Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Couple of Quotes for Veteran's Day

From a couple of veterans.

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

Major General Smedley Butler USMC 1933

You may read his short book (Smedley Butler "Old Gimlet Eye" was a laconic man)
"War is a Racket" in full HERE

It is interesting to note that General Butler received TWO Medals of Honor. He was nobody's pacifist, he held the "war as a last resort for survival" position that many of us who have known combat tend to occupy.

Now, we turn to Dwight David Eisenhower the man our publisher at Big Brass Blog (where this is crossposted) describes as the last true Republican.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together

Again, we have a distinguished military man. Eisenhower did not have the dash and elan of MacArthur. He wasn't as vain either. He was, more than anything else, a superb organizer and politician. He recognised the various talents of the men around him and tried to use them to achieve victory in Europe. That meant he had to deal with personalities as varied as Patton and Bradley (who under Ike's direction worked together on three campaigns, twice with Patton in command, and once with Bradley), he also had to balance the egos and meager forces of the Free Poles, the Free French under DeGaulle, and the mincing egomaniac Bernard Law Montgomery. Eisenhower was in many ways the most essential component of allied success. No matter what else he accomplished he held that alliance together and led it superbly to victory. He was also a much more involved and hands on policy president than we suspected at the time. We thought he was all about rounds of golf and single malt whiskey afterward. It was far from the truth.

Now, go here.

The above Rolling Stone article about the abuses, frauds and outright criminal looting of our treasury by "contractors" in Iraq and Afghanistan show how little attention we were paying when the two great men I initially quoted were speaking their truth to us.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Another Soundtrack Bite From Today

I'm taking a break from my packing chores. My producer friend calls. He's stressing because when he talks with folks in our business they all tell him that this is one of the worst impasse situations any of them have ever seen. I reminded him about our plans to start playing and that I'll be out there next week. It wasn't working. He's stressing.

Then I reminded him about one of the final scenes in a crappy movie, made from a charming musical stage production, made from a pretty cool series of articles. From the pen of my dear friend Dolly Parton, written for the movie Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (although Louis Grizzard who wrote the original sued the production company to rename the movie "Smokey and the Bandit Go to the Whorehouse," he lost)

Anyway, the scene is that these whores are sitting around the house after it's been shut down. I reminded my friend that we're just a couple of old whores who've been shut down by the authorities, again. I started singing it to him. Then we were singing together. Two old whores muddling through the best we can.

Here's a soundtrack clip, with pictures of our young women who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. If they can be "fine and dandy" where they are, I can be bloody marvelous where I am.

Here's the lyrics if you want to sing with us.

Hey, maybe I'll dye my hair
Maybe I'll move somewhere
Maybe I'll get a car
Maybe I'll drive so far
They'll all lose track
Me, I'll bounce right back

Maybe I'll sleep real late
Maybe I'll lose some weight
Maybe I'll clear my junk
Maybe I'll just get drunk on apple wine
Me, I'll be just

Fine and Dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow get me way down

Hey, maybe I'll learn to sew
Maybe I'll just lie low
Maybe I'll hit the bars
Maybe I'll count the stars until dawn
Me, I will go on

Maybe I'll settle down
Maybe I'll just leave town
Maybe I'll have some fun
Maybe I'll meet someone
And make him mine
Me, I'll be just

Fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting throung tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

I'll be fine and dandy
Lord it's like a hard candy christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But still I won't let
Sorrow bring me way down

'Cause I'll be fine
(I'll be fine)
Oh, I'll be fine


Friday Random Ten

Yeah, nothing like a random soundtrack when today's main task is to put the book room (library sounds so effete) contents into boxes.

Lover Man (Come Back To Me) - - - Julie London (if you don't listen to Julie London you should, she is the best torch singer in history)

Quittin' Time - - - Jude Johnston
I Wanna Get Married - - - Nellie McKay
Long Lost Feelin's - - - Buckwheat Stevenson
She Belongs to Me - - - Leon Russell (bootleg from a party)
No Money Down - - - Duane Allman
Rez Princess - - - I Brake For Pow-Wows
The Shape I'm In - - - The Band (live Before the Flood)
San Antonio Rose - - - Bob Wills
Sixteen Tons - - - Merle Travis

Bonus - - -

Tiger Rag - - - Chet Atkins

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Update On Stuff Going On

The last week has been pretty full with different meetings and talks with folks that matter in my life. I've come to a couple of decisions. Remembering that nothing is engraved in stone, this is more of a sailing course than a steaming course. Wind and tide will have a great deal to do with the destination. The old sailing masters used to understand well that while Singapore is the port of choice, given the vagaries of wind and tide Brisbane will do just as well, if only to take on fresh water and vegetables.

