wife threw out the copy of Rolling Stone I was reading. Inside
it was an order that I was working on. We salvaged it from the
garbage. It does have a funk about it and I'm not sure what
some of the orders are.
put on a live Merle Haggard CD and thought I'd sort some more
of my CDs. One fell behind the huge video rack that I have.
It clipped the outlet that the lamp was plugged into and I was
plunged into darkness. I got out the flashlight and tried to
bend my arm back enough to plug the lamp back in. I succeeded
in cutting my arm.
turned off Merle.
put on cable. The feds on the Sopranos seem to be bigger bastards
than the crime family. At least the criminals seem to have some
sense of honor. At one point the government agent wanted to
control a foreign national who is implicated in a murder. "Let's
tell them it has to do with terror," the g-man says.
been suffering insomnia lately. I keep trying to figure out
a way to innovate and keep my head above the rushing tide. If
I try to close my eyes and just go to sleep, I instead find
haven't had a president of the United States that had
a real job since Reagan had to sign on with GE to support
his family. By real job, I mean employment, not appointment.
Bush I, Clinton and Bush II never had to work part time
at the Quick-Sak to pay a doctor bill. They never had
to find work so that the kids could go to school in new
I watch Jan Michael Vincent in White Line Fever. Jan is playing
an indie trucker, Carrol Jo Hummer, up against the evil trucking
empire. I don't really know why the empire is evil. They just
don't want any independents and Carrol Jo insists on being independent.
The empire strikes at Carrol Jo. Carrol Jo strikes back. It
escalates. Finally they burn Carroll Joeís house and
his pregnant wife loses the baby and is told that she can't
have another. Defeated, a slump shouldered Carrol Jo goes back
home. Miraculously, the house doesn't look burned at all. He
goes inside and shuts the door. All is silent and then you start
hearing a bass line. Pretty soon, Carrol Jo bursts through the
door with his shotgun in his hand. He gets in his truck, runs
the gate of the trucking company and knocks over the company
logo. He wakes up in the hospital and is wheeled outside where
all the indie truckers applaud. End of movie.
there a point?
there a positive resolution possible?
crawled into bed. I was already going to be tired.
once traveled across the country with three brothers. I sat
in the back seat with the youngest brother while the other two
argued about everything. They fought about where we should eat.
Once we pulled up to a motel and they argued about who should
go in and register. We pulled back on the highway and drove
another couple hundred miles before finding another motel. After
we checked in we hit the bar. It was a Monday football night
when Cosell and Meredith were still on. It was a big deal. The
bar had free hot dogs and cheap beer. That satisfied everyone.
We were sitting by the hot dog machine. A cute girl walked up
and asked how much the hot-dogs cost. Brother #1 said that they
were a dollar. The girl reached for her purse and he told her
to forget it, that it was free for her. She smiled and thanked
him. Then a local hero chimed in. "He's a liar, the hot
dogs are free."
#2 said, "You don't call my brother a liar," (even
though he had been regularly calling him a lot worse). Barstools
were overturned and there was a scuffle. We all got our licks
in and they kicked us out.
went back to our room and the brothers found something else
to argue about.
watched the digital clock turn a little bit closer to the time
the radio would go on.
was feeling a lot like that night at the motel. We could've
avoided the fight and were probably in the wrong, but once somebody
started talking smack we had to stand up.
tried to maintain perspective when reading the news. I try to
listen and to understand. I've never been a lemming rushing
in the flow of the herd. In fact, swimming upstream seems to
be the norm for me.
with the memory of Merle singing, "when you're running
down my country, you are walking on the fightin' side of me,"
Carrol Jo getting pissed off with his shotgun, and sleep toying
with me, I got a little peeved at all the smack I've been hearing.
let me tell you, I did some research. We haven't had a president
of the United States that had a real job since Reagan had to
sign on with GE to support his family. By real job, I mean employment,
not appointment. Bush I, Clinton and Bush II never had to work
part time at the Quick-Sak to pay a doctor bill. They never
had to find work so that the kids could go to school in new
shoes. Hanging around Dad's office doesn't count either. VP
Cheney never had a job either. Everything has been a progression
of one opportunity after another. If you look at the life of
Osama Bin Laden, it has been much of the same. All these bastards
could've hung out at the Skull & Bones together with the
other guy running for president, John Kerry (who had an equally
tough childhood, having to spend all those summers on that estate
do I have in common with any of these bastards? I'm closer to
the poor guy who joined the National Guard to make a few bucks
to pay the rent and wound up in Iraq indefinitely, while his
family struggles to feed itself. I can see that I'm closer to
the hopeless true believer who straps on a rifle or a bomb to
do the bidding of the Osama/Bush. We are stuck in the mire of
our current situations and like Carrol Jo; we take that shotgun
down from the wall in anger and are pointed in the direction
of the "enemy" by some rich maniac with an agenda.
we are told that the delineations in this conflict are a vertical
one. We are told that most Arabs/Muslims are good people, but
we must strike at the heart of the "terrorists." We
insist that despite the photos of torture and the jackboots
walking across various countrysides, that most Americans are
decent and caring people. It is such a gray, gray area that
we hear Gene Simmons of Kiss ranting on about Arabs and we see
the hatred for all Americans on our nightly news.
