Saturday, April 05, 2014

Existing in New York City: Progress Equals Kowtowing to the Rich

The Rich Are Immune Period
Wake up, America.  The wealthy are ruling us all.  Just think, the wicked and evil right-wing nutjob Koch Bros. are worth over 100 billion dollars.  The Walton Family together are worth 100 billion dollars from selling cheap child-produced Chinese goods to the millions of Americans (most in poverty) who flock to their giant stores every day of the week.  On and on I could go telling you of one, two, three, four, five, six people who by controlling billions upon billions of close-to tax-free dollars rule us without fear of reprisal (you think the Koch (Cock) Bros. pay the same rate of taxes you pay?  Hell no, folks.  They take advantage of loopholes, like putting billions of their dollars into tax-free non-profit funds they use for trying to put their right-wing lackeys (most of whom would sell their own mothers down the river for a fistful of Koch dollars) in office).  I mean, think of the influence you'd peddle if you were worth 100 billion dollars.  And why are we so on our knees kissing these rich assholes' assholes in a rather God-like respect?  Because we do worship (as our true God in this country) MONEY!

I watch a lot of Christian television (and, by the bye, the Supreme(ly dumb) Court (of jesters) has declared that Christian television is the same as a church so they are considered non-profits, which means they don't have to pay taxes) and show after show after show what they consistently are leading up to is peddling their "Jesus" products to the true believers at the end of their shows.  After a dumbass idiot Christian doctor on one of my favorite Jesus-snake-oil peddlers's (Sid Roth) shows claims he was an atheist until one night he had a dream where he went to heaven and met Jesus, blah, blah, blah, and at the end of the show, you bet, Sid starts peddling this weirdo doctor's autobiography.  In the end, God and Jesus both become moneymakers to the tune of millions of dollars a year for these creepy hucksters who live on estates in mansions, their mansions surrounded by the mansions of their worthless children, all of them driving Mercedes and having a fleet of jet planes with runways on their estates, having fleets of trucks to haul their television equipment around the country where the weak-minded pile into huge auditoriums to listen to the drivel these side-of-the-mouth louses spew forth, while though it's free to get into these "conventions" you are harassed to buy the hucksters' cds, dvds, books, special Bibles, etc., and then the 5-gallon galvanized buckets are passed around amongst these fools with their metal mouths wide-open like hungry baby birds waiting for these poor simpletons to throw in some good solid dollars and all of these God's-business transactions are either tax free or the all-righteous preachers own their own books and DVDs, etc., so that all that money goes directly to them and certainly not to God.  I ask myself when I watch these tax-dodging parasites why does their God need money?  It's not their God (Jehovah, the Jewish God) who needs the money, it's THEM, they need the money to support their arrogant and gaudy lifestyles.

When I was a kid and was forced to go to a Protestant church every Sunday morning/Sunday night, Monday night youth meetings, Wednesday night prayer meetings, and Friday night Bible studies, I soon figured out that why I had to sit and endure this boring bullshit was simply so that at the end of his or her preaching babble I was expected to put a little in the pot and I sadly watched my poor parents (true believers) put $20 in the Sunday morning collection plate and then put more money into several missionary scams, etc.  God, like the Waltons and the Kochs, is a Capitalist!

And Capitalism, folks, is what this country is all about.  And Capitalism is a system of profits.  And the way to more and more profits is through CHEAP LABOR!  And Republicans, once the party of good ol' Honest Abe Lincoln, since the Industrial Revolution brought outright Capitalism to this country has been on the side of the wealthy against the liberal governments, against unions, against workers, against savings by the lower classes, and against government "entitlements" (as they falsely call Social Security, which they have hated since ol' aristocrat Franklin D. Roosevelt forced it on them during the Great Depression (caused by Wall Street speculators and marginal stock buying, which still goes on today)).

As long as our God is MONEY, our religion is Capitalism.

To show you the impunity rich folks are accorded, a DuPont in Delaware (and the DuPonts own Delaware lock, stock, and barrel (and that includes Vice-President Joe "DuPont Asskisser" Biden)) who had sex with his 3-year-old daughter ("Daddy's a DuPont, sweetie, so let Daddy pull your little panties down and....") did not have to serve any jail time, the judge ruling that prison would have been too hard for a DuPont.

Also, that scumbag crook, Charles Keating, just died.  This is a worthless piece of crap who bilked millions of dollars out of his customers to his American Continental Co. and his Lincoln Savings and Loan and who was caught red-handed by the Glass-Spiegel regulators.  In spite of the seriousness of his crime, Little Catholic Charlie (a crusader against pornography...probably because he was a masturbator who loved porno) only got a 4-year sentence, which he was out of in no time, convicted again for further bond crimes but the judge gave him 4-years again but this time said this 4-years was suspended because Catholic Charlie had already served the sentence with his first 4-years.  Charlie just died a very rich man in spite of his crimes.  Charlie claimed his banks went bankrupt due to the federal regulators.  Poor bastard.  He still lived to be 90-years-old.  The rich get to live forever.

for The Daily Growler

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Existing in New York City: Spring Forward While the World Spins Backwards

Say Goodbye to: Eddie Lawrence, the Old Philosopher; when he was on, he was one funny dude; he was also an author, playwright, actor, and kiddie show host.  Eddie Lawrence, 95, American actor, comedian and singer.

Say Goodbye to: Al Harewood, from Brooklyn, Al's the drummer on one of the greatest albums ever made, Grant Green's Idle Moments. Al Harewood, 90, American jazz drummer.

