3 Days In Woodstock

 

Woodstock bus

The Museum at Bethel Woods is the good acid. Because it will trip you out inside the time spent, with no shitty side effects. Yanno . . like ending up in the ER, or dying.

could go through a good many different sentiments in regards to the forty five minute gallivant me and Q took through its halls, and maybe I will have something more specific next weekend. But a very profound revelation has come to me as I sit down to write this latest Woodstock entry, so Imma go with it.

This revelation is a crush of emotions, stacked in a neatly felonious pile of thoughts that stole me all the way back to the UK in the fall of 1994. It was a year in which O.J. Simpson got away with murder, the Republicans took back Congress and Throwing Copper made the musical band Live a global bumper sticker.

Back then, I was roaming the vast halls of the British Museum when me and my wife came upon the Rosetta Stone. After our tour guide tap danced right past it with a couple here and there shout outs to the ancient Egyptians, I pulled her aside and told her to keep Vanilla Ice (my pet name for our guide) at bay while I did some heavy petting with history.

And so it was that I pushed the velvet rope aside and touched the Rosetta Stone, after which I wrote out a check for a religious experience that is still paying me back to this very day.

Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting the same kind of experience when me and Q made the rounds at Bethel. Until we came upon it. A rusted scrap of the chain link fence that got tucked into history by a couple hundred thousand pair of barefooted soldiers, after which Woodstock became a ‘free concert’.

had to touch it, of course. Because this was the musical Rosetta Stone, and well . . there was no velvet fucking rope stopping me. And even if there had been, Q would’ve been like “Fuck ’em, hug it for all I care,”.

And so I did. And as it turns out, the fence? It was electrified . . in the very best kinda way. Because it took me all the way back to the UK, and then it took me even further back than that. Back to a time when music was a prayer so sweet and songs were living ends.

Songs that thieved the stars and pledged them to a vinyl page, and in so doing, turned that sound into a madness that seeped into every living inch of you. Lyrics that tasted of sweet velvet plums that hung like magical kites on trees borne of thunder, with a melody that wept the misbegotten remains of a day into the luminescence of a brilliant forever after.

A great piece of music can steal back time. Leaving you breathless and shaken and spent. Alone and together, high and grounded, resolved and disputed. It preaches to your choir as it stirs your soul into the kind of rebellion the previous generation loses sleep over.

And that’s how the kids of Woodstock closed the book on a decade torn to its seams by war. It was a decade that began with John F. Kennedy promising the moon to a restless nation, and delivering that very thing with months to spare when Apollo 11 planted its talons on a patch of mystical dirt George Bailey had once claimed as his own on the silver screen.

The betwixt and between left a heavy price on the heart and soul of a vociferously tribal generation otherwise known as the ‘baby boomers’. They watched Camelot get stolen on a beautiful fall afternoon in Dallas, and then again five years later inside a Los Angeles hotel. They watched Martin Luther King’s dream come true with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and then they watched its shepherd fall in Memphis less than four years later.

And it was those kids, who grew up inside the rattling bones of an archaic set of rules, and who punched hard at the skeletons and made haste with the gravel of the zero sum game they had inherited. It was those kids who made metal out of three heavy summer nights, shouting medieval chants inside their rocket booster clogs. They cheered and fucked and got high to the sounds of a new and distant future whose logic did not rhyme with the establishment. At all.

They hammered out a fledgling constitution possessed of a wholly different set of amendments that ran counter to the bomb sheltered TV dinner taxes they had been made to wear for a decade’s worth of time. Their demands were quite simple. Give us peace and love through music, or get the hell out of our way and we’ll prove how that kind of shit works.

And maybe it’s naivete that kept me holding to that fence. And then again, maybe . . . just maybe, it’s knowing. Knowing what it feels like to refuse the convention of a society that hasn’t ever gotten a damned thing right since Hector was a caveman trying to fetch some rock and roll out of a couple twigs.

Maybe, just maybe, I was finally in a place that understood me. And maybe, this was better than that time in the British Museum with the Rosetta Stone.

Turns out, being a stranger in a strange land has its privileges.

 

 

Tricking out my Tuesday

In a recent interview, Wednesday and Thursday were asked to describe Tuesday’s best attribute. They replied in unison, “It ain’t Monday,”.

Now, maybe this has something to do with the fact that Wednesday and Thursday are so close . . they’re practically inseparable. But I do believe they have a point, yanno? Tuesday could do with some hype. Think about it, Tuesdays were in such dire need of some disco magic, they engineered an entire ad campaign centered around tacos. Nothing against tacos, but they can pitch the weekend on their shit until the sun stops showing up to work and they’d get nowhere. You know why? Because it’s the weekend! Friday is sexy just the way it is, and Saturday . . well Friday wants to be Saturday when it grows up, so there’s that. Sunday is so fucking cool, it can putz around for half the day and still make up the time with a little something called brunch.

So Tuesday, it needs big flavor all the way around. From the tunes you fix on to the vibe you ride on, to the annoyances you dip into a rant sauce. And maybe I have a couple to share with y’all.

Like . . .

. . . Urban Meyer wants us to know that he didn’t know, until he knew, but that when he knew, he still didn’t know, yanno?

. . . Terrestrial radio sucks. It never changed, which is one of the reasons peeps get their favorite music anywhere and everywhere else. An industry where management never takes chances, is an industry on the slow road to obsolescence. Which is why I only listen to FM radio by mistake.

. . . PETA lobbied to have Nabisco’s parent company change the design on their animal crackers box recently. The animals will no longer be depicted in circus cages. Now they will be seen roaming across a savanna. So time, energy and monies were poured into this effort to ‘free’ artistic representations of animals on a cookie box. So, how long until eating these crackers will be considered animal cruelty?

. . . And while I’m talking PETA, I just learned that they also went after Pokemon, because the object of the game is to chase and capture (fictional) animals. And yes . . we are all doomed.

. . . When someone cuts me off whilst driving, I no longer get upset. I simply raise my phone and pretend I’m taking a pic of their license plate. Now, they don’t know what Imma do with that info. For all they know, I could be a serial killer who’s gonna pay them a visit. Mission accomplished.

. . . To athletes who want to be taken seriously and yet behave like fools. Well then how about this? Grow up and buck up. Until then, stop your whining and be men dammit!

. . . To any dude who says “we’re pregnant”?  No, son . . she is pregnant. You had one job, and it was the easiest and most enjoyable part of the pregnancy. So shaddup with this we’re pregnant nonsense. She’s pregnant, you’re a glorified bystander.

I’ll end this rambling rant with an antonymous equivalent. It’s my favorite video of the week for more reasons than the one. Back in the not so distant past, I excoriated Penn State University for their role in a horrendous cover up. But, as with Ohio State, Michigan State, Baylor, Louisville, Syracuse and the laundry list of other schools that have been wracked by scandal, Penn State isn’t about one man. These great schools are about so much more than that, and to have witnessed James Franklin’s success at PSU is a truly special thing.

Franklin is a good man who does things the right way. And wins. And maybe it never scores him a national title, but I sure as hell hope it will some day. And I hope he always takes his responsibility as the face of a program this seriously. I hope he never arrives at a juncture where he thinks he’s bigger than the name of the school he works for.

And I hope he always keeps his great sense of humor. Because to invite Keegan-Michael Key to Homecoming Week is an inspired and brilliant move by a head coach who actually gets it.

More of this . . . we need it.

 

 

 

Celebrating Tuesday! Said no one, ever.

Happy Tuesday

I feel sorry for Tuesdays. Tuesday is like the middle child that gets left with the grandparents when the family goes to Disney World. Whereas Monday is the high profile villain we love to hate and Wednesday has achieved a low key Friday status, Tuesday ain’t got much of anything going on.

So in keeping with this unfortunate legacy, I’ve decided to loose a few observations. If you’re expecting some earth shattering, award winning shit, I apologize in advance . . .

