"Adventures with the Buffet Queen"

I met her at the all-you-can-eat buffet of a local pizza parlour. I'd seen her there several times before, shoveling pasta and deep pan pizza down her gullet like her life depended on it. I never thought twice about it...some folks do like to eat.

But then came the day when she approached me.

"Could you possibly give me a ride home? My partner had to leave for an emergency and I just don't think I could walk the 3 miles to my house."

I silently debated the favour in my mind, watching as she wiped a napkin across her chin, cleaning a trail of pasta sauce that had dribbled from her mouth. I didn't really want to do it. But she had such a sad look in her eyes that I decided to be charitable just this one time.

She had me wait out in the car until she finished using the restroom. When she returned her shirt had been left untucked on the left side. I thought I saw a spaghetti noodle winding it's way down her torso, into the crease that was exposed. Then I realized it was no noodle, it was a blood vein. I really had second thoughts about this whole thing now.

When she sat down in the car I felt it sag and droop, like all the weight had shifted to her side (as indeed it had). But the thing that really made me regret my good intentions was the smell that came off of her in waves. A veritable potpourri of stank resembling a hearty stew of feces, Limburger cheese, hard boiled eggs, sun-rotted roadkill, sweaty armpits, moldy tuna, beer vomit, dog breath and skunk perfume. I nearly gagged a few times as I drove her to her residence, which was, thankfully, not too far from the pizza joint.

When we got there she insisted that I walk her to the door. Oh well, I thought, in for a penny, in for a pound.

I told her I needed to use the toilet before I headed on down the road. She showed me where it was. I locked myself in, expecting to be overwhelmed by another stench-fest. But to my surprise, her bathroom was remarkably reek-free. She had hundreds of "Playgirl" centerfolds tacked to the walls and a dazzling array of sex toys on the counter, but I didn't see anything wrong with that. At least it didn't stink.

It was when I walked out, still zipping my pants, that the evening truly reached the point where there was simply no escape from the downward spiral. For there, standing in front of me, was the buffet queen, and she had on black leather lingerie, carrying a cruel rider's crop.

She beat me with that crop. What's worse, she eventually worked her way out of the leather (trust me, SHE did the working...I tried my best to talk her out of it). What I saw then sent my head reeling and I lost all control. I blacked out. I couldn't tell you what happened after that even if I wanted to. All I've got to prove that I spent an evening with this woman is a collection of welts on my back, apparently caused by a riding crop which has extracted large amounts of flesh to leave a scar that will only conjure up a half-forgotten memory.

And I'll tell you this...I'd gladly suffer 50 more lashes if it would help me forget the other half...


I know, you can't get enough of these dumb questionarres

1. What is your name? James Arthur Casey
2. What is your favorite color?I don't have one, now ask something original.
3. How many times a week do you eat out?As often as I can afford to.
4. Where?Somewhere within a 30 mile radius.
5. What are the last four digits of your social security number?666
6. Do you like crack cocaine?Who doesn't?
7. Who do you buy it from?My mother
8. How tall are you?Tall enough to change the lightbulb when asked.
9. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you hate our President?I don't hate him. Come on, there are a lot better things and people to hate, don't you think?
10. Would you consider yourself a Terrorist?Only to the family dog
11. Do you pirate music off the Internet?Not as often as most people do.
12. What's your favorite candy?I like me a Heath bar, Snickers is good, just about anything that will rot my teeth will do.
13. What is your mother's maiden name?I forgot
14. Target or Walmart?Target has better stuff but Wal-Mart's closer.
15. America or Canada?American music is better, Canadian bacon's not so bad. It's a toss-up.
16. Do you leave your blinds open and walk around naked?Yep. And I leave a tip jar on the porch.
17. Where do you live?In a house.
18. On a scale of 1 to 10, how hot are you?Well, thankfully the fall has arrived and temperatures are much more tolerable...I'm glad to say I'm not too hot at all.
19. Have you ever daydreamed about assassinating President Bush?I dream of finding out who comes up with these stupid questions and assassinating him/her.
20. What is your credit score?B-
21. What is the security number on the back of your credit card?1234-5678-9101-1121
22. Who was the last person you kissed?The mailman
23. Are you thinking about something right now?Yeah...I'm thinking that I'm a fool with WAY too much time on my hands to be filling this thing out, especially when some of the questions are the exact same ones I've answered in numerous other time wasting surveys.
24. Do you like to "party"? Only if there are guns and hard drugs involved. Anything less is just not a "party"
25. Do you like Taco Bell?Yes. Especially when my gastrointestinal tract needs irrigating.
26. Do you like Kraft macaroni and cheese?Fuck that shit.
27. What color socks are you wearing right now?I don't wear socks when I'm being lazy around the house.
28. What color panties are you wearing right now?Pink.Just kidding...
They're purple.
29. Are you offended by this survey?It offends my sensibility
30. Do you hate America?I don't hate anything I can't throw away or shoot.
31. Do you own a Visa or Mastercard?The bank owns it...I just use it.
32. How many cats do you have?Zero, and that's the way it's gonna stay. Cats are smug little bastards who secretly make fun of you when your back is turned.
33. Who do you think is most likely to repost this survey?A fool.
34. What is their home address?I forgot...I think it was somewhere in California.

Kip Klinger reviews "Eastern Promises"

I'm not sure what to think of this, but I thought I'd share it nonetheless.

It's from a blog called Kip's Movies & Music Reviews.

"Eastern Promises", David Cronenberg's latest fright-fest, is most definitely one of the most disturbing movies I've seen in a long time.

Don't get me wrong...although it is creepy as all fuck, there are many aspects of the film that redeem it from what can only be described as C-grade top shelf horror show fare. Viggo Mortensen's performance, for instance, is Oscar worthy. He has not exuded such brash confidence since 05's smash romantic comedy, "A History of Violence".

Moreover, it was a stroke of genius on Cronenberg's part in pairing Mortensen with Humphrey Bogart. The two actors play off each with such ease that you often find yourself wondering if they may have been twins separated at birth. Bogart's steamy affair with Naomi Watts is filled with an authenticity rarely seen in this day and age. It can't be easy working with a screen legend of Mr. Bogart's well-earned status, but Mortensen rises to the occasion with an ease unheard of in this age of disposable "talent".

"Eastern Promises" is a well made hybrid of "Goodfellas" and the hit television sensation "American Idol". Dean "Jelly" Clark (Mortensen), is record producer working on the west coast. Leading a double life he also moonlights as an unauthorized hit man for the Costra Nostra. One night after a particularly successful recording session with Dig "Word" Russel (Snoop Doggy Dogg) he finds himself channel surfing in the lounge. By happenstance (or fate, what have you) he lands on the Fox network's re-broadcast of the previous evening's "American Idol". It is here that he spots Peggy "Sweet-tooth" Bernard (Naomi Watts), who has managed, through sheer persistence, to make it to the final round of the competition.

