The plane landed rather hard and kind of awkwardly swerved a few times on the runway. The pilot even joked about it over the loudspeaker “And after that crash landing… welcome to L.A!”
I caught a cab to Mark Schoenecker’s place on Sunset and LaCienega. It’s hard to believe he’s lived there 10 years, but swoosh! Just like that, there they went. I hopped the fence, and the first thing I noticed was that it’s not as sturdy as it used to be. The thing is held together by like twist ties now, and feels as though it could collapse at any moment while you’re climbing it. Old habits be damned, I’ve decided to use the gate code from now on.
When I got into his apartment, Mark wasn’t home… naturally. I attempted to play a 45 record, “Turn Down Day” by The Cyrkle. It played the song at a slightly slower speed, and then the record player died. Apparently the motor is bad but every three months or so you can turn it on, and it will manage to play half of a song. I had dinner at Poquito Mas(studio plate) and wandered around Sunset for a bit. Drank a tall can of Pabst blue ribbon and fell asleep in the mustard yellow living room chair, until Mark got home and woke me up.
Saturday was the party at VJA’s house in Malibu that I flew in for. I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in a long time. I met some new people I’m not likely to see for quite a while and wish I could see more of. Sitting on the deck, overlooking the beach I thought to myself “There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.” I love old friends. I never forget them, and the ones who never forget me are the ones I love the most.
Sunday, after riding around in their Volvo listening to “Sounds of the 70′s,” (whoa-ho it’s magic…you knowwww”) I had lunch at the Beverly Center with Greg and Mark. We talked about that rapper dude “Dolla” that got shot there, and Schoenecker floated some of his own theories about the unresolved death. We walked around Melrose for bit, went into some stores but didn’t buy anything. Sunday evening we were lucky enough to have dinner with Alex Berg at Cafe Med. She discussed her dating misadventures, and we listened attentively and occasionally chimed in with some bad advice or the sort of useless insight you’d expect out of the type of guy she’s probably never been involved with. She wanted us to go with her to The Darkroom, but Mark absolutely would not go. I really did actually want to go, but it just didn’t materialize.
Monday I met up with Kathy and we walked for a long time and then had brunch somewhere on Melrose before she drove me to the airport. I tried to wake Mark up to say goodbye, but he didn’t awaken. So I left him a note on his fridge that said something like “Thanks Mark! Be sure and go down on someone on my behalf love, b.a.” Knowing him that note will probably fossilize itself there for several years.
I can think of worse ways to spend a saturday afternoon…
Schoenecker casts his eyes upon the briny deep
“Dispersion” art exhibit at LAX by Meeson Pae Yang
Probably the closest I’ll ever get to experiencing space travel in my lifetime.
“The Longest Road is the Road to Redemption”, read the
caption of a car advertisement that caught my eye
as I was flipping through the pages of an airline magazine
while flying high at one of the low points in my life.
It really runs true.
Often times the road to redemption, with time and experience,
gets longer, lonelier, and more difficult to navigate
than it ever was in the beginning.
Like the cell of a little white lie that divides and multiplies,
the path back off the beaten,
leads to ever more and more complicated math.
While in the process of attempting to redeem yourself, you end up
creating seemingly even more reasons to redeem, as you make the next
mistakes in trying to redeem yourself for past mistakes, and must then
redeem yourself for failure to redeem yourself for failing to redeem
for trying and failing miserably in the first place!
Make no mistake, it’s
like a mechanic who breaks something while trying to fix
something that he broke while trying to fix something
and so on, the road goes on and on,
until it’s just a bridge too far and you feel like giving up
enough to make you dizzy, enough to make a man off and jump.
When you’re beyond redemption,
it seems the only redemption is beyond.
From a first kiss to a lost cause,
you find yourself trapped,
caught in your own private episode of the twilight zone.
The story of redemption is the story that always works,
but hardly ever does.
The road to my own redemption
for failures and past mistakes
is indeed a long one, so wish for me safety in this unpleasant journey.
The veracity of a tenacity,
an ability to stubbornly persist and foolishly proceed
in the face of futility, but really,
absolving myself of all the guilt of the self absorbing,
amidst the broken bits of machinery
behold, an eye still gleaming,
perhaps the only redeeming quality(if any).
