Town Clock If you are not from, nor familiar with Dubuque- fear not because it’s likely-standing next to you, a ‘Dubuquer’:    And it is these Dubuquers;  this Port City’s prince and princesses, your Sherpa’s…that will take you,to the top! while others will simply care for you.

Dubuque’s chunk of limestone (thank you Mr. Benz)… hey!  There’s lots of rocks out there man and they all have names…  You bastards This “welcoming rock” celebrates; acknowledges what Dubuquers’ all inherently know: We are the ‘Masterpieces on the Mississippi’.

Would you repeat that with me? Aloud-just a few times… it’s gonna feel good I promise.  Now, if you live in Denver, repeat as often as you need to in order to achieve congruence; the same for the rest of you.  Let’s begin:

“We are the Masterpiece on the Mississippi”
“We are the Masterpiece on the Mississippi”
“We are the Masterpiece on the Mississippi”

Main St

I told you that would feel good.
anyway I imagine this limestone imperative to be, to feel less welcoming and more… troublesome, a death-nail for the attributes often associated with hip, contemporary cities.

This creature, this giant River Bat hangs sportingly upside down on a branch that appears to be previously looted. The River Bat argues with the gaunt branches that point over this dead tree.  Below it stings the Mississippi (river).


Now I gotta keep it cool man cuz’ you know that the word on the street is that I am indeed a credible Paranormal Witness, ask anyone.  All right I kill ghosts, there I said it/but looky here it’s only part-time, and I’m old school and I use a pocket knife…  “Whoosh, gone…)

Getting back to the “Masterpiece Creature”- this shallow-faced River Bat, wearing big brown sunglasses, gold-plated hoop earrings and a  maudlin make-up scheme comprised from the color palette preferences of this season’s fishing tackle for crank-baits to catch that ‘Trophy Walleye’

Chartreuse, sea-foam green, electric azure, fuckin’ yellow… you know what I mean.

official pace car of Dubuque

This Masterpiece Creature is procreating (now this should put the (B.F.R.O.)  folks on their collective smarmy assess; she’s breeding and birthing on each block depositing 2 to 4 pre-owned or slightly used Chevy Cavaliers,be it the sporty sedan or the more sensible four-door.  Oddly enough all Chevy Cavaliers here are born between 98 and 02,’ also born healthy with a Sanyo CD player and roomy ashtrays.

The Cavalier is the official pace car of Dubuque. The Cavalier occupies the second and third quadrant on the Dubuque family crest.   She is our quixotic metal, our roboid…roboid.   That is my word: roboid - I just made it up!  All of you take witness for I have coined. Everywhere you look, every 50 feet or so, there’s another gooey newborn,  a Chevy Cavalier-year’s 98’ through 02’

But that’s neither here nor there.


Never soon but immediately after birth, the ‘Masterpiece Creature’, the Roboid, she learns to write parking tickets and how to phone tow-trucks, she nibbles on the very edge of my MasterCard stopping only to flip the card over to taste my 3 secret numbers;  I suppose her tongue lather’s up the magnetic strip to make a nice gravy.  I dunno, I work with a lot of deer hunters and believe you me this savory ritual is passed down from one family member to another; be you a pregnant River Bat with a parking meter fetish sitting atop a brood of Chevy Cavaliers, years 98’ through 02’ or our much celebrated Dubuquers, the street princes and princesses.

I’m a victim of Dubuque’s Masterpiece on the Mississippi; the creature, the Roboid has ticketed, towed and taken my yellow motor-car daffodil, my four-door Cavalier Sedan to an unfamiliar place for un-pious activities. Oh, I’ve found the lot, seen the hatchlings fenced in, her nest is top-crested with razor-wire and it looks much like the parking lot at work:

Chevy, Chevy, Ford, Chevy, Ford, Chevy, Ford, Ford, Ford, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Chevy, Chevy, Chevy, Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Ford, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Chevy.

