Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Wayne Kramer's Lexington Arts Ensemble performs Chasing a Fire Engine live. It's on his first recording in 12 years, LEXINGTON on his own Industrial Amusements label. Wayne is one of modern music's most original guitarists. He played rock as a teen, and formed The MC5 and played the some of the highest energy, most creative and socially relevant music through out his 50 year career. In the early 70's, after the MC5 disintegrated, Wayne was in prison in Lexington, KY on a drug charge. While in prison, he met some great Jazz musicians and started to play jazz. But, his playing was always more of a link between free jazz and rock. Much more influenced by Sun Ra and Coltrane than by Hendrix. He was already playing his own distinctive style when Hendrix appeared, so, maybe you could say that Kramer is the missing link between Chuck Berry, Pharoah Saunders and Sun Ra! I don't have a problem with that.  During the last 10 years, he created the Jail Guitar Doors program with British musician, Billy Bragg.  JGD gives instruments and provides musical instruction to prison inmates all over America. The organization was inspired by a song by The Clash, who wrote it when Wayne was in prison. Years later, Wayne realized that The Clash had written it about him.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gee Whiz Pops!

But, Gee whiz Pops, all the really neat kids have a Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab!

The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was a toy produced between 1950 and 1951. The toy allowed the user to conduct simple experiments with radioactive materials. Kit included;
A Geiger counter
An electroscope
A Wilson cloud chamber
A spinthariscope
Four samples of uranium ore
Pb-210 lead isotope
various other accessories
After only a year of production, the toy was pulled from the market for obvious reasons.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The 12 Inch Man

August 11,1974 Golden Hall, San Diego California. Tom Waits was the opening act for Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention. He wanders on stage during Zappa's set and tells his 12 Inch man Joke while the Mothers play along with Waits classic "OL 55" song.

International Dark Sky Week

This is International Dark Sky Week! The week of the first new moon in April. It was created  in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, International Dark Sky Week has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month.

I want people to be able to see the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution. The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future . . . I want to help preserve its wonder." – Jennifer Barlow

I am so lucky to live i a place with relatively little light pollution. There is so much wonder in the night sky. To learn more about International Dark Sky Week, here is the link to their web site!
I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.

Friday, April 25, 2014

funki porcini / b. monkey

Karate Girl

And since it is my birthday today, I am indulging myself by making you watch the worst best most terribly wonderful trashy low budget death scene ever filmed. From the 1973 Classic of the Turkish Cinema, Karate Girl!

The 6,666,667th Sign.....

I'm beginning to to get tired of keeping track of all these signs and omens popping up lately and I thought I'd never ever post anything by Ben Gleck ever have to admit, it's been years soince I even referred to him, but...In light of the fact that he is getting desperate to change the subject about Cliven, he devoted an entire segment of his daily wankery to the 6,666,667th Sign. The sacred pancake of death! 
Now, really Glecky, Jesus? I'd say it looks more like Frank Zappa, or even more like, uhh, Charles Manson?
And, I'm not quite sure as to what that is supposed to mean...But Glecky, perhaps it is a sign, a totally devine sign that perhaps it is time for you to never mention he whose name should not be spoken, never, ever, never ever again.

The Tragic Side Effects

As with any unchecked epidemic, there are the actual victims and then there are the tragic side effects of systemic affliction running rampant and unchecked in a society. We are dealing with the tragedy of Affluenza my friends. A disease of the over privileged, the wealthy and the trickle down effects of this virulent curse that affect everyone. Take the tragic case of Ethan Couch, the Texan teen who was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of 4 people who he killed while driving drunk.  He was 16 at the time of the incident, and had already been arrested 3 times for drunk driving. He had been driving since age 13. When he was tested, his blood alcohol level was .24, three times the legal limit and was also convicted of stealing liquor from a Walmarts. He also tested positive for Valium, but his lawyer was able to make the case that he was suffering from a specific affliction, Affluenza and of course you could not put a delicate sensitive afflicted young man like Ethan in a facility with common folks where he could be brutally traumatized physically and emotionally. Much like the case of The DuPont family heir, Robert H. Richards IV who got off with probation for raping his 3 year old daughter! In a recent development, Richards has been accused of of sexually abusing his 19 month old son and continued the abuse for 2 years! Richards, the 47year old heir to the DuPont fortune was able to have his lawyer plead that he was too wealthy and too "delicate" to be incarcerated in the general prison population, so the Delaware judge took his affluenza into account and though he was convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison, he walked with a 3 year "conditional" probation sentence as long as he agreed to 10 years of psychiatric counseling. Well, he didn't even bother with the counseling, even as the second abuse case was pending. The court also suppressed the publicity around the case at the time. Now he is fighting forced counseling sentence and wasting taxpayers dollars because he is just too affluenzated to be bothered to be bound by the rules that govern common folk. 
With Ethan Crouch, it's even worse, he is waiting to be sent to a mental institution in Vernon, Texas where the tab is $21,000 a month. His lucky multi millionaire parents only have to pay out $1,170 a month and the citizens of the State of Texas will foot the bill for the balance extremely expensive welfare therapy for the affluenzated super rich jerks whose spoiled brat of a son is in their eyes is better than you or me for $19,030 a month. If this isn't welfare for the super wealthy and a clear example of how warped the American psyche has become due to perceived class differences, what is? If DuPont was a common man, he'd be in pedophile row in a corporate prison eating dog chow. If Crouch was a poor black or a Mexican in Texas convicted of the same offense, he'd probably be on death row, tout de suite! Or how about this asshole, Cliven Bundy who has become a media whore non stop, ripping off taxpayers and threatening civil insurrection because as a white, mormon, millionaire rancher, he can get away with almost anything. An affluenza sufferer if I ever saw one. Finally, someone called him out for what he is! A scamming welfare queen in a cowboy hat....
Finally, the Republican response to The Affordable Care Act!
Grey skies are just clouds passing over.....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Incredible Thing

