Saturday April 19, 2003

Good lord! Has it really been 17 days since I added something to this already bloated page. Where is my life going when 17 days can pass by that quickly? Mercy.

I would like to say that Patapsco State Park has the most enjoyable mountain biking ever. I’ve been to some of the best places in Northern California, the purported birthplace of mountain biking, has to offer and I can honestly say that this is hard to beat. When the weather’s nice. It was 85 degrees on Tuesday. And those trails are bee-ootiful.

Blues Alley

Well, I just got back from a little excursion down to DC. I went to see Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band at Blues Alley. I called beforehand and they were out of tickets but the woman, Elaine, who works the door told me to come down anyway and she would see what she could do. So I did the drive to try to make the 10 o’ clock show. About an hour and 15 minute drive. I always get lost in DC. Those circles just screw with me big time. That may have worked fine back in horse and carriage days but … eh. Anyway, I don’t like ’em. One of these days I’m going to get trapped in one indefinitely. End up driving around one of those circles until the car runs out of gas and I have to live out my life on one of those traffic circle islands. Like a contemporary Gilligan. That’s right little buddy.

So I made it to Blues Alley in Georgetown after only a little mis-navigation. Waited in line. It was raining and I didn’t have my umbrella but it wasn’t too bad. So I got into the place and was told to exit the building and wait outside the door. There were three urbanites also waiting. Interesting conversation. Two of them, the couple, worked in finances in New York. I think they were Australian. And the other guy worked for a senator on his upcoming presidential campaign. He also said that his cousin is England’s Minister of Defense. I didn’t talk at all. Just listened to them and tried to stay out of the rain. After about 20 minutes Elaine came out and said she didn’t have any seats for people without reservations. So that was that.

They do have a speaker right there at the exit door so I stayed and listened to a song, which sounded great. But there was no chance of getting in. I thought to myself, “Rats! Three of them. Right over there by the trash cans.” I had actually seen them run across the alley one at a time a few minutes earlier. So while I was listening to the second song, “Birthday Song”, I watched the rats excavate around the plastic trash cans. They’re amazing. I’ve never seen one climb a fence but sure enough they would climb and then get on to the top of the trash can and then on the side and try to open the lid or squeeze underneath. Rats are pretty amazing creatures. They can fit through a hole the size of a quarter. Fall three stories without getting hurt. Swim and even swim underwater.

Just me and the rats and the dank alleyway listening to Joshua Redman. I found out that Brian Blade wasn’t playing with the group. Jeff Ballard was subbing on drums. I really had wanted to see Brian Blade. If he were playing on that tour I would drive up to Philadephia (about 90 miles) tomorrow (Saturday) to catch them. And Blues Alley is expensive. $30 for the ticket. $9 minimum. $2.50 service fee. Not to mention the $8 for parking and then gas.

I was talking to Toby Backhaus, my friend in Germany, and he told me that gas there is the equivalent of about $4.60 PER GALLON! It would cost me close to $72 to fill my tank in Darmstadt, Germany. Achtung, baby!

But I’m writing right now in order to not think about things that I’ve been thinking about lately that I don’t want to be thinking about. Namely, how my trip to France this summer ranked up there with the worst times of my life ever socially and emotionally. Actually, it’s definitely the worst I can remember. In recent history at least. In other aspects France was amazing and I’m aching to go back to Europe under more ideal circumstances. Circumstances that won’t result in scarring and the need for years of powerful Adlerian therapy.

How to Get Rich/The Joys of Exploitation

But let’s move on, shall we? I decided to share my secret to become super rich. It’s very simple and just takes timing. It’s an entertainment industry thing and it goes a little something like this:

Find the current trend in black people’s music. Urban contemporary, hip hop, neo-soul, gangsta rap, weed rap, straight up R&B and even Jazz. I don’t think it matters what the genre is. So find what’s hot and then and ONLY then put together a group of young, clean cut white kids to perform in the same vein. Vain? Vane? Vein. Just a little watered down. Sure, it may seem trite but I’ve thought of a few examples (even though my historical facts may be suspect).

  • I guess Al Jolson is a little too obvious. Although I don’t recommend blackface. Imitation is the sincerest form of flatter, as they say.
  • From Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitgerald to Bing Crosby. And Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, etc.
  • Motown to the Beatles and the “British Invasion”.
  • Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley to Elvis.
  • James Brown to the Ohio Players, Donald Fagen and others.
  • From Janet Jackson to Britney Spears, Cristina Aguilera and so on. And of course to reach the rapidly expanding Latino community, Jennifer Lopez.
  • From New Edition and Musical Youth to New Kids on the Block.
  • From Dru Hill to the Backdoor Boys and ‘N Stync.
  • Rap to Eminem.
  • Natalie Cole (riding the success of “Unforgettable”) to Diana Krall.

But the tricky part is the timing. You have to catch the black wave at the peak or right after the crest of their popularity and then introduce your ivory counterparts to generate the explosion of caucasoid teen angst and hormones that couldn’t quite be expressed for the prototypes for whatever complex reasons. And then you create more, each one fueling the next and even pitting the groups against one another for popularity. And slowly morph from a clean cut image to the bad boy/girl image. Then you bleed the market’s appetite dry. Then rinse and repeat. Oh oh oh! And solo ventures. I almost forgot about that. Like sitcom spinoffs, you gotta take your shot.

Not bad, huh? Not working leaves lots of time for … writing goofy stuff that not many people will ever see. But that’s a’ight.

Well, it’s time for me to stop eating these pistachios and then face my new addiction — Yahoo’s Text Twist.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. God bless us every one.

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