Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beyond the realm of what

Not only will I vote for Mitt if he adopts "Journey to the Center of the Mind" as a campaign song & gets The Nuge* to play it at the Convention, I'll encourage all my commie friends to do the same.

* Ted Nugent plays the magnificent lead guitar solos. He claims he wasn't aware this song alluded to a psychedelic drug experience. No reason to doubt Ted's drug-free lifestyle (he gets high on bloodlust), but it does seem a tad naive for that legendary late-Sixties era in the Detroit rock scene. The Amboy Dukes were a terrific band.  Note The Nuge's  conservative attire & undemonstrative movements, yet he still draws our attention. He didn't let the band pass this opportunity  off  with a sloppy lip-synch job.   

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Chikin served with a side of hate & bigotry

Had Domino's Pizza  made a decent product when Tom Monaghan owned it, I would've stopped patronizing the company when I found out Monaghan had extreme religious views & backed them financially. Monaghan sold his company to Bain.

The owners of Chick-fil-A oppose more than marriage equality; they're against every extension of rights to LGBT. Every single one. Rights to family status in hospital visitation by gay & lesbian partners? Yep, that one too.  Cruelty. They would if they could refuse to hire LGBT & non-Christians. I'm not exaggerating.   Geezer founder S. Truett  Cathy & his sons Dan   & Donald “Bubba” back up their beliefs with their fortunes.

It's unfortunate that a few individual Chick-fil-A franchisees here & there support LGBT rights & place signs to that effect in their stores.  But they are "operators" not "owners," sending  a lion's share of their profits to the home office.   Chick-fil-A owns the restaurant & pays the rent. Sorry, folks, you don't get a bye.

The Chick-fil-A slogan is "Eat mor chikin," a plea made by anxious cows. Chick-fil-A unleashes its corporate lawyers on anyone, any business using the two words "Eat more" for promotion. Doesn't have to be "Eat mor."  Does seem a stretch for trademark infringment.  Common sense tells us "mor" & "chikin" are the trademark words.  Even Hershey won't fight  Chick-fil-A  to offer the "Eat-More" bar now sold only by Hershey Canada, I've had one, it's a very good  candy bar,  would sell well in the United States.

One guy is standing up to Chick-fil-A,  a small time Vermont entrepreneur named Bo Muller-Moore.  Bo  home manufactures an "Eat more kale" tee shirt, which he sells online & at flea markets.  Hardly anyone outside of Vermont had heard of him until he received a cease-&-desist letter from Chick-fil-A. Bo refused to cease & desist.  The international exposure of Chick-fil-A's owners as homobigots  also brought Bo's battle into the spotlight.

Government has no right to deny Chick-fil-A the right to open & operate restaurants. It can make certain the restaurants are up to codes & obeying  legal hiring practices. But where Chick-fil-A operates restaurants inside private colleges & other institutions, it certainly can be shown the exit when the current contract ends. I doubt the one at New York University in Greenwich Village  will survive.

If you're  "Christian" like Sarah & Todd Palin, be aware that enthusiastically supporting Chick-fil-A because of the owners' anti-LGBT activism goes well beyond what your literal reading of scripture requires. If you think LGBT ought to be stripped of all their civil rights & driven back into the closet,  then "Eat mor chikin" served with a side of hate & bigotry.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keyport NJ

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Aurora massacre threw me off my writing game (so far as I have one) this week. No politics. Didn't feel witty. Wasn't worked up about the Olympics coming. Began & abandoned blog posts on such scintillating topics as "Why can't I enjoy Bartok's six string quartets?" Two 1/2 hour power outage last night in fine weather; PSE&G automated message when I called estimated an 11 am restoration of power, which would have put at risk a fridge full of food - hundreds of fridges filled with food in the small affected area, people who could hardly afford it. Put me in a terrible mood, sitting in the dark listening to Arizona kick the Mets butts over battery radio, knowing the power was on one block away. It came on about 1 am. The power restoration set off my building's clanging fire alarm, took 20 minutes to shut that thing off. The power failure shut down my building's emergency exit lights.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sally Ride

