Neighborhood Texture Jam at The HiTone, Oct. 21, 2005

If you had informed me in the fall of 1989 that I would be moshing to Bikers, a cut off of Neighborhood Texture Jam‘s album Funeral Mountain in the fall of 2005, I probably would have blown smoke in your face. Because at the time I smoked. Marlboro Reds, occasionally with the filter torn off. Yeah, I know. Not good for you. But, as it turns out, I did see NTJ last night at undeniably best club venue in Memphis, The HiTone, and the show was definitely one of the best I’ve been to in the past decade.

To the unintiated, and, let’s face it, if you are reading this, you probably are unintiated in the ways of Memphis hard rock/punk scene in general, NTJ plays old-school, intellectual, unapologetic, pseudo-punk in a way that will make you have a hard time deciding between contemplating the meaning of the lyrics and throwing the guy in front of you back into pit from which he was ejected. The band is fronted by Joe Lapsley and features many of the most talented rock musicians to come from Memphis. Originally famous (and named) for the fact that they use stuff they would find around their neighborhood as instruments (oil barrels, corrugated tin sheets, sticks, and steel window burglar bars as just a few examples), the group combines a synthesized political commentary laced with irony and some of the catchyist hooks you’ve ever heard.

I mean, who can forget tracks like Don’t Get Loud With Me, Bitch, which is about the Khmer Rouge take-over of Cambodia in the late-1970’s and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, or Running from Miami, at look the business of drug dealing from the prospective of a successful kingpin. One of my particular faves is Borax Factory, which takes the metaphors we all have experienced when a relationship sours and shares them with the world:

I fell into the Borax factory of your love;
Dragged by a mule train
Out across the alkaline plains
To the Borax factory of your love.

Almost brings a tear to the eye.

Anyway, I actually attended the launch party for Funeral Mountain, probably on accident but I can’t be sure. Many of the members of NTJ attended Rhodes College, where I was enrolled as a freshman, and there were flyers up everywhere. The album never got the level of critical acclaim it was due, which is really a shame, and the other two albums by NTJ, Total Social Negation and Don’t Bury Me in Haiti, lacked some of the intensity and depth of the debut record, but NTJ has remained a Memphis favorite, for good reason. If you get a chance to catch a show, do not miss it. Wait, you actually have a chance coming up:

Neighborhood Texture Jam
Ernestine and Hazel’s – Map
October 29th, 2005

Why Blog?

Why blog? Why indeed.

It is a valid question. I tend to abhor trends, Internet and otherwise, until I actually see utility in an activity. And blogging, as trendy as it continues to be, has tended to show little utility to me, mostly due to the fact that he majority of the blogs available have little novel to say. In addition, a blog is most closely associated in my mind with a journal, a personal journal. But there is little personal about the web, and that is a good thing.

However, recently, I’ve come to realize that I’ve started to treat the Internet like television. In short, I’ve become the online version of a couch potato, reading what others write, viewing what other make available, and, more and more, I’m not giving back. I’m not giving my own views in light of what I learn, particularly when those views actually are original and enlightened. (Hey, it is rare but it happens.) I’ve been using the Internet since the late-1980s. I’ve been building webpages for over 10 years now. My natural inclination is toward two-way communication. Blogging would provide the ability to put my thoughts out into the public sphere for feedback and, hopefully, refinement.

I would also like a easy to way to post information about what Kath (my wife) and I are up to, so that I don’t need to rely so much on email. Blogging fits that requirement nicely.

Does this sound like self-justification? Probably. But who is going to read this thing anyway.

Wait. I guess you just did…

Latin Wisdom

Amor ordinem nescit. -St. Jerome

Aliena nobis, nostra plus aliis placent – Other people’s things are more pleasing to us, and ours to other people. -Publilius Syrus

Animus facit nobilem.

Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem.

Asinus asinum fricat.

Aurora Musis amica.