Saturday I went through the second phase of auditioning a new guitarist (phase one was exchanging links to material): meeting him in person at my favorite meet-a-new-musician café. I’ve been using this café for that function for ten years, at least. It’s big, never crowded during the day, with very high ceilings and weird Art on the walls and the ambient music is low key enough to chat over. Anyway, the guy showed up right on time, looking like he’ll look great on stage (I’m six feet tall and he’s maybe six feet four, with a cool beard)  and we shook hands. He asked, “How’s it going, man?” and I said: “Everything’s great not counting the asinine nonsense of the past two years…!” He smiled. First test.

About thirty minutes into the chat, about the philosophical and musical ethos of the project (after he got over the casual mention that I’m 63, which he couldn’t believe; he assumed I was in my (late, probably) forties; he’s 37), he said, “Yeah, I’m not veed. Are you veed?”

“Ha! FUCK no.”

I’d like to say we “high fived” but I don’t do “high fives” but I would’ve if I did.

Pretty cool but we spent the next hour talking about things that had NOTHING to do with music. I told him we’d have to establish a rule for rehearsals: NO DISCUSSING THE TOPIC UNTIL AFTER REHEARSAL. Or nothing else will ever get done.

To all the vee-friendly Normies possibly reading this: the day your brain achieves full function, again, you will join us. Also, your Life will improve profoundly as a result.



Just finished this song yesterday, a song about (my fabulous) marriage. It’s one extended Double Entendre (the song as well as the marriage). Then I recorded this new tune with poetic crudeness: just me, a cheap acoustic guitar and my favorite drum machine (the Arturia Drumbrute Impact, the only robot in my life I can be said to love; perhaps because I do the programming? To be honest I recycled the beat, on this tune, from an earlier tune I’ve decided to shelve for now. It’s a great beat and I don’t want to waste it!).

Check out the lyrics (and listen to the private SoundCloud link):



“I see a few straight-faced references to a literal Heaven, in American “News” stories, every day. If Heaven is a distant place directly “above” us, is it in Geosynchronous orbit? Is Heaven a satellite? Or is Heaven somehow simultaneously “above” every possible person standing on every possible spot on the surface of the Earth? Is Heaven actually “below” some people or to “the side” of others during certain times of day? At least the literal-minded positioning of Hell makes a little sense.”

7 Comments (with my poor, gullible, dead, wackzeen-killed friend, NPR’s rock historian and go-to rock-obituarist, Ed Ward)
Ed Ward
You had it right the first time: in geosynchronous orbit over the U.S. of goddam A.
Steven Seven Augustine
Why didn’t you tell me this before?
Ed Ward
You never asked. Anyway, you’re in good enough shape to swim there yourself. Most Americans aren’t which is why it’s so conveniently placed. They’ll be winded when they get there, but they’ll be there. Unless they’re…you know…sinners.
Steven Seven Augustine
It’s all so obvious now! Thank ye, Pastor Ward!
Steven Seven Augustine
(PS: I’m in pretty good shape these days but I never learned to swim! So it’s down to Hell I cheerfully sink! At least Zoe Lund and Federico Fellini are down there…)
Ed Ward
I think the swimming will be aided by hordes of angels holding you up, but I’m not at all certain of this, never having done it myself. On the other hand, an eternity of bocce with Fredo sounds pretty good.
Steven Seven Augustine
“I think the swimming will be aided by hordes of angels holding you up…” That really would be Hellish.


I have no problem being a member of a tiny and unpopular minority of Heterosexual men who can’t help being extremely into foxy (GENUINE) Human Females. In my case, specifically: my Wife. When a foxy Human Female enters an elevator or a shop or a queue in front of a cash machine, things just seem brighter, cooler, more interesting to me, in that location, for the duration of the visitation. I’m happily married so I wouldn’t even care to flirt, but a space without a foxy Human Female in it is merely a neutral space… until a foxy Human Female arrives to improve the real estate vastly. I can’t help it. It’s deep in my brain. It has served me well.

I like it.