4th St Elevator

Ah… but we enjoy this port city’s Feudal system, and whether a peasant or a lord we enjoy driving our Chevy Cavaliers up and down these beautiful bluffs or parking with our lovers, paramours near the 4th Street elevator, getting hot and heavy just thinking about stabbing the lazy sloth-induced mayor who had built then rode what is now a dirty, obtuse elevator- coaster up and down the bluff on miniature rail tracks to and fro home.  As a tourist or otherwise, you can re-live this dream by paying a couple of bucks and riding in this petri dish…  it’s an attraction.

Dubuquer’s are…  well we’re “old-fashioned” we like to seduce our men and women with old candy bars like the Charleston Chew:  about twelve inches long, baton –like in shape, comes in 3 flavors and can be frozen into an instrument of brutality… “But it’s for my sweetie”.

I must leave you now mysteriously,so let me introduce you this quandary:  What if Jim Morrison fronted Led Zeppelin instead of Robert Plant?

What if? Huh? Huh? Huh…
See, See, See?!
Told ya’, told ya’, told ya!

Aw… Stop.

My Small Pinky Episode

VaginaJeez…  I’m finally complete but please join me in this small “pinky” episode:

A woman I loved so dearly finally picked up her last things here, specifically her Japanese maple. On that day I was worse off than that dried out piece of black licorice, twisted and gaunt- I had stopped watering it weeks before.  Shit, every time I cleared my throat next to it, the branches would rattle and wheeze poor Maple,  belching out dirt and leaves into the air for the Fourth of July celebration enjoyed by Earwigs and Carpenter ants.  And then it would just sort of… pass-out.  In fact, I watched it keel over so many times that I began to copy this event, acting it out and mocking its exhaustion.  I loved her so much that her parting, this splitting event crippled me for some time-hence my inactivity with this blog:

Selfism and self-doubt are the cheapest things I ever bought” – Ian McCulloch, ‘Back of Love’ – Echo and the Bunnymen.

Never again.

When I was a Cub Scout I amassed a wealth of knowledge about women and the female anatomy from a fellow “patched in” member.  I was probably in the fourth grade, I can’t remember, it’s not important.  Raymond Horiza, a ruddy-faced mucous machine explained to me the specifics by mapping out the vagina… for all of us poor things.  After all it was the vagina I sought, continue to seek, and it’s always a subject, “on the teach”.  I’m a 45-year-old-Jedi of the vagina.  I lose some, but I win some.  Getting back to my Yoda, Raymond…  During a walk to school he explained to me at a very early age, the dynamics and specifications of the vagina, more importantly its location and how to get there:  “…there are four chambers”, he says…  “You have to find one of those chambers with your ‘pinky’ and just stick it in”.  I swear on my child this conversation occurred.  “Move your ‘pinky’ around in circles and she will moan, and she will like it, and she will be yours…”

VAt the next Cub Scout den meeting I knocked out Ray’s front teeth.  It was a brutal punch with a shove; he endured a severe break with lots of blood and pain.  His front two teeth were now a red canvas shaped as an inverted ‘V’.  I did this not because of the vagina secrets he had passed on but because I don’t fuck around when playing Starsky and Hutch. I was Hutch… I am Hutch, I will always be Hutch. His four-chambered pussy schematic and subsequent theories seemed about right to me at the time, though I’ve come to learn them as a gross understatement.

