Sunday, August 24, 2014

A model airplane is a hobby; a drone is an instrument of death

Warren G. Harding said "normalcy." No, no, no! The word is normality. Well, it was. Now it is accepted usage. Politically, I'm some kind of radical, but many of my views are very conservative. I don't think we should allow linguistic mistakes to replace legitimate words. Hell, even Sarah Palin has coined words and dictionaries rolled over for her.
Enough! The thing that pisses me off right now is the misuse of the word "drone." When I was a kid I mooned over model airplanes - the ones that you could fly. Since the sixties a lovely expansion of flying model plane models has occurred. There are still the gas-powered engines, but also CO2 and electric engines abound. There has been remote control for some time.
And now we get all these stories about drones. Amazon deliveries by drone. Paparazzi use of drones. What the hell? The misuse of model aircraft is one thing. The label "drone" is going to smear a lovely hobby with the patina of death. 

This just in! News flash! An important John Fahey update!

Ha! My old brain dredged up a critical memory about the iconic guitarist John Fahey. I’m combining my previous two blogs about him and will add the new memory in italics.
The Guardian has an article about the American guitarist John Fahey. Read it here. John's best music is so radical that I somewhat disagree with characterizing him as a blues player. He would hate the term "New Age," but he invented a New Age in steel-string guitar playing. I like the term someone came up with - "American Primitive Guitar." If one tunes to an open tuning (such as G, Keith Richard's favorite tuning - DGDGBD), and then fingerpicks Travis Style (alternating thumb on the bass and use of the first two fingers) - it's hard to go somewhere John did not go first.
I bought "Dance of Death and other Plantation Favorites" sometime around 1965 just because the cover and title were so unusual and the store clerk spoke highly of the music. I instantly fell under the spell! One of my friends who I turned onto the music was named Steve Clark.
Fast forward to 1972. My son was born in November and the three of us went to Los
Angeles to visit Steve, only his name was now Tiramal. I might be misspelling it, but that's
phonetically correct. Tiramal was the director of the LA Integral Yoga Institute, Swami Satchidananda's ashram. Tiramal invited my wife, son, and I to live there in a beautiful old mansion that was
the Institute. So we started getting up at 4 am for meditation, then Hatha Yoga. Steve, I
mean Tiramal, told me, "You'll never believe who I'm giving private yoga lessons to." He
said that one day he got a phone call from a man who told him he was at the end of his
rope. He was depressed and drinking too much. He called the Institute with the remote
hope that there was help there. The caller was John Fahey. Tiramal had been going to John's house for a few weeks. One night he told me that John might come that night for Kirtan (sacred chanting). I had never seen a photograph of  John, but when I walked into the room and saw this man in rolled-up blue jeans I knew who he was!
I started visiting John's house. I just hung around his house a few times talking. One day I asked him how often he changed strings. He answered,
"Everytime I play" Wow, I said, can I have your old strings? "Why, they're dead." That shut
me up.  Another time he picked up a guitar, fingered an A chord in standard tuning and
stretched his little finger up to the fifth fret on the high E string. He looked at me with
rather arched eyebrows. I thought the unspoken message was- do you know this move?
I felt funny that he was showing me such a simple thing and didn't know at all how to
Well, you can see that I wasn't a close pal, but that every single moment with him was
special for me if not for him.
I'll end this post with day at the Yoga Institute John told me that his guitar was
upstairs and I could play it. I went up. It was tuned DADGAD, a tuning often used in Celtic guitar playing. I'd played in DADF#AD of  course but this DADGAD was new to me. Of course I instantly recognized the sound from some of John's pieces. I was wrapped up in this special moment when John walked in and lay down on the floor. I kept playing not daring to look at John. When I stopped I looked over and heard the gentle sleeping snore of my hero.
Yesterday's post told, briefly, what I know of the story of John Fahey and the Intregal Yoga Institute in Los Angeles. I did not specifically point out, as I will now, that the story begun by John is that he was trying to get close to a lady in the ashram. My close friend Tiramal was in overall charge of the ashram at that time and the lady in question was a secretary. Tiramal never said a word about this. He said that John had called the ashram with suicidal thoughts and was reaching out for help. I believe Tiramal. I'd have to hear from the lady in question before I could believe the story. This woman was a serious devotee and I can't see her joking around with John. That may be why he picked her to tell that story.
I remember Tiramal telling me that John was recording a new album in honor of Satchidananda. I first saw it at the Institute. It was called "Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier's Choice). Tiramal and others seemed a bit upset about something. They didn't want to talk about it, but it hit me recently. There was a picture of folks in the liner notes. Quoting now from   "The Fahey Files"
     "On the reverse of the sleeve there is this: “I respectfully dedicate this album to my guru, Swami               Satchidananda”. Inside the first issue of the album there was a 4 page pamphlet entitled “Yogaville West”,  which, we were informed, was “a growing spiritual community in the beautiful mountains of Lake County,  Northern California”. Surmounting three pictures of the community was the following message:
“I would like to introduce you to this healthy, spiritually based concept of living. The 46 people living here follow the ideals of Integral Yoga as taught by Swami Satchidananda. To the extent that I have practised these techniques, they really seem to work. – John Fahey.” "
John had stiffed his Los Angeles friends! For them to complain would would be a show of ego which they were practicing to get beyond.
John was an exasperating person. He was contrary. Read Glenn Jones' liner notes for The Epiphany of Glen Jones here and you'll get the idea. I think it's safe to say that only his supreme artistry (when he was on) could account for his friendships over the years. Like Picasso or Dylan, he was hard to deal with, but his art saved him.
A few years after I hung out with John a bit in '72 I saw him perform at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Afterwards, I was among a few folks backstage waiting to see him. We waited and we waited. Finally, some dude, said, "This is ridiculous" and pushed open the restroom door. Instantly, we heard loud voices - "Hey, man, how you doin'?" "What the hell are you doing in here?" "Hiding out, man." They burst out together with talk of a party somewhere. John didn't talk much to the rest of us backstage. He gave me a look like "who the hell are you?" I was too embarrassed and shy to say anything.
Want a guitar lesson from John? Go here for a fascinating story and a lesson in open C tuning.
I will wait to possibly share another John Fahey memory. It's funny. I'm putting it to my subconscious to remember the Texas dude's first name who plays a critical role. Last name is Dean. Hummm....

