The Animals’ Initiative

The animals started their plan with the giraffe enclosure; the bars were minimal and so not so easy to notice. It was done in an hour, mostly by the baboons. And sure enough, nobody noticed. The kids pointed as usual, the adults on their phones, management more concerned with developing a new logo for the zoo. And so the animals removed the barrier to the Galapagos Tortoise habitat. And nobody noticed. The animals removed the netting from the African Pavilion, the moat from the Arctic and the fence from the Americas. They were all free to go wherever they liked, but they stayed and were fed, like nothing had changed, and then they were gone – on the winter solstice, the longest of nights – and were never seen or heard of again.

The Davis Trilogy: Desperate to Be Not Bad

The Davis Trilogy follows the eponymous character from high school through college and on to work. Which do you prefer as a tagline?

Desperate to be someone, he learns he can’t be anyone else.

OR

He’s not as bad as everybody thinks.

The Black Hole in Grateful Dead Releases

By my count, there have been 148 concerts officially released by The Grateful Dead. These releases have come in various incarnations, most notably Dick’s Picks, Road Trips and, the series of late, Dave’s Picks.And while it is a boon for Deadheads to receive any recordings from the archives, a black hole has emerged in these releases – 1982-86 – which is coincidentally the years of my touring. A grand total of four shows have been released from this era –  amounting to only one third of the 1977 releases alone. Even if we excuse the release of all 22 shows from the 1972 European Tour, this works out to a lousy 3% of the releases from almost 20% of their touring years.So what gives with Dave Lemieux and company? Is it that these years were particularly weak? I would argue the opposite, that these years offer stellar shows with stellar versions of stellar songs.

Check out these recordings on the Grateful Dead archive and hear for yourself:

Greek Theater 1982/05/22 (Lazy Lightnin’-Supplication)

Madison Square Gardens 1982/09/29 (Loser, China Cat-Rider)

Seattle Auditorium 1983/08/27 (Jack Straw)

Indianapolis Sports and Music Center 1984/06/30 (Shakedown-Playin’-Terrapin)

Worchester Centrum 1984/10/08 (Terrapin-Samson)

Augusta Civic Center 1984/10/12 (Cold Rain, Uncle John’s, Morning Dew)

Hartford Civic Center 1984/10/14 (Estimated Prophet)

Oklahoma Zoo Amphitheater 1985/09/02 (BerthaMe and My Uncle, Stagger Lee)

Henry J. Kaiser 1986/02/11 (Bird Song)

Hopefully one day Dave will wake up and get these shows packaged and shipped. (Providence 1986/03/30 is pretty good too.)

Slow Motion Brain into Genius

I think that I remember something that I have to know. I remembered it. It was there. I had it in my head. With it, everything made perfect sense. I was there. I knew it. And then I forgot it. I was awake, not as aware. I let it escape.I need to sleep. I know that. And I will. But not now. I’ve whittled the unnecessary parts out of my head. I’ve made my head vulnerable, the heliocentric core exposed, the truth of my existence right there. I only have to remember it again. It’s that fucking easy.

The Beautiful Drift

The beautiful drift, muttering those words to myself, thinking I knew something real, a fundamental truth or at least a way inside to where I had never been let in, the godsend or baby with shining stars, something beyond me, beyond the game that I insisted on playing to prove I was right. That was what was going through my head as I accosted the family cat.

Blackhawks Fans: This Is What Racism Looks Like

Chicago Blackhawks fans chanted “Basketball, basketball!” at Washington Capitals player, Smith-Pelly. He rose to challenge them, and they didn’t let up.This type of ugliness remains rampant across the country, especially at sports events and bars and especially by white men. The question remains: what are we actually going to do about it?

Land of the Dead

I hadn’t seen him for too long. It was like he was gone. And then he was there. I was in the land of the dead, something like that. He was quiet. There was a show he was in, on stage. He was tired of that. We talked like he had never left. I asked if he would speak at my father’s funeral. It wasn’t dark out, not yet. We talked about the things we hadn’t done. It was difficult to understand what he said. I couldn’t figure out if he was tired or just forgotten. I had texted and emailed for years. That wasn’t it. It was more of an exhaustion. He spoke well. He understood what it was to lose someone. I was sorry to see him go.

The Duck Machine

We walked around the carpet, following the story of Samra. The Duck Machine was in the back corner, an odd contraption with a lever that looked like a duck-bill and a bird floating inside the plastic tub.

“You quack into it,” the guide explained.

I did, and the duck burst to life, flapping its wings, wiggling its way out through the duck-bill opening, almost attacking me, flying at the peanut machine. The machine took pennies, which I fed it, and peanuts shot out, except that the duck was no longer a duck but an otter or a marten, something like that, and dove out of sight, now more of a snake. I still had two pennies left.

“That is the story of Samra,” the guide explained. “First one thing and then another.”

Eternal Fucking Recurrence

The Hive should be more your thing. It’s tactile.”

“Tactile. You’re really losing me.”

“You can replay the perfect moment, the bra sliding down, the hand against your breast, just that tiny perfection, the closest thing to it, in your head.”

“And then what? What after that?’

“You do it again.”

“Which leaves you with what?”

“Eternal fucking recurrence. Aren’t you programmed to fucking understand that?”

“Your dreams of madness, orgasms, the delight of thinking of nothing.”

“What’s the point in talking about it? It’s sex. Just sex. There aren’t words to go on about it. It’s fucking.”

“It’s not my programming to accept that.”

Top Ten Hollywood Films

While it is true that Hollywood is a tight box that suffocates individual vision, it also allows for the expense and crew that can make for a distraction worth watching.

10. The Poseidon Adventure (Neame, 1972) You’re going the wrong way!

9. The Fifth Element (Besson, 1997) Multipass.

8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg, 1977) Goofy Golf!

7. Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993) Stay…stay.

6. Jaws (Spielberg, 1975) Just eats and sleeps and makes little baby sharks.

5. Rocky (Stallone, 1976) Women weaken legs!

4. The Sound of Music (Wise,1965) Nothing comes from nothing.

3. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Hughes, 1987) You’re going the wrong way! 2. The Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939) Surrender Dorothy

1. Cast Away (Zemeckis, 2000) I know you.