Sunday, July 31, 2011
Foto by tgw, "Charles Ives Birthplace," Danbury, Connecticut, 2011
Lookin' for Charlie Ives
thedailygrowlerhousepianist had suggested we go looking for Charlie Ives months ago. An excursion he called it. Our duty as Ives aficianados, we both agreed. Earlier in the week, I got an email from mi compadre saying, how 'bout we trek up to Connecticut and look for old Charlie's presence in Western Connecticut, where Charlie was born and where he spent most of his life--born in Danbury in 1874, going to college at New Haven, and after becoming a successful New York City insurance executive (Ives & Myrick) and living in Hartsdale, New York, he bought a farm and built a house on it in West Redding, where he lived for the rest of his life. He died in 1954 at age 79, going on 80.
Both the House Pianist and I are died-in-the-wool Ivesians. We know most of his music--we oftentimes get together and listen to his music while following along with the scores (I own a large library of Ives scores), our favorite Ives being the 2nd Piano Sonata, the Concord Sonata, one of the most brilliant pieces of music ever written and certainly to us the greatest piece of American classical music ever written.
We started out from the Spuyten Duyvil train station on the MTA River Line, the old New York Central tracks, which is in The Bronx, though Marble Hill, one station back, where resides the House Pianist, which actually is a hill of marble, is in Manhattan though it's across the Harlem River from Inwood and Washington Heights and what's considered Manhattan Island. The Spuyten Duyvil station is right on the edge of Spuyten Duyvil inlet that is partially man-made, leading out by the next station, Riverdale, alongside the broad Hudson River (or the North River as I call it--yes, I am a bit of a contrarian).
Foto by tgw, "The Inlet From Spuyten Duyvil Train Station," 2011 (beyond the swing railroad bridge is the Hudson River)
We headed out, up to the Cross Bronx Expressway, then on up the Hutch (Hutchinson Parkway) to Danbury. It didn't take long at all. We got there around 10:30. It was a beautiful day both in the city and up in Danbury. The sun was shining brilliantly, friendly, warm, though a bit blistering standing in its direct beams.
Our first adventure started at the Danbury Historical Society building where we were met by two very nice and friendly and talkative ladies who began by telling us the Ives birthplace was closed for a complete renovation so we couldn't tour the house but we were welcome to go "over there" and explore around the outside of the house.
After roaming around a bit "over there" (at the front of the Historical Society property) for several look-sees, we at first did not recognize the house, only to finally realize if it had been a snake it would have bitten us--and then, there it was, the house that Charlie Ives was born in in 1874.
The house is a very old house--Charlie's grandfather Isaac Ives bought it in 1829. It stood originally on Main Street back up in the center of Danbury--on Main and White Streets, next to a church. Then it was moved a second time, just up Main Street a bit, and then finally it was moved to the Danbury Historical Society park, which is now called the Charles E. Ives Historical Park and Trail.
And soon, the House Pianist and I were in a bit of hog heaven, the old house there in front of us--though we faced the back of the house at first and didn't know it; only when we finally traversed the little sidewalk around back of the back of the house did we find the front of the house. And then, there it was, that house front so familiar to us from reading the many books we've both read on Ives's life and times. [Two books that are must Ives reads are Vivian Perlis Charles Ives Remembered, an oral history of Ives as told by his relatives, friends, and some critics (like Elliott Carter, to me, an unfair critic to say the least); and John Kirkpatrick's (pianist and Ives documentarian) massively edited and annotated Memos, which are a series of memos that Charlie dictated to his secretary over a period of several months in the mid-1930s, memos concerning his music in as much detail as Ives was capable of, plus the reactions of many musicians, conductors, and fellow composers to his music and in return Charlie's reactions to them, like the many European musicians and conductors who simply said his music was unplayable--and yes it is complicated music, but modern-day musicians with cleaned-up scores have mastered most of his pieces, especially pianists playing the Concord Sonata (Though I favor John Kirkpatrick's 1947 Columbia recording of the work--John had played it for the first time ever at Town Hall in 1938. John Kirkpatrick's '47 recording of the piece was my first-ever Ives LP. I bought it in a New York City thrift shop for ten cents). Also, starting in the middle 1950s, all the symphonies were performed in concert and recorded, conducted by some of the world's greats conducting some of the world's greatest orchestras: Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra; Leopold Stokowski and his American Symphony; Bernard Herrmann (who as a young man knew Ives and visited him many times in West Redding) and the London Philharmonic; and Leonard Bernstein, who with the New York Philharmonic recorded all four of the symphonies and was a true believer in Ives's music being the epitome of American classical composing.
It was quiet around that old house. It sat there so still surrounded by a thick woods in which was the Ives Trail, which the DGHP and I had no interest in. Dilapidated, moldy old, disheveled of coat, loosely hanging-on disintegrating shutters--but still as boldly present as the people who lived and loved in it, starting with Ives's grandfather and grandmother and all their children, ending with their youngest child, George E. Ives, Charlie's musical genius father.
The house (the photo at the top of this post) is in bad shape. It's a frame house, badly in need of repairs (rotting wood everywhere) and paint--plus it's a bigger house than the House Pianist and I realized. It was shut up tighter than a drum; there were two windows where there was enough crack in the old curtains that you could peer inside--old furniture--I had asked the historical society ladies if the furniture was original and they said some of it, though not all of it.
Soon we exhausted all we could get out of the house. We took a memory card full of photographs so we have proof we were there (who cares really?). Most people we met in Danbury and asked about Charles E. Ives didn't know who we were talking about. Danbury has a lot of Mexicans and Asians, an amazing attribute of most of our East Coast cities these days. I had been in Allentown, PA, just a couple of weekends before and at the Fairgrounds there they were having a Spanish Music Festival, Allentown having a very large Latino population of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans.
After we left the house, and giving a quick glance over at the Danbury Railroad Museum--I saw a great old Erie-Lackawanna Alco diesel, plus a New York Central F unit diesel made by General Electric's Electromotive Division (EMD), and a steam switcher from the old New York-New Haven RR. It cost $6 to get in so we opted instead to strike a trot out Main Street headed for the Wooster Cemetery and the Ives burial grounds.
When we found the cemetery, a wildly spread-out cemetery, sprawling over a bunch of hilltops, some covered in gnarly old trees, others barren and out in the raw middle of the sun's by now high-noon mean glare. It wasn't hellishly hot, but it was crisp bright and blistering and kinda muggy hot under that water sucking-up sun.
At first we wrongly read the map showing where the Ives plot was--we thought Ives was in Section 3, which we found, parked the car, and began searching over the hundreds of graves in this large eyebrow-like section, going back and forth all over it, and up and down all over it, looking intently at each tombstone--finding no Ives anywhere amongst those haphazardly laid out graves. We went over that section with a fine-tooth-comb assiduousness but no Ives; no Ives of any kind.
We got frustrated to the point of giving up finding Charlie's bones and returning to Danbury for some lunch. And then the House Pianist noticed, Holy Cow, it's not Section 3 Charlie's in, it's Section M, subsection 3. The House Pianist after studying the map more intently, said he now knew where Charlie was--"He's over on the other side of the pond."
Then we proceeded around the edge of this sprawling village of the dead, around toward the pond, then coming up to the brink of the pond, where we started looking for Section M.
Suddenly we came upon a hill where the tombstones were importantly overlooking the pond and we thought surely Charlie's up on a hilltop like this one so we drove the car up a set of tire tracks (ruts really) as far as we could go up this slight hill to the major tombstones only to again be frustrated--NO IVES anywhere. And we're saying, come on, the Ives were a prominent family in Danbury; surely they've got a choice plot, a more impressive plot than any we'd seen so far. There were no Ives anywhere--we searched grave after grave, but no Ives.
Again we were about to give up this part of our search and get some lunch. Besides, suddenly, I had to piss like a Trojan (I don't know where I picked that phrase up, but I've been declaring it since I was in kid: "Damn, folks, where's the can? I've gotta piss like a Trojan." Probably influenced by when I was young and pissed in filling station restrooms where there were always rubber machines on the walls, some of which dispensed Trojan brand rubbers. I can only assume that's the reason I think of having to piss badly as having to piss like a Trojan).
Up on the bald hill we were on, I saw no place to take a whiz politely--and also at this point we seemed to be being followed by three Latinas, one cute one pushing a baby buggy and her two rather buttery plump companions--I mean every turn we made, there these ladies were, to the point we started waving at each other when we were so frequently crossing paths.
We decided we were still, though in Section M, not in the right section of Section M--and cemeteries are confusing when they are as old as this cemetery. We saw graves so old their inhabitants's names had been blown away by time leaving only their ancient stellae-like stones to mark their last remains. There were lots of early 1800s graves, and I'm sure there are some late 1700s graves in there to boot, but I only recall early 1800 ones.