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dial tone

The older I get, the more annoying nostalgia becomes. People express nostalgia for every freakin' thing that isn't around anymore. Crappy songs. Ugly hairstyles. Uncomfortable clothing.  They're feeling sentiment for an era when they were younger. What's nostalgic about a rotary dial phone? Not for the era, but for the machine itself? Sure, they're cool-looking. It's a classic, functional design.  I thought the introduction of touch tone was great. I remember the hassle of dialing long distance. If you dialed too fast your finger slipped out. If you dialed too aggressively you pulled the phone off the desk & it fell on the floor. The phone company was a monopoly. You rented phones from your division of Bell Telephone  or a small regional company that somehow escaped Ma Bell's  grasping tentacles.  Every extension phone was counted & charged for. I don't miss dial tone phones.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shark River NJ

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora Theater Massacre

I see no rationale for owning an AR 15 rifle,* unless it serves as pornography & arouses the owner sexually. Gun rights defenders say no rationale is needed, the right to own exists, end of argument. Accused mass murderer Holmes provides a tragically compelling reason for reinstating a ban on the AR 15, but beyond that, & maybe that he allegedly bought 6000 rounds of ammo through Amazon, he's not a good argument for gun control. Holmes could have armed himself with legit hunting weapons & shot people all night long. He was going people-hunting & he would find a way to do it even it if required constructing homemade hand grenades. There's little defense against an insane individual we don't know is insane.

Gun culture is scary. You could easily find videos on You Tube of American children wearing camouflage fatigues  &  firing sophisticated weapons, including machine guns, urged on by their parents. Nicholas Krisfof wrote today:
If it's politically impossible to curb even assault rifles, then maybe at least we can adopt a public health approach to guns, to minimize the harm. That could include limiting gun purchases to 1/month, making serial numbers harder to erase, banning oversize magazines, more thorough safety checks, a mechanism to show whether bullet is in chamber, etc. This public safety approach has been very successful in reducing both auto fatalities and drunken driving deaths. Isn't it worth trying with guns as well?
This would seem logical. It would do something - not enough - to curb traffic in illegal guns into cities, the  most serious gun control problem in America. It isn't the crazy mass murderers nobody can predict but the criminals, gang bangers, drug dealers, violent repeat offenders the police do know. The bad guys outgun the cops. We need ways of tracking guns from the sale point, which include open air gun markets in the South & unethical, greedy gun dealers.  Advocate these common sense steps  &  the gun rights people scream.  Remember, they chafe under existing motor vehicle laws; can't drive their dirt bikes &  lawn tractors on  public highways. There's a pro-gun mindset that believes any weapon should be legal. Many you might think aren't legal,  are, in some states, although they may require special, difficult federal licensing.

Doesn't seem to  bother pro-gun folks that government records cell phone conversations, tracks personal internet use & searches blogs & chat rooms for key words that might indicate anti-American feelings;  the massive increase in video camera survelliance, government & private, not to mention what hundreds of satellites above us  see & hear.   Regarding those aspects of Homeland Security they say, "Nothing to worry about if you're a patriotic American."

As I've written before, the National Security State doesn't care about their stinkin' guns. No threat.  Go ahead, believe all that "well-armed militia" bullshit, like you're the Minutemen & you're gonna defend your liberty shooting at the enemy from behind trees & rocks, we don't care. We want you, we got you. You gave us the power.    Only  local  law enforcement, local government, good people under siege in their own neighborhoods care.

