Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh hell, Happy new year.

Do people still come here? It seems they do. I keep meaning to post something, really I do. I'll try again in 2011. Dope City Free Press has been on a hell of a roll. Tim's blog, Poop In The Pipes, is great. Daisy Deadhead at Daisy's Dead Air is always interesting. Brown Femi Power will always be a hero to me. Nazz Nomad continues to rattle his sword at the world. Brother Ib at Siblingshot In The Bleachers is back with a new addition to his household. The Cahokian has emerged as one of my big fave blogs. Princess Sparkle Pony is swell as ever. Doc 40 is now broadcasting from Brighton, England. Civic Center continues to expose me to high culture in my own town. Blogging is not as dead as some people would have it.

So I'm listening to Gospel music and Cotton mill music and reading Chris Hedges.

Honest, I'll try and talk about it soon.

Here's Cheetah Chrome, by the banks of the Wabash in my old Indiana home. He's playing with some old friends and acquaintances. That Frankie Camaro was a rockin' motherfucker.



Happy New Year everyone.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Further inspiration from Tim

For a while I inspected the welds on these big ass diesel crank cases for locomotives and tug boats.

Tim has got a pretty good blog called Poop In The Pipes. He posted something about working in a factory that made me think about my last factory job. I suppose I mourn the passing of the industrial economy but not enough to wish I was working in a factory. The money was good. I used to get fired a couple of times a month. The foreman would yell, "Your ass is fired! Get the hell out of here!"

I'd stand there and say, "I'm not going anywhere till I talk to my union representative." Then I'd stand around and wait for the shop steward.

The steward would show up and ask me what was going on and I'd tell him I hadn't been to work for three days and I hadn't called in sick. I didn't have a phone and I didn't like driving to the phone booth to call in sick. He'd say, "That's bullshit. You don't have to call in sick till the fourth day." Then he'd go to the foreman and say, "Don't be an asshole. This man needs his job. If you fire him you'll be violating the contract."

The foreman would say, "Yeah, but it's the third time he's pulled that shit this month." This was true. I did not have much of a work ethic. Sometimes I'd get "sick" on Monday and Tuesday, come to work on Wednesday, think better of it and get "sick" all over again Thursday and Friday. I kept that up for a couple of years until someone crashed into my car and put me out of work for a couple of months. That gave me some time to think. When I came back to work I didn't last long at all.

I posted the rest of the story as a comment at Tim's blog:

"My last factory job was a couple of miles from the nearest bar. I could punch out for lunch, drive the couple of miles, drink seven beers, eat a sandwich, drive back to the factory and punch in in exactly 30 minutes. The beers would make the floor feel pleasantly rubbery just as I was walking away from the time clock. I was worthless after lunch so I tried to do my work in the morning. By quitting time I was sober and feeling like shit.

That was in Chicago and it was a long time ago. The factory made parts for locomotives. The parts got assembled in a different factory so I never saw what exactly I was building parts for. I would fish parts out of bins, assemble them in jigs, weld them up and stack them in other bins.

One time one of the crane operators came to work drunk. His foreman told him to go home so he went back to his car and came back with a 30/30 rifle and started shooting out lights. Eventually he ran out of ammunition, someone took the gun away and the cops came. This all happened about 30 feet away from me but there were stacked up parts bins between us and it was so noisy that I didn't notice the gun shots.I didn't even know I hated that job until my foreman explained it to me. He said, "Look, I have a wife and two kids and a mortgage. I have to work here. You're young, you don't owe anybody anything and you're wasting your time here." Every time I think about that guy I could fucking kiss him. On the mouth."

Update- I should add that at first I was an enthusiastic worker at this job. I worked my days off and stuck around for overtime. It was only after I got overexposed to racist bosses and some creepy racist and anti semitic co workers that I started to get fed up. I decided I didn't want to get into management or to rise in the corporation. Then, without realizing it, I started to hate my trade and to just get tired of the whole thing. Like I said, it took a smart and good boss to explain me to myself.

Nobody has listened to this song since I posted it months ago. What's wrong with you people?

Go Out Smokin'- The Meat Purveyors (buy)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Where I stand on the anarchy question


From my friend, Tim: "The twelve step group model is the truest form of libertarian anarchy at work in the world today. No one is in charge, nothing can be changed without the informed consent of the people, it's free, you can leave when you want, you can come back when you want and, no one group is affiliated with any other. The entity has no opinion on anything other than their own business, anyone can join, all group politics are strictly internal and handled as such. Dues, fees and contributions of labor are all unenforced and voluntary." Be careful who you tell this to, they might not know they are involved in anarchy.

From John Ball: "When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty."

Really, I'm not much of an anarchist but I'll stand by these two quotes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A victory for gay hippies, latte drinkers, beatnik poets, pointy headed intellectuals and liberals. Also, a victory for a fine baseball team. I've had a real good time following the World Series and I'm enjoying this victory.

I was going to post "Till Victory" by Patti Smith but I bought it from iTunes and iTunes now claims that it owns all of the music that I bought from them and I am not allowed to burn those songs to CD or convert their format. Today the world series. Tomorrow we destroy the iTunes store. Wednesday we'll hang the last banker by the guts of the last Republican.

How about this instead?

I Left My Heart In San Francisco- Tony Bennett (buy)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Go Gay Hippies!


This guy got on my bus 15 years ago who turned out to be this guy I hadn't seen in 20 years. In the meantime he had acquired a soon to be ex wife and a sweet terribly serious little boy. We made friends again and the little boy grew up. Along the way, the kid developed a taste for alcohol and weed and pain pills and lies. He ended up pissing everybody off so bad that he checked into rehab at the strong suggestion of his entire family. He finally decided that maybe that wasn't such a bad idea and he's been sober for almost a year and a half. Somewhere in there he picked up a guitar and became a pretty good player. He gets a big kick out of the fact that his dad's old friend is sober and we hang out together on our own now. He's been saying we should get together and learn a song sometime and today was the day and this was the song.

It was funny for me because he can play all kind of weird jazz chords and he knows all of this music theory and he can improvise in keys that only dogs can hear but he did not know how to play a country and western waltz. I got to get him up to speed on 3/4 time and led him through the chord changes chanting 1-2-3/ 1-2-3.

He suggested that maybe it would be cool to try playing the song to some kind of speeded up ska beat. He thought that would make the song sound funny and not so serious. I had to explain to him that the song is already funny. Apparently he hadn't considered that possibility. I sang it to him in my best super sincere country western voice and he had to admit that maybe it was a funny song after all. He played me a really funny song he wrote about having sex with farm animals.

The hardest part of "Pardon Me" is the spoken word part. You have to sound like you are just talking casually but pace yourself so you say the last word just as the guitar plays a G chord. We just barely got that going when it was time to leave.

I dropped him back at his house just before the Giants game started. He said, "I really wanna see the San Francisco Gay Hippies beat the Texas Oil Assholes." It didn't happen tonight but it's nice to know that every Giants victory is a victory for gay hippies everywhere. I keep thinking that it's my imagination that the World Series is about politics but the TV kept showing that notorious asshole and murderer George Bush. I was watching the game in a taqueria for a while. Somebody said "Bush really looks like shit." Somebody else said, "Good". To me he looked pretty hung over.

I had a pretty good day. Go Gay Hippies!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Then there's this


This is as lovely a Bay Area moment as I have ever seen and I don't even like Journey.

I'm a fair weather newbie fan, so fucking what?


Nobody here but us Giants fans. Good to know that San Franciscans are still all about "fuck you".

I haven't really followed professional baseball since the Mets won the 1969 world series. I am really enjoying this world series though. After hearing, for years, that San Franciscans aren't really Americans, from tourists for chrissakes, it is a real pleasure to see George Bush's baseball team beaten by San Francisco. I know this makes me not a real fan plus how dare I confuse sports with politics? All of that. I don't care. This is fun. Texas fans are scandalized by Giant fans smoking weed in the stands? Personally I think that gay Giants fans should scandalize them worse by kissing in the stands. As Soupy Sales once said, "I'll kiss you between the strikes and you can kiss me between the balls." Sadly the series is moving to Arlington. I'm sure Arlington has a really nice Walmart and I'll just bet they have a really good TGIFridays too. As the Talking Heads once said, "I wouldn't live there if you paid me." Go Giants.

Apropos of nothing whatsoever, I really like The Thermals first ep. They have some other good stuff but this is the one for me.

No Culture Icons- The Thermals (Buy)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Posted elsewhere

Originally posted at John Shirley's Facebook page.
A work friend very earnestly explained to me that his wife did not understand his desire to get together with other people who are "interested in exploring anthropomorphic animal costumes". I about shrieked, "Holy shit! Are you a furrie?"
He started looking all serious and said, "Why? Is that a problem for you?"
I think his wife should restrict his computer privileges. This is a man who has already admitted to me that he has built his life around ideas he learned from Star Trek.
Moody-ESG (buy)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why I write



So the other day I'm watching this interview with some guy I've never heard of. He says, "Writing is for people who like to be by themselves but also feel this need to communicate." That sums it up. I don't write much and I don't write for noble, world changing reasons. Sometimes I need to tell somebody something

A Perfumed Garden- The Television Personalities (buy)

Detroit in the '70's

Like I've said, all my best stuff gets posted elsewhere. A few days ago a friend sent me an article about Detroit. It set off this long reminiscence about life when I was 19 or 20 years old.

"I moved there 37 years ago and huge areas of the city were already abandoned. I used to live in one of the semi abandoned mansions near Indian Village. 13 of us were renting a 10 bedroom house with servants quarters and horse stables for something like $150 a month. It was as insanely dangerous as the South Bronx or Alphabet City (Back then) but cheap to live, tree lined and you could get a two day a week student job in the car factories for union wages. If you were lucky one of your two days was Saturday so your pay started at time and a half. For a while there I was even living on my earnings working one day a week at Chrysler's Jefferson Avenue Assembly plant. It was the weirdest mixture of Industrial culture, apocalyptic urban collapse and '70's bohemianism.
Cheap rent, high wages but there were no grocery stores, drug stores or laundromats. You had to take a long bus ride to the suburbs to buy fresh vegetables or do your laundry and anything that wasn't left locked up with serious hard core locks would be missing when you got back. Everyone (except me and my friends) carried a gun and people got shot all the time. When I was living in a row house near downtown someone kicked in our back door while we were upstairs. We thought about going downstairs and then realized that who ever it was had heard us and they hadn't left. We figured he'd kill us if we went downstairs so we stood at the top of the stairs and cleared our throats until he left. (Ahem, ahem) There wasn't really anything to steal so he ended up loading a box with all of our groceries and stole the little radio that was our only source of music. Everything else had already been stolen earlier.
I find it amusing that some of the trendiest anarchist ideas being advocated by dreadlocked vegan trustafarians were originally developed by friends of mine in Detroit. They were mostly young autoworkers taking classes at the Harvard of the industrial proletariat, Wayne State University. I still sometimes hear from those guys and I don't think they're impressed with their followers.
A while ago I ran into one of my old radical roommates from those days, a (then) young Black guy who grew up in Harlem. Now he's a shop steward for the San Francisco City electrical inspectors. He's married to an old radical girl from back then. They own a house in an outer neighborhood in SF and talk about moving to the Sierras when they retire."

A little further reminiscing, My roommate Jim was a tall skinny hillbilly intellectual from some little town in upstate New York. He had a badass Mercury Cougar with alloy wheels and wide tires. He used to be a heroin addict. Then he was an auto worker. He said that factory work was like being a junkie. A year or two would go by and you couldn't remember anything but a couple of bad days and a couple of good days. All of the other days were the same. 

One morning we woke up and Jim's car was sitting in the alley without wheels or tires. The thieves had courteously left the car propped up on cinder blocks with a full tank of gas. We had already been robbed of our little radio and the house was so cold that turning on the furnace was more an act of defiance than a remedy for the cold. We gathered up our tiny collection of 8 tracks and went out to the car to get warm, listen to music and drink. We were having as much fun as we were capable of, even if we didn't know it. 



Thursday, August 26, 2010

He's In A Hurry (To Get Home To My Wife)


OK, So I decided not to post that song but I'm posting these two other heavies. This CD has a ton of great titles and a hell of a lot of great songs.

 Look, is anybody following my logic here? I don't listen to much "punk rock" and I  almost never post any "punk rock" songs here but I think most of what I post here is pretty much punk. Perhaps I am full of shit.

Then again, one of my favorite quotes is, "I used to think I was open minded but then I found out I just liked weird shit." Make of that what you will.

Pardon Me (I've Got Someone To Kill) - Johnny Paycheck (Buy)

It Won't Be Long (And I'll Be Hating You)- Johnny Paycheck (Buy) 

Paycheck was the most morbid hard core honky tonk guy on Earth. There's songs about nuclear destruction, songs about getting beat in bars, songs about cheating wives and songs about murder. It's the nuclear destruction thing that kind of pushes him over the top. I mean, most honky tonk songs are about self loathing and drama but you know...

I posting this in a hurry but I'd like to pause for clarification. No one has ever exactly defined hipster to my satisfaction but most people seem to agree that hipsters enjoy irony. I'm not a hipster. I like these songs.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

World of Dispensation

Because life is not all silly songs. Sometimes life is beautiful songs. Around the time this came out I was suffering from some kind of brain fever. Too much liquor, guns, drugs, unhappy girls, poverty and small town life. I was turning into a grown up and life was not trending in a grownup direction. There were, however, these moments of unbelievable clarity. I didn't know what to do with them. The fever would break and I would be granted a moment of peace. Hearing this song was one of those moments.

