RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, December 31

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – November ’10 #10: “My Time Is Now” by Rittz


Rittz is a longhaired redhead dude from Georgia whose alter-name is Jonny Valiant, which I hope is wrestling-related, and he just raps simple ass hotel room knocking boots party party party until we die music. But he’s awesome at it, and looks like he’d be hanging out at a junkyard in Cumberland County, Virginia. In this song, he very casually rapidfire says “gimme the money and my tail will wag.” That is my favorite rap lyric of 2010, and it is very Georgia whiteboy, yet very rap, and just fucking perfect. I am not going to tangent rant for 2000 words on this one. You should just hit up the DL link, and play it in whatever car has the loudest system you have access to, while you ride around in circles for about 20 minutes.
STEAL “My Time Is Now”
NEXT UP:
Ozark kinfolks!

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – November ’10 #11: “I Never Made 20” by Royal Flush


This song came to me from somewhere inside the interwebs as Royal Flush being name-dropped by Bun B as the rillest MC he ever heard back in the day. And I had never heard of it, though it was Rap-a-Lot related, so I knew it was going to be lo-fi quality. And it was. This song is just some straight simple gangsta coming of age shit, but it’s a vivid story, and really shines when compared to the crap that is considered good rap music in 2010. (I see young black kids walking around in tight jeans and weird sweater-shirts, and it’s funny… this last wave of hip hop has culturally created a generation gap between boom bappers and kids, to where five years from now when these teenagers grow up, it’s going to be very pronounced. Party like a rock star, bro, to a techno beat.) The thing I love about it though, and that’s often lost with storytelling rap lyricists, is that the shit didn’t really happen. Much like a short story, whoever the fuck is the MC in Royal Flush is imagining this entire kid’s life, probably drawing from some personal experience, but not entirely, and creating a complete tale. It’s really a vulgar song and yet completely beautiful all at once, which for me, is what made hip hop so amazing when it was younger and less compromised by attachment to the fruits of one’s musical actions. It was such a brutal yet beautiful art form. Now I don’t understand what the fuck it is doing, and I know the automatic response would be to say I am old. But it’s old too. So if I have lost touch by being older, it seems to me hip hop has lost touch as well. So fuck you hip hop, you old piece of shit judgmental bastard. You are useless to me.
STEAL “I Never Made 20”
NEXT UP:
Whiteboy done got paid!

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – November ’10 #12: “That Lonesome Song” by Jamey Johnson


We try to give the kids organic milk since they are all daughters and I don’t want them to grow giant chests before puberty due to steroid bovine injections. But I always suspected it was the same shit the Horizon extra dollar a half-gallon jug as the generic Food Lion/Giant/Kroger Nature’s Nature brand. I worked at a charcoal factory very briefly with black guys called Dance and Toots and strange southside Virginia country things like that, and all the different charcoal brands came off the exact same line. Well, one time the ol’ lady and the kids had to use the bathroom, so I was standing around suspiciously by the dairy cooler for ten minutes. The organic milks were right there so I scoped them out. Sure enough, the Food Lion organic milk and the Horizon organic milk (which was a dollar more) had the exact same factory number and factory lot stamped on them in digital black numbers at the top. Exact same manufactured launch spot, different labels, different brands, different prices.
Luckily for us we found a grocery store that sells milk bottles from an actual creamery from just over the mountain headed towards Harrisonburg. Being organic is not the wonderful Mother Earth News mom-and-pop procedure anymore. Government regulations and big agribusiness have made it so organic is more of a brand than a health choice. In order for milk (or meat or anything) to be labeled organic, any sick cows are left to stay sick, because they can’t be given any outside drugs. Thus, you might think you are getting something supremely healthy for yourself and family (and it’s probably better than the steroids, no doubt), but it’s still fucked up. I have always wanted there to be a website where it had pictures of food or drink with a picture of the factory it came from right beside it. Because factories are always gross industrial complexes, smelling of bleach and Mexican lunches, and that’s where all our shit we eat comes from, regardless of organic or natural or generic. This is how organic is now available at Wal-Mart, because organic does not mean healthy at all.
Anyways, the creamery milk is so fucking good, has chunks of cream floating in it to where you’re like, “Oh shit, it’s gone bad,” but it hasn’t, it’s just actual cream, and it dissolves in your cup of tea or coffee, and it’s good as fuck. It will never be at a Wal-Mart because I doubt they even produce enough of it. I would bet the reason it’s only at one chain of grocery stores around here is because that’s about all they can produce. I actually can tell the different shipments from the expiration date (which is always way faster than any other milk because it’s not super-pasteurized), but knowing it’s a small creamery, I still buy it if it’s about to go out, mostly because it’ll be half-priced and if we don’t drink it all, I’ll let it sit on the counter overnight and give it to the pigs as a dope ass treat.
“That Lonesome Song” is the song that put Jamey Johnson on the Nashville map as their resident outlaw redemption story. The thing is, for me, it’s sort of like there being organic milk at Wal-Mart – would it be there if it was really deep down healthy for you. How outlaw is someone being pushed to the moon by the Nashville media machine as an outlaw there to dirty up Nashville’s overly polished squeaky clean image? It seems to me the true outlaw is not even going to be there, or allowed into those hallowed record company halls, and would have to scratch and claw for a cult following by playing shit ass clubs and bars for years and years. And there are plenty of dudes in Nashville who regard themselves as that, but they also are hoping that they can write a song that Carrie Underwood or Tim McGraw blow the fuck up, so that they can cash royalty checks for the next ten years.
I really like Jamey Johnson at times, and at other times he’s like every other musical offering that comes out of Nashville – boring as fuck and easily predictable. He has had enough good songs to make me think there’s something inside of there that could be that outlaw, but the simple fact he is part of that Nashville machine makes me distrust the whole process. I can see going sober, as he has done according to his PR biography, and feeling like you have to follow the status quo with your own story and get your songs out there. As I struggle with my own newfound sobriety, I find it compelling to not follow that path, not chop off my beard and try to be more regular. In fact, I find it more important to be fucked up and contrarian. Fuck this government and fuck this financial system and fuck these shady record companies and shady agribusinesses and $60,000 sedans as status symbol and fuck it all. Real organic outlaws don’t consider themselves either “organic” or “outlaw”. They just fucking are. It seems we love labels in this today world because it helps us think we are something when deep down inside for most all of us, we are not. We just are not.
My goal for this next arbitrary Gregorian calendar year is to be Are as fuck, and stop Not Being so damn much.
STEAL “That Lonesome Song”
NEXT UP:
Lost rap classic!

