Monday, October 31, 2005

The Mystery of the Abe Lincoln Bookend

Last Friday, the electric briefly shut off, making the room dark & wiping out the first few sentences of what was going to be a couple of Halloween paragraphs about scary music. A little while later, after the power was back on, as I was headed out the door on an errand, there was a terrible crash of something falling & breaking. I came back in to see what it was. The plaster Abraham Lincoln bookend was in pieces on the floor. It was unrepairable, Abe's head totally smashed. The bookend was modeled on the Daniel Chester French Lincoln Memorial sculpture. I bought it at a flea market many years ago to remind me of my father, who had the same bookend but of heavier, better quality. I don't know what happened to it after he died; it was only thing of his I coveted for a keepssake. I had the unsettling feeling of having experienced an omen of some kind. First the power outage, now this.

I can't write dad's biography here, except to say he had personal integrity, loved historical reenactment, enjoyed being the center of attention, worked hard on what mattered to him, & cultivated the reputation of a guy who didn't like leaving jobs undone. But in fact he didn't finish plenty. Like raising me, his youngest of three sons, for instance; I lost him to his avocations before I reached puberty. He went & unexpectedly died at Disney Epcot when I was in my mid-thirties, just as we were starting to listen to each other, & about six years before I needed his advice & practical help in a big way. He was competitive. He was an excellent leader up to a certain level, but would then resist climbing to the next. He could have been a company V.P., a County Freeholder, an author of learned articles & books on Revolutionary War ordinance. He must have been aware of this, his tendency for lateral movement. But he worked best with smaller teams, sleeves rolled up. His favorite job was his final one, Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds at Morristown National Park, where he could assign the job of riding the lawn tractor, or do it himself if he wanted to get out the office for awhile. That was dad. & if he was angry enough at me to smash that bookend, what was he angry about? Any number of matters in which I disappoint him every day, mostly procrastination. Procrastination especially annoyed him.

I can almost exactly work through the series of events that made the bookend fall & break. Early last week I moved the bookend from the window sill to the radiator in front with the intention of cleaning the sill. I was distracted by something & it didn't get done. Forgot about it. When the lights went out I walked over to raise the shades & catch what was left of fading daylight. In doing that, I nudged the padding on top of the radiator. The bookend went halfway over the end & a slight breeze or vibrations did the rest. Bye bye Abe.

Yeah, right.

So how can I placate dad's spirit, if that's what it is? I can't, really. But I did clean the windowsill & replace the busted Lincoln bookend with a framed photo of my Nana, his mother, promoted from a place in the other room guarding boxes of books, records, journals & WFMU air check tapes. If dad has my number, Nana surely has his.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Walt Whitman Tomb, Camden New Jersey

Willie the Silent Pep Rally

Drum beat: ba-da-dum
cymbal crash: blamalamalama
trumpet charge: ta-ta-ta-tah-ta-taaahh

At 6-2 Rutgers is eligible for a bowl appearance.
Even if they lose two of the final three, not unlikely.
Wonder what bowl game?
The Bridgewater Mall Bowl (less prestigious than the Short Hills Mall Bowl).
The Dairy Queen near the Quick Chek across from the Prison Bowl.
The Win-a-WindMill-Hot Dog Bowl.
The New Jersey 101.5 Yard Field Insult Bowl.
The "Play the Loser of the Annual Roselle-Roselle Park Thanksgiving Day Game" Bowl.
The Dollar Store Microwave Safe Bowl.
The Weird New Jersey Bowl (weird location tba).
The Even Bob Can Beat Rutgers With These Two Guys & Nobody Else Bowl.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Poor ol' Scooter, who "sacrificed much in service to this country."

It's all about non-existant weapons of mass destruction. & those WMD's are why we invaded Iraq, no matter how Rumsfeld & Cheney twisted the justifications later. They tried to suppress the truth, & for a long time - no thanks to our First Amendment - they succeeded.

