Eight Songs That Make Me Happy

This is a public service announcement… with guitar.

When I suffered from depression music was always my escape. When I was little it was silly songs. There was this Flintstones album in the public library that I wore out. When I was a teenager it was angry songs. Rock, Metal, Punk. Gangsta Rap. By High School and University I was wallowing in depression with dark songs, moody songs, or just some good old blues. But we’re not going to wallow in it today. Not getting angry. Or being silly. We’re going straight to happy.

woo-hoo

“Woo hoo!!”

We do this meditation in the Buddhist traditions where we wish for people to be happy. We think about people we know being happy. How everyone, all over the world, wants to be free from suffering. And why everyone has a desire to be happy. And then we form the resolution in our minds that we are going to make them all happy with our thoughts, with our actions, with our wishes, with our words

And with our blogs.

Yes Buddha does mention blogs in the Sutras. You just have to find the right translation.

snoopy-happy-dance

January 20th, 2017 is fast approaching and we all know what that means. President Donald Tr… I still can’t say it. So it’s easy to let it get you down. But I say screw that.

These songs are my surefire depression busters. I’m calling it my eight-fold path to dancing in your underwear before the world burns.

It’s a temporary fix. But it’ll help you take your mind off of it.

So these eight songs (lyrics included) are designed to put the happy back where it belongs. In your feet. In your butt. And in your face. And none of them are by Pharrell.

happy-minions

“Yebey!!”

Here we go…

First up… Crooning with a smile.

Feeling Good by Michael Buble

“It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. It’s a new life for me…”

———————————-

Next… Some Attitude.

Troublemaker by Weezer

“I’m such a special guy.”

————————————-

And now a personal favorite… I love this guitar riff and this video and Morrissey’s dance moves alone make me very happy.

What Difference Does It Make by The Smith

All men have secrets and here is mine
So let it be known
For we have been through hell and high tide
I think I can rely on you…
And yet you start to recoil
Heavy words are so lightly thrown
But still I’d leap in front of a flying bullet for you

So, what difference does it make?
So, what difference does it make?
It makes none
But now you have gone
And you must be looking very old tonight

The devil will find work for idle hands to do
I stole and I lied, and why?
Because you asked me to!
But now you make me feel so ashamed
Because I’ve only got two hands
Well, I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

So, what difference does it make?
Oh, what difference does it make?
Oh, it makes none
But now you have gone
And your prejudice won’t keep you warm tonight

Oh, the devil will find work for idle hands to do
I stole, and then I lied
Just because you asked me to
But now you know the truth about me
You won’t see me anymore
Well, I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

But no more apologies
No more, no more apologies
Oh, I’m too tired
I’m so sick and tired
And I’m feeling very sick and ill today
But I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

Oh, my sacred one…
Oh…

—————————————–

Now here’s a song about self -love and just being a good neighbor.

Satellite Mind by Metric

Hold it I’m about to drop off
Let me tell you my last thought
Drift into a deep fog
Lost where I forgot to hold it
I can feel you most when I’m alone

Coming home cause I want to
Hang out with a starlet
Stare out at the ceiling
Preview of a screening
Flashback of a feeling
Sixth sense of the call and
I heard you fuck through the wall
I heard you fuck

When I’m bored
I send vibrations
In your direction
From the satellite mind

I’m not suicidal
I just can’t get out of bed
I drift into a deep fog
Lost where I forgot to hold it
I can feel you when I’m alone
I can fell your ghost when I’m alone

Coming home cause I want to
Hang out with a starlet
Stare out at the ceiling
Preview of a screening
Flashback of a feeling
Sixth sense of the call and
I heard you fuck through the wall
I heard you fuck

When I’m bored
I send vibrations
In your direction
From the satellite mind

When your voice
Became vibrations
From the satellite mind

It sounded like mine

——————————————–

Next… A happy tune about getting everything you could ever want for just one dollar. (make sure to read the fine print)

Step Right Up by Tom Waits

“Only a dollar. Step right up.”

—————————————-

Next… Denial (but with an infectious melody)

Everything’s Just Wonderful by Lily Allen

“Oh well I guess I mustn’t grumble. I suppose that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”

———————————————-

Next up.. a little more self-love (of the less erotic kind)

i (love myself) by Kendrick Lamar

“The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs. But it can do what it want, whenever it want, I don’t mind.”

————————————————

And lastly… The happiest bass-line in the world.

Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz

City’s breaking down on a camel’s back.
They just have to go ’cause they don’t know whack
So all you fill the streets it’s appealing to see
You won’t get out the county, ’cause you’re bad and free
You’ve got a new horizon it’s ephemeral style.
A melancholy town where we never smile.
And all I want to hear is the message beep.
My dreams, they’ve got to kiss, because I don’t get sleep, no
Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Love forever hand in hand
Taking it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Laughing gas these hazmats, fast cats,
Lining them up like ass cracks,
Ladies, homies, at the track
Its my chocolate attack.
Shit, I’m stepping in the heart of this here
Care bear bumping in the heart of this here
Watch me as I gravitate
Hahahahahahaa.
Yo, we gonna go ghost town,
This motown,
With yo sound
You’re in the place
You gonna bite the dust
Can’t fight with us
With yo sound
You kill the INC.
So don’t stop, get it, get it
Until you’re cheddar header.
Yo, watch the way I navigate

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Love forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Don’t stop, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate,
Ahahahahahhaa.
Don’t stop, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate

Hahahahaha


I love you guys.

Remember to smile even when you don’t feel like it because it will probably make someone else smile and then someone else… traveling from person to person and before you know it you’ll see your original smile on someone else’s face.

And then you’ll smile for real.

– Mel

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To All My Friends (Who’ve Wondered Where I’ve Been)

I know I haven’t been around much lately. Too much anger. Didn’t really want to get it on you. I have a tendency to spew hate when I’m angry. I hate it when the bad guys win… I’ve been experiencing a what-the-fuck few weeks. The American election was hacked and I’m surrounded on all sides by people waiting for their chance to say “I told you so.”

“I told you so.” Among the bodies of the dead.

“I told you so.” Brought to you by the makers of Pepsi and Xanax.

“I told you so.” Translated from the original Russian. (actually, little known fact, it was in German before it was in Russian)

I’ve reached a point in my life where more people are younger than me than older. I’m surrounded on all sides by the children of the damned. Social media misfits more concerned with likes and dislikes. Trolls without bridges. History books unopened. But mouths that will not stay shut.

chinese-farmer

I haven’t been around much lately because I know me. The thoughts racing through my head should not be shared with anyone. My doctor doesn’t want to know. My lawyer doesn’t want to know. The fake twitter accounts of Russian trolls, who successfully influence the tired liberals into hopelessness and fits of screaming, don’t want to know.

For one misguided instant I considered self-immolation as a form of protest. Nothing else, it seems, can penetrate the walls of the corporate pay-to-play media and so-called social media’s cavernous, echo-amplifying, bottomless pits of ego and frustration. Setting myself on fire in front of some monument to our fallen democracy seemed like a good idea at the time… for like, literally, a second. For like one scary second.

So I’ve been away.

And I apologize. I figure there’s like 25 or 30 people who read my blog. And I love you guys. And I’m going to post some good stuff. Life goes on no matter how dire. I know my friend Alex misses my movie reviews. New shows, some of the best stuff I’ve seen on TV, came and went. Anybody watch Atlanta? That was amazing. Donald Glover is knocking it out of the park on the daily. Speaking of which, my list of the best albums from this year includes more genres than you can shake your rump at. Who knew I’d like Trap Music. OMG I like Trap Music.

Music, Movies, TV, the third chapter of my novel… but politics, fucking politics, pissed me off to such an extent that I couldn’t write but scream. I couldn’t think but scream. I could not talk because all the screaming made me lose my voice.

So I went away. Started meditating again. Got back to temple. Working out. Stopped doing the few remaining vices I’d allowed myself over the past decade. Pizza, Beer, Porn, Masturbation. It’s about time I stopped living like a 13 year boy without adult supervision. I’m gonna be 50 next year. And the US president is going to be Donald J. Tr… I can’t even say it.

The pounds flew off since I stopped eating garbage. It’s amazing how much more money I have in my budget since I stopped drinking. And the energy. The sexual energy. The mental energy. The spiritual energy… it’s through the roof. And now being channeled into less selfish endeavors.

thats-great-maybe

Doing yoga everyday. Getting to the temple at least three times a week. Working on my compassion and my mindfulness and my body. I will require these things to make it through the next few weeks. Let alone the next few years of protests and civil (and uncivil) disobedience. Gotta build my stamina for all the marching and demonstrating. Because, as you know, Donald J. Tr… I still can’t say it.

I’ll never be able to say it.

What is the true nature of reality? We see things as we want them or don’t want them to be. Sometimes a fantasy. And sometimes as our worst fears realized. We label situations and phenomena as good or bad. As helpful or unhelpful. As progress and advancement or… as the… the nightmarish, back-sliding, hateful, racist hell-scape that I can’t seem to wake up from. Somebody please wake me up.

WAKE ME UP!!!

I meditate to find love for the seemingly unlovable. I meditate to find focus amidst the din of unchecked voices (un-fact-checked and un-verified). I meditate to find the me that can help and not just criticize. That can pull his weight and not just pull his dick. That can be a calm in the storm and not just more destruction and distraction.

Because it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to violently overthrow the US government. And I don’t say that lightly. People are going to die. People are going to die because they’ve lost their healthcare and can’t afford their treatments. Because they’ve lost their government jobs as the agencies that protect us, from emotionless and compassion-less corporations, are shuttered one after another. People are going to die because they’ve lost their minds after too many deployments in some foreign distraction called another war. People are going to die.

thats-awful-maybe

And we can’t just sit around waiting for a miracle. Like that one time that one guy resigned from being pope because he realized he was too evil and stuff to be pope so he let the cool guy be pope. We can’t wait for that. We can’t wait for lightning to strike his ostentatiously disgusting jet plane as it floats on a cloud of ego or one of his fucking hotels to collapse under the weight of his hubris. We can’t wait for that. And we can’t sit around watching our neighbors die from treatable diseases or complications from dangerous pregnancies or malnutrition. Fucking malnutrition in the 21st century.

So yeah. We need to violently overthrow the US government… but with love. Out of compassion for our fellow human beings these people have to go… on both sides. I will not be governed by hate. And also I will not be governed by hate. So that really no one has to die for idiotic and preventable reasons.

We’ve been hacked. Our election. Our government. Hacked.

And respectfully, the only course of action, after you’ve been hacked, after they infiltrated your system, installed their malware, their trojans, their porn, the only course of action is to unplug the damn computer, and reinstall the operating system.

I went away.

But I’m back.

I’m going to see Rogue One tomorrow. So I’ll let you guys know how I like it. I’m going to post all my reviews and stuff over the holiday season. There’s a lot. You know I didn’t even realize it was the holidays. This is usually my least favorite time of year (except for the Doctor Who special). Because I’m alone and everything about this time is geared toward family and friends and stuff. But ever since I’ve rediscovered my faith, going to temple and Dharma classes and meditation, I don’t feel so alone.

I feel great actually. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. The healthiest I’ve been mentally, spiritually and physically. The best.

