Jack Kerouac – “October in the Railroad Earth” (1957)

March 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm (Jack Kerouac, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

There was a little alley in San Francisco back of the Southern Pacific station at Third and Townsend in redbrick of drowsy lazy afternoons with everybody at work in offices in the air you feel the impending rush of their commuter frenzy as soon they’ll be charging en masse from Market and Sansome buildings on foot and in buses and all well-dressed thru workingman Frisco of Walkup ?? truck drivers and even the poor grime-bemarked Third
Street of lost bums even Negros so hopeless and long left East and meanings of responsibility and try that now all they do is stand there spitting in the broken glass sometimes fifty in one afternoon against one wall at Third and Howard and here’s all
these Millbrae and San Carlos neat-necktied producers and commuters of America and Steel civilization rushing by with San Francisco Chronicles and green Call-Bulletins not even enough time to be disdainful, they’ve got to catch 130, 132, 134, 136 all the way up to 146 till the time of evening supper in homes of the railroad earth when high in the sky the magic stars ride above the following hotshot freight trains–it’s all in California, it’s all a
sea, I swim out of it in afternoons of sun hot meditation in my jeans with head on handkerchief on brakeman’s lantern or (if not working) on book, I look up at blue sky of perfect lostpurity and feel the warp of wood of old America beneath me and I have
insane conversations with Negroes in second-story windows above and everything is pouring in, the switching moves of boxcars in that little alley which is so much like the alleys of Lowell and I hear far off in the sense of coming night that engine calling our

But it was that beautiful cut of clouds I could always see above the little S.P. alley, puffs floating by from Oakland or the Gate of Marin to the north or San Jose south, the clarity of Cal to break your heart. It was the fantastic drowse and drum hum of lum mum afternoon nathin’ to do, ole Frisco with end of land sadness–the people–the alley full of trucks and cars of businesses nearabouts and nobody knew or far from cared who I was all my life three thousand five hundred miles from birth-O opened up and at last belonged to me in Great America.

Now it’s night in Third Street the keen little neons and also yellow bulblights of impossible-to-believe flops with dark ruined shadows moving back of tom yellow shades like a degenerate China with no money-the cats in Annie’s Alley, the flop comes on, moans, rolls, the street is loaded with darkness. Blue sky above with stars hanging high over old hotel roofs and blowers of hotels moaning out dusts of interior, the grime inside the word in mouths falling out tooth by tooth, the reading rooms tick tock bigclock with creak chair and slantboards and old faces looking up over rimless spectacles bought in some West Virginia or Florida or Liverpool England pawnshop long before I was born and across rains they’ve come to the end of the land sadness end of the world gladness all you San Franciscos will have to fall eventually and burn again. But I’m walking and one night a bum fell into the hole of the construction job where they’re tearing a sewer by day the husky Pacific & Electric youths in torn jeans who work there often I think of going up to some of ’em like say blond ones with wild hair and tom shirts and say “You oughta apply for the railroad it’s much easier work you don’t stand around the street all day and you get much more pay” but this bum fell in the hole you saw his foot stick out, a British MG also driven by some eccentric once backed into the hole and as I came home from a long Saturday afternoon local to Hollister out of San Jose miles away across verdurous fields of prune and juice joy here’s this British MG backed and legs up wheels up into a pit and bums and cops standing around right outside the coffee shop-it was the way they fenced it
but he never had the nerve to do it due to the fact that he had no money and nowhere to go and O his father was dead and O his mother was dead and O his sister was dead and O his whereabout was dead was dead but and then at that time also I lay in my room on long Saturday afternoons listening to Jumpin’ George with my fifth of tokay no tea and just under the sheets laughed to hear the crazy music “Mama, he treats your daughter mean,” Mama, Papa, and don’t you come in here I’ll kill you etc. getting high by myself in room glooms and all wondrous knowing about the Negro the essential American out there always finding his solace his meaning in the fellaheen street and not in abstract morality ”
and even when he has a church you see the pastor out front bowing to the ladies on the make you hear his great vibrant voice on the sunny Sunday afternoon sidewalk full of sexual vibratos saying “Why yes Mam but de gospel do say that man was born of woman’s womb -” and no and so by that time I come crawling out of my warmsack and hit the street when I see the railroad ain’t gonna call me till 5 AM Sunday morn probably for a
local out of Bay Shore in fact always for a local out of Bay Shore and I go to the wailbar of all the wildbars in the world the one and only Third-and -Howard and there I go in and drink with the madmen and if I get drunk I git.

The whore who come up to me in there the night I was there with Al Buckle and said to me “You wanta play with me tonight Jim, and?” and I didn’t think I had enough money and later told this to Charley Low and he laughed and said “How do you know she wanted money always take the chance that she might be out just for love or just out for love you
know what I mean man don’t be a sucker.” She was a goodlooking doll and said “How would you like to oolyakoo with me mon?” and I stood there like a jerk and in fact bought
drink got drink drunk that night and in the 299 Club I was hit by the proprietor the band breaking up the fight before I had a chance to decide to hit him back which I didn’t do
and out on the street I tried to rush back in but they had locked the door and were looking at me thru the forbidden glass in the door with faces like undersea––I should have
played with her shurrouruuruuruuruuruuruurkdiei.