First Things First is one of the wisest clichés that you find on the walls at most AA meetings. Following that dictum I have some unignorable priorities to deal with. Top of the list is my own physical health. I have been having some serious problems lately with my left leg and hip (old war wounds). They need tending. I talked with a trusted sawbones who is ready to go through some diagnostics and formulate a plan of attack. While that is going on I'm also going to break the fuck down and go to the goddamned dentist. I've put it off and put it off and put it off, not for any good reason either. I have great dental coverage. I just hate the fucking dentist. I feel like Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man the whole time. I hate the way it smells, tastes, sounds, and most of all, feels. I'm going to go and do it. I've found a dentist who assures me that he can make having X-rays taken a religious experience. So, I'm going to do it. Both the surgeon and the dental guy are in the San Diego area. That's where I'm going.

Another factor in all of this is that my mother is in the same area and her Parkinson's has been progressing as that disease tends to do. She needs more looking after than she is getting.

Yet another factor is that a very old, very good friend of mine is a producer who is also sidelined by the WGA strike. He and I were talking on the phone about how it feels to be closer to sixty than fifty and be faced with life as we know it changing suddenly yet again. We have promised ourselves to get back together playing. San Diego has a great live music scene.

Our tentative plan is to start out with very old stuff, played in the very old style. Our twist on it will be to add in our totally new high tech shit. By using my new Line 6 amps and PA gear, his ultra new top of the line Sony Digital Movie Camera and a laptop we will be able to offer anybody who catches our show a visual and audio mix, right off our soundboard, right there, that night. If they bring their own memory stick we will be able to download the night's show right there for them, or we will have a good supply of them they can buy at cost. Music. For. Free. If they want the visuals, if they promise to post it on YouTube and shit, they can have that stuff for free too. We figure that if we have people walking around with our shows in their iPods saying "Listen to this shit" and people download or merely watch our YouTube stuff the audience we are seeking will find its own way to us rather than us having having to travel our butts off (and if i'm having serious ortho work done traveling won't be in the cards).

I'm also going to be laying the groundwork to re-open my truffle shop.

The ranch here in Arizona will still be here. The only change will be that my son is going to be the main resident. When he's finished guiding this elk season he plans to take wildlife management and business courses at ASU and will keep the home fires burning. He graciously tells me that I can keep my key and drop by unannounced. The horses will stay here for the time being. Although, at Christmas, ownership and primary care of Sally the Mustang will transfer to my beautiful niece. She is at a point where she really wants her own horse and she and Sally are a perfect fit. She will take over feeding and maintenance chores too. That's the price of ownership. I don't even know if my old beat up skeleton will allow me to keep riding once the surgeon's done. That's the totally suck out loud part of growing older after an active life.

We shall see. That's the course I've plotted for the immediate future. I figure to keep posting on the progress and stuff. And feel free, please, feel free to bust my chops if one of the first posts about my new life does not include me whining about dental work. After all, this trip while we are sailing for Singapore might easily turn into Brisbane, or Papeete, or. . .who fucking knows but the wind and tide wait for no man.


Just as I posted this I remembered that I made a solemn promise to MedSchoolGirl and all my other children that I will quit smoking. Expect lots of whining about that shit too.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Writers On Strike

I understand the writer's position. It is not unreasonable. One of the real dangers I see with that position is that most of the producers and studios they are dealing with are not "show folks." If the entire television industry collapses, the studios fall and the entertainment industry degenerates further into an abyss of "reality" shows and FoxNews, the agents of that destruction will shrug their shoulders and go off to peddle the same junk bonds and engineering the stripping of assets and firing of all employees six months from retirement that they were doing before their uncles got them jobs in Hollywood.

The last writers strike was an absolute bitch. A lot of very good writers ended up waiting tables beside the actors who were hoping for a script to take them out of the coffee shop.

For the best information I've seen on the strike, for up to the minute information on progress in negotiations or a lack of progess in those same negotiations look to United Hollywood

I'm already planning my life without them. It's too bad. That is, however, how life goes. I was looking for a way to survive as a musician when I found the jingle game and it was very good to me for a very long time. I needed to be able to stay home and actually be present in the lives of my children, I needed a stable and safe environment to teach myself how to live a clean and sober life. It gave me all of those things.

If it is time to move on, I do so from a position of strength and confidence that I got from my time in this part of the industry.

Thanks Hollywood. I will never forget and will always be thankful for the second chance you gave to me and my children. What ever happens We'll always have Paris. Here's looking at YOU kids.