Foto by tgw, New York City, July 2012
Say Goodbye to: Maria Cole: Nat's wife; Natalie's mother; she was 89; Big C was cause of her demise. Maria was a singer; met Nat while both were working the Zanzibar Club.
Do we human beings really believe we are forever! I mean, folks, we are temporary. The world will spin on long after we are obliterated. We will either wipe ourselves out by our own hands (our Power Elites' love of nuclear power and nuclear toys) or by the Sun sending out a huge licking tongue of fire to lick us off the planet or by a humongous meteor or space rock hitting the earth full blast and thereby disintegrating us off the planet. There was a meteor that came within 1 distance of the moon from us recently--that's how they measure meteors coming close to us, by the distance between the moon and us. Most meteors fly by us an average of 13 to 34 moon distances, but the one I'm talking about was like 1.3 moon distances from us. Recent views of Mars show that Mars is pocked marked like crazy it's been hit by meteors, rocks, or other space debris so many times. Yet we go about life as though we're here forever and ever more. Even though it's obvious we're losing the essentials we need to exist, like clean water, we still go on about our monkey business as though we'll never run out of anything, like clean water. Just think, roaches will survive but not us.
Thinking in Billions
When I was a kid, anyone who was a millionaire was way beyond our comprehension in terms of income. Billionaires? There weren't many at all. Henry Ford was supposed to be the USA's first billionaire and old Henry's billion was a low billion and certainly nothing extravagant like today's billionaires: Warren "Leveraged Buyouts" Buffett and Little Billy "DOS Stealer" Gates and Senor "Telefono" Slim--these three human beings are worth a total of 160 billion bucks. Think of that, 3 individuals are worth 160 billion dollars! Right here in New York City, of course, our little-man Napoleonic-complex mayor is worth 24 billion. Can you imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning and found yourself worth a billion bucks?
According to 2011 figures, the US government, We the People of the USA, spent 10.4 BILLION bucks A DAY that year!
Those are all figures it's hard for me to comprehend. I dance with heathen glee if I can make 50 thousand a year. OK, I'll admit it, when I worked for the pharmaceutical industry in advertising I made $85,000 a year. As a single male making that much money, I lived like a Saudi prince. I still can't imagine what it's like in terms of your ego and libido making a billion bucks a year.
Millionaires! Hey, millionaires are a dime a dozen now. Every little podunk city has a millionaire. Just think of any celebrity (including baseball players and golfers) you happen to be gaga over and they are multimillionaires. A million bucks these days is chicken feed. You don't have a million bucks? Then you're a failure. That little teenage fop Justin Bieber is a multimillionaire. Jennifer Lopez, that's right J Lo (from the Bronx), is a multimillionaire. Jay Z is a multimillionaire. Big fat Oprah Winfrey is a multimillionaire. Here in New York City if you spit out the window of your hi-rise/high-rent apartment you'll more than likely hit a millionaire on his or her coiffed pate.
Do I know any billionaires? No. My own brother was in his heyday (the 1970s) a multimillionaire but bad investments and the need of a heart transplant whittled him down to size and when he died he wasn't worth much at all, maybe a few hundred grand. During his horn-of-plenty heyday several of his friends might have been billionaires, two in particular I can think of had to be, but since I can't stand rich people and tend to spiel Marxist theory when I'm around them, I've never gotten too friendly or palsy-walsy with any of them. My ex-wife, the Choctaw-Mexican-Welsh beauty, worked here in New York City during her heyday for one of the world's richest men (plus she was friends with the world's richest man at the time, Adnan Koshogi), and she'd come home from work every night and talk about how cheap and cashless the world's richest men were. She called them Paper Cowboys. One of her jobs was handling constant calls from people they owed money to, like American Express.
I think the reason Americans are so dumb is because most kids grow up either without a chance or with all the chances in the world. Like if you're a rich man's kid, you know you're going to inherit the moon and stars when your parents die. And if you're a poor man's kid, you think that one day you'll strike it rich some way--anything to get away from your worthless parents. I mean look at the billions of dollars made off gambling in this country. Look at the long lines of obviously poor people at the lottery counters all across the USA. I mean your chances of winning any kind of big stakes in a Lotto game or even at a casino are billions to one; yet because several people win millions three times a week (according to the ads) it keeps pisspoor people lining up and plopping down big bucks to have chances at these many jackpots. These fools and their money are soon parted. But as long as dumbass people think they've got a chance at winning jackpots they'll take those chances.
I figured during my time on earth, I've made millions of dollars. I've got no complaints. I've had a splendid life. I've been "rich" and I've been penniless. Either way I had a damn good time. After my parents died in a highway accident, my brother and I split some nice bucks. Due to my friendship with a stock market genius in New Orleans, I put my inheritance in the stock market at a time when you couldn't lose. I invested heavy in airline stocks (Delta, Eastern, National, Braniff) and in color television stocks (Sony (Trinitron) and Magnavox (Quasar)) and soon I was making off Magnavox alone $300 a day. Did I save money? Hell no. I lived like a Saudi prince, like I said earlier, for about seven years. I drove Jaguars and Mercedes and MG 1600As and lived in a villa on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe and in a penthouse in Mexico City and in a luxury hi-rise in San Francisco, had tons of beautiful and very smart women to have affairs with, three of whom I married, and I had friends who lived the good life with me: jazz musicians; one friend a "breaker" of wild horses; artists; a stock market genius; a governor's private pilot; a big shot at Walgreen's in Chicago; one friend who turned out to be a murderer; sculptors; a Navajo Indian dancer; the actor Robert Mitchum's pot dealer; a couple of big-time thieves; a Mafia goon from Chicago (a friend of mine since elementary school); a Tennessee Senator's worthless son; very rich West Texas oilmen's sons and daughters; a best friend for life who was the smartest man I've ever met (and I've met some smart men and women); two professional women golfers; writers; a ballet dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem; a soap opera actress...and on and on I could go.
Everybody in the USA has a goal of one day being "as rich as Rockefeller," as the old standard song said. I mean this is a Capitalist country whatever your intellectual political stance. Hitting the jackpot is the only way the majority of us are going to get to be "as rich as Rockefeller." In that sense we are all Capitalist pigs. For most of us, once we get rich, we get self-satisfied, blatantly egotistic, pompously proud, particularly choosy, and certainly oppressive against the poor.
What I've noticed hanging around the rich people I have personally known is they are definitely scared to death of losing their riches, either to scammers, to thieves, but mainly to TAXES, which means "the government." My brother when he was filthy rich was totally antagonized by the IRS. It was Ernest Hemingway's fear of the IRS that drove him totally nuts.
So tonight when you're trying to balance your checkbook or trying to figure out how you're going to pay your credit card debt down or pay off those student loans or hope you don't have cancer or a heart attack from worrying over those debts (stress), think of Little Billy and Sweet Melinda Gates and Warren "Hostile Takeover" Buffett and New York City's Little Man/Napoleonic Complex mayor without a worry in the world and with power enough to drive your ass all the way down Bum Lane to the Poor House.
As I've growled oh now these many years, the whole point of corporate globalization is CHEAP LABOR! That's Capitalism, folks! For with the CHEAPEST LABOR (Chinese willing to work for $3.00-a-day; Indians willing to work for $1.80-a-day; Pakis willing to work for minimum wage in the USA at our computer jobs), our corporations will own our asses lock, stock, and barrel (we'll all become indentured servants)...unless all us poor folk hit that Power Ball this weekend.
for The Daily Growler