* Holmes had a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 .223 semi-automatic rifle, described as a "tactical" firearm.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mitt's Georgia O'Keefe

"Jack-in-the-Pulpit IV." My Mitt's art gallery series is mildly amusing, but pointed in its one point. A couple of conservatives I know take the bait. Why, I don't know.   They react like I'm terribly unfair.  I'm not taking words out of context or manipulating statistics.  Something effective here.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

There are always hubristic people whose reasons for wanting to be President of the United States seem to be only that they ought to be President. Ted Kennedy is the most notable of these people. Few actually get past the primary process & on to the November ballot. This year one will. We call him Mitt. Personally, I think he's a sociopath. I believe he was the kind of kid who would steal a candy bar from a store even though he could afford it, & when caught say he forgot about it, & by saying he forgot make that the "truth" of the matter, that he did not really intend to steal, by golly honest. Most of us would blush & stutter, guilty as charged. As an adult he does it over & over & over.

It's not just political.  I flat out detest Mitt Romney.  He's a compulsive liar. He appears to have zilch interest  in the arts.   The contrast with his father George is stark & troubling. I even think he betrays some good Mormon values  rooted in 19th Century American idealism.

I wrote, "In my high school Mitt couldn't have gotten himself elected president of anything except the Jerk Club."

My step-brother, good & intelligent man I respect, commented, "you don't know that. In real life he might have been your best friend."

I commented back, "That's an impossible statement. Most of my friends wanted to get into my parents' liquor cabinet."

In reality, Mitt never would have attended our high school (my step-brother, who wasn't that at the time, was a year behind me). Mitt was too rich even to attend Pingry, the nearby expensive private prep school. My step-brother may also not remember home basketball games against Pingry, which I recall as screaming exercises in adolescent class warfare, not only by the hooting crowd, a significant portion with fathers working on auto assembly lines (earning a good buck too in those salad days for the UAW), but also by our basketball team, using jabbing elbows & insults. It would've been crazier if Pingry had a wrestling team, our school's speciality. There wasn't a whole lot of empathy for RICH FUCKING  BOSSES.

I did have one fairly affluent preppy friend I'd known since kindergarten. Being an only child pushed him up a few economic steps. Large families were more the norm in our  town in that era.. But one night he jumped into our backyard  circular  pool  fully-clothed while singing "Kicks" by Paul Revere & the Raiders at the top of his lungs. Now he's a successful beer distributor in the midwest.

My step-brother at age 20 rode a big motorcycle & looked like an outlaw Abe Lincoln.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kitty Wells, The Original Honky Tonk Angel

 My WFMU DJ friend, singer & songwriter Laura Cantrell, writes:
She managed to transform those old cheating and heart songs into soul music by resisting the overplay of emotion; her drama remains all pent up in that voice, painfully curtailed, both sentimental and stoic like the country folks who were her rural audience. 
Both Kitty & Laura were born & raised in Nashville, city girls.   Which meant Kitty, like country comedian Minnie Pearl (who attended a Nashville finishing school for women), probably had to push some urban sophistication into the background.  With Laura, it's enough that you know you're in the presence of a Tennessee woman, with all it implies musically.  A quality of Laura's singing that makes you lean toward the bandstand rather than away from it certainly derives from Kitty Wells. In fact, Laura does a wonderful version of this very song.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

How I became good friends with a 21 year old lesbian

95° today. 100 tomorrow. There's a brief period just after sunset when one can walk outside without major discomfort. After sunset the humidity shoots up rather quickly & the cool down is slow. In the last hour here the temp went up from 88 to 90 according to the official reading. It can be as yucky at midnight as at noon.

I've become less fond of summer as I've gotten older. I didn't like the heat as a kid, especially at night in bed trying to fall asleep,  the ineffective swiveling fan wafting three seconds of warm breeze every pass in my direction. Summers improved when we got a four foot deep circular pool.

In my forties, I started spending more time near open bodies of water, Arthur Kill  Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook,  or sitting in bars, or just staying in my air-conditioned apt - although the built-in 220V unit was probably more expensive to run per hour than driving an air-conditioned car.

