Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tough Topics #10: Perspectives On Divinity, Vis-a-Vis Butt-Sex

I really wish collective Christian America would gets its collective head out of its collective ass when it comes to issues surrounding gay sexuality, and to hear these guys tell it, there are a lot of them. To me, there's only one issue surrounding gay sexuality, at least in terms of a Christian perspective: and it's this: if some gay dude ends up in hell for butt-sex, that's God's problem and not yours. Butt all the way out. I'd even say it's God's fault, if that happens. I blame God, if that happens! If some dude goes to hell for that, then I say God has to step up and take responsibility for that shit, because God is the one who done it. "Oh, you did what with your pooper? Aw, well I didn't really design it for that. Burn in hell." Shit!

Don't give me Old Testament. I've read the Old Testament, and let me tell you, God in there was a shithead. If the Old Testament depiction of God is accurate, I can only surmise that prior to coming down and walking among us, feeling it all the way through flesh and blood, looking out with human eyes from a human brain and feeling for the first time what limitation was (a completely voluntary, self-chosen limitation, but limitation nonetheless!)...I can only surmise that that little experience might have opened the ol' infinite eyes a bit. Because prior to that, God was to all appearances a hysterically seething neurotic, foaming at the mouth and thundering death threats and petty vendettas based on whose ox gored who, or whether someone was on the rag at the wrong time, or if someone cussed out their pops, or "did you properly wash your hands?" Yes, prior to incarnation, God was infinite and in possession of all knowledge. And then upon becoming incarnate, God had an immediate and direct experience of what it was like not to be infinite.

That sounds like a real pivotal event in one's life to me! Even if one's life is infinite. People say God never changes, but something sure changed! Because once God became fragile flesh and walked among us, suddenly you ask Him and He's like, "oh, no, bump all that old-school shit. Just love God and try to be good to one another other." So I'd say, yeah. Maybe the experience proved worthwhile for someone besides us. And maybe it might be a good idea to obey that dictate, especially those of you who claim to be of the obedient persuasion: bump all that old school shit. God said so.

It has been fulfilled. We can abide by every old taboo if we want to, but it's not as if God gives a shit. That shit is elective. We can cut our dick-tips off if we want to. But if that ever was a pressing concern in God's eyes...it is no longer. You, me, the guy down the street, the lady across the way - we are all of us under no obligation to heed Old Testament taboos.

That's good news, people. Most of those things were crazy. The judgenuts only pick out the one gay one out of the whole bunch and say, "oh, well this one still sticks, because gross-a-roo!" If they seriously think their personal heebie jeebie gives them full biblical override to pick and choose which parts of Mosaic law were oh-pardon-me not fulfilled in Christ, well...I just hope they don't mind all the giggling from the back of the room, where the cool theologians sit in the Grace of God. We're not judgin' ya!

Now having said all that, I'll level with you. I know I threw it out up there, and I tried to give it a game attempt, but I really don't know about this idea that God changed, since the Old Testament days. It's one possibility - the idea that God just used to be a shithead, back before taking the big J.C. plunge. But there's another possibility, less dramatic, that I suspect might be a bit more on-target. That would be the possibility that most of the Old Testament portion of the bible was written during a time when the people writing it were, by and large, superstitious taboo-obsessed control freaks and fabulists.

That's possible too.

And so maybe just maybe it wasn't God who was in fact the shithead, as depicted. It's possible the depiction was distorted. Distorted just a wee pinch! It's possible that it was in fact those doing the depicting, who were the shitheads. But either way, it is the same difference. Either way, that Old Testament shit got flushed 2,000 years ago. If it had a purpose, in incubating the Chosen Nation, to serve as the cradle for Christ or whatever dashing hypothesis - whatever its purpose, that purpose got served the second Christ stepped on the scene and point-blank said so. It has been fulfilled.

Brethren. Let us hold fulfilled what was fulfilled in Christ. Let us not reject and dishonor Christ's sacrifice, by scorning his fulfilled Law and instead picking and choosing from amongst ancient taboos - which to discard, and which to use when we see fit to stand in for God and judge another's soul. See fit to stand in for God?

You are not fit.

I'm Taking Commissions.

Hey there, reader. See any work here you like? Any particular posts that you think are particularly well-crafted? Well, that just means you have a discerning eye! Let's work something out. What I do for me, I can do for you.

I'm setting up this post, here, to give you an opportunity like you've never had before. Pitch me a proposal for a little work-for-hire. How can my expertise best be put to work for you? You tell me!

Simply put: simply put in a comment, giving me a topic you'd like me to write a post on (NO TOPICS REQUIRING RESEARCH). I'll write the post for you. For the first time, as an introductory offer I'll magnanimously waive your obligation to buy - if you don't like it, well OK, suits you. I'll post it right here instead. We'll just call off the whole deal, and no hard feelings. Only kindly refrain from submitting any further "commissions" though, if that's how you follow through on your end. I don't do spec work!

Sheesh.

But, if as seems surpassingly more likely, you like what you see - well, okay then! TWENTY DOLLARS A WORD (profanities thrown in free-of-charge of course), and I will sell it to you, for your own use on your own blog. You can then post it there, with no attribution to me - just as if you wrote it yourself! I won't even blow the whistle! In fact, I'll probably post a very sincere and complimentary comment on that post, pointing out some of the finer points and subtleties which you can then thank me for.*

This is an offer you won't get elsewhere.

A couple of quick notes. Don't even ask, because I'm not interested in selling any of the posts you already see on here. Not even at a higher rate! Those are finished posts, they were done by me for me. I am interested in something you can pitch me, to be done by me for you. I'm not interested in hocking my stock of fine grape wreaths and olive branches just to burnish someone else's insufficiently gaudy laurels. Forget it!

Exception: I might be interested in selling you the entire blog. As a one-shot transaction, clean and easy and we both walk away satisfied. It would have to be one of those deals where the price is exorbitant, plus I essentially retain all rights for later use, too. Because I put a lot of ideas in here! No one else would have a right to develop my own ideas. That's asinine. That's not how it works. You'd only be buying the text itself, of all the posts (plus the sidebar poll, I'll throw that in), and what you'd be buying is the right for me to keep using it as I see fit, while you in theory and on paper "own it." I don't know, we could work out some sort of shared-custody arrangement. Just of the existing posts, mind you! I'm not letting you post new posts on here, that is right the hell out of the question. No way no how no thanks brown cow. This is my name and my work, here, at stake.

You know what, this is getting way more complicated than it needs to be, ok? All this crap...let's just stick to the original proposal, for now. That was nice and simple.

Leave me a comment.

Pitch me a topic.

And we'll see what we can work out.

Self-Quote of the Day: Priorities

"I've got way more important things than that to complain about!"

More Free Marketing Advice for the Fast Food Industry!

"It's not natural normal or kind...this flesh you so fancifully fry...it's death for no reason and death for no reason is BURGERS!!!!!"

Some young, hip, edge-testing fast food chain ought to cop that as a jingle. Morrissey won't mind! He'll just take the paycheck and look the other way.

Just don't ask him to sing it for you. You're going to need to hire somebody for that.

*Ahem*

I may not have had the opportunity to mention this in the past, but I do a Morrissey so soulful and wrenching it will make tears come out of your ears.

My Inner Kirk Pt.3, Mea Exculpa?

As the circumstance comes back to me a bit, as I recall, the poem dates from my initial dislike for Star Trek: New Power Generation (as it was then called) (by me).

I ended up thinking the characters on the new one were OK, eventually. But in the early going I was pretty skeptical, if not downright antagonistic, towards the new venture.

For me it's still the originals. Hence the brash tone of the poem, extolling the keen cutting edge of those classic characters.

My Inner Kirk Pt.2, Afterthought, Not Untinged with Regret and Chagrin

Wow. That poem is too geeky to even be considered for inclusion in my my poetry blog. Out here it will remain, in proud exile.

And I don't know where I get the gall to feign surprise! As if I just wrote it, and the depth of its excellence is only now is sinking in. I wrote that thing almost twenty years ago. Thank GOD I cannot remember the rest of the rap that went with it!

My Inner Kirk

My inner Spock said
phasers on kill
My inner Kirk said
fire at will
My inner Sulu said
your shields gave in
My inner Bones said
HE'S DEAD JIM

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Good-Luck Gourmet #4: What Do You Want to Bet It's Another Damn Sandwich?

My diet is usually dictated by a combination of curiosity and freshness. In other words, what do I need to eat before it starts to go bad, and how can I make it go with whatever else I have?

I'm always trying to get through what bread I have so it stays fresh, so sandwiches are a popular item. I eat as many sandwiches as possible. Today I threw together a sandwich of thick, flour-dusted ciabatta bread, fresh raw turnip greens, salame, and a single fried egg. I put the thinnest brush of olive oil on the side of the bread next to the greens.

Don't even ask how it was. You KNOW how it was!

Delicious.

