Monday, June 30, 2008

"God bless the rain, and the stormclouds that bring it.
God bless the music, and the voices that sing it.
God bless the ones who sing everything wrong.
God bless the creatures who do not belong.

God bless the hearts and the souls who are grieving;
for those who have left, and for those who are leaving.
God bless each perishing body and mind.
God bless all creatures remaining behind.

God bless the dreamers whose dreams have awoken.
God bless the lovers whose hearts have been broken.
God bless each soul that is tortured and taunted,
God bless all creatures, alone and unwanted."

From the children's book God Bless the Gargoyles by Dav Pilkey.
Just want to share that.
William Logan reviews the new Selected Poems of Frank O'Hara in the NYT. Logan is tough on O'Hara. But this collection replaces one published 30 years ago, & will serve as an introduction to O'Hara's poetry & the only collection of O'Hara new readers are likely to have on the bookshelf. O'Hara died in 1966 at age 40, run over by a beach buggy on Fire Island. It's difficult to imagine O'Hara sustaining his style into old age, or gaining a wide reputation as a poet at all had he not lived in New York City. He's an excellent example of the advantages of being a sociable gay artist in Manhattan with Ivy League connections. Poets have long known what was possible to get from his poems & what was never in them. But Frank O'Hara was & is loved for just being Frank O'Hara, with all the limitations, by poets who discovered him after his death. There are always poets who never lighten up, who never allow trivial things to remain trivial, who can't write a small poem about almost nothing & let it be about almost nothing. O'Hara is a corrective for those poets. That's his function. O'Hara probably saw it as his duty. The most esteemed American poets alive today seem like minor cultural entities compared to a time when O'Hara's inexpensive Lunch Poems book was still floating through college dorm rooms like a hip record album. * The spirit of the little volume in an era of war & societal upheaval was understood well enough.

* Lots of popular poetry books during the 60s & 70's, passed around, part of a familiar, shared contemporary literature overlapping with pop culture. A few years ago I encountered a 21 year-old Richard Brautigan fan. I said to the young woman, "Wow, I haven't run into one of you in a long, long time."


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Atlantic City NJ

The Big Fire 1915

The Weird New Jersey Calendar has for June 27: "First section of Atlantic City boardwalk, built by Alex Boardman, opens, 1870". That was his name. It was removed offseason. But when permanent boardwalks were built, boardwalk front property filled up & became dear. Property owners wanting to replace old buildings, & not willing to wait for a storm or risk unprofitable delays negotiating improvements with sleazy city agencies, are tempted to rely upon speedy renovation by fire. It's a short summer. All of Jersey's boardwalks have upgraded through this method every so often. It is most convenient if the unfortunate fire occurs late in season or early in fall, & the owner coincidentally has plans for a new structure laying around, & a friend in the construction trade with nothing else to do that winter. If the fire spreads & takes out a competitor, well, a boardwalk is a tough place to conduct business.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

I walk the beaches of New Jersey

disguised as a crazy man handing out flyers with this printed on them

how long must you beam ultramicrowaves at my head before you realize I will not submit to the machinations of unified intelligence legions i know who you really are you are not private businesses but incorporated genetically enhanced field energies of indeterminate life spans you have been alive since before telephones they are only a convenience a camouflage for your true technological agenda but whoa sally i am one step ahead of you since twenty thousand years ago when conscious and unconscious mind fused and created poetry and we found out it was not the gods speaking but counter world hucksters passing off simple magnetic physics as divine magic do you think the universe was created yesterday haha that i was born an old man sitting in the cosmic dugout come on let's play ball the problem with beings like you is that you stopped evolving before you reached this planet but you weren't the first did you ever wonder what horseshoe crabs are they are your predecessors' enemies victors in the great meteor species wiped out three hundred million years ago didn't even take monkeys to push those nasty aliens off the face of the earth whoever they were but thank heavens the horseshoe crabs are still here someday soon the very viruses you create and unleash upon us will mutate and turn you back into the silly putty physical forms i happen to know you are under those ridiculous plastic fabric ecoskeletal exteriors you beguile us with masquerading as carbon based creatures the mere sight of a red-winged blackbird shrivels you up like alcohol on a hornet

{Found this in a PC file. I've never been able to capture schizoid narrative because it usually unreels gradually through a series of mundane connect-the-dots occurances, much like a tall tale - which I do write fairly well, but with an increasingly complex, inexplicable inner logic, the creative intelligence novelistic rather than poetic. In a tall tale, the fish talks. This happens early in the story. In a schizoid tale, the fish doesn't talk but its scales are an array of tracking devices beaming signals to a satellite maintained by a secret government agency. This information is presented matter-of-factly in small talk about a grocery store purchase when it is revealed that cleaning the fish activates the array. I was ten minutes into a chat outside a bus station with a seemingly ordinary traveler before he got to that quality of the story. }


Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Hepcat Blogging

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Stop or I'll shoot

Related to yesterday's post, a man walked into a popular YMCA in Montclair NJ & shot a woman to death in front of her daughter while they were watching a swimming class. Then he got into a car & drove away. Horrified, traumatized children in dripping bathing suits, & their parents, ran screaming from the Y. Reading the brief report last night my first thought was an ex-husband did it, & indeed a few hours later the police announced him as the prime suspect.

Today one commentator on the webpage used the tragedy to advocate that we weaken gun laws & all arm ourselves. Sure there are situations, like the mass murders at Virginia Tech, when one wishes someone had a gun handy. & the nerve to use it. & a line of sight to the target, which means exposing oneself. & is a good shot. Because you have to have all four of those conditions. Or there might be a dozen panicked, fumbling confused people shooting up the place in self-defense. Maybe shooting up a YMCA filled with children when the killer is already out of the building.

At O.K. Corral, the Earps supposedly said to the Clantons, "Throw up your hands. We have come to disarm you." The Clantons didn't throw up their hands, & we know only approximately what occurred then; every movie version depicts it differently. Crazed mass murderers do not throw up their hands. Enraged ex-husbands do not throw up their hands. Five Crips with semi-automatic weapons come to jack a Lexus at a stoplight or invade a suburban home will not throw up their hands. They wouldn't do it even for the police. By the time one has to shout "Stop or I'll shoot," the choice is with the person issuing the command.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Citizen's Arrest

Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police."
Is Scalia's example using a rotary phone & dialing "O"? Or shouting, "Citizen's arrest, citizen's arrest" like Gomer hassling Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show? This heroic scenario is so rare that you'd be hard-pressed to find an example. Most commonly, burglar enters empty house & steals gun. Enraged, drunken husband shoots & kills wife. Child finds gun, shoots self or playmate. Sleepy gun owner mistakes sleepy family member for burglar, shoots family member. Keeping a convenient, loaded weapon around the house is inviting tragedy, not a Brave Citizen of the Year award.

