A post or so back, I said we could stop calling Colon's Pal Colon's Pal now due to his, I thought, confessing how wrong he'd been as Sec'y of State under War Lord Bush by saying he was backing Obama! David Sirota has set me straight on this and god-damn, son of a bitch, he also made me kick myself in my wolf-man ass for letting myself be such a ninny when it comes to trying to find something decent in these political zombies we've created that now humbug all around us spending half-a-billion dollars trying to get elected (chosen by the Electoral College or maybe appointed by the Supreme(ly backward) Court) to a job that pays at most what $350,000 a year? POWER! I keep forgetting what I learned reading C. Wright Mills--
And I have to stop here and give you some C. Wright Mills. He's a Sociologist! He's a Sociologist from my era of studying Sociology and its many influences--he's one of the Sociology masters who instructed me in sociological reasoning. C. Wright Mills is famous for a book he wrote in the early 1950s, published in 1956, The Power Elite, written a decade after WWII ended, that the "righteous" war--the war in which America and the Christian god Yahweh (the Corporations) got together big time, thus the reason for C. Wright's writing this book--HERE, read this--and remember this is what my generation of Sociologists have known since reading this--how pro-fucking-phetic is this?
The powers of ordinary men are circumscribed by the everyday worlds in which they live, yet even in these rounds of job, family, and neighborhood they often seem driven by forces they can neither understand nor govern. 'Great changes' are beyond their control, but affect their conduct and outlook none the less. The very framework of modern society confines them to projects not their own, but from every side, such changes now press upon the men and women of the mass society, who accordingly feel that they are without purpose in an epoch in which they are without power.
But not all men are in this sense ordinary. As the means of information and of power are centralized, some men come to occupy positions in American society from which they can look down upon, so to speak, and by their decisions mightily affect, the everyday worlds of ordinary men and women. They are not made by their jobs; they set up and break down jobs for thousands of others; they are not confined by simple family responsibilities; they can escape. They may live in many hotels and houses, but they are bound by no one community. They need not merely 'meet the demands of the day and hour'; in some part, they create these demands, and cause others to meet them. Whether or not they profess their power, their technical and political experience of it far transcends that of the underlying population. What Jacob Burckhardt said of 'great men,' most Americans might well say of their elite: 'They are all that we are not.'
The power elite is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary environments of ordinary men and women; they are in positions to make decisions having major consequences. Whether they do or do not make such decisions is less important than the fact that they do occupy such pivotal positions: their failure to act, their failure to make decisions, is itself an act that is often of greater consequence than the decisions they do make. For they are in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society. They rule the big corporations. They run the machinery of the state and claim its prerogatives. They direct the military establishment. They occupy the strategic command posts of the social structure, in which are now centered the effective means of the power and the wealth and the celebrity which they enjoy.
The power elite are not solitary rulers. Advisers and consultants, spokesmen and opinion-makers are often the captains of their higher thought and decision. Immediately below the elite are the professional politicians of the middle levels of power, in the Congress and in the pressure groups, as well as among the new and old upper classes of town and city and region. Mingling with them, in curious ways which we shall explore, are those professional celebrities who live by being continually displayed but are never, so long as they remain celebrities, displayed enough If such celebrities are not at the head of any dominating hierarchy, they do often have the power to distract the attention of the public or afford sensations to the masses, or, more directly, to gain the ear of those who do occupy positions of direct power. More or less unattached, as critics of morality and technicians of power, as spokesmen of God and creators of mass sensibility, such celebrities and consultants are part of the immediate scene in which the drama of the elite is enacted. But that drama itself is centered in the command posts of the major institutional hierarchies.[from the first chapter of The Power Elite, by C. Wright Mills]
Now, holy Jezebel, how god-damn relevant is the above TODAY? My cynical ass has always hollered, "Nothing changes, you bastards, saying you're going to change things if you get elected! Bullshit!" As C. Wright points out, the President, Congress, and politicians are second-level power elites! In that position, neither Obama or Nutjob McCain can change a god-damn thing! Only the Power Elites above them, the heads of corporations, the owners of the wealth, etc., can affect change!
And that's why I'm callin' Soldier Nutjob Colon's Pal Colon's Pal again--pissed off--because David Sirota outscooped me on this one--I totally flipped over on my back and foolishly was wanting to be tickled because I thought it hilarious--but god-dammit, that so now pisses me off--so I've loosed myself from the leash of political correctness--Colon's Pal is a lying son of a bitch--a god-damn house Knee-Grow to the Power Elite--lyin' like a dog in Viet Nam where he was house boy under General Westmoreland the dickhead South Carolinian bigot who fouled up so badly in leading the troops to their deaths and certainly their insanity in that extremely stupid VietNam Tragedy--it's no longer a war--it's a tragedy now--so, fuck Colon's Pal! And then how dare Obama to not just simply accept Colon's endorsement, he couldn't do much about that, but then to go on and say Colon's Pal was going to become one of his advisers--and then, Jesus Holy Christ! to go on and say he was going to find a place for this lying military-warmongering dick in his administration! Fuck you, Barack, you ain't president yet! And yes I know I'm using white privilege, but, hey, if you want you can vote for Cynthia McKinney, a black woman, who's telling it very much like it is and who has well-thought-out ideas and suggestions, though she ain't got a chance in hell of being elected since she's totally been pushed out of the political arena by the ruthless Repugnicans and the two-faced Dumbocrats--totally ignoring our supposedly multi-party system--though it's never been anything but a ONE-PARTY system--the party of the Power Elite--and these assholes are still partying, baby--partying hearty on their yachts or on their private islands--trying to come up with some more changes to put us all through!
Fuck these bastards--put 'em in dungeons and feed 'em bread and water for the rest of their worthless, robbing, crooked lives! Why can't the people take POWER away from these assholes? Cause the people no longer control the commonwealth! The way to get it back? Don't pay taxes, of course, is the easiest way--that's the way the white Revolutionaries did it back during the Boston Tea Party days--where they disguised themselves as Native Americans--"Fuck paying taxes to fucking King George III, that schizo morganatic goutish bastard!"--without taxes what the hell is the POWER ELITE gonna do? Also, stop buying their products--put 'em all out of business--and without taxes, these second-story power elites like the politicians and the president, faux or otherwise, can't steal your money and your rights and bail the Power Elite out of the fixes it got itself into! But, in my anger, I forgot, the Power Elite have created Blackwater and Dimecorp as their private armies--and they certainly control our police, local and national, and all our security industries and data-gathering search engines--and they control our voting machines--and that's why voting now seems to me to be ridiculous! Vote by not paying taxes--pool what you would be forced to pay and use it in a revolutionary way. Flood these assholes with summonses not tons of money like Barack Obama and John Nutjob McCain are wasting running now for almost two years for president in the meantime allowing this country and now the rest of the world to sink deeper into what's gonna turn out to be one of the worst son of a bitchin' hard-times depressions you ever did see!
Yahoo, Chaos is here. I can hear Henry Miller cheering in his grave--"YOU were right, Henry! Chaos like abstract art and atonal music is wonderful!"
for The Daily Growler
The Hammer, a filler essay by The Wolf-Man Hybrid
--Without the hammer where would man be? Still living in tree houses; sod houses; hay-bale houses, paper houses, animal-skin homes? My dad had about 5 hammers--he had his precious Stanley claw hammer with the cherrywood handle--that was HIS royal hammer--no one else in the world, especially not a son, could use it. Then came his "ball-teen" hammer--I'm pronouncing it phonetically--which was a hammer with a standard hammerhead on one end and a round ball-like head on the other end. My dad taught me how to hammer using the ball-teen hammer. His next hammer was his tack hammer. Tack hammers were slender-headed with a small standard hammerhead on one end and a magnetic head on the other end. A good tack hammerer could hammer tacks in a mile-a-minute, like carpetlayers--what the best ones did was put several tacks in their mouths, you see, then they'd put the magnet end on the hammer up to their mouths, capture a tackhead on the magnet head, to then with a whip-like action hammer the tack down into the wood, then twirl the hammer over and drive the tack home with the slender hammerhead end--like furniture upholsterers, too, were major pros with tack hammers. It was an art that only a professional carpenter like my dad could pull off, always babbling as he hammered away about carpenters he'd known who'd accidentally swallowed three of four tacks while laying carpet and to then pop four more tacks in their mouths and keep on layin' that carpet. That's one reason I never wanted to follow in my old man's footsteps--the carpenter route--I kept wondering how it felt to shit with a bunch of tacks coming out your tight ass--or what havoc were tacks in your stomach or gut wreaking--not for me.