Quite often times
people who say you’re really creepy
come to find themselves
cavorting with the real creeps
A lot of people find this blog while searching for the darndest things like “comeback if someone calls you creepy” or “fear of heights, ball tingle”(an actual phenomenon I am actually quite familiar with.) All right, I can’t do anything about ball tingle from fear of heights…as far as I know there is no cure for that except maybe castration which isn’t all that bad of an idea anyway.
However. i have been called creepy by my fair share of girls in my day, so if you want comebacks for when some unimaginative nervous nelly calls you creepy I will give them to you….
For one thing, you can tell her straight up that if she’s dumb enough to mistake your well intentioned originality for creepiness, it can only mean that she must completely lack any viable form of women’s intuition.
Or if you want to try another approach, which actually ties in with the first one somewhat: This is the technical response, but which I would prefer to call the “twilight zone” response…because if they have any brains it might make them think. It’s also the more honest and disarming answer as you actually have to be willing to acknowledge a bit of your creepiness. It basically goes something like this:
“Look, maybe you think I’m creepy, but that’s not as bad as actually being a creep. After all, I’m merely creepy, not really a true creep. Most of the girls who thought I was creepy ended up later getting involved with actual creeps. Because some guys don’t seem creepy…you never see it coming when you find out they are a creep because you won’t know until the dude’s already nailed you and turned you into an angro for life(angro is a term for an “angry bimbo” meaning a slutty girl that has become an angry slutty girl as a result of being jaded from their bad decision making and being bamboozled by worthless guys. You can spot angros at bars usually. They are slutty looking girls that have a chip on their shoulder and are often drunk and grouchy. They sometimes get thrown out while yelling about how men are assholes. They are still bimbos though.) How often do you hear about some guy that a girl thought was so great, and was allsurprised when he turned out to be a piece of shit? So next time you end up all distraught over your bedazzling nightmare scenario with some full blown creep, baby you’re gonna wish you were with someone as creepy as me.”
So the “Stuff White People Like,” Ikea throwpillow crowd and their new found multinational corporate allies, are all up in arms over the reactionary Arizona immigration bill, SB1070. They are appalled at the prospect that *gasp* the police can ask for your drivers license or ID when they pull you over. Wait don’t they already do that now? Next time I get stopped by a cop who asks to see my license, registration, and proof of insurance I’m going to go to the ACLU and ask why my rights are being violated. The new immigration law will lead to racial profiling, they say. Hellooo Mcfly, anybody home? There are zillions of people of Hispanic ancestry in Phoenix, and the police are not going to be messing with anyone who speaks fluent English and has an ID card just because they look brown. Sure, cops can be assholes…but most of them are already awash in “sensitivity training” and generally would prefer not to bother with anything that’s going to create annoying paperwork for them unless it’s for a valid reason. I mentioned a couple weeks ago, that we found a Mexican dude passed out in the bushes in our backyard. The guy spoke almost no English, had no identification, and was carrying in his possession nothing but a weed pipe and a pair of women’s underwear. And I’m pretty sure the cops let that guy go and even gave him a ride home. In the cases of some of the officers who were murdered by illegal aliens, the suspects had previously been arrested dozens of times. They should have been deported long before but were allowed to remain because federal authorities never bothered to do anything. Thus a state law was passed, which simply mirrors the already existing federal law.
Who doesn’t have an ID card anyway? How backward do you have to be to be a naturalized citizen of a country and not carry any ID whatsoever?….which leads us to the unintended victims of the Immigration bill:
That’s right, prehistoric cavemen living in the mountains of the Arizona desert, and misc backwoodsmen lurking about in the deep forests of Flagstaff.
The notion that if you’re opposed to illegal immigration and favor a pro-low immigration policy similar to(by today’s standards) the almost complete moratorium on immigration we had from 1924-1965(which ushered in the golden age of America 1945-1965) …the idea that that’s somehow racist is nothing but a red herring and the product of a generation which lacks critical thinking skills and can’t appreciate historical context of anything that happened prior to 1980. People who oppose illegal immigration are not racist and not anti-immigrant. We merely support a pro-low immigration policy. Mass immigration from specific countries leads to a sort of neo-segregation as it deprives people of the need to adapt to their new country, and so they form cities within cities. They often live in completely self segregated Spanish speaking neighborhoods and have their own separate newspapers and television stations. Even the fact that so many people self identify themselves as Hispanic or Mexican is in itself a form of racialism and proof that attempts to integrate them into our society have largely been a failure.