My options became very limited without a car. The problems there began whenever I had to get to my job at Pearl Arts Supply store when my car was in the shop, which it was too often. My work hours did not correspond with a limited  schedule of shuttle buses from the Metropark train station, a six minute  trip from my station in Rahway, a short walk from my apt. So I had to take a long, wandering local bus, which ran on the hour, to Woodbridge Mall. That trip took 45 minutes. My car commute was 10-15.  Then I had to walk from one end of the mall to the other, through a dept store, out the door, across acres of parking lot,  over a hill, & across U.S. Route at a notoriously dangerous intersection where no driver really looked out for pedestrians, then across another lot to the Pearl store. This walk was another 15-20 minutes.  This trip was pure wasted misery on hot summer day. Sometimes the bus a/c was broken. In no way was it a character builder, like the elaborate bus trips  & long walks I had to take sometimes  at age 20 to get to my job in a great record store when my lousy car then was busted.  What I learned there later qualified me for a radio show at WFMU. After work at Pearl, at either 6:30 or 9 pm, I could usually get a co-worker to drop me off at the Mall, or better the Metropark Station, or best of all,  at 9, occasionally one of a couple of college student part-timers who really liked me would drive me all the way home & we'd pick up a pizza & six pack on the way. That's  how I became good friends with a 21 year old lesbian when I was 46.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Flemington NJ

Hill Top Inn

When I was kid, before the interstates & when most numbered highways in rural & vacation regions of Jersey   were two laners, there were lots of places like this. Instead of  a bar many  had ice cream stands or gift shops. But they might as well have been mirages. My dad was not the kind of guy who would stop, pull a wad of singles out of his pocket & say, "Since  we're stuck in this traffic jam, go get yourself some ice cream, kids."  

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Electric Scooter

This presidential election will be decided by a few hundred thousand white suburban women in Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio & Florida. If Mitt starts reminding them of their first husbands, he's a goner. Just a thought.

 Anyway, this young guy whizzed by me earlier on a small electric motor scooter. It was pretty nice, quiet,  sit down model, about 15 mph, even had a tail light. Functional. Looked sturdy enough.  But it was totally illegal. There's no way it could be brought up to legal standard.  The scooter & moped laws here are very strict:  You need a legal moped, you need registration, you need insurance,  you need a helmet, you have to pass a  written test & road test if you don't have a driver license.  No electric skateboards or razor scooters. Even those slow electric toy cars you see children driving on the sidewalk as their parents walk behind are technically illegal. A legal scooter without pedals requires a motorcycle license.

The guy didn't reason through why there aren't hundreds of electric scooters like his on the streets here. Maybe he's stupid enough to think it was his original idea.  Or  the dealer sold him lies.  One of three things will happen to him soon. He'll be in an accident. The scooter will break & either no one can repair it or repairs will cost as much as he paid for it. Most likely the police will just stop him & confiscate it. They could cite him for a half-dozen violations, if not more, some quite serious,  but probably won't. They'll insinuate  they will nail him if he tries to retrieve it from police custody. The police have a large garage somewhere filled with various illegal motorized vehicles, from electric skateboards to funky homemade gasoline engine mopeds like a guy in my building had for about a week.  Unlike unclaimed bicycles they can't auction them off to the general public.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Today  is the first time in the 2012 campaign that I thought Mitt Romney has a really serious problem, one that's going to be very difficult to overcome. Americans generally  don't have automatic gripes with ultra-wealthy people.  I wish we did but we don't.  But having given  Mitt an initial pass on being ultra-wealthy; his stiffness, his haircut, his obvious unfamiliarity with  real middle class life, his straight-laced Mormon dorkiness, Americans are now curious about what kind of rich guy he is. Does he take responsibility for the actions of his business, Bain? Why is he copping out on two specific years of owning the business? What happened during those years? Is it anything that'll make him look bad?  Surely he understands the meaning of "The buck stops here." Has he paid his fair share of taxes? Is he a  rich guy with some integrity or is he hiding something? America ought to pay more attention to the rich guys behind Romney; so much wealthier than him that they could buy the man many times over. One of them vows to spend $100 million of a personal fortune  if necessary to get Mitt elected.  What would be worth spending a hundred-million for if it wouldn't somehow return much more than a hundred-million? That won't be a campaign issue, unfortunately.  I'll settle for the dozen mystery years of Romney's unreleased  tax returns. Maybe Senator Harry Reid is talking through his butt when he claims Romney paid no taxes during those years. How would he know?   But if it's no big deal (unlike Obama's birth certificate), let's see them.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I would vote for anyone that I think could better the USA in a way that doesn't violate the constitutional rights of others. They have to have a healthy respect for American business cause that's where most of us make our living
I doubt the person who posted this comment on my FB page has ever voted for a Democrat. Putting Nixon aside as the uniquely demonic personality he was, the first time I seriously  thought about  "constitutional rights" in comparing candidates at any level was 2000, & not so much on account of George W. Bush  as for the evil troika of Cheney, Rumsfeld & Rove standing behind him.

