Sunday, July 1, 2007

Black beans cooking in a big old pot
Black beans cooking is what we got
All the time
We are only waiting
For some groceries to arrive....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Howdy And Here She Is

I've been pretty tired after the marathon twelve-day foal watch, so haven't been blogging much. Now that I'm back to my normal workload, I've been recovering. Here are some photos of the filly who made it all worthwhile, however tiring. She's going to be a very fine and sweet horse. Her official name is Dedicated One (her dam is Dedicated Sue, her sire Formula One). Her stable name is Oona. In these snapshots, she's four days old.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dedicated One Arrives In This World!

Suzy had her foal -- a great big, strapping, beautiful, chestnut filly, at 10:35 last (Tuesday) night. She has a white blaze and socks to top of her rear pasterns, nice brown eyes. Great big legs. Dr Rick says "huge." Suzy was perfect, strong and brave. She really stamps her babies! The filly's going to have Suzy's coloring and sorrel tail. I was there for the whole thing this time, from just before her water broke, while I was doing night check and getting ready to bed down in the tack room, again.

Our first foal, Rep, two years ago, pretty much foaled himself, and got right up on his own as soon as he was out. This one -- Dedicated One -- stable name "Una" -- I had to get my hands and arms bloody, to give her a tug to help out. Took a good while to get her toweled off and up on her feet, but did, and then a few minutes for her to get her sea legs, me holding her up. Our friend Kim arrived and helped me get her nursing for the first time. Dr Rick arrived after she was up to make sure all was well and it was, everything perfect. We got her nursing again while he was there, a good long drink.

We have four horses again! Yay, Suzy! Yay, Una!

I hope to get the official baby photos today. We didn't have a camera available last night.

What a foal watch! Twelve days. Suzy's term was 348 days. I hadn't had any real sleep to talk about for twelve days but I got some last night.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Jeffrey's Everyclear Party

In Nevada in those days, you could get a cocktail to go, in a "go cup." Try that most places today and see how far it flies... Maybe still can in NV. I don't know. In fact, you could get a cocktail everywhere I remember going. Go to the diner for some eggs in the morning, have a cocktail if you wanna. 7-11s sold liquor. Supermarkets, too. In Silver City, the only retail establishment in town was the bar.

Sometimes we'd go into Carson so we could pretend to gamble and so drink for free at one of the casinos. Dave would get one thin dollar worth of dimes. When a waitress would approach, he'd put one dime in a slot and take a cocktail off the tray, then walk around with it. And so forth. Get kneewobblin' drunk for one dollar or less.

I got so whisky drunk drinking for free while pretending to gamble one night, at a blackjack table, I couldn't do the math with the cards when they were dealt. Dealer was getting irritated because he was trying to work for a living. The pit boss finally told me I was welcome to stay and drink if I wanted to but I couldn't gamble anymore. Truth!

Place was lawless in those days as anywhere I've ever known, any time. I don't recall too many real bloodlettings for it.... Chaos, often. Madness, always. Occasional fisticuffs. Sure. 'S why we liked the place. On top of that, it was also, with Vermont (still), and Nicaragua and El Salvador, the most armed place I've ever lived. For all the chaos and madness, booze and drugs and general lawlessness and fun, I don't recall many firefights, for all that. Most people were downright polite,actually, if'n you obeyed the code of the mountains.

One time Jeffrey had an everclear punch party at his trailer in Silver Springs. Made a big ole punch. (Everclear for those who don't know was raw grain alcohol -- a punch would be about 190 proof.) Invited all of his pals over for the afternoon. Everyone, needless to say, was good and slammed by the time the punch was drunk up. My '63 Fury had no exhaust pipes at all, just noise right off the manifold, and a completely broken spring in the back on one side, so it listed heavily to one side.

(The manifold exhaust pipe had rotted through and broke in two on the way to NV from VT that year, and I'd driven across country with it like that, getting out every so often, crawling under the rig, and stuffing either broken end into a beer can, which muffled it some, until the can burned through, repeat process, and so on, for a couple of thousand miles. One night when we were leaving the End Of The Trail I was so drunk -- clearly -- that I told Jeffrey to drive. Anyone who's been in a vehicle when Jeffrey was driving knows that's fuckin' drunk, right there. No further description required. Jeff, instead of just driving around a corner and on to the highway to Silver Springs, decided to take a "shortcut" instead -- up and over this rock ledge -- boom bang -- ripped off the entire remaining exhaust system from manifold to tail pipe's how I got into that fix.)

So, a whole bunch of us left Jeffrey's for the End Of The Trail in my Fury. I can remember for sure that in the car with me were Morgan, Lonesome Wayne, and Custom Kenny, but there were more than that. The front seat was crowded and the back stuffed full. All of us way more than drunk.I got about a block toward Dayton on the highway when the cop light went on behind and the siren. So, I pull over, thinking the jig is finally up, this time, for sure. Redhanded. Judge'll never let me out. If they'd have pointed one of them breathalizers at me like they have today, thing would probably have exploded, killing us all.

Cop comes up to the window. Takes a slow gander at the whole bunch of us. Likely caught a good buzz just from the fumes. Doesn't bat an eye. He looks at me and says, You need to get that muffler fixed. I says, Sure, will do, right away. He gave me a warning citation. Never said another word. Turned around, got back in his car, and drove off.

They ain't shittin' you, either, pilgrim. You could buy this lot, for example:

Like the ad says, "plenty of room and close to town."

This is a shot of my last daylight view of Nevada before heading back east for what I didn't know would be a quarter century (fueled by a black beauty Jeffrey slipped in my shirt pocket, kept me going nearly to Cheyenne....):

I stopped here to drink a beer and gather what was left of my wits before the long drive to Jeffersonville, Varmint, where I arrived with one last thing ten-dollar bill in my pocket, which promptly disappeared at the roadhouse bar that was then called the Library and is known today as Robbie's Wildlife Refuge.

That was also the last transcontinental voyage of the '63 Fury. Later, I sold it to my brother, The Other Sisco, for one hundred dollars. He drove it, with more than 200,000 miles on it, when it was using more oil than gas, per old rig. He used to buy used motor oil in large lots from gas stations and just pour it in one end so it could run right out the other. We called it the SS Acid Rain in its final years, because the once-blue paint job was peeling off in huge sections, like sunburn, right down to the bare metal. It was a good old rig. Maybe my favorite of all I've run.

Dave Reisch and John "The Other Sisco" circa 2006, Sensitivo party at my VT joint


The End Of The Trail, as it was late '90s. Sorry to say I have no photos of it in the glory days. The saloon is more than 150 years old.
The End Of The Trail was the headquarters of life, late 70s and 80s. Dave Reisch taped the whole jukebox selection, "the soundtrack of life," on to cassettes one afternoon. It's a literal recording of one afternoon at the Trail, jukebox, pool table noise, conversations at the bar. A real time recording of a day in the life. I'm transferring the recordings to CDr. So far there are two completed.

Monday, June 4, 2007


Closer still:

On Saturday night we's all drunk and fightin'....


This is more like it:

Dayton, NV

Well, no one can go home again. As it today. Nowhere is allowed to be as it was then. It doesn't look much different in this scene, though.

Silver City, NV

The Golden Gate Hotel

("Heartbreak Hotel")
Across the road in a little parking spot stands this plaque, about the ill-fated Comstock Brothers, who met a questionable end.

My '63 was often parked in front of it in '79, when, living upstairs were our old pals LeRoy, JR, Lonesome Wayne Thomas, and Michael Hurley, Samuella The Fortune Teller, and myself, yers trooley, the one and only Crispo.

One night Michael and I had an argument over some drunken nonsense, and I decided I was clearing out in the morning. When I stumbled to the old Fury, thinking, hungover, once again about how many a good man meets a questionable end, the damned rig would not fire, it just would not. Well, I wasn't a happy man right then. And then along ambled Lonesome Wayne, laid back as only he could be, with a rotor for a '63 Plymouth slant-six distributor. "I found this on the shelf in the bathroom, Sisco. Looks to me like a rotor for a '63 Plymouth."

I found Elwood at the End Of The Trail a few minutes later. "Dammit, Elwood, don't ever be messing with my car again, man."

Snock says, "I didn't want you to leave."

Hell, I didn't want to go anywhere, either, not without my boyz.

Burlapograd, Varmint

Put a call up to Portland on the public telephone....

Friday, June 1, 2007

Designated Driver

My boxer, Lily Wiggles

My Jack Russell Terrier Pal, Trooper

My pal, Trooper, Exterminator of All Things Rodent

Yeah, still waitin .... But a dream to report....

Cordelia, Carla, Tex

So I normally don't remember dreams at all but for a week now, not having had any deep, dreamless sleep, I've been waking up remembering all of them. Some I've ended up thinking about for days.

Back in them latter '70s when still just a lad, out in that part of Nevada we loved, around Dayton, Silver City, like that, there was a woman Carla, Queen Of The Comstock, who was a real woman, yessir, believe it. She could hang with the best of 'em and best most of 'em. I wanted her desperately. When I told Dave Reisch that last year one night when we was drinking and yacking, he said, "Man, she would have eaten you alive!" Doubtless, but still ......

Anyways, one night at the bar at the Golden Gate Hotel in Silver City, I was drinking with Carla and trying, lad that I was, to chat her up. She toyed with me for a time the way a cat might a mouse, for entertainment's sake, before delivering the coup de grace. Carla looks up at me over a glass of whisky and says, "Sisco, you're so hip it makes me want to puke." True love! hey.

So last night I found myself dreaming I was back in Nevada and Nevada days, though somehow my dog Trooper was there with me, decades before he was even born. Me and Dave Reisch were drinking at the End Of The Trail Saloon and a couple of other old-time watering holes out there in them days. Dave and me was bellied up to the bar and I saw our old pal Tex come in, in the mirror behind the bar. Then I felt a woman's touch on my shoulder and turned around. There was Carla standing there, looking at me. She asked, "Do you remember me?"

Remember! Oh, my god!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Says here

Says here in the paper today that Alfred E. Bush wants to borrow another $30 billion the government doesn't have "to fight AIDS." Shit. I'd have thought that telling people to keep their dicks in their pants until married would be a lot cheaper than that, but what do I know?

I know I'm still waiting on this mare to have her foal.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Waiting and Waiting Still But

Elwood says over on his myspace blog he had a dream in which our old buddy Bob Jordan appeared and Elwood credits him with being a roots noise musician from back in 80s daze, and I got to thinking Damned if that's not right. An unheralded roots man, right there. In fact, last time I saw him, he'd come to Burlappograd for a convening of people who play homemade instruments and crashed at a long ago girlfriend's pad while there, the convention being held, weirdly, at what was then Burlap's quality hotel. Bob don't swing that way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Still Waitin', Partner

But in the meantime, there are new photos of our last foal and good boy, Sue's Reputation. You can see them here, on our farm's website.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Still Waitin'


Three days now with no sleep worth talking about.

Leaves me plenty of time for thinking about this, however:

Can't vouch for the source because I'm unfamiliar with it. But it's clearly *not* a pinko-commie-liberla-peacenik site by any stretch of the wildest imagination.

Bush makes power grab--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Posted: May 23, 20071:00 a.m. Eastern

President Bush, without so much as issuing a press statement, on May 9 signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president.

The "National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive," with the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive, establishes under the office of president a new National Continuity Coordinator.

That job, as the document describes, is to make plans for "National Essential Functions" of all federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations to continue functioning under the president's directives in the event of a national emergency. The directive loosely defines "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."

When the president determines a catastrophic emergency has occurred, the president can take over all government functions and direct all private sector activities to ensure we will emerge from the emergency with an "enduring constitutional government."

Translated into layman's terms, when the president determines a national emergency has occurred, the president can declare to the office of the presidency powers usually assumed by dictators to direct any and all government and business activities until the emergency is declared over. Ironically, the directive sees no contradiction in the assumption of dictatorial powers by the president with the goal of maintaining constitutional continuity through an emergency.

The directive specifies that the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism will be designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. Further established is a Continuity Policy Coordination Committee, chaired by a senior director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, to be "the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination."

Currently, the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism is Frances Fragos Townsend. Townsend spent 13 years at the Justice Department before moving to the U.S. Coast Guard where she served as assistant commandant for intelligence. She is a White House staff member in the executive office of the president who also chairs the Homeland Security Council, which as a counterpart to the National Security Council reports directly to the president.

The directive issued May 9 makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created there for the National Continuity Coordinator with the National Emergency Act. As specified by U.S. Code Title 50, Chapter 34, Subchapter II, Section 1621, the National Emergency Act allows that the president may declare a national emergency but requires that such proclamation "shall immediately be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register."

A Congressional Research Service study notes that under the National Emergency Act, the president "may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens."

The CRS study notes that the National Emergency Act sets up congress as a balance empowered to "modify, rescind, or render dormant such delegated emergency authority," if Congress believes the president has acted inappropriately. [Yeah, right. I like that part, especially. The president went to war in Iraq *against* the unanimous will of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for christ sake. And he's made no attempt whatsoever to bring his own behavior into line with anything Congress has to day.]

NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 appears to supersede the National Emergency Act by creating the new position of National Continuity Coordinator without any specific act of Congress authorizing the position. NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 also makes no reference whatsoever to Congress. The language of the May 9 directive appears to negate any a requirement that the president submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists, suggesting instead that the powers of the executive order can be implemented without any congressional approval or oversight.

Homeland Security spokesperson Russ Knocke affirmed that the Homeland Security Department will be implementing the requirements of NSPD-51/ HSPD-20 under Townsend's direction.

The White House had no comment.

I bet.

If I were the writer, though, I'd be asking the alleged opposition for *its* comment. I wonder if they have a couple between the lot of 'em. Now's their chance to prove me wrong.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Still Waitin'

I am waiting (ting)

I am waiting (ting)

oh, yeah

oh, yeah

Man, Crispo's getting old for this waking every two hours business.

Well, they come when they come.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Foal Watch Update

Suzy showed the initial sign of labor this morning, so full-on, around the clock foal watch has commenced. Here we go again. No sleep!

See youse on the other side....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Paul Slaps Giuliani

"You'll get slapped and you'll like it." (Humphrey Bogart)

U.S. candidate Paul assigns reading to Giuliani
Thu May 24, 2007 12:10PM EDT
By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Longshot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Thursday gave front-runner Rudy Giuliani a list of foreign-policy books to back up his contention that attacks by Islamic militants are fueled by the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

"I'm giving Mr. Giuliani a reading assignment," the nine-term Texas congressman said as he stood behind a stack of books that included the report by the commission that examined the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

Giuliani was mayor of New York when Islamic militants slammed two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, a role that has vaulted him to the front of the Republican presidential pack despite his liberal social positions.

"I don't think he's qualified to be president," Paul said of Giuliani. "If he was to read the book and report back to me and say, 'I've changed my mind,' I would reconsider."

Paul advocates a limited U.S. foreign policy, including an end to the war in Iraq and a reduction in troop levels abroad.

Paul said he was unfairly attacked during last week's debate by 10 Republican presidential hopefuls, when Giuliani dismissed his contention that U.S. policies in the Middle East had contributed to the attacks in New York and Washington.

"I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th," Giuliani said to wild applause.

Paul barely registers in opinion polls of Republicans hoping to win their party's nomination to contest the November 2008 presidential election. An obstetrician-gynecologist from the Houston area, Paul frequently strays far outside the Republican mainstream. He voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002 and has proposed abolishing the Homeland Security Department and diminishing the Federal Reserve. His 1998 bid for president as the Libertarian candidate drew just slightly more than 400,000 votes nationwide.

Paul said it was irresponsible of Giuliani and other leaders to not examine the motivations of al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups.

A Giuliani spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Among the books on Paul's reading list were: "Dying to Win," which argues that suicide bombers only mobilize against an occupying force; "Blowback," which examines the unintended consequences of U.S. foreign policy; and the 9/11 Commission Report, which says that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was angered by the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.
Another book on the list was "Imperial Hubris," whose author appeared at the press conference to offer support for Paul.

"Foreign policy is about protecting America," said author Michael Scheuer, who used to head the CIA's bin Laden unit. "Our foreign policy is doing the opposite."

© Reuters

And of course Paul is right. It is necessary to understand one's opponents and why they think or act like they do. If you don't believe it, try playing a game of chess without bothering to take your opponent's reasoning, tactics, and strategy into account *at all.* Just pretend it doesn't matter. All that matters is your own way of thinking, your own tactics, and your own strategy, nothing else. Good luck.

