Quote of the Day

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Monster #4



















Buddy Dooley
Monster #4
6" x 5" Paint

TS


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Killing Machines


I awoke this morning and turned on the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.  The murderous tenor of the day overwhelmed me and I felt like I needed a long shower to wash it away.

I like football, but I couldn't watch this blind display of reverence for American exceptionalism, weapons of mass destruction and US imperialism.

The militarism in this country is sickening.

Dennis Kucinich is done in the US Congress.

Here is a 2002 speech Mr. Kucinich gave to a disinterested America.

Thank you for your efforts, DK.


TS

    

Friday, December 28, 2012

Lache is Not Great

(Lache got homesick and scored a TD against UCLA)

Texas is renowned for its high school and college football programs.

In literature, film, and the everyday churn of journalistic bombast the record is clear on this.  Texas is a football factory, a landscape dominated by its varieties of sage brush, open space and football-generated mythology.

A cursory glance at the history of Texas football is replete with heroes and anti-heroes, and because this is America that mythology is transcendent.

You don't think G.W. Bush escaped to his "ranch" in Texas with regularity during his presidency to mull over the big questions of world leadership, do you?

Of course not.  He went home frequently to commune with the ghosts of football's past, to revel in the myth.

Decked out in his finest dude-ranching gear, playing for the camera like an arrogant pass-catching god who has just scored his team's winning touchdown in the big game, he even spiked his pitchfork like a football, thinking perhaps of one of his heroes scoring yet again.

Preening, speaking in the broken, Texas-invented idiom of grunts and monosyllabic poetry that defines the self-centered jock, Bush sought succor in the myth--we're good, we're damn good, and this is the championship season.

He is gone fortunately, having wrecked everything, but Texas football persists.

Which is why I badly want to see Oregon State crush Texas tomorrow in the Alamo Bowl, brought to you by some corporation or another whose name I've momentarily forgotten.

I can still recall a sweet moment 12 years removed, when Oregon beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl.  That little throwback play to a stumbling Joey Harrington was a thing of ugly beauty.

Joey could not run, but he is an Oregonian through and through. That counts.

Let me tell you something about Texas football players.  They are only great in my book when they leave Texas and come to Oregon to play their college ball, like Quizz and James Rodgers, one-time stars at OSU.

Or like LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, Josh Huff, Bralon Addison, Chance Allen and the Amoaka brothers.  Past, current, and future stars at the University of Oregon.

Lache Seastrunk, the toast of Temple, was great once, when he played at Oregon (or sat behind a bevy of better backs), but now that he plays for Baylor he reminds me of a lesser god.

The young feller helped Baylor crush UCLA last night, but that doesn't make him great, does it?  After all, he abandoned Oregon.

Lache could have been a star.

Now he is preening on the sidelines like old George used to do, pointing at the other God in the sky and calling this abomination destiny.

God had a plan all right, that you should take your arrogance home silly Lache.

Which brings me to OSU's Storm Woods.  I like him.  Seems like a solid kid because he's toughing it out here in rainy Oregon.

He's from Texas, ya'll know?  Like Lache and LaMike, he got homesick that first year.

Unlike Lache he didn't run home to Grandma when he wanted to cry.


TS

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tempus Fugit/2012 Gone


With an Internet connection that is recently giving me hella, I'll try to get this done.  If the links in this post don't work, try those on the sidebar.

What happened to 2012?  We must have had fun here at RBP because time flies like this only when you're having the best of times.

Pressed to describe the sensation, I'd compare RBP to a perpetual cocktail party in the offices of the loneliest publishing enterprise known to mankind.  It's rewarding, but I'm prone to the hangover-induced publishing blues.

This year I blinked and the world sped past me in its race to oblivion and madness, but fortunately for the solid fans of RBP--gritty, determined, faithful--some good press stuff did indeed happen, along with the usual bad stuff, which I won't bother you with.

The Good:  We published six new titles in this our third year of existence.

The year started off with the press getting some much needed fiscal support from a true believer.  The significance of this earthquake-like event should not be ignored, for had it not happened the press might have ended as an inanimate, mangled machine bleeding ink into the gutter.

Nah, that doesn't happen in the digital age, but you know what I mean. 

Six, I say.

First up was Charles Deemer's Eight Oregon Plays.  Deemer describes how he became a resident playwright in a couple of Portland-based theatre companies in the eighties in this RBP video interview. The Portland State University screenwriting instructor, the son of a Navy careerist, grew up in Norfolk and Southern California.  After a stint in the Army, he graduated from UCLA.  He moved to Oregon to attend graduate school at the University of Oregon in the early seventies, earning an MA in playwriting before leaving to teach briefly on the east coast.

Once ensconced in Oregon permanently, Deemer absorbed the locale's manner and spirit, and, in one of the most obvious instances of a writer writing what he knows in both an historical and contemporary fashion, the plays came forth throughout the years and a legacy was created.

Oregon is better off for this book having been published, though the very state has changed, not always for the best, since the plays were first noticed.

Deemer has commented in the past that he is forgotten.  He isn't, but writers have been known to lie and exaggerate.  As long as RBP is around he has this forum if he chooses to use it.

The second book up this year is a thing I still marvel at, because what K.C. Bacon has done in Aphorisms is make a very difficult form appear easy.  

All aphorisms are not created equal, and Bacon's rise above the noise.  This is a major accomplishment given that every word counts in this tough form and one false step can amount to ruination. 

These lines have wit, intelligence, truth, soul.  One might not agree with all of the author's sentiments, but his are not lacking for conviction, which trumps supposed righteousness in every regard.

The third book is another by Deemer, who turned to the novel form a decade ago and has since published numerous titles.  He published Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones with RBP this year.  As in his volume of poetry, In My Old Age, published in 2011, the subject is aging as it relates to personal and historical change. Carlton (CJ) Jones has issues he battles through until one big surprise makes him take flight.  A retired history professor, Jones views the world through an old typewriter until the computer age catches up with even this reluctant protagonist.  Finally, the truth sets him free.

Buddy Dooley, the graphic artist, broke out his pen to publish a book of writings at mid-year.  He titled it People, Polemics & Pooh-Pah: Notes from Under the Bar.  No less an authority than RP Thomas (AKA Sam White, author of "The Huncke Poems" in the 2010 RBP anthology Cold Eye) called the book "splendid," though I think it better than that.  I thought it magnificent.

Though I did not agree with Dooley's title, I agree with Thomas/White.  Dooley is a special writer whose humor is hit and miss, but always funny, intentionally or not.  Will Dooley pen another one day?  We can only pray!

Number five:  Deemer's operatic adaptation of his play Varmints, a "libretto in search of music."  Read it now and laugh like I did at its craziness.  

Finally, the sixth book of the year was another by Bacon. Moon Over New Rotterdam is his first prose work published by RBP, after Aphorisms and two books of poetry.

Bacon's hero, Augustine Jones, a Californian by temperament if not heritage, is at sea after a divorce and financial troubles push him back into the arms of his hometown of New Rotterdam, a port city near Seattle where his familial connections rescue his poor butt and set him in a new, healthier direction.

Bacon, a painter and businessman associated with the stevedoring industry, knows the waterfront and its characters and gives the reader a good dose of what life is like in that world.  In an uncomplicated yet fascinating story, Bacon's writing excels in its narrative and poetic qualities.

A smattering of other video projects developed this year, including this interview with Charles Lucas, can also be linked at the sidebar.

Happy New Year, folks!


TS 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bad Clothes



RP Thomas of Phoenix/Ashland likes this, but hates Merle's shirt.


TS

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Battlefields



Deemer posted this video at his blog.  I'm doing likewise because I think it bears repeating.  This is powerful, ironclad stuff.

Thanks, CD.  Much appreciated.


TS

Yeah!

Hey, I can watch the Washington vs. Boise State bowl game today.  It's in Las Vegas and not in Boise on that awful blue turf that I can't stomach!  I hate that football field.  It's just not right, seems anti-football to me, and it hurts my eyes.

So that is something to look forward to today.  I want Boise State to win because I actually like the team in spite of its home field.


TS

Ten Years On

From the rock 'n' roll archives, a piece about Joe Strummer of The Clash, who died 10 years ago.

Hearing The Clash the first time I thought, this is what the Sex Pistols were trying, without much success, to accomplish.

Strummer (John Graham Mellor) was actually a real musician/songwriter and a fantastic singer with an important message.

I read once how he chose his stage name.  His obvious reply to a rock journalist was that what he did was strum the guitar for a living--thus the name.  I told this story to the Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor in a bar one time.  He, surprisingly, hadn't heard it.

Joe had cleaned up his act when he died too young of a heart attack.


TS

Howlin' Wolf



A nice selection from Lucas.


TS

Friday, December 21, 2012

Monster #3



















Buddy Dooley
Monster #3 (2012)
6" x 5" Paint

Ah, such simplicity, Dooley.  Only the world knew it!

TS

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spam!

I received an e-mail a couple of days ago from a source I assumed I knew.   I opened it because the sender's name was the same as an old friend whom I occasionally hear from.

I don't know how these things work in a technical sense (or why they provide certain assholes such relief from their stupid lives), but the next thing I knew everybody on my mailing list received the same chain advertisement I had mistakenly opened.

Most of my mailing list auto-rejected the link, but a few of those unfortunate enough to receive the ad must have assumed I am going off my rocker.

Never mind that that is not an unlikely scenario, but please understand that if and when it happens its form will not take on the guise of advising my closest friends on their careers, or offering my opinion of the best and worst of jobs on the planet.

Career advice is not my strongest suit, and in fact I don't even own one.

So my message today is to spammers clever enough to fool me this time--Fuck you!

And to the unfortunate people who received the embarrassing e-mail, I appreciate the fact that you already know how risky driving a taxi in any big city can be, and that the job is thankless and pays next to nothing.

You know, like blogging.


TS

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Delbert



Older Delbert gets the better he sounds, or my ears ain't right!   I think it's the soulfulness that some singers discover along the road.  Delbert has it.

Voice cracks a little?  So what?  It cracks in just the right places.  His phrasing and soul kill me and his material is getting better, too, as with this album.

Simple and pure.


TS

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Moving Ahead

Lucinda Marshall has a simple and concise message regarding the cultural conditions dominating our lives these days.  I happen to think she has a strong message worthy of contemplation.

Our cultural discontent is spreading and leading us in some manner toward our own destruction.  Unless we can change our cultural imperatives, find our balance, we haven't a chance.

Every one of Marshall's points is cogent and worthy of a dissertation, and in fact these points have been elucidated over and over again by certain thinkers historically.  The mass of people are uneducated however, and/or unwilling to take them seriously.

Few people, especially those important folks in "leadership" positions in our society, are capable of understanding our present condition and, more importantly, are apparently incapable of acting to resolve the inherent causation in our malaise.

I believe this is because our culture is dominated by money, not common sense.  Our leaders are elected because they have money, or know how to obtain it.  They are not elected for their intellectual contribution to society.  They haven't problem solving skills.  Their skills are minimally concerned with everything except money, which as the old saying goes "isn't everything."

Except to the greedy.

People, we must change how we live in order to alter our culture.  A national dialogue, uninterrupted by advertising, must occur.  The sooner the better.


TS

Always Playin' the Fool


The first shitclown to speak is none other than one of the biggest shitclowns around.

What a surprise...







TS

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another Chance

(Bobby and Jessica)

Here is an excellent article by Jeff Pearlman on college football in general and Bobby Petrino specifically.

Bobby Petrino, you may recall, was the Arkansas football coach who crashed his motorcycle outside Fayetteville earlier this year and failed to mention a special friend was riding along with him when the accident occurred.

His young mistress, Jessica.

The incident led to Petrino's firing by the university.  The coach was jobless for seven months until being hired by Western Kentucky this week when that school's former coach moved to another job.

Western is giving Petrino $850K a year on a four-year deal.

Pearlman thinks it's a bad move.

Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel has a similar but more nuanced view.


TS

Monster #2



















Buddy Dooley
Monster #2 (2012)
6" x 5" Paint

TS

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reading




Made this awhile back.  Thought I'd finally share.


TS

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monster #1



















Buddy Dooley
Monster #1 (2012)
6" x 5" Paint

Dooley is confronting his inner child again.  He'll show this series here occasionally as he presents pieces to me for approval.


TS

Shankar




Beatle mentor and friend.

TS

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vintage Trouble



My buddy Chris Pilon of Houston likes this and sent it along.

I'm not real enamored by it, but then I was never a James Brown fan either, and this guy is the second coming.

The band obviously has great energy, and I guess it is tight, but...Hell, maybe it'll grow on me.

Thanks Chris!


TS

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Heisman

The skinny runt wins the Heisman, but I'll take Mariota as my QB.

But seriously, Manziel is good and deserving of the award.


TS

Purple and Mad Men


I've been taking it easy while entertaining myself of late.

Awhile back I found Hampton Sides' Ghost Soldiers and was taken by his profound storytelling ability.  Recently, I picked out one of Sides' later works at the library.

Blood and Thunder isn't nearly as good as Ghost Soldiers but is nonetheless a good read.

Ghost Soldiers (2001) is a gripping story about a special Rangers unit during WWII selected to free US prisoners at Cabanatuan in the Philippines.  The risks in this operation were nearly suicidal, yet the Rangers pulled off the seemingly impossible mission of rescuing over 500 US soldiers from the heavily guarded Japanese prison camp.

Blood and Thunder (2006) is the story of Kit Carson's mid-nineteenth century adventures in the American West.  While Sides strives to negate the romanticism in Carson's story, he isn't always successful.

A fundamental flaw in the second book points to a constant problem in any effort to write history for the masses.  In telling a story about the distant past, conjecture and imagined plausibility tend to dominate the narrative to such extremes that the author is nearly always certain to colorize his canvass in deep purple.

While Ghost Soldiers has relative immediacy and the advantage of a younger narrative, including information gleaned from the lingering survivors of the rescue, Blood and Thunder relies too heavily (and perhaps unavoidably) on secondary sources to tell Carson's story.

Sides makes shit up to fill in the gaps in the Carson story.  Another popular historian, Stephen Ambrose, did the same thing in Crazy Horse and Custer.

But what the heck...

Besides my reading I've been streaming some good television of late.  Weeks ago a friend turned me on to a French police procedural series that started in 2005, I believe.  Netflix has it now, and it is titled Spiral. First-rate television, with excellent elements--writing, acting, directing.

Finally, I've challenged myself to watch Mad Men, which I first missed in 2007 because I didn't have cable.  I still don't have cable, but you can stream the first four years of this excellent series at Netflix as well.

It's funny.  Many mad television consumers rale against Netflix because it is supposedly slow to bring things online.  Doesn't matter to me because I'm too far behind popular culture to worry about it.

Five years after I first heard Terry Gross talking about Mad Men on NPR I'm finally digging it.


TS

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tributes to Brubeck



Here and here.

I saw the man play with his sons at Portland's old Paramount Theatre sometime in the eighties, though I can't remember exactly which year it was.

Indeed all I really remember is what incredible music came from that stage.


TS

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Dead Season

Would things work the way they should, big-time college football would be getting interesting now rather than wending down in its customary, bowl-infused, painful manner.

Eight teams would be seeded in a playoff format that might determine which "institution of higher learning" in the land actually has the best football team, not that it matters one iota.

Don't get me wrong, I recognize that bowls are cool.  The Kraft Hunger Bowl is cool, for instance.  If you like processed cheese.

I guess if you're hungry enough you'll watch anything.

The point is if they are going to play the games, the games ought to have a semblance of meaning, as they supposedly did all season long when teams battled to win their conference championships.

The format would resemble what the lower-division NCAA football schools do to determine their champions.  That is seed x-number of teams and go at it.

Major-college basketball does this, albeit to excess, and the post-season flourishes.  A true champion emerges, no argument.

One day an eight-team college football playoff format will happen.  It won't be perfect, but it'll beat what college fans must endure now while listening to the football pundits extol Notre Dame vs. Alabama.

I don't think either one could beat Oregon.  Or Stanford a second time.

But I have a west coast bias.

What am I getting out of the current BCS system except a month of boredom, the rumor of a championship, and the opportunity this weekend to watch Navy kick Army's ass?

Again.


TS

  

Call It Stormy Monday



Tuesday's just as bad...


TS


Monday



I made a big mistake...


TS

Long Monday



Stuck like the tick of a clock that come unwound...


TS

Stormy Monday



The eagle flies on Friday...


TS

Monday, Monday



Can't trust that day...


TS