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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

THE AMERICAN MALAISE

eva hesse


I can't help but laugh every day when the thought comes to me about the brothers in Boston setting off the bombs, then going home to watch it on tv. Somewhere I read that the older brother, evidently the "master-mind," who had lived in USA ten years since he was 17, said he never understood Americans. Seems to me he understands Americans very well. What more American thing to do than to jump into something without any foresight. Jump in and see what happens. That's not just American. Gotta be spontaneous. Why let something that might happen next be an inhibitor? What if it doesn't happen? About twelve years ago I had a falling out with a friend of many years when he told me he was going to do something to his 18 year old boy when he saw him next, and if I see him first don't tell him. I saw him first and told him. Daddy got in my face a few days later wanting to know why I told him when I was told not to. I said, "I saw what was coming next and wanted to save you from it." If I had it to do a thousand times, I'd do it a thousand times the same. He and his boy were on the verge of killing each other, actually, very high tension between them at the time. He gave me an ultimatum, I can't go on being his friend if I continue to be his boy's friend. It was one or the other. That was not even a decision. I've not seen him since.


christo



The day those Boston bozos set off bombs in a crowd and went home to watch it on tv, the word foresight was injected into my thoughts through the course of a day. These guys truly rate the Darwin Award, at least so far for 2013. The Darwin Award events are almost always results of absence of  foresight. Google Darwin Awards and you will laugh for days. One that stays with me was a guy who went into a gun shop with a cop car parked in front of the door, cop inside and several customers. He shot at the ceiling and announced this was a stickup. Everybody in the place shot him. In another one a guy who worked someplace that had to do with the big transport planes stole a booster rocket and fixed it to the back of his car on a long, straight desert highway. He burned the tires off the rims pushing the brake pedal to the floor, the car left the road, bounced 150 feet through the air straight into the side of a cliff. Boom. These people are given the Darwin Award for taking themselves out of the gene pool. That's how I feel about the Chechen bozos in Boston, saving future generations from their particular ignorance.


carl andre


I sometimes think the American experience with universal public education has failed. For one obvious example, our political representatives. They've been to college, many of them ivy league schools where you have to work really hard to make it; give them responsibility, they go for the money and throw responsibility to the dogs. I don't believe we have any true idealists of democracy anywhere in our government. If there are any, they don't show up. Obama affects the appearance of one who holds democracy up high, but he does not. I looked up in the dictionary the definitions of republic and democracy. Both elect people to public office. In a democracy, the ones elected "represent" the voters. In a republic, the ones voted into office do not represent the voters. Therein is the difference between democrat party and republican party. The democrats give at least the illusion of attention to "the people," enough to get a star by their names from time to time for a photo op showing they care. Republicans blatantly represent no one but money for themselves from corporate lobby. They don't even pretend to represent "constituents." The democrats are the same; they're just
not so upfront about it. The problem is, the behavior of our elected representatives represents our beliefs. Constituents believe money is the only thing important, the representatives act it out. Politicians are like preachers motivated by free money.


isamu noguchi


In the time we're in, we have no collective morality anymore we hold ourselves to. Parents leave it to the church to teach morality, the church leaves it to the schools and the schools leave it to the parents. Morality as a subject of interest is dead in America. Morality is about living in a world of others in peace. When morality becomes rules and regulations, it's dead. It has been rules and regulations so long in Western Civ that there is nothing to morality anymore. Each individual is expected to figure it out for him or herself. It's the forbidden subject like sex education or anything else that's practical about living in the world. We're taught details to memorize in school. In church we're taught we're not OK. At home we're taught by television to indulge our desires. American individualism evolved into the particular American egoism called narcissism, total focus on self as body, as desire. Television, itself, is the end of morality. I'm not talking about pious morality. I mean the basic morality of treating others right, of an understanding attitude, empathy, compassion. Going around saying things like, "That ain't right! They hadn't oughta be doin like that. God loves the sinner but he hates the sin," is not morality. It has nothing to do with morality. It has only to do with the egoism of the one talking. From my own way of seeing, I'd say compassion is the foundation of morality. Compassion among Americans is sissy. It makes you a wuss, the politically correct sanitizing of pussy. In other words, it makes you a woman, a shameful thing to be in a patriarchal warrior culture.


dan flavin


Seeing that our American, in particular, society is in need of feminizing (compassion), I'm seeing at the same time the men coming into incompetence from absence of compassion. There is absence of compassion just like there is absence of foresight running loose in the world. In all my years of church in Christendom, compassion was never an issue. I'm recalling a Regular Baptist preacher I heard some 25 years ago who preached once on the Sermon On The Mount, a subject I'd never heard one of the preachers address--a little too feminine. He was a preacher I had no respect for, as a preacher or as a man. He took off on the Sermon On The Mount and I thought, What do you know about the Sermon on the Mount? He was one of the most obvious frauds of a preacher I'd ever listened to or known. It turned out he was using it to justify himself for some jackass thing he'd done that set people at odds with each other in a church he had to do with. He was known as the church wrecker. He used his sermon to identify himself as the peace maker. It was all I could do not to get up and walk out the door. I had to control my interior laughter so I wouldn't shake the bench. The only time I'd heard a preacher touch that hot potato was the fraud of frauds justifying himself for some fraudulent behavior in the recent past. Christendom without compassion flies in the face of the Sermon On The Mount. We look around and ask why everything is falling apart. For one way of looking at it, the norm is to take all for self, no leftovers for anybody else, to walk by somebody homeless and think, too inhibited to say it, Get a job.


julian opie
 


Guns are certainly not expressions of compassion. The day after a school massacre on the news, gun stores sell out all over the country. It's driven by propaganda fear, but you look at it from afar and it's sick. I mean sick like undiagnosed collective insanity. It's equally insane to be that subject to propaganda and not even see it. Now we're getting into self-unawareness, another American epidemic after television became reality. Several years ago an aunt went off in my face on a day I had not listened to the news and didn't know Conway Twitty had died. I need to get out of those mountains and get back in the real (television) world. I thought: we have television in the mountains too. I don't have to leave the mountains to see television. I don't see television by choice, and I have reasons behind the choice that I have thought about. I don't want that mind in my head. I told her I don't care that I didn't know Conway Twitty died. That caused another explosion, that I didn't care Conway Twitty died. Sigh. It was like my mother telling me I'm not afraid enough of Satan. I better think about it. I was thinking, get real, and laughing because that's what she was telling me to do. She meant real with television; I meant real without television. I see plenty of television at other people's houses, enough to know I could not live with that going on in my house. I'm glad I don't have a problem with silence.   


constantin Brancusi
 
 
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

SCOTT FREEMAN ~ BLUERIDGE FAR AWAY

scott freeman and Willard gayheart
 
 
I'm hearing Scott's new self-produced cd, BLUERIDGE FAR AWAY, a collection of songs that have a vibe about them that doesn't jangle me out of my nervous system relaxed at home. I've got to where I tend to listen to old-time banjo solo by old-timers like Jont Blevins, Gaither Carlton, Kyle Creed, Fred Cockerham. Whenever I want to put on some music to have in the air, I pick up one of them over and over. This project of Scott's has that non-hysterical vibe I've come to like more and more as I drift deeper into simple living. In my mind's eye I can see the musicians like a concert, and am able to pick out who is playing by their styles of picking. This is the music I have listened to the most over the last four years. It satisfies my ear totally. This project was familiar before I heard it. This is what we hear on Friday nights. Just reading the song titles I heard the album. It is a perfect album to have in the air at home. Every note of the musicianship is stellar. Scott makes his mandolin sing as beautifully as Dori sings. And when it comes to singing, Scott himself is a good singer. His talent with the mandolin and fiddle dominate how Scott is taken musically, but his singing is right there with his picking. I've noticed along the way the fiddlers who sing are excellent singers. They tend to play the notes with their voices. Scott's voice has a full range he uses subtly. He seems to be singing just plain like AP Carter, but paid attention to, he uses his voice to play music as much as his mandolin and fiddle.
 
 
dori freeman
 
 
This project is like a sampler of what we hear on Friday nights at the Fiddle and Plow Show in Woodlawn, Virginia. Everyone Scott chose to accompany him has played more than once at the Friday night show. Willard sings three songs on the project. Willard, too, is a singer who can deliver a song with reverence for the song itself. Dori sings two of the songs and sings harmony with Willard, her grandpa. It gives Willard a thrill of his life that his grandbaby is making music with him and sings so beautifully; they do shows together, record together, make music together. A few years ago Dori wasn't interested in singing or being in the music world. Then she sang publicly a few times, immediately starting her fan base, which has grown every show she performs. She writes a good song too. Wayne Henderson, who has known Dori all her life, made her guitar. Last Thursday evening Dori and David Long, the man she'd been waiting for, who plays mandolin and guitar, sings and writes a good song, played music at the Sparta library with Scott. As always, when I see Dori perform, the audience's focus is on her, every minute. On sight it seems like an audience is automatically drawn to her. Then they hear her sing and they are with her to the last note, no coughing, no chattering. Ears wide open. Dori has a quality in her singing that makes the songs she sings her own. She's singing Twilight Time at this moment with Scott's mandolin. This song from another time Dori brought into her time.    
 

 
steve lewis
 
Steve picks guitar some on the project. Steve is a picker who wins guitar and banjo contests all over the country. He has won a good collection of guitars and banjos. He and Scott make music together as one. Steve's guitar artistry I think of in relation to Wayne Henderson's as the difference between Earl Scruggs and Don Reno. Both truly excellent pickers with very different personal styles. Steve and Scott like to stretch way out there with one foot outside the box. Scott and Steve picking David Grisman's Eat My Dust is pickin hot as it gets, and cool. Everything they pick together is hot and cool as it gets. Steve is picking banjo and guitar with Scott singing, playing fiddle and banjo, bluegrassing Curly Headed Baby like it wants to be bluegrassed. Scott announced on facebook a week or so ago that he, Steve and a handful of their musician friends were recorded recently in Boone for a future Prairie Home Companion radio show. His note indicated the band would be called The Bluegrass Boys. It's kind of an audacious name to call themselves, but they are up to it. Steve picked his banjo and guitar one-after-the-other on the tune King's Carolina Bill. David Johnson played some good Dobro licks and Scott ended it with mandolin like a yellow jacket in attack mode. Everybody in the band has played Friday nights in Woodlawn. They will make a musical statement on Prairie Home Companion. Scott now playing Sweet Georgia Brown on mandolin with Scott Manring on guitar. Amazing. I hear every time I listen to Scott's mandolin the subtleties in his touch, juxtaposing loud and soft notes in a kind of iambic way, though certainly not restricted to that. 
 
 
 
david long and scott freeman
 
I've become tired over the years of the "contest favorite" Sweet Georgia Brown, but when Scott Freeman and Scott Manring play it, it's music again. I've heard Willard sing Don't You Dare Love Anyone But Me so many times I know all the words. Willard takes songs from the past and revitalizes them, like Won't You Ride In My Little Red Wagon and Nighttime in Nevada. I especially like Willard singing his own songs, the songs he has written over the years. It's good to hear Steve Lewis's banjo again in Kings Carolina Bill. Scott's song Talking To The Wino is another one of Scott's soulful songs he puts one of on each of his projects. One was Jean Ritchie's song, Black Water, about coal production in West Virginia and east Kentucky mountains. He also sings a gospel song soulfully. The label for this project, BLUERDIGE FAR AWAY, is Groundhog Shuffle Records, 2906 Cranberry Road, Woodlawn VA 24381. After about a decade of knowing Scott and hearing multiple times every song he has ever recorded, by now the music of this album is a review of the music I have come to love since first hearing his then existing band Alternate Roots. I find I think of Willard with Scott together musically. Willard has been Scott's rhythm guitar and vocal accompanist, musical partner for at least a quarter century, about all of Scott's adult life. He also married Willard's daughter Jill. Something about the vibe of their music corresponds to my own vibration. I've listened to every kind of music and by this time in the life am happy to have found this music. Their music and I fit like puzzle pieces. This is what I share in common with the twenty or so regulars that go to Willard's frame shop on Friday nights to hear the Scott and Willard sound.
 
 
scott, willard and mike gayheart (son of Willard)
 
 
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

ELKVILLE STRING BAND AT THE FIDDLE AND PLOW

the elkville string band
trevor mackenzie, bill williams, herb key, jim lloyd
 
 
Another Friday night of good picking at the Fiddle and Plow Show at Woodlawn, Virginia. The Elkville String Band came from Wilkes County, NC, where they started around ten years ago to play the music in a local play about Tom Dooley. The show was such a hit and the band such a hit the band played more and more gigs and by now have available cds. Herb Key announced they have just finished recording the most recent project that yet needs mixing. Drake Walsh (son of Dock Walsh, banjo, Carolina Tarheels) was the band's original fiddler. Herb Key said Drake died in 2010. The band's present fiddler is Trevor MacKenzie. He stepped into some big shoes and they fit. Herb Key is an excellent guitar picker and singer. He is the MC at the Wayne Henderson Festival that is coming up in a few weeks. Jim Lloyd is a barber in Rural Retreat, Virginia, on the Robert E Lee Highway. Lloyd is best known for his guitar work, though he can keep up with a banjo pretty good. I believe he played guitar with the Konnarock Critters, Brian Grim fiddle, Debbie Grim banjo, an old-time band that made 2 cds several years ago that are now out of print. I was supposing Jeff Michael would be playing the banjo, but he was not. This is the third time in a row I've been to see a band with Jeff in it and he didn't show. He's not playing fiddle with Big Country Bluegrass any more. I'm wondering what has happened to him.
 
 
scott freeman and willard gayheart



Scott and Willard opened the show with a song Willard sings, Don't You Dare Love Anyone But Me. It is on Scott's new cd just released today. I brought home a copy, but haven't played it yet. It's fun that I know intimately nearly every song on it, how Scott does it and whoever else, like Dori and Willard. It blows my circuits that I know such super fine musicians, people who are artists at making music. That's not to say other musicians fall short of art, just to say it stands out in Scott and Willard. The pencil drawings on the wall are Willard's. The space for the show, The Front Porch Gallery, is Willard's gallery where he sells his prints, frames them, and has his studio downstairs where he applies the graphite to paper. I've found very few visual artists in the mountains and a lot of music artists. I suppose it goes back to the old days when making music was the only art form in the mountains. Souls born with the need for some sort of artistic expression took to music. Scott and Willard both are not just good musicians, they are artists at it. Sometimes on the stage with Scott will be Willard, Scott's father-in-law; Dori, Scott's daughter and Willard's granddaughter; Mike Gayheart, Willard's son; also Dori's man of her destiny, David Long. Sometimes I forget they're all kin. When the music is going, none of it matters but the pickin.


trevor mackenzie and herb key
 
 
Herb Key is a guitar picker and singer who knows a great number of traditional songs. He's also a bass player. I've known him before Elkville String Band as Wayne Henderson's bass player. He has many a year of stage experience, and as an MC he can think on his feet a whole lot faster than I can. I've heard him make music several times and heard him MC several times. I know a lot of people who know him, but I've never met him. It's just a matter of how chance works out. Herb is a good singer of the good old hillbilly songs. He likes a good story song. He sang about Tom Dooley and Otto Wood. He sang train songs and he introduced songs with a brief story about each one. Like before the song Lorena, he told of how both sides of the Civil War knew the song and were known to have sung it together across a river or whatever divide during the night when they weren't shooting at each other. While he was singing Wreck of Old 97, a woman sitting in front of me cringed slightly to the words, "was scalded to death by the steam." Herb Key has a strong stage presence singing as well as with his Henderson guitar. He doesn't mind picking it so it can be heard. He's a serious picker who deserves a Henderson.
 
 
trevor mackenzie, bill williams, herb key, jim lloyd
 

That's Bill Williams playing the bass guitar. It was an electric bass, which he played keeping good time for everybody in the band. He has been with the band since its beginning. The fiddler looked to be in his early twenties. He knew a lot of songs well. He played  his fiddle with the confidence of somebody who has a lot of hours experience twisting four strings into some mighty fine hillbilly music. He played a fiddle tune like he was having fun, didn't want the tune to end, couldn't wait to start the next one. Jim Lloyd, banjo picker, played some good music with his bluegrass banjo he played clawhammer. During one of the songs, an Uncle Dave Macon song, he flipped his banjo around a couple times like Macon for a good laugh. Lloyd has an interesting ear. I found in his banjo picking attention he was giving every note, the same way he plays a guitar, like his ear is guiding what he does with each note. He plays something like a blind man in that way, Doc Watson for example. My feeling was that he was an alternate to fill in for the missing banjo player. He didn't know some of the songs they played and didn't feel so familiar with the band, though he knew them all. I looked at the website and saw Jim Lloyd and Eric Ellis are the band's alternate banjo pickers. Lloyd's own band is the Skyliners. They also record with Mountain Roads Recordings www.mountainroadsrecordings.com. Elkville String Band's website is www.myspace.com/elkvillestringband. Bill Williams is the band's contact person: elkvillebill@gmail.com.
 
 
herb key and jim lloyd
 
 
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

PIPELINE BLOOZ

 

christo, running fence


It seems like a time of being anesthetized by the news. Corporate news is a soporific anyway. Mayhem and killing and dying day after day. They're saying the surviving "Boston marathon bomber" is answering questions in writing, since he'd been shot in the neck. He got the big ones answered right away--were they by themselves or part of a bigger group? They'll make it into everything it can be made into before they're done. This event is made especially for tv. It is the best tv possible. Law & Order round the clock on CNN and Faux, cops in serious action. Alex Jones and people of his mind are calling it a "false flag" like the JFK assassination and WTC implosion. I suspect it is just them alone because it was so amateurish. If CIA were behind it, the casualty list would have been much higher. I saw an autopsy picture of the dead one. It looks like the tire that ran over him went over his neck, the side of his face and right shoulder. These guys were none too bright. I understand after they set off the bombs they went home and watched the mayhem on tv, evidently thinking no one would come looking for them. Got away with it. Wasn't that slick. Not. They started seeing themselves zeroed in on right away from surveillance cameras everywhere and cell phone cameras. This was a good opportunity to popularize police state. The police were indeed the champions in this event, primarily for not abusing power so openly.


christo, running fence


I see somebody is suing the owner of the fertilizer plant in Texas that exploded. I doubt that will come to much. They'll be up against ivy league corporate lawyers. The science of tracing a fire to its origin is awfully advanced by now, so how the fire started will be as quick to be found as the two Boston bombers with surveillance cameras everywhere. This will justify more and more surveillance in cities. One step closer to popular American police state. It makes me glad I'm getting old and it makes me feel sorrow for my younger friends, looking at what they'll have to live through. I'll have to live through it too in another body, another place, a child. That's why I think I'd like next lifetime to be someplace relatively remote. I like a bridge to civilization. Even though I may never use the bridge, I still like access. I don't understand the passion for city life. It's where one has to be to make money, and that's evidently the draw, except for the people too poor to leave. I made my decision in childhood that I would not care so much for money to create a miserable life for the sake of making money. It struck me early on that money is not worth what it takes to make it in big numbers. All through my working life I've lived on the minimum it took to get by. I chose time over money. I didn't do much with my time, but I've not had the stress that goes with money. I have the opposite attitude toward money as the people around me wherever I am in America. Where others see money a problem solver, I see it creating problems. I never try for the lottery from fear of winning.


christo, running fence


About a quarter century ago a very wealthy man told me after seeing some interior house painting I'd done, "You keep on doing this and you'll get rich." I said, "I'll never get rich working." He looked at me a moment with an eye suspecting I was being a wise-ass with him, but thinking on it a second, he realized I was not. Nobody gets rich working. You get rich juggling numbers. One can, however, get to the stage of juggling numbers through working. I've never cared enough. Money has always been a burden for me, a weight on the back, like I'm a beast of burden, my back loaded down with money concerns, a yak on the Silk Road. Electricity and oil came along, expanding agriculture and industry, increasing the population to the point the whole human population is in peril. The population boom went nearly straight up on a graph, and when something goes straight up, it goes straight down. Looks like what the Revelation calls the Harvest. When we're down to little oil left, provision will of course not be made for what's next, a lot of people will die out from famine and diseases. It will be a sorrowful time. It's time for earth's population to return to what the earth can support without stripping entire mountains like in West Virginia and Kentucky. The corporate mineral eating robot that is consuming the surface of the earth has stripped the continent down to little to no topsoil. Not that topsoil matters in corporate nation.


christo, running fence


The oceans are now too acid for the coral to survive; coral reefs are dying all over the globe. Who cares? Nobody, rather not enough. Humans are pushing other life forms off the planet by continuous extinctions. What we're ending up with is that neighborhood in Arkansas the oil spill flowed through. Oil Ink had it declared "crude" and they only have to clean it up by law if it is "oil." A paper composed by a legal staff and signed by a judge. The people whose property the oil or crude soaked into have no recourse. They can't sell their property. They're stuck living in oil sludge. The oil corporation too big to fail doesn't even say fuck you to the people too small to notice, regards them with the same attention corporate mind gives the ants that lived in the ground. Ground water? Shit happens. The republicans want to run a pipeline down the vertical length of the country parallel the Mississippi River. When that thing blows, according to Murphy's Law it will, the entire plains states, literally the country's "bread basket," wheat fields, corn fields, are in serious danger of waking up one morning and finding a lake of oil. In an age of terrorism, the pipeline will be a target. Nothing but farms, rural communities the entire length of the pipeline. A shit streak through the center of the continent, an open air septic tank left by a few people working the stock market, translating the resources of the earth into money for themselves tax free in the Cayman Islands. This is what the land of the free, home of the brave, has a powerful likelihood of becoming. Ask what have we done to deserve this? Our history is not I Love Lucy. And in a way, it is.


christo, running fence
 
 

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

LIFE OF PI THE MOVIE



The movie THE LIFE OF PI stays with me in the front of my mind. Saw it a second time yesterday and thought about keeping it to watch again today, but felt like I have enough of it for now. It will be easy to see again whenever I feel like it. I don't know if I've ever seen a film that hit me so deeply and so broadly. Stories in movies tend toward the emotional, sometimes they dip into the mental, and almost never go with the spiritual. The spiritual is a tough call in story telling without seeming coercive, as religionists tend to be. This story transcended religion. The boy learned the way of the heart in different religions that he found to be the same, and his father taught him the way of the mind, reason. The boy, Pi, was taken against his will from his home life in Pondicherry, southeastern India, by ship with his parents and his dad's zoo animals, across the Pacific to Canada. The ship's course went through the southeastern Asia archipelago where it sank into the Mariana Trench. From there, Pi drifted I think it was 227 days and nights to where he ran aground on the coast of Mexico. The tiger, an orangutan, a hyena and a zebra started the journey with him. All but the boy were eventually eaten by the tiger. He would have been eaten too had he not used his mind rationally to figure out how to survive being lost at sea on a "life" boat with a tiger.




The story is the life of Pi in that it amounts to him coming into his own life, into who he is, coming into consciousness, waking up. Like in the story of Pinocchio, becoming a real boy. Both stories concern a boy waking up to his own reality, coming into consciousness, becoming real. Both go through a series of adventures that lead to their opening up within. The boy Pi comes into balance as a human being. He said the tiger kept him alive. The tiger did that by being a threat, by needing to be fed, by giving Pi something besides himself to think about, by being a companion, albeit a companion wanting to consume him. Looking at the tiger as his mind, or as he tells it in the second version of the story, the tiger is himself. His ego. Their communication most often amounted to the tiger roaring in his face. He needed the tiger to keep himself going. He could not have made it without the tiger like we cannot make it without the ego, until we're ready to let it go. This is the vision story of one man's adventures in dis-illusionment, illusions falling away, being torn away, ripped away, cut away, whatever it takes, told subjectively in the utterly alone tense of a rudderless boat adrift in the infinite sea.




An interior experience as intense as disillusionment (enlightenment) is gone through entirely alone. I recall during the first viewing saying to myself, this is an enlightenment story. It could be a variation of a vision Shirdi Sai Baba might have seen hanging upside down by his feet in a well, put there by his master, Zar zari zar Baksh, left to hang until his enlightenment. I thought of the American Indian vision pits where young warriors went for a vision. And I thought of the Great Pyramid with its sarcophagus for apparently the same purpose. Napoleon spent the night in it and was so shaken by what he saw he never told it. Evidently he was not ready. Our boy, Pi, thought he was not ready, but found he was by the time it was over. That's the hard part of getting through our tough interior struggles dislodging attachments and desires. It is so true that our mental wranglings are the equivalent of a roaring tiger keeping us off our center, the boat. The tiger claims the boat by bombast alone, and the boy Pi spends his days on a raft he'd made. Where these rafts and different things that turned up as he needed them are concerned, I caught on right away that the story is a subjective vision, not an objective documentary. Allow suspension of disbelief, I told myself from the beginning.
 
 
 
 
I wondered all the way through the film what would have happened if Pi's dad and the rescue bunch had failed to appear on time when he was attempting to hand a morsel of meat to the tiger. I've an idea papa was right. "The tiger is your ENEMY! Do you understand?" Though my woo-woo side would like to think the boy and the tiger could click on some level, I know better. The tiger doing the performing was tame. It would not take his arm off, but the tiger in the story just might. Better chance that it would than not. I was thinking wouldn't it be cool if the boy and the tiger became friends like a boy and a dog. It wouldn't be cool. It would be a stupid movie. One of the many tensions I had going on inside myself was hoping the tiger would settle down and they could be peaceful with each other. This happened when they were both starved nearly unto death. I look at the picture of the boy and the tiger and feel a longing to see the film again. I went through the adventure with them, grateful to be able to enjoy the drama of their situation without being harassed by the physical ocean that is wet and sometimes fierce. In Nascar races some of the cars have internal cameras that can see what is happening behind the car and in front, get the viewer down there on the track seeing what it is like from inside one of the cars. Ang Lee's brilliant film gave us a camera up close to see this story unfold in a place beyond noman's land, adrift in the infinite ocean of love.
 
 
 
 
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Monday, April 22, 2013

GONNA BE SOME STRANGE CHANGES



Grass in the meadows is a foot high. Daffodils, forsythia, and the service (pr: sarvis) trees are blooming in full flower. In the old days before electricity came to the mountains, the service tree flowers were used to decorate graves on "decoration" Sunday in the spring. Now they use plastic flowers bought at the cheapest places they're sold. These mountains are loaded with daffodils. The old farming people liked them. They are easy to maintain and come back every year. Old home places have passed their daffodils on to the kids and grand kids and whoever wants them after the old people are gone and the house gone, too, for being of another time, not practical in this time. The orange tiger lily is all over the mountains, too, by the same progression from old home place to wherever thy get planted. The tiger lily leaves are up about a foot, like the grass in the meadows.


found art by tj worthington


Inevitably at a certain age, one starts to think about one's own passing into the next life. I watch foreign films, at least 2/3 of the films I see. I see landscapes from all over the world and cities from everywhere. In fact, watching foreign films, as well as American films, are good geography lessons. I see cities in Chinese films I've never heard of that are bigger than Los Angeles by a lot, and much more modern. I see beautiful stories and deep dark stories, all different kinds of people and different cultures. I wonder where I will be a baby next. I can't say I would pick a place, because I wouldn't know what to expect from anyplace. The only real request I have for the reincarnation committee is NOT KANSAS. Been there, done that, not going back. My dream to withdraw from insane civilization is a Tibetan refugee community in the mountains of northeastern India. My dream to be involved in the world of art makes me want to be in a city like Copenhagen. I appreciate Denmark because during ww2 when the German occupation required all Jews to wear arm bands with star of David, everyone in Denmark put on the arm band. I would like to be one of a people that think like that.


vada, 21 april 2013, by tjworthington
 

I don't care where I turn up next time, with some exceptions. I think I've had enough of the American experience for awhile. I got to live in America in its peak of glory, soon after ww2, and have seen it decline from there. The American mind is so incredibly varied, I can't say I have a problem with the American mind, because I like it. I like what it used to be, what I was raised up in, not in everyday life practice, but in belief system. USA I see as Rome becoming Italy. Another generation or two and America's influence in the world will be about the same as Italy's now. Babylon is falling. Given global warming coming on fast, it seems like Scandinavia will be the place to be in near future when forest fires sweep the globe from the heat. It brings to mind the Bible saying about the earth destroyed by "fire next time" after Noah's flood. This is the time of Armageddon coming up soon, burning off the hate in the world, people that hate each other killing each other in masses. The hate in the world is about as extreme as it can get and not be all out war. I like the history of the Appalachian mountains and wouldn't mind being in these mountains next time. Possibly during next lifetime they will become like the Japanese islands when the ocean rises as far as it will. In the time of fire, these mountains will be stripped of trees. Then new kinds of trees will take up, seeds spread by hurricanes, birds and people. Maybe palm trees next. It won't be Margueritaville.


Justin practicing turkey call, by tj worthington
 
 
Wherever on earth I spend the rest of this century, I will have another horoscope, another belief system, another cultural influence, everything different, though same consciousness. The 20th Century was full of changes, unsettling changes that kept it in universal war throughout. The changes to come over the next century will be at least as unsettling. In the time of the Armageddon war, there may be so much smoke in the atmosphere it would cool the intensity of global warming for a period of time. Capitalism is going away. It's looking like the Armageddon war will be a chopping block moment in time like ww1 was in its time and ww2 in its time. It may be the crossing point where Capitalism goes out and whatever is next comes in. I would like to live someplace on the earth removed from the war itself. That may be Asia. The war will be of the Jerusalem religions. The Eastern religions are not at war with each other. They have their hypocrisies, but Buddhists are not seething with hatred for Hindus, though Hindus do tend to seethe with hatred for Islamists like Israelis seethe with hatred for Islamists. This hatred needs burning off and it will have its conflagration. This lifetime I found my peace in the Blue Ridge as the world churned.


 
 crystal's hammock, by tj worthington

Next lifetime I'd like to be in a place where I can live in peace from all the fireworks. Maybe some place like the mountains of Norway around Trondheim. I still think Copenhagen or Stockholm would be places I'd like best to see the changes of this century from, though both may be under water by the end of the century. That is, looking at it from now and where I am now. Things have a way of changing, so I choose not to predict. I prefer to follow the changes like I follow the weather, as it's happening. I can see the ice melt from the Himalayas and vegetation starting up the mountains, first, possibly, in mosses, then small growth, then tree roots taking hold; the erosion process is on, and it won't be long before they are like the Appalachians that were once like the Himalayas. Villages will start, then some will grow into cities and the Himalayan chain could become desirable real estate in today's terms, but no telling what in that time. It won't be long in centuries and lifetimes. The Himalayas could become tropical like the mountains of southern China. I'll be  curious to see what turns art will be taking in the post-Armageddon time. It has the potential to be radically different and beyond anything ever done, a higher-consciousness way of seeing, of thinking, of being. The flow will be to watch the unknown future become history, like now. I would like to learn early to find my center within.


found art by tj worthington
 
 
 
 
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

THE LAST WEEK IN ARIES

 
"losers" according to uncle ruslan

uncle ruslan tsarni


My head is swimming today from the week's news drama of the search for the Boston bombers, the shootout, one dead, the other escapes, they find him in a backyard boat with a tarp over it. The guy that reported finding him in the boat said he was covered with blood. I saw a pic of him lying on the ground with cops all around him and handling him. He looked to me like he was out. The only blood I saw was on his head. They say he's not communicating. I take it to mean he'd been hit in the head and it will take some brain surgery to bring him around. They will bring him around. We won't be told much from here on; we'll hear what we are told. Coming from FBI it will be reserved. A book will be published within a year. I'm sure it is already being written. It will make a good true-crime story. It will be on paperback shelves in the grocery stores and drug stores soon, the "unauthorized" true story. As it happened, I suppose the entire Boston Police resources were out and in place with the marathon, redirecting traffic, crowd control, just a little bit of what the police had to contend with. Without knowing it, they were ready. It was an interesting story in intelligent police work, respectfully invasive. FBI showed their stuff. At the beginning when it was said the FBI was involved, I knew whoever did it would be found shortly.



tiger from the life of pi


Today I saw THE LIFE OF PI, a story that got me like no other film ever has. It had me wringing and twisting in my chair, identifying like it was my own story. By the end, I came to see it as a vision one might have in the vision pit American Indians went into 4 days and nights for the vision to get their name. It pulled in for me my cat friend Tar Baby who left the body 3 years ago. The story was torn between living by the spirit and living in the body. The hopelessness I've known a few times in the spirit, and the whole story I felt on the inside. I was twisted up so much it became a concern I might be stressing my heart unnecessarily. At those moments I reminded myself that this is a made up story performed in a studio with blue or green background filled in by computerized ocean. It is all controlled circumstances with a tame tiger, I'd tell myself over and over, attempting detachment from it, but it never worked very long. I will watch this film again tomorrow. It has too much in it not to see twice. I tend not to like computerized ocean movies, but this one worked. It worked because the story itself was a fantasy, making the ocean a fantasy, the moon a fantasy, the tiger a fantasy. I wanted to tell the kid in the story to stop fighting the tiger, but I also don't know what would run through a kid's mind. Already by that time in the story I saw he could handle the situation a whole lot better than I could.


this image is a free wallpaper
 

I don't recall any movie ever getting to me so deeply and so emotionally, so mentally, so spiritually. It is a spiritual story without a religion. All the religions come from one core: God. At the end, the story teller asks the guy he told the story to if it made him believe in God, and he answered yes. I was a little uneasy with that, but it was not me speaking, but someone else for his own reasons. My thought at the time was emphatic yes, but I don't know why. Where did all the wood come from to build a raft with umbrellas, books and so on. Every time I'd think Ho-Hum from a stretch of the imagination, I had to remind myself this is a fable, not a documentary. It is a subjective interpretation of 3D reality that opens to other dimensions we're not yet comfortable with, or don't recognize when we see or experience them. Ang Lee, the director, impresses me more every time I see one of his films, like Lust~Caution, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm. I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet, but will after this Life of Pi experience. Ang Lee makes a beautiful film. I'll add some of his films I have not yet seen to my netflix Q.


waco texas in the foreground
 
 
A town called West, in Texas, blew up a few days ago. Fertilizer plant that hadn't been inspected since 1986. Governor Rick Perry and new teabag senator Ted Cruz, the Joe McCarthy look-alike and think-alike, who both denied aid to New Jersey and New York after the hurricane, are now asking for government aid. You'd think a war was happening in the USA. I saw at a big pot rally in Denver somebody shot somebody. One of the many odd aspects of these daily random killings, in addition to the personal killings, is a question of why so many of the "young" are ready to throw their own lives away either by suicide after killing several people, or arrest and life in prison or the chair. It strikes me as a lot of hopeless young white people. The black people living in hopelessness have been killing each other for decades. That's ok: they keep the prison system going. Job security for prison guards and staff. Now, it is young white men doing public random killings. Throwing their own lives away is what they're doing, taking others with them. In the black world prison is credibility, like the Marines is credibility among white men. In media world, it's a way to be famous for fifteen minutes. I hear Beck singing that hit he had some years ago, "I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me." It came up when the uncle of the two Chickens with the bombs in Boston said they were losers. I think of losers as people who lose things. These two guys both lost their entire lives and their names, dropped them in the toilet and flushed.  
 
 
making of the life of pi
 

 
I'm asking myself all day why it is I watch a two hour fantasy movie and twist and squirm reminding myself to breathe so caught up in the story, very much like never before, and see news of two explosions that killed several people, wounded well over a hundred apiece, many deafened, and I hear them like it's everyday news. But I burrow in my chair over a fable-like (fabulous) story in a movie. Sure, I'm sorry for the people getting their legs blown off in Boston and the people hurt in Texas. It's news. It's objective. It's not subjective. Most movies don't get to me any more than a pressure-cooker bomb on the news and a fertilizer explosion. This story, The Life of Pi is subjective. It is a first person story, told in first person by the narrator who experienced it. It's like Ishmael telling the story of the Pequod and Moby Dick. It is the story of our individual interior journey to God. The Life of Pi is a beautifully told story. The news stories are ugly stories. They are about destruction, pain and death. The Life of Pi is the story of life, of awakening to life itself. It was an emotional rollercoaster of the heart and of the mind. It was hopelessness and helplessness taken to the edge where our boy hung by his metaphorical fingernails throughout the tale. The end was so right.
 
 



 
 
 
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

JEANETTE AND JOHNNY WILLIAMS AT FIDDLE AND PLOW

scott freeman, edwin lacy, jeanette williams, johnny williams
 
 
Johnny and Jeanette Williams returned to the Fiddle and Plow Show Friday night. Scott Freeman played with them some of the songs from their album FREEMAN & WILLIAMS, available from Mountain Roads Recordings. Edwin Lacy played banjo. He and Scott played some songs from their album 2 CHAIRS NO WAITING, where they call themselves the Siamese Cousins. The music was clear and crisp. Sometimes I closed my eyes to hear better. That's when I heard the clarity of Scott's mandolin especially. Edwin's banjo rang out nicely, as always. Jeanette had an electric bass with her, something she "can throw in the back of a Toyota." Johnny played his guitar and all sang. All are good singers. For me, it is a powerful feeling being in the presence of such superb musicians. Hearing their music is where the powerful feeling comes from. These people play music. I took a mess of pictures of all of them. Thought I'd put up pictures this time.
 
 
jeanette williams
 
 
scott freeman and edwin lacy
 
 
jeanette williams and johnny williams
 
 
edwin lacy and jeanette williams
 
 

scott freeman and jeanette williams
 
 
edwin lacy, willard gayheart and jeanette williams
 
 
jeanette williams and johnny williams
 
 

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

JFK: 3 SHOTS THAT CHANGED AMERICA THE MOVIE



Watching a documentary film of the Kennedy assassination, JFK: 3 SHOTS THAT CHANGED AMERICA (2009). Oswald asking for legal representation while the police were pushing him past a group of reporters with cameras and microphones, Oswald: "What's this about? Because I went to Russia? I'm just a patsy." From what I see of Oswald asking over and over for legal representation, he looks and sounds like somebody too slack and too dumb to make three head shots from that distance with a moving target. A little bit earlier a recorded police dispatch was included concerning finding Oswald in the movie theater. "He's supposed to be hiding in the balcony." Curiously, that's where they found him, where he was "supposed to be hiding." Good man, followed orders well. The volume of papers behind the Warren Report, the "truth" about the assassination, is due to be revealed in 2029. I don't think anybody cares what's in it.  By now, historians have found that LBJ "gave the nod," which was the theme of Barbara Garson's play in that time, MAC BIRD!, a modern day MacBeth with LBJ as MacBird and Lady Bird as Lady MacBird. By now, half a century later, I see it a coup, arrived at by the maxim, Follow the money. Jack Ruby was another good man who followed orders well.

The question comes up over and over about "solving" the case. From half a century later, I can say the case has never been solved. Our government shut down any investigation at the start and commissioned the book to tell us what we are to believe. Rush to judgment is the name of this story. We've seen other rush to judgments in the World Trade Center towers, another (follow the money) coup. LBJ and J Edgar put a stop to possible investigations of the assassination. Sounds kinda familiar with WTC instant cleanup of ruins, investigation shut down, the official book produced to tell us what we are expected to believe. A citizen's investigation of the Kennedy assassination in the early years was shut down definitively. Oliver Stone made the film telling the story of the Kevin Costner character in the film JFK, Jim Garrison, who was investigating a little too far and was shut down with serious threats. I read an article he wrote in Esquire magazine back in that time. I wanted to see what more this guy, a New Orleans prosecutor, could uncover. Never heard of him again until a long time later when I saw his story in Stone's film.

Some of the documentaries of either story that point out how they were done and who done it are convincing, yet our government dismisses them, which makes it all the more clear to me no independent investigation is welcome. Must be some reasons why. Johnson (Texas Oil Cartel coup) took power by assassination. Bush W (corporate coup) took power by fraud and judicial fiat. I also find it peculiar that democrat congressmen and senators running for office die in private plane crashes during campaigns where the black box gives no clue to what happened. This has happened several times. It never happens to republicans. So much for law of averages. It's not a matter of one more than the other. It is one and not the other, consistently. Any investigation is discouraged with threats that silence the accusers for life. So many of the details in the 9/11 remains are so obviously not as we were told, yet corporate government and its corporate media call independent investigations subversive "conspiracy theories." By now, this is so obvious it seems redundant to bring it up.

This documentary is made from b&w video and television reporting. Interviews with chief of police, who favored J Edgar Hoover in appearance before the bulldog folds took over his face, made me suspicious just by visual association. He had the look of the profile right-wing block-headed white male Texas racist, who aint got no use for no damn nigger-lover. This was the South in the latter years of the Old South. The New South was yet to be. The right wing at the time was seriously concerned about Kennedy for being a liberal in the time before Reagan made liberal "the L word." Then, it was Hawks and Doves. Now it's conservatives (hawks) and liberals (doves). I was just out of high school a couple years with a head full of confusion. The issue then was rights for black people. The white man again was threatened in a supposed democracy by the black vote. The corporatocracy is white man seizing control "nonviolently." Corporations do not function democratically. The Supremes interpreting corporations "people" was another corporate coup.

Then went Martin and then went Bobby. Who would be next? That was the question at the time. Another coup of corporate power: shredding the Constitutation and replacing it with Patriot Act that miraculously turned up on time, out of nowhere, no questions asked, no time to read it, passed unanimously. Tells me repeatedly our government is not ours. Our government is not FOR the people, OF the people and certainly not BY the people. Corporate people are the only people that count for anything. This surely is the Xtreme of Capitalism with USA cutting edge, getting there first, from which serious change will result. The present moment Xtreme of Capitalism is that the upper 1% has more money than the lower 50%, the people living in poverty, the working class, the working poor. These are the people that say, "I'm only getting $8 an hour. But I have better self-esteem about my work than at Hardees where I enabled the obese." If the change does not come by legislation, it will happen by revolution. Legislation isn't happening, yet. Occupy Wall St has tremendous potential for revolution, the reason the corporate news networks never make any mention of their demonstrations and corporations pass laws to criminalize them. The right wing is calling for revolution. We're at a place where it's no telling what yet will be. I was thinking while watching the film footage of Texas people in the early1960s, how very much cityscapes and fashions have changed, how pop culture has changed, how very different we are now from then. At the same time, we people are the same as then, just different fashions in hair styles, both men and women, and clothes.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

THE UGLY AMERICAN




The news and facebook are full of Boston marathon bombs to the point it cannot be ignored. I get it, as far as urban terrorism is concerned, we are in that time. Thirty-plus years of divisive hatred being spewed by the republican party, Rush Limbaugh, the party's philosopher, has kept us seeing a possibility of civil war coming, simply because it takes war to burn off mass hatred. We have a civil war going now in the time of terrorism. Our civil war is carried out by terrorism now instead of farm boys standing in rows shooting at each other with one-shot muskets, burying thousands after every battle. They didn't have bulldozers in that time or backhoes. The graves were dug with shovels. That was a time of low-tech. Now, in the time of high-tech, suicidal individuals can make bombs with directions available on the internet. I say suicidal, not because they blow themselves up, but they always get caught. FBI means business. When they bear down on something with undivided focus, there is no getting away from them. I heard a report today that said several bombs go off every day in cities around the world. This is part of what goes with a "free" society. We have it complicated by the republicans who refuse to allow any kind of help or comfort to the American people, the 99%. They will not permit anything that might make the nigger look good. Their racist purpose is so obvious, you'd think they'd have enough self-awareness to see how they look outside themselves. They can't do that. They can't see themselves from afar. They are right. No two ways about it.

You'd think it would get embarrassing for them as their racist purpose is so up front and out in the open. The republicans just don't get it. They are the self-unaware people, the half of the American people below average. Their saying No to everything is a strategy based in a beginners political truth that when you come out against something, you automatically have 50% of the voters with you. From there, you go for the single percentage that wins 51-49. The republicans are staying against the African-American, keeping their percentage steadily at 50%. Though racism has been declared politically incorrect, PC only applies to the part of the population that went to college who were not young republicans. Because children's tv is about diversity, sports is about diversity, sitcoms are about diversity, does not mean racism has gone away or even diminished. Kids go all through school being told diversity is good, black people are equal to white. Get out of school and the world we go into says white people keep the niggers down, do not give them a break, do not give them a chance, put them in prison. It's different out here in the adult world from the world school prepares us for. School has us believing, "Our government wouldn't do THAT!" We laugh at Roman militarism and decadence in movies--in the future they'll be laughing about American militarism and decadence.

After WW2 much fiction and documentary history was written of Nazi atrocities during the war. I see in the time post-American (pre-emptive) invasions, destroying a poor, defenseless country before they destroy us, the middle-east will have a whole generation of historians, documentary film makers and novelists writing about American atrocities all over the middle east. This will happen as surely as after the oceans have risen as far as they will the surveying business will boom remapping the earth. Our government thinks that mind-control of the American people solves all problems before they start without taking into account that the world is watching. The same will happen in South American history and fiction, revealing North American involvement with death squads and the world of drug trafficking. I'm seeing the USA after this time that we're in carrying the name in the future as evil incarnate like the Nazis and Hitler did since WW2. Our Nazi party is the republican party. That will be known in the future, too. It's known now, but not in the mainstream. None of this is new in the American character. We've been a war dependent economy throughout my lifetime. Our greatest export is Xtreme military weapons, sold to be used against the people of the world, anybody. This has been the case since WW2 for sure. It was so throughout the Fifties, the time of the Ugly American. Maybe all of it is necessary because international intrigue is out of control. In that world, there are no laws, only treaties, and nobody pays attention to treaties in America. Not one treaty with the American Indians has ever been honored, unto present day.

So what do we do? What do I do? I'm the only one I can make decisions for. I don't know what to do but keep on keepin on. That's all I can see. When it comes to power in America, I have none and never wanted any. Money is power in America. I've never wanted money either. I've never wanted to be involved in any level of power intrigues. I want people who strategize for power to look at me as too insignificant to even count as one to notice. Oh, he's nobody. That's right, Nobody, the name Odysseus gave for himself to the Cyclops. I want all the players to see me as one not on the playing field. I'll watch the game, let the players slam bang into each other, fool each other, rob each other, do all the competitive boasting they want, and I'll go on about my business feeding the birds and liking Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart and David Pakman. I see over and over in my mind over the last several years that movie INDEPENDENCE DAY starring Jeff Goldblum. It concerned gigantic space ships from someplace else taking up all the minerals from the surface of the earth. What was left of earth was threatened. This was symbolic of the corporate rape of the earth's surface going on even more since that film than before. Goldblum tried to defeat the big takeover by hi-tech and failed. The mothership was finally destroyed by an alcoholic crop-dusting pilot. And the world was saved. Monsanto, Halliburton, etc, must be stopped if the earth is to have a future. It will happen.


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