It remains to add only that the US has no strategy. It has only tactics, and not many of them. The one normally used, especially when least appropriate, is the use of maximum possible firepower in every single situation. As if firepower is brainpower. It's not.

Ask the Vietnamese.

Again, McNamara et al didn't think it necessary to understand the Vietnamese. To them, victory was assured through firepower and body counts alone.

But who won?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

History Lesson

Here's an American folk music as popular music lesson by Peter Stampfel:

As a lower middle class kid from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I grew up knowing nothing about folk music. Years later when I examined my early years for any sign of it, all I could recall were these the following lines, sung to a polka tune by my uncle in 1948:

Hey bartender why you holler?
Oh, I owe you fourteen dollar,


Turn the water on the sink
Everybody have a drink

But in 1949, American pop radio had three folkish hits. One, "Lavender Blue" (Dilly Dilly) was an actual folk song that Burl Ives sang in Disney’s "So Dear to my Heart." The other two were new songs written with a folk “feel”— "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and "Mule Train," both of which went to number one. Curiously, in my fifth great class in 1949 we were singing a number called "The Cossack Song," which was everyone’s hands down favorite. It had a melody almost identical to "Ghost Riders in the Sky."

The Weavers represented folk music’s commie/lefty/academic aspect, and in 1950, they went to number one in the hit parade with "Goodnight Irene," the old Leadbelly song, although in Leadbelly’s version, he doesn’t see her in his dreams, he gets her in his dreams. They also had a hit with "Tzena Tzena Tzena," which was the first time I heard a five-string banjo.

"Wanderin’" another actual folk song was successfully recorded by the Sammy Kaye Orchestra (Swing and Sway With Sammy Kaye) with a lead singer and chorus. And one of the biggest records of the Year was "Cry of the Wild Goose," which went straight to number one on radio’s Your Hit Parade, which featured the nations top ten songs each week. This was so unprecedented—I had never seen a song go to number one from completely out of the Top Ten before--I ran down to the basement to tell my dad about it. He was unimpressed.

1951 marked the high water mark of the pop/folk thrust, with eleven folk or folk inspired songs being hits--"So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You" and "On Top of Old Smokey" by the Weavers, "The Roving Kind," another actual folk song, "The Sound Off!" marching song/chant popularized by its inclusion in "From Here to Eternity," "Jezebel," one of my all-time favorites, and "Shrimp Boats Are Coming," "Gandy Dancer’s Ball," "Rose, Rose, I Love You," "Beautiful Brown Eyes," "Truly Truly Fair," and "Belle, Belle, My Liberty Belle."

The Weavers had their last hit in 1952 with "Wemoweh," after which they were shot down by the House Un-American Activities witch hunt. Guy Mitchell, who had had a number of folkish hits in 1951, promptly recorded "The Only Red I Want is the Red I Got in the Good ‘Ol Red White and Blue": “It’s a brave red, not a slave red, and it is a red that’s true” to make it clear where he stood. "Sugarbush," another folk inspired song also did well.

Strangely enough, the last folky gasp was a record called "Hambone," recorded by the Original Hambone Kids—three. Black boys, between eight and twelve years old, who appeared on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, a TV show that had successfully crossed over from radio. The big prize, whatever it was, went to acts that won three weeks in a row, which the Original Hambone Kids did. They performed Hambone each week, dressed in matching bib overalls and straw hats, sitting on chairs (or was it a hay bale?), and proto-rapping:“Hambone, Hambone, where you been”(Then slapping their thighs in unison)

“BOMP diddy diddy diddy BOMP BOMP BOMP Round the world and back again
BOMP diddy diddy diddy BOMP BOMP BOMP Watcha gonna do when you get back
BOMP diddy diddy diddy BOMP BOMP BOMP Take a little walk by the railroad track
BOMP diddy diddy diddy BOMP BOMP BOMP”

There was no musical accompaniment. The break was simply thigh-slapped—BOMP diddy diddy diddy BOMP diddy diddy diddyBOMP diddy diddy diddy BOMP BOMP BOMP two times.I loved it. Everybody loved it. And it was purely 19th century Americana, as close to authentic folk music as anything on pop radio in the last—or next-- twenty years. But the strange part was that the same year the Weavers were blacklisted, and folk based music fled pop radio while the most authentic folk tune in decades became a hit, Folkways Records released Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music. These six records, comprising 84 songs, are where a whole generation first heard country blues, Cajun music, shape note music, the Carter Family, Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, et glorious cetera—the Old Weird America. Perhaps stranger still is this is about when rock and roll—the New Weird America—was born. What Unseen Force could have caused these unlikely events to occur—simultaneously? And what on earth could that Unseen Force have possibly been thinking?

Lonesome Wayne and Steve Weber

Lonesome Wayne and Weber in the glory days.

St. Jeffrey in Vermont, 1978

"Jeffrey Frederick, he stubbed his toe
when he was fucking around on Rumsey's floor
he had a belly full of whisky
and he's feeling low
wonderin' what he go and break his ankle for...."

Steve Weber and Jeffrey Frederick

The Sensitivos Get With It

Sisco, Michael Hurley, Dave Reisch

Sisco Doing What He Does Best

Sisco with partner, Bronwyn, doing what he does best.

Sisco At Play

Sisco At Work

Michael Hurley and Dave Reisch At Play

Michael Hurley at Work

Dave Reisch At Work

Don't Forget To Buy My Record!

Sisco & Pals, "The End Of The Trail" and other great music Kathryn's made available for y'all. You can buy it here here.

Thanks for supporting really independent music.


Monday, May 21, 2007

What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor

when he's old and needs a retirement plan? For many years, my retirement plan was to find a nice, dry place under the Burnside Bridge in Portland, OR, but all of the good spots are long taken, now. Then I decided, a step van. That'll do. I can wander as I want til I croak. Nope. Gas prices will rule that one out.

Then I remembered David Lightbourne's comment when he was told that Weber had announced his retirement. Dave said, "Weber's the original freak. Freaks don't retire."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

So How'd Your First Gig Come About, Crispo?

Well, first, it was my first paying gig singing and playing guitar. I'd been drumming in various garage bands -- we just called it rock and roll -- I still do -- since 6th grade, and playing drums since fourth. I took clarinet lessons for a year before that but it never took. One of my grandmother's brothers had been a pro drummer in "sweet bands" (big bands that didn't play jazz, essentially) -- his son was a pro C&W drummer -- and he gave me my first trap set, after hearing me practice once on all the gear I'd had before -- a snare and a ride cymbal, each bought for me by my parents, one one year and the other the next. They were real workingclass people raising four kids. They could never have sprung for a trap set themselves, in those days. I started teaching myself how to play chords on a guitar in high school, and started writing songs, really, if the truth is told, because I was too lazy to learn many of anyone else's. I wanted to get to it right away and did, though it's been a more than mixed blessing in a lot of ways. I taught myself a lot of bad habits that limited progress, as it turned out. It didn't bother me much at the time because people seemed to like my songs.

Early 70s -- whichever year was the year of Paul Lawrence, a dirty narc for hire in Vermont who was responsible for scores of bogus drug busts, a police-state atrocity that can be read about here -- my good old music pal Will Patton, who was the first real musician to take me and my songs seriously, though I was still a teenager, told me that I should go see this cat Otto at his bar called Tuner's Place, in St. Albans, VT. Patton was at the time playing in John Cassel's band, which was the hip party band of the time in these parts, a big band by the day's standards. Would be still today. They had horns and eventually even three women singing harmony parts. I was a punk kid hanging around. Somehow John and his drummer of the time, Skeeter Camera (who would later sub for Roger North on a Holy Modal Rounders/Clamtones tour that permanently traumatized him), convinced the various bar owners that it was okay for the kid to be in the bar; he just likes to hear the music. It was they who first started teaching me about jazz and other stuff, hipster ways and lore, etc. I found out about drugs and drink on my own.

