the dim ages

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If these aren't the dark ages then they at least qualify as the 'dim' ones.

The twentieth century brought us many good things and many bad things.

Jazz was a good thing, for the most part.

For women, it was business as usual, but Sarah and Ella and Mary Lou and Carmen and Billie made it somehow.

Jazz poodles are still debating whether or not women can play jazz, whether we can really swing. It keeps them occupied, but it undermines the Music, so it's not a good thing.

Jazz is (or was) the Music of Freedom. Freedom is a VERY good thing!

The large and small wars were bad bad things. The Holocaust was downright evil. Like the American Indians and the Australian Aboriginies and the slave-trade and the pedophile priests, it's all BAD KARMA, and ten thousand lifetimes won't be enough for some of the participating players to get back to square one with the Universal Goo.

Baseball was a good thing for awhile, and so was Eleanor Roosevelt, not to mention FDR. The depression was a bad thing, and my mom sewed button-holes and Daddy sold apples, but they made it somehow, and FDR got the country back to work.

I think FDR was a really good thing, a good man, and he had a really cool Scottie dog (Fala).

George W. has one too, but he carries it wrong (Scotties hate being carried, anyway) and the poor dog's tail is always pointed groundward.

Not a good thing.

The Internet is a good and a bad thing. In Silicon Valley, woodchucks made millions selling air.

Bad air.

And the Internet is rife with tasteless ads and boring text and mortifying web sites and lethal javascript and maddening pop-ups and pop-unders and pop-overs, not to mention the sheer volume of p-o-r-n and spam that clogs our inboxes.

I just won't believe that most Americans are as vile as this cybernetic onslaught of bad taste would suggest.

I haven't met them all, but most people seem pretty ok, considering. They have lots of worries (I do not exclude myself), like greedy utility companies and taxes and surcharges.

If there's any one reason I'm a successful musician it is this:

I play music simply and to the point and it hypnotizes people and makes them forget about surcharges.

That's the secret.

Not chops or innovation or a super-cool stage presence; just an ability to temporarily induce surcharge- amnesia.

That's a good thing.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr is a good thing, as is the British actress Patricia Ruthledge (Keeping Up Appearances) and the David Lynch version of Frank Herbert's 'DUNE'.

The Great Houses of the Landsradt! The flying fat man! Doctor! Where's my DOCTOR?

Miles Davis was a very good thing, as was Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. Yes, even Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. James Brown. Aretha Franklin. Gladys Knight. All the Pips.

And medals go to John Lennon.

Bad things like Saddam and Osama and just generally anyone that is nutty enough to blow up people for no reason at all (is there EVER a reason good enough?) are a permanent fact of life, I suppose.

I resent them, in part because they are the one real big reason that we still haven't gotten out into space, haven't met any of our friends (you know, the little grey men and women in the saucers?)

Because how in the world could they bear to be seen with us in public? We're toxic! Not a self-respecting Tralfamadorian in their right mind would land on this mudball for anything other than to fuel up and perhaps pilfer a few Dexter Gordon CDs.

I hope, I pray that we all wake up one day hearing beautiful music; and when we walk outside, the sky will be lit up with a big neon sign that says:

'That's enough, idiots. Get it together NOW or ELSE!'

But would we listen?

In all the good and all the bad, though, there's just plain folks.

None of us, not a one, is a perfect '10' when it comes to goodness.

The other day a gentleman that bought a few CDs from me said 'Nobody has done so much good and gotten paid so little for it since Mother Theresa' meaning me and my music, and that was an awfully nice thing to say but it's not true at all.

If Mother Theresa was anything like CNN painted her, she was a billion times more qualified to be taken aboard the Mothership than I am.

But I keep trying.

Once a lady in Florida said she listened to my music during her chemo sessions to get through them with a little more ease.

I lived on that one for a year at least.

If I can just avoid the record producers and jazz poodles and woodchucks. Oh, come on. You know JUST who and what I mean!

I won't qualify for sainthood like Mother Theresa, but I sure will make it to the next life with a bit of my dignity intact.

And that's a GOOD thing.