July 15, 2008

The Secret Army of Brad And Angelina

Brad and Angelina have done it again. They've gone and copulated in front of the waiting eyes of our goodhearted press, proving to the news hungry world that longstanding celebrity couples have the ability to hump, and are willing to do it often. These heartfelt efforts have not gone without reward, for has Angelina has bore fruit yet again, in duplicate no less. These youngsters, dubbed codenames "Ft. Knox" and "Marching in" have taken control of all forms of media, forcing shallow story hungry pressmen into a an auctioning frenzy. Once competent men and women are withdrawing college funds and mortgages in order to pay top dollar for the slightest bit of photographic proof that these children exist. And as these poor fools snap picture after picture for a hungry country, they never realize that they're slipping further and further into a diabolical trap.

If these fine people took a few seconds to lay down their Nikons and their Canons and evaluate the situation for what it is, they might realize the close correlation in sounds between the words "family," and "army." They might see that between their pureborn children, and the worldly affiliations of the adopted, they have just enough ties to the socialist regimes to become their own superpower. Vietnamese, South African, Cambodian, all sub-militaristic areas with a history of going against the grain. And now, Brangelina has ties to all of them. Even the eminent births of the pureborn were committed on foreign soils, where dark voodoo rituals and Karl Marx writings were performed during the delivery.

They've bred a small army. an elite tactical unit with strong global ties to overwhelm the system. A single celebrity child is not enough. One youth bred by the famed never survives.
The only way to succeed is with overwhelming force. "Breed them in litters," Brangelina will say "we'll clusterfuck the bastards!" And it will all happen under our noses.

The twins will keep the media occupied. The press loves repeats. They'll be dubbed the "New Mary Kate And Ashley," Olsen 2.0, aka: The good ones. And speculation on their similarities and differences will flood late night television and newsworthy publications like Star and the Enquirer. The adopted son, Maddox, being the oldest and closest to the master plan, will eventually start tying himself to the charities and nonprofit agencies that mom and dad are associated with. Eventually he will become their voice, distributing funds and attention to preselected causes, making sure money ends up in the hands of the allies.

This still leaves three children, to work with. One, most likely the pureborn daughter, will become cannon fodder, falling into the celebrity life of drugs, sex, and exposing oneself in front of cameramen. Taking the Hilton, Lohan, Spears route, they'll captivate the country by their rebellious freespirited attitude, and willingness to do anything for a few extra minutes of attention. The other will go the hippie route, traveling across the world in a vagabond fashion, trying desperately to escape the confines of fame. This of course will be a front, as his true duty will be to act as a liaison between Brangelina and the allies overseas.

The final youth will be the clincher. The quiet one, easily dismissed by a distracted nation. This one will spend his life unattached to any of the burdens of fame the rest of his siblings must endure. Most of the world will even forget he exists. So no one will surely notice when he pays a visit to the White House with a 50 megaton warhead strapped to his chest. The ensuing explosion won't even raise an eyebrow on the American population, as they'll be too attached to their televisions watching the "Brad and Angela Variety Hour" to see what America's favorite wacky new family is doing next.

Within months, the Pledge Of Allegiance will be replaced with the the repeated changing of "Hail Pitt, Praise Jolie," as a true to scale statue of the couple's movie poster from Mr. And Mrs. Smith is raised in the center of what was once our Nation's capital.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

July 14, 2008

The Era Of The Heroless Mass

There was a time not long ago when strapping men and women stood for righteousness and truth by going against the grain. They were an outlaw breed of artists, poets, and warriors, and despite their inherent flaws towards freaky sex and potent drugs, it was in the message they delivered that won our hearts.

There were good causes in those days, much as there are now. Freedom from oppression, the individualistic ideal, the comfort of knowing you could sleep at night without the worries of foreigners slashing your throat, because your army is in their backyard. And it sounds simple to sum up these things in a few well placed sentences, but the cause is so much more than pretty words. A crude tongue like mine can't even begin to describe it. But I do know that the powers that be, want nothing to do with this cause. The business of oppression and war, is a compelling one in boardrooms and elliptical offices. And sometimes this wacky bit of land we call home seems to favor the approaches of the people in charge. A very disheartening reality.

So it was always a source of great comfort to see the outlaw standing on a podium or in front of a camera, and saying what needed to be said. Pointing out that these things weren't right, nor should they just be accepted. Granted, most of these great minds were before my time, but it's hard not to be inspired by it. Hell, even in my time, there were at least, vain attempts at heroism. There may not have been protest marches and free love, but we did have poofy perms and Hands Across America. It wasn't much, hell it wasn't even close, but it was something.

Looking into this new century, I see much of the ideal has vanished. Which I can accept, since the ideal doesn't need much more than a proper spokesperson and a few ardent fans. One can build the ideal with a bullhorn or a song, or a poem even...sort of. If you make it, and it sounds halfway decent, they will come.

What's scary is that the heroes themselves are gone. Folded deep into the sands of time. Remembered as legends of a bygone day, but losing their relevance simply because they're no longer alive. The passing of George Carlin makes it abundantly clear how few angry, well meaning people we have left. There aren't many to look up to anymore. No disavowed citizens lighting brush fires into the collective psyche, trying to stir up trouble and perspective. Nope, we've lost most of our greats, and the few we have left are getting old. Men like Chuck D and Henry Rollins, who once spawned a lot of that bygone era fury, are slowly sifting back into the shadows. Their war is over, and they now rely on charitable organizations and groups to do much of the heavy lifting these days. And who can blame them really? They've put in their dues, and they've earned the right to some peace in their later years.

But what have we left in the here and now? Where are our warriors and saviors? Those glorious twisted freaks who stand against the grain and tell it like it is? They're not here, not now. Not in this time buster.

Sports figures have gone from the superhuman layman to overpaid celebrities who favor steroids and pedophilia. Self righteous individuals in the film industry would have us believe that the only change necessary in this cruel world is to adopt orphans from other countries, then pamper them in a rich overzealous lifestyle, completely devoid of the trappings of real life. Meanwhile, the tired, poor, and huddled masses who actually live in this country continue to be ignored. In fact, if you happen to be on American soil, and possess a skin tone and accent different from the status quo, we just might have to deport you. I suppose you can stay, provided you're willing to make reservations at Guantanamo Bay for some sunshine, surf, and a good old fashioned American flogging.

In my neck of the woods over in the music industry, well intentioned souls are selling out like no tomorrow. Apparently there's this network of young people who have developed the ability to download music for free, and it's sending my sonic-creating peers into a frenzy. And they're all printing T-shirts, courting the majors, and endorsing Pepsi in an effort to keep albums flying off the shelves, all the while forgetting to actually sit down and compose decent music. Radiohead puts out a new record, and strangely enough, the album itself doesn't get nearly as much press as the fashion in which it was sold. Dark dark times my friends.

Times are plenty hard. Grown men and women with families are unable to cope with the times and being forced to move back in with mommy and daddy. Our precious dollar tattooed with our man George Washington is now a big joke in the eyes of the world. So much so, that many countries don't even feel it necessary to import their mp3 players and gaming systems our way. Work is becoming a scarce thing, But is hasn't stopped our government from abusing our trust. However, they've lost the decency to be apologetic about it. Our higher order is out there doing things we don't want, and have specifically asked them not to do. And still the voices of an entire country can somehow not pierce the white house and reach the big, Dumbo-like ears of our head honcho.

Times like this are difficult enough to face without having to face them alone. but sadly, I fear that's where we find ourselves. The spokespersons of days gone by have left us, and there is no one left to say what needs be said. No more angry sardonic wit, no more willingness to take a bullet or beating for cause, no more wacky idealism of spending a day in bed to change the world. It's just you and me, trying to survive.

Sit tight folks, this one's gonna be bumpy.

July 7, 2008

How Musicians Go Soft

These last couple nights, I've been doing things different. Shaking a things up a bit, riding the walrus, taking the road less traveled if you will. I've been taking chances and going for the throat in this crazy little turnstile we call life.

I've actually been picking up instruments and playing the damn things.

I know, I know, it's strange for a musician to actually utilize instrumentation that is designed to make music, but work with me here. It's not something I've actually done a lot of these past few months. Oh sure, I'll occasionally pull out the guitar and strum out a well placed E minor, or even attempt to sync up with whatever music is on TV. There were a couple of times I even tried to write something. Sure they were weak efforts, but it still counts on the galactic scoreboard right?

Okay, probably not. If this were Animal Planet, there would be footage of me getting fat and complacent, and eventually I'd get eaten by a lion. If I had any actual laurels to rest on, I'd probably be resting on them right now. I've been investing too much time in other pursuits, spending too much time in kitchens, too much time writing gibberish, and way too much time in my most cherished of pastimes: doing nothing. Yes, I admit it, I've let myself go to pasture like the fat lazy cow I am. I've fallen off the path and I'm ashamed, so very ashamed. But acceptance is part of the healing right? It's easy enough to climb back on the tricycle. and get yourself moving. And boy have I. I've invested a great deal of time lately in fine tuning the old workhorses, putting in some serious playing time, and actually getting back down to the necessary responsibilities of making some music.

And boy am I paying for it.

The tips of my left hand are completely thrashed and causing great discomfort to my person. My wrists are creaked and make loud popping sounds when I move them too fast. And my back? Well the less said about my back the better. And while this all sounds physically uncomfortable, the truth is the body pains were nothing compared to what this was doing to my emotional state. All these aches and pains were simply a testament to how far I had fallen.

You see, through all these years of mischief and madness, I treated these aches and pains were all part of the stepping stones to becoming a decent musician. When you bust your ass mastering a craft, you'll have wounds to show for it right? So I was going for the biggest, sickest, nausea inducing wounds I could possibly get.

The first year I had picked up a guitar, I started to build up callouses on my left hand. A natural part of the process in playing guitar when you have your fingertips on nylon or steel for extended lengths of time. But, me being the overenthusiastic little bastard that I am, I went and overdid it. I played so hard for so long, that instead of the subtle slightly discolored callouses that most mortals get, I developed these sickly looking fingertips that made people question my long term well being. They were these thick bulbous spheres that protruded from my fingertips in this icky shade of pus white. They were so big, that they left me without a sense of touch, and they had the look of something that was eating away at my skin. More than one poorly minded high schooler with a distinct lack of medical training observed my mutated fingertips and queried as to whether or not I had cancer.

A few years down the road from there is where it all got very interesting. By then my musical routines had only gotten more intense, with lapses into large gauged guitar strings and ridiculous compound bending only upping the ante. By this time my callouses were indestructable folds of dead skin. I loved nothing more than to sit in a room of strangers and tap my tank-like fingertips on my battle scarred left hand on the nearest glass coffee table I could find. Then I'd enjoy the horror of perfectly innocent people watching my hands. Hands that should've sounded like soft taps upon that glass, instead sounding like falling gravel. It was a statement, as far as I was concerned. It said I was a good musician, and was only going to get better.

Then in later years, when I switched to bass, I was only more excited. My preference for fingerstyle thumping would only mean that I'd soon have two full hands of thick powerful callouses to stake my claims with. No longer would I just have the single mutant hand, I'd be ready to attack with both barrels. And when the world asked why my hands looked and felt so bizarre, I could say it was because I was a time tested musician. And I could clench my crippled hands into proud fists, and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Of course, life isn't all callouses. There were also wrist pains. the four to five hour long sessions of madcap guitar playing that left your hands so cramped you couldn't turn a doorknob. True, a few minutes of stretches could've probably saved me all that pain, but where's the glory in that? Oh no, when the pain hits, you roll with it. Any good musician would do the same.

And those are just the basics. From there you have things like soldering iron burns, sore backs from heavy instruments, sprained wrists from guitar cases getting caught in doors, stabs in your fingertips from broken strings, and of course the rare, but embarrassing bruise on the head from a headbang gone awry. You musical types know that one.....the head goes down, the headstock comes up..... yup, we've all been there my friends.

So I have thrived on my ability to foolishly put myself through merciless pain. Suffering for the art, it's all part of paying the dues. And I have welcomed any duty related injury with a sense of pride on my face, knowing it only made me better.

So imagine my fear when a few mere days of musical effort ended up resulting in hefty amounts of pain. And not just any pain mind you, novice pain. The pain of people who haven't busted tail trying to be a badass musician. I mean, it's not like I've invested thirteen years of life trying to do this kind of shit. Not like I've burned tons of time and money into bettering my musical skills right? So there's no reason I should have to go through this again.

And yet, here I am. My once formidable callouses have now gone soft and gentle, the only survivor being a small little trooper on the side of my knuckle where I hold my kitchen knives. My beaten paws actually feel like real hands these days. My twelve pound, five string bass now has a permanent reservation in the closet, while I spend my days entertaining the lighter 4 string gals. My tolerance for high volumes has been severely reduced, and I actually catch myself turning down the volume on my stereo. My hands can cramp up fast now. An hour into a jam, I can feel the small dashes of pain in my palms, a warning that things are only gonna get worse if I don't slow down.

I've gone soft loyal reader. I've let age and laziness beat my disgruntled musical corpse into something much more civilized. I've lost too many nights to books, writing nonsense, and other such pursuits, all the while my instruments, my valued tools of the trade, have gathered dust in the corner of the room. Sometimes I got the sense that they have looked upon me, and remembered the days of granduer. When I would play riffs and pointless improvising just to feel the joys of steel and wood against skin. And of course there was the creation of the BGO. Playing those same parts over and over again so that they'd be perfect. Trying to keep the momentum going after Fuzzy was finished, I had a sound now, and now I had to defend it.

And now, here I am back at ground zero. Soft plushy hands, muscles unaccustomed to the rigors of sonic repetitve motion. Ears that can't handle the high decible atmosphere that we musical types often operate in. I feel estranged now. Estranged from my medium of choice. Like I let myself go weak and now I'm open season for the wolves of the world.

Of course I suppose I could just practice more, but what fun would that be?

July 3, 2008

Tila's Shot At Love

Admittedly, I don't care much for reality TV. A twisted outsider I may be, but I find very little joy in such programming. Most of it angers the hell out of me, a few tattered remains are mind-numbingly boring, and what little has caught my eye has only served to further deepen my disappointment.

Reality TV is not real, and it's really not real when it applies to celebrities. Case in point, any VH-1 based reality show where washed out, once popular icons seek mating potential in front of cameras for our amusement. This is about as fake as the real gets.

And sure the celebrity heart doth beat. Prick them and they bleed, their longing for compassion and companionship is entwined with our very own. Even the rich and well known deserve a chance to find true love. And given the option of allowing these pedestals of our time a chance to find it, or to keep them here in the dark petty and cynical world I've made for myself, I'd probably hand them a knapsack, pat them on the back, and send them on their way to love and happiness.

A thing of much splendor is love, however it is far from run of the mill. It can happen in the most violent and unpredictable ways, usually catching whatever unlikely bastard who wasn't expecting it completely off guard. We're talking nature-esque volatility here, ranking right up there with earthquakes, volcanoes, and Michael Jackson's face.

And here is where I encounter a problem, because while love isn't formulaic, these shows are.

They all take the same approach, throwing the new celebrity of the week into a nice house and are asked to pick from whatever brood stock of men, women, or in recent tradition both, lay before them. And how are these fine individuals and representatives of humanity picked for this atrocity? Selective criteria, what kind of criteria nobody knows. Could be mutual interest, or it could be computer graphed dimensions of breast size and how they compare to the Venus de Milo. Who knows? What is known, is that the game has already been fixed, and now it's just a matter of seeing how badly you can humiliate decent and stupid people.

So, I avoid the programming like I avoid the plague. No wait, I avoid it more than I would avoid the plague. It's irritating gibberish that even as a headline on a news feed, is infuriating. However, I saw such a headline regarding Tila Tequila's "Shot at Love" season finale that I just couldn't resist taking a look at. The results were enlightening and very thought provoking. I watched, I contemplated, I laughed and I cried.

Mostly I laughed. I laughed hard, very very hard. I laughed so much that it made my sides hurt. And when I lay upon the floor writhing in pain and suffocation.......I kept right on laughing.

For you ardent followers of this program (and what you guys are doing on this blog, I'll never know,) you know quite well the subject of my glee. For those that don't......have a gander, I'll wait.

Take your time, no rush.

You finished? Good, I'll continue...

HA HA HA! The celebrity got rejected by the unwashed masses! It's fucking classic! There is a god, oh lord I believe!!!! And I don't care how mean people thing I am, this is just desserts right here. Karma is doing it's goddamn job and at the very least, my sense of order in the universe is balanced.

And what of poor widdle Tila? Who the hell cares? In the painful act of watching the full length of this episode (okay most of the length, thank god for fast forward,) it becomes pretty clear that Tila is a bitch. She degrades people by putting them through these stupid ass challenges, gets their hopes up, then humiliates them when they're kicked off the program. Granted a lot of these people are nutjobs, and need to be handled with a bit of extreme prejudice. But it still doesn't incline my endearment to her. Frankly it makes her seem cocky and high maintenance. And I can get enough of that out here in the real world, thank you very much.

Besides, it's not like she's one of the decrepit masses, you know like the rest of us. She's fucking Tila Tequila. Her and the rest of her VH-1 mate seekers don't need this shit. They can walk into any bar in the country and get a piece of ass just by saying their name. If Bret Michaels so desired, he could walk into a country/western bar looking for a woman who would go down on him while juggling sparklers and farting the national anthem. And by night's end, the son of a bitch would probably get it. These are not people hurting in the potential mates department. This is a group of sculpted individuals who have gotten freaky with other people's mates in dressing rooms and back alleys. My pity for them is very much limited.

So, it fills me with a sense of glee to watch one of the chosen get slapped back down to earth. To find out that not everyone sees the pretty faces and fame, and comes running with arms open. Hearts are not commodities, and people like Tila seem to forget that they cannot be bought. Sure you may be able to tease them with tight outfits and large quantities of money, but you can't own them that way. She found it out the hard way, and oh happy day, it happened on camera for my viewing pleasure!

Of course, this thing may have been completely fixed, and this was just a stunt to make season 3 of Tila's "One" shot at love all that much more compelling. Still the image of a weeping Tequila perplexed at what went wrong is my personal little heaven today. Something that should be cherished before those bastards at VH-1 start applying the spin.