Modern Man

Quote of the Day:

Can you help me occupy my brain?”     –Black Sabbath, Paranoid, released October, 1970

Contemplating the at once ascendant and yet deteriorating state of the world we live in and TB’s ten-twenty on the celestial spectrum lately…..

I was born in 1970. Coincidentally, perhaps, I view that year as year one of the modern era. There is abundant evidence for the proposition in the changes that came about over the surrounding years.

In 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon (said none of these things by the way, sadly), and by 1970 Bewitched, Andy Griffith and I Dream of Jeannie were all airing in the full glory of Technicolor. Beverly Hillbillies too. But these shows, that all started as black and whites and depicted American life in an idyllic, delightful and zany light were in their last days, being overcome by a new type of sitcom–All In The Family, The Brady Bunch, and MASH–still funny, still zany, but with hippies and mixed families and people who hated the Army. We began to acknowledge and laugh at American dysfunctionality. The transition from the ancient world to the modern in entertainment was distinct.

The turbulent sixties (a federal law was passed in 1978 requiring use of “turbulent” in any publication discussing that decade in any way) featured civil rights battles in the streets and the passage of Medicare, changing American politics forever; and Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays retired in 1969 and 1973, respectively (though many baseball fans refuse to acknowledge Mays’ two years with the Mets beginning in ’72.) Their departures symbolized a changing of the guard in the pastime. In 1970 Curt Flood challenged baseball’s reserve clause and set in motion the concept of free agency as it is now practiced in all professional sports. The seventies would begin the era of mortality for our sporting heroes–Reggie Jackson, Steve Garvey, Pete Rose–little different than their often belligerent, hard-drinkin’, womanizin’ and gamblin’ predecessors, but publicized now. Even the Presidency was de-pedestalized in the new age with the exposure and fall of Nixon.

The first mideast oil crisis was in 1973. Resulting gas lines were a deceptively gruesome foreshadowing of America’s future. Monday Night Football debuted in 1970 too, and the New York Jets set football on its modern course when they won Super Bowl III in 1969. The Beatles split up in 1970. Black Sabbath debuted. The first Earth Day was proclaimed in San Francisco, asbestos insulation was banned, and eighteen year olds were given the right to vote. Astroturf. Old Elvis. Hurricane Camille.

Am I right? When did the modern era begin? With America’s victory in World War II? With the explosion of the PC and the Internet Age? Sometime else?

I still say around 1970.

“What difference does it make?”, you might ask, or possibly “how does one punctuate a question within a sentence?”

I don’t know. Probably none. Just something I was thinkin’ about.

Posted in History, Life | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

TB Goes to Memphis in May

Quote of the Day:

“I’m a rompin’, stompin’, piano playing son of a bitch. A mean son of a bitch.”     —Jerry Lee Lewis

A few observations and some grainy iphone snapshots of TB’s Saturday at Tom Lee Park in Memphis, Tennessee, attending the Beale Street Music Festival……

We saw Paul Thorn of Tupelo first. I’ve blogged about him before. The guy has a good act–doesn’t blow you away, but the songs are solid and he’s got good stage presence and a decent stable of jokes.

After Thorn we had time to catch about thirty minutes of The New Pornographers at a different stage before we had to go stake out a place for Mumford and Sons, the band we were mainly looking forward to seeing. The Pornographers have been around awhile, and I’ve heard some of their stuff on XM, but I am not really familiar with them. They were great in concert though and I wish we could have seen more. It’s a sort of old school college rock sound (and when I say college rock I mean from my era ’88-95) but with really good musicians and a lot of harmonies. Hated to leave them early, but it was a good thing we did because we got a good spot for Mumford, et al, and I got to see a true Rock and Roll Hall of Famer for the first time, plus, enjoy the day’s bloggin’ highlight.

Jerry Lee Lewis’ old decrepit ass was on stage and the mean old man can still tickle the ivories, I must say. His voice is still strong as hell too, even if he can’t move the body too much. What was funny about Jerry Lee was, well, that he’s a mean old man. The folks were batting around a beach ball, in typical festival-fashion, and ol’ Jerry didn’t cotton to that. Not a-tall. He stopped playing in the middle of a song and carefully, slowly turned his ancient head to eyeball the young whippersnappers in his midst–mostly a bunch of punkass fifty somethings gathered up close to the stage where the ball was frollickin’. “I din’t come here ta……see no bawllllll gittin’ toss’d aroun,” he growled. He looked over the throng as the ball continued to bounce, givin’ out the stink-eye to any and all who dared face him. “If one-a-y’all don’t catch that bawll and put it down, I’m stoppin’ the show.” Somebody grabbed the ball but Jerry didn’t let it go quite yet. He glared out, hopin’ maybe somebody wanted to fight I guess. “And stay the hell off my lawn!” Ok, I made that last line up, but I really think he had something like that on the tip of his tongue.

Satisfied with himself, Jerry returned to wailin’ away on the piano, and I gotta say, seeing the octogenarian Jerry Lee do “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin‘” was not bad. Not bad a-tall. The man is a legend for a reason.

We also got to see John Mellencamp and Lucinda Williams. Lucinda was ok. She had the lyrics to her own songs in front of her which was really strange. And it was a little on the mellow side for an evening slot, but it was cool to see her live. She’s got some sultry pipes and I like her. Mellencamp is going grizzled. His new stuff is pretty good. Very different from the 80’s anthems, but good. It’s just not what most of us want to hear at his shows. Fortunately, he still does most of the old hits and “Pink Houses” was a lot of fun.

As I said, we were there to see Mumford and Sons. Let me put it this way–we got our money’s worth. RSR has been tuned in to them for a long time and I hear them on XM a lot and we’ve got some of their album on the ipod. I like their stuff and I liked them even more after seeing their Grammy performance. But man, after seeing the live show, count me as an official fan. Those guys are up there having fun. You don’t feel like you’re being suckered by a band who can’t believe you are paying to hear them go through the motions. Not a-tall. They are smiling and making eye contact with people and singin’ at the top of their lungs. They all play multiple instruments–it may be the only band I’ve ever seen where no one starts the show on the drums, but during it the lead man takes over for a song, the bass player does a couple and a fill-in even has to jump in for a tune or two. I can’t recall seeing a show where a band plays unreleased songs from it’s next album and the crowd reaction is almost as good for them as it is for the established hits. And most of all, man those guys play the hell out of their instruments. Fast. Loud. Long. When you are watching a Mumford and Sons show you feel Good. Everyone around you feels good. There sound is nothing alike, but it reminds me of how you feel at a Cowboy Mouth show. If they come around, you need to see them.

This Saturday–free tickets to Jazz Fest. Tune in here for a full report.

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Bonus QOTD:

Hippies? Why, I’m the original.”     –Jerry Lee Lewis, who if he ever gives TB the stink-eye in person, I’ll take him on. I ain’t scared of no 80 some year old SOB. Not sayin’ I could beat him, understand, but you can’t go backin’ down to a bunch’a damn 80 year olds, right?

Posted in Entertainment, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reflecting Upon a Bloated Carcass

Quote of the Day:

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda. Even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network. Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain. And it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we could locate bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. 

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.     –President Barack Obama, May 1, 2011

On September 11, 2001, TB stepped off a delayed, as usual, Delta Airlines jet in Mobile, Alabama around 12:30 am. I went home and straight to bed, rose the next morning and stumbled in to the shower, powering my television in route. When I got out and finished shaving I stepped in to my bedroom to see the day’s headlines. What I saw instead was a preview from some outlandish new movie with an unnecessarily violent preview, but admittedly impressive special effects. Not my thing. I turned the tv off immediately and finished dressing.