And to think, I owe it all to the rigged, hacked, fraudulent and fucked up election of Donald J. Tr… you know what, I still can’t say it.

You guys thank him for me.

See ya tomorrow after Rogue One (unless I’m too hyped to post anything but OMG OMG OMG OMG then I’ll post on Saturday after Dharma class)

Now watch this 2 minute video.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Room

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Room (A24)

Room Poster

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson

Written by Emma Donoghue  Based on Room by Emma Donoghue

Starring Brie LarsonJacob TremblayJoan AllenSean Bridgers & William H. Macy

Room is a heart-wrenching story of a woman held captive for several years in a garden shed that becomes home to her and the son she has with her rapist and kidnapper. It is hard to watch at times. I think I started crying about a minute in. But it is a great movie with two fantastic performances from the mother and son. This is not a movie. Room is an experience. One that I highly recommend.

Verdict: SPARED

Room cast

First of all, Brie Larson is incredible in this movie. I love her. I’ve loved her before. But I really love her now. This is an awesome performance. All of the emotions are there on the screen and all of the emotions are forced onto the viewer. Room is a cascade of emotions. A tour-de-force of crying your fucking eyes out. As a child of abuse, I think I started crying two minutes in. I started crying again when I realized why the title of the movie isn’t The Room but just Room and then again when fuck it… by the end of this film I needed fluids. Okay? No joke. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Jacob Tremblay in Room

But it’s Jacob Tremblay who is the true star and the main subject of Room. The movie is told from his character’s point of view and he has never seen outside room. He was born in room. And doesn’t even believe there is such a thing as outside of room. (I may cry right fucking now) He is in every scene and the movie is shot from his height and through his awareness of his surroundings and his experiences. It’s shocking. And it’s jarring. And it’s intense. And the very definition of heart-wrenching because it’s all through the eyes of a child. So we’re living it… or re-living it as him.

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay

It’s not giving anything away to let you know that they eventually get out of there. There are two parts to the film. In room and out of room. And it’s the similarities and differences in the two experiences that make the movie so good. I recommend it highly. Room is my favorite (non-action) film from last year. An incredible cinematic experience.

Room

Room is, as a matter of fact, one of the best films of all-time. Room is an insanely good movie. It really is. But if shit gets to you, then don’t even watch it. This movie made me so angry. And so sad. And so happy. And filled with such disgust. And such anger (did I mention the anger) And so scared. And so hopeful. And so incredibly drenched in tears.

Brie Larson in Room

Room is one of those movies that stays with you long after the credits are done and the awards have been handed out. And everyone’s patted themselves on the back for making such an emotionally powerful film. It is an amazing example of clever storytelling. Beautifully and skillfully directed, with two of the best performances of this century. Room is fantastic and that’s really all I can say. Except that there is nothing other than Room. Room is all there is.

Room is all there is

– Mel

Songs That Defines Me: Drug Life (An 11 Song Bio-Playlist)

What follows is about 45 minutes of music that serves as an audio autobiography. Up until now, my Songs That Define Me series has been very general but these represent certain times in my life. So it takes all eleven to make a complete picture. Not that they were recorded at those times but that they represent them. It is in essence the soundtrack to the musical of my life as it relates to drugs. I only post the audio versions with lyrics when I can find them. But if I can’t then I post the lyrics underneath.

So without any further ado. I give you…

DRUG LIFE (An 11 Song Bio-Playlist)

Three Seeds by Silversun Pickups
The movie opens on a boy with a chip on his shoulder. He’s angry at the world but doesn’t really know why. He’s brilliant, if I do say so myself, but he’s in constant pain and in constant fear and still he doesn’t know why. He never learned how to make friends or trust people after years of physical, mental and sexual abuse. And the only advice his mother gives him when sending him off to school is to pretend to be normal. (Yeah that didn’t work). He turns to alcohol. And it makes it possible for him to talk to other people and to make friends. This is the story of his three inner selves: His fearful self, His angry self, and his better self. This is Drug Life.

Remove the bullet from my head
Extracting over confidence
Hidden so easy to pretend
Too bad the rush was found again

I can see the pictures on the floor
Sketches of what was there before
Three came from one little seed
The last one is all I need

I can see the bottle on the ground
We turned the corner safe and sound
No thought of him as it was done
A clean execution
A clean execution

Cool like the ocean
Burned like a summer home
Fooled by the notion
That the sums don’t add up at all

There’s the line that is leading clearly feeding
All the things I don’t believe in
But I’ll step in once again
Cut in line to get closer to the
Source of all the things I’ll never belong to
Step it up and sign right in again

Cool like the ocean
Burned like a summer home
Fooled by the notion
That the sums don’t add up at all

Cool like the ocean
Burned like a summer home
Fooled by the notion
That the sums don’t add up at all
That the sums never add up at all
That the sums don’t add up at all…

Swimming Pools (Drank) by Kendrick Lamar

Our hero begins drinking in High School. He carries a little bottle of Jack Daniels around in his jacket pocket from the age of 15. In those days liquor stores didn’t card. They just looked you up and down. All you needed was strength of purpose. By that time he had been through some abuse and it showed on his face. They weren’t gonna deny him anything. Most people looked in his eyes, full of pain, worry and grief, and simply came to the obvious conclusion, “This man needs a drink.”

Washing of the Water by Peter Gabriel
But when High School ends he withdraws from the world. Riding around on the subway all night. Going to night-school in the afternoons. Working in the day as a messenger. Always drinking. drinking. drinking. Riding a river of fear to a sea of pain. His life becomes a river of darkness flowing into a sea of loneliness. A river of alcohol to a sea of… alcohol.

