Scratching Post

Yesterday my cat Lucy watched as I was topping up the oil under the bonnet (hood) of my car.  Of course, cats have a natural curiosity about them.  But she didn’t come any further than the garden gate as I’d previously impressed upon her (more than once) that were she to venture into the road, she’d almost certainly be flattened into a two-dimensional tabby wall-hanging by a runaway juggernaut carrying twenty-two tons of concrete blocks and a replacement propeller for the Queen Mary.

Yet it was she who was looking at me as if I were the dumb critter.  So I admitted that humans have often ignored the obvious and done many things that are quite dumb.

‘You mean like basing an entire civilization on the internal combustion engine?’ her expression intimated.  ‘All the while knowing full well that one day you’ll run out of the resources to maintain it? … And even though rare geniuses like Nicola Tesla and Wilhelm Reich come up with free-energy devices, rather than being welcomed with open arms, their work is destroyed and they’re declared insane?’

‘… Errm …’

Sparing me further embarrassment, she yawned, lay down and nodded off.

Posted in Uncategorized | 94 Comments

94 Responses to Scratching Post

  1. Mike Miller says:

    You’ve probably seen that LA’s starting his PR tour with an appearance Jan 17th on the lady fluff show “Oprah”. Word on the street (no doubt leaked from his people) is he’s spilling his guts.

    • Bruce says:

      He won’t be doing anything that isn’t calculated as being to his advantage. I doubt he’ll be apologizing to Simeoni and Bassons for ruining their careers. I doubt he’ll be apologizing to Greg LeMond for destroying his bicycle business. I doubt he’ll be saying sorry to his former masseuse Emma O’Reilly for calling her a whore and a drunk — or to all the others he’s bullied and intimidated. I doubt he’ll be telling us about what really went down with the UCI (Useless Corrupt Imbeciles). There’ll be a bit of sobbing, a tale or two about some childhood trauma and playing the ‘everyone was doing it’ card — in the vain hope that he can recover his trajectory towards becoming President Armstrong. Then hopefully he’ll realize only a few other Texan alpha-males are buying it and crawl back under his stone.

      • Mike Miller says:

        As LaMonde recently said that LA is the only guy that can tell what went on at the UCI, I think this is what he’s now positioning himself to do. He first has to admit to all his wrongdoings, cry and sob a little, apologize to all concerned thru the media or a book, ect, and then devote his life cleaning up the sport. He’ll be like the casino cheat that now works at advising the casino how to catch cheats. He’ll probably soon be standing on a stage hand in hand with all those people you cited.

        Lance has probably been taking a course at the Bill Clinton school on how to turn yourself from a reviled, sociopathic rapist scumbag into respected world leader.

        President of the US?…..more likely the UCI.

      • Bruce says:

        Poacher turned gamekeepr — if he brings down McQuaid and Verbruggen,some good may come out of it yet. But he could’ve started cleaning up cycling in 1999 after the Festina debacle.

      • Nick S. says:

        I wish Mike would be more respectful to President Slick Willie. (Summed up shameless BJ Clinton perfectly.)

    • Mike Miller says:

      Of course, my theory could be completely wrong. He could just be a megalomaniac.

      • Bruce says:

        … my money’s on narcissistic sociopath.

      • Mike Miller says:

        I think your money is in the right place…

      • Bruce says:

        A partial own-up by LA on the Soap Oprah, but no big deal — nothing we didn’t know. I’ll laugh if Landis makes $30 mill out of it though. The next development could be that if Strongarm implicates Fat Pat and the Verbruggen there’s a likelihood that the UCI will be seen as not fit for purpose (which it isn’t) and cycling will be banned as an Olympic sport — which would be a great shame for (Sir) Dave Brailsford after everything he’s done for (British) cycling. I’d like to see an apology to Greg LeMond in particular from LA but I’m not holding my breath.

      • Mike Miller says:

        After watching a lot of the commentary, it’s difficult for me to understand what his game really is here. I wouldn’t think any sponsor or organization would ever touch him again. But, everybody loves to watch a train wreck.

