Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, September 20, 2003 ]


First CBS wants to have a reality show called "The Real Beverly Hillbillies," which - despite much protest - they may do anyway, and now this. I'm all for knocking the rich, but I guess making fun of the "filthy" working class is the new rage. Fuckers...

I know what you're thinking: "But, Hughesie, why is it okay to make fun of rich people and not fair to make fun of middle-class, working-class or poor people? By the same token, why is it fair to make fun of Northerners or celebrities and not rural Southerners? For that matter, asshole, why is it okay to make fun of white people but not black people?"

I get this question a lot, and it's a fair question. My answer is twofold: first, it IS okay to make fun of ANYBODY, as long as that humor doesn't simply promote negative stereotypes. Making fun of black people or rural southerners is fine in theory, but anybody with any knowledge of the real world knows that that humor will too often merely become a rehashing of stereotypical perceptions.

("But, you bastard, isn't that what making fun of rich people is doing?")

Yeah, but I happen to subscribe to some very wise things the great George Carlin said on this manner. I don't remember the exact phrasing, but the essence was that humor should be a means by which the powerful are brought down to a level of greater equality with the masses, rather than being a means by which the demoralized or powerless are further squashed. By making fun of the rich, the field is being levelled; if the poor are mocked, it's merely adding to the problem. I think there's a lot of truth in that.

Of course, I also am a firm believer in the 1st Amendment, so do what you want to. Doesn't mean I won't complain about it.

On the box right now: Erykah Badu, WORLDWIDE UNDERGROUND


Dove With Claws [9:00 AM]

[ Thursday, September 18, 2003 ]


Couple notes from tonight:

-The open-mic debut of "Blixie" - the African-American tribute to the Dixie Chicks that I provide accompaniment for - went well. I also did a solo set, consisting of Townes Van Zandt's "White Freightliner Blues," my own "I Can't Believe (I Screwed Up Again)," Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," Warren Zevon's "I Was In The House When The House Burned Down" and Prince's "Rapsberry Beret." It went well, and I think I hit most of the audience with my choices. At one point, I think it was the beginning of the Zevon song, some guy in the front row asked his friend - rhetorically, I assume - "who IS this guy?" In a good way, trust me...

-Mark, the guy in my Weather and Climate class with no internal dialogue who I've talked about before, had a good one today. He turned me right in the middle of class and said: "You know, my dorm is obsessed with ping pong." Always good for a laugh, that guy.

Well, my fingers are blistered from playing and I've got nothing more to say. Tomorrow I'll most likely blog again, probably with some stuff about Wesley Clark.

On the box right now: Bubba Sparxxx, DELIVERANCE


Dove With Claws [9:10 PM]

[ Tuesday, September 16, 2003 ]


I hate to rip on hippies, since - for the most part - they're harmless and well-intentioned, but...

Tonight, a crowd of hippies ruined another concert for me. This is not the first time, nor (I'm sad to say) is it likely to be the last time. This time I should've known what was coming. (Actually, I did know, but the ticket was comped, and I liked the bands, so what was I to do...) It was a double bill of Leftover Salmon - the best and most fun of the usually dreadful jam-band genre - and the great Del McCoury Band, one of the best things in American music. I left halfway through (after one set by each), and why? Because I was literally surrounded by a bunch of stoned, loud, rhythmless hippies who smelled really bad and danced even worse. Hopping around like dying fish, hooting and hollering at everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING), and - most interesting perhaps - talking to each other throughout the show like they were at a family reunion (which maybe they thought they were), these Jerry-worshippers were not only obnoxious, but a little bit frightening. Everybody associates hedonism and fascism with things other than the mother-earth/patchouli set, but these folks seemed to be absolutely fixated on their own instantaneous enjoyment. Enjoyment which they acted out in a strikingly similar fashion. It was the same sort of non-commital, blank-stared superficiality that annoys the hell out of me in political activism, where hippies could be a great help but are usually concerned with sitting around under trees trying to find God. That's all well and good, and to each their own, but it's not going to help people. (Hippie-dom also gives the right wing a great way by which to mock and trivialize the Left. I hate to admit it, but I see their point.)

Now they've invaded bluegrass, a genre which used to be about intense spirituality and bluesy roadhouse fun, but is quickly becoming yet another venue for the stinky, twitchy, frenetic, comfortably numb set. Ugh.

I hate to be so hostile, and I don't want to come off as overly snotty, but this is a subculture that I have little respect for. It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so fucking annoying, but they are. Maybe all those square-headed 1960s reactionaries were right all along....crazy hippies.

On the box right now: Blind Boys of Alabama, GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN


Dove With Claws [8:23 PM]

[ Monday, September 15, 2003 ]


The weirdest night in America continues...

