Friday, February 18, 2011

Better moons

The future is no place
To place your better days
--Dave Matthews, Cry Freedom
Damned moon anyway. We walk on it and slice golf balls across its craters and it still beckons to us with its desolate siren's song. So close and yet so far, it full moons us periodically and smacks its crater ridden ass, mocking us for pining away for a ball of rock and dust.

The moon is a master trickster, too. I remember when I was 19 years old, driving all night from Boise to Denver with a 25-year old lady friend who would briefly be my girlfriend before ditching me for a irritating unemployed actor from New York. We were going to Denver to pick up a goat she'd left with her ex-husband's in-laws and an antique sewing machine. It's a long story.

Anyway, we were taking turns driving her Toyota pick up. It was a stick shift which at the time I had little experience driving. But most of the driving was on the Interstate so there wasn't a lot of shifting involved. I don't remember what time it was, but my friend was sleeping in the passenger seat and I was staring at the occasional lights of oncoming truckers hauling freight. Suddenly the moon appeared on the horizon bigger than the UFO in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

It was the first time I'd seen the moon in its incredible Hulk mode framed by the horizon versus  its Herb Villachez  (the little guy from Fantasy Island) mode dwarfed by clear sky. I was freaked and awestruck. And no sooner than the moon had exploded in my face, it retreated to it's proper fifty cent piece size in the sky.

In case you are interested, we made it to Denver, loaded up the goat and the sewing machine (which my friend retrieved by climbing through the window of a house in the boonies outside of Denver) and headed back to Boise. The goat rode in the pick up bed and crapped on my sleeping bag. This proved to be prophetic for my future relationship with the girl I'd driven to Denver with.

But I digress.

I sometime feel sorry for Neil Armstrong. Having been the first man to walk on the moon (we think), there had to be this nagging feeling when he returned home that there wasn't much else he could do to top that experience. I feel even more sorry for Buzz Aldrin. It must have really sucked to follow Neil Armstrong around at parties saying, "I walked on the moon, too" and having people pat him on the head and say, "That's nice" and move on to refill their wine glass. But I feel the most sorry for Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed in the Apollo capsule while Neil and Buzz bounced around on the moon. It must have been like driving to Grand Canyon and never getting out of the car.

Before I got off on tangents about goats, sewing machines and walking on the moon, the reason I was inspired to write this post was seeing the almost full moon in the sky the other night. It always catches me off guard. I'm not sure why it should. I always feel the full moon before I see it. This time I saw it around the same time I was listening to Dave Matthews sing Cry Freedom with the philosophical line, "The future is no place to place your better days."

I look up at the moon after hearing that lyric and realize that there is no better moon than the one that is in the sky now. And it wouldn't be any better if I was standing up their with a golf club slicing balls into the Milky Way like Alan Shepard did (he had to one up Neil Armstrong somehow).

It is such a simple concept, yet one that is so hard for most of us to grasp that we waste an awful lot of the now by living for the future. I imagine even the goat that crapped on my sleeping bag lived in the now. But then again what else does a goat have to look forward to.

Oh well, enough waxing and waning poetic on the moon.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Queen for a day

I suppose Photoshopping my face on Queen Elizabeth's body and calling this post "Queen for the Day" could be misconstrued by some people. I have never really had any burning desire to dress up in women's clothing even in the privacy of my own home...not that there is anything wrong with it even if it is a bit bizarre and not accepted by a majority of white bread society (or vanilla society if you want to dredge up old sore subjects...its a long story from another blog post).

And no the man with his face Photoshopped on a Queen's body isn't protesting too much. For some reason, it just cracks me up. Besides, using Photoshop saves me the trouble of having to wear a corset and squeezing into those shoes.

I have never really accepted the concept of royalty anyway, queen or king (and I've Photoshopped my face on my share of kings so there). With the exception of Republicans and stupid people (a redundancy, I know), I pretty much believe everyone is more or less equal if not equally well mannered.

I find it ironic that Americans, people raised in a country that rebelled against the aristocracy, gets all ga-ga about royalty. We spout rhetoric about everyone being equal yet we elevate our elected officials and celebrities to royalty status because we just can't shake our peasant ancestry.

It cracks me up that the royalty in ancient Egypt brought about their downfall by so much inbreeding to protect the royal bloodlines that they eventually could only produce royal progeny that could play banjos in Arkansas. Hollywood celebrities should pay particular attention to this lesson from history.

I suppose everyone harbors this secret (or not so secret) desire to be the one who must be obeyed. I march up and down the hallways where I work mumbling, "Make it so" and "You're fired, get the hell out of Graceland" all the time. No one pays any attention to me.

