Friday, August 14, 2009

Storing away the nuts of a Folky Bum, Jon and Kate, and One Beautiful Loser

Squirreling Around

This picture on the right is floating around the web today and it caught my eye as I have a family of squirrels that have nested on one side of the window air conditioning unit jutting out my bedroom window at the head of my bed.

The squirrels have been there since winter and I thought when I cranked the AC unit up in May, that'd be it. Nope. They're tenacious fuckers. I knocked away their nest but they just rebuild it. They haven't otherwise bothered me, but when I open the blind in the morning I'm often presented with just this image (well, minus the people in the background).

The Mystery Tramp

Apparently, Bobby Zimmerman of Hibbing Minnesota was wandering around Long Branch recently, several blocks inland in a 'low income, predominantly minority neighborhood' doing some 'sight seeing' when he was questioned by police.

They asked his name and the 68 year old disheveled 'bum' muttered, "Bob Dylan."

Blank Stares.

The 20 something cops apparently did not recognize either the man or the name. They just saw an aging potential vagrant.

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm on Tour, just looking at houses until the show."

He didn't have ID. Why do famous people never have ID on them? He should at least carry a folded up copy of one of his cover shots from Rolling Stone or Creem.

At least sing for them, Mr. Voice of a Generation.

"Who am I? The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind."

"No it's not, that's one of the industrial chemical plants just north of here, you're in North Jersey dickweed - I ask again, who are you?"

They took him back to where he was staying and the tour staff vouched for Mr. Tambourine Man.

He shoulda known better, he said it himself once upon a time:

"Up on Housing Project Hill It's either fortune or fame
You must pick up one or the other

Though neither of them are to be what they claim

If you're lookin' to get silly

You better go back to from where you came

Because the cops don't need you here

And man they expect the same."

Jon and Kate + Hate

For me, the devolution of Jon and Kate from learning channel curiosity to huge family-friendly sensation to full-on Jerry Springer / car-wreck-we-can't-avoid-watching phenomenon sort of parallels the relationships in modern American mainstream politics. Specifically, the centrist wings of the Democratic and Republican parties. To be more clear, I'm referring here to the 'professional' politicos, not those of us out here in the peanut galleries of 'main street'.

Sure you've always had the extremes of both bents railing at one another and at the center. I've been watching the pros in this league kind of closely, as I play Left Wing position in pick-up games on the weekend.

But I think the mainstream has in recent years become much more polarized than they have been in a while, certainly since Reagan, and maybe since Watergate.

It's all cyclical on the generational scale, but we're definitely in the midst of a bad patch.

The latest 'break-up' I feel came to a head with the invasion of Iraq (though the 2000 election shenanigans signaled a separation and certainly there were fireworks during most of Clinton's second term).

Oh, the centrists tried working it out over the last few years as the Yeh Ha Cowboy Nutso antics of Bush/Cheney became ever more pronounced and Grandpa Grumpy saddled up with Sista Sarah making the central right look more like Limbaughland than the Gipperville he advertised.

They even tried moving back in together during the recent election, keeping it going for a couple of months of the Obama administration.

But that temporary reprieve all ended for good with the maelstrom that is health care and the false specter of Socialism on a Grand Scale, the central left understanding that the Fear-mongering is all one big red herring and the central right not taking any changes.

I'm not yet sure who is who in this admittedly 'stretching it' Jon and Kate analogy.

But I'm guessing Jon is the randy Dem, hanging out in Vegas with the babysitter, a 'Looking for Mr. Goodbar' type who'll no doubt be his downfall.

Kate is the self righteous Elephant, seemingly all 'family-first' but who will eventually be outed as a deviant loon. She's already had one brush with the law ('bad girls, bad girls, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?').

The kids are, you might have guessed, all of us.

Beautiful Cohen

After watching the PBS Leonard Cohen concert the other night, I picked up one of the two novels he wrote (he has several collections of poems and short stories), first published back in 1966. Beautiful Losers. "God knows how far up your moccasins were laced." The guy's gotta way with words, in song and in story. It's a bit too metaphysical for my taste and his prose can get mighty purple, but he's always on his game with an inside out turn of phrase and a heady mix of the pretty and profane.