On the cemetery map, Section M was huge, covering much more territory than the Section 3 we had searched so diligently. This section looped all around this pond--a pond brackishly full of lovely pond scum--so we got in the car and headed down this creepy dirt path of a road that looked like at any moment it was going to drive us straight into the pond. After bottoming out on this trail, we emerged up a steepish little hill and onto a truly magnificent part of this old cemetery, a large tree-covered hill crowned with the best plots and most splendid-looking plots. It was definitely Section M--and we were looking for Subsection 3, and then there it was, to our left a sign saying it was Section M 3 and before us was a flock of graves that staircase-stacked-up low-level and bald on back up to a large plot atop the hill among the cool dark shade of a small woods of ancient elms or oak trees. We knew we were close to the Iveses when we came upon a bunch of Merritts. Ives's family had married into the Merritts and it would be natural for them to be buried close to each other. And then we found another Merritt relative whose name we knew had married an Ives girl and then I looked over to my left at a somber slab of marble--and there it was:
Foto by tgw, "Charles E. Ives and His Wife Harmony Twitchell's Grave With Charlie's Father and Mother's Grave Just Off Behind It There," Wooster Cemetery, Danbury, Connecticut, 2011
And this little hill turned out to be the Ives's private hill--with old Grandfather Isaac's and Grandmother Amelia's tombstone at the top of the hill, a massive old tombstone that over the years had been cracked apart and repaired, as had several other of the older stones around this Ivesian burial mount. In front of the grandparents's grave was old Uncle Isaac Ives's grave...
Foto by tgw, "The Ives Plot," Wooster Cemetery, Danbury, Connecticut, 2011
That front line of graves contain the graves of Charlie's brothers and their wives. A hill full of Ives and Merritts. Someone had put a stone on Charlie and Harmony's marker. I've read where this is a new fad among grave visitors. I think it's a Jewish thing.
We spent a good deal of time at Charlie's grave, enjoying the peace of the place, and being so close to the old man's bones, those just beneath us--yes, probably in a splendid casket. The House Pianist took my photo laying on the grave, maybe over Harmony, leaning over to put my arm around my old pal Charlie. Also, this is where I had an opportunity to finally take that Trojan piss, slipping as I did way back over behind George E. Ives's grave, as far into a little woody area as I dared go...I was leery of those famous Connecticut ticks that carry the special Connecticut disease called limn disease.
Relieved and paying our last respects to Charlie and his family, around 1:30 pm, we drove back into Danbury to eat lunch.
The House Pianist had prior to this excursion checked out the restaurants in Danbury and he said there were several Mexican restaurants there. And sure 'nuff, right off the bat we found Pancho's Mexican restaurant, a big old long building on Main Street containing besides Pancho's restaurant, his Mexican bakery and Mexican crafts shop also.
Pancho's was Mexico tipico in its interior design. Why there was even a large portrait of Pancho Villa on one wall--thus perhaps why the joint was called Pancho's and not because it was owned by a man named Pancho, though who knows.
I ordered the chuletas and a Dos Equis and the House Pianist ordered a burrito and a frozen Margarita.
The ladies who waited on us were splendidly friendly and wide-eyed caring, one amusing us with her charm and good looks. Adding more Mexico tipico to the joint, a very pregnant woman's young Mexican son was attention-getting playing with a serape on the floor just in front of us, doing a little act and then checking to see if we were watching him, squealing his joy if we were, and bawling like a banshee if we weren't.
The food? My pork chops, thin cuts, like my mother used to buy at the grocery store in a best-buy 10-pack, were nicely flavored, though not as thick and tender as one would have liked. The pork chops came with some red beans and rice; the beans I gave to the House Pianist for his burrito, which he said, had hardly any beans at all in it; it was a vegetarian burrito that he thought should be mostly all beans.
We left Pancho's full but not that satisfied. The women were charming an reinviting as we left, but in terms of recommending it to our fellow beings--sorry, Pancho's, but no thank you.
After lunch, around 2:30, we decided to go to West Redding and see if we could find the Ives's farm. In August of 1912, Charlie bought 14 1/2 acres of "undeveloped hillside" on Umpawaug Road by West Redding. The following spring (1913) work began on the house, which was completed by July of that year, though it would be another whole year before they moved into the place for good in June of 1914, though they still came down to live in New York City during the deep winter months--on West 11th in Greenwich Village.
Just behind the dining room in the new West Redding house, Ives built a music room that contained his piano, an upright, from which during their stays there Charlie wrote most of his most famous pieces--or should we say "pieced together" from myriads of notated measures he wrote furiously out on haphazard pieces of both music score paper and any old other scrap of paper. From these notes he added them all up into his various masterpieces--like he finished the great Hawthorne movement of the Concord Sonata at the farm when they first moved up there in 1914.
Charlie and Harmony had bought this West Redding farm land from their neighbor, Farmer Frank Ryder. In June of 1918, Charlie had an ambition to join the Volunteer Ambulance Corps in France; however, he failed his first medical examination. In preparation for taking the examination for a second time, Charlie went to work on Frank Ryder's farm, "to build up his physique." He returned to his New York City apartment on September 15th "in a blaze of fitness," confident that this time he'd pass the medical with flying colors.
On September 20, Charlie's aunt Amelia (Uncle Isaac's wife) died at age 81. Charlie went up to Danbury to attend her funeral and while he was up there, he decided to go back out to Frank Ryder's farm and get in some more health-building farm work. On October 1st, the day before he was to take his second medical, "he collapsed, complaining of giddiness, fever, pains in his chest." At first he was diagnosed with the Spanish influenza (the epidemic that killed tens of thousands of Americans that year). "A more thorough examination showed a coronary trombosis with suspected extensive cardiac damage, and his doctor ordered him complete rest for at least three months. Six weeks later--November 11, 1918--the Armistice was signed in Versailles. The war was over. So, too, Ives's creative life as a composer" [from David Woolbridge's wonderful book, From the Steeples and Mountains, published in 1974 by Alfred Knopf].
So the House Pianist and I headed out of Danbury up toward West Redding. We were looking for the farm, but tooling around the West Redding area we couldn't find it. We crossed over or actually were driving on Umpawaug Road several times in our searching for and looking out for any sign of the farm; however, we were on a wild goose chase because neither of us had remembered, until we got back to New York City, that the farm was actually on Umpawaug Road. We gave up looking for the farm and instead went up and found General Putnam's Revolutionary War campgrounds, now a state park--but it looked like the main entrance to the park was closed for the day--so we gave up and around 4:30, we aimed the car back toward New York City, getting back to the Spuyten Duyvil train station close to 6; me getting back to my city digs via Grand Central and a $12 cab ride around 7 pm.
A glorious day of Ivesian pleasures--yet, during the whole trip, we didn't play any Ives on the car's CD player--why? I don't know; we had several Ives CDs with us. Our heads were in the highlands of this Ives environment--our heads already crammed full of Ives's music--some of which we had emblazoned on our memories note for difficult note.
for The Sunday Edition of The Daily Growler
P.S.: How pleasant it was to be away from the childish activities of our lamebrained politicians, though even as I'm typing this to get it posted, they are still playing partisan games with a great majority of We the People's future--perhaps we are awakening to find out the American Dream was just that, only a dream; a dream turned into a nightmare by the power-hungry creepy goofs We the People did elect to office. As Ralph Nadir is still barking out, there is no difference between a Dumbocrat and a Repugnican these days. Selah [Mr. Ed: L Hat [www.languagehat.com] has corrected the Wolf Man by saying Selah is Hebrew for Amen and in Islamic use it would be Amin. Again, the Wolf Man is using his memory--he claims he swears he read the Koran one time and he swears at the end of Koran verses they used Selah. Perhaps he was reading the Hebrew version of the Koran. That should get me a horse laugh at least...Selah] . (And I use an Islamic "Amen" rather than a Christian one. It seems the revolutions going on in the Middle East today are more progressive in their political nature than the counterrevolution going on in this failing country).
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Can anyone believe this tomfoolery going on in the District of Corruption, a tomfoolery that could suddenly change all of our lives so drastically, draconian cuts to our beginning of life and our ending life and cuts in the middle that will reduce us into a Rich vs. Poor nation, the wealthy Plutocrats living the Life of Roman Emporers while we perish or are reduced to slaves--Obama looking more and more like Nero, as he fiddles away while under him the House and the Senate plot his destruction--so if our Emperor is going down, then the whole of Rome can burn to the ground as far as he's concerned. Get some balls, Mr. President, once again you have a chance to redeem yourself, to shed that skin of Ronald "Second Banana to a Monkey" Reagan and show us your best self...but no, you seem determined to bring ruin to We the People making less than $200,000 a year; most of us not making much more than just-getting-by earnings--leaving us broiling on the backyard grills of this truly nutjob, asshole, pissant pack of pieces of shit who call themselves Republicans, Tea Partyites, Libertarians...still fighting the Civil War, still standing as though they are the New Great White Hopes who'll restore this country to the White Man's rule and the White Man's God's monarchical reign--can you imagine being ruled by a Fictional being? Why, that sounds like the whole idea behind the Wizard of Oz, whose libretto and verses were written by Ernie "Yip" Harburg, a Socialist at heart who meant for the movie to be a powerful social statement for this nation just then coming out of the GREAT Depression, if you didn't know. Here, check out Amy Goodman's Tribute to Yip and his message:
Back to the old post:
Why Me, Lord?