Perhaps if I came to work dressed like Queen Elizabeth, they would pay more attention.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sticking to your guns

stick to one's gunsFig. to remain firm in one's convictions; to stand up for one's rights. (Fig. on a soldier remaining in place to fire a gun even when all appears to be lost.)
As I write this post, I am listening to a loop of The Civil Wars performing Barton Hollow and Poison and Wine. It is a byproduct of my OCD nature to obsessively listen to news songs I really like until I am sick to death of them. So far, I'm sticking to my guns that The Civil Wars are going big time.

That leads to my first digression. Since I make a living trying to pry people's hands off from those guns they stick to so stubbornly, I'll let you in on a little secret. There isn't much anyone can do to change some one's mind once they have they have it set on something. If you grew up having your father repeat over and over that there is no car like a Chevrolet and that Fords suck, chances are you will share that conviction and stubbornly stick to your guns. Unless...and here's where my job as a marketing person comes in...unless someone plays on the many psychological factors that make you hold onto the conviction that Chevy's are the only car to own.

I think the key is determining whether it really is your guns you are sticking to or someone else's guns. And I'm not trying to be Freudian here, either. Because I believe that a conviction isn't a conviction if it was drilled into you and you adhere to it by the sheer thread of rote indoctrination by an authority figure. The way to overcome pseudo convictions is to teach a person to cultivate independent thought and challenge the conventions of their fathers. If your father's conviction stands the test of your own filters of what is right or wrong than it can truly become your own conviction.

Then you can stick to your guns and no one can make you holster them.

That being said, if I am trying to target a group of people to have a conviction about a particular issue or product, I don't throw my troops charge of the light brigade style into a wall of people sticking to their guns on polarized sides of an issue. I take aim at those people staring blankly at their guns trying to figure out how to load them and which direction to point them.

Elections are decided not by hardcore Republicans or Democrats. And elections are not decided by some asshole waving a teabag. Elections are decided by tipping those people waffling in between the hardcore far left and right.

On a personal note, I have to admire people who stick to their guns as long as they are sticking to guns for things I believe in that lean more towards the left than the right. If not, they can just stick their guns.

I'm sticking to my guns on that.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Civil Wars

I don't normally devote blog posts to embedded videos or songs I like, but since it has been quite awhile since I've been inspired by new music, I decided to step out of my usual box of distractions and digressions and just say I like The Civil Wars. I could go on and on about haunting melodies and moody lyrics, but just click on the video below and listen for yourself.

Now you have a right not to like this music, but for the life of me, I don't know why you wouldn't. And who wouldn't love a song that started out with "I'm a dead man walking?"

I have to tell you, I found myself wanting to get a Dobro guitar and start belting out blues after listening to White playing his in this song. There are no gimmicks. There is no Lady GaGa hype here. It is just raw talent. Go to Youtube and listen to some of their live performances of the song (including a gig on the Tonight Show). You'll discover none of this music was the product of recording studio tricks. It's about as real as you can get.

Well enough of my gushing.  I'll try to keep my next post on topic for Dizgraceland.

Not that I know what that might be.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The elephant in the room

There was a time in the heyday of my blog that I had quite the affinity for Photoshopping my face on various animals and inanimate objects such as quesidillas, whale vomit, and kimchi stew. In one post in which I had Photoshopped my face on a bear, I mentioned that the one animal I'd never quite figured out how to Photoshop my face on was an elephant.

It is not easy to Photoshop your face on an elephant. The trunk presents the biggest challenge because it prevents you from using your real nose when placing your face on the elephant. And the trunk hides the mouth, so you can't really use your own mouth on the elephant either (and by using your mouth on the elephant I don't wish to imply anything kinky).

So the only thing you can really use to make yourself recognizable when you try and put your face on an elephant is your eyes, eyebrows and glasses.

I haven't really perfected it yet, but I think I've made pretty good progress on the elephant front.

Why, you may ask, is it so important for me to Photoshop my face (or technically my eyes) on an elephant? Because it is there.

Ha, ha, ha....

But seriously, it isn't that I have a great affinity for elephants. I wouldn't say they are my totem animals in the tradition of our Native American brethren. I also wouldn't say I have the qualities of an elephant, especially if it is true that an elephant never forgets. Because at times, I can't remember shit. Though I do hold onto grudges for a long time. And Mr. Akley, my 7th grade PE teacher better hope I never see him hobbling across a crosswalk in his walker when I'm behind the wheel. And if he happens to be with Mrs. Gussie my 5th grade teacher or Mr. Steele, my driver's Ed teacher, it ain't going to be pretty.

But I digress.

Speaking of elephants, I am not sure why Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, was called the Elephant Man. He didn't look anything like an elephant. Nor do I understand why elephants are the symbol of the Republican Party. Maybe it is because Republicans are huge asses and elephants have huge asses.

That seems like as good a note to end on as any other.