I was extremely interested in Elvis Costello’s recorded music in 1977 or 1978, when he appeared on the scene. I went to a concert of his in ’78 or ’79 and I’m sure I thought it was good, though I can’t recall a thing about it; I saw DEVO around that time and the memory of DEVO is vivid, which is not to say that Costello’s project was less important. Costello’s songwriting was an interesting fusion of old styles with a new literacy and an aggressive, sneering attitude in the vocal delivery that was unusual in music so accomplished. This was Sex Pistols sloganeering one-upped by nuance and technique and an historical awareness of popular song. Elvis Costello was presenting a weird,  exciting and merciless mélange of Sex Pistols, Stax, Lenny Bruce and Hunter S. Thompson.

I was aware at the time that the “New Wave,” or the corner of the “New Wave” I was interested in, was somehow related to  Saturday Night Live’s post-Joke kind of comedy, which might be termed, in a word, “Snark” and which achieved its cold apotheosis in the David Letterman talk show: transforming kitsch into a rock-hard, refined sensibility by making it super-self-aware, super-intentional in a triumphalist way. Essentially:   applying irony with a college sophomore’s contempt for his or her parents’ pantheons; a Nietzschean attitude of (or longing for) superiority. Letterman leavened SNL’s big city Snark with folksier Hoosier stylings (walking the transformation of Kitsch back  a comfortable notch, or two)  but, still.  “A sophomore’s witticism is an epigram on the death of a childhood feeling,” to amend Nietzsche’s apothegm from Human, All Too Human.

Elvis’ superior, bookish Snark seemed like an inevitable backlash to the saturated mawkishness and sybaritic simple-mindedness that popular music festered with during the decade of the late 1960s to the late 1970s, with songs like “Honey,” by Bobby Goldsboro, or “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Tony Orlando and Dawn or “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band or various hits by The Carpenters. The only antidote to the syrupy sentimentality of the cloying White music of the era was the gritty Black music of the era… which was limited by its own special clichés and pieties but adopted (enemy of my enemy style?), by the New Wave, as primal fuel.

Perhaps the New Wave, in overthrowing both the leisure suit elevator Muzak of The Carpenters spectrum and the lingeringly cosmic ethos of The Hippies (which would return, stronger than ever, as “New Age” in the 1980s and 1990s), chose, as Faux-Fathers, the Soul acts the Hippies had overthrown at the Dawn of Psychedelia. When the Hippies adopted Psychedelia as the new taxonomy of cool, they relegated The Beats’ postWar blues-and-booze-and-spade-centric ethos to the culture’s grim attic of geriatric curiosities. Then the New Wave did the same to Leisure Suit Muzak and The Hippies (a favorite target of Punks, that famous snapshot of a Hippie-haired young John Lydon notwithstanding).

The New Wave, which Costello spearheaded, was all about being superior,  to the maudlin schmaltz and values of mid-20th century Anglo-American popular entertainment, while cannibalizing some of it as a fuel-dense material. Perhaps this could be described as Cultural Oedipalism.

Egocentric talents like Costello or David Byrne used American R&B with what I would call “devout irony,” Costello and his band The Attractions mining the sound of acts like Booker T. and the M.G.’s and Byrne, in the Talking Heads, doing his analytical cubism remake of Al Green’s Take Me to the River. They used “black music” totemically and struggled with the contradictions inherent in presenting their versions as an Improvement. They paid apparent homage but also refused to humble themselves in what was, at the time, the de rigueur  worship (or “worship”) of America’s lucrative (for somebody) pantheon of soul and blues greats, an unspoken law, in popular music, that ran in a confusing parallel with the Anglo-American race problem and its blatant contempt for Blacks.

There was an echo of this sort of worshipped/despised thing in the CBS TV network’s hit sitcom, from 1962-1971, The Beverly Hillbillies, in which hicks from Appalachia come by a fortune, move to a tony part of California, and misinterpret everything they find, there,  in an almost moronic way (a pool table is used as  a dining room table, with the cues used to hook pots and pass them around; the swimming pool is called “the cement pond”). The family is mocked for its idiocies but lauded for its salt-of-the-earth goodness[1].

On the Ides of March, in 1979, in a bar in Ohio, three streams of music culture converged like beams of energy, one of the beams being anti-matter. The Stephen Stills Band was there to represent MOR Rock and Hippies, Bonnie Bramlet, a back-up singer on the Stills Band tour and a former Ikette,  was there to represent White Soul Singers and Elvis Costello was there to represent the New Wave and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Stills left the scene early on, going to bed, as an aging Hippie might be expected to do, but pretty, dumb,  American Bonnie and ugly, smart,  English Elvis lingered to trade hateful zingers (with a no-doubt sexual subtext) until Elvis dropped his A-bomb and Bonnie busted Elvis across his chops in retaliation and then called the press.

Elvis’ A-bomb was this: he called sacred American Showbiz icon Ray Charles a “blind ignorant nigger” (saying something equally not-nice about sacred cow James Brown). Ray Charles was not an ignorant nigger. But here’s the thing: the character that Ray Charles played, to entertain his White Audiences, and to rise to the top of Nashville-centric, and Tin Pan Alley-oriented,  Billboard, was, in fact, a blind, ignorant nigger. That character was (is?) corny, racist,  White America’s projected epitome of “soul” and it embodied the “primitive,” totemically authentic  value of “Black Music” reflecting America’s schizophrenic taboos and obsessions.

Elvis had no access to a possible vocabulary, in that bar that night in 1979,  that might have helped to articulate his antipathies in a way that didn’t sound Racist. His contempt was for an America-projected phantom and he expressed it in a wounded defense of his under-appreciated Art. Did anyone understand that what Elvis was doing was better than simple entertainment? You work for years to forge a new thing and the trained seals in the audience bark and clap for all the wrong reasons. You lash out.

And, again, it didn’t help (or hurt?) that Elvis was ugly and Bonnie Bramlett was pretty and that Showbiz monetizes a preoccupation with the differences between these two states.


You get the feeling Costello may almost be resentful that he is regarded as a great pop star rather than a ‘real’ and versatile singer like his dad. But he just doesn’t have that kind of voice; when he tries to cover a classic song such as ‘She’, he sounds less like a rapt lover and more like a Sardinian shepherd calling in the goats. It’s also why ‘Shipbuilding’ as sung by Robert Wyatt is more haunting than ‘Shipbuilding’ as sung by Costello, its writer.–Some Guardian Critic

This is the kind of faux-knowing, critical rubbish that superior talents are always expected to endure. I had a job, in the mid-1990s, after (briefly and ill-fatedly) returning to the US, in an Art House cinema. I had to have a job, despite my savings, because I was trying to get my first wife a Green Card. Bear with me.

I was older than any other employee at this cinema, which was otherwise-staffed with college-age film students. Even my manager, Mark Baldwin, was 23 to my 36. I performed my duties flawlessly. Every six months, I think it was, employees were given a review, and a slight pay-raise, if the review was favorable. Mark and I sat in his little office and he read out my review to me, which was perfect… except in the case of my punctuality . I got a slightly lesser rating for that. “But Mark,” I said, “I am never late for anything. If anything, I tend to be slightly early…? ” Mark shrugged. “I know, but I had to write something…” he said.

Robert Wyatt’s version of “Shipbuilding” is the kind of hard-to-listen-to,  unskilled attempt at singing that tends to endear the singer to chip-on-their-shoulder critics (and fans) who don’t know much about singing, or songs, but they know how they feel about Superior Talents. Or, no: I take that back. They don’t know but their subconscious resentment does and they settle the score whenever they can. Wyatt’s version is like covering a Sinatra tune with a penny whistle. Not that I’m into Sinatra but the comparison is one of tones. Costello’s tone is rich and varied and his phrasing is capably nuanced; the phrasing of a singer within whom the beat never falters. Wyatt sounds like a famous comedian starring in a musical in which his performance will not be held to the usual standards because, hey, he’s a comedian not a singer.

The critical insult I opened this half of the essay with wasn’t even cited from a record review, it was cited from a critique of Elvis’s well-written autobiography and you can imagine how that (the well-written aspect)  got the critiquer’s hackles up.

