Saturday, March 31, 2012

Can I buy my sweatshirt back?

Don't you hate it when you go to Goodwill to find some used shorts that don't make you look like your father and you go into the dressing room and take off your sweatshirt and hang it up and then try the shorts on and decide they are as bad as anything you already own so you put them back on the rack and get on your vintage and sweet 1974 vespa ciao moped and drive off and are nearly sideswiped by a blind old lady and then you try to get to a Jack In The Box to take advantage of their buy one chicken sandwich and get another free deal but then you decide that their food is garbage and you already got scammed by a con artist this week so you need to conserve your money...so you ride your vintage and sweet 1974 vespa ciao moped back to the van you live in and cook up a meal of Ramen noodles and when it gets chilly in the evening you go to put your sweatshirt on and can't find it. You look everywhere. Where the hell is it? You had it at Goodwill and then...Oh Fuck! You left it at Goodwill in the dressing room and now Goodwill is closed.
So, you think that you will never get it back because there is no lost and found box at Goodwill since the whole store is basically a lost and found box that is for sale. The whole point of Goodwill is that you can leave stuff you don't want anymore and they will take it and sell it. But don't you hate it when Goodwill gets something that you didn't mean to give away. You've had that sweatshirt for 6 years and yes the zipper has broken and it has paint and bleach stains on it but it was cool when you first got it and it serves a function so...

So...the next day you have to ride your vintage and sweet 1974 vespa ciao moped all the way across the city again to go to the Goodwill to retrieve your sweatshirt. Of course it isn't in the dressing room. But where will it be? And what will happen if you find it? You search and search everywhere. It's a blue sweatshirt with a green hood. Hard to miss. You check in the Men's department but when was the last Goodwill you went to that had organized all their clothes perfectly? Underwear is with the jeans. Shirts are with coats. All the sizes are a mess. You hunt and hunt and move on to the women's section, perversely leafing through old lady sweaters looking for your own sweater. Then you find it with the women's sports bras. It's hanging on the rack and no one has bought it. You wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing. No one wanted your sweater at Goodwill but here you are hunting for it.

Oh well. You grab it and wonder if you should steal it, basically walk out with it and pretend it was yours all along but the way things are going these days you wouldn't be surprised if they had security monitoring you. Jesus, that would suck to be arrested stealing your own sweatshirt from a crappy Goodwill in Missouri. People kill themselves over less than that. So, you get in line. The worst thing that will happen is you will have to buy it back. But there is no price tag because the employee who put it back on the rack didn't really care that there was no price tag. He probably figured someone tore it off and then left it in the dressing room. Or maybe someone took it off and traded it for something. You get to the cashier.
"I'll ring you up." He reaches for your sweatshirt.
"Well, it's funny. I've got a funny story. This is my sweatshirt. I went into the dressing room and left it there yesterday."
The cashier's look tells you that he doesn't believe you. Why would he? This has to be the first time since he's worked there that someone is telling him that they left something in the dressing room and they want it back.
"See," you continue, "This paint spot is from when I just painted my friend's house. And look at the zipper! It broke and I tied this ribbon on there so I could pull it. And this bleach spot was a splash from this kitchen cleanup job I had around Christmas at a Lobster pound."
Your desperate tone wins the day. The cashier nods.
"You're all good."
You are relieved that you didn't have to shell out money for a sweatshirt you already own. And when that is a highlight of your day then you really have big problems.

Hooked Rug

Take a good look. I'm not doing this craft again.

Lottery Results

Oggy is $10 less rich. Boo hoo. Even if I did a mix and match of my ten picks I still only got 4 numbers and didn't get the 46. The mega ball was also one of the regular numbers: 23. I'm demanding my money back from whomever won that jackpot.

Ready For Winter

It took three attempts to get this hat right and even now it isn't how I want it but I've run out of yarn so it's going to stay this way.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Religion Isn't All That Bad

The problem with religion is that Americans basically only see the candy cane/mardi gras/easter egg side of it. We see American Flag book covers on bibles and Christianity invoked in our battle with Middle Eastern Children. No wonder you get some head shaking.
"Religion causes war. It's evil."

And I've been guilty of that reaction too. It's very easy to look at religion in America objectively and see it as purely a contrivance and a fraud basically trying to get money from old people and justify a decade [millenium] of senseless slaughter. Ok. But I've pondered this perplexing mess and have decided that religion in America is not religious. It's like saying McDonalds serves food. In other words, judging religion based on what you see today (mass exploitation of Jesus for profit) is no different than saying the sport Football is evil because there have been coaches who sexually molest their players. I'll even go so far as to say that since the institution of church in America and the bible is almost completely exploited to the point that I don't know of an example in my travels of all 49 states on the Continent that would contradict your belief that religion is evil. So if every sports team had an incidence of sex abuse (not far from the truth) you still couldn't say football is evil because it is used to exploit kids. You might as well say that sodomy causes first downs . That analogy would look like this:

Religion             Football
--------      =     ---------
War                    Sex Abuse

This question came to me because Bill Maher made a movie called "Religulous" and his whole premise is wrong. He's searching the world for an example of pure religion, a rational justification of it, but that doesn't exist in any recognizable form anymore. He's 250 years too late as the Puritains and Quakers have been replaced by porn kings and big macs. But that doesn't mean religion is essentially ridiculous. No. And football is not to blame for sex abuse. See, I feel that your average Jehovah pedaling truth of death and resurrection has as much to do with religion as sodomy has to do with punt coverage. Were Puritains and Quakers "real" religion? God, I hope so. They would all be unquestionably horrified by the state of the country they started. They would think most of us, including the Unitarians and Methodists, were involved with witchcraft and should be burned at the stake. I have no doubt of this because when I read the CNN comments every third remark has something to do with killing someone for being evil. If the average CNN reader feels that way then I'm sure the Puritains would simply declare America a lost cause, spawns of the devil, hopelessly corrupt. And it might be a lost cause. This is the central debate I have not found a conclusion to: If America stands for progress and progress leads to an environmental catastrophe, and progress means finding a way to survive in the man-made environmental catastrophe THEN WHAT THE FUCK IS THE DEFINITION OF PROGRESS? If you go with the flow then I'm pretty sure that's like the Germans ignoring the ash floating from the strange chimneys for 5 years. But if you don't go with the flow then you end up in the police blotter. You've got a powerful church that manipulates the masses for profit but it's so widespread that it can't be stopped. And if it can't be stopped and you can't ignore it then you are living by the whim of an insane and megalomaniacal monster in a funny hat. But I digress...