The Supreme Court struck down an outright handgun ban in a federal district. Handguns are not banned in New Jersey; they are strictly licensed. I had thought private gun ownership a constitutional right (subject to a variety of restrictions), had no idea the High Court had never directly ruled on it, & was unaware of the D.C. laws being tested. I do consider it ironic that the people so willing to compromise other rights for the sake of "national security" are the same ones who chaff under laws that prohibit them from purchasing fully automatic Glocks at Walmart. The only reason I care about gun-crazy assholes in Texas is because too many of their guns end up with gun-crazy criminals in Jersey.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

People who travel

Some acquaintances learned yesterday, their 8th wedding anniversary, that they could adopt their two foster children, a brother & sister. Leaving the meeting, with the children, their car wouldn't start. So what ensued was a truly aggravating three hours, a tow, a rental car, finding out the problem was minor, returning the rental car, driving home, takeout burgers for supper during the trip. At one point the wife whispered to her husband, "We could have been the people who travel."

All married-with-children know the people who travel. They're the childless ones who bicycle in China, whale watch in New Zealand, hike glaciers in Alaska, boat down the Nile in air-conditioned comfort while sipping Pimm's. Instead of postcards & slide shows, now they e mail links to albums at Photobucket. They aren't rich, & their budgets for these packaged adventures aren't a whole lot more than a weekly rental at the Jersey shore with the kids in something near the water & better than a hovel, boardwalk amusements, & a family dinner at a decent crab shack.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I feel sorry for the kids next door

in the adjacent apartment, two energetic boys, the oldest I guess about 7, Jamaican family. They're well cared for, no doubt about that. Two parents. Mom handles them better than dad. But they never leave the apartment except for school & church. All day long on mild weather weekends I see parents bringing their children to & from a large, safe playground three blocks up across from Kean University. Entire families pushing strollers. It has swings, a great jungle gym, & a seahorse fountain on hot days. Restrooms. Usually an ice cream truck parked nearby. It may be the most multicultural place I've ever seen. & noisy. I don't think these two kids even know it exists except maybe as a rumor. Their parents certainly do. There's a rough edge to my neighborhood to be sure, particularly this busy corner on some evenings & a few of the apartment buildings I can see from my window. But it's generally a safe working class area, predominantly Hispanic, lots of kids, a core of good single family homes on the side streets, even a touch of affluence here & there, & it's fine in the direction of the park. A friend of mine owns a house on a very nice suburban street behind the playground, about a five minute walk door-to-door I've done many times after 11 pm & passed people walking their small dogs. She lives next to a friendly rabbi with three teenage sons. I don't know what my neighbors are so afraid of up that way that they keep their kids inside & isolated on perfect playground afternoons.


Monday, June 23, 2008


NEW YORK (AP)—Felix Hernandez hit the first grand slam by an American League pitcher in 37 years, then departed with a sprained ankle before he could qualify for a win in the Seattle Mariners’ 5-2 victory over the New York Mets on Monday night.

Facing a fellow ace from Venezuela, King Felix connected off Johan Santana with two outs in the second inning to give Seattle a 4-0 lead.

The opposite-field shot to right-center was the first home run by a pitcher in Mariners history, and the first slam by an AL hurler since Cleveland’s Steve Dunning went deep against Oakland’s Diego Segui on May 11, 1971, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
One player said Hernandez didn't even have his eyes open when he swung.

Anyone remember Fred "Chicken" Stanley? The light-hitting but much-liked utility infielder spent 8 years with the Yankees from 1973-1980. He hit ten career homeruns. Once he hit a grand slam, & the Yankee dugout responded by giving him the silent treatment, everyone totally ignored him when he returned from his base-clearing feat. They showed it on camera. It was very funny, Billy Martin engrossed with the lineup card, some players pretending to have napped through the event.


300 million per day

A contest for cripessake!
FRESNO, Calif. - John McCain is hoping to solve the country's energy crisis with cold hard cash. The presumed Republican nominee on Monday proposed a $300 million government prize to whoever can develop an automobile battery that far surpasses existing technology. The bounty would equate to $1 for every man, woman and child in the country, "a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency," McCain said at Fresno State University.
We piss away billions on research & development of weaponry the military doesn't even want. Our universities & corporations are addicted to that money. But our dependency on imported oil is the most dangerous weapon we hand the rest of the world to use against us. Please, oh Princes of the House of Saud, cut us a break. Please, China & India, spare us a few gallons. It's why we're in Iraq, where estimates of the costs range from 175 to 300 million dollars per day. Let's stop looking at alternative energy development as a "small price to pay" & as something we can do on the cheap, & treat it as the big price of national security it is.

George Carlin

Occasionally, one finds a great poet in another line of work.
We may forget that George was a very successful comedian before he changed his image. He was approaching the stage of his career where he would have been expected to don a tuxedo to work Vegas. Imagine George sitting in his dressing room, in his underwear so as not disturb the creases in his trousers, having his nails manicured before entertaining a showroom filled with Nixon supporters. That was his future. He understood it, & knew his creativity & anger couldn't coexist with it no matter how much money was thrown at him. He might have thought he was freeing his inner hippie, but it was already too late for that, & what emerged was mostly punk.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Seaside Heights NJ

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

If Bush put every neuron of his reptillian brain to work at once he would not be able explain what off shore oil drilling has to do with $4 per gallon gasoline.

I'm not saying that we won't have to do that drilling in the future. My gut sense is that it'll be difficult to avoid even if we adopted a sane, comprehensive long term energy policy. But it's another thing, & won't rescue SUV dinosaurs or bring down the price. High gasoline prices & an end to the truck as family car are two absolutely necessary components of that policy. The oil billionaires & their lackeys (George has a foot in both groups) would like us to believe there's undiscovered gushers aplenty in the United States that if tapped will painlessly loosen our chains to despotic oil producing regimes abroad (we have our own despotic oil producing regime here). But we & they know these reserves would supply but a fraction of our current oil requirements. We have to curb our oil use drastically for the additional sources to matter much.

I'm a NAMBY* kind of person. But if America had a farsighted energy policy that dealt with global warming & was designed to free us from the House of Saud - a dependence that warps our foreign policy & threatens national security, if we planned for the future the way Europeans are forced to do, there's a lot I think we could accept in New Jersey that isn't now so attractive.

* Not in my backyard.

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Preemptive compromise

"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
Captain Renault, Casablanca

Barack Obama is supporting the FISA wiretap compromise bill with telecom immunity. It's a bill Bush is willing to sign, which says enough about it. Yeah, I know Obama was against it in February, but that was then & this is now. Sen. Chris Dodd is still against it. So is Sen. Russ Feingold. So is Sen. Arlen Spector, the last I read. Why don't I feel more betrayed?