World Of Dispensation- Singers And Players (Buy everything they ever recorded. Do it.)

Breakeroo! Still Keeping It To Once A Month.



I sent this song to Blogpal Devil Dick but I enjoyed it so much I had to share it with the whole darn blogosphere.
It seems obvious to me that the guy who recorded this is gay. Gay people often have much better and more subversive senses of humor than straight people. That makes the song sort of a double joke. I used to listen to it with my friend, Vern. Vern was a real cowboy, raised on a ranch training rodeo horses. Among other things he used to drive big rigs over the road. He was also gay.
We shared a deep and abiding love of beer and old country songs. When I played this one for him he laughed so hard he pissed himself. I'm sure the beer didn't help.
Last I heard from him, Vern was working for the CHP in Southern California. This goes out to him and all of the other gay rednecks on I-5

C.B Savage- Rod Hart (buy it if you can find it)

Update- Turns out the whole album is available to download at Amazon. Bread on the waters!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oops, I missed a month

I haven't posted anything for the entire month of June. I've been real busy and pretty happy about it. A day or two a week I ride the bus to Oakland to work at the part time job. That's one of our buses pictured above. I've been enjoying the job, even though it is a job. I was just sworn in as a delegate to the North Bay Central Labor Council. I'm a retiree, but I'm still a union member and our local president asked me to take the job. It's nice to meet some real labor people and learn about some of the good work they're doing, right here in racist hippie liberalville. Hey, I love racist hippie liberalville but there's definitely room for improvement. I've been seeing my friends. I'm playing a little music. Went to the Jim D'ville ear training workshop. I'm going for lots of walks in beautiful California nature.
OK, so the world ain't right. It's definitely not right but at long last I'm approaching the problem from a good place.
So look, I just wanted to share this song. Danny Barnes is impossibly cool, too smart to be real, wholly dedicated to music and capable of transcending genres in the blink of an eye. This is some kind of banjo weirdo death chant.

Funtime- Danny Barnes (Buy)

Oh and thanks to Mike W. for putting me on to Mr. Barnes

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fuck yes, I'm from New Jersey

Every year my family would make our annual memorial day pilgrimage to "the shore" as we call it in New Jersey. My favorite shore city was definitely Asbury Park. We used to go to Palace amusements and ride the bumper cars. For a lot of reasons that I'm not going into, I got a picture of "Tillie", the smiling face on the side of the now destroyed Palace Amusements building, tattooed on my left arm. Yep there's Tillie, almost in my armpit. My left arm is almost all ink and there just wasn't any place to fit him in. I'd consider posting a picture but he's all nasty and puffy looking at the moment.

Thanks to Devil Dick for this swell song. DD is a great guy and a Jersey patriot.

I Like Jersey Best- The Phil Bernardi Band (Definitely no longer in print.)

Farm livin' is the life for me.



For those of you who are urban dwellers. City people often imagine that life in the country is quiet. Rural America is all about small, unmuffled gasoline engines. starting at sunrise.  Some guy has been running a bucketloader, back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and so on for the last nine hours. He's supposed to be preparing the riding arena by scraping off the top few inches of loose soil and preparing the ground so that several tons of sand can be dumped on it. The arena is about 2,000 square feet. You'd think he would have hit water if not China by now. Actually, the arena looks about the same, except for the tire tracks from the bucket loader. All of this is taking place about five feet from the sheet metal walls of my home. I am grateful to report that the guy got here before sunrise and wanted to get started right away but my landlord wouldn't let him. What is wrong with people? I can't think of anything that I would want to do at five in the morning. I'm guessing that several large truckloads of sand will be dumped at my backdoor at five tomorrow morning. Then the bucketloader dude can spend nine more hours spreading the sand, back and forth and back and forth and back and forth etc.

Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful here, but I'm thinking I might want to return to the big city. I'm not making any plans or looking at any apartments. I'm just putting it out there. The last time I put something out there, I got a job. I think I'd prefer a small, quiet place of my own but I'm open to the possibility of roommates.

I notice that nobody, nobody at all, pays any attention to the songs I occasionally post. This is great stuff here. Listen up. Here's some of what I'm listening to lately.

Howsabout I try a "provocatively" titled song?

The Girls Are Naked- The Creation (Buy) 

Dock Boggs was one fuck of a punk rock guy.

Old Rub Alcohol Blues- Dock Boggs (Buy) 

Finally, this is simply the most badass white blues song ever recorded. Absolutely.

Release Me- Charlie Feathers ( This is seriously out of print. Buy it if you can find it.) 

Any chump with ears can listen to music. Have you been producin' any art lately? (Comrades Nazz and Todd, you've already posted your answer in the affirmative.) I've worked up an almost satisfactory version of "Crazy" as written by Willie Nelson and made famous by Patsy Cline. For some reason I've been enjoying playing Television Personalities songs. The down side of my amateur musical career is that I have not been making it to any Ukulele Club meetings which is a real shame. I did however receive a fan letter for this very blog from the head anarchist down at the Petalukes. She publishes an interesting blog, California Women, I'm looking forward to reading more of it. My lessons with Tippy Canoe are  on temporary hiatus as Tippy tours and I reintegrate myself in the workforce. However, thanks to the good works of the Petalukes, I will be attending a work shop by Jim D'Ville. I'm just working around to studying Jim's book on music theory and his ear training for ukulelians video.

Sometime soon I'm going to work up ukulele versions of "Nature Boy" by Nat King Cole (among many) and "My Andy Warhol Poster" by The Time.

Life is pretty good.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The smell

So I started the new job today. It was OK. More some other time. What I ended up thinking is that if you willingly spend more than 5 hours a day taking the bus to work and back you are going to end up looking for a place to piss. In San Francisco the public sector and private industry have joined hands in closing every restroom in the whole goddam city.The last time I had to use a men's room in Golden Gate Park it was flooded in piss, ankle deep. It was the only public restroom for miles. I waded in and did my manly thing. In most of the city there's nothing that nice available. Despite the fact that it was raining off and on the whole fucking city stinks of piss. Really, the whole city is one giant urinal. I suppose I'll just have to take advantage of the city's many reeking doorways.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hello, hello! Greetings and welcome

People keep coming here. Some of you seem to come here more often than me. Sometimes I think I should say something about my current situation.  My current situation is fine. I go for acupuncture twice a week. I can breathe. I go for long walks with my friend, Mark. I play the ukulele every day. Sometimes I go to Oakland and take lessons from Tippy Canoe. It's OK.

I seem to have landed a job. I'm going back to work for a company I worked for 26 years ago. I WILL NOT be driving. I'll be working in the office and the shop 2 days a week. I'll be working for my old bosses' son. Back in the day I was a young hot shot. Now they want me to be an old pro. It's OK.

