Tuesday, December 30, 2008

$1 IOU towards McDonald's purchase, written on the back of a Taco Bell receipt, found inside Dan Quayle's autobiography.

I was in Goodwill the other day, looking through their used books.

I found the autobiography of Dan Quayle (see cover below):

While flipping through the photos in the middle of Dan's childhood, I found this:


It's an IOU for $1 to make a purchase at McDonald's, and it's written on the back of a Taco Bell receipt.

In sum, a $1 IOU towards McDonald's purchase, written on the back of a Taco Bell receipt, found inside Dan Quayle's autobiography.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008, great ... 2009, fine

2008, great:

-- Found gainful employment at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an amazing school full of great teachers and inspiring kids.

-- Toured in my veggie oil car with Willis and Will in a glorious, disastrous tour up and down the West coast... played on KEXP in Seattle, smoked the medicine in Humboldt, played in Chris' backyard, tested the limits of my endurance and sanity.

-- Put out 2 albums and 2 tapes with SUNSET to some alright reviews and some good play on college radio; put out a covers album / book containing my poetry and photography... under my own name... on Tired Trails.

-- Made video for every song on "Bright Blue Dream," initiating my own version of the "video album," to be hopefully expanded in the future.

-- Re-started the S.W.A.K. zine, putting out #2 : "The Exquisite Corpse Issue."

-- Started an excellent compost pile and laid out plans for a chicken coop. Fresh eggs from the farmer's market every Saturday morning will be hard to beat, but I'll try.

-- Brewed my own successful batch of Kombucha tea. No more getting ripped off by G.T.

-- Visited Mike in Germany, went to Verdun (site of the deadliest single battle in recorded human history), the Hermann Hesse museum / home in Calw... also Strasbourg and Swabia.

-- Went to New Orleans for 3 days and went out to the barrier islands and Lake Pontchatrain and finally grasped what a fucked situation New Orleans is in...

-- Moved out of Big Orange, closing the chapter on a turbulent, creative, joyous, and painful period of my life.

-- Toured the East Coast with SUNSET: hung with Elizabeth in Brooklyn, played a Quaker school in North Carolina, stayed on the beach at Cape Cod for 2 glorious days.

-- Lots of awesome local shows, especially with the Weird Weeds at the Cactus, playing the skate video opening at the Broken Neck, and the stripped down set at Progress Coffee with Brazos.

-- All-night recording sessions at Wire Recorders... elation and group dynamics... more recording at Premium and some at Big Orange too, before I moved out. Some really amazing productive days with my bestest friends.

-- Camped 10 days with John in Mexico, writing nearly 60 pages on my typewriter, most of which is crap and unusable... my hesitant first step towards the book I've always carried inside.

-- Read and/or re-read many great books, including amazing works by Aldo Leopold, Howard Zinn, Jack London, Andre Gide, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, John Cage, Walt Whitman, Arthur Rimbaud, Knut Hamsun, Henry David Thoreau, and Jim Woodring. Amazing books hit me hard this year.

-- Scored music for two short films and contributed songs to 2 other films.


2009, fine:

-- More working with the awesome kids at the School for the Blind.

-- Lots more amazing books to read... I have them piled up. Looking forward to some Balzac... that's next on my list.

-- Recording my Dad's song that's a tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and making a video of the footage I shot when we visited.

-- 34 minute long drone album... finally finishing the piece initially commissioned for Sam Sanford's "Long Distance Relationship" art show.

-- SUNSET's 1st 7" record and lots more rock shows, and hopefully getting back to the craziness and theatricality and quiet lush rocking-ness. If the 7" does well, maybe another.

-- East Coast tour with Oh Be Joyful.

-- Running the half-marathon on February 15th.

-- More paintings and collages and photography.

-- Another album under my own name, and hopefully some solo shows doing folk songs and stranger stuff and maybe some drone shows too.

-- Finishing the pile of SUNSET songs now staring me in the face and finding a label to put them out.

-- Ballroom dancing lessons. Yes, for real, I'm doing this.

-- Travelling to India and visiting some ashrams in the foothills. Maybe some volunteer work if I can line it up.

-- Full U.S. tour in the veggie oil wagon, with the full band !

-- More poetry to fill out the first volume of self-published poetry to come out 2009 or 2010 or maybe never.

-- S.W.A.K. #3

-- Another edition of "Candle-lit Television Eyes," my ongoing DVD-r series.

-- Sort through these 30 or so un-transferred mini-DV tapes. Something good might be in there.

-- More procrastinating thoughts on further education. Who needs school anyhow?

Here are some of my favorite photos of the year:

Hope your year was as fantastic as mine. See you next time.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cirque de Soleil; Dave Bryant

Cirque de Soleil recently contacted me, searching for musicians to perform in their newest musical based on the life and music of Elvis Presley. This is my audition tape:

I am fairly certain I won't be getting in.

I also made a video for Dave Bryant (on a song I produced and recorded):

Not sure if he'll like it or not. Hi Dave!

Monday, December 15, 2008

SWAK is back. Some updates.

I took a long break for no real reason. Just wanted to disappear for awhile. But I've got lots of good things coming up, so I wanted to start this blog back up and share everything that's going on.


First off, I wrote and recorded a song called "Christmas in Jail" for an Irish record label's Christmas album called "An Indiecater Christmas."

Purchasing info here.


Secondly, I have just released a new album through NYC's Tired Trails. It's an album of cover songs, stitched together in a beautiful book printed on recycled paper with banana leaf covers. It contains extensive track notes, black and white photography, and 2 poems. You can order them by emailing Jess, here : tiredtrails@gmail.com. They cost $12.50, postage paid with the U.S. Overseas I suppose you will have to pay an extra few bucks.

Here is my cover of Neil Young's "Expecting to Fly":
Expecting to Fly (Neil Young cover)

Full Tracklisting:

The Dirt (Mark David Ashworth)
Sea Song (Robert Wyatt)
Last Fall (Jared Van Fleet)
Shady Grove (Traditional)
The Ballad of Sammy Mudd (Sam Sanford)
I'll Be Here In the Morning (Townes Van Zandt)
Rake and Rambling Boy (Traditional)
Hot Burrito 2 Digit (Flying Burrito Brothers)
Expecting to Fly (Neil Young)
Walking After Midnight (Searching for Me) [Alan Block and Don Hecht c/o Patsy Cline]
Be Not So Fearful (Bill Fay)
Diamond Deserts (Bill Baird)
This Land Is Your Land (Woody Guthrie)

Here are some photos of the beautiful new books.


Lastly, Sunset is putting out a 45 rpm 7" record -- "Loveshines II" // "Not a Perfect Person (Looks Like I Fucked Up Again)" ! It looks awesome and sounds pretty good too. Something about vinyl makes me want to take a big bite out of it. Tactile joy.

"Loveshines II" was recorded live as a band, then we did a full band live overdub. So it's essentially 2 stacked live performances. This was part of a really great all-night session at Wire Recorders.

"Looks Like I Fucked Up Again" was written and recorded at 5am, later that night.

The record is set to be released February 9th ! And it only costs $4 !

Pre - order here:

North American orders:

International orders:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've traveled to Canada numerous times, and for numerous reasons. I've found the country expansive, the people warm, and the trees large. My last time up there, I was halfway through a grueling 6 week Sound Team tour. For about 4 straight weeks, I listened to nothing but the album "Lightness," an album by my friend Red, aka Peter and the Wolf. It was gentle and touching and affected me the way music should. I posted a track here that's short, sweet, and completely appropriate to this discussion.
Peter and the Wolf - Canada (off the album Lightness).

He has recorded several albums since "Lightness," although Lightness has gotten the most press.

About a year ago, I got together for an all-night session at Big Orange with Red and Josh Duke (Red's frequent collaborator and the dude who recorded "Lightness"). We recorded three complete songs; I played on two of them.

During this session, I was floored by Red's vocal range and skill at harmonies. I mean, this motherfucker would lay down like 10 tracks of perfect harmony, then come up with another idea and be like, "No, ditch that." And he would re-do the entire thing, without a mistake. Just knocking it out, over and over again, first takes every time. His ability and creativity that night inspired me.

The songs we recorded ended up on his latest disc, "The Ivori Palms."

Here's one of the tracks we made:

Better Days

That's Red on drums and piano, me on bass, and Josh on guitar. Tracked live, except for piano and some vocal overdubs. This track has such a great feel to it. You can tell we were pushing each other and having a lot of fun.

Red's an inspiring guy to record with. He follows the muse.

I encourage any and all folks to head over to Itunes and buy his albums. You will not regret the purchase.

And Red, if you want me to take down the mp3s, please send a shout. Just trying to draw attention to your sweet tunes.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I tried embedding it in high quality, but doesn't look like it worked. You can see the original here; make sure you choose the "high quality" option.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

George Orwell, Part 2

This is an incredible book. Very highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Did anybody else notice the band playing "Chain of Fools" either before or after Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention? Seriously. Seemed inappropriate, as most other songs were really uplifting and hinted at the democrats' eventual victory.

Do you think the band was secretly a bunch of republicans? That nutty Karl Rove. What a prankster. I bet he's behind this. We all know he's a very talented musician. Check this out:

I think I'd be laughing if my mouth wasn't filled with vomit.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


photo courtesy of nariposa.

I recently played with an ensemble of improv musicians, assembled to realize Chris Schlarb's album, "Twilight and Ghost Stories." We rehearsed and then played a show at Church of the Friendly Ghost.

I was able to collaborate in my humble way and added a different dimension to the largely insrumental performance. These were some of the best musicians I've ever played with... what a joy. Some very very talented people on that stage.

You can read Tiny Mix Tapes review of the show here. They describe my contribution as "wispy." I think that might be referring to my hair, though.

Chris Schlarb's own write-up of the show is here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

George Orwell

Entries from George Orwell's personal journal will be posted in blog form here. I heard some excerpts, and this should be well worth checking out on a daily basis. Blog posts start August 9th.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


This is a video I made for the band Peel. The song is called "Moxie Blues."

Josh Permenter = wyld stallion.

Somehow during the filming of this video, I managed to break Praveen's windshield with a squeegee. That was a wild night. Sorry bout that, Praveen. And thanks for helping me film.

Friday, July 25, 2008

S.W.A.K. #2, print edition

At long last, SWAK #2 has arrived. "The Exquisite Corpse" issue. Filled with lots of fantastic illustrations and exquisite corpse stories by Michael Baird, Michael Bain, John Kolar, Sam Miller, Willis McClung, Will Patterson and yours truly. Also photos from Sound Team's last tour, which was indeed exquisite and the band was shortly to be a corpse, so I guess it fits with the theme.

If you would like a copy, please paypal $4 ($2 plus $2 shipping) to: mortonbairdiii@yahoo.com

If you catch one of {{{SUNSET}}}'s shows, they will be on sale for only $2.

Monday, July 21, 2008

MANIFESTOS: Öyvind Fahlström, "Take Care of the World"

When I stopped in NYC for 5 days on Sunset's May tour, I hung some quality time with my cousin Liz, a talented furniture designer, and her boyfriend, Joel Stohr, an amazing artist himself and an instructor at the Parsons School of Design. Liz and I strolled Manhattan, managing to hit an open mike night ( I played first ), the New Museum, and some NYC bar where Lincoln apprarently drank... got sawdust on the floor and old photos on the wall and the strongest mustard I've ever tried, but seems to be mostly frat boyz in there these days. At the New Museum, I picked up a bright-yellow pamphlet originally printed in 1966 by the preeminent artists of the Fluxus movement. Contained within, I found a moving manifesto by Öyvind Fahlström; I've scanned it here. The spirit is undeniable, I think.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bill Moyers: "The Secret Government"

A very illuminating segment about CIA overthrow of foreign governments. Very innaresting... Hard to believe it aired on PBS. good job, Bill Moyers.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Last fall, I made a trip out to Cali for the premiere of "Near," a short by the super-awesome and talented Tom Gulager. I'd done the soundtrack work for the project. The short screened at AFI, this super-cool old building in Hollywood.

I headed out to Cali a few days early... Chris Colthart picked me up from the airport and we drove straight out to Joshua Tree for some primitive camping and other fun-ness. I made a short video of that trip. Hi Chris.

I am gonna play music at a pool party with Chris on August 9th in LA. Email for details, or just wait... I will post them when I get them.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Bill Moyers = an American hero. Born in East Texas, wrote for the Daily Texan at UT Austin, took on a summer internship that culminated in his post as LBJ's press secretary; he afterwards became a famous and controversial journalist who specialized in long-form interviews, investigative reporting, and thoughtful analysis (a direct descendent of Edward R. Murrow, a character recently depicted in "Good Night and Good Luck").

His willingness to hold account to those in power caused problems for him... he was accused of a "liberal bias." He was eventually forced out of his position at PBS by Kenneth Tomlinson, an old friend of Karl Rove who was later convicted of misusing funds and running his horse-racing business from his PBS office.
Excerpts from Bill Moyers' Wiki entry.

On the media and class warfare
In a 2003 interview with BuzzFlash.com, Moyers said, "The corporate right and the political right declared class warfare on working people a quarter of a century ago and they've won." He noted that "The rich are getting richer, which arguably wouldn't matter if the rising tide lifted all boats." Instead, however, "The inequality gap is the widest it's been since 1929; the middle class is besieged and the working poor are barely keeping their heads above water." He added that as "the corporate and governing elites are helping themselves to the spoils of victory," access to political power has become "who gets what and who pays for it."

Meanwhile, the public has failed to react because it is, in his words, "distracted by the media circus and news has been neutered or politicized for partisan purposes." In support of this he referred to "the paradox of Rush Limbaugh, ensconced in a Palm Beach mansion massaging the resentments across the country of white-knuckled wage earners, who are barely making ends meet in no small part because of the corporate and ideological forces for whom Rush has been a hero... As Eric Alterman reports in his recent book — a book that I'm proud to have helped make happen — part of the red meat strategy is to attack mainstream media relentlessly, knowing that if the press is effectively intimidated, either by the accusation of liberal bias or by a reporter's own mistaken belief in the charge's validity, the institutions that conservatives revere — corporate America, the military, organized religion, and their own ideological bastions of influence — will be able to escape scrutiny and increase their influence over American public life with relatively no challenge."

On media bias
When he retired in December 2004, the AP News Service quoted Moyers, "I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee. We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Moyers said: Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."

On Karl Rove and U.S. politics
During his speech at the "Take Back America" Conference, Moyers defined what he considered to be Karl Rove's influence on George W. Bush's administration. Moyers asserted that, from his reading of Rove, the mid to late 1800s were to Rove a "cherished period of American history." He further states, "From his own public comments and my reading of the record, it is apparent that Karl Rove has modeled the Bush presidency on that of William McKinley...and modeled himself on Mark Hanna, the man who virtually manufactured McKinley."

He stipulated that Hanna's primary "passion" was attending to corporate and imperial power.

Furthermore, Moyers indicates that Hanna gathered support for McKinley's presidential campaign from "the corporate interests of the day" and was responsible for Ohio and Washington coming under the rule of "bankers, railroads and public utility corporations." He submitted that political opponents of this transfer of power were "smeared as disturbers of the peace, socialists, anarchists, or worse."

Lastly, he refers to what historian Clinton Rossiter called the period of "the great train robbery of American intellectual history," when "conservatives--or better, pro-corporate apologists" began using terms such as "progress", "opportunity", and "individualism" in order to make "the plunder of America sound like divine right." He added that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was also used by conservative politicians, judges, and publicists to justify the idea of a "natural order of things" as well as "the notion that progress resulted from the elimination of the weak and the 'survival of the fittest.'"

He concludes, "This 'degenerate and unlovely age', as one historian calls it, exists in the mind of Karl Rove, the reputed brain of George W. Bush, as the seminal age of inspiration for the politics and governance of America today."

During coverage of the 2004 presidential election, Moyers stated, "I think that if Kerry were to win this in a tight race, I think that there would be an effort to mount a coup, quite frankly. I mean that the right wing is not going to accept it."

Sunday, June 29, 2008


In the original printing, he did not include his name, only a daguerrotype.

He refined and reworked it; he published 9 versions during his lifetime, each version a slight variation on the previous. The first edition contained 12 poems; the final or "deathbed" version contained almost 400.

The tireless revision and pursuit of one work to embody all his poetic effort... this inspires me.

Wikipedia entry

Friday, June 27, 2008

edwards aquifer

this is going to be a big big issue, very soon.