John was the first hipster to move here to northern Vermont -- he says he's "the shit that drew the flies," sparking a scene that would eventually include Snock (Michael Hurley), Jeffrey Frederick, Tom Hayes (aka Chief Melting Snow aka Colonel Sweet Potato), Wax, Davey Besset, Skeeter, Michael Kane (who got the call to join The Youngbloods while living there, playing bass with Cassel -- Patton replaced him as John's bass player), Katie Bear (who'd later sing in my VT band Hundred Proof), Dave Reisch now and then, early 70s, Paul Asbell, Tyrone Shaw, and a lot of other people who migrated to Franklin County, and its surrounds. Perry Cooper's another, a longtime pal I met in those early days. Perry was the first guy I encountered whose job was to run the first soundboard I'd ever seen. In those days, most bands were lucky to own their own "PA system," never mind to have their own sound man.

(To make this web denser still, I found out one night a few years back, during Burlington's Discover Jazz Festival, that my favorite musician, Ray Anderson , played his first gig in the Chicago band that Paul was in at the time, before moving to VT. Ray, Paul, myself and the great Lew Soloff were talking over wine and Italian when I asked Ray if he'd known Paul for long. "Long!" Ray said and cracked up. "Since I was sixteen!" But there's more still: Jesse Colin Young, of Youngbloods fame, came up a Bucks County boy along with Snock, Captain Garbage, and Holy Modal Rounders Steve Weber and Robin Remaily. "Hi Fi Snock" and "Armchair Boogie" were both released by the Youngbloods' Racoon label. You'll find Michael Kane on the credits.)

I was only 12 or 13 when John Cassel showed up on the scene. The first year, he played an upright piano, solo, at the local ski area's bar, on weekend afternoons. I'd hitchhike up there to listen all afternoon every weekend. John was playing jazz and I knew even as a kid that he was playing music that was beyond the stuff kids my age were listening to and trying to play. The band came a year or maybe two later, first as a trio before expanding. I became a lifelong jazz guy via those afternoon sessions spent listening to John play. It occurs to me while writing, that would make John's my longest-running friendship, more than 40 years, now.

I remember the night Patton introduced himself to me. He said, "John says you got thrown out of high school for playing in a rock and roll band," extending a hand in friendship that still holds, going on 35 years later. "Anyone who can say that is a friend of mine," he said.

(Actually, I got thrown out of high school forever for having led the "Fish Cheer" -- Country Joe's "Give me an F! Give me a U...!" -- at a school dance where I was playing. I was drunk on dollar-a-bottle, fortified wine and some pills and hootie weed to keep the spark lit. That was the end of my high school career, right there. I remember we played our own version of "Brown Sugar"; I played the saxophone solo on a closely miked kazoo turned up really loud. Many years later, I met Country Joe, twice, at demonstrations, the both of us being anti-imperialist vets. Once when I found myself marching alongside him, I told him the story of how I got thrown out of high school. He apologized. I told him, Hell, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I hated high school more than anything and still do.)

So one day I hitchhiked the 24 miles to St. A and found Otto tending bar, in the afternoon. I told him what Patton had said so Otto told me to play a few and I did. He said he'd book me for a night for twenty bucks and all the beer I could drink if I took care of distributing posters where I lived. Which I did. I remember I filled them in by hand with a magic marker and put them up around local stores and such, like the high school bands of the time did. I remember Patton told me "Hey, I saw your name up in lights at the store."

Just about that time it dawned on me that I had far from enough songs to play a whole night at a bar so I got busy learning a bunch. I really liked Kris Kristofferson at the time. I was disillusioned with what rock had become, and not being in school anymore, I didn't have a band to play it with, anyway. Kristofferson was writing songs I really admired for both style and content, and playing in a countryish kind of way I was leaning toward anyway, at least acoustic music with a kind of country rhythm to it. Plus he had a voice in the low baritone range -- unusual in popular music at the time -- and so did I. Better still, I already knew all the lyrics, especially from the "Silver Tongued Devil" record. And, in any case, I was a kid you could see "wasted on the sidewalk/in his jacket and jeans/wearing yesterday's misfortune's like a smile...." It was a natural fit. So I learned a bunch of KK's songs and brushed up my versions of a few Dylan songs, and some other stuff I can't remember anymore, including many of my own songs from that period.

Dylan'd had an effect on my drift to acoustic and country music, too, especially his "John Wesley Harding" record, which I wore out. I liked it better than "Nashville Skyline" and still do. I worshipped Dylan as a kid, especially his second album, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which I played repeatedly, every day. I'd just keep turning the record over again, for hours. I still pull one out now and then, usually that one "If today was not an endless highway...." I don't even remember the title, anymore. I'm more than ambivalent about Dylan, but as a kid, I thought he was the shit, pure and simple.

So, I showed up at Tuner's Place as planned and found myself playing for a whole lot of adult hipsters and barroom habitues, older and hipper than me by far, but being a kid, what the hell. Full speed ahead. They were likely busier trying to tune me out than in, but what the hell. The kid had balls.

A little ways into my second set, a guy with red hair wearing a sky-blue cowboy hat walked up to the little riser stage and said, "Tell the people Michael Hurley will play the next song." So I did. And so he did. Hearing Michael that night, completely out of the blue -- I knew nothing about Snock at the time -- changed forever my idea of what music is and how it's supposed to be played. Changed my life, really. He really knocked me out. I was too young, still, for most cats to have taken seriously, but Patton and Otto heard something in there, I guess. So, I was on my way but blown away by Snock's playing and his songs that night. Later the next week, I found Michael's "HiFi Snock Uptown" record -- long out of print but you can buy CDrs with color covers from Michael via his website -- which was a current release at the time. I bought it in Bailey's Music Store, which was on Church Street in Burlington, VT, at the time. It was a real music store. It sold lp's and singles, sheet music, instruments, the whole wazoo. Guy who owned it was a noted local drum teacher. That was it, for me, hearing that record. (Later, after enlisting, I came across Michael's "Armchair Boogie," also available as a CDr, by accident in a record store in Japan!)

Otto made good on his pledge of twenty bucks and all the beer the kid could drink. I tried to make good my pledge from the other side and I did drink all the beer I could that night. Later, some of the "older" cats got indignant when I told them he'd paid me twenty bucks because he paid them lighter. I put the quotes on "older" because most of them weren't all that much older, really. It just seemed so at the time. Jeffrey was four years older than me, so he'd have been all of 22 that night, to put things in perspective. Michael had a good number of years on me, of course, twelve of 'em. Patton's an old motherfucker, too, though younger than Snock. I never knew just how old he was til he told me last year. He looks good for a relic. Must be that clean livin'.

Other people besides Snock and Otto who'd figure in the life after that, who were there at Tuner's Place that night, were Jeffrey, Morgan Huber, Wax, and others. It was an auspicious debut for me but of course likely an entirely forgettable night for them.

Who knew?

What's It All About, Otto?

Ott The Blott, who, being a far-sighted man, gave me my first paying gig 34 years ago, gets to philosophizin' at Kathryn's website:

What is you all about, Otto? ;-)

Crispo Endorses Ron Paul

I'm going with Paul until someone can point me to another candidate who can say this:

He has never voted to raise taxes.

He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.

He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.

He has never voted to raise congressional pay.

He has never taken a government-paid junket.

He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

He voted against the Patriot Act.

He voted against regulating the Internet.

He voted against the Iraq war.

He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program. [Which is, by the way, a six-digit annual pension after only six years in Congress, even if unelected after that, plus entirely communized, not just socialized, medical care for themselves and family unto the grave --all paid for by the confiscated wages of people who actually work for a living.]

He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

Trying to dissuade me, as some rethugicans have, by saying Paul -- oh my god! -- wants to end the gold standard is absurd, if only because no president gets to decide such things. I'll not be shivering in my boots about it. In any case, what's backing money now? You think you can, as it says on your folding money, redeem the paper for specie? Go ahead and try. Money has become a more abstract concept than it's ever been, which is saying quite a lot. It's basically movements of electrons, now. What's backing the dollar more than anything today is the trillions in US Treasury bonds owned by various nation states, China and Saudi Arabia in particular but far from alone. What else backs a dollar otherwise when the government itself is, at the moment, in the hole more than a trillion bucks? Answer: Not much. Fundamentally speaking, what backs it is people's ability and willingness to accept its abstraction. And don't kid yourself. That deficit is no more than a third due to the war. The other two thirds is largely pork and fat pork at that.

And certainly it won't be me who objects to Paul's position of eliminating the IRS. I can't even believe people would try to disuade me using that "threat." Eighty percent of the people who "work" for the IRS could be laid off tomorrow and not a single honest working American would even notice.

