GIMME SHELTER (Apr. 13, 2020) (copyright 2020 Rip Rense, The Rip Post, all
It's lurking. It's salivating. It's breathless,
waiting in the pandemic quiet. And at first opportunity, it will step out,
roaring, spitting fire, devouring free will yet again as it commands
you, you, you, and you to consume, consume, consume. All in the name of
"returning to normal."
Well, I hate
normal. I hate what normal has become in this society: addiction to
low-common denominator "popular" culture, from empty-headed wailing pop
“icons” to corporate sports to the smarmy Kardashian beasts. Greed,
gluttony, self-adoration, arrogance, rudeness, willful ignorance, idolatry, acrimony,
lack of empathy, compulsive consumerism . .are "normal."
Yes, the corporate
Grendel is waiting, snarling and slavering, and it is coming for your head
again. Chomp. Trump has the green flag in hand, as thousands continue
suffocating with crystallized lungs. TeeVee will
rise up as never before, commanding you to buy that new Mercedes SUV and
iPhone enema app in the
"returning to normal." Will you do it? Or will the ongoing lockdown and
deprivation of beloved stimuli prompt the birth of something approximating
empathy? A saner perspective? Will it (cue pious celeb versions of
“Imagine”) rearrange our priorities? Make us kinder, gentler?
Oh, yes, and Trump
will acquire humility. As far as I'm
concerned, this "shelter-in-place" thing can go on for the rest of the year.
Or longer. Gimme Shelter! I love seeing fabulously spoiled
Amerryguns deprived of their fave entertainments, addictions, with their
corporate masters in blind panic. It's the pleasant dream in this nightmare.
Cynical? No. Moral.
consider American normality: racism, greed, amorality, greed,
hatred, xenophobia, narcissism, greed, truculence, tattoos, Jennifer Lopez’s
gyrating ass, greed, NRA ensuring more mass-shootings, $100 admission to
Disneyland, $250-$300 for a family of four to watch multi-millionaires play
baseball at Dodger Stadium, $80-bags of groceries, Grammarly, BMW’s built to roar like flathead
hot-rods, greed, I was like, millions of polluting leaf-blowers,
foodies, greed, Entertainment Tonight, The Bachelor, Flip or Flop,
giddy newsmannequins, vocal fry, "influencers," homeless tent cities full of
TB and MRSA, greed, gluttony,
obesity, apathy, entropy, and pee in the streets. And greed.
Re-start the economy? I would rather see fabulously spoiled millennial
tekkie princelings standing ragged in soup and bread lines. I would roll on
the floor in ecstasy to watch Giant Beardboy designers of “apps” and
“start-ups” pitch pup tents outside trendy Venice buildings where they
once made millions. I would tap-dance naked in the street to see developers
and investors who have raped L.A. with thousands of hideous cool/awesome
apartment/condo penitentiaries. . .lose their asses! Economic death, where
is thy sting?
What of the poor? Well,
they were already poor. And now they would have more company. Der Trumpfuhrer is
currently crying that he has to make the “most difficult decision of his
life,” regarding “re-starting the economy.” Bullshit. He makes decisions the
way people involuntarily belch. He is losing allegedly billions of his personal
fortune, and is in deep re-election shit, and that’s the bug up his giant
white ass (his defining feature.) Pardon my French. Difficult decision? It’s the easiest
decision imaginable: health over money. Verrry simple. Health over
money. Chant it with me, now, health over money, health over money. How
can there be any argument? Answer: the economy is predicated on hypertrophic luxury
and titanic, flatulent avarice, and in recent decades has become a vulgar,
stinking send-up of capitalism---what with sterile, ticky-tack cement hives
renting tiny units from $2500 to $5000 and higher---and the crummiest old
800-square-foot 1940’s houses in Reseda and Compton going for nearly a
million bucks. I mean, I give you: ten-story cruise ships. Shitbuckets from
The economy is
insane, tongue lolling and eyes rolling, and long has been only a stooge for
"venture capitalists" and “private equity groups” (legalized criminals) to
exploit for supernatural gain. Why should they care about:
density, more air and noise pollution, destruction of green space (and
attendant birdies, squirrels, insects who enjoy it), housing prices driven
to levels affordable only to tekkie royalty? It's un-Trumpamerican!
health---from Monsanto to Trump's evisceration of environmental
protections---is “normal” America. Of course, I’ve
lately watched allegedly adult humans on TeeVee whining about how the
“shelter-in-place” order is “outrageous,” bleating, “I can’t even go out to
a restaurant? That’s crazy!” As well as 30-40-50-year-old juveniles moaning
about having to miss the Hollywood Bowl season, and the Coachella Festival.
Gee, that's tough! They must really envy Muslim Uyghurs thrown into China
de-programming concentration camps, and girls raped and murdered by Taliban
for learning how to read.
Some brain-trust I don't
know wrote this to me on Facebook the other day: Continuing this sort radical isolation
until the Fall of 2021, when we *may* have an effective vaccine, would
destroy our economy. Millions would be out of work. In fact, hospitals would
be unable to function, laying off staff, not purchasing supplies, and
leaving many more people in danger of sickness and dying, and not just from
C-19. We need to find some middle ground—as it seems that Sweden has been
doing in their response to the crisis.I
don't mind someone having a negative opinion about a sitting president. (I
have a few myself.) But please don't let it color our thinking to the point
where we become illogical. Oh, no! Not "illogical!" This society is nothing if not predicated on
shining logic, lead by the very Wazir of Logical Wonderment! What's more
logical than ignoring warnings of impending pandemic as a Democratic hoax? If ending the lockdown is
logic, give me the madhouse.
Destroy our economy? Uh. . .doesn't there have to be an economy to
destroy in the first place? The so-called economy, as I said, is a poisonous sham, and the shock of sudden
market paralysis is casting a thousand-candlepower spotlight on the
fraud. Millions would be out of work? Millions are out
of work---never mind fake employment figures the government always
cooks up. Driving for Uber is a career? The “gig economy” is an
economy? Menial tasks are a livelihood?
Former professors, highly skilled laid-off journalists, librarians, people
earning honest livings as bookstore managers, etc. are putting things in
boxes for Jeff Bezos! It's the United States of Errand Boys (and Girls.) Tipping
is not a city in China, but it is much of American income today. Here's
a tip: sell your silverware
on eBay. And Facebook
Boy’s Trump-shilling scare tactic about hospitals is nonsense. Given the punishment hospitals are enduring right now, you’d think
they would have already collapsed. Emergency room doctors and all nurses are
the most valiant people we have, period end of story, and their courage is
largely holding the wreckage of the country together. If hospitals
“collapse,” it would be because the federal and state governments allowed
them to collapse.
As for the limp centrism
of "finding middle ground," I run screaming! Here we have a catastrophe. Catastrophes require
action. What kind of fool would call for “finding middle ground” to combat
a. . .plague?
Ah, but this is
America the booty-full, the land of the fee and home of the crave, where Der
Trumpfuhrer preaches Triumph of the Till and all the world's a wage. Besides,
billionaires who pay no taxes while the rest of us count every penny are. .
.donating to help the crisis, aren't they? Er. . .yes. . . Amazon.com’s Jeff “I want to smell you” Bezos (as he wrote
in an e-mail to then-married ex-newsbimbo Lauren Sanchez) has donated
$100 million for food banks. Wow, you say? Of course, $100 million for Jeffy is,
uh, a little more than one week’s income. Exclamation point. Gasp.
Faint. And he still doesn’t provide sick leave for his slaves, I mean
workers, unless they test positive for Covid-19, in which case they get a
whopping two weeks. (Of course, they could die before time runs out, and
save him more money.)
Then there is the “charity” of
the Waltons of Walmart, who hired about 100,000 more workers (gypsy delivery persons) in
the past three weeks but did not bother with social distancing for fourteen
days after the CDC advocated it on March 16. Three callous-fingered Walmart
employees died, and many more became sick. Gloves? Masks? Hand sanitizers?
Not at Amazon, and not at Walmart (which also provides zero sick leave.)
Yes, there was an attempted national strike at Amazon, which was filled by
scabs faster than you can say "ventilator." This would make Scrooge
blush. Ahem. Sing along with John Lennon, now: "I-I-I. . .soLAAAAAAAA.
"normal?" The lockdown has brought it back. I mean,
all the fine citizens who revel in bad behaviorare now forced to do so in the
privacy of their sumptuous domiciles. I don’t have to drive a gauntlet to
the market---of darting scooters, oblivious skateboarders with earbuds, pedestrians on cell phones
walking slowly down the middle of the streets (honk and you get the
finger), cars blasting through stop signs, SUV’s lurching out of every alley
and driveway without looking, tailgating me, waving arms at me for doing the
speed limit, bicyclists cutting in front of me from nowhere (honk and you
get the finger, or, as happened to me, a bicycle thrown at your car.)
I no longer have to sit outside my favorite coffee joint, having
a moment of repose destroyed by millennials hollering conversation as if
they are on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon, literally two feet away.
no longer have to fail to control my temper, snapping, “Hold it down,
please,” and sometimes getting threatened with violence in return. I no
longer have to listen to every entitled latte-sipping bro and
influencer yelling “awesome!” every third word. And. . .no selfies!
This is how things
used to be!
Want more? The 405
is a sleeping kitten. My ears are no longer a circus of whoosh
from nearby boulevards, a sustained explosion from the freeway three full miles
away, not to mention: jackhammers, idling trucks, backhoes, leaf-blowers, buses,
mowers, trimmers, beep-beep of trucks in reverse, sirens, throbbing car
stereos pummeling the air with rap/hiphop filth, cries of “fuck
you, asshole” inspired by inability to comprehend four-way stop signs. I no longer have to
play chicken with every millennial punk and punkette approaching on
sidewalks, refusing to move to one side in order to allow passage.
My wife no longer has to elbow them in retaliation, prompting, “Fuck you,
bitch!” and other niceties so appreciated by senior citizens.
The air? Clearer
than an Einstein equation.
And I hear. .
.birdies! There aren’t many left, thanks to global warming (really---their
local numbers must be down by 75 percent)---but I hear them. Little peeping
hummingbirds, cheeping finches, chirping sparrows, the inevitable crow,
every blessed morning! The Elysian Fields are a Megadeath concert by
contrast. The only people I see are---gasp, sputter, cough---peaceable!
Really! There they are, walking their happy little doggies, politely nodding
to one another’s masks from six feet away. No conversation. You'd
think this place is civilized or something. End the lockdown?
Hell, no. Cue the operatic aria, “O paradiso!” from “L’Africaine,” by Giacomo Meyerbeer. In
it, Vasco De Gama views the New World, and he speaks---er, sings---for me:
My heart throbs,
At last I embrace
you, land that I’ve dreamed of!
emerging from the sea,
You entrance me.
You belong to me.
Oh new world,
I can offer you to
This fertile earth
Which can enrich
You ravish me!
You belong to me.
WHERE IS THIRD BEATLES REUNION SONG? here
Read "Who's a Whore?" a fun
little verse for all sellouts to, I mean investors in. . .China! here
JERRY LAWSON DIES AT 75 Jerry Lawson, the smooth baritone
lead singer and arranger of the fabled a cappella group,
The Persuasions, died July 10 at a Phoenix, Arizona
hospice following a long illness. He was 75. His wife,
Julie Lawson, was at his side. (Full obituary
the greatest grateful dead album
the grateful dead never made.
PERSUASIONS OF THE DEAD
20 TRACKS. 2 CDs. 12 GUEST ARTISTS. The Persuasions, Brooklyn-grown
street singers who became the most important
and powerful a cappella group in American
history, interpret the songs of Robert
Hunter and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful
Dead. Songs that still are among the most
engaging in American music.
Sheer poetry, meet sheer melody.
---grateful dead lyricist
produced by Rip Rense
mixed by Marc Doten
cover illustration by Luis Genaro Garcia
SPECIAL GUESTS ARTISTS:
Country Joe McDonald, Mark Karan (Ratdog),
Jackie LaBranch and Gloria Jones (Jerry
Garcia Band), Grateful Dead keyboardist
Vince Welnick, Dongming Qiao, James King,
Alyn Kelley, Eric Thompson, Peter Rowan,
Pete Grant, Mary Schmary.
"Deadheads, take a hit from
this double disc dose of the real thing.
Persuasions fans, this may be the last time
you'll ever hear a Persuasions line-up with
original lead, and once-in-a-lifetime
talent, Jerry Lawson. . .These tracks are
stories that happen to have been set to
song, not songs that happen to have a
---Jonathan Minkoff, Recorded A Cappella
"Album producer Rip Rense calls the marriage
these two acclaimed artists
"a surprisingly natural fit." He couldn't be
more right. It works because these tracks
are more than just covers; they're tributes.
Each arrangement is designed to draw
something new out of the original. Many of
them include actual instruments, such as
piano, guitar, and baritone saxophone."
---Nicole Maria Milano, Recorded A Cappella
AND RENSART PRODUCTIONS
LISTEN TO SAMPLES AND ORDER
LIVE AT McCABE'S GUITAR SHOP!
Greatest A Cappella Group in American
in its only LIVE NIGHTCLUB ALBUM.
Everyone knows, or should know, that as
great as Persuasions studio albums were, you
did not experience The Persuasions unless
you saw them live. Rip Rense set about
capturing this vocal lightning in a bottle
at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in 1999. Yes, it’s
just like being there.
70 MINUTES OF MUSIC AND JOY.
5 SONGS NEVER ON A PERSUASIONS ALBUM.
PRODUCED BY RIP RENSE
AND MARC DOTEN
FOR RENSART RECORDS.
BY RIP RENSE
"Staggeringly well written. .
.sweet. . .funny. . .sad. . .elegaic. . .not a
thought nor sentence out of place." ---Keith Snider, San
by Barbara Weeks
Daily Breeze column on "The Oaks"
MAN CHAINS SELF
TO OAK TREE, READS 'THE OAKS' AGAIN AND AGAIN!
"I stayed up
to finish the last 100 pages.” ---Dave Allen, Thousand
""This book deserves to
be read by hundreds of thousands of people It is a
gem that talks to a diverse group of people: those
who grew up in dysfunctional families(!); Southern
Californians who will love the suburban anecdotes;
teens and everybody who has ever been a teen with
all the awkwardness those years impart. It's also
quite funny. Readers simultaneously laugh while
groaning over these horribly insensitive 'adults'
raising Charlie, who is much more adult than they
are." ---Susan Christian
columnist for the Daily Breeze, People Mag. Correspondent.
LESS THAN SATISFYING ENCOUNTERS WITH
THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION. . .
Measured by its attitude.
"The greatest book I've ever read---in the
bathroom."---Mike Ball, Glendale, CA.
"You have more 'less than satisfying encounters'
than any three other people I know. I've
given this some thought and my conclusion is
that it is your unhappy fate to be something of
a "schmuck magnet." Unpleasant-incompetent-self-aggrandising
people enter your close orbit with greater
than the rest of us."
---Bob Ballenger, Encino, CA.
230 pages of LTSEWH's.
LINGO CZAR THE DECLINE
OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION---
Measured by its language.
The long-running column
(L.A. Times, The Rip Post) is now 210 acid-dripping pages exposing rigidly
conformist slang, pin-headed outbursts, 'cool'
patois, abominable cliches, infantile drivel,
smug rejoinders, mandatory peer-enforced
buzzwords and iPhone-speak that Americans are
spewing from their 500-word vocabularies as
their knuckles hang ever closer to the sidewalk.