All Along the Watch Tower
I was sitting in a junior-year Sociology class in college back in my golden days, a day when I realized what it [the Id] was all about--I had gone to this college on a half-year golf scholarship with nothing much on my mind but golf and girls and cars. I was miles away from knowing what the hell I was going to do in life--so I had no idea what the hell to major in--major, what the hell was that except something high ranking in the army?
And sitting in that Sociology class that day...--and after golf, girls, psychology, experimental psychology--I worked on a study that came out of the Howard Johnson's restaurant headquarters hiring Harvard psychologists to find colors that made humans hungry and made them desire food and these eggheads had come up with those pale off-pinks, blues, and greens that distinguished Howard Johnson's restaurants from the others like it for many years--
One day, during my sophomore year, after falling asleep in my Experimental Psych class, this classmate woke me up--the guy who taught the class was a superboring lecturer and even taking handfuls of No-Dose (caffeine tablets) didn't keep me from passing out in this dude's class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings around 9:15 about 5 minutes after he'd started his lecture--and his lectures concerned deep shit, too, something you needed dialog with someone who understood it to get it down pat...and this dude--I think now purposely--lectured in such a monotonal almost-whisper you had to have the hearing of a bat or sit on the front row right in front of him to get anything this dude was saying--and this classmate who woke me up said, "Wolfie, every day I watch you, and, man, you pass the fuck straight out the minute old Coke [what we called him] starts lecturing. We gotta a big test coming up next week...." "A test? Jesus, I must'a slept through every god-damn class--is he still lecturing on the Yerkes monkeys and their understanding of semiotic meanings of colors?" "Hell no, man, that was two weeks ago! Let's go over to the Delta Sig house and have a beer and I'll catch you up on the test."
It was while I was at the Delta Sig house that this dude mentioned he remembered me from Statistics class and he also remembered that I had worked on a infant-death-rate study with him and how quick I was with the reckoning necessary to extend a statistical formula out to its farthest possible reach (to the empirical point of where it becomes prediction)--out among the outliers! Good title for a novel, Out Among the Outliers. Then this classmate said something that grabbed my ass good. He said, "You know, all this shit is so fucking simple. But these professors have to make it hard to keep their jobs. Like Freud invented his own jargon for his theories so he'd be the only one who understood what he was talking about--he defined his own language, and these guys are just giving us their interpretations of the fucking textbook. Do you ever read a textbook?" "Hell no, the trend is to never read a textbook." "Well, I read all my textbooks and I now know, if you read the textbook, you don't have to even come to the lecture--and old Coke, my friend, because I've read the textbook, is lecturing out of it almost word-for-word." "Hell, he wrote the damn book, didn't he?" "Well, at least you were awake long enough to realize that?" "I did glance at the damn thing, but I got bored after a couple of paragraphs of text. I'd rather read Thorstein Veblen." "God-damn right. Thorstein Veblen, you know him!" "Yeah, I studied with RBM." "God-damn, I love that bastard. I'm in Sociology because of him." And that's what got me into Sociology. This dude told me all about how psychology, economics, even certain literature--he loved Balzac--came out of Sociology--old August Comte the encyclopedist--blah, blah, blah.
And sitting in this Sociology class--by then I was reading my textbooks--but I was still unsure about what Sociology really was until my teacher, a Harvard-trained dude, gave a little lecture on the empirical aspects of the "science"--and this teacher believed it was a science since it was based on in-depth empirical studies--observations, catagorizations, geographical and geopolitical lines of demarcation--a Gestalt look at the whole of a society boiled down to its commonest denominator--in other words, the conclusions reached in Sociology were at that boiled down point we call common sense, the most logical way to think and react to any faced situation...and this is the truth that hit me square between the eyes that day--IT IS ALL SO DAMN SIMPLE.
And Economics is really simple, too--and this just reminded me of the first economics professor I had in college, RBM, I call him now, who one day said, "Economists are 'guessers'--in fact, all scientists are guessers. We're always guessing at what's the right answer--or what's the right formula--or what's this sudden pain I have in my side." This is the professor who first introduced me to the Economic Law of Diminishing Returns, which he explained with the following "parable": say you're in a malt shop (we had 'em on campus in my day) and you order a malted milk shake. You anticipate with passionate and thirsting desire your first taste of that drink before it gets to you. Then when it's set down before you, you experience that breathtaking anxious desire for that first long sip out of that straw, building up its satisfactory elicitations in your imagination. And then it happens: that first great thrilling goodness of that first taste of that malted milk shake as it's sucked up through that straw to then slide down your throat into the begging opened mouth of your craving stomach. So you get that first milk shake and you greedily down it. It goes down smooth and very satisfying. The want is still there. Bring me another one, you say. And you attack this second one with the same gusto as the first one EXCEPT this time the anticipation and the following desire is not so wired--it's not so thrilling an expected satisfaction this time around. But, you finish that second shake and then you order a third one. As you approach this third milk shake, there's some rebellion stirring in your desires, a rebellion of, "Hey, enough's enough! This isn't so exciting anymore"--and that rebellion slides on down to stir up rejection in your stomach, too. You finish this 3rd shake. Your stomach is fully packed, so packed you're beginning to feel strained and pained in that area. A fourth shake is put before you. You look at it and there's only a wee desire there to tackle this one--perhaps by now that desire is a cruel desire, a macho-induced desire--you have the urge to take that first sip but as you're sipping that sip, you find the shake doesn't go down easy at all now. In fact, you've no desire to even take another sip after struggling to get the first one down; in fact, you feel like if you take another slug of this shake, you'll throw up. You've entered the domain of the Law of Diminishing Returns.
