Archive for September, 2019

Strange times….

September 30, 2019 Leave a comment

I went for a long walk the other day and noticed an ever increasing number of Confederate flags in my (very northern) neck of the woods….hanging from porches and from (mostly) large pick-up trucks, usually flying in close proximity to the US flag. And I thought……”we live in strange times, Bubba”.

Postcard_Conferate_FLag_2550xI can’t think of another nation that proudly flies the flag of the foe they vanquished long ago in a war that killed 620,000 people and injured over a million more. People fly the flag in an apparent attempted middle finger to…well…something. Liberals? Black people? Folks who don’t like guns? People who dislike “Free Bird”? The more you think on it the more completely bizarre it is.

Why not fly the Japanese flag? We beat them too, remember? The good ‘ol rising sun never caught on as a way to troll the libtards. I wonder why?

What bothers me most about stupidity is the hatred that invariably crawls out from its rock, and what bothers me most about hatred is how it’s seemingly always borne from stupidity.

But make no mistake. Stupidity is dangerous. The idiot is frighteningly easy to manipulate. The President threatens civil war. Will it happen? Of course not. But will some pea-brained little-dicked cultists kill because of his rhetoric? Hmmmm

I try to distract myself from it. I try to keep my head down and tell myself that the nation will collectively soon be taken over by the better angels of our nature, and invariably my repose is shattered by some Yee-Haw in a Ram 1500, who most likely has a great great-grandfather who fought on the Union side in the war, blasting the latest Hat-Act and jerking off unknowingly to the ideals of Nathan-Bedford Forrest. It’s beyond distressing is what it is.

When what triggers you is triggering others, you’re probably an asshole.

Racism is alive and well. It’s been emboldened, from the top down. It used to be that its most blatant devotees were forced behind closed doors…..or at least the kind of doors that most folks would never walk through. The hollow-eyed kid in high school with the copy of Mein Kampf under his bed and the swastika tattoo under his shirt. That sort of thing. But now….it’s gone mainstream. No need to hide in your basement anymore. You’re welcomed. Encouraged. There are “very fine people” on both sides…..and if you are smart enough to cloak your racism in new-age dog-whistles, there’s no telling how far you can go. I recently played a gig where a Cheap Trick song was met by a guy yelling out “White Power!”. I still can’t figure out the connection, but the fact that people just laughed and ignored it is telling. I was shocked for about 3 seconds and then, not so much. I probably laughed too, as it seemed more appropriate at the time than crying. Not to mention safer.

I don’t know where we go from here. We seem to be in a race to debase ourselves as a nation, with the rest of the world watching. (And keeping phone transcripts. So watch what you say and all that…)

Eventually, like a tinder-dry forest, the entire shithouse is gonna burn, and we’re gonna be left with the decision of what to re-build, and what to leave in the dust-bin.

And our kids are gonna grow up, and there’s going to be some sort of reckoning. And they’re gonna want to know… did this happen?

(Unless of course they turn out to be the same type of shitheads as the adults. But I’ve got to think they’ve been taking notes…..)

Maybe they’ll discover that it was not because of the boorish idiocy of a chosen few, but rather due to the silence of the many.

Sitting this one out is not an option, Bubba.

Silence is complicity.

And if we remain silent, we’re doomed.

In a bit..


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The radio…

September 17, 2019 Leave a comment

radioI wish the radio meant as much now as it did then.

Now it’s just background noise….a top 40 station when my wife or kids are driving, and the closest “classic rock” station for me….enough to get to from point A to point B without hearing the always strange noises a silent car makes, and inevitably thinking something is perpetually wrong. The only time the radio plays inside our house is when we leave the dog home alone.

Growing up the radio would preach to me…..cajole me…..inspire me….infuriate me. It was a constant companion. Now it’s just…another set of buttons to press. Like fixing food in the microwave. You forget the oven and the stove are even there. I could haul some CDs out….or search for that ever elusive Ipod aux-jack….but just accepting what comes at you when you turn the key is easier. And hell….7 out of 10 mornings it’s “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC….which isn’t the worst way to start the day, right?

But then again….

I always remember hearing that song for the first time. Hanging on every note, feeling dizzy……not wanting it to end but needing to be there when it did so you could hear its name and who it was from. When the DJ didn’t announce it, well then you’d get on the phone and ask him or her. And then…’d call back in time and request what you heard earlier. If you didn’t know the name…or the band….you’d try to describe it. Maybe hum the chorus. Or verbalize the guitar riff. Anything to get your point across. “Play is again man! You know the one I’m talking about! “I have a feeling being a DJ back then was a little crazier, and maybe a bit more fun as well.

And then maybe sitting home, with the tape recorder at the ready……waiting. Like a hunter sitting in that tree all day. Then…..there it is. You’d scramble to hit that ‘record’ button, muck it up some, and invariably end up with the song minus the first 15 seconds. But that was ok. It was yours now. And when you were done listening and re-listening, always setting the tape so that it was ready for the next song. No time to be re-winding or fast-forwarding to make sure you don’t obliterate a previous treasure. We had to work some back then, but it was so worth it. These weren’t even mix-tapes. They didn’t come until later. These were way more important somehow.

Top 40 radio then (talking late 70s here….)….it was different. There was bits of everything. Rock and soul and and disco bits of reggae and the punk they could get away with and gooey-pop and introspective folkie stuff and incredible shmaltz, all co-existing in one big pot of stew. Some of it was shite, and some of it was glorious. But none of it was boring. Boredom was a mortal sin.

Today, all the songs sound like they were written by the same 5 writers, and sung by the same 3 singers. Auto-tuned to death. No matter how hard I listen I can’t hear a fucking guitar anywhere….and as soon as the song is over I can’t remember a single thing about it. Top 40 playlists last about as long as a bar of soap.

I can still remember the night. In my teens. With my girl. Carrying a radio as we walked home from sharing an illegal 6-pack…..and that song came on. And without saying anything we burst into a sort of run/dance…..down the twisting street, singing as loud as we dared. Hand in hand. In an instant. The song. It changed everything. Pure, unadulterated joy. I’ll never forget that feeling. That’s the best of it right there. That’s what you chase when music gets in you.

I don’t know if that sort of thing happens anymore. Does it?

I know there’s great new music being made out there. But I’m just not hearing it on the radio. I have to go search for it myself….which is rewarding for sure, but sometimes I wish this stuff was laid on my doorstep the way it used to be.

In a bit..


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