Jim Guittard’s Place

Mockery Driven Purpose

Posted in Future, Life by guittard on May 9, 2009

Have you ever thought that our real enemy is ourselves?  America is falling from the inside not because of terrorists or other outside forces.  Americans need to get up from their deep sleep and take our country back.

What was America built and founded on?  Why did our ancestors come here?  Have we lost our roots?

Now alot of us are all driven by a purpose of mockery:  money at all costs, prestige, sex, fame, notoriety, wealth and fortune.  I don’t think our founding fathers would want to be a part of our current culture. 

What can we do?  Demand better, resist fear, greed, anxiety, and  mockery driven purposes.  Everybody is wondering.  What next?   Must I stay in this never-ending situation?  What should I do?  What does it all mean?  Does God care?  Why should I care anymore? 

Get up.

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Letter To Dallas Morning News

Posted in Life by guittard on February 28, 2009

America is rather silly right now. More and more news is negative about the crisis at hand. Where are the positive stories about good news. All we hear is bad and slanted toward going deeper and deeper down. Let’s write some positive stuff. It is funny that my having spent two years abroad as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria isn’t worth mentioning. Many papers that I have contacted have turned down the story.

Seems that greed and money is the only thing that is important to write about these days. There are a lot of hardworking, sacrificing people out there that need notice. And I am writing to toot my own horn maybe. I taught in rough school in Pernik, Bulgaria for two years getting paid less than $400 a month. I returned to America just last November and like everybody else I am also looking for a job. I have seen how the world views America and it is not so positive. We need to do our part and get back to hard work in whatever it is.

I think America is obsessed with money and careers. You know what? It doesn’t matter so much the career that one takes if there is passion and purpose behind it. If you want to be a street sweeper then go for it. There is respect in working hard and not just collecting hand out and doing nothing.

Jim Guittard
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Bulgaria
Dallas, Texas

February 16, 2003

Posted in Life by guittard on February 16, 2009

So it has been six years since an eventful night in my life.  I can still remember quite well.  I was living in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles at the time.  For three years, I was hitting the pavement in hopes of being a known musician.  But something knocked me down.

What knocked me down was a robbery.  It was in my Los Feliz apartment.  The place was ransacked and trashed and death threats were written all over the walls.  Why did it happen?    Because of shady contacts.  Yep!  Los Angeles has quite a bit.   The cops were called and the chips fell.

I was not in the apartment at the time of the robbery but had been there right before and left to go to a hotel in Pasadena because of a funny feeling.  I thought about taking my guitars but I didn’t and so three were stolen.  My apartment was broken into and a 12 String Guild acoustic, Electric Fender B-Bender and a Fender Jazz Bass were stolen. 

I was betrayed in a big way.  I now forgive the people that were responsible.  I never got the guitars back.  They may be around Los Angeles somewhere.  My Rickenbackers survived the robbery.  I guess they are a bit holy. 

It is good for you to be stripped of your possessions at times.  What is it anyway?  Property and meaningless.  I picked up my guitars again after recovering back in Texas from the whole ordeal.

 The door was busted open and it said something like “West Side Gangsters” written on the inside of the door.  Straight into the apartment ahead was my bedroom, the door was shut but hanging on the door was a note of some kind saying something like, “We know where you are and will kill you.”  My entrance was the second door on the lower level as the picture will show. 

Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California

los-feliz-los-angeles-california

 I remember rightfully being paranoid while inside and found a suspicious looking thing that I didn’t know what it was.  It almost looked like a handmade bomb.  I called the police out again and this was in 2003 you know and the cops came out with their dogs to see what it was.  It was nothing.  They taped off the whole street and I sat on a wall down the street and played like I knew nothing.  It was embarrassing.  Old ladies were being escorted across the street and I just said, “must be a terrorism scare or something” when people would ask what was going on.

