OMG – I just discovered vinegar

You use bleach to clean around the house.  I know why, it is very effective.  Even if you don’t think you are using bleach… pretty much everything under your sink has bleach in it.  You gotta throw all that shit out.  Bleach is poison.  It will also damage stuff.  It will damage everything.

I never liked using bleach, and am not in a position where I can’t. We live on well water, and you can NEVER use bleach in that situation.  It messes up your septic tank.  I have had to find an alternative, and I was successful.  I want to announce here and now, in front of god and everyone (except my wife)… I am marrying vinegar.  It is the ultimate cleaning solution.  It also is completely non toxic, and cheaper than water.

Your glasses are cloudy when they come out of the dishwasher, aren’t they?  They have been for about 3 years now, haven’t they?  It because they took the good stuff out of detergent, called phosphates.  I have no idea what they are, but they are apparently bad for the environment.  So what is the work around?  FIRST… run your dishwasher with NOTHING but about half a gallon of vinegar.  Right now.  No soap, and no dishes.  It cleans the dishwasher. I do this monthly.  Now, run it again with a about half that much vinegar, and maybe a little bit of soap, and put all your glass wear there in and run it.  They will come out perfect.  I will not call it ‘stemware’, by the way.  If you are calling your glasses ‘stemware’, then you are the turd you made fun of when you were a kid.  All the piping and plumbing in your dishwasher (and everywhere) is covered in years of gunk.  Vinegar breaks down hard water deposits, especially when forced through the the washing machine.  How about your shower heads?  Yeah, they are a hard water mess.   Unscrew the thing and let it sit in vinegar for half an hour.  Total time invested, about 32 minutes.

I use it on the coffee maker about once a month.  Same reasons.   Run a FULL pot of just vinegar.  Then, start cutting it with water.  After you run about 2 pots of pure water through, the smell will be gone.  While we are at it… why are you drinking paper water?   Get one of these. Your coffee will be better and you are saving the forest, AND not using bleach. Also, know how they get those coffee filter paper thingies white?   Bleach, you monster!

Here is a trick I learned training for the Red Cross.  Ever get smoke in your clothes?  Especially fire smoke (as opposed to ciggie smoke) it can be impossible to get out.   Try vinegar!  Vinegar is an amazing natural whitener for laundry, and it won’t eat up the fibers like bleach does.   Works in toilets, too.   I am going though about a gallon of vinegar a week cleaning stuff around the house. It’s like $1.25 a gallon.  Lastly, it doesn’t go bad.  Did you know that the second bleach is exposed to sunlight it becomes totally ineffective (and then airborn poison)?  I don’t know the science behind it, but it’s true.  I read it on the internet.  Also, I invented the coffee maker.  How do you know?  Because its true… you just read it on the internet.

lastly, if you look online… apparently apple cider vinegar cures everything.  Even personalities.  Well… not yours.  But your friends sure could use a little.

What the hell is vinegar?  I don’t even pretend to know.  I just assume it comes from (renewable) old growth vinegar trees.

Thoughtful afterward… since I clearly have no editor to keep me from writing things like this below

With 9/11 anniversary passing, there has been a lot of talk about heroes.  What is a hero?  A hero is those guys who sacrificed themselves on 9/11 to protect that last plane from hitting the capital building.  Those marine guys who stopped the French train attack.  Those marine guys who stopped the Belgium train attack.  Nelson Mandela.  This guy:

I mean… those people are swell and we appreciate them.  Being a writer, Yet (and trust me, I looked this up) not a single one of these pussies had the stones my heroes are the cartoonists at Charlie Hedbo in France who dared acknowledge the existence of Allah.  Crazier?  They drew an image of him, and they all died for it.  Guess what they didn’t write about?  Not a single one of your ‘heroes’ write an essay about vinegar.

“seek not to follow in the footsteps of your leaders.  Seek what they sought”

Schopenhauer  Lono***

***yeah, I was going to attribute that to the great Arthur Schopenhauer.  Until I remembered he never had the courage to cover vinegar

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Friday Fives – Hurricane Florence Henderson edition

This Friday Five is brought to you by Hurricane Florence

Have you ever experienced a hurricane firsthand?

