Saturday, July 31, 2010
I am not a bum.
Dr. K & I together made another mistake. We didn't bring two of my siblings in on the details of the decision. They should have been given the opportunity to review the case file & have it explained. We made assumptions. Dr. K's goal was to strengthen relationships, not weaken them, & she had what she assumed was a sound, practical strategy based on what I had told her & what she had observed. It was embarrassing to me that my sister had felt obliged to bail me out financially, at considerable expense, although I was very grateful. Dr. K reasoned that that if I could have basic economic independence via SSD, my sister & I would have a deeper friendship & she'd be free to help me in other ways she might want to help out, without needing to get out the checkbook. & my brother, with whom I had little contact, would at least understand & accept the situation.
All the time I've been on SSD, a part of me has resisted it. My eligibility has been reviewed twice, never questioned on the evidence. Part of my eligibility - eyesight - isn't even used. I could be more comfortable, in a better apt building, in better health. I'm having a scary weekend. I'm alone. I'm broken down. But I am not a bum.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Gina is the "The Broad" Glen Jones occasionally mentions - with affection - on his Sunday WFMU radio show. They've been together for a number of years. While they share a lot of interests, they have distinctly different personalities. Though she's plenty sociable, Gina isn't nearly as extroverted as Glen. Often handles his wardrobe for live appearances. She has a first rate art school education, one of the finer photographers I've met, pinhole is a specialty. A sucker for stray cats. Every year they head to south Florida for a few days on a budget vacation, stay in a Fifties era motel, see some jai alai. Now they're hooked on the Silverball pinball museum arcade in Asbury Park where you can BYOB, pay a flat admission, & play as many classic pinball machines as you can fit into the time you paid for. Silverball is now one of the great Jersey boardwalk attractions.
One of Gina's proudest acheivements - she likes mentioning it - was introducing the True Love to a guy who doubted he would ever find it. I believed he would eventually find it, & I'd seen him in some of his most despairing moments. His problem was that he was selecting his own women, & I guess his criteria weren't quite right. Gina knew someone who was not only good-looking, but single, lonely, & talented, & perfect for him. Me, I've had about five True Loves, & I think I had all chances I was gonna get.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I had to go to Trinitas ER
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A good decision for cops
Is there another nation in the world where a alien can go about freely without some kind of legal identification or authorization to be in that nation? Is there another nation where it's legal for noncitizen to get a job without permission of the host nation? Can't do it Mexico. Those two provisions, sadly in a way, have to be part of any federal immigration reform that includes an amnesty. It's sad because sometimes it bothers me that we all have to carry several forms of legal I.D. now just to function smoothly. A cashier at Walgreen once casually asked for my Society Security number like she would for my little discount card, just to get it in their data base, & I refused, & was so irritated I called over the assistant manager & complained.
PHOENIX – A federal judge stepped into the fight over Arizona's immigration law at the last minute Wednesday, blocking the heart of the measure and defusing a confrontation between police and thousands of activists that had been building for months.
District Court Judge Bolton delayed provisions that required immigrants to carry their papers and banned illegal immigrants from soliciting employment in public places — a move aimed at day laborers. In addition, she blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants for crimes that can lead to deportation.
But many nations have federalized local police, or police with far more powers than American police, & fewer constitutional protections for everyone. Maybe police in our smaller towns don't have enough to do, there's not much crime, it doesn't matter if aliens, legal or not, clam up or hide when they witness a crime or accident. But not in Elizabeth NJ, or Los Angeles, or New York City, or Phoenix.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Each night we forced your sister
upstairs to her bedroom
before she was tired.
Then, on your living room rug,
my pants around my ankles,
your shorts & underwear
crumpled at your feet,
the television masking our sounds,
we got lost in our discoveries.
Years after we finished
I met your sister again,
her complexion gone bad,
her hair disheveled, she looked
& acted as if she’d become
crazy from lack of sleep.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto: Only Trust Your Heart
If Astrud Gilberto sounds like an amateur singing along with a Stan Getz record, well, that's pretty much what she was in 1964. This was only her second recording session, the first when she was recruited to warble "The Girl From Ipanema" because she happened to be in the studio with then husband João & could speak English.
