Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat

There were many sides to Porter Wagoner, but in public he liked to show his manic side.

The Poetry Is For Assholes world headquarters and trailer is not all that large. My bedroom door looks into a short hallway/laundry room where the back door is located. So the other night I'm dozing with the bedside light on. All is quiet except for the occasional muffled noise from one of the horses. About 11:00 PM I noticed that the horses seemed to be making some extra noises. I was about to turn out the light and go to sleep in earnest when I realized that one of the horses seemed to be walking up my back steps.

I barely got out the words, "What's going on? Who's there?" when someone tried to open the door and then shouted,

"Sonoma County Sheriff! Come out with your hands up!"

Now the county sheriffs have quite a history of killing unarmed people. Usually it goes like this: Crazy person's family calls 911, tells the operator their loved one is acting crazy please send help. By help they usually mean an ambulance and some sort of crazy people intervention specialist. What they get instead is a couple of county sheriffs with their guns drawn. The sheriffs tell the crazy person to stop acting crazy. The crazy person replies, "Booga booga booga!" The sheriffs shoot the crazy person twice in the chest and once in the head. End of psychiatric intervention. After an investigation the sheriff's department announces that the crazy person had a history of mental illness. The local paper repeats that statement as if to say, "He/she had a history of saying 'Booga booga booga!' to policemen. What else could the deputies have done?"

All of this flashed though my mind as I leapt from my bed, threw open the door and stuck my hands, then my head, then the whole of my person out the back door.

There I stood in the flashlights glare. A heavily tattooed fat man wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts decorated with hula dancers. I was looking at two deputies, one male and one female, both with their weapons drawn. Being a proud American, I know my rights and I know they ain't shit when the guns leave the holsters. I timidly inquired, "What's going on deputies? How can I help you?"

"Gwen in the main house called 911 and said she heard someone back here. She says there's not supposed to be anyone in this trailer."

"Gwen?" Says I, "There's no Gwen living here."

"What are you doing here?" asked the male sheriff. "How long have you been here?"

"I've lived here five years. Are you sure you're at the right address?"

It came out that they were busting down doors and doing major police work at the wrong address. Nonetheless, crime must not be tolerated. The male cop told me to stand bare foot in some gravel while he went though my house. Once again I considered my rights as an American and weighed them against the abject terror and loathing I experience around authority figure with guns. I insisted on my constitutional right to footwear and went back in the house to put on shoes. I stood on the gravel while the male cop walked into my house and shone his flashlight around on my dirty dishes and unfolded laundry. Hey, the laundry is clean. I just haven't folded it.

Meanwhile the female cop and I stood and eyeballed one another at close range. She had the decency to look slightly embarrassed. When the male cop came out he was still flicking his flashlight around in crime stoppers mode but all guns were holstered.

Now, you'd think at this point an apology would be in order. Maybe some thanks for my cooperation? What I got was a warning. "You need to keep that back door locked. You don't know who might try and come in while you're asleep." I pointed out that in five years he was the only person who had ever tried to come in while I was asleep. "Yeah well just be careful from now on."

The deputies wandered off into the darkness waving their flashlights around and mumbling. "That gal that called us here is a real wingnut. I suppose we have to go over there and figure out what's bothering her too."

That was the second time a cop pointed a gun at me without provocation and then warned me to be more careful. I suppose he could have shot me a couple of times, just to, you know, back up the warning. If I were Black they might have done just that.

I didn't go to work today. I'm too sick. My doctor finally agreed to sign all of the necessary papers to prove that I am under his care with a mildlly debilitating medical problem. This will protect me from being fired for at least the next year. I tell you, even with a reduced pension I'm giving some serious thought to retirement. I'm sick all the time. I can't take care of myself and I hate my job. Maybe I'm just tired.

When he wasn't wired to the teeth Porter Wagoner was often depressed and ill. Here's a strangely sincere tribute to one of his favorite loony bins.

Committed to Parkview- Porter Wagoner (Buy)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Bobble is all you need.

I've never been much for using The Bible as a road map. It's full of questionable advice and dubious examples. It's OK for fathers and daughters to have sex so long as they're in a cave and daddy's drunk? Oh, don't forget to blame it on the kids. They got daddy drunk and took advantage of him. That's the horrible conclusion to Lot's escape from Sodom. You can be sure he didn't engage in no sodomy either.

Then there's the bestial crime against nature. An act so unnatural that to commit is to condemn oneself to the fiery pit for all eternity. I am of course referring to eating shellfish.

Adultery is a terrible sin. If a man takes another man's wife in adulterous lust he is condemned in the eyes of god. There's a loophole though. If the adulterer kills the woman's husband and then marries the woman it's OK with god. It worked for David and Bathsheba and it can work for you. You'll notice the woman has no agency in this matter. She was one dude's chattel then she becomes another dude's chattel. Love is a many splendored thing.

