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


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)

Friday, January 8, 2010

I got lost in the fog yesterday afternoon. I missed a turn on a back road up in the hills and found myself in the world famous Sonoma valley. The sun was setting, but the fog was so thick I couldn't figure out which way was west. I drove and drove for an hour. I never came to a town. I passed Fifth Street three times and Eighth Street twice. I drove over little bridges with signs that said "Sonoma Creek" at least ten times. I was trying to get to downtown Petaluma. Eventually I found myself driving East, away from downtown. The thing was that I had started out east of downtown and I had never driven through downtown, but there was downtown, behind me.

Eventually, I got turned around and drove around downtown for a real long time and finally found a place to park. California is supposed to have a twelve percent unemployment rate. I think the whole twelve percent spends its time driving around Petaluma, looking for parking places. Petaluma is a beautiful little town. The craziest people in the world live there and I do not mean that in a good way.

I wanted to go to the music store in Petaluma. It is a really classy old store, so packed full of stringed instruments that it is hard to walk around. I heard they had a five thousand dollar Martin ukulele. Sure enough, there it was. Five thousand dollars in a glass case next to a gazillion dollar one of a kind Martin guitar. They weren't going anywhere.

I have a two hundred and sixty dollar Republic metal bodied resonator ukulele. I have always wanted to try one of those fifteen hundred/ two thousand dollar National Resophonic metal bodied ukuleles. There was one of them sitting right there. All I had to do was pick it up and play it. I did. It really didn't sound as good as my little Republic. I liked that music store but I didn't need to spend any money there. I walked out smiling.

I was really going to a meeting of the Petalukes ukulele club. The meeting was held in the Moose Lodge. I got there early and a Moosette tried to convince me that it would be to my advantage to become a Moose. I know she was a Moosette because the Men's and Lady's room doors said, "Moose" and Moosette." A couple of minutes later a couple of guys came in carrying ukulele cases. They saved me from the Moosette. I liked them right away.

Thirty five people ended up showing up for the meeting. Chairs were pulled into a big circle. Music stands were set up. Big notebooks of photocopied sheet music were unpacked along with a whole bunch of ukuleles from brand new cheapo ukes to classy old well loved ones. After a round of introductions and a disclaimer from one woman, "I'm not the 'leader' of the group. The group doesn't have any leaders", we started a wonderfully chaotic sing along. Sometimes the whole group was playing together and most of us were singing. Sometimes half the group was playing and singing at one speed while the other half was half a verse behind them. We weren't singing rounds or anything, we just weren't singing the same thing. Sometimes part of the group had sheet music in one key while the rest of us had it in another.

The group was mostly pretty old, but it was California and they were mostly pretty old hippies so we sang "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead and "Yellow Submarine" by some other band. We tried to do a medley of "God Bless America" and "This Land Is Your Land" but only one guy knew all of the chords and he kept shouting out the changes to us. We sang a couple of Everly Brothers songs. There were several really good players, a bunch of sort of competent strummers and a few people who could barely understand what was going on. It was a big goddam mess and lots and lots of fun. I got to make tons of mistakes without looking dumb. Every once in a while it even worked and sounded pretty good. I showed one guy a couple of tricks to get through some of the harder parts. A couple of people taught me things. One woman told me, "We can only agree to play in one key and that's 'Anar-key'. " I was smiling and smiling.

I did not get lost on the way home. I listened to Shonen Knife and The Monroe Brothers. I kept smiling and smiling. Every once in a while I said to myself, "Jesus. That was really fun."

Fine Artiste Blues- R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders- Buy

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I don't have a top ten of 2009 list. I don't have anything to say about the decade in review. I spent New Year's day cleaning my house. It was time well spent. I've been camping out here. It is nice to move back into my own house.

This song is 41 years old. I was 15 when it came out. It was "heavy". Play it loud. Like you're fifteen.

Fast Life Rider- Johnny Winter (Buy)

I'll admit, I haven't been working very hard at this thing.

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