Friday Love/Hate

I hate the struggle to find light amidst a drowning darkness. That is not melodramatic nonsense – that is how my brain has been working. It’s actually testament to the wonders of the human body. For over two decades, I pretty much at least leisurely drank, and the body adjusts to those ingested chemicals, slowing down on different neurotransmitters, so that I wasn’t all out of whack from my personal decisions. But then when I remove that from the chemical equation, it has caused an imbalance that leaves me buried in darkness, barely able to see what’s on the other side of my body healing itself. Well, it’s not so much healing itself because I don’t regard myself as sick, but it adjusts itself, and this is a rapid chemical adjustment. But I’ve got a herbal regimen to keep me from drowning, and plus taking them when I wake up first thing in the morning has that Vybz Kartel song “Thank Yuh Jah” pumping in my head – “thank you jah feel good this morning, roll up the herbs before me start yawning.” I am of course not taking the herb that most people speak of when saying “herb” but the yawning after waking up is very relevant because as you walk around most days, there are many emotional and spiritual zombies around you. Hell, we just went through the most devoid of spirit allegedly spiritual holiday our western capitalist system has engineered into place, which probably contributes to my own darkness I drown in, as well as many other people out there. It’s hard to keep figuring out ways to squeeze blood from a stone, so to speak. But the human mind is pretty adaptable as well, and we find ways. We always find ways.

I love getting back to survival mode. Running through the woods with these teenagers lately, hiding amongst man’s junk, carving haiku onto guardrails after midnight, it has really fired me back up. Thanks to one of the Rojonekku kids who relocated to the Ozarks in southern Missouri, we have a new flag to plant in our field spiral. That makes seven. I have been lost at times through most of my first spiral on this planet, but I am proud of the work I am doing on this second spiral, and I am proud of focusing my immense energies into what it is going to become. It is not easy work, but it is necessary. HAARP angels ain’t got shit on me.

n i t e a

strange junk visions haunt my nights –
underground labyrinths of
crackheads and zombie reagans

Wednesday, December 29

t r e z z

photosynthesized twist ties
trying to choke the mighty
oak down to some dude’s firewood

Tuesday, December 28

Sunday, December 26

Saturday, December 25

Friday, December 24

Thursday, December 23

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – November ’10 #13: “Home Sweet Oklahoma” by Leon Russell


