Thursday, November 30, 2006
The Third World kid's laptop
$150 laptop; the One Laptop per Child Foundation hopes to get cost down to $100. Bill Gates is skeptical, which immediately got me interested. The chief technologist for OLPC is from Intel, it uses a Linux-based OS, & has no hard drive. It has a clear if small screen, camera, is wireless, networks wireless up to 1/3 of a mile within schools & villages, & recharges with a foot pump. Geeks, don't rush to Toys R Us, it won't be for retail sale anywhere (until some of the kids barter them for food, maybe).
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Fifty Years of Howl
Howl by Allen Ginsberg was published 50 years ago this fall. This poem & the slim volume containing it changed American poetry, changed American culture, & changed America. It was beautiful, troubling, angry, subversive, spiritually powerful, & wonderfully portable in the inexpensive City Lights Pocket Poets edition. Ginsberg was to American letters what Elvis was to American music, & at the same time; a decade after World War Two, when the United States had become all too comfortable with itself. In addition to making Ginsberg famous, the controversy surrounding Howl as an "obscene" book & subsequent trial ended as a great victory for free speech.
I discovered a copy of Howl on my oldest brother's bedroom bookshelves when I was 12 & looking for an alternative to my mom's Harold Robbins paperbacks. I thought, hey, this is real beatnik stuff, it must be dirty. Disappointingly, Howl had nothing in it like the sex passages in potboiler novels, just a few "bad" words, & it didn't make a lot of sense. Yet, it felt like something I ought not be reading. Up to that point, my idea of a modern poet was Robert Frost, an old man, whose most famous poems, like "Mending Wall," could be appreciated in a fairly literal story-telling way by a kid. I went back to it again & again, & found other poetry books & magazines in my brother's room, which he had brought back from New York City. It was my brother who first told me Allen Ginsberg wasn't a "beatnik," & in fact there was no such animal; it was a derisive word coined by Time Magazine.
Howl somehow got under my skin & excited me the same way rock & roll did. If I didn't comprehend the worlds either came from, at least I knew those worlds existed. Certainly my parents would not or even could not point the way to them. & Ginsberg showed me there were other ways to make poems, other ways to be a poet. But no book of poems after Howl has had anywhere near its enduring popularity & notoriety. Nor has any poet had the same remarkable kind of celebrity.
When first published, Howl had a cover price of 75 cents. For years it was conveniently one buck. Now it's $6.95. Over time I've acquired four copies; a perfect bound & an earlier staple bound in the Pocket Poet series, a German translation someone picked up overseas, & a hardcover facsimile of the original typewritten version, which was mimeographed & circulated after Ginsberg debuted the poem at a legendary San Francisco reading.
A brief History of Howl.
"Howl Part 1"
Monday, November 27, 2006
Painting the basement floor
A guy around corner hanging holiday lights on his house yesterday afternoon, had a ladder extended to the roof peak. More than I'd ever do. I don't like exposed heights. When my dad ordered me to paint the eaves on the house, I flat out refused, which so infuriated him that he made me paint the basement floor instead. He thought it was punishment, not being out in all that fresh damned air & sun damned shine. There I was, down in the cool basement on a few hot July days, rock & roll on the radio; a friend or two hanging out as I worked, I couldn't pull the classic Tom Sawyer picket fence scam on them. I remembered my older brother on a rickety wooden ladder braced against a 2x4 nailed into the sloping porch roof, precariously balancing himself & dripping sweat as he chipped away at old peeling paint above the little attic window, & that was only the first part of the dangerous job. Not a bad tradeoff, I thought. Of course, I didn't point it out to dad. Maybe I was like Tom Sawyer after all.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
"Something I Dreamed Last Night"
Friday, November 24, 2006
- Betty Comden, who with her longtime collaborator Adolph Green wrote the lyrics and often the librettos for some of the most celebrated musicals of stage and screen, died yesterday in Manhattan. She was 89 and lived in Manhattan.
