Archive for September, 2015

Last Days

September 18th, 2015

For years I have complained about the local weekend festival that always comes up the third weekend of September in my little town. I have complained about the noise coming from the stage that faces my house. I have complained about the blocking of my driveway from a bunch of strange cars. I have complained about the port-a-johns located no more than fifty feet away from where I live.

 

It’s an old, tired complaint by now. I’ve lived in this location for twelve years. What else am I going to do? Besides, if I don’t like it I can move. Which I am doing next month.

 

I am moving in with my mother who lives in the country. Once upon a time I would have been mortified at that prospect. But not anymore. It’s funny how you can have so many problems you start to think that living with your mother is a step up.

 

I have developed a new nervous tic. That’s a new development this year. I already had a few but now I have one more. So I have that going for me. I rub my chest practically raw. I can go without doing it for a while but I can’t totally suppress it and I end up doing it a lot. The only way I get any rest from it is when I’m sleeping. I scratch myself above the breastbone like Dave Chappelle’s crackhead character.

 

I had to look it up. Tyrone Bigguns was the name of Chappelle’s Comedy Central crackhead. I forgot the name. I’m a red sockcap and a pair of ashy lips away from being Tyrone. Oh, and the crack addiction. I need one of those to complete the set.

 

 

The Terrorists Won

September 12th, 2015

 

I should touch on this story of the dumb fuck who is on that list in the second tweet. Three days after 9/11 he got drunk and crashed his car into a Islamic center. He was sentenced to four years in prison and would have been charged with a hate crime had anyone actually been in the building at the time. From what I have been told by other people who knew the dumb fuck, he barely grazed the building and instead plowed into the Islamic center’s air conditioning unit. So not only was he a dumb fuck but he was inefficient at committing hate crimes. He deprived those Muslims of a.c. for, like, a day.

 

List of 100 Indie-Folk/Rock Stage Names

September 11th, 2015

  1. Cassandra Basilisk
  2. Scribner Maak
  3. Foster Euclid
  4. May Mae Mael
  5. Roscoe Rostrum
  6. Cameron Fugue
  7. Pastor Todd Minister
  8. Cam Newton
  9. Astor “Freak” Nick
  10. Horace Alva
  11. Smoke Pants
  12. Castner Alvarado
  13. Jane Eyrony
  14. Isaac Murtaugh
  15. Liza Mae Ichiban
  16. Sterling Archer
  17. Twenty-Dollar Donny
  18. Ghosty Smithers
  19. Beige Jezebel
  20. Oscar Triple-Rivet
  21. Dawson Monsanto
  22. Rascal Stanwick
  23. Poco DeLuca
  24. Sybil Morganne
  25. Avril Cyril Ferrell
  26. Ferret Hansome!
  27. Percy Harvin
  28. Alicia DeLarge
  29. Pammy Palmmute
  30. Suzuki Mercer
  31. Narcissa Lovejoy
  32. Shinsuke Encanta
  33. Sky Anne Prole
  34. Ocho Holdsclaw
  35. Emily Millipede
  36. Flopsy Mortimer
  37. “Milwaukee” Kyle Todd-Clay
  38. Willem Parsley
  39. Fahrenheit ’86
  40. Rosco Swill
  41. Jolene Iditarod
  42. Ivory Coast Interrobang
  43. Rosacea Tomko
  44. Caleb Cable
  45. Maggie Rainbowparty
  46. Camille Ooh
  47. Pissy Romper
  48. Hokey Charles
  49. Barclay Sharpe
  50. Ishmael Fescue
  51. Meggsy L’Amour
  52. Dopey Travador
  53. Gilly Hghhh
  54. Chao Hangnail
  55. Pepper Hicks
  56. Brother Ed Foley
  57. Johnny Discomfort
  58. Gabriel Jay
  59. Tara Heath of Troy
  60. J. Aames
  61. Gavin El Seven
  62. Christian Jack Gantry
  63. Lydia Christmas
  64. Israel Valentino
  65. Finian Butthurt
  66. Sumner Clothesoff
  67. Case E. Snapjazz
  68. Miller Proofs
  69. Emile Wylt
  70. coyle, andy
  71. Kieran Capp
  72. Conor Volta
  73. D. Carter Glenn
  74. Studebaker Nagle
  75. Jimmy Jam Joey Jack Jr.
  76. Aj Hoyle
  77. Nan Bushmill
  78. Scissory Knott
  79. N’drea Kaplan
  80. Ian Kilmister
  81. Giddy Lee
  82. Gamey Bohannon
  83. Tobin Toobin
  84. Shang Tsung
  85. Freeman McNeil
  86. Patsy Corncob
  87. Husky Tagalog
  88. Itsy Fitzgerald
  89. Misha Carmichael
  90. Horatio Umlauter
  91. Jonny Funnyname
  92. Dr. Dreck
  93. Alix Hummingbird
  94. Leelee Crusoe
  95. mOjitO trOpicali
  96. Gumbo Harrison
  97. Jessika Smelt
  98. Jacob Hideo Uraistein
  99. Hurricane Tinderbox
  100. Shane Battier