It tasted like somebody Italian made it, like one of those dishes they bring out to you that you didn't ask for, at the place where you go where they know you and the guy occasionally sends out something really simple and perfect that you didn't ask for. What's his name? Gaetano, I think. Anyway, then you look at it and you're like, THIS looks interesting, but you eat it on faith and it's "Awwww, yeah. Grazi, Gaetano!"

To which Gaetano always smiles in response, without looking up from whatever he's messing with back there, and kind of waves his free hand plus whatever its holding towards you in an abstracted swatting motion, just grinning that winning grin as he gets his next masterpiece done.

Gaetano knows what's up. Don't even tell him not to put cheese on your minestrone. He'll come right back in a second with that cheese, and put it right on anyway. And you will be wrong, and he will be right, because that guy KNOWS.

So that was the overall impression I got from this simple but delicious sandwich. The kiss of fruit from the olive oil; the peppery, mustardy hinty turnip greens; the thick strength of the bread yielding into warm golden egg-yolkness, and a meaty layer of choice salame.

That's how they spelled it! "Salame." That's how you know it's quality: when they spell it wrong to make it look more ethnic. That might be kind of insulting, though, when you think about it that way - as if Italians can't spell!

I'm a Noticer!

A lot of people may not, but I notice things. I'll be bumping into random people, and something often catches my eye to where I'll say:

"Your hair's different!"

"Hey, I like that shirt."

"Nice shoes!"

People like that! But that's not why I do it. I don't do it because they like it. I do it because I just can't help myself. I can't help but notice, and then I can't help but point it out. It's part of who I am, and the way I express myself. People are kind of delightful, you know? Sure they are. And I like to point out the ways! If that gives everybody's day a little boost, well, who could complain?

It's not limited to people I know, either. Oftentimes I'll notice things about a complete stranger, and I'm not shy about pointing them out with a BIG smile:

"Nice shaaaaades."

"Look how tall you are! Good job."

"Were you born with that?"

I think if more people were more like me, noticing, appreciating, I bet the world would be a lot more pleasant or, you know, interesting at least. And I'd be the first one to notice!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Children's Book Character!

I've been a little bit neglectful of the blog recently. "Recently" as in, the last 3-4 days. Busy with other things, it seems!

Junk, primarily.

But to heck with that, check out my new children's book character: Slaughtermouse 5!
Background: In a far-off dystopia, one of a series of hyperintelligent (for a mouse) bionically-augmented rodent commandos being developed for covert-insertion warfare is involved in a freak accident in the lab and becomes unstuck in time. Upon discovering that they are still able to communicate with him in a rudimentary way through his quantum transweb neural link, his altruistic scientist handlers realize that this is may be their golden chance to right past wrongs and so - possibly...! - prevent the current horrible dystopia in which they live from ever occurring (the book is set in 1980's England).

And so, Slaughtermouse 5 is set loose on the unsuspecting pages of history as a 1-rodent administrator of mayhem! As he appears and reappears seemingly at random but pivotal moments, his handlers scramble to determine precisely who at that particular moment it would most benefit humankind to have snuffed out. Meanwhile, Slaughtermouse 5 sniffs around, using his survival and infiltration skills to interact and blend in with that period's mouse population while jerry-rigging weapons from the period's available tech detritus, in anticipation of his next assignment. His only connection to his home time - Chee-ZAR, a hallucinatory hunk of cheese that gives him cryptic instructions from the future, and rewards him for each job well-done by powerfully stimulating the cheese-receptors in his mouse-brain.

The drama unfolds as Slaughtermouse 5 feels the tug of an ordinary mouse life he'd never known, and begins to question the automatic loyalty that has been bred into him. Yes, he is a hero - but is what he's doing right? And will he ever, ever stop being yanked from one time to the next, in a never-ending quest whose final purpose even his creators can't guess?

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These days, the kids like it a little bit dark.

That's a very rough, very preliminary character sketch.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Don't Worry About Me #2: Not An Alcoholic

Just want to point out, once again, I'm not an alcoholic. Don't sweat it on that account. I drink pretty much responsibly. I'm not one of those people who has to have a little buzz on board each day just to get around. Nor am I one of those other people who can go for long periods without a sniff of the stuff, and then binge my ass off to make up for it. Heck, I can't even remember the last time I got smashed out of my gourd!

I sure do remember the next morning, though.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Still More Glorious Dawn Awaits...

This is "A Glorious Dawn - Cosmos Remixed" with beats by John Boswell, vox by Carl Sagan, and featuring Stephen Hawking on the special guest verse (basically, playing the Heavy D role).

(thanks to Alice at SkyBluePink!)

None More Random Pt.6

Changing out the Top 9 of All Time!

A little less random this time. For some reason the random button kept wanting to pick ones that had already been featured! Screw that. So I went back to the old way.

More hand-picked at random, by random clicking around (AKA "the old way"):
BEEF! The New Chicken!
To Cheer Up
Traveling Pants 3: Enter The Brotherhood
Eerie Tales of the Night Garden
Cat Nicknames Pt.1: Frank & Noonie
For Too Long Have I Underappreciated The Dutch
Thought of the Day, Lightly Compromised
Doodeloo #12 (grinchmonkey)
IMDB Plot Keywords for Taken Pt.9
Tina Fey Is Hot Pt.2
Piss Off, Asimov!
Man, I wish I had saved my original Top 9 of All Time. I feel like that one was the best. It had 10 Cool Things To Do on it, and The ACLU Van.

I won't say quality has fallen off since then, but it has. Big time.

The Spirit World Does Not Recognize the Validity of Physics

Physics is ultimately unprovable, at least as considered in terms of faith. None of science's fancy explanations or experiments are capable of being TRULY KNOWN - known deep down. Known in the way that you truly know, when you just know. When you know something is real truth, deeper and more profound than could ever be explained, or demonstrated, or experimented upon.

When it comes to that deepest, most fundamental level of truth, science is completely unprovable! That's because scientific "truths" can only be proved within the context of the dry, frail world of equations that only mean anything to those who understand them. To those who have been indoctrinated in their use, and taught not to question their self-evident validity.

But for those who do not subscribe to the value systems encoded in these arcane formulae - why should we take it for granted that they prove what they say they prove?

The spirit world cannot be observed, it can only be known. And in that way, it is true on a level that the so called "realities" of science can only dream of being! Since while scientific truths are precarious, ever subject to being undermined by subsequent observation and disproof, spiritual truths are eternal and permanent, forever and always beyond the reach of such flimsy objections!

In the real world of greater truth, beyond that which is observable or questionable, science doesn't stand a chance.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Often Begin Sentences with Conjunctions!

But I don't see any problem with that.

Another couple of the "big ones" that I flout as the needs of sound and sense demand it: the ol' split-infinitive bugaboo, and the prohibition against sentence-ending prepositions.

To me those are style issues, not grammatical issues. While careless, clumsy offenses against these taboos can lead to ungainly prose, there are plenty of instances where style demands that this or that pedantic rule be snubbed in the name of truth and beauty. Or even, grace and simplicity.

Now, this post is no example of that! I'm just being conversational here.

They Had Me At the Disclaimer


I love it when beats and images combine.

"Only The Good Die..."

"...Young" is the wrong word. The good ones die early. It's less how aged you became, and more whether the world was sick of you yet. If the world wasn't sick of you yet, then you were one of the "Good Ones."

For a lot of people, it could never be too early.

The High Price of High-Tech Prostheses

The only thing that's going to bring the price down on that high-tech prosthetic limb is wide-scale mass production. What's needed is a prosthetic limb craze. But the product itself has to prove its worth. If the limb is high-tech enough to be useful as, say, a third arm (rather than simply a replacement 2nd arm, which most of the public hardly needs!), that's when you have the crossover potential that could really make the market for it take off.

As with any cutting-edge novelty item, the first few cool kids in the pool are going to get soaked - they're going pay through the nose! But for them, that's part of the allure: being able to score and flaunt a high-tech gadget that's out of most peoples' reach. That's what starts the craze, and then it builds as others make sacrifices and/or wheedle the parents relentlessly for their own high-tech prosthetic arm, so they can be in with the cool crowd. As more and more me-too's start jumping on the bandwagon, the marketplace will respond. Different manufacturers will be one-upping each other to serve the demand with cooler features, and fashion color options.

As the craze really takes over, you'll see the price start to drop - demand will push production to the point where economies of scale kick in, and pretty soon, it will no longer be simply a status item. Finally we will begin to see a world where the dream of an affordable high-tech prosthetic arm for everyone is a reality.

This is what's needed. Creative solutions that take advantage of how capitalism can work for us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The World Needs More #3: The World Needs More 44 Seconds Long Ukulele Songs

The world needs more 44 seconds long ukulele songs.

It's like, even if you don't like the song, it's over before it can bug you too much!

This one I think is pretty cute! A nice, agreeably even number that kicks its sprightly heels and springs dittily along its way, then bids adieu with a bow and a bow on! Dittily, in a manner of or like a ditty. Adverb.

But they fumble the end, a bit. Don't they? Have a listen! It's like she ran out of words that were making her point, and slapped some other words on just to fill up those last 10, 15 seconds with a "big finish." They should have just cut it! Right around 0:29, 0:30.

