Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The true value of music

So far, I've had two people interested in my recording of Mike Doughty's concert in Nashville on November 6. I am giving the recording away free... I don't know if anyone else recorded it

Mike Doughty is known as "taper friendly." He understands that indie artists benefit from the publicity of devoted fans who are happy to share live recordings.

And he has been rewarded for this approach, at least from me. I've snatched up everything that he's offered for sale, including the very rare, limited edition "Smofe + Smang." True fans of musicians are happy to pay for the music. And freely available, amateur recordings always add to the visibility of an artist's commercial work.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My brief 5 minutes of fame

A Flickr buddy alerted me that this photo appeared briefly as an illustration of a HuffingtonPost.com article on homeless veterans. Got the alert when I woke up, on a morning when I just happened to be paying attention... and I caught it in time to go to the website and download the page. It disappeared later in the morning. I probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise. So... thanks Danny B.

I don't read the Huffington Post much lately, but it's not for the reason you might think--I just think that their web design is too cluttered and "noisy." Though Arianna Huffington is a fav of mine. I'll always remember shooting off a supportive email to her after she posted an editorial in 2003 questioning the Bush administration's rationale for proposing to invade Iraq. I think that, like, several hundred of us were opposed to the invasion back then, and voicing one's opposition then was fairly courageous.

About the homeless, my perspective is more nuanced. It is simply not part of our current American social contract to provide fully for those who are unable to provide for themselves... at least, it's not federal policy. (My daytime job is in this field.) Is this wrong? Is this right? Those of us who have dealt with poverty and homelessness on the front lines realize that homelessness is caused by factors more complex than a simple lack of money or, in fact, a lack of mental wellness. America has become a more brutal society in the past decade. Our citizens disregard our economic laws at their own peril. Perhaps they haven't noticed, but there's no safety net anymore. I know it. The homeless know it. Do the rest of us?

Anyway, this is one of my favorite photos. The original photo was taken with my cheap cameraphone... The next day, I brought a better camera to work, and I found the same cardboard sign still in the parking lot, a bit worse for wear. It had been driven over a few times, but it was still there. I have no idea who once held the sign... if he was, indeed, a veteran, or whether this was his particular hustle. I don't know if he ever got any food, a job, or even if he's still alive.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dream of the near future

I had this dream this morning, or perhaps it was more than a dream. I was conscious, aware. Perhaps I was caught up in the third heaven. I had wanted to see the "near future"... not one hundred years from not, but not next year, and this was the result.

What I got, I think, was the year 2027, or slightly sooner. I sensed that it was a time near the end of my present life. I was viewing London from the vantage point of the air, with the Atlantic ocean to one side. I saw the sky churning; I don't know if a massive storm was brewing, or if the sky was affected by something greater. Time seem speeded up, as the sky waxed from blue to greenish. And then, a massive tidal wave of water swept over the city, obliterating all before it.

I wanted to know when this time was, and I was curious about the future, so I zoomed down to the city streets. I saw vehicles, very different than todays'--they seem to be much smaller, three-wheeled, colorful, efficient. I don't know if they ran on gasoline. I saw models that I didn't recognize. One vehicle model was named "Zip." I saw an older Toyota. My sense was that Londoners weren't using internal-combustion gasoline engines... or perhaps they were--simply very efficient ones.

I visited kiosks inside a mall... I wanted to find a year, a calendar, anything that would give me evidentiary proof that I had, indeed, seen this time. But I could find nothing. And I could learn nothing more about the environmental catastrophe sweeping the world.

I sense that I am coming full circle from the time of my dreams of the same "event" that I had in the 1980s. Those dreams seem to have happened only a short time ago. I remember wondering what "I" would be doing if, or when, these dreams came about. Now, I realize that we, even the most long-lived of us, are here for only a short while.