Then my dad had this big rubberheaded hammer that he called his mallet. They used these big hammers mainly in automotive repair shops--to do fender repairs and such--but my dad used his when changing flat tires. When you had a flat in those days, you had to take the tire casing off the wheel rim to get the innertube out so you could find the leak, put a monkey grip tire patch over it, put the innertube back in the casing so the air input valve poked through its proper hole in the casing, then you had to pry the casing back over the rim with the rubberhead mallet and the prior bar and then you filled the innertube with air--filled it with air up to the proper pressure. So you used that rubberheaded mallet and a prior bar (tire iron) to get the casing off the rim and back on the rim--oh surely thou doth get it!
To check the pressure of your tires, you used a pressure gauge--my dad carried his tire pressure gauge around with him everywhere he went, clipped in his shirt pocket along with his ball-point pens--you put too much air in these innertubes and they would blow out inevitably while you were say cruising along say at 60 mph--next thing you know you hear a loud POW and the next thing you know your car is skidding toward the roadside ditch with such a force you end up with your car flipped upsidedown and you maybe buying the farm. I can remember when traveling how conscious my dad was about blowouts. He'd check the tire pressure every time he pulled in for gas or when we stopped in roadside parks to eat or pulled into motels at night, then of course before we pulled out the next morning. My dad had been taught that temperature affected tire pressure. I still remember the dire statement, "Mister, you sure you got enough air in them tires? This 'un back here looks a little low to me."
Among my dad's hammers was also a small all-steel hammer--a silver hammer that shined like the moon when he polished it up good. It was his utility hammer but I never remember seeing him use it--he'd let me handle it but I don't remember ever using it either. He carried the silver hammer away from the other hammers in his small metal tool chest. The other hammers he kept in his huge wooden tool chest he'd built himself following a pattern his father, a master carpenter and contractor, had created back in the late 1800s--a huge wooden chest with tons of compartments in a removable shelf that hanged over a deep bottom--it was painted a bright orange and it had a big stainless steel lock on it. These tool chests contained all my father's many tools: ratchet wrenches, monkey wrenches, the big screwdriver, several smaller screwdrivers (including always a Phillips head screwdriver), a small T-square and a big metal T-square, his handmade bubble leveler, a drop line chalk marker, his many rulers--his big wooden one and his big metal one that was in a case that when you had finished measuring with it you pushed the button on it and it would suck the tape back up into the case automatically--his caulking gun and tube of caulk, his sortering iron and his big spool of sorter, his cotter wrenches, and tons of little cardboard boxes full of nails, tacks, bolts, nuts, screws, etc. My dad's tool chest. I wrote a song years ago about my dad leaving home one day during the Depression--leaving his family and going off to find work--and a little kid wondering where his dad had gone and the family kept telling the little kid not to worry about his daddy because his daddy was gone off on the railroad off looking for a job--and the little kid went to his dad's closet and looked in it and first saw his dad's hat still hanging where he always hung it and then he saw his dad's tool chest where it always sat and then he knew his dad would be coming back--it was a good song though when I tried to introduce it to the band I was with at the time, they rejected it.
Every carpenter's belt has always had a loop on it in which he or she kept their best hammer. The hammer. The tool that rules. And as I write this a whole flock of hammers are hammering away madly far across the building roofs over on Sixth Avenue where they are building a 72-story hotel--they've already got 4 floors up--working on a fifth--they hammer constantly over there starting at 8 am and going on until about 3:30 pm when most construction workers quit for the day.
