Everything Is Worse Now… Or Is It?

There’s a few more hours left in September 11, 2020 as I write this. It’s the nineteenth anniversary of the attack on our country by terrorists.

Sometimes I see people who are younger than nineteen and I wonder what their lives must be like. I am forty-two, and I’m a fat guy who’s hairline is starting to recede. I don’t ask where the good times gone because I know the good times weren’t all that great. But they seem so much worse now. I ask myself: are they worse now or is it just me thinking that?

It would be easy to point at right now. We’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, one that our country is struggling with and that many of our citizens refuse to believe is even a real problem. We have to wear masks in public and socially distance and yet a lot of people refuse to do so, believing it impinges on their personal freedoms. Meanwhile, they don’t even know what real freedom is.

We’ve given our information away to social media. We’re more miserable than ever because of these tools that were ostensibly created to unite us and give us a common ground. We’re deeply ignorant of what’s going on around us, what’s going on in other countries, our own history. We’re basically focused on our individual attempts to scrape out an existence, and it inhibits our ability to see the bigger picture.

I want to say that a lot of things changed since September 11, 2001 and they did in the bigger picture. Maybe that was the beginning of the end of the United States as a major superpower as we tried to fight an unwinnable fight against a concept (terrorism) instead of an knowable enemy with concrete borders, throwing good resources after bad, costing many lives in the process. And maybe I’m wrong because the United States has always struggled to live up to this ideal we held it up to be. . . this bastion of freedom, peace and integrity.

And how does any of that affect the average person who’s just trying to survive in an increasingly difficult world? Did you ever think that the worst people in the world would rip off this world for scrap metal and leave you with the rest? Why would they do something so callous? They have to live here too, don’t they?

This is only heartbreaking if you think life can be so much better. If you think it can only get worse and it will, none of this affects you much. If you don’t resist the torture and submit to it, you grow numb to the pain. But some of us can’t help ourselves. We keep saying how wrong it is, and pointing out how not only is the emperor naked but dangerous and cruel. And it never gets easier. The older you get, the more it hurts. The more you know, the tougher it gets.

And even that’s not enough because you keep searching for an answer to the question “Now what?”

But ask that nineteen-year-old how life is and see what their response. Are they filled with life? Are they ready to take on their world? Are they young and arrogant and knowing everything? Do they know how arrogant they are yet? I envy that energy and I’d love to have it one more time. Some men my age divorce their wives and buy Camaros in order to fake it. I’d settle for a push towards real change in this country.

That’s me, being unreasonable again.

I Can’t Believe I Have To Think About This Kid Again

Nick Sandmann is working for Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign.

You’ll remember him from this.

Recently he spoke at the Republican National Convention.

I actually want to feel sorry for him but he won’t let me.

Think about it. You’re a high school boy. You haven’t begun the aging process. You pretty much think you’re the shit. You’re on a field trip. Forget about the fact that you’re going to an anti-abortion rally, because what seventeen-year-old boy really cares about abortion unless he’s had his parents pay for one. Forget about all that indoctrination you’ve received from your parents, your church, your Catholic school upbringing. You’re going to a big city where a lot happens. You’ve never seen anything like this before, and by that I mean black people.

You’ve been left unsupervised in the big city after the big rally with all your classmates when suddenly you find yourself being yelled and cursed at by some actual honest-to-God black people. You’ve seen black people (not up close) but not like these black people. You will be told later that these are Black Israelites. What are they doing here? This was the day for your rally. Who do they think they are? They’re calling you a honky and a cracker and worse words than that. No adults there to tell you to ignore them. What do you do? You do a giant New Zealand haka dance because you’re an idiot and you don’t know any better and you move in closer to them because you don’t know anything about boundaries.

Out of nowhere, here comes this old Indian guy beating a drum and chanting. You are completely gobsmacked and you can’t help but laugh at the strangeness of the situation. You know he’s harmless so you smile. And FLASH, you are preserved for an eternity. The stuck-up Kentucky private school kid sneering at an elderly Native American.

You can call that a media narrative but that’s also exactly what happened.