Bernard knows she hasn't got a chance in hell of winning the competition. The American public is infatuated with her competitor, the baby-faced Randy "BabyFace" Nelson (masterfully portrayed by Ryan Gosling). It almost goes without saying that Gosling's character will win the public's deciding vote.

"Jelly" Clark finds himself a victim of "love at first sight". He pulls some strings and secures a meeting with her.

Taking her to a swank eatery in San Francisco, he tries to win her love with offers of success on American Idol. "I can take care of this," he proclaims, his right hand fondling the 45 Magnum on his waist, drawing it ever so slightly from beneath his coat jacket so she knows he means business.

The idea seems like a good one to "Sweet-tooth", and so she tells him to go for it. Viggo's a nice looking man, and she knows she could do worse, so what the hell, right? "Jelly" makes a few calls, as he doesn't want to do the wack job alone. "Babyface" is marked for an early grave, but "Jelly" has too much riding on the success of "Word"'s career to pull the job off by himself (flashing his gun at Watts had only been a hint of what he was capable of doing if he had to...he much preferred outsourcing, though).

So he eventually contacts an associate he knew from way back in the days when he made his living hijacking beer trucks. Humphrey Bogart plays Raymond Cushing, a small time ant farmer moonlighting as an unauthorized hit man for the Costra Nostra, with operations based in the Bronx. It's a long ways from New York to Cali, Chandler lets it be known. Clark insists the trip would be worth the effort.

Clark offers Cushing a half million dollars to make the trip, put a bullet in Nelson's head, dispose of the body, then join him in making "Sweet-tooth"'s dream come true. Bogart jumps at the chance, but Mortensen says he needs to cover his own ass, after all, half a million is a lot of moolah. And so he lays out this laundry list of requirements that Bogart must meet. The money, Cushing thought, was worth the promises he had to make to "Jelly" before the job could be approved. The Eastern Promises secured, the action begins.

Without giving too much more of the storyline away, I'll only tell you that at one point Bogart betrays Morgensen and winds up in a swingers club with Watts. Initially the visit was little more than an aspect of some research that needed to be done on the infrastructure of "American Idol". But the sights and smells of the two dozen members swinging like monkeys in the trees is too much for both of them. They eventually wind up in a private booth. Naomi Watts, admittedly, is no Ingrid Bergman, but Humphrey doesn't seem to mind. She is, after all, a 21st Century American Phenomenon, and soon to be the new "American Idol", as all the Eastern Promises are fulfilled.

Damn good movie, great chemistry between Mortensen, Watts & Bogart. Snoop Dogg has never been better (his short-but-sweet performance in "Eastern Promises" is even better than his starring role in "Bones"). All in all, I give this Cronenberg masterpiece 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reviewed by Kip Klinger (9.26.07)

More at Kip's Movies & Music Reviews.


Supertramp's "Crime" and Glass' "Einstein"

"Crime of the Century" was my introduction to Supertramp. I bought the album in 1974 when it was first released having never heard anything from them but the FM radio hit "Give a Little Bit". To be quite honest, I didn't even like that song all that much, so I don't know what possessed me to buy COTC. Actually I had heard one other song, now that I come to think about it. "Bloody Well Right" was getting a bit of airplay 'round that time, but I don't think I even knew that was by Supertramp. I was actually very surprised to find out that the song was by the band.

No, if memory serves I think I bought the album because I thought the cover was really cool. It looked like something I would enjoy. Remember, I was only 12 years old at the time. Usually such was the case for me...if the cover art was cool I would probably like the music inside (just think of Roger Dean's work for Yes...even if you hated the music, or even the band, the thing was worth the money for the art alone).

As it turned out I did enjoy "Crime of the Century" very much. It's by no means a "great" album. I don't know that Supertramp ever made a "great" album, though some may disagree, pointing to "Crime"'s excellent follow-up, "Breakfast in America". But it is a consistantly good record. Quite enjoyable from start to finish, with good pacing and solid songwriting.

If I had any major complaint with Supertramp (and by proxy, this album), it is Roger Hodgson's singing. Thin and nasally, he sounds like Phil Collins with a sinus infection. Actually some of the songs do have a little bit of that post-Gabriel Genesis feel...not the commercial sound of the trio, but the transitional period with Steve Hackett. More of a mainstream sound, and "Crime" was released too early for it to have been influenced by that era of Genesis, but all the same. But that's not something I would fault them for, cause they do a good job of it.

Supertramp are what I like to think of as "prog-rock lite". There aren't all the quirky time signatures or out-of-this-world fantasy lyrics that are often associated with that genre. But there is definately a prog-rock sensibility here. As Bread is to Black Sabbath, so Supertramp is to Nektar.

As for the songs...the stand-outs are "School" (yet another tome in rock music's grand tradition of bashing that institution, re: Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall [Part Two] and Alice Cooper's "School's Out", among others), the quirky "Bloody Well Right" (a precursor to their hit "The Logical Song", which I have always loved), "Dreamer" (though I usually hate such peppy, upbeat stuff, this one is saved by inventive production and solid melodies), and the majestic title track. My least favorite here is "Hide in Your Shell", which has too much of an "Everybody Hurts" feel lyrically. "If Everyone Was Listening" and "Asylum" are a little tedious to my ears as well.

So maybe you're thinking, "well, there's three songs out of eight that you weren't crazy about...I thought you said it was consistant?" Good point. I can only respond that it's the sequencing that saves it. Even though the songs I don't care for are not on the level as the others, they aren't bad. If you were listening to a track here and there you might skip those in favor of "School" or "Bloody Well Right". But within the context of the album, if you listen to it as a whole, they do contribute a lot to the overall effect. I usually do listen to albums in their entirety, so I'm not complaining (at least not about anything other than Hodgson's voice).

You rarely hear these songs on the radio anymore. Usually if they're playing Supertramp it's "The Logical Song" or "Take the Long Way Home", maybe "Give a Little Bit" (don't you hate the TV commercial that uses that one?). To be fair, I have heard our local classic rock radio station (KRXO) play "School", which was certainly a refreshing change from all the Steve Miller Band stuff they feel obligated to keep in endless rotation. I pulled "Crime of the Century" out of the annals of my CD collection and listened to it because I heard "Rudy" on XM's Deep Tracks channel. It reminded me that I once thought very highly of the record. It has aged pretty well, I must say, but there's a reason why this stuff is played on a station called "DEEP" Tracks. It seems to have been buried and forgotten as the years go by and the classic rock genre expands.

It's worth rediscovering.

Philip Glass.
Ever since I first saw short excerpts of "Einstein on the Beach" on a late night music show in the late 70's I have been intrigued by the man's work. "Koyannisqatsi", which I saw not too long after, was one of the most unique audio/visual experiences I had ever seen. I spent more than I usually did on the deluxe 3-record set of "Satyagraha" and it didn't take long to become enamored of Glass. In the intervening years between then and now I amassed a fairly large collection of Glass' compositions, but it's only recently that I've had the opportinity to really sit down and listen to "Einstein on the Beach", which was the initial spark that made me want to check the guy out in the first place.

