Category Archives: music

introducing carolina chocolate drops

i didn’t realize it, but i’ve been listening to at least one of their songs (a cover of ‘hit ’em up style’) most days at the b&n.  i would listen and think, who the hell is this bluegrass group tryin’ to cover a not very good r&b/hip hop song? and yeah, i still kinda feel that way about it, but hearing some other tracks from the cd, including this song in the video, ‘snowden’s jig’, has caused me to fall in serious like with this band. unbeknownst to me, carolina chocolate drops have been around a few years, but the music they are playing has been around much longer than that. i’m happy to see that they are looking through the negative racial connotations some might say this genre of music represents, and going back to all of our roots, and hopefully exposing this style of music to people who would otherwise not even bother.

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kitty says: leap and the net will appear


i feel like i have no choice but to leap, or else i’ll end up staying on the edge paralyzed with fear. oh, there’s nothing terribly dramatic going on (other than in my romantic life, maybe) where one would think i had to make that choice, or else, but still i feel that is the choice i’m faced with these days. this morning in my email i got the great news that i’ve been chosen as a volunteer at the 1st biennial integral theory conference taking place august 7-10 in the bay area. i’m quite excited about this opportunity to spend time with other people who are integrally minded. in addition, i haven’t been to the bay area since 1997, and so plan to make a daytrip into the city just to see how much has changed since my last visit.

here’s the thing: i’ve pretty much decided to attend library school beginning this fall at mizzou. i figure this will give me the ability to get a decent paying job anywhere i decide to move, plus it would be a way of financing my true love and interest in continuing to study religion/spirituality/human consciousness at some point down the road. however, knowing myself the way i do, i will get to the conference and fall in love with the campus and all the intriguing ideas being thrown about, and will just say ‘screw library school’ and figure out a way to move there. i really am trying to be practical here, making sure i have a financially secure future, but there is the maxim ‘do what you love and the money will follow’. so maybe i should just take that leap and make my plans accordingly (and i use that last phrase very loosely). at this point, i still have the intention of library school, but am leaving open the possibility of a radical shift in my plans, depending on how the conference goes.

anyway. i’m also very excited because i have a new kitten, miss sophia. she is just the most adorablest, sweetest, most wonderful kitten to have ever existed :), and is also quite annoying. we share the same birthday (february 28), so i’m already planning a big blowout party next year. hopefully a celebration will be in order, as perhaps she will finally have calmed down some. 🙂

other good things have happened since i last posted here. a couple of weeks ago i returned from what seems to be my annual trip to new orleans. this time i worked a couple of days with my friend amy and the organization she works with, the brethren volunteer service. amy has taken more than a year out of her life to live in new orleans, working basically as an administrative assistant in handling other volunteers that come in for a few days at a time from all over the country to help with the rebuilding of new orleans. i helped with some of the painting on the home that will host the volunteers (at the time i was there they were staying in fema trailers), which should be complete by now. and then of course, amy and i went to jazzfest, this time on the second friday and sunday. we had planned to see stevie wonder on friday, but so many other people had the same idea that we couldn’t even get to a place where we could see the big screen, so we saw the electric marva wright and the bmws instead. (we also saw richard thompson and brett dennen earlier on friday.) saturday we just walked all over the french quarter much of the day and evening. however, sunday was for me the highlight of the trip, as i got to see the legendary santana perform live (and the neville brothers a little later in the day). it was one of the best shows i’ve seen in my young life. that’s all i can really say about it. 🙂 it was a great ending to what was overall a very good trip. i’m looking forward to my next visit, which might be a quick weekend jaunt this fall, or it may not be until next april.

so overall things are good, but there could be (and will be) some improvements. there are personal issues i’m dealing with on a couple of different fronts, and i’m sure they will work themselves out (or they won’t). in the meantime, it’s time for me to get back to doing what i do best, leaping off the sides of cliffs. i know there’ll be a net waiting to catch me this time, as there always has been in the past.

born, never asked

i just had an experience that confirms to me that my decision to stay in kc (for the time being) is the right thing to do. there are lots of things that go along with that decision, that i’m not going to go into with this post, but part of it is that in the not-so-distant future i feel that we are coming upon some big changes to our way of living. my decision to stay here is based on my using this as a time of preparation, on a number of levels.

that being said, i am currently reading derrick jensen’s two volume endgame, and it is blowing my mind. i have previously read his a language older than words and the culture of make believe, both a few years ago. although the subject matter of each book is somewhat different, the underlying premise in both is that western civilization is inherently destructive. in endgame, he ratchets this up by saying not only is it destroying the planet (he says simply in a number of places in the book, ‘we’re fucked; we’re so fucked.’), but it needs to be taken down.

frankly, most of you reading this blog, or people who manage to make it through both books (they total 929 pages), are going to write him off as some sort of environmentalist whacko (as rush limbaugh would say), and probably think that what i’m writing here is a little over the top. here we have a grown man who claims to communicate with trees, and with coyotes, and is in love with salmon, not as a well-prepared seafood entrée, but as living species who are being driven to extinction by humans. he advocates violence as an appropriate mechanism to take down the system. by violence, he means, well, look it up in the dictionary, you know what it means. by system, he means… well, in his ideal world, there would be no internet, because there would be no computers, because the cheap third world labor used to build those computers is instead living directly off of their own land, instead of working to supply ‘our’ ‘needs’, and as for us, well, we’re living off the land too. yeah, that means you.

but to even ask if anyone reading this would be prepared to live off the land if necessary would be a huge joke. hell, i live in a 10-story high-rise apartment building. if an e-bomb went off tomorrow, i (along with many millions of others) would be totally screwed. as i sit here today in my air-conditioned haven with background music going and plenty of filtered water available (who in their right mind drinks straight from the tap anymore?), i have no fucking clue as to where i would get fresh water and anything edible (outside of looting, which helps only in the very short term). however, jensen is not the only person thinking that, some time not so far off, this is what it will come to here in america, the most affluent society to ever exist. of course it may not be due to an e-bomb, but any number of scenarios could cause this: remember katrina? with the advent of global warming, and political hot spots ever increasing around the world, and the arrival of peak oil, and many social ills here and around the world, our affluence is simply unsustainable. something’s got to give and it’s going to be ugly for at least a couple of hundred years when it does. the only thing different about what jensen is saying compared to many others is that we should be the ones to instigate the downfall of civilization, in order to prevent it from doing any further damage to the earth.

um, so, anyway, a couple of hours ago i started reading this passage from page 436 of volume 1:

Far less likely to fight back even than slaves are those so deeply and thoroughly enslaved that they no longer perceive their own slavery. This is what we today would call normal. As Frank Garvey wrote, “In this country people are rarely imprisoned by their ideas because they’re already imprisoned by their ideas. The wage-slaves of today aren’t ripe for revolt because they don’t know that they’re slaves and no more free than the slaves of yore, despite the fact that they think so…. You can’t get rid of slave culture until the slaves know that they are slaves, and are proud of the historical responsibility it gives them to be the agent of social change.”

It’s not too much to say that most of us have essentially no understanding of what it would be like to live free.

at the moment i am reading this passage, in the background i have on community radio station kkfi, and i hear the beginning of my favorite laurie anderson song ‘born, never asked’ from the cd ‘big science’. i put the book down and turn the radio up so i can listen to the entire song, which is actually mostly instrumental. in the beginning there is a brief monologue with no background music, then about a quarter through the song, she speaks one line, then the rest of the song is without vocals. beautiful, beautiful song.

the one line she speaks is this: ‘You were born. And so you’re free. So happy birthday.’ tears just start running down my face when i hear this. because i finally get it. *i get it.* buying all the environmentally friendly toilet paper in the world and eating organic foods and recycling, while all these things are good and necessary, they are not what’s going to save the planet. corporations and the government are now encouraging us to ‘go green’, so we can feel good about ourselves, like buying a hemp knapsack made in honduras is going to save the planet, and meanwhile, they continue on with their abuse of the forests and the oceans and brown-skinned people. i’ve had a distrust of government in general for a number of years, especially since 9/11, but this book has helped me to realize that they have never had my best interests in mind or the best interests of any other person or group of people (except for maybe stockholders). and if they don’t care about people, they are certainly not going to care about ‘lesser’ beings such as animals or trees, or inanimate items.

i see the system for what it is, and i want to do something about it. i plan to continue to be a part of the system and use it for what i can (and eventually use it against itself), but i no longer am a member of it. library school is still in my plans (what better way to inform and prepare people than through being a stewardess of knowledge), and i still plan to make yearly treks to new orleans (even though ultimately, rebuilding may be a waste of time?), and i’ll go to concerts still (next one: ben harper on september 2; i also may go to etta james on august 23), and just live my life. but in the meantime, i’m also going to slowly but surely prepare for whatever is ahead, and talk about what i’m reading by jensen and other likeminded people, and write about it, and live it, and maybe get another person or two to break off the chains.