Looking for Robin's Red Breasts
I'm up late on the first day of spring watching the Louisville Cardinals almost get their asses kicked by the Manhattan Jaspers.  Now that that hath passed, I'm now peering into my crystal ball (actually it's an old Magic 8-Ball...Q: Will there be a World War 3?  A: Without a Doubt) and seeing an ugly and very inky (the Magic 8-Ball is full of ink) future, not for me, but for the world as a whole mess.  Those who know me know I worship Chaos as our true God and not the Jewish version that the idiot Christians love so heartily.  Chaos is at least scientifically predictable and Chaos would never have only begotten sons miraculously birthed without fucking and spilling his (I assume Chaos is male) seed in some young Jewish damsel in a field between her house and the Roman tavern in which Hemingway claimed Mother Mary worked to make ends meet.  I mean, come on, old Joe the Carpenter was 75 years old when his young bride was knocked up by Yaweh and except for an occasional building of a chair or a lean-to shed for some Nazareth ghetto neighbor, how much carpentry was he capable of producing?

Watching the idiot news, I'm wondering, what right do We the People of the USA have messing in that mess in the Ukraine?  Why do we stick our fucking noses in other people's business?  And John "Ketchup Sucking" Kerry, what a fucking idiot, and the Veep, Joe "Nose Up the Duponts' Asses" Biden are both in Europe making threats against Russia while back home (though he's on his way to Europe, too), President Obama is threatening "sanctions" against Russia.  Idiots!  What goes on in Russia and the Ukraine is none of our business unless they're directly attacking our borders.  Just like Georgia the nation was none of our business while the Republican racist and anti-human legislations of our backward State of Georgia are our business and that's what we should be dealing with instead of gallivanting all over the world trying to start conflicts.

Yes, of course I know we are a military state dependent on a military economy, so hell yes we want wars, more wars, and constant rumors of potential wars.  We love war.  We love killing.  We love massacres.  We love killing in multiples of millions.  We love our weapons.  We love our nuclear weapons and oh how badly our sick sociopathic military leaders want to use them.

War is good even if it's just a Cold War.

In the Meantime
A lawyer in White Plains, New York, I'm hearing this spring morning on Democracy Now has uncovered a manual issued by the extremely gang of unfettered crooks at Wells Fargo Bank (the largest mortgage forecloser in the U.S.) that instructs its equally as crooked lawyers on how to forge documents necessary to pull off foreclosures.  Later in this report, it has been revealed that We the People's Justice Department, headed by that little Wall Street-asskissing Eric Holder, lied about how it was investigating over 1 billion dollars worth of foreclosures when in fact these foreclosure crimes were actually relegated to a low priority (an almost nonexistent priority) in their primary investigations.  Turns out rather than 1 billion dollars in foreclosure fraud they were investigating, the actual number was 95 million dollars in foreclosure fraud.

It is utterly amazing to me how these banker crooks (reprobates all of them) continue to exist among us and how We the People of the USA continue to bank with these crooks and continue to apply for mortgages from them.  Here in New York City, the Bank of America, one of the biggest and crookedest of our crooked banks, has just built a huge multi-story building in downtown Manhattan and right across from me, in Greeley Plaza, they've just opened a big brightly lit and glassy and aluminum branch bank and I curse the people I see flocking to it to do their banking.  Idiots!  But then, as I've often said, We the People of the USA are the stupidest people in the world.  We are like a huge flock of sheep, as a book (A Nation of Sheep) back in the 1950s called us, though I see us more like the proverbial lemmings who follow their leaders over the brink to certain death.

Caught Reading Proudhon
"Equality comes to us by a succession of tyrannies and governments, in which liberty is continually at grips with absolutism, like Israel and Jehovah.  Thus equality is born continuously for us out of inequality; Liberty has government for its point of departure...authority was the first social idea of the human race.  And the second was to work immediately for the abolition of authority, each wishing to use it as the instrument of his Liberty against the Liberty of others."

"The principle of the Revolution, we know it still, is Liberty."

"No more government of man by man by means of the accumulation of powers; no more exploitation of man by man by means of the accumulation of capital."

"One must beat on human brains as on an anvil, otherwise they will not listen."

"To indulge in politics is to wash one's hands in dung."

"The object of philosophy is to teach man to think for himself, to reason with method, to create sound ideas of things, to formulate the truth exactly, all with the object of ordering his life, of meriting his own respect and that of his fellows, and of ensuring himself peace of mind, bodily well-being and intellectual confidence."

"We shall never be perfect.  Perfection, immobility, would be death."

for The Daily Growler

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Existing in New York City: Wake Up and Smell the GMO Coffee