I have listened to it once before in it's entirety. After that I would begin and get stuck on the first disc, maybe halfway through the second (there are 4 discs in the original recording, which I'm referring to). There are a couple of sections in those two acts that I think are incredible. Having sat through the whole thing again I can attest that there are several moments of brilliance peppered throughout.

BUT...and I really hate to say this...BUT...and don't get me wrong, I love Philip Glass and understand that repetition is one of the hallmarks of his material...BUT, the repetition that fills up the bulk of this opera is simply tedious. Not only that, I'd go so far as to say that it is downright boring. It starts off intriguing, you can see yourself following the repeating passages, listening for the notes and rhythms that will signal their evolution into something else entirely...and maybe that's actually what's happening, but if so it's too subtle and doesn't happen soon enough to hold the attention of even the most patient of listeners.

"Einstein" is one of the most original works of music I have ever heard. I've heard it described as "a landscape of a dream", and that's a very good way of seeing it. Vocal parts that consist of numbers being counted...snippets of stream-of-consciousness "poetry" recited and repeated in a loop, broken into the left-right channels and set into a phase pattern that makes it very difficult to make out what's being said, with only a phrase or two surfacing to be heard ("It could be very fresh and clean"..."These are the days, my friend and these are the days, my friend")...what sounds like a seasoned old man breaking in now and again to tell about the highlights of Paris and other seemingly random bits of information...

...but then there's all this repetition between the interesting bits. On and on and on it goes until by the time it stops and something interesting shows up you can't help but feel as if you've earned it the hard way.

"Einstein on the Beach" is just too lengthy to be bogged down by so much of what most would call "filler". You might as well go to a music rehearsal studio and listen to students practicing their scales, because that's exactly what the low points of this opera sound like.

There...I said it. Merited or not, I've always thought that an appreciation of Philip Glass' music was a badge of coolness. Especially when it comes naturally. I honestly enjoy his style, and there's no mistaking it once you've got it's feel. It's not as engaging as Steve Reich's music (Reich being Glass' only contemporary as far as my exoposure to this kind of music). But it does have a grandiosity about it that suits me well. He is a minimalist version of Bach, with complex mathematics integrated into his work. They play a huge role in why his music is so engaging, and "Einstein on the Beach" is pretty much all of that, undistilled.

Yet, honesty being the best policy, I am not planning on sitting through all 4 acts again any time soon.


Dontcha wanna know WHEN?

I was checking my profile on MySpace earlier (which is pretty damn cool, if I say so myself) and there was this ad banner at the top of the page that read "WHEN WILL YOU DIE? Click HERE to find out".

So the question is, why would anyone want to know when they are going to die?

Now, don't anyone get to thinkin' that I'm stupid or gullible enough to entertain the notion that there's some contraption on the internet that can actually computate to the exact date when a person is going to die. That would be one mean machine with the power to predict something that noone has any control over...unless you count those troubled souls who are dedicated to committing suicide. Even then you have to wonder how the "Death Date Calculator" knows the date they have set.

I had a most frightening thought while contemplating the morbid ad banner. What if I were to accidentally click on that button? What if, by dumb bad luck, I happened to see that fateful date by mistake? January 31, 2021, maybe. No, I don't believe anyone or anything can tell me the day...but still, January 31, 2021. Ummm, that's still a long ways away...January 31, 2021...I'd be an old fart by then, anyway...January 31,2021...it's reasonable that I could die on January 31, 2021...at least I know I will have a good 24 years left, that's not too bad...January 31, 2021...24 years...January 31, 2021...maybe I WILL die on January 31, 2021, that leaves me a lot of time to do some things I always wanted to...January 31, 2021...I could jump off the Empire State Building next year, I wouldn't think twice about it, I'm okay until...January 31, 2021...maybe go sky-diving every day for the next 15 years, since I won't have to worry about my parachute malfunctioning, I ain't worried 'bout nothin' until...January 31, 2021...knowing the day I'm going to die gives me the opportunity to be prepared. I'll just make sure that on January 30, 2021, I bribe a registered nurse, with the accumulated fortune I've amassed, to shoot me up with enough morphine to stun a sperm whale. Then while I'm lost in the slumber of peaceful sleep, frolicking in the secure eternity of a deep dream, the Reaper can come reape his harvest without me knowing it. Because with that much morphine in my system there's not a chance in hell that I'll be awake on...January 31, 2021.

Are you crazy enough to click that button? Are you so sure that the answer you get will be hogwash? You'll dwell upon it, and contemplate it, you'll obsess over it and meditate on it...before you know it you've convinced yourself it's NOT hogwash at all. It COULD be true, and with that seed sown in your imagination, it will surely blossom into insanity.

The whole thing reminds me of Hezekiah. In the 20th chapter of 2 Kings in the Bible we read of how he became ill at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah fills him in on the details and lets him know he's about to kick the bucket (there was no need for an internet "death date calculator" in those days).

Understandably Hezekiah was not too happy to hear this news. Who would be? So he did what I imagine anyone would do in similar circumstances, even in this day and age...he started prayin'. And he started wailin'. Yep, that's what I'd do. and anyone who says they would do differently is a liar. I mean, come on...grasp the situation here.

So anyways Hezekiah's reelin' off this list of how faithful he's been, how devoted, all the good he's done...back in those Old Testament days all that stuff counted for something, maybe he had a chance.

As it turned out, he DID have a chance and all his bitter weeping paid off. He had a few years worth of good deeds beneath his belt. So the LORD sent Isaiah back to Hezekiah to tell him he'd just won an extra 15 to add to the rest.

Which, I'm sure, was some powerful great news at the time. Celebrations of thankfulness were certainly warranted. Fifteen years...a pretty good chunk of time.

Then 5 years pass. Still got 10 years! A man can get a lot done in 10 years. Could probably read "War and Peace" a few times. Travel, get to know the lay of the land. Have a few more kids, at least a couple of them will maybe get to know their daddy before he dies.

5 more years pass. The window of opportunity shrinks to 5 more years. On a day-to-day basis five years might not seem to pass too quickly. Hezekiah would be well advised to begin living day-by-day. Days probably seemed a lot longer then than they do now, anyway. No TV, no internet, none of the distractions of technology. That was a saving grace, at least. Fifteen years could have seemed like a lifetime. Even 10 years might have found the man so jaded and disillusioned with life that he begged the LORD to forget all the begging and just end it now. Likely not, though, because folks then appreciated living more than they do now. Five years may have been just fine.

But then it gets hard.

2 years.

1 year.

6 months.

Next month.

This week.


Fifteen years gone, deja vu: " Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 'Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.' And Hezekiah wept bitterly." (2 Kings 20: 2-3, NIV).

Naw...probably not. Hezekiah was a good man and wise. Probably ready to go, having had Yahweh's reality proven to him 15 years ago. Living that bonus time also bought another 15 years of peace and security for his people...a respite that would not last long after his departure.

I hope, when the time comes, that I'll be ready to go.

But for now, o omniscient death calculation device, keep it to yourself, cuz I don't want to know.


...a short sabbatical, a rest for my eyes.

I'm going to take a short sabbatical from posting here...actually it will be a break from all computer activity. I don't know how long it will last, it will all depend on my eyes.

Y'see, what with some severe allergies, new prescription glasses and the excessive time I've been spending in front of this computer's monitor, my eyes are just about shot. I've been taking allergy pills, and they seem to work to an extent.

As for the stronger prescription, that will hopefully just be matter of getting used to them. Don't know how long that will be.

The computer use, though I don't know to what extent it is a culprit in all this, needs to be regulated somewhat anyway. A lot of it is typing practice. I imagine some of it is just age. Plus, it's probably not good to start out the day online, blogging, message boarding, that sort of thing, for a few hours at a time. That's got to change. An hour a day on the computer should be adequate. That is my goal.

So I guess I'll see you in a few days. In the meantime, the archives are always here. This would be a good time to explore them, I suppose. If you've a mind to.

And the YouTube music video links in the sidebar are awesome...viddy those while I'm gone.

John Denver Lives!


A pessimistic rant.

Sorry to steer the conversation from the REAL important news. Fuck that, I say. Curl up in you cocoon, roll with the flow, wait for someone to drop the bomb and be content that it will all be written in future textbooks on Western Civilization, or maybe we'll get lucky and the whole damn earth will have to re-boot the evolutionary process. Who's to say it hasn't already happened? What comes around goes around. Optimists have hope for the future. But I say that as long as we still possess the crowning glory of the scientific communities gift to mankind, the atomic bomb, that future should realistically be measured in terms of centuries and not millenias.

We were all told, those of us who grew up in the 50's and 60's, that nuclear annihilation was not a matter of "if" but "when". And you know what? They were dead-on right. They just figured it would happen in their lifetime (it seems like that "world is ending" mantra has always been a popular one). They also had reason to believe that, though devastating, a nuclear attack would affect a relatively small area, that the loss of human lives would not be overwhelming

But hear you me...such will not be the case in the decades and centuries to come. Global warming may not get the chance to fuck everything up. We're perfectly capable of doing it ourselves, thank you. But everything WILL get fucked up.

Which is not to say that people shouldn't be concerned with current events to a great extent. This is more an apologetic for the ones who don't give a rat's ass. I think I fall somewhere in between those two extremes...but let it be known that I think there is a lot of stupidity that passes for news, I think there are too many people obsessing and arguing about things they have absolutely no power to change, I think the media is a circus and I'd trust a homeless bum calling himself a prophet before I'd completely trust them, I think one of the main things that have contributed to the FACT that we live in a neurotic nation can be summed up in 3 words; Too Much Information. Data has replaced Nature as an altar to bow down to. I don't care how intellectual you may be, NOONE can process that incredible amount of information.

Oh well...I just wanted to get that out of my system before I crawl off into my cocoon and wait for the flood.

Good luck.


New Photo Art...yep, it's that time again!

Okay, so they're not exactly "new"...but this is the first time I've posted them here and they aren't available anywhere else.

It is my sincere hope that you enjoy them.

26th Century Man
Aerial Pinpoint
Untitled #752
Portrait of the Artist with his Antique Digital Camera

Original songs from the Deep Fork River Band, circa 1983.

First off, all the stuff in this post is differentiated from the majority of the Legendary Music Pioneer's ramblings insomuch as it is actually true. I don't mean to spoil all the fun, but I hope it's obvious that the Pioneer's recounted exploits are derived from my twisted imagination. This, however, is all on the level.

Not too long after I graduated from High School, I hooked up with a band led by Dickie Grissom, Jr. The group never had a proper name...sometimes we called it The Deep Fork River Band but most of the time it was just "Dickie's Band". It was a very basic three piece, bass-guitar-drum kimd of thing and the usual fare was classic country cover songs. Dickie's voice bore a strong resemblance to Willie Nelson's, so there were always a few of his tunes on the songlist. Lots and lots of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennngs.

Dickie was one cool son-of-a-bitch. He had travelled to California in his younger days and played professionally on the circuit there. He had fairly long hair and a scraggly beard...he looked nothing like your typical small-town bumpkin, more like a true outlaw. He could swill down some hard liquor, too, let me tell ya. He smoked unfilitered Camels and always had that nasty smell on him. But it was okay with me, even though I usually would prefer not to be around anyone sporting such an odor. With Dickie I didn't seem to mind, because he was just such a laid back, fun guy to hang around with.

There were only four original songs our band played regularly. The first was one that Dickie wrote several years back, perhaps when he was playing on the west coast. "Gotta Write a Love Song" was a slow-tempo affair that Willie would have liked. It was actually quite beautiful..."Gotta write a love song/One for you, girl/One to make your heart cry/One to make you blue/One to show what I'd feel if I should lose you". Nice chorus there, with a memorable melody. There's one line, "We don't make love the way we used to/You sleep on your side and I sleep on mine." Over 25 years later I still think of this line whenever I let the sun go down on an argument.

The next original was another of Dickie's, called "Let's Stay Together". It was definately in the mold of Haggard and that pure country sound we were pretty good at. Not quite as well-crafted as "Gotta Write a Love Song", it was still a very good song. Dickie sang it well, with feeling. It could be reasonably assumed, by the subject matter of both of his songs we played, that his marital status could well have been in jeopardy. I don't know if that was the case in the days when I played with him, but he eventually did get a divorce.

"Swamp Swing" was an instrumental number that the three of us collaborated on. I always liked this one a lot, it gave me a chance to do some "octave popping"on the bass. The song had sort of a "bayou" feel to it...at least that's what I thought it sounded like the time, taking into account my limited exposure to "the bayou feel". I gave it the name "Swamp Swing" because it alternated from that pseudo-Creedence aspect into a walking-bass swing section. Clever, eh?

The fourth and last original song in the line-up was the first song I ever wrote that had both lyrics and music. The year before I had written a couple of instrumental songs for a talent show I did with my first band, The Delinquents. But "I'd Give Anything" was the first time I ever tried to merge words with music. I had the music ready when Dickie and I sat down in the studio to record a couple of our songs for a demo. He liked the music, another slow, Willie Nelson inspired number. But he insisted that I write words for it there and then, on the spot. So, for better or worse, that's what I did.

And so, with equal parts pride and emberassment (leaning more towards the latter) I present to you, for the sake of posterity, the lyrics to my first song:

"I'd Give Anything"

It's been a long time since we went our seperate ways
The minutes seem like hours, the hours seem like days
But your memory keeps haunting me, I can't go on this way
I'd give anything to have you back today

Noone knows how much I loved you
Noone knows how much I really cared
Noone knows how much I'm hurting inside
Knowing each passing day you won't be there

But your memory keeps haunting me, I can't go on this way
I'd give anything to have you back today

(guitar solo + chorus + tag)

Okay, I confess, it's not very good at all. But a man has to start somewhere, right? I'd like to think that I went on to write a good lot of decent songs in the following years. I have no idea what became of Dickie. I don't even know if he's still alive. One thing I do know. If not for his encouragement and inspiration I may well have given up. So I owe him a lot for that.


