I Kan't Spell
Life Improves for Man City
I can hear the call now (in a deep British accent)- Reyna bringing the ball to center square and strikes to the right for the American coutner Beasely. Beasely off the pitch with a firm touch and smotes the upper corner. The American duo turning chives and cream for the City marauders and Oh Say can You see the lads dancing in the street and City earn a spot in next years Champions League by finishing 4th and edging Tottenham.
Venezuela Backs the Wrong Horse
Say hello to your Children's war -
The Night the Lights Went Out in My Vernon
I don't know why I would be calling it that other than that Jas requested it. Tow days ago , Tuesday, it was my birthday. I have learned not expect anything on my birthday and I have also learned that my old way of thinking was pretty dumb.
While saving you all the particulars I'll just say that Jas made my birthday very special. She actually cooked food and we had a picnic style dinner in our living room with lingerie and wine and some good kick ass Mediterranean style food. I got a great necklace which I've wanted for a long time and a beautiful, suedeish/leathery bound journal to capture all my inane thoughts. (I guess I didn't really save you any particulars). Then we went to Aldo's to have desert and after that to Turners to crush a couple shots (I'm not that old just yet...)
But what was weird was when we got home all the lights were out, and not all the lights IN Mt. Vernon, just the lights on 2 square blocks. We sat on our front stoop and talked with one of our new neighbors. We let my Manchester City colored balloons float into the night sky and the local police assured us that the helicopter and their presence was only to shed some light on our tiny borough.
Anyway - I love Jas and I would like to thank her for making my birthday special despite my wishes not to have it done for me.
Maybe next year I'll actually look forward to it...
They Say it's Your Birthday
...it's my birthday too yeah...
1864: Red Cross founded
1846: New Mexico is annexed by the USA.
1642: Beginning of the English Civil War - between supporters' of King Charles I (Royalists or Cavaliers) and of Parliament (Roundheads), when the King raises his standard at Nottingham.
1485: The Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. Richard III is killed as he tries to reach the usurper of his crown, Henry Tudor. It's the last battle in the War of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster and York.
Thrilling birthdays today -
1917 John Lee Hooker Mississippi, blues musician (Canned Heat)
1920 Ray Bradbury Ill, sci-fi author (Fahrenheit 451, Illustrated Man)
1934 Norman Schwartzkopf NJ, US General (Liberated Kuwait from Iraq)
1939 Carl Yastrzemski NY, Boston Red Sox great (1967 AL MVP, Hall of Fame)
Horoscope Thinger -
The Moon is in its Balsamic phase at the time of your birthday this year, marking the end of an important cycle, or stage of growth, in your life. You take more "down time" than normal, and this is natural, even good for you. This is a year when you are likely closing important projects or "chapters" in your life. It's not the best year for major new beginnings. If you normally lead an active life with initiating qualities, you may feel quite restless. There may some feeling of confusion, as if you don’t know where you are headed. The year, in a general sense, is best used as a meditative time for inner searching. It is a time for letting go of the past in order to prepare for the new. Although the new is still totally unrecognizable, it is important to permit the necessary surrender to the unknown.
Yep - it's my birthday. Woohoo...lol
Ballad of a Thin Man (A tap of Robert Makeupaname)
You walk into the room and an arrow flies from just underneath your shirt cuff. It hits the back wall of the bar and everyone turns. You see someone with a pencil and you silently laugh at yourself. What will you say when you get home? Something is happening here but you don't know what it is. Something has happened but you have no idea what it is.
"It's not mine."
"What is? "
"That's not mine. Something is happening to me. My God am I here all alone.? Have you seen Mr. Somebody? Have you seen him with my ticket? I need to go watch the geek. For some ungodly reason I need to hear him speak to me."
"How does it feel to be such a freak?" he says to me.
I have no idea and I run back to the hearts. The hearts club is where I sit down. I pour myself the stiffest drink that fire can't tame. There isn't anything here for me to drink anymore. I slurped mud out of the ground and it tastes so much better than it used it. Mud tastes good to me.
F. Scott's Fitzgerald books don't mean anything to me just because I allude to being well read. Fraudulence parlayed into a bet I'll never be able to pay. I better win or else I'll be without thumbs. I already have my hands on loan so the note better not come due. The note is in my mail box. The mail box is in my lap and with the blood that wants to rip open the lid I weep inside. My face on the outside is stern and steady. I have granite lips that make courtroom steps. I have an eyebrow always perched up under my hairline. I don't care about debts and blood. I love the taste of mud.