Say Goodbye to: Terrence Coppage, better known a Bartcop at  I often disagreed with Terrence but I respected his site as a site on the side of right and respected his growling as aligned with my own and in just as down-to-earth tones as I find necessary to speak in order to nail the truth into the thick skulls of the deadheaded rightwinger idiots who rule most of the information channels that are corporatized in this now loathsome nation.  I disagreed with Terrence mainly over his adoration of who he lovingly referred to as the Big Dog, Bill Clinton.  Otherwise, he was always right on in his political analyses and knife-sharp rebuttals to the fools who commented against his growlings.  Terrence and I came from the same geographic backwards area, I from Enid, Oklahoma (and later West Texas), and he from Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is only a stone's throw east of Enid.  I was totally ragged out on reading that he had died in Tulsa of cancer [and I had just published 3 posts on the ravages of the Big C among my relatives, ex-wife, and dear friends].  It is also sad to read the last episode of, where Terrence says his good-bye.  My best to Mrs. Bart and the Bartcop regulars.  May we all be glad to have been aware of so independent and determined champion of what should be best in this now loathsome nation.  The following is a tribute by William Pitt Rivers who got his start on
We the People Deserve What We Get
Did I ever say I no longer vote?  What difference does it make whether you vote for a Repugnican scumbag or a Dumbocratic scumbag?  It makes no difference.  In order to mount an election, you've gotta have multimillions of dollars even if you're only running for dog catcher and now multibillions of dollars if you (or your handlers) feel you deserve to be president.  I'm reading the boring pundits who are now warning us that the Repugnicans may very well take over the Senate in this next mid-term election.  Why are they saying this?  Because even these boring analysts know that the majority of people who vote are dyed-in-the-wool idiots (I'm talking about the majority of white people who voted for that Mormon-moron Mitt Romney).  They are true believers in right-wing causes, including White supremacy, the Christian God, that rich people are rich because they're intelligent and therefore blessed, that oil is the blood that keeps this nation mean and cruel as it warmongers around the globe, that corporations know what's best for us, that banks are deserving of trillion-dollar bailouts, that John McCain is a war hero, that Obama is the anti-Christ, that Donald Trump is a great American, that people are poor because they're lazy, that Bill O'Reilly is a genius, that creationism is truth, that Capitalism is righteous and holy, that Black youth are out to murder all White people and rape White women, that Mexicans are subhumans who are taking jobs away from patriotic Americans, that our soldiers are all heroes (until they get back home, then they're treated like scum), that Osama bin Laudin really was responsible for destroying the tacky World Trade Center buildings, that G.W. Bush deserved two terms as president, that Jeb Bush should be our next president, that Sarah "Paleface" Palen is right about a lot of things, that the Koch Brothers are brilliant men, that the Bill of Rights is a Communist document, that guns are equalizers, that women who claim they've been raped are sluts, that Gays and Lesbians are abominations deserving of torturous deaths, that people on food stamps are lazy bastards who expect the Government to pay their way to a T-bone steak dinner (remember that actor-idiot Ronald Reagan talking about the "buck" in the grocery store line in front of you (the honest White person) who's buying a T-bone steak with food stamps (he later changed "buck" to "young man")), that Israel is the Holiest Land in the world and Israelis are the Jewish God's chosen people, that Blacks were happier when they were slaves, that Ronald Reagan was our greatest president, that abortion is murder, that Muslims are out to destroy the USA (and bring Sharia law onto us (us meaning White folks)), that America is a Christian nation (one nation under the Jewish God), that the Jewish God created the earth six thousand years ago, that climate change is a leftwing hoax (because the Jewish God controls the weather), that the Sun circles the earth, that Palestinians are pariah dogs and deserve to be treated as such,  that the National Security Agency won't bother you if you've got nothing to hide, that sugar is good for you, and on and on I could go further down into the pits of rightwing Hell.

This is a racist country ruled by multimillionaire and multibillionaire White men.  Instead of dividing it into Red and Blue states, we should divide it into Grey and Blue states.  Why I can even go so far as to say White men made it possible for Barack Obama to pull the wool over the eyes of his own people, progressive Whites, and borderized Latinos and get himself elected to two terms.  Terms which you can't really tell much difference from the two terms of that ignorant asshole G.W. Bush.

Government that is supposed to equalize us all, afford us all a level playing field, has instead been taken over by White assholes who are intent upon corrupting it to the point they want us all to believe that the Government rewards with our tax dollars the sickly (through Medicare and Social Security), the worthless, the lethargic, the lazy, the illegal, the crippled, the criminal elements (who to them are Black kids wearing hoodies).  Instead what Government has become is a warehouse full of worthless dollars that it is using to bail out the true criminals in this country, the fat cats, the 1-percenters who can dip their filthy hands with impunity into the tax tills and pass it around among themselves as they go about building skyhigh luxury superskyscrapers and spending outrageous sums of money on the high-end pleasures of life and supporting their worthless trophy wives (or trophy husbands in the case of a rich babe like Nancy Pelosi) and mistresses (or toy boys like grossly overpaid cultural dipsticks like actresses).

Most of these White racist voters that keep electing these Grade B jerks to political office are their own worst enemies.

It's a cryin' shame when the hope in the next presidential election for progressives is Hillbilly Hillary Clinton, a woman whose greatest claim to fame is that she married that sorry two-faced womanizer Billy Jefferson Clinton (Slick Willie who uses illegal cigars in place of his dick to pleasure his little wide-eyed admirer while he's beating that dick off onto her raised blue dress).

So will the Repugnican scumbags take over the Senate this year?  I don't give a shit and you shouldn't either.  Unless a wunderkin arises out of a list of potential dunderheads who'll be throwing their millions of stolen dollars into the political horse race, I see no hope that this country will be saved from the corrupt direction it is intent on going and has been since it was founded.  A revolution would help, but we'll never have a revolution in this military/police state.

Caught Reading Proudhon
"I spit on the gods and on men, and I believe only in study and friendship."
[Sounds very reasonable to me.]

"If I were asked to answer the following question, 'What is slavery?' my answer would be one word, 'Murder.'  My meaning would be understood at once.  No other argument would be required to show that the power to take from a man his thought, his will, his personality, is a power of life and death, and that to enslave a man is to kill him.  Why, then, to this other question: 'What is property?' may I not answer, 'Theft'?"

"As man seeks justice in equality, so society seeks order in anarchy.  Anarchy--the absence of a master, of a sovereign--such is the form of government to which we are everyday approximating."

"Communism rejects independence."  "Property rejects equality."

"Property is 'devouring and canibalistic'."

"Property is 'competition, isolation of interests, monopoly, privilege, the accumulation of capital, exclusive employment, subordination of functions, individual production, the right of profit or increase, the exploitation of man by man."
[Does this ring of what's going on in the global economy and the corporatism of our present state?]

"Possession can not be divorced from work, for that would mean the return of usury and exploitation."

"Science seeks to discover, not why things exist but how they exist, how they live, work and react on each other--in other words their relationships.  The Law of these relationships is Serial Law: 1) Unity of diversity; 2) Synthesis in division."

Bakunin's dictum: "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."

"The nonproducer should obey, and by a bitter irony, it is the nonproducer who commands.  Credit...should be the provider of work; in practice it oppresses and kills it. the making available of the earth...[instead] it becomes the denial of the earth."

"We reach knowledge in spite of him [God].  Every step forward is a victory in which we overcome the divine."

"God is stupidity and cowardice; God is hypocrisy and falsehood; God is tyranny and poverty; God is evil."