funki porcini 2013


The 6,666,666th Sign!

How will the professional doomsday Wizard, Reverend James Hagee or the Prophet of the Age of Alzheimers, Pat Robertson, interpret this one? A few hours ago a 30 meter high crucifix erected in honor of Pope John Paul II collapsed at a ceremony in Cevo, Northern Italy, today to celebrate his upcoming canonization as a Roman Catholic saint on Sunday. A religious tourist, 21 year old Marco Gusmani was crushed and killed instantly and a number of others were injured as a group of children looked on in horror. Marco was crushed beneath the 1,320 pound figure of Christ.

The Gub'mint Plot

It's a damn gubmint librul plot. You'd a know as soon as the illeegitimate  'Bama socialistic conspirators went after Cliven, they'd start playin' the pathetic race card. What do you expect from the New York Times? A hot bed of librul socialist commie thugs smear Cliven by claiming he made racist remarks when he was jes speakin the plain truthful facts about negroid type folks suckin on the gubmint teats so they'ze can support there criminal prokilivities and lay about and impregnate the wimmens and abandon their babies so they'ze can git drunk and shoot up their dope. Hell, I ain't racist, I'm just sayin what everyone is thinkin. Cliven even lets a negro come into his house! He don't think that all negroid types would be better off as slaves, just some of them. So they come out with this Commie plot to steal Clivens cattlecause he is jes claiming his ancestral rights on the land he's lived on since since way back in uhhh...1948? That must be a lie because Cliven, a God fearin' Morman man swears that they've been there since 1870 And the cattle started grazing on the sacred ancestral homestead in uhhh, 1954? Well, it's all about some librul tree huggin ecologist thing and save them damn tortoises during their breeding season which nobody gives two cow turds about anyways. I saw the video from the librul hate propaganda outhouse called Media Matters. Obvious fake! These CIA, NSA tech nerds can make anyone look like they'ze saying anything! You know what I mean? I was so relieved that the good ol folks at the local FOX Network gave Cliven a chance to explain what you think he said, but he didn't really say cause this yer is what he really meant:

Legal Advice, Please?

If you know me just through this blog, you know I am a life long bicycle enthusiast. I ride in all kinds of awful weather. I live in a very hilly place, so just getting to the main road is the hardest part of any bike trip. I fantasize about my favorite flat places. I rode around the NYC area for about thirty years and loved to get on my bike after midnight in the summer and ride through lower Manhattan and then finally end up at the heliport on the East River and enjoy the artificial gales generated by the helicopters on a impossibly hot humid Manhattan night! I loved riding in Manhattan in the winter late at night. I had a few friends who I would meet up with and we would own the streets! I was a part time bike messenger in Lower Manhattan for a year and a half through 1979 and 1980. I loved it, and the best thing I can say about that experience is that I survived! I lived in Michigan and then the Toledo, Ohio area for years before I moved to NYC. I lived on my bike. So, I have this exquisite nostalgia about the utter flatness of that part of the world. I visit my family from time to time in the Toledo area and get to use my brother in laws bike and go on trips with my nephew, who is a real monster triathlete! It's another world, for me almost orgasmic, especially when you are going in the direction the wind is pushing you in. So, I am actually looking forward to a visit this year to Ohio. I cannot wait to get on a bike and ride up into Michigan on roads as flat as a bowling alley. But,  the last time I was in Toledo, I was riding at the infamous 5 points intersection, and a bunch of yahoos started to harass me just for  being on a bike! Then one of the jerks tossed a MacDo Strawberry Shake out the window and hit me in the leg...Splattering MacDo gloop all over me! Unfortunately for the car full of jerks, there is a long light at the intersection and they were waiting in traffic when I came pedaling up, really pissed! I started screaming and kicking their car...they rolled up the window and so I kicked the window and after three solid hits, I felt something give....then the light changed and they roared the fuck out of there, but I had the satisfaction of knowing that someone was going to have to pay to get that damn window fixed! That brought back an ugly memory of 1972, when I was riding up Collingwood Avenue late at night after work. I had shoulder length hair at the time and there were a bunch of idiots walking on the edge of the street. They were totally fucked up and the biggest goon reached out as I road by to turn on my street, and grabbed my hair and pulled me off of my bike. I fuzzily came back to reality and saw the big jerk grinning and drooling at me from above. I think his friends were totally freaked at what their idiot friend had done. I jumped to my feet, ready to do what ever I had to do and a miracle happened, a station wagon had stopped and a Lucas County Sheriff deputy in uniform with his family had witnessed the entire incident. The drooling incoherent jackass was now the one who was more than a little stunned by this unexpected reality.  The deputy, who was armed, asked me if I wanted to press charges. With out missing a beat, I said call the cops! The drooling ape was the son of a pretty well to do family and though there was no trial, I made out pretty good in a private settlement with the family. I was incredibly lucky! I can't claim to be brilliant, but I have always had bizarre luck that has come through for me on many occasions! As far as I can see, that is how I came to live here in France in the most beautiful house in the Dordogne. I just followed my heart and my heart made my luck. But, as I am planning a trip to Ohio later this year, I was wondering, if under Ohio's current weapons law, if the bike I  have posted above might be legal? I read the current Ohio gun laws and it doesn't seem to violate any of them. After all, it's hardly a concealed weapon. It might prevent a lot of problems before they actually occur/ My nephew says he'll help me put it together and he might build one as well, then we could have a convoy. I'd appreciate any advice? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Brown Shoes Don't Make It

I recently discovered this duo. Two classically trained musicians from Florence, Italy,  Pierpaolo Romani, clarinet and bass clarinet and Andrea Pennati, classical guitar, who call themselves Inventionis Mater. They have an recording called, Does Humor Belong In Classical Music?. 
In their own words from their website: 
They have arranged many compositions by Frank Zappa as duets for classical guitar and clarinets The Inventionis Mater Duo is a project born of the encounter between the clarinetist Pierpaolo Romani and the guitarist Andrea Pennati. The purpose is write down the Zappa gigantism for a duo so little frequented as the clarinet and guitar duo is. To the question of what meaning Frank Zappa had for rock music and what for classical music of the late twentieth century Inventionis Mater certainly does not answer. But they take the bright and eccentric rock of Frank Zappa and return it back to the audience in a duo transcription reduced to the need of essentiality. A transcript that is translation, never distortion. A trip between stylistic and timbre versatility, from rhythm 'n blues to dodecaphonic atmospheres. A duo that tells a story in which the protagonist is an American composer who was able to draw from rock music of the XX century what the great romantic composers drew from folk music. One of the few who knew how to use the difficult simplicity resulting from the purification of complexity. The Inventionis Mater tells you about Zappa: an acrobat on the thin line between Art music and Pop music. A genius who has managed to create a language - a truly contemporary music - mirror of the postmodern eclecticism, not forgetting the pleasure of irony and intellectual taste for hearing.

In my opinion, they have transcended their purpose magnificently. Faithful transcriptions of the original pieces that never alter the original melodic intent, but only illuminate the real compositional originality and playfulness of Zappa, the composer. I chose this performance of Brown Shoes Don't Make It, which Zappa referred to as an Oratorio from his second record, Absolutely Free because if you are familiar with the original, you will understand the high level of humor that Inventionis Mater operates on. It's a piece you would never have expected anyone to try to cover or reinterpret in any event, but their rendition is incredible. I would suggest you check them out, here is a direct link to a page with their YouTube channel, Facebook, Sound Cloud and Google Plus. I think Frank would have like them very much and to quote his favorite quotation from Edgar Varese, his musical hero:
"The modern day composer refuses to die!"
Holy Cards for the XXI Century
Happy Easter from Ikea
(some assembly required)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Beginning Of The End

