Sunday, October 31, 2010
Rio Grande NJ
Saturday, October 30, 2010
My nephew's birthday
My nephew used to ask me about his mom's teenage years. Perhaps he thought there were "secrets" back in that time. I had "stories." But the facts are that few of my sister's many high school acheivements - good grades, varsity cheerleader (no varsity sports for girls back then), boyfriends, came easily to her. She had ambitions & worked steadily to realize them, even when she failed on first try. Unfortunately, I didn't imitate her good study habits, but she was my model for how to do high school socially, how not be a nerd or weirdo. Try some sports whether you're good at them or not (I wasn't), you'll get respect from coaches & the better athletes just by trying. Like the popular music, keep the unusual music tastes in the background. Have male & female friends in your social circle, the gender-segregated quality of suburban teen culture was changing rapidly, there was a sort of proto-feminism in the wind. Go to dances with or without a date, just go. & if an opportunity to get some major positive attention happens, jump on it. When that time came, I jumped & had more than 15 minutes of high school celebrity.
My guy friends liked my sister, an "older woman" since she was two years ahead of me. A few had huge crushes on her. As much as I tormented her, I also considered her a social asset. I know I've told my nephew this. The only scandalous behavior was mine. My nephew enjoyed knowing his mom was, in most ways, a very "typical" teenager.
My minister brother started a Facebook page. I don't know why he bothers. He won't do anything with it. I'd probably lose 1/3 of my Facebook "friends" if they deleted their inactive accounts. If you're not gonna play the game, don't even join it. Of nearly 200 "friends," only a dozen or so comprise an interactive "community" I know keep up with my wall postings.
Labels: growing up
Friday, October 29, 2010
"Words have actual meanings"
Video passed along by Erika "Wildgirl" Dana, former great WFMU DJ, now lives on a farm in Iowa, entrepreneurial woman, rescuer of abandoned & injured animals, father-in-law was a lovely, respected midwestern poet with sharp eyes & an exacting, descriptive observer of nature.
Bigotry is like the stupid, old joke; a guy sees something in the road, bends over, says, "Looks like it. Smells like it. Tastes like it. Glad I didn't step in it." Exhibit enough bigoted qualities, it is what it is no matter what.
How "liberal" are Democrats that piss off people who identify themselves first as liberals, secondly as voters likely to vote Democrat if & when they vote, & not at all as regular party Democrats? A lot of them ain't votin' at all this year. The party misidentifies them as a "base," but they aren't automatic; their votes have to be solicited. Even I'm not really a "Democrat," but rather someone who never finds a Republican on the ballot he'll vote for. I registered Democrat in Elizabeth because Democratic primaries here decide local elections.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The only thing to do was wake up.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Reports of the Walkman's demise are premature, says Sony.
The company may be ending sales and production in Japan, but it says it will still be available in the US, and presumably, elsewhere.
An unnamed spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times there is "a consistent but small demand" for the old-school tape player, and there are no plans to cut it from the US market.
The confusion seems to have stemmed from a note on Sony's Japanese website, announcing the end of production – but this only applies to Japan. Walkmans will still be produced in China, by a company contracted by Sony, and sold across Asia, the Middle East and the US.
The Walkman was launched in the late 1970s, and was the first truly portable way of listening to music, outside of car stereos.
Its name lives on in Sony's range of mp3 players.
Monday, October 25, 2010
The Rascals: Island of Love
zebra print rug
Maybe you think it's a good ripoff lifestyle when a babymama learns from her babymama how to get a Section 8 apt in a crappy building in a gang-ridden neighborhood, furnishes it with a white leather sofa, zebra print rug, & HD TV from the rent-to-purchase store, & her gangbanger man throws her a few bucks for cheap but hip clothes & a no contract cellphone. The problem isn't about finding her a career & threatening her with homelessness if she doesn't work at McDonald's; it's getting her kids educated & to the doctor for regular checkups. Leave her be if you don't want her in your town. Keeping her in Newark where she can travel around by bus & not trouble middle class white people is a bargain. & if looking upward with awe is your thing, look at the heavens, not at the mansion on the hill.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Laura Nyro: Brown Earth
Laura still tends to collect devotees. I almost became one. Saw her perform twice in her prime, no band, just Laura & piano, quite magical. I loved her singing, piano playing, & gift for songwriting. I admired her innovative song forms. She was very sophisticated. But I also thought her at times lyrically murky, emotionally baffling, & I couldn't figure out what she was trying to do or say. I liked her best when she got inside a recognizably conventional song form & stretched it almost to the breaking point, but held back just a bit. At those times, she was in an elite group of songwriters who had so mastered & internalized conventional pop song forms that they could do just about anything they wanted with them. This group included Lennon & McCartney, Jimmy Webb, Bacharach & David, Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. There are more but it is not a long list.
On "Brown Earth," essentially a gospel number, I hear producer Arif Mardin's steadying hand - which doesn't extend to the entire "Christmas" LP. The southern culture references are Laura's imagination. She was a middle class New York City girl, & the most natural influences in her songs come from Brill Building; Carole King, girl groups, AM radio of the early Sixties.
Why didn't Laura cultivate a long career as major performing diva? It was there for her. Perhaps it was just a steady income of royalty checks; & her unwillingness to summon up on demand, night after night, the emotional intensity to perform "Save the Country" & some of her other big numbers. She couldn't or wouldn't distance herself from the material.
Friday, October 22, 2010
All the pharmacists at CVS know me by name now. Not because I'm on an unusual number of regular meds - there's only one I renew every month - but because I've gone through about a half-dozen different antibiotics over the past 9 months including one so oddball they had to special order a full supply & then the doc pulled me off it after ten days, plus on & off a variety of other stuff, & I'm in there for one prescription at a time.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Video All-Stars: Richard Diamond Theme
When I joined WFMU, the Video All-Stars LP was one of the core albums in my small but choice collection of what's now called "crime jazz" . "Crime Jazz" is a broad term for TV & movie soundtrack jazz & the many imitations. It basically fell into two styles: big band "action" jazz used to underscore chases, gun battles, & sinister situations; & a cooler "west coast" music for romance & nightclub scenes. There were also TV theme songs, some of them jazzy pop-novelty songs (77 Sunset Strip), & speciaty numbers like mambos, but also classics like "Peter Gunn" that could be appropriated as rock & roll instrumentals. Crime Jazz of the Fifties easily evolved into the Spy Jazz of the Sixties, James Bond, etc.
Recorded for a bargain label (you were more likely to find it in Woolworth's with the faux Hawaiian records than a record store), it has a side of Peter Gunn numbers plus a side with three TV themes. The leader, Skip Martin, used the same first call studio musicians favored by Mancini & other soundtrack composers, & the arrangements were similar to the originals. He just gave the musicians longer leashes; they played louder & had more solo space.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wrecked my Hamilton Beach blender that I use every day, completely stripped the plastic gear already wearing out when I was tring to adjust the lid while it was on grind setting. Walked into Home Depot tonight, located & bought a Black & Decker "Crushmaster" for about $30.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Obama twisted himself to invite cooperation from Repugs, to the point of alienating much of his left Democratic base. He received no cooperation & might as well have doubled the stim, as advised by Paul Krugman, who warned from start it was inadequate. Obama might as well have gone for a stronger health care reform, closer to what Hillary advocated in her platform. But Obama made other mistakes. Among them, he let the air out of the "Yes we can" balloon, & didn't act like he was enjoying being president. No matter how Bill Clinton was kicked around, Bill looked like there was no other job he'd rather have, which helped him with the Democratic base & independent voters despite all the "triangulating" he was forced to make to co-op Repub proposals.
Democrats will take a worse beating then they deserve in November. They did prop up the economy & they did save our auto industry & they did make progress on health reform. But they couldn't cut loose from Wall Street & connect with Main Street. They & the establishment Repugs were so in bed with Wall Street that the Tea Party emerged to do something (although the Tea Partiers are themselves co-opted now by the corporatists),
Democrats should have learned a year ago, from losing elections in Mass & Jersey, & winning campaigns in a number of special congressional elections that strong, decisive, unapologetic liberal candidates would have better chances than party hacks & weakened incumbents. There are many, many places in America where Democrats will lose only because Democrats & centrist independents are discouraged & won't vote in the favored numbers they hold in voter registrations. They'll lose offices they were lucky to win two years ago.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Whispering Sea
In 1957, when he was known mainly for honest B movie hackwork at Universal, Henry Mancini produced this collection of minimalist exotica using only guitars, organ, accordion, some percussion instruments, & a couple of vocalists, his first solo LP. A year later he chanced into the Peter Gunn TV show. I must have passed over dozens of this LP at flea markets while searching for rare Mancini soundtracks. It's a charming record.
Ocean Grove NJ
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Later: Texas bombed Phil Hughes & the Yanks 7-2. Series even at 1-1. If not for some bonehead plays & decisions last night that allowed Yanks a comeback win, Rangers would be up 2-0 headed to New Yawk with their Big Man Cliff Lee starting Monday.
Friday, October 15, 2010
on the radar
Awake an anxious owl at noon
Awake the new moon
First Circle breath
Second Circle skin
Third Circle liquid
Fourth Circle devotion
Fifth Circle emptiness
Awake an anxious owl at noon
Awake the new moon
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I've always wondered why, & if there is a why.
"So if I'm convinced that God wants me to be a failure, is it any different than just being a failure?"
Pastor Dan tweeted that a few minutes ago. He's flacking his new book, Changing the Script: An Authentically Faithful and Authentically Progressive Political Theology for the 21st Century. The "problem" I've had with Dan is summed up by the length of his book's title (& perhaps also by its intended audience). I'd like to know Dan's response to the dilemma he expresses in his tweet, because it goes to the heart of the common, reassuring belief that everything happens for a purpose. But it also asks us to consider, what is success & what is failure?
Yesterday, driving back from Newark, where I'd received very good news (no prostate cancer), Gina & I were discussing success & failure. The neighborhoods we drive through - ranging from very poor to the formerly Jewish & suburban Weequahic neighborhood of Newark ( attractive, but gang ridden), to some lovely & still relatively affluent middle class streets around the former Pingry School neighborhood of Union, Hillside & Elizabeth - tend to raise the topic, as well as questions both of us have about managing one's health care, & what health care choices really exist for the average American when you factor in family & job responsibilities & real income.
Gina's "boyfriend" Glen Jones tests the limits of how large a celebrity one can become without earning a lot of money. Glen is talented presence for three different radio audiences. I joked that if Glen became a ranting right winger, he'd be a wealthy radio star within a year. Of course, most of us who now love him would then despise him, & Glen would hate himself. Gina is a small business owner struggling in a poor economy for what she sells, which was not a "growth" business when the economy was stumbling along during what we mistakenly recall now as the "good" years of the Bush II Republican Congress era.
Yesterday, I asked the urologist if he was a musician. I knew he was because the first time I was in his office nearly a year ago I heard him mention something about playing piano. A bit surprised, he said he used to be. I fished a business card out of my old wallet, handed it to him, & said if he had a chance, go online & see what I used to be.
The joke is that most of what I "used to be," I still am. But it's possible to notice something happened about a decade ago. What happened? Did I become convinced God wanted me to be a failure? I already felt like a failure, had always struggled with periods of depression & feelings of worthlessness. But I thought I ought to feel at least a little bit successful, & the measure of that was for me - simply - looking presentable, paying rent on a very modest studio apt, & driving a reasonably reliable little car. I thought I was doing enough to earn those.
I know how I landed in Elizabeth. I've always wondered why, & if there is a why. If there is a why, learning to accept help from others who want to help (& admitting that I want & need it) is part of the why.
When I was working in retail, I found a large, invisible "underclass" of people like myself; college educated, creative, from middle class backgrounds, suffering from treated & untreated forms of depression & bipolar disorders, as well as women with children & self-employed husbands, working for low hourly wages to provide health insurance for their families that ate up most of their paychecks. I was not unsympathetic to smaller business employers, the franchises; they needed government help beyond "tax breaks." But I thought the chains & big boxes could do better for their employees, & I was angry because I believed the unions, with sensitivity & sanity, could organize these retail stores without demanding huge raises & bankrupting them.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
only good news today
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Intimacy has always been difficult for me. Yet, there are those of you I have never met that I can say I love. (& would still love if we met.)
I like the pennant series matchups of Giants versus Phillies & Rangers versus Yankees. Never rooted for a Texas team for anything. But it'd be swell if San Fran knocked down mighty Philadelphia, who look unbeatable.
Monday, October 11, 2010
October 11th is National Coming Out Day
Isolated from family, friends, church.
The issue, the problem isn't, as NY Gov candidate Carl Paladino would have it (saith he to some Orthodox Jews), the appropriateness of taking children to a New York City Gay Pride parade, which are notable for their exhibitionism. But you also get outrageous fashion at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade - & from women, yet! You might get a standing O from New York Orthodox by preaching against interfaith marriage, or even marriage with members of the competing synagogue around the corner.
A Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide last month after he was secretly taped & outed online by his roommate. Given respect, privacy, time, & space, Tyler would've connected with a supportive circle of gay & gay-friendly students by the end of his frosh year, & come out safely & sanely on his own terms & own time. Coming out in high school, or coming at all in certain areas of America, can be dangerous. Sadly, urban Black & Hispanic kids are the most at risk. Wherever they turn - church, gangs, school, family, they face condemnation if not direct physical threat.
Gary McFarland: I Don't Need the Rain
McFarland released two "concept" albums within the space of about a year, this astrological one in 1968 & the serious, environmental-themed “America The Beautiful: An Account Of Its Disappearance” in 1969. I haven't heard the entire "America." The latter won a Grammy for cover design, may been been nominated in another jazz category, but by then McFarland was like a man without a musical nation to call home. Repudiated several years earlier by most jazz critics & fans for going "soft" & "pop" - jazz itself was becoming more racialized, radicalized, amplified, & funkified, McFarland probably didn't know who the audience was for this stuff. But he recorded it anyway. Much of his music was lightweight but it was always quality. McFarland was killed in 1971 in a New York bar by a drink someone had laced with methadone. His music disappeared. He was completely off my musical radar, unusual because he was an arranger & producer of stature in the early Sixties. "Scorpio and Other Signs," released on Verve, a major jazz label, is not available as CD or download. With a few more uploads by fans of the LP it'll all be on You Tube.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Atlantic City NJ
The premier Black entertainment nightclub with integrated clientele in a segregated city, comparable to the Moulin Rouge in Vegas.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
I am a cultural elitist, in a sense. But I usually want to know why I don't like something, particularly if I expected to like it. Yeah, there's music I can't stand. There's music I'll go no farther than to say I admire it, not the same as liking it. The more types of music you like, the more likely I am to like you as a music lover. It won't matter one iota that I dislike some of the music you love. I know people who love punk, jazz, disco, & Neil Diamond. Music doesn't require that one sign a manifesto.
Friday, October 08, 2010
I had hoped to be more ambulatory this week.
I learned from this experience that I'd approach my health care in a more positive attitude at nearby Trinitas in Elizabeth. But I knew that all along. It would've been very convenient for Gina, & my primary doc is an attending physician at Trinitas who would would've overseen & monitored my overall care & treatment there. You don't give an apple to a patient who requests a soft diet.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Spencer Stakes Out
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Workin' On A Groovy Thing
My sister picked up the Israeli form of Montezuma's revenge on her Mediterranean cruise, was sick for five days on ship, arrived home Friday, is still ill. Job's Curse. I contacted her early Sunday morning.
On the phone today with the doc who assisted at my surgery. He was willing to have me go to ER late today & deal with problem, but the sense I got from him was that it would be better if I came to his office. We may have to remove this post-op catheter earlier than planned. But I said, if it's possible to wait a day or two, I can cope with the incontinence at home. Sunday, I was urinating on the floor in ER just to prove to the young attending doc that the problem was exactly as I described to the triage nurse. I said I gotta give my friend a break, & give my sister time to recover.