The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mid-term elections and the Trix Rabbit.

I was going to save this post until the 2008 election, but I couldn't wait. I think this is because the wind of change is blowing so hard that nobody notices how bad it smells. The Democrats should remember the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 or the real Republican revolution of 2000, getting there isn't nearly as important as what you do after you get there.

"If you don't vote, you can't bitch."
People love to trot out that old chestnut whenever election season rolls around, especially in D.C.. The fact that some of these peoples jobs hinge on people voting, or at least voting for the right people, never seems to come up. I personally feel that this line of reasoning would make a lot more sense if people only argued when they had the right to. But men still argue about if a woman has a right to choose, priests will still argue about how you live your life, and Joan Rivers and Mr. Blackwell will still argue about who looks the worst at award shows.

In the mid 70s, when I was about 5, I participated in my first election. The Trix rabbit was being unfairly denied his Trix. This inflamed my burgeoning sense of righteous indignation; at five I was very concerned with what was fair, and this was not fair. He wasn't able to enjoy a simple bowlful of over sugared corn balls with a full day's supply of artificial flavoring and coloring, a right I enjoyed every morning my Mom would allow. This wasn't much, we mostly ate Cherrios and were only allowed this indulgence once and a while.

I made sure my Mom sent in my ballot and in 4 to 6 weeks the General Mills company sent me a button so I could show my kindergarden classmates and the rest of the world that, "Yes! Give the Rabbit His Trix!" It was the first time in my life I felt like a badass and also the first time I was wrong about being a badass.

Finally, the results were in. We, the collective cereal demographic, had risen up in one voice and said, "Yes! The rabbit should have his Trix!" We had done it!

But the rabbit didn't get his Trix, I mean, it's half his Goddamn name. Regardless of our opinions on it, the rule remained the same, "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" I was beyond disappointed, it just wasn't fair. I still feel that way about voting today. To Paraphrase Bono (and this is the only time I'll ever do that!), no matter who you elect, you still get the government.

Friday, October 20, 2006

my Subconscious, A Guited Tour: part 1-Monsters 'n Such

I get chased a lot in my dreams, by all manner of hulking creatures, demons, and the occasional murderous mob. I’ve run through forests, beaches and meadows, but I’m most often running through houses; in and out of trap doors I some how knew were there.

But I always escape, always. Or at least I do in all the dreams that became memories in my waking life. Sometimes by a lot, sometimes by a shoelace, I always wake up out of harm

In one dream, I lived in a utopia in one dream that attributed its good fortune from a welcoming ritual. They had a party after I and a dozen new people had arrived. They got us drunk and led us to a circular chamber where we kneeled around the center as a cloven hoofed demon walked around us and slaughtered most of us.

Being a survivor left me with a lot of guilt, making it impossible to enjoy my ideal surroundings. One of the elders tried to reason with me about my bloody survival, “when he passed by you and slashed the throat of the person next to you, weren’t you disappointed?” I was. I also had a hot girlfriend that tried to convince me that I was lucky and blessed to be there, but it wasn’t enough.

I stole a car and made my escape, driving as fast and as far as I could. I finally stopped at a gas station that I thought was far out of the commune’s influence. As I filled the tank, I heard the station’s phone ring and got an impulse to see who may be calling. The station attendant immediately started staring at me. I took off across the street as the bell on the station door ring as he took off after me.

Then I suddenly felt it getting really hot behind me as I dive into the ditch on the other side of the road. I turned to see the station, my car and the attendant consumed with raining fire surrounded by blazing, heavy air that warped around it like a funnel.

After all this, I finally make it home. I turn on my TV and see the demon; he thanked me for escaping, it gave him the opportunity to end the deal he had made with the commune, which was now swallowed up by the ground.

I tell him that he was lying and that I had got the better of him, but he proved he could get me whenever he wanted by blowing up my TV.