No, really, what is this shit? I was in line at a checkout in the big Carrefour store ( a huge shopping center type store we call a Grand Surface like an upscale Walmart) in Brive-la-Gaillarde and the couple in front of me were buying a typical load of garbage. I always find it a kind of socio/anthropological research project to try to profile the people in line in front of me at grocery store check outs by the contents of their shopping cart. You know you've pegged a serial killer when you see a cart containing only 10 giant economy size cans of bargain brand manicotti and 6 bottles of cheap scotch. I should talk. I went into the big shopping center to get organic unbleached flour for my wife, but you get into the store, go into a sort of twilight zone trance and a simple 2 Euro purchase magically expands to 45 Euros. The flour, a box of the very hard to find Schwarzkopf Ultra Violet hair color that is part of my wife's life support system, a box of dwarf haricot vert seeds, 2 doggie IDs...(my dog, J.Edgar is extremely creative in making his dog IDs mysteriously disappear!) Listerine Mouth Wash, some kind of l'Oreal face cream that is also part of my wifes life support system and a bag of frozen artichoke hearts which I have been looking for so my wife can make a pasta recipe our buddy Enzo sent us.  I realized what I had done as I was unloading the contents of my shopping basket on the checkout belt. There was actually another woman in front of me in the line, a kind of butch, but very friendly looking woman with 2 big bottles of Italian red wine. She saw me checking out the strange pile of goods on the belt in front of us and smiled as if we were sharing a joke. I was transfixed by a can at the end of the procession, something I had never seen before or could have even imagined existing. The label said Panzani Ravioli Dessert, sauce chocolat, fourree a la banane. The picture on the can didn't help at all. In case you need an English translation, that would be, Panzani Dessert Ravioli, with banana filling in chocolate sauce, in a can. I started to giggle and the woman in front of me saw what I was giggling about and started laughing as well.  The folks making the purchase seemed to be ignoring us and we stowing their purchases in their shopping cart. The woman in front of me said she could not imagine what it was. I said I had never seen anything like it before and I was both horrified and intrigued. I don't know what you would do with this stuff. I
wouldn't take it on a camping trip to feed bears with. It probably has a long shelf life if in case you were stocking your survival bunker. In fact, I realized that I had witnessed one of the signs of the upcoming apocalypse. Forget Reverend Hagee and his dire predictions about the Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse last week. That don't mean shit! I went home and googled the product and found out that it was a new product made in France being test marketed at the Carrefour chain. It comes in Vanilla sauce with a strawberry flavored filling as well. The product revues I read all said that it was basically unedible chemical flavored glop. The couple buying the can were probably one of the first purchasers of these cursed cans as yesterday was the first day it went on sale. As far as I'm concerned, yesterday marked the beginning of the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Untitled, unreleased jam of just Bootsy Collins and Eddie Hazel.
No drums, just bass thumping by the amazing Mr. Collins, the guy I still wanna be if I ever grow up.

Eat Your Tardigrades or You Don't Get No Dessert!

You know this little guy, right? It’s the mighty tardigradeTardigrades, also known as water bears, also known as FREAKIN’ MOSS PIGLETS, are microscopic eight-legged animals that can withstand temperatures from near absolute zero to boiling water, absorb extreme doses of radiation, go without food or water for ten years, and even survive the vacuum of space. They can even be completely dried out and ride on the wind to a new home, where they rehydrate and go about their tardigrade type business. Tardigrade rain, folks.
In other words, they are BAMFs (bad-ass microfauna).
Oh, and you’ve probably eaten them.  These water-dwelling super-critters live not only on wild mosses and wet plants, but on grocery store produce like lettuce and spinach. Do you think that a mere rinse or shake under the faucet (or even cooking) is enough to dislodge a radiation-eating space pig? Ha! Not by a long shot. 
So yeah… trying to go strictly vegetarian? You’ve almost certainly eaten some tardigrades. Sorry. Don’t worry, though. They’re totally harmless. I like to imagine that when I eat them, I absorb their power, and become a little bit mightier.
New motto: For strength, eat your vegetables and eat your tardigrades.

Here's a great link about your local tardigrade friends. Science is for everyone!
Update: In the comments I received a visit from Mike Shaw, the man known as The Water Bear Hunter, who has made the study of tardigrades his passionate speciality. To learn more bout these little guys, check out his web site, Tardigrade USA!

Jesus, The Easter Bunny and Mommy's Hoo Hoo

There are a lot of factors contributing to the demographic shift in this historical map but the rapid shift in the last decade might have a lot to do with the crisis of education in America. This map shows a relative center of economic "gravity". As Eastern Asians become more affluent and upwardly mobile, they have expanded the educational opportunities for their young population who will create the economy of the future. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, this study, published in the latest edition of Evolution: Education and Outreach, actually attempts to illustrate the utter failure of the religious right shackled curriculum of High School biology in say, uhhh, Oklahoma. Students come out of the system actually knowing less than they did when they started it.
The authors of the study, Tony Yates and Edmund Marek, tested biology teachers and students in 32 Oklahoma public high schools via a survey the pair called “the Biological Evolution Literacy Survey.” The survey was administered to the teachers first, to get a benchmark of their grasp of evolutionary theory. The survey was then administered twice to the students — once before they took the required Biology I course, and once after they had completed it.
Yates and Marek found that prior to instruction, students possessed 4,812 misconceptions about evolutionary theory; after they completed the Biology I course, they possessed 5,072. Of the 475 students surveyed, only 216 decreased the number of misconceptions they believed, as opposed to 259 who had more of them when they finished the course than before they took it.
“There is little doubt,” they argued, “that teachers may serve as sources of biological evolution-related misconceptions or, at the very least, propagators of existing misconceptions.”

