Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pisswater on the tree


I was working late at the paper on a Tuesday night with my friend Ashton. We were looking for AP filler for the inside pages when I came across this article: "KISS, Gabriel, Nirvana to be inducted to rock hall." It was a boring headline so I changed it to: "Smells like grunge spirit: Nirvana to be inducted into rock hall of fame."
For the up-page kicker, I wrote, "Nevermind," the title of Nirvana's ground breaking 1991 album.

The lame headline didn't bother me, but the contents of the story about made me hurl. Hall & Oates? WTF? Inducted? Yuk. Gross. Flush the toilet, please. I gotta' shower. I thought this was the rock n' roll hall of fame, not the Top 40 hall of fame. The Replacements, Sonic Youth and the Jesus & Mary Chain were around in the '80s. Are they being inducted? Didn't think so. You're corporate and have no soul.

You're nothing but pisswater over the tree of rock n' roll from Son House to the White Stripes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdgrQoZHnNY Damn you and fuck the stinking horse you so arrogantly rode in on, you watered down, corporate sucking slab of pablum.

And don't we all know? Hauling Oats suck big fat green ones.

But induct them into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, why don't you? Stick em' on high with Bo Didley, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, the Beatles, Stones...Why? Because they had a bunch of hits in the '80s? There's no accounting for taste is there? Wasn't Phil Collins's "Sussudio" a hit back in '85? Max dickhedroom, a clown named Ronnie in the White House and all that crap. So a couple of guys have a string of hits in the lamest decade of the 20th century and you reward them with a place among rock royalty. Shit, why not put George W. Bush on Mt. Rushmore?

So whose to be inducted next year? Foreigner and Lover Boy? How 'bout Lionel Richie's "Lady" as sung by Kenny Rogers? Yeah, that deserves a special honor. What about Billy Ocean? He had hits in the '80s. Ever notice how in the '80s even a lot of black music was whiter than Wonder Bread with yuppified sugar on it? Hall and Oates - a plastic 1980s hand job.

Cleveland was chosen to be the site of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame because that was the town, from which in the early '50s a white disc jockey named Alan Freed started highlighting this jumpin', black rhythmic music. He wasn't giving them the Hit Parade.

To be fair, there are some well deserving names among this year's inductees: KISS, the band that nearly perfected rock theatricality, Peter Gabriel, Nirvana and especially Randy Newman. His early 70s' stuff could hurt you, it was so scathingly satirical.

Although it seems a bogus cosmic joke, Nirvana's first album, Bleach turns 25 in the next year. This nasty, metallic-grunge little album came out in 1989, a year when big-haired-spray, spandex, faux-power ballad, cherry pie-in-a-female-crotch, lying assed bands were at their pinnacle as surely as disco - sanitized by crass commercialism - stood at the peak a decade previous.

If Bleach were the only album Nirvana ever made, if they had not "broken through" with their 1991 album Nevermind and "Smells Like Teen Spirit," I don't think they'd get a snot's worth of notice by the hall of fame judges. Almost as surely as God won't know the hypocrites on Judgement Day, those judges in high places wouldn't know Nirvana from the Meat Puppets.

In 1967, The Velvet Underground and Nico must've sold all of 86 copies. Somehow, though, word of mouth got around and the RHF could not ignore one of the most influential bands in rock history. That's how a band that never had any hits gains entrance into The Establishment. It may never come again.

The Sex Pistols won't be back. Man, it was a show of testicles, the likes of which are likely never to be seen again. Appropriately enough, the RHF inducted the Pistols in 2006. When Johnny Rotten got the news, he faxed a hand-written letter.

Next to the SEX-PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. We're not coming. We're not your monkey and so what? 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013


Well it's 5:55 a.m. as I write this. Drinking the Starbucks coffee I got for Christmas from my in-laws. The kids aren't up yet, but soon will be. We don't have a crap load of presents under the tree, but we're all right. My kids will be happy no matter what. They're getting older. Both stopped believing in Santa Claus a while back. Actually, my son was skeptical of Santa from about age 3. My wife, Maria, is the one to thank for wrapping presents and making holiday dinners. What have I done but write Christmas letters and act like a goofball?