On Amy Goodman's Democracy Now show Monday morning, she had Mrs. Voltaire (a Haitian-American) on air with the woman who founded Code Pink. Mrs. Voltaire was haranguing she was so pissed--you see, a month or so ago, her eldest son had been killed in Iraq. She said one government source said he committed suicide--but another source told her he was probably shot by friendly fire--plus, they first told her she had to come up with $15,000 to get his body shipped back to her--then that figured went up to $25,000, which she said couldn't pay so she still hasn't gotten her son's body back yet. This story is so wild it's hard to write about--a jumbled mess. While all of the bullshit between her and the Offensive Defense Department was going on, a friend called Mrs. Voltaire last Thursday and told her that they saw her home listed on the Internet as going up for auction as a foreclosure the very next day. Turned out the company foreclosing on Mrs. Voltaire was her subprime mortgage lender, she had remortgaged her home to send her eldest son now dead to college, was none other than good ole Larry "Treat 'Em Like Irresponsible Shit" Litton's Litton Loan Sharking Inc.--a division of WHAT company? Why Goldman-Sachs! I'll be a monkey's fucking uncle! Old Sec'y Treasure Hank Paulson's company--and you bet that son of a bitch is still connected to Goldman-Sachs--look at the supreme-control (power elite) position this bailout has given Goldman-Sachs--and the Federal Reserve head, too, another Goldman-Sachs goon--and Larry Litton believes if you don't make your mortgage payments you're a bum so he puts your house up for the highest foreclosure-predator to bid on! Larry Litton does not believe in remortgaging or reducing interest payments and refinancing loans where they are easier to pay off! Hell no. Larry says an N-worder is an N-worder and these dumbass N-worders shouldn't have taken out these loans if they couldn't pay them back--WITH INTEREST! Fortunately for Mrs. Voltaire, Code Pink gathered up $30,000 and paid her mortgage up but she's still not forgiven yet and is still subject to foreclosure.
Dumbass suckers here in New York City who bought million-dollar apartments during the phony boom that only a few years ago were $300,000 apartments (condos)(suites) with awfully low interest rates are now seeing their mortgage payments going skyhigh, which means their interest on these loans is now maybe 11% where it once was 6%--so even these poor suckers who want to live a sky-high phony life in NYC are now cryin' the blues and trying to sell their apartments--with these silly fools hoping there are Europeans, Arabs, and Israelis still out there prowling around New York City with huge pools of money behind them buying up condos and big buildings and low-level buildings and hotels and shit--but NOW--even these crooks are suffering. I just saw where in London where only a year ago everyone was spending money big time on art and big cars and castles and penthouses, you know conspicuously consuming, we used to call it "Keeping up with the Joneses," but now, just a year later, the fine arts major head of Sotheby's in London says collectibles sales are down 50%--a recent sale of Andy Warhol's pop-shit failed to even come close to the estimated catalog value of the stuff--way off by millions. All the little new rich bastards are losing their crisply laundered shirts--even though I notice Prince William and Prince Harry, those charming worthless fop brats of a morganatic royal family full of bastards--Nazi if you trace it back far enough--and remember when one of these dopey princes tried to symbolize his family's heritage by wearing an authentic Nazi trooper uniform to a classy social blast in London a few years back?--well, these young assholes are currently riding motorcycles with a bunch of other spoiled-brat and privileged fops, totally worthless to me and you and the rest of the struggling world, on motorcycles--I say, cycling about South Africa, for charity's sake, they're ballyhooing--Prince Harry was heard saying, "I say, blokes, my old worthless sot grandmother used to own this N-worder-choked country--oops, did I say the N-word--oh, that's so like me, isn't it, I say!"--One close to the Prince with his lips tight on Harry's filthy asshole was heard to mumble, "Oh, Prince Harry, your high-ass, you're so brilliantly witty, I say"--but I'm bias, don't forget.
And what a bunch of fops artists and art buyers are anyway these days. Andy Warhol for instance was a great American commercial artist who in making fun of himself and commercial art and the art public created what the "experts" labeled pop art--and then op art--and now we have oops art--this British fop who makes these very tacky and gaudy animals and toilets and shit--I can't recall his name but he's the latest art sensation out of England, where America unfortunately gets a lot of its "arts" from these days. Funny how British artists are accepted over here...oh, I forgot, we white folks in this country love Brits--we worship them--Brits are all over our commercial teevee. Brit salesmen, for instance, are thought to be the greatest salesmen in the world--watch a bunch of infomercials (those beastly devices that made commercials television shows in themselves) and on nearly every one of these marketing trick-bag shows you have a fast-talking limey shoveling the shit a ton deep as he tries to hustle you into buying a piece-of-shit product that's probably made in China by babies--like these stupid plastic mops that miraculously wash your floors and wax them at the same time or all these varieties of exercise machines or these vulgar-looking little tiny bullet-shaped machines that chop onions and fruits and shit up--something you could do just as fast with a good knife--or even a hammer!
But fuck all that. I'm currently under the earphones listening to a fascinating orgelmeister piece written by American composer Charles Jones entitled, "Emblemata for Organ," played by Justin Bischof. It floats like gently flowing stream--only to build and then keep building, amassing more and more energy as though gaining strength in order to face the inevitable coming cataract of a totally flooding stream of jammed sound! Soon the god-damn organ just spills out its most-pedal-to-the-metal skyscraper of organ energy--though not as majestically as Charles Ives's "Variations on America" can be played or the organ work of the great French master Marcel Dupre. [I once left the Hotel Colbert on a soggy Paris Sunday afternoon and strolled over to Saint-Sulpice Place to check out the famous Saint-Sulpice Church (supposedly built over an Egyptian pagan temple--I did not know at the time anything about the Di Vinci Code--I now understand this church plays a big role in that stupid book due to a brass line that goes from S to N across the church floor to end at the foot of an Egyptian obilesk that sits in the northern corner of the church), and as I walked into the tight street I heard coming from this church a forceful organ music pouring out the opened front doors--I went up the steps and peeked in--there was a dude playing the organ--way back deep in this high-vaulted baroque church. I stood on those steps and listened and then it stopped. An American guy was doing the same across from me and I asked him, "Who the hell is that playing that organ--the dude's a genius" and he said, "That's Marcel Dupre, the greatest"]. [When I first came to NYC, one Saturday afternoon in the Loeb Student Center at NYU I accidentally met a guy who told me his name was Calvin Hampton and he told me he gave organ recitals every Sunday afternoon at this church using the donations to buy a new organ for the church--and I went and found Calvin to be one hell of an talented organist and an interesting lecturer too on organology--and besides, he was playing contemporary organ music--he even played Ives's "Variations on America," and what a great work that is--there is a holy-moly great orchestrated version of it by Morton Gould--I've only seen it on LP, one of which I have, though there must be a CD or an MP3 version of it somewhere on the Internet. I find it quaint how I now get most of my information off the Internet. What a great idea! Thanks, Al Gore, for giving us such a broadband of flowing information that has so many fountainheads!]
Let me hammer this post down to an end. Going, going, sold to the highest bidder.
for The Daily Growler
Addendum: I'm currently listening to a CD entitled I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart that features James Clay, a tenorman from Dallas, Texas, and a man I had the pleasure of knowing on a more than just a one-time-hand-shake-glad-to-meet-ya kind of relationship in college. I saw James nearly every day in those days, we were in the same jazz music department, me hanging out there, him studying there, and he playing in the band there and me digging the band there--and then 5 years later when I had my first job in Dallas, James was workin' in the Ray Charles band, becoming famous, and I'd go to the Green Parrot and sit on the steps (whites weren't allowed in the club) and listen to James blow when he'd come home on tour breaks with Brother Ray and play there--and what a sound he had on tenor and flute--and James would come out of the club on his break to smoke and take a little nip and he'd always know me and trade skin with me--and James went on to the West Coast and made one album with Lawrence Marable the drummer on the Pacific Jazz label (?)--a great album--the CD or LP are too expensive for me right now because the recording has the pianist Sonny Clark on it and that makes it hot--but then in 1989, John Snyder took James along with Cedar Walton, David Williams, and the truly great Billy Higgins out to Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and made this recording I'm listening to now--a beautiful CD with a lot of space for James to do his thing--plenty space for Cedar Walton, too--a surprisingly more attacking pianist than I remember--each track is around 7 minutes long--10 tracks, including "Trane's Blues" also known as "John Paul Jones a.k.a. Trane's Blues," as it is on this CD. James is blowing his ass off on this CD--being punched up by Billy Higgins's all-star drumming and Cedar Walton is hot on this one, too, hot as a pistol with fingers flying firing off bird-flight runs all intervaled and broken perfectly--though how can you miss with Billy Higgins drummin' behind you? David Williams is a walker of solid time--he dragged a beat just then, but we'll forgive him that--it's probably a head arrangement--James simply sayin' "Trane's Blues in D" then stompin' it off--and boom no problem for Billy and Cedar but maybe a little problem for David...still it rocks me into an ease and mellowness--fuck Obama, Nutjob McCain, Colon's Pal, Hank Paulson, Sweet Sarah of Alaska--and I was proud to hear Father Lawrence E. Lucas, my favorite priest and a member of The Daily Growler Hall of Champions to boot use the phrase "Sweet Sarah" on Mrs. Granpa Al Lewis's WBAI radio show t'other Saturday. I'd be proud as Punch to know Father Lucas was reading The Daily Growler.