Re-Uploading "Latchkey Kid" for NPR's TINY DESK CONCERT SERIES

Hey Everyone,

So, quickly: I had to resubmit my video for the Tiny Desk Concert Series because I upload it a few days before the March 12th start date, and they said that would disqualify the video.  

At any rate, if you could give the video some love, that would be greatly appreciated.  I had 31 likes on the last upload and a lot of comments and that was really neat, but I lost all that positivity because I have re-upload the video.  Here is what NPR wrote me today.  It was very nice of them to do this, and to not just disqualify the video I submitted:

Hi there,

My name is Marissa, and I work on the Tiny Desk Contest. I wanted to get in touch about a small problem we had with your Tiny Desk Contest entry.

While your video did follow most of our Official Rules – being under 10 minutes, showing an original song, featuring a desk (thanks!) – it looks like it didn’t meet one requirement for eligibility: being uploaded to YouTube after March 12, 2019.

The reason we have this “After March 12” rule is to make sure that people are sending us videos that are made specifically for this Contest – to ensure that, we check that videos were uploaded after we announced this year’s Contest.

However, I know that we hinted at the Contest coming back for 2019 a couple times on our site, in our newsletter and on social media over the past few months – and I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and imagine that you filmed and uploaded your video in anticipation of the official announcement. If that’s the case, and you’d still like your video to be considered for the 2019 Contest, please consider re-uploading your video and resubmitting. Otherwise, we’ll have to consider your entry ineligible. Please note that we don’t usually allow this kind of resubmission – but this feels like a special situation.

Let me know if you have any questions or any problems with submitting.

Best, Marissa & the Tiny Desk Contest team

At any rate, that link above is for the brand new upload I just did.  I would be honored to have you show it some love if you have the inclination of the time!  It would mean a lot to me. 

Hope you all are having a great day!

Mike

MVPPP Foundation

Okay everyone...  in my own opinion, I think that I have a pretty brutal sense of humor.  I still do.  I just don't share it as much as I used to (it can offend)—especially in so far as it pertains to poking fun at other people.  

I have had a blog for several years of my life, and this was a blog that I posted while I was out on my second or third tour up the west coast.  I think at some point, I erased it from my blog because I thought that it was in poor taste—what I did below.  What can I say?  I like to laugh, and laughed so fucking hard when I wrote this.  Really hard.  I'm a horrible person.  Right?

You tell me.  Let's discuss.

If you don't get the gist of the joke below, I too enjoy smoking weed (I just made myself laugh).  I just don't do it that often.  I ain't judgin' no one.  Marijuana is so much fun—and in all seriousness, my best friend nearly tore his arm off in a motorcycle accident, and now has a fully functional arm because of marijuana (he used no opiates during his very painful recovery).  Don't believe me?  Ask him all about it.  However, I digress (I'm just saying I believe in weed).

Hi Everyone,

I would like to introduce you to an acquaintance of mine from San Francisco, California.  This is Steve:

CIMG1166-2.JPG

Steve is a “Pot-less Pothead”.  While walking the streets of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco, you might run across SEVERAL, if not a DOZEN of these deprived and destitute folk just like Steve, starving for their next bong rip.  The sadness that pervades from his story is all too grim; Steve simply doesn’t have the funds to pack another bowl.  His THC starvation could inevitably lead to a day of sobriety or perhaps, even worse, to a local book store for a cup of coffee or a good read in order to pass his time.

However, you can help!  Make a small donation to the Mike Vitale Pot for Pot-less Potheads Foundation (MVPPP Foundation).

The MVPPP Foundation has already helped several people just like Steve to maintain their daily habits in order to continue their useless and meaningless existence in the face of mankind!  A few dollars a day can help people just like Steve to successfully blind fold themselves with a small piece of dental floss, play video games, eat vast amounts of junk food, watch infomercials, and laugh at jokes that really aren’t that funny or clever, all while enjoying their Scoobie Snacks.  With your small charitable donation, we can keep people just like Steve as high as a kite with absolutely no clue what to do with their lives!

