Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Death Penalty

Some PROGRESSIVE LEGISLATION out of New Jersey this week: Governor Jon Corzine ended the death penalty there, commuting outstanding sentences to life without parole.

There were, of course, arguments from family members of the victims of the men effected. That is to be expected. No doubt there is a lot of hurt that isn't going to go away. I don't believe though that fulfilling the desire for revenge is going heal anybody. I don't believe that the death penalty has anything at all to do with justice. I don't believe that we can call ourselves a decent, civilized society while we are carrying out revenge killings.

I see this as a baby-step in the right direction and a sign that despite all the terrible things that we as a nation are involved in at the moment, that there is a movement of conscience bubbling somewhere beneath the surface.

So anyway... hats off to Jon Corzine and to New Jersey. It's a start.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Big Wheel Keep On Turnin'

R.I.P. Ike Turner.

Yeah, I said it. Sometimes a person becomes more famous for their weaknesses than their strengths, and I suppose that could be said of Ike Turner. Not my place to talk about just punishments though. He was a hell of a musician.

Trebek in Jeopardy?

Is Alex Trebek IN JEOPARDY? Apparently he is fine but has suffered a minor heart attack. No doubt someone didn't know the capitol of Saskatchewan.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

For the record

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed, granting dominion to Ireland and partitioning Northern Ireland... thereby ensuring the fighting would continue for generations. You have to really appreciate that kind of foresight!

Monday, December 03, 2007

In case you didn't know this about me...

I haven't ZIG A ZIG AH'd in AGES!!!! But I'm going to really soon!

The Future Is Now

I was just watching Jeopardy, and kicking some serious ass I may add, and I was introduced to a word/concept I hadn't considered before:


Now I'm not a complete thicko and have quite a few of these in my regular vocabulary, but it's the first time I've heard the word. It's kind of cool...

One example they used on the show: Regular coffee... as opposed to decaf...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Protecting children

Too little too late, but here's SOME EVIDENCE OF PROGRESSIVE THINKING. There are many damn good reasons not to prosecute children as adults. It was never more than a cheap, exploitative political ploy anyway. It would be nice to think that this portends a shift in societal values... we shall see.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oi Oi Oi Morrissey Goes Oi??

Interesting controversy?

I'm not sure about this one. All the comments attributed to Morrissey are pretty damning and it's not the first time he's put his foot in it. It wouldn't surprise me. I think our tendency is often to imbue our pop heroes with better-than-the-average-guy qualities, when they're just dumb-shits like the rest of us. I've certainly been guilty of it and probably will continue to be so.

Not that I'm siding with the rednecks and railing on about how the USA is losing its identity to immigrants. Quite the opposite, if there truly is an American Identity I wish it would up and have a massive coronary this very minute--at least the identity claimed by fat peckerheads like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan. More immigrants, please... Or something.

Feh! (sorry, I just always wanted to use "feh" in some context and hope I haven't abused it)

So what if Moz is a redneck? Can we ask Jimmy Pursey to kick his ass??? That's something I would pay to see long before a Smiths reunion tour, and if Jimmy did a really good job perhaps we could finally say, "The Queen is Dead."

Oops, did I say that??

But yes, I'm a sensationalist dork--I could have written something poignant about last night's debate with Republican presidential candidates. One of the highlights was a bit of mud-slinging on the immigration issue, between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. It was pretty ugly and neither man fared so well, but unfortunately it was immigrants that still came out holding the filthy end of the stick. Typical...

But seeing the GOP faves up on the stage did strengthen my resolve to vote, because I've been questioning the worth of this lately. You needn't look any further than the Democratic candidates to have your faith in democracy shaken. It's slim pickins over there--any of them being preferable to the GOP, but not by much. Sad... I'm not ready to sing Shout Obama-lama but that does seem to be the best choice. If it comes down to a Clinton I'm going to have a really hard time pulling any lever at all.

So you see, discussing pop stars is a lot easier... Morrissey's racism doesn't effect my life.

Sweetheart I wasn't really joking...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Got Milk?

Weird news story of the morning: a length of the Jersey Turnpike was closed this morning because of a milk spill.

My suggestion was to crash a truckload of cookies to soak it up.

My dopey son suggested that they call in an army of kittens...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

More list crap Part 3

Oumou Sangare: Moussolou
Slint: Spiderland
Patti Smith: Horses
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run
Stiff Little Fingers: Inflammable Material
The Stooges: s/t
The Stranglers: The Raven
The Streets: Original Pirate Material (I love this album but really... )
The Strokes: Is This It (refer to what Art Brut says about recycled Velvets)
Suicide: s/t
The Sweet: Greatest Hits (Ready fellas??)
T Rex: Electric Warrior
Talking Heads: Fear of Music (not '77???)
Television: Marquis Moon
Toots & The Maytals: Pressure Drop
Peter Tosh: Legalize It (should have picked Equal Rights)
Undertones: s/t
Various Artists: 100% Dynamite Series (great reggae collections from Soul Jazz)
Various Artists: Nuggets Collections (first two great, skip the third)
Weather Report: Black Market (I agree this is superior to Heavy Weather)
Paul Weller: Wild Wood
White Stripes: White Blood Cells (I like this album fine but...)
Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels On A Gravel Road

So I've got a pretty hip little list and no doubt you can get some fun stuff from the Guardian's list, but like most lists, it's guilty on two grounds.... egregious omissions and totally twisted additions. Even a lot of the stuff from the list that I own is just mediocre... but oh well. There ya go.

Crap I own from that list Part 2

Peter Gabriel: PG 4
Gang of Four: Entertainment
Marvin Gaye: What's Goin' On?
Grateful Dead: American Beauty (oops, do I lose my punk creds here?)
The Harder They Come: OST
Richard Hell & The Voidoids: Blank Generation
Husker Du: New Day Rising
Gregory Isaacs: Night Nurse
Joe Jackson: Look Sharp
The Jam: Sound Effects (don't know about this of all the others)
Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow
Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Linton Kwesi Johnson: Dread Beat & Blood
Robert Johnson: King of the Delta Blues Singers
George Jones: Essential George Jones
The Libertines: Up The Bracket
Baaba Maal & Mansour Seck: Djam Leeli
Madness: Divine Madness
Mahavishnu Orchestra: Inner Mounting Flame
Miriam Makeba: Definitive Collectionn
Curtis Mayfield: Superfly
Minutemen: Double Nickels On The Dime
Modern Lovers: s/t
The Monkees: Head
Lee Morgan: Sidewinder
Junior Murvin: Police & Thieves
Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
New York Dolls: s/t
O Brother Where Art Thou: OST
Shuggie Otis: Inspiration Information
Outkast: Stankonia
Augustus Pablo: King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown
Gram Parsons: Grievous Angel
Le Scratch Perry: Arkology
The Pogues: If I should Fall From Grace With God
Iggy Pop: The Idiot
Portishead: Dummy (utterly boring)
The Pretenders: s/t
Psychedelic Furs: s/t
Queens of the Stoneage: Rated R
The Ramones: s/t
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Lou Reed: Berlin
REM: Fables of the Reconstruction
The Replacements: Let It Be
Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus
The Roots: Things Fall Apart
Run DMC: Raising Hell
Todd Rundgren: Something Anything
The Ruts: The Crack

(boredom factor kicking in again and it must be worse to read. This section of the list has more interesting stuff on it though)

The Guardian Must Listen List

So rather than go off on a tear about their suspect choices, I went through it and made a list of albums from the list that I own, and made note of stuff on their list that I think I SHOULD own. That was my conclusion--that I bought things that could have been given a pass in favor of stuff I'd be better off listening to. This could get long, but this is what I DO own. It's sort of a tragically hip list:

ABC: Lexicon of Love (Ugh, don't even know how I got this)
The Abyssinians: Forward Onto Zion
Across 110th Street: OST
The Adverts: Crossing The Red Sea With...
Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, I'm Not (People say you're new and exciting)
The B52's: s/t
Bad Brains: Banned In DC
Syd Barrett: The Madcap Laughs
Beastie Boys: License to Ill
The Beat: I Just Can't Stop It
The Beatles: Rubber Soul
Big Black: Songs About Fucking
Big Brother: Cheap Thrills
Big Star: Radio City
Bikini Kill: The Singles
Bjork: Debut
Black Uhuru: Red
Blondie: Parallel Lines
Dock Boggs: Complete Early Recordings
David Bowie: Low
Broadcast: Ha Ha Sound (not bad but not necessary)
James Brown: Live at the Apollo
Ruth Brown: Best of...
Buena Vista Social Club
Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey
Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady
John Cale: Paris 1919
Can: Tago Mago
Captain Beefheart: Clear Spot (great album but why this one???)
Manu Chao: Clandestino
Alex Chilton: Like Flies On Sherbet
The Clash: The Clash On Broadway (don't know why I own the greatest hits too)
Lloyd Cole: Rattlesnakes (a personal favorite)
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme
Ry Cooder: Chicken Skin Music
The Coral: s/t (could have given this a pass, for sure)
Cowboy Junkies: Trinity Sessions
Cream: Disraeli Gears
The Damned: Damned Damned Damned
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (again, why this one of all the others?)
The Decemberists: Her Majesty, the Decemberists
Deep Purple: Machine Head
Derek & The Dominoes: Layla and Other Love Songs
Devo: Q: Are We Not Men...
Dizzee Rascal: Boy In Da Corner
Eric Dolphy: Out To Lunch
The Doors: s/t
Dr. Alimantado: Best Dressed Chicken In Town
Dr. John: Gris Gris
Echo & the Bunnymen: Ocean Rain
Brian Eno: Another Green World
The Faces: A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...
Marianne Faithful: Broken English
The Fall: Perverted By Language
Flaming Lips: Soft Bulletin (overrated band)
Fleetwood Mac: Rumors
Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Welcome To The Pleasuredome
Franz Ferdinand: s/t (snore)
Fugazi: 13 Songs

con't later: I'm bored and hung over.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die

IT'S CRAP LIKE THIS that brings me to my true love for music critics, in this case,the cheeky monkeys from The Guardian Unlimited.

It's takes a brass set of balls to compile any list of musts, whether it be music, film, books etc. It takes a bigger set of balls to put crap like Oasis on that list. If you look at it chronologically I don't see how you'd even get past 1945!

As of today they're up to 'S.'

I'll add more to this later as I trudge through the slime...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ziggy played guitar

But back then he could afford to. AT TODAY'S PRICES it might be a bit more difficult. If prices continue to rise perhaps the next stage in new music will be trash bin lids and kazoos... though if I dig about some I might just already have SOME OF THAT.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Abuse of language

There was a conversation on another blog site (yes there are others!!!) about the abuse of the concept of irony. This was specifically in relation to the 20 and 30 somethings who towards the end of the last decade adopted trucker caps and such, and then moved on to weird 70s cap like Styx and REO Speedwagon tour shirts, Amish beards, NASCAR belt buckles and the latest: The Burt Reynolds Mustache.

It is my contention, having heard the term "irony" thrown about in relation to all this, is that the only ironic thing about all this is that it's not ironic. It's just simply trendy to be stupid. It's annoying.

One good thing that came out of this annoyance though is that I learned a new phrase to describe these people. They are:

Low-Top Chucks

presumably for their footwear of choice, but it all amuses me to no end. Amusement is good.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

Hey, remember me? I'm your ol' pal CHLAMYDIA!!!


Nah, but seriously folks. Here's one you don't hear too much about these days. What with HIV and such, the "curable" diseases seem like child's play. Of course they're not but when was the last time you even heard someone use the phrase, "The Clap?" Or "The Drip" or even plain ol' Herpes? I'm not making light of any of it but being from my generation it's hard to wrap one's head around the idea that unsafe sex kills (no bad jokes inserted here about "wrap one's head," or "insert" for that matter), but absolutely foolish not to think about it.

So why do I link to this article? It's not because it's all that shocking or informative, but simply because it caught me off guard, and then I was caught off guard by being caught off guard.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beware of Darkness--George Harrison

This is for CelticGods, because he gets it...

And this is for all my pals and people who have propped me up through the weird times and vice versa of course. Life can be strange sometimes and in a perfect world it would come with a warning label like "Possible side effects include.... " These are pretty much my favorite song lyrics of all time:

Watch out now, take care
Beware of falling swingers
Dropping all around you
The pain that often mingles
In your fingertips
Beware of darkness

Watch out now, take care
Beware of the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night

Beware of sadness
It can hit you
It can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for

Watch out now, take care
Beware of soft shoe shufflers
Dancing down the sidewalks
As each unconscious sufferer
Wanders aimlessly
Beware of maya

Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While weeping atlas cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness (beware of darkness)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Philip Larkin: This Be The Verse

I was talking with someone last night, about the foibles and folly of parenting and she reminded me of this poem by Philip Larkin. It's a hard one for sure, but I guess it's got to be taken in the context of the English sense of humor and irony.

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

All Things Must Pass

I've probably written about this a few times, but this is the song/album that gets me through the odd existential crisis. It's a love song on the surface, but not really a love song at all. In any case, the lyrics that get me through the darkness (Beware of Darkness, by the way).

Sunrise doesn't last all morning
A cloudburst doesn't last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Sunset doesn't last all evening
A mind can blow those clouds away
After all this, my love is up and must be leaving
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
None of life's strings can last
So, I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Odyssey: Rarefied Air

The photos above are from entrance to the Cornell campus and the famous gorge (remember the Ithaca Is Gorges tee shirts?). I spent a couple days in Ithaca earlier this week, living like the returned king... food, wine,song, revelry.

It's such a beautiful little city tucked in the the bottom of the Finger Lakes region--the whole vibe so different from Brooklyn. (or not?) You never realize how much you need to get away until you're there and gone. And sometimes you never realizes what's lacking in your life until its right in front of you.

Living in any big city can put you in a weird relationship with nature. It becomes a sort of alien anthropomorphic entity. In some ways it most closely parallels the relationship one must have with nature when they are the isolated alien entity alone in nature. It is the other, mysterious... except in one case diminished and the other omnipotent.

But before I spend too much time waxing poetic...

Good trip and I look forward to going back and seeing more of the region.

The photos above are deceptive. The gorge is really rather deep and the fall from the larger bridge is about 150 feet or more. There are several very sheer cliffs below that have historically been an effective way of not telling your parents about your failing GPA... But dispensing with the morose, the wonder of upstate New York is that everything is rather big. That's what is really impressive. It's all just so big.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

There is no shortage of movies on the Irish Troubles, and no shortage of great movies on the Irish Troubles. The Wind That Shakes The Barley though, may just be the best one that I've seen. I'd a sneaking suspicion it would be a killer when British conservatives went apeshit about it when it was released. They called it "contentious," "divisive," "troublesome," and "unnecessary." That's generally a pretty good indicator that the filmmakers have cut right to the quick. History is of course written by the victors, but sometimes you get lucky and it's retold by the righteous.

And it's certainly not a one-sided story. There is a lot of moral and ethical complexity covered here. It's not a good guys vs. bad guys story. It's very very honest and definitely portrays the growing pains of the new Irish Republic also. Nobody is spared.

So add to that, well written, beautifully acted and directed... It's definitely a must-see no matter where your loyalties lie, and if you think you've seen too many movies on the subject, give this one a shot.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Good Night to All of It...

One of the real horrors of drug abuse and addiction, that few film makers have ever been able to capture, is the grinding tedium. Jim Carroll described it at the end of The Basketball Diaries as "just another 9 to 5 gig." William Burroughs, despite how so many people who romanticize and glamorize drugs through his writing, described it as slow soul rot. COCAINE ANGEL does a really good job of portraying it, without being mind-numbing to watch. It's about as accurate as I've seen. Writer/star Damian K. Lahey... man... I don't recall anybody doing it better.

Tell you what... I sat and watched it with my 15 year old son... and I'm such a thicko, given my own background, but I believe some of this really struck home with him. It's as good a PSA as you're going to get on the topic.

Echo & The Bunnymen and troubled times.

It's definitely an ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN day... crumbling Brooklyn Gothic, expansive, blustery, gray sky and stiff winds. Something about a storm out along the coast and cold fronts battling tropical fronts. The weather probably isn't much different than the first time I heard them nearly 25 years ago. They will always be autumn music for me.

The news is all bad, darker than the clouds. A friend wrote and said that a state of emergency has been declared where she is on the other side of the world. Television and radio broadcasts are shut down. It's getting harder and harder to understand any of it anywhere...

But here I am tucked away cozy and safe with a full stomach and a full refrigerator and a full bank account and it doesn't make sense that it's the same world. It didn't make sense 25 years ago either and much of the news sounds the same. It's a time warp afternoon. I don't get it.

