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February 19, 2017

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal
Emma Goldman

JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by JW McGinnis

Meiko Kaji. It's a name you don't hear much anymore but for a while she was pretty iconic in Japan.
I first became aware of her in the "Lady Snowblood" movies. The Ghastly Ones These films fall short of being chambray classics for me, but still Tarentino copped liberally from them and even used two of Kajhi's recordings as theme music in the "Kill Bill" movies.
One thing that fascinated me about Kaji in the "Snowblood" films was her face. She seems to have mastered, or been born with, a face that enables you to read your own emotions into any scene. In other words her face manages to reflect your own feelings.
This was further proven when I stumbled across her Scorpion films. Briefly the Scorpion movies have Kaji as a hardened convict, Matsu. These movies are really over the top. Penal reform seems to consist of state sanctioned gang rape, over a year of solitary confinement chained hand and foot to the cold wet floor, (the year Matsu uses to sharpen a spoon into a knife honing the blade against the stone floor using only her teeth!)
Kaji uses only two expressions through the movies. They are ample. Lingering closeups and Vertovian editing conveys an emotional depth to these movies that is exceptional. One elegant sequence features a 100 foot cascading waterfall that gradually turns to blood. This is a practical effect which makes it even more stupefying in a Fleur De Mal kind of way.
But equally breathtaking is Kaji's flaccid appraisal of the horrifying miracle. Putting it into words would be like trying to describe the Mona Lisa or detail of Heronymous Bosch. The nattering of Manu's fellow convicts is a relief from the grim spectacle.
My next accidental discovery were the Stray Cat Rock movies. They all star Kaji, but in different roles. The 3 best movies all have some common traits. One is that Kaji wears only a single unchanged outfit Mike Kaluta's Shadow
Click images for desktop size: "The Shadow" by Mike Kaluta
in each, so her stylish look becomes a mere uniform of conformity. Even though the series was shot in the 70's in this Japan the Summer of Love never excited! The heft chunks of music are all defiantly mid 60's, often to exciting delirious effect. The dancing, the Japanese music are all mid 60's cool and hot. Imagine the Peanuts (the two miniature women in the Godzilla films who would sing "Maaawthra, Maaawthora") covering the Shangri-Las and you're close to it. I do hope that these were big deal bands in Japan, sort of like The Animals appearing in "Winter Carnival" or the like.
The plots to these 3 little films are intriguing. In all of them Kaji plays an aloof and very tough girl gang leader, fast with a blade and a decision. I get them confused but one of them has the bad boy gang driving around in surplus US Army jeeps! The leader decides to get rid of all the half breeds in201702191926.jpg town. (Half breeds are Japanese and white or black children from occupying soldiers. They are all portrayed as hard working men trying to just get by as opposed to the gang members who are just coasting on the hustle.)
The next is two out oft owners who've befriended a US Viet Nam deserter. They plan to finance a trip to Sweden by selling 500 caps of LSD. The math escapes me as it seems that to raise the $30,000 for the boat means each cap wpu;d have to sell for about $60, which is somehow not quite right. But, anyway, some members of Kaji's gang steal the LSD. The 3 fellows approach Kaji and explain their plight. For some reason helping a US Army deserter is such a just cause in her mind that she makes her girls return the stolen drugs.It doesn't end well for anyone.
And the last of the 3 good ones has a tall girl who everyone mistakes for a man? She even sings a song with one of the bands and sounds like a male. It good blasé fun,
"Wild Jumbo" Is something of a waste of Kaji's talent and a waste of time. "Beat '71" is the only one of the movies to go psychedelic. It's an abuse. Kaji is a terrible victim and that's all she is here. She also gets minimal screen time. It would be a total waste except for one inexplicable scene. For no apparent reason a Japanese hippy band shows up on a flat bed truck. The truck has a banner that says, I think, "The Kings of Rock". The lead singer plays the wadaiko, while the band plays aheavily percussive tune that's pretty good, a bit like Plan 9: crunching guitar, cowbell and trap set. After they play the number the truck drives off and one of the actors says, "Who were those guys?" and the reply is, "I have no idea." which sort of sums the whole flick up nicely.
All I'm really saying is that Meiko Kaji is cool in the same way that Bardot and Tuesday Weld are cool. She brings something gracious to the screen and to life. It's worthwhile checking out her movies.

Cool and Crazy 40

The title of this podcast is a pun . . . I thought it was funny even if I do have to explain it. It's acoustic, cowboy song stuff.

Signed D.C. (alt) - Love
A World Of Our Own - Seekers
It's Gonna Be Alright - Gerry and The Pacemakers
Rosemary Rose - Kinks
Three Steps To Heaven (Version 2) - Eddie Cochran
Bird Dog - Everly Brothers
A Teenager In Love - Lou Christie
I'm Low, Low, Low - Loy Clingman
Play That Cheap Trick - Tommy Womack
It's In The Bottle - Robert Gordon
Hey Joe - Ed Kuepper
Knapsack - Amy Rigby
Waimea - Travoltas
Wild Thing - Senator Bobby
A Thousand Miles From Nowhere (alt) - Dwight Yoakam
Treat Me Nice - Glen Glenn
For Your Love - Graham Gouldman
School's Out - Hellsongs
Singing In The Rain - John Martyn
Tompkins Square Blues - Optic Nerve
Don't - Persuasions
Waterloo Sunset - Peter Bruntnell
Ordinary World - Green Day
What Exactly - PF Sloan
A Day In The Life - Phil Angotti
Set Me Free - Pineapples
Dream Lover - Ricky Nelson
Sunrise - Who
Living Next Door To Alice - Smokie
Thirteen - Sparkle Jets UK
First Time - Teenage Bottle rocket
What Am I Doing Hangin' Round? - Those Big Belt Buckles
Find Another Man - Travis Wammack
Streets Of Laredo - Webb Wilder
Thank You - Whigs

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December 11, 2016

Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other
John Steinbeck

Merry Christmas!
Click images for desktop size: "Merry Christmas" by Unknown

This years podcast for Christmas: Well, it's big. Took a while to prune down to this size; nearly two and a half hours! And I think it's pretty fine.
Lydecker Santa and Boy I let it get big because it's been a cruddy year and we may be facing the end of the country. I mean, Donald Trump is the worst president since Nixon. Trump is going in declaring he's a racist bigot crook and claims it doesn't matter. We knew what he was when you elected him. Elected him with all the crime and corruption and hatred you knew he'd bring.
Yeah, the year was a mess so it's all the reason to celebrate because it may be the last time. There'll be times coming when the celebration means more but the last time we can rejoice in freedom is always memorable.
Too many of my friends died this year. All tragically because all dyings are tragic. More reason to wonder why I'm still hanging around. I dropped a 150 pound hunk of steel on my head this fall. It didn't kill me. Then O tried to face plant myself while driving my shoulder into a brick wall. It hurt but I wiped the blood out of my eyes and finished walking the dogs. I'm still here. Maybe as punishment? I doubt that. I can still sing.
We had some fun this year, at least in this house. Had three foster dogs, two of them are in a better place already. One, Big Samson the Gentle is going to be ready for a forever home sooner than we'd think. He's really a loving kind.
We moved. It was hell and torturously expensive. Still deep in debt over it.
It's one of the small reasons this might be the last Christmas PodCast. BlueHost, who I've been pretty happy Getting The Tree
Click images for desktop size: "Getting The Perfect Tree" by Unknown
with have announced a jacked up rate increase, about 70%! I don't think I can afford that. I've made a point of ignoring all entreaties to monetize the site. Sometimes that gets me taken advantage of. It's a small thing and doesn't mean much. The site will vanish is all. But maybe I can find a cheaper acceptable alternative. I'll look.
The site has had over two million unique visitors just to the main page, about seven million other people just looking for some music or to look at the pictures. I think that's fine and gratifying. The pictures are worth seeing and the music worth hearing. HEY! Check out Material Issues great Christmas track "Merry Christmas Will Do" And Chris Von Sneidern's track Holiday Special "Santa Claus," for me they're the new Christmas Anthems. But all the tracks are memorable, Remember, I still think the best Christmas music is in a bar with a live combo on Christmas Eve. So that's saying something. I think. I will always enjoy how spell correct tried to change Vibeke Saugestad into Vitamin Suggested. The podcast has already had about four thousand downloads and that's just from the way I slop things around with all my non-announcements.
I do think you'll like the music and I think it will make your spirits gladder and take you away from this place and to the place where dreams seem like yesterdays and hopes happen every tomorrow. It's Christmas time and that means something. It's the time you can believe Old Man Potter got arrested for stealing Uncle Billy's money. A time when kindness is repaid with love and mercy. It's that time when WWI troops stopped killing each other and sang carols to themselves and to their enemies and didn't start shooting each other until December 26th. It's a time when people are bigger than nations and we can take a minute and see the other person hiding there too afraid to speak. It's Christmas.
As long as you can reach out and find a hand or a fuzzy head to hold and pet nothing is as bad as we think and all we are doing is what we need to do. And we believe that somewhere we are all trying to do the right thing.
Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Feliz Navidad. To a brighter New Year.

CandC 39
Aloha Christmas - Dukes Of Surf
Ski Party - Wondermints
Are You Ready For Christmas - BBBs
Merry Christmas Will Do - Material Issue
Even Santa Gets The Blues - Eugene Ruffolo
It's Xmas (And Everyone Is Miserable) - Dirty Sidewalks
Help Me Forget - Solicitors
A Christmas Carol (For The Losers In Love) - Vibeke Saugestad
Christmas Eve Can Kill You - Everly Brothers
Christmas At Ground Zero - Weird Al Yankovic
A Surfer's Christmas List - Surfaris
I Want An Alien For Christmas - Fountains Of Wayne
I Want Elvis For Christmas - Holly Twins (with Eddie Cochran)
(I Want) A Beatle For Christmas - Patty Surbey And The Canadian V.I.P.s
Santa Got Lost In Texas - Little Joe (Michael Landon)
Santa Got A DWI - Sherman Linton
Christmas For Cowboys - Jars of Clay
Come All Ye Faithful Surfer Girls - Chevelles
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - Tommy Roe
Jingle Bell Laugh - St. Nicklas
Jingle Bells Slide - Jack Scott
Hey There, St. Nicholas! (Plain White T's vs Smokey Robinson) - Voicedude
Little Drummer Boy - Miracle Legion
Santa's Got an Airplane (Version 2) - Beach Boys
Santa Claus - Chris Von Sneidern
Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Ronnie Spector And Darlene Love
Under The Christmas Tree - Swingin' Neckbreakers
2000 Miles - Grip Weeds
Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
Merry Twist-Mas - Marcels
Come On Christmas - Barely Pink
It's Always Christmas At My House - Huntingtons
Let It Snow - Me, You And Her
Look Around You (It's Christmas Time) - Bobby Goldsboro
4th Of July / Christmas Rag - Peter Case
A Round About Christmas - Kingston Trio
Shchedryk (Ukranian Bell Carol) - Pink Martini
Jingle Jangle Christmas - Vibeke Saugestad
Christmas Would Not Be Christmas - Carpet Frogs
X-Mas - Epicycle
Everyday Is Christmas - SWAG
The Dawn Of Correction - Spokesmen
Twas The Night Before Xmas - Huey Piano Smith
White Christmas - Platters
The Bells Of St. Mary - Bob B Soxx And The Blue Jeans
Amazing Grace - Jeff Beck
Gloria in Excelsis Deo - London Symphony Orchestra
New Year's Revolution (demo) - Graham Parker
The Christmas Song (Unreleased Alternate Take) - Nat King Cole
Silent Night - Everly Brothers And The Boys Town Choir
O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) - Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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November 16, 2016

Lies written in ink cannot disguise facts written in blood
Lu Xun

Indian Rug
Click images for desktop size: "Indian Rug" by Unknown

Maybe I'm wrong but I think we all need a break from Donald Trump and autocracy and the hell we've visited upon ourselves.
Time to go home and see the family, especially those of us who've had our families torn away from us for the simple Thanksgiving crime of getting old. Cause the world sucks right now. The politicians who are foolish enough to call themselves our government are thinking about nothing more than getting rich. They keep forgetting us. They forget Matewan, Hoffa, Gutherie, Steinbeck and the right hand of the God which isn't them but is us, the people who live and work and die. Who really don't want to get rich, who don't worry about position, who just want to see some reasons to smile.
Yeah they forget about us and what history has shown we will always do when with all their greed and their scheming and brilliant plans and their art of selfishness.
So I hope you get to be with your family whatever, whoever they might be and how many of them might be left. I hope you get to drive cause flying is sure a pain now, a terrible pain. Easiest way to control us is making it miserable to travel. It's all right, they've never been able to close off our blue highways.
They'll rely on the stolen freedoms to keep us occupied while they use their positions to steal and exploit. As usual they'll forget that we're here.

This podcast is made for DAP's, for earbuds. If you can play it in your car that's groovy, maybe even better. It will get you home and get you through rants from your uncle and Mom's disapproving glances. It will get you home and then back. I promise.
Happy Thanksgiving.

I'm working on the Christmas Podcast!?!? Rah. It ought to be pretty good and some fun!

Cool And Crazy 38
The Times They Are A-Changin' - Flogging Molly
The Impression That I Get - Mighty Mighty BossTones
God Only Knows - Nylons
Nancy Jean - Richard Barone
It's A Hard Life - Roger Daltrey
Hallelujah! - Clique
Spam Song. - Monty Python
I Should Have Known Better - Sand Rubies
My Wife Thinks You're Dead - Junior Brown
How Fine Can One Guy Be - Jelly Beans
I'm Gonna Steal Your Girlfriend - Teen Machine
Southern Love - Montesas
Gigantor - Dickies
Afterglow (acoustic) - Quiet Riot
Carol - Marauders
Malaguena - Ritchie Valens
Farmhouse - Phish
I Need Your Love - Boyfriends
Mercury Blues - David Lindley
Shut Down - Ramouns
Help You Dream - Blasters
C'Mon Everybody (alt) - Eddie Cochran
Dearest - Buddy Holly
Shanty Tramp - Betty Dickerson
Horn Of Plenty - Ribeye Brothers
Since I Lost Your Lovin' - Lori Burton
Stop Your Sobbing (stereo) - Kinks
I Still Want You - Paul Collins' Beat
Dark Side (live) - Shadows Of Knight
I Need You - Lolas
Juvenile Delinquent - Rubinoos
Lover Boy - Robert Gordon
Die Everyday - Martinets
Any Time At All - Magic Christian
In Time - Tearaways
Diane - Therapy?
Gee - Beach Boys
I'm A Believer - Rocking JoJo and His Red Hot Angels
Shake Your Tail Feather - Five Du-Tones

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October 27, 2016

When it was dark, you always carried the sun in your hand for me
Sean O'Casey

Revrend B Smoke by HR Giger
Click images for desktop size: "Reverend B Smoke" by H.R.Giger

It's Halloween, the gateway to the holiday season. So of course it means terror and laffs.
In LA it was the time for all the drag queens to come out full on. And the crowds and the infinite terror of Hell Night.
Never see kids trick or treating anymore.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre This Halloween podcast starting out looking pretty bleak. No one has done much of a Halloween release in the past few years, at least none that I've been able to find. But in picking through the dregs of the season I think it turned out pretty well. Nothing as awesome as Gene Simmons "Haunted House" or the Boss Martins "Have You ever Seen?" but pretty good stuff nonetheless.
Ah, as for personal stuff. We fostered a very abused young man. He got adopted in one day! I mean after a month of rehab and getting to love him, he got adopted for a $250.00 adoption fee!! Anyone willing to pay $250 for a 1 and 1/2 year old mixed breed pup with torn up ears and as much scar tissue as skin has to be looking into that pups eyes and seeing the wonderfulness that he is. Good job to the wife on rescuing him and helping to save him. (He did most of the work himself, given a chance, with the sweet gentleness that makes up most of him.)
No one around here cares much but I'm pretty impressed with myself. After going through all that nuclear medicine and sonograms and stuff it seems that all those past years of surf and football paid off. It's not supposed to but my hear has gotten better! My heart is, right now, as good as anyone else's.
I still plan to live forever.
Go Trojans. Go me.
And if I can figure out the logistics and money I plan to coach as a volunteer at the reservation school in the area.

Rabian The Fiendage Idol - Bobby Boris Pickett
Jack The Ripper - Galaxy Trio
Psycho - Bobby Hendricks
Graveyard Hop (Studio Rehearsal) - Love
Already Dead - Electric Frankenstein
Werewolf - Gary Warren
The Gila Monster - Joe Johnson
Rockin' Zombie - Crewnecks
Leopard Man - Joe Wallace
Screamin' Ball - Duponts
The Gypsy - James Hunter Six
Stalkin' - Duane Eddy
Devil's Carnival - Davie Allan And The Arrows
Graveyard Rock - Tarantula Ghoul And Her Gravediggers
Roadside Cross - Cobrajets
A Fistful of Terror - Bomboras
Twistin' In The Jungle - Buddy Bow
Go Go The Cannibal - Ronnie Self
Sinister Purpose - Southern Culture On The Skids
Ghost Satellite - Bob And Jerry
The Monster Hop - Bert Convy
Til the Following Night - Screaming Lord Sutch
Livin' In The Fridge - Weird Al Yankovic
You Came From Outer Space - Kirby Stone Four
Martian Hop - Ran Dells
Popeye (The Gravedigger) - John Zacherley
Be True To Your Ghoul - Ghouls
Spooky Girl - Ghastly Ones
Happy Halloween - Fuzztones
Rockin' In The Graveyard - Roy Loney
Haunted Hipster - Fleshtones
The Spooky Surfer - Sidewinders
Hearse With a Curse - Mr Gasser And The Weirdos
Undying Love - Stems
I Was A Teenage Monster - Keytones
In The Hall Of The Mountain King - Coffin Daggers
Son Of Frankenstein - Boris Karloff
Little Death Coupe - Surf Trio
Boogie Man Bash - Six Feet Under
Munsters/Hawaii Five-O - Spy-Fi
Haunted House - Teenage Bottlerocket
It - Regal-Aires
Peace In The Valley - Eddie Spaghetti

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August 19, 2016

Listen, and you will realize that we are made not from cells or from atoms. We are made from stories

Mia Couto

Molotov Cocktease
Click images for desktop size: "Molotov Cocktease" by Unknown
Its been a long hard time so far. Too much of it has been about doctors, my doctors and yours. Making the move I have to meet a whole corps of new doctors. The usual suspects.
I realize I now have decades of experience dealing with the medical industry, sort of annoyed it never appears on job applications nor can I figure out how to put it in my CV.
So it really bugs me when friends get ill or come close to some other catastrophe. Then all my experience suddenly gets pretty worthless. It comes down to the hackneyed phrases, "Yeah, I had that"; "They gave me that pill". Stuff that offers real consolation but what else can you say?
The only thing going through my head and heart is, "Hey! Don't die. Don't. Because as much as you might be suffering that doesn't feel like as much as I'll suffer if you die. So, don't die.""
So I put together a mess of songs about doctors. That's it. Too numb thinking about this and wondering if having radioactive blood gives me any special powers. I've been pointing my finger at things and making sound effects with my mouth but nothing's happened. Nothing blew up, or grew to giant size or even levitated. I feel gypped.

Cool And The Crazy 36

Feelin' So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y. D.O.O.) - Sunshine On Mars
D'Ya Feel Lucky - Happiness Dragon
Doctor Doctor - Who
Witch Doctor - David Seville
I Don't Need No Doctor - Sonics
Witchdoctor - Sidewinders
Doctor Rhythm - Dave Clark Five
No Expectations - Soulsavers
Doctor Doctor - Shimmys
Doctor Boogie (Live) - Flamin' Groovies
Doctor My Eyes - Jackson Browne
Oh, Doctor - Phil Alvin
On & Off - Wellingtons
Good Lovin' - Rascals
Woman Love (take 12) - Gene Vincent
Slow Death - Roy Loney
Help Me Rhonda - Ramouns
Dr. Apache - Lolas
A Beginning From An End - Jan & Dean
Dr. Goldfoot & The Bikini Machine - Beas
Dr. Kitch - Bosshoss
Dr. Love - Tom Jones
Dr. Stone - Leaves
Dr. Gullotine - Coffin Daggers
Turn Your Back - Billy Talent
Goodbye Eddie Goodbye - Juicy Fruits
Rock Therapy - Johnny Burnette Trio
Dr. Feelgood - Lords
Every Moment - Chevelles
Poison Ivy - Vulcanes
Rock' N' Roll Suicide - Tony Hadley
Feelin' So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y. D.O.O.) - Lolas
Spirit In The Sky - Doctor & The Medics
The Hallelujah Chorus - Roches

Cool And The Crazy 36
Cruddy MP3

May 7, 2016

We're moving along

Natural Man by Evegeny
Click images for desktop size: "Natural Man" by Evgeny

We're moving. New Mexico. Still east of I-5.
Still managed to get the last podcast in, the summer and surf-y one. Everyone wants music to drive to the beach on July BIKINI CARWASH.jpg 4th, the official start of summer. Of course, the surfers never really left the beach so this podcast is for sitting in your car and looking at all the people cluttering up your beach, and for consoling yourself that there aren't any good waves out there anyway.
I'm just up here having heart attacks, signing papers I have to struggle to understand and trusting in Huey that the papers mean what I think they do. Then have to fuss about and worry my wife being happy there and how the five dogs are going to function and survive in an alien world. The sun blasted high desert vs the oppressive heat and humidity of the American south. No contest, in my mind, but that's only in my mind.
So we're moving to New Mexico, home of Billy the Kid and the Atom Bomb, land of white sands and Buddy Holly.
I don't know what that legacy has to do with being happy today. I'd take small town happy: A little job, keeping the house in repair, eating comfortable food and laughing. I like laughing and think it's worth quite a bit. There's not much laughter left in a Donald Trump world.
SO this is supposed to be about the music, about a bunch of songs to drive to the beach or to drive from the south to the south west.
Here they are.

Aloha Oe - Blue Wahini Serenaders
Good Morning, Good Morning - Lolas
Summer's Here - Rob Smith
Summer's Here - Shades
Midnight At Pinks - Hal Blaine
We'll Be Back In A Minute (Take 12) - Monkees
Summertime Radio - Surfin' Lungs
Pipeline - Dick Dale
RPM - Sonic Surf City
Summerscool - Montana
Surfin' Kansas City - Lawrence Lange
Twist And Shout - Eliminators
The La La La Song - Astronauts
Girl All The Bad Guys Want - Bowling For Soup
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Susan And The SurfTones
Aloha Steve And Danno - Radio Birdman
Hot Rod USA - Rip Chords
Summertime Blues - Alan Jackson
Oh Pretty Woman - Roy Loney
For A Few Dollars More - Los Plantronics
Tribute To The Beach Boys - Tokens
Attention! Accident (Sur L'autoroute De L'ouest) - Les Gams
Little Honda (alt) - Beach Boys
Drums A Go-Go (Edit) - Hollywood Persuaders
SS 396 - Paul Revere And The Raiders
My Love Ain't Free - Boss Martians
Be With Me - Yum Yums
Let's Go To The Beach - Slow Slushy Boys
Surfin' USA - Chris White
Let Her Dance - Surf Trio
Banzai Washout - Bitch Boys
Look Whose Laughing Now - Bruce And Terry
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away - Jan And Dean
On A Summer Night - Crash Kelly
Summer's Almost Gone - Doors
The Last Time - Mr Encrypto
End Of The Summer - Lolas
Time Will Tell - Flash Cadillac And The Continental Kids
Chicago 60616 - Kenny And The Kasuals
I Don't Want To Say Goodbye - Scheme

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March 13, 2016

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ

Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown

I don’t like singer/songwriters much at all. I really dislike that singer/songwriter is now a genre. The trademark of the genre is scratchy thin sounding acoustic guitar and a forlorn vocalist who feels that the world has let them down.
Slightly Dangerous Still I like Jesse Malin and Ryan Adams when they do something that isn’t forlorn at least. I’ve never liked the songs that want somebody to save them, someone to come and take control of their life. I prefer the songs where you dance your way out of danger, songs where you rail against the storm and come out planning to win.
Thing is I like the power of acoustic guitars. I love the Everly Brothers in “Bye Bye Love and “Poor Jenny”. Everyone knows that Elvis started with the Martin Dreadnaught.
Mel Bay man, be the life of the party. Ten Days to entertaining your friends and family. Acoustic guitars; Harmony guitars with 2 inch action.
Girls would ask, after hearing you jam it up on an electric guitar, if you could play acoustic guitar. Like they were two different instruments. They’d tell you how dreamy some singer/songwriter was when he played his acoustic guitar . . . Those girls were all pretty cute too . . . maybe I better rethink this singer/songwriter antipathy thing . . .

The Welcome Summer podcast might be a little late. We're moving; wife, five dogs and a pile of stuff are all moving to the SouthWest, back to the SouthWest.

Cool And Crazy 34
Perfect Day (Acoustic Demo) - Lou Reed
Desert Pete - Kingston Trio
Happy Jack (Acoustic) - Who
Tough, Tough, Tough - Andy Anderson
Make You Mine - Chump Change
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (Party! sessions mix, take 2, session #3) - Beach Boys
Twelve-Thirty - Autoliner
Peggy Sue Got Married - Buddy Holly
Go Your Own Way - Acoustic Hits
Johnny B. Goode - Dion
Don't Worry Baby - Derrick Harris
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Cat Stevens
Only When I Dream (mono) - Bobby Fuller
The Torch - Dropkick Murphys
After Midnight - Acoustic Burgoo
Two Perfectly Ordinary People - Or - (!!!!) - Nelson Riddle
Black Mountain Side - Dread Zeppelin
Spanish Kiss - Dick Dale
Missfortune - Bram Tchaikovsky
Under The Bridge - Flying Pickets
That's How It Will Be - Troggs
Chupacabra - Black Label Society
Talent Show - Replacements
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - California Guitar Trio
Feelin' Low - Ernie Chaffin
Dragon Lady - Fantastic Baggys
Monterey Jack - Dr Hook And The Medicine Show
Be My Lover - Mojo Nixon
Ain't That Good News - Sam Cooke
Pipeline - Michael Chapdelaine
Paint It Black - Michael Fix
Hotel California - Kings Of Acoustica
Stay the Night (Acoustic) - Green Day
Sunrise - Willie Wisely
I've Waited As Long As I Can - Tony Rice
Gabriella - Tony Joe White
Red River Stomp - Bluefields
'39 - Ingram Hill
We Can Work It Out - Paul McCartney
Rockin' In The Free World (live) - Neil Young

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December 12, 2015

It's Christmas time again!

Click images for desktop size: "Season's Greetings" by Unknown
When I was a kid I read in a Dennis The Menace Christmas Special about Christmas around the world, how some countries celebrate Christmas differently.
I was five years old, so to me differently meant strange. I was a lid, so strange didn't bother me. I liked that some countries celebrated Christmas on the fifth, the twelfth, the fifteenth. Some even had 12385_4_0218.jpg twelve days of Christmas which was even a better deal than Chanukah. I think it was Italy that even had their Christmas delivered by a witch!
It was different. It interested me, amazed me and confused me. It didn't scare me.
Even as a kid who learned to not be afraid of waves, rocks, high places, scared dogs, even as a kid with so many fears to overcome, things that were merely different didn't scare me.
It annoys me that as an adult I'm expected to tolerate hate and fear, stupidity actually, stupidity as great as the dumbness that fueled McArthyism. It's a corporate world now, and we have to accept the role of being only consumers. America has stripped away almost all of our rights in the name of fear and greed.
At this time of year it makes me cringe with pent up rage that guys think that making money makes you smart enough to espouse hatred as a response to fear. Orson Wells and Joseph Mankiewicz knew, "There's no secret to making money if all you want to do is make money. You don't even have to be smart."
I've always loved Christmas so I resent people yelling at me about how I have to hate others to protect myself. I was raised in a world that believed that being different was normal. That being a jew or a gentile wasn't that big a thing, nowhere near as big a deal as it was being a Trojan or a Bruin, and that big deal only lasted a week.
While I know that I'll never have that huge rush of waking up and seeing all, I mean ALL the Mad Magazine paperbacks spread under the tree, I know that kind of rush is gone for me and anyone else over seven years old but I can't believe that this crew of tin despots want to ruin those cold silent nights, those Christmas eves where a boy and his dog wandered the slushy streets and said Merry santa's helpers.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Eve" by Unknown
Christmas to strangers, said Merry Christmas and often enough got a reply that warmed a boys heart.
This seems like it might be a pointless rant lost against a rising crescendo of pointless rants, but when people are out there shooting each other and the governments solution is to get more guns out there . . . more guns? They say because a good guy with a gun beats a bad guy with a gun.
But in all this bloodshed where is this good guy? Why hasn't one of these good guys stood up and stopped the carnage?
When you look at this group you see many corpulent old men, their hands shaky from alcohol, their eyes dulled by too much TV. If one of these "good guys" were ever actually at a shooting they'd be so scared and confused that if they did start firing it would be it would be innocent bystanders wounded and dead.
This "good guy" crew say no because, I guess they saw a movie. They go to target ranges. They got a permit. They probably believe that they can do easily and mystically what police and soldiers, men trained to defend themselves and others can seldom accomplish.
It's sad enough to make me wish more for Christmas and to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, A Happy New Year and Peace On Earth.


Lots of chipper Power Pop this Christmas mix. I still get a rush thinking of bands on stage playing this Christmas stuff, really celebrating the holiday. Enjoy it with someone, at least that' my hope. For me, the big rush is getting the Everly Brothers with the Vienna Boys Choir - that's not a misprint. It's awesome.

St. Luke 2:6-9 - Tennessee Ernie Ford
The First Noel - Everly Brothers And The Boys Town Choir
Merry X-Mas Everybody - Refreshments
Father Christmas - OK Go
Shake Up Christmas - Train
We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Folk Angel
Christmas Lights - Montgomery Cliffs
Christmas Night Of Zombies - MXPX
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - SugarCult
Christmas Every Day - Jeremy
We Three Kings - Thee Swank Bastards
Jingle Bells - Ricky Nelson
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Dion
Christmas Time Again - CONNECTION
Please Leave Me Home For Xmas - Imperial Drag
Christmas In Jail - Youngsters
Baby It's Cold Outside - Little Hurricane
I Must Have Been So Good - Vibeke Saugestad
Sweet Christmas - Shonen Knife
Hippy Christmas - Cosmo Topper
Join Us For Christmas - AlternativA
The Christmas Song - Raveonettes
Winter Wonderland - Partridge Family
Mr Christmas - Van Walker
You Trashed My Christmas - Primitives
The Night Santa Went Crazy - Weird Al Yankovic
Department Store Santa Claus (Before Xmas) - Howard Morris
Canadian Christmas - Fleshtones
Dancin' With Santa - Trashmen
Jingle Bells - Glen Glenn
Little Drummer Boy - Lolas
Little Drummer Boy - Pentatonix
Angels We Have Heard On High - Davie Allan & The Arrows
Shake Hands With Santa Claus - Louis Prima
Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
Silent Night - Temptations
We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Everly Brothers And The Boys Town Choir

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October 25, 2015

A Blue Halloween


The Last Vampire - Hollywood Vampires
Laffin Beatnik - Johnny Beeman
Little Old Lady From Transylvania - Ghouls
I'm In The Ground For Good - Newports
Boogie Woogie Man Gonna Getcha - Jackie Lee Cochran
Surfer Ghoul - Mr Gasser & The Weirdos
Dead - Poets
Alligator Wine - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Sodomy - Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
Haunted House - Teenage Bottlerocket
Peek-A-Boo - Cadillacs
Dracula's Deuce - Ghouls
Monster Mash Party - Bobby Boris Pickett
She's Fallen In Love With A Monster Mash - Revillos
Coolest Little Monster - John Zacherley
Zombie Walk - Magics
Ghosts From Boot Hill - Hellbenders
I Became Somebody Else - Lolas
Werewolf - Carl Bonafede
Don't Meet Mr. Frankenstein - Carlos Casal Jr.
Lon Chaney Junior's Daughter - Stems
There's A Pale Moon - Hank Ray & Thee Exectioneers
Date With A Vampyre - Screaming Tribesmen
Hot Rod Hearse - 3-D Invisibles
Zombie Dumb - Reverend Horton Heat
Halloween (She Get So Mean) - Rob Zombie
Cha Cha With The Zombies - Upperclassmen
El Monster Surfin' Time - Los Pelegrinos Negros
'til The Following Night - Screaming Lord Sutch
Ghoul's Night Out - Misfits
Do The Zombie - Symbols
Legend Of Sleepy Hollow - Monotones
Que Monstruos Son - Southern Culture On The Skids
Postcard From The Grave - Untamed
Dead Man's Stroll - Revels
Jekyll And Hyde - Jim Burgett
Frankensteins's Party - Swingin' Phillies
Surfing On Mars - Surf Sluts
You Can Get Him Frankenstein - Castle Kings
Hot Rod Hades - Charlie Ryan
Nightmare - Scotty Stuart
Shockmonster Stomp - Ghastly Ones


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August 24, 2015

I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.
John Steinbeck

1946 Esquire by Vargas
Click images for desktop size: "1946 Esquire" by Vargas
Back in the day movie music used to be not much but Miklos Roza and Ben Hur kind of things. Then "Blackboard Jungle" with "Rock Around the Clock" and Elvis changed all of that; for the better I think.
50,000 B.C. (BEFORE CLOTHING) I think it was Frank Zappa who pointed out that the best thing about "Blackboard Jungle" and Elvis in the movies was that there weren't any parents yelling to turn it down! No wonder some theaters reported riots and switch blade vandalism.
So this collection is nothing but a mess of music from TV shows and movies. I hope some of it is surprising and all of it fun in a Big Beat way. Odd to me is that pop music has pretty much taken over the media. I mean, you can take almost any reasonable song and find out some show or movie has used it. Alan Arkush took this to its peak or its nadir with "Crossing Jordan", and then David Chase and T Bone Burnett turned the quirky pop song soundtrack into its own growing genre. It also makes some embarrassing moments such as a review of the newer Fantastic Four movie where this person said the most exciting moment of the movie was recognizing a fave tune in Invisible Girl's ear buds!
This stuff isn't like that. Like I said, it's intended to be fun and you can dance to it. I can't think of any reason you wouldn't want to do that.
I've tended to use cover versions, just because they tend to be less mawkish than the originals and a bit more fun. One exception is "Love Is All Around" which Wet Wet Wet turned into a massive hit for "Notting Hill" by adding strings and aspartame to the max, then singing it in a smooth smooth tenor. I prefer the original which is sung by a dazed punk who just a few months before just wanted to do the "Wild Thing" with, probably, the same girl.

My Life In Motion Pictures
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Los Plantronics
Sing, Sing, Sing - Flat Duo Jets
Batusi A-Go! Go! - Or - (I Shouldn't Wish To Attract Attention) - Nelson Riddle
Ben - Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
Stand - REM
Cry Me A River - Jeff Beck
The Lonely Bull - Duo Tones
One Eyed Jack - Jailbirds
Battleship Chains - Georgia Satellites
Soul Man (stereo) - Sam And Dave
Runaway ('Crime Story' version) - Del Shannon
Poison Ivy - Vulcanes
Hang 'Em High - Sandblasters
Little Green Bag - George Baker Selection
Travelin' Man - Ricky Nelson
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding - Matthew Sweet And Susanna Hoffs
The Ballad Of Paladin - Johnny Western
Action - Freddy Cannon
High School Confidential - Blasters
Misirlou - Emotionals
Duke Of Earl - Gene Chandler
Goldfinger - Man or Astro-Man?
With a Girl Like You - Rutles
Do Anything You Wanna Do - Flashcubes
For A Few Dollars More - Death Valley
Goo Goo Muck - Frank Popp Ensemble
(Theme From) The Monkees (Previously Unissued Early Version) - Monkees
Five O'Clock World - Vogues
Eve Of Destruction - Dickies
Oh, Pretty Woman - Rockapella
Dead Flowers - Barney Bentall And The Legendary Hearts
Love Is All Around - Troggs
North To Alaska - Dwight Yoakam
You're So Vain - Tony Randall And Jack Klugman
Inner-Manipulations - Barry McGuire
The Riddler - Riddler
I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song) - Ikettes
Bits and Pieces (stereo/vinyl) - Dave Clark Five
Couldn't Get It Right - Climax Blues Band

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June 29, 2015

Gene And Eddie

Cool And The Crazy 30
The greatest singer ever is Gene Vincent. There’s no discussion of this, no proof required. It’s a pure and simple fact, a syllogism. Gene Vincent was the greatest, the best singer there ever was or ever will be. Buddy Holly waited in a hotel lobby just to get Gene’s autograph. Every night Gene looked to the skies and sang to the angels, he entertained the angels and calmed the devils. Gene Vincent.
I saw him perform only once. He was fat and out of shape. The club was sold out. The band maybe knew Gene’s songs. It was the greatest show I’d ever seen or ever would see. It didn’t set a yardstick for other shows. It was a unique and once and never again experience.
Gene Vincent.
I’ve collected anecdotes about him throughout my life. Some are bizarre, some eerie and most wrong. The stories fascinated and titillated me. Most of the storytellers became close friends. We had Gene Vincent in common and that was enough to support love down through decades.
There are plenty of books about him. There need to be. There are plenty of reissues of his music. They’re all essential. Gene died in his thirties. He was a sopped up alky. He was a bloated figure who looked like he’d been living for 60 years at least. I was reminded of the corpse of Charlie Parker.
It’s not true but it should have been that his last words were, “She took everything, mama. Even my record player.”

Eddie Cochran was Gene’s best friend. Eddie died before Gene but was still with Gene.
Eddie was a session player in Hollywood at fifteen. He was a mean guitarist and a talented songwriter. He was a teenager and knew exactly what that meant. Every musical generation has featured an Eddie Cochran cover as part of their canon of viva la diference.
He sweated talent. His work with Gene was superb but not his finest. He died too soon, but who doesn’t. His passing left a hole in the world and in our lives.

What’s here is their music. It could have gone on for 3 days and then started all over again. I’d not have complained.
There’s a lot missing in this little sampler.

Git It Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Be Bop A Lula Unknown - Rebel Heart Vol. 7
Bop Street Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Let’s Get Together Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Box Set - Summertime Blues
Gene And Eddie Stray Cats - Runaway Boys
Jelly Bean Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Story - Three Steps To Heaven
The Day The World Turned Blue Gene Vincent - The Day The World Turned Blue
Sweet Gene Vincent Ian Dury - Sweet Gene Vincent
Born To Be A Rolling Stone (Alternate Take) Gene Vincent - Rebel Heart Vol. 7
Rollin’ Danny Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Drive-In Show Eddie Cochran - The Ballads Of Eddie Cochran
Weekend (Stereo) Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Box Set - Somethin’ Else
Pink Peg Slacks (Alt) Eddie Cochran - All The Best
Just Like Eddie Heinz - 25 Rock N Roll Hits
Mean When I’m Mad Eddie Cochran - The Best Of Eddie Cochran
Lonely Street (Undubbed Version) Gene Vincent - Rebel Heart Vol. 7
Cut Across Shorty Eddie Cochran - The Best Of Eddie Cochran
Spoken Message Gene Vincent - Rebel Heart Vol 1
Over The Rainbow Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Unchained Melody Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Summertime Blues Beach Boys - Surfin’ Safari
Water Baby Blues (short riff) Eddie Cochran - Rockin’ It Country Style
My Love To Remember Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Box Set - I’m Ready
My Way Who - Odds And Sods
North Carolina Line Gene Vincent - The Day The World Turned Blue
Cherished Memories Eddie Cochran - The Best Of Eddie Cochran
I Got A Baby Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Three Steps To Heaven Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Box Set - Somethin’ Else
Blue Jean Bop Gene Vincent - Rockabilly’s Gravest Hits
C’Mon Everybody Sex Pistols - The Great Rock And Roll Swindle
Rip It Up (out take) Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Red Blue Jeans and a Pony Tail Jeff Beck - Crazy Legs
Vincent’s Blues Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Hurtin For You Baby Gene Vincent - Born To Be A Rolling Stone
Don’t Bye, Bye Baby Me Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Story
Am I That Easy To Forget Gene Vincent - Born To Be A Rolling Stone
Boll Weevil Song Eddie Cochran - The Best Of Eddie Cochran
Somethin’ Else-Pistol Packin’ Mama Flamin’ Groovies - Supersnazz
Cotton Picker Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Box Set - I’m Ready
Baby Blue Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Dance In The Street Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Lucky Star Gene Vincent - The Gene Vincent Box Set
Hallelujah I Love Her So-C’mon Everybody-Somethin’Else-Twenty Flight Rock Eddie Cochran - The Eddie Cochran Story
The Story Of The Rockers Gene Vincent - Rebel Heart Vol 2
Race With The Devil Gene Vincent - Rockabilly’s Gravest Hits

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May 10, 2015

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen
A.A. Milne

Gas by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Gas" by Edward Hopper

I thought my last podcast was pretty terrible. The songs were all great, impeccably so. The weakness lie in me.
The podcast is available on the podcast page (see the menu up top there.) but only because of my compulsiveness. It's not good although I like the self deprecating cover art.
My big Blue dog passed over. Whenever I worked on a podcast he'd nudge me in the shoulder from behind while I faced the computer screen.
That's my other excuse for the huge delay here. But it's his memory and two, yes two requests for more music that generate this latest missive.
This is the annual welcome to summer podcast. It is okay. I somehow lost the list of songs and performers . . . so take it as it is!

Cool And Crazy 29

If I don't feel too abysmal (unlikely) the next podcast will be dedicated to Gene And Eddie! Impossible to mess that one up.

Podcast.net seems to have gone belly up. A shame really. Leaves only iTunes.
Podcast Page
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December 7, 2014


Christmas Stocking
The Christmas podcast is finally here. Mainly new stuff with a bit of the old favorites. It is Christmas and part of Christmas is traditions which bring back memories and nostalgia or old stuff.
Comic Cavalcade 25It's great.
Around here the time keeps flowing faster as we figure out who to gift and who to snub. Sadly most of the snubs are for financial reasons and not for looking to hurt. And the few people whom might feel lost without a present from the pack are on the list!
I'm pushing for Christmas decorations this year. A $35 wreath was nixed ($35 for a wreath?!?!?) I think twinkling lights on the front porch would be tasteful and noticed by absolutely no one but me. Twinkle lights would be $9, so if I can find a power point I'm good to go!
So you can see Christmas is just the same as it is for everyone else. That's a good thing I guess, reconnecting with old friends and people I love. Appreciating the people and dogs I love. Trying to figure out what to do with the dog who lives in my kitchen, the normal concerns of Christmas and the attendant joy and memories.
I wish the same for you.

Cool And Crazy 27

This mess of Christmas tunes is heavy on the power pop. What is power pop but smashing heavy guitars with a lot of la la la's tossed in. I like most of them quite a bit and it makes me keep looking for more.

You Can't Stop Christmas From Coming - Corey Leland
Its Christmas Time - Boss Martians
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Joey Ramone
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - X
Going Up To Bethlehem - Bob Rivers
Little Beatbox Boy - Street Corner Symphony
Hazy Shade Of Winter - Bangles
God! Surf Ye Merry Gentlemen - Vern Jules & The Aquanauts
Surfin Santa - Sonic Surf City
Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
Little Drummer Boy - Los Straitjackets
Chanukah Guy - Goldbergs
In Tempo Per Natale - Smodati
This Christmas - UNDECIDED By Default
Frosty The Snowman - FroSTed
Mistletoe Kissing - Vibeke Saugestad
Sleigh Ride - Ronettes
The Man In The Santa Suit - Fountains Of Wayne
I Saw Mommy Biting Santa Claus (A Zombie Christmas Carol) - Dollyrots
Mr. Santa Claus - Fleshtones
There Ain't No Santa Claus - Risk
You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Rockapella
Mary's Boy Child - Rubber Band
Blues For Christmas - Wanda Jackson
Christmas In Jail - Youngsters
Christmas Is Knockin At Your Door - Rockabilly Boogie Band
Po' Folks Christmas - Bill Anderson
Underneath The Christmas Tree - Bill Lloyd
Super Sunny Christmas - Redd Kross
Winter Wonderland - Peggy Lee
Rain, Sleet, Snow - Paul Revere And The Raiders
California Christmas - Sketch Middle
Christmas Is The Only Time - Wes Lachot
Yulesville - Edd Byrnes
Christmas In The Congo - Marquees
The Little Drummer Boy - Elvin Bishop
Wonderful Christmastime - Shins
Happy Xmas (War is Over) - Sleeping At Last
We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Kingston Trio
God Bless Us All - Doug Powell
My Christmas Card To You - Partridge Family
Silent Night - Frankie Lymon
I Don't Want To Say Goodbye - Scheme
Auld Lange Syne - Lonesome Travelers

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October 27, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014

Frazetta 1970s 100drawings cv
"Untitled" by Frank Frazetta

I managed to get the Halloween podcast done and out BEFORE Halloween.
I'm proud of that. I like this edition too. It's cool andMummy s shroud french 1967 funny music with some moments to slip into. So enjoy it, please have fun and then get off of my lawn!

There's a lot of things to say, about life, people I;ve met, monsters I've met. No time now.
the worst thing is that ecto, my decades old blogging tool got purchased by some company or other a while ago. It stopped working on OS X 10.10 Yosemite. How stupid. How inconvenient with no one trying to fix it!
I'm trying to trace the code so I can replicate some of its effects. Using MarsEdit now, which is okay but not as dazzle dazzle. It works though and it well maintained by the company. It has the capacity to use the old ecto codes that I was fond of.

CC26 500
Gore-Gons - Ghoul Bash
Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put A Spell On You
Lolas - I Become Somebody Else
B.U.G. - Strangler In The Night
The Big Bopper - The Purple People Eater Meets The Witchdoctor
Ghastly Ones - Draculon
Zacherley - Gravy (With Some Cyanide)
Nervous Norvus - The Fang
Jack And Jim - Midnight Monster Hop
Archie King - The Vampires
Bleed - The Goon
Bo Diddley - Bo Meets The Monster
Gene Moss & The Monsters - I Want To Bite Your Hand
Bobby Boris Pickett - Grave Yard Shift
Boots Walker - They're Here
Coye Wilcox - Zippy Hippy Dippy
Daylighters - Mad House Jump
Gary "Spider" Webb - The Cave (Part 1)
Freddy Fortune & The Four-Gone Conclusions - Dracula's Deuce
Los Straitjackets - Rockula
Morgus & The Ghouls - Morgus The Magnificent
Roy Clark - Spooky Movies
Shonen Knife - Devil House
Southern Culture On The Skids - Goo Goo Muck
Kilroy - Lake Orangatanga
Jan Amber - The Little Martian
Lord Sutch - Black And Hairy
Kip Tyler - She's My Witch
Monotones - Zombie
Mr Gasser & The Weirdos - Hearse With A Curse
Naturals - The Mummy
Sir Finks - Weird Beard
Sonny Richard's Panics - The Voo Doo Walk
Tarantula Goul - Graveyard Rock
Terry Teen - The Hearse
Lambretta Suede & The Motel 6 - Gravediggers Rock
Woggles - Dracula's Daughter
Zanies - The Mad Scientist
Art Roberts - Ivan The Terrible
Doggers - Boogie Man
Madeira - Theme From Young Frankenstein

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August 24, 2014

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society
Mark Twain

Fairy Tales By Clarke
Click images for desktop size: "Fairy Tale" by Clarke
Back then, back in the 80's the cardboard cities began springing up. Horrifying edifices to an outsider but homes to the working poor. Refrigerator boxes taped to washing machine and TV boxes, making little complexes to house the working parents and the children who were always dressed to go off to school.
The Most Dangerous Game The funny result was that the really homeless began keeping dogs. Guard dogs for the heaped up recyclables on their shopping carts and guard dogs for when they slept at night.
Soon it seemed every homeless person had a dog. They were strays only alike in that they were all hungry and underfed. In LA the issue was noticed. People shook their heads and made tsk tsk noises with their teeth clenched and then kept driving.
In London (The UK one) the Blue Cross (an animal charity, not a GNP gobbling insurance company) opened up clinics around Victoria and other hot spots so that the homeless could bring their dogs in for injections and health inspections. When it seemed that only the really insane were still out there the Blue Cross sent out rescue workers to walk the Strand at midnight to plow through the underpasses and look out for dogs in need of free health care.
My crew started out as 3 people, a tiny little vet student from Acton. She was about 4' 11", gold blonde hair she wore in messy ringlets, a round face set off by large studious glasses. I called her Little Doc because I can never remember anyone's name.
Her over protective boyfriend wasn't officially part of our crew. He might have made 5' with boots on. He was friendly enough, but out of his element with us. I could understand him wanting protect Little Doc. She was special enough and probably more than he thought he'd ever deserve.
I guess I was the "muscle". After a few weeks the boyfriend got bored, or frightened. I don't know which really, Little Doc told me I wasn't just protection. I was the only volunteer who wasn't afraid of the various dogs, and the only one the dogs weren't afraid of either. Maybe. Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Elf" by Unknown
Even after she told me that I found it hard to work up the concern to think about it. All I knew was that once a week from midnight until 7 AM we'd start with the Strand. We'd start at the food truck that passed out expired Marks & Sparks sandwiches (the shrimp ones were pretty good)and wend our way through London's underworld. I'd talk to the dog owners while Little Doc gave them shots and certificates.
Most of the people didn't trust us, even though we had plastic laminated badges and all that. The vast majority were still anxious to get their dogs looked after. They questioned Little Doc's qualifications more than anything. I noticed that some of the people had bags of high quality dog food in their squats.
We had not trouble or incidents other than some who were fearful we were there to take their little dogs away. It wasn't an adventure; it was work. Some nights there were some adventuresome things that happened but all events just turned into work. But work with dogs hardly seems like work at all most times.
mr-magoo-radio.jpg There was a reason I'd gotten involved in all this trekking through the hidden life in London. Back in LA in the 80's I was working at Zoetrope (nee' Hollywood General, nee' Desilu Studios and who knows what in between) I was planning to go down to SIR. Someone told me they were selling off some of their rentals.
I was walking by Gower Gulch. Across the street, under a smog choked tree, there was a homeless guy. When I got closer I saw he had a coiled up rope in his hand and was whipping a dog. I went over and grabbed the guys arm. I wasn't very gentle. I looked at the dog. He was shaking and cowering, covering his head with his paws. He was about 50 pounds and as ugly a gray dog as you could imagine. He had a bad under bite that gave his face a punched in humanoid look. I didn't notice at the time but he was thin but not terribly under-fed.
I looked at the guy I was holding. He was squirming but, back then, I was a lot stronger than he was. He was ashen gray under that peculiar plastic sunburn living in the LA sun non-stop can bring. His face and forehead were covered in old peeling scabs. He was dirty.
I told him to knock it off. He told me to f... off surfer boy. I thought that was a weird insult but an insult is an insult so I hoisted him off the ground by his throat and was ready to punch him out when something miraculous happened.
The ugly little dog I was protecting attacked me. He didn't draw blood but the khakis I was wearing were pretty torn up. He didn't care about my motives, he didn't care that I was trying to save him from pain, this sad, ugly beaten wonderful dog only knew I was hurting the only thing that was precious to him.

So this podcast is for all the wonderful dogs I've known. I think there's too much country western in it but they're good tracks.

Cool ANd The Crazy 24
Where Has My Little Dog Gone Hoosier Hot Shots
Plenty Of Dogs Lolas
I'm Walking The Dog Del McCoury Band
The Puppy Song Nilsson
Wild Dogs Of Kentucky Nervous Norvus
Barking Up The Wrong Tree Heartbeats
Little Woman Big Dog Frankie & The Pool Boys
Old King Neil Young
Get Down Marykate O'Neil
Hunger Strike Temple of The Dog
Every Dog Robin Zander
Werewolf Frantics
Spanish Flea Herb Alpert
Dad Gave My Dog Away T. Texas Tyler
Doggone Fine Roy Loney
Gonna Buy Me A Dog Boise And Moss With A Side Of Hamm
Loving Leash Meyerman
Hound Dog Link Wray
Hound Dog Man Fabian
How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark Howard Tate
Dog My Cats Wildfire Willie & The Ramblers
Old Blue Louisiana Honeydrippers
Man With Money Fabulous Poodles
The Poodle Dog Song Jimmie Davis
Tiki Dog Razorblades
It's A Dog's Life Plasticland
Dog Tired Tash Mints
Fox Chase Earl Taylor & The Stony Mountain Boys
Fox On The Run Sirens
Tennessee Hound Dog Osborne Brothers
Jackson Dog Larry Brinkley
Hot Dog Ohio Express
Dog Eddie Adcock Band
Bull Dog Down In Sunny Tennessee Dock Walsh with The Carolina Tar Heels
Dog Leg Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
Old Rattler Grandpa Jones
I Found My Best Friend In The Dog Pound Burl Ives

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June 22, 2014

Life is not so idiotically mathematical that only the big eat the small; it is just as common for a bee to kill a lion or at least to drive it mad
August Strindberg

Click images for desktop size: "Supermatism" by Unknown
Cliches, cliches and cliches. Cliches give meaning to life, don’t they? The good ones do anyway.
It’s summer finally. Summer is always the time when boys and girls forget about dreams and aspirations and just live in The Mole People the bright sun, walking with your favorite girlfriend down a sticky tar road to the beach. (In summer it is always girls and boys. Men and women are for harsher, less vivid, times)
That leaves us with all the corny images; warm suns, rolling humps of waves, bongos and acoustic guitars on the dawning beach with miles of bikinis dotting the shore break and cases of Mickey’s Big Mouth lager that somehow always stay cold. Corny and comforting, like the scent of coconut oil being blown away by the smell of night blooming jasmine and gasoline fumes.
I surfed. I was a surfer so the summer was just the time that strangers came to my beach. The waves don’t have a lot of juice in the summer so the girls were a welcome diversion.
Summer always meant long nights and longer days, sharing and learning 17 year old’s wisdom. Staring at girls sunbathing topless, right there on our beach, while trying to pretend we were too cool to bother staring, like breasts were something we saw so many of that they were almost boring.
There’s something about the mixture of summer sun and sea water that burnishes the soul then cools and tempers it in the reflecting moonlight. It makes you feel alone and like you are the only one of your kind in the universe. It’s a sad and lonely feeling even as your skin warms and peels; burnished souls bought out to the surface. And it is in seeing each others souls proudly or shyly touted that we learn who we are and that glimpse of anthers soul is what we decipher as love and friendship. We always needed music to hear what we were feeling laid out there so we knew that as unique as we were there were hundreds and thousands similar enough to be us.
Surf music was a different thing to surfers. Surf music was the mix tape you made that you played on the short drive to the beach. Your buddy with the best sound system would back up as close to the water as he could and he’d crank it and play your mix tape or the radio.
The Barber Shop by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "The Barber Shop" by Edward Hopper
Surfing doesn’t really need an external soundtrack, what goes on in your head is usually enough. I think a lot of people would be disappointed at what surf music was to us. Still I made this podcast with the old mix tape days in mind; where the dinginess of winter and the fervent hope of spring didn’t really exist anymore. Summer was for living and laughing and hanging with your friends. This is music for that.

I waited a long time to put this up here. As you may know, I’m not very comfortable with the high volume of downloads. I don’t know that many people! I was just trying to segregate out where everything was coming from. Mostly it’s from iTunes. So now I know.


1. Offspring-Cruisin' California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)
2. Teen Machine-School's Over
3. Jamies-Summertime, Summertime
4. Doug Powell-I Woke Up In Love This Morning
5. Surfin' Lungs-Oh Oh I love Her So
6. Jan And Dean-I Found A Girl
7. Treasures-Minor Chaos
8. Decibels-Please Please Me
9. Magic Christian-Anytime At All
10. Five Americans-I See The Light
11. Lolas-Yummy Yummy Yummy
12. Dick Dale-Surfin' And Swingin'
13. Bobby Fuller Four-Wine Wine Wine
14. Larry And The Loafers-Let's Go To The Beach
15. Fountains Of Wayne-A Dip In The Ocean
16. Surf Punks-The Surfmen
17. Surf Coasters-Summertime Blues
18. Johnny Rivers-Mountain Of Love
19. Paul Revere And The Raiders-Steppin' Out
20. Tina And The Total Babes-Toungue Tied
21. Yum Yums-Bird Dance Beat
22. Donna Loren-It Only Hurts When I Cry
23. Susan Lynne-Don't Drag No More
24. Ramouns-I Get Around
25. Beach Boys-Wendy
26. Pyewacket-You Were On My Mind
27. City Surfers-Beach Ball
28. Sparkle Jets UK-Summertime Dreamin'
29. Kaos Killers-Get Smart
30. Surfaris-Hound Dog
31. Del Shannon-Action
32. Ricky Nelson-Summertime
33. Dropkick-Waking Up In Sunshine
34. Travoltas-California Girls
35. Willie And The Wheels-Skateboard Craze
36. Jeff Larson-Summer Fades
37. Whites-Sunny Side
38. Mary Weiss-You Can Stay With Me
39. Travoltas-I Want To Believe
40. Ventures-Walk Don't Run '64
41. Ataris-Boys Of Summer

Cruddy but familiar MP3 version

February 2, 2014

The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back.
Abigail Van Buren

Yin by Saioul
Click images for desktop size: "Yin" by Saioul

Life is in one of those miserable patches for me right now. So I'm looking to the SuperBowl for a minute of relief. How bourgeoise of me, how working class.
I'm hoping for a Seahawks win. I like Russell Wilson and how can you not like Richard Sherman. I have issues with Peyton Manning going all the way back to Tennessee. (Remember he never won a National Championship, Tennessee got it the year after Manning graduated.) But mainly I think Pete Carroll is the greatest coach our sport has yet seen. He alone still thinks of the game as fun and he still admires the young men who condition themselves to be in a state to excel.
Someone who believes and trusts in others in an ultra competitive tiny world has to be acknowledged as a great man.

Cool And The Crazy 21

I remember feeling stung when Variety reported, in one of those little throw away capsule bits, that Hall And Oates had passed the Everly Brothers as the best selling pop duo of all time.
Hall and Oates. I think it was Billy Miller who commented, “There’s just a lot more people buying records now than there used to be.” Which makes sense if you don’t think about it and just makes me sad if you do think about it.
I met Don Everly. Maybe met is too strong a word. I was within 10 feet of him for 3 hours. My friend is an Animal Behaviorist. Don had a pair of Belgian Shepherds that were running his house. My friend invited me along because I loved Belgians. He didn’t know, or care, that I also loved the Everly Brothers.
A couple of other celebrities I knew shipped their “unruly” dogs to places unknown. But Don Everly was spending 3 hundred bucks an hour so he could learn how to live with his dogs. That was all he wanted. I liked him. I like the way he acted with me and I liked the way he acted with his dogs even more.
Phil had dogs too. Big dogs, pure breds and mutts. They were southern boys and boy and man they loved their dogs.
They were entertainers who loved to rock. On stage since the early fifties, they learned to sing and play in front of an audience.
With their chiming chunking Gibson B210’s and those insane harmonies that sounded like the Tibetan throat singers, like two voices coming from one throat; how could you not love the Everly Brothers. What could be so wrong with you that you’d buy “Maneater” instead of “May You Always Drive a Cadillac”.
I don’t know. I only know that Phil Everly is dead. In the last pictures before he passed he looked like how I’d wished my Grandpa looked, not how you’d expect that razor cut ferret cheeked, lazer eyed JD killer from the album covers to end up. I like that. I like it because every pop group that has ever used a harmony, from the Beach Boys to the Beatles to the Lolas owes a little something to the Everly Brothers. And when you look down that long line of faces it’s nice to end up on the content lined face of Phil Everly.
Don Everly’s only comment was, “I don’t know what to say. I always figured I’d die first.”
The Everly Brothers gave us the rhythm and the beat, the heart and the tingling sounds, the peace and the vision and all they wanted was for us to listen. And some money, but who doesn’t want that?



Because some will insist-MP3

November 17, 2013

For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are
Lloyd Alexander

Well, my situation is desperate but not serious. Healthy enough but still looking for work. Worrisome.

This is the promised Buddy Holly podcast. When I get work I'll buy a decent microphone and talk some, probably just monotonous telling you what you've already heard.
This podcast tries to pick up some of the greater covers of Buddy Holly tunes, followed by a couple of tribute songs including the sizzling and powerful "Day In The Life" by Big Daddy, the bothos laden "Theee Stars" by Eddie Cochran and the bouncy and totally fun track, "Buddy's Song" by Bobby Vee, where all the lyrics are from Buddy Holly tunes!
It ends with a lot of popular and some rarer tracks, a lot featuring Buddy on acoustic guitar where he proves that a man armed with a guitar can rock the joint. I guess it also proves that guitar lessons can make you popular at parties. The six strings that made a man out of . . . me, I guess.
Next up the dreaded Christmas podcast!

Bobby Fuller Four - Peggy Sue-Pamela-Love's Made A Fool Of You
Pat Monahan - Maybe Baby
Mud - Oh Boy
JD Southern - Everyday
Shoes - Words Of Love
Sonny Curtis - Talk About My Baby
Troggs - Peggy Sue
Roky Erickson - Peggy Sue Got Married
Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away
Detrit Cobras - Heartbeat
Marty Stuart - Crying, Waiting, Hoping
Nick Lowe - Changing All Those Changes
Everly Brothers - That'll Be The Day
Ricky Nelson - Rave On
Frank Bacon - Shiela
Imelda May - I'm Looking For Someone To Love
Albert Lee - Learning The Game
Chris Bailey - It Doesn't Matter Anymore
Jackson Browne - True Love Ways
Cee Lo Green - (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Case
Country Rockers - Rock Around With Ollie Vee
Big Daddy - A Day In The Life
Chuck Travis - Gone Too Soon
Eddie Cochran - Three Stars
Bobby Vee - Buddy's Song
Tremelos - Peggy Sue
Steeleye Span - Rave On
Buddy Holly

Direct Download
MP3 Because it is so much worse than the aac version

January 12, 2013

She was ready to deny the existence of space and time rather than admit that love might not be eternal
Simone de Beauvoir

Admral Skull by Frank Hamilton
Click images for desktop size: "Admiral Skull" by Frank Hamilton
I'm going to have to remove all the mp3's from the site.
I've spent a lot of energy in not monetizing this site. And I get approached a lot. I find it strange. I The Great Escape mean I track the 100 or so visitors that come here a day. I don't track them but I like the little counter at the bottom of the page. It counts the number of people who come here to the front page and that manages to exclude the number of google image searches and the ilk. I like to think of people enjoying the pretty pictures but i don't feel the need to count them. Some people do though. I guess if you count the people I don't know the site has about 47,000 visits a day. Which is still not that many.
That also doesn't count robots. Little apps that crawl the whole structure of the site. I have most robots turned off in robot.txt but , of course, complying with robot.txt is voluntary.
About a half dozen of these robots are looking for mp3's. Which is no big deal except these robots generate html links to sites that sell the mp3's for money. Which I think is creepy and wrong. But what bugs me is that they never asked me or even told me what they were doing and a few of their rather lazy customers assume that I get a cut or get pay from these sites!!
I think there are enough places in this world who view the world as a walking wallet and enough people conniving how best to extract money from you. I wanted to make sure that this thing of mine was a haven from that. It's the point, among a myriad million other diffuse points, of this thing.
So I guess the best thing is just to delete the mp3's.
The podcasts stay though. No one has figured out to extract money from them yet!