Charitable donations can be made with, well—weed. Please make all donations payable to:

The Mike Vitale Pot for Pot-less Potheads Foundation

P.O. Box 3064

Fullerton, CA 92834

Make a difference.  Join the Mike Vitale Pot for Pot-less Potheads Foundation today!  End the hunger.

~ Mike

PS

Greetings from San Francisco - More blogs from the road to come so stay tuned!

Honesty

Honesty: now that is an interesting subject. I have a line in a song I wrote that says this: "Truth be told, everyone tells a lie—and honesty can be delicately laid"—and I do believe that.

two-colleagues-playing-table-tennis-in-office-break-room-673117017-592611993df78cbe7e959740.jpg

Whether I like it or not, I am an extremely honest person when it comes to how I display my feelings. I had a girlfriend once who told me that I wear my emotions on my sleeve—and I think she's right; I don't hide my feelings well. However, I have learned over the years that people respond to honesty in a variety of ways, most of which, are not always favorable. It's like ping pong. Let me explain.

I've spent a fair amount of time volleying honesty in a game of table tennis with friends, family, and acquaintances. I would try lobbing the ball over the net in order to give them the opportunity to play nicely as well, only to be returned with a hit to the chest from the thrust of a one thousand pound gorilla.

I've also had people key into my extension of goodwill, and return the ball with an equal amount of intensity in order to keep the conversation moving. There have been times when I have been the show-off, serving like an Olympic competitor, only to be remember afterwards that the person on the other side of the table is a little boy or girl who is barely learning to hold the mallet (let us not be mistaken though, little ones can still thrust a mean serve with little to no effort exerted).

And on and on and on I go through the various permutations of opportunities, successes, and losses at the hands of how either I or the other person at the end of the net, start the game.

Most often, I push the ping pong table against the wall and try to play. Regardless of how hard I serve, or how softly I nudge the ball forward to start the game, it rarely makes it back over the net, because invariably, I am keeping my honesty to myself—and there is no forward momentum to life and learning under those circumstances.

However, what I have had a great deal of success with is removing the net, folding the ping pong table in half to create a 90 degree angle, and playing at whatever intensity I feel fit: after all, being honest with yourself makes all the difference in the world.

Fred Smoot

In all honesty, today has been a bit of a rough day for me. I just got done playing a memorial service for this man.

Fred Smoot

Fred Smoot

His name is Fred Smoot.

He was a standup comedian and a photographer. He was part of the associated press that took many of the photos you may have seen regarding Vietnam, specifically the Tet Offensive.

However, Fred would have preferred to have been remembered as a standup comedian—and that he was. He was a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson seven times; this was a drop in the bucket compared to all the other notable appearances he made as an entertainer on numerour late night and daytime television programs in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He shared the stage with many, including: Johnny Carson, Neil Diamond, Merv Griffin, Steve Allen, The Everly Brothers, Count Basie, Paul McCartney's WINGS, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Gordon Lightfoot, 5th Dimension, Count Basie and his Band, Mamas & the Papas, Mac Davis, Bobby Darin, and Trini Lopez.

I listened to all of his friends recounting stories regarding his life and all the joy and laughter he brought to them; it was palpable—if not contagious. We can all be so lucky, to be remembered so fondly, and to be the one bringing the joy and smiles to others.

One of his friends stated that there is a star in the sky that she chose for him. She has named the star after him. Ironically, that star is in the Canis Minor Constellation (this was not a conscious decision). It’s a small constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere, and it’s name means the lesser dog, or the more specific title, the underdog.

Fred died as a rich and wealthy man. While he was not someone who possessed a large monetary fortune—I mean, he lived in spare bedrooms from the kindness of others, he ate the food that friends provided to him, and lived in his car with no possessions—he was a billionaire in terms of the friendships and laughter he brought to everyone in that room today. I could feel it, and I cried—and I have never met him in person.

Fred had dementia. Quite literally, he was a man with a shrinking brain. For those of you that may wonder, yes, “The Incredible Shrinking Brain” was partially inspired by Fred—however he deserves his own song—I’m working on it.

In the meanwhile, Fred, this poem is for you. It is by one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost:

Canis Major

The great Overdog 
That heavenly beast 
With a star in one eye 
Gives a leap in the east. 

He dances upright 
All the way to the west 
And never once drops 
On his forefeet to rest. 

I'm a poor underdog, 
But to-night I will bark 
With the great Overdog 
That romps through the dark.

You brought everyone in your life so much joy and laughter, Fred—and to me, you brought tears, and for this, I thank you. God bless you. You are loved.

My First Music Placement and Homelessness

Mike Vitale.jpg

Hopefully, this is something that I won’t forget. It took me 39 years, but I finally had a piece of music picked for use in either a tv show, or a movie (forgive me for not knowing which it is). It’s an independent production called “House Broken.”

From what I am told, they are in the post production side of things, but I have been paid a synchronization fee for the song, so, it’s a done deal in terms of their interest in using the tune. They are pitching it to festivals and networks as soon as they complete the project.

Naturally, my hope is that anyone who works hard on their creative project, finds success with it.

It’s a project that deals with the subject of homelessness. The main character is based off of a real life person by the name of Fred Smoot. Fred was a stand up comedian in the 70’s who found success in his career and made several appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. This was a big deal for standup comedians in the 70’s.

Later in life, Fred developed dementia and eventually became homeless, living out of his car with his dog. He became a man of few possessions. Literally, he had a trophy, his car, and his puppy.

Fred’s circumstances are far from unusual. A friend of mine and I were watching a documentary called “Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home” that came out in 2010, regarding Skid Row and it’s homeless population. Many of the people that call downtown LA their home, have preexisting mental conditions—Manic Depression, Schizophrenia, and dementia being several of many.

“House Broken” will be a project that addresses the homeless crisis we see here in Southern California. I see it in my own neighborhood of Eagle Rock. If you are a Los Angeles or Orange County resident, I am sure you do as well.

The song that is being used is my most recent. It’s called “The Incredible Shrinking Brain.”

Here is a private link to check it out if you feel so inclined:

The Incredible Shrinking Brain

words and music by Mike Vitale

I feel like a mime with a painted on sad face touching an invisible wall

And it’s a crime I can’t see this behind my shit talk fueled by jealousy and alcohol

Sure, I’m overly critical, but by now I should know better

Maybe I’m just too hard on myself and it doesn’t really matter

The longer I live the less I know for sure

When I was a younger man my certainty was premature

There’s all these abstract explanations I could conjure up in vain

But I’m the man with the incredible shrinking brain

Do you feel like an actor dressed up in black face

We’re really just canaries in a coal mine

Carried out the shaft like a suitcase, soot trace, smeared across our face and brow

The war on race, preference, sex, and creed are indelible

and noxious as the fumes

And right before we lose our consciousness collective conscience looms

The longer we live the less we know for sure

When we were a younger brood our certainty was premature

There’s all these explanations we could conjure up in vain

But we’re people with incredible shrinking brains

Our incredible shrinking brains

Create the fertile furrows from a farmer’s plough

“Two fathoms deep” shouted across the bow

“Anger and hatred are caustic to the vessel in which it’s stored

Far more than to anything on which its poured”

The longer we live the less we know for sure

When we were a younger brood our certainty was premature

There’s all these abstract explanations we could conjure up in vain

But we’re people with incredible shrinking brain

We’re people with incredible shrinking brains

Side-Tracked

I am the master of getting side-tracked.

I was doing something else (learning a song)—and now I’m doing this. I accidentally slipped and fell into my blog.

