September 16, 2004

Like Grape BubbleYum on Hot Asphalt

* Customs Agent charged with accused of driving a van packed with $1.6 million worth of marijuana from Canada to the US. excerpt:

"Cory W. Whitfield, of Point Roberts, Wash., told investigators he has worked for six years screening U.S.-bound traffic at Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

"According to the complaint, Whitfield tried to enter the United States at the Lynden border crossing Monday. He presented a diplomatic passport, telling Inspector Rodney Nash, 'I'm one of us.'

"Whitfield told Nash the purpose of his trip was to bring an engine block to a Ford dealership in Bellingham, but Nash found 536 pounds of marijuana in the back of the van, and Whitfield's story fell apart under questioning, the complaint said.

"Whitfield eventually told investigators he was blackmailed into bringing the drugs to Bellingham by a man who had compromising photos of him - photos that showed Whitfield, a married man with two children, surrounded by illegal drugs and in a sexual encounter with a woman at a party, the complaint said."

* Toplesstown, a short story /poem by Shel Silverstein. excerpt:

Ol' Miz Fletcher says, "This country's goin' down the tubes
They must think we're all just a bunch of boobs
They're our bosom buddies when it's time to pay tax and all that
Now they wanna go cut off our funds and just leave us flat"
Then Ellie McKay stands up and starts to rant and rave
Shoutin', "Ain't this the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Well, I feel a lot freer without that ol' boulder holder of mine
And I'm brave enough to stand up and let my little lights shine."

And from the Salvation Army steps up Katie West
She says, "I got a couple things I gotta get off my chest"
She says, "We got no more homeless, no unemployed
Because men have somethin' to reach for and the women are overjoyed
So I wanna tell these knockers of liberty
I ain't gonna let 'em put no halter on me
And if they keep makin' threats about a federal bust
It's gonna case a major cleavage 'tween Washington and us.

"Tell the president that according to the Constitution
We got the right to dress ourselves without federal intrusion
The right to take off what's tight and what don't fit
The right to pay our rent and buy our grits
The right to improve our lot by usin' our wits
The right to bear arms--and also to bear tits."

So we take a vote--the whole damn town
And announce unanimously:
"Topless Town hereby secedes from the Union
Because the Union wouldn't let us be."
And we declare ourselves an independent
Self-determined sovereign state
And we build a tall wall around us all--
No roads, no bridges, no gate
And we pledge allegiance to our flag
Two. . . well, you know what they are
And I ain't puttin' down Old Glory
But they're prettier than stripes and stars
And we're free and unbridled
Behind these ivy-covered walls
And you drive by on the freeway and
Never notice us here at all.

Yeah, we got no taxes--we got no crime
But we got no room to spare
You'd like to come visit? I'll bet you would
But, friends, you ain't got a prayer--
Topless Town's stayin' safe and sound--
You can't get here from there.

* Five of Bobby Bare Jr.'s favorites from a few years ago. excerpt:

American Water – The Sliver Jews
Just this past summer I was given this album. The first line out of DAVID BERMAN'S mouth on American Water is "In 1984 I was hospitalized for approaching perfection.” His words are always a happy surprise – he challenges everything and it sounds like he’s trying to fake you out with every line but I always seem to know what he is trying to say, so you’re not left with the cold feeling of being cheated. The backing band is pretty good at keeping up also – “playing tambourine for minimum wage."

I See a Darkness – Bonnie Prince Billie
Will Oldham was one of 15 people who came to our last show in Louisville, KY. The audience consisted of Will, his girlfriend, Jim James of MY MORNING JACKET and his drummer PATRICK, and PAVEMENT – along with five or six people who just happened to be sitting at the bar that night. We did seven or eight songs and then the PA blew up and Will still said nice things about the show and let me hug his sexy girlfriend. But that’s not why I like his songs. His subtle way of singing not so subtle songs makes me rethink everything I do – this album sticks in your mind like grape BubbleYum on hot asphalt.

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