Friday, December 9, 2011

I'll have the pankcakes in the age of enlightenment, please...

I've been looking at posting on this blog as some sort of homework assignment, where if I don't do it up to a certain snuff, it's not worth posting. This logic has lead me to NEVER updating the blog and only occasionally finding the energy to organize my thoughts and turn it to letter form. So today, I'm going off the cuff...let's see how it goes.

I'm all about this website Kickstarter. For anyone who doesn't know, it's a new site used to fund creative projects and help them come to fruition. Even though it's run via Amazon for the money aspect, it's an incredibly D.I.Y way for artists/musicians/authors/filmmakers to remove the "funding" middleman. Which is typically some fairly obtuse corporation who is used to bridge the gap from artist to consumer. This cuts it out, and directly puts the power in hands of people who want to see these projects completed for the sake of art and personal satisfaction. Secondly, statistical progressions give me a real boner, and it's how the website is organized.

So far I've donated to the re-mastering and re-release of the pinnacle 80's NYC graffiti documentary, Style Wars. And also this really interesting film project called "The Iran Job", which seems to mix two of my favorite things, basketball and fervent feminism. This is a link to the Huffington Post article about said film:

Speaking of basketball, myself and the other 9 Nets fans in NJ are thrilled to have an NBA season. After the lockout, we'll get a 66 game season starting on Xmas day. If you ask me, this is how many games the season should be anyway. For too long the NBA regular season has just been a cursory warm-up to the playoffs, a shorter season would help prevent that. Not sure what the hell David Stern is pulling with the Chris Paul/Lakers trader, in all my years of following sports, I've never seen a commissioner pull the plug on a fair deal worked under current labor rules. Daniel Gilbert is a whiner, remember when he said the Cavs would win a championship first year without LeBron? What a nut job.

In music news:
Gaslight has been getting together quite often and working on the new record. We're in a great flow right now and I'm getting more and more excited with each song we finish. I'd say we're close to 3/4 through with the meat of the record, and tons more ideas are kicking around. Can't wait to leave town and lay this thing down...

The Bottomfeeder 10", on Alex's new label, Human Blood Records, will be officially out on December 16th. It's got nice gray/black/blue splatter on the vinyl, and our good friends at Letters From Earth printing ... ( did a great letter press cover on nice French card stock. Stoked.

Ok, that's the culmination of brain diarrhea series one...I'm not really naming it, I just look for any opportunity to include the word diarrhea into a sentence. One Love!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Witching Hours...

"Sleep is the product of caffeine deprivation" - Author unknown

I just woke up. Feeling pretty refreshed. Got a nice chunk of sleep, uniquely uninterrupted by a needy dog or a thug kids car exhaust. Problem is...

It's 4:30 in the morning...

The biggest dilemma for me in dealing with insomnia is this element. I'm ready to start my day. Brew some coffee and walk the dog and grab a paper and sort out a plan to tackle the hours ahead. But insomnia, among other things, leaves me out of sync with most of the world. I'm ready to go, but the world isn't awake yet.

This issue isn't terrible when I'm at home. I have a couch, movies and a in the fridge and a closing door to where my girlfriend sleeps. I can wander around in the witching hours generally doing my thing without incident. Luckily I have a profession that allows these sorts of flexible hours. The only true everyday downside is an occasional bout of grumpiness, and I guess diminishing years on the end of my life.

The spotty sleep can be a terrible problem on the road. I've spent many a night wandering the grounds of a European squat house looking for a sliver of light to read. Or sat in a room, zombie-like, staring to the middle distance surrounded by slumbering bodies. Or pretending to be dead in a moving bus bunk. Less options for distraction on tour, in the middle of the night anyway.

One time in Trier, Germany...I was flopping around in a bunk bed and broke a 2x4 that landed on my drivers chest while he was sleeping. When I left the room a minute after, I was greeted by a gang of over sized and sinister looking German rats. If anyone has ever read the Maus books, you'll empathize with my panic.