I have been on a huge Leon Russell kick lately, reminded how awesome the dude is. This song is one that I only recently heard ever, which is amazing considering I have had like 9 Leon Russell LPs in my collection since my early 20s. The story on Leon is he split Oklahoma as a teenager, classic runaway story, to hit big and crazy brightly lit Los Angeles and make it big. And god bless that crazy fucker, somehow he did it, which in itself makes me proud to be American, in the strange and fucked ways I usually find pride for the geopolitical boundaries I was randomly born into.
One summer, I was riding Greyhounds around here and there, and went to Oklahoma City for I don’t know why, met a bunch of west coast gangsters on the bus, as well as a reformed gangster who played softball professional somehow, who pointed me towards a cheap hotel somewhere in OKC, where I spent about a week, in a shithole room, taking walks to the front desk to buy two forties for $3 with the choices of Budweiser or Busch. There were strange old crinkle-faced dudes with the textbook definition of “leather skin” and obvious crack money rooms around me, weird overweight ladies who cleaned the rooms and drank in the attached bar without a clear distinction between those two tasks (you should always just keep your Do Not Disturb sign on your door in places like that; in fact, having come up more in places like that than anything else, I just do that regardless of the hotel, never allowing staff into my room at all until I am gone, ever), and it was just a generally perfectly Oklahoma thing in my mind.
At some point, I decided to go ahead and hitchhike out of town to go to Colorado where I had a friend living, and I cleared out at six in the morning, OKC quiet as fuck, scraggly little dogs barking in Spanish at me as I tromped through with my camping backpack full of useless shit that I never dug deep down into. I saw a handwritten sign that said “RAVEN” with an arrow pointing straight ahead. So I followed, leading to another one about four blocks away, then another, pointing to the left. Of course, I followed – this was my destiny, laid the fuck out right before my eyes.
I imagine this is exactly how Leon Russell left Oklahoma, same way. Unfortunately for me, the signs ended up at an abandoned strip mall with a store called RAVEN that looked like it had been looted. I am fairly certain in retrospect my destiny was to break into that place to look around, get arrested, go to jail in Oklahoma, get out of jail in Oklahoma most likely no longer in college and no longer having a place to live in Richmond (although I actually didn’t have a place when I got back anyways), and then I would’ve charted some errant path towards my true destiny. The one I’ve got isn’t bad at all, but I often wonder what that chance thing was the universe was laying out for me that day. I also often think me not breaking into that place is part of my problem in a nutshell, not smash and grabbing what is placed right in front of me by the universe, to claim my rightful little cobwebby corner of popular culture. Luckily, it seems the universe is patient with me. And I was a pretty baby-faced dude until my late 20s (which is why I grew a beard), so going to Oklahoma jail or even running away to Los Angeles most likely would’ve ended up in the handling of strange penises somehow. So there is that to be thankful for, no?
STEAL “Home Sweet Oklahoma”
NEXT UP:
The Nashville hit that made an alleged outlaw!

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – November ’10 Intro


I am barely starting last month in this month, meaning there’s still a slim prospect of me actually starting the December list in actual calendar December, although it seems that a lot of my personal blog parameters are being met on a bare minimum schedule, much like how I maintain my American credit. This is on my head because it is Christmas season and we are maxed the fuck out on all ends to give useless crap to those we love not to mention give shit to people we don’t really feel like giving shit to but feel obliged so we do. There is nothing worse than attempting to financially keep up with someone who is not only on a different economic scale than you, but is probably on a different socio-economic ladder completely. Fuck, these people I speak of, they’ve probably transcended ladders and are on some sort of socio-economic elevator, and I’m still standing around the very bottom part of a nice but battered aluminum middle class. These people, they blew us off last year after we did not gift back to them the way they gifted us, so broke off contact for like 9 months. But then the lady got the facebooks and creeped back into our lives, and sent presents for the kids with the prices still all over the shit, so that I can know they can flaunt about blowing like $200 on our kids that they’ve only seen three times.
Odd thing is, last year when our gift insult occurred, we literally had only about $200 to spend on everything of Christmas – our kids, each other, the world at large, and much to my not-down-with-itness, my wife spent like $24 on these people’s kids, who are family of a distant sort, literally and emotionally. And it was probably something they threw away before the kids even got to play with the stuff. So I’m supposed to feel bad.
My ol’ lady took the kids to a homeless shelter yesterday, where they took some fuzzy socks and scarves and a bunch of batches of homemade cookies. I do not say this to make myself feel better or flaunt our charity like the aforementioned assholes flaunt their wealth. Because I will readily admit that we don’t do shit compared to what we should be doing. We are stuck in our little microcosms like everyone else. But we are aware, and try to be thankful each day for something that happened. Sure, I feel completely lost in my new job, but at least I am not completely fucked like my last job. Sure, we have less than $35 in combined available credit/bank account pretend money as I sit here, but at least all our bills have the extreme past dues covered, and plus I get paid again tomorrow. So really, in the grand scheme of things, shit is good.
I talked to a dude the other day, a co-conspirator of sorts, though what we do together creatively is still in the incubation stages, and we both had had those struggles of just wanting to swallow a hollow point and throw in the towel. Those thoughts pop up a lot this time of year for a lot of people. It’s a strange fucking world to navigate that’s been cultivated here in America. Really strange. Somehow we’ve developed a sense of collective entitlement, everyone feels like they have it worse off than everybody else, and yet we all are somehow getting quietly finger fucked out of whatever actual wealth we are able to accumulate by nefarious industries built on economic principles of smoke and mirrors. Still though, if you are alive, the goddamn sun has come up, and it is shining on some things you probably have not noticed. There is more out there than what is inside, and often times you can’t trust what’s inside of you anyways because it’s emotionally agitated by electronic stimuli and an overload of psychologically-based marketing and just a general dissatisfaction with what the fuck you’ve found yourself in. I kinda realize that even though this blog doesn’t have the traffic it once had, or nowhere near an old website or two I’ve done, it is a place for that type of person, which is my type of person. I am good with that. I just want you to know that when you feel those thoughts, don’t fuck yourself up because ultimately it’s not yourself that you hate – it’s the world around you that’s got things going askew.
If you are not feeling those thoughts, and are like, “What the fuck is Raven talking about? Goddamn, say something funny, motherfucker,” my bad. Times be dark as fuck bros and sisses, so sometimes you’ve got to hit these tangents for clarification, for yourself as much as anybody else. Now let’s get onto some music.
FIRST UP: Okie rock!