I was shocked, shocked very early in the presidential primary season to watch so many hard liberals skipping past John Edwards & going right to Barack Obama. His style, & the governing style he promised, had preemptive compromise all over it. Barack came across as the kind of politician who would negotiate before he'd even staked out a strong position he could negotiate from. That's what I didn't like about him. That's why the John Edwards banner stayed on my blog until the nomination was wrapped up.

C'mon you Kossacks, you people who embraced Jim Webb, Bob Casey, & Jon Tester athough you knew they were essentially moderates, you spent the whole damned campaign trying squeeze Barack into a leftist box even as Hillary was staking out more liberal positions on a number of domestic issues including health care & beating up on Obama in places where they still use post offices & parks built during Roosevelt's New Deal. Your problem with Hillary was always about the war & not much else. I voted for Barack with my eyes open, & a distaste for having 4 or 8 more years of Bill Clinton had something to do with it. People project all kinds of hopes on to Obama. I have mine, too. But if you wanted a real liberal with an agenda, he wasn't the #1 go-to candidate when there were still lots of choices.

By the way, the "Yes we can!" chant always reminds me of Sammy Davis Jr.'s autobiography, Yes I Can, wherein The Candyman writes about converting to Judaism & later marrying Swedish blonde bombshell May Britt. A black Jew with a super-goy in 1960. Talk about chutzpah. Sammy was always alright with me.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Low Frequency incompetence

Ohio teacher burned cross on kids' arms

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - A public school teacher preached his Christian beliefs despite complaints by other teachers and administrators and used a device to burn the image of a cross on students' arms, according to a report by independent investigators.

Mount Vernon Middle School teacher John Freshwater also taught creationism in his science class and was insubordinate in failing to remove a Bible and other religious materials from his classroom, the report said.
Freshwater's friend Dave Daubenmire defended him.

"With the exception of the cross-burning episode ... I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district," he told The Columbus Dispatch in a story published Friday.
Freshwater used a science tool known as a high-frequency generator to burn images of a cross on students' arms in December, the report said. Freshwater told investigators he simply was trying to demonstrate the device on several students and described the images as an "X," not a cross. But pictures show the images depict a cross, the report said.

Other findings show that Freshwater taught that carbon dating was unreliable to argue against evolution.
As Nana used to exclaim, "Jesus, Mary & Joseph, what are you doing?" (expletives omitted)

Much of my education happened in an era when the Christian content of public schools went unchallenged. In grammar school, we recited the Lord's Prayer to start every day. There was no disguising Christmas; we sang "Silent Night." Yet, not once did I encounter a teacher who "preached" to students. I had enlightened history & science teachers in high school. There was no creationism, no religious materials used in any major subject classes. A public school teacher doesn't have a license to turn Biology & Physics classes into Sunday School. "Values" can be inculcated without resorting to nonsense. Fact is, Mr. Freshwater is too damned ignorant to be a teacher. They ought to taser this guy into the street & lock the schoolhouse door behind him. The taxpayers of Mount Vernon can thank him when the lawsuits are settled.

A common thread in these stories are the gullible students who defend idiot teachers on the grounds that they're "nice guys."

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I love Teri Garr

I've always loved Teri Garr. I first noticed her playing an incredulous 20th Century secretary on a Star Trek episode from 1968, stealing every scene she was in. She looked familiar, & later I learned she had been a dancer in Pajama Party & some Elvis movies. Her many appearances on the old Late Night with David Letterman in the 1980's were screwball highlights. One night, he coerced her into going to a dressing room & taking a shower on camera. Last night she wobbled unsteadily out on the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater, slowed by MS & from a brain aneurysm 18 months ago, both her hands & one arm clearly not working well, helped to the guest chair by Letterman, who cracked that it gave him a chance to touch her " inappropriately." They are fond of each other. Once seated , Teri was funny & beautiful as always, a sharp intelligence behind the ditzy blonde image she's done well with over the years. She was in town promoting her new movie. She still refuses to answer questions about Elvis, but that was all tabloid stuff anyway. The "secret" about Elvis is that he was frightened by intimacy with the grownup young women he worked with in Hollywood but apparently treated them with good Southern manners, & decades after he passed they continue to repay him with respect. Teri said that she'd actually had a thing with Letterman, lifting her forearm erect.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Function at the junction

Three routes are being considered for the MOM (Monmouth-Ocean-Middesex) line, which would start in Lakehurst. The Monmouth Junction line would serve western Monmouth and three southern Middlesex towns before joining Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line in South Brunswick. The proposed Red Bank route would join the North Jersey Coast Line in Red Bank, while the third option calls for laying tracks along the Henry Hudson Trail and joining the North Jersey Coast Line in Matawan.
Extension of NJ Transit commuter rail service in this part of central Jersey is unavoidable, no matter what opponents say. The NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection rejected the Monmouth Junction option because it runs too close to a Revolutionary War battlefield park. I had thought this the best route, least susceptible to bottlenecks & delays, skipping Rahway Junction, where the Jersey Coast line narrows to two tracks & meets the busy Northwest Corridor, with all the Amtrak & freight traffic.

From Red Bank southward, Jersey Coast is like a light rail line, especially the nonelectrified stretch from Long Branch to Bay Head, which runs at street level & has numerous gated grade crossings. Very old-fashioned. If the need existed, it would be suitable for the new trolleys. They could reopen stations in north Asbury Park & Avon, reactivate the spur into Monmouth Park racetrack, & serve Fort Monmouth when it converts to civilian use.

When railroad trackage & rights-of-way were being abandoned all over Jersey in the decades after World War II, it was crackpot to suggest they might become useful again at some point in the distant future. Trolleys & little passenger stations in rural towns were nostalgia. Now many of those towns are huge suburban developments & it costs big, big bucks to put them back on the rail grid, made even more expensive for lack of having held on to & minimally maintained property only a few yards wide.Who knew? Gas was cheap enough even during the stressed 1970's, & Popular Science magazine predicted we'd all be using personal rocket packs to get around by now.

As a teenager, I watched the building of the Raritan Valley passenger Line through Roselle Park along the Lehigh Valley tracks, which no longer handled much coal. The tracks were raised up on embankments, dangerous grade crossings eliminated, a new station constructed, & the old Jersey Central station a few blocks away [postcard], which had inconvenient connections to New York, slowly went out of business. The guy who owned a liquor store near the old station had the foresight to move over by the new one into the only available retail space before anyone else got the idea. Although that was a long time ago, I can now see it was really the start of the new transit era. All newer NJ Transit stations are like the one in Roselle Park, with long elevated platforms. No attempt was made to disguise it or integrate it into the neighborhood, like quaint downtown stations of the past. We thought it was ugly. But it ended the train-meets-car (or bus) wrecks that had occasionally provided tragic small town entertainment. For the first time, I rode the train rather than bus to New York City, transferring at Newark, on the trips Jersey kids still take to Manhattan for no reason other than to wander around staring at everyone & everything.

