Saturday, December 18, 2004

It was a little hard to believe. The reason the dog barked all last night and most of the day was because of a opossum. Pepper from next door barked all night and way into this afternoon. I felt like someone beat me up with a baseball bat and I didn't want to have to go next door to find out why the fucking dog was barking. My neighbors weren't home( how convenient!) and I wasn't up to playing detective.
Finally, my neighbor comes home and wants me to go with her to catch said opossum. I am no Steve Irwin (croc Hunter) and I don't like these nasty things. Anyway, I have ulterior motives for doing it so off I go. She said the damn thing was in the backyard and had been there all night. We took a large dog cage/kennel thing and I held it while she tried to make it run inside the cage. It ran but not in the cage! She chased it down the stairs to the basement and I held the cage open. She backed it into the cage with a board while it hissed and bit at her. We got him in the cage and shut the door. My neighbor grabbed the end of the cage and we started carrying it to??? Somewhere. Anyway, the opossum doesn't want to play along and he(?) climbs out on my neighbors end. We drop it and the opossum goes under her fence into the six inch No-Man's-Land between our fences.
I got the BB gun (didn't really want to kill it!) and shot him in the ass a couple of times. This just annoyed him. He took off between the fences and eventually climbed up a tree. He seemed to be satisfied there and I was satisfied for him. I could have shot him with my deer rifle but we are in the city limits and I don't want to accidentally kill anyone this close to Christmas.
I hear my neighbor squawking about getting him out of the tree and the next thing I know there's a half drunk redneck walking in my yard with a loaded 9 mm and a 40 oz Busch! My neighbor obviously recruited some guy up the street or off the street to end this marsupial's life. The drunk says "I've got a .44 caliber". I don't argue with half drunk armed rednecks. He really had a 9 mm but at this point...
He and I make several attempts to chamber a round. These new fangled guns! Back in my day all you did was pack the barrel with powder, load the ball and pull the flintlock back... Anyway, he finally chambers a round and with one shot sends that opossum wherever opossums go. A big trash dump in the sky???

Friday, December 17, 2004

I saw Bob Dylan once when he was getting off the tour bus to play the Civic Center in Augusta Ga. I was hanging out back of the Civic Center waiting on Bob's bus to pull in and I was talking to two guys who were following the show. They said he just might come over and start talking to us and signing autographs or he might just ignore us and walk away. They said depending on what mood he's in he's gracious or not. When the bus pulled in we got "or not." We waited and waited for him to exit the bus. While we waited one of the guys said to look out for a guy in a hooded sweat shirt who will exit the bus quickly. I listened to these guys- they had been through this before. We waited some more and were about to leave when this short, skinny guy in a hooded sweatshirt got off the bus and ran in the building."That's him" one of them said. "Are you sure?" I asked a whole lot bewildered. "Yep. that was him." he reassured me.

My wife and I went to the show later that evening and sat in our second row seats! This short, skinny guy who looked like Vincent Price dressed as Ernest Tubb walked out and everybody went crazy. He was there 30 feet in front of me. I could "study the lines on my(his) face" I could have even "bent down to tie the laces of my (his) shoes".

I've seen him on the stage about four times so far but the bus sighting was as close as I'll probably ever get. When I think of the bus sighting- I am reminded of the opening chapter of Ratso Sloman's book called On the Road With Bob Dylan. Ratso talks about going to see Dylan when he was fifteen. He says his parents dropped him and friend off at the show and came back to pick them up. Sloman talks about how he wanted to see Dylan up close but had to settle for seats in the back row. On the way home, he was lamenting about not having good seats and his father says "I got to see him. I was about five feet away." Ratso writes that he could barely contain himself and demanded to know the details. His father tells him "I went in to see if I could find you and I walked up to the stage. I saw this Dylan. He looked like a shipping clerk." He looks like a shipping clerk- those are words I have never forgotten.