When I was in the First grade I was boldly introduced to the vagina in its red, raw glory by a girl in class who gave Joey B. and me a quick, visceral peek at the fire.  We were asked to get on our hands and knees and to crawl over to her desk.  I’m not sure the time of day, nor can I remember specifically what the rest of class was doing… I just remember pandemonium and that it was “our time”, now or never.  We positioned ourselves about five feet away from her desk.  She was concerned, didn’t want to get caught.  I remember this event so vividly, so clearly, I’m a monster for thinking back on it; I just can’t get it, the event out of my head.  A few feet away, Joey and I were on our hands and knees.  She watched the teacher but the teacher wasn’t watching us.  She yelled, “NOW”!  We scuttled over on our hands and knees toward the shadowy abyss beneath her desk.  She was wearing some… summer-dress and already had her underwear pulled aside.  To me it looked like an angry red, baby’s fist.  The overall meaning of what I saw, kid to kid, male to female looked… hot, as in temperature hot – and angry.  Red, I remember red, red, red, RED.  Immediately after spotting this ruby, I knew this was wrong.  But the shock of it all, what had just occurred… sent me into a float of “ignorance.”  I can’t remember much of Joey B’s thoughts or concerns on this event; I wish I had.  I do remember thinking, “and there are 4 more chambers in there”.  I also imagined my small pinky exploring each chamber and what each chamber might have in store for me, for all boys.

Today… I want to be in love.  I thought I had found the right one.  I was wrong as I have been many, many times before.  There’s one I passed on in Chicago who knew more about me then I could ever come to know on my own.  I was a fool for leaving her and it still bothers me.  She’s a wonderful musician and artist; I take pleasure when the world recognizes her.

I did by the way lose my virginity in the 7th grade, in the woods, (where all good things should actualize), after school.  I have slide-show type memories of this event as well… but my memories of the events are spot-on.  I was probably 70 pounds and hip-deep into one of the chambers.  I sent my pinky in as an early sentry scout.  I thought, “Ray was right… there’s at least four chambers, perhaps many, many, many, more.”

Drawing by Todd Rittman

Drawing by Todd Rittmann

I’m 45 now, not a bad looking fellow plus the last “love of my life” taught me how to make fire with the grill. (I’ve been touring!), I missed out on the basics… okay.

I have plenty of time, (I think), left to explore the exponential chambers you possess.

Check the restroom stalls at some of the local truck-stops in your area.  My name and number is sure to be scratched somewhere.

I’m worth the episode.

This entry is dedicated to my good friend Will Hammel.

The Mary Ann

YumI have found that the real characters in my life are those of which have been emotionally malnourished in some way; those that have put a “crease” or two across my back, have folded my abdomen.  Occasionally I grab chuckles from some; those that climb the soap box, defining and explaining my problems for me, reciting from the “Book of False Facts.”

Character walks with a pronounced limp.  A curvature of the spine quite literally keeps my eye… hostage.  The house I currently rent was built in 1900; structurally exhausted it leans back almost 20 degrees as it wants to nap; we have an understanding, we both wanna nap.

I realized early on what “character” was (as it where) and its profound effect on me, good and bad.

I was nine or ten years old, the oldest among three siblings. Our first babysitter Mary Ann inherently had what I interpreted as character.  Mary Ann was a babysitter of literature proportions; as far back as I can remember, no other caretaker flashed her boobies as often as she did from so many different places, rooms, perspectives, and for her own reasons, as she did.  She was full of tricks and as far as I was concerned worth every bit mother was paying.  Certainly she pre-dated Harry Potter; the dirty, satirical pornographic lead, not as of yet parodied on the internet.  Occasionally Mary Ann would demonstrate her powers of magic for me, and on occasion my body shuddered applause for all of her tricks, the one’s that worked… and the one’s that really worked!  As you might imagine, this whole thing had quite the effect on my inner stick-figure.

And as God is my witness, Mary Ann did drown a house fly in the bathroom sink, and then brought him back to life!  First things first:  She showed me her boobies, right!?  NOW WHAT! She then screamed for me to run and grab a salt-shaker. My hands flew through the cupboard laying waste to the cumin, paprika and vanilla extract… fuck it, I ain’t got time for this-I grabbed the Morton Salt container; the boobie wands are sure to be used again during the resurrection:  The fly did-dead-die next to a depleted bar of Irish Spring.  He was dead on his back, staring at nobody next to a dime-sized smudge of exhausted, liquid; some emerald pillow-puddled real-estate.