What's yours? I have no idea why you have earphones on if you don't know what's happening. If you can't hear the nonames then why do you listen to the somebodyman?
The piano continues to play songs that don't resonate. The piano plays mud and blood in tune with the faceless man that taps his foot. He pulled out the arrow years ago.
"I wanted that to stay in that wall you fuck."
"You are dead now, my good sir."
"Am I? 'bout time."
"Come with me."
"Here is your throat back thanks for the loan."
Something is happening here but I don't know what it is.
Q&A - Bret
I snaked this from Doug - it was fun.
What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Miriam Leivers from Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence would be my choice. Despite the obvious Oedipus complex this doubles as, it still evokes some memory of flowered fields and Miriam laying on clean linens wanting me to read to her. The character she portrays in this novel is a wild yet grounded socialite that has a desire to be forever moving, but moving in circles and not a line.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book/place to start with.
Cormac McCarthy may be the greatest writer you already know. His books tend to lean to the intense over the top side but they are written like one puts honey on bread. I recommend reading Blood Meridian first...it'll change the way you read.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"We always define the limits of our personality too narrowly. In general, we count as part of our personality only that which we can recognize as an individual trait or as diverging from the norm. But we can consist of everything the world consists of, each of us, and just as our body contains the genealogical table of evolution as far back as the fish and even much further, so we bear everything in our soul that once was alive in the soul of men. Every god and devil that ever existed, be it among the Greeks, Chinese, or Zulus, are within us, exist as latent possibilities, as wishes, as alternatives. If the human race were to vanish from the face of the earth save for one halfway talented child that had received no education, this child would rediscover the entire course of evolution, it would be capable of producing everything once more, gods and demons, paradises, commandments, the Old and the New testament"
- Herman Hesse - Demian
This is one of those books that you hold to your chest after you are done reading. It reminds you of your favorite thing in the world. If you have this book, especially if it is mine, give it to someone. You'll be giving a great gift. If you don't have it... please read it.
What is your favorite literary first line?"
Wow...Doug actually took mine from Ginsberg's Howl. I think the first line from that poem is brilliant, but although it probably may favorite first line of literature I took another one from a poem and one from a book.
"As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where there was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream."
The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan.
I remember reading this book about 4 years ago. I also remember not being too enticed to read it but when I read that first line...I got off my elbows, put some pillows in back of my lower back and sat up with the book perched on two more pillows in front of me. I cracked my neck and was pulled into it as if I had found the answers I had been seeking.
"I am singing to you
Soft as a man with a dead child speaks;
Hard as a man in handcuffs,
Held where he cannot move:"
Carl Sandburg - Killers
I get chills every time I read it.
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands and why did you read it?
The last good book I read that someone gave me was Graham Greene's The End of the Affair. Doug gave it to me.
What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?
Suede sand colored Clark Wallabies wear every experience permanently on their soft cushioned texture.
Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Ordering in at a hotel and getting everything on the menu from Belgium waffles to sour dough ham sandwiches. Jas and I only eat half of it and then make love until it's time to check out.
What is your idea of absolute happiness?
Happiness is feeling as though I was always weightless, like in a pool.
What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
I have(had) so many, but right now it would have to be a good Soccer match and an ice cold Stella.
Why do you write?
I'd like to think that I write for myself but in all honesty I write for several reasons. 1) There are things inside of you that come out so much better when you actually sit down to give them not only an audience but a texture of keyboard sounds and black blinky fonts. 2) I'd like to think that people that know me can communicate with me via what they write and what they read of mine. 3) There is an outside chance that you resonate with someone that you don't know and make some connection to them through your words.
What do you dislike most?
The walking dead hold a very place on my mantle of dislike. I dislike the people that stand in line at the Butcher's and bitch about how it is taking so long. I dislike those who yell at people at the MVA. I am not what you would call the most courteous person in the world, but I know enough about courtesy to keep the wheels of the world greased so that it continues to turn. The walking dead do not.
Talk about your vision of the ideal life.
I just got out of the pool and I have to squint my eyes from the water and sun. I can hear my young children running and squealing on the side of the house as they play with a hose. My beautiful and caring wife comes down to me with some Iced tea and tells an anecdote about the evening news. I stand up with my beverage in hand and my youngest son comes running to hug me and gets me from the back. I sway and am about to fall into the pool as my wife snaps a picture from our deck, and the surprise on my face and my son's laughter is immortalized by the crafting hands of our lady.