The reason why the racism charge is also B.S. is that it fails to take into account the fact that many Hispanics are opposed to illegal immigration and support the new law. When an initiative passed a few years ago making English the official language of the state, it’s worth noting (but rarely mentioned) that 50% of Hispanics voted for it! They don’t want to self identify with a specific race. I’m of mostly Scandinavian and German ancestry, but feel no allegiance toward those nations and do not partake in any ancient grievance mongering related to their historical conflicts. The mere mention of my ancestry is generally limited to the context of complaining about how my skin can’t handle being exposed to sunlight for more than a few minutes.
And what happened to localism? Why are liberals allying themselves with transnational big businesses like Walmart and Mcdonalds? Lately it seems the left are giving Mitt Romney a run for his money in terms of how much big business cock they can suck. Ah the times they are a changin’ again. Just because some CEOs are getting rich by selling out their culture and countrymen’s standard of living, doesn’t mean that it’s better for the community as a whole. Funny how you never see the people who profit off these folks living among them in the slummy environments that they’ve created. Sure, it all looks great now when you just cash your check from a gated community, but slowly(or perhaps rapidly) the demographics are changing and the children of these folks are coming of age and voting themselves into power. It’s not because conservatives oppose illegal immigration that Hispanics vote against them(okay so maybe it pushed it from like 70% to 80%). It’s because impoverished Hispanics simply vote overwhelmingly socialist and liberal as is evident in almost all of South America. Sure, so they are conservative a on a few religious issues like abortion. Great, so we’ll have a socialist espanol speaking suprawelfare state, but with abortion finally illegal, and a resurgence in usage of the term “Christmas Tree” (as opposed to the secular Holiday Tree”). No thanks, that’s a shitty tradeoff. Liberals and gays should also not dismiss the fact that illegal immigration is often counter-productive toward many of their political goals. Poor immigrants are generally religious, culturally conservative, traditionalist chauvinists who vote against gay rights and women’s rights.
Conservative libertarians should take note that the intention of having a “free-er” market may suicidally result in just the opposite. It’s worth mentioning that southern California was once a bastion of Goldwater conservatism. Now Los Angeles is heavily democratic, and Orange County barely leans moderate republican save a few pockets of resistance. Much of this can be traced to the changes in demographics in the region as opposed to the “changing of minds.” Thus ironically. libertarianism without borders actually leads to statism.
Here is a photo of Maryvale developer “John F Long” with Ronald Reagan in 1958, selling new homes to World War II veterans.
Now Maryvale is a third world scumtown. Gee, those World War II vets must have really made a mess of the place…or could there possibly have been another culprit in Maryvale’s demise? Hmmm…
There’s something else, too. Many of these southwestern states: California, Arizona and Nevada have severe water shortages on the horizon, and yet we’re being told we need to take in hundreds of thousands of new people every year. What sort of effect is this going to have on the price of utilities let alone the actual physical problems associated with these shortages? Is this cost factored into the equation of how much money we are supposedly saving with cheap labor? And what about the environment? Just how much sense does it make to import millions of impoverished people from rag-tag third world countries into a vast metropolis in the middle of the desert? Continued population growth in these places will lead to more land development, more urban sprawl, more crummy condos and ghetto apartments, more Walmarts and Food Citys, or to paraphrase Peter Cook as the devil in the film “Bedazzled” (1967 version)
“All right, you great git, you’ve asked for it. I’ll cover the world in Tastee-Freez and Wimpy Burgers. I’ll fill it with concrete runways, motorways, aircraft, television, automobiles, advertising, plastic flowers, frozen food and supersonic bangs. I’ll make it so noisy and disgusting that even you’ll be ashamed of yourself! No wonder you’ve so few friends; you’re unbelievable!”
When a civilization becomes highly advanced it begins to take polite society for granted, forgetting about the inevitably irrepressible monsters from the id, which still exist in all of us. And the Id of course, is the part of the psychic apparatus which impoverished people, including immigrants from third world countries, most often live by.