Saturday, August 23, 2014

what my Native American students thought about "Redskins," "Indians," and Tomahawk chops

I have lived most of the last 20 or so years on an Indian reservation. I taught high school and middle school students for 17 years. If I ever blog at length about my experiences and insights gained from the experience, I might decide it matters to identify the tribe, the school district, etc., but for this blog I’ll leave it there.
It took time, but eventually for most school years I had a very good relationship with my students. Actually, when it came to discipline and class control issues I said more than once to a recalcitrant student something like this: ‘There seems to be a battle between you and me about who going to run this show. I know that right now we have the kind of office leadership that would let you win this battle, but I want you to know something. If you win I’ll probably be fired or I will quit and if you win, I don’t want to work here. So, I’m not sending you to the office, but I do want you and every student in this class to go home tonight and tell your parents or guardians all about what is going on. Tell them every single thing including what I just said about working here. Tell them they can call the office and set up a meeting with myself and the principal. I’ve been here so long that I’ve forgotten I’m a white man. I won’t put up with this any more than you’re grandparents would. So bring it on.” I won every time.

Most of the time, of course, my classes were fun. I was a funny teacher, too. I was liked. So, that’s my background in a nutshell to set up what I’m going to share with you about using words such as “Redskins,” “Indians,” and actions such as the “Tomahawk chop.” Simply put, at least at a national level (which was the context in which I held these discussions), my students didn’t give a rat’s ass about such things. In fact many of them went out of their way to wear a Cleveland Indians baseball cap or a Redskins symbol. Didn’t bother ‘em a bit.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Now Obama can be a war President, too

If I don’t dwell upon the horrible nature of American journalist James Foley’s murder I think you will understand. The horror needs no words. I must say that the photograph I saw of Mr. Foley before the sword was raised showed the face of a brave man, of a remarkable courage. It is the face of Obama’s war. Now he can end his term as a War President, too.
American politicians do not learn. If they did the lesson of Viet Nam, surely, was that even a poor people can send the greatest military in the world packing if they persist. And thus died so many brave humans, and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.
The American people relished so the feeling of being the saviour of Europe in WWI, the saviour of Democracies in WWII, that they haven’t noticed that, trillions of dollars in military spending later, we haven’t saved so much else.
But we have become a military-minded nation. We will spend billions believing that Mr. Foley can be avenged. Our presidential hopefuls will have to outdo each other in bluster. Many brave volunteers will die.
Many other innocent people will die in the Middle East. Israeli government deprecations  will be funded by the American taxpayer. And, it follows as night follows day, there will not be enough money for US infrastructure, health care, housing, public schools, parks, and town squares, you know - all those nice things that some countries have because they tax the rich.

And billions of dollars later, no, trillions of dollars later, someone somewhere will famously terrorize the US again and we will begin again. Collateral damage be damned – until we finally see that we all, Americans and allies, Palestinians and poor, are potential collateral damage and not just to the enemy, but to our governments.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In the End

