Monday, June 28, 2010

We Gotcha Monday Morning Orphaned Moose Calf Rescue Goodness HEEAH!. Get Your Monday Morning Morning Moose Calf Rescue Goodness HEEAAHH!. Get Your...

Action starts around the one minute mark.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Pro: Lee Michaels only has to share the paycheck with one guy.
Con: A Hammond organ is really heavy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For Dorothy

They load them on the plane roughly, it seems to me. But that is the end of it. They are rough men with tender hearts steeled against their task. Leave them to us, now.

The men with wounds that won't show later, except at the beach or to a lover, look sheepishly around them. Can you be ashamed to have all your parts? They look it. Their bandages are still pink, and they want to get up. Lie still. You've done nothing wrong.

I know many things about the inside of a man. I was trained to pull men whole from their mothers, like some Greek deity on a vase. They showed us the pictures in school of the parts meshing seamlessly, like a damp watch made by Einstein himself. When the doctors let us trail them around the hospital, finally, we saw the faces in the trim white beds whose watch ran a little fast, or slow, or made a bit of a whirring sound. What prepares you for the watch smashed, or plunged into the sea, or its hands pulled off? Nothing. The surgeons are in a hurry, always. I handed them the tools as they edit the men. They cannot write. It's as if they are trying to see just what a man can lose, and still be a human man.

There are the bottles and pills and blankets to be attended to. Then I sit next to the worst of them, mummies still alive, lost to sight and sound. There is nothing to do but put my hand on their arm. It is the hand of every mother and wife and daughter and girlfriend and nurse and stranger I wield. Of every human woman that ever walked and talked. I know their face is just a smear on the back of the bandages, and it's a long way to Okinawa. Let them feel our hand one more time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cottage (String) Cheese Incident

The String Cheese Incident. Fonkee!

We will overlook the crime of playing the bass with a plectrum, just this once.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

All Those Day-Glo Freaks Who Used To Paint Their Face - They've Joined The Human Race

Pull the vocals out like a molar. Hire a phrenologist to find the bits of words under the pate, in the spots any medicine man would cut into first -- yes, there's the problem...

Anton Mesmer is your Human Resources director. Nikola Tesla is your roadie. Be as sophisticated as your library card and your livers will allow. Life is a banquet. It's buffet style, so grab two plates, cut the line, and use your fingers. Dress like clerks. Sing of jerks. Make it work.

The sun is rising soon. Go home and hide.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tommy Walnuts (2008)

I don't know how many times I trudged up that hill with his lunch. Mother said he was kind to us when we needed it, so we need to look after him now that's he's alone. Me, I just do what I'm told.

I didn't know what to call him. He looked even older than he was, and he was nothing and nobody to me. He sensed it. He seemed to know everything although he never went out.

"Everyone calls me Tommy Walnuts."

OK, then. I'd sit in the milky sunshine next to the cobwebby window and watch him eat, while the cats - his cats?- the cats did figure eights through his legs. In all the time I was ever there I never saw him show the slightest interest in those creatures, but they hung by him like he was their mother. It was like he was the sun they orbited.

He never spoke while he ate. He'd murmur or grunt if you asked him a question, but shoot you a sort of withering look that made you refrain from asking another. When he was done, he'd take out a tin of tobacco and make himself a cigarette, and he'd smoke and he'd turn his eye towards yours, and it was like a signal that you could ask him something. He never asked me anything, except: How is your mother?

I can't explain what that man knew, because he seemed to know everything. I'd go to school and the nuns would try to pound the numbers and the words and some sense into my head. It took a lot of hammering; at least at first. But then I had a mission. I wanted to ask this man something he did not know. I'd read at recess and at home and I'd sit in the library like a girl and scan the pages looking for the thing Tommy Walnuts would not know. I couldn't find it.

How long is the Great Wall of China? How do you calculate the hypotenuse of a right triangle? Who was the third vice-president of the United States? Did you know the Titanic had a sister ship?

"Two," he said, and send me home to scour the shelves again.

One day he looked rough. He always looked old and beat, but he seemed sick. He coughed a lot when he smoked.

"Are you all right?"

"I am always the same. Makes no difference. Ask your questions."

"How did you end up all alone here?"

He took a long drag on the cigarette. He looked around the empty room like a man on a stage surveying the audience before delivering his line. It was the first time he had ever even paused before answering me. I heard the clock tick, and the soft indistinct sound of a cat purring under his chair. A car sizzled past on the wet pavement outside.