Went to church with the family yesterday. Heard guitars, keyboards, violins, cello, drums, singers. Mom looked happy. I brought her along. It was me, Maria, the kids - Max and Gabby, Mom, Maria's mom and her aunt. Afterwards, we had a late lunch at Spangles. Most us had the kid's cheeseburger meal. Christmas Eve night, I watched It's a Wonderful Life with Maria and the kids. They retreated to their rooms and started reading books before the movie was over and I fell asleep on the couch while Clarence was showing George Bailey what life would've been like, had he never been born. It's okay. I know how the movie ends.

To all my peeps out there, I wish you a merry Christmas. Here's a Christmas song by Irish Celt punk band, the Pogues. It's a beautiful song about an Irish immigrant spending Christmas in the drunk tank and going into a reverie about Christmases past.

All my best  and may you have a joyous new year.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas parody letter 2013

                                                               
Jeff and Maria steal Santa's sleigh.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas. Ho! Ho! Ho! It's Christmas time all over the world. And what's that? Are those jingle bells I hear? Up on the roof top. It's coming down your chimney. Hope you've been good this year.

Well it's been a banner year at the ol' Guy house. I was offered a lucrative new position with a highly respected, award winning news organization. This job has afforded me the opportunity to use my God-given talent as I have interviewed senators, FBI agents, Secret Service personnel, the U.S. attorney for some district, sports legends, prime ministers, the U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, CIA agents and an undercover on-the-CIA payroll assassin (He was a Deep Throat source.)

Also, I interviewed the guy who played Skippy on Family Ties.

My lovely wife, Maria, stepped down this year from her long-held position as Executive Director of a non-profit organization that does good, Christian charitable works and enriches the lives of all in the community. No more lunching with ministers, community boosters, bank presidents and CEO's. She's not such a high profile figure in the community any more and no longer excoriates me for using phrases like "sucks big green ones" in my facebook posts.

My handsome son Max has shown a bent for stage performance and stand-up comedy, as he displayed at last spring's talent show at Garfield Elementary. The audience was in stitches when he impersonated Abraham Lincoln. Yes, the laughter later turned to gasps from parents and teachers when young Maxwell performed a routine taken from Richard Pryor's Grammy winning 1974 comedy album, That Nigga's Crazy.

But it's all good.

Our sweet little daughter Gabby has burgeoning talent as a writer. Take the essay she wrote about Thanksgiving. "Personaly, I don't see what the big deel is about a bunch of people pigging out on thanksgiving when Christmas and the baby Jesus is more important. I think they should take all turkeys in the yard and crap on them."

Gabby is also growing as an artist. Her drawings are moving on, looking less like phallic symbols.

Have a merry little Led Zeppelin III Christmas.
We went to Albaquerque, NM on a short vacation last summer to see Marie's uncle Walt and aunt Skyler. They've had their troubles as Walt was laid off from his job as a high school chemistry teacher. He had a gambling problem, but they're getting back on their feet with a car wash business.

Then there's Marie's brother Harlen. While having lunch with him at La Playa Azul, he shared with us an album of pictures from his colonoscopy.

"See that, that there?" he'd say excitedly, pointing at black and pink pictures. "That's my large bowel. See here, it's the distall part of my small bowel. My lower intenstines. Two days of liquid dieting getting ready for this crap. I had to use the bathroom so much, my stools were looser than a Spangles mudslide."

Ah, kind of like taking a selfie. Don't get Maria started on that. There's this woman we know from church, Rhiannon. She's always taking selfies with her perfect make-up, smile and hair. Rhiannon on her way to go Christmas shopping. Rhiannon eating out. Rhiannon in the bathroom. Rhiannon and her sister mugging for the camera on their way to see her dying mother-in-law in the hospital. Rhiannon being a do-gooder. Helping the tornado victims. Standing there in her shorts and tank top, smiling big into the camera, surrounded by death, debris and destruction.

"She paid good money for those boobs," Maria said.

Since I'm a well known blogger, people wonder what my take is on current social and political topics. "When are you going to write about Duck Dynasty?" people ask me. I've never even watched that show.

