Monday, March 31, 2008
He was listening to Prokofiev play the piano and cleaning his nails at the same time. He did not just clean his nails he hammered them with kindness and care, driving a deep gloss into their surfaces, their shiny, too shiny surfaces--too shiny so he sanded them down with steel wool. Tough MF. Prokofiev played the piano like he liked to hear the piano played. Ach! He suddenly had heartburn. That god-damn bacon, he thought; he loved bacon, either raw or fried to a black crispness; he loved pork. Prokofiev, pork, Porky Pig; he could imagine Porky Pig playing Prokofiev. He liked to listen to Peter and the Wolf late at night when he was a bit bashed from drinking port, any port in a storm, he'd say, but then he only drank the best port in sunshine or storm, port and pork and wearing a pork-pie hat, his style, his look, and late at night he'd listen to this really old RCA Victor recording of Sergei Kousevitsky and the Boston Symphony doing it with Richard Crooks doing the narration--"My dear chilll-dren," Richard Crooks started it off; and he remembered always forever Peter's theme and the little bird's flute line and the cat's bass clarinet and Gran-pa-pa's bassoon--the Duck the oboe, the Wolf's theme, the Hunters's hunting horns, and always Peter prancing about to his Prokofiev theme and he'd fall asleep listening to Peter and the Wolf, wearing his pork pie hat, with port leaked all over his shirt front, port, pork juice, bacon stains, tomato stains, a mural of what he'd eaten that night--all washed out with port.
Tawney Port. A female character in a novel about "murder in a vineyard"--oh holy nights, he thought, I can't write crap; I just can't; like Mickey Spillane said, "I can only write crap so why try and write anything else"--but then was that the real Mickey Spillane saying that or the Mickey Spillane of his memory--and Sergei Prokofiev is playing his Piano Concerto #3 with the London Philharmonic in 1932; wonderful stuff, and Sergei could have bolted from the Soviet Union and the ignorant tyranny of Stalin and his musical goon squads but he chose to go back and suffer it out in Mother Russia, Stalin or not--and Sergei makes his piano concerto sparkle like sunlight off frozen grass on an early winter's morn, a blasting out of rays, sparkle plenty, rays and sunrays and some Rays and Ray-Ban sunglasses with glasses of port while sucking on a center cut pork chop bone, the good meat that's against the bone--eatin' meat, eatin' the flesh of the pig, that raunchy flesh--though eating chicken and fish is worse 'cause chickens eat worms and bugs and their own shit and fish eat bugs, too, and their own shit, too, and other fish, though Kurt Cobain said it was alright to eat fish 'cause they have no feelings--but he didn't like to eat fish, fuck fish, and fish do fuck in water, like W.C. Fields said when asked if he drank water--and oh god water is so filthy, and he was thinking fast, Prokofiev made him think fast, and he needed a port quick, any port he could find in the storm of his kitchen.
His phone ring a glaring ring across at him from where it hang on the wall by his bed; yes, it did indicate that he lived in a hotel, the Saint on the Cross Hotel, an old rectory restored and turned into a Bank of America hotel, and he was camping in room 909 of the Saint on the Cross, or was it the Sadly the Cross-eyed Bear Hotel--he was portly drunk by then and answered the phone with a swaggering voice, "Yes, Heel here, and Heel hath no fury like any old port in a storm, which I'm endeavoring...." "Shut up, you snob sot, and listen to me. You're needed in Cambodia or South Philadelphia or Montauk, Long Island, I have it here on a piece of paper if I can just find the god-damn piece of paper, what the hell did I do with it...." "Meet me at the Stairway to Heaven when you find it." And he hung up his phone and tore off his clothes and ran with a tumbler of port in his hand and an unwrapped Cuban cigar in his other hand, his essentials swinging to beat sixty as he shuttled into his bathroom's tiny shower.
I have never been much of a mystery fan, except, as I've admitted many times, I was a great fan of John Dickson Carr, an American-British mixture-writer whose Dr. Fell character I fell intellectually in love with--man love--the greatest appreciation a man can have for a man--different than being sexually in love, don't you think? Wev. I did try to write a mystery in French one time when I was about 16 years old; I'd just read Raymond Radiquet or maybe Jim Corbett's Maneaters of the Kumoa, something collectively colonizing like that or Raymond Radiquet and radish salads and Ray Ban sunglasses and glasses of port and hanging with a lanky chick who's drinking Remy Martin and Coca Cola--"Class, gal, much class." "Thank you, baby." "Class ass, too." "Why thank you again, baby; my name's Alice, what's yours."
But, I don't know what it is; I just can't get deductive enough--hell, I'm not a good chess player--thinking ahead is not my game--thinking rapidly within this continuing present is the way I think and that's too rapid for me to settle into keeping track of all my characters and suspicions and tallying up clues and shit--no, naw, nope, not me, I'd rather write an opera in action a musicless opera than to try and write a mystery that really is a mystery.
Mysterious in itself. Why can't I write a mystery? Is it because I'm an atheist; an "uninterested disbeliever"? And god-almighty, this Allegro ma non troppo of old Prokofiev's Piano Concerto #3 is a titanic moment--Jesus, the power--and old Prokofiev is pounding it out, broadcasting it out of the piano--1932, 21 years until he would be dead, 1953; a cold day in Moscow.
Prokofiev has always been mysterious to me, especially when I was a little kid and used to listen to my recording of Peter and the Wolf, and yes it was the same one my mastermind in the above lead-in attempt at writing a continually presenting mystery, a la Georges Simenon, an interesting character who wrote tons of books and the one I read I can't remember the title but it was about finding a girl's naked body in a canal outside Paris or Brussels or somewhere and I guess I read Simenon in a dreamstate, like I never read Agatha Christie, though I did watch the PBS-Brit versions of her various dicks and janes--and Agatha Christie was one of those kind of Brit babes who was sexually promiscuously fun to be with and bang and then leave and then let her run off to some unknown corner of the world, a hotel, sometimes with another woman, and oh god their Lesbian love must have been softly diminuendo at first then to crescendo up like a Prokofiev piano concerto's Allegro ma non troppo--a moaning whale of a singing moaning whale of a coda and a singing, wailing, whale of a moaning, morning moaning, mooning the moon of moonglow and moonglare and moonshine and any moonshine port in a problem port that has no port where only a little moonlight will do--and if I were writing a children's book my character would be Young Will Do, the Do who does!
Prokofiev the composer of pianistic volcanic eruptions done in a "Mellow Tone."
The crime in a mystery most always has to have a murder as its runway, from whence all its airborne ideas go running off looking for intrigue and intriguing coincidences and intriguing locked-room dramas, a dead woman's mutilated body perhaps, no CSI shit for book detectives, hardnosed dicks who go craftily about solving the murders they've been handed on a 300-page paper platter full of poison words--"stealthfully she chose her weapon, the bloodthirsty blinking butcher knife just sharpened to a heart-penetrating point ready now to fulfill her revengeful wish, to see Lord Peter Grabber DEAD, DEAD, do you hear me!" Ah, the Shakespearean approach to Sherlock Holmes--and Jesus Christ, I forgot how much I loved Sherlock Holmes even the last time I'd read him for the fortieth time, The Hound of the Baskervilles! I loved those shenanigans on the Moors. Or John Dickson Carr's Dr. Fell solving the mystery of The Blind Barber.
And suddenly it's after midnight, the bewitching hour, and the full moon sails mysteriously behind its veil of clouds, dark blotting-out clouds, blackfacing the moon into dark oblivion, that time when the stranglers, the throatcutters, the blind barbers, the wolfmen, the little hopping boy and the strange lady he hopped along by come out to prowl and howl--and Edgar Allen Poe's Murders in the Rogue Morgue--animal instinct in man taking the human form of an ape and going into Paris apartments to kill. Brilliant. But not me. I'm not brilliant with that stuff; not at all. "NO, don't touch that girl's body. Please, I see a flicked ash on her half-opened blouse lapel that intrigues me the way Mr. Sherlock Holmes was intrigued by tobacco ash--not the Basil Rathbone Holmes, oh, no, the real Holmes who lives on those paper Baker Streets mapped out and dialoged by old Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself--elementary hell, just elementary to those who have decided minds--the undecided mind wanders mysteriously over the trails of his mysterious mysteries. DEATH remains the biggest mystery in life. Why who would do such a thing?
Millions upon millions of people have died from murder, rape, being hacked to death by machetes, maimings of all types, waterboardings (reminds me of Octave Mirabeau's Chinese Torture Garden--2 million have died in the Congo since 1998; 1 million Iraqis since the US Occupation; 1 million in Darfur: DEAD; stacks of bodies just left to rot in the suns of the deserts or left to be eaten by crocodiles in some lost lagoon with the bodies of the hacked floating like bait above the hungry crocs's hungry snorting snouts as they lunge their aged-armored bodies up from the water's depths to take huge chunks of meat out of those floating already blood-gravied bodies--and with a giant snap and whirl one croc may get a granny, or one croc a baby, a tasty appetizer, or one croc a teenage girl--ah, a croc's delight....
