To the Point

There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed. You could line up all the pols in the U.S. in a straight row and examine them head to toe and not find a single man or woman capable of admitting, never mind ending, the corruption of their vocation--Buddy Dooley

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Withering Noise

This has been a most unpleasant year for me as an Oregon football watcher, and as a college football fan in general.

Oregon vs. Texas tonight in the Alamo Bowl may be my last stand. The timing and symbolism can't be beat.

Something has changed in the game--I should say surrounding it--that has made the entire experience  of watching and attempting to enjoy the spectacle and color of college football less agreeable than in the past.

It didn't happen overnight, of course.  The game as spectacle has been evolving for a number of years now, but the bottom line for me is that the game no longer gives me the joy it once did.  I don't like the new trend. I have turned the other cheek in the main.  Perhaps it is time to give up on it altogether.

Its colors have changed, too, like something growing liver spots over time.  The game has grown ugly, not on the field where it maintains a certain appeal, but everywhere else.

My relationship with the game is floundering like a bad marriage. We may have irreconcilable differences.

The politics of the game have changed for the worst.  The actual bottom line--the economy of the game--has shifted, and I am ill-equipped to deal with its newest shibboleths; in fact, I do not even care about the politics of games or their monetized values.

Never have.  That is one reason why I'm not a big NFL fan.  Business is business there, and pretty brutal at that. I don't like the seeping brutality of the college game.  It's distasteful.

The college football coach as CEO...that's a drag, man.

Wins and losses are just that to me--I was a football fan once, not a Wall Street investor with a psychopath's interest in money.  I played the game when I was a kid, and for the longest time that carried over for me, probably gave me more cause than most to value the game, at least on a personal level.  I understood the things that made the game enjoyable for me, and the least of them were tied to money.

As a player, I won a few and lost a few.  Everybody does.

The entertainment value of the game has been usurped by its burgeoning business dimensions.  When I think of my life as a kind of anti-corporate shill, a voice in the wilderness you might say, college football no longer meets the criteria with which I measure things of value within my own existence.

In my value system money is way down the list.  Success is having a good day as opposed to a miserable one as long as you can keep a roof over your head and eat once or twice a day.

I'm not particularly enamored of CEOs.  I've met a few, and I might say we seldom see eye-to-eye about the meaning of life, much less the price of a widget, doodad, or gizmo.

College football is now reflective of a corporate mentality that guides too much in American society these days.  Call it my weariness of the propensity people have for judgment or grandiosity when reflected through the prism of money.  Call it corporate codification, or the will to marginalization, for that is what corporations are best at--marginalizing people who don't fit in.

Call it another unfortunate consequence of the modern, technological world. Call it reality.  Call it whatever you like, just don't try to convince me that games are life and death--or that business ought to define their principal meaning.

That stuff never interested me.  Today it is in your face.  Here's what Joe makes.  Is he any good?

I once worked in the health care industry. Now that was a life and death environment.  I made a living as a corporate propagandist, writing hopeful tracts on the "services" and "medical advances" and the supposed wonderfulness of  the ugly place that surrounded me daily.

Here's what made it ugly--the bottom line. The greed I witnessed in that place was of the same kind you see everywhere now.  I left to pursue a less damaging lie.

Halliburton and Dick Cheney had nothing on my old employer, folks.

You could say it wasn't actually life affirming.

I may leave college ball behind because it has become a damnable lie.  It's causing more damage to me personally than I'm comfortable with enduring.  Its hypocrisies have overwhelmed me.

I never thought I'd witness a time when a 10-2 Oregon team would be run through with a rapier by so many hacks in the media and so many delusional fans whom you might imagine should be happy that it is no longer the seventies in Eugene.

To say I was shocked by the vitriol that arose after Oregon's two losses this year would be putting it mildly. I didn't see it coming, perhaps because I never expected Oregon to be as good as it is in the first place.

People talk about the sense of entitlement the players seem to have at Oregon as the spoiled progeny of big bad Nike.  It has occurred to me that a worse problem lies with the average Oregon fan.  Now losing is cause to complain about everything.

The seventies in Eugene are a part of the historical record, and I liked it better back then.  But that doesn't make me modern enough, I guess.  The object has become to kill the coach, so to speak.  To cry over two losses.

Good Lord...

I may be losing my love of college ball. It happens.  I can't deal with the disappointment of my fellow Ducks.  Their disappointment disappoints me.

"Well, it should have been a better year," comes their cry.

Well, in my opinion everything should be better, but that doesn't make me an expert.

To the gasbags who want change and change now in the Oregon football program, I say this: quit blaming others for your miseries. Quit blaming kids, age 18 to 21, for your unhappiness, your illusions. You'll never cast away all of your miseries to begin with, but you sound ludicrous.

The kids aren't listening to you anyway.  Hell, in most cases you don't even know them.  You don't seem to care if they're good students, nor are you interested.  All you are interested in is the glory that you seem to believe will be reflected on your life if Oregon is great.

That is not the way things work.

Oregon enjoyed a great run under Chip Kelly.  The unfortunate backlash to his success is that Oregon is now defined by his shadow. I have news for everybody who hasn't noticed.  Kelly is long gone.

He ain't coming back, either.  With the success he's had this year in Philly, he'll likely be out of college ball for a long time, too.

