Let’s see, here’s your weekend update: I played a gig last night, which was cool. I guess the only caveat is that I keep wishing that people I know will come see me, but fuggit. I’m just gonna keep playing and working and one of these days, maybe that will change. After the show, and the fabulous Mondo Bizarro cafe in Midtown Sac, I went down to the Safeway on 19th for some cleaning supplies, and then I walked across the street to check out the new Bows & Arrows store where Retrofit Studios used to be. Yes, I am woefully slow to go anywhere, and the place has been open for only like a year or something. The coolest part was walking up to Dane and Rodney at the wine bar, saying hi to Rodney, and watching him squint at me before asking, “Who are you?” “Uh, It’s Jackson, Rodney. He’s grown a beard.”
To backtrack to my sojourn to Safeway, I can’t believe how many of the tabloids in the racks at the checkout counter either featured a Kardashian family member as the cover subject, or else the Kardashians were listed on the cover as one of the stories inside. Yeah, I know. Tabloids. But has everyone lost their minds? I know I go round and round on this, but let’s review:
Thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage breaks out with a leaked sex tape that porno enthusiasts describe in terms of what a phenomenally lousy lay she must be, if what’s on the tape is anywhere near true. Nevertheless, thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage parlays that putatively crummy sex tape into a show, produced by Merv Griffin-wannabe Ryan Seacrest, an alien life-form who hosts a foisting mechanism called American Idol that has all but completely ruined anything artful left in popular music, which airs on another network controlled by encrusted dingleberries cast off by a decompensating fuehrer in a bunker far, far away.
The Kardashian show, or now, more accurately, infestation of shows, airs on the E! Network, a horrendous cable-TV septic tank that is owned by Comcast, a huge corporation that is cable television and internet service provider, and now owns the majority of NBC Universal, a film studio and television network. The show inexplicably catches on, and like a raccoon who’s just gotten fed, the thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage crawls back to the house the next morning with her entire raccoon family, who all get either featured in Seacrest-produced shows or else they get their own breakout shows.
All of a sudden, this family of thoroughly unexceptional raccoons are stars, or what passes for them in our pre-apocalyptic society. They are everywhere. The thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage changes over time, via the marvels of plastic surgery, to an olive-skinned cross between a Barbie doll and the Venus of Willendorf, and there are accounts that her most noteworthy feature, her enlarged gluteus maximus, is surgically altered. Acolytes, who view the thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage as the fulfillment of a prophecy by Sir Mix-A-Lot 20 years earlier, are not shaken by these developments.
Then the thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage round-heels her way through a number of melanin-enhanced professional athletes, and she ultimately settles on an oaf of a boy-man who’s skill in the kitchen centers around his ability to braise raccoon meat in a Dutch oven, and the thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage and the oafish boy-man Dutch oven chef marry in a ceremony that is touted by the very, very stupid as some sort of American royal wedding. It lasts all of 72 days.
I’m really not sure about you, but I know I’ve had enough. I don’t want to see any more of them when I go to the store, and any supermarket chain that can set up a 100-percent Kardashian-free checkout line, or two, will earn my business. I don’t watch their show, and I do no business with Comcast, because that company has done so much to push this infestation of raccoons on the public, and I don’t want to subsidize it by getting overcharged on my cable bill. Since Comcast has acquired General Electric’s old interest in NBC Universal, the thoroughly unexceptional hanger-on in Paris Hilton’s entourage and her family of fellow raccoons have been turning up on shows on NBC, particularly that lantern-jawed Doritos pitchman who hosts the once decent show once hosted much better by Jack Paar and Johnny Carson.
I think my clothes are dry. I will shut up now. —Jackson Griffith
Some people go to bars. My typical M.O. is to swing by Phono Select, that swell little neighborhood record store in Midtown, on the way home from the office. Usually it’s Dal or Nich or maybe the lovely Christina, or a combo thereof, invariably with Downtown James Brown, headphones clapped over his ears, checking out either Famous Flames videos or, today, Google-searching stuff like “Christina Aguilera naked pictures.” Ha, James is diggin’ on some porn, somebody said. “Naw I ain’t lookin’ at no pornos!” he yelled, triggering laughing fits around the store.
Today I found a record in the $1 bargain bin. I don’t usually spring for the cheapos, but once I took a gander at the liner notes on the back of Trini Lopez Live at PJ’s, on the Reprise label, I had to have it. Penned by Mike Connolly from not only The Hollywood Reporter but syndicated by the San Francisco Chronicle, the notes had that yabba dabba doo swagger that could only come from the aftermath of a four-martini lunch at Martoni’s or perhaps Vesuvio’s, depending on in what end of the state Connolly was imbibing, I mean, writing.
I relish writing like this. I’m not going to attempt any kind of critique; I’m just going to string together some of the fine similes and metaphors, and let them do the talking, and let you stand back or sit down and be as totally impressed as I was and still am: “Like an anchor in aspic … as exciting as Bingo in a church basement … stronger than tacos in an Olvera Street sidewalk stand … as disorganized as Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody arranged for harp and trumpet … just like Saturday night at the Paseo de la Reforma.”
The trouble with these kids today is that they’re putting out albums and singles and whatnot, and they’re not hiring half-in-the-bag scriveners to liven up the back covers with prose like this: “That crazy beat, P.J.’s trademark, is showcased typically in Trini’s ‘La Bamba.’ No dancing is permitted at P.J.’s so the customers keep time to Trini’s Latin-scattin’ vocals with their cocktail jiggers, their glasses, their fists and their feet.” Sounds like a good time to me.
So I bought this album just because I needed something to write about this evening. I could talk about almost getting run over twice by the same bus — Sacramento Regional Transit Bus No. 2379, first when the driver ran a yellow-turning-red light at approximately 6:43 p.m. while speeding east on J Street at 25th Street and nearly clipped me at the southeast corner as I stepped into the curb and he or she swerved into the lane to access the bus stop, and then later on J Street at 20th at around 9 p.m., much less of a close call this time, but still, same bus, as I was about to cross at 20th Street — but I wouldn’t want to get the driver into trouble for trying to get to Jimboy’s before closing time. Those tacos can be pretty tasty. Still, being a pedestrian in this town sucks sometimes.
Didn’t have any cool dreams about dark-eyed beauties, either. So, this. —Jackson Griffith
Another Saturday night and I ain’t got no- … Wait a second. I got myself. I’ve got a full belly, and I’m sitting in my fave little neighborhood coffee joint with a fresh caffeine concoction, laughing at the chubby Hispanic woman sitting at the counter with her back to me. She’s wearing a white wife-beater, and it keeps inching up, exposing two large, moon-like gluteus maximus globes that peek out over her low-riding black jeans. In between the moons, there’s a big ol’ buttcrack, which makes her look like the plumber character Dan Aykroyd played on Saturday Night Live decades ago. I wonder if she’s got a screwdriver in there? At any rate, I tried to snap a smartphone photo, but it didn’t work because I’m a crummy photographer.
I guess I shouldn’t make fun of her. She kinda flirted with me when I first got here. Must be that cleaned-up butch I got at the barbershop today, which might make me marginally more attractive. Or maybe it’s the pranksterish mood I’m in tonight, which is what happens when you wear a plaid flannel shirt over a striped undershirt and walk through the, um, ghey district, getting the tsk-tsk eye from multiple passersby. Or, maybe, hey, I dunno. I sorta let go of the idea of me being any kind of player with the ladies a long time ago, or at least a while back, and so today I’ve got the love life to match my Buddhist monk butch, and I guess that’s all right. Don’t ask me to wear a saffron-colored robe, though, because I’m too damned tall for that. Anyway, it’s Saturday night. Anything can happen.
I got up early this morning, as is my custom, and did my Double-A stuff that I do, which took me through noon or so. Went and got the haircut cleaned up, and then had plans to hit this picnic but, because I sleep kinda crummy in the summertime, being a wilty Scottish fellow who doesn’t do well in hotter climes, I fell into a mid-afternoon slumber to make up for those lost zzz’s. Actually, I started watching some old Dragnet episodes on the laptop, and next thing I knew I was zoned out for a couple of hours. Woke up, watched more Dragnet eps, sensed an unhealthy pattern might be developing, picked up the guitar and strummed out another troubadour-like love song to a woman I like to call Winky McFuckmepumps, and then got my act together and went out to eat.
Question: Why is it so many really attractive women are out on the town with totally douchey guys? This reality-show aesthetic has really messed it up for quirky gentlemen like me, because the standard seems to have shifted in favor of scummy dorks in porkpie hats and shit. I’mina halfta skeeze up my game to catch up with these shmoheims, because what I’m putting forth right now isn’t quite cutting it.
I wish I had a nice Gibson SG plugged into a Marshall stack waiting for me when I get home, because I feel like waking some neighbors with high-volume power chords. I’m in as much a mood to cause trouble as I get, which really isn’t much, maybe just a few more wisecracks as usual. I’m filled with great conversation, yet there’s a beautiful woman standing five feet from me talking to some assclown about shopping for paint for a house that he just bought. Which illustrates the old maxim, women care far more about security than they do about witty conversation. That shit goes back to Fred and Wilma Flintstone days.
Fuggit. I’m gonna kick it here for a bit, and go watch more Dragnet. —Jackson Griffith
Boy, do I have a lot to say, and I’m in this just overflowing with groovieness mooding, too! Peaches! We are special golf make shop! If I don’t put a damper on my effusive effusivious Vesuvioness, um, I’m just going to boil over with goody-goodness and get my dinkle squinkled so many times, I’ll probably lose count!
Heck whiz! Actually, I’m in Stockton, I seem to have misplaced my favorite hat today, and I’ve gotta blow this Peet’s popsicle stand and get to my gig, which is at the Blackwater Cafe on Yosemite Street, nine-something-something is the address, where I’ll be playing some music later with Dan Ambiance and whoever else shows up. You got a guitar and have some particularly odious jam-band hippie-rock anthemic 20-minute buttnuggets you want to foist on the sparse crowd? Come on down! Because if you don’t bring it, I will, and you have no idea what I will be pulling from my gigbag. Hell, I don’t either! Show starts whatever, like nine or something, and it’s Friday, July 22. The sun is trine my native sun, and apparently Uranus is in my trousers. Wait. That doesn’t sound good at all.
Aw, fuggit. Come on down. —Jackson Griffith
Okay, I’m sorry. I’m still stupidly distracted and busy, so I can’t get down to any of the really ambitious stuff I have planned. Instead, I have to sit here on a Friday night after coming to from a semi-comatose state (read: nap) after work, after which I crawled into the shower and then trimmed my beard and brushed my mossy teeth and threw some clean clothes on and came down here to Weatherstone to try to wrap up a project that I just haven’t been able to wrap up. Perfectionism is a cruel master.
If I had a goddamn lick of sense, I’d … I’d … well, I’m not even sure what I’d do differently than sit here, munching on a salad and sipping on an iced mocha which will keep me up for a while but that’s the whole point: Stay awake, close the sale. Coffee is for closers only, and I’m not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown, and I am on a mission of mercy.
Oh. Have I got your attention now? Well, it’s fuck or walk. Have I made my decision for Christ? Am I not making sense? Well, watch that clip. David Mamet may have turned into a Dennis Miller-style wingnut tool, and Alec Baldwin’s a bit of a screwdriver, too, but this scene is utter perfection. I find it weirdly inspiring. Maybe it’s time I morphed into a reptilian asshole, eh?
Well, not really. I’ve learned too much to do that. Love is the answer, and I say that earnestly and unironically. We’ve got to come together and stuff. Like, maybe all pile onto a big cruise ship to the Bahamas with some saxophones and feel the love.