Perfect!

Not to criticize miss Jenny Owen Youngs. I don't ever want to be accused of criticizing Jenny Owen Youngs!

Her name should really be Jenny Owens Youngs. That would be considerably more intriguing, in my opinion. I'm easily intrigued, it's true - but it's given me a keen sense of what does it.

Looks like she's put on a little weight! Since that cover of Nelly's "Hot In Herre" she did.

It suits her.

Me Verse The Devil In A Boxing Match!

The devil appeared in a cloud of smoke
in mellifluous tones he spoke and spoke
as he rolled his forked tongue over plummy vowels
while assistants rubbed his shoulders with steaming towels
"so you think you can beat me?" he grinned with a frown
as he sat in his red satin boxing gown
with "SATAN'S GYM" embossed across its broad back
in elaborate letters of glossiest black
"I've been watching you, son,
you've got power and pride!
But to go against me, well,
it's plain suicide.
I take on all contenders,
and lick every one.
Let's just work out a deal
- that's how business is done!"
But I said with a scorn, and a huff, and a haught
in my tone: "Stuff your bargains!
My fists can't be bought!"
So that night in the ring,
as the bell clanged "ROUND ONE!"
I came charging right at him;
straight jab set on "stun!"
then I peppered his torso
with hard body-shots
and when he dropped his guard,
that's when I punched his clock!
He crashed to the canvas,
his eyes all unmoored
the ref counted "ten"
and I shouted for more!
The ref raised my left arm,
the crowd stormed the aisles,
Satan slunk off unmissed
as reporters went wild
then with championship belt
and with victory strut
I headed backstage
to give Satan his cut.

The End Is Nigh, But With a Bitchin' Aftermath, Though

The postmodern apocalypse will be an apocalypse of ideas. In its wake, wild bands of leather-clad spike-haired subversivores will converge on the few holdouts and bastions of dry scholarship and empirical knowledge, and circle relentlessly hurling taunts and whoots at the despairing, bedraggled stragglers who hold the walls against them. Circling and circling in their wild, preposterous, patched-together rhetorical conveyances, these marauders will kick up clouds of dust and demand that all remaining undisputed facts be yielded up to them - fuel for their engines of deconstruction!

Until suddenly - unlooked-for, unheralded! - appearing over the dry, sun-bleached rise with a mad glint of tragic sanity in his right eye, with a stride that personifies the word "definite," with a grim equanimity in his sure, steady hand and a head full of desperate measures...the stranger comes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brett Favre Meme!

Hey, I've been seeing a lot of discussion about memes lately, from Kanye West to "WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS?" as well as others, but here's one now that's been going along in the background for some time, stealth-wise. I don't think it's truly been called out and recognized for the meme that it is! I give you: the BRETT FAVRE MEME.

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It's pretty clear to me that the Brett Favre meme is in full swing! And shows no signs of abating. It just grows from one site to the next site! People keep posting picture after picture of Brett Favre, often with some sort of slogan on the picture, such as "BRETT FAVRE":

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Sometimes, as in the above photo, there appears to be some point being made. But just as often it's just the meme itself, in its purest form:

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Anyway, it's clear to me that this is one of the most major, prevalent memes on the internet today. Why people don't seem to be recognizing it for the meme that it is is up to debate. But I think it's worth pointing it out, and tracking its progression.

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This is one meme to watch!

Thought of the Day: Prudes

Prudes should be rounded up and subjected to enforced pixelization of their genitals.

We'll see if they can still reproduce with everything all blocky and blurred!

Disappointing Definitions #1: Autochthonic

"Autochthonic" sounds like it ought to describe some kind of eldritchly evil, incalculably ancient otherdimensional badass car, with unspeakably vile tentacles.

But it doesn't.

Disappointing.

Idiot Thought of the Day

No one is ever called an idiot louder or clearer than by the words coming out of their own mouth.

Open Dream Journal #18: "So..."

I had a dream that my penis was the subject of a government-sponsored research program without my knowledge or consent. I had to piece the picture together, figure out what was going on from various cryptic clues. White-lab-coated young women passing me in the street would cop sudden feels with a sideways lunge. Strange guys in lab coats with clipboards would sidle up to me amiably and begin conversations by saying, "So...how's the penis?"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Down the Shore Everything's Alright


The video for this begins in heaven, as far as I'm concerned. Cute home video.

Despite the title on the video, Mr. Waits forms no part of the proceedings. But you know, as little props as I give him, Bruce Springsteen generally does a good job.

Lately I don't want any new songs. I don't want any new songs.

Where is your direction?


well I look up into the big, dark sky
the clouds are heavy but passing me by
and your body looks like a sun
we could get up and leave everyone
and my heart turns black and blue
but there's one thing I can't do
now that I've given you my hand
and I walk in your direction again

where is your direction?
where is your direction?

your direction is nowhere but here
I know I love you but I'm full of fear
and I wake in the morning I wake up from a dream
dream of the future and dream of the past
I am stuck in the middle and looking at you
but now I feel all it inside my heart
and I see you standing in front of me
I know where you are and I know that I am here

I think I know for a while
where my head is, and where I will die
and the day comes when we are gone
your breath is warm but it has been so long
and my heart turns black and blue
but there's one thing I can do
now then I've given you my hand
and I walk in your direction again

where is your direction?
where is your direction?

your direction is nowhere but here
I know I love you but I am full of fear
and I wake in the morning I wake up from a dream
I dream of the future and I dream of the past
I am stuck in the middle and looking at you
but now I feel it all inside my heart
and I see you standing right in front of me
I know where you are and I know that I am here

that I am here

that I am here

The Secret to Happiness!

The secret to happiness is to not tell anybody.

Because once they find out you're happy, they'll be looking for all sorts of extra shit to send your way.

To Those In Any Power

You who occupy the halls of power while flouting the rights and laws you have sworn to uphold are not "above the law" - unless we allow you to be. You are criminals, pure and simple.

Really this principle extends to any, in any position of trust or authority, public or private, who abuse their trust and go against the stated or sworn aims of the entity that installed them. From bad presidents to bad CEOs to bad cops to bad priests: each of these is a betrayer of what they were bound by duty to protect and uphold.

Every organization with any power or trust whatsoever, public or private, has a responsibility to expect some corruption. Every organization has an obligation to be vigilant against it, to have procedures in place for investigation and appropriate steps for removal and punishment if a charge of corruption proves true. But the fault does not belong to the flag, the seal, the institution - the fault is in those who, by their actions, egregiously violate what it stands for.

Let us pledge ourselves to what is good, and support what stands for good. Do not tear down what is good simply because those whose goals are foul find it clever and convenient to seek shelter from justice, and camouflage for their misdeeds, within a position of trust and respect.

You who occupy the halls of power while flouting the rights and laws you have sworn to uphold are not "above the law" - unless we allow you to be. If we cynically damn the institution you pervert, rather than damning you, then yes:

You will get away with it.

Experimental Music

The music I make is experimental. Which is to say, I don't know how to play, and I'm figuring it out by trial and error.

Often I get a spectacular result, only to find out it's irreproducible. Out it goes.

There's precious little theory involved in any of it, up front. I don't like to devise theories and then try to write songs that validate them. I prefer to wait until I've got some hard results, then see what theories can fit.

Bad musicianship, maybe. But good science.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Working On Getting Some Songs Up!

So!

I've been working on slapping some rough demos together, putting them up someplace. Here, preferably, if I can find an easy sidebar dealy for that. Or MySpace or whatever. I'd like to thank those of you for your patience. When it comes to how great my songs are, I've been talking ten tons of trash for ages with a pretty meager walk : talk ratio, and Lord knows what you people must be thinking by now of the actual quality of these gems, like I might have something to hide rather than just being lazy.

So there's that to look forward to! Look for at least a few good ones up by, say, November's end. Then you'll be able to judge all for yourselves. Those of you with expectations, your expectations will be addressed! Those of you who have heard some of 'em already, to point where you're sick of them even, don't even sweat it! The first ones I plan to put up will be la merde nouvelle.

But in general of songs, poems, I should note:

I'm not always the "I" in the song. I could very well be the other person. Most of my most vicious quips are thus stealthily self-directed!

And by the same coin's flipside: if I'm not the "I"...the other person probably is.

Not all songs have an "I". Some of them don't.

What else.

They're pretty much all love songs. Any of you pusses can't handle that - you know where the door is.

I Dig Fancy Shit

I have to admit, I kind of dig fancy shit. I'm a bit of a connoisseur of classy. I love crap where it makes you cock your head to the side and say "oooOOOOooo...!" with one of those brows-knit, lips-pursed expressions, when you see it?

You dudes know what I mean, right?

"oooOOOOooo...!"

Fancy shit just makes life that much more elegant when you come across it. I might not have one of those jobs that require me to own a tuxedo, but you bet your ass I come across in a class fashion when the need requires - and I have a pretty fucking refined sense of the refined to go with it! Plus, I use it for all its worth.

That doesn't mean I look down on the rest of people, who maybe wouldn't know fancy if it bit them in the ass. One needn't go in for all the more posh pleasures to appreciate what's good in life! And I, too, know the value of those more simple things. But sometimes, a little extra fancy? It adds just the right touch and you can't beat that.

You should try it out sometimes.

Conspiracy Theories Are In And Of Themselves A Conspiracy

Conspiracy theories are planted by The Man. The Man is continuously engaged in fabricating and promulgating the most far-out yet tantalizingly-plausible-to-the-insane scenarios imaginable.

The responsibility for this function is located within the Marketing Dept of the National Security Agency, where a roomful of the most fiendishly creative minds this side of the Independent Spirit Awards work full time, carefully crafting plots and premises that are compellingly devious and reprehensible, while being almost impossible to conclusively prove or debunk. The resultant theories are then test-marketed via strategic plants in the conspiracy/political fanfic community and - if they show promise - are then put into wide release through the usual channels.

The purpose of all this is not merely to entertain. That is part of it, of course! The government does have a legitimate role in helping us, the general public, take our minds off the real problems that confront us and focus on something more fun. But that's not the real goal. The real goal is more sinister than that. These flamboyantly outré conspiracies are camouflage. They are designed to dazzle and distract from the perfectly mundane and far-more-far-reachingly devious conspiracies that actually are occurring. The real conspiracies. The everyday conspiracies - essential to the normal functioning of the government. The conspiracies you never, ever hear about.

You never hear about them, because real sneaking evil is far more boring in scope than say, spiking the nation's entire commercial jet fuel supply with mind-control agents so powerful that they work even when released into the upper atmosphere, in particles of parts per billion billion, every time a plane passes over. Despite the fact that we've yet to develop mind-control agents that produce reliable results even when administered in concentrated doses, at ground level.

See, those are the conspiracies that people love to worry about!

And our government provides them.

Somebody Once Told Me #1

Somebody once told me I had a black belt in semantics.

I didn't have the heart to pick apart the metaphor for them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Return to Space 2: Or, Why the Thinking Man Needs to Thrust Boldly Again into the Deep Depths of Space!

Man has an obligation to the sky. Man must penetrate it.

The night sky winks at us, the optically illusory twinkles of its winking stars like the pointy eyelashes of a saucily-winking strumpet. Space is an impudent mistress, but a welcoming one. Space spreads itself before our fascinated eyes with a certain brassy, no-bullshit confidence as if to say: "Ah, yes. I remember you, Man. You and me have been places before. I took you to the moon, didn't I? More than once."

We've been too long estranged. The longing has grown unchecked, all the while we scarcely noticed it - but now the need burns hot, and it must be quenched! We know we want it. We know space wants it.

We must take the task in hand. We must prep and fuel our huge, towering rocket and aim its point straight up into the glossy pale curtain of sky and tender pink clouds that separate us from what we want! They will part gently before us, as the fiery roar builds beneath the stiff, upward surging point of our steely column! Faster and faster we will roar up and in, past the slick, clinging edges of the atmosphere and deep into the dark, swallowing void! Oh, what bliss, to feel the pull of that vacuum grasp upon the ship's strong, firm, invincible hot hard hull! Steel yourselves for an epic journey, brave explorers, because we have a very long way to go indeed as our craft is riven with a delicious shudder along its full length, and utterly consumed by a glorious explosion!

Oh shit. That wasn't supposed to happen.

Somebody screwed up on the checklist somewhere.

Give me a break, it's been a long while since the last time.

This Whole Kanye West Thing Comes As A Big Relief to Me

You want to hear something kind of weak and shallow? I always knew that if I gave Kanye West the necessary ear time, I'd come away loving it. TOO MANY PEOPLE whose opinions I deeply respect, weighing in to that effect, convinced me that the quality and musicianship was there and that I'd be on board with the Lord sippin' Cristal and plotting the yacht's course to the Kanye West Indies, belated-bandwagon style. I was constantly teetering on the brink of buying in. Taking that easy step, giving my best impartial listen to the goods, and admitting "y'all right."

But now? That he's turned into such a dick? I'm almost relieved. I can now take him out of the "teetering on" box, and put him safely into the "musical acts whose excellence has been sufficiently confirmed by reliable sources, such that I don't need to add my voice to the chorus of general praise" box. Which is also the "I never have to bother actually giving this ear time" box.

That's still a pretty prestigious box he's in, though. He's in there with some pretty select company. The Beatles.

Friend of the ACLU

I wish the ACLU had a MySpace page. I'm not sure I'm ready to take that step to become a "card-carrying member" (here's a link to how easy that is). They don't seem to take PayPal, for one thing. But I'd like to at least "Friend" them.

The ACLU is one of the few civilian outfits that I would say have attained to a position of public prominence, prestige and purpose on a par with a branch of government. Faint praise, perhaps! But I do sincerely view the ACLU as an indispensable check against abuse of rights, and/or abusive wrongs.

That's not to say I back every position they take right straight down the line. Some odd cases I've seen in the past decade or two have me wondering if they're straying from their charter a bit - but generally, overall, they stay on-point. They stay on the side of the angels.

Albeit not expressed in such overtly theological terms.

It's probably for the best they don't have a MySpace page. I'm not sure I'm ready to take that step to join MySpace, either.

DANG IT!!

I wanted to see what I was going to say.

Man.

It's bad enough to lose one's train of thought, but sometimes I feel like I miss the train entirely.

Other times, I've boarded the WRONG ONE.

They no longer have those cords you can pull.

Thought of the Day: The Upside of Apocalypse?

Why is it that any time there's some kind of an apocalypse, it's usually followed by some kind of huge leap forward in technology that makes time travel suddenly possible?

Road Safety Corner #13: Whoa! Trippy

This is something I just noticed this morning: if you're driving at a good clip of speed, highway speeds, and you fix your eyes on a point about six, seven inches up the front windshield, instead of horizon-line eye level like you normally would, suddenly there's this whole effect like there is a point or line from which the road keeps lunging out at you!

You can still see, in an upper/peripheral sort of way, the road far ahead, but from down around where your focus is, there's just this point where you can't focus on it at all, where the road is suddenly too close for you to focus on as "the road" and it becomes instead a speeding, streaming visual barrage of pebble flecks and surface features - but since it's coming at you so fast, it ends up seeming like waves of road lunge. This patch of road - now this patch of road - now THIS patch of road - all keep...what it feels like, is that these patches of road are rising and surging at you in discrete sequence, rather than the smooth continuous flow you normally see when you're not focusing on the road immediately in front of the car.

Your eyes keep - catching each patch of road, and detaching as it slides under your car, and then they catch the next patch in a rapid, rippling, undulating succession. The perspective lines on the streaks of oncoming pebbles don't even seem to line up right to the surface! They're coming right at you! It's like you're in the Millenium Falcon or something, with road pebbles instead of stars. "Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops boy!"

I was getting real dizzy as my eyes kept bobbing up and bobbing up.

Anyway, don't do that. Road Safety Corner.

Poor Bee Stories #1 (A Fine Children's Book! Illustrations Pending)

Poor Bee loved the hive! Poor Bee was no rebel. Poor Bee only wanted to fit in.

Poor Bee's biggest wish was to bumble along until he found the biggest, sweetest patch of clover in the world! Then Poor Bee would do his bee dance, to lead the other bees right to it. That was Poor Bee's dream!

But Poor Bee's bee dance was no good. Every time Poor Bee found a good wildflower patch, he would fly back and do his dance. But the other bees would all fly off in the wrong direction!

Poor Bee's dance was wrong. The other bees could not understand him. Poor Bee tried to explain. He flew right up to the other bees and tried to rub antenna, or buzz. But bees don't talk that way. No one understood Poor Bee!

Poor Bee kept trying. Poor Bee kept finding good flower patches, then coming back to the hive and doing his bee dance wrong. After four or ten times (bees don't count well in our kind of numbers), Poor Bee became very discouraged. The other bees did not get angry at Poor Bee, but Poor Bee knew the truth.

Poor Bee was no good to the hive.

Poor Bee flew away from the hive for the last time.

For two days, Poor Bee drifted on the wind, from flower patch to flower patch. Poor Bee really was good at finding flower patches! Poor Bee cursed his no-good bee dance, with bee curses. Bee curses are a dance too, but a different kind of dance that is not polite in bee society.

Each night Poor Bee was scared. Instead of his own cozy nook in the hive, Poor Bee slept between two cold stones! Or under a wet leaf. Poor Bee's sleep was no good without the drowsy hum of bee dreams, from the other bees packed in around him.

Each day Poor Bee tasted nectar from different flowers. But bees can't live like that, on pure nectar. Bees need processed food. They need honey from the hive!

By the third morning, Poor Bee had grown very weak.

Poor Bee wished he'd never left the hive. Poor Bee was so tired from not sleeping, and sick from not eating well.

Poor Bee wished he was strong enough to fly all the way back home.

Poor Bee wished his no-good bee dance was good.

Poor Bee crawled up a flower stalk, and took off one last time.

And then a minute later - he saw it!

It was the biggest, sweetest patch of clover in the world! It was the flower patch he had always dreamed of finding. Poor Bee had to leave the hive, and travel days and days, to finally find what he had always wished for!

Poor Bee settled onto the biggest bloom of clover he had ever seen, and he nestled his little bee body into the thick, sweet clover petals. Then Poor Bee slept, one last time.

His dreams were sweet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SOME SHOES!

Nicholas Kirkwood deco spiderweb shoes
Imagine how much pain you would have to be in, with these on! And how jealous your friends would be.

Every now and then, I see something like these shoes, I have to do a fashion feature.

It should come as no surprise to anybody that these are by Nicholas Kirkwood.

No House Should Be Without a Plunger

No house should be without a plunger. The only house without a plunger should be the house without a toilet.

I'm not going to say any more than that, I'm just going to let that be the word to the wise. Take heed and warning.

More Cake

Cake can't make you happy. That's true.

But it's hard to be truly, deeply unhappy when you're eating a piece of gorgeously delicious cake.

This Is Still My Best Jam from Bat For Lashes


"Trophy"

Open Dream Journal #7: That Thing That Thing That Thiiiiing

I had a long strange one where I was staying at my brother's palatial home, and doing strange/impossible tricks to amuse his kids (which they were more than bored with), and helping with the grocery shopping in this ENORMOUS warehouse supermarket, and other various things. It went on for a while.

Then there was this weird slow-moving pet-sized furry animal he had, that was adorable! But a little freaky. It looked like a cat-sized gerbil, but with longer arms and legs that it used to slowly pull itself around. It had no tail on its cute round-little butt. Its face was more like a rabbit or maybe a beaver, but without the buck teeth. Anyway, my brother kept this thing in this big square cage that he carried around the house with him, to protect it from the cats. In the dream his house was positively crawling with cats, and they were all dying to get at this thing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Road House is the superlative adjectives, yos.

Right now St. Pete took a break, cuz there's a new rowdy zen bouncer on the door to relieve him for a spell.

Day Too Soon


Oh I've
been running all my life
I ran away, I ran away
from good
yeah I've been waiting all my life
you're not a day, you're not a day
too soon

oh darling I will meet you
darling I will keep you in my heart
darling I will fit you
darling I will stitch you in my heart

Ooo! Here's a slower, acoustic version -


Those are some extremely non-threateningly attired backup musicians.

Open Dream Journal #34: More AC/DC Anxiety

[ed.: this dream dates to back before the release of AC/DC's recent Black Ice, which I hasten to emphasize, did not contain the song "Who'shisface"]

This qualifies as a nightmare, I believe. I was doing something completely unrelated when AC/DC's new single "Who'shisface" came on the radio. I was like, "YEAH!!! RIGHT ON!!! ALBUM TO FOLLOW!"

But the song was AWFUL. It was actually pretty catchy, but it was...the refrain was something like "Who's his face SAID to SAY, 'See ya later!!' Who's his face SAID to SAY, 'See ya later!!'" It was crushingly dumbass.

I was like, "you guys said you were working on some good stuff."

It was the worst fake song I've dreamed for a real artist since "Cute Girls" by Neil Young.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Please Let Me Clarify My Feminist Stance

The reason I'm paying for dinner is not because I'm reinforcing the man's role as provider and the woman's dependence upon the man. Heck no! That's not why I pay.

It's reparations.

If I Was A Spiritualist

If I was a spiritualist, my whole act would be nothing but summoning up the ghosts of famous dead skeptics so I could jeer at them.

I bet I could parlay that into my own show on some kind of cable channel, if I did it up right!

Open Letter to Everyone I Ever Used To Be In Love With, As If They Were All One Person

Hi.

Wow, I know it's been a long time since you've heard from me. After all the time we were together - it must have been almost 20+ years! counting when we were in school. After all that time together, I never thought we'd ever lose touch. Yet here we are. People drift apart.

I still care about you. I want you to know I don't hold any of that stuff you did to me against you. That time you threw me out, drunk, into the night with all my belongings? I understand why, now. I didn't then! But that's partly because I was drunk. But I understand why you did that, now. It was because you were drunk.

Or that other time you kicked me out of our place for several months, while I paid your rent? And I couch-surfed all that time, or made do with sleeping in the car? Well that was my choice, after all. I didn't have to pay your rent, just because you quit your job!

Then there was that time you set up this whole elaborate breakup scene, reeling off a big, obviously-rehearsed speech - with appropriate music all timed and cued up! That seemed kind of a weak move to me at the time, a bit fake and theatrical, considering all we'd been through. But really, I must admit it was quite well-orchestrated.

And the infamous car-door slam - look, don't even worry. All of those fingers all healed, eventually, and I can fret my guitar just fine, now. Plus, you gave me that guitar in the first place! And all the encouragement, all the appreciation you had for my music and my songs - it really kept me going, despite how you also frequently said I should switch to a hobby I was any good at.

I've gotten better.

I've let all the bad stuff go, because of the good that we had. So good. Damn good. I remember all the times we went out to eat, and all the times we went to the movies. I remember all the home-cooked meals, some catastrophic, some exceptional in other ways. I remember the theme video marathons. I remember all the fun we had, playing with whatever dogs, cats, or ferrets that were handy. I remember the wine tastings. Most of them.

I remember the nights whiled away in clubs with crazy lighting, sweating and shaking to the THUMP-ta-THUMP-ta-THUMP-ta of some demented modern disco DJ. I remember how much we enjoyed our increasingly giddy arguments over abstruse points of theology, the times we shared sudden, meaningful looks in church and almost died from sheer giggle suppression.

I remember the all-night blackjack or poker sessions, the miles of epic death hikes through state and national parks, the sprawling all-night drunks, the road trips to crazy places like Solvang, CA and Pittsburgh, PA (pulling over for snowball fights!) - to say nothing of that one crazy, 5-day 3,000 mile drive. I never really made it back from that one, did I?

I remember the spirited beach volleyball and one-on-one hoops sessions (apologies for the elbow again, but really, that was technically your foul). The endless games of pool or darts in smoky dive bars. The door to door caroling - we worked out some crazy harmonies, didn't we? I remember all the lazing on the beach (ooo, that one epic SUNBURN), the bed & breakfasts, and most especially that one particular time in the hot tub. WHOO HOO! But in general, though, the same applies: WHOO HOO!

We certainly did give it our best shot, didn't we? We made it through things that would have broken up any other couple six to ten times over. It was the will to make it work - that's what we had, in spades. The commitment that we had to each other, that made such a difference. We certainly did try. But in the end, for whatever reasons, our best shot was not enough.

Some might say: maybe we tried too hard? Maybe we should have called it quits sooner? But I don't believe that. That was our time to believe in each other, and we did. You can't fault yourself for a good impulse, for trying too hard to make it work, when you believe it can work.

And you can't fault yourself for letting go, once you know it can't work. We reached that point, too, you and I.

And you're married now, or rather you're divorced, or you're re-married, or still single, or else I have no idea - but that guy I saw you hanging out with sure looks like he'd be a fool to let a catch like you go. In any case, you've moved on. I'm sure it's for the best for you, that you've moved on.

And that's enough for me. Because when you really care for a person, that's all you want. You want what's best for that person. You want them to be happy, even if it's not with you.

I want you to be happy without me. In a lot of ways, you were one of the most important people in my life.

Anyway. I just want to say: thanks for everything.

A Man Died Today Because I Wasn't Able To Do Anything To Stop It

A man died today, because I wasn't able to do anything to stop it. But hell, that happens every day. All day long in fact.

It still sucks! I didn't even know this guy. I don't even know who he was. But it's a statistical fact that he definitely did die today. I doubt he deserved to die for whatever he did - or maybe, failed to do. But whatever the case there, deserving or not - he died. He died because I couldn't do anything to prevent it.

If I could have prevented it, I would have! I don't care who he is or what he did - or maybe, failed to do. It doesn't matter. I'm not just going to just let a man die, if it's in my power to stop it. I leave that decision to the courts! I'm not the one making that call.

But there was nothing I could do. What could I have done?

And it happens just like that, all day, every day.

I guess, after all these years, I've learned to live with it. It's really ghastly when you think about all the things we just...get used to in life.

The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number of People

The greatest good, for the greatest number of people, is always to protect and defend the rights of the individual - because the individual is each and every one of us.

Once we decide to hand the higher power to some entity, to void this or that right of this or that person in cases where they determine it's justified (for national security or whatever), once we make that the acceptable expectation, then for all intents and purposes it is justified in every case. They are now allowed to make that call, they don't have to tell you or anyone else why - especially since it's a matter of national security.

Who do you trust that much, to tell you "Sorry! We declared you [ and anyone else we want ] void for a good cause"?

Set up the expectation to where you have certain rights, and we all do, and these rights cannot be abridged without due process. If you set up the expectation to be: "go ahead, void a person's rights if you really need to, when you see it's necessary to serve the greater good" - well, don't ask for an investigation after they pick YOU to void.

