Political Independents… Are You Truly Independent?

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Republican ? Democrat ?

Different… But the same.

The key is that they are the two dominant parties, with no real challenger for votes. Both sides know the political pendulum swings one way for a while, and then the other. But they know that voters will vote for them no matter what.

A few years ago, someone did an illuminating survey of independent voters. They found that, even though the voters were no longer registered as Republicans or Democrats, when most of the “independents” stepped into the voting booths, they pulled the lever as if they were still in their former party! The former Republican still voted Republican, and the former Dems voted from Democrats. Thing is, both parties don’t much care about the average voter because they know the population has been brainwashed into thinking that the two party system is the only way that our system can function. We have been captive to political paralysis because too many voters can’t find the will to step outside the R or D box.

For the last few years, I’m been on a personal crusade to get as many friends as I can to not vote for candidates with D’s or R’s next to their names. Vote for anyone other than Repubs or Dems.

But Mike, they say, the guy I choose has no chance of winning!

At the moment… Yeah.

But, right now, winning isn’t the immediate goal. The aim is to break the stranglehold that the two parties have on the electoral system.

The average citizen does not matter to our politicians anymore. We don’t have enough money to fund their campaign dinners and other extravagances.

We, the people, the ordinary average citizen, have only one form of political currency at our disposal, our vote. Both parties know we’ll vote for one of them, so they take it, and us, for granted. What would happen though, if instead of moving the political pendulum back and forth, we start deconstructing the pendulum…. taking it apart instead of being a slave to it? The pendulum is made from our votes. We take our piece of that device and put it somewhere else, somewhere that the pendulum doesn’t swing to. If enough people do that, the pendulum doesn’t have enough weight to continue swinging, and then????

Then maybe, just maybe, the politicians will start paying attention to us, the voter.

I Assume This Will Cause A Smog Test FAIL….

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YouTube Banter…. “Wankers”??????

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Today I discovered, not only does Paul Simon have a son, but he sings and plays and sounds a lot like his dad. That shouldn’t be a surprise… But, for someone, that’s a knock against this musician.

“Like Farther like son… too much of a copy sound-a-like for me… There is only one Paul Simon… There was only one John Lennon! I wish there kids would get a life of there own?

I love how these kids of legendary artist try wrighting songs about times of hardship and life’s struggles? it must have been such a tough life of private schools and living in wantless mega rich families, it must have been so hard. Just write about the lack of truffles you didn’t get the other day.. Wankers”


My reply?

“Songwriting isn’t often autobiographical. I confess I’ve written 3 songs about being a murderer, but I can’t confess to being a murderer (except the occasional ant squished under foot). Songwriting’s about telling stories. If he wasn’t Paul Simon’s son, and he wrote the same song, would you still judge as you do? I’ve written tons of songs that sound like my influences, which very much includes Paul Simon. One of Harpers influences happens to be that same guy, who happens to be his dad.”

.I mean, really? You’re going to hold the guys lineage against him??? Gods, How I would LOVED to have been around that household and have Paul Simon as a personal teacher! Of course hes going to sound like his dad! I’ve written a few songs that sound a bit like his dad! And do you think Bob Dylan experienced an Nth of the things he wrote and sang about????  No!  He didn’t have the advantagious upbringing that harper Simon did, but so what!

Are the songs good or not?

Can Mr. H Simon sing and play, and not need autotune as a crutch???

Yes… And Yes…  And Yes.


Parking Lot Disasters!

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A friend of mine recently got into a fender bender…. With a light post in a deserted parking lot.

I don’t know if I can post his story yet, but it’s pretty funny and innocent… And kind of tragic that a newish car can be so damaged by a 5 mph collision. But, when the object on the other side of the equation is an unmovable object… Well….

Anyway. I ind of have a similar thing happen to me once.

