Friday, February 29, 2008

Couple of old war birds

As I lit a blunt last 4th of July two friends of mine who were not smoking weed at the time started moaning because they could not take a puff. Bryce was in trouble with the law and was being drug tested and Cod took some time off to find a job and stopped smoking in case of a urine analysis. Long time potheads not taking part in a blunt was a weird feeling for them and Cod remarked that they were a couple of “Old War Birds” because they had been through many battles with the weed. Battle Tested and Battle Hardened.

Which brings me to the Old War Bird John McCain and what he said today. “I have some news: Al Qaeda is called Al Qaeda Iraq and Al Qaeda is in Iraq.” Barack Obama fired back. “I have news for John McCain: Al Qaida was not in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain invaded Iraq.” That may not be the two exact quotes, but it is the balls of each. It looks like McCain is geared up to tangle with Obama for the next year, but we won’t know that until March 4 when the results for Texas, Vermont, Rhode Island and Ohio will be known.

Obama and McCain will be a sharper contrast than Clinton and McCain because I see McCain as Budweiser and Clinton as Bud Light and I don’t think that will work. Or Republican Light always loses vs. Republican. No more of the lesser of two evils: We need something to believe in. Last night in the 20th debate between Obama and Clinton, she finally said she would take back her Iraq War Vote after Tim Russert asked her what she regretted.

A few weeks ago when Hillary was still the perceived frontrunner, Matt Taibbi said on Bill Maher’s HBO show, “70% of the country is against the war and we have two pro war candidates, that shows you how fucked up the system is.” That was a keen observation by Taibbi. He can be right on, but he can also come across as a super-cynical-smartest-kid-in-class type, which I have also read him make fun of himself for. You know that guy that was brought up with a multicultural education but, never actually had diversity in his life; listened to rap but, didn’t know any black people. He wrote an article called The Obama Moment and sounded like he had finally got the Obama bug. He sounded more hopeful than I had ever heard him. But then he flipped the script after the Nevada debate and was disappointed with Obama’s performance calling him a “straw man.” I think Taibbi wanted more of a fiery guy up there but, Obama is not quick to get that way even when he is pushed. Last night Tim Russert and Brian Williams asked him about Minister Farrakhan’s support of his campaign and they also brought up the picture of him in traditional Somali garb that the Clinton’s brought out and Obama did not get defensive. He was cool and absorbed it.

To be an Obama supporter you still must have a little bit of the innocence of a boy wonder. . . still dreaming with hope for what might be able to happen. Hope in humanity and the ability to still think about the unknown. What if? The walls close in very quickly when hope is out the window. Many smart people decided to invade Iraq. And some of my smartest friends think it is the most worthless thing ever to vote. And 40% of the population has agreed over the years. And it is hard to argue against a statistic like that. . . maybe they are right. I have thought many times through my life, “maybe I am the dumb one or part of the dumb. . . ” To think that we as a nation of peasants will sway the powerful.

George Carlin has publicly said he has not voted since McGovern in 1972 and I just read something recently where he was very pleased to watch this Obama story unfold but, he was still not going to vote. He sits on the sidelines and is skeptical that even an Obama presidency would change anything. I agree that it may not change a thing. He [Obama] may not deliver on anything he has been talking about but, to me it is not the point. Obama’s job is to inspire, to lift the country’s spirits. We must do the work individually in our own lives; one man can’t change everything, but he may be able to change the attitude. I can’t agree with Carlin about sitting on the sidelines. To be a human in the community of humans everyone has a responsibility to participate. You don’t have to, no one is going to put a gun to your head, but I think you should as a the little boy idealist I am. Citizen Journalist, Boy Wonder Journalist.

Maybe by not participating in the system that is the biggest loudest way to say “I don’t agree with what is happening to our country.” But, that is a bleak way to go. I prefer to look at this way: "Something is happening in America something some of us did not see coming." Those are the words of John Lewis Democratic Rep. from Georgia who helped lead the March on Selma. He was a Clinton supporter and just defected to Obama.

I took the picture of Bat Cheney under the Southbound I-5 bridge next to Lake Union near Ivar's Salmon House.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Man with the master plan to rebuild Afghanistan

That was just a dream, that's me in the corner...” - R.E.M. “Losing My Religion”

Indeed. And Mitt Romney must feel that way tonight Tuesday February 5, 2008. He just dropped out of the race to lead the GOP. The Man from Michigan is not used to losing and you could see it in his face for his concession speech this morning. He said, “I don’t like losing...” with kind of a sheepish smile. I can imagine a man like Mitt gets his way most of the time. What does he do now? He made boatloads of money bringing companies back from the brink making the tough cuts for the bottom line. It may not be just a cynical view but also partially accurate to always think that money buys power and power corrupts and corruption is tough on the soul. When the soul is in danger, judgment and integrity slip away in a mountain of tweaked decisions and the water becomes murky.

That is what Mitt was known for. The Ultimate Flip Flopper, his convictions blew away with the wind for so much of his life, that he probably didn’t know what to do when put into a corner by a guy like McCain, with temper, sort of blunt by nature and always able to have the whole Vietnam POW card in his back pocket at all times. After Bush destroyed McCain in the SC primary of 2000, I thought McCain was a goner; never to seek the presidency again, but he is an interesting man of ideology and conviction and no matter what those types always do better in the game of life. A rich man is only as rich as his belief in self. Who he his. Who he was. And who he will become. Mitt was the worst thing you could be in his world: a Massachusetts Liberal. The Governor of the gayest state in the Union and he tried to run to the right. War, Guns, and Religion. When you reach too far, usually the outcome is a bit messy.

Like a painter on a high ladder reaching too far to one side in order get the end of a peak. Sometimes you get it. Other times you get that feeling that it is not worth dying for and go back down and figure out the better way. Then again the greed can overpower your better judgment and you go for it and end up in a full body cast.

Two summers ago I was working for a general contractor, a friggin drunk who never tied the ladders off, nor used gas masks while mixing cement, or painting with lacquer in a basement with no ventilation. He never used a harness while roofing and general safety was completely out the window. He was just waiting for the first drink at noon everyday, which to me was not bad it was actually a fun crew to work on and I still have a soft spot both Andy the General Contractor and Angelo the Journeyman, even though they were both dumb and bloated blowing through life. Angelo introduced cocaine to me. And the first time I ever did the drug was in the bathroom at the legendary Seattle bar: Blue Moon. Which is interesting in itself because it was right around the corner from Layne Staley’s apartment where he was found dead in 2001. Late Layne, obviously the lead singer of Alice in Chains. One coincidental fact of my life as a Seattle native is that I was working selling tickets in the ticket booth across the street from Layne’s apartment at Metro Theaters when the news broke of his death. I sat one Saturday morning reading The Seattle P-I front page news of his death, taking sips of my coffee and gazing across the street at the nothing-special green building behind a Kinko’s Copy Center, Marines Recruitment Center and a Money Tree Money Lender...The body had been lifeless for two weeks and the only reason anyone checked up on him is because his bank noticed no transactions for two weeks, which is not normal for anyone who is frequently ingesting speedballs. AIC was always my favorite band from the Seattle dominated 1990’s.

Two years before Kurt Cobain died the same day and I was driving in front of his house on Lake Washington Blvd. When the news broke that morning on my way to school my junior year of high school. I asked my dad questions about why Cobain would do that the rest of the ride. Those two moments will always be landmarks in my life. And I have always felt a sort of kinship with them both because I was there...sort of like Staind’s Aaron Lewis, who no doubt was most influenced by Staley and who’s child Zoe Jane was born the day Staley died. There is no such thing as coincidence or happenstance. And yes, I got a little off track here for a moment with a quick flash from my past. But I think I had a point somewhere in this gibberish.

Ah, yes Angelo and I were standing on some rickety-ass makeshift scaffolding and we couldn’t quite reach the top of the roof where we needed to install a vent and some more siding, but it just wasn’t working and the rain was coming down. Angelo was yelling at me cause he thought he was going to get electrocuted because we were using a Sawzal: electric saw that looks like a rifle. And conditions were getting worse. He was frustrated and couldn’t quite reach what he needed to. I said, “Fuck it come down we will do it when it stops raining.” He was pissed and kept saying he was gonna die. He wanted to stay and get the job done no matter what.

I said “$15 an hour was not worth dying for.” We did not finish that day.

I took this picture along Lake Washington Blvd. in the Arboretum.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

He used to live in Kurt Cobain's old castle

It is about to be 5 in the morning. The sun will come up in about two hours and then the worker bees will be on their way. There is no better feeling in the world than going to bed with all windows wide open at 8 in the morning listening to the rain and sounds of the city and starting of the day time world. The warm rich vibration of going to bed for a long rest amidst the chaos of the rat race getting to work on time. The crispness of the air on your nose. The cars are louder in the rain and wet...Val pointed that out earlier today. I am getting a bit off track here reminiscing about a time that is far off at this point. And that my friend is all that matters. Be true to yourself young Buck, never back down, never apologize and always hit them where it hurts. Stand back you savage brutes...This one is not to be touched.

Moments later: Right now it is quiet all I can hear is the faint sound of Val breathing from the bedroom and...fuck wham! The Elephant Neighbors just slammed the goddamn door on their way in. Or was it out? Yes it was out because I didn’t hear them stomp up the stairs, but I didn’t hear them stomp down the stairs either...hmmm. Whatever, never mind. Kurt Cobain said that. He named the album Nevermind as well. I heard on the radio earlier today this DJ (that used to run the board for the live feed of the Howard Stern Show out of the east coast and then re-play it later at 6 in the morning west coast time after I got done with the Late Night shift) was saying that Kurt Cobain’s catch phrase when he would go to a house party was: “Here we are now, entertain us.” Val said she used to think he was saying: “Here we are now entertainers.”

When I was doing late night radio @ KISW, I would say, "He used to live in Kurt Cobain's old castle" every time I played a Nirvana song. Once at 4 am when I was done with my show and getting some food at QFC, the cashier told me that he hates this guy on the the radio that says, "He used to live in Kurt Cobain's old castle" every time Nirvana comes on. The clerk felt the radio guy was laying it on too thick. I nodded my head, kinda chuckled and walked out.

A recent study found that overnight third shift workers have a higher occurrence of cancer and are generally less healthy. My mom used to say I had a green look to my skin when I was doing the overnight thing. I lasted almost five years and loved the magical feeling of being up and creating when the rest of the city slept...especially a city like Seattle. People stay up here, but not out. A legendary rock DJ named Steve Slaton was talking about the report on the health risks of overnight workers and he remarked about how when he started out he did an overnight radio show and that schedule almost made him go insane certifiably crazy. I can’t argue with his findings, but I do firmly believe a person must create as late as possible or early as possible to soak in some of the creatively crazy juices that may otherwise never be tapped into if you only work the nine to five hour routine. Truth is never told during those hours and that is a rule of thumb I firmly believe in. Ahh, the truth hours.

No, I am not talking about the Limbaugh station here in Seattle AM 770 KTTH “The Truth.” There will be no truth telling on that frequency except by accident...Look to Mike Malloy after 10pm and way farther down the dial at AM 1090. Mike Malloy is a National Treasure and he should be treated as such... he broadcasts until 1 in the morning, so yes he is in the truth hours, and all his Truth Seekers are up with him. Those are his listeners and they are faithful...Somewhere in the blue mountains of rural Georgia Mr. Malloy is pounding on the bastards and giving them Hell and no one can do it better. Mike Malloy will fill you up with hope. There have been many a night when he filled me up like a hot air balloon and I hovered around the ceiling feeling giddy for three hours. I am a stronger and wiser man for it. Never let anyone tell you what is good information and who you should listen to. Listen for yourself, see for yourself and do it yourself. C’est la verite.

Reed Wacker: Took this in front of Kurt Cobain's house. Obama yard sign in front of Kurt Cobain's Old Castle.

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