Archive for January, 2010

Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen made a single album, “The Nightfly,” that was one of the best music albums of the eighties, bar none. One of the best of the seventies for that matter, which was wayyyy too much disco and lightweight rock.
This is the title song from Fagen’s seminal record.
Now, some of you may remember those crazy, deep-night shift deejays on rock and jazz stations in the fifties, sixties and seventies, before the Reagan years pretty much killed everybody’s fun, those deejays who played music but also chatted all night with people who called in while the songs were playing and the deejays would come back on and talk about who they just chatted with off the air. But, sometimes these deep-night deejays would talk to crazy night-owl listeners live, right on the air, but with the seven-second delay in the broadcast in case one of the callers calling in was drunk and said one of the seven dirty words that couldn’t be heard on the radio–the seven dirty words that George Carlin famously brought out into the open in his war against the censors.
Well, here’s Fagen’s great song in which he created the character Lester, one of those crazy deejays from an all-night, indee-pen-dent station in Baton Rouge, La, from the foot of Mount Belzoni—– WJAZ the all-night jazz station with jazz and con-ver-sation.
This song is so wonderfully imaginative and creative and so Donald Fagen, by turns funny and witty and quirky and eccentric as all get-out, but celebratory of the healing joy of “sweet music,” but also full of pain and anguish and pathos and the down and dirty all-night blues, and the old broken-down, chain-smoking deejay’s a sentimental old fool still stuck on some lover from a hunnerd years ago he can’t get over–and the song also has such great sounds and those sweet, sweet voices of the STeely Dan girls singing background vocals.
And the lyrics, really, contains some absolute poetry.
All this is why we here at JFJ feel it’s vitally important to share the great cool jazz/rock hybrid music of Mr. Fagen with the world, all as part of our mission to save the world with our wit, wisdom, provocations and stimulations.
BTW, did I ever tell you guy I once wrote a letter to Don Fagen–and he wrote me a letter back? He who doesn’t even particularly care of fan clubs and who would never in a million years even think about taking the time to write a letter back to a fan?
He wrote me a personal letter back.
And no, I’m not going to share its contents with you if only because it contains dirty words and is hilarious.
And no, I wouldn’t sell it on E-Bay for a million dollars.
Well, maybe I’ll share some of the clean parts some time.
I also have a personal letter Larry McMurtry wrote me on his famous pig-tail stationery.
You think that wouldn’t bring me a pretty penny on E-Bay.
I used to write letters all the time to all kind sof people and amazingly, some of the most incredible people used to write me back.
Enough of this. Enjoy the great song “The Nightfly.”

Donald Fagen: The Nightfly (by melegorm)
Uploaded by GGG40. –

I’m Lester the Nightfly
Hello Baton Rouge
Won’t you turn your radio down
Respect the seven second delay we use

So you say there’s a race
Of men in the trees
You’re for tough legislation
Thanks for calling
I wait all night for calls like these

An independent station
With jazz and conversation
From the foot of Mt. Belzoni
Sweet music
Tonight the night is mine
Late line ’til the sun comes through the skylight

I’ve got plenty of java
And Chesterfield Kings
But I feel like crying
I wish I had a heart like ice
Heart like ice

If you want your honey
To look super swell
You must spring for that little blue jar
Patton’s Kiss And Tell
Kiss And Tell

An independent station
With jazz and conversation
From the foot of Mt. Belzoni
Sweet music
Tonight the night is mine
Late line ’til the sun comes through the skylight

You’d never believe it
But once there was a time
When love was in my life
I sometimes wonder
What happened to that flame
The answer’s still the same
It was you, it was you
Tonight you’re still on my mind

An independent station
With jazz and conversation
From the foot of Mt. Belzoni
Sweet music
Tonight the night is mine
Late line ’til the sun comes through the skylight

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In keeping with our night-owl weekend, would it be complete without the greatest rock and roll band of all time doing the raunchiest, roughest, anti-authority rock song of all time, all about that midnight rambler?
Wait till you get into about the 5 minute mark when Mick shows all the pretenders to the rock throne what in-your-face rock is all about.

WARNING: This is the Rolling Stones, people–it’s not for everybody.
It’s defnintely not for those with delicate little sensibilities.
But it’s only rock and roll.

(For Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney, who really should chill out a little and have some fun sometimes. Like, real fun. Like fun with Mick and Keith. I think I’ve said enough.)