Enough Proudhon for now.  More to come later.

for The Daily [Worker] Growler

Monday, February 17, 2014

Existing in New York City: "Sorry, pal, but you've got the Big C" Part 3

Foto by tgw, New York City, 2014
How Wolves Invigorated Yellowstone Park, Even Changing Its Rivers
Say Goodbye to: Peter Phillips, pianist extraordinaire.  Peter finally succumbed two days ago to a cancer he had fought for 15 years.  I had the privilege of recording an album with Peter and then becoming friends with him when we both played a gig for several months in a downtown Manhattan restaurant music room.  The last I saw Peter, he was in terrible shape, unable to hold his head up, unable to talk (he wrote things out in a little notebook he carried with him); yet, stoically accepting his dilemma with a surprising good sense of humor.  Finally, Peter gave up.  He died in a Pennsylvania hospital with his wife (an old friend of mine) and his kids and family around him.  Goodbye to a good friend and great musician.
Cancer in the New Millenium
2000 started off with a bang.  I brought in the new century playing a New Year's Eve party at the downtown Manhattan restaurant where we had been the New Year's Eve band for 7 years.  2000 proved to be our last year as such.  We got fired in favor of a bartender's girlfriend's band.

The first bad news I got in the new century was that my brother was going blind and deaf, though he, a defiant man, was being very stoic about his problems due to his having a heart transplant back in the late eighties that destroyed his immune system.  He confessed one night on the phone that going blind and deaf weren't his biggest concerns.  What was his biggest concern was cancer.  Due to his crashed immune system he had suffered skin cancer over the twelve years he had survived the heart transplant, which was no problem except the extravagant costs to have the skin cancers removed.  This time the cancer he was concerned about, recently diagnosed, was a rare nerve cancer that had taken root in one of his optical nerves.  After the operation for this cancer, he found he couldn't close his eyelid on his left eye so the doctors devised a solid gold weight to hold it down, which left my handsome brother looking cockeyed, a disability he made the best of by wearing horned-rimmed glasses that made his cocked eye hard to see.  All went well for a while but then one day in early 2001, he informed me that this nerve cancer had returned, this time spreading up to the nerves behind his eye.  By late 2001, this cancer had spread to his brain.  He was officially diagnosed with brain cancer at that time.

That September just prior to 9/11,  he was invited to the White House by Laura Bush, one of his admirers due to her being a promoter of book reading and libraries and my brother being by that time a highly regarded and awarded Texas author (author of 30-plus books).  Photos of him at the White House show him reduced to being confined to a wheel chair but smiling joyeously proud as he was honored at a White House luncheon and then getting a tour of the White House by Laura and G.W. (Laura my brother liked, though he totally disagreed with G.W.'s policies as Governor of Texas and as President).

By January of 2002, the brain cancer began to eat away at his rugged constitution; yet, in spite of the pain and attacks where he lost his bearings, during periods of awareness and full-blown reasoning, he continued to write a newspaper column he did for a large Dallas newspaper.

In the meantime, one of my best friends for life ever was a man I had become the closest of friends with in junior high back in West Texas, a friendship that had lasted for almost 50 years as this exceedingly smart man succeeded in rising to the top in his professional field of Quantitative Physics.  My old friend had suffered a spinal column problem in his early 20s, which due to botched surgery left him a cripple for life.  This spinal problem had eventually (in his later years) left him so wheelchair bound he had to take an early retirement from his professorship at West Virginia University.

I received a letter from him in December of 2001 (very short since he could no longer type without excruciating pain) in which he said he was coping with his debilitating situation by listening to music (we both were into jazz and blues and classical music), listening to audio books, and sitting in the mountain sun in his backyard and given his condition, doing quite fine, thank you.

So how surprised was I to get a call from his wife in January of 2002 telling me my old friend forever was no more.  He had died of an excruciatingly painful brain cancer.  After gathering his wife and son around him in the hospital and after watching a pro football game (another of his passions), he had personally pulled the plug on his life-support system thus leaving the mortal coil via his own desire.

I was shocked by his death to say the least.

My brother in the meantime continued on going in and out of moments of total awareness and moments of not knowing who the hell he was.  In late March of 2002, my sister-in-law called me and said she needed my help because my brother had become an uncontrollable ass, wanting no help when trying to get to the bathroom, then falling, at which times, she said, he was too heavy for her to pick up so she just let him lie where he had fallen until he regained strength enough to get back in bed by himself.  She said it was my brotherly duty to come to Texas and help her with him.  Instead, I got one of his sons to go down there and help this helpless woman, which he did, though, since he hated her (she was my brother's second wife), he made life even more miserable for her than my brother's uncontrollableness.  In April of 2002, I called my brother and we had a long intelligent conversation in which he told me he was feeling better, was working on his newspaper column, and was defying his doctors by continuing to prove them wrong in terms of his cancerous doom.  Two days later, I got a call from my sister-in-law.  My brother was dead.  Ironically, she said, he was cognizant and energetic enough right up to the day he died to finish two of his newspaper columns. [The Dallas newspaper published those two final columns in black boxes.]

My brother was 78 years old when he died.  Besides having a heart transplant and living 14 years after that operation, with no immune system, battling skin cancers all that time, he finally succumbed to the cancer that started in an optical nerve and spread slowly into his brain.  My brother was also totally blind and deaf when he finally flew the coop off the mortal coil.

One of my brother's last published books was a book of poems.  The last poem in the book is Note Found Appended to a Balloon:

Goodbye, Earth,
I leave, but in glory,
To the sky.
And if I never come to Earth again,
It's no disgrace to die
Among the stars.

In April 2002, my big brother died and he certainly died among the stars.

Since 2002
In 2006, a friend of mine in New Mexico sent me an email that said he had read in the Santa Fe New Mexican of the death of a woman using my last name and he wondered could it be my ex-wife, the Welch-Mexican-Choctaw beauty who I was married to for 10 years, living with her during my nomadic years in New Orleans, Mexico City, Santa Fe, San Francisco, Victoria (British Columbia), Key West and Boca Raton (Florida), and finally New York City, where we were divorced in 1974.

I tried getting information from the Santa Fe New Mexican but they said they charged a fee for information, so I slammed the phone down and instead went on the Internet and found her twin nephews listed as Santa Fe real estate brokers and I called their office and got one of them (I was once his uncle and he certainly remembered me).  Is your aunt dead? I asked.  Yes, was the reply.  She had died in 2005.

My wife was a heavy smoker.  She was addicted to Salems.  I once pled with her to quit smoking (I couldn't stand the smell of cigarettes) and she told me she'd rather risk dying of cancer than to give up her Salems.  Well, what did she die of?, I asked my ex-nephew.  Breast cancer, came his reply.  She was only 57 years old.  Though we had been separated for 20 years and I had not seen her during that time (I did talk to her on the phone), I felt terribly sad at hearing she was dead.  It was as though she were still a part of me...and she had kept my name and hadn't remarried.  She had called me once back after our Haitian divorce with some concern because she had read that Haitian divorces were maybe not valid and she felt that maybe we were still married.  I weirdly thought of that while thinking of her being gone and in a deep corner of my subconscious, I let our still being married be justified as truth.

Three years ago, a dear old friend of mine, the former bass player in the cult band for which I was the lead singer back in the 1980s (and a member of that New Year's Eve band I started this post off with mentioning), found out he had oral cancer.  thedailygrowlerhousepianist and I visited him while he was in the hospital getting chemo and he was hooked up to all kinds of machines and enduring a twenty-four/seven chemo drip treatment.  Miraculously, he survived and today is in total remission and back working as an NYC museum director.  How ironic was it that back in January, after a visit for a routine check up with his Ear, Eye, Nose and Throat doctor, thedailygrowlerhousepianist  informed me that he had been diagnosed with oral cancer, a tumor under his tongue.  This brave soul, one of the best persons and friends I've ever met, is currently undergoing seven weeks of chemotherapy.  All my fingers and toes are crossed and I'm mentally projecting "HEAL" towards his spirit.  He is currently entering his third week of chemo/radiation treatments and so far is doing fine, his doctor telling him the tumor under his tongue has shrinked to half what it originally was.

I sit and wonder why oh why since Madame Curie invented radiation therapy (it killed her, by the bye) has there been no progress in finding a cure for this horrible disease.  A disease on the rise rather than on the decline.  I also have had a bit of a cancer scare, my cardiologist worried about me showing signs of anemia (a sign of colon cancer) in my blood tests.  On the last tests, however, I came out clean.  One, however, never knows.  When taking courses at the Louisiana State University Medical School (I was studying to be a Social Psychiatrist), I took an oncology course with a Dr. Miller who said we all had cancer cells dancing about throughout our bodies looking for stressed cells to attack and eat.  [He promoted hypnotism as a possible cure for cancer.]  I have never forgotten how intensely his teaching stuck in my mental craw.  I have ever since then decided never to worry about a damn thing and never to tense up so as not to welcome aboard the cancer armies.  That I had a heart attack two years ago proves I didn't quite control such anxieties and that situation now leaves me thinking, "crap, when will the Big C get my proud ass?"  As Fats Waller said, "One never knows, do one?"

for The Daily Growler 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Existing in New York City: "Sorry, pal, but you've got the Big C" Part 2

Foto by tgw, New York City, January 2014
Say Goodbye to: Alice sorry to read that Alice Babs died and of so mean a disease as Alzheimer's.  One of the great unknown jazz singers, especially with Duke and especially with Duke's Sacred Music. Alice Babs, 90, Swedish singer and actress, Alzheimer's disease.
Alice singing "Heaven" with Duke/Johnny Hodges:
Say Goodbye to: The Mighty Hannibal, whose haunting anti-Vietnam "Hymn #5" was banned from radio play back during the good ol' days of the Vietnam War.  The Mighty Hannibal, 74, American R&B, soul and funk singer, songwriter and record producer.
Say Goodbye to: Pete Seeger who died Monday, January 27, 2014 at the age of 94.  Pete was one of the truly great Americans who believed that the masses could eventually (a spoonful of sand at a time, as he used to say) overcome the oppression of the Masters (the men of wealth and power; the Power Elite).  We shall overcome one day.
Cancer Returns
With my uncle's death when I was a young boy in the early 50s until I moved to New York City, cancer didn't cross my path again in terms of family or friends.

My next involvement with it came when my second wife's father, a twin, suddenly decided he had stomach cancer after his twin brother died of this cancer in the 1970s.  This tough old Baptist preacher had the symptoms.  Pains in his stomach.  Why he even began coughing up blood.  But after a thorough examination, it was determined his "cancer" was of the empathetic kind, the reflection of a twin's death manifesting itself in the remaining twin's psyche.

After my second wife divorced me in 1974, and after an adventure I had in Haiti, I came back to New York City and went to work for Time-Life Films.  In the Time and Life Building (in Rockefeller Center), there was a very popular Mexican restaurant called Cinco de Mayo.  Since these were the days of long lunches (the 3-martini lunches), I spent my lunch breaks at the Cinco de Mayo bar. Then come 5 o'clock, zoom, I was back there for after-work hair-down frivolities.

It was at the Cinco de Mayo bar that I one afternoon laid eyes on one of the most beautiful women I'd ever seen in my relatively short life.  She was one of the first Black people hired by the once Luce-dictated racist administration at Time-Life.  She was hired as a personal secretary to the woman who eventually started the Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions that became so popular with pimple-faced teenage boys and masturbating high school and college athletes and a source of poon for rock stars in the early '80s.  [It is amazing to me how many of those Sports Illustrated swimsuit models went on to fame and fortune, two of them, Cindy Crawford and Kathy Ireland now respected furniture designers of all things.]

I began dating this magnificent Black woman and hanging with her in-crowd.  One day, on meeting her at the Cinco de Mayo bar, she brought along a Sports Illustrated photographer friend who happened to also live in her apartment building.

What a man this dude was.  He was one of the best-looking men I've ever known.  I mean not only movie-star handsome but he also dressed to the nines exclusively wearing only the finest of Brooks Brothers clothes.  He was a top-notch teacher of photography, a poet, but also an angry young man. He was a very bitter Black man who kept his bitterness locked up inside his fervid soul. How in the hell we became the best of friends is beyond comprehension, but we did.  Soon we were together all the time, but especially at lunch and after work when as a salt and pepper pair we toured the NYC nightspots in search of love, which in those days was spelled S-E-X.