O, how long will this persist?  And must it really?

I liken the present situation at Oregon to what happened at UCLA when the great basketball coach John Wooden retired.

Everybody who came along after him was treated like crap.  Some of them were actually pretty good coaches, too.

But they didn't last long, not amid the dumb, withering noise.

I have one piece of advice for anybody who can't stand the thought of ever witnessing a loss on the old gridiron, be it at Oregon or somewhere else.

Grow up.  It's gonna happen, and the longer you dwell on it the more obnoxious you sound.

I, as much as anyone, hope for the best from Oregon football going forward. I'm not going to kid myself into believing that I have any say in what happens next, however.

You know, the All-American quarterback might get hurt or something.


Lee Santa on Sun Ra

Lee Santa photo, 1970

Sun Ra and Arkestra
Freeborn Hall, University of California, Davis, California, April, 1968

My first exposure to Sun Ra occurred while in the U.S. Army sometime during 1966/67.  The entire time I was in the army I maintained my subscription to Down Beat and learned of him either via the magazine or because of the ESP record label.  What I suspect happened is I bought Albert Ayler’s ESP album Spiritual Unity and learned of Sun Ra through the label’s catalog. However it occurred, during this time period I purchased from ESP The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra vols. 1 and 2.  My first reaction was “this must be what the creation of the universe sounded like.”

Okay, so that may be an exaggeration…

The Freeborn Hall concert was my first of many live Arkestra concerts. (Sometime ago I estimated the number of hours I had seen Sun Ra in live concerts and it came to about 36 hours.) A Sun Ra concert was like being in a mystery play with some of the most intense music imaginable.

The concert started with solo cello playing behind the stage curtain.  This went on for several minutes and then the curtain was drawn, revealing the lone musician on the stage.  Gradually other musicians wandered out to join the cellist.   As more and more musicians joined in the music grew in intensity.  Once the entire ensemble (about 13 to 15 musicians) was on stage the music reached a sustained crescendo that went on for several minutes.

The music took on a physical element as alto saxophonists Marshall Allen and Danny Davis took center stage and leaned on each other as they played.  Soon two more alto sax players (probably Danny Thompson and Pat Patrick) came up close behind Allen and Davis, pushing against their bodies with their own.  They created an odd-looking and highly visual, many-limbed saxophone mass that could be construed as animalistic.  The playing became increasingly frenzied before one of them fell to the floor.  The other three surrounded him, playing at him as if they were attacking.  It was as if their playing had taken down a beast that they now taunted with abstract sound.

Freeborn Hall had no chairs in it and the audience sat on the floor. The Arkestra wandered into the audience.  Occasionally some of the musicians would surround a few audience members and play at them for a few seconds.  I saw one person who was surrounded quickly get up and run out of the building as if he was on fire.  I was with some other people and we just assumed he was having a bad acid trip.

Later on, when all the musicians were back on stage, June Tyson started singing.  Sun Ra came up behind her and started whispering into her ear, feeding her improvised lyrics in what seemed to me to be a male/female muse role reversal. 

In short, this was a concert like none I’d ever seen before—a highly theatrical celebration with aural and visual elements.  

I was hooked on Sun Ra.

RBP will publish Lee Santa's A Journey into Jazz, a memoir with photos, early 2014.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Thank You, Aliotti!

Oregon's deeply delusional fans won't have this guy to kick around anymore.

Anybody who actually knows football, as opposed to say bandwagon, would-be coaching faux-philosophers, knows this guy was golden.

When he had the high-level defenders--and it is questionable whether he had them this year despite the obnoxious shitspew of the seeming-to-know crowd--he was a force.

Gang Green, 1994, ass clowns, don't forget it.

Last year, with Dion Jordon, Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay, a dominant unit you moronic pipsqueaks.

The excellent defenders on the 2011 NCG team, Spencer Paysinger and Casey Mathews, you corrupted, spoiled nincompoops.

A number of DBs who are having nice careers in the NFL right now, not to mention many others whose careers lasted until they aged out--you idiot breeders.

Haloti Ngnata.

On and on.

I loved Aliotti not only for his expertise as a DC, but as a comic and a wear-it-on-your-sleeve orator.

The guy's a fucking legend after 24 years in the program, and the punks out there don't even know it.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Better Than the Movie

Current and recent pop crazes don't interest me ordinarily, but every once in a while I'll tune into something to ascertain what the mass fuss is all about.

So it happened last evening when I discovered "The Dark Knight Rises" is up once more, temporarily to be sure, on YouTube. I decided to give it a chance.

TDKR has grossed over a billion dollars worldwide.

This video has over five-million views on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Own Private Christmas Day

On the one day of the year when most avowed Christians might choose to be nice to each other it is always appropriate to read from this good book.  You may not buy what it says, but it is always wise to hold two or more opposing concepts in your head simultaneously to achieve a kind of balance in your thinking.

I would add to Russell's POV by saying this day should not be seen as merely another day to thank the troops who are protecting rich white Americans' interests around the world, but should be focused more on the poor and powerless in that very same world who are victimized by those very same interests--again, if only for a day.

With that, back to reading the good book, and have a Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

No Man's Land

A terrific movie.  It may not be up long so do it now.


Game Time in Hawaii

Whoopie!  OSU and Boise right now!