Nope.  It’s the only natural disaster I have missed.  Been in blizzards, earthquakes, and a tornado.  I have the opportunity to go to hurricanes, though.  All expenses paid.  I am a national Red Cross disaster volunteer.  Mostly I do local, of course.. but I got to fly out to hurricane Sandy about 5 years ago.  It was mostly over, but still super cool.  Wish I could do it more, but work kinda expects me here.  And… I don’t work for the Red Cross.  Wish I could, but charities pay shit… understandably.

2. Have you ever experienced outside heat over 100 degrees Fahrenheit?

I have.  This one time in Phoenix, during the summer.  For 4 months a year.  For 18 years.  That is why I ain’t there anymore.  However, Denver summers are getting hotter every year.  In June, every day was 90 or above (hence all the wildfires).  This week, in mid September mind you… it was 94 and 95 so far.  the sad upside of climate change?  I used to mow about once or twice a week.  I have mowed once all year.  Nothing is growing.

3. When and where was the coldest temperature you have ever experienced?

Denver.  Its rare, but we hit the negatives every couple years.  Worst I remember was neg 20.  I have a beer fridge kegerator in the garage.  Everything that was in the fridge froze.  That was an odd sensation.  It was too cold out for the freezer.  We had a shit garage door that wasn’t insulated at the time.  I am confident now my R levels are sound.

4. Is your household prepared for a possible power outage of two to seven days?

No, but it should be.  I actually teach this stuff for the Red Cross.  We could get by, we have plenty of canned stuff, and I always fill a tub or two before a storm.  But properly prepared?  We are not, and that is 100% my failing.

5. Do you have a go bag?

See above.  Same answer, sadly.  I will share with you some of the useful information I teach (but don’t seem to follow) if you seek to build one.  Things you should have.  Cash, what if power is out… maybe for days?  Meds.  Copy of super important documents, in case you don’t get to come back to a home.  First aid kid.  When the sheriff comes or calls to evac, you often have 45 minutes.  That is the goal of public service, to give you that much warning.  This is also known as a ‘pre-evac’ warning.  Now, what do you grab if you have to leave in 5 minutes?  Your dirty clothes, assuming they are gathered in the same area.  Why?  They are clothes that fit you, and that you like and are comfortable.

In case you don’t know what a ‘go bag’ is, it is a fully stuffed backpack easily accessible with stuff you want and need if you have to leave very suddenly for any reason.  Preppers call it a ‘bug out bag’.  You can research this easily online.  There is NOTHING ‘preppers’ love more than talking about prepping.

 

 

Friday Fives – opera style

What’s the deal with opera?  Do you understand it?

No.  But, I have been to one.  It was pretty cool. We were in Prague, i think.  Maybe Vienna? Trust me, this isn’t a humble brag.  It’s me saying ‘all those cities run together in my mind and memory’ and there was a Mozart play playing.  And… it was playing in the theater it was written for. Mozart wrote this specific play for this specific city for this specific opera house.  It’s apparently a super famous one, called ‘Don Giovani’. You know the phrase for a real ladies’ man ‘he is a real Don Juan’? It’s from this play.  It was more enjoyable than i expected. Probably because it was filled with more sex and murder than can be found outside of a Tarantino movie. I guess times haven’t changed that much.

And here was a bonus, we were able to understand the story.  This was big, because it was in Italian. This much i knew about, ALL operas are in Italian.  Always. No matter where they are. This theater, though, and a caption thingy. Hanging from the hall was a huge LED thing that translated what they were singing into two languages;  Czech, and English. I wanted to capture the moment, and the play, and the jumbotron translator. I needed to, because it was all too cool and unique to explain. Problem is, you can’t take pictures… for a million good reasons.  Guess what, you tourist nube, put down your phone for five minutes and try and actually experience life. Maybe that is why you don’t take pictures. You can not live your life behind a cell phone screen, if you are going to do that… why leave the house?