On the good side of things. I've seen the sunrise creep over Niagara Falls with one leg in America and one in Canada. I've seen the sunrise come up over the driftwood and calm surf off the coast of Victoria. I've seen it come over an endless stretch of road in Kansas, being the first thing that greets you in hours, just barely tinting the horizon.

For all the frustration not being able to sleep brings, it's also an opportunity to use time that no one else gets to use...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Easy Rider...

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life." - Jack Keruac, On the Road

Today, I'm heading out on a mini road trip. Just me, my car, some needed distractions and a couple of destinations ... all it takes. This is one section of the American narrative that I love and cherish. Many parts of my countries history are ugly, violent and obtuse. This one is exciting and dusty, and most of all ... kind of romantic.

I've spent almost half my life periodically driving around like this. Whether it be for music, love or adventure. Perhaps that's why too much time in one place gets me itchy, when the little man inside of me freaks out and needs to jump around. Maybe crime rates would drop if everyone had a running car and a good map.

I haven't done this in a couple years. Since Gaslight has gone full time and started traveling over 8 months a year, I seldom find myself very itchy to leave once I get back. Especially since I can afford a livable apartment now. But with the longest stretch of time to myself in 5-6 years, I found my eyes/ears perking up again for something different ... something new.

Anyway, I'm gonna buy a giant cup of coffee, start up the car and get the collected works of Queen shuffling on my Ipod now to begin the mini quest. I hope a hillbilly isn't offended by my long hair and shoots me like Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider. I think I'll be alright though.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Train jerks.

"The surprising thing about young fools is how many survive to become old fools" - Doug Larson

I like when people give up their seats to the elderly or ill on trains. Often I'll see an old and obviously distressed person who is clearly struggling to reach and hold onto the bars while the train careens through the tunnels. At the same time, I'll typically find a row of mostly young men and women, seated, ignoring the situation. I can never tell if this is a situation of people being selfish and rude, or being truly aloof. It's hard to tell, without asking I guess...maybe next time I'll decide to delve into their douchebaggery and conduct citizen surveys while riding.

I know some people feel too bad for themselves to pry their asses off the seats. They had a long day of work, and were fortunate enough to snag a place to sit, especially on the commuter trains. I can sympathize, many times I've felt the sweet relief in my knees and feet after a long day trudging around the city. This is when the act of kindness is done begrudgingly, but it is still necessary for a general working order or human beings to exist. Old people sit, young people's easy. If my knees hurt now, I can easily find the compassion to put myself in their shoes, and sincerely hope when I'm at that advanced age a younger person would help me out.

To the aloof section of the population. The ones who stay seated due to social parities based on where they're from, or a general lack of knowledge in concepts of social graces. I give slightly more of a free pass to these people, you can't blame ignorance. But, if you ride the train more than 3 times and see what's happening around you and can't adapt, then you should be brought behind the barn and wacked with a shovel. Like a groundhog making holes in a farmers field.

It's a small thing, I know. But a microcosm of some of the selfishness and self-absorption that's rampant these days.

Sometimes I like to wear a fake mustache on the train. Just to assess peoples' reactions, and give myself a comically imposed superiority to the other riders. It's good fun, and one time Alex R. walked by me in the tunnel and didn't recognize me. Mission accomplished.

The eggplant shaped man who occasionally updates this blog.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shameless self promotion...

I know I haven't written in a while, not due to a lack of trying. Just don't have anything good to say right now. So this one is dedicated to giving myself and my friends a cyber handjob.

My new project BottomFeeder, with Corey from Let Me Run, Dan and Mike from Gates, and Derek from Jaguar Shark has just finished our demo. It's super jersey and fun. 2 songs are posted at...

Spiro Agnew booked a show on September 2nd at Maxwells. It's Let Me Run's record release with The Scandals and Gates. Come out if you're local...

Gaslight is continually hanging and writing songs. The group of them we have going right now are a cool step for us and making us even more excited to keep writing more. Next record is gonna be a trip.

That's it for shameless self promotion.
Now time for lobster dinners and naked lady yacht parties...


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The People Zoo

I like cheesy movies, one of which being Love Actually. The beginning and end scenes of that movie show heartfelt re-unitings at the airport. All sorts, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, little kids and grandparents, you name it.

I'm sitting at an airport right now, staring, and I haven't seen anything remotely sweet in 2 hours. Alex Rosamilia calls this the "people zoo". When you sit back and keenly observe human beings habits like you're a researcher at a zoo. Social habits....eating and smelling and scratching and moving. Sometimes the only difference I can see are that humans wear clothes, because of their lack of fur.

I try not to judge, but as an ameutur student of the human condition, I can't help but wonder what the stories are behind these faces and walks and attitudes. Is this German kid really a thug in his Yankee fitted and oversized cargo sweatpants, or did he just watch a 50 Cent video when he was younger. Is this upscale looking man in a suit really a succesful businessman? He could very well be a struggling beeper salesman or a drug smuggler, or not even a man at all. It would be fun if I could read people like the Terminator, just to get a brief synopsis of what I'm seeing.

It's impossible to know what people are all about on first glance, but I guess the little devil on my shoulder is pretty sure I have it figured out. I once read a book by Diablo Cody that detailed in memoirs her brief career as a dancer/stripper. When she would dance in the glass booths, her oddest recollection was a young, good looking businessman who entered the spank tank, paid his money, and got off by licking the semen off the floor and walls of the patrons prior to him. I mean, what the fuck. If I saw that dude at the airport, my interpertation would've been well off.

Just like I have to assume that most peoples perceptions of me would be well off if they based it from first glance. Because of that, I should probably stop doing it. But I don't think I will.

Friday, May 13, 2011

St. Micheal vs Frodo Baggins?

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
- Groucho Marx

I just realized that I can put anything I want in here, and based on my peers efforts, the bar has been set way lower than I anticipated. I don't write that often, and it's typically because I'm daunted at "putting together" something at least halfway interesting or informative for you, and not committing the all too common crime of adding to the dreck of society, rather than feeding it nutrients, metaphorically speaking. The .01% percent of me that thinks the rapture actually might come in 6 more days is fairly pleased with my efforts thus far, and thinks I may have bought myself a cheap ticket to happy-land eternity-ville.

Classic agnostic thinking, always leave that back door open....just in case. I don't know, I did just watch a documentary on the relationship between God and the Devil the other day. As per the usual, I didn't walk away changed or convinced. I'm actually stunned at how often I was comparing the story to the Lord of the Rings. The ever present threat of a dark force, gaining power and living subtly amongst us until it's time for the great coming, or dawn of a new time. I'd like to think of myself as one of the elves, but I get the feeling they don't have as liberal of a showering policy as myself. Orlando Bloom looks like he smells fantastic in that movie, just saying.

I spend far too much time looking for the answers. Recently I discovered I've been eating tofu for 15 years and never stopped to think about where that white blob comes from. I literally thought you plucked it out of a rice patty or something, looking the way it already does. I also never remember peoples birthdays, my family included. I have a giant list on my desktop of peoples birthdays, and I typically open it for reviewing 3 days after I missed another one. This is a microcosm of a big problem for me. So intent on finding out these answers before the end, that I can ignore the present. I bet Derek Jeter doesn't live like this.

Lots of music stuff happening. Went down to the studio to visit Ian and Brian working on the Crowes record, it's sounding super smooth, people are gonna be stoked. Spiro Agnew is still having "situation room" meetings every Sunday, new material is written and a resurrection is looming. Also started a "melodic hardcore" type project (nameless) with Cory from Let Me Run, Mike and Dan from Gates, and Derek from Jaguar Shark. We'll be laying down a few songs before Gaslight leaves for the Europe tour. It's been heaps of fun playing music like that.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'm so confused...

Ironically, I was at one of the most standard of American places, a diner, when I heard that US military operations succeeded in killing Osama Bin Laden. I have mixed feelings on how you celebrate a persons death. I don't feel relieved, I don't feel pleased, and I don't feel sad. For some reason my heart is racing and I feel anxious.

I received a text from a friend who serves in the military, when I asked him how he felt about it, I got a text back that said "I have never before rejoiced in someones death, and I hope I never have to again." That's some pretty heavy stuff to ponder over waffle fries and rye toast. But like I said, I don't know how to feel, and I'm having a difficult time garnering a sense of patriotism through this.

Trust me, Bin Laden was a terrifying and ice cold person in my eyes. Along with many people whose soul dedication on earth is positioning themselves for what is coming in their next life. Therefore negating any interest in a healthy, peaceful and natural life for anyone not consistent with their beliefs.

Sadly, the main purpose for his life was the protection of Islam under the belief that it was being attacked by the "West" in a crusade-like manner. And the concept that killing Americans and people with pro-western views was not only positive by their religious views, but necessary to be a faithful servant to God. It's an incredibly dangerous concept, one that has robbed thousands of innocents their lives over the last half century of conflict. I think it's most likely a load of crap, and a disgusting injustice that each one of those people have been robbed of their singular hopes and dreams due to such dreck.

My problem is, as a believer in human psychology and what you can do to a human brain if you start manipulating it early enough, is that in some way, like with everything really, these terrorists were once normal little kids with an empty palette for a brain that was colored in with bullshit. Because of this, my thoughts get grayer. I don't agree with it, but I can understand how a person succumbs to such a perception. In reality, if you're smart, you can essentially steal a persons free will by getting to them young enough. The same reason that I was raised with tolerance, education and non-violence as my mantras. And wow, big surprise, it's what I still believe in as an adult today.

I guess it goes beyond in the belief of a concept, and more in my diminishing belief in human beings ability to unite worldwide in some idea of collective harmony. (An idea, as a kid, I was certain was the only way) So when I hear about his death, I'm not relieved, I feel like we just took one step closer to the wrong thing for some reason. I can only hope it's a catalyst for something positive. Revenge just isn't doing it for me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I meant to be inspiring, but you'll probably just be bummed...

I've been trying to write a blog post for a couple weeks now. The most pertinent and only thing I could think about writing was the experience that my band mates, friends and I had in Japan. I even titled it My Earthquake Day, pulled out of the Harvey Pekar library.

But I'm stalled. There is something about telling this story in a public forum that makes me feel cheap, which in turn makes me feel like I'm belittling the situation. I feel like my part to play was personal, and any sort of pity party is seemingly inappropriate. Yes I was in the quake, yes I thought I was potentially not going to make it out of that situation. But I left 3 days later, no one I knew was hurt or killed, and I returned to my furnished and cozy apartment. I'll leave the fear mongering and sensationalism with CNN and try and internalize it differently. But it's hard.

Because of who I am, I'm quick to see in this only further proof of the randomness and devastation that humans are subjected to. The concept of mortality mixed with the ever present truth that it can happen at any moment. It's enough to drive anyone to insanity, or religion, take your pick. But this is a part of myself I've been trying to fight forever, this inherent notion to focus on the negative, and convincing myself the worse case scenario is inevitable.

In an effort to be positive and push away the depression of the situation, sans my looming existential crisis, I'm holding onto two things. Watching the civility and respect of the Japanese during the situation was, and is, inspiring. I was close and privy to much of the situation during 9/11, and was surprised then by how much selflessness and humanity can come out of a populous during a tragedy. The way people conducted themselves and continue to is admirable, especially with all the finger pointing and politics involved at this point. They haven't let go of their core values, and obviously won't, even in the face of death.

Also, the first two mornings after the quake, while still in Tokyo, I woke up and had never been so excited to open my eyes. The simple act of rising was a huge relief. Every time REM is over, and the brain starts waking the body up again, is a gift. The typical pessimists perspective is that everyday is one step closer to death. When in reality, it's another gift in a series of gifts we're given through our life if we just...keep waking up. Every day can be the catalyst for change, and putting something off until tomorrow might never happen. Just saying.

I don't plan to wear this as some sort of badge of honor. I'd like to view it as a horrible catastrophe, one where by a simple twist of luck I remain to wake up and do dumb shit everyday, and those people can't. And that's my gift.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Queensland Insomnia...

I love Rocky 4. If you don't, well, you're probably fine as a person, but I essentially want nothing to do with you. *Shrug, sorry* Come on, through the end of movie 3 into the 4th, Mr. Balboa loses his two best friends. Mickey, his trainer, confidant and friend. Then Apollo, his former enemy turned great friend and mentor, was killed unmercifully by the Russian in the ring. He also goes against the wishes of his family to fight Drago and nearly ruins the family dynamic. On top of these personal obstacles, he also faces the risk of further severing US/Russian ties and really bringing the Cold War to an apex.

Instead of even considering failure, he trains in the wintry tundra, finishing said training by scaling a snow covered mountain face. He knocks out the Russian, reuniting his family and then brokers peace relations between two hateful countries mid-ring with an uneducated and bloodied speech, cloaked in an American flag. Yeah I know, it's awesome.

It's midnight and I'm sitting in a hotel room in Brisbane, Australia. I tried my hardest not to sleep and keep a normal schedule, as per most recommendations for jet lag. But I nodded off like a heroin addict at 6 and slept like a rock. Now I'm up and writing and watching Stallone hoping I can get tired again soon. If I can't, hopefully I stumbled upon a marathon and parts 5 and 6 will be forthcoming.

I've been thinking a lot today about the unique position we're in and how I'm a fool not to count my lucky stars and really try to enjoy these moments presented to me. It's quick to lose perspective in anything, routine and normalcy can happen if you repeat any day long enough. But, what the fuck, most people in the world don't get to have these types of experiences and memories. For that, I thank the random order for sparing me and continuing to letting me wake up everyday and hooking me up the way it did. And just like Lou Gehrig said, I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth. (I just realized in the bathroom that this can be construed as bragging, it's really not designed to, more to express how thankful I am.)

I worked really hard, don't mistake that, but a hundred variables had to fall into place, and somehow they did. Good thing too, because I am a very talented pizza delivery driver, but 6 straight days on the road slinging grease can really eat my soul, especially since the radio broke in my car.

Yes!! Here comes the Russian winter training montage, arguably the best in film history, I can't pass this up. See you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Generally unfocused meandering....

"Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things" - George Carlin

I just decided to drink another cup of coffee rather than make breakfast, again. I heard small meals throughout the day is the way to keep your metabolism up, but it just seems to take so much damn effort. Benjamin Franklin wasn't into food, he thought people wasted too much time on the affair and he only ate out of bare necessity. That's either really cool or proof of his alcoholism. Not sure.

Anyway, things are going well. Gaslight is practicing and getting ready for the Australia and Japan tours. We've also had a couple of Spiro Agnew practices the last few weeks. Both bands have new songs and I'm having a blast playing drums right now ... I missed beating them. The dog, Wallace, is a wild man. Reckless and a pretty big pain in the ass. But, also really cute and probably my best friend now, we talk a lot.

Also watching about 10 hours of basketball and films everyday. My boys, Rutgers, upset Villanova last night with a time expiring 4 point play. The crowd stormed the court and brought hope for a possible NIT invitation, first since the Quincy Douby era ended. The Nets are, you know, the Nets. Been taking the PATH down to a lot of games at the Rock in Newark. Great stadium, and the addition of giving the Nets mascot "Sly the Fox" a midget counterpart named "Mini Sly" has been a nice touch. Yanks are having an interesting off-season, I'm not throwing in the towel to the revamped Red Sox yet, still a year of baseball to be played before I'm declaring them AL East champ.

A few movies I've recently seen I recommend....

- The Fighter - Christian Bale and Amy Adams killed it, I've never wanted a character to win so bad at the end, even Rocky.
- Sugar - A "Van Sant" style movie about a Dominican kid who comes up to the states to try and make it in baseball. A little slow, but shot really well and tells a story that needs to be told.
- Lemmy Documentary - Went into the city to see this at a 20 seat theater. He's kind of a dirt bag (see German WWII paraphernalia and abandoned children), but really inspiring, nonetheless. The way he lives these days is something everyone should be privy to.
- A Serious Man - Coen Brothers movie about a series of odd mystical events for a suburban Jewish professor and his family in the 50's. My dad said he studied his Bar Mitzvah from a record, as well.
- Anchorman - I've seen this possibly over 300-400 times, until something is better, it will always make the list.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I really am a nerd, regardless what my girlfriend says...

I went down to Atlantic City for a friendly celebration last weekend. Gambling is a lot of fun for me. I've always had a mild obsession with numbers, statistics and probabilities. Which would explain why I enjoy betting so much. Even though I'm still intimidated to sit at a Poker table with the day. But I don't nerd out on anything more than sports stats, ask anyone I know. There is just something about the cumulation of statistics through the course of a season, and then those added onto a players career numbers that just gives me a major hard-on. I know, I know...what are you gonna do, you can't fight what you like. My Mother even used to buy me an almanac every year, for, dare I say, enjoyable reading.

The truly nerdiest accomplishment, may have been my childhood video game tendencies. While most kids were slashing dragons in Zelda and/or being interactive with friends. I was compiling statistics in EA Tecmo Bowl, the first legit football game for Nintendo. Now this was prior to the advent of in-game and season statistics for video games. So I, as a true obsessive weirdo kid, would play each play, put down my controller, and log the stats. Then again, and again, and again. At the end of the game, I would add it up to have full game statistics, and at the end of 16 games, I added it together for full season statistics. Quarterback percentage and yards per carry included. I was 10. I won't even begin to explain the system I had for the NY Times Sunday baseball insert.

These tendencies are odd I realize, and as an adult, I've come up with one theory. To me, life has very few, if any, certainties. I remember my Father saying that it's a classic bout of the "thinker". If you can understand both sides to any situation, with a pragmatic mind and compassionate heart, the whole world turns to grey. Actually I just said it way more poetically, but thanks for the idea Pop.

But I agree, I have a hard time taking sides. In a debate I can merely play devil's advocate because there is always a section of my conscious that believes and agrees with my opponent. Sometimes, in the case of racists and murderers and Eagles fans, it's a really small section.

So my theory is this, I think I take solace in the certainty of statistics. Black and white. Winner and loser. Numbers. Certainty. There is no debate, somebody lost, the numbers tell you what happened, and you can't argue it. It's so comforting, and with that and a mild sedative, it can soothe my savage beast for hours on end. It's also aided in writing drum parts, organizing records and an extremely systematic way of eating an omelette, potatoes and toast meal from a diner.

I can't believe a nerd of my caliber opened for Social Distortion. Jokes on you world!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

So damn cold...

"I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood" - Bill Watterson

Man, it is really, really cold. This isn't just your run of the mill northeast winter, it's bitter, face pinching cold. Yesterday the low was 2 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill. For anyone reading this from across the pond, that's -17 degrees Celsius.

Usually I tout the upside of winter. As an allergy ridden nerd, much like Paul from the Wonder Years, I appreciate cool, crisp, pollen free air. I love snow, it looks cool, is super fun and doesn't even make noise when it lands and blankets the world in white. I also think that people who have perpetual sun don't understand something about the world. There is a lot to say about the character of a man/woman who's survived through many winters. Waking up every morning in a warm bed and house, dressing so no inch of your skin is exposed and entering the frozen tundra to scrape and chip an inch of ice off your car just to leave for your commute will give a person, to borrow a phrase from the tribe, Chutzpa.

I once wore shorts through the winter on a bet. Granted they were my shorts in 1993, which effectively meant they were pants made for an overweight midget with pockets that could fit a gallon of milk cut a foot below the knee. But I did it, with relative ease.

Now, shit, I'm way more of a sissy about it. I guess age has lessened my tolerance. I even turned down tickets to a Giants game this year because my head told me that my couch and TV were way more comfortable and it wasn't worth the hassle. That is a 30 year old thing to do. Back in the day I would've been a 1/5th of whiskey deep before kick-off and hurling throwback NJ trash talk to unsuspecting Redskins fans all afternoon.

Maybe if they didn't build a giant, oddly colored mall with an indoor ski slope where the parking lot used to be. Then charge $25 to make people park at an office complex in Secaucus where pre-game beer and sandwiches are banned. To then take 2 shuttles to the stadium to pay hundreds more dollars for the privilege of entering a drab, gray, corporate shit box. I know this blog started about winter, but I truly hate the new Giants stadium. So sad.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bored on MLK day...

It's MLK day, which means an excuse to do nothing and watch loads of daytime basketball on TV right? I made a delicious batch of challah French toast and sat down in front of the tube, but since the Nets are so hard to watch and the Knicks can't defend their way out of a paper bag, I had a lot of time to think.

Sometimes the civil rights movement feels like two hundred years ago. I was born in the 80's and I'm from the North and the struggles I heard about in school never felt current and applicable. In reality, my parents were in their early twenties when the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965) were passed into legislation. That was the apex of the movement and it was only 15 years before I was born!

I try to remember that timeline when I get frustrated with the state of race relations in this country and need a positive outlook. The movement is still far away from its ultimate goal, for sure. But at least it's getting better, at least some people learned, and at least things that were commonplace not more than 50 years ago are now taboo and widely considered over the line. As they should be. For fucks sake, there were separate water fountains in the south when my folks were getting married...that's super scary.

Fairly recently I read something that said the mainstream media has it in their best interest to tout the King agenda and his peaceful form of resistance. Their point was that the counter movements, particularly the Black Panther Party, played a large role in the formation of change but don't make contemporary history as often due to their progressive, and often violent policies. The whole COINTELPRO fiasco was proof positive of that, in a way. The government was so terrified about these movements organizing together and having a unified voice that the FBI intervened with dangerous, and almost childish policies to try and incite anger between the groups.

This isn't meant to degrade what Dr. King did in any way, because his perspective and ability to lead were absolutely necessary. But it's possible that completely pacifist movements often fail to cause the reaction they need to. Sometimes the mix of ideas and action might really be the only way.

I want to believe in pacifism, but I'm not certain if the entire concept is naive....what do you guys think??

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cliche part 2, dog ownership...

So to add insult to cliche injury, my girlfriend and I got a dog. A black Scottie named General Wallace. In all honesty she's been hounding me, (that's right, I did it)... for almost a year. I was fighting it due to added money, responsibility, and my general lack of interest in doing anything worthy with my free time. She also wanted a French bulldog, and I happen to have an ethical issue with their breeding and general "Williamsburg" nature. I thought they were tough, but their owners typically fill the undersized genes and over sized scarves demographic. Classic macho to sissy juxtaposition. Almost like 3 of the most famous sporting anthems being written by blatant homosexuals.

But now that the little guy is here, I'm happy we did it. In my estimation, most of the people in America have to settle for 3 things to stay sane in adulthood. Addiction, parenthood, or religion. I'm already addicted, and that only keeps me mildly sane, with a small side dish of murky apathy and paranoia. Religion, well...that ship probably sailed a long time ago, bearing some sort of awakening or rapture. And now comes parenthood. Actually being responsible for a life that cannot be responsible for itself. I had some experience with my nieces, but if this dog gets fucked up, it's on us. I guess with that comes a great pride, sense of responsibility, and hopefully some sort of warm and gushy feeling when he licks my nose or something.

As a 17 year vegetarian who typically adheres to the policy of "don't fuck with the natural order of animal and man", I begrudgingly accept the role of "master", for I don't enjoy telling once wild animals how to behave. I think it should roam, chase and maybe even kill without human intervention. But domesticity does exist, and now I sit in my living room, listening to the cries of an 8 week old puppy who desperately needs me to feed it, love it and sort of treat it like an equal...with a shit ton of rules and regulations added on. Human babies are a handful, but at least they don't feast on their own excrement. Also, they grow up and hopefully start taking care of you, dogs grow up and then die. Too dark?