Only when I got in the car and turned on the radio did I learn that I had been watching actual events–recorded or live, I still don’t know. But I could not process that what I saw was real at first. The news, many of you will recall, was at first unable to keep up with the story. In the fifteen minutes it took me to drive to work, I heard about the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attacks. The Pennsylvania flight was unaccounted for. A report came in that dozens of planes were unaccounted for. It was wrongly reported that the U.S. Capitol had been hit. Two of my best friends were still in the air at that hour. We would not know they were safe for several hours more.

Last night’s killin’ was a long time coming. It figures the sumbitch was holed up not in a dusty cave, but in a custom-built mansion, a “fortified compound.” Hiding in plain sight. I wonder if he got a kick out of all those incredibly inaccurate news reports providing visualizations of him receiving dialysis treatments in the field or the SNL skits or the political pronouncements of his irrelevancy? No matter. He may have laughed for awhile, but today America laughs last, and best.

The Navy Seals. Bunch of badasses. I hope they protect the dudes that took him down, because they’ll never be able to use their shakin’ hands again once they become known. Can you imagine the charge that went through the cat who pulled the money trigger just as he realized who was in his sights? Wasn’t any hand-shakin’ of any sort going on in that moment.

What does it all mean? Too soon. We’ll see.  I do know one thing. My daughter will grow up knowing about the carcass as much as the man. Just another dead evil dude from history. That makes me smile.

And one last thing. If the first thing someone did upon hearing this news was run to their laptop and fire up Facebook or Twitter and write about how much they hate President Obama….and I don’t mean if someone hates him politically which is perfectly normal, but hates him so much–because he is half-black I guess–that they resent he gave the order to unleash the Seals and would just as soon have let the carcass stay alive in his mansion for a couple more years… those people I just want to say as eloquently as I know how, from the bottom of my heart……Fuck. You.

Posted in current events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (this is what we’ve come to, America)

Quote of the Day:

“Here we are in the land of the free and I can’t even talk to a child about what he eats everyday. …As Americans, that should make you furious.”     —Jamie Oliver, at the conclusion of tonight’s show

TB bumped in to Jamie Oliver’s reality show, Food Revolution, last spring while channel surfing. I was immediately engrossed with his televised attempt to improve the health of West Virginians, particularly the kids of the Huntington school district. When I heard there would be a follow-up season from Los Angeles I made sure to plan ahead to watch the show.

What I have seen after two episodes is this–America, as exemplified by the Los Angeles public school system, is hopelessly lost.

The school board and it’s mutely evil superintendent, having obviously seen how Jamie exposed the garbage being fed to students in West Virginia schools, steadfastly refused to allow the acclaimed chef on it’s campuses. That’s arguably–weakly arguably, but arguably–defensible. But their purpose was not to protect students. Clearly it was to protect themselves from humiliation, because they also have refused to discuss the nutritional content of the food they provide in any way whatsoever. They are treating their food service practices like a state secret. Here’s a guy trying to replace chicken nuggets made from soylent green with grilled strips from a chicken never pumped full of chemicals and steroids. He’s trying to find out why french fries are classified as a vegetable by the government. He believes education is not only about what’s in books but on what we ingest. They view this person as a threat. A revolutionary.

Are these ideas that far out?

But America is a democracy right? The greatest country on Earth, the land of the free, yada yada yada…..We can just elect the other party and everything will be fine. The problem is clearly the liberals who run L.A. politics. Government does nothing right, after all, including this. It’s a prime example. Sooooo……we should just close the damn schools–easy conservative, libertarian answer. The whole thing’s a waste–unfixable–get the gubment outta my kid’s book learnin’.

Nah, clearly the problem is conservatives. If only they would throw more money at the menus they could provide better food. Except Jamie’s already shown he can take the existing budgets and provide high quality food without chemicals, less sugar and fat, and God forbid, less French fries.

A grassroots movement, that’s the ticket! When Jamie appealed to the parents of L.A., it generated (almost) a thousand, um, emails. Hmm. That’s how we express outrage here in the land that invented government of, by and for the people.