Jack Kerouac

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Sane Progressive – “Media Trying to Break Sanders Campaign”

March 29, 2016 at 6:57 pm (Life & Politics)


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“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (w/ President Obama – 2015)

March 25, 2016 at 11:29 am (Comedy, Life & Politics)

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Garry Shandling – “The Tonight Show” (1981)

March 25, 2016 at 10:28 am (Comedy)

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Garry Shandling (1949-2016)

March 25, 2016 at 9:26 am (Life & Politics)


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Bob Mould – “Patch the Sky” (2016)

March 25, 2016 at 9:23 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

This review comes from Zack Ruskin, Consequence of Sound, dated March 22, 2016. Bob Mould’s excellent new album…

Leave it to former Hüsker Dü rocker Bob Mould to ruin the party. On “The End of Things”, he compares a birthday party to an act of “gradual decay,” a fitting comparison for a musician who has built his sound in the crevices between the bright and the bleak. Patch the Sky is the third part in an unofficial trilogy of albums that began with 2012’s Silver Age and continued with 2014’s Beauty & Ruin. The run has marked a bit of a resurgence for Mould, who in the same time frame has also released a memoir and had his music championed by the likes of Dave Grohl. Still, on Mould’s latest offering, there is more sorrow than joy.

Opening track “Voices in My Head”—which also serves as the album’s lead single—is anthemic and uplifting, pairing rousing guitars with a lyrical tone at contrast with the music. In the notes accompanying the record, Mould explains that Patch the Sky is his darkest album, but also “the catchiest one.” It’s true. Even as Mould sings of hallucinations and final conversations, there is an undeniable sonic exuberance shining through. Mould seems fully aware of the contrast, embracing it with lyrics like “in this sun you cannot breathe” on “Losing Sleep” and “I keep searching, hoping, waiting for the sun that always shines so bright on everyone” on closer “Monument”. Patch the Sky is, in essence, the battles of a dark man born in a bright world, a place where the cobwebs of the past seem to constantly obstruct his passage to the welcoming arms of the future.

Not every song on the album follows this train. “Lucifer and God” is a fairly generic exploration of pining for a “come to Jesus” moment that is destined to never arrive. While the song is hardly cliché, it somehow fails as too universal for an album clearly examining the personal. On “You Say You”, the powerful backbeat tries to maintain the poignancy of frayed relationships, but the generic lyrical content doesn’t ring true like the specifics elsewhere.

Mould is at his best when he goes for the extreme, the macabre in a stranglehold with the melodic. That’s the case with “Hold On,” an existential power ballad about the tried and true punk thematic of surviving. The song embodies angst hitting middle age, built on a bruising guitar line and emphatic percussion from long-time collaborator Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats).

Given Mould’s mastery for ebullient sorrow, it comes as no surprise that the album highlight is “Losing Sleep.” Adopting a slightly more laid-back sound, Mould employs the additional sparkle of chimes laid over fuzzy guitar to perfectly recreate the pensive solitude of a solo drive up California’s Highway 5. Anyone who’s taken the spin from San Francisco to Los Angeles (or vice versa) will know the absence of intriguing scenery and abundance of Arby’s and strip malls leaves one with little more than their thoughts and the undulating heat.

On “Daddy’s Favorite,” Mould touches on themes of loss tied to the death of his father in late 2012. In the time between Beauty & Ruin and Patch the Sky, Mould also lost his mother, an unfortunate reality that has offered him plenty of fodder for his ruminations. “I try to be happy every day, but my black heart it burns,” he sings on “Monuments,” the record’s final track. It’s difficult not to believe him. In this latest chapter of his career, Mould has turned his music into a personal reflecting pool, a watery blank canvas into which he expertly casts the stones of his regrets and longings. Just don’t plan on booking your birthday party there.

Zack Ruskin

Album Review: Bob Mould – Patch the Sky

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (March 19, 2016)

March 23, 2016 at 7:13 pm (Life & Politics)

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The I Don’t Cares – “Wild Stab” (2016)

March 22, 2016 at 8:12 pm (Music, Paul Westerberg, Reviews & Articles)

The new, unexpected album by Paul Westerberg, singing with Juliana Hatfield as the duo The I Don’t Cares. This review comes from Rolling Stone, Jan. 29, 2016 and written by Jonathan Bernstein…

Paul Westerberg, Juliana Hatfield team up for a debut packed with unexpected gems. 

When Nineties alt-rocker Juliana Hatfield started working with Paul Westerberg last year, she soon realized that much of the Replacements singer’s greatest work remained unreleased. “She brought a lot of this to life that otherwise would have just sat down in the basement and sort of rotted,” the notoriously reclusive Westerberg has said.

Enter Wild Stab, Westerberg’s first proper record in a dozen years, and his inaugural collaboration with Hatfield. Recording as the I Don’t Cares, the duo assembled 16 ramshackle tracks: a mix of original material, never-before-heard gems from Westerberg’s basement archive, and re-recorded solo tunes from his back catalog.

Opening tunes “Back” and “Wear Me Out Loud” are old Replacements outtakes that gracefully channel the Minneapolis singer’s Don’t Tell a Soul-era pop craftsmanship. Elsewhere, the duo tackle gentle alt-country (“½ 2 P,” “Sorry for Tomorrow Night”), melodic power-pop (“Need the Guys,” “King of America”), and indignant, rockabilly-tinged punk (“Love Out Loud,” “Done Done Done”). Hatfield is front and center on several tunes, dueting with Westerberg on soft-spoken ballads (“Kissing Break,” “Just a Phase”) and taking the occasional lead. Most often, though, she sticks to the background, providing sweet harmony vocals and lead guitar throughout.

Wild Stab chugs along pleasantly enough until “Hands Together,” the 7-minute, album-closing showstopper that serves as a devastating sequel of sorts to 1985’s “Here Comes a Regular.” “Dreams I had before are now too bored to even show up,” Westerberg sings in his scraggly mumble, proving that he can still pull off weary resignation better than anyone.

Jonathan Bernstein



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Peter Wolf Interviews Paul Westerberg (2016)

March 22, 2016 at 8:07 pm (Music, Paul Westerberg)

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George Martin – “In My Life” (1998)

March 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm (Music, The Beatles)

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