I voted in my primary today, and things have changed a bit since my last foray into the bowels of the franchise. I didn't vote for most of the people on the ballot for the simple reason that, being new to this area, I don't know who the hell they are. I did vote for my incumbent congressman, a kindly old physician. As opposed to the crazy old Ron Paul physician kind, who I am convinced is a meth addict. I'm not that crazy about my critter, though, because as far as I am aware the only legislation he has ever sponsored was a law to ban the sale of Playboy in overseas PX's. Most notably Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, you may call me old-fashioned, and paint me as a rose-tinted eyeglass sort of sentimentalist, but I believe if a young fellow is in a fightin' and killin' environment, he should be able to buy a goddam whack book with his government allowance. That goes double for the female soldiers. I rather like the idea of lesbian killing machines slaying intolerant, bigoted Islamists.
Ah, but back to the voting changes. My identification was checked twice. The second time the gentleman inserted a yellow magnetic stripe voting card into a machine, swiped the bar code on the back of my license, confirmed my identity on the computer screen, and uploaded my voter information onto the yellow voter card, which I then used to cast my ballots. Easy fucking peasy.
Of course I realize intranets can be hacked, and manipulated, but not as easily as stuffing a paper ballot box with an extra 500 or so Lyndon Johnson votes in Gila Monster County, Texas. To use a casual example. By God, I'm proud to live in the Appalachian corner of a reprobate, inbred, cracker-assed state when the virtue of the vote is protected in such a manner.
For some reason I was especially proud of the fact that 5 of the 7 poll workers were African-Americans, and were just as courtly and pleasant checking my ID and handing me my Republican voting card as they were anyone else. It was a fine testament to our sense of community here. We were all civic-minded Americans in that room.
I am sure Obama would not approve. The mongrelization of our civic duty, the commingling of our shared enthusiasm for the glory of the ballot, would surely make the man dyspeptic.
And speaking of pulling the lever, which was only metaphorical for voting, I voted against casinos in the state. First, I'm not sure I can prove my Indian bloodlines to the point of scoring a piece of that sweet action. Although I, too, have high cheekbones. In addition, I'm rather swarthy, I cannot handle my firewater, and I have partaken of the peyote. I consider these serious bona fides. Second, convincing a hot but slightly insane woman to take you to Vegas is something of an under the radar right of passage for us over-the-hill boys.
Don't take that away from me!
Watching the replay of that wretched paean to the National Health during the Olympics opening ceremonies made me quite bilious. Not one sentient creature on the face of the Blue Marble has an ounce of respect for that odious institution.
Having children performing somersaults of joy on their hospital beds when the NHS uses dehydration as a form of euthanasia is a fucking repellent thing for a supposedly civilized people.
By my abacus the National Health Service is the most murderous organization Western civilization has ever produced outside of the Nazi Party. It is completely corrupted, venal, insensitve, uncaring, and ineffectual. And those are only its passive traits. The active traits are not unlike Mengele's regime, except for the fact that Mengele's horrors were at least in the service of some perverse knowledge. All the NHS wants to do is kill the next patient as quickly as possible so that they might take tea, and collect their stipend.
The only good thing the NHS ever did was produce a jaundiced physician to supply John Lennon with some excellent psychotropic drugs. And even that led, inevitably, to Yoko Ono.
There is a lunatic asylum in Bolivar, Tennessee. All states have them. Some have several. This one sits high upon a hill:
The grounds slope, immaculately, down to the highway, intermittently punctuated by grand live oaks. It is a beautiful, and fearsome vision. Fearsome, because one can easily imagine a security breach, and lunatics wandering down the slope in their nightgowns. Like a Halloween movie. This is where art directors come to envision a lunatic asylum for a film.
Business is slow in Bolivar, and in Milledgeville, which is where my state's nuthouse is. Because as a culture we have decided it is more humane to let the lunatics roam amongst us. To institutionalize them is cruel, as they might miss their fucking Friday cupcake.
Better to let them be free, so that random mass murders might exhibit themselves, and allow us to politicize it, and finger our opponents. Much better than locking up the lunatics. Which, by the way, creates jobs. Those Negroes beating on Randle McMurphy were earning a living wage, you know.
1964's Becket is a splendid film, if one is into 1960's pompfoolery. Historically inaccurate, it is nonetheless bolstered by exquisite performances by Peter O'Toole as Henry II and Richard Burton as Thomas Becket. Both were nominated for Best Actor Oscars, and both were worthy, but lost out to Rex Harrison for the insipid My Fair Lady. More importantly, Becket also probed new ground in sexuality for these pageantry spectacles.
There is a scene, for instance, where king and Becket, seeking shelter from the rain during a falcon hunt, find a teenaged girl in a hovel. The licentious king fancies taking her to the castle and making her a whore. As an impulse, he actually lifts her burlap dress with a stick in order to ascertain the condition of her genitals.
I first saw this film when I was seven years old. It remains the only sex education I ever had. It imprinted on me like a baby duck on a hipster environmentalist. To this day first dates find the stick a little off-putting, but I always explain it comes from a good place. I still haven't found a way around slacks.
In 1976 or thereabouts my brother, cousin and I traveled from Savannah to Jacksonville to see Eric Clapton. With a bag of "weed." I believe it was the Hello, Old Friend tour.
All went according to plan.
The money part was the stoned fucker in front of us. All concert long he kept bellowing PRESENCE OF THE LORD!
Which is a fine song, and Blind Faith, but it's Stevie Winwood's song. And his lyrics. And the actual title is In The Presence Of The Lord.
Anywhats, as I recall, Clapton refused to play it, Yvonne Elliman refused to sing it. It was a bad vibe, thanks to this guy. But Eric did close out with I Shot The Sheriff. So we had that. Then I stole gasoline from someone's car to get home.
I'd fix that part, but I don't know how.
A seemingly brilliant young man has gone mad. Shot up north of 70 people, killing at least 12. It's a crazy world.
What we do know: nothing much. Brian Ross alleged he was a Tea Partier. We know that has been debunked. Although why that whore keeps his job bemuses me. Well, it doesn't. He was the centurion charged with carrying out the libel.
We also know this guy was a particularly brainy neuroscience PhD candidate. The very tops in his classes.
What we do not know: why he was withdrawing from a seemingly promising PhD program. His political affiliations, if any. His motive, or motives.
Here's what I know. Because I can smell bullshit from a thousand yards. This guy ain't no Tea Partier. His hate likely stems from an inability to score a cush government job with his masters degree. Hence the necessity of the PhD program.
He's a slacker, philosphically. Although an apparently intelligent one. And what a shame. That his mind, his dreams, were derailed into a fucking bucketful of hate. Perhaps his parents let him down, perhaps he was too crazy to reach. Perhaps he was just a scorned lazy hipster who just got his first whiff of coffee.
But now people are dead. I wouldn't put any political motive on this, other than the meta "sucks to live in this economy." Sure it does. Ain't been sweet tea for me. But I'm not blasting holes in people, either. This onion will get peeled back. I may even be off the mark. BUT:
This whole thing smacks of a Scorpio Bus Ride to me. Nothing more. For what it's worth.
I realize it is an amorphous thought, and simultaneously the stuff of urban legend, but it seems to me, squinting back through the years, that every money shot in a 1970's porn film began with the distinctive wah-wah guitar of Hendrix's Voodoo Child.
If they didn't, they should have. More likely, owing to copyright issues, and dollars, what I recall is bad rip offs of Voodoo Child. I'll have to revisit a few classics to solidify this thought.
Nonetheless, I'm telling you: when the guitarist hit the wah-wah pedal on the soundtrack back then, you knew the clothes were coming off, and the headliners were about to exhibit their hirsute, untrimmed skills.
Just as DiMaggio was the bridge between the Yankees of Ruth and the Yankees of Mantle, I believe Ron Jeremy was probably the bridge between the wah-wah guitar pornographic film of the '70's and the free-for-all videos my attorneys tell me exist on the internets today. Which could use a little more wah-wah. And some professionals. Och. You get what you pay for.
Although quick perusals of Facebook and Twitter make me wish it were so.
Man may be a social animal by nature, but that is only because communion with one's brethren offers the opportunity to steal from them. A man in a cave is merely a man in a cave. But a man in a community, why, he can rummage another man's cave. Mr. President.
Here endeth my obsequious reach around to the "undecided" voter. They call them "moderates" now. In a more martial era, when a person was afraid to put their politics, and feelings, and fists on the line, they were known as "quivering pussies." Not to be confused, of course, with quivering pussies. Ahem.
There is no more hemming and hawing, my fey little friends. You can remove your finger from your perplexed, pursed little lips. Dies will be cast. Yours among them. You can either cast yours for the Dark Lord Sauron, or for the nice little conservative hobbits. And, trust me, I understand your fear. Nice little hobbits win battles, but their shire is still scoured. Perhaps better not to have the IRS on one's ass. You know the quote: first they came for the Muslims, but I did nothing, because I wasn't beheading innocent people...
You can fill in the rest.
Anyway, I ain't dead. I'm just wearing Maria Bello's ridiculously ghastly Trilby hat from Prime Suspect, trying to locate Vanderleun.
Also: very few men can wear a Trilby. Sean Connery, and perhaps Christopher Plummer. The rest of us must wear pork pies. It is our station.
Looks like this is going to be a Ten Years After weekend, out of sheer ennui:
This is what Clapton was trying to do at the time, but his fingers weren't fast enough, and his vocals sucked. Strange how so many Brits born in the 40's wanted to be incarcerated black men on the Parchman Farm in Jim Crow Mississippi.
Gibson has you figured out. You can buy a genuine replica of Alvin Lee's E-335 Big Red:
or a genuine replica of John Lennon's Epiphone Casino:
or a genuine replica of Paul McCartney's Epiphone FT-145 Texan, from Yesterday fame:
They're all pretty pricey. I actually owned a Texan for many years. A high school graduation gift from my father, which lent it extra psychological heft. Possibly the sweetest guitar I've ever played. Gave any other Epiphone, or Gibson, or Martin, for that matter, a nice run for their money. I gave it to my daughter, and she will not relinquish it. It is the go-to tool for songwriting for every band she's been in. It's almost 40 years old now, and mellows like a Stradivarius.
So go buy yerself a Lennon Casino. At twice the price of a regular one. Lessons and genius are extra, of course.
This is probably the worst performance of Alvin Lee's career. But it was Woodstock. And it was iconic.
I saw Alvin twice in '78 when he was fronting a power trio called Ten Years Later. In retrospect, perhaps that Woodstock performance wasn't his worst. The lad was a shredder, though.
That is a truncated version, by the way, due to some copyright issues (I think he sampled some Chuck Berry and Sonny Boy Williamson in there, and a lawyer will pin his grandmother down and let a bulldog fuck her for a fee).
I believe the actual performance was north of 9 minutes. And infinitely better than Sha Na Na. Somewhere there is footage of Creedence, Mountain, and the Grateful Dead. Never made the final cut. They must have really sucked that weekend.
17-year life cycle, they say. They stay buried for years until it is their moment.
I've never seen the actual creature, the locust, in all my years. Merely the shells, the husks. I'm not sure where the locusts go. Possibly to plague the Egyptians. Something certainly needs to. Their political life cycle is something more than 17 years, but it always returns to a plague upon their people. Shells and husks are the manifestation. A wallowed out people, they.
Tensions must be high in the inner sanctum of the Israeli Defense Forces. They now have to simultaneously plan for a war with Iran while putting the hurt on irridentist Egyptians in the Sinai.
The Israelis are not looking forward to this fight, but I am. As a bit of an all-consuming locust myself, I'm ready to see them get it on.
You will be glad to know I've replaced the Andy Griffith video with one of higher quality. Because when the Big A gets his horndog on we should be able to enjoy it in its most sublime iteration. To share with the kids, etc. & etc.
Here's a thing: did you know Marjoe Gortner, Terry Maxon in that movie, was an ordained Pentacostal minister at the age of 4? His parents would travel the revivalist circuit, where Marjoe would perform weddings, and be mock-drowned, only to come back to life. He also delivered some pretty powerful fire-and-brimstone sermons, for a 4-year-old.
It's a crazy world.
The Guardian posited the question earlier this year that more men are raped in America every year than women. The results are not dispositive, but they do raise an interesting question. One that US journalists would never touch.
Forget the aggregate numbers. But consider: women have resources. Rape crisis centers. Shelters. A culture that aggressively seeks out and punishes rapists (or rapers, as I call them. They aren't artists. Why should they be rapists? They are rapers.) This is a great thing. It makes our culture, and all cultures who adhere, infinitely worthy. A good society pursues male on female rape with aggression, and righteousness. Hell, 40 years ago it was a capital crime, until feminists convinced us that sex was no big deal.
But: the rape of men is a joke. Because 95% of it occurs in prisons. We laugh. We make drop the soap jokes. We wish Big Bubba to cornhole our political foes when they get in a jam.
This ain't funny. And the worst of it is the wardens, the men who are charged with the containment and rehabilitation of the worst of us, use rape as a control tool.
I wear many hats. Did you know I have a criminal justice degree? Sure I do. I've been to prisons. Many times. I've seen Tough Love, and I've seen facilities where the inmates run the place. The only common thread has been the institutionalization of rape as a weapon of control.
Despite demurrs from the ACLU, it is quite an easy thing to treat foodstuffs so that prisoners are impotent. No one is talking chemical castration. Just a good old dose of saltpeter. Prison rape could be abolished in an instant. And yet no politician has the balls to bring it up. Hard to blame them. It doesn't sell in Peoria.
My point, and it is not a world changer, is that we have a disgusting rape epidemic in our prisons. Where a man who goes in for selling a few pounds of weed comes out a structurally damaged human being, who might or might not exact some sexual revenge. On someone.
We are the United States. Why do we tolerate this bullshit? Why do we let semi-sentient jailers control the sexual fate of our cousins? For a fucking punchline?
Sometimes I think we pat ourselves on the back too much. We are so joyous we are not imprisoned we don't give a rat's ass about the folks who are. I'm going to bring this issue up with Romney tonight. He likes to call me when I'm half in the bag.
Here's the thing: as a smart society you want that man walking out of that prison to be a better man than the one who walked in. By allowing him to be serially sodomized I don't think you are going to get a better man walking out of those gates. The good news is he will be domiciling in a neighborhood near you.
Sorry. I'm just mesmerized by this picture. It is my Twitter avatar. Seeing LBJ looking like he just spent the weekend at Woodstock with Timothy Leary is like seeing Richard Nixon sporting a Joe Dirt mullet.
Or, perhaps, it is sadder than that. Think Howard Hughes. One day you're the richest man on the planet, so dashing you are giving Clark Gable a run for his money and fucking Rita Hayworth, the next you are hermetically sealed in a Vegas penthouse, with fungal yellowed fingernails, a bacteria phobia, and a plethora of drug addictions. Getting weekly blood tranfusions from Mormons because they are "pure."
My fall, on the other hand, has not been nearly as precipitous as these fellows.
Got a little spring in my step for a change. Although dropping El Cid with Leary, or better, LBJ, would have been the damned bomb.
I wasn't going to post anything today, because my opinions lean to the caustic, and frivolous, and I did not want to denigrate the moment.
And yet all day my mind kept being drawn to Sousa, and the genius he was. For anyone who has wielded a weapon, or marched in a junior high school band, or attended a United States academy, he is the guy you know, toting that M1 Garand, or that sousaphone, or that piccolo.
Sousa's marches didn't make us a belligerent nation, they merely spoke to our willingness to go that extra mile to ensure liberty was ensured. In that regard I would say they are as important as any of Beethoven's works.
What a mensch. He possessed perfect pitch, like Beethoven. He is best known for Stars and Stripes Forever, and Semper Fidelis. My personal favorite, while my former hippie ass was being pelted with beer bottles by the next week's hippies, was The Thunderer:
It just has a little bounce to it. I dig that. God Bless the United States of America, and John Philip Sousa.
The Frankenweapon proceeds apace:
Now all I need is a barrel. And some internal guts, like a bolt and firing pin, would be nice. I know a lot of people who need some internal guts, too. Me among them.
When I tried to attach the upper receiver to the lower tonight I had some problems. They got locked up, like two dogs in a parking lot. At first I thought my new upper was out of spec, and I precipitously cursed a malevolent God, but it turned out to be a simple deburring problem. I had to deftly file some rough edges off an internal piece. It should not have come like that, but I should have anticipated it.
All life ultimately, I reckon, consists of deburring problems. Especially relationships. Now in this instance I had to take the rough edges off the male piece so that it would glide more easily into the female, or receptive, piece. Sound familiar?
Life is all about smoothing the edges. It don't cost you anything, and it gives you a bit of the upper hand, should you need it. I'm not doling out unsolicited advice, by the way. Just mumbling some affirmations to myself into the bathroom mirror.
I fit the rough piece into the small hole, with some emollient. Tomorrow I seek 16 inches of chrome hardened steel to jut out the front. No wonder girls like guns. They're like porno Harlequin romances. And guns don't fart in their sleep.
As we mourn the passing of Andy Griffith, let us remember him as the wise but affable Andy Taylor, and not the shill for ObamaTax that his addlepated self became.
Even moreso, let us remember Andy for all of his brilliant Asshole roles, from Lonesome Rhodes in A Face In The Crowd to John Wallace in Murder in Coweta County to, well, this role, from the vastly underappreciated 1974 made-for-TV movie Pray For The Wildcats:
To watch Ange in action was to love him.
P.S. Sorry that video seems to be acting up. It was fine the first time I viewed it. But I seem to have awakened it from some Karloffian mummy slumber, and it ain't got its sea legs yet.
The Spikes Tactical Havoc Launcher:
As soon as my AR-15 build is complete this will be my first add-on. It is designed to legally shoot 37mm flares and smoke grenades. Wonderful toys in and of themselves. But Lo! You can also get these:
Adapters. So that you can fire 12-gauge flares from your 37mm grenade launcher. A small thing? Yes. But with infinite possibilities. Why, a person could adapt these to shoot Bacon Bits at infidels. Urine bombs at neighborhood nuisances. Or: dare I say it? Mustard gas.
Mustard gas is legal, ain't it? I mean, not for use on battlefields, but for personal use? I don't know much about it, but I do believe it is more stable than chlorine gas, or phosgene. Still tricky stuff. They would be tiny doses, but who's clearing trenches?
I had a World War I gas mask I bought in high school in a surplus store. Sure would come in handy now. But as I recall I converted it to a hyperbaric marijuana mask. Ever have your mom walk into your bedroom and find you passed out with a gas mask on your face? No. Of course you haven't. And neither have I. But that day was coming, and I ditched the thing to a friend for half an ounce. I was Fair Trade before Fair Trade was cool.
At any rates, there are any number of things I could pack into those adapters and launch. Feces, spittle, my leftover turnip greens. But, by God, mustard gas.
Great art transcends our piddling, quotidian existences, and show us not what the world could be, but what fantastic goals we can strive for. What we can aspire to be. I believe Reagan riding a Velociraptor meets that criterion.
I stolded this from Gerard, who borrowed it from the artist, SharpWriter. By the way, you can purchase signed, high quality prints here.