Archive for March, 2016

Four Hours In The Hole With Benefind

March 30th, 2016

Here is my edited-for-clarity live Twitter rant of my attempt to get my state medical benefits recertified.

 

Long story short: I lost state benefits sometime between January and the beginning of March. How much of this had to do with me failing to recertify and how much had to do with Matt Bevin’s installation of the Benefind portal as a substitute for the well-working KyNect I’m not sure.

I spent four hours on the phone. It was a difficult experience. You will see below. I’ve added some notes afterward as a postscript.

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Yesterday I got the number from the ombudsman and left a phone message. I referenced that in part one above. They returned my call shortly after this tweet rant and promised to get back to me with any information they could within a few days. I have some more forms coming in the mail that I will have to turn in to my local office but I don’t know how I’ll do with that on account of my phobia which I haven’t told people about BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T DISCLOSE THEIR PHOBIAS FOR OTHERS TO KNOW. Did you know that the Undertaker from the WWE has a fear of cucumbers? Sounds stupid doesn’t it? Not to me. I can’t open my mail.

Hold Me In Your Mechanical Arms

March 29th, 2016

Dear Dr. Strange,

Please bear hug me with your large, coiling mechanical arms. Hold me tight. You’ve got great long arms which means you don’t even have to stand close to me while you hug me. You can hold me far away and because your arms are so strong you can hold me over your head even though I’m a very large person. You have superhuman strength, Dr. Strange. I don’t admire your strength but I respect it and I know what it can do to me and others.

 

Do you want to squeeze me to death, Dr. Strange. Do you want to take me in your large mechanical arms and squeeze me to death. I’ll let you. Go right ahead. Just promise me that right before you squeeze me to death you hold me like a loved one and say something nice like “I’m really proud of you.” Make me feel loved at least a little bit, Dr. Strange. You don’t have to mean it. Most people don’t mean it when they say they love you. Most people in relationships make everything about themselves.

 

Now that I think about it, Doc, I want you to say “I’m here for you” right before you squeeze me to death.

 

Oh, shit. I got you confused for Doctor Octopus. I’m sorry, Dr. Strange. Oh man. Wrong room. Sorry about that. Forget everything I told you, okay?

 

 

The Glory Of “38”

March 28th, 2016

I am a middle-aged man. I am thirty-eight years of age.

 

This is not about approaching middle age or confronting one’s mortality. This is about me trying to build up the reserves to occasionally have a moment like I did when I was in my early 20’s.

 

Did you ever get in a car with friends and drive hours to a distant city to see a favorite band you loved but wouldn’t appear anywhere near you? I did that a lot in my youth. Now, not so much.

 

It’s harder to get away. It’s harder to get a group of friends to get away together for a day or two. Let’s get in the car, go to town, see a concert and drive immediately back. No stopping for a hotel room. Pull an all-nighter, get collective white line fever. Get home and sleep it off the entire next day. Wonderful, right?

 

You can do that all you want when you’re 21, 22, 23, but at 37 it takes a lot of effort to get away. March 26th was my 38th birthday, so I celebrated with a trip to Chicago to see the French progressive group Magma.

 

I have done this before. On my 30th birthday, I went to Chicago to see the Boredoms, a Japanese noise rock group. That band had three percussionists, one vocalist and somebody playing a seven-neck guitar that was stood up on the end like a christmas tree. Maybe the strangest show I’ve ever seen. It was also a great way to ring in my thirties.

 

This Magma concert, this was the second strangest show I’ve ever seen. Second only to the Boredoms. And unlike the Boredoms where I traveled up in an car with friends, I went to Magma by myself. . . on Greyhound.

 

I took a Greyhound bus from Louisville to Chicago (nine hours), then took a Megabus back to Louisville (seven hours) immediately after the concert. I don’t recommend it to anyone. I was awake for twenty-seven hours before I got back to my home in Fordsville.

 

For those sixteen cumulative hours I rode on the bus, I was cramped and my legs were sore. My body played a game, seeing which body part could hurt the most at any given point. My knees, my ankles, my ass were all prime contenders.

 

I can’t do that again. Maybe I can do the car trip all-nighter but I can’t do the bus thing. No way on Earth. There was a point on the way back I thought that if nobody had ever committed suicide on Megabus, I might be the first.

 

MAGMA: JUST WHAT EXACTLY WAS THAT?

 

Okay, where were we? In Chicago, at Reggie’s Rock Club on South State Street, watching the second strangest show we’ve ever seen in thirty-eight years of life.

 

Magma is a French group formed in the late ’60s by drummer Christian Vander, and beyond that you should go read the band’s Wikipedia because it’s far too complicated to discuss here. Key words include: “John Coltrane”, “space opera”, “quasi-operatic”, “tribalistic”. I don’t know if that helps. I hope it does.

 

If I have to play the role of David Fricke, I’d tell you to check out Magma’s 1973 album “Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh”. If I knew how to add umlauts I would because that title has so many umlauts, Motley Crue would bow down.

 

They played four songs Saturday night. Four. The first two were thirty-five minutes EACH. They didn’t warm up with a short one and then go into the longer pieces. They went straight into the hard stuff. Their drummer is sixty-eight years old and played two thirty-five minute songs in a row.

 

To be fair, he stopped in the middle of the second song to take a scat vocal solo. For ten minutes, he scatted, he pretended the mike was a clarinet, he squealed and screeched like a maniac. And then he started drumming again. He didn’t exactly make it easy on himself.

 

The only way he could have made it harder is if he had taken a nine-hour Greyhound bus trip right before the show.

Mike Farmer’s Daily Fantasy Sports

March 24th, 2016

Mike Farmer’s Daily Fantasy Sports: No Matter Who You Pick, You Finish Out Of The Money!

Do you like fantasy sports? Do you like gambling on sports statistics? Do you like losing money in weekly intervals? Then MF’s DFS is for you.

 

Cash prizes? No. You will never finish in the money. There is no contest. By entering this contest, you are entering a Kafkaesque hellscape where money trickles away from you incrementally. It’s up to you how much you give away weekly, large or small amounts. Basketball season. Baseball. Football. Soccer or “grass hockey”, as Tom Scharpling called it on The Best Show this week. Also hockey or “ice soccer” as I’ve just decided to call it. If it’s a sport and you can bet on it, MF’s DFS will work with you on a payment plan.

 

I accept paypal. Don’t make me come to your house to pick up the money. I run a respectable daily fantasy sports company/scam. I am not some gangster who wants to threaten you. Don’t make me crush your forearm in a car door. I have to live with myself, you know.

 

If it makes you feel better, I’ll send you an e-mail every week telling you that you finished out of the money. “Dear >>>>, you finished in 9,882nd place out 108,880. Better luck next time.” Good luck using these e-mails when filing your taxes. “Oh I’m a pro gambler. I’m writing off my losses.”

A Change Of Black Heart

March 22nd, 2016

Regular readers of this website will notice a trend of being against certain people (like Governor Matt Bevin, and Donald Trump) and for certain things (like the betterment of the world and peace and happiness for everyone).

 

I’m afraid to inform you that this policy will no longer continue.

 

It would be easy to disregard my proclamation as pure sarcasm, but unfortunately I mean it. I’m over it. You don’t have to join me. Form your own opinion, But of course you should join me.

 

Because I am not going to have any children, I don’t have to worry about passing this world down to the next generation. Who’s going to inherit this world when I’m gone? My cousin’s kids? So what? They can deal.

 

I am as sincere about this as I was about challenging Governor Bevin to a cockfight last month. Now instead of hosting a cockfight as a greater political statement, I can embrace it as the sick cheapo thrill it truly is. And I can host pitbull fights while I’m at it.

 

I want to cut the tops off the Appalachians. I would do it myself if I had the power. Fracking? I don’t know what it is and I don’t care. If Mark Ruffalo hates it then I support it. What has he ever done for Kentucky? Probably an Indiana fan. Boooooo.

 

Why aren’t we sending children into the caves to get the coal out? They’re smaller, rangier, and they can earn a living like their parents used to. School? Come on. You don’t need school when you have Google. Black lung? You can’t prove that happens anymore. Besides we’ll make the kids wear little paper masks.

 

Why are we only having the Kentucky Derby once a year? And why are the horses not fighting each other instead of racing? Did you know that horse fighting is a $7500-a-year (estimated) industry in the Philippines. And you get the eat the meat of the losing horse afterward. That’s why everyone is going to the Philippines to get gender surgery to look like Caitlyn Jenner.

 

I’m voting for Trump this November, assuming he gets the Republican nomination. I just want to watch the world burn. That guy is not even close to being a good statesman. He is in fact the worst of the available choices.

 

I don’t know why I’m saying I want to watch the world burn when in fact I’m already watching it burn. He isn’t even President yet and look what he’s accomplished. I’m looking forward to the death of the illusion of the American dream. The death of everyone’s illusions.

 

I probably need to spend more time outside.

Shame Shack

March 17th, 2016

I’m in the dumps again. I’m in the shame shack. Shitting in a shame pit.

 

It happens all the time. Naked in a heated cesspool. Sick but used to sickness.

 

Bills in a giant pile. Unlisted numbers on my phone. Creditors want me to answer.

 

The power bill is due. Ask my folks for money. I overdrafted at the bank.

 

I can’t pay it all. This month I’m tapped out. Life is funny like that.

Writer’s Blech

March 16th, 2016

I’m having a difficult time. It’s almost as if I write that sentence too often: “I’m having a difficult time.” But I’m struggling to write songs. I’m so locked up that I can’t get anything satisfactory down on paper. I’m not even frustrated about it. I’m resigned to it, hoping that my constipated brain will fart out a few lines, maybe a whole verse.

 

I’m taking in a lot of information right now, and not always because I want to. Conversations sometimes stupefy me, veering into TMI-land. Sometimes I think Harmony Korine might have been the voice of my generation from the stories people tell me. Unpleasant realities we want to deny. Our pathetic nature. The secret shame of others.

 

I guess I could do what some people do and turn private text conversations into song lyrics for my smash hit album but that would be dirty pool. Even if I were to profit off of such work, which I have yet to do in all my years of music-making.

 

Hold on, I’m gonna try to use these text messages as a set of song lyrics.

“Text Message Song” by Mike (ghostwritten by Mike’s mom)

What time are you coming over?

I get home from work about five

We’re having spaghetti tomorrow

I’ll give you some leftovers to take home

 

 

Disappearing Into A World Of Echo

March 10th, 2016

It’s a soulless time in modern music and the music makers are reaching at straws to try to fix the problem. Some of them try to sing like Al Green and record their tracks on tape in analog on big machines like in the day. Some producers sample-jack an entire song’s vibe and use that to fill up the vibe, flooding the airwaves with recycled audio stew.

 

I thought about that when I found out that one of the songs on Kanye West’s new album contains an Arthur Russell sample. In 1986, Arthur Russell (d. 1992) released an album, World Of Echo. The instrumentation on this album consists of Arthur Russell’s vocals, cello, hand percussion, and echo treatments of such. Hence the title.

 

Thirty years after the album comes out and nearly twenty-five years after Russell dies, some asshole comes along and samples his track. Cold comfort for a guy who’s long gone and not around to enjoy whatever sliver of fame or financial windfall come out of this.

 

How much soul is left in 2016? People live Second Life to avoid the reality of the first one they were given. I am more real on the Internet than I am in real life. Immortality in the face of a flood of similar seekers.

 

I have dreams. They mock me. My subconscious taunts me. Drink a lot of liquid before you go to bed so you have to wake up and piss. That will get you out of the mocking dreamstate. I want to disappear into the world of echo. Or have my own like Arthur Russell tried to create. Just a man with a cello, feeding the echo-distorted audio back into his headphones. Lost in a trance. A repetitive, minimalist trance.

 

If you get lucky you’ll hear an album that changes you. The person you were before you pushed play is no more and replaced with a new bunch of molecules. World Of Echo has disturbed my molecules. I am shaken to the core. What are you hiding behind?

 

Russell’s voice is that of a scalded soul. Soft but tortured. Some sick cross between James Taylor and the big Bear from Canned Heat. Which he probably wouldn’t enjoy those comparisons. I’m only trying to help.

 

It is a shy, unconfident voice but it hits just so as it should. He sings well in the genre of Arthur Russell. There is nothing powerful or flamboyant or melismatic. Perhaps he is confident but only in the quiet of a dark room. This is not the life of the party. This is the wallflower at the end of the night, staring balefully and earnestly. Life isn’t fair. As if he had to wait for everything to die down so he could get in a word.

 

I am not the same man I was before I heard World Of Echo. And even that is too late for comfort for the composer. Appreciate the living who are still here trying to make things right. Love and lose and let your heart break a little bit.

I Ask You For $9 Million

March 8th, 2016

I know this is asking a lot but I’m gonna need you guys to give me $9 million.

 

Gee that’s an oddly specific number, Mike? Why not ten million while you’re at it? 

 

This is a good question. I’m “only” asking for nine million because that’s how much Frank Zappa’s house is being offered for on eBay.

 

Yes, Frank Zappa’s Hollywood Hills mansion is up for sale on eBay. Nine million dollars.

 

I’ve done some calculations and between my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, I can buy the house if everyone kicks in a little over $9000 apiece. Some people are both so they’ll have to double up to make this happen.

 

In the unlikely event that I am unable to purchase this $9 million dollar mansion, I will cry for a few seconds and then move on with my life.

 

This is a fantastic opportunity for me to tell you about Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa?, a feature film to be directed by Alex Winter. He is raising money to produce the film on Kickstarter. I thoroughly recommend you check out the Kickstarter link and see what I mean.

 

I’ve spent most of my life as a Frank Zappa fan. We are an underserved, moaning lot of rapidly aging people who simply want our musical hero to get the recognition he deserves.

 

Frank Zappa is better than the Beatles because they were totally into his music but he didn’t care for them that much.

Frank Zappa is better than the Beach Boys because he was a better composer/producer than Brian Wilson while being kind of a dick at times but nowhere near Mike Love-level.

Frank Zappa is better than David Bowie because David Bowie tried to steal Adrian Belew from Zappa’s band and Zappa told him “Fuck you, Captain Tom.”

Frank Zappa is better than Brian Eno because he made music that has to be listened to instead of relegated to the background.

Frank Zappa is better than Bob Dylan because Bob asked him to produce his “Infidels” album and Zappa turned him down, suggesting Bob hire Giorgio Moroder (he didn’t).

Frank Zappa is better than Aerosmith because Aerosmith could totally write a song like “Dinah-Moe Humm” but could never write anything like “Inca Roads”.

Frank Zappa is better than Rush because Rush could totally write a song like “Inca Roads” but could never anything like “Dinah-Moe Humm”.

Frank Zappa is better than Steely Dan because “Aja” is like “Overnite Sensation” for timid people.

Frank Zappa is better than Kiss because everyone is.

Frank Zappa is better than Nirvana there is no Dave Grohl equivalent in the Zappa universe.

These are a few of the reasons why Zappa fans are so hated. We are obnoxious. We think our guy is better than everyone else. It’s easy to say Zappa > Bieber but to say Zappa > Tom Waits? Now you’re stepping on toes. Hipster toes. Music snob toes. Zappa fans are too isolated and broken inside to be snobs.

 

Talkin’ Lucha Libre

March 5th, 2016

Last night I watched the damnedest wrestling match I have ever seen in my life. I am supplying you a link and you NEED to see it. You don’t even have to love wrestling. You just need to see two people willing to destroy themselves in the name of entertainment.

 

http://www.clarosports.com/lucha-libre/cmll/detalle/epico-mano-a-mano-de-dragon-lee-y-kamaitachi-590322/ is the link so click here to see something remarkable.

 

This match comes out of the Mexican promotion CMLL, where Japanese wrestler Kamaitachi defends his World Welterweight championship against Dragon Lee. This match took place in Mexico City and is best two-out-of-three falls. There is an Asian woman in the crowd who keeps rooting for Kamaitachi and the camera keeps cutting back to her and it is ADORABLE.

 

Dragon Lee and Kamaitachi might have the best in-ring rivalry in pro wrestling right now. They’ve been feuding for over a year now, mostly in tag team matches. So when the two of them get together in singles competition it becomes appointment viewing.

 

I don’t think I’ve seen two guys have more disregard for their own personal safety and I’ve seen Mick Foley get thrown off the top of a cage by the Undertaker. I’ve seen enough “deathmatches” where no one dies but a bunch of phlorescent light tubes get smashed into wrestlers’ heads and bodies. I’ve watched barbed wire matches, exploding barbed wire matches, exploding cage matches, barbed-wire-on-fire deathmatches, coffin fire deathmatches, tank-filled-with-live-piranhas-in-the-middle-of-the-ring deathmatches, you name it. I’ve seen some things I can’t unsee and somehow last night’s Dragon Lee and Kamaitachi outstrips them all in terms of violence.

 

And yet there is no use of weapons or bloodshed. Everything that happens in this match has a real physical consequence both immediate and long-term. This is one of those matches where you want to run in, stop everything and yell, “Guys, this isn’t a real sport. You don’t have to do this. There is no reason to take a monkey flip off the apron onto the floor. There’s no mats around the ring, you idiots. You’re slamming your body onto a cold hard floor!”

 

The end of the match comes as a letdown because after beating each other up for nearly a half-hour, you start to think nothing short of gunfire could put either man down for a three-count. Coins are thrown into the ring post-match but they should have thrown painkillers and back braces as well. This is a sacrificial display which will either gall or enthrall you, especially after the recent retirement of Bryan Danielson and yesterday’s death of Japanese high-flying innovator Hayabusa.

 

Dragon Lee vs. Kamaitachi is a revelation. A story of sacrifice without selflessness. The Simon and Garfunkel of throwing yourselves at each other at high speed. Some people are just made for each other, even if they are enemies.