“The Romans conquered the barbarians—and the barbarians conquered Rome. Colonization of the mother countries by subject peoples is the last chapter in the history of empires—and the next chapter in the history of the West—that is now coming to a close. -Pat Buchanan, Paris Burning
When I was in about 5th grade I got really into Greek Mythology…so much so that I began to tell people it was my religion, and it became sort of a “problem.” This intense phase was brought on by 3 distinct things: the cool looking artwork in D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, fond memories of the original “Clash of the Titans” and a fascination with the Nintendo game “Kid Icarus.” But let all this talk of bizarre childhood obsessions stop there (for this entry anyway!) While I was going through my Greek myths era, my mother informed me of a book called “Chariots of the Gods” by Erich Von Daniken which claimed that ancient gods and goddesses were actually space aliens whose advanced technology was interpreted as supernatural power by primitive peoples. “This is heresy!” I thought to myself, and I remember actually not liking the idea of my gods not really being true gods, but merely creepy aliens.
Fast forward to a couple years ago, and as a dude who has seen a lot of Twilight Zone episodes, I began to get interested in the Ancient Astronaut Theory for all its imagination.So I finally picked up a copy of “Chariots of the Gods” to examine the “evidence” for myself.The crux of Von Daniken’s argument seems to be that many ancient civilizations had produced artifacts and monuments which were uniquely more advanced than the era from which they were were constructed, and therefore may have originated with the assistance of visitors from outer space. The obvious problem with this theory, is that in order for long-distance interplanetary space travel to occur, the aliens would have to be thousands if not millions of years more advanced than we are today. Thus, finding an artifact that appears a few hundred or thousand years ahead of it’s time in say 5000 BC, would not be sufficient. We would have to find artifacts that are well in advance of anything even in today’s current technology. Perhaps such objects do exist, and we are as yet still too dumb to recognize them (think of the monolith in 2001 A Space Odyssey.) But I doubt it. All of this would of course be highly insulting to the wisemen of the primitive civilizations who busted their (and their slaves’) asses to build and figure out these early breakthroughs in scientific achievement.
The book offers all sorts of other superficial and subjective “proof” such as ancient drawings which may or may not depict astronauts and vague biblical and mythological references to spacecrafts…all of which are obscure and open to interpretation. It’s somewhat telling when the most “compelling” evidence is all the least tangible stuff. To me, the only eerily curious thing in the book is how some ancient peoples seemed to have knowledge of how the Earth looked from an aerial view when no form of flight existed.
And here is where “Chariots of The Gods” finally shines. Whereas it flunks the evidence test badly, it does not fail to set the wheels of curiosity and imagination in motion. When Lowell claimed to have observed canals on Mars through his telescope (I have been to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff a few times now) he turned out to be completely wrong. But such claims sparked wild interest in Mars, and among those who became interested spawned many other theories about Mars, which led to their scientific investigation and subsequently a deeper understanding of the red planet.
Such is exactly what Von Daniken achieves with his imaginative pseudoscientific ramblings. Based on the scant evidence he provides, it’s highly unlikely that we’ve ever been visited by beings from other planets. But it begs a deeper question, which is this: If small insects and micro organisms have little or no capacity to comprehend the world of higher intelligence lifeforms like humans, then what advanced lifeforms and fantastic realities out there do we as humans lack the capacity to understand, with our relatively primitive minds?
In other words, ants are to humans as humans are to ?
One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes is called “5 Characters in Search of an Exit,” which tells the story of a group of people trapped in a giant room. They don’t know how they got there, who they are, or even what they are. And they spend their time trying trying to find a way out, in order to understand what they are. I won’t give away the ending, but one of them manages to climb out at the end, and it’s revealed who and what they are. They are a microcosm for us though. Perhaps if someday we travel far enough into space, and climb high enough into scientific understanding we may find ourselves on the tip of the tiny spoon of some gargantuan creature the size of which is larger than anything we can fathom at the present time, with our universe being but a mere morsel. Until then, I shall remain skeptically curious.
And just who the F is Robert Sutherland Telfer you must be wondering? Robert Sutherland Telfer played Scott Erickson in the 1st season of “Saved By the Bell: The New Class.” He was supposed to play a sort of next generation “Zack Morris.” According to Dustin Diamond in his book “Behind the Bell,” RST apparently was removed from the show and promptly replaced when it was learned he was a “radical conservative” and his views were discovered by all on the set. I found it a bit hard to believe that he would have been removed for this reason given that Saved By The Bell producer Peter Engel served as a dean at Pat Robertson’s(of all people!) school, but perhaps these decisions were made at lower levels. Not to mention Hollywood people, probably Peter Engel included, are quick to dump anyone or sell them out at the first sign of controversy/confrontation. And this was NBC after all… So if anyone knows what happened to the evil right wing reincarnation of Zack Morris and what he is up to now, let me know. IMDB indicates he never worked in that town again.
The difference between Scottsdale girls and Tempe girls is that Scottsdale girls are interested in money, brand names and image. They tend not to give you the time of day unless you can fulfill their expectations in these areas, which is not to say that they have good taste as far as these things go(some “gaud awful” stuff appeals to them as money rarely equates to good taste… with the atrocious downtown Scottsdale condo architecture being a perfect example) Tempe girls usually come from traumatic backgrounds and are merely interested in love and attention. In a way they care about image too, but much less so and having what would be considered a quality image(stable job, grooming habits, cool clothes, reasonably intelligent etc) actually works against you. With Tempe girls, you basically can be some heavily tattooed doofus slob who just drunkenly stumbles into them and mumbles some shit…and odds are you can have your way with them for an evening or two(a long term Tempe relationship is like 2 months, average is a couple weeks.) This may seem like it would be more advantageous to go for Tempe girls, but it can be frustrating since if you’re a guy who does care even slightly about intellect, image, goals etc….these things will not benefit you in your pursuit of said girls, and you will likely frequently lose out on these girls to many drunken, ugly, listless, worthless, morons. You will short every circuit in your body trying to compute how it happened and what adaptations will be required for future attempts. Such thoughts are futile. If you want to score a make out sesh with a Tempe girl, just say “Hey, ladies… I’m a tattoo artist, my band’s playing at Yucca Tap Room, sometimes I bartend at the Rogue and oh I’ve got some pills.” It doesn’t even matter if none of these things are true as the relationship will likely be over before she finds out, and lying about it makes you into a scumbag which will push you even further into the demographic of the Tempe girl, thus opening up all sorts of new opportunities with her friends and acquaintances.
It’s getting to be that time of the year in Phoenix when one’s ass is in almost a perpetual state of sweatiness. There’s really not much you can do about it either. Here I am in my underwear typing this in the comfort of my climate controlled habitat of a room…and still sweating my tail off with nothing to do but wait it out, which reminds me….
For some reason in the spring of 2002 I became obsessed with the Vietnam War, reading all sorts of dusty, out of print memoirs and accounts of mostly forgotten figures from that era. The best of these was probably Louis Fanning’s “Betrayal in Vietnam” which hardcover copies are still out there and available on Amazon starting at just 36 cents. One of my favorite documentaries on the Vietnam War was “The Ten Thousand Day War,” which came out in 1980 and incidentally was made by Peter Arnett, who later became a famous and controversial correspondent in both gulf wars. The bias in “The 10,000 Day War” is somewhat negated by the fact that the film features many interviews with former leaders, officials, and soldiers who are given ample time to state their take on events that transpired. The finest of these are the ones with former South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu and former Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky. Though I haven’t seen this in like 8 years, I recall one of our ally, Nguyen Cao Ky’s statements as being significant:
“Americans are a very impatient people. For Vietnamese people, time means nothing to them. They’ll just outwait you. I told President Johnson that the Americans should just go and win the war quickly.”
Fast forward to the present, and what in the world does the Vietnam War have to do with wishy-washy girls? Well, a lot actually if you think about it, but laying out those abstract connections in detail is not the purpose of this entry so just use your imagination for now.
I recently had a discussion with some girls who boasted about knowing exactly what they wanted in a guy, and they could know flat out whether they were interested or not. They made a point to distinguish themselves from those wishy-washy girls that can never make up their mind about a guy, and are forever going back and forth on what they want.
You can imagine their reaction when I told them that I actually preferred such eternally indecisive girls. The reason being is that if a girl knows exactly what she wants, and it’s not you…well then if you like her you’re simply out of luck. Her mind is already made up before giving you a chance to win her over and convince her that in fact she does want you, she just didn’t know it yet. I don’t want someone whose mind is already made up about what they want in someone before they even meet me. I know that i’m probably too idiosyncratic to fit into whatever carefully crafted image of the perfect guy they’ve concocted. At least with a wishy-washy girl I can make use of my skills in advertising and marketing to sell her a useless product she doesn’t need(…me!) And yes, I realize there’s a major downside:
“Cecelia, you’re breaking my heart. You’re shaking my confidence daily.”
Of course it can be exhausting to have a girl adore you one day while knowing she may not be interested in you the next.
“I got up to wash my face, when I come back to bed someone’s taken my place”
But so what? If you’re cleverly persuasive, she may like you even more the day after that.
“Jubilation, she loves me again! I fall on the floor and I’m laughing.”
At least if she craps out on you it will always be possible to win her back in the future. As a bonus this can also help quell one’s narcissistic fear of engulfment, since you know this isn’t an all or nothing deal and you will have plenty of opportunities for a way out, in order to maintain your sense of self. It’s also a whole-lotta fun thinking of ways to try to win someone back, especially if you know you’re not just going up against a brick wall, but rather a Belgian waffle.
You can buy them shoes, necklaces, write them elaborate text message love letters that borderline on creepy, send them flowers, set jealousy traps(sucks when they do that back to you though,) buy yourself a new wardrobe so they can see how attractive you can make yourself for brief periods of time, etc.
We’ve all done it, like in that episode of The Wonder Years where Kevin Arnold goes to that party where Winnie Cooper is there with her new boyfriend, and Kevin tries to make her jealous by hanging out with Madeline(who incidentally was not wishy washy in the least but still hotter than Winnie anyway) and being the life of the party, strutting his stuff on the wall to wall carpet dance floor and waving his jacket in the air(it ends up not working and he comes off like even more of a jerk.)
It’s never enough to just win a girl over anyway…or “get the girl.” As F Scott Fitzgerald somberly observed in “This Side of Paradise,” beautiful debutantes need to be won over again every time you see them. It would be a pity if simply failing to win them over just one of the times, would trigger a swift decisive judgment that would disqualify you for all time. Rather I’d prefer a stalemate see-saw battle,a war of attrition, where patience and persistence could eventually carry the day, even if just for that day.
The title of this entry was a variant of the book title “In Praise of the Stepmother” which I have to say deals with entirely different subject matter…
So I tried to go to the show at The Clubhouse where The Middle East was playing, but it was sold out. You’d think someone who’s been around as long as I have would have no trouble getting into one of these shindigs via guest lists, fair weather friends and whatever. One of the drawbacks of being a reclusive artist though is that you never make the connections with the sleazy promoter people to finagle your way onto the guest lists of these jams. For someone who goes out nearly every single night, I have very little interest in that sort of thing. It’s been ages since I went to see a live band play locally with any sincere intent other than shameless self-promotion and meeting attractive girls. Anyhow, I can confess to never having heard any of “The Middle East’s” songs or “Frightened Rabbit” for that matter(who canceled due to the volcano eruption, grounded European flights debacle.) Now that I no longer have a hip young stylist as a girlfriend, I am exposed to even less new music as I listen to what I want to listen to like 100% of the time now as opposed to being coerced into broadening with the threat of imminent bitchiness if I don’t stop being so selfish.
And with that you’re probably wondering “Where the fuck is he going with this entry?” Well, nowhere important really… other than last week as I was eating some chicken from El Pollo Supremo, I picked up a copy of The New Times(which is almost never a good idea for anyone with a conservative bone in their body)and opened to a random page where there was an interview with director Kevin Smith. Now I never liked any of Kevin Smith’s movies except sort of Mallrats…but even that’s not because I think it’s great, I just love going to the mall. I am a mallrat. Also any kid who was a skateboarder in the 90′s wanted to see one of our own, Jason Lee(my first proper skateboard was the Blind Jason Lee model with The Grinch on it.) I think Kevin Smith just tries too hard to be witty, and the dialogue always comes off as so phony. The scripts never dig down deep to uncover any genuine sincerity. Not to mention I think that “Jay and Silent Bob” are the two most unfunny, annoying character creations on the planet. Also, he’s from New Jersey or something, and like Billy Zoom, I almost universally hate east coast accents. There’s a certain inherent belligerence to them. However, I was shocked to see him say that he “can’t stand going to live shows, because you can never hear the lyrics” which I can definitely relate to. It all just depends what you enjoy about music and what you look to get out of it. Some people like to rock and run around bumping into each other. Others get off on the loudness and energy of the band. For me though, I’m almost always looking for something in the lyrics to validate and vindicate whatever I’m currently feeling, and I picture some other person out there hearing the song and understanding how I feel. If it sounds good and is in tune well that’s just a bonus. Like I have fantasies of walking into a club where there’s a jukebox. There’s hardly anyone there except some girl that I used to like, have a crush on, banged etc… and so I put in a few bucks and play a song on the jukebox(think “Alone Again Or” by the band “Love” or the Rolling Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow”) that somehow if she would just stop talking to the ugly trashy dude she’s with and pay attention to it she would know exactly where I’m coming from and some sort of satisfactory closure or grand re-opening would be realized. Of course the stars would never align that way. The point is that people are not all looking to get the same things out of art. And understanding what someone else is looking for is the first step to appreciating why they may not have the same perception and appreciation of things that you enjoy.
Anyhow, my connection with Kevin Smith was short lived as a few lines down in the interview he makes the following ignorant statement:
“I thought, ‘Phoenix is hot, people wear less clothing, so they’d be less inhibited and less conservative,’” he says. “Or maybe it’s the opposite — since people are wearing less clothing, they feel the need to be the morality police.”
First of all, in typical intellectually incurious, east coast fashion this shows Kevin Smith understands absolutely nothing about conservatism. Conservatives like sexy, feisty, classically beautiful women like Raquel Welch whereas liberal female icons are people like Ellen Degeneres and Kathy Griffin. Furthermore it’s the left wing NAGS and stick-in-the-mud feminazi types like Gloria Steinem who are always whining about the objectification of women, and protesting the attractiveness of magazine models, while lobbying for the right to be fat not have to shave their legs, armpits or wear make up. Conservatives on the other hand see men and women as having definite biological differences and therefore fulfilling natural gender roles… which is why despite all the social conditioning and youth indoctrination people will never completely be a neutered, unisex species because there are certain uncontrollable biological forces at work. They can be bent, but not broken, not until science actually has perfected the capability of physically altering those forces, at which time men will be obsolete. But until then, women will want to wear scantily clad clothing and attract men, and men will want to have sex with as many girls as they can get there grubby little hands on. That’s conservatism, grounded in reality.
As for the religious nuts and the puritans…well they’re hypocrites of course as they turn out to be the biggest pervs of all, but even they recognize the importance of gender roles and can appreciate sexiness, just not when it’s flaunted and paraded about in polite society. Rather they prefer it within the private context of loyal, steadfast relationships and I will resist the urge to say… seminaries and airport bathrooms…but here’s a shocking fact, Catholics and Jews are overwhelmingly democrats. It’s only WASPs who lean republican. That’s the birds and the bees for you.
So I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advance copy of Jonathan Sakas‘ (pronounced like “say kuss”) debut album, Albatross. He had previously released an EP Death of the Iceman. Jonathan has been around in the Phoenix music scene for years, and I recall seeing one of his bands play at Plaid in late 2006 era. He has only recently began to break out and make a name for himself.
Being somewhat of a minimalist, I knew immediately that I would like Jonathan Sakas’ Albatross when I saw that he used “one word” song titles for each track (Grapes, Oysters, Striker, etc) The songs themselves are not minimalist but rather extremely well polished, proficiently performed, professionally produced quasi-masterpieces.
A variety of synthesizers and other electronic instruments are made use of, with some guitar sounds thrown in here and there. My favorite track on the album is the first song “Striker,” which is peppy and catchy, as in will be sure to catch your attention. The other potential hits are “Porridge,” the third song and also “Marie” which has an excellent keyboard intro that seems to scream “instant pop phenomenon.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so, as “Marie” was selected to be on the new Zia Records Compilation CD slated to come out in the near future. That’s quite a testament to the quality of the jam, given that there are a zillion established Phoenix bands and Albatross hasn’t even been released yet.
There tends to be a stigma in Phoenix against acts that appear to take their music seriously. People look at you as if to say “Who does this guy think he is? Why doesn’t he have his shirt off and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in his hand like the rest of us?” It’s part of the ‘white trash chic’ mentality that plagues much of the Southwest. The reality is that Phoenix as a whole probably doesn’t take itself seriously enough. Jonathan Sakas represents just the kind of 21st century artistry this town desperately needs.
If Jonathan keeps at it and doesn’t get distracted by ordinary life prospects or seduced by constraining relationships, I foresee a future of national tours, sold out amphitheaters, New Times music awards, indie label deals and all around success. When Jonathan Sakas starts to hit the big time, remember you heard it here first.