Wednesday, June 16, 2004


With some four and a half months remaining until we see if America can come to its senses and remove George Bush from the White House, and his constant intrusions on my TV set, I still feel that I’m morally obliged and honor bound to keep pounding away at the sinister sons of bitches with the few and modest communications tools, but the dawn-dark moments do occur when I start to fear that not only is the deck too stacked, but that I’m losing sight what even might be possible in best of all worlds. Then, a light-ray reminder like the following quote from Ken Kesey, arrives from fidecen, and I start thinking again.

As I've often told Ginsberg, you can't blame the President for the state of the country, it's always the poets' fault. You can't expect politicians to come up with a vision, they don't have it in them. Poets have to come up with the vision and they have to turn it on so it sparks and catches hold.
--Ken Kesey


Caligynephobia is a fear of beautiful women

CRYPTIQUEThe bullshit piles up so fast you need wings to stay above it.


Remember there’s a new email address –


Monday, June 14, 2004



Finding myself in kinda of a holding pattern this Monday after, I turn over the show to Jett for a laudably Doc40-style report of the G8 summit...

I thought you might get a kick out of hearing about the last five days of my life spent down at President Bush's Giant Stoke-a-Thon (aka: the G8 Summit). I didn't really get all that close to the summit itself, just close enough to marvel at the INSANE amount of security present. It was like a 'friendly' occupation of a small Georgia island; despite all of the automatic weapons and high tech killing gear, the assembled security forces still smiled, waved and tipped their hats.

We-that is the missus and I and our 7-month-old son-spent a few days down on St. Simons Island, GA to care for the wife's mother-who is mobility impaired-while her regular caregivers took a brief vacation. The G8 Summit was on Sea Island, a small chunk of land off the other end of St. Simons with a giant, ultra-swank resort/conference center and a few acres of multi-million dollar homes for the very, very rich. The only way, other than by chopper, to reach Sea Island is over the causeway to St. Simons and then another, smaller, causeway across to Sea Island.

I guess the Powers That Be were expecting the same sort of protests and rioting that Seattle saw a few years back when they hosted this jamboree. The level of paranoia was un-fucking-believable. I have never seen so many cops or heavily-armed military in my entire life. Just getting to the mother-in-law's house we had to go through three police checkpoints. At the first checkpoint on the causeway leading to St. Simons we were stopped and asked a barrage of dumb ass questions from a cop who was flanked by three Army (or Marine, or National Guard)... guards in jungle fatigues and body armor with M-16s at the ready. My ass cheeks were clenched tight in terrified anticipation of a possible body cavity search. We had to tell them what business we had on the island, who we were going to see, their street address, our names, where we were from, etc. I was surprised and relived the cop didn't ask the baby any questions; to the right ears his favorite saying "goo gooli gaha ummm" could possibly sound like Arabic or Farsi. They looked in the windows of our minivan and shined flashlights at our collection of overnight bags and baby stuff. I was really surprised they didn't ask to dig through our stuff...the baby's bright plastic walker with it's flashing lights and music could easily have disguised a bomb.

I had joked before we left Charleston that I was going to wear a turban and a fake beard just to fuck with 'the man'. I'm glad I wisely chose not to engage in that sort of tomfoolery. I have no doubt the assembled cops and soldier-types would have beaten me to a bloody pulp and asked questions later. My alternate joke disguise of a tie-dye Grateful Dead t-shirt and a general purpose cardboard protest sign would doubtless have provoked a similar ass-whuppin'.

Once we got ON the island, there were cops everywhere and still more military. Every available public parking area was filled with cop cars from all over the state of Georgia, state trooper cars, state park ranger vehicles and military HumVees. A large anti-aircraft gun placement and tons of military hardware were on the green space near the tarmac in the wee little St. Simons Island Airport (small Cessnas and other prop planes only; not enough landing strip for even the tiniest of jets). There were military and police foot patrols roaming all over the place, even back into the residential areas. I spotted several flights of three or four military choppers buzzing around in the sky over the island at regular intervals.

We drove down to the beach, noticing cops and soldiers set up in tents at every intersection, to see if our state and federal authorities were protecting us from an ocean-based attack as well. There were easily a dozen small military gunboats cruising around as well as patrol boats from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (affectionately referred to as 'Fletsey' by the locals) over on the mainland in Brunswick. A gentleman with binoculars mentioned that an aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy, and it's battlegroup were anchored off the coast, just beyond the horizon. There's a tale that was circulating, most likely just a new urban myth, about a man on the public fishing pier accidentally dropping his camera into the water. As the assembled tourists watched the camera sink down to Davy Jones' locker, a Navy Seal in a full wetsuit surfaced with with it in hand and tossed it back to the guy. True? Maybe.

At one point we stopped for a red light and I rolled down the window, leaned out and pointed my camera at a group of soldiers sitting in canvas chairs on the sidewalk. One of 'em shook his head and waggled his index finger in an unmistakable 'no-no' gesture. The camera went back into the case and any of the shots I took later in the week were done quickly through the van's windows.

