Khaki Capitol Of The World

I’d heard, you probably have, too, that Portland is beautiful, that everyone is friendly, and it’s all true. What I hadn’t heard was that it’s also home to some of the least fashion-forward people on the face of the earth, at least half of whom are lesbian stereotypes circa 1974. The other half are men.

There’s a kind of aerosol prozac in the air here that seems to create in either sex a genetic disposition toward both goodwill and Dockers. I went for a bike ride yesterday, to a farmer’s market to pick up some of the fresh produce that seems to grow here as easily as mold does on my shower curtain, and was struck more than a little agog at the equally abundant crop of armpit and leg hair on the distaff contingent there. In a world where the balding of the mons has become de rigeur, even among red state mavens like Katherine Harris (you know she’s a full-waxer, just look at her), to see so much downright crunchiness on view sent me reeling back to a time when when men were men and women were wymmyn.

There does seem to be a general population who have successfully mated and produced offspring, though it’s obvious from the horrfied look in their eyes that the offspring are consumed in every waking hour with hopping on the next Trailways to New York. Stopping for dinner last night at a sidewalk cafe, actually an outside table at their version of a Boca De Beppo, I whiled away the time between the bread and iced tea courses observing the native Portlander’s strange ways; their dessication, their golfwear; their odd ambulation that gives them the appearance of continually walking off an Appleby’s Onion Blossom. People come here to carb up and then mummify, I think.

Top ad boutique Weiden & Kennedy (for non ad-types, they kind of invented the Nike brand) is based here, so I headed over to their oasis, which is the best way to describe the neighborhood. For about a two or three block radius, a mini Euro-Santa Monica has popped up, in obvious service to the few, the proud, the creatives at W&K. It was there that I met the single person worth wondering about in the course of my two-hour walking tour of neighborhoods. That person, was, of course, a producer, naturally from London and refreshingly unfriendly.

On the plus side, the people I’m working with are all top-drawer and Powell’s Books is here, which makes The Strand Look like a W.H. Smith kiosk at O’Hare. And I did enjoy the inertia; you don’t get a lot of that in Chicago.

On my way home.

Published in: on June 30, 2006 at 12:20 pm  Comments (5)  

Not A Vacation, But An Incredible Simulation

I’ll be in Portland most of next week, working. I can think of worse places to work. I’m going to guess there’ll be something to write about.

Published in: on June 25, 2006 at 10:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Vincibus Corruptum And No Brion Tumor

Just saw what’s left of Blue Cheer this afternoon and got no pleasure from the experience, since Blue Cheer has always been, for me, Leigh Stephen’s comic ineptitude. He’s not someone anyone can properly imitate if they’re not a very bright Down’s Syndrome teenager, though the stand-in, whose name was never mentioned, took a workmanlike stance, at least getting the cheezy vibrato down. Chicago seemed to be into it, though, at a poorly attended Intonation Festival that put me in mind of any given Sunday at Golden Gate Park in 1967. Aside from putting a little cash in uber-biker Dickie Peterson’s pocket, I can’t really think of a reason for them to exist, but Dickie really does look like he could use the the money to keep his dealer happy enough not to kill him. And btw, for Blue Cheer, they weren’t nearly loud enough. What is the world coming to when Blue Cheer isn’t loud enough? Doctor, please.

More fun for me was a rare outside-of-LA performance by Jon Brion, who should do this sort of thing (meaning play in a venue I can actually get to) more often. He’s known, for those who don’t know, for his long-term residency at Largo in LA, where he plays long sets of absolutely anything; just ask him. “Billy Joel? Sure why not?” This is entertainment at its finest. He sings, he dances, he plays guitar, bass, piano and drums, (and all at the same time due to an ingenious looping system that brought to mind anything but looping) he pulls Benmont Tench and Glenn Kotche out of his ass, he’s funny, and his own songs are as good as the ones he covers (for the benefit of those looking for a benchmark, he covered “Baby, You’re A Rich Man,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” and “Waterloo Sunset”). Did a fine job with all of them, too. He’s clearly got it all, on, like, a Paul McCartney level, so why does he only have one album, available only at his site? Maybe, just maybe, this is just what he likes to do. It sure looked like it. I mean, he’s got Kanye checks to cash; if I had some of that, I wouldn’t tour either and I guess I wouldn’t feel any pressure to do another album, let alone promote, or even bother to sell, this one. Shit, he probably unloads a hundred or so every Tuesday at the merch table. He strikes me as a guy who does what he likes and in the process, maybe you’ll like it, too. I sure did.

