Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is John Mayer more talented than me? And other questions that haunt my nights...

I've been a musician for more or less my whole life. From piano lessons in grade school, through bands and choirs in school, through bands with friends, through picking up instruments here and there, and even riding a vocal scholarship halfway through my undergrad years. I can play about a dozen instruments, half of them pretty well, and I'm a good enough singer to garner the aforementioned scholarship. In short, music has pretty much dominated my life. I've been spending the majority of my days either listening to or performing it for as long as I can remember. I know it inside and out, classical and contemporary, theoretically and wanking jammery.

Yet my one big project this summer has been to write a song. A song of my own. One that I would perform and say "here's a little ditty I wrote" or something witty like that. How hard can it be? To borrow a phrase, the radio is full of no-talent ass-clowns winning Grammys all over the place. Certainly it cannot be that hard.

And yet it vexes me so. I simply cannot write anything I would ever perform in front of other human beings. And in my quest to figure out why this writer's block has such a grip on me, I've been relentlessly analyzing all forms of music I listen to.

And you know what I think? I think I'm just not full of myself enough to do it. I mean, seriously, look at the lyrics to your favorite songs. Read them aloud, with no music or anything, just read the words aloud. You'll notice they sound completely ridiculous. So ridiculous you have to wonder if the people performing them ever get embarrassed of having to say such things night in and night out on tour. But they don't, because they're able to accept their own bullshit as if it were legitimate.

And it's not just accepting your own bullshit, it's truly believing that others want to hear your bullshit. And don't get me wrong, I'm plenty able to force my bullshit on others, but for some reason, just not musically.

So I'm working on it, and making a little bit of progress. But I have to believe I'll overcome this and write some eventually, because I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with the fact that there are things the likes of John Mayer can do that I can't...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kick-Ass Upcoming Events in the TC

Tomorrow night at Arise!, world-renowned graphic novelist and social justice activist Seth Tobocman will be appearing at Arise (2441 Lyndale in Uptown). Seth is best know as co-creator of the comic World War II Illustrated, but my favorite of his would have to be You Don't Have To Fuck People Over To Survive, a brilliant thesis on anti-capitalist work, and also the book I read while getting my first tattoo...the book isn't tattoo-related at all, but it holds special memories for me in that way, too.

Second, make sure also to get your ass over to Harriet Island on the first day of the RNC to see the Take Back Labor Day festival. A combination of music and activism put on by the SEIU, it will feature so little-known no-name acts as Atmosphere, Mos Def, Billy Bragg, Steave Earle, Alison Moorer, pharcyde, and some kid named Tom Morello, who apparently has another band playing in town the next night.

Anyway, it's a good time to be back in the Twin Cities. And if you're out of town and thinking about visiting soon, remember that bars can stay open until 4 a.m. for the Republicans...just so you know.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Home -Grown Terrorism and Where the Police Waste Their Time

I remember back in undergrad after it was revealed that the police had been spying on a group of mostly elderly priests and nuns I did anti-war work with, the mother of the girl I was dating at the time explained to me that it was necessary for the police to keep tabs even on pacifists, because "terrorists do run in those circles."

Now, it goes without saying that this lady was incredibly stupid (though for many more reasons that just that statement), but she was even more astoundingly stupid than usual that time.

Because American terrorists are not leftists, they are conservatives. After the recent murder of the chair of the Arkansas Democratic party, we have the second story in just a few weeks of a right-wing nutjob going crazy and shooting up leftists because of Rush Limbaugh convinced him it's ok to do so.

But really what these stories point to is that incredible ways in which our law enforcement resources are woefully mismanaged in order to intimidate progressive activists rather than actually, oh I don't know, enforce the laws or stop crazed right-wingers from blowing up federal buildings, for example.

Time and time again, the facts have proven that lefty peacenicks are completely non-violent (you know, much like the names "pacifism" would imply), while radical right-wingers are not afraid to use murder to achieve their aims, whether it be against abortion, liberal churches, black churches, or any other group or institution they feel is a threat to their insane world view.

But yet where do local, state, and federal law enforcement put their resources in investigating political groups?

Though to be fair, it must be pretty hard. I mean, on the one hand you have groups asking the government to stop killing, and on the other hand, you have groups openly advocating murder. It must be pretty hard to figure out which one poses the bigger threat...but then again, I guess it depends on what you define as a threat. While I might say people who advocate murdering innocent people are a threat, I can see how people who say that perchance the United States shouldn't dictatorially control the world or murder over a million people in a war based on lies must seem pretty threatening, too...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Um...At Least We're Not the Only Racist Nation?

In a recent ad for the Spanish sports magazine Marca, the entire Spanish Olympic basketball team posed while making "slanty eyes" to promote their appearance in the games in China.

This is pretty much just 100% fucked up, so I don't really think it needs any commentary...though in unrelated news, I hear they hired Don Imus as their play-by-play announcer...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

I am 26 years old today.

I have no clever saying or relevant song about turning 26, so there is no long-winded essay today. I'm finally home from the east coast and it's my birthday.

Even though I cleaned, cleaned the apartment on my birthday, it's still a pretty good day. I am going to lounge around in my pajamas and play Tecmo Super Bowl, possibly the greatest video game ever made...ever.

And then a surprise party tonight (the suspense!).

And that's a quality birthday.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Finally Coming Home

After a long, warm, humid, and Godless month on the East Coast, the lady friend and I are finally beginning the long trek home tomorrow, interrupted only by stops for food and the occasional cool-looking mini gold course.

Words can not express how good it will feel to be back in the loving embrace of the Twin Cities.

So blogging will be pretty light for the rest of the week, but return with a vengeance as soon as I'm back to my own computer and my own home of righteously indignant know...stay tuned for that.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I Wish I Were Still Naive Enough to be Shocked

Seymour Hersh, the pulitzer-winning columnist for the New York Times, reports that Cheney had a series of meetingas to determine how to build an excuse for war with Iran. Really, that should be offensive enough. But it gets better (or worse, depending on your view of humanity):

One of the ideas discussed was building boats that looked like Iranian warships, staffing them with U.S. Marines dressed to look like Iranians, and having them open fire on U.S. troops, thus provoking a war.'s true. Let that sink in for a good moment or two.

The Vice President of the United States was willing to sacrifice the lives of American soldiers so that he could stage a fake fight with Iran, thus allowing him to convince the American people to waste the lives of thousands more Americans and Iranians so that he could start a war with no actual justification.

This is really shameful, but more to the point, it is fucking treason. Cheney was fully prepared to have U.S. soldiers fight each other to start yet another illegal war. How are these people allowed to still be in office, let alone not in prison? Or, if I remember correctly from my eigth grade social studies class, the punishment for treason in hanging, right?

But I suppose it just invokes the old adage that if you kill one person you're a murderer; if you kill a thousand, you're a hero. Not quite sure what you are if you kill well over a million, but you're sure not as bad as a a guy who lied about getting a blowjob, apparently.