I suppose I'll have to do something with this blog soon. Thanks awfully for coming here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

RIP


This little rooster was my good friend. A fox found our little family of chickens. It carried off a chicken every other day. The lone survivor was my friend, the rooster. He managed to last for a week and a half after his little wives had been killed. He was damn near crazy with loneliness and he would follow me around and stand next to me any time I left the house. I felt bad for him. He disappeared sometime today. He was a good rooster. He was kind to the hens and chicks. He wouldn't eat until they had eaten and wouldn't roost until he was sure they were safe. His little flock was prosperous and healthy under his leadership.
He had been hand raised by a young boy and he was always friendly and curious towards humans. He would eat out of my hand if the hens would let him. He would run to see me, flapping his wings and pausing to crow.
He was an uncommonly handsome bird. I will miss him.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Good Old Boys, Or, Why I Live Here


I'll have to admit, I don't get it. I don't really know why Southern White people with no money would identify themselves with the flag of the Confederacy. I get that poor white southerners feel like a separate ethnicity or culture or something. I know I was thinking about "If That Ain't Country" by David Allen Coe. I watched a video of Coe performing it. It's a simple little song, but he makes a hell of a case for poor white southerners as a misunderstood and disrespected minority and he makes it playing a guitar decorated with a Confederate flag.

So, I'm thinking about good old boys, while I'm sitting in the parking lot at the acupuncture clinic. I get that you've got to honor your heritage and I get that you've got to stand up for who you are and I get that you've got to call 'em like you see 'em and damn the consequences but what all of that has to do with the southern slavocracy I'll never be able to understand.

There aren't many poor white people in Northern California. There aren't that many genuinely poor people here. It's too damn expensive. We have a few people around who sort of fill the good old boy niche. They look like the guys in the picture above. They sit around and talk about Grateful Dead shows in 1967, what pot is selling for these days and why the Republicans are the cause of the world's woes.

Just then a cranky looking old white guy pulled his pick up truck into the parking lot. He was driving too fast and he looked like a bit of a mean old guy. He had a bunch of bumper stickers on the back of the truck. I couldn't see all of them but I could see that he was an NRA life member and a member of The Marine Corps League.

"Oh good", I thought, "maybe he's a real California redneck".

His wife got out of the truck first. She had to help him a little. It took him quite a while to get out of the truck. He was a dried up old guy and it looked like everything hurt. I could see where that mean look came from. I waited for him to walk past before I pulled out of my parking space. I drove past the back of his truck and checked out the rest of the bumper stickers. There were a couple more NRA stickers. There was a big red and orange sticker that said "Once A Marine Always A Marine". There was a sticker that said, "No Farms No Food". There was also a sticker that said, "War Is Never The Answer, Wage Peace" and another that said "No On H8- Everyone Has The Right To Marry."

Honor your heritage, stand up for who you are and call 'em like you see 'em and damn the consequences. God, I love it here.

April is poetry month


Poetry is for assholes and I am an asshole. It truly doesn't get any better than Amiri Baraka. I'm sorry to say that I have not
spent as much time as I should listening to women poets of color but a lot of what little I know about life, I learned by taking 
the plugs out of my ears, sticking a plug in my mouth and listening to non white artists and thinkers.


Straight Street- John Coltrane (Buy)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Confederacy can kiss my Yankee ass

The execution of a Confederate war criminal.

I haven't been posting much. I've been busy. Life is swell although I'll have to admit that I was pissed off about the whole Confederate History month thing. The subsequent "Whoopsies, we forgot about the slaves!" episode only pissed me off a bit worse. The Atlantic slave trade, the basis of The Confederacy, was one of the great crimes against humanity. The states rights argument which has been drug out time and again to justify outright racism is bullshit, plain and simple. The latest variation, "But there were Black confederates and lookit all them Black conservatives", is bullshit too.

I got somewhat pissed at a friend of this little blog for reviving some of those arguments. She's good people and a fine writer, but she's just plain wrong this time. I tried, and obviously failed, to keep my sense of humor. She can delete my comment. That's OK. This is not necessarily a free speech zone. I'm not going to link to her post. I will add two things. First, I'm aware of the fact that Lincoln was a Republican. I'm also aware that he was no champion of civil rights or the Black race. I went to liberal Yankee schools where I studied history. Second, this is not an altogether anti southern post, but really, fuck the Confederacy.

Here's what I said;

"Oh friend, if you make it to the end of this one, we are probably not going to be friends anymore.
It's a well known fact that I am a communist from Northern California. I believe that only homosexuals should be allowed to become bishops in the Episcopal Church, that all women should have an abortion whether or not they are pregnant and that all men should be forced to marry a gay person. I believe the federal government should force my beliefs on everyone.
I am aware of the fact that there are possibly as many as 37 Black conservatives in America. I have known one or two, although I have never seen two at the same time.
I am also aware of the fact that there are people who liked to be tied up, humiliated and given enemas. I have seen several of them together at once, although I don't understand them either.
I also know that many people are convinced that we have a two party system, not like the communists who were only allowed to vote for competing communist candidates. Here we have a choice of two candidates each of them representing different corporate interests, neither of them representing my interests.
Some people are stupid enough to believe that the oil and coal corporate party is the party of freedom. It is the party of oil and coal. I can tell the difference. I do not listen to the radio or watch TV.
As to the Confederacy, here's where we truly part company. I'd like it real well if all memory of the Confederacy was buried. If the burial ground was plowed and sown with salt, that would be even better. I'd like it if flying a confederate flag was considered an act of treason. I'd like it if confederate nostalgia was criminalized the way nazi nostalgia if criminalized in Germany.
I am real tired of sending endless federal dollars to the south and then hearing about how awfully the south suffers under the cruel burdens of medicare, food stamps, federal highways, school lunch subsidies, social security, unemployment insurance, workplace safety requirements, etc etc. If there weren't innocents involved I'd say we should grant you your wishes, stop sending money and let the south slide even further into third world poverty. Maybe Mexico would help you out.
Finally, if you insist on believing that we have two parties, look at the statistics. In the southern states, voting is almost exactly along racial lines. Black southerners consistently vote to the left of most northern Democrats while White southerners consistently vote the same as northern Republicans. Stop trying to hide behind black
folks."


While I'm passing new laws for the south, I'd like if they made it illegal for people named Hank Williams, but who aren't really Hank Williams, to stop releasing records under the name Hank Williams. .If Pisspants Braindamage Williams and Pathetic Richkid Poser Williams want to keep releasing records that's OK. Just stop trying to trade off your tenuous relationship to a talented dead relative. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wildwood Flower


This got my Sunday morning off to a good start. I don't have much to say here because I've been out and about in the real world. I'm going to start missing the money soon, but I don't miss my old job one little bit. Many people have said they've never seen me smile so much. I wasn't in a bad mood before, I was just too tired to work those face muscles. My health is improving. My blood sugar is essentially normal I'm losing weight. My breathing is better I haven't had anything like a real asthma attack in weeks. This is OK. I even got offered a part time job, driving a big rig to Portland and back a couple of times a month. I'm not sure about that one. I don't know if I feel like crucifying myself behind the wheel again. Then again, I could probably use the money and how many people are being offered jobs, unsolicited these days? I've got a few weeks to think about it.


