There’s always something to howl about

Mucho con gusto: Celebrating human independence in open defiance of Labor Day

I have more than too much work to do, including attending to all the controversy I’ve stirred up, but I pride myself on knowing when I need to stop, if only for a few hours. We’re kidless for the weekend, but we’re on the cusp of being infested by way too much family, so I’m going to grab for all the gusto I can, while I can.

Here’s Mark Knopfler, just blistering on what looks like a Paul Reed Smith FatStratClone (that is to say, a really kick-ass custom-made guitar):

For Teri Lussier’s daughter, Rian, here is an excruciating catharsis:

The examined life is having the courage to purge your own character of mediocrity, not punishing other people for having indulged their fears of greatness.

This is me, a memo from forever:

The time of your life is your sole capital. If you trade that time in such a way that you get in exchange less than you really want, less than you might actually have achieved, you have deliberately cheated yourself. You have acted to your own destruction by failing to use your time to construct of your life what you want most and need most and deserve most. You have let your obsession or anger — over what amounts to a trivial evil in a world where people are shredded alive — deprive you of all of the rest of your values. This is anegoic, acting contrary to the true needs of the self.

One of my favorite memories is of a Labor Day years ago. My son and I were out riding our bikes and we rode to a CompUSA to see all the latest software. The store was packed. Middle managers poring over the PERT packages, programmers pawing through hefty manuals, yuppie couples testing eduware with their little yuppiekinder. Labor Day is a holiday established by people who hate human productivity, who hate the human mind. It is a day set aside on the calendar to celebrate and sanctify indolence — and violence. And there in the CompUSA were the men and women of values. The people who know that to be more and have more, you must learn more and do more.

Those are my people. I love them better than any other people I meet. I work with them, laugh with them on the phone, transact business with them. I love to write about them. There are no villains, none more significant than bugs. But there are heroes. For the most part, they can’t defend their beliefs the way I can. But they live those beliefs, every day.

I think it is hypocrisy to say, “I will cooperate with the state when I shower, when I drive, when I don’t want a landfill behind my house, but I will pretend to rebel with respect to this one of the hundreds of taxes, all the rest of which I will pay without batting any eye.” But that notwithstanding, to deliberately frustrate your own self-adoration, to deliberately circumscribe your own self-actualization, to deliberately forbid yourself to live to the fullest of your capacity — that is a tax that could only be self-inflicted. No tyrant could be that diabolical. Behaving this way is anegoic, acting contrary to the true needs of the self.

The time from the birth of human awareness, age four or so, to its death, closely correspondent to your corporeal demise, is all the life you have as a human being. To deny yourself all you can have, because it is not all you otherwise might have had, is anegoic, acting contrary to the true needs of the self. The people in the West who are most free of the bonds of other people are not the tax scofflaws or the libertarians or the imaginary prudent predators. They’re the people crowding every cultural equivalent of CompUSA, working assiduously to figure out how to achieve the most and the best of all of their values, from first to last.

I think this is where true human freedom starts.

There’s a new Large Band album this week and my father is coming to town. This is my daddy’s favorite Lyle:

Mucho con gusto. The world can wait. I have a date with my wife…

Related posts:
  • Happy 4th. of July fellow independence seekers
  • “Thanksgiving was a holiday established by productive people to celebrate the success of their work.”
  • Celebrating the father of our freedoms: The freedom to own real estate


    9 Comments so far

    1. Tim September 1st, 2007 10:16 am

      Greg, I ‘ve got lots of work to do too. But damn it, first Elton and now Mark and Lyle? Between yesterday and this morning, I’ve blown at least an hour or so already listening to the music non stop.

      Oh, and tell Russell Shaw that I remodeled half my master bath while listening to all his sales seminars on my laptop this past Spring and early Summer. Seriously.

      And you ask, but you’re an escrow guy?

    2. Jeff Kempe September 1st, 2007 4:21 pm

      What fun! An eclectic music break from the ordinary.

      Knopfler plays guitar like great writers write: Each note (word) in its precise order, and only as absolutely needed. No fluff. Art.

      He’s playing a Pensa, but you’ll be happy to know BHB googles #1 for ‘FatStratClone’. Actually, it’s the only hit…

      That said, I’ll call your Knopfler, raise you a Larry Carlton/Robben Ford:

    3. Greg Swann September 1st, 2007 7:24 pm

      Here’s a better sound with a better look at the guitar. As a bonus, Eric Clapton is given a job he can handle.

    4. Jeff Kempe September 1st, 2007 8:39 pm

      Whew. Damn, he’s good. (Definitely a Prensa.)

      I went to a Clapton concert not long ago. Much better than I’d expected, an excellent guitarist.

      But that’s the point: Clapton plays great guitar. Knopfler plays great music.

      Kind of the difference between Van Cliburn and the late Glenn Gould:

    5. Teri Lussier September 1st, 2007 9:51 pm

      The daughter cannot be pinned down long enough to appreciate your effort, but Mom does. I haven’t heard that anthem in a long time- it still rocks.

      Ah Lyle Lovett. I have a tiny little crush on him. Unfortunately you will have to listen to my favorite the old fashioned way- copy and paste.

    6. Greg Swann September 1st, 2007 10:26 pm

      > But that’s the point: Clapton plays great guitar. Knopfler plays great music.

      It’s not music, it’s drama. Look at this boy, all alone on a stage:

      Clapton wrote that when Cream was at its apogee, he was going to sleep every night listening to an acetate of The Band’s Music From Big Pink. It didn’t last, but Robbie Robertson — another truly amazing guitarist — was able to write for those three voices — Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel — like the players in one drama after another.

      This is Johnny Cash covering Nick Cave, and it just kills me. I could listen to it a thousand times back to back.

      Instrumental virtuosity? Okayfine. I love it when it really works, as with Knopfler, but very often it just gets in the way — as with Clapton at his showboating worst. What I want from Art, with a capital-A, is something that grabs me by the throat and will not turn me loose.

      Here’s the curse of iTunes, BTW. I would love to have every live recording of Brothers in Arms — at $.05 each, not $.99.

    7. Greg Swann September 1st, 2007 10:47 pm

      The Large Band is touring behind the new album, but no Phoenix dates yet. Francine Reed is a Phoenician, and her sister Margo sings with them when they’re here.

    8. Jeff Kempe September 2nd, 2007 2:48 pm

      Dylan was the reason millions of us bought our first guitar. The hope was a verse or two of, say, “Lay, Lady, Lay” would inspire the desired twinkle at the weekly sit-in (it usually did). But lost in his poetry and raspy voice – with its thirty iterations since – is the fact that he’s a terrific musician. Not technician, musician. With a capital A.

      Cash’s cover of ‘Hurt’ (Nine Inch Nails): more genius. You can feel his pain in every note:

      We may have to share collections some day…

    9. Guitar Heroes at The Phoenix Real Estate Guy September 3rd, 2007 2:32 am

      [...] The folks at Bloodhound have shared some pretty good music clips the past couple of days. I thought I'd add a couple of my favorite guitarists to the mix… [...]