I must admit that I'd never heard this Benny Carter song (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) or Getz Au Go Go LP. I've always been a scattershot jazz listener & only began taking a closer look at the Sixties bossa nova pop-jazz thing & Brazilian music in general over the past year. Oh, I had a warm spot for Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66, & lwas a fan of Brazilian organist Walter Wanderley.* But I appreciate art that seems artless; stripped of ornament, pared down to what essentially makes it art.
Astrud, it turned out, was an intelligent musician. She quickly took what she had & worked with it, refined it, tried & discarded certain kinds of songs - like American pop standards associated with & mastered by more versatile singers. Within her limitations she managed to tap a range of expression.
* Because I hear music more as a variety of flavors, definitions of genre & matters of authenticity rarely concern me except where I'm looking for a stronger more unadulterated taste of the flavor. My conversations with music "experts" tend to peter out once I've gotten a few facts & suggestions from them. Like, "thank you, but I'm not very interested in where you place your borders, walls, fences." When I worked in a great record store as a teenager, Harmony House, one regular customer refused to listen to any classical music following early Beethoven. He was clearly nuts. But the guy found me some terrific budget label records of music he did like. More recently, my west coast friend Carrie, who is also mostly a flavor type - she seems to like something of everything - happened to know really real Hawaiian music, not the tourist or exotica stuff (which I also enjoy) with great virtuoso ukulele players, & gave me a few names I could hardly pronounce.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Stone Harbor NJ
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I was finished about 1, went down the block to a CVS, filled a prescription & got a few things. Choice then of buses, one to downtown Elmora where I could do some other errands & walk home or call a taxi from there, or another to a corner about three blocks from my apt. But the air was muggy hot, the overcast sky dropping a few blobs of rain, it wasn't a promising time to be out & about. So I walked a long block, crossed a bridge over an abandoned railroad line, & into Roselle Park to catch the #58 on Westfield Ave., due about ten minutes after I planted myself at the bus stop. Had my umbrella, but it just plopped big raindrops, no downpour. Steambath afternoon in Jersey.
There I was, at the edge of my hometown. I could see downtown a block away. I grew up about three blocks from where I was standing. If you stay in your hometown - & many from Roselle Park do, it's a rather insular place - it may change so slowly that you hardly notice. Park is that kind of town. But I've rarely had reason to go back there. So just the fact that the stores I could see were different, & a few buildings replaced, & houses renovated, gave me a weird, not very pleasant feeling, & I was glad the bus came on time.
I've resided in the vicinity of Roselle Park for decades, but none of the other towns in Union County give me that feeling.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Living In the Trees
For twelve years I lived in a tree,
in winter I shared breadcrumbs
with birds on bare branches,
then bloomed with the magnolia,
matched wits with wasps,
sensed the blurry bats
Beneath my nest
a tangle of thorny roses
formed a wild jungle
with the raspberry bushes
& unmowed grass.
Raccoons, rats, cats
fought for territory
in murky tunnels,
I heard their shrieks
& congratulated myself
on my perfect perch.
Through the summer I loved
beetles & cicadas
singing near me
without my knowing their shapes
or certain how & why
they made their music.
Often late at night
I looked for the lights
of others like me living in trees,
I felt safer when my darkness
was patterned with shadows.
A season came when the leaves fell
& I fell along with them,
fell from my tree
like an ordinary apple
that had clung to its branch
& had been left to ripen
beyond beauty & taste.
Perhaps I belong on the ground
dragging my knuckles as I walk,
but I believe I might have climbed higher
& become a chattering monkey prince
or at least a mockingbird.
Whenever I look back
I find myself looking up
for a home someplace above me.
Neil Young: Walk On
Thursday, July 22, 2010
As a little experiment, I filled out a request to have a second copy of the test results sent to my primary doctor. Four working days later, I received a call from my primary doctor's office suggesting I come in for consultation on the results (I have a resistant bladder infection). I called back &, to my astonishment, the doctor herself answered the phone, rendering me momentarily speechless. Although she sounded like she would have wanted to handle it herself, it was the specialist's concern. I waited a day & called the specialist. They claimed not to have received the test result. I'll add here they the specialist has TWO fax numbers, on two different cards, & one of them they admit only checking once or twice a week. So I had to ask my primary doctor to fax her cc copy of the test to the specialist.
The next day, I called the specialist office, & was told only that it had been put on the doctor's desk. Three days later, they called late afternoon, I wasn't home. I thought, He's gonna ask me to pack a bag & check into his hospital, which he said some time ago was a possibility, because in rare cases only an antibiotic drip will clear it up. Clearing up this infection is preliminary to the serious surgery I must undergo, & had expected to be done during the winter.
This possibility sent me into panic. I have a routine sonogram scheduled for Friday through my primary, that's her concern, & her attentiveness should be respected. I resolved to to say to the doctor's people I wouldn't check in until Monday, because if he could be so lax in reading test results, it could wait a few days. & I knew I'd be in a lower priority floor in a huge Newark hospital, over the weekend, where they stick the rookie nurses & students, & come Monday he'd probably have forgotten I was even there.
Fortunately, for now, he just wanted to schedule a routine procedure for next week, & that time he'll probably lay out the options, if there are any. When I do have the surgery, I have to prepare for the emotional & practical consequences, including a visiting nurse service, since I reside alone.
This urologist lost my confidence in February, on the evidence of how he managed his office & paperwork. But by then, it was too late to switch specialists. No one else would take me. When I got a new primary, she asked on my first visit, "Why are you going all the way to Newark?" I said, "The one in Roselle wouldn't accept my insurance & I couldn't figure out how to get to Millburn."
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
"U" is for Uninteresting
Labels: what I'm reading
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Long Branch NJ
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Little Anthony & the Imperials: Better Use Your Head
This great single from 1966 was the end of the line for Little Anthony as a hitmaker. He had a series of classic singles in 1964 & 65 produced by Teddy Randazzo, all charted in the Top Twenty:
"I'm On The Outside (Looking In)" (August 1964) - POP #15, R&B #8
"Goin' Out Of My Head" (October 1964) - POP #6, R&B #
"Hurt So Bad"(January 1965) - POP #10, R&B #3
"Take Me Back" (June 1965) - POP #16, R&B #15
All in busted heart ballad style. Here, Anthony is assertive & uptempo regarding his failing relationship, the record only made to #64. But it was just the beginning of Anthony Gourdine's performing career. He's still working.
Me, wearing sweatpants with no pockets, outside to get the mail: "Frank, you aren't the most miserable guy in the world. You aren't even the most miserable guy in this building!"
Frank doesn't know what it takes to get 50 cents from me. It's not difficult. But I resent being pan-handled by my own neighbors at my own doorstep.
Labels: Elizabeth NJ
Friday, July 16, 2010
A Midsummer Night's Carnival
It is more strange than true, driving home from work on a muggy evening, past what is usually a vacant lot and finding a carnival there, crammed into a square block of space and going full tilt. Like a midsummer night's dream, says Willie the Shake, when the imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown and....and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.
The carnival arrives bearing the name of a saint or a fire department, but these are phantom handles, as one might call a recurring mist by the things it shrouds. They never stay very long in one place. A few rides, a few games of chance, lots of food, drink, and children; designed to try a poor soul's patience, all to make us sport.
So the transformation of an ordinary piece of ground with tents, flashing lights, the steamy odors of open air cooking, and noise.
The rides are pee wee versions of a large amusement park's greater torments, prototype designs of the Grand Inquisitor. Tilt-a-Whirl has been a devilish fixture of these fairs for centuries. Its cars resemble snail shells twisting through shallow water, each with the capacity to fetch thee a case of mild whiplash from the deep.
The Gravitron, or whatever name it is given in the modern era, retains all the nausea-inducing charm of a spinning playground roundabout, providing the means to enrich one's pain, inflicting a parted eye, when everything becomes doubled.
Which leaves for the faint of heart the safer thrills of a small merry-go-round running before us, yet going no place. And a Ferris Wheel, from whose view all things shall be at peace.
The wheels of chance advertise "One Win - Your Choice" of a cheap baseball cap or a tiny stuffed animal. From a distance, the odds of playing only four numbers looks so easy that one assumes they are almost giving away the prizes. But upon drawing closer, the wheel's notches break into an extended family of relatives: Mom, Pop, Sis, Bro, and in tiny print are Titania, Theseus, Helena, Puck, and Hermia, to cite a few. The wheel spins, a cartoon clock clicking until the spring snaps. Of course, someone else grabs the booty. What fools we mortals be to test dollars against such odds for a trivial reward. If this be true magic, the prizes would include purple grapes, green figs, glowworm's eyes and butterflies. Aside from love, this is the only game in town and, like love, not fixed in one's favor.
