Monday, July 28, 2008

Pohaku Ukuleles

I've added a link to Pohau Ukuleles. If, by some accident of fate, you have ended up here, click on the link and go have some fun. This blog has become unbearably dull, while Peter's Hurney's ukes and his other work are as fun as anything. I bought a soprano ukulele from Peter last week. It is such a fine instrument that I feel compelled to improve my playing. The sound it makes is unbelievable. Among other things it is so clear and beautiful that the slightest mistake rings out loud and clear. On the other hand, when I get something right, no matter how simple, it sounds fabulous.

I have to say that the hour or two I spent touring Peter's shop and playing his instruments was almost $500 worth of fun by itself. It is extremely cool that he threw in a souvenir for free.

I enjoyed reading this interview with Peter.
Dont Think Im Santa Claus - Lil McClintock
I found "Don't Think I'm Santa Claus" on the compilation "Good For What Ails You" from Old Hat Records. Thanks to the lovely and mysterious Madame Pamita for bringing Old Hat to my attention.

There must be something going on with sunspots because it looks like I'll be able to post this successfully .

What I am thinking about when I am not fighting the machines here.

It took a while to learn to be me. Before I could do that, I endured by refusing. God bless the drunken Indians. "Protect your spirit. You're in the place where spirits get eaten."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

not working

I notice that none of the various widgets, imeem panels and you tube screens are opening today. I apparently continue to be able to post in text only. Silly me, I'm finding that annoying.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nothing but trouble

This is why I try and go to the high desert every year. It's full of weird lost Americana. I grew up on all of those post apocalyptic science fiction novels and half expected to end up living in a world that looked like the photographs of Troy Paiva. That might still happen. You can buy Paiva's new book here. Mmmm, bleekalicious.

Man I wish I was running a classy blog like SiblingShot or even Dope City Free Press because I've been getting visits from all kinds of classy bloggers and their readers. I've recently heard from Dear Kitty, Frankie, Nezua and Brownfemipower.

Meanwhile, back in Shitsville, it's just about too much trouble to fight the machines. In order to post this, I have to switch back and forth between two different browsers, keeping several windows open in each. Some things only work in Safari, some only work in Firefox. Firefox still hasn't found my bookmarks. In fact, the whole bookmark function doesn't work. There's things that refuse to function on Blogger when I open it in Safari, but Firefox continues to crash and freeze the computer several times a day.

If you would all just send me your home addresses I could do the whole thing on cuneiform tablets and carry them to you on camels. It would be a lot less trouble.

And then there was my laughable ambition to have a music blog. Continuing the theme of songs with titles that sound like me babbling:

Oh well. It was too much to hope. Blogger refuses to post a link to iMeem if I open it in Safari. I refuse to copy all of this and drag it over to yet another window in Firefox.

I think they've got me beat. Fuck 'em. They can't keep me down. I can edit this in Firefox and then post the imeem link. I'm pretty sure I'm going over to an all cuneiform edition soon. I mean, how in the hell am I going to find time to work 13 hours a day and then find time to actually write? I haven't posted anything of substance in a long time. I just fight the machines so I can post commentary on my battle with the machines.
Te Ni Nee Ni Nu - Southern Culture on the Skids

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Getting all fancy with the experiments

This is some guy named Webb Wilder doing 'I Had Too Much To Dream.' Doing a fabulous job of it too. Now lets see if me and imeem are on speaking terms.
Hey Sah-Lo-Ney - Les Sexareenos
Alright then, this is Les Sexareenos doing the Sexareeno thing. I tried to post this a few days ago, back when my troubles were just getting started. Let's see how it goes this time.

An experiment

I just wanted to see if I could even do this much. I gotta say, there's nothing like a bunch of old hippies from Kentucky performing a Sun Ra song.


I tried to post something and blogger decided that the code that I wrote shouldn't be allowed into the text of the post. Really, I keep hitting bizarre tech snags every time I try to post something. Coincidence? NO. I have clearly been detected as an enemy of The Conspiracy. Yesterday, every time I tried to post something I was told that I needed to download a new application of some sort. When I tried downloading the application I was told that I would have to shut down my browser. When I tried to save what I had written, I was assured that it had been saved, but when my browser restarted everything was lost. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow. This is more than a little bit annoying. It's been almost impossible to post anything of substance here for almost a week. Welcome to the exciting world of 1999, text only, blogging. Please, no images, no links, no video or audio files. Is it time to try wordpress? 