But… of course… I took pictures.  I am not going to be here again, and I can’t possibly describe this like a picture would  I got a couple off before the wife (quite correctly) smacked me.  This is a very cool picture, though. It captures the size of the theater, our seats, the incredible sparseness of the sets.  Well, there were no sets… as you can see. Just a stage. Is that a regular opera thing? I don’t know.

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Note in the cell phone photo above (don’t worry, I didn’t use a flash) you can see towards the center and top of the photo… they are translating the song lyrics.  The top lines in green are the Czech translation, and the bottom two lines are in English. I kinda have to wonder… before this awesome and helpful technology… how did people know what was going on?  Note, this play was written by Mozart to be played in Prague, and to be sung in Italian. Perhaps you think ‘well, you can tell by all the non verbal queues what is happening. I could play Princess Bride in a different language and still follow the story.   Not with this play. Nobody moved, they stood there and sang. You can see there were no sets Which character was which? Can’t tell, as you can see I am about 100 yards away. There was no ‘jumbotron’ showing closeups… like all rock concerts have. I say all that to say thank god for that translation board, or it would have been hell.  Since I got to understand it, we really enjoyed it.

the barely lit folks you see at the foot of the stage are not audience members with great seats.  It is the orchestra pit.  These are the unsung heroes.  They are doing just as much work as everyone on stage.  Actually, most are doing some way more complex than what is happening on stage.  They do it every night, and in real time.  They are involved in every scene… but they don’t get the bows.  They don’t get their pictures on the playbill.  They don’t have roses thrown at them.  They don’t get flashed by random babes.  Just kidding, they do.  It happened to me once, and it was fantastic!  On the whole, though, I feel the musicians are under appreciated.

Back to the question- do I get or understand opera?  Not really.  I can’t fathom sitting around and listening to the cast recording.  BUT… it was a good experience.  It wasn’t long and boring.  You get all hopped up on wine, and the story moves pretty quickly.  It runs just over an hour.  Then there is a nice long break to pee and load up on more wine.  A helpful chime reminds you when its starting back up (just like plays do).  Then, you have another 80 or 90 minutes to wrap it up.  Only downside would be what I call the ‘opera drum solo®‘.  That is where you can see the song is ONLY there for the lady show off her singing chops.  A lady in too many clothes does like 6 minutes of just pitch variation… to show how good a singer she is. It seems every art form has it.  Movies have the oscar bait soliloquy. *** If you get the chance, go!  It is not an experience I would seek out, but if it landed on my lap I would absolutely do it again.   Btw, experiences like this don’t just fall out of the sky.  The wonderful wifey did months of research to find these pearls.

ok, what were we talking about again?

What’s the deal with Shakespeare?  Do you understand it?

I haven’t tried it in a long time.  I took a Shakespeare class in college.  Mostly, I very very much enjoy the stories.  He really did write great stories that totally stand the test of time.  What doesn’t stand the test of time, though, is the language. It makes it tough fo follow, and is a distraction.  I get that the appeal of Shakespeare IS the writing: the meter, the flow, the puns, the iambic pentameter. I am a literature guy, I understand these things… but I don’t like them.  I want the story, and that can be tough to extract from Shakespeare.

What’s the deal with Classical Symphony music?  Do you understand it?

Nope.  Not even a tiny bit.  Don’t get it, don’t like it. It is 100% lost on me.  Just like EDM Not sure which is worse… probably EDM.

What’s the deal with Poetry?  Do you understand it?

Yes.  Do I enjoy it?  Very rarely. More often than not, I don’t find soulful expression.  I find it lyrical masturbation and self indulgence. Like my complaint with Shakespeare, I think the message would be better served if simplified and modernized.  It’s probably because I was only exposed to total shit in school. That is what public school feeds you for ‘art’… total fucking shit. I HATED HATED HATED reading when I was a kid.  Wuthering Heights? The Scarlet Letter? I’d rather get paper cuts on my tongue. Actually, I probably got both… falling asleep trying to read those Newbery winners. Remember… books and reading and writing are my passion, and my degree. Not because of public school, but despite it.  Had Kermit not turned me on to Hunter Thompson at 16, I might likely have never read a book again.