  • Oreos comes out with a new flavor every five minutes, and it always makes me envious of those communist countries.
  • Dan LeBatard broached a topic I have often wondered about. LeBron James is getting better at an age when regression happens with the very best players. Is this nature, hard work or a science experiment? And if there is some lab work going on, is there a chance in hell the NBA would expose its Chosen One?
  • I passed a lawn sign that read “Think Snow” and I wondered if that home owner has a death wish.
  • You can get two steaks at Applebee’s for like fifteen bucks, which is the culinary equivalent of those infomercials where you buy one crappy product and they give you another one absolutely free.
  • All this time later, the fine ladies of En Vogue are still honey to my musical senses.
  • I want a job in the Trump administration. I’d work for a week or two, get fired and enjoy my sweet severance package on the other side while I did the book circuit.
  • I want to see Infinity War simply for the spectacle. But is it wrong to admit I would bag it for a good (non-Applebee’s) steak dinner with martinis?
  • That’s not a dig at the Avengers. It’s me confessing that I am incapable of dressing myself in zeitgeist.
  • Other things which do not fascinate me in the same way they seem to fascinate every one else include fireworks, bacon cheeseburgers, playlists, Comedy Central, Ed Sheeran, board games, tank tops, gadgets and reality shows.
  • Until very recently, I had no idea American Idol had returned. And from the ratings, it seems no one else did either.
  • See? I’m not always a cranky outlier. . .
  • So North and South Korea can make nice after almost three quarters of a century worth of conflict, but these assholes can’t make nice at a corn-hole tournament fundraiser? Got it.
  • Is there any doubt Marie Antoinette would’ve run a bakery if she’d been born in this time period?
  •  If you dig the eighties, you might want to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, because it is chock full of references to the decade I will always love most. And no . . I won’t see the movie.
  • It’s always interesting to note that the uproar over those anthem protests spits in the face of the same basic freedoms and liberties that the people hating on those protesters purport to believe in. It has cost talented players their livelihood while never minding the fact that the NFL was paid by our military to put on those flag shows. What? You thought the league invested their own money in those field sized flags and spectacular flyovers? Nah, the league only found patriotism after our military came to them with an offer. And the league only gave back- a portion- of the money after it was reported. The owners are plenty fine with employing criminals who beat up women and kill dogs, but they simply do not dig the optics of the flag protest. Simple as that.

Well, I could go on but the meds are kicking in and the voices in my head are getting sleepy. Apologies to Jurassic Park movies and Chocolate Twinkies for being left in the green room, but I just ran out of time. They will be welcomed back with open arms though!

Happy Wednesday Eve.

Like Rocks For Chocolate

I ain’t much for popular opinion.

I can’t remember the last time I fully trusted the tally of a widely held opinion. This isn’t a contrarian gallivant, myopic bent or some degenerative condition that rhymes with Larry King. Nah, it’s just the truth in my lovely bones. A truth that cannot shut up, even when it really . . really should.

Every now and then, I say something that perturbs the proclivities of a heretofore popular vote gone final. Like . . for instance, when I suggest that I ain’t down with the idea that Forrest Gump is a great movie.

I discussed this opinion with a friend of mine recently, and the results . . they were predictable. And shit! If it ain’t safer to stand in the middle of Pyongang and call Kim Jong Un a cocksucker than it is to suggest that Forrest Gump isn’t the greatest story ever told. Because her response was uglier than a Charles Manson welcoming committee. More inhospitable than Elton John after a bad spa day. It was meaner than a shit faced Bethany Frankel, a sober Tucker Carlson . . more hell bent than Trump in a KFC drive-thru whilst waiting on a big vote.

So if you have a problem with it, you ain’t telling me anything I ain’t heard already. But please notice I make a point to say Gump ain’t great, I’m not saying it’s not good. Maybe even really good. Not that it matters to Gump Nation.

The IMDB 100 Greatest Movies of All Time lists Forrest Gump at Number 16 . . . of all time. Take it for what it’s worth, considering they put Gladiator at 34- a flick which is basically the cinematic equivalent of a bacon cheeseburger; easy to love, but not to be mistaken with a filet mignon. The American Film Institute is a tad more realistic in their top 100 ranking, listing Gump at 71.

There is alchemy to ranking systems, in that they are able to transform the factual into something much sexier than that. Forrest Gump happened into the right time and the right place. America was in a funky place in 1994, having hired a President it wasn’t fully sold on to make good on a Kennedy myth that we knew was never present. We were struggling through a racial divide that was only getting more complicated with the arrest of O.J. Simpson. Terrorists had bombed the Trade Center the year before and taken down the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City only months earlier.

Forrest Gump was a simple piece of American pie served to the hungry masses. The first weekend’s box office bite quenched a hunger, after which the film’s producers upped the marketing ante and every other fucking commercial and movie ad was Forrest Fucking Gump . . and I know because I was there. Sooooo . . . good became something else entirely, in an Andy Warhol manner of artful speak. You can win a pot with an okay hand but it requires selling the table, and man . . did they sell the table. After which it had everything movie goers pined for. It offered big names, a popular director, simple dialogue, kitschy catchphrases, paint by the numbers history lessons and a killer soundtrack. It was a political movie that wasn’t political, and who doesn’t love that?

My top 5 reasons why Forrest Gump Love bugs the shit out of me? Sure . . .