This is an ongoing debate that robs Oggy of many hours of peaceful sleep. Some people study ant habits, some study distant galaxies, some engineer better artificial valves for pig hearts. Oggy ponders these complicated questions because he wants to understand the world he lives in. Let me stop talking about myself in third person and say that I was hooking the last strands on my rug when I felt that it could not be done; my attempt to fully understand the human condition is an impossible task. Then I think that all researchers will eventually doubt their abilities. The good ones continue in the face of failure. The bad ones become politicians. Astronauts explore outer space; Oggy explores inner space...and he is lost without oxygen and no map. If I could start all over and accept the headlines as irrelevant facts then I would do that, but that's also impossible. So, as a weaver by name and trade I am cutting the tether. You either go forward or you stop. We don't live forever and I was racing around on my moped today and several times was nearly killed. A worker on a bridge was sucked into the Mississippi in an elevator. Dead. We get a limited amount of time to raid the refrigerator of humanity and then it is gone, passed on to another greedy generation. I do not think I will find a conclusion to the madness of life but I might have some artistic expression that will be a piece in the puzzle. I feel that is worthwhile. We live and die. Science has allowed us to live longer but Religion, I think, started as a way to finish the puzzle of the human condition before it turned into a crazy obsession and that crazy obsession led to the hotly debated details that separate the religions. The details are irrelevant but they've been bastardized and used to kill...and so the details have morphed religion into something unrecognizable. It does not comfort. It is invoked by sellers of snake oil and is the ponzi scheme's ultimate rationale. But that isn't the nature of religion any more than sex scandals are in the nature of college sports. It would be like trying to convince someone to stop liking Culture Club songs. How can you rationalize Karma Chameleon?


I got off track because the tornadoes are blowing my van across the yellow brick road, but I want to close with a memory of Gislane LaChance in Quebec, the only Religious man I've met in North America. There was no rhetoric, no invoking God for his favors. God was another name for fate, fate that controlled the winds and the rainfall. God didn't control the direction a tree fell when it was cut by Gislane for his lumber mill, but God did control the direction the tree fell when the wind blew it down. But once the tree lay on the ground then it was in Gislane's domain. God made the chicken and Gislane killed and ate it. Simple. That's the difference. Simple but true. So, I know there are people who are religious in North America but Bill Maher* will not casually walk down the street or knock on a church door to meet one of them here or in Jerusalem or the Vatican or Mecca. Those are all masquerade balls with open invitations. No, religion is rare in this Christian country. It never had anything to do with the birth of Jesus or white doves. Easter is coming up and that has nothing to do with religion either. Easter is about exalting our details of creation so they overshadow your details of creation. That has more to do with the insecurity of the devout than anything else.

Now I'm going to get back to pondering the universe in my insecure shame palace.

*Maher really plays slow pitch softball with his agenda driven movie. It's weird because he's clearly trying to champion reason in place of faith. But the easiest argument against that is, why bother? Who cares if we know dinosaurs didn't live with humans 25,000 years ago? Who cares if we can cure cancer? Who cares that the constellations are distant suns and not actual celestial beings? Without spirituality the realities of life are too much to deal with. He attacks Mormon beliefs in front of a palatial building that pretty much proves that the Mormons are not full of shit. The proof that religions work is in the fact they have lasted and the infrastructure they have produced. Yes, they are snake oil salesmen, but their snake oil lasts. People say religion is a crutch and I agree. It's a crutch for an animal alone on a rock hurtling toward death. Maher has no consoling words for our condition. God does. That's the difference he never admits.

Maher says, "If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you'd resign in protest."
But he's wrong. He's projecting his beliefs onto others. In fact, he's pinpointed the exact reason people accept religion: because it's a club and it gives them strength to be on the same page as others. Loyalty means accepting beliefs and defending them. They wouldn't resign in protest because they would probably try to affiliate the club with the religion and reduce the number of Christmas cards they have to send out. Maher says a devout person can't know his fate after death, "Because I don't know what's going to happen...and you don't posses mental powers I do not."
That's his basic contradiction. I don't believe in God so you shouldn't either. (add a haughty laugh)
He preached to the choir in this film and he knows it and I'm almost glad he doesn't have a good enough argument to convert a single person's belief. Heck, he made me MORE religious! Amen.

Top 10 Things Oggy will do with $500 Million

When Oggy wins the lottery he will:

1) Get teeth fixed so his passport picture won't look like a cautionary poster for tooth decay
2) Cover the Van with gold leaf
3) Go back to the casino and put $10 on Black 8 until it hits. Then never play roulette again
4) New bikes for everyone in Boston
5) Buy a factory in China to give a month vacation to all the Apple slaves. A free iPod to all factory workers
6) Spine Replacement
7) Run with the wolves of Ellesmere Island
8) Get a real url for my next blog: www.TheManintheVanmovestoBeverlyHills.com
9) No more generic cereal.
10) Buy the Dodgers.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spanish Prisoner

I got taken for all the money in my wallet but my downfall wasn't the fact that I was giving money to get more money, it was that I was trying to help a neighbor who turned out to be a junkie. I already know that the world is crummy but I think I was paying for proof that it wasn't. And I got more proof that it is.

Night Life

My new favorite song ended up in a Bob Wills songbook. It's among the last songs Bob Wills played and it's a reminder that Willie Nelson might be more prolific than Bob Dylan. Nelson has been performing since 1960. Who else is still performing after 52 years? That would be like Buddy Holly performing at Madison Square Garden. Willie Nelson is 80 years old!

The nightlife intrigued me over the years but the plastic smiles and painted tans and fake flirty touches of waitresses lightened my wallet but never filled my soul. People laughed too loud at their own jokes, tried too hard to get drunk and lose their fear of death but it never worked for me. Holden Caulfield used the word "Phony" and that's always been the best description of the games played in bars. Later in life it really is legitimately sad and lonely people with nothing left to lose (and I like them more that way) but the young who were enabled by clueless parents and let down by their lacking society go to initiate themselves into what they think is adulthood. They try and if they can make themselves believe it worked then that's good enough. The years slip away and soon they are back on the same stool, staring bubbles down and oily rags on the teak bar. Then it's authentic. It ain't the good life and it never was my life but I like the song because it is honest bar wisdom.

Exalted King



The Jehovah People were out with the first tulip bulbs knocking on doors and ignoring barking dogs to get the word out about the exalted king. I'm in the land of giant billboards damning you to hell if you get an abortion. "Pray then Vote" is the motto of the region. I'm an equal opportunity hobo so when they knocked on my van I let them in. The woman with the crooked eyes and generic hair was generously proportioned from the neck down. Her dress didn't have any baggy spots if you get what I'm laying down. Our conversation went something like this:

Jehovah Prophet: Hi, I'd like to invite you to a meeting to learn about Jesus, our exalted King.
Oggy: Really? I knew a Jesus in Mexico. Sold me cheap weed. Is it the same guy?
JP: I don't think so.
Oggy: My Jesus was about five foot five. Smelled like sweat. Tattoo on his bicep of a prostitute. He had a tattoo of his grandmother on his back. Funny funny guy. The shit he said...
JP: No. The Jesus I'm talking about is reigning as an exalted King.
Oggy: Yeah, that doesn't sound like my boy. The Jesus I know was a slick gang banger. Heavy into speed and dope and whores. He pimped dozens of whores, yo!
JP: So, the meeting will answer all of these questions. Some believe Jesus died for our sins.
Oggy: Whoa! People dying left and right. When was that? I didn't read about it. Was it in the paper?
JP: Long ago, but...
Oggy: Oh, like last month? I was totally out it last month. You know... [pantomimes injecting heroin in an arm and passing out]
JP: Uh, have you ever wondered how one man's death can mean life for others today?