“The latter half of the book also features a series of ill-advised “short story” excerpts and too many overlong quotations from recent lyrics, as if he saw Auden and Larkin as his real competition, not the fripperies of modern pop music. (I still prefer his early, pun-filled stuff: “You lack lust /you’re so lacklustre.”) 

Yes, why should the autobiography of a famously accomplished lyricist waste our time with references to his… lyrics? We want to hear more about the failed marriages, man. We want to hear about the pivotal night in world-history when Elvis dropped the n-word…

Of all the Wars we are all forever enlisted to fight, the war of the Mediocrities against the Talents is the one I find most insidious and exasperating.

Other wars (cock v cunt, cunt v assgina, poverty v wealth, good looks v invisibility)   are more cruel, or pivotal. But this war, of the Ms against the Ts, is personal. And Elvis Costello is emblematic of that war, in a way, as well as being emblematic of the triumph of Ability and Intelligence over Beauty.

Elvis always knew the score: post-Youthquake Show Biz generally favors the pretty vacuity over the gawky savant. Maybe if Robert Wyatt hadn’t entered Showbiz as a pretty face (boy-pretty nearly on the level of Pink Floyd’s once-very-pretty David Gilmour), he might have, like Elvis, practised himself upwards, in a rage,  to superior levels of talent,  as an act of perfect revenge. Elvis forced his way in with sheer brains and Superior Talent and then he fucked Bebe Buell, who had fucked pretty pop stars Todd Rundgren and Jimmy Page (and the like) and though his management and fans were aghast at this move of Elvis (it would have been more consistent with Elvis’ looks if he’d bagged a librarian), I totally got it as it was happening, or soon afterwards, when I read about it in The Face or Rolling Stone. Elvis with his coinslot mouth, Mr. Magoo eyes, pipe-cleaner limbs and Mr. potato nose was banging a Darwinian gong for the eggheads and banging it loudly and with a sneer.

Elvis’s “Alison” was the first really adult and realistic love song I ever heard: no sugar-coating, a cynical noir edge. I was only disappointed to learn, only recently, that Elvis himself did not play the song’s jazzy and evocative intro, nor the noodling in the fade, but that’s okay: he wrote it and sang it.

In 2020 and 2022 Elvis released two albums and here is the impetus behind my essay, though  I won’t bother to eulogize either album, in detail, here, with a review: these albums are as good as anything Elvis has done and, in many ways, better.

[sidebar: I won’t review these albums but I have to say that Elvis was always a puckish pasticheur with a wicked pop-historical agenda: listen for the deliberate steals collaged across these two albums! From The Boy Named If  there’s a song called  “The Man You Love to Hate” and it snatches a hook right out of  “Karma Police”  and bends it into a slightly better shape than the original. On his Hey Clockface album there’s a song called “Byline” which finds a naked, swooning,  chaise-longued  Elvis just daring Joni Mitchell to take him to court and it is hilarious. There’s also a velvety and chunky  homage to “I Dig A Pony” that really took me places… ]

Listen. And LISTEN.

Elvis Costello’s voice is limited only by the fact that it is unmistakably Elvis Costello’s voice, in the way that John Malkovitch or John Cusack are always themselves, whatever role they are playing: the indie version of “star quality”. Whether or not you are partial to his flavors Elvis can fucking sing.

Art used to inspire us with what it was that Humans could do/be at their best; now Art’s function is to comfort us with evidence that Artists are no better at anything (even Art) than the rest of us are and it “inspires”  us with awful reassurance that “hey, you could do that too, if you felt like it!”

But you couldn’t have written, sung, co-produced or performed 67-year-old Elvis Costello’s last two albums, from 2020 and 2022, and neither could have his critics.

[1] If mainstream America had been just a little more openly racist, and less terrified of Black Sexuality,  I don’t doubt for a minute that The Beverly Hillbillies would have been Black Southerners instead, and Ellie Mae (the sexpot daughter) and Jethro (the cousin)  lascivious as hell.



Deeply-suspect academic pundit Matthew Ehret, who seemed to have appeared from out of nowhere, in 2020-2021, to interfere with the clarity (such that it is) of RADICAL ANTI-GREAT-RESET THINKING, recently posted an essay with this heading:

“What is the most efficient way to disprove the misanthropic thesis that humanity’s greatest threat for the 21st century is overpopulation and figuring out how to deal with “the new global useless class” which technology supposedly created?

