Thursday, June 30, 2022

Bila - The Versatones

Might be a cleaner copy. 

Bila - The Versatones

This is a miraculous "first on your block" find. I proudly present "Bila," by the Versatones. 

I know nothing as yet about this record, except that it was released in the 1950s, and it is probably supernatural. 

Religion Is Dangerous When Cornered

A pit-viper is a dangerous animal. That's your rattle-snakes, etc., so-called because they have a little pit on each side of their skulls. My adopted country is full of pit-vipers of many varieties. (No rattlers.) They are not very large snakes, but they do have very impressive fangs, backed by large sacks of venom. Two kinds of venom, actually. Either necrotizing, or neurotoxin. Some lucky examples of the type have both! If you get bit, you must get your ass to a hospital ASAP, or else. That's the bad news. (Hospitals in Thailand are all stocked with anti-venom, so not to worry about poor Mr. Blogger. Only pythons and large monitors by me.)

The good news is that pit-vipers are more afraid of humans than humans need to be afraid of them. The snakes can always hear you coming, and they stay clear of people if it is at all possible. If you hear of someone being bitten by a snake, it is likely that they put the snake in a position that made the snake feel cornered. Having no alternative, it struck. And then split the scene, no doubt. A hominid, especially a full grown hominid, is not a fit dinner for a pit-viper. An anaconda, sure, but that's another animal.

Our modern society has put religion on the back foot. In America and Western Europe, more people every year are answering “no” to the question “do you practice religion?” Also popular are the answers, “no preference,” and “I am an atheist.” The majority of people in the Western Democracies have realized that gay people are not a threat to anyone, that race is not an issue unless you make it so, and that religion is most essentially superstition. Religion, cornered, is striking back.

European cultures seem to be handling this transition away from superstition very well, or at least better than the United States. Religion in America has been taking a beating in popular culture for the last fifty years or so, but our experience, we Americans, has seen the religious among us circle the wagons and return effective fire. That prick Reagan welcomed them into his Republican party, and after that they just took over the joint. Now we see a very white, Christian, militant brand of religion emerging and perfecting the technique of minority rule in our ever weakening, vulnerable form of democracy.

The people who are taking control in the name of religion are not generally religious themselves. They cynically convince people to vote for them in the name of “family values,” or “anti-abortionism,” or homophobia, or more tribal appeals to get rid of races that are out of favor with the white soon-to-be minority.

Their tactics have worked all too well. Much to our detriment. Religion, in power, gravitates towards totalitarianism, and America is no exception. We have already been deprived of many of our much bragged about civil and political rights. Voting has become a joke, probable cause is now a lost dream, the right to counsel now only awards the defendant seven minutes of attorney time, and reasonable searches and seizures now include a gunshot to the head, if you're black.

This defensive reflex of failing religiosity is noticeable not only in America, but in many countries around the world. And it's not only Christianity taking the hostile position, it's different religions wherever you look.

There are Majority Muslim countries suffering unrest against minority religions; there are countries and regions where different sects of the same religion are at each other's necks; we have seen the rise of something that I would have thought impossible: Buddhist terrorism (confined to one country, but even so an amazing development); a majority Hindu country has fallen into fits of self-aggrandizement and exceptionalism; at least one majority atheist country is striking out at all religions and the very concept of religion. In effect, the entire snake-house at the religion zoo is throwing itself at the people in front of the glass simultaneously.

Being American, I worry most about America. The preferred religion in America is Christianity, which is the poster-religion for internecine warfare. All of Europe was solidly Christian, and Catholic, before the coming of the Renaissance, which cleared the way for the Protestant Reformation, which precipitated four or five hundred years of religious wars between very similar Christian sects. The majority Christian sect now ascendant in America is the Prosperity Gospel of faux Christianity of the Mega-Church variety. What a bunch of snake-handlers, if I may return to our earlier theme.

When I was a young man, those types were considered beyond the pale. They were expelled from polite society, Christian society, and forced to make a living out in the woods with nothing but a Bible, a tent, and a collection plate. Now they run the United States. The Rubes still go for the speaking in tongues routine, and the phony faith healing, but now the Rubes are watching on TV and sending the unaffiliated “preachers” money from all over. Tax free. “The more money you send me, the more Jesus will love you!” Gag me with a spoon.

Back then, real Christians were affiliated with established Christian sects. In big cities, these sects were older and more established, and their politics was mostly centrist. It was all much more polite. The mainstream Christians had even learned how to coexist with the Quakers and the Amish. In smaller, less enlightened cities, the many sects of Baptists or Congregationalists held sway, but they were still less disposed to extremism than our current crop of Christian cultists. They had learned to tolerate Catholics in their midst. That collegiality is gone now. All of the really Christian things, like charity, good deeds, kindness, peace, and love, have gone out with yesterdays garbage. Our mega-church Christians have gone full MAGA.

And now, as the minority-rulers of America, they are coming for the rest of our rights. They have been handed the Supreme Court of the United States by misguided Republicans who foolishly believed that they could control the demon that they were summoning. The last few weeks have seen habeas corpus further degraded from its already moribund state, the fifty-year precedent of Roe v. Wade overturned, and guns legally put into the belts of every gangster and juvenile delinquent in America. That Roe thing, I hate to tell you, means that all of substantive due process is next. Say goodbye to condoms and say hello to new sodomy laws. Bob and Steve, you're not married anymore. Mr. Justice “pubic hair on my Coca Cola can”, you may not be married to your fascist wife anymore in some states either. The “law of unintended consequences” is just getting started.

Praise Jesus! If you don't know how, you'd better learn quickly.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Okay, June 24, 2022, so they are still active. 


DOMI and JD Beck - Giant Steps NAMM 2020

I was wondering today, what happened  to Domi and JD Beck? Of course I wanted to hear this again. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Robert Palmer -"Sneakin' Sally Medley"- Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley...

You need this LP. Lowell George, the Meters, Bernard Purdy, and Robert Palmer at the height of his powers. Great material; great production; great performances all around. 

Set aside forty minutes tomorrow, get your nice Blue-Tooth headphones, call up this LP on Deezer or something, and just chill. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. It'll be fun. 

The Merits Of Driving Metered Taxis

It was the worst job that I've ever had, but it fit my schedule. Driving the cab four nights every week left me three evenings to take classes at our university, which was a twenty-minute walk from our apartment. My wife was a full time student, and I took care of our young son during the day. For fun, I faithfully attended the five-pm class at a neighborhood Taekwondo gym on the nights when I had seven o'clock classes. I also went to the noon classes on Saturday, before showering and running out to the taxi garage to pick up a car.

I kept that up for well over a year. The energy of someone that age is hard for me to imagine now.

You learn a lot about people driving a taxi. You learn about people in general, and you also learn some of the secrets that many people carry around with them. You, the taxi driver, are a perfect audience for a confession. You have no idea what the passenger's name is, where they work, or who they know. You will never see each other again. It's late, and the interior of the cab is dark. Oh, brother, do you hear the damnedest things. Especially after the confessor has had a few drinks.

Sure, the job was demanding. New York traffic is no picnic. Just a small radio on the seat next to you for company most of the time. Twenty-five to thirty-five mostly boring rides up and down the avenues and across the streets of the Big Apple. Walking home after two-am could be a lonely moment. I must admit, though, that it did get interesting occasionally.

You need to get up off of your couch to hear people confess to murdering a group of P.O.W.s twenty five years previously, in the Korean War.