Oggy: [gestures to the van interior] That question ain't high on my priorities right now.
JP: It should be. We can answer that at our talk commemorating the death of Jesus.
Oggy: Wait, he's dead?
JP: Well....
Oggy: And he's an exalted King?
JP: You see...
Oggy: Because that sounds kind of shady to me. A dead king who has the same name as the guy I bought weed from in Mexico?
JP: The meeting will...
Oggy: Doesn't that sound like a flim flam scam to you? What's this Jesus King fella's phone number? [gets out phone] I'll ring his ass up and get to the bottom of this.
JP: No, you see...
Oggy: Give me his number.
JP: Come to the talk. Bring your questions.
Oggy: Nah. I'm calling 411. [dials 411]. Operator? I'm looking for the number to call Jesus. What? I'll ask. Hey, what's his last name?
JP: He doesn't have a last name exactly.
Oggy: Well, how am I going to call him? The operator needs a last name. What? And a city. So, where's his crib?
JP: Crib?
Oggy: Yeah. Where he hang at? Ooops. I hung up on the operator. Damn it. Can I borrow your phone to call the operator back. Man, it's getting hot. Wanna sit down in my van and smoke a bowl? I won't touch you or nothing.
JP: I'd like to thank you for your time.
Oggy: Hell, it ain't nothing. What I got to do 'cept be neighborly. I'm only living in my van temporarily until the 'conomy picks up again. Know where I could find some work?
JP: Good day.
Oggy: I do good work. Finish carpenter. Mechanic. Hell, I'll buck a mule and deliver a calf. Yes, Maam.
JP: God bless you.
Oggy: Only thing is I can't do drug tests. No.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Taco Bell Fitness Course

It's time for the annual Oggy Bleacher get in shape week. Won't you join me in getting fit for fitness. Heath is Happiness. I've looked everywhere for one of those outdoor fitness DIY courses with the chin up bar and heart rate check stations and finally found one at the Jefferson Barracks south of St. Louis. The civil war museum is closed but this fitness course was doing good business. This course unfortunately lacked an ice cream stand but I could get a beef taco! Now the only question is whom do I sue for the injuries sustained by my decrepit body flailing around obstacles. I feel like the Chinese will watch this video and say, "The time to invade is approaching. Look! The adults are helpless like blind puppy dogs."
Here's a video immediately following my attempt to pull myself up a pole. I exerted myself like a 20 year old and my 41 year old spine screamed mercy within seconds. I fell to the earth and waited for the muscle spasms to pass. It's hell getting old.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ciao



I finally brought them together and now gotta sell one to pay for knee replacement surgery. The red one is a 1978 Piaggio Ciao, the blue is a 1974 Vespa Ciao. I sold the red one in September 2014

1978 Vespa Ciao NOT For Sale $650 in st louis





Vintage 1978 Vespa Ciao for sale. New parts. works great. 49cc bike all original! Clean and ready to ride. 80+ MPG. Tank is about 4/5ths of a gallon.
Update: My Friend decided to keep it so it isn't for sale.

Further and Final Update 9/14. This vespa ciao sold for $650. It was running great and I Was sorry to see it go.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Reality Check

I can confirm that modern Missouri is no more accepting of '70s throwback clothes than modern New Hampshire. Hippies are warned.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

70s

Warning: Too much 70s can be hazardous to your health.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Typing Test

Desperate times have led me to a typing test site because the latest job interview requires me to enter 7000 numerical characters an hour for 12 hours a day for 30 consecutive days. 84,000* 30=2.52 million numbers.  So my 74 WPM typing skills are meaningless if I can't enter 7000 numbers an hour. Right now I'm at 3000+


"Your accuracy was impressive.
Your speed was 3991 Keystrokes Per Hour "


and I have one day to practice and double my speed. I made the mistake of telling the truth on my applications to the National Park Service. That means I'll be lucky if I can get a job entering data for the postal service until astigmatism wears my eyes out.

Typing Speeds

See how others are scoring right now on the Learn2Type.com typing test:
User oggybleacher typed 76 WPM with 2 errors scoring 74 WPM
User fmanuel24 typed 63 WPM with 3 errors scoring 60 WPM
User lanajosina typed 61 WPM with 1 errors scoring 60 WPM
User megan_earles.yahoo.com typed 15 WPM with 2 errors scoring 13 WPM
User Latinessa typed 27 WPM (zero errors) scoring 27 WPM
User lizafh typed 29 WPM with 2 errors scoring 27 WPM
User shiranganijayatunge.yahoo.com typed 32 WPM with 1 errors scoring 31 WPM
User mia.is.the.gr8test typed 14 WPM with 1 errors scoring 13 WPM
User thomaspetrilla typed 55 WPM (zero errors) scoring 55 WPM
User dmigas330.att.net typed 59 WPM with 9 errors scoring 50 WPM
User classicheidi typed 62 WPM with 1 errors scoring 61 WPM
User louisepollard.ymail.com typed 62 WPM with 2 errors scoring 60 WPM
User MiMi8732 typed 20 WPM (zero errors) scoring 20 WPM
User mcgeejl typed 25 WPM with 1 errors scoring 24 WPM
User Takiyah.Thompson typed 30 WPM with 3 errors scoring 27 WPM
User jtd1956z typed 29 WPM with 1 errors scoring 28 WPM
User deja0274 typed 44 WPM (zero errors) scoring 44 WPM
User RMatina typed 65 WPM with 2 errors scoring 63 WPM
User tpc82 typed 13 WPM with 3 errors scoring 10 WPM
User valoribennett typed 17 WPM with 1 errors scoring 16 WPM
User AlexaIkuto typed 63 WPM with 1 errors scoring 62 WPM
User blikins26 typed 38 WPM with 3 errors scoring 35 WPM
User faith8225 typed 50 WPM with 1 errors scoring 49 WPM
User Blaha630 typed 48 WPM with 5 errors scoring 43 WPM
User bahez1989 typed 45 WPM with 1 errors scoring 44 WPM
User Shadae.Gibson typed 45 WPM with 3 errors scoring 42 WPM
User justhadtosay01 typed 7 WPM (zero errors) scoring 7 WPM

