Sunday, April 27, 2014

Manasquan nJ

Sunnyside Farm

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From junior high through  high school I usually spent this week at  my Nana's in Atlantic City,  traveling down by slow local bus on Monday.  Easter week was also  the annual convention of Catholic Educators.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Atlantic City NJ

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Four Principles

Be free to do what you want, in your art.

Experimental art can be capable of explaining itself as it is experienced. (See Pauline Oliveros)

"Remember when I say teacher, I also mean student..." Mary Caroline Richards. Strive for peer relationships regardless of differences in age, experience, skill.

Sow too much irony, reap an ugly crop of cynicism.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Manasquan NJ

Carlson's Corner

In honor of Facebook friending my cousin Randy, who I haven't seen since we were teens, & only saw once or twice a year anyway. My sister, named for his mom & a favorite of his dad, had a close relationship with them, if not with Randy.

The only thing I envied about Randy was that they had a beachfront cottage in Manasquan, nothing fancy (actually, they had two, rented out the other one), nice musty odor beachfront houses acquire.  The envy pretty much went away after my grandmother  retired to Atlantic City & between staying with her & our annual week vacation, I was spending nearly a month at the shore every year, including a week after Easter.  Manasquan didn't have much action & you couldn't just stroll across the inlet to Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Laura Nyro - Brown Earth

I don't know if Carrie likes Laura, but this is  one of my fave "being alive" songs. for her recent birthday.

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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Atlantic City NJ

By the Apollo Hotel & Theatre.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Rixarcade You Tube Channel

Congratulations to me, passed 1000 music uploads & 1000 subscribers for the Rixarcade You Tube Channel. I wanted the channel in the spirit of my WFMU shows, open to following wherever it took me. This was my first upload, Sept. 16, 2010.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Come Fly With Me

Originally posted April 10, 2006

It's one thing to dream about Frank Sinatra, much more freaky to dream that I am Frank Sinatra. For this dream, inventing a huge hotel/casino to wander around in, not in a city, with endless anonymous hallways, elevators with uniformed operators (do I tip them?), gift shops, strange magazine stands, even a big wedding reception in one of the banquet rooms. & I, Frank Sinatra, not even resembling Frank in my dream much less possessed of his voice, confidence, entourage or penthouse suite, wandering around after my show wondering where the hell my room is, & if I have a late or early checkout. & I constructed this edifice out of one visit six years ago to Caesar's in Atlantic City? Poet Jim Cohn suggested to me a while back that it would be interesting, possibly instructive, to talk with some of the dream inhabitants. But this requires a lucidity I didn't have last night. Because I couldn't believe I was who I seemed to be. Had I said to myself, in the dream,"OK, you're Frank, what would Frank do? Demand better accomodations! Crash the wedding! Smack a broad!" then it would have played out differently.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mountainside NJ

Children's Country Home

Glimpsed, set back from the road on several acres, this became the large Children's Specialized Hospital system, main campus in News Brunswick with other service locations throughout Jersey. But this hospital, in the Fifties & probably well into the Sixties,  treated long-term care polio sufferers in iron lungs. Which of course gave it a foreboding air despite the pleasant  surroundings,. It remains a long-care treatment facility. 

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

No Snow, hopefully no mo'

Was a possibility for a dusting of snow tonight. The storm passed over South Jersey - they may have had five plus wet inches down there, edge of snow about 30 miles south of Elizabeth,  storm moved out to sea, expected to batter Boston & produce blizzard conditions from coastal Maine up through Nova Scotia & Newfoundland.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Velma, Chapter Two

for Liz French

 I poked at Velma's smoldering cigarette butt in the ashtray
 with the point of a pencil. Why do women always do that?
Velma crossed her shapely left leg over her right,
then  changed to her right over her left. I didn't pretend not to look.

 "Well?" asked Velma.

 I said, "Velma, what part of 'I don't do divorce work'
 don't you understand?"

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Reviewing albums for fun & no profit

I read a review of a new Beck album by a young friend, a very good writer, she linked in Facebook.   She gave the album three stars, but it was for me a four star review. It's titled "An Ethereal Collection Of Honest Tracks."  She wrote "Morning Phase is a delightfully multi-layered album that flows wonderfully..." This got me thinking. I pointed out I thought it was a four star review. Separately, on my own FB page, I posted this:
When I was writing oodles of mostly brief Amazon reviews 14 years ago (Amazon was much smaller than now), fans of a band or artist disliked my three star reviews. Three stars meant an LP was competent, a few really worthwhile songs, probably nothing outright awful, but probably nothing that would interest someone not already a fan of the group or artist, or a "completist" for versions of a classical work. You'd feel the lack of enthusiasm in my writing. Neil Young, whom I love even in his weirdest failures, got some three star reviews from me. Four Stars was an LP I liked, worth having if I were a fan, might interest others, more than half good, a few exceptional cuts or a praiseworthy concept sincerely attempted, lower your expectations a little & you won't be disappointed. I couldn't give half-stars, so if I had any doubts at all about five stars, it became four. Four was a good review. I only wanted people to stop & think before they spent their money. That is the bottom line: Who should or should not spend their money! Sometimes it's difficult to draw that line, but it's the only way you do the reader a real favor.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Atlantic City NJ

The 500 Club

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014


First the money please thank you.

