"From the Navel of New York City" tgw
Please Note: The Daily Growler "Reported" in Our Post of Nov. 5th, 2008, on Larry Summers's Plan for Dumping Toxic Wastes in Third World (Read: Africa, Especially Somalia) Nations Long Before The Huffing&Puffing Post and Those Guys--Dammit!!! (See Below for That Post)
By the bye, The Daily Growler Was 3 Years Old (Over 900 Posts) on April 6th. Serving You (Our Reader(s)) More Truth Than Gods, Kings, or Politicians Ever Spate...Read On, Lone Readers....
The Generation of the Low Definition
My generation is dying off. Headed for the lower levels of Hell. All my friends are dead or dying--especially my good friends--but then the good die young in this country while the corrupt live on and on and on. My parents bailed out at 59 for my mother; 62 for my old man. Most of my inspirational heroes, those I emulated as a wide-eyed kid are dead and long gone. Most of what once inspired me to a fervid pitch is long gone--some lost having long gone over the hill of remembrance; the long forgotten. OK, I still hear some mentions of them in some contemporary thinking and creative stuff though not much, and when mentioned, it's usually at a very high and lonely intellectual level.
At one time Igor Stravinsky filled my solar plexus with great musical hope and appreciation. Le sacre du printemps sent me into several ecstasies at once when I listened to it leisurely or when I listened to it following it intensely with a score. Today, I can't remember the last time I heard that great work of the little cocky-gentleman of a dude from Saint Petersburg before it became Leningrad. In fact, in looking for a CD of it now to play, I can't find my copy of it anywhere--even after a dusty effort of going through the twin-towers pile of classical CDs that seem coldly abandoned to a surreal corner of my bare floors. Nor can I find a score of it in my shelf of classical scores. There was a time I would have freaked out if I couldn't have laid my hands on one of my several LPs of that great-music-changing work of art. I even had a 12" 78 rpm 4-record--8-side Columbia Blue Label album of Stravinsky conducting it himself with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (ah, when the networks had their own record labels and symphony orchestras!).
And Hemingway.... My God, I used to faithfully read The Sun Also Rises at least once a year (and to read his collected short stories over and over again, too, especially "The Big Two-Hearted River"). I started reading The Sun Also Rises in high school and by the time I was thirty I had not only read everything Hemingway ever wrote but I was trying to collect everything he ever wrote: Hemingway first editions and magazine articles and anything "Papa" I could get my collecting mitts on. Now, glancing over at my book shelf, I see not one Hemingway book--though, yes, Peter Buckley's photo essay called Ernest is laying flat on one of the upper shelves, laying atop a biography of Henry Miller.
And the first time I heard Charles Parker, Jr., I was a kid sleeping in the same room with my 15-year-older big brother just back from 4 years of foreign-war duty in the South Pacific and China. And my brother brought back from San Diego with him, he'd bought it with his mustering-out money, an Emerson table-model radio--with an art-deco front that glowed in the dark when the radio was on at night. And that radio was on every night my brother and I were sharing that room--for nearly a year. And that radio would be on until deep into the night, before he could finally fall asleep and get some "sack time," as he put it in U.S. Navy lingo. I had no idea at that time in my life about how guys who'd been in war and close to or in combat and around massive killings of their buddies and constantly having to kill or be killed by the bloody enemy--how it was hard for them to get to sleep once they were "discharged" and back home in the peaceful quietness of a working-class/middle-class lifestyle. And my brother would listen to that radio every night to get to sleep, fine-tuning it until he got live music broadcasts from Chicago and New York City, from the hotel ballrooms but especially from the Chi-town or the New York City jazz clubs--and he really dug the broadcasts from New York City best, the broadcasts from Birdland, the Roundtable, the Royal Roost (where The Bird nested!)