This isn't about excoriating the people who make the tough calls in a crisis. Sometimes bad shit goes down, and somebody has to make a call where people are going to die either way. Shit happens, and the actions taken are investigated after the fact. All factors are judged and determined as to whether what was done was right. When the world goes wrong, the aftermath can be messy - but it's better to have rights that are worth wringing hands over, than to walk around on an everyday basis saying, "my rights are subject to arbitrary suspension and that's fine - this makes me safer!" It doesn't make you safer. It puts us all in jeopardy.

Protect everyone by keeping your rights intact! Trust me, if a situation develops where the government has to accidentally squash you on the way to a terrorist, if it's a case of where they shouldn'ta done that, but it was a regrettable casualty that saved lives, it'll all come out in the wash. You don't have to give up your rights beforehand to be declared regrettable collateral damage after the fact. But when we start saying up front "rights are expendable" - when we make that the acceptable expectation - then they're all going to erode and dissolve and be washed away. Right straight down the toilet, and not just in extreme cases where a tough call had to be made.

It will be an easy call.

Open Dream Journal #26: Return Of The Old gods

This was WEIRD. One of those in-between the hits of the snooze alarm dreams this morning.

All of the old gods had come back. Well, not "come back" exactly, but some strange experiment had gone wrong that allowed these formerly fictional beings to exist in real life. And it wasn't all the old gods really, just the heavy hitters of Norse, Greek, a few Aztec-y looking ones, a smattering of others. Not every single old god but a nice sampling, at least a couple dozen gods and goddesses. And what they decided to do, to get their message across (they seemed to have a message that they felt was important) was form a band. With Thor as the lead singer.

The dream was taking place almost entirely through the television. In the dream, I was watching an E! network show on the phenomenon. I feel like I was already aware of it, in the dream - but that I hadn't really paid much attention to it before, and this was my first chance to really take an interest.

They sucked! As a band. Very lame. But it was clear that nobody at E! was going to call them on it. They were just getting all of this spotlight and coverage purely based on the fact that they were pagan gods as of olde, not based on any musical talent!

Then the snooze alarm went off again. The main impression I was left with was, "Why's Thor so tan?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Anytime


"I feel like I'm in love
with a stranger I've never known
although you're still a mystery
I'm so glad I'm not alone"

I'm quite convinced that line is about God, and if so, what a beautiful way to put it!

So this qualifies as my Sunday God Post.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Turn and Run

originally from the album One Nil released March 9, 2001

but I won't give you up
'til silverware's covered in dust
and my shoes fall apart
and the tumbleweed runs
over my desert heart

A Sad Reminder, That No One Needs

Eight years ago, a bunch of guys who had spent long, grim years learning to how to fly, studying maps and charts, and working out flight plans and contingency targets along the best possible routes woke up early in the morning, headed to the airport, boarded their planes, sat down in their assigned seats and...the rest.

It was a spectacular triumph, for them. What they did. It was a long and complex job to set up. They worked hard. They planned it out to the nth detail, and then they got up that morning and executed it like a dream. A dream made out of nightmare logic. All through doing it, these people believed that what they were doing was right. They died happy.

It blows my mind how anyone capable of doing such a thing...could be capable of doing such a thing.

I always want to believe that capable people are less likely to be evil people. I always want to say that there are no evil geniuses, because anyone evil...can't really be a genius! They would not go in for it, if they were! A genius would have to realize! To wake up. But the sad fact is: it doesn't take much of a genius to be a mastermind.

Spectacular evil is far easier to achieve than spectacular good.

Lately, I Don't Even Try To Be Nice

After years of people telling me I'm nice, I've decided, fuck it. I'm not even going to try to be nice anymore. We'll see if it makes a difference.

I'm on like, day twelve of that. So far so good. Nobody seems to have noticed.

It could be that it's too deeply ingrained, and that I'm still just that nice even without trying. Or, maybe I never needed to try in the first place! That's a sickening thought. All that waste of effort! At least if it's ingrained, then it was my effort over my whole life that did the ingraining.

It's also pretty likely that in this day and age, people just don't tend to notice shit like that. Or that I myself don't command much scrutiny or attention. I'd like to think so, anyway.

Anyway, whatever the deeper implications, I'm enjoying the more relaxed level of effort involved. It's nice.

What The Kid From 'A Christmas Story' Would Be Like At 23

Open Dream Journal #14: Shhhhh!! Confessions!

Wow, that was the most graphic, realistic-seeming dream nookie I have ever experienced. That wasn't just hot, hardcore and graphic, it was tender and romantic as well. I think I nearly cried. Me! I'm not a crier by any means.

I'm not going to like, describe it in detail or anything, but, "*WOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo*"!

And now I feel guilty, almost. I feel like I've been infidelitous. Infidelicious? Unfaithful, anyway.

How ridiculous is that? It was a dream. I know that a dream, obviously...that doesn't count! Especially since, in the dream I wasn't seeing anybody. It was set in a previous or parallel or otherwise unattached time and place. But still, this was a pretty intense dream. That doesn't make it count, though. Your waking self can't be held accountable for your actions of dream-self. You're not thinking clearly! Things make sense that wouldn't normally make sense. Things happen weirdly and out-of-sequence. You're walking through the parking lot at night, after work, having a nice conversation with the CUTE (!!) swing shift security supervisor, next thing you know you come across a sunlit field with a bunch of other employees there making out, and you're continuing your conversation lying down on a big red blanket. Next thing you know, you're not continuing your conversation. You're doing...other things. At some point, all the other people seem to have vanished. At least I think they vanished. I believe they had the decency to vanish. I don't go putting on shows.

But see, my whole point is: things like that don't happen in real life! I'm sure I knew at the time it was a dream, on some level. I'm not a psycho or something, I know there's nothing wrong with what you do in a dream. I'm not, abnormally inhibited or something.

But even still. At the time, it seemed pretty damn real! And when I saw G________ today, she had an extra-bright smile for me! I don't know. She has a bright smile anyway. I'm probably imagining things.

I would like to point out one thing I'm very proud of is the fact that I've never cheated on anyone. Whenever I've been in a committed/exclusive relationship, I've never betrayed that by having sex with somebody else. There were some pretty close calls, but I've always done the right thing as far as that goes.

But still. I don't know. This business with sexy dreams, it does disturb me a bit. Seems like something should have kicked in, there. Some stopper. Because I don't go in for dalliances!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Words of Encouragement: About How Hard Art Is, Really

If your dream is to make art, then take heart: NO ONE CAN STOP YOU.

If your dream is to make a living at art, then you probably deserve to fail, you sellout. Your priority is all wrong, from the word go to whenever you throw in the towel.

How hard is art, really? It's exactly that hard.

Now if you're in it for the right reason, quit worrying about the wrong ones! What you do for a living is no excuse not to create. To stop is not an option - you'll weather the indifference. Maybe you'll luck out and have to weather some attention as well, but that won't stop you either. Not if you're for real. You will keep at it on into your dotage, long past the point when anyone else has stopped paying attention. You will keep going because it's in you. And it has to get out.

Don't mistake me, there's no shame in making a living. Anybody who can make a living at any honest work, I salute and bless you. A person who makes money isn't a sellout just for making money. But if you believe your art owes you a living - well, like I said: you're a sellout. Even if you never see a dime.

An artist has to create. An artist isn't discouraged and deterred by concerns of: "people should pay me for this." Art isn't hard to do, it's hard not to do - if you have it in you, that is.

It's impossible not to do.

Those of you who know, know. Those of you who don't know: it's possible you never will. I am sorry, and it is cruel. I have enormous sympathy for all those in this world with a burning dream, but that dream is alas only: to succeed. Everyone wants to be amazing. But the need to make a success is nothing. It has nothing to do with the need to make art. You can't substitute the one for the other, no matter how much of the one you have. And there is precious little point in breaking your heart over it, when your heart's not even in the right place.

Perhaps you're not sure what you're really in it for? Perhaps your resolve has been sore tested, perhaps you've had a crisis of faith and motives. Here is an acid test for you:

Quit.

If you can quit, quit.

Try it for a while, and see what life looks like, without creating. Let any ambition for making your art pay you go, and just see what life looks like without making art.

If you can't quit - if you're drawn right back into it whether or not you will ever get paid - then there's your answer. And if this whole pep talk rings a bit grim, well, let's let some light in on the picture. I saved the good news for last! Here's the good news. Here's the best news: if you're a true creator, you are going to get way more love, joy, beauty, truth, and good out of making your art than any of those other people could ever have gotten from any degree of world-crushing success. If you're a true creator - no one can stop you. You may never see a dime from what you create, but no one can stop you from creating.

Somebody say hallelujah.

FLAVOR FLAV DRUM SOLO!!!

I was right there in the crowd as this was happening! I was right there, losing my mind, as the events captured in this video unfolded right before my scandalized eyes. I did not take the video in question, but I was there and I will vouch for the fact that this is pretty much exactly how the events in question went down, that fateful night at Santa Cruz's venerable venue The Catalyst.

