Friday, February 08, 2008

The Wolf-Man on the Observation Deck

The View
--I never watch Charley Rose on teevee. Why? Here's why--wait, I must first say--I gotta be honest--I think he's a lucky son of a bitch--like talking PBS, We the People's public broadcasting company, by the way, into making him so vaunted a talk show host--though big goofy Charley failed on CBS and the failed 60 Minutes 2 or whatever it was called. I have no idea where he came from talk-show-host professionally--he's been around for several coons's ages--and who was he banging up there in PBS heaven that wrangled him the job?--one of those chicks on the PBS board? (Ponchita Pierce used to be on the PBS Board; does anyone recall when Ponchita Pierce was involved in a scandal that shut old horny Nelson Rockefeller down for good?--Spoiled rich brat, Nelson, did, however, die a very satisfied male, with his pants down around his ankles and a big smile on his face.) I don't know much about Charley Rose except he's a lawyer from North Carolina and I assume he went to UNC at Chapel Hill--it used to be a fairly progressive university for a Deep South school created off tobacco wealth--how many Americans died of lung cancer and esophagus cancer--very painfully, especially back in the old days--so that UNC could be the fine, upstanding, tobacco-state university and basketball-freak school? (Anybody remember Charley "Choo-Choo" Justice when North Carolina had a great football team?)

Why I Don't Like Charley Rose--and it is personal and a little stupid, but it's because my late great brother was a guest on Charley's show back in my brother's heyday--the 80s--and Charley opened the show by announcing that that night his guest was one of his best friends, my brother. My brother came out and did a fine job with Charlie Boy--held his own. After the show, I called my brother's hotel here in NYC and congratulated him. He said, "You know something weird? He introduced me as one of his best friends and I'd never met the guy before in my life."

As a knowledgeable aside, my brother, by the bye, and I am a braggart at heart, worked for the Ford Foundation back in the 70s putting together the first PBS Newsroom concept in Dallas, Texas, the second one to go online after the original went on Channel 13 (the PBS-designated channel) in San Francisco. My brother's first moderator for that Dallas Newsroom was Jim Lehrer. PBS Newsroom later evolved into The McNeil-Lehrer Report.

Aha! I love my life and all the characters who have waded through it with me as I struggle to get to the deep waters of the human ocean.

My brother and I really weren't that close--we were genetically alike but not personality-wise. We looked alike, though I was a blond and he was redhead; he wore glasses and I didn't; he was 16 years older than I was--he was rich and famous by the time I was old enough to get to know him, though by the time he died, we had become truly brothers though still miles apart in our beliefs.

For most of my life, my brother was very jealous of me, sometimes bitterly and angrily so--and it was because he was born during the Great Depression and he had had to get a job when he was 14 delivering papers to help the family out--and he had to pay his way through college by working as a banquet waiter on weekends in two Enid, Oklahoma, hotels, running from one hotel to the other all night waiting two different banquets at once.

While I--well, let's see, I was born during WWII and my dad had a good job working for the Air Force as a Civil Service worker so my parents were well off for the first time in their marriage--and one day when I was about 17 and working in my brother's bookstore, my brother confidentially told me I was a "love child" and was conceived on a Christmas Eve. The story he told goes: my dad occasionally left home--he always admitted he had wanted to be a hobo when he was a young boy but he got married when he was 20--my mother was 16--so he didn't have many years as a young boy to want to be a hobo and by the time he was married he couldn't be a hobo. Except he did follow that wanderlust of his boyhood desires occasionally--like especially when he'd have a big fight with my mother or her mother or her sister. My brother said he first just would go off for a few days, but then he got to going off for a week sometimes and then several days later mother would get a postcard from him wherever he had ended up--once after I was a kid, he went off and ended up sending us all postcards from Philadelphia and New York City, where he was for a couple of months the summer I was 6 and he'd finished his Civil Service work and was out of a job but had plenty of WARbucks in his jeans.

So my brother's tale told that my dad went off that early December before I was born in August of the next year and he was gone for a couple of silent weeks. My brother said he surely thought their marriage was over because this time he'd overheard mother telling her sister that she was gonna divorce my dad's cheatin' ass. But then, my brother said, my dad luckily came back home, knocking at the back door, the kitchen door, then coming in hat-in-hand and all droopy eyed, apologetic, sweet talkin', and bearing gifts and ready to suffer the humiliation of being cursed wholeheartedily and viciously out by my very serious-minded mother, which he endured like a real man, according to my brother, and for which he was rewarded that night with a little make-up lovin' and 9 months later there was I.

