There were many cowboy movies on television when I was growing up. Usually two or three themes like the fastest draw in the west or a bounty hunter searching for outlaws and financial rewards.

In Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini put a million dollar prize on murdering Salman Rushdie for the writing of fiction crime. I was amazed by real time bounty hunting smack in the middle of the late 20th century. I tried understanding the logic, if in some universe it was ever to be considered rational. Rushdie insulted Islam and should therefore be put to death. If Islamacists believed that just, then what does the million dollars mean?

Then I thought of that other holy prophet, Cyndi Lauper, and one of the hymns she sung “money….money changes everything.” I like the setup in that song. She tells the boyfriend she is leaving and new guy is waiting downstairs in the limo. True, they said they would always be together but she met the new guy, and he’s rich. As my grandmother used to say, it’s “goodbye Charlie,” because money…money changes everything.

Back then I wrote a song desiring to help Salman Rushdie. Tried to write from the point of view of a character that wishes to kill him. I like artists assuming a position that is not their real self. Like Joni MItchell in Raised on Robbery or Paul McCartney in Rocky Racoon or George Harrison in Taxman or every single thing Randy Newman did.

As I riffed on being a religious bounty hunter, the lyrics nodded at the Taliban restricting education for girls and women, beatings for not adhering properly to forced dress codes. And then I had avant garde production ideas because I am a fan of the studio as an instrument or at least I have the ambition towards trying. Probably comes from my older brothers’ Beatles records and adventurous 60s and 70s recordings. I asked about twenty different musicians to sing the same sequence and then in Logic Audio I cut and pasted each word, sometimes each syllable. Wanted effects that were not as simple as distortion or delay.

In keeping with the improvisational nature, whatever musicians I ran into I asked to participate, whether or not I knew them well. One of those randoms was a guy we will call Frederick who I did not know well. Turned out Frederick was offended. He said I had a problem with Muslims. A bit shocking to hear. Is it not possible Israel could do something fucked up and somebody could address it without being called an anti-semite? Must it be assumed criticism only stems from hating Jews? It is tricky because there actually is Jew hating, there actually is Islamophobia blah blah blah and there actually is/ are ad hominem attacks which seemed Frederick’s gift. I think from the army of wokeness he was the first messenger I met, “let me tell you how wrong you are and how right I am. I will get you fired from your job and shamed forever. You should be ruined, allow me.”

Friend Spike Gillespie has a blog I have been reading. Her latest, about blowing the deceased ashes of someone’s father around in her car, after turning on the vent and forgetting about the mock urn, following her officiating a marriage, on her ranch, is a good example why I suggest her writing amusing and awesome. Google Substack, Spike Gillespie. She is currently looking for contributions of weirdness and I thought about the memorial yesterday. I passed Frederick just before it started, for the first time since the 25 yrs ago song about authoritarianism and cheerleading to kill Salmon Rushdie. He stopped me in a cheery we-are-old-pals way to say hello, but I did not recognize him and replied asking who he was. When he told me I realized returning his happy-to-see-you-again vibe would be like pretending the go fuck yourself, you racist piece of shit experience, never happened. Howlin’ Wolf was a back door man, I am triggered one. People who are not like me, who can pretend someone that shits on you is not an asshole, really amaze me. I am not good at dancing that way.

I didn’t smile or say how great it is to see. I told him what I last remembered. He looked a little stuck but his face also showed his memory intact. He started to explain that back then he read a letter by Osama Bin Laden, he couldn’t recall what it said but it was part of why he replied to me as he did. This was supposed to make me understand him. I do not know what Osama Bin Laden said or why that justified nasty accusations but I did not understand why he thought this his get out of jail free card.

After the uncomfortable pause I told him that as an artist criticizing people for want fiction writers murdered and running a government that sanctions beating up women and girls over them wanting an education, was pathetic. Then he thanked me, maybe four times. I think that was his way of dealing with conflict, say many thank you’s. Making afist bump was the most importsnt thing to him. No apology. There is my contribution of recent weirdness for you Spike.

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