Ah sweet mystery of life.
for The Daily Growler
Sunday, March 30, 2008
For the past few mornings I've been learning all about the Sahara Desert from Paul Bowles the American writer and composer who loved Northern Africa, especially Morocco, to the point he lived there for over 40 years of his long 90-year life. One chapter in Bowles's crammed-full-of-great-writing and information little book, Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue, is called "Baptism of Solitude." The opening paragraph is classic Bowles:
"Immediately when you arrive in the Sahara, for the first or the tenth time, you notice the stillness. An incredible, absolute silence prevails outside the towns; and within, even in busy places like the markets, there is a hushed quality in the air, as if the quiet were a conscious force which, resenting the intrusion of sound, minimizes and disperses sound straightway. Then there is the sky, compared to which all other skies seem faint-hearted efforts. Solid and luminous, it is always the focal point of the landscape. At sunset, the precise, curved shadow of the earth rises into it swiftly from the horizon, cutting it into light section and dark section. When all daylight is gone, and the space is thick with stars, it is still of an intense and burning blue, darkest directly overhead and paling toward the earth, so that the night never really grows dark." [p 128, "Baptism of Solitude," Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue, New York: Ecco Press, 1984.]
It would seem appropriate to escape into a desert given the current condition of the world, except I can't take the heat (how ironic I make such a statement with what's going on in the desert of Iraq right now--the desert in Afghanistan). I'd die the first day there in whatever desert. In the Sahara, it can get 125 degrees Fahrenheit in the day only to drop to 28 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Bowles sez he used to go out into the desert to read and write. It must be wonderful for that, except when the winds come up and fill your nasal passages and covers you from head to toe and covers all your writing and reading with blowing sand.
I grew up on the lone prairie of West Texas, a vast flat almost desert-like extent of land that starts just west of Fort Worth, Texas, and unrolls on out farther west some 400 miles across the southern portions of West Texas on out to far western Texas where the prairie hits the southern tail of the Rocky Mountains that culminates in Guadalupe Peak (El Capitan) the highest point in Texas at almost 8,000 feet. Some parts of this prairie, especially out around Monahans, Wink, Pecos, that area, is almost pure desert, mostly sand--the Pecos Valley used to raise the finest cantaloupes known to man--I don't think so anymore since most of our cantaloupes now come from South America--most of our fruit comes from South America now, especially from Chile. I can recall when fruits from Chile were said to be laced with anti-freeze, a legal way down there of keeping fruit trees from freezing or frosting over during early springs in the Southern Hemisphere. Most of the fruits I buy from my friend the Moslem fruit and nut vendor are tagged that they are from Chile. Every now and then he has organic blueberries from New Jersey, but most of the winter blueberries come from Chile or some come from British Columbia. Blueberries are supposed to be one of the holistic miracle fruits. I've started eating at least one 8-ounce package of blueberries every day along with my two pounds of almonds--combined, blueberries and almonds are supermiraculous, and you know I believe in miracles, right, but still I eat my blueberries and almonds faithfully every day. I still eat steaks, too, though, so I'm a contrary holisticist--in fact, I had a tasty 12-oz. rib eye last night at my favorite Irish pub just up the street--along with mashed potatoes and gravy and a thick onion soup. How devastating was such a meal to my holistic ideals! I didn't give a damn; I love a steak every now and then, like every other day. I know, I know, our cattle are sickly force-fed bulky sad-looking creatures as they are bulldozed onto the killing floors whether they can walk or not--I know there is probably Ebola in our cattle--and I know our cattle are kept alive by tons of antibiotics and vitamins--I know all of this, I was raised out on the prairie, which was at one time a vast grazing land for hundreds of thousands of Hereford cattle that ran from west of my hometown on up high into the Caprock, the beginning of the Panhandle of Texas--short-horned Herefords--a surviving type of cattle who can eat bull nettle and survive--who can eat Gimpson weed and survive--who come herding in at eventide to get some water out of the windmill tank and some salt off the blocks of mineral salt thrown over the floor of their night pens. Range cattle they were called then. Then came feedlot cattle to my part of the world after WWII and these feedlots got bigger and bigger, starting around the cattle auction barns, and eventually feedlots became huge, covering many acres, taking the cattle off the ranges, keeping only the breeding stock and bulls and prize cattle on the ranges and all the fat stock in the feeding pens.
The best steak I ever had? Maybe at the Plaza Hotel in El Paso, Texas, one night after winning big bucks at the Juarez dog track. Certainly at the Lowake Inn Steak House in Lowake, Texas, many times, this little city south of Abilene, Texas, in dry-ass West Texas run by a tribe of Dutchmen--Lowake had an airport it was widely known for its steaks--and the first steak I ever had at Lowake was a Kansas City strip sirloin order (it cost $7.50) that was served to you in a big bowl, maybe 5 strip sirloins in the bowl. You were started off in Lowake with a bowl of soup made from steak drippings and red beans--like a steak chili--then came the platters of steaks and a huge platter of onion rings and then the 16-oz iced mugs of Falstaff beer and off you went on a steak-eating binge. The Porterhouse steaks at Lowake I later learned from personal eating experience were 32-ounces and covered a big platter and were so big their edges draped and messily dripped over the sides of the big platter.
The worst steak I ever had was in Pendleton, Oregon, sheep country, at a steak house-hillbilly radio station (pretty cool idea--the restaurant was inside the radio station and you ate watching the control room and hearing the broadcasts, like I said, mostly hillbilly record playing and advertising jabber in between). My wife and I were driving down from Canada heading back to Santa Fe, New Mexico, back when we were happily married and I had been faithful to her for 3 years, and we started seeing these magnificent signs telling us that it was only 50 miles to the greatest steaks in the USA--then only 40 miles, then only 30 miles, by now both of us were dying for the greatest steaks in the USA, then it was only 25 miles, then 15, 10, 5, and then a huge sign with a giant red arrow that said, "Greatest Steaks in the USA" and was pointing down to this low-level ranch-style building with a huge antenna iron-laddering up over it and declaring down its side the big blue-painted and red-neoned call letters of the radio station, which I don't remember this far into the future. We entered the joint and felt secure--it looked like an idyllic steak house, the lariats on the wall, the giant framed photographs of cowboys roping steers and cattle pens and a railroad siding with cattle being loaded onto cattle cars--and there was a giant cactus in the middle of the room and there was a long bar and a lot of neon beer signs all around plus this big fat jolly dude sitting in a radio control booth playing hillbilly records. Every now and then he'd holler out and when we sat down we heard, "Howdy, you all, where you all from?" I looked around. We were the only ones in the restaurant I suddenly noticed. The hillbilly in the booth was talking to us. "We're from Paris, France," I hollered over to the hillbilly and he started babbling, "Hey, folks, these fine people are from Gay Paree. Inky-dinky-do, Parisiennes--my daddy helped liberate Paris, by golly, so we welcome you all here to Pendleton, Oregon, and I assume you all are gonna have one our great steaks--and we recommend today's chef special, a 16-0z killer sirloin for only $6.95 plus a free mug of Ranier Ale--you can't beat it, folks, whether you're from Paris, France, or from right here in the Pendleton area--everyone in these parts when they think of steak, they think of the radio station steak house." When the waitress came, my wife made out like she only knew Spanish and I tried a little French on the saggy-looking, I assumed, Mormon chick--"I'm sorry, folks, you all are gonna haf to speak a little English or I can't understand you all." We both then started speaking English with our Texas accents. "Wow, I always he'rd you French knew all kinds'a languages--and you actually speak better English than me when you try." With a big laugh she headed off to place our greatest-steaks-in-the-USA order.
The steaks came--with curly-Q french fries, which I hated at the time--and they didn't look to us like the greatest steaks in the USA. First of all, they didn't look like 16-oz steaks, more like 12-oz-ers, and second of all, not only were they not the greatest steaks in the USA but by the time we got the hell out of Pendleton, we unanimously considered them the worst steaks we'd ever eaten--and we had just traveled 12,000 miles around the US and Canada eating Chinese food, seafood, and steaks. We ended up after Pendleton in Burley, Idaho, after spending a full day in Ketcham at Hemingway's grave. In Burley, we booked into a motel right next door to something called, and it's hazy in my memory, the El Rancho Bar and Grill, and soon we were in that southern Idaho cowhand bar eating steaks 10 times better than the greatest steaks in the USA, cowboy steaks we ravenously enjoyed and the next morning as we headed out for New Mexico, the barowner saw us packing our Jag out in the motel parking lot and brought us over a couple of steak sandwiches for the road in a huge paper sack. "On the house," he said as he handed us the big bag of steak delights. Later we ate these steak sandwiches in a city park in Provo, Utah. Um-um good! Washed down with several cold cans of Coors.
The old Lowake Inn sitting looking abandoned.
A Lowake steak.
My dad and mom weren't steak eaters simply because in their day and age steaks were for the rich. Yes, we had steaks once a week or so, but they were small cheap cuts if we had real steaks or they were steak cutlets or veal cutlets most of the time. My first real steak as a kid came at the ranch house of my mom and dad's best friends, the Caseys. Old Man Casey barbecued steaks in his special oil-drum smoker out on a deck he'd built out over a huge pond he'd constructed by his main windmill up by the ranch house. We ate steaks out on this deck as the sun was setting in the brilliantly colored western sky that sailed huge and high and darkly coming over us as we ate these wonderful steaks under the high-sky stars. I was a kid, but I knew the flavor of this steak was tickling my kid fancy, the greasy steak juices I mopped up with some ranch-skillet bread--that's all on the plate, a steak and some bread and a bowl of drippings, nothing else except for an oil-drum-barrel-full-of-ice and iced-down Dr. Peppers, Miz Casey's favorite, to which she proudly claimed she was addicted. Dr. Peppers at one time were the Texas National soft drink, there having been formed a Texas company with their main bottling plant in Dallas, just at the south end of Love Field, the once-proud official Dallas airport, which was right in the middle of North Dallas, a heavily populated area.
When I was living on my own finally in Dallas, I was 22, just out of the army, working at my first real job ever, making $127 every two weeks--$254 a month--not a salary one got to eat steak on very much. However, one night my roommate came home from a date and told me about this J&L Steak House and how they had a once-a-week filet mignon special for $2.95 plus a great salad and french fries and all the iced tea you could drink. And I remember those yeah little filet mignons, but wrapped with bacon and grilled to perfection and what wonderful steak dinners I had there over the years until I met my bride-to-be. After our wedding, in her brother's living room, married by her Baptist-preacher father, and her father gave us a hundred dollar bill for his present to us, and we flew out of that living room, still in our wedding clothes, to Ray's Steak House in Big D, and we ate the biggest damn steaks in Dallas on that hundred bucks and had enough left over to plan our move to New Orleans, Louisiana, where we lived for over a year and a half. I don't recall eating a steak in New Orleans--ever! King crab legs, yes! Trout almondine, yes! Boiled crabs, yes! Boiled crawfish, yes (crawdaddies, we called 'em when I was a little tyke)! Red beans and rice with Louisiana sausages cut up in 'em, yes! Filet gumbo, yes! Tujacques roast beef, yes! But steaks? Not any I remember.
for The Daily Growler
thegrowlingwolf: I want to bring notice to you all that Georgie Porgie Bush, our faux "president" who is bent on ruining everything that ever was good about this country, has declared his murderous approval for the NRA-nutjob hunter types to be allowed an open season on grey wolves, especially in our National Parks--We the People's land--opening up these wilderness areas where the wolves live in combatting packs in the most isolated of these park areas to these ruthless hunters who are going to just spasmodically blow hundreds of grey wolves, males, females, pups--blow them to smithereens with AKAs--coming at these wild beautiful beasts on snowmobiles or in Hummers, their AKAs containing huge banana clips of ammunition that can be fired at multirounds a second at a defenseless grey wolf pack--blowing hundreds and hundreds of these once-protected endangered species, which Georgie Porgie took off the endangered list just for this glorious bloodletting occasion--I am, too, sure We the People's government will provide helicopters to herd the wolves into the open so the nutjob hunters can have an easier job of blowing these beautiful animals away. The ultimate reason for this? Bush has promised his rich oilmen part-time rancher buddies--Unka Dick probably has a ranch near Yellowstone Park--I'm sure he'll be out their with his shotgun hunting wolves--don't ya think--or is he still fishing on the Sultan of Oman's yacht?--he's gonna open up more of our National Park wildernesses to cattle ranging. Oh yes, folks, he's opening up those lands to the ranchers and ranchers hate wolves and illegally blow them away every years claiming they attack their animals--and this includes sheepherders, too, don't get me wrong. Bush is also opening up our wilderness by allowing roads to be built into them, which will turn out to be one day logging roads so that lumber companies can go in and log our National Parks. Oh well, I guess I'm just too dumb to see the reason for this madman's ruining our country--and with the approval of 31% of us.
And by the way, I heard a complete sermon by Brother Obama's wild-ass black-aggitatin' preacher Jeremiah Wright--and as a white man, I didn't hear anything in that sermon that wasn't damn-right true about my people who are rich and who do rule this country--like George W. Bush, Jr. Don't ya think Georgie Porgie is a racist? Don't you think Hillbilly Hill from Ark-Can-Saw isn't a racist, too? And Slick Willie? He started this "race" ball a rollin'--hell yeah, sayin', "Don't worry, Hill, I know how to handle the nigg...er-ah, gotta watch my tongue there--my black child may hear me talkin' like an Ark-kan-sez hillbilly who was born in a lean-to next to the family trailer house--er-ah, oh, I forgot, I was born in a lean-to next to my mother's trailer house...." Don't ya just know it: Bill Clinton's is a racist. Poor Obama; he's got a lot more racism gonna be thrown in his face! Wait'll the Swift Boaters under the Command of War Hero John McCain (even Slick Willie said John McCain was a war hero while Barack Obama is no hero at all) find Obama's mistresses--they found Martin Luther King's mistresses; they found Jesse Jackson's mistresses--you know they're gonna find Obama's, too! And Hillary keeps repeating the words of Lyndon "Big Balls" Johnson who said, "Call him a pig fucker whether he is or not? Let him prove he's not."
a PS for The Daily Growler [Sunday Edition]
Saturday, March 29, 2008
--From a Mercedes commercial: "We can't afford anything less than a true Mercedes-Benz." Mr. Ed: We've thought on that for a minute or two--what the hell does that mean? What is a "false" Mercedes-Benz?
--Louise Hay is 81 years old. She founded the Hay Press. Her latest book is You Can Heal Your Life. She doesn't believe in any Jehovah-Gyros or Allahs, nope, she believes only in herself--she heals herself and not some god or gods or wailing and gnashing of teeth. Her "god" is "universal energy," which she preaches is in abundance all around you day-in day-out. You want to heal yourself, then grab a handful or a bellyful or fill your lungs with universal energy and there you go off on a trip towards the healing zone. "Live in the moment," Louise says. Which means that is one of the principles of The Daily Growler way of life--"There is only the NOW; otherwise there is NADA, and nada is nothing and nothing is nothing. In the NOW, all is all, and nothing has been and will be but isn't in the NOW." Mr. Ed: Some of us think Louise Hay is a kook though we recognize her genius in putting together a self-help book publishing company that is now worth a billion bucks--this book of hers is on the NYTimes bestseller list for it's second time; it's first time was in 1972 when it was on the NYT list for 13 weeks; this time her book has been on the NYT list for 14 weeks (I'm paraphrasing so my numbers may be 1 or 2 off), which means her book has been at the top of the NYT bestseller list for a combined 26-year-separated 27 weeks--perhaps a modern-day bestselling record! This one book has made old Louise a very rich babe--and she doesn't look half bad for an 81 year old; I wouldn't kick her out of my stall, but then I'm a editing-horse who's not too particular about whose in his stall, as long as it isn't another editing-horse!
--the old Brit doctor on the PBS Atheist program is pretty cool--especially in his using terms like "thoughtless disbelief" based on Descartes's dual-mind theory (faith versus doubt).
--Tennessee Williams said, "God is a senile delinquent."
--the old Brit doctor: "Science is a corrosive against religion." Mr. Ed: Didn't science emerge out of religions?
--Lord Byron was an Atheist. What else?
--George Herbert W. Bush while president said if you didn't believe in God you didn't deserve US citizenship. Mr. Ed: Old Pappy Bush. Don't you figure the god he believes in is himself and his family?
--Democritus--All matter is particles (atoms). Existence has existed forever; therefore there is no reason for earth to be created.
--"Observations are more valuable than revelations."
--Lord Herbert of Cherbury--here is a bit about Lord Herbert's (a notorious womanizer, by the way) philosophy of truth--this piece was written by Anonymous--though not The Daily Growler's Anonymous, one of our favorite commenters.
The distinction between mind and body had not yet been sharpened and turned into antagonism by the Cartesian dualism. Man is a complex of mind and body, and, according to Herbert, all that is passive in him is body (De Veritate, 3rd ed., p. 72). -- though body itself is not purely passive. Mind, however, is never passive. It acts but is not acted upon (ibid. p. 95). Things do not act upon it but are put within the sphere of its operation (ibid. p. 95). Nevertheless, it requires an occasion, or the presence of objects, to awaken its activity, even in its highest operations (ibid. p. 91). Herbert's expressions are not quite consistent, for this awakening of mental activity is itself an effect upon mind; but perhaps he might have defended his doctrine by appealing to the harmony which exists between faculty and object. For in this lies his fundamental conception -- different alike from the traditional view that cognition must conform to objects, and from the Kantian view that objects must conform to cognition. the mental faculty supplies a form analogous to the object as it exists (ibid. p. 97); the object, again,, neither undergoes an alteration of nature nor produces one, but only enters, as it were, into the faculty's range of view. The whole process is only intelligible on the supposition of a harmony between the world and the human mind. In this harmony the human body, fashioned out of the material of the external world and containing the sense-apparatus which lead to the "inner court" of consciousness, forms the bond of union.
For more: www.iep.utm.edu/h/herbert.htm
--More about Herbert of Cherbury, the poet George Herbert's brother:
by John Butler
Edward Herbert was born at Eyton, Shropshire, on March 3, 1582, although some scholars favour 1583 as his birthdate. He was the eldest son of Richard Herbert (c.1554-96), Sheriff of Montgomeryshire and an MP, and Magdalen Herbert (later Lady Danvers), the patron of John Donne and other literary figures. He was the elder brother of the poet George Herbert (1593-1633) and of Sir Henry Herbert (1591-1675), the Master of the King's Revels, to mention only two of his nine siblings. He was largely educated at home, but as a boy he came under the tutelage of the Welsh autodidact Edward Thelwall, who apparently taught him Welsh and of whom Herbert spoke with great respect. He entered University College, Oxford, in 1595.
By his mother's arrangement Herbert married his cousin Mary Herbert of St. Julian's in 1598, and the marriage was a mixed success, Herbert claiming in his Autobiography that he remained faithful to her for the first ten years! He was knighted by James I (1603), and after a short stint on the Continent (1608-9) where he did some fighting and studying, Edward returned to England for a short time before going abroad again to fight under Prince Maurice of Nassau in the Low Countries. On his return to England he rejoined court circles and became acquainted with George Villiers, later the Duke of Buckingham and the rising star at the court of James I. This relationship culminated in Herbert's appointment as English Ambassador to France (1619-24), the highest political post he held. He was created Baron Herbert of Castle-Island in the County of Kerry, but did not receive his English peerage, the Barony of Chirbury, until 1629. His ambassadorship came to an abrupt end when Herbert managed to fall out with the Duc de Luynes, Louis XIII's chief minister. After giving James I unwelcome advice about the proposed marriage of Prince Charles to the Spanish infanta Maria (Herbert was against it) Herbert turned himself almost exclusively to intellectual pursuits, which is where his importance lies.
At the outbreak of the Civil War Lord Herbert found himself caught between his natural loyalty as an aristocrat to Charles I and his political beliefs about arbitrary power, which he expressed in an unpublished manuscript. He also resented the fact that he was still in arrears of payment for his ambassadorship and that his services to the Crown had not been, to his way of thinking, properly recognized. In 1644 he surrendered to Parliament in order to save his library from being confiscated, and he came under attack for disloyalty (most of the Herberts and their cousins the Sidneys were royalists). Lord Herbert died a depressed and disappointed man in 1648.
Lord Herbert was a brave, intelligent and accomplished man, as well as a consummate egotist. His Autobiography tells us he had the sweetest-smelling sweat and that he was irresistible to women, especially if they were married to someone else. According to Herbert they kept portraits of him hidden between their breasts. Herbert boasts about his prowess in battle and his exaggerated sense of honour. His other side was rather different: he was a significant metaphysical poet, a serious philosopher and a competent soldier. He played the lute and composed music, and he spoke several languages. He was a loyal servant to the King, and was never afraid to speak his mind. Thus, Herbert's boasting was not entirely unjustified—indeed we might say that he was the last Renaissance man in some respects.
Herbert's philosophical task, set forth in his two major works on the subject, De veritate (1624) and De religione gentilium (1645), was to effect the reconcilement of religions by uncovering their common ground in antiquity. Herbert proposed that all religions can be reduced to the following propositions, which were innate and which he called Religious Common Notions: (1) There is a God; (2) God ought to be worshipped; (3) Virtue and Piety are the essential components of any religion; (4) Vice is expiated through some form of repentance; (5) There are rewards and punishments after death. Herbert believed that he could find a formula which would result in universal assent, which implied that his system would be rational rather than based upon revelation. Herbert's system was not really Christian, and by the beginning of the next century he was designated "the father of English deism" by Thomas Halyburton, writing in 1714. He suggested that no religion was devoid of truth, but that religious belief must be examined in the same way as any other propositional system. Thus we find he denies the existence of miracles, questions revelation, and implicitly denies the divinity of Christ and his function as a Saviour. It follows that Herbert came under attack after his death by many theologians, both Catholic and Protestant.
As a poet, Herbert is of the "metaphysical" school—his poetry is tough, philosophical, and sometimes obscure, but he often comes up with powerful imagery and a kind of bleak pathos that suffuses his whole oeuvre. Herbert is a dark, brooding figure, the personification of melancholy at its best, in Robert Burton's sense. As a philosopher, Herbert is difficult—his knowledge is encyclopaedic and he loves displaying it, but his Latin style is often rather laboured, complex, and difficult, perhaps due to the fact that he employed Thomas Master, a particularly long-winded Latinist, as an adviser about the language. The second book is easier, Master having died before Lord Herbert finished the work.
Herbert's philosophical work was praised by Descartes who wrote that Herbert's "mind had few equal," by Pierre Gassendi who called him "the second Verulam" (Bacon) and by Ben Jonson, who referred to him as "all-virtuous Herbert," who could not be contained because he was "so many men" in one. His self-styled disciple Charles Blount called Herbert "the Great Oracle and Commander of his Time for Learning," and amongst others who held his work in high esteem were Tommaso Campanella, Thomas Hobbes, Sir William Dugdale and Hugo Grotius. John Donne is said by Johnson to have thought that Herbert's poetry was a bit over-complex, and threatened to write a poem on Prince Henry that "match'd Sir Edward Herbert in obscurity." Herbert made a real contribution to rationalist epistemology, and he deserves more attention than he gets. His poetry is overshadowed by that of his brother George and his philosophical works were, until recently, unavailable in English.
And there's the rascal's picture, too. We like men who stick to their guns!theunpaidstaff
for The Daily Growler
Friday, March 28, 2008
Who'd'a thought Chach, to me a people who lived in the 4th Century in a small area just outside of the city of Samarkand, was such a well-used and varied-meaning word? I Googled "chach" and got way over 20 pages--I quit looking at 20--and Holy Prophets of Doom--chach is used to mean so many different things--from the Urban Dictionary, for instance, a "chach" is a woman's vagina. A s'chach is some kind of Jewish ritual covering. I found an actor in Providence, R.I., who calls himself "Chach" due to: At the age of 10, I played hockey in Russia for a junior Olympic team where the russians mispronounced my last name as "diziachachosz" and that is where "Chach" came from.
Plus, too, there is all kinds of new information about the Chach I'm interested in though I'm especially impressed with this Catalog of the Coins of Chach, published in Tashkent, 550 pages, and you know I'm ordering one as I type this from this guy in Tashkent.
I'm embarrassed that I got so out-of-date with my Chachian observations. It's still intrigues me. In Persian it means "stone"--like the "Tash" in Tashkent--"kent" being a Persian form of "city"--Stone City. The Kingdom of Chach--were they the "stone" people? Languages! They are all so similar and yet so god-damn complicated.
And Chach is also a Latino form of music, related to hip-hop I found out--and, as I said, afore, chach also means a woman's vagina to urban kiddies.
I'm embarrassed I am so dumb--that Anonymous dude is absolutely correct--I'm one dumb son of a bitch. But then, look at all I have to learn--and learning is such fun, isn't it?
for The Daily Growler
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I have been an ancient coin collector for many years now; I admitted that a couple'a posts back when I mentioned this Russian coin dealer I happened to meet down at a New York City International Coin Show at the World Trade Center back in the beginning of the awful-looking-so-far 21st Century--among a little hoard of Central Asian coins I bought from this Russian that day were several coins from Chach. Such a strange name. So I got to researching it and found little information about the Chach except on some 500 AD maps of Central Asia showing the territory of Sogdia, an area of what numismatists and historians called Transoxiana (due to the Oxus River, which today flows into the Aral Sea--they say that at the time of Sogdia, the Oxus changed its course a lot, sometimes flowing away from the Aral Sea to flow into the Caspian Sea at Balkan--a Tenth Century historian says that traces of the Oxus flowing into the Caspian Sea could still be seen then), the western border of a nation called Choresmia and whose eastern border was the Oxus and across the Oxus west was Sogdia in the north and Bactria in the south--and, too, across the Oxus west was the Kiyzl Kum (desert) and across the Kizyl Kum east over toward the Jaxartes River, the eastern boundary of Sogdia, was Samarkand, 2,747 years old in 2007 (give or take a few years, as the Uzbekistan Website puts it)--and on these 500 AD maps of that area I easily found Samarkand and right up above it, as though a northeastern suburb, was Chach. There it was on this map--Chach. Nothing about it, whether it was a city, a country, what? The coins showed they had kings--especially a King Tarnavch--the early Chach coins showed a man's profile on the obverse--the Chach evidently bound their heads some way to make them slope back from their foreheads into an almost football shape. On the reverse of these first Chach coins I bought was either what they called a "Galloping Beast" and said it was probably a snow leopard or a man on horseback. Chach coins are readily available now at auctions and on eBay (a lot of them on eBay are in Russia and Uzbekistan and we coin collectors are warned of tons of fakes and fraud coming out of those countries) though most are not in very good condition, most of their images are hard to see, though once I got into buying Chach coins I found some really nicer specimens in an ancient coin auction out of Chicago and then my Russian dealer friend contacted me to inform me that he had an auction coming up that had a lot of Central Asian coins in it, including 5 Chach coins, 3 of the snow leopard variety and 2 with the horseman--I bought all five of them they were so nice looking--but the cost of the better coins was doubled and tripled what I'd paid for the first ones I bought from the Russian. In this same sale I also bought two silver Sasanian imitation coins, one attributed to the Volgar-Bulgarians and the other one said to be from Khazar (or Khazaria). I couldn't find anything on Khazar at first and then I discovered a home-produced paperback book called The Coins of Khazar with a very poorly written text offering simplistic information accompanied by some grainy photos of some Khazar coins. What I did learn from the book sucked me in. The Khazars, it turns out, were a state in Kiev, Ukraine, and better than that, it seems the Khazars were Jews--supposedly made up of Jewish Silk Road traders and bankers and merchants--and, yes, the coins in this book did look like my coin. One day, my friend L Hat (www.languagehat.com), who I worked with at the time, brought me a big thick book, The Jews of Khazaria, and suddenly I knew all about the Khazar Jews though I still couldn't positively identify my coin as one of theirs. And then I began a correspondence with one of the world's greatest Islamic coin experts and in one email I asked him if he could attribute coins of Khazar and he said sure he could, send it to him and for $2 he'd attribute it.