Don’t feed a 14 year old kid Nathaniel Hawthorne… give him/her some Jack Kerouac.  We need to party with Neal Cassady!

Don’t feed a teenager Emily Dickinson, give them some Baudelaire***. Show a kid that art can be great, and funny, and dirty.  Give a teenager some Allen Ginsberg!.  You think rap is racy today?  When Ginsberg published Howl, they tried to put him in jail.  He had to go to trial on that action.  Baudelaire’s breakthrough book is ‘les flures de mal‘.  Translated verbatim – the Flowers of Evil.   Fuck yeah, baby.  the Flowers of Evil?   Find me a public school administrator with the balls to put that in the curriculum

That is how you engage a young mind, you public school conformist creating monsters!  In reading over this, it looks like I am railing against literature and art and poetry.  Or, maybe that I am saying I am above all that, or cooler than literature.  No sir.  I am lamenting the fact that every generation we lose artists and interest in the arts because we are only offered the lowest common denominator.  What does a 16 year old kid think about?  Violence, boobies, action, murder.  Guess what, that hasn’t changed in 2,000 years… and there are TONS of great books and poems and operas about it.   This is what makes Hamilton so cool.  Bring these stories to a new generation, and reaching out to new audiences, and using modern language.  Kinda ironic that its prolly only old white people getting to see it.

What’s deal with Wine Tasting parties?  Do you understand it?

Dunno, never been invited to one.  I do enjoy wine, though. I will tell you this much – starting about right now, i only drink red wine during Fall/Winter.  I also like my red wine much cooler than room temperature. I am not above putting a few ice cubes in a glass of red wine. I think a glass of wine at 72 degrees is disgusting.   Now you see why I don’t get invited to wine parties. When the weather warms up, I prefer a white. Not too sweet, not too dry. I think I am thinking of a Riesling, but I am not totally sure.  I have never spent more than $14 on a bottle of wine.  Why? LIke Tequila, I fear you could give me a $10,000 glass and a $10 glass and I might not know the difference.

Don’t worry, if we drink wine together (and we should) I will never say things like ‘oaky’, I won’t discuss its ‘legs’.  I won’t debate you about it’s ‘vintage’. Once I have settled on a wine not too sweet or too dry…. I will say things like “this is great.  We need more. A LOT more.”

So… can I come to your wine party… please?

OOOHHH WAIT.  I can say something useful and thoughtful about wine. I learned this from some cooking show long ago (prolly Alton Brown).  They called it the ‘20 minute rule’. If you are drinking red wine, put it in the fridge 20 minutes before you are ready to drink it.  If you are drinking white wine, keep it in the fridge until 20 minutes before you drink it. That is handy, and easy to remember. See how I make you smarter?

 

*** ok, i used the Glengarry Glen Ross scene as an example of actor hubris.  It’s true.  It is goddamn brilliant.  This has got to me mt favorite 3 minutes of film of all time.  Let’s stop and watch it together, again.

always… be… cobbling

fives of days

it’s not Friday, but I wanted to share some content with you.  Been traveling over the weekend.

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What plans did you have for this summer?

To survive.  Am ready for cool weather, and no visitors for a bit. Heck, i am ready for cold weather.   Wifey and I made it here 21 years in Denver with no A/C. After this June that set all kinds of records, and being someone who is aware of climate change… we finally broke down and bought a portable AC unit.  Excellent investment.

It was a very very busy summer, musically speaking.  A LOT of concerts. See, our families finally figured out we live an hour away from Red Rocks, the greatest rock venue in America.  So, our out of state relatives check the calendar and pick a show to see and come visit us. Which… we LOVE. This meant that in one month this summer, we saw Umphreys McGhee, the Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, Avett Brothers, Dead and Company.  And when that stopped, we flew to Seattle to see the big Pearl Jam ‘Home Show’ spectacular. That one was fun. Not just because we have wonderful and dear friends in Seattle… but the Pearl Jam shows felt like a movement.  This may sound dorky, or old… but rock and roll (and certainly my heroes) were on the fringes.  This is why watching Pearl Jam get into the rock hall of fame was so moving.  So many bands there I loved and followed weren’t really my generation.  Sure, I saw the Allman Brothers over 20 times… but their true time was an era before me.  By the time I got on board in the 90s, they were already touring on nothing but 20 year old hits.  Pearl Jam, though… I watched them come up from day 1.  I felt that when we landed in Seattle and I saw those banners in the airport.  Those banners said “you were right, Lono.  They are awesome.  Sorry we doubted you.”  Of course, there is another side to that which is a little more sad…. so we will stick with the romantic perspective.    

 In flying out of Denver the day before the show, the SouthWest crew noticed how many people had Pearl Jam gear on.  The pilot called us all out on the flight… in Denver, mind you. He said everyone on the plane who was going to see Pearl Jam should turn on their call buttons. The whole plane lit up, like lighters on an encore. It was as if we were on a chartered jet to see Pearl Jam.

When we got to the airport, we were greeted with this

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Have you accomplished them or is it still a work in progress?

Have I accomplished all the summer stuff?  Well, we certainly jammed in a ton of visits and little trips and tons of concerts.  It was not an ambitious summer. Mostly, like everyone… we just worked. It is just work and sleep and rinse and repeat.  This summer was shitty hot, so I am just glad it’s over.  Here is a cool pic of me from this weekend.  In the evenings, when camping, I am usually the entertainment.  We sit around a fire and drink and I play guitar and tell stories for hours.  I an easily play for 4 or 5 hours at the fire.  Just keep feeding me beer and ciggies, and sing along when you can.

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What would make this summer much better for you?

For it to be over, and it is.  It was just HOT. ALWAYS. Every day in June was some kind of record because it was over 95.  This is why I left Phoenix. Granted, these are first world problems. I am SO fucking blessed in my life.  I have a big beautiful ranch and house and wife who loves me and an amazing family on both sides… and I am bitching about how hot my living room is?  Hey… you asked. I didn’t bring it up. I am just answering the questions.   WAIT… can I add this?  Kudos to all of you who do all this and have kids.  We have no kids, and we are very happy that way.  I can’t imagine doing all the stuff we do, and all the work we do, and also raising kids.   Well, actually, if we had kids we wouldn’t have the time or the money to do any of these things.

When did you go back to school from summer break when you were a kid?

It was very clean… the break.  Memorial day to Labor day. Same from kindergarten to high school.  We had no variables in days… because we didn’t have snow days.

Is anyone else as shocked as I am that it’s Labor Day Weekend and most of the summer is nearly over?

No.  It now being a few days past, I feel Fall very much.  Not in the days, but the evenings cool down a lot, and quickly.  We jammed so much stuff in, I am ready to just not do much but watch some football.  Here is another example of what we jammed in… I drove 1500 miles this last weekend. Again, no regrets… but I am tired, mister.  Also, I look at things this way… every day that passes is a day less we have with President Trump.  My lord what a piece of shit that guy is.  Remember how Fonz couldn’t say the word ‘wrong’?  I know I already did that rant… but what does a guy have to do to get impeached these days?  The Russia stuff is very clear and very dark.  He is a horrible narcissist and the world will be better when he is gone.  Sooner, rather than later, would be preferable.

Ok, time for bed.  I love you, and you are doing great!

Friday Fives

 Mandela Mandala Tomato, Tomato.....

What are some modern “conveniences” that are just cash grabs by manufacturers?

Most of the tv programming we get.  Wish I could tell I was above it all, but least we don’t pay for cable.  The old was great… we give you free tv, you put up with commercials. Fair deal.  Now, the going rate for any cable tv package is about $100 a month to start. That isn’t even movie channels, or talking about the money you pay for the cable.  In fact, just the cable box scam is its own congressional investigation.

Again, I am not sayin I am above this.  I love tv, and being able to relax and learn at the same time is a blessing.  For us, though, it wasn’t practical. We are always working. And we have the property to take care of (horses and such).  That gives us about 2 hours a night, tops, to sit and watch tv. Netflix costs us a year what cable costs a month. YET… you still have commercials on cable tv.  Then, I find out some of those fees in there.  Everyone who has cable pays about $6 a month to ESPN.com… even if ou have never watched ESPN.  That is how ESPN survives. It is how most of those networks survive.