This man was a babe magnet.  Women flocked to him when we would appear in the clubs, women of all races, but especially models.  He attracted models like flies are attracted to flypaper.  I, as a recently divorced man (he, too, had recently divorced his first wife), didn't mind picking up his throw-away women, several with whom I had short but wonderful affairs.

That we drank a lot during these bar and club escapades is a given, me daiquiris and he Beefeater martinis.   What he did that I didn't do was smoke cigarettes.  His brand was Kools, a popular brand with Black men in those days.  These were the days when "cool" was in and "hot" was relegated to the many foxes we trolled among the bars and clubs to hit on and hopefully score with.

Our friendship lasted for several wild years until 1976, when I met and started dating my eventual third wife and he met and eventual married his second wife.  Being married, however, didn't interfere with our lunches at the Cinco de Mayo bar and after it closed down at another Rockefeller Center bar called Dawson's Pub.  One day while he was gulping down his Beefeater Martinis, the Dawson's bartender (we had met him when he worked at Cinco de Mayo), asked my friend if he knew how much he was drinking in terms of Beefeaters.  That day my friend was on his fifth Beefeaters martini, so this bartender took an empty fifth bottle and filled it with water and then took a martini glass and filled it 5 times.  At the end of the 5th glass, the fifth bottle was empty.  My friend was drinking a fifth of gin just at lunch.  And, as was natural, with each drink, he smoked at least two or three Kools, which meant he was smoking a pack of Kools at just at lunch.

One day my friend told me he had a bad backache, which he considered might be liver trouble.  He also about the same time began clearing his throat constantly, which he referred to as "post-nasal drip."  He went to the Time-Life doctor (yes, big companies had medical staffs in those days) and the doctor warned him he'd better stop drinking Beefeater martinis or he was surely going to develop a case of cirrhosis of the liver.  He and I both started drinking Heinekens instead of hard liquor.

After about ten years of both of us being involved in domestic tranquility, my friend met a very beautiful lady and started having an affair with her.  Once again, he started drinking Beefeater martinis.  Due to his marriage crushing him, he also began to get sometimes violently angry, like slamming his fist into a brick wall and breaking his hand or getting bombed to the point he thought men were hitting on his woman.  He confessed to me early one morning when we were high up on the 59th Street Bridge and he was photographing the sun's full-spectrum arising's effect on the surface of the East River that he was not only drinking Beefeater martinis again but also several beers on getting ready for work in the mornings.  Plus, he was back to smoking several packs of Kools a day.

With his marriage stalemated and his mistress bugging him to get a divorce, we once again got to meeting at lunch and after work.  His clearing his throat got worse and worse and then one day the pains in his lower back returned and he once again saw a doctor and was again told he had to stop drinking because of damage to his liver.  He immediately again switched to Heineken beers and even stopped smoking.

One day at lunch he told me the night before he had coughed up blood and that there was also blood in his stool.  He was afraid but he went to see his doctor and was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  His doctor told him that he would have to undergo chemo and radiation treatments at Sloane-Kettering Hospital and that he had a 90-something percent chance of beating the cancer.

He checked into Sloane-Kettering in 1989 and began his treatment.  He was 41 years old.

In Sloane-Kettering, his doctor suddenly told him that on further tests they had discovered his cancer had spread to his lymph nodes and due to its spreading rapidly they had decided to put him under the knife before he began chemo/radiation.  The result of the surgery was butchery.  They cut out his lymph nodes; they pulled half of his teeth; then they found the cancer eating away his jaw bone and cut half of it out.  After the surgery, I visited him in Sloane-Kettering and found him still strong but hacked up to the point he said he was physically and mentally depressed.  He was bitter and cursed his doctor as a deceitful son of a bitch.  He was to begin chemo immediately and though he kept up a good front, I could tell he was frightened.

Later I visited him while he was undergoing the chemo and there he was hooked up to the chemo drip and, I swear, looking blue and I mean in terms of his skin color and not a mental attitude.  He joked about feeling like Con-Edison had run a power line through his bloodstream.  He said it felt like his whole being was on fire.

For awhile, he was released from Sloane-Kettering and got to go home and I saw him on several occasions.  He could still talk but he couldn't eat solid foods and had had a tracheotomy and over the hole in his throat he wore a scarf to hide it from view (he didn't want to scare the kiddies, as he put it).  We had long conversations at this time about life and death with him swearing he wasn't afraid of death, though I knew down deep he was.  He had never been a religious man; in fact, like me, he was an Anti-theist (we were not Atheists, we called ourselves Anti-theists to separate us from believing in any kind of theisms).  What we both really were were Realists with a large dose of Existentialism flavoring our antithetical arguments.  He often said he didn't see how any Black person could ever believe in the White man's God.

It wasn't long before I got word he was back in Sloane-Kettering undergoing further surgery. Then one day, I got a call from his wife who said he was being transferred to Mt. Calvary Hospital in the East Bronx.  She said he was being transferred there to recover.  For a brief time I was ecstatic.  My friend was in recovery!  In a state of great joy, I went out to this Mt. Calvary Hospital to see my friend.  Oh, how fucking disappointed I was when I got there.  My dear old friend lay coiled in a fetal position on the bed, his body stiff in a tense knot and his fists clinched as though in readiness to punch out the world.  By then he could no longer talk but he was able to gesture and write and between the two I learned why he was so tense and god-damn angry.  Once again the medical profession had deceived him by telling him he was going to this hospital to recover.  The truth was, this hospital was an end-of-the-road hospice-type hospital run by an order of Catholic nuns.  My friend had learned this while watching television one night when a Mt. Calvary commercial came on that blatantly said the hospital was a final resting place for the terminally hopeless as they lay dying.  Before I left him that day, I bent down and kissed his forehead and told him I loved him.

