The Progressions of an Impoverished Man
If I were to have died last night, yes, I would have been found because I have a friend staying with me for a few months, so I would not have had an invisible death (the way the utterly poor die). A few months from now when this friend has her own domicile and her days with me will have been utterly forgotten and I die, then an invisible death could very well be my ending.
The first thing I notice when you're poor you haven't much time to think of death since you are too busy trying to figure out how to survive alive. When you're hungry, you don't think of dying, you can only think of food, trying to assimilate it into your body through thought. Remember in the old Bugs Bunny cartoon days, the days of Fritz Freleng, when a cartoon was a bit of true comic art, when Bugs or any of his cast of character pals got terribly hungry everybody they saw looked like a dressed and golden brown-cooked chicken. Or a dachshund looked to Bugs like a walking hot dog, complete with mustard and onions. The imagination invents food but not the way out, which of course is death, the way out of any overwhelming life-threatening event like hunger, or starvation, or simply just being too f-ing poor.
So far, I'm still flush enough I haven't felt poor yet. I know I am poor but I haven't felt it yet. My cool Gap jeans just got a rip in the knee that pretty much ruins them for me except I got on the elevator with a teenage girl the other day and she had the same kind of rip in her Gap jeans so maybe I can get away with these deteriorating jeans for another month or so. I have two other pairs of jeans but these are a size I was when I had 20 or so extra pounds on me. One thing poverty does, it gets you thin in a hurry.
[For you weight watchers, the best diet I ever tried, and I once weighed 265 pounds at 5' 10". I didn't realize how big I was until my wife took an 8 mm movie of me one time up in June Bug Park in Red River, New Mexico; I was climbing up out of a culvert with a forest of aspen trees shimmering their golden applause at my culvert-exiting efforts. I was watching the film with some friends when one of them, the restaurant owner, said, "Jesus, look, there's Big Foot; you caught Big Foot on film." It wasn't Big Foot, though even I had to look twice to recognize it was me. I was wearing a really fine forest green Allan Paine cashmere sweater, too. When I got back to our adobe hacienda, I immediately started checking out diets. I found one. It was called the Canadian Air Force diet, or, a more attractive name to me, "the drinking man's diet." That got me. All this was was a pre-Atkins low carbohydrate diet. I found it in a little minibook on a paperback rack in a bookstore. It was published by Dell and all it did was simply list carbohydrates and their values in terms of fat considerations. Beer, which at that time I was drinking by the case, ordering a case of Heineken a day from my liquor dealer, was the big loser carbohydrate in the book, right ahead of white bread, doughnuts, gravy, salad dressings--you know. So I went on this diet. I ate no breakfast. Then at lunch I would make myself a huge salad with every conceivable salad-thing in it: lettuce, onions, scallions, shallots, cukes, radishes, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, celery, tomatoes. Then I made my own dressings out of low-fat milk and very high-class rochambert cheese (goat and sheep milk much less carbed up than cow's milk), or powdered mustard in olive oil and vinegar. I was allowed 1 bottle of Heineken at lunch. Then for dinner I would have a steak, a baked potato with only real butter on it (real butter had less carbs than margarine), some broccoli, and a couple a shots of Jack Daniels, or I could have another Heineken. I lost 90 pounds in 6 months; I kid you not [remember Jack Paar?]. I went from a 44 waist (no lie) down to a 38 and eventually a 36, Jenny Craiging out at 170 pounds, still too fat for my build but Jesus a hell of a lot slicker looking. One sad truth? I had more sordid affairs of the heart as a large dude than I did after I lost weight. My charm was in my roley-poley shape I suppose and had nothing to do with any sexual appeal I had as a thin man.]
Eating poor isn't necessarily bad, you see. Now, salads are pretty cheap. For $10 a day, I can eat pretty damn good, with a Korean deli salad (they charge by weight) and then a container of Korean/Mexican-made soup topped off with a cranberry juice. Sometimes there's enough left for a large coffee. God, I love coffee. I started off drinking it black. As a kid I went to New Orleans a lot and my first cup of coffee ever in my life was in a church over on Camp Street. We were visiting good friends of my parents and it was this guy's big old formerly Catholic church with a beautiful old rectory and a huge breakfast room, and that first time I drank coffee was because all this preacher's kids got a big steaming cup of coffee and I wanted one, too, and my dad said, "Well, see how much of a man he is, give him a half-a-cup'a black." To my dad, it was like letting me smoke a cigarette. The discomfort it caused me might keep me from trying a cigarette ever again. Faux logic, but hey, my dad was an old-timer. He truly believed that giving me a cup of black coffee would turn me off coffee forever. How wrong he was. That first cup of coffee I had was a cup of French Market coffee, a chicory coffee, because, you know, New Orleans at that time was more French than Americaine. A cruller rolled in powered sugar and a steaming cup of Chicory Joe was a marvelous way to start a day in New Orleans. After that I drank French Market coffee until I was 30 years old and living in the middle of Manhattan Isle lost without my French Market coffee. One desperate day, I went in a coffee store in the Village and sure enough there high up on an unreachable-without-help shelf were 5 tins of French Market coffee. I bought all five. When I went back to replenish my stock 6 months later, Hell's bells, there were no more tins. I haven't had any French Market coffee since. The rival chicory coffee back in those days was Luzanne coffee, though I never got in the Luzanne mode. Now I drink street-vendor coffee. Who knows what the hell that is? A guy who worked at the big Savarin Coffee Plant in New Jersey when it was still up and running, told me that the burnt remains left in the bean roasters was scraped out, powdered, and turned into instant coffee. Instant coffee never tasted worth a crap after he told me that. I have not had a cup of instant coffee in over 30 years now. At least that's what I think. People who have served me tons of coffee over the years may know better than that. Office coffee, without a doubt some of the worst coffee ever milled, may be instant coffees packaged to appear like gourmet blends. Deceit is the name of the advertising game, so who knows what's really real when it comes to coffees, teas, sodas, or Mes.
To be poor is to be as witty as you can ever be in your life.
As a musician who has studied music to the bone; as a singer who taught himself how to sing out of a book I bought at a music store, I have never watched American Idol, nor have I ever heard one of their instant-star winners ever sing one of their songs all the way through. I was forced to listen to one of the dude winners one time since I was involved in the backstage action of where he was appearing--not Claude Akins, that was an old character actor, but one of the first Idol winners, Craig maybe was his name? Kelly Clarkson, I think, is the most successful of the Idol winners. I believe she has at least made the Top Ten after multimillions of dollars were spent to get her up that high, especially against some women who I think are pretty damn good singers, like one of the Mickey Mouse Show-trained girls like Christine Aquilera (but not Britney Spears, that piece of low-life Louisiana spoiled white trash tramp crap). The big fat black guy they called "the Burger King" I have not seen since he supposedly became a pop star. Any others, I apologize they have come and gone so fast I have no remembrance of any of them except the ones I mentioned. But then I've never watched the show, so, hell, it must work, I know three of them still, but only Kelly's full name do I remember. Kelly Clarkson is getting fat; that means her career, like Linda Ronstadt's after she porked up, will likely tank soon and Kelly will be covering Barbara Cook or Rosemary Clooney tunes in her new chanteuse role.
To me, American Idol is, yes, a market-grabbing vehicle for cruddy Fox television, but in terms of improving on American music; hell, a hundred Kelly Clarksons can't equal one Ella Fitzgerald, or Sarah Vaughan, or Carmen McCrae, or Diana Ross even, or Whitney Houston before Bobby Brown and drugs brought her down to the fiery wreck state. As to hip-hop chicks, like Mary K. Blidge--I don't know how to judge them. Hip-hop is so black it's beyond my comprehension. I don't get it. It sounds like one long fucking sing-song chanting to me; like doing 5,000 Hail Marys after you've banged a young choir boy back in the rectumry.
Another Televised Message From Osama
By God, it's amazing how Osama bin Ladin (I've heard that name before--wasn't he Saddam Hussein's partner in terrorism and threatening us with Weapons of Mass Destruction. Every word in that just-past sentence is bullshit. I still argue that bin Ladin only exists in the mind of a bunch of dudes in the CIA who made this clown so world-shakingly scary. Bin Ladin, if he is still alive, is on a f-ing dialysis machine; yet, the latest video footage from him, shows a big righteous-looking very healthy dude standing with his ass-crack-licking buddy--a dude I thought we killed a couple of years ago--standing in front of what looks like a fleet of Bradleys, those military retro mobile gunships made by the dear ole Carlyle Group.
The Daily Growler predicts: another tape from bin Ladin whenever it is necessary to sidetrack us US fools from all the excessive corruption going on in the District of Corruption at the Capitalism Building and the Hauls of Congress. Look out for another plane attack in the months before the 2008 elections.
for The Daily Growler
The Quote of the Day
"...it is not from any scarcity of capital that the poverty of the masses in civilized countries proceeds. For not only do wages nowhere reach the limit fixed by the produtiveness of industry, but wages are relatively the lowest where capital is most abundant." Henry George, Progress and Poverty, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation edition, 1979.
Note: Osama bin Ladin was a CIA-sponsored "freedom fighter" in Afghanistan when we armed Pakistani troops who under bin Ladin were attacking the Russian presence in that war-torn and ravaged desolate country back in the late 80s. Osama bin Ladin is still a CIA agent. Remember that. If he is still alive, then the CIA knows exactly where he is. Certainly Georgie Porgie Bush Baby, the "president," knows where he is since Georgie has been trying to give our seaports away to the United Arab Emirates and Dubai, all terrorist-supporting countries, who definitely know where bin Ladin is. Also, Prince Bandar Bush surely knows where his own "outcast" brother is, though Osama and Prince Bandar have about 56 brothers and sisters by as many mamas; old Pappy bin Ladin was quite a man, though I've heard Saudi princes can't F for dick shit. If the government admits Osama is dead, then they have no excuse for continuing their deceitful and murderous hoax of a War on Terrorism.