Despite holding more misconceptions about evolutionary theory after completing the course, students “presumed themselves to be more knowledgeable concerning biological evolutionary concepts following instruction as opposed to prior to instruction.” They were more confident, then, that they understood evolutionary theory, even though they completed the course more confused about its basic tenets than they were when they began it.
This may be
because “about one-fourth of Oklahoma public school life-science teachers place moderate or strong emphasis on creationism.” In fact, two students scored higher initially on the Biological Evolution Literacy Survey than their respective teachers.“There is little doubt,” they argued, “that teachers may serve as sources of biological evolution-related misconceptions or, at the very least, propagators of existing misconceptions.”
So, the results? A generation of students who at least have the privilege of attending schools being brainwashed and manipulated for political/economic motives by a deluded conservative system into actual intellectual incompetency. Could you imagine a kid who was totally manipulated by creationists to actually want to become an astronaut? Could you imagine a creationist astronaut? Your assignment: tell me if there have ever been any astronauts who are anti science creationists! Just having a belief in god doesn't count here. I can only imagine this conversation between a kid from this faulty Oklahoma uneducational system trying to get into a real university and major in science:

College admission counselor: I see you're from Oklahoma and you want to major in science. Why is that? 
Oklahoma teenager: I want to learn more about how Jesus helps the Easter Bunny make a baby in a mommy's hoo hoo. 
College admission counselor: I see.......wait, what?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Just Wanna Testify

What is soul? I don't know. Soul is a ham hock in your cornflakes. Soul is the ring around your bath tub. Soul is a joint rolled with toilet paper. 

This is the original Parliament Funkadelic thing back in 1969! With the forgotten guitar genius, Eddie Hazel! He's the fellow biting his guitar strings at the end of the show! I got to see them on the same stage with The Stooges in Michigan!
 Vcls: Fuzzy Haskins, Grady Thomas, Calvin Simon, Ray Davis, George Clinton Gtr: Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross 
Keyboard: Mickey Atkins 
Drums: Langston Booth
Bass: Billy Bass


I watched Letterman off and on for years in the USA and I liked his humor...stupid, surreal but bottom line subversive. I really respected the way he totally destroyed George Bush Jr. when he had him on his program.  I missed being able to watch him here in France. He's retiring, but this recent rant is one of the reasons I liked him! Here to you, Dave, this one's on me!


"The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are non-existent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices." - They Live (1988)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Too Much Spring

April 16, 2014. One year ago we were suffering from a pretty drastic cold snap that was a real catastrophe for most of the fruit tree growers and I wondering if I would ever be able to plant a vegetable garden. It did warm up, but we didn't get the plowing done until May. This year it was quite the opposite. It never really froze here last winter and there was non stop rain. Then the sun came out and it really hasn't rained in 2 weeks! I have had to mow the grass 3 times already! All the flowers are blooming at the same time and I began to worry about getting the garden started. My neighbor Dede Tochport has been plowing the earth with his tractor for me almost every year for the last 12 years and I hadn't seen him around lately. I broke down and called him last night and he showed up after lunch with his old Massey Ferguson and first cut and leveled the ground, Then he came back around a half hour later with the plow on the tractor and turned the earth. It was dry enough for him to come back with the cultivator and, voila, c'est fini! Here is Dede on the tractor with the cultivator and my buddy, J. Edgar is supervising the procedure. Tomorrow, I plant potatoes. My house is totally green!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Personality Crisis

1973 New York Dolls, Personality Crisis.
I went through a period in the early 70's when I could not stand most rock music being sold. The radio was radioactive to me. Pretentious, over produced pop gave me hives! I had becomea jazz snob and was really into fusion jazz rock....Larry Coryell and Carla Bley were my heros. I hung out in a few record stores in Toledo and scoured the bins for Sun Ra and free jazz. Then I saw the first NY Dolls Album produced by Todd Rundgren. It changed my life. The band that proved that attitude was the most important ingredient in Rock. A friend recently told me that they gave him a headache, but it was the kind of headache he loved.  I always thought that David Johansen was one of the greatest rock vocalists ever.  He never really got the credit he deserved, but then again, the dude probably had too much personality, if you know what I mean. These guys wrote the book for punk rock before the term existed. Sure, the little British dudes were prancing around in their glitter glam rock outfits, but The Dolls were pure trash and flaunted it! In the late 70's I was moving Johnny Thunders and Nolan and their band, The Heartbreakers in my lime green Toyota pick up to gigs around NYC, usually for a 5 pm sound check at Max's. The toughest part of that job was waking them up at 4 in the afternoon. It would be almost 5pm and I was dealing with The Dawn of The Living Dead. Crammed into the front seat of the pick up, trying to get them to not snort up the strange chemicals they needed to get "functional" while I was negotiating traffic on Park Avenue. Somehow by the time we moved the amps in, they were ready to play...

Friday, April 11, 2014

What I Won't Be Doing On August 8th!