5- Too Much Information- You know those restaurants where the menu is a novel, featuring everything from chicken pot pie to paella so you always end up ordering an omelette or a burger? Yep, that’s Forrest Gump. It’s too much, without really being enough of anything.

4- People Love The Every Man- In movies. Everybody loves Forrest Gump when he’s a fictional character. But in real life . . ain’t nobody showing a dude with a crew cut and an IQ of 75 much love. Especially not Robin Wright.

3- Peeps Even Get The Lines Wrong– People are always plugging Gump lines into every day conversations, but when pressed for the best of ’em . . they can’t get it right. It ain’t “a box of chocolates” or “stupid is as stupid does” or even “run Forrest run!”. It’s “sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks”. And it’s not even close!

2- Musical Seduction- The soundtrack seduced those peeps who were on the fence into going along with those peeps who were head over heels for the movie. Because really . . you can close your eyes and just listen.

1- Tom Hanks Did A Job . . But . . Just ThatNever mind that, because back in the day, he was the silver screen’s sultan. There’s a reason why Hollywood has an A-list. Those peeps bat four in the lineup and yes . . they are expected to clean up. Hanks did his job . . but that doesn’t mean this was a great job!

It’s funny, because when I had this ‘disagreement’ with my otherwise agreeable pal, she had to pull the Fargo card on me. As in “You love Fargo . . so what do you know?”. And it’s funny because she was trashing my opinion in order to make hers. Which isn’t the same thing . . at all. I mean . . I didn’t trash her sports teams or her choice in a husband (who happens to be a Red Sox fan), and I didn’t even trash her love for the sitcom Roseanne, which is a show whose popularity I will never understand.

Oops.

 

 

If laughing at yourself is divine, then I’m a deity . . .

Because I don’t have a prompt at the ready, I’m just gonna deal up some of the thoughts that went through my head this morning whilst sipping on Cuban coffee. For those of you playing at home, I only include the thoughts that weren’t screaming at me in Pig Latin.

Enjoyway ethay owshay!

  • Designated Survivor sits atop my “Favorite Show” standings currently. It can be schmaltzy as all get out, but that’s okay. Because it has soul, characters I really love and a President I would vote for. Twice.
  • When asked for my top three zombie apocalypse ‘must haves’ that do not include weapons, I went with cigarettes, bourbon and pain killers. Just because it’s the end of the world, doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with it.
  • If Loyola wins it all, they’ll be the first true Cinderella team in the history of ‘March Madness’. Yet further proof that television knows how to sell perception . . do they ever.
  • Speaking of mind control . . .The coming soon to HBO flick Fahrenheit 451 stars Michael B. Jordan as Guy Montag and Michael Shannon as Captain Beatty. I. Am. There
  • I don’t do playlists any more.
  • And I only listen to FM radio by mistake.
  • Diana Dors didn’t get the acclaim of her contemporaries back in the day, and that’s a shame. Because this beauty brought a moody, sexy brilliance to her performances that I really dig.
  • I plum forgot I have a Cuban sammy post to deal up. Monday it is!
  • If Oprah was the host of The Price Is Right, every contestant would win a brand new car.
  • Oh I get it now. Game of Thrones is gonna return every four years, like the Olympics!
  • So Starbucks has to put a cancer warning on its java, but Cheetos doesn’t? Deep fried Styrofoam peanuts dusted in a mysterious powder . . no problemo. N’kay.
  • Vera Farmiga is the only reason I will re-watch The Departed when I catch it on the tube.
  • Sometimes I envy people who are under house arrest. Seriously.
  • Chopsticks are for when you want to carry on a conversation. Forks are for when you’re hungry.
  • I contemplated filling a Twinkie with peanut butter and jelly this morning, but I don’t have any Twinkies.
  • Fun Fact: I once stole a payphone when I was in high school on a dare. I wish I would’ve held onto it, because it’s easier to find dinosaur fossils nowadays.
  • Fun Fact 2: I stepped under the velvet rope to touch the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London. If it wouldn’t have been so dang heavy . . well.
  • If not for Google, I wouldn’t know if Larry King was alive or dead.
  • I never had an Instagram account, and I wonder if some day, my grand kids will find that remarkable.
  • If I had a dollar for every time Laura Ingraham said something really shitty, Bill Gates would be borrowing money from me.
  • Whatever happened to Bjork? And why do I care?

Welp, Imma tuck my voices into bed because they would rattle on for days if I let ’em. In closing, I would like to wish all my peeps a blessed Easter weekend. Be good to yourselves and each other.

Peace.