OK, so The Bible is a catalogue of bad behavior. It's also full of those moments when we have to bow our heads before The Great Mysteries of life. "Truly, The Lord was in this place and I did not know it!" Sometimes it's worth your while to miss a night's sleep. One of The Great Mysteries is the comfort of simple faith. By the grace of God, sometimes we know that we are loved, that our lives have meaning and that in due time more will be revealed.

That's a hard feeling to put into words. Mostly it comes out as pure fucking corn- cheese in a spray can. When we try to express it we say dumb stuff like, "I'm using my Bible for a road map." The thing is that the spirit of those sentiments really is true even if the letter does "Killeth"

Even hipsters can see it. Danny Barnes and the kids from Porter Hall Tennessee are hipsters but they ain't too dumb to know a good thing when they see it.

My friend Laura is concerned that I am overwrought. Me too. She suggests meditation music. Meditiation music makes me tense and irritable. I listen to this kind of stuff. It helps.

I'm Using My Bible For A Road Map- Porter Hall Tennessee (Buy)

I'm Using My Bible For A Road Map- The Bad Livers (Buy)

I'm going to try and lay off the internet for a few days.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Total sleep time so far this week is 20 hours. I had an asthma attack Tuesday that kept me awake all night. Had to go to work. Now until mid December, if I am late or absent I lose my job. I made inquiries about retiring right now. There's not enough money there. If I thought I could get another job, I'd do it but just lately a lot of people would do a lot of things if they could get another job.

I suppose I should consider myself fortunate that I am only in the kind of trouble that goes away in a few weeks. I know people who have never missed a day's work. I will never be one of them.

Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White- The Standells (Buy)

Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White- Hypstrz (Buy)

Today's musical selection is for Billy Foster in Los Angeles.

Extra big bonus another Hypstrz track. Hypstrz were America's only punk rock oldies band. Here they are covering another Standells classic.

Riot On Sunset Strip- Hypstrz (Buy)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Then again... maybe not. Who can resist the glamour and excitement of buses?
Photo from The Invisible Edge.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Every job I've ever had has had something to do with transportation. Even when I was working in a steel mill as an apprentice I was working on rail cars. I've had a commercial drivers license since 1973. Before that, I was a teenager driving forklifts on a loading dock and moving trucks around the lot.

I can also say that every job I've ever had I've either been an active union member, or actively trying to organize a union.

I've worked for the Large Orange Bridge District for almost 22 years. I'm getting really tired. I get depressed often. I haven't drawn a clear breath in a long long time. I have diabetes, torn up joints and chronic headaches.

I've also started fucking up. I can't get myself up for work. I'm pissed off when I'm there. I'm about to become a danger to myself and the public. I just can't pay attention. All I really want to do is hang out, play the ukulele and talk to people. I've been working 12 to 16 hours a day for the last 25 years.

I'm thinking it's time for a change.

The pension board keeps coming up with different numbers. I need to read the pension plan contract carefully. I'm starting to think that I could put together a year on disability. By the time the year is up I should have just about enough time to retire.

I won't be walking off with the big money, but I'll have an income and medical care. Cash me the fuck out.

It might be time.

Big City-Merle Haggard (Buy) There is no such thing as too much Merle Haggard.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some sacred harp singing for Sunday. I can't remember where I first heard Sacred Harp singing. From the first time I heard it I recognized it. It is timeless and it is one of the reasons why I am not about to immigrate to France. Every time I get fed up with America I learn about something uniquely American that I could not leave behind.

It's true that most Americans consume themselves with hideous spectacles, but this is a big country and if only a small minority of us turn away from the spectacle, that's still a lot of people.

Traveling Pilgrim- Henagar Union Sacred Harp Convention (Buy)

I'm really depressed. I woke up this morning and my breathing was so clogged up it was like trying to breath through a cocktail straw. I thought about work and all I could think was "Why fucking bother?" I'm in trouble at work for taking off last week. To his credit, my boss expressed concern and has asked me to come in and explain what's going on before he decides what to do. I will be coming in with union representation and a little bit of hope that I'm doing the right thing.

In clinical terms, I have post traumatic stress disorder. The combination of long term illness, job stress and dealing with my family has set me off. I am not coping with this by myself. I have a support network that includes both friends and professionals. This still sucks. I'll be posting but the posts might get a little bit weird. Then again they might just get pretty dull.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Old People

Now this is how you get old and post punk. I saw the Meat Purveyors at the Forestville Club, Forestville California. It's a town without a stop light. They do have one of those signs that lights up and shows your speed so you slow down when you drive through downtown. Downtown is 2 blocks long, but one side of one block is a field. Pretty nice place really. As you might imagine, the Forestville Club is a foetid dive. It's just the sort of place I used to love. I hate going out to bars these days, but this time it was worth the trip.

Go Out Smokin'- The Meat Purveyors (Buy)

Punk Rock then and now

With apologies to certain friends.