It’s Difficult

September 11th, 2015

I am moving in with my mom soon. I think I’ll be moving in with her and my stepfather next month. We want to get me moved in before the holidays start.

 

I have lived in Fordsville most of my life. I moved here when I was in kindergarden, then moved away for a year. I came back when I was in second grade and lived here all the way until I was nineteen when I moved into a WKU dorm. I lived in Bowling Green for three years. I lived in Los Angeles for about twenty months.

 

I will be leaving Fordsville, but more importantly I will be leaving this trailer which I have been in since 2003. When I got back from L.A., I moved in with my grandfather and my cousin. My cousin George got married and started a family. My grandfather passed away last year.

 

September used to be my favorite month. I always loved the weather cooling down and the leaves changing color on the trees. I loved the brisk feeling at night and I loved how pretty the days were without being indescribably hot.

 

I used to love September.

 

The last five weeks of my grandfather’s life was spent in a hospital. He was in pain and got surgery for a hernia that had been bothering him for some time. His body, which was already in decline, went through its’ final stages.

 

My mom’s birthday last year, we both sat with him in his room. He and I sang “Happy Birthday” to her. He sounded tired.

 

The hospital supplied us with beverages and snacks as we sat and watched our patriarch on his death bed. If you go to the hospital to visit someone and walk by a table that has snacks, cokes and coffee in a pot, don’t swipe a soft drink or anything like that because that stuff is reserved for families who are watching a family member in their final moments.

 

September is so beautiful during the day. I looked out the hospital room and saw the grass outside and it was so green and vibrant. The sky was the right kind of blue and the sun looked warm and comforting.

 

The week before he died, I went with Mary and Jon to a WWE show in Nashville. I still talked as if I thought he could pull through one more time. It was a good show. We sat in the third row. I yelled at the wrestlers but I didn’t swear because there were kids around. I swore during the main event because it ended in a disqualification due to outside interference.

 

Jon passed away June 1st. I think about him every day. My grandfather has been gone nearly a year now and I still think of him every day. I sit in the trailer I shared with him and I want to leave. I want a new start and I’m taking it.

 

The old me would be embarrassed at having to move back in with my mom. I feel like a dog that’s been kicked around in the street and I don’t even care. I’m lonely. Living with people will be an improvement. I’ll have my own side of the house. My own shower. My own kitchenette. Mom will want to me to be her “Dancing With The Stars” TV buddy but I can probably manage that. “The Bachelor/ette” is where I draw the line.

 

Nobody comes to see me. This is still his house to everybody, only he’s not here. I can’t afford to see everybody and everybody has their own lives and schedules and it’s harder to make time. Nobody wants to see the empty spaces. I understand but I’m still here.

 

I can’t wait for October. I can’t wait to leave.

 

A Frank Talk About Porn

September 10th, 2015

There is a website and nascent movement called “Fight The New Drug” that uses the hashtag #PornKillsLove to talk about pornography as an addictive material. It seems to be targeting young people who are struggling with their budding sexuality and the temptation to look at pornography.

 

There’s a lot of data on that website and from my brief research it appears to be garnished with a few sprinkles of facts in order to give its’ fear-based bullshit a sheen of legitimacy.

 

My feelings about this type of thing are nuanced like most rational people. I’m going to try to work it out for you in real time on this post because I think teens deserve a b.s.-free dialogue about this that isn’t about foisting fear and shame on them. So think of me as your cool/weird Uncle/friend-of-parent that you never see dropping dimes on your impressionable heads.

 

First of all, let’s acknowledge that people can become addicted to pornography. Some people get addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, pills, gambling or any one of many other things.

For example, prolonged exposure to "Vikings Fever".

For example, prolonged exposure to “Vikings Fever”.