It's been a bad week for me. I hope for no one else. I had to go back to work. Bad news. I live in a "Right to Work" state. That means workers have no rights. I mean none. Not even the right to a A Letter by Vargas
Click images for desktop size: "A Letter" by Vargas
coffee break or a lunch 15 minutes. No rights whatsoever. And plenty of employers who contrive to exploit that.
Our new little white puppy had to go in for heart worm treatment. I once had another little girl who died of heart worm so I'm a bit obsessive about it. They inject the dog with arsenic to kill the heart worm. They use long needles in the lumbar region. Then it's important, as in life or death important, that the little girl stay as quiet and as unexcited as possible for two months!
The first night the little girl cried woefully and it agony all night. The next day she had to be rushed to the vet. It seemed she was having a bad reaction to the pain killer she gets for the heart worm treatment.Guys And Dolls
That night the giant (100 lb. plus) dog broke through the baby gate and attacked the little girl. She had to rush to the emergency vet. Three hundred bucks and a lousy patch up job later and she was still alive and all right and probably regretting ever being "rescued".
She's such a sweet and gentle thing she bears no grudge or anger. She tore me up pretty badly but that was always just her panic and pain. The pain she did to my body was minor to the pain and guilt I felt for letting her down and being remiss in protecting her.
She smiled at me today and that makes it better.
I'm still angry with giant dog.

This is a failed podcast. I wanted to tell an emotional story to celebrate my wife's birthday. Somehow it comes off as just a bit of an uptempo mess that's pretty much subject to incorrect interpretation. But there's some great tunes here and you can dance to it. And, get right down to it all these podcasts are for my wife anyway.

The Cool and The Crazy 7
Lady, That's My Skull

Gene Pitney & George Jones - I've Got $5 And It's Saturday Night
Shonen Knife - Bitzkrieg Bop
Ricky Nelson - There's Good Rockin' Tonight
Bob Luman - Let's Think About Living
Strangeloves - I Want Candy
Elvis Brothers - Motormouth
Wanda Jackson - Riot In Cell Block Number 9
Beat Farmers - Hollywood Hills
Preston Epps - Bongo Rock
Buckinghams - I Call Your Name
Phantom Rocker & Slick - My Mistake
Adam Schmitt - Can't Get You On My Mind
Spirit Of Troy - Hang On Sloopy
Boss Hoss - Go! Go! Go!
Travoltas - Barbra Ann
Me First & The Gimmee Gimmees - Sloop John B
Los Planatronics - Shape Of Things To Come
Del Shannon= Reason To Believe
Starry Eyed & Laughing - Chimes Of Freedom
Byrds - 5D
Dl Byron - Listen To The Heartbeat
Downbeat 5 - Dum Dum Ditty
Roy Orbison - You Got It
Trashmen - New Generation
Weird Al Yankovic - Canadian Idiot
Boss Martians - She Moves Me
Equals - Police On My Back
Bomboras - David's Mood
Jigsaw Seen - The Daily Planet
Gene Pitney - It's Over


December 15, 2012

My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky
Alan Moore

Bettie Page by David Stevens
Click images for desktop size: "Bettie Page" by Dave Stevens
There was a Christmas I remember. It was years ago, back when the world was larger and death and destruction were out there but we were having too much fun to care.Knightriders
I had my first car, a '49 Pontiac with an amber Indian;s head on the hood. That Indian Head added at least 5 hp at least. It was 6 AM Christmas morning. I was old enough to have a car but young enough to get up at ^ AM Christmas morning. I threw my board in the car (a 6' 2" twin fin) in the back and headed to Malibu because it was Christmas and it was Malibu.
It was warm enough to need just a vest. There were no suntans blowing but it was still 4 foot and glassy. There were about 6 guys out so after an hour I decided to head up to Mummies which is a nice peeling left that ends in a back crushing shore break. I had a great time having the beach to myself. It was getting about noon and I was hungry for food and company so I headed up the coast and County Line.
County Line is the border between Los Angeles and Ventura County so you unfortunates who don't surf can follow and not feel left out.
County Line is a cruddy beach but real accessible by car. It's just a beach break but just across Highway 101 is Neptune's Net. Neptune's Net is a landmark, a place where the surfers mingle with the surfers and the dazed tourists who don't understand but want to.
You can get anything you want at Neptune's Net, so long as its beer or can be fried or steamed. Bob Dylan built a mansion up at Point Dume, he came in there. So did Roger McGuinn. Neil Young hung around Zuma and he'd be there sometimes. Lots of stars and celebrities, surfers and bikers. It was the where Messiahs went when they needed to relax.
It was Christmas so Neptune's Net was closed. There were still about 20 people there hanging in the parking lot and using the picnic tables: Malibu Max and Malibu Mike (who weren't related) a few kids like me, a couple of unaffiliated bikers and more girls and women then men and boys. There were a couple of CHP Interceptors and the cops in uniform were lost in the good times. People were Untitled by Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
playing dominos, drinking beer and having a pretty good time.
Someone had a key (I told you it was that kind of place) and soon we were eating oysters on the half shell. The steamer was going so we were eating prawns as long as your hand. The guitars were out and it was a fine old Christmas party.
When suddenly a flock of birds flew overhead. It was a big flock and they were flying low. A flock of Blue And Gold Macaws. About 30 of these massive birds flew over our heads. Thirty of the largest flying birds, as big as eagles.
LA is warm enough to surf on Christmas but it's not tropical and parrots are not natives. And County Line is not very rural and it's not the jungle. Malibu Max explained to me that they were exotic pets that had escaped from their homes. The owners had let their clipped wings grow back in so the birds just took off and then they had found each other.The Last Mile
They looked magnificent with their vibrant colors blocked against the verdant sky. Years later I'd see the flock in LA, dive bombing the towers in Century City or cruising the dome in Griffith Park.
The flock seemed to be eternal, sometimes large and sometimes small. It doesn't pay to think about the birds too much. Like I said, LA isn't tropical, it doesn't have the food those big birds need. There's avocado trees, some figs and some citrus. At night they have to sleep in the palm trees and fight with the tree rats to get some rest. They're not bright and shiny except when they're high up in the sky. They don't return him either. They stay in their flock and survive, survive for about 5% of their 80 to 100 year natural life span.
They'd rather live like vagabonds in an alien place then live on perches or caves. That's LA for you, I guess.
I didn't know any of that stuff then. I only knew I;d seldom seen anything so pretty as that flock of birds on Christmas Day. It was even cooler seeing them than being a teenager drinking beer with cops and adults.
Abstract by Apple
Click images for desktop size: "Abstract" by Apple Inc
The flock flew out over the ocean. They glinted in the sun when they turned. I don't know why they flew out over the water. Maybe looking for a home? Then got discouraged when they saw no land? They flew out and turned around and the party restarted.
That's it. Not much of a story but it's not often you get to see something so beautiful, so forlorn, joyous and tragic all in a minute.

I'm still in physical therapy for my shoulder. It's a mess. The physical therapist is from Santa Cruz. How he left Hollywood by the Sea for here is something that needs asking. I see the opthamologist on Friday. My job has been legislated out of existence effective January 4th. I'm much more happy than concerned about that.
My wife has been sick, It didn't stop her from going to her class today. She's in training to be a volunteer to care for the shelter dogs. I'm jealous she gets to do that.
She's also still an assistant basketball coach, with me. Basketball? Yeah, I know.
We're busy and looking forward to Christmas.
The only bad news is that iTunes 11.01 is still totally terrible and totally six.
The puppies are all good. Had some fits getting a vibration collar for the deaf dog, but Radio Tech has been super helpful.

The new Christmas podcast isn't too exciting either. Still it's gotten a lot of downloads via iTunes and podcast.net. A lot to me, not a lot to the internet. There;s some great songs in there and some sentiment.

The Cool and The Crazy 6 - True Yule

True Yule

A House - Here Comes The Good Times
Grip Weeds - Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Brian Setzer - Getting In The Mood (For Christmas)
Beetles - Jingle Bell Rock
Big People - Piece For Christmas
Deadbeat Poets - Christmastime In Painesville
Buck Owens - Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy
Ray Stevens - Santa Claus Is Watching You
Holly Twins (With Eddie Cochran) - I Want Elvis For Christmas
Ziggens - Instant Christmas
Lolas - Little Drummer Boy
Jon Auer - Let It Snow
Elvis Presley - Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me
Hank Snow - Reindeer Boogie
Jack Scott - There's Trouble Brewin'
Cathy Sharpe - North Pole Rock
Andersons - A Million Dollars For Christmas
Black Haloes - Homeless For Christmas
Everley Brothers - Christmas Eve Can Kill You
George Jones - Lonely Christmas Call
Weezer - We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Jim Backus - Why Don't You Go Home For Christmas
Del-Vets - I Want A Boy For Christmas
Adam Faith - Lonely Pup In A Christmas Shop
Johnny Preston - I Want A Rock And Roll Guitar
Surfers - Here Comes Santa In A Red Canoe
CONNECTION - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
Platters - Here Comes Santa Claus
Lord Douglas Byron - Surfin' Santa
Edd 'Kookie" Byrnes - Yulesville
Straight No Chaser - Carol Of The Bells
Three Aces And A Joker - Sleigh Bell Rock
Media Whores - All I Want For Christmas
Sheb Wooley - The Purple People Eater Meets Santa
Frankie Lymon - It's Christmas Once Again
Reno Bo - There's A Light
Shonen Knife - Space Christmas
Dickies - Silent Night

November 18, 2012

There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance

Nude By Harvey Dunn
Click images for desktop size: "Nude" by Harvey Dunn
My wife is back.
The only remotely sad thing about that she stayed so busy these last 6 weeks that she gave her self The Naked Cage no time to mourn the passing of her father. Her business was mostly dealing with her father's small but large enough estate. The estate and meeting up with family members from which family craziness meant she was estranged. Families are always crazy to outsiders. It's the reason to just observe and not to interfere.
She also got the Canadian house ready to sell. She drove back from Canada in a 17 foot truck loaded with the possessions that couldn't be donated or comfortably thrown away. Behind the truck she hauled a trailer with her Jeep on the trailer! She survived it well enough except when she hit town she discovered the jerks at U-Hau had loaded her Jeep onto the trailer but then had not bothered to chain it down, use any chains or safety precautions or even bothered to hook up the brake lights and the turn signsls. They just plopped it on there and told her she was ready to go.
On this end the U-Haul guy was horrified and said we should file a complaint with the corporate office . . .
All the puppies and I are very glad she's back home.

We have a new puppy. Her name is Portia, which is a dumb name for a dog. She's a white bull terrier mix, she's got lots of black freckles on her with interesting patterns on her ears. She also has a fascinating roscharch pattern on her butt. I spend a lot of time staring at dog's butts when I walk them. I think I might be an expert on them. Portia is stone deaf which makes a lot of intriguing situations. She pulled the leash out of my hands already and run like a maniac down the street. I have so idea what stopped her but she skidded to a halt and turned around to run like a maniac at me so she could jump into my stomach. Portia weighs a compact 54 pounds but the hurt of her jump was washed away with the Skeletor Victorious by DSFSD
Click images for desktop size: "Skeletor Victorious" by DSFSD
relief of not losing the new dog on the second day.
She's sweet. Not only is she deaf but she's heart worm positive. They had her on death row at the shelter. That didn't affect out decision to adopt her just increased the urgency.
My wife is volunteering at the shelter and that eased the way to let the little girl live.

I'm coaching basketball. I know. Me. Basketball.
I'm only an assistant which means I'm backing up a fine young man who's caught in the small town miasma here which works well at stifling potential. I'll have fun bossing young people around and guiding my HC to a better understanding of his life and his ways to win games and in life.
They fixed my encapsulated shoulder on Friday. The treatment didn't take as well in my right shoulder as it did 3 years ago in the left. I say better doctoring back then. I'm facing physical therapy again. I have a lot of pain but I think the shoulder has stopped aching. The pain is from the muscles I screwed up compensating for the frozen shoulder. As in my shoulder feeling separated because I was forcing it to come into use about 6 inches sooner than it should so I could reach forward and to the side.
Still, it's better.

And the election is over. The zombies didn't win. I dislike the conservative extremists as much as I dislike the hippies on the left. They all just want to take away my freedoms, one in the lie of protecting the freedom of corporations the other in the name of protecting justice for corporations and 'some" people.
But ti's time to relax while the right pours out it's drivel and corrupt cowardice, while the left brags about a mandate.
I just want to live and to dance and to party. Which brings me to our next podcast!
It's just fun for the most part. Any messages are heavy handed enough to be obvious. My wife came back. It's just time to have some fun. There's even a couple of secret requests in there,

The Cool and The Crazy 5 - The Party That Matters

The Party That Matters

Kinks - Shepherds Of The Nation
Dropkick Murphys - Cadence To Arms
Lolas - Feelin' So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y.D.O.O.)
Step - Love Letter
Wanders - Please Don't Touch
Dave Clark 5 - Bits And Pieces
Del Shannon - Hats Off To Larry (live)
Mighty Gordinis - Heavy X Soul Explosion
Teen Machine - Yummy Yummy Yummy
Sandy Nelson - Let There Be Drums
Joe Hall & The Corvettes - Bongo Beating Beatnik
Johnny Rivers - Help Me Rhonda
Collins Kids - Hoy Hoy
Equals - Baby Come Back
Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin'
Eddie And The Showmen - Mr Rebel
Madd - Would I Still Be Her Big Man
Bobby Fuller - Love's Made A Fool Of You
Little Boy Blues - The Great Train Robbery
Ed James - You And Whose Army?
Prodigy - Stand Up
Beach Boys - Drive-In
Tip Toppers - Little Bit O' Soul
Ronnie Self - Bop A Lena
Ran Dells - Martian Hop
Untamed Youth - Hey Elly Mae
Deke Dickerson & The Eccofonics - Run Boy Run
Jon And The Nightriders - Be My Baby\Don't Worry Baby
Gene Vincent - Bring It On Home
Black Watch - Amazing Grace

October 28, 2012

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Mahatma Gandhi

Creepy 1965 by Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Creepy-October 1965" by Frank Frazetta
The dream is over. USC lost our second game of the season last night. They lost in dismal fashion. The great thing about football is that it is just a season. Each season is one lifetime but each lifetime always features a reincarnation of a new lifetime.
The season is not completed. There is still plenty to play for beyond pride.

My wife is still in Canada. My right arm is getting worse. The dogs are happy with just me but they fight to get my attention. For some reason me petting them is important.
My job? It is still there and the pay check has not bounced.

I finished my Halloween podcast. It's already available via podfeed.net and iTunes

The Cool and The Crazy - Halloween 2012

Zacherely For President
Zacherely - Halloween Hootenanny
Mink Jaguar - Poison In Your Heart
Billy Taylor - Wombie Zombie
Ghoultown - Banditio Sunrise
Ronnie Dawson - Rockin' Bones (demo)
Rockin' Gene Simmons - Haunted House
Zacherely - Let's Twist Again Mummy Time Is Here
Rob Willis - The Cat
Frankie & The Fashions - Witch Doctor
Swingin; Neckbreakers - No Costume No Candy
Ben Colder - Shudders And Screams
Sheb Wooley - Purple People Eater
Gore-Gons - Ghosttown Gunfight
Rob Zombie -Dragula
Zacherely - Dinner WIth Drac
Deadbolt - Billy's Dead
Big Bopper - The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor
Misfits - Ghoul's Night Out
Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around
Newports - I'm In The Ground For Good
Reverend Horton Heat - The Halloween Dance
Untamed - Tears In Dead Eyes
Bobby Boris Picket - The Monster Swim
Revels - Dead Man's Stroll
Satan's Pilgrims - Frankenstomp
Three Suns - Danny's Inferno
Zane Brothers - Dracula
3-D Invisibles - Hot Rod Hearse
Bert Convey - The Monster Hop
Deadly Ones - Mad Drummer Pt 2
Cub Koda dba Brownsville Station - The Martian Boogie
Dream Syndicate - Loving The Sinner, Hating The Sin
Zacherely - Happy Halloween

And it is close to election time again. I'e been incredibly disappointed in Obama, from his weak not life saving Murder My Sweet health care plan to his broken promise to close Gitmo. He is also the first President since Bush to actively seek to deprive us of our civil rights and liberties. I was further astonished by his not seeing lobbyists in his office but to take them into the Justice Department and other branches of government. He has not been a good or successful President. He has the look of the bullied kid who keeps trying to make friends with the weaker bullies.
I was going to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party, but Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are the vilest, most contemptible politicians in history. McLain at least believed what he said and Palin was just insane and not responsible for her idiocy. These guys think that money means your smart. They lie about everything, including their running times!
Romeny-Ryan would destroy this country and make it safe only for the wealthy fiefdoms where they could watch over their fascist slaves.
Only because these fascist lying scum are his opponents do I find myself having to vote for Obama.

October 13, 2012

And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed
John Steinbeck

Claro De Luna By Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Claro De Luna" by TitusBoy
My wife has had to return to Canada. Her step-father died: pancreatic cancer. It was sudden and without much, if any, preparation.The Mummy's Hand
She is holding up to it well enough, better than could be expected.
I'm alone with the four dogs, soon to be a fifth. We're happily making each other crazy.
I have to go back to walking to work again. It's healthy, I suppose, if it is fatiguing. Carrying all my groceries again and all the rest of it. The physical effort makes loneliness a bit more apparent.
And it makes it more obvious that I am glad I am past that moment of grief in my life. One thing that should bind us all together is that we all have or will have to bury our parents. Our parents are the most important people in our lives. Love them or hate them they made us what we are. Their passing always marks a void and delineates the mortality we only possess without owning.
My sadness for my wife is no little binding.

This is my 3rd podcast. The first one had 376 downloads, the second also had 376. I uploaded the 3rd to iTunes and to podcast.net and it's received 247 downloads so far.
I'll take the requests into consideration.

The Cool And The Crazy 3:
Love And Mayhem In 90 Minutes

Teenage Riot
Zeke - Hello There Ladies And Gentlemen
Sand Rubies - Memories Are Made Of This
The Phantom - Love Me (alternate take)
Mink Jaguar - Leave us All Behind
Freddie And The Hitchikers - Sinners
Richard Cheese - People Equal Shit
Sonny Burgess - Ain't Got A Thing
Grip Weeds - Rock & Roll Love Letter
Jan & Dean - I Gotta Drive
Ronnie Spector - Don't Worry Baby
Mary Weiss - Nobody Knows (But I Do)
Chymes - He's Not There Anymore
Human Beinz - Nobody But Me
Flares - Footstomping Part 1
Mystery Action - Shake
Ritchie Valens - La Bamba
Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet)
Sparkles - Hipsville 29 BC
Cliffhangers - What A Girl Can't Do
Travoltas - That Thing You
Insiders - The Price Of Love
Electric Light Orchestra - Do Ya
The Crest - Trouble In Paradise
Dorktones - Man WIth Money
Del Shannon - Stand Up
Jan & Dean - A Beginning From An End
Del Shannon - Lost In A Memory
Plan 9 - I Like Girls
Lolas - The Only People In The World
Dream Syndicate - Let It Rain
Alan Price - O Lucky Man!
Nylons - Drift Away
Dion - Drip Drop
Buddy Holly - Love Is Strange (demo)

I'll be making a podcast for Halloween, then, by a request that cannot be ignored, a podcast for the doggies.
When my wife gets back we're bringing in another puppy. A deaf bull terrier - female. She;s white with black spotted ears.
One thing that has impressed me with my wife is that even though she is near over come with grief she was able to get an amazing amount done: taking care of others, dealing with the paperwork and legalese that accompanies a modern death, getting the house ready to be sold . . . so much more than that. She could have allowed herself to be overwhelmed but she did it all and mostly by herself.

September 23, 2012

Cal-Berkley 9 USC 27

The Cool and The Crazy 2: Zipguns and Switchblades

For A Few Guitars More
Dave Wronski - For A Fistful Of Dollars
My Chemical Romance - Teenagers
Supersuckers - Pretty F*cked Up
Tip Toppers - Outsider
Arthur Lee - 7 And 7 Is
Lolas - Something You Oughta Know
Nomads - She Pays The Rent
Rubinoos - Peek A Boo
Don & Dewey - Jungle Hop
Classie Freddie Blassie - Pencil Neck Geek
Boss Martians - Have You Ever Seen
Chesterfield Kings - Richard Speck
Los Lobos - I Wan'na Be Like You
Dick Dale - The Wedge
Randy and the Rainbows - Denise
Monkees - You Just May Be The One
Jackie DeShannon - Trouble
Albert Lee - Learning The Game
Mel Smith & The Nightriders - Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Sox)
Esquerita - Hole In My Heart
Johnny Cash - The Devil's Right Hand
Ramones - Out Of Time
DiMaggio Brothers - Every Breath You Take
Little Steven & Southside Johnny - It's Been A Long Time
Fire Apes - Only You Could Make Me Happy
Cliff Hillis - Dizzy
Steeleye Span - Rave On
Rooks - Folk Hero
Link David - Slippin' And Slidin'
Gene Vincent - The Day The World Turned Blue
Plimsouls - Zero Hour
Tammy And The Lords Of Misrule - Wig Wam Bam
Johnny Kannis - King Of The Surf
Davie Allen and the Arrows - Bongo Party
Link Wray - Home Is Where The Heart Is
Kooks - Victoria
Flatt & Scruggs - Foggy Mountain Breakdown

You can subscribe to the podcast at PodFeed.net or at iTunes. You can subscribe to it via AppleTV which I think is cool. Or you can just click on the graphic above. Right click to save. It's "enhanced" which means it's got album covers and stuff.
I'll probably make more.

Shoulder is still bugging me. Went to the doctor. My wife spent all the time in the exam room with me. She's scared.
Her father's still in hospital and I don't look as indestructible as I used to, I guess. I'm doing great for someone who should be in bed! But I need sleep. A lot of grief from the shoulder keeps me from sleeping. Survivable, is what I think.
My wife is going back to Canada this week to see her father and to get the house ready to sell so we can have a real place to live down here.
I'll miss her.

September 8, 2012

USC 42 Syracuse 29


Fire & Brimstone - Boss Martians
Fox On The Run - Lolas
Dollar In My Pocket - Come Ons
Mercy, Mercy Percy - Joe Penny
6 1/2 Years - Fire Apes
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend - Junkyard Dogs
My My Kind Of Girl - Ramones
Whatever You Please - Dream Syndicate
You Can Stay With Me - Mary Weiss
So Sad To Say - Mighty Mighty BossTones
Locked Up In the State Of Illinois - Scotty Moore & DJ Fontana
Muswell Hillbilly - Tim O'Brien
Valleri - Rubinoos
Why Why Why - Nashville Pussy
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker - Los Plantronics
Wind Your Spring - Shonen Knife
So You Wanna Have This Dance - Redondo Beat
(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care - Buddy Holly
Walk Away - Del Shannon
City Of New Orleans - Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies
Little Red Bird - Lisa Marr Experiment
Shingaling With Me - Ben Vaughn
Baby, Let's Play House - Astronauts
Bye Bye Charlie - Lori Burton
We Became Snakes - Ribeye Brothers
Better Start Right Now - Rooks
Basket Case - Rockapella
Someday, Someway - Robert Gordon
Fever - Dion
Here, There And Everywhere - Flying Pickets

Feeling pretty miserable physically, aside from the pain dragging me down, pretty great mentally. So I made a podcast. Click on the poster. Right click to download it. I put in chapters and plenty of artwork.
It should take you there and back.

August 12, 2011

The trouble with a kitten is that when it grows up, it's always a cat
Ogden Nash

Untitled by Smith
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Smith
Purple Chick Music has just released "The Complete Shangri-Las". And, boy, is it ever complete. On 2 CD's and a DVD they've managed to present every burp hiccup sound smile and frown the Shangri-Las ever made in front of a microphone or camera.Intimate Illusions
If you feel that Mary Weiss is one of the greatest quixotic talents of all time this collection is already flowing through your blood and enraging your beleagured hormones. If you don't feel that Mary Weiss and the twins are a devastating tour de force to be reckoned with and not merely enjoy then I don't think I know you.
The DVD is exquisite. It starts with excerpts from the 80's documentary "The Rock & Roll Era" and includes the cool snip where Cynthia Weill tries to explain her fear of and sexual attraction to the Shangri-Las.
"These were tough girls. The way they talked, the way they popped their gum. They were tough street girls. We'd never seen anything like them before."
She didn't understand that the Shangri-Las were girls you'd bust up a party for a chance to talk to alone for just a few minutes. Every song they sang, every dance move said that they understood and that it didn't matter what you did for a living or if you were battered and bloody, it only mattered that you were true to yourself and true to them.
Back at the carnage of the party, even if you struck out with Mary their were still the twins who just broadcast fun and games. The Shangri-Las were all that. The kind of girls you'd scheme to just get them to notice you.
The video has the group on all the old rock shows, sharing the stage with The Bryds, Lloyd Thaxton, The Righteous Brothers, pop stars, TV stars and movie stars and the Shangri-Las always hold center stage, they commanded and ruled the stage.
Wird Tales by Brundage
Click images for desktop size: "Weird Tales 1933" by Brundage
The final oddity is a news clip from the 80's when the Shangri'Las came out of retirement to sue some disco type chicks who were advertising themselves as the Shangri-Las! Mary Weiss used her married name on camera. The rumour I'd lived with was that she'd dumped raock and roll and married a truck driver that she stayed devoted to. I hope it's true.
Mary looked pretty much like she does now, judging from the TV appearances promoting her solo album a few years ago. She's still a heartbreaker who understands what an audience is and how to stop a show with a whisper or a scream.
The CD's have all the hits, including odd little studio chatter and freaky little fragments of songs and operatic dialogue. It's essential and it rocks. Not having this and "Myrmidons Of Melodrama" is to be masochistically nursing a hole in your heart.

I discovered my puppy can wake me just by staring at me . . . I have no idea what that really signifies.

February 27, 2011

Baby, please don't reincarnate me. I just want to live on in your loving memory
Jet City

Childhoos Poems by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Children's Poems" by Maxfield Parrish
Life has evolved into wake up, shit, shower, shampoo, shave and feed the dog. And I am not unhappy.The Man With X-Ray Eyes
Lot of that has to do with things like, next weekend I'm going to upstate New York. Going to have a weekend with my wife.
That is already nice just thinking about it so I have normal expectations.
The bad part is I have to fly in. It already feels worse than entering Russia. I mean, it is true: the terrorists won. The lying and the cowardice of the USA have done more damage to the American way of life than the despicable jihadists who flew the planes into buildings and killed my friend.
Who'd have thought it. Bin Laden has been on his rampage longer than Dillinger and we can't catch him because we're weak sissies who join Tea Parties instead of being proud and brave.
Some moron, one moron, sticks some explosive in his underwear so now all America has to be fondled by guys who struggled to finish high school and couldn't score well enough on the SAT to get into Community College.
In the rest of the world everyone always knew I was an American and in a good way. I was laconic, got things done, walked proudly like I owned the planet but still cared enough to be polite and courteous. As opposed to the kind of Americans we've become: Loud, bellicose scared little bullies, too weak to care about anything except our own own corn syrup filled butts.
Despite that I'm going to have a great weekend. I'll comply with the TSA's perverted regulations so I can get to see someone I care about.

The Republicans are still trying to foment a civil war. They're disgusting. There's that Jackass from the south who laughed at the pin head who asked, "Who's job is it to shoot Obama?" Instead of Summer Girl by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Summer Girl" by TitusBoy
having the pin head arrested and cavity searched he laughed and agreed with him. And I blame Obama for not having the Republican arrested and charged with sedition and then executed for treason.
It used to be that the Republicans and the Democrats actually respected each other and respected the office. He may be a jerk but he is still the President and demands the respect we must give to him and his office.
James Watt, Raygun's Secretary of Interior, was fired for making a public racist joke. Now that racism is applauded in terms of taking our country back. Back to about 1920 with 7 day work weeks and children working in sweat shops for 16 hours a day.
Why isn't Obama standing up to the Koch Brothers and Roger Ailes? Why does he let them have the country and simper in the White House. I voted for him. I wish I'd voted for Clinton. She'd never have stood for the sort of abuse the Republicans are handing out to my country.Zomies of the Stratosphere
Obama has disappointed me.
Why hasn't he called out the National Guard to protect the demonstrators in Wisconsin. The police are standing with the demonstrators. The people are with them. Against them are the Republicans, corrupt Supreme Court Justices who have violated their terms of office and billionaires who think they deserve even more money.
Why isn't he in the lines with the people.
Instead of protecting the RAIA why isn't Obama protecting the people. I thought he believed more in people then he did in corporations. Apparently not.
Why hasn't he challenged Rush Limbaugh's drug addled corpulent self to a One on One match to demand he stop insulting Michelle Obama and his children? Why does Limbaugh get to lie and say he's an American when all he does is try and destroy this great country. Limbaugh is in the pay of the Emirate and the Corporations. He needs to be brought into the light.
When the revolution comes I thought it would be led by the people but instead it's apparent it will be led by billionaires against the people.
It's just me. I've never trusted anybody who remotely believes in The Rapture. How can you trust anyone who wants everybody except a couple of their friends and a few of the family dead.
I don't want anybody dead. The Dead leave vacuums. Even Saddam Hussein dying left a vacuum. I'm pretty certain he didn't see himself as evil, but the vacuum he created means some innocent child will have to grow into it. The same way that the collapse of the USSR meant that America had to reinvent itself as Stalinist Russia.

First time I ever heard of the Dorktones was when someone sent me a cover they'd done of one of my songs. It was pretty good. But better than that was the cover the Dorktones did of Balloon Farm's "A Question of Temperature".
I found out the band comes from Rotterdam! Rotterdam, for those who don't know Rotterdam is like a rougher tougher version of Amsterdam but without the tourists.
Pop Go The Dorktones I like the Netherlands. It's a wild, crazy cool country as afflicted with issues and blight as any place is but the Dutch just seem to handle it better.
They have a tradition of working hard and playing harder, of respecting each other and not being too concerned with what you might be doing. If I could make a living there it would be my second favorite place to live.
And if there are bands as good as the Dorktones it would be a wise choice.
If you visit their website you can download most of their stuff. You can get their latest "Pop Go The Dorktones" here.
It's worth the trouble. This isn't their best. That would probably be "The Sound of Music" but it's very good. Percussive guitar, good harmonies and all covers of great songs, and the song is always the thing, I think.

January 29, 2011

I was just a boy giving it all away
Adam Faith

Deep Sea Hunting by Photoneu
Click images for desktop size: "Deep Sea Hunting" by Photoneu
I saw a picture of my puppy. I was slightly stunned to see how mature, elegant and regal she looked.
When I look at her I still see her as a little puppy, the little girl who played "Alligator: with me, The Van where she'd hide under the bed and try and pull me into her "swamp".
The serious little girl who stayed with me in the hospital growling at the nurses when they came in and constantly looking up and checking on me. The puppy who went to therapy dog school and played tricks on me but still tried her hardest to please me. And the young lady who won a second level discipline obedience class while never having attended any obedience classes.
I look at her and I see all those puppies and dogs and they shrink down into one who waits for me.
She's my dog. We belong to each other.
I miss my other two dogs plenty. The gentle dog misses me too. The giant dog . . . who knows what thoughts go through his brain.

I set my alarm clock to wake me with radio, then I set the station to a top 40 pop station. Nothing gets me out of bed faster than turning off a top 40 tune blaring from a cheap radio.
A few days ago I was startled to hear a Jason Mraz tune. I'm not a fan, but I'd been working on a tune for the past few weeks. I'm always working on a tune the past few weeks, at least in my head. This one I was stumbling around with the lyrics, trying to clarify and enunciate some feelings. The harder I worked on it the more obscure things became, until I heard this Jason Mraz track, "Lucky".
The chorus pretty well summed up everything I was struggling to say in verse after verse: "We feel lucky to be in love with our best friend".
And that was it. That was all I was trying to say.
I'm never too sure how I feel about having my lofty emotions perfectly encapsulated in a pop song . . . but there you go.
Intitled by Solano Lopez
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Solamo Lopez
I guess the lesson is to always say things as simply as possible and to avoid the glitter and too much deep thought. Hey, maybe Jason Mraz is a genius! I still work off the standard that anyone who can do something that I can't must be a genius. I still got ego.

I have been hearing some interesting music lately. I guess everyone is psyched by the Jack White/Wand Jackson collaboration. Watching the numerous videos is a two edged sword. Seeing Wanda, my adolescent throbbing need, be real 50 years later is too much for me to comprehend or accept. ut that's offset by Jack White. He's pulled together one of the best rock bands I've ever heard and with him DANCIN' around the stage in his cat clothes and playing band leader is as thrilling as being at the birth of rock itself.
The record's not bad either.Voyage of the Rock Aliens
The other band is strange. they took their name from a Sonics' cut and even cover a Sonic's tune. And somehow they've become a country band??
I first heard "Boss Hoss" when someone sent me a demo of them covering the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper". I thought they were strange but great. I just assumed they were another garage revival band with enough talent and attitude to take things to their own level.
Their latest album is "Low Voltage" and its insane. The band looks like a 21st century Tex-Mex Salsa outfit. Too many guys in cowboy hats. The album is filled with brass, strings and fiddles, bass saxaphones and harmonicas and, of course, guitars filled with truck driver 8 part harmoney and it sounds about as country as the White Stripes meet the Beat Farmers. A distinctive and welcome sound.

That's it. Still working. Still suffering. Still trying to get my wife into this country (legally). And looking to survive the newer ages.

November 7, 2010

You ever have those times where all you do is laugh?

Cool Cat by Roads Media
Click images for desktop size: "Cool Cat" by Roads Media
I saw a murder of crows attacking a hawk.
I had the heart catheter. It was sort of nothing and sort of painful.
The hospital is new, modern and designed for assembly line medicine. I was given a cubicle, bigger than a prison cell but smaller than a monk's cell. The cubicle was too brightly lit. There was a bed, a wall mounted computer and enough space for a thin nurse to enter data.
It started with the nurse setting my IV. She couldn't raise a vein and stuck the needle into my wrist. She hit a nerve. It was thumping leg kicking burning pain. Felt like my arm was on fire. Amazingly I never moved my arm or the wrist so she left it in there. It hurt for 6 hours. Still hurts even now. The doc's claim it will heal.
I took the "procedure" without "something to relax me. It hurt like hell but it was endurable. I got to see the fluoroscope of the camera poking around in my heart. It switched and twitched around looking like a fishing line caught in a current. It bobbed around so much I idly wondered if these guys knew what they were doing.
I was in there for about 4 hours. If not for the screaming pain in the IV I'd have been bored.
the doc came in while they were wheeling me out; "I don't get to say this too often but your heart looks fine." He came to the recovery cubicle and amplified his comments: The stent in my heart was clear, there's no plaque in any of the veins or arteries. Everything looks fine and clear.
After that it 's just a matter of protecting the femoral artery, avoiding hemorrhages I stayed off my feet for 4 days, just sort of stumbling outside with my puppy when she needed it. My puppy was, as usual, great and understanding. She watched over me, never got demanding, Never left my side.
I went back to work after the 4 days. Had to. Cruddy job doesn't pay for sick days, or holidays or Pinup by Robert e McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Robert E McGinnis
vacations. Go Tea Party Republicans . . . I'm back to walking the 3.2 miles to work. It's fine.
The law that shuts down my job is still going forward. There's a lot of rumors about it being rescinded injuncted etc but they seem to be just rumors and dreams. The owners see it as positive reinforcement of their wish fulfillment. Of course my fellow workers (who, for the most part, are as scummy as the rest of the operation) and I are at a loss to plot our future in a bad economy. We're adrift. Adrift for the holidays.
Can't find a job and hate this job.

I've been listening to a lot of music. Most of it pretty poor.
About the worst one is the new Linkin Park album, "A Thousand Suns". I mean, who new that Linkin Park's main goal was to become Styx?
I didn't know the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had broken up until I heard a pretty poor Surf Mondo Nudo record from the Heartbreakers. I don't blame anyone for making a bad Surf record: Many are called but few can shred. But this new album "Mojo" is really off. I mean it's a bad blues album?!? It's not execrable but there's nothing on the disc to brighten your day.
Neil Young did an album with Daniel Lanois. I still think of Lanois as the black guy with the cotton white mohawk in Wendy O William's Plasmatics. That's not a knock, that's praise. But Le Noise is all about the gimmick not the music. It's this tripped out grungy acoustic guitar with lots of studio effects. Now Neil Young solo would be interesting, this is mainly grating. So grating it's a hard call as to whether any of the songs are any good or not.
The best of the new stuff seems to come from Weezer except their album is named "Hurley" and features the fat guy from "Lost on the cover. I have no idea why and find myself unable to care. But the songs are okay. Not great but okay and nowadays that seems to count for too much.
Untitled by Agata Nowicka
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Agata Nowicka
There's one bright spot though. Over 25 years ago the Osaka Ramones changed their names and became Shonen Knife. To commemorate they released 2 albums, "Fun Fun Fun" and "Free Time". The albums are interchangeable and, while not essential they can only be listened to with fondness. The musicianship has improved but Shonen Knife still sing songs with power about their fave foods and the gentle beauty they ignored just some shirt time ago. these gals are what music is supposed to be about.

I've been remiss on posting my NFl picks. You can tell what a crazy season its been as I'm only 69 out of 81! My wife has been trying her totally bogus guessing/cheating system and its come back to bite her as she's a laggardly 73 of 81. Please don't laugh at her, she's not in it to win just to have some fun.

My picks are in bold.Murder My Sweet

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - Right now the Falcons are probably the best team in the NFC. The Buc's have played better football this season and benefited from the last place schedule. This might be a good Audrey Hepburn
Click images for desktop size: "Audrey Hepburn"

Chicago at Buffalo - Cruddy game of the week.

New England at Cleveland - How do the Patriots keep winning?

New York Jets at Detroit - The Lions are playing well at home but the Jets will come in with a huge chip on their shoulders and have the talent to dominate the upstarts.

New Orleans at Carolina - Dru Brees only plays with a bright fire but he'll have blood in his eyes and forestall a let down after their stunning thrashing of the Steelers. The Panthers will wear blue.

Miami at Baltimore - The Dolphins have been playing like a playoff team but the Ravens are playing like a Superbowl team.

San Diego at Houston - The Chargers are counting on a second half surge. They have nothing on the roster to base this dependency on.

Arizona at Minnesota - Brad Childress is destroying the Vikings! The Cardinals just suck. Cruddy Without You by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Without You" by TitusBoy
game of the week contender. How crippled will Brett Favre be in this one?

New York Giants at Seattle - My upset of the week. The Giants are not that good and the SeaHawks are playing at home.

Indianapolis at Philadelphia - I hate the Eagles but they've never lost a game after a bye week and the Colts are decimated.

Kansas City at Oakland - Who would have thought that these two teams would be the game of the week! Taking the Raiders because they're at home.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - I look at the Bengals and I want to cry. They should be a contender but they stink. So much talent and nothing delivered.

Dallas 10 at Green Bay 14 - Back in August this looked like a for sure game of the week. Now it's a "please get this over with" match up.

May 30, 2010

Be obscure clearly
E. B. White

Attack by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: "Attack!" by Lavakillu
I've had to turn off comments on the site.
I was getting about 3,000 spam comments a day. I don't have time and energy to write. Burning offFanny Hill Meets Dr Erotico some of that to deal with deleting huge globs of nonsense was exasperating and exhausting.
It appears to be coming from one BotNet coming from a furniture store in Nebraska. Blocking that just bounced around to other Windows networks mainly small retail joints in the midwest.
Love that all these Windows guys have gotten their broadband hijacked. Great OS.
My wife complained about me having comments turned off on our fifth anniversary. (Anniversary of meeting, not of marriage.) I turned comments back on for an hour or so and got hit with 65 spam comments. She didn't post her comment. She was mad at me about something. Probably me not remembering the anniversary but maybe for something else.

Everything else has gone as well as can be expected. Feeling pressured to deal with the US Immigration to get my wife down here.Coping with that as best as I can.Did the big annual dog walk with my puppy. She hates her diet but she's starting to look magnificent. She attracted her share of stares and coos.That's something because there were we'll over 500 dogs on the walk, everything from Italian Greyhounds to Chinese Crested. They all seemed like good dogs to me.
Before the walk and even after my puppy has been extremely happy. I'm not sure why or if the why matters. She's just laughing about everything and enjoying being with me and tormenting me as much as possible. Although I think she feels like I'm tormenting her.

Always With Honor
Click images for desktop size: "Always With Honor" by Unknown
They've jacked the price of my drugs 325%!!
I wasn't alone on that. At the clinic pharmacy there's been a lot of violent disturbance because of the price increase. A sense of entitlement I guess. Some of it probably just fear. I felt fear, trying to figure out how I could pay for it all. I take 12 pills a day plus the insulin.
I managed to save some money by going to different pharmacies. The $4 generic works for one of the drugs, and another is normally $44 but I found one doing it for $10.
The scary prices are on the Plavix (the most profitable drug in the world at over $200 a month) and the insulin (Lantus) which goes for about $200 a month.
Health care reform - who needs it right?

I'm incensed that our government has gotten so corrupt that they're letting Comcast, Time Warner et al own the internet. Comcast already blocks sites that disagree with their illegal tactics. Obama is Fists of Vengeance so busy trying to criminalize children for downloading music that he's forgotten one of his main campaign promises, an open and free internet.
Instead he is abiding by the wishes of the corrupt Republican Senators and the corrupt dog Democrats in the house (all whom have received MASSIVE chunks of cash from Comcast and Time Warner.
Tony Bennett
Click images for desktop size: "Tony Bennett"
They wrote a "bi-partisan" (hey, corruption and greed know no party lines) letter demanding the FCC ignore their mandate and care for the money grubbers. Obama clearly agrees with them and is letting it happen.
This seems small compared to the fact that Republican policies are leading to the end of the world down in the Gulf of Mexico, but as the internet gets shut down there's a chance, a real good chance, that we'd never even have known about the oil spill and BP's ignoring of it.
Again Obama, instead of declaring it a disaster and sending in the troops to blow the hell of the leak and stop it, he lets BP dilly about and make money.
There's a sadness in the world.

Hit with overwhelming tiredness. Want to talk about the new music I've been listening too.

February 6, 2010

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers
James Thurber

Click images for desktop size: "Hollywood" by Unknown
Rain and snow here. They're not used to it. It locks the whole town into a deep panic. Strange. Two plow trucks with salt spreaders would make the whole thing pretty much a non-issue in a few hours.Blood Cult They do nothing despite dozens of accidents and fatalities. They do nothing and people keep driving. Except me. I keep walking.
The nasty weather makes being ordered to stay at home a bit easier to take. I saw the doc on Wednesday and got ordered to take it easy, to take off two days of work, to let my body heal.
My blood pressure is still high 144 over 80. Doc says it's because of all the fluid in my chest. She was going to give me a lecture about walking out of the hospital but stopped when I said it was mainly because of the money. the hospital said I left because I wanted to go home and feed my puppy . . . that's true but not all that's true.
She also said, "The emergency doctor doesn't understand how tough you are. Your previous doctor made notes all over the place but its hard to believe. I've been seeing you for six months and I barely believe it myself."
There's not much there for me so I let it lie. I don't much like people thinking I'm so tough I can endure all the pain.
She sent me off to get more x-rays. I'm probably going to have to go to a Pulmonary doc. The Lyrica damaged my lungs some but there seems to be some calcification already present. The doc was under the impression I'd tested positive for TB!! I told her I thought I'd remember if I had.
I was worried, In London I had to get tested for TB every six months. I worked with a group called Blue Cross. I'd go out at night with a veterinarian to the homeless enclaves and we'd treat the dogs many of the homeless men and women kept for protection and companionship. Tuberculosis runs rampant in the homeless communities of Europe so I had to get the little skin pop test and chest x-rays far too often.
It was noted in my file that I had tested positive in one of those skin pop tests. The doc checked the computer records pretty quickly and found the positive for TB notation. A few years ago I needed a chest x-ray for Canadian immigration. It seems that the radiologist couldn't think of any other reason that I would need an x-ray other than having tuberculosis so she checked a box on some Ferrari
Click images for desktop size: "Ferrari"
form or other.
I don't have TB. I'm pretty glad about that but resentful about spending time having to think about it.
I got my chest x-ray and picked up my prescription drug refills. I'm going to hold off on any more neuropathic medicines and just deal with the pain with ibuprofen.
I'm supposed to see the neurologist on the 19th of this month. I decided I could survive the hurt until then. I don't care for my neurologist much but he's got a pretty fantastic world class rep. He'll have to deal with the sudden breaking down of my bodies electrical system.
I have to say though, that other than taking one longish walk to the bank I've been pretty docile and being docile has gotten my leg under control. I haven't taken any ibuprofen today at all.
I've gotten to listen to a lot of music. I like that. There's four pretty special albums I've liked. All new but two are brand new and two are new collections of old stuff.
Alkaline Trios "This Addiction" is fine. So good it almost makes me forget how they are the worst The Bird With Crystal Plumage group I've ever had to endure live. Nearly forget but not quite. Every song is tinged with the memory of that horrific performance.
I'm also surprised by the Rob Zombie "Hellbilly Deluxe II". Parts of it are savage and totally deluxe, like "The Devil's Rejects" and "Halloween" were brutal savage celluloid dreams of evil. The other parts are like . . . Well, there's a track, "The Cyd Charisse
Click image for desktop size: "Cyd Charisse"
Man Who Laughs" which starts out great then suddenly devolves into a totally inept 5 minute drum solo! Still, what's great is very cool and what sucks can be ignored. Think "Halloween II" enacted on disc and you'd be pretty close to what the album is.
The release of The Blasters "Testament" is a surprise. Their complete Slash recordings. Slash was a music mag in LA that evolved into a record label pushing out 45's and the occasional LP. I had a lot of contact with Phil and Dave Alvin for some reason or other. I thought the Blasters were a great band and that Dave was more into Buck Owens (which was are main point of camaraderie) than Little Richard. It was Dave who wrote the songs and Phil who promoted the band.
Getting bands to work is a miserable job. It can turn you into a miserable person. But Phil could sing and front a band for sure. And there's plenty of evidence in these two CD's that The Blasters should have been the saviours of music. Maybe they were.
Finally there's the six CD collection from Buddy Holly. "Not Fade Away-The Complete Studio Recordings". Someone pointed out that Holly's "From the Original Master Tapes" was the first CD that showed what CD's were sonically capable of. Prior to that disk most CD's stuck to that insulting Japanese Art
Click images for desktop size: "Ancient Japanese Art" by Unknown
format of just using the old RIAA eq'ed for phono cartridge or cassette master tapes. They were pretty offensive sounding. Holly has never offended my ears.
The complete recordings has all the hits, some weird little tid bits, like Holly recording different versions of "That'll Be The Day" inserting a different DJ's name. I'd heard them before but never in what I guess you'd call a prestige collection. All the hits are there and they all rock like we're all going to be young forever. There's a lot of weird country stuff, complete with Texas fiddle stylings that are only of interest because Holly's playing guitar.
My enforced vacation ends on Super Sunday. Coolness.
I've lost the picking games contest to my friend. Even if she picks the evil mechanized Colts I can'tAbsurd overtake her. Small victory for her which only proves she's a cheater.
I'm picking the Saints for no other reason than the beauty of it. Little Dru Brees vs the evil Payton Manning. Hey, don't believe those sweet and funny commercials. Payton Manning is evil. Would a nice guy ruthlessly carve up a defense like he has?
The Colts are boring and will probably win. That's a shame. I like the wild uncontrollable offense the Brees directs. I like the flying by the seat off their pants defense the Saints throw out there. All the Colts offer is perfection. Perfection is boring.
Who dat think they gonna beat them Saints! I'll be saying it and watching the game and hoping.
The Who for a halftime show?? Maybe 20 years ago . . .

August 22, 2009

Battles Without Honor or Humanity
Kinji Fukasaku

Click images for desktop size: "Predator" by Unknown
One of the last memorable gigs as a band was at a benefit party. The party was being thrown by some slick, over priced arty magazine. Curse of Frankenstein-Horror of Dracula
It was one of those functions guaranteed to attract a lot of A & R people, heavy weights, stars etc. Plus the magazine was certain to give itself serious coverage. A cover story. What was amazing was that nobody in the band objected to any of the details or even the pay. It was the bands usual tact to find some highly objectionable reason to not doing these career boosting gigs . . . We had all been in too many bands and the music excited us but the business was something that just seemed to be in the way.
It was sort of miraculous that with our lack of promotion and ambition that the party promoters had even found us. Like we once got it together to mail out ONE CD of demo's to a magazine. They picked it as the CD of the month. Wrote quite a bit about it. We all read the article, tired to take it with professional maturity and then basically did nothing. We rehearsed more and got together when we felt like it.
But we got this gig and agreed to it. I don't know who set it up. The venue was huge, very nice. Had a full pub as sort of an attachment, It had two separate stages and an outdoor amphitheater that could hold a few hundred. We were scheduled to play in the amphitheater, the fourth act. I was irked we weren't the closers but the band that was closing had a single in the charts and had a brief appearance on "Top of the Pops". They were a techno-dance band and fought for closing.
I was standing at the bar, not drinking quietly, when this fellow started talking to me. I'm used to that. For some reason a guy not drinking at a free bar attracts more attention that a rowdy drunk.
This fellow was as tall as me, fair haired going to baldness. He wore khaki shorts, broken aviator Scarlet Cascade
Click images for desktop size: "Scarlet Cascade" by Unknown
sunglasses, a too large hawaiian shirt, white socks and Doc Martin boots. He was drinking tonic water and bitters.
He was excited about an act in one of the smaller stages. The act was some girl who shot sparks out of her body . . . he was so excited about it that it was contagious. I had no idea why it sounded exciting but he made it seem that way. We made a date to go see the woman's act. Then our attention got diverted by the cute little hostesses who wanted us to stop our not drinking and do our sound checks. The guy in the hawaiian shirt was in a band too.
The little hostess who was assigned to take me to the staging area explained that he was the guitarist for "Siouxie and the Banshees". She made it clear she wished she'd had him to baby sit instead of me as she explained he'd also played on some of the "Little Furry Creature" tracks. My only thoughts were that he sure didn't come off like the original Goth guitarist, he was too likable for that.
We did our sound check and then did whatever we could to stave off boredom. The Hawaiian shirtDark Passage Goth guitarist came and found me. The acts were starting on the inside stages and the spark girl was starting soon.
Spark girl was the opening act. Big mistake. The woman walked on stage to some nondescript acid trance music. She wasn't very pretty but she was fit. She knew how to appeal to guys. She was mostly The Wizard of Oz
Click image: "Wizard of Oz-Bewtween Takes"
nude. To keep it legal she had strips of black clunky metal pasted to strategic places on her body. On her head was some sort of clunky Grace Jones geometric thing. What was interesting was a high speed/power grinder in her hands.
She did some mildly salacious poses on a chair while she revved the grinder in time to the music. Suddenly she touched the grinder to her body which let off a huge shower of red and white fiery sparks. She then danced around some touching the grinder to the black strips and shooting sparks all over the place. It was great!
She ended the act by lying back on the floor and touching the grinder between her legs shooting a twenty foot shower of sparks over the audiences head.
I was pretty slack jawed. I was also starting to write songs that required an electric grinder accompaniment . . .
My time for being put in my creative place wasn't over. The Hawaiian Shirted Goth guitarist was opening the show. He had a trio he'd put together just for this gig. They were a little raw but very competent.
The Goth guitarist took the stage in exactly what he'd been wearing. He played a pink Fender. It looked customized and had a lot more sustain than you usually get from a strat.
There were about 300 people there and he treated the audience like they were guests in his living Fractal Axes
Click images for desktop size: "Fractal Axes" by Unknown
room. He was the most relaxed entertainer I'd ever seen and he was totally chilled and, of course, great!
My memory of his set was just of it always being casual, friendly and driving. But his finale was shattering. He soloed on electric guitar doing a mind blasting cover of the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight To Party". It is now one of my primal memories defining rock & roll.
Relaxed, self assured and able to get a few hundred people dancing to just your guitar. I was humbled, jealous and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The only negative was thinking we have to follow that!
Out of the two bands that were supposed to play, one refused to follow him and the other had a late running drummer so suddenly we had to follow that!
We did okay. Had to work is all. Made for a great show. Everything was well received.
After the set we got approached by a few managers and A & people. Signed with a manager too but at the moment Goth Guitarist and I were anxious to get to the smaller stage. There was going to beDestroy All Monsters a female fire eater! We hoped for something similar to spark girl.
The fire eater was just okay. She wore a black bikini, was covered in interesting tattoos and did an interesting fire eating routine but she didn't shoot a tower a flame 20 feet over the audience's head from her vagina and after that precedent we couldn't help but be disappointed.
Oh, yeah. The magazine came out. The article was big. Opened with a double page spread of the spark girl. I think she deserved the coverage. They ran three pix of the band and wrote about a page and a half about us. I thought it weird that they only gave Goth Guitarist two columns.
The new manager got us a couple of gigs and got us into a recording studio, We laid down about a half dozen tracks and had some fun but the drummer got married, the lead singer got a job and discovered that he enjoyed not sweating the rent and eating regular. The bass player and I got this game for the Playstation and it seemed life or death to us that we get it finished . . . So another rock and roll fantasy laid to rest there.

Working the graveyard shift is killing me. Not the jobs fault. I think I'd be having the same problem working any hours. I can't sleep. The pain in my right arm just won't allow it. The latest wrinkle is that I wake up and my right hand is vibrating wildly. Vibrating faster than I can consciously will it to. I've tried to convince myself that this is a good thing, that it means the muscles are loosening up or something.
The arm was miserable the first two nights of work. Hurt constantly. The two numb fingers felt like they were filling up with blood and were fixing to explode. They don't look swollen or anything so Bulls On Parade by Olli Pekka Jauhiainen
Click images for desktop size: "Bulls on Parade" by Olli Pekka Jauhiainen
I'm lost as to what they might mean with all the hurting.
I've worked 10 straight days. This is the first day off. In that time I learned to fulfill my work duties and keep my arm protected enough that its only a distracting issue with the occasional burst of screaming agony.
The walking and being on my feet is tiresome. I have a 3.2 mile walk to and from work, which is probably a good thing for me. Except the final mile and a half coming home I discover that I'm almost crawling up the hills. I find that annoying.
Not walking on my day off I can feel my legs having a chance to recover and heal.
The job itself is inconsequential. I have little contact with my co-workers. I only deal with them at shift change. One is fine and the other is a nightmare, but I only have to see her for 15 minutes a day so it doesn't wear too thin.
One thing that bugs me is the ever present cameras. I don't like being looked at quite that much.The Deadly Mantis
As to the job. Its just that a job. I have no feelings about it at all really. Maybe just too tired to know what I might feel.
The only drag part is after the shooting incident of my first day the landlords have evicted them! They plan to move the place but everywhere they've talked about moving would be impossible for me to get to. So its now a temporary job. Rather annoying.
So I'll get about 6 weeks in. I've restarted my job hunt, lightly right now but will step it up this week.

My puppy is now scheduled to be with me on Labor Day weekend. It think about that a lot. I want her with me. I keep seeing things that would interest her. I think about how how much faster my walk to work would be if she were there to help me along.
One interesting thing is that no one at my job has recognized me as her companion. Its about the only place I've been in this town where that's happened. Too tired to make anything of that.
After she's settled in and feeling comfortable I'm going to bring in a foster dog.

June 2, 2009

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them
Walt Disney

Her Blue Eyes
Click images for desktop size: "Her Blue Eyes" by Unknown
Pain in my shoulder woke me at 4, again. Last night I updated some of the Apple software. The QuickTime update required a reboot. I hate rebooting. Now I can hate it with even more purpose.Teenage Doll
The restart began and then the computer turned itself off. Did that twice more.
I rebooted in single user mode (command line stuff) and ran a disk repair (fsck). The disk was unrepairable. The binary tree catalog had become corrupt. That's the entire file system . . .
I'd gotten lazy and hadn't done a full back up since Sunday. I was able to boot from my back up. 2 and 1/2 hours later DiskWarrior was able to repair the problem. At least for now.
I guess I'm going to have to start doing twice daily back-ups until I can find a replacement drive I can afford. DiskWarrior reported that I've lost 36 folders and 18 files . . . I don't know what they were. A quick visual scan doesn't show anything terrible. Maybe I got lucky and it was some cache files or something.
I replaced the drive in the iMac almost 3 years ago. A Seagate Barracuda. It was a terrible job. One I'm not looking forward to attempting again. What choice do I have? Last time I broke the DVD drive. Maybe I can fix that or replace it.
Working on the iMac is worse than working on a notebook.
If I suddenly cyber-vanish, well, you know why.
I remain grateful for IMAP. No fear of losing any emails, at least. Even when I don't answer them I like to have them.

Yesterday was strangely busy. Five dogs had a lot to do with that. Five dogs and thunderstorms.
My friend got to come home early, she got to work from home. Her MacBook running Parallels is doing studly duty, I think.
Click images for desktop size: "Modern Woman" by Unknown
We had a good discussion about the football tryouts this evening. I was just pulling out of my zombie state, where I'm resisting passing out. I hate naps.
My friend sometimes resists discussions. I think she sees them as arguments and with my propensity for going ballistic I worry that I engendered that. She was at one of the meetings about the tryouts.
At the meeting I heard, "The coaches won't do anything but observe and evaluate the players."
She heard, "The coaches will be assigned drills to run so best come prepared to work."
Pretty contrary.
Somewhere in there she said, "You don't approve of any coaches except the ones you trained." I could immediately think of at least a half dozen coaches I worked for who I liked and also thought were pretty good, better than me in most ways.
The end result of the conversation was positive for me. It reminded me of a truism that I have The Blob and Dinosaurus always held but in the middle of the volunteer coaches I know it is easy to forget.
The main point of sport at this age and this level is to help the athletes to be better people not just on the field but in society, in their neighborhoods.
No person is really capable of teaching that sort of skill. But it can be taught. A coaches job is to train the athlete to be the best that he can be. The real beauty of football is that its teaches more than Doris Day
Click images for desktop size: "Doris Day"
I ever could.
My aphorism has always been, "I teach them how to play the game. The game teaches them about life."
All men are, by instinct, competitive. For me to be successful as a coach, and I think I have been successful, it is important I rise above my animal instincts and not get sucked into who's better, best.
Working with pros I never had an issue knowing that. Amateurs, volunteers who are giving freely and deserve love and respect for their efforts made me forget that, if only just a little bit.
Remembering that changes my attitude greatly. Remembering my place in the great scheme of my goals is important. Even though I made my friend uncomfortable the conversation was important to me for that and several other reasons.

The five dogs . . . oh boy. New foster and foster dog are tight buddies. Even if it involves a lot of humping. They are both doing better and better each day. New foster still gets too nervous but he's starting to laugh and smile. When my friend or I upset him he now goes to look for one of us to protect him from the other!
He's not housebroken and had another accident, urinating in the exact same spot! I need to buy a Geisha Dream by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Geisha Dream" by TitusBoy
newspaper so I can cover that spot.
We had another small incident. Giant dog is incredibly jealous, He attacked, not viciously, the new foster. The little guy ran and hid under a chair but let my friend coax him out. Just too many dogs and giant dog doesn't like us talking so much to the new guys.
Foster dog has had some intrest from forever homes. One was rejected out right. They'd adopted and returned two animals previously. The other two are lets wait and see right now. The new foster has a woman willing to wait for him until we can see how he really is.
My friend points out that with 5 dogs we cannot do a proper assessment as to how he'd do on his own with just him and a person.

I watched a terrible movie yesterday. A BBC documentary. In this country we have a strange idea of the BBC. I've disliked them and continue you do so. The doc was "The Rock and Roll Singer."The Animal World
It claimed to be an impressionistic view of a rock & roll tour from 1969. It was impressionistic becasue it had no point of view, no story to tell, and no skill in resolving it.
Still the 45 minute film was fantastic becasue the rock & roll singer was Gene Vincent. It was his tour with The Wild Angels" as his back up band.
Even inept filmmaking couldn't conceal the man's genius, his talent as a musicain as he rehearsed with the band. His insanity and his charm.
Although he was 34 at the time of the tour he looked well over fifty. He'd be dead in two years, dead from excess. There are five live numbers in the film, shot with a static single camera. That;s all he needed. When Vincent sang he collapsed the world in on itself.
The only effective filmmaking was a couple of pointless moments of Vincent walking around London, dragging his crippled leg around his corpulent body looking sadly at the world. Then there were the Advocation
Click images for desktop size: "Advocation" by Unknown
moments after the show where he had to fret over getting paid. He was worried about himself but there was also the worry about getting the band paid that seemed pre-emminent.
Even when they attempted to provoke and in each spontaneous moment there was no scandal, nothing to uglify, all there was is a drunken, sad man who still held close to the idea of being a Southern Gentleman in all things.
Gene Vincent. Even talentless hacks can make art when you have a demi-god to point your camera at, a demi-god who was also so very mortal and so little different from you or me.