Don't let poets lie to you

Monday, July 21, 2008

Apologies to BFP

Not very important in the greater scheme of things, but I tried to post a comment at La Chola. Later I noticed that she had asked that comments only come from women of color. Sorry friend. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How I will be spending my day "off".

Tracking down all of my bills, going to their websites and bookmarking them in Safari in hopes that I'll be able to pay my bills. I had all of them bookmarked in firefox, but firefox lost all of those bookmarks. I suppose I'll have to do something like create new passwords or something equally tedious. This sucks. I hate computers. I owe real money on this piece of shit and I can't trust it to do simple things that my windows '95 computer that I bought in 1996 could be counted on to do. Fuck this.

computers suck

I was going to take some time and post some songs and stuff, but I discovered that Firefox has lost all of my bookmarks. This happened sometime last night. I'm fed up with these fucking things. I'm going to try my luck in the actual world. I had a good week, I bought a new ukulele, exciting changes in my union. I do not feel like googling all of the stuff that is lost so I can put together a post. To the couple three people who read this thing, I'll be reading your stuff, but who has time to endlessly repair something that was fucked up by a machine? I mean, it's not like I have a lot of time and I'm not going to spend it sorting out this fucking machine. And yes, you can tell me it was trojan ware or something from site I visited or some application that I used, all I know is that it's all about firefox and using the internet and I'm fed up with it. I lived a long time without blogging and will continue to do so.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I leave you with this important note

Diana Rigg was one of my first great loves. It wasn't the leather exactly, but that didn't hurt. On the sidewalk in SF, someone wrote the words, "I love Diana Rigg." It's an old piece of sidewalk and the words were etched in it long ago. When last spotted Diana was a guest host on Masterpiece Theater. She looked great, but the leather thing wouldn't work anymore.

The really big news is that I figured out the little strummed riff at the beginning of "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better". I used to know how to play it on guitar, but the guitar is not the same as that most perfect of instruments, the ukulele.

Oh, and I just thought I'd mention that America is culturally dead in the fucking water. I mean, name something cool and new from America. What, like, Justin Timberlake? No, really.

And to prove my point, I'm going to watch the second movie in the Daywatch/Nightwatch series. I watched Nightwatch the other night. It was great. Who could have imagined an utterly cool horror movie, in Russian and set in modern Moscow? Meanwhile in America, they're planning a remake of My Favorite Martian. That and all of the rockin' bands are from, like, Finland.

At least there's Dwight.
The Heartaches Are Free - Dwight Yoakam

I have been in love and heartbroken over a couple of really lovely crazy women. I don't think I regret that. Dwight puts it well. In fairness to crazy women, I am no bargain.

Slightly changed

Because I linked to the article about the creepy "male feminist" predator, Kyle Whatisname, I got a lot of hits from a pretty good feminist blog called Fetch Me My Axe. I know this because I could check the little feed widget down on the right hand side of the page. The thing is, I mostly know that the same little group of dudes comes here.

After reading about creepy "feminist" dudes, the widget was making me feel vaguely weird and stalkerish. Yes that's right stalkerish. (I'm arguing with spellcheck.) So, anyhow, I got rid of it. I kept the little map because it is cute.
Ill Feel A Whole Lot Better - Dinosaur Jr.
The previously mentioned failed music uploads might have been my fault. You wanna know how I feel about hippies and organic food? Read this guest post at La Chola. Let's drop the "responsible consumer" bullshit and start practising some solidarity for a change.

Action packed

Down the street from the yard in SF. I used to love to eat at Tu Lan. You can see their sign on the left side of the picture, just above the guy with the bucket on his head. I'm really surprised to see cops on Sixth Street. Not that they aren't there. They're all over that block, but they're in cars. There's certain neighborhoods that cops use to corral criminal activity. They know it's there. They have informers all over the place and they like to drive through and take a look, but when it comes to the people on the street, their attitude is mostly, "Let the animals kill each other."

