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Archive for July, 2011


I took my dad to the mall the other day to buy some new shoes (he is 66).
We decided to grab a bite at the food court.

I noticed he was watching a teenager sitting next to him.

The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors – green, red, orange, and blue.

My dad kept staring at her.

The teenager kept looking and would find my dad staring every time.

When the teenager had had enough, she sarcastically asked:
“What’s the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?”

Knowing my Dad, I quickly swallowed my food so that I would not choke on his response; I knew he would have a good one!

In classic style he responded without batting an eyelid ….

“Got stoned once and had sex with a parrot. I was just wondering if you might be my kid.”

PS: thanks to Arisa for this one!

 

 

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You show up for work, and it’s there. You finish work, and it’s there. You wake up in the morning thinking about what you’re going to do at work, and, look: it’s there again. Booze.

On ice. Often served by pretty girls with ringlets in their hair wearing cool band t-shirts, probably inked and pierced. She likes you. She must like you, because she gives you beer, which jangles on a tray placed on the fetid carpet of a small, Sharpied band room, which seems less fetid when you’re wasted, if by degrees. After awhile, you ask her for other things, too, but she’s gone, so coke, pot, pills: these are what the promoter gets for you.

This is provided the promoter shows up for the gig, but even if he doesn’t you play anyway: songs for beer. The gig’s great. The crowd is great. More beer, more booze. Rock and roll will never die. And neither will you. At least not right away.

Maybe Amy Winehouse would have died anyway. But maybe, if she wasn’t a musician, she might have lived past 27. Maybe, if she’d been an accountant or zookeeper or land speed pilot, she would have exploited her tastes on weekends only; at the disco, the neighbourhood pub, her pal’s flat.

But the drinking started early because booze it was available early. It was everywhere, and, eventually, it became part of the rise, part of the buzz. Sure, she might have had a weakness that led to her demise, but put her in any stream other than rock and roll, and I doubt that it would have happened so fast, so soon, so young.

It wouldn’t have happened in a culture that didn’t celebrate party-mad losers like Pete Doherty and Paris Hilton, glamourized for their vanity and artless incapacitation; or death-cheaters like Ozzy or Steven Tyler, whose natural state of drug-damaged somnabulance is regarded as a triumph by record industry types who milked them for all they were worth while in the throes of their addiction; or an entire genre — bluesrock — which gutlessly celebrates bourbon and Bud and whiskey without ever recognizing the way it ravages and destroys lives and families and the very musicians who create these songs.

Instead, give me a song about a person who deals with these problems. Or at least acknowledges them. Give me a pop star who fights to live; to work their way through this culture of waste and death and booze and lives to compose their lucid epitaph.

As an audience, we want our rock stars to walk the knife’s edge. We want them to explore darkness and tease death and rage hard for those of us too tired at day’s end to do anything more than crack a beer and watch television. Then, when they die, we expect the price of their lives to have been a tax on our fantasies.

Because of our acceptance of addiction as an arsenic for the wild, Amy Winehouse will, in the end, be remembered as just another drunk singer with a few great songs. They’re crazy; they’re drunk; they’re high; they’re dead. As a culture, we almost expect them to suffer this fate because our inveterate acceptance of musicians as irresponsible, unhinged and weak.

It’s a fatal, self-perpetuating cliche: the doped-out singer with the wafer-thin constitution. When Amy got bad the first time, then the second, people said. “She’s an artist.” “She’s brilliantly frail.” “She’s reaching out to a greater truth.” “She’s vomiting on my back deck.”

To anyone but her family, it all seemed so normal. It all seemed natural. That was our first mistake. And hers, I suppose. And everyone else who looked past that which eventually killed her, and thousands like her.

Rock and roll is riddled with singers with great voices and hit records who were devoured by booze or pills or heroin or whatever. But that doesn’t mean that we have to keep believing that this is acceptable; that it’s merely part of the territory when musicians trade in their lives as a result of addiction. Tell that to David Bowie. Tell that to John Prine. Tell that to Paul McCartney. Tell that to Radiohead.

Amy Winehouse was an alcoholic who died too young, but she didn’t have to, because not everyone does. Maybe she was weaker than others. Maybe she needed it more. Maybe her inner-life was terrible and it was the only way out. Or maybe too many people told her that what she was doing was okay.

But we have to stop saying that it’s okay. Because it’s not. Even though musicians create a great and beautiful art — something that accountants and the zookeepers and the land speed pilots do not — that doesn’t mean that they should be treated any differently, or cared for less. Otherwise, someone else’s daughter is going to die, and we’ll have more blood on our hands, no matter how wild the voice or memorable the band or great and important the tune.

Dave Bidini was one of the founding members of Rheostatics. His new record, the Bidiniband’s In the Rock Hall, will be released in January on Pheromone Recordings.

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Isn’t it “refreshing” to know that Chase Field in Arizona, site of this year’s baseball all-star game, is cooled by an 8,000 ton (that’s right, TON) air conditioner.  While outside temperatures were 100F, inside the covered ballpark it was a cool 72F.  So the next time you are at the gas pump watching your fill up spinning into triple digit territory remind yourself about one of the reasons our energy consumption/cost is spinning out of control.  There really is a major disconnect here.  How necessary is it to air condition a ball park?  Was baseball not invented as an outdoor game?  Write to your congressman and ask them what they are doing about such lunacy.  We’re all so conscious about going to vacation places that leave a minimal footprint, yet back at home our business and societal leaders are so disconnected from reality you have to wonder how they have the cojones to publicly moan about energy costs, all the while blaming the Saudis or “those Arabs”.  It boggles the mind!

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He wandered in an incandescent haze

Stumbling through the days

Looking for a tangible reason

To live another season.

The reasons were many, but blind as a bat

He continued to hide like a terrified rat.

Refusing to move, ignoring all pleas

His life had remained in perpetual freeze.

Never acknowledging the pain that he wrought

Playing the victim was all that he brought.

 

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Read this and ask yourself what kind of morals guide us as a species?

Named after the French King Henry the IV who ruled France from 1589 to 1610, Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac is a $2 million dollar bottle of cognac. Aged for over 100 years this cognac is known to be the finest, most expensive cognac in the world. But it’s not exactly the liquor that makes this the most expensive cognac in the world.

The bottle is made of handcrafted crystal, has over 6000 diamonds and is dipped in 24 karat gold and sterling platinum, which undoubtedly makes this one of, if not the most expensive bottle of liquor in history. The Guinness Book Of World Records has named it the most expensive liquor bottle in the world.

So the next time you have a bit of a cash crunch or want to raise some capital for whatever, won’t it just warm the cockles of your heart to know that somewhere in this world somebody is getting drunk on $2million of your money!

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