The 400th post! "Your visit to the Watering Hole".

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Perhaps you work in one of the factorys in the Shawnee Industrial Park and the shift has ended. Tired and dirty, you head for home. Maybe you're out on the town, bored of the same old so-and-so, looking for something different and new. Or it could be that you're just passing through on your way to Meeker or some other suburban metropolis. Chances are, at some point in your journey, you will be overcome with the hankering for a cold brew and an inexplicable urge to sit in a room full of smoke for an hour or two.

Well, mister (or ma'am), you are in luck. I know just the place you should go.

It's a small little joint just south of Mocassin Trail called the Watering Hole. You've got to look hard or you'll likely pass right by it. A small shack with that cheap-ass sheet metal siding you see these days. One of those yellow flashing arrow signs with the block letters flashes and points to the establishment. Another sign on the front door awning gives further proof that if you were on you way to the Watering Hole, you have reached your destination.

You pull your car into the parking lot, a round-Robin affair covered with dust and gravel. Park in front if you plan to leave any time soon. Park in the back if you want to hang out and smoke pot with the band during their breaks. There are entrances on either side, the main difference being that the west entrance gets you straight to the band, while the east door gets you straight to the bar.

Let's assume that you've decided to utilize the west door, that you've parked out front because you've never been in this place...it could very well be a snake pit of violence and degradation, you may want to jump and run at any moment (you may want to jump and run the minute you walk in, for that matter). One glance inside and you rest at ease...there are no dagger-wielding Hell's Angels slobbering over fat biker chicks who think they're all BBWs. No psychos waving handguns in the air or crackheads passed out underneath the tables. No stinking piles of vomit scattered across the floor in a trail that starts at the bar and ends at the restroom (or it very well may start at the restroom and end at the bar). It's just your run-of-the-mill bar, two or three steps beneath what most would call a "club" and a half step above what all would consider a "dive".

Even before you came through the door you know that the band is playing some Eric Clapton song...they were pretty loud. Now that you're in you recognize it as some bizarre arrangement they've cooked up that combines aspects of "After Midnight" with "Cocaine". Not a bad idea, you think, until they wrap the whole thing up with the chorus from Smash Mouth's "Walking on the Moon". A skinny girl in a Pornstar tank top is yelling something in the bass player's ear. You will later learn that she was insisting that the band, in her words, "turn that fuckin' shit down!"

The jukebox, temporarily shut down for the sake of the band, is filled with the typical bar fare, some local favorites and a few songs that noone but the bouncer has ever heard of. The songs are arranged in an order that can best be described as "schizophrenic". Nevertheless, if you're patient, and you've got a couple of bucks, you can force everyone in the bar to listen to Clarence Carter's masterwork, "Strokin'", or the club re-mix of Kid Rock's "(I Wanna Be a) Cowboy", or maybe one of those racist David Allan Coe songs that you never hear in the higher class places. Then again, you could always play the Allman Brothers' "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and REALLY get your money's worth out of that jukebox.

Looking to the left you see a gaggle of gals shooting darts. A few are dressed in low cut capri pants that show off the trendy butterfly tattoos perched just above the cracks of their asses. Others wear cowboy boots, tight blues jeans that accentuate the chunk in their rumps, button-up western shirts...almost everyone has a short, cropped haircut. A couple of the latter have their arms around a couple of the former, but the management has asked me to inform you that, contrary to some rumours that have been floating around, the Watering Hole is NOT a "lesbian bar". Indeed, the degree to which the males significantly outnumber the females would seem to render that disclaimer unnecessary. But make no mistake, there a lot of lesbians who have nothing better to do than shoot darts and drink Zima on weekend nights at the "Hole".

One of the things you've no doubt noticed by this time are the distinct walls. It's not so much the 73 neon signs that hang there (2 of them turned off because they were causing a buzz in the band's PA system). It's not the life-size posters of scantily clad young vixens smiling seductively while offering the viewer a can of Coors Light. You see that kind of thing at every dive, right? The thing that sets the Watering Hole apart from the others is the particle board that covers the whole room, from floor to ceiling. Normally you'd think, "Well, they're probably cheap bastards who don't want to pay for decent panelling." And you'd likely be right about the "cheap bastard" bit, but closer investigation reveals that every inch of the walls is covered with names, dates, pithy phrases and other important information scribbled in white chalk. When you eventually wander over to the bandstand you'll see the names of practically every band that's ever been desperate enough to play here for $200. There's no time to read all the information presented her...it's better to just read the stuff written on the stall doors in the restroom.

"A grand idea!" you might think, "I need to use the men's room anyway" (even though you haven't even had a beer yet...you probably had a few on the way here, eh?). There's nothing special to recommend the shit-house poetry on the doors at the "Hole" over that of any other establishment that hasn't the manpower to wipe it off on a daily basis. Phone numbers (usually scratched out) of women who reportedly are skilled at one sexual activity or another. A few similar phone offers from men who would willingly do the same, to the extent that their gender permits. Messages that proclaim the superiority of the Oklahoma University football team. Responses from OSU fans to the extent that "OU Sucks". Others bypass the football loyalty completely and get to the point: "This Place Sucks". Of the three statements, only the third can be proven. "Debbie Wuz Here". "USA: Love It or Leave It!". "Jesus is the Answer"..."I done forgot what the question was..."

By the time you've read all that's worth reading in the bathroom you emerge back into the pervading darkness and stroll to the bar. There's a fat guy sitting on the inside corner, nodding his head and tapping his feet against the bar stool legs. The band doesn't realize it but he is the only one who is paying the slightest bit of attention to their show. He gulps down his third screwdriver and applauds wildly at their rendition of an old Billy Ray Cyrus song.

To his right, a few seats down the bar, is a couple who are attempting to reenact a scene from a show they saw on the Discovery channel. The mating technique of the African orangutan, they soon learn, is not an easy feat, especially when the bartender has insisted several times that they remain in their clothing. A few of the younger guys at a nearby table are leering at them. The orangutan-wannabes are fully aware of the youth's lustful stares, but not only don't they mind, they seem to encourage the voyeurism with winks and smiles, occasionally sticking their tongues out at them.

There are a couple of others on drunk's row, but they're nothing special. Their general routine is "chug chug, blah blah blah, chug chug, blah, blah, blah" on and on and on, hogging the bartender for all she's worth. If you try hard enough, though, you will eventually get her attention and her duty will compel her to provide you with the drink of your choice. Take my advice, friend. Order beer in a bottle...do not, under any circumstances, ask for anything that comes in a glass. Don't ask why, just know that what passes for dishwashing in this place is skimpy at best.

Drink your beer, make plans to motivate, but before you go you should take a few minutes to sit down and hear the band for awhile. They would certainly appreciate it (especially if they knew that you would be joining the fat man at the bar as the only ones who are paying attention to them).

They aren't a bad band, just your typical local jammers whose dreams of fame and fortune have been shattered, but hey, $50 a man ain't THAT bad. Besides, it's easy money when all you have to do is play the same songs you learned in high school for the thousandth time.

They're doing Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac" in a vain attempt to draw out some of the gals for a line dance. The singer gets to the part about "waving to the girls, feelin' outta sight", and the keyboard player waves at the audience and lecherously yells, "Hi girls!"...The song ends and the keyboard player grabs an acoustic guitar, "Does anybody here like Pink Floyd?", he asks. "We like Pink Floyd". At which point they play "Stairway to Heaven".

You think about maybe letting them know that "Stairway" is Zeppelin, not Floyd, but then you find yourself amused that they don't know the difference.

With this, you realize that the Watering Hole's entertainment value has reached it's peak. Now, you correctly ascertain, would be a good time to leave.


Tower of Babel

A new Q&A just for you!

Some folks out there really love to answer internet questionairres. They get a chance to stroke their egos or demonstrate their rapier wit.

Then there are folks who would rather eat ashes than answer the things. They think it's a huge waste of time and that whether they've ever been in love before or the regularity of their bathing habits is nobody's business but their own.

I fall somewhere between those two extremes. But I have been known to fall back on them when my creative juices have been temporarilly staunched. So now's the time...enjoy!

What's bothering you right now?
Allergies are weaking havoc on my eyes...my glasses haven't fit right since I ran into the door and fucked up the earpiece, and that's driven me crazy the last few months (good news in that I should get a new pair today...yippee!)...I suppose the one thing above all the others that is bothering me is the sad fact that I'm still waiting, after 3 months, for my initial SSD check. Too much stuff needs to be done around the house and it bothers the hell out of me that the government is so good at taking it's time...

What is in your wallet?
Driver's License, several photographs of my son, doctors appointmentcard, laminated Social Security card, Visa debit card, Conoco/Phillips 66 gas card, pawn ticket, business card from my friend's CD store with Red's phone number written on the back, bank account number card, voter registration card, Sapulpa Public Library card (expired 4/30/06...I guess I should put that in the trash), one blank check...

Wallpaper on your computers desktop?
Sigur Ros' logo

Background on your cell phone?
I don't need a cell phone, so I don't have one, which implies rather forcefully that there is no cell phone in my possession with which to have wallpaper...If I had one it would be Sigur Ros related...you know how it is when you become obsessed with a great band...

What do you want in your life right now?
Air, water, fire, food, a roof over my head, a beating heart, psychedelic dreams in sleep, cognition, functional kidneys, a method with which I could conquer and rise above the existential angst that alternately plagues me then makes me feel like an immature fool for dwelling on it even for a moment...and an HDTV.

Listening to?
XM Radio Online, channel 104, "Ngoma", which is billed as "the Sound of Africa"...It used to be part of the regular XM line-up but they banished it to online limbo about a year ago. It's something different, and that's what I shoot for every time.

What do you smell like?
Coffee...other than that I am remarkably "stench-free".

It's 9:00 in the morning and I do not eat breakfast, so "no" or "nothing" depending upon how the question is meant.

What's your favorite thing to have on your bed?
A pillow. Sheets and a blanket. Only the essentials, baby, as I certainly would not want to risk the ire of my wife by listing her in a category of THINGS.

If you could change something in your life, what would it be?
The size of my penis...it's much too large and frightens all who see it.

What do you wear to bed?
Oooh, see? Here's a prime example of a question that pops up in every one of these questionairres...What do I wear to bed? A three-peice Armani suit, Gucci loafers and a top hat. Right? Everyone knows I sleep naked (okay, maybe your grandmother doesn't know...be sure to tell her when you get the chance).

Do you remember your dreams?
For a little while after I wake up. Some linger for a few hours, but very few leave an indelible stamp on my consciousness. Which is too bad, because I usually have the BEST dreams!

Who will you sleep with tomorrow?
The same person I slept with last night, probably.

Have you ever been gambling?
Once or twice...enough times to come to the realization that I can't afford to lose money.

What's something you wish you could understand better?
Infinity...I'm working on it, though, and have made great progress..

What did you do last weekend?
I surfed the web for porn, 48 hours straight with hourly breaks to administer Visine...Okay, that's not true. I didn't do much "last weekend" (which I'm assuming is yesterday and the day before, this being Monday). I read as much as I could with screwed up glasses and itching, burning, allergy-assaulted eyes. I practiced my typing (you'll be glad to know that I am getting quite good at it). I ate a couple of nice, big salads yesterday, then there was the delicious Frito chili pie I gorged myself with on Saturday. I spent some enjoyable time seated on my porcelain throne, prompted by the chili. I listened to a lot of music, burned several CDs.

Who do you miss?
Aubrey, my dad, all of my friends who have moved away.

Who is the last person of the opposite sex you hugged?
My wife....oh, I almost forgot...I hugged a prostitute a couple of years ago while looking for a parking spot in Bricktown. That would be the last person I hugged. But it wasn't too long before that when I hugged the wife.

Orange or apple juice?
I don't know why anyone would give a rat's ass, but apple juice tastes like piss to me (not that I know what piss really tastes like, but apple juice is what I imagine urine would probably taste like). Any orange juice I'm drinking is gonna be 100% natural, not from concentrate and thick with pulp.

Who was the last person you went somewhere with?
My son. We went to Sonic to get ice cream.

Have you kissed anyone on your top (MySpace) friends?
Seeing as how my wife is in the top 12, yes I believe I have. I may have kissed a couple others in a harmless, friendly way, but you can't really call those "kisses", can you?

Whose house did you go to last night?
I don't know whose it was, but the windows were easilly pryed open by my crowbar and I didn't have too much trouble carrying their high dollar home theater system out to the van. A more relevant question, to me at least, is "to whose house am I going tonight?"

Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?
My dad, in 1999...I ain't going into one of those places unless it's absolutely necessary.

Are you bored?

What is the last movie you watched?
"The Number 23"

Name three drinks you regularly drink.
Dr. Pepper, coffee, Monster

What are you excited about?
The U.S. release of the Sigur Ros documentary/concert DVD, getting a sweet pair of Bose headphones when my money comes in, the upcoming "Caveman" TV series, the tasty home-made burritos we'll probably throw together tomorrow night, getting my new pair of glasses (hopefully today), the starring role I've been offered in the Vivid video re-make of "Army Brat"...Oh, I'm excited by many, many things...especially rubber ducks.

Do you want someone you can't have?
What's all this "can't have" bullshit?

Who was last to slap your butt?
There is a cemetary next to the McDonalds in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Enter by the east gate. 5 rows west and 3 headstones to the north you will find the name of that man engraved on a marble slab.

Where was the last place you went?
Besides the bathroom? In town, it would be Sonic. As far as going out of town, it was to Shawnee, to take care of a little business at the pawn shop.

What's on your mind right now?
Just trying to think of answers to this silly questionairre.

Have you cried recently?
Can't say that I have. I'm not the kind to say that men aren't supposed to cry. But I have not been so inclined recently. If I don't get my SSD check soon you will see my bawl like a baby.

If an unstoppable force comes across an unmovable object, then what happens?
A spark flickers and a new universe is born.

Is taking a shower a daily habit?
Another question that seems to be in every one of these Q&As...The short answer is "yes" but I would point out that bathing is not so much a "habit" with me so much as it is a "ritual". Big difference there, don't you think?


Sonic Youth: "NYC Ghosts & Flowers"

I will admit that I have not heard Sonic Youth's entire catalogue. I would like to, though, because I have enjoyed almost everything they've recorded from "Daydream Nation" until the present. Of course, this means that I have missed out on some of their best work, as I have long heard the praises of "Evol" and "Sister" from the die-hard fans. Their experimental stylings are right up my alley. There's nothing in the world quite like the sound of old guitars being tortured. Even if I'm not very enamored of Thurstoon Moore and/or Kim Gordon's vocals, the music usually more than makes up for it. They can coaxe sounds from those axes like noone else.

They do a pretty good job of aural creation on "NYC Ghosts & Flowers", the sounds are alien and intriguing, but they never seem to find a decent chord structure to ride upon. The songs never seem to go anywhere. They start out pretty good, intriguing, they meander on, a few nice moments, but by the time they've begun to hit their stride they're over. When they build up to a cacophonous climax (as on "Small Flowers Crack Concrete") it just sounds like noise, a far cry from something like "Dirty Boots", in which the chaotic tension that builds up explodes into a beautiful, spacey conclusion.

"Small Flowers Crack Concrete" could be excused for all it's hubbub. There are some nice musical pastiches leading up to the tumult, but the "lyrical content" is little more than spoken word nonsense. The equivalent of a pretentious street poet at a Barnes & Noble open mic night. You have to wonder how it can be taken seriously. Even Jim Morrison's blank verse was better than this (for those of you who enjoy Mojo Rising's poetry, I aplogize for the slight, but hey, he was no Walt Whitman, was he?).

The title track is one of those that meanders and never quite gets anywhere. At the risk of offending any SY fan who may find more value in this album than I do, the vocal melodies and lyrics remind me of nothing less than Phish, albeit somewhat darker at times. Lucky for me, I doubt most Sonic Youth fans have even listened to Phish. I wouldn't listen it to myself if it weren't for the music, which is what I'm trying to get at here. The singing, lyrics and melodies, though they are surrounded by some fairly interesting musical noise, just sound silly. And the same goes for at least 85% of the whole album.

Gordon's "Side2Side" sounds like little more than a freeform word association excercise conducted over the sound of one pizzicato note picked on the bass guitar, which never lets up during the course of it's 5 minute duration. Kim reads a litany of seemingly unrelated words or short phrases (panned from left to right if you're listening on headphones), and the song joins the ranks of the other gloss that permeates this record. Sure, a few electrified ambience wafts about halfway through (about the time, I suppose, when most listeners would probably be reaching for the remote control), but by then the boredom has settled in and made itself comfortable.

"StreamXsonik Subway" may well be the worst song on "NYC Ghosts & Flowers", even though it, too, sometimes veers into promising territory. Moore's vocal melodies once again are the culprit. It's almost as if he's reciting a nursery rhyme here. When the first wave of vocals tapers off the band gets a chance to throw the sounds up into the air to see where they might fall. Almost makes up for the silly melodies, but then Thurston comes in again with his Mother Goose to close the song with a few more lines.


In my opinion the best song here is the opener, "Free City Rhymes". Very remeniscent of American Football, they make a very pleasing sound with their combined guitars. The vocals and lyrics are nice and certainly no harbinger of things to come on this album.

All in all, "NYC Ghosts & Flowers" is only for the hardest of hardcore Sonic Youth fans or completists whose only criteria for owning an album is the name of the band on the jacket (not that there's anything wrong with that...I'm that way about several bands). Everyone else is advised to pick up "Goo", "Daydream Nation", "Washing Machine", anything but this.


Pavarotti, 1935-2007

Luciano Pavarotti...1935-2007

Just yesterday Pavarotti was in the news, receiving an award for promoting Italian culture around the world. I poked a little fun at the great man when I read the news...I had no idea at the time that he was close to death, losing a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Lucianno Pavarotti has passed away and the jokes about the fat lady singing have begun. He was a legend and will be missed not only by opera fans everywhere but by the millions who were introduced to the music by him.



Unsolicited delightful commentary on today's music news.

Today's music news...

As if anyone cares.

Pavarotti to receive government prize ...the prize was awarded to him for promoting Italian culture worldwide. He won a second award soon thereafter for "Best Spaghetti Sauce" in a contest sponsored by Chef Boy Ardee.

The Klaxons win UK Mercury Prize ...Associated Press writer Raphael Satter describes them as a "dance punk band". I describe them as virtually unknown on this side of the pond. And this time I don't think it's simply a matter of my being out of touch (which I usually am, but hey, this is the Klaxons, okay?).

The Game ordered to stand trial...NFL? MLB? NBA? Monopoly? Twister? Oh, wait...the Game is a rapper. I should have known. So he pulled a gun at a basketball game, he SHOULD have to stand trial for having such a stupid name.

FCC's methods leaves public in the dark...this story really has nothing to do with music, but it sould be common knowledge that the FCC's methods almost always baffle the public. Fuck 'em.

Man who shot musician may not be charged...wow, I had no idea that the keyboard player from Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians had been killed. Maybe because the band hasn't done a damn thing in almost TWENTY YEARS, for God's sake. I never liked 'em anyway. It's too bad the guy had to die, but apparently the shooter did it in self-defense, so that's the way the chips fall.

Rock stars more likely to die prematurely...it's always nice when scientific research confirms something that any fool with half a brain already knows. One can only hope that funding of this landmark project didn't consume too many tax-payer dollars (I'm thinking the it might have been worth about $5.00, but then again, maybe all the rock stars in the world will benefit from such important findings).

Country star Underwood enjoys fast-moving "Ride" ...I would say something about this report if it weren't little more than a glowing publicity story. Carrie Underwood may be the most intelligent of all "American Idol" winners, having gone into the country genre. Not only does she have the voice for it, but country fans are by far the most supportive of 'em all. Even Kelly Clarkson recently got hip to that fact, putting out a duet with Reba McEntire.

Metallica, Mayer join Young's annual charity show...It's as known fact that the majority of farmers in the heartland are major Metal Heads. OK, maybe not, but it's all about raising money and apparently Willie sees potential with 'em in this endeavour . Check out the Farm Aid line-ups from years past and watch the progression.

Reggaeton still evolving from hot new thing...proving that I'm NOT too far out of the loop, I HAVE heard some Reggaeton music. I'll only say that it's good to know that it's "still evolving". It's got a long way to go before it "evolves" to a level where it's actually entertaining and substantial.