There's been a proposal on the board for awhile to extend light rail service from Newark all the way to that abandoned Jersey Central Station. Nearly the entire route is on an existing right-of-way. I had considered it the somewhat fanciful idea & ideal of trolley-lovers in an office somewhere having fun with their fat contract from NJ Transit. Now I'm not so sure.

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This just the beginning

Here's a button sold by a vendor at the Texas State Republican Convention. Some Repugs must have bought & worn this button, or the bumper stickers & tee shirts, but nobody bothered to make the vender stop selling it. We know the kind of shit that is going float to the surface in "unofficial" campaign merchandise.

But Barack Obama isn't running for Chief of the Button Police. He can't deal with every expression of racism & bigotry - which is free expression if it doesn't openly advocate violence. It shouldn't be ignored. Remember, Jim Webb is senator now in part because George Allen went down to rural southwest Virginia where he figured he was among "friends" & could say anything he wanted. We can watch for this garbage & expose it to the light. Use a cell phone camera if you see something nasty, take a photo of it, send it around, post in on a blog. Show faces. We can do that.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Napalm Health Spa 2008

The online edition of Napalm Health Spa: Report 2008 is up, a long-running poetry annual edited by Jim Cohn.

I still get a feeling, what am I doing, keeping company with all these wonderful poets?

I only want every poem I let out of my modest bag to have its own way of walking & talking, however peculiar, & hopefully be clear & uncomplicated.

I wrote Jim:
Before condos were built down the road from my sister's place in a hilly region of Jersey, there was a small farm, & a roadside cottage with a porch, not far from a babbling creek, a miniature house of maybe three rooms where I presume a stable hand lived, & I always said I could move in there, sit on the porch, wave at passing cars, & play the village crazy. & when other poets visited I knew they'd be delighted to sit on the porch with me, smiling, waving, enjoying the scenery & the sound of the creek.
Look, there's two, no, three crazy people now.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Angels 6 Mets 1

Update: First game of the post-Willie Randolph Mets. 3 errors, poor pitching, a Jose Reyes tantrum. Welcome, Charlie Manuel.

Jill goes into Willie's firing in more depth.

Willie probably had two defining managerial lessons. The first was the insane Yankee clubhouses of the 70's where he learned that it's possible to win & still be a bunch of miserable wretches. The other was working for philosophical Joe Torre when Steinbrenner stayed in the background & the Yanks were blessed with some steadying personalities & the glue of Jeter & Rivera. But he had no managerial experience at any level when he took over the Mets, in the toughest town in baseball. His marching orders in 2005 were in effect "Do what you can this year, but you gotta win the Pennant next year." He had interviewed many times to manage smaller market teams, was never hired, & we did wonder why he never got the jobs. Willie had problems finding a balance between handling the "kids" & dealing with the old pros. Maybe he just expected them to go out & play like he always had. How do you handle Jose Reyes when whatever you do may have the opposite of the intended effect? How do you convince Carlos Beltran he could be the King of Queens if he just showed some consistancy? How do you make John Wagner shut up? How do you manage a team to win a game 3-2 rather than lose it 2-1? Or win it 9-8 rather than come up short at 8-7? Which is how the Mets have been losing more than they've been winning. It's tempting to imagine Lou Piniella in a Mets uniform, screaming, sulking, kicking dirt, ripping up third base & heaving it into left field, that a hotter personality might have animated this collection of ballplayers into creating some magic. I doubt it. There's a lot more wrong with the Mets organization than Willie Randolph. He may be the least of the problems.

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Craig Ferguson gave Salman Rushdie five minutes to flack his latest novel AND talk about playing ping pong with Scarlet Johansson. Craig if you're giving him one segment, either discuss the book OR Scarlet, & since you hadn't read the book the choice was obvious.

It's fun for A.L. pitchers to bat in interleague games, but they don't train for it, or for scoring from second on singles, the Yanks' Chien-Ming Wang wrecked his foot doing it & could be out for the season.

Gutsy Tiger Woods winning the Open, playing through pain, pressure & bogeys. Usually if he hits the top of the board in the third round he strolls to the victory on Sunday. This was a whole other level of play. He really had to reach deep inside for this one. One of the greatest athletes of all time. I'm saying it about a golfer, I'm so impressed.

Too tired to express an opinion: The Mets fired Willie Randolph.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I did a leisurely fill show at WFMU last night. A leisurely show is when I have a choice of 2-4 minute music & 6+ minute music, I go with the latter for the most part, the sets run long, & I'm leaning back in the studio chair & listening. Sometimes I'm so into listening that I type the music info into the online "accuplay" setlist but forget to hit "enter" until the piece is halfway through, which means I have to fix the playlinks later. It also featured a quick getaway finish; reserving the longest selection for the end of the program because I need to refile everything in the library & get out the door fast to make a train connection in Newark, crucial on Sunday night when it's either the 1 am local or the 2 am local. It can still get hairy. Toward the end of the first set I had to run into the library twice to find a specific Jimmy McGriff record I absolutely had to hear in honor of the late, great organist, hardly his finest number, but a funky fav I aired many times late at night to perk up the mood. The opening set got such a friendly listener response that I felt bad knowing we were headed somewhere else in the second set. Contrariness was my weakness in an earlier era, when I stubbornly refused to play more to the musical strengths listeners pointed out in my shows (like an ability to make a wide variety of music sound oddly jazzy), & so I failed to win them over as loyal fans. As a fill in DJ, I just want to hang on to some of the absent DJ's regular audience.

I was also determined to play "Spirit Road" by Neil Young no matter how it fit in. Usually, Neil anchors or caps an angst-filled set, but I wasn't feeling it last night, & by the end of the second hour I'd decided not to juggle the intense, turbulent music I'd selected for the occasion - that stuff goes goes back into the maybe next show list. For a free form DJ a song can be like an itch, you can't put it aside until you've played it on a show. Easy to scratch if you're on air every week.
Watching the direction of big red thunderstorms on animated radar, I thought it best not to pick up the book the library is holding for me. They may miss, but if they don't, I'll be very sorry I took the risk even if I have an umbrella.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jersey Blue

Good luck to the Army National Guard's 50th Infantry Brigade, which shipped out from Fort Dix to Fort Bliss, Texas yesterday to prepare for deployment to Iraq.