May 27, 2009

If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms
Mike Ditka

All Mine
Click images for desktop size: "All Mine" by Unknown
The diabetic nurse called me yesterday. Just a check up. It made me feel much better. Not so alone.
There was no real out shoot to the call. I'm doing everything fine, other than not changing my eating Murder My Sweet habits as much as I should. Not the content of the meals; the frequency.
We discussed my type of diabetes. Its a common enough occurrence with chemo. She pointed out that it was surprising that my thyroid has no apparent damage. I was surprised that there was a side effect I'd managed to miss. I wasn't upset that there's an episode of the chemo experience that I avoided. Doesn't feel like I missed out on anything.
Sophia Loren
Click images for desktop size: "Sophia Loren"
This morning I had my blood work done, to see what the effect is of the insulin and what damage its doing to me.
The woman who took my blood last time wasn't there. When she took my blood she told me she was waiting for her test results to see if she had Hodgkin's Disease. Turns out the results were positive. Poor girl.
The blood test cost less this time around, fewer tests to run.
My friend dropped me off in a driving rain. My friend was on her way to her big work conference. She was distracted. She's afraid that she's not going to be able to get away from the conference to see her concert tonight. She was looking forward to the show.
After the blood was taken I walked home. The rain had slacked back some. I noticed that the "Burger King" had gone out of business. I always take it as a bad sign when crappy franchise fast food joints go under. I saw that the Indian grocery had folded too. There were a few others.
Failed businesses are depressing, especially on a gray day in the rain. They are the face of crushed dreams. It also means the economy isn't doing as well as the overly optimistic announcements.
I thought about places I loved that went out of business. That didn't last long. It was easier toBetty Page By Jim Silke
Click images for desktop size: "Betty Page" by Jim Silke
remember the people who succeeded. Ma Maison, when it was in the little blue and white clapboard house on Melrose, when Wolfgang Puch was in the kitchen. The food was remarkable and cheap enough. Now its that big glitz palace by the Beverly Center, as capable of storing pleasant memories as a McDonalds.
Gorkies downtown. A twenty four hour cafeteria serving Russian food and coffee. You could go in there and eat with the latest art stars, slumming celebrities and surfers and musicians. No matter how crowded it was no one ever hassled you, even if you'd been there for hours nursing just a cup of coffee.
It used to be that to play in clubs on the Strip (and adjoining areas) bands had to pay to play. It wasn't like you had to hand the club owner a wad of cash to get on stage. Well, actually that's exactly what it was, except the logic behind it was that you were buying tickets to make sure the place was full. You'd buy a block of 100 tickets and then you could resell them . . . The actuality was Once Upon A Girl that you'd give them to your girlfriends and band fags and they'd just give them away. Its how you got to meet the guys in Motley Crue and Guns and Roses. I liked that they lived in their stage clothes. They'd be out there handing out tickets trying to get you to come to the show. Working their way up.
Its why clubs like Brendan's Masque and the Park View Hotel meant so much to us. A place to just set up and play while people danced and went crazy. I liked the Masque best when it was in this basement; toilets with no doors that constantly overflowed, as many bands as would show up thrashing it out and the crowd was always into it.
The Park View Hotel was this crusty falling apart home of faded excess overlooking Macarthur Park and the crack dealers. On the weekends it was filled with about a thousand crazy people and about 10 different bands playing until they had nothing left to give. We played there a half dozen times. A few hundred people in the mosh pit while a few hundred more strolled around the enormous ball room. It was a moment in time I'm glad to be a part of.
Then there were the chinese restaurants. Madame Wong's started it. A very elegant restaurant, plenty of thick black and red enamel. They weren't drawing the dinner crowd so they did the obvious thing and became a rock/punk venue.
We played one memorable show there. Gary Myrick and the Figures opened. I never got along with Gary. No reason for it. He's a nice guy. But back then we were young enough to not get along with people and not care about they why's or wherefores of it. Gary opened and then we followed him. It was a big deal show. It was the debut of the B 52's in LA. David Bryne and Bob Dylan were in one of the booths. The room was thick with A&R clones.
Annie Cyborg
Click images for desktop size: "Little Annie Cyborg" by Unknown
We did a brilliant set. I was wearing my After Six blue velvet tuxedo jacket. Back then bands would make pins to publicize themselves, so the lapels where tastefully decorated by the pins of bands we shared the stage with. I wore my boris Badenov T-Shirt and black leather jeans.
We gave way to Peter Case and The Plimsouls. Peter is one of those pop geniuses who should have gone down in history. He's already had the monster hit "A Million Miles Away" but here he was following us.
His stage show rocked. Then Peter was put in the weird place of having to introduce the B 52's. It was clear he didn't know a thing about them, even if they were the headliners.
They had the A&R buzz though. I had their single "Rock Lobster". I thought it was okay. I can listen to "Peter Gunn" riffs all day without getting bored.
I liked their set. The girls were dressed in 50's retro Judy Jetson style mini skirts, had mile high bee hive hair do's and made some freaky cool sounds. Fred was a hard working front man. There wasNiagra nothing to not like.
After the show Gary Myrick had a hit single, "she Talks in Stereo". Peter saw serious money when "A Million Miles Away" got featured in a dozen different movies, the B 52's became legends - I mean when "The Love Shack", their rehearsal hall burned down it made international news. And I got served with a subpoena and a restraining order from my old band and the record company telling me I was violating my contract playing in front of people and using my real name . . .
It was a memorable night.

I got home to the dogs. They were, of course, overjoyed to see me.
Yesterday had some issues with the foster dog. He insists on pushing out the door and then thinks its a great game to get you to chase him. Moving after him hurt me terribly. It made me angry. I don't like being angry with dogs.
The gentle dog has taken to beating up foster dog! All three are tired of his perpetual aggressive Light Symphonia by Love1008
Click images for desktop size: "Light Symposium" by love1008
play mode and are letting him know about it. Their lessons will probably stay with the foster dog longer than my tedious lessons!
Since my friend is away for a couple of days I'll spend the time continuing foster dogs training. I also plan to answer emails. I have 71 in my in box.
I'm fine answering email if I can give a single line, a single word is better response. My usual method of handling the back log is to wait and see if someone writes me a second time, then I can delete the first one while I figure out how to answer in a sentence.
My blood sugars are still all over the place. I'm up to 22 units of insulin. I now have the problem of figuring out these little insulin pens. The hold 300 units of insulin and are re-usable. They have a cap with a pen clip! But they are too large to actually carry in your pocket. I'll need 23 units tonight but the pen only appears to have 20 left in it. I have no idea if I make do with just 20 or if I have to stick myself a second time . . .

May 25, 2009

Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable
Buckminster Fuller

Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Steve Argyle
When I was five I used to trade baseball cards with the other kids in my area. I didn't have the cash to buy the packages of cards. Most of my cards came from the back of cereal boxes. For a whileLady SIngs the Blues Jello was putting baseball cards in their puddings. Trading those kind of cards put me in a lower trading class of kid.
When I was seven I discovered comics and surfing. We were kids. We didn't have much money so we'd buy the comics we could and then go to the beach and swap them. I got to read the first "Spiderman" comic trading a "Jimmy Olsen" for it.
Click images for desktop size: "Stalactites" by Unknown
We'd look askance at kids who bought "Archie Comics" or Harvey comics like "Richie Rich". We lived for super heroes punching out bad guys. We loved that Spiderman made jokes while he duked it out with the Rhino. Batman, even when stupid, was always cool. The Fantastic Four were a bit stuffy but the Thing was cool.
Sometimes, on the flat days, one of the real surfers would loan us his board so we could paddle around in the ocean and work on our moves, usually practice trying to stand on the board. He'd trade us the use of his board for a couple of comics so he could have something to read while he prayed for a set.
When I was nine we'd get together and trade records. 45's, albums were something you got for Christmas. We lived on 45's, on songs not concepts.
Tatiana Valkovskaya
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Tatiana Valkovskaya
These record swapping parties were our first interactions with girls where the main point wasn't to torment the girls to see how much they could take before they started crying.
We'd listen to the music. Dance tentatively. Swap the records for things we thought were cooler. Sometimes a trade would depend on the quality of the song on the flip side.
When VHS tapes came out movies were like 70 bucks a piece! We'd swap them with friends. Grabbing an obscure movie or TV show some guy taped off of late night TV in his hometown. Looking for westerns and monsters. Searching for cool.
Who knew that those happy days, those days of learning to interact with society, to appreciate a groups similarities and to cherish our differences would be considered criminal activities today.
You can't buy anything anymore. You can only rent.Invasion of the Bee Girls
Some rich jerks afraid of the future passed some laws. Instead of socializing for real and learning you have to sit and do as you're told. Government by the minority, the tiny minority, the "ruling class".
You can't own a record or a comic. You are only renting it and you're not allowed to trade it or let more than three other people listen to it.
It makes sense if you're rich and want to get richer and if you hate people. Albert Gonzalez lies to congress and okays torture behind their back. Nothing is going to happen to him. He gets to write columns and gets paid too much for them laughing about how he screwed us all over in the illusion of keeping us safe. Meanwhile Roger Clemens, a baseball player gets persecuted because some groupie he befriended swears he gave Clemens some shots. The full weight of the FBI and the Justice Department is committed to destroying his life.
Dick Cheney brags about using torture to lie to us and to to deceive us and Obama says we have to move on from having thousands of our kids slaughtered and murdered due to the actions of this guy. We have to forget all about that. Obama thinks that lowering our self esteem and having the rest of the world think we're sleazy scum sucking cowards is trivial. What's important is that we imprison and criminalize that kid sitting in his room who wants to make friends, who wants others to hear a song and see the same image in their heads that the song conjured in his.
It used to be that you were in a band. You made a record. You could get 45's stamped out in lots of Wading Through Despair by Resident Angel
Click images for desktop size: "Wading Through Despair" by Resident Angel
500. With a two color self-designed label they cost you 300 bucks. You'd haul a box of the 45's o your shows and get your girl friends to hawk them for a buck apiece. If you got lucky you'd sell twenty at a show.
Later you'd get CD's stamped out. With the jewel case and art they'd run about $2.50 a piece to make. You'd smile at your girl friends and get them to sell them at your shows for $5.
Now, it used to be that the RIAA sold records for you. But the recording artists didn't get paid. They got to perform shows and they got to keep the gate. The major labels loved this deal.
The record stores made about $2 a sale, the record jobber - the guy who put the records in the store got about $3.50 and the label got about $5.50. Sometimes the labels would pay the publishers, if the publishers were big enough to sue the labels.
The RIAA loved it. They fought hard to keep it that way.
Then came the internet and the world changed. For the better most of us would say.
I can see it being illegal if I downloaded a mess of songs and tried to sell them to you. I can evenJourney to the Center of the Earth see file sharing services being questionable when somebody is making money. I mean the RIAA or some webmaster raking off cash, might be wrong.
These rich guys couldn't be bothered to se the change in the world. They only saw threats to their mansions. About ten years ago Courtney Love wrote a brilliant piece telling how the RIAA screwed her and every other recording musician over. Steve Van Zandt has also come out strong about the abuse of musicians by the labels and the RIAA.
Radio Head and Nine Inch Nails are two bands who took the words to heart and were smart enough to see the world has changed and is changing.
So are a lot of other bands. They remember tape and they remember taping songs off the radio. They want their music heard. They want to touch people and to have their music move people. They want you to dance.
Up in the bar there's a new link called jukebox. It'll take you to a glitzy, funny (to me anyway) page where there are 40 songs that aren't burdened with the little RIAA bug.
Who Wants to Dance by J Heppert
Click images for desktop size: "Who Wants to Dance" by J Heppert
The tunes are all there because they need to be heard. There are some great tunes there. Mostly awesome, at least if you like the music I like . . . These aren't my favorites, not all of them at least. The criteria was what I played the most often.
These are the bands of the past and of the future.

The porch is finished enough to be used. It looks good. My friend loves it which is all that matters.
I've been stove up. The pain is pretty horrible.
I use a simple scale. See the leukemia made me take chemo. Chemo gave me diabetes. The diabetes gave me neuropathic pain. For the past couple of years the pain has been pretty unremitting.
Death would hurt more. I can live with this pain. I have to remember that when I feel like giving up.
I'm up to 20 units of insulin. I looked it up. 20 units is about the average. I still have to increase theLeon dosage. My blood sugars are still not under control. They gave me sugar pills. Big suckers they are, in case my dosage increase put me into a hypoglycemic coma. No where near any danger of that, at least not yet.
This is my friends last day of vacation. Memorial Day. She says its the best vacation she's had in years. Usually she misses work but this time she's dreading going back.
We're going to the Chinese Buffet.
The foster dog is fitting in better. The only issue he really has, aside form his incredibly sloppy water drinking, is his constant play. Constant play is not a good thing. It sounds like it should be but he gets so cranked up he gets annoying, not just to people but even to the other dogs. Foster dog gets so wound up he's nearly a threat. He's a good dog though and is trying to understand.
Tonight is a coaching meeting. After the meeting we have to pick up my coaching kit. The tackling dummies, agility gear, first aid kit etc.
They don't have a lock up at the practice field so we have to haul all this stuff around. On paper it sounds like a great kit though. That the kit includes an agility ladder and agility hurdles gives me a lot of cause for hope.
I hope my friend enjoys hr first ever coaches meeting. She'll be there as an equal.

May 18, 2009

Death is the same for everyone; life is not

Hot Robot by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: "Hot Robot" by Lavakillu
When I went to bed my blood sugars were 6.8. Acceptable. When I woke up this morning they were 11.6! It used to be the reverse of that. 11.6 is not good.Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
I'm up to 15 units of insulin. I have no idea how long before everything stabilizes.
Early Saturday morning I woke up with the worst headache of my life and I'm a guy who fractured his skull and had 3 concussions. It felt like a cheap description of a migraine. They warned me that headaches might be an early side effect to the insulin. I never imagined it would be like that.

We started the vacation project. Scrapped the entire porch and got the front porch 80% primered. It already looks better.
I tried wrapping my shoulder in an elastic bandage. It help considerably. I had a few twinges but only one drop me to my knees killer hurt. I worked through it. As everyone knows I'm stupid that way. It gentled up to an ache after a half hour.
I got whacked with overwhelming fatigue twice. There's no doubt that the fatigue from the insulin is a lot easier to push through than the leukemia fatigue. I'm pretty happy with how much work I got done. I expected to get more done than I did but, well, who wouldn't.
First coat today then will primer the back porch, there should be time to do that. Then have to bring everything back onto the porches. It is supposed to rain late tonight. I think the rain will come late enough to not mess up the paint.
If it rains all day tomorrow then we'll get to go to the Chinese Buffet!!
That will please the dogs no end. They deserve pleasing. They were very good through all the activity. Foster dog has settled in just in time to get adopted! There's been an application to adopt him and it has all checked out. They'll do the home visit this week. The potential adopters might Korean Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Korean Girl" by Unknown
come today to meet the foster and to be harshly judged by my friend and me.
Harshly judged in that we want what's best for the dog and for them. The important thing is everyone be happy. I'm always predisposed to anyone who wants to have a good dog in their life. The foster is a pretty good dog. Not as great as my dogs but pretty great for all that.
One thing about all the painting is got to spend a lot of time with the iPod. Anything would have been better than the sound of paint scrappers on wood.
I like the new Green Day album "21st Century Breakdown". There's nothing as grabbing as "American Idiot", "Basket Case", or even "Geek Stink Breath" but its alright. I'm pretty disappointed with the new Queensryche, "American Soldier". I've been disappointed with Queensryche since "Empire", but one always has hope.
I'm surprised that my favorite album so far this year has been Offspring's "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace". Weird. Since I only knew them from "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" it is shocking to discoverEraserhead that a novelty band could com out with a nice crunchy set of pop anthems. I particularly like "Stuff is Messed Up".
I've been trying to get my RIAA-Free jukebox up on the site. Its a complicated affair. One of those things I thought would be dead easy but is turning into a chore. It has mostly to do with permissions (unix file permissions) and folder structure than anything else. I'll keep on it. It will be a cool way to display music that needs hearing.
I wish I liked Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead more than I do. They're two bands who get it. They understand the world has changed and refuse to stick with the stupidity that is epitomized by the RIAA and the MPAA.
Got to be brief. Life is catching up to me and I don't want to miss any of the show.

May 15, 2009

When you come to a fork in the road, take it
Yogi Berra

Gunslinger Girl by VM
Click images for desktop size: "Gunslinger Girl" by VM
Before my injection my blood sugar was 6.8, just inside the target. This morning the count was 5.9, which is okay.Circus of Life
It bugs me that a couple of months ago I was getting better numbers just from the pills. For all the stigma and grief from the injections I was expecting something more dramatic from the insulin.
I have gotten a bit better at doing it. My stomach is sore from it. The hardest part is, well the whole thing is hard and tricky; holding the needle dead steady while it hurts is hard then pushing in the little plunger is tricky and uncomfortable but the part I got wired is holding the needle inside of me for a count of 20. It makes me cringe now, even thinking about it.
The reason is that if you pull the needle out too soon the insulin seeps out . . . Crazy.
The insulin is not improving the pain in my shoulders yet. Its still excruciating and stops me from doing things like putting on my jacket. and combing my hair.
I mowed the rest of the yard yesterday. It rained in the morning but then the sun came out and there was enough of a wind to dry out the grass. My left handed falling pull start still worked. I was able to grimace through getting the mower over and around all the hills and stumps and things.
I was concerned because I felt more exhausted than I should. Its a side effect that should level out. Quickly I hope. Getting fatigued stirs negative memories.

Today is a big day. An important day. It is my puppy's fourth birthday.
Kurbatova by Playboy
Click images for desktop size: "Kurbatova" by Playboy
Four years old and in all that time we've only been apart about 15 weeks. Twelve weeks while she was being weaned from her mother. Three weeks when we moved. The three weeks were hard on both of us for exactly the same reason and with pretty much the same intensity and longing.
She may not be the perfect dog to anyone else but she and I are perfect together.
She remembers things I tell her and will do things to please me. She gets defiant and demanding. She gets angry. She gets loving and protective. She plays jokes and tricks on me. We bicker and fight. We play games that are meaningless to everyone but her and me.
Together we are a boy and a dog.
I never much liked the show "Cheers", knowing a couple of the writers didn't help, but I heard a part of one episode where one of the characters said he was writing a novel about a man and his dog wandering the corn fields and drinking beer. I could read a novel like that and picture my puppy asCountess Dracula the dog.
The entire world would be a scary bad place if by some cosmic mishap she and I had never met.
I feel pretty much the same way about my friend.

This is my friend's last day of work. Vacation time.
Only a week but it will be nice for and for me. Except someone stupid, probably me, decided that the vacation should be spent painting the porch . . . how dull. I mean why ruin a vacation just because the house needs the work?
So it will improve our lives, what reason is that to ignore frivolous self gratification.
I hate painting. It will be fine. We might even laugh while we're suffering through the arduous chore.

We managed to get tickets for the Jack White tour. The one he's doing with that other side band of his, Dead something or other. I like Jack White and still think he's the guitarist of the 21st Century. Punk
Click images for desktop size: "Punk" by Unknownk
His shows don't disappoint. He's an entertainer. Of course on this tour he's playing the drums . . .
I always viewed the White Stripes as pretty much a solo act. I can imagine White dragging along his ex-wife as support. You just don't do solo acts with just an electric guitar. White showed you could.
Meg was a pretty poor drummer. She'd lose the beat a lot but White keep a more driving steady beat in his head. His work on the guitar still astounds me.
Its interesting seeing him not be the soloist with the Raconteurs, to lose a part of himself within a real band. Some of the work is excellent, none of it less than good but it felt like White was losing some part of himself, like he was being too deferential to his band mates. I would have been more interested if it had been "Jack White & The Raconteurs" instead of a true band. It would have been awesome seeing White's manic intensity with a back up band. The Raconteurs are a collaboration.
I've only seen YouTube Videos of the Raconteurs live. The stage show looks like the same sort ofThe Day the Earth Stood Still democratic sharing thing until White does "Bang Bang" the crazy Nancy Sinatra number. Its worth seeking out. It shows what White could do as the frontman.
This will b interesting. Jack White as a drummer. Yow! He can keep a beat so we'll see if it catches fire.

I saw "Zatoichi 17: Zatoichi Challenged".
Peter Welling's defined an auteur as a director who was able to work within established genres and stay within the strict conventions demanded while still managing to express his own voice. Zatoichi movies are almost a genre unto themselves. Formally they are Growing Love by Frida Lind
Click image: "Growing Love" by Frida Lind
Chambara (sword fighting) and jidai-geki (period piece).
Within this definition it still astonishes me that Kenjiro Misumi is not recognized as one of the greatest directors in the world.
Zatoichi's movie's follow a path, a path that Misumi defined. I wonder if most of his brilliant story telling innovations have been lost as they have comprised the bedrock of Japanese chambara films in the sixties and seventies.
This entry in the Zatoichi saga is fascinating on its own, touching and startling, moving with an economy and sparseness that recalls zen. It stands on its own as well as laying the groundwork for Misumi's later works and themes.
Worth renting for sure.

The foster dog is starting to fit in to the pack better with each moment. Now we're off to the closed down dog park to see what there might be to see on this birthday day.

May 5, 2009

Do the leaves on the maple tree bloom or blossom

Untitled by Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Steve Argyle
Yesterday was filled with nothing else but dogs. Giant dog has decided that the foster dog is okay so long as he is playing with him and not with giant dog's toys.Mad Monster Party
Foster dog would bring toys to me to throw and drop them in my lap. I would reach for them and discover that giant dog, who was sitting next to me, had deftly removed them. He was holding them angrily between his paws. Foster dog just went and got new ones. At one stage giant dog was holding three toys between his paws. He glared at me in case I had any funny ideas.
Even my puppy got slightly less disdainful. She initiated play. Of course the play was her game and could only be played by her rules.
When giant dog would play bound at foster dog gentle dog would join in by attacking giant dog! And then foster dog had to go to the vet.
If ever a dog needed a trip to the vet . . . doesn't make it easier. He was a pain. There was an unfixed female beagle at the vet's office. He was uncontrollable. I took him outside. This is the rescue service's vet so we had no choice, but I soon saw that there was no exercise area. No grass at all except the little patch we were standing on, and that little patch was next to the highway. Cars went by too fast for me to be comfortable.
I wouldn't have left my dog there.
Foster dog is going to be fixed, shot up and the have his dew claws removed. He has the ugliest dew claws I've ever seen on a dog. I'm amazed that he hasn't hurt himself before this. They have to be removed. The healing process is long. Three weeks minimum. He'll have to be crated and carried around some.
Poor guy. He's still one of the happiest dogs I've ever seen. His life has been pretty miserable but he keeps playing and laughing. He keeps the world shaped in his image. I admire that. I hope he keeps his attitude after all this surgery.
The Last Supper by Da Vinci
Click images for desktop size: "The Last Supper" by Da Vinci
This surgery will make his life better but I always wonder if it will be worth it if he loses that gift of changing the world to his own joyous view.
Its one of the reason I go on so much about my health issues.
When the doctor's tell you some bad news, you got this or that brand of cancer for example, and then detail the available cures they always seem to do it in a rush. When you ask for details they get brusque, especially about the side effects.
Something like, "You've got lympho ballistic leukemia. No big deal its curable."
In my case it took over seven years to cure. I've been cured, or at least in remission for nearly two years. I've often felt like giving up, even recently. But I don't regret still being alive. No matter how low I've fallen or how despair filled things have often seemed. When it comes to doctor's and scuzzy insurance companies sucking up my money (This policy cover 100% of all costs of normal and average acceptable fees as decided by us you will be responsible for any additional charges as decided by your service provider.Mata Hari
Its been worth it to me. I have my puppy and I have my friend. I like the world well enough, I stubborn enough to enjoy things like music and songs and stories.
Its been worth it to me but it might not be worth it to someone else. When the doctor says, "I won't lie to you," or "I'm not going to sugar coat it," its safe to assume that he's going to enjoy being brutal, he won't discuss things so you can have a clear idea of what's in front of you, and that he's been pretty much misleading you in things up till then.
Most people will be empathetic at first but they don't know how to act. Most of us don't much like confronting mortality. I sure don't. I The Bride Of Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: "The Bride of Frankenstein"
always planned to be immortal, spitting into microphones, running down fields while opponents tripped over their own feet trying to catch me with all the dogs who've ever lived with me cheering me on from the stands or the mosh pit.
When they find out your ill people shut it out of their front brain and work hard to drive it out of their back brain too. The light we see blinds us to all but itself.
They get dismissive or they avoid you. Or worse, they suck it up so every meeting becomes more a confrontation than a casual conversation. Your mind's not working great either. You can't ignore the moments of self pity where you won't like yourself very much either.
I was kind of lucky and people really couldn't notice. I'm pretty dour anyway. In almost any relationship there would come a point would someone would look at me a bit amazed and say, "I never realized it before, your really a pretty funny guy, like you tell a lot of jokes. I never knew you were joking!"
The only difference for me is that they stopped saying that.
I think, no, I know that people need to know what's in front of them. They don't need to know the Taoist Immortals by Fûgai Honko
Click images for desktop size: "Taoist Immortals" by Fûgai Honko
future but they have to know enough to make a decision they can live with, not live happily maybe but they have to see some joy out there at the end of it all.
Steve McQueen went through it all, even ended up in Mexico swallowing extract of peach pit (Laetrile) while two people I know killed themselves. One by driving head on into a fire truck that was enroute to a fire.
I miss them all but there's no choice but to respect their decisions even if you regret their choices.
That's all.

I've listened to the new Bob Dylan, "Together for Life" and the New Neil Young, "Fork in the Road".
I like Neil Young. Everybody has had to sit through my Neil Young story. (Maybe that should be Neil Young Story - keep it capitalized so it enters myth). Me and my buddies hid on a hill at Point DumeThe Mole People and watched them build Bob Dylan's house and got a rush when we saw Roger McQuinn, even ran down the hill to talk to him.
I still listen to their stuff, their old stuff.
Because I loved their old stuff so much I probably took it harder and more personally that I think this new tuff absolutely sucks. Too old, too used to a life of riches and wealth. Young at least seems to try and understand what's going on in the world. He even has feeling for it but its not there in the music.
Dylan has lived in the legend cocoon so long that he's forgotten what it means to be human, to be angry and sad. He writes about heartburn like it was heartbreak.
It makes me sad.
What cheered me was re-watching "Hustle and Flow" as I did the usual household chores. An old movie but still the best film ever about creating music. It works from points of extremity and hyperbole. Music does. What I keep finding touching is the fact that the people here are all dreaming and reaching for that dream and in struggling for it they regain the humanity that the world has sought to pull out of them. All the other movies that tried to tell this story forgot about the human part, they wasted my time telling me about being an inhuman legend.
Time to take the dogs for their walk.
Next week I have to meet the parents of the players of my team. I have to prepare a three minute speech about what to expect from me and what I want from them so that we can build their children into something the children can be proud of. And I have to do this while I'm laughing at the latest dog jokes. Then I have to get ready for poor foster dog to come back to his home.

April 29, 2009

Only the new born are innocent but we all get older
Jean Pierre Melville

Love Like This by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: "Love Like This" by Lavakillu
This weekend suddenly got busy. In a nice way.
Saturday I have eight hours of kit fitting for kids 13 and under. I volunteered my friend to doHillbillys in a Haunted House registration (paperwork) for the kids. The foster puppy will arrive in the area on Saturday morning.
Lots of logistics, kennels to set up, food dishes to shift about. Then the decision on whether the new comer will be up to doing the dog walk on Sunday.
Not a bad time at all unless they stick me on 8 hours of fitting kids for helmets . . . shoulder pads are a lot easier and quicker. Pants and girdles are the easiest. I've got a feeling I'll be doing a lot of helmets . . .

My friend says I was pretty upset Monday about the doctor. She also thinks she understands the doc thinking I was going to slug him.
I didn't feel upset. A little bit down probably. I thought I was being as gentle with the doc as I could be.
Maybe I hide this kind of stuff from myself but not from her. Possible.
One thing that does upset me is Joe Biden appearing at the MPAA dinner. Biden went as the Vice President. He got a standing ovation for calling kids who download music and movies from the internet "thieves".
This is just another step towards Obama's campaign to criminalize kids sharing music.
Criminalizing downloading will save the RIAA and the MPAA serious money. They won't have to hire scum bag PI firms to hack innocent people's computers searching for "illegal" stuff. They'll have the FBI do it for them. I doubt that the FBI will even have to get a warrant to do this. In the UK they're already forcing the ISP's to keep all the logs of everything anyone does on the internet. So do we. London Streets 1888 by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "London Streets 1888" by TitusBoy
Bush's lie was that it was to root out all those millions of terrorists. Nothing political about it they claim. Nobody would ever misuse all this data.
Obviously the FBI has done such a stellar job of removing crime that they have plenty of excess time to go trolling for 14 year olds scarfing down the top 40.
Then the rich jerks would save even more money. They wouldn't have to hire sleazy ambulance chaser lawyers, the US Attorney's office will prosecute the kids. Obama's hired the scummiest of them to train the rest in being even a purer distilled kind of scum. They'll get the kids jail time, probation time. Those services are all standing empty. The US Attorney has locked away all the rapists, child abusers etc and the prisons must be standing empty because everyone has been rehabilitated. Probation officers must be facing being laid off. (Of course America leads the world in having the largest percentage of its population in prison, we must be trying to beat our own record).Gun Crazy
And then the RIAA and MPAA can then ask the judge to award them money for the serious damage these children have done to their business. At twenty bucks a track times a billion or some other wretched formula. Obama himself puts the damage at $350,000 a track. Rah!
When Obama gets his law passed criminalizing the kids I'll boycott every rich musician who doesn't sign off of the RIAA. Like rich guys like Tony Bennett who shockingly claims he isn't rich enough and wants to squeeze even more money out of people who just want to La Liseuse by Fragonard
Click images for desktop size: "La Liseuse" by Fragonard
listen to music.
This really bugs me. If I buy a car and loan it to a friend for the weekend this logic would make me a criminal.
According to the RIAA and the MPAA when I lay down my twenty bucks I haven't bought anything. I don't own the CD or the DVD they do. I can't tape it or make a digital copy of it or let my friends hear it, play it at parties. Blockbuster can charge me to borrow it but I can't loan it for free. I don't know why. Neither do they. They just want all the money for the least amount of money.
They claim that me loaning my CD to a friend costs them thousands of dollars. They're losing money! Well, not losing money just making a bit less but they want it all: No Compromise. Sales aren't dropping becasue we're churning out cruddy product its becasue I think I own something I paid them for.
Silliness that they've spent billions during the last 60 years to turn into law. Unfairness. The rich bullying the poor.
I wish I'd voted for McCain. Not that he'd have been any better but I figure he'd been inept at getting Lost in a Bad World
Click images for desktop size: "Los in a Bad World" by Unknown
this stuff done. He wouldn't have the same deadly proficency that Obama has.
McCain would have hacked off our allies, like Canada, with the same stupidity and ignorance but he'd have been laughed at more than seen as real and threatening.
The comfort of incompetence.

There is something going on out there. I saw this video that I think everyone else in the world has already seen. Its just a little music thing. You can click here to see the YouTube version of this bunch of guys all over the world doing "Stand By Me".
Its exciting and unexpected. It reminds me of why I wanted to play music. Getting rich would have been nice but mainly I wanted to make a joyful noise. I wanted to make people dance. I wanted to be heard. It looks like these guys have the same idea. Its a great mammouth effort. I'm buying the CD becasue the RIAA has nothing to do with them and the music is sweet.

April 7, 2009

Be who you are and be that well
Saint Francis de Sales

Clothes Make The Man
Click images for desktop size: "Clothes Make the Man" by Unknown
There are four inches of snow on the ground. The temperature is 27. Easter weekend is this weekend.
Yesterday my friend left for work. The giant puppy has strange issues. Whenever we or she leaveWee Willie Winkie he starts a pathetic crying. My puppy will often join in with a mournful howl.
Normally this all ends as soon as I step back in the house. I have to go out with my friend to open and close the gate behind her. Yesterday when I came back inside the giant dog's tears didn't stop.
Before I could start to comfort him the phone rang. My friend was Charmed to Meet You
Click image: "Charmed to Meet You" by Unknown
coming home. The snow was too bad for her to go into work.
I think the giant dog is taking credit for bringing her back to him.
As we settled in, her to work and me to annoy her and the dogs, I felt something odd. My gums had been swollen since the tooth extractions but they started to throb in a way that worried me.
I called the oral surgeon and got an emergency appointment.
The guy who pulled my teeth is on vacation. I liked his stand in far better. He said I had the start of an infection and I was healing much slower than usual.
Leukemia and chemo-patients are extremely susceptible to infection. Diabetics are slow healers.
It bugged me that this was in all my medical history. Before the extraction I even called and asked if I could pick up the script for the antibiotics before hand. I was told of course not.
I wonder if my call rankled them enough to not prescribe any antibiotics out of some sort of professional spite or in a vain attempt to not pay that much attention to my own health - let the Esther by Benouville
Click images for desktop size: "Esther" by Benouville
MD's handle it all, Just be compliant and shut up.
I figure the latter.
So the stand in doc gave me a script for Amoxicillin, a pretty non-specific anti-biotic.
I was so amazed and relieved that there was no charge for the visit that it wasn't till some time later that I started to wonder why I wasn't charged.
I spent the idle moments waiting around asking anyone who was foolish enough to listen what they thought about the weather. No one seemed as upset about the snow and cold as I did. Much to my chagrin they all seemed to accept it pretty much as the way things work "around these parts".
Other than that relatively complicated ploy of mine to annoy my friend and the dogs we settled in.
It was pleasantly dull. I didn't even have much time for my usual pondering of what is going to snatch my simple comfort away from me.
We watched a Japanese movie: "Suspect X". It was surprisingly good and entertaining. It startedThe Story of Temple Drake with a crazy cool "Mister Wizard" style explanation and demonstration on how to make a super particle accelerator from things you can find around the house, if you happen to live in a medical tech supply factory anyway.
The film is based on a successful Japanese TV series so I wasn't all prepared for what was to come. A murder mystery that became a struggle between a genius physicist and a super genius mathematician.
And somehow it became a tale of enduring and effective heartbreak, loneliness and profound sadness. Its smart enough in its story telling to lay out some red herrings as to the character and motives of the characters, allowing you to gleefully jump to some conclusions that will intertwine your own guilt with the guilt of the leads and the distaste for the mere cops who slave away to solve the crime.
At one point the "villain", the mathematician, asks the physicist to not solve the crime; "It will bring no one happiness."
The ending is searing, simple with an elegance that speak to the truth of the lost.
A warmly recommended movie. Not great but terribly cool entertainment.
I've already had the dogs out in the bad weather. They love it. They knocked me down once. Unintentional this time. My puppy and the gentle dog saw something and went after it while giant DC
Click images for desktop size: "DC Comics"
dog saw the same thing and decided to back away from it, probably to consider joining in on the attack. I was doing pretty well until giant dog decided that whatever was out there was small enough to make it safe for him to join in on the attack. He moved too fast for me so I went over. To the pups disgust I kept a hold on all three leashes.
One of my kids (former players) likes to send me the UK top 40 three or four times a year. I think I once muttered something about being afraid of loosing touch. For some reason he sends me the POP top 40. And once again I'm amazed that there are as many of those tracks that I sort of like and there are tracks I down right hate (keyboards and drum machines are often but not always the progeny of hate).

February 20, 2009

The look of a country changes to the looks of the people it admires
Larry McMurtry

Evolution by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Evolution" by Luis Royo
I went to make our appointments at the hair dressers yesterday. They're closed. As in out of business.
Just goes to show you can't make a living giving a good seven dollar haircut even if you chargeAn Ache in Every Stake fifteen bucks for it.
Going to try one of those shopping center joints now. Get to pay too much but you also have to do bit less praying that they don't make you look freakish.
I had the dogs with me. Maybe they just went out of business when they saw us in the driveway . . . The dogs get groomed on Thursday. They are not overjoyed.
I have to go to the dentist.
Beau coup pain there too. Remember how I used to have a beautiful smile? Now I look almost like I'm British.
It makes me irritated that I spent so much time brushing twice a day and all those miles of floss. I still don't have any cavities! Still, I figure to lose at least 3 teeth this trip. Only one in the front. At least its the lower front. Can't even afford to get dentures yet. Its just a matter of time till other fall out.
The good thing is that I won't be in that much pain. The teeth are dead for the most part. The jaw bone is receding and the teeth are just hanging on by those little claws they have. I'm too prone to infections that creates most of the pain and pushes the teeth even further away from the jaw. Side effects truly suck.
Because the teeth are mostly dead pulling them hurts some put not as much as it normally would and the pain after is also remarkably less.
I'm stuck choosing a dentist based on how nice their office looked. I'm terrified of the cost. I liked my old City sponsored dental plan: Fist come, first served, twenty five bucks flat fee. Getting to the Fernando Vicente
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Fernando Vicente
health clinic by 6 to get in line and waiting till 9 for them to open was a drag, but I was never first in line.
The dentists were all volunteers. They gave up their private practice to give one day a week to the people. Because of my health history I always had to see the same dentist. That worked fine for me. She was good and after the second visit she managed to drop her hardened veneer of working in a charity clinic.
One thing that was good at the health clinic was it pre-Obama health data base. While people can roam around and sweat HIPPA violations having all the various doctors I had to see be able to pull up my medical records from a data base made things go a lot faster and easier. It saved me some grief and it spared me having to remember what drugs I was taking and what ones I had to avoid. It was all there and highlighted. If there were contraindicationsThe Big Parade they got redlined and beeped. Made me feel more secure.
I'm sure we've all had friends who ended up sicker or near death because they forgot to tell a dentist or a specialist about some drug they had to take or avoid.
My free dentist was good. She even responded to my vanity.
Click images for desktop size: "Galactacus" by Marvel Comics
Lets hope that a small town pricey dentist is as good. At least I'll be hoping.

There's a music blog, TruStar Vibrations, that I follow via RSS. Recently they repeated a cool rant from Steve Van Zandt. (Little Steven, Miami Steve, Original guitarist for Bruce Springsteen, The Asbury Jukes, The Disciples of Soul, and the best guy on "The Sopranos". He was the guy in the good wig who did a great Al Pacino "Godfather III" impersonation)
Van Zandt's rant against the record companies, RIAA and music publishers is the best one since Courtney Love's article, (back before Love decided she was more of a celebrity than a musician, pre-collagen injections etc).
You can read it here: Steve Van Zandt's Rant. Its cool.
He points out that the music business is a pretty artificial concept. It used to be, up until Edison, that musicians survived by playing clubs and on the street unless they were lucky enough to get a Ice Queen by Inspired Pixels
Click images for desktop size: "Ice Queen" by Inspired Pixel
king or a duke to support them. Most of the really great musicians just played where ever they could, sometimes for a bottle and a meal.
Edison changed that when he invented the recording cylinder. Edison gets thought of as a genius. Maybe he was. All I know for sure is that he forced people to pay. He tied up electricity so we have to pay for nature. He created Hollywood. His DRM was so strict and severe that people who wanted to make movies had to run away from him, had to get so far away from him that it was too big a pain for him to sue you.
He soaked every nickel out of every person he could. He was so good at it that others decided that his gouging of people was a right and not just a clever scam.
In the 40's things started, but it was in the 50's that music exploded. Music wasn't something youVivra Sa Vie listened to, it was something you had to have. Records were cool. They gave you something to touch that was as close to most of the teen idols as you were going to get.
You know the record companies were upset because kids could swap records, trade them. Their solace was they made them so poorly that they'd wear out and you'd have to buy another copy.
When Sony transformed their El-Cassette into BetaMax and Phillips launched the cassette is when things got sticky.
Suddenly you could tape your albums and give them to your friends. A lot of corrupt public officials were working with the record companies to try and get a whopping 5 buck tax on every blank cassette sold. The five bucks to go to the record companies because you MIGHT use that tape to tape some of their music. They owned sound.
Van Zandt has to be listened to. He's rich and one of the guys who stands to benefit from the jerk Electrogoth by HR Giger
Click images for desktop size: "Electrogoth" by HR Giger
tactics of the RIAA. I like when one of their own stands strong (unlike Metallica) and remembers the fans. The rant is on Van Zandt's site. I find his site is a mess, over designed by somebody, too hard to get around. I know its there but I couldn't find it again.
Fortunately there's still plenty of music that hasn't been tainted.
Some of the stuff I've been listening to lately continues to be the same stuff I've always listened to.
The Rooks are still one of my fave 80's bands that nobody has ever heard of. A shame. Their "Glitter Best" isn't even their best song but its sweet. Cool guitars and nice harmonies.
Most people know the tune, "Gimme Some Loving". Steve Winwood and The Spencer Davis Group had a massive hit with it. It can almost always be found someplace on the radio dial, classic rock . . . they usually play it after "Stairway to Heaven". Its a good tune. I've recently discovered that The Kingsmen's version of "Gimme Some Lovin" is my favorite. First off its live, it pounds, they play that cool organ riff on a Hammond B3Soylent Green and the Kingsmen never ever played jazz or fusion.
I still listen to surf. It rules. Just check out Sandy Nelson's "Let There Be Drums" and try and tell me it don't.
There's plenty of newer surf out there too. Like Speedball Jr tearing through "Scalped". A band that takes the thrash of speed metal and turns it into gorgeous dawn patrol stuff.
And of course there's always Canada's greatest surf band . . . even if there was tons of competition these guys would still be great, Huevos Ranchero's "What A Way To Run A Railroad" show that punk, thrash and surf are the sweetest sound.
Tribute albums are still a great way for bands to get stuff out there. One I didn't much care for was the Kinks tribute "Kinks Size". It had some weak stuff but then out of nowhere it had a couple great covers. One I really liked was Tim O'Brien's pure country take on "Muswell Hillbilly". Its cool, touching and funny all at the same time.
John Frusciante is great with The Red Hot Chili Peppers. So great I checked out his solo album. I hated it. Totally pretentious, over blown and near as bloated as any Steve Vai solo album. I was stunned and disappointed, especially since I'd heard Frusciante's terrific take on the Ramone's "Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World". Love with a howl instead of a scream and a strut. Very nice. I was hoping for more like this.
Designing the Sphinx by Michael Parkes
Click image for desktop size: "Designing the Sphinx" by Michael Parkes
And I guess I'll end with a band that some people love, The Milkshakes. I think they're just okay. I do think their cover of "Hippy Hippy Shake" is a lot more than okay.

While writing this I managed to get the hair appointments and a dental appointment . . . I got an emergency appointment on MARCH THE TENTH!! YOW! Glad I'm not like really really in pain . . . All the benefits of a central database became apparent. They're mailing me a medical history to fill out and I have to bring all my drug vials with me . . .

January 8, 2009

Eight out of ten people are good; the other two are just unwise
Tsui Shan Lee

Smoke By Felipe
Click images for desktop size: "Smoke" by Felipe
I've had a couple of bad days in a row here.
Tuesday the news of a child's death started things poorly then there was nothing tragic but all little things that kept piling on; pictures falling and glass breaking sort of things, legal letters and grief. World Without End Just a cumulative effect that increased my weariness.
It carried over to Wednesday. Plenty of snowfall. It was the kind of snow that in London would have been called a blizzard, in L.A. it would have been seen as either a miracle or the first sign of the Apocalypse. Here it was Wednesday.
I was out shoveling snow and noticed that the front tire on the car was low. That's been a problem lately. With all of our scrabbling and cutting expenses we're just seeing a dim light ahead. Cars have a way of knowing when you're about to get even.
I have an electric tire pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter. I Cocktail Party - Virtual Girl
Click image: "Party Girl" by Virtual Girl
filled the tire and while I was putting it away I decided to start the car. It wouldn't start. No jumper cables. Weird clicking that sounded like but not quite like a solenoid clicking.
Some stress there. My friend was working at home. After a few hours of stressing she went out to see the car herself. It started right up . . . which was good in the long term, of course, but left my ego slightly dinged.
I spent a few hours making dog treats, drying sweet potatoes and apples. The dogs didn't seem to like them, except for my puppy who'll gladly eat anything.
My response to all this was to attempt to do something positive. Backing up the computer hard drive seemed like a good idea. Except I didn't have enough space on the back up drive . . . no issues. I clone the drive and make it bootable. When faced with crunching space I normally wait for the app to back up the media files and then delete them from the back up drive. I don't need them The Behemoth
Click images for desktop size: "The Behemoth" by Unknown
there in the face of a disastrous crash. Except this time I mistakingly deleted them from the main drive - 14 movies, about 56 gigs. All replaceable just tedious work copying them to the HD except I can't remember what four of them were. I have to take that as a sign that they weren't very important after all.
The skanky cat seems to have taken up residence in the dog house. She/he has found the food I put on top of the dog house (to keep it out of dog's reach). It has also learned not to run from the dogs. The snuffling at it is preferable to being chased and trampled. I fear skanky cat may have found a home. I do see its footprints going over the fence so maybe it has a few different homes. I hope so.
We went to the Wushu show last night. It wasn't Wushu. I like those shows. I saw a great one inWhere Danger Lives London at the Royal Opera House. Monks flashing swords and triple irons, smacking each other around. It was tres' cool.
This was pure dance. Chinese traditional dancing is pretty cool. A lot of the Olympic gymnastics routines had their origins in Chinese dance. It was cool seeing dancers flash around, tumbling at flying and twisting in mid air. A few moves were excellent.
They had one number with 16 female drummers. Awesome stuff. Dancing and hitting the drums in a nifty syncopated beat. Then there was a number called The Dragon Drummers. 14 guys playing Chinese tambourines and flinging themselves around the stage. Finally, for me, there was a killer number with 16 chicks playing "Mongolian Chopsticks". A bunch a reeds tied together that they played by banging the sticks against different body parts. Great sound and scary shaky rhythm.
My friend liked a Tibetan dance number. There was a lot of stomping around and nifty jumps. I slept through a big part of it or else I might have felt more positive about it.
The show did something else I found interesting. Instead of back drops they used a projector, a front projector. I thought that odd only because I'd have figured a rear projector would work better for them. Its a solid idea for a bus and truck show Transformers
Click images for desktop size: "Transformers" by Matell
and it let them do all these nifty SFX of saints descending from heaven and the like.
I was also stunned by all the costume changes. Conservative estimate there had to be at least 500 costume changes. All I could think about was doing the laundry. I figured the costumers had to be up all night washing and ironing. The costumes were nifty and impressive.
There were a couple of things I didn't care for. They had two narrators who were kind of blah. They took turns speaking in Chinese while the other translated into English. Made some pretty superfluous info go twice as long and get twice as tedious.
I didn't care for the heavy Westernization of the Chinese music. Personal preference. It was all original music that sounded like typical dance music with an Asian flair.7th Voyage Of Sinbad
Then to effect all the costume changes they had these "musical interludes" where individuals came out and did these heavy religious songs opera style. It was where I first started napping.
There was a woman who did a lovely number on the "ehru". The ehru is that crazed two string Chinese violin. Her piece was interesting. I wondered where else she could find work as a virtuoso on such an obscure (by Western standards) instrument. Hers was the only endurable number.
All in all it was a pleasant enough evening with a couple of revelatory moments. I would have done the sound a LOT better. The soundman was in the same aisle as us and the same row. His work was poor. He amplified the orchestra pit so that a 20 piece band ended up sounding like a ghetto blaster. Very surprising. I still don't understand the over mikeing. The light design was decent Pepper Project by Imaginary Friends Studio
Click images for desktop size: "Pepper Project" by Imaginary Friends Studio
especially when having to deal with the movie sized front projection system. That's a problem I wouldn't have wanted to deal with.
During the show intermission I got interviewed about the show by some local TV station. Why they picked out a guy in a leather coat, over a black pin stripe suit and a purple and white abstract art tie who was wearing sunglasses indoors is beyond me. I was excellent, as to be expected, and gave them plenty of footage. After 5 minutes I was getting uncomfortable. The light was cutting through my sunglasses and starting to hurt my eyes. I still don't know why they went for me.
The evening was nice enough that neither us was too fussed about the parking ticket we found on the car at the end of the evening.
The snow was still blooming and the roads were a tedious exercise all the way home. We weren'tJules And Jim prepared to get home and discover that the next door neighbors had cleared the driveway by piling all the snow in front of our gate . . . about 4 and a half feet in front of the man gate and nearly 3 feet in front of the car gate.
I had to shovel. I was surprised when about halfway through the neighbor came out and helped me! I was glad. He said "Hey" and that's all. That's still more than he's said to me in the time he's been there.
We decided we really miss her old neighbor. I miss her two dogs and often wonder if they're okay. One had a bad hip dysplasia but such a happy attitude I hope he survives.
The dogs were glad to see us. I missed them even if it was only about 5 hours.

I've been asked about my snow obsession. Part of it is because its so really new to me. The other is kind of a weird Archibald McLeish-Theodore Roethke sort of thing. Its my friend, see. I have this odd thing that I never want to skin of her shoes to ever have to touch snow or ice. Only sunlight.

January 6, 2009

It was the first female-style revolution: no violence and we all went shopping
Gloria Steinem

Song of the Angels by Bouguereau
Click images for desktop size: "Song of the Angels" by Bouguereau
We have a thermometer that reads in both Fahrenheit and Centigrade. I don't like the metric system much. My fault. Not the systems.Vertigo
With metric I spend all my time calculating and converting distances in my head. Since its my head I often end up with some pretty odd results, like the back yard would be two miles long.
But I think I like centigrade although I think it woefully imprecise. I do like it to explain how cold it is. Minus fifteen is much closer to how cold it feels to me. Five degrees sounds like I'm complaining Sparkle Girl by Evegeny
Click image for desktop size: "Sparkle Girl" by Evegeny
about nothing. But minus fifteen! Well, that makes it sound manly even to dare to venture outside!
Perception is always better than reality.

I am now the official master of dishwasher repair. We've done six loads and while the dishwasher doesn't work any better than it did before it stopped cleaning the dishes it certainly doesn't do them worse. More to the point there's no weird grinding or explosions or leaks.
I feel I deserve the right to call myself the master. This means that I can go to your house and if your having problems with your dishwasher you have to endure hours of pointless elliptical advice. And if you're foolish enough to attempt a repair in my presence that means I have the right to lean over your shoulder and spout instructions that have little to do with the situation and when its all finished I get to take credit for its success and get to say, "well, if you'd done it like I told you it Supergirl
Click images for desktop size: "Supergirl" by DC Comics
would have been fine!"
Just one of the infinite pleasures of being a guy.

The guitar playing is going well. No one seems to appreciate it but me. Its frustrating because I'm not playing with anything like my old style and speed. I did a good version of "Your So Young and Beautiful" for my friends birthday and I was happy with my articulate playing.
What's odd is that my left hand is hurting far less than I anticipated. Its stiff and strength is slow in coming. But its my right hand that's giving me fits. It feels like my right thumb is dislocated. Yesterday I even had a hard time grasping the door knob to get back in the house. Finally had to do it left handed.
It makes keeping the baseline going on some of the fingerpicking numbers excruciating. Double picking is impossible as are glissandos. But the odd thing is I can do a near perfect rondo.This Island Earth
Rondo's are those strums that most people know from flamenco music. Its the strum where you lead with your index finger and then follow with the other fingers. It makes a sweet full sound and gives a sort of malicious arpeggio when used in pop stuff. (Super cool on electric guitars.) What's odd is that my rondos are better now then when I was playing near full time. Some sort of body compensation for having no thumb?

I heard from a good friend in London yesterday. That always pleases me. What makes it worth mentioning is that out of nowhere he is suddenly writing to me in text speak! In Europe text messaging is much more prevalent than it is here. Doctor's confirm appointments via text messages! (Stupid that I know so much about doctor's office). Aside from the kids texting each other non-stop like it was a private twitter account business use them constantly.
The City of a Thousand Minarets by Waelsaad
Click image: "The City of a Thousand Minarets" by Waelsaad
What made this notable was that my friend started his message with "glad to read u are". U? Instead of you? U?
This is the way civilization crumbles.

We got through the day okay. I must have missed my friend more than I admitted to myself. After the dogs finished trying to kill me on our long walk (ninety minutes, would have been longer but the three of them were too excited to behave. The gentle dog spent over an hour biting me and flying around at shoulder height. The giant dog kept bounding at me and trying to fly at my head height. While my puppy spent the entire walk in her military posture: the task is to get there and then go home!) my puppy stared at me for a while and then went to get a toy that she pressed hard against my leg.
We played some. Her entire play mode reminded me of something. I just got an email that The Walking Dead reminded me of what.
There's nothing more tragic to me than the death of a child. One of my puppy's "patients" succumbed to leukemia after Christmas. He was 12 years old.
His mother sent me a pained but charming note thanking my puppy for the brief happiness she bought to her son. She remembered how desolate the kid felt in the hospital and she recalled in vivid detail how my puppy did her therapy dog rounds, how she poked her head into her son's room and doctored him with a lick on the nose.
The kid didn't come out and play with my puppy and the other kids very often but his mom recalls how my puppy would always make it a point to come in with whatever toy she was playing with, often a roll of toilet paper and press it into his hand, poking him until he played with her.
The kid followed her web site. He often got exasperated with her but he always wrote to her explaining his exasperation.
I'm proud of my little puppy. As proud of her that she was able to figure out something was wrong and felt like trying to do something about it.
It saddens me for a kid to die. It makes me wonder why I've been spared when a child was not.

December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Clement Moore

Frozen Tree by Far2way
Click images for desktop size: "Frozen Tree" by Far2way
Its Christmas Eve.
I'm exhausted. About 9 inches of snow last night. Not a blizzard according to the local standards. Its just snow.Rudolph Comics
We went and delivered our Secret Santa gifts to all the houses walking through the non-blizzard. It was wonderful fun. I liked leaving big old footprints in all the fresh snow. I liked sticking the little dried veggie Santa
Click images for desktop size: "Santa" by Unknown
packs in the doors and mailboxes. I expect half of them are already waiting for the garbage pick-up. I don't care about that.
I still had to take the garbage out. Garbage men don't get Christmas Eve off. Doesn't seem fair.
When we came in from Secret Santa'ing I warned my friend that the man gate wasn't closing properly and to be careful of the dogs. Of course I ignored my own good advice and when I was Frozen Tundra by NFL Films
Click images for desktop size: "Frozen Tundra" by NFL Films
halfway down the drive with my arms full of garbage the giant dog suddenly bounded in front of me, went into play posture and leapt away. The gentle dog run past next, slowing down only to say high before he dashed along. My puppy came up beside me and asked if I needed a hand with anything . . .
I had to go out and stop too cars who were creeping along as the two big dogs ran back and forth across the street. Miraculously my puppy actually did a sit stay. I think she was amused.
Then I got my Christmas miracle. I yelled at the dogs and they very nonchalantly trotted up the drive way and waited for me to properly open the man gate so they could go back into their yard.
I discovered a stupid stray cat has taken up residence in the dog house in the yard. I put food outGirls Bravo for it and then fought with the dogs to not eat its cat food. I figure our stupid cat invited the stray in, told it what a sucker I was.
I didn't get the Christmas cookies made. Shoveled an amazing amount of snow.
We also got a pretty nice Christmas present from Snow Boys by Subo Sitro
"Snowboys" by Subo Sitro
my friends ex-secretary. Orchestra seats for the Chinese Wushu Show. How totally cool. The theater actually delivered them. He wouldn't come in for coffee.
The only disappointment is that the ex-secretary won't be joining us. I would have liked that too. I'm greedy that way.
Watching it snow was pretty. Last night should have been Christmas Eve. It was near perfect in tone, setting and silence.
"It's always Christmas in my heart," or some such in some song.

Christmas Eve is the time for some of the old traditional songs. Cool stuff that becomes loved via familiarity and repetition.
Lou Christie does an old fashioned take on "O Holy Night". I always thought it was a bit arch that Christie toured with his sister who sang back up on all of his cool racy hits.
For some people its not Christmas until they get some Johnny Mathis and Percy Faith, for them Santa Is Coming
Click images for desktop size: "Santa Is Coming" by Unknown
here's Johnny Mathis and Faith's klazzik, "Sleigh Ride".
Jackie Wilson was one of the greatest performers in music. He worked hard and knew how to inject emotion into a tune that didn't involve just yelling and groveling (which are not bad things at all) Wilson laid his soul bare. Jackie Wilson's "Joy To The World" is a bit too respectful to the original to really soar but it has a sweetness and power of its own.
Eric Johnson brings his refined technique to the fore on his touching version of "The First Nowell".
El Vez put on the greatest Christmas Show I've ever seen at the Garage in Islington. He wore a plasticky Santa Claus suit that wobbled around insanely. The Elvettes wore Red fur trimmed mini skirts and red fur trimmed halter tops and Santa hats (faux fur of course). While his back up band,Santa Claus Funnies The Memphis Mariachis, wore white shirts, string ties with enameled Christmas Wreathes and Santa hats. El Vez did stuff like this cool "Feliz Navi-Nada". For me you need El Vez to really believe its Christmas.
Not to be outdone very hip band It Dies Today does its own grind on "Feliz Navidad".
Christmas Card
Click image: "Christmas Card" by S4W
In a similar vein Haste The Day rips through "O Come Emanuel". Very fast and cool.
Semi techno band Belle and Sebastian do their own take on the tune with "O Come, O Come Emmanuel".
Now we'll take a break while The Beach Boys exhort you to give some toys to the kids Keola Beamer shows that the Hawaiian slack guitar is truly an awesome style with his "Do You Hear What I Hear".
Pollo del Mar does an unforgettable version of "Carol of the Bells".
While a jazz guitar legend shows he has chops. Chet Baker's take on "Silent Night" will chill you out.
Christmas Night
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Night" by Unknown
The Rooks were a nearly great band. They only did two albums but buried in there was a heartfelt christmas tune. The Rooks "Christmas Is Here" rocks well enough to not get embarrassing.
Darlene Love proves she's got the key to Christmas in her heart with this cool "All Alone On Christmas". This is the best version of the track I could find.
Jeff Beck can still fly with "Amazing Grace". Its oddly lushly arranged but Beck's guitar always soars.
One band that's never done a Christmas song is Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. They should. Maybe they already have. This raw version of a Jackson 5 number touches and warms the heart the way a Christmas song should. Until you hear Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies destroy "I'll Be There" you're missing a big part of the holiday feeling. At least the way I feel it.
I could go on for days. I could but I can't. I have to help my puppy write her blog post. I've got a foot of snow to shovel and dogs to pet.
Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2008

Christmas is coming, it will soon be here
Paul Fix

Forgotten Memories by Reece Townsend
Click images for desktop size: "Forgotten Memories" by Reece Townsend
Yesterday we go distracted.
We went out to get dog food and the feed store had a living Nativity scene. No people but plenty ofDennis the Menace sheep, a donkey and a CAMEL!!
The animals were all fat and happy. Maybe the donkey had a bit of consternation. He kept his ass (that's a pun, son) under the heat lamp and mulishly refused to move!
Inside they had free hot cider and free candy canes! It was totally cool. No one, a couple of Santa
"Santa's Sleigh" by Unknown
customers maybe, was agitated or cranked on anything but good will. We got food and a Christmas treat for the dogs.
My friend had spent a lot of time petting the lambs. When we got home we were disappointed that the giant dog, who is childishly jealous, didn't seem to care or react to the sheep smells at all.
I wanted to take the dogs back to see the animals, which was probably a bad idea and vetoed by the driver.
It was still the nicest monderful Christmas thing I'd ever seen. Everyone was lost in it for a least a little while. We did some grocery shopping. Even in the middle of the day all the stores and parking lots were jammed and went home to recover.
I finished vacuum sealing the Secret Santa doggie treats. Our dogs are still bewildered by this bagging up of stuff that should belong to them.
Happy Holidays
Click images for desktop size: "Happy Holidays" by Unknown
I did some more shoveling. Then we tried to watch some movies. "Transporter 3" was a disappointment. Got up t the 2nd big fight scene then cut it off. Corey Yuen, the guy who directed the first one, knew how to film fights. This one has some dufus American so instead of watching the surprising speed and grace of Jason Stratham we get a lot of fast cuts and a mysteriously shaky camera that gets real annoying.
They're also disemboweled the Frank Martin character, who used to be very cool, pragmatic and lacking in self doubt. They've added in the dreary remote bomb trip (75 feet from the car and you die) so I was quickly losing interest.
Then did get through "Fred Claus". A not very good Christmas-y movie.Teen Beam
I wanted to see it because of the cast. Kevin Spacey as a Christmas villain is like YOW! Paul Giametti, the cool sociopath bad guy from "Shoot 'Em Up" as Santa Claus! Rachel Weiz as the love interest then cameo's by Frank Stallone, Steve Baldwin and Ken Clinton as other brothers who's lives were destroyed by their famous siblings. (Oh, Fred Claus is Santa's brother).
Weiz plays Vince Vaughn's love interest. I'm still trying to figure out how a woman with such a thick Cruel Snowkids
"Cruel Snowkids" by Unknown
Brit accent got a job as a meter maid in Chicago. It made no sense, unless it was intended to make some sort of weird comment on U.S. immigration policies.
The film wast sort of nothing. I found myself thinking about "Deck the Halls', last year's Christmas flic starring MAtthew Broderick and Danny DeVito. At least that one had some glitzy lights and some unrepentant anarchy going for it. This just lay there and I found myself wondering how they got this heavy weight talent to appear in this mess.
We started to watch the old "Here Comes Mr Jordan". I was enjoying it but my friend fell asleep. She needed the sleep. I was liking the movie too much to watch it by myself.
So I made mental plans for Christmas instead while watching the tepid Monday Night Football game.

Santa Claus
Click images for desktop size: "Santa" by Unknown
It seems Billy Idol has fans who were hacked by my saying Steve Steven's thrashed out his talent by being Idol's sideman. To soothe their jangled nerves at Christmas here's Billy Idol doing his version of "Frosty The Snowman". One of the great klazziks of Christmas music is Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans inspired rendition of "The Bells Of St Mary's". You'll never be able to watch the old Bing Crosby movie in the same light again.
BB King is a living legend. He finally decided to record a Christmas album. Its as cool as you could want. What I'd expect from a man who offered to give his beloved guitar "Lucille" as a reward to anyone who'd return his little lost puppy. BB King's "Christmas Celebration" proves the blues are for all year long.
John Water's once wrote that he always wanted to write a thank you letter to his grandmother, "Thanks for the five dollars. I used it to buy crack cocaine and a porno mag". In that light heWorld WIthout End released a Christmas album. Its not bad as proven by his choice of Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva's "I Wish You A Merry Christmas". Little Eva is the originator of "The Locomotion and she loco-motivates this track just fine.
Acceptance does an interesting version of "So This Is Christmas" which is just a re-titling of John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War id Over). The song gives no clue as to why it was re-titled.
Christmas Eve Eve is a good time to start getting traditional. The Blue Hawaiians do a pleasant take on "We Four Kings" while America contributes "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" to a weary world.

I still have cookies to make, presents to deliver and a few thousand Christmas emails for my puppy to go out. Have to deliver the presents tonight because it going to rain tomorrow . . .

December 22, 2008

The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources
Albert Einstein

Fallen Angel IV by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Fallen Angel IV" by Luis Royo
We had tostadas for dinner last night. Made from scratch tostadas. Nearly blew up the pressure cooker cooking the beans.
Sort of made us both sick . . . To much tos and not enough tada I guess . . .The Killers
Everything is still feeling good. My friend couldn't sleep from her tostada illness so she ended up working on some project for her job. Heck of a way to spend your Christmas vacation.
She explained everything she was doing to me in fine detail. I don't think it was very important that I didn't understand a thing she was talking about. She seemed very content and proud of herself for solving a problem and I could appreciate that. Even if I had no concept what the problem was or anything else much about it.
Typography Greeting by Blur
Click image: "Typography Greeting" by Blur
Last night we watched Jim Henson's "The Christmas Toy". Mildly amusing but nothing to go out of your way for. Then we watched an episode of the old TV series, "Kung Fu".
It's my friends favorite TV show ever. I enjoy it because I keep discovering a lot of friends had parts in the show. I still get a charge out of seeing my friends work.
It's become the tradition to watch an episode every Sunday night. Were about a third through season two right now. Last night the show was pretty good. David Carradine still bugs me. He can't fight but I do like his halting way of speaking english and Keye Luke is Keye Luke (Master Po). From Charlie Chan on I've always thought he was awesome.
Last night the show actually got into some Chinese history. It seemed accurate. At least it didn't contradict anything I already thought I knew.
It explained the story of the Manchus' burning the Shaolin Temple and killing all of the monks and how the five surviving monks formed the Tongs. How they convulsed their beliefs in order to use violence to not avenge but regain the place of their religion Christmas
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas" by Unknown
and in their convulsions metamorphed into bandits.
Then there was an interaction between a missionary and Caine that surprisingly showed the parallels between Christianity and Buddhism! Surprising and pithy stuff for a TV show. It didn't go that deep into it but it was enough to fire up some imaginations I'd imagine.
Then Richard Lo playing the venerable aged Tong leader gave a fantastic portrait of calm and logical evil. Approaching his problems and issues with reverence and ruthlessness. An elegant portrait of the evil men do for the betterment of society and themselves.
It would have been a much better show if David Carradine could at least look like he could fight . . .
Last night my puppy did a strange regression back to when she refused to go outside unless I wasSpiderman with her. I don't mind trekking through the drifting snow with her but it bothers me that she might suddenly have lost her inner sense of security, a feeling the two of us worked hard to instill.
She seems better this morning. More focused on having fun. That's the way it should be.

I've got a dozen Christmas tracks today.
Christmas Card by S4W
Click image: "Card" by S4W
I don't much like rap. I like the old school stuff, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Public Enemy, NWA and, of course Snoop Dogg. Snoop seemed to have lost his way a bit lately but he's come out with a new album that is a Christmas record!!
So far I like it. Very little tedium, the nice quasi-jazz mixes and lush production values. "Landy in my Egg Nog" is cool, funny and real.
I talked to Mamie Van Doren and she told me how Elvis had invited her to see Louis Jordan in Vegas. She didn't get to go because her then husband, Ray Anthony, was a jealous guy. For some reason what fascinated me was that Elvis wanted to see Louis Jordan. I checked him out and he was sort of a wild man playing within the big band croonermentality of the time. His Christmas tune "Santa Claus Santa Claus" does nothing to dispel the image. He is for sure worth listening to.
Christmas Pets
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Pets" by Unknown
And speaking of Elvis The Holly Twins' "I Want Elvis For Christmas"is okay but gets legendary when you know that its a teen Eddie Cochran playing the guitar and doing the hiccupy background vocals!
And when you go there you have to mention Dora Bryan's "All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle"
Carla Thomas made it personal with her "All I Want For Christmas Is You". Cool Stax sound and soaring voice.
Going even more old school is jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Rah. His "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is very cool and has the right sense of mellow for wrapping those last minute Christmas gifts.
Stepping slightly ahead in time we've got yet another new Christmas album. This one from Little Steven Van Zandt, the guy from Bruce Spingsteen, the Asbury Jukes and the Disciples of Soul. He just recorded a bunch of new garage stuff for a thing called "Christmas A Go Go. It is definitelyThe Two Mrs Carrolls alright. This is The Electric Prunes doing "Jingle Bells", from the day when a name like Electric Prunes made sense to somebody.
From the same album we have The Chevelle's doing the elegantly titled "Come All Ye Faithful Surfer Girls". Get your jaw ready to drop.
From the authentic era is this righteous tune, Davie Allan and the Arrows going all Yuletide with "Ho Ho Ho Seven-Hark The Herald Angels Sing". Which is possibly every old biker's favorite Christmas tune.
Madonna tried to ruin the Eartha Kitt klazzik and here The Dollyrots redeem the legacy of "Santa Baby" with this gravely distant purr.
Joey Ramone died. The world is a darker place without him. He left a lot of stuff out there that's being ignored. One of them is his truly cool cover of Darlene Love and Phil Specter's Christmas smash "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". It should not be missed.
Eventide by Stag
Click images for desktop size: "Eventide" by Stag
And finally we have one of the little promo things I'm so fond of, Jan and Dean wishing you a "Happy New Year". Not much better in life than that.
We have to go out and get dog food. Have to beat the weather. Its sunny and cold now. Snow is promised before the day ends.
I'm kind of looking forward to that. Even with all my snow shovelling muscles sore and tired it still makes things pretty and fun and adventurous.
What's irksome is that Christmas eve is supposed to break 40 and then to rain . . . and then freeze. We'll survive. We always do.

December 19, 2008

The best way to predict the future is to create it
Peter Drucker

Colorfast by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Colorfast" by Richard Mohler
We got the stickers to label the doggie treat Christmas presents. They're bigger than I expected. If I'd known I'd have written what the treats are on them. Out Of the Past
I have this fear that a) People will think I'm a loon (which they will anyway) and think I mean to harm their dogs or b) in these hard times that I'm giving out free samples of a product I want to sell.
I want them to just see that somebody else cares about their dogs and enjoys them as we walk around the neighborhood. I can't control people's perceptions.
I sealed up three bags using the vacuum sealer thing. It was cool Christmas Card
Click image: "Merry Christmas 2008" by S4W
and easy. Kind of fun too. I liked watching all the air get sucked out and the bags crinkling hard to the shapes of the dried veggies. It was aesthetically pleasing to me.
The big snow is expected today.
I hope its really big. So far this morning there's just a light dusting on the ground.
Yesterday I shoveled the yard in preparation for the big storm. I discovered its easier to do that then to just wait and let it all pile up.
I keep the dogs out there with me while I do the shoveling. They seem to enjoy standing on the ground I just shoveled and then getting in my way as I continue. Its their game and they're laughing.
I saw the gentle dog suddenly bolt past me. I watched him, amused at his speed and intensity while Snowshoeing by Steven Stradhee
Click images for desktop size: "Snowshoeing" by Steven Stradhee
I wondered what he was chasing. There's an abandoned bomb shelter in the back yard! Not an A-Bomb shelter, which would be very cool, but a plywood walled bunker sort of thing. Its collapsed but still has the shape of a room about 8 feet below the caved in roof. The roof has been used for years to toss fallen branches and other yard debris. It looks pretty natural, a part of the terrain.
As I watched the gentle dog scooted over the roof of the bomb shelter and disappeared. I went back to shoveling for a bit then realized the gentle dog hadn't reappeared and my puppy was agitated.
I went over to the shelter and was surprised that the gentle dog had followed whatever he wasNight of the Demon chasing down into the shelter and was now stuck!
It wasn't a big problem to drop down besides him. I lifted him up and pushed him out through the hole in the roof.
In my haste to rescue him I neglected to calculate my own escape.
I thought about it for a second and tried to do an old rock climbing style "mantle". Its where you grab the ledge above your head pull yourself up to where you can rest your forearm on the surface and then lever yourself up.
Pretty simple.
Except my hands would not grasp the wood. Since I've started to play the guitar again I notice that aside from the pain and the cramping finger style playing has left my right thumb feeling jammed and dislocated. My recent falling downs has also left my wrist weak.
Christmas Matrioshka
Click image: "Russian Christmas Matrioshka" by Unknown
I tried a couple more times, trying different techniques. All I managed to do was to break off some chunks of dusty ceiling.
There's still a door on the shelter so I tried that. Most people probably would have thought of trying the door first . . . but I have pride in wanting to exit the same way I entered. Pride is often confused with stupidity. Besides it was dark down there and I really hadn't thought of it.
The door was solidly jammed and throwing my weight against it only made the shelter vibrate in an uncomfortable way and I had a flash of me being buried alive under plywood and yard debris.
More worrisome was that my puppy and the giant dog decided that all my banging around was a sure sign that I was having a world of fun and they were threatening to come down and join me. Planet of the Apes (Czech) They kept poking their noses through the hole. Giant dog was play growling at me trying to make me let him join in the fun.
I yelled at them to sit. I was surprised that they both did.
I remembered I had my cell phone in my pocket, which is more common sensical than usual for me. I've often watched old movies where all the tension from a scene or a chase could have been solved if the hero just had a cell phone in his pocket.
Christmas Cheer
"Christmas Cheer" by Unknown
I thought for a bit about calling 911 but I figured they'd probably have to break down the gate to get into the yard and, that just didn't seem worth it.
I was also wondering what the gentle dog was chasing. I hadn't heard anything rustling down there. I sometimes smell a heavy musk in the backyard. Rather skunky but not quite the skunk smell I know. I'd decided it must be wolverines! It didn't matter that I'd been told that there weren't any wolverines around here, that they're several hundred miles further north, I enjoyed thinking that there's a semi-dangerous animal lurking in my backyard.
At this time I also figured that all my banging around would have seriously hacked off any skulking wolverines who would have gone by my jugular by now. I figured it was most likely that the gentle Dragon Lady
Click images for desktop size: "Dragon Lady" by Unknown
dog was chasing the "stupid cat".
I also found it interesting that it seemed several degrees cooler in the bomb shelter. For some reason my lack of subterranean knowledge made me think it would be warmer, which is stupid and against all my experience but I still fondly cherish the notion that just 10 feet below the surface the earth is filled with pools of magma that house great fire resistant dinosaurs.
I finally figured out that I could hang from the roof and do a sort of chimney move against one slick wall and sort of scramble out that way. It took about 10 minutes for me to get to a position where I could grab something and try and pull myself out.Red Dust
The first time I grabbed a branch which wasn't attached to anything and fell back into the shelter. The next time i just madly flailed at the dirt until I was able to roll myself onto solider ground. Of course the dogs all had to rush over and smell me.
I checked the gentle dog over and decided he had no bumps, contusions or abrasions. He was a bit nervous about the hole but still eager to bite me.
I finished my shoveling, went in and made us a frozen pizza I'd gotten on sale. The dogs and me love our frozen pizza, except they always want more than their share. I think they think the same thing about me.
We watched the Colts Jaguars game on TV. It was better than I anticipated. It was sadly moving seeing Richard Collier come onto the field in his wheel chair.
My friend was working late, in preparation for the two weeks off and anticipating that the big snow Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
would stop her from going into work today. So I went to bed alone.
Not quite alone. Usually my puppy lies on the bed until my presence annoys her. Tonight the gentle dog nudged her aside and lie next to me. Nose to nose. I love dogs but I don't like doggie kisses or them licking me at all. I also don't like doggie breath. He moved further down, turned around and pressed hard against me and stayed there until my friend got home. Then he went to greet here by stepping on my face. So everything is back to normal.

A few people have written to me complaining that the song version the downloaded wasn't the one that I claimed it would be! I realize that when I ftp'd a song with the same name to the server I was overwriting the old version! I'll get that fixed.
Here's Jan and Dean doing a little "Merry Christmas promo". I like these little messages inserted Santa Claus Conquers the Martians into my playlists.
Shonen Knife aren't the only Japanese girl band to celebrate the holidays, this is The 5 6 7 8's doing "Rock N' Roll Santa". Cute stuff with a nice cutting edge.
Soupy Sales has a son named Tony. Tony started out with a band called Tony and the Tigers. Soupy used all of his influence to promote his son's band. Eventually Tony would marry Tyrone Powers' daughter, Taryn, and then form Tin Machine and be David Bowie's band for a lot of years. That's how it goes in Hollywood. None of which has anything to do with this CHristmas track by Soupy himself. "Santa Claus Is Surfin' To Town" has been blamed for everything from causing the cold war to increasing the percentage of American youth experimenting with drugs. The drug part is serious! It's just a gooney Christmas record that I like fine.
It is certainly no crazier than Ray Steven's scary "Santa Claus Is Watching You" especially in this post 9/11 anti-American tyranny.
And we'll end with two tracks designed to ruin forever your memory of Clement Moore's poem. Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns crazed version of "Twas The Night Before Christmas" rolls along in madness that seems absolute until . . .
Now we all know who Henry Rollins is. The founder of Black Flag, the the paramour of Lydia Lunch. Those shows . . .I mean, they were nothing except Lydia screeching on stage while Rollins would jump into the crowd and punch out hecklers! Iceman by Marvel
Click images for desktop size: "Iceman" by Marvel Comics
And a few hundred people would PAY to experience this! While Van Halen and Metallica where down the street PAYING the club owners to get to play Lunch and Rollins were making money doing this poetry reading thing. YOW!
Rollins was cool. I could even accept him taking parts in movies. It wasn't until he hosted that awful TV game show that I realized the beautiful angry young man was dead and all that was left was a guy who wanted to make a living. Once again I bring up the Eskimo tradition of sending their greatest heroes out on ice floes to die lest they live on and destroy the legend. Henry Rollins doing a Christmas tune is insane, that his radical hep cat be bop reading of "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" even exists is a Christmas miracle that is a quiet blessing. Scare the kids with this one while you just groove daddio.
Finally a band called The Priestess and the Fool have released a new Christmas album and left it up for FREE DOWNLOADING. Rah! Merry Christmas. The music is okay. They do an interesting cover of the Pogues "Fairytale of New York". Click the bands name to get it. Classy package 192 kb mp3's, cover art and pdf booklet. I approve.

December 17, 2008

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom
William "Wild Bill" Blake

Bullet Train
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Bullet Train" by Unknown
Last night we were watching this old Dave Fleischer cartoon. A Christmas themed one. Where these kids in the orphanage get these old cast off toys that crumble to dust within minutes. The kids are all crying. Christmas is over and ruined. Gramps, the Inventor, is driving past in his horselessHuman Desire sleigh. He hears the kids and decides to help them by taking all the knick knacks in the orphanage and remaking them into cool Rube Goldberg style Christmas toys.
Pretty inventive stuff in six minutes.
My friend asked me if I'd been raised to believe in Santa Claus. I didn't have an answer. I don't think so. I think I was raised more to believe in Gramps, the Inventor.
Frosty by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: "Frosty" by LawnElf
My best childhood Christmas memory, my "Rosebud" was when I was five. I woke up Christmas day, all excited. I don't have a clue as to why. It was just that it was the day.
There was a Christmas tree and fanned out under the tress were 6 Mad Magazine comic paperbacks. I felt like the richest kid in the world.
Now I realize that my mother had been out on Christmas Eve and either got a tree from one of the lots for a dollar or two and probably ran to Thrifty's to pick up some close out decorations.
The Mad magazines I'd wanted. Mad magazine I thought was the epitome of sophisticated humour. What I actually liked were the loaded up panels of Wally Wood. I couldn't imagine how witty you'd have to be to load all those jokes into a single panel. I fretted over missing one of those jokes.
So I don't think I ever thought much about Santa Claus. I believed more in Christmas miracles. I still do.
Christmas Tree by WallColl
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Tree" by WallColl
Even when the miracles don't happen I'm to stoic to let it dampen my enthusiasm for the next miracle.
I realize that it lets me feel like my entire life is filled with miracles. My little puppy is a miracle. The gentle dog and the giant dog are miracles. My friend is her own self contained miracle.
Everything that is good that has happened to me is a miracle. I think we all deserve miracles. Except Bush-Cheny. They deserve whatever an anti-miracle is.

It snowed last night. After the muck and the ice the snow was almost welcome. It was a light powdery snow. The dogs and I were still slipping around on the ice it concealed but no one, especially me, fell or hurt themselves.More Fun Comics

Since I'm in such a good mood it seems like the right time for some Anti-Christmas songs. I lost my copy of "Christmas in Jail" ("I was in the wrong lane and feeling no pain"), but John Prine's evil "Christmas in Prison" fills the gap nicely. It also has some pretty lyrics and a flash of ugly humour. ("Christmas in prison, food's real good had turkey and pistols carved out of wood").
Then there's the calm despair of The Emotions and "What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas", which is nothing else should bring comfort in knowing you're not the only person who feels that way.
The country blues of Lightnin' Hopkins' "Santa" and the country twang of Bill Harrison's "'Po Folks Christmas" balance the despair of infinite poverty against the hopes and dreams that might well be one day crushed but for now they're all we have.
Then there's the comedic vitriol of Blink 182's "I Won't Be Home For Christmas". I have way to many friends who've experienced too many Christmases like this. It makes me smile thinking about my Christmases that should have been like this, but for some reason they weren't ever that bad. Miracles, see?
Speedball Jr's "Rudolph's Secret" tries to be nasty but the great rhythm and piercing reverb leads are just too good to make it anything more than fun.

I'm stuck waiting for a Christmas delivery. A close out item. It will cheer everyone up. At least everyone who lives here.

December 16, 2008

Protecting the rich may be the quickest way to hell but its the easiest way to get rich yourself
Allen Stern

Beauty With Cigarette
Click images for desktop size: "Beauty with Cigarette" by Unknown
I fell down last night. Fell down pretty hard and in my own backyard!
The rain and warmth turned the yard into muck and then the sudden deep freeze froze everything Hound Of The Baskervilles solid. The lucky part was that somehow it dried most stuff out pretty well, except for this one strip where the dogs and I wear our paths.
The paths are solid strips of ice. I couldn't see that in the dark.
I fell hard. The dogs weren't anywhere near me but were willing to take the credit. All three were over sniffing me. I banged my head pretty hard, jammed my wrist and my elbow is still hurting.
I examined the area this morning. There's no trace of where my hand hit but there's a nice star from where I smacked my elbow.
Christmas Night
Click image: "Christmas Night" by Wallpapermania
I was glad to see that. I'm a guy and guys know instinctively that we have to qualitate anything stupid, or clumsy and especially something painful to see where it fits into the guys hall of records.
This was a pretty good fall in the ice. Not up there with Bills in the winter of '86 but he had the advantage of being on a lake and getting his butt stuck in the resulting hole.
So not a great fall at all but still pretty good.
The house is reeking of dehydrating sweet potatoes. I'm excited. They'll make great treats for our dogs and even better Christmas presents for the neighbor dogs.
Home for Christmas by Inevitable Imagination
Click images for desktop size: "Home for Christmas" by Inevitable Imagination
The dehydrated sweet potatoes go for like 16 bucks for a bag of five! We've got about 25 going right now. Its been going for 14 hours so far. They look different than when they started out . . . I have no idea how much longer they'll take.
The ones they sell they claim are similar to rawhide but healthier.
We have this vacuum thing that I want to use to "wrap" the doggie presents. No one knows how to work it . . . Its that machine that has these plastic tubes. You put your stuff in the tube and it sucks out the air and seals the bag to make something very slick and professional looking. At least in theory. Just more Christmas excitement.
Now that we have a dehydrator I'm chuffed trying to figure out what else to dry out. Being too much of a guy sometimes I can only think about stuff like toothpaste and nuts. I'm trying to figure out Christmas with the Superheroes what would be totally cool to see all wrinkled and dried out. I usually get into trouble thinking these kind of things. Harmless trouble but still trouble.

Today its novelty Christmas records.
Novelty records have always been cool. Some of them have even been massive hits. They've been around like forever. The most annoying of them had to be the number 1 with a bullet The Chipmunks doing "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)". The brain child of Ross Bogardisian and novelty stud David Seville (prior to this his smash was "The Witch Doctor" not included here). The sped up voices are annoying and deadly to anyone not born with 6 year old auditory sense.
The penetrating effect of this can still be felt in hippie band Canned Heat's Homage and cover of "The Chipmunk Song". Scary stuff.
This actually spelled a whole series of answer tunes from groups like the Squirrels, the Groundhogs. They were all terrible and all sounded the same. One DJ was incensed by kids enjoying Christmas. He did a spoken record that was so teeth gnashingly ernest and sincere it can only be endured at Christmas, Harry Harrison wishes "May You Always" at Christmas. Its just what you imagined.
Fortunately the world was blessed with the Marquees. A black doo wop group that went further out than the Coasters. "Christmas in the Congo" was a Christmas sequel of the other minor hit. This one did so well that the Marquees gave us the rocked out "Santa Done Got Hip". And suddenly the Christmas Ornaments
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Ornaments" by WallColl
real flood gates were open.
Patsy Raye gave us the remarkable "Beatnik's Wish". One listen and you'll want to become a beatnik! But only because you couldn't afford the clothes to join Edd "Kookie" Byrnes in "Yulesville".
Suddenly for every cloying Christmas track like the psycho "05 I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" by Gayla Peevey we got to sway with The Enchanters and their "Mambo Santa Mambo".
Since then its never stopped. There's the memorable "Going Up To Bethlehem". Where comedian does a nice CCR rip to make a stomping Christmas tune.
Even today we have bands like The A.K.A.'s covering "Christmas In Hollis" MXPX doing the strange "Christmas Night Of Zombies" which still has one of my fave Christmas lines. Frankenstein's Daughter (Hint: The snow is red)
So this should keep you suspiciously grinning until tomorrow. We'll leave you with The Boys Next Door on Bad Records and their too cool "The Wildest Christmas".
I have to go work on falling down and other important Christmas stuff, like dreaming and walking the dogs and forgetting that there's a world out there that doesn't see any way to laugh right now, who wants to penalize the poor and isn't afraid of ghosts.
I got invited to play Santa back in the town I used to live in. I'll dream about that some.

December 14, 2008

Is it Sunday yet?

The Vet
Click images for desktop size: "The Vet" by Unknown
The giant dog vomited this morning. There was blood in it.
Being a dog he's staying pretty perky but refused his food even though it had egg in it.The Boogie Man
Have to watch him closely.
We went out and did four hours of shopping yesterday. Not Christmas shopping but just get supplies in survivor type shopping. I started to weaken at about 2 and a half hours. Too much time on my feet with no food and no pain pills. Got through it by steering all the carts and seeing how close I could come to the too many other shoppers out there.Christmas Lights 34
Click image: "Christmas Lights 34" by Unknown

We have discovered that the Salvation Army Store here is pretty good.
Got home and tried to watch a dog movie, "The Twelve Dogs of Christmas." Great title. Movie seemed to have everything, Christmas AND dogs. It was dreadful. Acting so poor that it couldn't be called amateurish. Only the crazy dog lady had a spark of talent but even she got sucked into the poorly conceived role and terrible writing. Even the costuming was insipid, and I've yet to comprehend the reason this "depression era" film was shot through constant heavy diffusion filters.
My friend thought it was exploitive. I just thought it was bad. Had to turn it off when, well, the plot is that this town has banned dogs, which is kind of "huh?" but I could bear with that. They have a Zen Garden
Click images for desktop size: "Zen Garden" by Unknown
dog catcher who seems to have some great disturbance mentally, or at least that's the way they decided to play him. He catches up the dogs in the town and they just disappear. It appears that he hates dogs so much that he sells them to one of those notorious depression era dog fighting clubs . . . okay. I guess there's a lot of money to be made catering to the blood thirsty desires of the homeless and unemployed. I see that's evil but the dog fights are between a female Old English Sheep dog (who was very cute) and a neutered German Shepherd . . . I figure the headline fight was a pekinese against a Chihuahua.
The only commonsensical thing was they didn't show any dog fighting. Instead a 10 year old girl City Without Baseball (with the stupidest hat and pig tails in movie history) swoops down and rescues the dogs while 20 adult men stand around and watch her escape. There's too much dumbness to list and it all comes off as just dull.
The dogs are cute but clearly not movie trained. They claim, as an odd plot point that there are 51 dogs at the crazy dog lady's house. But through out the movie I saw less than a dozen all toll.
This is just a movie to avoid.
Then watched the problematic "Frost/Nixon".
Frank Langella gives a great performance. Its Oscar worthy for sure. All the acting is top notch. The film was . . . not that good. I liked that they hammered home a bit too incessantly that what Nixon was despised for is the same stuff that party boy frat house cheerleader George W is doing and laughing at us about. Its a point worth making.
The focus is too much on David Frost. A Brit mid-atlantic man who comes off pretty despicable in his own right.
I mean here's a guy flying first class, staying in the best hotels and eating at all the best restaurants in LA ad we're supposed to feel empathy because he's using his own fortune and borrowing from his rich buddies to make this massive interview.
I didn't buy it. It made the whole affair feel sleazy, like being in the house of a famous porn star. Langella's performance made it work and held things together. He makes Nixon human and vulnerable while not letting us forget the monster and destroyer that he most surely was.
Christmas-Best Night of the Year
Click images for desktop size: "The Best Night of the Year" by Unknown
Its a fine line he walked and he did it gracefully. It would be like watching someone do a portrait of Hitler.
I was up and down all night. I'll put it off to no college football anymore . . . and worry about Steve Sarkasian proving to me he is a total jerk by trying to hire away the entire USC coaching staff to go with him up to Washington. Doesn't he know that there are other good coaches out there?

Today Christmas music focuses on punk Xmas. I always thought it was funny that punk bands paid any attention to Christmas at all. The first Christmas punk single I heard was from some Gardena band. They did a thrash version of "O Come All Ye Faithful". It wasn't very good. The record had a yellow label. And that's all I really remember about it. That yellow label and its adolescent scream of "we're so rebellious we even hate Christmas, but we still like Boys' Prison presents."
The Dickies thrashy "Silent Night" is the first song I remember having an impact. I got it on this wild 45. It was pressed on clear vinyl that was shaped like a Christmas tree! The other tracks I've lost but they were great too. (Maibooz "Santa's Gone Surfin'" and some turgid mawkish thing I don't remember. I don't have either of them to post.)
That was soon followed up with the freakish follow-up "(Its Gonna Be a) Punk Rock Christmas" by the Ravers. Its bad but funny and incredibly dated. I never heard of the Ravers before or since. Figure they were a mock band made up by some producer with dollar signs in his eyes who figured this could be a novelty hit.
Later on we got the awesome Shonen Knife doing "Space Christmas". A nice bouncy Christmas tune with nice crunchy guitar.
Which somehow leads us to The Presidents Of The United States doing "Space Piglet". This is on a Surfer Sihlouette by Chris Welch
Click images for desktop size: "Surfer Sihlouette" by Chris Welsh
punk compilation. I don't like that the new punk would accept this.
I think that the tradition started with the Seattle garage punks of the 60's. The sonics were part of a compilation album that the producer figured would generate a lot of interest. Its a pretty collectable album. Pretty amazing because its sort of dull. The Sonics stuff rules okay, but the Wailers are mawkish and dull and I can't even remember the other tracks because they're nothing but bad.
The Sonics tune, written to the tune of "Farmer John" was so good it was covered by Gruesomes covering "Santa Claus". The coolness of the chorus, "I want a twangy guitar, a cute little honey and lots of money, Santa Claus," says all I need it to say.
Before they eventually folded like a giant star collapsing in on itself the Sonics did another Marvel Holiday Special Christmas tune, "It's Christmas" doesn't destroy civilization like a lot of their tracks but nothing the Sonics do is ever dull or without interest.

Last week I was 11-5 in my football picks. In the past couple of years that would have been one of my off weeks. This season its one of my best. I figure corrupt officials! Its the only thing that explains the bizarre calls that have become a part of every game recently. My friend was 12-4. Which is easy to explain. She cheated.
With only three games left in the season the really cruddy games out number games of interest and good games. No one is really dominating are looking uncrushable. No one's looking that good either. A lot of teams are looking that bad and a record number of teams are looking remarkably mediocre and boring.
As usual my picks are in bold.

New Orleans at Chicago - I picked the Saints. This was an incredibly unimpressive game. That the Bears will probably end up in first place this weekend is a shame. They're a really poor team. The Saints have broken my heart. They looked just as bad as the Bears.

Washington at Cincinnati - The Redskins are in serious meltdown mode. Their stars are complaining, the intensity is fading as they are looking at another 8-8 season. Personally I don't know how they played so well during that early stretch. The Bengals are officially a disaster. The bright spot of the season being a tie with the Eagles. So the Redskins should pull out of this one Christmas 31
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Tree" by Unknown
pretty easily and build up some confidence.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - A game of the week pretender. The Buccaneers looked pretty horrid against the flimsy Panthers last week. Matt Ryan is good but showed signs of the fatigue of the long season against the Saints. Both teams have their back against the wall. You'd have to figure this one to be low scoring and close. Normally I'd pick Buc's coach Jon Gruden to do something stupid to cost them the game, but Ryan looks like he's dealing with a tired arm and dead legs. He might be able to pull it together but the Tampa Bay defense should be too tough.

Tennessee at Houston - Since the Titans have clinched everything you can in the regular season the Texans best hope is for a total loss of concentration by the 12-1 Titans. Otherwise this could beCaptain Video really ugly. I wouldn't be too surprised to see the Texans jump to an early lead before Tennessee wakes up and brings down the hammer.

Detroit at Indianapolis - I can think of no reason whatsoever to watch this game. Its a live scrimmage for the Colts. Calvin Johnson will play well for the Lions but no one will be able to get the ball to him.

Green Bay at Jacksonville - A strong contender for cruddy game of the week. Two teams with lost seasons playing out the string so they don't have to give refunds on the season tickets. No offense for the Jaguars. The packers looking more than a little bit lost and dazzled. I suppose Green Bay could get crazy like they did against the Bears but it seems unlikely on the road.

San Diego at Kansas City - The AFC West is so poor the Chargers aren't officially eliminated yet. These guys are playing for pride and next years contract. Kansas City has some talent but very little on defense. This is another cruddy game but Ladanian Tomlinson might wake up and go crazy. So "Swarm" detl by Tessa
Click images for desktop size: "Swarm - detail" by Tessa
might Larry Johnson . . .

San Francisco at Miami - I'm sure the Dolphins were looking at this as a lock game but after the fire Mike Singletary has bought to the 49er's and proven last week in their thumping of the Jets the Dolphins had better be leery. They've got much more talent than the Niners and they still have a shot at the playoffs. They still have a shot at winning the division. This suddenly is a game of the week contender!

Buffalo at the New York Jets - A lot of the luster is off this game. Two badly exposed teams. This could be competitive for all the wrong reasons. I'm going with Brett Favre to make a march to the playoffs. I'll be surprised if he doesn't throw at least one incredibly painful pick.

Seattle at St Louis - Cruddy game of the week. This could top the Auburn 3-2 game for inept The Crawling Eye humor.

Minnesota at Arizona - The two worst divisions in football put their two best teams against each other. What a yawn. The Vikings D will harass Kurt Warner a little bit but he'll still get his 300 yards. The Cardinal D will still give the Vikings their 13 points and we can all get to sleep early.

New England at Oakland - The Patriots are still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt but Matt Cassel's, the Patriot's QB, father passed away this week. Who can imagine what he's going through. I'm not sure he'll even play even though he returned to the team to practice. A tragic game whatever happens.

Denver at Carolina - Two teams playing bad football even with division leading records. Jay Cutler could lead the Bronco's to a win but their defense is way to poor to stop the Panthers too few strengths.
Santa Checking it Twice
Click images for desktop size: "Santa Checking it Twice" by Unknown

Pittsburgh at Baltimore - Game of the week. Running scared Willie Parker won't do much against a healthy and vicious Ravens defense. The Ravens believe in themselves and are nasty enough to prevent any miracles. The Steelers are leading the division due to inept calls and miracles. The Ravens have seen them already. Joe Flacco, Ravens rookie QB, is playing like a vet and not showing the expected fatigue. this game will have more hard hitting than the rest of the league. This is for the division lead, for pride and for honor. Ray Lewis is fighting Father Time and knows this might be his last chance to be on top of the world. They'll be focused and ready to break the other teams heart. This might be the game of the year. If it goes to overtime we'll se who has the bigger heart.

Cleveland at Philadelphia - The only thing this game will accomplish is to give the sportswriters the Beast of Blood chance to exclaim how the Eagles have pulled a dramatic turnaround and have gotten hot at the right time just like the Giants did last year. Its still a snoozer.

New York Giants at Dallas - The hyped game of the week. It should still be interesting. The guys are pro's so I don't put too much worry into Witten, Romo and Romo punching each other out during the game. What is a worry is just inept the Cowboy offense has looked for the last 8 games. The Giants won't have their top rusher which will keep the game closer than it should be.

As usual these picks are a certain test of your laughing muscles. Even my puppy thinks she do better picks . . .

Giant dog going up and down. Outside by himself now, gorging on grass. We didn't do any Christmas decorating yesterday as my friend has off from the 19th until after New Years. Seemed smart to wait until she could relax and have fun. Sick giant puppy might cause some plans to change. No difference to me or her so long as the big galloot feels good.

November 19, 2008

She loves me now but she's going to love me more
Jan Berry

Autumn Colors
Click images for desktop size: "Autumn Colors" by NFL Films
There's an old vaudeville joke, one of those routines that requires a top banana and a stooge.
The stooge walks into a used clothing store and asks about a suit. The top banana gives him one Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman that is way too large and cut funny. The stooge complains that the pants sag. The banana shows him how to stick his hand in the jacket pocket and pull them up. This keeps going on and on. No taper on the jacket: just hold your arms like this. Sleeves too long: hold your elbows in like this.
Until finally the stooge is standing all knock kneed, hump backed cross eyed and distorted like some Picasso sculpture made flesh. The stooge buys the suit and walks down the street.MaxfieldParrish-MountainPeakWinter.jpg
Click image: "Mountain Peak Winter" by Maxfield Parrish

The stooge passes two guys lounging by a lamp post, reading the paper, as guys used to do back in those days. One nudges the other and they stare at the stooge as he shambles down the street with his bizarre knock kneed posture and roiling gait.
"What do you think is wrong with that fellow?" asks guy one.
"Beats me," says guy two, "but don't his suit fit nice!"
Curtain, guffaws and applause.
Right now I feel sort of like the stooge.
If I hold my mouth just so it minimizes the discomfort. Holding my head about like this cuts back on the feeling that a 6 penny spike is driving through my throat. Squinting my left eye like Popeye Shanna by Frank Cho
Click images for desktop size: "Shanna" by Frank Cho
stops it feeling like a poker is piercing my brain etc etc.
Nothing does much to stop the dull tooth ache like pain in my bones. Its a sort of phantom pain anyway. More discomfort than pain really, like a bad memory you can't shake, a bad dream that persists through the day.
I'm not worried. Just uncomfortable. I still trust my puppy to tell me when I'm in trouble. She gets overly attentive and clingy when I'm in trouble. Right now she just doesn't want to share the bed and wants me to make breakfast faster. So I'm clearly fine and not worth wasting precious brain cycles over.
I'm still playing the guitar everyday. Trying to limit it to an hour or so a day, I've got no speed or The Galloping Ghost strength in my fingers. I'm buzzing strings even on simple open chords. I'm curious to see if the strength comes back. I decided I need to limit it because after about 3 hours of noodling about on Sunday I discovered I couldn't grasp the lid on a jar of olives tightly enough to open it.
No big deal. I'll take it as a great sign if my fingers get stronger. Proof positive that my body isn't dead. Not dead at all.
I love the little guitar. Starting to remember some chord progressions. The body is still far behind the mind but that's to be expected.
Yesterday I read more about the recent grief and the RIAA.
Some mawky conservative think tank has come out and criticized the courts. They think the RIAA has been reasonable . . . there's a lot of lawyer gobbeldy gook in the paper. Jerks use lawyer talk when they have no justification. Does anyone not know that yet?
The main argument is that the RIAA should get what they want because they want it. Its not the RIAA's fault that their lobbyists rammed through a poorly conceived draconian law that gives the RIAA everything and the public nothing. The people should just be grateful that the RIAA allows them to breathe and give up the cash.
Charlie Neeson, the Harvard law prof fighting the RIAA n simple constitutional facts stated that perhaps its time for the RIAA to stop thinking the world owes them a living and to figure out alternative ways to make a living.
Girls In Prison Neeson suggested something like making the music free and embedding adverts n the tracks. Which I think is pretty stupid but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and think that it was just a thought off the top of his head. He does point out that the millions of bucks that the RIAA has extorted via threats and the courts has still not found any of its way to the artists. Its just being used to feed the legal machine and extort more money. Its the new RIAA industry.
Thing is that the RIAA is redundant. Musicians have always been ripped off. For the most part they didn't care.
The deal used to be that the musicians mad records and the record producers kept all the money. The band used the promotion of the records to sell out live shows. They made serious bucks that way. Both sides. The producers a lot more than the musicians.
The RIAA's big job was setting up some standards to make sure that records all had an acceptable EQ curve so that they'd sound like something when played through the crappy phono stylus. (When CD's became big a lot of them sounded pretty terrible because the record labels were dumping them out there with the same old RIAA EQ that they needed to have translated by Beyonce
Click images for desktop size: "Beyonce"
cartridges and needles for vinyl. I still sort of figure a lot of the love people have for vinyl is the love for the high compression and steep roll offs required to get vinyl to reproduce noise.)
The best deal musicians ever got was when the bands would first start up. You'd record some tracks at an 8 Track studio for like 15 bucks an hour, print up your own CD's for like a buck a piece, have the lead singer's girl friend, who was always an art student someplace, design a cover and a label, run them off and then sell them at your shows for 5 bucks a piece, 10 if the band got big enough.
We might not have known it then but those were the best days. Ambition has a nice way of hiding happiness from you.
Thing is I still don't need the RIAA and the corrupt disdainful musicians who embrace them. There's plenty of music out there that's not owned by anybody but the people who love it, who make THe Giant Claw it and who listen to it.
Oh, there's a question I can answer. Lars, drummer from Metallica, the hypocrite who started and embraces the RIAA's legal onslaught, he who sold a painting this weekend for 14 million dollars isn't giving half the money to the artist not even 10 bucks. See, he doesn't have to. Fair use act or something.
One thing I've been listening to a lot is compilations. The great ones are where a bunch of disparate bands with a common thread get together and try and get some attention by packing a disk with all killer no filler tracks.
With my garage love I particularly like this new one called, "Be A Caveman." Lots of good to great bands, like Events doing "She's Our Girl".
An old compilation that rocks is "Teenage Riot." Its all vintage stuff with a JD zip gun attitude and a switchblade edge. Doofus tracks like Reggie Perkins doing the theme for "High School Caesar" make Considering An Empty Future
Click images for desktop size: "Considering An Empty Future" by Unknown
me smile. The whole disk is filled with wild tunes, radio commercials for wilder films and the frequent totally cool tracks like Little Johnny and the Rumblers covering "Riot in Cell Block Number 9".
A newer surfish band on the scene are The Crimson Ghosts. Their CD "Some Kinda Hits" is one of those things where every song sounds like a forgotten song buried in your head. Nothing really tears your head off but nothing makes you reach to push the button for the next track. Nice and solid stuff like Their cool and reverb drenched cover of the Misfits "Attitude"
The Sand Rubies out of Phoenix continue to impress me. Their cover of Arthur Lee's "Signed D.C." Hollow Triumph gets a double RAH! and a Yow!
All you got to do is listen.
Finally this morning I woke up with a clear memory of a Jan and Dean song. It was a great tune, lush production sparse but meaningful words. Probably from that great period where everything Jan Berry dreamed was an instant hit. Except I can't seem to find it and now I'm wondering if they really did it.
Then I wondered if all the guitar noodling had made me write a new song. Possible. I'm usually half asleep when I write anything, except I remember once waking up and thinking I'd written an awesome song. The first line was. "She walks in beauty like the night . . . " It was three days before I found out that somehow George Byron had some how time travelled from to the future and stolen it from me . . .
I remain skeptical about my "genius".

November 18, 2008

Live out of your imagination, not your history
Stephen Covey

Today's City Tomorrow
Click images for desktop size: "Today's City Tomorrow" by Unknown
And suddenly its winter.
I'm not used to winters yet so I don't know if this is normal. To me it seems the temperature went from 70, to 60 to 50 to 24 in less than a week.
Follow Me Quietly There's snow too.
The dogs seem to like it. A lot.
I remain undecided.
Yesterday I spent the day raking wet leaves and snow. Shows the value of procrastination. How to make a miserable job despicable . . .
My friend made a trip and got me some ibuprofen. But not before I surf_05.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
tried some of her Aleve. I took four of them in a gulp. Then read that the max dosage is 3 a day . . . it did a middling job of masking the pain but made me a touch queasy.
The ibuprofen is still the best for that but even it seems to be either lessening in effect or else the pain is growing. Can't really determine.
Its still manageable.
I realized I'm not wearing my glasses like I ought to. Sometimes I feel embarrassed because its a bit disconcerting wearing shades when its cloudy and dark out. But its mainly because my vision has shifted in some way that makes the glasses nearly as much an irritant as an aid.
I need to go see an optometrist and a dentist.
In the state-that-tried-to-ruin-my-life-and-so-its-architects-voted-out they had a cheap dentist. Based on earnings I had to pay 20 bucks a visit. The only drawback was that they didn't take appointments. It was first come, first serve.
That meant getting there at 5 am. They let you in at 9 and the first patient was seen at 10. Had some interesting conversations in that line. Watched a few Abandoned by Shifted Reality
Click images for desktop size: "Abandoned" by Shifted Reality
neighborhood dogs come by and do their begging in those gray hours before traffic and school.
I showed up once at 5:30 and was 34th in line. Sketchy time. They only see 35 patients a day.
Interesting all the dentists were volunteers. The care was cursory but adequate and you got to see the same dentist.
Similar for the optometrist.
Now it be worth it. Who has the 3 or 4 hundred bucks to front these guys. Something to have to save for.
I've been bugged lately by politics. I was hoping that be over for a while. I guess evil never ends.
Bush and Cheney instead of slinking away and praying they're not hauled in front of the World Court for war crimes are continuing to try and destroy America.
They've already destroyed our freedoms and taken away our liberties and they're doing everything The Flesh Eaters they can to destroy what little we have left.
Bush has violated the law again and is using executive privilege to destroy what little beauty and nature we've got left. He's selling leases to do strip mining and shale oil extraction in our national parks. Maybe not right in the middle of the parks but in those border areas.
What they can't shoot and kill they'll pollute to death.
What I find sad is that the Democrats haven't done a damn thing about it. Why aren't they saying that bidding on these leases is foolish because on January 20th all those sales will be declared null and void.
I don't think that energy independence is worth destroying the world or the tiny pockets of beauty that we have left. The amount of oil they'd produce 20 years down the line could be made up by walking the 5 blocks to the store.
Then to insure Bush's corruption continues he's "burrowing" a lot of his scuzzier cronies in permanent positions in the government. Again the democrats are silent. Instead of promising to review each of these last minute appointments and voiding any that they think are not in the best interest of our country they're fighting to keep Lieberman in charge of the most decrepit useless Homeland Security. Its a burgeoning chunk of incompetence so lets keep the same boob in charge no matter what scandalous things he does.
We got fooled again.
One bright spot I've noticed is that a real heavy weight has gotten involved in the RIAA scandal. And Fight Club on the people's side!
Charlie Nesson the Harvard law prof is taking on the case of some grad student the RIAA is sung. His argument is vital. THe law that Bush shoved through is unconstitutional. The government and the Republicans cannot make laws that enable private citizens to persecute criminal laws as civil matters.
While I could debate the criminal aspect of the argument in that nasty single sided legal thought it makes sense.
The scuzz RIAA lawyers are fighting it, of course, not because he's wrong but because the kid they're suing should have said that originally and that now its too late to bring in that argument!
You know I hate Metallica. I didn't used to. Back when they played Giradelli's almost weekly, when Al Moore
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up" by Al Moore
they were out passing out tickets trying to get people to come check them out they were all right. They were just regular musicians. A dream and a song.
Then the Black album went platinum and they turned into the biggest jerks on record.
Lars, the sloppy drummer, has a place reserved in Dante's hell right next to Judas Iscariot and Bob Ford in the ice fields of the betrayers.
This is the same Lars who sold a painting this weekend for 14 million dollars, a painting he paid two million for a couple of years ago. He was stunned it didn't go for over 15 million . . .
This is the same Metallica that put Napster out of business because Lars was so freaked out that people were listening to his music and enjoying it and he wasn't getting his cut!Eyeball
Yesterday I was in the market looking at a newspaper headline. Some band just got a lifetime achievement award. The band took their name from one of the songs I wrote decades ago.
I had that knee jerk reaction, the same one Lars probably had: "I should get paid! or somethin' . . .
But because I'm not an immature jerk, at least about some things, I realized its cooler that I made a contribution to some kids having a good time. Not only the band itself but all of the kids who had their lives shaped the band's music, who lie under the covers having the band's music provide the sound track to their lives.
That's pretty important giddy stuff. More important, I think, that a few bucks. Maybe I'm lucky there's no 14 million buck paintings that I simply need to have.

So, I've got a lot to do today. The roomba is already nicely sweeping the house. Yes, I still love my roomba and really love the improvements its made. It works so much better than before and I clearly loved it in its orignal incarnation.
I have to clean stuff but first I have to take the dogs for a walk. They're stoked by the weather and that we didn't go for a walk yesterday.
I figure there's not enough snow and ice out there for them to knock me down, so that's a big win for me and will clearly demonstrate my superiority over dogs!

October 8, 2008

Chairman of the bored
Iggy Pop

Bird in Hand by Scott Jackson
Click images for desktop size: "Bird In Hand" by Scott Jackson
Last nights debate: What a bore.
Nothing new. McCain still making the same outrageous claims/lies. I still don't believed he "suspended his campaign" to "fix" the economy.
His big plan to save home owners is something the Democrats fought for and already exists in the stupid bail out plan.
The Arena My only other impressions of McCain, other than his continued appearance of bigotry and nastiness combined with a healthy dose of cowardice, was his picking on Obama for getting a new projector for Adler Planetarium.
He made it sound like it was a $3 million dollar overhead projector like you use at small office meetings instead of a vital part of education. Like it was one of those very Republican cost over run things instead of a solid investment in kids.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Click image: Fredrick March as Dr Jekyll
Obama lost points with me for not pointing that out. He could have almost scored a point about McCain's strange obsession with earmarks. They're not necessarily all bad, sort of thing.
Obama said nothing new that I heard.
Tom Brokaw was an inept mess.
I was more surprised to discover that Palin, who is becoming an unfunny monster, watched the debate with Robert Dole.
I have a lot of respect for the Doles. I've had light contact with Senator Elizabeth Dole and found her concerned, helpful and a scrappy fighter for what's right. It disturbs me that he'd lend his considerable weight and good name to such a rusty piece of work like Palin.
Frenzy by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Frenzy" by LawnElf
When I was reading the news today I almost missed a small obituary. Lloyd Thaxton passed away last night. He was 81. Rah. Suddenly all my pre-teen dreams and ambitions wrinkled up inside of me.
I liked Thaxton. I was very surprised to learn this morning that his Dance show was syndicated! We did the show twice. (Back when the band was The Outsiders).
Thaxton was that shiny type of early 60's two button in back ivy league cool. Dancing in a three piece suit.
He didn't disappoint like AM dj's always did. The wild voices on the radio always seemed to be owned by middle aged pattern baldness guys who were more concerned with their stock portfolios then with me having a wild and savage time. Or those tres coolThe Spider FM dj's who always looked pasty and decidedly uncool. Thaxton was a wild man, a fan and a celebrity.
Thaxton even made a record, a 45 single, Image Of A Surfer which makes me laugh while it tries to inject 50's cool with surfer cool. Its a pretty ridiculous track which suits me just fine.
Thaxton's show was a part of my childhood. His show was on after school, right after the Spaceman cartoon show and right before the B&W Charlie Chan or Roger Corman movie.
I used to go outside to play. I didn't have much interest in dancing teens who were to close to being adults for my taste. Gradually I found myself getting interested in the show. I remember seeing the first TV appearance of The Lovin' Spoonful. John Sebastian tried, unsuccessfully, to look cool playing an AUTOHARP!
I guess I was getting older because the things Thaxton talked about suddenly started sounding interesting to me. This is why I'm sure the show wasn't always syndicated. Most of what he talked about was what was going on in LA. Cool stuff, quasi-adult stuff that was going on right down the street! I noticed guys from the beach, surfers I idolized were on the show and they were dancing on dry land nearly as cool as they danced on the water.
I'll remember Lloyd Thaxton fondly for this and more. He was Channel 13's "Voice of Youth, The Voice of What's Happening!"

Last night, after the debate, I took the dogs for our usual walk around the house. We check all the doors, talk to the little blind dog and stuff. For At The Circus some unknown reason I decided to check my ebike. I broke one of the necessary wires to run it . . .
Yesterday my ebike and I were heroes! We saved the life of a little poodle dog and managed to peddle the two miles to get it back home. So its share of the hero's glory was to have me separate one of the wires in the cover of darkest night . . .
Its fixable, but I pulled the wire free from a clump of solder so its going to be an exact annoying repair . . . I'm trying to figure out how its the giant dog's fault. He thinks its the cat's fault. He may be right.
I've also been playing with the new update to AppleTV. Its got some cool features.
I've also installed Boxee and XMBC.
I'll try and remember to write about them tomorrow.

October 5, 2008

Oregon 10 USC 44

Black Sand Beach by Lyle Kranchfield
Click images for desktop size: "Black Sand Beach" by Lyle Kranfield
So Friday rolls around and we head out for the concert. First we stop and have pizza! It is a continuation of my birthday after all . . .
I had the special. We go to this pizza joint because they do gluten free pizzas. My friend had a The Brain From Planet Arous gluten free Mediterranean thing. It was half the size but twice the price of my special but it was also twice as good, so I guess it balances all out.
After eating we hit the road. Its a long drive but at the end of it will be Alkaline Trio. Skiba and co. have been one of my favorite bands for a few years now and I'm really looking forward to it, willing to push through the crowd of "youngsters" to catch a glance at the band.
While we're driving and driving we listen to a radio station that's broadcasting live from the venue. They're not broadcasting the show. They're playing records that have nothing to do with the show . . . then they do a brief interview with band members, interviews that are totally dominated by a rather inept deejay . . .very annoying.
But Alkaline Trio come in and do an acoustic version of one of their "hits". Its very good and keeps the excitement up for the long long drive. We fill up with gas. Costs about 55 bucks. We're still stoked.
We hit some traffic but keep on pushing and pushing.
We finally go down some ragged streets and find the club. We enter the place just as Alkaline Trio are hitting the stage. Groovy.
The club is freaky. Its clearly an old disco. It has several of the old rear projection TV's scattered around the place with fuzzy old style cameras showing blurry on stage action. The plastic and the inflatable palm trees seem weird but make sense with the disco ball in the middle of the room and the old style disco lights subbing as stage lighting.
Fall To Pieces by Tony X
Click images for desktop size: "Fall To Pieces" by Tony X
You couldn't help but notice that the sound was dreadful. I'm sure you've noticed at concerts when they insist on playing tapes through the PA system before the lights go down how the sound is all clammy, boomy and just plain aggravating. It makes you worried that when the band comes on they're also going to sound that distant and cold. But then the band sounds just fine.
That's from playing recorded music through speakers designed for live sound. It works the opposite end of the tone scale but exactly the same way when you pipe a bands sound through speakers designed for recordings.
The band sounded terrible. The speakers were hissing and splatting all the high notes. They set up a nice vibration for the bass even though they didn't have enough bottom end to hear the notes you could at least feel them. The Erotic Adventures of Pinochhio
To make things worse they'd done little to change the joint from its disco roots. The place had a 30 foot ceiling and no baffles or even steamers to deflect the sound so all the highs just went spinning off into the ether and what was left of the mids were bounced around on concrete floors and tiled walls.
It sounded like crap. It was a huge ugly slab of feedback and harmonics.
I was annoyed but liked seeing the band live. The place was sold out Disco
Click images for desktop size: "Discos" by Unknown
and there were about 1,800 people there. The stage was only about 4 feet high so I picked through about a third of the crowd to find a safe place to stand. There was no mosh pit. I like the mosh, even when my job is to stand at the edge of it so my friend can mosh and feel safe. I become like the goalie, bouncing happy pogo-ers away from her, keeping them in play but keeping my friend safe. Sometimes I like a bit of slam dancing myself.
At this place, they seemed to just want to watch . . . There were a couple of guys who were trying to keep their day jobs but wanted to look like it was 1976. One guy did a mohawk, a short mohawk, with vaseline. Not very convincing but amusing. Two poor souls actually tried to crowd surf. I hope they were having fun because to me it looked sort of empty and nearly pathetic.
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
I'd long wondered how a band could make such great records and still not be stars. Alkaline Trio weren't even headlining this gig . . . They were okay. Matt Skiba tried to connect with the audience and worked hard. The other two just limped along it seemed.
Their new drummer was too fussy for me. I liked the old drummer who was straight ahead and savage.
I was getting into it and thinking that they were alright. I thought they were starting to build momentum and would soon get the audience whipped up. They launched into "This Could Be Love" and they exploded. Even crappy sound and muddy instruments couldn't keep the power of the song down. Even stupid disco lights trying to emulate stupider hard rock light shows could The Golem kill the joy of seeing them do the song live.
Even when Skiba interrupted the song to try and get an audience sing along going during the bridge I was still with the band and thought that now the show had turned and it was going to start getting great!
And as the last note died Skiba said, "Goodnight!" and left the stage.
One lonely voice called for an encore but everyone else was turning for the bars.
They played for about 25 minutes . . .
Gee. I'm sure glad we drove three hours and paid 50 bucks a ticket to get to see you rehearse. It would have been nice if you'd done a sound check first.
I am no longer an Alkaline Trio fan.
I saw only one show that was worse. Long Beach Auditorium: Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The place was packed and they came out and played for 25 minutes.
Now, you'd already sensed that Costello was a fraud so it was easy to be angry with him and swear to never fall for his lying songs again.
I like Alkaline Trio and its disappointing to find out that they don't care about their fans or their audience. They didn't extend themselves. They barely tried. You owe an audience a glimpse of your soul. At least a feeling of the heat of the fire that burns inside. You don't rush off stage like you've got something more important to do.
I'm too old to be disappointed in heroes. At least now I know why Alkaline Trio aren't stars and don't Spider Web
Click images for desktop size: "Spider's Web" by Unknown
deserve to be.
Better than them were the Kipper KIds (one of whom married Bette Midler . . .) There act consisted of coming on stage stark naked except for old latex bathing caps and swimming goggles. Then they'd throw beans and cans of paint at each other until they were unholy messes. They could do that for 30 minutes.
At least you didn't feel ripped off when you watched their act.
Still, I had a great time. The drive was dark and spooky. The anticipation was great and seeing heroes crash and burn has its own attraction.
Another reason to never buy an RAIA sponsored recording ever again. And to check out local bands who work there asses off for beers and a smattering of applause.The Killers

Lat week I was a mediocre 7-6 in my NFL picks. My friend decided to make picks too and compete against me. Her criteria is the teams nick name, how cute their helmets are and whether or not Reggie Bush plays for them . . . she ended up being a mediocre 8-5 . . .
I'm not giving up though. Where would the fun be in that. As usual my picks are in bold.

Tennessee at Baltimore - From what I've seen the Titan's D is nearly as stout as Pittsburgh's. I liked the way the Ravens took it to the Steelers last week but they got pretty banged up. Kerry Collins has something to prove now that Vince Young has started practicing again. Flacco showed that he's ready for prime time, so while I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ravens pull this one out I have to thin the Titans will do enough to win.

Crow Head
Click images for desktop size: "Crow's Head" by Unknown
Kansas City at Carolina - I like the Chiefs Larry Johnson. I have since High School. He's showed that he can sometimes carry the team. I don't think he can do enough to keep the Panthers from scoring more than their fair share of points. I don't much care for the Panthers at all but at home they look like a solid pick.

Chicago at Detroit - Matt Millen was a great linebacker and a pretty poor front office exec. His getting fired still shouldn't affect the Lions play on the field. I'm skeptical about the Bears putting together back to back defensive efforts and they looked fine against the banged up Eagles. The Lions don't pose that much of a threat. Where they are strongest plays right into the superiority of the Bears. I've made this my survivor game. The one I have to win to stay in the running for the big prize! So, I'm not that skeptical The Mad Ghoul even with the Lion at home.

Atlanta at Green Bay - This pick is predicated on Aaron Rogers being well enough to at least play at 80% of his ability. He' shown he's a good player but hasn't stepped into great yet. Without him this will be a loss. The Falcons are an emotional team that believes in itself. If the Packers have too many 3 and outs the Falcons can put together enough drives to possibly win this.

Indianapolis at Houston - The Colts coming off a bye week. Manning with enough practice to be in opening game shape. The Texans stink.

San Diego at Miami - After the total dismemberment of the Patriots its tempting to go with the Dolphins at home. The Chargers have too many weapons and the new look Dolphins haven't put together back to back strong efforts. Brains say the Chargers have their backs against the walls and the SuperBowl in their hearts. The heart says the Dolphins have a big chip on their shoulder.

Washington at Philadelphia - The Redskins looked surprisingly strong in taking it to the Cowboys. I'm still not ready to concede that this is a good team. I'd look for the Eagles to tear them up. Brian Westbrook is back for them. He was the difference in the Bears game. Andy Reid teams don't lose many back to back. The Redskins can't get that high two weeks in a row, can they? My game of the week.

Seattle at New York Giants - Cruddy game of the The Mummy's Ghost week. The Giants will beat up on an inferior opponent and do it in the most boring way possible.

Tampa Bay at Denver - This is my upset of the week. I have no idea why the Bronco's are so heavily favored, last week the Chiefs destroyed them utterly. Tampa Bay is looking stronger and stronger. Do the bettors give that much credit to the friendly confines of Mile High? This is an upset I feel pretty comfortable with. If I bet I'd take the points and giggle.

New England at San Francisco - The Patriots were humiliated two weeks ago. They had the bye week to let the humiliation sink in. You have to figure they'll come out strongly and should contain Frank Gore and beat up on the 49er's QB. The Niners don't have enough D to totally stop even the Brady-less Patriot attack. I figure Pat's win but don't cover the ridiculous spread.

Eskimo Pin Up
Click images for desktop size: "Eskimo Pin Up" by Unknown
Cincinnati at Dallas - I feel sorry for the Bengals. I really do. Even if, miraculously, Carson Palmer can play he won't be 100%. In fact he stands a good chance of getting injured while trying to will the Bengals to a win.

Buffalo at Arizona - The Bills are playing to my expectation. So are the Cardinals. They were gutsy but still totally thrashed last week. They avoided near tragedy when Anquin Bolden got hit. Boldin's career might be over and that's sad. I expect the Bills to keep playing tough and doing enough to win.

Minnesota at New Orleans - How much worse can it get for theThe Snake Pit Saints. Sedrick Ellis is now out for 6 weeks. They keep getting people down. But Dru Brees might be the best QB in the NFL this season. Bush is playing solid ball and has his spectacular plays. The Viking D is the tyoe he could explode against. As depleted as the Saint's D is the Vikings O is so horrid, aside from Super Back Adrien Petersen, that the Saints should win a tight one at home.

Pittsburgh 10 Jacksonville 17 - This is my tie breaker game . . . I know, but they make you chose one like this. The Steelers were nothing but lucky last Monday night and now they have no running game. I'd expect Rothlisberger to be admiring the Florida sky a lot. He'll be on his back at leat 12 times tonight. He's healing but not 100%. The Jaguars are hungry and feeling right. I'd look for them to play loose and winning ball.

So, you may laugh now. These picks are for the pointed amusements of my enemies only . . .
I have a dog walk to attend today so I won't be able to watch and wonder what was going through my mind.
Tears for the Cubs. I'm shocked that they got swept. YAY for my Dodgers though. I never expected them to get this far.

September 25, 2008

It’s the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys
Barney Frank

Mars-Valles Marineris
Click images for desktop size: "Mars - Valles Marinersis" by NASA
When I first started playing gigs we never had monitors. We set up our amps on stage and had someone stand in the back of the room to tell us what it sounded like.
For my first gigs I actually used the totally cool amp that came with my Fire Truck red Danelectro . . . Who needs to lug an amp around? The Danelectro has the amp and speakers built right into the case!!
City For Conquest Most likely I'd have continued using that built right into the guitar case sound system if people hadn't kept shouting to turn it up . . . I went through a lot of affordable combo's and head and speaker systems before finally settling on a Fender Band Master (not the classic Jazz Master amp - it was a BAND Master).
The first time I played in a club that had a sound board and monitors I was terribly distracted. Annoyed. I never really got used to hearing the band sound coming from in front of me. I practiced a lot facing my amp so hearing myself wasn't that big a deal but monitors had this strange doppleganger feel to me. Millisecond delay or something. I don't know. I just know that monitors always bug me, even though I accepted that this was the way to go.
Jungle Shipwreck
Click images for desktop size: "Jungle Shipwreck" by Unknown
Its probably the reason that I liked the original Masque Club (LA's first punk club) so much. No sound board, no house PA, just plug in and go.

My first year coaching high school ball in LA I was a volunteer who's only experience was in the rough and tumble Pop Warner league . . . The school couldn't afford a coach and I was the only one they could find foolish enough to work at a program where my defense had to give the offense their helmets when they came off field.
We had enough horses on the team that it made up for my obvious deficiencies in coaching. We were 4-0 and playing this all white Valley team.
I was astounded when I saw the team. They were so little compared to us. And then I was astonished. During the warm-up, when I had my guy doing those old-school down on old fours banging heads and shoulders stuff, you know, that manly thing that Guns
Click images for desktop size: "MC 51"
old-school football teams used to do the little guys were STRETCHING!
They looked like a ballet school!
Sure we did stretches. Spent maybe two or three minutes stretching. These guys entire warmup consisted of stretches.
Back then I was even stupider than I am now. I actually spent some time mocking them. We were over here banging heads and beating the hell out each other like men while they were being all delicate and stretching like little girls.
I already had this one in the easy win book before kick off.
Needless to say they thumped us 37-17. I'll never forget that lesson.
The next day I went to the old Roland Dupree dance studio over Carlito's Way on Melrose. (Yeah. I took dance lessons there - for the stage act - it was a secret). I managed to get one of the teachers to agree to come to my schools practices and give us a stretching routine.
It helped us a lot. It helped me more. I learned more from that guy than I ever learned in school. I got my first understanding of what it means when I have an athlete running splay footed or pigeon toed. What muscles are under developed or over developed when they hold their arms like this or that.
Next year we got to the second round of the Conference Championships.