And when I was 14, I was playing the fool and certainly did not know how to work! When I went to college, my parents paid my way! All five years. Plus, then I married a really totally overwhelmingly good-looking 18 year old and we loped around all over together, not working, traveling all over, living in New Orleans; San Francisco; Victoria, British Columbia; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Key West and Boca Raton, Florida (God I came away hating Florida); then finally ending up in New York City, living just off Sutton Place on East 56th--a high-rolling neighborhood--and my young wife was an executive-charming phenom of a sexy lady (she really was too intellectual to be sexy to anybody but me--she was beautiful to other men, but she presented herself in such a loyal-to-me way those men wanted her but they respected her loyalty to me; some of them actually came to me and begged me to leave her so they could have a shot at her and I would shrug my shoulders and say, "Hey, why you asking me to leave her so you can have her? Hell, ask her to leave me." "We have," they replied, "and she told us to come ask you." My late, great, gorgeous wife started working for very rich men, paper cowboys she called them, and after we settled down here in NYC, she just got better and better salaries and ended up the first woman on the board of the largest executive recruiter in NYC and a major stockholder in the MacMillan Oil and Refinery Co. of California--so SURE my brother was jealous of me and the EZ-pass life I was living while he was jousting his way to fame in the newspaper, publishing, and television world--and it wasn't an EZ-pass for my lotta-guts brother.

I watched him rise to success on his own fortitude. He went from my hometown newspaper to Dallas's largest newspaper, the Dallas Times Herald. He forced his way onto that paper--they told him three times they couldn't hire him, though finally after he asked them for the fourth time, they hired him and he right off became the Book Page editor with a literary column that was so well written, they soon promoted him to editorial page editor, a promotion he got just prior to the Kennedy Assassination. As a result of my brother's editorials on that assassination and its effect on the Dallas of 1963, a rabid rightwing conservative city at the time--remember, the week before Kennedy came to Dallas to meet his fate, Adlai Stevenson, the egghead, then Ambassador to the UN, had come to town to be met with spitters and people trying to hit him with signs that read "The UN is the AntiChrist!" or "America! Love It or Leave It." "John Boy, you're a fucking fool to go to that cracker city," he told Kennedy just as JFK was packing to leave for the trip. As a result of my brother's Kennedy assassination editorials and after he received all kinds of journalism awards, the owner of the Dallas Times Herald, the widow of the paper's founder and the majority stockholder, called my brother to her bedside where she was definitely dying of cancer. As a reward for her being delighted by his editorials and the great press and publicity it had brought her paper, she willed him her controlling shares of the paper. Soon the Los Angeles Times bought the Dallas Times Herald for 95 million, at that time the biggest-ever media buy out deal, which made my brother a tenth owner of the L.A. Times--and he was jealous of me. I don't even read newspapers much less own one. But, sibling rivalry makes for some strange feelings on both sides--I've hated my brother more than once in my life--he was a pompous ass after he got rich and famous, an attitude that lasted until one day his doctor told him there was something wrong with his heart and when he asked what, the doctor told him his heart was deteriorating rapidly and his only hope at continuing on with his earthly existence was in having a heart transplant. That heart transplant gave him 18 extra years of life but cost up in the early millions of dollars--it didn't wipe my brother out, but it left him having to sell all his stock and his big house in Dallas--and then his wife of 40 years up and died on him....

My poor forebearing mother: a 16 year old who'd fallen for a good-looking wild guy who played tennis and wore tennis flannels and silk shirts but who wanted to be free--to be a hobo--getting married because, well, let me put it to you bluntly, my dad was a highly sexual man plus he was moviestar good looking and a natural-born lady charmer and he charmed my sixteen-year-old cute-as-pie mother out of her knickers and knocked her up with what was eventually delivered as my brother.

My dad's younger brother who was even better looking than he went to Hollywood to be an actor in the 30s--he was pumpin' gas at a Flying A filing station on Hollywood Boulevard when he had a massive coronary--and he was the first member of my family to die in Los Angeles, but not the last--the last was just two years ago when my brother's son, my nephew, blew his brains out in a California State Park within the hinterlands of L.A.

So my dad loved the ladies and he attracted them by the bales--at his funeral, he died in a car wreck at age 62, women came down and threw themselves on his casket, one screaming and crying the most being a cousin of mine, his brother's daughter. At his death at 62, his hair was still coal black--which brings to mind another weird fact about my family: my mother was a brunette, my father had coal black hair, my brother was a redhead, and I was a blond. Three of my brother's four kids were blonds--one, and he looked just like my father, had coal black hair--he's another one who died in L.A., by the way.

