Monday, November 24, 2014

They're here.


It was the dogs I noticed first. Fewer catahoula mutts, fewer pits, and more golden retrievers pulling scrubbed pink people pushing expensive perambulators containing The Heir. The humans avoid eye contact; if they do smile or nod it is with a tight opaque face. I'm seeing more Volvos, fewer clapped-out minivans with ladder racks. Fewer folks sitting on porches or stoops, in fact fewer porches and stoops and more blank tall gates. Every new house is like its own American compound. I feel so... colonized. I get it, though. They love the location, they're just not crazy about the neighborhood.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Avant Gradschool


How can you have a fringe festival that's not on the fringes of anything? It's all fringe, I guess, like a whorehouse curtain. Let's go sit in a black box. There will be cuss words and exposed flesh, ironic use of clown white, and young performers wishing desperately to be misunderstood. We have gotten to the point where competence may be the only transgression left, rare as tits on a snake. Still, it's our culture, and this is its expression. You can't complain about art you don't like an more than about the proliferation of flies on a dung heap.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I miss onionskin


This thing used to could happen: A person would be typing and stop for a sip of coffee and set their cup down and type to the end of the line and the carriage went ding. You would slap the return lever to start the next line and damned if I hadn't set the cup down in exactly the wrong place because POW! Coffee everywhere. Also, the handset of older dial telephones was quite heavy and you could give yourself a concussion if you answered too enthusiastically. Otherwise, I can think of no way that technology has improved human life.

Monday, November 3, 2014

As I look out at this puddle of faces...


Back in May, Jimmy Page accepted an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. (No word on whether he's willing to share academic credit with Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, and Randy California.) A lot of celebrities get honorary doctorates at graduation time; it's a way for schools to get name speakers to show up, and for Doctor Ralph Stanley to start his lucrative sideline in shade tree lobotomies. Usually, these degrees recognize a lifetime of valuable contributions to the culture. But what about people of more humble accomplishment? I'm lobbying here for an honorary associate degree from Cuyahoga Community College.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lives of the Philosophers, Pt. 3


Reading Marshall McLuhan's ideas this late in the game, they can seem banal because they so accurately describe the way we live today. Like watching a D. W. Griffith movie and trying to get your head around a time when a close-up was a big deal. Two things to remember about him: First off, Canadian. Like Howie Mandel and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The second thing is he predicted the Internet and coined the term Global Village, which you should think about when you worry about online privacy because one thing about living in a village is everybody knows everybody else's business.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2 names good. 3 names better.


First off: There's not a thing wrong with Stevie Ray Vaughn or Kenny Wayne Shepherd, fine fine superfine pickers who've made scads of good music and who, for very different reasons, wouldn't care at all about my opinions even if they knew about them, which they don't. I wanted that straight right out front there. What rankles me and raises my hackles is when cats cite them as major influences and as some sort of wellspring of originality which sorry but they just ain't. To believe they are is like stepping in a bucket and thinking you found the ocean.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Radiogenic argon-40 in every breath


Apparently, they are putting something called GMO in our food, which I had previously heard was a miracle arthritis cure they didn't want us to know about. They've also started putting gluten into bread and cake and cookies, where it could be eaten by children. Also, do you realize that today's apple contains over twice as much fructose as glucose? I also heard they killed this one guy because he invented a simple attachment for your carburetor that would turn tap water into gasoline. I'm not sure who they are, but I'll say this for them: They stay incredibly busy.