However, in all this buying books and researching I never found anything developed only sketchy guessy clues on who the Chach were and then I came across an online Central Asian coin dealer who built a really great Website with a tightly bound history of Central Asia and a whole healthy catalog of Central Asian coins complete with photos--but in this history, Chach was mentioned but this dude said there wasn't much information available about the Chach at all neither in the works of the Chinese historians and travelers and the work of the Greek Herodotus, from whom most of the information we had about this area came before the Soviet Union disbanded and Russian archaeologists and numismatists began to reveal all the information on this area, information kept from Europe and the USA by the controlling Soviet ministry.
Later on, I came across a mint on Sogdian and area coins called Shash. Sounded same as Chach to me, though I was unable to relate the two until today when I went on the Uzbekistan Website and started reading about Tashkent! Tash. Shash. Get it. And CHACH, too!
Here it is:
Oddly worded but very interesting, don't you think?
A Chach coin showing the Galloping Beast (said to be a snow leopard by Russian numismatists) from the reign of King Tarnavch.
Turns out that doing some Internet surfing in preparing this post has turned up a Chach coin fanatic living just across New York Harbor from me on Staten Island. He's got tons of Chach coins and some new kings I hadn't heard of before, like King Z/Nirt or King Asbar--I'm buying some coins from this dude--and then, a guy in Tashkent revealed there is a new book out called A Catalog of the Coins of Chach, a collaboration between V. Shagalov and A. Kutznetzov and the leading Russian Central Asian numismatist E. V. Rtveladze.
This Internet is so cool--it's like an ethereal library--so many words of importance that are marrying on the Internet to form who knows how much actuality and how much fantasy blending together to form so many next steps that formerly we had to wait years to discover. I've poured over all the literature on Chach I could find in libraries, bookstores, and at auctions and come up with bare nothings really; ironically, however, just today while tackling this post I found more info than all that others combined, plus I found a huge find in this Chach coin book out of Russia. You see when Ronnie Raygun ordered Gorbachev to "tear down that wall" so much information about that area of the world that had for years been kept hidden among Soviet scholars and archaeologists became available; before now if you didn't read Russian or know someone in the Soviet Union who could "smuggle" out books and coins you were ignorant of a whole lot of discoveries made during Soviet rule--but then still, you had to know Russian--I mean, E.V. Rtveladze prints his books with Russian-English text, but you can tell reading the English and comparing it to the Russian, there's a lot more specific information in the Russian text than there is in the English.
So this post has been a selfish one--going over this Chach thing in my head; using Chach as a spectral curiosity in my desert-dweller and mountain-climbing instincts where yes my rivers flow into whatever other body of watery conclusions they wish to flow into. This Chach people who I thought of as "lost" people now seem to be dancing by thousands across the pages of thick volumes of new literature and mind framings--Russians opening up the vaults of the Hermitage and the store rooms of the museums and the research papers of their leading numismatists and catalogers and historians--we may be experiencing a true age of enlightenment--though it may be coming too late with all this global bullshit going on as though toppling down around us, leaving us in ruins, leaving us one day to be a "lost" people--was Aldous Huxley right in Apes and Essence? Will some baboons be seen dragging Einstein on a leash on a beach near ruined Los Angeles one day?
thegrowlingwolf (suffering a writer's bloc)
for The Daily Growler
May I add that I, thegrowlingwolf absolutely loved the apology the Growler staff gave to Anonymous! Absolutely.
More Chach and Tashkent Info
Tashkent started as an oasis on the Chirchik River, near the foothills of the Golestan Mountains. In ancient times, this area contained Beitian, probably the summer "capital" of the Kangju confederacy.
The principality of Chach, whose main town had a square citadel built around the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, some 8 kilometers (5 mi) south of the Syr Darya River. By the 7th century AD, Chach had over 30 towns and a network of over 50 canals, forming a trade center between the Sogdians and Turkic nomads. The region came under the sway of Islam in the early parts of the 8th century.
Hsien-tsang (Xuanzang) mentioned the name of the city as Che-shih. The Chinese chronicles Sujshu, Bejshu and Tanshu mention a possession called Shi or Chzheshi with a capital with the same name since the V c. AD [Bichurin, 1950. v. II].
Under the Samanid dynasty, the city came to be known as Binkath. However, the Arabs retained the old name of Chach for the surrounding region, pronouncing it al-Shash instead. The modern Turkic name of Tashkent (City of Stone) comes from Kara-Khanid rule in the 10th century.From Wikipedia
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
We of The Daily Growler were bowled over by the accuracy of the comments made by Anonymous ridiculing thegrowlingwolf's traipsing about his watchtower day before yesterday while commenting on a Cadillac commercial he'd seen on media teevee. We don't go over the Wolf Man's stuff and censor it usually though now we see we may have to start checking his submissions and we'll damn sure have to do that after reading this "lying" post and seeing all the putrid and Amurican-defiling lies and misstatements and unpatriotic insinuations tumbling like rapids through this sordid piece of tripe. Obviously Anonymous has just returned from serving several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and we thank him for his service over there--or if he's a middle-age man, we know his sons and daughters are currently serving over there, surely--WARS we agree with Anonymous that we are winning--when's the last time a terrorist bombed New York City for instance! That's proof enough for us that Amurica is winning both those righteous wars. Bush is right and thegrowlingwolf is as wrong as all lefties and cynics and folks that just shouldn't live in this country if it's so unappealing to them--they should move to Cuba--there, how's that? As for us, hell, we love our gas-guzzling SUVs, our apple pie, and damn right we love our mom; the SUV stands for all of that, the Amurican way to drive, pal, none of those sissy "electric" cars for us--and using sun panels to power a car, what stupidity! We need gasoline and oil dammit and petroleum products like plastic sacks and bottles, convenience stuff, and we need tons of it, not just our share, but all of it, dammit, and that's that. That's why God (yes, Jehovah, dammit, and we pronounce it "Gee"-hovah, too, and not like a Jewy Jew or a Moose-limb would pronounce it) made crude oil and coals for we Christian Amuricans to use to our heart's content. We argue, God knows what the hell he's (we agree, Anonymous, that God is a man, right?) doing; we mean, come on, can't God put oil and coal back in the ground as fast as we take it out if we turn to him and give him our wills, our physical beings, and let him Master over us the same as the plantation owners used to Master over their slaves--their possessions, the same as we are God's possessions? Besides, why would we believe a scientist when talking about our oil reserves drying up or global warming! I mean President Bush is an ex-successful oilman; certainly we can trust him and Oilman Richard Cheney to tell us the truth about our oil supplies, our God-given right to Iraq's oil (President Bush, the blessed man, has the guts to admit God talks to him and tells him what to do) and about how there is no such thing as global warming--big lies by lefties and commie-sympathizers, except for the Communist Chinese sympathizers who are our allies now and we respect them and kiss their bony asses as a big Capitalist windfall of 2 billion future gas and oil guzzlers and greedy automobile buyers and hungry steak eaters and record-breaking pollutionists, one of the biggest windfalls in the Global Marketplace--the true marketplace--and we have President Ronald Reagan to thank for the Capital markets idea and the free money theory of economics (you need money; you print more money)--and the "trickle down" theory has worked, folks, otherwise, why are there so many rich people in the USA? Like Anonymous, for instance. You see, we'll betcha Anonymous is a dude who has pulled himself (we assume he's a real man, usually people who are Anonymous are men) up by his bootstraps so why can't these sleazy lazy immigrating Messkins and boat-hopping Southeast Asians (we won the VietNam War, by the way, folks, and don't you forget it!) and illegal sneakin'-in to our country Moose-limbs (that's what we call these heathen towelheads); why can't these outside agitators catch on?--WE DON'T WANT YOUR SMARMY ASSES IN OUR COUNTRY! We the Peopl shout out loud!--HEY, more Guantanamos!; more Abu Gharibs!; more arresting Moose-limbs and throwing them as far back into those torture cells as possible, and throw in there with them, too, their buddies the lefties and pinkos and bleeding heart liberals--God we hate bleeding heart liberals who care more about the welfare of human beings than they do the security of this great country (and "welfare" is the key word in that statement). And all the rest of the world is jealous of the USA, folks--that's what 9/11 was all about--Moose-limb jealousies--they want to be rich like us and able to drink liquor freely like us and do cocaine like rich people who live in this country enjoy and you know screw as many women as they can seduce, with their seedy, vulgar eyes scanning our pure Amurican teenage daughters and SONs--why Moose-limbs are even jealous of our God and our Christianity! And this is a CHRISTIAN nation, baby, and don't forget it, especially if you're a Moose-limb or a Messkin (most are Catholics--and you know how WE feel about Catholics! The Pope's Nose is the last part of a chicken to fly over a fence--and we laugh at that clever identification but we believe it, too. The Pope, a man who wears a dress; except at least he's German; that's the only redeeming nature he's really got going for him).