- Robert Lockwood Jr., 91, a Delta blues guitarist who became the torchbearer of Robert Johnson's guitar legacy and a revered musician in his own right, died Nov. 21.
- Anita O’Day, whose coolly ebullient and rhythmically assured vocal style made her a premier singer of both the big-band and postwar jazz eras, and whose taste for fast living secured her name as one of jazz’s toughest survivors, died yesterday in Los Angeles. She was 87.
During the 90s I worked six holiday seasons at Pearl Arts & Crafts & enjoyed them for the most part. Also did one December in a large record store. My only real experience with "Black Friday" madness was at the old Stern's Dept. Store, where I had seasonal employment as a stocker for the dept selling luggage, attache cases, office gifts, those sorts of things. Stern's held a big sale after Thanksgiving & the enticements were holiday gift wrap paper & decorations. So on Wednesday evening the area manager had me make space for a large display of sale Christmas wrapping near the doors. He told me to bring the boxes out before store opening on Friday, with the warning that I should get off the floor by 9. "Go have a blueberry muffin & coffee (Stern's had great muffins) & sit in the back for an hour & when it calms down a bit you can restock." I had no idea what he was talking about. I ran a bit late on Friday morning because stock carts were scarce. As I unloaded & opened cardboard boxes of wrapping paper, I noticed a large crowd of women gathering outside the doors nearest me - this Stern's had five main entries & stockers had set up wrapping paper displays by all the other ones. I had unloaded the last box & was cutting it open when the doors were unlocked at 9 am. The stock cart was still in the aisle. Hundreds of women rushed through the doors, pushing & shoving & they all seemed to be headed toward my display. Suddenly, I was surrounded, mobbed, as these shoppers fell upon the wrapping paper. Some women waved rolls of paper at me, shouting, "Do you more of this style in stock?" I lied & said no, & somehow managed to push my way out & maneuver the stock cart back to the stock room.
Later, the manager came up, smiled, & asked if I'd gotten off the floor by 9? "Not quite," I said.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Words words words
I hear the word "nigger" every day; hundreds of times if two or three young black guys happen to be loudly conversing on the street corner beneath my window, I hear it along with a lot of other nasty language. The main rationale for casual use of the word is that it is then defused. Perhaps in that context, which is doubtful, but certainly not for use in business or church, or by whites even as "humor." I know "Afro-Americans" (Richards' term last night) who I don't believe appreciate being called "nigger" by anyone under any circumstances. It's both an awful word & a lazy word. It rarely fails to bring to my mind terrible images. Everyone in my family used it; only in the house, of course - we were raised to have good manners even toward "negroes." It's a word I quietly retired from my active spoken vocabulary in high school, which I recall as one of the first times I consciously reasoned with myself about language. I could avoid the word & still be racist, but could never use the word & not be a racist.
Fear charges prejudice, so I wonder what an experienced comic like Michael Richards feared when a couple of hecklers interrupted his act. He's an edgy, improvisational comedian, but after so many years in show business, you'd think he'd have a stock of responses ranging from bemused to aggressive but funny putdowns. What made that ugly brew bubble up & then boil over?
Monday, November 20, 2006
"This past summer, Sarah Hughes travelled to Halifax, Quebec City, Victoriaville, Toronto, and Winnipeg to photograph women in two outfits of their choosing — the first one 'comfortable and safe,' the second 'attractive and sexy.' She then invited each of her subjects to talk about these dual identities."The difference between the two is obvious from the woman's perspective, although the explanations vary. But to my male gaze, that difference is mostly marginal, & in several instances "safe" is sexier. If the subject is not aware of that, should she be informed? The cumulative effect is to bring attention back to Hughes as the artist who chose these particular women for her portraits, & how she challenges the male gaze. It's a feminist document; a project she began 7 years ago.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
"Oracular spontaneity is rare these days, and heartfelt, inspired sloppiness underrated. The poets are pros now, like the software coders, and they function smoothly as nodes in the great network. Ginsberg was always a bug in the machine, though, and the chaos he caused rang alarms that brought repairmen. He made a racket, and, for stretches, a grand one, with subtler modulations than some appreciate and wittier undertones than they remember. I and many others can hear it still, even above the noise of the explosions."
