Base Ball (an unedited reflection)

Just before the 2012 baseball season began I declared, "I'm going to follow baseball again." I hadn't really followed-followed baseball for years prior to 2012. So I did and I chose the local national league team, the Washington Nationals, as the team I was going to follow. I could call them "my team" like people say about such things (even though I'm from LA and the Dodgers will always be my real team).

The Nationals 2012 wild ride was insane and the playoff loss to the Cardinals was brutal. I swore that I would never invest that much psychic energy into anything as basic as a baseball team (millionaires playing for billionaires and such). Same thing goes for politics. Not my ride or die, bruh. I'm not like most people, I know when to go too deep and when to not.

I continued to follow baseball pretty closely for all the years since 2012; watching the Nationals and the Dodgers and some other teams pretty closely but staying only generally aware of happenings from around the leagues. It's fun for me. I've been to a whole bunch of games, mostly with Makfu who is the absolutely perfect person to live sport with. I even went to a spring training a few years back.

But, things run their respective courses. I decided to pull back a little more from so closely monitoring baseball. I chose to pay attention but not to the same extent as before. I publicly disowned the Nationals as being "my team" (but continued to speak highly of the players and manager). I rooted against them early in the season. I wanted to see if they could play in the division which turned out to be a runaway for a deeply flawed Braves squad (and the tomahawk chop has got to go). But I have nothing against The Washington Nationals, I just gave them up as being "my team." I rooted for them to lose during the LA-DC divisionals. They beat my real team.

But I rooted for the Nats to beat the Cardinals and the NLCS sweep was hysterically fitting. I got people out of a talk I was giving early enough that they could watch the local team on the TeeVee.

So the Nationals are going to the Series? How do you like that? Good on them, they have a lot of delightful personalities. I may know this the team better than any. They are on an epic run, playing loose and having fun. That matters. Rendon, Soto, Howie and the rest. The playoff rotation? KuSuZu? Davie’s heart situation? They have nothing to lose. Baby Shark and dugout dancing? All expectations for this season were realized in July. And congratulations to the fans of the DC team. Good on you. Feels good, don't it? I hope you win it all. It’s good to see people have fun.



This Thing With Pilots
so there's this thing with commercial airline pilots where there was formally a glut of pilots who were mostly former military and because there were so many pilots the salaries went way down because the air travel industry is horrible

because of the era of internet commerce and two day delivery standards the cargo industry needed pilots so badly that the salary of pilots went way up in the cargo industry and all of the commercial airline pilots started going cargo

hey wow cargo is awesome and the pilots can watch the game and listen to music and smoke cigars and the pilots don't have to wear captains uniforms because that's just a costume for the passengers and while we're on the subject of passengers there is so much less stress in the cargo industry because the pilots don't have the added moral weight of lives on board

and so all of the most experienced veteran pilots went to cargo and the people flying commercial are now the least experienced and most poorly vetted pilots and even though there is a huge need for new pilots the air travel industry refuses to pay commercial pilots more

at some point the air cargo industry will start to hire all the former military drone pilots and there will be an even lower salary for cargo pilots and the air travel industry will refuse to hire them back because they are horrible

nobody will know or even care if the new same day standard delivery cargo planes are flown remotely or even ultimately by computer overlords and nobody will know or even care if commercial flights are flown with AI and the pilots are just two minimum wage employees in costume sitting up front


Take It All
I have a feeling that
that may have been a
final warning shot

The universe decided to
be mercifully generous
for some reason

Of course one  could
argue that this is all

The more it takes the
more I want to take
until I take it all


Eight Room Diesel Funk

I’ve always felt a little unsettled* by 1998’s One Fine Ride. We tried to make something that turned out to be not necessarily honest with the base recording sessions; with the performances of that time. We tried to make a studio album out of session recordings and it came out a sloppy, overreaching mess** of a record. But that’s how we did it back then. We mixed hubris and ambition and didn’t really care all too much about outcomes. No apologies, I love what we did but had we released the base recordings unadorned, I would be just fine today.

By mid-1998 we were very tight performers but we couldn’t play the songs to save our lives. That was way too boring and unfulfilling so we chose to just play together and figure out where the sounds went. What came out is what came out. We stopped using set lists and sometimes didn’t even load all of our equipment in. We felt most confident when we intentionally made things difficult for ourselves. 

