Quote of the Day

"Buzz, buzz."--Hamlet

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weird Feeling

I don't like the feel of the setup in L.A. tonight. Maybe I'm just a natural pessimist (there really is no maybe about it), but I think Oregon will fall tonight. I hope I'm wrong, but something just doesn't feel right.

Maybe I'll change my mind before kickoff.

Football fans are irrational. We put irrational hope in games--silly games of violence and speed. We sometimes forget the games are meaningless entertainments, something to fill the void in every fan's life.

For a very few the games are a livelihood, to be sure. But for most people, their value degenerates by bedtime.

This has been an extraordinary season for the Oregon program. I'd like to see its good fortune continue. We'll know more at bedtime tonight.

TS

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Solid Luck


Just in time for the start of the World Series tonight, there is this remarkable baseball-related story.




TS

"Farewell" Trailer

Here is a trailer for Charles Deemer's latest digital feature, The Farewell Wake.

Pure chaos, it reminds me of Robert Altman, who famously used improvised scenes in many of his films. The method reveals and accentuates the natural disorder and attendant white noise-voices in any large gathering.

This "noise" is one of the reasons I tend to avoid large parties in real life. Too much is going on to comprehend. If I do go to a party, I tend to slip off to a corner alone, or with one or two others, just to reclaim my equilibrium.

What Deemer accomplishes here, concerning a fictional instance, would also reasonably provide a second antidote for such a real life scenario. Grab a camera, jump in as the silent interlocutor, and flesh out meaning later.

I'm looking forward to seeing the full movie. What fun!


TS

Lee Santa's Portfolio

More work by Post Falls, Idaho photographer Lee Santa.

I was lucky enough to know this guy in the '70s in Northwest Portland. One of his photos graces the cover of the Round Bend Press edition of Cold Eye: A Generation of Voices, an anthology of poetry, prose and interviews, which I recently put up at lulu.com.

Truly amazing work from a brilliant photog and basketball junkie. Check out his latest portfolio here.

TS

Monday, October 25, 2010

BCS My Ass

Everybody who isn't making a buck through the BCS system of determining a college football national champion would like to see an 8 team playoff, and here is a superb story about why it ought to happen.

The BCS system is a joke.

Only it ain't funny.

There are 7 unbeaten teams left in Division 1 football. At season's end there might be as many as five.

A computer decides who's best? Bullshit.


TS

My Star Vehicle

Look very closely at the pictures on this DVD box. See that guy right square in the middle with the bald head, holding a sheet of paper? See him? Take a close look. That guy is me.

That's right. I'm in this movie by Charles Deemer, which will premier at the Blackbird Wine Shop on November 10, at 7 p.m.!

I have a cameo role, which if you really think about it is another way of saying I have star power. I give quite a performance in the movie, playing my subaltern, Buddy Dooley, who calls himself a poet and dislikes one of the other characters in the story. A very true to life scenario.

The entire story is a twisting, turning tale of chaos and...and...well, actually I don't know what happens in the movie because it was all in Deemer's mind to begin with. There was no script. The entire movie was improvised, with parameters, of course.

Watch for this sucker on the Internet. It's going to propel me into a Hollywood (or Indy) film career.

You just wait.

Deemer has made several interesting comments about the creative process on this project at his blog recently.


Check 'em out. Check me out. I'm cool.


TS

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lonnie and Mose

We are about 2 hours 'til showtime on Round Bend Hour (see link above).

The lineup today is straight ahead blues and jazz--maybe a little country thrown in. I'll start the show off with Lonnie Johnson (1899-1970), the highly influential (Elvis loved him) blues/jazz guitarist and singer who was born in Orleans Parish, New Orleans. He was raised in a family of musicians and said of the experience, "There was music all around us, and in my family you'd better play something, even if you just banged on a tin can."

Being a highly trained musician, Johnson was able to prolong his career by moving easily among musical genres and became a player in demand in the U.S., Europe and Canada. But for long stretches in his career he was ignored and had to keep a series of menial side jobs to make ends meet.

He moved from Philly to Toronto in 1965 and eventually opened a club there, but the business eventually failed and he had to sell. He continued to work for the interests that bought the club, but he was eventually fired after an argument with the new owner.

In 1969, Johnson was struck by a car on a Toronto street. Walking with a cane, he performed his final show with Buddy Guy at Massey Hall on Feb. 23, 1970. He died of a stroke in the late spring of that year and was buried in Toronto.

It is said that the great musician died broke.

Now, isn't that an unlikely story?