Plus, and far from least, Paul's put the fear of their god into the rethug's establishment hopefuls and their lapdogs in radioland and cyberspace, who have dutifully snapped to to every change in the party line all along, as unblinkingly as any Stalinist ever did and moreso than some. Ain't anyone with a gun to their heads, here, so it's a voluntary unblinking. Their desire -- especially this early on -- to silence Paul and lie about him just makes me support him more. Anyone that unpopular with a pack of lying hogs gorging at the public trough basically for the whole of their parasitic lives, is a friend of mine. Let them work for a living for a change, like the rest of us. Things is tight all over.

It's the people who are supposed to decide who they'll vote for, not party establishments, and very particularly not the present rethug establishment. The last thing in the world any of those creeps need or want is an actual debate about real issues that requires taking an actual stand, as opposed to mouthing carefully crafted bullshit "statements" created by hired guns who'd eat their own grandmothers for the right price.

Fuck 'em. Damn the torpedos. Full speed ahead.

Go, Paul, go!

Past Time to Wrap Up This Show and Be Done With It

Robert McNamara, who commissioned the Pentagon Papers studies, always lied, right up to the end, that he'd made decisions based on bad intelligence. Wrong. He had all he needed right there in the studies he'd commissioned and that any American can read in paperback for a few pennies in a decent used book store. He just didn't like the intel he got because it didn't match up with his ideological requirements.

No one in the Bushist admin and no one in Congress, of either party, can honestly say they made decisions based on bad intelligence. They had all they needed in the way of intelligence *before* the war:

Assessments Made in 2003 Foretold Situation in IraqIntelligence Studies List Internal Violence, Terrorist Activity
By Walter PincusWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, May 20, 2007; A06

Two intelligence assessments from January 2003 predicted that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and subsequent U.S. occupation of Iraq could lead to internal violence and provide a boost to Islamic extremists and terrorists in the region, according to congressional sources and former intelligence officials familiar with the prewar studies.The two assessments, titled "Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq" and "Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq," were produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and will be a major part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's long-awaited Phase II report on prewar intelligence assessments about Iraq.

The assessments were delivered to the White House and to congressional intelligence committees before the war started.The committee chairman, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and the vice chairman, Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), announced earlier this month that the panel had asked Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell to declassify the report for public release.

Congressional sources said the two NIC assessments are to be declassified and would be part of a portion of the Phase II report that could be released within the next week.

The assessment on post-Hussein Iraq included judgments that while Iraq was unlikely to split apart, there was a significant chance that domestic groups would fight each other and that ex-regime military elements could merge with terrorist groups to battle any new government. It even talks of guerrilla warfare, according to congressional sources and former intelligence officials.

The second NIC assessment discussed "political Islam being boosted and the war being exploited by terrorists and extremists elsewhere in the region," one former senior analyst said. It also suggested that fear of U.S. military dominance and occupation of a Middle East country -- one sacred to Islam -- would attract foreign Islamic fighters to the area.The NIC assessments paint "a very sobering and, as it has turned out, mostly accurate picture of the aftermath of the invasion," according to a former senior intelligence officer familiar with the studies. He sought anonymity because he is not authorized to speak about still-classified assessments.

The former senior official said that after the NIC papers were distributed to senior government officials, he was told by one CIA briefer that a senior Defense Department official had said they were "too negative" and that the papers "did not see the possibilities" the removal of Hussein would present.

A member of the Senate committee, without disclosing the contents of the studies, said recently that the release will raise more questions about the Bush administration's lack of preparation for the war's aftermath.In his book, "At the Center of the Storm," former CIA director George J. Tenet discussed the NIC assessments as well as prewar intelligence analyses his own agency prepared on the same issues. Some of the language in the CIA reports that Tenet describes are similar to judgments in the NIC assessments because the agency is a major contributor to such papers, according to present and former intelligence analysts.

While Tenet admits that the CIA expected Shiites in southern Iraq, "long oppressed by Saddam, to open their arms to anyone who removed him," he said agency analysts were "not among those who confidently expected coalition forces to be greeted as liberators."

Tenet writes that the initial good feeling among most Iraqis that Hussein was out of power "would last for only a short time before old rivalries and ancient ethnic tensions resurfaced."

The former intelligence analyst said such views also reflected the views in the NIC paper on post-Hussein Iraq.The NIC assessments also projected the view that a long-term Western military occupation would be widely unacceptable, particularly to the Iraqi military. It also said Iraqis would wait and see whether the new governing authority, whether foreign or Iraqi, would provide security and basic services such as water and electricity.

Tenet wrote that the NIC paper on Iraq said that "Iraqi political culture is so imbued with norms alien to the democratic experience . . . that it may resist the most vigorous and prolonged democratic treatments."

The senior intelligence official said that the prewar analysis of challenges in post-Hussein Iraq contained little in the way of classified information since it was an assessment of future situations and was almost all analysis. [my emphasis]

The assessment of regional consequences of regime change in Iraq would require deletions since it contains "comments on the policies and perspectives of some friendly governments."The committee focused on the two NIC assessments -- rather than analyses by the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency or the State Department -- because they were written under the supervision of national intelligence officers and coordinated with all intelligence agencies. Such papers are similar to more formal National Intelligence Estimates except they are not finalized and approved by the National Foreign Intelligence Board, made up of the heads of the agencies.


The italicized commentary is very important. The only need to classify it was to keep the public from knowing about its conclusions.

It contained nothing in the way of intelligence or analysis that any newspaper reading citizen with an operating brain and memory couldn't have determined for himself, and in fact, many millions of people came to the same conclusions on their own.

It's way past time for the troops to fall back on a secured airport and start getting on the airplanes.

They should never have been sent there in the first place and it's time people just faced up to reality and deal with it. Anyone, American or Iraqi, who's killed during the Bushists' "surge" or the dims' idiotic six months of funding, kills, dies and bleeds for the personal and partisan ambition of American politicians -- nearly all of whom are up to their ears in blood already.

"Real world
real world
real, real, real world

"real world
real world
real, real, real world."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Never Get Rid of A Tape Player

Greetings, Earthlings! Fellow travelers! Turns out we miscalculated the days of our mare Suzy's pregnancy. We'd remembered the last term's being 328 days when it was actually 337. Once I read an article about marijuana and memory but I don't remember what it said. D-date has been moved up to May 25. So if my posts get erratic or psychotic this week, read my other note to the faithful, below.

Not much to add today but this, another tip to live by. See, it's like this here: If I don't pass along this lore, it don't get passed on. Keep that up and culture disappears like grain alcohol touched with burning flame.

My pal Brian reviewed an Arthur Blythe record I hadn't heard so I asked if he could send me a burn. Don't have a burner, he says. How about a cassette? Don't have a tape player. So, being the good guy he is, he sent me the lp (along with another by Dudu Pukwana) so I could burn one here. Loaner vinyl.

Dis here's the lore, though, and you can bank it: When I bought my first burner, a Philipps' piece of shit, I had two cassette decks, one of which only worked on "play," not "record," but it was a good one for playback. Had pretty good fi for a casette deck. I used the other for dubbing copies of tapes because it was an ok recorder but a piece of shit on playback. So when I got the Philipps burner, I got rid of the cassette deck that didn't work on "record" anymore, idiotically thinking that now I had a burner, I had no use for a second cassette deck. Wrong. The burner function of the burner crapped out in only one year. Leaving me two machines to play CDs on but nothing I could burn one with and, having jettisoned the second cassette deck, nothing I could copy tapes with, either. So, I went a couple-three years with no copying capability at all. (I've since replaced the piece of shit Philipps with a studio-quality burner that works just fine and also allows for setting real record levels -- unlike the Philipps, which had an idiot-proofing feature that limited the gain of the recorded signal so that nitwits who can't operate a VHS machine yet wouldn't ruin their burns with distortion.)

Elwood's comment on hearing this sad tale: "Never get rid of a tape deck."

So, don't.

And don't forget Michael's myspace place with new blog, either, 'less you want culture to die and you don't want that, do you.

One night last year when the Sensitivos were playing in St. Albans, Vt., City Of Light, City Of Dreams, he offered history and historical commentary for the ages, but, as is almost always the case, the lesson was lost on most. He told them "Originally we went to New Hampshire because we wanted to live free or die. But they wouldn't let us do that, so we came to Vermont to die."

More News From Carducci

wydot is plowing away up at 11,000 feet and the road will open early this year. visitors are coming thru. the upland breakdown is set. i get my new book to the printer tuesday, lotsa complications due to a hundred pages of photos and illustrations packed into it. read a draft of a funny chapter from some kind of on the road novel by michael hurley. i heard that the chuck dukowski sextet played in a little bar on aviation blvd inhermosa beach with rob holtzman's band, Landfill; they reportedly rocked and no sign of the cops - probably they got troubles with their own kids by now. also heard ray farrell left emusic for something called royaltyshare, probably something like the carlyle group of the new media. but i bet if you call ray at 3 in the morning he still answers the phone, 'rather ripped.'

***The Places bit on npr:***

Greg Ginn news:THE PERFECT RAT "Endangered Languages" out on Alone Records late summer 2007.The Perfect Rat originates from the power trio-based, improvised musical explorations of Gary Arce, Greg Ginn and Bill Stinson that began in 2000. The resulting out-freakage deftly mixed grooves and structured ideas with the energy and spirit of Improvisation. The Perfect Rat concept was revisited again in 2005 when Gary Arce (Yawning Man, TenEast, Sort of Quartet) organized a recording session based on the power trio jams of what officially became "ThePerfect Rat". Drummer Bill Stinson says: "The Perfect Rat really goes back to 2000-2001 when Gary, Greg and I jammed together doing a project resurfaced a few years later and mutated some as far as having other musicians add texture and melody to the trio foundation. Jack Brewer added vocals, Mario Lalli added guitar and Tony Atherton played saxophone on the recording. The first release "Endangered Languages" was recorded in a big warehouse and the music was made up of some short and long sections that were mainly improvised. The Perfect Rat will be playing live in 2007 with most or all of the people on the recording."

&TEN EAST, TOUR DATES04.06 Wien, Vienna Arenaw/ Wolfmother05.06 Geneve, L´Usine09.06 Leuven, Sojo10.06 Hamburg, Hafenklang11.06 Berlin, Pirates Cove12.06 Osnabrück, Bastard13.06 Köln, Underground14.06 Jena, Rosenkellerw/ Mother Superior16.06 Party w/ Hypnos 69tour lineup:GARY ARCE-GUITAR GREG GINN-BASS BILL STINSON-DRUMS STEVEN HOUTMEYERS-GUITAR***

Michael Fournier's book tour for his soon released Continuum 33 1/3 volume, Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime: June 3 Concord, NH - Border's June 20 Brooklyn, NY - Bar Matchless June 21 Philly - Robin's June 23 Baltimore - Atomic Pop July 11 San Fransisco - Bird & Beckett July 13 Olympia WA - Orca Books July 14 Seattle WA - Third Place

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Alcoholics On Vacation

One time early 80s, Elwood came by the bunker in Moroseville to see if I wanted to go with him on a little tour of the Northeast. I said, Sure, of course, so off we went. Elwood had one condition, that I not smoke cigarettes in his car, a nice, light green '63 Belvedere, like they don't make anymore. Americans made quality rides in them days but them days is long gone. I was still a Camel smoking man then so I told him, Well, okay, Woods, but we're going to have to pull over now and then so's I can get a fix. We both happened to be on the wagon because there was a stupid amount of drinking going on in those days. It was killing us, nearly literally. So, we called the jaunt "Alcoholics On Vacation."

Every time we pulled over so I could smoke a hump, Elwood pulled out his hash pipe. After a number of times of this, we got to laughing so much in the car, it got ridiculous. He had to pull over at one point for laughing alone.

First stop was a wedding reception, on top of Fort Hill in Boston, a neighborhood that was being gentrified at the time, guys buying old brownhouses and such and fixing them up nice inside, like they'd been when built. So, we show up and there's a whole bar's worth of various liquors there but wasn't anyone drinking enough to talk about.

Turned out our reputations had preceeded us and that the liquor set up was for us! We were, like, "You got any club soda or like that?"

We ended up in Buck's County, PA, the ancestral stomping ground. Capt Garbage was resident there at the time, living in his little Airstream trailer he called Mr Potato Head. I'd give anything to have one of those stashed under cover as a retirement plan but alas, I do not. Garbage was driving a cherry, yellow pickup at the time, with a booming-loud stereo in it, speakers under the seat vibrating our asses down the road. He was spinning some kind of funk, I don't remember what, loud.

Elwood says, What's dis?

Garbage told him but I can't remember what.

Elwood says, You got any Fats Domino?

Garbage says, You know, the trouble with you boys is you're stuck in the 50's.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How To Beat The Bank For Your Mortgage

Bank sells house complete with owner's corpse
Tue May 15, 2007 9:24AM EDT
MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish bank repossessed a house and put it up for auction complete with the mummified body of the former owner who had missed her mortgage payments, newspaper El Pais reported on Wednesday.
The corpse, preserved by salty air in the seaside town of Roses after an apparent death by natural causes, was discovered by Jorge Giro, who entered the house for the first time on Saturday after buying it at the auction, El Pais said.
The dead woman, described by neighbors as having been in poor health and often absent visiting relatives in Madrid, had stopped paying her mortgage six years ago.
The unnamed bank which eventually repossessed the home never bothered to look inside before selling it.

Hey, Whatcha Got In That Box?

Poisonous snakes found in mail
Tue May 15, 2007 9:22AM EDT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African environmental inspectors discovered 10 poisonous snakes smuggled in video cassette cases when they searched a suspicious package at a post office, officials said on Monday.
Working on a tip-off, the inspectors seized the package from the Czech Republic and opened the cases to find live albino monocle cobras, Arabian saw-scaled vipers, Namibian spitting cobras and Australian Taipans, reputed to be the most poisonous snake on earth.
"All the snakes confiscated are venomous with no anti-venom available in South Africa," the Gauteng provincial environment department said in a statement.
A criminal case has been opened and the authorities in the Czech Republic and Australia are helping with the investigation, the statement said.
"A potentially deadly tragedy has been averted. You can well imagine what would have happened had the fragile container been broken and the snakes let loose," Gauteng provincial environment chief Khabisi Mosunkutu said.
Department spokesman Jacques du Toit said the snakes had all been transferred to safekeeping in the Pretoria zoo and were likely ultimately destined for collectors.
© Reuters 2006.

Monday, May 14, 2007

See, now, this is typical

NH Officer Shot, Run Over By Ski Champ's Cousin
(WBZ) FRANCONIA, N.H. A Franconia, New Hampshire police officer was fatally shot and run over by ski champion Bode Miller's cousin while on duty Friday night. The alleged gunman was then shot by a passer-by with the fallen officer's gun. According to Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, Liko Kenney, 24, who is a cousin of ski champion Bode Miller, shot Cpl. Bruce McKay, 48 -- a 12-year veteran of the force -- after a traffic stop. According to Authorities, McKay pulled Kenney over for speeding on Route 116. When Kenney drove off, the officer followed him for about a mile-and-a-half before pulling his cruiser in from of Kenney's car and pushing it off the road. Ayotte said McKay sprayed Kenney with pepper spray. The officer turned around and that is when he was shot. "

Cpl. McKay's cruiser video confirmed for police investigating this case that in fact Mr. Kenney had discharged several shots at Cpl. McKay before running him over," Ayotte said.McKay was allegedly shot four times. "This once again reminds of us of the difficult and dangerous work that is done everyday by the law enforcement of this state to protect each of us," Ayotte said at a news conference in Concord. "The police officers of this state, including Cpl. McKay, are nothing short of heroes."

Ayotte said Gregory Floyd, who was driving by with his son at the time of the incident, then shot Kenney with McKay's gun when he refused to drop his weapon. His son, also named Gregory, used McKay's radio to call for help. Floyd is not being charged, according to Ayotte.

The victim's uncle, Bill Kenney, tells us his nephew allegedly had trouble with this officer in the past, describing him as his “nemesis.”“There was an incident four years ago with this police man,” Kenney said. “This police man basically stomped Liko when he was a teenager and Liko came out of it with a coma.”

Woody Miller, Bode's father, said Kenney and McKay had a history. "They had a long relationship," said Miller, who operates an international tennis camp in nearby Easton. "There's been physical altercations between them before in the course of being arrested."

Kenney's uncle said there was so much animosity between the two, if Kenney got pulled over by McKay, "he had the right to request a different officer.""That's what I heard," said Bode's father, Woody. "That Liko requested a backup officer, and that was when he was pepper-sprayed."