g n k a b

prosperity’s abandoned
infrastructure becomes scarred
and charred dens for wild junkies

Wednesday, December 22

Tuesday, December 21

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – October ’10 #1: “Moon & Stars (screwed & chopped)” by Big K.R.I.T. featuring Devin the Dude


I have always loved hip hop because the pure word overload nature of rapping lends the form to creating prophecies, whether meant or not, especially when freestyling is factored in, where you are abandoning conscious control of your flow of words and allowing whatever is sent to you from wherever it comes from to rhythmically emit from your face. Because of this, my largest problem with current hip hop is not how commercial or club-savvy it is, but that it lacks that potential for prophecy. This is why I can never wrap my head around respecting much less endorsing someone like Kanye West, who, sure, for these L.E.D.-lit commercialized times, certainly seems like the most brilliant thing around, but just doesn’t bring any prophecy whatsoever. It’s strictly shine. Kanye would have you believe he’s a great artist, and I don’t deny that, but it’s also exemplary of the problems with any art.
A true prophet would never try to convince you of how prophetic he is; it is just something that flows through him. He is the medium, not the message, and he understands that everyone has that potential. It’s just he was lucky enough to have unlocked it one way or another. The artist, however, will feel that his methods are better (through whatever personal filter he cherishes) than others, and he takes a common medium and delivers a message no one else bothers to. There is an elitism to it, and Kanye fits that perfectly. And for many people on this earth, that’s all you need to do to get them to prop you up on a pedestal.
I got the new crappy Spin magazine in the mail last week, and never bothered opening it until today. It had a list of the best albums of the year, which was, of course, questionable at best. But their #1 album was the Kanye West album, which I have given multiple shots running through my aural canals, and yet to find the mind-blowing dropkick of it. But the running meme is that Kanye made a classic and it should be respected as such, and so long as no little girl somehow end up with high five-figure followers on Twitter and decide to point out that the artistic emperor is not actually wearing a robe, then Kanye is the greatest thing around right now.
Also on their list was Big K.R.I.T.’s mixtape, which was so goddamn great it transcended being classified as just a mixtape and made a ballyhooed Best Albums list. And deservedly so. K.R.I.T. speaks with that prophecy that makes hip hop great. It is the same mindless channeling of music messages that Rakim spake with, or Tupac and Biggie when not overly hazed out of their innervision. “Moon & Stars” is just such a song, that even though K.R.I.T. and Devin the Dude are essentially rapping about getting some ass, it sounds like something more, something greater. It feels like it has the potential for prophecy. Unfortunately we do not live in a spiritual world, so that potential will be exploited by culture demons who will turn K.R.I.T. into a music “artist”. I hope that somehow his words stem from mental illness more than a desire to be shiny, and he will allow the messages from celestial sources continue to pour through him, instead of thinking he is the ultimate creator of his words and deserves financial glories to be bestowed upon him.
STEAL “Moon & Stars”
NEXT MONTH:
The World keeps spinning!

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – October ’10 #2: “Sinister” by Pentagram


