Monthly Archives: May 2007

Come away with me…


Kan Zhonggan thought of himself as an anti-Communist patriot, training to fight against the oppressive government on the Chinese mainland.

But he fell in love.

His story is told in today’s Los Angeles Times by Times staff writer, Ching-Ching Ni:

THE happiest time of his life lasted four days.

It was the winter of 1958. He had just run away with his lover to Shanghai. They went sightseeing every day and didn’t mind the dark streets or meagerly stocked stores where coupons were used to ration food. Life was just beginning.

Until two plainclothes policemen walked up behind them one day and called out his name.

“Are you Kan Zhonggan?”

Blinded by happiness and love, he said yes.

“Take a walk with us.”

Around the corner, a car was waiting. The couple got in. One officer sat between them. They drove for half an hour and then his lover was told to get out. As she was dragged away, their eyes met.

They didn’t see each other again for 27 years.



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Monday, November 28, 2005


In the course of events
I’ve seen my goals hanging just like a carrot in front of my nose
In the struggle for those higher attainments, hell,
I’ve been to the top
and I’ve seen the drop on the other side

And I don’t care if your money’s no good
I don’t care if both your legs are wood
I don’t care what your ma says to do
Just come away with me

It takes time to get where you want to go
and its never quite the same when you get there
but that doesn’t stop me cause there’s still a couple things
I’d like to try with you and you never can tell
it might work out all right

You can sit and talk about life all day
as much as you can talk your questions wont go away
it’s a conversation that leads me to say
just come away with me

I’ve been burned before
and I’ll get burned again
I guess that’s the same for everyone
I know what I need
I know what I want
I know what I get —
they don’t always correspond

You can sit and talk about life all day
as much as you can talk your questions wont go away
it’s a conversation that leads me to say
just come away with me

(C)1974, TK Major
(C)2007, TK Major


I laughed as I left you alone… I set your little soul free

Mea Culpa, Baby

I was a college drop-out, working in a rundown, inner city self-serve gas station where the prices were usually so high the only customers we sometimes had were people limping along on fumes. They’d sputter into the gas station, put a buck’s worth of gas in and drive a block or two down the street to get some cheap gas at our always-busy competition. I’d often stop in there on the way home from work, myself.

My GF at the time was a smart, pretty girl who grew up in Bel Air (you know, where Reagan lived after he left the White House?)

She was in law school most of the time we were going out (though she had dropped out during the brief period we actually lived together… it must have been her bohemian period) and she often bounced what she was learning off me. So I found myself picking up a fair amount of legal jargon and half-digested theory and doctrine. (One man’s seamless web is another’s jumble of disassociated bits and pieces.)

Probably no phrase or piece of jargon from that era has come in so handy, over the intervening years, as the snip of Latin, mea culpa, which, of course, means my guilt — or in the stunted vernacular of our head-shrunken era, my bad.

It seemed to cry out for a song. A nice little song about doin’ wrong.

But, in those days, I just couldn’t seem to write a nice simple song about someone doin’ someone wrong, oh, no.

If we were going to be talking about guilt, we were going to be talking about cosmic guilt… and multi-layered cosmic guilt, at that. I’d recently read Fowles’ The Magus, and my head was filled with notions of the illusion of identity and personality and revelation. So, a little bit of legal jargon became a jumping off point.

Even then, there was a certain autobiographical irony apparent to me. (Like divine irony, yes? — we need not, I think, distract ourselves with a usage argument over the word irony.)

My long suffering first real girlfriend (henceforth to be known by the acronym LSFRG) was the victim of a makeover plot by me… not really a plot, since she was willing to go along for the ride.

I had decided that, given some appropriate raw material, I could remake any intelligent, reasonable looking girl into my perfect girlfriend. (And it should be noted that LSFRG was considerably more than “reasonable looking.” I thought she was the cutest thing I’d ever seen, even in her leftover geek-honor student clothes. Once I got her tricked out in tight-fitting jeans and floppy peasant shirts she was, in my proud estimation, just about perfect.)

