Tuesday, November 29, 2005

That poor, dying man...

I just wanted to share a wonderful email with you. I just received it, and it just warms my soul.

From: Hassan Mohammed

KINDLY FULFILL MY LAST WISHDear Sir/Ma,As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.

My name is Hassan Mohammed a merchant in Dubai, in the U.A.E.I have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.

I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it.

Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few close friends. I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give also to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.

So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore.I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan; they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contempted with what I have left for them.

The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of eighteen million dollars $18, 000, 000, 00 that I have with a finance/Security Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations.You can also reply me on my direct email address of hassanmadi2001@netscape.net for confidentiality as I'll be awaiting your quick response. For your time and honesty, I have set aside 10% for you.

God be with you.

Hassan Mohammed.

So the way I figure it is that I need to hurry up and contact him before someone else that may try to take all the 18 million and not give any of it to charity! Really!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A brief history of Jackson music

Wednesday, November 23rd. Thanksgiving eve, 2005.

This is also the eve of my return to live music for the first time in 17 years. If this were 10-12 years ago, I would be courting the feeling that pumas were attempting to exit my body through my stomach. I imagine I know how John Hurt felt in "Alien". However, I realize now that I pretty much have no dignity and nothing to lose. It’s quite relaxing, in a way…

A brief aside: Throughout my live career (from age 14 to 27), I constantly battled pre-gig jitters. I would be nervous as hell, but as soon as the first chord pounded me in the back, serenity would envelope me and I would enjoy the ride. Even the fuck-ups. But the jitters always hit me. When I get really nervous, I get sleepy. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be curled up under the drum riser taking a nap 5 minutes before show-time. So pre-Pluto Gang in the mid eighties, I was in a band known as Square Root of Now. We got tapped to open for the Power Station (you remember, the ex-Duran guys) at the Mississippi Coliseum. They were a hair band, we were a hair band. There were several thousand screaming teenage girls. A huge stage. Great lights. I was in heaven. And on the verge of vomiting a porcupine! Sure enough, 20 minutes before we started, I was sitting in the dressing room in a folding chair with my head bent over the back, sound asleep. For years, people would tell me they couldn’t believe how calm I was. Ha!


So back in the eighties, (that would be the period from 1980 to 1989) there came to be a phenomenon known as a local scene. The undercurrent was known as college radio (this was before the term “indie” was really around) and was a large part of what, for that time, would later be known as the southern indie rock scene. The best known band of this genre would end up being Athens, Georgia’s own R.E.M. But they were the luckiest. There were far better bands to be had. The dBs and Let’s Active out of North Carolina (fronted by Mitch Easter, an excellent musician and writer, as well as the guy who produced all the cool shit there was!), Jason and the Scorchers from Tennessee, the B-52s, also from Georgia, and Jackson’s own Windbreakers, fronted by Tim Lee and Bobby Sutliff.

The Windbreakers had the best career and garnered some really good national press. Unfortunately they were never able to quite land that major label contract. But that didn’t slow them down. Bobby would eventually go off and do his solo stuff, Tim would do his solo stuff, but he would also occasionally tour as the Windbreakers (I was fortunate enough to be tapped to do two extended tours as a sideman!). Both Bobby and Tim have enjoyed good careers. But they were just the tip of the iceberg.

During these “salad days”, Jackson had a shitload of bands. There were Oral Sox, Beat Temptations, Radio London (they would eventually become The Big Picture), Square Root of Now, Perfect Strangers and lots more that my addled brain is having trouble remembering the names of. Then, of course, there was our band Pluto Gang. All of these bands released records. All of these bands were very different. But we were also willing to help each other out. Many of these bands would cross-pollinate for gigs and sessions. No one really had the big head. Well, okay… I did! But we were there for each other and it was nice. We all wanted major label deals but would settle for indie label. Don’t forget, this was back when independent labels were truly independent, not some sister company to the bigs. We all gathered varying amounts of regional or local attention, college radio airplay and press. Terminal Recording Studios was just coming into it's prime, and producer/engineer Randy Everett built up his chops recording most of us, and in the meantime helped turn "The Terminal" into a state-of-the-art masterpiece that had it's share of national acts and even a few Grammy Awards on the wall.

The hub of the local scene was W.C. Don’s. In case you don’t know, that stands for “We Can’t Decide on a Name”. It was an ever-evolving hell-hole with a back wall about 3 yards from the Illinois Central mainline. I can’t recall there ever being 4 complete walls. The location of the stage and bar would change from week to week. It was long and narrow, low and dim. The cops hated it. They did everything in their power to shut it down. Of course, the crowd was pretty unruly. While Jackson, Mississippi never had a punk scene, we did have a few proto-punks and general hooligans. But it was mostly drunk kids in the parking lot and wandering around the neighborhood peeing in yards at 3AM. The southern indie scene paraded through Don’s. Every tour I ever did started and ended there. In fact, the last gig I ever did was there. But it was also our link to a huge network of musicians that gave a shit. Bands from all over the country came through there, and if you ended up getting a gig in Nashville, or Hoboken, Champagne, Chicago, Atlanta, Birmingham, you could call up one of the bands there and crash on their floor. Even if you didn’t know these people, the local promoter did and would hook you up.

