Sunday, July 29, 2012

Existing in New York City: With a Friend Who Wears a Lot of Hats

Foto by Berenice Abbott, "The Daily News Building," New York City

We are pleased to note that The Daily Growler is no longer a danger to your computer. It seems, according to Google at least, we were hacked and phished and tainted with malware due to one of the comments we allowed to get through--or else one of our Blessed Blogs links--one relating to the works of George Orwell of all people. According to the latest malware detective software we are now CLEAN again...though perhaps not in terms of the blunt language we use or the idols we cast our evilest and most foul spells on.
Say goodbye to: Gore Vidal,
to me one of the great thinkers and writers of my life; whether you liked his books or not, he hit so many nails on the head in terms of the culture and politics of this country his truths were glaring in their brilliance. Gore Vidal, 86, American playwright, novelist, and political commentator, pneumonia.
Say goodbye to: Don Bagley: Don Bagley, 84, American jazz bassist and composer.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Celebrates Its Tenth Year of Posting
In the early 1980s, after being kicked out of a place to live on a cold winter's night by a charming woman who I at the time was madly in love with and had been having a married-like affair with for 7 years, I became a desperado, homeless, and with very little money. I was rescued from having to report to the men's shelter by a dear old friend and his live-in girlfriend who I had known since my days of divine life experiencing in the deflowering of the Ear Inn in downtown Manhattan around 1976-77. This old friend had been the opening-up bartender at the Ear Inn and every morning since the Ear's opening and when he opened the bar at 6 am, there came I and there was I at my corner bar stool in the far eastern corner of the Ear's long bar, up by the big front window. At the time I was an editor for a vanity publishing company. I edited books only a zoo full of Shakespearean-writing monkeys could enjoy, either tearing to shreds or actually making sense out of them. Previous to this experience, I had been a copyeditor and copywriter (I have always spelt these two honorable professions as one word) with Time-Life Films, which in 1974 was folded by Time Inc. after we earned only $900,000 yet spent $2,000,000 in our final year of existence. I was offered a full-time job by Time-Life Multimedia (under David Susskind) but I decided, to hell with full-time good-paying employment, I was going freelance.

After trying for a year to living the life of a squire on a 42-acre farm in Upstate New York, I found myself back in NYC, an editor with this vanity press, and living in a loft in BLOHO (Below Houston) on Greenwich Street just off Spring Street. Just around the corner from the Ear Inn.

Every morning at 6 am, I would gather up my day's worth of mss to edit and truck over to the Ear and establish myself in my corner of the bar and with my friend keeping me plush with pints of Bass Ale, I would edit my terribly badly written manuscripts until noon when I would take my finished work home and then return to spend the rest of the day and night in the Ear cavorting with a staunch group of Earites (Earwigs you might call them) who soon after the Ear opened for business like me found the place a cozy home.

Editing for this vanity press was actually one of the best jobs I ever had in terms of making a living. By editing like a well-oiled-machine, I was able to clear $500 a week after taxes, which in those days was top-dog pay for an editor.

This Ear Inn bartender and I became the closest of both drinking and mafficking buddies but also the closest of just-plain friends. So close in fact that when homeless and broke and freezing my ass off that cold winter's night my gal kicked my butt out of her 14-room colonial up in Westchester, he said come on down, that I could sleep on his living room couch.

At the time I had no job. I lost the job with the vanity press when the owner came to me and gave me the assignment of teaching his daughter how to copyedit and in doing so, and she was a very charming and delightfully zaftig young thing, I over edited a manuscript, finding 110 "EAs" (editorial alterations) in the badly written ms, a no-no in the vanity press business, my real job being to only find changes that could be noted as "PEs" (printer's errors) or "AAs" (author alterations). After congratulating me for tutoring his daughter in the fine art of editing, he fired me.

So I moved in with my old pal and his gal and I slept on their living room couch, being told I was welcomed there as long as it took for me to find a job and get a place of my own.

I went to where you went in those days to find a job to the classified section of the Sunday NY Times where I perused the ads relating to editing, or what the hell, proofreading, too. I knew from past experience how easy it should be for me, out of desperation, to get a proofreading job. And one Sunday morning, exhausted from trying to land a copyediting job, I saw that a Big 8 accounting firm in Rockefeller Center was looking for proofreaders.

I put my cleanest duds on, a fine Bloomingdale's sport coat my ex-wife, the Welch-Choctaw-Mexican beauty had bought me about 10 years ago, and a pair of slacks that had seen better days but were somewhat clean and with definite creases still in place and I trucked down to Rockefeller Center and to the Exxon Building and went up the so many floors to this accounting firm and by that afternoon I was told I had a job as a proofreader and I was to report to work...but, whoaaa, wait a minute! the personnel director was traipsing after me calling me back into her office as I was preparing to go back to my friend's loft and give him the good news that I had a job.