So for a week, I stayed at the Westway Inn across from the Pasadena City College.  It was a new low and I wondered what to do next.  I had actually put a down payment down on a new apartment that was cheaper and in Van Nuys, California.  When I got on the phone with mom, she said it was time to come home.  I got a U-Haul and got out of there.   I maxed out my Discover Card and lost the deposit on the both apartments.  I hadn’t even moved into the second one.  Let’s just say I was depressed as everything.  

Back in Texas, I didn’t pursue charges.  It wasn’t worth it.  I had been through enough and so had the person I was trying to help.  God knows what happened and I let it go.  I think I made the right decision. 

The Pasadena Westway Inn

westway-inn-pasadena-california

 I wrote a song around this time about the thing I was dealing with.  It’s called “Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs.”  The song is country-rock and I was listening to a lot of Johnny Cash at the time so it came out this way. 

 Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs

The lyrics are:

Confusion, Lies, Guns and Drugs

I woke up this morning half past two.
My only problem is where are you.
You ran off with another guy.
I don’t know why.

Confusion, Lies, Guns and Drugs. 2X

We’ve been through this many a time.
It’s starting to be a crime.
Give up the jerk with the gun.
Let’s have some fun.

Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs 2X

I just don’t know what you see in him.
It seems like it’s just a whim.
He doesn’t like you for who you are.
It’s just a game.

Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs 2X

Ya gotta clear your mind, choose the Way.
It’ll be a brand new day.
Give up the junk and soon you’ll see.
I promise you.

No more confusion, lies, guns and drugs. 2X

Feel free to download my “California Daze” album for free that I did in 2002 here:
California Daze

Time Between

Posted in Change, Family, Music, Risk and the Unknown, Society by guittard on May 9, 2008

From my journal on March 21, 2004 Dallas, Texas:

I am out on the balcony of my grandparents 2-story home smoking an Indian Bidis cigarette in the dark sneaking around like I am a child. I am 30 years old with nothing concrete to show.

As I sit and breathe in and out, I feel that familiar sinking, pushing down feeling on me. The fear and anxiety grips me along with the regret of much of my life. The feeling is that I should have spoken up for myself and not pretended that all was fine.

I’ve been in my current living situation for about seven months. I have never wanted to be like everybody else, to live an insignificant life of mediocrity. I just never knew my thing or felt confident enough to express it.

I think back on my college days in Colorado and the years I wasted going through the motions. I remember watching on late night cable “The Lost Weekend” where the actor locks himself up in his apartment to try to shake the booze cravings and to be a writer. Shame and fear or whatever else always kept him down. For me it was the fear of the unknown that got me caught up or the fear of breaking from tradition or the mold.

Fastforward to today 2008.

I guess, enough is enough, right?

Well, I have been in Bulgaria for the past two years with the Peace Corps teaching English at a high school. Not really teaching, mostly supervising. Ha, ha, ha….

Jim - Sofia, Bulgaria

I told you I wanted to do things different. I have been writing songs and posting about my experiences in a foreign culture. It is pretty foreign. I have even written some songs in the Bulgarian language.

Gangster by Jim Guittard

Stachkata by Jim Guittard

Blog title comes from Chris Hillman’s song on The Byrds 1967 Album “Younger Than Yesterday”

Influencing Society Through Music

Posted in Change, Good Music, Music, Society by guittard on May 7, 2008

Today’s mainstream music is not very healthy for the average person’s psyche. It leaves most people going in circles and never resolving anything, only hoping to win the lotto of material wealth and fame.

Music in the past had worthwhile messages and often empowered the listeners to strive for something good and meaningful. Nowadays, the listeners are often led on selfish head trips that do not empower at all but rather cripple.

Much of the music of the past was geared to correct society’s problems. Now, music is rather limited in its focus. The main focus is on appearance, material gain and other rather selfish themes. Take a look at MTV for evidence.

Plato

In Plato’s, The Republic, the role of music was discussed for the ideal state. In the ideal state, harmonies which expressed excessive sorrow and relaxation were to be banished completely. In musical terms, Plato only allowed for two modes in songs and melodies: Dorian and Phrygian1 Probably, Spinal Tap’s sad piece, “Lick My Love Pump”, would have been banned.

The modern Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said in his Case of Wagner in 1888: “Only sick music makes money today.” I believe this quotation has much relevance to most of today’s mainstream music.

Here is the Top Ten hits from Top 40 Charts for May 2, 2008 for sales and airplays.

1. Lil Wayne – Lollipop
2. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
3. Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown – No Air
4. Usher & Young Jeezy – Love in This Club
5. Mariah Carey – Touch My Body
6. Madonna & Justin Timberlake – 4 minutes
7. Sara Bareilles – Love Song
8. Ray J & Jung Berg – Sexy Can I
9. Chris Brown – With You
10. Lupe Fiasco – Superstar

Let us examine some of the lyrics.

Partial lyrics Chris Brown – With You

‘Cause if I got you
I don’t need money
I don’t need cars
Girl you’re my heart

Mr. Brown’s implied message is good. He implies that material things are less important than people. I give him a thumbs up for good positive message.

Usher & Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Might as well give me a kiss, if we keep touching like this
I know you’re scared, baby, they don’t know what we’re doing.
Let’s both get undressed right here, keep it up and, girl, I swear.
I’m gonna give it to you non-stop.
And I don’t care, who’s watching.

I believe this is bad message that promotes impulse and lack of commitment. Thumbs down.

Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

Touch my body
Put me on the floor
Wrestle me around
Play with me some more
Touch my body
Throw me on the bed
I just wanna make you feel
Like you never did.
Touch my body
Let me wrap my thighs
All around your waist
Just a little taste
Touch my body
Know you love my curves
Come on and give me what I deserve
And touch my body….

Trash lyrics. Maybe Mariah is tired of the Paparazzi filming her and claiming they had relationship with her. Thumbs down for negative message. (oh boy).

Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Closed off from love
I didn’t need the pain
Once or twice was enough
And it was all in vain
Time starts to pass
Before you know it you’re frozen um ooh ooh ooh yeah

But something happened
For the very first time with you
My heart melts into the ground
Found something true
And everyone’s looking round
Thinking I’m going crazy

But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you
They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth
My heart’s crippled by the vein
That I keep on closing
You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
I keep bleeding
I keep, keep bleeding love
Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
You cut me open

Trying hard not to hear
But they talk so loud
Their piercing sounds fill my ears
Try to fill me with doubt
Yet I know that the goal
Is to keep me from falling

But nothing’s greater
Than the rush that comes with your embrace
And in this world of loneliness
I see your face
Yet everyone around me
Thinks that I’m going crazy, maybe, maybe….

I’ll give credit to Ms. Lewis for staying committed and fighting the good fight through the problems. This song is obviously about love. Thumbs up for positive message.

The music of the 1960s brought about change in a turbulent decade. The time was about questioning authority. George Harrison’s song “Think for Yourself” is a good example of the philosophy of the 1960s. Now people do not question authority much. We have become too satisfied with life. We have too much idle time and so we become obsessed with determining who has “The Sweetest Ass in the World”. If you do not know this song, look up Alex C. on google or youtube. These are the type songs that are not only popular but sell money today. I think Nietzsche would be having a fit!

David

In the past, music had the power to literally break down walls. In Biblical times the town of Jericho was liberated by music and sound. The walls surrounding Jericho came down from the loud blasts of trumpets and the shouting of priests. 2 The music set the people free. The music of today often keeps us in bondage to depression or to bad situation we are going through.

Another Biblical musical reference is about the Shepherd David. David was requested to calm down the anxiety-ridden king of Israel. In the King’s palace, David played his soothing harp. This is an example how music can be used to benefit mental health.3

Most of today’s music is aggressive but it makes sense with the War on Terrorism and Iraq both raging. There are so many bad vibes floating around. The workplace is also very volatile and up and down with lay-offs, wage freezes, and rumors of recession. Maybe we are all fed up with what is going on or we should be. We are in a fearful and uncertain time. It is often hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I believe that most people should be a little angry and fed up. If the person is not, then the person is probably numbed by anti-depressants or other pills. (Been there, done that). Living in the comfort zone of America, people have become too apathetic to break away from American Idol or the latest fad or trend.