      • Bruce says:

        The general feeling is Pharmstrong is about to sing like a canary. What’s most interesting is the politics involving WADA and the UCI enquiry to try and broaden the terms of reference and grant immunity to witnesses wanting to comment on the UCI, without jeapording their livelihoods. All we can do is watch. But I’ve noticed a distinct change in the tone of commentatots to articles in the US this week. Very few Armstrong apologists now — and lot of people turning on him big time.

      • Mike Miller says:

        The interview show 60 minutes just ran this segment about the USADA official who’s been going after Armstrong.

      • Bruce says:

        I’ve seen excerpts of that. Travis Tygart isn’t it? I see Fat Pat McQuaid has decided to suspend the ‘independent’ commission looking into to the UCI on some pretext. It appears they were getting a bit too independent for his liking. Will I crack open a bottle of champagen when that crook falls!

      • Mike Miller says:

        Yes it’s Tygart. He tells of LA’s people calling him to make a “donation” and the Federal case that was suddenly dismissed. I believe it’s new interviews. Watch it if you a have chance.

      • Bruce says:

        LA is lying about being clean since 2005 (as he told Oprah). He’s saying that because it would mean that his lifetime ban commuted to 8 years and applied retrospectively would mean he could start competing in triathlons pretty much straight away. Like Travis Tygart, Brad Wiggins isn’t convinced either. I’m glad to see his enoblement to Sir Bradley hasn’t dimmed his capacity to call it how he sees it. In his last UK press interview he called Armstrong a ‘lying bastard’ and a ‘fucking arsehole’ (U.S. version ‘asshole’.

  2. Mike Miller says:

    I’m still waiting for the end of the world….

  3. Mike Miller says:

    Just saw LeMond’s comments. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. LA could redeem himself somewhat:

    “I still would love to see Armstrong come forward and reveal how, and I might even shake his hand if he would do this,” LeMond said. “Because I think what he could offer is insight into really what was happening … things don’t happen by themselves. It was a huge effort by multiple people and he alone can reveal that.

    • Bruce says:

      The Change Cycling Now org have categoriaclly asked for McQuaid and Verbruggen to stand down for being unfit for purpose. The problem is that the riders are caught between a rock and a hard palce — just as they were with the “to dope or not to dope” issue. Riders that now align themselves with CCN are in a bad position if the UCI prevails, they’ll have cut off their livlihood. Unless enough of them jump ship, the status quo will hold. But as you say, it ain’t over by a long way.

  4. Nick S. says:

    Bruce, you into Joe Bonamassa? Wasn’t aware of him till last night, on PBS special, taped at Royal Albert Hall, 2009. I was skeptical at first, but intrigued as show went on. Eric Clapton guested on a song.

    Bonamassa show was preceded by Muddy Waters/Rolling Stones live, shot here in Chicago, 1981. It was . . . interesting.

    • Bruce says:

      Not familiar with JB, but I’ve just been watching the re-run of Martin Scorsese’s wonderful documentary series, “The Blues” on PBS (which we can now get in the UK) and which features a couple of cameo appearances by Pete with Los Lobos and backing Bonnie Raitt.

      But my main point is that, if you’re not already aware, the director shot a performance by Eric Clapton for this series which is virtually a history of modern electric blues featuring songs by Otis Rush, Freddy King and all the rest, where Clapton even plays the appropriate guitar for each song. Unvelievably, this footage was never released but it can be found on YouTube by searching “Clapton Scorsese”. It shows the man at the height of his powers, not only is for his soloing, but for his singing too. In fact, I’m off to watch a few clips now!

      • Nick S. says:

        Just watched the 5-part Clapton/Scorsese series. It was very impressive, and like you noted, bewildering why it would be left out of the documentary (which I haven’t seen yet). I especially liked parts 3 through 5, starting with B.B. King influence.

        Like Eric Clapton said of his singing, it took me TIME to really appreciate his music. While I always liked him, starting with Cream, really, through today, it took me decades to better appreciate him.

        Unlike many guitarists I really like, that I identify with a particular guitar (i.e., Tony Iommi, Gibson SG), it seems Clapton can play ANY guitar and it always sounds like him: fluid, dazzling, amazing, clean, articulate, succinct, elaborate, flashy, compelling and always very tasteful. I like him best on a Strat, though. He seems in TOTAL control of his instrument. A consummate guitarist.

        EC is an underrated singer, methinks. Took me even longer to really appreciate his cool, smoky voice. He’s always been an “old soul.” His identification with the “men” of the blues, and his relationship with the “boys” from Liverpool — The Beatles — makes him all the more interesting and versatile. He’s never appeared to have an ego problem. He let’s the guitar do all the talking.

        Have you met him? Do you know him? Have you played with him?

        Uuuggghhh, I’ve gone on WAY too l o n g here.

        Looks like footage was shot in 1995. Good recommendation, Bruce!

      • Bruce says:

        That list of adjectives describing his playing can be summed up as rhapsodic, I think. I met him in the very early days of Cream. Happily, I got to know Peter Green a lot better.

  5. Mike Miller says:

    Did you see the Stones show in London? I go see them over here but I’d probably have to sell my car to do so.

  6. Nick S. says:

    Do you have a favorite decade for pop/rock and roll/soul music? If so, what decade? (I like the magical and often unfairly maligned 70s . . . from Abba to ZZ Top.)

  7. Nick S. says:

    Bruce, was it/is it taught in England that the US of A “seceded” from England?

    The “s-word” is being bandied about here lately in the “news,” and it seems to me revisionists are denying US history.

  8. Nick S. says:

    Bruce, your point about “the powers that be will keep creating phoney threats and incidents as an excuse for further eroding liberties” is critical! Most recently it happened in New Yawk City. Entrapment, it appears.

    What happened to the great political musicians/activists of “your generation”? Have they been co-opted? Are they blind? Great artists like James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen are disappointing to me. I’m not including you, of course. Your politics (as I perceive them), musicianship and other achievements are above them, IMHO.

    Speaking of P.T. Barnum, let’s not forget “Dear Madam Barnum” and the music business.

  9. Nick S. says:

    Sadly, I’m uninformed about Gordon Brown. But I trust your take on him.

    Right on about the Federal Reserve — it is neither federal nor a reserve. And unConstitutional, as I understand it. They are the world banksters at the top of the food chain.

    Right on, too, re. superficiality of US donkey and elephant, er, dog and p(h)ony show. Actually, I’m glad Romney “lost.” Perhaps Ron Paul’s son, Rand, can fill HUGE vacuum in Republicrat Party? Much remains to be seen . . . .

    George Orwell’s fears are being realized. Fascism + Socialism = Totalitarianism.

    • Bruce says:

      As the saying goes: the only difference between socialism and facism is … a matter of time. Meanwhile, the powers that be will keep creating phoney threats and incidents as an excuse for further eroding liberties. (File under: Hitler: Reichstag, burning of.) The next Republican president will be that Cuban guy (and I’m not joking).

      • Nick S. says:

        I’d never heard that saying before . . . but, then, I attended public high school. ;0)

        That Cuban guy is neocon Marco Rubio. You’re absolutely correct that the powers that be and their putrid propagandists have been grooming him for such a role. (He looks like an evil Vulcan.)

        A fine song I hadn’t thought about in a L O N G time came to mind this week: “Here Comes President Kill Again.” Sadly, it’s more relevant than ever. To me, XTC’s Andy Partridge was the unsung hero to emerge from Britain’s “new wave.” Easily my favorite singer/songwriter of your “generation.” I bet the 2 of you would make a MIGHTY collaboration!

      • Mike Miller says:

        I think P.T. Barnum was right.

      • Bruce says:

        Barnum famously had a sign just inside the entrance to his site that read “This way to the egress.” Quite a few punters who’d just spent money to get in went through the door, expecting to see some exotic bird or other creature, only to learn the hard way that “egress” means “exit”.

