March 30, 2008

Sometimes you have to wear the stretchy pants...

Mexican wrestler bobblehead has the shakes
like Parkinsons for toys
Collect them all:
Cancer Boy Bobblehead
Heart Attack Dense Bobblehead
Transgendered Barbie Bobblehead
The possibilities abound, and shake a bit too
For a good shake, read Stanley Elkin's The Magic Kingdom.

"Abandoned by his wife and devastated by the death of his twelve-year old son, Eddy Bale becomes obsessed with the plight of terminally ill children and develops a plan to provide a "last hurrah" dream vacation for seven children who will never grow-up. Eddy and his four dysfunctional chaperones journey to the entertainment capital of America—Disney World. Once they arrive, a series of absurdities characteristic of an Elkin novel—including a freak snowstorm and a run-in with a vengeful Mickey Mouse—transform Eddy's idealistic wish into a fantastic nightmare."

Since the blurb above does no justice for the novel, we present the NY Times hyphenated dictum:

"As always, Mr. Elkin plays the crazy music of his prose—takes off at the hint of a theme on his soaring funky riffs and jazzy blue notes. Not only among Elkin's best works of fiction, but a comedy that cuts so many ways that it leaves us bleeding with laughter."—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

It is Sunday, and I'm in a weird Sunday kind of mood. Drove the family to the airport for their Sun vacation get-away at 4:30 (OUCH) took the dogs with me to minimize the noise for the rest of the sleeping household, returned about 5:30 and we all went back to bed. Thought it was 11:00 so I woke feeling refreshed, only to discover it was really 9:00. Now I feel the lack of sleep. Read the newspaper, scanning for jobs, and the inevitable collapse of our local hockey nightmare. Still waiting for the call from unnamed rock group to "seal' the deal for the first of two big benefits for Mr. Hard.

Some people give without asking. Right away. No questions asked. Special shout out to the Pointed Sticks, Frank Frink, Swank, Dark Blue World, Sandy Scofield, John Korsrud, Clare Love, etc. Others, you call and immediately its What can I do, of course, I'm in.

And still others...what are they thinking...I don't know because they aren't talking. I'm getting the Silent treatment. Doctor, there's a radius clause in my contract (that sounds like something you should get checked out). I hear its bad for him but did I tell you about my aunt who had a dog with wheels for legs.....the list goes on.

Hey Les, it's all just bizness, don't cha know. Well, excuse me, but there is a prince of guy who would give any one of you Schmohawks the button down shirt off his back. And he is lying on his back in a hospital in Bellevue with a parade of friends bringing him a picnic because he deserves a parade. So do something.

I'm talking one night....a few hours....and we have the opportunity of raising what some of us earn in a year for a guy that has no health insurance, the SOB's responsible have no insurance, and ....and.....Calm down, Les. It's only Chinatown.

It's all going to work out. We'll have the shows. We'll have the picnic. We'll even have a parade, for chrissakes. I'll be the one out in front. You'll know its me because I'm the one giving my head a shake.

March 29, 2008

Put your feet(s) up

This weekend we are hosting a housefull of relatives, combined with the usual dogs, which is why I am recommending putting your feet up and reading a good book.
I am reading Our Ecstatic Days by Steve Erickson at the moment. Normally I have a few books on the go. Other books in the rotation include Your Brain on Music, and the new Eckhart Tolle.
I am waiting on the confirmation (fingers crossed) of a major rock act to headline the first of two benefits for Scotty Hard I am trying to organize.
Hopefully we will hear soon, but no sense worrying. I have a backup plan in mind, as well. And a backup to that. Once again, no sense in worrying. Like the girl says, "And how's that working for you?"
I've found through my own personal research, and the countless advice of countless experts, that worrying doesn't accomplish much more than adding stress. It doesn't solve the issue, or further along the progress. It is not strategic thinking; it is non-strategic thinking. So put your feet(s) up. Relax. Read a good book, (or blog!) Take a walk. Pray for Scotty's recovery. Pray for your own recovery if applicable. Enjoy a glass of Pepperwood old vine Zinfandel -very nice.
Listen to NPR. Write a poem. Learn French. Go for a workout. Eat lunch. Just don't worry.
There are much better ways to use time wisely or unwisely.

March 26, 2008

The Devils in my Heart

"The Only Devils in this World are those running around inside our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought." -Mahatma Ghandi

Three weeks after having my heart attack, I was waiting in a small closet sized room in St. Paul's hospital wearing one of those hospital gowns that leave you feeling cold and vulnerable from the draft coming in the back of the gown. I was waiting for someone to tell me what happened next.

Just before seven in the morning I arrived and had been given an injection of a radioactive dye. This is so they could determine the extent of damage to my heart from the heart attack. I was told to go out to eat a small meal, and come back in about an hour or so.

After my return, I lay down on a table, while a great white machine hovered over my head. My body was transported back and forth under the machine, while it performed its medical magic like a shaman holding his hands over my body chanting and waving a smoking brush.

My next stop was waiting in a closet sized room prior to undergoing the actual stress test, which involves being hooked up with tiny electrodes and many wires attached on your chest. You are then asked to run on a treadmill, until your heartrate reaches what the technicians deem to be a satisfactory result.

Two nurses, a male nurse from South Asia, and a female nurse from Germany, bartered over who would do the honors of shaving my chest hairs to attach the electrodes. The female nurse won the bet. She entered the curtained room and asked me to drop my robe, so that she may shave parts of my chest.

Using a disposable Bic, she dry shaved a few patches and attached the sticky pads of the monitors. I told her that I was a bit nervous about taking the test since I had my heart attack only about three weeks prior.

She said, "You should not worry. This is why you had the heart attack. You have to learn to let go, and go with the flow. I can see you are too young to have had this heart attack. What you have had is a little temper tantrum in your heart. Now you must learn to not worry, to relax, and just go with the flow."

It is amazing how messages are sent to us, and surely, I was receiving one at that moment.

There were devils running round my heart, jumping up and down, having little life threatening temper tantrums, acting like the nihilistic spoiled inner child they were. Anything just to get a little attention. Except this time, the teenage wasteland, the punkrock deathwish had gone too far.

She ushered me out of the closet into the exercise room, and I began the treadmill test for another cardiac nurse. About 5 minutes into the exercise, I started to feel faint.

When asked if I wanted to stop the test, I said yes. What happened next I would not wish on my worst enemy.

Because I had not been able to physically finish the test, I was injected with a drug to artificially induce my heart to reach certain rates. Who doesn't love being injected with unknown drugs?

I'm joking, but at that moment, I did not have much of a choice. The thought that I could say no did not enter my lexicon.

What happened next was worse than having a heart attack, at least for me. I felt tightness in my chest,and the sensation of someone kicking me hard again and again in the stomach. At the same time, my head felt like it was about to explode. It was a Jack Bauer moment, and all I had in the way of relief was the ticking clock. Just three minutes and we will give you the antidote.

I was groaning and swearing and there was no going with the flow here. Just one minute and we will give you antidote. AAAAAAAH! JUST TWENTY SECONDS AND WE WILL GIVE YOU THE ANTIDOTE. IT WILL REACT VERY FAST, AND YOU WILL BE BACK TO NORMAL.

Except after the 20 seconds, I didn't feel normal. So then she said, you can take a break now. Go and have yourself a coffee, and I guarantee you will feel better.

Well, I had that coffee, and I followed it with a decidedly non-cardiac breakfast of chorizo sausage and eggs. I definitely went with that flow.

Ten days later I was given the good news by my cardiologist that I was lucky, as the tests showed that my heart had good flow, and I had suffered no significant damage from the acute myocardial infarction I had experienced in Atlanta.

The devils in my heart were not running my world that day. And the way to keep them from running, was to follow the advice of that small Germanic nurse, who told me to let go, and go with the flow.

Originally posted Sept 25 2007.

In the six months since I wrote this, I made a few changes. To the post, and in my life. My body has never been in such good shape and fitness in all my life. I do push ups and sit ups and work out 3-4 times a week. I am back working, and most importantly though, I am back playing. Not music yet. But soon. My love of writing has returned, and beauty of family and friends has helped to remind me daily of the possibilities.

March 25, 2008

If the Globe is warming, why am I freezing my ass?

Out for a spring walk in the frozen north, a buggy full of boy. The sky is heroic, the shadows intrigue. What is the shelf life on a boy these days?
After my recall scare last year, I can fully attest to my products integrity. Made for comfort and speed.
I have five blogs on the go at present, three dogs and wife and child and a brother in law to boot.
But I'm learning to relax and go with the flow. Flipping the channels the other night my daughter and I came across that doctor show with Billy Ray Cyrus and some lady was continually interrupting, talking over the action with a blow by blow description of what it was that was going on. Turns out it was the Vision channel. Now both my daughter and I though the Vision Channel was an end of the dial Christian end of the world channel; turns out that its a channel for the blind.
The voice over tells them what they are watching, as the dialogues reveal the story. Just that day I had lunch with an old friend who teaches music to the deaf. Did you hear me? Music for the deaf. It is a transformative world we live in. There have been many changes in the past years; while the media feeds us a steady diet of fear and frolic, with a dash of toxic Brittany, life slowly changes before our eyes. Only there is no voiceover telling us what is going on.
So stop for a moment. Breathe. Clear your throat, cough up the hairball, and step right up. Its the greatest show on earth, or the only show we got. So love the one you're with MORE or learn to love a stranger until they are no longer a stranger, but a friend. Transform and you can extend your shelf life.

March 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom

Happy Birthday Mom
I know a gentleman should never reveal a ladies age, but you should kick up your heels at turning 87, and raising 7 children.
I love you and hope you grow to love your new home.
Pretty nice gams, eh?
And my older brothers look pretty good in this pic too.

Watch the fingers

March 2, 2008

King Blood

King Blood

King Blood and protocol
Says everything’s political
And everyone will be affected
But it’s nothing personal

The way we live our life
We are affected
The way we live our life
We are infected

You can feel it in the artery
Or hung up in the gallery
If you want immortality
Save your skin and sanity
In time, you’ll lose your loyalty
To Church and God and Royalty
Become obsessed with purity
A false sense of security
King Blood, it lives inside of me

And tracks and trains
And blood in veins
And tracks and trains
And blood in veins

King Blood is King
King Blood is King for all to see
King Blood is King
King Blood is King
King Blood it lives inside of me.

There is a man who rides the train
Who doesn’t claim to know it all
There is a man who rides the train
Who doesn’t claim to know it all

But tracks and trains
And blood in veins
And tracks and trains
And blood in veins

King Blood is King
King Blood is King for all to see
King Blood is King
King Blood is King
King Blood it lives inside of me.

dense milt 1987 Rhythm Mission
Available on Zulu records

Twenty one years ago I wrote this with The Artist Formerly known as Scott Harding, Warren Hunter and Ross Hales. Mark Douglas played keyboards in this particular edition of Rhythm Mission. We recorded this song at Barney Bentall's Bazile Studios. The song was never given a proper release by Rhythm Mission, but Zulu Records put it out on their compilation double cd of Vancouver music Last Call.
What does or did it mean? At the time, the devastation of AIDS was becoming more prevalent. My aunt was one of the first victims, having had a blood transfusion during open heart surgery in San Francisco. She did not fit the stereotype of the day, which still colors the treatment and politics of the disease. In the end, blood is blood, and bones are bones. And we can blithely read the morning tabloid or giveaway on the train and watch the world go by and never get involved.
Or one day, usually due to some personal tragedy, we are pulled into confronting the life and death questions like what does it all really mean.

"And everyone will be affected. But it's nothing personal".

Well, this time, it is personal.

I'm not afraid to say, I love the Maggot of Bellevue, the guitar hero, my regards to Broadway Sol Goodman, Scotty Hard. Hell, I guess, I'm Scotty's little softie. But I'm standing by and like a good Anglican, getting down on my knees, then up, then sitting, then cue the goddamm folk liturgy. Serious, all my best on Miracle Monday. My prayers and the many prayers of far too many to recount once again are with you. Be Strong, Be Hard, Be the best Scotty Hard you can be.