Friday, March 31, 2006
Things I liked before I became a middle-aged recluse
- Having a lover & friend.
- A reasonably reliable car, mine or someone else's..
- Going to the beach "off season" by myself.
- Driving to the boardwalk after supper & getting home at 2 am.
- The United States until 1/20/01.
- Believing that making poems mattered.
- Believing that my poems mattered.
- Social occasions with 6 or less & 20 or more people.
- Boxes of old records at flea markets.
- A girlfriend hanging out in the studio while I did a radio show.
- A good credit rating.
- Running the book dept. at Pearl Arts & Crafts in the 90s.
- Poetry readings in bars & coffeehouses.
- Living in Rahway.
- Reruns of the TV show Peter Gunn.
"Privatization" has been in the news ever since George W. Bush became president. His administration has radically reduced the size of government, turning over to private companies critical governmental functions involving prisons, schools, water, welfare, Medicare, and utilities as well as war-fighting, and is always pushing for more of the same. Outside of Washington, the pitfalls of privatization are on permanent display in Iraq, where companies like Halliburton have reaped billions in contracts. Performing jobs once carried out by members of the military -- from base building and mail delivery to food service -- they have bilked the government while undermining the safety of American forces by providing substandard services and products. Halliburton has been joined by a cottage industry of military-support companies responsible for everything from transportation to interrogation. On the war front, private companies are ubiquitous, increasingly indispensable, and largely unregulated -- a lethal combination.
Now, the long arm of privatization is reaching deep into an almost unimaginable place at the heart of the national security apparatus --- the laboratory where scientists learned to harness the power of the atom more than 60 years ago and created weapons of apocalyptic proportions.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Who are my personal fav "name" major classical composers? I'm ordinary. Palestrina, Byrd, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Rimsky, Mahler, Janacek, Ives, Faure, Vaughan Williams, Prokofiev, Ravel, Satie, Poulenc; which brings us to the "modern" era & that's another list. I feel bad not putting Mozart on there, but I'm still sorting out a relationship with him. Except for Charles Ives, none of these composers require an adjustment of one's ears.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Bit of chill in the air, I went outside wearing the spring uniform, hooded zip sweat jacket & a baseball cap, setting sun trying to burn through clouds, & some very pretty bird chirping. For some reason, this old suburban area attracts a variety of migrating birds, good songsters among them. It's not the Elizabeth River; the rivers in my previous town had more attractive water corridors, which fortunately drew egrets, cormorants, & even an occasional Blue Heron, none of which I see around here, but there was less abundant music in the trees, fewer glimpses of shapes & colors I couldn't identify. Nor do I recall hearing a really wide variety of birds when I lived near some extensive woods in North Jersey (although that place had tree peepers). Overall, I prefer the wide-winged water fowl. I don't know the names of the birdies hiding in the branches.
Monday, March 27, 2006
(2) Tennessee 29 47 76
So the Cappie Poindexter era ends at Rutgers; & wasn't she great to have around?
Old friends Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer & Tennessee coach Pat Summitt complain about their seedings & how they don't like playing each other in the NCAAs. But since it always seems to happen, certainly they'd rather meet up in the title game, not on the same side of the same regional bracket. But as Rutgers struggled with Dartmouth in a first round "home" game in Trenton, the Lady Vols were in Norfolk destroying Army 102-54. We'll know tomorrow if they rated a #1.
Meanwhile, Penn State coach Maureen T. "Rene" Portland faces an anti-discrimination suit alleging that she demonstrated bias against a lesbian player. Portland has in the past expressed an unfavorable view of lesbians, worthy of a Division III southern Bible college coach, but supposedly she follows a non-discriminatory policy now. Still, one wonders what what a recruitment interview by a prejudiced college coach might be like.
"Well, your grades & SAT scores are fine. Your high school team won the state title, you set school records in scoring & rebounds & made first team All-State. Say, do you like K.D. Laing? Ah, never heard of her. Did you see Melissa Etheridge on the Ellen Degeneres Show this morning? No? Ever read "The Color Purple"? Not required class reading, OK. Are you going to the prom this year? Great. Who's the lucky guy? What do mean, you have to rent a tux? "
A fine little joint
February 26, 2006Glen & his lovely woman friend took me there about 2 am after a party last year. I hadn't been in that White Rose in a long time. I had Taylor ham & cheese on a roll, & Glen played "He Stopped Loving Her Today" on the juke. Perfect wrap to a fun evening.
QUICK BITE/Roselle; Satisfying a Hamburger Jones
By JACK SILBERT New York Times
If you are reading this on Sunday between noon and 3 p.m., I am listening to "The Glen Jones Radio Programme Featuring X. Ray Burns" on WFMU-FM (91.1). As a loyal member of the IBJ -- International Brotherhood of Jones -- I take Jonesey's words to heart. So when he recently waxed nostalgic about the "best hamburgers in the world" at the White Rose in Roselle, I knew where my dining destiny lay.
Picture a classic Jersey train-car diner. Now toss out the booths and shrink the place. This is the White Rose. (Linden and Highland Park have separately owned White Rose locations; the mini-chain dates back to the late 1950's.) Inside, nearly everything is light blue or chrome. Two-foot-high stools line the big front windows. "Put some George Jones on the jukebox and you're set," Jonesey had said. Heeding his advice, I punched in No. 7001 ("White Lightnin'") and settled in at one of the other stools by the counter.
A very friendly fellow named Jim wrote down my order on a white paper bag. Almost instantly, my food arrived: a large burger ($2.20) with cheese (30 cents) and bacon ($1.20) and a side of gravy fries ($2.50). The patty, clearly made from fresh beef, was pressed flat, steaming hot and delicious. I had to have another. This time I went with a small cheeseburger ($1.40), served on a standard bun rather than the large burger's Kaiser roll.
White Rose also offers breakfast items, hot dogs, Buffalo wings, sandwiches (B.L.T., steak, Taylor ham and egg), soup, chili and more.
An early 1980's song claimed, "Last Night a D. J. Saved My Life." That's overstatement here, but still, a really excellent burger. Thanks, Jonesey.
White Rose System, 201 East First Avenue, Roselle NJ.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
"The House That Made Newark Musical"
This weeks Carnival of NJ Bloggers is hosted at The Opinion Mill.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Buck Owens & Cindy Walker
Cindy Walker, one of the most prolific and successful songwriters in the history of country music, died Thursday (March 23) in her hometown of Mexia, Texas, following a lengthy illness. She was 87.
Sweet dreams baby
Sweet dreams baby
Sweet dreams baby
How long must I dream?
Friday, March 24, 2006
In the men's NCAA, I think I've seen more bad, rushed shot attempts this year than ever before, plain dumb run down the court & heave the ball tosses that would send a high school coach into a rage. So it's been a joy to watch Kevin Pittsnogle of WVU. If he doesn't have a great game, it's not because he's playing stupid. & last night he was part of one the best up/down final 5 seconds ever. The Gonzaga collapse was also a wonder to behold. Not that I was surprised they lost. Just how they lost. & wasn't it Jerry Izenberg of Newark Star-Ledger who just a week or so ago was saying the Seton Hall basketball program was in better shape than Rutgers? I mean men's programs. Now Louis Orr is gone. Jerry doesn't like the girlie teams because he can't write something like that they"re "sturdy sons of blue-collar fathers who carried lunchboxes to grimy factories in Paterson & Camden so the next generation could carry their dreams to the great arena where TV cameras record the feats of working class gladiators. " Well, of course he could, & I think Jerry even tried a few times. But he prefers twisting similes & stretching metaphors around an event like the Kentucky Derby, where a glass of mint julip might remind him of, oh, a stagnant pool of algae-coated water next to the Turnpike on sunny May afternoon. Still, I imagine the guy sitting in a press box tapping out copy-to-go on an old manual Smith-Corona, with cigar in his mouth & bottle of bourbon under the chair.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Do animals go to heaven?
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Militarily, we've got an incoherent, not very intelligent budget. It becomes less incoherent only when you realize the ways it's being used to fund our industries or that one of the few things we still manufacture reasonably effectively is weapons. It's a huge export business, run not by the companies but by foreign military sales within the Pentagon.
This is not, of course, free enterprise. Four huge manufacturers with only one major customer. This is state socialism and it's keeping the economy running not in the way it's taught in any economics course in any American university. It's closer to what John Maynard Keynes advocated for getting out of the Great Depression -- counter-cyclical governmental expenditures to keep people employed.