Walter Kirn, "Howler" (New York Times)
A big time defeat
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Atlantic City Pop Festival
But Woodstock had all the buzz, the media attention, we went there, & my memories of that legendary occasion are on the balance less than pleasant. I remember the second day & night pretty clearly; it had the best music. Sunday afternoon's thunderstorm made us throw in the smelly blanket & leave, exhausted, dirty & hungry. My clothes were in such bad shape that I changed into some sort of shaman robe someone gave me, which was fine until we pulled into a rest area on the Thruway & I realized I looked like I was in drag.
After Woodstock, I never again went camping except for a few nights I slept outside during a trip around America in 1976. Although I had long hair, I disavowed all association with either hippies or the student hippie wannabees that made up most of the crowd at Woodstock. No matter how stoned I got, I was never the kind of person who'd screw in public & celebrate my liberation by sliding naked though disgusting mud wallows; or admire anyone who did. Maybe I missed something. I doubt it. The discomfort & bad sanitation were turnoffs enough. I was just a songwriter, & given my late-adolescence anger, angst & alienation I was tilting toward proto-punk.
Millions now claim they were at Woodstock & I can't prove I was there, so it makes no difference what I say. But if I'd gone to the forgotten festival at Atlantic City Racetrack with a total 3 day attendance of about 100,000, that would be something to brag about. Like seeing the Flea Circus & Amazing Diving Horse on the Steel Pier.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
A strange image, George & Laura play traditional gamelan instruments at a museum in Singapore. But how does their performance compare to the Thai Elephant Orchestra?
A friend emailed me, concerned I hadn't posted on the blog since Monday. I wrote back suggesting she refresh the browser page. Her concern pleased me. A few years ago I had an epiphany; that if I died in current circumstances, either the landlord & his crew would come into my apt, take what they wanted, & put everything else on the curb, or my siblings would do it. In both scenarios all my writing, journals, radio aircheck tapes, etc. would end up in heavy duty trash bags. As difficult as it was to accept, there wasn't much I could do about it. The four old friends who could go through my creative work with any appreciation for its real or potential worth (agreeing with me that it has some) live too far away to form a rescue team (& they'd also walk away with some great books & cds for themselves). About the best I could hope for anyway would be that some of it ended up in the basement storeroom of a university library. This is what initially prompted me to archive a lot of my writing online & then to start a blog. I think many people are driven by the same anxieties to build websites & start blogs. But if one isn't already a writer or journal-keeper, a blog become a tedious project.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Won't you come see me, Queen Jane?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
A greener shade of money
The two most identifiable parts of the song are Keith Reid's surrealistic lyrics ("16 vestal virgins* who were leaving for the coast"), & Fisher's organ part which channels two melodies from Johann Bach without quite stealing them outright. Yes, you're allowed to rob directly from Bach & other classical composers & claim copyright; think "A Lover's Concerto." Provided no one else raided it previously.
But the problem in Fisher's suit is that although his music is integral to the arrangement - is, in fact, the song's hook - it isn't the song's melody, the one that fits the words. I'd like to ask "Whiter Shade" composer Gary Brooker if he at anytime during the years Matthew Fisher was not with the band performed the song without the organ part? I think Fisher deserves credit. But the court may not agree.
Whilst checking out this story I happened upon Fisher's wedding photos from 2003. He married an attractive Italian-American gal. Modest reception. Not a smiley couple.
*Historically, there were only six at any given time.