--and one night on one of these broadcasts I first heard this guy they called Bird. With this cat they called Dizzy. Live from New York City. And on hearing Bird, I sat up in bed. I wasn't old enough to surely appreciate what I was hearing! No, maybe not, but something about it attracted me. I slammed into that "Bird" music like a piece of lead slamming into the head of a magnet! Bird. Charlie Parker. Charles Parker, Jr. And by then I was playing boogie-woogie on our home piano, a Mason & Hamlin upright, and boogie-woogie was a part of what Parker was playing on a brass instrument. And the piano player I heard on that radio broadcast that night--it could have been Bud Powell though it was probably Al Haig or Dodo Marmarosa--though like I say, it could have been Bud Powell, too. And that piano player was tinkling right along merrily with the Bird's seemingly perpetual flowing of hydromatic ideas coming in his voice out the bell of that smaller saxophone, that alto saxophone, while that piano player flowed along steadily underneath Bird's cataracts of tumbling beautifully and rainbowlike fallings of notes and phrases out into the aural ethereal--that immediate melding of the outside real with your solar plexus's computer, your brain. Oh what a time then in New York City for me as a kid listening to those distant--a million miles away to me--broadcasts, whether in reality it was or not. And I heard New York City calling me through those late-night radio broadcasts from those New York City 52nd Street clubs. And my brother worked for the Coca-Cola Company, delivering Cokes on Dallas's Black neighborhood mainstreet, Second Avenue, a street that was so tough everybody in Dallas called it Deuce Alley. And one day my brother took me with him to the Coca-Cola plant (up at the Fair Grounds end of Deuce Alley) to get his check and in the plant he bought me a Coke in an "automatic" Coca-Cola vending machine, a 6-oz 5-cent bottle, which I turned up and guzzled down in a typical kid-on-a-hot-summer-day way. After I finished it, I turned it upside down to see where it had originally come from, they put the city names on the bottoms of Coke bottles in those days, and lo and behold it was from New York City. I kept that Coke bottle far on up into my coming-forth life--except, ironically, one day my brother's house in Dallas caught fire. I had just gotten out of the army and had just moved to Dallas to look for my first real job so I had stored all my belongings in my brother's garage, most in my old army foot locker, like all my army uniforms. boots, shoes, and a cardboard box that held all my stuff from growing up in my hometown, books, photos of long discarded girlfriends, my high school yearbook, and my 78 rpm blues records, a stack of 25 or so--and I lost all those possessions in that fire--along with that Coke bottle--melted back to an indistinguishable blob of glass--like my 78 rpm records became an indistinguishable blob of black shellack. Though I lost that semiotic Coke bottle in that fire, that didn't stop me from eventually getting to New York City by God!
And Be-bop became the rhythm of my poetry--be-bop, be-bop, be-bop, be-bop--hard hit (accent) on the "be"--counted off in the rhyming of lyrics and rhythms and notes and measures--iambic pentameter or 4/4!
Be-bop/be-bop/be-bop/be-bop. Fitting my heartbeat. My be-bop heartbeat.
I sit and wonder now what happened to it all--yes, I know, the Bird Word is still around and idolized and shit, but the knowledge of the music he imparted to my bunch, I don't see it being used anymore. I see his virtuosity being studied and imitated but reduced to practice scales--showing no direction. No definition to it. No high definition, I suppose I could say now, to it.
And, I consider how stereo affected my early monaural ears and the emotions of hearing the beats of life turned into multiphasical songs, instrumental songs, the human "soul" voice needing a tough intricately constructed amplifying instrument to blare that voice out or bring it down to subtle graciousness.
