Saturday, March 31, 2007

Stupid about the weather

Quote of the day:
"The worst stuff is not going to happen because we can't be that stupid."

Harvard University oceanographer James McCarthy on the "highway to extinction" global warming projections of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Oh yes, we're that stupid. Our own NOAA scientists are prohibited from discussing global warming in public unless their statements are approved by the Republican equivalent of Communist political commissars. We can't even be bothered to remove the tax breaks for new SUV purchases. Instead, the oil & auto companies throw up a smoke screen about ethanol & hybrids eventually saving the world.

Public consciousness of global warming is not strong. Thanks to the Bush/Cheney Junta, the alliance between the House of Saud & the House of Bush, the political power of the religious right, & the unending media portrayals of Al Gore as a buffoon & a loser.

The American public is still at a naive, short-view stage of understanding global warming. One year there's an unusual number of strong hurricanes, two of them ruinous to the Gulf Coast, & that's global warming. The next year there's few hurricanes so the meteorologists are hysterical & the previous year & Katrina must have been coincidental. July is brutally hot, must be global warming. But then August is normal. Springlike temperatures well into January - global warming. Then February is a deep freeze & there's ice storms in March - not global warming. It's either El Niño or La Niña, they come & go. Huge sections of the polar ice sheets break off, float out to sea & melt. Hard to imagine icebergs the size of Rhode Island. But hey, what about those dancing penguins? We think in terms of seasonal anomalies; weather is commonly peculiar, even dangerous; it's why there's a Weather Channel. The weather was gentle this week, but next week Jersey could get tornadoes. Weather is often headline local news, unlike projections of temperatures & ocean levels & the consequences ten or fifty years hence. If Al Gore had been inaugurated in 2000, we'd know about global warming by now. We lost 8 years. We could lose another 8 just like that.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Six foot chocolate Jesus

A life-sized, anatomically-correct, milk chocolate statue of the crucified Jesus, titled "My Sweet Lord". Oh God, does it get cheesier than that? Yeah, the artist is partial to mozzarella & pepper jack. Art school concept with the money to see it to completion. It's every self-styled "controversial" artist's fantasy to be attacked in the mainstream media by the religious right, & dopey Bill Donohue of the Catholic League obliged. A big New Yawk Yawn here. (Show has been canceled.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dr. Depakote

Monthly jaunt crosstown to shrink, went on something of a shopping spree on the way home. Nice enough afternoon for the 1.5 mile walk there. The elevator in the building was too uncertain coming level with floor 2, quite bouncy, I was in there with 5 people including a smiling but severely mentally disabled woman who was babbling a lot. The receptionist informed me that Dr. G was out of the office on an emergency (which means some outpatient has gone to pieces & landed at psychiatric inpatient facility) but if I took a seat she'd get another doctor. That could involve a long wait, I would have just rescheduled - monthly appointments are my choice anyway, but I wanted to replenish my Ambien. I know the other three shrinks, two of them I like. As I was waffling about leaving, she informed me that Dr. Depakote would take me right away. I'm afraid of Dr. Depakote. I encountered Dr. D a few years ago. Rather than consult with Dr. G or my long-time therapist, he concluded I was too "agitated" & therefore in a manic state, & made me swallow a time-release Depakote horse pill. Dr. G had never prescribed or even suggested such a heavy-duty med. I was taking a moderate daily dose of Zoloft. The Depakote triggered an accelerated irregular heartbeat, which another doctor quickly decided to treat with some other strong med. The next day, a third doctor looked at my chart, asked me a few simple sensible questions, turned to the nurse & said, "This patient shouldn't be on these drugs, I'm stopping them immediately." Later, I looked up the heart med & found out that it was a very serious drug that ought to be prescribed only by cardiologists & on a longterm basis. If I mentioned to Dr. G that the elevator was acting strangely, he'd think nothing of it. But Dr. Depakote might interpret it as a sign of acute anxiety or even paranoia. I got my Ambien script from Dr. Depakote without incident & took the stairs down.

I bought two button-up shirts at the Salvation Army Store, total $4.48. Usually I don't find anything there. Stopped by main library & checked out three books, including Angela Carter short stories. Carter is such a strong, strange writer that I approach her infrequently & with some caution. She's the kind of artist who stirs me up without influencing me, she's so temperamentally different. Federico Fellini is like that, too.

Downtown, I was drawn in to Payless Shoes. Payless had black canvas high tops for $20, not in my size. I spotted a pair of pretty good sneakers at a good price, they fit well, & I knew I should buy them right there & then. My funky, heavy duty black K Mart sneaks have some miles left, but they're two years old & losing pieces of tread, & approaching the "beach sneaks" stage of their existence. Looking for acceptable, inexpensive new sneakers when you must have new sneakers is a frustrating experience. You regret not buying the sneakers you saw last month. Celebrated with first iced coffee of the season.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring & all that

Spring is late to this part of Jersey. Our midwinter deep freeze & March ice storm stifled it. Usually, there's plenty of little flowers by now, forsythia in sunny places showing green & hints of yellow if not yet in full bloom, & the dogwood buds swollen near to exploding. Perhaps the season will be all the more intense.
Lifeless in appearance,
dazed spring approaches-

William Carlos Williams, "Spring and All"
Another guy in building agreed that a gun was fired outside about 3 am last night. Pop pop, pop pop pop. I immediately moved into the hallway after the first two shots. He said he peeked out the window - a dumb thing to do, it was someone shooting into the air through the sun roof of an SUV in front of the apt building diagonally across the street corner, the vehicle drove away. He said he heard two more shots when it reached the corner in the other direction. I didn't hear those. A warning, I suggested, to someone living over there? Maybe, he said, or just a crazy gang kid waking up his girlfriend after the bars closed. The only gun battle I've been near was in a public park in Linden, cops chasing someone after midnight for reasons I never discovered. A party was winding down in my place at the time, & my next door neighbor was sitting in the backyard, drunk. It sobered him up.
The Brits don't like the Iraq War or having their military forces in the mideast crossfire. But they have high regard for their Royal Navy, & they get even more pissed off than us Americans when their common sailors are taken captive & paraded before cameras. Iran, don't screw around too long. The British take this stuff personally.
Rix Mix is hitting the google search jackpot this week, huge leap in meaningless page loads. Happens once-in-awhile. It's the return visitor stats that matter. Y'all come back, y' hear?


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The art of digression

Quote of the day:
"I went to my trailer for about 15 minutes and I thought, there's people dying every day. A lot of worse things are happening in the world."
Movie producer Daniel Sadek, on learning his $1.5m Ferrari Enzo had been wrecked by comedian Eddie Griffin.
I did a representive radio show on Sunday evening. Actually played three recordings that were "new" (as opposed to reissues). Casual listeners often believe I know a lot about the music I air. But I've never been a "deep catalogue" DJ who mines obscure recordings & learns everything I can about an artist or music genre. I don't think I give that impression as I mispronounce names & fumble for information from liner notes. I do "research" after the show, when I neaten up the online playlist. Often enough I have almost no idea what I'm playing, just that I liked it when I auditioned it in part before the show, & as the recording airs I'm scanning the tiny CD print so I can give some information. I'm completely aware of my ignorance, which is what I gained from a broad, liberal education lacking any real specialty (barely a major in "Literature" & transcript padded with music, art & writing). Occasionally, I do know something, & then I have to resist blabbing it all out, digressing as I go. Almost happened Sunday, when an old scratchy record reminded me how it probably got nicked up, 20 years & 4 apartments ago, on a particular record player tucked away in a corner so that I'd hit my elbow on my girlfriend's big metal drawing table & drop the tone arm on the record, gouging a groove, or more if it bounced. If I'd followed that line of thought I'd have been talking for 15 minutes & probably said something I'd regret. Which wasn't a problem before all WFMU shows were archived & the broadcast signal was as evanescent as a Navajo sand painting in a duststorm. I could be fearless in those days, dancing at the edge of libel. I told such insane true stories about working conditions at Pearl Arts store in the 90s (describing everything & everyone except the store's name) that a few listeners tracked me down there to visit & chat.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Rutgers 63, Arizona State 45

We knew Rutgers would win this one, in part because you could tell Arizona State also believed in the particular mojo the Scarlet Knights have going. The women next play LSU, who rolled over UConn 73-50 tonight. The Huskies had to play badly to get beaten that badly. LSU is a formidable team, especially the defense, & they also have something to prove. But they do lose games.

I'm thinking of another young team of mostly freshmen & sophomores that began the 05-06 season ranked 14th, finished the regular season at #3, & won it all, Maryland. Last year, the Terrapins were supposed to win it this year. They're gone. For Rutgers, the opportunity is right now. If they've made me believe they can defeat any team remaining in this tournament, Coach Stringer believes it, too. So can we whisper those two words that seemed so improbable if not impossible when the brackets were announced two weeks ago? National Championship.

Count the yoyo's

You know you're in a city...when you're strolling down the street on a pleasant afternoon with hands clasped behind back & a teenage girl says to her friends, "Look, that man is handcuffed!"

It was a strange night, a strange radio program. I think there was about two minutes of dead air following my show when I didn't realize I was supposed to hit a button transferring the active board from Studio A to Studio B upstairs. Then, at the deserted Exchange Place PATH station, the handicapped/stroller retracting gates were jammed & opening & closing, thunk, thunk, thunk, kind of freaky after midnight. Later, at home, watching a crazy phone in text game show with two jabbering young hosts & male & female go-go dancers (she was a thin thang wearing a Cher wig 1970 style, he was a bare-chested twink not a Chippendale). They put up a 30 square box with y's & o's in it, "Count the yoyo's" game. There were six yoyo's in the box. Nobody got it. 7, 52, 14, 13, 24. The prize went from $750 to $5000, to $2000, $10,000, back to $2000. The game ended with no winners. I went to bed.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pulaski Skyway

Pulaski Skyway

Fiil in for Bethany's Stochastic Hit Parade at WFMU from 9 to midnight.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Billionaire of the Week Award

The Rix Mix is giving billionare Genshiro Kawamoto the title, "Most Beneficent Master, Beloved of the Gods, Honored by Ancestors, Wise & Generous Patron of Mortals." Translate that into Japanese so we can engrave it on a plaque & present it with suitable ceremony.
Billionaire Gives Mansions to Homeless

Kawamoto, one of Japan's richest men, said he plans to open eight of his 22 Kahala homes to needy Hawaiian families. They will be able to stay in the homes for up to 10 years, he said. He also gave each family 10 $100 bills to help them move in.
Just what 8 lucky, poor Hawaiian families (chosen from 3000) need; a mansion. With each of those houses worth five-million plus, You'd think Kawamoto would just sell a couple or reach for some spare change & subsidize 100 families in decent, modest housing. But you don't become a billionaire real estate mogul by playing nice:
He has been criticized for evicting tenants of his rental homes on short notice so he could sell the properties, as in 2002 when he gave hundreds of California tenants 30 days to leave.

Two years later, he served eviction notices to tenants in 27 Oahu rental homes, mostly in pricey Hawaii Kai, saying they had to leave within a month. He said he wanted to sell the houses to take advantage of rising prices.
Kawamoto is immensely pleased with himself over this. He should be. He could have arranged the mansion thing like a Japanese TV game show, where the contestants are debased, tortured & humiliated in a combination of The Price Is Right & Abu Ghraib. Don't be surprised if each of the 8 families concludes those mansions are large enough for 20 or 30 relatives & friends. I sure hope so.

Rutgers 53, Duke 52

Had a good feeling about this one. A nailbiter. Decided literally in the last 1/10th of second by two missed free-throws. But after beating the #2 team in the nation, UConn, why not defeat the #1 team, too? Why not come from 4 points down in the final minute? & why not hold Duke to its lowest score of the year? & why not beat a team you lost to by 40 points in December? & why not do it in North Carolina just down the road from the Duke campus? While I can't generate quite the antipathy toward the Duke women's team as I feel toward the men's team (or for UCLA), it's sweet.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

No Great Secret

Some people are born with broken hearts,
never healing, at best only coping.
Fearful of both life & death,
if they have any sense at all,
they follow their youthful inclinations,
slipping into a quiet life,
a transparent job, a marriage
to someone who embraces them with such
patient acceptance that there's
small chance of ever breaking apart,
no matter how much they stretch
& push against the bondage.
They will always be children,
always need someone to "take care" of them.
In return, they are doggedly loyal,
mostly content with routine,
creating traditions they can honor -
they do it to channel their anger
at the unfairness of being born
with no memory of eternity.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Maestro, what's the deal with our floater?" *

A lurid, sensationalist murder trial happening now in Jersey.
Melanie McGuire, 34, a fertility clinic nurse, is accused of drugging, shooting and chopping up her husband, William T. McGuire. Authorities also charge she stuffed his remains in three matching suitcases and dumped them in the Chesapeake Bay. The suitcases were recovered during three days in May 2004. McGuire denies any role in the killing.
Of course, there's adultery; McGuire doesn't doesn't deny it; at work, for two years, beginning while she was pregnant with her 2nd child. The problem is that the prosecution hasn't placed a gun or power saw in her hands, blood on her clothes or in her home, & so far can't put her any closer to Chesapeake Bay than Atlantic City. But Gil Grissom, Horatio Caine, Mac Taylor, & Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh didn't investigate. Psychics Allison Dubois & Melinda Gordon weren't consulted. Genius math professor Charlie Eppes didn't crunch the numbers. Sebastian "Shark" Stark isn't prosecuting. On TV, it takes under 45 minutes to wrap up a case like this, & that includes the opening teaser & the music video segment at the close.

* Gil Grissom, Las Vegas CSI

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Miss Crabtree

An entire website devoted to beautiful June Marlowe, who played the kindly, enlightened schoolteacher, Miss Crabtree, in six Our Gang comedies, & retired from acting in 1932. Her face is an icon of desire for several generations of prepubescent boys, & she's the teacher just about every child hopes for on the first day of school. I actually had two teachers in the Miss Crabtree mode; my kindergarten teacher, Miss Trodden, & for Sophomore English, the blonde bombshell (& perceptive) Miss Donohue making her fulltime classroom debut fresh out of Newark State College.

Miss Donohue did me the greatest favor I ever received from a teacher. Our English class had several disruptive students with nasty dispositions who constantly challenged & tried to sidetrack her teaching efforts. It was slow going in there. I was at the peak of my stuttering years. But I loved reading & writing. Just before the entire class entered a scheduled six week speech / communications component with a specialist teacher, Miss Donohue conferenced with her Dept. Chair & a guidance counselor & got me transferred into another of her classes that had completed the speech segment. She didn't tell me she was working on this. It was a big surprise. The other class had better students & stronger syllabus. They read more & they read faster. In my conservative high school, it couldn't have been easy for a rookie teacher to make a case for the special treatment of one academically undistinguished student. She had ideals! A lovely, gentle person in her early 20s, same age as my oldest brother. Miss Donohue surely considered the favor more than repaid when I won statewide competitions for editorial writing as a Junior & Senior.

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Ornette Coleman's Grammy Speech

Ornette Coleman received a Lifetime Achievement Award at a non-televised Grammy ceremony. No one deserved it more than this great artist & soul. Unfortunate that he didn't get to make these remarks primetime (the name of one of his bands, btw), because he's coming from somewhere far beyond the typical acceptance speech:
It is really very, very real to be here tonight, in relationship to life and death and I’m sure they both love each other.
The rest of it is over here.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

another list

2 cans Chock full o' Nuts coffee New York Roast
2 La Yogurt strawberry-banana
4 cans Nutrament chocolate drink
2 Banquet spaghetti & meatballs frozen dinners
1 ShopRite Instant Oatmeal 12 pack Maple & Brown Sugar
Dead Wrong by J.A. Jance
I'm becoming a fan of Jance's series starring Cochise County Arizona Sheriff Joanna Brady. I've only read two of the books. They're substantial novels set in an alien geography, basically police procedurals without being heavy on technical details, & don't have the clipped dialogue & short chapters of detective books one senses were knocked off in daily two or three hour sessions. Since Brady is an elected official who won the office after her first husband was murdered & she was clearly unqualified for the job, there's an undercurrent of local politics, disgruntled underlings, & budgetary considerations like overtime. She bears some resemblance to Marge Gunderson in Fargo (a character strong enough to have justified a second film). By the time I entered the series, Brady had gone through police academy, solved some difficult cases, & remarried. I'll pick up the series at the beginning after this latest book.
The Grand Canyon's Skywalk has been inaugurated with hundreds of invited guests getting stunning views over the canyon through its glass walkway.