And the precedents for this should really terrify us. The greatest single previous example of military Keynesianism -- that is, of taking an economy distraught over recession or depression, over people being very close to the edge and turning it around -- is Germany. Remember, for the five years after Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933, he was admired as one of the geniuses of modern times. And people were put back to work. This was done entirely through military Keynesianism, an alliance between the Nazi Party and German manufacturers.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Junior, Dick, & George, perfect together
Windy, raw, not a good day for fresh beginnings, a new season on a Monday.
I really could have used a reasonably mild afternoon to get out of a funk;
my angry coward mode. I become anxious, then frightened, then angry at myself.What I learned in those years of therapy was basically so simple; recognizing a particular thought/emotion pattern. Stepping back from it, & saying to myself,"It happens. It comes & it goes." It can't always be fought. It fact, it's better usually not to fight it. Struggling with it, trying to grab it & wrestle it into submission, is inviting defeat. It lives off my sense of having been beaten by my own brain molecules. But entering into it is worse. Just know what it is, & don't follow or embellish or develop it. This is necessary because a funk can take over & use my creativity & imagination. So my attitude has to be, "Go ahead, but I'm not feeding you what you want. Instead of writing what you're saying, I'll write about you." I can let the cycle spin itself out rather than spinning around in it. I've gone on spinning for days, months, in the past, around & down. "Yeah, you knocked my Monday over. But it's spring, & there's a Tuesday tomorrow."
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Home of the "Jackhammer"
This week's Carnival of NJ Bloggers hosted by Sharon at Center of NJ Life
Saturday, March 18, 2006
The Contrarian (who did not reveal his bracket picks) goes into more detail on this matter.
Friday, March 17, 2006
THE ROOF DANCERS
Kathleen's parents bought a brand new house and they all moved there. Kathleen had her own room with green walls - her favorite color - and on the walls she hung pictures of rainbows and unicorns and a lot of paper shamrocks. It was a nice room except that every night she heard music and little feet tippy-tapping on the roof as if little people were dancing up there. She could hardly sleep or paint more pictures of rainbows or do her homework. Kathleen went to her mother and said, "I think there are little people dancing on the roof. What can I do?"
Kathleen's mother replied, "Do your homework in the dining room, dear," and continued looking through her seed catalogue.
Kathleen went to her father and said, "There must be little people tippy-tapping on the roof, and I can't sleep." Her father answered, "If you tell your mother about it I'll buy you an ice cream cone tomorrow." He smiled and opened his newspaper to the sports section.
So Kathleen visited her dog, who was lying on the couch like he owned it, and she said to him, "You're my best friend. What will you do about the tippy-tapping on the roof?"
The dog lifted his head and growled, "I can't very well go on the roof on account of some tippy-tapping. Scratch my tummy for a while and wake me up if you see something worth barking at."
Kathleen even told her teacher about the tippy-tapping, but the teacher just asked her to write the story down and hand it in on Monday for extra credit.
Kathleen didn't know what to do about the tippy-tapping on the roof. She was even getting bags beneath her eyes for lack of sleep, which is not good for young girls who need all the sleep they can get. Finally, she told her grandmother, who looked like a little person might look, only a little larger. "Nanny," she said, for that was her grandmother's name, "I'm sure there are little people tippy-tapping on the roof and I can't sleep or make pictures of rainbows for all the noise."
"I know what to do," Nanny said. "Meet me outside your house at ten tonight, but tell your mother and father we're counting the stars in the sky and they won't mind you staying up past your bedtime. "
That night Kathleen and Nanny stood outside the house, and indeed, there were little people dancing on the roof. There were little men and little women and little musicians playing little fiddles and little drums. There were little dogs and little cats up there. All of them were dancing around and around in little circles. They were having a grand time, and the moon was shining so brightly that you couldn't see the stars if you wanted to count them.
"Hey, you little people up there," shouted Nanny.
One of the little people, a tiny lady, peeked over the edge of the roof and said, "Oh, it's you again. Well, what do you want?"
Nanny put her hands on her hips and said, "Why don't you dance somewhere else instead of bothering my grand-daughter with your shenanigans?"
"Well, we have to dance on the roof," replied the tiny lady. "Our favorite tree was here but they cut it down to build this house and now we have nowhere else to go. So there!"
"What will it take to make you go away?" asked Nanny.
"Come on up here" the tiny lady replied, "and dance with us and we'll think about it."
"Oh no," said Nanny. "You know very well I tried that once before with little people, fell off a roof and broke my arm. What if we planted another tree, a special tree for you? Would that satisfy you pests?"
"It's a deal," said the tiny woman. "Trees are much better for dancing than roofs."
The next day Kathleen's mother and father agreed it would be nice to have another tree, so Nanny helped Kathleen plant a small, lovely one, and sure enough, the little people danced in it. Any time Kathleen wanted to see them all she had to do was open her window and look out.
Now Kathleen is more grown up. Each Saint Patrick's Day she and her dog visit a bigger tree next to the house where she lived as a younger girl, and they watch little people dancing tippy-tapping high in the branches. I was walking by there myself last March 17, it was quite a sight.
© Bob Rixon
Thursday, March 16, 2006
" 'Tis done -- but yesterday a King!"
The Shock & Awe of seeing the terrible condition of New Orleans, & the makeshift trailer parks & tent villages of the Mississippi coast five months after Katrina.
The Shock & Awe of Bush's "approval ratings" - how they make no difference in what he does or in what the American people expect & demand of him.
But thou forsooth must be a king,Not to compare George II with the Corsican, but with a loony wearing the bicorne hat, hand thrust in unbuttoned jacket.
And don the purple vest,
As if that foolish robe could wring
Remembrance from thy breast.
Where is that faded garment? where
The gewgaws thou wert fond to wear,
The star, the string, the crest?
Vain froward child of empire! say,
Are all thy playthings snatched away?
from Ode To Napoleon Buonaparte
by George Gordon, Lord Byron
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Linda Stender for Congress
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."Two of the most "conservative" people I knew, both women, one my age, the other in her 70s, one Catholic, the other protestant, both right wing radio & cable TV junkies, still bitching about liberals & Clinton well after 9/11 - I often think about how happy they must be now. To have the president they want, the congress they want, the courts they want; the "wars" for "freedom" they want; the national security laws & agencies they want; the state anti-gay marriage amendments they advocate; the power & influence of the religious right they support. & no matter how low the Bush/Cheney polls fall, the reactionary machinery is already in place & nobody can shut it down now. Good times for these two, seeing their dreams for America come true.
Jamie Raskin, testifying Wednesday, March 1, 2006 before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in response to a question from Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs about whether marriage discrimination against gay people is required by "God's Law."
Monday, March 13, 2006
for the transvestite
on the corner
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Yer doin' a heckava job, Jayzus.
Executive Order: Responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security with Respect to Faith-Based and Community InitiativesWonder why the fedral guvmint gets larger under a "conservative" president? It's the "Jobs Initiative for Faith-based Bush Supporters." Fits right in with the other Bushite idea that faith-based charities ought to interrogate the poorest-of-the-poor before handing out a meal, clean shirt, or box of diapers, & then rat out their names to the feds. Turned out in this matter that a lot of Catholics & Evangelicals resented having their faith based on what a mere Earthly & ultimately transitory government desired. Fools in Washington D.C. treat Christianity like it's a U.S.A. thing. George W. Bush is a convert to conservative Methodism, which made him a dry-drunk. He went there because he wanted his own ass kicked for being a loser & Daddy's Anglicans wouldn't do it. Good. But when he sobered up he wasn't smart enough to find his way home.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to help the Federal Government coordinate a national effort to expand opportunities for faith-based and other community organizations and to strengthen their capacity to better meet America's social and community needs, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment of a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.
(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) shall establish within the Department of Homeland Security (Department) a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (Center).
(b) The Center shall be supervised by a Director appointed by Secretary. The Secretary shall consult with the Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (WHOFBCI Director) prior to making such appointment.
(c) The Department shall provide the Center with appropriate staff, administrative support, and other resources to meet its responsibilities under this order.
(d) The Center shall begin operations no later than 45 days from the date of this order.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Peanuts. A throb of peanuts.
"crabmeat" across your eyes*
Just heard today, poet Barbara Guest died on February 15. Coincidentally, right around that time I pulled her collection Moscow Mansions (1973) out of a box & promoted it to the bathroom. It's poetry that makes me want to write poems. Which is why I kept her book in that particular box. So maybe I did hear something. *from "Shifting the Iris" by B.G.