Rudy Giuliani doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who would run for the vice presidential nomination, but that's the best he could possibly achieve. A McCain/Giuliani ticket could be formidable barring some third party challenge from the religious right. Rudy doesn't have much wiggle room on those "moral" issues of most concern to the repug's red state base. Also, until 9/11 he was leaving the mayor's office in New York with a rep as a divisive, angry politician carrying a lot of battered baggage, which will be opened up & examined closely over the next year. Remember Bernard Kerik? Donna Hanover? You will. By contrast, Mike Bloomberg is a paragon of togetherness.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Model of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Proposed to be added later is a waterfall that splashes in the cadences of Dr. King's speech. I don't know how this would be done, but it's a lovely idea.
Bennie breaks wind
Great Britain has a civil union law that confers upon Elton & David "the same legal benefits and responsibilities as heterosexuals who wed in a register office." In a recent photo, Elton had a garish, diamond-encrusted cross dangling from his neck (Yeah, I know even God-fearing pimps wear those). & I doubt he has any objections to huge Anglican royal weddings; probably fancied one for himself until he found out he couldn't rent St. Paul's Cathedral & arrive on a sedan chair carried by six buff Nubians in mink jockstraps. The poor fellow may feel wounded, but as Liberace once remarked of his critics, "I cry all the way to the bank." I say we just ban "Candle In the Wind."
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Over time, sharing a November birthday with Veterans Day gave me a somewhat sad perspective. I've always appreciated Memorial Day, yet its springtime date & Civil War roots soften it some, give it the nostalgic tone it had even in the 1950s when the "supreme sacrifices" of WWII were so recent & real in the minds & hearts of every adult that people wept as Gold Star Mothers - they were not elderly women - placed wreaths at the Doughboy Monument built following WWI. Memorial Day remembers the dead. Veteran's Day was created to honor many millions of living men & women who are in a sense too modest to fully embrace it. Their thoughts are usually private ones. At best, they have memories of separation from family & of the friendships & routines of military service: At worst, those memories include unspeakable horrors. There was no parade in my town. The ceremony at the monument at the corner was brief & sparsely attended. The wreaths on thin wire stands blew over in the November wind, dried out quickly, & dead leaves piled up against them until Public Works raked the small park & carted them away.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I'll think of something to say.
No stars over this cityTwo songs by The Jayhawks & Neil Young.
any poet would notice it
a good poet would do something about it
Friday, November 10, 2006
- Roy Earle in "I Died A Thousand Times," a remake of Bogart's "High Sierra."
- A really nasty gladiator in the 1963 movie "Barabbas."
- Guest starred in a "Man From U.N.C.L.E." two-parter,"The Concrete Overcoat Affair."
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a 1968 TV version.
- Small part in an "R" rated movie of Marquis De Sade's outrageously pornographic novel "Justine."
- Fidel Castro in the 1969 movie "Che!" (Omar Sharif in the lead).
- A complex Count Dracula in an offbeat TV version I recall liking very much.
- Det. Lt. Alex Bronkov in the short-lived 1974 series "Bronk." Very violent cop show for its time, character was interesting as Kojak.
Tuesday's election should drive home to our Dem state legislators the obvious fact that gerrymandering New Jersey into 7 Dem & 7 Repug congressional districts is not fair at all, it fails to give voice to the true demographics, it is not "democratic." Our population is not evenly divided between the two parties, & our congressional delegation is not representative, & was not when the lines were redrawn after the 2000 census. At least, the 7th should have been redrawn to keep it in play as a swing district. "Extra" Democrats were squeezed into Donald Payne's super-safe, convoluted district just to give a freshman Congressman named Ferguson an easy ride. Now it seems outrageous. (In contrast, Massachusetts has ten districts held by ten Democrats, & the state is not nearly that skewed in fact.) But I suppose we'll lose a seat in the next census anyway.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wrapping it up
Before Nixon's "Southern Strategy," before "Reagan Democrats" (a new label for an old breed), the Republican Party could, if sometimes by a stretch, call itself "The Party of Lincoln." Oh, they were always corporate shills. Even Abe the rube lawyer from downstate Illinois wanted to go to Chicago & work for the big railroads & banks. It was fitting that one of the most successful corporate lawyers of that day, a man who had been contemptous of Lincoln before the Civil War, was also the man who uttered,"Now he belongs to the ages" over Lincoln's corpse in the bedroom across from Ford's Theater. At the end, acceptance.