Few things look more surreal than seeing an white-haired, old retired couple wearing their bright, colorful islandwear pedaling their bicycles past a group of three heavily-armed, camoflauge-clad military guys. The old couple waved as they passed the soldiers, and the soldiers, to their credit, waved back and smiled. Nice, well-mannered kids, but still fucking weird.

We went down to Neptune Park, where rumor had it that a huge number of protesters had gotten a permit to march. We were diappointed when, instead of hundreds of angry young anarchists full of sound and righteous fury, we saw about ten dejected-looking hippie wannabes. Only about half of 'em even had signs. For each individual protester there had to have been at least a dozen cops and soldiers. We found out later that most of the protesters had been forced to stay on the mainland. There were only about 50-60 of them, anyway.

On the last day of the summit, Friday, the group of protesters decided to march across the causeway and make their grievances known to Dubya and the assembled world leaders. I'm still not sure exactly what their grievances were; the few I saw interviewed on TV railed against everything from globalization to eating animals to the environment to exploitation of third-world labor. Huh? The protesters formed a line, linked arms and proceeded to march. You have to give 'em credit for having a sizable amount of collective balls; it was over 90 degrees and Sea Island is an easy 6-8 miles away. The police, holding plexiglass riot shields, formed a line facing them and would take a step back each time the protesters would take a step forward. At one point one of the cops stumbled and fell backward, bruising his ass and causing a huge wound to his dignity. That was the only real injury. Once the protesters made it to the road that lead to the Sea Island Causeway from St. Simons, they were stopped. Sea Island is private property and the police arrested 14-or so of the 'angry militants' for misdemeanor charges of obstructing traffic or some such; the rest were all loaded on a bus and taken back to the mainland.

By Saturday evening the whole thing was over. All the police and military pulled out and the island was back to normal. It was the closest I've ever been to a military occupation or seeing martial law declared.

That's about for now. Vaya Con Tequila,


CRYPTIQUEBambi was German

Sunday, June 13, 2004


You might have thought that the lurid canonization of Ronald Wilson Reagan in the Simi Valley sunset with Margaret Thatcher and Bo Derrick among the mourners was enough big media death for one week, but death don’t have no mercy in this land, (as the Grateful Dead once remarked.) Ray Charles liver burned out of seventy three years of intense usage, and guitarist Bob Quine gave up the fight. Ray will eulogized elsewhere, but Doc40 seemed the kind of place to make note of Quine’s passing. The obituary comes from the Artrocker online newsletter...

From the inauspicious beginnings file: In 1975 Quine got a job at Cinemabilia, a movie poster and book shop in New York City, where he worked with Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. So, no surprise that they end up forming a band with Quine on guitar in the form of Richard Hell and the Voidoids(the seminal "Blank Generation" from '77 and "Destiny Street" in '82). Watch out for those clerk types behind the counter or the bar - you could be seeing members of the next great band before your eyes.
Quine wasn't someone who evidently came to rock and roll by slacker default. He went to law school and passed the bar (to stay outta Vietnam), although he eventually gave this up for a life of rock and roll. And of course we can't forget to thank him for the "Velvet Underground Bootleg Series: The Quine Tapes" from San Fran in 1969 - an ardent fan's labor of love that allows those of use not able to be there at the time experience it as if we were (Quine: "They had shows on some weeknights with two or three people in the club. I was one of the people").
So it must have been a dream come true for other Lou Reed philes when a fan of The Man joined his band. Quine played on "The Blue Mask" in '82 ("There was no rehearsing, no overdubs, no punch-in's for mistakes. The exact opposite of the Voidoids"), "Legendary Hearts" in '83 (On tour "[Lou] had to teach 'Sister Ray' and 'Heroin' to the other members of the band ... but I knew it already"), and "New Sensations" in '84.
He's also played with Brian Eno, Tom Waits ("Rain Dogs"), Marianne Faithfull, and others. Playing with the greats, however, didn't always come easy ("From '69 til '76, I never played in public. I would play by myself at home"). Around early 2002 Quine was still at it, even if the rest of the world wouldn't pay as much attention as when he was dead ("Recording session work has slowed down considerably, to say the least. There's not much to report. But I almost always get in at least three to four hours a day practicing, and I think I'm still improving").
Reading old interviews with him one picks up the musicians musician sensibility (In answer to the question "Are your solos usually improvised, or do you compose your solos in advance? Quine answered "98% improvised.
Once in a while with Richard Hell, I'd hear a cassette of a good solo I'd improvised live (e.g.: 'The Plan') and copy it. But it's never as good as the first time around"). This was a guy who was around when it all started, tho' he complained that it was hard to get a good guitar lesson in 1958 in the early years of rock and roll. We're probably all better off that he had to figure it out on his own - throwing out the template = original style. On the flip side how many people can count seeing Buddy Holly in concert as a rock and roll influence? And Coltrane.
Hopefully we can expect to see posthumous reissues and unreleased material coming out soon. Word has it that Quine recorded with Judah Bauer of John Spencer a year or two before his death, so we'll have to keep an eye open for that one.
So it was, the New York Times reported that Quine, 61, "had been despondent over the recent death of his wife," and "died of a heroin overdose."

Robert Quine, R.I.P.

CRYPTIQUEThere’s one kind favor I’ll ask of you...