The brigade's one-year mobilization is New Jersey's largest National Guard deployment to a combat zone since World War II.

About 2,850 of the 3,100 soldiers in the brigade are from New Jersey, earning the group the nickname of "Jersey Blue." The remaining 200 are from the Michigan Army National Guard.

About 30 percent of the brigade has been deployed before, officials said.

They enlisted knowing this day could come. The 50th includes units & detachments from Fort Dix, Freehold, Atlantic City, Mount Holly, Burlington, Cherry Hill, Woodbury, Riverdale, Newark, Jersey City,Vineland, Morristown, Toms River, Lawrenceville, Woodbridge, Dover, Woodstown, Newton, West Orange, Hackettstown, & Somerset. We love you, take care of each other, come home safely, & we're hoping a major hurricane doesn't hit Jersey while you're away. After a summer training in West Texas, maybe Iraq won't seem all that awful. Which is why the Army is sending you there first.

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Newark NJ

Newark Airport when gas was very cheap but flying was very expensive.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

For a piece of the action

With the Republican Party in need of money for the November elections, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has offered to appear at fund-raisers around the country for G.O.P. candidates. But there is a catch: He wants some cash out of the deal.

Rudolph W. Giuliani is trying to reduce a $3.6 million campaign debt through joint fund-raisers.

Mr. Giuliani’s aides have told the National Republican Congressional Committee and Congressional candidates that if he makes an appearance, he wants the candidates to help him get rid of his presidential campaign debt.
The big problem is that Rudy loaned himself $500,000, & if he doesn't pay himself back by September, federal campaign law could make him lose half of it. So he's become his own loanshark, & since he can't shake down himself, he has to shake down other people.

The prospect of a Giuliani presidency was more frightening than any other candidate in the Repug field. For awhile, none of the ugly personal & political truths about Rudy took hold outside the tristate bubble. Even the truth about the day he became "America's Mayor" wasn't getting out; facts like the tragically flawed fire dept communications system, & that he located the New York City Office of Emergency Management on the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center (Mayor Bloomberg wisely moved it to Brooklyn). Rudy was wandering around in utter confusion on 9/11 because he had no command center to use for commanding. He was a leader by default, with the President showing no leadership. It also looked as if the Repug nomination was going to someone by default - it eventually did - & it could have been Rudy.


Friday, June 13, 2008

What I didn't like about Tim Russert:
Add up the sum of his parts he should've been more like a younger, milder Jimmy Breslin.
His famous electoral college "predictions" were conventional wisdom.
The more entrenched he became, the less he spoke truth to power, never his strongest suit anyway. Were his presidential debate performances better than I remember them? It was way too easy to imagine Tim at a cocktail party yucking it up with a group including David Broder, Maureen Dowd, James Carville, Karl Rove, George Stephanopoulos, & Anne Coulter. Ever get the uneasy feeling that maybe none of them really gives a damn - because they all know the game is fixed?

What I liked about Tim Russert:
His Rust Belt education, Canisius High School in Buffalo, John Carroll University & Cleveland State, was first rate & a raspberry at the gaudy academic resumes of many other high profile journalists.
He went to Woodstock "in a Buffalo Bills jersey with a case of beer."
He wasn't groomed to be a face on TV news. He resembled guys I actually know.


Stinky booger brains

I'm a late convert to Wiley Miller's Non Sequitur, but then Wiley was something of a late-bloomer, a former editorial cartoonist who originally styled Non Sequitur after Far Side, then in the late 90's apparently realized he could do whatever he wanted provided he played in the sandbox he was given, unlike the always disgruntled Calvin and Hobbes creator, Bill Watterson, who closed up shop in 1995 - a sad moment in comics page history that broke many hearts & was when I stopped buying the Star-Ledger every day. Now Calvin and Hobbes belongs to a different time, the pre-internet age. Calvin had no interest in video games or doing homework (although he loved TV cartoon shows), his parents were book readers, probably didn't even subscribe to cable, so I wonder how he would have responded to a first grade computer lab & a PC on his mom's desk. Wiley's children, gothgirl Danae & quietly brainy Kate, reside in coastal Maine & produce their dad's no-budget webcast with just a laptop & a cam.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Torture is a moral issue

The Sisters of St. Mary of Buffalo NY say Torture is a Moral Issue. So does North Broadway United Methodist Church in Columbus OH, & Nassau Presbyterian in Princeton NJ, & St Thomas Aquinas Church in Palo Alto CA, & 1st Congregational of Memphis TN, & 300 other churches, synagogues, assemblies & congregations so far in all 50 states as participants in the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Remember when John McCain was against torture? Torture is torture only until you want the Repug nomination, even if you've been tortured. But he'll have to convince the skeptical Southern Baptists that he really is for torture if he wants their support. Catholic nuns renounced torture as a method of moral instruction decades ago. Southern Baptists never will.


Bill Finegan

From the New York Times obit:
Bill Finegan, who arranged hits for Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey and then formed a big band with Eddie Sauter, another legendary arranger, that was famed for skill, daring and very, very odd instruments, died on June 7 in Bridgeport, Conn. He was 91.
In forming the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, the two envisioned an innovative kind of music, defiant of convention but still inspired by musical traditions, especially classical ones.

Wit was implicit, and unexpected instruments were the most conspicuous novelty. These included the piccolo, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, harp, English horn, recorder, tuba, glockenspiel, tympani, kazoo and not one but two xylophones. In their arrangement of “Troika” from Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije” suite, Mr. Finegan conveyed the dull pounding of distant horses’ hooves by beating out the rhythm on his chest.

At the band’s peak, 21 musicians played 77 instruments, not counting Mr. Finegan’s chest.
Provides an excuse to post an album cover designed by Jim Flora. I've always thought the S-F studio recordings amusing but too machine-like to swing much.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Yellow Dog

Here is a simple definition of Yellow Dog Democrats: If the only candidate on the Democratic ticket is an old cur yellow dog running against a highly regarded Republican, we would vote for the yellow dog. Period. A handful of Yellow Dogs may actually like some Republicans, but hardly any of us trust Republicans to run government, especially the federal government. We are, according to Just Politics, "unswerving" party loyalists.
Joe Bell, St. Petersburg Times
The first time I recall hearing the term was in a conversation between venerable Jersey newspaper writer Elias Holtzman & Arkansas poet Miller Williams at a cocktail reception in Metuchen in the 90's. Both said they were Yellow Dogs. They liked each other; poets & journalists often do, having been the same occupation in many ancient cultures. I wanted to meet Williams, not because he was pals with Bill Clinton but because he had translated Chilean poet Nicanor Parra & was the father of singer Jessica Williams.