What about the political party that just wants to try to fix government without tearing it down and without adding more layers of red tape. Not pass a book of new regulations or throw out all of them, but to identify and strengthen the ones that are effective and shitcan the idiotic ones. The party that sees clearly–and acts on the vision–that we need government, but that there is far too much waste. The party that believes in private enterprise and fair competition and opposes monopolies and oligopolies and the cable company and calling french fries a vegetable and that sometimes the government should act and other times it shouldn’t and that simply pluggin’ a square problem in to a circular philosophy at all times is irrational. Oh, wait. We don’t have that party, do we?

After a couple of days, the obstinacy of the LA school board will all be forgotten, just like every other outrage inflicted upon us. It is one thing after another and we, as a people, are desensitized to it. Spend more money on the military than the rest of the world combined–we cheer it. Run the government so poorly a large part of the population has decided we are better off casting our lots with the corporations–we accept it. Refuse to allow the public a view of what goes on inside a public school cafeteria kitchen–we email about it. Just as long as my enormously grotesque chicken wing has enough sauce on it to mask the taste, I’ll stay compliant.

Food Revolution is not just about the schools either. It is about what is in our grocery stores. It is about our national obesity epidemic, diabetes, and heart disease and all the economic and emotional havoc they wreak. It is about ignorance and complacency and hopelessness, and no matter how hopeful and positive the host, and no matter how reasonable and doable his proposals, an American viewer knows what, perhaps the affable Brit host does not. We had our Revolution. We aren’t having another.

Maybe I am reading too much into what Food Revolution depicts. I don’t think so, but maybe. What I see when I watch is another straw dropped on the already crushed to smithereens spine of the camel that was our national spirit, our identity, long ago. Ultimately, Jamie’s show is a snapshot of America, the absolute failure of our political system to address problems that are crippling us, and the impotence of we, the people.

Posted in current events, Entertainment, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Story About Smily, Sort Of

Quote of the Day:

Back when I was in the Navy they paid us once a month. First weekend, Jack Daniels. Second weekend, Budweiser, man. Third weekend, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Fourth weekend, Mad Dog. Then we’d get paid again and it was Jack Daniels. –Sixto Aleman, when he said “Jack Daniels,” he said it with relish

TB isn’t quite sure of the exact year any more, but it was around 1990 that the first bachelor party was necessitated for one of my old asshole runnin’ buddies down in Pascagoula. We’d seen some movies that helped, of course, but we were not really prepared for the event, none of us had any money, and even if we’d had some we didn’t really know what to do, other than that it should be something big. Fortunately Juan came through with a limo reservation for eight hours and a plan to go to New Orleans and back. We only had to put up fifty bucks apiece and Juan threw in a case of Crown to offset that expense. So Smily, BR, Rob, Mark, Big Jack, Juan, TB and Mijo, the next day’s man of the hour, loaded up in the limo and set off for the send off. Coach Six, Juan and Mijo’s Dad saw us off. I am quite sure he left us with words of wisdom, but we failed on this occasion to take heed.

We were all roarin’ drunk before we crossed the state line–Crown’ll do that to you. All except Mijo, a nervous groom facing an all too rapidly approaching and uncertain future as a family man. We arrived in New Orleans and went to Pat O’Brien’s, the only place we really knew to go, besides Big Daddy’s after midnight.  I remember elbowing my way in to the bar, getting an assist from Mijo who stared down every punk I jostled along the way so that I was able to order a Hurricane without getting beat down. I recall giving Mijo a big hug and probably I said something sentimental to him and undoubtedly I made a joke about his situation and I recall that Mijo was not in the mood to laugh, so I went off in search of girls. The last surviving brain cell of that evening devoted to memory tells me that I saw Smily and BR as they were leaving Pat O’s. I told them not to leave. I reminded them that the limo was heading home at 1:30 no matter who was there, or not. They left. I blacked out. A couple of hours after that I was back in the limo, and then I passed out.

Around three a.m. I came to as we passed through Ocean Springs. Only Jack and Mijo were awake. They both watched me as I cleared the cobwebs and took stock of my personal effects and surroundings. I could see laughter creeping at the corners of their eyes. Clearly there was something I was missing.  After several moments Mijo asked, “Is something missing?” I finally figured it out.

