Ay! Rude Boy. Wha’Gwan?

by Honest Babe on August 17, 2015


Backside! It be hottah den a bumbaclot right now. Rotten…g’wan cool off wit deh boy Speciale. Make err-ting irie:

The Specials – A Message to You Rudy
The Specials – Ghost Town
The Specials – Blank Expression
The Specials – Friday Night, Saturday Morning
The Specials – Too Much Too Young
The Specials – Little Bitch

And if you find yourself in need of more sound happiness and less piss-poor patois, just know you can never go wrong with Desmond Dekker to stifle the heat.


Paradise Found Cafe

by Honest Babe on August 6, 2015

631074-15971a70-3a61-11e5-b6c9-4599ee2e8c2e“Roast beef.”


“Roast beef is good.”

“Yeah. So what?”

“I’m just saying, when it’s cut, ya know – thin. It can be pretty good.”

“Oh yeah.”

“But ya gotta have it extra thin. Not shaved, though. It becomes a whole big mound-o-mush if it’s shaved.”


“Now Prah-schuit, on the other hand. Don’t even get me stawted. You need to be able to see through that stuff. Ya know.”

“Can we change the topic?”

The third, largest and most daunting man of the three sixty-year-olds had finally had it. They were all hunched atop one another, hovering over a tiny table in the cafe of Barnes and Noble and the man was finally taking a stand. Cold-cuts be damned.

“To what?” Inquired the deli-meat-dilettante.

“I don’t know.” The large man with a kris-kringle nose answered. “Egg Salad.”

“Oh don’t even get me stawted,” It was apparent, people were always getting him started. “The celery. The celery needs a good dicing. Ya just can’t chop that stuff. Too much celery’ll ruin your day.”

“I thought that was onion,” chimed the silent, smiley man. He was perched in such a carefree manner that he seemed more along for the ride than food critic extraordinaire like his two sharp-tongued brethren.

“Gawlic, too. But we’re talkin’ about egg salad here. Even us eye-talians aren’t foolish enough to do somethin’ like that. Gawlic in egg salad is like pineapple on pizza..or fruit in beer. Death by tastebuds.” All three mildly nodded in content agreement. “And see, that’s why you use chives – not onions. Chives are softer. And the celery. Gah..” The man gasped an awful gasp, wistful of a bad batch he once suffered through some many years ago at a family pot-luck. “Too much celery is like too much sex at our age. More pain than pleasure.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“Talk to me after two hip-replacements, Joe.”

“I don’t care if I’m bed-ridden!” Joe proclaimed. “Some things will still be ridden.”

“Your talkin’ about your celery stalk, I presume. That is, if it hasn’t turned to complete mush by then.”

“Don’t you softees worry ’bout me.” He tapped his shirt breast pocket. “Carry me a Blue wherever I go.”

The three men chuckled lightly and the cold-cut-connoisseur got right back on track as to what makes up a good egg salad. It would be hard to qualify this leisurely afternoon get together as a foodie meet-up, and more just three opinionated grumps whom all thoroughly enjoyed chatting about their weekly diets. There was more to their convo than that, one can be sure, what with the wide variety of newspapers and books and magazines that covered the tiny table but one had a feeling that these men liked to dwell. Old age allows that, you know. Time to dwell. Time to sit and wonder and chat. And well, the antics that come attached to a good dwelling’s backside had turned this particular group’s light-hearted gathering more art form than passage of time.

“Tuna!” The man rang out as the labeling of the salad was altered. “Blasphemy. The thing should never be cooked, let alone slathered with mayo.”

“Hm. I’ve always been an albacore man, muhself.” Said the silent man, once again.

“You would be, Ted. You have no sense of smell.”

“The hell’s ‘at supposed to mean?”

“You like pickled eggs, Ted.” The man leaned in. “Pickled. Eggs.”

“Hay. I was raised on ‘em!”

“Yeah. Well. I like eatin’ ass just as much as the next man but that certainly don’t mean I want a fart to the face.”

Riotous, would be the word you’re looking for here.

And so they were.