I definitely will not be in Toledo, Ohio on August 8th, 2014 to attend the The Annual Great Toledo Rib Off Festival in Maumee. They actually hired Ted Nugent to head line the music show.  I guess he's still a favorite with the tea brain dead zombie crowd, but there is a growing controversy since this announcement was made earlier today. The Toledo Blade is sponsoring the event and claims they hired Ted before his latest Presidential Death Threat Controversy got his last concert cancelled in Texas. They claimed he was going to be paid $50,000 and they would have to pay him even if they cancelled. 
 Toledoans! Try to think of the children who will be seriously damaged for life after hearing this deranged old coot squrawk out a version of Wang Dang Sweet Poon Tang!
In 1968, The City of Toledo cancelled a Doors Concert due to the conservative backlash after Jim Morrison was convicted of exposing his dick on stage in Florida. Now the conservatives in Toledo are claiming the progressive citizens of Toledo are denying Teddy his right to free speech.  I guess there is a big difference between exposing your dick brained hate filled ignorance and a semi turgid body part. 
If you'd like to contribute to this controversy, here is a link to a petition to request that the Toledo Blade cancel Ted Nugent. After all, there will be children in the audience. I should tell you my Ted Nugent story...hint, he is either 1)... a bald faced blatant liar or 2)... a true LSD victim who has blacked out a truly epic bad acid experience which involved trying to murder his best friend and then a few weeks of catatonic behavior...If I were you, I'd pick choice 2, because it really happened in Detroit in 1967. He was never the same or quite sane.

What Are You Doing Saturday April 26, 2014?

After a pretty quiet low key winter, we are faced with difficult choices as suddenly, we are inundated with invitations for events that all seem to be scheduled for the same days. For example, on April 26th, we planned to go to the Phoenix Association Book Sale. That's a pretty big outing as it is about 60 kilometers from here, in a little village called Campsegret, near Bergerac. Phoenix is an animal rescue organization. It's where I got my buddy, J.Edgar almost 7 years ago! My friend and nearest neighbor, Letje got involved with them because of her passion for horses and runs their horse rescue and rehabilitation operation. She and her very patient husband have at times over 24 horses installed on various fields around here. One of the ways they raise money is with their huge book sales. We have a few friends who volunteer to work at the sale. We love it because the majority of the members of Phoenix are British who live here and it is the biggest source of English language books around. To give and idea of the volume, each book sells for 1 Euro and the last sale raised almost 25,000 Euros! We buy bags of books and then re donate them to the association to be resold. I always look forward to finding books I have been wanting to read and discovering ones I never knew existed. So a week ago we received an invitation from our old friend, The present mayor of Ajat, France, Didier Clerjoux and his brother Vincent for the rededication of the villages magnificent 12th century Templar Eglise de
St. Martin. Ajat was our old village and Didier is a great friend. He has been mayor now for over 8 years and one of his projects was the restoration of the church. They completely redid the roof in the original style, which is a technique using slices of limestone called lauze instead of tiles. They also commissioned a few stained glass windows that are really nice pieces of glass art. Here's a picture below of Ajat with the church and attached chateau before the restoration work started. If you are ever in the area, I would suggest you stay at Vincent Clerjoux' wonderful Chambre d'Hote and Bed and Breakfast called Domaine des Ormeaux. I knew it long before it was the luxurious place it has become today. I remember when the local kids set up their "bar" in the stables. They would swipe aperatifs from the parents and then sell drinks to the farm workers. It was a wonderful ancient structure then, but what Vincent has done to it is breath taking. It is a magnificently remodeled and restored 17th century limestone group of farm buildings on the family property. You really should look at the link just to appreciate what this place is now.  The Clerjoux family is one of the oldest families in the area and are involved in raising strawberries, veal farming and have been producing goose foie gras and the related products for many years. The Clerjoux products have won the highest awards consistently at the Salon d'Agriculture in Paris for years and are produced on the property where you can purchase them in their spotless atelier. In fact, Didier and Vincents Aunt, who managed the goose business for years, won the first prize so many times that she
Ajat, France...I once lived on the ridge above the village
became one of the judges of Foie Gras at the Salon, Frances biggest agricultural exposition. So what am I going to do on the 26th? As Ajat is over 50 kilometers from the book sale....well, I do want to buy books and support Phoenix. I sent an email to my friends in Ajat regretting I can't go to the festivities there, but instead, we are pushing on after the book sale, since we will be over half way there, to Neac, France, where Chateau Vieux Chevrol, the place I have worked a few months a year since 2002 is located. I expect to be working there in a few weeks anyway, but they are having a gala open house celebration to welcome everyone to the inauguration of their new Chai...or Cave....A state of the art facility where Jean-Pierre Champseix controls the production of their world class Lalande-de-Pomerol wine. We started using it last year for
the 2013 harvest, which was a pretty arduous affair. See the above video, I am the puny porteur in plaid shorts in the beginning of the video slogging through the mud. It should be fun. My acquaintance, Jackie from Libourne is going to exhibited some of his vintage cars. He has his own mini museum and garage in back of his home. An incredible collection of Peugots, Amilcars and Motoblocs dating to before The First World War! Jean-Pierre has a Motobloc as well from about 1917. Motoblocs were a very innovative automobile made in Bordeaux. They were the first auto with a unified drive train and the marque was producing autos and trucks until the 1950's. Here is a video of Jackie's white Motobloc, which I have had the privilege of actually driving on the streets of Libourne and Jean-Pierres red and black model which I have ridden in quite a few times!
It should be a great time with many old friends, live music, good food and a wine sampling. Hey, if you are in the neighborhood on April 26th, stop by. It's an open house. I'm going to have a great time and my wife is the designated driver! Here's one more video, it's in French, but it is Jean-Pierre Champseix in the old Chai talking about his passion for the wine his family has been making for generations in same place.

Added bonus, here is a video shot by my buddy Steff of the fabulous Microdot in action!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Comic Strip

In 1967, Serge Gainsbourg recorded the original version of this song with Brigette Bardot. It was a perfect piece of pop art.  In 2011, Sean Lennon and his musical partner, Charlotte Kemp Muhi, in their ongoing collaboration G.O.A.S.T.T. (That's Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger) recorded their cover version on their recording La Carotte Bleu. One of the members of the project is one of my favorite musicians, Matthieu Chedid...a very unique vocalist, songwriter and really one of Frances greatest rock guitarists in his own right. He has collaborated quite a bit with Sean. In France, Matthieu has created his own live comic book persona known as M. He's the guy playing the tennis racquet in the video. I like a lot of what Sean Lennon does. He mixes surrealism and pop psychedelia and has a lot of fun doing it. 
Here's an extra added bonus. Sean and Matthieu live on French TV doing a great acoustic cover of 
Jimi Hendrix' Little wing!

They're Back.......

Perhaps you were wondering about the recent local elections here in France and the slight? reshuffling of the deck of cards of the present Socialist government? Things have changed and as far as Francois Hollande's administration goes, perhaps it is for the better. We have a new Prime Minister, Manuel Valls. I had fairly high expectations for the Hollande government. I liked his choice for PM, Jean-Marc Ayrault because he was plain speaking and not afraid to be controversial. I supported him on most issues, but his environmental stance was more than a little shady. His support for an incredibly unpopular and ultimately unnecessary airport which enraged ecologists here stank of patronage and corruption. The ability to outrage and speak plainly seemed to disappear. The Prime Minister is the coordinator of the governments public image and policy and his seeming amateur ineptness in even delivering a simple unified message on any issue managed to enrage even his staunchest supporters. Still, Hollande stood by him, but Hollande was no better. He became the epitome of the label Monsieur Flamby (Flamby being the brand name of an insipid instant pudding like dessert that all French kids are born with an innate hatred for,) with his lame speeches and inability to make the decisions that would ignite his supporters. His popularity was  in a tailspin. His public image was briefly resurrected when he left his partner, the very unpopular journalist Valerie Trierwieler when his affair with actress Julie Gayet was revealed. But again, it underlined his inability to directly confront difficult personal decisions. He took up with Valerie when his ex partner and mother of his children, Segolene Royal was nominated over him for the 2006 presidential race against Nicolas Sarkozy. Segolene could have won, but she was sabotaged by her own party. She fought against Valerie and Francois for years and ins spite of the back stabbing, remains as one of the most poised and intelligent left leaders in France and retained the presidency of the Poitou/Charente region. Valerie was seen as a demanding domineering bitch and he kept her in her own office for at least a year after his affair with Gaynet started. Still, the image of Francois roaring about Paris after hours on a motorcycle to screw his girlfriend gave is image a slight boost. The model of Motor Cycle helmet he wore enjoyed a sales boost, but then again, it might have had something to do with Daft Punk. Still, Hollande assembled an interesting government. He made his rival, Manuel Valls, Minister of the Interior. Valls is relatively young and extremely dynamic and forceful. He soon became the most popular figure in the government, if not in all of the French politics.  Hollande and Ayrault appointed Christiane Taubira as Minister of Justice. A highly controversial choice because she had been the leader and presidential candidate of her own far left party. An un married mother who rose from poverty in French Guiana to become a professor of agricultural economics, then the representative of French Guiana in the Assembly National. In effect, she is the most powerful female political figure in France. Together in an unlikely alliance with Valls, they are the most popular figures in French politics. She is well liked by most and the target of racism from the extreme right. She still rides her bike to and from work every day in Paris. Hollandes government was saddled with the disaster of the French economy after Sarkozy, who had formed an alliance with the far right Front National in an attempt to usurp their rising influence to the advantage of his UMP centrist right party. That is what helped elect Hollande. Sarkozy had brought France to the edge of the Fascist abyss and used racism and nationalism as a manipulative tool. Hollande had the good will of the nation, but had to deal with the economy and the rise of the far right as they fought the progressive social initiatives of enhanced abortion rights for women and homosexual marriage. Taubira was the champion of both of these issues. They enacted many reforms and effectively banned fracking and gmo agricultural, but Hollande seemed to be a more and more distant and disengaged figure and rarely gave interviews or made effective speeches. He gained weight. Ayrault seemed incapable of any
This was the racist poster used for the anti abortion/ anti
gay marriage rallies in Paris earlier this year.  They had
their rally. It turned very ugly and it had quite the opposite effect
of what the organizers envisioned.
unified response on any issue. This was a perfect storm as we went into the regional elections in March.
The Front National, under Marine LePen went on a militant charm offensive. She was on TV nonstop and they recruited young candidates and pushed them into races in towns all over France. It didn't matter if they were unqualified idiots, or as really happened, in rest homes as figure heads It didn't matter that they had no real platform other than they were different. They were able to bank on the rising dissatisfaction with both mainstream parties and in the ensuing election, they made unprecedented gains in the traditionally right wing South East and the economically devastated North East. So, now they are the official 3rd Party of France. A Party that is run like a military organization and was up to a short time ago associated with the WW2 Vichy collaboration with the Germans. Already in some of the larger towns they have gained control of, The FN has closed down human rights offices and started racist policies against Islamic kids in schools. When discussing this last week with a good friend, He made the statement, "The Front National didn't get a big enough win!" I agree. Why? Because the French public has to have there faces rubbed into this nasty shit.  Luckily, here in this part of France we have remained steadfast on the progressive left. The Ecologists made major gains. Paris has a very cool Socialist woman Mayor, Anne Hidalgo. Manuel Valls is the new
Manuel Valls and his musician wife, Anne Gavoin
Prime Minister and after his vote of confidence yesterday and very powerful speech, in which he outlined a progressive energy policy for the future, more popular than ever. His wife, Anne Gravoin is a musician and plays in Johnny Hallidays Band. They have been featured on all the covers of the major magazines here as the new glamorous power couple. In a recent poll in a woman's magazine, Valls was named the man most French women would want to have a torrid affair with. Suck on that Sarkozy. Interestingly enough, both Valls and Hidalgo are naturalized French citizens, born in Spain...The biggest irony in all of this is that Segolene Royal is the new Minister of the Environment. A position she is eminently qualified for  as she was Minister of The Environment under Mitterand years ago. In yesterdays news, all of the ministers showed up in their big prestige cars, except for Sego, who showed up in her trademark French made totally eco little black electric car and Christiane Taubira?
She rode up on her bike! She is still Minister of Justicein spite of the manufactured controversies and the racist hate!  We are at a cross road here in France. Sarkozy sinks deeper and deeper into the legal abyss of scandals that will ensure that he never can come back even though his supporters dream for some kind of miracle. His wife, the ex courtesan/model Italian Princess Carla Bruni's musical career is floundering. She's kind of pissed with Nicolas because when she gives a concert, more people show up to see him. His party, The UMP is desperately trying to play the Far Right alliance card with the FN and we are stuck with waiting for the FN to fuck up bad enough for the idiots who elected them run them out of town again like they did in the 1980's. In the 1980's and early 90's, the FN managed to gain a foothold in the South East. It was the same situation, exploiting economic insecurity, nationalism and stoking racist sentiment. In short order, they proved they were not able to govern and went down in a flurry of corruption scandals and the party splintered into a few little feuding fiefdoms. Unfortunately, The FN and the UMP have learned much from the tactics of the Tea Party and the American Conservative GOP and their use of media. We don't have a Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly yet, but there are few wannabees in the wings rehearsing.

Cry Baby, Cry......

Daddy, make that nasty evolution stop! I'm ascared!
Aaron Miller, the Minnesota Republican Party’s nominee for the 1st Congressional District, said this week that he wanted to win because learning about evolution made his daughter cry, and he wanted to make sure that schools were not forced to teach it.
In a report from the Mankato Free Press last month, Miller told a story to a Republican county convention about how his daughter became “very upset because she had to learn about evolution at school.” You can't make this stuff up, but obviously there is a portion of the American population who will do anything, say anything, believe in anything that empowers their agenda of willful ignorance.  Here's Millers statement and explanation of his position:

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


These are places I remember that are no longer there. The smell is gone. The Mars Bar at Second Avenue and E 2nd Street. It was still there in just a memory. The Second Avenue Deli up at a East 9th Street. It was a cultural landmark for over 60 years. Then the owner was gunned down in a robbery and the family just sold it for the offer they couldn't refuse. Then, there was CBGB. Now, there is the zombie ghost of CBGB in a pop museum in a casino in Las Vegas. No one who is interesting can even think of being able to afford to live in  The East Village in Lower Manhattan anymore. To be fair, I have a few friends who have managed to hang onto their rent controlled apartments, but most of my friends who live in NYC now live in Brooklyn or even further out....I lived there for over 25 years in an apartment on Avenue B and East 5th Street that I paid 125 bucks a month in 1979. I finally gave it up in 2010 and let the land lord buy me out. I think the 5th floor walk up railroad apartment I lived in with the bathtub in the kitchen it is renting for over $2,600 a month now. I spent a day wandering around the neighborhood trying to find anything that reminded me of of why I loved living there for so long. It was all gone, just humvees double parked and pudgy dudes with cigars giving each other attitude. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

I have been trying to perfect some of the tricky maneuvers in my French Drivers License Instructional Videos Lessons.
I think I almost have this one nailed...

We're taking advance reservations for priority seating now. Master Card, Visa or well, if you must, American Express, "Don't leave home without it". Please speak slowly and clearly.  I'm just here to help!