Last night was the first time there was a full lunar eclipse on winter solstice in the history of the United States of America, according to NASA, as well as some dude with a calculator. It was also the only time there will be a full lunar eclipse on winter solstice according to the visions of Rojonekku, which I am just starting to de-cypher after decades of cyphering words from the beyond through my various muses. I went out around 1 in the morning to drag some pine logs and cherry brush to build a fire, set up the camping chairs for the kids and ol’ lady, and hung out with the dogs running wild under the full moon, nice light to the night with plenty of pockets of snow carpets here and there where the sun hasn’t shined hard or hot enough in the past week. It felt insane out there. Actually, it felt sane to be honest with you. All the hum of my home, the laptop screen I tap in front of now, the bzzzz of the new-fangled icebox and baseboard heater upstairs and the general permeation of the background with electricity and electromagnetism and frequencies shooting around whether we have reception devices subscribed to or not, that’s what makes me feel insane, and sort of trapped.
I have not drank in over fifty days, and though I was not a serious drunkard of a Lifetime movie variety, I realize I had been masking internal situations pretty much all of my post-pubescent life. Now, there are a pair of clenched fists squeezing blood from a dishcloth inside my gut, below my heart but above my intestines, but no blood will come from it. So it squeezes and clenches and twists and it is painful. I get stuck in a deep and dark muck that I cannot shake, to where I think of terrible exclamation points to throw down for a sudden end. But luckily one of my muses is my uncle Ricky, who did just that 17 years ago behind my grandma’s trailer, so I know the results. Well, I did not know until he came back to share it with me, but a lesson came from that that keeps the clenched fists inside my gut from getting me to lay back in the deep and dark muck and say, “Okay, I quit. I am going to sleep now.”
Last night’s full lunar eclipse/winter solstice felt important for me to be around for. I have been having trouble shifting into my normal late night productivity mode as a non-drunk, missing that false boost of energy to crash through the wall of fatigue. But last night felt like something was shifting, not really inside of me, because there’s a lot of work to be done to unclench those internal infernal fists. But all around, it felt like a shift.
There is a lot of hum and buzz to our daily lives, so we don’t always notice what we have not trained our senses to see or hear or feel. This is why people like me get the suicidal thoughts, because we don’t understand what the fuck is going on. And having quit giving myself the slow poison to mask the silent weapons hurting me, I can see why people turn to fake gods to give themselves emotional security. But that doesn’t make sense to me. All of this is too big to be confined to a book of human words, or to this planet lurking in the shadows of the sunshine. And I don’t even fucking know what the fuck I’m getting at, but the fake gods and the new age tomfoolery, it doesn’t work for me. I am of a universe where I know there are things that need to be built and there are things that need to be destroyed. I have always felt my purpose is to build, but I haven’t had found the tools yet, so I destroyed instead. Problem is rather than destroy the hum and buzz around me, I destroy the hum and buzz reverberating inside of me, cutting my psychic nose off to spite my face so to speak.
There’s got to be a better way. I’ve got to be able to take off the mask and not fall victim to the submission holds of “god”. How will there be more human words that speak of what is really going on if we just keep reading over the old ones?
First time in 500 years was last night’s concurrence of celestial events. There are shifts happening far larger than this world. I am taking off the mask motherfuckers, and goddamn all this buzzing and humming.
STEAL “Sinister”
NEXT UP:
Celestial prophecies!

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown – October ’10 #3: “Can’t Cash My Checks” by Jamey Johnson