Rising 4,000ft (1,220m) from the canyon's floor and 70ft (20m) beyond its rim, the Skywalk is being described as an engineering first.

The Hualapai Indians, who own the site, are hoping to attract visitors to a high unemployment area.
I'll go on it but my legs will wobble every step of the way. I'll be afraid the Hualapai ancestors will choose that time to show their disapproval of the project.

Late update: Rutgers 70, Michigan St. 57
Mich St is sort of opponent we almost expect to knock the Scarlet Knights out of the tournament. Because the NCAA, with their usual perverse scheduling, had Rutgers playing the game against a lower-seeded team on Michigan's home turf. But this was a confident, decisive victory for coach Vivian Stringer, who said, "It doesn't matter where we play." Now Rutgers meets #1 Duke in Greensboro, a matchup we'd have preferred in the Final Four, but here it is, & it's terrific! Rutgers lost badly to Duke earlier in the season, but they were blown out by UConn, too. This one could be a lot more competitive.

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Under 1/2 of a list I received in e mail today. I know what all these recordings have in common. It's a great, unusual list
John Holleneck & Jazz Bigbadn - Joys and Desires cd
Dead Voices On Air CD
Alog - Miniatures
Buzzocks - Singles Going Steady LP
Pterodactyl - Friday During the Say
Various - Damaged Goods - cheap sampler 3 CD
Henry Red Allen - Feelin' Good LP
Lio - 2cd anthology CD
Charlie Whitehead CD on ACE
Minus 5 - Down With Wilco CD
Barr/Curtis - Alvin Lucier CD
Various - World's Greatest Funk 45s CD
Calexico - Book and the Canal tour only CD
Andrew Liles - Dronework #7 CD
Feather Gatherers 7"
Axo Sonic CD
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass CD reissue
Clem Snide - You wore a Diamond CD
Climax Goldern Twins: Highly Bred and Sweetly Tempered CD
Steve Earle - Transcendental Blues CD
Slapp Happy - Acnalbasac Noom (remaster w/bonus cuts CD.)
V/A - Pop a Paris Vol. 1 CD
Buff Medways - Medway Wheeler CD
Mandarin Movie - s/t CD
V/A - The Little Band 7" (4 post punk aussie bands from early 80's)
V/A - Sassy & Stonefree: Dreams Babes RPM comp)
Marshall McLuhan - Medium Is the Message LP
Sir Menelik - new 12"
Satanicpornocultshop CD
V/A International Vicious Society Vol. 2 LP
Caprillo/Partch/Ives/Scelsi/Xenakis/Harrison - Chamber CD
Various: V/VM presents Zatsu Ongaku
Hafler Trio - Bang! An Open Letter CD
Modified Toy Orchestra 7"
Ministry - House of the Mole CD
Josephine Foster CD on Eclipse
Beastie Boys "Ill Communication" & "Check Your Head"
Mike Fellows - Limited Storyline CD
Butthole Surfers - The Whole Truth CD (bootleg comp) CD
Elvis Presley - Having Fun With Elvis on Stage LP
Joe Bataan 7" on Vampisoul
Rokia Traore - Bowmboi CD
George W. Bush - Bushspeak CD
Lo Borges - s/t CD
Lou Christy & the Tammys - Egyptian Shumba CD
Various - Radio India 2CD (Sublime Frequencies)
H. Czukay/Can - Canaxis CD
Akaten CD
Cody Chestnutt CD
Autechre - Draft 7.30 CD
Visionaries - Hindsight EP
Marshall McLuhan - The Medium Is the Message LP
Los Campesinos De Michaocan
Lauhkeat Lampaat 7" (finnish homemade 7", )
Aaron Lennox - Sibilance CD
Henry Flynt - You're My Ever LovinTito Puente - My Fair Lady Goes Latin
Decemberists CD
Dosh - CD (Anticon)
Luther Wright & the Wrongs/ Guitar Pickin' Martyrs CD
Makagami Koichi - both Tzadik CDs
Wayne Butane 7" and split 7"
Merit Hemmingson - Later That Day CD
DM & Jemini - Ghetto Pop Life CD
Ursa Minor CD
Bernie Krause / Notes From the Wild CD
V/A "Scandinavian" (garage) CD
V/A Death of the Cool CD
V/A Hard Times In the Country comp. (Yazoo)
V/A Popshopping Vol. 2
Lisa Mychols / Lost Winter CD (Rev-Ola)
TLC last CD
Volta Sound / This Is the Yin & Yang
Cul De Sac / Death of the Sun CD
Isaac Hayes / Hot Buttered Soul LP
Minnie Riperton comp CD
Rolling Stones / Between the Buttons LP
William Parker / Raining on the Moon CD
The Caretaker / Scenes From the Haunted Ballroom CD
They Came From Stars I Saw them 10"
Dan Hicks / Rhino Handmade CD
Spaceways Incorporated / 1st CD
Various / West Coast Guitar Killers CD
David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust CD
Boards of Canada / Geogaddi CD
Frank Pahl / Remove the Cork CD
Marc Ribot / Saints CD
International Noise Conspiracy - 1st CD
Soundtrack / Basquiat CD
Soundtrack / 2001 (remaster/reissue on Rhino)
Sekiri CD
Tom Waits / Foreign Affairs LP
Lush / Gala CD
Kingsmen / Volume 1 on Sundazed cd
Various / Nuggets Box set CD, Volume 1
Various / 60s Girl Group Comp CD
Kaisers / latest CD
Jean-Michel Rivet / Embarrassment CD
Johnny Fire & the Bomb CD
Mission of Burma collection on Ryko CD
Soundtrack / Danger Diabolik (Morricone) CD
Rolling Stones / Between the Buttons LP
Saints reissue CDs
Eric Burden & War / Black Man's Burden LP
Bodenstandig 2000 CD on Rephlex
Various/Have a Nice Day 12
Tipsy - 1st CD
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone CD
Alan Silva - Triple LP BYG/Actuel
Sdtk: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Various / Like It? Its Yours (Woronzow compilation) CD
Wonder 3 (CD)
Dwight Yoakum / Tomorrow's Sounds Today CD
Psychic TV / Pagan Day
Blue's Men 10" (South American psych reissue)
Unida CD
Les Tambours du Bronx (CD? LP?)
David Watson/Skirl CD
Neutral Milk Hotel/In the Aerosplane Over the Sea CD
Spade Cooley (title?) LP
Bo Diddley/Surf Party LP
Sdtk- The Avengers and Other 60s TV Themes
Tiger Lillies / From the Brothel to the Cemetary CD
Lynard Skynard / Street Survivors (w/original banned-recalled cover)
Zodiac Killers CD
Various / Surf & Drag Volume 1 (Sundazed) CD
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan/Pandit N. Banderjee/Signature Series 4


Monday, March 19, 2007

WFMU hits goal

Hanging out in the WFMU kitchen yesterday afternoon. I appreciated Irwin Chusid asking me if I was doing any journalism. There are many excellent writers at the station, & people with editorial experience. Irwin's one of the few who recalls I used to publish a lot of stuff, prose & poems, mostly locally & in alternative magazines. Sadly, I said no. Although this blog pretty much covers the same journalistic ground in a one-stop location. Despite the low daily traffic, I probably have just many regular readers over the course of a week as I ever had in poetry literary 'zines & weekly newspapers. It wasn't that long ago, the 90s, when I thought I had particular identity as a writer & something of a vision to go with it. but I wasn't radically unconventional. I was actually out on the fringe because I liked my idiosyncrasies; I was a suburban oddball with some New Yawk creative sensibilities, not an experimentalist like many of the artists & writers I admired. It puzzles me why I wasn't more appreciated.

Anyway, the WFMU marathon was fabulous success. Michael Moore called & made a hefty pledge during Glen Jones' program, & for his trouble got to speak with X Ray Burns, whose opinions tend toward the right side. X Ray did note that both he & Moore are members of the N.R.A. Jones smashed the single free form show money record, winning a contract to have his radio shows aired for a full year after he is deceased, a good deal. The Hoof & Mouth Orchestra Finale gets wilder every year. I watched it on webcam. The staff video performances will be posted on the WFMU blog over the next or so, at which point I'll recommend a few. Also pay up on my pledge tab, which I forgot to do last year. Next year is the WFMU 50th Anniversary.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sussex NJ

Sussex NJ

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saint Patrick's Day

I'm from lace-curtain Irish. Whatever my grandmother & aunts had experienced in the Irish neighborhoods of Philadephia, they wanted out, & they got out, via marriage or education. Although all of them were devout Catholics, & all had what could be considered Irish temperaments - proudly so on occasion, there was little ethnic Irishness about them, none of what goes on display in the New York & Boston parades on St. Patrick's Day. They kept their own families small. & showed not a little snobbery also toward the culture of urban Irish Americans, who were, in Nana's lace curtain mantra, "more Irish than the Irish." There's a lot of truth in it. As their language & traditions disappeared under centuries of British oppression, even the Irish in Ireland had to work harder at being Irish.

But none of the large Irish-Catholic families I knew were into rescuing Gaelic culture. My first really serious girlfriend, the oldest of six in a very noisy home, took ballet classes four days each week. No hopping up & down with arms pressed to sides for her. You didn't move your piece of the clan to suburban Roselle Park to preserve an insular & increasingly artificial city Irishness; you moved to escape it. All they brought along was their own version of the True Faith: St. Joseph The Carpenter Church in Roselle, which had priests with Irish surnames. Nana gave no more thought to joining the other, predominantly Italian local parish than she gave to becoming a Presbyterian.

So whatever Irishness I & my siblings had we were born with, osmosed, or adopted later. I think it was clear to both sides of the family that if the midwestern protestants had won the religious battle, the Irish-Catholics had the edge in our behavior, a small victory, really. For me, it also included decades of undeniable attraction to Catholic girls, particularly those of Irish ancestry however watered down.

In memories my old family matriarchs became more Irish with every year that passed, something I could laugh about & idealize. When memories weren't enough, like any dutiful Irish bard I just went ahead & made them up or stole them:
Not so very long ago

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?" [from The Roof Dancers]

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Payoff

I was catching a local train out of Newark Penn Station. I got in the line at the ticket machine. The woman in front of me had with her a boy of no more than four years old. She paid for her ticket with a credit card, moved off to one side and became preoccupied with finding something in her tote bag. The curious little boy watched me punch in the station information, then feed a five dollar bill in the slot. The machine made a clacking sound and a ticket dropped into the tray. I stepped back a few feet as if anticipating a possibility, intently looking at the machine. Four one dollar coins noisily rattled into the tray, one after another. The machine beeped three times and fell silent. I looked at the little boy with an expression of delighted astonishment, and said, "I won!" I quickly collected the ticket and change and strode off. The little boy ran over to his mother, tugged at her coat and, pointing excitedly at the machine, began pulling her toward it. She was completely baffled.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hugo Chavez