I told those two stories on myself to show that I don't much like change. I can deal with it and often even benefit from change. But I don't like it and will only advance on change when my thick skull is bashed against the rocks of obviousness.
That said its pretty obvious that america needs to change. It needs to change hard. Previously American change was all about progressing, getting better and stronger, more open and more dedicated to freedom.
Since Nixon and mostly since Bush its been about regressing, about cowardice and fear. And ineptness. Bush has made America a joke.
Sarah Palin in two soft interviews has threatened war Canon City with Russia. Who we might forget still has enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world 3 times over, same as us. And yesterday she promised us a Great Depression.
John McCain cancelled an interview with David Letterman, said he was leaving town. But then an hour later showed up at CBS's other studio to do an interview with Katie Couric . . . maybe to try and deal with the damage of the Palin interview. Who knows. Maybe he figured Letterman wouldn't find out.
Now he wants to cancel the debates. I don't think that has ever happened. Even Lincoln never backed off of the Steven Douglas debates. But McCain, pretty clearly, doesn't want to have a conversation with us, he only wants to browbeat us into submission, to accept his cloudy vision of the world.
Now as a guy who resists change you'd think that I'd be all for this clean simple continuation of the Bush years.
Jessica Alba
Click images for desktop size: "Jessica Alba" by Unknown
I'm not. Aside from the incredible amusement factor and the totally cool laughs they provide I see them as frightening and just the people to lead us to the Rapture - the end of the world.
Hasn't anyone wondered why McCain's fellow POW's haven't been out there stumping for him. Preston Sturges showed us in "Hail, The Conquering Hero" that Americans love that stuff, the hero too modest to tell the truth about himself and needing his buddies to speak out for him. We even love the lie if its told with enough excitement and panache.
With all the sleaze why aren't we getting some rip snorting war stories? Maybe because they doesn't exist.
We need change. I doubt if Obama is the guy to bring it all about. But now I'm more convinced that he at least gives us a better shot than the addled headed Republicans.

Goldfinger My friend is home sick again. Second day in a row. Just a bad cold, but you know how miserable that can make you. I'm not too worried about here. Probably just enough.
Yesterday I got the flea stuff for the dogs, Frontline Plus. Already a noticeable improvement in the pups. But the package had some surprises! I got a cool "Music Pirate" T-Shirt and a nice soft gray pull over (I'm wearing now). My friend got a "Sex in the City" T-Shirt, she's all ga ga over . . . and a "Got Beer" T-Shirt she admires.
BUT there was also a toy for each pooch! A Football that the giant dog has decided is his. A pull toy the gentle dog thinks is too violent and a new kong for my puppy. She claims she's not fooled. She knows that is not her kong. She still blames me for not remembering where she left her kong . . .
But the prize winning prize was a Winnie the Pooh Pez dispenser. My friend is all over nuts about it. Has already eaten two of the three packages it came with and is worried about where to get cheap re-fills. As a kid she loved candy jewelry as well . . . She insists that Pez tastes delicious when it comes out of Pooh . . .
I love having friends!

September 23, 2008

Only lawyers guns and money can get me out of this
Warren Zevon

Pin Up JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up Art" by JW McGinnis
Still upset about the banks dumping my accounts and giving it to the state.
I still don't think I'm a fault here. It maybe legal but I feel like a victim.Godfather II I'm stunned that the bank nor the state ever made any effort to contact me. They just took the money. Out of the blue.
I'm looking for someone to blame.
I'd like to blame the bank. Part of it. The charge to loot my account for 40 bucks was $100.00. Now, under the best of circumstances that seems a touch excessive. I'm sure the exorbitant fee is somewhere in one of those small print pamphlets they hand you.
If the state gives them the go ahead I guess they have to hand over the cash . . .
The state wanted their money. When I asked why someone hadn't contacted me they said they didn't have to. It was in the papers I signed for my medical stuff.
It probably was. I might even have read it.
Click images for desktop size: "Grass" by Unknown
I keep wondering how a whole state got so desperate for money that they'd go to such extravagant lengths, potentially wrecking lives. I mean, this hurts me but its survivable. What if that were my rent money or the money for a kids operation. I can dispute the charge and get the money back. I give the woman I spoke to credit. She worked hard not to sound smug when she told me the process would take about two years . . .
I keep wondering why my 300 buck maybe debt for subsidized drugs was worth these steps and I keep coming back to Bush and all his tax cuts for the rich. Trickle down doesn't work. The state going to get its money and they're going to get it from the vulnerable, the poor.
The Wild Bunch Bush is going to give the rich $700 billion bucks because they used all the money he's already given them and blew it. I read somewhere that that's $1,600 for every person in the US. Rah! Could we maybe give three hundred bucks of that to the state so I can get my drugs?
I resent the fact that this money will be used by the investment banks to get themselves richer. There'll be nothing for the people, just for the rich minority.
I have to stop thinking about this. It just depresses me in so many ways. Personally and for my world view.
Getting depressed doesn't do much for anybody except for the rich who like poor people to be too depressed to do much about anything.
I called a couple of high schools and left my number inquiring about being a volunteer coach. I'm not pursuing the first school. Impressions, you see. I have value. If they can't see it then they never will, even if I canoodle them into taking me on staff I'll be the clip board carrier, the xerox boy, or the film indexer.
Those are all important jobs. I have talent greater than that.
Green Tea by Michael Puckaz
Click images for desktop size: "Green Tea" by Michael Puckaz
I'm going to keep looking. There's a lot I can do and want to do. I can't drive anymore so that limits me. With my ebike I've got a 10 mile radius I can cover. I look hard enough I'll find something that will work. Every other place I've volunteered in the last 5 years has been able to work around my inability to drive. No one ever indicated it was a big hassle. I wouldn't expect it to be here either.
Looking for work for money and looking for something to do where I can give what I do best for no money. I should be busier.
One bright thing. Its minor but it brings me small pleasure. When my hard drive died I lost my Shonen Knife music collection. I've managed to get some of it back.
2001 A Space Odyssey A lot of people don't know about Shonen Knife. A lot of people voted for Bush . . . Shonen Knife was one of Kurt Cobain's favorite bands. He requested them and got them to open up for Nirvana on two tours! Red Kross and Sonic Youth have both recorded songs as tributes to them!
More astonishing, to me anyway, is that Shonen Knife, the band, is over 25 years old! They started out as "The Osaka Ramones"!
The got better. At their best they combine that J-Pop bubble gum vitality with a driving pink guitar sound. Naoko Yamano, the guitarist, has the best right hand I've heard in years. She plays with a speed that rivals Johnny Ramone's.
Interestingly she plays often with a pure clean tube sound, where the normal thing today is to take the speed and distort it to give it crunch and drive. Atsuko, Naoko's sister, is the drummer. She keeps the beat. Surf
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
She's not as maniacal as I usually like drummers but she keeps a thudding pound going and does nicely on the light frill work.
Their cover of the Monkee's "Daydream Believer" is a nice intro into their poppier sound. It has exuberance and I still like the goofy phonetic english.
In their more "mature" stuff like "Tower Of The Sun" they show a graceful move into more serious modes. I think I prefer the total trash of their classic ode to gooniness "Banana Chips". Long live SHONEN KNIFE!
I'm taking my bike out today to check out dog foods. I need our dogs to have the best possible nourishment. I also need to save money. When the little blind dog was alive we had to be ultra-cautious about foods allowed in the house. He had so many allergies. Now the remaining trio only know they like food! Candide was killer expensive and we Asphalt Jungle finally managed to find a replacement that was about 20% cheaper but still offered all the nutrients and was hypoallergenic! Now, my quest, is to find the nutrients only and save money. I really do miss the company that custom made my dog food in my old state. They even delivered!
Oh, some people will be pleased that my puppy's site has been updated. I'm used to the kids dunning us about it. Some of them want it updated 3 times a day . . . but this time even ADULTS were bugging me!
It had to be done. Its more difficult lately. I didn't even take the pictures. Its not that I'm uninspired but, well, I just miss the little blind dog a lot. Its harder to have reportable adventures without him around.

August 12, 2008

An Experiment

Hieroglyphics By DeBerardinis
Click images for desktop size: "Heiroglyphics" by DeBerardinis

Wild Rockabilly Collection from the Twilight Zone - Obscure and known collection

Death Race 2000

The Juicy Fruits - "Goodbye Eddie",
from the movie "Phantom Of The Paradise"

The Alan Price Group and the theme song from Lindsay Anderson's "O Lucky Man!"

Billy Ledbetter is out
"Stealing Hubcaps"

New offense looks to level the playing field for smaller schools. Looks like fun too.

Little Steven & Southside Johnny duet on
"If I Were A Carpenter"

Click images for desktop size: "Living Underwater" by Unknown

The Dickies
"Nights In White Satin"

Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" is more enjoyable then it looks. Worth the rental.

Death In Vegas performing the swirly neo-psychedlic "Scorpio Rising"

Microsoft continues to believe that evil is better

Boston Celtic Punk fusion band Dropkick Murphys does "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya"

Why did these guys break up?
The Stems and "She's Fine"

A Cry In The Night The Sonics get back together and they sure are old but they remain unstoppable. Live in Norway.

The Strangeloves pretended to be from Austrailia to compete with the "British Invasion". They didn't need to lie. Often covered, never equalled "I Want Candy" still rules.

Endless summers with Jan & Dean
"Sidewalk Surfin'"

Good Advice. Former Trojan on being a rookie in the NFL

The Ventures mix the blues and reverb and make what I think is their best record with
"House of the Rising Sun"

The funniest comic strip since "Calvin And Hobbes"; "Pooch Cafe" is about dogs and people. This is merely a sample.

To end on that proper wry meloncholic touch, Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies rip through "Over The Rainbow"

Its been a rough few days. Much business. Nothing bad but exhausting nonetheless. All is well.

August 3, 2008

He was a man so much like other men that he seemed unique

Click images for desktop size: "Nautilus" by Unknown
Our big pizza party had a hitch.
The giant dog stole the frozen pizza off of the counter and made a line for the corner of the backyard. Before I realized what had happened he finished the whole thing . . .
My puppy and I spent the day ostracizing him.
Teenage Caveman Strangers On A Train He has to figure out how to make three bucks to replace our pizza. If he ever stops laughing I plan to tell him so.

I had the cat out for an hour or so. She kept trying to find a dark nook to hide in. I spent the time dragging her out and putting her in the middle of the room.
The improvement in her walking was noticeable as she worked her leg. Towards the end she even managed to climb the child gate to the closet without too much difficulty.
She's way too thin. I'll keep working on her. She's no stoic. She's uncomfortable, I think but not really suffering.
I still don't know if she's going to make it. She's old but its anyone's guess as to how old.
She did noticeably better when my friend held her in her lap and stroked her.

"Mary Shelly Overdrive" is a band that's doing something I like.
They're giving away their newest EP. Seven Songs, all covers. Cool covers too - Bo Diddley, Devo, Antiseen. Cool stuff. You can download "Hideous Sexy", their album by clicking on the name. The cover art is included and it is uber cool. Very much worth seeing. I also like the caveat on the album: "If you try and sell this music we will find you and we will kill you". Grrr-eat stuff.
The only thing I'm not too wild about is the music. Disappointed. They do serviceable covers of some great songs, but, for me, the sound is too dark and cavernous. Doesn't mean you won't like the noise they make. Everything else about this project is totally right headed. It is definitely worth the bandwidth to download the tracks (oh yeah, all 192k mp3's, encoded with iTunes). If you're in a band the package should get you excited about getting your music out there.

I saw "Red Cliffs" last night. The big big movie Chine made sort of for the Olympics. Its based on a six hundred year old historical novel, the most popular book in China. The characters in it and variations permeate and form the base of most Chinese fiction, written and movie. Its a very cool movie. What keeps it from greatness is that its in two part! The second part due out in December.
John Woo returns to China with a flourish. He's done a sweet job of encapsulating Hollywood and Chinese story telling techniques. Its cool and all the lead characters are memorable and lovable.
There's a scene where two of the leads are feeling each other out trying to figure on a military alliance against the bad guys. Neil Doshi
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Neil Doshi
They don't talk instead they play a duet on those wild Chinese dulcimer like things. When the duet finishes the visitor gets up and leaves with barely a word. His companion follows after him and says, "you never even asked him about going to war!"
The advisor replies, "He told me in his music. He will fight for freedom."
Back inside the wife asks the general, "What was that about?"
The General replies, "I heard it in his music. He needs a friend."
That put me deeply in mind of Del Shannon and the new album of his I got: "The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover".
The albums from 1967. In '67 the charts were dominated by The Beatles "Sergeant Pepper", (I know its getting considered as the greatest album ever made. I've never been able to listen to all the way through. I've heard all the tracks. Some I really really hate. A couple I think are okay. When you're not in agreement with the greatest ever its a time to consider Soylent Green getting out of music . . . ) Jimmy Hendrix, Cream and the burgeoning Hippie Movement.
A couple of years earlier Del Shannon had been touring in London. He met Andrew Loog Oldham (best known as the guy who made the Rolling Stones and for wearing tons of eye makeup.).
A lot of American pop stars went to England after they discovered just a how badly the Americans and the RAIA had ripped them off.
Oldham and Shannon recorded an album. The label shelved it because it wasn't psychedelic . . . Shannon was rightly stunned. Songs like "Stand Up" show an evolving talent that was encapsulating his urban vision to a world view, keeping the teen aged fighting spirit. Shannon's take on relationships remain quixotic and passionate.
The label had Shannon return to America and work with a new "hep" producer. The new album got close to Shannon's skin. The title reflects it. Charles Westover is Shannon's real name. "The Further Adventures" part refers to having to make a second attempt to get out a record, at least on the surface.
On the record the producers showed, at least that they had a grasp on the power of Del Shannon. In an time where concept albums and "Rock Operas" were the new vogue he realized that Shannon was composing teen operas from the start. Shannon didn't need to 24 tracks to tell a deep story. He could so it in 2 minutes thirty six seconds.
They recorded "Runaway '67" a rococo stab at wildness, trying to plant Verdi onto pop. With its chiming mandolin and dark brown string section it nearly works. Regretfully the rest of the tracks take off from that basis. It does have a few cool numbers. What project by Del Shannon wouldn't?
Shannon's cover of Boyce & Hart's "She" has a certain power where Shannon cuts through the Mujer con Rebozo Azul
Click images for desktop size: "Mujer con Rebozo Azul" by Unknown
strange production effects.
"The House Where Nobody Lives" shows that Shannon could walk away with any project. He was a major talent as a song writer and a performer. The production tries to undercut this but fails.
The best thing about the disc is that it gives life to the shelved album.
Listening to this and to the last album of Shannon's career, before he pulled a Cobain and shot him self in the head with a 22 rifle, songs like "Walk Away" show that he retained his clear vision and knew his tools and power. I'm always reminded that Shannon learned to play ukulele at age 4. His mom taught him. He taught himself guitar. He got kicked out of school at age 14 for playing the guitar in class!! He perfected his guitar chops and vocal style screeching and wailing the school bathroom.
The guy's talent was eternal and too brief.

July 31, 2008

Don't cry. The world was intended to be a painful place.
Byung-chun Min

5 Centimeters A Second by Kabegami
Click images for desktop size: "5 Centimeters A Second" by Kabegami
The weather improved enough yesterday for me to give the gentle dog his bath. Oddly, he was not in the least bit grateful.
Today my puppy gets her bath. I hope we both survive.
On that pet picture page, where they entered my puppy without consulting me. Her poor picture is now number one for the day. I feel like I cheated.
Skinwalkers The cat continues to stay alive.
So do I.
I have a cold. Fighting it my usual way.
As I mentioned I find it hard if not impossible to fall asleep in silence. My friend can't sleep while the radio plays. So my hare brained solution is to go to sleep wearing earbuds listening to a special sleepy time playlist.
Aside from not being able to sleep on my side its working fine. Last night I fell asleep in ten minutes. Woke up an hour later to The Dream Syndicate covering "Let It Rain". Its a great song to wake up to and fall back to sleep to. I keep wondering if anyone outside of Southern Cal has ever heard of Dream Syndicate. They're a great band. Anyone who can make an Eric Clapton song memorable is great to me.
(By the way - I've gone back to my more aesthetically pleasing but more aggravating to you mode of not having any links show up unless you hover over them. More than ever I dislike the underlines or other methods of calling attention to "this is a link!")
One good thing, at least good for me, is that I got to listen to my two new acquisitions yesterday.
Most of you know that my personal pantheontology contains Jan Berry and Del Shannon. Most of you can't understand where I'm coming from.
I mean, you'll cut me some slack on Del Shannon - he had hits and all that, but Jan Berry of Jan & Dean bewilders you. He gets called kiddy pop and the like. I consider him one of the great song writers and performers of the 20th Century. So do most of the people who live West of the I-5.
She-Freak When Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) was sitting in a Gardenia High School penning "Be True To Your School" 15 year Old Jan Berry was listening to Doo Wop and arranging old songs, teaching those old songs how to rock. He paired up with an older guy, Arnie Ginsberg and made a recording in his basement. "Jenny Lee" became Jan Berry's first Top Ten hit. He was almost 16.
Jan & Arnie made a few more successful records when Arnie abruptly got drafted. Jan was furious. Wanted him to. well, not abandon the band.
Its impossible to say what might have happened if Arnie had become had draft dodger. It might have made a cool scene at a concert when the Marshall's came to arrest him. Arnie just went into the army and Jan found Dean Torrance on the beach.
A high school kid who's a national celebrity has a lot of cachet. Dean sought Jan out and demanded he sing with him. Together they had about 26 top 40 hits, 5 Top Ten albums. They were the biggest thing in pop when Jan got his draft notice.
Leaving the draft board after getting his 1A classification (that meant he was next) Jan was tooling in his Porsche Spyder when he smacked into a stopped on the freeway dump truck.
He was brain damaged. The prognosis was irrecoverable brain damage. It took him two years to learn how to speak and to walk. He had the mind of a 5 year old.
His recovery and his return to the stage are the stuff of Lifetime TV movie legend. My pal, Dalene Young, even wrote it. It was as good as it could have been with Richard Hatch (!?!) as Jan and Bruce Davison as Dean it was as inaccurate and about as good as it could be.
Onstage Jan & Dean were great performers. Always dressed in the height of beach fashion Jan was the sexy cool one while Dean was the crazy cool guy. Dean's jokes and antics reeked of class clown but that was the point. Thunderball by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Thunderball" by JW McGinnis
On stage they were us. The stage act at the concert halls was the same stage act when they bash acoustic guitars and dance and sing at their impromptu surf side parties. (Everyone invited).
Here's the two of them doing "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". If you've ever played in a band you've had that moment when you've played a totally scorching number, every note just right and power dripping heavy in the air and you stop and all you hear is the buzz of conversation and a couple of half hearted hand claps, usually from your girl friend. Your front man has made himself hoarse exhorting the crowd to dance or at least listen. Even legends like James Brown and Wilson Pickett would have to lead the audience with "Say YEAH!" or the like. That they could get a response says an awful lot about their juice.
In "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" Jan & Dean are doing a cover. Its 7tj Voyage Of Sinbad hard to hear with all the little girls screaming but when Jan & Dean get to the chorus its clear they were listening. Because Jan & Dean just stop singing and after just a beat the audience sings the chorus, unbidden, uninvited but knowing that this was their cue.
Its chilling. Its more chilling that it was done so good naturedly, so happily.
With joy.
I think about that and a million other things whenever I listen to Jan Berry. The album I got is called "All The Hits". It has better copies of all the hits and a lot of stuff I never heard before: Radio chatter, studio chatter commercials and promos. Cool stuff.
It also has some of the obscure tracks like "Batman" from the totally bizarre concept album (in the days before anyone ever heard of a concept album) that saw Jan writing songs about his favorite comic book and all the characters there in!! Strange stuff but cool.
Jan was an awesome arranger and producer. He also put together the greatest bands ever. One of the treats of the album are some tracks laid down before adding the vocals. Listening to Ruslana Korshunova
Click images for desktop size: "Ruslana Korshunova"
Hal Blaine and Billy Strange is always a thrill like in this blinding take of "Deadman's Curve".
It it also includes the strange but wonderful track "A Beginning From An End". The sweet song with the soaring chorus about losing a wife to gain a daughter all told from a teen husbands perspective . . . YOW!
If you don't know Jan & Dean this is an album worth having. Its not complete but its the best I've seen. It would be cooler if it had some of the uncredited stuff Jan did with Brian Wilson and the dozens of other groups that sprung up imitating Jan's unique sound.
This has gone on too long. And I've barely said anything about this great band.
I've got a dog to bathe so I'll try and remember to tell y'all about the second album tomorrow.
I mean, if you're interested. Who couldn't be?

July 17, 2008

Just give me raw power
Iggy Stooge

I'm Melting by Janet Tangus
Click images for desktop size: "I'm Melting" by Janet Tangus
I didn't find any money yesterday.
I did get to change shirts twice. Sweated through a cotton button down and two T-shirts. Too hot for me. People always think that LA is hot. It's not. Its just fine.
My friend is feeling "improved" which I think is the same as better, but I wouldn't count on that. Last night she finally played with the AppleTV. I Dismember Mama She discovered Jack White on YouTube. She was particularly taken with the Raconteurs' version of Cher's "Bang Bang". The Raconteurs version seemed more based on the Nancy Sinatra cover than the original.
I was just glad to see her having fun and being excited by her various discoveries.
There's a band I love that a lot of people seem to hate: Guitar Wolf. They have a lot of videos on YouTube as well. There's one in particular "I Love You, OK". Its a solo, just Guitar Wolf (The band is Guitar Wolf, the members are Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf - keeps things simple, doesn't it?) on electric guitar rasping and growling through a vicious number that I guess is a love song. He sings it in Japanese so I can't really say for certain.
As Guitar Wolf slams his guitar around and growls in a controlled apoplectic fit at the mike the song always appears about to disintegrate into low level noise but he fights and wrestles it back to the pounding chords and the inchoate melody so that the chorus, "I love you, OK" floats between being a demand to an insane plea. I like the way he fights to control himself, the guitar and his voice. It gets close to a Lichtstenian ideal of art. To me at least. Most people just wonder how I can put up with all that white noise guitar and screeching. I can. I do. I like it plenty.
I've always liked Guitar Wolf. I even liked their movie: "Wild Zero". It was an insane bit of film made for no budget. It swiped the plot from "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Yes, that "Plan 9" worst film ever made, "Plan 9".
The plot is that an alien invasion is presaged by converting earthlings into the living dead, ZOMBIES FROM SPACE!
Guitar Wolf aren't even the real heroes. The hero is a Japanese kid who wears leather and dresses like Elvis. He wants to be Guitar Wolf, the entire band.
There's a beautiful drag queen, a beautiful ninja warrior, a crazed club owner with a penchant for wearing hot pants, and enough gore and zombie head explosions to satisfy the most jaded zombie freak out there (like me). There's also plenty of Guitar Wolf music, J-Pop and the band driving around Japan raising their fists defiantly to the alien space ships and shouting their war cry "lock and lor". Its a great ultra low budget movie. If Guitar Wolf hadn't done anything else I'd have become a fan. As it is they've done nothing to disgrace the image.
Robert Crumb
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Robert Crumb
I've always like Japanese rock. I lost my collection of Shonen Knife with the hard drive crash. Thy started me into it. Then The 5-6-7-8's got famous when Tarentino exploited them for Kill Bill. They were the coolest thing in the movie, dressed in gold Dragon Lady dresses and bare feet slapping out the beat of "Woo Hoo". They've always been pretty big in Japan. I like their covers, like "Wooly Bully" is a hoot and their take on Tommy James' "Hanky Panky" is enthusiastically original.
There's a great Japanese compilation album called "My Summer Love". It features a couple dozen of the best female hard rock/punk bands in the country. It some how always strays into J-Pop territory, which is fine by me. There are plenty of good to great tracks on the disc. For me the most atypical is The Pebbles doing "I Love You Baby". Everything you need to know about I Drink Your Blood - I Eat Your Skin The Pebbles and most of the girl groups in Japan is all right there in the sound waves. If you have any unanswered questions you can clear them up with a fast listen to The Bunnies cover of "Let's Dance". For me this is high art becasue its intended to me nothing but fun and a reminder of the joy of being young.
The Japanese compilation brings to mind that classic USA comp, "Now Just The Girls". The American's are more driving and wear their influences a whole lot more subtly but they have a base iconography that's pure bliss. Candypants doing "Nerdy Boys" has more in common with The Bunnies and Jan and Dean than Metallica and I approve.

I'm not going to look for money today. Too hot for me. My blood is too thin and used to dry heat. The kind of heat that dehydrates all these bugs!
We need money but the situation is serious and not desperate.
There's no danger of having no home. The bills are paid. The mortgage is current. That just doesn't leave any free room for luxuries like food. I don't drink so that's cool and I loaded up on a coupon item so I've plenty of Diet Dr Pepper so I can feel like I'm drinking like the rich.

Its been a month today that my little blind dog passed away.
I still check under the chair to make sure I don't roll it over him when I get up. I still miss him huffing behind me following me everywhere I go. Getting mad at me for not just sitting down and staying put for a while.
I'm taking the 3 dogs on a walk to the post office. I miss how excited he'd always get even when he was walking into telephone poles.
I wish he'd come back.

July 14, 2008

Just a dollar down and a dollar a week
Woody Guthrie

Clyde Cadwell
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clyde Cadwell
I'm used to change.
Throughout the 70's and 80's after a surf session, to start a long night, to remember the game we'd just played, just because the weather was nice and the top was down, we used to go to Delores.
Not the one in Santa Monica adjacent . . . the one on Night Of Dark Shadows Wilshire, just west of LaCienega. We always went there for Suzy-Q fries with Delores Sauce and a Cherry Lime Rickey. Delores had car hops. You used to honk your horn when you were ready to order or wanted the tray taken away. (See, they had this tray that hooked over your window and propped itself level against your car door.) When the condo's started to encroach they asked you not to honk for a car hop, just to flash your lights. It worked well enough.
Delores was one of two places left in LA with car hops. Tiny Naylor's at La Brea and Sunset had them too, but La Brea and Sunset with all the pimps and hookers, the sleaze of Hollywood, the working girls hanging in the parking lot at the strip club next door made Tiny's a pretty different drive in experience.
It was too far east for all the time stopping anyway.
We liked Delores'. It fit our youth and our love of automobiles. When we got older it was a gentle nostalgia for the times we sat in our tuck and rolled upholstery and dreamed big dreams of waves and love and believed in a future we had no way of understanding. Always with the stereo playing so loud you had to shout the order over the blare.
Delores' drive in is gone now. They put up a 3 story parking lot there.
Tiny Naylor's is gone to. I don't care enough about it to remember what they put up there.
When you come from LA you get used to change. You even like it, even when you don't like what's changed you learn to love that change always happens.
Like I one took my son to see the oldest stone building in LA. Its an Anglican Church in Los Feliz, by Griffith Park. It was built in 1952. It was older than I was Blue Dynamic by Yurock
Click images for desktop size: "Blue Dynamic" by Yurock
which impressed us both. I always thought of the Anglican Church as Catholic lite, but they did an animal blessing. It got to be a habit to take our dogs there for the blessing. I figure it couldn't hurt and it was a whirl of fun seeing all the other dogs, birds, reptiles, snakes and plain old critters all lined up while the priest said the words, made the signs and then threw holy water in the animals faces.
There was some sort of schism between low and high church things. I don't understand that at all but it meant they no longer blessed the animals.
Today mark the birthday of Woody Guthrie. He played guitar.
He changed the world. Not many guitar players can say that.
He didn't just change fashions or styles. He helped change the world.
Night Of The Howling Beast I don't know if he ever played in any clubs. I'm sure he never played any big concert halls. He did some radio shows and he made some records. Mainly he did that to make a few dollars to feed his family.
Where he made the music that mattered was usually playing on the back of a flat bed truck. Most of the time he played solo but sometimes there'd be another guitar picker in the audience, or a guys with a Juice Harp, or maybe even a harmonica. They were always welcome on "stage".
He sang to the coal miners. Men tired from work with black lines etched into their faces from the grit and dust of their 12 hour work days, grime so in grained into their skin that a week soaking in the bath would never remove. He sang to their wives, woman emaciated and gray from fatigue but with eyes filled with sorrow and love for their families. He sang to the miner's kids, kids who never realized how terribly poor they were.
See, back then the coal companies didn't pay their workers. They gave them script. Script was company printed money. It was only good for buying stuff at the company store. At the company store food usually cost 3 times as much as when you bought it in the town stores. They had to live in the tin shacks the company threw up. Shacks with no plumbing and no electricity. They were charged as much as a house payment to live there. They had to live there to work. They had to work to stay alive, for their family to stay alive.
Woody Guthrie would blow into these camps sometimes with a union organizer, sometimes just by himself and he would sit up and put on a show so people could dance and forget the terrible strife of their lives. They could dance, they could sing songs that they were surprised that they could remember. They had a good time.
Guthrie didn't sing many songs about how oppressed they were, about how sad and miserable their lives were. He sang about joy and love. Ali Baba by Maxfield Parish
Click images for desktop size: "Ali Baba" by Maxfield Parrish
He sang and played them songs that reminded them they were people, that they were human beings and not gray machines working in some fat man's bigger machine.
He reminded them gently that they were people who owned a big part of the world. He sang to the workers.
He sang his songs to the miners in the east, to the fruit pickers in the west and the share croppers in the south, the melon growers in the south west. He sang for the workers reminding them we are all people and we were put on this planet to laugh as well as cry. To live as well as to work and die.
If he was lucky his pay would be a meager meal the workers all contributed to.
I don't think he was a communist. Riding the rails and hitching rides isn't a very communist thing. And rich guys have a way of branding anybody who thinks that mere human beings have value. They'd have to wouldn't they? I mean, if they have a shred on conscious they have to brand everyone who believes in people with a name that they can despise so they can teach their children how to despise them too.
The Night the World Exploded Guthrie has one famous song almost everybody knows. "This land is your land, this land is my land". It should be the American national anthem. Its a song that sums up America and its truth and dreams best. "This land was made for you and me."
We live today because the world was shaped and changed by the men and women Woody Guthrie gave a song to, a song that they could hum or sing, a song that lifted them from their drudgery and gave them the vision and the hope to see a better life for their children, for you and for me. A song that wasn't a war song but it was the score for battles as important as any war between armies with generals. This was a war for people demanding to be recognized as people.
He must have been an odd parent but he did raise a son who became a pop star. His son took his mega bucks and bought a building and turned it into a free drug rehab clinic. You can see his son their many nights. He sometimes has to sweep up the place. I'd say his son turned out okay.
I don't think its happenstance that Guthrie was born on Bastille day.
I like change. I like Woody Guthrie.
I wish I could change the world for a better with a song. Let people dance their way to freedom . . .

July 9, 2008

You gave away the things you loved and one of them was me
Carly Simon

Subway by Tulivien
Click images for desktop size: "Subway" by Tulivien
Stiff and sore this morning. Too much walking. Shoulder (expected) throbbing and hips achey.
One good thing about doing all that walking is the time spent for listening to the iPod and for thinking. Yes, I think best when I have music at about 94 db pouring into the middle of my head.
Killers From Space One thing that has always fascinated me is the most popular recording artist of 1967 . . . What fascinates me is asking people who they think the top selling artist was in 1967. Most people hear 60's and guess the Beatles, following that wrong answer up with the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan.
The number one record sellers in 1967 were a group from the west side of Chicago. They infused bright squirrelly pop with R&B and jazz. Starting out on the legendary local Destination label they recorded a little ditty called "Kind Of Drag". It hit number one in Chicago and then got picked up by Columbia for national distribution (every band's fantasy). It knocked the Beatles out of number 1 nationally and started the epic string of hits.
They were the Buckinghams. A seven piece outfit that even included a horn section! They stomped on everybody and just kept on churning out hit after hit. Happy songs, or sad songs sung with a smile. Astonishingly they had number 1's with covers of JAZZ tracks. Their cover of Cannonball Adderley's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" made Adderley a pop star. His original even broke into the Top 10.
For me, the most astonishing Buckingham's single was a cover of the Beatles' "I Call Your Name". This might be heresy in some quarters but I think they handed the Beatles their heads. Your not supposed to dare to cut heads with the reigning Kings Of Pop, but to dare and then to cut them is a wonderful thing. (Paul McCartney probably just opened up another bank account with the royalties from this hot selling cover.)
The tight and rich 5 part harmonies even shocked the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson felt the need to retaliate and went from the modal mash-ups that typified the Beach Boys sound and moved into the esoteric intricate harmonies that set a new standard for pop.
The Buckinghams ended '67 with the quasi-psychedelic "Susan". It starts out pretty pedestrianly but after a rather silly seeming "psychedelic freak out" the track suddenly explodes with a driven chorus reflected and scatted over and over. This wasn't Leonard Cohen, for sure. This was teen pop with a purpose, a purpose only the little girls understood.
And then . . . nothing. The band was still around but they never had another hit. For the outside world the Buckinghams were as suddenly dead as razor cut haircuts. It was not a shock. Pop just moved along.
They haven't even hit the oldies or the revival circuit.
It was like they stopped existing or Smoke
Click images for desktop size: "Smoke" by Unknown
maybe never even happened.
Their legacy was inspiring North Side Chicagoan Jimmy Guercio to swipe their sound and found "CTA" who metamorphosed into "Chicago". "Chicago" are still the largest sellers of albums in history. Go figure. That band pretty much ended when Bobby Lamm copped the true heart of the Buckinghams with the driving "Feelin' Stronger Everyday". I like neat circles even if I have to work hard to imagine them.
I guess I'm thinking a lot about Chicago because I miss our house guests. There was a lot more stupid laughing with them around. We need more stupid laughing in our lives. Who doesn't.
I think I sorted out the mp3 leeching grief. I resented it. One site based in Japan was selling a monthly subscription so you could stream your playlist via your browser. Except they streamed the music from others servers and not their own.
Kiss Of Death Its sort of incredible the depths that the RAIA has forced people to. Even corrupting politicians in their mad quest to terrify the world and force them to give them all our money.
But why aren't the Record Company Gestapo going after people who are actually making money from the music? You gotta figure the RAIA respects crooks. And it might be more difficult. Better to pick on an unemployed single mother who had an empty Kazaa folder in her system . . . Given the history of the RAIA it wouldn't be too surprising to find out that some members of the RAIA were clandestinely involved with these kind of sites.
So much better when musicians just wanted to make music and felt lucky to be able to make a living doing it.
Look, Gene Vincent is the greatest singer the world has ever produced. A whole world of music he created was after shows, hanging out in hotel rooms singing with friends and hangers on. Like when he was in some guys living room in Japan and someone had the sense to turn on a tape recorder to capture Gene Vincent singing "Bring It On Home To Me". Vincent was always broke. The man who wrote and recorded the largest selling single of 20 years Celestial Reckoning by Kayaga
Click images for desktop size: "Celestial Reckoning" by Kayaga
("Be Bop A Lula") always needed money. But he still didn't want to get paid to sing with friends.
(Back then the RAIA stole from musicians by doling out publishing rights to managers and collecting hare brained fees.)
I'm tired and scattered.
I saw two really poor movies. "The Happening" and "The Ruins". They made me think that this is the summer of the killer plants . . . Yeah, two movies about dangerous shrubs.
I dislike the bad filmmaking of M. Night but I was intrigued by Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo in "The Happening". Of course I didn't realize that M. Night cast them as HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS!!!
I, for one, would be terrified of any school that would have those two on their faculty.
Zoey Deschanel gave the most horrible performance in film history.
This film was a disaster and not in a fun way. M Night has even forgotten to cop those ginchy Twilight Zone style endings, this one just grinds to a halt like a junker Studebaker with a blown rod.
"The Ruins" isn't much better. At least here the plant moves. Well it moves a little. It has a couple of gotcha moments and a couple of mildly interesting scenes. Metropolis And no one attempts to talk to a plastic tree . . . At least the actors were working hard but this film is still a worthless mess.
Horror films used to be the easiest way to break into the business. Look at Rami with "Evil Dead", Hooper and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". There hasn't been a great new horrow film in a long time. Now they're just another repository for the creatively bankrupt.
The dogs keep waking me up in the middle of the night. Too much heat and too many cats prowling in the yard.
I don't blame them . . . much.
I have to figure out the rest of the day. I have to make some money some how some way some day. But maybe not today.

July 6, 2008

Things they do look awful cold
Pete Townshend

JSA - DC Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Justice Society Of America" by DC Comics
We had fresh spring rolls and sugar free home made coffee cake for dinner last night.
Its hard to feel miserable when your broke when you can still whip up things like that just by burrowing through the fridge.
Being broke doesn't scare me. Being poor isn't that Man With The Golden Gun much of a worry either. Being homeless with my puppy - that terrifies me. Governments terrifies me. Corrupt government officials and daffy corrupt incompetent judges terrify me. Being broke, Being poor is just a state to ease through. I don't like it but its not as important as, well, so many other things the list boggles.
I was up late last night.
I got an email from my hosting service. It was pointing out a huge upswing in bandwidth. Nothing to worry about, just an advisory sort of thing.
I went and checked the server logs and was at first shocked, then freaked and finally just annoyed. It seems that there are a couple of shyster sites out there hot linking to the mp3's I post here. Some people don't even know I post them here. I dislike the way links tend to look on a web page. You have to hover over the link to have it appear here.
Anyway there are a lot of unidentified robots crawling the site. It must have come from there. I don't like hot linking. I have to pay for the bandwidth. When I went to look at the sites doing the linking I was really peeved.
They disguise themselves as mp3 search engines or as music repositories. They are heavy with advertising, malware, spyware, pop ups, pop unders etc. They're making a lot of money. One of the sites sells the music for 99 cents. Only problem for me is that they don't sell the song from their server. They link to mine. There's a well designed perl script that disguises the url but you pay them or look at their adverts to download the song and the song downloads directly from my server.
I resent commercialism as much as I resent the out dated copyright laws that the bigger thieves in the RAIA and MPAA hide behind.
Its the world of the internet, I guess.
The reasons behind my site tend to be complex and personal. Gothic Spirit
Click images for desktop size: "Gothic Spirit" by Unknown
It started out as just an easy to access diary and journal, a place I would always b able to find. Then I discovered the social networking aspect of it. I dabbled in that for a tiny while before I quickly got bored with it and discovered that all I was really doing was making myself available to all sorts of hucksters.
Then, quite pleasingly, it became a way to quickly inform all of the people I know and care for about how I was doing. Share jokes and anecdotes.
Then it became something uglier, but even the ugly parts passed. (I can understand people being angry with me, or even hating me. But it soon passes the point of justification and becomes just boring vandalism.)
Like my puppy's site is a better example.
It was started so I would always have a place to remember her for each day of her life. I wanted to keep all of her pictures close to hand so I could look at them. Then I could also tell my friends the url so they could go look at the magnificence that was my puppy.
Because my puppy was timid I ended up Johnny O'Clock deciding to try training her as a therapy dog. She ate up the training. She loved working with kids and was comforting to them and to many other people in hospital.
So her site became a way to extend the relationship with the children she saw every week. The kids, mainly 5 to 11 loved having a place to read about her. I had plans to design games and stuff to entertain. I was just incompetent at Flash and lacked the talent to make some of my dreams real.
Still the kids loved reading about her. They knew her and had a relationship with her that I wasn't ken to. It didn't bother me.
What did bother me was the spam that suddenly started to proliferate her site. Sick stuff. Bestiality sites, porn. No child porn, fortunately but stuff that these ill children didn't really need to know existed.
I had to shut down comments. I set up an email account for my puppy. The kids loved writing to her and liked it when she'd answer them.
Then, as is the way, her email account started to get deluged with spam. Dating sites, credit card phishing schemes, viagra, porn. Background by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Background" by Lawn Elf
Even messages that she'd gotten messages on her Friendster account . . . My kids were always inviting me to join their MySpace, Friendster what have you, so when I received the porn spam from those sites I took it as a matter of course. My puppy does not have a membership to any of them.
Its just the way of it, I guess. People need to make money. It makes me glad being poor doesn't bother me. Being broke bothers me but not in any way that shows.
I've made some temporary fixes to stop the music hot linking. I'll need to come up with a more permanent solution. I'm trying to figure out how to write the robot.txt file so that the rip off sites can't crawl this site. It won't work. The aggro robots just ignore the txt file.
All I wanted was for my friends to know about songs I was liking and listening to. It worked. It should work. Who knew that someone would have the money to figure out how to make more money from it.

July 4, 2008

A man of wisdom accepts there are things he does not know
Richard Fairweather

Frank Mellech
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Mellech
I spent most of yesterday looking for work. Not for a job but work.
It was a loser but still what I plan to continue to do today.
I also spent a lot of time thinking about my puppy's blog. I need to write something for her. She's started it. Sometimes it hard to be funny. Or even just amusing.
Jackson County Jail One thing I keep thinking about is a conversation my friend and I had a few days ago. It was about actors.
She couldn't understand why actors even wanted to be actors. Who wants a career where all you do is pretend to be someone else?
At the time the only thing I could think of was for "Fame and Fortune". Note fame comes first in the list.
But that didn't and doesn't feel right. Its superficial.
Most of the problem is that I'd never thought about actors in that way before. I like actors. It was actors who got me to look past my adolescent homophobia. In person they make me laugh and are almost always entertaining. They feel things differently than non-actors, at least the best of them do.
And I've always thought that actors were always there, always a part of us.
I mean back when that crazy greek cat Antigones, or something, was writing comedies called Frogs and producing plays in pits in the ground there were actors willing to wear one of those cool masks and stand in front of a crowd of strangers and convince those strangers that he wasn't a peasant, that he was a a great and thundering god come to smite the world. He could make that audiences heart quell. Then the next night he was a poor beggar seeking a lonely dinar to feed his family and he could make the new bunch of strangers cry and beat their chests at his plight.
Actors are cool. They have a talent that I don't think can be minimized.
It was an actor who helped change the course of history. John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln and leapt to the stage writing his own drama in real life.
Demon Forever
Click images for desktop size: "Demon Forever" by Unknown
I don't understand what makes an actor take the job. Maybe they're born to it and then they get to spend a few years suffering and working as hard as a coal miner to perfect his craft to the point where skill becomes art.
And I think a lot of being an actor is compulsion. I don't think its pretending to be somebody else. Impersonations wear thin pretty quickly. Its a willingness to be a tool in the hands of a director and a writer. A tool to espouse and convey ideas, feelings and emotions to strangers. The cheaper actors manipulate, the best of them use their tools to paint a human body that reflects ourself. They fool us by exposing a soul to us that we never imagined existed, a soul that exists only in at least 3 peoples mind and no where else until the actor unleashes it on stage or on screen.
I understand some of that compulsion. Every time I'm as broke as I am now I always think of one thing. Being in a band.
Its part of my adrenaline addiction I think. I like surfing, sky diving, rock and mountain climbing for the adrenaline rush. That feeling that evades words and rests only in a hungry brain. (except rock climbing has too much pain and fear to be a true addiction for me. I like thinking about what I did but I don't think I'd ever want to do it again.
Kill Baby Kill and Sound of Horror Like the drunkard dreams of his bottle and the junkie dreams of his next fix the old and crippled musician dreams of being in a band.
Its gotten tot he point that when I listen to music I'm arranging the charts so that my cramped up little hands can play that song. Sometimes the charts in my head seem a little bit like fake book stuff but that's okay too. If I can transpose it to a lot of open chords and simple shifts instead of bouncing all over the neck I could probably get through a whole set.
I like bands. I like that moment in rehearsal when you finish a number a realize that it sounded just like a song. I like that first time on stage when the bands starts out and the crowd is continuing their conversation, shouting over you and then abruptly someone notices and says, "Hey, those guys are good!" and someone else says a bit later, "Those guys are really good!"
I like that we get paid for doing this.
I don't like the inevitable bickering that ensues. Usually the only things the band has in common is music. Most of the time you have different goals and different places you want to end up. Some where in all that the music gets lost.
It most often falls along the same lines. The front man thinks they're not getting enough credit. The lead guitarist wants endless solos to show off his most recent hard won plateau. The rhythm section wants to make a move into a different groove. The girl friends or boy friends all think that their special band member is getting screwed over.
Its fun even in its predictability.
Predictable. Like when the little girl shyly approaches you after the gig and her biggest compliment is that on a certain cover you sounded "Just like the record."
At first I thought the little girls were nuts. Abstract Balls by Sam Short
Click images for desktop size: "Green Balls" by Sam Short
Our version sounded nothing like the original recording. Once, in my last band we played a club out in the sticks. They wanted the Beatles and Stone Temple Pilots. None of the band except me knew any Beatles' tracks and only the drummer knew any Stone Temple songs. So we played a half dozen of each, faking it as best as we could. The crowd went crazy.
Each band member got told how we sounded exactly like the original recording only punchier, all by different people in the audience.
I know now that they didn't think we sounded like the record. We just transported them to a place they enjoyed when they first heard the song. Or they got overcome with the emotion for which the song was their soundtrack. Or, at best, we thought we were special and for a moment they thought we were stars and for that same moment they felt a joy they It's Alive couldn't describe, a feeling that their own greatness was somehow a products of the bands thrashing around.
I like that too.
Maybe I could just go busking? Nobody is less critical than a passerby. I knew a lot of guys who at the end of the month would head out to the street and bash out some tunes. No worse than playing on Bourbon Street! They used to pick up 50 sixty bucks a day!
I've always been a bit shy for busking. I need a stage and at least 4 inches of platform to face a strange crowd. A crowd of strangers.
So yeah, I want to be in a band. That makes me think I've got the right to claim to understand why an actor needs a stage or a camera or a role.
Difference is that reality will smack me down like the last wave.
I'll get over it.
I watched a movie last night, "Closed Note". A japanese film that doesn't seem to be about much of anything. Its about a student who works in a shop selling pens.
In one of the scenes though she's in her music class and they're playing one of the Back Toccatas. It sounded strange until I realized they were playing it on some of those wild Japanese instruments, those fretless banjo and mandolin like things. It was cool and exciting.
There always be music. They won't miss me standing on a corner begging for change, selling them a song.
I say that with bemusement and gladness.

June 29, 2008

4 for 5

Waiting for the Verdict By Solomn Abraham
Click images for desktop size: "Waiting on the Verdict" by Solomn Abraham
When I was sick last week I kept working on the movie collection.
Even then I thought it was odd of me.
I wasn't too sure I wasn't dying so in between thinking things like, "Should I interrupt?" How To Make A Monster and drawing some large chunks of inspiration from my little blind dog I pondered over matters such as, "Should I replace my copy of "Fat Tiger, Skinny Dragon? This one has 30 extra seconds of end credits . . ."
When does move fan cross into movie buff into movie nerd?
Does the classification affect anybody or mean anything to anyone but the movie nuts?
Like when I first got dragged to the Star Trek pub I remember someone viciously explaining to me that he was not a Trekkie! He was a Trekker! (This just before he went over to hit on some woman chatting her up in authentic Klingon . . . ) It was important to him but the point of it eluded me. A few other people have explained the subtle differences between kie and ker but it was well beyond me, other than making me certain I never wanted to end up as a kie . . .
But maybe the silly dwelling on the movie collection was a way of staying attached to life, to looking forward to the future. Needing to keep everything organized for tomorrow. I have no heirs and no one cares about the collection of discs except me so, clearly I was doing all this only for myself, so I must plan to be here tomorrow.
I also got an email, well my puppy did . . . come on, I'm not the only macho guy out there who's puppy has her own email account. Am I?
It was from a extremely well established legit internet company pointing out that her site averaged 70,000 unique hits a month. By placing unobtrusive text ads and links I could make x amount of dollars etc . . . I'm poor and x amount of dollars can feel like a lot.
I talked it over with my friend. The conversation lasted about 3 seconds. She pointed out that ads would be exploiting kids. No place to go from there.
I know a lot of those kids. Some we met in hospital when my puppy Vampira by Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Vampirella" by Frank Frazetta
was working as a therapy dog. Most of her site visitors are kids in distress, in hospital in school. Getting them to click on a link because they think my puppy is "endorsing" some dog food or pet store makes me queasy and ashamed.
My puppy is a working breed but not in advertising or sales. I mean, yeah, we've spent all the house insurance money but that's no reason to dress my puppy up in hot pants and cheap make up.
Is it?
It still feels empty in the house. I miss my little blind dog. I still walk so I don't step on him and I reach for him when the thunder crashes so he can hide in my arm pit. Life seems thin without him.
My friend and I both miss our house guests. She misses girly talk and talking about food and cooking. I miss life and the way people fill up a space.
We both miss commiserating about my puppy's brother and wondering how he's adapting to the new environment on his vacation and how much he truly loves his new bestest friend.
I Bury The Living To assuage the feeling of emptiness my friend made sugar free, gluten free key lime coconut macaroons. I plan to eat them all and then claim the dogs stole them . . .
One bright note I got gifted an advance copy of Alkaline Trio's new Album, "Agony And Irony". I've only scan listened to a few tracks and I'm already deeply impressed.
I don't like the hype about them being 10 years old now (as a band not as individuals . . . ) and how their music has gone from thrash to lyrical poetry . . . poetry . . . the last hiding place of the insecure and the insincere. But the music sounds more than pretty good. The acoustic (!!) demo's sound very good and listening to the full on versions is tres cool.
I only wish they were still on indy labels and not under the auspices of the RAIA. Hell, even Kid Rock has come out public against the jerks who are "protecting his rights". "Steal My Music" is a great headline. Better if he followed Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails and released his music on his own.

June 14, 2008

The girl is not guilty with me
John Twist

Velocity By Jon Vic
Click images for desktop size: "Velocity" by Jan Vic
The weekend.
My friend got out of of seminar so she got an extra day off. We had fun. We cooked mee krob together.
If you don't know mee krob involves deep frying rice noodles and stuff. All the oil made me sort of sick but it was still enjoyable as was the whole day. The Wild Angels Sometimes its nice to have a day where very little is accomplished and all there is is peace.
She got to play some on her resuscitated Powerbook. Mucho disappointment over all that was lost. Tempered with the vague thrill of, "Now I'll set this thing up right!"
One thing she's doing that I like is turning all of her dock and folder icons into "Pooch Cafe" icons. Poncho is tres cool. For Safari (Mac's web browser) she even found a surfing Poncho!
Even though the Powerbook doesn't have enough juice to run Leopard, Tiger (OSX 10.4.11 - I love goonie numbers) is still very rock solid and robust.
She's having some fun.
I also spent the day doing storm recovery work. This basically was picking up dog feces and throwing things at trees to knock the fallen branches free so they don't fall and whack a dog in its noggin.
I had the iPod on and realized I'm out of new music. That's not a bad thing at all. It means that I get to listen to a whole lot of my favorites, songs I neglected in my fear of missing the next great tune.
I like pop. I like bubblegum a lot. Bubblegum was a 60's kind of music dedicated to making the little girls scream and shout. Its the same energy the Pice Girls tried to callously and shallowly politicize with their bogus "Girl Power" trip.
The Ramones did a few klazzik bubble gum covers! Did them well too.
No one has ever covered the 1910 Fruitgum Company's "The Train". I like the track a lot. Alongside The Rare Breed's "Beg Borrow And Steal" you get a decent image of bubblegum and an interesting view of how the 60's viewed women in the throes of the dawn of feminism. Meaning they ignored it so well they made sure it was inevitable.
Women's Figure
Click images for desktop size: "Women's Figure"
Of course any "movement" in music had its follower's who barely had a clue of what the sound was all about. The nice thing about bubble gum was that the genre is itself was so vacuous that even its most vapid practitioners could produce cool, catchy little bouncy numbers, like Daddy Dewdrop's "Chick A Boom" and The Buchanan Brothers "Medicine Man". Songs that had no pretensions other than to make people dance about and earn a few dollars are always welcome in my book.
Part of bubble gum's appeal is how nuts it made the hippies with its crass commercialism and how furious it made the "serious" players who were envious of the genre's wide play and popularity. Most of those serious musicians I knew were into playing authentic blues . . . singing about their life picking cotton in the LA River Delta . . . I guess.
Its fun seeing someone dead serious get spluttery and red faced about something that is by its own definition totally insubstantial.
And there's always surf music. Yellow Submarine Paul Johnson's DuoTones project is still awesome. Johnson was one of the originals. His "Mr Moto" is an awesome klazzik tune. But what he does with the old surf standard "Baja" is a tour de force.
I've known a lot of good guitarists who couldn't get the sync between right and left hand playing and palm muting working on this tune. I've even seen a couple of guitarists rig a mute out of a handkerchief to avoid having to contend with this trickiness and this was on ELECTRIC guitars with skinny necks, low action and slinky strings! That Johnson does it on an acoustic steel string is a frightening testament to virtuosity.
Today I predict a good day. Rotten weather but a good day.
I got some coupons in the mail. Big sales at THREE different pet stores!! Okay, I think shopping for dog toys is valid and IMPORTANT FUN!
Then my friends parents invited us to dinner! FREE FOOD justifies spending money on puppy toys!
Then there's that coupon for half off "Glow In The Dark" miniature golf . . .

June 4, 2008

The mind plays tricks on you so you have to trick it back!
Paul Ruebens

Angel Experiment By Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Angel Experiment" by Michael Parkes
During the rain storm a large branch was torn off one of the trees on the property. An oak tree.
That sort of thing makes me a bit sad. The loss of something, I guess. Then there's the fear that it could have fallen and hurt someone or crushed the house or . . .
It was a big branch. About 35 feet long and nearly as wide at it biggest spread. I figure it weighed about 120 pounds.
The Pit And The Pendulem The branch was balanced precariously. It was poised to come crashing down on the neighbors shed. While I was trying to figure out how to untangle it from the other branches and from the fence to move it I ended up thinking about Robert Wise.
I have butterfly concentration. That means thinking intently about a subject then flittering to the next subject with equal intensity. Its a lot like a dog thinks . . .
The thought process eludes some people. I always figured I was pretty normal and that people who couldn't see the world the way I do are the same sort of people who figure I pick all the pictures for this blog at random.
Anyway examining the branch I noticed a section of it was long and straight enough to make a guitar neck. I wondered about the acoustic properties of an oaken guitar. I figured it didn't have much going for it as I'd never seen an oaken guitar.
That made me think of some of the odd and cool homemade guitars I'd seen. Bo Diddley played that home made cigar box electric of his.
With his passing I spent some time considering Bo Diddley. I thought that about the worst Bo Diddley covers I'd ever heard were done by the Rolling Stones.
The last concert I'd seen in LA was at the Coliseum. Guns And Roses opened for the Stones. GNR cut the Stones completely. GNR was great that evening and the biggest response they got from the crowd was their homage to the open E chord with their version of Bob Dylan's "Knocking On Heaven's Door".
Dylan wrote the Soundtrack for the only major movie he acted in, Sam Peckinpah's "Pat Garret And Billy The Kid". Dylan was pretty poor as an actor. So were Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson. At least Coolidge got naked. Her breasts were the most interesting things in the movie.
Anime By Mota
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Mota
I wondered what prompted Peckinpah to cast all these pop stars in important roles. He was a total pain in the neck maverick, so it had to be his choice. I was trying to figure out what prompted him to cast aging pop stars in the roles, roles that were basically embodying wild west raging teens.
That made me think about Peckinpah's career. I thought it was an auspicious start. He played the Gas Meter Reader in Don Seigel's early masterwork, "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers".
I love the movies Don Seigel made. His genre films never attempted to redefine the rules they just pushed them to the max. "Riot In Cell Block 11", his Ronald Reagan as villain in "The Killers" all did more to establish entertainment as propaganda for humanity than any dry text book.
The Soul Of A Monster With all the great movies he made it was still his 1956 sci-fi flic that will get him in the history books. His cynical vision of human beings being replaced by emotionless pods has been remade at least 6 times I know of. It also gave rise to a term popular in LA - "Pod Mall".
In LA there was a time when gas stations weren't being profitable (!). They were shutting down and developers were buying up these little corner lots and building these creepy little mini-malls (their preferred term). These generic cookie stamped cramped emporiums seemed to always have the same stores, the same feel. (A fast food Asian restaurant, a video store and a dry cleaners). The only apt description for them recalled the human looking creatures in Seigel's klazzik movie, the soulless being explaining to you how much happier you'd be when you didn't have to feel, when all your thoughts were the same as your neighbors. The typical Southern Cal developers mantra and the spirit of the pod mall.
I wondered how much inspiration Seigel had gotten from the Robert Louis Stevenson story about ressurectionists, "The Body Snatcher". Stevenson's fictionalized version of the notorious Burke and Hare, Scotland's notorious body snatchers who eventually found it much simpler to murder their corpses instead of wasting time digging them up.
That made me think of the movie of the the story. It was a tour de force performance from Boris Karloff as the title character "Hare". I think it was his finest performance and the only movie where he was allowed to explode and paint a true picture of evil, an evil so human as to care about a little girl and his horse, but self serving enough to murder a little dog. An evil so self aware that he explains in clean simple terms that he feels lowly and miserable but when he remembers he can make a superior man "jump to his whistle" he feels big Zombi
Click images for desktop size: "Zombi" by Unknown
and needed and as important as any man in the world!
Its an incredible performance and surpasses his astonishing work as the Monster in the first two "Frankenstein" films. He makes you care about the despicable.
And the man who lead him to this astonishing award worthy performance was Robert Wise.
See, how the mind works is easy if you think about it . . .
So I thought about Robert Wise. He had a fascinating career and is another guy who no one thinks about anymore. That's a shame. I think his biggest success is what's lead him to be unremembered. He directed the biggest box office hit of his time, "The Sound Of Music". I have to admit I've never been able to sit still through the thing for more than 5 minutes at a time, so I've never seen it. And Oh, I have tried.
Other directors who've managed that monstrous a hit have developed huge followings. Not Wise and he started his career more brilliantly than most. He directed many of the sequences in Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" then flew to the brilliant "The Curse Of The Cat People". Despite its lurid title "Curse" is an examination of the world, life and death through the limited perspective of a child. He creates a gothic world full of This Gun For Hireintimidating chirasco and old people who offer a genuine warmth that penetrates their stuffy cold appearance. A beautiful ghost saves the child from a less beautiful daughter who only wants to be loved by her mother.
Its a fascinating movie in every way and Simone Simone is alway worth looking at.
In between creating goth fantasy worlds and examining human frailty expressed through its cruelty Wise and creating the most successful movie musical ever Wise made two science fiction klazziks. "The Day The Wold Stood Still" made a star of Michael Rennie and Patricia O'Neal and gave us Gort, a totally hep robot.
Almost twenty years later Wise made the sci-fi warning film that said the aline invasion might be more of a whimper than a bang. "The Andromeda Strain" was a huge hit, bigger than 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Wise also made the definitive submarine war film with "Run Silent Run Deep" (great title) and the ultimate desert war movie, "The Desert Rats". And in between them the bittersweet Jimmy Cagney Western, "Tribute To A Bad Man".
Some people would be upset if I didn't mention he also directed the first "Star Trek" movie.
Wise didn't make any bad movies, save. possibly his most successful. I don't understand why you don't see any Robert Wise retrospectives. He was a filmmaker who stayed closer to his dreams and purposes than most auteur darlings. Big Guy, Thunder and Maestro By Michael Kutsche
Click images: "Big Guy, Thunder & Maestro" by M Kutsche
He crossed genre's at ease and brought a sure deftness to the most important job a movie director has: He told his story and he adapted his style to tell the story as directly and powerfully as possible. Its no small thing. See what he did with the surface appearing trite boxing movie, "The Set Up". He created art just by letting actors act and people be people. Again, its no small thing.
If the rain stops today I have to go and complete dismembering the fallen branch . . . of course, if it stops raining I can take the puppies for a promised treat, a $5 pizza! Which now costs $5.55 . . . plus tax. Don't know if I can swing the tax bit. Have to count my change.
We split the pizza evenly. Its poor pizza but only costs 5 bucks. They cut it into 8 slices so three slices go to the pups and the cheese from one slice goes to my little blind dog (his allergies don't let him have wheat). Then the puppies split up that naked crust which leaves 4 slices for me!
The dogs think that is too much and more than I deserve . . .

June 3, 2008

We got the good time music with the Bo Diddley beat
Bo Diddley

Frank Mellech
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Mellech
I never met Bo Diddley. I saw him play twice. Once as an opening act and once as a blues act.
When he was an opener for some band I've forgotten about he was pretty poor. He was locked into a psychedelic cowboy thing, didn't play any of his hits and just jammed for what seemed like hours.
If it wasn't that he was Bo Diddley I would have forgotten that set too. The Naked Vampire I remember thinking I'd have gotten tired of playing "Who Do You Love" after 30 years too.
As the headliner at a blues festival he was better, much better. Although I think his music was blues in the same way I guess you could call Little Richard the blues. The roots were there but you had to look hard.
Bo Diddley, with Jerome and the Duchess, made something new, if Rock & Roll hadn't already been invented the pounding tom toms and the high end maraca sizzle would have been something that terrified and excited the world.
And the lyrics. No ones ever written a better line than, "I got a tombstone hat and a graveyard mind. I'm just twenty two and I don't mind dying. So come on, take a walk with me child and tell me: Who do you love?"
Its odd. Hearing that Bo Diddley died yesterday doesn't feel like a hole in the heart. There's too much music out there. Too much that wouldn't have happened with out him. From Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" to George Thorogood's appropriation of the Bo Diddley beat with his driving covers like "Bad To The Bone". In fact anytime the drummer doesn't do just a one-two-three-four but instead embellishes and punches the beat into submission, I think of Bo Diddley.
So one last time let's "Bring It To Jerome" and be glad that there are people out there who aren't afraid to lead, even if its just for a tiny speck of time a leader will always change the world as we know it.

My puppy's brother is coming for a visit. We're excited but also looking at a lot of cleaning and prep.
That's not exciting . . .

