Monday, April 30, 2007

There were far too many semi-colons

My new neighborhood has a motto.

Not just any motto. Fuck no. This is a mean, vicious exclusive motto that is really used as more of an insult than a term of endearment when talking about your place of residents.

Independence - Queen City of the Trails
Boston - The Cradle of Liberty
Olathe - Beautiful City
Kansas City - The City of Fountians
Peculiar, Mo. - Where the odds are with you
River Market - Get across the bridge!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A memo drifts mournfully off a southern wind

Ministry of Gonzo – Kansas City

To: The lack luster band of fucks that call yourself followers
From: Ministry of Gonzo – Intra-office affairs.

To all,

It’s time we pack up and move the hell out of the unforgivable city that birthed us from its loins.

For too long we have suffered the injustices that it has laid down on our skull in this past year. Just this week, for example, a man was arrested after a part of his house exploded. Apparently, this jackass was building pipe bombs and left them unattended in his house as he went out for his morning jog.

On his return, he found a potion of his house blown to splinter and a thick fiery smoke billowing from what used to be his garage. The police were swarming so he decided to make a break for it. The police dogs managed to grab hold of his jugular vein and drag him down in a torrent of screams and pleas for mercy.

This, of course is only the most recent travesty to plague our quiet neighborhood where curbs and sidewalks are a luxury that only the high and mighty can afford. As the weather has warmed a familiar odor has started to waft though the quiet streets of our neighborhood. It is not quite the smell of summer or new trees and flowers. Nay, it is the smell of bleach being boiled in the house down the block as it prepares another major bath of meth to be pushed to the kids on big wheels and mothers lacking even the most simple of teeth to gnash at their evening TV dinners.

The break-in at the Ministry was the last straw, though. The terrible event disintegrated the last amount of desire I had to live in this city. My own childhood home no longer held the allure it used to.

No, catamount, this memo is not here to serve as some evil diatribe on Independence and all that is wrong with it – and by god there is a lot that is wrong with this vile town. Today we announce that the Ministry will be moving its Kansas City Branch Office downtown to a new central location.

This weekend the Ministry of Gonzo will officially open its newly constructed offices in a more desirable and hip River Market location in downtown Kansas City.

The suburbs are over rated and only lead to soul crushing depression.

With the move, the Ministry will also be expanding as we take on another staff member. The new disciple of Gonzo will begin his training process later in May when he joins the Ministry. Mike has been a loyal follower in our fellowship program and is now preparing to make the full commitment and work with the Ministry to bring the world even more of our absurdity and abusive behavior to this vicious world.

We have seen former disciples of the Good Word move on to bigger and better things, but because their identities remain a matter of national security we cannot reveal where or how they are doing.

Our new offices will not only be exquisite and state of the art, but they will also be more secure, with the newest electronic key entry locks and laser cut keys to the most advanced Tazer technology to take down all those Jesus freaks and criminals that attempt to bum rush the new offices.

We ask that you raise and glass and drink irresponsibly to the new, improved Ministry of Gonzo – Kansas City Bureau. The walls have yet to be tainted with the stout beers that we will undoubtedly duel with. Give it time.

Please address all new correspondence to:
Ministry of Gonzo
c/o Office of external communications and drug acquisition
500 East 3rd Street
Suite 301
Kansas City, Mo., 64106

You may resume wasting your life,
Director of Ministry Affairs
Ministry of Gonzo – Kansas City Bureau

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nertz to you, Spaceman!

Harry S Truman was not a subtle man.

He was the kind of man who would grab life by the haunches and hump it into submissions. This might be why one of my favorite cartoons in syndication portrayed him as a fast talking box crushing '20s-era Elliot Ness.

I, of course, am talking about Futurama and refering to the episode where the gang gets transported back to 1947.

Truman gets introduced as several military generals are talking about how the space creatures they caught need to be kept top secrect. At this moment 2 MPs wheel a box of Eggs from an airplane.

Truman then comes punching out of the wood box and demands to know the score. He was a hard ass and was not below slapping around a lobster like animal who is a stereotype of every New Jesery Jew since the 1900s.

I'm not sure why I find this so hysterical. It could be connection to Independence, Truman's home town. It could be my new facination with preidents of this country. It could also be becasue phrases like "Nertz" and "Squidabilly" just seem funniers coming from a man in a white suit.

But really, I jsut like when cartoons portray real actors. The Simpsons did a take on Brizilain Soccer star Ronaldo. At one point Ronaldo starts an argument between Lisa and Homer.

As the Father/Daughter fight moves off screne, Ronaldo declares ,"Aha, another family destroyed by Ronaldo!" and then procedes to back flip into the sunset.

p.s. - he has a history of sleeping with other people's wives.