Bamboo Hat

I chose a salt and pepper motif to match my gray beard and black heart. Why are the stripes vertical? Because the pattern I used was for making a solid color hat but I decided to be fancy and added a stripe and then realized it would be running the whole length from brim to tip. But as failures go it allowed me to see the way to really make an easy hat by making a brim that will fit the head and then making spirals up and up twice the size of your head and then turning the hat into a double layered tube and cinching up the end. It's like a sock for your head. Two comments:
1) I don't know why grandmothers can take an easy thing and totally mystify me with their directions. Really, they should hire an industrial engineer to write the standard operating procedure.
2) I really hope I don't ever have a need for the "chemo cap" pattern.

update: I unwound the whole hat because I can do better.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Power Sources

Where does your power come from? I'd like everyone to go to their energy provider's generation source page and find out exactly where your energy comes from. It will probably look something like this chart below:


Ameren Missouri Power Plants
 
Plant Location
Began Operation
Coal Fired Plants (77% of generation)
Labadie Franklin County, Mo.
1970
Rush Island Jefferson County, Mo.
1976
Meramec St. Louis County, Mo.
1953
Sioux St. Charles County, Mo.
1967

   
Hydroelectric Plants (3% of generation)
Keokuk Keokuk, Iowa
1913
Osage Lakeside, Mo.
1931
Taum Sauk (pumped storage) Reynolds County, Mo.
1963

   
Nuclear Plant (19% of generation)
Callaway Callaway County, Mo.
1984


Now we all know how this dehumidifier does its job. Or it used to do its job and now it has been disassembled by Oggy's incompetent hands, lost screws fell down the drain and the fan bearing is shot and the fuse is blown and the IC is stoned. So, it doesn't use much anymore except indirectly in the form of beer I drink to drown the pain my my back from laying upside down looking at the various ways this Chinese product was assembled.
Update: I disconnected the humidity sensor plug and now it runs again! It's either on or off now. Thank You Meramec coal plant!

Biodome

Biodome clip sinks man deeper into depression.
http://content.internetvideoarchive.com/content/photos/147/00618309_.jpg

Latch Hooking

This is not the same as the traditional rug hooking with strips of wool or fabric. This is the Shilcraft readycut package from 1973 that includes cut yarn that you basically make a knot around the linear threads of the base fabric. You pull the two loose ends through the loop and poke your thumb with the latch and wear your knuckles down to the bone tugging at the bits of yarn. I want to do a series of Hippie Crafts where I introduce a new craft technique while driving down the highway. Put it on next season's schedule.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mugger Insurance

An insurance policy to reimburse victims of muggings was quickly determined to be unprofitable.

Comment to Pregnant Robot whose comments section is fucked...

The ghost of Rajneesh has returned as vpn server shills with contrived comments sent through channels of dead gurus. Hiding in his beard is the wisdom of chai tea carts rolling over boundless asphalt streets, Japanese neighborhoods abandoned by Death Valley internment camp slaves; the vacuum is filled with Oakland dwelling black families. Post and Hyde and Filmore and Eddy were sushi shops and Ninja massage parlors when Rajneesh sent his elite proxy server warriors to Pearl Harbour on stealth mission for yugi-o eating viagra like chicken feed. Bar-b-que and soul food kitchens soon sprouted up with the frequency of donuts in downtown and noodles in chinatown. Pawn stores hold tickets on negro pride, charging interest on the turban covered santa claus.

Apple-itionists

I've written about Apple and the Chinese slaves in the past because I'm a lazy person and it's an easy topic to instigate and annoy my readers. I like to compare iPads to cotton in 1830. Plantation owners in Mississippi liked to say that they were giving the black man gainful employment that would raise him up from his African tribal depths. Looking around today you could almost see his point: Maybe I'm projecting my own distorted values and views but the descendents of the Haitian who was never purchased by the New Orleans slave trader in 1802 is now in a worse bind than the descendents of the Uncle Tom who picked all the cotton for Civil War uniforms. Whether it is worth being born of slave blood if it means you can work at Jack in The Box is the topic of another essay because my point is that when your livelihood depends on free labor then it's no surprise that you justify it with all kinds of ethical rabbits pulled out of philosophical hats. And when you own an iPad then a gypsy hippie talking bad about Apple isn't going to compel you to trade it in for a wooden pencil. Basically, the Chinese are deftly maneuvering around their terrible situation. They failed to manage their resources because they were too busy clubbing Buddhist monks to death and in their blind seizure and destruction of farmlands while hunting coal also eliminated the ability of the Chinese to sustain themselves locally. They basically manufactured the conditions of slavery and are lucky they don't allow emigration because surely the population would flee if they had the chance. Unfortunately, Nepal isn't exactly the breadbasket of the world so it was a near miracle when the demand for high tech goods surged exactly when the environmental regulations in the U.S. had companies looking away from San Jose, CA for supply. Low cost employees, a region devoted exclusively to manufacturing, diverse factories in close proximity, starvation, all of this added up to a perfect business partner for the high tech companies that were competing with Japanese developers. All things considered, it worked out pretty good for China and consumers worldwide. And the same thing could be said for affordable cotton in 1820.
 And now the cycle begins again as tech abolitionists (I'll coin a new term: Apple-itionists) raise doubts of the morality of the status quo. We eliminated slavery in America because we exported it to China. Chinese workers routinely say they prefer to work more because they need the money. But that's only one side of the story because the alternative is starvation and the cause of the starvation is the lack of food from their depleted country. My point is that you should not break your neck giving yourself a blowjob just because you buy an Apple product. You aren't "saving" anyone but you are deluding yourself into thinking the slaves are better off picking cotton than being locked in a cage on a slave ship. There are alternatives your Jack in The Box brain is ignoring to justify your blighted worldview. If you buy an Apple product then the only justification you can use is, "I'm just a big dumb fuck who does what I'm told. Pass the Cheerios." There's no other words that should leave your mouth because it just makes you look even more stupid as you fumble for justification of your twisted words fed from an Australian media mogul's glorified asshole. Get in line and buy the stuff that has price tags and makes funny sounds and lights up when you punch it you dense gorilla with your chicken waffles and insensitive sneakers. Dance with the broken-hearted in the Vodka swamp where the Lorax plays checkers with the dead possums. It's all a dream that Oggy makes up in his sleep and projects onto your corrupt eyeballs while you snore through inflated ego nostrils.