 

That does not mean that pornography is an addictive thing. Many people have watched pornography and enjoyed it without turning into a trenchcoat-clad pervert. I can’t give you any accurate numbers on this because most of the people I survey refuse to answer.

 

If you think you are addicted to pornography, there are ways to deal with it. Prayer probably won’t be one of them.

 

No one has ever grown hair on their palms because of masturbation. I’m thirty-seven and my palms are as hairless as the day I was born.

 

Everyone you know or meet has masturbated at least once. Every male you meet has done it more than once. Most of the girls you meet have done it more than once. Occasionally you will meet a girl who says she tried it once and didn’t enjoy it. That girl is probably lying.

This guy. Him too.

This guy. Him too.

 

Masturbating is fine if you do it in your room. The shower is also fine. When you get a place of your own, you’ll be able to do it anywhere in the house you want. That’s why you should want to grow up and move out.

 

If your folks burst into your room while you are masturbating without knocking first or warning, then they deserve to have that image burned into their brains for life. You have a right to privacy.

 

I haven’t talked about pornography much yet. It seems to be easier to get access to pornography now than it did in my youth. In my day, you had to look at magazine and play videotapes on VCR if you wanted to see pornography. Many of you now get smartphones before you start puberty and can look up whatever you want whenever you want in the comfort of your own room. The family VCR was in the living room. This is my version of “you kids don’t know how good you have it”.

 

If you worry that you are becoming desensitized by watching pornography, be warned that you can become desensitized by doing anything repeatedly. Go to school five days a week, watch TV all night, football on the weekends. When you do anything over and over again, you become desensitized to it. Come next spring, remember how you felt about beginning a new school year. How it feels like a lifetime ago. And now you just want the summer to hurry up and start.

Once upon a time, this guy went to games wearing a Vikings cap. Then it snowballed into what you see here

Once upon a time, this guy went to games wearing a Vikings cap. Then it snowballed into what you see here

 

 

Pornography does not “kill” love, whatever that means. Do you know how many people who are in love today have watched pornography? Again, the people I ask these questions to never answer and tend to call the police and say to me “get off my property”.

 

You are not going to turn into a feeling-less “Walking Dead” extra because you happen to enjoy visual stimulation. Eventually you will find someone you like or love and have a nice relationship with them. . . I assume. I might be the exception that proves the rule here.

 

In the United States, we have this thing called “community standards”. This determines whether something (a porn video) violates obscenity laws. If you’re on Redtube or Pornhub or such, you’re watching a video that is not considered obscene and criminal.

 

There are certain types of pornography that are outright illegal. Stuff that involves minors or animals. Redtube and Pornhub and their brethren in the streaming video business won’t allow such material on their websites because if they did they would be shut down immediately. The governments of the world don’t condone that kind of stuff, nor should they.

 

Nor do the production companies who make porn make obscene material. Porn is a multi-billion dollar industry. They make plenty of money showing consenting adults.

 

As for the reality of pornography. . . that’s a different kettle of fish. Pornography is not what sex is really like. If and when you have sex, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. If you try to act like the porn performers do in their scenes, you will feel silly and your partner will wonder just what the hell you think you’re doing.

 

Porn is a show. It’s lit in a special way. It has a music bed in the background. It’s edited to leave out the parts where someone farts or the awkward fumbling. They are professionals and performers. You are not nor should you try to be on prom night.

 

You know how you watch “The Bachelor” or whatever Kardashian show is on E! and you think to yourself “There’s no way they act like that in real life”? Well, the same applies to porn and sex.

 

Someone who has conquered both reality TV and pornography.

Someone who has conquered both reality TV and pornography.

 

Because porn is an industry and a business, it is also a job. The people who you watch in many of those videos are professionals and get paid to do that. This does not make them bad people or prostitutes or pimps. It’s a job and every job has good days and bad. They are not forced to do the job they are doing.

 

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has watched pornography. If only to see the porn parody made about her to see if the actress looked like her (she didn’t).

 

Steve Jobs watched pornography. It’s in his biography, near the back I think.

 

President Barack Obama has watched pornography, as well. He’s probably watched the Obama porn parody that had the Sarah Palin parody actress in it.

 

Your parents, your teachers, leaders in the community. They’ve all seen it. Probably liked it, too. So why are you supposed to be doomed?

 

Keep It Greasey

September 7th, 2015

This week in 1979, Frank Zappa released the first act of his Joe’s Garage. A three-record set, each record its own “act”. Acts two and three followed that November. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about it even though last year would have been more appropriate seeing as how the album was 35 years old and not 36. But we’re here and we might as well take the time.