No gloating here over Libby. The criminals are still in charge. Iraq is one of the great tragedies in American history. It followed close upon another - 9/11, & more storms will come before we overcome Katrina, Rita, Wilma. Plus a tsunami & an earthquake, both caused by the tectonic processes of "intelligent design" set in motion a mere ten-thousand years ago.

So the House Agricultural Committee approves $574 million reduction in food stamp spending. That's one way to buy another few months of bombs, bullets, blood, bodies, & Bush bullshit.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Why I don't like Doug Forrester

So if Doug Forrester isn't against embryonic stem cell research, how come there isn't one mention on his website that he's for it? But there's this weird Brooke Schaaf paragraph from the "Republican Majority for Choice" post (quite a name for what amounts to a GOP fringe group):
".... some people are under the mistaken impression that Doug opposes stem cell research. Unfortunately, the Corzine campaign has worked to muddy these waters. They launched a commercial with a young man who is paralyzed. He basically says that he doesn't believe Doug wants to help people like him, something I think is particularly mean-spirited – in addition to being just plain wrong. Doug and Andrea faced serious medical issues with their daughter (my cousin) and have every reason to support advancing cures. Doug said he thought it was 'sad the young man was used for political purposes'. "
Oh yeah, on the website, Forrester doesn't say he's in favor of any kind of stem cell research. Not even in the policy section titled "Partnering with the Disability Community." Sure, Forrester wants to "take back New Jersey." Take it & hand it over to the corrupt bastards who send our Guard to Iraq, piss on our poor & working class people, screw our veterans, despise our GBLT, have contempt for our labor unions, & undermine our efforts to clean up the environment. Doug, if you're a "moderate" like Christie & Tom then you're only gum on the shoes of the national GOP, & the Big Shots are preoccupied right now trying to scrape off all the shit they stepped in. & if you're with them, you're a great danger to us all.

Friday Update:
"I've made my position very clear, that, full-speed ahead with embryonic and adult stem-cell research," Forrester said during a news conference on the front lawn of the home of a Republican committeeman in Paramus. "The ethical reservations have been surpassed by science. God bless the medical scientists."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


From Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy, The War In Iraq, Senate Floor, October 25, 2005
If President Bush will not say what remains to be done before he can declare victory and bring our troops home, then the Congress should start voting on what this war is really costing this Nation.

We should vote on paying for the war versus cutting Medicaid, as some of those across the aisle are proposing.

Or versus cutting VA programs that are already unable to pay the staggering costs of treatment and rehabilitation for our injured veterans.

Or versus rebuilding our National Guard.

Or rebuilding FEMA.

Or securing our ports and our borders.

Or investing in our intelligence so we can finally capture Osama bin Laden.

Or investing in health care for the tens of millions of Americans who can not afford to get sick.

Or fixing our troubled schools, so our children can learn to do a better job than we have of making the world a safer place for all people.

Monday, October 24, 2005

How can one person make a difference?

Rosa Parks, Feb. 4, 1913 - Oct. 24, 2005

"They are fascists, and this is what fascists do."

From The Bunker Mentality by William Rivers Pitt:
"Funny the difference a few years can make. There were a thousand things wrong in the '90s, to be sure, and more than a few of them stemmed from the government and, specifically, the White House. In those days, however, there was still a sense of optimism. We were in the world and of the world, yet still Americans, still strong and proud. We were riding high, having figured out how to have historic economic expansion and opportunity while still providing the money necessary for programs and policies that helped those who needed a hand. So much remained to be done, but the outlines of a blueprint for getting it done seemed to be out there.

"Not so much anymore. Now, we are a nation that believes itself under siege, afraid of our own shadows, afraid of chickens and airplanes and subways and gasoline prices and storms and the nightly news and anyone who doesn't look like an American, whatever that means. Yellow. Orange. We fight them there so we don't have to fight them here. The enemy is all around us, we are told by this administration, ready to strike. Be ready, we hear. Be angry. Be afraid."

& as we await #2000*
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. "
Joseph Goebbels (Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda)
*Including 97 British & 102 from other nations, the number of Iraq coalition deaths is currently 2195.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hereford Light, North Wildwood New Jersey

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Friday, October 21, 2005

I belong to a sect that knows Creation began on a Tuesday.
At 2:18 p.m. CST.
In my town, Kansas.
Otherwise exactly as written in Scripture.
We already control the Board of Education here.
The City Council is next.
Topeka, here we come!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Big Melt

Why doesn't global warming bother The Bushies?
Why do they lean on reactionary science & reactionary religion to avoid taking action?
In a word: OIL. & all the various ways to profit from oil.
It ain't old sinking New Orleans that concerns them.
The United States is one of only five nations (the others are Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark)
with territorial claims in the Arctic Ocean. But in opening up Arctic resources, corporations will mostly call the shots. The New York Times began an important series earlier this month with
As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound.
The second, Old Ways of Life Are Fading as the Arctic Thaws, was published today.
Free, register once & follow the melting permafrost to fabulous riches. But not our's.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Kiss of No Return

Two consecutive weeks of WFMU overnight programs were fun. Being
familiar with what was in the library new bin allowed me to mine it a
little more - I’m hardly a slave to new releases anyway. Although my
shows are many respects predictable, it’s nice to do one without an
“agenda” of music that’s been piling up a for a couple of months. Last
night’s had a jumping off theme I’ve used many times - a big moon. I
have many favorite moon songs. Unlike some jocks, I’d never pack as
many I could could fit into one program. I also title my programs -
even titled my old air check cassettes. The final cut, a quick pick to
fill about five minutes, provided one: The Kiss of No Return.
You know that kiss. It’s the first really long meaningful one that’s
hot alright but also transcends the pheremones. Sometimes it happens
when you’re saying farewell after sex & neither one of you feels a need
to assure the other you’ll be back, because you both know you will &
the kiss just said it. A kiss like that with moon shining down is really special.
You will return; the emotions have passed the point of no return: you’re
hooked. I spoze it could also be read as a goodbye forever kiss or a
one-sided kiss when the other pair of lips don't even pucker up
& whoops sorry I miscalculated & invaded your space. But let us
interpret The Kiss of No Return hopefully; it's what we hope for..

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Monday, October 17, 2005

The Red Cross appreciates help from Baptists - Southern Baptists.
Red Cross, Black Pastors at Odds
"A spokesman for the Red Cross acknowledged that the organization needed to build its presence in poor black neighborhoods."
Later: Well, no good deed goes unpunished. Checked some info, including Red Cross standards for supply & training, food safety concerns, liability issues, & learning that the SBC generally has good rep for this sort of service. Still, I reserve the privilege of making fun of Southern Baptists at any opportunity. & the idea of southern black & white Baptist patriarchs fighting over who gets to serve the macaroni & cheese is kinda funny. Let's all give an Amen to those hard-working ladies in the church kitchen.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Belmar New Jersey

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I really appreciate Tom Moran's piece in the Star-Ledger on Friday:
Democrats lose interest in the fight for the poor
I was leaning toward John Edwards in the 2004 primary when it became evident early on who the Jersey Democratic establishment was supporting, & I realized the cause was hopeless, Edwards wouldn't make it this far. I can't recall the last time a Democrat on my ballot spoke about poverty & the working poor in words that were even mildly inspiring. I can usually trust how local elected Democrats will vote; I just can't expect them to show moral leadership on a variety of crucial matters. Over time, whatever strongly partisan party feelings I had weakened & I was looking for alternative voices & agendas; Ironically, I found them in "faith-based" groups & organizations.

Inquisitor Clarence Thomas rules against pregnant prisoner

by "Asbury Park"

In a statement of unbelievably cold cruelty, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon's office said. "It is not the prison that has imposed the burden, but the prisoner's violation of the law that resulted in her incarceration that has imposed the burden,"

That's how the right views unwanted pregnancies among the unsaved: as punishments & burdens.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh, Betty!

Overheard in Williamsburg:
Drunk guy on cell: "Dude, that's crap, you gotta live hardcore!"
from Overheard In New York

Thursday, October 13, 2005

AOL polls are totally unscientific, but I recall a time not long ago when GWB supporters won the percentages. These are tonight's scores.
How would you rate President Bush's overall performance?
Poor 73%
Good 10%
Excellent 10%
Fair 7%
Do Bush's poll ratings signal long-term trouble for him?
Yes 75%
No 25%
Which issue do you believe has been the most damaging for him?
War in Iraq 69%
Hurricane Katrina 17%
Rising gas prices 14%

Total Votes: 278,321

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Driving all night radio.

Four a.m. is a nice hour to do a radio show at WFMU. Quiet. Relaxed. Except when the EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM machine is printing out flood warnings every 1/2 hour while a disembodied voice says, "This is an announcement from the National Weather Service." Have to rip, log & read those on the air.

I was filling in from 2 to 6 for a new DJ named Billy Jam, which my brain kept trying to tell my mouth was "Jimmy Jam" & Terry Lewis. Depending upon my energy level, the extra hour - most FMU slots are 3 - is either a bonus for traveling to Jersey City & staying up all night, to be filled with classical music or a drony mescaline trip, or makes me think cripes I wonder if this sounds as tired & bored as I feel.

There are two general attitudes at WFMU about programming late night: pre-internet & after we got a live stream up. For the younger DJs it's morning in England & afternoon in Australia. They just do pretty much the same show any time of day. Older DJs like myself began when the radio station & listener were in the same time zone. So even an overnight show featuring punk would have an intimate, underground, one to one, insomniac quality. I want at least part of my overnight programs to have an atmosphere of a deserted Montgomery St. Jersey City New Jersey USA , only me & the 24/7 Flamingo Diner down the corner

Before WFMU shows were archived, I avoided the overnight shift because the potential audience was so small, most of my friends were asleep (a good excuse for not listening), & the creative arc of the show from wee hours to dawn didn't appeal to me. I preferred 11 pm to 2 am, starting off with big loud beats & steering between midnight & one into a nostalgic or bluesy or tokin' up late night mood, then handing off to a specialist, like veteran DJ Stan, packing up my stuff & going home.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Security Check Point by Playmobil.

Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tom Kean says Doug Forrester is "a moderate who supports a woman's right to choose," & an honorable, decent man. This must be code for "Forrester isn't really a Republican, folks." As governor, Forrester would have about as much influence with the radical, anti-choice, corrupt Republicans in Washington as, well, Tom Kean, which is to say zilch. One can make a case that Jon Corzine, with his Senate & zillionaire Wall Street experience, will be a more effective spokesperson & lobbyist for Jersey's interests inside the Beltway. George W. Bush probably wouldn't even bother thinking up a nickname for Forrester. I suggest Li'l Buddy..

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Music Pier, Ocean City New Jersey

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The Opinion Mill
hosts this week's New Jersey Carnival of Bloggers.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Say it Five Times Fast

It's not my usual practice to listen to Presidential
speeches. But WCBS radio happened to broadcast the
whole thing yesterday - usually the station cuts away
rather than skip too many traffic/weather segments "on
the sevens." I was too lazy to walk over & turn it
off. Just as the speech began sinking into ambient
sound, the smooth delivery of this impressive
mouthful caught my ear:
"Yet the evil of that morning has reappeared on other days in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul, in Madrid, in Beslan, in Taba and Natanya and Baghdad and elsewhere."
Wow. Substitute "dance" or "rhythm" for "evil" & you
have a Your Hit Parade novelty from the 1940's, maybe
Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters.

To my amazement, a couple of minutes later he did it again:
"in places like Somalia and the Philippines and Pakistan and Chechnya and Kashmir and Algeria."
Stringing em together almost into Danny Kaye "Tchaikowsky" territory.
& not a sign of the stumbling or stammering Bush exhibits
when he's unscripted.

Alas, he moved on to the usual apocalyptic
possibilities, you can consult John the Revelator for
policy details. That was enough. I turned off the
radio & waited for the NYT transcript.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

This has been an amusing political week. Most weeks are not. Harriet Miers is a "stealth" candidate for the Supreme Court. I think she'd be a disaster, another Clarence Thomas, a third rate legal reactionary. But John Roberts was a "stealth" appointee also. If this nation is ready for a real conservative revolution, if the American People have seen the Light & truly believe, as the Christian right has been insisting for over a decade now, then why doesn't Bush just reach for an obvious, upfront born again, King James Version, anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-privacy, anti-evolution, anti-minimum wage, anti-organized labor jurist who's more than glad to admit it?

He can't, that's why. The G.O.P circus tent would collapse & all the freaks, geeks, bearded ladies, tattooed midgets, hoochie coochies, snake handlers, shills, barkers, fortunetellers, fake unicorns would go dancing up Pennsylvania Avenue. With the real sideshow Republicans like Doug Forrester, Tom Kean, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, Mike Bloomberg, Lincoln Chafee & Arnie Der Republicanator standing around going, "Duh, we didn't know, we swear we didn't know it was that loony."

Sinead O'Connor greets Winston Rodney

Sinead O'Connor performed a spot on, slightly faster rendition of "Marcus Garvey," the classic Burning Spear song, on Craig Ferguson's show. Sly & Robbie were in the band. Sinead, to express her Faith, went into a music that rises from oppression yet flows with love & life. She doesn't have to do this music. But she has to do it. She adds only herself to it. It is a music & spirituality that shames American political religiosity, exposing the hubris of a malicious protestantism, a specialty of our culture: the Death Cult creeping over our government.

& yes, it matters that Conan O'Brien is giving an entire show to U2 tonight.
The Irish trying to tell us something about peace?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

George W. Bush on why it's a big drag to learn anything new

"I know her [Harriet Miers] well enough to be able to say that she's not going to change; that 20 years from now she'll be the same person, with the same philosophy that she is today. She'll have more experience, she'll have been a judge, but nevertheless, her philosophy won't change."

"I'm interested in finding somebody who shares my philosophy today and will have that same philosophy 20 years from now."
These are very telling statements, made in the off-the-cuff, hesitant, odd brain synapsis style of a man who struggles so hard to reach a conclusion that he can't suffer the process of going through it all over again. Ever notice the almost tourette-like noises he makes before he says something that isn't scripted? Just as we can now recognize the early symptoms of Alzheimer's in Ronald Reagan during his second term, we may look back & conclude that substance abuse really did freeze dry George W. Bush's brain.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"... the rich woman would rather stay with the abusive husband than risk losing the house, the cars, the clothes, the country club membership, the frequent flyer miles, the health insurance, her part of the investments."
Who is to Blame for an Abusive President? by Robin J. Morgan

Brief Vaudeville Routine

I need a woman who can keep me in the style I am accustomed to. Bad food. Ugly furniture. Socks & underwear on the floor.
Just doublewide everything & I'll be happy,
Doublewide is the size that thrills me so.
Doublewide are your kisses,
Doublewide is your love,
Doublewide is this trailer
The twisters tossed us from above
(Two F4's on the Fujita Scale)
I don't want a woman to be a maid. Just leave that pile of records where it is, & don't mess with the books by the futon.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lucy. Margate New Jersey

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

So why is acceptable for a group of clergy to endorse a liberal Democrat because they agree with his positions, but not acceptable for another group of clergy to endorse a conservative Republican because they agree with his positions? To be blunt, I've about had it with the pronouncements of predominantly patriarchal religious hierarchies no matter whose side they're on.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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