On to the food tables, to the clams, cheesesteaks and fried shrimp and fried pizza, where billows of aromatic smoke doth impair the seeing sense. Out, tawny tartar sauce, out loathsome medicine, O hated portions, hence. Bring me a bottle of A-1 or a bit of ketchup for my burger.
How now, Mad Spirit? What night rules this haunted grove called the Beer Tent? Here is where every Jack shall have a Jill and naught shall go ill, although plastic cups of brew do spill and pheromones fly where they will. Like moths circling a flame they mistake for the moon, teenagers circumnavigate the beer tent fences, over-dressed and sweaty in the muggy evening air, hoping Cupid's arrow will strike. They have yet to learn that love looks not with bloodshot eyes, but with the mind. Perhaps, in the garish light of the carnival, these callow homeboys and awkward girls who ignore each other at the 7-Eleven will somehow beguile themselves with the fantasies of the purest doo wop.
So quick bright things come to a confusion. One hundred young divorcees rolling baby strollers over the toes of strangers. Hairy men reving up chrome Harleys behind the Port-O-Sans. Melted ice cream oozing from the clothing of fat children. Rows of imperturbable crones and geezers nodding off in lawn chairs. The hour of the climactic 50/50 drawing draws nigh. Cops with bright orange vests blow whistles, dodging wayward drivers blinded by migraines. Ladies and gentlemen, my amplified voice calls your attention to this corner of an eternal now. And the winning number is, and the winning number was. Oh weary night, abate thy hours!
It is all gone the next day but for a few paper cups tumbling across the worn and trodden grass, and torn posters waving from telephone polls, and overflowing trash cans; the place quickly released from the spell of a peculiar magick. A wandering midsummer night's carnival briefly lightens the heavy gait of night, then carried to the next town, the next empty parking lot, the next field of fireflies, to awaken there by balmy starlight the nimble, if fleeting, spirit of mirth.
© Bob Rixon 2001
An earlier version of this essay was published by Worrall Community Newspapers.
Inspired by the St. Cecelia Fair, Iselin NJ..
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Bobby Hackett & Billy Butterfield
Never Ever Leave Me
Love Comes Again
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Bill Madden recently published a large biography of Steinbrenner, which I'll read at some point when it becomes available at the library.By Bill MaddenDAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
George Steinbrenner, a towering and intimidating figure who dominated the New York sports scene for 35 years, winning 11 American League pennants and seven world championships as owner of the Yankees, died Tuesday morning in Tampa after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 80.
"The Boss" - as he was so aptly named by his longtime antagonist, Daily News columnist Mike Lupica - died at around 6:30 a.m., barely a week after his Fourth of July birthday.
I wasn't much of baseball fan growing up. We were a Yankee family insofar as we had the religion. Went to some Yankees games. I became a fan in the Seventies after Steinbrenner bought the Yanks in one of the great business bargains of all time & began rebuilding the team to win. But by the end of the decade I was sick of him, Billy Martin, the firings, the feuds, the crazy clubhouse, turned my coat & switched to the Mets. I still listen to Yankees games on the radio. No hard feelings.
The Yankees we see now, the billion dollar brand that makes the playoffs year after year, known for clubhouse stability & a fairly dignified image on the field, is the result of the time Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball in 1990. His management team rebuilt the Yankee farm system that produced Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte. & Posada. He lucked out with Joe Torre, a manager of no great success up to then who turned out to be great at getting between George & the players, running a sane clubhouse, & dealing with New York media. Then there was the astute & far-farsighted decision to form The Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network in 2002. Although the Yankees are not majority owners, it is highly profitable. Steinbrenner was hardly beloved by Yankee fans in 1990. Essentially, the Yankees became the organization they are today when The Boss was forced to loosen the reins & let his competent baseball & entertainment industry employees do their jobs with a minimum of the capricious meddling that nearly destroyed the team in the '80s. How far had the Yanks fallen by 1990? New York was mainly a Mets city back then, & Yogi Berra wouldn't go near Yankee Stadium.
Among major business /media / sports giants, Steinbrenner is the last person I would've figured to receive such effusively positive eulogizing, Except, of course, from some sports writers old enough to have covered the Yankees in the '70s & '80s. They might admit liking George, in large part because he was a guaranteed story. Now we hear about all of Steinbrenner's generous "private acts of charity." The excuse being that they were "private" because A. Steinbrenner had to maintain a tough business image. B. He didn't want to use those acts for publicity. But, like with Sinatra, we heard about those personal acts of charity anyway. They were just revealed by people other than the benefactor. When Steinbrenner visited Yogi Berra Museum in 1999 to reconcile with the Yankee great after a 14 year estrangement that was entirely George's fault, sports announcer Susan Waldman hosted a radio show of the event with George & Yogi featuring plenty of references to Steinbrenner's charitable contributions, giving George a chance to "aw shucks, it was nothing."
The point I'm trying to make is that public acts of charity by wealthy people can be made with some modesty mixed with the self-promotion in order to encourage a charitable public spirit. The singular, impulsive acts toward individuals - & there have been many of these by George - are characterized by their impulsiveness & irregularity. They were like Elvis handing out Cadillacs. These acts are simply forms of The Golden Rule, sometimes oddly expressed, & the great religions tell us to live our lives according to the rule, & they don't compartmentalize those acts or provide a business exemption. There are always a few wealthy celebrities around with deserved reputations for being kind & generous, although these kinds of persons are more common among common folk. They aren't necessarily "great" people accomplishing "great" things, but rather are great souls, & we are always privileged to encounter them.
Monday, July 12, 2010
The Beach Boys: All I Wanna Do
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Under the circumstances, James should have expressed his regrets to the City of Cleveland & his strong personal desire to win a championship ring while he was in his prime, richly endowed some local youth-oriented charities, & simply announced that he was headed to Miami. Instead, he turned the process into a shameless, manipulative self-promotion worthy of a used car dealer. But it was in keeping with the way the NBA operates now. The NBA has not only wrecked its own game, it's ruining the college & high school games, too.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Dashiell Grey Malone
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Alternative Bob is different from Passive-Aggressive Bob. P-A Bob either freaks out or pulls into a shell. P-A Bob was telling Alternative Bob that it was too close to lunch hour. But Alternative Bob said, "I ain't browsing Radio Shack next door for an hour just to stay out of this awful humidity if I can help it."
I may have mentioned Alternative Bob. He's my alternative storyline. I suspect most of us have one or more. I'm pretty certain he married a nurse named Helen around 1980, & became either a high school history teacher or an employee of the New Jersey State Park system. Alternative Bob may have had a WFMU radio show for about five years, & only dabbled in poetry, but writes a lot on music & other subjects. He's a natural interdisciplinary high school teacher, & very good at explaining historical sites. If he's a teacher, he's good but the type who avoids too much extracurricular stuff. He is still married to Helen, They reside somewhere like Rahway or Keyport or Toms River, a town with history, in a small, old house, maybe a bungalow with dormers or an addition, & a piano. Alternative Bob's Alternative Bob is a songwriter & plays keyboards in a band.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Alec Wilder: Woodwind Quintet # 6
documented in this list. Frank Sinatra conducted several sessions of Wilder's instrumental music. Like the first great composer of woodwind quintets, Anton Reicha - an adventurous Czech composer based in Paris, & a contemporary of Beethoven, Wilder composed for & in collaboration with a specific group of virtuoso instrumentalists, the members of the NYWQ.
Wilder composed 13 works for woodwind quintet. The three on this CD were recorded for Concert Disc, an independent label created by a member of the great Fine Arts String Quartet to showcase their performnces, then re-released on the now defunct Boston Skyline label.
Monday, July 05, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
The 4th of July
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Here comes the heat wave
Friday, July 02, 2010
The NBA bores me.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
My CD-DVD drive stopped working. I knew it was the weak part of the EMachine. I went with it because I liked the tower & I'm not a heavy CD/DVD user. It's been acting up. It's also time to make updated boot disks & clear out mp3s. I e mailed customer service & they came back with the old reinstall drivers thing, I knew that wasn't the problem, it didn't fix. Now they say I never registered - although I am signed up with emachine website, guess I skipped the official registration - & want a proof of purchase scanned & sent, which I suppose is the J&R invoice. I hate the idea of sending it back. Maybe they have a local authorized repair. I have no backup PC. My old one won't handle this DSL I'd have to go on dialup. I have been looking at cheaper netbooks, since I think one will be very useful to me. You can plug a mouse, VGA monitor, & ethernet line into a netbook.
Since it'll be awhile before the warranty/repair thing is straightened out, I ordered a plug in external DVD/CD burner. They're inexpensive & if do get a netbook it'll come in handy anyway.
Labels: home furnishings