In the 1960s, there were riots, protests, demonstrations, assassinations, the most turbulent of decades. Today is probably just as turbulent or more but where is the cry for change from the mainstream?

There are a few but it is limited. System of a Down has been one of the more outspoken bands about the war in Iraq.

B.Y.O.B.

Everybody’s going to the party have a real good time.
Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine.

In 1969, at Woodstock, Country Joe sang his famous protest song of the Vietnam War. Here is the first part of the lyrics.

Country Joe

I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die

Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He’s got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die….

The band, Rage Against the Machine has been outspoken on such issues as censorship and artistic freedom.

This is a very big issue in the music industry these days. Stay tuned…

To end on a positive note, here is a list of artists that have thoughtful and forward thinking messages and have meant a lot to me. You cannot go wrong here!!

1. Animals, The
2. Arlo Guthrie
3. Association, The
4. Band, The
5. Beach Boys, The
6. Beachwood Sparks
7. Beatles, The
8. Beck
9. Black Angels, The
10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
11. Bob Dylan
12. Bob Gibson
13. Brian Jonestown Massacre, The
14. Bruce Springsteen
15. Buffalo Springfield
16. Byrds, The
17. Canned Heat
18. Carl Perkins
19. Carter Family, The
20. Chi-lites, The
21. Chris Stills
22. Chuck Berry
23. Coasters, The
24. Counting Crows, The
25. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
26. Cure, The
27. Dandy Warhols, The
28. David Bowie
29. Deep Purple
30. Depeche Mode
31. Donovan
32. Doors, The
33. Edie Brickell
34. Elvis Presley
35. Fairpoint Convention
36. Flat People
37. Flying Burrito Brothers, The
38. Further
39. Gene Clark
40. George Harrison
41. Go-Kart Mozart
42. Gram Parsons
43. Grateful Dead, The
44. Hank Williams
45. INXS
46. Janis Joplin
47. Jay Farrar
48. Jefferson Airplane
49. Jesus and the Mary Chain
50. Jimi Hendrix
51. John Lennon
52. Johnny Cash
53. Kinks, The
54. Kula Shaker
55. Led Zeppellin
56. Left Banke
57. Lenny Kravitz
58. Little Richard
59. Lou Reed
60. Louvin Brothers, The
61. Love
62. Lovin’ Spoonful, The
63. Merle Haggard
64. Monkees, The
65. My Bloody Valentine
66. Mystic Chords of Memory
67. Neil Young
68. N.W.A.
69. Oasis
70. Paul McCartney
71. Pink Floyd
72. Poco
73. Police, The
74. Quarter After, the
75. Radiohead
76. Rage Against the Machine
77. Red Hot Chili Peppers
78. Richie Furay
79. Ride
80. Roger McGuinn
81. Rolling Stones, The
82. Ryan Adams
83. Sheryl Crow
84. Sly and the Family Stone
85. Simon and Garfunkle
86. Son Volt
87. Spacemen 3
88. Stephen Stills
89. Strawberry Alarm Clock
90. System of A Down
91. Thrills, The
92. Tom Petty
93. Troggs, The
94. Tyde, The
95. U2
96. Uncle Tupelo
97. Van Halen
98. Van Morrison
99. Velvet Underground, The
100. Violent Femmes, The
101. Warlocks, the
102. Who, The
103. Willie Nelson
104. Wiskey Biscuit
105. Wilco
106. Wings
107. Zombies, The
108. ZZ Top


up1Plato. Republic. Trans. Benjamin Jowett.

up2 Josh. 6:20

up3 1 Sam. 16:23