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Yes, ladies and germs of the Jitterbugginforjesus.com cult. As promised, we’re having a wingding weekend especially for night owls like yer Jitterbugger his self featuring great musicians who pretty much only come out at night (or did, as in the case of great night prowlers like the late and the great Ray Charles).

We kicked off the weekend last night with one of Jitterbugger’s all-time favorite singers Mr. Ray Price singing one of our all-time favorite songs we’ve been listening to since 1963 and never tire of.

I’ll hear from the English nerds now who didn’t like the way I ended that sentence, with ‘of.’ It brings to mind what Sir Winston Churchhill said when an old school ma’arm sent him a letter lambasting him over his reckless use of very proper English. Sir Winston–who was only one of the greatest writers as well as orators who ever lived, wrote her back to say, “Madam, that is the sort of nonsense UP with which I shall not PUT.” Great writers break all the rules and don’t give a hoot about tacking something like an “of” at the end of a sentence.

But I digress. And as regulars here know, when I digress, I digress big-time.

Here’s the late and great Ray doing that night time song.

Tune in today and tonight for more nocturnal music from Mick, Donald Fagen and Steely Dan and Lord only knows who else before this day and night is over.

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Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr

The Franciscan priest and prolific writer Richard Rohr always has something to say. And those who come here to jitterbuggingforjesus.com on a regular basis know that your worthy leader of the cult of Jitterbug insists on nothing less than writers, artists, musicians, journalists, politicians, preachers, actors, poets, filmmakers and candlestick makers who have something to say–something that stands out from all the drivel and cliches and platitudes and stale and regurgitated thought that we get bombarded with pretty much 24-7 in this pop- and celebrity-driven culture, not to mention the unceasing bombardment of non-news but textbook propaganda we get from all those bitter and angry white men at Fox News–bitter and angry men like Ann Coulter and Laura whats-her-name.
You want pop culture stuff, consider a “Zero” Coca Cola. (Lord, what will they think of next.)
You want a deeper walk with that provocateur Jesus Christ our Lord and savior, find anything by Richard Rohr and read it. This tough-minded take on patriarchy is from his Radical Grace: Daily Meditations.
(For the Rev. Dr. Georjean (Jawjean) Blanton Renquist and Mr. Mike, for the good times and Sherry wine.)

Order or happiness?????
Christian men of power apparently have decided that happiness is optional. What is mandatory and necessary is that the world be divided into those who have power and those who don’t. It makes for good order, at least for those on top, and order is more important than happiness. Our word for this addictive view of reality is “patriarchy,” which means “rule of the fathers.” It is the basis of all major relational systems in the Western World.
In this patriarchal view (1) all relationships are eventually defined in terms of superiority and inferiority and (2) the all-important need for order and control is assured by the exercise of dominative power. Now that does not sound so bad if the status quo happens to be working in your favor. But it has served to dehumanize and therefore de-spiritualize generations of races, nations, professions, women, sexual minorities, handicapped people, the weak and the elderly whom the powerful are able to culturally disparage and dismiss as “of no account.”
Not only are the rich and powerful able to project their own darkness onto such groups, but the groups normally accept that darkness as their true value. The utter evil of such patriarchy is that both the oppressor and the oppressed are incapable of real spiritual growth. the powerful, by rejecting their shadow, are hopelessly inflated. The powerless, by receiving others’ shadows, are endlessly deflated. Both lose. That is why patriarchy is evil.

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Yes, Jitterbuggers, as promised, we’re having a special weekend featuring night songs about night life by singers who’ve lived the night life and who understood exactly whereof The Who spoke when they spoke in that song, “And when it comes to all-night livin’, I know what I’m givin’.”

We’re talking about featuring great music from the greatest of all night owl and night life bands like the duo of Steely Dan (and especially Steely Dan man Donald Fagen who is so great at writing songs about night owls and night life that are full of wit and humor or pathos and misery and blues and love and love unrequited and cigarettes and booze and crazy people with bags under their eyes and drugs and the misery of drugs and creepy people looking for God and weird and creepy night stuff of all kinds).

And boy, BTW, were we surprised the other day to learn that a physician we work with and like so much at the hospital mentioned the other day that he’s a huge Steely Dan and especially Donald Fagen fan (“Fagen’s a good Jewish boy,” the devout Jewish doc noted).

Enough on Steely though. We’re kicking off the night stuff with this great song from Ray Price and his great “Night Life” album, circa 1963. Ray Price is simply one of the best country/blues/pop singers this country ever produced. We paid tribute to the great one here in a blog posting last year as a remembrance of dances at the VFW where we watched him and the Cherokee Cowboys perform many a Saturday night back home. Dig through the archives and find it; you’ll like it and exploring the archives here at jitterbuggingforjesus.com—-there’s worse ways to spend your time.

With no further of that ol’ ado: Bow down to the great Ray Price with the Cherokee Cowboys and the amazing Buddy Emmons on the steel guitar in this song that is guaranteed to give you goose bumps as we kick off our Night Owl Weekend, yaw.
And know that the singer Mr. Ray doesn’t start singing until about 2 minutes in because of the intro he gives.
(For fellow night owls and Steely Dan fans Chuck and Bubber who yours truly turned on to Ray Price and for that, you’re welcome, guys–and thanks for the Vietnam service and I do understand and I do pray, yes.

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Yes, Jitterbuggers, we know how you feel on a Friday afternoon when you’z had all de boss you can stanz and like Popeye, you can’t stanz no more!
that’s why we’re always here to bring you relief, you poor working slug.
We work a 4-night work week you know, and can’t relate actually, since we’re off on Thursday-Friday and Saturday every week and boy, do we like it.
But we love you slugs who plow away in the offices by bringing you the great Todd Rungdren, whose name is so hard to spell, no wonder he never quite made real rock stardom.
Todd is one of the greats nonetheless.
And this is about the most fun little dittie he ever conceived in that fertile musical mind of his.
Enjoy, one more time, as he bangs on de drums like dey was de boss’s head or sumpin’.

{For that ol’ ink-stained Houston Chronicle scribe Cathy Gordan and her man Mr. Scott, they who once scored time backstage with the great Todd making Jitterbugger icky green with envy. You guys are some kind of Todd R. serious, aren’t you? Very cool.}

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Poetry so powerful it’ll make you go, “Wow!”
by Ramón Chaparro of Portland (with capsule bio at the end):

“A Long Week”
I want to give the world a foot massage
“Take a load off,” I’d say
“You’ve had a long week”

I want to buy backpacks for crack babies
Teach them E=mc2
Sing them the theme to Fat Albert
Show them the correct dosage of sugar for kick-ass Kool-Aid
Tell them their mothers’ addictions
Were not predestination, were not bad luck
But just were
And they are free to be
Someone’s solution instead of the symbol
Of someone’s problem

I want to host a banquet
For the orphans of Gaza
The widows of Darfur
Pile the tables high with falafel
And kisra with bamia
Fill glasses with crystal water
Mugs with guhwah, chai, and goat’s milk
Raise a toast to their fallen loved ones
And send them to down-filled beds
For a night of rest
Without the sound of Kalashnikovs
I want to tell them they are no longer refugees
They are Mustafa and Jamilah
And they can call someplace home again

I want to give prosthetics to the war children
Of Kabul and Mazar and Kandahar
Watch them play soccer and basketball
Their new limbs gracefully awkward
Their war dreams lessening in intensity
Their eyes losing their haunted cast
Their steps unfettered by the fear
of land mines in the sand
I want to tell them they are worth more
Than sodomy and poppy seed
That they can write their own history

I want to comfort everyone everywhere
Share and bear their joys and sorrows
Whisper with prophetic imagination
Of a new world with old roots
A melancholy tale with an uplifting end
When he and she, you and me
Can love with reckless abandon
Others more than ourselves

But today, I drive by the man
With his cardboard sign
My windows rolled up against the sunny day
A dollar bill snugly ensconced
In the folds of my wallet
And I sing with Mahalia,
His eye is on the sparrow

*** Ramon Chaparro is an AfroNuyoRican wanderer who hopes to live in China and the Middle East someday. He aspires to someday play jazz saxophone, speak 10 languages, and help bridge the yawning chasm of hostility and misunderstanding that often exists between Muslims and Christians.

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Reclusive Salinger caught by a photographer, and none too happy about it

We talk here all the time about our criteria for all great art and writing and music and journalism and politics and even preachers and anybody in any creative pursuits and that criteria of course is: Does he or she have something to say.

And boy oh boy, did J.D. Salinger have something to say through the powerful, powerful and mighty powerful voice of that angry and sometimes funny and sometimes even sweet and sensitive and usually wonderfully cynical young man Holden, the greatest young character in literature this side of Mr. Twain’s incredible Huck. And like Mr. Twain’s Huck, Mr. Salinger’s Holden is one of the greatest characters in American literature, period. I’d rank Huck no. 1, Holden no. 2, and would have to think on what character in American literature would rank after that. (Mr. Updike’s “Rabbit” comes to mind, of course.)

And boy oh boy, did Salinger go against the national grain with his obsessive, insistent wall of privacy and distaste for fame. Most writers would die for one hour on Oprah or, at least a nice, quiet, late-night interview with Charlie Rose on PBS if they tend to shy away from the spotlight.
Or, they love to get out there and self-promote because of all the agonizing time they spend alone, writing. Even Mr. Twain relished the spotlight and became practically a stand-up comedian.
But Salinger??? Lord only knows what drove that obsessive, insistent privacy that was so well sustained that even the people in that little New Hampshire town either knew precious little about their famous resident outside town or were very cool about helping him maintain that obsessive privacy.
Well, watch now these two Salinger scholars in an interview with one of the best TV journalists around. Some interesting discussion around the great Mr. J.D. in this.

I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all . . . I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye.
J. D. Salinger

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No one ever told me grief would feel so much like fear.”
— C.S. Lewis

Psalm 34
Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.

I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

9 Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

22 The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
New International Version (NIV)

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Yes, jitterbuggers, it’s been quite a day here at blog central (Jitterbuggingforjesus.com), the blog that is saving the world with its wit, wisdom, provocations and all that, hasn’t it?
Those who viewed this blog site today saw us launch what will be a relentless campaign in the months and possibly years ahead against the so-called “social conservatives” who make so much noise and embarrass us Texans to no end with their constant neanderthal ways on the State Board of Education.
We posted a blurb about a Republican member (of course) of that board, a Ms. Hardy of Weatherford, Tx,, who claims to be an independent who votes against the social conservatives on the board at times, but so what–we want her voted out of office right along with the “social conservatives” who stay up nights worrying about the solid science of evolution which they see, as far as we can tell, as a threat to 2,000 years of Christianity, which withstood the Racas who insisted the world was flat long after solid science proved otherwise.
Ms. Hardy made national news by attacking a deceased writer of children’s books and whisking away with his books by denouncing him as some kind of Marxist Communist.
Problem is, she had the deceased and acclaimed author of children’s books mixed up with an author of the same name as the much respected children’s writer.
Yes, this member of the EDUCATION BOARD FAILED TO DO TWO MINUTES OF HOMEWORK before she made a HUGE mistake that embarrassed my beloved and great state of Texas and took a great book for children right out of our schools.
Take note, Fox News—Ms. Hardy of Weatherford, Texas, would be a great hire for you peeps.
In other news today we acknowledged the death of the great J.D. Salinger who gave the world the great gift of a great book that people like Ms. Hardy work overtime even in 2010 to ban and keep out of schools and that book would of course be the story of that angry, angry young man who so hated phoniness and phonies and mindless nimcapoots (see social conservatives on Texas State Board of Education) Catcher in the Rye.
R.I.P, you crazy reclusive genius Mr. Salinger.
We started out the day here with a bit of a tribute to a United Methodist minister, creative artist and wonderful writer of things Godly and spiritual at her wonderful and mighty fine web site “The Painted Prayerbook.” She would be Jan Richardson, one of our favorites in the blog universe.
We also brought you a grab-bag of quotable quotes and where else but JFJ.com would you get quotable quotes from Jimi Hendrix, Jesus Christ, Paul the Apostle and President Eisenhower (two from him, in fact) in one blog posting?
Where else?
That’s what we thought.
Probably the highlight of your whole day was coming here and finding about a 10 minute movie from 1944, I believe it was, giving instructions on how to be a cool cat and jitterbug dance!!!!
This might just be the funniest 10 minute movie Hollywood ever made!
And you got it right here at this crazy blog, didn’t you?
You did.
Well, Jitterbuggers, just you wait until this weekend because we’re having music and videos featuring great singers and bands doing great music about the night life and it’s especially for night owls and insomniacs who crawl like vipers through the suburban streets like a bunch of Steely Dan freaks or something.
Steely Dan–in fact that’s one of the bands (if you can call the great S.D. duo a band) we’ll be featuring music from, but we suspect you might also find some Mick and the boys doing some “Midnight Rambler”-ing, some great country crooner Ray Price doing his great, great song “Night Life” that Willie Nelson wrote for him, and more.
Meanwhile, keep on jitterbugging in the free world, like these fools in this little vid L.K. our research assistant and sometimes contributor sent us:

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