We recorded a lot.

Most of these futuregifting recordings were captured around the time we recorded the One Fine Ride tracks. Most of these are from rehearsal sessions at Smelly Hell. The Greatest Story recording is from a show on June 4, 1998. This release feels more true to the performing experience of that era. It is the literal height of the tripgrass era.

This piece feels a lot like how I heard everything in my headphones. And maybe that’s how someone would listen to this supercut; headphones straight off the board. I feel more settled about this representation of tripgrass era tKoL. That's all I have to say on the matter.

It's definitely not for everyone.


* By contrast This is the New America is an amazing and timeless treat. It’s intimate, it’s true to the performances.

** Except for Princess Bridge. The OFR version is the ultimate iteration. In fact, the OFT Princess Bridge/Ruins of Pagosa/Kids in the Street run is the very best of that record.



photo by J. Jariel




ty[at]middlespace[dot]net for file

•  •  •
The four tracks from this year
Long Playing as intended
Produced at Casa 425
auriculares y cacao


All Fill
Creativity on cycles
Arts as loops
Her we go again [sic]
The art is the discipline
The discipline is the act

Exorcising all the demons
Making all the toasts
Cashing all the checks
Busting all the ghosts

Building upon foundations
Starting always anew
Entitled luxuries of production
It’s probably the very same thing
As every other thing there is

Using all the knowledge
Beating all the bests
Knowing all the limits
Acing all the tests


August, 2017

We Were All Young Once

The Captain is Dead (lightly edited)

This is my version of a story. I could be challenged about details but this how I know it. No one knows my story.

My father, James Bee Hardaway, Jr., was born on Thursday, November 7, 1940. He was the second child, and first son, to Dorris Mae (Buirst) and James Senior. My father, James, or Junior, or Eightball, or Captain is succeeded by his older sister Annie Ruth and four children.

James, Sr. was killed in a “dispute” in a roadhouse bar in Texas when my father was a child. His rough and tumble friends were waiting in the car outside. My father always said, “Never go into a bar alone.” There's a reason for this logic.

Doris (one “R” most of her life) remarried to James King and gave birth to J.W. King. My father was as fond of his little brother as he was often frustrated. J.W. adopted the name, Joe Willis, to fill in his birth initials and sometimes, inexplicably, went by Jason. J.W. succumbed to addiction like his own father. Everyone knew J.W. as, Brother. I sometimes called him, Uncle.

Although I grew up with Doris King, the more I learn about her, the more of an amazing iconic enigma she becomes. I was fortunate to share stories about my uncle and grandmother with my father during his illness. Doris was known throughout the larger family as, Mother. This was, it turns out, a matriarchy.

James was born in San Antonio in Texas but he insisted he was, “from the city” and that “I ain’t no country ass nigga.” The King/Hardaway family followed Kenwood kin to Los Angeles in the early fifties. I don’t like Texas. I am of California.

Like his father, but in L.A., James became a somewhat notorious gangster. Along with some infamously rough and ruthless cousins from the Kenwood neighborhood of San Antonio, he became a known brand in L.A. Specifically, in Hollywood, he controlled Sunset Boulevard between Normandie and Western avenues through much of the 1960s and ‘70s; whatever controlled means in this context. That strip of Sunset is now home to both an El Pollo Loco and an Auto Zone. He wants his ashes spread there. Right down the street from the Church of Scientology.

I have seen some of and heard about some of my father’s cruelty and criminal behaviors when I was young. My birth mother left him when I was six months old. She as too afraid to take me with her. I was, after all, his first born son named after a junkie cousin whom he adored who died when I was five. Other than those six months and a few weeks when I was 18, I never lived with the man. I grew up with Mother. This was obviously for the best. I occasionally email with my birth mother and since she was adopted, I know only a little about her or her history, but 23 & Me shed some surprising light. Makes sense.

While I have witnessed my father be a mean, uncouth, and deliberately insensitive person, he was never any of those things to me. In fact, I have always occupied some weirdly sacred and protected space in his life, away from his affairs. While I cannot excuse or forgive his behaviors, I do appreciate that he always left me alone and never invited me into his sphere. I have benefited from a free pass in L.A. without participating in its shadows. I’m the legit kid.

Somehow I grew up in a perfect college town outside of his influence. I was born in Los Angeles but I love my home town. I received a quality and comprehensive education. I have had my very own life largely divorced from family obligations and most of its baggage (my mother was adopted, that is another story). Yet, I always knew him to be a presence. Sometimes it was great to see him, other times it was mostly embarrassing. I moved away from my family for good when I was 18. James loved the Lakers, Dodgers, and Rams of Los Angeles. Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Roberta Flack, Otis Redding, Ray Charles.

I know that my father married in the late 1980s and had three children; two boys and a girl. I have no contact with them and have not seen any of them since they were young children. I identify as an only child. This is somebody else's story.

Doris, my grandmother, died in 1993. I had little contact with James before her death and have had very little contact since. He was a momma’s boy and I know her death was profound for him. It was for me too. She was my parent and/or guardian in he most literal of interpretations. I miss her every day. I am grateful to her for the sacrifices she made to ensure I had opportunities.

Brother, Uncle, taught me so much about the value of knowledge. I also learned that heroin will destroy even the brightest and curious among us. He was smart and legit deep. I learned that Brother died in the early 2000s but I was a world apart from my family by that point.

My father did not attend my wedding in 1998 and he knew that I had a daughter in 2002. He was surprisingly delighted to be a grandfather. He sent my kid a little something for birthdays and Christmas and called himself, "Pa Pa." This was a side of him that made little sense to me.

I figured that the next interaction I would have with him or my family would be at his funeral. On a lark, I contacted him in 2013 and visited him when I was in town for my 30th high school reunion. I buffered the interaction by taking two good friends along. He was beyond thrilled. When my daughter was 15, she wanted to meet my father. I took her and my wife (who had not met him) to visit in 2017. My kid wrote an award winning essay about that visit that I have never read. This visit changed his life. The ribs he wanted the week before he died were from Chili's where he took me and my wife and kid during our visit. The last real thing he ate were some of those ribs with me. That was the point, "those ribs we had when you guys were here a couple of years ago." Those ribs. It was our last meal.

When he called me in late 2018 with health concerns that turned out to be stage 4 lung cancer, it was sad. Not necessarily for me, but I felt bad for him. He had been largely robust for the previous 77 years aside from a traumatic accident in his childhood. He was run over by a truck and hospitalized for weeks. His legs are reconstructed but the accident kept him out of the draft. He met the King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers, when he was a hospitalized child. Maybe that accident shaped his life in ways I can’t comprehend. Sometimes it's hard to know even though we know.

Once I understood that his healthcare was very far from optimal, I decided to intervene. I believed that it was the right thing to do. During my three one-week visits I helped him and his wife, Becky, navigate a complex and decentralized healthcare system. The U.S. healthcare system is woefully broken. We created a directive, I became his medical proxy, and I interfaced with doctors and care staff in a manner beyond his capabilities. I DJ'd music from the '60s through the '80s. I recorded hours of conversations. I assured I held no grudges, burdens, or baggage because of him. He thought I was some sort of wizard.

I learned a lot about Junior Hardaway in the past three months. He was a very smart character who never had the opportunity to demonstrate his potential. Junior never got to experience the American mainstream but he was happy that I found my place as a valued member of society. He has expressed how grateful he was that I cared enough to help him. I made it clear that I have no lingering issues or problems with him. I am fine. He apologized for being a shitty father but I assured him that I am fine. I actually am. There's a reason I parent like I do. I believe he learned a little about me too.

I am grateful that I got to know my father a lot better than I ever believed possible. I am grateful to the wonderful staff of his hospice. They provided a level of care he never knew could exist. Maybe this was my parting gift, care.

We said our goodbyes. I hope I helped the man find some peace. As I remember him saying on occasion, “Blood is thicker than mud.” So, goodbye, Eightball. My father, James Bee Hardaway, Jr.,  died on Thursday, April 11, 2019. After while, crocodile.

[some photos]
[public obituary]

eleven seven



Popping Bubbles (No Guru)
I’ve never told anyone anything
that they didn’t already know
belief is as powerful as
commitment is to belief

Everyone knows their potential
limits are comforting
potential is frightening
everyone knows their limits

So many distractions
distractions are crutches
crutches are shields
shields are bubbles

All I do is remind people
that they don’t need
permission to be
what they want to be