Thursday, August 30, 2007

Screaming evangelists are okay??

Okay, let me get this straight, an evangelist wearing a sandwich board and screaming at the top of his lungs about the bible and salvation and all that is okay, right in the middle of a beautiful day on Downtown Crossing? I mean, it's okay for him to ruin my attempt to get away from the drudgery of the office and get some time to myself?

He's allowed to that?


Even dogs don't deserve to be kicked

Owen Wilson, Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan...leave them all alone. Britney and Paris, too. They have fame and fortune, but are deeply troubled and hurt and hurting...and the feeding frenzy is just sickening.

A change of pace

The day is gorgeous and although I was running behind this morning thanks again to the commuter running about fifteen minutes late, I decided to get off one stop early, at Chinatown, to stretch my legs.

Walking up Washington Street towards Downtown Crossing, I was pulled along by the city's energy, and today Boston gave up all the reasons why I love this city. It can be cold, oh so cold and I'm not just talking about the winters. People here can be so rude and opportunity slim.

This little part of Boston is where the real Bostonians live their lives. Not the white Brahmans, the Yankees with the bow ties that people associate with Boston, but African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, white working stiffs, of which I count myself as one. A pair of cops walking their beat, a couple of blue-collars unloading their truck. The old Paramount, getting refitted and she's already looking so proud. Shop carts were opening up, another day and another day survived against urban revival, renewal, gentrification...everyone has a different name for it depending on how much money they have in their pocket. Some of the homeless were still curled up under grey moving blankets. I noticed two spooning, just like Sue and I do. And just the ordinary people, again, one of whom I count myself among, filling in the blanks.

Lyrics and images and stories popped into my head. Life, maybe not the way some or even most don't want to live it but there's no denying it, is out on the streets.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Massachusetts the skinniest state

"Massachusetts has the 50th highest rate of adult obesity at 19.8 percent and the 27th highest rate of overweight youths (ages 10-17) at 13.6 percent in the nation, according to a new report by Trust for America's Health (TFAH)."

According to a report in yesterday's Boston Herald, which inaccurately reported that Massachusetts ranked second to last in the country, residents in Massachusetts tend to be better educated, live in walkable communities, and have a quality over quantity approach to dining.

Maybe it's also because it's so damn expensive to live here that we have to choose between eating and paying for rent. Or maybe it's because we drive ourselves so hard that by the time we get home we're so damn tired that we eat what I did last night, a bowl of cereal and two bottles of beer, playing the guitar, watching the Sox.

Music in my life

From Baxter finding me floating face down in the water, far from shore, and handing me a six-string and saying, here, you need this, and me clinging to it like the drowning man I was would cling to a piece of driftwood, to the lyrics and rhythms of some of the greatest songwriters mirroring my despair and desperation through healing and redemption, music has seen me through it all.

I was looking through my signatures the other day, wryly noting what I've used in the past couple of years. Once, a fellow actor in a play I was in at the time emailed me asking if my signatures had any special meaning, or if they were directed at any one particular person. Maybe he was feeling a little paranoid, as all actors do. At the time, the signature was Lucinda Williams' You took my joy/I want it back. I lied, and told him, no, it wasn't directed at anyone in particular, and really didn't have a whole lot of meaning.

Of course it did, and why wouldn't it have meaning?

Anyway, in no particular order other than alphabetical, which is the way Outlook files signatures, my sigs over the past couple of years have been:

House rules, no exceptions
No bad language, no gambling, no fighting
Sorry, no credit, don't ask
Bathroom wall reads: Is God the answer? Yes.

Ninety-nine and a half just won't do.

Outside my window, I can hear the radio,
And I know that motor wagon is ready to fly,
'cause it's almost Saturday night.

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.

I wanna watch the ocean bend
the edges of the sun then
I wanna get swallowed up in
An ocean of love

I've lost count of the times I've given up on you
But you make such a beautiful wreck, you do
Ya, you make such a beautiful wreck, you do
You make such a beautiful wreck, you do

At the dark end of this bar
What a beautiful wreck you are.

It's better to burn out than it is to rust.

She said her name was Billie Jean and she was fresh in town.
I didn’t know a stage line ran from hell.

And feelin' good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin' good was good enough for me

I wished I was in Austin
In the Chili Parlor Bar
Drinking Mad Dog margaritas.

Won't you share a common disaster?

Some people ain't no damn good
You can't trust 'em, you can't love 'em
No good deed goes unpunished.

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You been out ridin' fences for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin' you
Can hurt you somehow

Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
And freedom, oh freedom well, that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
Don't let 'em pick guitars or drive them old trucks.
Let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.

Don't think twice
It's all right.

Why'd you let go of your guitar
Why'd you ever let it go that far
Drunken Angel

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine.

Got two reasons why I cry away each lonely night,
The first one's named sweet Anne Marie and she's my heart's delight.
The second one is prison, babe, the sheriff's on my trail,
And if he catches up with me, I'll spend my life in jail.

Georgia, Georgia, no peace I find.
Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

Even God must get the blues.

God must hate me
He cursed me for eternity
God must hate me
Maybe you should pray for me

Did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
Is it over now- do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home.

Oh good shepherd
Feed my sheep

So I bought a guitar and I practiced real hard
I wasn't much good, but I was willin'
Till to my chagrin, my girlfriend came in
And she said, "Can you sing any Dylan?"

out all night playing in a band
looking for a fight
with a guitar in your hand
with a GUITAR in your hand

We all got holes to fill
and them holes are all that's real
some fall on you like a storm
sometimes you dig your own.

I am just a poor boy
Work’s my middle name
If money was the reason
Well I would not be the same.

I love this town... like an unmade bed

I need a love to keep my happy.

It's a long way to Texas... it's a long way back home
It's a three hour flight on the plane when I go
... away from this snow from Boston to South Shore where the
Dreams roll and tumble... and bring the prose to the wheel...

If you're goin' through hell,
Keep on goin'.
Don't slow down:
If you're scared don't show it.
You might get out,
'Fore the devil even knows you're there.

It ain't wise to need someone
As much as I depended on you.

It's goodbye to all my friends.
It's time to go again.

Now that we come showin' up
Rumors bouncin' off of that truck
Just a let 'em stare at her and me
'Cause I don't care about anything but us

And there's nothing wrong with me
This is how I'm supposed to be
In a land of make believe
That don't believe in me

And when you said I scared you,
Well I guess you scared me too.

If I had possession of Judgement Day
I wouldn't have no right to pray.

Now I'm leaving Normal and heading towards Who Knows Where.

I've finally learned that there's good and bad
And that a guy can do some choosin',
Of that I'm glad cause this heart and face
Won't take any more bruisin'.
And the next time I fall in another's arms
There's one thing I'll be certain,
That she can bear the weight of the love I give
Without considering it a burden.

Living Life #9.

When you can't find a friend
You've still got the radio.

Livin' on refried dreams.

Guess I've got that old travlin' bone, 'cause this feelin' won't leave me alone.
But I won't, won't be losin' my way, no, no
long as I can see the light.

All I ask
Don't tell anybody the secrets
I told you.

I said "Mama, he's crazy and he scares me
But I want him by my side
though he's wild and he's bad
and sometimes just plain mad
I need him to keep me satisfied"

My Give A Damn's Busted

I got no friends 'cause they read the papers
They can't be seen with me and I'm getting shot down
And I'm feeling mean.

No more to give so no more to take
Why won't you
leave me alone?

I'm old enough to know better, but still too young to care.

Why is there one in every crowd, and why do I attract them?

Some rich men came and raped the land,
Nobody caught 'em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus,
People bought 'em
And they called it Paradise
The place to be
They watched the hazy sun, sinking in the sea

Is it too much to demand
I want a full house and a rock and roll band
Pens that won't run out of ink
And cool quiet and time to think.

And the moral of this story
Is I guess it's easier said than done
To look at what you've been through
And to see what you've become.

Quivers down my backbone
I got the shakes in the knee bones
Shivers down my thigh bones
Like I'm
Shakin' all over

I've heard that into every life
a little rain must fall.
If there's any truth to the saying,
Lord, let it be a southern rain.

Blow up your TV throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own.

Well, I sat there at the table and I acted real naive
For I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve.

So what in the world's come over you?
What in heaven's name have you done?
You've broken the speed of the sound of loneliness
You're out there runnin'
Just to be on the run.

Well, I got a heart that burns with a fever
And I got a worried and jealous mind
Well how can a love
That will last forever
Get left so far behind?

I'm the PATRON SAINT of the denial with an ANGEL FACE and a taste for suicidal.

I recall once upon a time,
Livin' was so easy and I felt so fine.
But, my, my, my right before my very eyes,
Satan came with fire to burn me,
Wouldn't listen when they warned me.
A dagger in my back while she's calling me honey,
Wouldn't stand back, for neither love nor money.

The hotter it is you know the hotter it gets.

Every Friday, well, that's when I get paid.
Don't take me on Friday, Lord, 'cause that's when I get paid.
Let me die on Saturday night, ooh, before Sunday gets my head.

Why don't you cash in your chips
Why don't you call it a loss
Not such a big loss
Chalk it up to better luck

This old guitar ain't mine to keep
It's mine to play for a while

To live is to fly, low and high
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the sleep out of your eyes.

Well I been drinkin' again
And I know it's a sin
But I just can't refuse an old friend
Cause life is gettin' me down
And I been two times around
And there ain't nothing but pain around the bend.

Is there anything a man don’t stand to lose,
When the devil wants to take it all away?

Clouds of myst’ry pourin’ confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, tryin’ to find the sun;
And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain.

Well you stole it 'cause I needed the cash
And you killed it 'cause I wanted revenge
Well you lied to me 'cause I asked you to
Baby, can we still be friends

And I been from Tucson to Tucancary, Tahathapi to Tanapall
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed.
And if you give me weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
Then I'll be willing
To be moving.

I'd rather look around me -- compose a better song
'cos that's the honest measure of my worth.
In your pomp and all your glory you're a poorer man than me
as you lick the boots of death born out of fear.

You took my joy
I want it back.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Manhattan Moon

I used to travel in a straight line
Now I'm walking on a road that winds
You take my hand and we take our time
Oh we take our time
We take our time

Side of the Road

I walked out in a field, the grass was high, it brushed against my legs
I just stood and looked out at the open space and a farmhouse out a ways
And I wondered about the people who lived in it
And I wondered if they were happy and content
Were there children and a man and a wife?
Did she love him and take her hair down at night?

If I stray away too far from you, don't go and try to find me
It doesn't mean I don't love you, it doesn't mean I won't come back and
stay beside you
It only means I need a little time
To follow that unbroken line
To a place where the wild things grow
To a place where I used to always go

Cell phone etiquette: what's it going to take?

The 7:47 was actually on-time this morning out of Framingham and once past West Natick it was clear sailing on the express to Back Bay. The train was humming along the rails, people were settled in, mostly dozing, one or two were working quietly on laptops and paperwork at the center tables. Then... seat behind the tables some guy gets on his phone. He's excited. He's agitated. He's got one of those voices that needs modulating. Who knows what he's upset about because he talkng away in a foreign language, but that's not the point. In English it would have been just as annoying, it's just that his fellow passengers would have known probably how trivial the conversation was.

We are long past the point of people not knowing that loud conversations in public places on cell phones are rude and annoying. We get a reminder every time we see a movie. Blogs like this are pandemic. What the heck is it going to take?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Penny on the Train Track

Thank you, Al...

I'm just a penny on the train track
Waitin' for my judgement day
Come on baby girl let me see those legs
Before I get flattened away

I wait
Yeah, I wait
For something good, for something great

Stoppin' in somebody's old home town
Gotta get that midnight meal
If you can't get behind your own life
Get behind the driving wheel

And go, just go
Find a place that you don't know

Ran into a friend just the other night
Got a badge, he's a local cop
Haven't seen that boy in over seven years
Since out of high school I dropped

I see, I see
All the things that I should be

Oh baby dance with me!

Even lucky man has a bad day
And pretty girl has a scar
After that train comes and takes me away
Pick up that guitar

And play, just play
Play that rock and roll for me

He's in the yard just washin' his car
Thinkin' 'bout his pretty wife
Makin' lemonade with the kitchen aid
Makin' him a perfect life

And it's grim, so dim
When you wish that you were just like him

I'm just a penny on the train track
Waitin' for my judgement day
Come on baby girl let me see those legs
Before I get flattened away

I wait, I wait
For something good, for something great

And I try, oh I try
I can't stop, I don't know why

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fall's coming

It's only the middle of August, but already there are times when you can feel and see Fall coming. Something in the air. A smell. A chill. Certain trees are already starting to turn. Flowers are putting on one last big show, like the grand finale of a fireworks show.

All of which depresses the hell out of me.

Most people love the Fall. Sweater weather. Crisp cool nights. Deep blue-sky days. Warm days and cool nights for sleeping. The leaves doing their amazing watercolor thing. Fall is gorgeous here in New England. I love that part, too, but I can't help but also be aware of the cold dark lonely days that come after it. I know, for God's sake, snap out of it. Cheer up. Things could be worse. I've fought it all my life. I'm a tad melancholy. I understand the depths of depression, been there, and never ever want to visit that place again. I don't take any medication. I figured this is the way the Creator made me, and so I deal with it. I have my coping methods, which usually work pretty well. At one point I was "self-medicating," which I think is a riot. Hell, I thought I was just getting drunk. I didn't know there was a fancy clinical name for it. There by the grace of God I'm still living.

Forces to be reckoned with

Tuesday night Sue and I bombed up to Provincetown to see the Gold Dust Orphans at the Crown and Anchor. Always interesting to go to Provincetown at the height of the summer season. I could feel the stares, and for one night it's kind of funny. Not sure if I'd want to put up with it every day.

God, I would feel so cheap.

Usually Sue's the one who attracts attention...she's so pretty and her hair's so wild and her smile so infectious that people can't help but be attracted to her. Saturday night, though, during intermission at the Shawn Colvin/John Hiatt concert, I went to the toilets. Actually, I didn't even go; I walked over to the men's room, saw the line, and said, forget it. I was gone maybe a minute. In that time, Sue told me she heard some guy say, hey angel. She didn't look around, but then the voice said, nice hair. She assumed he was talking to her since, well, her hair is wild and red and curly. She said she never made eye contact with him, just this disembodied voice haunting her.

She told me this when we got back to our seats. Not sure why she waited until then. Not sure what I would have done either, but I'm not one to back down in a situation like that. Maybe she was avoiding trouble. Maybe she was just thrown by the whole thing. But when it comes to Sue and me, it always will come out. One of our greatest strengths is that we can talk.

Cause there's something about what happens when we talk
Something about what happens when we talk
Conversation with you was like a drug
It wasn't your face so much as it was your words
Cause there's something about what happens when we talk
Something about what happens when we talk

And together we're a force to be reckoned with. I thought for a second; I could see she was worried. After all, her life has been threatened more than once because of her job. So I told her if it happens again, I'll hold the son-of-a-bitch and she can kick the shit out him. She does kick box, after all. Finally she could put all that working out to good use.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sometimes it's all you can do

From C:
Roll on the ground until the flames go out...

The big question

So...what have you done lately?

I know too many people who rest on their laurels. Who keep doing the same thing over and over again...who reach into their bag of tricks and dust off the tried and true methods...

It's so comfortable, and people do like their creature comforts, don't they? We avoid discomfort, pain...I get it...but somebody has to forge new ground...

Monday, August 20, 2007

John Hiatt and Shawn Colvin Saturday night

Sue snagged quick tickets to see these two Saturday night at the Melody Tent in Hyannis. Wanted to see Shawn Colvin and didn't know John Hiatt but, man, glad we stayed for the second set.

Funny, summer Cape crowd, all tan and khaki, shorts and sweatshirts to ward off the damp chill. I said to Sue, what a good-lookin' bunch, not a hump in the crowd.

Overheard someone in the beer line during intermission saying that Colvin reminded them of Joni Mitchell the way she talked (and talked, but it was okay, she's got a nice stage presence) and kept meticulously tuning her guitar all the while. Played Sonny plus a few others I recognized but can't recall right now because I'm not a big fan, but she's got a nice voice, not a great voice, but good story-telling songs.

John Hiatt. Holy shit. He came out looking like he just hopped off the tractor from plowing the soy beans. His old limp jeans just hanging on him, untucked shirt coming out under his denim jacket (in short, he dressed a helluva a lot the way I do) and he just, to use some Chris Knight lyrics, banged away. Great energy, great storytelling, and he ripped that guitar, tearing his pick through the strings like a scythe in hay season, and it became part of his soul that night.

Time and space warp

One minute I'm on the Cape, then the next thing I know I'm heading northbound on 495 and suddenly a great ball, blood-dripping red, lights up the cab of the truck from behind, like a nuclear explosion that obliterates everything on the other side of the bridge because that's the way it seems: as I park in the dusty back lot by the construction equipment where I live, as I jump on the moving commuter out of the station, as I shuffle onto the elevator filled with all my white white co-workers, as I order my measly bagel from the same guy I always do downstairs.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Looney Tunes used record store in Boston

I haven't been to Looney Tunes up on Boylston near Berklee across Mass Ave. in years, not since I was rehearsing for A Few Good Men in Boston when I dropped a lot of cash on jazz CDs, which I was into at the time.

Walked in today and came out with Chris Knight's The Jealous Kind for five bucks.

Asked about anything by Gillian Welch, but specifically was looking for Orphan Girl. They didn't have it, but after only a short pause, the proprietor told me I might find her in country or folk. That's pretty good, considering I got the impression I could have asked for just about any genre, although Welch is kind of local, having gone to Berklee.

It's a nice little treasure on Boston.

An old theatrical friend

I forget sometimes that there are some truly nice people in community theater in and around Boston. Some...hell, many...are small-time with marginal talent and it really gets in the way. I've always wanted to be an mother wanted me to enroll in the Shakespearean School for Little Wanderers in London...So, last night, it was just pleasant to hook up with someone I worked with from a few years back, standing in the dark, catching up, just chewing theatrical fat...


Had to run out last night on a theater rescue mission. I drive a pickup, so I get asked to move things a lot. Fifteen-year-old Kathryn was home, so I put The Who's Quadrophenia on the stereo right before I left. It's an album I played the hell out of when I was her age. I don't know how many times I fell asleep with the headphones on and that playing on the stereo. I identified with the kid in the story so much I swore Pete Townsend was spying on me.

Every year is the same
And I feel it again,
I'm a loser - no chance to win.
Leaves start falling,
Come down is calling,
Loneliness starts sinking in.

But I'm one.
I am one.
And I can see
That this is me,
And I will be,
You'll all see
I'm the one.

Where do you get
Those blue blue jeans
Faded patched secret so tight.
Where do you get
That walk oh so lean
Your shoes and your shirts
All just right.

But I'm one.
I am one.
And I can see
That this is me,
And I will be,
You'll all see
I'm the one.

I got a Gibson
Without a case
But I can't get that even tanned look on my face.
Ill fitting clothes
I blend in the crowd,
Fingers so clumsy
Voice too loud.

But I'm one.

Kathryn's always a little reluctant to listen to my music. Country and a lot of alt/indie stuff, I know, makes people just a little bit nervous, wondering what I'm going to put in the CD player. I was just IMing with her yesterday and quoted a line from a Lucinda Williams' song (Maybe I'll open a can of soup, fix me something good to eat). I said someday she'll learn to appreciate Lucinda. She said she doubted it.

Anyway, I left the apartment with her sitting on the couch, thumbing through the liner notes from the record.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I sit by the door on the train if I can.

I sit by the door on the train if I can.

Lots of leg room, lots of room in general. Someplace to stash the guitar, too. And sometimes, if I’m lucky, the door will be left wide open for the trip. Then the noise and the wheels and the rails and the wind and the stink and the day’s hot breath and the night’s cool sighing clamber aboard like a gang of drunken backpackers, free and wild and devil may care.

Then someone, usually a doughy-looking man wearing khaki pants heading for his desk job where he sits for eight hours then turns around and rides the train to his home in the suburbs where his mousy wife or better, his wild-ass wife who can’t for the life of her figure out how she ended up with this drip, shuts the door. Shuts out the world. Just like he’s done his entire life.


If the moon could sing a song
with a symphony in the blue beyond
They’d tell me he was really gone forever.

--Lori McKenna

Two More Bottles of Wine

Well I'm sixteen hundred miles from the people I know,
I've been doin' all I can but opportunity sure comes slow,
Thought I'd be in the sun all day,
But I'm sweeping out a warehouse in west LA,

But it's all right, 'cause it's midnight,
And I got two more bottles of wine,
Yes, it's all right, 'cause it's midnight
And I got two more bottles of wine.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The journey is equal the destination

The packs are already out, cluttering up the living room floor. Gear has been rummaged through, lists tacked to some spot in my head. A part of me that’s been asleep for a long time is stirring. I reach for things I wasn’t even sure I still had and they come to my hand as though time hasn’t passed. I marvel at this.

One of the most important piece is books. What are you going to read on the trip, is one of the most telling questions I can ever ask you. Right now, one book is settled upon: All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy. Reading it by headlamp, nestled in my bag, or maybe leaning against my sleeping pad, against a rock still warm from the day’s sun, the collar of my fleece pulled up around my ears, maybe a cup of something hot and strong and spiked near my hand, the fire cracks and sparks up into the dark, aboriginal night, out in the dessert. People will be there, new friends, a cherished loved one, just outside my consciousness when I’m reading it.

I still have a gift card for Borders, from Allison, given to me on Father’s Day. I was saving it for Spanish lessons. Me to get started, Sue to polish her speaking. Maybe we should use it to buy our traveling books. It’s not much. Right now it’s just about all I have, but it’s ours. It’s a start.

I’m so sick of the East. I need a change. To see if I’m whole again. Eight days. Just eight days. It’s a small drink of water, I know. But I’m so curious to see who I’ll see.

I talk to hardly anyone anymore. Sometimes all the words that have passed over my lips seem so wasted.

The dog will have to stay behind. I’m so sorry for that. In his old age, he’s really holding his own. Smart and strong and so fun-loving, there’s a lot to learn from him. A bond so strong is between us, and my heart breaks for the way his hair is still mussed on his head when I call him for his breakfast. The way the hair between his toes splays out, out of control. He doesn’t care. He looks so fragile to me now. And my heart breaks. He has a pedigree and couldn’t care less. I’m just a stray. We both know it about each other and neither of us cares. I stopped caring a long, long time ago. Sometimes I think I do, then something happens and I realize it just doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe it never did. Probably didn’t.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Move to the right

I'm not talking politics; I mean on an escalator. Euros are better trained to stay to the right on an escalator than Americans who stand smack dab in the middle like a piece of meat on a conveyor belt. Stand to the right, so people like me who know where they're going and want to get there can pass by.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The story behind Another Mother's Child

The story behind Another Mother’s Child is a story of elitism, hypocrisy, and privilege. It’s a story about two women, both of whom I’ve known personally. The first is an upper-middle class white housewife who has two young sons and who is a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, even to this day. I wasn’t at the party that’s mentioned in my song, but someone related the details to me who was there. The subject of the war came up, and this person said to the housewife something to the effect that she could send her boys to war. The housewife’s reply was if they were drafted she would move her family to Canada, and that the soldiers who signed up knew what they were getting into. This, to me, speaks volumes of the hypocrisy of the well-to-do in this country, and the privilege that they feel for themselves. Others—the children of other mothers—not only can die, but should die so they can keep their standards of living, lifestyles, safety, and peace of mind.

The other person actually served in the Army—the 1st Army, the Big Red One—during peacetime during the Reagan administration. She’s now a middle-aged white woman who served as a communications specialist sitting in one of those trailers doing God-knows-what—turning knobs and hacking out Morse code, I suppose. Anyway, during one drill when it was assumed that the Russians were going to attack it dawned on her that the enemy keys in on radio signals and communication people are the first to die. Basically, communication signals act as a homing device for missiles, throwing up a flag that says, hey, I’m over here. Her story, the way she told it to me, was that she got a transfer back to the States to serve her country as, I’m not kidding, a court reporter. Now that’s laying your life on the line, isn’t it? Hanging around lawyers. Anyway, whenever I think of this story I can’t help but think of the idealistic men and women who don’t go in for a transfer, don’t run, and are killed or maimed physically or mentally in the pursuit of their beliefs and fulfilling the obligation that they swore they'd do. It doesn’t matter if you believe in what they believe in. What’s at stake here is something sort of sacred to human existence.

But still, in a true Darwinian way, I wonder who is right. Maybe the two women, who are so selfish, actually are the better of the species. They’ll live, survive, even thrive thinking of themselves, and in turn, pass that behavior along to their offspring.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dollar Store

Kind of a rockabilly sound...they call it Chicago noise guitar scene...

Dollar Store

Click on self-titled album cover on the left, then listen to Around the Bend...

The great thing about so much music is how it defies definition...just listen...that's all it asks...

Bloodshot Records

Bloodshot Records

Excerpted from their site:

"What we all share is a punk/DIY ethic of expression; we all appreciate that music is only innovative and interesting when you're willing to take chances with it, to follow your instincts. By not bothering with stylistic straight jackets, we haven't made it too easy for anyone to get a solid grasp on what we do or what to call it---sometimes we don't even know, but that's what makes running this asylum so much fun.

What do we call it? We call it music, buddy boy. If you want unaffected rock and roll, we got it. You want some old school honky tonk untarnished by the shit Nashville has chosen to promote for the last generation? We got it. Psychedelic-inflected roots or catchy pop gems? Look no further. Deep, DEEP soul filtered through the prism of garage or surf? Yeah, baby. You want blistering fast psychobilly or thrash-grass? Yup, we got that, too. We’ve also got thousands of sonic variations in between. Yes, a lot of it defies easy pigeonholing, but we think that is a strength, not a damnable quality or a marketing liability. The organic re-invention of music is what keeps music alive and we seek out like minded artists.

Help us support this great music, won't you? The Wal-Martization of America continues unabated. Small labels, independent retail and innovative radio are becoming rarer than humility on a Fox TV reality show. The end result is less choice for the discerning music fan.

We invite you to grab a frosty beverage, roam around the site, check out some new sounds and keep an open mind. Help us fight the good fight. If you like what you hear, help spread the gospel. Support independent retailers, pester chains to carry our stuff, call radio stations, bring friends to shows and help keep these struggling artists on the road. They aren’t looking to make millions, they just want to make enough to keep doing what they love."

Another Mother's Child

The night was young and the people were fun
It was a good time in the ‘burbs.
The wine was red, the beer had head
There even was a little herb.

We toasted our lives, we laughed ‘til we cried
We could have gone happy to bed
Then our hostess spoke, these words she broke
And here is what she said.

They knew what they were getting into when they signed up to serve
It’s hard to believe those words I heard.
Her own blonde kids were safe in beds
No one’s dropping bombs on their heads
So now it’s all on some other mother’s child.

The war is right and Saddam was a blight
On the good the free and the brave.
Well, whattya say? she repeats it every day
Coming from talk radio waves.

She’s got her pile, her fancy lifestyle
She’s fat and happy and set.
And despite what she preaches
She rather they’re leeches
Than turn her kids into vets.

They knew what they were getting into when they signed up to serve
It’s hard to believe those words I heard.
I can’t question your love
But you’re making me wild
For putting it all on some other mother’s child.

Sometimes I’ve had days when I had to say
Goodbye, to lighten my load
Sometimes I was sad and other times glad
It’s just life living on the road.

I’m doing what I must, leaving a friend in disgust
It’s just that I expected so much more
But when hatred’s the seed I have to pay heed
Or get dragged down with them evermore.

They knew what they were getting into when they signed up to serve
It’s hard to believe those words I heard.
Your own blonde kids are safe,
They ain’t gonna die tonight
And now it’s on another mother’s child.


The day says it all.

Started up the truck today and...what the heck is that noise coming out from the engine? Some clanging banging noise. Great. Where am I going to find time to take it to the garage? Where am I going to find the money to pay for the repair?

But lately it just seems to me that this life has lost its' mystery
and these cold fall mornings seem to bite just a little bit harder.

The old Ford has 162K+ miles. It's a matter of time. I frankly don't know what I'll do when it goes, because I can't afford anything, and no one in their right mind would loan me money.

So, I did the most logical thing I could think of: I put it in gear and turned the CD player up so I couldn't hear the noise.

I know: I'm putting my head in the sand. But some days there's nothing else to do.

Charlie ain't cheap

Re: a story in today's BostonNow.

I spend $210.00 a month on my commuter rail pass, plus $4.00 a day ($20.00 a week--what a deal!) for parking for a grand total of $290.00 a month just to get to work. Gas is negligible since I live about 15 minutes from the train station by back roads. The total commute is an hour and a half door-to-door for a total of three hours a day, or 15 hours a week, which equals about two extra full working days. All for the privilege of going to a job that really isn’t that satisfying and doesn’t pay enough to meet all my monthly bills. Welcome to my life, and probably a fair number of other people’s lives, too.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Lonesome Music

Keeping you melancholy all day.

Found the Lonesome Music site promoted today on the home page of

Really nice site for all that alt/indie music that's just seems to be pouring out of the earth.

Sites like this are what's turning the music industry on its head. Grassroots efforts to get alternative music to music lovers (meaning not the mainstream stuff that is getting rammed down our throats by the big record labels and promoters.) This is what the Internet was made for. Some think--and rightly so--that the Internet is nothing more than a vehicle for selling crap and surfing porn. No arguments there. But it's also about this case connecting music lovers around the world with the different vehicles, places, technologies--call them what you want--on the Internet. Personal Web sites,,

There's more out there right now than just Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. A lot more. A lot better stuff. And sites like Lonesome Music makes the music world a whole lot more democratic.

Now, if we can just get our politicians to understand this.

The Hurt You Can't See

Where is the hurt?
Why can’t I see it?
Something that hurts that bad
You think I could see it.

Where is the hurt?
I’m asking you again
I can’t see anything at all
Except in your eyes there's pain.

Who did this to you?
Was it someone you knew?
Whoever did this to you
Sure knew what the hell she was doing.

‘Cause she didn’t leave a mark
Not a drop of blood was spilled
But from the look of you, my brother
She went in for the kill.

Just like a color-blind man can’t see red
Doesn’t mean that red doesn’t exist
And just because I can’t see where you hurt
Doesn’t mean that the hurt doesn’t exist.

Just like a robber robs
Or a killer goes on a spree
This woman is born
To hurt the places we can’t see.

If I broke and battered you
If I made you bleed
I’d be punished for my crime
I’d be punished for my deed.

You know who you are
You know you run free
You couldn’t care less
About the hurt you can’t see.

But someday I hope
There’ll come a day
When a color-blind man sees red
And people like you are made to pay.
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