Hysterical.

Why? Who the hell cares. Cartoons pretty much have the ability to do anything especailly make fun of real people without them even knowing - Tom Cruise on South Park. Or how about the whole Scientology religion...protrayed as a hunting club who has sex with little boys.

-----------------------------------------

I don't think the whole web-zine is going to work here, Catamounts.

You see, I found out this week that a fellow reporter/drinking buddy is going to begin writing for The Pitch. I guess they are undergoing a hiring binge in the hopes that they are going to create - wait for it - an online music Web site that will focus on KC Music.

I think i should keep my ideas to myself in the future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The rules...

Some of the best laid plans are made while drunk.

Road trips, relationships, new jobs, life goals all of them suddenly become clean and clear under the haze of a few bourbons.

It is just as easy to see the insanity of thouse same plans as soon as the sun rises on the next day and you are left with only a raging hangover to teach you lesson.

"You thought what was a good idea...?" your brain would say to you flicking the senstivie nerves behind you eye.

"Idiot"

But it seems my brain is on deck with my latest crazy idea. It actually woke me up the next day to continue the discussion, review bar napkins for more ideas and brain storming (nice turn, eh?).

And, by god, this brain was storming with idea, people who need tobe in motion, places that need to be contacted.

You see, here at the paragraph factory I have put in for a transfer out of my currnet division. But my transfer was denied - hard.

As I sulked in the dark bar of McCoys downtown it finally hit me. About halfway though The Roseline's set - visit them - when I knew it was time to take matters into my own hands.

I want to create a Web-zine that would focus on KC Music and only KC music.

Think Pitchfork, but with only bands from Kansas City, Lawrence, Easter Jackson County and maybe even Columbia.

There is a music scene - for the most part - here in KAsnas City. There are bands that are doing good things and making a name for themselves.

There is something going on here and people seem to ignore it. Anodyne Records, Oxblood Records and ahandfull of other independent labes are all based right down town, but there is no signle publication that covers them all.

As I have hashed this, soberly, in my mind, I have come to several major conclusions:

1. It has to be online
2. It will have to be daily (or more)
3. It will need the support of local musicians and other record comapnies - it cannot be seen as some outsider trying to take anyone down
4. It cannot be a place for reviews. The main hook has to be to listen to new artists and see the news of what is going on.
5. It has to be independent of any of the other media institutions.

The Pitch and the KC Star do well in their own right. The Pitch is too pretentious and does not really get at the heart of news - reviews, sure. Lauding good band, they do it well. But they do not have a great venue for news or even pictures.

Why waste my time?

It would not be a rah rah for bands. They already have one of those. But simply something that would tell us who is playing with who, when and are bands being signed and going on tour.

But i know I have my own limitations
1. I do not know enough about KC's scene
2. I do not know enough about the internet to host such a site
3. I do not have the time to do this by myself.

I know there are some out there who would jump in and help out. There are some that would love to be a part of something at the ground level like this.

I guess the only difference between this idea and the others, is how long can this idea, borne out of drunken chatter among friends, keep itself stoked without me doing anything as i continue to doubt myself about it.

Time is of the essence here. I have to at least try, right?

Friday, April 13, 2007

That is not a scene.

The punk scene died exactly one year after I was born.

In a rock show in the late Spring of 1985, Bad Brains took to the stage and instead of ripping through one of thier classic hard riffing, heavy bass scream-rants, they solmnly meandered into a regae song that left the corwd stupified and angry.

Punk rock was in its final thorws.

Not even the fuck around Henry Rollins could save it this time. And, by god, those who created it in the late 70s seemed willing to watch it die before them as they quit rocking out against the man with songs like "kill all the police, kill all the police, kill all the police" in succession for 45 seconds.

The scene was dead before anyone seemed to really know what hit them - most likely a fist from the over-adrenilined crowd that was swinging at the lead singer.

I was pulled into this scene for only a glimpse last night as I wacthed the music donumentary American Hardcore for hte first time. It was definitly not a Ken Burns-style rock-u-drama that did anything beyond the surface of what Punk music was.

Instead, it spent a shit ton of time trying to tell me that the system was already stacked agasint them and how Regan was personally working against their music andway of life. Their success, each former, burnt-out rocker would say, came from sticking it to the man.

Chuck Klosterman once wrote that he never understood Punk music. But what is there to understand? I like punk music for a varitey of reasons.

Circle Jerks, Gang Green, DOA and a whole host of other "hardcore" acts tapped into something that, for some reason, alluded most followers of this scene. They were playing angry music for an angry generation. And not just the 80s generation. They were playing for kids between the age of 13-20 some of the most angry fuck ups that today are overly medicated to keep them calm.

between 1980 and 1985 the children of the failed seekers and hippes in the 1960s were jsut fianlly starting to come into their own. They saw their happy, peace, love and hugs paretns and realized they failed against Nixon and his attempt to convert everyone into drones.

So, Instead, the kids got angry. They took it out on everthing. The man, police, parents eachother and even themselves. If we could not get people to see the central message of being yourself while being nice, then we aregoing to pound it into your face and break your nose to teach you.

Blood was the new assignment and everyone was out to get it.

Punk rock was the theme music to this anger and it stoked the fires and kicked the tired of every kid willing to get angry and feed that emotion

But the anger can only go on so long, it seemed.

Bad Brains took the first leap in an attempt to venture out into other froms of music. Beastie Boys went into white boy rap, and bands broke up around the scene becasue of creative difference.

I don't think punk died. I think it grew up.

The most interesting aspect of the whole film was a part that was not pointed out or even explicitily mentioned.

Each memeber of the former Punk dynasties sat, unintentionally, in front of a slice of what their lives had become.

They were either sitting in front of large swimming pools in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Or in the basement of a home that they doubled as a recording stuiod.

Some sat in posh offices where they were now investment bankers or music executives.

They sold out - one might argue.

Those who did not, seemed to be trying to live the life they did when they were teenagers. They did not grow up or mature their own art - if you want to call it that.

It was a vicious cycle where those who tried to hang on wanted to keep it alive, but those who wanted it to die kept pusheing them down.

But they all agreed, Punk, in its purest form, was dead and it was never coming back. But they blamed the youth that followed them - Green Day, Blink 182 - for not keeping hte light on and playing into the night.

But how could they? The scene had aged and now was something completely different.

You can only be young once.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Truth?

An conversation with a Friend...

Friend: law school, huh?
Me: what?
F: heard rumor you were considering law school
Me: yeah, i think so
F: what kind of law?
Me: i think real estate development with an emphasis on suburban planning
F: I just vomited blood.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Writer's Block

There is something satisifying in telling people I spent my weekend at a Prom.

"Oh you chaperoned?"
"No, I was invivted."
(look of confusion sets in, bleeding to fear)

That is right Catamounts, I spent my saturday night being a stand in date for someone at a Prom. But before you get your panties in a tiwt and began insisiting that I have a thing for 16 year-old-girls I might need explain my positon here.

What's the score?

This was not some ordinary lack-luster prom where everyone gets dressed up and pretends this is the last time we will get dressed up and dance to the current pop hits of hte day - my high school prom theme was, Leane Womack's I hope you dance.

This, kiddies, was the local radio station's Second Chance Prom where 20-somethings and young 90s generation dwellers get fucked up and writh away the night.

I was asked at the last second to stand in for a boyfriend who apparently had to bail at the last second. It was doing a favor she said - which I think is why she kept buying my drinks.

At this point in this post you are probably asking, "Mike, what the hell do I care what you did on Saturday night."

And you are right. You probably don't. You want to come here for some introspection. A lesson, something to take away.

Well, fuck you for judging me and let me tell you: I don't dance enough.

Oh, I go to shows and enjoy music and will nod my head in apparoval and clap only when they play good versions of their own songs. But I am never the one who is letting lose and simply dancing - As Womack so incipidly insisted my senior class to do.

It's uncouth to bust a move - espectially ones as busted as my own. But this weekend you could not deny in the infectous nature of dancing to the rock version of 80s music.

You can't not dance when Flock of Sea Gulls or Oasis, hell, even The Buggles come banging from a five string bass and over tuned guitar.

For two sets, three whole hours, and an unknown number of free drinks - its good to know people who work in the radio business - I jumped and swang and moved.

Originally I was not going to take up this invitation - family had taken over my weekend this being the time when we honor the death of the Easter Bunny.

But at the last second I decided It was something I needed to do. An advneture that could not be denied. It would have been a sin. They didn't sell tickets to this advneture. No, you had to win them in some contest or know someone who worked at the station.

It was, of course, well worth it - a revival of sorts to get the juices flowing and the desire to get back in the business of dragging people by the wrist to random places and things.

I'v gotten into a bad habit of not making the kinds of decisions that put me in the middle of advnetures. It was easy when I was based in the original TEmple of GOnzo to find an advneture. There was somehting going on around all the time.

Here, though, people are resigned to their own lives and a lack of advneture seems to be what they enjoy. Gardening, babysitting a dog, knitting. These are not adventures. These are activities that keep people at home and in the safe comforts of their suburban dwellings.