Canus Alopecia Universalis

Damn!!! So it wasn't a CHUPACABRA after all! Though bald coyotes are nearly as disturbing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

VON LMO: Future Language

One I pulled off the shelf recently--THIS IS A LUKEWARM REVIEW but Future Language is the coolest album you probably never heard.

I don't know who wrote this review but judging by his opinion here he probably likes Coldplay or Travis.

Future Language is a great rock and roll album. Period.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Weird scenes inside the gold mine...

You know the day has no place to go but up when the first news story you hear is about a man arrested for having sex with the corpse of a 92 year old woman.

It's a superstitious thing that I sometimes have to work at not letting become a self-fulfilling prophecy--this tendency to forecast the day by the nature of the first bit of news I hear. There are days when the connection is too close.

At just past 6 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001, for example, I wrote in my diary, "9/11--I hope this day doesn't live up to its name." No lie. I had just awakened feeling like crap and was trying to navigate a coffee mug to my lips. And of course we all know the rest of this story. Now I even resent that the term 911 has been coopted as a political slogan...

It's not just your emergency number, nor just a really funny song by Public Enemy...

Anyway, the first news story of today was pretty friggin' weird. Thanks ABC!

****Further thoughts on this: I realize that every TV news show, especially in the short-attention-span early a.m. hours, looks for the biggest hook for the lead story, but it disturbs me that this one is it. There simply MUST be real news that they're overlooking and/or covering up in order to parade this garish horseshit on the morning news.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Autumn in New York

Ah yes, Autumn in New York... Indian summer... now officially renamed Al Gore Summer. It's hard to believe it's the last weekend in October and last night I say at a sidewalk cafe in Murray Hill at 2 a.m.. drinking wine, wearing a sport jacket. It was absolutely balmy, as evidenced by some of the rather skimpy Halloween costumes being sported with no small amount of aplomb by sotted 20-somethings. Remarkable how that neighborhood has changed in 20 years or so, from working class families and retirees to the playground of transplanted suburban youth... too cool for Westchester, but not quite hip enough for Williamsburg and Bushwick.

But yes, a balmy autumn day in NYC... really a perfect day (yesterday) and a reminder of why I stay here on this alien planet.

MoMA for the first time since they came back to 53rd Street. Spent a lot of time in the photography exhibits. A standout: life-size prints by Tanyth Berkeley. I'm not quite sure why or how her rather otherworldly subjects both repel and fascinate me at the same time. It's a sensation I can't quite put a finger on but they're just a little jarring...

Then up to Bin 71 on Columbus Avenue. Okay, I probably don't come across as the typical patron of a wine bar, but there you go... If you haven't been up to the UWS for a while, give it a shot. It's pretty cool.

Then on to Barbes on West 36th & Madison for French/Moroccan cuisine (not to be confused with the music venue of the same name in Park Slope). This has become my favorite midtown restaurant after a couple visits. Food, ambiance, service, staff... all top notch. You could build a whole meal out of the appetizer menu, but why. I did learn a new word there, "Tagine," which evidently means stew. There ya go...

And then of course down into Murray Hill for late night madness... Not usually my milieu but the streets were packed with party-goers, the bars (four to six on every block now) were all teeming. The atmosphere was fantastic. People were smiling at each other. Anything that I thought mattered at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, simply didn't at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. That's pretty cool, if you ask me.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hard done by... a little bit about anger

Do people in the Northeast use this term? Whenever I use it in conversation people give me the puzzled look. For those of you who are NOT familiar, feeling hard done by is simply feeling that you've been cheated in some aspect of your life, either by specific people or organizations, or life in general. The feeling can be valid or invalid, but since "hard done by" is all relative I'd have to say it's usually invalid... relatively speaking. Certainly there are people, say... in Sierra Leone that should have my WORST problems.

Anyway, this brings me to anger. Generally anger comes from the feeling that you've been hard done by. I don't mean momentarily pissed off, but the condition of walking around with a lot of baggage. I was recently accused of being an angry person, ironically by one of the most generally pissed off people I've met in a long time... but it didn't make it untrue.


Yes, I've come to realize in recent years that I'm one of those people who sometimes needs a reminder that shit really isn't so bad at all. I've even gotten to the point where I recognize the sensation of bile rising before it comes up and manifests itself in some ugly statement or observation. Yay me! Right? Don't worry, I'm not patting myself on the back yet. Life is a work in progress and all that.

But I now recognize it in other people too... quite a few people... but recognition of the source (usually pain) makes it a whole lot easier to navigate the world of angry people. There are a lot of us out here who often feel that we just haven't gotten out of something what we've put into it. Something or everything. Perhaps one level of self awareness is knowing that you've gotten exactly what you've put into it... perhaps not. Perhaps that's a level of self-loathing also. But I've never quite reached there. Recognition though, leads to compassion and empathy.

Angry people: Some are clearly more angry than others. One of them filtered into my world just yesterday while I was at work. A really angry one... and fortunately this wasn't a prospective mate, or a violent encounter. I was just sitting there going about my work business when a rather long fax came through from a really pissed off guy named Kazuhiro from Yokohama. Kazu's gripe, apparently, is that "Japanese Cursed Satans" have taken control of their National Police Agency and the staffs of their major hotel chains--and furthermore if it's not addressed immediately then natural disasters will start to level civilization. Nobody is listening and Kazu is really really pissed off:

"Unless you take "Japanese Cursed Satans" away by 2007. Nov. 30, the probability that The Natural Disaster begins to happen from the beginning of 2008 is Very High. That's Natural Disaster will be severe gradually. Then, The Probability of All the People of All the Worldwide to die is Very High by 2011, Dec. 24.

(edit. note: This guy makes Al Gore look positively cheerful.)

***And one of the "Natural Disasters" is evidently an underground nuclear war with No. 5 planet. Hmmmmm****

So Kazu's solution is that all these police and bellhops and chambermaids should be rounded up and dosed up with "confession medicine." Then we find out if they're Christians or Muslims or Buddhists and find out about their "Various Thoughts" and "Various Plans." And after that we continue to "do torture to each Japanese Cursed Satan." The prescription, and I quote:

"You should prepare doctors and nurses. You are supposed to be able to cope with it with blood transfusio., the intravenous drip, and so on fully to Satans. You don't need to use transfusions to Satans. You should stamp the brand (carved seal) of 666 on Satans forehead to Satans. You should cut mans and womans Satans pubic hair with a knife. You should cut mans Satans penis in the root with scissors. You should put may glass pieces in the womans ***and it gets grim here*** Then you should dedicate Satans penes to offer a sacrifice for God."

I don't remember God ever calling for penile sacrifice anywhere in the Bible... but what's my point here? I guess my point is, Kazuhiro is a miserable bastard. It really must feel awful to walk around with all this anger and fear. My anger doesn't compare on any level... so even as far as feeling hard done by goes, I haven't been hard done by. And of course I'm not a paranoid schizophrenic so that's something to feel good about (Reasons to be cheerful, part 2). That's just another reason to face this day with positivity.

My lesson for myself each morning. Let go.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Missing Link

Researchers at Washington University in Missouri have posited that NEANDERTHAL MAN MAY HAVE HAD RED HAIR.

We at The Glossophagia Institute have known this since the early 70s, as evidenced by a hominid speciman known as THE GINGER MAN.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


There are some days, few and far between thankfully, that it really takes something raw to shake off the weird stuff. I don't know why this song by The Anti-Nowhere League makes me feel so joyful, but it really does. If it's a reflection of anything perhaps it's just the toxins you can take on during the course of those odd weird days.

"I Hate...People"

God I wish that I could hide away
And find a wall to bang my brains
I'm living in a fantasy, a nightmare dream... reality
People ride about all day
In metal boxes made away
I wish that they would drop the bomb
And kill these cunts that don't belong

I hate people
I hate the human race
I hate people
I hate your ugly face
I hate people
I hate your fucking mess
I hate people
They hate me

My mother thinks that I am a jerk
Because I hate my bleeding work
Be like your daddy he's sincere
But don't be true... or you'll be queer
I'm working at my 9 to 5
with boring cunts that give me jibe
their talking of the love they give
they never give... they never give

I hate people
I hate the human race
I hate people
I hate your ugly face
I hate people
I hate your fucking mess
I hate people
They hate me

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


LOTS OF SHIT THAT GOES OVER MY HEAD but I'm passing it on because you might think I'm cool for knowing about it.

For Skin

Yes, I really did have to go there, but HERE'S A SOLUTION that could end animal testing. After all, putting eyeliner on a rabbit doesn't make it any sexier, does it?

