31 May 2011
27 May 2011
Something 4 The Weekend # 205
Drive-By Truckers: Decoration Day: "Decoration Day" [mp3]
Grandpa Frank was too young for WWI, and too old for WWII... Either that or he got a medical stay. The man was tall and skinny, seemingly frail, though he walked all over the city of Milwaukee, and was known to ride his bike from the city to Sheboygan and back in a day. All I know is he never served and never said why he didn't. Grandpa Frank probably could have served in Europe, but instead he made boots for the army. Somewhere I have all the ledgerbooks he kept of the boots he made for the war, and the shoes he cobbled in his basement (on the side, in the evenings) for his neighbors and family.
Grandpa Frank had two shoeboxes full of black and white photographs from THE WAR... WWII... He was a proud German, and he was a proud member of the Socialist Party Of America, and even though we sat together under the elm in his backyard and pored over all those photos of soldiers, weary or dead, all those cities destroyed, I believe my grandpa was nothing else but sad about the war. "Shameful", he often said, shaking his head. Germany had disappointed him by allowing Hitler, and of course all the death that followed. On the homefront, the Socialist Party's ambivalence about the whole thing essentially destroyed the party in fast fashion, leaving my grandpa once again disillusioned, so he made army boots and bought war bonds so that there could be more death.
My dad served in Korea in the years after the Korean War and before Vietnam. His time there consisted of playing on the Army's table tennis team, like Forrest Gump, and travelling around the Asian Pacific buying cameras, electronics and recording equipment. Then he came home and married my mom.
My uncle Mark did two tours of Vietnam. He got shot in the arm the first time around, and a grenade exploded about 30 feet away from him on his second run through the jungle, leaving him deaf in one ear and with a bunch of shrapnel scars on his neck and arm that look like so many little white worms crawling around. My cousin Chico has his helmet, pitted and scarred and splattered with what looks like tar. Uncle Mark was genuinely spooked and weird and reckless after the war. He smoked a ton of weed and drank too much, and on the 4th of July and/or for no reason whatsoever, he would fire off tracer rounds over the lake at Grandpa's cottage and tell stories a 10 year old nephew shouldn't have to hear. He eventually quit drinking, and mostly does mysterious things in his basement that includes smoking weed. I hope it's his autobiography.
26 May 2011
Maneuver Your Future Sideways
The future's just a day away, but the end might come sooner... It might be a super massive earthquake that cracks the world off its axis... Or deep vein thrombosis... My point is, we probably won't even notice...
And what if a giant hand reached down from the skies and shook things up a bit? That would blow all our minds... Even the believers... And then what?
Tonight I drink Pinot Noir and sample/loop dialogue from an old sci-fi radio show... Maybe later I'll fire up Sim City 3000 Unlimited and let tornadoes rip through Coco Valley.
24 May 2011
Tuesday's Fortune: 24 May 2011
20 May 2011
Something 4 The Weekend # 204
Steely Dan: Countdown To Ecstasy: "King Of The World" [mp3]
There are some misguided fools out there who believe THE RAPTURE is going to happen this weekend. I say "misguided" because the Holy Bible tells us that no one, save God, can or will know when THE RAPTURE is going to happen. I say "fools" because, c'mon - if and when the world comes to an end, it will be done by mankind, not the will of God.
(Of course, this all presupposes that God actually exists)
In that spirit, I offer you "King Of The World", a Steely Dan song that concerns itself with a post-apocalyptic world - specifically, New Mexico after an atomic disaster, which I'm presuming happened at Los Alamos, home of the Manhattan Project, where the atomic bomb was developed.
So, hedging my bets, my plans for this weekend include: getting drunk on absinthe, getting high on weed, having sex and/or masturbating, listening to a playlist of my favorite songs, and having a last meal of my favorite foods - a reuben sandwich, egg noodles with cream-styled corn, butterscotch pudding, cherry cheesecake, plenty of ice cold whole milk, and as the world burns around me, a glass bottle of Coca-Cola made with pure cane sugar.
If it is indeed the end of days, I wish you all the best. If not, well, carry on.
17 May 2011
Tuesday's Fortune: 17 May 2011
14 May 2011
Something 4 The Weekend # 203
The Damned: Damned Damned Damned: "Fan Club" [mp3]
I must admit, I'm one of those pedantic assholes who thinks and cares about genres and labels when it comes to music, although in my own defense, this has become less of a personality defect as I get older. In general, among many so-called music aficionados, the question of "What is Punk?" remains a rather crucial and contested topic of debate, and then of course, the question of who was the first Punk band and which was the first Punk record. Typically this argument boils down to The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and The Damned, and their respective debut albums.
Attitudes aside, for me The Ramones were a Bubblegum Pop band with distortion pedals, The Sex Pistols were a Fucking Metal band, and The Damned...Well, I was never sure exactly what The Damned were, and where they fit in this puzzle, and all these years later, I'm still not sure, so I've copped out and simply called them Rock'n'Roll. Apparently the band themselves agrees, as I recently read a short interview with The Damned's drummer, Rat Scabies, who said he hated the "punk" label, and from the very start wanted to go back to his real name, Chris Millar, and grow his hair long, as was the typical Rock fashion of the pre-punk/post-hippie early '70s.
Labels aside, I never cared all that much about the Ramones' self-titled debut, and as much as I loved the Never Mind The Bollocks album (and still kinda do), in the end, The Damned's debut album, Damned Damned Damned eventually emerged as my favorite of the bunch, and the one I love the most of those three vanguard Punk albums. It's fiery, funny and simply more musical than the other two. A great Rock'n'Roll album.
10 May 2011
Tuesday's Fortune: 10 May 2011
06 May 2011
Something 4 The Weekend # 202
Tony Allen: Black Voices: "Get Together" [mp3]
Consider this - two of my coworkers and your's truly have Dropbox accounts, and the three of us - middle-aged suburban caucasians all - have spent the past week sharing Afrobeat albums across the digital universe.
You probably consider it trite. I mean, I think we've all come to take for granted the ways and means of modern life and convenience.
I dunno, when I stop to consider shit like that, I can only conclude that we live in a truly strange and wonderful world.