Independence with a capital P.


A lot of you have been wondering what I did around 6pm on July 4th, and the answer is that I was busy running to a grocery to get Greek yogurt - yes, there is a certain European theme here - for my wife, the delectable Countess Becca, and I took the opportunity to listen to Run the Jewels at a volume roughly ten decibels louder than the front row at a San Francisco fireworks show, and I thought about

the notion of perception:

So again, I’m driving through this small coastal town blasting Talk to Me and Legend Has It and feeling good about things. Mostly because the only thing I could really focus on was the bonebreaking rat-a-tat-tat staccato blasts from El-P and Killer Mike, so it was difficult to feel too ungood about much with their profane and insatiably catchy thumps soundtracking my Independence Day errand. I felt good, and I love loud music sometimes (a lot of the time), and here’s the thing: I was listening loud because I like loud, not because I was trying to be cool. I’m fully reconciled that being cool is not my beat. But I felt good and let’s face it: yes, I did feel cool. Even though I was listening for me, I admit it. I felt kind of cool.

But to anyone watching me pass by, nerdy fellow with cracked sunglasses, dirty shirt, North Dakota beard, I wouldn’t blame them for thinking or saying:

“Who is this guy and why is he trying to act all cool? What an idiot.”

When you’re the one playing loud music, there’s fleeting moments of imagination that you just might be cool.

When you’re the one watching somebody drive by who’s playing loud music, there’s an immediate thought of they are so dumb and trying way too hard to be cool.

Good ongoing reminder to me that every situation or moment of self-righteous judgment comes down to what seat you’re sitting in, and the importance of trying to imagine what the view looks like from other seats.

Still gonna keep pumpin’ the jams loud.

So I remembered the yogurt and extracted a giant smile and smoldering kiss for my effort. A successful trip, and it’s hard not to feel cool when a sultry woman has just thanked you with a full body hug and sizzling smooch.

The Dude.

I am still amazed at my dad. There’s a lot of things that are amazing about him, but one of the biggest is the way that he invests himself into making fun experiences for kids. His ideas get big quickly, as evidenced by the house he largely built himself, along with the capable intellect and sledgehammer-swinging of his wife For example, some dads (possibly such as me) might simply buy a cheap slip ‘n slide for a hot summer day, or rig up some quick ‘n easy DIY deal.

Not my dad. Out come the tarps, stakes, duct tape, plastic wrap, and a few solid hours of work to create a majestic wet sudsy slope of summertime fun for kids of all ages to use and make memories on. Work, I hasten to elaborate, that proceeded with the capable assistance of his son-in-law Micael, a likable and competent father himself.

My dad has an incredible sense of patience and desire to create these experiences and opportunities for kids, over and over again, that is inspiring. And tiring. He does things big and is unafraid of spending three hours of work so kids can enjoy thirty minutes of soaked exhilaration. One of the things I love the most about him.


“I think I might take a break from doing the slip and slide for a little while,
our son said.

”Okay,” I said. “What are you going to do?”

”I think,” he said. “I’m going to go read my Greek Mythology book. Is that okay?”

”Go for it.” I said. “I’m sure there are nine-year olds all over the country right now reading a giant volume of Greek myths on Independence Day.”

”Oh.” He said. “I’m going to read now.”

And that’s what he did.

The telephone.

I spoke with my vintage pal Rachel briefly on the phone, and she addressed me in a quite proper British accent throughout much of our dialog; a curious happenstance considering this dialect would have been appropriated during her year-long sojourn in eastern Oregon, a region that is not notorious for turning rebels into redcoats. Nonetheless, her lilting voice was cheerfully defiant in response to my conveyance that she is residing on the incorrect side of the Atlantic to affect such an accent.

I informed her of my disinterest in a continued relationship of any type if she was not amenable to immediately discontinuing her fraudulent speech affectation, a habit that has been sadly and unfortunately perpetuated and supported by her younger sister, a woman with whom I frequently sleep with and buy Greek yogurt for. My tone was severe enough to daunt the hardiest of heartland souls from ever affecting an English accent again, so the upshot is that after everything I said, after using all available admonishments, scoldings, and forbiddings at my disposal, if I know her like I think I know her, then absolutely nothing will change, and, oh,

what a sad world. What a sad sad world, when we can’t even tell what side of the pond we’re on, mates. I am thoroughly knackered of speaking of this tosh anymore, so I angrily told her to enjoy a tickety-boo evening and hung up. Or something of the sort. We’re American, they’re British. We don’t need to share accents or phrases anymore. Newsflash: we won. Twice.

Anyway, for the love of dear sweet fanny Adams, what a load of bollocks.

Ace of face.

I spoke with Jonny briefly via FaceTime, a technology that I have an uneasy and not entirely positive relationship with, and I’d like to tell you more about that conversation, but the honest truth is that I can’t, for more reasons than one, not least is the fact that I was driving a vehicle along a railroad. I’d like to end that thought while it still sounds mysterious, because the greatest way to destroy a mystery is to say too much.

So, to quote the imminently quotable musician J.M. Long, who just barely survived an earthquake, but that’s another story “…enjoy the mystery.”

Also, A lot of you have been asking me if he played for the big 4th of July event in Washington D. C. The one where President Trump used his piggy bank (taxpayer funds) to buy a bunch of holiday props (tanks and fighter jets) while he gave an inspiring speech about the importance of supporting important things. Sadly, J.M. Long was unable to play at the event, which is to his career detriment, as it is estimated there were literally dozens of people, if not more, at President Trump’s historic address. I hope it is not something he looks back with regret on. Also, I don’t believe he was invited. Short version: no, to the best of my knowledge, legendary Portland musician J.M. Long did not play in Washington D.C. today, as he is currently surviving earthquakes and starting off on a West Coast tour with legendary entertainment persona Lanessa Long. Spoiler alert: J.M. Long’s younger sister.

Again, J.M. Long survived the earthquake, and he did not play music in Washington D.C. this week. Please stop asking about both. He is pretty much fine.

Chasers (not the Charlie Sheen film).

There are people who chase bands, and people who chase tornados and storms, and people who chase fireworks shows and drive all around small towns looking for plumes of smoke in sketchy neighborhoods so they can sneakily enjoy cool pyrotechnics as close as possible for free, and I’m so pleased to tell you that as of this week, we are those people in the latter category.

Good night and great fortune. Enjoy the mystery, and remember to listen to loud music and speak in an accent consistent with which side of the Atlantic you live on.

Also, last thing: I have a few new ongoing pages with various thoughts. Please check out and let me know what you think, as long as you think it’s jolly good.

Joseph’s Micro-Musings

Joseph’s short list of pet peeves

There are only two kinds of people

Thoughts on culture, music, and film