Don’t own a TV, but I’m certainly not one of those snobs who turn his or her nose up whenever the trashy content of most television programming is mentioned. No siree. I’m inclined to revel in bad TV. In fact, I’ve spent so many hours and days and years in front of the idiot box, Devo started writing songs about me. There’s no programming too stupid for me to get sucked into, unless you’re talking about anything involving the Kardashians. But that’s because I’ve got an anti-procyonic bias; you won’t cold-bust me watching any cutesy nature shows about raccoons, either.
So by not owning a TV, apparently I am missing out on a hella full-tilt brown-acid meltdown involving various members of the Republican Party who’ve been running for president this year. From what I’ve gleaned by watching clips online, there’s this one guy named Willard, who used to be an empty suit who fronted for a band of rapacious venture-capital coyotes called Bain Predatorial. He looks a mite brittle, like that prick blueblood dad whose browbeaten kid is on the opposing team at your eight-year-daughter’s suburban soccer game, that entitled guy who’s constantly getting in the faces of the refs so that his kid’s team can eke out a win by repeatedly penalizing your kid’s team. You know, that guy about whom you cannot stop obsessing over the idea of ritually disemboweling with a rusty old beer opener. His nickname is “Mitt,” which is Biff’n’Muffy short for “Mittens,” and he is utterly without the subgenius concept of “slack.” He has no slack. None. Zero.
Mittens Romney’s biggest problem, in a field of competitors who are desperately trying to out-Jesus each other, is that his particular religion, while it makes claims that it’s “uniquely Christian,” is considered to be some sort of apostate say-tanic cult by the hyper-drooling, Jeebus-wanking fanatics that make up the majority of today’s GOP. Sure, Mormons wear special undergarments if they’ve qualified for their temple recommend card, and in their temples they baptize dead people, including your relatives, and probably mine, too, by proxy into their church, and their doctrine of eternal progression runs at least a teensy bit contrary to the Christian concept of salvation by grace, but when you think about the stuff that the more over-the-top branches of evangelical Christians believe, which is about one Amanita muscaria cap short of a full-on UFO abduction by day-glo Merrie Melodies cartoon characters who ebb and flow in exquisite Busby Berkeley-choreographed formations, I’d think your average Latter-day Saint is pretty darned reasonable by comparison. My major quibble is that the LDS mothership in Salt Lake City bankrolled a “Don’t let the gays and lesbians get married” initiative in my home state of California, then bused a bunch of “volunteers” to my state to push for its passage. Not cool, Mittens and other Mormons. Not cool.
Fortunately for Romney, his competition is hilariously unelectable. Consider one Isaac Newton “Newtler” Gingrich, who has been described as what looks like viscous lumps of mashed potatoes poured into a suit, then topped by a rotting Jack O’Lantern that was thrown away by the neighborhood serial killer/child molester, who’d tried and failed to carve the pumpkin to look like Pedobear to draw the kids within striking range, but instead it ended up looking like some hallucinatory Aztec approximation of a Hieronymous Bosch angel of death. Gingrich tries to sound affable, and smart, and even reasonable, but his patronizing and bullying natures usually come out when he’s challenged, whereupon he behaves like a cross between a cornered wolverine, or more accurately a honey badger chomping on a week-dead cobra, and a petulant toddler dragged kicking and screaming past the candy aisle in a Walmart. But don’t you want to “do” his third wife, Callista? That spray-on newscaster helmet hair! That kabuki makeup! Imagine her in banana-yellow silk lingerie, her head and neck dripping with jewels from Tiffany, crouched on all fours on a cheap flea-market rug resembling the U.S. Constitution, cooing the 70-page John Galt address from Atlas Shrugged as you, uh, gosh darn it, I’ll shut up now before I get myself into real trouble. But I already am.