Yo, Justice John Roberts doesn't believe the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

A lot of people on the right  seem to believe the Constitution is  wonderfully, simply self-explanatory.  If that were the case, we could dispense with a system of Federal courts, not require lawyers to study the Constitution,  bring  our disputes to Madam Marie's Temple of Knowledge, & "stand your ground" with a surface to surface missile.  James Madison, Alexander Hamilton & John  Jay would not have considered it necessary to write the expository  Federalist Papers. 

Having a  Constitutional right to believe what one wants about Constitutional rights doesn't mean those beliefs are true or that one has the right to act on them.  Simpletons think it's 1789  & their puny weapons can protect them from the government. In 1789, when the government had pretty much  the same weapons as the people, those weapons were no protection.  The National Security State loves gun rights -  they  distract us from the really effective weapons - high tech surveillance,  government agencies hidden within agencies, secret American funded  prisons outside the reach  of American jurisprudence.

President Obama - the so-called "leftist" in this election - inherited the Cheney / Rumsfeld Homeland Security construction (which is like an iceberg - we can't see 80% of it),   decided it would come in handy, & didn't do anything to dismantle it as he had promised he would. We're supposed to believe Mitt Romney is even more concerned with the integrity of our privacy? As far as he's concerned, the  great assault on our freedom is  the individual health insurance mandate he himself endorsed in Massachusetts.

The Constitution was a huge  annoyance to my two favorite presidents, Lincoln & Franklin Roosevelt, & both were always looking for ways to circumvent it. Lincoln was faced with an entire treasonous region of the USA claiming the Constitution wasn't an enforceable contract.  Roosevelt understood that economic hopelessness was fueling antidemocratic  far left & far right radical movements capable of installing themselves through democratic processes. No such threat to the existence of the United States was shown to exist after the 9/11 attacks. I must admit to being a bit  embarrassed by our fearful reaction, given what Great Britain had endured in WWII, & through decades of I.R.A. terrorist bombings.  But it was an opportunity to place the United States in a state of permanent undeclared war against various enemies - as many as possible -  the National Security State, which we came so close to having in the 1950's.  We had a president then who had faced down the armies of Hitler  as a commander of our armed forces & was innately suspicious of  ideological fervor & overreaction, so the Cheneys & Rumsfelds of his time couldn't get him entirely with the program.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A few words from Mitt O'Hara

Here's a delusional statement if there ever was one:
"I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president." 
Mitt Romney in speech to the NAACP
He spent the entire primary campaign disassociating himself from the one really good, innovative  thing he tried to do  as Governor of Massachusetts; get everyone in his state on to a  health insurance plan & eliminate certain  unjust policies by health insurance providers.  He was in too big a hurry to run for president in 2008 to stick around for a second term & work out the kinks.  O.K., so he has some second thoughts about what he did.  But this doesn't lead him to suggest an improved path to providing health care for all.