An Apple-itionist guy performs a show about the Apple drama. NPR reported on his show and then retracted the story because the show isn't all factual. But it's a gray area as far as lies and truth. Here's my response:
Isn’t it understood that This American Life is good radio entertainment like The Shadow and The Lone Ranger? And they do a story about a theatrical production that turned out to only be a theatrical production. I don’t know why they’re retracting anything since they reported the fact that someone is performing a show that is a creative expression of an individual’s collective experience, research and imagination. Yes, underage workers make iPads. Yes, workers have been crippled, killed, demoralized and exploited by Apple. No, tree Gnomes don’t grow our cell phones from a silicone patch.
Let’s really be hypothetical: If I were sent to a distant Galaxy to plead my [The Earth's] case to an advanced life form who had the capacity to solve all Earth’s problems including disease, warfare, climactic apocalypse, Khloe Kardashian, carbon-based energy, Uwe Boll films, racism, etc, and I only had 45 minutes to do it, then my presentation might be considered a one-man show and it would include a description of damage from tornadoes (that I’ve never experienced), Hurricanes (that I’ve never experienced) Tsunamis (that I’ve never experienced) Nuclear Power plant meltdowns (that I’ve never experienced), sea levels rising, animal life dying, genocide, clips from “A Dungeon Siege Tale”, etc.
Now, everything listed didn’t happen in one day but for narrative purposes I might decide to present it all as events that happened in 24 hours. Heck, the alien’s sense of time might be so different that it’s safer to just say, “this all took place in the time that it took for me to tell you about it. We are in urgent need of help.”
Then the alien leader asks the question, “Is all of that true? Did all of that happen to you?”
And since we’re talking about the salvation of the planet what do you think my response will be?


I promise to get back to humor in a day or two. My computer is broken and three different film projects are in limbo until I fly to China on the back of a Pegasus to get the tree Gnomes to make me a new computer from the lips of sea lions. As soon as that happens I'll make my wolf video and all the fairies will fly out of their magic holes and we'll drink Black Russians in the island sun while Russian prostitutes parade before our wooden erections. I promise.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brian Doyle-Murray Sex Tape Leaked

An indifferent and embarrassed public tried to pretend they didn't hear about a grainy security tape containing footage of 67 year-old actor Brian Doyle-Murray having sex with an unidentified woman in a convertible parked in a garage.
"Not interested," said a man outside the Times Square Apple store.
"Who? What?" responded a confused woman before rushing toward the subway entrance saying she was "late for a meeting."
A man selling knock-off jewelry from a trenchcoat clenched his fists and threatened to punch the reporter if he so much as mentioned any details about the Doyle-Murray sex tape. "Kick [your] fucking ass is what will happen!"
The original owner of the tape, a valet from Pasadena, called the tape, "an unfortunate collision of human nature and capitalism." He has received death threats and was "just trying to cut [his] losses." The tape, he said, "has caused me nothing but grief."
Celebrity sex tape collector Jacob Denial of Cincinnati, Ohio admitted he was not immediately interested in obtaining a copy of the tape.
"God, fuck. It's times like this that I wish I had stayed in business school," said Denial. "This isn't what compelled me to collect sex tape memorabilia. Obviously. But I have a duty to my craft and I'm a bit of an OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] perfectionist so I guess...shit...I guess I have to buy a copy. Damnit!"
Denial swore again and said his friends might have a point that he's a fucking pervert.
"If that convertible top is closed then we're not having this conversation right now. Motherfucker! Why did this tape have to get leaked? Why?"
Before locking himself in his room Denial said the tape was not something he would personally watch, but that he would merely be putting it in his collection "...to be thorough. It's for the completion-ist, not the casual sex tape collector. Understand? This is not top-shelf stuff like the Paris Hilton or Jessica Alba tapes. No. Honestly, I don't even want it. Now, there is a rumored Vivien Leigh/Clark Gable sex film out there that I would love to get my hands on. It's the Holy Grail of my niche. Can we talk about that? Can we talk about anything but...you know...this."
A spokesperson for Doyle-Murray released a sobering statement that hardly anyone read: "My client understands that his status as a celebrity necessarily affects his privacy, but you should still attempt to be decent people, you sick fucks. My client has sex. Yes. Lots of sex. Live with it."
The television program TMZ had no comment and an employee of Entertainment Weekly not authorized to speak on the behalf of the company said, "There are some lines you can't cross and this is one of them." She then said she had a Teach America interview to get to and walked soberly away.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Death Penalty

Careless MSNBC internet surfing has me pondering the controversial capital punishment topic. It's all hypothetical since I'm in no position to decide what a state or nation should abide by as a whole. But as "Taxi Driver" demonstrated, everyone has the individual ability to make decisions and dispatch "justice". The movie does a good job of showing how unlike a superhero vigilantism really is. --------->>>
It's a beautiful topic to debate because it brings out every dimension of philosophical insanity, which as you know is the blood that gives me life. Mental masturbation countdown 3...2...1...commence...For instance, the dog that attacked me had absolutely no problem putting me on trial and finding me guilty of suspicious and threatening behavior (in his mind) and sentencing me to death. It was an instantaneous decision that happened to be totally wrong, but so what? The dog understood his strengths and decided he could kill me and that it was in his best interests to kill me. The decision was a no-brainer and there were no appeals or quibbling over misleading evidence or change of venue, or "the possibility of my innocence". The dog and probably every dog in the world would laugh at such nonsense. "Instinct" prevails in the dog world. Bite first and ask questions later. Some dogs are raised to kill and you could say their instincts have been corrupted but it's safe to say Mankind is a ponderous animal and our instincts are largely unmolested...until politics and Fox television are concerned and then everything goes to hell.

My point is that other animals live and let live up until that exact moment when they feel threatened and at that point they kill without hesitation or regret. Somehow, mankind now questions this natural procedure. Some states permit capital punishment and some don't, Canada is opposed to it. 50% of countries have abolished it and about 30% still retain it.
The land of Oggy is undecided because, as I've said, it's a debate that has so many dimensions that in 100 years I'll never completely analyze all the angles. Is abortion itself capital punishment on an unwanted fetus? Does someone who gets an abortion qualify for capital punishment? Is war a form of mass capital punishment? The Oklahoma City bombers were executed because they executed people as payback for the execution of some other people who may have also executed people. See? It's enough to drive any van dwelling gypsy insane. I can't even afford a gallon of gasoline so how can I solve this age-old puzzle?

There are lots of forums that debate this ad infinitum. Some people say the case is closed and Capital Punishment can never be used. Other people say capital punishment is only justified when there is 100% certainty that someone is guilty of being a horrible person. Blah blah blah. Others speak like the dog and say it's obvious that when someone is a dirtbag then you kill them. Done.
"But you might have a innocent person's death on your conscience," is the response.
But that's projecting a delicate conscience on the mind of the capital punishment proponent. The dog that attacked me will not even entertain the idea that I might have posed no danger to him and his master. He has the perfect conscience. He's not a killer because he doesn't meditate on murder, but if he kills and that's in the past then that is where it stays for the two seconds that he can remember who he just bit.  So it is with many people...they actually won't care if they killed an innocent person because the theory of self defense at any cost is more important. All they have is their instinct that someone is guilty and deserves to die. No, that's not the right way to put it. The debate really isn't about "deserving" to die. It's more about the natural desire to protect yourself from harm.

