Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Daily Growler: Jots and Tittles From Lake Flaccid, NY

From the Cold Faceless Overforecasted Lake Flaccid, New York, Comes Mr. Barabbas Munn-Dayne, thedailygrowlerjots&tittlesman

Real country folk you would figure live in Lake Flaccid in Upstate New York, and, yes, Lake Flaccid is "the country" and I am country as long as I'm living here; in fact, according to my urban-raised observation and experience living here, Lake Flaccid is "country" magnified by 4. However, you can think of Lake Flaccid as representing the reverse of what Johnny Otis said in his blues song, "Big Old Country Girl." In that song, there's a verse (it's a cliche by now in the Blues World) that says, "You can take Foxes out of the country/BUT/ You can't take the country out of Foxes." The same can be sang in reverse with respect to Lake Flaccid being country all right but from a different angle. Like here's my version of Johnny's song: "You can take people out of the city (my case: I'm born in New York City)/BUT/ You can't take the city out of people," which is the case up here in Lake Flaccid where there aren't many Lake Flaccid natives. Most of Lake Flaccid's citizens have immigrated to the Lake from some metropolitan area, the most from New York City, but there are also some Syracuseans and Buffalonians here; plus one Torontonian and a family of Montrealers up in North Lake Flaccid--though there's really no such thing as South or North Lake Flaccid, it's that isolated a town.

Up the road from my lake cabin is Abe Petrock from Flatbush, Brooklyn. He had a deli in Brooklyn, what else? The first time Abe ever came up here was 10 years ago when he and his wife, Elaine, were looking for fall colors--like New Yorkers drive up the NY State Thruway looking for colorful-leaved trees, groves of oaks or chestnuts or maples, mixed-bag rainbow forests. But when you get up to Lake Flaccid, suddenly you find most of the trees are green, pines, cedars, conebearers. Also, I must admit, Lake Flaccidites are mostly Whiteys--though we're mixed, too: there's Sally and Peter Loontongue--Native Americans from the Mohawk Tribe--Peter's always looking out over Lake Flaccid and saying, "Damn, I thought all of this belonged to me. Why can't I have my land and my lake back?" And, yeah, I forgot, over in South Lake Flaccid there's the huge Wang Family, Cedric and Saint Vivian Wang and their now grown children: their son Rex Wang (a Cornell grad) runs Rex's Diner on Route 73; their eldest daughter, Macadam Baby Wang, runs the Day School in Shuler Flats; and their youngest daughter, Samantha Ann Wang-Stooly, and her husband, Horace, raise chinchillas down in the far valley on the otherside of Tupper Lake. Their eldest son, Desmond Wang, was once the Lake Flaccid High School fishing team coach, and what a fishing team the Lake Flaccid Erectors were the years Desmond was their coach. They won the NY State High School Fishing Tournament three years in a row. Where Desmond is now, no one knows. During a happenstance meeting I had the other day with Cedric Wang, I bluntly asked him if he'd heard from Desmond and he started hawking up a loogy, then he turned his back on me, spat on the ground, and discourteously walked on down the sidewalk past me without a hey nonny-nonny or "fuck you." Nothing. I took that to mean he didn't know where Desmond was nor did he care where Desmond was. But mostly everybody up here is White (aren't Chinese considered Whites by Whites? Are Native Americans considered Whites by Whites?--and most of the winter in Lake Flaccid even the ground is white.

Since my last post, I've had two delightful dinners with Lake Flaccid's big celebrity, Cecil the Dog-faced Boy the Third. My interviews with him have gained bulk, so much so, that I've now decided to write a book about Cecil--Am I a Man or a Dog?--tentative title. I was going to call it A Fireplug or a Toilet, Which Do I Use? but my friend Ernie at the Lake Flaccid Publishing Company & Boat Dock Operations, Inc. said the first title would sell better, especially in the local drugstores and supermarkets and WalMarts--the last title, "the toilet title," as he called it, Ernie thought belonged in the crapper with the rest of the bullshit having to do with disruptive advertising. Ernie said he recognized the symbolic nature of the more anal title yet his devotion to publishing ethics caused him to put the kibosh on using it. "Maybe you could make it the subtitle--we'd print it on an early flyleaf maybe," was Ernie's end solution.

We shall see, but I do have a hundred pages of this book already typed up--I'm still using my old Olivetti portable--from my college days--remember how "mo-dern" Olivetti's were at one time? Like mine's fire engine red and has a lot of square (tailored) edges like Italians like. The problem is, it's hard to get typewriter ribbons for it these days. I buy them on eBay when I can find them. I have about 24 in my collection now. I know I promised Growlers my exclusive interview with Cecil, but, hey, publishing a book is more important than publishing these posts, so there ya go, folks. That's awfully "country" of me, isn't it?