I will be doing my holiday meal shopping today at the Kroger grocery store, for one simple reason – they still treat checks as checks, meaning that even though I am maxed the fuck out like any good American would be the week before Christmas, I can float a slice of paper at Kroger, and it’ll take at least the four days until my pay is cybertronically granted into existence through some sort of nefarious Learned Elders of Capital program. Thus, without having money, I can buy food. I am not sure how or where my family’s grocery buying got out of wack with my payday, but it seems that every other Tuesday, when I know the check is in floatable distance for sure (Mondays make me afraid it will go through fast, since robot money lords are probably mad hyped up on Mondays), I am pushing a cart full of edible thisses and that’s through the stank ass Kroger.
I do not know why many places (following the original lead of Wal-Mart) treat checks as a debit card for old-timers who are afraid of things that look like evil credit cards, but whenever I used to be somewhere where I did not realize they did it automatically and I’d write a check and they’d put it into their machine, it’d go BRRRRP, and then they’d print out a receipt and hand me back the check because it was over, and it made me have one of my “William B. Cooper was right” sweats, mostly internal because I hold it inside my body with a furrowed brow. Now, I am a beaten man, and assume all places do that shit automatically, to the point a box of checks will probably last me years. The only places I can really use them like you are supposed to use a check (in the ways I was raised at least) are the Kroger and paying my electric company bill. It’s a gamble when you are juggling, and sometimes you miss one of the things up in the air and you get hit with an extra charge, but hey, that’s the price of doing the business of being alive in America. Bounced check fees I understand, and remember fondly with uncomfortability going into Worsham Grocery where I would drop my buddy Chuck off daily after school, since his mom ran the joint, and my dad’s name would be on the list of DO NOT TAKE CHECKS FROM people. All this madness they’ve created to manifest fake money profits out of nothing that the banks and Learned Elders of Capital are driving down our throats like golden stakes we can choke on but aren’t allowed to taste, it’s disgusting. If my dad was still alive, he’d be bitching about it while shooting guns or playing horseshoes, and hopefully not still drinking a fifth of vodka a day or spending weekends snorting crank. But hey, that’s why people die.
[Strange aside which I probably mentioned at some point, but the internet is random, so it’s probably new to you since you’ve not read it specifically, but I had a vivid dream one time after my dad’s death, him and a bunch of dudes hanging out on couches doing lines off thrift store coffee tables, music blaring, and I realized it was under his old house in Victoria, like in a basement that wasn’t really there. But he was dead, so I was all like, “Whoa… you’re in hell,” and he just shrugged and started talking to the guy next to him about how the album Emerge The Litter was his favorite acid rock shit from back in the day (I can never remember if the band is called Emerge and the album is The Litter, or the other way around) and I walked out the basement hell, and he was peeking through a slat of an entrance, like the man under the stairs of the audience in that old Letterman gag, just ominous, and then I woke up. If there is such a thing as heaven and hell, I hope pops ain’t there. But there’s no heaven and hell, just emotional nonsense in our brains, and that’s why we have heaven and hell and dreams about our father’s going to hell so that we can pretend to gain some sort of understanding of our chaotic chemical emotional nonsense.]
Anyways, since his death there’s really only been like three albums I’ve thought to myself, “Man, pops would really love this.” Jamey Johnson’s two albums have been two of those three (other one was Straight to Hell by Hank Williams III). Now before I go any further, there are many amongst us who would have you believe that Jamey Johnson is a wonderful breath of reality into the façade of Nashville music, a real man who has struggled mightily with his own personal demons and somehow come out on the other side, scarred but alive, a true survivor, to sing songs for people like us who are born losers and never amount to shit no matter how hard we try so we usually just self-destruct in comedic meanders that ultimately are tragic as fuck. He is not all that. He does good music when compared to the rest of Nashville, but the hype is taller than the delivery, though you can see the signs of greatness would there be somewhere a man like him could really cut loose from the Learned Elders of Capital’s tentacle grip of the country music industry, long devoid of soul for the most part, far more than most music industry branches, which is why it remains one of the most profitable to this day. I wish there was something like Muscle Shoals Studios where Jamey Johnson could just disappear for a year and make what he wants to make.
That being said, the PR story is this double album is exactly that – what Jamey Johnson wanted to make but Nashville wouldn’t let him. Except they did. And I actually bought a physical CD copy (using a credit card, naturally, because you can’t float checks at Best Buy) the week it came out, brought it home, and the rest of the family was gone, so I loaded it into the family Itunes (didn’t buy it on Itunes because if I’m going to pay $10, I want the CD case too, in case I have another dream with my dad and he needs the case to do a line off of) and checked it out. Some was good, some was not good, and it suffered from standard non-live double album syndrome in that it probably would’ve made a better single album with half the songs, so long as somebody with some goddamned common real man’s sense decided what went and what stayed.
But when this song came on, it was epic, like hearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem slowed down for the first time because it literally just came out to the public. I am not going to fucking lie, when this thing winds up into the music part after the initial singing, where you can tell it’s just digging in for an extended jam that is half-blues, half-anger, and all-rural rightness of path regardless of outcome even though you know it’s probably not going to end well for you, or your children, or their children, or really anybody except that one cousin who none of you like anyways, the shit made me want to cry. I was flooded with thoughts of my dad, thoughts of my own life, thoughts of how much it fucking sucks to live the life we live cut from the cloth we are cut from, and yet at the same time how fucking beautifully perfect the whole thing is as well, and how I wouldn’t change a goddamn second of it. That to me is what country music is supposed to be, but hardly ever has been for most of the past 30 years. That is also why a lot of Americana/alternative country does not do the same, because it misses that flood and seems too calculated – not from the same profit motive of Nashville music, but from a “let me take you to my conclusion” academic type of place. There is no conclusion to the real life bullshit we live; you just end up dying at some point, with a whole lot of things left undone, and all that you were juggling comes crashing down at once. And anybody close to you is forced to try to piece that together and see what’s salvageable, if anything, and they bury you and hopefully somebody opens a car door and blasts some sort of anthem at your funeral that will be fitting or appropriate. I have heard Skynyrd played like this multiple times, and it was as non-ironic and beautiful and perfect as hell. And at my dad’s funeral, they opened a car door at the gravesite and played “Keep on the Sunny Side” by Ralph Stanley. It was perfect. There’s not too many songs that would work in that type of setting, nor too many people left on this American Earth that are not too self-aware to do that type of thing. I could see this “Can’t Cash My Checks” song being appropriate, and I hope to fucking whatever there is that is as close to literal god as our emotional nonsense can create for itself, that there are still real enough people left who can still feel this song in their soul. Shit man, those people are fewer and farther apart, and even the darkest hollers got cul-de-sacs in these days.
Oh well. It’s a good goddamned song.
STEAL “Can’t Cash My Checks”
NEXT UP:
Pagan anthems to the night!