You may be thinking: “this dude has a short attention span.” But, then again, I just wrote that in quotations, so you must have said it out loud. I’d fix it—but I’m not the boss of you. None of this is really the case, anyway.

I blame my smart phone, and in that sense, I take full responsibility for the rest of this.

I’m a cyborg in 2018 with an augmented intelligence, collectively referencing the world wide web on a whim, or more to the point, interrupted by reminders set on my calendar, because at some point, I thought it was important to be reminded. That’s how I ended up here.

I was working on “Come Pick Me Up” by Ryan Adams, and then my phone got all nosey about what I should be doing (paying bills) versus what I am/was doing (fun stuff). The fear associated with late fees took me by the hand and walked me over to my computer, and the rest, is written

(Xzibit A):

Unknown.jpeg

Not as much as you think Xzibit. I drive a Honda Civic—but I like the way you think, moreover, I like how you overthink thoughts. We’re like ships passing in the night… with cars on it.

My bills are paid on time. And I got a blog out of it. I also found some pictures of Xzibit. If you would have asked me yesterday, what I was doing right now, I never would have guessed it. I wonder what Xzibit is doing right now. I hope he is putting cars inside of cars, if it makes him happy. Sure, it’s a meme, but why not just take it at face value?

Good morning! (I made it just in time for noon).

- Mike

Dune, Absurd Dating Advice, and Paypal

IMG_7461.jpg

How to get all the ladies:

Step 1:  Strike up conversation about the book Dune.  

How to not get frustrated being on hold with Paypal due to fraudulent account activity:

Step 1: Write non-detailed blogs regarding absurd dating advice while being on hold for two hours in order to redirect your attention to something other than your frustration with someone hacking into your Paypal account and reeking havoc on other people's lives (namely mine)—not to mention being on hold for an absurd amount of time with Paypal.

On-Hold Music:

"With Paypal you can send money from your checking, savings, and..."

"Did you know you can get 2% cash back..."

"Did you know you can now complete your purchases with one click..."

I hope that your morning is far more exciting than mine.

Context

IMG_7446.jpeg

Believe it or not, this picture has plenty of context.  

I'd go so far as to say that the contents of its context either completely disinterest you or you would be off-base in your assumptions, so I'll save you the mental abstraction exercise.

I did it for the beard.

That's right. 

But not in the way you think.

Let's call this picture "Mike Vitale Versus the Tuna Sandwich".

Does that help?  Probably not.

I was mid-bite... and it was a delicious tuna sandwich from Whole Foods on a cibatta—cohabit, chibatta... Seriously?—Ciabatta roll (fuck you auto correct—I win, this time—why is ciabatta such a weird word to spell—okay, fuck you Italians), but that's not the point.

Do you give up?

I was using my cell phone as a mirror to make sure I wasn't storing leftovers in my facial hair.

Win/Win for everyone but the Tuna Fish.  

Hi from Laguna Beach, CA.  We had a lot of fun playing at The Cliff last night.  

Lowering My Expectations

What is happiness?

It's a complicated question if you think about it.  We've all thought about it at one time or another.

Ironically, the times we think the least on it, are probably when we're the happiest?  But then again, I don't know—the older I get, the more I realize I don't know anything.  I'm just throwing spaghetti at the wall like everyone else around me.

However, I have caught myself expecting way too much, too often.

Simple things.  Like, if I buy expensive things such as Air Conditioners, Sub Woofers, Guitar Pedals—can they not break?  It ridiculous to think that they won't.  Of course they are going to break, and they are going to do it when I am hurting for money and can not afford to replace them.

It almost becomes a mental focus exercise regarding what to pay more attention to: the things that make one sad, or the things that make one happy.  The seemingly level-headed person will immediately say something full of wisdom like, "focus on the positives rather than focus on the negatives."  I say, most likely, that the person who says that cries alone in their bedroom, or in their car, from time to time too.