And how dare thegrowlingwolf ridicule and talk about so true an Amurican hero as that Great Senator from the heart of freedom and democracy in this country, Arizona, John McCain, the NEXT PRESIDENT of the USA, folks; finally a true hero at the head of our armed forces--a man who knows victory--men like him helped us conquer horrible old commie VietNam and save the rest of Asia from the commies and their domino theory--except not the Republic of China--that was all false when we accused China of backing both North Korea in our victorious Korean War and also of backing North VietNam in our victorious VietNam War--lies, lies, lies-- lies spread by criminals like Hanoi Jane and her hippy lovers!
So we hope this maybe resurrects The Daily Growler in Anonymous's eyes--We are one hundred percent behind our great and caring President, George W. Bush, here at The Growler--history will prove him the greatest ever president we've ever had before history ends. God (Jehovah) has truly blessed our president with wisdom and understanding--I still shiver when I hear him tell the honest truth about why we are in Iraq and not chasing after Bin Ladin (who cares about him anymore?) and what the threat is from Al Queda (even the name scares us) and how if we don't let him pry into our private lives through our phone calls, emails, where we go on the Internet, with camera surveillances every where and chips in our passports now that track us everywhere we go then soon Al Queda will take advantage of our letting our defenses down and attack us--probably first in Illinois, coming down the Great Lakes with the viciously nuclear-head-missiled Al Queda Navy and its huge arsenal of remote-controlled jet bombers that will level most of our major cities--BUT we aren't worried or afraid as long as we stick to this seemingly unending (thank God for that--100 years if it takes it as Senator John McCain boldly argues) but extremely righteous, God-approved war. We know we are in good hand when we look closer at this fine Texas gentleman at his genuine fine Amurican family--his mom and dad, his truly gifted and truly patriotic brothers, his never-seen or mentioned sister, and, yes, and a big hearty yes, his wonderful daughters, such glamorous and truly fine Amurican white girls--pure as the driven snow--and his wonderful wife, Laura (we hate those vicious rumors that Laura sold marijuana in college and caused the death of one of her friends in an auto accident), and all she's doing to help the downtrodden people of the world with her humanity, which can be expressly seen in her strong relationship with the now-free women of Afghanistan who see her as a saint.
Why, We the Staff here at The Daily Growler will be first in line at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at SMU in Conservative Dallas, Texas, when it opens! We can't wait to research the important documents that will be in that beautiful library--a distinction we thought should go to Washington, D.C.--right alongside the Jefferson Memorial, since G.W. Bush reminds us so much of Thomas Jefferson!
How's that for apologies!
for The Daily Growler
Some Great Moments From President George W. Bush's History-Making Presidency
Our War-Winning Commander 'n Chief announcing we had captured Baghdad without losing a man or woman and that the mission he had set forth to accomplish was just that!
Our President salutes We the People.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I was watching the NCAA basketball tourney (I'm bored with it already) when this Cadillac commercial came on--and that's what it said, "Life is high school with money." You know me, like Apollinaire I believe there is an art to advertising, and I certainly have known and hobnobbed with adwriters in my days in that world--and I got to contemplating this adwriter gem and I decided I agree with it, "Life is high school with money." The object of the Caddie ad went on to say it was now time for the car buyer--YOU-- to graduate up from high school and spend that money on a big bulky gas-guzzling Cadillac truck-car so you can drive in style in the big-grinning snobby world of Cadillac owners, a world of instant education, a world of instant recognition, a world where whether you are or not you look like you're rich as hell while fact'is, you're broke as hell and in debt up the ass--but what the Cadillac ad's saying is right, true life is being as pretentiously phony as possible and becoming as in debt as possible in the factual-actual world in which you should be driving at least a hybrid if not an electric car. I mean the sun's dying anyway (George Gamov, Death of the Sun) so why not mine the sun of its energy rather than rape-mining the poor old paradisiacal earth of its energy--we mortal fools can't suck the sun dry no matter how hard we try.
Of course, all who read this should know my feelings as an ex-advertising person that all ads are lies, lies, and more lies--there is no truth whatsoever in advertising no matter the sincerity of the advertisement--take those British Petroleum ads--they call themselves "BP" in their commercials--where they claim they're 100% green and 100% caring about the environment while every day of our lives BP (British Petroleum)'s Alaskan refineries spill hundreds of gallons of oil into those far North Pole waters and their refinery stacks are putting tons of pollution into what was once absolutely pure naturalized clean air so easy to freeze and BP is also using the infamous Alaskan Pipeline to shoot their oil through that steel pathway (built by We the People against our own wishes way back in our forgotten past) that runs from our northern limits down to the oil ports at Anchorage, that steel intrusion into that once virgin wilderness area, that forced-through manmade intrusion whose daily use and upkeep has BURNED a huge barren stretch of burnt land through that once virgin wilderness and has leveled that huge several-miles-wide swath of land that is necessary to contain pipeline's massive size and length that also has roads bulldozed on either side of it all along it and helicopters are flying over it constantly day and night and also there is the fact that the poison heat fumes from that artificially heated pipeline are affecting the environment for miles and miles along and around that ugly intruding unnatural pipeline, too
--And pharma ads, I'll guarantee you over me old mother's grave pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drug ads are all lies--most pharmaceutically prescribed drugs will kill you in their strongest doses--even aspirin--the way they work is the same as any kind of poison works, the stronger the dose the deadlier the result; "chemists" (what druggists originally were) control the "killer" in these drugs by controlling the dosages--they adjust the dosages of these biochemical creations to a thin-line limit (they use mice by the thousands in testing all pharmaceutical drugs--mice that die by the thousands or who suffer all sorts of tortuous tests so that stupid, ignorant, easily gullible, not-near-as-assiduous-as-mice man can live on longer so he can fuck up more of the earth and its precious airs and waters).
--A lot of these drugs don't work at all, like Vioxx or Celebrex, because their dosages aren't high enough to be affective against the inflammations they are triumphed as "reducing"--under FDA (phony) regulations pharmas supposedly can't claim their products "CURE" a disease, only that they can "keep a disease under control" or in remission--to beat out ibuprofen--which is all Vioxx and Celebrex are, ibuprofen substitutes, Celebrex claiming it unlike generic ibuprofen and branded Vioxx doesn't cause bleeding in the gastro-intestinal area, even though if you read Celebrex "Prescribing Information" you'll see that in every clinical trial there was gastro-intestinal bleeding especially when used with NSAIDs and if you read deep enough you'll even see there were several deaths during these clinical trials. "Prescribing Information," known as a P. I. in the ad business, is the finely printed info inserts that come with all drugs even over-the-counter drugs that are so finely printed and hard to read most people toss them in the garbage and rely on their doctors and pharmacists to get the recommended dosage right, which they often don't, which is another story--we average in this country 150,000 deaths a year due to overdosings of drugs by doctors or nurses or pharmacists--while prescribing the wrong drugs or hospitals prescribing you wrong drugs or drugs that have a fatal interaction with other drugs you're already taking cause another 150,000 deaths (The Daily Growler advises you to avoid ever having to check into a hospital--staying healthy enough to avoid having to even go to doctors (arrrghhh!): the Growler further recommends you avoid hospitals and doctors by eating almonds and drinking a vegetable-fruit juice mix every day of your life and doing the 30 essential mid-body movement exercises every day and walking a lot and staying in the sun 15 minutes a day and drinking lots of as pure as possible water you can find every day, throw out the salt and sugar, the wheat products--and carry a rabbit's foot or a $5 gold piece if you don't want to be cruel to animals (how come it's OK to be cruel as hell to human animals?) around with you at all times). Anyway, you get the picture I'm trying to create here with all these immediate words. I'm saying the art of advertising is in perfecting the lie to such a degree it is open-armedly taken as truth--and if not truth maybe if you're a lucky writer your lie will be taken as "fact," a strange word that we seem to value more than truth--because we are pragmatists by education and therefore see truth as fiction and only seeing some shapely form is believing. That's how Gertrude Stein, a student of William James at Harvard, developed her style of writing, based on instant observations, instant dialog, instant histories, instant dreams and ambitions, instant life all written out in terms of a continuing present tense--what Gertrude called "the continuing present" and Jack Spicer the American poet called the "Outside Real," as Jack was trying to make poetry from without like Gertrude was writing novels from without to within. Reversed imagination. Ironies developed as instantly as possible through dialog and that unrelenting between-the-lines descriptions and judgments--so pragmatic an approach to the reality of art.
In a continuance of this Cadillac commercial's meaning, I find it ironically funny how American car companies just refuse to deny they're losing money making truck-like automobiles like these huge Caddie Escalantes instead of following their-own-created Japanese automakers in suddenly bringing all these small hybrid cars to the market, Toyota already has one selling like hotcakes and so does Honda and Hyundai, but not General Motors yet though they say they're going bankrupt--and not Ford yet either and they, too, say they're going bankrupt--and not even Daimler (once Hitler's favorite carmaker and maker of Nazi tanks, etc.) wanted Chrysler, which, too, is said to be going bankrupt (and We the People bailed failing Chrysler out once before--we bailed 'em out big bucks back when Lee I-a-coconut had his 15 minutes of in-the-camera fame--and now he's a "Who?"). Of course, I'm sure most American cars and trucks are assembled outside the US these days--I remember a few years ago when GM ran a commercial talking about how the Chevvy Camaro was "the All-American car" and then it was found out that Chevvy Camaros were made in Canada.
Japan is a country We the People of the USA made over after we were the victors and to US went the spoils in our WWII win over Imperial Japan, a country whose whole manufacturing industry We the People retooled from making military machinery to making what We the People knew how to make best: automobiles, teevees, cameras, stereos, movies (we sold all our old movies and all our old recordings and our major record labels, too, to Sony), even our recording technology--why RCA-Victor had a huge "Nippon" factory at Kawasaki that began recording American records in Japan immediately after WWII--a business which was eventually dubbed JVC (Japan Victor Corporation) (we cynics called it "Japanese Victory (over the USA) Corp.")--and Japan's whole economy was reorganized by General Asshole MacArthur and his US industrial buddies to be a miniature of the American economy before WWI--the time of the American Industrial Revolution--including basing the Japanese banking system on our own banking system thus giving rise to the splurge of huge Japanese banks that bloomed during the time when our corporate rulers were telling us Japan was taking us over--remember how the media broadcast how the Japanese were making fun of our school children as being dumb as hell and hillbilly backwards compared to the whiz kid Japanese children? Why for a while there my CEOs and middle-management bosses were saying the American management forces were going to have to learn Japanese in order to be equally involved in the coming "global marketplace" that started being designed by American corporations in the 1980s just as desktop computers were coming online and this sort of instant communications world was opening up to the big corps and the computer-science geniuses came in an set up networks and databases and all that computer-connecting crap and the big shot CEOs starting spouting about how American corporations were "Bridging the Gap," meaning, "spanning the Atlantic and Pacific oceans instantly"--and the gap was bridged in the merger-mad nineties under Pappy Bush's failed economic and done-away-with-regulations policies--those leftover from Ronnie "I Got Alzheimer's and I'm Still Your...er-ah, What Am I Mommy?" Raygun's voodoo economics--and Pappy Bush's administration and its asshole-buddy cooperation with US corporations eventually got us the deepest in debt we'd ever been until his stupid son got elected illegally in 2000 and that stupid Bush baby (still sucking his thumb) got ahold of our economy and managed to break both Ronnie Raygun's voodoo-economics national debt record and his old Pappy's even-worse debt record by imposing on us and our future generations the absolutely worst DEBT ever in the history of any country ever on earth (and he's done this with impunity--he's lied and cheated us to almost Chaos using this assumed impunity--AMAZIN!, AMAZIN'! to a mortal wolf-man hybrid like me--shouldn't this failure be like serving some prison time?--ironically while these worthless human beings have wrecklessly led us into the deepest of all-ever debts, the American (Global) corporation Exxon-Mobil (that had to merge because independently they were both claiming they were hitting the skids toward bankruptcy--so which administration allowed this giant merger? Ask Hillary about that one...don't worry, nobody will) has for two years now turned in the largest profits ever made in the history of Capitalism! Exxon-Mobil now has billions upon billions of both open and hidden profits--remember, big corporations keep more than one set of books--in the famous BCCI bank case, Price Waterhouse's team of creative bookkeepers admitted to keeping three sets of cooked books on that crooked customer--BCCI: the Arab bank network from Pakistan to dear old Saudi-Arabia--headquartered I believe in Dubai or one of those friendly royal democracies--that was funding the Islamic jihad, a jihad started in Saudi-Arabia, and continued on over into Pakistan and then into Afghanistan backing Saudi-national Osama Bin Ladin and his CIA-created and -trained Mujaheddin forces that were used by the US to put the Taliban into power back in the Pappy Bush days in another episode of our still-Cold-War posturing against Russia, which we are still doing to this day, posturing against Russia and Little Boy Bush's old pal Pootin' the Terrible (ex-KGB bigshot--killing some goof with his bare hands was an everyday pleasure for a cop-type like Pootin' the Terrible back in his KGB heyday!--the Russkies are scared to death of Pootin' the Terrible, they know the database he has on their asses--plus, they know he was once a raving member of the Soviet Communist Party--still alive in Russia, still very much alive in a country that has been ruled by tyrants since its very beginnings when it was a mixture of tribal nomads brought under control first as city states and then later as a "united" Czardom. The following is from www.etymonline.com/
- 1555, from Rus. tsar, from Old Slavic tsesari, from Gothic kaisar, from Gk. kaisar, from L. Caesar. First adopted by Russian emperor Ivan IV, 1547.
The spelling with cz- is against the usage of all Slavonic languages; the word was so spelt by Herberstein, Rerum Moscovit. Commentarii, 1549, the chief early source of knowledge as to Russia in Western Europe, whence it passed into the Western Languages generally; in some of these it is now old-fashioned; the usual Ger. form is now zar; French adopted tsar during the 19th c. This also became frequent in English towards the end of that century, having been adopted by the Times newspaper as the most suitable English spelling. [OED]The Gmc. form of the word also is the source of Finnish keisari, Estonian keisar. The transferred sense of "person with dictatorial powers" is first recorded 1866, Amer.Eng., initially in ref. to President Andrew Johnson. The fem. czarina is 1717, from It. czarina, from Ger. Zarin, fem. of Zar "czar." The Rus. fem. is tsaritsa. His son is tsarevitch, his daughter is tsarevna.
I agree that most Americans are probably stuck fast in their high-school days. You know, when you were naive yet confident you knew every god-damn thing there was to know about any and every thing, unaware of death, confident in your learning in your understandings and confident if faced with a problem that you could solve it on your own and you damn sure didn't need any help from any old fogies or smarty pants college types or your parents controlling you or giving you monotonous advice. I kinda figured the adcopywriter who came up with that line for Cadillac was implying the same thing, hung up like he or she probably still is with their high school days--most of these people growing up on the East Coast, most in New York City, where high school companionships meant so god-damn much to your future--like Ralph Lauren's New York City-Bronx Jewish boy success story--or read Philip Roth's books--but then high school companionships meant a lot to me as a high school kid. My best friend in high school was in a way a better mentor to me than any teacher I later ran across in my college "career" (including two Texas colleges, New Mexico University, and later New York University).
I must admit I hated my high school days when I was living them. But while I was living them, I certainly was already aware of what this "today's" Caddie commercial is implying--yes, high school with money was the way to go and all of my high-school friends had money--my best friend's father was a millionaire songwriter, entertainer, and radio station owner--my best friend's father drove Cadillacs! But, hell, that wasn't anything, my father who wasn't a millionaire, hell, he drove Cadillacs, too; one a Caddie I drove all the time to high school. I got my first sex with a high-school girlfriend in that Caddie. I graduated from high school and lost my dad's Cadillac. I graduated from a Cadillac in high school to a used Chevrolet Power Glide in college. My first car out of college, though, and the first car I bought on my first job? If you said Cadillac, you're correct.
Yep, I didn't really have a worry in the world when I was in high school, though I worried constantly.
Jots and Tittles From the Wolfman's Traipsing Along the Watchtower
--I find it funny how the corporate media is now trumpeting all over every channel how John "VietNam Nutjob" McCain is now leading both Hillary RodHAM Clinton and Barack (Osama) Obama in the national polls! Can you believe that? I think you can.
Bush's popularity rating is still at 31%--it's been there for a couple'a years now--and those 31% are goofball true believers who'd follow any warmongering president or king or dictator right into the pits of Holy Hell regardless--it's the "America love it or leave it" crowd, the old sotty rich, the old haggy and pissed off John Birchers and Raygunites and it's the white hillbillies and Old South bohunks (as H.L. Mencken called 'em), the rightwing chickenhawks, the corporate (read "corrupt") CEOs and upper-level managers and scared shitless Middle-Amurican whites--constantly scared of anybody who ain't white as the white stripes in the US flag--suspicious of all "foreigners," even though at one time, and the Native Americans sit around on their reservations and laugh at all this, these Amuricans were all foreigners themselves--and according to Barack Obama's spiritual leader, all white folks are intruding foreigners anyway--and, hell, ain't he right about that?--I think that 31% of Amurican white lemmings who still kiss Baby Bush's phony lyin' ass feel that way anyway--and 31% is enough to win the presidency back--I mean, come on, this country is pretty much split down the middle in terms of side of the aisle bullshit--most white people if given the choice prefer white people--I can understand from this why all black people prefer their own kind--isn't that kind of natural? Check out the apes. And if you don't think human beings evolved from apes...well, then you're still livin' life as though you're still in high school and you've got gobs of money no matter what color your stupid skin is.
for The Daily Growler
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I sit in my apartment on a Saturday morning typing this, a day in what we call Easter (a Pagan goddess) weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and this morning is too quite, it's deadly quite, and it's so quiet it's beginning to wrack my nerves.
