Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Streaming Thoughts

I’m stuck. I start a blog, and after a paragraph or two lose all focus and sense of direction.

Doesn’t matter if it’s about Mitch McConnell and John McCain and the remarkable athletic ability they display while leaping from one position to another, the especially fine Dylan bootleg I downloaded last week or my ongoing unemployment.

My blogs just sputter to a stop like a car out of gas.

And that’s another topic: rising gas prices. Where’s the deflation economists were so worried about last year? Demand remains flat, the non-Wall Street economy is still on life support, yet gas prices continue to rise. Why isn’t the dynamic of supply and demand coming into play?

Did it pull a groin or something?

I thought the gravity of low demand kept prices down. Is everything we learned in Economics 101 wrong?

Then there’s the pending reform of Wall Street.

I’m not holding my breath, and neither should you. Like our recent health care reform, the financial re-do will be gentle. Corporate-friendly. It will be faint like the light from a distant star.

Despite the valiant efforts of people like Elizabeth Warren, there’s just too much campaign cash at stake. Too many golf junkets. Too many days to turn into Christmas for our pocket-stuffing congressional representation.

Ironic that the public has no choice but to ask the town drunk to watch the liquor cabinet, isn’t it?

Despite the questionable covers and reportage on personalities like Justin Bieber that make me feel like I wandered into a copy of Young Miss, Rolling Stone continues to do an excellent job of reporting on the farce that passes for governance in the United States of Whatever.

And it doesn’t matter from which side of the aisle the farce originates; Democrats and Republicans alike are stripped of pomp and PR when deserving. Matt Taibbi’s writing deserves Pulitzers.

Considering the subject matter, he must take a lot of showers.

Oh yeah. And then there’s the Dylan show. Re-invigorated by a near-fatal bout with pericarditis and the release of the stellar Time Out of Mind, Dylan is in prime form here.

His is one of a handful of voices actually enhanced by age, not diminished by it. Its gravelly texture only adds resonance to songs of faded love and longing. And the band is expert; responsive, empathetic and supple, providing shading and sparks as needed.

Playing with arrangements, experimenting with phrasing, Dylan is one of rock music’s most challenging (on a bad night) and arresting (on a good one) performers. Here, at the Irving Plaza in New York City on the evening of December 8, 1997, he is very definitely one of the latter.

Sweet Jesus.

Finally, a shout-out to my friends whose music blogs have been snuffed out. It’s funny—now that I can’t download the music they shared I suddenly have the cash to purchase $16.99 CDs at the local big box store and support global giants like Sony and Universal and Bertelsmann.

Or so the powers that be must think.

Long live David. Death to Goliath.

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