So we ‘cut the chord’, and it is fabulous.  I am no longer in DVR dept.

Couple that with  $32 HD antenna from Costco.  This means we get all the network channels in HD, including 3 different PBSs.  I don’t miss cable, but I do miss the DVR.

What product marketing definitely has a subliminal message?

Pretty much everything in our culture, especially marketing, is aimed at straight white men.  Being a straight white man, I gotta admit, it is pretty great. I know its’ wrong and all, and we are far from being better at anything… except oppressions.  Still, though, if they want to throw boobs in my face to sell everything… that is ok with me.

I will tell you one I am NOT ok with.  I call it ‘so easy, a woman can do it’.  Products will show something they are selling that requires a physical component.  They want to convey that it isn’t physically too dangerous or tough. What they want so badly to say is ‘its so easy that even an old white lady can do it.’   Instead, they show you JUST that. EVERY time. It’s going to be a gal who is about 65, with white hair. They will show her operating the thing, and then smiling.

What products do you never cheap out on?

Nothing that comes to mind, but I must say this.  The truest thing I know at 46 years old is you get what you pay for.  Maybe its a car, maybe its Sarah Wrap. NEVER go generic on that stuff.

What websites don’t you go to anymore?

Snopes.com.  It was a big ugly husband/wife breakup.  The site was the work of Barbara Mikkelson.  She is brilliant and awesome. In the early days of Snopes (like… 15 years ago give or take) I had interacted with her on some research stuff.  It was fun. Then, she got married and her hubby kinda began taking over. Then, she found out he was embezzling tons of money and moving company money to his new stripper girlfriend.  They had an ugly breakup, he outlawyered her, and basically got the company.

THEN… he had some kind of ugly mess where we wasn’t paying his vendors, so they hijacked his site.  Plus, last time I went to the site, about a year ago… it seemed they were spending 90% of their resources debunking Republican bullshit.    The site had seemed to lose its fun, pop culture, silliness. Additional reading here.

What is the most fucked up thing you have found in a bathroom?

A severed, bloody, deer head.  It involved drinking, college, mushrooms, poaching, and tequila sunrise.  That is all i am going to tell you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*** see that, up top?  I have outdone myself.  IT is a mandala of Nelson Mandela heads.  A Mandela mandala!  This is like a graduation of sorts.  Glad you were here to share it.

the government controls the weather, man. Um… turns out they do

Image result for controlling the weather

The Feds seeded the clouds at Woodstock.  They caused that rain, man!  They tried to run us off, but we were resolute.  Chemtrails!  You know that is, right.  It ain’t water vapor, bro.  That shit is poisoning us! Do you know about the HAARP site up in Alaska?  Do you think they are using that to play bingo with the Russians, man?  The Government. Controls. The Weather. Wake the fuck up, you stooges.

Controlling the weather conspiracies are a rich and colorful part of our history.  And, mostly, led by total crackpots!

It was then with amusement and surprise I read this story, today.  Mexican farmers and ranchers around a Volkswagen plant in Mexico accused the company of controlling the weather around the facility with ‘hail bombs’ designed to divert and control weather to prevent hail damage on their cars.  Let’s play multiple choice with what Volkswagen’s reponse was:

  1. We WISH we could control the weather.  I am sorry, but is just folklore
  2. Don’t you think we are already in enough trouble with the environment?  Volkswagon works hard with local communities where are plants are to create opportunity and sustainable solutions.
  3. Yup.  Our bad.  We’ll try and stop doing that.

The answer, as you may have guessed, was C!

Volkswagen has been accused of ruining crops planted near one of its factories in Mexico by using technology to alter the weather

Is this Alex Jones?  No, it is CNN. It’s not a myth, or even a theory.

Following the complaints, Volkswagen has promised to reduce its use of the cannons at its Puebla factory.