f i r a d

hard to drive away on cool
mornings into a cold world
for ten-hour exiles from home

Monday, December 20

p i g z z

pigfaced pumpkin snout digging
for satisfying seeds from
produce-gone-bad’s busted pulp

Sunday, December 19

Weekly Recap

Look at this, a weekly recap. But what to recap? Ain't been doing shit, though it's probably more than most humans do, but it ain't shit to me. Not enough release of the words which are like a tea kettle steaming inside my fucking brain all day long, wandering through the workaday, thankful yet hateful if that makes any sense.
But hey, the Redskins have not disbanded, though they've become even more embarrassing than ever before (which is really amazing when you think about it). I'm sure this spring they will sign like one dude and draft one dude and those two dudes will magically make them the best team ever yet again. Anyways, Armchair Linebacker is the greatest NFL football blog there is inside the cyberlordz, and I am still covering the Redskins. This past week that meant a recap of the shitty Buccaneers game and talking about roster changes in the wake of McNabbgate 2. Also, if you missed my weekly NFL rankings things from here or heavy.com or wherever the fuck they were at one point, they are now there, including this past week's round-up of the playoff bound.
Also, even though I have not yet put it in the sidebar of links (which I really need to update anyways), there is a hip hop blog I am now part of as well, called Good News & Bad Dope. Though I had brief nonsensical write-ups about a CunningLynguists remix and a The Streets song, the real thing there that I think is a good internet thing is the Xpert whiteboYZ Video Countdown #002. Hopefully I will fuck around and do one of those every Friday. Or not. Really it's hard to say with me.
Also there are still Rojonekku t-shirts available. Check the sidebar. T-shirts come with a zine that will only go to t-shirt buyers, not be internetted (not by me at least) as well as a mix CD. They make a great new year's gift to yourself after the Xmas 10% tithe of your wages for useless bullshit. All proceeds go to a fund to buy my rojonekku students kindles to read secretly downloadable guides to destroying the world from within. Every dollar helps this world end quicker. Won't you help?
Finally, I am starting a group haiku/renga thing through the electronic mails, so if you are interested in something along those lines, please be emailing me to the email along the sidebar over there on the right side. If I forget to talk to you before then, have a great holiday.

r r w a a

rusted stairway to heaven
is a steel ladder in the
middle of wild blue nowhere

Saturday, December 18

Thursday, December 16

Wednesday, December 15

Tuesday, December 14

p g p n n

ground gone brown where my worn out
work boots touch down daily – my
pockmarks upon the earth’s face

Monday, December 13

Sunday, December 12

Saturday, December 11

b r n a a

thoreau’s solitude – old words
washed away by civilized
progress – an old paperback

Friday, December 10

h o m e d

been hearing cries in the background
of my modern household’s hum;
can’t quite focus on the sound

Thursday, December 9

c a m p z

eyeballs chasing hands around
a punched clock’s ominous face,
the minutes like molasses

Wednesday, December 8

Tuesday, December 7

r i v z y

innocent youth mind wanders
through a worldwide playground, thoughts
of sugar drinks and bedtime

Monday, December 6

Sunday, December 5

c o p a a

blue lights shine through blurred vision;
trying to stifle slurred speech,
but that flashlight’s fucking bright

Saturday, December 4

Friday, December 3

f l g a d

unknown bones bordered by wrought
iron fencing – simple slabbed
civil war cemetery

Thursday, December 2

S14: Worst College Football Teams

All the loser teams are done for the year, so there will be no reason to revisit this list again. Therefore these are your official 14 shittiest college football teams, all divisions and classes, of the year 2010 of our fake lord…

#1: LIVINGSTONE BLUE BEARS (0-11, 40.545 avg. margin of defeat, #1 last time) – Closed out on a high note, losing at Johnson C. Smith, 26 to 13, their closest game of the year. Outscored on the year 494 to 48.

#2: VALPARAISO CRUSADERS (0-11, 37.636 avg. margin of defeat, #4 last time) – Closed out the year with some solid road losses at Campbell (56 to 14) and Morehead State (37 to 15). Outscored on the year 514 to 100.

#3: EDWARD WATERS TIGERS (0-8, 36.375 avg. margin of defeat, #2 last time) – They did play their closest game of the year after the last Shit List, losing at North Carolina Central 20 to 7. They closed out with a road loss to Lambuth, outscored on the year by a total of 382 to 91.

#4: ANNA MARIA CATS (0-10, 35.900 avg. margin of defeat, #9 last time) – In a conference with such traditional lightweights as Husson, Becker, and Gallaudet, the Anna Maria Cats hulked up and went 0 for the year, closing out with a road loss to Mount Ida, 69 to 18. They were outplayed 536 to 177 on the year, but they had a story about their dumbasses in Sports Illustrated.

