Stay Frosty.

August 27, 2008

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I have a new EP up on iTunes–it’s “Fort Hood” plus live tracks. One is a version of “Looking” that I did in a subway tunnel last year, the other two were recorded on Steve Jones’ “Jonesy’s Jukebox” radio show in Los Angeles–Jonesy (yeah, the Sex Pistol, it’s pretty much an adolescent dream come true) plays guitar on a version of “Grey Ghost”–!!
Click here to be transported to iTunes wonderland.
“Fort Hood” is–as I’ve kept saying on this blog–a song about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s not about stopping the war, it’s about what kind of nightmares live in the minds of the warriors.
The cover photo is by Sgt. Ray Tripp. I put up a MySpace post asking for Iraq and Afghanistan vets to send in pics they took while over there–and I got some incredible, incredible photographs from a bunch of different guys.
But I thought this one was the one that best matched the sentiments of the tune. Thanks, Ray.
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I’m laying on my couch with the laptop propped up on my chest–a position I’m in so often that on the last tour, my bandmates referred to it as D.D.P.–Doughty default position. Waiting for Hillary to speak. I was so into Hillary. I saw her randomly a few years back–I was riding a bike around New York in the Summer, and suddenly found my way blocked by the Gay Pride Parade–just as Hillary was walking by, followed by this fierce chorus of gay men shouting HIL-LA-RY! HIL-LA-RY! There seemed to be light around her, like a saint in a painting.
(I’m watching Bill walk through the bleachers at the Pepsi Center, hugging people.)
But I was disappointed when she started playing dirty pool during the primaries.
I still have misgivings about his foreign policy experience. But I’m convinced Obama knows how to pick the right people to listen to, that he’s humble enough to listen–that he wants to assemble something like Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals,” and that he has an extraordinary ability to bring us together. I think that the prospect of his presidency is an incredible opportunity for our country. Kind of like a Reagan moment, except it’s not the post-Watergate, post-Vietnam malaise we need to transcend, but a dark feeling that our country isn’t in the right, we’ve tortured, our leaders are liars–our myths about ourselves have deflated.
It could be amazing. It could be.
Look, I can’t honestly say I’m anti-McCain. This is, in fact, maybe the one point in my adult life where I’m politically excited about something, as opposed to against something. (I say my adult life because in the 8th grade I was a committed Maoist)
(Now they’ve cut to a shot of Bill staring gape-mouthed into the distance, like he’s watching a fireworks display)
I shocked the hell out of myself by donating money to Obama’s campaign–because I’ve never donated to a campaign in my life. After I typed in my donation, they sent me to a page where they asked me to type in the email addresses of ten friends, and send along the campaign’s corny won’t-you-please-donate boilerplate email. I was reflexively resentful, and then suddenly I shocked the hell out of myself by typing in my friends’ addresses. They wouldn’t let me change the corny “Join Me” subject line, but I changed the corny message to something along the lines of: Wow, this is embarrassing. I can’t believe I’m doing this. But please consider.
I’m loathe to proselytize–in fact, if you’re a pro-McCain-ite, much respect to you. But if you’re pro-Obama, let me tell you, it’s incredibly easy to go to his website and give him $5 or $10 or $1 or $50 off your ATM card. I urge you to.
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Also, I adore Joe Biden; I was dismayed when he kept fucking himself over with gaffes during his primary bids. He’s like some weird angry/happy sea captain. I fell madly in love with him when he admonished Condoleeza in a Senate hearing: “For God’s sake don’t listen to Rumsfeld, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”
That is my man.
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I’m late in commenting on the deaths of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes; two greats that died young. More evidence of my belief that black men are stressed the fuck out.
I met Isaac Hayes in 1998. He was MCing the Christmas show of a Sacramento radio station. He was basking in the glory of his comeback as Chef. I was ushered over to him, and he seemed totally uninterested in meeting another alternative rocker. He was wearing a fire-engine red sort of pajama leisure suit made out of hemp. I recognized the logo, because the shop was down the street from me in my old Brooklyn neighborhood, Fort Greene. “Is that Moshood?” I asked.
Isaac freaked out. “You know MOSHOOD?!” At that point my drummer walked up. He lived down the street from me.
“Hey, your suit–is that Moshood?”
So unlike Cake, Harvey Danger, or Third Eye Blind, Soul Coughing was introduced by Isaac Hayes with a lengthy, rousing endorsement of our unimpeachable Brookynite-ness.
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I happened to come across the movie Wattstax playing somewhere in the far-off backwaters of my digital cable. It’s a movie of a concert the Memphis-based soul label Stax put on in 1972, in Los Angeles. The climactic act is Isaac Hayes, introduced by Jesse Jackson, entering with arms outstretched, in a tunic of golden chains.
The movie cuts from concert scenes to average-black-person interviews of people in Watts. One of the dudes was–I’m completely serious–Isaac from The Love Boat. Dispensing some heavy 70s black dude rhetoric–the brothers this, black power that, the sisters this, the system that. Somewhat removed from the grinning cruise-ship bartender in his weird bellhop suit, looking up from his rum bottle to grin and point at the camera.
Set a course for adventure, your mind on a new romance…love won’t hurt anymore…
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I didn’t catch much of the Olympics, but I caught a moment of the women divers, and was charmed that immediately after diving, they shower off and then plop into a communal Olympian-divers’ hot tub.
When I was a 5th and 6th grader, I was absorbed by the anthologies of the 70s Doonesbury comics–I was kind of weirdly marinating in all these political and cultural jokes from the early 70s, years before my time–McGovern, Hunter S. Thompson, Nixon in China. I briefly took “Phred the Terrorist” as my graffiti tag. There was an excellent series in which the character Zonker Harris was pursued by a hallucinatory Mark Spitz. “My sheets! They smell of chlorine!”
I was hoping that Garry Trudeau would whip out a Phelpsian homage. But, alas.
Also charming: that the key signifier of Cialis (you know, the boner pill) is a middle-aged couple together, but in separate bathtubs, in an environment where one would not expect to find bathtubs. (Why not a single Jacuzzi? Is that weird symbology or what?)
I see those mystical dual tubs a lot; not only during Olympic coverage, but the NBC Nightly News, throughout which I’d say 50% of the ads are for drugs aimed at the over-60 set. I’m a big fan of Old White Dude TV.
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I got an iPhone. My old phone (and I always get the cheapest phone) conveniently died the week it came out. I mistakenly thought I could pick one up the day it came out with ease, as I live in a black and Caribbean neighborhood pretty far out in Brooklyn, and I just assumed that black people were too groovy to wait in line all morning for the newest geeked-out accessory. I was dead wrong. But, look, I want to point out that I just happened to be an AT&T guy, I wouldn’t have switched providers, and I wouldn’t have tried to get it on the first day if my old phone hadn’t bit the dust. No, really.
It’s been kind of troublesome. It took me forever to figure out how to lock the screen. I was in the aisles at Duane Reade when I heard a voice yelling from my pocket. It was my friend Tony. I apologized, totally embarrassed. What are you doing? Tony asked. Um, I’m in Duane Reade, buying roach bait. He almost died laughing.
The battery is cruddy. I didn’t realize this until I read a newspaper profile of Rainn Wilson in which he tried to take a pic with his iPhone but the battery was dead. Because, you know, why rely on your own experience to accurately portray reality? This is why celebrity is crucial to modern life.
And I just went through a few hours of teeth-grinding iPhone-freezery. I downloaded the Bible (for free!), the complete works of Shakespeare (also free!), Roget’s thesaurus and a big fat unabridged dictionary, and suddenly the poor little biscuit choked. Kind of like it OD’d on text.
Still: I’m reading Moby Dick on my phone. How can you not dig the Future?
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The Summer of 2008 has been, for me, the Summer of Facial Hair. Partially because I’m balding, and it’s ever more tempting to be one of those guys who pretends that he’s not losing his hair, it’s just migrating.
So I’ve been growing a beard, and then shaving it off into various permutations of facial-hair-ism that I’ve fantasized about having. I shaved off just the mustache and had an Abe Lincoln beard, but when I walked into the kitchen, my girlfriend gave me such a horrified, appalled look that I shaved it off immediately.
Next was a handlebar mustache, and then a thinner mustache, and I dug it, but eventually I concluded that I just don’t have the wardrobe for a mustache.
But, the girlf likes me fuzzy. So, I’ll maintain my scruffiness at a level somewhere unshaved and bearded, and the aspect of a French ne’er-do-well shall be mine.
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