This is what happens when you’re too ADD to have anything to say. It will get better. —Jackson Griffith
Occasionally, I’ll scan the headlines during the day. And every once in a while, something will jump off the page and send me gibbering like a macaque with a fresh belt of nitrous oxide. Like this one today, in the New York Times: Facebook Campaign Supports Mormon Leader’s Speech. Of course, it wasn’t the headline itself; it was what I happened to read after I clicked the link.
Ahem. Apparently, the second-oldest white guy in the hierarchy that runs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the Mormons, an 87-year-old named, I kid you not, Boyd K. Packer, felt led by the spiritual powers that be to make a pronouncement on Teh Gayz. You know the drill: Gay people should not be allowed to marry, gay people should just get over this homosexual thing and, y’know, change their minds and get married like everybody else and be fruitful and multiply and make little meat tabernacles for spirit children.
Naturally, when word got out to the public at large, that large segment of people who aren’t inside the LDS bubble, a few of them took umbrage with Mr. Packer’s remarks. They made public denouncements. Some of them in a certain western state, already smarting at a tax-exempt religious institution that poured a ton of money into California to finance the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8 a couple of years ago, got quite rankled.
Now, getting upset at an elderly Mormon leader for not understanding that the world has changed is kinda like getting butthurt at the seasons for changing. Breaking news: Wait for it — water is wet. It would be a monumental astonishment if one of these guys would come correct and just say, “You know, after much deliberation and prayer, the church general authorities have decided that we have this gay thing all wrong.”
Here’s where it gets dicey. Apparently some younger, “hipper” Mormons, who were savvy enough to grasp the importance of social media, launched a Facebook campaign: “I support Boyd K. Packer.” Because the LDS Church is a hierarchy, this kind of stuff has to pass through multiple levels of scrutiny before it goes public, and one wonders if anyone had the cojones to step up and say, “Um, guys, maybe if we’re going to roll out another anti-gay message, we should find someone in the church who’s name doesn’t get this one filed under ‘some jokes write themselves’? Because we’re gonna get reamed on this by all those snickering homosexuals in the media.”
Perhaps someone did wisely 86 the idea of calling the campaign “I can get behind Boyd K. Packer. Who knows?
Read the following in an Eric Cartman voice: “Stan, Kyle, it says here that some old guy in the Mormon church named Boy Gay Fudgepacker got his magic underwear all wrinkled in a bunch and he told teh gayz to get over teh gay lifestyle because God does not intentionally make people go homo.” Adding after a beat: “I am so glad someone in au-thoritay agrees with me.”
Somewhere, a guy named Larry Craig is tapping the floor, pensively. —Jackson Griffith
Screw it. This past week has sucked monkey balls when it comes to trying to blog. Weird problems left and right. Can’t figure it out. Looked at my horoscope and at the ephemeris, and Mercury isn’t retrograde, and my natal Merc isn’t squared or opposed or quincunxed or sesquiquadrated or whatever, so I have no idea what’s going on.
All I do know is that during the day I work, so that’s out for writing this thing. That leaves early morning or evening. And I recently moved, and haven’t gotten my merde together to get a wi-fi connexion going at home, so that leaves coffeehouses. My favorite for food and ambiance and nice people working there is Weatherstone, and it’s the closest to me, too. But the web connect there has been squinky for days. Same goes for Temple on S, and this weekend when I was washing clothes at the laundro on P, the wi-fi wasn’t happening there, either. So here I am at Naked on Q, and maybe I’ll stop in and work on the many longer posts I have in my head but don’t have time to lay down right now. I must say, though, that the ’70s music here chews the big one. Oh. Fugg. I forgot how much I hate Billy Joel.
Ah, complaints, complaints. I’m grumpy. Food, then bed. Call me if you like. —Jackson Griffith
So I moved into this new-for-me place. Actually, it’s a shoebox inside one of those mansard-roofed seventies jobs that I wouldn’t have been caught dead in back when I lived an earlier, cooler life, and insisted on living in old Victorians with wooden floors and high ceilings and atmosphere to spare. But now I don’t give a shit. I just go to work, come home, and need a quiet place to crash and fix my little meals and play some non-stellar guitar. After a couple of years sleeping in strange places, including a year on a massage table two floors above a local dance club, which I’m firmly convinced sits on a darkly haunted block once occupied by an Indian burial ground — and for the first time since before I got together with my ex-wife in 1998 — I have a place I can call my own.