No.  Maybe I need to lower my expectations.

I released a new single called GONE on June 12th.  I have sold two copies of it digitally.  It's two more than I was expecting to sell.  The song has been streamed on Spotify 15 times.  That is 15 more times than what I was expecting.  

This is a start.  I'll keep you posted.  Or, then again, maybe I won't, so that it isn't on the forefront of my mind.  

Whatever the case may be, I am making and releasing more stuff.  I'm 39 years old and I have no plans to stop making music or to stop trying to find people that like what I make.  You can count on that.

I'm happiest when I'm working hard, regardless of my expectations—and I am so grateful and thankful for my good health and to have you.  Deeply and truly.  Now, off to promote for a show tonight.  Take care. 

A Quick Note Regarding School Shootings

img_499299.png

My heart and my thoughts go out to every family, friend, and acquaintance who have lost a loved one to violence.

I notice a lot of people react on social media to current events that play out on an all-too-often basis regarding gun violence as it pertains to the United States as a country, whether it be at a high school, a grocery store, a gas company, or a post office.  The setting is not of major importance beyond the humanistic view of the act and its consequences.

Here is where I stand: it has nothing to do with weapons.

It is a human issue.

We are a troubled species.  We are troubled because there is a fine balance between reason, and emotion.  

A songwriter whose work I admire, likens this chemical struggle inside our brains, to a seesaw.  On one end of this seesaw is our logic, and on the other is our emotion.  In order for sound judgment to be made by an individual, one must be able to keep this balance at an equilibrium.  

At vast majority, this very simple idea is another thing all together to place into practice as a human being.  We live our lives, and hopefully, we all arrive at this notion at as young an age as possible.  I will be 39 this year, and I still feel this struggle, often.  However, I know that I have grown well beyond my appreciation of this notion, compared to, let's say, the age of 20.  It has been hard work and rumination on my part.

Rather than continue to discuss this issue as it pertains to guns, I would like to instead, pose a thought experiment: what if the United States were to ban guns entirely?

Before continuing, I would like to state that I have never shot a gun in my life, however, I do see the need to have this right maintained within the United States Constitution.  There was sound judgement behind this decision in the 1700's.  It is a safeguard to maintain the republic in which we all live, by the average individual, outside of military; essentially it allows for people to stand up for themselves should our government fail in its duties to uphold and protect citizens in the fashion it was originally intended.  Please note that I use the word republic, as it is the most accurate term to use for this oligarchy we currently reside in if you are a United States citizen—I am afraid democracy is not quite what we have here in America.  I am eager for democracy, but we must work towards that, together.

Throwing this previous paragraph aside, guns are banned in the United States.  Perhaps, the American population rejoices at this notion.  We have years of peace from the dangers of firearms being brought into public spaces to reenact revenge, or to project fear and hate on innocent bystanders.  Yet, one day a begrudged student at a junior high packs a homemade pipe bomb into a backpack.  He leaves all of his books and folders at home.  He leaves his iPad on his desk.  He replaces his tools for logic with an explosive device, and leaves for school.

He places his backpack in a public location for maximum damage: the school office.

Does this sound far fetched?  It's not.

It happened at my junior high, and luckily, the backpack was found before it could be detonated.

We live in a world where passenger planes have been used as weapons.  

What we should be asking is what the motivation is behind harming another person—and that is a deep and dark question.  It has many facets and would take much study to arrive at a seemingly good answer as it pertains to each unique event.  But, perhaps that is of a far more sound judgement, if we truly want to advance as a species who loves each other.

Reach out for help when you need it.  Be there for a total stranger.  Try loving unconditionally.  Do things for others expecting nothing in return.  Communicate.  Just love and be as humanistic as possible.  Be the best damn version of yourself as you can be.  Be kind, always.

If you want to see change, start with yourself.  I am trying my best to, everyday.

- Mike