Only an Expert Can Deal With the Problem

I should note that the above video is different from the original recording.  It is shorter and features different lyrics.  If you would like to see the lyrics in the full recorded version go to this post:

I’m finally back from tour.  I haven’t had internet for the last few days so posting was not an option, other than sending a few brief thoughts out from my phone.  One of the things that I love about blogging is how you can use it to create different idea colleges from different sources.  Above I posted the video for Laurie Anderson’s Only an Expert.  The song is pretty self explanatory.  We often hold people in high regards due to either wealth or fame without asking too many tough questions.  I’ve been reading Hampton Sides’s In the Kingdom of Ice while on the road.  In it there are several high ranking cultural figures that are completely batshit insane behind the scenes.  Here is a brief look into the life of James Gordon Bennett, the owner of the New York Herald during the late 19th century:

He was “Bennett the Terrible, the mad Commodore, the autocrat of the transatlantic cables,” one biographer wrote; he saw himself as “one of the lords of creation.”  A longtime Herald editor later remarked of his boss that he “was a ruler over a domain of romance; he himself at times a romantic ruler.  If impulse called he obeyed, and no rule existed but to be broken.  

Bennett had a habit of strolling into one of the finest establishments in Paris or New York and snatching the table linens as he proceeded down the aisle, smashing plates and glassware on the floor, to the horror of the dining patrons, until he reached his reserved table in the back.  (He never failed to write a check for the damages.)  Once after a musical show in Amsterdam, he invited the beautiful lead actress and the entire cast to tour his yacht.  Then he quietly slipped out to sea and for several days cruised the Atlantic, essentially holding the cast hostage and demanding repeat performances – all the while attempting to seduce the young starlet.  Upon returning to shore, Bennett gladly paid an enormous sum to the Amsterdam theater to cover its losses.  

It was difficult to keep track of all of Bennett’s fiercely held likes and dislikes.  For breakfast, he insisted on plover’s eggs.  He would not allow facial hair to be worn by any man serving on his yachts.  He owned hundreds of thermometers and barometers and was fascinated by the slightest change in the weather.  He and a doting love for Pomeranians – he kept dozens of them and served them only Vichy spring water to drink.  Bennett believed his happy little pooches were such astute judges of character that he would sometimes hire editors, or choose not to, purely on the basis of his dogs’ reactions when the prospective employee walked into the room.  (Some job candidates, having learned of Bennett’s odd deference to his dogs, would arrive at interviews with their coat pockets stuffed with morsels of raw meat.)  Bennett also had a fetish for owls – he kept them everywhere: living owls, pictures of owls, busts of owls, owls on cuff links, owls on stationery.  They decorated his brownstone, his yachts, his country houses.  Something about their winking, swivel-headed, nocturnal ways struck his deepest fancy.  

This was one of the masters of the universe of that time.  What are the masters of our universe up to in their spare time?  

What Would You Like to See More Of


A few days ago this blog hit its one year anniversary.  I stated in that post that most blogs take two years to become successful and that most people give up after nine months.  The reason that I have spent so much time writing is that so many of you have been supportive and have kept coming back.  

One of the reasons I started this blog, aside from encouragement from friends and family, and the simple fact that I love to write, was to develop some kind of alternative revenue stream.  As a musician, one of the smartest things you can do is to try to get some other kind of cash flow going, because even in a touring band there are occasionally lean months.  My goal finically in starting this was as simple as a car payment.  If the blog is more successful than that great, but if I can get a car payment out of writing, then I’m a happy guy!  It’s one less thing I have to worry about and it allows me more freedom as a musician.  

Because I have kept writing due to the support of those of you that read this, I would like to ask you what topics would you like to see more of?  Would you like to see more politics, literature, music, poetry, etc…

I have to approve any comments that get added to this site.  Comments on most sites just turn into a shitstorm of stupidity if left unattended.  I trust that all of you that come here are intelligent, but it only takes one idiot to ruin the fun.  So, if you message me or comment privately with any thoughts or ideas, I will keep them to myself and will try to include a little more of whatever topic wins out.  

Again, I can’t thank all of you enough.  It’s always encouraging that there are some other at least partially likeminded individuals out in this insane world!  

In the future when all’s well…


One Year Anniversary

This marks the one year anniversary since I started this blog.  I want to thank all of you that have signed up to follow this blog and also all of you that have visited.  They say the average blog takes two years to take off and that most people quit in nine months.  I’ve been able to keep doing this longer than the average because of all of you that have kept coming coming back.  Please continue to do so.  If you like what I am doing, and you know someone else that might like this blog as well, please spread the gospel.  Thanks again for your continued support.  

In the future when all’s well…


My Favorite Blog


You can also just type in into your browser.

My favorite blog is Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish.  It is definitely one of the models for this one.  I like several things about the site, from its content, to the way it is set up.  Sullivan has interest in a wide range of topics.  He can jump from political topics to lighter ones, such as what is the best cover song ever, from post to post.  Many blogs try to focus on a specific topic so that they can find a niche.  However, that is just not the way most people think.  I am a musician and my number one passion is music, but I love reading about politics, film, nature, and literature as well.  But really I like reading about just about anything if it is presented in a clear and insightful way.  Most people have more than one interest.

Although Sullivan has moved to the left in recent years, or at least stayed in the same place as the right has gotten crazier, I don’t agree with him on everything.  However, it is the clarity of his thought, and the fact that he is willing to evolve as time moves along, that makes him interesting to read.  He is also willing to admit that he is wrong.  Life is like that; where you change your opinion and make mistakes.  It takes a smart person to know that they don’t know everything.  Andrew Sullivan can occasionally come across as harsh on TV, but in writing he is almost always very thoughtful.

Blogging interests me as a form for two reasons.  You can get in insightful information in short bursts.  Also, you can follow someone’s real time thinking on issues.  A good blog, in my opinion, should be like a well written diary entry, that focuses on the world, and not oneself.  But like a diary entry it charts how you feel about the world at that place and time.  As Facebook pages shows us, mine included, there are very few people that have lives interesting enough that we want to know what they are doing every single moment.  That’s why I choose to only talk about myself, in terms of what I am doing, only when it is relevant to some other topic.

Not everything I write is a home run.  However, hopefully I will keep you coming back as I explore the world around us, as it is an endlessly fascinating place.  I don’t understand how people can be bored in this world.  There simply isn’t enough time to explore all of the strange, mysterious, fascinating, frustrating, wonderful, horrible things out there.

Site Changes

I changed the theme of my site.  I am going to try to add more pictures in the future.  This site, as everything in life, is a work of progress.  If you like the changes, which are only in the beginning stages, please let me know.  If you feel something was better as it was before let me know as well.  I can’t thank all of you that follow this site enough, and I hope that you will please let others know about it.  As Kurt Vonnegut said quoting A Streetcar Named Desire, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

If you look at the new design there is a little menu icon at the top where you can easily access the about page and the word cloud now, among other things,  instead of scrolling to the bottom.  

Reader Response

I got the following reply from a reader over my F@$% Fairness blog post.  I will post a link to my original blog at the bottom.  I actually encourage any of you that have intelligent arguments to make about what I have written to make them.  One of the models for this blog is Andrew Sullivan’s.  I like that he doesn’t have comments on his blog, which usually just lead to partisan bickering and name calling.  But what he does do is post the most intelligent reader comments that are in disagreement with him as the “dissent of the day.”  I do allow comments here
, but I must approve them before I post them, not to stifle debate, but to prevent the kind of ignorance that I believe actually is counterproductive to real debate.  Anyway here is the readers comment:

Jeff, There’s something overlooked in your comments, at least what’s expressed here. Trust funds, stocks/bonds, bank accounts, etc, are different than ranches. The death tax has destroyed more natural resources than all the bulldozers ever built. Those who inherit farms and ranches are forced to sell because, unless they’ve won the lottery, the only way they can pay the death tax is to sell their farm/ranch to a developer. So open space, and all its benefits provided to society … aquifer infiltration, riparian areas, wetlands, wildlife habitat, carbon sinks, oxygen production, aesthetics, rainfall runoff reduction and its cleaning, food, fiber, shelter, recreation, etc, etc, etc … are soon eliminated by becoming covered by asphalt and rooftops. And those who say that “proper planning” can escape this tax are, under certain market timings, swings and changes, full of shit. So if you want to help the environment, help keep open spaces open. There are ways to accomplish this, via carefully constructed and regulated conservation easements, etc, etc, but our “leadership” in BOTH parties won’t listen and/or are too dumb to understand, or has not so far. Finally, always remember there are two kinds of landowners: those who take from the land, and those who give to the land. Penalize the former. But, the latter should be encouraged via more appropriate policies than exist today. There’s much more to this discussion that is too complicated for my email skills, but happy to discuss any time.

I think this is a completely valid point, and one that I overlooked.  However, the only thing that I would like to add is that my original blog was more about the hypocrisy of people that are against the Estate Tax so that their children benefit from wealth, and also against social welfare of any kind for other children, and not necessarily a response to the Estate Tax itself.  If this was not made clear, I apologize.  One always realizes when one writes that, unless one would write till the end of time, given all the nuances and shades of gray of each subject, there are going to be small holes in every argument.  Here is a link to my original blog:

Random Thoughts

I have been knocked out the last few days with allergies.  I love nature but sometimes it hates my shit! 

Tomorrow I am heading out on tour with Shinyribs.  You can check the dates at ; I have two pretty brutal travel days coming up as we need to drive from Austin to Chicago.  After that I hope to resume my normal posting schedule. 

I have been laughing my ass off at the show An Idiot Abroad.   Check it out if a comedy travel show seems like something you would enjoy. 

I have also found that, for someone that has certain introvert tendencies,  that I really enjoy canvassing.   Who would have thought?  I hope to share why at some point. 

The right wing still seems batshit insane.  I can only hope that reason will prevail and that they will doom themselves in the long run.  I was in Tyler, Texas the other day right before a gun rally at a bar.   The first guy there was wearing what else but tight cowboy jeans,  a Texas flag t – shirt,  and a camo hat.  I have shot skeet and enjoyed it, I have plenty of friends with guns, I don’t spend much time thinking about guns, but this kind of public display makes me wish every gun in America would be melted down.  If you are someone that likes to hunt and believes in 2nd Ammendment rights, I hope you realize this kind of behavior is counter productive.  To me it is ignorant behavior that reeks of bullying and intimidation.  I am against the militarization of our police and our citizens. 

Sorry for my absence for those of you that come here regularly.  I will return soon. 

In the future when all is well…