To which I take exception. It’s a little like offering Jews the sage advice, in 1930s Berlin, to get nose jobs and be a little less tight with the money… no? Maybe the problem, in 1930s Berlin, wasn’t The Jews, eh? Maybe making The Jews over wouldn’t have deflected the planned genocide its architects were rubbing their hands contemplating? Maybe the preemptive solution to the Final Solution would, more likely, have been, had it been possible, to lock up the future perps rather than attempt to cater to their judgments?  I wrote:

I’m afraid Mr. Ehret has missed the point (again) by a “country mile,” as my Useless Eater ancestors would have put it. The point is: who are you, or Klaus Schwab, or Bill Gates, or Heinrich Himmler, et al, to determine who a “useless eater” is and by what criteria? Useless to whom? Useless to what? Useless to a genocidal regime of human-hating Techno Fascists? Useless to a vague notion of Progress? Progress toward what? Progress toward the Final (final) Solution?

Who died and appointed these control-freaking Shitbags God?

Instead of scurrying to try, in vain, to get off the very long Techno Fascist death-list, the point is to unify and depose the Shitbags who are drawing up the list. Because, remember: Mr. H made rousing proclamations against the “useless eaters,” too,  in the middle of Europe, middle of the 20th century, but many of the people he ordered to be liquidated were nominally useful to any regime: engineers, plumbers, carpenters, scientists, writers, doctors, accountants, et al… if they ended up on the death-list, no matter how “useful” they were, why wouldn’t you? They (THEY) don’t want you to get “creative”… they (THEY) want you to DISAPPEAR.

Validating their eugenic nomenclature is the last thing we should be doing. Can someone please inform Mr. Ehret of this fact…?




There aren’t many topics regarding which I absolutely agree with the late Susan Sontag (nee Susan Rosenblatt), but many of my friends, some of whom I have cancelled, are diagrammatically Lefty and have been hoodwinked; hoodwinked absolutely; and Sontag can be admired, at least, for having kicked off the ankle-irons and having broken the rhythm of the lockstep on this topic. Sontag was either a little stupid, or very cleverly obedient, on the topic of 9/11 (she appeared to think it was merely a case of “the chickens coming home to roost,” which was the standard, and innocent, “radical” position) but she nailed the Opiate of the Lefty Sophomore Masses (aka Communism). Anyone studying the case of the DDR knows that “Communism” always ends up working out as “Capitalists on top, Communism-oppressed Proletariat on the bottom”. What’s a 21st century slogan that best paraphrases the Communist ethos? “You will own nothing and be Happy.” Where have I heard that one…?

My Lefty friends always offered this canonical apologia (to paraphrase): “Give the ideal form of Communism a chance and it will do all the good things we claim for it!” I counter with: “The same can be said about Capitalism! And Capitalism is the Devil we know.”

If Communism really were a liberatory social system, we never would have heard of it. How many of us have heard of Qaddaffi’s liberatory social system? The one he had instituted, in Libya, before he was sodomized with a bayonet for CNN’s audience? Marx wasn’t a friend, or liberator, of the Masses, he was an agent in a scheme to get the Masses under total control. Marx was a child of the emergent nouveau (banking/ industrialist) Ruling Structure and he was subsidized by that structure while he wrote out the terms of that proposed control, using language designed to sell a prison cell as a room with a view. Any snake can make any campaign promise that will gull Duh Masses into swallowing an agenda, no? The more sinister the agenda, the more like it is to resort to flowery language about “dignity” and “equality”. Jim Jones talked a good pie-in-the-sky game, too. Marx was given a statesman’s grave in the heart of radical (sarcasm alert) London.