May 27, 2008

Did it make you mean, Tom? Did prison make you mean?
John Steinbeck

Ancient Japanese Art
Click images for desktop size: "Ancient Japanese Art"
Awakened at 4 a.m. by my little blind dog. He was in need. Stayed up to nurse him. He's had four bad days in a row.
As long as he gets excited by going on walks. As long as he keeps getting into trouble; keeps eating, I'm not going to be too worried about him. Just need to stay aware he's got some needs. Sunset Blvd I have to be careful to listen to him.
Wish I could be that cognizant of everything else that goes on around me.
I have come to a realization. I think I can survive without any RIAA controlled music. Most of you know my attitude about the RIAA, and how they've gone from setting the standards for vinyl record EQ to being the nastiest most corrupt business men on the planet. A national disgrace and working hard to be a planetary sham.
They don't control music though. They're actually pretty easy to side step. Anyone can record their music. There's even an on-line free recording studio. I haven't tested it but you can make your music somehow and get it out there.
Much different from my day . . . (man, that sounds old) when you either had to come up with the cash for a recording studio or be willing to build your own gear (my solution) then come up with another $500 bucks to master and stamp out 250 CD's (or 500 vinyl albums). You could either sell them at your gigs or hustle them to the local record shops.
It as its own kind of fun.
The thing is that music we make ourselves, its not controlled by the RIAA. BMI and ASCAP have as much say and they're difficult groups you need to belong to but they're not as predatory.
Its a lot more difficult to sidestep the growing obnoxiousness of the MPAA. They have a pretty solid monopoly. They don't get busted for it because politico's need celebrity endorsements.
I mean, you can go out and make your own movie but you can't get it shown at any of the big theaters. They'll only book stuff that's been given the MPAA rating seal, which means you have to surrender your baby to them. Ditto for going to the independent distributors. You need the seal. I've been involved in enough of those movies to have seen it too many times.
I guess the MPAA can point to the porno industry. Before video took it over Joe by Avatar Palin
Click images for desktop size: "Joe" by Avatar Palin
their used to be an entire distribution network for porn and porn theaters. Then they can point to the Film Festivals as the alternative. Of course, most guys go to the Festivals hoping to pick up a big distributor and an MPAA seal.
They can point to George Romero and Sam Rami. Rami, with the weight of Dino DeLaurentus got "Evil Dead 2" shown without the MPAA seal. Romero, with the weight of Dario Argento and massive box office receipts stayed independent and got "Dawn of the Dead" into theaters without dealing with the MPAA.
Those are the only examples I can think of off hand. Most people can't afford to risk the money tied up in their movies this way. Selling your movie to a chain of movie theaters is too hard without the seal. The booking agents won't look at it. They can't afford to take the risk or the time.
Swamp Thing Sounds like restraint of trade if you were talking making shoes or shirts.
Since tape came into its own there's been a side industry of "direct to video". Interesting things sometimes but most often a dumping ground for stuff that couldn't get a distributer. Its different in the rest of the world, until it comes to American movies, of course. Seeing something at home or on the computer just isn't the same thing at all.
But anyway I realized that 95% of the stuff I listen to is not RIAA product. In fact I can live without the RIAA. (I'll see how strong that resolve is when the new Alkaline Trio comes out next month . . . )
Maybe if I avoid RIAA product even more bands will follow Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails and get their music out there without the onerous threat of the rip off artists.
For me its easy. I think The Come On's "Dollar In My Pocket" is a sensational track. The RIAA may not care about the quality of their product but there's nothing that they've got in their catalog that can compare to this sweet not vacant number.
Dave Wronski is a world glass guitarist. His version of "For A Fistful Of Dollars" may run afoul of Morricone's publishers but that doesn't stop this from being a great stomping instrumental. You can listen to it and dance and feel free because your not supporting the corrupt tone deaf jerks.
That's going to be my solution anyway. At least until the world wakes up and lets music be for the people again. For the musicians and the band fags and the fans.
My strategy might fail but I won't be missing much.
Marvel Universe by Marvel Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Marvel Universe" by Marvel Comics
I've ordered the new cheaper DSL service. It'll go into effect next week. I'm nervous about it.
It took some juggling of credit cards and cash. Decided to go piece meal about it. Partially for money reasons. You have to pay the whole year in advance . . . and partially out of good old fashioned American fear.
Cutting off the land line and going straight into VOIP is scary when you've little idea of just how decent the connection will be.
I had Vonage when I had cable broadband. I was happy with it. Happy enough anyway. But then i had a decent totally tweaked 7mbs connection. Even then, sometimes the phone connection was lousy. It did restrict what you could do on the internet. With the drain on bandwidth, both on the network and the internet with the AppleTV its one of those things you need to experiment with.
One positive is I get to install my own router. The phone company provides a really lousy router built into the DSL modem. Its near impossible to bridge without a lot of firmware flashing.
The Big Sleep I'd expect the network to perform better. This router provides 58% signal strength with 8% noise level AT BEST in a straight line of site 14 foot distance! Usually it falls below that. My Linksys router generally gets 80% and 2% noise at 30 feet through walls!
The DSL is at 5mps. Nothing will make that get better.
But if I suddenly vanish for a while and don't answer emails even worse than I do now don't take it personally . . .
Just imagine me suffering over my sudden inability to communicate in my usual mumbling sputtery way.

May 23, 2008

He's raining in my sunshine

5 cm By Kabegami
Click images for desktop size: "5 cm per Second" by Kabegami
Feeling better today.
Funny I feel worse when I wake up. Then wear down during the day only to pick up after a dosage of Vitamin C. Maybe I'm addicted to Vitamin C? Do junkies wake up with "the hunger"? Could be worse, I guess.
Duo Shai While I was working and being sick I got to listen to a lot of music. It set me off on an odd reverie. I wondered if it would be preferable to be some forgettable dork like whatever guy won the American Idol mess, go out there, make a pile of cash and then be forgotten or remembered quizzically like an off color joke. Or if it would better to just be in a band that gets better and better until you're playing in front of audiences of 500 and every person leaves the club thinking this was one of the best nights of their lives, or at least of the year.
Pretty obvious where I come down. To pick the other would be saying that my life was a failure.
I'm no failure.
I want a guitar. Can't afford one. Even a cheap one (Never buy a new guitar, especially acoustic.)
Even when I tell myself its just for my own amusement, to sing and play to the dogs and my friends, I know that if I ever get through a song without my hands failing me I'll start thinking I should get into a band.
If one of these friends can sing along and harmonize then I'll become determined, then if I meet a guy who can keep a good rhythm pounding on the kitchen table then the search will start for a bass player and the next thing I know it'll be 4 am and we're looking at 500 bucks in wet bills and after paying the bar tab and gas we're stuck trying to figure out how to divide 87 dollars 5 ways. (do they always pay the band with whatever bills got particularly spilled on that night? Or do they think bands only like soggy money? Or did the bass player drop the bills on the way from the managers office on the way to the stage? Mysteries of music 102.)
Threads Of Desire by K Horne
Click images for desktop size: "Threads of Desire" by K Horne
I didn't get to watch any movies. What's the point of being sick if you can't watch a lot of movies. I kept drifting off to sleep every time I'd sit and try and watch one.
There's a lot to do to get caught back up. lots of fretting to do, emails to write.
I did see that they're actually running a dog and pony show in congress. Feels like a joke. Politicians looking stern and asking the "hard" questions right before election year. Congress asked oil execs how much they make a year. One guy claimed over 12 million a year. A couple of others said they didn't know . . .
I wonder if they'll investigate the two who didn't know for perjury. Do to them what they're doing to Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. I mean its pretty clear cut. They sign their tax forms. They get W-2's. They know but don't want to say seems like a good bet.
They won't bust them for perjury. In fact I'd expect the only thing that will happen is that the exec's who are only making 2 million a year are going to demand raises. Makes you wonder what power lust made Bush give up that kind of cash to make a measly low 6 figures a year.
Rififi Since the oil companies made the "compelling" argument that the past 20 years of record gas prices are the only hedge they have to when they aren't making record profits . . . or something like that.
They said they make billions in profit but they need that to continue to make billions in profits. I figure congress will buy off on that, especially in an election year when they need those campaign dollars.
Still it was nice to hear politicians claiming they're looking out for their constituents. None of them seemed to bothered, personally, by high gas prices.
I also saw a rather cool series of photos. A Chinese wedding photographer was working during the earthquake. He got these poetic images of the bridal party suddenly wrapped in one of the worst cataclysms in Chinese history.
The sheer fact that he didn't just drop the camera and run for his life seems to indicate, to me at least, that he deserves some sort of international award. Certainly better than just a posting on his blog.
They're those sort of happenstance pictures that makes a tragedy real and more than just incomprehensible numbers.
Certainly worth a click to see.
And now. Onward. Or something like that.

May 14, 2008

You can fool Emporers and Princes, Presidents and Prime Ministers but you can't ever fool a dog.

Astonishing X-Men - Marvel Comics
Click images for desktop size: "The Astonishing X-Men" by Marvel Comics
I went for a long walk on Monday with my puppy. When I'm feeling badly she sticks very close to me, herds me. Its mildly annoying. She doesn't seem to get as much pleasure from it as she would usually.
I must be feeling better. On Monday she was jumping all over the place, pulling me here and there, racing hard at the end of her leash.
Konga Clearly if I'm feeling well enough its the best option to try and kill me.
She was good enough and we laughed a lot.
My puppy wasn't enough to detract from my anger over the new bill passed in the House. The one where they've said that the cops now have the right to confiscate and keep any computer suspected of being used to download "pirated" content . . .
This is why people view me as a right winger. I believe in liberty and think that justice is a vague ephemeral term that shifts to often to be reliable.
In a just world every member of the House who voted for this law would be held up to immediate scrutiny. There's no sense to it. Except to appease the greedy MPAA and RIAA, two groups who produce nothing but naked greed.
If we forced each member of Congress to justify voting for legislation that does not benefit or protect their constituents or face impeachment we'd be moving towards justice for the people.
I mean guys like Henry Waxman (who rally embarrassed himself and the nation with the baseball steroids inanity) serves the members of the MPAA and the RIAA. They reside in his district.
Some representatives could show that they were hoping to lure some movie productions to their district creating an influx of money and jobs that would benefit their constituents.
Other than that I don't see where laws like this do much of anything except to attempt to criminalize children for listening to their computer instead of being dictated to by the mega corps who've destroyed radio.
If they can't justify their interest its time to audit them. Aladdin by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Aladdin" by Maxfield Parrish
If they've gotten any donations or gifts from the MPAA or the RIAA or from any of their members that implies that the members of the House are corrupt and they should be put on trial and then thrown into jail for abusing their position of public trust.
It won't happen. They'll just keep passing laws that condone their corruption and abuses. The same way will never get to find out if any or how much money changed hands to get the RIAA attorney made into a JUDGE!
I keep waiting for Obama or Clinton to say they're going to repeal some of the sick laws that have been passed in the last 8 years, laws that are crippling and destroying the meaning and beauty of this country while bankrupting it.
Neither has. McCain seems to just want more of the same. He and his buddies are rich so why worry about people like you and me.
(I also think about the cops trying to enforce this byzantine mess, especially after Microsoft just screwed over a million or so of their customers by taking their music away from them. I mean, can you see a cop trying to understand the difference between "Fairplay", "PlaysForSure", self ripped, tracks swapped within the legal definition of fair use, and pirated materiel? Any bets on just stealing your computer to get their arrest records up? And telling us, "That's what you get for listening to this junk!")
The MPAA and the RIAA keep pointing to falling revenues. Which really aren't falling, just not growing to their projections. At the same time they sure haven't come forward and taken responsibility for churning out worthless product. They sure haven't Atomic Age Vampire offered refunds for making you watch duff movies or listen to garbage tunes.
For me, its becoming less of a deal. I've gotten to listen to a lot of music with all the yard work, lawn mowing and walking. I'd guess that less than 1% of the stuff that I listen to that gets me cranked comes from the ogres at the RIAA.
Bands like The Ribeye Brothers want to make a living for sure but they seem more involved in making you dance than trying to shake the money out of your pockets.
Even bands that I'm not to keen on like GO, with their psychedelic throwback lushness in tunes like "Help You Out" are trying to make music, trying to push you someplace that the musicians who support the RIAA have forgotten even exists. (Only the ultra rich musicians seem to support the RIAA and very few of them.)
There are bands out there like The Neanderthals. This is another new surf band. They're unique in that they also do a lot f vocal surf! Not the easy stuff like The Beach Boys, but the raw surf vocals from bands like The Trashmen, The Astronaughts and the Legendary Bobby Fuller. Their track "Go Little Camaro" reminds me of spring all over again. Its funny, it rocks and for 2 and 1/2 minutes the world seems like a brighter place where its fun to be alive.
Other than that I'm still locked into the old stuff. Even a semi-obscure group like The Martinets offers more than a lot of the pre=fab RIAA pop that WalMart keeps telling us is cutting edge.
Of course there's always the punk standby's. Me First & The Gimmee Gimmees still rock hard and make me laugh. Like when they destroy and recreate that boring Steve Goodman track "City Of New Orleans". It feels like the New Orleans you want to ride.
Big In Japan By Michael Kutsche
Click images for desktop size: "Big In Japan" by Michael Kutsche
Another non-RIAA album I find astonishing I've told you about before, The "Do The Pop" compilation. I've yet to hear a totally duff track on it. Chris Bailey's Saints don't even have the best track on the set!
I don't think I could actually pull a best track off the album. Even bands I'm not that fond of like The Hard Ons turn out a sparkling number like "Girl In The Sweater".
The only new musical thing that surprises me is that thus far my favorite album of 2008 is The Hives, "Black And White". They've kept their guitar heavy sound and moved forward and back to make a sound that moves me. They've used and transmuted old R&B rhythms to keep you dancing. Even the front man seems somehow less annoying!

May 10, 2008

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
George Orwell

Sunday By Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Sunday" by Edward Hopper
I got my IRS rebate check. Direct deposited.
It doesn't seem too big just looking at the numbers.
My fantasy was to use it to buy a new 5.1 sound system and a new Roomba. A frill and a necessity. But I don't think the money is enough for four dogs heart worm tests, and flea stuff. That's where it will have to go. Werewolves On Wheels That's what's most important. I've no problem with that.
If its not enough I'll sort something out. I've had to make a lot of deals with vets in the past. Once I even traded labor. I was a vet assistant for a few weekends. It was interesting. Her practice was mainly large animals so I got to pen cows in chutes and give injections to horses. Sort of a great bonus for doing me a huge favor. I mean, I got the bonus . . .
I'm not sure if vets are more responsive if you're flat broke or pay the lion's share of the bill.
In London there is a great group, The Blue Cross, (which proudly has no affiliation with the American insurance company). They provide free emergency health care for animals. I worked with them, as a volunteer. We went out at night in a fully equipped van and offered shots and health care to the dogs owned by the homeless.
Its a big scene in London (and a lot of cities in America) for the homeless to keep a dog. Some of them love and cherish the animals and the dogs give them a real point of contact with the world outside their dilemma.
They use the dogs for protection for their meager goods and so they can sleep unmolested at night. There are a lot of young women homeless who depend on their dogs to have some vague feeling of security.
The vet I worked with was a young attractive girl, fresh out of school. She was keen on what she was doing. We never had any hassles with pet owners but there were a few interactions where she was glad I was fit and mean. The men who surrounded many of them homeless, preying on their weakness to prove to themselves, I guess, that they still had some control and power in their lives couldn't resist approaching a Summer By Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Summer" by Michael Parkes
young woman with a posh accent who didn't look like she belonged in the "lower depths".
Since we kept a fairly set schedule of rounds, passing out dog food, we were often met by people with their dogs and their complaints. Some of the most out there people, the kind who carry on violent arguments with the air, still reacted to an illness in their pets and had enough where with all to know where and when to meet us.
Most of the time we spent crawling through unlit squats and abandoned buildings at 3 am, looking and listening for a dog who wasn't on the vets meticulous list.
I like vets. I like dogs. I wish there was a Blue Cross in America. Who'd fund it?
White Zombie For me the puppies and I continue our unstinting war against the terror that is known as Virginia Creeper. Sweat, aches and music.
Yesterday my friend surprised me with a gift of some much needed clothes, including a robe! No more running out chasing my little blind dog as he tries to escape wearing my boxers and Carhartt hoodie . . . yes, I still wear it . . .
It feels right that I should take a tiny piece of my new found tiny wealth and take us to dinner. Or at least go to the store and get the fixings for her fave dish, Spring Rolls. Curse my bike for not working! Its too long a walk in the time I have.
I've been using her Entymotic Pro ear buds on my iPod while I work. I use Ultimate Ears (a gift from my friend).
When I was about 7 I had a $1.98 straight up record player. It was a self contained box made of cardboard. The speaker facing upward next to the turntable. I used to put on a record and close the lid, then lie with my ear pressed against the box. Inadvertently creating a bass baffle which couldn't help improve the sound.
(Hey, I know a lot of famous musicians and its pretty typical that they'll have about half a million tied up in instruments, 2 million in amps and sound processors but listen to others music through a fifty buck boom box, so . . . )
My memory of the sound of that $1.98 record player is that the sound was better than the tiny undefined sound from the ear buds they include with iPods and other mp3 players. I don't think anyone has not been pleasantly stunned, no matter how much they protest prior, to the sound of decent ear buds or a decent hi fi rig.
I thought the Ultimate Ear's were the finest I'd heard and compared well to my reference (Stax Lambda Pro's). Well, I've discovered I prefer the sound of the Entymotic 4's . . .
The sound from the Entymotic's is shockingly Summer Fun In Fall
Click images for desktop size: "Summer Fun In Fall" by Anonymous
clear and defined. It is articulate and gives the music a thickness and lightness that makes all the music dance between your eyes.
The Ultimate Ears are great gear and have some advantages. The UE's are easier to put on and take off. The Enty's require this kind of embarrassing insertion method - You have to reach over your head and pull your ear upwards and outwards then insert the bug tightly. Its clamped in when you release your ear.
The UE's sound much bigger and create a larger soundstage playing mono tracks (and I still listen to a lot of mono). The UE's also have a much deeper bass (having a second bass driver in there, they should!)
The Enty's are prone to microphonic effect. That just means that the wires rubbing against your clothes can make a rustling sound you can hear through the ear buds. Zombies Of Mora Tau To fix this they've used a twisted wire and heavy wire configuration that works well. It also makes the wire easier to snag on stuff when your working on stuff like uprooting Virginia Creeper.
The UE's use a nice soft silky wire that stays easily out of the way.
With the price of these ear buds falling since Shure introduced the 3 driver ear bud . . . at about 600 these either pair of these are worth checking out. You won't regret it. I promise. You'll suddenly find that music is your friend again. And wise people will nod at you in sage approval when you walk down the street. Speaking of which, either set of these ear buds do a better job of isolating you from outside noise than any of the advertised "Sound Isolation" headphones etc. Especially those made by Bose. And they sound a heck of a lot better.
So my big issue is how can I borrow these ear buds more often!

May 9, 2008

So far from here to here

The Judge By Evegeny
Click images for desktop size: "The Judge" by Evegeny
If Virginia Creeper wasn't my latest enemy I'd admire its tenacity, its determination to survive. It is my enemy and I hate it and everything that goes into it.
I want to file a law suit. I want to sue somebody.
I want the world finished with Virginia Creeper and its proliferate progeny.
Watch Me When I Kill Never knew gardening could be such an emotional rage filled experience.
Pretty cool stuff. We'll have to burn the vines I've hacked through and some of the trees the vines have killed.
I have a knee jerk reaction to stuff like that. L.A. breeding. I mean L.A. had garbage cops. Guys who drove around and made sure you were recycling. (Which isn't that bad an idea my LA brain says.) So I get nervous about burning all these cuttings.
The saddest thing about all this yard work is that I've not heard any new music that sends me. You know, the kind that makes physical slough work seem like a dancing rhythm. It makes the world cool.
There's plenty of old stuff, mostly from compilations, like Evan Ray ripping "The Girl Can't Dance" on a Link Wray tribute. Or Young Fresh Fellows covering The Sonics' "High Time". All great stuff but all ancient.
It may have to stay that way. Ancient I mean. The RIAA has announced the new plan they're moving to. You won't be able to buy any more music. You'll have to rent it . . . and if you don't keep up your monthly fees they shut it down. They foreclose on entertainment.
This is cool for the wrong reasons. It going to force bands to go back to the old ways. Give the music away and make a fabulous living on tours and merchandising. Musicians will still get rich, famous etc. But the jerks in the RIAA who have stolen from musicians for decades will put themselves out of business.
That's very cool. Of course so long as we've come to accept and approve corruption and bribery in our elected officials there'll be criminal Representatives and thieving Senators passing laws protecting the rights of the RIAA to steal from musicians and fans.
Indian By Mastin
Click images for desktop size: "An Indian" by Mastin
If I ever get rich enough maybe I can by a congressman to pass a law to look after my rights.
Other than spending a lot of time falling down and rolling around in the dirt I've been doing pretty well.
I've isolated the short in my ebike. Now the hassle is figuring out how to fix it.
My puppy and my little blind dog are on a course for something. They get long fine but they both need me.
In the evening there's a little bit of a contest to see who can be closer to me. I love them both and they both have a legitimate claim to me.
The little blind guy gets scared and needs to know that there's someone there. My puppy needs to know that I'm still there because she loves me almost as much as she loves ice cream and pizza.

April 29, 2008

You'll never have to hear surf music again
Jimi Hendrix

Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Crestock Photos
Talking about music yesterday I forgot to mention one of my favorite newer albums: "Right To Chews" is covers of old 60's pop tunes as done by some of the newer pop-punk bands.
Its surprising how many of these tracks the Ramones covered. Maybe that's one of the reason I always liked the Ramones. I've always liked pop.
The Damned Don't Cry For every pre fab group out there like The Spice Girls or Brittney Spears there's guys out there who love the music and really want to try and do something. What happens to their songs in the hands of the producers is a different thing. Like I hated Spears version of it, but when pop punk outfit Bowling for Soup cover "Hit Me Baby One More Time" I can hear something was in the song, something better that doesn't need adolescent hips and tits to get across.
Me First & The Gimmee Gimmees have done a great job of taking weak pop tunes and turning them into grinding grunge fests. When they get their musical mitts on a decent track like "Stand By Me" they light onto something special.
So with that part of my history in place you can understand why I think that "Right To Chews" is one of the best albums I've heard in a while. None of the tracks are anything less than interesting and some are outrageously hep.
The bands have cool pedigrees, there's the staunch Rubinos, The Mitch Easter Sound!, Cliff Hillis, The Wonderboys. Twenty four tracks of goodness. My fave at the moment is The Beagles doing "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" a sickly sweet tune by Edison Lighthouse that the Beagles keep fun and punchy and grindish.
As high as that album gets me there's a downer in music.
My bestest friend in the world (not my puppy) confessed that she doesn't like surf music . . .
That seems incomprehensible to me. Surf is the purest guitar music out there. Only in surf does the guitar get its own distinctive voice in pop. It skips and stutters around with a rage that a vocalist can only ponder and try to emulate.
Surf has the thrash, the stomp and the floor scuffing For Men Only
Click images for desktop size: "For Men Only" by Anonymous
danceability that decrees instant greatness. "Too cool for words."
We were listening to a track. We were speculating on whether it was Joe Satriani or even Eric Johnson tuning down his sweet synthesized tone. It might even been Steve Vai turning down the frills and going for something pure. It was a guitar god for sure. It turned out it was The Hellbenders doing "Passion", a surf tune done by a surf band . . . Surf can be played by the beginner and then it pushes its practitioners to higher and higher levels. Eventually you have to move from side winder to over the top of the fretboard, pushing for steps and riffs that border on the classical and flamenco guitar steps of virtuosity. The riffs are meant to impress but also to entertain and most importantly they have to keep the groove on, keep the dane going, keep the dreams flitting through your head as you sweat and stomp your way to a world that sees rain storms as enemies while seeing rain storms as your best friend.
Dick Dale invented surf music. Flat out, he created a sound and a genre in his guitar shop in Balboa Beach. He perfected it at the Balboa Ballroom.
He played a Fender. He was left handed, like his eventual student Jimi Hendrix, he played a right handed Strat upside down. This makes it really hard to follow his hands and steal his riffs . . . he played through a Fender Music Man amp, a cool tube amp powered with AX7's The Day Of The Triffids to keep it creamy and crisp. But the real secret, the thing that made his super high speed double picking technique sound like a Vaseline Machine Gun was the Fender Tank Reverb.
Nothing has sounded like it before or since. Pure analogue, driven by a heavy coiled spring that bounced and rattled to the drive in it. To make it pure Dale wound his guitar with the heaviest strings he could, .14's and .58's!! Guitarists know that's heavier than most acoustic guitars.
It gave Dale a purity of tone and enough violent vibrations to send the tank to places it never was intended to go.
If you drop a tank reverb unit it makes a tres cool explosive sound, like an atom bomb. When Dale would play riffs on the bottom strings he took those little atom bombs and made them dance to his tunes.
We all know his classic always covered "Miserlou" but the defining rip of rage was originally called "Run For Life" but when Dale tried body surfing the notorious Wedge in Newport, a wave made by man, an unexpected effect of a Three C's project to stop erosion, it was a series of jetties that ended up pushing the waves back to sea. You can't control the sea. It just kept storing up the power, rejoicing in the juice until the Pacific would explode in a paroxysm of giant tubes that chewed up fiberglass and even wood boards as the walls pounded the shallow sand bottom and rolled over the valiant surfers who dared. Dick Dale's "The Wedge" tries to capture that fury in under two minutes.
I've never gotten how some people think that surf music sounds like the waves. "The Wedge" sort of justifies that specious claim.
Dale inspired countless guitarists. Their fingers weren't strong enough to emulate his heavy strings. Most weren't fast enough to duplicate his frenetic double picking style (even in the world of guitar gods and shredders their aren't that many who can hit 32nd notes at 200 bpm), but they call save up and get a tank reverb.
They came up with other sounds, Fruit
Click images for desktop size: "Fruit"
other ways to sing their song. The Chantays in "Pipeline" came up with that impossible glissando to open their ode to the righteous coral reef tube in Hawaii. In "Baja" The Astronaughts, out of landlocked Denver, came up with palm muting and a fabulous staccato sound to touch the nerves and fray the soul. In Downey Paul Johnson formed The BelAirs to play "Mr Moto" and bring a new lyricism to the surf sound. Paul Johnson continues today playing surf music with insane virtuosity of acoustic guitars!
Surf was huge. Movies were co-opting it. Even MOR star Henry Mancini tried to write a surf tune (Banzai Pipeline!!) and then used the sound when he wrote the TV theme for "Peter Gunn".
When Ennio Morricone copped the sound for Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western trilogy he took the surf sound to the dust and the plains but kept its under lying rage and cold passion intact. It led the way for The Sentinels "Latin'ia" to take the music to a universal place.
Surf never died. The record industry wanted it to be just a fad. The Hoodlum It was hard to play and girls didn't like it. Girls like romance and words was the thinking. Cute crooners are easy to have a crush on then monstrous take no prisoner guitar players. So they stopped pushing the music.
It keeps erupting like the black sheep son who refuses to die. Its not just a memory, its a force, a purpose unto itself. Every guitar player has attempted surf music. Its a pinnacle, a goal. Even Stevie Ray Vaughn tried. His was good enough to release.
Their are still working surf bands out there. One of the best is out of CANADA!! Canadian surfers? They can play at least but I doubt they surf.
Huevos Rancheros go back to the roots, like in "Ace O' Spades" their amalgamation of Link Wray, Dick Dale, old school metal and early white noise punk. It works it rocks.
The ocean goes on forever. The surf will always be their. You can't conquer moving mountains of water. You can only learn to survive and exist with them.
Surf music will never die.
And she'll always be my bestest friend

April 28, 2008

You must be unpredictible, like the wind blowing from all directions at once. Then men will never know which windows of their souls to close to you
Richard Sapir

Ancient Japanese Art
Click images for desktop size: "Ancient Japanese Art" by Unknown
It was a good weekend.
We had pancakes, homemade from scratch pancakes.
We got to take a couple of walks, my puppy, my little blind dog and my friend. Part of its a new strategy, trying to wear the little guy out so that he'll sleep through the night and not wake us up with his bronchial cough.
He likes walking out there at night, The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari he gets so excited you wouldn't imagine he was blind until he steps off a curb and goes splat or walks into a tree or post. That doesn't seem to dampen his spirit at all. I've learned not to panic or fawn over him when he has that kind of accident.
On Saturday night I did have to carry him home. He suddenly pulled up lame. No idea why. He was miraculously cured when we got back home . . . we'd only gone about 3/4's of a mile. Maybe that's his limit now.
Then got the new Alkaline Trio EP. Three songs . . . I was excited, as excited as a teenaged girl at her first pop idol concert. Its good but not great. Rephrase that - its great but not as great as some of their old stuff. "Help Me" starts the EP and its pretty much an example. Matt Skiba continues to do cool stuff with the guitar. The wah pedal belongs permanently in his kit bag. The best part is that its still Alkaline Trio, pure thrash skateboard music, surf music. No strings, no angelic choirs, just pure grinding sound. For me that's the best news.
I also listened to some of The Hives new album, "Black And White". It definitely cool. The Hives are that retro Swedish thrash band that had a couple of mega hits with "Hate To Tell You So" and another one that they even used as promo music on the Cartoon Network!
The band's been pretty quiet for the past few years with some pretty uninteresting stuff that seemed to be just for fulfilling a contract. I got "Black And White" on a flier and a hope. Its alright. The lead singer is back to being annoying , glib and fun. The guitar is fat and nasty and the new millennium effects work okay. "Try It Again" is as good a track as any to show them off. It rocks, grinds and seems desolate while poking fun at its own impotent rage. Good stuff.
For the rest of the time I did yard work. A small miracle here. I kept my glasses on and even while running a gas powered weed whacker and bundling up the stuff I never got anything in my eyes! Except when standing next to my friend doing nothing . . . go figure.
My vision has started to settle down. I've had enough Blood Of The Last Vampire By Spaceman
Click images for desktop size: "Blood Of The Last Vampire" by Spaceman
experience with diabetes now to know that it takes a month for my vision to end up where its going to be. I'm presuming that the damage done by the Bells Palsy will be the same. I mean, it will take a similar amount of time for my eyesight to stop bouncing around and end up where its going to be.
I'm going to need new glasses. Right eye keeps doing funny things but the left eye seems to be pretty well eroded and different. Closing my right eye and the world becomes an incomprehensible blurry mess. My present glasses correct it somewhat so I have hopes.
Been experimenting with various ways of encoding DVD's for AppleTV, listening to music and reading.
More on that later, I think.

April 25, 2008

Sitting in my room humming a sickening tune
Dee Dee Ramone

Untitled - Slava Groshev
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Slava Groshev
I'm finally getting mature.
Yesterday I was walking to an appointment. I came across a large patch of recently poured hot tar.
I walked around it instead of tromping through it. I did it out of respect for my shoes.
Then there was a stretch of freshly laid cement. The Beach Girls And The Monster I didn't sign my name to it or put in my hand and foot prints.
I resisted. That's maturity, that is. That's being an adult. That's being dull.
Of course I still walked the entire 3.4 miles and never once stepped on a crack. Stepping on cracks is my most meaningless fervent superstition. I wouldn't get excited yet about my entering into adulthood. It might be premature. Premature maturity.

I don't much care for "Social Networking" sites. They seem too flip, too competitive about things I don't feel should be a competition. I had to sign up for a few of them so that I could log in and post messages asking people to stop hot linking the images on this site. (About 117,000 images hot linked last time I looked). Then I promptly forgot about them.
Last week I got an email telling me I'd gotten a message from one of them. It was arduous logging in. I don't know why I bothered. It was worth the effort. It was from a friend I hadn't heard from in a few years. That was pleasing.
He asked if this was indeed me by explaining that "following Kantian logic, and your black hole vortex since this can't possibly be you it must be you." Kantian logic?
I wrote back to him and finally figured out how to turn off the social site's email notifications. All of his news wasn't good but he's well and still struggling onward. What could be better news then that?
I thought about that yesterday while I walked. I had to go meet my friend's parents for her mother's birthday dinner.
I walked the 3.4 miles in about 40 minutes. Hardly burning speed but a steady 12 minutes a mile which is acceptable.
I walked plugged into my iPod, dark glasses on and eyes fixated with my usual butterfly concentration. I like walking to music. It sounds like crazed hippy stuff and nonsense but walking This Old House By Tim Melideo
Click images for desktop size: "This Old House" by Tim Melideo
and listening to music really does take my mind to places it normally wouldn't go. When I was younger I used to imagine something like iPod's and Walkman's. Something better than transistor radios and boom boxes and car stereoes. When I was surfing or rock climbing and looking out at the endless vistas of the sets humpbacked in the ocean or a world where people didn't appear to exist and there was only sky and ground, I always thought that it would be great to have music blasting my ears out. How world changing such a thing would be.
I got the first Walkman, the Sony WM1 (I think). It was a great machine, I know a fellow who used it to record the rain and sound effects for a Sissy Spacek, Mel Gibson flic, "The River". His recordings sounded just fine on the big screen. He didn't get any awards but no one complained about the sound quality. The WM1 was a great sounding music player. I enjoyed putting together metal tape mixes. (The tape type - only some of the music was metal.) Having that Walkman with Stax earphones and a portable power supply that out weighted the whole rig showed me I was right, having your own private music was world changing. It added drama, depth and an innocent grimy beauty to anything.
Yesterday I'm walking down the street locked into my own tiny world listening to The Beat Generation Big Daddy doing "Bacon Fat" when a little tan puppy rips around a corner and plows right into my legs. He sits panting for a moment then puts his paws on me, looks up and laughs. A little Asian girl, about 11, comes tearing around the same corner, in hot pursuit, shouting, "Taffy, Taffy!"
I held onto the leash Taffy was trailing. The puppy looked at me as if I were a cop who had just ruined his great game. I guess he was right.
The little girl scooped him up and I guess she thanked me. At least she smiled at me while she held her puppy. I kept listening to the song and thought how nice it was having a soundtrack to life.
I kept walking and Johnny Kannis' cover of The Trashmen's "King Of The Surf" was just ending and during the fade out I realized a woman with a back back was walking besides me and chattering away.
I don't know how long she'd been there. I was absorbed in the song and a sign advertising an extra large pizza for $8.99, and thinking my puppy would be interested in that.
Since it didn't seem my participation was required or at least that the participation I was giving was sufficient I just let the next song come round. Edmund DuLac
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Edmund DuLac
(The Sunnyboys doing "Alone With You" which seemed appropriate somehow.) By the time the song ended she'd gone.
I was getting tired so I was only vaguely interested in what she might have been saying to me. I hope she wasn't cursing me out for ignoring her. The first time I went to Paris some cute French girl was walking behind me chattering away (in French). It wasn't until she called me a "Stupid American" that I realized she'd been chattering at me. Being suave I asked her how she knew I was American . . .
I finally reached my destination, where I had to wait for a lift. I listened to more music and watched a broken down car get towed away. I wondered for a bit about why I had to come here for a lift when the restaurant was only another 15 minutes down the road. If it doesn't bother someone having me walk 3.4 miles what's the thing about me going another 1.2 miles?
Dinner was okay. I didn't much like the food and they messed up my friend's order. To my shame I was so hungry I ate mine instead of waiting the 10 minutes for her order to show up. I didn't even apologize, which seemed overtly hostile on my part. I wasn't feeling hostile, just remarkably disoriented. The walk, for some reason, left my right arm numb and tingling and in pain at the shoulder. That bothered me as to why. My hands were cramping badly, but that's the norm now. The pain was only a minor distraction.
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf The conversation would have been interesting but was too filled with jokes. My friend's step father is diabetic and had just gotten a glowing report that claimed his numbers didn't even show any trace of diabetes!
He'd already lost a toe to the disease so this was better than good news. But he's still on insulin. I couldn't find out why. When I asked questions they got ignored. So I just got quiet and thought about things, like how my friend interacted with her parents and puppies.
The conversation was disorienting. It was like being the new kid in school. There's a whole subtext I'm not privy to and there's a whole world of personal knowledge its presumed I'm aware of.
It was okay. I'm content with just listening. Except when asked about the election. Politics, the danger topic. I gave a long bitter discourse about all the candidates . . .
When we left they gave me a small gift. That's cool. I like gifts.
My friend was dead quiet on the way home. Hardly a word said until we stopped to drop off four big bags of books for a donation to the Salvation Army. Then I got yelled at for dumping the books in the chute inside a bag. Seems she wanted to keep the bags. They were like those plasticky woven stripy bags you always see at the Markets in London.
That was the end of the quiet though and the night ended calmly and nicely. I probably owe apologies to people but I'll wait until they're asked for.
Best to wait for the demand before acknowledging a debt. That's business, American business.

April 14, 2008

I'm not a doctor. I play one on TV
TV Commercial

Adam Strange - DC Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Adam Strange" by DC Comics
When not attacking the world with an all encompassing blind rage and unfueled passion I like to watch movies. Movies with dogs in them.
We watched "Fire House Dog" this weekend. It was sort of stupid but it had a dog in it so I liked it. It had the greatest end credits I'd ever seen. Night Of The Living Dead-Remake With each credit card for director, producer, etc. they showed a picture of the person's dog.
Then when it got to the scroll credits they scrolled, in counterpoint, pix of the crew's dogs. It was great and better than the movie. It was a sweet and gentle love song to dogs. Most of the pups looked like shelter and rescue dogs. They were all beautiful and happy and, for the most part goofy.
It was such a love song it made me think that the film was either better or worse than I'd thought while watching it. And endless stream of dogs is something I think is hard to top.

I had a few other movies on. My eyes are so screwed up its hard to say I watched them. Its a long list. I went out of my way to only watch those films I figured were pretty dispensable. Things like "100 Million BC" (not to be confused with "10 Million BC" . . . ), the horror flic "Candy Stripers", "The Kid From Kwan Tung" (which was okay). In the mess I did find one of them that nearly justified watching some of these films on fast forward.
Its surprising. "The Cottage" is a British horror/comedy . . . I have a gentle distaste for most British cinema and I'm not fond of horror comedy but this pastiche of genre's worked for me because it was exactly those things, British, funny and pleasantly scary.
Click images for desktop size: "Godiva" by Anonymous
The acting was also first rate. The characters sharply written. What I liked best was that the characters were all real, not the agitprop snide Brit stuff or the cool East End Gangsters "Vinnie Jones" sort but real Brits as I've known them. It was highly enjoyable.

Of course the new (temporary) blind listen to a lot of music. What I don't like is it seems that there's not a lot of new stuff creeping into my playlists. I mean its there but nothing is grabbing me and shaking me by the heels.
I mean its mainly stuff I haven't heard before but every song I tend to like is OLD! Like discovering the decent new track is just The Stems-At First Sight or Yo La Tengo-Little Honda, which is like a ten year old cover of a 40 year old tune . . . maybe I'm mired in a happier past that never existed, Night Without Sleep like the bag people who remember a happier era and decide to stop their reality and live forever in that golden time. Or maybe these are truly great grinding tracks that deserve to be heard.
But the track that really and finally blew me away was Robert Gordon-Someday Someway. I mean YOW!! An ancient syrupy love song rocked and amped up by an 80's Rockabilly flash in the pan.
"You've taken everything from me,
I've taken everything from you"
Two minautes seventeen seconds of real actual love. YEAH!
Its now like my number one love song and you can dance to it!
Who needs a love song you can't dance to.

April 5, 2008

So you want to be a rock and roll star
Gene Clark

Friendly Monsters
Click images for desktop size: "Friendly Monsters" by Anonymous
I like video games. I like Grand Theft Auto, the fighting games, even some of the sports sims. I like games you can play with a mess of people.
Games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero sort of bug me.
Kiss The Blood From My Hands I can understand how most people are never going to get to be secret agents, explore space, be robbers and killers and swordsmen. Its fun to pretend. But anybody can pick up a guitar or a set of drum sticks and start a band. I don't get the kick in pretending to be something you could easily be.
Its like that weird game where you pretend to be a waitress and have to seat people and deliver their orders ASAP. I mean, aspire to be a waitress? Its a job and thats always cool, but an aspiration, something fun to pretend to be?
Guitar Hero et al seem to be teaching kids how to play Simon to air guitar. Since they've made air guitarists micro-stars, I guess there's something small in that. It just seems it could have been cooler.
Most people want to play music. They want to pick up a chunk of wood and make some noise that shouts out at the world with all the rage and passion they've got inside of them that needs to get out there. Whenever I was in a band there were always a large group who looked at me with envy because I could play guitar.
Some of them even worked up the courage to come ask me for lessons. Not because they wanted to play like me but because they wanted to shout out loud.
Its easy. A handful of chords can let you fake an obscene number of tunes. Learning to barre moves you into semi-pro, lets you dance around the neck and look like something.
Last century somebody came out with this weird guitar. The neck was lined with LED's. You told it what notes and chords you wanted to play and the LED's flashed to show you the proper strings and frets to play.
Ghost Town By DiHa1977
Click images for desktop size: "Ghost Town" by DiHa1977
I thought this was hyper-gooney at the time. I mean the way I and most guitarists learned was with a crappy Mel Bay Teach Yourself Book, playing along with records, and staring intently at guitarists fingers and amp settings at shows.
Somehow it seemed important to note that Angus from AC-DC did a mini-barre when he played an open D, or that BB Kings left a couple strings out when he did a D Major 7. And all the stuff we could steal from our local guitar heroes until we worked up the courage to ask if we could play with them some afternoon, or if they'd give us a lesson.
Now I'm thinking how much cooler it would be to have to play Guitar Hero with a guitar like that. Instead of pushing nasty Fisher Price colored buttons you follow LEDs and press strings hard enough to fret. You could actually learn to play.
I know how much fun it is to play music together with friends and Knock On Any Door I can see the rush from getting a Rock Band thing together to mimic a track. But I'm positive its a lot more fun to turn off the TV and see and hear yourself blasting through the years of mediocrity to make a noise that comes from only you.
It'll never happen or someone will figure out how to do it with nylon strings that won't give you callouses on your fingertips and make even more money.
Like I thought that Bill Gates Video was funny where he was playing Guitar Hero and then decided he should go play with U2. That reminded me of when you'd walk in on a friend who was blasting his music and you'd catch him playing air guitar. He'd look at his sheepishly and grin and you understood. Who knew that in a race towards the pablum that sheepish grin could have led to fortunes.

Okay. I'm really LOVING my friends Apple TV. When its set up, which is dead easy, it really feels like you're your own program director. And its unlikely I'll ever rent or purchase a movie "from my sofa" its a cool attribute to ignore.
Flowers - Wallpapermania
Click images for desktop size: "Flower" by Wallpapermania
Forgetting the fact that I still find the Flickr screensaver its coolest feature (It shows, with Ken Burns effects, you entire Flickr library while your music plays. I find it enthralling and entrancing) the biggest issue I've had with it is ripping my movies into H264 Apple TV friendly files.
That parts easy but its hard figuring what is the best possible format: DVD, Upscaled to 720p DVD H264's, Anamorphic Widescreen, or DivX or Xvid.
I'm experimenting and will let you know what I discover.

And now it looks like spring may actually be here. I have a puppy who demands play time.

April 3, 2008

We can have us some fun cause we got a little mon
Joe Penny

Flaws Of Fancy by Anonymous
Click images for desktop size: "Flaws Of Fancy" by Anonymous
Okay, so two people got my joke . . .

Writing out of that exquisite boredom that only comes from being on hold on the telephone.
Figure to spend the morning on one task and the afternoon on another.
Keoma Pain has not abated. But I'm doing better with it.
I figure that most of the effects of torture are derived from the ability are derived from the fact that there is the possibility that the pain can cease.
That thought is one of the reasons that I get agnostic about the fundamentalist version of Hell. What good does eternal torment do?
There's this one little book by a Chicago writer that takes it to the necessary extreme. In Stanley Elkins' "The Living End" a pretty normal guy, a Jew, is condemned to eternal suffering because he wore zippers on his trousers . . . It could happen.
Without the possibility of redemption what's the sense of pure revenge, eternal revenge.

I've been listening to the new Raconteurs' album, Consolers Of The Lonely. I wish it were great. It isn't but its okay.
Best bit is how nice it is too hear Jack White's guitar. There's a bit of acoustic thrown into it as well. White isn't overwhelmed by his band members, which is good but they don't let those pure Jack White excesses come to the front, and I like them excesses.
I've also been listening to the Nomads. A Scandinavian punk group! They're alright and a few tunes hit the great mark.
I first came aware of them because they covered She Pays The Rent (not one of my songs but one of the songs I played).
Its funny. I guess if I was uber successful I'd get uptight about bands covering my tracks without contributing 20 bucks of the 200 they make from the gig to my well oiled coffers. As it is I'm merely flattered and hope that the bands get to keep playing. Except in this case where they do a better version of the tune then I ever envisioned! Long live the Nomads!
Alladin by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Alladin" by Maxfield Parrish

I'm also near finished with the serial "The Purple Monster Strikes".
Its pretty cool and features one of the greatest ham bones headed heroes in serial history.
Ignoring the fact that he fights the Purple Monster single handedly (or takes along his girl friend who valiantly tries to assist but only gets knocked out in the path of some greater danger necessitating a rescue that enable the henchmen to escape) the great hambone headed play of all time was when his car is blown up by a destructo ray, the most powerful weapon on earth. After a good fight where he manages to daze the head henchman he then runs off after the truck driver leaving the henchman time to recover and speed away WITH THE WEAPON!
I mean, compared to the top villain and the most destructive weapon n earth how important is the truck driver . . .
Well, he got the job and I didn't. Maybe the idea is that if all the truck drivers are shot down or put away the villains plans would crumble for lack of transportation.
Killers From Space The Purple Monster is old cowboy star Ray Barcroft. He's not very monstrous but is a good movie fighter. I guess his leotard is purple and he does monstrous things. He's from Mars and is a one man invasion. The plan is he steals the plans for a jet plane, flies it back to Mars and then they build a fleet and invade earth.
Somehow I figure they'd have done better if they sent a mess of Purple Monsters, but who am I to question the wisdom of the Emperor of Mars . . . He does get an assistant, a girl who looks pretty snazzy in her purple monster costume (with cute drum majorette skirt). Her name is Marcia . . . seriously. Then I realized MARS-cia . . . get it?
Its still a lot of mindless fun and moves so fast that only an adult would think to contemplate the plot holes, and only then only after the episode was finished.

March 21, 2008

I've traveled thousands of miles only to find you again

The Flash
Click images for desktop size: "The Flash" by DC Comics
I had a song on the iPod yesterday. One of the band's tunes. It was good. We were good. I even remembered the choreography. On one of the podcasts I listen to I heard a band cover one of our old tunes. They did a good job. I didn't get any money out of it. Probably, neither did they.
We were always too good for the bars and the club circuits but not good enough for the big time.
We watched "Kurt Cobain - About A Son" a while back. It was a terrible pretentious, boring mess. I Escaped From Devil's Island The interesting part was hearing Cobain talk. (The movie only offers up a few stills of Nirvana and NONE of their music)
One thing he said was when he started up with the band all they wanted to do was to be popular enough to play a few times a week and pay the bills.
I think avoiding a job and meeting girls are the best reasons to start a rock band.

I don't hate Egypt. I don't hate India.
I certainly don't hate the people who live there.
My issues with Egypt are kind of shallow. I think its the dirtiest, smelliest country I've ever been to . . . and it has bugs and flies . . . that's it. Nothing else.
I hate bugs.
Egyptian bugs are big and desert tough. You can't kill them with a ball peen hammer.
Egypt also has some wonderful people. A girl (we were young enough then to be boys and girls) arranged for a midnight boat ride down the Nile. She had no ulterior motives other than to dazzle me.
It worked. There's little to compare when you consider a desert moon. Drifting down the Nile I escaped the stench of the cities. It was incomparable, silent and lovely.
When I got to walk up to the pyramids and the Sphinx I was disappointed, not in them but in the scandalous amount of litter and the graffiti.
India is more problematic for me. Its a huge country and while I've been through all the states I've only spent time in a few.
I lack the confidence of most Americans. Eternity By Antonis Fes
Click images for desktop size: "Eternity" by Antonis Fes
I don't think that driving through an area means that I understand it or that I know it.
But some things can taint a memory. They can become a traumatic indic.
I was on a bus, passing through a town on the way to Nepal. The bus had to stop for a large traffic jam. Their were cops there. It was gridlock (a scary word to most Southern Californians).
From the bus window I could see but not hear the commotion on the street. A mob of about 200 people were chasing a man and pelting him with stones and bricks. Any hard garbage they could pick up on the street.
He ran, they chased. Until one projectile seemed to catch him. He stumbled and fell. The crowd surrounded him. Things kept flying through the air.
I couldn't see what was happening but I could imagine it. That was worse.
After about 15 minutes the bus moved forward about 30 feet. The crowd dispersed.
I was nonplussed as to why the cops or any of the people not throwing In A Lonely Place stuff hadn't intervened. An angry mob is a scary thing but . . .
When the bus moved I had a clearer view of the running ma's mangled body. We sat their for about 40 more minutes and I had to look at the dead body. No one moved to touch him or to see if he were actually dead. The cops were more concerned about getting traffic moving. I never saw an ambulance.
A decade later I was traveling through India with an Indian pal. He wanted to change my mind about his homeland, a homeland he had never been to before.
We were waling through the streets while he was chagrined that the language he thought he had learned from his parents wasn't being understood by many people we met. When suddenly we hit the fringes of a big crowd. We pushed through it for no good reason.
When we got close enough we saw a large group of men pushing a large bus and trying to tip it over. It was a hot sunny day and the gaily painted green and white bus should have looked cool. All of its windows were shattered. All of its sides were busted and dented. That and the angry mob kind of killed any cool factor.
The bus was full of people, men, women children. No one over 40 as near as we could estimate.
Things got uglier. There was a construction site nearby that was providing an unending supply of concrete blocks and pipes deemed perfect for bus throttling. There was also some gas and bottles I guess because someone bought some out and they set the bus on fire.
Final Destination by Alex Iuss
Click images for desktop size: "Final Destination" by Alex Iuss
Even though the flames thinned out the crowd and forced the mob to pull back the mob refused to let the people off the buss, when the door opened the bus occupants were met with a murderous torrent of bricks and concrete.
A fire truck showed up and that caused the mob to disperse.
The fire truck didn't try to stop the fire, they just doused surrounding buildings. The job seemed to be more concerned with containing the blaze.
At least the people inside were able to start to get out. My friend, I, two other Americans and this crazy Canadian tacitly decided to go help pull the people free. They were in bad shape, more psychologically than physically. We led them away.
The crazy Canadian rushed back into the bus to make sure no one was left inside. As it was burning pretty solidly by now we were willing to just watch. He ran in and came out before we got too nervous for him. His black baseball cap was singed and he had no eyebrows left on his exit.
It Conquered The World We never did find out what started the whole mess. It was good loud and exciting but did nothing to make me like India.
As to the crazy Canadian. He really was nuts. He was in the Canadian Army. None of us Americans were even fully aware that Canada had any army! Then we sort of figured they had to.
The Crazy Canadian said something that baffled us. Speaking about the bus riders, "They were probably the Indian equivalent of Quebecois!"
I told you he was crazy.
He traveled with us for a week. We watched him start five fist fights. Always with 3 or more guys.
What made this crazy is that he was a terrible fighter. They would invariably hand him his head. Now most of us, if we get beaten up once or twice we would tend to alter our behavior enough to stop getting beaten up! Or at least pick on smaller guys or at least pick on just one guy at at time.
That logic didn't work for the Crazy Canadian. It started to be fascinating to watch him.
Almost all of the fights we watched were started because he decided that someone in the group had been disrespectful to Canada! As in walking past the Canadian Consulate and spitting on the sidewalk or laughing amongst themselves . . .
He was nuts but at least he never asked us to help him fight.

March 9, 2008

Nobody's talking about Rollin' Danny
Gene Vincent

Rainbow Warrior
Click images for desktop size: "Rainbow Warrior" by Unknown
To explain my bouts of apparent insanity my mother used to explain to strangers, friends and family that I was just "trying to leave my footprints on the sands of time."
I have no idea where she heard that one or why she constantly insisted on applying it to me.
Get Carter My mother had self esteem issues. She used to look at me after a game and say out loud, "How did a dumpy woman like me give birth to a beautiful boy like you." I used to let thinks slide that bothered me.
One day I had to tell her, "Mom, I don't know about sands of time or history all I know is that I want to rock the roof off the joint tonight."
It didn't stop her from saying the same thing . . . ever.
We've had snow here. Lots and lots of snow.
Set a record.
I was in a white out in Alaska once. That was scary cool. This was not that bad but the second worst snow I'd ever been in. Visibility about 100 yards.
I asked if this was a blizzard and I was told, in no uncertain terms, "No. Not enough wind to make it a blizzard."
So my back is sore, my shoulder aches but I've successfully cleared about 12-18 inches of snow.
I look at it and feel like I've really accomplished something. The something being moving snow from one pile to another . . .
I do wonder if any of the neighbors look at me and my snow shoveling technique and shake their heads. I keep waiting for one of them to give me advice.
I could use it because I'm convinced I don't have a clue as how to do this properly.

Belatedly I'm becoming a podcast fan.
Not on the iPod but playing out loud through the house.
It's like cool radio. I like that it shafts the RAIA. (They've got their own issues with a counter suit that will force them to expose presumed illegal methods and presumed Snow by Pensadi
Click images for desktop size: "Snow" by Pensadi
illegal disbursement of the $400 million they've collected for artists that doesn't seem to have reached any of them - way to go Metallica) And I like that its individual and playlists aren't decided by a committee.
Its cool that bands can get there music out to be heard.
Its almost inspiring me to (you may shudder) to make my own podcast. I could call it "The Young Savages" or such and annoy people with the creepy thrashing drone white noise guitars I've always enjoyed.
What's stopping me the most is that last night I heard a great version of one of my songs. I went to look up who it was and it was . . . me . . . This must be a sign of either senility or snow deafness.

March 7, 2008

Now we have real work to do

Orangy Art - Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Orangy Art" by Richard Mohler
I've almost always lived in houses.
Compared to apartments, I mean,
When I've had to stay in an apartment or a condominium it put me on edge.
I don't like lying in bed and hearing my neighbor walk to the toilet and flush it. Escape From Planet Of The Apes It gets too close to poetry staring at your own walls and hearing the life of strangers surrounding you and pressing ever and ever closer.
Since I've spent most of my time in big cities and major metropolises, and that in my home in London I usually had a dozen or so people staying on it might seem odd, but that's the way of it.
I like private houses that are full of people . . . or at least full of dogs and one person.

Yesterday my little blind puppy seemed to be on the rebound. The night before he dragged me tumbling down a hill. There was enough snow that neither of us were hurt. I was more irritated by it. He was excited. This falling down thing of mine is getting to be a drag. The puppy must have enjoyed it though, some small canine excitement. He tried to drag me back over the same hill last night. He was mad that I wouldn't follow him again.
My big surprise came off.
Not the way I wanted it. UPS is too unreliable to ever make plans around.
Its embarrassing to say but I bought an Apple TV . . . I got it second hand via one of the auction sites. The fellow selling it lived relatively close and . . . I used a small portion of my IRS Tax Refund. It was a fraction of the cost of the new ones.
I'm sure I'll regret spending the money in a week.
I was nervous it would be busted up, not work, twonky, what have you. It works like a dream, better than I'd imagined.
I got it mainly for music. H264 encoding with Dolby Pro Logic Sound doesn't interest me much, other than novelty, at least for now.
What surprised me was how easy it was to set up, to start seeing Flickr pictures and then using them as a screen saver was like totally YOW!
Night Angel
Click images for desktop size: "Night Angel" by Unknown
And the streaming of music was perfect. We don't have a proper sound system set up here. I spent today re-wiring the stuff I have and it now works okay. Its listenable for sure and so nifty to play thousands of songs one after the other.
What was also impressive was getting podcasts. I'd never used them much because they were usually poorly mastered and took up a huge chunk of real estate on my iPod, where they'd sound terrible.
Going through the Apple TV they sound cool and much more viable and varied than listening to the radio. Some of them are totally bitchin.
I'm not much into YouTube, but it accesses those pretty easily as well. I watched a couple of my puppy's YouTube video and was annoyed with the poor quality of the encoding. Main reason I figured out how to host her video files ourselves.
Force Of Evil But that's the stuff that interests me. The main purpose was for the music for my friend. She's chuffed and thrilled to be able to surround herself with the sounds she loves.
That makes me happy.
Its simple and easy enough that she can start playing her stuff right away and without having to ask me how to do it.
We watched "Pillow Talk", an 60's Rock Hudson & Doris Day comedy. The humor was pretty arch and the characters repulsive in any clear vision, but we laughed and played with it, enjoyed it.
With my little blind puppy making noises like he's going to be around a bit longer, my surprise being a success even with all the glitches, worries and stress, yesterday was a day to mark with a white stone.

March 2, 2008

Sha la la la lee
Steve Marriott

Dog Jesus
Click images for desktop size: "Dog Jesus" by Unknown
The most interesting new music I've been listening to lately are Guitar Wolf's "Dead Rock" (A Japanese rock band that everyone but me seems to hate, not everyone, they're onto their 6th album). I love their versions of Springsteen's "Fire" and the crazed cover of "Route 66".
The Bellboy And The Playgirls The Moviees, "Action Man" from "Become One Of Them" is a light, bitter sound with buttery rhythm guitars and sharp drum attacks.
The Rooks "Encore Echoes" which somehow remind me of childhood dreams. They have a nice garage sound with modern sensibilities. They sometimes sound too ancient, as in the past, but not passe. "Better Start Right Now" is a cool introduction to their sound.
At least all these groups are from the 21st Century . . . I still have a fondness for the past.
But first a digression . . . I found out about these bands from my gal pal. Back in the 80's this guy Michael Weldon started a flysheet called "The Psychotronic TV Guide".
He'd note all the cool , the strange, and the hip movies on TV that week and write up little reviews and schedules. He xeroxed the sheet at work and then would pass them out to commuters and passersby. Much cooler than religious tracts.
Even in this internet age there's something to be said for shoving a piece of paper into somebody's hand. Wheldon got fired from his job. I gather for running about 3000 copies of his little sheet a week. But someone else got the idea of publishing his little reviews in a book. It sold well, still in print, "The Psychotronic Guide To Movies." Its thick enough to be imposing and scholarly looking. It was fun and easy to read cover to cover - lots of pictures.
Someone else has taken up the task. I understand, the internet is cool but its not immediate. It can just hang around and it takes time and money to use. A sheet of paper to somebody bored riding the subway has a factor.
Lost Kids - Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Lost Kids" by Envy
Anyway this guy is doing a list of the top 500 Power Pop albums of all time. Which sounds weird to me but then, why not! My only issue with it is that one of my bands is on it!
I was never Power Pop. I like pop. As in Pop Art and Popular Music. Power Pop to me always meant guys in black shirts, white shirts and skinny ties. (John Woo stole the look for "A Better Tomorrow" and then Tarentino stole it from him for "Reservoir Dogs.")
It meant The Knack and "My Sharona", or Rick Springfield, rolled up sleeves on sports coats (?) and hundred buck haircuts. It didn't seem to have a lot to do with playing all sweaty in a stuffy club while 400 people throbbed to your drive and beat, kids having fun and looking to you for hope and fun. Chuck Berry had it right, The little girls understand.
Power Pop seemed like an A&R man's way of trying to create the next big thing.
Blonde BaitSometimes the kids need to make their own big thing. Which is why power pop is something you don't hear about and rap and hip hop became the new dominant genre.
Anyway, like I was saying before I interrupted . . . I still listen to too much old music while I wait for a new Alkaline Trio CD. And one old guy I love is Chris Bailey.
He was one of the original Brit pinks with The Damned and then the Remarkable Saints. I like Bailey's dead nasal voice that uses the music and notes to give his tunes their emotions instead of poor acting, over singing and genuflections.
I like that he used horns and dozens of grinding thrashing guitars. He knows how to dance.
So I was shocked to discover Bailey did a solo album in 1983, "What We Did On Our Holydays." It stunning cause its all covers. Floats between two types, hard full R&B classics (mucho Sam Cooke whom he treats too reverentially). The rest is solo acoustic BLUES tunes! Like "Country Boy" his playing surprises and his voice reveals as much intensity and depth of feeling as when he was groaning over the Saints thrashing guitar lines.
I like music. I need more of it every single day.

Spring training has started. Its a good time. It hasn't yet detracted from the Barry Bonds hoopla, or from the sad plight of Roger Clemens, (not sad for "The Rocket" but sad for me. Even the cynical and crabby ones like me need heroes, guys who can make the impossible conceivable. I don't know or much care if Clemens did a half dozen shots of steroids. I think this Macnee guy is revolting slime who fits in well with Washington DC. But I do know that the Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow Gibson
Click images for desktop size: Jeff Beck's Gibson Les Paul
way Clemens handled the whole affair has caused him the disgrace and humiliation he was trying to avoid. Maybe he was arrogant, or misled. I expect my heroes to stand proud on their own. To tell the truth and laconically let me know there is some place in the world for men like we always wanted to be.)
Even with the new modern world. I like baseball. I love it. Every time you take the field you could dream, even those short few years ago when I could still play you'd go to the plate and dream of that fat guy with a cigar in his mouth and loud clothes and flashy jewelry saying. "Kid, how'd you like to play for the Dodgers."
In Spring Training you've got all those hundreds of kids under 21, dreaming and trying to see if they're good enough to be Mickey Mantle or Sandy Koufax or Don Kessinger or Roger Clemens . . .
The college baseball season has started. USC is playing. Not doing too badly.
Baseball is supposed to be better than life and a microcosm of it. I want it back.
Just me being old.

