11.30.2008

This is an album of Beatles songs done in a bluegrass style. I had it when I was young and I'm sure that I thought it was an actual Beatles record when I asked my folks to buy it for me. I probably hated it when I found out it wasn't. I'll bet it's not half bad.


11.28.2008

Last.fm

I mentioned Last.fm a couple of days ago, announcing the Bambo Syndicate's artist page and proclaiming it to be my favorite music website. And so it is, and so it will remain until something better comes along...and to be honest, there aren't too many things that might could be done to improve it, IMO.

First off, their music database is incredibly huge. I have added an incredibly large number of artists to my library and have yet to search for ANY performer/band that didn't turn up there (with several "RIYL"s to boot).

The best way to utilize Last.fm, I've found, is to turn it into your own personal radio station, programming only the artists you like and leaving the song selection to them. If, like me, you are more of a "band" fan than a "song", fan you will fall in love with your "Library Station".

You can also listen to a station that plays recommendations based on the artists that are in your library. I haven't listened to my "Reccomdendation Station" much because, for one thing, I'm too enamored of my own station. But also because the site automatically adds a reccomended artists to your library if you listen to one of their tracks in it's entirety. This is one aspect of Last.fm that is a huge disappointment and will keep me from listening to that station too often. Of course, you can always go back through the list of "recently played tracks" and delete them individually, but come on. There's not even a "mass delete" option. Why would I want to do that when I can go to Pandora to hear new artists?

Not that you can't find cool new stuff on Last.fm. It's easy enough to do on your own without the "Reccomended station". Just check out the "similar artists" of the artist you like and navigate to their pages where you can usually hear at least 5 songs from them. Most are full tracks, but some are only 30 second clips...still, you can get a pretty good idea of whether you'll like a band or not with a few of these half minute samples. If you think you might like 'em, go ahead and put them in your library to add a little variety to your usual. You can always delete them later.

I mentioned Pandora. I've used Pandora and I think it's an excellent service. However, it does have it's limitations. For one thing, you can only skip 3 songs in a limited space of time, so if they're throwing duds at you there's not much you can do other than change the channel. And a LOT of duds will be thrown your way, depending upon how well you know the genre of music or the style of the artist you're wanting to hear. I am not familiar enough with how they decide what makes an artist similar to another, but it matters not...it's a lousy system.

I'm sure I'll continue to use Pandora, but only because I'm too lazy to delete all those artists I don't want in my Last.fm library. I worked too hard on that library for interlopers to find their way into it. And trust me, my library is MAMMOTH. I've tried to represent every genre of music I like. I've got a couple dozen artists that I'm not familiar with thrown in (though I am quite familiar with the type of music they play). But the majority is made up of artists I have known of and enjoyed over the course of the last 35+ years. And there are many that I enjoy, appreciate and respect but did not want to include at this time, for whatever reason (burned out on their music or just didn't want to hear in this mix).

I would reccomend Last.fm to just about anybody who likes music, but especially to those who have "been around the block, musically", so to speak. Those who have already explored many genres and styles and who know what/who they like within them.

One more thing about the music on Last.fm. And THIS is something I REALLY like. Many times they will play alternate versions of songs instead of the ones you're familiar with. I don't know where they get them, but they are a very nice surprise when they pop up. For instance, they play a live version of Joy Division's "Transmission", the lineage of which I am uncertain. I've heard alternate versions from artists as varied as the Rolling Stones to Sun Kil Moon/Mark Kozelek. A couple of Sigur Ros live tracks from who-knows-where. Most of their playlist is the original takes, but it is a welcome change of pace when one of these unique gems pops into the mix.

If you're reading this and your speakers are turned on you are hearing my Artist Station right now. I've got it embedded in the sidebar. This is what I like. It's a good part of what I've listened to all my life.

Go on...make one of your own. You know you want to.


11.27.2008

I spend my Thanksgivings alone. I have done so for many years. My wife takes my son to visit her family and I stay home.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

I know that most folks would say, "Why would you want to be alone on a holiday? Isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about, spending time with friends and family, gathering together for food and fellowship?" I know it is. "Do you have a problem with your family, then?" No. No problem with any of 'em. "Are you anti-social or something?" I wouldn't call it being "anti-social".

I don't know if I could explain why I don't want to be around groups of people. Not even family. It's gotten worse over time, though it has been a long time since I visited relatives. I can't explain that, either. No doubt it has something to do with bipolar. My wife, though it took several years, accepts it and doesn't get upset with me. There was a time when she got a little miffed at me for not wanting to go with her. I don't know if she understands or empathize with me on this, but she doesn't try to change me (and for that I am grateful).

And so, since this IS Thanksgiving, I suppose I should take a moment and express my gratitude to the Powers That Be for a few things.

First, I am grateful for my wife and son. Stacie has seen me through a LOT of hard times and has stood by me. I'm not the easiest person to get along with but she has been forgiving of my less endearing qualities. I'm sure I take for granted a lot of things she does and I don't say "I love you" nearly enough. And Bryan always gives me so much to be proud of. The two of them have made my life worth living the last 15 years.

Next, it's good to know where my daughter is and that she is doing well, married to a good, loving man and raising two children...my grandchildren...and though I've never met them it still makes me happy to think that I am a grandfather. I don't feel that old, but I guess I am.

I am thankful that our dog is alive and kicking. He wasn't doing to well at all earlier this year. The vet didn't think he would live...we didn't think he would. But he surprised us all.

This has been a good year for me. My Social Security Disability benefits finally kicked in. I was able to buy some things we needed. I can contribute, even if only a little bit, to our living expenses.

Stacie graduated from college earlier this year, too, and got a promotion (and raise) at her job. As a result we are better off financially than we've ever been. Not that we're going to rise up to a tax bracket much higher than the one we're in now, but now we can put some money back for one thing or another. We can go out and do stuff that we couldn't do before because we were always close to broke. So I have to say I'm grateful for that.

Moving into the house I grew up in is another big thing I am glad of. Being here is good for me. I'm convinced that living in this house helps me feel more "grounded". I've been so "nomadic" in the years since I left here (in 1980) and have wanted to settle down for some time. I'd hoped we'd be able to do that in the house we were going to buy, but it didn't work out as planned. In a way I'm actually glad it didn't because I love living here, in this house. Our improved resources should make it possible for us to stay here as long as we can (by which I mean that if we leave it will be none of our doing...who knows what our landlord will do, right?).

I am thankful that I seem to have found the right combination of medications to control my bipolar. I am thankful that my depression has been kept relatively at bay since I started taking the drugs.

I got to see Sigur Ros in June! I'm thankful to Stacie for making that possible and thankful that the theater didn't get swept away by the tornadoes that blew through during the concert! I'm grateful that the years of loud music have not made me totally deaf and that I can still listen to music every single day.

The little things...Internet time wasters like StumbleUpon, LastFM, Garageband...making music using the Acid program...downloading Sigur Ros concerts from the Victory Rose blog...another year of XM radio...new albums by Sun Kil Moon, Autechre and Sigur Ros...my VAIO...the new Mexican restaurant that opened in town several months back (some of the best Mexican food I've eaten, I can't believe it's here in this podunk little town!)...Sonic Happy Hour...the election of Barack Obama...moving out of belief systems and into belief...

All this and much more...it reassures me that things are never as bad as I may think they are at the time.

Sigur Ros: "Við spilum endalaust"



I'm not sure how long this video has been out. I just found it today. It's got to be fairly recent 'cuz I keep up with these things.

I really, really love this video. It's only the second that the band themselves have appeared in (if you don't count the cameos in "Hoppipolla"). The last one was just a hodgepodge of clips from concerts. It was nice to see the guys but one could not help but wonder why it wasn't an actual live performance instead of a collage. This time around we have more of a conceptual video and it's so much more interesting and entertaining (IMO).

