Not that industrial rock (if that’s that term) album that turned up a while back, but a different arrangement (not sure about that word either) of a song I really thought I knew. It’s like that slowed-down “Born in the USA”—you hear the song all over again for the first time. Pretty excellent. And? Back when Waylon died, this was when we all still had answering machines with actual little micro-cassettes in them. Mine that day was stuffed full, everybody calling to ask was I all right; I’d spent a chunk of the nineties chasing Waylon around. Which is to say: after high school, I liked to fantasize that, given a different set of circumstances, I could be the one up there, with my name tooled into my guitar strap. Never mind musical ability, dues, all that. We were both from West Texas. Waylon was proof of a bigger world out there, proof you could go there, but take who you were with you. I kind of suspect that’s a big part of falling in love with music. It gives you space to dream. It gives license, and voice—and melody—to your secret dreams, that you probably wouldn’t even admit to out loud. That’s what Waylon was for me. Anyway, didn’t mean to be saying all that. Just meant to show this:

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I forget who says it, but a while back someone was talking about how the good singers and musicians and actors, they can always do pitch-perfect impressions of their contemporaries. Maybe comedians too? Bet so. Actors, of course. Anyway, just stumbling upon this, from the year I was born. Merle, man, he so had everybody down. Like, dangerously good. And then it rolls into the usual star-studded medley, which makes me smile and smile and smile . . .

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Blood Business

Good time at Tattered Cover last night, with a whole TOC’s worth of us there—enough that we needed a spinner-wheel to figure out who got to read:

[ photo: Catherine Spader ]

Which? My number spun up. I had to borrow a woman from the audience’s reading glasses, since my arms are only so long, but when I focused in, it was on one of Ed Bryant’s last two published stories. So cool to get to read his words to a big crowd. Thanks, Hex Publishers / Josh Viola. And, thanks, Jeanne Stein, for leading off with reading Ed instead of ourselves. Wasn’t my idea, but I was thrilled to be part.

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Shawn Kemp

In my weakest moments, I imagine that there’s some version of myself in some distant iteration of Earth, dunking like Shawn Kemp:

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