Monday, October 22, 2007

We are the sons of no one...

Running late on the F train this morning, having just bounded down the stairs to catch the doors on the last car before they closed. First song on the iPod shuffle is the song that I still believe defines my generation... those of us caught on the ass end of the Baby Boom and too fucking old to be called Slackers... some of us may slack but we're probably less cynical, having been indoctrinated at least a little by the idealistic 60s... too much so to ease comfortably into the Reagan Era. I do believe that Paul Westerberg and the Replacements did about the best job of capturing the zeitgeist (I've been waiting my whole life to use that word conversationally so I hope it's not misused here)of the times and my age group. But this song has long been a favorite, and the perfect first song of the first workday of the week, when I'm still feeling squirrelly and asking myself "who the fuck am I and what the fuck am I doing????"

Bastards of the Young: (the lyrics may be just a little off)

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, there ain't no beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin' cotton and waitin' to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no war to name us

The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Young...take it, it's yours...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

For the record...

The previous two posts are not connected. Today isn't about romantic adversity. It's about sunshine and uploading favorite songs to the iPod. I'm not about to get maudlin and personal in cyberspace. I save "maudlin" for sharing over a bottle of red wine and tears when I'm having a Sensitive New Age Guy episode.

Steve Goodman: Souvenirs

Never heard Steve Goodman's but John Prine's cover always blows me away. So what do you do with the souvenirs of past relationships... letters, photos etc. Do you throw them out? Do you keep them? I'm not talking about when they become an albatross around your neck and you're heartsick and depressed. Anyway, this is a beautiful song and unfortunately I can't offer it up with the music:

All the snow has turned to water,
Christmas days have come and gone.
Broken toys and faded colours are all that's left to linger on.
I hate graveyards and old oawn shops,
For they always bring me tears.
I can't forgive the way they robbed me of my childhood souvenirs.

Memories, they can't be boughten.
They can't be won at carnivals for free.
Well it took me years to get those souvenirs,
And i don't know how they slipped away from me.

Broken hearts and dirty windows
Make life difficult to see.
That's why last night and this morning
Always look the same to me.
And I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears.
I can't forget the way they robbed me,
Of my sweetheart's souvenirs.

Memories they can't be boughten,
They can't be won at carnivals for free.
Well it took me years to get those souvenirs
And i don't know how they slipped away from me.

Delroy Wilson: Better Must Come

Don't read anything into this. I'm not currently balls to the wall facing some tremendous adversity, but I have been different points in my life... I think most of us have moments of hopelessness and despair. This song has been my mantra through several. No real adversity this morning; it's hard to feel bad about anything on such a beautiful day. The weather has reached the point where it's ALMOST seasonable and global warming is nearly ignorable (or Algoreable as the case may be). The news is dire and woeful though, so it was nice to turn on the Reggae Schoolroom (where is Jeff Sarge this week???) and hear Delroy Wilson.

I've been trying a long, long time
Still I can't make it
Everything I try to do seems to go wrong
It seems I have done something wrong
But they're trying to keep me down

Who God bless, no one curse,
thank God I'm past the worst

Better must come one day
Better must come, they can't conquer me
Better must come [*fine]

I've been trying a long, long time
But I can't make it
Noone to give me a helping hand
The only sign keeps me down
Who God...

Oh my people get a seed (seat ?)
They're trying to take advantage of me
Better must come, better must come
Better must come one day
Better must come

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Teenage Kicks, my iPod, and Why I Will Burn In Hell

Okay, lighten up. You can't go to a place you don't believe in, right? I mean, unless you're dumb enough not to believe in say... New Jersey. But yes, I'm a very bad man. Not the worst but if this is any indication...

Have I said lately how much I love my new iPod? It's the new 8 gig Nano, video capable if I'm so inclined, which I'm not. If it's got one weak point I'd say it's the earbuds which just don't stick in my ears. So I'm on my way to the train and stopped to adjust these confounded things when one of my neighbors passes me by, saying hello and moving on. Now, no disrespect intended but this woman has what you might call really tidy rear quarter panels... you might call it that if you were immature enough to refer to a woman's body parts in autobody terms. I just couldn't tear my eyes away.

Teenage Dreams so hard to beat... yeah and in a moment of cosmic confluence we've got the Undertones on the iPod.

So I'm watching this woman walk away, another guy coming from the opposite direction passes the woman and nods a polite hello. He's also pretty enrapt and looking back over his shoulder watching her sway off. It's really not my fault that he's not watching where he's going, but I could have given him a head's up. Not going to though. No way I'm warning him about the lump of hardened concrete in the middle of the walk. Quite the opposite, I've forgotten the ass and I'm watching the train wreck about to happen. Worse, I'm feeling pretty gleeful about it. Yes... he nails it. Yes he lurches and stumbles. Yes his coffee goes flying. Yes, I am probably going to burn in hell, that is, if there is one.

But anyway... my iPod. I think I held out longer than anybody on this gadget. I was still fairly reserved though, agnostic even. It wasn't a lot more to get the 80 gig unit that holds 40,000 songs. Just a few weeks ago though I was of a mind that I could go a whole day with only one CD in a DiscMan. Who needs more? You pick something that suits your mood that morning and run with it. More on that in a bit.

It's always been my habit to listen to entire albums from beginning to end. It always seemed that's the way the artist planned so I'd go with it. As of this morning though I've got about 1300 songs on the iPod and I've been listening to it on shuffle. It's sort of like listening to the radio but with no commercials. I remembered that MOST artists, while often paying attention to the order of the tracks for those who don't listen to the radio, mostly just recorded songs... doesn't make a difference. Now, the advantage to having a variety of stuff on shuffle while going about your day to day business, the commute etc. is that you are no longer at the mercy of your prevailing mood. You can sort of roll with it. A song can come up randomly that can totally change the pace and energy of the day. That's a step up if you started the day in kind of a pissy funk and happened to choose something like Leonard Cohen to suit that mood.

And I don't think I even have to get into the advantages of size... The new Nano is about the size of three credit cards stacked together. Slips into any pocket and you hardly notice it.

So that's my pointless ramble for the day. Love me. Love my iPod. Pray for my immortal soul.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Van Morrison, Live At the United Palace 10/13/07

I promised a review of this show a week ago and then remembered how much I hate writing review. That may sound odd given that I used to write a few dozen a week, but it is what it is--I grew weary of trying to explain exactly what certain albums and songs make me feel and why.

That said, this was probably the best VAN MORRISON show I've seen, out of roughly 2 dozen. It would be wrong not to at least give mention to that. (It would also be unfair not to mention that the UNITED PALACE, homebase to the weekly sermons of REVEREND IKE is one of the coolest venues I've ever seen.)

My relationship with Van is interesting: He's in my top 10 favorite artists of all time, but he shares that list with mostly punk bands or assorted later acts (read late 70s through early 80s). It's one of those things, with both his recordings and his live shows... when he's on he's really really on, and nothing moves me more, and when he's not, total snooze. What he does right, nobody else comes close to, not for me. I've never heard songs that compare to his best. I've never heard phrasing the compares to his... and very few other artists inspire chills and goosebumps the way he does for me.

He was really really "on" on last Saturday night. The set list was mostly culled from his jazzier stuff. The band was tight. He was in good form, good voice... good humor (I actually saw him grinning which is a first for me.). It was perfect. The material he did was primarily from the last 20 years... it was not what you would call a greatest hits show, unless you include Moondance and a stomping encore of Gloria.

I don't want to get into explaining what it is... the way he hangs a phrase out in space, or runs strange little vocal arpeggios...not quite scat, nothing like I've ever heard from someone else. Someone commented once that if you ignore what he's singing and just listen, he's singing trumpet and sax solos. It makes sense... whatever he's doing it's magic.

And as great as he was Saturday night, I'm told he was better on Sunday... Credit it to whatever--some people are saying it's because he's been sober for 5 years--whatever he's done, it works. If you've never seen him, or saw him on a bad night and were disappointed, etc... go out of your way to check him out.

Oh really... (More suspect research)

This study offers up a theory about why MALES DIE BEFORE FEMALES. They suggest it's competition for sex that drive males to an early grave. That may or may not be true, but perhaps it's not simply the stress. Just maybe... now think about this for a second... just maybe... that after going through all that hassle, we simply wish to die.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fly United: The NoTel Motel Takes Wing

Just the other day I was waxing poetic about airlines adding internet access to their in-flight accommodations... and how it would enable travellers to view internet porn etc. etc., blah blah blah.

Now Singapore Airlines has TURNED IT UP A NOTCH with the addition of double beds in the first class cabin... which of course combined with internet access could turn it into the no class cabin... What will they think of next???

Props to the Blogistani (whose blogs are inaccessible due to a coup d'etat or something) for forwarding this very uplifting story.

1 Year of Glossophagia!

It was pointed out to me today that October 15, 2007 marks the 1-Year Anniversary of Glossophagia. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has followed along and indulged what I've come to call My Digital Vanity, and shared MY DEEPEST THOUGHTS AND FONDEST DREAMS AND MOST INTENSE MEDITATION.

Thanks guys... really.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Morning Comin' Down...

I've been listening to this song by KRIS KRISTOFFERSON for as long as I can remember now. I've heard dozens of covers of it, and always liked his original the best. BUT, it was only recently that I realized I've misunderstood the premise of the title. Call me a thicko... It only struck me recently that it's not that Sunday morning is coming down, but that you're coming down on Sunday morning. Duh!!! Makes so much more sense, especially in the context of the wild Saturday night culture that I've been a part of for the better part of my adult life. I've had some heroic sort of Tom Waits song, Charles Bukowski Sunday mornings... wandering around brain damaged and trying to piece myself together for Monday morning. Those are in the past for the most part. Ain't so bad today. Great concert last night with full report to come later. Van Morrison was HOT HOT HOT!!! So it's a brisk, sunny morning. I'm getting some work done and listening to Jeff Sarge's Reggae Schoolroom on WFMU (that's 91.1 FM folks or you can stream it at www.wfmu.org).

Cheers... more later.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Autumn is here, apparently. Or at least the temperature has dropped low enough to go into willful denial about Global Warming for a few days. That gets me thinking about denial though, and it gets me thinking that life is strange when A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION that might as well be titled "A Remarkable Grasp of the Obvious" can win Al Gore a Nobel Peace Prize. Doesn't seem to me their standards are too high this year.

But autumn is here, at least as far as the calendar tells me. It's got me contemplating LEATHER.

Shit... not THAT leather. Let's try again.

Autumn has me contemplating LEATHER. New York has changed an awful lot over the years, what with all the GENTRIFICATION, but one look around tells you that leather is still the official uniform of NYC.... Particularly black leather. And I have lived here long enough to officially call myself a New Yorker so I'm breaking out the leather... jackets... minds out of the gutter folks.

I was pulling on the OTHER PART OF MY NYC UNIFORM this morning and thinking about WEIGHT LOSS...

Shit... not that. Thinking about WEIGHT LOSS. I've got a ways to go but I'm down to 215 and feeling pretty good. Still lots of toning to do, but I'm pleased with myself. About 5 years ago I had reached TREMENDOUS PROPORTIONS! I was up to 265 with a whopping 52" chest, 42" waist, 20" neck, and a BIG FRIGGIN' FAT ASS! Now I've still got some toning to do (I had gone back up to 235 but dropped 20 in the last two months), but now the measurements are 46" chest, 36" waist and a 17" neck. I look better, and yes I'm vain enough to feel good about that, and I feel better. Stuff stops shaking sooner after running down a flight of stairs. Cool...

I QUIT SMOKING several months ago also and I will admit to missing it, but I'm getting my wind back. Life ain't so bad.

But it's autumn and perhaps because of more darkness and more time spent indoors, the atmosphere is conducive to INTROSPECTION AND REFLECTION...

Oh Jesus Christ... Once more... INTROSPECTION AND REFLECTION. It's never a bad time to take stock of one's life and make adjustments accordingly. So that's sort of a pledge I've made to myself for this fall.

First on the agenda is to go see VAN MORRISON and BOBBY BLUE BLAND tonight. Soul and Irish Soul for the soul. Good way to get the brain and the heart back into a good space. Full report tomorrow.

Its a beautiful day... be in it. (someone remind me tomorrow to say something about how much I dig my new iPod.) And the photo above, by the way, is of course me being contemplative... and contemplating things in a contemplative manner...

Thursday, October 11, 2007



Seriously now, you don't need a study whether here or in England to tell you that little kids are stressed out of their skulls and this is pretty much caused by the pressure that we put on them... now global warming and the war on terror aside, because there has always been war...

The terror I've seen children put through by the over-achieving self-professed super parents is just horrific. It's something I've witnessed firsthand. I've seen 4th graders told in no uncertain terms that their citywide Math and English tests would impact them for the rest of their lives... 4th grade... 10 years old. Add to that the hectic schedules we put them through... out of the house, often a commute to the school because the school down the street, for some reason or another isn't good enough. After school programs because both parents work... accelerated academic programs, extra-curricular activities. Kids aren't kids any longer. It sucks. We suck.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Now you won't need a partner


I was going to apologize in advance, but you know somebody up there is going to be checking out A LOT MORE THAN WIKIPEDIA.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mark Lanegan

There are few voices that touch me as deeply as that of Mark Lanegan. It's not even something I can explain beyond that it comes from some incredible place beyond day to day experience and resonates in some distant corner of my brain--the part where I store all the stuff that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. He connects to something very profound that I can't really put words to.

Screaming Trees always took a back seat to the Nirvana in that whole Seattle scene... never quite got that. Maybe Lanegan is just too much for some people. Dunno...

But there are days when nothing else will do--when you just have to take it someplace just a little beyond. Field Songs did it for me today. Not to be repetitive, but it's beyond good songwriting. It's the voice itself. Some people are endowed with a pleasant singing voice and the ability to carry a tune. Then there are others whose voice is an instrument unto itself. And even beyond that there are those whose voice is acts as a vehicle for something else... go ahead and be a skeptic. If you're uncomfortable with that thought, consider it in terms of just pure ability to communicate the most profound emotions. Anyway anyhow... yeah, Mark Lanegan. I dig this guy.

WFMU 91.1

Special mention this morning to my source for most of the new music I've heard/learned about for the last couple decades: WFMU 91.1

Right now I'm listening to Jeff Sarge's Reggae Schoolroom, a program that's rocked me through more Sunday mornings than I can count. And technology being what it is, I can tune in on the web when I'm out of the Northeast (which happens too infrequently these last couple years, incidently). Anyway, just thought they deserve a shout out.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Connection Works

I'd like to give a special big up today to a new non-profit organization called CONNECTION WORKS formed right here in the warm sunny bosom of Brooklyn. My boys took me today to Brooklyn Music Wide Open, the first of an ongoing series of shows/workshops/jam sessions hosted by this very special organization, founded by Brooklyn's own ROB GARCIA. It was truly a special day, run by and filled with very special people. My kids, on drums and keyboards in the photo above, walked out of there today floating on air. I can't tell you how cool it was...

Thanks to everybody from Connection Works.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Keep an eye on this man... or a few dozen eyes

Mr. Potato Head: Hero? Visionary? Genius? Beloved friend to generations of children???


You ever get the feeling you've been had?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's A Man's Man's Man's World

There's just no denying that. Anybody who says otherwise is either blind or just plain dumb.

But hopefully THIS VERDICT will be a big step towards making it a better place for women in the workplace. The only downside to the whole affair is that Isiah Thomas doesn't have to pay too. This clearly delivers a message though and I hope corporate America takes notice. This passage says it all:

"One day my daughter will go out to work; this was done for her and all women," Browne Sanders said as a bottle of champagne sat on ice in her lawyers' offices in Times Square.

"If you have a sister, a mother, a daughter or wife who goes to work each day, if you are a man you should be outraged" by sex harassment, she added. "It is something that occurs everywhere."

I want to hear more of that, from more men and from more women. I really believe this is a positive outcome.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

You've come a long way, baby!!

Or then again, maybe you haven't. Madison Avenue is still at it, stooping to any level, including exploiting insecurity, to sell product. When I was a kid there was a similar advertisement on primetime TV: "Did you ever get that 'not so fresh' feeling?" Okay... so it's not like I'm playing Joe Sensitive here, but it's a wonder women even talk to us guys...

And for christs sake... Lysol????

Monday, October 01, 2007

Three months down...

Three months off the cancer bus. I definitely feel the health benefits already, but there hasn't been a day yet that I haven't missed it just a little.... bastards!!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Into The Wild

I don't know where to begin with this film... I want to write a glowing review but I'd be hard pressed to to explain why I find a movie that ends the way it does is still so incredibly uplifting and not tragic. You'd think me insane.

