I Once Knew a Basque
I went to college with a kid from Basin, Wyoming, who was of Basque descent; in fact, everybody in Basin, Wyoming, may have been Basque the way he talked. His family were shepherds in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, between Yellowstone Park, Cody, and Sheridan, just south of Greybull on Highway 20. One day he taught me how to make Basque bread in an iron skillet. And while he was showing me how to make Basque bread, it's a sourdough bread, he showed me how the Basque shepherds communicated with each other, with this yell you make in your throat--and it came all the way from the Navarre between France and Spain, Basque country, from the Pyrenees down to Pamplona and over to the Atlantic shore at San Sebastian (a hell of a great city by the way), I learned how to make that yell by jiggling my larynx by pinching some flesh on my throat and shaking the hell out of it. He said you can this high-pitched yell for miles--especially in mountainous areas.
Plus, these crazy wanderers speak a language called Euskara--or "Basque" for its Anglo name--you can have fun at this site--it's a Euskara dictionary--check it out--the linguists call it an "isolate language" because it has no known relatives.
This guy was one of the nicest, brightest, and most interesting guys I met in college. He wanted to be a writer, to write about the Basque in the US. He told me all about shepherding, about being all alone for days with the flock in high country, just you and your shepherd's hut and your sheep dog, and about always seeing wolves, and learning how to spot them from a distance, to judge the distance by their whelps and occasional barkings, and how he would fire rifle shots over the wolves heads when he spotted them spotting on his flock, and he said those shots echoing across the basin was enough to scare the wolves off to other areas, and he talked about living long periods of time in the wilds of the Big Horn range on hunting trips or even trips up on the high ridges of the wilderness area of the Absaroka Range that runs from North Yellowstone down the western edge of the Big Horn Basin. Basques are impressed by solitude. The Basques are a strange people--hard to identify historically.
The following link goes to a pretty thorough Basque site. It's fun to read the comments, too. It amazed me how many Basques there are in this country. One Basque from Southern Louisiana said his Basque relatives settled in Louisiana Cajun country many years ago and they had no trouble fitting right in, even to the point of being able to understand Cajun French, it being close to some French Basque dialects; Basques are also at home with speaking and understanding Spanish, Gaelic, or old Latin forms. I've always had a fondness for the stranger peoples who've evolved uniquely on their own amidst the Greco-Roman domination of the world at that time, like the Etruscans. The Basques were once under Moorish rule, too, and that must have affected their culture and language. Certainly that Basque yell my friend from Wyoming taught me was very very Moorish in its origins.
The New Hampshire Primary
What a bunch of bunkum. I wish H.L. Mencken were alive to cover this bunch of holy-cow hooey--or hell, I wish Doctor Hunter Thompson had'a stayed off blowing the top of his crazy head off until he'd had a chance to maybe get back on his gonzo horse and gallop through this bunch of horseshit.
I mean first it was Slick Willie going to bat for his wife against Obama. He was claiming Obama had not always been 100% against the War in Iraq (the real tragedy that should be discussed by these millionaire candidates but yeah not one god-damn word about how cruelly wrong and backwards that stupid war is a war Hillary certainly went gung-ho for. Nor has Hillary raised any kind of ruckus in Congress since she's been their about "Change" and our families and our children and their future and oh our brave boys and girls who are volunteering to go over to Iraq, they're on a salary, Hill, and they were hired to be soldiers, the same as firemen and cops are hired to be firemen and cops--I do not understand how a dead soldier or a dead fireman or a dead cop is an automatic hero and given hero send offs, like yesterday here in New York City, I mean, they had a funeral for this dude who died fighting a horrendous fire in Brooklyn, I think it was--he was caught inside the burning inferno and couldn't get back out--and this funeral was a funeral fit for a national dignitary or king or something; one young babe reporter reporting this funeral with deep deep seriousness said that firemen had flocked to NYC from all over the nation and Canada for this dude's funeral. And there was Billionaire-bastard-from-Boston Mayor "I Now Wanna Be President, Too" Bloomingidiotberg out there tooting his bullshit horn--the fucking firemen still don't have a contract, do they?--but anyway, this damn funeral must have cost millions of bucks, plus the firemen who were at the funeral--who the hell was covering the fire houses? Amazing. And Hillary talking about how our soldiers fighting in Iraq were heroes--bullshit, Hill, just like you, they're paid to do a job--that is to kill or be killed--a soldier when ordered to go to war has no say in the matter, especially these soldiers nowadays who volunteer for this man's Army. And what about the Blackwater soldiers of fortune when they're killed overthere? Are they heroes, too? Most of them are holdovers from the famous Latin American-American-trained death squads, from Peru, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala--most of the Blackwater cadre was trained at the famous Latin American Death Squad school down in North Carolina--which, by God, is where Blackwater's backwater headquarters is located. Hmmmm. Hillary, Obama, John McCain, ya'all gonna talk about Blackwater? How about torture? I haven't heard any discussion of that. How about the fact that this administration released the identity of one of its most important CIA operatives to the world, a traitorous offense really. Whose gonna judge this little weasel non-elected dictatin' "president" and punish him for the ruin he's brought to this country and how this little spoiled rich brat has given our treasury away, has put us in a deeper debt that his old worthless "read my lips" Pappy got us in during his nest-egg years as a goofball president--Pappy's nose is glued to Cheney's ass, too, I think--I think they glued Pappy's nose to Cheney's ass after they carefully removed it from Ronnie Raygun's old gnarly ass after he forgot he was president and thought he was a jellybean dispenser.
