December 24, 2012 - December 17, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Posts You Don't
to Read, Part Deux
Stability of Momentum
AGAIN. So we had a tiny tantrum in the Comments section. Tiny
because it missed the point entirely. Missed the point that all the
questions I raised were not solitary hypotheses to be gunned down
one by one. They're merely different angles of perspective on the
same bigger question. There is only one given. GIVEN that the
United States is now clearly headed for decline and eventual ruin,
what does it all mean? Everybody's all fired up about "the kids"
right now. Regardless of how bad the news is, don't we still have a
responsibility to prepare them as best we can for the lives they
will be leading?
I vote yes on that. I have things to say about that. As always,
you're free to disagree with me. My perspective is unique. It
consists of my life experience, my education, and my ability -- such
as it is -- to extrapolate from my unique perspective in a way that
provokes others to think. Period.
What goes up must come down. I had hoped America had some more up in
her. Apparently I was wrong. Not that I won't be back in combat next
election season attempting to forestall doom. But now is not the
time for that. All current politics is simply the negotiation of
surrender terms to an ascendant new force. Our freshly spun
gyroscope, if you will. No point in fretting about the fiscal cliff,
etc. All beyond our control. Instead, now is the time when some of
us can start thinking in ways that will help our children, our
descendants, have more fruitful lives.
So. Once again. I invite you to think. To ponder. The physics of our
universe consists of forces and reactions. How might we understand
these better? What's a trend and what's an anomaly? What part might
we be playing in a much much larger human experiment than we've ever
allowed ourselves to conceive of? Because at the dawn of a new Dark
Age, these are questions that matter deeply. To the ones who will
have to experience the darkest part of the plunge long after we are
gone. Think longer, farther, more deeply, more serenely. More
Or give it your best shot.
No. The world didn't come to an end today. It's not going to be that
easy. That's the whole point of entropy. It's gradual. It hurts. One
small cut, one major body blow, at a time. Until you're a pulverized
blob begging for an end that can't come soon enough.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
When Radio Was
says a band that lasts for 5 minutes can't be good? The A's.
DANCING BECAUSE I CAN. While you chew on the big topics I've
proposed, if you do so chew, I'll go back to something small, which
is actually part of the "micro-macro" discussion. I used to think I
would never stop watching MTV. Wrong, as it turns out.
Bombardments of rap and the hip-hop lifestyle finished off that
illusion. I used to think I would never stop listening to WMMR in
Philadelphia. All good things come to an end. T'was ever so.
But now I'm in looking back mode. Todays's rock oldies stations are
the bled-out remains of what was once a radio revolution. Rock and
roll generated over the top radio personalities -- Wolfman Jack,
Cousin Brucie, and hundreds of minor league imitators who shouted
between songs to keep the energy going. I remember being driven to
school in a station wagon full of kids by a man who listened
exclusively to WIBG in Philadelphia. The songs were actually quieter
than the DJ. The same guy ultimately became my aged parents'
favorite radio personality under a new persona, the last guy who
still played Big Band music on AM radio at WPEN. Can't even think of
his name now. Oh. Yes I can. Joe Niagara.
This is what is called live writing. I'm not hiding the stumbles in
my reminiscence. But yelling was the norm in pop radio. Until WMMR
in Philadelphia went FM and changed all the rules. They billed
themselves as a "progressive rock radio station," and they had the
wit to borrow some of the finesse of what also existed at the time,
classical music stations, like WFLN in Philadelphia. They were
conversational, low-key but passionate about the music they loved,
and they did love the
music. They made the universal local. Because they were fans, they
got impossible interviews with the big stars in town for a show. For
years, WMMR ran a teaser featuring an obviously incoherent Mick
Jagger (1981 tour) trying to get the call letters of the station
correct and failing. The DJs weren't stars; they were us but with a
pass to the inside. Riveting.
They had a sense of what we all wanted. There were Beatles-Stones
weekends, meaning nothing but Beatles and Stones. There were Stones
A to Z weekends, during which the entire Delaware Valley plotted
where they would be when the songs they had to hear would be played
as the alphabet moved relentlessly on. And, yes, it did take an entire weekend to
play the Stones opus.
Better than that, though, they were tireless promoters of local
talent. There were no Springsteen weekends. Their stomping ground
was definitively Philadelphia, South Jersey, and Delaware. They were
behind bands you've probably never heard of, like the A's above...
...and George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. Sometimes local
I lost track of WMMR when I moved to Ohio in the early 1980s. Until
I was driving one day from Dayton to Cincinnati and heard a Cincy
"progressive rock" station take a call from Philadelphia. It was a
voice I knew, one of the first morning shock jocks who didn't yet
know about porn star guests, and he was calling to complain about
Cincy's disrespect for Philly favorite Peter Gabriel. I felt a
tremendous gush of homesickness and a pride in my home station,
The sad thing. WMMR is now just an oldies station. All its antics
packed away in a box marked old news.The same DJs who were once
alive with musical excitement are exhausted, bored, and going
through the motions. Howard Stern killed all the morning shifts
forever with his invisible strip shows, narrated dildo machines, and
splatter chatter. He does it in New York. The end of community can
happen anywhere. It results in the annihilation of everywhere.
I don't listen to live music radio anymore. It's grown even older
than I am. And there is no more sense of place. Unless you happen
onto it by accident. Like this tribute by the Hooters to Robert
Hazard, who died of cancer.
What are you dying of, my friends? Hopefully not of alienation from
any place or home in your experience.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Want to Read
it IS time we recovered some humility. Look at your own entitled kids, granted all
possible toys, electronics and, insolence.
Their pictures are taken so often, they don't know if they
should be on TMZ or suing parents as
paparazzi. Life WILL be rough justice.
MORE IN SORROW THAN ANGER. From here on it's not about
politics. Can't watch the news, can't listen to talk radio, can't
abide Boehner and Pelosi, Reid and McConnell, Matthews and Hannity,
or all the blatherskites fatally misdirected by mass murder in
It's not that there's nothing left to say. Just that now it has to
go deeper. There will be no second American Century. We don't get to
save the day, which is a bitter pill. But we can try to understand
what happened. Those of you with young children have an opportunity
to prepare them properly for the challenges they will face.
Hard to resist the conviction that nobody wants to go deeper. Not
talking about the three or seven or ten things that would fix the
mess. They no longer exist. Talking about things to think about as
we begin tobogganing into oblivion. The only possibly fruitful
result is wisdom, maybe illumination. I don't pretend to have
answers, but I can pose some of the questions.
Topics we could address here...
Micro vs Macro:A Contradiction Too
Christian Civilization: An Evolutionary Dead End?
Ontogeny Recapitulates Philogeny: a Light or a Lie?
Is History a Terrible, Inevitable Circle? Or a Golden Section?
Is the Universe a Computer Simulation?
Is Civilization Nothing More than the Archaeology of Metaphors?
Does anything matter?
Why Do the Smartest People Always Screw Everything Up?
Why Do the Most Creative People Misunderstand Everything
Why Do the Angriest People Win All the Arguments?
How Can the Worst of Times Turn Out to be the Best of Times?
Why Must History Be Driven Almost Exclusively by Revenge?
As I said: posts you don't want. But if there are one or two you're
interested in, let me know.