I don't think I'd like Hugo Chavez very much
if I met him in person, but I could find
Venezuela on a blank map, & my godfather,
Buddy, worked there for Cities Service
before he went to Tierra Del Fuego
& mysteriously fell into the ocean
& drowned along with his son in 1962
while fishing from some rocks.
I remember my broken-hearted parents
could not comfort each other & that's
when I knew their marriage was really finished.
So I walked round the corner, sat on the church steps
by myself & looked at the stars & wished
I could be in Atlantic City with my Nana,
who had raised her nephew Buddy like a son.
I don't think I'd like Hugo Chavez very much
but when he referred to George W. Bush
as "the Devil" in New York & said,
"It still smells of sulphur today,"
I was glad someone else noticed the stink.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Robin Music

Robin music. If you live anywhere around trees & lawns in New Jersey, in March & early April somewhere in the vicinity hours before sunrise you hear a robin run through the "Song" a few times & then quiet down until first light. On standard time this could be as early as 2 am.

I take Ambien, usually in a low 5 mg dose, the effect may be more psychological at this point. Now the FDA is requiring new warnings on the class known as "sedative-hypnotics" about the "possibility of sleep-driving & other less dangerous complex sleep-related behaviors — making phone calls, fixing and eating food, and having sex while still asleep." I'd usually wake up after a few hours on the full 10 mg dose. But it also affected my eyesight in a strange hallucinatory way, although my thinking processes were alright. I enjoyed playing solitaire as the Ambien kicked in & the cards became fuzzy & changed color. Any ice cream or strawberry banana yogurt I ate under the influence of Ambien was while I was in a semi-conscious trance state, I was aware of what I doing but was unable to stop myself, so it was hardly different from an ordinary late night craving. I've always enjoyed half-asleep sex, it's oozy & erotic & unusual things can happen in an unrepressed condition. Sleeping through sex & not remembering anything is a waste. It'd also be a downer if the other participant prefers when you're asleep.

A quote to amuse & annoy The Contrarian on the eve of the NCAA Tournament:
"It is exciting to think that our diocese will include what will someday become the Notre Dame of the South."
-His Excellency Most Rev. John J. Nevins, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Venice FL, on Ave Maria University (founded 2003 by crappy pizza billionaire Tom Monaghan)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Outside Studio B

Phil, Sheldon, X Ray Burns on the deck outside WFMU Studio B. X Ray's co-host of the Glen Jones Programme. I've known Phil since the 90s at the old East Orange studios, he's now slowly filming a documentary about the station. I met Sheldon back in 1990 at the Pottersville Tube Race, which required more wading & leg bruising than floating. He was racing, I was waiting for my sister & brother-in-law to cross the finish line. Turned out he was a longtime WFMU listener, not easy in the hilly areas of north Jersey, & he actually knew who I was, which always makes me feel like a minor celebrity. Sheldon lives pretty close to my sister if you hike a few miles through woods directly over a mountain across private property loaded with deer ticks, brambles, poison ivy, & probably some bears. I was never tempted to try it. At the community picnic following the race, Sheldon had a well-stocked beer cooler & was grilling first rate kielbasa, so naturally I gravitated to his family's circle of lawn chairs. I've enjoyed his hospitality at his comfortable home a few times, located far up a narrow road one wouldn't even notice without directions, the sort of place one might find little reason to leave except to stock up on provisions & pick up the mail at the post office.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Court Gamelan from The Pura Paku Alaman

I recall buying the album, Java Court Gamelan, late one evening at the downtown Tower Record Store in 1980s. I still have it, with original plastic shrink wrap sliced open at one end. I'd already heard the music so I knew what I getting. I first heard the LP in the 70s when I was struggling with the question of what constituted "music," peering into an abyss where where everything I'd assumed about art appeared to come to an abrupt & irresolvable end.

The instruments of the Court Gamelan from The Pura Paku Alaman in Jogyakarta, Java were constructed in 1755, & several of them I think are considered so sacred they aren't even played anymore. The music has been compared to a flowing river, but to me it was more that of sounds carried about by the wind, from one direction then another, close then distant. After hearing this music, I never listened to wind chimes or birds (singing in the outdoor pavilion) in quite the same way. Sounds are not like music; we either perceive them as music or we do not. There are also grandfather clocks from a royal household collection chiming during this song, but I've never been able to hear them. Only 1/2 of the full gamelan is being played. No need to give it your full attention. Just let it blow around in the background.

Gending: Mandulpati/Ladrang Agun-Agun (RealAudio)

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cedar Grove NJ

Cedar Grove NJ

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Avoidance Friendships

Craig Ferguson asked Bill Maher last night about his "friendship" with Ann Coulter, Maher replied he hadn't spoken with Coulter in years, but took credit for her success by noting she'd been a frequent guest on Politically Incorrect during the Clinton years. Of their personal relationship, he explained it as matter of hanging out with mutual friends in New York & avoiding certain subjects the way we all do with some people. That's true, X-Ray Burns at WFMU is a political conservative & I think the world of the guy. But he's also very much a live-&-let-live libertarian in matters of personal choice, habits, behavior, & the sexual preferences of consenting adults. There's another beloved old friend I rarely talk to anymore because if you go anywhere near whole variety of topics she'll jump in with the latest "facts" from Rush, Ann, Bill, Sean, & "We report, you decide" Fox. Then she'll complain about the National Council of Churches, the gay agenda, add some updated propaganda from the No Nothings circa 1855, & blame it all on the Clintons. Even so, she's too polite to use Coulter's vocabulary.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mayans banish Bush's bad vibes

Priests to purify site after Bush visit
GUATEMALA CITY --Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official [Juan Tinney] with close ties to the group said Thursday.
Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites -- which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles -- would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.
Might help to do something like that in New Orleans whenever George visits to check up on his urban minority population dispersal project.

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The shelves need dusting

mass produced African carving; camel from India via Pier 1.
toy piano; two Upsala travel mugs I keep forgetting to give to friends.
dreamcatcher; Fisher Tune-O-Matic FM radio; broken chirping birdcage windchimes.
electric carousel plays 100 songs; three ceramic lighthouses.
broken Japanese portable transistor clock radio; mechanical Cosmic Clash Mini Arcade.
wind up carousel, plays "Carousel Waltz."
various small framed photographs.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gamelan of the Love God

Listening to a cd of Gamelan Semar Pegulingan; Gamelan of the Love God. Music from Bali. A gamelan is a specific grouping of instruments with much of the repertoire composed for those instruments. I bought the original LP of this music in 1972, when it was released. I'd heard excerpts of Indonesian music, was intrigued, but this album transported me to another place; almost jazzy, but incredibly exotic, true ensemble playing, no egos sticking out. Shortly thereafter, I was given a long out-of-print book, A House In Bali, by Colin McPhee, a Canadian who lived in Bali during the 1930s & helped rejuvenate the island's classical music traditions, including the restoration of a Love God Gamelan, which had fallen into disuse. Unlike how I treated most of my records, I took care of this one, often played it during my first decade on WFMU. In 1992 I made the mistake of loaning it to a woman I was trying to get into bed & never saw it again. I ran into her a few times & without my even mentioning it she always remembered she had the record & guiltily promised to return it. But I'd concluded she was a scarily strange person rather than sexy & interesting & the loss of the record was an acceptable price for not having to go to her house to retrieve it. I did stop by once, but she wasn't home & her old crone of a mother answered the door surrounded by cats trying to escape. By then I had a number of Indonesian recordings, & was drawn more toward the slower, languid style of Javanese Court Gamelans, which often features a solo singer. Recently, listening to other music from Bali, I realized I still missed the Gamelan Semar Pegulingan record.

Many colleges & universities have organized gamelan ensembles. One needs only some rudimentary musical ability to participate; compositions may include instruments & parts suitable for children. Performers traditionally learn the music phrase by phrase & memorize it without a written score. This appealed to me as a young musician & aspiring composer coming out of a rock & roll background. There were no gamelans to play with when I was in college in the early 70s. Later, the artist with whom I cohabited began constructing something like a gamelan, interactive sound pieces that were very popular when she exhibited them. Sadly, she subsequently abandoned that direction in her art.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I opened a g mail account with the handle I've long preferred, Whalecreek, named for a stream flowing into Raritan Bay by Cliffwood Beach. I don't know what whales have to do with the place. Won't use it much. I have a very comfy My Yahoo page with headlines, scores, horoscope, weather for ten locations, mail, links to TV schedule & animated radar. I change this & dabble with that, but it's obvious I need a new PC. Not an expensive one. I don't run a lot of fat software like games & serious graphics & media programs. But I have to kick up to a better level on my blog & websites. I have a scanner I can't hook to this PC. & the hard drive isn't large enough for much audio stuff. Don't even have a CD burner. Everything needs updating. I'm creatively inhibited. It's a matter of buying the Sunday paper for the ads & getting to Staples or some other big box store on a Monday before their special package with all the rebates sells out. Stupidly, I passed up on a Compaq last August when I was in Staples with someone who had her SUV parked outside & could have delivered me & the items to my door.

(19) Rutgers 55, (2) Connecticut 47
Wow. Their first Big East title. After The Scarlet Knights were blown out by UConn at home last week, I didn't figure the women to win this one in Hartford, just hoped they made a strong show going into the NCAA. But Rutgers has been a defensive power all season, their pre-Big East schedule was definitely not creampuff, & they became an explosive 2nd half team. The problem was slow starts. They were ahead at the half tonight, & Rutgers wouldn't fold. Rutgers is actually a more balanced team than last year when they ranked higher in the polls but leaned heavily on their All American senior. I think most fans had modest expectations this year. This team has really surpassed them. If they get a good seed & bracket in the big tournament, they'll make it interesting.

Monday, March 05, 2007

2007 WFMU fund-raising Marathon

Free form listener sponsored WFMU devotes the next two weeks of programming to our annual fund-raising marathon. Fun, prizes, premiums, silliness, special performances, nonsequiturs & Freudian slips, repetitious rants. The first few days are particularly hyper. Then it settles down & certain "themes" emerge in the pitching, maybe a slogan or two. & lots of music.

This year I'll participate in the marathon by showing up on a few days, answering phones (never phone #1 or #2 unless there's nobody else), chatting with bored volunteers, & stuffing envelopes. There are plenty of staffers required to sign up for the "MC" role, which involves being sidekick to the on-air DJ, doing paperwork, & maintaining order in the phone room. I'm pretty good at that job with late night DJs inclined to absent-mindedness & digressions. I've been on the other side of the studio window dozens of times, begging for dollars doesn't come easily to a lot of DJs - never did for me. During premarathon meetings, when Manager Ken would make his annual announcement that one's place on the schedule did not depend on one's marathon total, I swear he always looked at me. I stayed on the schedule year after year despite being one of the most unconvincing, disorganized DJ pitchmen WFMU ever had. But sit me in the MC chair as a second banana between 11 pm & 6 am & I was all patience & rationality, double-checking pledge cards, keeping track of prize giveaways, unconcerned about the slow pace of late night money-raising. A few years ago I gave up MCing frantic daytime shows. Then I realized it didn't matter if I MC'd or not, as long as I dropped by & played the venerable old station hipster, a role that suits me well.

WFMU throws prizes & premiums at supporters. Individual DJ premiums are big attractions now. These are mostly CD compilations of audio weirdness, rarities, & live radio performances. But this year I'm going for John Allen's reproduction of the 1973 WFMU teeshirt.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Riverton NJ

Riverton NJ

What a fright. After a blogger outtage today affecting old accounts, I decided to switch to the new version. But in doing so, I accidently created a google account at an address that doesn't exist, thanks to the puter remembering a mispelled address I didn't notice until I clicked "approve" & the change was underway. I thought I'd lost access to my blog forever. Trying to fix that, I created another google/blogspot account at my primary e mail. Somehow I managed to log out of that account & into The Rix Mix using the faulty address (which I'd thought needed verification) & switch it to the secondary e mail that I've been slowly phasing out over the past year. So I copied all the info & I'll sort it all out when I've regained my composure tomorrow after this narrow escape from disaster.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

I don't understand why there isn't more across-the-spectrum outrage to Anne Coulter's "faggot" smear of John Edwards at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Genuinely righteous or hypocritical condemnation, it doesn't matter to me which. Even the Edwards campaign (which I'm liking less & less) is just turning it into a fund-raising game. The Christian right is big on the hate the sin love the sinner angle, & Anne is nothing if not a devoted Christian (I wonder if she's celibate or a fornicator?), so why isn't she having her mouth washed out with soap like a potty mouth child? The word "faggot" is naked bigotry. It has nothing to do with "sanctity of marriage" or any of the other catch phrases of the folks determined to protect the United States from them. The word is in a class with - well, you know the words, none of which any candidate or religious mullah on the right would say at a public meeting or in polite private company.

Mike Stark, writing about the packed Exhibit Hall at CPAC, notes that "There are no military recruiters here. No United States Marine Corps. No Army, no Navy, no Air Force or National Guard - hell, not even the Coast Guard is here. Thousands and thousands of College Republicans, but not a single recruiter in sight..." Our military services know better than to look for dutiful young patriots there, I suppose. What should we call those young men & women? Here in Jersey the big selling points are that military service gives you self-respect, tuition & a ticket out of your town. That doesn't work for affluent white bread college Repugs whose dreams & ambitions are embodied by Anne Coulter.

Friday, March 02, 2007

couch versus futon

Woke up this morning feeling I had hardly slept. Realized I'd fallen asleep while reading, lights were on including a lamp shining in my face, I was on my back (I sleep on my side) with just a light blanket over my legs, wearing socks & flannel shirt. All night long my unconscious was probably trying to wake me up to do the rituals & make it official rather than long nap.

For about three years I lived in an apartment with a very large comfortable sofa. The landlady had moved upstairs to a larger space, her couch was too big to make the trip, & I didn't have my own, so I was pleased it came with the place. I probably slept on that couch more than in my bed. My girlfriend & I preferred it for sex, an intimate & sensuous piece of furniture, although it certainly challenged us if we fell asleep afterward, since I'm a restless blanket-stealer. By contrast, my futon is more suitable for a monk's cell or a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, & it didn't become comfortable until a friend sent me a featherbed as a thoughtful Christmas present. In the winter, I sleep with the futon in the upright couch position. I open it up in the summer. The futon has experienced a small amount of sexual activity, but involving a woman who enjoyed a lifestyle even I considered too austere.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

my psychiatrist

Woke up today with a fresh voice, some migrating bird twittering in the neighborhood. March 1 is spring. Monthly shrink appointment, a ten or fifteen minute matter that takes several hours by the time I get over to the clinic & back. I could use a taxi, but the walk is not unpleasant when the weather's alright, it's "good" for me. It's my monthly walk through downtown, & today I'd like to stop at the main library & pick up some large print detective novels, with my weak eyes they're excellent for bedtime reading, I regret not discovering them 20 years ago when I thought that section only had corny romances.

Dr. G, my psychiatrist, is a short, thin man, about my size actually, could be 50 or younger, he's quite pale year round, & often looks slightly worried. His small office at the clinic always has a few plants, today he had a sprouting bamboo stalk in large glass of water on his window sill. He used to have a tree, some common low maintenance office plant that had taken a liking to the quality of light & grown to enormous size, his room felt like a tiki lounge. He had to get rid of it. There's usually a classical music station playing so softly on a small boom box that you can't hear it until he closes the door. I don't think he's comfortable with the computer on his desk. When I visit him after drug company reps have been through, his office is loaded with "samples," which he inventories, locks in a cabinet, & parcels out to patients with no insurance, no doubt he has many. Dr. G is a kind person, gentle by temperament. I'm certain he's a Christian man, Catholic or protestant I do not know. I don't know anything about his personal life. Most of my visits are brief, he has a heavy caseload, many hard cases. His is not a private practice. Sometimes he runs late, emergencies arise. I don't complain. I was one of his emergencies once, back in 2000. A couple times a year, though, I catch him on a light day, when he's scheduled only a few people around a meeting or seminar, & he'll lean back in his chair, the thick binder holding my case file on his lap, & we'll chat for awhile, just small talk. The file is mostly bureaucratic in content. The substantive part of it he knows well enough. If our appointments feel routine, that is good. But if there are problems,. I know Dr. G is there. I''ve said to him a number of times, if there's a night so bleak I wonder how I'll get through it, I'll get through it because I can come here in the morning. His advice is to never wait; he does his shifts at the 24/7 psychiatric emergency center.

"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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