I used to work with a guy who called himself Average Al. His sort of perpetual comment, made along with his natural breathing, was "Why Me, Lord?" He never got an answer. It was a perpetual question. And it was the cry of an average man. He was a PhD. in Middle-Eastern Ancient Languages from Penn. That's why when I met him he was head of proofreading for the accounting-firm-turned-management-firm (the best creative accountants in the business), we worked for, a title he would later relinquish to me when he quit his post to get married and go to work for a tech manual publishing company in New Jersey. The last I heard of him, Al's wife had left him for another dude; but he was already hooked up with yet another woman to whom he was planning to marry; the divorce had been messy and kind'a left Al broke; and his job was in jeopardy due to a downswing in business, but also due to an outsourcing of the kind of work he was doing to India and Singapore. Poor old Al and his constant whining, "Why me, Lord?"
I thought of The Average One last night as I tried to watch President Obama explaining why he and the House Majority Leader, John Boehner (Bonehead)(OK, so he's from Ohio, the state that stole the 2004 election for Bush from the Heinz ketchup widow's wimpy husband, John Kerry), though both their deficit-reduction plans are almost word-for-word similar...with the exception being Obama's claiming he wants excessively overrich people and excessively profitable corporations to give up some of their tax-loophole privileges--you know, "pay their share," as he kept saying--like taking away their ability to deduct the depreciation on executive yachts and corporate jet fleets, but then Bonehead is opposed to any kind of tax increases or even taking away those tax loopholes from the excessively rich 1% of wealthy whomevers who own us all lock, stock, and barrel.
Obama, I noticed, carefully avoided directly mentioning two things: one he never said directly that he was for cutting Social Security payments 40-to-60-dollars-a-year for the next 10 years--meaning that if you start off at 65 getting the most you can get from SS, $1100-a-month, by the time you are 75, you'll be making way less that $1000-a-month (i.e., $700-a-month, after deducting 40 a year for ten years--losing $400 during that time, leaving a 75-year-old with only $700-a-month in SS benefits. Penalizing seniors for living too long. To me, this is homeland terrorism. These fools to senior citizens who are depending on SS and Medicare for their very subsistence and health-care salvation are terrorists. Obama mentioned cutting Medicare--he's for that--but he didn't mention cutting Social Security by name, saying, yes, he agreed to ENTITLEMENT cuts, which is code for Social Security. Remember, Obama's bipartisan committee on the fiscal deficit chaired by that Wyoming piece of crap, Allan Simpson, a political parasite, and that North Carolina piece of ex-Clinton crap, Emmet Bowles, recommended the same cuts as the Bonehead Republicans's plan back last year. In fact, it's hard to tell the difference in the two plans.
The other name President Obama would not mention was G.W. Bush. Obama openly admitted last night how he's a true believer in Reagan economics, that's Voodoo Economics, folks--that's big deficit-spending economics--that's tax-increasing on the workingclass economics--that's "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" economics--it's Milton Friedman's brand of economics that says even if it doesn't work say it works and it does work (guessonomics we used to call it in my college days)--or even if it causes disaster, so what, it will correct itself...besides, it's still the best way to go--why look at how it worked in Pinochet's Democratic Republic of Democratic Free Chile after our CIA assassinated Salvadore Allende the democratically elected president of Chile and then said he had conveniently committed suicide--his body, like bin Laden's, too blown to pieces to be revealed--and, duh, that economics didn't work down there no matter the glowing accounts our commercially paid journalists did on the subject.
In explaining his love for Reagan and Reagan's vision for this country, Obama mentions how the presidents after Reagan kept Reagan's policies alive very successfully--and he mentions Bush the First, as he called him, and Slick Willie, but he skipped over G.W., moving on into his wimpy compromising efforts with his scary opponents in the upcoming election. And this is politics, folks. Obama could raise the damn debt ceiling by executive order, but no, he's more determined to align himself with the far rightwing--and you see what he's after, folks? He's after the independent voters--he's after voters like Joe the Liar LIEberman and the Connecticut White people who put him back into office after a progressive Democrat whipped his ass in the Democratic primary--though Joe got enough votes he was able to run as an Independent; in fact, he declared himself separated from the Democrats, the little traitorous prick, and then as if mocking his former party he showed up at the Republican Convention here in New York City--remember that? Joe LIEberman was there along with former NYC mayor, Ed "I Think I'm Gay" Crotch (Koch) where they made fools of themselves--and what a sordid racist convention that was.
Obama finally had to mention G.W. Bush when he was mentioning how presidents before him had no trouble raising the debt ceiling--mentioning how G.W. had raised it 7 times without any hangups. Whatever happens with this debt ceiling, we will have to face this same bullshit again in six months when it will come up for passage again--every six months.
Today, and this really pisses me off, Moody's (owned by Warren Buffett and recently under criminal investigation by the Justice Department for giving worthless companies triple A ratings so they could continue their crooked ways unimpeded by a bad credit rating) is saying they are definitely going to downgrade the USA's credit rating. How dare these bastards having this much power over We the People's government of the people supposedly by the people. Yeah, and then Obama started his whoop-tee-do by kicking in the platitudes about how "we are the greatest country in the world" bullshit--and Obama last night had to pitch that in--saying we are the greatest nation in the world--the strongest nation in the world--the richest nation in the world--so why then, I'm screaming at the dude, are We the People, the workingclass Americans in general, the Blacks, the Latinos, having to sacrifice our freedoms and our entitlements and our healthcare and our retirement and our pensions and our wages and any chance of retiring when we're 65 now?.... IT MAKES NO SENSE, FOLKS. Like why is this country so in debt when one of its chartered corporations, Exxon-Mobil, is raking in the largest profits in the history of Capitalism?; while our banks and financial pirate firms are rolling in billions and billions of We the People's tax-dollar bailout monies--giving themselves multimillion-dollar bonuses, tax-free bonuses, too.
Obama didn't mention last night either how in bailing out Chrysler, We the People of the USA lost 2 billion dollars. Chrysler is an original-Detroit company that was sent into ruin by the Nazi-Germany car company, Daimler-Benz (now claiming that they invented the automobile back just before Henry Ford did), makers of the Mercedes-Benz, Hitler's favorite automobile during the almost now-forgotten World War II, --and then when Daimler-Benz threw the company on the fire, Chrysler then cried they were going out of business unless We the People bailed them out, which President Obama did without blinking an eye--this at the same time we bailed out General Motors (sent into bankruptcy due to their moving most of their assembly plants to Mexico and Europe and Canada). So we bailed Chrysler out with one of the very confusing back-room secret deals which now it turns out also involved Fiat of Italy. Just last week, it was announced, YAHOO!, that Chrysler had paid back We the People its bailout "loan," but that NOW, it was the property of Italian car company Fiat--from the Nazi-Daimler-Benz company to the Fascist-Fiat car company--an Italian company now owns our famous American 4-wheel-drive invention, the Jeep--oh, and, I was surprised to read that Canada also participated in We the People's bailout of Chrysler. And I'm asking myself, what the hell was Canada doing helping We the People bail out Chrysler? Where's the bookkeeping on all this shit?
I was laughing like a crazed hyena, too, yesterday at the early reports from Murdoch's (hacking) Fox News and from Murdoch's Wall Street Journal's front page headlines on how (and this came out right after this murderous mess had happened and before anybody knew the truth of who had done this) the Norwegian massacre was obviously an Islamic Jihad attack--why, hell, the Fox News idiots squealed, it is Norway's 9/11! (There is a way big difference between this event and 9/11; 9/11 was a great historical military attack and killed 3,000 people and destroyed, literally turned to dust, 5 large buildings, two of which were once the tallest buildings in the world.) But, yet, that's exactly what one fool was spouting on a Fox News broadcast. Even if it wasn't al-Queda, this idiot honked on like a prolix goose, it was definitely Muslims who did it--and then, Glory Hallelujah, it turns out the terrorist who wiped out--the figure goes up and down--as high as 93 killed--but now blown back down to 76 killed and over 100 wounded--the terrorist who offed all those Norwegians was a blue-eyed blond Viking-Nazi-Aryan--a Blockhead Norwegian--maybe you could almost say he was Norway's Timothy McVeigh.