I went up on New York City's Upper West Side Saturday eve. I went up to the Whitest bunch of blocks of it where a more-intellectual crowd has considered it as a safe-haven for NYC liberals and old commies and the caring rich and professor types and such. This ilk has found it THE place to live since back before WWII--and they live on a big wide-street like West End Avenue, with its rows of great, strong, preWWII-constructed same-height brick buildings (all of them around 15 to 18 stories)--a big wide tree-lined street, and each apartment entrance has a long extended awning with the address or the trendy name of the apartment building on it, the great fancy brassy/glassy doors guarded by a military-uniformed doorman, and the sidewalks are full of sinewy White dudes wearing shorts jogging and Latin-and-Haitian-looking women pushing little blonde White kids in Rolls-Royce baby buggies--some of them need license plates they are so big and automobile like--and Mexican boys wearing delivery-boy uniforms hustling the same-tasting, same-looking, same-old foods to these stay-at-home-hard-working people's overpriced apartments.
I went up to the Upper West Side at the invite of my Upper West Side relatives, my late brother's daughter and her husband and brood. "Oh, Unka Wolfie, blah, blah, blah, blah...you've got to come...so and so'll be here and so and so and Big So and So...around 5, catered dinner, plenty of beer and Wild Turkey...." So I took the Broadway Local to West 104th then over to the apartment of my relatives. My artist relative (my late brother's eldest son) from California was in town. He hadn't been in town since way back in the early 2000s when he dropped in briefly from hang-gliding in Brazil and chasing teenaged Brazilian girls all over Bahian beaches--or hang-gliding over Rio's big Jesus. That was just before he ran off to Hollywood intending stardom though ending up in Studio City and finally ending up in Bakersfield, what I call Texas in California--the Buck Owens-type-cowboy capital of the world--Western Nashville. So this relative was back, the last of my California relatives--remember one Californian relative died on the operating table in L.A. General--"Oops, sorry," the doctors said, "but he was gonna die anyway...." And my other California relative blew his fucking head off in a California State Park surrounded by handmade signs telling people to obey the roped off area and to be quiet as they observed his final rites. So this prodigal relative had come back to New York City, a town he entered when he was still underage, a town in which he grew up--became a man--though he advertises himself as being Texan through and through in terms of himself and his art, and he did study art in Texas under the personal tutelage of the great Texas illustrator and painter Ancell Nunn.
And soon I was immersed in the occasion, drinking Sierra Nevada beers, jawing with my nephew, looking at a catalog-style art book he published through the Internet--a damn good job, by the way, folks--I was quite impressed with the printing, the color process results, even with the binding and production, a damn good job, a fine looking book featuring my nephew's over-reality reality art--some of his canvasses are big as highway sign boards--and soon guests started arriving and I had two or three more Sierra Nevada beers. And then an ex-relative arrives, a woman who's been included in my family and my family's relationships since she was 22 years old--since she was once my niece-in-law--and carried the family name long after she divorced my family member and remarried again. And her new husband was there, an Aussie, with her and I like the bloke and he likes me and we started drinking heavily and jawing and bullshitting heavier than Oprah's current weight.
These people, by the way, are totally opposite sides of the coin from me, though, several of us are the spitting images of each other. I don't think when I'm around them. I drink. I tell bullshit stories, especially about my brother and my family and especially the very distant Wolves these relatives have no idea who they were, etc. As far as interests! Their outlook of reality is from a whole 'nother Pompeii's Head. The participants in this joyous occasion soon included a woman real-estate dealer who immediately trotted out photo books containing pictures of her "grandkids" by her Lesbian daughter and her Lezzie lover, a Lipstick queen, damn good looking and young-looking, too. I was concerned about her age, you know, this woman's daughter maybe committing "child abuse" and was told the Lipstick lover was a famous attorney in blah-blah-blah...." A my grandkids are the greatest grandkids ever born in the history of birth, the greatest, the prettiest and handsomest, with the greatest mother and "father" in the whole god-damn fucked up world.