  10. Mike Miller says:

    On an unrelated note, recently I had one of the most popular teen pop stars in my studio with the initials JB. They pulled into KC on their day off and needed a studio to do some recording and I think they picked my place because of the proximity to their hotel. Most of my clientele are local and regional acts with a few “B” listers in town for shows. There were no problems but I was quite amused by the whole thing. The bodyguards, the minders, the “don’t talk to him unless he talks to you”, the sweep of the whole facility before he’s brought in, ect. My young engineer was so excited I thought he might need a change of underwear.
    His guitar player ( a nice young man) was playing all the studio guitars in turn and when he picked up the Martin 12 string he started playing the opening riff of Boston’s “More that a feeling”. I remarked that it took me many years to appreciate them because I was into Punk and New Wave at the time and thought all that kind of music was crap. He said ” How did they do those vocals without Autotune?” “Talent and Time my young friend” I replied. JB recorded all his vocals with Autotune running in real time. Oh, how it’s all changed!

  11. Mike Miller says:

    I’d bet there are a lot of others in the organization scrambling right now to cover their own asses.

  12. Mike Miller says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens next. I would think with pressure mounting that the UCI board members would ask for his (their) resignation. That may depend on how many of the board are also complicit. I laughed when McQuaid referred to Armstrong’s money as a “donation” to help fight doping!

  13. Bruce says:

    This is the latest on the UCI — pretty much Last Chance Saloon, I’d say.

  14. Mike Miller says:

    Besides replacing the UCI members you mentioned, what would you do to get the sport back to a reasonable status for both fans and participants?

    • Bruce says:

      The quick answer would be to leave all PED wins blank on the record books. Trouble is how far back do you go? I see the UCI have “suspended” their legal action for defamation, against Paul Kimmage.

      I’ve also just seen that five European newspapers have published a “manifesto for credible cycling” — which you should be able to Google pretty easily. It’s the initiative of the Gazetto del Sport, I think. I don’t know how McQuaid imagines he’s going to ride out the shit storm …

      Quote from the manifesto:
      “These recent revelations demonstrate to us that the very fabric of cycling has been infected and we can no longer have and confidence in the leadership or the effectiveness of the UCI or in the behaviour of team managers, many of whom are implicated in cheating.”

      • Mike Miller says:

        Looks like McQuaid is just a vindictive bastard. Hopefully Armstrong has evidence to back up the bribing allegations. Was the manifesto calling for the dissolution of UCI and starting a new governing body?

      • Bruce says:

        I think the idea is that the UCI might survive if McQuaid and Verbruggen go. There’s such widespread condemnation now, I can’t see how those two can hope to tough it out.

        Interesting stuff emerging about Livestrong giving no money to research charities but shedloads to Pharma giants and lobbyists. Google “Lance Armstrong” and “Rick Perry” and see how the millions raised by Livestrong are being funneled into political interests that benefit drug companies instead of science that might benefit cancer research. Already at least two Nobel prize winners on the agency board have resigned for this reason.

  15. Mike Miller says:

    Not defending Armstrong’s actions here, but wasn’t he and his team UCI’s ‘Golden Goose’? They knew doping was going on with him and others but didn’t want to interrupt the money flow? And now that he’s out of it they want to make him the bad guy alone? Thanks for the link to the Greg LeMond link.

    • Bruce says:

      You’re right, UCI followed saw the dollar signs and turned a blind eye to LA — just as they’re following the money again, now that Nike et al have dumped him. I think McQuaid and Verbruggen are worse than Armstrong, to be honest. (And that little weasel Contador is no better.) I’m wondering if LA will yet turn on the UCI and take them down with him.

  16. Mike Miller says:

    Any thoughts on Armstrong?

    • Bruce says:

      Yeah — I’ve won the Tour de France as many times a he has.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Probably a good thing they don’t have those rules in the entertainment business…

      • Bruce says:

        It wasn’t so much the doping but the number of other riders’ careers Strongarm destroyed — and the violent intimidation of women who were formerly in his employ. Also it would seem (allegedly) that Liestrong hasn’t made a donation to any cancer research organization since 2005 — the private plane is doing OK though. There are even suggestions that it was his abuse of testosterone that caused his testicular cancer — can’t see what the possible link between testosterone and testicles could be, can you?. All that and the fact that he’s very nearly taken down my favourite sport to a position from which it may never recover. Now, the next bastards that they need to get are McQuaid and Verbruggen (of the UCI) who let all the doping go on while going all out to ban the cutting-edge bicycle technolgies of Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman — nothing like getting your priorities right, eh?

        PS I’m glad to see today that the true hero of US cycling, Greg Lemond, agrees with me about the UCI.


  17. ‘Quite early in the session Ms Hynde took me aside and advised me that a simpler part that didn’t venture above the fifth fret was more what she had in mind …’ Drole… Bruce – nice to have met again at St John’s Marlborough.
    Please do get…stay? in touch.
    Best wishes. Marcus

  18. Nick S. says:

    Hey, Bruce.

    Recently revisited EC & Attractions’ tune, “Tiny Steps.” I’ve always liked the music to this song.

    Just curious . . . was “Tiny Steps” a conscious nod to The Animals’ Chas Chandler on “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”? (Haven’t heard this familiar song, “Tiny Steps,” in a L O N G time prior to recently, and never made that immediate connection before.)

  19. Nick S. says:

    Sadly, I suspect you are correct, Bruce. 9/11 in the US “allowed” the government to clampdown on the population under dubious “Patriot Act” and “Homeland Security Dept.,” etc. I’d like to think “the genie’s out the bottle” re. a free Internet, but we must be ever vigilant. Without an Internet, a US Presidential candidate like Ron Paul would never have had the great success he had in spreading his vital message. I no longer listen to mainstream “news.”

      • Nick S. says:

        Music appreciation is a big passion and diversion for me. As a VERY “average,” novice, hobby drummer, I’m wondering your take on rhythm section “relationship.” Will you please comment on that?

        I mostly play solo or with records, but occasionally, when lucky enough to play with a bass player, all my nasty drum/cymbal overrings are drowned out by bass, and everything makes MUCH more sense. It seems an organic compatibility or sympathy should develop in rhythm section.

        I love Pete Thomas’ drumming. But he seemed somewhat beneath your (and Steve Nieve’s) level of playing. You 3 were something of a very different power trio for sure. (Never really considered guitar too much at all in that band.)

      • Bruce says:

        First of all, let me put you right on one point … Pete Thomas’s musicianship in no way lagged behind Steve’s or mine. Pete is one of the most ‘musical’ drummers you’ll ever come across.

        As to your query — a band is like a car. Drums = engine. Bass = chassis. Keyboards = upholstery. Singer/guitar work = bodywork and paint job. In some instances the bass has a more prominent role (the car has a monocoque chassis and so strays into the bodywork department. I just made that up 🙂

        Other than that, there are no rules, except what works. Entwistle v Moon was every man for himself. There are plenty of uninspiring, journeyman rhythm sections around that are ‘organically compatible’. Horse manure is organically compatible with a rose bush, is it not?

  20. Mike Miller says:

    I wonder what Lucy would think of the wisdom of controlling everything vital: (power grid, transportation systems, banking, financial markets, personal information, defense, etc.) with computer systems and then linking them all up on a big worldwide system so any unfriendly country, tin horn dictator, terrorist, or kid on a laptop in his mom’s basement can wreak havoc on the world.

    • Bruce says:

      Funny — she was talking about that just the other day.

      • Mike Miller says:

        As I write this, I’m watching the US Secretary of Defense speaking in front of an assembled audience, warning of the “Cyber Pearl Harbor” that could hit the US and the world soon shutting down everything we depend on. About 20 years ago, my now departed father told me two things that I always remember: “We’re (mankind) getting a little too smart for our own good” and “I don’t know how I managed to live this long without a computer”.

      • Bruce says:

        It may be more a case of contriving another excuse to “save” us — like all the other bogus threats we supposedly face — so that we peasants no longer have access to communication technology. Create a supposed threat, then save the general population — while granting yourself draconian powers which are “unfortunately necessary in our volatile world”.

    • Mike Miller says:

      Yes, you’re absolutely right about that. Although it’s not been well publicized, I believe our current government has granted itself power to shut down the internet in the US case of a “crisis”.

      Pete’s one of the best there is…hands down. As a bass player, I would be so much better working with someone of his caliber. I’d say you both lucked out being able to work together!

  21. Derek says:

    The first land speed record was held by an electric car in 1898 at 66mph, would run further than a horse or a steam car or evan the early “GAS” cars. However the human race prefers to take the easy route and “GAS” was easy to produce by the early 20th century … oh hum.

    If we put a little more effort/money into storage research and energy conversion we could run these until the demise of the human race with significantly less impact on the planet than the ICE. However I think we’ll do ourselves in before too soon..


  22. Nick S. says:

    I hate when decent visionaries or revolutionary thinkers are “declared insane.” Cheap, slanderous, establishment propaganda. (I like when it backfires.) In American politics, once in a blue moon, “the people” get a truly revolutionary presidential candidate to vote for. (Vote integrity is another issue.) This time, it was/is Ron Paul. Those who “dare” threaten the status quo are first ignored, then “declared insane,” fought . . . and hopefully they “win.”

    The Internet is a beautiful thing, in that it helps break the establishment stranglehold on what we see/hear and how it’s judged. It also allows — what I consider — this really cool, direct exchange between an artist and fan.

  23. Dave Dawson says:

    Sadly it’s all about the money. I’ve just watched Lawless and in one scene the tank ran dry on an an old jalopy and they filled it with moonshine and off it went. So turnips can do the same job.

    My mechanic had a friend who in the 70s developed a combustion engine which ran on water. Actaually Bruce two of our mutual friends M & S have built a similar working prototype in their garage. The upshot was that that a large oil company bought the patent from him for 250k and to this day it’s gathering dust in a filing cabinet somewhere at Head Office…

  24. Hello Bruce,

    My apologies for hijacking your website’s comments, but I wanted to say it was great to meet you in the lift at Trump hotel tonight. I have to admit, I was quite embarrassed I didn’t recognize you at first which led to my rambling on…

    Needless to say, your work is an inspiration to me and it was an honor to meet you and chat for a minute.

    I hope Chicago and Riot Fest treat you well!


  25. Mike Miller says:

    I think you’ve opened a real can of cat food with this one!

  26. Nick S. says:

    You have me curious about Nicola Tesla and Wilhelm Reich . . . I’ll have to check them out. It’s hard to imagine a world without cars and gasoline. I have been car-less from time to time. When that happens, I always feel a loss of “freedom.” Also . . . it seems MUCH misery exists in the Middle East because of oil.

    Were Lucy to encounter such a car in the road (God forbid!), there’d most likely be car-nage. It would be cat-astrophic! When Lucy “nodded off, ” I suspect she was taking a catnap. (Groan.)

    • Bruce says:

      Groan indeed — jokes to make one catatonic. It’s not so much a world without cars that was at stake in the free-energy scenario. Tesla invented a far superior system of electrical power distribution to Edison. Edison’s agents are suspected of setting fire to Tesla’s lab at one point. Tesla knew what was what. He arrange to be paid a royalty for every kilowatt opf electrical energy that was distributed — which would have made him rich beyond Bill Gates-ness. But he tore up the contract because he had a way of transmitting electricity like radio and making it free for everyone. Incicentally Tesla has now been officially credited with the first radio transmission rather than Marconi. But Edison and Marconi played the gofernments game so that there would be plenty in the pot for all — and Tesla was more or less persecuted. There’s a very good PBS documentary about it all which you might like to see. … We’ll deal with Wilhelm Reich another time.

    • Nick S. says:

      Bruce, you got a take on Nigel Farage?

  27. John Anderson says:

    My cat Max chases a laser dot around the floor. So I don’t feel too threatened by him.

    I’ll have to read up on Nicola and Wilhelm. That is a crying shame.

    • Bruce says:

      Well worth checking out, both of them. The world could’ve gone a completely different way. It would’ve been a lot fairer and a lot freer — so it was never likely to happen.

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