The Oil Industry is currently in the domain of the Law of Diminishing Returns. You see oil is commonwealth. Oil is a natural resource, which under the Laws of Natural Economics means Oil is wealth! Money is not wealth--and in this current economic crisis in this country, money's not the problem! The government, like Wiemar Germany after WWI, can simply print more money. But oil. You can't just print more oil. Nope, oil is disappearing from the globe--and unlike Exxon-Mobil sometimes implies--oil is not renewable.
I've often wondered what oil means to the planet? Is it maybe a joint lubricant that helps cushion the tectonic plates when they shift and crash into each other? We know how oil came about, but evolutionarily speaking, what's it for? Maybe it's a layer of protection between us and the hellfiery core of the planet. We tend to forget there is a fiery core deep within this planet, and not that many miles down either. It rears its ugly head occasionally in our history--like Krakatoa or the recent Sumatran undersea quake that caused the tsunami that wiped out 200,000 Pacific Asians. Hawaii consists of the island children of this Core! Surface heads of the Core! Hawaii was born of fire! So were most of the South Pacific Islands! Go to Yellowstone Park and look at the geysers! The Core clearing out its sinuses.
The Bad News
Ah, bless Amy Goodman--and this morning on her Democracy Now news clambake she had, on the phone, a heavy-breathing Craig Roberts, former Reagan Treasury dude, and this dude told it, I'm sad to say, LIKE IT IS in terms of the situation our lyin', election-stealing, warmongering (turning the USA into the biggest terrerist threat in the world), Constitution-ignoring, drugstore cowboy, spoiled-brat, little rich-boy G.W. Bush has gotten us into, an effort, I think, to drive this economy down to ruin, down into the fiery core of Chaos!!
And here's a Website that tells you all about Craig Roberts: www.vdare.com/roberts/index.htm
Roberts agrees with what The Daily Growler has been spouting for weeks now, that the solution to this financial crisis is simple--SO FUCKING SIMPLE--
The solution to the financial crisis in this country is for the government to force a refinancing of all the bad mortgages--freeze foreclosures immediately--then restructure them--then restructure every aspect of these wrong-footed industries--and then make these mortgages viable (being paid on and paid down rather than left unpaid to the point foreclosure is necessary). The present bailout just creates more and more debt to We the People--rather than letting the housing market crash, why not put fair market values on these overvalued subprime-fucked houses--make the houses affordable and easy to buy on what the potential buyer earns--this way, you would make it easier for the owners to at least get some of their money back if they are forced to sell. Also lower the interest rates on credit cards--put large credit card debts on real-time payment plans rather than plans structured to keep us in credit card debt for the remainder of our lives.
Bush is putting this country into a debt so tremendous that if only one country--like Japan--loaning us money to keep us going wants the USA to buy back the bonds or debts it holds, we couldn't buy them back--we have no money.
And that's Backwards Thinking, folks, and that's what We the People are up against, a bunch of clowns who hate science and truth and exact measurements and governance--you know what a governor on a car used to do? That's what governor means--and the governor is the government, the checkers of the safety valves that tell us when the boilers that fuel the whole mess are turned too high and are fixing to blow. That's what government regulators once did. They watched the safety valves on all the various boilers fired up in the various government agencies. Because, Economists know, and Craig Roberts is an Economist, there is a point of no return on both the yin and the yang side of economies. Broke economies usually precede the collapse of an empire. Our economy, according to Craig Roberts, is dead broke! We've no money! AND, the problem is, we've got to come up with 200 billion-a-month to keep that Bush-folly invasion and occupation of Iraq going. And Congress is so dumb. Barack is so dumb when it comes to this--Robert Ruben, who I heard Obama bragging about in a speech the other eve, is the former Goldman-Sachs bigshot who advised Slick Willie Clinton to deregulate the SEC, Wall Street, repeal the Glass-Spiegel Act so banks could diddle in investments and become investment banks and diddle in derivatives and merge and merge again and go on doing whatever the hell they wanted to do--rob at will--unregulated--
We are a nation in such bad debt--the 850 billion buck bailout--the cost of the Iraq War--the cost of the wasteful and inefficient Homeland Security--the cost of maintaining these private security firms like Boeing and private armies like Blackwater and Dimecorp--all that debt on top of a 1 trillion dollar trade deficit. Nearly every consumer dollar we spend--like when we buy at places like Walmart--goes to pay off our trade deficit and to make corporations's, like Walmart, offshore coffers overflow. Walmart of China is considered a Walmart foreign subsidiary, for instance, so it pays no tariffs on the goods it ships overhere and it pays no US taxes on the profits it takes back to China--it's a foreign company, you see!
Foreigners are foreclosing on the USA. They are taking us over. They are being allowed to invest in our banks now by Hank Paulson and our lamebrain Congress; they are allowed to invest in the development of our lands; they are being allowed to buy some of our roadways; they are buying up buildings and land all over New York City, for instance, thanks to the genius of our billionaire, rezone nutty, little man mayor, who's now, like his hero and predecessor tried unsuccessfully to do, trying to bribe New York Citians into letting him run for an illegal third term because New York City, he says--and only a few months ago this little fart was bragging about how NYC had a surplus--is now BROKE due to this financial crisis and we NYC'ans need his expert financial abilities at a time like this. Oh yeah, you bastard, you've rezoned the city and allowed unregulated development go wild in this city. Every fucking block has an old low-level building being torn down and replaced with a hi-rise luxury building or another god-damn hotel--the zoning laws used to limit the number of floors of buildings in what were zoned as "low-level building" neighborhoods, like Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side--even the skyscrapers were limited to fifty stories and then to certain areas of Manhattan mainly--now our billionaire mayor has done away with all those laws and he and his ass-kissing city council of goons have rezoned all the boroughs for hi-rise luxury apartment buildings and hi-rise luxury hotels--in every block--right over on Fifth Avenue just yesterday I noticed a low-level building is gone--demolished overnight--and already the plywood fence has gone up and soon they'll be building a hi-rise luxury building there.
for The Daily Growler
A The Daily Growler Book Review From thedailygrowlerhousepianist--the Book Is Let It Blurt, the Lester Bangs Story:
that book is a hoot.
Kinda feel sorry for these rock critic guys, tho. They're so serious.
He [Bangs] reminds me in some ways of a cruder less sophisticated you [thegrowlingwolf].
He could write though. But something about his approach rubs me wrong -
it's all off-the-cuff, wiseass juxtapositioning of hip buzz words and
concepts. IOW the expression is more important than the thought. That's
fine for a poem, but not for music criticism. Than again, I guess that
entertainment, using a record or tour or something as a basis, was the
whole point. He reminds me of in a way, too, if that makes sense.
Amazing too how little these guys really knew about music. It's no
wonder they sloughed off - they didn't have enough
musical knowledge to appreciate what was going on.
It would seem that he had to have some degree of musical awareness if he
put Mingus above rock, BUT do we really know *why* he did so? Maybe it
was only that Mingus was there first and not that it took a far more
capable musician to play Mingus than Roxy Music. Because if you allow
that effective expression requires craft, than one *can't* just pick up
a guitar and be a rock-and-roller. said R&R required only
three chords with one extra(the II7 I believe).
I think of a highly trained orchestra playing Ives, all counting their
asses off, using all of their concentration to make themselves sound
like a Hooterville band. Simple perhaps from a macro viewpoint, but not
from a micro.
I think it was more like this: that Lou Reed and others exploited a
situation where people were accustomed to abstract music - to free jazz
and . Anything that couldn't be explained with musical craft
could be explained with expression. And due to marketing they were able
to get away with it.
Or this - they were combining folk with free jazz, resulting in a loose
but essentially very simple music.
Same with punk rock, but with a narrower old style R&R focus.
'course we have the advantage of hindsight. Still, there's no avoiding
the fact that Lester's musical ignorance crippled his comprehension of
for The Daily Growler
Raise a glass in memorium today to Neal Hefti--50s super-arranger who arranged several of Count Basie's "New Testament" band's biggest hits, like the extremely complicated "Whirlygig" or the big pop hits, "Little Darlin'" and "Cutie"--and also he arranged a lot of the tunes on the Count Basie-Frank Sinatra collaboration back in those ancient days now. Neal orginally was a trumpet player. Neal died yesterday.
Neal Hefti: he wrote the "Batman Theme" and the "Odd Couple Theme," too.
And so, too, raise another glass in memorium of Edie Adams? Anybody remember her? Mrs. Ernie Kovacs? Does anybody remember Ernie Kovacs? Edie was a band singer whose biggest moment came when she did the Muriel cigar teevee commercials in the 60s & 70s--"Hey, big spender...."
Edie Adams--at her best.