Tu Lan may be the dirtiest restaurant in all of SF. The smell of burnt grease is overpowering, but somehow that makes the food tastier. No matter the weather the front door is always open. I think that's partly to lure in potential customers with the smell of ancient grease heated to within a degree or two of bursting into flames. Also, the place is so packed with all maner of (paying) humanity that any little bit of air is welcome inside. If you are claustrophobic I can't reccommend the tiny upstairs dining room. The only way out is the narrow stairway to the back of main dining room. I always used to picture flames racing up the stairs and the sudden realization that the downstairs is engulfed in flames.

Then there's (non paying) humanity. SF has gotten so expensive that the bums have to commute from the suburbs. Every time you hear about an arrest for some stupid and ugly crime in the neighborhood the perpetrator gives an address in Oakland. I know people in Oakland like to claim that Oakland is just as much a city as The City, but they're wrong.

Anyhow, the other place you don't want to sit is near the door. For one thing you might witness something. When the shooting starts, why stop at one? Even if you're minding your own damn business- got your nose pointed straight at your pho- a seat near the front makes your more likely to intersect the line of fire.

So, now that you know where to sit in Tu Lan, I'll tell you why I won't eat there anymore. One time I ordered my fave. I think it's the #47 and said could I please have a glass of water right now? The waiter sneered at me. Restaurants supposedly make the long dollars on drinks. Water is not a money maker. I, however, was very thirsty, and water was what I needed.

After a considerable wait, my meal arrived, but my water had not. Could I please have a glass of water?

"Yes, yes. Glass of water" and I was dismissed with a wave of the waiter's hand.

I was very hungry, but I was even thirstier. My friend dug into his food, but I waited for my glass of water.

The waiter came and went past our table several more times. My friend was half way through his food and mine was pretty cold still no water. I mentioned water to the waiter again and he yes yessed me again.

Finally I picked up a piece of yummy grease encrusted pork and took a little bite. I was still feeling parched. I swallowed and the pork stuck, painfully, in my dessicated throat. The only liquid on the table was soy sauce.

I got up and approached the waiter. "Listen, I've asked you several times for a glass of water. Now, if you don't bring me one right away, I'm going to follow you around until you do. I know I'm not the only customer in here, but I'm definitely one of the customers and I'm asking you one more time for a glass of water." My friend looked embarrassed. The other customers looked at me like I had just shit on the floor. What the fuck was wrong with them?

The waiter walked over to the counter and took a small glass of water from a tray of glasses. He handed it to me. It was warm and there were little blobs of grease floating on top. I did not give a shit. I sat down and took a sip. I felt an immense sense of relief as the the little chunk of carbonized pig meat was washed down. Just then an enormous cockroach took a stroll across the table. He did not appear to be in any hurry.

I decided that I wasn't as hungry as I thought. We paid our bill. I did not leave a tip.

I hope that my experience with a bad waiter did not discourage you from eating at Tu Lan. I hope everything I've written discouraged you from eating at Tu Lan. In fact, just stay off of Sixth Street between Market and Mission. People shit on the sidewalk in broad daylight there.

If you want a nice meal prepared by lovely people walk down to 9th just East of Harrison and go to the Little Piglet Cafe. I'm looking forward to seeing them.

After that I might walk over to 4th street and kick some techie butt at the offices of imeem. I had four downloads mysteriously fail. I'm certain not all of them were in Apple's protected format. Maybe I'm wrong, but I should probably kick some techie butt on general principle.

I might, on the other hand, catch BART over to Berkeley and look at a beautiful Ukulele for sale. More as the situation develops.

In the meantime, pause to consider the wonder that is Joan Jett. Back when feminist folk music was supposed to save the world, Joan had already begun saving the world, if only for a few seconds at a time. If all of us did as much, the world would be a better place.
Cherry Bomb (Live With L7) - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

They're tugging on my leash

Two weeks off and I feel like I accomplished very little. I go back to work for the large orange bridge tomorrow. I'm sure I'll enjoy being back in SF. I'll be out from under the pall of smoke that has hung over SoCo for weeks. It won't be as hot in SF. I'll be back to a few old favorite haunts. The trouble is I'll also be back to work. Sob...
Work - Maureen Tucker
And yes... I do know that I'm lucky to have a job in this economy. Yes it's a damn good job and I shouldn't complain. I also know that it's work and that it's Adam's curse and I'm tired of it. You won't be hearing much from me in the foreseeable future.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bad day with firefox

My Waverly Street ukulele kept me company instead.

Every time I opened Firefox my computer crashed. Made it hard to post here and all. So I watched movies and played the ukulele.

I finally figured out that I needed to uninstall Firefox and reinstall the latest version. Worked like a charm. While I was fiddling with the computer, I discovered that I can take pics. Same as most of my friends in their 50's, my neck has started to look funny.
Mirror In The Bathroom - The English Beat

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You could trust this man

".... I'm a librarian and I'm not joking"- Jim Hurd

It's been just over two years since Jim Hurd, revolutionary socialist and public librarian, died. Feminists liked Jim. They knew he wasn't a bullshitter. One time he was the only man invited to speak at a women's conference on something or other.

"Look," he said, "any man who makes it a point to tell you he's a feminist is probably trying really hard to get laid."

He was a lovable dude.
Kiss Me Seven Times - Carmaig De Forest
I can play guitar almost as good as Carmaig DeForest.

Hell, I don't even trust me

I am so fucking cool

So, here I've been musing on whiteitude and maleitude and stuff. I've been threatening to come through with the definitive statement when I dredge it up from the deepest recesses of my subconscious. I dunno, maybe my subconscious goes a little deeper than I know.

I came across this report of a creepy little guy who thought he was going to save the world, but maybe he blew his big chance. You know, it is usually a mistake to pretend that your inner demons don't exist. You could say that's the point of this. (Don't miss clicking on the link. It's great writing.)

The other point of this is that you probably shouldn't trust white guys who go on for too fucking long about how anti-racist and pro-feminist they are, especially if they get all sensitive about it.

Alright then, I might have something to say, but if it sounds too serious, denies the fact that I like to check girls out or pretends that I don't live surrounded by a reassuring sea of white folks, it is safe to ignore me.

Here's what I like to think I'm like. I'm a great guy.
Love Like a Truck - The Bottle Rockets

What are white people good for?

I've been raving about my identity as a working class white boy. Bear with me, this is gonna get complicated. I've also been participating in a blog to blog dialogue with my good sister at La Chola. Today she asks who made the best Michigan white boy remix? Was it Eminem sampling Aerosmith, or Kid Rock sampling Warren Zevon and Lynrd Skynrd?

I think BFP is not a city girl so I can see her getting sentimental about Kid Rock's tribute to lake front underage drinking. Michigan to me is about Detroit and hard living. I'm gonna have to go with Eminem.

Personally, If I had to pick a favorite Michigan white boy it would be Iggy Pop. He, among other things, has never lost his Michigan accent. Every time I hear him speak I expect him to pause at the end of a sentence and say, "...and stuff."

When it comes to white boys in general, I like Junior Brown. How many people would think of a song called 'My Wife Thinks You're Dead'? Check the video above.

I haven't lived in Michigan in a long, long time. I'm a retired Michigan white boy. I don't just mean I'm retired from Michigan. I've turned in my papers on being white and a boy. I'm praying to live out my days as a human among humans.

If I can manage to get the words out, I have a lot more to say on that subject. Meanwhile, here's Merle Haggard. Merle has a big, big heart and absolutely no patience for bullshit. I hope I age as disgracefully as him.
Big City - Merle Haggard

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How about some poetry?

Pack your bags Beer. At 8:00 AM this Saturday New Orleans will be hosting the second annual San Fermin in Nueva Orleans. It's an event very similar to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, except the runners will be fleeing horned roller girls wielding whiffle bats. Por que no?

And speaking of New Orleans, a city that is beginning to sound more and more like the land of dreams, and nightmares, here's a piece of musical performance poetry by the great Ed Sanders. Ed is another one of my real life heroes. This piece is taken from "Poems For New Orleans" a cycle of poems following the history of that city from the Battle of New Orleans through the wake of Katrina. The concept is a little more ambitious that I feel competent to explain, better to read the official explanation from Mr Sanders. This is one of the sillier moments as Johnny Pissoff tries to do right by the city of New Orleans. Ed has returned again and again to the theme of liberating the children of hateful rednecks. I believe this Johnny Pissoff is the fully liberated son of the queer basher named in the fugs song, "Johnny Pissoff and the Red Angel" The transformation of Johnny Pissoff is a recurring them in the work of Ed Sanders and his band, The Fugs. True Sanders fans will recognize that the name of this blog was inspired by Ed's 1960's literary journal, Fuck You, a Magazine of the Arts.
Some Fema Trailers In Hope - Ed Sanders

I've been having fun with Brownfemipower down in the comments section. She's fun and it's great to hear from her, she also has a great blog. I found this video there.

Let me make something sort of clear here: This isn't exactly a political blog. It's mostly personal. It gives me a chance to share some good music and hang out with cool people.

That said, let me make something crystal clear: Fuck the border. Fuck ICE. Fuck NAFTA. Fuck the capitalists. If you are a worker and a US citizen and you think you have something to gain from pre dawn raids, tearing families apart and treating human beings like animals you are being played.

This is the latest installment in a game that has been played on us since this country was founded. It is about pitting one section of the working class against another so that our enemies can get stronger. There's nothing else. The border and the laws concerning the border are fictions. Money moves back and forth across the border, but people don't have any rights if they find themselves on the wrong side of it. If rights exist for some of us, but not for others they are not rights, they are privileges. If you consider privileges legitimate then don't cry when they are taken away from you. As long as the system of privileges is tolerated, you can be sure that sooner or later, you'll be losing some of yours.

Now, back to idle dithering about the weather and ogling pretty women:
Nancy Sinatra - The Bottle Rockets
The Bottle Rockets are some soulful white boys who can rock (when it suits them) like ZZ Top. They are white boys and hicks through and through, but there ain't nothing mean or chickenshit about them. If, by any chance, you are among those who think being white, working class and a hick is about being an asshole fuck youse as they say in New York, fuck ye'uns as they say in Indiana and fuck alla y'all as they say everyplace else.

Just needed to do a little ranting in the style of my boy, Ib.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Nice motel. Clean. I can recommend it. Very close to the churches, the other motel and the liquor store.

I'm not kidding. Over there on the right, when I say I post too much at other people's blogs I mean that all of my best shit ends up in someone else's comments section.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey mentioned his desire to move to a small town, and before I knew it I had written the following. It's the most interesting thing I've written all week.

"I am undecided. Sometimes I walk around SF and think what a swell place it is. I could live there easily. I could partake of it and abstain from it as I see fit. I would live like a king. When I lived there I felt like the only time the whole city wasn't in my face it was because my face was being rubbed in dogshit.

At the other extreme, I have friends in Boron, way the fuck out in the desert. It's an hour's drive through featureless sand and sagebrush to get to a grocery store that sells fresh produce. The town exists because of one of the world's only known deposits of Boron. The mine is what the whole town is about. That and Edwards Air Force Base, "The Gateway to Area 51."

My friend's dad retired from the Air Force and worked at Edwards as a civilian employee for 30 years. He loves to obliquely mention some remote location, "over the hill" and then say, "That would be talking about Groom Lake, and I'm not allowed to do that. Yuck Yuck."

Boron has about 500 people, eight churches, two motels and a liquor store. Ore trains roar through the center of town several times a day. You can see the hill where the Air Force tests rocket engines. I mean big ass ICBM -Mercury-Space Shuttle rocket engines. Periodically they fire one up and the whole town shakes. Also, the Air Force has a special exemption that allows them to overfly the town at supersonic speeds and as low as 500 feet. If nothing else is rattling your dentures you can look forward to an experimental jet screaming overhead so low you can see the pilot's face, followed by a sonic boom that knocks all the china off the shelf.

I really like it there. I must have some bad white trash genes in me because there's nothing to explain it except the call of the blood.

If you're ever there, go to the Mexican restaurant. It's also the only bar in town. All of the astronauts drink there. They have all kinds of Air Force memorabilia signed by authentic space heroes. The story is that it's a money laundering operation for some very heavy Mexian Mafia guys. I've met them. They are charming. Some guy broke in there a few years ago. He tried to steal the safe. A few days later he was found in his basement. His mouth was taped shut. His hands were taped behind his back. His legs were broken. His feet were touching the ground, but he was hanging by a noose around his neck. The sheriff walked around the body and ruled his death a suicide. I guess the boy was despondent or something.

Don't let anybody tell you small towns are boring. Boron is totally punk rock."

It was one hundred and two degrees here today. The fires are still burning all over the state. The air is thick with smoke. My eyes are red and swollen. My sinuses hurt. I have not been sleeping well. Don't expect much from me.

This morning, I went swimming with my stepdaughter, April. We were in the pool at the condo where she and my ex live. It was so hot the water was warm, but it was still better than being out of the water. Afterwards I went and did more volunteer training at Free Mind Media Center. I volunteered to clean the bathroom. It is now much cleaner than the bathroom here at mi casita mobile. I found out that my fellow trainee is from Evansville, Indiana. She lived in Bloomington for a few years. She knew my friend Tommy Donahue. If the temperature was less than 102 and if the sky was some color other than orange we would have laughed at the coincidence. Too much work though.

And speaking of coincidences, the mystic algorithms behind iTunes did some fabulous DJ'ing and sequenced these two songs together. It's a seamless mix if you listen to them in the order presented. Grime meets surf pop somewhere over the desert.
A Little Bit Of Shhh (Smallstars Remix By Adrock) - Lady Sovereign
Silent Screamer - Dave Myers Effect
I swear I had some real serious writing planned for today. I was gonna write about the virtues of sweaty old white men with heart, and the class struggle and why I still don't heart hippies. It was gonna be major, with major musical contribu's to match. Not that kind of day. XXOO

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lotsa love

BFP from La Chola says she digs the cholas on my last post so, here is a pic of the most bad ass chola girl on the whole internet. That's for BFP. For her, Ib and for Ib's talented son, and for Hagar's Daughters and anyone else who needs him, here's Solomon Burke. Love is a mainly splendid thing.
Cry To Me - Solomon Burke
Back to my arrested adolescent white boy fascination with garage music soon.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I am honored

A quintet of cholas. Note, posting this picture in no way implies affiliation with or endorsement of 13, surenos or the color blue. Please do not shoot at me. Please do not grafitti my trailer.

My humble weblog has been honored by a visit from Madame Pamita. I wrote her a note explaining that I had posted one of her songs. She viewed this very blog and sent back a nice reply giving me permission to use her music. Yesterday was her birthday. Wish her a happy birthday.

Also I have reason to believe that Brownfemipower, from La Chola has been here. I've spoken well of her in the past and will continue to do so in the future. She is a poet of revolution.
If there were English Cholas, Lady Sovereign would be one of them.
Fiddle With The Volume - Lady Sovereign


Hi Ib, I finally remembered where I saw that take off on David's 'Death of Marat'. It's by the brilliant Sandow Birk. I have all three volumes of Dante's Divine Comedy as illustrated by Birk and translated by Marcus Sanders. I consider them the definitive modern translation. Don't forget, Dante was writing in the colloquial Italian of his time. The original language, though reportedly beautiful, was not refined. That's why I was genuinely thrilled when Sander's Dante turns to Virgil after contemplating the horrors of hell and says, "Dude, this totally sucks." I'm not being ironic. I've never felt closer to hell than I felt while looking at Birk and Sander's inferno, a place that looks a lot like Los Angeles.

Yessir, the American west is a wonderland of cross cultural pollination. In celebration of that, here's a massive sample of Texican and Mexifornian music. Baille dudes and dudesses.
Viva La Guantanamera - Hip Hop Hoodios - Various Artists - Nacional RecordsLos Fabulosos Thunderbirds * - The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Down Whittier Blvd. (Godfrey vocal) - Thee Midniters - Thee Midnighters
Bailando el Rock & Roll - Freddy Fender
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights - Doug Sahm
Funky Butt - Joe King Carrasco And El Molino
Los Chucos Suaves - Ry Cooder

I am from New Jersey- Part 2

Click on the map to see it greatly enlarged. This very odd map is from the very interesting blog, Strange Maps. As you can see, New Jersey has many attractions. It also has a musical style. The pop music of New Jersey tends to be operatic and over the top. Think of Bruce Springsteen on Darkness On the Edge of Town, 'Dawn' by the Four Seasons or that damn 'Dashboard Light' song by Meat Bat or whatever. I know Meatloaf is not from New Jersey, but he might as well be. Not all great New Jersey artists are actually from The Garden State.

At it's best the musical heart of New Jersey sounds like Doo Wop meets Italian opera. That's not accidental. Jersey was the heartland of white Doo Wop, an art form mostly practiced by Italian-Americans. Two groups that come to mind are The Elegants and Johnny Maestro and the Crests.

That's not what I'm here for though. I wanted to highlight what I think is the greatest New Jersey song ever written, 'Just Your Friends' by Mink DeVille. There's a problem with this: Willy DeVille is from San Francisco. No matter, it doesn't get more New Jersey than this.

Just Your Friends - Mink Deville

Friday, July 4, 2008

God bless America and her ukuleles!

Washboard Bill and his ukulele.

The lovely Madame Pamita hints at the whereabouts of her pink pocketbook. I'm in l-u-v.
You must go to her website. Hire her to play a party. Invite me. I'll be there.
Pink Pocketbook - Madame Pamita

Is this a great country or what?

Clarence Ahsley sings The Cuckoo. As lovely a song as I have ever heard. How was I lucky enough to be born among these people?

The 4th of July in Anbar province

Zoriah is a photojournalist and blogger currently in Anbar province, Iraq. He reminds us that thousands of Americans are celebrating our independence while they occupy someone else's country.
Soldiers Joy - The Holy Modal Rounders

Free Mind

And speaking of independence, today, I start my volunteer training at Free Mind Media Center.
Gettysburg Address - Lord Buckley

July 4th is an international holiday!

From New Orleans, Editor B reminds us that this is International Flag Burning Day. Feel free to burn the flag of your choice! It is suggested, so as to avoid confusion, that you burn more than one flag. If you are in California, where open flames have become a scary proposition, you can burn this virtual flag. (After entering the site, click on the flag to start the conflagration)
I do not always agree with Brother Peace Maker, but I like to hear from him. His post for today includes a little flag burning and some pithy observations.
International Flag Burning Day - The Troublemakers

I Stand Tall

Let us not forget the many drunk and heroic Americans who have sacrificed themselves in pyrotechnic displays of nationalistic fervor.
I Stand Tall - Dictators

Honor our great nation

Let us pause to honor three icons of our great nation: The Flag, The Ukulele and Curtis Mayfield.
Power To The People - Curtis Mayfield

Dead on the Fourth of July

The death of the racist, homophobe and general mean old cracker, Jesse Helms gives me an opportunity to reflect on my ambiguous feelings about my country. Do I love it? Yes. Does it piss me off? To the depths of my soul. I'm not much for the idea of hell, so I hope Jesus is having a sit down with the old bastard and setting him straight.

Every July 4th celebration should include a solemn moment for Frederick Douglas' "What, to the slave, is the 4th of July."
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? (excerpt) - Frederi - Various Artists - Smithsonian Folkways

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The military catches up with the workpace

What are anti depressants for? They allow employers to give their unhappy minions some drugs and throw them back into battle. The military is starting to catch on.


Imeem doesn't seem to be working. More time for ukulele practice. Today's cryptic utterance: Always wear a hat when playing the ukulele.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No Security Needed

Relax, enjoy yourself.

I'm told that the City of Santa Rosa will not issue a permit for a hip hop show unless the organizers provide a certain number of armed guards. Unfortunately, someone was shot in a parking garage across the street from a club that sometimes has hip hop acts. How much more proof do you need? There is an antique store across the street too. If non white kids started collecting antiques they'd need armed guards there too.

Look, I'll admit that the combination of young men, alcohol, drugs and guns shares the shit out of me. I used to be a drunk young man with a penchant for firearms. It's a miracle, I mean something involving divine intervention, that I didn't end up shooting someone, or myself.

I still think that the demonization of hip hop is about race. The white fascination with "hahd gangsta" hip hop is about the creation of a virtual Storyville. A blackface space where white kids can live out their dark fantasies by projecting them onto Black kids. Oooh, all of our demons are running loose. We better deny them a permit unless they have armed guards. All right I'm not saying anything new, but it bears repeating. It is downright evil to expect young Black men to bear the burden of white people's inner darkness.

I wish Immortal Technique would stop using the N word so much. I wish he would be a little more respectful of women and I wish he would admit that he is gay, but he certainly deserves props for trying to shake off that burden.

The Poverty of Philosophy - Immortal Technique

Coming soon: Jon loves English hip hop. Look out for Lady Sovereign and Roots Manuva.

Extra points

That Mike Whybark. What a pistol! Not only does he live online, he even seems to have a life, a wife, some cats, a house. He sent me a file of live performances by The Vulgar Boatmen. The VB's are a project involving Dale Lawrence, original Indiana punk, I mean the godfather of Indiana indies.

Speaking of Indiana music, There's a badge from Musical Family Tree over on the right. MFT is a community of people interested in music from Indiana. It's a great place to visit and it includes discussions that go far beyond music. Check out the discussion on The Tribe Of Ben Ishmael.

Meanwhile, back at The Vulgar Boatmen. Here's their take on What Goes On. If I keep finding new versions this will become like the legendary Louie Louie mixtape. Hoosier Hysteria anyone?
What Goes On - The Vulgar Boatmen

Homework assignment

It's lonesome over at SiblINGSHOT. Your first assignment is to give Ib a big howdy! He toils tirelessly to bring us beautiful music. This ain't the music free store ponk. We get paid in l-u-v. You got to bring some to get some.

While I'm ordering you around, I should point out that you are supposed to pay the artisses in actual or virtual green folding money. I am lazy. I do not bother to put up "buy it here" links very often, but you should consider them implicit in every post. The idea here is that real music lovers just can't get enough of that stuff. I am always on the lookout for the hint of something new or the sweet reminder of happy times gone by. I leave little breadcrumbs to mark the trail of my musical wanderment. Follow the trail back to the musicians, ya jagoff.

Do I have your attention? Good. Your overnight assignment is to compare and contrast these three versions of What Goes On:

1.) The original as performed by the Velvet Underground

2.) The Dictators version as performed on New York New York

3.) The bluegrass version as performed by The Meat Purveyors

The Meat Purveyors came all the way from Texas a couple of years ago. It was one of the all time great shows of my life. They played the Forestville club in Forestville, California. Forestville is not big enough to rate a stop light. The club is the only bar in town and the AA group across the street draws a bigger and better crowd on Saturday nights. The opening act was the now (apparently) defunct Pickin' Trix followed by the Meat Purveyors. The closing act was Forestville's own Stiff Dead Cat who absolutely tore the place up.

I hate going to shows. I hate bars. I'm miserably uncomfortable in crowds. Why do you think I spend so much time here in virtuality? Nonetheless, I have been richly rewarded a time or two when I manage to find the door of the trailer and go see live music.

Speaking of which, does anybody wanna go see Joan Jett tomorrow at the Marin County Fair? I hate county fairs even more than I hate rock concerts, but that's my bad brain chemistry. We're talking about JOAN here.
What Goes On - The Velvet Underground
What Goes On - Dictators
What Goes On - The Meat Purveyors

Indy means Indianapolis

Thanks to the estimable Mike Whybark I learned about a great little blog, 60's Indiana Band Szene. Now that's obscure! I was trying to explain to my friend Bob C about the obscurity thing. "You know," he said, "Sometimes there's no obscurity like well deserved obscurity." Some people just don't get it. People! This is fucking art! It's history! It's obsessive compulsive disorder! It's cool.

The Clefs of Lavender Hill

No pictures of these guys, but I was amazed to find this biography:

"Best remembered for their folk-rock cult classic "Stop! Get a Ticket," the Clefs of Lavender Hill were led by singers/guitarists Travis and Coventry Fairchild, in reality Brooklyn-born brother and sister Joseph and Lorraine Ximenes. Settling in Miami in 1966, the siblings recruited bassist Bill Moss and his brother drummer Fred, late of the local band the Twilights (noted for their lone single, 1965's "She's There"), and soon issued their first Clefs of Lavender Hill single, the Thames label release "First Tell Me Why." With its irresistible Merseybeat-inspired approach, Miami radio instead seized on the B-side, "Stop! Get a Ticket" -- the record proved so popular across south Florida that it was licensed for national release by the Date label, surging as high as Number 80 on the Billboard Top 100. The follow-up, "One More Time," rose to Number 114 in the autumn, and the Clefs closed out 1966 with one more single, "It Won't Be Long." The record failed to chart, however, as did its successor, 1967's "Gimme One Good Reason" -- a full-length album was completed, but Date chose to cut its losses, shelving the LP and dropping the Clefs from its roster. The Moss brothers soon exited, and the Travis and Coventry continued on with bassist Frank Milone and drummer Steve Zaricki before dissolving in 1968. "Stop! Get a Ticket" was later included on 1998's Nuggets box set. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide"

Was this the golden age of pop, or was I 12 or 13 and thinking that everything was new? There should be more bouncy little tunes in this world.
Stop! Get A Ticket - Clefs Of Lavender Hill

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