Tuesday, November 30, 2010


i was pretty spaced out
so i watched some tv
cartoons mainly
try to follow the plot
figure the lies
separate wheat from chaff
original and now
until tomorrow
for the apocalypse
one sham-wow
at a time

Sunday, November 28, 2010

UltraLove -Slow Your Roll, Sweet Peaches

Ultralove is a Venice based group that is the musical vision of frontman Michael Wagner, a Philly native who arrived in L.A., a couple of years ago - his music being the impetus. The band consists of Mike "UltraLove" Wagner (Vocals, Guitar), Seth Murphy (Drums), Douglas Showalter (Guitar), Mike Gunn (Bass), Love Logiq (Vocals), Soulstar (Vocals), Adam Berg (Keys) and Joel Van Dijk (Guitar).

They play at Harvelle's - the oldest bar on the West side (circa 1931) every Monday. People seem to come from all parts of town to spend a night with the band as they produce their wholly inventive sound. Part R&B, part funky-folk with a heavy hip-hop influence, Ultralove is a band worth checking out. [Ultralove website]

[rev-o-lu-tion] is their EP which is available at all the usual outlets -
Amazon, iTunes, etc. It's got 6 songs - the best of which is a hip-hop flavored jam called Sweet Peaches. "her best friend was a Marlboro red" - is a great line; the lyrical hook - "slow your roll, sweet peaches" is A+. The band is snare-drum-tight and super groovy.

Here's a video from a recent Monday at Harvelle's (11/29/10)
He usually closes with this one. It's called "Rich And Famous"
Its catchy as hell!!
Soul singer/producer T-Smidi joins in near the end. Get it Smidi!!

Last Leg is another track I particularly like.
It's got swinging horns and has a feel unlike anything else on the EP.

It reminds me a bit of Animal Nightlife's Love Is Just The Great Pretender. Check it out below!
(FYI : Animal Nightlife's LIJTGP spent six weeks on the UK charts, peaking at #28 in July 1985)
Animal Nightlife - Love Is Just The Great Pretender ©1985 Island Records


african head lice
eliptical adaptation
the kinky
the oiled
the pomades
the shape of the shaft
the staff of the past

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Love Love

Here's the deal with the band Pulp — somehow in the 90s they became a big Britpop band and were embraced by the masses and especially by my friend Tosh; but back in the eighties Pulp had just released a 7" single called My Lighthouse and IMHO they never wrote a better song. That song however did very little for their career. How they got to be so huge a decade later is still a mystery to me. But ask Tosh. He'll tell you.

Shortly after, Pulp put out a 6 song album called "It". On side 2 was the non-sequiter of a song called Love Love. It's message was simple and clear. It incorporated some dixieland style banjo and clarinet. Here is Love Love and below it is My Lighthouse.


We spent most of our time high or stoned or trying to get even higher or stonier. Especially in the summer months, we'd stay up all night or nod out as necessary blasting our Funkadelic records with only the Pacific Ocean to join in on the choruses; having the ocean as a cantakerous old man of a neighbor, constantly warning to stay off of his lawn.

"Super-stupid bought a five cent bag/
thought it was dope - but it was skag*"

We smoked for days and we smaked for hours; spent weeks with dirty sheets and little to eat. If we weren't shooting - we were screwing; we were hot and bothered and nasty all the time. We climbed the walls. We body surfed through the waves at dawn. We hid from the sun until night fall. We bathed in the midst of it unafraid; diving into the world's spotlight screaming "COME AND GET ME!!"

*Super Stupid - Funkadelic

Friday, November 26, 2010

All You Need Is Love

All You Need Is Love played over the P.A. at an ice rink when I was quite young.
I couldn't yet stand up on my skates but was struggling to learn.

There was a girl called Colleen.

She went to my school, and on Saturdays she would ice skate with a trainer very early in the morning. She invited me to come join her on one of these skating lessons. I wrongly assumed that she often invited classmates to join her on these Saturdays. I accepted her invitation even though I didn't know how to skate. I sat in the stands and watched the prettiest, flashiest girl in the 3rd grade twirl around in a tiny skirt, lifting in the draft of her turns, exposing her little skater panties. I was hooked. She had a face on her that I can still see clearly in my mind. Even at 9 years old I was attracted to the prettiest, flashiest girl in the room.

I'm not sure what she was training for, but she did this every Saturday.

After her lesson ended, the rink opened and people came in to skate. She helped me rent some skates and sort of gently showed me how to stand on the ice - but I'm a stubborn student and didn't pick it up at all. I'm sure she got frustrated and had envisioned a much more romantic afternoon - perhaps skating round and round holding hands - but it didn't happen that way.

Eventually I left the rink and changed back into my socks and shoes and we went to the snack bar and had some watery powdered hot chocolate in a styrofoam cup. This also was not romantic.

I still had no clue that she might have invited me because she liked me, and missed that this had become a kind of a date. I had no idea it would be so hard to stand on the ice on thin metal blades (WTF?!?!?) and I was hyper focused on trying not to fall on my ass, because when I did it was painful and humiliating. Who can think about romance under those circumstances?
Her mother picked us up and we got in her station wagon.
Date over.

I wildly misinterpreted her one-time gesture as an open invite and tagged along - not just once, but twice or three times. My mom would drive me to her house and I would ride with her and her mom to the rink. I would sit in the bleachers and eat mini pizzas while she twirled around in her tiny skirt. When the lesson ended and the rink opened to the public I would put on my rented skates, get on the ice and drag myself around the rink holding the railing as she flew by again and again.

She grew weary of this ritual and on at least one occassion she made sure to leave her house with her mom a

few minutes early in a successful attempt to avoid me.

I guess my mom knew what was up and so the next week she drove me to the rink herself and told me she was gonna teach me to skate. My mom had been a semi-professional ice skater in her youth and knew she could teach me to stand up on my skates - which she did. (Thank you mom). The first time she let go of my arms and I successfully skated on my own, All You Need Is Love came over the murky P.A. It was a warm and fuzzy moment of realization as I skated tentatively round the rink- but by myself. I was able to skate up to Colleen as she expertly handled herself - but she was neither impressed or interested in me any longer.

She had moved on some time ago I realized.
My Mom on skates 

Colleen and I continued on similar paths graduating to junior high and then high school. I heard a rumor about her "going all the way" with a guy during a film in a biology class, but that was never verified and I took it with a LARGE grain of salt, as most things boys said about girls in Junior High were not true. 

At one point we found ourselves sitting next to each other in a math class that neither one us was smart enough to understand. We bonded over that - we even reminisced about the past, and she confessed to me about how she had left early to avoid me on those early skating Saturday mornings. She was refreshingly candid, and still looked great. She was still the prettiest and flashiest girl in the room - now dressing in Dolphin™ shorts and terry cloth tube tops - which as the fashion at the time, drove all us boys into a deep frenzy.

A few years ago, I tried to get back on the ice with some friends.

They were novices, trying to learn themselves, and had started going frequently, and they invited me. When I joined them, I confidently rented my skates and laced 'em up and proceeded to the ice which took me down almost immediately. I subsequently tried to stand again, but I was lost.
I was done.

I retired to the part of the building farthest from the ice, returned my skates and sat there waiting for my friends to finish.

Ice skating and me are done.

But today whenever I hear All You Need Is Love I think of skating on my own for the first time - my mother letting go of me and showing me the way to soar.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Lenny Kravitz's LoveLoveLove.

Love Love Love!!!
Whole Lotta Love!!*

This song embodies the spirit of LOVE.
In it, he lists all the things he doesn't need:

Don't need no television
Don't need no movie stars
Don't need no custom private planes
Don't need no politicians
Don't need no stocks and bonds
Don't need no cars or boats or trains
Don't need no diamond jewellery
Don't need no rare cigars
Don't need no magnums of champagne
Don't need no penthouse mansion
Don't need no Paris fashion
Don't need no shiny golden chain
Don't need no plastic surgery
Don't need no country clubs
Don't need no butlers, cooks or maids
Don't need no marijuana
Don't need no ecstasy
Don't need no blow or sleeping aids
Don't need no personal trainer
Don't need no fortune teller
Don't need no job that gets me paid
Don't need no more religion
Don't need no air condition
Don't need no one to get me laid
Don't need no private island
Don't need no chandelier
Don't need no million dollar view
Don't need no helicopter
Don't need no magazine
Don't need nobody else but you

in the chorus he concludes:

There ain't nothing you can give me
I'm already there
I got love
I got love love
I got love love love

He doesn't need anything because he has LOVE!

I think Lenny should have got a hip-hop artist to do the rapping portion of the song (which kicks in right at 2 min mark); Andre 3000, Ghostface Killah, Mos Def or even Jay Z would have been cool choices.

Lenny's other great "love" song is Let Love Rule - the first song on his first album (also the title of the album). It is also a favorite of mine. I never get tired of hearing it.

As long as we're talking bout Lenny Kravitz (and quoting *Led Zeppelin); a few years back when Lenny had his big hit Are You Gonna Go My Way, it was so over-played I quickly grew tired of it. At some point in time, Lenny did a performance at some awards show and hired John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin) to play bass. It changed the song completely and I started loving it!

I gained a new and incredible respect for John Paul Jones and realized that in Led Zep he was the crucial link between drummer John Bonham and guitarist Jimmy Page. Those two were groundbreaking players who chewed up music and spit it out like no one had ever heard before. As the bassist/ keyboard player, John Paul Jones had to put it together and make it whole and fit for a king — which he did.

He was working twice as hard as the others in the group and contributed twice as much yet he's overlooked and overshadowed by the style and lore of Page, Bonham and Robert Plant. Plant and Page have reunited on several occasions (fyi - Bonham died back in 1980), but John Paul Jones is nowhere to be seen. At Led Zeppelin's induction at the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995, the three of them showed up and John Paul Jones said "Yes, thank you. I'd just like to add also my thanks to Peter Grant, who gave us the freedom to do what we did, and also, thank you, my friends, for finally remembering my phone number."**

Fuck those guys!!
I think Jones should join the White Stripes. They don't have a bass player and Jack White is an obvious Zeppelin fan. I think it would sound completely awesome. What you say??

Check out the aforementioned performance of Are You Gonna Go My Way in the video below (Christian whatshisname introduces the band), and listen to John Paul Jones' adaptation of the original bass line in the song. It totally rocks!!

Finally - how cool is Lenny's ultra-afro'ed drummer Cindy Blackman?!?!

**Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Site:

Friday, November 19, 2010


now you'll listen-
like i listened in ernest
as you talked
within our safeship
about the future
and laughed-
reimbursing the past

but in your wisdom-
toppled the kettle and
scorned the electric—
the time has passed and
with it
my cabled emotions

dragged through depressions
packed into pastry
angered into oblivion
i see nothing-
but a red ragged blotch
where you used to be

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grandpa Ralph
8/31/1911 — 11/12/2010

Grandpa's Obituary -L.A.Times:
Aug. 31, 1911-Nov. 12, 2010
Another cherished member of the Greatest Generation has passed at age 99. Ralph Morgulis was born and raised in New York City where he attended Brooklyn College of Pharmacy. In 1936 he married Elizabeth Feinstein who was the light of his life for 63 years. They started their married life in NYC and in 1946 moved to Los Angeles where they owned and operated several drugstores. Always artistic, Ralph became an accomplished painter in his later years. Ralph was blessed with a fine family and countless wonderful friends. His positive attitude and gentle ways will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

Grandpa Ralph celebrated his 99th birthday a month and a half ago.

The L.A. Times missed a few important details in his obituary, so here's a few recollections of my own about him.

He was one of those old school Grandpas.

He had a mustache.

He wore suspenders.

Back in the 70's he smoked a pipe.

He had a favorite lounge chair.

He watched the world change and he went with the flow.

He was a musician, a painter, a golfer, a swimmer, a Lakers fan, a carpenter, a pool shark, an extremely logical thinker and a dancer.

He played the accordion, the mandolin, the piano and the organ. He was in a "Mandolin Orchestra" for a time and later had his own group (with my dad) called The Geritones.

He married Elizabeth (aka Grandma) in New York and they settled down in Tarzana, CA. They had a movie star home and a beautiful backyard full of palm trees and fruit trees and a waterfall and a kidney shaped swimming pool with an extra bouncy diving board. I spent my youthful summers there, mostly with Grandma, because Grandpa worked long hours as a pharmacist/drug store owner. Grandma drove a pale yellow Cadillac nicknamed "the boat" due to it's size. They had a remote controlled automatic garage door before anybody. I broke it the first week they got it by pushing the up/down button too many times in rapid succession.

In the eighties, I always brought friends over their house - some to hang out and swim, but sometimes I would have band rehearsals or recording sessions in the house when the grandfolks were on vacation. Many of my friends knew the house, if not my actual grandparents.

In the 1990s he and my Grandma often went folk dancing in Santa Monica and I would meet them for an early dinner. Grandma died in 1999, and while things would never be the same without her, he lived a beautiful and peaceful life full of art and music, family and friendships & dancing and laughter.

At his 99th birthday party about 75 people attended. Everyone danced and sang and ate and drank. It was a real celebration of the man. People argued over who would sit next to him at dinner. He insisted I sit next to him so we could talk and catch up, which we did. He wanted to know what was going on in my life, with my writing and with some of my friends. Virtually everyone came up to me and told me how important my grandfather was in their life. At the end of the night, after the party, I spent some time with him in his room and took the photos seen here. The last photos of him I will ever take.

pix taken with the Hipstamatic™ app on the iPhone 8/31/2010 Tarzana CA

Wednesday, November 10, 2010