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  • I watch cartoons on Saturday. I listen to the Blues on Sunday. I read Cowbird daily. I follow the postings of Kathy and Apoorva and Hawkeye and Tony and Geoff and Ben and Ray and David and everyone else to whose audience I belong.

    Many things I read strike a chord and resonate for me stirring memories of events and people long forgotten or seldom recalled. I don't give in to the temptation to sprout every one.

    Wasps! I was once swarmed by fire ants! Elephants! I am friends with some. Rock & Roll! I once saw Bob Dylan jamming with a tight little back-up band called Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers!

    If I wrote full blown sprouts of these and other flashbacks I have while reading Cowbird stories I would get nothing else done. Not that I have a terribly demanding schedule.

    I am unemployed for the first time in 15 years. I've put many irons in the fire since November. Each and every one has come out cold. I have plenty of time to read and write and cook and ride my bike to the beach.

    I am working on an essay for a book I'm collaborating on that tells the history of the Dirt Circuit in the U.S.A. I'm comparing the current day owners of American Renaissance Faires to the owners of the Vaudeville theaters that were as popular 100 years ago as Rennie Faires are now. It will be a big, lushly illustrated, coffee-table book. Of course it doesn't pay now. But the final product will be well worth the work and well worth the read!

    I dig the Trent Reznor song, 'HURT'. I think it is the most unrepentant pop song about being a junky ever written. And there are many of them. Musicians say that a singer should cover a song like he wrote it himself. Johnny Cash did just that with this anthem to a heroin habit. The Man in Black was the real King Of Rock & Roll.

    When I was spinning records on the midnight to six shift at classic rock radio stations I could easily get in a groove and play an hour long set of dope songs in general and heroin songs in particular. "Ricky Don''t Lose That Number"."Rainy Day Women". "The Pusher". "Happiness is a Warm Gun". "Sister Morphine". "Snow Blind Friend". "Purple Haze". "Sweet Jane". The list goes on and on. The selection included different songs at different times but I tended to wrap up the set with what I think is one of the most beautiful and evocative pop songs ever written. Warren Zevon's "Carmelita". I won't quote it here. Go watch it yourself!

    I saw Warren on the first solo tour of his career. At a showcase club in Houston named Rockefellers. Held about 300 people. Excellent place to see a show. It was Zevon's first tour being clean and sober. He was a few months out of rehab and at the top of his game. He was onstage with a baby grand piano, a Fender electric keyboard and a couple of Ovation Roundback guitars- a 12 and a 6 string.

    Warren was one of those singers who sweats profusely during performance. He drank a few bottles of Evian water that night and joked about how back in the day he'd have been pounding back every drink sent to the stage by the audience. He said he'd been nervous as hell working without a band behind him when the tour began but he was getting used to it. If the man had butterflies they didn't show. He sang every song in his catalog. The audience loved him. Gave him a standing O. He obliged with a couple of encores.

    I think the Cowbird audience loves Ray.

    I dig his style, his raw, gritty and compassionate take on the hard knocks and soft strokes of just trying to live and get to the end of each day without fucking things up. Hell, I'd give him a standing O. I often applaud as I sit here watching Ray's youtube videos. You present yourself like an old school radio guy, Ray. I wonder if you were ever on the air.

    I've maintained for years that anonymity is the truest form of power. The protocol of the Cowbird platform establishes a healthy distance between the storytellers and the audience. Anonymity, if an author desires it, can be maintained with pen-names and nom-de-plumes.

    This is not the case on the Cowbirder's Facebook page. Anonymity goes out the window. The boundaries are blurred. Individual lines drawn in the dirt are easily obscured by the shifting sands and may seem arbitrary from a perspective other than one's own. Be careful in the sandbox, kids. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

    Ray, stay between the ditches as you head on down the road. And keep the shiny side up!

    That's Notes From The Daily Clipboard for today, Folks!

    Peace... Out...
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