I'm not sure when I became in effect a Yellow Dog. Definitely by the end of Reagan's second term. In the prior decade I had voted for at least two Repugs, both in Linden, & both not really Repugs but environmental activists running on that line against Mayor John Gregorio's machine. Gregorio was pushing for a waste transfer station in the city. I'd taken an instant dislike to Gregorio years earlier, when he suggested an explosion at the refinery had been the act of leftist terrorists dropping a bomb from a small plane. The blast shattered windows for miles & sent up a huge mushroom cloud that supposedly caused Kean College students to fall their knees & pray. I thought Gregorio was a smart politician but a jerk all the same. I didn't associate him with "principles" because I don't think he had many except to make certain that his friends & allies got what they had coming, & his opponents got what they had coming, & he got what he had coming before deductions.

My dad was a lifelong Repug, 5 years on town council & longer than that on the Committee. I never doubted that he was honest & ethical, more than local Dems, & more than most of his own party. Through him, I experienced door-t0-door canvassing & election nights at the storefront headquarters, & ran the soda machine at the annual party picnic. He remained a bit naive about the bipartisanship of shenanigans, perhaps deliberately. His votes on council didn't fall into a simple left/right pattern, they rarely do in town politics. The GOP had more wiggle room in that era anyway. He went on to council with an agenda, accomplished his goals, left office & moved on, which included moving out of the 3rd Ward he represented. He was completely free of the game by 1970, but if he had run for anything higher than Freeholder by the time I could vote, I would not have voted for him. By then I had a bunch of button issues, all "liberal." & there were plenty of Democrats I didn't like either. I've always been strongly opinionated. But I'm not a political animal. *

To this day, I have a problem with a certain type of Democratic legislator who does stuff that doesn't need doing while avoiding progressive stuff that needs doing. My conservative side is of the Leave it the hell alone variety. I don't find much of this sentiment in the Repugs since they were taken over by religious armageddonists & former Trotskyites. I didn't like the former Trotskyites when they were young Trotskyites & pestering everyone in the college snack bar with long, single-spaced, mimeograph manifestoes. So I aways think the worse of Repugs now, that there's a much better than even chance that a Repug is a bigot, a war monger, & a compulsive liar. I have limited patience for libertarian flavored views from a Repug. If you're a libertarian, support the party that actually represents you. I have no interest in a gay Repug or a feminist Repug or an atheist Repug or even an antiwar Repug. I have no respect at all for militaristic civilian Repugs young enough to join the National Guard or old enough to encourage their own kids to risk their asses in armored Humvees. They're content to tap their wireless laptops & sip micro beer while poor & working class people serve as their mercenaries. They see military service in the ranks as a character-building gateway to the middle class. If one is already middle class or higher & sufficiently patriotic in verbal expression, one is excused from fighting the wars one promotes. This attitude is confirmed & encouraged by the president & vice president, two men just as unwilling to spend a year in Vietnam as I was. I won't even argue with Repugs. I have one vote & I use it as I see fit, same as them.

Which doesn't make me exactly a Yellow Dog. I had to declare myself a Democrat to vote in the presidential primary. In recent years, I have abstained from voting for a few Democrats in local races, although my dislike of those candidates could not induce me to vote for their opponents. To vote for a Repug at any level was to approve of George W. Bush. Bush slimed every Repug, & every Repug no matter how honorable - Tom Kean, Colin Powell - was glad to be slimed, glad to associate themselves with bigots & crackpots & the New Manifest Destiny, formerly known as Project for the New American Century - but now they're looking for another phrase for the next phase to be implemented by John McCain.

* I could & should write more about this. Later in his life dad expressed some regrets about not being as involved with me as he had been with my two older brothers, but I was a moody kid not seriously engaged by "organized" activities like Boy Scouts & youth baseball, & we both had forgotten, as if it hadn't counted for anything, that for about three years I often shadowed him around through his local political activities.

First you get some chickens

From Mother Earth News 1971:
Harold Bate, British farmer, thought running his car on chicken manure would be a logical way to beat the high tax on his native England's gasoline prices. And it is. But his countrymen's traditional tolerance of eccentrics has been, in Harold's case, unfortunate. While sympathetic ears and even radio and television time were accorded him in Great Britain's time honored fashion, no attention whatever was paid to the scheme itself.

So it was that Harold Bate and his chicken-powered 1953 Hillman, even at 75 m.p.h., travelled the land virtually unnoticed and — after two or three years of this — a despondent Harold journeyed to Canada and explained his invention to television audiences there.

Mr. Bate produces methane gas by simply sealing four or five gallons of chicken manure in a drum and heating it to a constant 80 degrees with a small oil lamp. The gas is collected in bottles or plastic balloons through an exit valve and stored for use. Bate also heats his farm buildings and runs a five ton truck on the gas. He claims that both car and truck run faster, cleaner and better on the methane which is sucked into the engine by the cylinders and ignited in the usual way.
A gallon of diesel now costs $11 in Great Britain. Especially tough on British truckdrivers. But the Brits don't have our sense of entitlement about driving a Ford Expedition EL on a 100 mile roundtrip daily commute.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I walked to the supermarket at sunset. It was summer weather. I don't think I broke a sweat until the return trip with groceries in the backpack. The ice cream didn't melt. The heat was worse over by the market where there's just street & parking lot & no grass. Strategizing around a few days of hot weather isn't that difficult. It's the week long scorchers Jersey gets in July that make everyone crazy. I would not want to have been on Route 35 when the Morgan Creek drawbridge got stuck open today. A lot of those people were coming back from Sandy Hook & cursing themselves, or being cursed by their families, for not getting on the Parkway at Keyport & paying the damned tolls. There's a little beach at Morgan, & nice views, but the baywater there is of questionable quality.


McKee City NJ

About ten miles from Atlantic City on Black Horse Pike.
The food is good. The prices fair. I cook myself; why go elsewhere? Gertrude.

An ordinary hamburger is fine, I'm no cannibal, Gert.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

One day into a four day heat wave. A thunderstorm popped up outta nowhere shortly after sunset, cooled down the pavement & took some of the oppressiveness out of the air. A sliver of orange moon followed. I was up the street feeding Gina's cats & catching a few innings of the college baseball playoffs. Miami versus Arizona, there's two teams that can't involve me emotionally. Now I'm trying to ventilate my apartment & decide if I need the a/c tonight.

Yahoo claims it improved the mailbox but it only added an unnecessary page with more ads between the start page & the inbox, & it now has that fluttery effect as the crap loads. It also seems to automatically save every e mail I write to the draft folder.

Recent books read:
Gore Vidal, Inventing a Nation; Washington Adams, Jefferson. Hamilton, too. Like taking a seminar with a great lefty history prof. Prepared, cranky, informal, gossipy. After awhile you catch on that he prefers the Virginians, & why.
Linda Greenlaw, The Lobster Chronicles (2003). Former swordfish boat captain gained celebrity in The Perfect Storm (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio played her in the movie). A basically sad book - though not promoted as such - about incompatible desires & goals, like moving in with her parents on an isolate Maine island with a population of around 40, catching lobster for a living, & dreaming, as she approaches 40 years old, of marrying & raising a family there. A really likable woman, lovely writer.
Michael Chabon, Gentlemen of the Road. For some reason I avoided this writer, so fashionable a few years ago. This novel was published serially in NYT Magazine. A fast read, quite silly, a spin on the old theme of two con men with some scruples, but totally inhabiting its own exotic universe circa A.D. 950. , which I enjoyed. He must have gotten big bucks for the movie rights. His original title: Jews With Swords.

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Let's Pretend

Jill writes:
I just got home from getting my hair done. My local gas station, where I paid $30 to fill up a Corolla last night at $3.85/gallon, is today charging $3.99. It is 95 degrees out on June 7 in New Jersey. Southbound traffic on the Garden State Parkway is almost nonexistent, which means that most ancient of Jersey Rites, the day trip "down the shore" has gone the way of the Flagship, Denison Clothiers (where money talks and nobody walks), and Murray the K. No one is talking about vacations. No one is talking about anything but the price of gas. I spent $91 at the A&P on fruit, coffee, cheese, a package of pork chops, a package of Laura's Grass-Fed Lean Ground Beef, a box of panko bread crumbs, some low-fat ice cream bars, and a cheesecake for Mr. Brilliant's birthday. And Sean Hannity is talking about how Barack Obama "will move this country in a direction that is so radical that it will shock your senses."
C'mon let's talk about Spam (always on sale now, they love it in Hawaii), 80% ground beef (the kind that shrivels into nothing as it gives up the grease & water), imitation sandwich slices (the not-cheese cheese), a shrink-wrapped angel food cake from the day old bin for Mr. B. What's wrong with Jello? Let's talk about sacrifice. Let's do it to Support the Troops. Let's pretend something frighteningly radical hasn't already happened in America. Let's pretend it's socialists, fearsome liberals, the secular God-hating atheists, Rev. Wright, & sleeper cells of radical Muslims hiding behind their 99 Cent stores in Jersey City. Let's pretend we weren't trashed by All-American white males, unexotic protestants & Catholics, from places like Texas & Wyoming. Let's pretend the speculative $140 barrel of West Texas crude makes no one obscenely rich. Let's pretend it's all because we're not drilling for more oil in Alaska & for natural gas offshore of Virginia Beach. Let's pretend it's about lesbians kissing in California. Let's pretend the people running GM & Ford & Chrysler are visionaries. Let's pretend Mrs. Obama prefers kaftans & hates whitey. Let's pretend there's no drought in Georgia & no tornadoes in Missouri & New Orleans doing just fine thank you. Let's pretend there aren't 4000 plus dead American soldiers & many thousands more than that maimed in body & mind, they're other folks' sons & daughters anyway. Let's pretend all we need is a president who's sort of like George W. Bush but older & not quite George W. Bush so he can make a few minor adjustments & fix everything & we can drive V8 Silverado pickups as family cars again. Yeah, a president who doesn't know iPod from Izod, & all that interweb shit. Let's pretend our senses aren't already shocked. Baby, let's pretend, if we close our eyes & believe, it might come true.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Cat and Chihuahua blogging

Since I have neither cat nor dog, I'm posting without their permission a photo of Spike & Kitty Kat, residents of Virginia.

A sensible cat is concerned with the quality of its own nap.
A sensible dog is content to have a friend to snuggle with.
It all works out for these two.

I believe that a dog's world is divided into creatures that are dogs & creatures that are not dogs, but a dog's comprehension of what is a dog is quite generous. A human may be a dog, a cat may be a dog. A cat, on the other hand, knows exactly what is not a cat, but chooses to coexist.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Junior Senator from New York

I can understand why Hillary was loathe to end her campaign & might prefer the comparative anonymity of being VP to staying on as junior senator from New Yawk. Politics there is a constant series of media turf wars. She has to fight senior Sen. Schumer for national security & Israel, Mayor Bloomberg for Tragic Accidents & pronouncements on the state of the economy, & Al Sharpton not only owns race issues, he invents them. Harlem Bill lost his "First Black President" title whether or not Obama wins. David Paterson is shaping up as a Governor Pataki type who distractingly sneaks into photo ops behind the right shoulder of the featured politician calling the Important Press Conference. There's too many professional sports teams, celebrity arrests, Fashion Weeks, Fleet Weeks, parades, & firework displays. One old monumental structure or another is always celebrating a centennial anniversary. At this moment, the second guy today just finished climbing up the side of the 52 story New York Times building, but during rush hour, which means few cared if he made it or fell off & many cursed the traffic gridlock. When Hillary's not running for president, Letterman gives her the guest chair only once a year & then only if she's flacking product & he might book her on Stupid Pet Tricks night, & Regis & Kelly don't need her at all. Upstaters just pester her to resurrect dead factories. & her "working class" supporters outside New York snap out of their trances & remember she doesn't really knock back shots & hunt deer.


I'll have to put the a/c in the window tomorrow. Two days of 90 plus is the signal. It's early this year. I have a south-facing second floor apartment & no shade trees so there's no way to keep the walls from heating up. Fortunately, there's good ventilation with an exhaust fan in the other room, & I can usually shut down the a/c after dark, & turn it back on low setting for sleeping on humid nights. My former abode was a studio apt oven with a current-sucking 220 volt wall a/c that couldn't cool off the floor over the open garage underneath.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Where's Weather Pixie? The website has gone down before but always popped back within 48 hours. Whenever I see a blog with a Weather Pixie in the sidebar, I think, oh good, this person is a little bit corny like me.

Jack Black says having two kids is more than twice as hard as having one. That may be so, but I'm pretty sure three children isn't a huge leap in effort over two, or four exponentially more difficult than three. At five you're into something else. I have three siblings. The five + kid homes moved into a different dynamic. Most of the large families in my town were Irish & Italian Catholic. They were definitely louder, usually less neat, furniture was entirely functional, the kitchen was always in use & there was always a big kettle in sight on the stove or in the dish drainer. Most had a large, old, out of tune upright piano in the living or dining room, the top crowded with family photos & nick nacks, & although I wasn't a very good pianist, they usually liked if I made some simple pleasant noises on it. By contrast, I had a friend who was an only child. His parents, best I could tell, had jobs like my parents. But he had his own room with two lawn chairs in it, his personal black & white TV, & a substantial allowance. He was also in DeMolay, a club for boys who think it's cool to be an underage Mason. He was a fairly well-adjusted guy, if a bit too fussy. Kids like that get to organize their space anyway they want it.