I meant to start this thing off with how a Barnes and Noble cafe would be, most of the time, more accurately labeled Paradise Lost Cafe. A cold, conversation-less, unnatural place surrounded by everything that is well, in my book, natural. And yet most who frequent Barnes and Noble Cafes seem to be completely indifferent to the treasures that lay stacked and shelved all about them. But it was these men, these boyish old men who provided me with more than just an argument in the against, they provided me with a reason to return. And as their conversation waned on, ebbing and flowing while masterfully whizzing all topics around food – from literature to politics to yes, sex – sustenance remained sustenance, and humor was an essential ingredient to their dazzling recipe. It was in those elated times, those joyous and encouraging moments of dialogue, when the men’s faces turned buoyant; seemingly untouched by gravity, unmarred by time and the insidious pains of growing old, did I finally find my way into the tunes of one, Mac Demarco.

What might read like a labored segue couldn’t be any closer to the heart of it – to the discovery of Paradise Found Cafe. For underneath the easy going, lazy-days vibes and lovey-dovey haze of this Canadian goober, resides a much more subtle quality to his music. And it was found on the faces of those men. It is, by all means, a refusal to believe that growing old must also come included with that nasty rider of growing up. It is why this young, purposefully immature lad has self-proclaimed his genre of music to be “jizz-jazz” and no doubt the same reason why, when we see our elderly giants dance about or joke around or even flicker a smile, we lose ourselves. It gives us hope, doesn’t it? The thought that we too, will someday be old and despite weathering the worst of what life has to offer, still know that everything will be okay. Better than that, worth laughing about, smiling too, and yes, from time to time should the hip permit it, shakin’ a tail-feather. It somehow reminds us that everything is worth the struggle of growing old. Worth the struggle in general, which is nothing short of Paradise Found if you ask me. Never would I have guessed it to be unearthed in a Barnes and Noble Cafe, but hey, that is what happens when you combine the soundtrack of your life with the monitor on display.

And boy, what a lovely channel it was:

Mac Demarco – The Way You’d Love Her (Instrumental)
Mac Demarco – Another One
Mac Demarco – No Other Heart
Mac Demarco – Just Put Me Down
Mac Demarco – A Heart Like Hers (Instrumental)
Mac Demarco – I’ve Been Waiting For Her
Mac Demarco – Without Me
Mac Demarco – My House By The Water (Instrumental)

And if you’re still on the fence about Mac, give his Salad Days album a whirl. It still holds true as one of my favorite albums to revisit when the sun is shining.


Life On A Loop

by Honest Babe on July 31, 2015

A pretty damned enjoyable loop.


We’re On The Way, Ms. Tillman.

by Honest Babe on July 30, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 9.20.17 PMDirectly.

Bertha Tillman – Oh My Angel


Straight Bubblegum

by Honest Babe on July 29, 2015


A kiddish delight, Tame Impala’s “Disciples” is like the never-ending gobstopper, except better…’cuz it’s not a gobstopper. Simply put, this is two minutes of blowing bubbles with your favorite childhood gum (ahem, Bubblicious Lightning Lemonade – the original!) that will never ever lose its flavor:

Tame Impala – Disciples


Highly Acidic

by Honest Babe on July 26, 2015

unknown-mortal-orchestraIf you’ll spare me one deep thought today, on what is this your leisurely Sunday, please let it be regarding the marriage of music and drugs. Whoa. Deep waters. I know. But, hey. This is the kiddie pool after all, and if you’re frowning now as you mellow in the yellow, luke-warm waters of this here blog, just wait till little Tommy Johnson dives in. His “SNICKERS ATTACK!” turds are legendary round these parts.

Now, where was I? Ah yes, an overrated marriage. Let me just say that I’m not calling for an out and out divorce, but I have long been of the contention that music should stand on its own, a drug apart. Bear with me here. If substance is needed for music to be enjoyable, let alone endurable (ahem EDM), then I think it is safe to say we’ve fallen off the wagon. Then again, if it enhances the experience, perhaps there is some wiggle room in that wagon’s hitch for me to latch onto but! I say to you, acid-heads, EDM’ers, and scene-queens alike, when the rolling has lost it’s slope, when the hill has done run off and become valley flat land – if the music then loses its edge, don’t you think its time to lose the music?