I had spent a couple of weeks down in San Diego in the winter of 91. Up here in Fresno where I was going to college, they had redone the school parking lot, complete with redesigned island lay-out. Well, the drummer for my band at that time was family friends with the dean of the art dept at Fresno State, and had managed to get us permission to practice in the art building auditorium on Saturday nights. After I had come back to Fresno, upon the next practice, I marveled at the new parking lot I had to navigate to get to the auditorium.

A few hours of practice and beer drinking later, I didn’t think at all about the parking lot. Where it was twilight when I drove in the lot to get to practice so things were visible, it was now dark, and they hadn’t hooked up the parking lot lighting system yet.  I started pulling out of the lot like I always did, took one corner light as I always did….. And launched myself right over one of the new islands!   I found myself perfectly perched and balanced on a concrete curb just like in a cartoon. And since the construction wasn’t finished, the inside of the island was dirt… Mud, actually, since it had rained the night before. And yes, the front wheels of the 1979 front-wheel-drive Honda Accord were in the mud.

I was going nowhere.

And, I had completely destroyed my exhaust system, which I had just fixed the month before!.

A New Song – The Ballad Of Sasquatch!

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It’s my first new whole song I’ve written in a while… Not counting the two I’ve had on the back burner since January.

This is as much about songwriting as it is about getting more comfortable using the Presonus recording software Studio on. I’ve owned it for about two year, but haven’t really taken the time to learn how to use it properly. I’ve been dying to start

About the song. It started out with an email I got from the Home recording forum I’m a member of, announcing a new songwriting contest, where the prize for the winning entry is a nice packet of free software!. The rules are you have to write a song using the words “Sasquatch”, “Kick”, and “Machine”. Yeah… The name of the software in question is indeed “Sasquatch Kick Machine”! Well, what started out as just a simple little semi-throw away ditty soon evolved into a complete song! I was musing on the concept of what it must be like to be a sasquatch. Because they are reported to be rather solitary creatures, this line promptly popped into my head:

Tall and awkward
He rarely does come round these parts no more
If you see him
He’s probably here to settle some old score.
That’s for sure.

The second line immediately led to the concept that the main character is not the creature itself, but rather a guy who is disfigured and misunderstood and has become a hermit. I named him “Herbert” because…. Well…. It’s just kind of an odd name for a misunderstood guy!

Here’s the lyrics:


His name – was Herbert
A wicker-basket baby with no sin
The note – So sweet and lovely
But it wasn’t hard to see why mom abandoned him

Kids – They are so cruel
They teased him till around his teenage years
His name – his name was Herbert
But the names they called him brought only rage and tears

One taunt – they’ve gone too far
Anger long suppressed exploded on that day
Then he – well he retreated
Vowed revenge but then he stayed away


Tall and awkward
He rarely does come round these parts no more
If you see him
He’s probably here to settle some old score.
That’s for sure.


A recluse – You’ll never know him
But the rumor mills they’ve filled in all the blanks
To them – He’s a heartless monster
Sub human with no conscience or regrets

A freak – A Machine of menace
Catches cats and skins them when he can
They say – one hiker found him
That person well he’s not been seen again


His frame is twisted
Experiment gone wrong or he’s inbred
That’s what they said
Don’t call him Sasquatch
You stare too long he’ll kick you in the head
Then you’re dead…. That’s what they said.


It’s such a cruel world
He’s innocent and no one cares or knows
A soul with a kind heart
But the truth won’t get revealed when bad blood flows…. Bad blood flows……. Bad blood flows…….

It feels too long for my taste. I’ll probably edit it down a bit. Had a bitch of a time getting my mandolin playing in sync with the click track when recording. It still isn’t perfect, but I managed to play both the left and right mando tracks all the way through with no patches. There are many imperfections. But, for the moment, I’m happy with it. Now I have to decide what other instruments to tack on.


And yes. This will be on the solo album.

The Shutdown / Default – Political Jujitsu.

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My. Things are getting interesting!

First we had Obama’s long-winded speech, then Boehner responded. Here’s how I scored it.

John Boehner came off as more credible. His comments about Congress negotiating with the President at various times in the last 30 years ring much truer than what the President said….. Of course they’ve negotiated with the debt as one of the bargaining chips! The difference is that both sides in the past really didn’t want a government shut down or default. Both sides knew it mattered to the American public to resolve issues as quick as possible.

Now? It’s all about winning for both sides.

That said, Boehner’s speech was short, sweet, and too the point. The President loves to hear himself talk to a fault. His speech today was droning… Simply dreadful.

Beyond style points – The demand to repeal Obamacare was an idiotic move by the Republican from the onset because it’s not going to happen. They simply don’t have the numbers / votes to do it. But, saying there will be absolutely NO negotiation, when history clearly shows that is the pattern that has happened over and over again is maybe even more stupid. And by changing the goal from repealing Obamacare to simply having a negotiation, Boehner has managed to successfully change the goals of the game. And the best thing about it, is that the supposed brilliant tactician that is Barack Obama opened the door wide for Boehner to step though and take the wheel of the car that candidate Obama loved to refer to.

Like I say…. Politics. Love the game. Hate the stench.


Filed in the “Good Things Happen” Department… Part 27.

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I have no idea if this is the 27th time I’ve written  a “”Good Things Happen” post. I’ve written a few. The number just popped in my head, and I ran with it.

This is going to be a fun music-filled weekend. Tonight, my band Laurel Canyon is playing its first two hour show ever at the Coffee Lounge on Gettysburg and First.

But lets back up a few days, because that provides the root of the weekend.

A few days ago, a friend who owns a recording studio put out notice that he was looking for someone to lay down some vocals in the style of John Mayer for a client, probably for a commercial or something. Well, I have a little section of the guest bedroom set aside as a home recording studio that I hardly ever use, and figured I’d give it a whirl… It never hurts to try. So I got a karaoke version of “Why Georgia Why” and laid down some VOX in one take. It turned out OK. I’m not sure if my voice will fit the bill. But even if it doesn’t, this little recording session, such as it was, set off a chain of events that’s leading to this weekend..

Around the same time, I got an email from the home recording forum I belong to, telling me about a song writing contest where the prize is a nice bundle of recording software. To enter, you have to write a song using the words “sasquatch”, “kick”, and “machine”… The name of the software is Sasquatch Kick Machine of course.

I’m alway up to the challenge of writing a new song, though I never seem to do it. But on Thursday, something happened. After probably a year in the case, I took out my mandolin and started messing with it. I soon stumbled onto an interesting chord progression, and at the same time, these lyrics popped into my head:

“Tall and awkward
He rarely comes around these parts no more

If you see him
He’s probably here to settle some old score
That’s for sure”

Instantly, I knew I had stumbled onto the root that will be “The Ballad Of Sasquatch”. Since I already had the recording gear set up from the other demo, I was already ready to plug in and record the bits that I had. God only knows how many songs I’ve lost forever because I didn’t take the time to write and record the things that pop in then out of my head! And instead of writing some little thing about how I desire the Sasquatch Kick Machine software…

“It’s my precious… I WANTS IT!!!”…

This thing is developing into a full song, and it’s my first to be written on mandolin.

So, even if I don’t get the John Mayer-ish gig… Even if I don’t win the software…. I’ve reignited my desire to learn more on the mandolin, and gotten a song out of it.

I consider that a win no matter what.

PS. I also will finally sit down and really learn how to use the perfectly good recording software I’ve not used since I got it two years or so ago – PreSonus’ Studio One. I’ve toyed with it here and there since I got it, but haven’t disciplined myself to really get into learning how to use it.

PPS. Here’s the “Why Georgia Why” demo. I didn’t spend any time refining it, so it’s pretty raw. As I listen with fresh ears, it’s not the best I could have done. There are snips here and there that do work pretty well though. And as I said, it was worth the effort no matter what.