Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dashed To Bits

First 20 tracks on my iTunes while sitting here lost in thought on a Wednesday evening after work...

1. "I Believe In Tomorrow" - Tiny Tim w/Brave Combo
2. "Chase" - Giogrio Moroder
3. "William's Welcome (What Are You Here For?)" - William S. Burroughs
4. "JaHer" - Skinny Puppy
5. "Doin' The New Low Down" - Bil "Bojangles" Robinson
6. "A Change Is Gonna Come" - Sam Cooke
7. "Here We Go" - Freestylers
8. "The Jump Off" - Lil' Kim
9. "Say Man" - Bo Diddley
10. "Reward" - The Teardrop Explodes
11. "Hit It And Quit It" - Funkadelic
12. "Deep Ending" - Deee-Lite
13. "Never Talking To You Again" - Hüsker Dü
14. "Mug Push" - Bootsy Collins
15. "Warning" - Paris
16. "Take California" - The Propellerheads
17. "I Know Who You Been Sockin' It To" - The Isley Brothers
18. "Sitting In Limbo" - Jimmy Cliff
19. "#1 Crush" - Garbage
20. "Camping On Acid" - Government Cheese

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Feel The Burn

So, as many of you long-time regular readers (what little of you may still exist) may have surmised, immediately proceeding cold comes Death Cough, and Death Cough is back, and with a hostile vengeance, seeing as how I've managed to hold him successfully at bay for at least a year and several passing colds beforehand. And as usual, every new doctor I visit gets so excited about experimenting with my oddball condition that despite knowing that the azithromycin is the only thing that will get rid of it they instead feel compelled to draw out my misery for as long as they can keep trying new and zany drugs that do nothing for me, as well as revisiting hoary old remedies that never even came close. So I'll likely endure several weeks of my most recent medicine woman's rattles and potions until she finally takes pity on me and gives me the damn antibiotic I need. But at least I have about 4 ounces of Tussinex to get me by the next few days -- I know, I'm only suppose to take this at night, but it's the only thing that keeps me from coughing all day long and I'm not about to pull any more cartilage off my ribs again if I can find a way to help, despite how drunk as a skunk I currently am on this shit. At least I feel nothing from the nostril down, and I kinda like things that way.

Death Cough aside, it was a nice weekend with Connie and getting to see Cowboy Mouth at the Bayou Boogaloo Friday night. Our beloved Vance was super foxay as always although we didn't get a chance to talk to him after the show this time. Still Da Mouth puts on a tremendous show as always, and I got to see my old friend Diane there whom I haven't talked to since I first started working at my music store several years ago. I knew she'd be there since she's the biggest Cowboy Mouth fan I know, but once they hit the stage she grabbed my arm and yelled in my ear "YO, WHAT HAPPENED TO PAUL SANCHEZ?! AND WHO'S THAT SKINNY DARK-HAIRED GUY ON THE RHYTHM GUITAR?!" and I leaned in and yelled back, "THAT'S ELLEN DEGENERES' BIG BROTHER!" The bizarre look she gave me back was hysterical for some reason. Oh, and somebody in the crowd gave her a huge sheet cake covered in aluminum foil for some reason, so she just stood there for half the show holding this sheet cake in the pit, which was probably the most Dadaist moment of the entire night. Well, that and the throwing of the red plastic spoons. Guess I should have stopped at Dairy Queen before the gig or sumthin'.

So today I get a package from Connie: An MI Micro Innovations Optical Mouse for my computer. She had noticed how crappy my own antiquated (and cheap-ass) GE roller ball mouse was and a real pain in the tuckus to maneuver when she was using my PC over the weekend and she was a darling to send me one like she has for her own MacBook. Whoo hoooo... finally surfing for porn emailing my friends and posting on message boards just potentially became a whole world easier! A thousand thank-yews again, toots. :D

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Mon 25: 10-5
Tue 26: 11-6:30
Wed 27: 3-cl
Thur 28: 11-7
Sat 30: 3-cl

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Hate My Mouse

Aaaaaand it appears I have bronchitis.

Or had, I suppose now. Barring mild strains and sore throatiness as well as choking levels of congestion I think the worst of it has blown over. Happily I was given my favorite... Tussinex. Prescription strength! Sadly and perhaps wisely not enough, but it keeps me from remembering the worst of it while it was happening. I still sound like Brenda Vacarro on helium but for the first time in nearly a week my throat isn't killing me. And oddly enough I never got a cold. I don't know how that works, but hey, knock on whatever the hell my computer desk is made from (*knock knock*).

Lucy did come to stay with us for a few days and we spent most of Tuesday wandering around the aquarium down by the beach and seeing the IMAX 3-D movie Dinosaurs Alive I think it was called (tired and sickly I fell asleep about halfway through). The main event, however, was Lucy getting to meet my parents for the first time in the 20 years that Joe and I have been together. I think all of us for years have been wondering what this unusual meeting might be like, with Lucy the freewheeling flower girl stridently politically to the left, active war protester -- and my parents the embodiment of middle-class suburbia, my father the conservative and my mother the more liberal, which listening to them argue and come to agreements down the center of the line has always left me fairly in the middle politically. But it actually seemed to all down down very well, doubtlessly the real binding factor among them is how much they both love their kids and just want to see them get what's best of them. And the fact that Joe and I are probably a couple of inveterate screw-ups. ;-) But anyway it was a nice visit and I hope I didn't give Lucy any of my lung cooties. Connie comes to stay this weekend, and I hope she doesn't get any for her birthday as well.

A few used Blue Note product I took home over the last week:

Avant-garde cornet player Don Cherry's Where Is Brooklyn? which features Henry Grimes on bass, Ed Blackwell on drums, and the fire-breathing Pharoah Sanders on the piccolo and tenor sax.

The classic Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' A Night In Tunisia featuring trumpet monster Lee Morgan, the great Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Bobby Timmons on piano, and the rhythm section comprised of Jymie Merritt on bass and of course Blakey on drums.

Wild sax man Ornette Coleman Trio At The "Golden Circle" Stockholm Vol. 1 with David Izenzon on bass and Charles Moffett on drums.

And speaking of Lee Morgan, The Cooker was also gettin' got, with Pepper Adams accompanying him on baritone sax, Bobby Timmons returns on piano, and rhythm by Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums).

Friday, June 15, 2007


I think I'm coming down with something. My throat hurts and my breathing is juicy and sounds like someone scraping Styrofoam, which is one of my least favorite sounds in the world and now I'm stuck hearing it in my chest all day. Please please please don't make me get what I had back in January that nearly made me want to slit my giblet just to relieve myself of the pain for ten minutes. I want to get up and move around but when my breathing increases so does the pain so I've been lying in bed since I got home today, buried under covered and reading my Lisa Carver book. And I don't want to call out from work tomorrow either because then I'll just be laying around at home going blehhhhhh but at least at that point I might be done with my book, because I've been pretty engrossed in this lately.

And one of the funny things I've realized the further I read is that Carver's life, in a somewhat less extreme way, runs almost parallel to a story that I've had in my head -- a super secret story that I've been writing throughout my life ever since I was 13 years old, as hard as that is to believe (well for me that is). For years I've progressively written in my head a story about a little punk girl who from the age of 13 has lived this increasingly subversive lifestyle, over the years doing more and more wildly decadent, even ludicrous things with her life, living like a wild animal oftentimes, a complete survivor, although always on the verge of fatal collapse. Her life ran parallel to my own, my own innocent, well-adjusted upbringing, as if she were the me from an alternate universe, a me that could have been. She's my age now and her story is about to come to a close in my head, where she is rehabilitated and reintroduced into polite society, normal and finally, emotional at rest. But is her new life any better than her previous drug-addled prostitute thrill-killer existence? That's part of what I dwell upon the most in this creation I fashioned in my head since my pre-teens. Granted, Carver has lived a far more creative life than my protagonist. But certain parallels are there. It's like watching my creature come magically to life on the page, a creature that I always dared not write or draw throughout the years of molding her for my own personal pleasure because she's too imitate to me, too exploitational to you.

But now I'm wondering if I haven't perhaps been sitting on a story that I probably would have, could have, should have put down on paper in some manner. I suppose it would only be truly interesting if the events in my character's life actually happened to a real person. Making it up feels less autobiographical morality play and more sensationalist attention-getter, like the motion pictures during the early era of the Hayes Code where you were allowed to show sex and nudity onscreen so long as there was some kind of punishing retribution or moral lecturing at the end. I have no intention of moralizing or lecturing. I've just had a wild, dirty story in my head that I've been telling myself on rainy days to keep me amused, and that story could have just as well been someone else's life in another world. My life, perhaps. That's what kind of scares me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

À rebours

My creative juices have been boiling up like acid reflux in my throat over the last few weeks, and none more so than today. I'm back to feeling caged, feeling fat and sedentary and dying the housewife's death. Once again I have too many distractions. Too many reasons to put things off. It was like I was telling Wembly tonight on the phone that it's like learning to walk again when you've let your legs atrophy to brittle sticks. I've been reading Lisa Suckdog's autobiography Drugs Are Nice and it makes me recall the times when I was her age (and we appear to be roughly the same age) in the late 80's and early 90's and I was a compact fireball of creative energy, putting on events and working on art projects with S. and Joe and just dave, where even the ones which we planned that never got off the ground are still the stuff of legend from the sheer scope of imagination that went into them. And it's not like everything we did was all that ground-breaking or original, but that didn't matter at the time. It's like what Lisa says in her book, that it's not always important if it's already been done before, as long as it's the first time you've done it, because sometimes being a conduit for creative energy flow can be even more exhilarating that the final result. In 1990 I didn't have a television and I didn't have a computer. But my fingers were always dirty. My arms and face were constantly smudged. And I was never more wide-eyed and alert in my whole life.

Give me my regime again. What happened to the me that used to not eat or sleep or bathe until I got what was inside of me out? What happened to that reckless idealism that used to fuel me?

I don't want to go backwards, but why can't the past at least make an attempt to meet me halfway into the present?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Party of Special Things to Do

The last time I had spoken with the now-retired classical producer Howard Scott (a local regular who comes into my store often) he was explaining to me how you can mark the precise moment that classical music took a turn for the worse in popular music when the recording industries that were previously run entirely by fellow musicians were systematically fired and quickly replaced with businessmen, bean-counters, and shrewd lawyers who spent more energy chasing the rock 'n roll fad dollar of the 1950's and pretty much nothing has ever been the same since. Scott, among many others, are mentioned in the book that I'm currently reading, The Life and Death of Classical Music: Featuring the 100 Best and 20 Worst Recordings Ever Made by Norman Lebrecht, which details the early beginnings of recorded musical history with Caruso's first amazing recordings in 1902 and the halcyon days of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft's stamp of excellence. Then Capital vying for Elvis Presley on RCA prompting CBS to drop Mitch Miller in 1965 and hire contract lawyer Clive Davis who had no A&R training or an ear for music, but more importantly knew how to handle money. To the present day desperation act of watering down classical for mass pop consumption like Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, and... well, the less said about Il Divo the better. A pretty engaging read, and while Lebrecht's novelist prose is oftentimes witty there's the unmistakable air of sadness to the entire story as it unfolds. When the president of a major classical recording label throws a farewell dinner for the vice-president of another competing label, when tears flow heavily from both sides over the impending end of an era they once all shared together, it really hammers the severity of the situation home.

And while on the topic of the situation at home, EMI has cut back drastically and laid off a dozen or so of their field reps, including ours, Taneisha, who as a result came into our store about two weeks ago and sold off a large chunk of her Blue Note and other jazz promos for much needed survival cash. So yes, I'm in agony right now wanting all this stuff which is sitting in my hidden stash and will more than likely get trickled out over the coming weeks... or, months. Depending. But I did take advantage of our current Buy-3 Used-CD's-Get-1-Free and lugged four home with me this week. These four being...

Dinah '62, one of the latter era Dinah Washington albums where her voice is a wee bit rougher (read: booooozy) but still dynamic as ever.

Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, which Tracy foisted into my hands insistently. Got my man Tony Williams on the skins, with Ron Carter on bass, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and George Coleman on tenor sax. Released in 1965, it's my accessible straight jazz choice from the pile, whereas...

Cecil Taylor's Conquistador is my avant-garde palate cleanser. Features Bill Dixon on trumpet, altoist Jimmy Lyons, drummer Andrew Cyrill, and twin bassists Henry Grimes and Alan Silva. Recorded in 1966 as one of two albums Taylor did for Blue Note.
And at the risk of all this high-falutin' classical and jazz exposure raising my brow any higher, I brought myself back down to the filth and grime again with a purchase from another customer...

The collected works of Lydia Lunch's post-Teenage Jesus & the Jerks band 8 Eyed Spy, a somewhat more tuneful and musically competent endeavor than the Jerks' sessions, with covers of Beefheart's version of "Diddy Wah Diddy", CCR's "Run Through The Jungle" and a few others.
So it appears Joe's other is coming to visit next Tuesday instead of this Tuesday, due to sudden issues with Joe's work schedule. Ah, well. It's been awhile since I had a Tuesday off anyway.
*sigh* God help me. It's been a rough weekend.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Sun 10: 11-7
Mon 11: 3-cl
Wed 13: 3-cl
Fri 15:11-6
Sat 16: 11-6:30

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Where Spirits Dwell

What's new in the world of funny papers? Well, in my world, not much. But I have been indulging in something that I probably should have been studying far more of in my lifetime, considering where I came from and how I got to be: The works of Will Eisner.

I grew up reading my father's comic books, notably John Albano and Tony De Zuniga's Jonah Hex, Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith's Conan the Barbarian from the 1970's, and the late Will Eisner's The Spirit collections from the 1950's. The subtle nuances of Eisner's urban noir crimefighter series often flew above my curly little mop-topped 12-year-old head, but I always remembered the style, the pacing, and most of all the anatomy, which at the time I was still trying to emulate in my own drawings. An animal sketcher until my pre-teens, I had had a serious artistic epiphany (as one could only have in their early teens) and from then on the human form was the very thing I longed to master. I later moved on to a newer, more all-consuming comic obsession, and Eisner sort of fell by the wayside.

So it's funny how now, so many seasoned years later, I am finally following up on Eisner's Contract With God trilogy, something that most aspiring comic book illustrators and graphic novelists have graduated from since "Stan Lee 101" but for me, at this moment in time of my life, they are really striking a particular chord within myself that has connected more with me in a way I really haven't experienced in a traditional novel in so many years.

And for those who haven't already been there and back, here's a brief synopsis of my current obsession:

A Contract With God is often considered the first graphic novel as we know it today, as in the first illustrated novel in comic book format without it being a compilation of several serials. It was written as a one-off comic in lengthy book format, and although he's not exactly the first to have probably done so, he's the first to be credited with it the achievement. But what really matters is the subject matter, a fictional Bronx neighborhood circa 1930's named Dropsie Avenue, based largely on Eisner's own Jewish immigrant upbringing from the same time period. Both uplifting and heart-rending, these series of short vignettes of the desperate lives of European immigrants struggling for a better life are separate from and integrate with each other. A bitter Germanic "super" whom everyone in the tenement loathes turns out to be a pitiable lonely man, his walls lined from floor to ceiling with porn a testament to his lack of tender human contact. When a little girl seduces him long enough to steal his money and poison his only friend in the world, his beloved dog, one can't help but feel a mixture of both disgust and sympathy for the man, and shock at a child of such a young age being so sexually aware, so brutally heartless, and so conniving, and yet it's just another day in the world of the haves and the have not's in the Depression Era ghettos of New York. In another story a gentle, spiritual rabbi loses his child-like innocent faith in God when his daughter dies of a tragic illness and renounces his religion to become a twisted, bitter slum lord, who through a series of ever worsening events inadvertently inspires another Jewish lad to pick up his own personal contract with God. Moments of hope tie in the melodrama, making it a pleasure to follow, in hopes that certain lives will turn out alright in the end. Some do. And some, well, they just keep going on, as lives do. And speaking of which...

A Life Force focuses on a single linear storytelling of lives on the same Dropsie Avenue denizens, this time focusing on the life and family of one German-Jewish immigrant Jacob Shtarkah who grows existential after seeing his own desperate existence in that of a cockroach struggling to survive in the alleys behind his apartment buildings. Much of this slice of life novel reflects vividly the time and the place, of 1930's Bronx, of war in the winds over in Europe and more Jewish immigrants struggle to make it over to the New World to escape the increasing hostilities in Jacob's home country, one of which is a former flame who rekindles old feelings of not just affection but of another time and place long gone, his nation, his youth, and his once-driving optimism. Jacob's wife is sickly and bitter, a woman whom I wish we could have learned more about. Jacob's young son flirts with the then in-fashion Communist youth movement of the times but lacks the commitment to sustain his own youthful idealism, while a young Gentile stockbroker, ruined by The Crash, is inadvertently saved from suicide by Jacob's lovely daughter when she asks him to please come down off the window sill and perhaps help turning on their family's electricity during the Sabbath, and they fall in love. Compounding incidents with the Mob, murder, an oncoming war unlike anything our world had ever seen, and the overall daily grind of that cockroach-like perseverance, Jacob and his family are succumbed to the life force that keeps us all going, keeps us all striving, and reminds us what sometimes sets us apart from the lowly cockroach who simply lives to live, is that we live to experience.

I'm currently in the middle of the third book, Dropsie Avenue, which goes back to the beginning to tell not just the story of the rise of one Bronx neighborhood street, but the history of New York City as a microcosm of people's lives and that unspoken, underlying dream they all have of coming to America to makes their dreams come true. Starting back to 1870 when the Bronx was just a rural farmland as part of what was known as New Amsterdam, we see how a once beautiful, upscale street made up on successful Dutch, German, English and Irish farmers falls to commerce and shady business deals as tram stations make way for cheap tenement buildings, followed by bootleggers, street gangs, prostitution, and the sudden culture shock of when different religions and ethnicities which barely got along back in the Old Country are forced to get along and even integrate. One humorous moment when a Jewish boy and a Roman Catholic girl marry, and her father embraces the boy's weeping mother with open arms, explaining how Jews and Catholics aren't so different after all. But once the topic comes up about how his daughter will raise their grandchildren and he insisted that they would naturally be Catholic, they instantly erupt into verbal shouts and more tears. I'm still not even halfway done but I've spent the better part of the afternoon with my nose deeply embedded so I should probably hoof it back to the bedroom and plop back down for more storytime, but this one is promising to be just as monumentally engaging as the last two. I so look forward to literature like this.
And yes, I do mean literature. You got your Phillip Roth and your Saul Bellow. And you got your Will Eisner. Or that is, I've got my Will Eisner. And you should get yours, too.

Love The Go-Go Boots

Vance will be at the Norfolk Bayou Boogaloo this month with Cowboy Mouth. I'll be the delirious one flashing my nah-nahs in the front row.
See ya there!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Afternoon Song

Been chatting a bit about the band New Model Army with a new friend online, and it's been making me reminisce a bit about college, and listening to "White Coats" driving around the dark mountain roads with nothing but the moonlight and my headlights and various woodland animals darting out of the forest into my path (I'll never forget that damn skunk). So much reminds me of those lonely night drives up the mountains. So much music now reminds me of the 80's. There's no escaping it these days. Sigh. The bleedin' 80's. Why do kids barely old enough to remember the 80's love the freaking 80's so much? Yuppies. Reaganomics. New Coke. Was Debarge ever really that good?

For some reason I can't get my NMA tracks to load onto yousendit, so go check out their myspace page:

I'm going to bed.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fool Get A Clue

Okay. Picture of Chernobyl. We can all agree on that.

Now question: What are those weird, ginormous, Star Trek-ian flower things over on the right hand side of the picture? Are they actual plants? Bizarre radioactive mutations? Secret weapons? Should we all be concerned? Should I be taking NOTES?

Like the drawings on the building walls don't freak me out as it is.


Sat 2: 3-cl
Mon 4: 12-6:30
Tue 5: 3-cl
Wed 6: 10-6
Fri 8: 11-7
Sat 9: 3-cl