A Labor of Love; I Guess

On April 1, 2016, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

014This is the kind of beautiful thing that happens to me on this magical journey I’ve been on for some years now.

The picture at the left is composed entirely from grains of rice. The artist copied the image from my business card, which itself is a cut from the video of my song Vagabond which was created by my friend Sage Greco, who is actually the strolling actor carrying the guitar and dancing in the video and graphic.

I play at the Island Bar https://www.facebook.com/pages/Island-Bar a couple of nights a week. The Island Bar is an open-air restaurant/bar located at the Night Market in Siem Reap where dozens of Khmer vendors ply their trades and wares.

003Nearby the bar, from where evidently my performance can be heard quite well, is the young lady who does this incredible rice art, some of which you can see in the photo behind her and I; stunning detailed stuff like peacocks, movie stars and her specialty full-size portraits done from personal photographs.

On a break from singing, a week or so ago, I wandered near her concession and she announced that she was going to make and gift a picture to me. I couldn’t imagine what it would be, not considering I had left my business card with her. Last night she gave me this panel absolutely refusing any payment.  (If you knew how poor these people are!) I will give her my Vagabond CD in return.

You can visit my music store http://www.koolmuse.com and purchase my recordings, or make a donation to my charity http://thekidsonthebridge.com.

Here’s Sage’s video of my song Vagabond.

 

 

On January 13, 2016, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

I am urged by some who know me to begin writing some kind of journal blog about my “incredibly interesting life”. I am a little embarrassed and humbled by the thought that there’s anything that special about it that would be of interest to anyone. But I have been convinced because last night I made a personal discovery.

I’m not like everybody else.

 My TV was buzzing in the background as usual and one of History(?)Channel’s auto-repair shows came on; an entertainment concept I cannot grasp. A 30ish man was waxing romantic about this old car he’d owned a long time and was going to restore. And I realized that I have never, that I can think of, had such a sentimental passionate attachment to any material thing. I am totally not materialistic as anybody I know. My most valued possession at present is my acoustic guitar with which I make my way and life. And even that I think of as a tool.

I never try to save money. I am nearly as broke today as the day I took my first breath. I’ve lived in what most people would call poverty most of my life. I have never been able to get a wink of sleep in a luxury hotel room or yacht. Like the Count of Monte Cristo I am accustomed to sleeping on the floor so to speak.

 “If you do what you love for a living you’ll never work a day in your life.”, no one knows who, once said.

The key here, for me at least, is “for a living”. I have been a professional surviving solo singer songwriter musician for a long time now. I love it! And I’ve never worked a day in my life. In fact us entertainers actually call our job “playing”. We play music. I have a great time at it most every day.

I never made a million but if I had a $ for every time somebody said “I’d pay a $million if I could do what you do.”….I’d be close.

 It’s the high tourist season where I am and I “work” virtually every night at various venues including some 5-star resorts and hotels. I meet dozens of people from around the world daily; interesting, curious often pretty amazing traveling people including fantastic musicians like Lance Harrison, Misha and Mark White…. and people like Alexandra and Thomas whom I met last night they on their honeymoon.

 

Preaching to the Choir

On October 11, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

Armed-Teachers-In-Schools

That old cliché refers to the Pastor saving people who are already going to heaven and singing the Lord’s praises, up there in the choir 15 feet closer to God than the rest of us. He’s not saving any lost souls or changing anybody’s mind screaming brimstone and hell-fire to them.

I propose to preach here and now to those people who are “on the fence” about restricting unfettered gun possession, availability, armed crazy people etc. and doing something about the decades-long epidemic of gun murder in the United States with 467,000+ gun deaths since Bush invaded Afghanistan in 2001. You “fence-sitters” in effect are on the side of those who oppose even a whiff of gun control or any measure to stop the horrendous flow of blood. Doing nothing is exactly what the NRA and other intere$ted parties are about. On the fence = Doing nothing. You are with those who feel 30,000+ US citizens shot to death every year is acceptable.

I want to change your mind and get you the hell off the fence.

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What Guns Do

On October 7, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

shot

This frightening image is real. I hope you are shocked. It’s not Hollywood. I could post hundreds even more unsettling. This is what guns do. Now imagine twenty 1st-graders, some shot as many as 16 times with a high-powered assault rifle and you begin to get the picture. But you needn’t imagine it. The government has all the real pictures, from school floors-autopsies-surgeries- resultant permanent scars and wounds etc… I contend that if the government, law enforcement and media broadcast and published every video and picture of every shooting crime scene, right on TV, the Net and newspapers the “gun debate” would take a big turn…. in 45 minutes.

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The Vast Right-wing Conspiracy.

On October 5, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

starrFuture House Speaker RepubliKlan Kevin McCarthy said, and I quote:……. “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee….a Select Committee…what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”…… This incredible admission was braggadocio not a gaffe.

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A Grim Reminder

On September 25, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

coffin2What are the top 5 problems menacing mankind today?
My opinion.
#1: Child abuse and neglect.*
#2: 2.2 Billion people do not have safe water to drink.
#3: 1.7 Billion live and die on a calorie-deficient(starvation)diet.
#4 Alcoholism
#5 War

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A Stranger Story You Will Never Hear

On September 21, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

FullSizeRender

I have always loved this picture. To me it is so gripping as to almost be alive. The painting may not be all that sensational to your eye, but the story that forever attached me to it and how it came into my hands is a fascinating and strange tale indeed.

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Patriots, The New England Football Kind

On September 18, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

patsThe Belichick/Brady Patriots are by far, the best team ever in the NFL if such a comparison can be made. No other team comes close….12 Division titles….9 AFC Title games….. 6 Super Bowls…. 4 Championships…..1 Undefeated season. Montana, Bradshaw, Aikman-era teams don’t have 1/2 those stats…… Belichick is the intellectual master coach of the game and the biggest reason the Patriots beat the Ravens & Seahawks last season. His brilliant legal alignment vs the Ravens not only resulted in Patriots scores but actually gained 15yds on the field from Harbaugh’s unsportsman-like penalty….In the Super Bowl, Carroll (on game-time video) says “He’s got the run covered”. “He” is Belichick, who had also pounded the pass play Pete called into his defense’s heads all week. Butler who intercepted “the pass” said “I saw it all the way.”

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Coming out of the Clos…. water Closet

On September 18, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

urinal
I am opposed to urinals. I refuse to use one.
I know it seems a trivial and silly thing what with all the God-wars, racism, scandals of every kind and the plethora of serious bullshit going on in this crazy world.
But urinals are especially repugnant to me. They are white, sexist, smelly and stupid; like some politicians I know.
I recently had a gig in one of the finer hotels on the planet and I was shocked on entering the men’s room to see a line-up of the most incredible ornate works-of-art urinals I’d ever experienced. Completely appropriate to the rest of the palatial resort. These porcelain and brass monuments to all-male community pissing must have weighted 400lbs each.
I’ve seen a lot of different urinals in my long experience peeing. Sometimes only one….14 feet wide , a trough; sometimes two dozen or the small lone white one installed for guys about 5′ 8″ like me, not for children or really tall men.
But Gothic sculptures or not unless meticulously maintained, as so few are, all urinals are perpetually filthy with the worst filth, and stink to high heaven.
I’m not quite sure what led to the development of this odd tool of gang ritual except that men can pee standing up.
Of course if we go back to when the Romans ruled and people ate bathed and shat communally, owned slaves, raped their sisters, poisoned their family and genocide their enemies, we think for a moment we can see how it all began. They indeed had community toilets as part of their fantastic water/sewer system. There were urinals in that first real urban city though not as we know them.
But as civilization advanced did the urinal? The Dark Ages, Knights Templar and the rest don’t seem to have continued the Roman tradition. Nope.
It wasn’t until 1846, 1,800 years after Rome burned, that London installed the first city sewer system. But still, civilized modern man didn’t invent the urinal as we know it until 20 years later.
So this practice of social peeing doesn’t seem to have really caught on with humanity until a little more than 100 years ago. But com’on!…
My real complaint is I don’t want to take piss with ten or even one other guy pissing next to me or waiting in line. It strikes me as weird. No; I m not homophobic or anything like that though there is no doubt an aspect of that too in my psyche and urinal reality. Its just frigging weird. The lowest primates and mammals on Earth excrete in private and so do I.

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Thoughts on the US Civil War?

On September 12, 2015, in Uncategorized, by Kevin Sysyn

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNc4ahjS0jM

There’s a lot of talk about the United States Civil War this year its 150th anniversary. This is a song I wrote and video I made some time ago about the Battle of Nashville 1864 which was the point of no return for the Lost Cause, when Confederate military resistance was finally snuffed out in West.

From what I see people today are pretty ignorant as to some critical historical facts about the war. In the foregoing I aim to dispel some myths and misconceptions and make some sensible observations.

Probably #1 myth is: “Slavery was the cause of the war.” This is incorrect. What caused the war was secession. President Lincoln, loyal to his oath of office and Constitutional duty was the man who triggered the war. Fort Sumter was fired upon and Lincoln responded with a blockade and invasion of the South rather than capitulation to the rebellion.
A year and a half into the war Horace Greeley, the editor of the NY Tribune and rabid abolitionist complained that Lincoln hadn’t done enough about slavery. The President explained precisely that secession, disunion, not slavery, is what drove him to make war:
“… I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union.. the shortest way under the Constitution. …..If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them…… If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them….My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.”
Another incorrect assertion is that “states rights” was the issue that cause secession. Again Lincoln himself said in many campaign speeches and most succinctly in his 1st Inaugural speech:
“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
The issue of slavery that motivated secession was about its expansion into the federal territories and whether the federal government had authority in the matter. If indeed it was about “states rights” you could say that it was the rights of Northern states to prohibit slavery in their own states. Like the recent Same-sex marriage decision by the US Supreme Court which vacated every state law, Constitutional amendment etc outlawing it, the Dred Scott decision vacated all state laws prohibiting slavery as in many state Constitutions in the North. Dred Scott nationalized slavery.
It is largely unknown that Gettysburg that greatest of victories was disastrously misplayed by the Union Generals as again Lincoln clearly describes in his letter to General Meade the Commanding Union General  who is deservedly much less famous than Lee the general he defeated.
“You fought and beat the enemy at Gettysburg…He retreated; and you did not, as it seemed to me, pressingly pursue him; but a flood in the river detained him… You had at least twenty thousand veteran troops directly with you, and as many more raw ones … all in addition to those who fought with you at Gettysburg; while it was not possible that he had received a single recruit; and yet you stood and let the flood run down, bridges be built, and the enemy move away at his leisure, without attacking him…..I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee’s escape. He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would….have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely….. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasurably because of it.”

“War is cruelty. You can’t refine it.” General Sherman in my opinion was wrong about that. He himself in fact could have refined it right then and there but chose not to. His March to the Sea was an unnecessary cruelty visited upon the ignorant Southern white civilians who happened to live in the seceded states. It left a deep scar on the Southern psyche which has never healed.  At that point in the war they were entirely ineffectual and irrelevant to the Lost Cause and never really knew what was going on from the beginning. After Atlanta Sherman should have marched to Richmond. That would have really shortened the war.

 

 

History Channel has done a program on it and Ken Burns* is re-releasing his incredible documentary.