Thursday, May 9, 2013


For some time now I have avoided any TV show with a laff track.   Intellectually, and I'm no major intellect, I find it condescending and insulting.  Really?  You think I need to be cued and prodded to spot humor?

OK.  So I don't like the canned laughter. Secretly, I thought that push come to shove I could deal with it in a pinch.

I wanted some background entertainment as I tackle the 400 and some square feet of mess which has terrorized me for who knows how long.   I saw a show that looked interesting on Hulu, and I did the proper sequence of clicks to get 'er rolling.  Then I went to brew a pot of espresso.  OH MY GOD.

The initial dialog was mildly interesting, for about 3 seconds.  Then it happened.  I heard the fake laughter.  It grated on my nerves far worse than fingernails scratching across a blackboard ever have.  It made my skin crawl, my stomach felt nauseous, my head began to threaten serious ache.

I leaped through the clutter to shut that show down.  Then I breathed a sigh of relief, suddenly becoming aware that on top of all else, the canned laughter had stopped my breathing.

Over the years most of us who view even a moderate amount of television have become conditioned to take the laff track as normal, not giving it a second thought.  I realized that I have become de-programmed, like those kids that get kidnapped back from religious cults by their families.  It takes some serious de-programming for many of them, and that may be more serious.

The point is, I was once conditioned to not only accept the laff track, but to chuckle along with it.  That cannot be good.

I feel like I've achieved something.  A little victory earning me more control of my life and psyche.  I won't say empowered because that word generally annoys the hell out of me.  Kind of like "you go girl!" does.  That's got sexist overtones, and is generally uttered by some wannabe doing that waggle thing.  Obnoxious.

Maybe I really am achieving freedom a small bit at a time.

A Tale of Two Harps in a Datsun 510 Wagon

Once upon a time, on a dark, rainy night in Greensboro, N.C. I found myself and my old Datsun up on that hill which served as the parking lot for New York Pizza--eatery and pub.  Maybe it was summertime, or autumn.  It was definitely night time.

My friend Joel and I were there for reasons which I do not recall.  Maybe he does.  Whatever the original reason, we decided to attempt a 2 harmonica jam.  At that time, I guess I considered Joel somewhat of a protege on bluesharp.  By then he already surpassed me in certain respects.  From the start he was the only harp player I knew who had sense enough to make it work when two harps play.  Normally multiple blues harps make worse noise than cat in heat, fighting.

That night we developed some kind of groove which evolved and got wild.  I closed my eyes and felt like I was flying.  I remember I pushed myself to do things I didn't know I could do.  My heart was in it.  Time lost meaning and I can't say if we were there for a minute or hours.

All I know is that, at some point, I opened my eyes and it was raining, and people were standing outside the car cheering or applauding.  Where did they come from?  And standing in the rain listening to us!  That felt pretty good.

I have no idea what we played.  Joel is very good with solid, funky rhythm.  He kept it moving and kept the rhythm working, which gave me something to work with, I think.  He did that better than I've ever been able to.

There was something magical about that little concert.  My friend won't let me forget it.  He seems to think I was channeling something special that night.  He has also commented that, while I may be better now, he wonders if I ever really pour my heart out like that any more because he hasn't seen it in any videos.

I argued, of course, that he didn't know what he was talking about, but I figured out he is right.  Or was.  I like much of the more disciplined stuff I'm doing, but that feeling of really letting go is rare rare rare.

Very hard to describe that state of being, but it is why I play--hoping to feel a little of that.  How it sounds, I don't know, but how it feels I do know.  It is addictive to the point where I play stuff that doesn't move me at all, hoping for a chance to sail into wonderland.   Sometimes years go by without a taste of it.

Lately, I've brushed up against that place a few times.  Mostly because Joel was pushing me to let go and do it.  Good thing he's still in NC.  I wouldn't put up with such advice in person.  I don't care if he has a point.

That night was like a step away from time.  It was as if nothing existed.  Strange.  That was almost half my lifetime ago.

Still, I remember the way it felt.

Another new Music Kick

While I still find Los Lonely Boys often produce music that suits my soul like no other, I'm on a bit of a Leonard Cohen kick at the moment.

I've always liked lyrics which ring of superior poetic substance.  Lenny does that well.  It usually has lustful overtones, which also suits me just fine.

Like many artists I feel his political bent is somewhat naive, yet well meaning, but what can you do.  That's why I do not put politics in any songs I write or sing.  At least so far.  It queers the deal.

OK.  The jig is up.  Got to get to cleaning and detrashing and de-filthing my abode.  They are painting stuff tomorrow and no getting out of opening the door for them because they are going to paint it.

This is good.  Whatever illness it is that makes me punish myself by being so insanely negligent when it comes to maintaining my personal environment and affairs is temporarily put at bay when THEY close in---witnesses who aren't likely to tolerate or make excuses for the results of my bad habits.

So, I'm pumped. Life gets better.


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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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