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Pyrrhic Pressure

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a season of win-lose here in Gritropolis. This, so pointedly captured by this weekend—on the court, on stage & sigh, at the movies.

Having a Pyrrhic victory may be fine for some. Not for me. Sure, that fat head no talent Tyler Perry, finally let a woman wear the dress. But his dreck came in number one at the box office. The one solace I have is that all people buying tickets for that movie have been tagged by Homeland Security, as no threat whatsoever to US intelligence.

While Serena Williams blew up at the US Open ( tennis ) for what she felt was an umpire’s wrong call on a foot fault*, Kanye West retained his title as Biggest Loudmouth in Music. Homeboy still believe he can hit that Beyonce groove thang, soon as the girl see he prettier than Jay Z. Or delusional that Taylor Swift has jungle fever & digs stupid guys. Either way, he on crack. One thing I know for certain—Taylor Swift’s videos are better than Tyler Perry’s. Watching hers only get you tagged by the local Fish & Game Commission. And that’s so they can call you for a donation.

If Serena can be fined an amount the equivalent of her tennis shoe allowance for a Grand Slam tournament (just kidding-I know she gets them gratis), why can’t that ahole Kanye get fined by the FCC. Why? for being an ahole in prime time. I bet  Mr. Obama’s backhanded smack of Kanye got more play than anything he might’ve said publicly about Joe Wilson (R-Rep. South Carolina). He probably just got an atta boy from Rush Limbaugh—ha ha ha ad infinitum. Times like these I wish James Brown was still alive to advise some entertainers. Not the sports James Brown. Or the other sports James Brown. Or one of the Steve Smiths. The late great King of Soul. Of course!

There’s more, but I like to stick to the headlines. I do feel compelled to inject a future story—Prince Fielder, the really talented & large (+ packing a few more lbs. than needed ) first baseman of your Milwaukee Brewers, is likely to be trade bait over the Winter. Team very interested resides in Boston. Since they are allowed to make any move & be praised for it by buttboys at ESPN, I can’t fight the power. It is true, they have gone too long without a big fat guy to play first for them, since Mo Vaughn left. And Pig Papi Ortiz admitted his ” protein drinks ” only enable him to do one thing well—hit v. the Yankees.

Speaking of baseball, who won the World Series? The season must have ended while I was on my retreat in Nepal, searching for the home of Deechen Lachman.** I had no joy finding it, though I did run into the Dalai Lama.† When I asked him if he knew her, he said vexedly—” she’s Australian, you moron.” If I’d have known the MLB season wound up early so ESPN could go football 24/7, I’d have asked the Dalai Lama about the WS. Hey! he was all ready pissed off, I had nothing to lose there. 

All I can get from ESPN is football f*gs, enabling gamblers with point spreads & injury reports & sucking up to coach. They are stat diligent to the point of being anal. I’m amazed they don’t do the Pop Warner games. Must be a licensing fee conflict. Or maybe the authorities draw an age line for boys locker rooms those bozo can invade. Why don’t I just Google? have I mentioned the page-load times for me & this old dial up here on the Copper Line yet this post? Oh look! there’s some mail from the Dept. of Homeland Security. . ..

* it was a bad call

** actor Dollhouse Fox-TV series

† I know I know—the DL is in exile in India




Leaving the House. . ..

August 22, 2009 4 comments

Avoiding the news is a preoccupation of mine. This will not be an exegesis, satirical, tedious or otherwise on that subject. But it is a quick factoid, explaining that the Internet has virtually made it impossible for me to not see the headlines in some side bar. Even when I’m only reading the @#%&*! comics! That’s how I read the news today (August 20). Oh boy. . ..

While I often allude to a boyhood in the Bronx, NY, where I was born ( the hospital a block from Manhattan—which made all the difference ), for purposes of being clear about one point in this piece, I admit I graduated high school in New Jersey. That’s why I will now tell you about Stevie Butler. I went to high school with him and his older brother Brian—Brian and I were born a few days apart in the same year. Their parents had a general store, maybe a football field’s distance away from the school. See, if it were in the Bronx, it would have been called a candy store.

Due to the vagaries of life & my incredible smarts ( mostly incredible for the fact each year I seemed to lose an IQ point ), even though Brian and I were identical in age, I was a Senior, he was a Junior & Stevie was a freshman, as was my sister. The year after I graduated, I was in a band & the times they were a changin’. Their mother was my boss for two summers I worked for the Parks & Recreation Dept. Sadly, there was no colleague the equal of Rashida Jones.

So, there was a connection. Two years after high school, Brian & I went to sign up at the US Armed Forces Draft Board in New Brunswick together. Despite the well intentioned advice from Arlo Guthrie, we did not walk in holding hands & sing a chorus of Alice’s Restaurant, and then walk out. One, because we didn’t want them to think we ” were both faggots ( sic )”. Two, I couldn’t sing harmony to save my ass. Literally. The thread which ties my life to others is so unbelievable, it’s more suited for the novel I never intend to write. I can’t do it here. Which spares us all. For now.

In that era, most guys I knew had grown their hair long, mustache and/or beard optional. For authority figures, it was believed to be a solid tipoff that person was doing some kind of drugs. It may strain credulity, but at 18 ( some of this ground covered in a previous episode ) I chose not to smoke, drink or do dope. Maybe it was the Catholic training or maybe it was I just wanted to save all my resources for girls & music. This was also the year I met another person who played a major part in my music history. His name was David Sutch–he was larger than life, and his did not end well.

I’d see Stevie at gigs & parties, he was affable, generous and blunt. He did have an annoying habit of busting me for not going out into the world & examining every possibility, in every corner. My retort was I didn’t need to, I had an imagination. The irony of my relationship with him will show up later in this. Despite what my so called other friends & acquaintances, family too, thought then, I was out doing other things. It just wasn’t with that old bunch. As a new decade opened, I jointly started a unisex clothing shop in Flemington N.J. with a college buddy, and I’d met several girls from that Hunterdon County area.

A life long habit of personal high impact-short lived jobs began with that store. About a year after leaving the store in a clash over business styles, I heard one of the girls Rita, had been hit by a car, while walking. Her injuries were extensive, but by the time I got the news, she was home and slowly mending. Rita had been a friendly and attractive girl, who came into the shop a lot and any ulterior motives aside, I went to visit her, hoping to cheer her up. She had some bad physical scars, all over. Though she was in decent spirits when I visited, one of her friends told me, she was good day, bad day. Something about her made me think Steve Butler could help bring back a healthy spark to her wounded psyche. He had a way with chicks.

I promised Rita I’d come back and I did. This time I took Stevie, he was up for it too, and because I was interested in one of her friends, Jaye, it was only natural for Steve to hang with Rita. I just knew Steve & Rita would like each other. I was right. Somehow I lost track of Steve after he got involved with her—my attachments to girls sometimes as short as my jobs. Their relationship lasted awhile, and I know he helped her recovery.

Next thing I knew about him, he was traveling with another girl, his hair down to his waist, and according to Brian, they were in Los Angeles. Everybody got excited when word was out, Stevie was going to appear on a popular television game show To Tell the Truth. The hook—lame, but tailor made for that era— He and the girl were placed, standing with their backs to the audience, the panel had to guess who was the boy or the girl. Yikes! We laughed, we cried–my pals got high, I didn’t. I was envious of Stevie being on TV. I can’t recall, but I think he & his gf made it onto the original Price Is Right that same week. It might even be on YouTube now—I don’t know and I don’t want to either.

Steve lived in a cave for a phase, on one of the Hawaiian Islands. Mostly he traveled the world. I’d get picture postcards from all over the planet, many with the same message— ” have you left the house yet?” I resented it after a while. But he wasn’t wrong. Experience had made me even more solitary, writing songs & collaborating with several others. My body lived locally—my mind traveled globally. Then I’d write a song. One made a sentimental reference to a friend like Stevie and a guy like me & a girl. I was sure it would be a hit. Just like me, it didn’t go too far. But it did leave the house, winding up no doubt in circular files from NYC to L.A. with a stop in Nashville.

In 1986 I was doing a thankless gig at a street fair in Frenchtown N.J. I’d invited an old friend, but he had not shown up. Much to my happy amazement, another, very unexpected person, did— Stevie. He’d just come back from Tibet (!), spoken with our friend Dennis ( the no-show ) & decided he’d try to sell some of the items ( no! not drugs ) he’d brought back from Asia. Doing my usual, “ I’d like to buy something, man , but I’m doing this gig free ” act, I shook his hand. Being Stevie, he said—“…just pick out a few things, they’re yours. It’ll be your pay for playing.” Chambers of Commerce could learn from guys like him. Ex-cave dwellers being more giving than say, fat white blowhards. I chose a great cap & a scarf, which I subsequently employed as gifts for two women. I’d told him I might do just that & he smiled. But the third thing, a small wooden slide whistle, resides just a foot away from this keyboard.

That was the last time I saw Steve Butler. Two years later, he boarded a plane in London for NYC. It was Pan Am Flight 103 and it blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. The story doesn’t end there. That’s why I’m stopping this one. And for the moment, I won’t be leaving the house.


Dogged

July 21, 2009 1 comment

Update: August 13, 2009 Michael Vick has been signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. After complying with the conditions of an NFL imposed limbo status, he will have his second chance. That said: to repeat, any moron using the ” culture ” excuse for abusing animals— then your culture is criminally ill. AND as far as I know Vick’s culture is the United States of America. If you think that behavior is acceptable in the US, have someone read the penal code to you. Slowly.

The release of Michael Vick from Federal custody has provoked a fresh round of debate. Most of it concerns whether or not he should be allowed to resume his career in the National Football League. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not yet announced a ruling on this matter, and when he does, the fire will really burn up sports talk radio lines.* Those freaks will trot out their legal experts & PETA deriding jokes. Topped off with the usual unhealthy dose of their Oprah informed grasp of psychology.

That’s not what’s burning me though. I just had to listen to a caller on WFAN claim it is ridiculous to not accept the practices of other cultures. This is a moronic argument for excusing dog fighting ( for which Vick was imprisoned, along with torturing & killing the animals ) & another favorite, cock fighting. For the uninitiated, which is to say, civilized humans, that would be roosters. UK actor Ricky Gervais was recently in the news for taking a stand against bull fighting. I am with him—I think Pamplona’s running of the bulls has also out run its course. Just ask the guy who got gored to death. My opinion is this kind of entertainment is not a part of a culture which gets grandfathered in & perpetuated, it is a clear lack of any semblance of culture.

The host of the program, suggested many of us don’t understand why these ” sports ” exist. Hey! listen genius I understand. It is born of desperate poverty, in which those with a pocket of power, prey on the weak minded & empathy bereft. It is based on betting & the need to feel a victory, employing animals as surrogates; animals who cannot give consent. It is deviant behavior on anyone’s dance card, and claiming your society has a right to do it, is frankly bull shit.

In segments of Africa the village male leaders remove the clitoris from their females. That’s their culture. Is that something we should all just accept? They have their reasons—and it’s their ballpark. And it is the product of the power mad and ignorance run rampant, kept in place by strong arm tactics & fear. Do I equate that with animal fighting? Yes. It is men, abusing their authority for the purpose of controlling another living things innate biological urge. I’ll pass on any twisted humor. It is simply the strong ( ? ) victimizing the weak.

I think Michael Vick can be given a second chance, for all the usual liberal reasons. He paid his debt blah blah blah. I also think if he steps in dog shit & even says one hard word, they should lock his ass up again. You know what I mean, so don’t get all jiggy. Play football, and stop getting off on animals. Vick was not a quality pro quarterback; he ran more than he passed ( he’s not very good at it ) & that led to injury. But he is a gifted athlete, so a change of position might work. When it comes to his recreational choices, he can slip into his Ron Mexico persona and have fun in Vegas, gambling with easily impressed dancers & hookers. They’ll be glad to do it doggy style.

AS for Vick’s apologists on both sides of the microphone. You can barely articulate a valid opinion on sports. Keep honing that meager skill and don’t start spouting off regarding culture. You probably wouldn’t know culture if somebody spilled yogurt on you. I’m pretty sure you’d sucker punch them, since it’s no doubt a proud part of your culture.

* Goodell has allowed Vick in the NFL pending a decision by game 6 of the 2009 season, reinstatement on hold based on the comissioner’s discretion. AND the talk is carpet bombing the airwaves now Vick has signed w/the Phila. Eagles.

Parallaxatively 4th Street

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

My life has always been lived in parallel lines. The geometrical manifestation of that which runs side by side, destined to never meet. Here’s an example or two.

When I was 20, I was a teacher aide in an inner city school, troubled by a lack of student discipline, due to drug use. Mostly marijuana, some of it heroin. This was before crack was cool & ecstasy was only a dream of getting Susie Q to third base in the back seat of the Ford.

Having just failed ( then )as an entrepreneur in the burgeoning head shop business, due to a personal ethos that dictated never selling drug paraphernalia, I got the aide gig. That was my first cosmic/ironic clue I’d have troubles making ends meet ( see parallel lines above ). But even by age 20, I’d had experience in spotting a doper. After all, most of my so called friends were—they required it, they told me, so they could be better musicians.

Eventually, after having my heart broken by girls and the music business, I succumbed one party night to trying some mushrooms, or organic mescaline, as approved by Castaneda’s Don Juan. Administered by the drummer. What fun! I almost got busted first time out of the gate. Not content with a good beer high or even a doobie buzz, I went straight—OK wrong word—directly to tripping.

It was yet another portent— I saw God—(who looked remarkably like a much older version of me!), seemed like a good guy. At the time. . .. Then, with my antennae, abnormally sensitive on a regular day, way up high, I heard the inner voice say—look out the window dude. I saw a blinking red light in the dark street, coming from next door, in the suburb we were partying.

A devotee of Sherlock Holmes, I instantly deduced — police. Ran up stairs, announcing it room to room. Much flushing took place & on cue, the door bell rang. One officer, very polite, told the kid whose parents were out of town for the Memorial Day weekend (natch), there had been a complaint about drums. Yes, he had been playing them loud + long, earlier, but he promised the cop, he was done for the night.

As he was a clean cut young man, and the back windows had been open, the cloud of cannabis was wafting points due west, away from the officer’s nose. Case closed. Me, still trippin’, I dodged bullet one. Much praise from the rest. Sadly, with one exception, they were male, the lone girl, was taken. No grateful girl to, well, you know, for saving her ass. Oh well. I did get to meet God. By the way, God told me I was going to be all right. Still waiting. . ..

Back to school. So, I knew a drugged out kid when I saw one. But after having been threatened ” I’ll cut you up Mod Squad! ” by a sister ( possibly Tyler Perry’s ) with a nail file, whose smacked out boyfriend told her–“he’s cool” I started rethinking the gig. About the same time I learned one of the students (girl) was having sex with a teacher (male). Now, I was not a teacher, I was a 20 year old aide. The reason I found out about those two though, was because I had formed a Platonic palship with the bff of the girl in question. If you knew me, you’d know when I say Platonic (paltonic?*), I mean it.

I was more flex then. Not to mention, active. I was into being monogamous and sincerely wanted just one good chick. In retrospect or in a time machine, I’d likely moderate that position. A lot. Using the Kama Sutra as a primer. Any way, when a work/study girl propositioned me in the hall one day, I closed my eyes and thought of England. It was a What Would John (Lennon) Do moment. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I still remember all their names too.

What I really wanted to say though is, any given school day I ‘d be sashaying down the hall. One conversation I’m criticized for using “college” words. The next, I’d go off in a blue cloud about junkies with sharp implements and get the worn out “using profanity is the sign of a small vocabulary,” lecture. Well, I was pissed off at the fucker who. . .oh, never mind.

It’s always been that way. I’d walk down the street in a small town and one person would comment—“you look so much better now you’ve shaved off your beard.” The very next would say ” grow your beard back.” What was most disconcerting is the former observer was male, the latter a female. Have I mentioned I’m a devout heterosexual? Well, unless the only way to get a threesome with Bridget Regan & Abbie Cornish is to go through Hugh Jackman. Tina Fey & Katrina Bowden? Sigh.

This special edition is brought to you by Norfolk-Southern Railroad. Here in Bubbadoon, I live a mile from the railroad track (more parallel lines). When I first moved here, the people in the community immediately adjacent to the tracks, voted to ban train whistles from midnight to 6 AM. The train suits ( standard issue fat white guys ) had much more clout and were able to have the legal voice of the people vote overturned. That’s why I am awake and filing this, two train whistles, 10 minutes apart at 2:30AM.

I bet there are more deaf drivers at 3:10 AM then say, BLIND ones. There are with certitude a greater amount of people sleeping than drivers crossing those fucking tracks. Why can’t these assholes just employ a few more flashing red lights. Shit, those warn even humans who might be tripping for the first time. AND that’s why I hate the South.

*©2009 Jukeofurl Prod LTD.

38 Ditches

March 24, 2009 3 comments

What a sad day. Curt Schilling announced his retirement from baseball. Notice he didn’t mention anything about retiring from shooting his mouth off. Most recently he boldly denounced Roger Clemens as a past, present and no doubt, future ” cheater.” Really went out on a limb with that one huh. He and that fathead burgomeister looking Papelbon need to keep holding those Bundestag bashes. Herr Oktober & Herr Oktoberfest–two clowns who would not have appeared out of place singing the Horstwessel Song in 1936.

Curt wants to enter the pure and virtuous world of politics. If he doesn’t like cheaters, he better rethink that move. Not to mention any dirty laundry he might have around, specifically hemotropic hosiery. He also has a blog. Hey! I have a blog. But all my socks are blood free, so far. He could do an album of songs & title it Blood on the Sox. Or Soxday Bloody Soxday. That spotlight ho Bono would probably sing back up. A Hollywood bio-pic could work for him too (not too big a stretch for his ego, or socks)— There Schill Be Blood. Only some suggestions. Nothing written in blood.

Schilling is/was an anomaly among athletes. He rarely resorted to spouting cliches or avoiding the media. In fact, he rarely waited to be asked to give his opinion, often calling a radio program & speaking his mind. Though he’s not a gifted extemporaneous speaker, he dazzles the jockocracy. Of course, they are the same clowns who think Kid Rock is major talent & Peter Gammons is a good guitar player. Not, to the former and meh, to the latter. Being fair & balanced, as a Yankee fan, I would say former NYY center fielder, Bernie Williams is a better guitar player than Kid Schlock & Gammons. That said, that ain’t saying much.

When Mr. Schilling did go to Washington, testifying in the Congressional Hearings on the dumbass Mitchell Report, he was uncharacteristically brief, if not actually curt. His pre-game had loads of bluster, I guess he choked when the game was on the line; he only wins v. the Yankees. For money and the fickle love of Beanotown. Still, who knows, Curt Schilling might help turn the fortunes of the USA around, just as he did with the Red Sox. He didn’t exactly leave there in perfect harmony, but hey, who ever does. At least his doughy pal Papelbon didn’t gloss Schill a ” cancer ” as he did another former soul, er, I mean team mate Manny Ramirez, the current poster boy for Boston persona non grata status. The Boston MLB franchise’s ESPN sponsored annual American League pennant front runner label, comes naturally to them; the fans have been front runners for a century. We’ll see. For sure we’ll hear.

So, Schilling can talk and form his own opinions. Yowzah. It’s easy to admit he was a clutch pitcher (damn facts), who twice got it up to beat the Yankees in championship level games. All this will serve him well if he enters the political arena. He might want to invest in a good pre-wash stain remover though. Politics is a much bloodier game than baseball. Those boys & girls do more than steroids to get a win. Someday he might rather he was in Philadelphia. . ..

This, Bud, is for you!

February 12, 2009 2 comments

MLB, in a well deserved & hypocritical hissy over the ongoing steroid revelations, has a collateral problem. The big time players, such as Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens & Barry Bonds have careers worthy of baseball’s legendary Hall of Fame. Well, they did until the cover got blown off. Sure, you could keep them out. But seriously folks.

However, I am proposing the solution. This is hereby Copyrighted 2009 by JukeofUrl Productions. In place of the team logo the player was most associated with, the plaque will show him with this on his cap >

Here’s what it looks like

Steroid Era Cap

Steroid Era Cap

Here’s how it might look on the plaque

HOF Plaque version

HOF Plaque version

In your hearts, you know I’m right. Don’t thank me all at once.

AND may the Yankees never win another game if the following is not a fact: I once played on a softball team sponsored by a local pharmacy. You guessed it–that was the logo. I loved that hat.

A-non y nonny

February 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Dateline NY, NY February 10, 2009

Sports Illustrated has prepared a retraction regarding the revelation Alex Rodriguez used steroids. It will state that their reporter mistook the abbreviation Anon for Arod, saying- ” Hey, I was in the dark and had blinders on. . ..” Oddly the rest of the list was 103 names, all John Doe. In light of the fact Mr. Rodriguez has since admitted use of a PED, it’s all moot. Once again proving the old adage, don’t believe everything you read, and only half of what you see. QED

In a related story, there is no truth to the rumor Boston fans have thought of a new heckle. Adding the word ” sucks ” to everything, is still the sum total of their wit.