In spite of this information, Fox News commentators kept up with the Islamic Jihadist talk--saying Norway was especially at risk of a Jihadist attack because they were a democratic society who have been working hand-in-hand with the USA, blah, blah, blah. How about if Norway is vulnerable to Arab Jihad terrorist attacks because Norway is a big participant in our Afghan War--remember that's a NATO war now after G.W. Bush turned that war over to them and Norway is a member of NATO and as such has troops fighting in both Afghanistan and in that new NATO war of invasion and occupation of OIL rich Libya--a country we have had our greedy militant eyes on since RONALD REAGAN shot missiles at Khadaffy's palace--and I believe killed one of his daughters--because at one time that was our only military base, Wheeler Air Force Base, on the African Continent and Khadaffy kicked our military out of there when he was pumping up his pompous rule by backing Islamic militants financially (same as the Saudi-Arabian royal family supported al-Queda (the attacks on 9/11) and bin Laden) and allowing them residence in Libya.
It's Reagan all over again. The Black Reagan is our president. This son of a bitch tricked bagged We the People with glorious promises of reform and change--YES WE CAN--screaming it out over crowds in the 10s of thousands wildly cheering for this man, crying big huge tears as this guy thrilled them with these Utopian promises, like reformed healthcare; like not touching Medicare or Social Security; like ending the war in Iraq immediately and immediately beginning bringing the troops home; like closing Guantanamo prison and holding civil trails in the USA rather than allowing a military tribunal to try these men--some mere teenagers--most not guilty of anything except being a Muslim. And all of those promises are now so much smoke. And as we've said all along--back before he took office--President Obama has said all along that Ronald Reagan was one of his heroes--and that he wanted to be a combination Abe Lincoln-Ronald Reagan, which he is. He's a Lincoln Republican/and a Reagan Democrat.
Did you ever think about President Obama being a token black?--somehow put into power, I keep thinking to myself, by a Pappy Bush-Clinton coalition. Remember, Pappy Bush put the electronically lynched Clarence "Long Dong" Thomas on the Supreme(ly dumb) Court. Remember Clinton has said G.W.H. Pappy Bush was his new best friend--this when they combined to set up their famous tsunami relief organization, an organization that collected billions of dollars but never really accounted for how the money was spent--some of which, I'm sure, went to Pappy and Slick Willie as administrative salaries, big bucks which when pooled with Slick Willie's big multimillion-dollar book deal and lecture circuit bucks allowed the Slick One to form his now plush World Something Organization (did you know Willie and the lyin' dog and Bush-Family puppet, Tony Blair, were now in business together?)--a nonprofit therefore tax-free foundation-like group, which has now propelled Slick Willie from a $30,000-a-year Arkansas (backward state) governor to now an ex-President worth over 200 million dollars. That's how you get rich in the USA. You get yourself elected to a political office--it doesn't matter if it's the local dog catcher, as long as you get elected to an office. From there all you gotta do is kiss the right rich boy's ass and soon like Jim Bunning the ex-baseball player politician you'll be sitting pretty in Congress, raking in a 200,000-a-year salary, plus 10s of thousands in perks and junket and corporate and lobbyist gifts and trips and dinners and golf outings, plus millions in campaign contributions every year, plus the best free healthcare in the world, plus a guaranteed-for-life retirement package. Either be a politician or a movie star, which in a way is the same job--both jobs being acting roles, both jobs demanding you be a quick study subject, having a sharp memory, playing whatever role your backers (your financial backers) hand you.
Like Grandpa Al Lewis said, stop preaching to the choir and get your asses of your masses off their asses and into the streets--as they are doing in Egypt, Syria (think of the bravery of those tired-of-being-oppressed people), Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, England, Spain, Greece, Italy....
Hey, everythang's cool. Americans are more interested in Amy Winehouse's promotional-driven-record-company-drugged life and demise than they are their own propaganda-driven-perpetually-scared-overtaxed-drugged life and probable demise. August 2nd, 2011, could be the actual December 12, 2012, Doomsday for us US fools and idiots. Why hell, we're all so fucking confused, we're liable to elect Michelle Bachmann our first woman president! Amy Winehouse would have made a better president than Oral Robert U's pride and joy, the woman who when President will run the US government using the Christian Holy Book of Babble as her total manual of rule.
I can still hear Nixon telling Henry Kissingassinger to get down on his knees and pray with him to Jesus Christ (Nixon, like his wife, had a drinking problem)--even though, as Nixon said, you're a fucking Jew bastard.
for The Daily Growler
And the Father of Cryonics Hath Finally Entered His Hot Ice Grave
Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger (4 December 1918 – 23 July 2011) was an American academic, known as "the father of cryonics" because of the impact of his 1962 book The Prospect of Immortality. He is considered by some a pioneer transhumanist on the basis of his 1972 book Man into Superman.
Ettinger founded the Cryonics Institute and the related Immortalist Society and until 2003 served as the groups' president. His body has been cryopreserved, like the bodies of his first and second wives, and his mother.
Monday, July 25, 2011
thegrowlingwolf In Growling Resentment of These Backwoods-State Privileged Politicians Trying to Drive This Nation Into the Ground
Foto by tgw, New York City, 2011
Ron Paul Can Beat Obama Now/Hellfire! John McCain Could Beat Obama Now
This whole debt ceiling bullshit is just that, bullshit, a dog and pony show these hillbilly hick Republicans are pulling on We the People of the United States. Like this John Boehner (I call him John Bonehead). Why is this little backward creep from the poor and broke and low-populated state of Indiana [Mr. Ed: The Wolf Man got confused--Bonehead is from Ohio; still it's a rightwing state with a Tea Party attitude] able to hold such sway over what could turn out to be ruinous effects for this nation in terms of its left-behind citizens, those foolish ones of us who are earning less than 200,000 bucks a year; those of us living on $26,000-a-year and less. I mean I highly resent this Indiana prick fucking with my life. I resent these fools like Michelle Bachmann being able to garner so much air time and so many critical comments trying to take her seriously when she's a fool, a Christian fool, an Oral Roberts University-graduate-type Christian fool. This low-brow hypocrite is originally from Iowa, a backward state privately owned mostly by Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland whose biggest industry is riverboat gambling. She's a Middle-American flat-footed floozie (with a floy-floy) who is now making her home in Minnesota, another broke state whose government now ruled over by a rightwing cretin government got so broke it had to close down--only this morning the idiot governor finally signing the budget so they can get on with their further wrecking of that once profitable state that gave us Hormel Foods, Honeywell Industries, General Mills, and the 3M Corporation.
So John Bonehead the little Indiana [OHIO] backwards-thinking prick (piece of crap) was saying yesterday that he's sorry but Americans are just going to have to face it, they're going to have to sacrifice in order to pay off this enormous debt that this free-spending Democrat president, this wildly spending president, is backing us into. Sacrifices We the Low-Life People of the US are going to have to make by giving up getting to deduct our mortgage payments from our income tax; giving up any hope at getting to retire with a good income safety netted by a working and no-problem Social Security system; giving up any hope we had of if say we got cancer when we were in our 50s or 60s or 70s or 80s depending on a perfectly fine Medicare Healthcare system to bring us back to life--Medicare, which is ripped off liberally of course by insurance companies and greedy doctors, the cause for most of any problems Medicare has had in the past; giving up all that investment of having worked our asses off for 50 years of our existence and having paid out of every check we ever got from childhood on until retirement into our Social Security accounts (Social Security recipients still pay taxes), and also after we turn 50, paying out $100-a-month into our Medicare accounts--to pay for Plan A--hospital stay.
At the same time, have you noticed, these assholes aren't voluntarily cutting their outrageous salaries--all these clowns averaging over $200,000-a-year, 60% of them millionaires already. Nor have you noticed President Obama voluntarily cutting his salary--cutting his advisory staffs--cutting his use of Air Force 1 and 2--or cutting back on the fleets of staff cars assigned to the executive branch. Or how about cutting Federal judges salaries? Or how about cutting back on Hillary Clinton's private State Department army in Iraq? Or how about cutting the general officers's salaries in the military? Or how about Congress having to pay for their own healthcare? Or what about eliminating wasteful Cabinet positions or hell how about combining Cabinets?
And what further pisses me off about all of this is, these lyin' dog assholes are now saying they're trimming our debt by--they throw out 3 trillion in one load of bullshit, then it will go up to 4 trillion a shovelful, or then I've seen it down to 2 trillion--3 trillion without having to raise taxes--in fact, and listen to this, their latest fraudulent spin is that they are lowering taxes for ALL AMERICANS! Oh whoop-the-fuckin'-pee! We give up our Social Security and our Medicare in order to get lower taxes! How stupid is that? We're all headed for hell in fucking handbaskets and here's a little Indiana [OHIO] half-baked White racist cat who ain't sacrificing one damn dime of his privileged existence threatening to ruin most of our lives--Jesus, why don't these idiots drive the rest of you Americans as mad as they do me? I don't hear any counterarguing going on--well, yes, Bernie Sanders is making noise, but Bernie is ineffectual--Congress as a whole laughs at his ass--besides, he's from Vermont, to these fools, a hippy state. Or Dennis Kocinich, too. Totally ineffective. To the point Dennis's own Cleveland constituents don't want him--they'd rather have a Tea Party nut take his place.