Well, anyway, here’s the bit about Sontag on the topic:

***On Communism

At a New York pro-Solidarity rally in 1982, Sontag stated that “people on the left,” like herself, “have willingly or unwillingly told a lot of lies.”[59] She added that they: believed in, or at least applied, a double standard to the angelic language of Communism … Communism is Fascism—successful Fascism, if you will. What we have called Fascism is, rather, the form of tyranny that can be overthrown—that has, largely, failed. I repeat: not only is Fascism (and overt military rule) the probable destiny of all Communist societies—especially when their populations are moved to revolt—but Communism is in itself a variant, the most successful variant, of Fascism. Fascism with a human face… Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Reader’s Digest between 1950 and 1970, and someone in the same period who read only The Nation or [t]he New Statesman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of Communism? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?

Sontag’s speech reportedly “drew boos and shouts from the audience.” The Nation published her speech, excluding the passage contrasting the magazine with Reader’s Digest. Responses to her statement were varied. Some said that Sontag’s current sentiments had been, in fact, held by many on the left for years, while others accused her of betraying “radical ideas.”

****   *********************                                          ***********************



Very, very few things that MATTER are “subjective,” as it turns out, though the simulacra of such things, the conversational versions, are safe for polite chit chat. You’d be surprised how many issues boil down, with a little deep thought, to life or death, starvation or survival, protection or depredation, truth or bullshit, freedom or slavery, agony or peace. Subjectivity works in the hypothetical realm of idle chit chat. What’s the best color? What’s the tastiest food? Sure: purely subjective and also, as it happens, trivial. The higher the stakes become, the faster frivolity evaporates..




—-LEEBRULS! THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS you tend to do that I find exasperating!

“Exasperating” is, perhaps, too weak a word. The mot juste is probably Fucking Exasperating.

Listen. A few days ago, a guy answered an Ad I placed, with a link to music, that Beloved Wife and I wrote for the classifieds of a music rag, looking for a qualified guitarist (one of the responses to this ad was a dick pic meant for ME… but that’s NOT the thing that Leebruls do that I find exasperating, necessarily… where was I?). After exchanging mails with one particular, and apparently qualified, guitarist, for a couple of days, the guitarist eventually admitted (this is ALSO not necessarily one of the exasperating Leebrul things) that he doesn’t live in Berlin. He lives in NYC. Wha? Why did he respond to the ad? Who knows. He seemed nice, though. I stopped asking him technical questions about his set-up and exchanged a few pleasant mails, with him, about music, bands, etc.

He sent me a picture of a band he had in the ’80s. “Cool pic!” I responded, and I sent him a pic of one of MY ’80s bands (pic inserted below).

He said my pic was “cool,” too, and… then, bafflingly, compared me to the lead singer of the band CAMEO.

Uh… what? Is this guy BLIND?

Ooops, nope: he’s just a fucking LEEBRUL.

90% of the times that I have been introduced to Leebruls, during the course of my long Life, these Leebruls have immediately, by default, compared me to one of the three or four Famous Black Guys they can hold in their minds at any one time. First of all: why compare anyone to anyone else, at all, unless the resemblance is striking? There is no social pressure, that I’m aware of, to compare strangers, to celebrities, upon meeting them. And yet, Leebruls just can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to meeting me for the first time.

Whereas I just don’t DO that.

I don’t automatically compare New White People of My Acquaintance to Other White People (except the time I met a now- old friend, Bruce, the first time, in 2001, and I compared him to Francois Truffaut, because he was, in fact, a dead-ringer for Francois Truffaut… but that was an unusual case and, surely, not as egregiously lazy as it would have been had I compared him to Tom Cruise or Jim Carrey ).

So, first, inserted, below, is the picture I sent him (I’m the goofy 29-year-old twat with the de rigueur rock-dick sneer), and next is a picture of the guy he said I resembled….

ME band 1988


Word Up

NOTICE THE RESEMBLANCE? We’re both NOT WHITE. Practically TWINS. Hey, the guy looks perfectly fine as a human… he’s just not ME, and doesn’t resemble me, and I’m not the victim of a disfiguring accident, so I would prefer to be actually SEEN. Take your time.  If we meet, or I send you a photograph of me, scan my image carefully, left-to-right, top to bottom. Be methodical.


LEEBRULS, I SHIT YOU NOT: I had a (Gay) Leebrul compare me to TRACY FUCKING CHAPMAN, once.