Can we agree there are harmful people in the world? And can we agree that if you capture a person and a jury decides they are guilty of socially harmful acts that you can no longer trust this person to act in the best interests of society? Now, the philosophers among you will ask, "What is defined as socially harmful? Is socialist blogging considered anti-social?" And I applaud you because that's how to attack any argument. You define terms, as Socrates always said. And that's a serious request. So serious I can't even think of a joke to lighten the dark mood in my brain. To define my terms would take more megabytes than Google allots to their bloggers. So I'm not going to do it. I will try to sum up my conclusions and let you fill in the blanks.


I alternate between being 99% in favor of the death penalty and 1% too stoned to care. Firstly, there aren't enough resources available to feed, house and monitor criminals. Basically, any water a criminal drinks is stolen from a totally innocent person dying of thirst. That's because the innocent person is free and the criminal is property of the state. Personally, I think the free person should be higher on the list of priorities than the criminal and let nature take its course. Also, a smart state doesn't keep broken property. So, there's no justification for an $11 trillion debt that includes prison expenses. Sorry. That's pure flim flam budgeting that defeats any "moral" argument against capital punishment. We can not afford to raise poisoned crops. If morality is your concern then every penny in the dept. of corrections budget would be transferred to the Children's Oncology wing at the local hospital. To put it another way, if you had to balance the state budget or you would be executed (a philosophically valid demand) then how many state finance subcommittee members would elect to die before they allowed an incarcerated child rapist to go without food? Call me crazy, but I'll bet they find ways to save money and don't lose much sleep over the bones piling up in jail. But because state finance managers have managed to rig budget books as crooked as my left toes then we magically get new chemistry labs in high schools and an upgraded prison infirmary. Believe me, that won't last forever.
Secondly, and finally, the only way to guarantee 100% that a criminal will not commit another crime is to kill him. It seems that the department of justice should be concerned with 0% recidivism and they can actually achieve this goal. If you release a criminal who then commits another crime then you basically sentenced everyone else to death because you wanted to protect the convicted criminal's rights and defend your own corrupted morality. That makes no sense. It's a choice between killing someone who might be innocent but who was found guilty or killing someone who is definitely innocent and is minding his own business when Mr. Parolee got an uncontrollable urge to kill. What would the dog do? Collateral damage will occur no matter what and you can either control it with some well aimed cyanide or clean up the mess you failed to control. I opt for the low resource option in the name of protecting the future rather than throwing good money after bad with get out of jail free monopoly cards. Opponents whine about how it's impossible to be 100% sure someone is guilty so we can't afford to kill innocent people. But ask yourself this: Can you be 100% sure that someone up for parole will not hurt another person? No? Then why the fuck are you paroling them? I heard a funny line today, "If you want a perfect world then go live in a grapefruit under the sea!" hahahaha. If we're going to make a mistake then I'd say mistakenly keep criminals in jail for as long as possible. And go ahead and kill them without total confidence they are guilty. <sarcasm>Ooops!</sarcasm>

Those are my original angles on the debate. I also agree with the generic/knee-jerk reaction of "They are dirtbags and so you kill them." Or, "Eye for an eye."* or "you play you pay" type rhetoric but those are easier to contradict so I don't want to defend them. But the biggest arguments against capital punishment are usually not related to the killing of criminals part but the possibility of killing innocent people. Well, that sounds like a procedural argument and not a moral one. How about we take steps to determine guilt. and if you still can't sleep with a rapist's death on your hands then why don't you hold a bake sale so he can eat and have warm clothing. Go ahead. Bake and sell cupcakes "to benefit a rapist" and see who buys one. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
Really, the only argument against capital punishment that I can't refute is that this world is merely the fleshy realm prior to the kingdom of heaven and since God alone can decide the fate of man then it is not my decision to kill or save. I follow Jesus and He leadeth me to green pastures. What can I say to this? Bullshit!

Mostly you will find problems with my opinion in the same places I find problems with my opinion. Such as, "giving a state/nation the capacity to kill is flawed to begin with because a state can't even fill potholes let alone kill the right people"...or "Who decides who is a criminal worthy of killing?" or "Slippery slope philosophical slides lead to dictatorships where no one is safe." Etc. And those are the 1% of doubt. There are too many angles to cover and that's why I want to thank the dog for attacking me. Dogs do not equivocate when their safety is concerned. They do not debate. They do not regret. It's a rare dog who had the chance to save himself with his fangs and claws but died in the process of debating the morality of violence. They make mistakes and they are punished but the fear of punishment does not override a dog's instincts and I don't think it should override ours. It's safe to say this debate will never die so I don't know why I care. We live in a flawed land of Disney World Serial Killers and candy coated poison and I'm trying to sort it all out. In the meantime: you should buy a gun, get some training at a firing range, shave your head, and act like a good-natured dog who is packing a .38 special in his shoulder holster. Do not trust the state to protect you because they are up to their ass in debt accrued feeding nun fuckers.

Since we're being hypothetical how about this: Let's have the death penalty but if a jury sentences someone to die and it's later proved they were innocent then you get to kill all the jurors. And if that later proves to be a mistake then everyone in the state is executed. And so on until only the Kangaroo are left sleeping in their grapefruit under the sea. And while we're at it, if you are on the parole board and release someone who later commits a crime then you will share their next jail sentence whatever that may be. Hell, you get to be their bunk mate since you thought they were good enough to parole. Who's in?

*An argument against this is a line M. Gandhi famously said regarding the Hindu/Muslim clashes during the partition of Pakistan and India. "An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind."
My response today is this: Yes, if 50% of humanity blinds exactly the other 50% of humanity and then the blind half manages to respond by blinding the first half (if they can't see then how would that happen?) then you will have a 100% blind world....but I'll take my chances you ignorant homespun hippie!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lyme Disease


 This is the second animal to bite me in the last week. I saw deer running across the road earlier in the day and then found a tick on my neck at night and threw it in the wood stove. Then I found this tick on my fat love handles, sucking me dry and I pulled it out bringing tears to my eyes. The next step is flu like symptoms followed by years of debilitating joint pain, which doesn't sound any different from the last decade of my life.
There are 7400 holes to fill with yarn
 I'd really like to see an arthritic grandmother do this latch hooking of rugs. I fight and swear and break the fabric and nearly poked my eye out with the tool. Walmart suddenly makes sense. Why should I spend 40 hours hooking a crappy rug that I could buy at Big Lots for $4 and I'll be feeding a Vietnamese slave for a day or two as a bonus? I'm totally making a how-to video for latch hooking rugs.