So, well … uh … Ron Paul, on the other hand, looks like Mayberry deputy sheriff Barney Fife, if ol’ Barney’d sold his soul to the devil and then got tricked by Baron Samedi into spending the rest of his earthly days stealing nuts from squirrels. The one caveat is that Barney the nut stealer was given the gift of charisma by Auld Scratch as a consolation prize for his bedebbilments, so that he would appeal to anyone thick enough to have made it all the way through The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged without laughing derisively or throwing those literary masterworks into the shredder, instead acquiring a fanatical devotion to Paul and his ideas. (And you Pauline apostles, especially you pot-smoking ones, I wrote the above just to piss you off. I fully expect you to fill my inbox with angry letters defending your hero. Do not disappoint me.)
Oozing out of the Lone Star State, Rick Perry pretty much dumb-shat himself into oblivion with an on-camera derp-derp-derp moment that was breathtaking in its stupidity. So he’s back at the old family hermitage in Cabeza del Negro, Tejas, pondering whether or not to attempt a Gee Dubya-swaggering comeback in one of the Southern primaries, riding up, ahem, bareback on some hawse from the family ranch, firing a couple of nickel-plated Colt 45s at any lib’ruhl media clowns who might be lurking about. I say go for it, governor. Wear the ass-less chaps the lads in Austin say they’ve seen you sporting in local watering holes while you’re at it. You know them Babtists don’t care if you’re one of them hoe-moe-sekshuls as long as you ain’t one of them Utah Mormon devil worshippers, because you of course love the real Jesus.
There’s another dick in the race, I mean another dick named Dick, because there are a big bag of dicks running as Republicans this year: Rick Santorum, however, is somewhat of a surprise. I guess if you stick around for long enough, somebody will ask you to dance. In this case, it’s a half-bright lawyer from the Keystone State who got elected to the Senate, and managed to lose the next election by, what, 40 points? This guy is that hammerhead on a high school debating team who, when he isn’t comparing gay bedroom behavior to “man on dog” bestiality, or Mormon polygamy, keeps whipping out his toolbox of logical fallacies to pummel every opposing viewpoint like a drunken chef tenderizing some calamari, to where everyone else is snickering and betting on what completely idiotic spew the sweater vest-wrapped bonehead will say next. And I won’t even mention how he’s enriched himself with wingnut welfare from private healthcare companies, or that thing with the stillborn baby that squicks me out so badly I can’t even make a joke about it, not even one involving cheesesteak preparation.
Hey, speaking of food, let’s look at the others. Pizza Guy flamed out, which is too bad. I thought that with that smoking campaign manager, Herman Cain was almost fixing to get ready to ratchet up the surrealism to way past where it already is. Maybe bust out some fine music at his campaign appearances, like the extended mix of “Candy Licker” by Marvin Sease, or maybe “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot, while the big-butt dancers from Bobby Rush’s blues revue come parading out onstage to shake major can at befuddled reporters and Republicans. Maybe unveil a big Baphomet logo when he discounts the price of his nine-nine-nine extry-sausage combo to six-six-six. Meanwhile, the trouble with one sexually harassed female crawling out of the past is that, pretty soon, they’re crawling out of the woodwork like cockroaches after a pyrethrum cleanout in the kitchen of a greasy spoon. What to do, what to do? Don’t be a pussy: Own it! “Shucks, yes, American voter. I have been known to be a victim of my lustful urges. But I am deeply sorry, and I have confessed to my God, and Jesus, and my preacher, and my loving and faithful and understanding wife, so I have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb the Redeemer, and I am ready to like be your president and stuff.” That’s how you handle that shit.
Michele Bachmann dropped out, too. She’s bag-o-nuts crazy, of course, but nevertheless I’m disappointed, because her husband the pray-the-gheh-aweigh “doctor,” whose loafers are reputed to be even lighter than Liberace’s, would have done a fine job redecorating the White House. But she’s no longer a factor. Boo hoo. And who else is left? Jon Huntsman? He’s still in the race? Oh, he’s all right. His daughters are kinda dorky for making those videos, but they’re kind of hot. Maybe Huntsman will do well in New Hampshire tomorrow. But he’s the same religion as Romney, which unfortunately does not “test well” with certain dominionist Christian types.
And where is Sarah Palin? Why, God, why?
It’s bedtime. I could write more snarky stuff about these clowns, but I think I’ll go buy a TV instead. —Jackson Griffith
The trouble with maintaining a blog is that you think of all sorts of things to write about when you’re doing something else, like working, or driving, but when you finally sit down in front of the computer, all those great ideas go right out the window. So you end up, or at least I end up, spewing a bunch of “blah, blah, blah, I’m not feeling so good right now” twaddle that comes nowhere near the brilliant, elusive, dreamy posts that fly in through one ear and out the other before they make it into typed words. Oh, if you could have seen the posts I composed in my head.
I’m sitting here in a cafe typing into my laptop right now. The impermanence of life is weighing heavily on my mind, and has been for a while. The holidays are over. One person I knew, a man who helped me out a lot, simply by living an example and by exuding serenity when I got to a crisis point over 19 years ago and had to abandon one way of life for another, died over the holidays. Another person I’ve known just about as long, who was around when I was wrestled by life into surrender, is reportedly on her deathbed as I write this. My daughter, 23 and beautifully independent, left for Thailand right after Christmas on a one-way ticket. I sincerely hope there’s a god, or maybe some benevolent spirits, who will watch over her and keep her safe.
Me? I’m not a loser. I make a lot of mistakes. Lately, the task of making amends has been coming up, partially because of where I am in a certain spiritual-growth process, and partially because, well, I’m sick and tired of making the same mistakes over and over, and I’m tired of doing stupid things that hurt people I care about, and I want to stop and I want to set things right. I’ve got one in particular that’s at the top of the stack, an old friend I badmouthed on Facebook, and maybe somewhere else I can’t remember because I was in a fugue state of being a butthole. I’ve tried to make amends several times, with no response any time. Please don’t laugh.
Many of my resentments seem to grow out of my frustration to be heard as a songwriter and musician. I get frustrated, then bitterly resentful, and then that negative state I’m in, along with the damage I’ve caused, turns people against me. What I really need to do is let go of any desire to play music — not give up, but just let go. I did that for my nonexistent love life, which is still nonexistent, but at least I’m not torturing myself anymore whenever a beautiful woman crosses my path, or worse, a beautiful woman who at one time professed love for me. It doesn’t mean I have to stop playing music or singing or writing songs; it just means I have no expectations that anyone other than me will give much of a hoot.
This morning I woke up to a pretty cool dream. It was long and byzantine, probably fueled by the anodyne Tom Ka Gai soup I ate the night before to ward off this horrible fluey-coldy thing that hit me on New Year’s Eve, and all I remember was the end. I descended with a small group of people, familiar to me but I can’t recall their names, into a cave that led to another world inside the Earth, kind of like Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, which I’d enjoyed in comic-book form (Classics Illustrated) until I stupidly took it with me on a Boy Scout 50-mile hike and the Scoutmaster caught me reading it behind a tree and he made me burn it and a couple of other childhood comic favorites, me weeping like a pussyboy at losing some things I loved dearly, in front of all the other Boy Scouts.
Anyway, this group and I descended into this other world, which was verdant and primitive, like the plants were at an earlier stage of evolution. There were these younger boys, like my sons, and at one point one of them told me how cool it might be if we could fly. “What’s holding you back?” I answered him. “It’s easy. Watch.” Then I got a running start, but my arms out like plane wings and took off. I was zooming around this inner dome world, rising and diving and doing barrel rolls, and I saw that they followed. The sky was pink and orange with clouds, and the landscape was lush and green, like hilly jungles that went on for miles. At one point, I flew over what looked like some kind of modern defense installation, or maybe a nuclear power plant or a UFO, all gleaming chrome in the bright light. My mind couldn’t make sense of what it was doing in the corner of this domed jungle world of my dreams.
And then, we all landed, and it was time to leave. There was a woman sitting in a lounge chair on a deck, and she was a composite of my first girlfriend Jo and my daughter’s mom Lynne and a couple other women I’ve loved. She looked up from the newspaper she was reading, and as I walked by she rose up and planted a big kiss on my lips. “It’s so good to have you back, Bri,” she said, calling me by a shortened version of the middle name I’d gone by in my younger years. “It’s so nice to see you acting like your old self again.” I’m not sure what she meant. I mean, I kinda have an inkling, but I’m really not so sure.