He looked at me differently than before. I was sorry I had asked that. I'd gone too far. I was losing so I upset the board.

"I'm not alone. You are here."

Tommy Walnuts knew everything.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


(Written in 2007. Nothing much changes)

I'm working except when I'm sleeping. So you get more YouTube videos of people I've performed with at one time or another. At least the ones I can recall. People approach me from time to time and start talking about what a blast they had at such and such a venue for so and so's fete or whosamajiggy's convention, and I have no idea what they are talking about. I cashed the check and moved on. Glad you had fun, though.

I remember vaguely a night at least twenty years ago where some R&B combo I was in with too many members and not enough musicians played at a place called The Channel in Boston. It was a great big cave of a joint. I have no idea if it's still there. We started the show, I think, and then we played with the headliner, John Lee Hooker. I had an elderly aquaintance hear about my job and inquire whether they might be related to Mr Hooker, as that was their maiden name. She was a descendant of Joe Hooker, the Civil War general. I said I didn't think they were related but I'd be sure to give Mr. Hooker her best. I lied about the last part.

I remember the act that played on the undercard. The Joe Perry Project. Aerosmith got tired of money for a little while in the eighties and made little individual messes like this for a short time, until they got tired of no money.  Aerosmith used to play in my high school gym. I've sunk pretty low, musically, but at least I never played in the high school gym for the likes of... well, me.

For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the band I was in, or the names of any of the other musicians in it. The Dialtones? the Superfonics? 'Nuff Said? Jay Murphy? No clue. I'd play with anybody at that point. I do remember that the Channel had sidefill stage monitors, which are big stacks of PA speakers in the wings of the stage, instead of just those wedge shaped floor speakers you are used to seeing in front of musicians.

I remember them, because the BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM coming out of them at flight deck level makes my ears ring to this very day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It Turns Out Randy Newman May Not, After All, Love ELO All That Much

(It's a re-run. Deal with it.)

There's a coarseness to making fun of things abroad in the land. I don't mean that it's all bathroom humor, although there's plenty of that. I mean the humor is not sophisticated. To properly lampoon something, you have to first understand it -- but you really have to have a little affection for the subject to mock it properly, too. The Internet, with its cut-and-paste immediacy, lends itself to instant parody, not much of it very good. If you visit the average blog where opinion is offered and comments are enabled, you're able to ken the Zeitgest there immediately and move on: Yes, I get it: You hate ______. A lot. But photoshopping a Hitler moustache onto milquetoast politicians isn't a trenchant lampoon. It's the visual equivalent of putting toilet paper in someone's shrubs while they're asleep. Not particularly brave, nor funny.

Randy Newman has the cultivated talent to understand the subject intimately, and the twinkle in the eye that's necessary to mock it properly. But I can see a little kernel of affection in there for it, too. It may only be the glee of pulling the legs off a musical fly that's been bugging him, but fun is fun. That's what makes it sublime.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Love Is A Full-Time Job

We've got three shifts working around the clock here, and are constantly adding capacity. Call Bobby Womack, or your local Sippican Cottage representative for more information.

Your mileage may vary.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Non-Scientific Survey- The Most Often Visited Post I've Ever Written

  • Fie On Thee, Horseflies, gets a handful of visitors every day. I've had more people read single essays I've written, of course, but this one is my intellectual leaky faucet. Sorry the item is written so poorly, people; as the old man said, if I'd have known I was gonna live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.

If you're new around here, I live in a swamp. I know I'm supposed to call it a "pristine wetland," but if you don't mind, I'll call it the bog-to-hell-and-gone instead. Everything comes out of that swamp all the time, sometimes to delight us, sometimes to bite me and give me a fever of 105. The swamp will kill you if you let it. It would pull my house apart in a decade if I ever stopped mowing the lawn.

The worst thing the swamp produces is the horsefly. It's not actually only one kind of a beast; there's a handful of types. They appear after the midges and mosquitoes, but before the poison ivy, generally. They're the most vicious thing I can imagine. They attack like kamikazes, and get a blood meal from you with scissor mandibles. They make the end of my yard miserable for five weeks or so in the summer. Let's kill them.

Go down the basement and bring your heir and your spare.