February 25, 2008

An excellent man, he hasn't an enemy in the world; and his friends don't like him
Oscar Wilde

The Wolf Man
Click images for desktop size: "The Wolfman" by Universal Studios
Well my Oscar wishes (by proxy) and hopes and predictions were all routinely smashed last night.
I didn't watch them. Couldn't be bothered. Sad how things change.
I'm still vaguely stunned that "No Country For Old Men" won best picture. Its not very good. I can't imagine anyone remembering this in 5 years time. Maybe if everyone had gotten run over by a truck at the end or something. It was just unsettling a movie and not in any good way. Unsettling in that it kept promising but never delivered.
Tommy Lee Jones wand the killer were the best things in it. But it kept missing a core of something.
Twelve O'Clock High My figuring is that "Michael Clayton" and "There Will Be Blood" split the best picture vote. All the SAG members probably wanted to reward Tommy Lee Jones and hence "No Country" slunk in.
The only thing that bothers me is that I can't for the life of me think of an American movie this year that I thought should win Best Picture.
That is depressing.
I guess "Underdog", "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Gone Baby Gone" were the ones I enjoyed the most . . . I'm serious. Every other movie was Asian or European. I count a lot more disappointments than hits . . .
At least Casey Affleck didn't get the award for Best Supporting. I don't think his performance was even worth a nomination. I have to admit I have a weird thing about siblings who follow their successful family members to Hollywood.
Its gone on forever and will continue. I think of Eric and Julia Roberts (most people forget that he splashed big in Star 80" and "Pope Of Greenwich Village"), Gary and Jake Busey, even Brittany Spears and whatever her sister's name is.
Oddly my senseless prejudice doesn't extend to Hollywood families and their children entering the business. Probably because I grew up with those kids. The cliche is right. Its hard to be prejudiced against something you know.
Brittney Spears has sure turned into a mess. I remember a buddy of mine commenting about her career, back when she first started out, that she'd be doing hardcore porn in 10 years. It hasn't fallen that hard but its uncomfortingly close.
Where Ever I May Go
Click images for desktop size: "Where Ever I May Go" by Anonymous
Compared to Spears Christina Aguileria is merely a train wreck. Spears is like watching a drunk stagger down the street, trip and fall into oncoming traffic.
Its hard to figure Spears out. I mean Shirley Temple never went through this. If you look at Jackie Cooper it gets closer to the Spears fiasco, but the closest parallel I find is Annette Funicello. They both started on the same TV show.
Its pretty apt, Funicello was the big breakout star on the Mickey Mouse Club. She had her own following and for the most part that following was pretty carnal.
Funicello had a string of hit records (Jamaica Ska is pretty interesting) and did all those ultra cool Beach Party flics.
But she never turned her life into a carnival. Its seems naive to say those old stars were better behaved or better raised. It is too cynical to believe that the press was being kind or ignorant or unaware. Gossip mags were hotter sellers then than now really). Girls Under 21 And its seems foolishly optimistic to think that its all the prying eyes of the internet.
I can't even buy that as an excuse for Jennifer Lopez to score six million dollars for her baby pics.
Its a conundrum, for sure. What has changed? Celebrity is still the same monster, the world's changed but the people in it haven't changed that much, not that much at all.
I guess that's my reason for celebrity, something worthless to think about so I don't think about things like my little blind dog.
I was really afraid I was going to lose him last night. He had one of his attacks. Woke me at 1:25. The attack lasted until 2:15. It wasn't the worst he'd had recently but each of them make me worry whether his time has come.
Today he's gotten all perky and annoyingly nudgey.
I still worry.
I walked to the drug store and got my meds today.
I like listening to my music when I walk but the weather takes a lot of the pleasure out. I re-injured my hip flexor scrabbling around (BUT NOT FALLING) on all the ice. I have to play close attention to each step. Even when the sidewalk looks clear there are patches with my name on them.
I did get to study some of the better kept sidewalks and I think I've picked up on a little secret about scattering salt!
Who ever knew there were salt secrets!
I plan to try them out later today.
If you want to be worried about me, worry about this: I'm excited about trying out my new salt strategy!

February 13, 2008

Just a minute please

Click images for desktop size: "Weeki Wachee" by Unknown
There's a few things bugging me.
The RAIA, the Congress and baseball. Not necessarily in that order.
The RAIA has always bugged me. They are a bunch of jerks who view people only as walking wallets, sort of like the worst kind of pimps you find in the seedier parts of town.
twilight_people_(1973).jpg This is the group set up to make sure that the records were made to the same specs so that all records could play them. They were sort of like a 50's version of THX Sound.
Then when the record companies decided they didn't want to pay the record artists any more money the protected that.
Its one of the interesting things they touched on early in "The Soprano's". It was common practice to sign acts to record records. They never got paid, even though the record companies were dumping thousands to DJ's to bribe them to play the records. That led to the payola scandal. The RAIA was a part of that.
They justified it all somehow: The acts, they claimed, benefited because they got free advertisement. They didn't get paid but they got to keep all the money from playing clubs and concerts . . . which promoted the records but they never bothered to justify that part so there's no official line there.
As to the payola a a lot of DJ's lost there jobs and ruined their careers and lives. No record company went out of business. No record company exec went to jail or got fired.
I guess, you could say the RAIA did a good job for them.
Now the RAIA says that when you buy a record or a CD or a digital download you don't own anything. You've bought air. You're allowed to listen to it at their grace. And the rapidly escalating prices are so that the musicians will get paid their fair share, except now they want to cut the musicians share from 9% to 4%.
Click images for desktop size: "Angry Shark" by Anonymous
Don't confuse the RAIA with ASCAP or BMI. ASCAP and BMI collect money to pay to the writers of the songs. The RAIA has no connection to the musicians or writers. They only represents the suits who hate music but like money.

And now the Senate has completed the rape of the Constitution. They increased unilaterally the right of our Government to spy on us . . . by a 67 to 31 vote. Rah!
Amazing that the constitution which has done pretty well for 220 years has suddenly found itself obsolete after 8 years of George Bush. Some of the Supreme Court Justices are even saying nonsense about how the Constitution is outmoded and no longer valid . . . they're Bush appointees of course.
For some reason every thing that comes out of a conservative mouth lately sounds more and more like the old commie rhetoric, rhetoric we were taught to fear and take with skepticism.
Underworld I guess you really do become what you hate most.
Clinton didn't attend to vote on the measure. Obama has remained silent. The Republicans are all for it.
Its the old, "the guilty don't deserve any rights" and the innocent don't need any rights.
I think I'm going to vote for whatever sacrificial lamb the Green Party is running this year. Nothing can be worse than supporting the wholesale merchandising and destruction of America.

Then we have the new witch hunt, the new McCarthyism - Steroids.
I remember when Lyle Alzado died. He was a killer line backer for the Raiders back when the Raiders were good.
He died because of steroids and Human Growth Hormone. He died directly because he wanted to be bigger and stronger.
I remember Canadian Ben Johnson blowing Carl Lewis off at the starting line and setting a world record because of steroids.
And I remember the NCAA barring Oklahoma's Brian Bosworth from a bowl game because of steroids. (Bosworth was a bust for the Seahawks - but he did make an amusing movie, "Stone Cold").
Nobody reacted then, when it could have done some good.
When I was coaching in Texas its impossible to believe how many of my kids came to me and asked if I thought they would benefit from juicing up.
At first I thought they were trying one on to see if I'd bite. They were serious.
Of course I told them no and explained all the pitfalls and told them about Lyle Alzado etc. I worry most now about the kids who didn't ask me.
I never had a kid come back from summer break 25 pounds heavier and 20% stronger. I don't know how I would have handled it. Probably the wrong way.
Astro Boy
Click images for desktop size: "Astro Boy" by Makaski Inc
Instead of protecting the kids and not just punishing them we have a stupid congressional investigation.
One the one hand our country is falling apart but we take massive amounts of time and man hours and money to protect our entertainments so that they can be sold more readily to us.
As much as I think that this investigation is wrong headed and not geared to accomplish anything meaningful (There'll be no penalties for the owners who demanded bigger faster athletes, or to the coaches who turned their eyes away and only viewed the results. There'll be no lessons for the vulnerable children, there'll only be Joe McCarthy style headlines for the witch hunters who bring down the biggest stars.) I've been following the testimony of Roger Clemens. I would like him to be innocent. I would like to think he did all he has done out of toughness and stubbornness and a lively arm.
The Descent After the inept display by congress today I really don't know. Clearly most of the committee have already made up their minds as to how they're going to decide and proceed. Most of the questions weren't fair and slanted in an ugly way.
Henry Waxman is the head of the committee. He was also my congressman for an incredible amount of years. I always thought of him as a Hollywood lobbyist. I voted for him because my unions recommended him. He was the kind of Congressman who sent you a survey at election time so you could tell him what he needed to be doing. It was multiple choice and there was no space to write anything down. You had to put your own stamp on it to mail it in, proof he wasn't corrupt I guess.
Waxman did not behave very properly I thought. He didn't keep things smooth and fair in a pursuit of the truth. He accepted things at face value and without a sense of fairness. He let cruel things be said to Clemens, cruel things that were not in pursuit of truth but sounded more like a punter who dropped a hundred bucks on a game Clemens pitched in.
I want Clemens to be drug free. I will be disappointed if he took drugs.
But I don't think America will be a better or a worse place to live in no matter what he has done.

February 5, 2008

I'm going to tell you how its going to be
Buddy Holly

Just A Face
Click images for desktop size: "Just A Face" by Anonymous
I remembered but I forgot to mention it. Which is the same as forgetting in most eyes.
Forty nine years ago on February 3 Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP "Jape" The Big Bopper" Richardson died.
They like to call it the day the music died.
Riot In Cell Block 11 There's been plenty written about Buddy Holly. He was a total teen genius. Cool enough to write the songs, self effacing enough to ask Gene Vincent for Gene's autograph, tough enough to play his guitar louder than anyone before him, self confident enough to walk out of a Nashville recording session because the punk kid from Texas knew the way he wanted his music to sound.
Holly has had Oscar nominated movies made about him. His songs are still covered by the oddest collection of bands imaginable. There's a mediocre play in London featuring a Buddy Holly imitator that's been running for 14 years. (The songs in it definitely are not rocking or rolling).
The coolest story I ever heard about him was during a magazine interview I did with Mamie Van Doren. She bought him up because Holly was going to be in "Girl's Town" with her and Eddie Cochran! (Cochran was in the final movie, very cool.) Both stars were at Van Doren's house practicing and trying out new tunes, playing on her piano . . . I think everybody knows about Buddy Holly.
People all know about Ritchie Valens too. The movie, La Bamba, still gets rented, still gets shown on TV and still barely gives a glimpse into the 19 year old hispanic kid who tore apart the nation. Listen to Valen's "Live at Pacoima High School" or to his acoustic basement demo of "Come On Lets Go" to understand the passion, the fun and the teen genius that was roiling in the nation. Maybe he was as troubled as they made him looked but his music was all about the love and the fun.
Yet nobody talks about the Big Bopper. Which is a shame.
When they show him in any of the movies he is always represented by some dull looking fat guy. If he gets to do anything its to play some light comic relief. The Bopper was more than that.
Anime by Mota
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Mota
He was at least the guy who bought pure sexual lust into the Top Ten.
He came out of East Texas, a town close to Louisiana, Beaumont.
I had a friend, an actor-songwriter-guitarist, who came out of Beaumont. It was Jape Richardson who turned him onto the entertainment world, who made him see that the world never could end at the horizon. My friend and I had breakfast two or three times a week. Whenever the conversation would lull - meaning when we weren't discussing our plans to take over Hollywood, he'd tell me about Boudan Sausage and working for JP Richardson at the little Rock & Roll radio station in East Texas.
None of the stories were spectacular. I guess, being a 12 year old gopher and watching Richardson set a world record by broadcasting straight for over 5 days, playing nothing but Rock & roll, counts as something beyond cool and certainly a memorable picture.
Slave Of The Cannibal God While none of the stories were spectacular they all painted a picture of a wild man held in check by responsibilities. Richardson had a wife and daughter. Richardson was cool and only needed a tiny bit of prodding, usually from himself, to go out on a tight wire. He wanted kicks. He got them. And during a time when the radio was the only window to a teenaged world of sunshine, surfing, hot rods, unrequited love and cheap sex The Big Bopper pointed the way.
He wrote Country Music Legend George Jones first number one record, "White Lightening". (Mighty mighty pleasing my pappy's corn squeezings). And followed that up with the Number 1 hit for Johnny Preston, "Running Bear". It sounded like a kid's song but it was cool and driven by The Bopper himself providing the Indian style doo wop background vocal.
He wrote a lot of very cool tunes even a totally whacked out of the stratosphere Christmas tune that is indispensable to my enjoying the season.
Of course the big one was "Chantilly Lace". The Bopper talking on the phone with the next object of his cool lust, "Oh baby you know what I like!" was more than a catch phrase, it was a way of life. So totally cool that JAYNE MANSFIELD recorded an answer record, pretending to be the girl on the other end of the line. ("That Makes It" I don't have a copy of it, which is also a shame.)
He did a "sequel" to "Chantilly Lace" (and lets face it, what lace would he be talking about when talking about a girl with pony tail hanging down, who giggled when she talks and wiggles when she walks, oh baby you know what I like! The lace at her throat? Only if the Bopper was into corsets.). Pin-Up_005-JW_Mcginnis.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Book Cover" by JW McGinnis
It went beyond anything that had been recorded and hit the top 40. "The Big Bopper's Wedding" tore away all convention and said out loud what every teen age boy knew in his heart.
And then "The Big Bopper" died.
He gets treated like an after thought, a foot note to history. I think he was a lot more than that. I think a part of him would care but for the most part he'd just want to keep on drinking and keep on winking at the pretty girls as they walked by.
I like that.
I don't think I could convince anyone to feel the same way.
I like that too.

Our neighbor is moving in 10 days.
I regret that in my life I have never lost a good neighbor and gotten a better one in their place.
I've lost bad neighbors and gotten worse . . . Maybe it just means I'm due.
Money is still a problem. Isn't it always?

January 22, 2008

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Birdie By The Lake By Swiebel
Click images for desktop size: "Birdie By The Lake" by Sweibel
It snowed today.
I discovered a new way to injure myself. It takes strong winds but its very successful. I merely fling the snow to one side and it blows back into my face, down the front and back of my coat and shirt.
Very clever.
The Bride Of Frankenstein Last night I watched Misumi Kenji's "The Last Samurai", nothing to do with the Tom Cruise mess.
I got a copy from someone reading here. It was a decent trade.
The films never been released in the US. What he did (Cinephage) was take a French DVD and translate those subs into English. Not content with that he scoured other sources and put together the most accurate translation he could.
It makes for a brilliant package.
Odd thing is that he doesn't really rate Misumi, he considers him an entertainer and a "bargain basement Mizoguchi". Rah!
I disagree. There are elements of Mizoguchi in Misumi's work, for sure. The same way there are hints of Eisenstein, Murnau, Dzega-Vertov, and Dyer in every body's movies. "The Last Samurai" may even be a masterpiece. I'd have to see it again. Its odd. Everyone is smiling and happy, "a nice guy" until they have to kill.
There's a painful examination of the differences in killing: for love, for honor, for duty. Dying is given no value except towards the total cessation of existence.
It gets mature, adult even, mature in a profound sad and bemused way. So few artists get bemusement into their works. I value it highly mainly because I am almost always bemused, even when I'm crabby and bewildered.
This is a movie to treasure, no doubt. I am already certain it has changed the way I see life.

I've been thinking about love songs. Hotel by A Railroad - Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Hotel By A Railroad" by Edward Hopper
Like what is the greatest love song I've ever heard. A love song that encapsulates all those turbulent passions and rocky unsettling times that leads to the peace and serenity of love requited and returned.
The saccharine standards with swelling strings and desperate crooners are okay. Like Johnny Mathis, they set a mood but, for me, fall short of the dynamism of the act of falling in love. There's no desperation, only longing.
In that branch of the sub-genre I'd have to pick "The Way Love Used To Be" by Ray Davies and The Kinks.
Its got your deep and wailing strings and it talks about the bittersweet longing of not taking chances, of forgetting what love could have been while foolishly trying to recreate it anew.
Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane wrote a song that eloquently describes the joy of love. Their version was lush and heavy with Procul Harum style organ, which takes away from its gentle plaintive intent. Quiet Riot's cover of "Afterglow" hits closer to the mark. Besides it has Randy Rhodes playing a sizzling acoustic guitar.
The Devil's Bride When you think of Steve Marriott and the Small Faces (As in "There Are But Four Small Faces" one of the great album names of all time) there's one song that always clicks. They had a modest hit with it but their live version delivers the rage and the power that propel Alkaline Trio and The White Stripes. To me their "Tin Soldier" exposes the joy and the pain that love brings. From the hesitant opening to the deep blues wail hollering in the middle to its end where the world seems to disintegrate in rimshots and girlish screams, for me this song is the background of any love affair.

Of course thinking about love songs always makes me think about other goofy songs!
For a while my fave psycho tune was Brittany Spears' cover of Joan Jett's, "I Love Rock n' Roll". It was the most vapid non-comprehending track ever! It was great with a stupidity even the Ramones would have envied!
Click images for desktop size: "Arizona"
That was replaced in my heart by Pat Boone's being relevant (he wore a leather vest with no shirt on the album cover - YOW! Sixty year old non-six packs!) as he covered Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train". It redefined psychotronic!
But now I've discovered Dion's totally mad version of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. Since Dion recently acquitted himself quite admirably with a solo album of country blues covers this comes as a total shock. This track will burn out your retinas and cause flashbacks, not to Viet Nam, but of that time you got sent to the principals office for eating all the kindergarten paste.
This is one track that will put a stop to "Rock on brother, rock on."

I'm writing this on ecto 3 beta 25 . . . 25 . . . its becoming usable and I can almost rely on it not to take all my words and vanish them into the computer innards! I can actually recommend it!

January 16, 2008

Lord, if you can't help me please don't help that bear
Jape Richardson

A Gift For A Disillusioned Man By MA Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "A Gift For A Disillusioned Man" by Michael A Parkes
I walked to see the lawyer today. The walk seemed long and cold.
Direct consequence of not having a dog with me.
On the other hand I seemed to fall down an awful lot less . . .
I Am A Groupie 1971 I must enjoy falling more than I'd admit to myself.
I think I have discovered the music that goes with cold, snow and ice: 60's garage, early Devo, and Glenn Gould playing Bach on harpsichord.
They all work pretty well. I did notice that groups like The Outsiders ("Respectable, "Time Won't Let Me", "Girl In Love"), The Human Beinz ("Nobody But Me") and The Choir ("Its Cold Outside") all seem to fit the mood remarkably well.
They're all from Ohio.
Devo used to be proud of being from Akron, Ohio . . .
Glenn Gould is Canadian but I'm certain he has played in OHIO!
Sometimes you have to stretch to make an impossible theorem work. The same way that my puppy is from Ohio but she doesn't really play any instruments. She sings a lot and she thinks its beautiful but that adds nothing to the argument or the rash conclusion I'm about to jump to . . .
Ohio is the home of cold weather music!
That's not it . . . I think it has something to do with it appears that weather might have a heavier role in art and pop than I'd first considered.
Would Alan Watts or William Faulkner have written in that same turgid style if they'd been reared in the frigid spans of North Dakota? Would James Joyce had written lighter less dense work if he'd lived most of his life in Malibu instead of Dublin?
And this just about leeches the joy out of this worthless topic. It was something to speculate on while I walked, listened and shivered.
Listen Ms DJ
Click images for desktop size: "Listen Ms DJ" by Anonymous
The meeting with the lawyer was okay. Fine really. I just can't get past the premonition of doom. Waiting for the next calamity to strike sort of thing. I'll get over it.
I watched "The Warlords" last night. Its the big deal holiday movie in China - stars Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro. Parts of it were very good.
Andy Lau was typically himself, which, to my eyes means he was great!
Jet Li was a revelation. He plays a rather complex and not very nice guy. In some ways he was a villain, no the villain. But Li managed to convey the desperate emotions of a man and a man with a vision well. He managed to bring some negative traits to the forefront and make us accept them as a part of what drives lesser men to greatness. He's a coward and a liar and an adulterer.
Animal House He is not these things venially. We understand and empathize. We admire Lau, who is all things heroic. Whose rise to greatness is on Li's shirt tail. Lau never wanted greatness. He only wanted his family and friends to have enough to eat.
Kaneshiro is the tragic figure here. He believes in the greatness of both men. Childishly he believes in truth.
Its worth seeing for sure.
I just got an email. Astonishingly I am not yet out of the Football Contest . . .
My editing tool, ecto, is now at beta 22!
And from MacWorld I want a MacBook Air, the wireless Router and server grade drive and AppleTV II and and and . . .

January 13, 2008

Everybody's got an in

Seamus by Jisuk Cho
Click images for desktop size: "Seamus" by Jisuk Cho
Last night I watched Jacksonville at New England. It was one of the best NFL games I have ever seen.
The Jaguar's David Garrard (QB) has always looked better than good. Last night he was inspired. He impressed me to the point of adding him my list of elite players.
Psychout In the Divisional Championships I have seldom seen a team play as well as the Jag's did last night. The game plan was solid, worked well and impressively. Except they ran into one of the greatest teams of all time and a guy who is poised on being the best ever QB not in the Hall Of Fame, Tom Brady.
Brady even managed to eclipse the brilliant performance of Brett Favre earlier that day. What could have been better than Favre in a snowstorm chucking the ball as he falls to the ground? David Garrard's first TD pass while he was being savaged, for one and Tom Brady's emotional machine like performance for another.
Tom Brady is still my favorite player in the NFL, Brett Favre is still my favorite QB and now Garrard has moved into that pantheontology.
Jack Del Rio has proven himself a superb coach. If Pete Carroll should (shudder) leave USC for the NFL, Del Rio is still my first pick as his replacement. He looked into the maw of the cannon and came out ready to play. Better he had a team ready to crush the monster that is the Patriots.
I hope that todays games provide that level of professional play and vivid excitement. This might be a generous wish as I might not be able to see the games.
A dispute with the cable company . . . is that anything new to anyone?
Does anyone need a better illustration of the evils of a monopoly? And what ever got into the heads of the government to support and encourage this monopoly. I understand how we got to this point but I can't believe so little is being done to correct the issue.
Emotional By Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Emotional" by Envy
Monopolies have always held to the same credo. Higher prices and increasingly worse products.
After spending a couple of hours on hold listening to bad muzak and annoying commercials for extending my cable package I was finally able to talk to a person a few days later.
It appears the cable company reduced our service as I was disputing a 20 buck charge . . . I just got a bill on Friday that was due on the 28th of January. Part of the bill was for the services they decided to reduce . . .
Confuses me too.
The end result was me passing on "discussing" the issue by being put on hold to talk to someone else and stating, "I think the best thing to do is to rip the cable box out of the wall and returning it to the cable company tomorrow."
Pretty rash for me but the effrontery of it was amazing.
Imagine getting your car repaired. You spend 100 bucks and then say, "Hey, you charged me for a Ford part and this is a Chevy! I'm not paying you the 20 bucks for the part till this is sorted."
Teenage Tramp Now in the middle of the night the repairman comes and swipes your four tires claiming he is holding them until you pay him the 20 bucks!"
Fortunately I don't watch much TV, just movies and I have a big enough collection to seldom depend on TV for them. I really only watch football. As much as I hate bars I'd rather sit in a bar to watch the Super Bowl than give these guys anymore of my paltry sum of money.
It won't make a difference to anyone but me.

On a cooler note: You know I'm a Buddy Holly fan. It seems that all the way back in 1989 this crazy French cat is also a Buddy Holly fan. Difference is that he owned an independent record label. He commissioned a mess of post punk artists to cover Buddy Holly tunes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his passing. Rah!
Its pretty good, there's frankly two scary acoustic tunes from the dementia praecox king, Roky Ericson, a pretty straight forward cover of "Peggy Sue" from Falco but its the 29th track that floors me.
I'm a big Saints fan. Chris Bailey is some kind of twisted dwarf monster who's freaky deadpan monotone vocal surrounded by jangly crunch guitars and mellow blues horns thrills and pleases me.
They do a cover of Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore". Its the reason I got the CD.
The Back Stops HEre - NFL Films
Click images for desktop size: "The Back Stops Here" NFL Films
It isn't often in life that you have unusually high expectations and have them exceeded. Bailey's version is surprisingly heartfelt and emotional. Its almost sweet, except that Bailey brings in a cruel edge of reality that threatens to move the song from the pop world to the operatic stage. He doesn't, don't think he wanted to, but its that tension that adds to the power of the tune. Yow! Double yow! You need a cold shower after this one.

My blood sugars are responding. This morning was the first time that the levels were below my maximum. Also worth a double yow! I got a present of the new BB King endorsed One Touch Glucose Meter. It is cool and much easier on the bleeding fingers and on the jabbing myself!

January 4, 2008

Sometimes I feel like Mars Bonfire

Abandoned Mansion - Raven 88
Click images for desktop size: "Abandonded Mansion" by Raven 88
He Wrote "Born To Be Wild" for John Kay and Steppenwolf and created the phrase, "Heavy Metal". He had a really mediocre solo album and now he's forgotten.
I think of what it must be like to meet him at a party. Does he walk up to you and introduce himself as the man who created heavy metal? I would. It would be cool to watch people shuffle their feet while trying not to look at you.
German Dr Jeckyl And Mr Hyde 1931Since he copyrighted the song does he get a tiny piece of money every time anyone uses his words?
If he doesn't, is he warped and bitter about it? Does he support the RAIA?
Has he found happiness now? Does he look out of his window and consider that a billion bikers and wannabe bikers are standing in their showers, their fantasies and their lives played out to his soundtrack?
Does his wife think he's a genius? Does she tell all her friends that he is?
Sometimes I feel like Mars Bonfire . . .

I didn't realize how wrecked I was yesterday until I read what I wrote.
All I wrote were intro's and then I left out the story . . .
I don't even know if the stories were any good. Maybe that's why I omitted them.
That doesn't mean anyone should be spared.
Like the whole fixation on bowels was in memory of a nurse. I'd just started my first chemo, the really nasty one where my hair fell out and I was considering that death was better than this.
There was this plump cheeked blonde blue eyed nurse, who shimmered in self contained pleasure.
We all hated her.
We hated her even more than we hated the missionary nurse who found time to testify to us individually at least twice during our stay. "Have you been washed in the blood," was the sardonic greeting the adults used in sardonic detestment of her.
A Silhouette Of War By Scooch
Click images for desktop size: "A Silhouette Of War" by Scooch
We hated the blonde all the more because on first sight you could see her with a pleasant carnal interest. She was young, pretty and had a face that knew no deeper tragedy than Bergdorf Goodman not increasing her credit limit at Christmas.
She wore a starched white nurses outfit. She was the only one who did. She wore it tight to accent her curves. And every morning she'd walk in and say in a clear bright chipper voice that was singed by the harshest most nasal twangy Sydney accent you ever heard and say, "How are we this morning? Did we have a good BM?"
And every evening before she went home and did whatever she did she'd stop in and say in that same voice that grated and jangled our exposed electric nerves, "Have a good night. I hope you have a good bowel movement!"
We hated her just short of plotting her death.
Someone once speculated that maybe she thought we were in there for chronic constipation.
Flesh Is Weak Double Feature Usually when you go into remission, or at least finish the course you look back at your caregivers with a trace of fondness or at least vague gratitude. Not her.
I've met some of my former comrades and we'd even been able to look at the Evangelical nurse with a trace of wry humor. The sexy blonde Aussie with the clear eye and smooth skin and the grating voice we'll all hate forever.
Is that justice or even close to fair?
Of course not, but none of us care.

And after that wonderful scatological reverie I was going to move on to my toe nail clipping and how that reminded me that I have the ugliest feet in the world.
I do. It has been attested to.
There are probably a lot of similes to be drawn between my feet and my soul. I do not attest to these.
I think most of my problem with my feet stems from the fact that I use them . . . I mean I've had countless turf toes, stepped on plenty of spiny urchins and a few jelly fish.
Once I played a pick up game of football in Regents Park wearing a pair of boots. But I blame most of the damage on rock climbing.
I always had extreme climbers for partners and extreme climbers demand extreme footwear. I was always the dumb one but smart enough to do as I was told.
The popular shoes back then were RD's and PA's (or maybe some inversion of those initials, its been a long time since I checked out climbing shoes).
Cartoon Girls
Click images for desktop size: "Cartoon Girl" by Unknown
Both shoes had their adherents. What they had in common was lightness. They felt like ballet slippers in your hand.
They had a very light special construction type rubber that extended up the heel slightly and far over the toes.
The rubber was to give sure grip on rock. The extensions up the toe were to give a solid fit when jamming your foot into cracks, or balancing on tiny little knobs (which is one of my more vivid rock climbing memories.)
But the problem is that the shoe sort of funneled your foot (meaning your toes mainly) into a nice tiny point. Not unlike the ancient cruel art of foot binding in Japan. Of course this isn't cruel. We did it to ourselves.
My problems were the two or three mile hikes to the climbs wearing these shoes . . .
My point is that my freakishly ugly feet are the direct response to honorable wounds, if you will, and should not be scoffed at nor jeered at.
I wear shoes almost all the time anyway . . .

I have a new Blue Tooth Mighty Mouse I got for Christmas from my friend.
I Love A Mystery 1945 I'm still marveling at it. I think it works okay so far.
My friend returns from her first weekend away at training tonight. It will be good.

The play offs start this weekend. Wildcard Weekend, according to the hype.
The bowl games were so mixed this year that these games might actually be entertaining.
These games count in the on-line contest I'm in so you have to endure my picks.
I'm in 2,123 position after my less than scintillating 11-5 last weekend. I am still only 13 points out of first with no idea how I fare on any tie breakers . . .
My picks are in bold.

Washington at Seattle - Its tempting to take the Redskins for a few reasons. Journeyman QB replacing erratic Jason Campbell for one thing. That the Seahawks have looked like mushes in their last few games is another. While I wouldn't be surprised to see the Redskins win here, their history is against them. The Seahawks are more desperate. So the Redskins could win a tight one or the Seahawks could get Hasslebeck fired up and blow them out.

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh - This is pathetic. That the Jaguars have to travel to Pittsburgh as the wildcard team when they have a better record and have already thrashed the Steelers. Nothing has changed since their last meeting, except the Jags are more confident and the Steelers have looked even shakier.

Chimp's Face
Click images for desktop size: "Chimps' Face" by Faan
New York Giants at Tampa Bay - This is the cruddy game of the week! Even if it is the playoffs. Eli Manning showed he can play when the game is meaningless against the Patriots last week. The Buc's have been stumbling around in a weak conference. This is a coin toss really. Both these teams have no business and are only fodder for next week. Taking the Bucs for home field advantage and Jeff Garcia.

Tennessee at San Diego - I don't think this game will be a blow out. The Titans D is looking way too sharp since Haynesworth's return. But the Titan's offense is kind of sporadic at best. I like Kerry Collins. He's a nice guy, but he doesn't replace Vince Young. If the Titans win behind Collins he should get a life time pass to the Grand Ol' Oprey from his home town. He's got a big hill to climb here. Too big I think.

These picks are not jokes even if they are intended for amusement only.
Who knows what I forgot to say today that I'll remember tomorrow . . .

December 8, 2007

I've never liked a woman enough before to give her 12 sharp knives
Michael O'Donahue

The Lady Of Shalott By John Waterhouse
Click images for desktop size: "The Lady Of Shallot" by John Waterhouse
I have been developing skills I didn't realize I had.
Snow shoveling skills.
I think snow shoveling skills are pretty much taken for granted around here. There's about 4 inches of snow on top of 2 to 3 inches of ice.
No one seems to much notice or care. I nearly get killed walking to the mail box. Ordered To Love Walking my puppy becomes an experiment in terror.
Fortunately for her, and for me I suppose, I like terror.
So, I've become a snow shoveler. This was only because it became apparent that no good hearted kids were going to show up and do it for me. Not even Elves.
Anything I could say about snow shoveling would make me sound like a fool; or even worse, like a rank amateur.
The only real skill I have in it being an innate ability to hurt myself. But, and here's the real clue to success, never to hurt myself badly enough to actually stop!
I think I am perfecting it enough to make it an acknowledged art form so I can apply for federal funding.
I do a lot of dancing around grabbing various body parts, which my puppy and my dogs all take as a sign of great fun to come. I tweak my back and every joint in my body just two points past the smiley chart of discomfort, just enough to know it will really hurt later, at least by the next morning. All the while I'm extending myself just enough to be sore and tired but NOT enough to actually warm myself! That's a real skill.
Why it doesn't snow when its about 60 is a mystery only God and religous philosophers can ponder with any hope of results.
As I carve my uneven and winding dirty path I note that I have a gift for dumping the dirty snow I've just removed into a slushy pile that I will invariably step into or, even better, I've put the pile in a place that I will have to climb over it to accomplish one of my more mundane chores.
Snow Flakes
Click images for desktop size: "Snow Flakes" by Unknown
I think I was bred in California (SOUTHERN California) for a reason.
What worries me greatly is that my puppy and I are both having fun.
I get the impression we are certainly entertaining the neighbors . . .
I've also noticed that I do not have a good selection of music on my iPod that works at all for cold weather and snow. This is an odd discovery and I don't know if it has weight or not.
My impressions, surf music works - especially when we stand and watch kids sled or snow board, Rob Zombie does not. Rap doesn't, pop does. Doo wop works the best, heavily distorted guitar solo's the worst.
I may be onto a new marketing ploy here, or I may not appreciate music properly when my hands and ears are numb.

Phantom From Space I'm giving serious thought to opening up the comments section of my puppy's and my blog here.
I shut them off, or screened them heavily because of a) comment spam (beastiality ads on my puppy's site number about 500 a month) b) People - I normally like people but not all the time, not when they're being hurtful and they remain strangers c) My cheap but poor server.
a - can be handled with some Movable Type plug-ins. Kids like to talk to my puppy and I'd like them to be able to freely, and even talk to each other. My current system of giving out my puppy's e-mail address and restricting commenting by blocking all but her freinds and family's ip's works but it lacks elegance and feels chained.
b - I'm in a place now where I can cope with the vindictive out here. I have a bipolar attitude towards anonymous love and hatred. The full reality is that I don't care but it distresses people I do care about. Its my biggest consideration.
c - is all logistics. This site is based on WordPress, which is php based. I like open source projects, the idea of them anyway. WordPress code is something of a jumbled mess. They keep improving it without ever going back and cleaning up the code. It could be slimmed down. But the bigger issue is that my cheap but cruddy hosting service freaks out at processing all the php code. Php and cgi do put a lot of load on a cpu, and with a hundred or so sites on a shared server, all running php it bogs things down dramatically.
Stones By Corbis
Click images for desktop size: "Stones" by Corbis
Movable type is perl based. My hosting service freaks out at cgi scripts, but Movable Type creates an html page which even the cruddiest server can display with little grief.
In other words I'll have to deal with the grief on my end but it will be invisible to you.
Movable Type is a pro product actually meant for something much bigger than my wants. The biggest pain in the neck is setting it up. I've been working at it, dawdling at it for a couple years now. I may now have my impetus for speeding ahead.

We're going to put up Christmas decorations today . . . I'm wondering how much I can hurt myself doing that . . .
Detour I'm feeling a bit poorly, nothing bad enough to illicit sympathy, but badly enough to want to sit quietly. No one is allowed to sit quietly when they have puppies!
My puppy has an exam tomorrow, for obedience!! I hope she passes. I wanted her to start focusing so we can go to a Therapy Dog Class and get her accredited for this area.
They don't allow dogs in hospitals here!! Fear of lawsuits for spreading infection! MY PUPPY DOES NOT SPREAD INFECTION, although I might.
She'll get to go to retirement homes and maybe some kid things. We'll see.
As to my iPod, one group that works summer, spring, fall and winter are Jan & Dean. Frosty The Snowman can even become a klazzik hit in their nimble hands.

December 3, 2007

There's nothing to fear here

In His Fathers Footsteps Steve Paxton
Click images for desktop size: "In His Father's Footsteps" by Coffee Lover (Steve Paxton)
Yesterday was a disaster with my NFL picks.

Which was not as worrisome as the horrendous BCS schedule.

Illinois in the Rose Bowl?

Ohio State vs LSU?

Grimms Fairy Tales For Adults It feels like all the games have that ghastly pallor.

It could have been an exciting Bowl Season but this slate of games just feels like an out of conference schedule. Maybe I'll get caught up in the hype later but right now I don't think any legends will be born on this New Year's Day.

I've been called out twice for a bad habit of mine: concealing links.

I do it like this: "There's a song that I look forward to every Christmas. Its silly but I like it. The Marquees - Christmas In The Congo is an innocent seeming sly number. That you can dance to."

I don't call any attention to the link so to hear it or download it you have to get "lucky" and have your cursor hover over the link to even know its there.

I have no problem with that. In fact, I like people suddenly discovering little things. Little things that break through the conundrums of the day to show a tiny speck of straight white light, a light that seems almost private and just between too anonymous people.

I can see it could be annoying to some, maybe to many, so I'll give it some thought. But how can you be annoyed at missing something you didn't know existed?

Maybe you just worry you should go through and hover over everything?

I've not a lot to say.

I am having some kind of interesting fun playing with the new ecto as each new beta comes out. Makes me want to post stuff.

I notice that the blog thing has sort of petered out. I thought it had gotten to big, when bloggers started to get White House Press Credentials I was worried.

Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Ornament"
I liked the "reporting" blogs when they worried about their community and wrote blistering harangues against a counsellor or alderman who refused to put up a stop sign at a dangerous intersection.

I liked them when some timid person tried to share some knowledge, give some insight into something new they'd learned.

I liked it when people shared the stories they encountered everyday, the little stories that touched them, especially when they didn't know where it had touched them.

I even liked the blogs that have become supplanted by tweeterific, you know, the ones where someone posted about 30 times a day. It gave a shape to understanding someone else's life and that is a great thing.

I never liked the political blogs where people spoke down to each other and ranted about opinions as if they were facts.

I think that people used to like this blog because of the pictures. I hope that. House Of Wax I think people liked to read the words here when they were filled with despair. I've had my share of desperation. I don't know if its more or worse than any others.

Right now things are not great. I'm concerned but not worried. Its one of those times when things are disastrously wrong and all my recent decisions should be questioned.

I'm not questioning them.

I accept them as being right for then and for the future.

See, everyone is allowed to be happy, even when its at the wrong time.

If that weren't so no man would walk to the gallows with a smile on his face.

That last sentence is hyperbole, of course. Because I'm happy I think things will work out even if working out means it takes Quasimodo swinging from the Cathedral Spires, swooping in and plucking me from the executioner's fire.

You see, I have hope.

November 30, 2007

I refuse to accept

Savage World By Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Savage World" by Frank Frazetta
This morning I woke up to music.
The first song was beguiling and interesting. It was raucous and lyrical with traces of jazz; a guitar solo version of the Beatles "A Day In The Life".
Bad Girl I didn't recognize it and in the tiny part of my brain that wasn't concentrating on the sounds I was wondering who the guitarist was. He was flash without being ostentatious and his tone and fingering were clean and remarkable. I was trying to track it down in my head. It has the resonance of Eric Johnson but the tone was too clean. It lacked the ostentation of Vai or Satriani. I was starting to think I discovered something new.
To my chagrin it was Jeff Beck "Live At BB King's".
I felt sort of foolish about this. Like the time I went into a club and watched a guitarist, an old guy sitting on a stool. After a bit I said out loud, "Hey, this guy is really good!"
The guitarist was Les Paul . . .
I've been a fan of Jeff Beck's for a long time. How could I not like a guy who spent two years working on an album he had to know would be a flop. A tribute to Gene Vincent, but more a tribute to Cliff Gallup and Paul Peek.
Beck spent a lot of time figuring out there styles and recorded an album that reproduced those old solos note for note.
Beck was proud of it. I was proud of him.
This was the guy who did "Beck's Bolero" with the Yardbirds, and then released a guitar version of that creepy chestnut, "Love Is Blue".
The only negative in all of his work was foisting Rod Stewart on the world.
Can't really blame Beck for what Stewart became . . . can we?
Running The Bath By Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Running The Bath" by Michael Parkes
It made me feel good that an old guy like Beck could still astonish me.
The next track was the one that kicked me out of bed: The Pyramids and "Sticks and Skins".
Not only is the song cool, a 2 minute drum break, but the Pyramids always bring to mind one of the great moments in film history.
It was in one of the Beach Party movies. The Pyramids were on stage dressed in tight black levis, baggy beach boy stripey shirts and outrageous Beatle's haircuts.
They do a quasi mod style number when suddenly the Beatles wigs are pulled off their heads revealing their shaved bald skulls and they launch into a pure surfer stomp.
Entertainment doesn't get much better.

August 5, 2007

You're always making friends. And frankly its becoming a problem.
Larry Gelbart

Thefozz01146 Muscadinearbor 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Muscadine Arbor" by The Fozz
With all the things I've ranted about lately I note that the only thing I've been called to task for is calling Jan & Dean one of my favorite pop groups.
I love Jan & Dean. More than any punk band they were "us against them". Except they smiled and laughed and knew that life was as serious as a joke could get.
Jan Berry was the driven one. He had a decent voice and solid skills as a producer and arranger. He started out hiring the musicians and doing as much overdubbing as he could. He knew he needed an extra voice so he started off with a guy named Arnie, who got drafted. He recruited Dean to take his place.
With Dean he created the heavy harmonies and pop instrumentation that would be known as the surfing sound.
They started with novelty numbers and standards, giving them this hard driving modern doo wop pure pop noise.
They were a success. They were both kids and hung out on the beaches of Southern California, often crashing beach parties and doing their hits to the strumming of an acoustic guitar.
1957 - Reform School Girl From that he learned to surf and wrote "Surf City". "Two girls for every boy."
Brian Wilson was over in Gardenia. Where Wilson was the ultimate outsider, writing songs about the way it should be about what the teen dream was, Jan and Dean where in the middle of it. They loved being rich and famous, they caroused, they goofed around and Jan kept writing hit after hit.
Brian Wilson was too shy to crash a beach party so he rented GoldLine Studios and invited all the surfers and had his own Beach Party, complete with hit album. The voices that drove the album were Jan and Dean's. They couldn't get credit or paid for it as they weren't signed by Capital and there'd be ugly breach of contract suits.
Wilson reported that his insecurity was heightened as he thought that his most successful record yet was due to Jan's participation.
Wilson went on to drugs and created some of pop's greatest moments. Brian Wilson wanted to be the greatest pop record maker in the history of the world, bigger than Elvis, bigger than the Beatles.
Jan and Dean just wanted to have fun. They kept turning out hits and great records, like "Popsicle" a 3 minute confection devoted to nothing more than being young dating and eating popsicles.
"Batman" became a hit show on TV so they did a concept album featuring great stupid skits and cool songs about the villains. They learned about skateboarding and wrote albums about it (with the great doo wop backing going "bust your buns, bust your buns")
They got into cars and released "Drag City", "Schlock Rod" and the ultimate car song, "Dead Man's Curve".
"Dead Man's Curve" was a major magnum opus filled with every pop hook imaginable and it did nothing but work.
And Jan Berry was 19 and he got drafted and he plowed his Porsche Spider into the back of a stopped dump truck and he didn't die but the brain damage was irreversible.
The T.A.M.I. Show came out then, and there were Jan and Dead sharing the stage with James Brown, The Ronnettes and all the other heavy weight stars and they belonged there.
They carried on and played the fool and it wasn't so much what they did that was funny it was that they were one of us and told jokes and carried on the same way we did but they were on the stage, on that screen. It wasn't so much what they did that was funny but that that they did it at all.
Gabb2001 Nautilus 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Nautilus" by Gabb 2001l
But when the music came out of them you just had to dance.
Jan had to learn how to walk, dress, talk. He was a new born in a 19 year old body.
Dean went off and designed hit album covers.
Jan learned how to be a human being again.
It was more than a small shock that they suddenly announced that they were touring again.
I never saw those early shows.
I probably would have reacted the same way the guys who couldn't believe their one of my fave groups did if it were suggested to go see them.
I think it was in 1985. We got a gig playing at the Los Angeles Street Scene.
I don't know if they still do it but back then downtown LA was a scary pit, home of the Nickel and the grind house movie theaters, slimy scum top to bottom and very cool.
In the old warehouses and lofts artists suddenly appeared. Cheap rents and large spaces = art in LA. The Contemporary Art Museum opened up and cool arty restaurants like Gorky's blossomed.
The Street Scene was a cool way for the city to exploit that without spending any time or effort on the project.
A few million people and free music.
Bugs Bunny In Concert We were on one of the stages - the alternative white music stage. Oddly we were opening for Jan and Dean . . . we never opened for anybody.
We did our set and two encores. Could have done three but the stage manager was giving us the cut throat sign. We relaxed and went out into the crowd. It was a massive crowd, funny in it's way, all jammed there in the streets between what passes for skyscrapers in downtown LA.
The Bel-Aire Bandits hit the stage. They're a tight group, mainly seasoned session musicians who would drop anything (I found out later) to play one of the rare Jan & Dean shows in the southland.
They were good, very good. A little 80's flossy for me at times and not stunningly inspired but very good.
Jan and Dean entered from opposite sides of the stage, both of them riding skateboards. They rode well, not super flash Tony Hawkes style moves but better than someone who just stepped onto a board yesterday.
Dean looked like a surfer gone businessman. Jan was a nightmare. Long dyed orange hair that stood straight out over a foot from his head, like a sloppy afro. He wore enormous bib overalls over a very sweet Hawaiian shirt. He looked like a clown.
The band went into the intro of Surf City. Jan & Dean did a synchronized spin and kick up that put them right on the mikes holding their boards. Naturally they were right on cue. As they went through the verse I felt a line of heat crawling up my spine. These two guys were good, the kind of good I aspired to but had to settle for something less because the fire I dreamed of I felt couldn't exist. At first I was saddened. Jan & Dean were proving it did exist, a brain damaged clown and a casual businessman . . . of course they were so good that there wasn't any place for sadness, fun, joy and pleasure just pushed it all out so there was only room for the warm California sun.
They played for 90 minutes. Jan seldom spoke. Dean told lots of mediocre jokes that seemed funnier than they really were.
There was a bar downtown. It had a plane brightly painted and stuck to the wall by single giant spike. We all went there after the show. All most people were talking about was how great Jan & Dean and been.
We were always told we were a self confident, star power laden band. That day I learned about the difference between a star and a superstar.
Gentle Rapids
Click images for desktop size: "Gentle Rapids" by Anonymous
Even brain damaged and moving funnily Jan Berry could take even a hostile crowd with him anywhere he wanted them to go. He didn't take them any place dark. He didn't share any of his pain. He didn't share any of the frustrations he must have felt in trying to comb his hair, or brush his teeth or wipe his ass. He only shared the joy he remembered as life.
Jan Berry's dead. He died in March 2004. I had someone else incredibly important in my life die on the same day years earlier.
Jan & Dean will always be one of my favorite groups.

Since last week: I gave official notice of my resignation. It was difficult because they pleaded with me to stay but offered no other inducements - i.e. no more money, health insurance etc.
I've been running maniacally trying to get all the paperwork done for my new government. Even with a lawyer it seems they send me running back and forth chasing documents.
Boys Prison X01 Coached football on Saturday. Ran a mile with the team. Same old caveat - if I beat you you're off the squad. I'm not sure if I'm pleased or concerned that I didn't have to slow down to let any of the wide bodies beat me. I didn't keep my time but I'm sure it was over 10 minutes.
I'm still working. The walk seems longer and longer. I'm packing up boxes, deciding what goes and what stays.
I'm worrying about my foster dog. She's so sweet but no one calls to ask about her. I don't think she can go with us. I don't think she'd be happy in another foster home.
We have another puppy coming to stay with us tonight. Another foster dog but he's only staying a week.

July 13, 2007

Standing on a mountain looking down on a city
Harold Dorman

Wier Vaudeville Theatre Ca 1920 On Heron St. In  Aberdeen, Wa
Click images for desktop size: "Weir Vaudeville Theater, Aberdeen Washington-1920" by Unknown
When I said Alkaline Trio are my favorite group I created some confusion. They are not my all time fave group. They are my faves of the moment.
I've never really given much thought to an all time fave band. I guess it would have to include Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. Johnny Burnette's Rock & Roll Trio, The Everly Brothers, Jan & Dean (hey, there's more than one of them, so that makes them a band, doesn't it? I mean the inverse way that Dick Dale and The Del-Tones don't count, I mean, other than family does anyone know who the Del-Tones were?) The Ramones, The Small Faces.
These guys shouldn't need any explanation. I mean if you don't understand the beauty and poetry of lines like "I was cruising in my Stingray late one night when an XKE pulled up on my right" or, "I smell the flowers growing through the concrete," and "There's a little juke joint just outside of town where the cats pick 'em and then lay 'em down. You get your gal and I'll get mine. We'll get together and we'll have a good time," then there's little hope for the world, little hope at all.
La Bamba X02 I'd also give consideration to The Kinks. No one has ever written a line like, "While the rich get their kicks with their affluent antics," and actually made it work. That they also made it rock is more than laudable. It's miraculous. The only problem with the Kinks is that their best songs are so incredibly personal, they wheedle into your soul so deeply they become private little treasures. It is almost sinful and cruel that they are also world wide mega hits. Nothing makes something impersonal like universal fame.
And of course Love looms large. You had to mega talents in Arthur Lee and Bryan McLean plus about 5 other musicians who ended up robbing liquor stores or od'ing on drugs. No wonder they could produce a handful of totally classic punk/garage singles including the seminal unforgettable "7 & 7 Is", while also spinning out the unforgettable enduring and endearing album "Forever Changes". That they hated leaving LA, that Jimi Hendrix was considering joining the band, all add up to one powerful force in music.
And any band I spent more than 15 minutes being a member of has to rank pretty high as well.
But the band that I would have to pick as my personal fave would be, The Sonics. I don't know much about them except their music. I've kept it that way.
I know they were from Seattle, wore colorful alpaca sweaters and made a sound that would later be called grunge.
The sound of their records is monstrous. They were a standard combo, guitar, bass, organ and drums but their records were just a pure Phil Spector wet dream wall of sound. Occasionally someone would step forward and solo but like an orchestra there really wasn't a single instrument, the band was the instrument. It was a thick seditious sound that you could excavate and and hold in your hands, a rich throbbing dripping thing. You could slice it with a switchblade knife and watch it pulsate in your hand until, like the Blob, it engulfed you and made your body jerk to its own incestuous beat.
They had hits. The unbelievable "Psycho" that thundered like a mythic dinosaur with Rosalie's leather lunged vocals asking not for pity or understanding. It was rage. (I used to do a great cover of "Psycho" except that after singing it I couldn't talk, let alone sing, for at least an hour and sometimes the rest of the night)
Timmelidio 29Palmsdrivein 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "29 Palms Drive In" by Tim Melidio
In "She's A Witch" and "Strychnine" this rage propelled the dancing rhythm into another ionosphere where all your life's experiences were sucked out of you, reshuffled and re-prioritized. In the mega cool "Hustler" and "Boss Hoss" the voice bragged in pride and dared you to cross the line and question him.
In the awesome cover of the Contours hit, "Do You Love Me" the voice became a defiant dare and the bands sound chased along at a fearsome clip.
The final notable cut was "Night Time Is The Right Time" an old R&B standard that most Gen Xer's know from that horrible episode of the Cosby Show when the family lip synced to a creepy version of it.
For the Sonics the standard was anything but cutsey or ready for prime time.
It was a gut bucket howl wearing a Michael Meyer's boiler suit making it demands known and daring them to not be met.
Yeah. The Sonics. Alpaca sweaters.

I'm doing fine. My puppy loves me and my foster dog loves me.
High School Confidential (1958) The doctors said that my White Blood Cell count has stabilized.
That's good. Now the biggest thing is to stop the irreversible damage done getting things this way.
I hurt my ankle this morning dodging some idiot in a car who went off the shoulder of the road. They didn't stop.
At first I thought I ruptured the achilles tendon. Its got an interesting knot and still burns fiercely.
I put it off to Friday the 13th. What you going to do?
Me? I worked.
They're refinancing the entire company, which seems odd because it is damn peculiar. They're refinancing through a company that made its biggest mark in the world in Boston during the building bust there, picking up multi-million dollar properties for a dime on the dollar and then just waiting out the bust for the boom. They did it with refinancing . . . Just like Lionel Barrymore in "Its A Wonderful Life". I guess my employers figure they're just smarter than these guys.
The guy who "owned" Freckles took off in the middle of his night, apparently running for his life. Had to be drugs, bad drugs.
I made sure he took the dog with him, or at least didn't abandon the dog someplace where I could fetch her.
That's pretty much it. Work, packing, loving. Sunday another adoption event to try and give away my foster puppy, but only to people who will love her.

July 9, 2007

You're something there ain't nothing lower than
Broderick Crawford

Theorphans Thefozz
Click images for desktop size: "The Orphans" by The Fozz
For no real reason I've decided that Alkaline Trio is my favorite group.
Probably because I've listened so much to "Remains", and likely because Tesla's new one "Real To Reel" is covers, they even sink to covering their own stuff - and its faithful covers, not new just the old songs done reverentially.
And The White Stripes have gotten too big. I enjoy Jack White but the passion and expectations of deliverance are gone, replaced with boring confidence and amazing skill.
There's just nothing new out there that socks and amazes me anymore, except Matt Skiba and Alkaline Trio.
Pride Of The Yankees Xlg - 1941
My friend said something I was stunned by. She thinks that all surf music sounds the same!
As a guy who has 16 versions of "Pipeline" and can identify the guitarist and the group from the attack on the first note of the opening glissando I am, needlessly and obviously, shocked!
She claims that because she likes the Duo Tones acoustic surf album that exonerates her from this onerous claim. The Duo Tones don't really count. Back in the day you always could identify a Dick Dale tune by his speed, Link Wray by his hysterical attack, Paul Johnson by his his exuberant precision and Gil Orr by his technical proficiency.
Since Duo Tones are Paul Johnson and Gil Orr and since both of them learned classical guitar first (hey, the lead guitarist in Anthrax studied jazz guitar before he discovered thrash) I contend that, while the Duo Tones are definitely surf liking them doesn't count as appreciating surf music.
I've always figured that all instruments are just a way to approximate the human voice while trying to isolate and purify the tone. (Except percussion which is just approximating the pounding of bones on rocks, which is why I studied drums first).
In surf music the guitar replaced the lead vocalist. The guitarist was the front man of the combo. Surf music was too cool for words. When Dick Dale invented it by using the Fender Reverb unit to make his blazing fast riffs sound like a vaseline machine gun every kid in the South Bay discovered a calling.
Now one thing modern surf bands, like the Aqua Velvets et al forgot was that surf music isn't tiki rooms and ultra lounge,its hard scuff up the floor boards dancing music.
Click images for desktop size: "Zebra" by Unknown
The kids who played it had to be better musicians than most garage band types. Almost all of them had actually had lessons!
This was a rock and roll where they could get all the chicks and get to show off.
Very few of the guys in surf bands could surf. Which was cool. When we parked our vans at a break and turned the tape decks up loud it was more likely the Ramones or reggae we surfed to. Surf music was for the drive along PCH, scoping the waves and starting to feel the pump.
I like surf music. It will never fade away.

The All Star game is tomorrow.
I'm stoked. Baseball is the only sport where an All Star game really works. It reminds me of the pick up games in the park. No pressure, just the fun of the game and a casual interest in victory.
Few things are as beautiful as that.

I've bought boxes home to start packing.
I might be leaving my cruddy job right on time. Today I've had to deal with appraisers and Structural engineers. Why the hell an hourly employee is left to their own devices in handling the brass tacks of a multi-million dollar transaction is totally beyond me.
One thing I'm certain of is that something isn't right. We've been told, and I know they lie to us at will, is that this is for the new investors. . . An environmental report for investors?
This smells of a major refi or, most probably, a sale.
I might be mistaken but I've been here before, although not in the lowly capacity I now have.
This is the oddest place I've ever worked. The fellow who I threatened about dumping his dog has quit, called from 4 states away to say he quit without notice.
What a jerk.
At least he didn't leave the dog tied up to a fence post . . .

July 3, 2007

But the fact of it is, nobody gives anymore
Ray Davies

Flowing Rock
Click images for desktop size: Flowing Rock" by Apple
I think most books about dogs are like porn. No matter how badly they're written, sans drama and effect, sans character and denouement, still read them and still get some hidden thrill from them.
At least I do.
I hate myself for it but I still keep reading. I enjoy pointless stories about dogs. I enjoy the characters that even bad writers convey.
Other people must as well as these terrible books keep hitting the best seller charts, keep making high rated TV shows.
Yet with all this product being sold about and some for dogs how can so many people be so blind to the cruelty inflicted upon them.
They are like pop stars you can throw broken glass at and still feel nothing but love in your heart.

I've been remonstrated for not posting more.
Hear it once I don't think about it. A half dozen times and I guess I have to accept the fault.
I've not been feeling too well, a lot of fatigue. I keep going into work but at the end of the day my legs feeling like burning cores of lead.
Merry Melodies Tonight I congratulated myself for resisting taking pain pills for 4 solid days. Pain just tells you you're still alive. I gave in tonight. Its okay. I don't have to be superman.
No work and no doctors tomorrow.
I don't get paid, which is a rip but I haven't had a day sprung on me where I had no responsibilities for too long. With a national holiday I am exonerated. There is nothing I can do.
I need that.
Just a day with my dog who loves me.
While I wish America hadn't become a country that would tolerate a President who tells us he is better than us, that he is above the law and his zealousness is our protection (similar to Stalin rhetoric in a scary way) it won't be my problem soon.

There is good news.
For some reason I seem to always be blessed with good news. I don't know why. Same way I don't know why there are so many people worth loving in my life. Why I met them and why they care about me. I'm a pretty crabby guy.
One of my old friends had another son on Sunday. In his words, he ran out of good names so he had to give him mine for a middle name.
I can't say how touched and pleased I am.
He's a man who I've always known would be a good father.
His call on Sunday washed all pain out of me. I saw a future.

There was also a reminder of the past.
I got the copy of the "posthumous" bootleg CD.
For the most part the music is confident. The two songs I remember still astonish me. I don't know why they weren't hits. They're good and I can't do any better.
I think most of the problem is that I'm not a front man. My voice is great singing back up but not distinctive or quirky enough for lead.
I'm a born rhythm guitarist. I fill in the holes in the sound and keep the danceability in.
I was still confused as to why anyone could call this punk. I write pop tunes. I like pop tunes. I like pop art. Art that's not intended to last forever, just to make you feel good for a while.
Silence Shiftedreality1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Silence" by Shifted Reality
I was glad to hear it. It reminded me of those times. Building the tape decks and rewiring the mikes. Playing with friends and crazy crowds. The laughing, the jokes, the heat and the sweat.
My wild man act is just gentle nostalgia now.
I saw "American Hardcore", the documentary about the hardcore punk movement. (There should have been more music and less talking - is there anything more boring than old musicians talking about the way it used to be?)
It was the same sort of nostalgia only this one was a touch more personal.
I have to go now. The early fireworks have terrified my foster dog.
My puppy isn't bothered by them at all but the foster dog deserves calmness and reassurance. Right now she's torn between believing I'm either the bravest thing in the world or the stupidest. Stupid because I don't know how dangerous those fireworks are and I should be trying to escape!
Prison Without Bars (1938) I'll try and post more often again.
There's never any need to worry about me. Ever.
Its not my desire to worry anyone.
The words are really just to make pretty frames for the pictures.
I am overwhelmed with fatigue sometimes. Nothing wrong with that.
I have a lot to do to get ready for the relocation in about 2 months.
Its a big move but it should make me and my puppy as happy as we can be.
I hope everyone goes to the beach. That you remember your sun block and have as many reasons as I do to smile.

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May 8, 2007

Let's forget about the whinin' and the cryin' and the shooting and the dying and the fellow with a switchblade knife. Let's think about living. Let's think about life.
Bob Luman

Click images for desktop size: "Announcing" by Unknown
It is exactly one point four miles from my front door to the bus stop. When I was feeling my worst it took me 20 minutes or 8 tunes on the iPod to walk there.
Normally it takes me 15 minutes or 6 tunes.
Today it took me 12 minutes or only 4 songs! They were good songs so maybe that helped.
One of them was an Everly Brother's track from their 1983 Reunion concert at Albert Hall. I like the Everly's. Like them plenty.
Until the 80's they were the largest selling duo ever. (Hall and Oates beat them out for first, I'm not quite sure what that means. My friend Billy took it personally and said it only proved that more idiots than ever were buying records.)
Lots of people tried to imitate them, cash in. Normal part of business. No one could ever come close to those weird and exciting harmonies. They were part gospel, part blue grass and made whatever they sang, not just interesting but beautiful..
Jailhouse Rock I also loved the sound of their J200 Gibson guitars. It was also an inimitable sound. Somehow they made it sound like a bursting twelve string with none of the jangle.
I met Phil Everly. My friend Richard got called in to consult about a dog problem he had. He invited me along without mentioning it was Phil Everly. He thought I'd want to come because Phil had Belgians! The breed I owe more to than I can ever repay.
Richard may or may not have even known who The Everly Brothers are. But he knows dogs.
Phil had a big mansion out Zuma way and his pair of Belgians had destroyed the place. Belgians are like that. They worked without malice but thy had transformed a mansion by the sea into a perfect home for two dogs, so long as no people wanted to live there. People were welcome but the dogs didn't understand why everyone was aghast at the state of the house. The dogs thought it was the highest in chic and the ultimate in spacious living.
Now Phil was generally portrayed as the "jerk" in the Everly's and the impetus for their famed fist fights on stage and the constant break ups. I was startled when he came in.
He was a nice guy and most telling was he was not overly concerned about the shape of the house but very concerned that the dogs destruction was a sign that they were unhappy.
Me. I got to love a guy like that.
Richard worked with Phil and the dogs for a couple of hours. I got to be the assistant and had a wonderful time with the two dogs who were full of jokes and loved playing dumb.
Went out a month later to follow up and saw the house being restored and Phil and the dogs rough house playing. The dogs were even happier and greeted us warmly. So did Phil.
And that's what I thought about as I walked and set a record for walking to the bus stop.
Coyote 01
Click images for desktop size: "Wile E Coyote" by Chuck Jones
Work is still terrible. Still looking for an escape. Money is still a worrisome burden but I'm not lacking (mainly thanks to my friend.)
I'm going to start the Football Clinic this Saturday afternoon, and the Volleyball Classes next Weds afternoon - after the doctor and before my puppy has to go doctor her patients.
Last Sunday my foster puppy and I went to her first adoption event. It was National Shelter week in the US so I was disappointed in the turn out. I took a lot of pictures, which may have been a mistake. The adoption group heads are driving me mildly crazy with demands for this picture and that.
I try and explain that I'm not very good at this and all I was doing was grabbing snap shots for my puppy's website. I get ignored.
Next Saturday I have to do a 5K walk with my puppy and my foster dog, raising money to rescue pets. I'll enjoy seeing all the dogs but and chilled thinking about walking these two in a crowd.
All in all things are peaceful. I feel better when I'm moving in a direction.