Yes, those were the salad days.

So I’m playing Don’s again tomorrow. Terry has moved to a new building, though. It’s still long (much longer) and narrow, pretty low and maybe not quite as dim. It’s also 3 floors, has all 4 walls, A/C, pretty good plumbing and now food. The ubiquitous strategic demolition is also present. This is usually where Terry wakes up at 4AM and decides to put in a new restroom, takes out the sheetrock in the old one and promptly goes back to sleep. But it is home to many.

The scene is no longer what it was. All of the old guys (and girls) either moved or just quit playing. Some still record. Of course, Tim and Bobby are still at it. Jeff Lewis (Radio London) records constantly and is getting ready to release on Paisley Pop. This is also where Tim and others have landed. Robin Sutliff is still around, making occasional appearances. Sherry Cothren – one of the city’s least recognized great songwriters – is still writing somewhere, I hope. She gave me some lyrics once about her deranged, gun-toting, racist landlady. It became “Mary From MS” on our first release. It’s still a recording that I am proud of.

Tomorrow’s gig started off as a “vintage musician” reunion idea. The plan was that Tim and Bobby, J.T. from Oral Sox, Tuck Tucker, Joe Partridge, Jeff, Sherry, Robin and no telling how many others would have a night. I wanted the opening slot, but it all fell through. Now we’ll be opening for the (I think) only local band to get a contract with a big label (Capital). They are called King Elementary. They are young. There is also a rumor that the contract they have was actually bought by rich parents. All I know is they didn’t want us to open for them, but Terry talked them into it (since I had started putting out flyers weeks ago). So it seems as if there is no spirit of kinship. And their crowd will probably hate us. Possibly even boo us off the stage!

But, as I said, I have no dignity and nothing to lose. I am anxious to strap on the axe and see if I am still capable of windmilling my fingers to a bloody pulp. The guys all want to get back in the studio and start recording. Free mp3s soon to follow.

But my passion is still and will always be the live performance. I am excited and scared, but strangely calm. I’m sure I will be sleeping soon. And people will admire my steely reserve!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

November 22nd

So ever since I was a kid, I have always believed in the original conspiracy theory - that of the assasination of John F. Kennedy. As an impressionable teen, and because of the myriad of books and data that I was able to get my hands on over the years, plus the fact that the Warren Report is a major piece of crap, it has always been easier for me to subscribe to the notion that Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed the most unfortunate creature on the face of the earth, and was the biggest patsy that ever graced us with his presence. And besides, it's just not sexy to think of a cool, young president being killed by a loser.

I was so pissed when Ollie Stoner released "JFK". He took snippets of facts that made sense for, at least, a possibility of a conspiracy (by definition meaning more than one person is involved) and turned them into fodder for a piece resembling comic theatre. I mean, according to this film - the only persons that did NOT know about the conspiracy were LA D.A. Jim Garrison and J.F.K. himself. At least I don't remember anyone in the movie saying J.F.K. was involved in his own assasination...

So for about 20 years, I was more than happy to disbelieve the single bullet theory. Hey - it's still a piece of crap! And being an avid gun-guy (Ahem! I am a southern boy!) I know how difficult it is to hit a moving target with 3 shots in 6 seconds. And there were soooooo many witnesses saying the shots came from more than one place. And Lee Harvey was indeed sipping a coke in the employee lounge just minutes afterward. And how could they lose the brain? And the autopsy WAS a joke! Read the notes, sometime!

But I just keep going back to this: If we can't torture prisoners in a foreign country without getting busted, how could this secret be kept for so long? Our government is, at best, inept. As much as it would sort of be cool to know they could pull shit like that off, we all know it's impossible.

Well, 8 more years to go until the 50th anniversary. Maybe - just maybe - someone will make a deathbed confession and we'll find out that it was some rich oilman with just a few people involved and the government - instead of being a part of it - just blew it! Sort of like the Arubans and Natalee Holloway!

By the way - in 8 years the "rest" of the "evidence" that is "sealed"... I mean sealed away in the archives will become "public" again. It's just not as exciting to me anymore...

By the way - the picture above is (of course) from the most famous 8mm filmstrip ever. Abraham Zapruder bought his 8mm camera for the express purpose of filming the motorcade in Dealy Plaza. After the horror of it smote him, he sold the film and put the camera away.

By the same token, this picture was taken by a park ranger (whose name, unfortunately, I have forgotten). The brothers asked him if he would help document their experiment. He had never used a camera before. He also never took another picture for the rest of his life. Pretty cool. And coincidental... Hmmmmm...

Monday, November 21, 2005

For your viewing pleasure

If, by chance, you ever see one or both of these fuckers, please be sure and shove them down a flight of stairs!

This would be Christina Dillard, the piece-of-shit-crack-whore-mother and Shaun Dillard, the piece-of-shit-crack-whore-mother-lovin'-stepfather of Ashley Andrews.

It seems to me that there was probably a time when my posting these pictures and writing those words would probably have broken several laws. Hell, for all I know it may still be the case.

Like I care.

Enjoy the pictures!

Welcome to my home - Part 2

This just in!

The Catalogue of Philanthropy publishes a yearly Generosity Index. And while Mississippi may have it's share of piece-of-shit-child-murdering-crack-whores, it looks like we're pretty freakin' generous. Mississippi has yet again come in at #1 on the list of most generous states. The top 10 most generous states are:
  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. South Dakota
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Tennessee
  6. Alabama
  7. Louisiana
  8. Utah
  9. South Carolina
  10. West Virginia

So, 7 out of 10 happen to be below the Mason-Dixon line. Now, one would say that because most of these states are also Bible-Belt states, then you have the fear of God and the lure of heaven to get them going. In other words, if they give lots of money to good causes, then God HAS to let them into heaven, ergo, they can shoulder a little more sin without fear of retribution. Or else they believe that God will cast them into Hell for not giving what they could (or even more than they could!). Either way, it works out for us and keeps us in top of the list.

Of course, we could just be more generous because... well... we just are. I only have myself as a meter on this one, and I have to admit that I am pretty parsimoneous when it comes to philanthropy. Actually, I am more generous than I give myself credit for - I do give several hundred simoleons on a yearly basis, but only to animal sheltering organizations. The people of this planet don't get my money. So all in all I am much more comfortable thinking that people do good not because they want to, but because they are scared not to. I'm funny that way.

That being said, I will now present the list of the top 10 stingiest states:

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Jersey
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Connecticut
  7. Minnesota
  8. Colorado
  9. Hawaii
  10. Michigan

Other intersting notes from the Catalogue for Philanthropy...

The latest Generosity Index mirrors the 2004 presidential election's breakdown between "blue" and "red" states. 25 of the most generous states voted for Bush, 11 of 12 of the stingiest for Kerry.

Mississippi was the poorest (average income $35,720) and had average contributions of $4,470. New Hampshire averaged $50,952 and $2,607. Fucking yankees!

By the way, I never can remember if I'm in a red or blue state. I know that if you go through the battlefield in Vicksburg, all the battlefield maps depict the northern states in blue. Or red.

Not that it matters. Bush and Kerry can both suck the pipe with verve!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Welcome to my home...

In the James Bond film "Thunderball", there is the classic scene of the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. meeting, with Blofeld presiding over the different agents and getting progress reports on the current nefarious doings of the organization. One of the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (that's hard to type!) men has apparently been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. Blofeld presses a button and the hapless individual is quickly terminated with extreme prejudice by our friend electricity. If you are one of the less fortunate philistenes that have never watched "Thunderball", this scene was also satirized in one of the Austin Powers films with Will Ferrell as the target of evil justice.

"What, pray tell, has made you think of this on this fine day?" you are no doubt asking yourself.

On October 12th, a piece of shit redneck crack whore named Christina Dillard and her piece of shit redneck crack whore lovin' husband Shaun arrived at the hospital in Picayune, Mississippi with a dead 12 year old girl - crack whore's daughter from a previous relationship. She had cuts and bruises all over her body, as well as chunks of hair missing - pulled out of her scalp. There was cat feces in her (remaining) hair and on her gown, and police found pieces of duct tape in the trash at her "home" with her hair stuck to them. Investigators believe that Ashley (the unfortunate one) was "severely beaten for the last 3 days of her life."

So these sacks of shit go to court yesterday. They each start blaming the other, saying they saw the other grab her by the throat and toss her in a chair. Then it comes out that that this piece of shit crack whore lovin' bastard was sexually abusing this little girl. But it's okay to him because he says it was consensual. Mmmm hmmmm! Then he laters changes the part about consent.

So the reason they got caught is because the staff at the hospital were freaked out and called the cops. These sacks of shit told the cops that they took Ashley to the hospital when she passed out at the table. The bitch later told the cops she saw the husaband drag her through the mobile home (go figure) by her hair. Then she claimed that whiel the fucker went to a neighbor's house to call an ambulance (Mmm hmmm!) she tried CPR and also cut patches of matted hair out of her hair so the people at the hospital wouldn't think she was a bad mother. Why would they ever think that, I wonder? She eventually told the cops that for the last couple of days, Ashley had been severely abused "at Shaun's direction."

At last, it finally came out that they had BOTH told the cops that they had BOTH beaten Ashley with a fishing pole, limbs and hangers, duct-taped her mouth and confined her to a bathroom.

They. Admitted. It!


Which brings me back to the James Bond movie and my chagrin that a mawkishly sentimental legislature prevents the local cop-shops from installing one of those chairs in their interrogation room.

Hey guys, I promise won't tell anyone about it if you ever manage to get one in! In the meantime, I just have to go on imagining what 12 years of hellish existence must be like for a little girl, but she's over it now at least. It just sucks ass!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Those darn women!

What can I say - other than the fact that I don't make this shit up? But now I feel better about myself that I can't seem to keep a girlfriend.

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

There's no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:

  1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they're less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn't be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who's in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
  2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It's always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
  3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that "husky" girls — those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
  4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.
  5. In breaking in women who haven't previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
  6. Give the female employe in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
  7. Whenever possible, let the inside employe change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they're happier with change.
  8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
  9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.
  10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
  11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can't be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.
Well, I'm glad we got this straight! Any questions?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pluto Gang Comix

The Pluto Gang.

Live on stage at W.C. Don's

Thursday, November 24th. Thanksgiving Night.

216 South State Street in downtown Jackson

You really can't afford not to be there at all!

The inevitable...

Saturday night, I was invited by my "not-quite-my-girlfriend-but-my-personal-universe-revolves-around-her-but-I-really-wish-she-were-my-girlfriend" to go see "La Traviata" at USM. Never having been to an opera before, I was indeed looking forward to it, but mostly I was just looking forward to playing dress-up and hanging out with the object of my affection.

The main purpose for the evening was that she wanted to offer to a friend of mine (a USM student) the opportunity to see the opera as a "thank you" for having helped her out on a side-project when we needed some info at the USM Library. So she invited my friend and her boyfriend as well as me. A very thoughtful gesture! (Now you know one of about 18 million reasons why I love her so much!)

The performance was actually a major thing for the USM Arts. The Southern Symphony and the Southern Opera Musical Theatre Company joined withthe Mississippi Opera, giving the students an opportunity to perform with professionals as well. Then this week the whole show will perform at Thalia Mara in Jackson, so the USM kids will have their first professional gig.

The short version: Guy meets girl. Guy falls in love with girl. Girl says no. Girl changes mind. Guy's father breaks them up. Girl leaves even though she loves guy. Guy thinks she loves somebody else. Guy gets pissed. Guy insults girl. Everyone gets pissed at guy. Girl is ashamed but also dying. Father repents to girl and tells guy the whole story. Guy returns to girl. They make up. She dies. The end. Sounds like an opera to me...

Fortunately, I am not that much of a philistene. It was very well done and I am extremely proud of the USM kids. The music was fantastic. And the principals (the pros) were just freakingly amazing! Especially the girl. She's from Texas! Who knew!!! And she's got a voice that would bring tears to the eyes of a Georgia chain gang parolee. All in all, a great performance.

But what surprised us all was the fact that (other than production staff) I was the only guy in black tie. I had expected to see some shirtsleeves and jeans, but I was wrong. When I was first invited, my girl was under thin impression that no one would be dressing up. She was basing that on her years at USM. I, on the other hand, was arguing that yes, many people would not be dressed up, but I figured that at least half the crowd would be in suits and I was really expecting a couple of dozen attendees that went all the way. Hoo boy - was I wrong.

But oh well...

My girl was to die for. That was the best part. It felt good to put on the old monkey suit. It's actually the first time I have done so since I dropped a quarter ton of fat, so it was a pleasant experience. Other than the shoes... I hate the melon-slicers. Shiny patent leather shoes are a sign of man's inhumanity to man. They serve no purpose. However, my girl is equal parts stylishly hip and old-fashioned (another reason I love her), so to make the experience good for her, I acquiesced. But don't think I didn't wear my kicks on the 90 minute drive to and from H'burg! Fortunately she is also a good sport which is another reason I love her so. Did I mention that?

But also many thanks to the young lady I spoke to in Javawerks on the way back home. We had gone in to get coffee to go and I also had to put up a flyer for my band's coming gig in Jackson. After placing my order, I went back to the memo board. At the big table you can't see from the front were 2 guys and a girl hovering over a laptop. As I am always impressed by seeing students hard at it at 11PM on a Saturday night, I bade them a hearty good evening. They all smiled and the young lady called me "sir". I felt so ancient! But I just laughed and said "oh, it must be the tux" and then she commented that she really liked my tennis shoes. Ha! All was forgiven! Thank you, whoever you are! I hope your hard work pays off!

Good job, USM!!!!!!!!