I hope Mannion can light it up like he did earlier in the year.

Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award this year.  I love watching the guy play.

Just a junior, will probably opt out early to the NFL.

Looks like the fans in Honolulu stayed home.  The stadium is empty.

Unfortunately Lou Holtz is on this broadcast team.  He's the football version of Dick Vitale, that is a jerk.  I may have to switch over to Mike Parker on local radio.  It's also on ESPN radio.


Elvis and Martina

My daughter in Minnesota digs this.  So Merry Christmas to her and and her family!


Hedges on Aramark

Chris Hedges going where few other journalists dare go--into the belly of the beast.



Courtesy of Chris Pilon of Houston, TX.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Adios Candlestick

The Beatles gave their final full concert there in 1966.

Barry Hood, age 15, filmed the concert and his film is locked in a vault somewhere and still hasn't received a public viewing.

I saw my first live Major League Baseball game there on a cold and windy night in 1962,  Pete Rose's rookie year.

I saw my first live NFL game there in 1976, a pre-season game, 49ers vs. the Chicago Bears.  A young running back named Walter Payton looked real good that day and would go on to have a decent career in the league.

Goodbye Candlestick.


Christmas, 1960

That is me concentrating on my toes, circa 1960, which is something I still do with regularity.  The others in the photo are a few of my nieces and a nephew.

Everybody is still alive as far as I know.

Note the patches on the knees of my pants, ordinary symbols of austerity from that era.  By 1969 patches were de rigueur in U.S. society, as affluent hippies seized the best of proletarianism and attempted to make it their own.

You could buy patched clothing in the finest haberdasheries across the land.

That of course threw me into a quandary, for having worn so many patches on my clothing as a youth I had grown tired of "the look."  I rejected the virtues of style. I rejected the hippie ethos in other words, and opted for new, unpatched clothing. Around the same time I rejected Jerry Garcia in favor of Miles Davis.

When, even later, patches transcended hippiedom and became a symbol of the actual proletarian revival, I again embraced them to affect the "look of the poet."

Patches are an interesting aspect of U.S. cultural history.  But then again, so is oatmeal.

Merry Christmas everybody.



Could he pull it off?

Highly unlikely in my estimation, but I'd support him.

Some would say our citizens are too sheep-like and we need the media to direct us.  Others would say we are too individualistic and "socialism" defeats that purpose.  I disagree with both points-of-view.

I think we're just too happy being who we are--clueless dupes.

All politics translate into a cultural war. Ours is the divide between those who favor the Kardashians vs. those who dig the Duck Dynasty "patriarch."

There's no room for a Bernie Sanders inside that framework.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mind Games

It has happened before, so this time I expected the worst.

I have a bad habit of unlocking the bolt lock on my studio's front door as I'm hoisting groceries or laundry inside with both arms, and then absentmindedly leaving my keys in the door's exterior lock mechanism.

The door swings shut and I carry on with my chores as if all is well. Most of the time it occurs to me what I've done, and I retrieve the keys without incident within a reasonable time period.

While we all know it takes a mere moment for something dastardly to happen, I've been fortunate in the past.

One time, a year or so ago, I got up in the morning, dressed to leave and couldn't find my keys.  I thought of when I last used them and recalled that I'd brought groceries in late the night before.  I checked the exterior and there they were!

I'd slept through the night with them danging there like a thief's morsel and thought, damn, a knife-wielding enemy could have come in and stabbed me to death in my sleep, or stolen my guitar or computer and slipped out like an expert cat burglar.

I could be dead or ripped off, or both!

That was the first and last time I pulled that stunt, but as I say I occasionally still let the door swing shut before remembering I've forgotten the damnable keys and retrieving them.

So it went this morning when I got up before the rest of my building's lazy dwellers and did my laundry.  I thought I'd finally blown it big time.

I brought dried clothes into my studio, folded them and put them away, made some breakfast, read the news online, twiddled and twaddled at this and that, showered, dressed and....

No keys.

I checked the door and found nothing.

I searched high and low, even wondering whether I'd taken the keys into the shower stall with me.  Maybe I set them inside the medicine cabinet as I brushed my teeth?

Maybe I flushed them down the fucking toilet!

I looked everywhere, finally surmising that I'd indeed left them in the lock and that this time I'd been burned by a bad neighbor or one of the mad men and women who occasionally sneak into the building and roam the hallways despite the ubiquitous NSA-worthy surveillance cameras that record everything that goes on around here.

(The mad don't care how often they're busted for this kind of behavior; that is why they are mad).

Unable to lock up, I went downstairs, certain that even as I dashed away from my studio momentarily to report the incident the criminal was watching, listening, and waiting for me make a false move.

Before going, I stared at my video camera sitting on its tripod in the corner.

Goodbye video camera!

I thought of my computer.

Goodbye Round Bend Press!

I thought of my guitar.

Oh well, I'm not very good anyway!

I thought of the lone bottle of beer in my fridge.  I should drink it before the thief takes it, I thought.  But I realized it was too early in the morning for beer (that is not always the case, but today it didn't sound good for some reason, likely because I'm still sick).

Everything I own was at the mercy of whomever had my keys. Someone had my keys and it wasn't me.

Downstairs, I told the morning clerk at the front desk of my suspicions.

Try to get something done around here on a Sunday.  I wanted him to check the surveillance log for the past couple of hours.  Thinking like a security pro myself, I figured we could nab the cruel bastard who pilfered my keys before he/she got away!

Nah, the clerk, a new guy I'd never seen before (maybe he did it!) said he wasn't authorized to check the surveillance log.

Only the mighty corporate managers could do that, and they don't work on Sundays for nobody, nohow.

(Unlike NSA's spies.  Those guys apparently don't take any days off.)

I asked him if there were any extra keys around.

Nope he said, making it sound like he was saying, "You're fucked, I guess. Enjoy the rest of your day."

This is why I pay my rent here, I mumbled to myself.  To be ignored like a leper.

A forgetful leper.

Razzed now, at wit's end, I returned to my studio.  I dashed in expecting everything to be pilfered. Maybe I'd catch the thief in the act!

Nothing was missing.  I felt lucky for a moment.

I scrounged around some more and found nothing.  I needed to lock up and go.  To the store in the very least.  I had no food to eat for lunch and dinner.

I began throwing  clothing into the air, including the newly cleaned laundry.  Nothing like a set of keys fell out, though I earned a few pennies I didn't know I had.

Then I kicked the sandals I'd been wearing in the laundry room and the keys flopped to the floor. Somehow, they'd fallen out of the gym shorts I'd worn with the sandals and I hadn't noticed.

If you ever lose your keys be sure to check your shoes before you get all paranoid about things.

Save yourself the kind of trouble I go through every now and again.


Saturday, December 21, 2013


What a day.  Can't seem to get well.

Watched the Washington State fiasco earlier.  Duck fans think Leach ought to be fired along with Helfrich. I've concluded that Duck fans simply want to fire everybody.

Like The Donald--"You're fired!"

Makes about as much sense as anything else, I guess.

I couldn't watch the EWU game.  That red field gives me vertigo. Boise and EWU.  What is wrong with people in that neck of the woods?

BYU is playing Oregon tough tonight.  Ducks not shooting well, which is problematic because they don't have a good big man to feed down low.  Their achilles heel.

I'd like to recover by Christmas, just in time to drink some cocktails and relapse.


Friday, December 20, 2013

How Independent?

We shall see.


Game of the Day

Tonight two FCS schools are doing what the big-time schools ought to be doing--competing in a playoff that hasn't anything to do with Condi Rice.

Tonight's semi has Chip Kelly's old New Hampshire squad squaring off with reigning FCS champions North Dakota State at 5 p.m.

Guaranteed to be entertaining, if we can use that word without being scorned.


Thursday, December 19, 2013


If you can stomach Bill Clinton (I can't) this is worthwhile.


Get Off His Back

Ha, ha, grim reaper.

Deemer on his reckless diet!


UCLA vs. Duke

I was feeling well enough tonight to tune into the UCLA vs. Duke basketball game.

I discovered Dick Vitale was announcing and relapsed.


Flu Season

This old boy is 'bout as sick as they come, and I ain't alone.

Flu is sweeping through my apartment building, where one small elevator services one-hundred bodies.

No wonder.

I've been in bed most of the past two days.  I can't do that any longer.  My case came on Tuesday night like a murderous plague, circa 1700.

Here is what should happen with Obamacare.  Call the doc and a nurse brings you antibiotics.  She is stunningly attractive and sits at your bedside, occasionally touching your forehead to see if the fever has broken.

When you tell her you are in love with her she rubs your neck and shoulders and says you will be well by morning.  She induces sleep, cooing into your ear.

When morning comes, she is gone.  But you have recovered.

I am delirious!  O the suffering and indignity of it all!

Fluids.  Drink lots of fluids.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10

Here is an interesting Top 10 list for 2013.

You could make any number of lists like it, which brings us to this pathetic story.

Another wonderful year practically in the books.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Blazers win in Cleveland, 119-116.

Damian Lillard couldn't defend Kyrie Irving in a point-guard duel, but the Blazers' sophomore star hit his second game-winner in a row at the buzzer to lead Portland to victory.

Portland is 22-4 and turning heads, including mine.


New Orleans Bowl

My favorite bowl on the first day of the bowl season, Saturday?

Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, schools just 135 miles apart in the great state of Louisiana!

I'll be watching the Carriers New Orleans Bowl because I love New Orleans.  I've never been there, but I hope to visit just once before I die.

I'd like to see the Jazz Fest.


B-Ball Tonight

Nice doubleheader of basketball on tonight for Oregonians who go for such things.

The Trail Blazers play at Cleveland at four, Oregon hosts Cal Irvine at seven-thirty.

Chance to see if the Blazers can keep it going and build on one of the best starts they've had in a long time. Oregon is undefeated and gets two of its better players back from nine-game suspensions.

In fact, Oregon's coach Dana Altman has a problem now.  How to distribute meaningful minutes on a deep team.

I've seen the lack of PT create problems for b-ball teams in the past, including one I played on in college.  It takes team-oriented guys to make it work.

Keeping people happy isn't always easy.


Monday, December 16, 2013

The Song Remains the Same

King and I are pushing another birthday.  We were born within hours of each other on different days in different decades of the twentieth century--that is, in the big picture, not really that long ago or far apart.

Two things never change.  You get older until you don't, and racism is still with us, though it has been codified and cleansed and enjoined with a larger economic injustice that has riven this nation into permanent disaster.

The cudgel, raised to the ready, is still with us, and class differences are maintained now like separate bathroom stalls in a roadside cafe stretching from here to kingdom come.


Gem from the Past

I always liked this, so I think it should be embedded here (until it is taken down).  The nice thing about reddit's movie listings is you can browse through them and have your memory jogged by things you hadn't thought of in years.

I hadn't watched any old Woody Allen for a long time, but when I saw this was available I jumped on it. Glad I did, I think it is one of his real gems.

Mia Farrow was stunning.  Too bad she and Woody ended up fighting each other like a barroom couple in a bad sitcom that suddenly became real life.

Not that any of that is our business.


Journey into Jazz/Excerpt

                                   Alice Coltrane, 1970 by Lee Santa

(Santa's Journey into Jazz, a memoir with photos, will appear early next year.)

Meeting Albert Ayler and Alice Coltrane’s Cosmic Concert
Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, Easter Sunday, 1968

After being discharged from the U.S. Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey on Good Friday, 1968, I caught a bus to New York City.  The end of the line for me was the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street. From the Port Authority I walked down to 34th Street and took a room again at the Sloan House YMCA.

The next day while walking the streets of Manhattan, I saw a poster advertising a concert at Carnegie Hall billed as the Alice Coltrane Cosmic Concert.  The next morning, Easter Sunday, I purchased a ticket to the concert.   In the meantime, I did some sightseeing in the area.  Since I was near Central Park, I headed that way.  On my way I saw a parade and decided to check it out.  It was a Gay Pride parade ambling along 5th Ave., bordering the park.

I watched the parade for a few minutes before heading into Central Park.  After walking around the park for a while I wound up in the vicinity of Sheep Meadow.  I noticed a large crowd cheering on a couple of guys lying on the ground who were making out.  Evidently they were trying to break some kind of record for the longest gay kiss ever.

In the meantime I had taken off my leather jacket and draped it over my shoulder, causing the concert ticket I had just purchased to slip out of my inside breast pocket.  I didn't discover my ticket was missing until just before arriving at Carnegie Hall.  Naturally, I was very upset by this development.  Once inside the lobby I immediately went to the ticket counter and explained to a clerk what had happened.  Without question or hesitation, the understanding older woman gave me a new ticket at no charge.

Feeling extremely fortunate and amused by the clerk’s eccentric manner and generosity, I started across the lobby when I saw a man who I was sure was Albert Ayler.  I approached him and asked if he indeed was Albert Ayler.  Yes, he said.  I then asked him excitedly if he was playing tonight.  Unfortunately he wasn’t, but he handed me a flyer advertising a concert that he and his brother Don were giving in a couple of weeks. He then introduced me to Don.  I told Albert how much I liked his music, explaining that my first exposure to his music happened when I was in the army and purchased his ESP album Spiritual Unity.  I explained how it floored me (to this day it is one of the most incredible pieces of music I’ve ever heard).  I went on and on about how much I liked his music.  He was very attentive and we spoke to each other for at least five minutes.  I was struck by the fact that this hero of mine was giving me so much of his time, that he was genuinely interested in what I had to say.  All this time Albert’s brother Don sat on a nearby steam radiator, quietly listening to our conversation.  Both of them impressed me as musicians who sincerely cared what their fans thought and were more than happy to engage with them, which is something you can’t say about every artist.

When we concluded our talk I found my seat, which was front row center, a much better seat than the one I’d purchased earlier.  I couldn’t believe such good luck had come from my miscue in Sheep Meadow, when I carelessly threw my coat over my shoulder and the ticket had been lost without me noticing. The box-office clerk had been extremely nice for doing this for me when she could have easily and rightly said no, and sent me heartbroken back into the streets and my room at the Sloan House.

Here’s how good the seat was.  About three or four seats over from me sat another of my heroes, Ornette Coleman.  With him sat a woman who I believe was the filmmaker, Shirley Clarke.

The flyer Albert Ayler gave me has had an interesting history. Sometime around 1998, I emailed a copy of it to Jeff Schwartz who I had learned of because of a manuscript he had written and posted on the internet: Albert Ayler: His Life and Music.  Around 2002 I was contacted by John Fahey's Revenant Records. The company had been trying to locate a copy of the flyer and had learned from Mr. Schwartz that I had one. They asked me about getting a color copy of the flyer to use in a book that would accompany a CD box set of previously unreleased Albert Ayler material.  I was more than happy to give it to them.  The best part of this for me is that in a small but important way I have contributed to one of the best CD box sets ever produced by a jazz artist, and thus to the historical record of one of the most important musicians in all of music, Albert Ayler.

The Carnegie Hall Alice Coltrane Cosmic Concert which finally happened after all the excitement?  It was magnificent, featuring Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Joe Henderson, Jimmy Garrison and Jack DeJohnette.

Lee Santa


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bryan Bennett

I plan to stream the FCS playoff game between Southeastern Louisiana and New Hampshire tonight--like in about 15 minutes!

Southeastern's QB is the ex-Duck Bryan Bennett, who was the star-in-waiting at Oregon until Mariota beat him out.

Bennett spelled an injured Darron Thomas as a redshirt frosh backup during the Rose Bowl run of 2011 vs. Whisky.  A real talent.  Amazing runner and good arm.

Should be fun.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Johnny Cash

Watch this for me and tell me if it's any good...I kid.

It's hard to believe he's been dead a decade already.


She Almost Looked Pretty

Ben Logan imagined what the interior of the house would be like before opening the front gate.  He knew his mother would have the place neat and in order.  The tattered old carpet in the living room would be freshly vacuumed.  The kitchen sink might hold the morning coffee cups, but the plates and silverware would be put away.  A search for dust anywhere would be futile.  A scent of cleaning agents would mingle with the smell of the old woman, Ben’s grandmother, Dorothy.
     Grandma Stark would be lodged in front of the flickering color television, dozing off and on in her favorite chair.  From his mother’s letters, he knew Dorothy’s mind was finally deteriorating along with her hearing and eyesight.  She was near the end, and Ben was happy he’d now have a chance to see her before she died.  He hoped she would recognize him.
    The mid-afternoon sun baked everything around him, and Ben knew the interior of the house would be cool and dark.  He looked forward to getting out of the heat after his long walk across town. He looked around to see if any nosy neighbors were watching him. He didn’t see anyone, but that didn’t mean they weren’t.  In any case, it didn’t matter.  What he had to do wouldn’t take long at all.  He knew he had plenty of time.  He unlatched the wrought-iron gate and pushed it open, expecting it to catch slightly on the concrete walkway, but it swung open freely.  Someone had repaired it, which surprised him.  Like a would-be home buyer, he closed the gate and opened it again, testing it for any possible flaws.  
    Certain now that it had been repaired, he wondered if Carl had done the handiwork.  It wasn’t like Carl to do any chores around the house, he thought. From the time Carl moved in fifteen years prior, Ben couldn't recall him ever doing anything around the house.  It seemed all he ever did was go to work at the plywood mill in the morning before coming home in the evening half-tanked and smelling like a brewery.  On weekends, Carl went straight to the tavern, Pig’s Place over on Hoyt Street, and stayed there all day.
     Maybe old Carl had turned over a new leaf, Ben thought, but he couldn't take the idea seriously.
     The front door was locked, but Ben knew an extra key was in the mailbox where his mother always kept one.  He pulled a few letters and advertising flyers out of the box and groped for the key.  Silly, Ben thought.  A thief looks in the mail box second.  First he looks under the doormat, but since his mother didn’t keep a mat in front of her door the choice was easier yet.
    Still, as far as he knew, no one had ever robbed the house.  He considered that a matter of luck. 
    As he unlocked the door, Ben saw Mrs. Clemens come out of her house next door and peer toward him. 
    “Ben?  Is that you?” Mrs. Clemens said.  
   “Hi, Irma,” Ben said.  He tried to sound pleasant, but he didn't think he pulled it off very well.  It appeared to him that Irma had lost a lot of weight since he'd last seen her.  She almost looked pretty.
    “What are you doing here?” Irma said, and Ben didn’t like the edge in her voice. It sounded like fear and disgust rolled up with a lot of disappointment.  She was the first person to recognize him since he’d hopped off the bus an hour earlier, which seemed sort of strange to him.  Walking from the depot, he’d passed several other people he knew, but they didn't notice him. Or maybe they did, but decided to ignore him. That was fine; he didn't want the attention anyway.
    “I’m visiting, Irma.  Just for a day or two.”
    “Does Carl know about this?”
    “No, he doesn’t.  Mom doesn’t either.  It was a last minute thing.”
     Irma was wearing an apron.  She pulled a cigarette out but didn't bother to light it.  
    “This doesn’t seem like a good idea, Ben.”
    “It’s no big deal.”
    “I don’t think Carl would agree.  I don’t think Alice would, either.”  Alice was his mother’s name.  It had been a long time since he’d heard anyone other than himself say it. An image of Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason flashed in Ben’s mind like it always did when he was a kid and heard his real father yell at his mother, sometimes playing the joke out for Ben.  He chuckled audibly.
    “What’s so funny?”
    “Nothing, Irma. What do you think of this heat?”
     Irma shrugged but didn't say anything.  Her gaze was fastened on him again.
     Ben decided to leave the woman standing there on her front porch and went inside the house. She said something else before he closed the door, but he wasn't sure what.  He didn't care, either.  He dropped the letters and flyers on a small table next to the telephone.  That is when it occurred to him that he’d have to do something about Irma Clemens. 

Note:  Maybe I'll try to finish this one.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Notes: Fragments of Anxiety

I have a lot of unfinished work sitting in front of me.

I don't think anything should be abandoned, though in my lethargy I tend to approach that cliff.  I attribute this to my ongoing battle with depression, which tends to produce sloth.  But then depression becomes the excuse, and you have a vicious circle.

I have many projects I started long ago but couldn't finish for one reason or another. I have a rough play that might be better served if I attempted to turn it into a novella. Its protagonist is a habitual criminal who comes home to confront his father's past sins, knowing he is making his last stand against authority.

I have a local baseball history, first published as a newspaper serial, that needs to be polished into a short book--not, obviously, to shake the world, but to complete the record of my endeavor.

In fact, all of this is  for the record. It sure in the hell won't sell.

I have a screenplay that could use the "Overdrive" treatment that CD has experimented with, effectively creating an interesting, skeletal style--though I would attempt to flesh it out just a tad more as novelization.

I have a second screenplay that I've tried to do this with in the past. The results were unsatisfactory, but I should give it another go.

I have more recent project-starts that deserve attention as well.  I haven't been able to find a suitable voice for a video based on my memoir.  The thing has long departed its birth as a purely rehashed memoir.  It ought to be more a meditation than a telling of events. There's a way to do this, I just haven't grasped it yet.

Finding the comfort zone between ambition and talent seems key.  I guess that's true for everyone, so bless the winners and curse the pretenders.  If there's a nugget in this well, it's that I'm doing what I want, though even I question its value.

One project I won't question, because it isn't mine and because I really like the idea of giving others a voice, is Lee Santa's jazz memoir, which  is my lone solid effort right now.  I hope to bring it out early next year.

The best of RBP consists of Deemer, Lucas and Bacon.  I believe in Santa as well.  They are the heart of the matter.  Merry Christmas to them.

You ought to buy their books today, wrap them in glittering paper, and give them to your loved ones.  Put them under the tree and surprise the hell out of mom and dad or your favorite sibling.

I wonder what Christ would have thought about Christmas?  Or perhaps I shouldn't go there.

Story ideas come to me all the time, but I haven't lately been able to seize those moments and do the rigorous work it takes to shape them.

Any goddamned excuse to avoid them is fine with me!

I'll occasionally hear the lyrical (to my ear) opening of a poem and give it a workout.  I have a pile of fragments as a result, and few finished pieces.

I should make more pictures as well.  I should try to write another song.

If you're a young person reading this, get to work!  You'll regret it if you don't.


Read of the Day

Bill Moyers, in this compellingly eloquent analysis, gets to the root cause of our current situation.

A commentator calls Moyers "a national treasure."

I agree.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Political Poem

Plea Related to the Use of Predator Drones and Their Propensity to Kill Innocent Children

The narrative
says you and I are absolved.
We are not absolved,
are you out of your mind?

Your inner-man is not connected
to money or power.
No matter your worship
of money and power.

The narrative says you and I fight
Just Wars; others don’t.
This is a twist on a theory put forth by old
Thomas Aquinas before The Bomb.

There are few just wars
anymore you religious, repetitious
rubes. You picked that up watching too
much of the boob-tube.

The narrative causes the
stupid to bray like asses--
Ours is the greatest people that has
ever populated Earth!

This is mass delusion,
and crass given its complete
dearth of reality.
We are seedlings, Earthlings.

The narrative is the comfort you feel
between silken sheets.
It is the control of resources that built
your mansions and intellectual property.  

While a
world of hunger
watched from
the shadows.

The narrative is a song spoken
by our children in a classroom.
They must, else fall victim to
bloodlust spewed by super patriots.
Pray, pray for justice, but
leave their children alone.  
They should not be the prey of
The American Way.

You should know your
prayers will not protect
you from yourself for
one minute more.

Give just one goddamned
generation to life, would you,
before we all go
the way of the Dodo!


Monday, December 9, 2013


I was in Lincoln back in 1998 visiting a friend, and one day we drove up to the front of a modest but well-kept house in a typical middle-class neighborhood and my friend said, "this is of course the Starkweather house. Everybody who visits Lincoln should see it."

"Nice," I said, and we drove away.  If you're ever in Lincoln, don't miss it.


Essay of the Day

Money, power and arrogance in the art world.

You and I will never have the money to buy the world's "greatest art."


Cesaria Evora

More on Cesaria Evora.


Saba Anglana

More about Saba Anglana.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Play Nine or STFU

Goodness, what a boring football lineup for the bowl season.

Has a one-loss team with two of the luckiest last-second wins in games it was better positioned to lose ever been in the title game before?

Why Auburn?  Why not Baylor?  Why not Michigan State?  The latter two might give FSU a game, but we'll never know.

Personally, I think Stanford is the best team in the country right now. FSU is number two, Alabama is number three, and Baylor is number four.  MSU is number five.

Stanford, in this group, has two losses, but so what?  It has the best defense in the country by far and plays in a conference that counts nine games.

Auburn's counts eight.  That means Auburn gets an extra patsy--four in all--on its schedule.  This is the way the SEC works, via a process of avoidance.

This development is a farce, and a fitting end to the BCS era. Unfortunately, a four-team playoff commencing next year will be just as stupid.

Condi Rice will be calling the shots, so we know it'll have legitimacy...right.

Re: Oregon, I'm with Huff and DAT on this one.  The Alamo Bowl is a drag. Who cares?

If I can pull myself out of bed by four in the afternoon on the 30th, I'll probably tune in.

If not, I'll just keep reading or scratching my balls.

But I wish I was a Beaver fan.  OSU is going to Hawaii to play a meaningless game.  I'd like to hitch a ride.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Trusting Chance

Like Dylan, Waits seldom sings a song the same way twice.  His ability to alter his phrasing according to the temporal demands of a particular performance, imbued by risk and a constant search for varied and more meaningful expression, is key to understanding his artistry.

This is perhaps the essence of poetic achievement, the original voice unwilling to settle for the limitations of expected experience.