I’m not much for argument, obviously. But what I do offer is cold hard fact that in every realm, in every genre, genius is abound. In my opinion, all it takes is listening through a clear lens to allow all that extra slack to fall to the waste side. Suffice it to say what you might find amidst sobering sound is something pristine, something worthy of everyone’s time despite their reservation, something like Los Angeles’ Unknown Mortal Orchestra. A band who has taken acid rock and turned it more acid than rock, more drug than music, more feeling than sound.

Whether you’re a day-tripper or square-headed poindexter, the music-gods agree – this a journey you need to take. It is just as mind altering as any tab found on the street corner of Haight-Ashbury circa 1967. And that’s not even the best part. The best part is that it is downright catchy and comes pure without all the corrosive social paranoia and tie-die-tainted style that made all ‘em damned hippies so justly deplorable. That said, they were onto something, said longhaired folk, and that something is this:

Free Love.


Love as it should be:


 Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Can’t Keep Checkin’ My Phone
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – The World Is Crowded
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Necessary Evil
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Ur Life One Night
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Like Acid Rain
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Stage or Screen
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Puzzles


On The Smelling Of Too Many Tulips

by Honest Babe on July 22, 2015


Soft Rock Brunch, A Soundtrack

by Honest Babe on July 21, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.55.54 AM

Nick Lowe – So It Goes
Todd Rundgren – I Saw The Light
Bobby Caldwell – All of My Love
Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love
Andy Gibb – I Just Want To Be Your Everything
Ambrosia – Biggest Part of Me
Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time
Phil Collins – I’m Not Moving
Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby
England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Love To See You Tonight
Bobby Caldwell – Coming Down From Love
The Cars – Drive
Billy Joel – Prelude/Angry Young Man
Elton John – Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Bee Gees – Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)


My Sweet Sad Saranac

by Honest Babe on July 19, 2015




I don’t know why but when I first learned of the name of the lake town I vacationed at this past week, it reminded me of a sap or a syrup of some sort. A close relative to Maple. It had a certain ring to it. One that was less a place on the map and more a label found on a sweet liqueur that was to be drizzled on memories, enjoyed and then remembered. I hadn’t known it then, but the name itself lended a more accurate portrayal of the town than anything a brochure or picturesque view had to offer.

It also offered the truth about syrup.
It’s only good for you if you enjoy it one week out of the year.


“And let me tell you somethin. Diss ain’t Saranac. Diss Saranac Lake.” 

The youthful man with a sunburnt face was teetering on a stool, ball cap on. He looked down at my book laying on the bar top and told me I made life look good. He then immediately retracted his statement and said, “No, you don’t make it look good. You got it all figured out. Yeah. That’s it. You got life’s number.” I asked him what he meant and he told me that “you look all smart and shit with a book at a bar and you prolly attract the right kind-a-women.”

I had to hand it to him. The drunk had me figured out inside of the first five minutes of meeting him. It was about 1:45 in the morning so sharp insight and penetrating wisdom come easier then. All that fog and uncertainty of sobriety gets pushed aside. Clarity and spins are all that’s left.

Hannah was sitting to my right and had snorted her nose at the remark. She was entering some new form of cerebral palsy courtesy of Hendricks Gin. She was the first person I met in the small, and what at first glance might be well-labeled “quaint” town of Saranac Lake. Her personality had devolved mightily from the gentle yet husky intellectual to the now loud, under-appreciated big mind in a small town.

“And just what the hell’s the right-kinda-woman?” She shot a bullet past my head.

“A smart woman.” The man rebuffed.

“You’re full-a-shit.”

“What’s it to you?”

“You mean a smart woman that looks like Kate Upton.”

He waived her off.

“And I got news for you, Kate Upton duhddn’t know jack-shit.” She polished off her martini and waived around the empty for another.

It was about time for me to go. Hannah wasn’t necessarily the most attractive gal that ever existed – her round and dumpy shoulders, her unruly hair, her acne that decided to hang around long after puberty’s end – and her anger toward the rotten hand she’d been dealt was now starting to spill out in all directions. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This was late night at Grizzly T’s, and I’ve done jumped over The Watering Hole.

The Hole, as it is so affectionately called, had personality. I’ll give it that. And fittingly a dark one – you had to walk through tethered regulars smoking outside to make it to the door, or shall I say, opening between two two-by-fours. The inside looked sweet and smelt otherwise. Must hung in the air while Charm and all her cousins were off sipping tea in some yuppie shop ten miles away in Lake Placid. With cement floors and cheap-pony-budweiser-bottle-lights dangling around the many kodak moments posted to the wall, The Watering Hole offered everything you’d expect a hole to offer. Particularly the problem of getting out once you’ve fallen in. And if you’d take only a split second to peruse the characters swaying about the pool table, the lot of them sideways and subservient to The Grateful Dead blaring through shitty speakers, you’d quickly notice these people would never get out. There was something different to the dancing loons, though. Unlike the bartender and Hannah who were now taking in this group swirling around each other, bumping and grazing and well, rolling, there was a cloud of obviousness setting in that they were not of the same make-up as the other regulars who sat barside and chatty.

“Hey Murph. Tonight’s weird,” I overheard Hannah say to the bartender as he passed by.

He jostled his flat-brimmed Cleveland Indians hat and half-heartedly observed the dancing crew who looked as if they’d spent the night in a field. The oblivious smattering of dirty knees and scraped-up shins backed by a peculiar odor turned the observation fact. He shrugged them off, “Aren’t they all?”

She nodded to him and kept after the drink. I looked at the group once more. Dirty birkenstocks and crusty elbows with bruises all about their appendages, their clothes loose and ragged and unimportant; they looked like dead heads. Zoned out droids vibing the jam-rock they’d been blaring since I walked in. Looks, however, retain their special knack for being deceiving for these weren’t acid heads, you could see it in their eyes. There was a hopelessness there. A certain glaze gone awry. Absolute disconnect. It was a look they gave to one another that said not what will we do next…but when will we do next.

It was the look of heroin.

A sad sight.

I felt an inherent need to make light of the dark spectacle before us and saw no other way around it then to knock it on the nose. “So,” I said toward Murph and Hannah, “Saturdays your usual heroin scene here in Saranac?”

The two of them glanced at me quick and unsure, but they could tell by my cheap budweiser-breath that I was not only cracking a joke, but had found that rare funny bone of social commentary when a joke lands truthfully and in this case, all too flatly. They both offered slight chuckles but the oxygen in the room was being sucked out by the mindless zombies all around us and well, at that moment in time, it didn’t matter if Louis C.K. or Amy Schumer were lighting up your neurons, you can’t laugh in a vacuum.

“That is a ridiculously accurate description of what this is right now.” Hannah said. We drank some more and tried to shift the convo away from such heavy sludge. She added anecdote, “Saranac is a drinking town with an art problem.” I laughed and told her that was genius, but before I could add anything else, she’d pulled her head back from the lifeless and finished what was her original intent, “A high art problem.”

Murph nodded in full agreement, “Gonna have my hands full tonight.”

We introduced ourselves and things quickly digressed. The addicts danced smiley and arrhythmic and gross…they weren’t bound to last. Heroin never does. Then came the aged drunks who had staying power, arguing over a two-dollar game of pool and who took who’s spot in line. An argument that got loud and heated and had to be settled by Murphy, who in the end, blatantly told them that he “could give two shits whose turn it was. It’s pool.” The matter was settled over a flipped coin and so lived on the nightly antics of The Watering Hole.


“It wasn’t supposed to be like this when I got back!” The man yelled, or more so announced, to the entire bar. The Watering Hole didn’t respond. He seemed upset over his tours abroad. I felt for him at first. But his tone and volume soon changed and there was no question about it, he didn’t want sympathy. He wanted attention. “I JUST GOT BACK FROM IRAQ GODDAMMIT!” He slammed his fist down on the bar, hard. “AND IT WUHDN’T SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THIS!” He flexed every muscle in his body, gritting his teeth and Murphy had to walk over to see what had set him off.

Hannah rolled her eyes, “Fucking christ Cody. Not this shit again.” I didn’t know what to say – any vet dealing with issues from serving always had in my mind, every right to be fucked up in public. Hannah had other views on the matter. “He’s been doing this shit for three fucking years.” She continued under her breath, “We’re fucking tired of it. Either get help or move on. This is fucking bullshit.”