Two kids I knew from large families moved as teenagers into their unfinished attics, which were stinking hot in summer & cold & drafty in winter.

Barack Obama

It's a great day. & yet it's difficult to enjoy it. There was a coup d’état in this nation 8 years ago, proving Ben Franklin's long ago warning of what would happen when "the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other." Are we still capable of any other? The Democratic Party has a candidate who says we are. Republicans & their backers & Democratic enablers want to make the current conditions permanent. To do this, they reach first for the most reliable weapon in their arsenal: racial division.

We're going to find out for real between now & November just how pervasive & deeply-seated racism is in America. It's appropriate to compare Barack Obama with Jackie Robinson, for Barack is as gifted a politician as Robinson was a baseball player. & he'll suffer the same opposition & abuse, if perhaps not as directly to his face. In 1947, racist baseball fans demanded that white mediocrities be promoted over the Hall of Fame quality stars of the Negro Leagues. Robinson had to be three times as good, three times as exciting, & three times as thick-skinned as any white player was expected to be. He had to do it alone. In many ballparks, a white person had to be courageous just to express support for Robinson. Fear & danger were everywhere. The stakes are higher now. The people have a chance to begin the process of restoring the Republic.

Barack is more inspiring than Bill Clinton in 1992, when a scandal-wracked governor from a poor state defeated one of most "qualified" men ever to hold the office of President. Running a charismatic, intelligent, upbeat senator against a stumbling, aging, poorly informed, culturally out-of-touch, flip-flopping, pro-war senator, this election should be a gimme for the Democrats. It's not. & we know why. We're going to expose some truths about America in 2008.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bo Diddley

I have a few thoughts on the guy, which I'll collect while I walk over to my polling place. In the meantime, you can watch some Diddley beat videos at Brilliant. The extended live jam on "Mona" & "Who Do You Love" by Quicksilver Messenger Service is one of the few trippy era recordings from San Francisco I really like.

I come to praise Bo Diddley. But Bo always complaineth too much about others using his beat, which he did not invent. I can understand the anger of any pop musician from his era, especially black artists, just as I sympathize with ball players from before free agency. Of course, they deserved to be rich. But the fact of the matter is, from the British Invasion of the 60's on, Bo always got credit for his contributions to rock & roll. They were substantial, if not quite the lofty level of, say, Chuck Berry, who was a peerless genius. The greats from The Stones & The Animals on covered his songs & hailed his influence even as they used the Diddley beat in their originals. This didn't morally oblige Springsteen to add E. McDaniels (Bo's real name) to the songwriter credits of "She's the One." & because of them, Bo worked steady. He was a terrific live act. I've seen him. During some lean years in the 70s in America he resisted playing the European & British circuit & suffered financially. His later recordings had to compete with everyone else's. Rest easy, Bo. You can't take it with you anyway. You won't be forgotten.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Brussel Sprouts

The first time brussel sprouts exploded in the microwave, a lid loosely covered the bowl, in which there was a small amount of water. The second time brussel sprouts exploded, they were about 80% cooked in a small amount of water, no lid, had cooled a little, & they popped when I nuked them another minute. If they've exploded, they're overcooked. So I took what remained in the bowl, blended the sprouts with a cup of V8 & a splash of Worcestershire.

It was a lovely evening for a walk to the library. back under a cloudless sky, low humidity, changing colors from twilight to dusk, deeper & deeper blues.

End It tomorrow

It would be swell if the Democratic presidential primary campaign ends tomorrow. But Obama needs Hillary Clinton to concede. It won't be enough to claim victory. This can't go on any longer. In a NYT op ed yesterday, Anna Holmes suggested that Hillary deliver a major speech, outide the context of the campaign, addressing sexism:
she could speak from a place of pride and passion, pride for how far she and other women have come; passion for how far we have to go, including the sad fact that sexism is so pervasive as to be almost invisible and so accepted that to mention it is to risk being accused of hypersensitivity.

She could talk openly about the tug of war between the personal and the political, between the armor women wear in public and what they expose in private. Lastly, she could recognize the occasion for what it is: an opportunity to heal the rifts between women in the Democratic Party and to bring new female voters into the fold.

The Repugs will attempt to make much of a small fringe of women who, with Hillary Clinton defeated, say that John McCain is preferable to Barack Obama. They defy rationality. I never framed the primary as a contest between a black man & white woman (except as an awareness that I was making that choice regardless of why I made it), but a lot of people did; white voters, black voters, white women, black women, & media. I was unable to separate Hillary from Bill, & that could be seen as a gender issue. I've been convinced for some time that Hillary Clinton rolled up big margins in certain demographics because she's Bill Clinton's wife, most recently in Puerto Rico. Week after week, her campaign reminded me of Bill Clinton, with its staff, its big name supporters, & its tactics. Didn't matter that Bill was moved out of the national spotlight & sent off to speak to small audiences in small towns. I might have viewed Hillary in an entirely different light without Bill. I admit it, I voted against Bill Clinton living in the White House. For me, that was voting for change. There's not much in Barack's platform that I prefer to Hillary's. She's just as liberal, maybe even more liberal. I like my liberalism mixed with old-fashioned populism & delivered with some kick ass partisanship, John Edwards style. I know the Clinton way & I don't trust it. I don't know how the Obama way, with all the power of positive mantras, could be less effective. It might work, it might not. Hillary's campaign was Democratic, Barack's appeal more democratic. I went with Barack.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Fire at Universal Studios

From Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood blog:
It looks like more was damaged or destroyed in today's Universal Studios fire than anyone previously thought. I've learned that Universal Music, which is a completely separate company and owned by Vivendi (which owns 20% of NBC Universal), rents space in the huge video vault housed on the studio lot. But one source tells me that, as a consequence, inside the video vault that was billowing thick black smoke were 1000's of original Decca, MCA, ABC recording masters from the last century including a wide range of music from Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters to Judy Garland and The Carpenters. "This is a tremendous loss in music history. A very sad day indeed. It's too bad they saved the videos that they have backups on instead of the master recordings in which they do not, although they may not have had a choice since the fire had already engulfed much of the music side of the vault," a source just told me. Universal Studios can't confirm what has been damaged or destroyed music-wise at this point because it doesn't yet know what exactly was housed in the storage rented to Universal Music.


Paterson NJ

Dave Stern and Nat Stark Golf and Luncheonette
In the 1920's. Restaurant, indoor miniature golf course & driving range,
every town could use this kind of establishment.

click the picture to enlarge

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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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