This was, of course, the addled and spectacularly uncomprehending thinking of someone who had grown up with some serious empathy issues. I was sentimental — to be sure. I understood the concept of other’s emotional pain and suffering… but the reality of it often escaped me.

And, ultimately, the reality of the situation was that I caused this young woman — who in my own selfish, thoroughly tweaked way, I really loved — enormous pain.

I could only evade that reality so long.

Eventually, at what was supposed to have been the end of the relationship, we engaged in a marathon emotional debriefing (which, like other pivotal moments, I’ve discussed elsehwere in AYoS) and it finally hit me… for maybe the first time in my life, I think, I started really feeling someone else’s pain, not as an intellectual or an ethical consideration but as… pain.

In the end, it was me who pined for her, for years, even as I realized she was far better off without me. The dreams I thought I’d thrown away came back to haunt me again and again… sometimes they haunt me still.

And, so, ultimately, the “I” in this song may not be me

Mea Culpa, Baby

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mea Culpa, Baby

Mea culpa, baby
means I’m guilty, I’m the one
I’m the one who broke your heart
but it wasn’t just for fun

I watched as your friends turned away
when you turned to me
I laughed as I left you alone
I set your little soul free

I’m not going to tell you
where I hid your heart
you’ll just have to figure out who I am
You must go back to the start

I am everything you are not
I’m the other side of the line
Just a matter of push and pull
but the boundary always hides

[circa 1975]

(C)2007, TK Major


The Battle for the Truth

Curious about how AYoS really works? Read our new article on what goes on behind the scenes.


here is a highly esoteric political philosophy held by a small — but once highly influential group of neo-Aristotelians — that appears to suggest that while ideas are immutable and pure, the reality some think underlies them is plastic and manipulable by those who know “the secret.”

Of course, like so many cryptomancers, these modern day magicians had a spectacularly hard time bending reality to their preconceptions. Well… actually they had a spectacularly hard time failing to bend reality.

But you can read about that in the funny papers.

Today’s song is about a far more local — yet seemingly simultaneously global — form of politics and war: the relationships between celebrities in love. And hate. And everything in between — although in the land of celebrity, it appears that love and hate appear to be quantum states. It’s either one or the other and nothin’ much lost in between.


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Monday, October 03, 2005


Everywhere it sez you love me
but ya seldom read the truth
But when I look into your eyes
I can see who’s getting screwed

Get down, baby. Get packed,
get out tonight.
You’re gone, baby,
that’s right you heard me right.

A secret’s not a secret
unless it has been told
our private life’s not really ours
until all the rights are sold.

Get down, baby…

you will get some mileage
from that small town trollop trip
but the journey’s strictly one way, babe
and heavenward ain’t it

Get down, baby…

history will tell us who
won the battle for the truth
until that time let’s keep the reading light
your quickie paperback will do

Get down, baby…
get packed, get out tonight
you’re gone
that’s right
you heard me right

(C)2007, TK Major


Island on Fire

Slide Interlude 2, 2007-05-10

A little prayer for our friends over in Avalon, on the island of Catalina, may be in order. The smoke you can see in this telephoto shot from a highrise’s webcam in downtown Long Beach, in mid-afternoon, shows the start of a rapidly moving brush fire that now threatens the main city on the island.

We here in Long Beach are more or less the closest city to Avalon, we’re the port Catalina visitors sail in and out of, as a rule, and, though our Catalina cousins are often forgotten in the daily bustle of mainland life, when people on Catalina look across the channel, Overland (as the mainland is known in the highly insular Avalon community), Long Beach is where their attention is usually focused.

Slide Interlude 2, 2007-05-10
(improvised, 12-string slide guitar)
new track, uploaded 14:39 2007-05-11

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Slide Interlude 2, 2007-05-10

Slide Interlude 2, 2007-05-10

Slide Interlude 2, 2007-05-10

Slide Interlude 2, 2007-05-10

Slide Interlude 2, 2007-05-10

(C)2007, TK Major