I guess if you'd ever longed really deeply for truth and meaning... and I mean really ached and pained for it, this film is really going to hit you hard. If you've ever wanted to strip it all down to just raw experience... beauty... purity... it's going to resonate with you.

If there was a rapturous equivalent of Munch's Scream, this might be it.

Yeah... I get it. It's really cool.

I didn't know the story ahead of time. I didn't know the book. It was all fresh and new. It really shook me.

Sean Penn... always loved the guy. This does nothing to lessen that.

Special Thanks...

I don't usually get to personal with this space, but every so often I don't figure it's such a bad idea to take a moment and give a special shout out and a big up to people who've gone above and beyond...

I've been incredibly fortunate my entire life... blessed if you're inclined to believe in the divine... to have come into contact with very special people. Family, friends, teachers... whatever you want to call them... People who have kept me level when the world was off kilter. It's been an odd few months for me, as some of you have heard about at length from me. There have been some ups and downs and some situations... health issues etc. I've spent the better part of the summer of 2007 getting inspected, injected and all that other stuff... I've been tested for cancers and infections of all my nether regions inside and out. Nuff said. It's been trying. Still no diagnosis, but some heavy shit ruled out.

I guess it's probably not all that big a worry. People who have seen me recently can tell you I'm not missing too many meals. It's all good. I will will live until I don't. All good.

Just wanted to take a moment to give a special shout out... You all know who you are. The people that I piss and moan too. The people that I've dumped trailer loads of grief and exhaustion onto.

Thanks for putting up with it. I don't deserve you.

Life ain't so bad, even on the rough days. I was coming home this evening on the F train and it pulled up out of the ground at Carroll Street while the sun was setting. I've spent the day with one of my dearest friends. I'm headed back to a comfortable home and as yet another friend said to me this morning... You are not alone.

Thanks... I know that. I really do.

Friday, September 28, 2007


On every count.. I mean really. Just look at him.

Edvard Munch: The Scream

Why does this painting resonate so profoundly with so many people?

I credit Munch's Scream as having kicked open the door to the possibility that I could be moved by art. There was nothing that really did it for me up until that point. I was working in a remaindered book warehouse and thumbing through artbooks during a break. I turned a page and was dumbstruck... the emotional equivalent of being donkey-punched.

It was definitely an empathic response. I'd been there. I'd felt that. I knew it and it encompassed all my deepest fear and dread.

Twenty years later it strikes me just how many people have had exactly the same reaction to this tiny little painting--and it is tiny when you actually see it (which is impossible now as it was so badly damaged by thieves). In the scale it's in, it portrays an even greater sense of hopeless and despair. How is it possible that so many people feel this so deeply... this primal fear... this horror?


Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Modern Lovers s/t Re-issue

I'm generally very skeptical of the promises of re-issues and remastering. With the exception of a few companies, Rhino, for example, there are usually no discernable differences between the original release and the newer one. It also doesn't help that this whole remastering craze is tied mostly into schemes to eliminate budget series like Nice Price or Best Buy (not the chain store)and raise the prices... and hopefully compel fans to repurchase music that they probably already own... etc.

That being said... I held off for a long time on buying The Modern Lovers re-issue on Castle earlier this year. Yes I saw that there were alternate takes of a few songs. Yes I read that it sounded better than ever. I'm a skeptic though... see above. The other day though I went into my local store (Music Matters on 7th Avenue in Park Slope)and it was playing. There is such a marked difference on even a modest system that it nearly sounded like new songs.

The songs always stood up on their own, even at the lowest fidelity... which is the highest compliment you can bestow on any musician or music. It never mattered to me that the drums sounded like cardboard boxes, or that Jerry Harrison's organ sounded like a $50 Casio played in the next room... the flat, muffled vocals didn't bother me. But now that's all gone! We're not talking state of the art, but the difference is tremendous nonetheless. There is separation between the instruments. There is depth. There is punch that the songs never had.

The bonus tracks... all killer. Someone I Care About sounds like an entirely different song. Modern World rocks a lot harder than the original. And Roadrunner... the lyrics somewhat different, but it works up to a fierce ending. Entirely different vibe by the end, and a real showstopper.

Verdict... worth the extra money, even if like me you have two pristine copies on vinyl and the original CD release.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Some days you just have to cop to it...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Home is where the heart is...

Got a couple thoughtful responses on the other thread, and I've been thinking about it more. I'm still not sure I have any big answer. Then again, there are very seldom any big answers to big questions, so it's all good.

I'm leaning towards "home is where the heart is" as an answer, and that's pretty vague and broad of course.

So yes, I've felt "at home" in this filthy old city, and I've felt homesick for it when I was away. There's a specific energy, rhythm and vibe and culture that I've missed, though it has to be said that much of this has been washed out by gentrification, urban renewal, social engineering and various demographic shifts... Still, I do remember the days flying back into New York at night and seeing the skyline, anchored hard at the bottom by the World Trade Center. It gave me such a charge. And I'd look around on the plane and try to pick out the faces of the people who might be coming here for the first time for whatever reason, for a vacation, for business, to live... You could just feel the excitement...

And driving fast up the Jersey Turnpike towards home there would be this one point where all of a sudden you could start tuning in the FM stations and the music was different and the voices were different.

And there have been moments when I haven't been anywhere... just down on the front stoop talking to the neighbors, gossiping, having a few drinks... it was hard to imagine living somewhere where the houses aren't attached and you might not see your neighbor coming and going and get that Howahya... and what do people do in places where people actually use their back yards? How do they get to know their neighbors? There are times when I cannot imagine being anywhere else.

Maybe I just get too caught up in looking for the big answers when there are none. Maybe home is just another transitory notion... no less special, but not some permanent ideal spot... just a moment in time.

Adieu Marcel...

So I had this idea, and don't think I'm hung up on Marcel Marceau, because frankly mimes give me the creeps and despite a few cool moves that translate to neat dances, I don't understand the entertainment value.

BUT... I had this idea about Marcel's funeral. Instead of having him lie in state, they should put him in full mime gear and makeup and have him standing upright in a transparent lucite box, like the PopeMobile, posed so it looks like he's doing that trapped in a box thing that mimes do. Would that be disrespectful? No, I think it would be perfect.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

RIP Marcel Marceau?

MARCEL MARCEAU. Dead, or just lying there very silently?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Define "Home," please...

I know I don't get a lot of traffic here, but this is a topic I've been thinking a lot about recently, perhaps always a nagging thought at the back of my head, or perhaps inspired by someone close who has been dealing with homesickness. It would be nice to get at least a few well thought out answers... personal anecdotes... not theory.

So what does "home" mean to you? Is it a place? What about the place makes it home? Is it a feeling or a state of mind? Could you find it anywhere?

How about homesickness? Ever felt it? Ever tried to remedy it? Ever gone home and found it wasn't the same? Anybody reclaim home successfully?

So, please... anyone, if you could...

Paula Carino Recap

In a perfect world, on a perfect morning, on one of those perfect days when I don't have to work, I'd turn on the radio in the morning and hear:

Robots Helping Robots by Paula Carino
In The Poppies by Boy With A Fish

and The Rules by The Actual Facts which is my favorite single of the week.

And of course there would be world peace, and end to hunger, a cure for AIDS etc. but that's a bit more complicated. You'd think getting really good rock/pop singles on the radio would be a lot more simple, but all evidence points to the contrary.

So I saw three of the five bands on the bill last night (sorry Mofos, but just couldn't hang). For three sets of live music, it was a perfect world, or at least a perfect corner of it.

I don't think it's so unreasonable that some radio station somewhere couldn't capture just a little bit of the fun from last night. Perhaps its safer that good rock and roll remains strictly in the moment... but it would be nice to see dedicated songwriters and musicians recognized for their contributions. They deserve a lot more than a day job and a cut of the door.

But last night was just about right in the world.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gig Alert--Paula Carino

I think it's important to start a weekend off right and I can't think of any better way than to go downtown and see PAULA CARINO & The New Dealbreakers at the Delancey:

Friday, Sept 21 at the Delancey

8:00 Overlord
9:00 Paula Carino and her new Dealbreakers
10:00 Boy with a Fish
11:00 The Actual Facts
12:00 The Mofos

The Delancey
168 Delancey (between Clinton & Attorney)

Its always a treat to see Paula live... and though I don't know most of the other acts, you might want to stay for The Actual Facts as well. I've seen them twice... also a lot of fun.

O.J. vs. The Jena 6 and stuff

This is an interesting article about the so-called liberal media and race in America. It says an awful lot about how the media addresses people of color. It's just sad.