Mary Ann lit a scented candle, “Apple Pie” I do recall…  And yes again, she yanked down her tube-top, the boobies flopped out, only this time her nipples were hard, one pointing east, and the other kind of a shoe-gazer if you ask me.  Why she never turned off the bathroom light I’ll never know… I wanted everything to be perfect and right, the whole circus:  the wayward boobies, the fresh baked smell of apple pie and the fluttering of a dead fly’s wings.

Mary Ann screamed at me, “GIVE HIM THE SALT” then flipped me off and flipped the fly off.  I just figured it was part of the ceremony.  I poured what seemed to be about a half a table spoon of salt on the wet corpse and we waited.  In long, drawn out, even tones she explained to me that the salt would extract the water from the fly’s body, and that at first his legs would twitch, then wings would flap, he would turn over, see her breasts, life-giving breasts, then be on his way.

I believed the salt to have burned one last sensation in him, though dead he was and dead he would continue.  I saw a leg kick, a wing beat, a flap or a shrivel.  In hindsight, he looked like a raisin buried in a gram of cocaine.  But one last time she called for my attention, at which point she simultaneously yanked down the tube top and performed my magic for what I believe to be the final action for my deception:   She flicked the poor salted bastard down the sink and into the drain whilst I took in those beautiful “wands” again.

Mary Ann remained my babysitter for the entire summer.  Her parlor tricks showed less and less promise during those months; she couldn’t breathe underwater.  It didn’t matter.  She was a character and instilled in me “character-itis.”

For all of our lesser human-traits, there exists:  the Mary Ann, a salty dead fly and kids like me.

Cheddar Confidential

LawnmowersWelders are a quiet sort focused in general on two things:  the clock and the pain.  The intense heat is a by-product; knee-jerk reactions to the “business” and, well most of us are just searching for another sensation besides heat.  The act of being on fire is actually a warming, pleasant sensation at the onset that I somehow equate with vague notions of birth and purification. At first you feel something and feeling something is good.  The fire finds a hole and as it crawls up the bottom cuffs of your frayed denims, it’s like a warm embrace from a Gaboon viper.  I mean you can’t even whistle while you work in this place… the oxygen has been sucked out and is being ransomed off somewhere for a value that far exceeds our wages.  It’s oppressive and ought be forbidden that one’s entire body be enveloped in layers of last year’s bum cattle leather.  The finality of it all is the final insult; the one that strikes the adjectives from your mouth when you ask yourself, “What is it that I made today?”  Well, you know that piece of metal that sits between the wood and the eraser on a pencil?  That’s right, that’s all me baby… all – day – long.

Late 60s Cub Cadet

Late 60s Cub Cadet

But these are good people, most of them anyway… the rest are poor, gene-deficient litters, beagle puppies with shit on their noses anxious for more shit, too dumb to realize what every old dog/factory worker knows best:  Shit runs downhill and so you don’t have to go looking for it besides, every factory looks like shit anyway, reveals the same color spectrum- that of black, dirty white, orange, more black and beagle-shit brown rainbow-less tones.

That is why I jumped at a chance meeting, away from this metal nest inferno and accepted a charitable, generous invitation from a co-worker who led me to his farm in rural Belmont, Wisconsin. He gave me an air-conditioner after hearing I was living without. I politely accepted his quick invitation for an early morning tour of the premises.  As we walked toward an old dairy barn he asked if I was looking for a lawnmower… he asked me in that matter of fact tone that you get from most Cracker Barrel waitresses’ when they ask you to pick a “side” to go with your burger. “Well a… a hem… I rent and well the landlord is supposed to…”  And BOOM it hit me in eyes like a snowball fired somewhere outta the fields of sweet corn.  I had not expected this.  This was a passion spanning years and there were just so many of the bastards.

