Jim Trainer

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#23: Fan Letter

In Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm

hey Big Jim,
it was great to meet to you as well,
thank you so much for singin us those great Cash and Dylan songs
and I loved your original material, vey enjoyable
we had some great time
and you really made our night a special one

thank you again, take care and good luck for everything

see you again some day


WAR AND MOUTHPIECE: “We don’t get fooled again.”-The Who

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm

“Palin and Obama lacked realistic experience for high national office but possessed star quality that – abracadabra! – made their inexperience a virtue to enthusiasts who believed that Palin and Obama were originals who’d forge stunning new solutions to our seemingly intractable dilemmas. Each had a unique way of making unrealistic generalities sound like plausible proposals – if one didn’t look too closely, and continue to look.”

Great article by Michael Ventura in the November 19 issue of the Austin Chronicle.  Ventura essentially argues that President Obama and former Governor Palin are both merely substance-less archetypes to which the public can fantasize about being the solution to all of our problems.  But Aho, he doesn’t stop there.  Good political writing at the street level is hard to find.

We may be the most informed generation in history and the yet, the most apathetic.  We need writers like Ventura, David Sanger, Matt Tabbi and Jim Hightower to cut the shit and pull back the veil. But that’s not all.  We need to be watchdogs of the Media and media-related issues so that these guys can continue to find print. 

Facts should speak for themselves.  We must consider who or what is presenting us with the facts.   All I can remember from watching a sun-burnt Ted Koppel as he stood on the frontlines in Bagdad on a March night back in ‘03 was that his hair was perfect.  No bombs, no shrapnel, no carnage; in other words no real reporting on the realities of the who-what-when-where-and-why of War.

Why, exactly, were 70 websites seized by the Department of Homeland Security?  What kind of cheap trick was the FBI pulling when they sold of a van filled with faux explosives to a 19-year-old Somalian kid in Portland over the Thanksgiving Holiday?  We need to know that 195,055 votes were discovered as uncounted in New York City almost a month after the mid-term elections.

These things that move in the night, they can be a byline in between a twinkle and a smile or they can be an alarm.

Let’s keep the channels open.  I don’t want mainstream-Media to take me out to dinner if all I’m gonna do is be fucked.  Keep media free.  Connect.  Read.  Speak your truth.

Or we will get fooled again.

Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo

In Uncategorized on December 8, 2010 at 8:20 pm

About the only good thing to come out of being raised Catholic was that it gave me all the reason I needed to hate myself.  Guilt, ablution, shame-these are great motivators if you want to be a career alcoholic.  You can hate yourself for not being godly or perfect and then punish yourself by drinking&smoking way too much.  Feeling like shit the next day is a perfect way for shame to infiltrate your entire being and the whole thing can start all over again.  It’s perfect.

I think I held onto religion allot longer than my atheist and iconoclastic friends out of respect for my mother.  When I was on my own, and after I read The Stranger for the first time, I realized that God didn’t need me to believe in him.  I could make that choice.  It’s been a dark fucking 15 years without God.  It’s been fun, too, depending on your definition of  fun.  I enjoyed doing the thing that they said could not be done.  I enjoyed burning it all down.  But I never escaped the guilt, the shame.

When my father died I met Bass Player X.  His name was Doug Kirchner and he was a sick upright bass player.  His name, Kirchner, betrays that he was a total East-Coast Pisan.  A real gangster, the kind of wiseguy you only find in the northeast.  I was looking for a teacher.  Doug told me that he had chanted for my father.  It really struck me that someone would pray for the dead.  I never considered that the dead would need our prayers and that my upright bass teacher would do that for my dad, completely unbidden, was just as remarkable.  Doug not only taught me upright bass, he began teaching me about Buddhism. 

Here is a religion that you are perfect for.  All you need is to step into it.  There is nothing to be done about the past and the future begins now.  The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra is that the future actually began in the past until it became the present.  And so it goes.  I know this blog will probably cause my iconoclastic friends to chuckle.  I’m not concerned with that right now.

I guess this is one way that I can thank the light and love that I have been a part of with all of you, and for all those who are no longer with us.  Being a drunk, while providing me with a surplus of material to write from over the years, just isn’t fun anymore.  The toxicity of my mind and body now only amounts to torture.  I don’t need these coping mechanisms or a crutch, and it’s simply because it’s not total War all the time anymore. 

We are survivors.  That’s why we’ve found each other, that’s where my love and respect for you lies.  We have survived.  I don’t want to exclude anyone; while well-adjusted, happy go getters used to be the bane of my existence, without War I’m learning to experience their Wisdom, too.  The fact that most of the beautiful people don’t want to look on the dirty side of life isn’t really a point of contention with me anymore.  I’m happy for my dark.  I’m happy that I survived.  I was living like I would be dead at 30 and it was because I would have preferred death over being that old.  Now I’m 35.  There comes a gratitude.  And a feeling that I want to give back, now.  I want to respect what the universe has done for me.  All those years that I felt like I blew it are behind me.  In fact, I can make the choice whether to blow it or not, now, and only now.  After all that War.  After all that burning down. 

I believe we can be set free.  I’m starting with these toxic chains.  It’s fucking ridiculous to be learning this lesson again.  After all the proof, all the suffering this lifestyle has only perpetuated.  But it is what it is.  I needed to learn that lesson as many times as I did and only until I was sure of the answer.

May we live in light.  May we embrace the dark, remembering those who live and have died there.

10 Years Stayin’ Young

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I am large, I contain multitudes.”-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

I got into town just before midnight on a warm and balmy night in 1999.  The skyscrapers of Houston rose up on me as I climbed the hill from the train yard.  “I am a long way from home.”, I thought, and I was free.  I got up on stage at the club and I poured myself a mugfull of Evan Williams white-label.  “Houston.”  I said, and the crowd was with me.  They were with me until I had spouted all my words and finished the mug of 100 proof. 

It all came back to me walking down La Branch on Sunday.  Ruby Wring and her Texas Rollergirls were competing against the Houston Roller Derby.  I was playing a show at Café Mango’s that night and we were meeting up with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in 10 years.  When we got out of the car and began walking, it wasn’t just a memory that came back to me, it came over me.  With a memory, it’s kind of linear, you remember something that happened like you’re reading it off a page.  This was a feeling-and not just any feeling.  I felt the same exact way I felt 10 years ago, succinctly, and hadn’t felt since then.  The exotic warmth of Houston in November and the giant reach of anonymous skyscrapers downtown took me back to a fearless time in my life when I was walking tall down these city streets for the first time. 

We met Josh outside George R. Brown Convention Center.  We walked around checking out all the souped-up and shined cars on display for Autorama.  We cheered Ruby on as she and the TXRG beat the Houston Roller Derby 120-108.  We hung out at Lucky’s for the afterparty.  Throughout the day and into the beer-drunk night it was revealed:  we are still game. We’re still up for the next adventure.  We’re older now but that doesn’t matter any more than it did then.  By the end of this whole adventure me and my friend were confessing our love for each other.  I know it’s silly to have fondness for an old oil-town but I do.  Because when I got off the train back then I knew I had made it.  It must have been 12 degrees when I left Philly.  Not only was I doing a two-week, 8-city spoken word tour, I was making friends.  And the thing about friends is, when you see each other again it’s like no time has passed. 

Rachel from Philly joined us that night at the show.  I had an audience with members from:  Alabama, Houston and San Antone, Vermont and Philadelphia.     

When we left Houston, I watched the skyscrapers drop away.  “I’ll be back.  We’ll see you soon.”  Texas 10, the musical highway.  How comforting it is to know there are other heart-lights out there, beacons really.  They’re with me when I’m walking down 6th, I feel them out there, and I contain multitudes.  This feeling of  connection, it doesn’t make the world smaller, it somehow makes me bigger.  There’s more room out there and there’s more room in here.  It’s anti-small town walls closing in.  It’s everything.