And my contention is: I am now in the minority. My left-leaning libertarian ideals are totally ignored; in fact, my ideals are considered in the worst light: as atheistic, as communistic, as socialistic, as humanistic--WHY, I dare to consider humans as fucking monkeys! I'm a disgrace to this nation Under God. Whose God? What God? And I must give in to the will of this backwards-thinking majority of Redneck Racists from backwards-drifting, broke small-populated states like Wyoming, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona, Alaska--or totally broke states like Michigan and Ohio and Minnesota and Texas and California (yep, California is broke--why, there's talk in California of them separating from the US and becoming the Bear Republic).
My problem with Obama is this: why won't he for his own dignity's sake stand up to these Boneheads and Mitt McConartists (from the great progressive state of Kentucky) and these phony assholes like Ron Paul or Christian-bimbos like Michelle Bachmann? Why won't he shove this shit right back in their faces--turn the tables on these uncompromising further-right-than-Reagan assholes? I've advised Michelle Bachmann, by the bye, that she should release a sex video showing her having hot Christian sex--and that pervert husband of hers looks like he'd love a threesome with say Michelle and Sarah "Paleface" Palin or maybe Michelle and Sarah Palin's daughter--is it true Paleface's daughter's gotten herself knocked up again? What a bunch of low-life pieces of crap who are deliberately out to ruin our lives.
In the meantime, China grows rich on our failures. If we default on our debt payments, whose gonna bring us down? Not the Chinese. If the Chinese called in our debt it would wreck their economy. Who is gonna buy their cheap child-labor-made teevees and computers and all those junk Disney Mickey Mouse clothes (all full of formaldehyde) and all those junky toys and those lead-laced candies? And Japan right now can't afford to mess with the debt of ours they own--not with their economy on the brink once again of collapse. Iceland defaulted on its debt and it's doing quite fine, thank you. Argentina defaulted on its debt and it's doing just fine, thank you. So let's default on our debt. Fuck it. Let Moody's rate us -AAA--who gives a shit?
And how 'bout that crooked-as-a-snake-at-night Moody's rating service--owned by Warren Buffett (that old piece'a crap junk-bond billionaire)--saying that Greece will certainly default--and I say YES, YES, Go Greece--default rather than sell your country to the Euro-trash banks and the International Monetary Fund--that American-headquartered and financially backed bunch of crooks, swindlers, pirates that was now supposed to be headed by good ole Dominique Strauss-Kahn the French rapist. And now that poor hotel maid is baring her crazy misdirected soul (coming to America to escape the brutal existence in her homeland, the military-dominated ex-French colony of Guinea) on morning commercial television--and I was reading one comment about her not being that good looking a woman--with pock marks on her face. The reporter however went on to declare that this pock-marked-faced ugly woman did have one hell of a well-developed woman body--which means she has nice perky tits on a sway back that allows her magnificent African steatopygic ass to stick out far enough for this Frenchman rapist to remember how his countrymen prefer their colonial black women a la Negress style, which is doggie style to a Frenchman.
And this is all the return of Ronald Reagan (Reaganomics; New World Order; rise of the Neo-Cons under Reagan's loose-wig banner) to haunt us. Always keep in mind, though President Obama refuses to look at "what was," he's only interested in "what will be," our refusal to look back and study the antics of the Reagan Administration where all this trickle-down nonsense got started; where all this free-trade bullshit got started; where all this
"drive the economy down" bullshit started; where all these Middle-East wars and conflicts began--Reagan selling out his President at the time, Jimmy "Ineffectual Peanut Farmer" Carter, by negotiating with the hostage-holding Iranians behind Carter's back, the deal being the Iranians would hold the hostages until Reagan got elected then he'd flood Iran with US millions and in return they'd release the hostages--and that's exactly how it happened. You must remember when it comes to Ronnie "Star Wars" Reagan, his last years in office he was the Alzheimer's Association's poster boy: "So you've got Alzheimer's...You can still be President of the USA." In a way, we are so lucky Ronnie had Alzheimer's his last years in office because it made Nancy Reagan acting president--and boy-howdy was Nancy one dumb woman--an actress, totally unreal people--Reagan the actor playing at being President with his Grade B acting background and his gaggle of unholy scriptwriters.
Yes, this is the return of Reagan, the greatest president the Power Elite on the right (the Sun Belt millionaires and billionaires) have ever come up with.
Americans idolize movie stars. We are extremely jealous of the privileged lives they get to lead. And the biggest bunch of US idiots on earth are those who live in Southern California--or to be more specific, those who live in L.A. and nearby vicinities (like Anaheim, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley, Riverside), my own relatives and friends included. These idol worshippers have given us William Randolph Hearst (is Patty Hearst head of the Hearst empire now?); Senator George "the Hoofer" Murphy; the great Tricky One from Whittier, Richard Milhouse Nixon; Ronnie "Second Banana to a Monkey" Reagan; Mayor Sam Yorty; the Democratic wimp Gray Davis; Governor Arnie "the Maid-Humping Nazi" Swartzennegger (ex-husband of a Kennedy girl); and their current governor, Jerry "the Wacked Out Buddhist" Brown (he became a Buddhist when it was the hippy thing to do after reading Herman Hesse while listening to Led Zeppelin). And I've left out a hundred or so low-level Congressmen, several of which are currently making fools of themselves in Congress.
And then I was seeing Bill Clinton praised for leaving office with a surplus, a surplus that G.W. Bush blew in a matter of minutes after 9/11, a dude who you've got to remember was our first president ever "appointed" president by the Supreme(ly Dumb) Court (an unConstitutional act, but then who the hell gives a shit about that old piece of yellowing paper?)--this after Georgie-Porgie's brother, Jeb (named after a Confederate general), the father of those "little brown babies" old Mammy Babs Bush used to speak so lovingly of (Jeb married a brown woman--"Hey, Jeb, was your wife legal when you married her?"), threw in the garbage a huge block of White Democrat votes--a large bloc of Black Democrat votes up in the Palm Beach area--enough to send the Florida results to the Supreme(ly Dumb) Court, who in turn decided Jeb's little dumbass brother George W. was yes indeedy, We the People's new president, in spite of his having lost the overall election to Al "the Bore" Gore (who is still a bore no matter how Progressive Democrats, like the Daily Howler, keep defending him). I mean, come on, you gotta give credit to this little weasel of a rich boy, G.W. Bush. I mean, to literally steal two presidential elections in a row. Yet, too, We the People on the Righteous Left have to remember, G.W. Bush got enough legitimate votes in both elections so it was easy for Karl Rove and his henchmen to steal the Florida votes through Bro. Jeb in the first election, and then steal Kerry's winning votes in the very backward state of Ohio in his second election. And remember how old stupid-ass Kerry, the privileged son of a rich man and an ex-D.A. from Massachusetts, the phony Vietnam hero who son of a bitch lucked out and married old Charlie Heinz's Heinz's 57-inheriting widow while old Charlie was still smashing tomatoes in his grave--and who instead of staying up and challenging G.W. Bush's stolen-vote win, went to bed with the widow Heinz and got in a good night's sleep--so he lost the election, he didn't lose his Power Elite-Yaley-Skull-and-Bones (where to be a member you have to suck another member's dick) membership privileges--and this fool is still in Congress, still dragging his ass in terms of anything politically innovative.
God-damn-it, I cry, even writing tongue-in-cheek about these rascals drives me almost into the rubber room at Bellevue Hospital, right up the street from me here on this absolutely beautiful, cool, and peaceful Monday morning here in the greatest city in the USA in spite of our little pissant community-wrecking public-school-wrecking anti-poor-folks billionaire Mayor who is trying to change my hometown into a gated community and rich-boy playground for his New World Order billionaires and high-end millionaires, a group that includes Arab (Islamic) princes and shieks who are allowed to come here and buy up our buildings and vacant lots and old hotels--a group of investors that also includes Communist Chinese private-equity real-estate investors, allowing these Capitalist-Communists to come here and buy our buildings or finance boutique hotels and new hi-rise luxury office and condo buildings up and down our rezoned neighborhoods--especially up and down Sixth Avenue, one of the last of the low-rise avenues--once renamed the Avenue of the Americas--a Robert Moses renaming of Sixth Avenue in time for his 1964 World's Fair that celebrated NYC's Latin American roots--thus the renaming of 6th Avenue to the Avenue of the Americas and then putting statues of famous Latin American political and military heroes from one end of the avenue--up at 57th Street on back down to below Canal--Jose Marti's statue is one of those statues--Simon Bolivar's statue is on the Avenue somewhere--statues now totally ignored as people rush up and down Sixth Avenue madly, hustling to keep the lousy US dollars coming in--nobody any longer calling it the Avenue of the Americas--not really.
And, by the bye, speaking of bucks, I see where Yahoo News has an article on how if our stupid Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, our paper dollars will be worthless--that it's better to get rid of your paper money--you know, buy gold at $1600-an-ounce--or silver at $60-an-ounce--of course helping the precious metals market!
