Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Opposite of Hot Tuna

The smell of fish and cold weather. Two things that assault my senses as badly as roadkill in an elevator and a root canal without Novocain. I could offer psycho- analytical reasons. There could be nothing more to it than a hypersensitivity to that odor and that feel. Like an allergy. But then there are those who claim allergies are psychosomatic as well. Who cares? Here's my version:

I was a picky eater as a child. I couldn't get vegetables past my lips without a heavy gag reflex. My older siblings, Jack and Judy, used to laugh at me and tell me the nuns would force feed me when I got to school. That was a particularly shitty thing to say to a four year old who was about to start serving a 17 year sentence in catholic school. But I can't think of two people I love more than them. This gives rise to hope for world peace, I suppose.

I'm sure the fish aversion started on our yearly trip to the Jersey shore. With the industrial odors of the Philly and Camden waterfront well behind us, we whisked too quickly through the sweet Jersey Pines. The final hurdle to Long Beach Island was a wooden causeway that scared the living crap out of me. The huge whitewall tires of the '51 Pontiac rumbled over the planks which seemed way too flimsy a separation from the putrid bog rot of Barnagat Bay. We always hit it at low tide. The smell of rotting sea life permeated the car. My brother took enormous delight in wrenching every ounce of humor out of the situation. He insisted that we were about to crash through the planks and tumble into the wretched muck beneath us. My sister was always highly amused by this. My reaction was to curl up on the floor and cower, certain of impending death or, worse yet, having the source of that smell fill my nose and other orifices. So who could eat anything that smelled like that?

Inexplicably, however, is the lone exception of fried flounder. A bottom feeder coated in stale bread and oil. Mercury, possible mold and saturated fat. Never more, of course.

I'll save the cold weather phobia for tomorrow

posted by Bud @ 8:09 AM

Monday, November 29, 2004

Melodies Blowing in the Wind

Song ideas flood me when I'm pumping peddles, heart rate above 140. What's left is like so many sweat stains by the time I get back to my keyboard. A phrase here, a rhyme there. Never a melody. Melodies seem to evaporate in the wind.

I'm really gonna have to invent a device to record the ideas I have for songs while riding my bike at high speeds through traffic, state parks and various residential areas. It should be incorporated into my helmet with a voice activated mouth piece. I don't want it in my ear, though. That is too painful. I need to use in-ear monitors for performance most of the time and they don't hurt as much as the cell phone no-hands deal but I really have to search for a better fit. I fear I'll become deaf AND unfittable for a hearing device.

Even if Beethoven's music leaves you cold, his genius for composing while deaf, to me is one of the crowning achievements of creative human intelligence. I wonder if there is a famous blind sculptor anyplace in history? I guess Helen Keller has to rank in here too, come to think of it. Is there a chef with no sense of smell and thus impaired taste? I think jockey Willie Shoemaker actually trained horses while paralysed and in a wheelchair. Anybody know of a paraplegic gymnastics coach? Hey, I just remembered; I taught spelling for years and my closest friends and former teachers know what a laugh my spelling skills are. I suppose that even with the memory of a common house fly, I can mange to write good songs before they blow off into the wind. I know I'll find a way.

posted by Bud @ 1:42 PM

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Waking in Strange Places

An unscientific survey taken right here in my living room reveals that people sleeping in strange places often have strange dreams. Conversely, people who do not have strange dreams are victimized or sainted by those who do, through the rest of the day.

I have often paid the price for having starred in Cathy's dream as, alternately, a cheat, an indifferent moron and a total dunce. Last night, however, she chose me over two rivals. So today I may only be reminded that I have to live up to her choice. Light duty compared to fighting the dirtbag dream image.

Okay, while we're on the subject, REPORT HERE if you have ever had one of the following dreams: teeth falling out, falling, arriving at work or school naked or partially naked, arriving to a test you haven't studied for or even attended that class for an entire semester, being given a job for which you are eminently unqualified, and the ever popular interrupted romantic liaison.

posted by Bud @ 8:11 AM

Friday, November 26, 2004

It Takes an American Thanksgiving to Feed a Village

Eating myself senseless as a social routine is now officially in my past. I'm not sure where this resolve comes from but I'm riding this horse hard as long as it has legs. Yesterday was fun despite being surrounded by more food than a small African village eats in an entire day. My intake did not rise above what it normally is and in just a while I'm gonna take an hour bike ride. Fast. Without feeling like I'm hauling a tanker full of sewer sludge.

Fascinating that people can become offended by my more sensible eating habits. Even if I refrain from saying things like, "You have more fat on that plate than I eat in an entire day." I really have to stop that. It smacks of preaching and I really hate preaching. I don't care what you believe in or who you voted for. Keep it to yourself because you KNOW you can't change me. So no more junk food invectives from me. I'm thankful nobody died at my table of coronary occlusion. I'm thankful I had wonderful young children around me all day.

posted by Bud @ 7:21 AM

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Who's Your Muse?

I'm back at the beach on Amelia Island where I first started to write lyrics and tunes for this CD. I think most of it was written here with the rhythmic sound of the surf permeating me. Proof positive that Jimmy Buffett and I do not hear the same things.

Venice has also been a fertile ground for writing. Most of this stuff was at least finished there and nearly all of the yet unpublished and unfinished work is being done there. I can't leave out Rhinebeck where The Part That Doesn't was wholly conceived. But it was on that same leather love seat where I also completely wrote Jacob's Hurricane in one sitting as Charlie ripped up the towns just south of where I sat in Venice. I have to write more on that love seat. The lyrics to First Time Home, though, were done in one sitting in my friend Ed Haas's Rhinebeck living room on the weekend of my daughter Bree's wedding.

Stargazer, the lyric Kathy Feeney wrote for me, is a beach inspired tune. The one we are working on now she claims came to her while brushing her teeth. Her mouthwash may have to get a partial writing credit. French roast coffee, in all fairness then, would have to take credit for the bulk of my work. If I write anything today, it may well be related to my struggle to avoid Thanksgiving fat. Who knows, it may be a sequel to John Mellencamp's Hurt So Good.

posted by Bud @ 10:56 AM

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Man Gives Birth?

What do guys know about giving birth? It's a useful analogy but I'm quite sure that to say producing a CD is like child birth... Well, it was a long painful ordeal followed by amazing release and then feelings of dread on how it might "develop." The words to describe it may be similar but I'm still in complete and utter awe of mothers and their compulsion to give birth. Even after the first one. Again and again for some. No, my experience was not like child birth in the true sense. But it was enlightening, painful and scary. I am relieved and it does worry me as to how the world will treat it. I finished recording my CD, Feel My Love, last night. Scroll down to November 17 to see the cover art. I was prepared to go another month to get what I wanted. It turned out to be much easier thanks to my genius producer, Mark Zampella. And, strangely enough, I'm already working on creating the next one.

The remastered final versions will be posted in MP3 format at some point after the Thanksgiving holiday. These sound much better than the samples that are up there now.

I'll be organizing a prerelease sale on the site. Discounts and autographs. The release date is entirely in the hands of the company pressing and printing this "Baby."

posted by Bud @ 6:55 AM

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dangerous Camden

I was suprised but not stunned to learn that Camden, NJ is now ranked as the most dangerous city in America. I spent my first year in high school there and my entire senior year (1965) picking up my girl friend who lived right next to the tracks. I believe they considered themselves on the "right side" of the tracks but it was only a wall and four rails away from the "wrong side." I recall one freezing December night, smooching in the car in front of her row house. Before we could steam up the windows, we looked up to see a very large brother sprinting down the middle of the street in his jockey shorts. He ran through the tunnel that went under the tracks. That's how debatable it was to say we were on the "right side." The dude was being chased in his undies through the "right side" to the "wrong side." A carload of other brothers rumbled after him seconds later. Through the closed windows we could hear them screaming threats and insults. It was quite some time before I ventured to drive through the tunnel to take the short cut to Admiral Wilson Blvd, the great white way to the suburbs where I lived and would seek refuge that scary night. I did not see a flattened guy in his briefs. Nor any puddles of blood on the way through the tunnel and around the next block.

I was generally too naive, though, to be scared in Camden, although I recognized it as a scary place. I was never afraid of black people or Puerto Ricans who, even then, were the most common groups in the city. I just hoped they understood I wasn't a threat and that I harbored no ill will toward them although I frequently did not understand their culture. That failure of mine to "get it" is even more pronounced today, strangely enough. I have no idea who is to blame for that. Bill Cosby may be oversimplifying it and maybe he isn't. I'm not one to judge.

