Sunday, March 09, 2014
Cape May City NJ
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Buddy Cole - Cheek to Cheek
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
take it to the boss
Friday the wall around the breaker box was spackled, my deadbolt lock repaired, & the pipe unclogged. Lesson: Take it to the top. I got hit with a large, unexpected rent increase due to a cutback in subsidies for rental assistance. Percentage of monthly income has always been capped at around 30%. This increase takes 38% of my income. Of course, the landlord gets the full amount. He had a small rent increase. The problem with rental assistance is the recipients tend to treat their apartments based of what they pay rather than what the landlord receives. Yes, I've been guilty of this. But some in this building, I'm certain, pay nearly nothing for their apartment. Well, the rent pinches me now, & I'm expecting better, faster attention to problems.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
A good break
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Mount Ephraim NJ
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Buddy Cole - Poinciana
From the album "Swing Fever" (1960). Hammond Organ -- Buddy Cole; Bass -- Red Callender; Bongos -- Jack Costanzo; Guitar -- Vince Terry; Percussion -- Al Stoller, Lou Singer, Milt Holland
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Somers Point NJ
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Here come The Beatles February 1964
My favorite single of 1963 was Candy Girl b/w Marlena, by The Four Seasons. two sided hit bigger in Philly & Atlantic City than NYC. I had been impressed by some of the songs, vocal harmonies, on Surfer Girl album. I thought the Beach Boys & Seasons could cover each other's songs. My favorite LP of '63 was either a movie soundtrack or Stan Kenton's Adventures in Jazz." I was fond of Martha & the Vandellas.
Some kids in my high school detested The Beatles. There was a serious Fifties hangover teen culture in my h.s., plus leftovers of the folkie hootnanny, which continued to move songs into the top 40, neither of which I much appreciated. The Fifties influence had become parody. The Beatles broke over those like a tidal wave. That's why I liked The Beatles. As a little kid immersed in the malt shop world of Archie Comics & Ozzie & Harriet, I had envied teen culture of the mid-Fifties because it had Elvis, plus doo wop & Buddy Holly. Elvis was a transformer. I must confess to also liking Bob Denver's gentle teen beatnik Maynard G Krebs from Dobie Gillis. But Elvis meant almost nothing to us in 1964, beatniks were disappearing, there were vestiges of doo wop in the top 40 but lacking the purity & ethereal qualities of the music that had enchanted me in grammar school. Occasionally a decent song popped out an Elvis Movie. The Beatles were our Elvis. I recognized that much & embraced the change. Soon enough more music flowed from England, like The Animals' great "House of the Rising Sun." Had to put up with Gerry & Pacemakers & Freddy & The Dreamers & other forms of mindless profiteering inspired by The Beatles. Bobby Vee compared to Buddy Holly. The first Beatles LP I bought was the soundtrack to A Hard day's Night with the George Martin instrumentals.
The Beatles in California smoking pot with with who?
At the end of 1964, The Beatles released Beatles '65, an LP I loved, initiating a period of about two years when The Beatles recorded & released the finest series of now classic records ever from a band or artist, from "No Reply" & "I Feel Fine" to "Help!" & "Paperback Writer," "Drive My Car," "Rain," "And Your Bird Can Sing" all the way through Rubber Soul & Revolver. Beatles 65 made me a real fan \of the band. It was when rock & roll became rock. Even the lp cover pix were cool, with the umbrellas. The speed of The Beatles' musical evolution, while under the incredible pressure of needing to produce more "hits," touring, & making two movies, was proof of their genius. Because of The Beatles, The Four Seasons made better records, The Beach Boys made wonderful records. The Beatles inspired the creation of The Byrds, making folk music palatable & hip. & The Beatles turned Bob Dylan from a rock dabbler into the greatest white American rocker since Elvis. The Stones would be along as soon as they finished urinating on the gas station attendant, or so the story went. The Stones or maybe their fan club passed out buttons that said, "Let's Lock Loins." It became getting more & more difficult for the profiteers to keep a handle on the teenybopper market. Ultimately it lead to the The Monkees. & even they became too uppity. But that was a long way ahead.
At the end of August 1964 I missed my one chance to see The Beatles live. Wasn't a sure thing, but it was a chance. Another story.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Hip Valentine Old Maid
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Long Branch NJ
Friday, February 07, 2014
Fifty years ago today they landed in the U.S.A.
On February 7, 1964, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York's Kennedy Airport--and "Beatlemania" arrives. It was the first visit to the United States by the Beatles, a British rock-and-roll quartet that had just scored its first No. 1 U.S. hit six days before with "I Want to Hold Your Hand." At Kennedy, the "Fab Four"--dressed in mod suits and sporting their trademark pudding bowl haircuts--were greeted by 3,000 screaming fans who caused a near riot when the boys stepped off their plane and onto American soil.