G.W. Bush raised the debt ceiling with nobody challenging his wreckless spending that got us into this economic mess in the first place!! Doesn't that PISS YOU OFF like it does me? To sit and see these privileged well-taken-care-of fools playing politics with We the People's future no matter if we're young or old or Baby Boomer or Middle Class, whatever the hell, just riles me up with resentment and also seeing perhaps my final years become horror years rather than years of living in a planned community in Florida and playing golf and shuffleboard all day and square dancing all night with my new senior live-in mistress--"Pass me that bowl of Viagra, will you, Sal, I think my sweety's decalcified her vagina momentarily tonight and I'm expectin' some salacious fun, that I am!"
for The Daily Growler
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Foto by tgw, "Here Comes the Sun," New York City 2011
Again: Waiting for Virgil
Another trip through Hell with Virgil doing the narrating. Day 2 of my hometown facing another day of record-breaking heat; yesterday the thermometer rose to a whopping 104 degrees in Central Park, highest ever recorded in the park since the weather station there started recording temperatures. It got up to 108 over in Newark, a new record for them. One hundred and five in Atlantic City. The flames of Hell are licking high up around me as I sit here now at 2:35 on a Saturday morning. The temperature is still sitting fat-ass down on us at 90. It was suppose to drop to 80 but it hasn't yet.
I am managing still. Drinking gallons of New York City tap water. I keep my fingers crossed. So far no minnows or brown dregs in the water and it is very cold, coming in from deep under ground from the Catskills down to my water tap--and it is ice cold, and if you start passing out you simply run into the bathroom, wet a towel down under the tap and throw it over your shoulders or up over your head if need be and you stay cool. So far, I haven't been forced to wet a towel down yet, but by golly today, the weather babes are saying the temp will try and break another record today, too, again 104 maybe, I may immerse myself in my bathtub filled to the holy brim with that cold tap water. I keep filling glass juice bottles with that tap water and that water stays surprisingly cool for a damn good while.
Virgil during the height of yesterday's boat trip down through the lower depths commented that this area of this urban hell was reserved for idiots who try and survive in New York Concrete City without an air-conditioner. I have 3 air-conditioners actually--3 big Lasko fans that so far have kept blowing steadily, keeping the air flowing about me, though at one point yesterday they were blowing the 104 air from outside into the apartment, and that air is hot enough to blister your face--though even having that Hadean hot air blowing on you is cooling, believe it or not.
I'm sure there are millions of people in this city living in apartments without air-conditioning--millions of people living in tiny stuffy studios with only one window where if it's 104 outside, it's 114 inside.
5:00 AM: The temperature is currently down to 87 degrees, but the air is already feeling like the steam coming out of a teakettle. The air coming from my fans contains only a whiff of coolness. The humidity is like I'm under a shower of goo. If I make it through today, the Weather Underground has lowered their forecast for Sunday (the Sun's Day) down to a high of 88. Tonight they're saying the bad heat should break and fall back into the 70s. In an hour or so, I'll be sneaking out into the streets looking for the Saturday morning coffee man down on 30th and Broadway. My skin is beginning to itch and feel sticky. I'm beginning to try and sweat around the edges of my hair. If it's 87, it feels like it's 97, the air turning into a demon's ghost as his spirit passes over and over my body.
1:20 PM: I'm shouting "hot damns" all over my room. Praise the lawdy-lard, I'm refreshed. I am just waking up. Yes. I slept from around 5:30 am until just a few minutes ago. I awoke in a pool of sweat, but not steamy sweaty hot at all. In fact, I'm thinking, it's supposed to be 103 or hotter by now, it doesn't feel as hot today as it did this time yesterday. I checked the Weather Underground...it's 98 right now and they're still predicting 103 as the high and now they are saying that tonight again the temp's not going below 81. That the temperature at night doesn't drop below 80 is the worst part of this phony global warming scenario--phony in the sense that in reality God is punishing us for our many sins by giving us a preview of his and his buddy Lucifer's concept of a lake of fire. Are the true believers confused by all of this? Now all we need is a tidal wave or an earthquake to hit New York City this afternoon, then I, too, will become a true believer and be on my knees twiddling my beads begging my Lard and Big Idiot Savant to suddenly take me out of all of this. But, I am a mere monkey with an inflated ego.
In the meantime, L Hat sent me a blog touting a poor slob photographer who after getting a little Hollywood money in his jeans--he says proudly he was discovered by Warren Beatty--enough to buy him a very expensive Nikon camera--went about making panoramic photographs (the first panoramic photographs of Manhattan were hand-drawn--hand-drawn maps with even the buildings drawn to scale on them) the streets of Manhattan, referred to in most New Yorkers's minds and tourists's minds as the true New York City--meaning when a hinterland hayseed whoops it up about goin' to the big city, New York City, they mean they're coming to Manhattan--they're not going to Red Hook, Brooklyn, for instance--or Elmhurst, Queens. When people ask me where I live, I tell them Manhattan...it takes them a moment to realize it but then they say, "Oh, you live in New York City."
So this photographer who got discovered by Warren Beatty with his success money took his Nikon supercamera, mounted it on a tripod on top of a Volkswagen bus (another gift from Hitler to the world), hired a crew of friends and experts to help him, and thus he started taking panoramic photo shots of as many NYC (meaning Manhattan) neighborhoods as he could. He started his filming--blowing all his money on the project--in Mid-town on the West Side in the West 50s managing to do a damn good job doing this filming on up the West Side into the West 80s, etc.
I have known more than one professional photographer during my time here in olde New York, all of them with colossal projects in their futures--my best friend during the 70s and 80s was a Black photographer (his highest claim to fame was when his good friend, Jimmy Jacobs, who at that time was one of Mike Tyson's "owners" and managers, hired him to take up-close and personal photos of Mike Tyson before and after all his championship fights) who was constantly dreaming of getting his hands on some grant dollars so he could accomplish his dream photographic project, photographing his changing neighborhood! His neighborhood? The Upper West Side from 72nd Street up to 86th between Broadway and Central Park West--he lived on West 81st between Amsterdam and Columbus--originally an old Puerto Rican neighborhood that started being eliminated in the late 60s by what the White Power Elite called Urban Renewal, which meant that the White real estate developers put forth a scheme and got it City Council approved to drive all those filthy Puerto Ricans out of all those great brownstones (New York City real estate gold mines in those days) from Lincoln Center, say West 62nd, all the way up the West Side to West 104th (name changed to Duke Ellington Blvd. later when the Blacks started moving downtown into this neighborhood from Harlem)--and this was all Puerto Rican all the way up to Morningside Heights--Puerto Rican and Dominicano--with a smattering of encroaching West Indians and Cubans--those who after WWII immigrated here and took over these West Side neighborhoods from the mostly Jewish people who had populated the area before the war and after the war gave up their Manhattan digs to move to the burbs, mainly Westchester County, especially from Mount Vernon (Fleetwood) on up to White Plains.
Wonderful, I've just spent time avoiding dealing with the heat by taking you on one of my little probably irritating and disrupting side trips back through my particular memories of 1982, the year I moved into my current digs right smack-dab in the middle of Mid-Town Manhattan, the heart of New York City. All my photographs of my neighborhood taken out one of my windows or from the roofs of as many of the local buildings as I can get permission to shoot from--though about two years ago I was banned from the roof of my building--not due to anything I did, but due to some new tenants, the White hip rocker types who seem to have plenty of daddy's money to blow, five of which went up on our roof and began drinking beer and making out with their babes and they got overenthusiastic and began pissing off the roof onto people below on the sidewalk...and that was that, the landlord closed the roof to tenants.
It is 2:21 pm now--the temperature is 96.8. The Weather Underground has projected down today's high from 103 to 99, though they are still saying tonight the temp will still not drop below 81. I was looking at all those 1982 panorama shots by this photographer (I'm no good at names) sent to me by L Hat (once a resident of the far Upper West Side) of what New Yorkers once referred to as "low-rise" neighborhoods, where most of the buildings were like brownstones, only 5 or 6 stories in height (these buildings had no elevators so they were walk-up buildings, dig?). I look at those old buildings, most with businesses in their ground-floor storefronts, like delis and loan sharks and Asian Star Cuban-Caribbean restaurants, and I imagine how sufferingly stuffy and HOT those old unair-conditioned apartments were during those 100-degree-spans-of-heatwaves they experienced. Apartments sometimes housing whole families, 3 small railroad-type rooms with perhaps 6 people living in them.
3:10 PM: I just returned from a trip down into the streets of Manhattan and HOLY BEJESUS in Purgatory, it is stiffling hot in the streets. No breeze. The concrete and asphalt slinging the heat back up slingshot like into your face--especially drilling through your forehead and into your brain. The tourists were packing my neighborhood deli--buying gobs of bottles of water and iced teas. Me, I bought my first coffee of the day. Like the Berbers of the desert, I drink hot coffee to keep cool. And then that reminds me of the Somalians currently enjoying a famine in temps I'm sure that are at least equal to the ones we New Yorkers are suffering through--at least us New Yorkers who in terms of success are on a par with those starving burning to death Somalis. Didn't you just love President Obama's reaction to the wild and crazed Norwegian who blew away over 80 school kids and government workers (that's the record for a single shooter--broke the record held by the American Virginia Tech shooter)? He said that all the world now had to contend with these terrorists! Does this imply that perhaps we will be invading and occupying Norway now?
