Strange Brew Today

I’ll be playing down at Strange Brew in Austin, Texas today with my kid brother for the first time in months.  I had a band with my brother for many years that has been on hiatus while my brother attends law school.  After a searing 3 hour rehearsal yesterday we decided to turn my solo show into a rock show.  We’re also going to be joined by the great Austin songwriter Kacy Crowley.  Detrimental to my wallet, I’ve always had a strange relationship with the whole self promotional thing.  However, I can say without any doubt we are going to bring it today.  Playing with my brother, and longtime drummer Alex Moralez, yesterday made me feel like I was on a rocket taking off for Mars.  Together, let’s celebrate Jesus’s birthday early today by drinking and smoking! (Hey it’s not like it was meant to be celebrated by shopping.)  4pm start time.

Chris Rock Discusses Top Five On The Daily Show

Here is Chris Rock on The Daily Show discussing his new movie Top Five.  My brother and I went to see it the other night and it was excellent.  It was really unique in its particular blend of different genres and emotions in one film.  It was funny, as is to be expected, but it is also poignant and romantic in ways that seemed genuine.  When something happened to the characters emotionally, it felt earned because of the great character development of the film.  Chris Rock himself has said that Woody Allen was an influence.  It felt like an indie drama crossed with a very funny and raunchy comedy.  Again, it was unique and even this description does not really get to the core of it.  The movie not only had me laughing, but also left me thinking ever since I have seen it.

Racist Fun On the Internet

Racist Comment Section

If you are someone that believes hate doesn’t exist as an everyday part of America, click on the link above, skip the article, and go right down to the comments section.  Although I couldn’t read this kind of gibberish on a regular basis, I think every once in awhile it serves as a reality check that there is still much to be done.  These fools clearly believe that their magic America (A place that never existed in the first place) is being taken away from them by people who hold even less mainstream political power than they do.  (And please don’t tell me because Obama is President that black people hold more political power than white people.)

11 Unbelievable Weapons That Only America And Its Closest Allies Have

The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, ‘You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done. – George Carlin

I’ve always loved George Carlin.  The title of his book Napalm and Silly Putty comes from his amusement in the duality of man. People have not only invented something that can burn the skin off someone, but also created something used to copy the Sunday comics.

With that idea I give you this article from Business Insider about:

11 Unbelievable Weapons That Only America And Its Closest Allies Have

We’ve got some really creative sociopaths in this country!

Ghost Songs

This afternoon I fell into the deep and dark sleep of the the hungover, only to awaken to a cold grey and white grave like early evening.  It looked as much like a dream outside, and a far more nefarious one, than the dream I had just been having on my couch.  Realizing that my dog had not been walked I put on my headphones and headed out the door.  I put on the last two songs from Bash and Pop’s album Friday Night is Killing Me.  Those songs would be Tiny Pieces and First Steps.

What an album!  It is one of those albums that I discovered in a used CD store some years back that has never completely left the rotation.  And yet it is an album so few people know about.  I wonder how many people even own that album?  It was Tommy Stinson’s first album after the breakup of The Replacements.  It is full of loose disheveled rock n roll.  The playing is simply fantastic, especially the guitar playing.  It has so many cool little guitar parts delivered with a ton of feel.  The production is organic and inviting.  It really is one of those great lost rock n roll gems, like if the Faces had some record out there that had escaped release.  It’s not music that will change the world, but it is a record that always manages to change my mood when I am listening to it.  I imagine it does that for other people that have discovered its charms.

It’s funny how the things that can mean so much to us, like dreams, are things that so many other people will never ever know.  How many great albums are out there that we will never hear?  Even more, how many great songs were written that have been lost to the sands of time?   Unlike many other types of art that must be rendered in physical form in the doing, usually songs that make it to record often leave behind many other ones that never will.  Shadows and spirits of sound that a songwriter may deliver in their living room, that are swept aside as the times change.  Ghost songs.  Not the songs of the dead, but the songs of the deceased emotion.

Maybe that organization of sound was developed into something better.  A lot of times it is just a numbers game.  You only get the financing to make so many records.  At the time you choose what you think are your best songs, although it can be very hard to judge your own work.  You record them, in a process where so many things can be lost in translation.  Then out of all of the recordings that are made only so many of them find an audience, often having nothing to do with the works validity.  Even for the most popular of artists it can sometimes be a losing game.

Friday Night is Killing Me is one of those records that at least got made, but has been largely forgotten.  It makes no difference, other than maybe in the financial bearing of its creators.  They made something great.  They took a chance and dreamed.  Even if they are few and far between, there are still people out there like me whose souls are warmed by it on a grim afternoon, as if we had suddenly stumbled upon the hearth of a friendly fire after a great storm.

One day you’re stumblin’ around
The next you’re thinkin’ of the town
And the friends that you thought would always be
With old friends come those greetings
That your eyes won’t be meeting
Though your insides want to embrace
You hardly recognize the face
With Chicago round the corner
Baby takes her first step today

Bash and Pop First Steps

The Gospel From Outer Space

I was just reading some of the Kilgore Trout stories from Kurt Vonnegut’s books.  (Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers.)  Kilgore Trout is a science fiction writer that reappears in several of Vonnegut’s books.  Trout is an under-appreciated writer, but other than that the details about him are often slightly different in each book.  Vonnegut often uses Trout to tell short far out science fiction stories that also usually highlight a a truth that Vonnegut wants to convey.  Here is one as an example:

It was The Gospel from Outer Space, by Kilgore Trout. It was about a visitor from outer space, shaped very much like a Tralfamadorian, by the way. The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.

But the Gospels actually taught this:

Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. So it goes.The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn’t look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being of the Universe. Readers understood that, so, when they came to the crucifixion, they naturally thought, and Rosewater read out loud again:
Oh, boy — they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch that time!

And then that thought had a brother: “There are right people to lynch.” Who? People not well connected. So it goes.The visitor from outer space made a gift to Earth of a new Gospel. In it, Jesus really was a nobody, and a pain in the neck to a lot of people with better connections than he had. He still got to say all the lovely and puzzling things he said in the other Gospels.

So the people amused themselves one day by nailing him to a cross and planting the cross in the ground. There couldn’t possibly be any repercussions, the lynchers thought. The reader would have to think that, too, since the new Gospel hammered home again and again what a nobody Jesus was.

And then, just before the nobody died, the heavens opened up, and there was thunder and lightning. The voice of God came crashing down. He told the people that he was adopting the bum as his son, giving him the full powers and privileges of The Son of the Creator of the Universe throughout all eternity. God said this: From this moment on, He will punish horribly anybody who torments a bum who has no connections!

If you want to read more of these stories you can find some of them at the website oocities.org, which is where I found them.  Here is a link:

Kilgore Trout Stories