Zappa_Joe's_Garage

 

There once was a series of posts on this website called “Oh Zappa You Card”. The relationship between Frank Zappa (1940-1993) and the listening public was generally one of mutual avoidance. His most popular material and best selling work tended to be his least substantial (1974’s “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow”, 1982’s duet with daughter Moon Unit “Valley Girl”). If his albums showed up on the Billboard Charts, they would be somewhere near the bottom. 1969’s Hot Rats, considered to be one of Zappa’s finest, largely failed in the United States (though it reached the Top Ten in England).

 

The general wisdom seems to be that Zappa’s defining moment was his first, 1966’s debut with The Mothers Of Invention Freak Out. A few years later he had another defining moment when The Mothers released We’re Only In It For The Money, the cover of which parodied that of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s. This tends to be the one thing they mention in brief before mentioning that he broke up The Mothers in 1969, released Hot Rats, then reformed The Mothers with Flo & Eddie from the Turtles, then got thrown off a stage in London in ’71 by a crazed fan. Then he released “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” and his career kept running along through various peaks and valleys until the mid-80s where he testified before a Congressional subcommittee, the late 80’s when he befriended Czech president Vaclav Havel before dying in 1993.

 

In five sentences I skimmed through over a quarter of a century’s events. The second half of a the life of a complicated, artistic, intelligent individual who more industrious writers have written whole books about. I did it the way an asshole music reviewer would do it because Frank Zappa had no time for those people and vice versa. And Joe’s Garage one of those albums that gets skimmed over in lieu of Zappa’s sixties work or that of Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and his old friend and former schoolmate Captain Beefheart’s Troutmaskreplica. This detail about Beefheart and that Zappa produced Troutmaskreplica often gets mentioned in passing as well.

In the Rainbow orchestra pit, London, moments after nearly being killed.

In the Rainbow orchestra pit, London, moments after nearly being killed.

 

You don’t get to be considered a Great Artist ™ unless you have recorded a Career-Defining Masterpiece (also tm) which is the one thing all your subsequent work will be judged by. David Bowie and Scary Monsters. Prince and Sign O’ The Times. The problem with Zappa for many critics is his last C-DM was Hot Rats, a full 24 years before he died. If he had died in the ’71 stage assault in London, critics would have been kinder to the man. They would have taken more time to get inside his recordings, both solo and with The Mothers. Perhaps Uncle Meat would be right up there with Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper’s and Blonde On Blonde on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Rock Albums Of All Time ™. Perhaps original Mothers’ vocalist Ray Collins (1936-2012) would be on the list of Greatest Vocalists.

 

All because by 1971, Frank Zappa hadn’t written a song about music reviewers and journalists which said “I believe you is the government’s whore and keeping peoples dumb is where you’re coming from.” Or he hadn’t written it. . . yet. But he would for Joe’s Garage, in a song titled “Packard Goose”. By the end of “Packard Goose’s” eleven minutes, some of them probably wish he HAD been killed when thrown off the stage at the London Rainbow.

Impossible to put these album covers out now. Progress?

Impossible to put these album covers out now. Progress?

 

There are several things I want to say about this song, on an album I want to talk about but haven’t even gotten around to discussing in detail yet. “Packard Goose” is the second most important song on Joe’s Garage, which is an album that deserves as much consideration as a naive art rock record like Beefheart’s Troutmaskreplica even as it stands as a diametric opposite in how it was put together and presented. The same man produced both albums, even if he did it ten years apart.

 

This is the part where an asshole would write something like “by 1979, Zappa’s patented sneer had curdled into something more sinister. . . Joe’s Garage is an example of satire reduced to smutty diatribes in an over-long triple album long on guitar solos and short on ideas”. I’m quoting a review I made up but I feel like I’ve read it dozens of times. A strawman record reviewer. Which Zappa deals with on “Packard Goose”.

 

The basic story of Joe’s Garage is that in a world where music has been made illegal, a guy named Joe makes up imaginary guitar solos (“if they only coulda heard it” he sings on “Outside Now”). There are at least three songs on Joe’s Garage where Joe imagines a guitar solo. Joe eventually loses his mind and gets so carried away that he begins to imagine critics panning his imaginary guitar solos. He then imagines a whole song designed to tell those critics to fuck off. . . the imaginary ones, right? “Packard Goose” is that song.

