March 22, 2006


Closed-minded hipster, that's me

Goin' round in my brain as well as a few other ones (Mark, Jeff Kos, Paula):

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick

You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times.
Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!

Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite
If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?

That sounds about right. Clerks is awesome and Napoleon Dynamite is quite a lot of quirky fun. I guess I'll check out Garden State soon. And on that note let me plug my favorite indie flick of all time, which was produced by George Harrison.

You Are 56% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.
Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.
But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.
You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.
How Open Minded Are You?

WOW! The lefty-loon gets spanked on open-mindedness by the persistantly right-shifting Mark. Must be residual drivel from my Limbaugh years. I guess I'm comfortable as long as it stays higher than Bush's approval rating...


March 19, 2006


Dead Story vol. 1

This has been one lazy Sunday. I slept gloriously late and got up for coffee and cinnamon roll oatmeal. The wife was out grocery shopping so I checked email and then put on some tunes, strummed along with Neil then Jerry (actually mostly Bob - I have by no means achieved "lead" talent). When Jen got back we cleaned house - gotta take a break from the laziness.

So since Joe has been doing his Bit Torrent tutorial, I decided to surf about to see what I could learn. It's probably much less complicated than it appears at this point, so I'll stick with it. Besides, I have guru Joe.

I'm excited because it seems I can renew my bootleg collection (and then some!) into the digital age with a little persistance. Over the years I've amassed a couple hundred hours of mostly Grateful Dead bootlegs (lost a good chunk of 'em several years back - another story). They have received much use and are still quite listenable, but we all know that cassette tapes just diminish over the years.

Anyway, that's not what I meant to start writing about. Seeing this ticket from the Jahrhunderthalle show in 1972 got me to thinking about my first Grateful Dead epiphany. From that same tour came the album that forever changed the direction of my "music of preference."

I was turned on to Europe '72 in my sophomore year of high school (1981) by some hip dudes in my print shop classes. They invited me to their chambers for some afterschool tokage and tuneage. The dad of the kid whose house we were at was an old hippie and a big Deadhead. Not long after entering that circle they arranged for my first ticket to a Dead show at the Rosemont Horizon outside Chitown on 12-6-81 (shit, more than 24 years ago!). I can't say I was hooked after that show, but my interest was piqued by seeing my first tripping people, and not long after that was my own first trip.

But back to the album. I had come up into high school on the crest of that typical rock n' roll wave of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Who, Stones, etc. About the hippiest I got was an early fancy of all things Neil Young (which survives to this day). Oh, and my friend Doug whose mom had a copy of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow on which we wore out the grooves. Listening to Europe '72 was a mind-expanding experience, with the lilting harmonies and dissonant exchanges of China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Robert Hunter's lyrics in Jack Straw (which still moves me greatly), and Garcia's leads throughout. Ron "Pigpen" McKernan was near the end of his life, and perhaps by that gave such soulful renditions of Elmore James' It Hurts Me Too and one of my favorite Dead originals Mr. Charlie.

Europe '72 is one of my definitive watershed influences in music and counts among the most important stuff in my collection in terms of professionally recorded Dead. Though like most Deadheads I find high quality live bootlegs the most satisfying, I've explored and found periods of favor with many Dead albums, most notably Workingman's Dead and Reckoning (which is, like E '72, um, live). One of my fave GD tunes is Easy Wind, and the acoustic stuff of Reckoning turned me into a bluegrass and classic country junkie, a trend in reverse musical influence that the Dead would pull on me time and again.

So the natural progression for a young Dead fan who wanted to piss of his parents was to go to shows. The summer of '82 brought the Dead to Alpine Valley, WI. I and four fellows of various degrees of fandom, including my brother Steve and my best friend Rob, made the first of many pilgrimages to that sacred valley. The psychedelic of choice was pyramid gel, and there the magic took hold. I knew many more songs than at my first show, though at the time I did not comprehend the rarity of the show's opener of The Music Never Stopped > Sugaree > Music. We also missed out on the following night's guests of Zakir Hussain and John Cippolina, as a multi-show weekend had not yet manifest itself in our desires. I do remember a brief suggestion (was it ME?) of "let's stay for tommorrow night's show" that was voted down due to being all, uh, worn out. But the seed had sprouted and it became almost painful to wait for the once-a-year Dead weekend in the summer, which continued for the next two years.

The Spring of '85 found me in my last semester of sophomore year college, and I had the "freedom" of being 150 miles from home. I wanted to go to Philly for three shows at the infamous Spectrum. So off I went with my pal Scott, who I still keep in touch with, and his friend Jim, who got us the tickets and who gave me my first bootlegs. My friend Rob had become a taper and was also there with friends (aka assholes) from his college. Tapers are a funny (funny strange) lot, and Rob and his ilk could not comprehend me and mine just cruising around the whole arena during a show. But I still loved him. It was in Philly that I got my first solid conception of what it was to be on tour. Years later I would come to the realization of what a terribly mixed blessing that was.

Summer of '85 was when the band officially rolled out their "Twenty Years So Far" tour, and they were on fire. Alpine Valley was approaching critical mass with cops busting people on the highway into town, complete with roadside judge to expedite the "judicial" process. I managed to stay off the radar (simple common sense usually does the trick) and had a wonderful time. Back in the home town the space was gettin' HOT by summer's end.