I was always concerned and on guard by the scary white people I encountered as I waited for my bus in the dark on the steps of the YMCA in Camden. We were on split sessions that first year since half the school had burned down two years prior to that. Underclassmen went home in the dark so the football team could practice in daylight. A white scarfaced wino with no socks in January was way more scary to me than the average black person. The white goodfella with too much money and no apparent means of support was to be avoided. Not Puerto Rican's selling newspapers.

The following year our high school was rebuilt out in the suburbs of Cherry Hill, NJ, where I lived. I didn't feel any safer there. White kids are as cruel and thoughtless at that age as any kid.

Our parish priest was a young Irish guy named Father Michael Doyle. He also taught Latin and religion at our high school, Camden Catholic High. He was and still is a prince of a man regardless of your political or religious beliefs. I can attest to this because I'm with him on one and against him on the other. I should try to get in touch with him 'cause I love the guy and it has been 40 years since I've seen him. In the late sixties he was acquitted of vandalizing the draft board files in Camden. Go Mike! His punishment was administered by the Bishop, though, who yanked him out of his "safe" Cherry Hill parish and sent him to South Camden. He flourished there as the pastor of Sacred Heart parish as the go-to-guy for the disadvantaged who had no voice. He is still there today, as far as I can tell. I'm sure he had the opportunity to leave, many odd bishops later. I would love to hear what he says about his adopted city's new ranking.

Last summer, I spent a weekend in Miami taking a course in a recording studio on some software I did my CD on. I found today's Miami scarier than the Camden I grew up with. Again it wasn't the fact that everyone was speaking Spanish or that it has the feel and culture of a foreign country. I stayed on a very insulated key in a high rise overlooking Biscayne Bay. It belongs to my old high school pal Maria who works in Miami. Like me, she would wait for a bus late on a Friday night after the weekly school dance. She doesn't find Miami any scarier than those days in Camden. So my Miami anxiety was only from reputation. I admit I read way too much Carl Hiassen, Elmore Leonard and Tim Dorsey. The scene that underscores what can be scary about Miami is driving through South Beach and counting the number of young twenty-something guys in Ferraris and Mazzeratis. You know this is drug money because this scene can take place in the middle of a weekday. I just don't think they're driving those wheels as a benefit from their night jobs at the mall. I stand corrected, of course, if you consider selling crack in the food court at the mall a night job.

As if to confirm this suspicion the following scene played itself out as we were sitting in the studio on a Sunday. A late model BMW pulled up and four young people emerged. Possibly in their twenties or late teens. The instructor of my class answered the locked glass door on which they began tapping and nosing. Before he could say, "We're not open for business," they shouted that they wanted to buy a very expensive piece of recording equipment. With cash. Now. The instructor got an employee. A quick transaction was made for an $8000 mixing board. As they pulled away, the instructor shook his head and said, "Man, quick sale. I just love drug dealers."

Creating legitimate jobs for these people would hardly lure them away from the quick buck and the fast car. Good and plentiful jobs would help to create a more stable culture over time, however. The rich call it welfare while at the same time calling welfare for the rich "tax cuts." It all sounds pretty dangerous to me.

posted by Bud @ 8:53 AM

Monday, November 22, 2004

1969 Flashback

A scene from 1969 flashed back on me yesterday as I was playing my marina gig. It was summer in Long Island. We were visiting some old college roommates who had graduated a year ahead of us. I took a terrifying ride on the back of a swift motorcycle through insanely random traffic patterns. I could only see through my periphery as I clung to my old roomie's back like a flatworm.

We arrived at a place called the Planting Fields and Arboretum. I think it was Old Westbury but forgive me if my memory is incorrect. It was 1969 after all! It was a beautiful but mild day and the place was blanketed with picnickers and hippies doing their various "things." The one memory that replays itself with unusual frequency and clarity for me is that of a young man sitting by himself on a blanket with an acoustic guitar. He was singing "I shot my baby, down by the river..." Or is that the other way around? To be truthful, my memory plays it both ways but that is so typical of how my memory of even my own lyrics works. I'm so brain damaged. I'm sure that's a function of having been terrorized by Sister Mary Confusing threatening to fail me if I couldn't recite something from the Catholic poetry book. I remember tearing off and eating the corners of many of the pages in that book. What up with that, Doc?

But, as usual, I digress. What struck me most about the singer in the park was his total abandon, his complete commitment to the song, his groundedness as he was completely unaffected by passersby, dogs who wondered by, sniffed his strings and threatened to pee on him, Frisbee marathons, and an atmosphere redolent of patchouli and burning hemp. He merged his song with his environment and he was blissed on it.

I had many moments like that yesterday as I played down by the river, geographically speaking, that is. I never played that song. The boat condo sales group, who was paying me to be background music, kept turning me down as I showed them how to control my master gain. I could hear them, even through my in-ear monitors, pitching $87,000 boat condos. Eventually they moved under their own tent and turned me back up.

Behind me, a giant forklift slid cabin cruisers off a fourth story shelf and plunked them in the water. Giant toys in the Gulf Coast bathtub. Their owners dined on fried this and barbecued that at tables to my immediate right in the little riverside restaurant that is soon to be flattened when the present marina is demolished for the new one to rise. This patio crowd loved me and tipped me and made requests while the people who paid me kept telling me I was great but turn it down just a tad. The going is tough when you're not sure if you heard your own last sales pitch embellishment. These guys were good and had a terrific product for people who had way too much money. Strangely, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of those folks around here. I almost wish I had a boat just so I could take advantage of all they were offering. For the modest monthly condo fee you got your fish cleaned for free, your gas at cost and your deli sandwiches at cost. You could order your basket lunch in advance of your arrival at the marina and find it neatly stored on your yacht which would be gassed up and waiting in the water by the time you parked the Hummer. Tipping is to be prohibited. I wish kayaking had such amenities. Now there's a business opportunity for somebody who owns waterfront.

Did I digress once again? Get used to it. I thoroughly enjoyed myself under a tent, on the lawn with the intercoastal waterway to my left. A flock of pelicans hung in and listened to every note. I didn't scare them away and the patio crowd continued to surprise me with smiles and clapping and tips. The ladies who run the restaurant want me back to play for them and we chatted and mourned the impending loss of this fun little place and the fact that they'll be cut off from their favorite kayaking spots and island camp. My best moments were when I was able to feel as grounded as I do in yoga class and feel my spirit move across the lawn and patio and boat yard and waterway on my songs. That scene from 1969 now merges with this one in my memory. The aroma yesterday was of bay water, fish filet and beer but everything else was the same.

posted by Bud @ 10:08 AM

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Uphill Momentum Loses Pounds

The intensity builds but it's like an uphill avalanche. I keep pushing it along. It hits a little valley and builds momentum to get half way up the next side before I have to start pushing again. From time to time I have to remind myself that I'm doing this for fun. But it is, really. I also have to keep it on the back left corner of my brain that you can't put yourself out in the public without taking some stones thrown your way. That's the way it was in college when I wrote a weekly column. That's certainly the way it was when I ran the teachers union newsletter and wrote a column and the whole damn thing. That's surely like it was every year I taught. So I can handle this. The alternative is not something I can live with. Couch sitting, watching TV AND a growing waistline is not a spectator sport I choose to patronize. Then I'd have to learn to swing a golf club around a beach ball formally know as my gut. That is not a lifestyle that seems very attractive to me.

I've lost 14 pounds since early September when I started counting everything I put in my mouth. Knowledge is power. I'm slowly getting back to the weights and will probably bulk up but it will be muscle, now that I finally lost last Christmas's fat. I think it's better to make Thanksgiving resolutions. I resolve not to eat any of the stuff people offer me over the holidays.

Back to the marina today and hopefully tomorrow unless they double booked me again. It's fun to watch these heavy duty sales types selling boat condos around a shrimp frier while I provide soothing background music. A boat condo, I kid you not, is a big shelf to store your cabin cruiser on. A godzilla-sized forklift picks it up and plunks it in the water for you when you want to use it. I can see a spin off industry in decorating boat condos since part of the fun of having a boat, if indeed there is any, is in sitting in it and not using a month's supply of fuel.

Two other gig offers came my way last week at this event. I'll follow up on those this weekend. Also I agreed to do three months, two nights a week, at Althea's. January through March when the snowbirds fly home. They love me there. I've made no effort to book anything else around Venice as I've put all my energy into finishing the CD. I'm feeling like I need to tweak a few vocals this Tuesday. If I don't make a Christmas release, it'll be mildly disappointing but I'll be better for the decision. For the most part, though, I like what I hear a lot.

posted by Bud @ 6:58 AM

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Here's the Bonobo Cover

The cover to my CD, followed by the back cover. It's to be released soon. Watch for details to pre-order.
Mastered samples will also be up soon. For now, there are some early mixes here.

Bonobo Cover


posted by Bud @ 7:58 PM

My Audio Tattoo

How is releasing your first CD like getting your first tattoo? Strange that I never wanted a tattoo but here I am imprinting the auditory equivalent.

"This is what I tell people when they ask if I regret any of my tattoos," Mark Zampella, my producer, told me in way of explanation for my own feelings about releasing this CD. "I tell them that tattoo represents where I was at that time in my life. Regretting it is pointless. That's just where I was then. You have to look at your music the same way."

The permanence metaphor is right to the mark, Mark. This recording will live forever in or out of infamy. Or until such time as the digital media of this era evaporates. So last night, our wrap up session, we listened and listened. A few parts that made me cringe, he thought were way cool. It must be the age difference although I think of him as my contemporary in many ways. We agreed on one song that others had objections to. We liked it a lot. So I resisted doing another version in a different key. I'll undoubtedly take heat for it from some quarters. Others have already said they like it the best. And therein lies the paradox of performing. Davis Turner warned me long ago that on any given night, half the room may think you're fantastic and the other half may think you really suck. This is coming from a man who can do a more than credible replication of Al Green while watching Monday Night Football across a crowded bar. When Davis says, "I really suck tonight," he probably means he used a chord inversion someplace when he intended a different one. Something NOBODY heard but him. And possibly Pam Turner, his astounding wife and bass player.

I'm no Davis and Pam Turner or Helen Avakian, nor am I a Leslie Ritter. But I learned something from each of them. And although I play and sing in a different league, I'm using everything I have at this time. This is where I am now. I'm better than I was four years because of them. I know my next effort, already underway, will come closer to their level. The age thing may keep me from ever catching up but that won't stop me from trying. They can sing at my funeral and feel good that the old guy looked to their comparable youth as something to learn from.

So I'm back to hoping for a Christmas release. Check in here soon to see about pre-release discount orders!

posted by Bud @ 8:49 AM

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Terrorists Dogs Training in Venice, Florida

I'd like to report this to the Department of Homeland Security but I know they wouldn't believe me. I don't even believe me. This report comes after several consecutive days of close observation and careful consideration. By "close observation" I mean speeding by on a bike at approximately 13 MPH. By "careful consideration" I mean I'm inspired by a lack of inspiration to write or think about anything else. But remember, a pair of 9/11 terrorists trained right here at the Venice airport. Not only that but this is the home district of Rep. Katherine Harris, R, who is believed to be credited for not counting all the votes in the 2000 election. By handing the presidency to her boss's brother, she parlayed her state job up to congressperson AND made this area a certain target for terrorists.

My report today is about the suspicious and consistent presence of large piles of toxic dog doo on the Venetian Waterway Trail. By "large" I mean a turban full. By "toxic" I mean, it's melting the cement. While it is NOT my habit to do drive-by forensic analysis on dog turds, it is impossible not to notice these peculiar canine land mines. I have to swerve to avoid them. This is not easy since I am usually already swerving to avoid persons much older than myself in three wheelers walking their leashed cats. Or I am holding my breath, waving hello and trying to approach warp speed to avoid Cigarman (see yesterday's Blog).

I've already mentioned the extraordinary size of the feces in question so I won't dwell on that except to say it might be a good idea if the Homeland Security people checked on existing federal grants to genetically alter the width of canine intestinal tracts. The appearance of these kaka things is not something any decent person would go into in any great detail. There being a shortage of said decent people, I will report that this creature must live on a diet of Crystal Burgers, plastique explosives and sulfuric acid. I know this is true because there are no flies within 500 yards of one of these mounds. An angry mob of dung beetles was rumored to be picketing one entrance of the trail with signs ranting about deteriorating living conditions.

As you can imagine, nobody picks this stuff up. It sits there for days, slowly oozing and corroding the cement until it is washed away by heavy rain or gobbled up by aliens seeking new power sources for their intergalactic warp drives. But that's another story. I just wanted to report this one. And so I have.

posted by Bud @ 8:34 AM

Monday, November 15, 2004

Stuntman Meets Cigarman

It wasn't one of my death defying stunts like when I jumped the curb on my bike and dislocated my finger on the Circus Bridge. It wasn't even like last Friday when the golf coarse sprinkler went off three feet from me, breaking my bike mirror and filling my left ear with that recycled "gray water." This time I just became distracted by the wild parrots sitting on the wire above the Venetian Waterway Trail. I hit the brakes pretty hard to avoid a post, went down a curb and managed to stay upright. My chain came off. That's how I managed to finally meet Cigarman.

I sat on a bench and inverted my bike to work on it. I smelled him long before his shadow entered my periphery. I could always smell him. Even if the wind was blowing the opposite way. It's like my sweaty smell blew into him and he sent a waft of his cigar stink back at me in harsh rejoinder. The amazing thing about Cigarman is that I've never seen him with a cigar. Yet panatela perfume emanates from him even more tenaciously and with a wider arc than an old lady returning from an Avon party. When I've passed him on other mornings, I could smell him coming and going for more yardage than you would think is normal. Cigarman is a planetoid with his own dangerous atmosphere.

But this morning his doggy got to me first and he smelled like a virtual four-legged cigar moon around planet Cigarman. He was a friendly, shaggy little lickyface guy named Fidel. As he stood on his hind legs to sniff and lick my ear while I worked on the chain I had the sensation of being doused in spittoon juice. Cigarman sat next to me on the bench to control Fidel and assault me with his noxious vapor. What he lacked in personal hygiene, he tried to make up for in loquaciousness.

"He won't bite, C'mere, Fidel," he said good naturally, through a thickly coated Larynx. His breath fortified any odor that might ordinarily have dissipated in the morning breeze.

"Yeah, he's a licker, not a biter," I managed to say without gagging.

"Need a hand?"

"Nope. Thanks, nearly got it," but in my hurry to finish and escape, I dropped the chain. I sat back for a minute and turned my head away looking for fresh air. None was to be found in this end of the solar system.

"I seen ya flying by here pretty fast every morning."

I was thinking I can't go fast enough to escape. I wrestled the chain up again and stood to upright the bike. He stretched his long boney legs out and was nearly in a reclining position on the bench. Big lovable smile. I guess it got to me enough to ask him jokingly, flippantly, but not unkindly, "Got a cigar?"

"Oh, no," he said with an air of Who Me? "I got plenty of 'em back at the trailer but I never smoke em' out here. People don't like to smell cigar smoke. Interferes with their sense of nature or somethin'."

"Uh, yeah," I managed, "go figure. See you tomorrow." I peddled off in standing position looking desperately for my next clean breath.

posted by Bud @ 1:35 PM

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Church of Bud, No Donations Please

Poised on the corner of US 41 and Venice Avenue, waiting for the stick figure pedestrian logo to flicker on. Sticko directs traffic. Sitting on my bike ready to make my charge across six lanes and a blind spot to my left where I know cars are gonna make a right turn into my space if I don't stare them down. Having this daily pattern memorized, I know I have 30 seconds to consider my existence and the threat to it by the morning's zombied workforce racing in their pickups, SUVs and badly maintained frankencars.

Florida, Home of Diversity in Traffic Hazards

In those thirty seconds I have several distinct thoughts about possibilities. I claim to know or believe none of this. I just know there are people who would argue passionately for each of them. First of all there is the possibility that since I am standing in a very vulnerable place with the main danger being: people who run red lights which is prevalent Florida tradition, people who are blinded by the sunrise and can't even see me or the lights, old people having strokes, old people refusing to believe that their failing eyesight and reaction time is not a hindrance behind the wheel, young people drinking and/or blowing a doobie on the way to work, people preoccupied by the ideas that their job sucks and they are about to lose it, people honoring the age old tradition of picking their noses thus obstructing their view of one sweating man on a bike crossing US 41. A mathematician would calculate the odds that I have of surviving this morning after morning and assign a number to it. They would believe that the longer I defy those odds, the more probable that I will fall prey to them blah blah blah.

No Discount on Free Will

The second way to look at this instant in time is what I thought was labeled determinism but upon research, I'm not sure that is the correct word. In trying to research the term on the internet I flashed back on why I hated going to a catholic college where you had to minor in Thomistic Philosophy. I hated catholic college for a lot of reasons but reading unintelligible intellectual jargon that defied the rules of clear writing was certainly in the top five reasons to never recommend a college such a that to anyone I cared deeply for. But I think I'm on safe ground that the idea I am at a loss to label is derived from quantum theory. That is since time is circular, everything has already happened. There are legions of people who argue for and against this and whether believing it robs you of free will. Free will seems to be the sacred mantra of what it is to be human to many philosophers. I guess I always took it for granted. Being a believer in choice, I just take free will along with needing air to breathe. I don't need to think about it, it's just there. And if it's an illusion, who gives a flying....? So there are a bunch of people who would say that if I'm going to be splattered on US 41 by any one of the fore mentioned moving hazards, there isn't a thing I can do about it so why worry? The manner of my demise is already determined by my place on the time/space continuum blah blah blah. Or something.

Fear of Fearlessness

As I thought about that I knew Sticko was about to let me cross and I stared down the motorist in the turn lane behind and to my left to let him know I would not take it lightly if he were to enter my time/space. My foot poised on the peddle to pump wildly across the intersection, a conversion van adorned with several evangelical slogans and Jesus fish, raced through the light across the intersection and sped in front of me, slowing my advance as the light changed in my favor. Oh, yeah, then there are those guys, I thought. Put it all in the hands of the Lord. Whatever happens is fine because Jesus loves you and if you are born again, blah, blah blah.
Upon reaching the other side I realized that what the later group says isn't that much different from the quantum theory dudes. What's gonna happen is gonna happen. I won't even get into the theological differences because I never poke around in hornets nests or stand barefoot among the fire ants. It's one of the few beliefs I religiously practice.

One Belief Only, Saves a LOT of paper

All I know is what works for me. I am happy beyond my wildest dreams. My dreams can get as wild as anybody but I have a keen ability to separate fantasy from reality and I appreciate both for what they are. I consider myself inordinately lucky in life even though I'm in the smallest house of a gated community where the major preoccupation seems to be protecting one's driveway pavers from dripping oil and transmission fluid. I love damn near every minute I breathe unless I've just driven my bike through a pile of dog doo. My wife, Cathy, is way better than I deserve. I got where I am both physically and spiritually by believing in one thing. I believe that if you want something badly enough, you will get it if you focus on it every day. That's what makes me lucky because I make my own luck. That's what makes me happy because I accomplish what I set out to do or I adjust my goals more reasonably. That's what makes me appreciate life because I make it work for me. And I will not accept any contributions to the Church of Bud. I still pay taxes.

posted by Bud @ 9:21 AM

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bonobos Can Feel the Love

Nothing like a new gig to get one's blood pumping hard again. Have to say that GigMasters has brought me a zillion percent more traffic and opportunities to bid gigs than any other method I've used. I've been hired as a steady performer at the Anclote Marina in Holiday Florida. Starting this Saturday at noon. I'm delighted to work this kind of gig as it will give me plenty of exposure and a market when my CD comes out.

Mark still thinks we may get it out by Christmas although I'm not rushing it to make a deadline at the expense of not being happy with the performance or the mix.

The cover is done and it's unique. Mark's design. How perfect is it to have a record producer who is also a sound engineer, a graphic artist and an amazing guitar player? Cathy did the major photography of the Bonobos at the Jacksonville Zoo. Using my logo picture at the Venice Train Station for the back. Bonobos, for the uninitiated, are amazing great apes, resembling chimps. There are several major behavioral differences, however. They are every bit as smart and will use sign language and tools but they need to be shown how first. Chimps seem to have an innate sense of tool use. Chimps also fight over food. Bonobos, on the other hand, have sex over food. It's a tit for tat kind of thing. I'll give you some of this if you give me some of that. Don't let the "moral majority" find out or they'll have them wearing jumpsuits and handcuffs. Cathy and Mark and I felt that Bonobos are a perfect symbol of the sentiment Feel My Love. Even though the CD is ever so much a G-rated endeavor. Although stranger things have been conjured up by bible thumpers to condemn something innocuous before this.

Last night was a strange departure vocally for me. Mark convinced me that to fit my vocal over the mix I had for One Before The Last, I had to go high and edgy. This is not something I ever try to do. He liked it a lot. It's risky for me but I'll go with it as an experiment. I'll post a mix of that when it's done and see what the reaction is. If it doesn't go over well, this is either a song I won't perform or it will have to be rearranged in a different key.

I'm going to do the vocal over on First Time Home. Could sure use some honest feedback on the mix of that one which I've already posted. I've been advised by people I trust the most that it's not releasable. But there it is on the web. Give it a listen and let me know what you think of the vocal quality. Please, oh please? Just say "do over" or "release" as a comment to this BLOG. Specifics would be awfully nice if you have a sense of what's right or wrong with it.

The free CD offer still stands, by the way.

posted by Bud @ 3:59 PM

Monday, November 08, 2004

Obsessing to Become Ozzie and Harriet?

My life has been charmed. I'm way more lucky than I deserve. I'm happier and more satisfied than most people I know. That is not to say, however, that I'm impervious to bouts of depression, attacks on my crusade to eke out every scrap of happiness from an otherwise very challenging world. I could fall into the abyss as easily as anybody. The more I try to accomplish, the easier, the more tempting that becomes. When the music isn't going as well as I wish, I wonder if I should sell everything and play golf. I'd probably have to actually keep score, however, to play with the guys around here. They suffer noncompetitive golfers poorly. And since there is betting money involved, I'd have to resort to disturbing political comments, at inopportune times for them, for me to ever win a bet. Nothing more disturbing than a politically charged epitaph in your backswing. Man, would they get to hate me.
The truth is, I'm an obsessive person. I'm gonna be obsessed with one thing or another or I'll just sit and watch tube all day with a big jar of peanut butter. My mind would rot at approximately the same rate that my health would. I could obsess on how fat I could get. Bet I can get wider than I am tall. I could become a maven of daytime TV trivia. I could get so large that the fuel bill to cremate me would be a budget buster. I could get so stupidly obnoxious and boring that nobody would want to be around me. Besides, there wouldn't be any room left to be around me.
I wonder if it's possible to obsess on being low key, middle of the road, nondescript. Obsess on becoming Ozzie and Harriet?
Naaa, I like it the way I am. I'm so charmed, I'll just get better.

posted by Bud @ 9:59 AM

Friday, November 05, 2004

Osama Bin Laden's NFL Picks

Before the election, I suggested that Osama Bin Laden might expand his influence into American advertising and politics. Don't say I didn't tell you so. Interesting that a good muslim boy would be interested in pigskin.
posted by Bud @ 1:53 PM

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Don't Leave America. Start Writing Songs

I expect some good music to come out of the election results. I think artists everywhere are going to be inspired. Every songwriter I know says they wrote their best stuff when they were in a highly emotional state or after a breakup. I'd like to see what Neil Young turns out this year, for instance. A sequel to Four Dead in Ohio? I wonder if Tom Petty will have anything to add about his native Florida? I wonder if Willie Nelson will chime in on the Texas state of mind. Yeah, Billy Joel could also sequelize his geographic tome. It will be interesting to see if the hip hop and rapper world will take Eminem's lead. I'd like to see some stuff written about those who didn't vote, the ones who had the most to lose. And probably will. I'd also like to see something celebrating the fact that over 55 million people did register their disapproval. We already have seen four years of "Unite, not divide," the talking point. What we need now is some music that actually attempts to unite, not divide.

posted by Bud @ 11:36 AM

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Zen of Stick Figures

I find stick figures quite hysterical. I used to try to draw James Thurberesque figures on the blackboard or on students' papers to make a point. They looked even more unbaked cookie-like than Thurber's. They looked like cookie dough dropped on the floor and stepped on my a large mastodon who was inexplicably roaming through the kitchen. So stick figures had to be my go-to form of graphic expression. One of my classes in particular got so off on my stick figures that we developed an entire cast of stick characters over the course of my two years with them. That particular group encouraged me in so many ways. It is this group of gifted young musicians who gave me the inspiration to pick up my guitar after a 15 year hiatus.

We had such fun with Sticko and his sister Sticka. But occasionally I implied that Sticka was his sarcastic girl friend. There was nothing incestuous about it. She just seemed to act like a snotty girl friend at times. They had pets. Kitsticks the cat, Fishsticks the goldfish, Fetchsticks the dog. There were many minor characters that the kids made up. Hopefully they will read this and remind me who they all were and some of the plot outlines.

I felt I brought the educational value of stick figures to a whole new level. I even for a time owned a very battered paperback book of French phrases that were entirely illustrated by stick figures. The cover was gone so naturally I referred to it as Sticko and Sticka teach French.

I find it highly amusing that stick figures are making their way into a kind of international language to teach people everything from how not to get crushed by a bulldozer or a crane to how not to fall from a ladder into a wood chipper which is in a puddle of water and using an electric fan. I always thought they should be used more descriptively in road warning signs. I considered suggesting to the DMV a truth in road signs law that would show frantic stick figures making wild gestures as their car overturn on a curvy road. The DMV, to my knowledge, hasn't done any signs like this, but the over abundance of ambulance chasing lawyers has prompted the manufacturers of most consumer products to come up with some of the funniest material ever.

posted by Bud @ 8:32 AM