I heard Murph ask him what was the matter and his answer was that, “I JUST GOT BACK FROM IRAQ AND NOONE GIVES A SHIT!”

“FUCK YOU CODY!” Hannah yelled. “We all fucking care, we care a lot! So shut the fuck up!”



I had never seen this before. Every vet I had ever been around had never talked about the war in which they served. All of them had purposefully kept it tucked away and hidden – most of them aware that any of it not only put the listener in an awkward position, but might put themselves in an even worse position of revisiting memories unwanted, and embarrassment and shame unwarranted. I stayed quiet and let things resolve as they had the past three years – with Murphy buying him a shot and Hannah scouring.

Four hours would go by and offer much surrounding Cody’s initial outburst. I soon learned he didn’t want attention so much as he wanted female attention. He had his shirt unbuttoned to below his sternum with a ball cap on that read “BORDER PATROL” in big bad print. He’d constantly pull his shirt open a little wider to reveal his pec-deck and then take the hat off, run his hand through his fine but unwashed hair and bounce his eyeballs around the room in hopes that the move would pull some tail his way. He wasn’t bad looking so I didn’t get the need for such animation. Seriously, he looked like Bradley Cooper before he put on the weight for American Sniper. It’s an eery correlation I know, but the man didn’t need to do anything to get attention. And then I heard him speak and realized he did.

There was a reason all females migrated in the opposite direction.

He was slime.

I overheard him telling a woman how hard it was to lose four of his best friends while he was the only one who made it back alive. And then, just when you thought he’d deliver a line about how much he genuinely missed them and loved them so, he instead pulled the girl close and tried to throw his tongue down her throat. Do keep in mind this was on the fifth minute of meeting her. She casually pulled away and he, in turn, screamed at Murphy for another drink. Granted, this is an unfair assessment for this is only one assessment. The man had already been skeezing on other women throughout the entire night, a predator lurking in the shadows, using his woes to hopefully pull their sleeve-hole his way. He used words like honor and loyalty to describe fallen comrades all in hopes of it landing him a blowjob. Surely, this could be less about him being a lousy man who served and more so just about him being a lousy man. But, I don’t know. The way he spoke made me think long and hard about his friends who didn’t come back. I wondered if they were granted perfect knowledge in the afterlife and could somehow find sense in their friend’s actions. I couldn’t find anything and don’t suppose I ever will…I never served.


And then came the real show. In a matter of seconds, The Watering Hole went from the diviest of dive bars – drugs and degenerates included – to a shoebox doused in Armani bumping bad touchtunes house-tech, packed to the gills with blacked-out-bros, a few of which were completely shirtless walking around with tiki torches like indigenous males celebrating a grand hunt; and the women too, were dolled-up with four-inch-heeled stilettos and tight-dresses that made them seem ready for a night out in the MeatPacking district. All of them convinced that this was probably their best course of action for getting laid. I was convinced of bad music to come.

“This is what happens when the one place in town that plays techno closes down.” Hannah said.

Murphy’s eyes were inconsolable as the drunken pile of cavemen and cave-women descended upon the bar. The bros grunted at each other and wrestled. They were gym rats and were tanned unnaturally even. I thought about asking the darkest man in the room how he rotates so smoothly but I kept my trap shut. The old pool-playing drunkards couldn’t handle the new scene and immediately gave up real estate at the bar to two girls in zebra-printed dresses who, after taking in the bars options for drinks, looked at Murphy dead in the eye and said, in a rather awesome display of disbelief, “This! This is all you have!?” 

Murphy, used to such a reaction from such girls calmly said, “that is all we have.”

They ordered a half-cranberry, half-orange juice vodka soda. Whoever said people aren’t defined by what they order is a liar.

Hannah nibbled at my ear the rest of the night with delicious insight into just who and what made up Saranac and as the shirtless, deodorant-free cologne-riddled men of the wedding party moved our way, she said it was time to head to Grizzly T’s.