Published in: on June 25, 2006 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

It’s Yonki Time

With the Intonation festival happening this weekend, which I keep getting mixed up with the Pitchfork Festival (anyone else hate outdoor venues as much as I do?), I dropped by for a few to taste its usual snark, which I found a bit lacking (maybe they’re all over at the Intonation Festival). In it’s place, I saw lots and lots of indie industry dollars changing hands in the form of stock press releases, press releases in the form of record reviews and press releases passing as dispatches from tours and one-off shows. Pitchfork is a cambio of the kind of non-news that might have filled my mind thirty years ago before I lost interest in needing to know every goddamn thing that was going on with the artists whose records I was getting for free from label reps in exchange for Billboard reports and low-level chatter among the budding cognoscenti who frequented the indie store at which I worked. It put me in mind of the ’60’s, the decade everyone hates, yet desperately tries to emulate; just spend five or six minutes with a copy of Arthur. The more crit I read, the less I want to write. It makes me wonder whether I’m becoming that most dread outcast of the scene: a musician. Everyone hates them, too. It’s understandable; these are the people that gave us prog and worse, jazz fusion. They also gave us Tom Verlaine, but nobody notices. I think I finally understand why WBEZ here in Chicago is killing all of their music programming to go to an all-talk format; why play music when you can hear a spoken conceptual analysis of it, instead? Or excerpts from the pr onesheet or, most popular, an interview, wherein the artist who made the high-concept non-music up for sale interacts with an amateur psychoanalyst armed with talking points from the label and a promo copy of the album that they listened to on the way to work.

I suppose this makes me a cynic, or worse, a playa hata. Well.

Last Monday, in the midst of a stunning Tom Verlaine performance, I flashed back to the decade I mentioned earlier, his music suddenly indistinguishable from the kind of thing I heard Quicksilver Messenger Service playing at the Forest Park Pavilion in St Louis, date forgotten; it was a long, lost time ago. An outdoor venue and truly open-air. No stage. No lights. Not much of a sound system. The guys in the band schlepping from city to city in some crummy van, broke, just like your band, at least until you get your tour support, your publicist; your Pitchfork review. Verlaine on-stage was less a performance, in the modern sense of the word, than a direct and authentic musical experience, the kind you might have had if you’d been around to hear John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders at Newport, or if, as I did today, you’d walked past and stoppped long enough to listen and give a dollar to the accordianist who plays at the edge of Millenium Park; I refer you to Joni Mitchell, Ladies Of The Canyon, side one, track two. Or if you’d been at that pavilion, on that day, whenever that was.

Verlaine and Cippolina were both playing to be playing, and in both those moments, separated by 35 years or so and a wall of industry crap, delivered something immediate, spontaneous and obvious; as natural and satisfying as taking a crap. Some form of “making a living” was taking place, but it was their living, even with a Thrill Jockey or a Capitol supplying the financial engine.

Where’s the money today? Everywhere. And the music?

The music is the period at the end of this sentence.

Published in: on June 23, 2006 at 11:55 pm  Comments (2)  

Geezers United Will Be Right Back, After These Messages

WordPress sez:

“Maintenance notice! We are going to need to take down for about an hour at midnight tonight to do some preventative maintenance. The upgrade will make some of the global databases much faster.”

Woo hoo! Faster global databases!

Published in: on June 22, 2006 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gallant US President, Confronted With Evidence Of A Potential Al-Queda Attack, Shows Resolve And Dignity Before Springing Into Action

As far as I’m concerned, the most important story of the day, even if North Korea does melt Alaska: “Yeah, whatever, now get lost; I’m going fishing.”

Add this to the massive arsenal of election bombs the Democrats are too wimped out to use.

Published in: on June 21, 2006 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Guitar Population Conserved

Somehow, I see this as actual news.

Published in: on June 20, 2006 at 11:06 am  Comments (3)  

“Mrs. Harrison, I Have Some Rather Bad News… Your Baby Only Has 80 Years To Live”

A fine gentleman whose friendship I hold dear comments:

“Some of the shit Gore predicts can’t happen yet for decades/centuries, although it’s certainly on the way. That’s one point where he does toy with the evidence. It’s not going to happen next week, which he implies.”

In the meantime, that “on the way” part probably won’t cause anyone any harm, right? What’s the odd Katrina every year or so?

A century away, eh? Say the doctor gives you six months to live. Is that a license to go out and shoot everyone who ever got in front of you in line at Six Flags? “Greenland probably won’t thaw for a hundred years; dag-nabit, I’ll be dead by then, I’m gonna live it fuckin’ up. Let’s grow tobacco fields where the rainforests were and set ’em all on fire! Second-hand smoke for everyone! Yee Haw!”

It’s not going to happen next week? Of course not. But you know what is? Fucking filthy, pig-assed Karl Rove is going to jism ten yards when the nukes hit Iran. Then you can kiss both your ass and the concept of a free society goodbye on the same day, a day that will be celebrated annually by cave-dwelling mutants everywhere as “The Day Stupidity Finally Won.”

Published in: on June 19, 2006 at 9:18 pm  Comments (3)  

A Piece Of My Mind On The Peace Of My Mind

I was 11 when I moved away from Detroit to live in St Louis. My father had taken a new job as a tire salesman, a giant step up from recapper. He was fine with any step up; recapping is hot and toxic enough to blue the bluest of collars. We moved from the city to the suburbs; typical now, but then it was a cultural A-bomb. You suddenly entered a world without alleys or negroes. The next year we returned to visit old friends, odd people; Quakers. Hanging out on the porch with a kid named Bobby, who was less than a great friend, more the son of my father’s great friend Robert, somehow the talk got ’round to the family, they put it that way, the whole family, having given blood recently. Bobby didn’t give blood, it was only Robert and his wife and one of their brothers or brothers-in-law who had, but that wasn’t the way I heard it. I’d known Bobby for awhile; like I said, we weren’t close, he went to another school, didn’t see him much but he was okay. Until right then. Until I’d heard or believed I’d heard that he’d given blood. Why? How? What did that mean? How completely creepy was Bobby now? All of a sudden I hated being there, back in Detroit where kids gave blood. It was like being among monsters. I never saw him again.

There are people I’ve encountered lately, here and there, some I’ve known for some time, some mere acquaintances, a few relatives, who since my operation to remove a small, benign brain tumor have begun to see me differently. You know; this guy had brain surgery; we don’t know what’s going on in there. Keep an eye on him.

Am I different? Have I changed? Am I prone to new behaviors? Sure. Shit, I had brain surgery. I’m different physically, now a titanium cyborg with scars not only on my scalp, but also on my skull. Changed? I feel changed every day; my attitude toward death, toward living purposefully and compassionately, toward making my life more expansive and inclusive, changing sometimes in footfalls, sometimes in giant steps.

New behaviors? Well, I have to brush and floss my teeth more often due to the side effects of Dilantin. I do more yoga, I ride my bicycle more frequently. I take my meds on a regular schedule and am in touch with my doctors as often as I need to be in order to keep track of the various ups and downs of this pill and that one. I have the occaisional mood swing as the pills fall away and when I do, I report and with the help of my doctors, mediate it.

I’m in the late stages of post-operative recovery from a surgery that ended up being a whole lot less scary to me than it apparently was to the aforementioned bunch. It seems that being around someone who’s undergone brain surgery and opted to own the experience might make some people feel like they’re living among monsters.

I figured out, eventually, that Bobby had never given blood. I felt stupid when I did.

Published in: on June 18, 2006 at 11:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Need Him? Feed Him?

Creative genius Paul McCartney turns 64 today. Were he a screen or comedy writer, an advertising creative, in public relations, an actor or if he were trying to break into the music business today at any level, he’d be on the dole or squirting lattes at Starbucks to scrape up some health insurance and enough cash for a studio flat and two squares. Proof that being a living legend continues to be the best method of scoring a regular paycheck over 45 or so.

Geezers unite.

Published in: on June 18, 2006 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Place Your Bets

On the only thing strong enough to oppose a Republican Party with a revitalized Karl Rove in charge this November.

2006 Atlantic Storm Names


2006 Eastern Pacific Storm Names


My money’s on Debby and Bud.

Published in: on June 13, 2006 at 12:08 pm  Comments (2)  

When Are They Finally Going To Start Paying Attention To Me, Me, Me?

I threw this down on Feb 24; now they’re getting it.

Get ready for Vice-President Condi, y’all.

Published in: on June 13, 2006 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Methinks Jason Leopold got Porky Punk’d.

Remember this story? The one about Fitzgerald informing Rove that he was about to be indicted? Where did that story come from, anyway? Hmmmm…

Published in: on June 13, 2006 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Another Tedious Cranial Update

Good news: permission to drink a little and ride my motorcycle as much as I like. Bad news: not at the same time. Also, I have to stay on Dilantin for another two months; the EEG tech discovered that I might be “potentially epileptigenic.” Reason? He/she/it discovered that I had undergone brain surgery.


I’d love to hear from anyone currently or formerly on Dilantin regarding side effects, especially cognitive function deficit, otherwise known as “gettin’ stupid syndrome.” November’s coming up and I’d hate to waltz into my local polling place and accidentally vote Republican.

Published in: on June 13, 2006 at 9:45 am  Comments (5)  

Jeb Bush: Complete Fucking Idiot

Excerpted from the Miami Herald, by way of Raw Story:

“Residents took the usual precautions this afternoon as Tropical Storm Alberto abruptly shifted closer to Florida’s northern Gulf Coast, unexpectedly intensified to near-hurricane strength and took dead aim at the state.

The 2006 hurricane season is 12 days old.

”Good God, who would have thunk it,” Gov. Jeb Bush said just before he declared a state of emergency.”

Ordinarily, I’d comment, but…

Published in: on June 12, 2006 at 1:09 pm  Comments (1)  

I ‘m Ready To Follow Al Gore Into A Crack In The Antarctic Circle

Saw “An Inconvenient Truth” this afternoon. The material is impossible to dispute and, yes, it’s scary. Scarier still is that there exists currently no one holding or running for public office in the United States with the integrity, genuine talent for service and brass balls needed to implement any of the policy initiatives Gore, environmentalists and the global scientific community are currently proposing. The most striking thing about the film, however, is that it is, unless you have special predjudices against people who are reasonable, intelligent, caring and astonishingly decent, not only a convincing (to anyone who sees it – it would even bring Ann Coulter aboard) case against ignoring the reality of global warming, it also makes the most convincing case yet for Al Gore being the only public figure currently worthy of occupying the White House.

Urge a fair-minded Republican to see it, if you can find one.

Published in: on June 11, 2006 at 7:03 pm  Comments (3)  

Not Bin Laden, But An Incredible Simulation

Bush on Zarqawi: “…this violent man will never murder again.”

Leaving him free to keep all the murderin’ fun to himself.

Published in: on June 8, 2006 at 2:40 pm  Comments (1)  

Slam Stan Coulter

Feel free to substitute any word you like in place of “Slam” in the above sentence. In case you didn’t catch today’s news on Mr Coulter, here’s the quote he stood up tall and proud behind on network television this morning:

“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them,
reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies.
I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.”

The millionaire broads he refers to are the 9/11 widows. Now, I could just go on and on about Stan and why Bill Maher is fucking him or how many times he’s changed his meds or why he votes wherever he likes without being thrown in prison for it, but today I feel like doing something constructive, rather than sticking my nose in some transgendered whore’s personal business. Here’s what I propose:

At the press conference of any Republican officeholder or any Republican running for office, anywhere, and this includes Joe Leiberman, pose this question:

“Ann Coulter recently made this statement in reference to the 9/11 widows: ‘These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.’ Do you agree with Anne Coulter regarding this statement?”

Yes, it’s all right to use his stage name.

It might also be a good idea for citizens everywhere to email or fax their Republican representatives with the question. And let’s not forget to bring the matter up to Tony Snow and that other guy in the White House, the one standing backstage at this traveling drag show, hiding under its star performer’s petticoats. You know; where he keeps his dick.

Published in: on June 7, 2006 at 1:46 pm  Comments (2)  

Yes, I Changed My Header

Couldn’t stand looking at my last name hanging there like some art director from JWT laid it out.

Published in: on June 5, 2006 at 6:44 pm  Comments (1)  

Never Google Yourself

From the Wikipedia entry on Veggie Tales, the profoundly evil CGI Christian cartoon:

“Mr. Lunt, a decorative gourd who grew up in New Jersey and speaks with a Mexican-Spanish accent. He is often seen as assistant to Mr. Nezzer. Mr. Lunt also frequently appears as part of “The Pirates who Don’t Do Anything”, and even once got his own Silly Song (“His Cheeseburger”) and starred in another (“His Belly Button”). That song and Lord of the Beans (where he appears as a Gollum-like character) as well as Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson’s Hairbrush are the only times we ever see Mr. Lunt without a hat, although we still do not see his eyes. Mr. Lunt is voiced by Vischer.”

Makes me kind of want to put “Voiced By Vischer” on my business card.

Published in: on June 5, 2006 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Join The War On Drugs