-------------------------------------------
Others I may play today:

Freddie King

Mose Allison

Charlie Mingus

Do tune in, folks.

TS

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Clanging Cell Door

I visited with K.C. Thursday evening while watching the Oregon/UCLA game. He gave me permission to post this wry, humorous essay here.

Thanks, K.C. This is good stuff.


IN DEFENSE OF BACHELORS


Walter Bagehot, the famed English journalist, once described a bachelor as "a kind of amateur in life who doesn't care." With that slapdash thought Bagehot demoted such luminaries as that singular man from Nazareth, Ludwig van Beethoven, Sir Isaac Newton, Eugene Delacroix, Meriwether Lewis, a horde of Greek philosophers - with the notable exception of hen-pecked Socrates - and countless other genial artisans to the status of secondary life achiever. Can we really think of Giacomo Casanova as a secondary life achiever?

But then Mr. Bagehot was a pre-modern man, a British Victorian whose commentary was at that time was doubtlessly considered insightful and funny by people whose human doings ultimately required child labor laws to be enacted. His idea seems now as epoch bound as King Tut's man tits. I suspect that if we beamed Bagehot forward in time he would appear to us now in the manner of someone like, say…Gore Vidal: word-witty but still an ass (and, I believe, in Mr. Vidal's case, a bachelor ass).

Sorry, Mr. Bagehot: your pronouncement just doesn't jive today, if indeed it ever did. Bachelors in the modern era (we call them "singles) are not so much uninitiated in the rituals of companionship as they are loosed from companionship's rotted moorings. They are, to turn a phrase, significantly un-othered (rhymes moderately with "un-tethered"); in other words, untied and free. Consider for a moment the sound of the cell door clanging in the term, wedlock.

Obviously, vast numbers of men and women seek the safe emotional harbor of belonging to another, that personal leeward anchor from which we shield our tremoring vessel from a weather-beating God. But what does that really point to? Lemmings seek safety, too. We necessarily recognize that at some point every safe harbor is also a prison, and all cargo - even emotional baggage - is subject to being jettisoned when, as Shakespeare's sonnet has it, "nature's changing course untrims."

The majority of my acquaintances and friends have been married (or its illegitimate equivalent) once or twice or thrice; believe me, they are anything but amateurs in life. In fact, quite the opposite. Some of them are virtual professionals at previous bliss. They care immensely about relationships. Perhaps that's why they've had so many. One may well ask why is it that so many bachelors (men and women) find their bachelorhood a culminating event in their lives, a sort of reward for having toiled so in the infertile fields of contemporary companion-seeking. It may be that bachelors consider their single status one of life's honorariums, much like retirement's gold watch or a bonus vacation. Free at last!

"But what of the family unit" cries the shackled masses? I submit that much of what passes as "family values" today is as T. S. Eliot suggested in a not altogether dissimilar context, "better seen in the agony of others than in ourselves." And does anyone really need reminding that those most vocal on behalf of the ultra-familialists are a lynch mob of pandering politicians? Surely this culturally simplistic bleating, this boorishness, is amateurity's epitome

Rather, we should honor those who choose instead to focus on the improvement of the species rather than the ruination of it. We should honor our single siblings because theirs is nothing less than a social awakening infused with actual decency, perhaps even enlightenment itself.

Yes, God truly blesses self-actualizing single. (How else to describe a cartoon free Saturday listening to Boz Scaggs and Mozart, a morning without the need to utter something along the lines of "don't ask so many questions, sweetheart - go back to bed.")

Let us not think of the bachelor as a solitary creature woefully staring at the walls of his cave. He is not that slow beast. Instead, he is socially endowed, frequenting public places and sharing with fellow convivialists (most of whom, married and parental, look to the bachelor for guidance) opinions on a vast array of topics he knows a lot about due to so much uninterrupted time devoted to scholarship. For bachelors are almost always politically astute and culturally aware. You would be hard-pressed, for example, to find a bachelor who is not a devotee of reason. Listen to him discourse on the subject of divorce. Indeed, so many bachelors have first hand knowledge of divorce it would be egregious and unwise not to heed their learned counsel regarding it. And it is important here to remember that the divorce trade, a loose commerce comprised largely of attorney's fees, counseling sessions, and real estate brokers has industry functions along the same lines as long establish commercial enterprises like the Hanseatic League or the Mafia.

Yes, the bachelor, God's intimate emotional traveler, knows a lot about a lot of very important stuff. In fact, heavenly consideration being what it is, if the Inca Civilization had sacrificed bachelors instead of virgins, they might still be in business.