I’ve been strapped to a metal table and made to read a story so horrific I begged to stop, but the tentacle multi-eyed floating monsterball made me keep reading. I’ve tangled with super naturally powerful backwoods gents who don’t take “no” for an answer.

But I’ve always gotten away.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Subconscious, A Guited Tour: part 1-flying

When I was in high school, my best friend Chris came to me with a written story about a dream he had the night before. His nightmare was a confusing tale of mazes that had left him, obviously, moved to words. I read it to the end and he asked me, "Isn't that fucked up?"
"No offense," I answered," but this is the kind of dream I have when my brain is idling".

My entire life my subconscious has played an amazing assortment of nighttime movies upon my mind's eye. I've worked out quite a few of my life's problems in those precious eight hours. I've had some dreams that foretold the future, but I've had a lot more that seemed like they did, but didn't.

I have memories of my old preschool where I was tied to a toilet for getting paint on a case of watercolors and got put into a high chair and fed chicken soup when I started eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich before grace (which sucked because I hated chicken soup). My parents are convinced that these incidents were dreams, and considering what my upcoming dreams had in store for me, these would have been like frolicking in the park. I'll write the next couple posts about my wild and wacky subconscious. If you are waiting for my fun Bible facts, I need to do more research.

I fly a lot in my dreams, with varying degrees of success; I less soared than hover most of the time slightly above the reach of whatever is after me. When I did get a bit higher in the air, I constantly flying into power lines, giving me a little shock until I flew into the next one.

I've had other super powers, but they've never strong been enough to fight crime only enough to be a side show attraction ("See the floating man who walks on walls, just don't give him anything to carry while he does it, cause he'll fall!") The one time (I remember) I did have that type of power, I was Superman, costume and all, saving a circus full of people from certain doom. I looked exactly how I really looked then, still bald and slightly chunky. As I flew around I couldn't help but notice that, while they were grateful, they couldn't hide the disappointment that Superman looked like me.

These days, instead of hovering, I can jump in my dreams insanely high and far; I have no control of where I land though, so I often end up in the water or running into more power lines.

In a recent dream I fought the Hulk, actually more like kept him off of me, he kept trying to pummel me but I was invulnerable. I'd grab him and throw him through the walls of whatever house I'd been plopped in. To try to stop him for good, I grabbed his feet and spun him around and tossed him into what I thought was the ocean. But I soon spied him jumping through the skies, looking for me. I whistled for him and the fight was on again, or at least it was when I woke up.

I try to create mental triggers to make me realize that I'm dreaming when I do things or stuff happens that could never occur in real lucid life, but they rarely work. I'm too busy flying to get away from whatever is chasing me or enjoying having a full lustrous head of hair to care.
Prince and the Muppets

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Your Pal Pete's Fun Facts!

I apologize if you knew about these already; people are always surprised when I mentioned some of these. Just to keep it straight, I had read about these things and just used the internet for secondary research.

1.Laura Bush killed a guy!
From "May 2000, a two-page police report pertaining to a fatal accident that had taken place near Midland, Texas, in 1963 was made public. It contained the information that 17-year-old Laura Welch had run a stop sign, causing the death of the sole occupant of the vehicle hers had struck. According to that report, the future First Lady had been driving her Chevrolet sedan on a clear night shortly after 8 p.m. on 6 November 1963 when she entered an intersection without heeding the stop sign and there collided with the Corvair sedan driven by 17-year-old Michael Douglas. Also in the car with Laura Welch was a passenger, 17-year-old Judy Dykes."

"How fast Miss Welch might have been driving is open to question." Unfortunately, according to Ralph Nader the Corvair was unsafe at any speed, so it might not have mattered.

2. President Harry Truman briefly belonged to the KKK!
From wikipedia: "In 1924, Harry Truman was a judge in Jackson County, Missouri, which includes Kansas City. Truman was up for reelection, and his friends Edgar Hinde and Spencer Salisbury advised him to join the Klan. The Klan was politically powerful in Jackson County, and two of Truman's opponents in the Democratic primary had Klan support. Truman refused at first, but paid the Klan's $10 membership fee, and a meeting with a Klan officer was arranged."
"According to Hinde and Truman's accounts, the Klan officer demanded that Truman pledge not to hire any Catholics or Jews if he was reelected. Truman refused, and demanded the return of his $10 membership fee; most of the men he had commanded in World War I had been local Irish Catholic"..

3.Mike Nesmith, from the Monkees, is the son of Bette Nesmith, the inventor of Liquid Paper.

4. Thank God for James Bond!
In the Movie Goldfinger, the titular villain planned to detonate a nuclear device in the gold depository at Ft. Knox to make it radioactive. What it would actually do is create a shimmering pool of mercury. Pretty.

5.Dude, the googol, dude!
The googol, as you may know, is 1 followed by 100 zeros. Computers can crunch those kinds of numbers and it can be used to calculate probability; but according to most estimates, all the particles in the known universe don"t number that high! Dude!

Coming soon : Fun Bible Facts!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Proclaimations, bold and not so bold:Music

Some of these boldly go against the status quo; some hug it like teddy bear.
I'll let you decide which one's which.

1. The Hold Steady and TV on the Radio are fucking awesome! Rock critics are draining their hyperbole wells dry over both band's new albums and I dig them a lot as well, but if you like both bands you should check out their previous albums as well. Both band play the kind of music that makes me hesitate recommending them, mainly because they both play the kind of music that I'm not normally into.

The Hold Steady(check out "Chips Ahoy!") play a very Springsteen-esque indie rock full of dead end souls and the self-destructive results of a lifetime of Catholic guilt. Craig Finn's voice is not for everybody but he writes some amazing lyrics ("yr little hoodrat friend makes me sick but after i get sick i just get sad. because it burns being broke and it hurts to be heartbroken but always being both must be a drag". "your little hoodrat friend")

TV on the Radio (check out "Dry Drunk Emperor") is one of the few bands that, in my opinion, are both "experimental" and "good". They have solids hooks without being remotely pop; bending and winding melodies and harmonies around repetitive loops and live instruments in a way that makes them unique, sometimes even to themselves. They're kinda like a sample based Radiohead. Speaking of which..

2. Radiohead is really overrated! I'm running the risk of alienating one friend in particular, but I just don't get it. Don't get me wrong, they've got some great songs, I just don't think their worthy of the pants-wedding devotion some people I've talked to give them.

That's the thing, I hate Rush and the Grateful Dead, but I can see how they can have an appeal to the hygiene impaired and the irony challenged.

3. Justin Timberlake has been successful in his attempt to bring "SexyBack"!
The Non-sexy have oppressed us long enough! JT has given us the power to finally we needed to escape their tyranny!

4. Bands need to stop saying they're gonna make music history and actually do it. I've read recent stories about what's-his-nuts from Blink 182's new band and his claim that their album would cause "The greatest rock and roll revolution this generation"(it didn..t).
The Killer's singer said that their new album was one of best of the last 20 years, when it wasn't even the best one released that day (that would be the Hold Steady). I actually like the new Killers song a lot, but you can't just say things like that and expect that's going to be enough. Whether your the President or the Killers, you don't decide history;history decides you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tales of Salisbury madness:Bonus

I thought I was done with the Salisbury stories, but then this one popped back into my head.

I was watching TV in the living room on a weekend night, just taking it easy. That was until my roommate Shawn and his then-girlfriend Michelle barreled through the door, coming back from a party. His fraternity and her sorority had a semi formal mixer and so they were dressed much nicer than I normally see either of them; but they were quite still set on rowdy.

Shawn called in a pizza (I had already eaten)and had engaged Michelle in a argument that was a bit more playful than aggressive. That light heartedness, however, didn.'t extend to Michelle making good on a threat to leave and walk back to her dorm( a good two miles away in the dead of night and in high heels); before she left she whispered in my ear,"He's gonna come after me...

Shawn smirked the smirk of the defiant as it became more obvious that Michelle wasn't coming back but he held firm.

Angie, a friend of ours who had a monster crush on Shawn that became more aggressive when she added alcohol, called our house drunk wanting to chat with our boy. He was polite and listened to her ramblings as his pride slowly gave way to concern for his errant girlfriend.

Our house phone then was one of those shitty corded phones they gave away with magazine subscriptions and the little plastic tongue on the phone cord that held it in the wall jack had broken off so the slightest tug disconnected the call, which is what happened in the middle of Angie's call. Intentional or not? You'd have to ask Shawn.

Right around this time Shawn sprung into panic mode and left in his car to find Michelle. About a minute later, Angie called back, except this time she was drunk and crying.
"PEEETTTEEEE! Shawn hung up on me! I thought we were friends! PPPPPEEEETTTEEE!"
I tried as hard as I could to calm her down, "Angie, we got our phone from Time Magazine, it comes out of the wall, he didn't mean to do it(I think)".

Then a knock at the door, Shawn's pizza had arrived. I didn't have any money. I gave the pizza guy a brief run down on the situation and offered to give him a check.
"We don't take checks."
"I don't have any cash, would you rather go back with the pizza than take my check? Do you think I'd pass a bum check to you when you know where I live?" He agreed and took my check.

Shawn finally came back a few minutes later, he had found Michelle walking down Salisbury's main drag, going the wrong way. They plopped down on the couch and dug into the pizza. Shawn generously offered, "You can have some if you want."
Thanks, pal.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mark Foley, Casualty of the Class and Culture Wars

This is what brings down the thin facade of Republican moral superiority? Emails and IMs? Hypocrisy, cover-ups and sexual misconduct are hardly unprecedented in politics. This should not be taken as me not taking the whole thing seriously, quite the opposite. I mean Mark Foley is freaking co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and he's sending these uber-creepy IMs to 16 year olds?

I haven't thought of the Republican party as the moral choice for a while. Morality to them is another thing that they treat like a "Mission Accomplished" banner; they say it, they expect it to be good enough of us, facts be damned.
"Culture of Life" Terri Schivo's dilemma caused President Bush cut his vacation short, but an obliteration of a major american city didn't seem important enough to change his travel plan actually going in the opposite direction after Katrina ravaged New Orleans.

George Bush has shown more emotions towards frozen fetuses to be used for stem cell research (fetuses that would have most likely be destroyed anyway) than the innocent Iraqi citizens that have been killed in our invasion, both in the cross fire and the resulting tribal violence.

"War on Terror" After 9/11, we were suppose to go after the people responsible and the countries harboring the culprits. Instead we invaded a country that had neither, lest we forget, that was the one of the justifications of invading Iraq. Our own intelligence has said recently that we have help make Iraq what we originally said it was, a haven for terrorist activity. The Taliban that harbored the men who executed the attack are regaining power in Afghanistan.

"No Child Left Behind" Ask a public school teacher if the education system has improved on Bush's watch.

"War on Drugs" The emphasis is still on Pot being the number one drug problem when Crystal Meth has been decimating entire communities and straining already slim social service budgets.

Add to those a series of tax code changes that seem to overwhelmingly favor the wealthy. It's like "Trickle Down" economics, without the "trickle down" pretense.
It's Class warfare dressed in Culture war clothing. What Foley did is inexcusable, but yet some conservatives people are still trying to excuse it. It seems like they're trying to do the classic, "Do as we say, not as we do" defense. It didn't work when you were a teenager why should it work now?
Video Fun: Mark Foley and John Walsh, before the fall. Warning:Ironic Content! check out the end.

Ann Coulter on Foley totally missing the point that the problem is not that he's gay, it's that he's a pedophile and those are two different things.