11.26.2008

Bambo on LastFM

LastFM has become, hands down, my favorite general music website. I've spent quite a bit of time there, compiling my "library" and sampling tracks from artists I have heard about but never actually heard. If you haven't checked it out yet, by all means do so. I wish I had known how cool it is a long time ago...

All this just to let you know that the Bambo Syndicate now has an artist profile there. You can hear stuff and download it for free. Of course, you can do that at the Garageband site, but I like the LastFM set-up better. The only thing is that I haven't had a chance to upload very many songs there, yet. As of this post the only ones available are "Snow White Suite", "The Master Speaks" and "Wichita 35 (version 1)". But hell, a couple of those are pretty long. You could easily kill 30 minutes listening to all of them. I imagine I'll get a lot of other material uploaded in the near future because there's just something I like about being on LastFM.

Unfortunately the "Bambo Syndicate Radio" isn't working. It keeps saying "no content", so I'm not sure what the problem is. The "Music Manager" option, for those of us using the site to expose our music, is not easy to navigate. I'm still learning. Hopefully I'll get it figured out soon. It would be great to have that particular feature.

Anyway, here's the link:


11.23.2008



Click on image to enlarge.

Ha! Whoever made this definitely has his/her pulse on what annoys Stumblers. Right down to the Motivational Poster it purports to be.

Cats. Ha! I'm just now beginning to appreciate the little buggers.
It's not a beer-belly...think of it as a fuel tank for a sex machine.

"Camera I"

Quickly, now
Before I forget
Before the cold rain washes this soot from my body
I need to remember
It kills me to remember

Was it real?
True? Honest?
Real, even so
So real in so many ways
It's not your reality that stains me

I slid through a slime covered door
Wiggled in through the mirror
Unsure of what I would find there
I thought I could handle it
This cliff edge

I was in an unfamiliar room
Taking in all I could see
My eyes like camera lenses
Strategically placed on the floor
Bound to the spot like tethered dead weight

I could have stopped it
I could have
I could have stopped it
I could have
I could have stopped it from tainting my soul

I could not have stopped it
From happening
As it
Had
Already happened

And so it happened
Real for them
Real for me
Real to the world
On every level a fucked up reality

And it chipped away
It tore chunks from part of me
Demolished a part of me
That I didn't even know was still there
That I would have kept to my dying day

Powerless to stop
Only stare
Judged guilty
By an unwillingness
To turn away

To turn away
Not so hard to do
Close my eyes
Squeeze them shut
Tightly, tightly

Only to be consumed by
The sound, the noise
The muscle and skin-muffled bone
Absorbing the shock
Of a wooden floor

Like a fish out of water
Flipping and flopping
Held down by the bigger fish
Gasping for water
Teased, destroyed then released

Puncture my ear drums
I cannot stand these
Terror, helplessness, anger, loss
I cry for you
I cry with you

But I cannot cry for myself
Tears won't fall from these open eyes
I cannot squelch
The echoing memory of your brokenness
That resounds and repeats and courses through my heart

Through my very existence
Changed forever
By an impulse
To
See

11.22.2008

I haven't spent too much time exploring the changes and the new channels on the re-christened "Sirius XM Radio". Too busy amassing a comprehensive artist library at my new favorite music site, LastFM. But I have spent considerable time with one station in particular: Grateful Dead Radio.

If any rock band deserves their own channel, it's the Grateful Dead. Much more so than the other "artist channels" currently in the line-up (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley & Bruce Springsteen). Don't get me wrong...I like Springsteen, probably a lot more than I do the Dead. But, though he does have variety to his music, it's never been as all-encompassing as was the Grateful Dead's.

I can listen to a couple hours of Presley, Zep, the Boss...even 30 minutes of AC/DC...but I can turn on Grateful Dead and leave it on all day long, like fine ambient music it works despite how much attention is paid to it. It's not demanding, in that it doesn't expect you to sit up and take notice of what's going on musically. But if you do, and you happen to get caught up in a space jam, you will get lost in the sonic tapestry.

Springsteen's the better songwriter. Zeppelin and AC/DC rock infinitley harder than the Dead ever wanted to. And hey, Elvis is the King, the originator. Still, the Grateful Dead have them all trumped when it comes to the musical equivalent of spontaneous combustion.

The Zeppelin and AC/DC catalogs (studio, live and bootlegs), in comparison to what's available by the Dead, are very, very small. You could probably encircle the globe two or three times with all the tape Grateful Dead fans have recorded over the years at concerts. Since no two Dead concerts were ever alike you can, by now, see just how logical their Sirius XM channel is.

Obviously I like the Grateful Dead. Those who don't care for them in the first place are gonna think the station is a joke. I can see how non-fans might think it's a waste of good satellite frequency that could be used for something that would appeal to more than just the Dead Heads in the XM Nation. They may have a few points to make, but you never know when a taste for Captain Trips and his crew will creep up on you. I used to hate 'em, too. If you're lucky you might discover their charms while the Grateful Dead Channel is still on the air. You'll be like a pirate finding a treasure chest.


11.20.2008

"Movie With Dylan (Scenes 4-7)"

Scene 4: Dylan has left the scene. He's been gone for a long, long time. He walked out and said it was for good. Don't know about that. It wouldn't be the first time he bandied threats about like that.

It's not so much a surprise that Bob Dylan has split. He never hangs around for very long at these affairs.

What IS surprising is that Slash has taken his place. Slash and mama, cute as can be with the Satanic tattoos, the nose ring and the gaudy Social Distortion t-shirt.

Slash has really let her down. Eased her to the ground, if you want to look at it that way. He has brought shame to her and to the family name with his hedonism. She smiles a goofy, toothy grin that says "This is my boy. This is the one."

Sure he is. Ms. Slash, you have raised up a real spitfire. This son of yours is a convicted felon. His hateful, and sometimes cruel behaviour has caused many a man to question your sexual chastity. He wears his baseball cap backwards on his head. A real significant fashion statement from a man whose pubescence lasted years longer than it does in a typical male. Your boy is a hooligan, Ms. Slash. We think you're aware of this and that you've BEEN aware of it for a long, long time. So long, Ms. Slash, that I fear I have come to late to be of any valuable service to your wasted son. My time is to precious to waste it delving into that rascal's subconscious mind. But make no mistake, dear woman. Your offspring is a thug.

Scene 5: Okay, Murray, you are a bad motherfucker. You've proved it to me. Once again, I might add, once again. Where the hell do you get off being so bad ass? How long have you gone without washing your hair? This dishevelled look you are cultivating for yourself is quite inappropriate. You can't get into any self respecting church service looking like THAT.

Where did you buy that watch? Big fuckin' watch. How much it cost you? I bet it's not one of those cheap Timex jobbies like the sell at Wal-Mart. Then again I'll also bet that it's not one of those heirloom timepieces you see touted by the editors of Esquire magazine and that cost roughly the same as a small, used automobile. That watch is working double duty.

Good Lord, you smell of tobacco. Surely you are aware of this? Why don't you take a quick shower and get rid of that stench before we go to the wedding? You're not going to any wedding looking like that.

Who did those tatoos on yer arms? Charles Schultz?

Scene 6: Put that goddamn cigarette down, you filthy hobo. You're not fooling anyone and I don't care if you are a bad ass motherfucker, I won't stand for it beneath my roof. I don't know what made you think it was okay to light up in my quarters but if I failed to make it clear before, please allow me to elabotate: IT IS NOT.

And where'd you get that ridiculous hat? Is that one from your shopping spree at the Goodwill 3 years ago? Or maybe it's one that was in the "All Headgear Bundle" you snagged at the Salvation Army on one of your weekly visits there. Here's what I say: it doesn't matter WHERE you got it. It makes you look like a stone fool when you wear it. Makes you look like that dude who played guitar with Guns 'n' Roses.