K.C. Bacon

TS

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RBH Podcasts Skewed by Evil

The tech wizards at The House of Sound are apparently unable to solve the problem of my podcasts being shortened to an hour following each show. One theory is that a hacker may be involved--a vendetta-weirdo lashing out at HOS and RBH?

I know some people who might want to destroy my show, but they don't have hacking skills. They don't really have any skills at all...

Ha!

It's just four hours to the kickoff of tonight's Oregon/UCLA tussle in Eugene. I wonder if I'll watch it? Oh, might as well. Even though I should be working on a book or cleaning my pad.

Several good things brewing on the fringe, several not so good. We'll play it as it lays, I guess.


TS

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Akeem Ayers a Game Changer

If Oregon can neutralize this guy (#10), the Ducks win tomorrow night. If not, I give UCLA a shot because Akeem Ayers is the best linebacker/defender in the PAC.

The pic shows Ayers intercepting Nate Costa in the end zone last year. Point blank, this play is usually a knock down. They're mere feet apart. Somehow Ayers caught the ball. Stunning.

Alas, it was UCLA's only TD, and Oregon won the game.


TS

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mercenary Song

Start 'em young and sing along.


Mercenary Song

by Steve Earle

[G] Me and old Bill there we both come from Georgia
Met Hank down in [D] New Mexico [G]
We're [G] bound for Durango to join Pancho Villa
We hear that he's [D] paying in [G] gold

I guess a man's got to do what he's best at
Ain't found nothing better so far
Been called mercenaries and men with no country
Just soldiers in search of a war

CHORUS

We're [C] bound for the border
We're [G] soldiers of fortune
We'll [D] fight for no country
But we'll [G] die for good pay
[C] Under the flag of the [G] greenback dollar
Or the peso down [D] Mexico [G] way

When this way is over, I might go back to Georgia
And settle down quiet somewhere
I'll most likely pack up and head south for Chile
Hear tell there's some trouble down there

REPEAT CHORUS TWICE

Questionably Real

How do you like my new header panorama?

The perfect metaphor for Round Bend Press--questionably real, desolate, and despoiled by technology.

Yep...


TS

Lonnie Johnson

Number one on the play list for Sunday's Round Bend Hour, I plan to play selections from the Complete Folkways Recordings of Lonnie Johnson, whose writing often transcended the usual cliched emotions of blues lyrics. Here he flirts with misogyny.

Men, if you single, pray to God you stay that way
Men, if you single, pray to God you stay that way
'Cause women don't want a good man, only
To pass the time away.

And,

You can give a woman plenty diamonds
you can dress her from her head on down
You can give a woman plenty diamonds,
You can dress her from her head on down
She tell everybody she got a fool,
It's the talk of the town.

I'd call it honesty, rather than misogyny. Just an opinion.

See and listen here.


TS

Mixed Bag


(Left) Chris Pilon

Yesterday was a recovery day. Sunday's Round Bend Hour was a tribute to a friend who passed away in March and, honestly, the job of trying to talk about my friendship with Roger was difficult. Given I've had more trouble finding my "radio voice" than I anticipated before starting this gig, the show was arduous for a couple of reasons.

Still, I think parts of the show went well. I liked my intro for the most part, and my closing comments. In between, I had the usual array of didn't-see-it-coming moments, as when for some reason I'm unqualified to understand, the CD decks (2) in studio stopped playing, inexplicably, after every track. So I had to reset the damnable things after each tune. A hassle, and the first time in five shows that this has happened. And to top it off, I didn't figure out the problem until I was well into the program. Thus, my selection of cello compositions went underplayed as I fiddled about and went automatic with iTunes set to play:

James Brown. Give me a break. The most overrated act in the history of pop music!

I'm afraid the learning curve is sagging somewhat. Oh, well...

One nice occurrence during the show: Chris Pilon, a friend and stormwatcher living in Houston, listened in. He called during the show. Unfortunately I couldn't patch him into the broadcast because we aren't set up in studio to do that just yet. Chris said he was relaxing with a sore back, thinking about the old days with Roger, sipping wine and eating vicodin. Perfect.

It's good to hear CD is wrapping up the feature he's been slaving over for the past couple of months. He plans to show it at the Blackbird Wine Shop in Northeast Portland the evening of November 10.

Follow his blog the next couple of weeks for more info. I'll post something here as well. I have to see the movie before he edits my cameo out, which I know he's planning to do because he can.