Who are your favorite characters in history? Have any of them influenced your writing?
My favorite characters in history are the writers. People like Pope, Locke, and Swift are heroes to me. Without them we wouldn't have had Orwell, Hesse, Huxley, and Hemingway. I really believe the myriad of writers over the years and the volumes that have been written are more valuable and influential than any war, leader, or singular national idea.
If I had to choose one character or what might be a non-literary figure I would more than likely have to go with Alexander the Great. The volumes of accomplishments are pretty much unrivaled.
Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.
Most impressionist paintings send me on a journey of thought that leads me to my own ignorance in order to smack it. They take me to the door in my head marked "Dummy". I knock and it opens. Inside I feel warm and enlightened and notice that there are 10 more doors all with different words on it. This is what I feel like when I look at art by Monet, Manet, Seurat, Degas and Tissot amongst others.
Any music performance leads me to new ideas or new feelings of release. The best kinds of performances are the genuine ones of the young and the unfolded. The shows that involve the sweat and the nervous tension between band and audience are intimate enough to capture inspiration. There is a message or an emotion trying to be captured by both parties. I love when this is achieved. I get this from almost any genuinely open concert I have been to.
In the For-All-Eternity category, what will be your final thought?
Intimations of immortality eventually end, and with my line will continue to do so.
My Beloved Orioles
I am really close to calling it quits on being an Oriole fan for a while. I think the Sun should run a posting that says the following:
WANTED. ORIOLE FANS. - Must have a sadomasochistic side. Be able to endure many years of emotional pain. Must walk into long tunnels with no signs of light. Must enjoy being lied to repeatedly by ownership. Hopeless optimistic side a plus. Please apply most weeknights and weekends at 7pm at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. All applicants accepted without interview so just show up. WE WILL BREAK YOU!!!!
I am so tired of seeing the same thing year in and year out. This will be 9 losing seasons in a row. For those non-diehard/fringe Oriole fans, this is what you have to look forward to:
Things to look forward to:
Nick Markakis - 'nuf said. Kid is hitting .304 as of today and the power will come with that 6'2" frame.
Hayden Penn - 6'4" righty that throws low to mid 90's with movement. He will be a very good number 2 in 2-3 years.
Erik Buhhhhdard - Self-explanatory. He's a beast that seems to have an attitude problem. Palmer it up. He can be another great number 2.
Adam Loewen - We'll see - i still think he's a 4 at best - but he's a lefty and we all love them.
Chris Ray - Solid, not thrilling, but solid. Reminds me of Joe Nathan or Joe Borowski. I do not consider him a top-tier closer but he's in the 5-12 lane.
Noland Reimold - If you don't know. You will soon. This kid will be a stud - and compliment Nick the Greek in left.
Cpat - I am putting him here because I think he got a good bit of confidence back this year and if someone can tell him to fucking walk once in a while he can be an all-star type player.
Things to make you cringe:
Miggy's deteriorating defense / the trade him or not trade him saga
Mora's just plain old deteriorating
Brian Robert's atrocious hitting from the right side and realization that he is a 2nd tier 2 bagger.
The never ending soap opera of Danny Cabrera - throw a strike you moron
More awful free agent signing or lack of any signings. We have less than 100 home runs from the 1B position over the last 4 years. That is atrocious.
The cock tease that will be the windfall expected from the MASN deal
Say good bye to all the ulcers: Lopez, Lopez (wait one down), Chen, Millar, Conine, Angelos (ha! gotcha!).
Ode to Joy
How cliche to write while listening to music but something about this piece just makes me stop and let out a sigh that could blow down any house or out any fire. It is the Pavlovian effect in reverse. There are crescendos that lift my spirit like no other piece of music. How sad that it is abused in every manner possible and more than likely laid across the alter of poor taste more than once. It was definitely used in the movie "Die Hard" with Richard Donner directing. Richard Donner, Ha!, that man is a pompous cunt. I'm sure it was in a Kubrick film but more than likely surrounded by bombs exploding to show some sort of irony. Ode to joy -- should only be used in the finest of things and a person like me should never define that. But it should be a selfish piece of music moving you to appreciate everything from the green of the trees to the masonry of a building. It is the one piece of music that I could most aptly define as "pure love".
In the middle it has a small part that I don't really like. It sounds like a leaf falling onto a pond. It doesn't sink but lays there and then some fierce wind comes along and blows that leaf into the mouth of the opera singer that start in with the German and the light timpani. I remember this part, at about the 4 minute mark, as part of Clockwork Orange. Our young Alex is walking through the record store but the music isn't played on oboe and violin. It is made by some Seussian object like a soozaphoneamonogram. It is still quite beautiful.
The German languag the chorus is sung in seems to fit the hearty weight of the piece. I don't think Italian could have captured the moment the way the German dialect does. German almost sounds like you are spitting gravy at a wall. It sounds disgusting, but with eyes closed and no disposition to the gravy actually splattering, it sounds, well it sounds really soothing. It sounds like a kitten licking itself in a grandmother's singing arms.
At about the 7 minute mark there is a peak that could break any man into dance. I feel as though I just had a child. There is a crescendo. There is a single oboe. There is a joining violin. There is a growing trumpet in the back. Then the mountain slide.
THE WHOLE CHOURS break into it with words "Alle Menschen werden Bruder,". And from high school German I understand this to be "All men are Brothers". There is beauty that I can't even fathom coming out of the music now. There is such uncontrolled love that pours out of my speakers that I can't help but want to hug them and thank them.
There is German brown turkey gravy flying now. There are balloons falling form the sky. It is everyone's birthday and I am under them all jumping up and down with platinum blonde hair from my youth. I am smiling and rejoicing. I am splashing water on my face and wrestling with a dog.
There is now, to my dismay, some crazy requiem piece which I wish would go away. Its right at the 8 minute mark and for some reason, despite it's beauty, it really depresses me and sort of hurts the song. So I put the metaphorical needle back to the beginning to hear the smooth cello that let's me into my own happy world. I always put the needle back at the 8 minute mark. I'll always do it too...
And then there it is again...it starts over for me once again. It starts playing with it's beautiful scales and I just can't really keep my smile in check. I close my eyes and picture blonde headed boys playing in water while somewhere there is gravy being thrown and people are laughing at it. I salute this day with Ode to Joy indeed. Thank you Lud...you truly are and would have been respected as a pure Mensch...Ode to You - you fucking genius.
You can get it here if you want.
Junior Varsity Surge
The JVMM Lives on a again
It's not a particulary amazing one - but you have to start somewhere. Tell your friends that the nasty hatter is back!!!
Pandora Song List
Amazon Wish List
Revolutionary Wealth - Tofflers
Things Making Me Smile
Listening - [out of 5]
Benjy Ferree - 4.8
The Thermals 3.1
David Gray 3.8
Like the guy with the beard? YES - like the guy with the beers. What? Yep
Bands That I Check Schedules For
Badly Drawn Boy
Belle and Sebastian
The Black Keys
Drive By Truckers
Mark Hopkins Band
Iron and Wine
Mates of State
Two if By Sea
Places I Rock in the Flesh
The Knitting Factory
The Otto Bar
Places I Eat/Drink in the Flesh
Cross Street Market
No Way Jose
The Irish Pub
The Waterfront Hotel
My Greatest Hits (that's so lame)
The time I almost killed a child
July 4th in Korea
Excerpts from Demian
Why I screen phone calls
Bret's Death Metal Report
A conversation at a cocktail party
A conversation at breakfast
So you think you are a Baltimorian
A conversation about a girl singer
Observations from a bar
Observations of strippers
Why I love Oasis
I would go to war
"You Son of a Bitch" An Open Letter to Tom Friend
Dance to Your Ocean
When men become pussies
Jason Whitlock is a racist propaganda promoter
Pitchfork takes music snobbery to new level
The Cosmic Clash of the Red Sox and Cubs
The Hatred that is Runts Candy
Starting corporate line-up
Do you know me? List 1 / List 2 / List 3
The Night I Burned Philly Down
So You Want to be a Booze Hound
She Said it was Free
Funniest Corporate Story Ever
Striped Shirts and the Fucks that Wear Them
Pieces of Morning
Oasis Album Revew
The Art of Tipping
Starting Fires With Grass Stains
Bret's Federal Hill Food Review
Sexcapades and your Picture on the Internet
Stupid Secrets the Return
Stuff I Swing By From Time to Time
Indie Video Archive
Large Hearted Boy
Pitch Fork Media
Scenestars MP3 Blogs
Sound Garden Baltimore
Angry Little Girls
Junior Varsity Meat Market
Baltimore City Paper
The Baltimore Sun
Villa Julie College Baseball
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