But you're even dirtier. The sand sticks to his skin when he sweats...it turns to mud on you.

He wants you to know about Amsterdam.

Scene 7: The balloon has landed. The bottle of booze is clutched tightly in the drummer's hand. Wait, what's that? ANOTHER bottle of hooch? The pilot's drinking Old Number 7 and it looks like he can sure put away enough of it.

That blimp really sailed for a while there. It was a sight to behold, I assure you. You could get a sore neck bending it towards the sky to get a better look at that incredible floating craft. This was before the fires, you understand. This didn't happen until after the water shortage of 2298 when even the majestic oceans were drained to pitiful pools.

But it's set down now, and that's a natural fact. The way of the world. The wisdom of the sages confirm that the zeppelin has descended it's last time.


You can always find interesting stuff at the Sigur Ros Management tour blog. Example: it's where I got the video of the boys tooling around on their new bicycles a couple of weeks ago. Now, from that venerable source once again, I bring you this scene from a side stage at the Bonaroo festival earlier this year. Apparently these four women, joined together collectively as a dance troupe, have put together an expressive routine based upon Sigur Ros "Glosoli" (which may well be my all-time favorite song of theirs).

What can I say? It's an earnest attempt. Very unique. Somewhat minimalistic. You'd think the grandeur of the song would require something just a little more elaborate, but you work with what you've got, right?

For all that, I enjoyed watching these ladies and their post-modern ballet. The camera angle here is off. I can tell that the end section would be a lot more effective if the point of view had been from front and center. But what the hey? It's Bonaroo, right? It's not as if everyone there doesn't have AT LEAST a contact high. Some nitro charged Phish fan may well have seen God on the stage as the quarter pirouetted.

11.18.2008



"Livin' Thing 10-11"

10.


His skin is blue. Every inch of his body surrounded by a light aura of indigo. Surrounded, too, by blazing tongues of fire. It's as if he's stepping into this reality from a hellish gap between worlds. This is his destiny, to focus the nation's attention to the realms from which he came. To catch their collective eye and point it in the general direction of the Masters.

The blue man swirls and sways in a mad dance. His four arms reach out, alternately offering and receiving. White fire dances on the palm of one hand. Another waves a greeting. Another proffers the back of his hand to be kissed. But what's that he's waving in the other hand? He clutches it so tightly, as if reluctant to consign it to it's rightful fate. What is it and where did he get it? The thought crossed my mind that it might be an urn filled with the ashes of some drug-dealing guru. Or maybe it's a vessel for drinking? I don't know that it matters.

He stands at the top of a highest mountain. He is framed by the majestic and beautiful clouds that soar atop the world. Beneath his foot...an enemy, perhaps? An interloper? Just a friend letting the blue man use him as a step-stool, maybe?Only thing's for sure is that he is blue, too. Asleep or dead? You decide.

But I cannot stare at the beautiful apparition for hours. I must turn from it's healing power and consign it to memory. One last look, though, at the smile on his face. That had to have meant that he was happy or content or maybe that he was in a good mood. That is just as well, friends. I bet he can weild all that fire behind him. I'd seriously bet that he's got a formidable amount of fire power channelin' those flames through his body and into that hand.

Yes, one long last look. I'll never forget these things: The fellow wore some delicious smelling cologne, the scent of which lingers still in my olfactory. His blue skin was the result of a rare condition that the best medical minds in all of India have been unsuccessful in understanding just what the hell it is. Even though there were enough flames behind him to comepletely torch a small community his presence seemed to emit a very cold gust of wind. It was bizarre, and it made me question the reality of the vision. Every time I thought I'd convinced myself that it's a fragment of my imagination, I would get side-tracked by the blinking of the blue man's eyes. It woke a man up, it did.


11.


What's that sound? It came from the right. It was an ominous sound. It was a sound that promised violence. Is it no wonder I'm terrified? I just got out of the shower, you know. My hair's still a little wet. If you think I'm going to go looking for whatever's responsible for that sound in this condition, well, you are one confused individual.

What are you looking at me that way for? You got a fuckin' problem with me? What you think I'm gonna let someone look down their nose at me like that? You have got a lot of spine to think such a blank expression is going to make me believe you aren't putting out anymore. I know you better. I know when the winds blow in and when they blow out I know where they go. And I know this: five days out of the week you are gonna get fucked. You've tried going with less, maybe cutting it back to 2 or 3 times a day...then there were the times when you'll go hog wild and ride a whole month's worth of cowboy...for good or ill, the cycle always comes back to 5 days a week, give or take 4 or 5 days in the month during her menstrual period.

So don't stare at me like you're gonna cut me off. You don't fool anyone. One look into those pouty and anyone can tell that you're in dire need of a piss stop, that the trip has proven tedious and long, you're about to drop dead from boredom. This is the part where we find a nice clean restroom at the Rest Stop near the 200 mile marker on I-40 East. This is about the time I wipe that spiteful expression right off of that cherry bomb bangin' face of yours.

Or maybe, if you ain't down with dat, how 'bout if I pulled this here car o'mine over to the curb? What thoughts would go through your mind as I reach over the seat, accidentally brushing against your tear moistened cheek, flushed with new found fever. What will you think when I open the door and regally request that you remove your fat ass from my automobile. As for what you should do next, though I have many recommendations for you, those details will be totally left to you.

Because that's what I'm about. Get the hell out my wheels, yo in another hood now and it ain't one that you want to get caught in at 9 in the evening. Here it is, 9:15 and I can see a mack thumpin' crew who have, to a man, noticed you. This is just the posse for you.

Now skee-daddle, wacky doodle. Get out. Get out of my life. Get out of my sight. Take that hate filled mug shot and quietly get the fuck out. You don't even have to go quietly, if yo don't wanna.
I won't lie...some of this video is kind of dumb. The choirmaster, in particular, is extremely annoying. But the overall concept is a good one and some of these performances are off-the-scale hilarious.

11.17.2008

"Movie With Dylan (Scenes 1-3)"

Scene 1: Bob Dylan sits on top of an old, worn-out tire. Just some piece of junk he found in the backyard of an old automobile salvage yard. His bare feet don't even touch the ground. Slumped over in the traditional pose of "folk guitar player", the pick he holds in his right hand, when strummed across the strings, causes vibrations that end up all together in the A minor chord he holds in his other hand. There is an angelic, prayerful expression on his face. A light of inspiration glowing from the inside out. He ain't singing about Johnny mixing up any medicine. "Forever Young", likely.

Scene 2: Bob sits in a smoky pub, smoking pot with Paul McCartney, who is sporting some of the grooviest sunglasses ever to hide a pair of bloodshot eyes. Paul seems to be yelling something to Bob, not really being heard over the noisy (and slightly inebriated) crew at the bar. It looks like everyone there is toking doobies, even Mickey Dolenz, who hides directly to the right, almost obscured behind Macca's head. No matter what any of them might tell you...the stone cold fact is that every single one of these trendsters (J.P. McCartney right along with 'em) are only here for one reason:

ZIMMY.

B.Z. slouches unconcerned, his eyes riveted to the big screen television that sits on a shelving unit directly above the Restrooms. Noone seems to care about what he so intently watches.

More fool them.

It's the seventh game of the World Series and Robert's got $500 in his pocket that said the Yankees would pull it off. There is a certainty, if that money lied, that Dylan might actually have to resort to crashing at McCartney's pad. Or if that proved too difficult perhaps Mr. Dolenz would oblige. That would sure give him something to talk about when he hooks back up with Mike, Peter & Davy on the first day of shooting 3 new episodes of the show.

Yeah, Dolenz it will be. Dylan thinks it over and decides against even asking Paul if he can spend the night. He doesn't like Linda much, anyway.