I'm also being showered with ukuleles. Here I am with Gary Timmons number 001. A very successful prototype built by my friend Gary. What a jolly old bastard I'm becoming!



Monday, March 22, 2010

By the way


Click on the picture for a look at the detail that goes into a Style O Deluxe. Why is God so good to me?

I'm feeling pretty good but I'm finding that taking care of myself is pretty demanding. My travel plans are starting to seem over ambitious. I spent two days away from home last week and damn near starved to death trying to stick to my food plan. I'm staying home and cooking for myself for a while. I'm still going to try to make it to the So Cal desert next month (Todd?). I'm hoping to make it to Seattle to pick up a banjo uke from Jere Canote in May (Mike?) and I might even make it to Indiana for the Ukulele World Congress in Needmore in June. (Anyone in Bloomington?)

In truly weird uke news, I was checking craigslist last week while having my coffee. There was a posting for a National Style O Deluxe resonator ukulele. I know I said I liked my Republic resonator better than the National I tried, but I was curious. It's hard to imagine a classier resonator uke than a style O. So I called the guy and he was asking less than half of list price. He said the ukulele was almost unplayed and in mint condition. The big hook was that he was just a couple of miles down the road.

So I saddled up the elderly Volvo and headed over to see what turned out to be, as advertised, an almost brand new Style O Deluxe.

I played it a little bit and it was apparent that it is more ukulele than I need. I'm just not that good, although I am enthusiastic. The seller turned out to be a pretty good player and he ended up letting me fart around with the uke while he got out some other ukes and gave me some tips to improve my playing.

After a while, it began to dawn on me that I would never see another Style O at that price again. I would spend the rest of my days going, "I coulda hadda Style O for cheap, but I felt that I was unworthy". It also dawned on me that I would probably never again find myself with a little bit of cash to call my own and a Style O at the same time. As to the quality of my playing, well, that's what practice is for. The Style O is sitting across from me in all it's nickel plated glory.

Much as I've loved it, The Republic resonator is for sale. Or not. There's a lot to be said for owning too many ukuleles. I mean, God forbid, what if the world ukulele supply suddenly ran out?

And you know what I did the next day? I went to Oakland and took my first ukulele lesson from the great Tippy Canoe. I think I've gotten as far as I can with the self taught thing. I need someone to correct my mistakes and push me in new directions. Tippy turns out to be, among other things, a great listener. She heard me play, she listened to what I hoped to achieve and she gave me a push in a good direction. She's got me working my way further up the neck, playing chords in more positions, and she's got me working on playing with others. I think we also had a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to going back soon. What fun!

By the way, Tippy is teaching at Acme House of Music. I was curious about Acme, I pictured a hipster haven, done up in Nuevo Retro style. I couldn't have been more wrong. Acme is a truly ratty old music store, littered with weird musical junk that, on closer examination, all turns out to be unbelievably cool. The store was recently bought by a younger couple, but the original owner is still enthroned and holding forth. I liked hanging out there. I got there early by accident the first time, next time I'll get there early on purpose. There's a good coffee shop across the street. I'm looking forward to a nice cup of coffee on Acme's sofa.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For some reason blogger has started making up it's own mind about things lately. I'm not allowed to post pictures or links or much of anything else because I get error messages about something called "span". I've gone to war with this damn software and won before. I don't feel like figuring it out now. I'll get around to it sometime soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

summer is coming.

I was going to buy a t shirt from this blog but it seemed kind of pricey.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Remember when I posted about my fondness for the town of Boron, out in the High Desert above Los Angeles? Boron is in the news because the folks at the Borax mine have been locked out. Management refuses to bargain with the union unless they will concede seniority and almost every workplace practice. No surprise, the union couldn't negotiate on those terms so management locked them out.

America is being turned into a nation of rats and punks. People are so thoroughly narcotized by television that their highest ambition is to someday be allowed to kiss a billionaire's ass. I'm glad somebody is willing to stand for some kind of principle rather than blaming the immigrants or the poor people or unwed mothers or whoever they think needs kicking. If things go on this way soon we'll be a nation of Walmart employees who can't afford to shop at Walmart.

The normally unreadable Mike Davis wrote a pretty good piece on the lockout- Here

Update- The miners are represented by The International Longshore and Warehouse Union. I'd love to know the history of how the longshoremen ended up organizing so far from the water, but I can say that the ILWU is everything a union should be. Over the years I've had quite a few friends and a couple of family members who were ILWU and it is a real stand up, rank and file, solidarity based union. You can read about the lockout at the union's website HERE.

This is a nice little slide show on LA Labor's support for the locked out miners.
Sometimes I just love San Francisco. It's this jumble of shapes and perspectives and colors. I've never been any place like it. On the other hand, it's no bargain.

This swell photo was stolen from the SFist blog.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Come to Jesus


Hat tip, as they used to say, to Michael Homan. This is a spectacular piece of calligraphy, and it's one of my favorite Bible books but you know I also just kinda like looking at it.

He Got Better Things For You- Memphis Sanctified Singers (Buy)

Better Things For You- Holy Modal Rounders (Buy)

Friday, March 5, 2010


Have I posted this before? I don't think so. I've been sending it around to friends. The singer has real star qualities. I'd probably hate her all done up on TV in front of a band but she knocks me out performing with her boyfriend in her living room.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You want covers? I got covers for you.


The mighty Ramones have fallen. The Hypstrz are no more. That leaves GUGUG as the greatest cover band on earth.

Germ Free Adolescents- X Ray Spex (Buy)


"The pure products of America/ Go crazy"- William Carlos Williams

I ain't dead yet. I am feeling pretty disoriented. I can tell you that I don't feel like I did the wrong thing. Otherwise, I'm getting my feet under me. I'll let you know if I touch ground.

Psychobilly Freakout- Reverend Horton Heat (buy)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

this is it.

I have a real bad cold or allergies or something. I feel lousy. I've been off work all week. I was about to let the whole thing slip away, but I got a couple of phone calls from friends encouraging me to come to work tomorrow. I'm driving one more trip into the city tomorrow morning. I'm all done after that. I've been driving for a living off and on since 1973. 1971 if you count moving trucks around a parking lot and backing them up to a dock when I was a teenager. I think I'm done with all that. A bit over a million miles. Something like a million and a quarter. That's plenty. I'm glad I did it and I'm glad it's over.