Where is Lewis Black when I need him?  You are telling me that man CAN control the weather… at will?  And we are? And what we are using is for is to protect Volkswagons?  Its a fine thing, America, that I don’t have an editor. She would have benched this article before I finished it.  I can only assume Nikola Tesla was not only working on this, but likely succeeding.

further reading:

Wikipedia – weather modification 

Science.com – can we control the weather?

How Stuff Works – Can China Control the weather?

Kermit found me

It recently occurred to me that a lot of who I am, I owe to Kermit.  Kermit is a childhood friend, going back a million years.  He is an odd and wonderful man, and he helped me to be the same.  I remember going back to early high school, or maybe middle school.  I was an undeveloped fetus, culturally.  He was a brilliant subversive, and I think he turned me into one, too.  I watched the shows everyone watched.  There was no choice, with 3 channels.  I listened to what everyone listened to… again… you had 3 channels for rock, at best.

Odds are, I was lamenting how much I hated reading.  They gave us the most droll and sanitized shit.  Reading what they fed us was punishment.  Kermit turned me on to everything.  What do I know about comic books?  Still nothing, except barely hetero dudes in tights and sheets.  Kermit found this, and gave it to me.  I still have it in my collection.  It is the story of Gregory, a young boy locked up in an institution and watching his mind go wild.  This was more than a comic book… this was cultural subversion… and I was in!

then, he turned me on to authors.  At this time, I hated reading more than math.  I can not emphasize enough what shitty and boring books they feed kids.  You want me to read Wuthering heights?  Ok, that is like 200 pages of repressed love and emotion in Victorian England?  How the fuck is a 13 year old boy going to connect with that?  All the books were ‘Newbery award winners’.   He turned me on to Hunter Thompson and Henry Miller.  He gave me a copy of ‘Tropic of Cancer’ and it rocked my world.  These were dirty American expats living in France.  They did dick all all day long except sit around drunk and talk about how great they were.  They mooched everything they had, including the women, and just lived as they please.  This book was full of very graphic sex scenes.  It was full of people having fun, and adventures.  Think of it like this – Henry Miller is the x rated version of Ernest Hemingway.

take a look at Henry Miller.  This guy has seen some shit.  Scratch that… this guy has caused some shit!

That book opened the world to me.  There are books about sex?  There are people doing noting all day long but getting drunk in cafes and celebrating their own genius?  How do I get that job?  Of course, the book was banned here… which made it all the more sexy.  Most importantly, the writing was GREAT.  Just beautiful and powerful and visual.  I felt I was there.  These guys defined ‘fake it until you make it’.  Henry Miller basically willed his persona into existence through sheer force of will.  I am reminded of Salvador Dali and Hunter Thompson here… same thing.

Then, he turned me on to ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, my second favorite book of all time.  I don’t need to tell you my love and obsession with Hunter, I think you know.  Then it struck me… what these guys write about is what every young black person in America is in jail for.  Raping, drugging, and general malaise.  These were NOT good people, but they were GREAT writers.  What is the difference?  Well, they wrote about it.  Oh, and they were white.  That helps.

And then he turned me on the Beatles.  I knew the poppy happy radio stuff, which I still love.  But he turned me on the White Album.  He was like ‘these guys will fuck you up,  they changed everything, man’.  And he was right.  He was the first person I knew to have a CD Walkman, and we’d hang out at break sharing headphones listening to this stuff.  Then, he got me deep into Zeppelin.  What do I mean by ‘deep’?  It means listening to Zeppelin OTHER than Zepp 4.  He played for my Physical Graffiti.  It is a sweeping and galloping masterpiece of rock and roll.  There are not pithy 3 minute hits on that double disc.  No sir.  It is just 2 hours of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant following their muse.

He gave me a light.  Where the future used to look boring and corporate and soulless and inevitable… Kermit made it this wide open adventure. Shortly after this, I would spend a month in Mexico every summer.  I would just backpack around with no plan, often by myself.  I don’t think I would have had the courage or confidence to do something like that were it not for Kermit.

Kermit, I don’t know where you are.  I don’t even know if you are alive, but I love you and I miss you and I thank you!

 

Because of Kermit, I went from hating reading to getting a literature degree.  And… you will not find 1 goddamn Newbery award winner in my stacks