we drew a horizontal line in the sand, it seems to get clearer
for me. While our sons and daughters are in Iraq trying to earn
tuition money, trying to better their position in life - our
economy is going to shit. If this is a war about oil, why are
we paying US$2.36 a gallon for gas? If we look across the horizontal
line, we see it is a war over profits and the profits of the
blood of National Guardsmen and suicide bombers stay on one
side of the line. The soldiers on all sides are clinging to
dreams, while the leaders collect the toll.
friends from BigO in Singapore keep a running total of the days
we search for the weapons of mass destruction. I saw all the
weapons of mass destruction that I needed to see on September
11. I don't need to see any more. I don't believe that George
Bush getting his shotgun out and marching through Iraq was a
response that Osama didn't reckon on. It was a skull and "cross"
bones exercise. We are the ones that are bleeding. These rich
boys aren't. Osama isn't strapping bombs to his chest. The planned
actions of the terrorists had the planned response, it lit the
spark, and it enabled the devastating reaction.
a battlefield, a good soldier does not question his superiors.
He believes and trusts in them. September 11 forced us to believe
and trust in George Bush to lead us. It was not an enviable
position to be in for most of us. He was more appointed our
leader than he was selected, but we had no choice. I've tried
to withhold criticism for this reason. Mutiny is a serious offense
if it is groundless. The treachery has to be proven beyond a
doubt. We were put in a position where we had to trust that
George Bush cherished the lives of American soldiers, had a
regard for the welfare of the American people and the peoples
of the world and had to have faith that he would do the right
thing for his country and his family and our families. A betrayal
of this trust and faith is the most heinous of acts.
most Americans believe this betrayal has occurred? I can only
speak for the unsolicited venom toward our leadership that I
hear every day in my small fiefdom. That answer is "Yes."
Cheney never had a job either. Everything has been a progression
of one opportunity after another. If you look at the life
of Osama Bin Laden, it has been much of the same. All
these bastards could've hung out at the Skull & Bones
together with the other guy running for president, John
Kerry (who had an equally tough childhood, having to spend
all those summers on that estate in France).
said, again in BigO, M Shalid Alam, a professor of economics
from Northeastern University (that's the one in Massachusetts,
folks) insists that Americans are duped by our media into believing
that we are the "greatest country on earth" and "that
we are the last great hope on earth."
never really been anywhere except the United States. I have
no hankering for the rolling hills of Lebanon or to go somewhere
and eat a raw potato for dinner or to wipe my ass with a leaf.
Yeah, I think it is the greatest country on earth. Can we do
better? By a mile.
we the "last great hope?"
read a story (maybe in BigO again, maybe not) about a young
Palestinian girl who had her brother and father killed by the
Israelis. Her response was to strap on a bomb and blow up a
bus. The Israelis then blew up the family home. It just goes
on and on. We count the dead in Iraq and trade atrocities. We
fall in the trap of excusing our prison tortures with a "what
about" those guys that were hung from the bridge or that
Berg kid that had his head cut off. We can go on and with justifications
and retributions. I don't know if we are the last great hope,
but I haven't seen anyone standing up and saying enough. Not
to discount those who protest throughout the West, but it is
the American people who are going to make this end.
of terrorism will prolong the conflict. They create an "us against them" attitude. Bush is
waiting for another good blast at the American people. It will
get him elected again. If only Osama can serve him so well again.
We will be willing to surrender all that is precious to us to
preserve our union. I fear that after all is done, all we will
have left is an empty shell that used to house what was important
irks me to see those like my friend at Northeastern pointing
the finger at only one side and talking trash from the safety
provided by the United States. If you live in the belly of the
beast you should do your best not to irritate it. This is not
the perfect country, but we aren't the evil empire either. We
have to join together to correct the course of current events.
The evil lies not exclusively in the east or west, but in the
moneyed chambers of power.
clock radio clicked on and I was still wide-awake.
got up and made myself a glass of Ovaltine. The wind was blowing
in a way that put my house under the traffic pattern for O'Hare.
I always wonder if one of the planes is going to come down.
of the morning talk I put on a DVD-R. A friend of a friend was
at a punk rock show and at the merchandise table someone was
selling burned copies of the MC5 - A True Testimonial. The DVD
should have been released by now, but a falling out between
Brother Wayne Kramer and the producers ran it into the courts.
It never is supposed to come out.
was a flurry of e-mail postings and Detroit News articles. I
donít know who was right. All I know, it is a damn shame
that I can't sell this. It brought back a lot of the life of
at one point sums it up by saying one night he was having great
sex beyond his wildest imagination and then went downstairs
to find the band van firebombed.
was a great DVD and, come to think of it, seeing it as a bootlegged
copy burned and bought at the merch table of a punk show probably
was in keeping with the spirit of the MC5.
would take a double shot latte to get me through this day.
walked outside. I had parked too close to another fireplug.
city council was going to approve a zoning change to allow Wal-mart
to come into Chicago today. US$200 worth of tickets was about
a 30-hour Wal-mart week if you managed to get one of those fine
I'll crank US$200 worth of extra sales out today. Maybe not.
any case, it would be just another day in this paradise.
Note: You can visit Shalid Alamís website at
Felten runs Record Emporium
Felten & Landfill Records at