Sunday, October 28, 2012

Too big to fail will fail

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What passes for a cold front nowadays went through my neck of the woods day before yesterday, bringing relief from late season heat. Pecan harvest season looms.

We’ve been preparing harvest machines, picking up limbs and mowing river bottoms in preparation. Tomorrow, we begin shaking trees and gathering nuts, good Lord willing, that is. I take nothing for granted in this world (and when I do, I shouldn’t).

The native pecan crop is decent; the budded nuts a mixed bag, with some varieties looking good and others almost non-existent. I am told we were in danger of nuts sprouting in the trees due to the unusually warm fall weather. I for one was glad to see cooler days arrive.

The Chinese have developed an affinity for pecans over the last couple of years and a good portion of what we produce may well end up crossing the pond to that market. There was a time when I felt a twinge of resentment about that arrangement, considering many Americans can’t afford to buy what we produce, but in the end, the common man in China should not be blamed for the powerful elite that control his or her life, any more than poor working folks in this country can be blamed for those that steal their labor.

Lord knows we benefit from the hard work they all do for very little money.

I’ve felt unease lately with all the political talk surrounding the upcoming election. In Texas I hear people say that electing Romney is going to somehow save the day. In so-called liberal bastions like Austin, keeping Obama in office somehow saves our skin. Are any of these people actually watching and listening to the same debates I heard?

The troubling part: I know and interact with people from both camps. They’re decent folk, as people go (the argument can be made than none are decent). But I think most are deceived by propaganda, unwitting vassals in someone else’s grand game.

Consider this: if the plan calls for privatizing profits and socializing costs, implementation requires allowing one side in for a time—those that believe strongly in private property rights, low taxation, etc. When things go bad and all that accumulated wealth, by capitalist rules of operation, should be lost or redistributed through bankruptcy proceedings to more viable entities, the other side comes in to save the day with bailouts and stimulus plans which, in effect, socializes losses, thereby allowing the rich and powerful corporate interests to remain rich and powerful. A bone gets tossed to the poor and dispossessed in the form of limited social programs, requiring at some point, higher taxation. Unfortunately that taxation is applied to wage earners rather than those that derive their wealth from ill-gotten gains like theft, fraud, the selling of unnecessary wars, market manipulation and outsourcing, (modern version of slavery). The fucking is complete.

No one goes to jail from the elite class, except perhaps for some token scapegoat. They keep the goddamned money, regardless of how it was acquired. And we who work for a living get to pay for it.

This is precisely why so few bother voting. Most that do vote are afraid to rock the boat, because they derive their somewhat comfortable existence from the system, not unlike inmates in a minimum security federal prison camp. Piss off the jailers; they’ll reduce recreation time or send us to a hard core joint.

Real change will require something quite a bit more painful than casting a ballot in a rigged election. I think things will have to get quite a bit worse before people become desperate enough to take those risks. Don’t worry (or should I say, do worry). Things will get worse; people will rise up.

When they do, they’ll be punished.

The plan calls for bigger and bigger, regardless of the popular political flag you wave.

The law of entropy demands otherwise; the two forces are in direct violent conflict.

Too big to fail ain’t too big to fail. So it will.

When and how remain the only two unanswered questions.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Matt King—Apples and Orphans

Matt King is a modern nomad. A scribe, recording, describing whom and what he sees as he roams. Like Samuel Clemens, Matt captures the landscape, the irony of a world gone mad, only done with fewer words and music, for greater effect. His visions are strained through Appalachian roots, sung with the voice of and hewn by the hands of a modern day mountain man, where such is no longer allowed.

He’s not a prophet; his words are delivered without expressed ideology or judgment, but the pictures they paint go a long way toward verifying prophecies of others. Some make me smile, because smiling is more fun than crying, but the ground between the two emotions is scant. We live in tragic times.

His songs remind me of a trip through some old vaudeville traveling circus, complete with whores, card sharps, thieves, snake-oil salesmen. A juggler tosses balls, another guy rides a big wheel bike in circles, a monkey grinds a hand organ with one hand and jacks off with the other, when he’s not picking your pocket. There’s incest, murder, polluted landscapes, con-artists; bizarre sounds lure you in and then in the next minute scare hell out of you. Moonshine can be had, maybe even a line of white powder or psychedelic smoke, though Matt no longer imbibes. Painted Gypsy women lay you down, read your fortune or caste a spell if you prefer; junk men wait to haul off anything not nailed down or that won’t start; passing trains ferry hoboes through abandoned farms populated by shotgun toting squatters that by-God want to be left the hell alone.

If by chance any part of this menagerie creates a twinge of guilt, well, there’s a snake-charming preacher ready and willing to sell you a dose of comfort for the right price.

The tracks wind through dying factories and wastelands that once kept us alive and continue killing the earth in some sort of psychotic dance of daredevils. Wars abound. There’s mercury in the water, acid in the air. Atlas shrugs, Jesus weeps. There’s hell in the hen house, blood in the barn. Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Sister Theresa kindly die and shut the fuck up; in so doing, become heroes.

Elsewhere children cry; a young woman ends her own life at thirty-three. But the cars keep rolling, mama bakes her biscuits and daddy plants a seed.

Despite all, life goes on. Hope refuses to succumb and from amongst the ruins, people find a way to sing, play and dance to good songs.

Matt King has created a wonderful album, a wide-sweeping vision of our times, set to music.

This will last a long, long time.

The CD is not yet available, but a digital album can be had through Matt's web-site.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ryan Bingham--Guess who's knockin at the door

I wanted not to like Ryan Bingham’s latest, Tomorrowland. Dude quit answering my emails a couple years back. I figured he got too big to speak to common folk like myself after the major record deal and the Oscar.

I also figured Ryan landed in a soft spot after moving to Los Angeles and would likely be spouting worthless shit by now to make more money to pay for the all the bling.

I was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Dead fucking wrong.

Bingham sings from the street—hell, not even the street—from the gutter, the land of the lost, the forsaken, the forgotten. The feral.

It’s a poke in the eye, a knee to the gut, a kick to the balls.

Once again, the rhyme is awkward at first, but there’s method to the madness, and after a few times through it couldn’t be any other way. There’s soul in the words, big time soul.

It’s art of the deranged, like a Van Gogh painting, strokes of genius from a man that probably couldn’t construct a sentence to satisfy a seventh grade English teacher if his life depended on it.

Bingham’s Tomorrowland is produced by Axster Bingham records. Axter is Ryan’s wife. The CD is recorded at Fred and Anouk’s house in Los Angeles.

I don’t know what happened to the Lost Highway deal or the big shot T Bone Burnett.

But I know damn well that this record is the kind that makes editors and music executives cringe and run for the door. No way they’re hanging their balls out on something like this.

This is going to scare the hell out of folks.

My hat’s off to Ryan Bingham.