Saturday, November 12, 2016


Top Ten Hot List:

1.   The beef burnt ends at Smokehouse on North Oak Trafficway really scrambled my medulla a couple weeks back.  I assemble on occasion with my hometown barbecue gang and we hit the different spots.  I've been thinking about those burnt ends since.  In some ways I am never more grateful for returning to my home territory than when I am tucking into generous platters with Fritz, Frosty, and Hoffy.

2. Late to The Fall, late to Nick Cave, late to Leonard Cohen; sometimes I arrive late.  I have been enjoying Cohen's late-run of albums and was up in the attic recording "Darlin' Clementine" for fun, when Tracy came up and gave me the news.

Clementine did trip on a splinter and fall in the river, but she had a sister, and this seems Cohen-esque.

3. Facebook is starting to feel like a mental illness.  Of course I love my friends who post earnestly and often.  But I am going to re-read The Art of War and sit tight for a minute, rather than dissipate.  Long-form articles; the long view of history; good poetry; and the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and Buck O'Neil.  I need a break from the OCD of smart phones and posts and likes.  80% of evangelicals voted for Trump and apparently the teachings of the New Testament are now utterly optional--this is something to think about in a gun-crazy country shot up with Breitbart and hog adrenaline.  Top down psychological permission to be crappy to each other is, as the kids say,  HUGE.

4. Eugenio Montale, Selected Poems.  I struggled with this book, struggled mightily.  I was relieved to read that his poems have been called hermetic and obscurely personal.  I, with a fairly robust IQ, a college English degree, and decent reading ability, am not a total lazy dipshit to struggle with these poems.  I found it at Crescent City Books in New Orleans and virtually every poem repelled tracking and sense--but I read them and will try again.  High intellect and country-wise--in intimations, leaps, and resonances.  Not easy at all.  

I am now revisiting The Essential Etheridge Knight, which I read in my twenties.  It seems really relevant right now. 

5.  The Golden Motors posthumous album: I have been sitting on this like a hen for three years now, it is mostly mixed and I have ideas for the art.  I'm just in that weird place that all DIY musicians are in nowadays--how to release an album of songs.  CD and vinyl options are best, but very expensive to finance, and I do have hundreds of cds under the steps that go down to the basement.  I haven't worked up a plan to crowd source.  It's sounding great, we worked up a kick ass batch of songs.  This is more on my mind because SquidsKC are now working up a kick-ass batch of songs and there's no way I'll sit on TWO kick-ass batches of songs.

6.  After voting Tuesday we had a beer at Mike's Tavern and I was reminded that Nikki Sudden once played a solo show there, just blocks from our house.  I bought the Numero Group's repackaged box set of seven of his records a month or so back, at the pop-up sale.  Also the second Unwound box set; the Ork box on cd; the Forte label anthology CD, and an ambient release by Express Rising.  That kind of blew my record budget pretty good, but I did pick up Alex Chilton's 1970 at Records With Merritt recently.  The Ork box is actually full of tracks that sound Chilton-inspired, and less early punk rock than I figured.

7.  I went to my first Chiefs game in about 25 years last weekend, and tailgated for the first time as well.  It was really something out there, really fun.  They are doing well this year and it was a blast.  That said, I would appreciate it if the franchise changed its name and logo to something respectful or merely goofy and fun, like the Jackson County Crushers. But a nice block, a good cut, a seven-yard pickup, a touchdown, a good hit--these are hard not to enjoy, and enjoy together. 

8.  There is now a vibe of mistrust in society at large, I have been feeling it, I think we all have.  Not trusting each other is a serious sign of problems.  I have been wondering what daily life was like in countries that took the plunge into total dysfunction.  I'm thinking the vibe of mistrust must have been part of it.

9.  Daily drawing is now part of my routine, as little as five minutes a day, chiseling away at little designs and patterns.  I keep threatening to have one of them tattooed on my arm.  Doodling and a quick no-thought poem are my one-two punch to get the day started with a cup of coffee.

10.  Swinney Gym.  As quality of life goes, nothing really beats riding my bike or walking up to Swinney Gym for a swim, or time on the elliptical or exercise bike.  I tweaked my back badly, digging a fencepost hole in May, just before the AHA Heartwalk (bummer).  I have only recently worked my way back into running, with a four-miler here and there.  I don't anticipate every dedicating myself to one form of exercise again.  An eclectic but committed course of different exercise methods seems to be best.
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