This figure who rarely speaks her thoughts
prefers the old Christmas tree lights
& the routine of closing the blinds
when the sun shines through
at a slightly different time
each afternoon. 

She believes that what is best
is best left implied or unsaid.

Ancient, ancient her religion,
but no more heretical for that;
when one such as her has visions
she will always collect her emotions,
think of something else to do,
like sifting through her junk mail
or sweeping the floor, the most
ordinary meditations.

Here we see her after her bath
standing wet & naked
behind a closed door.

The image on this card
may be interpreted to mean
that you pretend to keep secrets
when you have none to keep.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Van Morrison - She Gives Me Religion

The one giving the most may be the one practicing the least.


Rio Grande NJ

Polly's Motel
(On the mainland across from Wildwood)

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ballet School Receptionist

A face behind the glass
I stared at her

Tiny girls in leotards
walked in & out
of her tiny office
A shy child needing her
to sew a tear - she closed the door

Mothers gossiping
who got the best parts
in The Nutcracker

Shifting my weight
from foot to foot
pretending to read an old magazine
was my dance

Twice I went out for air
then returned to wonder
at her rice flour face
& when she walked down the hall
I admired her ass

I had heard she had a boyfriend
but was unhappy with his abuses
I wondered if she ever danced away
from those men

I was tired of dancing -
I wanted to fill envelopes
with words about the moon -
hand them out as my resume 

When the ballet class ended
my niece stage-whispered
 “Did you talk to her?”

1991. 17 year relationship with Chtistine over; intense, unpleasant rebound affair shortly afterward (woman snatched at a poetry reading from another poet, who wasn't acting fast \enough - he never forgave me); .nearly a one night stand with  a  (married)  friend visiting from out of town - encouraged by mutual friends. I went to work at Pearl Arts Supply in Woodbridge. I did meet a woman there eventually, together three years.  Dabbled in local  newspaper relationships  wanted to no satisfaction. This was not how I met women. I hadn't "dated" since high school. All my other significant relationships were meet somewhere, hang out usually with friends, then go off & hang out on out own.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Irish Women

Whenever his wife cracks her knuckles
five minutes later her sister phones from Pittsburgh.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Cape May City NJ

Miniature golf on Beach Dr.

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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Buddy Cole - Cheek to Cheek

From the album "Ingenuity in Sound" (1962). Buddy Cole on dual Hammond Organs.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

take it to the boss

Landlord came last Thursday with Louie, his all-purpose assistant, to check on my new electric switch box & assure me the wall will be plastered, which I could care less about. The visit gave me a chance remind that the drain pipe in the wall behind the kitchen sink has to be rootered, I have someone else's sink wastewater backing up into my sink. This has happened before. Also I need a new deadbolt lock. That did bother the landlord. He knows the kinds of people he sometimes rents to here. I complimented Louie in front of his boss for shoveling snow at 8 pm.

 Friday the wall around the breaker box was spackled, my deadbolt lock repaired, & the pipe unclogged. Lesson: Take it to the top. I got hit with a large, unexpected  rent increase due to a cutback in subsidies for rental assistance. Percentage of monthly income has always been capped at around 30%. This increase takes 38% of my income. Of course, the landlord gets the full amount. He had a small rent increase. The problem with rental assistance is the recipients tend to treat their apartments based of what they pay rather than what the landlord receives. Yes, I've been guilty of this. But some in this building, I'm certain, pay nearly nothing for their apartment. Well, the rent pinches me now, & I'm expecting better, faster attention to problems.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A good break

On Friday a major snowstorm was forecast for Sunday Night into Monday, 6+ inches followed by more deep freeze. But the storm was downgraded starting Saturday, we got less than an inch here, the heavy snow in South Jersey. Temps are still below average for early March. Some years we have crocuses & robins by now.

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Mount Ephraim NJ

Bo-Bet Motel and Coffee Shop

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Buddy Cole - Poinciana

Album enlivened by a classy rhythm section including the great Jack "Mr. Bongo" Costanzo, still around & who was performing well into the new century.

From the album "Swing Fever" (1960). Hammond Organ -- Buddy Cole; Bass -- Red Callender; Bongos -- Jack Costanzo; Guitar -- Vince Terry; Percussion -- Al Stoller, Lou Singer, Milt Holland

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Somers Point NJ

Gregory's Bar

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

I've been upset on & off  all week over an inaccurate, ungracious caricature of me in the 1980's  someone who ought to know better posted on the internet.  I accidentally stumbled across it. Apparently, not many people have read it. It has few comments, & I certainly would have been tipped to its existence months ago.  I was especially disturbed because it accuses me of an attitude that, by principle, I do not & have never taken toward younger poets, artists, musicians & WFMU DJs.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brielle NJ

Brielle Yacht Basin & Harbor Inn

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Here come The Beatles February 1964

We knew The Beatles were coming months before they arrived here.  I was suspicious. I liked rock & roll.   I liked many kinds of music. I didn't have a great cultural or emotional investment in rock & roll.  Those early Beatles singles & the LPs Meet the Beatles & Beatles Second were enjoyable, but they didn't bowl me over.   The Beatles' music seemed too slight to support the madness.  & then there was the marketing: authorized merchandise, Beatles wigs, lunchboxes, dolls, pinup magazines etc. etc. aimed at 10-12 year old girl demographic. Manager Brian Epstein wanted his band innocent enough that parents would buy the crap Beatles merchandise for  the little girls. What happened in high school was a bit different. I was 15, a sophomore.  The 14 & 15 & 16 year old girls I knew who fell in love with one or another of the Beatles did so with self-aware & barely disguised lust. All Epstein needed to sell them were the records & record jackets & some glossy photos of the boys. Their photos were in all the magazines.

My favorite single of 1963 was  Candy Girl b/w Marlena,  by The Four Seasons.  two sided hit bigger in Philly & Atlantic City than NYC.  I had been impressed by some of the songs, vocal harmonies,  on Surfer Girl album.  I thought the Beach Boys & Seasons could cover each other's songs. My favorite LP of '63 was either a movie soundtrack or Stan Kenton's Adventures in Jazz." I was fond of Martha & the Vandellas.

Some kids in my high school detested  The Beatles. There was a serious Fifties hangover   teen culture in my h.s.,  plus leftovers of the folkie hootnanny, which continued to move songs into the top 40, neither of which I much appreciated. The Fifties influence had become parody. The Beatles broke over those like a tidal wave.  That's why I liked The Beatles. As a little kid immersed in the malt shop world of Archie Comics &  Ozzie & Harriet, I had envied teen culture of the mid-Fifties because it had Elvis, plus doo wop & Buddy Holly.  Elvis was a transformer. I must confess to also liking Bob Denver's gentle teen beatnik Maynard G Krebs from Dobie Gillis.     But Elvis meant almost nothing to us in 1964, beatniks were disappearing, there were vestiges of doo wop in the top 40 but lacking the purity & ethereal qualities  of the music that had enchanted me in grammar school. Occasionally a decent song popped out an Elvis Movie. The Beatles were our Elvis. I recognized that much & embraced the change. Soon enough more  music flowed from England, like The Animals' great "House of the Rising Sun." Had to put up with Gerry & Pacemakers & Freddy & The Dreamers &  other forms of mindless profiteering inspired by The Beatles.  Bobby Vee compared to Buddy Holly. The first Beatles LP I bought was the soundtrack to A Hard day's Night with the George Martin instrumentals.

The Beatles in California smoking pot with with who?

At the end of 1964, The Beatles released Beatles '65,  an LP I loved,  initiating a period of about two years when The Beatles recorded & released the finest series of now classic records ever from a band or artist, from "No Reply" & "I Feel Fine"  to "Help!" & "Paperback Writer," "Drive My Car," "Rain,"  "And Your Bird Can Sing" all the way through Rubber Soul & Revolver.  Beatles 65 made me a real fan \of the band.  It was when rock & roll became rock.  Even the lp cover pix were cool, with the umbrellas. The speed of The Beatles' musical evolution, while under  the incredible pressure  of  needing to produce more "hits,"  touring,  & making two movies, was proof of their genius. Because of The Beatles,  The Four Seasons  made better records, The Beach Boys made wonderful records. The Beatles inspired the creation of The Byrds,  making folk music palatable & hip.   & The Beatles turned Bob Dylan from a rock dabbler into the greatest white American rocker since Elvis.  The Stones would be along as soon as they finished urinating on the gas station attendant, or so the story went.  The Stones or maybe their fan club passed out buttons that said, "Let's Lock Loins."  It became getting more & more difficult for the profiteers to keep a handle on the teenybopper market. Ultimately it lead to the The Monkees. & even they became too uppity. But that was a long way ahead.

At the end of August 1964 I missed my one chance to see The Beatles live. Wasn't a sure thing, but it was a chance.  Another story.

I don't paint a clearly enough picture of the the "Kairos" of the cultural moment, the "right time", a "coming together" (a German theology termI learned three years later in a college religion class), which included John Coltrane; movies A Fistful of Dollars, Pink Panther, Goldfinger, Dr. Strangelove, The Masque of the Red Death; Cassius Clay Vs. Sonny Liston; debut of Terry Riley's "in C" (not released on LP until 1968); the 1965 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City; plus my dad's only political campaign, won against the Johnson landslide.

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"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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