These fabric arts remind me of the industrial arts and crafts at the aluminum heat sink factory and the custom cable harnesses. Whether it is fiber optic arrays or delicate surgical equipment or knit hats or punch pin patches the methodology is no different. Only the fact that hooked rugs have no value and fiber optics connect the world make one a sustainable occupation and the other a hobby for a homeless man. But they are essentially no different.




In other news the temperature has been 40 degrees above average which is fine in March when you can wear shorts when last year it was 30 degrees. If this trend continues it will be 130 degrees this summer and maybe enough to open our eyes enough to stop the gang rape of the rainforest. It's been a premeditated act of violence on the environment, destroying the forests to raise cattle for Big Macs, poisoning the oceans with mercury and lead from computer monitors, drying up any groundwater to purify silicone for computer chips. It's a perfect storm of man-made problems and the funny part is that if we can survive this then there must be a loving God because there's no way we deserve to get away with murder and if we all roast in our fat hides like calves then the whole God premise was flawed to begin with. I'm not a betting man but I seriously don't see how such incredibly arrogant and ignorant destruction can pass without dire consequences. We will reap what we sew.
This took so long to finish that the rug design went out of style

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shamrock Shake-up

Johnson Shut-In after a rain
If I catch the asshole who threw a Mcdonald's shamrock shake on my van I'll beat him with the Book of Kells. They don't tag vehicles with spray paint in Missouri (probably because they can't spell), so they steal them or throw food on them.
Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Taum Sauk

Taum Sauk Summit
Missouri was named for an Algonquian* Indian word that means "river of the big canoes." That probably was what we pale faced burger chompers call the Mississippi.
A Piankeshaw* chief was named Sauk-Ton-Qua and that could be the origin of the name for the highest peak in Missouri called "Taum Sauk. I haven't heard a local pronounce it so I'm not sure if it's "Tam" or "Tahm" or "Tum". Another possibility is the name Sauk means "Outlet" and to climb this peak you have to cross a distinctive valley. Taum Sauk is the 40th highest peak out of the highest peak in each state and I've had a harder time climbing into my bed in the van than getting to this summit.

Everything Else included something called a "Frito Pie"** which made Wild Turkey Whiskey seem like a protein shake.



A thunder storm opened up on us not long after we reached the summit and made me realize why God was a big factor here in 1790. The homesteaders didn't have Cracker Barrel and Big Lots to fill up baskets of cheap Chinese staples like Ramen noodles and Mello Yellow. They were attacked by the Indians, Tornadoes appeared at random, thunder and lightning will make a believer out of anyone if it goes on for 6 hours. Hail the size of golf balls had me praying to Jesus and digging around for my bible. Flash flood made Noah my friend. Yeah, Jesus gets a bad rap because he's invoked for everything from the lottery to classroom science and traffic lights but in the beginning when you had a hut buried under a dirt hillside and the Indians were waiting for the tornadoes to pass before they attacked while the lightning illuminated the mysterious heavens...then you had no friends and not much to live for. It's easy to bash Jesus from an easy chair in front of the Discovery Channel. If you rough it for a few months in Missouri your faith will multiply like Abel's flock of sheep. So, we are blundering toward a higher quality of life. Yes, the arctic wolf and the Senegal slave was our stepping stone but it's up to us to do something worth killing off the arctic wolf.

*Along with the Kickapoo and the Cherokee, the Algonquian and the Piankeshaw tribes have been replaced by Jack in The Box and Target and Frito Pies...

**The last thing you see before your arteries permanently clog

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Old Man River

Lonestar Natural Gas Facility

The wrong side of the tracks


1974 Vespa Ciao overlooking Mississippi
 A storm is coming.

Foot in Mouth

I'm famous for opening my big mouth without regard to consequence. Speaking truth to Power sometimes leads down a terrible detour to going berserk when someone walks on a reseeded grass patch. That doesn't really compare to the incident where a U.S. soldier slaughtered 16 civilians in Afghanistan but it's an example of how I used to offer my opinion even if it wasn't asked for on things that I can't understand. Lately, I am beaten down by the topics of the day, Acidification of the Ocean, Desertification of the West, Climate out of control, gadget after gadget thrown on the shelves as surrogates for happiness. It's exciting but the science is running neck and neck with the spin and it's not just kooks predicting the end of the world if nothing changes. I'd like to apologize to anyone I've offended in the past with my big mouth. My response to the latest killings in Afghanistan is going to come in the form of comments written on CNN. CNN audience isn't the bottom of the barrel of humanity but they are close cousins. You go from a misleading article on climate change to a video about teenagers skipping school to huff paint fumes. Fast food and car advertising dominates the screen. CNN is a perfect record of how adults want to state their opinion on far ranging topics but they often have nothing to say or shouldn't say what they want but do anyway. Some will comment only to say, "I'm American and it's my right." It's an awful awful forum but I tell myself we're a young animal and in 2000 years things will improve. Christians used to stone Roman Pagans and now we send Atheist soldiers to shoot and burn Muslims. That's progress, right? If I can figure out a way to make these lyrics into a song I'd be rich. U.S. commanders say he was a rogue soldier but that's because the commanders haven't been reading the CNN comment board. Obviously, plenty of people think what happened is great. If we had a few hundred rogue soldiers like him the war would be over in a week. Wait, that's a line from Apocalypse Now. Who wants to go on a hunger strike to end the war?


Black 8

My lucky number is 8 and when I'm in a Casino I put money on Black 8 in the Roulette Table. Of course I'm seldom in a casino and seldom have money, except today when I got lost by the Mississippi River looking for aluminum cans on my moped and ended up taking a dump in the River city casino bathroom. I had $6 in my pocket, my entire allowance for the week. I saw from the board that Black 8 had plunked down ten turns earlier. It probably wouldn't drop again. I walked over and laid my $6 on the table. The man counted it out. "Are you playing inside or outside?" I hesitated. Would I lay $6 on Black 8 or play the safe bet on Black or Red to double my money, build a stake and then play Black 8?
"Outside," I say.
He hands me a $5 chip and a $1 chip.
It's a $5 minimum bet so I place it all on Black, then I change my mind because Black just hit. I put my two chips on Red. The man spins the ball.
"No more bets."
"Come on Red!"
It drops.
"Black 8!"
Groans.
He takes my $6, I head for the door and my moped with aluminum cans.
35:1 odds on $6 pays $210.
The odds on a kick in the ass every time I walk in a casino door is 1:1.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Angel On My Shoulder

Angel On My Shoulder
Words and Music by Shelby Flint
1960

I wanted the music for “Downtown” by Petula Clark because my intention was to record the song on piano and then lip-sync the lyrics as Petula Clark sings them and I perform a celebration of downtown St. Louis like I’m Mary Tyler Moore, swinging on light posts, dodging cabs, feeding pigeons, smoking cigarettes, gawking at limousines and everything else that Downtown evokes. I can film the video but I can't edit it because my computer has finally reached the point where the video card is overwhelmed. I knew the chords but it would take me forever to figure out the exact intro so it’s easier to own the music. Well, for some reason, the sheet music of Petula Clark, the great mid sixties diva from England, is not only rare but it’s expensive and incomplete. Only like 4 of her songs were released as sheet music and she only has one exclusive songbook that was only printed in England and only in 1968 and doesn't include "Couldn't Live Without Your Love." There might be five copies of it on North America. Some of the songs are online, transcribed for on demand printing, but I don’t have access to a printer and I don’t want to start a precedent of buying single songs for $5 and printing them out. It’s not how I get inspired to play music so I was forced to buy Downtown as part of a 6 song lot a seller in Penn. was trying to unload. What works is having the sheet music in my hand, complete with smoke stains, stamps from previous owners, pencil marks for tricky fingering, that unmistakable foxing of the paper edges and other telling marks. These things are part of the story of that song and help me connect with the song and relieves me from the pain of reality.