River, river, carry me on
Living river, carry me on
River, river, carry me on
To the place where I come from

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside
River, show me how to float, I feel like I’m sinking down
Thought that I could get along

But here in this water, my feet won’t touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

Going away, away toward the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on through the heartland
‘Til the sun has left the sky
River, river, carry me high

‘Til the washing of the water, make it all alright
Let your waters reach me, like she reached me tonight

Letting go, it’s so hard, the way it’s hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with this thing, because if I follow through
I face what I denied
I’ll get those hooks out of me
And I’ll take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, that loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep

In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away

Everything’s Just Wonderful by Lily Allen
Then he discovers cocaine. It solves so many of his problems. Depression, shyness, lack of energy. Cocaine. All of sudden he can talk to women. Walk into a job full of people. Cocaine. “He’s got so much energy. What a go-getter. Give that man a pay raise.” So our hero gets a job and a girlfriend and an apartment and he starts taking college courses. And it’s all thanks to cocaine. It was almost like Real Life.

Droogs by Anderson .Paak

The story takes a sexy turn here. Because for him, drugs and sex become closely related. The urge for sex is mixed with the desire for drugs. And so what follows is a string of destructive relationships and meaningless hook-ups and more drugs.

She don’t give a fuck
She don’t ever stress me
We don’t even talk
All we do is sex and leave
No there’s no love
She don’t even like me
But if we have drugs
She can be my wifey
When we have drugs

I got lost up in it, got lost up in it, got high for a minute
Said my lust for life and these lights are bright and I love these women
Said we bopping slow and we do the dance like we more than winning
Said she off the beat but she’s fine as fuck so I find the rhythm
No love is greater, in this whole world we made up
This love is made-up, it’s made-up
It’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up (say, aye)
I don’t know this bitch but I love this shit and we both are splendid
And she loud as fuck so I grab and touch and she don’t get offended
They goin call the law if we don’t get lost in Wynn parking lot
She don’t like me dog, she just like the drugs my nigga, don’t get it twisted

How many more can you give to me?
How many more can you give to me? I know you’re feelin me
Grinding and biting and kissing me
Who gives a fuck bout your history? nobody mentioned it
I coulda taken them all, I coulda taken them all, look at me dog
Look at me dead in the eyes, tell me you ain’t in love

She don’t give a fuck
She don’t ever stress me
We don’t even talk
All we do is sex and leave
No there’s no love
She don’t even like me
But if we have drugs
She can be my wifey
When we have drugs

You my one and only, my one and only, I’m on one homie
I don’t know your name I just love that ass, and I’ll pull that pony
Said I hate the club, but I make the club when I walk into it
Said you hate the drink, but you take the drink when I offer fluid
No love is greater, in this whole world we made up
This love is made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up, it’s made-up

I can say right now that I’ll lay you down, I got lots of rubbers
I don’t give a fuck, you don’t give a fuck, we was made for each other
Your friend ain’t cute but my nigga’s a trooper, he’ll take the L
I’m high as fuck and you high as fuck so we parasailing

How many more can you give to me? How many more can you give to me?

I know you’re feelin me
Grinding and biting and kissing me, who gives a fuck bout your history,

Nobody mentioned it
I coulda taken them all, I coulda taken them all, look at me dog
Look at me dead in the eyes, tell me you ain’t in love

She don’t give a fuck
She don’t ever stress me
We don’t even talk
All we do is sex and leave
No there’s no love
She don’t even like me
But if we have drugs
She can be my wifey
When we have drugs

Hash Pipe by Weezer

Eventually this leads to a life of chaos. Moving to crystal meth and then crack. He does more and more. In and out of hospitals. In and out of rehab. Emotions flying off the hook. In and out of jail. Alienating everyone around him. Until finally he’s alone. Just him, his crack pipe and his self-destructive behavior. Paranoid, angry and alone, he’s pushed everyone else away. He settles in with crack as a substitute for human contact. His life is reduced to a constant struggle to get more crack. To do whatever to get more crack.

Please by U2

One night, while crawling around on his knees searching for something that wasn’t there, he breaks down. He realizes he’s hit the bottom. For him there was no lower he could go. Determined and alone, he begins the fight to try to get off drugs. In a montage of failed attempts. And valiant second and third attempts. We see him crying with every failure. Throwing out pipes only to buy new ones. Vowing to never use again then breaking his vow, sometimes in the very same day. At this point he only has himself to blame. And he only has himself for strength. Just he and the better self that he knows he can be. His life flashes before his eyes in a series of emotional motivational scenes. After months of trying, he finally gets clean.

Manhole by Ani DiFranco

He gets off the drugs and rebuilds his life. He remembers the hollow advice of his mother. So he pretends to be normal. He moves to a new city. He lies about his past. He lies to himself. He gets really good at lying. His past becomes something that happened to someone else. But not to him.

I’m holding here a book, notable, but not the greatest
Stolen for me by the latest in a long line of thieves
And I’m just about to drop it down that manhole of memories
When I realize it doesn’t bother me like love’s mementos usually do
And I look up to see who’s different here, the latest me or the latest you

‘Course, you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t lie, he just doctors everything
Chooses some unassuming finger and quietly moves his wedding ring
Who rewrites his autobiography for any pretty girl who’ll sing
But you can’t fool the queen, baby ‘cuz I married the king

And maybe it was I who betrayed his majesty
With no opposite reality, like a puddle with no reflection
Of the sky or the trees, but after my dreaded beheading
I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I’m pretty different now, considering

I kissed you on the street that night on the far side of fourth
But I didn’t like the taste in my mouth or yours
And ignoring the persona you wore for my benefit
For once I had the balls to call it, just call it
But a lesson must be lived in order to be learned
And the clarity to see and stop this now that is what I’ve earned

And maybe it was I who betrayed his majesty
With no opposite reality, like a puddle with no reflection
Of the sky or the trees but after my dreaded beheading
I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I’m pretty different now, considering

I’m holding here a book, notable, but not the greatest
Stolen for me by the latest in a long line of thieves
And I’m just about to drop it down that manhole of memories
When I realize it doesn’t bother me and heartache not so dire
‘Cuz I looked up to see integrity finally won over desire

Climbing Up The Walls by Radiohead

Sadly once he kicks the drugs all of his psychiatric problems resurface. He had forgotten why he started drinking in the first place. And after several run-ins with the police they eventually throw him in a psychiatric hospital. There’s not a lot of words in this section. It’s mostly just images of horror and isolation. And the voice of a sadistic orderly taunting him in his pharmaceutical haze, “You didn’t think it would be that easy now did you?”