You need a plan. It should contain all the information you need to build the thing, plus a list of all the items you need to purchase to make it. It should be a loopy looking long-haired- equation looking thing like that.

1/2" plumbing pipe, a clear plastic one-gallon jug with a screw lid, a funnel, a roll of 4 mil plastic, some punky wood strapping I dumped behind the shed 5 years ago.

The kids like the tinkertoy vibe of the plumbing pipe. I like the kids.

An 8" square of MDO left over from windowboxes.

If you can't use things for what they're not intended for, you have no business on the Internet.

You buy a 20" beachball at Wal-Mart, put a blessed halo around it with duct tape, leave a tab flap to pierce and hang the ball in the center with kite string. Spray paint the thing black while it's hanging. Horseflies are dumb. They see the ball swaying in the breeze and think it's a spherical cow or something. When disabused of this notion, they always fly straight up. They eventually make their way through the funnel and die in the heat of the clear jug. No bait or poison is necessary. The trap is a little more than a week old and the jug has thousands of the nasty bugs in there. For Amityville spectacle, some of the beasts lay their eggs in the corpses of their brethren before perishing, and the little sluglike larvae hatch and crawl around in there too. For a while. Hence the breeding cycle is interrupted, and next summer is made better now.

What do you know. It works. The kids can play in the yard again. If I'd have known it would work, I would have made a better looking one.

"If I'd have known it would work, I would have made a better looking one" would make an excellent epitaph for my grave, now that I think about it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Quiet, Numskulls, I'm Broadcastin'

I spent most of the last two days being interviewed on one talk radio station after another. I won't try to get a copy of the one from this morning a 6:35 AM, but I can approximate a transcript for you if you like:

Host Someone or Other:

***slurp coffee***

Host Someguy:

I...I.. wat?

Host All Caps:

*** Producer hangs up, line goes dead***


At any rate, I'm making a book tour without a book, which is hard. I wrote an article for Pajamas Media, and the whole world looked at it. The Talk Radio gods must be appeased.

According to one radio host, I must be some kind of wild-eyed socialist who wants to nationalize the oil industry and bankrupt the federal government. A couple hours later I was Karl Rove's pool boy. Me? I just found an interesting story and wrote it down as best I could, same as usual -- because the water bill came.

PS: I started a newspaper.

Denny Schaffer on 920WGKA in Atlanta was a hoot, and was pleasant as could be to me while I was on hold.He's got a podcasts of his show here.

I stole the one I was on. Slide the slider over to 41:30 to hear me utter the syllable "um" more times than Diamand Joe Quimby and Ted Kennedy combined, which they already might be.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Welcome To Maine, Where The People Are All Pleasant

Well, the police are, anyway. Note: There's some salty language, and some politics at the end. Hope! It never changes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Third Rock From The Sun

When Sisyphus was pushing the stone up the mountain,
Always near the top
As you remember, at the very tip of the height,
It lapsed and fell back upon him,
And he rolled to the bottom of the incline, exhausted.

Then he got up and pushed up the stone again,
First over the grassy rise, then the declivity of dead man's gulch,
Then the outcroppings halfway, at which he took breath,
Looking out over the rosy panorama of Helicon;
Then finally the top

Where the stone wobbled, trembled, and lapsed back upon him,
And he rolled again down the whole incline.
He said a man's reach must exceed his grasp,
Or what is Hades for?

He said it's not the goal that matters, but the process
Of reaching it, the breathing joy
Of endeavor, and the labor along the way.
This belief damned him, and damned, what's harder,
The heavy stone.

Josephine Miles

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Lumber Up. Limbo Down

I can't sing and they can't play. At first I'm going to wear a dinner jacket in front of a buncha hippies and an electrician's helper. My girlfriends are stewardesses on the handbasket to hell. Then I'll try an unexplained eyepatch and some sort of uniform like I'm a Field Marshal in the Weirdmacht. We're annexing Bolivia, though.

I'm drunk on Rimbaud while I read the gin bottle. I invented girls wearing their underwear on the outside of their clothes. I think they're girls. I'd have to go to church every day for a century to work my way back to being as wholesome as a vampire. I perform live with dead eyes. I'm from the bad neighborhood on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. We're the default wedding band for marriages of convenience.

Wanna dance?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Call Of Duty. Oh, And About Those Brestages

So I'm having this, awful, sinking feeling the whole time I'm watching it: What if this isn't a parody?

It's not.