That was the last time I saw my closest friend for nearly 20 years.  I wanted to go back and visit him but I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't stand to see this once strong and vibrantly alive man now reduced to an almost vegetable state as he waited for the cancer that cut him down to finally eat away all his life.

My friend lived on several more months in this state.  I learned later from his daughter (my Goddaughter), that she and her mother's family (he liked one of his wife's sisters a lot) had spent a lot of time with him and played him his favorite music (he loved Anita Baker) and sat by his bedside telling him stories and showing him his daughter's artwork.  And then one day in March of 1991, 3 years after the original diagnosis, my old friend died.  He was 43 years old.

I by then hated funerals and I swore after my parents' funeral (they were killed together in a car wreck) that I would never again in my life attend one and I stuck to my guns regarding my old friend's funeral.  I did not attend his funeral but instead held my own personal memorial service for him, remembering all the good times we had shared.  Today, hanging on my walls are several photographs he took of me, especially one of me playing the piano at a recording session, one of his best ever photographs I'm proud to say.

[To be continued....]

for The Daily Growler  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Existing in New York City: "Sorry, pal, but you've got the Big C."

Foto by tgw, New York City, January 2014
The Dreaded Diagnosis
The first person with cancer I encountered was an old man from my original hometown who came to stay with my family in Dallas while he underwent treatment at the infamous Hoxsey Clinic.  He had lung cancer.  He had been a 4-pack-a-day cigarette smoker all his life and I can remember hearing his coughing spells late into the nights he stayed with us.  Hacking coughs; yet, I also remember him sitting eating breakfast and drinking coffee while smoking his first cigarette of the day before he went off for his daily treatments at this notorious Dallas clinic.  Harry Hoxsey, an ex-insurance salesman, had a grandfather who noticed a huge tumor on one of his horses one day.  He turned the horse out into a pasture of wild grasses and plants and one day he noticed the tumor had disappeared.  So old Grandpappy Hoxsey gathered up some of these wild grasses and plants and concocted a paste which he began hustling as a cure for cancer.  Harry Hoxsey opened his first clinic in Illinois but was soon run out of Illinois and he took his voodoo paste to Iowa where once again he was driven out as a quack.

But Harry Hoxsey found a home in Dallas, Texas, arriving there in the 1930s and being able to exist there into the 1960s when his Dallas clinic was moved by one of his nurses to Tijuana, Mexico.  Hoxsey ironically developed prostrate cancer in 1967 but when his treatment didn't cure him he subjected himself to surgery and standard medical treatment for the disease and lived another 7 years before dying in 1974.

The gentleman with cancer who stayed with my family underwent the Hoxsey cure for several weeks before returning to his home where he died soon afterward.

I was just a kid when this gentleman stayed with us but I clearly remember how my mother and dad believed cancer was contagious and how after this gentleman left us, mother destroyed the dishes and cups and glasses he had used and also the sheets and pillow cases on which he had slept.

It wasn't long after this gentlemen died that the next cancerous episode entered my young life.  My mother's brother was a great man of the world to me who owned and operated a chain of movie theaters around Texas and who when he was younger had as an early aviator opened the first airport in my West Texas hometown.  A man of stubborn pride, he loved good clothes, drove only Packards (luxury cars of the 30s and 40s), and smoked at least 4 packs of Pall Mall cigarettes a day.  He truly believed Pall Mall cigarettes were not detrimental to his health.  As a man who sometimes managed one of his big theaters by himself, he was also his own projectionist and spent many a late night hours in a projection booth breathing in the carbon that was exhausted from the carbon lamps on the big movie projectors in those days.

So one day, this favorite uncle of mine happened to take advantage of one of the X-ray vans that would come to your neighborhood after World War II and that offered free chest X-rays the results of which were then mailed to you several weeks later.  His results showed that he had lung cancer.  Not only did he have it but he had it bad.  He checked into the Veteran's Hospital in McKinney, Texas, and there one day on a family visit, I saw this great man of the world as I'd never seen him before.  Due to the vicious spreading of his lung cancer, it had galloped out of his lungs and had invaded his brain.  In those days the standard treatment of cancer if caught early was surgery (it included removing huge chunks of your lungs if you had lung cancer like my uncle); but if, like my uncle, your cancer had already spread throughout your body, the treatment consisted of shooting you full of morphine and just letting you slowly die.

Seeing my uncle that day made such a god-damn horrible impression on me that I decided right then and there that I'd never smoke cigarettes...EVER.  My uncle had been isolated in a makeshift room out back of the main hospital area.  Our visit was in the dead of summer and summers in that part of Texas can be brutal in terms of heat with temperatures hovering steadily in the 90s and going over 100 on the hottest of days.  This makeshift room, it had been a porch room that they had walled in, had no air-conditioning of any kind.  It had windows and they were open but still the room was stifling.  My uncle was lying on an old army cot in his underwear with no cover.

This once mighty independent man was nailed to the cross of a surplus army cot and suffering, I would assume, much more than Jesus, a martyr to the saint of cigarette smoking.  Screaming forth, and that was what he was doing, screaming forth vindictive denunciation against "this God and his fabulous son Jesus" that my grandmother and my father were trying to get my uncle to obey and fall on his knees in begging forgiveness for his many sins.  "What kind of a god-damn God is letting me suffer like this..." and then he would claw at his face with his pale hands..."fuck all of you...fuck every god-damn one of you...the whole lot of you."

The doctor told us the cancer had spread from my uncle's lungs up into his brain.  The pain was excruciating.  The morphine didn't help; in fact, due to its dream-inducing power, it made the pain and that form of dying worse.

The last thing I remember my uncle saying (to his mother and my father) was, "If you really loved me you'd take a pistol and blow my brains out...," and soon he was ordering us to "Get the hell out of my sight...fuck all of you...get out...leave me alone."  And we did. And going back to Dallas the conversation between my parents and my grandmother had to do with whether "Brother," as his sister and mother called him, was going to go to Heaven or not.