Hey, I could write a novel called Dying in L.A. Jesus, a quartet! Wow. Like Larry Durrell, I could write my Alexandria Quartet about dying in L.A! [Justine is my fav; Balthazar is intriguing; Mountolive is extremely weird and very British queer; Clea is about a woman artist.] I love Durrell's women, especially the Egyptian woman writer who writes in a room she occupies with a king cobra and to whom she gives bowls of milk while she's writing, which the snake humbly slinks and sips as he sprawls out by her side. Durrell's is beautiful writing; he was great pals with my literary pal Henry Miller--the two of them wrote some god-damn great books. Sexus, damn what a novel. The Tropics--you gotta love the Tropic novels of Henry Miller. Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus: The Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy. Sexus ends with love-lost Henry Miller crawling around on his Brooklyn apartment floor going "Woof. Woof. Woof."

[God-dammit,, why the hell isn't our Spell Check working? Come on, you bums.]

--and speaking again of the Charley Rose Show--I just happened across it tonight and it was fucking way-out scary. Charley had three loose-wigged rightwingers on, one the head of the Southern Baptist Convention (wow, what a racist, rightwing bunch of holier-than-thou clowns those Baptists are), and another a Conservative pundit, and the other another one of Charley's pals who was rightwing but more left-leaning than the other two; yet, what scared the hell out of me is that the show was one long yowling of praise and statements of divinity on the old VietNam Nutjob Cap'n himself, the next president of the USA, Cap'n "I'm Bailing Out" McCain. I mean these fools were tripping all over themselves with next-to-Jesus-like worship of this warmongering little spoiled military brat fool--this man who is now trying the scare tactic by talking about another 100 years of WAR, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and then through his beady little pig eyes he looks right at you and says he thinks a vote for the Dumbocrats will mean this country will turn tail and run from Al Queda and next thing you know, yep, folks, the towelheads will be swimming ashore up the Hudson River ready to pilfer, rape, desecrate, and dilute our New Aryan White Race--to hell with the Blacks, Jews, Asians, Messkins--to hell with all these immigrant criminals--we got to save this land for the white man, and who's the right white man to do it--why it's Cap'n John the Mighty Warrior.

The Baptist guy was really glowing with his praising of John, as though John were as righteous and pure as all the driven snows piled atop each other, and then one guy, the Conservative pundit, was quiet open with his saying the Dumbocrats were cowards and Hillary was a hump and Barrack was going to get Swift Boated and soon Al Queda and the Taliban will be coming ashore to take us over. Oooooooh, I'm'a so scared. But what a gaggle of fools--and I'll throw old Charley Rose into the sheep dip, too, because he was chuckling away and being all serious with these fools.

There's no hope for us, folks. These fools are not going to give up the WHITE House all that easy--they are all so crooked as hell--they hate Billy Jeff Clinton, too--why, they hate him so much it makes you want to defend old Bill, who one of the right wingers called a "draft dodger," not explaining that he, too, had probably been a draft dodger and certainly the Baptist preacher was--God's deferrment--unless you were Mohammed Ali and claiming you were a minister of the gospel and demanding a deferrment.

--but Cap'n John McCain, he's a war hero, so how's Hillary and that N worder gonna be a commander in chief of our brave troops around the world when they have no military genius like Navy Flyboy (who got shot out of the sky over Hanoi--how does that make him a hero? Makes him a loser to me) Cap'n John "Man of Integrity" McCain?

The Conservative pundit nutjob got all teary eyed one time in his over-the-rim praise of McCain and said, "Charley, I'm gonna tell you, you read chapters 21 and 23 of this biography of John and by God you'll see what a hero this man is, what a tough man, what a MAN! Just the man we need during this time when this country, in spite of what Hillary and that N-worder are saying, the cowards, is under now a worse threat of attack than ever"--then these idiots in the same sentence bring up how "the surge" has worked so well in Iraq, the genius of our current Commander in Chief, little spoiled brat rich boy Georgie Porgie Bush--hey, so he went AWOL from the Air Force--so what, fuck you!

Boy are we in trouble, folks.

The Repugnicans are getting ready to get down and dirty with whichever fool eventually gets the nod from the Dumbocrat superdelegates...

What a joke our political system is.

--liberal white folks should be checking out England for escape--at least if you get sick over there they treat you and try to cure you for free; and if you die, they bury you for free. Hail Britannia! [That's an imaginary character in my mind writing this--I'm a dues-paying Anglophobe.]

thegrowlingwolfdrunkonthepoopdeck (Popeye's father was Poopdeck Pappy)
for The Daily Growler

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

Oh Growly-pants, you're hilarious! I'm still readin' you out here on the west coast, in case you thought I disappeared.