Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I noticed at Woodman's Grocery on Tuesday

Signs things are getting ugly:

The canned soup aisle in Woodman's is jammed with people, and canned soup company stocks are going up in value, fast.

There's a section of the frozen meat bin at Woodman's where the put the discounted meats and sausages that need to be used. For years, I've gotten things like sausage out of it for making beans and casseroles, and most people ignored it, and it was usually half full. Today, when I first looked, it was empty. Moments later, there was a big pile of things added. A half hour later, it was empty again. People are getting less picky.

The generic store brands are almost all off the shelves, while the more expensive brands of the same foods remain fully stocked.

The discounted produce they sell in 79 cent bags at the front of the store? You're lucky to find anything there anymore. Even last summer, there were usually a half dozen bags of apples, pears or whatever else they overstocked.

And the Oil Change service they offer at the gas station? Last summer it started to slow, now it seems like there's hardly ever a line.
That's just what I noticed this morning.

Folks are getting nervous. You can feel it and see it and hear it if you're not too busy whistling in the dark and bitching about those damn liberals/queers getting married/colored folks taking over the guvament'.
Even the idea of banks being "too big to fail" has become common talk.
Nothing is too big to fail. Everything that exists in time runs out of time someday.
Our whole world has become obsessed with optimizing everything, squeezing every last dollar out and making everything in our lives subject to the idea of "just in time delivery". We have no slack, no cushion, be it in cash reserves for banks or warehouses full of food, spare parts or the consumer products we actually need when we take a hit, be it in the markets or when disaster strikes.
And if you don't think it strikes, remember what happened to New Orleans. Then think of what global warming induced drought and hurricanes, or another big California earthquake would do to our already messed up system.

Meanwhile, the government is busy making up trillions of dollars of money out of thin air to bail out a bunch of fantasy economic concepts and the liars who knew they were bad ideas.
They're busy watering down what our money is worth when it comes to buying things we actually need, like food, fuel and housing.

I think that within six months to a year we're going to see ugly inflation because of this.
You can only pour so much water in the soup before it stops being soup. And nobody is really doing anything to stop the worst parts of the bailout, because we elected spineless democrats and are too busy ignoring what our evil and dull witted President is doing on the way out the door.

Fun times ahead. Better start building a tribe/community/family outside your blood relatives, because you're going to need it. And learn how to garden in your front yard, get used to riding bikes and learn to cook from scratch.
You might even find it more fun in the long run than our doomed present lifestyle. I know I feel better from having made those choices.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quote of the Day:Letting Things Break Down

From Bob Herbert, Via the New York Times:
The idea that the nation had all but stopped investing in its infrastructure, and that officials in Washington have ignored the crucial role of job creation as the cornerstone of a thriving economy is beyond mind-boggling. It’s impossible to understand.
Impossible, that is, until you realize that bandits don’t waste time repairing a building that they’re looting.

This ends the quote of the day, for those of you who have attention spans long enough to read two short paragraphs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Must Read: On Sustainablity- Bruce Sterling

"What is "sustainability?" Sustainable practices navigate successfully through time and space, while others crack up and vanish. So basically, the sustainable is about time -- time and space. You need to re-think your relationship to material possessions in terms of things that occupy your time. The things that are physically closest to you. Time and space.
In earlier, less technically advanced eras, this approach would have been far-fetched. Material goods were inherently difficult to produce, find, and ship. They were rare and precious. They were closely associated with social prestige. Without important material signifiers such as wedding china, family silver, portraits, a coach-house, a trousseau and so forth, you were advertising your lack of substance to your neighbors. If you failed to surround yourself with a thick material barrier, you were inviting social abuse and possible police suspicion. So it made pragmatic sense to cling to heirlooms, renew all major purchases promptly, and visibly keep up with the Joneses.
That era is dying. It's not only dying, but the assumptions behind that form of material culture are very dangerous. These objects can no longer protect you from want, from humiliation -- in fact they are *causes* of humiliation, as anyone with a McMansion crammed with Chinese-made goods and an unsellable SUV has now learned at great cost.
Furthermore, many of these objects can damage you personally. The hours you waste stumbling over your piled debris, picking, washing, storing, re-storing, those are hours and spaces that you will never get back in a mortal lifetime. Basically, you have to curate these goods: heat them, cool them, protect them from humidity and vermin. Every moment you devote to them is lost to your children, your friends, your society, yourself.
It's not bad to own fine things that you like. What you need are things that you GENUINELY like. Things that you cherish, that enhance your existence in the world. The rest is dross.
Do not "economize." Please. That is not the point. The economy is clearly insane. Even its champions are terrified by it now. It's melting the North Pole. So "economization" is not your friend. Cheapness can be value-less. Voluntary simplicity is, furthermore, boring. Less can become too much work.
The items that you use incessantly, the items you employ every day, the normal, boring goods that don't seem luxurious or romantic: these are the critical ones. They are truly central. The everyday object is the monarch of all objects. It's in your time most, it's in your space most. It is "where it is at," and it is "what is going on."
It takes a while to get this through your head, because it's the opposite of the legendry of shopping. However: the things that you use every day should be the best-designed things you can get. For instance, you cannot possibly spend too much money on a bed -- (assuming you have a regular bed, which in point of fact I do not). You're spending a third of your lifetime in a bed. Your bed might be sagging, ugly, groaning and infested with dust mites, because you are used to that situation and cannot see it. That calamity might escape your conscious notice. See it. Replace it. "

Monday, November 17, 2008

Baby Loves Jesus

Need to put some music to this, it popped into my head while doing the dishes the other day. It's about somebody from my past I haven't seen in over thirty years.

baby loves jesus
and crystal meth
born again and headed
for an early death
tryin' to keep up
left me out of breath
I remember a time
when we were something fine
had ourselves a real good time
rolling in the wet grass
up on clem's hill
the stars so bright
time was standing still
we were gonna be something
gonna go far
but she never got far
from that corner bar
the drunks and the creeps
and the redneck freaks
turned her into another tweaker
but now my baby loves jesus
and crystal meth
born again and headed
for an early death
tryin' to keep up
left me out of breath

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Fine Gig At The Alchemy

The madman and the cranky old guitar player,
photographed by Kori

The MF7 played the Alchemy bar last night. It was raw, rude, wreckless and a damn hoot.

It was a good crowd, lots of my tribe showed up, and we made new pals and some converts.

The boys rocked, I got to play snarling lead all over the place, doing lots of feedback and snake bite leads. Mikey busted out a lead on his wanker Eddie Van Halen guitar that sounds oddly acoustic, and Fry and Jonathon blew me away with unexpected and funky moments that make dragging all the heavy shit down to the bar and going a bit more deaf worth it.
And the beer was free for us, at least. I love gigs like last night where we don't have to share the stage with three other bands.

I hate the way the bars in this town usually have three bands in a night. When I started playing music it was usually just one band a night, three sets of music and you had to be good enough to hold people's attention for more than just one too short set.

Yeah, the third set was and is still a hard one, usually playing to what often is an empty bar. And you get tired, and last night mildly drunk on IPA, so you get sloppy.
But sometimes there's a great mayhem in sucking during a set that I like.
Usually by one AM the crowd's drunk enough to not care how many wrong notes you hit if you act like you mean it.
This band is more about rolling with things and letting chaos open doors than anything I've been in. And it's sorely lacking in big ego problems.
I love Michael's one constant and standing order:

"be brilliant"

It was a long fun day of music, starting with practice down at The Madison Music Foundry and ending at two AM when we rolled into the driveway. And it blew out a lot of the carbon in my brain, having that foot on the pedal all night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quote of the Day:Robert Heinlein

History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.
Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Another Show Coming up!

Hey! Another Alchemy Show!

Saturday 11/15!

Nine Thirty PM!
Just us, no three or four band freakshow of wannabe rockers with expensive guitars and day jobs being weekend warriors,
playing through giant amps they can't turn up loud enough to be good.
Just us four low rent fabu-luss freaks beating the music into a pulp and drinking fine Alchemy beer.
And it's free!
Nuff' said, time to go pray to my pagan homo gods that nice dark skinned and eloquent man opens a can of MegaWhoop Ass on the crabby old man and his wretched running mate.
(original poster art by the master himself, Jack Kirby!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lyrics of the day: Paul Simon

American Tune
Words & music by Paul Simon
Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home
And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of theroad we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrongI can't help it,
I wonder what's gone wrong
And I dreamed I was dyingI dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedlyAnd looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying
We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's all right,
it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest
Fits my mood these days, these lyrics.
And on another note, or perhaps I should say several thousand notes, tonight my funky fun band is playing at The Frequency around nine thirty. The high point of my week, I suspect. At least until I hear Obama won, or we play again next Saturday at the Alchemy bar.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Monoculture America

I hate lawns. They're a gigantic waste of energy, time and represent the worst things about our culture.
I suspect they're a holdover from our former owners in the British Isles, because a lawn in the old times came from people needing clear lines of fire and pasture around the castles. Somewhere along the line, people came to equate lawns with wealth.
We have multi billion dollar industries devoted to them, and a whole culture that worships them. People wait all week to mow their fucking lawns. They dump huge amounts of chemicals on them, destroy every thing in them that's not exactly what their narrow vision block headed desire insists should be there.
They pump tons of exhaust into their own local environment, right into their own kid's lungs, fill the local waterways and children's skin with pesticides, fertilizers and waste gasoline and oil spills.

They rake, blow and whack them to eliminate anything that might make for a healthy ecosystem.
Then, they sit back and admire the total lack of diversity. All the while driving the bees and butterflies to the edge of death or out to the edge of town. And the edges of town are getting pretty far away.
And instead of growing food in their yards, the drive a gas hog to the grocery store and buy terrible tomatoes and tasteless lettuce driven thousands of miles.
And it's symbolic of the way suburbs think about a lot of things. They're nice safe places, where dark skinned people rarely go, where the queers get driven out, and where everybody agrees that god, family and country are the really important things. Places the often don't even allow gardens.

Shortsighted and stupid to a degree that escapes me, we have millions of people in this country who embrace the STUPID of lawns.

Even my own sweet mother suffers from the monoculture lawn syndrome. It's taken me years to get her to let me put some raised beds in her yard, and all summer long she doted over them, weeded them and talked about how much her boring ass neighbors loved her flowerbeds.

I have almost no lawn left. Just the front terrace between my sidewalk and street. And next summer, I think I'll put in some flowerbeds.
I'd put in some vegetables, but the STUPID human monkeys who drive their kids to school all year long would just cover the plants with exhaust fumes. Or trample the garden beds as their fat little entitled special snowflake larvae looking brats try to tug their bloated by corn syrup bodies into the rolling death machines their parents drive them to school in, because we're too stoooopid as a society to actually let our kids walk, or walk with them.

But enough about lawns.
We have a little less than three days to go, and we'll know if we have a nice new President Obama to look forward to hounding into doing the right thing, or riding along in the drunken clown car that is a GOP government that ignores us, helpless passengers in the back seat with a mean old bastard and his Witch fearing,G dropping idiot opportunist godbag Vice President in the front seat.
Please, for god sake, get out and vote for that nice dark skinned fella. Because a vote for Blinky and Winky, AKA Bible Spice and McCrank is a vote for more things going right into the open cesspool of evil Stupid.

"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." Ralph Waldo Emerson