Saturday, May 30, 2015

Young. Angry. Skinny. Catchy. Gasy.

I just saw The Dizzy Brains live.

I really had no idea what to expect. I knew nothing of them other than their name, which I had seen on a roster for the Libertalia Music Festival. But the venue was a fancy hotel, and the advertisement listed a host of corporate sponsors, so I had set my expectations for some kind of jazz-influenced elevator world music; nonthreatening, highly polished.

Libertalia Music Festival

I got out of the taxi and I heard the rumblings of a driving punk band. This was a surprise. And I admit that before I saw them I started to imagine a probably-white group from outside Madagascar.

I could hear, but I couldn't see over the security fence. I got in line. I paid my 3000 Ariary cover charge (a buck, more or less). Someone slapped a blue wristband on me. Someone else pressed two condoms into my hand.

Then I was in.

Once I could see the stage... What the hell? These guys are Gasy -- as in Malagasy.

This video is a diluted taste of The Dizzy Brains:

I'm a fan. Imagine The Strokes with real problems, not just First World Problems.

I'm sure the lyrics lose a lot in translation. I noticed that the f-bombs got lost in the English subtitles.

The Dizzy Brains at the Libertalia Music Festival

More music from The Dizzy Brains on Soundcloud >>

About those condoms...

One of the sponsors of the event was the American taxpayer -- by way of a subsidized condom brand with the very clever logo. There were TV monitors showing advertisements for these condoms. If you blinked, you'd miss the USAID logo that flashed on the screen like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval just as you starting to think about safe sex.

Your sex dollars at work.

Note that the opinions expressed here are solely my own and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

'I've Done the Math'

Here's a coincidence.

One year ago today I hiked down to Indian Garden in the Grand Canyon with my backpacker guitar and wrote a song called I've Done the Math.

I wrote and recorded the song down at that oasis; wrote it at a picnic table and recorded it just out of earshot of the campers and park rangers.

Indian Garden Recordion Studio
The view from where I recorded the song.

It was something I always wanted to do, and I was thinking I'd better do I while I still could. I knew that I might soon be leaving Flagstaff for good.

Those circumstances, I think, come through in the song. My marriage was failing — or had already failed. It was hard to tell. Hard for me anyway.

I wasn't thinking about the song's first birthday today. Instead, I was digging through some papers and notes that I'd brought to Madagascar with me. I was looking for some documents to help me do some math to bring my marriage to a final conclusion. Instead I found the handwritten lyrics to this song with the date 5/24/14 written in the upper right.

Notepad in Grand Canyon
This is what an unwritten song looks like
The song got some good feedback over on Songcrafters. But I was up to my chest in the things one has to do when his life is unraveling, so I didn't give the song much more attention.

So here I am in Madagascar a year later. My life is looking more raveled than unraveled these days.

Interestingly, adding un- to the beginning of ravel does create a word with the opposite meaning -- not in this case. Ravel and unravel mean the same thing — like flammable and inflammable.

So what do I mean when I say, "my life is looking more raveled than unraveled these days?" Exactly that.

My backpacker guitar is in storage in Arizona. In Madagascar I have a kabosy, which is about the same size. Maybe it's time to pick a destination and do another songwriting hike. But first I have to do some math.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gun Owners with "Injustice Envy" — The Ultimate First World Problem

Suppose that your favorite cause is increasingly being shown to be a sham. Say resisting the erosion of gun rights.

And suppose some other problem is getting all the attention in the news, but you aren't directly affected by the problem. Say racial disparities in law enforcement and criminal justice.

Here's how some privileged white ammosexuals tried to get a slice of that sweet sweet injustice attention by conflating that real problem with the other fake problem.

This is a screen grab from a video which proves conclusively that a couple of gun nuts have an agenda and video cameras. And that's all it proves.

Screen Grab from Open Carry Video
...and also: the black black guy is black.
The video first shows a white guy carrying an AR-15 rifle. The white guy has an interaction with a police office that apparently concludes uneventfully, because they only show about the first 30 seconds.

Then they show a black guy with the same gun get confronted by the police, and it doesn't go so well. So they show it all — four minutes of it anyway — from the office drawing his gun, to the guy lying face down on the asphalt, to the arrival of two or three additional officers, to the gun guy being taken to into custody.

I really don't want to give this video any more views, but if you must see it for yourself.

What else are you going to do when a real problem is getting so much attention lately and eclipsing your fake problem?

Barack Obama's presidency is in it's seventh year and he still hasn't come for your guns. Gun rights have increased under this president. Gun sales soared because so many dupes believe the opposite to be true. And now gun sales are slumping because gun enthusiasts are feeling more secure about their rights.

Injustice Envy: the ultimate first world problem.

Nobody is really coming to take away my guns