Two days later, Paul McCartney, age 21, Ringo Starr, 23, John Lennon, 23, and George Harrison, 20, made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, a popular television variety show.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
When I dropped by large family backyard cookouts of these friends, I'd be introduced to about two dozen "cousins" ranging in age from infant to near-geezer. But among these cousins would usually befour or five or six very pretty but bored teenage girls, delighted to meet someone outside the family, even a rather ordinary-looking guy like myself.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
snow & cats
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Saturday, February 01, 2014
Labels: about writing
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Take a bow, Pete
Even a non-fan of folkies, like meeself who never much went for the earnest, sing-a-along message songs finally had to concede Pete Seeger was a Great American Musical Institution. If he leaned on his vast repertoire of old songs, well, he was always placing them in the service of change in the present, of contemporary causes, good causes. The right detested him from start to finish, what better endorsement than that? They couldn't shut the guy up no matter how they tried to silence him. Pete was 94. His beloved wife Toshi, his rock, died last summer.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Snow plus a Bruce Longstreet story
My friend Bruce Longstreet would tell a story about his first winter in Vermont. He was convinced Vermont was his true home but underestimated winter in Montpelier. He parked his car in a public lot before a snowstorm & when he went to retrieve it afterward discovered it had been plowed under & was essentially encased in a block of ice. Rather than chip it out, he decided to wait until it thawed. But Montpelier was not Jersey, where long spells of subfreezing temperatures are actually uncommon. He walked for quite awhile.
Bruce would have been unbelieving then if someone had informed him he was really temperamentally suited to the climate around Mendocino County California, & by nature a haiku poet. Certainly I wouldn't have believed it. I think maybe one winter soured Vermont for him, but it took a few years for him to admit it to himself, he had so long dreamed of living there.
Monday, January 20, 2014
“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.” Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence, April 1967 speech.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Update on brother from my sister Jean:
"Joe had been sedated for about 10 days and on a respirator. Tuesday, they had him breathing on his own for a while and were going to do the same yesterday. Today I went to see him and he was sitting up, eyes open and no respirator! He had pulled it out and was breathing on his own. He was still quite groggy from the sedation, but we'll keep our fingers crossed that this may be a good sign and he'll at least recover as best he can."
But there are many things and events in which we can see a reason for genuine hope, namely, the seed-like presence of that which is hoped for. In the seed of a tree, stem and leaves are already present, and this gives us the right to sow the seed in hope for the fruit. We have no assurance that it will develop. But our hope is genuine. There is a presence, a beginning of what is hoped for. And so it is with the child and our hope for his maturing; we hope, because maturing has already begun, but we don't know how far it will go. We hope for the fulfillment of our work, often against hope, because it is already in us as vision and driving force. We hope for a lasting love, because we feel the power of this love present. But it is hope, not certainty. From "The Right to Hope" by Paul Tillich
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
Poet Amiri Baraka died, age 79. He had been hospitalized in another Newark Hospital over the holidays with undisclosed problems. Baraka (Leroi Jones when he made his initial reputation) was a huge literary figure in Jersey, an activist & committed Marxist. Establishment politicians of course despised him. Strangely, Amiri was appointed Poet Laureate of NJ back around 2001, read a poem about 9/11 that offended all sorts of people, & the position was abolished rather than just firing & replacing him. There aren't many poets in Jersey who would have accepted that position, because Baraka was, like him or not, the most prominent literary Presence in Jersey. No one else came close. Only Allen Ginsberg, when he visited Jersey, as he did frequently, was bigger, & he & Baraka were old friends dating back to the Beat era. I'll be writing more about Amiri Baraka. He did influence me & figure into my education in some odd ways.
Labels: in the news
Monday, January 06, 2014
Epiphany - Three Kings Day
The meaning of their gifts wasEverything about the Three Kings or Magi beyond what is mentioned in Matthew's account is fiction, including their number. Matthew's story may be a recounting, a distillation, of a popular fiction (what I'm inclined to believe, but there's still a "truth" to be found). Innumerable legends & stories grew around them, stories still being written. They are the most "oriental" feature of the Christmas narrative. I think this aspect, that they "came from the East," is very important. One can decide for oneself who they are, why they undertook the journey & what the gifts mean.
the tenderness with which they gave.
They gave their sadness also,
knowing his short life,
yet they traveled so far.
Their hearts were filled in return
with wonder, astonishment, love!
They were more than satisfied.
So they led their camels over the hills
by another way, back to the stars.
Sunday, January 05, 2014
Friday, January 03, 2014
A summer story
I was awakened at dawn by whispering, a little kid asking, "Who is he?" Another answering, "He's Karen's boyfriend, ssshhh." I opened up my eyes, five children standing around me in a circle staring down at me. I muttered, "Beat it," they went away & I went back to sleep.