Angel On My Shoulder, for example, cost 60 cents in 1960, approximately what I paid for it 52 years later but with inflation my 60 cents today is like $4 in 1960 which should be like $20 today but isn't. The time period is never captured by those online services so I lose my inspiration. Context is another bonus I get from the original sheet music. This copy of Angel On My Shoulder has a black and white picture of a woman in a turtleneck with delicate features, dark eyes and big lashes. I have no idea who she is but her lack of facial tattoos and lip rings and her girlish perm tell me this is a woman before my time. Maybe my mother had a secret career as a folk singer. “Recorded by Shelby Flint on Valiant Records” declares the caption. Shelby Flint? Never heard of her. I’ve never heard of Valiant Records either. In the corner “Sherman-DeVorzon Music Co.” The history begins to reveal itself. I'm transported to 1960



The opening bid set by the seller was $1.95 for the 6 songs. I didn’t pay much attention to the 5 songs that weren’t the Petula Clark hit since the only other copy of Downtown was listed for $15. I bid $8 and it turned out no one else was interested, including the people selling the same piece of sheet music for $15. That makes me wonder why they think it’s worth $15 if it was being sold for $2 along with 5 other songs but they ignored it. Why not corner the market on Downtown? That’s a topic for another essay because this is the first in a series of essays tackling my project of cataloging and learning all the songs in my huge box of tin pan alley tunes. You can see how impossible this project is when I haven’t even written a word about the 50 songs in the box and the number just grew by 6 songs. So I’d better get started.

I won the auction uncontested and the envelope soon arrived in the mail. I tore it open and kissed the copy of Downtown. There were the notes I wanted to play. A simple I-IV-V chord progression to start the song. D---G---A. In fact, the whole song is D—G—A with one B minor thrown in. If only I had a piano… Well, one thing at a time. I had the song and my collection of Petula Clark songs had begun. But what about these other songs? At $2 for the lot I didn’t have high expectations. The first one I want to talk about is Angel On My Shoulder.
The first thing that jumped out at me about this song is that Shelby Flint is credited with writing and recording the song in 1960. What’s unusual about that? It’s unusual because Buddy Holly didn’t even get sole writing credit for his songs. Every other song in the lot has multiple credited artists and not one composer also recorded the song, except Shelby Flint. 1960 is right on the border of the folk movement that spawned Bob Dylan and singer songwriters and a new tradition of the artist writing his own music. This really was unusual because recordings in the Duke Ellington era Fifties involved so many people that a single artist couldn't be allowed to claim sole ownership of the royalties. Nat King Cole could sing and play the piano and lead a band but he didn't write many lyrics. A year earlier it would be tradition that the producer of the album, Shelby’s manager, and the owner of Valiant Records would all get a writing credit because they recommended adding a tea bell or hand clap or changed a “Saved” to “Held”. Hell, in Buddy Holly’s case Norman Petty didn’t do anything except hit the record button and he got writing credit for almost all of Buddy Holly’s songs. That was accepted tradition in 1958. So how is 20 year old Shelby Flint getting sole credit for music and lyrics on this song? Well, a little research tells me this is a song she wrote when she first got a guitar probably when she was 15 years old. And when she got the opportunity to record her album in 1960 (most of the songs are traditional folk ballads like Danny Boy, Heather on the Hill, The Riddle Song and other slow pitch songs that filled Jukeboxes across the continent) she convinced them to record her own song. Maybe the producers thought it was so goofy they didn't want to be associated with it. Or maybe they made the business decision to present Shelby's girly voice like a girl singing songs in her bedroom. The packaging was more important than stealing credit so Shelby owns that song.

A lot of guys owe their first backseat hand job to these songs as Shelby’s syrupy voice hovers with the sustain of a teenage erection. You could slow dance until your partner could no longer ignore the bulge in your pants. These songs were enough to make you ignore the impending Vietnam Conflict and your father's boring Korean War stories and try to get under the impenetrable bullet bra of your Catholic girlfriend. Chemicals propel us forward through time and not the newspaper headlines. Animal House is a movie that set in 1962, pre British Invasion, Pre Bob Dylan but right in Shelby Flint’s wheelhouse. Either you listened to Hank Williams or Shelby Flint-style vocal artistry as your options were limited in 1960. If you were black then you listened to The Drifters and Chubby Checkers and Ray Charles. It made no difference if you’d heard “House of the Rising Sun” a hundred times before because the idea then was to be comfortable, relax in the post war American dream. The radio claimed "Industry would save the world." and Kennedy was President. No one wanted to rock the boat or revolt or smoke pot. No. Even Beatniks were confined to the unmentionable perimeter abbreviations of NYC and SF. Springfield, Illinois approved of Shelby Flint 100%. Her music might get you laid but your parents would approve.
Because of copyright crackdowns I can't find a link to an actual recording of this song from 1960 (the modern performance doesn't capture the 1960 vibe at all) which is too bad because she really has an angelic voice, so I'm forced to record it myself. It's out of my range since it was written by a 15 year old girl...and it's in the key of F Major which isn't kind to my throat. Maybe I'll transpose it later but for now this is the best I can do. If you were a teenager in 1960 this would bring back memories except it's a creepy bearded guy singing the song in near falsetto in a musty basement. I admit I can't capture the inflection of the original artist, but my "Dusty Music Revival" project is to record all of these songs I have collected, write a short essay on each to expand and teach my version of music history and maybe get a book deal out of it. Maybe it's fitting that I record these songs in a basement since that's where the 50 year old sheet music generally ends up. My method of learning this song is picking out the melody on the guitar until I learn it. Then learning the chord progression. This one is pretty basic. Fmajor C7 Bb. The chorus is F7 C G7 Gm C7. It's all F major chord cousins.
To Be Continued...




Next up: Bob Hope unbuttons Jane Russell's Bra
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.