Scene 3: Young Bob has ditched the entire pub lot, having decided not to attempt to procure rooms from any of his hangers-on. Instead he walked two miles out of town until he found an old, white house with a beautiful picket fence all around. He's not sure if he actually knows anyone who lives here. If he does he's forgotten long ago.

Everything turns to black and white as he knocks on the door. He is perfectly willing to do whatever must be done to secure a room for the night. Maybe a few vittles for his growling stomach to boot. Anything at all for some grub, up to and including premeditated murder, if the situation calls for it. He actually kind of hopes it will come to this. It has been a long, long time since Dylan last killed. It wouldn't hurt his reputation one bit to add another notch to that belt.

Alas, none of these opportunities present themselves. It is a young boy who answers the door and first sees the lanky stranger with the big nose. The kid can't be much older than six or seven. His hair is tassled and long. It falls across the back of a loose white t-shirt. The shirt looks like it's been worn a lot of times.

"Howdy, feller," he says to Bob Dylan as he takes him in. "Is there something I can do to ease your weary load?"

An old soul, no doubt. His frank words of compassion are disarming.

"Well, son, what I really need is a place to hang my head for the night. A soft goose down piller if you've got one. My head's heavy and I've just come from a congregation of followers who would think they were dreaming if they saw me here begging for a room from a little tyke such as yourself. It drags on me, I tell you. It pulls hard. But it must be done. If you want me to cut to the chase, I will...I'm tired and I'm hungry."

"I guess I could fix you a sandwich or something."

"Sandwich would be just fine, if that's all you've got. I mean, that's the only choice I have. I would prefer something that would stick to the old ribs better than a pithy sandwiche, but if that's as close as I'm gonna come to bein' fed, well, mister, slap some 'o that mustard on a couple of pieces of bread." Zimmy starts to contemplate the possibility that, for all his bitching and moaning, a sandwich actually doesn't sound half bad. Maybe a nice pastrami with Swiss, or a thin sliced honey ham on Rye with 4 or 5 bread and butter sliced pickles. Provolone cheese. Maybe even some lettuce and tomatoes if such extravagences were not out of the reach of this kid's obviously impoverished family.

"Kitchen's in here. You gonna have to fend for yourself"...and with that he hurls a small bundle of foodstuffs at Bob. Everything anyone might need to make one fine sandwich. A tasty sandwich, the likes of which even Bob Dylan must shout the praises of. French's classic yellow mustard. Miracle Whip. Various slice meats including corned beef, roast beef, salami, bologna as well as the afore mentioned pastrami and honey ham. Oh, and there was turkey, as well. Bone dry white meat turkey that would be impossible to eat without some kind of side dish, like instant stuffing or between two condiment drenced slices of toast.

A fit feast for a king.

It wasn't too long before the sandwiches were made and not too much longer than that until they were gone to crumbage. A decent scrap of eats chased down with a can or two of Schaeffer's beer.

"Here, kid...have a brew," says Bob Dylan, tossing a cold can at the youngster's head.

He snatches it from it's trajectory before it beans his forehead and cries out, "I can't! I can't, you devil. I am only seven years old. It might make me sick. My dad would kill me."

"Where IS your dad, if I may be so bold to ask?"

"He's gone our drinkin' to the Hammer Head...the last time he done that he didn't come home until 9:00 o'clock the next mornin'."

"Well, then. What's the big deal? Bottoms up, you fiesty little whipper snapper."

And with that he forces the can to the child's mouth and pours it's acrid, piss yellow contents into his mouth. With much spurting and gagging the boy finally swallows the last gulp and Dylan lets him go, watching as his jelly-bellied body lightly thumps to the ground.

"I'm gonna be sick, sir. I'm gonna be real, real sick."

"Bite the bullet, you little bastard. If you're gonna dine with me you're gonna act like a grown up. You're gonna swill that beer like a pro. You're gonna guzzle until the time comes when guzzling doesn't feel like guzzling anymore. Do you like my hat?"

"Ughaugha....kachoooo...gurg...pfipt...you're...uhuhuh...claccccc...your hat, mister?...gggaaaaagg...spitoo-ee...what about your hat?"

"I ask you if you liked it."

"If I like it?"

"Oh come now, ostentatious youth. How can I make myself any clearer than that? My white hat with the swoosh back brims. The one I stole from John Lennon the night he came over and asked for a light. I thought it was a beautiful hat the first time I ever saw it. Yoko had it on her head and it made her look positively regal. I said at the time, 'I've got to have that hat. I've got to make it mine.' I tried offering him money, but he wasn't having any of that. 'This hat's not for sale," he says. So I punched him with a broomstick, knocked the wind right out of him. He dropped this hat, you see, and the rest is history. It's ownership passed hands at that very moment, and now I'm asking you, knowing what you now know of it, if you LIKE it."

"You want to know...now let me get this straight...you want to know if I LIKE that hat on your head...the one which, it may be serendipitous to add, was at one time owned by one of the biggest legends of all time? Now that it's perched on your head you want an outsider's opinion of just how retarded it makes you look?"

"Hey, I was a rock and roll legend, too, once. I just want to know if you dig the hat, that's all."

"I guess it's fine," the kid said. "It's not really your style, though."

"Well who's style is it, then?"

"I don't know. Might look good on another retard."




11.14.2008

Imogene's funeral was today and I thought I'd write down a few random thoughts about the whole affair.

First of all, I was surprised at just how much it affected me. It's not as if I was all that close to her. But it really hit me hard just before the viewing. I had a VERY hard time composing myself, just to keep from bawling like a baby.

If there's one thing I can't stand it's a preacher who delivers a sermon at a funeral. This guy was hardcore, too. The whole bit about how you can't go to heaven if you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour. "Sister Imogene is in heaven right now, she's happy, she doesn't want you to be sad because she knew the Lord. She told me several times that she was 'ready to go'. Are YOU ready to go? Will you get there? My friends, if you know the Lord you can rest assured that you will. Sister Imogene knew she was going to a better place because she knew Jesus" and so on and so forth in a maddeningly repetitive way. Fine. Maybe Imogene really did want him to "preach salvation" like he said she asked him to. I dunno. But I do know this...if anybody preaches that kind of shit over my casket I promise I will rise up out of it just long enough to take his bible away from him.

The church fixed lunch for everyone, and it was actually pretty decent. I'm sitting at a table with my brother and our respective families when my aunt Wanda's step-daughter comes over and wants to know if I've seen my mom lately. Just so you know, my mother and I have a somewhat dysfunctional relationship. It's probably been 2 years since I last paid her a visit, and she only lives 7 miles away. Maybe that makes me a bad son...probably does...but what is, is. You can talk a lot of crap about setting things straight and making amends, but it's a little too complicated for me to even feel the need to explain why I don't think I need to defend myself.

Anyway, Verna comes over and asks if I've seen mom lately. As if she doesn't know. She lives right there in town with her. A small town, even smaller than the chinsy one I live in, and everybody knows everybody else's business, and what's more, they wouldn't have it any other way. So she asks me this, and it kind of puts me on the spot. "No, no...haven't seen her in awile", knowing full well that that answer wasn't going to be the end of it (though the tone of my voice should have clued her in that I hoped it would). "You should go see her"..."yeah, I probably should". "You know, you really need to go see her." OKAY. I get your point! I even got the underlying point, but what am I supposed to tell her? I'm not going to lay it all out for her so she'll know exactly why I was practically cringing at her questions. It's really none of her business, and it was not her business to exhort me to go see her. "She'd love to see you." I am sure she would. What am I going to tell this woman? That if my mom would love to see me, it's just as far from her house to mine as it is from mine to hers. I really got the feeling that her questions were a subtle way of telling me that mom wasn't in good health. Maybe not. If they WERE I think the direct approach would have been preferable. There was nothing to hide anything from the company I was with.

Enough of that, except to say that it was kind of creepy in it's way. In a meddlesome way. I can't remember ever having problems with her. so I don't know why I felt such animosity. She almost reminded me of my dad's third wife, who I DO have reason to dislike intensely (or should say "did", since she's been dead for a few years now).

For some reason I have yet to fathom, the service was held at 10:30 and the graveside service wasn't until 3:00. I've never been to a funeral were there wasn't a processional. The cemetery is quite a long way from the church were the service was but I don't know why that should have made a difference. I was told that it was because some of Imogene's husband's family were closer to the town where she was being buried...but if that's the case, I'm thinking what kind of person doesn't drive however long it takes to attend the funeral of a relative or a very close friend?

I don't know if that was the reason or not, but they actually had a little open casket walk-by right there by her burial plot. I have NEVER seen anything like that. Maybe it happens more frequently than I know, but it seems odd to me because when you walk by the deceased at the end of the funeral it's supposed to be the very last time you see the person, kind of like a line of demarcation. Of course we didn't participate in the second "walk-by". But it was still disquieting to see the body again. It's like you've poured out your grief already and it makes you feel bad that you don't have just as much to go around the second time.

I told my wife she'd better make sure that happens to me. I said "You shut 'er up, you keep 'er shut down."

But it's all over now. A long, hard day. It was really nice to see family that I hadn't been in touch with. It's too bad it takes something like the death of a loved one to round up the congregation.

11.12.2008

Godspeed, Aunt Imogene

Aunt "Imie" with my daughter, Aubrey...1985

My aunt Imogene passed away yesterday morning.

She was my dad's sister.

I didn't get down to Seminole to visit her too often...not nearly as often as I'm sure she would have liked.

She really loved my son. When Stacie was going to college and needed someone to watch him she was always more than happy to do it.

For Christmas, every single year, she would give us boxed chocolates. The cheap kind. Always the same brand until last year when the store stopped selling it. We never ate any of them. But, of course, she didn't know that. It was actually very endearing to us. The holiday would come around and we'd say, "Okay, let's go to aunt Imie's and get our chocolates!"

I don't have too many memories of her. I know she used to organize bus tours for her and her friends to go to Vegas and gamble. This was long before the casinos began opening here in Oklahoma. By that time she had lost interest in anything more than a hand held electronic poker game.

Not much to say, I guess. It's sad but on the other hand I know she was in a lot of pain for some time. She lived a good, long life. I know she's in a better place.


Music Video of the Week: Sex Pistols

"God Save the Queen"
Sex Pistols

11.11.2008



I uploaded a new track to Garageband a couple of days ago. I'm not too sure what I think about it...it's certainly not up to paar with "The Snow White Suite" or "The Master Speaks", but it definitely exudes a creepiness that is so prominent in much of The Bambo Syndicate's music. I've got another one in the works but I can't decide whether I should cut it off at the 5 minute mark or extend it to another "Suite" lengthed composition, as I had originally planned. Most likely I'll just dress it up a little more and set it free, maybe do a long form piece next. Until then, creepiness can definitely be found here:


11.10.2008




null - Watch more free videos
This really IS amazing.

2nd EXLCUSIVE Interview with Mick Jagger

Hard on the heels of my lost review of Martin Scorses's Rolling Stones concert film "Shine a Light", I was granted yet another interview with Mick Jagger (long time readers will well remember the first interview I conducted, which was published exclusively on this blog). Unfortunately I wasn't able to probe too deeply into the twists and turns of his brilliant mind because of the tight schedule he was on at the time. Nevertheless, I did get a few questions in and he seemed more than happy to answer most of them. Not all of them, mind you. But most. It's just that "most" is a relative term, and when only 3 questions are allowed to be asked, "most" can only be TWO. Still, I'll take what I can get, and hope my devoted readers will appreciate it.


ME: Mick, this photo says a lot, doesn't it?

MICK: Oh, yeah, mate. It says a mouthful.

ME: So, tell me. What was going on when it was taken?

MICK: What, are you daft, man? I think it should be fairly obvious. I was a younger man and I got busted one night for stealing hubcaps from a couple of cars. It seemed like fun at the time. I don't know that I'd do it again, mind you. 'Right now...gotta go.

ME: Thanks, Mick. It's been enlightening.

MICK: Sure has, hadn't it? (walks out the door)

ME: Wonder why he didn't answer that first question?

"Rolling Stones: Shine a Light:"

I was writing a good, well-thought out review of the Martin Scorsese Rolling Stones film "Shine a Light". It was going well...better writing that I've done in a long time, if I may humbly say so.

I don't know what key I accidentally hit. It was NOT a key, or combination of keys, that should have been hit. Suffice to say that an hour of work has been sucked into an endless void from which I have no hope of retrieving it.

So, the condensed version (as I am not in the mood to repeat my verbose original)...

Not what I thought it would be. More or less just another concert film. Pretty good show, it's true, but I've never been convinced that the Stones are one of the best live acts that have ever graced a stage. I wanted a documentary in the style of Scorses's Dylan bio-pic "No Direction Home". Teasers throughout. Too short.

Jagger didn't sing the line in "Some Girls" about black girls' proclivity for sexual endurance. I was glad. I hate that line, always have. Mick must have been desperate to stir up controversy when he wrote that. At least he seems to realize, now, how inappropriate and offensive it is.

Keef was the star of the show. He has been the main man for years, probably since 1970. Don't tell Mick Jagger, though. It would crush him. Yet, it is true.

Buddy guy held his own with the boys. Jack White seemed awfully intimidated. Christina Aguillara tried a little too hard, but she did an admirable job making "Live With Me" just a little sexier than the original version.

The "Supplemental Featurette" included on the DVD comes a little closer to what I wanted this movie to be, but not much. Not nearly enough. It was great to watch the band in a rehearsal situation (though it must be damned hard to concentrate when there are camera men hovering around you). The film clips were interesting.

I didn't worry about watching the 4 Bonus Songs that are part of the Special Features menu. One can only endure Mick Jagger's prancing and preening for so long, and even Keef's buffering power cannot change that fact.

11.09.2008


Click on the image to enlarge. It's really funny. Go ahead, click...it's worth the "trouble".


My resistance to cats on the Internet is weakening somewhat.

This Spongebob Clock Is Five Minutes Slow

I feel as if I am wasting away. Stagnating like a piece of rotting wood floating in a dank, scum-filled pond. A dead carp drawing flies. A bag of atrophied muscles. A Mason jar brain full of molding honey. Eyes sunken, radiation burned. Cramping fingers and sore wrists. Nothing to smell, nothing to taste, no feeling, no feelings. Trash ready to be burned. I try and try to lift myself out of this funk but I eventually realize that it's not my doing. It's not within my power to change it.

I don't want your sympathy. I only want your money.

I don't need for you to tell me that I should get my shit together. You think I don't already know that? Don't you think I've made it the grand mission of my life to get my shit together? Let me tell you something. I had it together yesterday.

I don't blame you for not wanting to get inside my head to find out why my engines are so rusty. I wouldn't, if I were you. If the shoe were on the other foot I assure you I would walk as far away from this crime scene as I could. In fact, I don't WANT you fumbling around in my mind. It's mine, and I really don't want to share it. It's enough for me to keep a handle on it my own self without giving permission to pick it apart to every Tom, Dick and Harry who just happen to have a ticket they bought from a less than reputable scalper on eBay. It's too late to get a refund, you three stooges. You'll find no grand scheme in the chambers of my imagination. I would say you get what you pay for but if you spent even a penny you got ripped off.

It's okay, mom. I don't blame you. I never blamed dad, either. I don't blame anyone. I don't play the blame game. I'll just sit back and ignore you for the rest of my life. I'll sit by the phone and wait for a call. I'll leave that WELCOME mat out in front of the door. I thought that by now it would have been filthy with the mud from the bottoms of your shoes.

I live in denial. A day will come. I will regret so much until time passes and teaches me that it was a two-way street and maybe, who knows, just maybe, could it be that everything evens out in the end?

Or it could be that I've got really bad heartburn.


11.08.2008

BIRD OF THE YEAR

Toucan Sam will kick your daddy's ass. I ain't gonna lie. He knows how to throw 'em down. Step up to him, if you've got the nerve...if you've got the guts...if you've got a death wish because I swear to Almighty God that this colorful fowl is one mean-spirited son-of-a-bitch and if you don't think he'll put his foot up your daddy's rectum then you've got an education a-comin'...

Is Pepto-Bismol addictive?

11.07.2008

Little League Hero: "All at Once"



Hey! I know these guys!

Didn't know they had a music video on YouTube, though, or it would have been "Music Video of the Week" a long time ago.

Band's called Little League Hero and they're all just the greatest, nicest bunch of people you could meet. Kyle, the vocalist on this particular song, is also an avid IDM enthusiast who has (had?) a side project called OIDA. James, the guitarist, the last I heard, had either gotten through the police academy or was almost there. Yep. He's gonna be a cop. The drummer, Digsy, is a new father, if my sources are to be trusted. Mike Watt, who plays the bass here, is probably the most animated bassist I've ever seen.

I'll never forget the night I bombed at VZD's and Watt gave me the twenty bucks he'd made because he thought I deserved it more than he did (at least that's what he said that night). I didn't want to take it, but he repeatedly insisted, so eventually I did. It wasn't but a couple of hours later and he comes up to me and asks for it back. Which probably doesn't come off as funny in describing it here as it was when it happened. You've got to know Watt. You had to have heard the profusion of compliments he made when "foisting" the money on me. It sounds like I'm being immodest, but the fact of the matter is that he loves me...he himself would say he idolizes me as a musician, songwriter, my taste in music etc...don't ask me why, I definitely don't think of my own self as highly as he does...so you can maybe see why I found it so hilarious that he would ask for his money back after all that.

Anyway, that's a legendary story.


11.06.2008









A short treatise on the most versatile word in the English language.

Enjoy and be edified.


125 Dream: A True Accounting

I had an extremely vivid dream last night and it's unusual that I remember the details so well.

We were driving down Highway 9, heading west, maybe to Norman. I was in the driver's seat and it was in broad daylight.

There was a small group of three, maybe four motorcyclists in front of us. One of them swerves a little too far to the left and when he corrects himself he smashes into another rider until everyone of them has crashed and burned. I drove on. I knew there was something I should do...maybe call 911, duh? But for some reason I didn't.

Then it happened again. Another set of bikers. One moment they're tooling down the road without a care. Then, sure enough, they hit the ground, too, their cycles spinning gravel, careening, riderless, into the ditch like chickens with their heads cut off. And once again I scooted on with only a modicum of concern as to their welfare.

They say the third time's the charm...well, not in my dream, not if you're on a chopper. That's right. Yet another small posse of bikers took a fall.

I feel I should point out that when I use the term "biker" I don't necessarily want to suggest the stereotypical "biker" with the Hell's Angels jacket, the countless tattoos featuring the world famous Harley-Davidson logo that likely cover his beefy frame, their proclivity for dive bars, pool tables, cheap beer and swag smoke, free spirited women who don't think twice about flashing a tit in public, especially if it's during a rally. I love this sort of biker and have always respected and looked up to them. But alas, these cyclists were not of that stripe...obviously. A true blue "Fuck-taking-a shower-let's-roll!" biker would not have wiped out like the pussies in my dream.

Getting back to that dream...these three guys may or may not have been pussies. What they were, for sure, was HURT when their skulls met the tarmac and the blood began to flow. They scooted down the gravelly highway like hockey pucks on ice.

I don't think this instance was any worse than the previous ones...I mean it's hard to think of cycles crashing at high rates of speed in degrees of severity. But for some reason I decided that this time I would get out the cell phone and call 911.

Some lady answered the call, informing me that she represented the local 911 rescue service. She asked me what the problem was.

I said, "Well, we've got a pretty nasty bike wreck here. Three or four guys went down and they don't look so good. They don't look too good at all."

"Okay, sir. What is your location?"

And THIS is the detail I can't believe I recall because it seems so insignificant. I looked behind me and saw the mile marker sign. 125.

"We're at the 125 mile marker on Highway 9 headed west."

And that's it. That's all I remember. I have been puzzled all morning as to what the number "125" signifies, if anything. I have a pretty good idea of why I left the scenes of the accidents in the dreams, but I don't know why there were three of them or why they were all motorcycles wrecks instead of cars or a combination of 2 wheelers and 4 wheelers. Why didn't I call 911? Or maybe it would be better to ask, in light of my failure to do so for the first and second set of victims, why did I opt to call for the third?

It's got to mean something. I'm sure of it. I can only hope that it does not portend something sinister. I can only pray that it is not a harbinger of ill tidings.

Hopefully, like life itself, it was only a dream.

Only a dream.

125.

11.05.2008

"Livin' Thing 8-9"

8.

I need to know something. I don’t know if you want to tell me or not, but I really don’t care. You’re gonna tell me or you’re gonna find yourself in a world of trouble. I’m already pissed and it won’t take much to push me over the edge into dangerously angry territory.

No, fuck it. Never mind. I’m ALREADY in “dangerously angry territory”. No, it wasn’t your fault. I was already close enough I could see the other side of reason before you came along.

But it would still be nice to know, if you’re willing to tell me. I mean, I’m not going to force it from you. That was the plan just a moment ago, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that my bitterness is not your fault. I won’t make you pay for it.

Yet I do feel as if it would do me a world of good to know.

Where were you when I was falling in love?

Were you sitting in a back seat of a crowded subway train with a cup of Starbucks coffee in one hand and a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” in the other, holding it in front of your face as if it’s pages were a fascinating mirror? Was there an old man sitting next to you who turned to look at you every so often to the point where it creeped you out? Maybe you eventually said something to him, like “Excuse me, but is there something you wanted to say to me?

“Why would you get that idea?” he would ask, as if he were totally oblivious to his invasive nature.

“I don’t know…you just keep looking at me and I wondered if there were a reason for it.”

“Nope. Not that I can think of.”

Did you smack him real good right then? Did you draw blood? I hope you did. I hope the driver had to stop the train to come back and drag you off of him. It would have been a real drag if the police were called in, but on the other hand, wow, how erotic the thought of you resisting arrest.

Or did you cower into your corner, turn a page in your book and let the lecherous bastard carry on? I don’t think so. I really don’t think so. I don’t think that’s the kind of girl you are. I think you’re a firecracker.

And I think that wherever you were when I was falling in love is not where I wanted you to be.

Because I fell in love with a robot. Who knows why I fell in love with an ottoman? I didn’t know she was one at the time. Do you really think I’m stupid enough to fall in love with a machine? No, she was flesh and bones when I met her. She seemed normal, like all the other women I’ve ever seen or known.

But then she started smoking cigarettes. She carried them around in a little soft leather pouch that could be mistaken for nothing other than a case for holding the little fuckers. God I hate cigarettes. I hate the smell of them, whether they’re lit or not. I hate the dark tan color of their filters with the little white dots speckled randomly. I hate the cotton that stuffs those filters. I hate the white paper with the almost imperceptible stripes banding around their length. I hate how the brand is stamped close to the base of the things. I hate the packages that they come in and the cellophane that wraps them. I hate how stray flecks of tobacco gather in the bottom of the boxes and the wrappers, too. I hate how they make a person’s breath stink. I hate how they make a person’s clothes reek. I hate the way they look in a shirt pocket. I hate the way they look between people’s fingers and in their mouths. I hate the way they burn down to the nub and the ash that they leave behind. I hate pitch black nicotine stains on hardcore smokers’ hands. I hate the way some people put one between their ear and noggin and actually think it makes them look cool. I hate how smokers seem to have some code of sharing, how it’s always “Hey, can I bum a smoke from you?” and 99 times out of 100 the answer is “sure”. It’s never, “Okay, but you gotta pay me back.” Oh no, Smoker’s Karma is at work here. I hate the way too many people call ‘em “smokes”. “I’m off to get a pack of smokes.” Good God, I think that’s lame. “Smokes”. Ha. I hate the way smokers bitch about laws that prohibit them from smoking in public and how so many of them have absolutely no regard for non-smokers who not only can’t stand the smell of the bastards but would just as soon not chance even the most remote possibility of getting lung cancer caused by second hand smoke. I hate how smokers would tell that person, “Oh, don’t be ridiculous. The chances of that happening are one in a million.” So what? Fuck you. Fuck you with your nasty cancer sticks and fuck your tar-lined wheezing lungs, too. Fuck the death bed you will lie on when emphysema steals your last breath. Fuck the oxygen tanks that cost almost as much as all the cartons of cigarettes you have wasted your money on the last who knows how many years of your life. Fuck all your attempts to quit. Fuck the feeling of disappointment that overwhelms when you fail once again, as Mighty God Tobacco hugs you, strokes your wet hair, wipes the sweat from your forehead and the tears from your eyes. Sweet summer sweat. The tears of a clown.

You know what? She never smoked before. I never would have thought she would pick up that disgusting habit, but she sure as hell did. Picked it up like it was a twenty dollar bill someone lost that she found on the side of the road as she walked to the smoke shop to buy another pack of Marlboro Lights.

There’s another thing I hate about cigarettes. “Smoke Shops”. Where the value-minded smokers purchase their wares. Not “Cigarette Store”. Not “Tobacco Warehouse“…oh, no. It’s a SMOKE SHOP. You’re going to buy some smoke, brother Jim. You’re gonna spend too much money at the 7-11 and it’s all gonna go up in smoke, but by the grace of God you are gonna save a couple of bucks by purchasing them at the “Smoke Shop” instead of the convenience store. You complain until you’re blue in the face about how ridiculously high the ciggy prices are at normal retail outlets, but when you run out of ‘em and the God-blessed “Smoke Shop” is closed ‘cuz it’s Sunday you’ll drive like a madman to Love’s and blow ten bucks because there’s a “Buy Two Get One Free” special going on. What a god damn good deal that is, eh, mister?

Furthermore…CIGGYS??? I hate how people call ‘em “ciggys”. But not nearly as much as I hate the word “cigarette”. I cannot stand to speak the word. I hate the way it rolls of my tongue. I hate the way the word sounds like it means “little cigars”.

I hate the way some smokers empty out their car ashtrays in the parking lot. I hate the way all the butts look lying there in a heap, a pile of paper soaked with the spittle of a hundred different mouths. And yet the nicotine python grips some desperate smokers so tightly that they will pick them up and try to smoke the last tiny flecks of tobacco from their crushed and blackened ends. I’ve even seen people extract the remaining weed from several discarded butts, roll it all up in a Zig Zag paper and smoke it. Don’t these people know what Zig Zag papers are for? (Or at least all they SHOULD be for)

“Butts”. There’s another word in the smokers lexicon that just sounds silly. “Smoke ‘er down to the butt, Jack, we’ve got more!” “I don’t have an ash tray, Terry, so just put your BUTTS in that half empty soda can over there on the table”…never thinking that there might be someone else at the party who might mistake that particular pop can for his own and take a mighty swig of it. Oh my God, the thought, it gags me. How nauseating it would be to feel one of those wretched things fall against your lips and…Egad…the flavor…

Fuck.

God help me.

She was not a robot when I met her. Oh, no, she was a beautiful, exciting, passionate loving woman with a heart of gold and a desire that was practically insatiable. Here…take a look, I have a photograph in my wallet. See what I mean? That’s right, daddy-O, she was a real dreamboat. I used to carry this picture with me wherever I went…I guess I still do, huh? But I don’t know why. I don’t know why I torture myself looking at it, remembering what was, all we had, our bright and glorious future wrecked and deserted by her newfound proclivity for smoking cigarettes. Yeah, my friend, she was a real keeper. But you know what? Fuck her now, y’know? Just turn her over and fuck her.

But hey…perhaps I’ve been to harsh on the smoker in general (if not to her…no, not to her). Perhaps I have exaggerated a bit. After all, some of my best friends smoke. It’s their business, not mine. Never has been mine. I know that. If they knew how I felt about the whole thing, whose to say they wouldn’t tell me to bugger off and not come back? Then again if they’re so shallow as to take any of this as a personal insult then maybe, just maybe they aren’t my friends after all. I doubt the robot would want anything more to do with me if she knew what a stalwart anti-smoker I am. But I thought she felt the same. She DID feel the same. She told me as much. Before she lost her soul. Before she started smoking cigarettes. Before she started bumming ciggys.

I got no time for changes in her life so now I ask you again…where were you when I was falling in love?

Were you sitting in a Pentecostal Holiness church on a hard pew early Sunday morning before the service began thumbing through the hymnal looking for one that best expressed your feelings of devotion at that point in your spiritual journey? And what would that hymn have been? “Onward Christian Soldiers”? “Peace in the Valley”? “In the Garden”? “Smoke on the Water”? “Hotel California”? Maybe some obscure Black Sabbath song tucked in at the end of the book next to the Doxology?

Did your hair shimmer, reflected in the light that poured through the stained glass window just behind you? Did you feel it’s heat on your neck? Did it draw out beads of perspiration there, glistening? Would you have let me lick them and taste their saltiness even in the sanctuary of the church building? Probably not. But I don’t think the idea would repulse you like it would some other bonnet headed midi-skirt wearing holy rollin’ bitch.

Maybe I would have asked you outside so that you might feel a little more comfortable with what I’d had in mind.

And maybe you would have told me “no”. I couldn’t blame you for that. No, I wouldn’t. It’s only natural for a real woman to guard her integrity in situations such as this one. I could not hold that against you.

Is that where you were? I need to know. Where the hell were you when I was falling in love?

9.

How could this have happened? She lay on her bed with a steady stream of dark, smelly blood dripping from her ears. The pain in her head was debilitating. It consumed her and dumbed down all thoughts except for one:

“Is it possible to love a man who takes out his frustrations in the bed?”

She didn’t know the answer to that one, though she’d had several occasions upon which to ponder the question when the inspiration for it was still fresh and painful.

Maybe she just didn’t know what love was and she needed someone to show her. Her old man sure enough hadn’t. She wouldn’t accept that he was a cruel taskmaster whose compassion was corrupt. In reality he had served up a huge helping of abuse and told her to take it or leave it. Until now she had chosen to keep it.

This morning she wasn’t so sure.

“It’s been my understanding,” she told a friend on the phone later that afternoon, “that life is seldom fair.” She said this with conviction. As if she were the only one who cared.

But by the time “Must See Thursday” had come around to “E.R.” he was back. Sprawled out on the genuine leather La-Z-Boy her father had given them as a wedding present 3 years ago.

“Goddamit girl, I needs me another can o‘ Coors. What the hell are you doin’ in there? Turn off that damn stereo. You know how much I hate R.E.M. What are you doin’ listenin’ to that shit anyway?”

She was going to do what he told her to do, that was certain. She knew that. She knew better than to do anything else. But not until that last verse of “Everybody Hurts” played out.

And so the night dragged on. From one can o’ Coors to the next can o’ Coors until there were no more cans o’ Coors left and it didn’t matter because he was knocked out flat until 3 or 4 in the morning when he’d wake up and feel like having a little fun. Havin’ a little bit o’ HIS brand of fun, he’d tell you.

She woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar room. At least that’s how it seemed. She tried to sort out the fiction from the truth but it wasn’t easy because that pain in her head was back. There were broken bottles on the floor, scattered from the bed to the bathroom…

And there was a body beside her.

She said a little prayer, grabbed her clothes and hit the door.

And that’s how it went down.




"Upon Waking"

Then one day he woke up
...and the realization hit him like a bolt of lightning into the darkness
He had forgotten
The sound of the wind
The coolness of a gentle breeze
Against his skin
From the south, blowing through his hair
From the north, chilling his bones
How the Spirit is ushered by the east wind
Spirited away by the west
All these things he had forgotten
And more
The wonder of the stars and their unique placement in the sky
"Holes in the floor of heaven"
His grandmother used to call them.
Lately he'd come to believe
That she was a liar
How far away, how far
The face of the moon, smiling down or frowning
Depending on why he was looking at it
On that day
As he lay
Face buried in his pillow
He finally understood how low
He'd sunk
Into a cauldron of apathy
How easily he had snuffed out the light
How painless it turned out to be
In the numbing of his compassion
He felt as if there had never been much compassion there in the first place
His belief, his desire, his faith, his innocence, his wonder
It had all moved out of his heart
And into his head
Where, co-mingled with fear,
Stagnation completed it's hard labor
Of hardening his heart
Turning it from flesh to stone
Or maybe diamond to glass
It plucked the lotus petal
Tossed it into a muddy pool of quicksand
He woke up that morning and it all came crashing in
Like coming out of a bad dream
As it was
So he closed his eyes again
Welcomed another realization
He was granted a wish for more sleep
And when he woke up from that slumber
He wrapped his arms around the moment
He held it like it was a long lost daughter
Or a prodigal son
He paid the closest attention
To each beat of his pumping heart
And knew that it was not blood that flowed through it's chambers
But life
And the love of God was the engine that kept it going
Life, love, ever dying, ever glowing, ever re-creating
He turned his attention to his breathing
And marvelled at the will with which his breath
Filled his lungs
How the inhaling felt like a re-filling
How the exhaling felt like a giving-back
A catharsis that he had taken for granted
For so long
Now he was overcome with gratitude
For the Mechanism that made this miracle possible
This time he realized
That the moment
Is smaller than a single atom
That it comes and goes at a rate that cannot be measured
The speed of light times infinity
But enlightenment only comes
When the moment is realized
When it is caught
When it is seen
Then freed
On that windy morning in early November
He woke up from a dream
That lasted for centuries
And yet,
He was only asleep for a moment

11.04.2008

Random Whatsits

Just a few random thoughts, pulled out of my brain like a rabbit from a hat. A particularly trivial rabbit, at that.

My typing is steadily improving since I first kind of got the hang of it several months ago. I had wanted to be able to type as fast as my wife by this time, but that was perhaps too lofty a goal. She's pretty damn fast, and I am slowed down considerably by the all-too-often necessity of having to hit the "backspace" button (I didn't count, but I would estimate that I hit that button no less than 25 times in the last sentence alone. I'm not too bad when I'm typing something that's written but I lose speed just trying to type what's on my mind).

It's sometimes painful to revisit the archives of this blog and see who I was and what I was thinking at the time. I've been doing this for quite a long time now and there's been a lot of personal evolvement taking place in the process. My worldview is not the same. Some of my tastes have changed. I have moved on, I'm still moving and who knows but that I will look back in these days and notice the same to be true then.

I get very uncomfortable when I read posts where I talk about being a Christian. That's because I am not convinced that I ever was one. I'm not convinced that, deep down in my heart of hearts, I ever wanted to be one. Certainly not the kind of hardcore Bible thumping conservative believer that one finds so easily here in the Bible Belt.

But I felt I had no choice than to throw in my lot with this sort. I convinced myself that the Bible was properly interpretated by Protestants only. I believed that the Catholics were onto something, too, but that they were much too inclusive to be 100% right. When I say "Protestants only" I'm not talking about the liberal theologians whose ideas I was rarely, if ever, exposed to. I'm talking about buying into Calvinism and the doctrines of the Puritans.

What the fuck was I thinking? CALVINISM??? What a barbaric and backwards bunch of dogma that is. I can hang with the whole "predestination" thing, though I don't imagin my conception of it resembles the classic Calvinistic defintion. But the whole Election and Reprobation notion? I refuse to bow down to a God who makes such arbitrary distinctions as this.

Heaven? Hell? What's the purpose of either? It's a "rewards" and "punishment" scheme designed to keep people in line. I'm not knocking it. It works. That's been proven through the years. But at this stage in my journey I don't think judgment is God's game.

So what DO I believe? God is all. All is God. God's love for every individual who ever was, is, and ever will be is boundless, infinite and completely unconditional. The fact that our hearts beat and our brains think is proof enough. That we are given this time, this reality, this opportunity to experience this moment, that is enough.

I was going to elaborate, but as I typed the words I realized that I don't have the kind of grasp of these things to make any kind of definitive "statement of faith". If I were to do that, no doubt, I would find myself regretting it in a few years when I look back on this post. I am comfortable with that I have written thus far, so that will be all for now.

I voted today. For Barrack Obama, if anyone cares to know.

I LOVE Last Fm! I wish I'd figured out what it was a long time ago. I've spent considerable time beefing up my "library"...it's like programming your own radio station with only the artists/bands that you like. I've tried to represent every aspect of my musical taste, so listening to it can sometimes induce a sensation akin to culture shock. Like when Johann Sebastian Bach is followed immediately by Sonic Youth, who are followed by Marty Robbins who is followed by Sammy Davis, Jr. You get the idea. But there's nothing there that I don't want to be there. It is actually a very nice listening experience and it forces me to look at every genre in the same light, if that makes sense. It forces me to jettison all notions of what is "cool" and what is not. I find that the "creative impulse" (as well as it's execution) is exactly the same in all kinds of music, from honky tonk to be bop to classic rock to musique concrete to...ad infinitum.

I love this aspect of diversity. If I want a program of similar sounding music I'll listen to Pandora. That's not a knock at Pandora, as it might seem. I think Pandora is great. But Last FM has the edge because of the control it gives the user. Plus you CAN use Last FM in the way that Pandora is used. You can listen to a station of "recommendations", which is pretty much all Pandora does. I don't like to do that, though, because when you let a song play out all the way through on the recommendations station it adds the artist to your library. I don't want artists in my library unless I put them there myself. I suppose I could go in and delete them when I'm done listening. I probably will do that one of these days. But for now I am fascinated by my own Last FM station.

SO much funnier without that pesky Garfield.

11.03.2008

Sigur Ros: "Við spilum endalaust"


Sarah Palin Piano Duet


Music Video(s) of the Week: Mark Kozelek

I know, I know...it's only Monday and the MVOTW comes around on Wednesdays. That is so, but I wanted to hurry up and get this video of Koz posted. It's not too often you see the guy, on YouTube or anywhere else for that matter. This is a really nice, pre-Sun Kil Moon version of "Moorestown". I also found a performance of "Salvador Sanchez" and "Rock and Roll Singer" that I was going to post before I saw this one, videotaped at this year's SBSW, but it must not have been a good night for him. That is to say that it didn't appear to me that he was up to par. Never mind all that. This "Moorestown" is beautiful.

"Moorestown"
Mark Kozelek


AHA! A veritable treasure trove of Mark Kozelek gems to be found tonight! Call it a Music Video of the Week double shot.

"Katy Song"
Mark Kozelek

SFW P*rn


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