This is one of those days where the news is just dire... I mean, it always is, but some days get to me more than others. I've been told more than once in my life that I should take a hiatus, and it always sounds like a good idea, but it never happens. I wish I could sometimes but it feels like a betrayal.

The Jena 6 story is too important to ignore. The O.J. story will have no bearing on your life... ever. The link to the article above is important too.

Things that make you go.... WTF???

Last night I had recurring dreams about making brownies. Well, I should say... dreams about being unsuccessful making brownies. They were very vivid dreams and after each step I'd wake up and say to myself, "Wow, that was so vivid. It's just got to be symbolic of something."

Round one: not enough water or whatever liquid so the mix was too dry.
Wake up.... hmmmmm.

Round two: forgot to butter the pan.
Wake up.... hmmmm.

Round three: pan too big--have to find smaller pan.
Wake up.... this is getting annoying.

And so on through the night. Now, this could all really mean something. Or I could be just thinking like a fat person.

Why am I sharing this? Perhaps because I didn't get enough sleep.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is the world more violent than it used to be?

Steven Pinker makes a damn good argument here that this simply isn't the case. Don't know if I'm convinced though. This is a damn good argument though.

***So having given this some thought on the subway home--and that's where I do some of my best thinking, aside from the bathroom and perhaps that has something to do with similar air quality: Pinker's argument definitely stands up in a semantic sense. There may even be fewer individual acts of violence, BUT perhaps the more appropriate and relevant question would be, "Is the world more dangerous than it used to be?" OR Is there more potential danger from individual acts of violence... etc. Certainly the threat of death at the hands of another human being, whether it be a random act of violence, or a vaunted WMD, or war, or just blatant, wholesale destruction of the environment (which is perhaps the most insidious act of violence of all), is great than it has ever been. That's a topic that perhaps the academics could address more honestly. People in general may be less violent, but violent individuals have become much better at what they do and there has never been more reason to be afraid.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Take a number...

I came across this map a few days ago, quite by coincidence, after being involved with a conversation in another blog hemisphere. Of course THIS blog site is #1 because it represents freedom and liberty that other blogs don't have with the censors and... But I digress.

So anybody that knows me knows I'm not big on national pride or nationalism--and I don't really see much division between the two. My entire life I've been told that I live in the best country in the world and I should be thankful that I live here and not other places... and I mean ANY other place. After a short time--like before I got out of middle school--it began to sound not a lot different than THOU SHALT HAVE NO GOD BEFORE ME, or, THE BEATLES ARE THE BEST THERE IS OR EVER WILL BE! And anybody that knows me knows how I feel on those subjects also.

Anyway, without me getting into why things like flag-burning laws give me hives... And without my writing an insanely long laundry list of what this country has been guilty of and is currently guilty of... I need someone to tell me: What makes us NUMBER ONE??? Why should I be grateful? And I'm sorry... comparing life in middle class whitesville to crimes committed by the Hitlers and Stalins and Pol Pots of the world is stupid. Don't even go there. It's not only intellectually dishonest. It's downright insulting and I will bite back hard. That's not a challenge, but I'd prefer this to be civil discourse. I wouldn't rule out full out arguing though. I'm not beyond getting ugly either.

So what makes us Number One? And if you're not from here and believe that someplace else is Number One, please elaborate and elucidate... Or screw it... just enjoy the little map up above. It's funny.

The conversation on the other blogs, by the way, began with a man talking about the Confederate flag, and how revisionist historians in the South have tried to distance the flag as a symbol from the issue of slavery--and that anybody who was made uncomfortable by the flag was just ignorant. It seems to me, sadly, that people speaking in defense of the U.S. and the American flag and all the good it supposedly symbolizes, are similarly trying to selectively divorce the issues of contention. Is it unreasonable to assume that many people here and around the world aren't incorrect when they say that our flag is symbolic of oppression and slavery?

And for the record... I've travelled fairly extensively across North America, and saw some incredible things and met some incredible people. There is plenty to enjoy about being here, but I'm not convinced that any of it is unique to the United States. I will list a few of these experiences at some point, but that's really another conversation altogether.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I don't get this at all...

This just gives me the willies!!! The tail alone... It actually made me shudder when I first came upon it.

Jogging is for pussies...

I was surfing the World o' Blogs the other night and came upon a disturbing number of blogs written from the P.O.V. of pets... in this case cats. This might be more frightening than the trend of parents blogging from the P.O.V. of their infants... no, it's more frightening. I was thinking about linking to these cat blogs, but decided that might be kind of an invasion of privacy. So I figure this photo goes a long way towards explaining my feelings about pet obsessions... and hey, I love dogs and cats as much as the next guy, but am I going to do a daily narrative? No...

Has it ever occurred to me to take a pet jogging???? No... but apparently enough people do that this pet stroller has become a viable product. This, as much as anything I've seen in a long time, is evidence that some people have faaaar to much money.

Remember that hot 24 y.o. from the chat room????

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Parts & Labor: Mapmaker

Disclaimer: I'm officially OFF the terrorist video kick, at least for now... Any resemblance between BJ Warshaw of PARTS & LABOR and Allen Ginsberg or any other bearded man on the FBI/CIA watchlist is purely coincidental. That's not to say that these guys couldn't blow some shit up and jack up a few conservative asses, but it is a coincidence.

I first saw these guys a couple summers ago opening for The Evens at East River Park and totally loved them. They're like a cross between a power trio and a science fair project. I was somewhat skeptical watching them set up... guitar, bass and heavily duct taped drums... but both guitar and bass players opened up these big boards loaded with pedals, switches and mini-keyboards. You see that and figure, this could be either really bad, or really really good, and it went the latter.

I picked up their last album, Stay Afraid, last year and it was high up there on my best of 2006 list. Hard to say why I waited to get Mapmaker... I think I was afraid of being disappointed, or just having 12 more tracks of Stay Afraid. It's not the case though, so color me... happy.

So how does one describe Parts & Labor? I'm searching for words... Imagine Celtic-themed pop anthems floated above a roaring bed of guitar and bass and wicked distortion and effects, and fierce caveman drum stomps. You will, by the way, find very few drummers that are more interesting to watch than Chris Weingarten, who is unfortunately (or fortunately for him?) leaving the band. They're searching for somebody new. In any event, when I say "Celtic-themed" don't expect anything vaguely resembling the Pogues. I guess it's safest to check out their MySpace page that I linked to above. If you like huge sound, and I mean large and loud, you will like it. Still very accessible in a pop sense though. I've not heard anybody else like them. They are, by the way, high up on my list for what I'd use to break my lease, and that's about the highest compliment I can pay a rock and roll band.

Osama Gets Jiggy Wit Whitney Houston!!!!


Well, no... this is, of course, Allen Ginsberg getting jiggy wit Buddha or something like that. And Allen Ginsberg is, of course, dead for a long time now. And though there is some speculation that the same is true of Osama, AND, Allen and Osama were never spotted together... we're pretty sure that they're not the same person. This picture though... hmmmmmmmmm.

Anyway, I was just sitting here drinking coffee and pretending I'm an intellectual when I ran across this article about "The Beats," and how they are too stylistically different to all be labelled as part of the same "movement." The fellow makes some really good points here and I've often wondered myself exactly what defining criteria make up any "movement" or "generation" an literature, art or music. With music, I can't even comprehend the subtleties that go into defining specific genres or sub-genres. This is a good little essay, in any case... and that's a great picture of Osama... er.... Allen. Osama and Allen, by the way, despite being as different as two men can be (ignoring the awful beards and horrific fashion sense), do have one major thing in common, that is they were both considered dangerous by the FBI and the CIA. The cool thing is that Allen didn't even have to kill anybody! All he did was write poetry... and that is very, very cool.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Before They Were Famous, Part 1

Many people don't know that before he was an international terrorist, Osama Bin Laden played guitar with Andrew WK!!!

I'll have five tubs o' creamy slaw, please!!!

Sorry sir, only one per customer...

Okay, make that just one tub o' creamy slaw!

Okay please drive around to the window.

Video Killed The AP Newswire Star

Ya know... you wake up in the morning and switch on the computer and browse news headlines whilst sipping that first cup of whatever drug gets your ass in gear. The first headline I see this morning is:

(I'm not linking to the story because I don't care.)

