Sunday, January 31, 2010

Answer #26 - Because Neruda is Shiny

The books
pile up.  Fearful
pages that discourage
lion hunters.
in four hundred volumes.
In the first ones,
there were full moons,
jasmine from the islands;
the last one
are only solitudes:
snow kingdoms,
stirrings of reindeer.  -  Pablo Neruda

They're calling me.  The books on the wooden end table from my mother that sits next to my bed like a camel.  The lamp and shade like a long neck and head, two stacked lumps of books sent or given by friends that I should read.  That I will read.

Someday soon.  I've made it a resolution this year to read more and talk less, but, as you're currently experiencing, I'm still talking.

Still - the books wait.  In two piles - The Earth is Enough by Harry Middleton, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, The Importance of Being Iceland - Travel Essays in Art by Eileen Myles, Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon, Michael Keller's graphic adaptation of Darwin's Origin (this one is absolutely bitchin.  Origin in comic book form?  Holy Galapagos, Fitzroy!) Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett and a dog-eared and taped-up copy of The National Audubon Society's Pocket Guide to Constellations (because I almost always have my head in the clouds).

With the exception of Pratchett and Audubon, these books weren't purchased by me, aren't reflections of my browsings of the NY Times Book Review, nor reflect my finger on the pulse of current literary buzz.  These books are reflections of the minds and choices of my friends, the people I love.  It's a great show of confidence on their parts, sending these love letters to me.  They're assuming much.  Starting with the assumption that my attention span exceeds that of my dog's.  And that's a big one.

So why the short attention span?

I spend so much time working, making phone calls, answering emails, being distracted by shiny objects - that I neglect the books, quite literally forget that I should stop and read.  Sometimes forget where and who I am.  So the books collect dust and bottles of lotion, bits of jewelry and kleenex while I wander the mirrored halls of my funhouse brain.  In those fleeting minutes when I'm back with the world, I walk by the bedroom, hear the murmuring in the pages (a murmuring that Terry Pratchett depicts better than anyone ever will) and, well, even as I write, they're calling me.

I can imagine the friend who gave me each book running down a path in a snowy wood, calling back to me, 'Come on! You've gotta see this... it's amazing...'

And now I have to go, because everyone knows that a dog's gotta chase a running thing.

First stop, Iceland.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Answer #25 - Alcohol & Putt-Putt Golf Don't Mix

I meant to study up on Happy Hour the world over - give some real, meaningful information - you know, in response to the alcoholic statement: 'It's Happy Hour somewhere!  Bottoms Up!'

I didn't get around to it.

I know it's Happy Hour at 6:00p in Scotland.  Of course, Happy Hour is 5:00p here in the U.S.  In New Orleans and the entire state of Florida, Happy Hour is whatever hour it happens to be. 

I lived in both Louisiana and Florida, so I know whereof I speak.  There's a tacit agreement in the State of Florida that says: We're On Vacation.  Perpetually.  Doesn't make for graceful aging necessarily.  But when you're carpe-ing the diem, what the hell is the future? And besides, there's botox, microdermasomething and they can inject fat cells from your ass directly into the lips that the blistering sun shrivels.  How cool is that? 

Anyway, I owned a restaurant in Marathon ('A Drinking Town with a Fishing Problem'), Florida Keys.  This was after I lived in Southeast Asia & Louisiana, and prior to my move to Indiana.  It was called Deadhead George's Mexicali Grill.  I don't mean to rip off Dave Barry but, well,  I'm not making this up.  I still have the t-shirts and some of the Deadhead memorabilia.  I'm not a Deadhead, but I was previously married to a Deadhead, and, well, it just seemed to make sense at the time.

The t-shirts had a couple of phrases on them: "It's like a piece of heaven, if heaven tastes like that"  (a derivative kind of line based on the Talking Heads song 'Heaven') - and, my personal favorite: "Deadhead George's - Where the staff is as drunk as you are".

Again, not making it up.

My Landlord greeted me with a raised Bud Light every morning at about 7:00am from his boat - heading out to catch fish he didn't like to eat.  Interesting guy who'd made a fortune building a putt-putt golf course somewhere in Pennsylvania, where no one said it could be done!  Imagine!  Putting a putt-putt there!?  Whoa, Roger! It can't be done! 

Actually, I've tried to imagine a couple of times, but to no end.  Here in Bloomington, the woman who owned the big Putt Putt golf course shot and killed the man who owned it with her.  Er, her husband.  It's next door to the Jiffy Treet.  Big scandal.  Probably some tryst betwixt soft-serve maven & putt putt land baron - leading to late night, liquor-soaked confrontation.  But that's just idle speculation.

What the hell is your point?

Well, that's obvious.  Mixing Alcohol and Putt-Putt golf can only lead to no good.  Don't do it.  It's impossible to avoid the combination of the Grateful Dead and Mexicali-type food, but, well, do it in moderation.  But, whatever happens, if you're considering picking up that lime green golf ball, put down the Bud Light.  Before it's too late.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Answer #24 - Battling for Kelda

I keep thinking that somehow, this new global community will be the impetus to some form of human evolution.  Not the Darwinian kind, but the movie kind.  The Darwinian kind isn't based on best or brightest or prettiest or smartest, even, no matter what those funny Eugenics wackos thought.  Nope, survival of the fittest is currently at work in humanity.  The current fittest, however, don't look to be my own personal pick to carry the torch of the old double helix, but who am I to question the higher order?

No, I want movie evolution - the kind where, through contemplation of the errors of the past and wise foretelling of the probable future repetitions unless a course is altered [utilizing our increasingly shrinking frontal lobes..the little guys that determine consequence], enlightenment seeps in through the cracks in the gray matter, and, voila!  Jean Luc Picard is driving the ship, and at least a good chunk of the human population has stopped running around banging their heads into trees! (I mean Bud Light cans). 

You may say I'm a dreamer.  But I'm not the only one.

I think this should start by the appointment of a Wise Woman figure in every neighborhood, to solve disputes, provide guidance, and, well, offer wise counsel.  In this way, pockets of peaceful co-existence might actually come into being long enough to slow down our nearly insatiable quest for a Fiery End, blossoming into larger pockets, and then towns, cities... Maybe resulting in less government intervention, fewer police, fewer jails, viable health care, boys in pants that aren't belted mid-thigh. You see the potential trend. 

Seems to me that somewhere along the way, Wisdom (along with Intelligence, Rationality and Leadership) stopped getting pinned to the pink blankets, assigned only to the blue blankets, and, well, hundreds and hundreds of years of the metaphorical equivalent of half the human brain relegated to a dark corner to make mud pies and thumb through Cosmo (not to be confused with Cosmos), and... Oy! What a mess!

What the hell?  You only got Half a Brain?!  (Seriously, isn't this one of our most scathing insults..? let's ponder..)

So how do we go about this?

My favorite living author, Terry Pratchett, has a wise woman figure called a 'Kelda.'  She wields a tremendous amount of power, but wisely, along side the 'Big Man.'  She is a sage and maternal figure to a gigantic hive of 'Feegles' - red-headed, blue-tattoed pixies that drink and fight and steal cows and things - and she doesn't begrudge them their nature or the spoils of their campaigns, but neither does she let them torch the Feegle Hill nor the hills of others, profit off of or steal from the sick, profit from the sale of weapons inscribed with Bible verses, or torture living things in the name of gold or God.

Sadly, Keldas, in Pratchett's world, are born to it.  Since we are neither pixies nor entirely fictional, we'll need a different plan.  A reality TV show might work - 'Battling for Kelda' maybe.  Set it up in every neighborhood across the country: A televised series of tests of skill, cunning, and wit, with teams in matching shirts with lots of candid and sentimental interview segments between challenges.

And then we could, by thoughtful question, choose the true Keldas from the group of women that did not show up for the auditions.

Just a thought.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Answer #23 - No, The Farmer's Almanac must be read in wire-rimmed glasses

Arbutus Responds to Monkey Drool:

Sanctimony came first, followed by Patrimony (by Alimony, out of Matrimony). The anthropologists say it's all ass-shaking, bared teeth and chest-banging. The anthropophagists say "Pass the salt", or "I'd like another slice of the loin, please." I sometimes conflate etymologists with entomologists, but then I'm buggy.

That was a funny blog. LOL.

I've just finished breakfast at The Cracker Barrel, this, in no way, being an endorsement of said establishment, it is, however fact that I was there this morning eating the Egg Sandwich and Hash Brown Casserole.  The roaring fire in the stone hearth, the wooden sleds and farm implements on the wall, pictures of someone's great grand daddy & baby aunt vivian in oval wooden frames, old metal signs for shoe shine polish and dairy products.  Some genius' idea of dragging Norman Rockwell right outta the grave and teaching him to shuck biscuits & gravy.

It works, apparently, because the things have sprung up all over the country.  And look at me, ma, feeling all warm and cozy in the land of trans-fats and high-fructose-corn-syrup-syrup...

We love the past these days.  Look at TJ Max - we love stuff that looks old even if it's not old.  All of the Architectural Renovation places gathering up all the hinges and doorknobs and floor grates that people used to toss in the garbage... we're grabbing on to something that seems to be receding rapidly - is it our history, our perspective, or just the same nostalgia that kicks in for everyone past the age of 22? (for reference, folks, all of the fodder for nostalgia you're going to build will probably have been stocked by then).

I don't know.  The natural world's being replaced by the sharp-edged steel one alarmingly quickly. And me, I write songs - sometimes about people in other times and places.  I don't feel nostalgic about it - just feel the sense of looking back at a time or place that appears more colorful due to the lenses I put on when writing - big, prismy rainbow glasses, like the kind Elton John used to wear - beams of light shooting every which way, and outlining a single image in a halo, like the Virgin of Guadalupe, but not like an aura, because I just can't take much of that crystal munching stuff.   I like writing.  This is why.  Prism rainbow glasses and sometimes I put on platform shoes and pretend I'm Elton.  Not often, and certainly not when anyone's looking.

So, is it appropriate to wear Elton John Rainbow Glasses in Cracker Barrel?

In Cracker Barrel, rainbow glasses and platform shoes would break the spell.  No, in Cracker Barrel,  my glasses are round, wire-frames and my collar buttons high on my neck.  I speak of the weather, what the Almanac said to expect of the Spring rains and how the aunts and uncles are.  I glance at the holiday tchotchke made by small Chinese children on my way out to my car.  It's all a bit of a nasty illusion, the whole thing, and my dog wouldn't approve, but it speaks to something, even in all its schlocky corporate contrivance.

My mother loves the oatmeal there.  I put on the glasses.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Answer #22 - Monkey Drool

So I call Arbutus and leave the message: "I need the word that means the study of words.. Damn it.  Epistomology, epidemiology... what the?!  It's dropped out of my head and Google is thwarting me. Call me back."
Three days later the phone rings: "Etymology,"  she says.  No hello.

"Day late and a dollar short," I say, "but thanks for having been the cause of my disastrous loss of the Facebook argument."

"Krista Detor, do not attempt to elicit my culpability in your quest to leave a trail of drool across the whole of the internet," she remarks, levelly.

"This is not drool!  This is passionate discourse on the issues of the day!  This is the meat and matter of the thing - the push and pull of ideas - the friction and fire that lights the synapses and alters the course of the world!  Debate!," I counter.

"And what, pray tell, lit the fire of this particular world-altering exchange?"

"Oh, some kid posting comments in acronyms and shit.  You know '4' to mean 'for' and 2 to mean 'to' and LOL and crap spelling, and no grammar or punctuation.  Started every sentence with no capitals. He was really pissing me off."

"Goodbye." Click.


What came first? Indignation or Sanctimony?  

I'm going with sanctimony.  Because I'm always indignant in response to it, and, when I'm sanctimonious, I generally incur an indignant response from somebody.

I think they're equally powerful.  Sanctimony being a resounding bonk on the head, and Indignation being a resounding jab to the solar plexus.  Both are aggressive maneuvers intended to throw off the balance of the opponent, though, admittedly, indignation is slightly less powerful as it tends to be of a more defensive and er, whiny nature and your opponent absolutely sees it coming.  But still, you can potentially cause your opponent to double over, so... it's worth the whine.  [In my last life, I think I was a boxer...  but that's another story for another time.  Although if anyone would care to debate reincarnation, I'm in!  No, no I'm not.  I really should get some work done.]

We're funny monkey creatures.  Banging our chests and showing our teeth...  I keep thinking that the on-line trend of chest-banging and spinachy-teeth showing will go the way of the Macarena and the McCarthy Trials any day now...  Any day now...  Any...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Answer #21 - Because you can shine turds

Sorry, that's a musical production term.  The meaning is obvious: turning something not so great into something better.  I realized, after posting the essay yesterday, that the song that came from it (below), which never made an album, gave me lines for four other songs that DID make the album.

So Why Bother Finishing a Song that's Not Coming Together and that you Actually Maybe Can't Stand because it might as well have been written by monkeys. With their own poo. Possibly on the trunk of a banana tree somewhere?

A friend, Peter, said, 'sometimes you've gotta get whatever it is out of the way, so the larger idea can make the light of day.'  I could go on and on with the Poo euphamisms, but I'll tire you.  And me.  Suffice it to say that this is why I write down whatever happens to be kicking in my brain pan.  The song might not gel, but right place, right time, one or two lines might find their way into more realized ideas.

In My Last Life

Verse 1
In my last life I was quiet
when the birds spoke - didn't understand it
Didn't care to, watched the sidewalk crack beneath me*      __________________________________________________________
*[I took this idea for an entirely different song that made the album: Recklessness & Rust' - "Across the bridges, through the moors, Across a million marble floors, the surface cracking at your feet so you tread lightly on the street.."]
Verse 2
In my last life they were laughing
saw me waiting for the next bus
Didn't notice, watched the light show - it was pretty*
*[And this for 'Delivery Me' - a song that did make the album: 
"Deliver me from fools and wickedness and shiny things.."]
Take my last dollar bill and my last sleeping pill
and the last thing that you heard me say
take the incessant chatter of things that don't matter
Go on, take my last life away

Verse 3
In my last life, sugar lemons
stung my fingers where the cuts were
no one's looking, get the sharp knife - sweet and sour*
*[Took this for 'Lorca in Barcelona' (yes, on the new album):
"He's calling out to the people, 'Come and try my oranges, try the sweet, sweet orange, pulling out his knife..'"]
Verse 4
In my last life someone showed me
things I wish I didn't know now
Hadn't seen it, Didn't feel it every hour upon hour upon hour upon hour

Take my last dollar bill and my last sleeping pill
and the last thing that you heard me say
take the incessant chatter of things that don't matter
Go on, take my last life away

Verse 5
Monsters make them, leave the footprints
in the bathtub, rubber daisies
Look, my shadow, sewn to my toe, follows me

Verse 6
In my last life, monsters left them
left the footprints, didn't understand it
what the birds said in the backyard apple tree*
*[And for 'Teeter-Totter on a Star' from the new album:
"Little sparrow says, "that's the way it is - nothing much is ever for free"]
Take my last dollar bill and my last sleeping pill
and the last thing that you heard me say*
*[And this idea of speaking out of turn  for 'Deliver Me'
"Deliver me from fools and holiness and  Hollywood.  A mouth full of soap might do a world of good - all the things I've said that no one ever should."]
take the incessant chatter of things that don't matter
Go on, take my last life away

Monday, January 25, 2010

Answer #20 - Sometimes an essay sparks a song

It's a fine line - the walk between prose writer, songwriter, and poet.  I'll only ever claim songwriter as terra firma, but I dabble in many of forms, including play writing.  Sometimes really badly.  Other times, not so much.  Sometimes a larger idea (or beast) is waiting just beneath the surface, and has to be dealt with before its abstraction can come into being.  Or some such sanctimonious sh*t as that... but the thing is,

Where exactly is this going?

I thought it might be interesting to look at an essay that sparked a song.  Interesting process.  The song that followed remains unrecorded, might make an album someday, but didn't make this one.  I'll post it tomorrow. For now, In my Last Life.

In my last life the curtains were drawn and the ocean's waves landed like giant's feet on a hardwood stage.  I buried bits of wood, carved with my name and birth date all over the back yard and sat at a quiet table in a playhouse, nameless birds chirping bits of secret messages.  I never tried to understand them.  I made mud pies and dreamed of baby dolls sporting hair that grew longer and shorter with the turn of an arm.

I called across the brick wall that separated my neighbors from me - the girl, Ginger, and the boy, Butch - and I heard the sound of engines revving in the driveway across the street.  Tattooed men laughing, boys bursting through the prickly shrubs with footballs and fingers held in Vees, for the peace signs people flashed in parades and marches, and the cigarettes they'd smoke later.

In my last life, monsters made daisy-shaped paw prints in the bathtub and the curtains were always drawn.  The streetlights came on at 8:30 in the summer.  Bikes were strewn on lawns and dogs slept restlessly, chained to backyard trees and immovable posts, dreaming doggy dreams of children wandering near who'd drop bits of half-chewed hot dog and bun; maybe endless dreams of fields of running, steak-shaped rabbits and long, long rivers where dogs swam to the sea.

I dreamed of a giant spider on the wall, they said, when my teeth were coming in, and two years later, told my mother that my grandmother had died, when, in fact, thousands of miles away, she had.  My aunt whispered, conspiratorially, when I, an adolescent, sat gazing over her shoulder at the New York Times crossword puzzle; where I sat in her rococo living room with the thick gold shag carpet and porcelain reproductions of Marie Antoinette and Louis the XIV.  'They never told you, but it's true.. you told her before she got the phone call...'

My only prophecy, but still, dead on.  No one ever asked for an encore.

In my last life, I floated down the river Seine on the back of a porcelain dog, while stone-faced boys lit firecrackers & cigarettes in the deep, black cul-de-saq.  I watched my mother as I drifted by, pulling honeysuckles from the vines, one by one, and pushing them into the empty garden beds.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Answer #19 - Because it's Sunday

Clock of the World evolved during the week-long Darwin Songhouse Project in Shrewsbury, England, last March.  I wrote it, pondering whether we could evolve fast to survive ourselves.  The other three women in the Songhouse added their beautiful voices to it - Karine Polwart, Emily Smith and Rachael McShane. Why post it today?  Ah, well.  You know... the live performance is on the new album.

Clock of the World
I am pondering the citizenry of the place I live -
privilege and advantage, but a willingness to give
These droves and droves of immigrants came teeming across
the plains - the cavalry behind them, and we are what remains

And if you've got a dollar, someone'll give you something for it
but a little more'll get you something nicer, I'm sure of it
Maybe a watch that's made in China from the trunk of someone's car
or a lifesize cardboard cut-out of a famous movie star

But somewhere, bells are ringing, somewhere someone's marrying
or a casket someone's carrying - a crowd somewhere is gathering
and somewhere a bell is marking what is passing and sublime
like the clock of the world, keeping perfect, holy time

Ravenous and beautiful - it's all beyond me, I admit
I can buy it if I want it, but I don't need so much of it
And the price will need repaying - don't know how it will be met
But bells go on ringing, grace may find us yet

Or will angels stumble, weary, tired of tasks they've been assigned?
Chimes ringing resoundly, while they hold the firing lines?
With great imagination we call these creatures from the air
and as easily convince ourselves that they were never there

But somewhere, bells are ringing, somewhere someone's marrying
or a casket someone's carrying - a crowd somewhere is gathering
and somewhere a bell is marking what is passing and sublime
like the clock of the world, keeping perfect, holy time

I am listening for a church bell, and I know, somewhere, it rings
reading Darwin by the window, in the order of natural things
There is grandeur in his viewpoint, these evolutionary strains
Still, nothing's quiet on the Eastern Front, so the cavalry remains
always the cavalry remains

And if you've got a dollar, someone'll give you something for it
but a little more'll get you something nicer, I'm sure of it
Here's a painting of a woman - maybe all the way from Rome!
Look how sad and pretty.  She's so far away from home

But somewhere, bells are ringing, somewhere someone's marrying
or a casket someone's carrying - a crowd somewhere is gathering
and somewhere a bell is marking what is passing and sublime
like the clock of the world, keeping perfect, holy time

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Answer #18 - Because he likes the taste of frat boys

There is a wash of sound in my house.  Nearly every day.  From the inside and the outside - the boys with guitars in the studio and the dog-chasing birds and the bike-chasing dogs.  Sine waves of wood along the top of the old fence and my dog explodes off the porch, in a blur of sound and brown as brightly-colored bike riders pedal past.

My dog needs a shock collar today.  He's chasing a biker, he doesn't mind biting.  He thinks it's his job or he thinks it's the game.

So we walk into the pet store, and Dave says, 'Can you show us to the animal cruelty section, please?'  And I laugh, nervously, as the clerk looks at us blankly.  'We need a shock collar.'  He turns on his heel.  'Right this way.'

Why would we opt for a shock collar?  Dave doesn't want to chain the dog, because the dog is an exceptionally happy dog who likes to roam freely in the hundreds of acres of woods surrounding us, and then take his post on the front porch, master of all he surveys.  So I get that he doesn't want him chained.  I just don't get the incessant killing of small animals and the need to chase anything that moves.  Including cars.

Wait, I do get that.  He's a dog.  I don't get lawsuits.

Dave puts the shock collar on himself.  To test it.  The pain isn't much, and is mostly just startling.  Okay, well, that's that.

And we walk away from the collar and the remnants of its excessive plastic packaging.  The cold front moves in.  Single digit cold and snow.  No bikers, no walkers, no small animals.  That was a month ago.

But it's 45 degrees today.  The bikers are riding by, gearing up for the Little 500.  It's time, I know it's time.  Dave's whistling for him.  'Go for a ride?'  He always comes to that call.  I know it's time.  I know that freedom always comes with a price.  But my dog's not a philosopher.  And he has no real flair for drama.  like I do.  Drama... I'm positively steeped in the gooey stuff.  Yuck.

So I tell myself, as I wipe the drama off with a handi-wipe, who among us couldn't use a shock collar once in a while?  I can't speak for everyone, but honestly, that kind of behavior modification could come in handy for me.  When I feel like posting some politically-indignant status update to Facebook, for example.  Zap.  See, all better.

And he'll forgive me.  I'm sure of it.  As soon as he forgets that it was my idea.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Answer #17 - Yes, if you're easily distracted by shiny objects

Not long ago, Indiana (and other states) got smacked with the 100 Year Flood.  We were mostly lucky.  We mostly got wet, muddy, and shorn of some belongings.  As great floods dictate, though, others lost much more.

It's fresh in my mind, as California's under a deluge, following a season of wild fires.  Mud everywhere.  I'm wondering if Pat Robertson will step up and let us know the cause of this particular event.  Since he's got the telephone line to the sky.  I'm speculating that this situation is probably due to the misguided election of a foreign devil to the post of Governor.  That's what I'm thinking.  He talks funny.  Can't be good.  Pacts with foreign devils are almost as bad as pacts with THE Devil (the one with the big corner office and the great view).

Are Non-Sequitors Really Effective Means of Communication?

Hey, speaking of Alaska, one of my favorite poets is Robert Service.  My father introduced me to him. Every once in a while a writer shows up and pulls the gritty soul of the thing out of the air and lays it out before us.  In the case of Service, he grabbed the beast's heart of Alaska, probably skinned and fileted somewhere in the Yukon, surrounded by rough men, empty whiskey bottles, and circling wolves on the periphery.

I wrote this in his honor not too long ago.  I'm dedicating it to Whole Wheat, Talkeetna, Alaska!  In the meanwhile, I'm hoping that friends and relatives in California ride the storm out and come away with everything they love and great stories to tell.  And hoping further that Pat stays in his glass house.  Preferably in the ivory tower with the flat screen and surround-sound.

Pondering Robert Service and the 100 Year Flood
A hundred year flood, now we're covered in mud
and never such soggy grass mown -
Oh, the teeth of the storm took a perilous form
with a bite only few had 'ere known

Bearing down like a wife who's been given a knife
and a husband with wandering eye
it cut a gash in the land, like the heart of the man
and then left without saying goodbye

Oh, we all heard the warning, but who, in the morning
could dream what the siren rang true!
of a day, as we know, the damn thing'll blow
and it only means lunch is past due!

So some lounged in the evening with appertifs, dreaming
of fireflies, moonbeams and such -
Then to bed with a book, and nary a look
at the radar - bad news is too much!

Nestled in like dumb squirrels in the hollows and burls
of our bedrooms and couches (and gutters)
we woke to the sound of the sky falling down
and the wind tearing off all the shutters

And we cowered and clamored and uttered 'Alas!'
and some hid 'neath the beds in bordellos
in hotels and motels in the black underbelly
and the company of questionable fellows

At the Vid and at Legends where legends are made
on the laps of Night Moves clientele -
and we scuffled and shuffled and prayed for the end
of the storm that might send us to hell!

While the good people clung to their children
and sung songs of teapots and spiders and stars -
there are those, it is said, who'd rather be dead
than give up their stools at the bars

There are those of the wild who've not seen a child
as they'll n'ere see the harsh light of day -
for they sleep with the sun, and a loaded handgun
to banish the demons away

And they chew up the thunder and never crawl under
a shelter, umbrella or roof -
And they spit out the lightening - a spectacle frightening
for even the bravest - 'tis proof

That the Devil is well, and that storm came from hell
and maybe the heart of Man -
Still, for us who lived through it, no drink will undo it -
nor one thousand bags all filled with sand

And we'll speak of this night - and the teeth and the bite
and the rivers that run where none had -
to our grandchildren whisper, 'I nearly lost my sister -
but then that, maybe, wouldn't a been so bad!'

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Answer #16 - I don't want to be disappointed 20 years from now

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did." - Mark Twain

A friend told me recently, 'you need to make the in-my-perfect-life list - what would make you happy in the next hour, next day, next week, next year, next 20 years.'

Solid advice.  In the next hour, it'd be good to get some exercise.  In the next day, it'd be good to play the piano and solidify some dangling legalities, in the next week, it'd be good to have some sort of extensive reconstructive surgery and completely remake myself into someone entirely different.  Preferably blonde and really tall.  In the next year, it'd be .. wait, why am I always so glib?

In the next year it would be good to be less glib and more charismatic.  I'd like people, say, to send me money, randomly, because of my charisma - because they just find me irresistible - so I can be like one of the court composers, commissioned, as it were, by random donations.

WAIT.  still glib.  I really have to think about this.

I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone this morning, with the cover "YOU IDIOTS Meet the Planet's Worst Enemies - Inside the Battle Over Global Warming."  I never buy or read Rolling Stone - but, well, might as well get as many perspectives on the issue as possible.  I have a couple of very intelligent, well-spoken, politically rabidly right-wing friends who believe that Global Warming isn't an issue that should effect the national economic interests.

I argue: the world scientific community's consensus isn't even a whimper in the background anymore - the effects are visible everywhere.  They won't have it, though.  They believe that these 'studies' are funded by special interest, or that this is a situation that has little to do with man's carbon contribution, and therefore, is none of our business.  I argue: Copenhagen was a goddamn disaster because of the unbelievable weight that Oil and Coal Lobbyists carry.. the negative environmental impact of both of these powerful industries is overwhelming!  They won't have it.  Democrats, they say, are a lot of unrealistic, whiny wimps on the dole who'll leave a legacy of debt to our great grandchildren.

Interesting perspective.  But still, what kind of fools will we be to protect our gold while the food and water runs out?  We could be the world's leader in green energy.  Why is it more logical to shit where we eat by exploiting coal and the last drops of oil?  I just don't get the thinking.  Constant reckless consumption and disposal, on a planet that cannot (CANNOT) support the resource drain, leaves us with nothing but a future of starvation, thirst, disease, and death. 

In the next year, I want to feel like I did everything I could to address this reality - away from the rhetoric and dogma, away from the political in-fighting, away from the shit hole that the U.S. 2-party system has dug for itself.  I want to know the difference between scientific propaganda and objectively-funded study. And then I want to do everything I can so that in 20 years, when my children ask me what I did, I won't be disappointed with the answer I give them.

And I want a goat to replace my lawn mower.  I think my dog wants that, too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Answer #15 - Yes, She's Always a Woman to Me

I'm offering up my interpretation of the song.  What the man actually seemed to be implying.  See, I've always been slightly offended by it, much as I can't deny having been a tiny bit influenced (as an infant - probably in-utero) by Billy Joel.  I play the piano, he plays the piano.  Of course I played 'Piano Man' and sang my heart out (in-utero)...

But well, She's Always a Woman.  Not so much.  Degrading.  Mostly a kind of jock-itch approach to the vast and mysterious land of dangerously unpredictable girl-ness.

Seriously, are Women that erratic, unethical, and mostly vapid?

She's Always a Woman - Revised    
She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
and she can ruin your faith with her casual lies
and she only reveals what she wants you to see
blame it all on yourself cause she's always a woman to me.

Has the mind of a feline and nothing like ethics
Mostly likes pretty colors and saline prosthetics
Only looks in your eyes, her reflection to see
Yeah, she's not all that bright but she's always a woman to me

Oh, she takes care of herself, and she lies like a rug -
makes it up as she goes
Oh, and she never thinks twice - like she could think just once -
there's not much that she knows

She can lead you to love, or at least to Las Vegas
Let's face it, she's got all the parts in right places
But she'll bring out the best and the worst you can be -
yeah, you're chasing your tail when she's always a woman to me

Oh, she takes care of herself, and she lies like a rug -
makes it up as she goes
Oh, and she never thinks twice - like she could think just once -
there's not much that she knows

And she'll promise you more than the Garden of Eden -
hey but didn't you ask for that apple you're eatin?
Seems like she took the Fall and you just walked, scot-free
Blame it all on the snake when she's always a woman to me

She is frequently kind, then she's suddenly cruel
But she can do as she pleases, then laugh like a fool
and she can't be convicted - Insanity Plea
And the most she will do is throw shadows at you
and no one knows what that means but me

But she's always a woman to me.
La da da da da da.. La da da da da.. [insert nervous laughter] La da da da da da

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Answer #14 - The Cool Uniforms

The images from Haiti are overwhelming.  I read that Pat Robertson announced the disaster was due to the country having been 'cursed' - as Haiti had signed a 'pact to the devil.'

Idiot.  Nothing drives me to the height of indignance, and concurrently to retreat to some distant cave, far away from the idiots that drive the frenzied fringe to further ignorance-based flipflappery than, well, idiotic statements like his.  But look at the great press he got.  Idiot.  Idiot with lots of money.  Maybe he even believes it.

My question is:
What would be the point of signing a pact to the Devil if he/IT weren't a powerful super-being who could protect his evil faithful followers from an earthquake?

I mean, surely there are perks to signing pacts to the devil.  I thought people who sold their souls to the devil got a handful of years of decadent splendor and the company of countless virgins or something before they had to descend into the Pit of Despair.  The Haitians have hardly had this.  They've had years and years of suffering under unrelenting repression, corruption, injustice and devastating natural disasters.  While the non devil-pact-signing nations have enjoyed relative splendor and the company of virgins, as it turns out, they've also been wacked by larger forces (in recent memory, 911 & Katrina. Just for starters).

Maybe Mr. Robertson hadn't noticed.   Or maybe he'd attribute these God Smitings to people like me, who can't be having with the spread of true evil by way of intolerance and shameful irresponsibility.  People like me who don't send him money and don't vote in the candidates he backs.

But I'm preaching to the choir.  And I can't think of a damn thing I can do to help the Haitians.  Money funneled away, supplies buried in red tape, and the sound of the suffering is deafening.  If anyone has suggestions...

For now I'll pray like Pat prays.  Just not to the same place.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Answer #13 - I see Dead People

I've written pages of bad poetry.  I'm proud of this.  I've held many, many jobs, ranging from Personal Concierge [don't ask] to Restauranteur [don't ask].  I'm proud of this.

But my friend, Marc, has a chance to be a janitor at a funeral parlor, and I'm really, really proud of that. That's the stuff that the Great American Novel is made of.  Me.. I'm looking for meaning and wheeling and dealing, so I don't really have time to look for funeral parlor work - but man, if I could!

Reminds me of the haunted house I lived in Louisiana.  Really strange stuff happened all the time - the tops of flowers would be pulled off their stems and strewn about, my dog used to sit and bark at the wall, the whole place filled with fog in the middle of the day, more than once.  Not kidding.  And I wasn't alone.  Corroborating evidence a-plenty.

But I've noticed that in Louisiana, haunted houses are a given.  Of course there are haunted houses... all those Mississippi Delta ghosts and the like.  I wrote a song called 'The Ghosts of Peach Street' about direct experience, substituting the name CaroleAnne for Carol Spann, so as to protect the innocent.  Until now.  But I digress.

I watched a Discovery Channel special positing a theory that the human soul maybe jumps into hyperspace at the moment the physical body dies.  I like this idea.  Hyperspace sounds fun.  I suppose this is blasphemous, but really, there's nothing anywhere that states definitively that Heaven is not Hyperspace.  And they both start with an H.  

Spent the morning on the phone, trying to figure out when to release the album in the U.S.  If I were, say, Taylor Swift, this would be a sizeable undertaking and involve many be-suited (or, at the minimum, slicked-haired) guys.  In my case, just me and my trusted lawyer.  He's a smart guy.  I'm probably going to have to change the release date.  AGAIN.  This is a blunder.  This is worth a negative 10 points.  Lots of money (this is a relative 'lots) expended, and other important stuff rides on the execution of this thing. 

So why the U.S. release date blunder?

Because I see dead people.  They're distracting.  Them and the voices... well... I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Answer #12 - Actually, I'm channeling Pete Seeger as I arrange and rearrange...

From a song that never made an album:

I got a list of influences when people ask - 
starting with the guy I listened to last
sounds and hooklines ten miles long.  
Yeah, everyone I know can write a pop song

everyone I know is singing somewhere
everyone I know is breathing thin air
everyone I know is writing it down
everywhere I go is everywhere I've been...

My good friend, Marc, showed up tonight.  I got off a plane this afternoon and he was at my door this evening.  I'd forgotten he was coming to play a show in town.  He's a great writer - drove from Knoxville with a guitar and a laptop. 

We talked a while about the business, like you do... we drive and play and write and hope.  Grab the lines when they float in the air above us, get in our cars and drive some more.

We fly blind.  We follow fret lines and road signs.  Gather snap shots and matchbooks.  Keep 'em in coffee cans under our beds and then hope they whisper to us while we sleep.

So, is it just me, or am I suddenly channeling Bob Seger?

Tomorrow's Monday.  Someone else is bound to show up. One point for cleverly linking Bob Seger to Pete Seeger.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Answer #11 - Yes. Only Bigger.

O comfort whispering in the terror, unspeakable explanation of the smoke and cruelty, undo the self-conspiracy, let me dare the boldness of joy - Leonard Cohen from 'The Book of Mercy'

At dinner, last night, the discussion was biblical - more specificially Southern Baptist 'church camp', of which one of the party had been a childhood attendee, and descriptions of the inauguration of the faithful.  The conversation naturally gravitated toward Bill Maher's 'Religulous' and Julia Sweeney's 'Letting Go of God.'

I'm was raised in the Missouri Synod Lutheran church.  I walked away from it early, at 12, maybe - unconvinced.  Too many contradictions, too little discourse, one scary teacher who screamed across the room at me that I was a Bad Christian because the day's King James reading of one of the Books of the Apostles made me drowsy.

Where do you go with that kind of information?  Marlboro Lights and a stolen beer, if you're me, and then a few years of running with the Devil, so to speak.

And yet, there is the still, small voice - there is the miraculous minute or event (we've all had one) - there is something out there, somehow... there is a deep call to a thing, anyway.  Maybe drawn from the long distant awakening to a bright fireball in the sky, maybe the whisperings of intuition or the right brain.  No matter, among the faithful can be counted innumerable brilliant people... so much art stemming from the search for God or surety of the existence.

For this reason, I've started a collection of religiously-inspired works of art.  They're all in my kitchen.  This sounds irreverent, but it's not.  I have a large kitchen in an old house, and I spend a good chunk of my time there when I'm not on the road.  I'm looking for the path that leads to the place.  And while it's true that Pope Leo the XI now occupies some wall space, and I have less than little regard for the gold-glutted institution of which he was the boss of everybody - he's still a reminder that somewhere,  somehow, someone heard a voice, saw a light, felt a flood of recognition, and gave up all of their possessions to follow an idea...

But, well...all these paintings... and.. well..
Does God Really Look Just Like Us, er, Man?

It's unclear why he'd look like the male version of this particular species - seems impractical, as a being comprised entirely of light and love.  Why the fur and teeth?  Is there a digestive system?  I dunno.  If the boys are right, yes, yes he does.  Only bigger.

But, these same boys have said some funny things.  No offense, boys, but it's been a long road for us girls - still a long road in many places - and damn it, I've seen pictures from space shuttles.  The Earth is definitely round.  And definitely not at the center of the universe.

Obviously, I have much work to do.  For now, chanterelle souffle under the benevolent gaze of the Pope.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Answer #10 - Move to Pandora

Minus 2 points for the new argument over publishing. But 4 points for the nice guy who pointed out that the mere existence of 'fans' is worth something. True. This is very, very true. This fan number may diminish as this blog goes on, though - because, really, what we want from the people who write stories and sing songs is the stories and the songs.. not necessarily a view into the deranged innards of said writers. Especially by way of their blogs.

I don't read biographies. I don't want to know the unpalatable characteristics of my favorite Soap stars (wait, I don't have them, but if I did, I wouldn't want to know). I don't want to know if Terry Pratchett (my favorite living author) keeps a photo of Mao Tse Tung under his pillow or dresses Heinrich Himmler when his wife's away. I know that people are capable of all manner of atrocity. I don't want to know where and how. I really don't. I want the best of everybody - all the time. And yet, I'm writing this.

So how do we get the best of everybody all the time?

My sister, who acts as my source for all pop cultural relevance and, more importantly, all things technical, notified me yesterday that there are now on-line forums for people who are depressed, despondent, and thinking suicidal thoughts because they can never actually live on Pandora (for those of you who refuse the 3-D experience [sorry, but it was absolutely visually stunning] - Pandora is the fictional world depicted in the BLOCKBUSTER movie AVATAR).

This left me speechless, and yet, somehow, I get it. Who wouldn't want to leave this planet for one that is absolutely teeming with life, every molecule inter-connected, where wisdom is revered (read: THE LOGICAL RESPECT OF EXPERIENCE COMBINED WITH INTELLIGENCE. If the media is right, we Americans just hate that shit, preferring bombast and instant gratification ANY day!) and you get to fly around on bitchin dragon-looking things with an amazingly lithe, TALL blue body. These fictional people are basically at their best, all the time.

Interestingly enough, though, I didn't notice any brooding types anywhere on Pandora - no one drunk on fuzzy pink alien plant goo, carving his poem into a purple tree trunk - no one painting Home Tree black, cigaroofaloff hanging off his lip... like probably many of the folks who conceived of Pandora and painted it into existence.

Oh, this opens a can of alien worms, really. Art is a mess. A beautiful mess. Slithering out of which is an age-old enigma and we could all bat around 'what is art?' And maybe more imporantly, 'are there any happy artists?' But let's not.

Maybe you don't want to know. Maybe I don't want to know, but I'm writing this because I can't move to Pandora - because I want to find meaning in what I'm doing - because I have a feeling that if I follow the trail of crumbs, at the minimum I'll find a gingerbread house. And sure, it'll be just a brief burst of joy, and yeah, there's always a price to pay - but what a gooey, gumdroppy way to go...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Answer #9 - Because my imaginary friends tell me timeliness is bad

It's late. I know. But the plane just landed, and, in keeping with my previous commitment to the continued assignment of points on a graph to my endeavors, here I am. I'm in a different state today - don't want to say too much because there are just so many stalkers and restraining orders lately*, but, different states (literally, a different state in the union) tend to bring different perspectives.

In this state, Glenn Beck's books are selling big at the WalMart check out. I flick his nose everytime I see his likeness somewhere. [I also flick Sarah Palin's nose, Anne Coulter's nose (twice) and Toby Keith's nose. I admit this openly. But I digress]

So.. perspective...

Perspective... it's such a short ride. Life, I mean. Someone pointed out yesterday that I shouldn't view the record 'business' as 'business' - but the love of the thing. I thought maybe I ought to clarify that I do most definitely do the thing for love. But the business is a reality -it's never been the writing or playing music that's been at question - the real work of this job is the sheer number of hours dedicated to making it happen - daily. A performer friend said recently, 'I do the shows for love - for no money at all - it's the 20+ hours of work per show that I get paid for.'

I write because I'm a writer. I always will write. As long as I can, I will play music and sing, and as long as I can I'll wander the world.

This blog is about perspective. Utterly self-indulgent navel gazing, but my navel is fascinating. Seriously. strange folds and curves. It's practically a labyrinth, it's so complex and, well, fascinating. The business of music - the nuts and bolts business of business - not so fascinating. Timely, orderly people are good at it. Easily distracted songwriters with imaginary friends who dress like Madonna (Material Girl era) and get them into all kinds of trouble - not so much.

So why am I having such a hard time being a timely, orderly business person?

I think the answer is obvious. Until I work out how to be a timely, orderly business music person, or get new imaginary friends, I'll need to continue blogging. Until then, you just keep on pushing my love over the borderline...

*all imaginary, as well

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Answer # 8 - No

A static hum rattling my teeth today. I barely slept. Woke up and went looking for fights to pick on Facebook. Felt slightly better and then slightly worse. That's how I roll.

1 point yesterday for interest from NUVO in an article on the coming CD Show (Feb. 13th) - 1 point for confirmation of a 2nd N. Ireland show. 1 point for continuing to blog, despite the fact that blogging feels slightly ridiculous, especially when reducing the daily events of one's life to mere randomized points on a graph is what you're blogging. But damn it, if you're going to evaluate the worth of your endeavor, you've got to graph your progress, right? So you can make the tough decisions at the end of the evaluation period. And then maybe formulate New Coke... or something. Right? Or burn all your money and walk into the woods with a .22 and your accordion.

Is this blog maybe a diversion from the bigger questions and harder decisions that I maybe ought to address?

No. This blog is all that matters. 1 point for getting my priorities straight.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Answer #7 - It's Full of Stars

There are books I'd write that I've thought aloud, with a hundred years more and a fountain pen, and a fountain pen, and my worries gone, all my worries gone, write em down..

Heading to Europe to release the new album Mid-March. It's an amazing experience everytime I go. This is one of the best parts of the job - the travel. Sparks snap shots, which spark stories, which spark songs. This story/essay, jotted down while being driven through the Dutch countryside, sparked a song which didn't make an album, but, in turn, kicked a new song that did '100 Years More' - a lyric from which is above.

The man in the green shirt looks down into a hole. The horse stands there, seemingly patient, but who knows what dark thoughts are held in the half-crazy horse mind. There are no tulips today and there should be, but spring is late this year. So instead, the hue of the world is neutral beige and olive gray, with accents of red barn paint and tiled rooftops.

We could just as easily be in Iowa. What is in the hole the man is looking into? If we were in Iowa, would there be seeds tucked away in a sack? Seeds would maybe be in the hole - maybe some corn and a dead fish, like at Plymouth Settlement, before the big feast and the small pox.

But we’re not in Iowa. And we’ve never been to Iowa. I tell him that the man in the green shirt is probably burying a heart in a shallow hole, and that it will most likely keep him awake at night – or float up to his porch steps at the next big rain, like a puffy purple sailboat. He isn’t listening, but I don’t really care. I’m not really listening, either, and he didn’t see the green man. Besides, burying a human heart is solitary work, and I feel the weight of eavesdropping, the dirty pleasure of spying. So I look away. The heart will find him soon enough, though. It always does.

Someone says we’re going west. I don’t remember metric conversions, so I navigate by the distance from the shallow hole, and it is 2 hours behind me. He knelt next to it, looking so intently. Maybe he’d already buried the thing, maybe years ago. Maybe he couldn’t take it anymore and came, finally, to the far corner of his fields to dig it up. But the rains have started. Maybe he changed his mind at the last minute, and sat at the hooves of the anxious horse and cried.

There is a price for everything. There is always a price. So you follow the skyline and your eyes land on a green man, and suddenly you’re part of the story, and the beating of the thing, and you’d look away if you could, but you walk the furrough alongside the patient, crazy horse and breathe shallow every step of it. Because you don’t know where you’ll end up or what price you’ll pay for it – not ever understanding why you always manage to think the worst. Maybe you can’t ever get far enough from Iowa and shallow holes and cloudy fish eyes. Even when you’re speeding toward Amsterdam in the back of a blue sedan.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Answer #6 - In Vodka Veritas

.. some kind of madness there in your coffee cup
why do you drink it up - and swallow sorrow down til you drown?

No movement on the points scale yesterday. Though I'm taking 1 point for all of the horribly envious thoughts I'm currently harboring for anyone who did make any sort of headway in the music business yesterday.

Is this the reason I insisted on a 4-martini night? (I think it was 4). Let's call it 4. Anyway, is this the reason I insisted on a 4-martini night? Envy? Jealousy? Jealousy and Envy?

I'm taking another point just for typing that sentence.

But more importantly, why, why do I always insist on deep, meaningful, heartfelt conversations when I hit Martini #2, causing me to dive, headlong, into the bottom of Martini #4?

Because Vodka is a horrible truth serum. A deadly potato evil, conceived of by some evil guy somewhere in the frozen yonder, meant to induce slobbery confessions and slobberier professions - followed by (and this is where the REAL evil comes in) an incessant replay of the previous evening's conversations, accompanied by searing headache and gut-wrenching embarrassment.

You can only hope that whomever you delivered the slobbery confessions or professions to was also under the evil spell of the evil elixir of slobberiness, and doesn't remember how much you claimed to love them, or your admission that you may or may not have slept with their ex-husband at some point or another in the distant past.

And then, the WORST of it is that you KNOW in your soul that the only thing that will make you feel REMOTELY human is a Bloody Mary. But you don't have any tomato juice. Or celery. And the thought of driving to the store to get these things is out of the question, because, well, chances are you'd probably blow at least a .08. Don't drink and drive. Especially the next day. That's my motto. So then you have to opt for Alka Seltzer and chocolate chip cookies. And that's just wrong.

Evil. Two points for being delusional and wasting a whole day wallowing in misery and cookies. I'm supposed to be a songwriter, not Charles Bukowski. Don't get me wrong - there are alot of drunken songwriters, too. I mean, I'm in good company, I suppose. Still. I haven't written a song in maybe 3 months... so...

No more vodka. I swear. I mostly swear. Right after I get someone to drive me to the store.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Answer # 5 - Woof!

"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." - Mark Twain

Dave earned 5 points yesterday for the cause. He's finished recording Chase Coy's new album for Universal - and it's with the mixing engineer, Michael Brauer, in New York at Electric Ladyland. Michael sent the following message: "Your awesome recording of Chase has made mixing this record easy.." - Since he's a multi-grammy winning engineer (Cold Play, Bob Dylan, The Stones, Paul McCartney, Ben Folds 5, John Mayer, KT Tunstall,, this is good for the studio. And then, by osmosis I suppose, good for music progress.

However, I lose 6 points because of perspective.

It happens. Some mornings I wake up, following a night of dreaming in the badlands, and my first thought is: If War, Agri-Sustenance, Ink., and Medicine are now the Big Businesses, humans are doomed to short, hungry lives of swimming in seas of blood. Hence, what the hell is the point of trying to sell records while they're dogpaddling?

Yes, this is a depressing thought. The coffee's only marginally helping because I'm not sure who picked the beans or whether or not some multi-nat'l corporate entity is forcing them to buy water from them, rather than collect it from the sky. It says 'Fair Trade' - but funny corporations have funny ways of getting around the 'rules.' It's alot of pressure, wading through the contradictions, Newspeak, and fear-proliferating bile that the god of money demands at its altar.

Surprise. Rationality in the U.S. is on the wane. Again. And I'm reminded of the famous photo of Samuel Beckett and James Joyce sitting in chairs across from each other, lost in dismay at what we are. Baffled that we can't seem to squelch enough cave gunk off our brains to see what we could become. Luckily, they didn't have to witness what we're in the midst of now - the bombastic media idiots marching lemmings to the sea, draped in flags and prayer beads. Oh hell, maybe they did. I wasn't there.

'OH-Ho', you're thinking! 'Did someone sprinkle too much grumpy on her whole wheat toast this morning?' Not on purpose, but yes. Yes she did. It's not easy to keep a grip on the hope-and- sunshine-shaker when Beckett, Haliburton and Monsanto hijack your dreamscape.

But my dog is nudging my arm. "Ride? Ride?" He's saying it with his ears, and his tail, I think. Luckily, my thoughts shift from Doublespeak to Dogspeak. I'm like that. Shiny objects. Squirrel!! You get the idea.

So, Should Dogspeak Replace Newspeak?

I'm not fluent in Dogspeak, but I get the general idea most of the time. And Newspeak is practically second nature to all of us now, though requires hefty doses of anti-anxiety, depression and sleep meds to swallow. Dogspeak, however, is a hopeful thing. Since Newspeak (based soundly on the framework of Doublespeak) requires little or no nuance, and communicates next to nothing - Dogspeak could change the world as we know it. Think of it! Meaningful communication!

For example, to perpetrate a lie would require probably no less than 100 careful subtleties & nuances, including ear twitches, secretions, and hackle-raisings. That's complicated, that is. As a bombastic politico, you'd most likely find yourself surrounded by a low-growling pack of teeth-bared constituents, should you fall back into your native tongue of Newspeak and start secreting and twitching like a Big Fat Liar.

This is just an idea. Because words aren't working so well anymore. Unless, of course, they're accompanied by a melody. [Ear twitch, nostril flare, slight smell of dandelion] Okay then. Woof.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Answer #4 - Because Plastic Surgery is like Crack

It's Dave's birthday (oh, and Elvis', to whom Dave bears a striking resemblance AND Jim Kloss' who bears a striking resemblance to Dave!), and the happiest place on earth for him (Dave) is Lowe's. This is the truth. My day started with a cup of coffee, followed by a trudge through the snow and a slippery ride into town, in order to get a big whiff of sawdust and pipe grease (on sale). In return, he'll build something cool - and then, happy birthday to me!

Back in the saddle, yesterday was a positive points day. I got a new show at a theatre in Holland during the Dutch leg of the Spring Tour. No, I can't pronounce the theatre name, but it's a good show and everyone in Holland speaks better English than I do. New show - 1 point. My friend, Mo, reminded me that she's busting her ass to help things along in Europe - and that her existence alone in this capacity is worth points. I agree. 5 points. Lastly, 2 points because I'd forgotten that my friend, Carrie, reminded me the night before that the music business has a tendency to make you believe that if your numbers/fans/sales aren't climbing daily, you're, well, a failure. 'Look at Michael Jackson,' she said. '10,000,000 albums sold and every album had to beat the last one's sales.'

And we all know where that kind of thinking led him.

So Why Don't We All Want to be as Famous as Michael Jackson?

Who wouldn't want to be? Great Big Pots of Money, Throngs of Attractive People Waiting to Kiss your Shoes, er, Glove.. Red Carpets rolled out on every Sidewalk, Attendance at the Royal Courts of the World, Jets, Polo Ponies, and oh the Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams!

Oh, but there's a big, bubbly price to pay. A BIG one. Take Garth Brooks & that whole 'Chris Rock and Roll Guy Alter-Ego' debacle. Too much fame and his whole reality of exactly who would follow him into the Whack Woods was skewed. Jewell and the book of, er, poetry? Girl thought she was Sylvia Plath there for a minute. ["..together we have sensed distance stretch it's defeating spine between our hearts.. " Stop it.] And, the biggest price paid, perhaps, was that of Michael Jackson and the evolutionary nose. It just kept getting smaller and squarer, and then pretty soon he had to put some sort of copper nose cover on it, and then it couldn't be exposed to the light... and then he was hanging 'Baby Blanket' off a balcony in Germany that time and, well, even the circuses couldn't touch him. Famous, mostly rich, publicly ridiculed, and miserable.

So, the answer is obvious: Because huge amounts of fame and fortune lead you to delusional beliefs about yourself. And while you ascend to a semi-demi-godhood, in your mind, we, the little people, the civilians, the ants, can see right up your.. um.. nose. Yuck.

And because Plastic Surgery is like Crack. All the celebrities are hooked. In a couple years, Sarah Palin will confirm that. I mean, deny that. I promise.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Answer #3 - I Google Myself

It's snowing. I like the snow - my dogs like the snow. Southcentral Indiana is a fairly temperate place, considering it's in the Midwest, so the occasional snow shower is a treat. The rest of the winter is a cold series of snapshots: sticks against gray background. Snow helps.

Yesterday, I saw that Rich Warren picked 'The Darwin Songproject CD' as his pick of the week last week. This is a nice thing, 1) because Rich's show broadcasts out of Chicago on WFMT and also XM Radio and 2) I was part of the project & am on the CD. I'll take 5 points for that since I'm the one who sent him the disc in the first place. Still waiting to talk to my lawyer (who's in New York) and today I'll update my tour schedule for the U.S. Agency, while waiting for the U.K. tour to completely firm up. In the interim, I'll try to stay on top of who might be playing my stuff, who might be talking about me, who might be pushing shows already - which, of course, leads to the question:

How Do You Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of What the World Thinks of You?

I Google myself. Try it! It's fun and safe. Every reference made to me (or you) just about anywhere in the universe can be found within the Googleplexity. But be careful - someone out there is bound to refer to you in terms that will cause you to reconsider amassing weaponry - and then begins the hard work of balancing impulse and rationality. 'Do I grab a piece from my weapons stockpile and go find this person and let him know that a rapier wit is never really as effective as a loaded gun?,' is a question you might have to ask yourself.

God knows I have.

Or maybe I'm all wrong about the fantasies of showing up on strangers' doorsteps wrapped in bullets and duct tape. Maybe I should consider the wise words of Roger Rosenblatt (Garrison Keillor and I think he's the bees knees):

"Ignore your enemy or kill him... the idea is not to care, not to pretend you don't care, but to really not care. Trust me. You have just extended your enviable life."

Of course, if I follow this advice, I'll most likely have to stop Googling myself. Or not care what I may or may not read in Google, and see it strictly as a barometer of activity or inactivity. Okay. I'll stop Googling myself. Soon. Really soon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Answer #2 - Because Showtime just might use one of your songs someday and then you'll be hugely famous

I'm starting the day sending out the first round of promo CDs to the friendly folks who critique for a living and whom are sympathetic to my cause - translation: like my music. This is time-consuming but important. They're important people who can determine, early on, how a disc might be received. And they're honest. Important. The album release tour is right around the corner (March) - and this morning, alone, I've already spoken with Germany, England, Michigan, Kansas, Seattle, on-line retailers, on-line digital distributors, a woman who'd like to open some shows on the Dutch leg of the tour, my Euro record label (not nearly as pretentious as it sounds), my lawyer and my wonderful U.S. agent (in case he's ever reading this). Twice. And it's 10:00am.

Yesterday, two UK shows fell through because of double-booking, or possibly because Mercury is in retrograde or the Moon is in the 7th House. I'm waiting to see if a deal to push a new song on-line is met with approval by my attorney and whether or not ANOTHER U.S. label is interested. The retail industry is declining rapidly. Grab your discs while you can. They'll go the way of the dinosaur.

I'm instituting a points system, based on advance or regress, daily. So far I'm at -2 points

Clearly, as of yesterday, the cons outweigh the pros. We'll see how today goes.

Which brings me to the question:

Why do I put myself through the Wringer of Adulation & Rejection on a Daily Basis in a Declining Industry?

My last two discs are sitting at Showtime with a lovely Line Producer. He had really wonderful things to say about them, including, 'beautiful and poignant pieces don't often find their way into the show [Weeds], but we'll definitely keep them on file.'

I'm holding out for the beautiful and poignant minute when Mary Louise Parker (whom I bear a striking resemblance to) falls desperately in love with some poet (who bears a striking resemblance to Lord Byron, minus the club foot) and they notify me that one of my songs will close out the episode. Then I'll watch the download cash roll straight into my bank account and the world will be my oyster.

That's why.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Answer #1: Because There are Invisible Aliens in the Air Vents

I woke up at the start of a century, bombs dropping all around me -
I woke up and I put my gas mask on in America, in America -
I woke up at the dawn of a new world - mug shots and rainblows for little girls -
I woke up and I think I need a drink in America, that's what I think

I'm a singer/songwriter [hey, who isn't? you might ask]. Krista Detor is my name. I should be working, but instead I'm blogging. On January 5th, I should be starting whatever media blitz I can muster in order to launch a new album on March 15th. And I will start later, but for now, I'm going to log, daily, the next year of my life - what advances I manage to make in the business of music, and determine, at the end of the year, whether or not to continue on this path, or forge another that involves either saving the world or amassing weaponry.

Ah, Clever, I know. And not at all inspired by the caustic and witty woman who wrote the book about Julia Child. I however, in the traveling circus that is my life, have amassed answers to the questions we all have. So, in this blog, I'll kill two birds with one stone - I'll post my progress in the nebulous world of musicianhood - and will dispense definitive answers, with no regard for opinion to the contrary, so just relax.

I begin entry #1 musing on the plane ride to the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals* - which begged the question:

Why are people wearing surgical masks on airplanes?

The air pressure. Viscosity. Zicam increases snot viscosity. It's up my nose, even though people say I might lose my sense of smell. Plane air. Airborne viruses. A young Asian girl with a surgical mask. I keep seeing them. People wearing surgical masks. "It's funny," Hope said, "the way in which humans adapt to a new set of crises."

Air pressure. Drops and dips, as does the plane. SkyMall. I'm reading about the 'potty putter' - the golf enthusiast's bathroom pass-time. Practice your putt while you're on the potty. It can't be true, but it is. As true as the Me & Fifi Matching sweater set for you & your chihuahua. I reach for the vent above me. Recirculated air hisses, cool. hair in my eyes. The lady to my left has a chihuahua in a special bag with a little hole in the top. jittery chihuahua with watery eyes handbag. humans. funny.

pressure in my ears. ear plugs. where did I put them? Right. in the bag with the Emergen-C. Under the seat. 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C. artificial raspberry flavored. airborne viruses. I live in a funny human time. The viruses live in a funny human time. Funny invisible viruses. Probably just beings in a dimension we're unaware of. As ants are unaware of us. human game board. viral alien players. alien antennae up my nose and then I'm sick. but Zicam increases snot viscosity. Aliens don't like goopy zincy-snot on their buggy protrusions. funny aliens.

She's walking on air. Here comes the person who used to be the stewardess but has a different title now. flight attendant. no more ass-smacking shake that money maker sweetheart while you fetch me a screwdriver. No more 115 lb. weight limit. She's even a He sometimes. This is progress, I think. But neither of them is nice as they used to be.

Airborne. I'm airborne. I want to blow my nose, but the zicam needs to stay in place. snot viscosity is all that protects me now. invisible aliens with slick protrusions taunting the chihuhua. that's why he's so nervous. Must be. that's why the man in the row in front of me has the surgical mask on. the chihuhua has told him they're very near now. they're close now. just above him, invisible alien head sticking out of the twisty air vent. funny twisty vents. why don't we have them in our ceilings & walls at home? without the aliens, I mean. that would be funny. hundreds of twisty vents on every surface. "Hey! Who turned all the twisty vents off? You cheeky little scamps!"

Sitting in a chair, flying through the air. Like the 'everything's amazing and nobody's happy' video guy on YouTube says. So I'm reminding myself that this is amazing. I'm sitting in a chair, flying through the sky. The teenage girl in the seat to the right of me is increasingly worried, though, and less amazed. ‘The H1N1. it's here. what's going to happen?’ ‘2012, the Maya calendar ends. the end of the world, they're saying. are we going to die?' 'My friend says a meteor's coming..’ ‘I'm starting to lose faith in the human race.’ I can hear that she's swallowing hard, fighting emotion. funny tears. I never mastered control of them, not really.

I don't know what will come through the air. But I say, 'Yes, you're going to die. Eventually. You'll probably be 112, and you really won't mind then. Don't listen to those idiots who talk all that 2012 crap... it's just ONE of the Mayan calendars, and come on - those guys thought the world was only something like 50,000 years old. Oh, and that their ancestors were present when the whole thing was pooped out of the rear end of a snake or something. This makes her laugh.

And listen, kid - this has never been an easy place to be. Big blue ball - hurtling through space - no one knows why or where to - but what's important is that you decide what you want to make of it while you're here. It's an amazing place - it's unspeakably beautiful - it's anything you imagine it to be. And there are millions of amazing people like you. Have faith in them. Don't be afraid. just breathe... and then do what you love... and tell your friend I'm going to kick his ass if he keeps tossing this end of the world crap at you. Forget it, I’ll find him and tell him myself on facebook.

Just breathe. And the pressure... the air... the dips and drops - I'm flying through the air, sitting in a chair, armed only with zicam. viscosity. I don't know how I'm hurtling through the air or what will come through the air. I decide, though, that I'll speak something to her of possibility.. I'll show her something amazing on-line - I'll find some shred of the faith I lost, because she needs it. She really, really needs it. And I'm not going to be afraid of some alien scumbag with slicky protrusions. I twist the airvent off. His invisible slimy head lands in the lap of the chihuahua lady. must have, because that damn watery-eyed rat dog yaps all the way to Ottawa.

*Intrigue in hotel rooms and more!