Handyman here today fixing problems the Housing Authority inspector found. A window by fire escape nailed shut. I knew that. No adjustment knobs on the radiators. The knobs are on but I'll still need a pipe wrench to turn them. He also cleared the cloggy bathtub drain. The pipes in my former residence clogged between floors & the washing machine water in the basement would somehow back up into my kitchen sink & a couple times overflowed it. One place I lived had that problem but with raw sewage. They were not slum buildings. The handyman decided to fix the sticky front door. Except I liked it sticky. It was an extra level of security. In fixing it, he pulled the hingeplate loose & the whole door nearly fell down. So he had to fix that. Now it closes smoothly & feels like anyone can pry it open with a screwdriver.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Happy Birthday, Anne
Ali Farka Touré, 1939-2006
Ali Farka Touré: Born Ali Ibrahim in 1939 in the village of Kanau on the banks of the River Niger in northwest Mali, he never knew his exact date of birth. The tenth son born to parents who claimed noble descent, he was the first to survive infancy and as a child acquired the nickname Farka, meaning donkey and indicating not slow-wittedness but strength and tenacity. When he was still a boy his father died while serving in the French Army and he moved with his mother further south along the river to Niafunk é, the village that, apart from a few years spent in the capital, Bamako, in the 1970s, was his home for the rest of his life.
Monday, March 06, 2006
I didn't explore Wildwood until the late 1980s, & haven't been there enough, even so I'm grateful considering how much has been lost in that short period. I loved the Island as I found it, when I found it, knowing little about what it was before except that it had a very big, very great boardwalk. The only other boardwalk just as big & as great had essentially died & been reborn as a kind of mutant thing, but it took over a decade for my heart to give it up. The North Wildwood motel I stayed at for the first few years just went "condo." It was not a large motel, or "doo wop." There was no swimming pool, game room or snack bar, but it was only one long block from the boardwalk on 21st St. Owner Kay on premises, who sent a card in February postmarked Manasota FL to all of her customers that she was going condo & retiring. Which was a friendly thing to do. I liked it enough until I finally decided there was no need to sleep where I could hear pier rides at midnight & happy people at 3 am. It was both saner & spiritually necessary to move toward the inlet, lighthouse, cheaper take out, & a beach that wasn't like crossing the Bonneville Salt Flats. But I became a North Wildwood benny, that was important.
WFMU Marathon now playing
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Hotel Walt Whitman
This week's Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers is hosted by "D"igital Breakfast.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Solomon Ho'opi'i, 1936-2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
Here's a silly love song for you & your damned Admiral Halsey
SIR PAUL ON ICE OFF CANADA'S EAST COAST — Former Beatle Paul McCartney lay down on an ice floe next to a baby seal Thursday and pleaded with Canada to scrap an annual hunt that kills around 300,000 of the young animals.By the time one fantasizes clubbing a rock star to death, the offending music has already been recorded, sold platinum, & driven one to madness, & it's too late to make any difference. Time & tragedy have proven Paulie a good-hearted icon, & he's never denied being the fool on the hill, but in 1976.....
McCartney and his wife Heather, both dressed in red one-piece survival suits, also patted the white-coated seal after venturing out onto the ice 16 km (10 miles) northwest of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off Canada's east coast.
The Canadian government said the rock star did not fully understand the nature of the two-month hunt, which it says is good for the local economy, humane, and keeps a booming population of 5.8 million animals in check.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Boombox From Planet Bast
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Spring, if you need it
Extraordinary Statement of Principles signed by Fifty-Five Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Extraordinary because this nation has gone so out of whack that Catholic legislators find it necessary to remind us that their "Living Catholic tradition ... promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are most in need." No one in Jersey needed to be reminded of this in the later Sixties, when the smiling face of John XXIII was displayed in many a Catholic home (often next to a photo of John F. Kennedy) & Catholics were on the frontlines of every worthwhile fight. They were "committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching." They sold me, a protestant kid from a Republican family, on most of those principles. So if we have come to a time & place where those principles must be loudly & proudly reaffirmed by the laity in Congress - & we surely have - I'm here to approve & applaud.
So the protestant right wing extremist mullahs at the Family Research Council trot out Tom McClusky, their resident Roman Catholic mouthpiece/collaborator, to express an opinion too stupid to repeat even in my blog. Not only would Cattolico superiore Dorothy Day be appalled by McClusky's words, I suspect Cardinal John O'Connor & Pope John Paul II might not be pleased either.