Prescription med enthusiasts, meet Butalbital, an expertly measured barbiturate, Tylenol and caffeine blend. Unlike its delightful predecessor, Norco The Opiate, Butalbital The Barbiturate is not the gentle and loving friend come to sooth and comfort thy fevered brow in thine hour of need; no, Butalbital (a lousy name for anything short of a Medieval literary creature, “Butalbital did Grendal slay…”) is a hideous little pill that stops both your pain and your ability to live a rational compassionate life, and does it fast, fast, fast. The morning after (and the afternoon after, and the evening after, for at least a couple of days – perfect for weekends!) taking Butalbital, I absolutely despise even inanimate things, cursing gravel and drain spouts with the same fervor with which I find myself hurling invective toward every living being within mother-fuckering distance. Dorothy Parker must certainly have been in its throes, and Barbara Bush. My only alternative, short of Extra-Strength Tylenol, which is the “nigger please” of pain relievers, is to go back to Norco, which if taken irregularly, puts one in almost exactly the same place as Butalbital, owing to its most unfortunate (and popular) side effect, addiction. Now, what all of this chemical to-and-fro yanking of one’s emotional psyche really calls for, especially on a summer’s day such as this, is a very tall and very cold drink, a mojito or a gin and tonic or a bottle of vodka. Unfortunately, Doctor No has put these necessities of life off the menu until well after I’m done with my anti-seizure medication, the insidious Dilantin, which I could be on for as long as the rest of this year. If I’m correct about who I believe might be my regular readers, the horror I suffer that you may most easily be able to relate to might be this one: July and August without booze.

Next Tuesday, I get an EEG, which could put the beginnings of an end to the whole affair. If you’ve not had this experience, it’s actually kind of fun in a Mary Shelly sort of way. The techs limit you to only four hours of sleep the night before, then strap your groggy ass to a gurney and sand away little parts of your scalp in order to attach about a hundred tiny electrodes that will, over the course of an hour or so, give them a map of your brainwave activity so your neurologist can determine within a week whether or not to continue the chemical torture and let me just say this about that:


Or, I’ll get very, very angry.

And for the rest, I refer you to Mr. Robert Bruce Banner.

Published in: on June 4, 2006 at 2:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gorbama IV

Google “Gorbama” and you get bupkis, nada, zero. How come? If you Google “about my sorry ass,” you get me. I’m trying to get a meme going here. Any geek-smart folk in the audience with an explanation?

Published in: on June 1, 2006 at 3:30 pm  Comments (2)  

Gorbama III

From Raw Story and worth just plain ripping off so that you needn’t have to jump anywhere else to read it. My thoughts after your orgasm.

“A new behavior prediction tool by a media psychology firm is forecasts a landslide victory for former Democratic Vice President Al Gore in the 2008 presidential election should he run for office — but says if Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) wins the Democratic nod, any potential Republican challenger will emerge victorious, RAW STORY has learned. More from their release (hat tip Political Wire:

These are among the surprising findings reported by Dr. James N. Herndon, a media psychologist with Media Psychology Affiliates. Using a new research tool called Affective Encryption Analysis, Dr. Herndon led an investigation into the likely outcome of the 2008 Presidential election.

“Affective Encryption Analysis is a new behavior forecasting tool that looks at how our feelings and emotions can influence our long-term actions,” explains Dr. Herndon. “Traditional survey techniques are not very good at predicting trends. Affective Encryption Analysis was developed to dig deeper into the emotional factors that control our future behaviors.”

Although created as a potential tool for the intelligence community, Affective Encryption Analysis has seen its early uses in the political arena.

“Voter behavior is not primarily issue-driven,” states Dr. Herndon. “Subtle emotional factors drive our actions at the ballot box. When we decided to study the potential outcome of the 2008 Presidential election, we had no preconceptions about what we’d find. Nonetheless, there were some surprises.”

Among the surprises was the overall weakness of potential Democratic presidential challengers.

“Despite the widespread public dissatisfaction with the George W. Bush administration, our results showed even greater ill-feelings toward potential Democratic challengers,” says Dr. Herndon. “But there was one exception: Al Gore.”

“With a predictive accuracy of 93%, our results showed that Al Gore would easily defeat any Republican challenger in 2008. However, he is the only Democrat on the scene today who has the ability to defeat the likely Republican challengers, who we believe will be either John McCain or Jeb Bush.”

Results were not rosy for Hillary Clinton. “Hillary Clinton would suffer a disastrous defeat at the hands of any Republican who receives the nomination,” states Dr. Herndon.

Should Al Gore decide not to seek the 2008 nomination, the Democrats “have their work cut out for them,” according to Dr. Herndon.”

Sound like hoo-ha? Having spent enough time as a member of The Inner Party, believe me when I tell you that this sort of thing, applied to BMWs and Frosted Flakes, sells a shitpile of both. Focus groups and polls are the down and dirty of both advertising and politics; the method described above is pure Colt 45 – it works every time. By the way; “John McCain or Jeb Bush?” Kinda fishy. But potentially both, making it a Gorbama vs McBush contest? Makes me puke, but I can see how it might be possible. After all, what’s Republican governance (read: “monarchy,”) without a Bush in there somewhere? And yes, I know even Clinton had some Bush in the oval office. Try the veal.

Published in: on June 1, 2006 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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