the sh*t

i just bought the world cafe playlist handbook, which has some neat ideas for mp3 playlists, such as songs about ‘drugs’ (e.g., ‘white rabbit’ by jefferson airplane or ‘love is the drug’ by roxy music) and ‘beatles covers’ (‘helter skelter’ by u2 or ‘happiness is a warm gun’ by the breeders). it’s all really cool, but my favorite part is at the end. in the fall of 2004, listeners of wxpn in philly sent in lists of their top 10 songs of all time, and as a result, the station compiled a list of the 885 greatest songs of all time. as to be expected, the beatles, the rolling stones, and springsteen dominate, but there are a few surprises (to me, anyway) and some that i think should never have made it (‘superman’s song’ by the crash test dummies at 839? it should have been at least at 800, i think…)

anyway, inspired by this list, i bring you my top ten songs of all time. some have sentimental value, some are revealing about who i think i am, and some just sound damn good to me. here they are:

  1. ‘genius of love’ – tom tom club
  2. ‘faithfully dangerous’ – over the rhine
  3. ‘are you experienced?’ – jimi hendrix
  4. ‘where the streets have no name’ – u2
  5. ’32 flavors’ – alannah davis
  6. ‘true to myself’ – ziggy marley
  7. ‘i radio heaven’ – over the rhine
  8. ‘woman like a man’ – damien rice
  9. ‘love is my religion’ – ziggy marley
  10. ‘me, my yoke, and i’ – damien rice

hotness

oh my lord, this picture of meshell ndegeocello is hot. i’m going to stare at this picture the rest of the day.

a review ten years in the making

this post might be considered off-topic from politics, religion, or sex, and yet in a roundabout way it’s not, because the cd i’m writing about has elements of all three woven throughout. this morning on the way to work i listened to u2’s ‘pop’. this cd, despite its less than warm reception by the music buying public (especially most u2 fans), never ceases to amaze me.

i remember when ‘discotheque’ was first released as a single a little over ten years ago. the first time i heard it on the radio, the deejay was all excited about the new u2 single, and he starts the song, and i’m like, ‘what the fuck is this???’ i thought u2 had sold out, or maybe had lost their minds. then a few weeks later, i got the new cd for my birthday, and suddenly the song made sense in the context of the rest of the cd. then i fell in love with the song, the cd, the whole concept behind it. for the next several weeks, this was what happened when i got home from work: i danced around the house to tracks 1-3 (‘discotheque’, ‘do you feel loved’, ‘mofo’) so i could get that out of my system before my ex-fiancé/roommate got home (yes, we had broken up but had decided to continue on as roommates; that was fun), and then at some point i’d retire to my room to listen to various other portions of the cd.

i have other things to be obsessed about now, so i listen to it hardly at all anymore, but when i do, it still blows me away. i think only myself and one other friend appreciate this cd for the brilliance it truly displays. let’s take ‘mofo’ . it’s a song about bono’s mother, who died when he was a child. i love the many meanings the word mofo could have in this instance: the possible oedipal reference as well as it being a motherfucker to lose your mother at an early age (or as an adult, for that matter). but more than this, the song is about the hole in his soul because of his mother’s death and his attempt at filling that hole with music. and you thought it was just a bunch of europop trash.

the last track on the cd is ‘wake up dead man’ . here are the opening lyrics: ‘jesus, jesus help me; i’m alone in this world, and a fucked up world it is too. so tell me, tell me the story, the one about eternity and the way it’s all gonna be…’ talk about powerful lyrics. yet these are the lyrics that caused focus on the family leader james dobson, apparently the decider of what is and is not christian, to pronounce back in 1997 that u2 was no longer a christian band. nothing could be further from the truth, especially if you have paid any attention at all to their last two cds, ‘all that you can’t leave behind’ and ‘how to dismantle an atomic bomb’. the song ‘yahweh’ blows that pronouncement out of the water. anyway, on one level, ‘dead man’ is about the feeling of disillusionment that anyone who has truly walked with god has at no doubt felt at certain times in that walk. and the way i see it, god can handle us yelling at him/her; god can handle us saying that the world as seen through our own eyes is fucked up. it’s then that god can show us the bigger picture, because jesus did in fact wake up (although the way i see jesus ‘waking up’ is probably a different view from most christians), and because he did, there is hope and ultimately everything is working together for our good.

okay, so maybe this isn’t so off-topic. bottom line: despite the lack of popular and critical acclaim, listen to this cd if you get a chance. behind all the glitz and glamour and cheesiness on the surface of the music, there are multiple messages here that are just as applicable today as ever. it’s still one of my desert island cds (although the notion of desert island cds is now officially silly, as i’d just take my mp3 player with *everything* on it and hope to god for a place to be able to recharge the battery). and if nothing else, ‘if you wear that velvet dress’ is an excellent song to get your groove on to.