 

Because even as Frank Zappa designs “Packard Goose” as a way of furthering a rapidly-disintegrating plot in the latter stages of a what turns out to be his most personal album, he takes this opportunity to get his own back after a decade-plus of bad reviews written by people who didn’t understand the material, the music going on under the lyrics they hated. Hiding behind the lead vocal of Ike Willis who played the titular character, Zappa’s”Packard Goose” stands as his most personal song. A song of venting anger and frustration, a song where the existential pointlessness is disheartening yet freeing.

 

Joe’s Garage came about at a time when Zappa could finally say damn near anything he wanted. On the heels of the incredibly successful Sheik Yerbouti album, which featured a radio hit in “Dancin’ Fool” and the incredibly graphic “Bobby Brown Goes Down” which topped the charts in Norway. The most infamous track on Sheik Yerbouti is “Jewish Princess”, in which Zappa sings about lusting for a girl “with titanic tits and sandblasted zits. . . who don’t know shit about cooking and is arrogant looking.” Jewish activist groups protested Zappa and the song but Zappa refused to apologize.

 

Zappa rode out the storm of criticism and Sheik Yerbouti became the best selling record of his entire career. Having released it on his own record label with CBS International handling the distribution, Zappa replied to “Jewish Princess” with an ode to “Catholic Girls”. “With a tongue like a cow, she could make you go wow. . . Catholic girls with a tiny little mustache” proved that Zappa held his own ethnicity and heritage in as little regard as anyone else’s. “Catholic Girls” is sort of how the story of the making of Joe’s Garage begins. Zappa was riding a wave of success after Sheik Yerbouti and never being one to shy from speaking his mind, he had one overriding message to the people who bought all three acts of Joe’s Garage in the autumn of 1979. . . and that was “ultimately, who gives a fuck anyway?”

 

Joe’s Garage is a mess, a masterpiece, an ugly outburst that hides the loneliness, isolation and sorrow in plain sight. For a man who didn’t write “personal” songs, this album certainly feels like a personal one, even as it hides behind subplots like a sexual appliance who shorts out after a golden shower and an sodomite prison guard with a penchant for mangling the English language. It’s a fatalistic fantasy that collapses for lack of a dynamite ending. It’s Eraserhead, Brazil, Forbidden Zone. To get to the point of the entire album and hear “Watermelon In Easter Hay”, one of the greatest songs the man ever recorded, Zappa made the listener wade through sodomy, sex toys, venereal disease and the joyless pursuit of happiness and fulfillment in modern life. Joe’s girlfriend objectifies herself (“Crew Slut”). Men objectify her in turn (“Fembot In A Wet T-Shirt”) and Zappa sarcastically asks “Aint this what life is really all about?” No one is innocent, nor are they satisfied.

 

And ultimately, who gives a fuck anyway?

Live From Burning Man

September 2nd, 2015

Hey guys. I haven’t posted lately. I’m at Burning Man. It’s great. I’m stoked to be here. Having a great time. I’m a bit dehydrated out here in the desert but other than that totally great.

 

I’m naked except for a cocksock and pair of strap-on bat wings. When I showed up to Nashville airport, they made me put some pants on and check the wings. Them’s the breaks.

 

My first day here, I got blown by a silver-painted dude. He was crying, telling me that Fred Schneider from the B-52’s just died and blowing me was the only way he knew to mourn. I felt bad for him so I let him do it, out of respect for Fred Schneider. Later on I found out that Fred Schneider had not died. Talk about the being the mark on the midway. You tricked me, Silver Sucker. Savor the flavor. Literally.

 

I’m thinking about going up to a college-age lady and telling her that Amanda Palmer just died, then offer to comfort her with oral sex. I think oral is the main currency at Burning Man. I bought a burrito for six handjobs. A burrito normally costs a blowjob but I haggled on the price. I’m beginning to think this place is a would-be utopia where sexuality is a fleeting concept out here, which is fine but I’d really prefer girls.

 

There’s a lot of nudity here. I see some people carrying umbrellas which seemed stupid as it doesn’t rain out here but sandstorms happen often and an umbrella would be useful for that. Also, I don’t have a place to stay. I’m sleeping out in the sand. I need a place to plug in my C-Pap for my sleep apnea. I haven’t slept in about three days. Delirium has set in. I have been offered a place to sleep that has running water and electricity. It will only cost me three blowjobs a day but I’m trying to get the guy to accept some Ambien. I’m also trying to get someone to supply with me some Ambien.

 

There’s some dance music going on here, too.