The first thing that goes through my head is NOT, "Oooooh, I wonder what this terrible man has to say now," but rather, "Cool, I wonder if Spike Jonze has directed this one." Then I double check to see if I'm looking at the entertainment headlines. Apparently I'm not, but still, once the ball is rolling.... It certainly LOOKS like an entertainment headline. I'm going to assume that it is because I can't imagine the Mad Mogul of World Destruction calling his PR guy and saying, "Psssst, leak this to our boy at Al Jazeera: New Bin Laden video forthcoming." I mean really... think about it. Is there really a buzz in the terror network about a new video about to be released?

"Yo, check it out, son... Osama is about to bust out with a brand new video. Directed by Spike Jonze, guest appearances by Diddy, Foxy Brown, Satan and 72 virginal Elvis imitators!!!" Seriously... wouldn't they just drop it on the news outlets? Do they call them ahead of time and say, "Hey yo, this next package isn't a bomb. It's a new Osama video, so don't blow it up before you watch it."

I'm not saying there's not a new video... just saying the whole presentation in the news is kind of suspect. If for no other reason than our government's conflicting claims that Al Qaeda is either in disarray, or reorganizing, or in disarray again, and that they now purportedly have a "Media Arm."

I'm far too simple for all this... I want my MTV.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oh really...

I never would have guessed that the rock and roll lifestyle is hazardous to your health. So glad a university professor sorted out this burning question for me.


If you have children you have to READ THIS STORY NOW. Read it even if you don't have children. It's pretty much a no-brainer, isn't it? How could there not be a connection?

Okay, so I'm not trying to be an alarmist here. We have certainly made advances in nutrition and medicine and such and longevity continues to inch forward. It was fairly well established long ago though that quality of life on the back end of the increased life span was seriously diminished. More and more though it seems the quality of life, at least in regards to health, is seriously diminished on the front end. Obesity, childhood diabetes, asthma and a load of other afflictions, autism and assorted neurological issues. Studies have connected many of these afflictions to manmade stimuli in the environment and food supply. Rather than do further study, our government tries to slander the studies. This shit has got to stop.

The British government missed a fantastic opportunity here, as state in the article, to take control of an identified problem. Here in the United States our Senators and Congressman are shooting down one bill after another just to get proper labeling on packaged food... labeling that is honest about what all the ingredients are, how and where the food is packaged, nutritional information. We voted for these people and who are they protecting?

Anyway... that's my daily rant.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

School Days

Nah... not the Stanley Clarke album, though it is a great one and if you don't own it, you should... Glossophagia edict.

No, this is the deal. Today is the day that school resumes for umpteen billion NYC school children. And stuff goes back into full grind for umpteen billion NYC parents. I know that there are a few regular readers who are or have been parents of school age kids here in the city, so you know what I'm talking about.

It's not just the added morning hassle of making sure your sons and daughters are up and there on time. Or even the dread of coming home from a long day of work to check homework and make sure everything is prepared for the next day, everybody clean, clothes laid out, lunches made etc. etc. The routines are the lesser part of it.

There is something more profoundly irksome and sometimes stultifying about the whole process. When I was growing up, granted in a very small town, the community was smaller and the people you dealt with during the school year, other adults, children etc., were pretty much the same as you dealt with on weekends and in the summer. Life was sort of consistent. Your kids walked to school and played with kids on the block. You knew their parents and everything and everybody knew each others ins and outs and getting along was no big deal. It seems to me though, that now, once the school year starts, you're often thrown into a sphere of interaction that you would probably not choose to be in if you didn't have children of similar ages. You're cast into a new level of social politicking, etc... relationships are much more complex. Not that there's no good that can come out of this! There's always the possibility of meeting people you wouldn't otherwise etc. Perhaps the problem is that it just requires a greater level of emotional and spiritual energy that you may or may not have.

And then of course there's the schools themselves. In a broad sense, the NYC school system has done well by my children. We were never zoned for the "IT" elementary schools (the schools where people who are privileged but not quite rich enough to afford expensive private schools scam their kids into no matter where they're zoned) so my knuckleheads went to the closest neighborhood schools. No horror stories really. Both could read coming out of kindergarten and I credit that as much to the schools as to anything their mother or I did. They've continued to prosper academically and we've been fortunate enough to have encountered some truly enlightened teachers and administrators. You do have to stay on top of things though, and again... so much energy and concentration.

I'm running out of time and space here, but if you really want to see the bizarre side of a neighborhood gentrifying, watch it play out in public schools. Go to the community board meetings, the PTA meetings, the planning committees... The language is a special brand of Orwellian Newspeak. One issue in particular that I could write a book on is the many nuances (some subtle and some not so much) of the word DIVERSITY. Social engineering... it's a strange new world. And if you're an astute observer of human/tribal behavior, you get to see some other weird shit too. Anyway... to all parents... here we go again. Best of luck.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Mugs: Here Tomorrow/Best of 2007 So Far

This has been a strange year for music for me. I've probably listened to less new music than any year since I was 12 or so. It's hard to say why. I don't want to believe that I've become burned out or jaded like one of those classic rock geeks combing out his ponytail and lamenting the demise of Led Zeppelin and his hairline. It's true though that I've heard very little that has gotten me off.

I've still probably heard more new stuff than the average middle-aged guy who doesn't work in the music industry and was putting together my Best of 2007 So Far list when I picked up The Mugs' Here Tomorrow last week. Everybody knows about me and superlatives so I'll just cut to the chase--IT'S FRIGGIN' AMAZING--easily the best album I've heard all year. There isn't even any competition. A couple of tracks on the new Ben Harper are really really good, but they don't come close. It's just beautiful... I guess I'd put it up there for fans of Spoon, or The Shins, but I think The Mugs might just be better. You can LISTEN TO THE ALBUM here on their website and check it out for yourself.

To quote my Great Uncle Johnny, "It makes me so happy I could shite!"

Note: It's occurred to me somewhat later on that saying you haven't heard much but this is the best of the lot is rather faint praise. Let me rephrase that... It's the best album I've heard in a long time, and not just in the lot of 2007 releases. There's so much in it. Every time I listen I hear something new. It's so cool.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This Is England, or This is England?

Was feeling a somewhat anti-social today and what better place to go when you're feeling like you don't want to talk to people or even see people than a darkened movie theater? Especially when you live in a crowded city... but nuff said. Who cares?

So speaking of anti-social, I went to IFC to see a film about skinheads during the Thatcher era in England, and it doesn't get much more anti-social than skinheads. I'm not quite sure what I expected with this, but perhaps something along the lines of Alan Clarke's Made in Britain a film released about the time This is England is set (1982 vs. 1983). There are similarities, as there are also to Romper Stomper. I'm still processing a lot of This is England. It was incomplete as a film, IMHO, but had some very, very good bits. Thomas Turgoose in the lead role is one of the best child actors I've seen in a long time. Stephen Graham (Snatch) put in a complex and very realistic performance as the thuggish Combo. Casting was great, costume was great... the script was stellar--there was a really fantastic bit at a National Front rally--absolutely chilling as it could have been pulled word for word from any right wing politico anywhere in North America or Europe in 2007. It was a good reminder that I've been hearing these same racist, anti-immigrant tirades my entire life. It's like one speech was written back in the day and nobody ever diverges from the script... but now I digress.

It's hard to address the reasons kids turn to hate groups without sounding sympathetic to the members. This Is England covered this with a fair amount of success. You have a bunch of unhappy kids with unhappy lives and no positive role models and no visible direction and opportunities... no real sense of self... something will jump in and fill the void and it's not often good. You can't force the shit from your society onto the least fortunate and then throw up your hands in disbelief when they do something "anti-social." So all that was covered.

What I thought was lacking was character development--they brought in all these fantastic characters with a ton of potential, and then just sort of leave you hanging. Perhaps they were too ambitious and there were just too many--you could have pulled a half dozen of them out and centered the story on them and it would have been as good. 5 of this half dozen just sort of disappeared at the end... gone. No closure in the slightest, which I'm normally okay with. I don't need a giftwrapped ending usually. This was somewhat disappointing. Very interesting also was extensive footage of the Falklands War which for some reason director Shane Meadows seems to make the definitive action of the Thatcher years. It's great footage and the war is connected in some respects to the movie, but perhaps more footage showing conditions in England at the time would have fit better... hard call.

So on the topic of skinheads and the Thatcher years I'd have to give the nod to Made In Britain with Tim Roth as Trevor, as the definitive film on the subject/era. This Is England is good though... and the soundtrack which is heavy on Toots & the Maytals and the Specials is very very good. Would be a good stand-alone collection if you don't already own it all.