when i was young i sold tvs

it was the first time i was paid commission. and i loved it because i knew i was better than most of the other people in that store and it was nice to get paid more than them.

but after a while i had to leave because it was sad that the rich customers always got great deals because they knew how to haggle and the poor people always got ripped off because they didn’t even know you could ask for a lower price in a place like that.

so i went to work at a gas station. i wanted to be of service to people. i didn’t care that it paid less money. i didnt have to wear a suit, i was working outside, and even if it was basic – just washing windows and showing a guy his air filter was dirty AF was helpful. i wanted to be helpful.

i still do.

during lunch i would walk across the street and get some hot food and bring it to my car and eat it and listen to music on my headphones and take a little nap.

one of the tapes i would play was Elvis Costello’s new one at the time which was King of America. the weakest song on it, in my opinion, was a cover of the 1964 hit “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” that was written for Nina Simone before I was born.

i didnt understand the lyrics, i didnt understand the arrangement, and i didn’t understand why Elvis would include this tune into his incredible King of America album that was so unique and interesting… especially since Elvis didn’t really do much to the song any differently than what The Animals did in 1965.

but as i have gotten older i have been misunderstood

a lot.

and it sucks.

and i think Elvis probably felt the same way.

to me it’s a prayer.

it’s admitting that the singer IS being misunderstood and they would like for it to end.

part of artistry is to have a shade of mystery.

but with that comes a bit of confusion.

elvis costello’s name isn’t even elvis.

and on King of America he utilized three different noms de plume for himself. is that to be more understood or less?

so the more creative one is in their art, the more likely people are going to misunderstand.

all of that is fine.

it’s when ones intentions are true that one gets frustrated.

if you say the most basic, simplest thing to someone and they react as if you had said something totally different, thats where the friction becomes uncomfortable.

and snoozing in my grandmas caddy in 1986 i hadn’t yet learned that yet

because back then i was trying so hard to keep things so simple: pump gas, check the fluids, get the air pressure levels, get the money, go home and study

the only confusion i got then was from my gemini girlfriend,

but for some reason that was fine.

all you can do is your best

when i played baseball there was an instruction that was also

an overall philosophy

“hit the ball hard and everything will fall in place”

so when you play you play at 100%

and sometimes the ball will make a funny bounce on a fielder and good things will happen.

sometimes the ball will go right in the other dudes glove and theres nothing you can do.

but as long as your energy is high, you hustle, and you prepare for the day

odds are you will play well

and when you play well you win.

i played hard yesterday, and life is a three-dimensional scoreboard, so sometimes when it looks like you lost

you actually didn’t lose at all.

so chill.

not everything is going to get a standing ovation, elvis.

remind me to be anonymous in my next life


all you gotta do is one (v funny) stencil and youve got the


instagramming your possible return to a big city?

thats genius if you ask me.

i had a few very nice conversations over beers last night.

i had some very nice phone conversations minus beers today.

one was held over skype which is still a miracle to me.

ginsberg howl

my text message machine was interesting as always.

one gentleman is a photographer on a brand of movie set

he takes the most beautiful photos, for free, because you too would take those pictures for free.

then a girl in rollerskates rolled into my courtyard and over the steps and onto my porch

and knock knock knocked on the door and i was startled because i wasnt expecting visitors

and i opened the door and she said

are you listening to that new elvis costello and the roots?

and the jewels of her necklace just led to the one spot a gentleman is not supposed to

stare at, but for one, random question, lady

and two, what was the question?

she said its called Wise Up Ghost

the cover looks like Howl

it’s on the legendary Blue Note Records

and its a groovy chilled out stroll through R&B in a darker way than Get Happy

but if you’re tired of the americana of National Ransom and that other one, then

Wise Up Ghost

and the earth split in two and she fell into the crack and i shut the door and went back to sitting in the dark

not on the album:

dear tony, you say you like elvis costello, what is your favourite song?

rain in LA

my favorite song is probably

i want you

from blood and chocolate.

which is great because the performance and the lyrics are just so creepy

and the production is so raw.

but for some reason i just love love love beyond belief from imperial bedroom

an album i dont like as much as others do,

in fact i think it was his first mediocre album after his first five masterpieces:
My Aim Is True, This Year’s Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy!!, Trust

beyond belief is allegedly made up of opening couplets from unfinished songs

i really really really hope thats even slightly true

“Beyond Belief”

History repeats the old conceits
The glib replies the same defeats
Keep your finger on important issues
With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues

I’m just the oily slick
On the windup world of the nervous tick
In a very fashionable hovel

I hang around dying to be tortured
You’ll never be alone in the bone orchard
This battle with the bottle is nothing so novel

So in this almost empty gin palace
Through a two-way looking glass
You see your Alice

You know she has no sense
For all your jealousy
In a sense she still smiles very sweetly

Charged with insults and flattery
Her body moves with malice
Do you have to be so cruel to be callous

And now you find you fit this identikit completely
You say you have no secrets
And then leave discreetly

I might make it California’s fault
Be locked in Geneva’s deepest vault
Just like the canals of Mars and the great barrier reef
I come to you beyond belief

My hands were clammy and cunning
She’s been suitably stunning
But I know there’s not a hope in Hades
All the laddies cat call and wolf whistle
So-called gentlemen and ladies
Dog fight like rose and thistle

I’ve got a feeling
I’m going to get a lot of grief
Once this seemed so appealing
Now I am beyond belief

elvis was just 42

la times

the other day i was asked what non-musicians i felt died too soon

which was a tough cuz the list of musicians was endless

even so, im not sure i would have put elvis on the list

because to be honest he always seemed at least 10 years older.

everyone should go to graceland, though.

if i was a housing developer id build a suburb subdivision of graceland mcmansions

the house itself isnt that big.

and if youre going to be spending a half million to a million bucks on a crib

why not make it awesome

and identical to The King’s?

anyways, im sad we dont have him around.

he loved his mama, he wore Brut, and he loved television

as big tanky would say, i back that.

murray asks what do you do when everythings working

venice beach

and then it isnt.
and nothing you do fixes it.
you try one thing.
and then try a totally opposite thing.
and neither thing works?

well murray, if thats yr real name,
i dont think you tried the totally opposite thing.
if the problem involved, lets say, a saw
and you’ve been trying to use a hammer
and your version of the totally opposite thing
is just a bigger hammer, or a dutch hammer
or a little baby hammer
thats not truly trying something different.

think about what youre totally avoiding doing.

then think about what your arch enemy would do
think about what your grandma would do
think about what a man from mars would do
think about what youd do if you were left handed
or kenyan
or buggs bunny
or elvis.

do it like elvis and it might start working.