Friday, February 5, 2016

Back pages.

Looks like rain again. And forty, maybe fifty degrees. You call this winter? I call it bullshit, man. Fifty years after the blizzard of '66, and it's like freaking April out there in the middle of February. Freak. Ish.

Right, I know. Don't start a blog post by talking about the weather. Very well. But I should add that, even though the weather's been less than frightful, we've been sticking pretty close to home this winter. Old habits die hard, I guess. And while the sun shone over these past few days, we've occupied ourselves with digging through the vast Big Green archive, looking for rare nuggets of a glorious past that never was. The odd gig poster. A broken guitar string. A broken guitar. A broken guitar case. (Interestingly, I found those all together.)

Some will remember that my first instrument was the bass guitar. (And when I say "some", I don't mean anyone reading this.) When Matt and I started playing out in the late 70s, that was my axe, for the most part, though I started banging on my brother Mark's Fender Rhodes piano fairly early on. Matt and I spent more than a few years in the wilderness, putting together bands and watching them fall apart. First we couldn't hold on to a guitar player. Then it was drummers - before John White picked it up, we hopped from one player to another. After that, it was guitar players ... I think we had three in the space of two years in the early nineties. Big Green was invented in 1986. It Yep. Busted.kind of came up in our alphabet soup while we were hanging out in Ballston Spa, NY, waiting for something interesting to happen.

Okay, so ... if you look around my basement, you'll find my P-Bass, still virtually unplayable (just like it was thirty years ago). If you look hard, you'll find Mark's Fender Rhodes. We've got some recording from those early days, but they're spotty at best. I may post one at some point just for laughs. We popped into a studio in Utica back in 1981 and recorded some live tracks, including a couple of originals. It's a pretty good snapshot of where we were musically back then - rushed, tired-sounding, no sense of parts or arrangement. We were a mess! Kids those days!

God damn, I wish it would snow so that I wouldn't feel as thought I'm just wasting my time down here. (That's right, friends ... it's all about me.)


After more than three years of talking about it, the way-too-long 2016 election is actually under way, and as always, the actual Iowa caucus results don't look very much like the polls. No surprises there.

The Democratic side was a tie, no two ways about it. One thing you can say for certain about American elections - when they're very close, there's no way to sort out who really won, and in this case we may never know. The Clinton camp basically adopted the W. Bush strategy in Bush v. Gore: declare victory and move on. It is remarkable, to say the least, that Bernie Sanders, avowed socialist, 74 years old, no PAC money, etc., was able to take on a political machine that includes a former president stumping for the celebrity candidate.

Yer a looozah!I think one advantage Bernie may have is that he is making a case for something different than the status quo. His presidency would not be a third Obama term, whereas from the sound of Hillary (and what we know of how the Clintons govern), we would have continuity under her guiding hand.

What about the G.O.P.? Well, the biggest bigot-hugger won. Trump learned the meaning of the word "lose", and Rubio apparently thinks that coming in third is better than coming in first (perhaps because the number 3 is bigger than the number 1 - just a guess on my part). Predictably, the Republican contest appears headed toward producing a candidate with extremist views on a whole range of topics, from abortion rights to foreign military actions and so on. It could hardly be anything else. Trump is an arbitrary billionaire, capable of doing just about anything. Cruz is a sanctimonious wind-bag, in love with his own voice and with the sweet memory of carpet-bombing the darkies. Rubio is the cracked vessel that crazed neocon foreign policy advisers are carried around in. Christie is the somewhat larger container that the anti-Social Security Peterson Institute is carried around in. I could go on.

So, if Iowa demonstrated anything, it's that the Democratic race is indeed a race. It also confirms what most of us already knew - some crackpot will be running on the other side.

Don't forget to vote. No, really ... I mean it.

luv u,