It’s gonna be a while before I’m throwing any dinner parties, however. Gotta get what’s in storage I can use, and then build from there. I’d lost my bed when my marriage went kablooey, and to hell with sleeping in that jinxed thing anyway, so after sleeping on the floor last night, I decided I wanted a bed. Actually, last night I went to IKEA in West Sacramento, but I got overwhelmed pretty quickly and left and went to a Double-A meeting.
This afternoon, after making sure my pal Bobby would be available with his truck (thanks, man), I went into the store. Now, I’m not sure what your position on shopping is; chances are, if you’re one of those hunter-gatherer types, you probably get off on that shit. Me, I panic. About five minutes into walking around upstairs, I had a pretty good mantra going: “I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping.” Damn. I dunno how some people do it. It’s the kind of aggravation that makes me miss being married, or at least having a girlfriend for moral support and stuff.
Anyhoo, after bumping into some toddlers and getting wicked looks from overfed mom and granny, I sucked in my breath and figured out what I wanted. Trouble is, all the product names are in some fucking Scandinavian language, and I forgot my pen and paper, so I tried to memorize the stuff I’d picked. “Let’s see, I’m getting the Ingeborgenfnugen, and what goes with that is the Skůndëhøøndėvœndênslåg, and, fuck, I’ll just grab some goddamn pillows because I’ll be royally fucked if I try to memorize that name, too. I know some people get wood for that Norwegian shit, but why can’t they just name their stuff after guys who used to play for the Giants?
Then I had to go downstairs into the warehouse to find the shit. I made the mistake of getting behind some dried-up schoolteacher type who had to argue with the IKEA guy, who wasn’t quite aces with his English, about garden furniture or the lack of it, and why doesn’t IKEA have any garden furniture like the greeter in the foyer had promised? Meanwhile, I was trying to remember the fucking Danish alphabet soup that would either get me a mattress and platform or, if I fucked up, some godawful home-entertainment wall unit with a built-in armoire and electric wok/fondue combo.
Eventually I got the stuff, paid for it, loaded it into Bobby’s truck, got it home, and then sat down on my bedroom floor for a quick assembly. Uh, wrong. Jeebus farting Chrysler, what a mess. Working from a set of hieroglyphs that looked like something from an old Huckleberry Hound cartoon, I set to work fitting slats into rubber thingees that plugged into the rail thing, and the slats had to be threaded through this nylon cord thing, and some of the slats had to be doubled with these smaller slats first, then threaded through the cord thing, and then both halves of the completed whatchamacallit had to be screwed together, and about midway through my back started spasming and then my whole body started hurting like I’d taken a drunken header off a skateboard into a picnic table of brats who stabbed me with their plastic forks, and, uh, you get the drift.
In the middle of the whole mess, my daughter Ellie called, which was nice catching up with her. She’d had a similar IKEA experience, or at least the assembly nightmare part, recently, so it was kinda fun comparing notes. I guess that, for me, I prefer words to diagrams, but maybe all these companies just got fucking tired of printing instructions in a bunch of different languages, so they settled on really bad cartoons. At least if you’re going to force people to read comics, hire some goddamn illustrators to do them in a way that people can understand them. I know a lot of comics people who could use the work, and if IKEA or whoever doesn’t want to pay money, then maybe they could trade out for swag or something. Ach! My aching back. Sorry about all the cursing.
So now I’m sitting here at the Weatherstone, which is now in my neighborhood, and I’m about done typing, because I’m still sore as hell and I’m crabbing and bitching like a goddamn old person. Gonna go home and turn in early, methinx. Got no internet there yet, so this is the best I can do.
But I had to write something, because I’ve been slacking in that department. Right? —Jackson Griffith