Michael Psycho's Word Pollution

Monday, November 28, 2016

GIUSEPPE SANTA SAUCE. USING THE HAND OF HISTORY ONE FINGER AT A TIME.



As I write this, about 53 years ago, a funny thing happened on the radio.

In mid-December of 1963, Carroll James of WWDC in Washington, D.C. played a single by a then-unknown overseas band which blew up the phone lines and started a cultural sensation which has never subsided in the annals of music history.

That record, of course, was “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, by the Beatles.

The timing of the single’s airplay, and the joyful frenzy which followed, came literally just weeks after the assassination of President Kennedy. Just before the shooting, news outlets like the Huntley-Brinkley Report and the Washington Post were just getting wind of the Fab Four’s frenzied following in England and innocuously reporting on the soon-to-be described Beatlemania. But when the Beatles finally gave their gift of music to American radio listeners, the country was in deep and desperate depression, and in need of something to lift their spirits again and distract it from the doom and gloom which the JFK killing had embedded into the national psyche. The Beatles provided that panacea to the nation’s grief.

I write to you in the same time of year under similar circumstances. It is currently approaching December and the country has withstood a November of epic tragedy and insecurity. So much of America is swerving and reeling in a state of depression and resentment, mumbling to itself, “What the fuck went wrong? It just doesn’t feel like the same country as even just a few weeks ago!” Or, something like that. Yes, let’s all admit it. People need their lift. They need that little motivation to make them feel the joie de vie of everyday existence again.

I put forth that I have found that solution, and their name is Giuseppe Santa Sauce.

In a similar fashion, Giuseppe Santa Sauce has a following outside of the USA but not in it, because they already have a solid fan base on the Internet which, as we all know, is technically outside of the country because the Internet is not the real world.   

It was correspondence from a single teenage music fan to WWDC that got the Beatles not their first USA airplay, but their first USA airplay that made a difference. All Giuseppe Santa Sauce needs, at this point, is a similar kind of one time break. If only a station like, say, 103.5 here in my current home base of Sacramento would break from their usual format, just like WWDC did that chilly December day, and play the song “Your Day Day Job” during the morning commute hour, all of those state workers driving in are sure to go completely insane. This, you can be sure. And besides, after 103.5 recently took the brave decision to boycott Kanye’s music, they are going to need to fill in that playlist somehow, right?


But I digress. I guess that I haven’t even touched upon the subject of the actual music of Giuseppe Santa Sauce, have I, now? Well, as those who have met me personally already know, I don’t have much of a musical background, so comparisons and descriptions of up and coming artists can be hard for me to break down, but I’ll try, so here goes.  

It’s as if Thom Yorke and Jandek randomly met up in the elevator of the Union Square Hilton, went to Lefty O’Doul’s for breakfast and then, right afterwards, took the Muni to the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped over the railing, holding hands. It’s that good.

And on top of the music, I just admire the drive and desire these guys have in getting the public to accept their message. Like the small time dealers on Fulton Avenue that sold me a used car a few years back, these folks present the impression of just some hard working guys who have a dream to make an honest living from doing something they love with people. Oh, sure, like my car, Giuseppe Santa Sauce’s music might have a dead AC and a fucked up water pump and no brake system to speak of, but they will still sell it to you because in the end, they make it quick and easy for you to buy from them, and you still need what they sold you to get through the day. And unlike my car, I’m not fed up with them yet, and besides, I can’t just donate their music to charity, which makes them even more genius in their mission.

But don’t just take my word for it. Get over to Bandcamp right now and be one of the reportedly thousands of satisfied listeners who downloaded the music of Giuseppe Santa Sauce with unashamed abandon. I have a page on Bandcamp as well with about 11 album releases at this point, but you know what? I only charge a dollar for my downloads and Giuseppe Santa Sauce charges two bucks, so fuck me, and just go buy their downloads. Consider it a way of supporting the mission we both have; to Make America Distracted Again.

Let’s get to it America. Help Giuseppe Santa Sauce in their mission to heal a hurting nation. We need this.   

