Archive for May, 2016

Because Why Not?

May 31st, 2016



Apropos of nothing this June 1st I wanted to post this comment I found on Youtube.

It’s only funny when I tell you where I saw it posted.

A video of Steve Perry singing “Oh Sherrie”. Somebody decided that is where this rant should go. I’m not sure what this person is even talking about. And why the comments section of a song by the former singer for Journey is the chosen forum for such a thing.

It doesn’t matter. It’s a strange, sick, stupid world. You might as well laugh and try to have some damn compassion. Cut the b.s. with others, or at the very least yourself. I think Shakespeare said that. It’s in Julius Caesar, I think near the end.

I’m pretty sure Hamlet says it to Julius Caesar at the car wash just before the big war scene.

“Tis’ a strange, sick, stupid world, Julius. Thy might as well laugh and try to have but a little compassion. Cut the bullmess with those you see, and cut the bullmess with yourself foremost. Now let’s get these grape Fantas back to homebase so the soldiers’ thirst will be quenched and we can kill those damn Romans!”


That’s when “The Boys Are Back In Town” plays and they pilot a chariot filled with grape Fantas. The first product placement ever.

Too Vague

May 26th, 2016

I had a lot on my mind this week but not everything on my mind ends up here. Otherwise this website would be updated hourly, at least daily. I try to have at least twenty-four thoughts a day. Most days I make it.


My bedroom closet is a mess, so I’ve spent about a half-day cleaning stuff out of it. I have more stuff than I have space to put the garbage in. No nearby dumpsters. It’s not garbage. Just old stuff. My past is in this closet. I’m not a fan of my past. Or maybe my past isn’t that bad compared to right now and I don’t want to think about that. Either way, I’m going to try to take out at least one or two garbage bags of closet stuff per week.


I have a rack of old clothes that could be given away to a nearby place. Bags and bags worth. I guess I saved them in case I lost weight. Forget it. Too optimistic right now. Optimism is a luxury, like getting a flu shot.


If your parents raised you right, you’ll grow up and understand that your parents weren’t and aren’t perfect. They did and do the best they can but have flaws and problems. That is what separates family from all those other people in your life that you write off because of one thing they do. Or one thing they believe that you cannot bring yourself to ignore.


Is this about my mom? Not so much. She did a phenomenal job considering she got no support from my birth father. This is about YOU being the adult for once.


There’s another reason why I wouldn’t want to be a parent and it’s been under my nose the whole time: that I would let my children down so often that they ceased to believe in me. I hate letting people down anyway, never mind potential offspring.


There’s so much more to say but not here. It involves other people and their business, and that would be not be fair to them. Moments when you need a friend to talk to, a shoulder to lean on.


But I end up being the shoulder. I’m always the shoulder in the end. One of you just be my damn shoulder for a little while. You know who you are.

Hot Take Culture

May 19th, 2016

As the United States changed from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, we have likewise changed from a creative culture to a critic culture. A hot take culture. An instant rating culture. Five-star culture.


You reading this may probably think to yourself, “well. . . yeah, man.” Because you were aware of that aware of that already. Maybe I hadn’t found the words to express it or a proper comparison.


Look at all the Youtube reviews. The person staring at the camera talking at you. Their hot takes beaming through to you. This week a guy got extra traction because of his refusal to see a movie that he knew he wouldn’t like. In this case, the remade all-female fronted Ghostbusters. His non-criticism came off as a criticism and spawned a lot of clapbacks. It’s a self-sustaining industry and many more want in on the game. It seems like easy money.


You know what’s hard? Creating something. Even the biggest piece of garbage book/album/movie/etc takes more effort than firing up the webcam for a tirade or rattling off 500 words for a 0.0 Pitchfork readalike. The ease in which it takes to do a “scathing take down” of a creative work.


I don’t know when it got this way and it doesn’t matter. Critique is important in a creative/commercial space. If something is being mass produced for consumption and profit, then all parties deserve the benefit of the doubt. The would-be consumer deserves to know if this is worth their time and money. The creator deserves an outside perspective on what works or doesn’t work if that’s the case.


The late Roger Ebert was an innovator in all the wrong ways. At least three published books cover his most scathing reviews. In addition to the books he published containing rave reviews, he mistakenly created a modern situation where the criticism had a place alongside the “art”.


In his case, it was movies. Roger Ebert co-wrote three Russ Meyer films. For all we know, Ebert may not have been capable of writing a movie that didn’t feature large-breasted women in it. That’s like having someone who wrote songs for Steppenwolf reviewing EDM.


Basically what I am saying is we’re all fucked, let’s shut it down and get John Kay in the studio with Skrillex.

Terminally Disgruntled

May 18th, 2016

The Kentucky primary is over. We have elected a new President six months to go until the election. Many people, journalists primarily, have compared these campaign seasons in the past to a “death march”. Fuck city. Add Guy Clark to the list of dead cool people in 2016. I blame Hillary and Trump and I might also blame Bernie depending on what happens between now and July.


Hillary and Bernie fought to a virtual tie in Kentucky, splitting up 50 delegates evenly. This would been inconceivable even eight years ago when Hillary solidly defeated Barack Obama and won all the state’s delegates. Assume the state is going solidly for Trump in November. Accept it. It will be called the moment the polls close in the east.


I am terminally disgruntled and have been longer than I can remember. How did a healthy cynicism turn into a chronic condition? And when did it become terminal? When did the rot set in?


I could sit here and examine my navel and look at my options. Donald Trump lives his life like it’s side four of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” just before “Stop”/”The Trial”. He is a shaman of word salad, an Oompa-Loompa confidence man. He is the pep rally the disgruntled right wants. He’s bad at investments, worse at land development, worst of all with women. He’s so good at business he has filed for bankruptcy. Four times. He hosted a reality game show and Stone Cold Steve Austin gave him a Stunner. One cunthair away from the White House.


Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is in a loveless marriage. It is unlikely she has shared a bed with her husband since 2001. Who could blame her with some of the things he has been accused of? Google “Bill Clinton Jeffrey Epstein” and prepare to feel awful afterward. You can’t feel bad for her because she stay hitched to his wagon. For what reasons? Because she loves him? To piggyback off his political goodwill? Because spouses can’t be legally compelled to testify against each other? For Chelsea (age 36)?


Bernie. By default the most likable candidate left, but his most rabid followers rival that of Trump’s. Death threats against the Nevada Democratic party chairwoman. Are these people just a few bad apples in an overwhelmingly well-mannered, good-intentioned bunch of Bernie supporters? Is the entire Bern movement being painted with the same brush as that of a few isolated crazies in order to diminish Sanders’ momentum? Perhaps Bernie Sanders himself can’t contain the movement anymore, or wants to foment his fans at least until the Democratic convention in July?


Or maybe Hillary has developed 25 years worth of friends and favors in her public life and intends on calling them all in because this is her last shot at the White House. It’s her turn. Right? It has to be. We have to give this sociopathic crone the Presidency lest it fall into the hands of the Orange Shaman of Stupid. That’s the big nightmare we’re being told about. Trump = Apocalypse Earth. So vote for Hillary because she’s not the worst option. That’s the sales pitch for autumn ’16.


It’s a stomach-churning affair. Six more months. It’s like watching a shitty NFL season and capping it off with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, only worse. The crushing inevitability of it all. Terminally disgruntled. The rot sets in. Soul corrosion.


You see? This started off nice and then got bitter real quick. I can’t help it.

Every Chicago Cub Ranked, Best To Worst

May 12th, 2016

  1. Hank Aaron
  2. Andre Dawson
  3. Derrek Lee
  4. Ernie Banks
  5. Rick Sutcliffe
  6. Rogers Hornsby
  7. Hank Sauer
  8. So Taguchi
  9. Kyle Farnsworth
  10. Ron Santo
  11. Lee Smith
  12. Mark “No Surprises” Grace
  13. Rick Reuschel
  14. Carlos Zambrano
  15. Ron Cey
  16. “Airbag” Evers
  17. Lefty Sloat
  18. Sammy Sosa
  19. Turk Wendell
  20. Greg Maddux
  21. “Just” Tinker
  22. Ferguson Jenkins
  23. Anthony Rizzo
  24. Babe Ruth (probably)
  25. El Hijo del Baseball
  26. “Creep” Chance
  27. Felipe Alou
  28. Milton Bradley
  29. Terry Mulholland
  30. Keith Moreland
  31. Kusuke Fukudome
  32. Billy Ott
  33. Koyie Hill
  34. Starlin Castro
  35. Mark Prior
  36. “Kid A” Alfonso Soriano
  37. Manny Trillo
  38. Bubbles Hargrave
  39. Paranoid Android
  40. Rich Harden
  41. Mitch Williams
  42. Rafael Palmeiro
  43. Mel Hall
  44. Don Zimmer
  45. Joe Niekro
  46. Glenallen Hill
  47. Kris Bryant
  48. Goose Gossage
  49. Geovany Soto
  50. Augie Ojeda
  51. Hack Wilson
  52. Cap “Fake Plastic Trees” Anson
  53. Jimmie Foxx
  54. Gary Matthews
  55. Gary Matthews
  56. Garry Shandling
  57. Rabbit Maranville
  58. Milt Pappas
  59. Ken Holtzman
  60. Aramis Ramirez
  61. Wildfire Schulte
  62. Joe Girardi
  63. Bobby Shantz
  64. Pat Malone
  65. Bruce “Treefingers” Sutter
  66. Freddie Lindstrom
  67. Billy Williams
  68. Ken Hubbs
  69. Jerome Walton
  70. Bill Madlock
  71. Willie “Knives Out” Hernandez
  72. Jake Arrieta
  73. Candy Maldonado
  74. Larry Corcoran
  75. Gabby Hartnett
  76. Phil Cavarretta
  77. Gene “Faust Arp” Mauch
  78. Buck Herzog
  79. Jon Lester
  80. Jon Leicester
  81. Don Johnson
  82. Todd Hollandsworth
  83. Anyone Can Play Guitar
  84. Ramon Martinez
  85. Mordecai “15 Step” Brown
  86. Chuck Klein
  87. Michael Barrett
  88. Leon Durham
  89. Glenn Beckert
  90. Don Kessinger
  91. Jason Marquis
  92. Bill Lee
  93. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
  94. Bob Dernier
  95. Ted “Reckoner” Lilly
  96. Reed Johnson
  97. Darrin Jackson
  98. Darwin Barney
  99. Footer Johnson
  100. Ryne Sandberg

In the 109 seasons they officially became the Chicago Cubs, 100 people have played for the team. Some of them are Radiohead songs.

I’m Not Ready To Let Go

May 11th, 2016

You really don’t know what you have until it is gone.

I just heard an audience recording of Prince playing a Shania Twain song in concert. “You’re Still The One” or “U’re Still The 1” as he would title it. Recorded by an audience member at a show in 1998. Not the best audio quality but good enough to make out Prince putting his stamp on one of Shania’s biggest hits.


He really did that. And he made it great. He didn’t do it better than Shania. What he did was what he did a million times, vanquish any trace of music snobbery. Two kinds of music, good and bad. That’s all there is to it. We weren’t ready for him. I wasn’t ready for him. We’re going to spend the rest of our lives catching up to him.


I would have been so mad at him had I heard this when he actually did it. “How dare he cover Shania Twain? How dare he try to make me like this! How dare he make me enjoy this, kinda. How dare he. . . who am I fooling with my bullshit?” Music snobbery is such a dumb thing and it’s one of many dumb boxes we put up around the good things in life and here’s a guy who busted the walls in like Kool-Aid guy long after the mainstream audience cared.


Does this mean I have to start learning Katy Perry songs? Will it get me a meeting with her? Perhaps if I upload a video of me singing “Firework”.


By the way, the Louisville Orchestra named their ten finalists for the Sing For The City competition. I was not one of them. Color me surprised. You don’t know what you’re missing, Louisville Orchestra. You blew it. Ya blew it. Blew it, kid. Totally fucked up. Fucked up brah. Fucked the fuck up. Oh shit you fucked up son. Shiiiiiiiii. . . damn.


I don’t do well in contests.


May 10th, 2016


Since it has come out that the band YACHT manufactured their sex tape hoax in order to promote a new song or something, I have taken down the original post from yesterday. I have replaced it with a song by Ulf Dageby who does not need to do such things. His music is fine if you are into that sort of thing.


I was feeling sorry for those brats for a moment. I guess they had a point to prove. Way to go, then.


May 8th, 2016

(cue the Pet Shop Boys song)


Sunday evening is a big night for some friends of mine old and new. Mary dove into artist management and is working with a young singer-guitarist from Saskatchewan named Colter Wall.


For the last few months, they have been on a path of destruction. Colter as the live performer and Mary as the handler who helps him navigate through this strange America in the election year of ’16. Dive bars, shotgun shacks, saloons and other places where songs are performed. . . you name it, she has taken him there where he has mowed them down with his old-soul voice and songs.


May the 8th, Colter has a high profile opportunity. Opening up for Lucinda Williams at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Lucinda Williams, a heavyweight of Americana. The opportunity came up early last week and was too good to pass up.


For the last month, Colter has been steadily gigging around the country. This is the culmination of this touring stint and it snuck up on everybody. Will it lead to something in the future? I hope so for both of them. I need more friends to leech off. Seriously.

What You Think About Rock Bottom

May 4th, 2016

I can’t let Prince go. I still have to write about him. He left a lot behind. The music. The memories. And a lot of unanswered questions. Is it possible that Prince would have not made out a will in his fifty-seven years of life? A man worth at least 300 million dollars who had been married and divorced twice, accumulating an infamous vault of unreleased material that could be exploited in many infinite ways not have a will? A man who worked throughout his career to help local charities throughout the country without publicity not have a will? It doesn’t make sense.


I’ve been thinking about the sad last days of Prince. I’ve heard that last show in Atlanta. The second of two shows. A man and his piano lighting up the room, lighting up the world. A take on “Nothing Compares 2 U” that is so profound the man himself walks away from the piano and leaves the stage because it’s simply too much. He sounds alive, as alive as ever. He doesn’t sound frail or ill. He sounds like Prince, stronger than life. More valuable than gold or diamonds.


The man who graced Atlanta’s Fox Theater for two shows on April 14 did not sound like a man who would be dead within a week. He did not sound like a struggling opioid addict. He sounded like a master of his craft, a showman of the highest caliber.


Prince on painkillers got done more before lunch on than most of us will accomplish in a week stone sober. Isn’t that frightening in a way? Not because of what it says about the common person but because it speaks to what we think of when we think of “rock bottom”. We think of shameless, hopeless wretches who are alone, broken down, in the gutter of life. We think of people who end up on “Intervention.” We don’t think of people who function in some ways better than us.


Once upon a time, I had a roommate who was an alcoholic. I should have known because he drank warm, shitty beer. He bought the cheapest stuff and kept it in the box but wouldn’t put it in the fridge on purpose. But he held down a job, had a social life, kept his bills paid and seemed to be in a far better place than I was. Maybe I’m just too far gone and not representative of the average person. But he was definitely an alcoholic. He did better than me because he met a nice girl and moved to the Pacific Northwest, settled down and got married, and started a family. . . which came apart when his wife kicked him out of the house and divorced him. Because he was an alcoholic.


Thankfully his story ends with him getting himself off the booze and resuming a sober life so he can have time with his children. Maybe it’s me who can’t see it when people have hit rock bottom. Maybe I’m the myopic one here. Do I have a bad idea of rock bottom is?


Gang, I may be at rock bottom and not really know it. But I’m sober. Oh shit.