From Kass

Our friend, Kass, posted this in the comments section,

"I haven't updated all of you who were kind enough to include my daughter in your prayers and thoughts because I kept waiting for some final "happy ending" to report, but life is not that pat. My daughter is still in the hospital, but what I can say is we are finally out of the woods, so to speak.

It's too long a story to go into and the details don't matter really. I'll just say it's been harrowing, but miracles do happen and she's going to be OK.

With love and gratitude for all that positive energy that's been sent her way,

Kass"

Miracles do happen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For Ib, brother and comrade

Ib, I just haven't been giving you the attention you deserve. For your undying devotion to Moulty and The Barbarians,
This is for you. From the department of Ukulele gender studies at Poetry is For Assholes University.

For those seeking enlightenment, you may learn more about Ib HERE.

Malcolm


From The Cahokian, a reminder that the great Malcolm X was killed 45 years ago today.

Also from The Cahokian, an excerpt from one of Malcolm's last speeches,

"Now, the press, behind something like that, they call us racist and people who are "violent in reverse." This is how they psycho you. They make you think that if you try to stop the Klan from lynching you, you're practicing "violence in reverse." Pick up on this, I hear a lot of you all parrot what the [white] man says. You say, "I don't want to be a Ku Klux Klan in reverse." Well, you - heh! -- if a criminal comes around your house with his gun, brother, just because he's got a gun and he's robbing your house, brother, and he's a robber, it doesn't make you a robber because you grab your gun and run him out. No, see, the man is using some tricky logic on you. And he has absolutely got a Ku Klux Klan outfit that goes through the country frightening black people. Now, I say it is time for black people to put together the type of action, the unity, that is necessary to pull the sheet off of them so they won't be frightening black people any longer. That's all. And when we say this, the press calls us "racist in reverse."

Malcolm X 1925-1965

Friday, February 19, 2010

Good news from the culture wars.


One of the few images of the man reputed to be B. Traven.

A little further internet searching has turned up a few books in print by B. Traven. I found a short biography of Ret Marut, the man most people believe was the real "B. Traven" here.

I also found a great little short story by Traven. It gives a nice feel for what Traven was all about. Traven's books are widely available in Spanish. In Mexico he is known and loved as a true friend to Los Indios. You can read the story here.

Traven was a pseudonym. He didn't want to be pointed out as the great author. He sincerely wanted to be a worker among workers and a bit of the salt of the earth. He knew he was an artist, but he saw that there are artists everywhere and he just wanted to make his art.

Now, the other day, I was walking past The Borders Book store at China Basin, across from the ballpark in San Francisco. It has to be the worst big city bookstore in the world. Its only a half hour walk from City Lights Books, one of the best bookstores in the English speaking world. Borders seems to be mostly a gift shop, but they do have displays of currently popular books. In the window they had a huge display of the works of Ayn Rand.

Rand was the polar opposite of Traven. She wanted her face on the cover of every book. She appeared in every media outlet that would let her in front of a camera. She thought she was a genius. One of the few geniuses in the world and set apart from everyone else.

Traven wrote simple, poetic prose about the lives of ordinary people. Rand wrote turgid, adjective laden woofing about the suffering of billionaires. I suppose it's only right that Rand should be given a prominent display in the worst bookstore in San Francisco.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No one knows how white men suffer


Doesn't it make you sick to see this guy exploiting all of his unfair advantages?

So, I get off work and I go into the driver's room There's this asshole sitting there watching Fox news, as he does every night. I find that I am being asked some over personal questions as to just what my retirement income will be. I make a little joke, "Look, I'll have a check coming every month and if I have to panhandle for the last week of the month, I don't give a shit."

The asshole says, "Yeah, but those panhandlers make 60 or 80 thousand bucks a year. They're all hustlers."

So, I say, "Asshole, err I mean Bob, that sounds like an excellent hustle. Why are you working when you can make that kind of easy money standin' around in the rain?"

Asshole says, "What about the guy in the wheelchair on Van Ness? He always gets all hunched up and looks bad when he's panhandling but you see him later and he's doing wheelies. He probably doesn't even need that wheelchair."

I say, "What a lucky guy. Living that good life in a nice wheelchair. Why don't you get a nice wheelchair like that and start living large?"

Asshole says, "You know what I mean. Those guys have put together a scam."

I say, "Bob, I hate to break it to you. There's a lot of fuckin' scams in this world. That TV you worship is a fuckin' scam. The banking system is a fuckin' scam. Putting on a suit and keeping up appearances so you can lie to people and steal their money is a fuckin' scam. Don't be chickenshit Bob."

So, Asshole says, "You know what I mean. Half of those guys don't even need those wheelchairs. They're lying!"

"Alright Bob, don't scam. Be an honest man. Show some ambition and initiative. Be a man Bob. A moment of pain and a lifetime of privilege. Take a fuckin' chainsaw and cut your fuckin' legs off. You deserve it Bob. Shit, you owe it to yourself."

At this point I'm so angry I'm shaking. I walk out and call Doctor Wayne. Doctor Wayne is another one of those wheelchair scammers. He has cerebral palsy. What a fuckin' scam. He was told that he was mentally retarded and spent much of his childhood in some of those real plush California state hospitals. He has a PhD in psychology. He is remarkably kind and patient.

"So, Wayne, could I have handled this any better?"

"No," he says, "but you probably should have cut it short and told him to fuck himself."

Really, there are assholes out there who feel oppressed and exploited by guys in wheelchairs. Fuck me.

Fuck them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Wonders of Science


The late Jim Hurd, public librarian and man of the people, used to drink with a good ol' boy named Li'l G. G was not impressed by Hurd's computer abilities. "I'll buy a computer when they invent one that'll suck my dick", said G.

Hurd said, "Well, Li'l G, start savin' up".

There's supposed to be some kind of mobile app thing on my fancy new phone that will allow me to post here. I got cross eyed typing on those teensy little keys and then hit "Post". I got back an error message saying that I needed to register my device by sending an email with the word "REGISTER" in the text. I made the mistake of sending the word, "register" instead. I got back another email ordering me to send another email with the word "REGISTER" in the text. I tried to comply, got another error message. Tried again, failed again etc.

Finally the google and phone company decided I was a good boy and set me up with a new blog. I don't want a new blog. I want to post at this blog. Oh well.

I don't care how many stars it got. I'm not going to buy that blowjob app.

Monday, February 15, 2010

the plan as it currently stands


I am off work today for the three day Valentine's day holiday. Tomorrow I go back to work for two weeks and then it's all over. 22 years on the job and I'm done with it.

The plan as it currently stands is to take a couple of months, get rid of most of my stuff and hit the road for a while. The big plan, more or less, is to cross Canada, head to St. John's and finally see Newfoundland, where my father was born. After that, I'm thinking I want to head down the east coast and look up some friends in the New York/ New Jersey area. After that I have no idea what I'll do. I'll have my passport with me.

Any invites, especially for a free place to sleep, will be welcome.

To tell you the God's honest truth, I'm kind of scared. I've never had this kind of freedom in my life. Actually, I'm trying to scare myself. 22 years is a long time to be plugged into a routine. I'm hoping to break some habits, find some new ways of thinking about things.

I've got a fancy telephone. I can send emails from most everywhere on earth. I can even squint at the internet on a little screen. I'll be bringing along a ukulele. Something is bound to happen.

Juimonos (Let's went)- Little Richard Elizondo Combo (Buy)

I'll admit to being in a bad mood


In addition to the fact that Ayn Rand thought that she was the greatest genius in the history of history since forever she also considered herself to be an irresistible temptress whom no man could resist. If she had not made a brilliant career out of writing bad novels advocating narcissism and sociopathy as worldview and ideology she believed she would have had a brilliant career as a femme fatale film starlet.

And yet, so many of her admirers are creepy assholes....

Anyhow, when I said that you should beat up a graduate student to get the money to buy B. Traven novels, I didn't really mean it.
I have a friend who is a former graduate student who really did read W.S. Maugham and she is a perfectly decent person. Don't beat her up.

Also when I said that I would gladly see Ayn Rand forgotten by history in exchange for a world where B. Traven is shown the respect he deserves I was sort of overstating my aim. I really just meant that I would gladly see Ayn Rand forgotten by history. Traven could take care of himself.

I follow the games


Thanks to my friend Alice Wolfson. It is fun to be old and laugh at the affectations of clueless young people. It really is.

Rumor control



Rumor has it that "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen is the greatest song ever recorded. A lot of people seem to believe that they are required by internet law to email me links to various persons performing this song. I've checked it out on Snopes and other internet sources and there appears to be no foundation to these rumors.

Through careful research, I've been able to determine that this is the greatest song ever recorded:

LSD- Go Devils (Buy)

Be sure to post it on Facebook and send all of your friends real bubbly emails with links to this wonderfully beautiful and inspiring song. I'm sorry to say there does not appear to be a video on Youtube of the Go Devils performing this song during the Olympic opening ceremonies so don't forget to let everyone you've ever come across on the internet know how moving their performance was.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A post script


And on the other hand, the modern world is swell. I tell you it is swell. When Traven is silenced someone else will take his place; someone whose heart is as vast and whose vision is as plain as Traven's.

I can only give you a link to part of this fine piece by Rebecca Solnit. She's not the modern Traven but she's worth reading. Track down this article. Read it. go celebrate Carnival. Turn the world upside down, for a minute, in one little place, anytime, anyplace you can. LINK HERE.

the modern world sucks


The internet is full of bad news. Bad news.

I just found out that there are no B. Traven books in print. Not in the US anyhow.

When I think of the worthless fucks whose books are read reverently by graduate students and writers workshop idiots I really seriously want to break things and curse.

The next time you meet a graduate student who admits to having read W.S. Maugham, beat him up, take his money and use it to buy a copy of "The White Rose". You'll have to track down a used copy but it will be worth every cent you steal and every drop of blood that graduate student sheds.

Sometimes I think that art is just some crap I use to pass the time but GOD DAMN IT I would gladly trade the whole of John Updike, William Faulkner and Ayn fukkin' Rand- I would happily see their memory wiped from the face of the earth- in exchange for a world where B. Traven is given the respect that he deserves.

The modern world is a heaven for cowards, punks and snitches. It is a world ruled by vampires.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A personal request.

Kass is a regular reader here and at Mick Farren's Doc 40 blog. Just at the moment (s)he's carrying the weight of the world. (Her) daughter has cancer and (s)he's helping her cope. She's scheduled for brain surgery next week. (S)he has asked for prayers and good thoughts.

I don't know if prayers are magical. I don't know if prayers can help someone far away. I know that praying helps me. When I pray for someone else it makes me a better man. I know I bring some of that with me when I get up from my prayers.

Every day I go out in the world, knowing that I am less than perfect. The best I can hope for is that maybe I can do more good than harm. When I pray I figure I'm improving my chances of doing something right. Maybe that has a ripple effect. Maybe the small good that I am able to bring to the world can send out a wave of tiny acts of kindness that will reach someone far away.

If I have a ministry I figure it's pretty tiny. I'm also pretty sure it's about acts not words.

Keep Kass and (her) daughter in your thoughts and prayers.

Update!! Kass is a SHE. Keep Kass and HER daughter in your thoughts and prayers.


Listen Lord, A Prayer- James Weldon Johnson, Margaret Waike (Buy)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

further proof that ukuleles inspire coolness and coolness attracts ukuleles


From The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra's website. Orchestra member Gemma Gracewood's biography:

"If the WIUO was the solar system, Gemma would be the sun, bathing everyone in life-giving rays of goodness.

If the WIUO was the Titanic, Gemma would be the propeller, driving us to collide deliciously with the icebergs of international acclaim, and leaving us to drown in the freezing waters of musical ecstasy.

If the WIUO was a sacrificial goat, Gemma would be its beating heart, held aloft, spraying blood before being placed in a ceremonial bowl and eaten raw by delirious ukulele supplicants.

Gemma likes the colour green. She adores its green-ness, its vertiginous appleness, how it coos like dove and laughs like a young cloud in calorific distress. Think of feijoas... plump and facile. They sweat and mould in the harsh Brazilian sun, crying tears like sugar - waiting for the grace of a jewel. Gemma likes feijoas, and she handles them like they were her children.

When the Nano-Machines get here, when the noosphere reaches its 'tipping point', when we have learnt the 7 billion names of god, when Omega-minus meets its transcendental function, Gemma will be there waiting for us. And she'll say, "Hey guys, I've met some real crazy dudes from Andromeda who are keen to sit in on our next gig!"


New Zealand- another place I'd rather be living. At least I'm not pregnant.

One's On The Way- Loretta Lynn (Buy)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Real Class


Ami Worthen of Mad Tea Party presents a musical tribute to her Pohaku ukulele.

Peter Hurney, of Pohaku Ukuleles is a hell of a classy guy. He just sent me both versions of the Pohaku calendar for 2010. As in previous years there is a spicy bleu risque calendar (tits) and a bikini version. Both are backed with a magnetic strip for convenient mounting on your refrigerator or toolbox. I won't be posting any of the calendar pictures but you could buy a ukulele from Peter and get your free calendars in the bargain. If you can't afford one of Peter's ukuleles just get ahold of a ukulele and play it.

It's Cold Outside- Mad Tea Party (Buy)

It's Cold Outside- The Choir (Buy)

Whadaya Want- Mad Tea Party (Buy)

A reply to our friend, @eloh

I have maintained my link to the The Iowa Writer's Workshop Is Totally Corrupt Blog because, dammit, someone has to point out that the Iowa writer's workshop is totally corrupt. I know that they haven't posted anything since 2006. Maybe they were silenced by minions of the Iowa Writers Workshop.

