Tuesday, April 30, 2013

They Had To Use A Special Computer As My Replacement

I never thought that words like "product" could ever leave my lips...

There's a road that leads out of town.

It's not paved.

Every spring it washes away. When the snow melts.

But you can find it in the summers. Never crowded. But always traveled.

It avoids the highway. Goes the long way around the hills.

It's not the kind of place they put on the website. Or in the brochures at the tourism council.

It's a road that's windy. Mostly ignored.

In the winter, it's covered in snow. And ice. And memories.

It might have had a name once. Might have appeared on maps.

But not now. Now, it's something you have to know about. You have to seek out.

But it will take you out of town. All the way out of town.

Just make sure that's where you want to go.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And Then There's This

Which I'd love if Elvis didn't look quite so old.

And it didn't have Elmo in it.

But it's still almost too cute for words.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Good Height, Right Temp, Strong Flow

Just Like A Mad Dog You're Chasing Your Tail in a Circle

The shower comes on.


Part of the slow wake.

Stumble into the bathroom. Stumble for the light. Pee.

The showerhead is a good height. The water's the right temp. There's a good flow.


Good height, right temp, strong flow.

A morning. Like ten thousand others.

Good height, right temp, strong flow.

Another morning. Slow. Wake.

Stumble. Stumble. Pee.

Good height, right temp, strong flow.

Eyes? Check? Open? Not yet. Soon.

Soap always in the same spot. Shampoo. Razor.

Good height, right temp, strong flow.

Over and over.

Notable only for the changes.

The hotel where the shower's too low. Or the water's too hot. Or the flow's just a trickle.

But for now, it's clear.

There. Now. Like before.

Good height. Right temp. Strong flow.

These are the things. The patterns.

Stumble in. Stumble around. Pee.

Waking slow. Until.

Until the time.

When the eyes open.

And even then. Good height. Right temp. Strong flow.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Good height. Later.

Right temp. Later.

Strong flow. Later.

A million times. Each separate. Each completely different.

Good height.


Right temp.


Strong flow.

The same.

Water circles.


And out.

Draining. Leaving something. Something more noticeable in its absence than its presence.

Good height. Right temp. Strong flow.

And... out.

Monday, April 22, 2013

RIP RIchie Havens

When I was a kid, I bought the triple-record soundtrack to Woodstock. The one with the liner notes that all the flaws were left in the live recordings, saying "Consider them like the scars in fine leather, proof of the origin and authenticity of the material in which they are found."

And in the legend of Woodstock, there's always talk of Richie Havens. Out there with an acoustic guitar. Improvising an ode to something that hadn't yet begun. Something that would start. Something that hasn't yet been completed.

May it someday happen.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

RIP Scott Miller

This Just Sucks

As announced here, Scott Miller (of Game Theory and Loud Family fame and the author of Music: What Happened?) has died far too young at age 53.

This seems so wrong on so many levels... Please send all your best wishes, thoughts, love, and prayers (in whatever combination works best for you) to his family and friends). It's not enough -- it's never enough -- but it's all we can do.

Here's a rerun from two years back:

They Suggest Piano Lessons for Young Beauty Queens

The days got longer, the pants got shorter, and the sun got warmer.

And the plans started hatching. Where we'd go. Who we'd visit. What we'd eat.

Then the couples shattered, stretched, and broke.

And another summer had arrived. This one different. This one less carefree, more serious.

This time the end was in sight. And for most of us, it wasn't filled with joy and gladness. It was filled with doubt and despair.

The internships were horrific, hours of torture bookending endless drinking. More and more, conversations would begin with "Can you believe people live like this?"

The phone calls were more tense.

The concerts were harder to plan.

The standing Tuesday night Frisbee games moved to Thursday, then to Saturday afternoon, then to never.

The interruptions -- which had made each previous summer bearable -- now became something we dreaded.

There was a chill everywhere, even when it was over 100 degrees and the wind was blowing inland off the tides of shorelines gone.

The ones who'd already left were divided into two groups: the ones who admitted their unhappiness and the ones who could hide their unhappiness.

We didn't know what was happening... only that it was important.

And, as we struggled to wring the last drop of May out of the air, we couldn't wait for June to come. Everything would change.

Of course, back then, we thought we could come back anytime we wanted.

You could argue that Enigma Records was the coolest label in the world in 1985.

I wore most of the oxide off a 1985 cassette sampler from Enigma, driving far too fast on roads in 21 different states in a French car constructed (poorly) in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Who knows, the tape might still be around in an old shoe box or still in the glove compartment that car, which I haven't owned since the 90s.)

I don't remember much about the cassette, but it had songs on it by Don Dixon, Game Theory, the Smithereens, the Dead Milkmen, and (if memory serves) Mojo Nixon.

If I had the tape right now (okay, and if I had a car that could play tapes), I'd get on the nearest highway right now, roll down all the windows, blast the rest of the oxide off it at high levels of volume, and drive approximately 123mph.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hey Man, Let's Go Out and Get Some Wisdom

You Can't Make It Drink

It's a funny thing, intention.

You think you're doing something. You insist you're doing only that thing.

But you're not.

You're doing something else. The opposite of what you thought. What you insisted.

And if someone points it out to you, you object.

You rant and rave. You rail against it.

You don't want to hear it. Don't want to consider it.

You wear down anyone who points it out to you.

Until they give up.

Until they go away.

Until they think four times before bringing it up again.

You live your life with blinders on.

And insist you're the only one who sees the whole picture.

Needless to say, this doesn't help anyone. Especially you.

When this was recorded, George Harrison was too weak to play guitar. He was probably too weak to sing properly, but he sang it anyway. Eight weeks later, he was dead.

And Sam Brown just knocks this out of the park in the Concert for George. But you already knew that.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bare Trees

It Was A Cold Night

The trees sway.

THey've always swayed, you say.

You might be right.

The swaying just seems more pronounced now.

Maybe it's the recent storms.

They took down a bunch of the smaller trees. Left an opening that wasn't there before.

Or maybe it was. Maybe. If you looked at it the right way.

The trick of memory makes it hard to tell.

The trick of memory makes you wonder if that fence was always there. If those birds were always around (and so loud).

The fog rolls in. Bringing with it a mystery about the trees.

The wind is still now, but still the trees are moving.

Maybe when the fog burns off we'll see.

Maybe the dead trees will come back again.

Filled with leaves. Bursting with mysteries. Covered in song.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Minus Five

Lights, Cameras, Girls, Guitars

Listen to this: