everything you ever wanted to know about nothing at all...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stop Kickin' My Dog Around

What happened to my dog? One day he's my furry little friend, the next day I pick him up from the groomers & he looks like he belongs in a Taco Bell commercial.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Suzanne-Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

Buddy, Won't You Roll Down the Line?-Uncle Dave Macon-Anthology of American Folk Music

Gone Till November-Wyclef Jean, Carnival

Thunder on the Mountain-Bob Dylan, Kalamazoo 2008

Before This War-TV on the Radio

Happy Sunday, friends...


Friday, January 23, 2009

The sky cracked it's poems in naked wonder

The way it goes is I complain about working too much, & then an afternoon comes when I finally get to leave early & I don't know what to do with myself. Then I sit at my computer & wonder what I'm going to do all afternoon & soon enough the afternoon turns into night & I get to go back to work the next day. Here's a few poems I read whilst whiling away the hours. I don't think I'll do very good at retirement.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson, 1861

Life, friends. Is Boring. We Must Not Say So.

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatedly) 'Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.' I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as achilles,

Who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.

John Berryman, 1964

Oh, & for those of you who are interested & aren't suffering with dial-up, here's some selection from 2008's best albums.

The Black Keys, I Got Mine, from the album Attack & Release.

My Morning Jacket, Sec Walkin, from Evil Urges

Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Easy Does It, from Lie Down in the Light

Alejandro Escovedo, Sister Lost Soul from Real Animal

Wolf Parade, Fine Young Cannibals from At Mount Zoomer

Beck, Gamma Ray from Modern Guilt


REM, Living Well is the Best Revenge, Accelerate--finally a decent album from REM.

Fleet Foxes, White Winter Hymnal

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig! Lazarus, Dig! from Dig! Lazarus, Dig!-this wins the award for the only music video I watched in 2008, & it's quite funny.

Sun Kil Moon, Tonight the Sky, from April

The Drive By Truckers, Two Daughters & a Beautiful Wife, Brighter then Creation's Dark

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Hopscotch Willie from Real Emotional Trash

The Roots, 75 Bars (Black's Reconstruction) from Rising Down

& last but not least, the finest song from Bob Dylan's Tell Tale Signs, Red River Shore

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

The Show-The Roots, Rising Down

Cold Son-Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash

I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You-Louis Jordan & Louis Armstrong

My Sweet Lord-George Harrison, The Concert for Bangladesh

Keep Eye on Other's Gain-Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Lie Down in the Light

Happy Friday, friends...


Monday, January 19, 2009

Inside the museums infinity goes up on trial...

Happy Monday, friends. Tomorrow, as you watch the inauguration of our 44th president, you'll gaze at the stage & wonder. What will the next four years bring? Will the Iraq war end soon? Will the economy start to turn around anytime soon? What primer was used on the front rail of the stage? Well, friends, I can answer one of those questions for you. It was A-100 Oil Primer. It is a slow drying alkyd primer, ideal for proper adhesion on any exterior wood surface. I suppose you are also wondering which person stared at this crossroads of history & sold them this primer. Well, dear readers, it was me, & I'm pleased to say that I touched this little piece of history. The railing was built & primed here in West Michigan, in little ol' Zeeland & was shipped to Washington DC in specially made crates where it was painted with Duration Exterior Paint. After the inauguration, it will be shipped to Texas where it will be re-used for 2013.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Sodom, South Georgia-Iron & Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days

Dear Mrs Roosevelt-Woody Guthrie

Dear Missis Roosevelt, don't hang your head and cry;
His mortal clay is laid away, but his good work fills the sky; This world was lucky to see him born.

He's born in a money family on that Hudson's rocky shore;
Outrun every kid a-growin' up 'round Hyde Park just for fun;
This world was lucky to see him born.

He went away to grade school and wrote back to his folks;
He drew such funny pictures and always pulling a joke;
This world was lucky to see him born.

He went on up towards Harvard, he read his books of law;
He loved his trees and horses, loved everything he saw;
This world was lucky to see him born.

He got struck down by fever and it settled in his leg;
He loved the folks that wished him well as everybody did;
This world was lucky to see him born.

He took his office on a crippled leg, he said to one and all:
"You money changin' racket boys have sure 'nuff got to fall;"
This world was lucky to see him born,

In senate walls and congress halls he used his gift of tongue
To get you thieves and liars told and put you on the run;
This world was lucky to see him born,

I voted for him for lots o' jobs, I'd vote his name again;
He tried to find an honest job for every idle man;
This world was lucky to see him born,

He helped to build my union hall, he learned me how to talk;
I could see he was a cripple but he learned my soul to walk;
This world was lucky to see him born.

You Nazis and you fascists tried to boss this world by hate;
He fought my war the union way and the hate gang all got beat;
This world was lucky to see him born.

I was torpedoed on my merchant ship the day he took command;

He was hated by my captain, but loved by all ships hands;
This world was lucky to see him born.

I was a Gl in my army camp that day he passed away,
And over my shoulder talkin' I could hear some soldier say:
"This world was lucky to see him born."

I guess this world was lucky just to see him born;
I know this world was lucky just to see him born;
This world was lucky to see him born.

No Man's Land-Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche

Thin Blue Flame-Josh Ritter, The Animal Years

War is Kind-Jakob Dylan, Seeing Things

Mother you saw my eyes
On the fourth of July
Under a banner of roman candles
Mother war is kind
Like hell but I am fine
Brother have you gone west
Have you followed through once yet
You are still younger how dare you forget
Brother war is best
In the morning when you've had rest

Like a lost dog between houses
In the unknown open country
Line up at dawn to see who's missing
My age is a metaphor
It only speaks of everything before

Daughter you wear my name
Those are my eyes keep 'em raised
I may have scars but I give more than I take
Daughter war is safe
Where you are far away
Lover are you gone
My heart has taken too much on
One octave lower than thunder it drums
lover war is done
In more ways than just one

Like a lost dog between houses
In the unknown open country
Like an outlaw now standing
At the foot of infinity
The sun is wild
And just in front of me

Happy Monday, friends...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's been good to know ya!

Well, what do you know. 50+ years after being blacklisted from television for having communist friends, Pete Seeger was at the Lincoln Memorial today, playing in front of thousands of people including future president Barack Obama. Seeger, his grandson & Bruce Springsteen played a singalong version of Woody Guthrie's most famous song, This Land is Your Land.

On an unrelated night, my pal Glorious is heading to Maui in a couple of weeks & that got me to thinking about our trip to Hawaii & looking at pictures. One of the things that excited me most about Hawaii is going to the edge of a cliff & watching the waves crash against the rocks. It is pure, unadulterated nature, it's extremely powerful, dangerous & beautiful. The rocks stop the water at an instant, & over the course of many years the water slowly erodes & sculpts the rocks. It's just like life, I guess, some things change you at an instant & others slowly work on you.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Thunder Road-Bruce Springsteen

What's Goin' On?-Marvin Gaye

People Get Ready-Curtis Mayfield

Sing Me Spanish Techno-The Pornographers

No Cars Go!-The Arcade Fire

Happy Sunday, friends...


Saturday, January 17, 2009

One last deal gone down

The song "Changing of the Guards" has been swirling around in my head for the last few days. It opens up the album "Street Legal" which was almost universally panned by critics for sounding like Vegas. With only a couple of listens, it's easy to tell why with it's backup singers & horn section. It's a big sound, & there are a lot of big issues to deal with. Sometimes, though, if you try to tackle too much in a song, it sinks with it's own weight & that is most certainly true of several songs on this album.

Changing of the Guards, though, isn't one of them. I love a song that I can't figure out & I've never been able to figure out this one, & I've tried. Every listen gives a different explication. Give it a try, if you must.

Changing Of The Guards

Sixteen years,
Sixteen banners united over the field
Where the good shepherd grieves.
Desperate men, desperate women divided,
Spreading their wings 'neath the falling leaves.

Fortune calls.
I stepped forth from the shadows, to the marketplace,
Merchants and thieves, hungry for power, one last deal gone down.
She's smelling sweet like the meadows where she was born,
On midsummer's eve, near the tower.

The cold-blooded moon.
The captain waits above the celebration
Sending his thoughts to a beloved maid
Whose ebony face is beyond communication.
The captain is down but still believing that his love will be repaid.

They shaved her head.
She was torn between Jupiter and Apollo.
A messenger arrived with a black nightingale.
I seen her on the stairs and I couldn't help but follow,
Follow her down past the fountain where they lifted her veil.

I stumbled to my feet.
I rode past destruction in the ditches
With the stitches still mending 'neath a heart-shaped tattoo.
Renegade priests and treacherous young witches
Were handing out the flowers that I'd given to you.

The palace of mirrors
Where dog soldiers are reflected,
The endless road and the wailing of chimes,
The empty rooms where her memory is protected,
Where the angels' voices whisper to the souls of previous times.

She wakes him up
Forty-eight hours later, the sun is breaking
Near broken chains, mountain laurel and rolling rocks.
She's begging to know what measures he now will be taking.
He's pulling her down and she's clutching on to his long golden locks.

Gentlemen, he said,
I don't need your organization, I've shined your shoes,
I've moved your mountains and marked your cards
But Eden is burning, either get ready for elimination
Or else your hearts must have the courage for the changing of the guards.

Peace will come
With tranquility and splendor on the wheels of fire
But will bring us no reward when her false idols fall
And cruel death surrenders with its pale ghost retreating
Between the King and the Queen of Swords.

Copyright ©1978 Special Rider Music

Street Legal was released in 1978, a year later the album Slow Train Coming would be released, an album that announces to the world that the singer has been saved. I think there are many examples on Street Legal that point towards the singer's conversion, especially the last two verses, which sound a bit like Revelations. Could the Changing of the Guards be the end times? If so, what's this business about Jupiter & Apollo. If we are speaking of palm reading, here, she (whoever she is) is the middle finger. Maybe she has personality issues. When the Jupiter & Apollo verse is sung, it sounds to me like "I couldn't help Apollo" but the lyrics read differently.

Another theory could be that the song is autobiographical, yet shrouded in metaphor. 16 years is the time between the singer's first album (fortune calls) & the time the song is being recorded.

The fascinating & frustrating part of Dylan's music is that there are millions of meanings that could be derived from most of his songs. They could be about any number of things or nothing at all, but the lyrics are so brilliant. He uses language like a magician, but like a magician, you wonder what the trick is behind the illusion. How could there ever be a line like "the angels voices whisper to the souls of previous times" that didn't mean anything?

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Seven Year Ache-Roseanne Cash

Gone Till November-Wyclef Jean

Less Than Zero-Elvis Costello, My Aim is True

Love Henry-Bob Dylan, World Gone Wrong

Here at the Right Time-Josh Ritter

Happy Saturday, friends...


Monday, January 05, 2009

Throw my ticket out the window...for tonight I'll be stayin' here with you

Mike & I have dreams of buying the building pictured above (which is located right down the street) & turning it into a record store & a disc golf shop, although it's probably not zoned for retail space. Vinyl is making a bit of a comeback, but mostly for music dorks like me. Compact discs are still my preferred medium, but those are waning fast, even for me, as the mp3 & portable music players set in.

I've had many dreams that didn't come true throughout my life. Starting out, I wanted to be a pastor like my ol' man, then I wanted to be a shortstop for the Tigers. When I realized I wasn't the greatest baseball player in the world, I figured I could be a sportswriter like Mitch Albom. I then realized that the chances were slim of making it onto a major newspaper, so somewhere later I ended up selling paint. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. In fact, as one dream fell away, I figured I added another layer of contentedness. I hope so, anyway. My dreams are simpler, now. I just want to keep my wife happy, have a couple of decent kids that don't hate me & paint for fellow old people when I retire & maybe see a couple of concerts in between.

I always liked this verse from Floater (too much to ask), which I believe was stolen from some Japanese writer.

My grandfather was a duck trapper
He could do it with just dragnets and ropes
My grandmother could sew new dresses out of old cloth
I don't know if they had any dreams or hopes

I had 'em once though, I suppose, to go along
With all the ring dancin' Christmas carols on all of the Christmas Eves
I left all my dreams and hopes
Buried under tobacco leaves

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Java Jive-the Ink Spots

Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)-Bob Dylan, Shepherd's Bush Empire, 2003

Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You-Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline (on vinyl!)

Song 2-Blur

I'm not sure what made me think of this song, but I do remember having it in my head when I walked across the stage to get my diploma when I graduated high school.

It Makes No Difference-The Band, the Last Waltz

Had I heard this song a little earlier in life, I may have dreamed of being in a band. This is such a perfect, simple little song that suits Rick Danko's voice perfectly. I get the chills everytime I watch this, especially when Garth Hudson's saxophone comes in.

Happy Monday, friends...


Blog Archive

About Me

Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...