The passenger in Kenney's car told police Kenney said something like "Get another officer" just before speeding off after the initial stop, Ayotte said. "But he refused to produce a license and registration to Cpl. McKay, which is standard operating procedure, and then just took off. So this is a situation where he obviously disobeyed a police officer," she said.

Bode, who had bailed his cousin out of jail once, was on his way home to Franconia, said Woody. In 2005, while in Franconia, Bode was fined $250 for going 83 mph in a 40 mph zone. According to an article published on Sports Illustrated's Web site, Miller said he chose to contest the ticket "to try to get my fine reduced and to antagonize McKay."

In a written statement, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch paid tribute to the fallen officer's service. "We honor this officer's courage, service and commitment and extend our deepest sympathies to this officer's family, friends, community, and brothers and sisters in law enforcement."

Before becoming a Franconia, New Hampshire police officer, McKay worked in Haverhill, New Hampshire. Survivors of the fallen officer include a daughter.Lynch has asked that all American and state flags be flown at half-staff in memory of the fallen police officer until further notice.In October, another New Hampshire officer was killed in the line of duty. Officer Michael Briggs, 35, of Manchester, was shot in the head while responding to a domestic violence call. The man accused of shooting Briggs, Michael Addison, 26, faces capital murder charges and could be put to death if found guilty.
(© 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc.


I have to comment on this. Why is it that whenever a citizen uses a firearm in real self-defense, or, in this case, in real defense of his community, as well, it's an incidental detail of the article *if* an article appears at all outside the strictly local news. Someone goes off criminally with a firearm, we hear all about it, though way less than one percent of citizen firearms owners ever use one for a criminal purpose.

Who's the hero of this story? A cop gets shot in the back and then run over by a car and he becomes a courageous hero.

A civilian citizen passerby, grabs the cop's handgun and orders the killer to drop his weapon. Now, hear this: The guy's already a cop killer and so has literally nothing to lose. He's going down for hard time for life, no matter what, and therefore has little reason to govern his behavior safely. It's not like he's going to get less time for any reason -- or more. No one gets more time than a cop killer. So, the civilian passerby who grabs the dead cop's firearm, orders the man to drop his weapon, he doesn't, so the passerby shoots and kills him. Correctly, in my view, as the man is clearly at this point an armed menace who's already proven his own murderousness by shooting a cop in the back.

Who was it that protected the community? The cop? No. The cop was shot in the back. He had no reason to presume himself in imminent danger of death, or he'd not have turned his back on the man. He and the killer had a history but clearly not one the cop had any idea might be cause for getting himself killed. He clearly believed himself to be in little if any danger, judging from his casual behavior. You don't turn your back on anyone you'd consider a lethal or even serious threat, let's face it.

The hero of the story is the civilian passerby who took the cop's handgun and killed the guy, yet this detail is mentioned nearly in passing, in every article I've seen about this instance.

There are many situations in the US, every year, where honest citizens successfully defend themselves or others in justified situations, with firearms, yet we almost never hear about one.

Several hundred million firearms are in private, civilian hands in the US. Only a miniscule percentage of those firearms are ever used criminally or in anger. The percentage is so small it is not even statistically significant in any scientific or even plain rational way. It's not even significant if one uses plain common sense. Yet, whenever one is, there is enormous news. Not so the other way around.

When the kid ran berserk in Virginia not long ago -- incidentally, with illegally purchased firearms -- federal felony -- a Brit newspaper contained the, to me, startling news that "massacres in the US are a fact of life." Oh, yeah, I come across a massacre every time I take a piss. Yet, idiotic commentary like this is commonplace and just accepted on face value with little if any thought or reflection.

I live in Vermont, which has one of the lowest serious crime rates in the US if not the lowest. It's also the most armed place I've ever lived with the exceptions of Nicaragua and El Salvador during the wars of the 1980s. Yet, Vermont is one of the most peaceful places in the world.

These two facts ought to give pause for a little serious thought at least.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Who Are The Brain Police?

Only in America could it be that large numbers of people could forget that Vietnam was a *Democratic Party* war and that the party didn't turn antiwar until the war was over for most American troops.

Or that the dims controlled Congress throughout Reagan's terrorist campaigns in Central America and elsewhere during the 80s. Or that it was Carter who first started supporting the contras, not to mention the El Salvadoran death state, *pre*-Reagan.

And only here could it be that large numbers of people could forget that almost every dim voted for the war in Iraq and that the party last time out ran a pro-war candidate for pres.

The notion of taking care of the vets is not only delusional but hysterical, given the track record reaching all the way back to the Continental Army.

What will you do
when the people you knew
were the plastic that melted
and the chromium, too.

Who are the brain police?

And By The Lonesome Way

And by the way, that Nancy Sinatra is a lifetime honorary member of Vietnam Vets of America, too, in case you didn't know. Not everyone does, you know.

Just my luck she didn't show up on a plane to entertain 30 female-starved Coasties on that Iwo Jima. Dammit.

Which reminds me of last year when Elwood and me had an email discussion partly about them noise bands they have today. Some of 'em I like, some of 'em I don't. Elwood says he can't get with 'em and he'll stick to the traditional definitions of music "even if it makes me Frank Sinatra."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Note For The Faithful

Just a note for the faithful that if my entries to this here Wuse De Fuke blog become erratic or nonexistent over the next week or so, it's because my mare and good friend Suzy is about to foal again sometime soon. Her body's showing signs that say labor's increasingly imminent and ain't no tellin' from here on.

Might, usually does, mean several nights of checking on her every couple of hours, so if the commentary here seems like it's becoming slowly more psychotic, it's because I will be, from lack of sleep.

In the meantime, here's a tip you shouldn't forget: Never eat lying down.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Stop The Press!

This just in from the LA Times:

Zen and the art of management
By Jessica Garrison and Ted Rohrlich
A Buddhist priest is teaching L.A. Housing managers techniques such as breathing with sphincter control.

Terrorists In The Woodpile

Ahoy again, fellow planet denizens and those in orbit, alike. See, the thing is with these container laws they have here in Varmint these days, where there can't be an open container in the rig even if the driver is stone-cold sober, can't even be one in the trunk, really, you got to get home quick -- see, this to me is what I'd call DWI terrorism and it's a sign of how deeply the yuppies have estabished themselves in Varmint since the dark daze of the '80s when they started showing up here in strength. Thousands moved into Burlington alone and yet the population remained the same from the census of '80 til the census of '90. How's that possible if thousands moved in? Means thousands more were forced to move out. It's been putting a hurt on the never all that plentiful urban woodchuck population, rendering it endangered, at least.

They bark and bark and wring their hands over an old hipster just wants a beer on the way home from a dry and dusty day's work. And yet, if you dare to enter the health food stores and what used to be food coops, they got red wine stacked by the case, floor to ceiling. I said floor to ceiling, hoss. Now you know it ain't old hipsters or native woodchucks behaving as they traditionally have that's drinking up all of that wine, mister. Most can't even afford to look at these places, never mind find a suitable alkieholic beverage in one. See, it just ain't done. Which seems from where I stand to signal that they trust their own apparently limitless ability to drink red wine by the case without committing mayhem and mass murder but not your or my ability to drink a pint or two of ale, see. That's how it works.

So, you get this situation where the law here in what used to be Varmint forbids any kind of open bottle in the rig and also a breath test reading of only .08 that crossed means losing the license and who all knows what all more by the time the judge gets through with your ass. For a guy my size, what that translates to is if I meet two buddies down at the tavern, if we each buy a round, we're all illegal. Now, please. That shit ought to be against the law, itself. Hell, I've driven many times across this here continent with that much alcohol on board and never ran a nuke-waste-carrying truck off the highway or anything. Just minding my own business. I've done it even more times stone-cold sober because I couldn't have afforded a drink come hell or high water. Personally, I prefer the former.

