his knees
Between the highways running north and south
We pulled on over and we put him out

Willie said he was old and going blind
Momma told me how she didn't mind
When Willie kicked him with his shoe
He just climbed on in just like he knew

God is a wild old dog
Someone left out on the highway
I seen him running by me
He don't belong to no one now

It's lonely on the highway
Sometimes a heart can turn to dust
Get whittled down to nothing
Broken down and crushed
In with the bones of
Wild old dogs
Wild old dogs

Dropped him out on 93
Tall grass was waving there just like the sea
He tore off running like we set him free
Just disappeared right in front of me

God is a wild old dog
Someone left out on the highway
I seen him running by me
He don't belong to no one now
He don't belong to no one now

Patti Griffen

Monday, February 03, 2020

Every Moment was Radiant & Full.

The owner made it home last night (see previous post). My little furry, four-legged friend was still (barely) with the living. Hanging by a thread.

I am "off the ranch" this morning, back at my own place. Yesterday, was a long day. It was like I was living and dying with every breath from my little friend, the poor guy was laboring to breathe. Each breath seemed like an effort of will.

The will to live is strong. Despite cancer, despite weakness, despite no ability to take in and hold down food. It was a sunny beautiful day. My furry friend made it out to the backyard a few times. I was surprised he had enough strength to stand up, to walk to the door, to go down the stairs into the yard. It all seemed impossible.

We sat in the back yard together. Snow was melting. The blazing sun provided a surprising warmth. Nearly 50 degrees on a February afternoon. Uncommon. Welcome. Blue skies, a mild breeze, patches of snow, patches of green, trees swaying. Life.

My friend sat in the snow. Cooling down his body. Everything seemed so illuminated, definitive, important. Each action. Knowing that each step, each breath could be the last; time slowed down. Every moment was radiant and full.

I don't know if he made it to this morning. I hope to hear one way or the other a bit later today. I am exhausted. Stunned. I had a difficult night sleeping. Lots of tossing and turning. I had a vivid dream that my buddy died. This morning I am hollow. Quiet. Waiting.

A.M. Soundtrack - "Ethiopiques - Volume 4" - Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, (1969-1974). First heard this one in Jim Jarmusch's film with Bill Murray "Broken Flowers." (2005). Gorgeous. Moody. Swings a bit, a loose, easy vibe. Music for the Silent Witnesses.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Helpless.

Silent witness.

It's a sunny Sunday morning. My good buddy, a furry, four-legged friend is slowly fading away. His body is wracked with cancer. He has stopped eating. He is weak, so very weak. I am on death watch. Waiting for his owner to return later today. Hoping that my little buddy can hang on to say his goodbyes.

What to say? Helpless in the face of death.

What is the a.m. soundtrack? Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "Skeleton Tree." (2016). Sad. Beautiful. Majestic. Deep sadness and certain death hang over this record. A dark masterpiece. The finest art. Makes you happy to be alive, even if being alive means heart-breaking sadness.

It is going to be a long day. It's already been a long morning.

So a 2nd album for the soundtrack this a.m. is already playing on the stereo. Neil Young's "Tonight's the Night." (1975). Neil's dark ode to death and drug psychosis, drug deals gone bad, murder, overdoses, and a "celebration" of all-around bad behavior. It is exquisite. Recorded in the dark of night, fueled by drugs and tequila. Produced by the Dark Knight of  R&R, David Briggs - "Be great or be gone." Over the years, I have played this one so often, I have gone thru multiple copies both on vinyl and cd. Fucking essential.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Worse than a Proctology Exam!

Ha. After a week of thunder and fury, the Senate has decided the truth is best left untouched, unheard, unseen. I do think this will be a historic blunder that will come back to haunt those who voted for a coverup. The Republican Party is completely corrupted and slimed by our Little Baby Man President. His influence is toxic. A plague. A poisonous goo. Eats your brains, destroys your common sense and moral compass. At least we all know. It is all written down and displayed for all to see.

I mean, I suppose this was not a surprise. You could see this coming. It wasn't unimaginable. Still it is stunning. To watch intelligent, accomplished folks, people who made it to a position of power and influence, sitting in very special privileged club, the U.S. Senate, supposedly representative of the American people, 100 folks with a super-cushy job, just totally abdicating any responsibility to truth, justice and the American way. Where is Superman when you need him? The hypocrisy, the cowardice, the bad faith on display is a real horror-show. Welcome to America 2020.

We have been "Trumped." It is worse than a proctology exam. It is worse than driving a spike into your forehead. It is worse than Ebola. Half the country seems Zombified with stupidity & corruption. Yikes.

What is the a.m. soundtrack? Bob Dylan's much-maligned "Shot of Love." (1981). When it was released, the critics savaged it, the public pretty much ignored it. It was the third album in Dylan's "Christian trilogy." Folks did not want to hear it. I was one of those folks. I was a major Dylan fan who wasn't interested in hearing Sunday School sermonizing. Guess what? I was wrong. Everyone was wrong. This is a fabulous, essential record. It's loose, funky, brilliant. Most of these tracks were live "monitor mixes." They capture a wild-ness, an alive-ness, a sloppiness, that's thrilling. The lyrics, the voice, the band, just superb. Best to play it loud. Some of the best Dylan tracks ever recorded: Shot of Love, Groom Still Standing at the Altar, Every Grain of Sand, Summertime. Dylan is on fire. Yes, I do believe. He was fired up by the Holy Ghost. Dylan as fiery Prophet. Ok. Maybe Dylan's tribute to Lenny Bruce is a lame song , but hell, it's Dylan, man. Good medicine for the soul.

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