Monday, February 28, 2005

More boring by the day, but they pay me...

I work in corporate America.

Corporate America is soulless and depraved.

Does that make me soulless and depraved?

The company I work for has been around for almost seventy years, but has grown wildly in the last twenty. The practices of my company are in direct conflict with many of my personal beliefs. This is not a diverse company. All of the many vice-presidents are middle-aged white men. If you walk the halls of the sprawling suburban corporate campus, you will see an alarming lack of minority employees.

If there is a successful locally run small business in any town in America that does what my company does, that mom-n-pop business will be targeted. We will saturate the town with salespeople and try to steal their customers with prices lower than the local business can afford. If this is not successful in putting that company out of business, we then offer the owner of that small business a large sum of money and a director’s job with the company. We then absorb that locally owned company in to the giant corporate behemoth that is my company. Of course, those low prices do not stick around and that saturation of salespeople does not last.

Therefore, the people of that town are stuck with one company to fill their needs.

Us.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Listen to music

Juan Appagado

Bubba Loo Hugby

We're gonna need golf shoes...

“Don’t take any guff off those swine.”

I was shocked to hear the news this morning about Hunter S. Thompson. He took his own life this past weekend. When thinking about the life he has lived it makes most people’s lives look like they were lived as puritanical shut-ins. I think it is amazing that he lived this long. There is no way he could die from natural causes. He was obviously super-human, impervious to the wounds that wear down normal people. He grew stronger. The only way he could die is by doing it himself. Can you imagine Dr. Gonzo in a nursing home?

I wonder what the legacy will be: great American writer or great American lunatic. He invented a style of writing, gonzo journalism. He told the truth through the filtered lens of his whirring and ebullient mind. His mind wired unlike any other, spinning backwards and curling upwards; turning inside out and spitting up brilliantly mad prose.

His insanity was not an act. He knew he wasn’t like you. He kept to himself, for your safety. Fear and loathing at the gates of hell.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In the morning

Larry drove towards downtown on Lyndale Avenue. His head was pounding and all the thoughts within that head were fuzzy. As he drove slowly and cautiously, the fa├žade of the CC Club shone in the corner of his eye.

Larry decided it made more sense to go there now than go home, sleep on the couch, and suffer the demons of hangover. It was 9:41am according to the digital display on the car radio.

The CC did not open until 10:00am.

He found a parking spot on a street behind the bar. As he parallel parked, he may or may not have passed out momentarily. He stumbled out of the car, stepped in a puddle of melted snow, and broke through a thin pudding skin of ice on the top.

The cold morning air attacked his nostrils and mouth and suddenly Larry did not feel stable. He tried to run behind an abandoned building, but he could not make it. He stood knee deep in the front yard of a run down duplex. His hands were on his knees as a steady stream of vomit and mucus exited his facial orifices. The hot vomit melted the snow and formed a perfect spray pattern. It also turned the blinding blue-white snow to a putrid shade of yellow-green-brown filth. Larry had not remembered the last time he ate, but apparently, corn was involved.

He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his flannel and walked around the corner and up the block to the door of the CC Club, which had just been unlocked.


Monday, February 14, 2005

Valet is Contagious

Valet don’t get anywhere in a hurry. They don’t scream for you to follow them. They don’t boast of the greatness they are achieving before they have achieved it. No. Instead, they come to you casually, they get you to buy them a drink and then say, “Hey. Did you hear about Johnny Ace?”

The bed of music where these stories lie is the kind of perfect pop that reminds you of other local bands like The Hang Ups or a less bombastic Olympic Hopefuls. When the band drops out and singer Robin Kyle and his guitar backpedal from a former lover you realize that sprinkled on top of those sugar melodies are a dirty, nuanced, and dark lyrical world.

The dive bars are where the characters in Valet’s world live. They are picking up pieces of their lives, their relationships, and their memories of the night before. While not a concept album there is this theme running throughout. That is the idea that we are all searching for an answer for what to do next. We do this by drowning our sorrows at Stand Up Franks. Or by driving out of town while Dylan is cranked. Or by trying to sew the last remaining threads of a relationship back together.

This is not unfamiliar territory for a rock band. There are as many songs about girls, booze, driving, and death as there are bands to sing them. Robin Kyle, however, doesn’t play the victim in these vignettes. He just paints the picture and lets you judge and that is why the songs work upon repeated listening.

This is the band’s second full-length record and it arrived with much buzz. What is unusual about that is that Valet are collectively recluse. They rarely play shows, so in turn they rarely promote themselves. That is why it is astounding that this CDs release was accompanied by mainstream press coverage and a packed Turf Club show. I think it very surprising in this decade that music can sell itself just by being great music. It gives hope to the cynical, withered music lover’s soul.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The answers

1. I thought it was green.

2. Oh, that naked santa.

3. 33 1/3

4. The green hillside of an irish town on a crisp autumn morning.

5. boobies.