TS

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In Memoriam

Today's Round Bend Hour is dedicated to the memory of Roger Blakely III.

Beethoven Cello Sonatas, performed by Daniel Mueller-Schott and Angela Hewitt.
Cello Sonata in F major Op 5 No. 1,
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op 5 No. 2
Cello Sonata in A major Op 69

Solo guitar, Paulo Bellinati (a felicidade)

Wagner
Mozart

Others, time permitting.


http://houseofsound.org at 2 p.m. Pacific


TS

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cover


The newest Round Bend Press publication.

TS

Cold Eye Anthology Ready

By nightfall, Cold Eye: A Generation of Voices should be up at http://lulu.com/. I'm happy to finally have finished this project (unless little problems emerge, which they usually do.) It was fifteen years in the making, and only became doable with the advent of POD.

Thanks lulu. Thanks all you genius web developers and imaginative folks out there who actually contribute something of value to society. (There is a school of thought that says POD sites are a menace to writing and publishing, a school run by Random House, Knopf and their ilk, along with their snooty clan of sycophants.)

Fuck them.

Cold Eye is a nice 70 page tribute to the writers, many of whom still live in Portland, whose work I published over thirty years ago in a small tabloid newspaper in Northwest Portland. It includes three interviews, with Katherine Dunn, Walt Curtis and James Bash, fourteen poems, and a short story by Mark Wilson.

I hope this book finds its way into the public consciousness some way. The writers were, many years ago, mostly young. They had talent and a real desire to say something of significance, and they took poetry very seriously. Their efforts ought to be recognized.

The above photo by Idaho photographer, Lee Santa, is on the book's cover.

TS

Cello Music, Sunday

Round Bend Hour this Sunday will be a special tribute program of classical music in memory of Roger Blakely III, a friend of mine who passed away in late March. Roger loved and played the cello, so expect a lot of cello sounds.

The RBH begins at 2 p.m. at http://houseofsound.org/,


TS


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cold Eye Anthology Nearly Ready


At left, KC Bacon in his gallery in Tacoma. Below, the artist's studio with canvases.

Speaking of which, I have finished a draft of Cold Eye, the anthology of 1978 Portland writing I've been contemplating for fifteen years now.

Just goes to show. Never give up on an idea, particularly a good one. In this modern era, when publishing is easier than a-b-c, this project became a natural. The book has fourteen fine poems in it, and great interviews with some of Portland's best writers, who were young at the time, but doing their part among Portland's vast community, even then, of writers.

K.C. wrote a fine intro for the book, as he helped shape it years ago and at one point thought about publishing it through his Irvington Press.

I'll put it up at http://lulu.com/ in a few days.

TS

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

George B. Moore

This is perhaps the finest poem that will appear in the Cold Eye anthology now under construction here in the teeming offices of Round Bend Press.

It is from George B. Moore. At the time of this submission, in 1978, Moore waited tables at Jake's Famous Crawfish Restaurant in Portland. He was a classy, mustachioed expert who carried himself with the grace only the best waiters can exhibit in the hectic atmosphere of a crowded restaurant.

George likely did very, very well for himself as a waiter. But he had greater ambition. The last I heard, Mr. Moore was working at Colorado State, in the English Department, dispensing his wise thoughts on poetics.

You'll understand how that came to be after reading this:


Poem from a Map, National Geographic Society 1962

Brazil stands dark
in the lettering of the Midwest,
as if somewhere out beyond the Amazon
there is corn
and fields of freshly cultivated earth
muddied rich with the tropic rains
and now anxious to produce.
The high plateau of the Mato Grosso
does not appear as vast and
unpopulated here,
it simply rises up out of the paper
already yellowed and antiquated
as each thin blue line.
The once true tributaries are now lies
not fabrications but good histories
that have changed.
Argentina is blue
and though the printer may never
have felt it, feels cold
and as easily European as assassination.
Now as then, her lines are not lies
but difficult rumors and reflections
of the truth.
We are going down to Rio
from the banana farms of Suriname,
by boat as far as Belem
and then by small plane, flying low
like scavengers over
the open arteries of the jungle.
The waterways are scars
we follow to the blade
and the source of steel
even when old and often vanished.
To sense the full flatness of our map
we plot with blind fingers
and run the risk of madness at the thought
of being lost, or those of strangulation
in these breathing interwoven spaces.
Soon, however, our skins begin to crawl
with the crowded populations
of the eastern coast.
We circumscribe the bad of Guanabara
and land. In long days
of transport our eyes have grown
to near the size of this huge
red Brazilian sun,
great orbs glazed in savage witness
and burned by the irons of memory:
The green, like a sea
the land hissing there is no softness here
only growth.