1949 Simplicity

1949 Simplicity

We stood in an open doorway to a dilapidated barn.  I’m positive at one time this structural behemoth produced vast amounts of Wisconsin pride (milk to cheese to butter to yogurt etc.)  But now it was a surreal domicile for collection, no… rather a dealership for antique riding lawnmowers.  The floor was concrete and on each side of the barn an old gutted trench ran the floor length of the barn, about 225 feet.  As sparrows dive-bombed and Recluse spiders took up sentry positions against me, I could only utter a couple of words, “How many?” I took a fast count and he had what I estimated to be about 100.  As we walked between the rows of mowers he started to recite riding lawn mower histories, calling out brand names, serial numbers, engine configurations, lawn-mower corporate take-overs…  He wasn’t bragging… just talking as if in a trance. I felt like a missionary to a Rebel tribesman from Papua, New Guinea ramble on about Indonesian political history.  He knew every single one of them, what they had been through, which one’s he rode in the parade and the one’s he wouldn’t be caught dead in… corporate mower take-overs.  He’s an ex-Toro employee which probably started this whole infection.  My head was spinning; I was stumbling around this barn and could only take in bizarre shapes, names, notions and their colors.

1964 Mustang

1964 Mustang

He had a few Simplicity mowers from the late 40’s, a mustard-yellow Mustang, ancient John Deere’s, Cub Cadets from the 60’s, Colt’s from the early 60’s; some of these riders had only a stick for a steering wheel.  A good third of them looked to me like a cross between a blow-dryer and flying saucer, others looked like angry metal bears, some had fangs, some were zombies but they all cut the grass.  I don’t know why I found the collection so dumbfounding and surreal; perhaps it was the sheer number of them tucked away in this old dairy barn in the middle of nowhere. The nice thing for me was that the whole experience wasn’t contrived; I wasn’t led to these beasts…  Hell, I could have just grabbed the air-conditioner and left.  I was being polite and it’s a rare time now that politeness leads to an discovery of this sort. I guess the whole experience was compounded in a way because I’ve worked with this gentleman for quite some time and nary a word about this stuff.  You never know what the quiet entity next to you at work goes home to or what is being tinkered with.  What’s in their barn?  What’s in your barn?  Fingernails from the Roman Empire you say…  I don’t care…  I just want to see it, more so now than ever. Passion is passion.

1963 Colt

1963 Colt

At the Riding Mower God’s request I have withheld his name.  He told me that he needed to take a peek at my blog before I wrote anything because he’s had theft issues.  I’ve honored the request.  All of the riders are for sale.  If you wanna be the coolest grass killer in your neighborhood, shoot me an email and I will pass it on. He would appreciate that.


Vote for AlTo the dismay of my loyal Dubuque constituents, on this fetid smear of sub/sub cultural land- I from the pulpit, positioned adjacent (West) of the Mississippi River… where the catfish somersault out of the muck and mock the Busch Light drinkers, now concede the Al-Qaeda leadership.  Hey, they picked another guy.  I’ve come to terms with it.  Dubuque can exhale now.

Of course you know my running mate Ric Ocasek, principal songwriter of the Cars and early eighties’ pheromone was a concern from the beginning.  I realized early on that the ‘Beatitude’ album would be problematic and could kill us at the polls.  Track two’s “Something to Grab For” made nice for our political mantra, plus it just looked great air-brushed on our tour bus and sure as hell resonated with the voters; however it must have been track one’s tepid “Jimmy Jimmy” that put an end to our ambitions. Track five’s “Connect Up to Me” ran an astonishing (7:37)!  When are we gonna learn?  Just because you wrote it doesn’t mean you have to play it.  It’s too bad really…  I was going to create a special cabinet seat for Greg Hawkes, the (un)sung hero.  He would have made a great Minstrel of Defense.  But enough said, I forgive you for not taking to the booths as you might have intended.  So I remain Dubuque’s 8th bluff…  back into the welding spats again- American made, exiled but neighborly I shall march into the comforting embrace of Andropause, my son wrapped around the neck and/plus enjoying the hive with a good woman.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Abbey Road

I’ll tell you where:  Freud Communications.  Freud is the public relations firm based in London founded by Matthew Freud, who is a direct descendant from the Public relations dynasty of Edward Bernays and is the great-grandson of the famous Sigmund Freud.  My mentor at Clarke University, Dr. Abdul Sinno was a friend and fellow colleague to Bernays who lived to be 103 years of age before passing.  At the time of his death Edward’s fees’ for his PR COUNSEL was $10,000 per hour.  I dusted off my abacus and after some intense figuring and color theory exploration; I’ve come to the abrupt conclusion that I currently earn less than Bernays.

I’ve worked in London for several years as a performer for Shorty and U.S. Maple.  I’ve worked throughout Europe as a publicist and have participated in press junkets throughout the U.K.  I have other relevant curios pertaining to both working and enjoying the U.K.  I’ve washed clothes in Leeds at the Wash-O-Mat with Pikeys…  As it turns out they travel light.  After triple parking the caravan I watched a herd of dilapidated denim stroll into the wash, strip off their dirty blues and nap in what was left…   emotionally bruised undergarments.  I know the locals find them a bit “sketchy” but I was a pawnbroker in one of Chicago’s more dangerous neighborhoods for a number of years…  I learn from and enjoy the company.

Prior to his death I received a kind letter and invitation from John Peel to do a Peel session.  He was an avid fan and endorsed U.S. Maple giving us the nod we needed to cross-over into the U.K. market.  U.S. Maple collaborated with Derek Bailey, England’s premier avant-garde guitarist.  The recording is yet to be released, sitting in a box in my closet I presume.  He wrote me a lovely letter as well, one that I will cherish forever.  We played the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in Dover along with Derek before his passing in 2005.  His show was one of the most visceral spankings I’ve ever received.  I am humbled to have known him.

And finally, I have worked with director Stephen Frears in his film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel ‘High Fidelity’.  Stephen and I chatted quite some time during my audition about pawn broking, gypsies and pikeys before writing an exclusive part for me in the film.  He also vouched for my Taft-Hartley, which is kind of an endorsement (Taft-Hartley Act) and a necessary step for membership into the Screen Actors Guild.

My dear friends at Freud Communications:  Might there be trash can over there I can empty?  OR something better… much, much better.  I have the conceptual appetite and indeed a taste for the bangers and mash.

How very Saxon of you… now take my son.

i like beerFirst off my apologies…  it’s been quite a while since the inaugural post…   it’s just this ‘Weinergate’ scandal has me all loop the looped and such.  Rep. Weiner should recognize what we all know to be true:  our friend privacy is no longer around.    Social media has taken my privacy and left the building. I miss the hell outta him.  Sure, it still feels good when I look at old pictures of me and privacy in the backyard playing, or stealing my neighbor’s rhubarb and setting his boat on fire, yet I still find myself feeling a bit…  melancholy.

Privacy and I used to do all kinds of things-like when we started the BMX bicycle chop shop/theft ring; though as I mentioned, we as a group of one (1) couldn’t technically even form a ring.  Privacy and I were one, we had only each other and together we stood united.  Still we enjoyed each others company.  He laughed when I was kidnapped by burnouts somewhere along my paper route. These bastards stalked me for what must have been blocks.  I should have but didn’t hear them pulling up behind me, driving an old Buick Skylark sans the muffler.

The last thing I remember before being plucked off the street and injected into the smokey plume of the Skylark’s interior were the sounds of Saxon.  Remember Saxon?  Their one hit ‘Denim and Leather‘ hit me and hit me hard.  These guys, this kidnapping, the whole incident changed me for the twisted, for the better.

They kept me for like five hours, we drove all over the city.  They rolled joints and played cassette tapes, a very confusing time indeed.  I specifically remember one of the kidnapper’s being a Judas Priest fundamentalist.  Over and over we listened to ‘British Steel‘ or ‘Stained Class‘.  There were four of them and I recognized a couple of their faces from high school.  Two of the kidnappers flanked me in the backseat, so making a mad dash for the door handle to escape was out of the question.

Seconds after the incident I remember looking back through the rear window… there, alone stood my best pal privacy next to a spilled bag of undelivered newspapers.  Shit.  What am I gonna do now?  What I am telling you is the absolute truth.  It happened in 1981.  Though I am grateful for this particular incident I have to ask why me?

Very seldom do I see my friend Privacy anymore.  It’s funny, we used to be pals.  More importantly our time spent together was crucial and significant.  I am jealous because I see Privacy hanging out with my 5-year-old son Van Martin.   I’m quite content to watch them through the window playing together outside, talking to his new friend, arms gesturing wildly into the air,  having his time with Privacy.  He’s creative, a self-less piece of innocence discovering every cool nuance and minuscule catalyst that Privacy can show him.  I hope that he too gets “kidnapped” by a life changing event years down the road.  I hope for him that it encourages his talent for art and expression.  Saxon should do.

Cancel the Corvette, Scirocco Indeed…

The Light

You’re gonna buy me a corvette. You just don’t know it yet.  Me think… a Stingray 77-81′, all chromed up front and all that “yup”.  It’s a woman’s world and her prerogative to change her mind so don’t get all creepy on me if I recoil in fear and resuscitate an early fetish of mine for the Volkswagen Scirocco.  She’s the beautiful 16 valve bastard offspring of a DeLorean had it made bad, bad coitus Pontiac Fiero.  I remember the pitch black louvers rolling down the backside obscuring the rear window, hiding its hump.  She came standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and on some models… 7!  “The Poor Man’s Porsche” they called it; the Scirocco name is derived from the Italian word for “wind”.  The Volks at Volkswagen for this period had a penchant for naming vehicles after prominent winds.

Al is decent.I have owned two such desert winds’ – the last of which was borrowed permanently by the City of Chicago while U.S. Maple was touring Europe in support of, “Long Hair in Three Stages”.  I parked her safely, legally on Racine, had spoken with the Italians about keeping an eye on her, caught my plane for Frankfurt and that was that, the last time I saw her.  Daley’s cronies took her from me.  They lied and placed a Handicap Zone sign alongside her, hooked her up and bagged my sweet desert wind.  They took her to that place where they punish and tease fast foreign angular weirdoes like the Scirocco, beneath the city to the Central Towing Yard lock-up.  I tried to get her back.  But after 4 weeks of touring, the fines and fees were abominable and absolute.  I am 44 years old now.  I am very excited.  You’re gonna buy me a Corvette.  You just don’t know it yet.

Last week I had a dream about The Eternals.  I have always loved this Chicago outfit for many reasons, the most important being their musical singularity and integrity.  Their ability to remain relevant without being pinned down critically after all these years is an admirable feat and should never be undermined or taken for granted.  It’s important to realize the context of our current time.

I remember when getting in the van was the pass/fail curriculum for all artists and bands. There was a time when to see a smelly, dilapidated black ambulance pull up to the venue meant one thing and one thing only… Surgery was playing.  I remember Shorty opening for them on a few different occasions and it always seemed that two of them were crying.  I specifically remember their ambulance crashing through O’cayz Corral in Madison.

Where are the Evil Knievels’ today?  Where is the talent?

Technological determinism is creating all kinds of nonsense for new bands and artists.  Any simpleton will tell you how much easier technology has made it to:  promote, record, exist and distribute one’s wares.  But where are the new non-derivatives’ now that risk and sacrifice are extinct?  Let me make clear:  I am not anti-technology… just a concerned civilian, wading through a muddied, over-populated template, TD and the social media formats.  Has social media become the metaphorical “van”?

I’ve decided to tap into my inner Robert Evans and Tom Landry.  I’m going to morph these flavors.  You are my public and together we are going to flag the voices, rally through this camp and country looking for the visceral talent.  We are going to combat this irksome condition with graphic detail and comment.

My name is Al Johnson. I am 44 years old.  I live in Dubuque, Iowa. I am decent. You are gonna buy me a Corvette.  You just don’t know it yet.