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April 23, 2007

And the news today

Click images for desktop size: "Sunset Watch" by Unknown
Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wondering if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like
Mama's homemade dress
Papa's bank book wasn't big enough
And I was standing on the side of the road
Rain falling on my shoes
Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows I've paid some dues
Getting' through
Tangled up in blue

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out west
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walking' away
I heard her say over my shoulder
1936 - The Walking DeadWe'll meet again some day
On the avenue
Tangled up in blue

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the axe just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where my luck it was to be employed
Working for a while on a fishing boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind
And I just grew
Tangled up in blue

She was working in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept looking at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I's just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, Don't I know your name?
I muttered something under my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces
Of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

She lit a burner on the stove
And offered me a pipe
I thought you'd never say hello, she said
You look like the silent type
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the 13th century
And everyone of them words rang true
And glowed like burning' coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul
From me to you
Tangled up in blue

Thunderbolts 07
Click images for desktop size: "Thunderbolts" by Marvel Comics
I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

So now I'm going back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
1937 - Marked WomanThey're an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters' wives
Don't know how it all got started
I don't know what they're doing with their lives
But me, I'm still on the road
Heading' for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point
Of view
Tangled up in blue

Bob Dylan

My old friend called me this evening. She was laughing because she found a bootleg memorial CD . . . of me. I told her I'm not dead . . . yet.
She said lighten up. It could be worse. They could have done one of those Tribute albums, where they get a bunch of bands I never liked to do rushed covers of some of my songs.
I did think that was funny, the idea of it.

At least my puppy understands.
I spoke to her vet today. She doesn't have any parasites or toxins or blood in her stool. That's good, but she still has diarrhea and has for 5 days now. She's off food for tonight and on chicken and rice tomorrow. The little black puppy we "found" is out of parvo quarantine. She's available for adoption. I'm going to visit her Weds, after the doctors.
The foster dog has recovered fully from her spaying. So much so that she's driving me nuts but in the nice way.

I really hate my job.

April 12, 2007

And all the psychodramas and the traumas are hung upon the scars and then along comes Mary
The Association

Cezanne Skull
Click images for desktop size: "Skull (Detail)" by Cezanne
In England our bass player had a friend. She was a paramedic. Her life long dream was to sing in front of a rock band. A coworker of hers was having a party on a rented boat and told her that she could perform if she could put together the band and could do it for no money.
So she asked our bass player and he asked me. I thought the woman was alright and after she explained that this was a dream and part of a plan to impress a man she had a crush on, I was in.
As usual I played rhythm. We went to the first rehearsal and we were a little bit surprised. The rest of the band, the drummer, keyboards and lead guitar were strictly amateurs. This was there dream too, I guess.
They were enthusiastic and pretty untalented.
Really enthusiastic.
Ol and I looked at the charts and were surprised that we had to cover Sk8er Boi and Like A Pill, but she had some standard charts so we were able to get through them with no big problem. The rest of the band, as amateur musicians tend to, got worse with rehearsal. I had to play drums on a couple of the tunes because the drummer couldn't keep the beat or do the fills or grace notes, let alone handle the breaks. But the woman handled it all well, bossed the band real good and she got a sound she was happy with.
1958 - Cool And The Crazy Come show night the crowd was about 200 strong, mostly doctors and nurse and heavily female. The stage was a 6 inch riser.
Neither Ol or I were too stressed. It was "just a laff" for us. Maybe if we hadn't been so busy harassing each other we would have noticed that our band mates were having serious anxiety attacks.
The first number was a nightmare. Ol and I may not be much good but we keep the beat and the rhythm rock solid. The rest of the band was rushing as if the best thing that could happen would be to get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible. I even used the old Chico Marx line at the end of the second number, "Well, I sure beat you guys that time!"
The third number was Sk8er Boi and I had to sing the harmony parts (all of them I think) and she was going through the lyrics so fast that as soon as I'd catch up she'd go faster.
Then there came the ultimate disaster: A request from the audience.
They wanted "Sweet Child Of Mine" for the guest of honor . . . I thought cool. Easy enough to fake and the lead guitarist gets to wail on a real easy pentatonic scale. Except he refused to play it . . . He said it was too hard.
Of course I got asked if I could play it. I said sure and did my standard imitation of hard rock lead guitarists everywhere. Like a fool I kept trying to get the lead guitarist to step in and take over. In my experience even the worst guitarist will generally jump in and improvise a bad lead on this sort of tune.
Then our lead singer, the one who roped us into this stopped singing! And then gave me an elbow to the kidneys to take over.
The tune went down well and we got a lot of stamped feet and whistles.
Now for this story to have a real point there should have been an EMI executive in the crowd who was so blown away with me stepping up at the right time that he offered me a 10 figure deal.
What really happened was that a bunch of drunk female doctors and nurses pinched or patted my butt, and we all know how much I enjoy that . . . then at the end when I was trying to get my amp and gear to the car I had to disentangle unwelcome arms from around my neck and keep twisting my head away from mouths that reeked of beer and whiskey while they tried to jam a tongue down my throat/ear/nose or lick my cheek. Then the lead guitarist announced that he would never play with me again because I had upstaged him! It didn't help that I burst out laughing when he said this. He was serious. I guess he thought all the drunken women actually belonged to him.
Flowing Paradise Wp By Wirestyle
Click images for desktop size: "Flowing Paradise" by Wirestyle
But the woman was flushed with pleasure. She'd had her dream. She'd stood in front of a crowd, fronted a rock band and sang her songs, so it was worth it.
Anytime someone accomplishes a dream whether its big or small its always worth it. People forget that.
Sometimes we forget to dream.
What else is there?

I've been feeling pretty rotten. I saw the doctors and after all the tests its not an onset of the leukemia. Its not that bad. It just infections running rampant through my system. Unless I'm prepared to live in a plastic bubble I'll have to deal with that for the rest of my life.
Its dealable, especially when you have a dog to watch over you at night and tell you good jokes.
I've been approached, with no elegance, to coach a Pop Warner team. I have to think about it. Can I handle it. I think teaching the little ones is hard work, but a lot of fun. There's nothing like giving a big pre game speech and looking out at a team of crooked helmets and kids wearing their shoulder pads backwards.
I worry about handling the rather awesome responsibility of such young children.

I still haven't missed any work.
I only seem to miss communicating with people.

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March 25, 2007

"What do you think of the new movement in the syncopation of rhythm in modern music?"
"Lady, I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
Elvis Presley

Click images for desktop size: "Clouds"
The weather is improving.
I like that.
My health keeps stagnating.
I don't like that.
I can't close the right side of my jaw. Sort of interesting in a David Cronenberg's "The Fly" kind of way.

I had to turn down two potential adopters for my foster puppy. I think they would have loved her very much but it wasn't a good fit. There's yet another interested in the little one. They came over today.
Personally I didn't much care for them, but I'm not the one who'd be living with them.
Its hard deciding the fate of someone's life.
I like her going to a new home. But saddened at the idea of her leaving.
Lots of things to color the decision.

I've been thinking a lot about two old pop stars; Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent.
I don't know how some people look at it - obsessed, fan, admirer, scholar. Their work means a lot to me. Eddie was a prodigy. A brilliant guitarist who started doing session work when he was 15. He played on a lot of minor recordings, everything from doo wop to straight country.
He ended up in Hollywood. Frank Tashlin was shooting the marvelous "The Girl Can't Help It", and wanted a new "Elvis" type for a scene.
They cast Eddie Cochran. He did a hunched up bopping version of his song, "Twenty Flight Rock". It was incredible.
Also cast in the movie, as one of the established rock & roll stars was the first Rock and Roll Band, The Screaming End, Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps.
Geneandeddiearriveinaustrailia As odd as it seems the bright eyed optimistic Eddie and the dark ever cool Vincent became best friends.
These things happen. Eddie Cochran was 17 and Vincent 19.
The picture is from the two of them getting off the flight in Australia.
They hung out together constantly. Eddie a bright rising star and Vincent the man with the largest selling record of the time.
Even though Cochran was signed to Liberty Records and Vincent to Capital they appeared anonymously on each others recordings.
The union led to something special for both of them. Cochran went on to write the pop classic "Summertime Blues" (I'm a gonna raise a fuss I'm a gonna raise a holler), the near classic "Come On Everybody" (If my folks come home I know they're gonna have my hide. No more movies for a week or two, no more running round with the usual crew. Who cares. Come on everybody!) and the should have been classic, "Mean When I'm Mad". Not to mention my personal favorite "I'm an easy going guy I just always gotta have my way."
He had hit after hit. Vincent career stuttered despite his making some of the most incredible music ever heard. With Cochran in the studio and singing bass he made the incredible "Git It". It featured Cochran singing bass.
A few hundred tracks later Rock & Roll died. Pop came in, as it always does.
Gene and Eddie went to England. They were monstrous there. They exceeded even little girl fantasies. And there Eddie died. In a car wreck. Gene Vincent and a girl were in there. A cab driver was driving. Only Eddie died.
I've spoken to the girl who was with them that night. She didn't tell me anything new. She just repeated the legend. She'd done it so many times that there was no emotion left to it. No urgency except the urgency that that moment was the defining moment of her life.
Eddie Cochran is buried in Forest Lawn in LA. He has a simple headstone with an epitaph as cool as the man: Never to be forgotten". He was 21 when he died.
Vincent was already a drunk and a wreck. When Eddie died it was apparent that the little buoy he was anchored to let him drift at sea.
Gene didn't have anymore hit records but he still packed out all the shows. Back then it was the way of things. The records promoted the shows. The singers and musicians got little money from the records. Gene sold out shows without hits. As a performer his talent was that big.
He stayed in England. I'd like to think that he was happiest the one summer he played with a decent band, The Puppets, and did a daily show down at the end of a pier.
Click images for desktop size: "Little Richard, Alis Lesley, Eddie Cochran"
Eventually he came back home to America.
My friend Dick did a tour with him and Jan and Dean. His story is incomplete. Dick was being terrorized by Jan and Dean. He remembers once in Colorado he looked out the window and saw them tobogganing down a hill using Dick's luggage as the sled, scattering his clothes down the mountainside.
Dick was most impressed that Jan and Dean never terrorized Gene Vincent. Everyone else was fair game. Back when Buddy Holly had the top two records in America he was in a hotel lobby signing autographs. Gene Vincent entered the lobby and Buddy Holly pushed through his fans and through Gene Vincent's fans just to ask Gene for his autograph.
Gene Vincent had that effect on other performers.
Dick just thought Gene was the softest spoken man he'd ever met.
I didn't understand any of it until I saw Gene at some ratty club in the valley. I think it was '69.
I went alone. No one else wanted to go or the ones who did want to go didn't understand the why of it.
The place was filled with aging rockabilly cats, all of them poured into their finest cat clothes, beautiful bright colors that still looked cool even if they hardly fit the boys now men 10 years later.
Johnbarry-Eddie-Adamfaith-Gene Gene hit the stage and I was shocked. He was about thirty but I could have accepted that he was 60 or a youthful 70. He was fat and looked horrid in clothes that were trying to be hip. I thought about leaving.
Then he started to sing.
I sat on stage in Vegas while Sinatra performed. I've seen Elvis in Vegas. I've seen Nureyev in his prime. They couldn't hold a candle to the fading flame that was on stage that night. It was like God had sent us an angel to sing away our sins, a young devil to show where temptation lies, a Cassiopeia to torment us with His omnipotent sadness.
Yeah. He was that good. Better than we deserve.

John Barry, Eddie Cochran, Adam Faith, Gene Vincent

A lot of Gene Vincent fans will fight you if you say anything remotely negative. I don't mean argue with you like Stevie Wonder fans, or get belligerent like Elvis fans, I mean straight razor silent attack fight you. I understand why.
I understood why a man who did so little for others, who was a bad drunk was so eternally loved.
Jupiter Portrait By Cassini Sample
Click images for desktop size: "Jupiter" by Cassini Telescopes
There's an apartment building in West Hollywood. Its big and filled with faded faux glamour. Its a place where the aspiring and the fallen of Hollywood live. Kids going to the Guitar Institute or the Strasberg Institute live next door to people with a hundred films to their credit, the last one 30 years ago. I found out Gene was living there.
I didn't get to meet him. I tried. He'd gotten a new wife, kissed his daughter goodbye and moved to Simi Valley.
Simi is where they held the trail that exonerated the cops in the Rodney King beating. There was the Simi Valley Freeway because MGM had made some noise about moving their operations out there. MASH, the TV show, was shot there.
Land was cheap there. There had been a flood, rare in Southern Cal, and the flood had hit a cemetery and it deposited a couple hundred corpses and coffins on the bright sunny lawns.
An interesting place for Vincent to live.
He died there. He came home and found out his new wife had cleared out the house. He called his mother and cried, "She took everything mama. Even my record player." Even my record player . . . He collapsed. His mother called an ambulance and Gene Vincent died of a bleeding ulcer, caused by chronic alcoholism.
3X Luis Royo  137 Evolution 1280X1024 It didn't quite end there. Gene's sister was hooked into the Tony Alamo Cult. Alamo was a guy who could have been Jim Jones. His was best known for posting his people outside abortion clinics and trying to buy the baby from expectant mothers. The children to be raised as Tony Alamo's . . . who knows what.
They turned Gene's funeral into a fiasco.
I visited the grave. It's out in Saugus.
He has a simple flat headstone. There's a poorly colored picture of Gene on it and the first two bars of Be Bop A Lula on a straight staff. The ground shakes from the semi's that constantly roar past.
I think he'd have liked that . . . at least.
I remembering thinking he gave us so much and all we gave him was money.

Luis Royo - Evolution

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March 3, 2007

We're all scared, kid. What you want to do about it?

Vallejo-Boris Bell-Julie Tamar's-Vision
Click images for desktop size: "Tamar's Vision" by Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell
I love Wanda Jackson.
I'm not sure if she's still alive. That has nothing to do with it anyway.
I love Wanda Jackson.
Not the gold lame lounge act - country western hybrid.
I love the real Wanda Jackson.
The perky twenty something who sang rock and roll in a cowboy hat, Dale Evans fringed buckskins and gold sprayed cowboy boots.
The one who shaked wiggled and danced while she sang in a voice that's been imitated by nearly every male and female rock star since.
The cute and perky savage wild woman who could shake your chicken in the middle of the room. Who could belt out "Riot In Cell Block Number Nine", a song a bout a female prison riot, with the perfect new lyrics - "They called the state militia, them troopers looked so tall and fine all the chicks went crazy up in cell block number nine" - in a voice that burned lust in anyones loins. "Mean Mean Man", "Hot Dog, That Made Him Mad" and "Fujiyama Mama" were some more of those totally cool tunes you wished woman would sing about you. When she covered "Handsome Brown Eyed Man" it was the first time in my life I was glad to have brown eyes.
Sometimes they called her the female Elvis. I don't know why, probably just publicity. The Queen Of Rockabilly is a more accurate title for her.
Girls In Chains (1943) You can look for her picture on the net. Ignore the ones where she doesn't look like your best friend's cute little sister. I didn't. I couldn't bear to see nay if she's gotten as old as she probably is. I'd still love her but I already have her picture in my head. That's good enough.
Yesterday was bad. Very bad. It gave me a white night.
Something has to change. It needs to be my job. Not enough money and the perks are evaporating and being replaced with repression. After the tremendous storms yesterday there were numerous inquiries as to the state of their property. None regarding my well being and how and my puppy faced the storms.
Then someone forged checks - not signatures but actually printed checks with the wrong name, wrong bank, but the company's routing and account number. They cashed them at WalMart (!).
Rah! Seems like a lot of work and a dangerous amount of exposure for very few dollars. What causes me concern is that anyone would dare imagine that I'm culpable. While not accused of malfeasance I was accused of negligence. "They had to steal the deposit slips from you!"
I pointed out that every person who hands me a check gets it back with the account number and routing number stamped across the back. Also this seems a bit too sophisticated to rely on the happenstance theft of a deposit slip. Having blank checks to print and the magnetic ink cartridges to print the info and the software to do it is slightly sophisticated.
It appears there are several dozen more and better options to consider. And they should be considered before any accusations of any sort are made.
Oh well.

More importantly, my puppy is doing fine. She is recovering well from her bath! And coping well enough with the crazy foster dog!
Her only objection is she doesn't think the foster puppy should get food or treats! They spend a lot of their time stealing from each other, the time not spent playing anyway.

One of the kids I know called me today. He's pitching in college. He wanted to let me know he'd won his first two starts. Like all great kids he wanted to give me some of the credit even though he's the one who did all the work. We talked about the GYROBALL and guessed how well the $100 Million dollar man was going to do for Boston. We talked about school and how he was making sports and education mix.
I like kids even more than dogs!

The 5th Greatest Film I've ever seen will be next!

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February 15, 2007

They've got to prove that they can move
Brian Anderson

Julianikolaeva Ifwekissed 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "If We Kissed" by Julia Nikolaeva
February has never been a kind month for me.
Maybe its just that its the shortest month. Or maybe its that the northern hemisphere is in the last throes of winter.
February's the month of dull skies and impending sunshine. Its the month where an honest cop feels the new years bills and finds himself taking a $50 from a speeder. Faithful wives notice the cute walk of the delivery man. Bachelors, desperate for spring, join the gym and hope. Little kids , desperate for summer, join street gangs, just because they need something to do.
Its when all the bright promises of January first have finally been squashed.
Its the time when your hourly paycheck is short but the bills stay the same.
People die, but people die all year long. Its a short month so they all seemed jammed in there.
Yeah, February is a lousy month.
Thinking about the bad times always brings out memories of the good times.
Devil Horse, The Ep#11 (1931) Wild LoyaltyBack before being homeless became pandemic, back before we all were forced to accept it as natural. Way back then when you notice bag ladies and homeless guys it always struck me how they had managed to zone in on a time. Consciously or unconsciously they pick a time when the world meant something to them, when they had happiness.
In LA we had General Hershey who wore a military uniform decorated with outsized colorful plastic planes and stars. He had a moment of notoriety during the love-ins of the 60's and some how his mind would not let him move forward. In 1989 he still handed out brochures demanding we pull the troops out of Viet Nam.
There was the green coat lady who wrapped herself up tight in a green coat that was a solid mass of pins advertising various punk bands from the 70's. She had a nice round face. She accented the roundness by wrapping it tightly in a green wool scarf. I never saw her hair color, or if she even had any. Maybe she was a nun, one of the orders that demanded you shave your head.
When you spoke to her she would gaze at you and smile pleasantly and sing you a song from the Dils' set, or the Weirdos or the Screamers. If you handed her a dollar she'd snatch it away. You didn't get a song. You knew her world was prettier than yours. Once it was actually real.
There was the Vocabumat trio, who all spoke a gibberish that they at least pretended to understand while they listened to tinfoil radios that seemed to broadcast big band music. On Hollywood Blvd there's a house owned by an ancient woman. She refuses to sell. Its old clapboard gothic. She makes money by selling dinner place mats. The place mats all have different foreign phrases written on them - hence Vocabumats. The Vocabumat Trio were 3 guys. It was generally assumed they were gay. They bopped and swayed in perfect rhythm to the tin foil music, executing some nifty old school jitterbug moves. They bopped and swayed and gibbered at each other and seemed happy and immune to our concerns or stares. I often wondered what happened to them there. They weren't street performers. They took the money if offered. They weren't stupid, but they never would pick up money that was thrown to them. They were at that spot because that's where the fun was, some fun they all shared. Some fun that kept the rest of us out.
We all like those places where the world seemed right. For me its the beach anytime that the waves are big, or the sand is warm.
Its a good thing for people to have a spot in the world or in time where they can look back and feel and remember what it was like to be whole, optimistic and even content. We all need it if only to prove to ourselves that such spaces existed in our lives.
Jw Year 7 Anime Art Wall 025
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown Anime" by Unknown
It is good unless it overwhelms you, or some shock in the present convinced your brain the only safety lies in moving back to that space or time and your brain decides it has to protect you by dragging you along with it. Or you're a politician.
In politicians its crazy. None of them ever seem to understand that this is their personal interpretation of the world and that most of it is fantasy, so they spend most of their careers trying to preserve a fantasy that usually only applies to the rich boys and girls.

As usual I took a lot of stick for picking a song. I like violent emotions over something trivial. A few wanted me to list my top 100! I've no authority, just opinions.
I can't list that many songs. I couldn't put them in order either. The other songs I thought about were Alkaline Trio - This Could Be Love; White Stripes - Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground; Gene Vincent - Dance To The Bop; Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come; Johnny Burnette Trio - Tear It Up; Del Shannon - Follow The Sun; Human Beinz - Nobody But Me
. Just songs.

February 10, 2007

I give it an 86, it has a good beat and you can dance to it

Livewires  6
Click images for desktop size: "Livewires"
I need a new rut. An every day good old fashioned rut.
Brainless, thoughtless repetition of motion. In there is the best chance of dreams.

I have decided that Jack White (White Stripes and The Raconteurs) and Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) are the 21st Century Guitarists.
White has made the electric guitar a solo instrument again and gotten away from the "little symphony" that was crowding to the forefront. On stuff like "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" I think he redefined the guitar sound as much as Hendrix did in the 60's. He doesn't have pure speed but his choice of chords and novel finger picking styles blaze some pretty awesome trails. And his riffs are fun to try and copy!
Skiba has remade power chords and fuzz tone rhythm something special again. I thought "Crimson" (his last album,) was just all right. Lately I've been blown away, especially with the guitar work on "Burn". Its impressive when he performs it with the band but on the solo - demo track it is unwordly. When you take into account that this is with a freshly broken wrist - he's a skateboarder, and skaters always have a special place - and his retake on the Dunlop Baby Wah is nothing less than magnificent. He can match Johnny Ramone for speed (and Ramone had the blazzingest right hand I've ever seen or heard. I mean those riffs he played were ALL downstrokes) but he reaches past him in delicacy and power. He plays full barres and not powerchords, avoids diochromatic chords and never touches a triad.
When he plays acoustic its more a pleasant surprise than a revelation.
Dressed To Kill1Xs
Waiting to get another foster puppy. Not only do I love the dogs around but my puppy thinks the foster dogs make the best toys ever.
She helps quiet them and she never plays meanly or cruelly with them. It impresses me that my puppy will run at them but never over them, and if they have no interest in playing with her, she finds it easy to just walk away and come bother me.

Just heard that the little penny saver paper here is going to publish a little article I wrote about role models for children. Its about justice, freedom, about sports and about responsibilities to the community. The first item I don't really know but like to pretend I understand it as well as the next guy. Who understands freedom, but now I've got my whacky definition published so I can point to it as a black and white fact. Sports I know about and responsibilities to the community is nebulous enough.
I get ten bucks.
I can use it.

And people keep asking me what my fave all time number 1 song is . . . which is not easy. I think a good song is one you can identify with; that fits your mood. A great song sets your mood.
The old guys like Mahler and Berlioz worked for this. Old Scriabin gave his entire life to this - he thought a song would totally change the world.
I've spent the past few days thinking about this. The main thing I realize is that there are a hell of a lot of great songs out there. How can you not like that?
I also realized that the song that sticks its nose out of the water and reflects the sun is one that is going to tic people off when I name it.
I think a pop song is written for a purpose. Its supposed to exist in all consuming fury for a while, shoot up to number 1, impose itself on our conscious and then fade away. One week you play it 15 times a day, over and over again just in shock about the awesomeness of it and then you get it pushed out of your head for the next slice of material emotions. You hear it a few years later and it brings back that time of your life and makes it a good time in your life, happiness with a wisp of sadness.
Conscars Different 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Different" by Conscar
I like that. I like pop.
The song I think about is a song that ended a movie. The more semiotic critics realized that the song codified and raised the movie up to a different level. Of course the critics who noted that were so un-hip that they thought Hal Ashby and Warren Beatty had commissioned this song because it fit the mood and expressed the forlorn hope and giddiness of an age that "Shampoo" was trying to crystalize.
About 15 years later a comic strip used the song to devastating effect. "Doonesbury" had a character dying of AIDS. He was clinging on to life because they were finally releasing the album on CD. He passes away while the lyrics from the song come from the speakers. He dies happily. Its the only time I can think of when a song was used in a comic, and the only time that a 4 panel comic strip managed to make me misty eyed. You maybe have figured it out in which case you won't feel insulted when I tell you that it doesn't matter where these guys ended up. It only matters for that one moment when for 3 minutes they filled the world with happiness. Its the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice".

This is what you have to put up with when I have no football or baseball to dwell on.

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January 18, 2007

There ought to be a law

Robotic Moose Itscoldoutside 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: Its Cold Outside" by Robotic Moose
I start every day the same way.
Up at 4:45. As soon as I roll out of bed my puppy leaps up and takes it over.
She sleeps soundly while I make coffee, take my pills and glower.
About midway through the shower she comes in and pokes her head around the shower curtain. I guess to make sure I haven't drowned before feeding her.
When I get out of the shower I dry myself roughly with some plush white terry cloth towels I was able to find cheap enough to own. When I use them It makes me feel rich.
Years of “surfer haircuts” means I brush my hair with hardly looking at it in the mirror. Spray myself with cologne and hit the antiperspirant.
My puppy lies in the bathroom doorway and watches me carefully. I step over her and start to dress. She gets excited and tries her best to stay out of the way. I don't think its curtsey, more like a deep fear of me going slower than I already am.
As soon as I'm dressed we have to go outside. She handles her toilet quickly and then bolts back to the door for breakfast and her daily chew toys and treats.
Poster - Queen Of Outer Space (3) I put on my iPod, shuffle to the door when my puppy comes with either a mouthful of food or treat and sees what the chances are of her coming with me. She waits until I've spoken to her, then goes to the window to see me down the road. I walk a mile and half, mostly uphill, to the bus stop. Then I get to wait nervously. Buses her only run on the hour and if the bus is late for my connection (which it is about half the time) I have a long wait.
I listen to music and wait.
Get on the bus and listen to music, read if I'm lucky enough to cop a free paper, look through my book or take a light catnap.
Until I get to work.
That's the way of it.

It snowed today. My puppy didn't let that interfere with her routine in the slightest.
I got about 100 yards down the road when a neighbor stopped and offered me a ride to the bus stop. The snow was heavy and so was my gratitude.
My neighbor is an older heavy set woman. She had her grandson with her. He's about 11 and very overweight. Overweight kids always make me a little sad. I figure its mostly just a bad habit but I never know for sure.
He wanted to talk to me. I'm the mysterious man who walks in the night with dark glasses and owns a beautiful black dog.
He was loaded with questions. So was she. I could tell but the way she corrected him stopped him from “prying”. She talked other me when I said ,“ He's not prying,” and then began to tell me too many details of her life. I never mind that. I don't understand why people do that but it doesn't bother me. And neither does not understanding why they make me privy to so many details.
Click images for desktop size: "Salvador Dali" by Rock Dreams
She dropped me off and apologized for all the mess in the car, mess from her grandkids. I told her I didn't mind that either because I didn't.
When she drove away I realized I'd told them my puppy's name but not mine. That bothers me.
I got into work on time, cold and damp.
I liked the way the snow looked against the bright green grass.
I realized the one bar electric heater I have isn't enough to warm the office or me.]So its a pretty normal day.
Coming home is more of the same except, as usual, no kindly neighbor to give me a lift, just the normal 90 minute to 3 hour bus ride.

My friend, Patrick, who is nearly as poor as me gave me a late Christmas gift. A second hand silver iPod Nano. His straight gig is in a print shop and he engraved the back of it: Warchilds.
I assume he forgot the apostrophe. If he didn't . . . Right now I can't figure out what it means. Warchildren? Or does he think that's what my nickname was?
I can't really ask him. If it was a mistake he'd be embarrassed.
I like it. Its fun. I prefer the old shuffle. Its engraved too. I like it being small and coming with a lanyard so I can wear it around my neck and find it easily. I like wearing it.
Dementia 13 Wallpaper - Roger Corman - Francis Ford Coppola - 1024 Problem is, I can't give the Nano away to someone who'd appreciate it. I can't give it away. It was a gift, see?
The small size and the lyrics thing make me think of it a sort of feminine. I'd still use it but I think a woman would like it more than I would.
I haven't used it much. I can't help preferring the iPod shuffle.
The niftiest thing it does is display the album artwork and the lyrics to the track. I find that very amusing. I also like that i can see what tracks I think are great or terrible. With the Shuffle I have to hope I remember one of the tracks before or after the one I can't identify . . . a bother but one I like in a gentle masochistic way.

The two dogs my puppy and I were “foster parenting” have both found new homes. I miss them.
Even knowing they're better off where they are. I still miss them.

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August 10, 2006

Have you buttered the vest? I've xeroxed the coffee already

My Asylum By Karincoma
Click images for desktop size: "My Asylum" by Karincoma
The past couple of days I've been haunted by some images. Odd because they are not at all personal imagery, but I suppose the feelings they bring up are personal. We like to think those feelings we have are always personal and unique. It's what keeps Hollywood rich and I've no problem with that.
One thing that needs to be understood is how much I dislike the Pet Shop Boys. Not personally, but as concept - mass marketed artiste's who make dance music and claim to be avant garde make me bilious. It lacks even the humor potential of Britney Spear's cover of “I Love Rock 'N Roll”.
It may have been the Millennium Celebration, I'm sure it was New Years. I had to go to some show or other and the Pet Shop Boys were one of the acts. When I walked in it was to a most amazing sight.
The stage was lit in bright but neutral lights. Stage right was filled with risers. On the risers was the Welch Miners Men's Choir. They were dressed in rough work clothes - yellow canvas jackets, filthy canvas jeans and beaten, dusty red helmets. A couple carried picks. A couple more had shovels.
Negadon(2005)-02The Pet Shop Boys were dressed in a techno (?) version of Welsh miners gear. They wore black slacks, tuxedo shirts and shiny bright plastic yellow jackets and shiny red miner's helmets.
They were singing the old Village People's gay anthem, “Go West”. It took me a moment to relate that Wales was the far west if you were in London.
While the lead singer stood their or pranced the fifty burly men in the choir stood stock still and sang their lines in deep ultra macho pleasantly profondo voices.
At the time their were a lot of headlines about Welsh Independence. Maybe that was the gravitas they were looking for, I've no clue.
What stuck with me was the similarity of the faces of the men in the choir and the faces of the Virginia coal miners, the men who live under ground scrabbling to provide for their families, the men of Matawan and the men we never think about until there's a mine cave in and a dozen of them die.
All in all it had a power for me that has always stayed with me. A power that pop music has always had but seldom uses.

Then there's the movie that keeps rolling around in my head. Its a Korean flic, “You Are My Sunshine”.
Its one of those films that is clearly inspired by Douglas Sirk and a movie that would have caused Ranier Werner Fassbinder to go apolectic in delight. Its about emotions.
A naive but aggressive farmer is looking for a wife. He takes a tour to IndoChina to go to a wife shopping mart! He doesn't find anyone he likes and creates a scene because he wants his money back from the tour operators. In the one man brawl he is thrown into a pretty skinny girl.
She works at a coffee shop. She delivers coffee. This type of girl is generally considered a sort of light weight prostitute.
He sees her and is attracted. He rents a hotel room and has her deliver coffee. They have sex and from that moment he is desperately in love.
Click images for desktop size: "Deskpad" by ResExcellence
She is not really interested. She just thought he as fun for the moment. But he pursues her.
We find out that she has moved to this bucolic community to escape from her pimp/husband. She used to be a street walker in Seoul for many years. She escaped. She's sees our farm hand's attempts at wooing her as just another trap.
His love for her gets so tragic that he withdraws all the money he has been saving for years to buy his own farm and a fine cow. He offers it to her so she can stop working as a delivery girl. There are no strings. He just can't bear the idea of her sleeping with other men.
He has figured out meticulously, with pencil and paper how much she must earn as a hooker.
She throws the money up in the air and storms away insulted.
Eventually he wears her down. She dates him. He may seem a big oaf but she begins to see his humanity and she falls in love with him.
Despite the serious objections of his family (His mother spends her time at the Engagement party telling every one, “She worked in the coffee shop but she hardly ever made any deliveries!) the two of them marry.
Mysterious Dr Satan Ep#05 (1940)Their married life is idyllic. They buy a farm and a cow. They see a future.
Until the doctor calls him in and tells him that a recent blood test shows that his wife has HIV. He does not.
While he is finding it his wife is being raped by her ex-pimp who has finally tracked her down.
After the graphic (but not hardcore) sex he tracks down the husband and promises to go away if he pays him off.
He sells his cow to rid his life of the pimp. Of course the pimp keeps making secret rendezvous with her and keeps making abusive threats until she runs away from the farmer and her pimp.
She goes back to Seoul and begins again working as a prostitute. Her reason is to earn back the money to repay her husband for the cow he sold to protect her.
While his family is pleased that she ran off the farmer is lost and devastated. he searches for her every day in every place his limited imagination would lead him.
He tracks her down when she sends him a money order to buy a new cow. He rushes to Seoul and finds her in a way he did not imagine.
She is picked up in a vice sweep to empower a new law. She is tested and discovered to have HIV.
Under the new law sex workers who have the disease are considered criminal and face up to 15 years in prison.
As the first sex worker charged under the law she is all over the TV news and papers.
He rushes to the police but she refuses to see him. Outside he confronts her pimp who admits to him that he was the one who turned her in as revenge for deserting him. The farmer knocks him down.
There is a messy court trial where the bumbling husband defends her but illogically. It is proven that she did not know she had Aids but the Judge gives her 3 years as a warning to others.
He goes back to his farm. She goes to prison.
In prison she dreams of the soft romantic times they had together. He works but every week he comes to town and waits to visit her. She refuses to see him.
He attempts suicide by eating lye. He still makes it to town on visiting day.
Finally her release date nears. This time she agrees to see him. He is ecstatic.
The Brain That Wouldn't Die Wallpaper - 1024Sitting there behind the plexiglass she is brutal and tells him that she plans to shape her life without him. It is time for him to go away and find someone else. She is tired of his dogged devotion.
She rises to leave, escorted by a thick set guard.
Then, I told you all of that so you might understand what happens next.
As she turns he pounds furiously at the plexiglass and starts screaming her name. Over and over he screams, I love you!
She and the guard both watch stunned as he gets on the ledge and tears apart the ventilation screen, making a hole just large enough to get his arm through.
She breaks down. She pulls away from the guard and rushes and grabs his hand, crying, sobbing, I love you.
And the guards on both sides of the plexiglass try and pull them apart, pull them away but they keep holding hands.

They call both those sort of moments, the music and the movie a frission, a time that thrills become personal, when the excitement comes from inside and out. Better than an epiphany.

My puppy continues to please me. She makes each day a day of hope and fun . . . whether I want fun or not!
My health stays the same. My eyes are bothering me but I went and ordered some cheap glasses while I wait for an opthamologist appointment.
Some odd but good news is that they tried a drug on me gluco something, that they felt more secure with than me injecting myself with insulin. It seems that the trial chemo I'm on had been used with this gluco thing but there was no record of it being used with insulin.
The good news is that the new drug has made me hypoglycemic!! They say it is good because it means that everything is working and that the hypoglycemia will soon measure out and settle down.
You have to be impressed with what doctors consider good news.

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August 6, 2006

You wait for some clown on stage to explain all of life's mysteries
Chris Bailey

Moonrise By Daunity
Click images for desktop size: "Moonrise" by Daunity
On Thursday the “big boss” came in and spent 5 hours with me. She was trying to talk me into rescinding my resignation.
I intend to quit. I have no other job lined up and little faith in temp agencies, so I agreed to extend.
On Friday I found out that while we were talking around my quitting Arthur Lee died in LA.
He had leukemia. Different strain of the same disease I'm coping with.
Some people might not know who Arthur Lee was, not some, most people not from LA in the late 60's don't know who he is.
Lee founded a band called Love.
Love was best known for their logo - the O in Love was replaced with a merged male and female symbol. They had it on their first 45, (those slabs of vinyl that only held two songs). Then that seemed like anarchy and was nothing less than cool.
Miamivice(2006)-06Their first single was a garage punk version a Burt Bacharach - Hal David song; “My Little Red Book” all tambourines, beat and chunky power chords. It was great. It was so great that Bacharach had to make statements deploring what these new bands were doing to his mellow music.
“My Little Red Book” became a garage staple. It got covered everywhere and by everybody. Bacharach reversed his stance and Love was on their way to being the Number 1 band in LA.
They had the surfers, the hair boys, the car boys, the rich kids and the barrio strollers.
The apochraphyl story is about Jim Morrison of “The Doors” telling Crawdaddy Magazine that his ambition was to be as popular as Love.
I was just a kid but you could always see them walking the Strip, the same way you'd see Motley Crue and then Guns N Roses strolling the Strip and the Boulevard in their stage clothes. But I never saw anybody light up the street and remake the world like Arthur Lee when he walked down those sun stricken streets.
They had a house up in the hills. Once we rode up there on our bikes and listened to the band rehearse. It was kind of wonderful being young kids stretched in the ivy on the dirt peeking over the hills and listening to guitars and chords we couldn't name.
The odd thing that no one paid much notice too was that Lee was black. Love was a white group with a black frontman who wrote and produced all of the songs. Like Hendrix race was secondary, he was just a great songwriter, a good guitarist and a better than average singer. Nothing else mattered.
But Lee hated to tour. Who wants to leave LA during that golden time anyway? They didn't become world famous. They were just the most famous band in a town where the rest of the world comes to get famous.
The album that got them “respected” was “Forever Changes”. It had strings, acoustic guitars and lyrics. It moved with different rhythms and moving beats and chord changes.
Detour Wallpaper - Film Noir - 1024Neil Young wanted to be a part of Love. Jimi Hendrix wanted to be a part of Love. . . We all did.
I read a comment someone wrote about Lee's passing. They wrote, “Love died today”.
I understand that.

My puppy is making steps to being my dog.
She doesn't like not being with me around the clock but she keeps being a good girl. She's always excited to see me and thinks their is no greater joy than teasing me or forcing me to pet her.
Other people tell me stories about their dogs and the problems they've had and all I can think is that my puppy doesn't do anything like that.
I've had some bad breaks in my life, some worse than most, and I don't understand enough about the world to really grasp why I've been so lucky in other ways.

July 31, 2006

I've got me a complication and its an only child
Sean Bonniwell

Impala 00 Z
Click images for desktop size: "Chevy Impala Hood"
Spent most of the weekend being hot and messing around with music.
The music I did with my friend Patrick. He found a vintage Mesa Boogie tube amp and we messed around with TONE. Tone is what guitarists live for.
Patrick was blown away by the tube amp. We spent part of Saturday buying different replacements tubes. We even got a pair of 12AXA7's to mess around with the 12A7's in the preamp.
Thick, creamy sustain from tubes, a more human sound than the sometimes nasty cutoff and decay of transistors and digital effects.
Taking a break with the music we watched Alan Arkush's “The Temptations”. I worked with Arkush on “Get Crazy” and always felt warmly towards him.
We didn't watch the whole movie, just the musical numbers. Arkush got those dead on. It was exciting to watch.
One thing was I wasn't sure whether the band has no concept of the past or if they think I'm that old. They kept asking me if it was really like that! As this was the late 50's . . . Rains CameThe only answer was, “I hope so.”
It did get us into a discussion about music, about rhythm and the beat, the big beat. I've always held that its the beat that makes you tap your feet but its the rhythm that makes you swing your hips. (So do you want to see a room full of girls tapping their toes or shaking their ass? Its up to you.)
We did end up talking about somethings I hate in music. Mainly LOOOOOOONG songs, especially those that end up featuring formless “jams”.
Jazz and blues have a tradition for exploring musical boxes in those jams, and I don't like them there much, even when I can appreciate the musicality and musicianship. I like songs, loaded potent songs.
Bob Dylan bought long winded poetry into pop music. In places its effective. His “Tangled Up In Blue” and the Saint's “Swing For the Crime” show that the excess verbiage can be used to devastating effect.
But me, I still like verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus. I like songs under 3 minutes. I like a memorable hook and a great one off burst through line - Tom Petty's “Some where someone must have kicked you around some” is a full on image that brings a dozen women to mind in the time it takes to sing that line.
I dislike “concept” albums. I know that there is a certain mass hysteria proclaiming the “Genius” of writing 12 songs based around one theme . . . but I generally find most song writers might tell great stories within a song but are pretty rotten story tellers when presented with a BIG canvas.
None of them that I can think of tell a story well, and often the power of one great song gets diluted in what seems like rushed laziness. Rock operas may seem cute but I think they are a huge step backwards.
Recording artist used to be the way bands promoted themselves. It was a way of saying I got a record out! It wasn't a proclamation of genius. When the Beatles decided they weren't touring anymore (how rich do you have to be to decide that!) but they would focus on themselves as recording artists . . . that was a pretty dismal day.
Suddenly it wasn't enough to make cool discs. Compare that to the crazed rockabilly cat who drove his truck off a mountain because he was driving at fool speed while standing on the running board, steering with one hand while waving a stack of 45's over his head screaming, “I made a record! I made a record!”
I know which one I take more seriously, but then, I'm from Southern California where spending an hour listening to just one record seemed kind of . . . well, boring.
(The guy who had the bad accident called himself the Phantom. He performed wearing cat clothes and a Lone Ranger mask!! His record was “Love Me” 86 seconds of bone chilling fury that hasn't been topped yet in the drama and emotion stakes.)
Things To Come-1024Enough pontificating.
My puppy had to go for her annual check up on Thursday. I was so proud of the way she conducted herself. She's big now. I seldom realize how big. They bought in 2 techs to hold her while they drew blood. (I always want an annual blood panel. It provides a baseline if anything goes wrong as well as giving the ability to trace her body chemistry).
They didn't need anyone to hold her. She didn't like being stuck with needles but she tolerated it because she had to and she's a good little girl.
I'm fading in and out myself. Pain comes in spurts, but its been dealable so far. My hands cramping up, locking up from guitar playing concerns me without worrying me too much. Finding a new job is a greater worry!
One thing that bothers me is the way the bones in my face and my teeth seem to be shifting, so that when I relax my face feels different, alien to me.

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June 14, 2006

Old songs

Everything Has A Story By Cgimagery
Click images for desktop size: "Everything Has A Story" by CGImagery
It was the senior high school yearbook The class of '63
I'll never forget the day you gave
Your book and pen to me
It was all talked out and settled
You new I'd understand
A girl with dreams as big as yours
Just had to make some plans
So I turned to your best picture
Most Likely To Succeed
The only one in the whole damn book
That didn't show you with me
And it said that you liked inner strength
So I tried to be true to form
And I hid my teenage broken heart
Instead I signed this poem

I hope you always drive a Cadillac
I hope you always drink champagne
I hope you always shine with the sunshine
I hope you never have to face the rain
Unless the clouds are lined in silver
May every heart you meet be gold
And may you find the world as kind as you've been told
Oh the news of you that got back home
Was no surprise to me
You came you saw you conquered
At every turn there were victories
And the men came and the men went
And some of them might of stayed
But their dreams weren't silk or linen
And their invitations weren't engraved
At the ten year class reunion
They read your personal note
And enlarged your cover photograph
With your full length sable coat
But the words underneath the picture
Were what mattered most to me
There was something in between the lines
That no one else could see...

It said I always drive a Cadillac
And I always drink champagne
And if you make time while the sun shines
You can buy your way out of the rain
I travel fast because I go alone
Everybody gets bought and sold
And I wondered if you'd really become that cold

That was the last word anyone heard from you
Until I got your card today
A single line and a signature
That said “I'm coming home to stay”
I wonder what life has done to you
I wondered why you thought of me
But if you drop by to say hello
I wonder what you'll think if you see
An old ragged high school yearbook
That falls open to just one page
With a picture of a young girl's face
Full of beauty, dreams and rage
And the words beside the picture
Is the verse that's still so true
It's the one I swore no one would read
Unless I showed it to you
Gold Line1920X1200
Click images for desktop size: "Gold Line" by Zipangu
To me you'll always drive a Cadillac
Your laughter is my champagne
And you'll carry my heart wherever you go
Even if I never see you again
But if you bring it back home to me
Maybe then it'll mean you know
That the strongest love's the love that let's you go...
I hope you always drive a Cadillac...
I never got this song before. Now I guess I'm old and humble.

The hospital was not so bad when you have a good dog with you. She's proving that she's growing out of being a puppy.
The good results in from the test: No new cancer, no worsening of white and red blood cell counts, and nothing even worth looking at to see if it would be a tumor or bad lesion.
With that sort of news who cares if there's a negative side.
The rest of the results won't be ready until two weeks from now.
I'm tired. I enjoyed four days off from work. Tomorrow I have to go back.
My puppy gets a “spa” day tomorrow.
I got a new credit card.
People are upset with me.

April 11, 2006

Viva les Rock & Roll

Click images for desktop size: "Gearing" by Zipangu
I've neglected a number of things lately.
I've been preparing the summer workout programs for 46 players.
Too much of it is fundamental. I have kids running with heel flicks (weak inner thighs), discombobulated coordination between hands and feet, pigeon toes, the gamut.
This is one of the few times I haven't been able to just create a half dozen programs and modify them slightly for the individual. Here I've had to prepare about 24.
It will be worth it if the kids do the 15 minute drills at least once a day during the summer. If they do it will be a noticeable improvement. Easy to say that there will be at least a .3 to 1 second improvement in their 40 times and at least .5 to .75 second improvements in their 20 times.
This isn't a testament to the efficacy of my program but to the neglect that has been heaped on their running form.
I have to get them running properly before I can work on refining and extracting the full potential from them. Superman, Ep#00-C (1948-Teaser) For the most part these are good kids. I expect them to work the programs. You can see the glimmer in them. They want to be the best.
just want them to have the tools available to be the best.
I want them to have a fair chance to win or lose.
They'll be okay.

I'm struggling some. Work, pain, health. It gets to be a tedious existence. I do exist though and that's saying something. Something positive.
My vision is concerning me the most right now. Its a side effect to the chemo. No one will tell me that its only temporary so its a fair bet that its permanent. Hopefully its acute and not chronic and pernicious.
My puppy continues to lighten my days. Her games and bad doggie jokes always amuse me.
What I don't like is when I wake up and find her staring at me, her face inches from mine. She doesn't want anything except to make sure that I am alive. When I reach out she accepts a cursory pet and then goes back to lie down and sleep.
I guess in her mind she's done her job.
I don't mind that. I don't like her stressing over me. I don't like to think of her worrying or experiencing anything that might be interpreted as pain.

I'm embarrassed to say how much I've enjoyed new socks and underwear. I couldn't afford the best so I got stuff in the middle range. They feel so much better than the cheapest stuff I was wearing. These help me to feel clothed where the cheapest stuff just kept me from being naked.
I even enjoy the 32 bucks a bar soap I have to use. Laszlo works. My skin feels less dead, more elastic. Their is no more pain in the skin. I can smile all the way to my eyes with no discomfort. Thirty two bucks is a bargain for that alone.

In music I've been more and more bored. the new Alkaline Trio album, “Crimson” is okay but nothing on it burns as bright as “Good Mourning”. I knew that “This Could Be Love” was a once in a lifetime track but nothing on “Crimson” rises to the level of “Every Thug Needs A Lady.” Its okay but I was hoping for so much more.
The new Flaming Lips album is just sort of listless. Not a total waste but nothing joyous for me in the tracks at all.
I guess I'll keep feeling like grandpa and dredging through the old stuff.

Baseball season has finally started. Go teams.

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April 7, 2006

Only love can break your heart

Clog Them Veins Widescreen By Bigger K
Click images for desktop size: "Clog Them Veins" by Bigger K
There's a little carnival at the field where we practice tonight. After practice we watched them set up, you know making the rides safe while they struggled through hours of driving and hang overs.
Someone was playing a radio and it was there that I heard that Gene Pitney had died on April the fifth. People are generally confused by my fascination with Gene Pitney.
As a performer I hated him. He was a “Sharp Stick Boy”, you know, the careening falsetto thing. He had a light tenor but tried for the big pop opera effect perfected by Roy Orbison. He was a skillful arranger and knew how to get a pop orchestra to hit those giddy little hooks and give them weight.
Seeing him live was fascinating. I hated the whole show but even then it felt like I'd been wrung through an emotional cement mixer.
Then when I was about to discount him totally I'd find out something by chance, like he wrote the Crystals, “He's A Rebel”. Or that he wrote “Hello Mary Lou” while parked in his cherry red 39 Ford Coupe, parked along the reservoir. He wrote Bobby Vee's cool hit, “Rubber Ball” because he loved Buddy Holly.
Zombies Of The Stratosphere, Ep#00-A (1952-Teaser) For me those things are totally cool and not in keeping with the guy who did, “The Man Who Shot Liberty
Valance” or the uselessly lurid “A Town Without Pity”. And then without even thinking about him you'd hear a track like “Follow The Sun” a totally cool tune with rolling tympani's and pound sparse drums. And when you recognized it was Pitney you'd kind of curse yourself for being fooled, for liking something he'd made.
When he recorded “Something's got A Hold Of My Heart” as a duet with Marc Almond (Soft Cell) when Pitney sang he dominated the recording and made it painful to hear Almond's voice when it came back. That record went to number 1 so you had to hear way to often but somehow Pitney's voice had character. It had sincere emotion.
When you heard pop divas covering it tracks, like “I'm Going to be Strong” and “It Hurts to Be In Love” its painful. They never got the point. Pitney's main skill was in gross manipulation. Its one of the reasons it was so easy to hate him. He knew how to do it and knew that bombast had to be edged into. He knew that screeching away like every word was important and meant the end of the world was wearisome and fatiguing.
All in all I suddenly had to concede he had talent. Probably a lot of talent.
I've got the windows open and I can hear the sounds of the carnival down the street. You know how the carnys play music loud through cheesy speakers. Been listing to old elvis stuff and just now they played Pitney's “It Hurts To be In Love”. The only one of his angst tunes that had a heavy beat.
Pitney died after performing a sell out concert in Cardiff Wales. He showed no signs of illness. He went to his hotel room and died in his sleep.
I think I'm going to miss him.

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March 16, 2006

Don't Cry

Click images for desktop size: "OSX Wave"
One of my favorite songs is Sam Cooke's “Chain Gang.” It's been covered hundreds of times and I've yet to hear a version that approaches the original.
Interpretation. It's about working on a prison road gang under dire conditions. In Cooke's interpretation, and he wrote it, the hell is endured by a near secular vision of a woman he loved and a vision of home.
Against the steady cadence of a recreated idealized chain gang Cooke switches from observer to participant and sings the whole thing in his purest tone, without rancor without hatred but with passion.
In the hundred covers I've heard none seem to get that the passion is what matters and the dream.
Ivl101748 01 I haven't been feeling well. Say it the Brit way, I've been unwell. Sounds hokier but more accurate.
I took a walk with my puppy. It should have been a nice little 60 minute stroll with plenty of adventure. We got adventure and a 3 and a half hour slog.
Roads on the map suddenly ended and were impassable. Four miles on the map became nearly 7 miles in reality, with a lot of back tracking and map studying. We found rivers that supposedly weren't there. It was a struggle walking along roads-streets that had about 4 inches for access, and warning signs to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists. We came across curbs that were handicap access friendly but they were completely inaccessible! But they existed.
Maybe it's where I was raised but to me it just looked like the fruit of civic corruption.
My puppy handled it gamely and I walked on and thought about struggling. Fighting against illness is stupid. You struggle on or you die. What else is there to do?
I've suffered worse but accomplished more in training for sports. While right now the struggle seems isolated and too encompassing and the struggle seems Carrollian; “You have to run as fast as you can just to stay in one place. To get anywhere you have to run twice as fast!”
Whenever I was frustrated or confused I'd do a karate kata. I've noted that for the past few months I've been seeing my favorite kata in my head, each step performed perfectly. It's in my head so why not.
Detailed performance, even imaginary performance seems to calm me and allow my thought, such as they are, to re-organize themselves into dealable chunks.
For the record it's the nunchuk kata based on Tekki Shodan. Tekki Shodan was always my favorite. The kata that has no grace but just sheer power and tight speed . . . some people are not surprised it's my favorite.
Click images for desktop size: "Buck Weaver - One Lonely Man
Bearing all that in mind . . .
Next week I begin coaching the O-Line for the local high school team. Jut spring training, a time to assess and give kids some training programs for the summer - at least in my mind.
After that I've decided to go back into karate training. I never got further than a brown belt. I tried tae kwan do but got bored and the fancier kicks were too hard on my knees. Shotokan, as taught by Tstumo Oshima, fulfilled all my desires. A not for profit group that focused on the direct meaning of the works of Guichin Funakoshi, the training was vicious and satisfying.
Mr Oshima won't be teaching here but there's a school run by a black belt who is 3 teachers removed from him.
It will be good enough. It's 40 bucks a month. Dead cheap, really.
I'll be with a group and we'll suffer through the most arduous martial training extant. It will be good to struggle with a purpose. Perfection of spirit. It will be good to struggle with a group.
It will make the day to day struggles more bearable and simpler.

The web site got it's database corrupted!
I think I've gotten it fixed. Not well but maybe well enough to repair properly.

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March 6, 2006

Every man's death lessens me
William "Big Bill" Blake

Marilyn-Bg02 I watched the Academy Awards last night.
In that little bit of rather creepy obituary they folded into the rest of their montages I discovered that Joel Hirschhorn had died.
I can't really describe out relationship. If you've owned a dog in the city you'd understand.
There are generally only a few places in any area where you can take dogs to run and play; a vacant lot, an ignored park wherever it is dog owners will congregate there.
When most people congregate you'll generally end up in conversation. Some people are friendly, some just want to pass the time.
Its different than going to functions with your kids. When its your kid you've got some anxiety going on; pride or worry maybe. When its a dog you're relaxed, probably even happy.
Lastembrace I can't describe it any better than that. There are some parts of the human existence that don't describe well - most of them too dramatic to consider. This have the pleasantness of being mundane.
Joel and his wife had two dogs. I had three. You could easily tell us from the rest. We were generally shouting at one of our "pack" to knock it off.
Joel thought I was funny because I talk with my dogs and listen to their side of the conversation.
I forget the circumstances but he invited me over to his house for some reason. He lived a few blocks from me but it was on my way.
We weren't friends. Event hough we were both musicians we were at the far opposite ends in musical tastes. But we could like each other for our dogs and that is more than just something.
We went into his den and I was mildly surprised to see two Oscars on his fireplace as well as the certificates, framed, the Academy gives you so no one will doubt you were nominated, I guess.
Joel saw me looking at them and said, "Wanna hold one?"
I said, "Yeah."
As I held it, he said, "Fun, huh?"
I smiled and he went on, "What I like to do is take one in each hand and hold them over my head. Try it."
I did and said, "You know. This is fun. Thanks."
In LA most people have managed to wangle an invite to the Oscars and a few of the parties. I even once got to go to the Chasens Chili Oscar Party and once to Spagos. And while everyone knows what that buzz is all about there aren't many chances to actually hold or touch one.
It was something I don't forget.
I always thought of his wife as an eastern intellectual, but I wish I'd been able to say something to her. I mean, I like to remember those little golden moments that my loved ones created for others. I'm guessing she would have too.
This is the bad part about not having a home, a real home, anymore.

I was messing around with the site yesterday and got a data base corrupt message. Hard to guess whether this will even get through, and also verification that I need to move everything to Movable Type.
I had to say it though, prints out or not.

At work a bad crazy person harangued me for an hour. It was stressful I suppose, and irritating.
Not a good day.

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January 30, 2006

Its those drums! They just never stop pounding pounding pounding in my head!! Its the beat!

Hopper Edward Morning Sun
Click images for desktop size: "Morning Sun" by Edward Hopper
No one seems interested in the Elephant martial arts movie. (Which doesn't mean it doesn't demand to be seen) but there have been a few questions about drummers.
One thing is that a lot of the musicians I like are real old school. Its one of the reasons I question why people make an argument for vinyl. The physics of playing a record make it impossible to properly duplicate the sounds of drums and force the sizzle of the cymbal to be downplayed.
Now a days drum kits are the most heavily miked insturment but throughtout the 70's it was the general practice to hang a speroid mike over the drummers head and that was considered enough. Partially that was the fault of vinyl records and the RAIA eq curve (which had to be observed if a mastering engineer expected to ever work again.)
Masqueofthereddeath X01 (1964)There was a major "scandal" in the late 70's caused by the mastering of Von Karajian's recording of Berlioz's "Requiem". The horn section is magnifenctly used by Berlioz and Von Karajian got his horn section to play it splendidly.
The mastering engineer was also blown away by the great playing the the fabulous recording of it. He decided to try and get the sound on the tape into the vinyl. He let the horns go just exactly up to the RAIA specs (Yes, the creeps who sue grandma's and children used to have other functions like setting the standards for record pressings - They were too busy trying to get a tax, paid directly to them, on blank cassette tapes at the time, to make up for the lost income of people recording badly mastered records . . . to ever improve or desire to improve the sound of vinyl)
It was released with this little flare up. Duetche Grammaphone had to recall all of the records as it made even the most expensive cartridges and turntables skip. If it didn't skip the sound was horribly distorted. With the sonic limitations of the RAIA curve in mind you also have to remember that most mastering engineers are not artists. It's a job to them. They need to make sure the recordings will play on most home equipment and on the radio. They just need it to sound like something. There aren't any rewards for being adventurous. Even today this temerity is shown in the way most pop music is mastered - the eq curve set to max so that it can rip through the cheapest ghetto blaster. Now you ignore dynamic range to get the most volume on the radio and on MTV.
Back then it meant you buried the drum kit if it was on mono or moved it to the far right if on stereo (which caused an odd moment in music - amatuer bands started to play on stage trying to duplicate the stereo mix so the drummer was always at the far right of the stage, the bass player to his left etc)

Nobody objected. The checks kept clearing.

All that in mind, understand, my favorite drummer is Hal Blaine.

Sb Wildstorm
Click images for desktop size: "Wild Storm" by Steve Baxter
Blaine was the drummer on Phil Spector's Gold Star recordings. He played the drums on Jan and Dean's records including the masterful "Dead Man's Curve". Blaine was tight and percise and kept a meticulous metronome like beat, which is not to he ever played mechanically. He filled the beat with tighter faster flourishes than you can imagine but, and this is where I think he's a genius, he never let musicianship get in the way of the song.
He kept the beat to keep the music flowing and to keep the kids dancing.

Sandy Dennis was a star drummer. His songs were always about his drums. I don't rate that except when it came to the floor toms this guy could make time stop and switch to his cadence. He is the only guy who could make a bit of the trap kit actually swing out and sing in it's own solo voice.

D.J. Fontana has to be on the list. He was Elvis Preley's drummer on the early RCA hits. You can make the argument that he and Dickie "Be Bop" Harrell invented the rock drum style. Scratch that. There's no argument. Until those two came along there was no such thing as a drummer.
What I liked most about Fontana was that we met in Tiny's in Naylor's once. He went and found some Elvis tracks, his tracks, on the juke box (anyone remember those) and would comment in a loud voice to everyone and anyone. "I don't know about that singer but can you believe those crazy drums!"
Fontana's other saving genius was his lesson that, "a drummer ain't no good unless he can play the drum section of Wipe Out . . . with just his hands . . . on the hood of a '57 chevy."

DarlingDickie "Be Bop" Harrell was 15 when he joined Gene Vincent's Blue Caps. He combined the delicate stick work of the bop jazz musicains with a manic driving beat. Sometimes he'd get himself so excited that he just had to scream, a blues like death rattle that always came in on the beat.
Keith Moon was the drummer who justified my existence! Fills all over the place; flourishes just because they could be jammed in! I only wish he'd been more famous than Ginger Baker who I still dislike.

That's enough about drummers I think only I remember. They're old cause I'm old and they are what fired my imagination.

I've been bothered lately by pain in my right shoulder. Nice it's not in my left for a change. Ten months ago I was throwing a baseball in the low 80's. On Friday I threw the stick for my puppy about 50 or 60 times, that was enough to wreck my shoulder for the past 3 days . . . It makes me feel pathetic.
Odder is that it makes me nostalgic for that time 10 months ago when everything was horrible and things were desperate.
I miss the desperation I guess. I'm not making enough money now but I have food and the bills are paid. Some how none of the food tastes as good as a 25 cent box of macaroni and cheese tasted when it was the only food I'd have for a week.
Its not desperation I want back, its the reflexive ability to appreciate the little I have and had.
The only thing I have like that right now is my puppy.

None of that doesn't mean that I still don't feel for a friend. They lost their job in an ugly bad way and when it looked like they would strike lucky in a new job right off the bat, they got dejected for being honest . . .
Possibly a good thing even if it doesn't feel that way now.

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January 29, 2006

Where's my elephant

Click images for desktop size: "Sandstone Iceberg" by Scot Chitwood
Things have been quiet and still, percolating nicely.
I was thinking about music. A couple of the kids still want me to do something. I consider it but only because I need cash to pay for the treatments. Its a bad idea.
It does make me think about music and that's always pleasant.
For me music always starts with the beat. The pounding of the drums.
For me there is and will never be anything hotter cool than walking into a club and watching some crazy cat wailing on the skins. The first instrument I learned was the drums. Scott School of Music in Santa Monica. I spent hours learning to syncopate, to get the beat and hold it steady.
I always wanted to rush the beat and to compensate I always put in way too  many fills and trills and flourishes.
Manwhoturnedtostone, The X01 (1957)Then comes the thing that too many bands forget - the rhythm. The best bass player I ever played with was a Jamaican. I'd write simple rock tunes but he made sure they always had a dance rhythm, serious hip swaying twitching rhythm. Bang your head to the beat and sway your hips to the rhythm.
Its the rhythm that made me move to rhythm guitar. The drive that propelled Buddy Holly records propelled me now.
I didn't have much interest in playing 32nd notes at 200 bpm. I learned to drill and shred but it was the rhythm guitar that I loved.
Joe Perry shreds for Aerosmith, can anyone name the rhythm guitarist? Guns N Roses has Slash, but until Izzy Stradlin left the band no one was really even aware that they had a rhythm guitarist.
The best thing about rhythm guitar was that I didn't have to drag a drum kit all over town, I just needed my amp and my axe. I liked that.

Yesterday I went for walk in the woods with my puppy. She was ecstatic. She ran back and forth and far ahead and then back to hurry me up so she could run further ahead. Exploration at full speed.
I had fun. A lot of fun and laughs and smiles.
I paid for it by getting violently ill. Nothing serious but all that happiness left my guard down and the chemo sickness used the chance to sneak on in.
I woke up in the night and decided to watch a movie. It was a shock to discover a film that is easily one of the best films I've ever experienced.
“Tom Yum Goong” is a Thais film. Martial arts movie . . . It's by the guy who made Ong Bak but that's the extent of the similarity.
Tony Jaa is a little guy, diminutive, and like Alan Ladd he carries himself like a special effect. He is the best fighter I've seen in movies since Bruce Lee. He makes the things that impressed you with jackie Chan seem second rate. He's got more heart and more drive. Watch him run over a 12 foot chain link fence and you'll understand.
Like Bruce Lee he uses his sheer physical presence to establish and define his character. He does it wonderfully.