Dixie Chicks singer buys $5.6 million home in L.A...a nice place to retire...one can only hope.


"Julianne gives me call before vanishing again forever."

Julianne, my Ex

I received a phone call last night from the woman who taught me what it takes to be a REAL MAN. I always thought I was a "real man" until I met her. She proved to me that I was nothing but a jackass punk all that time. Yes, it was Julianne, who you may have read about in one of my previous posts here. As it turns out, she happened to read it herself when she stumbled upon the Music Pioneer's Weblog. She was doing an internet search for "incredible rock and roll superstars". Naturally she found me on the 1,537th page...she always was a tenacious one.

After seeing the glowing comments I wrote about her she decided to seek me out. Surely, she told me, I deserved to at least know what she's been up to during the last few years since her departure. It didn't take long for her to track me down, as she had memorized the phone number of my band's drummer. He left not too long after Julianne left, but he knew my phone number, and so the connection was made easily.

She said she didn't want to leave me, that she always had a soft spot in her heart for me, that she always would have...but apparently I snore. I had no idea, was completely unaware that my snoring was so bad (in fact, I always insisted that I never snored). Julianne told me that she tried to cope with it using earplugs and strong drugs that would knock her out before I fell asleep and began my nocturnal snorting.

But before long even the drugs wouldn't keep her asleep as my nasal noises continued to grow louder and more frequent. Looking back, I can only attribute it to the infinite pleasure and satisfaction that her sexual prowess provided, which lulled me into such a deep and peaceful sleep that relaxation and snoring went hand-in-hand, never to be separated.

Long story short, she walked out of my life because I snored. She said she didn't have the heart to tell me. She was convinced that if I knew of her plans to leave I would begin to abuse heroin on a level that would likely kill me (she assumed, correctly, that the stress of losing her, knowing that it was my fault, would drive me to an incredibly dangerous narcotics binge).

Julianne apologized, and said "Better late than never". To which I disagreed, but I let it slide.

We reminisced for several moments about the wild exploits shared between us, many involving strange alcoholic beverages and group sex, which was a constant in our relationship. She laughed as I recalled the 2 month joy ride with the band on tour, how each night the van was filled with 8 or 9 members of the audience who were lucky enough to join us in our bacchanals. There were times when some of those people took advantage of us, stealing our drugs and money, but those two commodities were flowing like a river in those days so it was easy to forgive.

She laughed as I reminded her of the time the tour bus left her behind in Green Valley on the way to Albuquerque, how the band and the driver refused to go back and pick her up. Julianne said she didn't remember the details (as she had been drinking quite a bit of absinthe that night) but I'll never forget. I told the guys that if they didn't turn around I would get off the bus, go back and get her myself. No sooner had the threat left my mouth than the driver pulled the bus to a screeching halt, opened the door and made a gesture with his hand that I understood to mean "I'll take you at your word...get the fuck out!" I walked the 5 miles back to the motel, debating on the way whether or not I wanted to stay in the band, and reached my destination in the wee hours of the morning. The door was locked and noone answered to my insistent knocks and kicks to the door. 10 minutes of wasted effort and I summoned the desk clerk who remembered me from the previous evening (as I had sold him a dime bag of some killer weed). He brought the pass key and when we opened the door we found Julianne passed out with two other women at her sides, a needle and a spoon perched conspicuously on the bedside table. Oh what a beautiful sight it was, I'll never forget as long as I live...that's a fact, too, because I used up a whole roll of film taking pictures of the unconscious women.

I tried to talk her into coming over to look at those photographs that I had cherished for so many years (two of which hang framed on my bathroom wall beneath a plaque that reads "The Good Old Days!"). But she couldn't. She said she was leaving the country within a few days. She had some kind of family there to turn to and that was more than I could offer her. Of course she was right, as I have precious little to offer at all these days...just because I have made a name for myself as a Legendary Music Pioneer does not mean that I am rolling in the dough. On the contrary, things have been pretty hard lately.

She expressed her wish that everything would work out alright for me, that my finances would take an upward turn, but she told me "no" when I asked her to come back to me and wait for my ship to come in. Her answer was spoken in such a firm manner that I knew better than to press my luck and so I abandoned the dream.

The time had come, she said, when she had to hang up the phone and we both knew that we would never see or hear from each other again. The notion was burning a hole into my tender, broken heart but she seemed to take it in stride. In fact, it was almost as if she WANTED to be rid of me.

But before I would let her hang up the phone I had to find out what she had been doning during the years since our love was proud and strong, before my snoring cut the cord of passion that bad bound us together through many an orgy.

"Oh, I've tried to keep myself busy," she said. "I travelled to Hollywood and took a few small roles in some erotic films. I got engaged to a drug runner out of Jamaica, but that bit the dust when the DEA snagged him on a trip to the Honduras. I wasn't about to be a convicts wife so I left him and became a Jehovah's Witness. I did that for about 3 months before I figured out what a load of bullshit it was. I left the church in disgrace and found my way into the mansion and the good graces of an older man, the wealthy publisher of a golfing magazine who had seen me in one of the movies I'd done. He begged me to move in with him, and he even had plans of proposing to me. Had I said "yes" I would have lived high on the hog for the rest of my life. He would have insisted that I get back into the movies full time, as he really had a fetish for that kind of thing. I had done a couple more then and again just for him, but it was only a hobby to me. I didn't think I could handle the pressures of doing it as a steady job...maybe I could have when I was with you...you always had the kind of drugs that made me think I could do anything...but this guy wasn't into drugs at all. I think he disapproved of my heroin use, he thought I would turn into a junkie. No matter, I wouldn't marry him, anyway, just like I wouldn't do many more films and I would never, ever kick the horse. Then, out of nowhere, he began to snore. Reminded me so much of you. I weighed the pros and cons of leaving him. Eventually I came to the decision that a life of destitution would be better than a lifetime of comfort with a man who snored even worse than you did. And so, indeed, I have been destitute since leaving him. I've lived under bridges and in homeless shelters...I've stood in soup lines for hours to get a bite to eat when my stomach was as empty as I always believed your heart was. I was reduced to using dirty needles, but I guess I got lucky because I never was HIV positive. A few days ago I said "to hell with this" and I called my uncle Charlie in Liverpool. He was more than willing to take me in and even asked me why I'd waited so long to get in touch with him. He's a nice guy, with a nice family and a steady job. But he also leads a double life as a pimp and a pill pusher with a penchant for sado-masochism. That's why I've always dug him!"

I'd heard enough. She was burning bridges, I realized. Maybe for the better. I felt a tinge of envy for her Uncle Charlie in Liverpool, but all in all I was resigned to the hand dealt to me by that mean old FATE. Who knows how long she'll last in his dungeons? Will I be invited to the funeral? Best to cherish the memories that we made together in better times. The sex. The drugs. The rock and roll. The dirty boots.

Goodbye, Julianne. Thanks for swinging by the blog and for the phone call...I somehow wish you had skipped the phone call, but thanks anyway.