Ideally, Nick, you’d just go away and whatever happened happened. Whatever political ideology you ended up with (probably conservative), hopefully one day you’d eventually come to the conclusion that you were just some immature kid reacting to a messed up situation. There were no adults in that room, certainly none that you respected because your chaperones were off somewhere doing God knows what. Perhaps they had been there, there would have been a different outcome. Instead, you end up being the poster child for white privilege.

It’s not really your fault. You were just a kid caught up in a dumb situation. You may complain about being cancelled by the left, but you’ll find it’s equally if not more frustrating to be used by the right which is the path you’re heading down.

You’ll spend the rest of your life as a useful. . . I won’t say idiot, but being told you were right when you weren’t right and you’ll never actually get to become your own person. You’ll only be someone else’s idea of who you ought to be. Your parents’ idea, your church’s idea, Mitch McConnell’s vision of you. What a terrifying reality it would be to be used to by a political machine.

I said I wanted to feel sorry for Nick Sandmann a little bit but I don’t. This guy will probably never feel a dark night of the soul ever in his life. Also he lives more comfortably than you and I ever will. I hope his conscience troubles him. I hope the voices in his head grow louder as he grows older. I hope by the time he’s a grandfather, they roar as loud as a thousand klaxons.

And I hope Amy McGrath wins in November.

WAP Aint Nothing But The Same Song

I heard people were talking about pussy in here. Some wet ass pussy. Sounds good, let’s talk about it.

Oh, we’re talking about a song? That song by Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion. What’s there to talk about? What’s the big deal?

wap2

Oh.

wap3

Well I’ll be a son of a bitch.

I’m amazed at how shocked people can get after all these years. With everything going on in the world, people can come together and watch a music video with two half-naked women of color writhing around and ask themselves “What does this mean?”

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean or symbolize as much as they think. There’s a long blues tradition of body and sex songs.

“Please Warm My Weiner” by Bo Carter from 1935 is a fine example of dirty blues. Bo Carter had a long career and recorded other songs like “My Pencil Won’t Write No More” and “Banana In Your Fruit Basket”.

1935 also brought “Shave ‘Em Dry” by Lucille Bogan. You can hear laugh and whoop it up halfway through the recording. It’s something else to hear.

The Clovers had a classic in the ’50s with “Rotten Cocksuckers’ Ball”, though they were more famous for their hit song “Love Potion No. 9”

By the beginning of the ’70s, dirty blues was pretty well finished but party records by people like Rudy Ray Moore and Blowfly began to sell on the underground. In the rock mainstream, songs by Chuck Berry (“My Ding-A-Ling”), Led Zeppelin (“The Lemon Song”) and Aerosmith’s cover of “Big Ten Inch Record” were echoes of the past.

In the ’80s, the rap revolution (in part influenced by Rudy Ray and Blowfly) brought forth the controversial 2 Live Crew and their As Nasty As They Wanna Be album, which was initially ruled obscene in a district court in Florida.

Whatever your opinion is of the Cardi/Megan song is fine. It’s another chapter in a long tradition in black music and it triggered another tradition in non-black finger wagging.

I just watched it. It made me laugh.

Some Music Reviews I Will Confess To Writing

 

Live_AlexHarveyalbum

The Sensational Alex Harvey BandLive! (1975)

Tracks 1-5: Perfectly acceptable 70s glam rock sung by a middle-aged man.

Track 6: LITERALLY THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE SONG ‘DELILAH’ EVER AND IF TOM JONES HAS A PROBLEM WITH THAT, TO HELL WITH HIM!

Track 7: Dunh-nah-nah-dunh-nah for a quarter of the album’s running time until the lead singer stops the music to talk the audience.

I guess you had to be there. Three-and-a-half stars.

Queen_News_Of_The_World

QueenNews Of The World (1977)

This is their stadium rock album? This is the album they conquered the world with?

Take “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” out of the picture and what do you have? A grabbag of stylistic diversions: Reactionary punk, flamenco guitar, cocktail lounge cabaret, a tender piano ballad or two, one-take English blues, and whatever the hell “Get Down, Make Love” is.