I am the key to the lock in your house
That keeps your toys in the basement
And if you get too far inside
You’ll only see your reflection

It’s always best when the choir is out
I am the pick in the ice
Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we’re friends till we die

Either way you turn, I’ll be there
Open up your skull, I’ll be there
Climbing up the walls

It’s always best when the light is off
It’s always better on the outside
Fifteen blows to the back of your head
Fifteen blows to your mind

So lock the kids up safe tonight
Shut the eyes in the cupboard
I got the smell of a local man
Who’s got the loneliest feeling

And either way you turn, I’ll be there
Open up your skull, I’ll be there
Climbing up the walls

Dig by Incubus

While in the hospital he sees such horrors in the way the mentally ill are treated. And once he gets out, he vows to use his experiences to help others. And so the angry young man from the beginning let’s go of his anger. He leaves the hospital a new man. With a new lease on life. But with an absolute disdain for how the homeless and mentally ill are treated in his country. The sun is shining for the first time in his life without drugs. Fade out.

Roll Credits

Let Go by Frou Frou

End Credits Song. As the song plays, the credits roll and we see pictures of the man on whose life this movie is based. People in the theater who didn’t know it was based on a true story gain a new respect for the film. Others are amazed by how much more handsome the real guy is compared to the actor who plays him. There’s not a dry eye in the house. And once the credits are done all that’s left on screen is a dash and a name. Some in the audience smile knowingly before the house lights come up.

Thank you for listening.

– Mel

What’s Good? (Late Summer)

Hello again and welcome to this the fourth What’s Good? installment. A top ten list (without numbers) of things I’m enjoying or have enjoyed recently. In TV, Movies and life and junk. You get the picture. I wish I could do one of these every month but some months, I’m telling ya, ain’t much good. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t want to fight about it. My EmotionsIf you haven’t heard yet, I had a run-in with my local launder/dry cleaner dude and put my foot through two of the panels on his doors. He had me arrested and the whole thing has sent me into a depressive funk. I hadn’t had an incident in more than a decade and I was getting out more. Hitting the museums and stuff. I felt like I was improving. But he said something to me. I said something back and then he said something else and I did what I did. In the past I would’ve punched him. So maybe it should feel like progress. But police, court dates and the fact he’s right on the corner and I’m not allowed to walk that way anymore has sent me to self-pity city (population one). And it goes without saying that self-pity city is pretty shitty. (the reason it goes without saying is… well you try to say it)

StrangeloveAnyway, I don’t want to get you all down too. So I’m gonna talk about the good stuff

We got mostly TV this time around. And the Mets. The Mets are looking really good. And if all goes well I may even talk about Donald Trump. Everybody else in the world is.

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Brink Poster

The Brink on HBO was really good. It was a half hour comedy about the U.S. and Pakistan almost starting world war three. I love Tim Robbins and this has Tim Robbins written all over it. His film Bob Roberts is one of my all time favorites.

Tim Robbins

The Brink stars Jack Black as a government official who gets caught up in an international incident. It’s zany and silly but the messages resonate in our modern society. The fragile state of international diplomacy in the digital world. Very funny and eerily possible. Except the real thing wouldn’t be as comical. Think Dr. Strangelove meets…well  Dr. Strangelove. The Brink is the modern-day Dr. Strangelove. And I loved every minute of it.

Strike Back: Legacy was pretty good. Strike Back is a show that airs on Cinemax in the US. In its fifth season it’s still exciting and they still don’t mind killing off any character at any time. One of the best things about the show is that the main characters get killed off all the time. Nobody is safe. Espionage and military action with the occasional sexiness thrown in for good measure. I mean, it is Cinemax.

Two men playing chess

Chess w/ Friends app is good because I live alone, so I usually play chess against the computer but I’m good, so I’ve burned a few CPU’s. You never realize how hard a good game of chess pushes a processor until you start smelling the smoke. So it’s good to play humans who don’t overheat. And I get beat on occasion which is good because as long as I play mistake free (huge caveat) I can beat or stalemate (usually stalemate) any chess program. But I’m no Carlsen Magnus. Plus I can’t play a speed game. That’s why I love this app. You’ve got six days to make your move before it forfeits for you. The one thing I don’t like about Chess w/ Friends, because I play 10 to 15 games at a time, is sometimes I get weaker opponents and it weakens my game then some novice beats me and gloats. I hate that. I usually beat them on the rematch then put ’em on ignore.

Netflix Originals are very good and get better with repeat viewings. Daredevil, Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange is the New Black are four of my favorite TV shows. I watched Sense8 again and it was better the second time. Then I re-watched Daredevil and it was better for the second time as well. Netflix is making some good TV.

Catastrophe

Amazon Prime (not anywhere near Netflix level) has a few good shows and a couple of promising ones coming soon. Catastrophe is very funny and original. The soft insults between the two lead characters are so funny. And I can’t wait for The Man in The High Castle and the return of Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Plus, you know, free shipping and music and movies and stuff. And it goes well with my Kindle Fire.

Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares in Colorado

New York Mets Trade Deadline Moves and storming into first place is good. I said a couple of months ago that all we needed was a right-hander with some power and they went out and got Yeonis Cespedes (somebody reads my blog) and since they got him they have gone from the worst offense in the league to the best offense in the league. A really good power hitter in the middle of the line-up makes everybody around them better because they all see more fastballs. They also picked up Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and called up Michael Conforto; a young player with some pop. They were five games behind before the trades and now the Mets are in first place and have an eight game lead. And then… David Wright, the captain, came back. Woo Hoo!

Daily Show with Jon Stewart Finale was very good. By the end, the Daily Show was a shadow of its former self. But the last episode was a trip down correspondent memory lane with a touching tribute from Stephen Colbert, a great last rant from Jon, and Bruce Springsteen sent the show off with a couple of songs. It was a nice finish for one of my all-time favorite talk shows.

humans-amc

Humans on AMC was creepy good. Here is an intriguing and interesting show but it kind of got bogged down in the second half of the season. I liked it though, and hope it comes back for a second season. It reminds me of that zombie show that I eventually had to give up on except swap robots for zombies. In The Flesh. AMC is doing fine work. They have several of my favorite shows including my absolute favorite, the amazing Halt & Catch Fire and the promising Fear (The Walking Dead) which wasn’t amazing but could get there if it can distant itself from the main show while still keeping its audience.

mr-robot-banner

Mr. Robot stayed good the entire way through. I know I mentioned this in my Early Summer What’s Good? but it needs a re-mentioning. Mr. Robot is fantastic. I read a bad review that said the thing they didn’t like was that they thought it would be impossible for them to keep up this level. That was a bad review. If “I don’t think they can stay this good for very long” is the worst thing you can say about a show, it’s got to be good. Truly amazing. With more than a few episodes in the first season that make you want to watch again from the beginning to see what you missed. They delayed the finale because it was disturbingly similar to something that happened here at a news station (more gun violence what else). But judging just by that, it will probably be disturbingly amazing.

And since I’m mentioning shows I talked about last time.

Halle Berry Extant

I need to apologize to Extant on CBS (also on Amazon Prime). The reboot in the second season is really working for me now. The whole robots versus aliens thing is awesome. The show is sort of about the extinction of the human race but you don’t know from which way it’s coming. There are aliens and there are robots and neither group likes humans very much. Extant can be light and fluffy and sometimes it takes itself too seriously but it’s actually pretty good. I really like the direction they’ve taken the story.

This is where I usually put up a new song that has me playing it on repeat. I’m waiting for Chris Cornell’s new one (also Puscifer) in September but what I can’t stop listening to right now is this shit right here. But it just came out a couple of days ago.

Dr. Dre – Compton (A Soundtrack)

Compton A Soundtrack

There is so much good on this soundtrack. Anderson .Paak. I can’t even begin to… Anderson .Paak. Kendrick Lamar is all over it. Anderson .Paak As well as all the usual suspects. Snoop, Eminem, Cube. Anderson .Paak

But honestly, the album serves as Anderson .Paak’s coming out party. Anderson is a drummer from Cali that raps and sings and makes hella weird videos. I love the guy. This is something he did with Knxwledge that is nasty as all hell called Suede…

My boy is fittin’ ta blow up.

And now… for everything there is a dark side.

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

Or 5 things that really disappointed me.

Let’s get right into the suck…

harvey_birdman

My Day in Court… sucked. even though they let me go home. They made me wait all day to find out if I signed in for a community service job from 23 years ago. TWENTY THREE YEARS!! It made my stomach ache. I brought money with me thinking I would just pay my fine and get on with my life but they wanted to first find out how much the door panels cost before they figured out what my fine would be or if I had to do jail time. And after making me wait a month and a half in anxiety and paranoia, they tell me I have to wait another month and a half while they get their shit together and find out what the damage is. Meanwhile I’m going through all the scenarios by which I end up in prison and I lose my apartment and all of my stuff gets ransacked by whoever puts it in storage. And they’re making me come back for more humiliation. Because the ADA just has to point out that the argument was about my underwear while stifling a giggle. She’s quite literally a child.

Airing my Dirty Laundry

On a related note… After my run in with Mr. Huang, my local launder, I haven’t left the house at all and that sucks. I’m back to being afraid to interact with people and I feel like everybody in the neighborhood thinks I shit my pants. It wasn’t feces. It was blood. And the fact that I have to explain that to anyone causes me pain. (I know I just posted it here but at this point it’s part of the public record) It was black underwear and it was dried blood. And what really annoyed me is that he had to discuss it with the whole laundry.

“Your honor, there’s a reason ‘to air ones dirty laundry’ is synonymous with indiscretion. It is the very definition of indiscretion. Hasn’t he been humiliated enough? Your honor, I move that all charges be dropped and my client be allowed to leave the courtroom with what’s left of his dignity.” (thunderous applause)

This Man Is A Fool

Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for president of the United States, surprisingly, doesn’t suck. This is what the Republican party has become. This is what the election of Barack Obama has done to them. 30 million Donald Trumps without a clue. And they can’t deny it. He shares all of their traits. Anger, Racism, a weak grasp of reality, an entitled attitude based on skin color alone, the lies and the Insults about the government, the rampant misogyny… the list goes on. But I’m enjoying this. Truly I am. It serves as a last chance for the few sane Republicans to abandon their party and their hateful ideology. When you see yourself bigger than life, this giant ugly version of yourself, it should serve as a wake-up call. The party of lies and hate has found their mascot. But what really sucks is how it makes us look to the world. We were just getting over the image George Bush created. Now we’re not just stupid, we’re angry racists as well.

Wet Hot American Netflix

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix was not so good. I think I just expected more. I’m not saying there wasn’t some funny moments but the entire thing played like a series of cameos. It was nice seeing Janeanne Garofalo on my screen again. (I had the biggest crush on her back in the day) but I wasn’t amused by this star-studded prequel to the cult classic about counselors at a summer camp. I wanted more. Even though the entire series taking place in one day is pretty fucking funny.

Hannibal

Hannibal finally returned to form after going way off course with its European excursion. But it’s too late to save the series. Not good Hannibal. You should have never ended last season with total carnage and then basically took it all back. Like saying, we apologize. No one died. I loved the second season. I just hated the way it ended and coming back like nothing happened made me hate it all the more.

Coming Soon to What’s Good:

Minority Report

New Fall Show Leaked Pilots are good. And these are the ones I liked: The best of them was Minority Report which looked cool but had a lot of effects and we all know those shows never last on the major networks. But I also liked Lucifer which looked good because of the title character being unbelievably awesome and sexy. And there was Supergirl which looked super cute and fun even though the pilot needed work. But what I’m also looking forward to is the return of my doctor. That’s right I called him MY doctor. Peter Capaldi is my favorite doctor on Doctor Who. And one day, if I ever get out of this funk, I will do a post about why Peter is my favorite doctor. It will be amazing.

Coming Soon to What’s NOT so Good:

Chance_go_to_jail

But seriously I wish I could get out of this Funk. In the old days I would just buy some Cocaine and that would do it (I wouldn’t even know who to ask… and I don’t want to know). Coffee just doesn’t work on it. It’s a coffee proof funk. Alcohol doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it darker and more creative. Which is fine temporarily, I guess. Hopefully the day after I find out my punishment I’ll be back to normal… for me. And my new court date isn’t helping. So if there’s no Jail Time, I’ll see you guys in September.

Speaking of funky… and so as not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. I will leave you with this great song from my boy Anderson .Paak (the dot goes there). This song is about every relationship I ever had when I was on drugs. It’s called Drugs. Enjoy.

Nice. But the video is weird right?

Later Gators,

– Mel

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency

Are you a job creator that could use a “diversity hire” to fill-out a government quota but you’re too afraid you’ll end up with a black radical, black panther or reverse racist?

Mitt Romney

“Binders full of black people, I do not have. So, um… Yes.”

Yes.

Are you sick and tired of having to check to see if any minorities are around before telling the latest Obama So Black joke at work? I’m talking to you big guy.

“Here’s one you may not have heard. Obama is so black…” Just say yes, Donald. “Yes.”

Yes.

Do you believe that reverse racism is more than just something white supremacists invented as a way to justify their hatred and hide their political impotence?

“Let me tell you something about the Negro…”

You know what. Don’t answer that last question. Just call…

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency.

We have the black candidates that wont make you feel insecure about your bigotry.

We have the Negroes for you.

Ben Carson

“This blog post is the worst thing since slavery.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency 

We have the job applicants that will allow you to feel secure about telling racist jokes at the office. Our men have the blackest skin with the most perfect diction. You’d swear they were just normal people by listening to them but trust me they’re all black. You’ll be amazed. And our black women candidates are some of lightest-skinned “sistahs” around. They all self-identify as white women, but don’t you worry. They know which box to check off at tax time and with little to no sass or back talk. In no time at all you’ll be known as An Equal Opportunity Employer.

Amy Holmes

“I’m not black. My father was from Africa. Ah-free-ca. We weren’t slaves.”

The first thing your clients will say when they see your new hire will be “My god! What a credit to his race.” or they’ll ask “She’s only half black isn’t she?” (as if there’s such a thing). And go ahead and tell that aggressively and disgustingly racist joke in front of them. They can take it. They’re just that good.

Allen West

“You’re reading the blog of someone who despises you. I should know. I hate everyone.”

Now here comes the tricky part. After you’ve told your racist joke in front of one of our highly qualified “black” applicants, a few moments will pass (it will seem to everyone in the room as if it’s been long minutes spent in tense silence). Don’t be alarmed. This is done on purpose. The tension build up will make the pay off all the more sweeter as our candidate will laugh at the joke. But not just laugh, he’ll say “Good one.” and “I heard THAT.” and “I can’t wait to tell my wife that one.” (Don’t worry none of our candidates have white wives. That would be wrong)

Clarence Thomas

“I do not respect my wife’s decision to marry a black man… Sorry Honey, I’m under oath.”

All our candidates are skilled in the best fake laughter. You’ll swear he’s pissing his pants while making full eye contact with the “racist joke” teller in the most submissive way possible (without seeming gay of course) and did you know he’ll even give that bigoted individual an extra little smile just to let them know that THIS Negro isn’t one of THOSE.

*Ask about our Black Republicans. Black Yes Men. And Dark-Skinned Right-Wing Pundits who will agree begrudgingly to the most hateful racist rhetoric with a nervous smile. (as seen on Fox News)

Michael Steele

” Now everybody be cool. He’s not calling us Uncle Toms. It’s just the name of the agency.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency

Make sure to ask your new diversity hire about his thoughts on Ferguson or the Confederate Flag and he’ll answer, “Confederate is just another word for friend.” or he’ll joke,  “You mean Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York?” And it will all seem as non-confrontational and submissive like as if he were calling you “Massah” without the slightest bit of irony. (*because of ongoing litigation our candidates will not and can not refer to you as “Master”, “Massah”, “Suh Boss” or “Bossman” and will in fact call you by your first name as if you were good friends).

Ask them about #BlackLivesMatter or the Black Lives Matter movement and our candidate will smile sheepishly and tell you reassuringly that he thinks ALL lives matter (without throwing up a little in his mouth).

Senator Scott

“I am opposed to this blog post in every way. Unless I’m told to believe otherwise.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will send you the colored faces that can fill out any staff photo, Human Resources pamphlet or Police Brutality Press Conference Podium.

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will fill your color quota without creating the hostile, “dark” and scary workplace of your worst nightmares.

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will work with you and your lawyers to bring you the diversity hire of your dreams. Our candidates will always be “one of the good ones.” We guarantee it. (guarantee void after 6 month probationary period)

Condi Rice

“Melvin, I swear, if you call me an Aunt Jemima, I will cut you.”

Uncle Tom’s

Satisfying your employment needs since 1648

…………………………………………………………………………………………

User Comments 1-5 of 209

anonymous Writes: We used your service earlier this year and were quite happy with our “black person.” But after his 6 month probationary period, he became a full-time employee and he changed practically over-night. He put up a photo of Malcolm X in his cubicle where everyone could see it. Last week he wore a Dashiki to work on casual Friday. Is this a bait & switch? He’s talking lawsuit. I can’t be sued again. I just can’t.

wutangfan69 Writes: I had a similar experience to the previous commenter. It was like he changed all of a sudden. The look he gave me when I innocently called him “Mah N****h.” I meant nothing bad. They say it all the time to each other. I can still see his angry eyes. I was afraid to go to work this morning and I’m the owner. You have Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas in your ad. But what you sent me was more like Wesley Snipes.

aynrand4ever Writes: You can’t say you’re sending a non-threatening black yes-man and send a highly intelligent and qualified n-word who’s now competing for MY job. You see that? I’m saying “n-word” now. He’s got me afraid to even type the word n-word. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I will never use your service again.

ngryblkmn38 Writes: 6 years after taking office, your “candidate” is walking around like he owns the place. I think they call it swagger. But I’m not complaining. It’s kind of nice.

dtrumpjrjr Writes: I specifically requested a “mammy” type, light-skinned African-American female to be my personal assistant. But I was not aware that I wouldn’t be able to pat her on the butt every once in a while. They have such nice… She broke my arm in three places. Can I get a refund?

Songs That Define Me: Tool’s Forty Six & 2 (Kid’s Cover)

Hey guys,

A few posts ago I talked about not being able to define myself in words and wanting to use music. So I was going to post Ten Songs That Define Me. But then I thought, why should I limit myself or force myself into picking ten? Plus I wanted to find live versions of the songs or clever videos for the songs to make it interesting. And that’s where I ran into my problem. I didn’t want to just post the songs. But post some cool videos of the songs.

So instead of posting all of my “Songs That Define Me” in one post I’ve decided to make it into a series. If I find a good video I’ll post it and if I can’t find it I’ll record it myself and post me doing the song on acoustic or something. The first song was Mayonaise by Smashing Pumpkins. I posted that in my What’s Good post for early Summer.

But here is a great acoustic version of that song to make it official. Even though the video is flopped (backwards) and Billy cracks up toward the end. This is the best audio-visual example of that song being performed that I can find.

 

But this post is about the second song from my “Songs That Define Me” series. And trust me they won’t all be rock songs. But this song most definitely is. It’s Forty Six & 2 by Tool. And I found this insanely good cover by a group of kids from the O’Keefe Music Foundation. Covering Forty Six & 2 is difficult to begin with (It goes from 4/4 to 7/8, 5/8 & 3/8 overlapping the drummers amazing 7/8) so THIS is outstanding.

Kala Scarpinski

They say the song’s title refers to the next evolution of human DNA (we’re at 44 & 2 chromosomes) but I like to think of it (at least recently and personally) as my age and my time. It is a call to arms. I love this song. Actually this entire album is fantastic. Tool’s album Ænima is in my top ten favorite albums of forever and always. Take it kids…

 

I’m going to put up Tool’s version of their song but honestly I prefer my girl Kala Rose (Kala Scarpinski)’s vocals to Maynard’s (seriously I do).

Kala Rose

I’m also going to add her doing Sober with her current group from this year. (Forty Six & 2 was from 2013). This little girl is gonna be huge if she keeps rocking.

 

Anyway, I can totally see her as a rock star one day. But here is the original version of Forty Six & 2 by Tool… for comparison or just because it kicks ass.

Forty Six & 2

My shadow’s shedding skin.
I’ve been picking scabs again.
I’m down.
Digging through.
My old muscles looking for a clue.
I’ve been crawling on my belly.
Clearing out what could’ve been.
I’ve been wallowing in my own confused and insecure delusions.
For a peace to cross me over.
Or a word to guide me in.
I wanna feel the changes coming down.
I wanna know what I’ve been hiding in my shadow.
Change is coming through my shadow.
My shadow’s shedding skin.
I’ve been picking my scabs again.
I’ve been crawling on my belly.
Clearing out what could’ve been.
I’ve been wallowing in my own CHAOTIC and insecure delusions.
I wanna feel the change consume me.
Feel the outside turning in.
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and cleansing I’ve endured within my shadow.
Change is coming.
Now is my time.
Listen to my muscle memory.
Contemplate what I’ve been clinging to.
Forty-six and two ahead of me.
I choose to live and to grow.
Take and give and to MOVE
Learn and love and to CRY
Kill and die and to be paranoid and to lie
Hate and fear and to Do what it takes to move through.
I choose to live and to lie
Kill and give and to die
Learn and love and to Do what it takes to step through.
See my shadow changing, stretching up and over me.
Softening this old armor.
Hoping I can clear the way by stepping through my shadow,
And coming out the other side.
Step into the shadow.
Forty six and two are just ahead of me.

(Now is my time)

Thanks for listening.

Until we meet again,

– Mel