Of course, underlying the Bexar Co. development
skirmishes is the area's unique aquifer system.
Overlain by karst limestone pocked through like Swiss
cheese and peppered with caves, the water that drains
down from creeks, across dirty parking lots, or out of
wastewater discharge pipes receives very little
natural filtering before it enters the Edwards. From
there, it can move through San Antonio's drinking
reservoir at a rate of thousands of feet per day.
Increasingly, however, San Antonio's sprawling growth
has blanketed the Edwards' recharge zone, threatening
the historic purity of the aquifer water that has
allowed the San Antonio Water System and BexarMet to
pump, chlorinate, and deliver water to area homes and
businesses without the costly central water-treatment
plants found in most other cities. Groups such as the
Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance have long warned that
tighter controls are needed to prevent the
contamination of the Edwards.

Peace references New York City's decision in 2007 to
spend $300 million on land acquisition to protect its
watershed – a move expected to negate the need for a
treatment plant costing up to $10 billion (and
eventually passed along to customers in rate hikes).
Like San Antonio, New York City is one of only a
handful of cities that has not had to filter its water
because of the pristine job that natural systems
perform. But New York City planners had to remove land
from potential development to do it – not a popular
proposition among the political leadership in San
Antonio. "

full article here

myspace head explosion

Monday, June 23, 2008

Response from Plucker's ownwer

The owner of Plucker's emailed me back about my negative experience. This is impressive, I think. Quick, decisive action is often the mark of a good businessman.


Hi, my name is Dave Paul and I am the owner of Pluckers. I read your blog and wanted to contact you so I could send you a gift card for a free meal on us. It sounds like your experience at our store was not what it should have been. Please email me at dpaul@pluckers.net with a good mailing address I can send the gift card to.


Dave Paul


swimming with a t.v.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

my job.

right now i am working at the texas school for the blind and visually impaired as a resident instructor for the summer school session.

yesterday i took the kids on the bus to plucker's in west campus. they ordered "boneless chicken wings," which seemed strange to me.

i ordered waffle fries and had to send them back. they were cold and soggy.

pluckers had 16 television sets, many set to the same channel.

one of my kids, joseph, has shown incredible ability in guitar and has pretty much perfect pitch. yesterday he played "blue moon" about, oh, 25 times. i taught him some "blue notes" he can use to make it a bit more "bluesy."

the day before, we went to highland mall and i walked with joseph.
my first day on the job, a little while back, i changed a grown man's diapers, bathed him, and wiped his rear. after that, everything is pretty much a piece of cake. especially trips to pluckers

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

no really, i'm not kidding

this is amazing. listen in case you missed it the first time.


Monday, June 16, 2008

buffalo springfield, a few years later: stephen stills vs. neil young, circa 1991

oh man. this is wrong in so many ways. it kind of makes me sad for stephen stills. the whole "crowd participation" bit doesn't come off well.

neil young comes off better, i think. just consider their on-stage accoutrements: cheesy rugs and some fake plants (stills) vs. 2-story fender bassman amps (young) ?

some priceless crowd shots too, on both the clips.

the stephen stills clip kind of makes me never want to be filmed again doing anything, ever ever ever.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

comment on the music industry

we went through such hell trying to get the record company to lower the price of our records... still $18.99 in most places. and now one cent on ebay. beyond surreal.

i wonder how all these big companies will shake down over the next few years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


this song and video blow my mind.

Thursday, June 05, 2008



The Spitzer Space Telescope's encompasing infrared view of the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy is hard to appreciate in just one picture. In fact, more than 800,000 frames of data from Spitzer's cameras have now been pieced together in an enormous mosaic of the galactic plane - the most detailed infrared picture of our galaxy ever made. The small portion seen here spans nearly 8 degrees, roughly the apparent width of your fist held at arms length, across the galaxy's center. The full mosaic is 120 degrees wide.


Monday, June 02, 2008


Oh, a collage I made got sold on this sweet cart that Sam rolled around called the Changarro. read his post(s) about the changarro here.


jordan belson = amazing
read about him
or here

Saturday, May 31, 2008

mexico camping / writing trip

some photos from my trip:

click here
for the whole set.