#5: JUNIATA EAGLES (0-10, 35.700 avg. margin of defeat, #11 last time) – They did break double digits for the third time this season in their next-to-last game against Dickinson, 41 to 14, but closed out with a solid home loss to Washington & Lee, 45 to 3, to finish 0 for the year. They were outscored 414 to 57 on the year, and they sucked.

#6: DORDT DEFENDERS (0-10, 35.100 avg. margin of defeat, #8 last time) – Oddly enough they closed the year out hosting one of the top teams on the Bully List, Sioux Falls, and only lost 49 to 0, which has to be considered good for them. On the year, they were outscored 385 to 34, and only got double digits one time – in a 36 to 10 loss at Doane.

#7: BETHEL THRESHERS (0-10, 34.900 avg. margin of defeat, unranked last time) – Bethel ended up being one of the NAIA’s worst teams, closing out their season with a 47 to 0 road loss to McPherson, and a 62 to 14 road loss to Sterling. Congratulations Threshers, you’ve somehow made an awesome sounding team soft as fuck. Year-end total? 494 to 145, the other guys.

#8: LOCK HAVEN BALD EAGLES (0-11, 33.091 avg. margin of defeat, #5 last time) – Beat out Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rival Cheyney in their yearly quest to be the worst team in Division II football. They did score double digits their last four games, even breaking 30 for the first tie this year in a 63 to 31 loss at Indiana of Pennsylvania in their next to last game, so there is that to build on for next year I guess. Outscored 501 to 137 on the year.

#9: EARLHAM QUAKERS (0-10, 31.000 avg. margin of defeat, unranked last time) – “The Earlham Quakers” is one of those things that is so perfectly NCAA Division III that nothing I could write to mock it would be as good as what you probably already thought. Outscored on the year 422 to 112.

#10: TRINITY BIBLE LIONS (0-7, 31.000 avg. margin of defeat, unranked last time) – The Trinity Bible Lions are completely unaffiliated with any college league or class or conference even, and hodgepodged together a schedule that they went 0-7 with, being outscored 303 to 86 on the season. Congratulations Bible Lions of Ellendale, North Dakota, who are upholding the infamy of their 2005 team that lost to Rockford 105 to 0 very well. They also were the first team in a doubleheader scheduled by Northwestern College in 2005, meaning Northwestern was like, “Fuck it, we’ll play this team to warm up for the second team,” with no thought of losing. That’s pretty bad.

#11: WESTERN CONNECTICUT STATE COLONIALS (0-10, 30.800 avg. margin of defeat, #12 last time) – The Colonials did close out the year with one of their better performances, only losing at SUNY-Morrisville by a 48 to 25 score. Finished the year being outclocked 420 to 112. 420 bros, never forget.

#12: PACE SETTERS (0-9, 30.444 avg. margin of defeat, unranked last time) – You know, normally I would like to try and say something regarding the team specifically, but this is Pace’s first time on the Shit List and I absolutely amazed that they would call themselves the Pace Setters. That’s like the stupidest fucking thing ever. And when you hear that, my immediate reaction was, “Oh, well it’s probably some little Division III school in the mideast.” But no, it’s a Division II team, at a level of NCAA participation that you’d expect them to know better. Anyways, they were beaten on the year by 418 to 144.

#13: MACMURRAY HIGHLANDERS (0-10, 30.200 avg. margin of defeat, unranked last time) – The Highlanders bounced in and out of the Shit List this year, finishing the year with losses to places that sound made up like St. Scholastica and Westminster of Missouri. End of year scoreboard is 462 made up sounding assortment of teams, 160 MacMurray.

#14: OLIVET NAZARENE TIGERS (0-11, 30.182 avg. margin of defeat, unranked last time) – Finished on a down enough note to sneak into the final Shit List. Outscored on the year 511 to 179. Their NAIA Mid-States Football Association had a second 0-11 team – Quincy – who bounced around on this list as well this year.

Gone from this list from last time: #3 Culver-Stockton Wildcats (defeated Graceland on the road, 38 to 33, on Halloween weekend; I had to look up Graceland University because I wasn’t sure that was a real thing, but apparently it is), #6 Texas College Steers (the team that at one point seemed a lock to finish this year as the worst team in college football pulled off a 27 to 13 win, on the road even, at the Southwestern Assemblies of God Faith Healers, the last Saturday of the season), #7 Pacific Boxer (never won, finishing 0-9, but their last game at Menlo they only lost 44 to 42, which apparently was enough for my calculator), #10 Olivet Fighting Comets (also never won, finishing 0-10, but only lost by 14 and 7 their last two games), #13 Savannah State Tigers (beat North Carolina Central 28 to 21, and then lost their last game of the year to finish 1-10), and #14 Quincy Hawks (did not win either, finishing 0-11, but only lost to a Waldorf school their final game, 21 to 17).