Then again, there is a lot I do not know, and probably never will. —Jackson Griffith
So what did you do to ring in the new year? I dragged myself out of my little hidey-hole, figuring that it would be much better to welcome the new year while being somewhat sociable than just chilling out in my apartment. Didn’t really have a plan; walked a few blocks to Tres Hermanas, a Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood, and right after I got seated, a threesome that I think might’ve been roasting a bowl on the sidewalk came in, carrying a really big bottle of cheap (Cook’s) champagne, acting like they owned the joint. That takes stones; the only thing cooler would have been if it was Andre cold duck. The guy was hispanic, with one of those goofus fauxhawks and a fake tan; he was wearing a black dress shirt with a really ugly crimson tie. One of the two women was a blonde, the other a brunette; both had painted-on dresses, and the blonde’s lingerie covered up her tats, but the brunette had a bunch of stuff in what looked like olde English script tatted all up and down her slightly plump legs.
There was a couple seated in between them and me, so I only could gander snippets of their conversation; something about “you look hawt,” directed toward the blonde, and a rather loud passage wherein Mr. Ladies Man was arguing over his cell phone with what sounded like a cab dispatcher about the price of getting from Tres Hermanas to the Mercantile Saloon, an easy five-and-a-half block jaunt by foot in athletic shoes, made slightly more difficult in counterfeit Louboutins. I kept trying to take pictures of them, because they were such a funny sight, but I am the world’s worst photographer. When I left, Fauxhawk and the blonde were decamped outside with their champagne and cigarrettes: “You look sooo hawtt,” he told her again, “but Gina just looks sooooo trashy tonight.”
Later, I made it over to the Fox & Goose in time for D.J. Larry Rodriguez’s big soiree, which must have been pretty fun. Except that Sir Nose D’Voidofunk hit me with some kind of anti-bop entropy gun, so I got rhythm about as well as Mitt Romney, which is to say, not at all. Everybody was dancing, and had not committed to Larry that I would pull the string at midnight that would release the balloons, I might have bailed. I mean, I could not dance, I could not feel it; what I was feeling instead was crummy, increasingly crummy.
Once I got home, I didn’t leave until this morning. On New Year’s Day, I felt like that Detroit Lions fan who ran in front of a bus, except that I lived through it. At least I think I did. Maybe not. I just proned out in bed, slept, woke up, read, and dreamed of buying a toaster. That’s what my life has been missing, I thought: The ability to make toast on demand. So today, finally, I scraped myself off the mattress and into the shower, and then made it across town to pay rent and go to Target to shop for, you guessed it, a toaster.
I hate stores. I hate shopping. I hate other people in stores who push massive shopping carts down aisles and expect me to stop concentrating on various makes of toasters so I can flatten myself against the shelves to make it easy for their obese juggernauts to pass me by. I hate getting in line behind some couple whose teenage daughter is still running around the store grabbing stuff to buy, only to sprint up to the checkout and dump it on the counter ahead of my solitary toaster, solitary because I didn’t feel good enough to buy more stuff. Meanwhile, everyone else who made smarter picks for lines to get into have bought their swag and moved out the doors. Especially I hate shopping when I don’t feel good. Still, I ain’t about to pepper spray anybody.
Right now, I feel like a catbox left to fester. I’m doing laundry. But I did make amends with the guy I’d maligned, described in my last post here, by apologizing, saying I was sorry, telling him I’m really working on not practicing any more of that dickish behavior, which is rooted in my own insecurities that the world has passed me by, and I asked him if there was anything I could do to make it right. There is one other person I offended a while back, a big shot in the local music scene, to whom I’ve sent three separate messages apologizing for my behavior, but he’s choosing to ignore me and my entreaties, or not acknowledge them. Which is something I have no control over. If he doesn’t want to accept my amends, that’s his choice.
I just have to stop shooting myself in the foot. And I gotta start feeling better, too. —Jackson Griffith