Back in the personnel director's office, I was told she had called my Time Inc. reference and they had informed her that they had me working there only 6 months where I had put down (and it was the truth) that I had worked there 2 years. Accusing me of lying on my application, this accounting firm's personnel director informed me that liars couldn't work for this firm (which was ironic since accounting firms's job is to lie about people's personal incomes to the IRS).

Leaving that office with several choice curse words flung back over my shoulder, I de-elevated myself back down to the Exxon Building lobby. As I was ready to storm out of the building, I noticed a sign saying there was another Big 8 accounting firm in the building in a different bank of elevators. So, like the valiant pro I was, I elevated myself up to the 20th-floor receptionist area and presented myself as a man looking for a job in their editorial department. Lo and behold, the receptionist said, "Why, honey, our editorial director just happens to be looking for a proofreader."

To make a long story short (hard for me to do), that very same day I got a job with this Big 8 accounting firm as a proofreader in their Printing & Design department.

Now what's this got to do with L Hat's tenth year of posting, you are surely asking.

I hit this Big 8 accounting firm as things were changing fast. I started as a proofreader, one of two. The week I got there, the department manager quit and a new woman took her place. My starting salary was $11, 250-a-year. Soon the other proofreader was promoted to the production department and they hired another proofreader. My boss, the editor-in-chief, he called himself Average Al, gave me the assignment of interviewing the proofreading applicant he thought was best suited for the job. During my conversation with this guy (a character beyond belief), I asked him the salary they were offering him and he told me $11,500-a-year. I immediately went to the department manager and was boiling mad---this new guy was coming on staff making $250 more a year than I was. She agreed with me that this was criminal and immediately got my salary raised to $15,000-a-year.

Soon Average Al began talking about quitting his job. Desktop computers were just coming into being and he had been offered a higher-paying job in Jersey editing computer manuals, which he eventually took. Before he left, he recommended I take his place as Editorial Director and Supervisor of Proofreading $18,000-a-year. The department manager wasn't sure I could handle the job but after a bull session, she was convinced I was the man and I got the job. So my salary within six or so months shot from $11,250 up to $18,000. I was riding a very high horse suddenly...single male, living in Manhattan...I mean, "Whoop-tee-doo." It meant finally my own apartment; new clothes; new women.

My first duty as Editorial Director and Supervisor of Proofreading Services was to hire a proofreader to replace me. We put an ad in the NYTimes and soon a gaggle of candidates started cluttering up my office begging me to hire them on as a proofreader. I wasn't impressed with any of them and blew them off until one day this guy appeared at my door seeking the job. He, though wearing frazzled well-worn brown slacks and a similar brown dress shirt, impressed me. There was just something about him that clicked with me. Maybe it was he was wearing a hat. A hat that made him look Orthodox Jewish. He'd been working in the basement of the Doubleday Bookstore that once sat over on 5th Avenue back in the early days of NYC chain bookstores. His job over there was a dirty job; unpacking crates of books and trundling them up to the main floor where they were assigned a shelf life. The more I got out of this guy, the more we clicked. He was born in Japan; he attended Occidental College in L.A. (where President Barak Obama would later go), and he had worked on a graduate degree at Yale. By the end of our conversation, I went and told the department manager I wanted him for the new proofreader. That man was L Hat. My first hire as Editorial Director and Supervisor of Proofreading Services.

That was many years ago now--1982--and L Hat and I have remained the best of friends ever since. I attract brilliant men and women and L Hat's one of the most brilliant of a host of brilliant friends I've gathered over my many years of friend gleaning.

My life as Editorial Director and Supervisor of Proofreading Services lasted a glorious 12 years, though soon in the early 1990s when personal computers were suddenly on all workers's desk, the good old times ended and the glory hole was shut down by something called the Hay Report and one fine day in the summer of '93 I returned from vacation to find both a birthday card from the company thanking me for my many years of steady service and a notice to please report to my boss's office immediately. In her office, I was met with a serious-faced new PR man from California and my dull-faced boss. They were sorry to inform me that after a twelve-year stint at this Big 8 accounting firm (by then they were calling themselves executive management firms), I was now officially FIRED as Editorial Director and Supervisor of Proofreading Services, and though I garnished a huge fist of severance bucks from the firing, I was soon out of a job and blowing those severance bucks faster than Superman outflying speeding bullets. It seems though I had given them 12 years of good work, according to the Hay Report and the new computer guys who had checked the amount of time we all spent at our workstations, my job was not at all cost effective (a new phrase that came into being around that time); in fact, my job and my staffs' jobs were a costly burden on the hard-times firm (it was at the time of what business big shots called a recession, which simply put meant their profits weren't what they used to be).

Fired, again I found myself in the street without a pot to piss in, though, like I stated, I was given a big lump-sum severance paycheck, big enough that for a brief moment I felt free as a bird, though as a free bird I was soon to realize with that depleting severance money, I was fastly becoming extinct. With my passing also, my boss informed me, the company was also going to fire my two best on-staff proofreaders, one of which was L Hat. I, with still a little influence under my belt, went to the head editor of the company's world business guides (they were guides to help globally minded corporations beat paying taxes in foreign countries) and insisted that he hire my two staff proofreaders as editors! Which, though he considered his job tougher than what my people worked on--hell, we had worked on his guides for years and years, he did.

I was out of work three years and damn stone broke when I was finally reduced to accepting a Sunday afternoon job playing keyboards with a guitarist friend in a SOHO bar making whatever the neighborhood bourgeoisies put in our tip jar and all the free pints of Bass Ale I could drink.

Soon, the severance pay bucks were gone and all I had was a large collection of Bicentennial quarters, which I started living on. For nourishment I was living off a daily diet of two Snickers bars and two small cups of coffee and for paying my rent and other bills borrowing money from my rich brother.

It was in this state of paucity that while playing keyboards at my Sunday gig I happened to put an eye on this tall redhead who sat at the bar every Sunday with her dog in tow. I had of course noticed her before--she was hard to not notice--but I had never really concentrated on what she was doing while sitting at that bar. When finally eying in on her, I saw she always had a pile of typed papers sitting in front of her and she was working at doing something with them. Finally, on that fateful Sunday, I went over and politely asked her just what she was doing. "I'm editing," she said. "Editing?" I asked. "Yes, I'm a medical editor with a pharmaceutical advertising agency." "Really," I said, "an editor, eh? You know, I'm one of the top editors in New York...." Blah, blah, blah, I carried on bragging about my professional talent. "If you can prove you're a top editor by giving me a resume, I will put you to work immediately." And that's how I got into the field of medical editing. True to her word, that next Sunday I brought this tall redhead my resume and she looked it over and said, "You've got a job. Come to the Look Building on Madison Avenue tomorrow morning and I'll put you to work." And that is exactly what I did. That next day I was a medical editor, freelance, making $30-an-hour. Holy Moly. You talk about being in high cotton. My first check after a week working for this tall redhead was for $1200. Yipes! I screamed on receiving so liberal a check and that night I sat up the bar at my favorite Irish pub and thus began a 12-year stint with this pharmaceutical advertising agency starting on Madison Avenue in the Look Building but moving in the middle 1990s over to 42nd Street in the famous Daily News Building, the News having moved out of the building to new digs though their TV station, WPIX, stayed there in the floors just under our offices.

I worked as a freelancer for this pharmaceutical advertising agency for 9 years and then one day the big shots announced they were no longer going to use freelancers and that the loyal freelancers were being offered staff positions. Just before this transition took place, my new boss, the redhead had given up the job to freelance, came to me and said she was looking for an editor since she was firing this Canadian dude's butt for incompetency. Did I know of anyone who might be interested in the job? I knew L Hat, who was still working for the Big 8 accounting firm in their World Guide department this time as an editor, was unhappy with the change in guard over there. So I called the Hatman up and asked him if he were interested in being a medical editor at $60,000-a-year. Hell yes, says he, and soon L Hat was being hired by my boss and soon he and I were office partners and soon he and I got iMac Blueberry computers and soon he and I were spending most of our free office time on our computers doing personal Web surfing and emailing and researching and me buying tons of stuff on eBay and him getting interested in, at that time not affiliated with Google.

He talked to me about starting a blog. He was going to call it Languagehat, combining his interests in language as a linguist and his interest in hats, of which he had many--I especially remember his authentic Greek fisherman's hat and his prize Borsolino felt and his real Panama straw from Ecuador.

And then one day there it was the languagehat blog. July 2002. With his banner designed by his stepson. And he was off and running in the blogosphere.

It seems to me like languagehat caught on fairly fastly thanks to L Hat's competence as a linguist but also his confidence as a writer. I have always been amazed at my friend's thirst for knowledge. I recall a time when he became interested in Vietnam and the Vietnam War. He read every book he could get his hands on that covered the subject and, of course, got deeply into the Vietnamese languages. He has for as long as I've known him also had a deep interest in all things Russian and especially the vast Russian literature scene and, of course, the Russian language, which he both reads and speaks with fluency. As a young man, he went to Moscow to study there and used to amuse me with many stories of his time living there in the days when it was still the Soviet Union. If you go on his Website today, you'll always find a post on something Russian, several of which on Tolstoy I find very interesting since I, too, find old Tolstoy a pip when it comes to writing, my first encounter with him reading Resurrection clear through in one sitting one long afternoon and night in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when I was just married and just becoming civilized.

I have now considered L Hat a dear close friend for 30 years. I have also considered a daily read since I was there when he started writing on it 10 years ago. I must admit sometimes when he's writing browbeating linguistics arguments it flies way over my head, but most of the time, he's such a interesting writer, even some of those posts I end up comprehending. What started as one of the first blogs on Blogger (now controlled by the Google gang) is now a highly respected Website by a gaggle of very serious L Hat fans. I'm jealous, of course, since his site garners upwards of hundreds of comments per post whereas the old Growler is lucky if it gets one comment, one of which may be L Hat, but still I probably wouldn't have tried blogging if it hadn't have been for my friendship with one of my truly great and close friends, a man for all seasons, a man for whom languages and how man speaks them and writes them is his metier...and, too, he knows a lot about chapeaus.

Congrats, old friend, on one of the most successful blogging efforts in the blogosphere. I raise my glass of non-alcoholic beer in three cheers to ye.

for The Daily Growler

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Existing in New York City: a Saturday Evening Post

Foto by tgw, New York City, July 2012
From the AP: Jet-Setting Hillary RodHAM Clinton

WASHINGTON (AP) — If diplomatic achievements were measured by the number of countries visited, Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the most accomplished secretary of state in history.

While historians will debate and eventually rate her tenure as America's top diplomat, Clinton is already assured of a place in the State Department record book.

When her plane touches down at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington early Tuesday morning, the former first lady will have completed an epic 13-day journey of 27,000 miles — about 2,000 miles more than the circumference of the Earth — through and over Europe to Asia and then doubling back to the Middle East.


From Yahoo News:

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Protesters threw tomatoes and shoes at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's motorcade on Sunday during her first visit to Egypt since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

A tomato struck an Egyptian official in the face, and shoes and a water bottle landed near the armoured cars carrying Clinton's delegation in the port city of Alexandria after she gave a speech on democratic rights.

A senior U.S. official said neither Clinton nor her vehicle, which was around the corner from the incident, were hit by the projectiles, which were thrown as U.S. officials and reporters walked to the motorcade after her speech.

Protesters chanted "Monica, Monica," a reference to the extra-marital affair conducted by Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, while in the White House.
[Next stop for Hillbilly Hillary is Israel.]
The Repugnican Ticket
Mitt "the Mormon" Romney and Condo-Leasing Rice? Sounds like Unka Dick Cheney's wrapping his gnarly old hands around Mitt's tender Mormon balls. Mrs. Romney was right: "Mitt's gonna choose a woman." Though Condo-Leasing Rice doesn't seem to me to fit the Repugnican soccer-mom image of a woman, you know, out in the kitchen with the pots and pans and makin' babies in the bedroom though also going with her husband on moose-killing expeditions. But hey big oil loves the Condo Gal. Karzai in Afghanistan and she used to be in the oil business together. She's tougher than a bed of nails. She could certainly grab old Mitt the Mormon by his balls so his crazy ass won't go astray. And there goes Unka Dick's hand up Mitt's ass. Yep, sounds good to me. A Neo-Con love affair. And Condo-Leasing's a good N-worder; she ain't gonna rock no anti-Civil Rights swift boats.

I mean does this all sound like a sick joke? The whole presidential campaign? These dumbasses spending billions of dollars to get elected to a job that pays $400,000 a year? The spoiled brat rich boy Mitt "the Mormon" Romney who has never really had to work a day in his life--come on, being the head honcho of the Bain Crooked Private Equity Co. and having creative accountants bank your money in offshore banks isn't work. And Obama...he neither has really ever had to work a hard day's night's worth of work in his life. To me, Obama is a perpetual college boy. Community organizing in Chicago. Is that hard work? Being prepped for politics by a bunch of Chicago political goons, is that hard work? Politics must be an easy life, otherwise why would all these rich bastards spend so much money trying to get into it?

We've Bridged the Gap
I worked for a large accounting firm in the 1980s. I saw all of this globalization coming. I thought it was silly. I saw first hand this large accounting firm shedding its image as tax accountants to become an executive management firm. Fuck the working class. Let them go to shysters or H&R Block to get their taxes done. I saw the main goal of this accounting firm was to help these big-shot CEOs and their corporations beat taxes 'round the world. The firm I worked for was involved in the BCCI scandal; the BCCI being Arab banking crooks who were supporting Islamic militancy around the world. The firm I worked for weaseled their way out of any punishment for cooking those BCCI books. The firm I worked for was originally masterminded in England. Have you noticed how all of our current problems seem to have gathered as imperial storm clouds from back in the days when the sun never set on a British possession?

But then I can't get started on putting Great Britain down, though it pains me deeply to see them still invading our films and our Broadway stages and ruling high on our music charts and riding high on our Public (British)Broadcasting Service schedules. A truly insulting series running currently on NYC's Public (British)Broadcasting Service documenting the absurd old wretched Queen of England's everyday privileged affairs--it's insane to have royalty; yet so many people still bow and scrape to a set of royal fops.

Great Britain in Iran

Read about Britain and our own CIA fucking with the Iranian people over their OIL:

Another side of this British and US interference in Iranian politics and OIL:

Where in the World Is Hillbilly Hillary?
Let's see, Hillary was in Afghanistan to announce Afghanistan was a "non-NATO major ally," whatever the hell that means. Then Hillbilly H went to Japan for a meeting of nations who were contributing billions of dollars to Afghanistan. What's the catch there? Do all these nations now get a chunk of Afghanistan's wealth? Then the Hillbilly Traveling Circus was in Laos. Then in Cambodia. And now the Hillbilly Gal is in Egypt. Holy Smoke! How's Hillary getting around the world like this? On her own private jet? On regular airlines? On a military jet? And who's paying for this multimillionaire to be flying around the world and never in her office in Washington? You bet We the People of the USA are paying out the ass for multimillionaire Hillary to go globe trotting. I mean she's probably knocking down a huge clothing expense; I doubt if Hillary's wearing Walmart of China clothes, though she did used to be on the Walmart Board. She's got to have a huge staff of dickboys and dickgirls cruising along with her. There must be State Department underlings aboard these flights. And of course her huge security team. But then We the People dole out billions to these worthless people. Come on, Hillary was Slick Willie's wife for god's sake. How suddenly is she exalted into the highest echelons of political skulduggery? And who's old Slick Willie bangin' while Hillary's on the road 24/7? I mean, come on, a pretty boy like Willie's gotta have his poontang.

What a Life!!!
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday faced opposition from Democrats and Republicans in a hearing on the State Department's $51.6 billion budget request.

thegrowlingwolf & others
for The Daily Growler Saturday Evening Post

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Existing in New York City: Where Billionaires and Millionaires Roam Free

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.
Pompous Monkies
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

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Existing in New York City: Being Barbecued By the Hot Air of Politicians and Our God the Sun

Foto by tgw, "Moon Over Manhattan," New York City, July 2012
Say Goodbye to: Robert Reno.
Yes, he was Janet Reno's brother, but I knew him and loved him as a journalist. He wrote columns in the old Bill Moyer-owned Newsday (once known as Long Island Newsday) on money matters and Economics. Robert Reno, 72, American newspaper columnist (Newsday), complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Don't Get Too Hopeful Yet
Yes, Mitt "the Mormon" Romney is such a spoiled-brat rich fool that surely he hasn't got one chance in Mormon hell of beating President Obama in this year's most expensive ever presidential campaign (can you believe these privileged assholes are blowing 11 billion trying to get elected to a job that pays what, $300,000 a year?). But then that's what Dumbocrats, lefties, and progressives said about G.W. "Georgie Porgie" Bush beating Al "the Bore" Gore in 2000 and John "Spoiled Brat Rich Boy Ketch-Up Heir's Plaything" Kerry in 2004; yet, Georgie Porgie was our worst-president-ever for two terms. OK, so he stole the 2000 election with the help of his crooked brother and he stole the 2004 election with the help of Repugnican crooks in Ohio, but he still got enough legit votes that stealing both elections was a simple matter for Simpleton G.W.

President Obama still refuses to sling mud. I mean this guy is giving the Repugs every opportunity to trash him; yet, he will not trash them. He's amazing in that given every opportunity in the world to become our greatest president ever he refuses to budge and instead lopes right along in G.W. Bush's footsteps. He like Romney is taking millions of campaign bucks from his Wall Street heroes (remember, he said they were his heroes in his pre-2008-election book; the same book in which he said besides Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan was his other preferred past president--WHY? Because of his economic policies and foreign trade policies!!).

Following along in Bush's footsteps, Obama is issuing executive orders, one that gives himself the privilege of assassinating American citizens with his love of drones, drones he is now allowing to fly by the thousands over the USA.

Obama is still rather wimpy when it comes to immigration policies--more deportations under his administration than under G.W. Bush's. He has continued to spend millions of dollars continuing to build G.W.'s wall along our border with Mexico. He has continued giving the Pentagon and the Defense Department unlimited amounts of unaccounted for monies--billions upon billions of dollars. Obama has continued to go on with putting missile sites aimed at Russia in Poland and other Slavic countries. Obama has continued to pump billions into G.W. Bush's lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He ingests in his campaign speeches that he has pulled our worn-out troops out of Iraq in victory--he hasn't, of course, pulled all our troops out of Iraq. We the People of the US are still supporting the world's largest embassy there and we are supporting Hillbilly Hillary's little State Department army of 12,000 and we are supporting over 150,000 private contractors still there, including the evil Blackwater, whose name has changed so many times, who the hell knows who they are now?

Obama is loping right along in G.W. Bush's footsteps by continuing to allow our Federal Reserve, still run by Bush Baby Ben Shalom Bernanke, to dole out trillions upon trillions of bail-out dollars to our criminal financial institutions and banks. In the meantime, Obama looks the other way as these criminal institutions continue to play the derivatives games and the interest-rate-setting games and the credit-card scamming games, Obama's favorite Wall Street criminal gang, J.P. Morgan-Chase led by Obama's favorite Wall Street schemer, Jamie Boy Dimond, now said to have blown 8 maybe 9 billion of We the People's bail-out bucks on inner-banking risk taking (gambling), and the accusations go on and on--not only in this country but worldwide. The Spanish people have risen up against their crooked combo bank this past week!

Obamacare, that some say is exactly the same as Romneycare in Massachusetts, was written and endorsed by the pay-or-die healthcare insurance crooks and the pharmaceutical industry greedbags and yes it does force several million Americans without the funds to afford any healthcare insurance to buy some from the pay-or-die boys or pay a penalty come tax time. And yet Dumbocrats and neo-lefties and progressives are now trumpeting Obamacare as life-saving and the greatest healthcare reform in the history of the US! And I ask you, would you trust John Roberts coming over to your side during a presidential election year? Wouldn't you wonder what the fuck is going on with Roberts, a rightwing nutjob who took rightwing nutjob William Hubbs Rehnquist's place on our Supreme(ly Dumb) Court during G.W. Bush's second stolen term in office, crossing over to the enemy side to save Obamacare?

I know I'm a lone wolf growling my political bemoanings to an environment of deaf ears while the praised and highly paid journalistic pundits excuse Obama his two-facedness because, as they warn, we don't surely want Mitt "the Mormon" Romney to win (or steal) this election. They've got me there; hell no I don't want Mitt "the Mormon" Romney to be my president. Once again, We the People of the USA who vote are given a choice of two evils neither of whom is able to talk about the biggest problem facing us: an economy definitely on a disastrous course while the economy of the People's Republic of Communist China is growing by Capitalistic leaps and bounds (ain't that ironic?).

Don't you wish Obama would just come out and say, "Look, my feller Amuricans, Mitt 'the Mormon' Romney is a spoiled rich brat fool. I mean, come on, folks, the Republicans are White racists, and this country is turning brown, so why don't all you good Whites and you Blacks and Latinos get with it and get me back in the White Man's know, give me a mandate...and you Democrats, get solidly behind me, and I'll tell you, I'll get back on my 'Yes We Can' steed and reform things revolutionarily...." But that's so much what he's not going to do, but don't you just wish he would? He could end these wars; he could slash the Pentagon's budget, slash the Defense Department's budget, do away with Homeland Security, bring our troops home from the 150 bases we're supporting all around the world...hell, extend a hand of friendship to the Muslim world...instead, well who the hell knows what these bastards have planned for us?

I mean, I'm reading where Hillbilly Hillary is in Kabul talking some bullshit about how Afghanistan is now a "major non-NATO ally." What in the hell of backwards thinking does that mean? A reversal of G.W. Bush's turning the Afghan War over to NATO?...washing his hands of the whole thing? At the same time I'm reading about Hillbilly Hillary's adventures in Kabul, I'm reading where Exxon-Mobil is in Kabul, too, making deals for Afghan oil! Oh, you didn't know Afghanistan was a big cog in our quest for all the world's oil?

I just can't get it up for all this election year bullshit and that's all all of this electioneering is, total bullshit!

I mean doesn't the way these bastards toss billions of dollars around all over the world have you wondering the same as I am--where the hell are these 2nd-story operators getting all these billions? I mean, I'm reading one day where California's broke, near bankruptcy, then today I'm reading where they are starting work on the US's first high-speed rail line. Yet, on the same page I'm reading that well though there were a batch of private-sector jobs created last month, the economic picture for us is still BAD. Does bad to our soothsaying Economists (Economics remember is not a "pure" science but is based on statistics and crunching numbers to fit the bevies of economic theories in the world) mean what it used to mean to our rock 'n rollers? Bad is Good.

I'm confused. So I'm turning my attention to the temperature sailing up over the 100 mark in the Big Stewed Apple today. When the temp goes over a hundred here in NYC, it's like being in the depths of Holy Hell. Here on Manhattan Island we're sitting atop a concrete slab, a concrete slab that sucks the hottest heat out of the sunlight and blasts it back up in our overworked and overtaxed faces. In the meantime, Con-Ed is having to turn up the dynamos all over town in order to keep our billionaires cool as they sit pompously atop their hi-rise luxury condo buildings or in the top-floor suites of their overbuilt hi-rise office buildings--or else they've flown the coop of the city and gone off to their private-island Caribbean estates.

I'm going back to reading my books. To hell with the world.

for The Daily Sizzling Growler

The Sun in Art

the art of Dosia McKay

What's the Real Sun Up to:

X-FLARE: For days, giant sunspot AR1515 has looked capable of producing a really strong explosion. On July 6th it finally did. Yesterday, the sunspot's magnetic canopy erupted, producing a brief but potent X1.1-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

The explosion hurled a CME into space. According to this movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, the cloud appears to be heading south and away from Earth. However, we cannot yet rule out a glancing blow to our planet on July 8th or 9th. Stay tuned for further analysis.

Look at the CME movie one more time. The speckles near the end are caused by energetic protons accelerated by the flare. Guided toward Earth by solar magnetic fields, the protons are peppering Earth-orbiting satellites, causing "snow" in imaging systems and posing a slim threat for single-event upsets (computer glitches). X-flare alerts: text, voice.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Existing in New York City With Piles of Books to Read

Foto by tgw, New York City, April 2010
Easy Readers

I luckily grew up with people who respected books. Hardbound books. Paperbacks to the generations before mine were cheap editions of pure-dee evil. In H.L. Mencken's volume 1 of his autobiography called Happy Days, he mentions how what his parents's generation called dime novels were sneak read by boys far from home and were considered to his parents as written, published, and distributed by the Devil himself. As a kid, I remember my mother finding my brother's collection of paperback books, one of which was Erskine Caldwell's God's Little Acre (1933), a book my mother considered so evil and vulgar, she was on her way to send it back to Hell from whence it came through incineration in our back alley ashcan when she was intercepted by my brother who rescued it by pleading with mother that it really was literature and not the trashy novel she believed it to be. Those early paperbacks had two things going against them: 1) because they were paperbacks instead of hardbacks, they were cheap (thus "dime novels"), and 2) their covers showed illustrations of the absolute sleaziest (scatological) nature. For instance, check out the original cover to the paperback of God's Little Acre:
Though my brother was right in his defense of Caldwell's writing--and Erskine Caldwell is a damn fine writer--but with a cover suggesting the contents of the book had to do with a "scorching" story of what appears to be a lusty young stud trying to force himself on a young Southern belle and in a barn and in the hay with that evil old codger of a man (Caldwell called him Ty Ty Walden) spying on them you can understand why my saintly mother would see the contents of the book as so much ghastly trash.

Hardbound books were so constructed as to be treasured and preserved in a solid wood bookcase that was prominently displayed in the main room of a house. Or if you were rich and had a huge house, you certainly had a special room designated a library within it, a library full of book shelves on which were preserved row after row of hardbound books.

I wasn't that much of a reader until I got to college. My brother on the other hand started reading at a very young age. He once told me when he was a teenager, he would take the dictionary into the bathroom and read it from A to Zed. He later lived with my mother's mother, the librarian, and as such had access to a plethora of books and out-of-town newspapers like the NY Times and the NY World Tribune. I was born when he was 15 years old. Though my grandmother the librarian baby-sat me at the library, by the time I was old enough to start reading books, she had retired from the library, and I was shuffled around to various towns, Enid, Oklahoma, and Dallas, Texas, as my father struggled to find work, before eventually ending up back in my hometown of Abilene, Texas, where I eventually went to high school more interested in girls and sports than I was in reading books. By the time I was in high school, book readers were considered eggheads. I worked my last years in high school in my brother's bookstore and magazine stand where I started reading all kinds of magazines and one Christmas my brother gave me a volume of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories with orders that I read it or he was taking it back. That became the first book I ever read and that became the first book I ever thoroughly enjoyed reading.

By my first year in college--and I attended North Texas State University that fortunately had the second largest college library in the Texas University school system (The University of Texas in Austin had the second largest library in the USA (second to Harvard))--I was reading every book I could get my hands on. My goal was to try and read at least 100 books a school year, a quota I met three of my six years in college (I later went to the University of Texas in Austin, the University of New Mexico, and New York University), the other three years managing to read an average of over 80 books. By the time I graduated college and got married to my second wife, I had a collection of around 1,000 books. At the peak of my book collecting here in New York City, my wife (the Choctaw-Mexican-Welsh girl) and I had a library of over 2,000 books. Of those 2,000 books, more than three-quarters of them were paperbacks or soft covers as they were called.

After World War II and thanks to the success of Erskine Caldwell's paperback sales (he alone was responsible for the success of the New American Library), paperback books became THE source of affordable reading materials. By the time I graduated college, all the classic writers and all the modern writers were available in paperbacks. All the bestselling books first came out in hardbacks. About a year later, the paperback editions were released.