Thursday, November 10, 2016

SHOCKING? NAH. JUST SINKING TO A NEW LOW.



In my lifetime, starting from birth, the following historic events, among many others, happened in the good ol’ USA:

The JFK assassination, Vietnam War, Watergate, Waco, Oklahoma City, and 9/11, along with a whole bunch of mass killings and disasters. Also, every POTUS term from JFK on through Obama. Even the Cuban Missile Crisis was just wrapping up soon after I was born.

That’s a lot of fucked up national history. Oh sure, some cool and entertaining things happened too, like Beatlemania and the first moon landing and the Internet and the Red Sox finally winning a World Series and being able to see the Ramones live before the whole fuckin’ front line died.

And now the man seemingly destined to take the title of “Worst U.S. President Ever” is going to get the keys to the White House for four years beginning around noon on January 20, 2017.

Donald Trump won the Electoral College count because a shitload of self-centered insecure white people with closeted xenophobic issues and a lack of understanding of how democracy, let alone government, works, happen to live in parts of the country where nobody of color seems to want to live, and decided to vote. If they were not Luddites who weren’t paying attention to Trump’s rancid personality, public behavior and debating tactics, then they were totally A-OK or even empathetic to his self-centeredness, misogyny and lack of intelligence and compassion. I’m prone to buy into believing the latter as the truth.

His opponent edged him out on the popular vote, and she won all the states on the entire west coast of the continental USA as well as its northeast corner (including Trump’s home state). Hillary Clinton won the more demographically diverse urban areas and Trump won where, well, all the scared white people fled to years ago. She fucked up on campaigning, with a good deal of it spent on weak status quo stunts like trying to over-flash her opponent by showing up at rallies in already-won urban areas with a shitload of celebrities who didn’t normally strike a note with people who got off their asses and actually voted. Okay, maybe Springsteen was an exception.

To be honest, I wasn’t even that enthusiastic about voting this time. My original idea was to vote for Bernie Sanders, and then never vote again. At the time my attitude was this: I have no problem voting for the USA’s first woman President, but Elizabeth Warren wasn’t running. If Clinton was running against, say, Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush, I may have stayed home.

But, that fucker Trump got the GOP nomination. I have despised that asshole for the entire time I have learned of his existence. All the stupid name branding. The dumb ass TV show. The braindead tweets. The conspicuous consumption. Everything about him. I have absolutely no identification with the man or what he stands for. My rich daddy didn’t give me a million dollars to start a business. I worked for and earned every penny I’ve got, and I’m no billionaire, but I have a debt free life with no bankruptcies or failed businesses to show for it. Trump likes to use the term “loser” a lot but I only see a true loser of a human being in Trump. It has nothing to do with wealth, fame or celebrity. The guy is simply scum. I sure as hell could not sit idly and just let him win the White House. So, I fell into the “lesser of two evils” bullshit and filled in the little ballot oval for Clinton.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential election’s results caused a lot of shock for people, including those involved in the Establishment Media. I must be more jaded than the average American news consumer, because if I can describe my reactions to the result, shock would not be one of those feelings.

Am I disappointed in the people of the United States for electing this ego drunk intellectually challenged turdbucket to the nation’s highest office? Oh, sure, but I’ve been disappointed in people and the stupid shit they’ve done on many occasions. Am I scared? Nope. Not at all. I feel like I have a spiritual battle to prepare for, as well as nothing to lose and everything to gain. That never leaves me feeling frightened. Quite the opposite.

Am I angry? Oh, yeah. Over and over again, I have to see citizens in the nation where I was born and raised get suckered in by the dumbest shit. And it’s not necessarily in politics. For years, the Establishment Media has conspired to help earn a living for selfish, ignorant, power hungry assholes, whose only key to success is being able to call attention to themselves and attract others like them who aren’t nearly as successful but want to live vicariously through the anointed Celebrity Alpha Asshole du jour. So the masses watch TV, interact on social media, buy the books, proclaim the love, and yes, this time, show up at the ballot box and vote.

This wasn’t an election. It was a mobilization of racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobia drunk opportunists rallying up the stooges mixed with wealth worshiping groupies. It was not a movement for change. It was an opportunity for opportunistic individuals, most notably the winning candidate himself, to use the rube suckers impressed by his fame, his money, and his rubbish brand name to wreak vengeful havoc on a nation that had the audacity to elect a black man to the nation’s highest office for not one, but two terms. They saw an opportunity to strike in the fact that a woman was the ruling party’s opponent, because the same demographic that hated anyone different also hated women and felt threatened by the potential emasculation that, God forbid, a woman who didn’t know “her place” would cause in leading this country. It didn’t have anything to do with denial of a glass ceiling. They liked the glass ceiling and wanted to keep it there.

It was the week before my 18th birthday when Ronald Reagan was elected. It was the night before my 54th when Trump was elected, and to me, some things feel the same. A lot of people (many in similar Clinton-winning urban areas) back in 1980 reacted with shock and fear. They wondered how the electorate at large could be stupid enough to elect The Gipper.  And, the electoral vote for that contest was 489-49! The Establishment Media did the same “gee shucks, guess people want change” shoulder shrugging 36 years ago as well. It seems a lot more intense in the reaction for 2016, but I can’t help but think that I’ve seen this all before. The difference is, I’ve lived through a lot now, and feel much older, wiser and conditioned.

Shocked? No, but I am amazed at how the USA electoral process has sunk to a new low. And an absurd low at that. It’s like a lost Christopher Guest mockumentary. It’s the most fucked up episode of Black Mirror ever. Except this time it’s not onscreen. This is real life and no one can simply choose not to watch.

Nothing has changed. In a fundamental way for me, it’s 1980 all over again. It’s 2000 all over again. It’s time to put the authoritarian fuckers in their place each and every time they even attempt to step out of line. Every time the Trump Administration and the Republican U.S. government try to impede on stuff like civil rights, a woman’s right to choose, environmental safety, net neutrality, or freedom of expression and right to assemble and express dissent, I will raise hell until the cows come home, just as I have done for practically my entire life on this earth. And mark my words, they will try to do fucked up things with all of that power and authority because that is the nature of the beast. 

Fear, on so many levels, motivated the election of Donald Trump. I will not fear. I will fight.

If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they are going to get. I know that I don’t have to fight alone, nor do I have to. So if you are as outraged with what individuals have done in the USA this time as I have, let’s fight together. Let’s live by the words of a wise man who once telegraphed: “Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!”

Saturday, October 01, 2016

DISPATCH FROM THE REAL CITY: AN OPEN LETTER TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA.




I feel very fortunate to have grown up in the Boston area. Even through the worst of times growing up (and there were plenty), I was convinced that there was no more perfect city for me to be living in. It was my ancestors’ hometown. From the first day of their arrivals from Ireland, they called no other city home.

My mom was a Jamaica Plain native, my dad from Winthrop. Their parents and grandparents fought in the Civil War, ran tugboat crews, chased Pancho Villa over the border, and worked wards for a guy named James Michael Curley. My mom worked at Filene’s and Jordan Marsh; my dad delivered heating oil to the homes of Carl Yastrzemski and Rico Petrocelli. Thanks to my life in that area, I have fond memories of Fenway Park, the Boston Garden, the Rat, the Channel, Harvard Square, and a chaotic road trip down to NYC to see the Clash at Bond’s. Even field trips as an elementary school student involved places that other kids only read about during their American History classes.

If I could do it all over again, I would grow up in no other city.

What I’m writing about here isn’t about Boston, however.

It’s about my current home city.

I have lived as a grown man in Sacramento, California for 32 years. I have spent a couple of years in Oak Park, a few in Colonial Heights, and a short stretch in Del Paso Heights. Most of my years here have been right smack dab in the middle of Midtown, in five different residences within a six block radius. I currently live in a neighborhood named Marshall School, three blocks and a freeway overpass away from a city park where I saw my first punk band show, sang my own music in its hall, got drunk in numerous times at night, and eventually got married in its Rose Garden.  

I got to Sacramento in 1984 with my first wife and serious delusions of a fresh start. She had screwed around on me with a mutual friend, we split up and, in pure 1980’s Brat Pack film action, I went over to her new paramour’s place and walked into her bedroom (drunk) while she was nekkid in bed with him to ask her to get back with me. She did. Funded for tickets by her family, we caught a plane to SFO about three days later.

I made a lot of friends and got involved in a lot of art and music. Unfortunately, the marriage slogged on for almost seven years and in hindsight, I never should have stepped up to try and reconcile back in Boston, and should have simply let her go to Sacramento alone. Déjà vu. She screwed around with a mutual friend once again and this time drained the bank account. Eventually, I ended up living on the streets. After some time, I found a place to live, began to pull some work here and there, and started making a decent living, at least for my own personal standards. I did all of that "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" bullshit and then some. I got married again, and divorced again, though the second divorce wasn’t even remotely as ugly as the first. I kept working and making money and life goes on.

The reason I’m sharing this information is not to pour out details of my personal life to you or even embarrass any of the aforementioned parties. I’m telling you about all of this because I feel that it is important to assure you that I am, and have been, a longtime resident of Sacramento simply because that is what the circumstances of my life led me to do.

I did not come to this city to buy and sell land, or try to make a career out of vacuous homer cheerleading (and, I must clarify, by that I mean literally move to Sacramento and try to make money promoting the city, aka carpetbagging) and, most certainly, I did not move to Sacramento to make money in any various form to promote, or give blind groupie-like allegiance in any form to, the Sacramento Kings.

As a matter of fact, when I moved here to Sacramento in 1984, there were no Sacramento Kings. There was no light rail transit, no high speed internet or wifi, and cable television lines were barely getting up and running. There were, however, some breathless blowhards whose job it was to tell you about how Sacramento was destined to become a world class city and a bunch of new building developments were going to usher in a new era of pride and blah blah blah, rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric. Nothing but flowery words. There just happens to be much more of those people crawling around today by the hundredfold.      

And to be perfectly honest, there are three big reasons why I would never be a Sacramento Kings fan:

1    1.  As I said, when I moved here, there were no Kings. This team is just a childhood memory of easy Celtics wins viewed on a black and white TV in my bedroom as I tried to fall asleep on a school night (Kemper Arena games started late in my time zone).
      2. What? Give up on the Celtics? Are you fuckin’ nuts?
I     3. I grew up in the first American city that stood up to the reigning King. There is no way in hell I am going to root for any kings, period.

As my title implies, this is intended to be an open letter to those of you outside of Sacramento. An open letter was already written to the local residents by the same kind of opportunist carpetbagger I had described to you earlier.

In it, he was trying to play Mother Superior to the people of Sacramento by admonishing them not to say anything bad about our city because there’s a big ass giant covered fruit bowl arena opening downtown with a hideous sculpture in its plaza by a world famous artist whose early claim to fame was photos with his then-porno star wife bought by an Indian tech tycoon who thinks that he can help his team win because he coached his daughter’s middle-school squad and the city run by its teen lusting mayor pitched in some cash for the ugly public art and we don’t want any outsiders to get a bad impression so go spend money and smile all the time and shut up and buy.  

To which I say, fuck that guy.

Nobody has the right in this country to even so much as attempt to coerce the general public to suppress dissent in the public arena, whether by legal or illegal means. If anyone tried to stop me from speaking my mind, especially if said parties resorted to physical violence, I would use every possible means at my disposal to smack right back at them and teach them an important lesson about civilized public discourse.

In that sense, I’m going to tell you the truth about this city, right now.

There are many good things about Sacramento now that I have witnessed, and there has been in the past. Hey, the trees, that alone! Not just that, of course. This is a city where creative working class people have somehow created unique and interesting stuff for the participation and enjoyment of other unique and interesting people. Music and art festivals and related activities abound, such as the Norcal Noisefest, the Porchfest in Midtown (a similar event is held every year in my mom’s old Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain) and other events that are somehow organized and operated by folks whose only interest is making something worthwhile happen. In short, over the years, Sacramento has been a city where people who are unusual and unique can be free to be unusual and unique. I can't say I love living in the city, but there's a lot I've seen in Sacramento that I have really liked.

If the current crop of self-made movers and shakers tying to take over this city have their way, that will change, and not for the better.

They want you to think that there is some sort of vibrant “world class city” core and if you move to Sacramento or even visit, a winged talking unicorn will greet you at the Tower Bridge or Terminal B at Sac International and carry you into a magic journey through a Jeff Koons illustrated wonderland of phantasmagorical whimsy and boundless slurping of magic purple nectar, the likes of which you will not see even in your wildest idea of the afterlife.

In reality, Sacramento is more or less just another American city of its population size. In terms of the major economic players, it’s pretty much only two things:

   1. A government town, and 
   2. A real estate racket.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, in the mainstream conformist circles of this city is going to break it down that simply to you. Especially not the local daily newspaper, since their parent company has been trying to dump more real estate properties recently than the total dead bodies found on Dorothea Puente’s property. Their blowhard paid mouthpiece for the land barons and homer merchants would absolutely roll over and pee himself writing yet one more business-friendly manifesto extolling the noble mission of the Sac Metro Chamber of Commerce and throw down praise at the usual list of elitist conspirators just to refute my take.

This is a city where, currently, real estate speculators have scooped up properties, tried to turn them for a profit, and generally, don’t give a fuck about what gets built on them. They convince businesses to pay the increasingly ridiculous sale prices and rents, and then the businesses panic to pay the bills and goosestep right along with the “New Era of Proud” hymn.  Then there are the residential properties. Working class renters in existing places are being increasingly priced out of the market by landlords who have been gobbling down way too much of the arena Kool-Aid and think that their rentals will be populated by starry eyed yuppie scum moving in from the Bay Area to revel in New World City success and glory. Some new properties are overpriced Family Affair styled monstrosities that no one in their right mind would find to be an attractive home destination. They put up targeted billboards around town with generic pictures of “residents” for their new developments. On one development ad, what seems like a vaguely hipster slightly pre-millennial straight couple, and in another, what seems to imply a pair of… either dudebro roomates or a gay couple; I’m honestly not sure which.

Somehow, the vision of this new civic junta seems to think that the appearance of a “World Class City” depends upon meeting as many unnecessarily expensive and generic benchmarks as possible. Practically everything that makes this city unique and defines the best qualities of its historic cultural legacy is being slowly destroyed. These people are not going to stop until the soul of this city is being completely raped, pillaged, and plundered into their bank accounts.

Personally, the only hope I seem to have anymore is my ability over time to outlive things. If there’s one thing that I have proved to myself over the course of my life, it’s that I have an ability to survive. I can only hope that, in regards to the current state of affairs in Sacramento that this is just one more unpleasant era of occurrences to outlive. Still, I don’t see any reason to leave. My life has been invested here for over half of my years here on Earth.

Still, I’m starting to look at other cities and some of them do look a lot better at this point. Unlike what Sacramento is rapidly turning into, at least other cities still seem to be part of the United States, where it won’t be an attitude of “embrace the local leadership’s world class vision, or get out”. The new insurgents attempting to pull a ruling junta in Sacramento better hope that they are not encouraging a lot of people like me to consider an exit. But then again, when your life is defined by profit, propaganda, and vacant homeland huckstering in lieu of actual skills and talents, any old rube (with money to spend) to replace me will do. Hopefully, in the event that I ever do have to leave this city, I can join the world in watching their cheesy carnival scam all falling to bits, gloriously.

And for those of you who have been living in Sacramento all your lives, especially who weren't even born when I arrived here, who want to turn this into a pissing contest, go on. I'm done here. Respond if you need to. I'll wait.