I really don't like the Iowa Writers Workshop. People go into it writing things like, "A tall, thin, blonde man walked across a recently mowed field".

They come out of it writing things like, "A long, lean figure navigated a barren stubble of stiff, sun bleached winter wheat. His eyes spoke of windswept distances and aching loneliness. His hair was the color of wild oats on a forgotten hillside."

Bite me.

The work of exposing expensive writer's workshops must go on. Fuck 'em. Go write something.

Growin' A Beard- The Morrells (Buy it if you can find it. Check the prices on this one.)

"Put some hair on it."

Busking on the frozen tundra.


It's either inspired creative parenting or child abuse. Ross K of Gazetteer fame has been dragging his kids out in public places and busking on ukulele and guitar. I think it's great.

I really like this video because it also introduces us to The Hammer, Mr Beer N. Hockey's famous dog. There's even reason to believe that some of those grown up knees belong to Beer and Sonia. Plus I dig that crazy harmonica.

Ross and his kids kind of remind me of Dr. Michael Homan and his kids. Dr. Homan is a friend of a friend of a friend. Four years ago he helped his, then ten year old, daughter, Kalypso, make a documentary about why she loves New Orleans and how she felt about Hurrican Katrina. It's one of my favorite YouTube videos. Kalypso and her dad are both great bloggers.



I was really pleased to see Beer and The Gazetteer get together. I hope to meet some of my readers someday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Will drive buses for food.


Soon I might be competing for dinner with this adorable kitty.

I signed the papers. I got The Numbers. I am officially retiring on March 1st. I will be taking a whopping 60% pay cut. Funny thing is, I don't feel the least bit nervous. I got my first bus driving job when I was 19 years old. I drove around Detroit in the middle of the night with a newfangled tape recorder that played these little cassettes. I listened to Mott the Hoople and the New York Dolls. Now look at me listening to Hawaiian music on my iPod.

I'm already out looking for my next job. The good part is, if I don't like it I can tell 'em to fuck off.

Rockin' Chair Money- Hank Williams (Buy)

Old Age Pension Check- Roy Acuff (Buy)

Just for old time's sake, imagine you're on the Southwest side of Detroit, driving the Baker bus and listening to this through a three inch speaker on a tape player that's chained to the base of your seat. You never, ever left anything laying around in Detroit. It didn't matter if you were right there. If you had something and someone could pick it up and take off with it, someone would.

All The Young Dudes- Mott The Hoople (Buy)

God, I feel like such a jerk. I actually googled iPad. Like I've just got to know all of the details. I can be talked into anything.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

rat pack ukulele


"Come fly with me."

Did Frank Sinatra do a version of "All of Me"? If he did I'm working up a regular little Sinatra song book for the ukulele. It's not something I'm doing on purpose. Sinatra songs just present themselves. A few weeks ago I was fooling with some fumbling attempts at jazz chords when I realized I was playing the chords to "The Lady Is A Tramp." A while later I was noodling around with the C scale and figured out the melody to "Someone To Watch Over Me". Just today I got sent a file of sheet music for "All of Me".

My parents listened to that Rat Pack stuff when I was growing up. A lot of it really makes me feel creepy. I cannot stand to listen to the Rat Pack Christmas Album. It makes my skin crawl. I feel like I'm growing a new relationship with those old standards. Now I can even listen to Sinatra.

My parents listened to WNEW in New York. We always listened to the William B. Williams "Make Believe Ballroom Time" show. Williams always announced Sinatra with the words, "The chairman of the board. Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra..."

I never thought I'd post a Sinatra song here.

Someone To Watch Over Me- Frank Sinatra (Buy)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

City of dogs


I watched the movie 'City of God'. Then I watched a documentary about Brazil. Then my friend, Toxic Tom called me up to ask what I was doing. I told him about the movies and he said, "Oh, yeah. Just like back in Cleveland."

Tom knows what he is talking about.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Breaktime

I'm turning off the computers for a week. See you next Friday.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I can't find a replacement halogen bulb for my reading light. I finally decided it would probably be less trouble to buy a new lamp. I went to K MART in Santa Rosa. They have got lots of cheap, Chinese made crap.

There was hardly anyone in the store. They had giant drums of orange things that were supposed to be some kind of food. They had tons of decorative throw pillows. There were lots of empty shelves. So much cheap crap. It looked a poor person's apartment after a burglary.

The section with lamps and light bulbs was mostly empty. The did not have the kind of light bulb I need and they had about six really, really ugly table lamps. I couldn't bring myself to buy one. It was nice to see the place failing.

I was reading yesterday that someone asked Allen Ginsberg what exactly was going on. It was the sixties and some people were macrameing their nose hairs and some young people had admitted to having had sex. Some other people were being "turbulent" about the mass slaughter in Viet Nam or else they were being "turbulent" about being treated like shit, which didn't use to be something you could be "turbulent" about. You are not allowed to be "turbulent" about that again, but for a little while some people were "turbulent" anyhow.

So you can see why some one would be concerned and ask Allen Ginsberg, leading American poet, what was going on.

Supposedly Ginsberg said, "A lot of people are lonely. It is very strange... being in a body."

That makes a lot of sense to me.

Fight Fire- Southern Culture On The Skids (Buy)

I went back to Alameda to see my Dad yesterday. He was in a cranky mood. He wanted me to take him out for pizza. When he found out I didn't have time he started pouting. He complained a lot about how life sucked since his girlfriend, Ellory, died. I really liked Ellory. How she got stuck with my Dad I'll never understand. When Ellory was alive my father used to complain about how life sucked since my Mom died. Sometimes Ellory would interrupt him to ask him if he'd ever had any good times with her. He lit a cigar, stank up the room and sulked. He never once said anything good about Ellory when I was around.

The unexamined life ain't worth livin' friends.

I finally got the old man to put on his oxygen thing. He perked up a little bit but he still wanted me to know that he didn't like some of the groceries that I'd brought him and he wasn't going downstairs because all of those people were old and he didn't like any of them. A lady from the staff called and asked him if he was OK because he didn't come down for lunch. He yelled at her to leave him alone. What a guy.

I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I jumped on a bus and made it back to SF for an acupuncture appointment. Acupuncture really seems to be helping my breathing, plus it is strangely psychedelic. After all of the pins go in I feel wonderfully relaxed. I usually fall asleep in the chair. Yesterday I fell asleep and had psychedelic dreams. I woke up with a bunch of needles sticking out of my face and thought, "Jesus. This is realy fun!" I mean it was all fun. The needles were fun. The acupuncturist, Jennifer, was fun. The other people in the room were fun. The chair was fun. The traffic noise from the street was fun. So much fun.

This is my all time favorite sad song.

Who Will The Next Fool Be?- Charlie Rich (Buy)

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed