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Real Life Soulmates Find Cartoon Bliss

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2010 by alphabetfiend

StoryCorps » Danny & Annie.

“Smoke Bend” Dollar Bill Johnston (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Now it’s winter on the river, and a cold swift swollen tide meets a warm southern breeze from the gulf of memories.  

Every year, around the 9th of October, I fall into a funk. This blue mood is a complete mystery to me until the part of myself that’s been trying it’s best to keep the date from me will lag,  inevitably exhausted, and it will hit me. Oh! Right. That. The day that my father left this lousy place for good. The day that changed everything. The day that was so swollen with uncontainable sadness that even now, all these years later, it still will not be contained.    

      

I have another tough week in the spring. Another mysterious doom. “So?” Steffe’ll ask, pensively. “How are you? You always get down whenever y’know… me too. I miss him too.” And then it’ll hit me. Oh. Right. That. The week that our friend Paul had a heart attack in Florida, while shacked up with another poet on a houseboat.     

   

Souls have a secret calendar of agony.  

The Robot fades to black every year ’round labor day. The holiday serves as a hard-to-suppress reminder of the weekend his cousin/ little brother/best friend put a gun to his own temple. He was drunk and fighting with his girl friend, suddenly desolate, momentarily stupid. Maybe he meant to mash the trigger, maybe not. Those kind of over-wrought emotional moments can color the future with what is really just a temporary explosion of too too much. I keep a close eye on RB as the holiday nears. He wouldn’t do something so drastic but still, the date itself is a reminder of how hopelessness can swallow a grown folk whole.  

Like a snake eats an alligator.   

The gator goes down easier than you’d think.     

   

(Though I did see a story where a python tried to eat an alligator and the snake exploded… so that’s oddly comforting.)     

These last few days, I was hit by another mysterious gloom. It began with three days of insomnia — I was amped & aimless, annoyed with TV, avoiding the computer –followed by 15 hours of boulder-like sleep. It was a sleep-monster Saturday: ’round 4, Robo put me down like a toddler in need of nap; I reluctantly dozed off at the approach of 6; woke up at 3am to finish/post the gospel but mostly spent 2 hrs staring vacantly into space; then came Gospel!? We don’ need no stinkin’ gospel!; at 10am the Robot woke me with my favorite breakfast. I’m still annoyed and considering sending him back for reprogramming. It wasn’t until I finally got online that I ran smack dab into the Oh. Right. That.     

 Katrina.     

   

There, on the wordpress dash sat a letter from a reader/ friend, bummed about the anniversary of Katrina and wondering where-o-where was the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel? Ah. Arggghrr. (That’s an argh that becomes a grr.) In a split second of watery blinking, I decided to forsake my previously planned song in favor of another song which we played constantly in the wake of that fateful & fatal storm. Before too, but so so often after. This song has meant the world to myself and the loverman (why, he was just a little robot, maybe 8 or 9, when he first started reading The Times Picayune; wishing he could get into the city, good old Big Easy, to see Black Sabbath at City Park.)     

We played that record ragged. That album was our refuge in the storm. That smoking Piggie was a good gentleman friend to us. The song is “Smoke Bend.”  The album is The Gourds 2002 release “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig.”      

   

Yes, I know we’ve just done The Gourds recently but we’re talking about Katrina today and for me, there is only one Katrina song.     

 “Smoke Bend” by the Gourds with Dollar Bill Johnston.      

Dollar Bill Johnston joins The Gourds on stage

Dollar Bill is the father is the father of Gourd, Max Johnston (also of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo.)  Interestingly, Max’s sister and Dollar Bill’s daughter is singer/song-writer Michelle Shocked, who I love.       

        

They’re sandbaggin’ the levees     

They’re shovelin’ night and day     

It’s the year of ’27     

Gonna wash us all away     

 This song was not written about Katrina. Which in my mind, for my purposes, makes it better. Rather it’s about the ever-present worry that the levees might break and if so, then what?    

 The levee gonna bust     

On your side or mine     

A little dynamite on your side     

Help the river make its mind     

It’s about the day that you hope never comes. It’s about the risks we all take in life whether it’s living in the basin of New Orleans or loving even when you know know how much losing is gonna hurt.    

 Folks left that west bank town     

 Left it all behind     

 Start life on higher ground     

 Gonna get out just in time     

 I didn’t grow up in New Orleans, but I was worried by my own what-if’s.    

Even as a small child, my attachment to my father was so enormous that I was haunted by his mortality. This what-if stayed with me through-out my life. In college, laying in bed one night, I tried to picture the cruel day and could imagine no future for myself beyond it. I saw myself in my messy closet, tucked in the fetal position, refusing to come out. Ever. By the time it happened for real, that closet was long gone, and I was living in Austin, but I could still find the fetal position.     

It must’ve been crazy growing up in New Orleans in the shadow of what if?    

 After all, that’s was the place I wished to be.     

   

I’m a corn-fed midwestern girl (by way of A! I! Ohio!) so I’m not native to the south. But I wanted to be, oh I wanted it so badly, always, and I think that counts for something. It always made sense, jived with my version of self. I’ve kinda secretly way-down-deep-in-me thought of myself as the Delta Lady, the epitome of southern eccentricity. When I was very young, probably too young to long for such obscenity, I’d listen to Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” and think “That’s me! There I am! Standing wet and naked in the garden.”     

   

So it’s no surprise that this secret self-appointed Delta Lady found herself a mint julep of a southern gentleman.     

The Robot’s often spoke of the hurricane parties people have while weathering out the storm. They drink hurricanes, play cards and hope like hell. His stories were always punctuated with “Oh, you’d love it. You especially would love it!” ??? 

A hurricane party?     

   

It did sound like something I’d adore — the enforced play, the mandatory leisure; the tendency towards hedonism or at least too many hurricanes; the chaotic familiarity of community and iffy festivity of gatherings; kids running wild, adults divulging secrets; all that human energy, all that snap crackle pop, and over-top — the bristling electricity of sky & fear.      

But after Katrina, I dunno… it sounds too… scary.      

Robotboy grew up in Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans, so his family was hit. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over the family home. It was scary and it was scary even for us, waiting to find out if everyone was okay. They were. They lost a roof and few 100 year trees, a prized pecan, but our people were all very lucky. But then they weren’t depending on the levees…       

    

“Smoke Bend” is about the day that we hope will never come, and yet we know it will, and still that changes nothing.     

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley     

  There’s poison in the air     

 There’s new dangers on the river     

 It’s so good to be from there      

    

We continue to love whatever it is we’re so afraid to lose. Once we’ve lost out, the love goes on. That’s another little something we can count on.     

{{MP3 17 – Part II – Smoke Bend}}   

Smoke bend 

CHORUS:

Now it’s winter on the river

And a cold swift swollen tide

Meets a warm southern breeze

From the gulf of memories

Missouri and clear Ohio

Give their currents to the tide

Now the river’s Louisiana’s

For the willow tree-lined ride

From cruel Angola down to Venice

Scatterin’ horseshoes everywhere

The river’s Louisiana’s

With no glory or bank to share

If the river had its way

The Atchafalaya’d be its home

Straighten out them horseshoes

Find another bank to roam

There’s cane fires up the bank

Of that horseshoe of Smoke Bend

The smoke was double thick

And the fog was rollin’ in

Tie your boat to a willow tree

Climb the bank so high

Above the blanket on the river

See every star in the sky

Smoke fog and family

Kept to that west bank town

Smoke and fog would burn and blow away

The folks they’d stay around

There was catfish with the Kingfish

And a culture spice gumbo

There’s coonass music playing

On a glowin’ radio

Klan and crackers on the side

At the Last Chance Cafe

Crawfish etouffee

Warm red river Beaujolais

CHORUS

They’re sandbaggin’ the levee

They’re shovelin’ night and day

It’s the year of ’27

Gonna wash us all away

The levee gonna bust

On your side or mine

A little dynamite on your side

Help the river make its mind

Folks left that west bank town

Left it all behind

Start life on higher ground

Gonna get out just in time

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley

There’s poison in the air

There’s new dangers on the river

It’s so good to be from there

CHORUS

**************************************

Stay ahead of the snake, y’all, don’t get swallowed up cause really that’s silly, a gator in the belly of a snake, c’mon? Even a python! C’mon! And it’s not safe for the snake either. So just lift yer snout outta the swamp n’ hum a little cajun tune or maybe that one about the river, who did that one? The potatoes? The parsnips? The Gourds! With Dollar Bill Johnston!   

 So whaddaya say, alkies, got a hankerin’ for hurricanes? Well, why’ont you whip us up a pitcher!     

  

Thank’s to Mike — fellow Austinite, who grew up in Chalmette — for documenting his own (from afar & helpless) vigil during the storm and subsequent obsession with the recovery of his homeland. See his story and more of his storm photos (like above.) 

Immerse yourself in gourdy goodness at the band’s sweet sight, complete with wood round rekerd playa.   

If you’re in love with “Smoke Bend” (and you should be) the song can be downloaded for 99 cents. A great song for the price of a candy bar. The album “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig” available on amazon.  If you’re not ready for the I couldn’t nor wouldn’t begin to suggest where future aid should be sent so I open comments to suggestions.  

*************************************************   

Today’s edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel is dedicated to everyone who saw Nola through that storm as well as to those who continue to be with her now. To those who lost lives, loved ones, homes, schools, churches, haunts. To those still healing and still helping in the aftermath.     

My heart aches for all of you, for your families wherever they may live, and for every one who had their heart mangled by that hurricane (even if “only” in an an empathic human way)  

Today was hard for people, people’s hearts are still hurting. Even those not directly affected by Katrina, even those hearts are clenched like angry fists. In a strange sad way, Katrina became a shared trauma, a throbbing dated ache that yearly seizes up. Katrina blew through our TV screens and flooded our family rooms. Which is not to diminish the unfathomable experience of being in New Orleans both during and after that storm; nor the losses borne by other areas hit by Katrina.

Today’s Secret Word is “Barfday”

Posted in Art Lover, Dork Alert, Goof & Glamour, I Heart Funny Fellas, In Celebration of the Absurd, Star F*#ker, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Top 2% of Coolest Mofos, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Happy Freakin’ Barfday, Peewee!

Hooray! It’s Peewee Herman’s birthday! Don’t know how old he is, don’t care. It hardly matters. Peewee’s oddly timeless.

I adore Peewee Herman and count him among the top 2 % coolest mofos (of the magical sort) on planet Earth.

I worship the H*Man. So I was damn sure gonna celebrate his birthday with sacred acts of tom-foolery. To keep my play pure, I’d —  of course! — avoid all adult responsibilities while evading mind-numbing normals.

I’d planned an ambitious day of play;  loll about on chatty chairs, ram things with my shiny pink bicycle. (A virtual valentine of a bike!) 

I was gonna cater to the id.

But I couldn’t let the day pass without wishing Herman a happy Barfday.

Barfday?

AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

I meant to say that! Barf barf barf day!

Happy Barfday, Mr. Peeee-weee… happy barfday to you.

Hope the day was good to you.

Hope the playhouse is over-flowing with cake, frosting, bows, balloons, jewels, cash, pills. And, of course, psychedelic butterflies with google eyes who’ll quickly morph — as needed — into bowties. So many dandy-fop bowties! In a neon rainbow of hues!

Hope Capt. Carl & Cowboy Curtis treated you to a tequila shot or two.

Hope Miss Yvonne spoiled you with a “gentleman’s choice” — whatever that means.

Hope your birthday (so far) has been really freakin’ cool.

Psst.

Today’s secret word is “barfday.”

********************************************

Yes, I was including wordpress among adult activities, what of it?

*The cubist Hermans are by Tommervick, whose modern take on cubism has reconfigured everyone from Elvis to Mr. Rogers. Spock too. I swear.

Happy Birthday, Ruby Slippers!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Robots, Movies & Movie Stars, Photography, Rock & Roll, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by alphabetfiend

A yellow brick road is today’s Google header — celebrating the 71st birthday of the landmark film “The Wizard of Oz!”

Happy birthday, Dorothy! And you, Lion! And you, Scarecrow! And of course, the Tinman!

And your little dog too.

Toto!

I think I can hear a heart beating from that box, Tinman. Unless it’s a bomb! I see a big butterscotch bow wrapped around a brain, Scarecrow. And for you, Lion, a lovely vial of courage serum. A little goes a long way! Don’t be a jackass! Dorothy? There’s a ticket to Kansas waiting at the airport. Tom Wolfe sez you can never go home again. Be forewarned, there’s probably a strip mall in Aunty Em’s corn field. So we got you a Pretenders album, so you can rock out to a song that this corn-fed midwestern gal (Holy Toledo!) has often enjoyed in a bittersweet kinda way.

MY CITY WAS GONE

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY CITY WAS GONE
THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION
THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN
SOUTH HOWARD HAD DISAPPEARED
ALL MY FAVORITE PLACES
MY CITY HAD BEEN PULLED DOWN
REDUCED TO PARKING SPACES
A, O, WAY TO GO OHIO

WELL I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY FAMILY WAS GONE
I STOOD ON THE BACK PORCH
THERE WAS NOBODY HOME
I WAS STUNNED AND AMAZED
MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
SLOWLY SWIRLED PAST
LIKE THE WIND THROUGH THE TREES
A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY PRETTY COUNTRYSIDE
HAD BEEN PAVED DOWN THE MIDDLE
BY A GOVERNMENT THAT HAD NO PRIDE
THE FARMS OF OHIO
HAD BEEN REPLACED BY SHOPPING MALLS
AND MUZAK FILLED THE AIR
FROM SENECA TO CUYAHOGA FALLS
SAID, A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO!

But most importantly, I must wish The Ruby Slippers a happy birthday, being as they were my favorite character in all of Oz. Or they were until I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Before it was a blockbuster musical it was just a really great and lovely book. Wicked tells the story from the witch’s point of view, so gorgeously that I fell in absolute love with Elphaeba aka “Elphie” with her green skin and her yearning heart. Wicked is one of the sexiest most romantic love stories I’ve ever read. Crazy sexy! I still get the shivers just to think of Elphie and her loverman with the blue tattoos. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read all of Maguire’s books and each one is a memorable joy.

Speaking of great Oz books, I recently bought a chunky tome by Graham Rawle that is outrageously illustrated with photographs of old toys and surreal beaded landscapes.

The book was a birthday treat for myself but then my baby niece, Thing 2, saw it up on the shelf — cover showing — and demanded to see it. I brought it down like a precious treasure and we very gently turned the pages. Thing 2 was enchanted and continues to be. She calls the lion a “GRR”

And she pointed to the tinman and exclaimed, “Robot!”

Thing 2 has a robot for an uncle so she knows all about robots. I didn’t correct her cause I’ve always thought the tinman was a robot too.

It’s a big birthday blow-out for childhood memories. Oz is 71 and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is 50. Google coulda celebrated Seuss instead with two green eggs as the double o’s.

The Rawle’s Oz (highly recommended by Thing 2) is available on amazon. So is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. And the Pretenders too!

TBA/Quintron & Miss Pussycat Holdover (Sunday PM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Dork Alert, I Heart Funny Fellas, I Heart Funny Femmes, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd, Music & Life & Sundays, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Mornin’ lovers… I bow my head before you, blue curls a blur of bedhead bedlam.  I am thunderstruck, drowsy….contrite.

Did you notice the PM in today’s title?

Ah. Blame it on the road, on the lure of the highway, on gas stations, on rainbows in oil puddles!  

Blame it on Hruskas (hybrid bakery/chevron) for making delectable yum-yums that had us rearranging our return date not once, not twice but three times. These suckers sell out fast and getting the really good stuff is some sort of competitive sport. Seriously! But oh it’s worth it. Egg sandwich — ooey gooey goodness — on fresh-baked croissant with a home-cut off-kilter slab of ham. And then there’s the cherry cream cheese kolaches that could maybe make a nympho nun cum.

Blame it on the baby with a sticky face, calling my name loud & clear from across the room; who later cried and cried until I untied my cupcake apron and offered up my lap as safe harbor. Blame it on the tears that dissolved into hiccups as I read about the pigeon who wanted a puppy but then met a real life slobbery pup and decided a walrus was a more practical choice.

Blame it on my own pups, let loose in the country, romping in the warm green Mississippi grass.

Blame it on Quintron & Miss Pussycat playing a Saturday night show in New Orleans in the old Shim Sham Club (you’ll always be Shim Sham to me xoxo.)

Blame it on Miss Pussycat’s puppets!

No.

Don’t frame the puppets.

Poor poor puppets.

Isn’t their lot quite a lot as it is?

It’s all the fault of rowdy pups & raucous thunderclaps which cause one pink-nosed pitbull to cower behind my protective legs.

Or maybe it’s the pelting rain and electric zigzags which keep knocking me offline?

OK. OK. Chalk it up to summery sloth.

I’m off to slumber, all sleepyhead fulla surprises.

Surprises?

The gospel — still in draft — is nearly written and the song is chosen but I’m not tellin’.

It’s a good one and it’s my gift to give — I know how some of you are with your google! You’d google Santa right off his sleigh if you could.

No, no, come back later and let me give you a belated gift. Oh, I’m giddy!

 

But I want it to be perfect and so I’ll wait… for a less-cloudy sky and a less-foggy mind.

In the meantime, for your patience, here’s a crazy wonderful surreal treat from Quintron & Miss Pussycat: “Mardi Gras in the Center of the Earth.”

More surprises? Clue: “Blue”… Look for it! (Any guesses?)

She Danced Herself Right Out The Womb

Posted in Goof & Glamour, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I danced myself out of the womb, is it strange to dance so soon? I danced myself out of the womb.

I spent too much money on an itty-bitty “oversized” pair of movie-star sunglasses with candy colored polka dots. For my niece. She’s a baby. Does a baby need pricey glam-girl shades? Well…why yes, she does indeed.

I tried to put them back three times but couldn’t do it. The glasses matched the “Hooray! It’s spring!” outfit I’d painstakingly chosen: outrageous floral “skinny jeans” & cute tee with iridescent writing. The glasses were the perfect accessory for this “sweet punk” look — one very similar to outfits I’ve worn — and those big ol’ shades made it all the more me-ish.

She HAS to have ’em, I told myself as I ponied up the cash.

Baby oh Baby! Was I ever right!

Thing 1 (mama niece) takes excellent care of the glasses and Thing 2 looks insanely cute in them so the money wasn’t wasted. In fact, they were worth every cent! Cause this video of her gettin’ down while sporting her movie-star sunglasses is so cute it KILLS. The only thing that would make it better is if she were dancing to Bolan’s “Cosmic Dancer.”

Cosmic Dancer

I was dancing when I was twelve
I was dancing when I was aaah
I danced myself right out the womb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself right out the womb

I was dancing when I was eight
Is it strange to dance so late
I danced myself into the tomb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself into the tomb

Is it wrong to understand
The fear that dwells inside a man
What’s it like to be a loon
I liken it to a balloon

I danced myself out of the womb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself into the tomb
But when again once more

I danced myself out of the womb
Is it strange to dance so soon
I danced myself out of the womb.

*Marc Bolan/T-Rex

Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Lipstick Shamaness, Music & Life & Sundays, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by alphabetfiend

This weekend — shadowy due to the solar eclipse perhaps? — has been morbid and over-wrought and thus Devo’s Fresh really wasn’t gonna hit the spot.

 

Due to the ache of the last couple days — Nightmares, Roadside Tragedy and other Ick — I really don’t have my usual Goof-given gratitude and all-around zest for life. And yet I do. You bet I do. It’s just that I’m all too aware of how easily that life can end in a split-second convergence of circumstance, timing and (bad) luck. 

Okay, fine, I’ve got gratitude and zest, sure, but no words. My eyes are red and my sockets are dry from too many tears. Every tear I shed took one word with it and now there’s no words left.

Rather than “Fresh” by Devo, I’ve chosen the blues classic “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Actually, I was too spent even for the making of choices, but after I read my last post aloud to RB, he suggested I do “Death…” as it’s one of my all-time heart-wrenching favorites and unfortunately apt. Of course! “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” indeed.

“Death Don’t have No Mercy,” originally done by Reverend Gary Davis, has been covered many times by everyone from The Grateful Dead to, more recently, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. I’m especially partial to the version by the late great, John Martyn. Martyn did the song in the late 90’s, covering a Portishead song on the same album. (The song was Glorybox, the album was The Church With One Bell.)

I first fell in love with “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” when Martyn did it and so I was hoping to share his version with you but no luck. Nevermind.  The song is amazing, period, and both of the following versions are great. That said, I urge you to check out Martyn’s version, should you take to these. 

I often promise a less-wordy week than usual and then pull words like handkerchiefs from a magician’s pocket but not this week. I mean it. Seriously. I’m shutting up now. (If you crave the usual Sunday A.M. chatter, check out that last sad post.)

And now, the genius Reverend Gary Davis.

And now, my beloved Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

Y’ know death don’t have no mercy in this land
Death don’t have no mercy in this land, in this land
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long
Look in bed this morning, children find your mother gone.

I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land,
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land, in this land, yeah!

Whoa! come to your house, y’ know he don’t stay long,
Y’ look in bed this morning,
Children you find that your brothers and sisters are gone.
I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.

Death will go in any family in this land.
Death will go in any family in this land.
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long.
Look in the bed on the morning, children find that your family’s gone.

****************************

Death don’t have no mercy, but sometimes Death’ll take a raincheck, as was the case with the man who fell nearly 500 feet off a cliff and lived to respect the hell outta Senor Death. So keep hoping and keep loving, my mutant mystics, until that day when Death comes calling.

See you next week for another Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

Goof willing.

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