August 1, 2022

Just a quick note on the passing of Nichelle Nichols…I had the privilege of meeting her in 1981.  We chatted about the Space Shuttle and she said I was “very intelligent.”  I was accused of blushing deeply afterwards, but I remain dubious of such claims..  I remember thinking she was one of the first adults I spoke with who actually listened to me.   Anyway, she was a very kind, classy lady and I’m grateful for the chance tohave meet her.

N.P.: “M.E.” – Wand

July 30, 2022

I’ll be honest with you, dear reader:  I didn’t buy a ticket for the Billion Dollar Lotto.  It was weird, but in the end, winning that kind of cash would force me out to resurface from the underground about at least a year early, and I haven’t come this far to start fucking around with The Plan now. So, no ticket, no billion dollars.
One interesting thing to come of the weirdness of this week as I plotted becoming disgustingly rich and then chose not to was the re-discovery of Ambien Art. Ambien Art is an offshoot of Shitfaced Secret Santa. Shitfaced Secret Santa started several years ago when I discovered that if you get significantly drunk, high, or, ideally, both, and then got on your phone and went absolutely apeshit on Amazon, chances are, if you did it right, you wouldn’t remember a thing in the morning. Then, a couple days later, you get a wonderful surprise from the most insightful Secret Santa possible, your shitfaced self: it’s exactly what you wanted.
I was fully set to embrace Shitfaced Secret Santa as a lifestyle, or at least a highly effective method of self-care, but technology got the better of me. Soon Amazon wasn’t the only show in the online shopping town, with virtually every big-box retailer having their own robust online presence. Thus came that dark day when a surprise order arrive from Costco.com, consisting of items like a barrel of 72 pounds of parmesan cheese and a bagpipe starter kit.
At that point I remember some sort of crude, low-rent intervention, and I had to sort of take a break from Shitfaced Secret Santa. But the stage had been set for shenanigans when I discovered that if you load up on Ambien and then force yourself to stay awake and create art for as long as you can possibly manage, magical things happen. Sure, it’s about as unhealthy as anything can possibly be, but the benefits far outweigh any potential drawbacks, which benefits are twofold: first, you make truly unique art, as in art that is truly unique to you. Whatever you churn out whilst in the throes of the Ambien Haze will likely be fundamentally different from the stuff you’d do without Ambien. If you have a “style,” your Ambien Art will be a completely different style. Which, from a purely artistic standpoint, is a very cool thing. Second, which is really the icing on this somnambulistically creative cake is that Ambien acts as an extreme amnesiac: you wake up the following afternoon or whenever, surprise! New art that you have absolutely no recollection of doing.
So last night, evidently that’s what happened, because I awoke to find I had recorded a song and written a bad free-verse poem about the lottery and created a disturbingly phallic cloud painting to go with it. To wit:

Winner
At the urinal, an angel told me I’d with $1 billion in the lottery
If I pissed on a cloud.
I said “What cloud?”
She said, “The one you see there.”
It was just the sky. No clouds in sight.
Without waiting to be prompted, I pissed on the sky anyway
And won $1 billion in the lottery.
Lord, the wrong number of digits
for wrong numbers.
the outgoing message, our number,
unlistened to message of my own voice—
voice of a man who is not yet dead.
What the fuck does that even mean?  And what’s up with that goddamn picture?  The poem was one thing, but I went all to pieces when I saw that goddamn electronic sketch my drug-addled brain apparently produced.  Anyway, yeah.
N.P.: “She Left – 2018 Remaster” – C-Tec

July 27, 2022

And lo, an angel did appear from on high, saying, “Yo…we’ve had a big think up here, and $810 million just isn’t gonna be enough.  You have to raise a small army, you need to start buying up strategically located properties, and on Thursday, you’re gonna find out there’s a recession.  You’re gonna need a cool billion to really do this right.  Buy another ticket.”
And then I woke up, calm in my knowledge when I checked my numbers that I hadn’t won this lesser prize, and no one else had either.  I am nothing if not patient.

N.P.: “Violent Mood Swings (Thread Mix) – Stabbing Westward

July 26, 2022

I confess to being both disappointed and confused when I didn’t win the $630 million lotto prize a couple of weeks ago.  I had thought I’d had a pretty clear arrangement with The Universe…if we’re really gonna Count of Monte Cristo this thing, I’m going to need an unrealistic amount of Fuck-You money.  When I saw that the prize was $630 million, I took it as A Sign.  I dutifully bought my ticket, told all my clients to go fuck themselves, and hired a truly expensive ho off of which I planned to snort crack and watch with glee as my numbers were drawn.  So when I didn’t win, you can imagine the magnitude of my disappointment.  ‘Twas crushing.  But also short-lived, for before long, I began hearing rumors that no one had won the jackpot, and that it had, in fact ballooned to $810 million, a figure which, to be honest, makes a lot more sense to me than that piddly $630 million from a few weeks ago.  What an ass I had been to doubt the Will of The Universe.  And does one actually snort crack?  No, I suppose one does not.  Doesn’t matter.  Tonight I go to sleep poor for the last time in this weird life…tomorrow, I shall awake richer than shit.  Until then, dear reader, champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

N.P.: “Venus in Furs” – Johnny Depp, Jeff Beck

July 10, 2022

A few months back I was on here bemoaning the deaths of so many of those who once inspired me, how it’s more challenging to get motivated to write everyday without knowing that Prince, Hunter, David, and the others weren’t already up (or more likely still up) working.  And all of that is true to a certain extent.  But there are still figures who inspire me daily.  These would be Tobias Forge (of Ghost), Karl Hyde (of Underworld), Mark Steensland (writer/director), and Hayden McCabe (genius).  It’s my good fortune to be able to call these last two my friends.  I get to visit regularly with Mark, getting insight into what he’s working on and his process, and Hayden is in town for a while to revamp this site and record the first few episodes of a podcast we’ve been threatening to do for a decade.

N.P.: Last Day Under The Sun” – Volbeat

July 4, 2022

 

Happy Independence Day, freedom-loving reader.  Goddamn right, Independence Day.  Though I’m increasingly disappointed in “my fellow Americans,” I’m still proudly celebrating the freedoms enjoyed by those of us who can read The Constitution.
The good news this year is that The Pendulum has begun its retributive return trip.  Impact is imminent.

N.P.: “The Star Spangled Banner/4th of July Reprise” – Boston

June 23, 2022

This country is so broken.  I’ve known the gun laws in California, New York, and other states requiring concealed carry permits have been wildly unconstitutional since I started voting.  Stevie Wonder could see these gun laws are wildly unconstitutional.  So finally, today, the Supreme Court had to explain that the 2nd Amendment exists and that it actually means what it says, which is rather outrageous.  I mean it’s one fucking sentence!  To wit: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  People seem to get lost in the weeds about the first half of the sentence, and I’ve talked about it here before…what’s most important here is the last half.  Today’s SCOTUS ruling simply pointed out that it says, “to keep and bear Arms.”  In California, you’ve needed a concealed carry permit, which was notoriously difficult to get.  You don’t need a permit.  “Keep AND bear.”  I don’t see any particular need for weapons to be concealed.  Doesn’t say shit about that in the Constitution.  These states have been blatantly and egregious infringing the hell out of that which shall not be infringed.
Then the President comes out and talks about how he’s disappointed in the decision and proceeds to babble gibberish clearly demonstrating that he has no idea how the Supreme Court works.  Then the Vice President comes out and said that today’s ruling “defies” the Constitution.
At which point I started to drink.

N.P.: “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” – Mark Lanegan

June 21, 2022

The first day of summer.  The longest day of the year.  Two days I despise and resent, and they always seem to fall on the same day.  Every year!  It’s an outrage.
We kid, of course.  What else can you do under such circumstances?  It’s a hundred and fuck outside, swamp ass has set in, and evidently no one thought to stock this place with seasonally appropriate booze.  But I survived   Thank the maker for air conditioning.   And alcohol delivery.

N.P.: “Golgotha Tenement Blues” – Machines of Loving Grace

June 20, 2022

I was sitting in a meeting this morning, watching a presentation, when the word “revenue” appeared in a PowerPoint slide, and my first thought was that the word “revenue” and the word “revenge” are only one letter off.  I then spent the entire rest of the meeting pondering the likelihood that I was the only person in the meeting whose take-away from the meeting is that “revenue” and “revenge” are strikingly similar.  In retrospect, I suspect I thought it said “revenge” and so for a fleeting moment my interest was aroused.  I honestly couldn’t tell you what the presentation was supposed to be about.

N.P.: “Liberty Bell” – The Gathering