Well, I'm not resigning to that. I think this partially is why I'm getting out of the suburbs all together. I can't leave, not yet. But we need a new view from the windows in my home.

There are missions a head of me and I see a new following forming in hte ministry of Gonzo. People seem willing to gobble down what it means to dance, drink and listen to rock and roll - real rock and roll - now that they have had a taste.

They were a little hesistant the first time. The coughed a bit on that first inhale. Their heads and ears rang a little after the first riff. But they seem o be coming around.

They seem to understand what is in store for them this summer. They seem to know, one of us might not come back alive, but they are willing to sign on and sign away what privacy and dignaty they have left.

There are no secrets in these hallowed halls as th summer aproaches.

And for fuck's sake - dance.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

099999

It was such a momentous occasion I felt like I had to pull over and toast mysellf to the full moon rising against the Olathe skyline and laugh at my own absurdity.

I had been anticipating this night for weeks. I knew that I would hit this day eventually, I just did not know when or where.

Well, Weeklies, I hit 100,000 mile-mark in my Honda at exaclty the corner of West Dennis Avenue and Lone Elm road deep in the heart of Olathe, the town that I cover.

I pulled into the gas station as soon as the odometer hit the big 1-five-0s. I was excited, my car was now officialy a used car. It has lived out the life of both its own warrenty and the average life of cars that run thourgh this foul country.

100,000 - for some reason - is the major mile stone (no pun intended) that proves your car made it. It is now somebody - or something. But the victory of making this occasion as I was covering the city's mayoraal election was not about jsut that night.

In a bizarre fit, the entire history of my car came rushing back to me...everything I have ever done in this car.

Driving it off the lot in Lee's Summit and being applauded by the lack-luster group of sales people. Driving it at breakneck speed to school everyday. Peeling out late at night in parking lot of Target after closing for another straight school night.

Driving 30 minutes just to take out my first girlfriend. Packing debate boxes and homewokr into every nook and cranny.

The exploding can of Dr. Pepper that I left in my car one summer afternoon. Still, today whne it gets hot enough, you can smell the syrum still in the fibers of the seats.

Breaking off the rear-view mirror as I backed out of my garage. Standing on the hood to get a better view of the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Cod. Gripping the wheel as my attorney and I eased our way though the driving snow in Colorado as we returned from Vegas.

The stereo has endured Blink 182, Green Day, Blind Melon, No Doubt, Weird Al, Something Corporate, Cake, Reel Big Fish, Blues Travler, Sister Hazel, Barenaked Ladies, The Jayhawks, Modest Mouse, Flee the Scene, Be/Non, Silversun Pickups, Arcade Fire, Decemberists, Explosions in the Sky, Cold War Kids, Birght Eyes, Rilo Kiley, The Faint, and an ungodly amount of other artists that - for better or worse - were part of my in-car music collection.

We have been though hook ups, break ups, move-ins, move-outs, car crashes, near misses and the numerous parking tickets and speeding violations that we have had together.

Whether they were short jaunts or long, winding drives though missouri's hill country or, more recnelty, those drives in the the Kansas Praire where getting lost is not really possible when you can see the horizon in all directions.

Kansas City, St. Louis, Hyanis, Boston, Syracuse, Chicago, Wichita, Dallas, Des Moines, Springfield, Ashland, Columbia, Omaha, West Rifle, Denver, Las Vegas, Pheonix, Oklahoma City, Olathe and so many more.

There are few things that have remained in my life for eight straight years. People have come, gone, moved away and moved on. But my car - as materalistic as it sounds - has always been there.

My uncle used to drive a 1980 Datsun until at the great age of 16 if caught fire and refused to toe the line any longer. The air had gone out, the analog clock had long died and the radio was merely there for looks. Like a dying relative things started to fail one at a time.

The real issue now, though, is what we do for the next 100,000 miles. How do we live knowing that the next big miles stone could either be the 2- five-0 or its own death or sale.

Well, kiddos, I can tell you one things. There are big things on the horizon. In Kansas it may appear to go on for miles and miles, but eventually you come to the end of the road and have to make a decision.

I have a few in front of me today that cannot be avoided any longer.

Who knows? next week, we might be talking about what to do until 200,000 or we might be talking something completely different.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I already have a plan

I'm waitning for my real life to begin...

Sometimes your saturdays are nothing more than bourbon and a DVD you got thought netflix last week.

"There is nothing worse than feeling alone. Especially when you surround yourself with so many people who don't care."

Other times its rocking out harder than you ever have.

That was definitly emo.

Ha