As a New York City apartment dweller for many years now I wake up every morning taking for granted there is always present that noise that you just take for granted when you live here, the noise of traffic night and day, the noise of fire engines wailing, the noise of the ambulances rushing about with their sirens screaming at you, police cars squealing and high-pitchly whining around town, the noise of garbage trucks picking up the tons and tons of garbage, the noise of Con-Ed jackhammering up the street on what seems like every other street, and during the regular week you of course expect the noise of the many construction sites developing like weeds around you, and there are usually a lot of helicopters flying over Manhattan during the days, and even in the middle of the night there are jackhammering noises and roaring noises and beeping-truck noises and always sirens, and there are people hollering or screaming or hooting in a celebration or harm of some kind all the time and horns honking and truck horns blasting--you see what I mean? So to wake up and suddenly realize you don't hear that taken-for-granted noise and instead it's deadly quite scares the hell out of you. You lay there going, "What the hell's going on--it's so fucking quiet? Come on. There's gotta be some noise somewhere! Has the rapture happened?" [I know, I have White Anglo-Saxon Protestant thoughts--I can't help it.]
I get up and go get my breakfast around on Fifth Avenue. The city is silent except for gangs of tourist-bus tourists gaggled up and walking around freezing and looking at maps and gawking up, always gawking up--
And it was cold as hell this morning in Manhattan and the tourists weren't dressed for it--in their cheap-looking polyester winter jackets--but damn I hate tourists--and I also hate being a tourist, too. When I visit a place, I wanna try and live there--that's traveling to me, not going to some junky manmade "paradise" for some quicky week's worth of doing the same thing you could have done had you stayed home and gone to a fancy Holiday Inn or something where everything looks the same and even the natives look the same and the food's the same no matter the country and like I said the tourist hotels all still look like early-day Holiday Inns to me, tacky rooms that seem exactly the same, the same sheetrock and plastered thin walls with the crappy starving artist art, the same furniture, the same television set sitting on a table that looks like that same furniture, and a sliding glass door leading to a balcony overlooking a swimming pool area--
When I visit another "land," as the old folks used to call a country, I like to check into a local small hotel, I used to like the South American hotels with the canaries and love birds in cages all around courtyards of banana trees and jacaranda bushes with wrought iron balconies precariously dangling off the old building over your head, and then you order up beers and a bottle of rum and some coffee and some cigars and the local papers and you peruse the local papers looking for an apartment--or you ask the hotel people if the hotel will rent you their best suite of rooms on a monthly basis--like when I moved to Mexico City to live there I went to the manager of the swinging little art deco hotel my wife and I had checked into to use as a base of operations in looking for digs and ask him about renting apartments in the neighborhood and he offered me the hotel's penthouse suite on a very reasonable monthly basis and my wife and I took it and lived there in a miniature Senor Slim lifestyle for almost a year, with, just outside our sitting room, our own garden and fountain on the roof that overlooked the Reforma as it ran elegantly toward the Angel and the Hotel Isabella (La Zona Rosa where we hung out every night--usually at Chips Jazz Club and the Swiss Chalet Restaurant) and Chapultepec high below you on the smoky horizon. And in Mexico of course I was taken for a turista, "Shoo shine, meester?" "Chicle, Senor?"--except my wife saved my ass 'cause she looked Mexican as hell, she was a Mexican-Choctaw-Welsh mixture, a white beauty in the winter and a brown beauty in the summer, with long "raven" hair that los caballeros del Mexico (Los Machos) love and Praise the Lard she had that wonderful full and gorgeously round Hay Yi Yi Span-eesh ass and a bosom as full as Daisy Martinez's, so I hid my Gringo-blanco cula behind her skirts, except she seldom wore skirts, always tight pants and jeans--what a beauty--I should have stuck with her, but then, yep, there's a lot of things I should have stuck with but didn't. Hey, I'm like Mr. Natural, I just keep on truckin' no matter the road. Thing is this little darling didn't understand how much I loved truckin' and keepin' on truckin' and one day she was ready to nest build and nest-egg lay and all that homey shit and I tried to live it with her but couldn't and ended up fleeing her, flying back to Texas where I tried to get my PhD at the University of Texas--though soon she came back to me and we were galloping off into the sunset again only to end up with her finagling me one day sittin' in a bar on Michigan Avenue in Chicago into returning with her to New York City and I did it, I followed her back here to NYC and as soon as we got back here our marriage fell apart and soon as I was in Port au Prince, Haiti, getting a divorce in Baby Doc's private court next to the National Palace, and then able to leave Haiti (or stay there, hell, I was having a sordid affair with the absolutely gorgeous salad lady at my hotel) free as a bird--SO where do I return? Why, of course, to my Capistrano, New York City! I had the chance to go anywhere in the world to live I wanted once I was divorced--she kept the apartment in NYC--so I had no ties to NYC--I was a freelancer so I didn't need to be in NYC to get work from television and publishing--I had money in the bank, plus my generous wife gave me some good oil stocks--but I came back to New York City. Why? I'll tell you why!--because by then I had gotten involved with another god-damn blessed woman, a woman ten years younger than I was, fresh, and I do mean fresh, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I fell, you know, head over friggin' heels for this symmetrical bundle of youthful energy and bouncy charm all wrapped up in a fatless firm worked-out soul-disturbing body--and as a result of this return, I've become stuck in New York City for a huge chunk of my life now, nailed to the cross of NYC--and there I go talkin' WASP again--but, like I said, I can't help it.
The quiet day stretched on toward eleven o'clock. I still couldn't believe it was still deadly quiet after I finished my breakfast and started practicing my piano. My nerves were jitterbugging. There had been a horribly torturous noise coming through my windows all the past week as the demolition crews were beginning to demolish to two buildings next to my building--there are two instruments of noise torture that all construction workers in New York City have and that's one of these hand-held jackhammers and a regular old hammer. These hand-held jackhammers are used for everything from tearing down a brick wall to tearing out window frames and facings to ripping up hardwood flooring. The regular old hammers follow the jackhammers--they jackhammer for several minutes then they regular-old-hammer for several minutes--all day long from morning until around 5 in the afternoon--so I sat not able to enjoy the deadly quiet due to the torture of anticipating the taken-for-granted noise--GOD-DAMMIT, I KNOW IT'S COMING, THE NOISE, WHERE THE HELL IS IT! THERE'S GOT TO BE NOISE! It got so bad it was as though suddenly I had to have noise or I was gonna go bananas. Shit. It was pure-dee torture, folks.
The noise started around 11 o'clock while I was drinking the last of my coffee and had the laptop out fixing to start writing on another one of my several-intended jazz stories--though the one I'm working on right now is rather sociologically taxing--very deep, calling for deep thinking writing, writing that has to solved a couple of parallel solar-plexus issues--it's deep--you know, I'm writing transcendentally--holy cow, I'm writing this new jazz story like Ives wrote the Concord Sonata! And just as I got Charlie Ives's book on how he wrote the Concord down off the shelf and was searching through it for inspiration, the noise began, the hand-held jackhammer in the being-demolished building next to mine, just one apartment away from my apartment and the one window I have that faces in that direction. At first the jackhammering was barely perceptible so I figured I was conjuring it up out of my anticipation of it. That satisfied me for a while though it gave me no peace; I still was fiercely so anticipating this noise that again I was losing control of my composure, COME ON ALREADY, YOU BASTARDS, DRILL A HOLE IN THIS PEACE...JACKHAMMER ME BACK TO SANITY! And just as I was about to pull my hair out, the jackhammer came out naked in the open and started drilling and rasping and machine-gunning noisily away as though just outside my window, so noisy it reverberated all around the neighborhood.
I finally relaxed and watched television. What was on the news? The New York City Department of Buildings has been using volunteer engineers to inspect building sites around town and they arrested this elderly old codger engineer who had put his blessing on the construction crane that toppled over on the blessed Upper East Side of Manhattan, killing 7, 6 of them construction workers, and 1 woman who was visiting NYC for St. Paddy's Day, and injured 20, and caused several hundreds of millions of dollars in damages (it destroyed a whole 5-story building and structurally damaged who knows how many other buildings--pretty much crushing the top three floors of the apartment building onto which the crane toppled in the first place).
It seems at this moment in NYC there are 250 cranes up and running--all of them having been inspected by this Dept. of Buildings handful of tottering old volunteer engineers--in the meantime, our little billionaire mayor is out in the street talking about what a tragedy this is and how he's gonna look into it and I'm thinking, you little prick, it's your rezoning policies and selling out our land from under us to your developer pals or the royal-ass families of Saudi-Arabia, Dubai, Oman, the Arab Emirates, or rich bastards from Great Britain, Israel, Japan, and of course, the world's leading Capitalist Pig nation, the People's Republic of COMMIE China that is causing this wild-ass stupid hi-rise-luxury-apartment-and-hotel-building spree going on here; it's your construction bullshit that is causing all the traffic tie ups that your congestion pricing flim-flam is now supposed to remedy, you crooked little-man creep! I am ironically laughing like a cynical hyena--even though I'm a man-wolf hybrid--you see how whipped I was this morning--all that peace and quiet! I couldn't take it. I squealed.
for The Daily Growler