So here we go with some jotting and tittling:

--Britney Spears is 28 years old now. Thought you might need that info now that Brit has faded from the news here lately, her popularity suddenly as dull as her singing.

--H.D. has a line in one of her poems: "She felt like a star invisible in daylight."

--Plato says in The Republic, Book VIII, "So long as extremes of wealth and poverty exist there can be no just society."

--The Bronx: Hip Hoppers now refer to it as the "boogie down Bronx." I never heard it called that before--and I was born just south of the Bronx in Manhattan but I knew a lot of kids from the Bronx, and I never heard any of them call it the "boogie down Bronx." Like I heard a native New Orleanian one time around the time of that movie The Big Easy saying that he'd never heard New Orleans referred to as "The Big Easy" and he was born and raised there. It's like people thinking of Cajun cooking when they think of New Orleans cuisine; yet true New Orleans cooking would be French and Caribbean-Creole (Creoles in New Orleans though never accepted as Whites in NOLA society, they were considered much higher in White society than Blacks because Creoles were a mixture of EuroFrench Whites and Haitian Blacks--I'm simplifying it, I know).

--Levi Weeks--ever heard of him?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Levi Weeks (1776-1819) was the accused in the infamous Manhattan Well Murder trial of 1800, the first recorded murder trial in the United States.[1] At the time of the murder, Weeks was a young carpenter in New York City. He was the brother of Ezra Weeks, one of New York's more successful builders of the time.

Weeks was accused of murdering Gulielma "Elma" Sands, a young woman who he had been courting.[2]. Elma disappeared on the evening of December 22, 1799. Some of her possessions were found two days later near the recently created Manhattan Well in Lispenard Meadows, located in today's SoHo near the intersection of Greene and Spring Streets. Her body was recovered from the well on January 2, 1800. Before leaving her boarding house on the 22nd, Elma told her sister, Hope, and friend Catherine Ring that Levi and her were to be secretly married that night.

The trial, which took place on March 31 and April 1, 1800, was sensational. Through his brother's connections and wealth, Weeks retained three of New York's most prominent attorneys, Henry Brockholst Livingston, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton. Several years later Burr would mortally wound Hamilton during the most famous duel in American history. Chief Justice John Lansing, Jr. presided on the bench, and future Mayor of New York, Cadwallader David Colden, was the prosecutor.

Although Elma was seen leaving with Weeks and a witness claimed to have seen Weeks making measurements at the well the Sunday before the murder[3], Weeks was acquitted after only 5 minutes of jury deliberation[4]. The public strongly disagreed with the verdict, and Weeks was ostracized by the citizens of the city, forcing him to leave New York. He eventually settled in Natchez, Mississippi, where he became a well-respected architect and builder.

Levi Weeks was born in 1776 in Greenwich, Massachusetts and died in Natchez, Mississippi in 1819 at the age of 43. He married Ann Greenleaf in Natchez and they had four children. [5]

--From The Daily Growler Guru, C. Wright Mills:

There is still one old American value that has not markedly declined: the value of money and of the things money can buy-these, even in inflated times, seem as solid and enduring as stainless steel. 'I've been rich and I've been poor,' Sophie Tucker has said, 'and believe me, rich is best.' As many other values are weakened, the question for Americans becomes not Is there anything that money, used with intelligence, will not buy?' but, 'How many of the things that money will not buy are valued and desired more than what money will buy?' Money is the one unambiguous criterion of success, and such success is still the sovereign American value.

Whenever the standards of the moneyed life prevail, the man with money, no matter how he got it, will eventually be respected. A million dollars, it is said, covers a multitude of sins. It is not only that men want money; it is that their very standards are pecuniary. In a society in which the money-maker has had no serious rival for repute and honor, the word 'practical' comes to mean useful for private gain, and 'common sense,' the sense to get ahead financially. The pursuit of the moneyed life is the commanding value, in relation to which the influence of other values has declined, so men easily become morally ruthless in the pursuit of easy money and fast estate-building.

A great deal of corruption is simply a part of the old effort to get rich and then to become richer. But today the context in which the old drive must operate has changed. When both economic and political institutions were small and scattered-as in the simpler models of classical economics and Jeffersonian democracy-no man had it in his power to bestow or to receive great favors. But when political institutions and economic opportunities are at once concentrated and linked, then public office can be used for private gain.

