Thursday, October 30, 2008

Denver to Danoff to Delight

Of no interest to anyone else, I'll continue nonetheless.

My father-in-law gave me the bulk of his record collection last weekend. He knows I have a turntable that I use often. Also, he knows I appreciate music (some people don't, you know). I've been listening to the Stones & Doors. But tonight I put on John Denver's Aerie, an album I hadn't heard before.

As you know, I've been a Denver fan all my life. My parents always had him playing when I was younger, and I've always found him to be both the most comforting music. He's no pussy either, rarely shying away from the minor chords, and many of his lyrics confront his struggles as a human being, which I happen to be.

From Aerie, I've always been a HUGE fan of the opener "Starwood in Aspen" (not only my favorite song of his, but also one of my favorite songs ever) and the penultimate song, "The Eagle and the Hawk" (both of which are included on Denver's Greatest Hits).

Anyway, I'm reading the liner notes, as I do (as you should!), and saw that not only does he perform "City of New Orleans" but is also listed as a co-writer. I don't know how accurate that is, because I've always known it to be a Steve Goodman song (who's listed as the other writer). None of my "internet research" yielded any reference to Denver having co-written it, so maybe it was some record company-publishing company finagling.

The most popular version of the song is probably Arlo Guthrie's, released in 1972 (the song was written by Goodman in '70, and included on Aerie, a 1971 release).

Anyway, that was a slight digresion from the point of this post (there's a point?). Continuing with my liner note reading, I see Bill Danoff & Taffy Nivert, not surprisingly. I recognized their names as having co-written "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Late Night Radio" [not to mention "Please, Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" from Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas].

So then I get online again and follow the trail. I wanted to see if Bill & Taffy recorded any albums on their own. I quickly discover they formed a band called Fat City. Fat City? I know that name! It's one of the records by father-in-law brought over. Welcome to Fat City, their second album. It's good. Nice easy 70s folk sound (well, it IS produced by Milton Okun, after all!)

Now here's the kicker -- Bill and Taffy hired on two more singers and turned Fat City into a new band called Starland Vocal Band. Yes, the artists behind 70's staple (and Channel 11's bump music one summer) "Afternoon Delight". So, yeah, Bill Danoff wrote it!

There you have it -- the Revelation of the Day: The guy who co-wrote "Take Me Home, Country Roads" also wrote "Afternoon Delight"! I never knew that! I feel so enlightened! It's like I've learned a secret of the universe! I feel like Gurdjieff! Or Siddhartha!

And now you know, too!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Girlfriend" by Matthew Sweet

Sorry to be stepping all over "Follow the Sound" territory, but I must post this! Is this the greatest album of the 90s? Tough call (tough competition)! If anything, it's the best sounding LP of the decade!

"Where Eagles Dare" by the Misfits

Walking to the office from my car, this song popped into head. I have no idea why.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Notes on Nothing 11.0 (Absolutely)

When did Jay Mohr's neck get as thick as Carrot Top's?

(I'm watching Gary Unmarried here. It is bland. What happened to the Mohr of "Action"?)

Notes on Nothing 10.0

I scribble down ideas on scraps of paper, envelopes, post-its, newspapers. Sometimes they say something; usually it's uninterpreted gibberish. Either way, i strive for the visual pleasure of words. Like "gibberish", I guess. Or "buffalo."

I love what I understand as the colors of words. Words that have an almost innate hue to them when I read them. Blue words and brown words, etc. And sometimes the words fit together best because of their colors, despite their meanings clashing. I think that's a bit of what surrealism strives for. The disparate becoming coherent.

I enjoy devising titles of novels or stories or poems, but I mostly love coming up with band names. Two-word poems. three-word manifestoes, of sorts.

I can't think of any now, of course. But it comes to me during lulls and forced respites. I'll take either one now...

Monday, October 20, 2008

"I Read a Lot" by Nick Lowe

A bit of a live performance of Nick Lowe singing "I Read a Lot." I heard it on Prairie Home Companion (where he performed this weekend).

I wish i had the whole song (and a better quality version) for you, but this should suffice. Quietly devastating, but strangely comforting. Maybe it's his voice. Maybe cuz it's Nick Lowe, who is infinitely cool.

Notes on Nothing 9.0

"There's food for the thinkers..." - XTC

Christ, I feel good today. It's gloomy, wet, and the trees are swinging like it's Minton's in '42. I've got Jutta Hipp striking the keys like stinging scorpions. Scorpion drugs rolling down the veins like dew. The noises of evaporation: leaving the music hall, the wet traffic behind the double doors.

I don't feel as good now. Maybe I need to eat lunch. Get out of the building (where so much breaking down happens). I will eat soup or sandwich, maybe express special chinese at the Safeway. Uy! You think I don't feel good now! Boy, I do more whining than the guests at an art museum fundraiser...

Back from lunch. Feel better emotionally. Physically, not so much. But as my grandmother used to say, "This too shall pass." How soon, I don't know.

I've got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 senses working overtime! especially the 6th. But the 7th (common) feels like it's in a pillow case, in a pillow sham, in a hamper, on the moon.

"Know what my favorite part of today is?" says Irene.

[Pause] "Did it happen yet?" I respond.

"No" she says laughing, knowing I've anticipated her answer, "it's tonight."

"Ah, you mean when the sun surrenders to the evening gloom?" I muse.


I have bored myself with this blog today. I apologize to you both as well. i should've just posted the XTC video alone.

Today's verdict:
We hit DopeCon 3. But the rain helped. Sometimes I feel like just writing utter nonsense. I'll eat a tube of spaghetti and knit balloons. They are corduroy and from the island with no coast, whose dog has no coat, but pants. It puts the tramps in a trance, you'll see the lamp as lance. A knight's light. A nice light. Good night.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hands Across Ameri... Really?

The worst of the 80s Supergroup Charity Sing-a-longs. By far! But the most loyal to the spirit of crap 80s network-friendly music.

I wouldn't even bother watching it all.

I made a "Hands Across America' reference the other day, and it got a laugh, but then realized nobody really knew what I was talking about. because they group I was with would've been toddlers when it was released. Oh boy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Notes on Nothing 8.0

Look at this little fella. 2XL. Kinda kute, huh? Played 8-track tapes. But something about those beady red eyes. Everyone knows I'm a friend to the robot. But isn't that the fucker who always gets it first in the sci-fi films?

Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. I first wanted to announce that the computers took a quantum leap recently in both intelligence and arrogance when Wall Street bit it. Bit it. I read a clever article today about "the rise of the machines" and how the logarithms that have been pumped into the computers by some Wall Street quantitative analysts ("quants") to, I suppose, manipulate the market to make money fast have gotten away from the programmers so that the computers are computing so quickly and in such delicately intricate fashions that they're functions are beyong human comprehension. Or something. You know, like in the pages of Analog.

Christ, they warned us for years! Who? Philip K. Dick, John Sladek, E.M. Forster, Asimov, etc., etc. And here we are -- scripts flipped! Thinking our robot butlers would bring us our morning crumpets, but instead our robot butlers stole the money off our nightstands as we slept!

Why? What happened? I'll tell you -- we fooled around with our toy robots. Somebody played a punk rock 8-track in their 2XL and thus impregnated it with the anarchy virus.

I don't know why anyone hasn't figured it out yet.

I bet the Little Professor knew.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Notes on Nothing 7.0

Guided By Voices! Devo! And now -- Psaur in Ohio (well, he should be by now -- unless he and Donna fell in love with South Dakota along the way). Yes, the musical genius Psaur (for god's sake, he penned the lyrics to "Hell, Back & Back Again"!) is now a bug-eye (as you know, Ohio is the Bug-Eye State!).

Oregon is the Beaver State. You betcha! Oregon is composed of two political and social regions: Portland and Not-Portland. And I love them both very dearly. I've been through the beautiful arrid deserts of Not-Portland, and over its magnificent mountains. It's a place I'd always dreamed of growing up in. Which works out fine since I have barely begun to grow up (ask my wife -- my side of the bed looks like the inside of a St. Vincent de Paul box).

Meanwhile back here at the office, I'm beguiled by vacuity -- it's like staring into an abyss of stupidity. Where did Dante place middle management? I feel the people who actually work around here are days from open mockery of the management. I feel like Hawkeye Pierce!

Or B.J. Hunnicutt. The greatest porn name ever.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Notes on Nothing 6.0

In mud, in muck.

Beguiled by diamondheads, snakewalker filaments. Eye on thee canyon, the withering mountain.

Be not aware of the language you're using -- caution all travelers of the spells in the ruins.

The Scotman wore green and he whispered a secret to the dogs on the leashes outside of the druggist.

In mud, in muck.

I never catch glances, or listen for greetings. My tatooine days see the light through the ripples.

Gorgeous and gorgon-like dreams suffuse the room (and snake-like fingers uncoil in the gloom).

Must be a Wednesday the way the time unhinges.

Every molecule seems to record all my winging.

In mud, in muck. Amen.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Notes on Nothing 5.0

"Dread ain't nothing you can laugh about." - John Phillips

It is like a storm gathering. Clouds that crackle and whine. Grayscale prisms arch above my deathspot. Rain like soldiers with shields graffiti'd sluice the fallen heavens. Enveloped in the afternoon mud, I dream of cartoons, Saturday morning globes in video turnstiles.

Every house is a House of Mystery. Everyone worships his own god. The face smiles; the skull does not. I fell between two trees, took note of their heights, weighed the fallen leaves. The numbers are important.

I met a cowboy at the train and checked my phone for the time, anticipating an answer. A World Book opened in space and cast a page down to me, but it was lost in a funnel of oak leaves that skittered like a spun quarter into the levee.

It is minutes after4:00 pm. The rain has stopped, the wind isn't blowing. But the clock keeps pulsing.

The genius is at work.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Notes on Nothing 4.0

Such treacherous, untrustworthy, lying and greedy animals we are! - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Home. Not at work. Should be, some would say. It's a whole new world walking to store for a cup of coffee on a cool, rain-ready Friday morning ordinarily spent at the office. I feel rejuvenated, damn near reborn, or born again as myself (a born-again narcissist!).

Driving down to Ashland to see friends and a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", my first Shakespeare play. I've seen a few Hollywood interpretations (dreadful) but never on the stage. Although I did enjoy "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy". I think. Maybe I just caught a few scenes on HBO years ago.

Erin's getting her hair did, and I'm home listening to Camper Van Beethoven II & III and recharging my iPod. Also, started reading Robert F. Jones' "Blood Sport" on the can this morning. I'd never heard of it before the cover caught my attention at a used book store in Seaside a few weeks ago. Described as a cross between Vonnegut and Castenada, I purchased it anyway. It has short Brautiganian chapters -- perfect! It reads a bit like Brautigan as well, but with more of a storytelling aspect. The prose is phenomenally evocative of a place you've never been, but perhaps recall snippets of from abruptly-ended dreams. Find it! Read it!

What else? I've decided I can't go back to work anymore. I mean, I will, but I just can't. At least not in the usual frame of mind. I must go in convinced this is a challenge, like something from Road Rules or a fraternity hazing ritual, meaning it is a means to an end. Or rather a beginning.

Or I could get a job at a farm, because I sure can talk a line of shit!

So, how's with you?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Notes on Nothing 3.0

Often, I rest my uncombed head on my desk and exhale, "I'm wasting my life here." What's worse is the echo shooting out of co-workers' mouths: You're wasting your life here.

Or maybe that's good for others to say. I've heard it for years (and indeed said it for years) but do little about it. i udes to rant on and on like this when I didn't have a job, so I do feel I'm being a bit ungrateful to, uh, I don't know, something!

Still, seven and a half years at one job (with a promise of no advancement and no prospect of even a salary increase at this point -- this I have been directly told) is enough. So I abuse my position as much as I can. Leaving early... well, I guess that's about it. But it's something.

It sure is something.

Speaking of...

Notes on Nothing 2.0

I'm going to add to this all day. So you can experience my psychological breakdown. Nah, nah... I'm kinda in good shape this morning, workwise. Already I can tell this will be boring for you. For both of you.

Fell asleep listening to "The Ricky Gervais Show" Season 3 Podcast. Christ, I hadn't listened to it in a while -- perpetually hilarious. Sometimes so funny, I can't believe it exists. You know that feeling?

So anyway my "boss", Big Poppa's birthday is Sunday. A devoted Yankee fan born in the Bronx. He's heartbroken again of course over this season. Seriously heartbroken. Anyway, he gets an email today from Jim Bouton, former pitcher for the Yankees, and author of Ball Four! He was shocked! So I google the email address, and it brings me to Jim Bouton's official website!

Over the years, Ralph's met many Yankees (even conducted a rare interview with Joe Dimaggio in Florida back in the 60s as a student reporter). He has met Bouton before, but it's been 30 years. In fact, he recounts an incident where he met Bouton before a game and predicted it would be his first major league win! And it was! Big Pops left a note on his windshield congratulating him, and later received an autograph from the winning pitcher!

Still, he doesn't know how he'd get an email from Bouton all these years later wishing him a Happy Birthday! Although Ralph recalls that it was his friend Al Sorvino who started the Jim Bouton fan club lo those many years ago! But he probably hasn't heard from Sorvino in as many years either.

What interests me most about Bouton is that he helped create Big League Chew, that shredded tobacco-like gum we'd pack our cheeks with back when Billy Martin was still driving off the road.

But really -- how did Bouton know Ralph's birthday was coming up?


Tonight's the Vice-Presidential Debate. The real debate is whether Governor Palin will snap. I see it coming -- watch what her supporters call her "gutsiness and tenacity." It comes across as bad acting to me -- a high school production of "All the King's Men" televised to millions. She's going to smile, wink, and her head's going to crack in half revealing the beast from Revelation screaming "I can see the Apocalypse from my house."

And what's wrong with elitism anyway -- am I supposed to endear myself to these American slobs?


Suddenly this blog's become a cross between Harry Golden and Larry King. Unfortunately, I'm aiming for a combination of Myles na gCopaleen and Joey Adams.