Showing posts from July, 2014

That Kind of Disappointment

I remember vividly when I was in elementary school going to music class. Twice a week or so, we’d gather around Mrs. Perry’s piano to be instructed on the basics of music, sing songs like " America the Beautifu l" and " Oh! Susanna ," or learn to play the recorder. I can still fumble through a yowling-cat-in-heat version of "Hot Crossed Buns." But I really really liked going to music class when I was a kid. My brother Nathan was killed in a car accident when I was in kindergarten. I also have a cleft palate so I spent most of my early school years attending some form of speech therapy. Music class was one of the things I looked forward to the most in elementary school. It made a very unpleasant time just a little more bearable. I think that’s one of the reasons it stung so badly years later when I learned that they taught us a censored version of Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land." When I heard it much later, I understand

Your Christmas In July: Tomorrow Is Always Better

The biggest liar you know is your memory. That thought got me thinking about nostalgia today which, in turn, reminded me of a particular quote from Jean Shepherd in reference to his work in general and A Christmas Story in particular: “I think nostalgia is one of the great sicknesses of America,’ Shepherd declared. ‘What my work says is: If you think it’s bad now, you should have seen it then. You’ll notice that nothing works out for the kid. He gets hit with the gun, the furnace blows up, the dogs go wild, and the family winds up having to go to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas.”

Don't Make Fun of Him, Be Appalled

So many things annoy the hell out of me about Gov. Perry and his bullshit photo ops with machine guns at the border. First, let's be honest, the Border Crisis he keeps talking about is in reference to children. He’s got the National Guard staked out at the border to stop children from crossing. Yes, I know he’s given some bullshit about how all these resources being diverted to dealing with the children are allowing some Invasion U.S.A . style influx of criminal aliens, but it’s just that--bullshit. He's hoping if he repeats it often enough, you'll forget this is all really about kids and just remember him saving us from evil foreigners like this is the mid-80s and he's Chuck Norris. It’s all a shell game to portray what should be a no-brainer bipartisan response to a humanitarian crisis as the lax liberal policies of the Obama Administration contributing to the disintegration of this country. Just like the pictures of him with military weapons at the border,

Pretty Deadly

Pretty Deadly is a creator-owned comic series from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios . And it’s amazing. Fucking seriously. I’m not going to bother with some fancy write-up because I couldn’t do the comic justice. Pretty Deadly is a beautiful, violent, magical realism, manga spaghetti western. A mythic, glorious story with breath-catching prose and artwork I want tattooed on my bare arm. Highly, highly recommended.

To Each Their Own Till We Go Home

I heard “ Turtles All The Way Down ” by Sturgil Simpson again this morning. Even if country music hadn’t died under a corporate bootheel and now lives only vegetable existence thanks to twangy, second-rate pop singers, this would still be a kind of perfection. TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN I've seen Jesus play with flames in a lake of fire that I was standing in Met the devil in Seattle and spent 9 months inside the lions’ den Met Buddha yet another time and he showed me a glowing light within But I swear that God is there every time I glare in the eyes of my best friend Says my son it's all been done and someday yer gonna wake up old and gray So go and try to have some fun showing warmth to everyone You meet and greet and cheat along the way There's a gateway in our mind that leads somewhere out there beyond this plane Where reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain Tell me how you make illegal something that we all

The Greatest Television Married Couple

The lovely wife was not feeling very well over the weekend so we watched The Addams Family. No matter how many times I watch episodes of the original television show with John Astin and Carolyn Jones or even the two features films with Raul Julia and Angelica Huston, I’m always struck by the fact that, still to this very day, Gomez and Morticia Addams remain the single greatest married couple that's ever been on television. Period. Full stop. End of story. Seriously. Think about it.

Elvis Still Dead

Mick Farren Still enjoying my slow trip through Mick Farren’s Elvis Died For Somebody’s Sins But Not Mine . Yesterday I came across this little gem: “Needless to say, alienation was one of the major motivators intended to create the psycho-civilized society that was the authoritarian dream for the second half of the 20th century. The goal was to breed a population that was isolated, uncommunicative, obedient, conformist, and very, very afraid. In some demographics, it worked all too well.”

Zen and the Art of Not Smoking

There’s a tough to process but very important Buddhist concept called anattā which means “no-self.” In very brief and very poor layman’s terms, the idea is that the unchanging and eternal self is an illusion, our identity is constantly shifting and born from the clash of an ever-changing storm of forces. “No-Self” is the lynchpin of Buddhist thought, it’s considered to be one of the three marks of existence shared by every sentient being, it’s directly tied to the notion of dependent origination, and it’s the key to liberation. So much of our suffering and dissatisfaction comes from the “I” stories we tell ourselves. I understood anattā a lot better when I quit smoking, or as I still think of it constantly, “Today, I chose not to smoke.” I had tried to quit smoking before but it had never worked, it never stuck. I knew people who had tried to quit smoking before and they never made it more than a couple of months. One friend of mine regularly quits every couple of months, only


Netflix finally added Lawless to their streaming service. I had wanted to see this crime drama back in 2012 when it was released, but there’s very little that will actually get me out to the theatre. Seeing a film on the big screen is too expensive. For the price of a single ticket I can pay for an entire month’s worth of Netflix with money left over. Not to mention, I can’t remember a time in recent memory when I did risk the multiplex that wasn’t ruined by audience members who couldn’t seem to understand that seeing a film is a shared experience between a group of strangers who don’t want to hear their commentary, incessant coughing, or help them chase their kid down. After seeing it on the small screen, I’m glad I waited for Netflix. Lawless has a lot going for it. Even with Shia, whom I’ve never ever cared for-- going all the way back to Holes , the cast is top-notch. Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, and Guy Pearce all deliver with what's given. Australia

Elvis Died For Somebody's Sins But Not Mine

Mick Farren’s Elvis Died For Somebody’s Sins But Not Mine is a must-buy for any of his fans. If you’re curious about Mick and unfamiliar with the stunning breadth and depth of his work, it’s a great introduction to this now lost talent. Mick's last collection includes some of everything: bits of memoir, reminiscences, rock journalism, cultural criticism, political writings, interviews with everyone from Johnny Cash to Gore Vidal, song lyrics, unpublished fragments, blog posts, a sampling of his nonfiction books, and excerpts from his novels. I purchased the book nearly a year ago, shortly after Mick died on stage in London. I’ve been taking my sweet time reading it. Whenever I finish reading a novel or complete a piece of my own writing, I’ll pick up Elvis Died For Somebody’s Sins and read several sections. Yesterday, I came across this little gem from Mick that I absolutely related to: “I have neither trusted nor desired power. At its most honest, it seemed to r