Though I no longer have a library of 2,000 books, I still have hundreds of books in both book shelves and stacked on the floor of my stuffed-full-of-stuff apartment. I read several times a day every day. I'm currently reading over 20 books at once. I just finished reading Somerset Maugham's The Summing Up for the third time in a raggedy barely held-together Mentor paperback book edition. I also just finished reading Henry Miller's Nexus in an Evergreen Press (softcover) edition. The Maugham book is in a pocket-sized paperback; the Miller book is in a hardback-sized softcover edition (too big to fit in your pocket). I am currently rush-reading a huge hardback volume of H.L. Mencken's three-volume-in-one autobiography: The Happy Days; The Newspaper Days; The Heathen Days. I'm also currently reading Charles Bukowski's Ham on Rye; Toni Morrison's great novel Jazz (some most unique writing); and Balzac's Lost Illusions. I'm also at the same time reading several books referring to the truly American composer, Charles Ives, especially John Kirkpatrick's compilation of Ives writing entitled Memos, a huge book that I use as a reference book, meaning I'll never stop reading it (until I die, that is).

Like my brother, who before he died amassed a huge library--sadly it is sitting dormant and going to waste down in a storage vault in Texas--, I do notate most of the books I read, either that or I take copious notes in notebooks as I read. I mark books up because I have no intention of reselling them--unless they are books that totally disgust me--but even those books are hard for me to part with, like Tippy Hedron's (the one-hit-movie wonder star of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds) book about raising tigers and lions on her Los Angeles ranch.

Notations from books:
From Ortega y Gasset's Revolt of the Masses
"Specialization leads to mediocrity"--a notation of mine that I deduced from Ortega y Gasset's reasoning.
"Rhetoric is the cemetery of human realities." Now come on, that's a powerful note. The reasoning power of this man.

From Alfred North Whitehead's Adventures of Ideas
"Carthaginians--civilized trading nation, racially progressive--they ruled Spain & Sicily & North Africa. While Plato was thinking, they were sacrificing their children to Moloch. What Whitehead calls 'an Act of religious propitiation.'" "Whitehead: 'Religion lends a driving force to Philosophy'; 'Philosophy guards our higher intuitions'; 'The history of ideas is a history of mistakes.'" "Whitehead: Plato: The creation of the world (the world of civilized order) is the victory of 'persuasion over force.'"

From Maugham's The Summing Up
"But the plain man's interest in philosophy is practical. He wants to know what is the value of life, how he should live and what sense he can ascribe to the universe."
"My conclusion: The Universe doesn't need a God. Only man needs a God."
"From Maugham: 'We are the playthings of Nature.'"
"The egoism of man makes him unwilling to accept the meaninglessness of life and when he has unhappily found himself no longer able to believe in a higher power whose ends he could flatter himself that he subserved he has sought to give it significance by constructing certain values beyond those that seem to further his immediate welfare.... These three values are Truth, Beauty, and Goodness."

From Henry Miller's Nexus
"A most septentrional day, let us say, when the most stupid animal would not poke a nose out of his hole."

"Stymer the lawyer speaking: 'As for those who govern the world, there you have the most dishonest , the most hypocritical, the most deluded and the most unimaginative beings imaginable.'"

"Women adore gifts, especially costly ones. They also adore little nothings, dependent on their moods."

"I have no respect for learning. It's sheer crap, this business of grammer and rhetoric. The less you know about such things the better. Especially if you're a writer."

I fill notebook after notebook with such notes from my reading. I count 20 such notebooks in the shelf that rides high above my loft bed.

Two of my dearest friends are voracious readers. thedailygrowlerhousepianist reads books as he travels around the world playing his piano and then he throws them my way when he comes back to New York. I introduced him to Plato and he immediately devoured everything Plato wrote--he is now a Plato expert where I am a Plato amateur.

My friend L Hat (of reads devouringly. When he lived in New York City, I used to watch him walking down a street reading a book as he walked. When he wasn't reading he was miserable.

My dear friends in Rhode Island have so many books in their house they had to shore the floors up in order to keep the weight of the books from crashing down two floors to settle in a pile of dust in their basement.

I have not yet bought a Kindle. I like holding my books in my hands. Nor am I used to audio books, though I did enjoy the other day listening to William Faulkner read one of his short stories off an old cassette tape I found among the hundreds of cassette tapes that still line the floor of my apartment. Also, I just a day ago bought the 2-volume Caedmon LPs of Ezra Pound reading his poetry. Still I prefer holding a book in my hands and reading it that way. I just can't imagine not having books on my book shelves. Books I know so personally that when I want to remember something from the ones I've read, I can go right to them, pull them from the shelf and glean all the magic I remember from them all over again. Books I haven't read yet sitting on my shelves tempt me, tempt me so madly sometimes, I stop reading the books I'm reading and start reading them.

for The Daily Growler (a continuing novel)