It's difficult enough to know what is in the heart of someone we love, someone who shows constancy in opinions & actions. Romney has tried to appeal (without a whole lotta success) to the worst  factions in the Repug party base. They still don't like or trust him. Getting them out to vote on Election Day is a job Mitt is assigning to  superpacs funded by ultraright billionaires & not directly connected to his campaign  while he plays the aggrieved, misunderstood rich white guy for the NAACP, for a start. Of course they aren't buying it. He's hardly the first rich white guy to play the role for them. They've been hearing this shit from the man in the Big House since slavery days. Change the wording around a bit it could be something spoken by Scarlet O'Hara's father.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Michel Magne - Amapola

From the album "Tropical Fantasy" (1962).

The arrangements on this wonderfully strange album alternate between bird crazy & rhythmic hysteria. Magne became a prominent French film composer.

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Monday, July 09, 2012

The National Security State

We think we are speaking freely or in confidence, but our words are heard & recorded. We think we have mobility, but our movements are observed. We think we have economic opportunity, but our choices are limited, manipulated & channeled. We think that because we have so many sources of information we have access to the truth. Welcome to the National Security State. It is  not the same as the welfare state. The National Security State is the gradual, surreptitious, skillful substitution of illusion for reality. It uses a favorite word of mine, "fascinate," in the old definition: to transfix or deprive of the power of resistance. Except for some libertarians, resistance on the right has virtually collapsed. Not that they ever did resist it much.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Budd Lake NJ

The Swan Dive

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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Mitt Romney in France

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Friday, July 06, 2012


 A Village Voice Reader (1962)
Great Irish Short Stories, edited by Vivien Mercier
Out of sight Leonard, Elmore, =
Betrayers : a "nameless detective" mystery Pronzini, Bill.
My New York, Pete Hamill
The last king of Texas Riordan, Rick.
Thereby hangs a tail : a Chet and Bernie mystery Quinn, Spencer.
The dog who knew too much Quinn, Spencer.
The astounding, the amazing, and the unknown Malmont, Paul.
Fun House : A John Ceepak Mystery Grabenstein, Chris
The gods of Gotham Faye, Lyndsay.
All I Did Was Shoot My Man : A Leonid Mcgill Mystery Mosley, Walter
Raylan Leonard, Elmore,
Taken Crais, Robert.

Trail of the Spellmans : document #5 Lutz, Lisa.
LaBrava Leonard, Elmore,
Explosive Eighteen, Evanovich
The Drop, Michael Connelly (Bosch 2011)
Boca Mournings Forman, Steven M.
God doesn't shoot craps : a divine comedy of dice, Armstrong, Richard,
Beat the reaper : a novel Bazell, Josh.
J.D. Salinger: A Life, Kenneth Slawenski
Boca Daze. Steven M Forman 2010
Crazybone, Bill Pronzini 2000
Wild Thing, Josh Bazell   2011

The ragtime fool Karp, Larry.
Outwitting Trolls : A Brady Coyne Novel Tapply, William G.
Cop out Dunlap, Susan.

Shimmer, Norman, Hilary.
The risk of infidelity index : a Vincent Calvino novel, Moore, Christopher G
The flaming luau of death : a Madeline Bean novel. Farmer, Jerrilyn.

City of whispers   Muller, Marcia.
You suck : a love story   Moore, Christopher, =

Jersey law Liebman, Ronald S.
Pronto Leonard, Elmore,
Dog on it : a Chet and Bernie mystery Quinn, Spencer.
Pale kings and princes : a Spenser novel Parker, Robert B., =
Life: Keith Richards
Wanna get lucky? Coonts, Deborah.
L. A. mental : a thriller McMahon, Neil.
A few minutes past midnight Kaminsky, Stuart M.
Indemnity only : a novel Paretsky, Sara.
Lucky stiff Coonts, Deborah.
A whisper to the living Kaminsky, Stuart M.
A fatal glass of beer Kaminsky, Stuart M.
Minor in Possession Jance, J.A.
True grit; a novel Portis, Charles.

