Here we are, you and me, well into 2020. I have heard almost no references to this being the year of good vision, you know, “20-20.” I thought advertisers would be all over it. Seems like a perfect promo angle for selling stuff. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. I never see Facebook unless someone shows me a cat video, so, perhaps I’m just clueless. That’s okay. I’m used to feeling clueless about many things. But I’m learning all the time, too. Did you know that Hitler took the Nazi salute from Mussolini, who started using it ten years before Hitler did? Mussolini got it from some images depicting soldiers in ancient Rome. One painting in particular, THE OATH OF HORATII from around 1780, by Renaissance artist, Jacques-Louis David, depicts three Roman soldiers extending their arms and pointing their hands. And the Italian Fascists (a term Mussolini made up, referring to a staff from ancient Rome) got all worked up about restoring the glory of the Roman empire to modern Italy, saw images like that painting and adopted the salute. At the time, it was commonly called the Roman salute. I did not know this just a short time ago. Mussolini wanted to “MAKE ITALY GREAT AGAIN” and duped a good hunk of his fellow countrymen into believing the rest of the world was laughing at them, seeing Italians as mandolin players and spaghetti eaters, certainly not warriors. So, of course, as any good dictator or wanna-be dictator does, he closed the borders, convinced his followers to hate immigrants, destroyed the free press and declared himself the only one who could save Italy and its dwindling glory. It’s comforting to know this is just history and that no one can imagine something like that happening again. Besides, that was on the other side of the world. It could never happen here, in the United States of America, especially in the “year of good vision.” Our Constitution is all about the balance of power to protect the American people from such a thing, right? That’s what makes us different and, actually, great, right? The balance of power thing? Good. I feel better now.
Whatever, as I said earlier, here we are, even further into 2020 than when I first pointed that out a paragraph ago. And there’s nothing we can do about it. Where it goes, we all go. That’s not a bad thing. It just is what it is. Que Sera Sera! But it’s also good to think ahead and be prepared for the possible tsunami of shit headed our way. And in your frightened frenzy don’t forget about music. Music goes well with anything. Even panic attacks. The next time you worry about the world coming to an end, listen to “The Magnetic Rag” by Scott Joplin. It’s a marvelous composition and if you play it loud enough, it should enhance your anxiety plenty. You know, as a soundtrack to your misery. Ragtime is hard to ignore, especially when it’s really loud. It’s the music of saloon shootouts. Scott Joplin grew up in my hometown, Texarkana, and played piano in shady places, but composed some ridiculously amazing music. Check this out.
Speaking of music, I have a band called Brave Combo and we have a bunch of brand-new tracks ready to unleash, I mean, release. Overall, the sound is unlike any Brave Combo album before it. The songs are insanely catchy.…to me, at least. But I also think you will really dig it. We have been making videos for most of the tracks, as well. It’s a YouTube world. First there was MTV and 24/7 music videos, about the time Brave Combo started. Then one thing led to another and now we can all make our own videos and anyone can be a star, just like Andy Warhol predicted. Exactly as he predicted! Any ideas about what might happen next? I think we are a species experiencing radical change, forced on us by ourselves. Pandora’s Box is wide open, and we can’t close it because we don’t want it closed. So, we either go with the flow or move to a remote part of the desert, if we can find it. I love the desert. Denton is where the North Texas desert begins. Trees start thinning out quickly as you head west. I breathe easier in the desert. But I don’t want to live in an isolated part of any desert and never see anyone and have to drive a couple of hours to find a hospital or get my accordions fixed. That would be a tough existence, day in, day out. Not for me. Plus, I like rain, too. So, I gotta go with the flow if I don’t want to totally exclude myself from everything else. Hence, the new recordings. We must still have some degree of hope that there will be a future, or we wouldn’t have gone to the trouble (and expense) to record yet another Brave Combo album of fabulous music. Good news for modern man. Congratulations to all of humanity!
It’s an honor to be honored. I write often about my relationship with my animals and I share that joy and responsibility with my wife, Jane. The two of us have snagged our a whole bunch of cats and dogs from bad situations over the years, but things have really picked up since the middle of 2018. Tending to this side of our lives is often the main thing we do. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes heartbreaking, but if we see an animal in need we can’t turn away. It’s a serious affliction and we both have it, but the rewards are worth the trouble. Nothing feels better than saving a creature’s life and changing it for the better. And by creature, I mean animal and human, since we’re all the same. Anyway, Jane and I are among a group of honorees to be recognized by the Denton Animal Support Foundation at the annual Sherman Appreciation Awards in February. This means a lot to both of us, but we’re just doing what we can’t control. For us, it’s a lot easier to just save a cat, and go to all of that damn trouble, than to worry about it being eaten by a coyote or freezing to death. I’m better at doing than worrying. I still think about dogs from 20-30 years ago which I tried to save, while touring, but wasn’t able to. That all stays with me. It kinda sucks, in a way. But, what’s the point of being here, taking up room on the planet, otherwise. At least that’s how Jane and I see it, even if our house is a rather challenging environment. Believe it or not, we don’t really enjoy cleaning litter boxes all day long.
Brave Combo is still on vacation from gigs but things will start revving up sooner than you think. Please check out the itinerary often. New performance dates will be added weekly. In the meantime, keep the faith, Baby, and hold your head up. Even when you’re lying down. It’s a good stretching exercise.