“Where’s Smily?”

The laughter finally came. “He’s still in New Orleans.”

“We got to go back and get him.” TB, loyal friend. I lobbied heroically on Smily’s behalf.

“Dude we’re almost home. He didn’t come back and we had to leave. Nobody had fifty more bucks for the driver,” Mijo explained.

“Oh.” You can’t win ’em all. TB fell back asleep.

Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, Smily was a lost puppy. He and BR had argued about which way the limo was, and because Smily is extremely freakin’ hard-headed, he went the opposite way from BR. At some point, after an extended search, he realized the limo was gone. He sat down on the steps of a quiet storefront to consider his perilous situation.

Presently a bum sauntered by, saw forlorn Smily sittin’ there, and decided to join him. He stretched out his legs and engaged Smily in conversation, in the hobo way. Even shared his brown-bagged bottle of MD 20/20 with the boy. Smily appreciated that. The bum made Smily feel a little better about life, and it wasn’t just the fine conversation nor the sweet elixir of Mad Dog. The bum complimented Smily’s shirt and his belt and hey, who doesn’t appreciate when someone says nice things about them? Then he remarked on Smily’s shoes and Smily just smiled at the unexpectedly pleasant turn in his fortunes. But suddenly the bum reached for the shoes. “Let me try those on,” he demanded. Smily said “no” but the bum was adamant. “I gave you my drink and you are going to give me those shoes.”

Smily had heard enough. He kicked the bum in the solar plexus and ran for his life. He spotted a cop on a moped soon and asked for help. The cop put him on back of the moped and drove him to the station. Before we go any further, you need to take a second and visualize a humble Smily, a frightened Smily, a lost-and-found Smily, clinging to the cop’s belly on back of a tiny motorbike, his head, perhaps, snuggled close to the cop’s skin for warmth and protection.

After a brief but humiliating journey, the cop arrived at the station and let Smily use the phone to call his Dad to come pick him up, a two-hundred mile round trip at 3 am for Mr. J. Smily sat on the steps of the police station and waited. Before he went back out on patrol, the cop got in Smily’s face and warned him not to bother the bums the next time he came back to New Orleans and suggested he might oughta get better friends too. “I know,” deadpanned Smily.

The limo let me off at my folks’ house around four am and I stumbled up the stairs and poured myself into bed, pleased that I’d made it in before my Dad woke up and that, for one more weekend, the parents wouldn’t have to know they had raised a common drunkard. Then the phone rang. I snatched it up.

Uhhhh, hu-lo?

“Ben?!” It was Mrs. J, Smily lived across the street.

“Wherrrrrrrre’s Smily?!?” For some reason it didn’t register who I was speaking with. More high-pitched than usual too.

I didn’t know where the hell Smily was, nor did I care. I’d already forgotten he’d been left. All I wanted was sleep.  “Ummm, he’s at home.”

That was the only time I ever heard Mrs. J cuss. “Dammit Ben, I’m at home and he’s not. Where did you leave him?” Not y’all. YOU. My mind raced at peak capacity trying to think of a response. Considering my condition.

“Ummmmmm. He met some girls or something. G’night.”

The next part hurt my ears so I just hung up.

Twelve hours later we were all dressed up for the wedding. Even Smily, though he was a fashionably late arrival. Nobody was talking about the Bride and Groom, nobody remarked on the beautiful flowers or the feast being prepared. They all wanted to know what happened last night. I couldn’t tell them, that’s for damn sure. The only thing for certain is that I learned a life lesson over the incident.

Coach Six gathered us boys in his kitchen. We were prepared to be humble, contrite; to learn from him in the stern lecture sure to come about responsibility and loyalty and sobriety and probably some other important things ending in “y.” Six looked at each of us in turn, slowly, in the eye, finally settling on Smily. “What do you do if something like this happens again, son?”

“Maybe we shouldn’t drink alcohol?” Smily gave the answer he thought Six wanted first.