So Hillary beat the N-worder--smart ass son of a bitch thought he was in high cotton after winning the cornfed Iowan's caucus. Old Slick Willie won it for Hill in New Hampshire, not one of your more progressive states, really a holdover Tory state, a true conservative Yankee state--the Manchester Union newspaper for years was a babbling rag for right-wing (Neo-Con) domination of the world. Slick Willie. Yep. Women love this son of a bitch--they really do wet their panties when the Slick One MOUNTS the podium to rally babes for Hill. Do you remember the story told by Uncle Remuses all over the Old South about Billy Jeff's little black baby? Hillbilly, trailer-house, white trash; sorry, folks, but that's how an old Southern-raised white boy sees him--he'd'a been a Baptist preacher like Mike "Stone Age" Huckabee if he hadn't'a kissed old William Fulbright's ass back in those good old days of Fulbright Scholarships--and he's from Arkansas, too--why the American political fascination with hambones from Arkansas? OK, I'll go along with my friends who tell me as long as the Dumbocrats win--we will be better off no matter who the Dumbocrat is. The women want a woman president worse than all Americans want a black president. We'll see when the sideshow moves to South Carolina--can you imagine--South Carolina's Dumbocrat voters are predominantly black--though hey nonny nonny, listen to this Wolf Man irony, Hillary's leading campaigner in South Carolina is Mrs. Jesse Jackson--another cheated-on wife of a famous politician! You know Mrs. Jackson knows what's going on in Hillary's mind. Wouldn't it be great if Hill came out of the closet--WOW!
Think about what it would be like if that VietNam-vet nutjob John McCain won the presidency. Get the jellybean jar out, another numbskull's president. Did you check out Miz John McCain? Wahooo, she was wearing go-go boots when I saw her traipsing around with Tiger Cage John. You think John's against torture? Hell no; he's for giving back to those foreign devil assholes the torture this poor tortured soul endured for 5 years at the hands of the then ruthless VietNamese Commies (Uncle Ho's pajama-clad, tunnel rat army) up at the Hanoi Hilton--I mean they pulled all of John's teeth with a pair of pliers and no painkiller. They put John in a tiger cage--a hole in the ground with a metal roof over the hole that was situated right out in the middle of that hot jungle sun. Occasionally they would come and pull John's fingernails and toenails out by their roots with those same toothpulling pliers we assume--can you imagine what that son of a bitch endured. Every dude I knew who survived Nam was nuts--even those that weren't captured by Charley--but especially those who had to kill Charley and all the innocent men, women, and children they killed in the name of killing Charley--remember that famous film from the VietNam War that shows the naked Vietnamese girl child running crying up the middle of a wartorn road while her grandmother runs scared behind her as they run away from a murderous bunch of American search and destroy dudes--I think they eventually shot and killed the girl--anyway--that war gave us a whole host of nutjob soldiers who saw death every day--dust, death, blood, guts, splattered brains--soldiers some of whom in anger have masacred families out of their soldierly duty--some even raping the young daughters in front of their parents before they then blow their brains out--or as one VietNam-vet told me one time, "Hey, man, we'd fuck those gook babes and then put a grenade up their pussies and blow 'em to kingdom come." And all the while the Rolling Stones were singing "All I need is satisfaction!"--blaring it all over the battlefield.
My intentions were to start a series on the blog called "Jazz Stories." I was thrown off my plans by the reaction to my Fables of Freud post--and I had to react to that. I carry Freud with me as an advisor--I carry Carl Jung with me, too; hell, I carry Eric Hoeffer with me, and D.H. Lawrence--and his "natural" man--with me--all as advisors--Philip Wylie, Henry Miller, Ralph Ellison, Gertrude Stein--all my rabbit's foots--for luck against this weird thing we call existence.
for The Daily Growler