4:33 PM: I've instructed Virgil, or whoever's rowing this vessel through Hades, to row me back ashore; I'm finished with the tour--no poetry evolved from this 2-day tour. I'm disappointed and have told Virgil so. Too, I'm a little jealous, of course, of Dante, who I stole this idea from. Aren't all artists stealers? I had Virgil row the boat ashore because suddenly the temp has FALLEN, down to 94. It's because it's threatening to rain. Remember how I said yesterday how in Mexico City when it got in the 90s after noon you shrugged it off because you knew around 4:30 the daily rains would come washing off the slopes of the eastern mountain range, the one containing Popo and his sister, and cool Cuidad Mexico back down to normal...and like I did during this 2-day heat colossal, I did what the Mexicans used to do: Sleep during the hottest part of the afternoon to then awaken to the rain-refreshed afternoon hours when you went back to work, finished up your days's work, and then hit the streets for drinks, music, club crawling, until the 9 pm dinner hour, when you chowed down for the big feed of the day.
So the big record-breaking wrath of the Christian God heat wave over sinful New York City is momentarily rebuffed--cold atheistic air coming down out of Anglican Canada may be saving our asses for a few days at least (I mean August is coming, and August in NYC ain't very august at all--August is when you expect the holiest of hell hot days)--tomorrow's NYC forecast is now lowered down to 90 in the afternoon and 71 at night, which is semitropical weather and is divine weather as far as my normal NYC summer expectations are concerned.
I'm watching on teevee the Canadian Open golf tournament from Vancouver, B.C., and oh how cool Vancouver looks...they turn the zoom lens on and show up in the mountains that rule all around and above Vancouver and they zoom onto one of those high-up glaciers still holding on trying to survive the abnormally hot temperatures that are hitting the Arctic and the Northern Territory, melting the Arctic ice, melting those magnificent glacier holdovers from the ice age...and the good old planet Earth, the only planet that allows human beings and their ancestors to abide on it, has taken so many revenges from so many various invented gods--human-monkeys invent totally unbelievable gods to believe in in their fight against the Earth and its natural tendencies, using the nature-destructive method human monkeys call Civilization.
I once tried to make my residence in Victoria, B.C. I rented a suite in a motel/hotel that was directly across the street and broad park from the B.C. parliament buildings, I think it was on Dallas Road, our big picture window looking south back far across the Strait of Juan de Fuca over at Port Angeles, Washington, from whence my wife and I (a very attractive American couple we were, too, arriving so crassly and Hollywoodishly as we did in our velly Brit white Jaguar sedan) had come to Victoria via the ferry. What do I remember about living in Victoria, B.C.? That it was boring. That a wax dummy of Winston Churchill sat in the back seat of an old Rolls sedan in front of the Parliament buildings. That you had to buy your liquor and beer from a state store and these stores couldn't sell cold beer so they kept hot six packs of beer--I drank Ranier, a Seattle beer, at that time, which they had in Victoria--in big walnut cabinet-like things, behind glass doors, like the doors found in the really old kitchen cabinets. This guy in a suit and tie would procure you a six pack of hot Raniers and a bottle of Canadian Club--then we'd go back to the motel with our room with the magnificent view and we'd end up getting drunk and watching U.S. television--eventually one day both of us saying, "Let's book this place...," which we did. Canadian Club, I must explain here, was my wife's source of alcoholic enjoyment--and trust me, that wife was not an alcoholic--her downfall: Salem cigarettes. I watch women smoking and I don't say anything. When I would warn my wife that those Salems were gonna kill her one day, she told me bluntly that she'd rather die, even of cancer, than give up her Salems. This most beautiful and very intelligent and financially successful woman, died at age 58 from breast cancer--those precious breasts that she wouldn't allow me to worship with great sexual lust because she didn't want them to ever sag, having to be cut off--and then the suffering, though I was told by her nephews she remained stoically herself to the very end--and, yes, stoic she was, the most practical woman I've ever had the privilege of marrying and living with (longer than with any other woman--10 years--10 years of living and traveling and partying and becoming politically involved together--we were members of the New Orleans CORE chapter and Huey Newton and Julius Lester were our field coordinators and Dick Gregory came down from Arkansas to the CORE meetings every other week, CORE meetings that I , of course, belligerently refused to go to after a White woman from Washington, D.C., put me down after I stood up during her bullshit pep talk and said fuck the talk, let's take the walk. I was told there were principles and practices we had to follow, all based on training sessions they'd had at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, home of the Humanists, in case you're interested, where they had worked out ways of handling the sometimes deadly abuse we were certainly going to be afforded like when we sat in at a New Orleans all-white lunch counter with our Black friends or participated in the frequent Freedom Marches, like one that was planned for that next weekend in Laurel, Mississippi. But my wife, the practical woman, put me down, too, and faithfully kept going to CORE meetings until after one when she came home from it and I could read she was bothered by something that had happened at the meeting and I coaxed her into telling that Dick Gregory had hit on her at the social after the meeting; hit on her so heavy, she felt ashamed now to go back to anymore meetings. And she never went back. To this day, I see or hear Dick Gregory and I remember how disgusted he'd made my wife and how I begin to want to confront the bastard about it after wow these so many years back now; though I do have to admit, too, that Dick was one of the funniest son of a gun's I've ever heard--especially in one performance where he'd start off reading the lead in to the Bill of Rights [it's actually in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence], that which tells us that if our government is denying us our rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, we had the right to throw the bastards out on their fat privileged asses, to use force if necessary...the right to REVOLT against the Powers that be.
Now, it's 5:22 and I'm laid back and sufficiently cool to begin thinking about heading out to get my dinner--a soup and salad dinner sounds perfect--to go over to my foodie joint on Fifth Avenue and obtain a big container of chicken gumbo and one of their prefixed salads--baby spinach leaves, onions, olives, tomatoes, green peppers, radishes--with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing--hell yeah, that sounds like a heavenly dinner for so hellish an afternoon and evening.
for The Daily Growler
Friday, July 22, 2011
Waiting for Virgil
That title got me to thinking, how would Beckett write about this heat? How would Rimbaud? Today, here in Gotham, the weather babes are all with raised high eyebrows but still managing to smile warning us dumbass Citizens of New York City that by this afternoon, say three, the predicted temperature is 99, but given most of New York City that is exposed to the direct meanness of our true God--yes, God the Father, God the Sun, and God the Vulcan--is asphalt, black in color, a sun-absorbing color, that 99 is going to feel like 110.
Here I sit at 4 in the morning--during heat waves I sleep all day and work all night. Right now according to my computer it's 85, which is pretty damn hot for 4 am but still my fans are blowing cool air. The air is already thick though. The humidity is the killer in this, not our God. The humidity is already causing me to sweat around the outer edges of my hair--a tickly sweat.
I'm so stuck to my routine, like the postman hidebound to making his deliveries no matter the weather, I'm already anticipating getting my morning coffee and chocolate croissant from the Aghan-American young man who's had my morning coffee ready for me by 5:30 every weekday morning for 4 years now.
The record for this day in NYC is 101 back in 1957. However, since I've lived in NYC, for yeah these many moons now, I've seen 100 before; I've seen 103...and in 2003, I survived a black out with temps up in the high 90s...and that is my biggest anxiety, Con-Ed blowing up; the power grid failing again--it is run by Brits.
Tonight is going to be brutal. The temp is not expected to fall much below 80 tonight--oh but I complaineth too much...but I don't complain because I love heat, I was born in heat, and why not die in heat...then sobeit. If my apartment gets too ovenish, then I'll wander out and go across the street and sit in front of one of the store doors where the cold air comes out through the cracks.
thegrowlingwolf at 5:10 am; the temperature is 85 degrees. I see the sun a'risin'.
