Life Is Built To Spill And Clean Up

I am an artist that is influenced by music as much as anything else. I’ll listen to loud rock & roll as long as I can hear. I’ll attend rock concerts as long as I can walk. I listen to music as much as possible and use it as a method to focus and think. Within this obsession I inhabit a space that is mine alone. This is extremely difficult for me to do without music. Ideas flourish within my mind and become a visual work of art through the visual translation made while listening to or being influenced by music. Recently, I had an experience that resonated in a way that I’ll likely visually translate at some point in time. I’m referring to those moments when the soundtrack to life feels very real and the powerful feeling that overcomes when this happens to you.

Last week, this experience happened at a Built To Spill concert.  The whole experience was spontaneous. I was invited by a friend from out of town that I had not seen in years. I made it to the concert very because I teach class until 7:30 and I needed to host my radio show, the Fuzz Factory for the next two hours. I love my radio gig and I make the quality a priority. I don’t have that many listeners, but most that listen are regulars and I especially never want to cancel on them at the last minute. All this means that I missed most of the show but made it in time for half of Broken Chairs, a great song. Unfortunately, that’s it. The end of the regular set. I saw barely anything, but I saw enough to know what everyone told me about Doug Martsch. So loose and tight at the same time. I am definitely going to see them in concert again. With two guitarists beside Martsch, their sound is more full and powerful live than on CD.

What I did experience was an encore full of unreal cover songs seemingly chosen just for me. I say chosen for me because they primarily covered songs that for reasons well known to me have been on my mind these days. They played Train In Vain by the Clash – an all-time favorite of mine. They also played How Soon Is Now? by the Smiths, a song I love so much almost in spite of the fact I never liked the Smiths much overall. This was a very memorable moment. Since it was completely unexpected I was able to enjoy it immensely while it hit me with an amazing amount of self-awareness. It was the soundtrack of my life.

If that wasn’t amazing enough. The other two songs they played in the encore were a cover of Don’t Fear The Reaper (perfect for minutes after my Fuzz Factory Halloween Special from earlier in the evening) and SludgeFeast by Dinosaur Jr., perfect for any evening.

Never underestimate the powers of rock & roll.

The Protection Racket

Many of you have enjoyed the piece of mind that comes with having the same doctor for years.

Many of you have received top notch care whenever you needed it, regardless of the circumstances.

Many of you are forever grateful for the expertise of medical professionals during the moments in life that are literally life and death.

Many of you have medical risks or have loved ones that do and that positive personal experience helps you take comfort in the likelihood that life-threatening changes will be quickly detected and treated with the greatest of concern.

The health care insurance industry as it exists in the United States is nothing more than a protection racket. I’m thinking of the neighborhood thug collecting protection money but in a systematically synchronized manner. Health care professionals know that health insurance for profit is the reason why our health care is inefficient on numerous levels and NOT the best care in the world.

At this moment, my cousin Theresa is very sick. She has been in the hospital since last Thursday (10/17). She has a hard time speaking and has a steady fever of 102 degrees. The medical team is working hard to figure out what is wrong with her. However, yesterday they moved her out of the Intensive Care Unit without a clear diagnosis of her condition!

Would I be a skeptic if I thought Theresa was moved out of the ICU without a diagnosis in part because she is poor and been on Medicaid and on and off of welfare for a long time?

Would I be a skeptic if I thought this played a role in why someone would ask Theresa’s husband if she was like this (in this condition) often?

Would I be a skeptic if I felt that whatever is wrong with her right now may be (in a small but not indirect way) be a result of years of waiting all day at Cook County Hospital to see her doctor when she needed to?

Would I be a skeptic if I were more concerned for her life than others because she has never experienced the quality of health care many of you have?

The Republican Party Will Soon Be History

For the last 10 years, anyone willing to listen, has heard me say the Republican Party is on a collision course with itself. Slowly but surely the GOP is falling apart. The marriage of convenience between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives has eroded beyond the point of return. Stay tuned. It’s still going to take some years to actually happen, but it will happen.

Art & Narcissism

No one cares about what the artist makes more than the artist that made it. Therefore, some narcissism is required just to make art. Then it’s required for survival in the creative world. Without it, the artist would never have the guts to put themselves out there for the world to notice (or ignore).

Enduring Operation Enduring Freedom

There is a lot heavy stuff going down in the United States these days. The increased stress and tension level we all feel is perpetuated by the incompetence, indecision and dysfunction in Congress. In addition, we are also a nation continuously at war. Unfortunately, our collective consciousness of war is fading away. In case you didn’t know, our nations longest war, the Afghan War, started its thirteenth year today. Operation Enduring Freedom was officially launched on October 7, 2001.

All the dicking around instead of governing Congress is doing these days makes me wonder if they actually forgot the fact that we’re still a nation at war? Perhaps it’s more like a highly selective memory that has been disrupted by their own shutdown.

How Dare You Enforce The Shutdown I Voted For!

Tonight I featured the legendary garage punk band Mudhoney on my radio program, the Fuzz Factory ( One of the Mudhoney songs I played was a new song called Douchebags On Parade. I dedicated it to the GOP, who continue to grandstand while positioned in a circular firing squad. Almost all politicians act like douchebags on parade on a regular basis. However, today, on day three of the 2013 government shutdown, the douchebaggery was kicking on all cyliners. Specifically I am referring to the ignorant and unaware grandstanding that happened at the World War II memorial today. Yeah, this really happened.


Elizabeth Warren

“In a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t otherwise win their fights through elections, can’t win their fights in Congress, can’t win their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in Courts. For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left – a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy.”