They can’t get away with doing all this if Freddie Mercury isn’t versatile enough to sell each and every one of these genre experiments. For example, Roger Taylor sings the relatively straightforward “Fight From The Inside” and it’s a bathroom break of a song.

News Of The World is not Queen’s best album (that would either be Sheer Heart Attack or A Night At The Opera) but it is indisputably their sixth album.

Three-and-a-half stars.

Madonna,_debut_album_cover

Madonna – self-titled (1983)

This is the only thing I will write about Madonna.

Her debut album came out when I was five years old. She has been famous for basically my entire life. Some of my earliest musical memories are the songs on this album and I resent her for it. Now I am a middle-aged man and this poppy fluff from nearly forty years ago is still here. It refuses to go away, already.

Highlights: “Lucky Star”, “Everybody”, “Holiday”

Lowlights: My wasted life

Five stars.

comingoutoftheirshells

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Coming Out Of Our Shells (1990)

This is less a review of a promotional tie-in album than a tale of youth disillusioned.

Like many kids in 1990, I was a fan of TMNT. I played the video games, watched the movies and had the action figures.

When I was a boy and I found out about this album, I was under the impression that I would hear the voices of the people from the cartoon or the movie.

I listened to this album once and only once. I didn’t get to the end. I was disillusioned to NOT hear the voices from either the cartoon or the movie on the album. Plus the songs sucked.

Upon further research, I just learned that this was a tie-in for a concert tour. Dear God.

This wasn’t my first bad product tie-in. I saw Mac & Me. I saw The Wizard with Fred Savage. I got plenty of cheap doodads from fast food joints that came with my meals. But this one burned me good. Fool me once, Pizza Hut and TMNT, shame on you. Fool me twice, won’t get fooled again. A half-star for the childhood learning experience. 

Odb_-_nigga_please

Ol’ Dirty Bastard N***A Please (1999)

This is less an album and more an anti-drug advertisement, as it reeks of cocaine paranoia. The second half of this album feels like being in a room with someone stoned out of their mind, subject to their mood and whims and tantrums. They start out being fun to be around but then they turn on you and get scary while you try to appease them to deescalate the situation to keep things from getting violent.

“I Can’t Wait” is a jam.

No rating.

Fiona_Apple_-_Fetch_the_Bolt_Cutters

Fiona AppleFetch The Bolt Cutters (2020)

More like Fart The Butt Cunters, amirite.

Three stars.

Have You Considered A Private Journal?

Dear Reader, how are you today? I hope you are well but I know deep down that you are not well. I’ve seen your facebook* posts. I’ve seen your frustration at the state of the world and your inability to grapple with it. You are flustered, angry, outraged, shocked. You are, in a word, vexed. Who can blame you, with all the problems in the world today?

Furthermore, it feels like things like facebook* makes the problems worse. These things that were created to make our lives simpler have turned out to be a new kind of rat race, a new void for us to scream into. However it is not a void. We see each other and recognize the pain. It is real. The toy we were given has turned into a daily trauma machine.

You know what facebook* is doing but you can’t seem to extricate yourself from it. You’ve heard maybe about a few people who have done it but you don’t know how. I personally have a few reasons for staying on the platform, a few of the hundreds of friends I’ve accrued over the years. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t stay. Perhaps you find yourself in the same situation.

For what it’s worth, I find a private journal to be quite worthwhile. I have a word file I go in almost daily and type away. I don’t worry about the form or perfect vocabulary or punctuation or even if anybody sees it. I just let my thoughts roam free, as terrifying and illogical as they often are.

You don’t have to be a teenage girl to have a private journal. You can be a forty-two year-old male who’s down on his luck like I am. Try it. You may find yourself not venting so much on facebook* and feeling free to post insignificant nonsense that attempts to be lighthearted.

One day your kids will ask you what you did during this tumultuous time in American history and you will say “I posted on facebook* about whether giving ecstasy to a crime dog would make them horny or not” and they’ll ask “Did you really?” and you’ll go “No, I didn’t do that. That was my weird friend Mike. Then he pretended it was a google* search and attempted to delete it. It was him trying to be funny.”

Then your kids will go “What’s google*?” and you’ll tell them about how they essentially own the government and you can’t get insurance without giving them a blood sample or something.

GET TO JOURNALING AND BLOW OFF SOME STEAM!

*intentionally not capitalized

Review: Eurovision Song Contest (The Story Of Fire Saga

Last night, I watched the new Will Ferrell film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix. I mostly enjoyed it. There’s the short review.

Will Ferrell plays Lars, an Icelandic man with childhood dreams of entering and winning the Eurovision Song Contest. His Abba-inspired, elf-worshiping friend Sigrit (played by Rachel McAdams), joins him in a local band called Fire Saga. Lars’ father (played by Pierce Brosnan) is a widowed fisherman who is routinely embarrassed by his son.

You could probably make a complaint about Hollywood casting. Ferrell and McAdams are supposed to be lifelong friends, but there’s a ten-year age difference in real life. Ferrell looks closer in age to Brosnan (who’s fifteen years older than him) than to McAdams. It only works because everybody does good in their roles.

Through a series of random, unlikely events, Fire Saga become the Icelandic representatives for the annual Eurovision song contest. This is an actual event that is held (exempting this year because of covid-19). As a musician, I found the musical parts of the movie are the most satirical. It’s amazing to see all these different countries represented from all over the world, each with their own unique culture, language and folklore. How do they represent themselves on an international stage? By trying to sing a middle-of-the road pop song in English. These songs are almost indistinguishable from one another. The only thing that makes them interesting is the performances which border on Cirque du Soleil at times.

The movie is a bit more kindhearted than I might have expected from Ferrell, possibly because there’s more of an affection for the subject of the movie than there might be if he were younger. I won’t say it’s a great or even good movie, but it’s breezy enough that you’ll forgive its’ dead giveaways and plotholes.

A Boomer Looks At 4chan

Ok boomer, here we go.

Soundtrack: Jimmy Buffett, “A Pirate Looks At Forty”

We all know what a baby boomer and by definition I am Generation X but what is reality anymore? For one thing, I suggested a soundtrack of Jimmy Buffett. I just looked at 4chan for the first time a few weeks ago. I’m technologically behind the curve. I might as well be a boomer.

I was afraid of 4chan because I’d heard it was a lawless hellhole, where users posted unspeakable, brain-scarring images.

I was right.

I found this in /mu, the music forum of 4chan

Furries are the chads of nerds. . . We are the tallest, richest, and most attractive. . . What the fuck do you do besides complain on the internet? Come at me kid. I’m the alpha dog in these woods. Standing five feet, ten inches tall and weight in in at 240lbs of pure muscle I could kick your ass across a football field and score 3 points, and then I would give your mother a good time with a bad dragon. I was the QB on every football team I played for. . . Pick your enemies care-fur-ly, bitch. This hound is so pawesome you don’t stand a fucking chance.

Anon

I’ve learned that 4chan has a NSFW section, so if you want to complain about the Jews or trans people or say the n-word or call other anonymous posters the f-word, but you don’t want to see pictures of people being hit by trains or covered in feces, while pretending to talk about video games, music, television or other subjects. . . then there’s a wide variety for you to do that in. I guess you can call that “work safe”?

After spending the last two weeks are so browsing and occasionally even posting on 4chan, I’ve determined that the majority of the users are fascist Steely Dan fans who hate trans people. I don’t know if there’s a connection.

In conclusion, dudes rock 2020.

Are You Tired Of Amy McGrath Yet?

Yesterday, I got a call from a volunteer asking me to vote for Amy McGrath for the Democratic Senate primary. Since I have experience volunteering for a political candidate, I was polite to this person but I let them know that thanks to the convenience of early absentee voting by mail, I had already voted for Rep. Charles Booker.

Then today I see this from Michael Adams, Kentucky’s Secretary of State:

“On April 24, Gov. Beshear and I reached a bipartisan agreement to expand voting options and ensure voting would be both safe and convenient for the June 23 election. We negotiated this agreement two months before election day in order to provide clarity for election officials, candidates and voters. That very day, Amy McGrath called the plan ‘a win for democracy,’ and even just recently the McGrath campaign aired a radio ad called ‘A Lot Easier’ that praised Governor Beshear for this plan.

“However, on June 12, the McGrath campaign sued the Governor she has been on paid radio praising, and challenged the plan she has been on paid radio endorsing. The McGrath campaign asked a federal judge to declare unconstitutional ‘the current system of absentee voting’ that Gov. Beshear and I worked so hard in good faith to establish, so that we could protect Kentucky voters from the coronavirus.“The McGrath campaign attempted to rewrite, at the last minute, election rules that were agreed to long ago by the Governor and me in bipartisan fashion. . .

“Most troubling is that the McGrath campaign took aim at the overall bipartisan agreement, seeking to have it declared unconstitutional, potentially invalidating the votes that hundreds of thousands of Kentucky voters already have cast safely from home.

What changed between April and now that caused McGrath to seek to “attempt to rewrite the rules” as the Secretary of State puts it? Could it be the rising candidacy of Rep. Booker, Louisville resident from the West End who was the only Democratic candidate to actually show up at any of the post-George Floyd/Breonna Taylor protests. Could it be that Booker is the only one who actually has shown any attempt at leadership and fighting for his people?

Or could it be simply that the McGrath campaign got the poll numbers and found themselves slipping. They’re outspending Booker 20 to 1 and are barely winning. In this unprecedented time of pandemic and protests, no lead is to be taken for granted. Each county on June 23 will have ONE polling place. Not precinct, COUNTY. If this pandemic is what it takes for us to make the more convenient option, we should embrace it. Forget about the primary for a minute. This is about how we want to conduct our voting system. We should make it easier for everybody, especially when you consider how everything in society is tailored for ease and convenience. Why not the most important aspects of the world we live?

But even with tens of millions of dollars and the most public visibility and the thumb of Chuck Schumer on the scale, Amy McGrath can’t close the deal. So now she has to result to lawsuits and throwing money at the problem. Fortunately for her, she has a lot of money.



Three million dollars, much of it going out of state to national ad buys and regional ad buys that bleed into Kentucky. A lot of her money is coming from out of state. Meanwhile, Booker is getting most of his money in state. Granted, he’s being outspent 20-to-1 but the 1 are those can actually vote in these elections. He picked up a valuable endorsement from Ky. Sports Radio host Matt Jones and if this doesn’t work then I see him running again, if not for Rand Paul’s seat in 2022 then for Mayor of Louisville (obviously Greg Fischer has failed the city in the wake of the Breonna Taylor shooting). We’ll be forced to sit through a few more months of McGrath’s ads about being a little girl with dreams of being a fighter pilot and having her letter ignored by McConnell, just like he ignored so many Kentuckians. Eventually, she’ll spend the GDP of a small country just to lose by 5-10 points in November. I just have a hard time seeing how Amy McGrath defeats McConnell if she struggles with Booker even with all her advantages.

Here’s The Liner Notes

Since The Michael Farmer Collection by Kentucky Prophet won’t get a physical release, here is my attempt at liner notes.

collection

To the best of my knowledge:

1.Kentucky Prophet Theme Song  2. Holland  3. Somehooow  4. Valet Parking At The Player’s Ball 

Produced by Ian Gaffney/Colin Smith.

Written by Farmer/Gaffney/C. Smith. Recorded 2002-2003, North Hollywood, Cal. Released as part of the Kentucky Prophet Brain Rap EP, 2005.

Programmed and instrumentation by Gaffney/Smith.

Colin and Ian gave me the nickname “Kentucky Prophet”. It’s better if someone gives you a nickname than if you give yourself one. If you google “Kentucky Prophet”, you’ll likely come up with a bunch of stuff about the late somnambulist Edgar Cayce. 

5. Orcs & Goblins  6. Poor Confetti  7. Physical  8. I’m Here If You Need Me

Produced by Taylor Smith/Michael Farmer.

Recorded 2002-2003, Sherman Oaks, Cal. Previously Unreleased.

“Orcs & Goblins” written by Farmer. “Physical” is a cover of the Olivia Newton-John song, written by Terry Shaddick and Steve Kipner. “I’m Here If You Need Me” and “Poor Confetti” written by Farmer/T. Smith.

“Orcs & Goblins” keyboards Farmer, other instrumentation unsure. Other songs instrumentation by Taylor Smith, vocals by Michael Farmer.

Taylor invited me to move to L.A. in 2001. None of the music in this collection gets recorded if not for that life-changing moment. We had a two-man band and these four songs represent that. I lived there for a year-and-a-half. 

 9. Intro  10. I Sell Drugs To Celebrities  11. Yes Men  12. Drink To Kill The Pain  13. It’s A Wonderful Life  14. Good Time Girl

Produced by Colin Smith/Ian Gaffney.

Recorded 2007, Brooklyn, NY.

Released as part of the Kentucky Prophet album Beyond The Fringe.

All songs written by Farmer/Gaffney/C. Smith.

Instrumentation and programming by C. Smith and Gaffney except for accordion on “Drink To Kill The Pain” by Meryl Young. Girl singer on “It’s A Wonderful Life” unknown (sorry).

Colin and Ian lived in the same apartment complex as me and Taylor. I would go over to their place and bother them. By 2007, they had moved back to the east coast and I joined them for a week to make an album. I spent a week in Brooklyn and I never left the apartment because I was focused on recording.

 15. The Concept Of You  16. We All Got Blues  17. Die Alone

Produced by Russell Brooks. Recorded 2010/2011., Bowling Green, KY.

Released as part of the Mike Farmer album Dolphin.

All songs written by Michael Farmer.

Guitar by Shelby Smith. Drums by Nick Clark. Keyboards/vocals by Michael Farmer. Bass/guitar/programming by Russell Brooks.

I retired the name “Kentucky Prophet” and decided to try my way as a singer-songwriter while simultaneously fronting the band Technology Vs. Horse (they’re also on Spotify). “The Concept Of You” was inspired by a Harry Belafonte documentary. We built the songs up around my piano playing but I didn’t release it for years. 

 18. The Past  19. Mountain Music  20. Learning To Live Without You

Recorded by Patrick Richardson.

Recorded 2013, Greenville, Ky.

Released as part of the Mike Farmer album Greenville 2013.

All songs written by Michael Farmer.

Piano/vocals by Michael Farmer.

I also didn’t release this for years after I recorded it. I recorded it in a church because someone advised me to record my piano songs in a good room with a good sound. 

21. Jesus Without Mary

Produced by Russell Brooks.

Recorded 2018/2019, Bowling Green, Ky.

Released as a stand-alone single.

Written by Michael Farmer.

Piano/vocals by Michael Farmer. String arrangement by Russell Brooks.

This is the first song I recorded after my band TVH broke up in 2017. I released it on bandcamp like I did the Dolphin and Greenville albums. I did a basic track and left it to Russell to fill it. 

 

 

 

 

Coming To Spotify: The Michael Farmer Collection

If you love music, and you like me, you will be pleased by the impending digital release of The Michael Farmer Collection by Kentucky Prophet.

Twenty-one songs from my entire career, including some previously unreleased. It’s a weird, wonderful world and story. Available to all major streaming platforms.

Do you like rock ‘n roll? Rap music? Pop music? Bizarre tangents that go nowhere? Do you like to laugh? To cry? To ponder why you are even on this planet? Do you like songs about orcs and goblins? YES, ALL OF THAT IS INCLUDED.

The track listing isn’t finalized yet but one song that will definitely be there is “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

 

Do you TikTok? You can play these songs on there? Do you Spotify? Same thing? Pandora? Same thing. If it’s a streaming platform used on this planet, I guarantee you The Michael Farmer Collection by Kentucky Prophet is on there.

This is a strange world and strange times we live in. I have no idea what the future holds so I wanted to put some of my best and favorite songs. I hope you enjoy this no matter your preferred listening platform or gender pronoun.

When the album is out, I’ll give more information, especially about the unreleased songs. If this music seems like it’s from an alternate universe, it might be because the world has changed so much between now and then. Especially recently.