When I was growing up, Democrats were a crazy alliance of aging New Dealers, labor unionists, rusting urban machine parts, Jim Crow southerners of both the red neck & country lawyer varieties, & genuinely progressive reformers. Republicans were for the most part what Republicans had always been; they represented midwestern farmers & northern Chamber of Commerce types, overwhelmingly protestant, & controled, as was frequently said, by New York banks & Wall Street. Both parties were aggressively anti-communist. The Republicans also had Jacob Javits, the Rockefeller family, Clifford Case, Everett Dirksen, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, & in the Sixties even a light-skinned moderately liberal negro senator from Massachusetts named Edward William Brooke III, who is still alive. But Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond switched parties in 1964, making the Republicans officially racist. Choosing a party included choosing a poison: Either way, you were going to have to drink it & pass out in bed with people you utterly despised. For me, this was confused even more by Vietnam.
The national Republican party mullahs made it clear a long time ago that neither Lincoln Chafee nor the better angels of Abe Lincoln's time were to have any influence. Tom Kean Sr. left his ivory tower retirement for the 9/11 Commission & then had most of his conclusions ignored. Bamboozled Christine Whitman could have run for the senate this year if she hadn't announced 5 years ago that New York City's air quality was fine. While Chafee was cut loose, Republican money poured into Lieberman's "unaffiliated" campaign next door. I can't feel sorry for Chafee, but I can feel nostalgic for what he represented; a Republican Party that wasn't a very "big tent" but certainly wasn't the total freak & geek show it is now. He was probably sick of it all anyway.
BBC online coverage of the elections was succinct, dispassionate, & accurate.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Watching the scene last night in the East Brunswick Hilton on TV, the feeling of sheer elation emanating from that place was something I'd never seen in a senate victory here before.
Senator Menendez gave a long-winded victory speech, but once he got going he wasn't the oratorical stiff he's been made out to be. His win was clearly decisive & he knew it. When Menendez switched to Spanish he brought tears to my eye as it suddenly hit me how significant this election was; a son of Cuban immigrants had beaten the son of one the most popular politicians in Jersey's history from one of our mansion-on-the-hill colonial-era families. & all those those years serving in a Republican-dominated House must have really frustrated Menendez. I don't think he'll be a backbencher in the Senate.
Linda Stender's loss in the 7th was a big disappoinment. I think Linda did overcome the advantages of Mike Ferguson's incumbency; what she couldn't overcome in the end was running in Kean Jr.'s backyard.
Last night, the TV talking head commentators were again echoing right wing talking points by claiming this was really a victory for a right-wing swinging Democratic Party. But the so-called "conservative" winners like Bob Casey, Jon Tester, & hopefully Jim Webb, are populists, not dogmatic flat earth religionists. When Menendez closed his speech by calling the United States "The greatest country in the world," it came from the heart - that wasn't just election night rhetoric. There's no contradiction, as Repugs would have it, between being for a strong national defense & also for a progressive domestic agenda. & how do you explain Bernie Sanders, an independent Vermont socialist who will caucus with Democrats alongside Nebraska's Ben Nelson?
I wouldn't vote for a Democratic candidate I perceived to be genuinely weak on defense. I live 20 miles from Ground Zero. How come, five years after 9/11, I feel no safer? It's certainly not due to the efforts of Dem senators like Schumer, Lautenburg & Clinton, who pretty regularly show up at area ports & shout at the White House, "C'mon, help us out some more here," & even had to stop Bush from selling our docks to the Arabs. They never forget. Nobody around here forgets the empty place in Manhattan's skyline. There's nothing "conservative" about what Iraq has done to our armed forces & preparedness. I see the deliberate waste of lives & money & more lives. The idea that there's some obvious either/or border anymore between conservative & liberal is ridiculous.
What a fucking mess Democrats have to clean up in Washington. Nearly everything is broken. I almost feel sorry for them.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
vote early & often
The only serious problem I ever had trying to vote was for a general election years ago in Linden; the poll location had been changed from the previous year & they somehow misplaced my records page during the shuffle of moving. They were way too casual about the possibility I wouldn't be able to vote, reminding me the polls were closing soon, like tough luck, we can't do anything now. It was around 7:30 pm. I threw a fit. & I do mean a fit. I went ballistic. I had my sample ballot with me. Someone got on the phone, I was worried he was calling the cops, but he was talking to City Hall, & about 10 minutes later the city clerk walked in & personally handed me a provisional ballot, very apologetic. I was raised by parents who always voted. A lot of people don't have my cantankerous kind of personality, & they're the ones the repugs are trying to scare away this year with misleading robocalls, bizarre flyers saying Democrats vote on Wednesday or the relatives of naturalized citizens will be deported, & with intimidation tactics outside & inside the polling places. I have never encountered any of these, but they are very real in other places.
Monday, November 06, 2006
vinyl vinyl vinyl
Bobby Hackett, Hawaii Swings
Among WFMU DJs, only moi & probably Irwin & Monica could spot the potential here among the boxes of "easy listening." Jackie Gleason's favorite trumpet could play excellent jazz whenever he wanted - he rarely did this late in his career, & Miles admired him; 8 piece group with Hawaii-born session cats on bass & electric steel; guitarists Billy Bauer & John "Bucky" Pizzarelli Sr. doubling on ukeleles. Too much nodding, not enough winking, but nobody falls asleep & there's some 3 minutes gems here.
Philip Rehfeldt plays Music for Clarinet & Tape
I thought "Renascence for Clarinet, Tape Delay System & Prerecorded Tape" could be more tuneful than the title suggested. It is.
Andre Previn & J.J. Johnson, Mack the Knife & other Kurt Weill Songs
At last, I've replaced my worn out copy.
Harry Kaapuni & the Royal Polynesians, Aloha Hawaii
Sealed. Cheap. Irresistable. Based on other Kaapuni cuts I've heard, probably OK poolside cocktail music with a strong country & western flavor. Dedicate this one to Carrie at the Bar & Grill.
Miklos Rozsa, Hungarian Sketches; Concert Overture
1950s LP conducted by the maestro himself. Rozsa was one of those old-time Europe to Hollywood transplants who was almost apologetic that he composed peerless movie scores & good pop melodies but little "serious" music. Now we can hear it was pretty much all of a piece, which is what we want anyway.
Dai-Keong Lee, Polynesian Suite (1959)
I didn't expect an American composer of that era to do something interesting with the concept even though the middle movement of this symphonic conceit is titled "Hula." A disappointment anyway. It's like Lee went to a luau & averted his eyes when the grass skirts started shaking.
Read this today, vote tomorrow
"They had forgotten, if they ever knew, that the Constitution is designed to be a law for rulers and people alike at all times and under all circumstances; and that no doctrine involving more pernicious consequences to the commonweal has ever been invented by the wit of a man than the notion that any of its provisions can be suspended by the President for any reason whatsoever.
"On the contrary, they apparently believed that the President is above the Constitution, and has the autocratic power to suspend its provisions if he decides in his own unreviewable judgement that his action in so doing promotes his own political interests or the welfare of the nation. As one of them testified before the Senate Select Committee, they believed that the President has the autocratic power to suspend the Fourth Amendment whenever he imagines that some indefinable aspect of national security is involved.
"I digress to reject this doctrine of the constitutional omnipotence of the President. As long as I have a mind to think, a tongue to speak, and a heart to love my country, I shall deny that the Constitution confers any autocratic power on the President, or authorizes him to convert George Washington's America into Gaius Caesar's Rome."
Senator Sam Ervin Jr. - 1974
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.Don't worry for Pastor Ted; bigshot preachers like him have bigshot bank accounts & investments. Not that he'll have much left when his wife's lawyers are finished with him; she's got five kids to look after. It won't help him to write another book unless he's willing to make it a tell-all. (Previous uplifting Haggard titles include "Dog Training, Fly Fishing, And Sharing Christ In The 21st Century," "Primary Purpose: Making It Hard for People to Go to Hell from Your City," & "From This Day Forward: Making Your Vows Last a Lifetime." )
The people least shocked by this are southerners, who are not unaccustomed to seeing prideful local Bible thumpers throw themselves into the manure pile, but usually by-way-of some ripely attractive woman in the church choir.
(check out the the Twinkies of New Life Church. Choose the male lead for the next Twyla Tharp musical. Will it be Lance? Ross? Matthew?)
My congressman is running unopposed. I live a very short distance from the 7th District line, unfortunately I can't cast a vote for Linda Stender.
Elizabeth 3rd Ward Dem candidate Joe Keenan also gets my vote. Keenan has not run strongly informative campaigns here. He barely defeated the reactionary incumbent in two close primaries. But unlike his opponent, he didn't rely on illegally cast votes from registered Republicans. The Union County Democratic machine pisses me off sometimes, but the anti-Mayor Bollwage faction here is a frightening alliance of right wingers, neither reformers nor Republicans, & Bollwage is not a bad mayor. Keenan, as it turns out, is the former Director of Elizabeth Public Library, 14 years in that post, & he & his wife decided to remain in Elizabeth after he retired. I'm delighted with the idea of having a librarian as my councilman. Now, if I can get him to hear me out on my idea of rotating duplicate titles of main library books through the branches.... I go downtown & see three copies of an older Spenser-for-hire detective novel gathering dust on the shelves when my Elmora library doesn't have it at all.
Friday, November 03, 2006
The marigolds are
the last to die,
spiteful of seasons, each
a colony of tiny
orange petals grouped
around a mystery.
The bees retreat
as furnaces fog
when our choices
or the marigolds,
all other flowers
in the mulch.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
WFMU Record Fair
Entering the Pavilion lobby, a maze of velvet ropes brings you to the ticket sellers. These volunteers are invariably very nice, sociable people but their job is a lonely one since everyone is in a hurry to get inside. You go through another door - where your ticket will be examined by an amiable but no nonsense person. Once inside the Fair, the first tables you see are the WFMU tchotzke display for tee shirts & other "authorized" merchandise, run by people with proven ability to add & subtract. Then the WFMU all-prices record & CD tables, staffed by knowledgable DJs you can actually consult with on your purchases. This is where you're most likely to find WFMU's music director when he has a few moments to hang out. You also pass the WFMU "Wheel of Fate" game & the information table with all the handouts & flyers, the chairs behind this table are usually occupied by a male & a female selected for their congenial dispositions. If you want to pull the station manager's coat, lay in wait for him here. Then you wander the aisles & aisles of dealers however you want. The El Cheapo area is generally the last stop for people on their way out of the record fair. It's like the dusty souvenir shop or funky little arcade at the end of the boardwalk. You arrived with a certain amount of money to spend, & you spent nearly all of it, but you still got 5 or 10 bucks to blow. Almost all of the CDs for sale are complete mysteries to me. The compilations are the best gambles. There are good records, though. Nothing valuable or mint, but if you love music, you'll probably find something. & it's easy for me: 6 items, that'll be, ah, 6 bucks.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
He wouldn't do that ever, & of course he didn't, if one bothers to listen to all of what he said, which too many people won't.
But thanks a lot, John (I sez sarcastically) for inadvertently giving Karl Rove one week before Election Day the big distracting Democratic target he didn't have for the past two months. Do us a favor, disappear for 7 days. We know you're a decent guy but you had your chance to go mano a mano with George W two years ago. & you couldn't tell a joke right even if the ghost of Tip O'Neill was whispering it your ear. Remember, revenge is a dish best served cold.