Governmental agencies contain no more of the higher immorality than do business corporations. Political men can grant financial favors only when there are economic men ready and willing to take them. And economic men can seek political favors only when there are political agents who can bestow such favors. The publicity spotlight, of course, shines brighter upon the transactions of the men in government, for which there is good reason. Expectations being higher, publics are more easily disappointed by public officials. Businessmen are supposed to be out for themselves, and if they successfully skate on legally thin ice, Americans generally honor them for having gotten away with it. But in a civilization so thoroughly business-penetrated as America, the rules of business are carried over into government-especially when so many businessmen have gone into government. How many executives would really fight for a law requiring a careful and public accounting of all executive contracts and 'expense accounts'? High income taxes have resulted in a network of collusion between big firm and higher employee. There are many ingenious ways to cheat the spirit of the tax laws, as we have seen, and the standards of consumption of many high-priced men are determined more by complicated expense accounts than by simple take-home pay. Like prohibition, the laws of income taxes and the regulations of wartime exist without the support of firm business convention. It is merely illegal to cheat them, but it is smart to get away with it. Laws without supporting moral conventions invite crime, but much more importantly, they spur the growth of an expedient, amoral attitude.

[From The Power Elite, Oxford Press, 1956.]

--Irony Among Criminals--did you know Phil Gramm, the guy who with Larry Summers decided banks and the financial investment and lending firms needed no regulations on them, is now on the board of the criminal Swiss bank USB. USB is being accused of helping its thousands of secret account holders to evade US taxes. As a result, USB was fined 750 million bucks. Here's the irony: USB got 8 billion dollars in We the People's giveaway of our money in the disguise of bailouts. What did USB do with 750 millions of that money? Can you put two and two together?

--Phil Gramm's Criminal Legacy--Gramm's most cunning coup on behalf of his friends in the financial services industry—friends who gave him millions over his 24-year congressional career—came on December 15, 2000. It was an especially tense time in Washington. Only two days earlier, the Supreme Court had issued its decision on Bush v. Gore. President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress were locked in a budget showdown. It was the perfect moment for a wily senator to game the system. As Congress and the White House were hurriedly hammering out a $384-billion omnibus spending bill, Gramm slipped in a 262-page measure called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Written with the help of financial industry lobbyists and cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the agriculture committee, the measure had been considered dead—even by Gramm. Few lawmakers had either the opportunity or inclination to read the version of the bill Gramm inserted. "Nobody in either chamber had any knowledge of what was going on or what was in it," says a congressional aide familiar with the bill's history. [From Mother Jones, 2008.]

--Ralph Nader says if this stupid bailout keeps going like it is we're doomed.

--Obama on Leno: Talking about his taking up bowling now that his new home has a bowling alley in its basement. When Jay Leno, a goofus trying to be a pro interviewer like Barbara Wah-Wah, asked him how he'd done bowling, Obama replied that he'd shot a 129. Jay said "That's pretty good, isn't it?" and Obama replied something like, "Yeah, in the Special Olympics maybe." So Obama bowls like a spaz! Is that any reason to impeach him now? That's how the commercial media is broadcasting this horrid faux pas by the President. It's OK the president before this guy was never legally elected president, lied us into a needless couple of wars, killed over 4,000 of our young people and over 65,000 admitted Iraqis (the Iraqis say the number is more like 300,000)--but at least Bush never said anything public making fun of the very serious and world-recognized US Special Olympics--the child of one of the Kennedy Power Elite who decided since her ole worthless bootlegging daddy had made a spaz of his daughter, her sister, the guilt was too much so she trotted out her Special Olympics idea. Obama's like a big kid, folks. Kids sometimes say the darnedest things. Fuck the Special Olympics, we've got more serious problems created by professional criminals who only care about the Special Olympics if they can get some great public relations and photo-op moments for their criminal company! Does Bud Light sponsor the Special Olympics? Such bullshit. The bullshit never ends. That's what our educational system should be doing, separating the bullshit from that which is edible and nutritious.

--TV Courtroom Antics: On the teevee "Court" show that's hosted by former Westchester County, New York, D.A., Jeanine Pirro (her husband is a big Mafia character, but that's OK if you're Westchester County D.A., implying that the Mafia has run Westchester County for years), a dude who "Judge" Jeanine refused to rule in favor of even though his woman had busted up his teevee, his mirrors, his CD player, broken some windows in his house...after the show the guy said to "Judge" Jeanine, "You won't see me again, Your Honor, I'm runnin' out of stuff to be broken."

--Is Fusion Possible?--"Energy and matter are incontrovertible" says Sun in a Bottle author Charles Siefe (the book's full title: Sun In a Bottle The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking). I think I heard Ed Moser sort of relating Fusion to Jesus Christ, saying Fusion is the Messiah of Nuclear Science.


for The Daily Growler

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