How about CONNEDSERVATIVES? Very few have sinned in this fashion, with me. Most of the few blatant CONNEDSERVATIVES I’ve interacted with don’t approach me in that instantly-(over)-familiar way (which often included their “Black Power” handshakes, pre-2000)  that the Leebruls do. They have tended to be awkwardly wary in my presence, then grudgingly respectful upon realizing that I’ve (mystifyingly)  mastered spoken English.

Just, you know: try to actually SEE the person (or the photograph) before you. Train yourselves to do this. The instant that you see a NON-WHITE FACE, and your eyes roll back up in your head, and you scan your memory banks for an image of a CONVENIENT ARCHETYPE OF COLOR… interrupt the process. Roll your eyes back down out of your mildly racist memory banks, take a close and accurate look at the person (or photograph) before you… and try the one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi time-out-rule. Why? So you can possibly avoid blurting out the dumb and/or exasperating thing you KNEW you were going to say.


Bonus irony: if you look closely at that picture of me in the band, you’ll notice that the make-up Artist didn’t come close to matching my actual skin tone. It looks like I’m wearing caramel doughnut frosting. Look at my coppery chest and neck or the upper left (your left) corner of my face where some of the make-up didn’t cover: my actual skin tone).








(this is from my final response in a chain of emails with a guy, from the music biz, I’ve known since the ’80s; what’s striking about him is that although he will proudly send you a snapshot of his munitions bunker, and he holds that nitwit Ronnie Reagan to be sacred, his wife does yoga and  Echinacea “cleanses” and he falls for Authoritarian Big Pharma Double-Think propaganda: a distasteful fusion of the worst of both worlds)

(I wrote, in response to a slightly backpedaling message he sent after his six dumbassed mails, in an exchange initiated by him,  prefaced by an hilariously insincere “How’s it going?”:  )


“That would have been a reasonable response, Eddie-Bob-Joe-Bubba (not his real name),  instead of attacking me, like an intimidated anti-intellectual,  for “verbosity”. I wasted time tracking down sources (that would be convenient for you) to flesh out my arguments.  I engaged in a good-faith exchange, on my end,  and kept the tone light,  despite your digs and insults, until you crossed the line. Just because I actually know what’s going on (where I actually live) doesn’t mean I’m drinking “the Kool Aid”. And just because you get your talking points, worldview, and folksy affect from bullshit Red State click-bait bilge, it doesn’t mean I’m obligated to pretend that you present a rational argument. Your reading on these matters must be puddle-deep. How many words do you calculate are too many in the presentation of a complex concept?  Not one of the emails I sent you would have been considered “long” (and certainly not “verbose”) by any CAPABLE reader. 

“Your world is not my world. I paid you the compliment of taking you seriously as a thinker. Your responses indicate that that was a mistake. Your persona may play well in your world but in mine it would mark you as a Philistine. Lesson learned. But, I have to point out, as a parting shot, the absurdity of your Reaganoid “I’m reminded that the Gettysburg address is 169 words and the federal guidance on pricing of cabbage in America is 11,000 pages”. This would have any reasonably-educated person snickering (or howling). The two texts, which you compare on the metric of length,  serve very different functions. I’ll leave you with a proportionally-just-as-stupid version of your aphorism; maybe this will help? So… to paraphrase… 

“I’m reminded that the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”  is 232 words and Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is 1,312 pages.


I am officially done.”






    1. We kid but have I ever told you about the time, in San Diego, I got a call (on a landline… this was ’96 or so) from someone hitting me with some kind of a questionnaire? It took about ten or fifteen minutes… pretty extensive questions. At the end he thanked me for my time and said, “So, obviously, I’ll just fill in your ethnicity as Cauca…”


      “Oh, sorry! Hispanic…?”


      “Oh, sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. Asian?”


      Back to the Well-Meaning Liberal Musician Who (locationally) Cat-Fished Me and then compared me to WORD UP man: he knew I was Black, already, because I put that fact in my ad! Because, and trust me when I say this, it A) pre-empts all kinds of awkwardness later and B) is a selling point when you’re looking for musicians! ESPECIALLY in Berlin! laugh


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR [letters are vetted for cogency and style]

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