This is pretty much what punk rock was like when I first started going to shows. You might notice that the music sucks. In fact the only thing that sucked worse than early punk rock was EVERY FUCKING THING ELSE. Few people realize what a dark and dismal time the '70's were. Old people like myself tend to gloss over the horrors of the '70's because all we can remember is that we could and did have lots of sex and did not have to worry about wearing rubbers or dying because we got laid. Bands like the Mutants have not stood the test of time but so what? When some perfectly permed and bell bottomed asshole with a mustache would complain that The Mutants didn't measure up to The Eagles or America I would gleefully respond, "Yeah, they're fuckin' awful. That's why we love them so!"

This was before the invention of Hardcore Punk. You'll notice that there are lots of girls in the audience. Lots of fellows who might just be homos too. Early punk rock scared the shit out of some people because it was a scene for creeps and losers and outcasts. There weren't many rules for aspiring punk rockers to follow. You had to show up and make it up as you went along.

Hardcore took care of all of those problems. Punk rules! And regulations! became the order of the day. Hardcore was OK at first. Really it was, but it got pretty boring pretty quick. Pretty soon hardcore bands had to be "tight". Like the Tower of Power horn section. Hardcore was also about angry heterosexual white boys- exclusively. Some heterosexual white boys have reasons to be angry that aren't completely idiotic. There are a lot of people who have way more reason to be angry though. They tend to keep it to themselves or end up in prison.

I'll have to admit that I also disliked Hardcore because it reminded me that I was getting old. I was broke and my teeth were broken and giving me a lot of pain. I had to come up with a grownup type plan. I spent much of the Hardcore era driving sixty or eighty thousand miles a year. When my bus was empty I listened to rap music, Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle. I didn't worry too much about punk rock. I found a dentist.

So now we're into what, the fifth, sixth wave of punk rock? Once punk rock was safe for heterosexual white men it just kept getting safer. Some years ago, I was chatting with my stepdaughter's baby sitter. She was a nice young woman. I had no misgivings about leaving the kid in her care. She was a devout Mormon. She told me that she was a big fan of music. I asked her what kind of music she liked best. She told me her favorite music was punk rock. "Have you ever heard any punk bands?" she asked me. I asked her the names of her favorite bands. I hadn't heard of any of them, but I checked them out. They were all these sort of boy bands with perfect tattoos and shiny tour buses. They were working a regular circuit of corporate venues playing note for note perfect versions of their big hits.

The SF public library is doing a film series and exhibit about the early, pre HC, punk scene. Some of my friends are looking forward to going and looking for their youthful selves in the crowd.

Meanwhile the kids are carrying on the punk rock tradition in new form. Check the video below. I love when the kids in the mosh pit do the thing where they all wave their pom poms. Rock on

Red Simpson was practically a punk rock motherfucker. He didn't like hippies anyway.

I'm A Truck- Red Simpson (Buy)

Roll Truck Roll- Red Simpson (Buy)

I went up Feather River Canyon a few times. It's pretty slow and a little bit hairy in places but prettier than Donner Summit. I-80 is for pussies.

Gosh thanks

Imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever. But it has to be a really cool boot.

A bunch of people said really nice things to me, which I appreciate. I suppose I'm just depressed. It's 11:00 AM, I haven't been to work for a week. I'm still in bed. I'd like to spend another week or two in bed. I'm going back to work tomorrow. I couldn't figure out a way to stay out any longer. It's a beautiful day. I really should go outside.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I'm giving some serious thought to folding up Poetry Is For Assholes. I never quite figured out what I wanted to write about. I like posting music files, but there's tons of people doing that. I don't feel like being one of the many bloggers who write about their personal lives.

I'll have to admit to feeling burnt out in general. I'm not really sick, but I'm constantly beset by health problems. My crazy family is acting a little crazier and demanding a little more attention. My job has been a real grind. I'm just trying to survive a couple more years there.

I'll also have to confess that I have been sucked in by the evil one, the all seeing eye, Facebook. I've been chatting with various High School friends and old Midwestern scenesters.

I've been reading actual books. I noticed that I was acquiring more and more books that I meant to read and getting around to fewer and fewer of them. I've decided to see if I can't put a dent in the pile of books (hell, piles) of books around the house. I'm finding that I like the way books make me slow down. The internet and it's constant flow of "information" makes me feel a little too speedy and "ADDish". Besides is it really information if it's fucking useless and serves to do nothing but clutter up my thoughts?

I'm going to take a little time and think about what, if anything, I want to do on the internet. If I feel clear in my direction I might start another "serious" blog to discuss union issues.

I'm not giving up the internet. Not hardly. If I've been following and commenting on your blog, I will continue to do so. I've got a couple of regulars who don't have blogs of their own. I'd like to hear from them. Rick in Lorain and Sarah in Mississippi, you're both really interesting people. Same goes for anybody else who comes here regularly and anonymously. You know who you are.

Feel free to email me at Adamdelved, that's all one word, at g mail dot com.

If you're wondering about Adamdelved, it comes from the rhyme, "When Adam delved and Eve span/ Who was then the gentleman?" Those two lines contain the seed of all subsequent radical thought in the English speaking world.

For the moment I leave you with this,

"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."
-John Ball- 1381

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