I had the balcony door in my apartment open, and I kept hearing this repeated German phrase, on what sounded like a tape, coming from the apartment either above or right next to me. Over and over, with hard German syllables. Like Goebbels' alarm clock.

What next...

Dove With Claws [10:18 PM]


Quick update...I didn't read the card close enough. This one's for a happy WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. That's a new one.

Dove With Claws [9:39 PM]


The following is a true story....

For the past five years or so, I've been recieving birthday cards from the White House. Not weird in itself, perhaps, particularly since I gave money on more than one occassion to Clinton, and have been well-established in Democratic Party mailings and such. Even the fact that we've now changed regimes, and the office has gone over to the Dark Side, doesn't take away from the fact that a simple clerical error or oversight could keep the stenciled, mass-mailing cards from coming my way.

Here's the problem (or, rather, three problems)...
1. I don't get them on my birthday, and I get them on an average of four or five times a year.
2. I get them on a hand-lettered envelope, never on White House stationary (although sometimes a White House envelope - with birthday card inside - is located inside the outer envelope). These envelopes have postage - sometimes stamp, sometimes meter - from all over the country. North Carolina, Indiana, etc. Never the same place twice, and certainly no consistent location.
3. The weirdest part: THEY'RE NOT FROM THE CURRENT PRESIDENT. In fact, I've never gotten one from George W. Bush. In addition, I haven't gotten cards from Clinton in a long time. I started out getting cards from the Clintons, then my greetings came from the first Bush (and the lovely Barbara), and then I even got a couple from the REAGANS. The Bushes have become the most common. Which leads me to why I bring this up now.

I got another one. Just now. Postage from Houston, from George H.W. and Barbara Bush. Why is this important, beyond the simple weirdness of it all? I HAD NEVER RECIEVED ONE IN MADISON. I had always gotten them back in Wausau, at my home address where I grew up. Now I've gotten one here, following the same formula (see 1-3 above) as before.*

(*The last card I got was actually unique too, in that it came in a long, manila envelope. I opened the envelope to find a White House folder, with a post-it note that said - in handwriting once again - "Thanks for all your support." Inside that envelope was the good ol' White House stationary and a Bush birthday card inside.)

Now, am I supposed to be paranoid about an odd, inexplicable series of cards, coming seemingly from different sources (though obviously in a pattern)? Cards which I shouldn't be getting, from people I shouldn't be getting them from, from constantly changing locations that they shouldn't be coming from? Moreover, does this now mean that whomever my Presidential birthday stalker is has now found me in Madison? Oh, and by the way...

I know I've said this before in this post, but here is really the weirdest part. The card is addressed to me, with the wrong zip code. Not weird, necessarily. But the zip code listed (53715) is the one I thought was right when I first moved in. The zip code I included on mail I sent and on address info I gave to people. GET IT? Whoever's doing this got my address - indirectly at least - from ME. That is a personal connection I neither want nor feel happy about, especially since the changing addresses make the possibility of this being a prank pulled on me by my friends or family hard to believe.

This is all very strange. I don't want to be paranoid, but what the hell is going on here? I haven't gotten too worked up about it, especially since birthday cards from former presidents has where my contact with this secret admirer has ended. Now they have me in Madison, though...what the hell could that mean?

I swear to God all the previous is true. I have evidence. Thoughts from anybody? Please?

Dove With Claws [9:06 PM]


End-of-weekend notes:

-A "friendly fire" incident, initiated by the U.S., killed 8 Iraqi police and 1 Jordanian. Needless to say, the Iraqis weren't pleased. "Save your bullets for the enemies," one leader said in reaction to the firing of guns (toward the air) by Iraqi citizens at the mass funeral. Not good...not good...

-Mike's art opening was this weekend. Nice to see that his work is neither pretentious nor indulgent; I hope it's interpreted with the depth it deserves. His topic (mainly the relationship inherent in the construction of pop-cultural figures) is one that can easily be glossed over by folks who aren't fully engaged in the work. I'm certainly not an elitist, and I'm no art expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope people get the work's irony and implication, as opposed to just chuckling at the teen idols.

-Some asshole identifying himself as "Andy" posted a dumb-ass comment on Matt's blog. I hope he explains himself, and that it turns out we just misinterpreted his remarks. If that's the case, then I'll happily retract my insults and apologize for them. Otherwise, insults it shall be.

-Another business-card candidate: "I don't need that aggravation."

-I really like two tracks from the newest Nick Cave album: "He Wants You" and "Bring It On." The rest is sort of eesh.

-June Carter Cash's final album, WILDWOOD FLOWER, is brilliant and sad. Check it out...

On the box right now: Nappy Roots, WOODEN LEATHER


Dove With Claws [8:31 PM]