The concert in Augusta was in 2002 and I recently saw him on 60 Minutes. He looked like an older shipping clerk in this interview. He says he wrote Blowin in the Wind in about ten minutes. I believe him. Either the muse is with you or she ain't. He didn't reveal anything astounding- never has-probably never will. He was on the show hustling his new book, Chronicles. I've read it and I think it's a great book. I compare it to Woody Guthrie's Bound for Glory or Seeds of Man. It's full of lies, half truths and complete honesty. Only problem is I don't know which is which. Chronicles is wide open and closed off at the same time. Bob shows you what he wants you to see and nothing more. What it lacks is details about lovers and friends, the great recording sessions are absent, there is nothing about his kids or his house. What is there are vivid, personal descriptions of things that left an impression on him. A friend's apartment is described so well that you can almost hear the heatpipes cough. He talks about a woman he watches out of the window and you can almost hear her breathe.

Bob has been described as ruthless, ambitious, cold, calculating and a user of people. One of his ex girlfriends called him a "raging alcoholic". There are plenty of people who have felt betrayed and hurt by his actions. Ramblin' Jack Elliot is one. He was the heir apparent to Woody Guthrie's legacy- some people even called him Woody's son. He was prepped and ready to take over when Woody died. But suddenly, his position was usurped by the shipping clerk from Minnesota. Bob Dylan blew into New York in 1961 and soon Ramblin Jack was just a footnote in history. Of course, none of this is in Chronicles. You'll have to rent the documentary on Ramblin Jack to get the full story.

Being a Bob Dylan fan is frustrating and difficult at times. Almost from the first time I crossed the line in 1975, it has been a hard road. One thing I had a hard time accepting is that Bob is not for everyone. He said in Chronicles something to the effect that some people will be driven away by his sound and some will be fascinated. Those who are fascinated will move closer. I am fascinated more and more. I used to think those who don't get it could be converted if they really listened. It don't work that way! Either you love it or you don't -there is no middle ground.
Some times being a Bob fan is embarrassing. In 1991 he accepted the Lifetime Achievement award on TV. The band played Masters of War- it sucked! Then Bob came up to accept his award and was obviously drunk. He mumbled and slurred something about advice his father gave him and stumbled off the stage. Just prior to the debacle , I was telling an 18 year old girl she about to witness the greatest songwriter of the 20th century. During all this she just rolled her eyes and walked off.

Would I stop being a Dylan fan? Do I have any regrets? Hell no! I think his flaws are just part of the picture. They just make him more intriguing and more honest. With Dylan, you don't get candyass fluff and feel good songs. You can't dance to it but you're not supposed to. His music comes from another place and time. A very old place, a vast place called America.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I woke up this morning thinking about Puritans, Pilgrims and the values this country was founded on. Actually, I was dreaming about a menage with me, Ella Fitzgerald, and a circus midget. We were at the Mustang Ranch in Nevada on a three day screwfest. All the drugs had been consumed and Ella was singing in the shower. Not Ella from Now but Ella from long ago or maybe that was Lena Horne. Anyway, there something about a FemDom and a bottle of Feena-Mints. The hashish haze in my mind blocked out the details.The circus midget was reciting Bob Dylan's It's all right Ma (I'm only bleedin') but he sounded like Milton Berle on helium. "Darkness at the break of noon, shadows even the silver spoon, the handmade blade , the child's balloon eclipses both the sun and moon...." It was just too much -I woke up.

Who were those damned Puritans? Why did they come here? What motivated them to pack up and come to a wild ,unknown country? It was religious freedom, I thought. At least that's what we learned in school. But then I thought "There are at least two sides to every story". What if it was religious freedom and something more? Then I thought "maybe it was mutual decision for them to leave Europe?" The Puritans were such assholes anyway. Maybe Europeans were just sick of their martyrish ways. Look, they wore black all the time; they never had fun; everything was sin; there was no sex just for the fun of it; they never danced. They were fucking miserable! They made everybody else miserable too. I mean for them it was always work, work, work and suffer suffer suffer. Could you stand to be around assholes like this? I can't stand the martyr trip- I just want to scream "Get down off the cross. We need the wood!"
Then they had that crybaby shit about "We're being persecuted". Of course, they were but they brought most of that on themselves. If they had smiled, danced, and sang once in while maybe others would have accepted them more.
I'll bet the royalty were glad to be rid of them. They probably thought "Good riddance! Maybe the boat will sink halfway there." I just don't see throngs of Englishmen on the dock shedding tears when the Puritans set sail for America.. If there was any crowd at the docks, they were probably cheering and then went to the pub after to celebrate! I would have done that if I had been there!