My next personal contact with cancer would happen many years later here in NYC.

[This little gleaning from my past will be continued...In the meantime, I continue to read Proudhon.]

for The Daily Growler

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Existing in New York City: Caught Reading Proudhon

Foto by tgw, New York City, December 2013
Say Goodbye to: Amiri Baraka, a big surprise since I had just seen him a little before X-mas.  Amiri Baraka, 79, American poet, writer and activist, Poet Laureate of New Jersey (2002–2003).

Wise I

    WHYS (Nobody Knows
    The Trouble I Seen)

If you ever find
yourself, some where
lost and surrounded
by enemies
who won't let you
speak in your own language
who destroy your statues
& instruments, who ban
your omm bomm ba boom
then you are in trouble
deep trouble
they ban your
own boom ba boom
you in deep deep


probably take you several hundred years
to get 

Say Goodbye to: Tabby Thomas, the long-time Baton Rouge swamp-style blues man. Tabby Thomas, 84, American blues musician.
Reading Proudhon
I've been caught by one of my detractors reading Proudhon.  "I thought you were a Marxist," he quipped, "Proudhon and Marx didn't see eye to eye...."  I shut him up with a cold glare.  "So, does that mean I can't read Proudhon and remain a promoter of Marx?"  Proudhon also liked to discredit Kant, Hegel, and my patron saint of Sociology, August Comte.  I mean, Proudhon was a man with the fortitude to say that "property is evil."  And since property is evil, then so, too, are proprietors. That grabbed my attention.  Proudhon was also relating Liberty to anarchy and as a true libertarian, he believed in anarchy as the solution to government or monarchial rule.

Proudhon as a young man said, "I spit on the gods and on men, and I believe only in study and friendships."  I can go whole hog agreeable with that statement.  I, too, believe only in study and friendships, both of which I have in abundance.

Dig this from Proudhon: "If I were asked to answer the following question, 'What is slavery?' and I should answer in one word, 'Murder,' my answer would be understood at once.  No further argument would be required to show that the power to take from a man his thought, his will, his personality, is a power of life and death, and that to enslave a man is to kill him.  Why, then, to this other question: 'What is property?' may I not answer, 'Theft'?"

But enough on Proudhon and his philosophy.  Reading what he thought about property and proprietors (he believed the workers should control their production...doesn't that sound like Marx?), I got to thinking about how openly and proudly crooked (thieves) and murderous (just since Obama's been in power we've killed thousands upon thousands of human beings with our omnipresent military and covert agencies) our government is.  I got so pissed when I heard that Nancy Pelosi's husband, a rather shady dude, has landed himself a whole passel of post offices to sell'll add more millions to his already overflowing coffers.  And then I was further pissed off when I read an open letter to the makers of "The Wolf of Wall Street" from Christina McDowell, who was once Christina Prousalis, the daughter of Tom Prousalis, Jordan Belfort's partner in much crime and sleaziness, including stealing his daughter's identity and putting her and her mother into deep debt and embarrassment.

Jordan Belfort is the Wolf of Wall Street and what a genuine sleaze bag he was and still is.  Of course, Hollywood, a pack of sleaze bags themselves, love movies about Wall Street criminals, and that's what these assholes are, folks, common criminals.  Belfort's now coming "clean" with revealing Wall Street shenanigans and its devious crimes that have ruined the lives of millions upon millions of people all around the world.  Of course, this little sniveling bastard is making a killing off this movie and his tell-all book.  In the meantime Christina's worthless bastard of a father after serving time in the big house is now living well in Albania where he's remarried a young Albania babe and is working for the weird Albanian Commie government (Proudhon, by the way, was against communism because he said it took away individuality).  Here you go, read Christina's revealing article:

Jordan Belfort in the movie is played by another prick, Leonardo deCaprio, who to me is an F-ing phony...well, hell, he's an actor, so he ain't real is he?

I've heard Jordan Belfort speak and he's a sorry son of a bitch, a 100% sleaze bag.

And then what does Obama do, why that SoB hires another corporate crony to be Under Secretary of Education, this little privatizing prick is Ted Mitchell, a dude who made $735,000-a-year working for an educational non-profit that worked in cahoots with Pearson the largest promoter of turning our public education system over to the corporate privatizers.  Hey, think about it.  Who can afford to send their kids to private schools now?  Rich White folks.  So who's left to go to public schools?  You can surely answer that without any clue from me.

And how 'bout old Hillbilly Hillary defending Wall Street in a speech to Wall Street crooks who were paying her $400,000.  She's kissing Wall Street ass getting ready to need a bundle of their tainted money when she runs for the presidency in 2016 and some gods help us if she gets elected.

Are you aware of what her sorry-ass hick husband did when he was president?  NAFTA, herding the Haitians up and imprisoning them at Guantanamo before sending them back to Haiti, putting a naval blockade around Haiti so no more of them could escape that horrible place thanks to US corporate raping of this once beautiful island paradise, deregulated the banks and financial firms and insurance companies, diddled a young girl in the Oval Office then lied about it when the Republicans tried to impeach him.

And how disappointed was I in reading today that our new "progressive" mayor is going to be sworn into office by SLICK WILLIE CLINTON.  What is so special about this low-life buzzard?  DeBlasio a a pig's eye he's a progressive.  He'll continue on in old Mikey Bloomberg's corporatized footsteps rezoning the city and allowing hi-rise development to go berserk while he lines his own pockets with the filthy lucre he'll reap from the developers and Wall Street.  

In the meantime, the idiot people of Okinawa have agreed to allow our military to continue using their paradisiacal island to house 36 bases and 12,000 US troops.  I ask you, why the hell do we need military bases on Okinawa?

Oh, and by the way, the Pentagon says it has misplaced several trillion dollars of our money.

Quoting Proudhon: 

“What they always want is inequality of wealth, delegation of sovereignty and government by influential people . . . democracy says that the people reign and do not govern, which is to deny the Revolution.”
“it is the liberty that is the mother, not the daughter, of order.”

for The Daily Growler