Okay, so there's my friend Ethan.  Ethan's a queen. Anyhow, every year I look forward to the Christmas party at the home Ethan and his husband, Bill. It's a huge freaking house in quite the upper crust neighborhood. They have all this good food. Brie and cranberry twists. Mini meatball sliders. Mini New York cheesecakes. And an open bar where I can get all the drinks I want for free.

But oh no, not this year. No, Ethan and Bill had to take some Christmas trip to the Bahamas. I wanted to go to this lavish party. I mean, give me my food. Give me my drinks. But no, Ethan and loverboy gotta go zooming around the big wide world.

Screw it, I had one great moment that rocks the J. Guy world and buries that bad ol' stuff in a toxic grave.

Years ago -- I was around 23 - I was at an SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) conference. In a backroom, I ordered a Scotch & Coke 'cuz I'd read that's what John Lennon drank. Everybody laughed at me & said I wasn't a Scotch drinker. I felt so green. (Hell, I'd only loaded on the stuff big time with my buddy Strunk at a KPA - Kansas Press Association - conference four months previous.) I was so humiliated I changed my order to beer. Now, around 20 years later through my affiliation with the Monty Python Appreciation Fan Club, I've befriended people who actually knew John Lennon & they have invited me to London & Liverpool to their favorite watering holes and....(drumroll) Scotch & Coke!!!!! Oh! Oh! Oh! I have waited so long to get validated. Thought this day would never come. Bite me! Bite Me! BITE ME!!!! BITE ME!!!!! BITE ME!!!!!! BITE ME!!!! BITE ME!!!! BITE ME!!!! BITE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ELATION! EUPHORIA! OH! YEAH! Happy? I'm in LOVE with HER and I Feel Fine!!!!!!!!!!!

From the Guy family to yours, we wish you a merry, merry Christmas. And if you happen to be up on Christmas Eve night and catch Santa on your rooftop, maybe one of his sleigh bells will fall into your hand. May you never lose the child within.

Your friend,

J. Guy & family

P.S. If you eat fruitcake this Christmas, it could stay in your digestive tract and block you up good. Just the opposite of what happened to Maria's brother Harlen when he cleaned his colon.





                                                   
                             


                                                                           


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mandela


"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela

If I could sum up Nelson Mandela's life in one word, it would be this: courage.

The thing I've admired most about him is that Mandela survived all those years in prison. He not only survived, he became edified, strengthened, almost as if he gained sustenance from all those uncertain years spent behind prison bars. 

Mandela was sent to prison on Robben Island, South Africa's version of Alcatraz, knowing he would probably be there for life. Originally, he was sentenced to death. He was forced into hard labor, chipping at limestone on the rock quarry. Through it all, he stood pat, never faltering. In fact, Mandela was a source of strength and encouragement to other men imprisoned there.

It is far more strength than I or the average person could muster.

"I am fundamentally an optimist," Mandela said. "Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death."

No doubt, Mandela was sustained by the force of ideals stronger than the most oppressive of prison bars. If Mandela was a beacon of hope for people, it is because the principles he stood for were his guiding light.

Mandela came to embody not just South Africa, but the entire continent of  Africa. Ultimately, we see him as an international presence. Like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., he was one of those individuals who transcended national boundaries. He had that rara avis gift.

Along with his perseverance, the other quality I admire was Mandela's ability to forgive. In this sense, I also feel he shared qualities with some of the great, progressive leaders in history. Here is a quote from Mandela: "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."

That reminds me a lot of Abraham Lincoln's quote: "If I make my enemy my friend, then haven't I defeated my enemy?"

Through kindness and just treating people like human beings, Mandela actually befriended several of the captors who were paid to guard him in prison. When he came to political power, he took the rare course of seeking reconciliation with his enemies - a trait he shared with Lincoln and MLK.

Last August, the first time Mandela seemed at death's door, I took my kids to the library. I read them Kadir Nelson's beautifully written and illustrated children's book, simply called Nelson Mandela. We saw pictures of segregated people, then came to the part where Mandela was freed from prison. He spoke to a "colorful sea of people," the book read.

Imagine that. Copper. Ebony. Vanilla. Mocha. Alabaster. Sepia. Bronze.

A colorful sea of people.