I needed a vacation from my problems (Run But Can't Hide version 1.1), so I left Chicago with Rob for Houston, TX at the end of August for what would be my longest stretch of consecutive shows ever (ten - I came close in the winter of '86 with seven). From Astroworld in Houston (which makes me chuckle when I think about Bill Hicks' bit about mushrooms) it was on to Manor Downs in Austin, a place full of sweaty drunk Texans where you could buy package beer at the concession stands. Then it was the Zoo Ampitheatre in OK City & Starlight Theatre in KC, MO (two very cool venues) and then out to Colorado for three insane shows at Red Rocks. End of original plan. Somewhere along the way I realized that I neither wanted to return home nor to college, so after Red Rocks I had to decide what to do with my life. Well, a ride to California presented itself (another Dead anecdote for another time - file under "Bob the Bug") and since that was the next place for shows the decision was oh so very crystal clear. I called my brother Terry in San Jose to let him know I was heading that way, and eight days later we were sharing an apartment and working for the same company. Seems I was the catalyst for him getting out of a certain relationship with the woman whose house I lived in for nearly a week. So now the rock n' roll life of St. Tim the Introspector had come full circle: he was a beach boy preachin' on the burnin' shore (hhaAAA!!). From August '85 to October '87 I got in to see fifty-one shows, of which only ten were NOT in California. The all-time count for all Dead and Dead-related shows that I've been to (whether I got in or not), over 100. That's teeny compared to others in my circle during those daze.

Good times, for the most part. Unfortunately, I think I was on the last fading edge of the altruistic hippies having a majority on the scene. When I returned after nearly seven years on hiatus (yes, a huge chunk from the Timline and yet another few stories for another time), I became astounded at the new influx of over-the-top, soulless and ultimately infantile ragers and the mass hysteria they had brought with them. There were tons of posers who didn't give a fuck about the music. By the time Garcia died the scene had reached critical mass, and though I miss him and regret his early passing, overall it probably was the best thing for the Deadhead community.

Anyway, my Europe '72 experience came full circle in 1998 when I went out and bought the Live from Hundred Year Hall, Frankfurt, Germany 4-26-72 (it had been out for a couple of years). It is some KICK ASS Dead!! Lovelight > Goin Down the Road Feelin' Bad for nearly 27 minutes; Truckin' > Other One for over 54 minutes. Incredible stuff.

Some of the Robert Hunter liner notes are classic:

"A Snapshot of the Second Set"

Truckin', still new enough in '72 that Bobby hasn't got all his entrances down by heart, is full of thunder juice. GD signature tune of the time, the audience is familiar enough with it to think about getting involved after engaging the band in a standoff first set. Or maybe it's not their choice the monster is out of the box now, per usual, and is perfectly capable of sweeping things along without a by-your-leave. The tune breaks up into sprung clockwork but Billy the K hangs in there, not letting things end. Oh oh, drum solo, settling into an unmistakable beat. Phil thrums his cue line for The Other One and the room begins to rock back and forth. Suddenly the band decides to go back and inspect that busted clock for a minute. Tension, release, tension, release. Drop back now and again, or you got nowhere to go. Bands that don't bother to learn that might sell more records but drop by the wayside.

Preach it, brother.

March 15, 2006


Whose side are YOU on?

Mark's comment below and subsequent post warrant keeping his comment spot uncluttered, so I'll continue the discussion here.

Is it any less presumptuous and asinine of the Left to believe that God is on their side? I think it's a fair question.

Your initial interpretation seems to miss my love of irreverent humour with a rather Dylanesque humourlessness. You know I can get cranked up about the war, but if I was wanting to concentrate more on that message than Jones’ madcapness, I would have posted up the lyrics to Masters of War or indeed With God On Our Side. And dammit I WILL have it both ways (help me out here Wiggy) !

Others on the Left think that the idea of God being on any side is presumptuous.

I’d like to think that kind of common sense trumps any ideology (good luck with that, Tim).

He isn't exactly always about peace and love. There's a healthy dose of justice involved in his thinking, at least where some people are concerned.

I just can’t get on board with an Almighty who goes smoting about the cosmos.

A different god for every occasion. This would solve a plethora of problems in the thinking that is occurring over at O'Tim's, wouldn't it?

While I question your assessment that there is a litany of dysfunction in the thinking in my bloggerhood (I hope I just invented that word!), I confess that I (and presumably Mr. Jones) might find your proposal for polytheistic convenience on occasion useful and potentially quite hilarious. Good job!

However, as an avowed pantheist/deist (*cat escapes from bag*) I have to go with what Jeff Kos said:

“God is watching us... from a distance.”

So now as I'm leavin' I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin' ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head and fall to the floor
If God's on our side He'll stop the next war.

Goddamn, well I declare! Have you seen the like?
Their walls are made of cannonballs, their motto is
"Don't Tread On Me."


March 11, 2006


London fogging up

Python Terry Jones has let another wonderful anti-war zinger fly in The Guardian. Here is (with a nod to Wolcott) the appetizer:

God: I've lost faith in Blair

All the signs are that the Almighty is unhappy about efforts to implicate Him in the attack on Iraq

Terry Jones
Wednesday March 8, 2006
The Guardian

A high-level leak has revealed that God is "furious" at Tony Blair's attempts to implicate him in the bombing of Iraq. Sources close to the archangel Gabriel report him as describing the Almighty as "hopping mad ... with sanctimonious yet unscrupulous politicians claiming He would condone their bestial activities when He has no way of going public Himself, owing to the MMW agreement" (a reference to the long-established Moving in Mysterious Ways concordat).

Check out the rest of the article...

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