There isn’t too much to say about Saranac’s neighboring town of Lake Placid except it had taken a turn toward yuppieville after the 1980 olympics and saw fit to never look back. The result is a street front on the beautiful Mirror Lake with absolutely no character. I mean, it is there on the surface – your parents might enjoy Lake Placid – but when things are manicured to such an exhausted point that all buildings purposefully look the way they do, what you get is not the authentic charm and warmth of an antique, but a modern day piece of flimsy plywood, cold and stained and lacquered and reeking of the kind of affluence that doesn’t give a fuck what anything looks like so long as it looks like money.

If I come off a tad harsh, forgive me. I’m sure many-a-people love these small lake towns. I guess my voice stems from the underlying feeling of Saranac that also radiated from the locals of Placid. It wasn’t so much disenchantment as it was disaffection – a complete and utter indifference to the beautiful town in which they resided. It was unsettling. If the evergreens have lost their potency, if the mountains have lost their power, if the crystal clear lake has lost all its rejuvenating and therapeutic wonders, who are we to not draw concern?

My interest in the year-rounders of these towns was peaked by a conversation between bartender and patron in Lake Placid’s Zig-Zags.

“Hey, how ya doing’ gary.” the bartender asked.

“Oh ya know,” Gary said, “just waiting for jeopardy to start.”

It was noonish.

Aside from it being a brilliant and hilarious quote, it revealed something a little more obvious about the town that all vacationers miss. It was that of an unendurable boredom. An inescapable reality that made nature a spiteful part of life. That the reason you were stuck in this hell-hole was because of the lovely sights and sounds. They then became your enemy, and the tourists, your master.

The thought saddened me whole.


“I wanted to write once…” Hannah choked on her own words. “I used to write all the time. And then we moved here and I sort of just let myself go. I got comfortable.” She found solace in her drink for a bit and then continued, determined to get it out. “I mean, I don’t even make it to Lake Placid anymore…can you believe that? Ten miles and even that seems too far…” I nodded but had nothing to offer. It was now 2AM and all that aforementioned wisdom was nowhere to be found. The spins were all that was left. “I don’t know what it was or how it happened, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to leave this place. How pathetic is that?”

Her eyes welled up and she got up and left, without a goodbye.

It was something in her tears that finally brought about the truth that lie hidden deep underneath the waters’ surface of these lake towns. And there in the stillness of fresh, salt-watered eyes was the markings of a post-modern western, insomuch that there wasn’t your classic bad guy anymore, no. There was just a bad town, suffering from the one villain whose tenacity can still trump the beauty that are the Adirondacks, the one villain who corrodes the soul of vacation-towns up and down the eastern seaboard. And this downer doesn’t have the joy of going back to the real world and what everyone else considers work, play and love. No, this downer stays put, and hunkers down in the long frozen winter, settling in the liver of those we call local.

It beats its drum slowly.
If you listen close enough,
there is a chorus of golden hearts
who long for a sweeter rhythm.

Should you ever visit a vacation town,
be sure to give them your best smile.
Never will you find yourself around a peoples
more hopeful nor more willing to smile back.

My Sweet Sad Saranac.

Screen Shot 2015-07-18 at 8.35.58 PMThe album is Hot Dreams and the band is Timber Timbre. It is the definitive soundtrack to the post-modern western:

Timber Timbre – Beat the Drum Slowly
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Timber Timbre – Curtains!?
Timber Timbre – Bring Me Simple Men
Timber Timbre – Resurrection Drive Part II
Timber Timbre – Grand Canyon
Timber Timbre – This Low Commotion
Timber Timbre – The New Tomorrow
Timber Timbre – Run from Me
Timber Timbre – The Three Sisters



by Honest Babe on July 9, 2015


As the great Don Henley once put it, enjoy this boy of summer ‘fore he’s gone. Though I don’t reckon Michigan’s Garrett Borns is going anywhere fast, save maybe the beach via your throwback boombox or the front-line of a music festival near you. Either way, just know his latest self-titled EP, BØRNS, is pop music done right. And you know what that means…love it now, hate it later, then love it again seven years from now:

BØRNS – 10,000 Emerald Pools
BØRNS – Electric Love
BØRNS – Past Lives
BØRNS – Seeing Stars