After her grandkids were overadmired and phonily glowed over, she turned to my former female relative that still carries the Wolf name and congratulated her on her latest real estate deal--"I hear you're breaking the record...(then turning to the crowd)...she's on the verge of finalizing a record-breaking deal on a high-floor condo...oooooh, that's all I can say." Then I realized, everyone of these people was floating in dough, with the exception of my artist nephew from California--though his wife is a successful "restaurant" owner--who admitted this Depressed economy was having its effects on his art sales--he leases pieces of his art to Hollywood studios for use in movies and shit, so if you're a movie buff, you may have caught a glimpse of his art on the big screen--though he's certainly better off than I am. I mean, folks, I'm dirt poor, a failed arteest, a has-been vocalist and blues pianist, a writer of millions upon millions of unpublished words, a man with a reckless desire to live to the hilt with the least hurdles and hindrances--I had $40 in my jeans, my raggedy GAP jeans, with my vintage Texas State Railroad teeshirt on--though I was sporting my gold Hamilton wristwatch, a late 1950s phenom watch, an automatic winder, 18K gold, too, with an 18K gold watchband. There, too, I was out classed as the Aussie bloke was sporting a very new looking gold Rolex and had steered the conversation around to skiing and how he was at one time an Olympic-ready skiier. "Where the hell do you ski in Australia?" I cynically asked. "Or are you talking about sand skiing?" Yuk, yuk, yuk, that gotta laugh out of the crowd, then he started talking seriously about skiing again--and then my nephew started talking about how sissies skiied and he-men hang-glided--and then this teevee reporter chick showed up and started talking about her assignments--the Congo, Darfur, "Yes, I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan," blah, blah, blah. Everybody around me is RICH! Still flying first class. Still planning on vacationing about three months out of every year--skiing in Switzerland coming up--going out to Napa Valley for a few weeks leisure--MY GOD, I was screaming inside, all these people are on the reverse side of my world--the economy sliding into the gutter doesn't worry them. They spent nearly $400 (on one of their tons of credit cards) on the Italian food that suddenly streamed in, white jacketed Mexican kids trucking it in--chicken Marsala...antipasto...pastas galore. Do you tip $40 on such a spread? Suddenly, I know, I as distant a relative to my close family as old Uncle Blue used to be to me when I was a teenager listening to Charles Parker, Jr. and Uncle Blue was shitkicking away listening to Roy Acuff and the Smokey Mountain Boys. "Now, boy, them's some damn fine muu-zis-shuns, by dern, damn fine, I say."
In the meantime, high definition television (YES, I bought one, dammit) is creating a new bunch of pretty people to toss amongst us--as high definition teevee makes the old pretty UGLY--like Oprah's true fatness blossoms forth big time in HD. HD makes Ellen Degenerate pretty however. However, one actress who used to come off as a sexpot, breathtaking, pure-skinned beauty has a couple of huge wens on her face--and makeup--holy shit, you can see the makeup lines--rushed on makeup we assume--I mean, it makes this babe look like Carol Channing warmed over. I'm gonna stay Low Definition--high definition is just too fucking defining.
for The Daily Growler
HERE'S BELOW--The Daily Growler Post of November 5th, 2008
Also Obama is thick buddy-buddy with Larry Summers (a Harvard snob), Clinton's former Sec'y of the Treasury who replaced Robert Rubin, called "Mr. Wall Street" when he was in Clinton's crooked administration, and who was a big advisor for Obama during his 20-month-long campaign in which he spent 600 million dollars--and Robert Rubin is a true snob asshole, too, don't forget. Larry Summers is the fop who proposed we dump all nuclear and polluting waste in Africa. Here's the famous memo Lawrence Summers wrote:
DATE: December 12, 1991
FR: Lawrence H. Summers
"'Dirty' Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be
encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed
Countries]? I can think of three reasons:
1) The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the
foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of
view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the
country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages.
I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest
wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.
2) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial
increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I've always though that
under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air
quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico
City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-
tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit
transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing
trade in air pollution and waste.
3) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is
likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that
causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate cancer is obviously
going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate
cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is is 200 per thousand. Also,
much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility
impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health
impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could
be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air
is a non-tradable."
"The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more
pollution in LDCs (intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, social
concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more
or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization."