Monday, June 20, 2011

Hey! It's Me Again!!

Just a quick reminder to those of you who've got the RSS subscriptions and the e-mail subscriptions and your basic what-not such as that:

I've moved! I'm at www.tjbman.com. Fun times over there...
Also! Here's the new RSS feed. Just so's you can stay updated and such.

Okay. So yes. See you over there...

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Is Where You Go: www.tjbeitelman.com!

We've (Royal We!) moved. But, come to think of it, who can spell B-E-I-T-E-L-M-A-N anyway? Cool thing is, you don't have to! I'm now found at...


I mean. You can also find me at www.tjbeitelman.com. If you want to show off your Mad Spelling Skillz or something. Spelling's cool. Not strickly necessary. But kewl. Anyhoo. See you-all in the new digs. They. Are. So. Cool. Or sorry: Theigh. Our. Sew. Kewl. Ha! Movin' on up...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bittersweet Changes Afoot



So I'm gonna go ahead and assume you know that part in Castaways -- AKA, Tom Hanks vehicle wherein it's just him on a deserted island for most of it and, right after he gets marooned, he draws a face on this volleyball and christens "him" Wilson and proceeds to make the ball some kind of sustaining confidante during his solitary confinement on the aforementioned little island -- wherein he's on a raft or something, trying to make his way back to the mainland, and he somehow (I forget how) gets separated from Wilson, whom he's brought along with him, and it's actually kind of heartbreaking when he plaintively wails, "Wilson!" as the damn ball floats away forever and ever. Even though the Tom Hanks guy gets saved or whatever, we've all lost something important. And it's never coming back.

Well. I mean. I just keep thinking about Wilson these days. That's because in T-minus 7 days and counting, we're fittin' to move on up in the world. To a dee-LUX apartment in the sky. Which is to say Beitelblog is undergoing a remake/upsize, and that's all good. Seen the galleys. Looks like a million bucks. Really.

But we've (Royal We!) been over here at this site for 51 whole months. Mostly having no idea what we're doing or why. Just doing it. Unintentional like. We just made it when nobody was watching. Drew a face on it. Named it. Talked to it. Listened too. And, yeah, got attached to it.

And nobody's watching now either. But still. Now we've got some intentions and we -- okay I -- want to capitalize on them. It's fine. That's how the world works.

But still. Beitelblog. It's starting to float towards the horizon. And the last 51 months is flashing before my very eyes. I'll spare you the retrospective wherein I link to old posts or whatever. Just did that a few months back and, you know, that's what the archives are for.

Anyway. Not trying to be maudlin. And I AM stoked about the new site (courtesy of Dan-the-Man). And Beitelblog will continue to bob along the undulating surface of the Internets, out there for anyone to stumble upon, like some eclectic, ersatz time capsule. Imperfect in its way and perfect in its other way. Unintended. Aimless. Somehow less than guarded.

Or something.

Anyway. The next post on this blog will be the one that links to the NEW version of itself. A wormhole leap to a parallel universe. Which is, of course, some trick.

You'll surely want to stick around to see if I -- we -- can actually pull it off.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tom Waits Does Very Interesting Things with the Air



"We all love music but we really want music to love us." Yes. What he said.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [03.19.11]



I am someone who blogs, sometimes about his actual real life, and yet I don't really want you to know about my life. Not really. I'm sorry to say that out loud. It's not you. It's me. Really. You are better off without me. Or something.

Anyhoo, if I was a blogger who wanted to tell you about his real life or something, and if I spent the night, oh, say, in the hospital or something -- and let's say, for the sake of argument, it was a long story involving cancer, heart disease, incidental findings that require further testing (which is another way of saying "Life"), and a heaping helping of anxiety and/or hypochondria -- I would just come out and say it. And there would be pictures. (This is all hypothetical, mind you. IF these things happened. I'm just trying to prove a point here.)

But since I'm not that type of person, IF that sort of thing happened, I probably wouldn't have even called anyone to tell them I was in the hospital. (NURSE: Are you from Birmingham? ME: Yes. [Awkward pause wherein you can see the wheels turning: this dude's got no kin, no friends, no nothing? What a weirdo. (Which I do have, of course, kin and friends and nothing, but -- IF I was in that situation -- I'd be embarrassed about causing a commotion and anyway I have a hard time asking people for help, etc., so I'd probably just want to lie low and pretend I had just disappeared into an alternate time and space, where people subsist on green Jell-o and chicken broth and have other people jab them with needles and stick stickers on their chests that leave a residue that won't ever, ever come off. Which. I mean. There's no pretending involved. A hospital's exactly like that part at the end of 2001 where Dave's all by himself in that weirdly fluorescent mansion-y sort of place [known variously as "heaven," "valhalla," "nirvana," "that fever-dream you had one time after you ate the shrimp verde and had a second margarita plus 'Screw it, let's get the sopapillas...and a little more guacamole!' at that sketchy Mexican place in Knoxville, TN")].) NURSE: Well. Just holler if you need anything!)

Then, in that particular hypothetical situation, after I was released, I would probably just slap up a Soundtrack of My Mind that hinted at the whole damn convoluted mess. An "I know something you don't know!" gesture that mostly just confirms my deep-seated intimacy issues. Yes. Probably that is what I'd do. IF, mind you, IF.

Okay then. Here's Sam Amidon singing "O Death." Happy Saturday!

PS/FYI/411...Going to see Dan-the-Man about my new web presence today. Happy about it. It's set my heart a-flutter...wait, should I maybe get that checked out?!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [03.13.11]



Just listen. Souped up Trad-music. Is the shite. That is how some island people in the northwestern part of Europe say poop. [That is: shite.] BTW. (Also: unrelated: I totally effing jinxed my Alma Mater with that YouTube video wherein they beat an eventual #1 seed in the NCAA tournament that they never get invited to even though they really should. It's like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football with that evil wench named Lucy. Which makes some sense because there's a C in Lucy and also one in NCAA. Both of which are evil wenches. Lucy and NCAA, I mean. Happy Spring Forward...!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [03.11.11]



Like this dude. I guess so I do. So, I think, should you. (Which rhymes.)

(Actually. I suppose there are not just one but two likable dudes making art on this one. One of them is named Juniper. I think. For the record. Anyway. Do you like fragments?)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You. Don't. Come. In. Here.



"The moment belongs to Virginia Tech. Let the celebration begin, my friends. They are going to be dancing. No doubt they will dance this year. And they will dance tonight in Blacksburg!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [02.24.11]



Sometimes I go down the Rabbit Hole. It's a different Rabbit Hole every time (except for not really, it's really always the same Rabbit Hole and it's a Rabbit Hole that accommodates Comma Splices, which is to say it's a pretty Heavy Duty Rabbit Hole, all things considered ["I'm Melissa Block...and I'm Robert Siegel..." (The Communist Radio is very excellent so support it!)]). Anyway. So the Rabbit Hole I'm fixing to go down now (and I haven't completely gone down it but I'm just saying I'm FIXING to go down it, which is a nice place to be, really) is the one about Bob Dylan electrified plus The Band which wasn't even The Band yet but was just the band. I can't say anymore because the rest is a State Secret. But still. Thought you would like to know. Okay. Carry on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

1 Thing I Love Right Now

Braised Lamb Shanks from Fast Boy on Vimeo.

So here's the thing. Ezra (above) is a nice man. He is also a multifarious talent. The above is a Digital Age poem that he made. Sound. Image. Rhythm. If you like the poems or if you like the foods (which is to say: if you are anybody ALIVE EVER ANYWHERE), you will like to watch the video above. It would be be better to eat Ezra's lamb shanks. But not 6.7 billions of us can eat four (4) lamb shanks. Unless Jesus is involved. And Ezra is cool but he is not Jesus. Still. Watch his video (and visit his blog) and be inspired to go make whatever it is you make.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [02.04.11]



(The) Man. The suit. The half-hearted lip syncing. (Quarter-hearted?) The part about how in his free time he just, like, walks in the cities, in the rain. Or something. (Wait. What the hell did he say?) Ladies and Gentlemen, your Van the Man! (Who, PS, hates this song, pretty much. But. That's okay. It's still a good song. Plus I'm learning it on the gee-tar, so that's cool and all as well.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Okay. Something You Should See.



So I mean. This is the awesomest thing of All Time. There is a young man named Sam L. and he is a former "student" of mine except for really what he is a budding filmmaker (if he'll just get off his ass, but that's another story altogether...) and I solicited him to help me sell my chapbook. Except for he made something that was way cooler than that and you can watch it by clicking on the YouTube link above. I have dreams of making a film about the significance of poetry in the (post)Modern Age, but Sam is one of these Millennials who(m?) you don't know how to read and so maybe that will never happen.

But. He helped me document a very cool moment or two wherein I busked poems in the the gritty Southside of a place that calls itself the Magic City. Sam outdid himself. With Miles Davis. And the part about where I read poems to The People is the part that helped me understand how the World is much, much smaller than I thought it was. Which suggests the Cosmos (or else, even, what some people call God).

Also: Sam isn't sure what the hell the last part means: the part in the record store, about Elvis and Bob Dylan. But of course it just about what the whole Other thing is about and that is Poetry and Poets. Poets on the the street. Poets in the record store. Poets in the Cosmos. Who among us is brave enough to call ourselves a Poet to everyone? I am not brave, per se, I don't think. But I want to be. And so I set forth on a couple of Sundays in the Provinces of America to read the things I had written. And I asked Sam -- who has talent -- to film it. That's as brave as I can be. I don't know if it is really brave, but maybe it's the bravest I can ever be. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Good night.

(Please tell Sam we should keep going.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [01.18.11.]



Who among of us isn't possessed of a heart that could use some glasses? If you're one of the aforementioned, count yourself lucky, I say.

Monday, January 17, 2011

30 Things I Love Right Now: [01.16.11]

1. Gram Parsons... 2. Houseguests... 3. Walking my dog... 4. January in shirtsleeves... 5. Seconds... 6. A budget... 7. Paul Westerberg... 8. Dyslexic hearts... 9. Celery (Really? I mean. Yeah.)... 10. "Crazy Love"... 11. Sleeping in... 12. Lunch for tomorrow already made... 13. Maybe dinner too... 14. All my new shoes... 15. And my new sweaters too... 16. "Cold Little Fire"... 17. Change... 18. Hope... 19. Patience... 20. Making a mix... 21. World Market... 22. Feng shui... 23. Candles... 24. Home cooking... 25. High-brow bistros... 26. A bowl of beans. With rice... 27. Bitter chocolate with candied ginger... 28. Songs... 29. Voices... 30. Facing the next new challenge.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [01.11.11]



Greatest. Thing. Ever. It's the Cosmic Kid. In full costume dress. Watch. Listen. Watch and listen again. And again. (And, PS, yes, I still like this other guy. Cuz he's got good taste in music. So sue me.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

30 Things I Love Right Now: [01.09.11]

1. Wintry mixes... 2. That wintry is spelled w-i-n-t-r-y. Just because... 3. Mixes, also... 4. Mexican chicken soup (homemade)... 5. Salsa (homemade)... 6. Avocado... 7. An uncharted day off... 8. American music... 9. How teaching is like making jazz music. Except for I've never made jazz music. But. I have taught. And I know what jazz is. And I'm good at making associative leaps... 10. Associative leaps... 11. Which is to say: Tina Turner... 12. Proud Mary... 13. Rolling on a river... 14. Water. In a Mason jar... 15. Epiphany: the "intellect" is a wintry mix... 16. Ducking out of a party... 17. Uncle Tupelo (still [feel gone])... 18. Talking Heads, including especially (but certainly not limited to): 19. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)... 20. Naivete in general... 21. Growing up... 22. Speaking of which: Bruce Springsteen... 23. Color... 24. Televisionlessness... 25. Fresh cilantro... 26. Making up the sleep defecit (maybe)... 27. Salt... 28. Ginger tonic, boiled up yourself... 29. Clearing the deck... 30. Winter evening. Cold. Blustery. The heat's still on. Lights, too. Belly full of homemade soup. No place to go. And a warm bed waiting.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [01.06.10]



If she's good enough for Master Waits, she be good enough for me. Plus Miss Holland writes cool essays for the Poetry people. That's a win-win, in the common parlance.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Soundtrack of My Mind: [01.04.11]



Son Volt. Jay Farrar. Formerly of Uncle Tupelo, with alt-pop sensation Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame. Farrar is the Red Sox to Tweedy's Yankees. Or actually maybe he's more like the Chicago Cubs, whose long-suffering fans love to love the Cubbies' long-suffering nature. And there's every reason to think Mister Farrar popped out of the womb long-suffering. Which is to say if you're one of those type folks who likes to say, "People suck and they have no taste in music. Clearly. Because if they didn't suck and if they had taste in music, this guy would be the most popular musician on Planet Earth!" then you're probably a Son Volt/Jay Farrar fan. Mind you, I'm not one of those type folks, but I do pretty regularly get in the mood to hear ol' Jay's melancholy baritone. Melancholy aside, if you surround it with some electric guitars and get him growling a little, it'll actually get you pretty fired up. Which is cool. Especially if you're a nearly middle-aged white guy who listened to a lot of Uncle Tupelo in college. Now, if you're a nearly middle-aged white guy who listened to a lot of Uncle Tupelo in college, there's at least a fair-to-middlin' chance you don't have a whole lot of outlets for said "fire" -- you can, like, get fired up to pay your taxes. Or commute. Or something. But it's good to know the so-called fire's still, you know, there. Somewhere.

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Year In Review



First, news. Things are fixin' to change around here. A while back, I made some noise about a redesign but nothing ever came of it. Stuff happens. This time it's for real, though. In the early part of 2011, there's gonna be a fancy new face to your Beitelblog. It'll be the same but different. Better. More. Etc. Do not fear change. It is good. More on this as the day approacheth.

Okay, so on with the show. Last year at this time, our crack team of data analysts scanned through the traffic numbers and found the top-ten most popular posts of 2009. Maybe we did that the year before too but I don't think so and I can't remember and it's not important anyway. Anyway, that seemed like a pretty good idea so I've had the staff go and do it again for this year. (On a holiday, no less. What a bastard I am, making the crew work on a holiday.)

Therefore.

We here at Beitelblog HQ invite you to enter the way-back (or in some cases not-so-way-back) machine and zoom through where we've been in 2010. (Which sort of rhymes.)
#10. 30 Things I Love Right Now: [02.03.10]: In which I flush my cell phone down the toilet. Etc.

#9.
30 Things I Love Right Now: [05.23.10]: In which I celebrate what turned out to be a very short-lived renaissance for professional sports in the nation's capital. Etc.

#8.
Big Selves, Part II: "Nice Voice, Nice Songs, Blah, Blah, Blah": In which I consider gurus. Again.

#7.
Soundtrack of [The Last Eleven Months] of My [Life]: [05.25.10]: In which I offer up a revue.

#6.
J.D. Salinger: Wait. Wasn't He Already Dead?: In which I eulogize a strange man.

#5.
30 Things I Love Right Now: [01.08.10]: In which I start the year thinking that it will bring something big and new and sustaining. Etc.

#4.
30 Things I Love Right Now: [11.28.10]: In which I don't make sense. Etc.

#3.
On the Pathology of Swelling: In which I review a music show but really review myself because that's what solipsism is all about.

#2.
Big Selves, Part I: In which I consider gurus.
And the most popular Beitelblog post in 2010 is/was...
#1. 30 Things I Love Right Now: [07.24.10]: In which I mostly just talk a lot about Ireland.
Are there any themes, you ask? Yeah. Seems like 2010 was the year in which I endeavored to figure out a balance between my idea of what art is, what an artist is, how that might relate to spiritual matters, and how somebody who aspires to be an artist and/or guru can also immerse himself in the moment -- quick, tell me 30 things you love right now -- to fully experience the ebbs and flows of a human life. Messy and complicated as it may be.

Said another way: 2010 was the year I decided to get a life. In the here and now.

Better late than never, right?

Happy New Year. Happy New Life. See you in 2011...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Soundtrack of My Mind: [12.28.10]



Okay, so I got something tickin' in my head (and no, though it sure sounds like it, the long-hairs up there aren't singing "chicken in my head" -- though for a long time, I too thought fore shore that they were). It, in fact, could be anthrax. Or just your plain old, garden variety head cold. Seems every time I tootle up to the Federal City, I become mildly to moderately infirm. Alas. Nothing a little thrash metal from yesteryear can't cure, though. (PS...Dig. Those. Clocks.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Soundtrack of My Mind: [12.22.10]



Here's some crazy Pixies music to help you through the last couple of days of holiday shopping. Because holiday shopping is crazy. Also because a Pixie is kinda-sorta like an elf.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

30 Things I Love Right Now: [12.19.10]

1. 30 Things: Aint dead yet!... 2. A few stolen moments strumming a guitar, even though I'm still bad at strumming a guitar. Or actually I'm okay at strumming and bad at chord changes... 3. Kinda-sorta knowing how to tune a guitar, which is important... 4. Learning all these new chords where all you have to do is take one finger off another chord and it's a whole new chord... 5. People who ask hard questions and listen to the answers... 6. Scrubbing the kitchen floor. Like: Seriously. One tile at a time... 7. They say that you're supposed to practice everyday but sometimes (usually, in fact) it helps to skip a day... 8. News... 9. 2010... 10. Getting emails where people ask you to do stuff like come read in far flung places or sign books for actual people you know... 11. Realizing you're (or, at any rate, I'm) not a genius... 12. Miles Davis... 13. Heading up to the Federal City... 14. Ye Olde Anonymous Sister... 15. Learning how to play "So This Is Christmas" by Ye Olde John Lennon... 16. Superfluous/random Ye Oldes... 17. That sound it makes when you slide your fingers across/down the strings... 18. Ginkgo... 19. Getting off the coffee (for now anyway)... 20. Hydration... 21. Dan Gavin... 22. The food at this place... 23. 2011... 24. So there's this: I'm afraid sometimes here of late, but the consolation is that it's (an admittedly much smaller version of) the kind of fear somebody like this must have felt... 25. This sign... 26. Generosity... 27. Trying to get your courage up... 28. Getting your courage up... 29. Daily wear contact lenses (I think)... 30. Plane rides.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Soundtrack of My Mind: [12.17.10]



Dude. Love the part at about 4:57 or so where Ye Olde Slashe totally snorts out a booger and keeps on playing. Because, you know, who can play arena rock with a pesky booger gumming up the works? Serious.

So anyway: basically let's just agree that Guns N' Roses was pretty much spandex and boogers. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds about right anyway. Point is, as a rail-thin youth back in the late 1980s, I loved me some Guns N' Roses. One time, my pretty girlfriend got us some tickets to go see these boys in the Cap Centre (which has since been wiped from the face of the earth). And that was fun. There was conspicuous making out and loud music and it was, I don't know, what I would now call a seminal experience of an American suburban youth. Giving over to the plasticine moment.

But now, of course, I'm different. I listen to heady bands like Arcade Fire and harken back to my suburban youth and have heady epiphanies about, um, well, my suburban youth. And I try to learn Knockin' on Heaven's Door on the (acoustic) guitar but, of course, the Dylan version, which is, of course, now way cooler because it is somehow more authentic. (Seeing as he wrote the damn thing.) And I make fun of spandex and boogers. And use words like plasticine.

But I'm not different, not really. That other boy's still in there. The one who is still enthralled with the thrill of the American moment, right? (So American that, as this vid will attest, the Nipponese love it to pieces.) Loud music. A pretty girl with full lips who knows how to kiss. Who knows how to kiss you. Good, bad. Spandex, boogers. It doesn't matter. In that place, in that arena, all is right with the world. What will come is what will come and it does not concern you. Which is why music is more than music.

You do know what I mean. Right? Say you do. Say you do...