He's really not that good, is he? Well he's BETTER THAN I AM, PAL!

Yeah. That's right.

EDIT: Here's a better one. Not from Santa Cruz, though - same tour but Dublin, and it's "Harder Than You Think"

"Fight the power" comes with great responsibility
"Fuck the police?" - well who's stopping
you from killing me?

I wish I had a clip from the night I saw, with good quality audio. The audio in this one is not clear. On the night I was there, and they were there, they put this one over so hard I left with a new favorite anthem.

Mind you, tied for first with a couple others of theirs.

Thought of the Day: Insulting, but Fair

It isn't fair to the rest of us to have to take into account what morons consider an insult.

I Don't Eat Nearly Enough Cake

I have cake maybe three times every six months, and it's always some meager square of lame 1-layer supermart bakery cheapskate special that somebody picked up for work purposes, to divide into fifty pieces and hand around to whoever's handy in ostensible celebration of some occasion that needed to be marked for morale purposes.

That doesn't even count as cake, in my opinion! Or it shouldn't. The icing's too sweet, and it's gooey. The cake is clammy and uninspired. I'll eat it, as a show of solidarity with those with whom I share my daily circumstance and a certain esprit de corpse - I'll eat it. But I shouldn't have to call it cake! It should not count as cake.

I can't remember the last time I had a REAL PIECE of REAL CAKE.

I should be letting my fork glide down through the point of a triple-layer thick spongy-moist gourmet or home-baked first-rate hunk of CAKE! Replete with rich, silken icing, so creamy - but with a just tinge of sugary crust to its exterior texture! I want to indulge in CAKE, real cake!

Not every day. From time to time.

I want to smack my lips and thrill to the luxurious, velvety mouth-feel of a truly excellent cake. I want chocolate cake. I want the other kind. I want yellow cake. I want white cake. I want red velvet cake. I want coconut cake. I want POPPYSEED CAKE.

What's the deal here? I grew up and became an adult at least partially contingent upon the understanding that I could pretty much have cake whenever I wanted to. And what's the obstacle? Why am I falling down on that obligation, so severely? I don't really understand what the damn problem is.

Let me eat cake.

I Simply Must Remain True to My Method and Muse

I just realized what the problem is. I'm not a businessman. I'm an ARTIST!

It's just that my chosen medium for artistic expression is business.

I think it's that disparity there, that ultimately accounts for a lot of these baseless criticisms and misunderstandings against my work.

Open Dream Journal #15: It's Only The Rise Of The Dead

Last night I dreamed...it was stupid, there was a dumb "zombie outbreak" and we had to evacuate the world, the zombie part was dumb and boring really...or maybe I'm just burnt out on zombies...but the SPACESHIP was cool! We were evacuating into a spaceship that was just colossal in scale, and when I woke up, I wished I could just move into it and live there. It was like a gigantic glass zeppelin shape (I'm sure it was something sturdier than glass, but it looked just like thick glass - even down to the way light refracted through it, definitely not a plastic effect), with gridlines winding all about the transparent hull like latitude and longitude. The inside was all dark wood-paneling with brass fittings and cushions and opulence like the Titanic!

I never did see the cockpit or anything. This thing was enormous, with levels constructed around and through and into each other like interlocking staircases. The outer hull, being transparent, formed the "windows" for all the levels.

I hate when you stumble across a really cool dream environment but you have to keep dealing with the rather trite, stupid dream that happens to be unfolding within it - instead of just looking around and checking things out!

"the finger of blame has turned upon itself, and I'm more than willing to offer myself - do you want my presence or need my help...?"


...and who knows where that might lead?"

For a long time, my favorite song.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Are You One of Those People Who...? #1: The Cost of Something

Are you one of those people who adds up the cost of the raw materials in the finished goods you buy, and then makes as if to consider yourself ripped off because the price tag is so much higher (for the item which has been manufactured, packaged, sold, shipped, and shelved in a retail location with rent and employees) than the cost of the raw materials that "went into it"?

If you are, I have a question for you: are you stupid?

Or...is the whole whiny routine some sort of obscure, self-deprecating joke at the expense of your perceived intelligence, in the eyes of anyone who gives it so much as half a thought? Or what?

The cost of something is not: "what it's made from." The cost of something is: how big a chain is required to bring it from "what it's made from" to you.

Now, I'd suggest as a solution that you should "buy local" - but for some reason, all the local businesses around here really seem to be bent on gouging me.

Maybe it's different where you are.

Apologies for Me Getting All Political, Here, But

I've got no respect for Lord Elgin's integrity, but you can't not respect his balls. Come on. Getting a permit for drawings and casts, and then going in with hacksaws on the sly? People knew what was going on, this was no mere burglary - more burglary through diplomacy, by way of bribery. The fact that the spoils remain sitting in the British Museum is a terrific black eye for the supposed class and dignity of the erstwhile Empire, frankly. This smooth criminal moonwalks up to the Parthenon, sly as you please with a wrecking crew in the dead of night so to speak over a period of weeks, and waltzes off with the whole damn frieze! - aided and abetted by a few choicely greased palms, the price paid for long, loving looks the other way. And then to add insult to burglary, the English government proceeds to buy the marbles off of him and English popular custom and usage proceeds to name the marbles after him. As if this disreputable specimen had any legitimate claim of ownership or title to these ancient works!

This is not finders keepers. Elgin didn't unearth these treasures from some hidden tomb long buried, long lost. The Greeks kind of knew where the frieze was when they told him he could have a look at it. And it doesn't matter if the theft may have saved them from some degree of damage. Although it does seem likely that the sculptures would've suffered some further incremental defacement between the theft and Greece's independence, it's a fact that Elgin's salvage operation - in the course of hacking the figures free from their housings - smashed and destroyed much magnificent masonry and cornice work, along with much of what was left of the building. Whether the damage that we know was done offsets the damage that we think might have been done is an unprovable point, and moot. Either way, it doesn't justify keeping them now.

Hey, I gave it to him already, and I give it to him again! It was one hell of a stunt, and a fine prank besides. But a joke's a joke, guys. It's time to make good on this deal. Execute the original permissions. Take some casts. Make some drawings. And then give the damn rocks back.

"Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o'er the dust they lov'd;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defac'd, thy mouldering shrines remov'd
By British hands, which it had best behov'd
To guard those relics ne'er to be restor'd.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they rov'd,
And once again thy hopeless bosom gor'd,
And snatch'd thy shrinking Gods to northern climes abhorr'd."

That's Lord Byron. I don't go around quoting Lord Byron often or without strong cause, you may be assured of that.

Don't Watch This Video Unless There's Something Wrong With You

Don't watch it. Just be aware of the insidiousness of the phenomenon. Because it could be potentially insidious.

I'm warning you! Foul language and coarseness galore in this offering. You thinking about watching it? Don't bother. This video has no redeeming social value except a bunch of trash-lookin' trash-talkin' punk-ass dudes, skulking en masse through crappy neighborhoods and shouting more-or-less intricate rhymes bragging about how their fight skills consist almost entirely of cheap shots straight to the unsuspecting genitals.

If that sounds like what you're into, well, that says more about you than it does me. I'm just doing my part to raise the alarm, here. Just in case this turns into some kind of trend, or craze. I always gird and guard my loins, myself, but I know a lot of my fellow honorable types might be a bit more vulnerable to this sort of low dealing in a combat situation. And you know how impressionable these kids are, with the rap music.

Just don't blame me if you click on this one, that's all I'm saying. I can't warn it to you any much more blatantly than that.

Man. Who knew Portland had parts that looked like that! Talk about dilapidated.

This alert has been provided for you on your own behalf, as a public service.

I Hate School

I hate school. Not hated. Hate. I hate school with an intensity and immediacy that cries out for the present tense. Everything they made me learn, I learned it under protest. I learned it under duress. The fact that they thought they could impinge upon my off-time with "home work" and my vacation time with "summer reading lists" rankles to high heaven. How dare they! The presumption.

I tell you I never read half those "summer reading list" books. It didn't matter. They'd test you on it at some point, within the first couple weeks of when you got back, but I was always able to suss out whether it was going to be an essay test, or multiple choice. If it was an essay test, well okay, I'd flip through the book in a cursory manner for five minutes tops, just to get a very broad sense of the overall plot and tone, and what sort of character names were involved. Then on test day I'd answer the actual questions in an oblique manner using my infallible plotting sense: I can almost always tell what a half-decent author would do with any given situation, because there's usually only one best direction in which to push the plot.

And if you're inclined to be surprised at how broadly that kind of hunch can be applied: don't be.

On the other hand, if the test was to be multiple choice, I wouldn't crack the book at all. Multiple choice tests are my bitch. I can beat a multiple choice test in seven languages, and I only know 1.4 languages (rounding up very generously on my remaining francais).

I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it at all! It's not cheating. Those jerks have the nerve to try to dictate what I do on my time? They are the ones out of line. It still burns me up, all these years later! MAN, I hate school!

Mind you, all of this is retrospect talking, pretty much. At the time, I was fine with school. I thought school was OK. It was all I knew! I had no real basis for comparison. It's only as I go through life, and I've picked up some worldly experience and some perspective, that I realize just how far out of line they were.

Oooh, it rankles.

Wanderer to the Far City: A Parable

A man crossed into a country not his own and gazed upon the Far City, with its spires and columns leaning straight up into the sky. They seemed to be an indeterminate color. As he strode down the grassy divide towards that happy city in the far valley below, his busy mind attempted to identify the color, or failing that, to give it a new name of its own. He wasn't sure how to name a new color. Most colors seemed to take their name from things that were that color, but he had never seen anything this color except for these towers. He could hardly call the color "far city tower." No one would accept that as the name of a color.

The towers loomed ever higher as he strode down through knee-high grass. He smelled the air all around him: the rich odor of pungent dandelions, wildflowers and other weeds. He trod under gigantic toadstools, and trod tiny and regular-sized toadstools under. He knew the toadstools were not sentient, nor were they houses for tiny people. He had read the guidebook.

As he reached the bottom of the grassy divide, his feet came out on a wide road. It was made of shit bricks. The shit bricks had been treated so as not to stink or splatter - they were as stable as regular bricks, and would not stain the soles of your shoes, even when it had been raining. The man knew this, too, from the guidebooks. Shitbricksmithery was one of the many special arts practiced in this enlightened land, to ease the burden upon mother earth and make everyone's life a little cleaner, and everyone's mind a little easier - excepting some minor mental discomfort among the squeamish who would prefer the streets be paved with something other than shit bricks. Most of the squeamish were recent immigrants. The old-timers mostly laughed and shook their heads at such things.

The man strode out boldly into the road and bore right, towards the Far City. He was not squeamish in the slightest. He was a man of enlightened mind. The sun was hot, and the air sweet. His eyes drifted ahead and up, up the spires. Some were smooth gleaming tubes. Others were gingerbreaded with parapets and crenellations of the same smooth, gleaming material. All of the towers were that same indeterminate color. The man wondered why this unusual feature had not featured in his guidebooks. Surely others had remarked upon the remarkable color of these towers before? Or - as he strode forward, he peered with greater interest - had the color shifted ever so slightly? It could be the light, or a difference in atmospherics as he drew closer and closer to the city, but it seemed to him that it had.

He was so intent upon the towers, so bemused by his hueful musings, that he failed to notice the crowd of uniformed men and women on either side of the road until he was striding right between them. "Halt!" cried a musical voice. He stopped with a start, and looked about to find himself surrounded by an outlying field garrison of the Far City Guard! They were lounging by the roadside in the high grass, taking their ease between bouts of taking their exercise. The halted wanderer immediately began pulling out his papers, and turned to face the man whose ringing cry had brought him out of his reverie. The kind-looking fiftyish man - a deputy garrison marshall, to go by his insignia and indicia - came forward smiling warmly, but with a hint of caution in his eyes. He took the proffered papers and leafed through them slowly, still smiling.

"Have these been processed through Border Wall Town?" he asked innocently. "I don't see the invisible stamp."

"Ah, yes, well in this light that can be a problem. I assure you everything is in order, and the stamp is there."

"Hmm." The deputy scowled good-naturedly. "I'm afraid we'll have to take you into the tent for processing. The light's better in there."

"Oh dear," said the wanderer.

~TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2~

Open Dream Journal #16: Now With Resolutions!

I had a dream last night that incorporated a tv commercial (not a real commercial - one that was on tv in the dream) the premise of which was related to New Year's Resolutions.

In the dream I was back East and it was still the week after Christmas or so. I guess I was over at my sister's, and people were around and the tv was on.

On television, the ad's narrator jovially intones: "Ever wonder what it would be like if we could all see each other's New Years resolutions?" Cut to a moderately chunky guy walking down the street toward the camera, wearing a black t-shirt that says "LOSE THE WEIGHT" in white letters. There's another guy walking toward him with his back to us. He reads the t-shirt and says "good luck!" in a tone that scoffs "yeah, right!" The LOSE THE WEIGHT guy looks at him in passing, a little hurt by it, and says "Yeah - good luck to YOU TOO!" Then the angle switches so we see the other guy (still walking) from the front, as he stops, looking down at his t-shirt which says "BE NICER TO PEOPLE." He kind of closes his eyes and smacks himself in the forehead. "Sorry!"

I have no idea what the ad was for but they did a good job on it. Good performances. Some kind of financial services company, maybe?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Past Must Be Preserved. The Past Must Not Be Lost

That project has to be handled delicately, though. I mean, you can't just walk up to old people with the DVcam going and tell them to spill their choicest brain contents for posterity's sake can you? You need to exercise some tact. The aged are a non-renewable resource (the specific aged, I mean), and while in general most will be thrilled to be listened to, you can't just treat them like some sort of commodified item.

Heck. I know that when I get to be some old coot, and one of my great-great-grand-neicephews comes around with a (geez, by that point it won't be a DVcam) with a triaxial dimensiovax to take my spatial parameters and extract all my best recognitive episodes, I'll be all indignant: "what about ME though, you punk kid! I can't be reduced to simply an index scan of quantum pattern maps and a bunch of lies, I mean, stories from my past!"

I plan on being kind of feisty.

Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews #4: "Cuts Like A Knife"

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Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews is a track-by-track in-depth analysis of Bryan Adams's legacy in 36 installments. 32 to go!

Disc 1 Track #4: "Cuts Like a Knife" (May '83)

From a vocals standpoint: listen to this guy. Same voice as earlier tracks, but here he has really come into it, he has fully inherited and inhabited his instrument. From here on in he is in full possession of his powers: he makes a hoarse, strained yell sound effortless, and then he gets all hushed and whispery and expressive on us, and all of it works.

From a music standpoint: listen to this track! Here this one comes, sauntering in on a swaggering, slinky little riff and a solid, midtempo stomp that yields to pling-y guitar and ballad-style vocals, only to build right back into the chorus roar. It could almost be the loud/soft/loud grunge dynamic, a decade early! Only, less roar. Considerably.

But it's the same basic dynamic, and with the exception of the epilepsy section of the guitar solo, it all works like a dream. This song is one damn piece of work. It is put-together. From intro to verse, to prechorus, to that simple but sharp refrain: solid.

Lyrically, the refrain is a minor problem. Just lyrically. It doesn't make a lot of sense that it cuts like a knife, but it feels so right. There's some kind of definite story going on in this song, and the fact that it feels so right just doesn't fit with the rest of what's going on. I buy that it cuts like a knife! I can well believe that. But how can it feel so right? Who is this someone new she found, who is he and what does he mean to her? How can it feel so right?

But you can't argue with a song like this. The chorus-out will come in openly jeering at all attempts to make any such piddling sense: "Nah-nah-nah-Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!" might as well be all "Nyahs" in the ears of such naysayers! Ultimately, whether it makes sense or not, we have no choice but to take the song's word for it.

I have a theory that there's more going on in the story than the lyrics make explicit. That there is a reason that it feels so right - but we're left with only the tantalizing fact that it does!

It feels so right.

Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews #3: "Straight from the Heart"

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Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews is a track-by-track in-depth analysis of Bryan Adams's legacy in 36 installments. This is only #3.

Disc 1 Track #3: "Straight from the Heart" (Feb. '83)

So here's something: this was the first single from Cuts Like A Knife. Isn't that kind of funny? To lead off with a ballad like that? Risky move! But I guess it paid off. Of course, since back in that day he was hurrying out album after album each right on the prior album's heels, it wouldn't create the same impression as when an established act comes back after a long absence, and the first thing they hit you with is a dang ballad. That really tightens my jaws, especially when I know they're capable of better! Come on, you GOTTA rock us first one out the box, right??

But as I've said, as we see here, when you're putting out albums relentlessly, dare I say, recklessly - then, the same letdown does not apply. Then you can lead off with a ballad as your first single. Why not?

So. "Straight From The Heart." This pretty much becomes the template for the classic Bryan Adams ballad, of which we have many more yet to come. But there's something odd about the progression of these ballads, if one compares Bryan Adams's output to that of the various other '80s rockers who worked their own string of ballads. Whereas other acts more often than not hit on a successful template and then kept giving us lesser and lesser clones, progressively more watered-down versions of the same thing, Mr. Adams does almost the reverse. Somehow, he manages to keep giving us less-diluted, increasingly iconic versions of the same thing! "Straight From The Heart" is sincere and sweet as you please, no real bite to it at all. But for a good long run, almost every ballad after - while cut from substantially the same basic cloth and pattern - manages to be more concentrated, more emotionally complex, more musically hard-hitting, or in various other ways just plain more interesting.

It's amazing what a difference that makes. This song isn't the sound of a man finding a formula so he can milk it dry, this song is the sound of a man only just finding his feet, and eager to start setting world record after world record by beating personal bests.

That said, yes, it is kind of boring. It's a nice song! It's a little boring.