9:33 am: I'm telling myself it's not so bad. I hear a siren in the distance. It's a fire engine. You live in New York City long enough you recognize sirens. Somewhere down below me I hear lumber being dropped or thrown about. Poor slobs having to work in this heat. It's 94 already--here's what we're facing here for today and tomorrow:
Right now it's stuffy, yes, but it's bearable. Amy Goodman is railing on NYC's Pacifica station, WBAI-FM (they are perpetually begging for money) about President Obama, a Democrat, joining hands with John Bonehead, the Repugnican, to show his belief in Reaganomics--President Obama the Wall Street Democrat. President Obama believes in the trickle-down theory--Milton Friedman economics. Amy can't believe it, but I can--I've said all along Obama's admitted many times over that Reagan was his hero and his other heroes are Wall Street investors (GAMBLERS). I sit here comfortable in what is perhaps going to be a record-breaking day in NYC weather history. Tomorrow looks to be more of the same. And tomorrow looks so bleak and backwards in both weather and politics. Obama is an idiot. John Bonehead is an idiot. We the People are being ruled by small-populated-state States Rights racist far-right nutjobs. HOWEVER, the truth is, the American voters put these Teabagger nutjobs into office, didn't they? Correct me if I'm scalded out of my skull by this intense God who is ruling down with a vengeance on me today. They voted for the Teabagger governors of Wisconsin and Michigan. Wisconsin voters obviously are idiots. Michigan voters have always been idiots. The political reality is off on a fantasy trip. The weather reality is sitting fucking down on top of all us fools all across the country--global warming!! It's not global warning--it's God punishing us for same-sex marriage and allowing Gays and Lesbians in God's almighty US Armed Forces. I can't believe the politics; I can believe the weather.
11:52 am: Don't get me wrong, it's hotter than Holy Satanic Hell outside, but me, I'm cool as the proverbial cucumber, though I must admit I can feel an encroaching stale air that is very hard to breathe. According to the weather babes on teevee, the heat index is already at 104. I was out; went to the Korean bank, the Woori Bank--yes, Koreans don't put their money in US banks--then check out how it is revealed that Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve printed up 16 trillion dollars worth of good old worthless US bucks in order to further bail out not only American banks but foreign banks as well. My question is, why can't Good Old Busholite Bernanke print up 16 trillion bucks and shovel it into Medicare and Social Security thereby saving them from extinction. I can't believe these assholes are finally getting their way on destroying Social Security. Their plan is to eventually privatize it and throw its pool of trillions into the stock market, give the stock market a huge burst of rallies and bull(shit) sessions and make stockholders even richer than they already are. And We the People elected this Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton because he said he was going to Change things, "Yes, We Can," he ballyhooed in his best Ivy-League accent. I mean this man filled, what was it, Soldier Field in Chicago, filled it for a campaign rally--remember? The stands packed with smiling excited and proud Blacks and eager-faced-believing young White folks...why even some WASPs among those crowds...people surprised by the charm and intelligence of this Black man. And every where he went these crowds packed around him and he stood in front of them sternly, seriously, and he shoveled out some of the most hopeful...I started to say "promises"--like guaranteeing us he would not touch Social Security or Medicare--but, no, I'm sorry to say, it was hopeful BULLSHIT! "YES WE CAN!" Turned out to be BULLSHIT. This heat stirs me up as a writer. It always has. Some of my best writing has been done in heat. A great short story I wrote on the roof of the Hotel Sevilla on Calle Serapio Rendon in Mexico City, me, like sitting out in the middle of Mexico City when it was an island in the middle of a huge ancient lake--high atop that hotel--I exaggerate, the Hotel Sevilla was a 6-story building--but it was high enough that from the roof you could look off west directly down at the Angel area, Zona Rosa, and the Hotel Maria Isabel--where if I get to reminiscing I get to remembering being in the Maria Isabel lounge and hearing Trios Los Panchos...and when it was hot in the afternoons in Mexico City, you were always assured that around 4:30 some rains would come washing down off the mountains to pour across the city and cool it down right at tiempo siesta,,,you didn't go out to dinner in those days until 9.
1:12 PM: According to the Weather Underground, it's now 99.4 degrees in my Zip Code. I think we're gonna break the record! Heat index is 106 degrees now. Hot damn. I'm still feeling cool as hot ice. I remember as a kid being fascinated by a Fats Navarro recording called "Red Ice." I don't expect anybody to remember Fat Girl. Remember, I'm obsolete. Oh, of course, several of my close friends, my musician friends certainly, will know who Fat Girl was. I can feel this heat heating up now. The Sun is a high sun. It is just now High Noon on the Urban Range. "Do not forsake me, oh my darlin'/On this our wedding day---ehhh/" That's Tex Ritter singing the theme song to the Gary Cooper movie High Noon. The hottest temperature I was ever in was the first day I drove off the plateau on which sits Mesa, Arizona, and boogied down into the valley in which sits Phoenix. It was around the first of July way back yonder when--I'd just graduated from college and I and my college roommate (by then a successful dime-novel writer) decided we were going to L.A. and see what we could see and feel out the situation out there. We drove into Phoenix both us and the car panting for a cool breath of air and I looked up at a Valley National Bank's digital read out of time and temperature and the time was 1:45 pm and the temperature was 118 degrees. We pulled my smoking Chevy into a cool-looking building housing the New Yorker Bar. It must have been on Van Buren since we came into Phoenix from the east via Apache Junction and Superstition Mountain. And inside the New Yorker it was refrigerated cool and the locals told us it could get to 120 but that not to worry, the temp would quickly drop at nightfall down into the 50s and 60s. I wrote my girlfriend back in my hometown a poem on a New Yorker Bar napkin--a silly poem about how much I was wishing she were with me so we could make mad love in the heat. This is right before when later we were in Los Angeles, out in Anaheim in the Disneyland parking lot, and after finding out we didn't have enough scratch to get in the Disneyland gates, I spotted a new Chevrolet with Texas license plates now parked right next to my Chevy with Texas license plates--and for some strange reason I felt compelled to wait and see who would finally come to get in this car. My roommate said I was nuts, but he also was curious--I mean come on, how coincidental is it for two Chevys with Texas license plates to be parked by each other in the Disneyland parking lot? And sure enough it wasn't but about 15 minutes and two cold Burgermeisters later when sure enough here came two hot babes toward the new Chevy, one a tall rather skinny girl with short black hair and the other a shorter exotically beautiful young woman with a dark brown complexion and long raven black hair, so round and so firm and so fully packed, too; and soon my roommate and I were jiving with these certified Texas girls, trying to get them to go out with us, but they said they had to get back to Anaheim where the tall skinny one was staying with the short raven-haired exotic one and where they were expected for a special dinner at her father's Baptist church muy pronto. I gave the short exotic girl my phone number back in Dallas and she said she was moving back to Texas soon, to Grand Prairie, the first turnpike city you came to leaving Dallas and going west toward Fort Worth on the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike. Two years later, back in Dallas, I came home early from work one afternoon to find my roommate (not the dime-novel writer but an old hometown buddy I'd gone to college with, too) sitting and talking to this absolutely marvelous looking very light-White-complected short raven-haired exotic beauty--"Hey, Wolfie, I want you to meet Tipton's girlfriend from North Texas..."--Tipton was a rancher's son who was in my roommate's fraternity at NT and was staying with us for that summer--"Wolfie, this is Jacqueline Maria...." Howdy-do, cheerio and a pip-pip and all that--and I lit up my pipe and was prancing around my living room puffing and pompously posing for this absolutely fantastic woman. I was so taken with her, when she left, I had my roomy get her phone number by hook or crook from Tipton--which Jimbo got me, and a few nights later I called her and she was surprised to hear from me, yes, she remembered me, and, yes, she was going to be in Dallas for the summer and, yes, she had just moved back to Grand Prairie from Anaheim, California. And you can figure the rest of this story out...anyway, it turns out, yes, this Jacqueline Maria was the short exotic girl with the long raven-black hair I'd hit on two years earlier in that Disneyland parking lot--the girl I would a year later marry.
Ah, the heat takes me back...and now, though I'm breathing heavy hot air, I'm still cool, my fans working fine--in fact, it's 2:01 pm now--it's getting close to my bed time.
I'm just back from a trip across my street to the post office. Oh my Gott in Himmel, folks, it was so hot standing on the sidewalk in front of the post office I could feel my face blistering. Unbelievably it is cooler in my apartment than it is on the street. One nice thing is, there is a young illegal immigrant worker dismantling the scaffolding that has hidden the oldest building still standing on Broadway for the past 10 years--I can't imagine how this poor slob is surviving working in such heat and handling hot pieces of iron, too--but the top part of the old building that has been restored to its original state is now showing and it's as one of my fellow tenants said, "It's one of the most beautiful buildings in the city!" It is a beautiful building and the restoration work looks like real stonework except it's molded iron. I'm going to take a shower and go up in my loft and see if I can sleep off the rest of the afternoon--wake up around 7:30 and venture out for grub.
5:21 pm: They say it got up to 104, though currently it's 102.5 and the Sun is melting off the edge of the earth going looping west, sailing out way past New Jersey and on over Pennsylvania and beyond...while here now the worst is over. I slept about an hour...my loft bed fan was blowing solid boiling air, like when an automobile's radiator boils over, that hot radiator water spewing up to steam the air and make it hard to breathe. A bottle of cold water I drank from before falling asleep, when I woke up and took a drink was like sweet hot like the water that comes from the hot water tap. But the heat is relaxing. The temperature is sliding creepingly down, though they're predicting it won't fall to much lower than 82 tonight--which may be worse in terms of sleeping or staying awake than it was at the height of the heat today.