Weird, but I can ‘confess’ things on my blog that I don’t talk about to people in person. Every blog I write gets some readers; always the readers include people from outside the US. That’s a lot of what keeps me posting.
Weird, but I remember once, around 1970, telling a fellow that I wish I could be a musician without having to perform in public. I wanted to record and release albums, but not perform in public. He said, “That’s weird.” Yes, it is, but here I am doing it. Yet, (don’t think I’m ignorant) the thing that allowed me to fulfill my dream, the internet, also is so full of stuff that it doesn’t register near as much as if I had, say, become a hit in my hometown, Amarillo, Texas.
Yet, I know a woman, Judith Nelson, Judith Nelson Clark- Judy Clark as I knew her back in the ‘60s, who was a hit in Amarillo, who almost got a song accepted by none other than Roy Orbison, who had a song (I Just Dropped By to See the Show) recorded my Marcia Ball, and yet who never “made it.” Weird. Oh dear, I just googled her old band, the Last Chance Band, and see that there is a band from Maine with that name, and the first reference to Judy and her Texas bros was from one of my blogs. Weird.
Don’t think I don’t know that the only reason I have so many sites that carry my name is because the ‘cloud’ is cheap. I carry on because “you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.” My dream, at this point, is that someone, somewhere, someday will discover a song and that that ‘someone’ has connections – maybe a song placement in a TV show or a movie or …
I still dream about finally overcoming my performance anxieties and making a mark in some city, but it’s kinda hard to think it’ll happen. I’m 64. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me …” Why should you? I never stood in your food line. Well, not very often.
If one is autistic or has Asperger Syndrome, or whatever the hell helped me hide, I’d recommend you not to pursue music as a career. But what do you do if you don’t know yourself well enough, and you fall in love with the idea of ‘making it’ in a world that requires more social interaction than you are capable of? Are you simply fucked? Oh no, not necessarily. I wouldn’t trade my musical adventure for the ‘straight life.’ The adventure was very much in my own head, but that doesn’t mean it was wasted time or foolish. I’ve lived a life. Most of my young adventures were tied to work – on the Bering Sea on a fish processing ship, in Chicago and Florida as a race horse groom, to name two big adventures. And there were those young days when I could smoke a joint that would fuel four or more hours of guitar improvisations.
At this point, if I were to come into money, I’d want it to be for my children and my grandson, Forest William. The hardest thing to kick, and it must be kicked, is the desire to “prove myself” and to seek recognition. I’m over the fame thing (kinda), but not the desire for recognition – and there lies the rub. You can’t count on recognition, but you can count on the journey being interesting and rewarding. Mine has been.
When I listen to my son's first big production, 1972 AND YOU, I hear an awful lot of the history of pop. Pop became Forest's thing. I bought him a Taxi subscription the last year of his life. Taxi is a service that posts stuff that's said to be directly from the film/movie/recording companies. So the posts give the description. I'll make up a typical listing:
Needed. A song a la Ricky Nelson about breaking up. Company will buy performance rights so only submit completely orchestrated songs.
Yeah. I tried it and the feedback always said I was off base. Forest got feed back like
         You really nailed it. That's exactly what the description said. 
But he never got anything placed
I'm not bringing this up as directly relating to the song posted below. I'm telling you that he had moments of experience, of the musical life, that are the real deal. He lived a life. When he wanted something he couldn't do (he played bass, drums sometimes, rhythm guitar, vocals, any keyboard) he posted a note on a bulletin board at U of A in Tucson. He did this for saxophone and classical guitar. I need to tell the names of those guys some day, but I can say this - Rick Moe played drums until he went to New York City, and Forest's beautiful wife Jessi sang real good. Yep.
I'll get to work with CD Baby on Forest's album "1972 and You."
For now, here is a song, In the End, I recorded with my late son Forest Arturo Dunn. Forest never had a piano lesson. He was simply gifted. Forest is playing and singing everything that's not me and a Martin. Forest did his thing in no time. This came from his "hitting the woodshed" on so many multi-track recordings.
This song was written in honor of my wife Rosemary; there is no one else like her in this world; one does not need to ask Rosemary, "Are you a Christian?" She is a woman of works, not words.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Winfield, Kansas where you're not in Kansas anymore at the Walnut Valley Festival

If you are a foreign or domestic tourist (scary phrasing in this day and age) I’m about to do you a favor. If you don’t know what the Walnut Valley Festival is, read on for a real Americana treat, even a shocking , yet delightful treat. The locals call it simply “Bluegrass.” If you ask for directions in Winfield, Kansas you can just say, “Where’s Bluegrass?” (Doesn’t work the same way in Colorado.)
I’m going to tell you about the unofficial festival which is just across the street from the official one, but first a bit about what the promoters would want me to say. At this music festival you can attend contests wherein outstanding musicians from all over the world compete for glory and great prizes.
Thurs. 9:00 AM
Stage 4
International Autoharp Championship
Thurs. 3:00 PM
Stage 4
International Finger Style Guitar Championship
Fri. 9:00 AM
Stage 4
National Mountain Dulcimer Championship
Fri. 1:00 PM
Stage 4
National Mandolin Championship
Fri. 5:00 PM
Stage 1
Finger Style Winners (victory lap)
Fri. 6:00 PM
Stage 4
Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship
Sat. 9:00 AM
Stage 4
National Flat Pick Guitar Championship
Sat. 3:30 PM
Stage 4
National Hammer Dulcimer Championship
Sat. 5:00 PM
Stage 1
Flat Pick Winners (victory lap)
Sun. 10:00 AM
Stage 4
National Bluegrass Banjo Championship
There are the contests; the days this year refer to the dates from September 17th through the 21st, but the chart online said 2012 so just know this years festival is Sept. 17-21. Past winners of one or more of the contests include Mark OConnor, Alison Kraus, Chris Thile, and Peter Ostroushko. If you have no idea who these folks are, no matter. Also, look online for the artists who will be performing. The party I’m going tell you about is across the street. If you don’t like to par-tay, scroll down to one of my political blogs! Or, you can search online for the festival info.
You need to search and select ‘camping’ info because I’m telling you too late to get a motel room unless you drive to St. Louis. If you do that you mis the party. Camp. Now, in 2009, there was a flood of rain and I managed to get a motel room because so many people canceled, but the festival went on. (Bring mosquito repellant and coils to burn) You’ll be camping and trust me, you want to camp! You want to camp in Pecan Grove, my partying friend. You’re too late to bring an RV this year, but you can find a place to park a car and pitch a tent. Stake a reasonable amount of space for your tent by placing stuff or stakes around, because on the weekend a Pecan Grove that seemed full all week will swell to half again that full of college kids.
Here is a picture from 2009 that gives you an idea of the funky fun to be had in Pecan Grove. This is not Pecan Grove, they had to move Stage 5 that year due to mud.

Yeah, Stage 5 man! Wow! You want to see and hear three barefoot hillbillies get DOWN jammin’? You want to hear folk tunes on a concert harp? You want to hear songs about drinking? Smoking pot? And, really – songs about killing bad cops? Whoa. Yep, I’ve heard it all at Stage 5. There are bands that sing songs sooo deeeeep in Americana that they must know they have no chance of hitting the big time, but they have big followings in and around the Ozarks. You will see crowds heading places around Pecan Grove. Follow them. They are heading to other stages where a popular person or group is about to play. Stages 5, 6, etc. all began as unofficial projects, but Stage 5 is now semi-official. Let’s say not official enough to be censored. I didn’t specify that this is an acoustic instrument festival – I mean its Bluegrass. They don’t even want a drummer! I wandered into a dispute one year that ended with a drummer getting kicked out of a roadside jam. He took it like a man, but I was drunk and, after another song I called out, “Great, but it’d be perfect if you got a drummer!”
There's a lot of drinking going on, but most people are sober (most of the time). Then there's the dude who yelled, “Play on, I’m just hitting my first wall.” I’ve never drunk enough to get past the first wall, but you will see plenty of more experienced drinkers.
This raises the question – bring the kids? Hell, no, but people do. I guarantee you that no one will change their set list. They’ll still sing songs like Suck My Balls. Fights? I wouldn’t worry. Cops? Yes, enough, but they have backed off a lot. The festival lost money during years when the police were overzealous about arresting people. It’s so much a let-your-hair-down event that one year I even questioned things. A young woman left her drunken man after an argument. He drank on, yelling shit. We were camped by the river. He yelled, “I’m gonna kill someone.” Then there was a big splash. “Fuck, I fell in the river!” The cops came, talked to him and left. His friends spent the rest of the day baby sitting. I commented to a friend, surprised he had not been arrested. The regular attendee said, “You see that camp? All cops off duty having fun. You see that one? All firefighters. That asshole was just al talk.” The firefighters were taking turns hitting each other with a swat board (like in old-time schools). “A young woman called out, “You made a welt!” I don’t think she minded that much.
Well, this crap is not why I would want to go so let’s move to music. Do you play? Guitar, banjo, mandolin, acoustic bass, fiddle? Just carry it with you as you stroll around anytime day or night. There will be a jam session going. Join in! I jammed with a band called Whistle Pig (a word for, I think a groundhog). Three mind-bogglingly good musicians man, I hung on by the seat of my pants. Sometimes I play softly on the outskirts of a jam until there’s a song I know. Then, I get louder, maybe get nodded to for a solo, “You want one?)  Fun, fun, fun until Daddy takes your T-Bird away.
Here’s a thing. Years before I attended there was a tradition of some large camp putting up a façade that looked like it came from “Streetcar  Named Desire.” Folks began standing front of it doing their best Marlon Brando. “Stellllllaaa!!!!!”  So, I’m  sitting with a new friend, somewhere in the distance we hear “Stella” and he tells me the story. The façade hasn’t appeared for years! It’s just that some old-timers still yell out “Stella!”
There you go. Will one more thing – all the other campgrounds are for normal people so you can camp there and just go slumming in Pecan Grove if you don’t drink too much to find your way back to reality.
Oh, yeah, I am, after all shamelessly promoting my music and my son’s. I’m a Winfield Winner! YeeeeFuckingHaaaaaa! I won a category of the song contests (across the street) and, new contest that it is, the only prize is getting to sing your song on an official stage. That was enough for me. I overcame my horrific performance anxieties (we won’t talk about my humiliations in the dulcimer and autoharp competitions- “How’d you do?” “I sucked.” I heard you practicing, you’re good!” “I sucked – donkeys.” “Oh sorry man, here have a beer.”) and did good! That was the highest high of the year for this old man! Here is a link to my picture onstage. The guy copyrights his work so I won’t paste it here.
 And here is my Winfield-Winning song, as recorded in Texas with Big John Mills and Sterling Finlay. The song category was “religion/spirituality.” The gospel truth is that I was runner-up, but There Bible (yes) couldn’t attend so I won.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I mean you will be right next to Missouri so people of color might want to know - you'll see hip Japanese tourists, hispanics, and some black folks. This thing is very white, but I'll bet you will not experience any racism. In fact, this year I bet people will go out of their way to make you welcome. Come for the bluegrass and not to gawk. Gawking would raise hackles. Don't come to laugh at people. Come to get crazy and/or jam. You may even get kissed by a libertarian. Many local attendees might have right-wing leanings, but they ain't there for political or religious reasons. What happens in Pecan Grove stays in Pecan Grove.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My great grandfather was a great exporter, he took a load of syphilis out of Italy...

Sins of our fathers. In Adams fall, we sinned, all. This song has been misinterpreted as a complaint. Oh, no. It’s a statement of fact.
When my son Forest Arturo Dunn (middle name for Toscanini) recorded with me, I think for him it was a way to make up to me. He had little to make up, but the last time I left him, his mom, and his sisters he was in high school. He challenged me, “old man,” to fight him. It was one of the several times in my life I let my ego go. I just stood and looked at him. I thought, “This is really the end. He hates me. His mother hates me.” I made no threatening moves and we did not fight, thank God.
Oh, those sins of our fathers. I remember once when I was small and had a new bike, my Dad took me to Sam Houston Park in Amarillo, Texas. I took off riding. Dad was sitting on a bench. The park had many sidewalk paths and I went around and around. Very soon I realized I didn’t know where my father was. Unknown to him, I was not riding ‘round and ‘round enjoying my new bike. I was looking for my Daddy.  He told me later that I rode past him several times and he thought I was having fun. He should have said something as I rode past, no? My father was a depressed man. I was an depressed man. Damn it, this nature/nurture thing ain’t easy, huh?
The mother of my children and I had one hell of a rocky marriage. I was always leaving and coming back. I never, ever failed to send money. No child support needed to be demanded from me. Those times I left Frances after we had children, I sent money home. I used to be angry when I heard men talk about not sending money to their children. In my mind, I was a superior father because I paid. Dads, let me tell you if you don’t know. Sending money has no emotional impact on your children. It doesn’t count. What counts to them is that Mommy is ALWAYS there. The money won’t count when it comes to winning their love. To win their love you’ve got to BE THERE.

On this song, as usual, I play guitar and sing. Forest plays a 12 string guitar for lead, organ, bass, percussion, and sings harmony. This song has not been sweetened in a studio, but it comes through. I wrote this around 1973 when Forest was a baby.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Music of Forest Arturo Dunn and Burl Dunn - part 2 - Williwas

My son Forest Arturo Dunn had a fine guitar teacher in Amarillo, Texas named Frank Hardcastle. At Glendale High in Arizona he had one of those outstanding band and orchestra teachers whose name escapes me and I can't find online. This man got Forest playing a sousaphone in marching band, upright bass in orchestra, and electric bass in jazz band. The lessons and schooling topped off a natural talent that exploded when Forest began recording his own songs on computer.
There is no praise too high for a school district in a city that funds music education. I'm not sure Forest would have finished high school without that incentive. He would have had these chances in his beloved Amarillo, Texas, too had we stayed there. I almost added, ‘as we should have,’ but there are few things that can tear up one’s mind better than the “would’a, should’a, could’a” thing. It’s harmful enough, but if you do it over a lost child it can drive you to suicide.
In the wake of Robin William’s death, no one needs reminding that money and talent, children and a wife are no guarantors of happiness. I’m not hinting that Forest committed suicide or that he did not. There are some things that hurt too much to pursue. I’ve only asked his older sister and his widow. It was a drug overdose. No note. I’ll stop there to avoid causing pain in my children, his widow, or his mother in case they read this.

Forest began multi track recording right after high school on a Teac four track cassette recorder I gave him. By the time he worked with me on some songs he really knew his stuff. I’ve put together some pictures and my song Williwas for you. Forest is playing a cheesy keyboard and singing. He never in his life had a piano lesson. Willie Was is based upon my experiences on the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay in Alaska. Forest was conceived in a cabin in the woods near Juneau, yes in a forest.

Forest Arturo Dunn, a great Musician

Forest Arturo Dunn of Amarillo, Texas, Glendale, Arizona, and Tucson, Arizona was my boy. Forest was the musician I always wanted to be. (He died in 2008.)  He learned instruments quickly. He performed in large venues such as Club Congress in Tucson. He was in bands. He could record albums in which he played all the instruments. He was sociable and could fit in with any group of people whether or not he was totally comfortable.
For two years I could not control my pain and anger very well. I learned that keening is something that naturally occurs when one cries long and hard enough and that sometimes the only thing that can make a person stop crying is the pain in one’s face.
After those two years of misery it took another couple of years before I could even look at his pictures without breaking up. Only this year did I begin to remember moments spent with him without misery. Now I can have a pleasant memory, but they all end with a tug at my heart. That’s okay.
This is the start of perhaps a number of blogs in which I wish to keep his music alive. So my main goal is to celebrate his talent and the fine music he left behind.
Here is a picture of him in his last year of life.

Do you see pain in his eyes? I do. You know it reminds me of the look in Robin William’s eyes in so many pictures. Here are some pictures of Forest taken a few months before he died. We were at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving and he asked his sister Sarah Rene Sharon Dunn to take some shots. It is my belief that, as he posed, he knew he was making memories for us because he knew he was going to die. 

I am going to take his widow’s advice and “just do it,” that is put his music out as I have been doing with my own. Right now what I have that is internet-ready is music he made with me, some of which is available on my albums “Texas Dance Songs” and “Texas Socialist Infiltration Dance Songs.”  Please give a listen to Bar Talk. 

We recorded Bar Talk on an early model Roland digital recorder. I took it with me to the Woodshed Studios in San Marcos, Texas and had Big John Mills add a rocking telecaster lead. You can hear Forest on bass and Hammond organ. The drummer was his great friend Rick Moe. This story is incredible to me – Forest played the song on guitar to Rick to give him the idea. Then he somehow communicated silently with Rick as Rick played that drum part FIRST with no other music playing! Yes, Rick Moe laid down the drum track with nothing to listen to! What kind of talent is that! After laying down bass and organ Forest had me play acoustic guitar and sing my song.
Once when I was at my job Forest laid down bass, percussion, piano, and back up vocals on a song he hadn’t even heard since he was a little boy! I came home and played and sang my part to a perfect arrangement. I won’t be sharing that song and a lot of others because the recording quality was not up to snuff. Why? Well, this digital recorder used a zip drive and, at the highest quality level only held a few minutes of music if you overdubbed. And, man, Forest overdubbed the hell out of songs! And all the hype about digital quality turned out to be bullshit – as tracks were bounced around sound quality went down with each bounce. We had to bounce because the machine only had eight tracks and Forest used many tracks for background vocals, so those songs are for family.
Here is a song I wrote in Nashville when I was a teenager. The album cover was Forest’s creation. Forest is on organ, bass, and piano. Big John Mills added the tele part in San Marcos. This song is also on “Texas Socialist Dance Songs” so obviously the album is not all politics. I just couldn’t resist the title when it occurred to me. (Burl is my middle name. "Larry" is too common a name so I dropped it.)

Well, there is an intro to my son. Remember him, please.  Forest Arturo Dunn.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri, the front line of Homeland Security (money)

As he walked out of Constitution Hall, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “What kind of government have you given us?” He replied, “A republic, Ma’am, if you can keep it.” Interesting that he did not say ‘if we can keep it.” I know that militaristic America assumes that our government is always at risk from the outside, but, especially considering the old man’s respect for the early days of the French revolution, I think he might have had in mind the internal threat of the rich. In our worship of all things related to the “Founding Fathers,” we often forget how few Americans the Constitution was designed for. Only land-holding white men could vote in federal elections. The Senate was elected by state legislatures. Everything else we consider to be American democracy had to be bitterly contested over many years. True the anti-Federalists insisted upon the Bill of Rights and got them. I’d say we’ve pretty much lost those rights and the second amendment (guns) is a misinterpreted, twisted menace to peaceful society. The icing on the cake for the Federal power grab, however, was the Marbury v. Madison decision in which the Supreme Court decreed that it could nullify actions of the legislative and executive branches. I admit that the arguments put forth by the Marshall court at the time are as convoluted to me as some of the philosophical arguments I used to read. Only lawyers, philosophers, and theologians can get so almighty worked up over words! The argument seems to hinge on this: you can’t have separation of powers unless the Supreme Court has this power. It was intended by the Founding Fathers, they say. Strange, isn’t it that such a powerful force was not written down in the document? After all, we have historical records of the detailed arguments that led to the compromises. Where is the proof that the Founders argued over this? The entity (nine people) in question claimed, ‘they meant for it to be this way; they just didn’t write it down.’ Gosh, I’m pretty sure that my parents meant for me to inherit their house and car, but they failed to write that in their will. How far would that argument get me in court? I remember Rush Limburger, that radio guy, spewing back in the nineties, “It’s the Supreme Court. That’s where it’s at. We’ve got to have our guys there.” Well, they do now. It makes me so mad I could spit, as my Mom would say. Mad that Senate Democrats voted in young Clarence Thomas for God’s sake! Now, the Dems cry, ‘You must reelect us or risk the damage a radical-rightist Court can sow.” We the People are faced with so much ground to regain and every step of the way Democrats have provided enough votes to carry the radical right’s agenda. The dismantling of the New Deal economic justice measures, the give-away of our public airways to big corporations, the hundreds of millions of dollars that our corporate political parties say we must spend each election cycle for advertising, the crippling taxes levied to benefit spies and their Military/Industrial/Secrecy/Prison Complex, to name a few others. Joni Mitchell sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” So much is gone and gone without a fight. At least Mr. Jefferson and others did their best to fight John Marshall in the early 1800s. Now our leaders and media pundits seem surprised all the time- ‘gosh, who could have seen that coming?’ The creation of Homeland Security combined with legislative pork barrel spending has put military equipment into the hands of the police. They don’t need to call the National Guard to quell internal situations. How could politicians and the media fain surprise that police in Ferguson, Missouri have and use military equipment? There should have been an element of control in the distribution of Homeland Security monies and We the People have not risen up against the rise of the police state. How many Americans even know that there are holding cells in many of our schools? There are some things that can’t or won’t be undone. No one is going to take back the military weapons from rural and city police. There is a mad scramble for guns and bullets in America and, if we ever enact sane gun laws, no one is going to collect those arms. The police state is set to act at will. It’s out there. We didn’t keep it well, that Republic, Mr. Franklin. Most Americans still don’t know how much they are going to miss. And so much is gone.
An after posting edit:
Here is a link to a superb article on David Swanson NAILS it. Here is a brilliant excerpt outlining reasons for the militarization of local police in the US:
  • A culture glorifying militarization and justifying it as global policing.
  • A federal government that directs roughly $1 trillion every year into the U.S. military, depriving virtually everything else of needed resources.
  • A federal government that still manages to find resources to offer free military weapons to local police in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  • Weapons profiteers that eat up local subsidies as well as federal contracts while funding election campaigns, threatening job elimination in Congressional districts, and pushing for the unloading of weapons by the U.S. military on local police as one means of creating the demand for more.
  • The use of permanent wartime fears to justify the removal of citizens' rights, gradually allowing local police to begin viewing the people they were supposed to protect as low-level threats, potential terrorists, and enemies of law and order in particular when they exercise their former rights to speech and assembly. Police "excesses" like war "excesses" are not apologized for, as one does not apologize to an enemy.
  • The further funding of abusive policing through asset forfeitures and SWAT raids.
  • The further conflation of military and police through the militarization of borders, especially the Mexican border, the combined efforts of federal and local forces in fusion centers, the military's engagement in "exercises" in the U.S., and the growth of the drone industry with the military, among others, flying drones in U.S. skies and piloting drones abroad from U.S. land.
  • The growth of the profit-driven prison industry and mass incarceration, which dehumanize people in the minds of participants just as boot camp and the nightly news do to war targets.
  • Economically driven disproportionate participation in, and therefore identification with, the military by the very communities most suffering from its destruction of resources, rights, and lives.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ein paar Fakten über Marihuana in Colorado

Colorado Marihuana-Industrie ist das Ergebnis der extrem gute Planung. Sie werden nicht von Unkraut läuft. Jeder Erwachsene überall im Staat Marihuana besitzen, können sie wachsen, und verwenden Sie es, alle nicht nur durch Gesetz, sondern durch ein Verfassungsrecht - die 64. Änderung der Verfassung Colorado. Das ist weit entfernt von lediglich erlaubt Läden zu Topf in bestimmten Bereichen zu verkaufen. Nun wird der Freizeit Verkauf von Marihuana eher langsam verbreiten, so dass alle die Nachricht, die Sie über die Steuereinnahmen gehört haben, haben sich auf der Umsatz in sehr wenigen Orten basieren, wobei der größte Markt Denver. Telluride hat vier Freizeitstellen. Pagosa Springs gab grünes Licht vor kurzem, aber die früheste sie Verkaufs starten könnte, ist Mitte August (2014). Durango ist noch in Planung. Ich traue den ganzen Informationen, die ich habe online vor, so ist es eine gute Idee, überprüfen, bevor Sie auf der Suche nach Freizeit Einzelhandel Verkäufe gehen auf eine bestimmte Stadt.
          Ich will nicht in den medizinischen Marihuana-Gesetze gehen, da, die nur für die Bewohner Colorado, und Sie können alles darüber erfahren, nachdem Sie eine Colorado-Führerschein zu bekommen. Es genügt zu sagen, dass Colorado medizinisches Marihuana erlaubt sind leicht zu erhalten und können vor allem mit Genehmigungen zu kaufen und zu halten großen Mengen.
In der Freizeitspeicher können eine out-of-state-Shopper kaufen nur ¼ einer Unze pro Tag. Das kann Tage dauern, natürlich. Ich habe nicht auf Backwaren und andere Esswaren erforscht Mengen. Die Qualität schwankt von gut bis Out-of-dieser Welt groß. Es ist eine gute Idee, um das Produkt zu suchen. Sie wollen alle Knospen und Knospen Sie mit sichtbaren Härchen und Harze möchten. Einige Geschäfte schneiden Sie die starke Harze zur Verwendung in anderen Produkten. Bummer. Ich bevorzuge Unkraut, das in Schmutz organisch gewachsen, aber es gibt einige Magier da draußen erstaunliche Dinge mit Hydrokultur.
Bei der Eingabe in die Welt der Hash Dinge komplexer. Es gibt Hash-Typ-Produkte, Butan und CO2 in der Verarbeitung verwenden. Diese sind konzentriert THC-Produkte und ich vermeiden. Ich kann nicht für CO2-extrahierten Hash sprechen, aber die Butan Produkte machen durch Lungen fühlen sich schlecht in einer Weise, die ich noch nie in meinem Leben erlebt, und ich will nichts mit ihnen zu tun. So kaufe ich Hash in einem wasserbasierten, oder Eis-basierte, Verfahren hergestellt. Ich habe gehört, sie setzen das Unkraut in eine Waschmaschine für das Verfahren. Es kommt heraus, sah ein wenig wie dünne Dörrfleisch. Es kann dann in Klumpen unterschiedlicher Größen hergestellt werden. Die meisten Hash Entscheidungsträger durch Blätter und Kot aus der Pflanze links nach Knospen geerntet werden. Das kann hochpotenten Harze, die von den Knospen auf die Blätter unter ihnen fiel gehören, aber ich bin auf der Suche nach Hash, der aus den besten Knospen gemacht wurde. Ich bin sicher, dass jemand es tut.
Ich hatte schon Ergebnisse mit Esswaren und Produkte für Trink ändert. Ich habe getrunken Limonaden, die angeblich eine hohe THC-Dosis zu haben und fühlte sich sehr wenig. Ich habe Gebäck, die meine Socken weg geklopft haben gegessen. Ich habe noch nie in einem Geschäft, das um mich zu informieren und warnen mich Potenz gescheitert war. Ein 25mg THC-Dosis in einer essbaren sollte man ersten Dosis sind, es sei denn Sie Grund sehr vorsichtig zu sein. Wenn Sie ein leckeres Gebäck, das 400mgs Sie besser entscheiden, wie groß ein Biss Sie es wagen, bevor Sie aufstehen Geschmack gewickelt und übertreiben Sie es enthält zu kaufen.
Die hohe von einer essbaren kann sich auf Sie zu kriechen. Es wird nie so schnell, das als das Rauchen sein, und es kann auf unter Ihnen auch höher, nachdem Sie eine erreicht haben halten "Höhepunkt." Ich habe auf einem Schokoladenprodukt nieder. Es ist in Rechtecke der kontrollierten Dosen aufgeteilt, so habe ich gelernt, was zu erwarten ist und wie viel die aus verschiedenen Gründen zu unterschiedlichen Zeiten statt. Die hohe Sie von Esswaren erhalten können, ist einen Besuch wert.

Die Idee, die Sie jederzeit und überall rauchen kann, könnte Sie in Schwierigkeiten geraten. Raucher Ihre rechtlichen Unkraut wird, um zu beweisen restriktiver als Alkohol zu trinken, aber es ist ein gutes Werkzeug für den Vergleich. Sie nicht trinken und fahren, und Sie besser nicht rauchen und zu fahren. Sie können nicht durch den Park gehen rechtlich eine gemeinsame Rauchen. Wenn Sie auf Bundes-Land gehen (Nationalparks, BLM Land) Topf ist illegal durch Bundesgesetz. Colorado ist nicht Haight-Ashbury, aber es fühlt sich so, nur nicht erlöschen in la-la land und Wind im Gefängnis.

Monday, August 11, 2014

We are the cannon fodder, the future collateral damage.

Hillary Clinton is campaigning against Barack Obama's foreign policy. I don't remember her ever campaigning against George W. Bush's foreign policy, do you? She wants more American involvement in the world! Yeah! I'm so tired of all this isolationism. Get those troops overseas poking at ever more hornet's nests. It's worked so well for usI realize lately that I am utterly at a loss, not for opinions, but for the will to express them. I can tune into the Colbert Report online and get my ironic dose of sanity. I can replay George Carlin on YouTube. What I can't get going is any sense of optimism. Of course, George was no optimist, but didn't we revel in his nihilism while still retaining our view that it was humor, not utter truth? I think it was utter truth and that's no joke.
You can't trust the Government, but there are still positive aspects of government. Many elements of our government do good work. There are counties and cities with progressive attitudes. There are agencies with positive agendas. but over all is the Military/Industrial/Secrecy/Prison Complex and neither Republicans or Democrats are motivated to tackle that. Well, they are that.
So, at age 64 I sort of feel I have other things to blog about. One thing is to get right with the Power of the Universe. Both heaven and hell exist within us; I want more of heaven right now. But don't worry, I'm not going to blog that. That's for living out.
It feels as though my generation is in its death throes so why the fuck don't the young rise up politically and kick our asses out?! Oh, well, we were the Baby Boomers, the vast army of the young and look how we changed things! Sexually, culturally, yeah. Pot and blow jobs are plentiful now. Politically? Too many of us went the Abby Hoffman route instead of the Martin Luther King route. Our generation's radicals provided the scare that helped take Nixon and his evil spawn (Reagan, Bushes, et. al.) over the top.
I can't think of too many countries that had a revolution before its people were in misery. (The United States was arguably one in 1776, but that's another blog.) The revolutions of 1989 certainly come to mind. The United States has still a long way to go before enough people are poor enough to realize that we have a common interest in overthrowing the status quo. The Democrats, as a national party, just argue about how to fuck with the world, not IF we should fuck with it. Ron Paul was a ray of light, but his heir Rand is waffling on what appears to be the BIG issue - the unblinking financing of Israel's military. Hell, we're not even paying the bill for our own wars, yet we rack up more debt to finance the Israeli hawks.
We back Saudi Arabia, the homeland of radical Islam, with God only knows what devastating future results. We just keep poking those hornet's nests. I truly believe that, just as our leaders tell us to go shopping when the economy is down, our leaders provoke war just to feed cash into the war economy. The vast industrial might of America has corporate-raided - you know bought by vast wealth so it can be dismantled into its component parts and sold to the highest bidder. And the highest bidder so far is Communist China! So nothing makes any sense anymore to me.
America is not about to rise up and throw off the corporate yoke. We're more likely to descend into gang-like warfare. Or, our public voices will be stifled by the ubiquitous presence of guns at our political rallies and voting stations.
See, I'm a curmudgeon, and if I can't be a great curmudgeon, what's the point? I think there might be hope in a political party, call it the Eisenhower Party, who appeal to common sense - bring back the tax rates that paid for WWII and built a great infrastructure, bring back the laws that oversaw a strong and diverse media presence - but then, I must admit one thing. The man who named the Military/Industrial Complex did not stop it. He did not name names. He may have been the last person who could have stopped it.
If I were rich enough I would move my family out of the US. I wonder, what did people think about those first Jews to flee Germany? Unpatriotic? But at some point the same action became smart. America is at that point. Some people will say I am disloyal, but I say look at the super-rich. They have taken their tax money outside of the "homeland," they have residences outside the "homeland," they could walk away from any disaster. That's the foundation of super-richness - we are above it all. 
They are above it all because they own the government. We are the cannon fodder, the future collateral damage.
Now, here is the point where I want to pontificate my solutions which I've already noted are pointless.
An exercise in futility.
You know what is not futile when you are 64? Going outside. Breathing deeply. Playing with grandkids and dogs (whichever are at hand). Pursuing that dream, no maybe not the get-rich-quick one that eluded you for 64 years, but the one that is spiritually rewarding. Don't spend your inheritance. Leave it to the young. The world was made for the young.