George B. Moore



TS

Monday, October 11, 2010

She's Funny that Way

I just typed up a draft of Mark Wilson's 1978 short short story "She's Funny That Way," which will appear in my Cold Eye anthology.

This is an odd story, full of wistful longing and humor, and it has a somewhat surprising twist at the end. It's a simple story on one hand, but it reverberates with a somewhat surreal dislocation as well.


She’s Funny that Way
By Mark Wilson

When I saw her I thought how she would look in blue. Her hair was so blond it was almost white. Enormous sky-blue eyes. She was wearing pants and dirty white tennis shoes. Taking long strides, she was climbing a short hill next to a white bungalow, Ohio Street, Lawrence, Kansas. It was spring.

That wasn’t the first time I saw her. The first time I was sitting in a window booth at the Rock Chalk Café. A beer joint in Lawrence, Kansas. Just off the campus of Kansas University. Kansas University sits astride a hill. In the whole of Eastern Kansas there are many hills. A few rivers. Lots of woods and fields. It’s rural.

It was a warm day in March. I first saw her through the plate glass window of the Rock Chalk Café. She wasn’t wearing any shoes that day. Her feet were dirty. I noticed she had no front teeth. She was smiling at me through the window. She stuck out her tongue. I was drinking a beer.

The next time I saw her it wasn’t her. I thought it was her. She came out of the Pam-Pam East all night coffee shop at Geary & Mason. I was sitting on the cab stand drinking coffee, waiting. She got in and she wanted to go out to Geary & Masonic. When she got in the interior of the cab filled with an animal essence. I smelled her. But it was a quiet animal. And sweet. That’s why I thought it was her. All the way out Geary I was thinking of something to say and when was the right moment. But I kept quiet and drove. When we got to the address I switched on the dome light, turned around and looked at her. The meter read $3.40. She had hair so blonde it was almost white. Enormous blue eyes. She wore several rings on long tapered fingers. She was wearing blue. All the way out Geary I had breathed in the quiet animal essence. It was sweet. I thought it was her. But when I looked at her in the cablight—although she appeared as Beauty Incarnate—it wasn’t her. She gave me a 5 and got out. She knew I thought it was her. But she knew she wasn’t her. And I was a cab driver. I started to sing the “cab driver blues,” which is a lot like the “busboy blues.” But I stopped and thought why should I?

I saw her once when I was riding my bike. I was cruising along Ohio Street, Lawrence, Kansas. She was sitting on the handle bars looking straight ahead. We had just come from Safeway where I’d bought her some Milk Duds. For a treat.

Now if it is possible, there are some occasions in life’s moment in which one may wish to spend Eternity.

That day—it was summer and the foliage was out and the world was green—riding a bike with a 6 year-old angel on the handle bars. This is where I wasn’t to spend Eternity.

From year to year I catch glimpses of her. Most times she doesn’t see me. She’s busy or tired or thinking. Riding the bus or passing along the street.

But I do remember seeing her at a barbecue. Her mother approached me. I was sitting on the steps wearing a crew-cut and a Mickey Mouse tee-shirt, drinking wine. I wasn’t wearing shoes that day. It was summer. My feet were dirty. Her mother, Delia, says to me, “Pinasco (that was my name then), are you in love with Toop?”
I says, “yes.”
Delia says, “you know you’ve got about 20 years on her.”
“Yes and they could put me in jail for it.”
Delia says, “they could put me in jail for being her mother.”
“She’s funny that way,” I says.
The next year was bleak. She had gone to Paris to live with her dad. I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska. Delia was living there with her son, Elf. Delia was an anthropology grad student. I was working for an OEO poverty program. Oh, Delia!

I saw Toop again. She came over to America to visit her mom and brother. In Paris, her dad had given her a haircut. She was a year older and her hair had begun to turn brown.

We walked up to the campus, University of Nebraska. I gave her a piggy back ride, like I used to. We got an ice-cream cone. We walked back. It was summer. Trees hanging out over the street. She danced down the street throwing bouquets of light and laughter into the shadows. When we got to her house she ran inside. At the door she turned and looked at me. Right in the eye.

“See you, Pinasco,” she says.
I couldn’t say anything. I was paralyzed. I loved her. She was headed back to Paris the next day. Her front teeth had come in. She was beginning to have an identity. Soon boys would be coming around. She was gone.

After she left I went down and got my passport. I got a job working construction so I could save money. I would go to visit her in Paris!

But I never went. Instead I waited for her to return. I picked California to wait in. California is a good place to wait. There is a lot to do to pass the time. I passed time hitchhiking. Working, eating chop suey. I walked around some. I rode the bus up and down the length of the state. I hung out with some women. I slept a lot. I went to college. I wrote 2 books. I went over to Golden Gate Park stoned. I heard the Grateful Dead. I laughed at Woody Allen. I got drunk. I sold newspapers. I meditated. I got busted. I got rolled. I went swimming. I played pinball. I danced. I sang. I prayed. I paced the great floor of California. In a hotel room I listened to jazz on the radio. I waited.

After 7 years I’d forgotten all about her. I developed my career as a dishwasher. One day I saw her again. She was sitting in the café writing in a leather-bound book. She looked up and saw me. Right in the eye. Her eyes had become more a Mediterranean blue. I stopped. She didn’t. She couldn’t. She is a dancer.

Now we are sitting in her kitchen. Everything has become very quiet. We’re drinking champagne. You can’t know anyone until you love them. She is getting ready to leave again, tomorrow.

I look across the seascape of the champagne. She winks at me. Bon Voyage! Honey Child. Do you hear that bell? It’s still ringing for both of us, together someplace other, to be rivers.

__________________________________

Expect the anthology sometime next month.

TS

Patricia Barber

It's all about making discoveries. I started listening to Patricia Barber as I began preparing material for Round Bend Hour #2. What a revelation. I wasn't familiar with this Chicago-based jazz singer, but now that I've played her 1994 Cafe Blue disc a couple of times on the show I find her amazing.

This woman can turn an old, questionably interesting song like "Ode to Billy Joe" on its ear and actually make it sound substantive! What a remarkable achievement!

I played about 20 minutes of Barber yesterday, including the Ode.

She travels the world selling out shows. I'm just catching on.
So it goes.

BTW, she digs girls.


TS

Violent Sports

Except for a few rough spots, I thought my Round Bend Hour went fairly well yesterday. I tend to lose my flow of conversation, partly because I still have a microphone phobia, and partly because I ain't that good of a talker to begin with.

With that in mind, maybe this is a very odd thing for me to try to accomplish.

However, I feel there has been some improvement in my voice, phrasing, and tech expertise. Still a ways off, but hell, I love doing it.

If the folks at http://houseofsound.org/ will keep me on I'll plug away, always expecting to get better.

It is a blast.

Speaking of hard hits--I was really concerned when Oregon's Kenjon Barner went down in the game at Pullman Saturday. You hate seeing that kind of thing. But at the same time you know it happens, will happen, has happened. Football is violent. I equate it with the "sweet science," boxing. When the performance is right, it is a thing of beauty, like Ali dancing in the ring and throwing flurries, or like Barner before his injury, running an end around and picking up graceful yards.

I've seen two fights on television that ended in death. I watched as Emile Griffith killed Benny "Kid" Paret, and I watched three decades later when Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini killed Duk Koo Kim.

A sad, sad part of the game.


TS

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Highs and Lows

Damn near everything is perfect except the weather here today. It is raining. As a native son, I should be use to it by now, but I've never liked it.

I'd rather be a sun ray than a raindrop, Buddy Dooley says, espousing his New Age mentality and causing me to consider punching him in the nose.

The day is perfect because I feel pretty good. I feel alive, which isn't always the case. It never is for one with a sizable streak of morbidity running in his blood. It's perfect because it's the right day for football, with a lineup of interesting games this afternoon. I'm actually looking forward to seeing OSU and Arizona play. I'll root for OSU.

I'll take in the Oregon game as well, the idolater that I am.

Just one troubling situation brewing. A guy I have completely disassociated myself from is organizing a Wake for my friend Roger, who died 6 months ago. I can't in good conscience go knowing how disrespectful this guy could be toward Roger at times. He is a self-aggrandizer of the highest (lowest?) caliber, and I really don't want to hear him muddy up the record with his bullshit. A third party is arguing with me about my decision, which is irritating. Show some understanding for god's sake!

The dilemma reminds me of the plot in CD's movie-in-progress, which centers on a Wake.

Life imitating art?


TS

Friday, October 8, 2010

A New Era

This is an interesting piece concerning high school football and the risks inherent in games between mismatched teams.

Folks pay attention these days, but that certainly wasn't the case when I played high school football in the sixties. I played at a very small school in a league with schools three and four times larger than mine. My school might have a couple of big guys each year, but too few to make an impact on the overall competitive level of our squad. We were often thumped hard by teams with a lot of big players. Nobody cared that we were getting our heads bashed in by 6-6 280 pounders and losing by 60 points every game.

We were told it built character to be bulled so badly.

States now attempt to classify schools by their enrollments. Oregon now fields Classes 6 through 1 in descending order.

I wasn't really good enough to play big time college ball, but I played against many who were. I tried to survive in the main, and I was lucky to not get seriously hurt at various times.

Times have changed. Fear now rules--of injuries, lawsuits, etc. Maybe there is some good sense in there, too.


TS

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cold Eye and Music

I'm happy to say I've finally made some inroads on the Cold Eye anthology that I've been planning for weeks now. It's coming along; I've formatted the first pages and K.C.'s Intro and I'm working on a rewrite of my Long Goodbye post from this blog (in June) to create a fit for the new book. I'm actually quite pleased with its progress now that I've set out to do it!

Here is a poem by Carolyn Burdick, which will be included in the anthology. Unfortunately, Carolyn died far too young of lupus shortly before this poem was published. Her boyfriend gave it to me after the poet's death, and I published it in her honor:


The Icemaker


Anger has frozen

the words


Hour upon hour

Small murderers of ice

Slide out between

would be

and were

-------
More on the anthology later.

I'd just like to add, before I go watch the Nebraska/Kansas State football game this afternoon, that I have my Internet radio broadcast coming up quickly on Sunday afternoon at http://houseofsound.org/. Round Bend Hour starts a 2 p.m., and here is a partial play list:


Steve Earle

Graham Nash

Mance Lipscomb

Jackstraw

Charlie Patton


"It don't get no better than that!" cries Buddy.


TS

Killing for the Hell of It (and Profits)

Today marks the start of the tenth year of America's Imperial War on the impoverished nation of Afghanistan. As America's unrepresented sink into bankruptcy and a deadening malaise, the oligarchs, plutocrats and arms manufacturers reap the rewards of militarism.

Cry over this sobering nugget of truth.


TS

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cooking Mood

I slide in and out of the cooking mood. Often, I simply don't like doing it, probably a hangover from doing it professionally for a number of years and being constantly disappointed in the wretched humanity that defines the restaurant business.

I last owned a crock pot in 2000, and I didn't pack it when I moved hastily one weekend, knowing my days were numbered at the place I'd lived in for 11 years. I didn't have rent money (again) and I didn't feel like talking to anybody about it. I had no way of moving all my furniture out of the place, so I packed my clothing and papers and off I went on a disastrous move to the mid-valley, where I couldn't find work and was eventually tossed from a certain relative's home.

I didn't miss the crock pot, but as I was assembling a few things recently to get my new apartment in order, I found another one and snapped it up.

I'd forgotten the ease and beauty of the crock. Monday, I bought a rump roast and a nice chunk of pork, some carrots, red potatoes, onion, and put my new crock pot to good use. I have some savory, super-tender meats in the fridge now, and I feel like a gourmand again.

It's odd how one cycles in and out of the important things in existence. Consistency has never been one of my hallmarks, I guess. But for now, it is fun to feed myself again.


TS

Military Madness

In 1970, as the inner-turmoil of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young threatened to tear the band apart, Graham Nash was having problems on another level. His longtime girlfriend, Joni Mitchell, was splitting his sheets and his blues were deep and personal.

Nash began writing for himself again, something he hadn't done since his pop heyday with the Hollies years before.

The result was his first solo album, "Songs for Beginners," a title he claimed represented the new beginning that is redundant in life, especially after a rough breakup like he was having with Mitchell.

"Songs for Beginners" was one of my favorite albums of 1970. However, I wasn't taken so much by Nash's personal troubles as I was his political statements on the album. Particularly this one:

In an upstairs room in Blackpool
By the side of a northern sea
The army had my father
And my mother was having me
Military Madness was killing my country
Solitary Sadness comes over me

After the school was over and I moved
To the other side
I found a different country but I never
Lost my pride
Military Madness was killing the country
Solitary sadness creeps over me

And after the wars are over
And the body count is finally filed
I hope that The Man discovers
What's driving the people wild
Military madness is killing your country
So much sadness, between you and me
War, War, War, War, War, War

That is "Military Madness," his remembrance of WW II, but also a protest song for the ages.