A trouble of fools Barnes, Linda.
Shakey : Neil Young's biography McDonough, Jimmy.
Indemnity only : a novel Paretsky, Sara.
The Big Bounce Leonard, Elmore
Feelers Wiprud, Brian M.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

Good riddance, Firefox

Once the most basic & trustworthy of browsers, the new version looked liked it was modeled on Internet Explorer circa Windows 2000. Even worse, it wouldn't enable my security software plug-in on Google search.  The plug-in showed green stars for safe websites,  red stars for potentially dangerous websites, & if I stumbled into a website with a trojan, the software threw up a warning sign & stopped me. Only once did it fail me, when a trojan was hidden in a photo link on a reputable news site, some idiot's oversight. But web travels take me to many music blogs, I have to be careful because some of these "blogs" are just traps for the unwary, usually people looking for free downloads of hit songs they could buy legally for $1.29, which doesn't interest me.  Without my security software monitoring a search, I picked up a virus that hacked my e mail. You may have received an e mail from me with no subject heading. If you did I apologize profusely. I never send e mails with no subject heading or just a re: & blank.  I think it's fixed now,  after  a password change & two different security scans, neither of which turned up anything. That was it for Firefox. Gone. They ruined a good thing.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The 4th of July

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Andy Griffith

Yes we'll be reminded of "A Face in the Crowd," & his several villainous parts in made for TV movies or as the cunning,  Harvard-educated "country lawyer" Matlock, which ran for 9 seasons.

 The Andy Griffith Show straddled my puberty,.

I'll have more to say about this,
but the Ambien is kicking in, 

Monday, July 02, 2012

What don't I like about this photograph? Popular mayor (he's a good man) up for reelection in November, working the crowd at the large Colombian parade.

The sign with the Official Seal of the City of Elizabeth. Excuse me, but since when does the city officially designate ethnic districts? Is there a sign over by the Jewish Education Center complex saying "Welcome to the Jewish District"? That Jewish community has roots going  back to 1880. I appreciate living near them. Wish someone would open a falafel stand.   Our famous Italian neighborhood, "Peterstown," known locally as "The Burg," doesn't to my knowledge have signs; it's a neighborhood, not a district.  It doesn't even have a predominantly Italian population anymore, just a lot of  Italian restaurants, cafes & meat markets. Ethnic neighborhoods are organic, they change. Elizabeth no longer has an Irish, a Polish, a German neighborhood. In the 1950's, 60's, 70's there were enough Russian Orthodox  to build a beautiful new church around the corner & pay for it. Where are they now? What in this city constitutes an "African-American District"? The Colombians are welcome to promote their three blocks of Morris Ave. businesses through their merchant associations. Go ahead, put up signs on your properties. Have parades & festivals. But I'll tell you this; I don't live in a "Colombian District" authorized by  city hall. Where are the borders? Where's your churches,  your social clubs? Most of the Colombian businesses here  are less than a decade old, many less than five. The new school on Morris. Ave.  is named for a great Puerto Rican educational reformer. That clock tower in the photo is attached to a restored train station housing a fine Italian food establishment,  Michelino's.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Long Branch NJ

Long Branch Amusement Pier & boardwalk

It appears to be in decline in the postcard.  Eventually the boardwalk & most of the pier were destroyed in 1987 by a "suspicious" fire. Pier & boardwalk fires are always "suspicious".
In a terrible abuse of eminent domain, the government of Long Branch condemned practically every house within two blocks of the waterfront for the construction of  condos. Many of the homes had  passed through three generations of family. Most took the money & went, but a handful of home owners struggled on for years through the courts, eventually winning a victory that may have been Pyrrhic. I don't know; I haven't to the town in years. Nothing remaining there to interest me.

It was not unusual in the Sixties & Seventies to boardwalk hop from Long Branch to Asbury Park to Point Pleasant Beach to Seaside Heights. Whether or not you stopped off at a boardwalk depended on  how fast & how close you  could find a parking place on the street.  But if you made it all the way to  Seaside Heights you always parked, no matter how distant. 

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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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