Put another way, chance trumps conformity in every aspect of a Dylan or Waits performance--and so, in a leap of intuition, we understand the performer is best served by rebelling against expectation and conformity.

The true artist is first and foremost a rebel, in other words.  If he is not at the bottom of his soul an anarchist, he has sworn himself to his limitations rather than his potential.

The irony of this is that the true artist is compelled to seek out and enhance a truer democracy than an artist who pays lip service to the ideal by pandering to his audience.

The greatest artists are rebels because they do the work that most of us--inhibited by fear and/or stunted imaginations--cannot do.

Dylan and Waits, two of our best contemporary artists, passed this test, which is why we admire them--or dislike them if unable to trust their particular artistic values.


Friday, December 6, 2013

John Green

If you haven't seen these, watch all 42 segments.  It starts a little slow, but eventually the series' creator, John Green, finds his rhythm and the show begins to sparkle visually and intellectually.

Green, a children's book author and educator, and his high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, collaborated on the scripts each week before John took over as the front man in this running comedy full of historicity, gags and subtle insight.

It is fast-paced, so pay attention.  Go back to recover what you've missed if you have to.

Much more enlightening than your average sitcom or movie of the week, this is an example of how our tech world can really do something positive in a crunch.

In fact, historians in schools everywhere are using these to augment their instruction. It's an overview, of course, which means the individual, advanced and specialized historian may find it lacking in his/her field, but its purpose is to jazz you up and get you started on an amazing quest.

History is just this cool and worthwhile, I'd say.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

100 Cities and Growing?

In New York City the average pay for fast-food workers is slightly under $9 an hour.

How in the hell does a person pay the rent in the NYC vicinity on that paltry wage? It's hard enough in Portland, where rents are considerably cheaper, but Oregon also has a state-mandated minimum wage that is a little higher than New York's.

In fact, Oregon and Washington both have higher mandates, the two most progressive in the land I believe--let's hear it for the good old Pacific Northwest! Rah! Rah!

It still ain't enough.

I wonder if  PNW Mac and Wendy workers will follow suit in this as a show of solidarity?

I buy fast food about once a year these days, but awhile back I lived very close to a Burger King and ate there too often.

I actually liked their burgers, something I can't say about most of the chain stores, though when I was a kid I was hooked on Dairy Queen.

Does DQ still exist?  Can't remember what the big burger was called, but it was substantial, and washed down with a delicious chocolate shake it was first-rate.

Or so it seemed at the time.

Anyway, the big-picture is clear.  Many fast-food workers must rely on food stamps to make ends meet, and you know what that is, right?

That is correct--corporate welfare.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blazers Win!

Portland beat another good team tonight for its sixteenth win of this young season. Oklahoma City fell by seven at the Moda Center, which used to be called the Rose Garden.

You see, Rose Garden wasn't a corporate enough sounding name--so Moda it is.  Moda is an HMO, which is good to know in case the Blazers start losing again and everybody gets sick of them.

I guess I'm a fair weather fan, rather enjoying watching the victories pile up.  But I reserve the right to jump off the bandwagon at any time.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Grasu and Mariota to Return to Oregon

This is big news for Oregon fans, even the piss ants who hate Oregon for winning only 10 games this year.

Both players were projected as NFL draft locks.


The Wild, Wild West

In the eastern half of the country football fans are talking about the important conference championship games coming to the B1G, ACC and SEC this Saturday, which will determine who plays in the BCS final at the Rose Bowl in January.

Out here the fans are talking about coaching, the carousel, the personalities, the ineptitude, the vainglory, the best case/worst case scenarios, etc., etc.

That's what happens when you don't have a football team in the neighborhood good enough to even sniff the BCS title game, and thus a reason to expand the playoff to eight teams ASAP.


Ode to Billie Joe

Better version, picture.



Hadn't seen this.  Thanks, Lucas.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Is it Time to Watch the Blazers?

(2012 ROY, Damian Lillard played his college ball at Weber State of the Big Sky Conference)

The Blazers are kind of entertaining this year.  Made some nice deals in the off-season to provide depth.  They play Indiana tonight, and if I'm not mistaken, the Pacers have the best record in the NBA.

It's early, but the Blazers have started well (14-3), and beat the Lakers last night (sans Kobe).

Not bad for a bunch of "overgrown pituitary cases," as my old friend Rob Vukovic used to say with an air of righteous contempt.

I always thought it would be wonderful to be 7 ft. tall and able to stand up and walk.  A guy like that would have a good shot at becoming a millionaire just for showing up to work every night.

But there are a few guys my height who play in the NBA, so they must have something going on for them. One of the best point guards to ever play was just over 6 ft., John Stockton.

I saw that guy play in college for Gonzaga.  He didn't even look quick, either.  Just played a good, solid floor game, great vision, great passer.  Plus he could shoot it.

If I couldn't be 7 ft., I always thought it might be fun to be under 5 ft. and weigh in around 109, which is jockey-sized, and what could be more fun than riding a horse around an oval track at breakneck speed, again with the opportunity to make millions?

Now that college football is winding down, I'm looking for distractions, I guess. Futbol won't do it for me, that is for sure.

The Clyde Drexler-era Blazers were dynamic.  Maybe Portland is on the way to duplicating that level of play and excitement.

Nah, probably not...