I will play it and a few others off "Songs for Beginners" on Sunday's Round Bend Hour, 2 p.m.


TS

Mance Lipscomb

At some point during next Sunday's Round Bend Hour, I plan to play part of Mance Lipscomb's "Pure! Texas Country Blues, Vol. 5." I saw this widely influential Texas blues player in Eugene in 1974. He played outside on the lawn of the UO music building, and quite honestly the performance defined one of those life moments I now revere, an educational moment as such, a breakthrough in my understanding and deepening appreciation of roots music.

Mance Lipscomb's hometown of Navasota, Texas, became one of the focal points of the blues revival movement of the sixties. In the summer of 1960, Mack McCormick and Chris Strachwitz drove deep into Grimes County, Texas and began quizzing the locals regarding the best musicians in the region. They were repeatedly referred to Lipscomb. They found him, heard him, and recorded him on the first day of their meeting. The label was Arhoolie and the first recording was called "Texas Songster," the guitarist/singer's chosen handle.

Lipscomb was born in 1895, the son of a former slave from Alabama and his half-Choctaw Native American wife. Sixty-five at the time he made his first recordings with Arhoolie, he was invited to Barry Olivier's Berkeley Folk Festival the next summer and thus began a recording career and touring schedule that often brought him to the west coast, including Eugene.

Lipscomb played the Dobro the day I watched him, sitting in awe on the lawn of Oregon's music school. At 78, his voice was yet remarkably resilient, his Texas drawl and elucidation in order, his love of performance obvious.

Lipscomb died in 1976, age 80.


TS

Monday, October 4, 2010

Garrison and I

I'm listening to the podcast of the third Round Bend Hour as I type this out. My third show was my best to date and I'm generally pleased with what happened, except for a few mic gaffes.

I left my mic up at one point and blasted into a CD track. My stream monitor shot up like a red rocket and I fumbled around for a few seconds before straightening things out.

Over all, I grade the show a B. I expect to get an A one of these days.

I could also stand to become more fluid as a speaker. I have a little mic shyness yet, which I feel I'm capable of overcoming in time.

And then I plan on taking Garrison Keillor's job.

Link to podcasts: Round Bend Hour.

TS

A Great Visit

What a great weekend. Saturday's Oregon/Stanford match up was top flight; even better, my buddy KC Bacon visited Portland after spending the weekend visiting his 89 year-old mother in Salem and taking in the Oregon State/ASU game in Corvallis.

We met up last night and had a great visit. Hadn't seen KC in years, so it was nice to sit with him for dinner and a few drinks while cracking up over his stories and POV.

KC gave me a painting, a very nice abstract work that highlights the painter's use of bold and intense swaths of color. It is a style only an extremely accomplished colorist can use effectively, and KC pulls it off. I'll hang it later today.

Like I say, a great visit and weekend.


TS

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nike U.

Before it all comes crashing down--and it will crash back to Earth in a resounding explosion of corrupt venality--I plan to enjoy the football success of my university, the University of Oregon, AKA, Nike University. Why? Because it is an entertainment and a release from the dogged anguish of everyday life.

Hey, but it's the only television I watch!

To begin to remotely understand college football today one must first accept the fact that it is big business (all of it, not just Oregon) meaning all its attendant problems of corruption are openly discernible. Those problems, however, are no more absolute or astonishing than the just as common corruption inherent in damn near every other American institution.

It is all fucked, and I don't have the answers. Well, I do, but I can't publish them here.

I don't like banks, but I have an account (for now). That in itself makes me a hypocrite.

I sometimes buy products that I don't actually need and which are harmful to my health (beer and cigs). But I don't buy Nike products, because they are ridiculously overpriced and, frankly, I think slapping logos on any wear other than team uniforms is a joke.

Nike didn't start that trend, by the way. When I played high school football I wore Puma cleats and MacGregor gear.

And I am all too aware that Nike manufactures in the Third World, costing American jobs and exploiting the peoples of other nations.

I spend money (fuck money) on poor and costly prefab food.

I am occasionally intellectually dishonest.

I am a football fan, but more a fan of the institution of higher learning (supposedly) where I met, years ago, some of the most unique individuals I've ever met. I knew it was corrupt when I enrolled.

I'm probably not as radical as I should be, but I believe Bush and Cheney should be jailed, Obama should be impeached, and the U.S. Government should be brought to its knees to beg the forgiveness of millions of unemployed and underemployed workers and their children.

Saturday's final score: Oregon 42-38 in a doozy.

TS