“I know better than that. I’m talking about after you missed the limo.”

Smily looked down and shuffled his feet. “Call my Dad before getting lost in the French Quarter?”

“NO.” Six was clearly upset about the choices we’d made on the sacred night before Mijo’s wedding

Smily looked up and the rest of us took over the looking down and the foot shuffling for him. “Um, go straight to the police?”

“HELL NO, SON, you call ME.”

It’s not much of a punch line. That’s just how the story ended. It is something I’ve never forgotten. Six was our friend. He understood things and he never judged. Mijo posted on Facebook today that it was his birthday. Happy Birthday, Six.

Posted in Humor, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

TB’s a Rebel, Really

Quote of the Day:

I think of poets as outlaw visionaries in a way.” Jim Jarmusch, independent filmmaker (Coffee and Cigarettes and others)

TB don’t wear no helmet. I am an outlaw bicycler.

The other riders twitch their heads, do a muted doubletake in surprise at first, then I get a little bit of a condescending sneer as they zip by. I keep my eyes straight ahead, staring blankly but taking note of them through peripheral vision, spandexed and brightly jerseyed. I nod at them or more often just cut my eyes and lift a finger to wave as if I am oblivious of their judgment. All of this transpires in under two seconds. My baggy shorts flap with the breeze, weighed down on the left side where the headphones disappear into my iphone because I haven’t invested in an arm band like everybody else, my t-shirt catches wind at the neck and waist, slowing my progress imperceptibly. I ain’t aerodynamic, I’m an outlaw.  Hey, there is some of that ground cover like I’m trying to get to take in my back yard. Makes a real pretty purple flower. I oughta’ come out here on a Wednesday and dig some up. That’s right, I’m an outlaw bicycler and crime is on my mind. I ride this trail a lot, rarely on crowded Saturday mornings though, and the more or less affluent white fliers around me somehow collectively and silently recognize me as a threat, though they can’t seem to put their finger on why, exactly. I look like them for the most part, but my oversized gut is concealed, comparatively. I have a water bottle, sure, but it’s plastic and unadorned, I got it for free and it doesn’t look right sharing the beautiful day with the sleek, colorful steel Siggs, and hey I dig those too, but I find my plastic is easier to snag on the go. No backpack for me, but if I were on a trail longer than eight miles I might use one. The guys hunched over like Lance, efficiently attired with wraparound shades, matching helmets and pro-riding faux-uni’s all have backpacks. It tells me they want me to think they are on a hundred miler and at some point they are gonna need a power bar. What do I care? They too tired to wave or what? I give everyone I see a nod and the finger, at least–that’s how us Goula boys roll–not THAT finger–the companionable, index finger mini-wave–I’m an outlaw, not an asshole. Nobody waves on the trail this morning but me. It drives me to make eye contact more often. Up ahead are two yuppies in LL Bean ball caps, spread out and covering the whole damn trail, just ambling and oblivious, guided by their Chow on a long leash. The mutt’s gonna stray in my path. I’m ready so I easily avoid him, but they are lucky I’m an excellent rider, observant too, and so am I since I don’t wear no helmet, but I glare at ’em like it was a near-miss and they cower in apology and embarrassment because they can see they’ve had an encounter with an outlaw bicycler and they can’t know I’m only diggin’ on some Cat Stevens at the moment instead of AC/DC or some such, and contemplating the arrival of Spring and the beautiful pure blue sky above me, that’s all, ’cause I ain’t really keen to be mad at anybody this fine mornin’.  You can’t pigeonhole an outlaw bicycler. What’s this? A text from TDW. Overslept. I figured. Too bad. I can’t visualize Wit in spandex, you know, and this probably would have been a lot funnier if I’d had another outlaw along to help me observe the intricacies of a Saturday morning bike ride through suburbia.

Posted in Blank Stares, Humor, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

There Once Was a Man From Nantucket…

Quote of the Day:

The shamrock is a religious symbol. St. Patrick said the leaves represented the trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s why four leaf clovers are so lucky, you get a bonus Jesus.” –Stephen Colbert

Apologies, in advance. Viewer discretion advised. On a separate note, there may be some vulgarities below. And, um, it may help to read these with an accent. Or after a few green beers. Keep a tissue and/or a blank stare handy.

There once was a lad from Nantucket,
And he kept all his lists in a bucket;
Til’ he fin’ly realized,
That to be realized,
Sometimes you just have to say what the heck.


I hear tale of a laddie called Sheen,
Who boasts Tiger Blood in his veens,
Resides with two goddesses
Who’ve ill-fitting bodices
And in ecstasy cry out “WOLVERINES!”
(alternate ending–Say, Emilio, where has he been?)


And now, my opus limericas:

There once was some assholes from Goula,
Runnin’ buddies since they were in schoola,
But then they got old,
Or so I am told,
And none of them ever got any coola.

MadDawg became a crazed Neo-con,
Smily is a perverted fire-mon,
Fig’s troubled by phones,
BR stays at home,
And Sweet has issues with testosteron.

TeaJay succeeds with only wine and song,
Zeek the naysayer was gone far too long,
Feidt, failed Gentleman of Leisure,
Greeg, likely to seizure,
And Larry must live ever with “all night long.”

But then, you might ask, what of Me?
How was it I transformed to TB?
The unheard raconteur,
Unread bootleg essayist,
A purveyor of words fer no fee?

I work on my dream, e’er hoping for luck,
To be discovered and paid a han’som buck,
But the nigh fifty who read,
Passing time is their need,
I’m exhausted, as a limerickist, I suck.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the management and staff of the TBU.





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Ode to Biscuits

Quote of the Day:

“We ain’t one at a timin’ here, we mass-communicatin’!” –Pappy O’Daniel, O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?

Oh, Hardees…..if fast food joints could marry, and if I weren’t already taken, and if I was a fast food joint too, and if you were a girl fast food joint ’cause I’d be a boy fast food joint, and if you were a little better lookin’ and cleaned up a little more often, and if we saw eye to eye on most things, like travellin’ and whatnot, and if you didn’t live so far away, and if you weren’t so easy with lettin’ just anybody get it on with your biscuits, boys and girls, and I’m down with that ’cause your business is your own damn business, and if you loved me as much as I love you, even though you don’t get your hashbrowns crispy hardly ever, and if you didn’t mind me gettin’ really fat, well fatter……I think I’d marry you.
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Posted in Humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Satisfied Mind

Quote of the Day:

How many times have you heard someone say, if I had his money I’d do things my way, But little they know it’s so hard to find, one rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.”

–Satisfied Mind, Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes

TB’s mind, travellin’ always in its cosmic jalopy on the winding road toward satisfaction, has been contemplatin’ lately the lyrics to this great tune. Recorded by several artists I admire, including Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Jeff Buckley, and dozens of others, I was stunned to learn it was originally a hit for Porter Wagoner in 1955, which goes to show that I’m not one to go about judgin’ who is and who is not possessed of soul based only on the TV shows inflicted upon me as a small child in 1976.

“Satisfied” is a word not held in high esteem by all. I’ve been told that to be satisfied is akin to being finished; that it means all efforts to improve are finished and ambition is forgotten. I get that. But I also think there’s room for nuance in the idea of satisfaction, and that is to recognize and appreciate what has already been accomplished. This by no means precludes continuing efforts to improve. In fact, I don’t believe one can attain satisfaction if they do not have some sort of blueprint for further advancement.

The example that springs to mind is of a day of hiking in the mountains. The terrain is rough, there are bears lurking nearby and most of all TB ain’t as young as I used to be. But then, around the next curve appears a view of the valley below, the bluest blue sky imaginable, and an even taller peak to climb maybe tomorrow across the way. It’s a damn satisfyin’ moment and everyone who comes around that bend sits on the smoothed over boulder with the wildflowers growing around it to admire the vista, not forgetting there’s a lot more mountain left to climb, but satisfied in the moment for having made it to this point. Satisfied forever in the little corner of the mind housing the memory, yet glad for the anticipation of the next viewpoint, just a few hundred feet higher, past a few more bears, and even a bit older.

Achieving a satisfied mind is a lofty aspiration for a thinkin’ man, or a thinkin’ girl too. I’m lucky to have my girls as the reliable engine that drives my jalopy. It keeps me movin’ when politicians make the wheels fall off, or natural disasters and human suffering muddy the windshield, or when the constant pursuit of more, enough, money and things, knocks out the headlights. One of these days I’ll figure how to get the contraption runnin’ smoothly, impervious, though never oblivious, to the forces out to cause another little breakdown.

Then I’ll see if I can’t soup it up to go faster. Maybe put in a nice sound system too.

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The Soundtrack of TB’s Life (The Early Years)

Quote of the Day:

“At Haggerty’s and Swami’s
Pacific Palisades
San Onofre and Sunset
Redondo Beach, L.A.
All over La Jolla
At Waiamea Bay,

Everybody’s gone surfin’, Surfin’ USA….” –the Beach Boys

In TB’s recent plea for help in the shaping of the Little Scamp’s musical future, I was surprised and touched by the response from the various realms where these ramblin’s are read. It seems I am not the first parent to take a moment away from worrying about a child’s runny nose, disdain for veggies or the boys she’ll meet in ten years or college funding, or her family history of heart disease….etc….to focus a bit of the neurosis on her development in the field of good tunage.

I was replying to an email sent by a friend of the blog just this morning on the subject as a matter of fact. Prone to digression in the outside universe the same as in the TBU, I found myself suddenly recounting the earliest influences of my own musical life. My brother is ten years older than I, and a lifelong music aficionado. We haven’t seen each other in many years, so long in fact that in my mind’s eye he is yet sixteen years old while to him, no doubt, I am but six. It was my teenage brother in the mid to late 1970’s who provided the early influences on my own musical tastes.

We would sit in his room with the black light of his closet reflecting strangely against a newly acquired STOP sign, when he would let me, and listen to his tunes. I had to stay quiet even though the music was loud. It didn’t make sense and it was hard to do, but rules was rules. By the shadowy light of shrouded lamp, Bill would hold his album covers gently by the edges absorbing all the details in the liner notes and credits. Memory fails me on whether I was ever allowed, with his knowledge, to put my own grubby little digits on them. I do know he taught me how to handle the records themselves and somehow impressed upon me the urgency of proper handling and scratch-free sound. Knowledge I was proud to have, but in the long run was of little practical use.

I remember Abby Road and Sergeant Pepper, preferring then, as now, the artwork of Pepper and the title track–always have loved a story song. Though I’m told by a friend of his that Bill was near-obsessed with the Stones’ Wild Horses, I remember more vividly listening often to Ruby Tuesday, and I still love that almost-upbeat melancholy sound. We listened to a lot of Bob Dylan and I guess Like a Rolling Stone is the tune I recall most–I definitely remember being confused by the fact there was a song and a group, but the group didn’t sing the song. Mostly about Dylan I recall that I dug the harmonica and like any sensible six-year-old,  I felt sure I was born harpist. We’d listen sometimes to Pet Sounds and The Best of the Beach Boys.  Surfin’ USA was the first non-kid/non-National Anthem song I knew all the words to–well, most of the words to. I still sing that one now like I did then, and there are a lot of parts where I go to a lower volume and unintelligible mode or switch over to the “inside-outside” part before bustin’ back out loud with “Surfin’ USA.” And more than all the rest, there was Don McLean’s American Pie–the second song I learned all the words to, all of ’em, and I still know ’em. Though I can’t say I really know what the hell he’s talkin’ about still or whether he meant the song or the group when he mentioned something about moss and a rollin’ stone. As much as the song I loved that album cover–the thumb painted in American flag.

I’d be curious, as a follow-up to the great discussion generated on the Scamp’s playlist, to see some of the soundtrack of y’all’s own early youth.

American Pie

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