One time headed west on that I-80, I hit a terrible ice storm outside Des Moines. If you drove more than eight or ten mph, you were headed for 360 land. Just creeping along. Cars off the highway on all sides. Then a truck pulling a flatbed trailer that in fact was hauling nuke waste passed me on the left. That did it. I pulled over at the next exit and slid and spun til I found the likeliest looking motel for the likes of you or me, that had a bar right next door, too. So, I stopped the rig for the night, took a shower, and headed for the bar with my guitar. I asked the bartender would he mind if I played a few for drinks. He didn't. Turned out he meant a literal few, though, and I required in those days about two fingers' worth and a beer per song. The bartender finally decided the ration of alcohol to songs was too high for comfort and put the kibosh on the whole deal. But wait! There was a guy at the bar sitting next to me, retired farmer, who got with Crispo's routine right away. Another Crispophile converted. He asked do you want to see some of Des Moines because I know other bars what would get with it and how if we was to show up on such a night. So I said, sure, let's do it. We took his wheels with him driving and proceeded to hit several other Des Moines bars that night and some parking meters, too. There. You see? The universe was once more in balance. Which it has to be of course or we're all goners. That's something the yuppie terrorists haven't realized yet.

Chuck The Mutt says if you want to keep yourself balanced, see, what you have to do is keep your keys in one pocket and your change in the other. If you have folding money, so much the better. It's lighter (always) and so doesn't disturb the balance. At least not in any amount's going to matter to the like of you or me.

You'll also note, ice storm or no ice storm, another Crispophile was made that night. That's one of the sure-fire ways of bolstering your fanbase, riding with a retired farmer through late night Des Moines in an ice storm, careening off guard rails from one gin mill to the next and ain't noone the worse for it. Keep that bottle coming, good boy; lord, I'm gettin' some dry inside.

Which is what gets me to the main point, see: In Varmint today you can't rock and roll in the bars for a living (however modest) no more. Ain't enough of them roadhouses left -- most of the ones we used to play in the long-ago '70s and even '80s aren't even there anymore. All closed up but a handful. Even the buildings are gone, now, in a lot of cases. But where there's only a handful of roadhouses in any one given time zone, that means, no way around it, that there's only a handful of gigs in any given time period, and of course, if you play those in too high a frequency per period of time, you wear out your welcome. Just the way it is. It's a law of the universe applies to you and me as much as it does to Nancy Sinatra. How many times a year you see her playing Vegas? Ok, then, point made.

Incidentally, back in the 90s, she posed for Playboy and I bought it, just to look at the pictures, and if you think her boots weren't made for walking well on into her 50s, well, then, partner, I don't have much else left to say.

And now, as Elwood has correctly observed on this here blog, they're going after Paris Hilton and handing her 90 days -- that's sixty more'n they gave that Whisky Willie -- for having a little fun. Now that just ain't right, and it is in fact a judicial overreach as Elwood put it. They always seem to be giving her some kind of shit, as they do us all, rich or poor, alike, apparently. It ain't like she's down at the tavern teasing fuzz-faced kids for beers, let's face it. If she were, we'd have a place to play for certain. Ain't a cowboy in Texas wouldn't ride a bull for .... Well, let's not get into all that.

But she's no Nancy Sinatra well on into her 50s, either, so maybe I could be off a few points, here, but not many, mister.

Dave Reisch told me last year that Lonesome Wayne is the last untamed American and he has a point, though there are a few more left. I ain't tamed, yet, for example, though they damned sure have me corralled here in Varmint, and that's a fact.

Here's the moral: If you make it illegal for people to have fun, there won't be enough places left for an honest picker to plunk. It is in fact just that simple.

Gone forever in Varmint are nights like the one where I closed up my band Hundred Proof back in the days, pre-End Of The Trail, last time Jeffrey was resident in this general zip code. So must've been '78. We called a farewell performance at a local watering hole what's still here but can't afford to pay musicians anymore because not enough people drink enough alcohol when they go out to make it worth the tavern owner's while. At that farewill performance, I'd invited all of my musician friends to come play with us. I talked the owner into cash for the band, of course, but also stipulated that anyone playing music that night was drinking for free. He squinted at me and asked, How many are you talking about? I told him there wasn't any way of knowing, really, but it would be a big band or close, and, hey, if you don't wanna have the farewell gig, here, someone else will there. A lot of people are going to be coming out, mister, and the next guy won't mind having his cash drawer full if'n you don't want to. He saw the sense in that, as people used to be able to, and we shook on it. My brother, the Other Sisco, had a fairly hefty tab going there, another historical phenomenon, now. He told the tavern owner he'd bet is tab the owner'd have the best tape he'd ever seen when he cashed out that night. So they shook on it.

Turned out there were thirteen people in the band that night, just shy of a big band what's traditionally 17, so let's call it a not quite big band. It was a goddam guitar orchestra's what it was, really.

Comes around 11:30 and two state cops walk in. The place was packed to the gills. Cars overflowing out of the parking lot and onto the shoulder of the highway in both directions. People were lit up and having a hell of a good time. Booze was flowing freely, people were smoking the hoot at will, some were even laying out white lines on the table tops.

Cops didn't once look to either side. They walked directly to the stage and one told me, Hey, a neighbor's complained because she said the music's too loud. Would you turn it down a little, please. I told him, sure, anyone can understand that. We all needs our beans and we needs our daily rest. So the cops says thanks and the both of them walk back out of the bar, again without looking to either side.

When the tavern owner ran his tape and cashed out for the night, my brother asked if he could see the tape. The owner refused but he did take John's tab and tear it up into tiny pieces tossed over his shoulder like confetti. Nuff said. Actions speak louder than words.

See, it was still a free country, then. Having fun hadn't been criminalized yet, nor my profession, either. It was our job to provide working people with a damned good time come their hard-earned weekend.

What's a crime is that if we did that today, celebration or not, the cops would have arrived with a SWAT team in full combat gear, marching like men who go "hut!" and chanting "War on drugs! War on drugs!" while beating cadence against their palms with steel-tipped riot clubs, like in *Vineland.*

And that shit just ain't right.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Uplands Breakdown

This just in from pal Joe Carducci, giving us the rundown on this year's Uplands Breakdown. You don't wanna miss it:

we just had a foot of snow but we expect to have about a monthlong hole in the wyoming winter come august, what with global warming and all. the state's rolling in money and union pacific is rolling out coal trains in all directions. unfortunately its cleaner than appalachian coal, both for the warming effect and musical ambiance, but it'll have to do. we're doing a two day wyo-colo breakdown weekend this year:

Souled American, who have been recordingsince the 80s and their classic run of Rough Tradereleases (Fe/Flubber/Around the Horn/Sonny; reissued bytumult). they followed those with two albums on catamount and have been working on a new album in their home studio near charleston, illinois.

Ralph White spent the nineties with the austin, tx. legends,the bad livers, and has been playing his solo blend of traditional and original blues and contemporary african influences thru his claw hammered banjo since then.

also from austin, Spot will set down at the end of his annual summer tour promoting another new album,"spot/albert", with albert alfonso.

and The Places have been cooling out in Austin as welllately. their most recent album, "Songs for Creeps", got great notices since Amy's appearance lastyear; when one plays centennial, wyoming, the ny and la media take notice.

your breakdownpresence will be understood to constitute prior consent and synchronization license approval across all media extant and anythat may be invented heretofore thereafter by some electro-geek what hates music, for anydocu/narrative/psycho-cloud-cuckoo-land movie thing michael hurley may be taping. fugitives travelling under false identities are forwarned.

michael has a new album coming this summer on the gnomonsong label called "ancestral swamp". they say hurley artwork on its way, plus the tunes.

The Stop & Listen Boys commenced studio work at the world-famous Blasting Room after last year's Breakdown and continued in various living rooms around Wyoming and New York - the so-called "stumblebum sessions". No release date has yet revealed itself.

Michael Hurwitz debuted his second album, "Blue Coyote" (third if you count the charming Alta School Cowboy Choir "Wyoming Mountain Home" album) at last year's breakdown, "Get Your Business Straight", stands up to the classic blues and rural tunes he gives his prairie blues treatment.

the particulars:

sat/aug/25 3-9pm beartree tavern, centennial, wyoming

sun/aug/26 3-9pm swing station, la porte, colorado
THE PLACES [The Places CD, "Songs For Creeps," made my year-end favorites list for 2006; check it out. -- Sisco]

both shows will be outdoors, weather permitting. kids admitted to both shows unless in centennial weather forces us into the bar, then 21+ there. there is 100 miles of winding two lane roads, mostly paved between centennial and la porte. the scenery is fine but keep your eyes on the road, watching for the larger critters like elk, pronghorn, deer, and hotrodding students.

RALPH WHITE: www.ralphewhite.comtarget

here's the view today in centennial: