Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Continuing As Is Continued--and More!

Back to Ralph Ellison, Writers & Writing, and Then Dr. Wolf Man Is In
Ralph Ellison enlightened me on writers and their social responsibilities--like with Hemingway, I'd just never thought of his writing in this sense: "Artists such as Hemingway were seeking a technical perfection [I agree with that] rather than moral insight. (Or should we say that theirs was a morality of technique? [Very interesting way of looking at it]) They desired a style stripped of unessentials, one that would appeal without resorting to what was considered worn-out rhetoric, or best of all without any rhetoric whatsoever. [Yes, true; no rhetoric!] It was felt that through the default of the powers that ruled society the artist had as his major task the 'pictorial presentation of the evolution of a personal problem.' [Yes, Hemingway as Hemingway as Hemingway] Instead of recreating and extending the national myth as he did this, the writer now restricted himself to elaborating his personal myth." [page 38, Shadow and Act, 1994.]

thegrowlingwolf MD ("The Doctor Is In")

I can save your life, perhaps; I've been a fan of almonds all my life. When I lived in New Orleans, I loved to go to Gallatoire's and eat trout almondine--oh God, the buttery and crisp goodness of those fresh rainbows, swimming in toasted almond slivers--Jesus, those were good times--but don't want to get sentimental--I hate crybabies--except when I was a kid and sort of believed in "rasslin'" for a mad while--I used to watch the weekly matches from Chicago we got on early CABLE television and one of my very favorite rasslers was Cry Baby Bob Corby. Oh jesus, poor old Bob used to get the crap beat and kicked out of him, so bad that he would back into a corner, get down on his knees, put his hands up in the praying stance (can hands stand? Sure they can hand stand and do the hand can-can at the same hands of time), and then start bawling like a baby and going "Pleeez, Pleeezz," and then just when his opponent was taking consideration of Bob's walloped appearance and finding kindness tugging at his heart, Bob would barrelass head-first into the considerate opponent's midsection and soon have the brute in one of his famous leg locks or half-nelson holds we kids called "tearjerkers."

But almonds, folks. I eat 2 lbs a day and have for--oh hell, let's see, 10 years--with the hulls; they've got to have the hulls. They think almonds originally came from China or Central Asia--hey, are my eyes turning almond? But they are beaucoup healthy, so thus saith this Zarathustra.
  • Almonds are among the earliest cultivated foods in history.
  • Almonds are thought to have originated in China and Central Asia.
  • Explorers brought almonds back with them, and before long almond trees flourished.
  • Almonds, like most nuts, were thought to have too much fat to be a healthy snack.
  • But research has debunked that belief as an old myth.
  • One study showed that three ounces of almonds a day actually lowered a person's cholesterol by 14 percent.
  • Munching on almonds helps people feel satisfied and less inclined to overeat at dinner!
  • Ninety percent of the fat in almonds is unsaturated fat, and frequent consumption, as a result, could help lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Of course, since almonds are a plant based food, they contain no cholesterol.
  • Almonds are loaded with protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E and other antioxidants and phytochemicals.
  • Almonds have been shown to promote good health, especially when they are part of a healthful diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and low fat whole grain products.
  • According to one study, almonds are a well balanced food.
  • They contain the right kind of fats-monounsaturated and some polyunsaturated, so they help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, while not touching the high-density, or good cholesterol levels.
  • The folic acid in almonds is believed to help lower levels of homocystein, the amino acid that is thought to contribute to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries.
  • And studies have shown links between nut (especially almond) consumption and lower risk of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and other chronic illnesses.
  • In a nutshell, almonds are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, biotin, riboflavin, niacin and iron.
  • Almonds are the most nutritious of all nuts.
This info comes from a great site--


What a site; health, news, scams, corporate lying exposed, even some trickbag shit being pulled by California almond growers. I may add this site to my sidebar over there with l hat and wood s lot (and I apologize to the Canadian beaver (he has to be busy as one to keep this wonderful site so full of info and interesting) for not diving into wood s lot lately--I will correct that swiftly).

thegrowlingwolf (not a real doctor)
for The Daily Growler

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lusting After Lindsay Lohan

Why Writers Write
Oscar Levant
I took yesterday OFF (my favorite mosquito spray) to read; I read at three books, finishing one, Oscar Levant's great little 1940 volume, A Smattering of Ignorance, published in those days by a publisher called Doubleday Doran (the Doubledays are still around--the publisher became a bookstore (now gone) and the family still owns the New York Mets--but Doran, who the hell knows or cares what happened to them?; I'm sure they came out alright).

Though written in 1940, it's all damn interesting to a person like me or any musician, writer, sociologist, observer, notator (and in that sense historian), filmmaker, or just a gawker at the lives of celebrities, introducing me for the first time to the complexities suffered by famous conductors between their importance and the importance of the philharmonic and symphony orchestras they are hired to conduct and therefore control--first of all most philharmonic players, according to Oscar, are usually antagonistic to the conductor ("100 men and women and a louse" as the old saying goes--though originally there were no women in US symphony orchestras) no matter his stature in the world of conducting--and Levant gives examples of the problems Arturo Toscanini had with the snobby New York Philharmonic (started by the dilettante Damrosch family--it's first conductor Walter Damrosch, who has a park named after him to this day over behind Lincoln Center, though during his reign the orchestra played in Carnegie Hall, it's home for years and years until Lincoln Center was shoddily built in the late 60s and the NY Phil moved into Alice Tully Hall--a hall that had to be redesigned and rebuilt several times before they got the sound right. In Carnegie Hall nobody needed microphones--though they do have a sound system there now--but in Alice Tully Hall the sound was so bad, they had to have microphones everywhere--with sound engineers and shit. I can just see Beethoven and Liszt calling for the sound engineers--"Why the hell is my mic not working? And why can't I hear the cellos, man; I gotta hear the damn cellos, man."

And then Levant in his envious way (Oscar was a great interpreter of Gershwin serious pieces--Oscar was from the Russian school of bombastic pianists but was more noted for his acting and his being sarcastic, put-down asshole--Jack Paar brought him back to prominence in his last years in the early 60s) writes about his relationship with Harpo Marx and the parties and dinners at Harpo's Hollywood house and Harpo and music and playing the harp with it strung backwards because that's how he'd taught himself to play it--backwards; and the great bluesman Sonny Terry played the harmonica backwards, too, as a "by the bye," and also I knew a saxophone player in Santa Fe, a scion of a famous publishing family, whose whole act was playing The Stars Spangled Banner backwards--always variations of the backwards national anthem (a stupid one to boot, and this was this guy's point--the damn thing is still just as silly backwards or forwards, though this dude wouldn't have been caught dead playing it forwards--nor did he stand for it when it was played monotonously forwards before sporting events and even the Santa Fe Opera one year.

Oscar's best essay in this little book is the one he wrote about his friendship with the Gershwins, George and Ira. Levant lived with George Gershwin for two years almost--was there when Gershwin was writing Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, the Concerto in F, and the Preludes for Piano, while he was trying to transcend his role as the leading composer of show tunes, Broadway tunes, and therefore Hollywood film scores and musicals--when Gershwin was trying to compose concert pieces--not symphonies surprisingly enough--but operettas, like his masterpiece Porgy and Bess--the idea for using an all black cast, by the way, came from the success of Gertrude Stein's and Virgil Thomson's grand little opera Four Saints in Four Acts, which was conducted by Alexander Smallens the same conductor who would later conduct Porgy and Bess. Levant's writing is puzzling, witty, deceiving, and I think liquidly refreshing--I love it--though a lot of his best quips are pale compared to what he would have to come up with today--Gore Vidal is as close to Oscar Levant as I can come right now--it's the same sort of deep wit, not really as sarcastic as it is mocking the hypocrisies of life--and how all that glitters isn't ever gold.

Ralph Ellison
I've recently been immersed in the life and times of the Prez, Lester Young, the original swinging tenor in the orchestras of what became the jazz bands--Lester arising out of what later became known (thanks to Ralph Ellison's insight) as Southwest jazz, swing, blues--and as Lester said, it's all blues--if you can't play the blues and those blues tonics and those off-minor tangents and shit then you really can't play jazz--to prove this, listen to say Albert Mangelsdorf the German jazz goof a lot of moderne jazz "students" love and admire, some saying they'd even forsake Charles Parker, Jr.'s, albums in favor of Albert Mangels(jazz)dorf--listen to Albert and then listen to a trombonist you may not have ever heard of, Jimmy Cleveland, who made tons of albums back in the 50s and 60s--a good one under Cecil Payne's leadership. Check out these two dudes playing side by side and tell me which one has you dancin' first or has you finger-popping first, or head shakin' (side to side and not up and down like squares (White people)) first, or toe tapping first, or feelin' like moving horizontally and not vertically like those German-trained musicians go, the ones even Charles Ives knew were ruining classical music way back in the 1880s.

The book is Ralph Ellison's Shadow and Act , my edition a Book-of-the-Month Club special issue from 1994, the essays in the book a collection of stuff mostly published in magazines from 1953 until 1964.

Ralph was born in Okie City, Oklahoma, his family escaping the white-barbarism of the South out to Indian Territory, finally settling in Oklahoma City, where due to Oklahoma not being a state during the Civil War (and we're still fighting the Civil War, folks, and don't you forget it--Ellison brings this out, too, in his evaluation of the writings of Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway) it therefore never had anything to do with slavery (Native American reservations--though those are OK since the White Man saw right off that these redmen were savages--they had to be penned up and controlled by the Great White Father).

(silver bars)I "grew up" (from 1 to 4 years of age) in Enid, Oklahoma, 100 miles due north (a little to the northwest by a hair) of Oklahoma City; also I was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, during my stint in the U.S. F-ing Army as an artillery battery officer (a 2nd louie, the first to be killed in a platoon in a war (like Vietnam, where I was headed at the time)--the first to be fragged by his men of that platoon--certainly more 2nd louies (gold bars) get killed in war than do 1st louies or captains (silver bars), so I've always felt a second-home allegiance to Oklahoma in spite of its faults--like legalized cockfighting and 3.2 beer at one time the most disgraceful beer ever invented by the Germans of Milwaukee and Colorado. 3.2 beer was the only beer allowed to be sold in Army PXs (post exchanges) in those dark days-- and one night I drank 15 bottles of Carling's Black Label (a Chicago brew--a prohibition beer label, "Yoohoo, Mabel, Black Label") and was as sober as a judge--though I was drunk, "a 3.2 drunk" as we used to joke about drinking the flat shit--and I grew up drinking 3.2 Walthers, Bergdorf, and original Coors beers all out of Colorado)--and in Oklahoma, all the prostitutes were tested every 6 months for venereal diseases and had to carry a card with them showing they were registered with the State of Oklahoma as clean ho's--I know, I fell madly in love with a prostitute in Lawton, Oklahoma, during my tour of duty at Fort Sill--the most gorgeous creature I'd ever seen until then, a gorgeous black woman, and the first time I saw her I was being escorted back to the base by MPs with a kid from Arkansas because we had caused a ruckus at one of the downtown hotels over a woman and the MPs courteously came and put us under arrest and then drove us back to Fort Sill in a Jeep and set us free--and while we were passing the Starlight Club in that Jeep (now ironically made by Hitler's favorite automobile company, Daimler-Benz (yep, Mercedes were once called Mercedes Benzes (remember Janice Joplin's song)), now Daimler-Chrysler), there she was, standing in front of the club, wearing a tight-tight black dress and looking like the god-damn Queen of Sheba I'd read about in the pornographic Songs of Solomon, remember him? The man who had 1000 wives? And the Mormons are condemned for wanting at least 6 hot wives--I mean, come on, the Jewish God Jehovah allows a 1000 wives--OK, so Solomon was a privileged human-divinity-king--so he deserves a 1000 babes at least, and, yes, I suppose, an ordinary peasant could only handle six wives at a time--plus, those six wives might produce six beautiful blonde daughters--and under polygamy rules, according to old Brigham "Frig 'em" Young, the daughters go to daddy and daddy's pleasure after they're big enough to be taught the scriptures according to Joe Smith--at least that's what Joe said the Lard told him about it all, though Joe was drunk as a skunk at the time (which was most of the time). Later, I was playing the piano in the smoky Baltimore Club in Lawton and in she walks, wearing a low-cut black gown, with a diamond necklace--god she was beautiful and I was struck down by her beauty and she was with the biggest god-damndest tough-looking black bastard I'd ever seen in my short life and once she came over to the piano and I ask her for her phone number and she said she couldn't talk to me--and then I overheard they were moving to the Starlight--and I got together with my buddy the Congressman from Chicago and we went down to the Starlight and there was a big tableful of our pals--a rowdy bunch of mixed Northern and Southern heavy drinkers--and then I saw her at a table full of expensively dressed and flashy drinking black folks and I went drunkenly over to that table and this woman and I asked her for a dance and this big giant black man said, "Get lost white boy; this ain't you're territory, boy." And I said, "But dammit, I love that woman--I want to dance with her dammit" and then he said, "Soldier boy, you got any money on you?" "I got plenty'a money [read: nothing]." "And you want this woman?" "Yes, I love her." "Then, baby," and he turned to her, "you feel up to taking this dude on tonight?" She nodded her head. "Then, soldier boy, you got the woman you love--just get seven US bucks ready, none of that military script shit, no chits." And I went with her back behind the Starlight to an old army Quonset hut and we went in it and four old black dudes were playing tonk and she went over to one of the tonk players and gave him my seven dollars and then disappeared down the hallway that led to the rooms (the cribs) out of which the girls worked. The old tonk player called me over to a counter and he said, "Boy, you wanna make your seven dollars back?" "Yeah, sure," my naive self answered. "Watch these cards, see one's the Queen of Spades, you just follow my hands with your eyes and tell me where the Queen of Spades ends up. You follow?" He showed me the Queen of Spades, then he put it face down back where it had been and then quickly he shuffled these three cards all around with both his hands and I followed the Queen and said, "That's it right there," and he smiled and said to the other tonk players, "Hey, this white boy just beat my ass for seven dollars." And then back at me, "Wanna go double or nothing, Mr. Soldier Boy?" "Why not?" He went through the routine again and again I knew where the Queen was--it was easy--"It's right there." "Oh, I'm so sorry, white boy, it's not there, it's this one--see? Fourteen bucks, boy." "Fourteen! I've already given you seven." "But you lost, sonny, now you gotta pay." "Where's my original seven dollars then dammit?" "Naw, man, you lost that--you won it back and then we went double'r nuthin' and you lost, so it's fourteen bucks, sweetheart, or you don't get no black pussy tonight--and that's good pussy, too, boy." I ended up giving him twenty-one dollars--it broke me--but it was worth it--this girl, and I still remember her name, became my woman for the next several months I was at Fort Sill--I moved in with her and her little sister; the little sister was in high school and my girl had just graduated high school and was looking forward to moving to Oklahoma City and getting out of the prostitute racket--though when I finally got my marching orders, she was still turning 10 to 12 tricks a day and night, of which she got paid 4 dollars a trick--the pimp taking 3 bucks of her money and then charging sometimes another dollar as room rent. The first time I had sex with her she refused to take off her clothes, just pulled her pants down and encouraged me to hurry. When I tried to kiss her she turned her head hard away from me with her eyes closed. Shit, I pulled out and said, "Baby, we gotta talk. I ain't no jiveass whitey, I'm serious, I like you as a beautiful woman and that's who I want to know--I don't care if we ever fuck--that's not why I want you." Yeah, for the Wolfman; it got me the best loving I'd had until then--the sweetest, smartest, and prettiest woman--and God, so passionate and loving me to read poetry to her and black writers, one of which was Ralph Ellison--and for all I know, she could have been kin to Ralph--she, too, was born and raised in Oklahoma City.

Here's how Ellison wrote about Oklahoma: "Thus it [Oklahoma] had no tradition of slavery, and while itwas segregated, relationships between the races were more fluid and thus more human than in the old slave states. My parents, like most of the other Negroes, had come to the new sae looking for a brader freedom and had never stopped pushing against the barriers. Having arrived at the same time that most of the whites had, they felt that the restriction of Negro freedom was imposed unjustly through the force of numbers and that they had the right and obligation to fight against it. This was all to the good. It made for a tradition of aggressiveness and it gave us a group social goal which was not as limited as that imposed by the old slave states. I recognized limitations, yes; but I thought these limitations were unjust and I felt no innate sense of inferiority which would keep me from getting those things I desired out of life." [page 6, Shadow and Act, 1964.]

My first experience with a black child was when I was a child in Enid, Oklahoma, and our next door neighbors were a black family, a black preacher and his wife and young daughter my age.

Enid was known as the capital of the Cherokee Strip, the land the whites were given due to the Homestead Act of the late 1800s and the Bureau of Lands set up a contest: the homesteaders were told to bring their wagons, ponies, bicycles, wheelbarrows, whatever to a certain point in North Central Oklahoma that would be the starting line in a race for thousands of acres of rich land. When the starter's gun went off (they waved huge white flags up and down the line)--supposedly anyone getting a false start intentionally was shot on the spot (might be a tall tale), all these wagons and horsemen and such started racing across those fertile grasslands--once the race leaders reached the best lands up for grabs they staked their claims, driving posts in the ground on the plots they intended to homestead with their name and identity number on them--you had to build a house and outbuildings on the land--usually 40 acres--and make a go of it on the land or you lost it--your house could be a tent and your outbuildings could be a corral and a water tank and a windmill, but that was still a part of the free land deal with the government (the Great White Father in Washington, District of Corruption). The sooner you got to the best land the better and that's how White Oklahomans got to be called Sooners--and that's when White Oklahomans hit town and stole all that land from the Native Americans things changed for the worse--I mean stealing from Native Americans who had been forced marched from their native lands on the Southern East Coast and Gulf Coast, Gawjah, the Carolinas, Alabanana, Lawsbanana, and Texas; why even Seminoles from Florida--over that almost-2000-mile Trail of Tears and it ends just over the Arkansas/Missouri borders as you come into the Tulsa--from Joplin over to Miami (yes, a Native American tribal name) (and speaking of the Seminoles, there's a Seminole, Oklahoma, and I used to drink a Seminole Cola that had its origins in that Seminole; there's also a Choctaw, a Cherokee, a Muskogee, an Anadarko, a Shawnee, a Miami, a Ponca City, a Tahlaquah, a Sallisaw, an Okmulgee, a Checotaw--and on and on, just as you cross over the Arkansas border and head in through Central Oklahoma, all named after the tribes who were forced to settle near these towns on reservations, reservations that would soon prove to be filthy rich with oil and all the oil was under Indian Territory, god-dammit, though that would prove not to be a problem for the trickbagging white geologists and land leasers that hit Oklahoma when oil and gas was discovered by Standard Oil scouts).

And soon after the Sooners took over Northern Oklahoma the Rockefeller gang discovered oil up there--soon there were working-'round-the-clock oil derricks pumping crude right on the capitol grounds in Okie City and up around Enid they discovered oil and natural gas and Enid was soon surrounded by both grain elevators (wheat) and oil derricks and gas wells, and the biggest and lustiest field was over around Tulsa and Tulsa soon was bragging it was the Oil Capital of the World--and, hell, it was. [By the bye, the movie Boomtown was about the Oklahoma-Texas oil boom of the late 19-teens and through the roaring 20s and the cutthroat connivances of oilmen (the kind called "Wildcatters"--also the name of the Tyler, Texas, Texas-Louisiana League baseball team of the 1990s--except the back of my official Tyler Wildcatter jacket spells it "Wild Catters," and when people ask me, like tourists up here in New York City, I tell them its quite a festival down in Texas around Tyler where they drive all the ferrule cats into these huge pens and then go about branding them like cattle--the guy, the Wild Catter, who brands the most cats wins a new car and a chance to play professional baseball for the famous Wild Catters's baseball team and travelling circus. Tourists will believe anything you tell them; especially tourists from Tyler, Texas. "Why I've lived in Tyler all my life and never heard of such a tale." "A cat tale," I added). And Boomtown, with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable, was filmed on location (one of the first movies to be filmed on location) in Burkburnett, Texas, on the border with Oklahoma, which at that spot is the Red River, a brownish-red flowing of what was originally melted snow off the peaks of the Colorado Rockies that meanders its way from the Panhandle of Texas all the muddy way down to the Mighty Mississippi in the stomach pits of Louisiana. Burkburnett, Texas, had grown from a village of 300 to a city of 15,000 at the height of the oil boom--the movie actually gives you some live photographs of the way it really was there in those cutthroat days.]

Later, of course, 1921 I think, Tulsa had one of the most heathen race riots ever--white citizens, all good god-fearing Christians (Oral Roberts's brothers got rich in that Tulsa oil boom and I'm sure they put on their sheets and whitecaps at this time), burned down the whole black end of town, then went about randomly shooting blacks, men, women, children, they didn't give a shit--they just let go all their hate for human beings of a different skin tone than them (how stupid are white people; how utterly cornball, cornpone, hillbilly, hickish stupid?).

Ellison writes: "Negro Americans have a highly developed ability to abstract desirable qualities from those around them, even from their enemies, and my sense of reality could reject bias while appreciating the truth revealed by achieved art." [Page xx, Introduction to Shadow and Act.]

To Be Continued


for The Daily Growler

Don't let the "Title" fool you; it's a test--is the mentioning of a dumbass, stupid, naive, untalented dipstick like Lindsay gonna get us some more readers? Yeah sure! SEX. SEX. And More Sex, and yet, American men aren't very good in bed. Look how frustrated Lindsay and Britney are--I mean, some of the hottest hunks have banged them, even seeded them, and still they go about, like Marilyn Monroe, never experiencing a real orgasm--only the orgasmic acting they were taught in Mickey Mouse School of Sure-Fire Stardom (from where come Ricky "Where's My Little Menudo Boy?" Martin, J Lo, Britney, Christina Aquilera). Poor lost children--soon to be left behind and lost in our short memories.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Writer's Bloc

We Write As Though We Are Dead Already
It was that kind of day around the 40th-floor offices of The Daily Growler, and down below lies the fetid air of the beautiful city of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Let's see if we can get George Oppen to read to us today:

George Oppen

photo: Michael West

The work of George Oppen is available in two editions:

Complete Poems, ed. Michael Davidson (New York: New Directions, 2002)
Selected Poems, ed. Robert Creeley (New York: New Directions, 2003)

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial
and educational use only.
All rights to this recorded material belong to Linda Oppen for the Estate of George Oppen. (C) 2004 Linda Oppen.
Used with permission of Linda Oppen. Distributed by PENNSound.

Reading at the 92nd Street Y in 1967 (27:45)
George Oppen reads the complete Of Being Numerous at the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York in 1967.
He is introduced by Armand Schwerner.
1. Schwerner Introduction (4:09)
2. Of Being Numerous (23:40)

From Selected Readings, 1979 recording:
1. Of Being Numerous (Sec. 1-22) (10:30)
2. Historic Pun (1:06)
3. Ballad (1:18)
4. From a Phrase of Simone Weil's and Some Words of Hegel's (0:58)
5. The Occurrences (1:01)
6. Animula (1:03)
7. West (1:34)
8. Song, Winds of Downhill (0:32)
9. A Morality Play: Preface (1:30)
10. The Translucent Mechanics (0:52)
11. Silver As... (0:56)
12. O Withering Seas... (0:51)
13. The Taste (0:56)
14. The Impossible Poem (0:50)
15. But So As By Fire (0:53)
16. Exodus (0:42)
17. Latitude, Longitude (0:33)
18. The Speech at Soli (1:18)
19. Primitive (13:27)

Recording History: All selections were recorded in Brooklyn, New York, April 25 & 29, 1979.
Credits: Selections 1-18, Collected Poems of George Oppen. Copyright © 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1974 by George Oppen. Reproduced by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. Primitive, Copyright © 1978 by George Oppen. Reproduced by permission of Black Sparrow Press.

for The Daily Growler

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Outside Agitation

Outside Agitators
"Outside Agitators" were blamed for stirring up the blacks in the South in terms of them getting dichty and beginning to "sit in" and "show up at fronts of things like buses and doors--"Yep, it's them thar outside agi-tators who's stirrin' up our cullard. Ya kan't rush that thar sort'a thang on good White folks--it takes time"--and that was said by all the white (read: Snopes) intellectuals (yep, including Little Bill Faulkner) down South. Damn Nu Yawk Jew boys like Abbie Hoffman and damn Northun N-worders like Julius Lester and H. Rapp Brown and Huey Newton and the most logical speaker I've ever heard, Stokely Carmichael--yep, "outside agitators."

White people don't like agitators. They love being hecklers, but they don't consider heckling as agitating. Agitators are intruders in the dust who sneak in in the night and wake up the oppressed and convince them they have the power of the true people of the US of A behind them and that they have a right to vote so they should come out en mass to vote....

Outside agitators are also antiwar freaks. Hippies were outside agitators. Peaceniks are outside agitators. We flew around the blogger dial or the airwaves of the Internet looking for sense--let's see what we came up with.

for The Daily "Outside Agitator" Growler

Ludwig Wittgenstein as an Outside Agitator

Wittgenstein held that the meanings of words reside in their ordinary uses, and that that is why philosophers trip over words taken in abstraction. From England came the idea that philosophy has got into trouble by trying to understand words outside of the context of their use in ordinary language (cf. contextualism).

For example: What is reality? Philosophers have treated it as a noun denoting something that has certain properties. For thousands of years, they have debated those properties. Ordinary Language philosophy would instead look at how we use the word "reality". In some instances, people will say, "It seems to me that so-and-so; but in reality, such-and-such is the case". But this expression isn't used to mean that there is some special dimension of being that such-and-such has that so-and-so doesn't have. What we really mean is, "So-and-so only sounded right, but was misleading in some way. Now I'm about to tell you the truth: such-and-such". That is, "in reality" is a bit like "however". And the phrase, "The reality of the matter is …" serves a similar function — to set the listener's expectations. Further, when we talk about a "real gun", we aren't making a metaphysical statement about the nature of reality; we are merely opposing this gun to a toy gun, pretend gun, imaginary gun, etc.

From Wikipedia

Hot damn! See what we mean? Where are our outside agitators today when we really need them? Is Ralph Nader an outside agitator? Not like the kind we're lookin' for. Really. (You see, in reality Ralph Nader is really a such and such.)

And Here's Fred Reed Back in 2004

Help me puzzle out Iraq. I’m just a country boy, and don’t understand Advanced Thought, or high strategy, or anything else. I admit it. Tell me about Iraq – quick, 'cause it seems to be blowing itself all to flinders, and it’s hard to study something the which there ain’t no more.

Now, as I understand it from the White House itself, it’s all because of three diehard Saddamites, two terrorists, and an outside agitator. Yes. The White House says ninety-nine and forty-four one-hundredths percent of Iraqis love us, and want us to bomb them and invade them, and starve them with embargos, and only a few soreheads don’t like it. And I believe the White House. You can only lie so long before you slip up and tell the truth. I figure they’re about due.

You can read the rest of this--here ya go:


Interesting--from a Libertarian. We are rather Anti Authoritarians.

We Close Today With a Poem From Anjela Duval (and You Can Read It in Breton, Too


There is no worm so small that

it won't curl up, if one walks on top of it

No, I no longer dare,

Dearly beloved parents,

I no longer dare to direct my gaze

At your pictures.

On your faces I read too many rebukes

Rebukes for my laziness, for my carelessness:

I fail in my strictest duties,

Fail to defend my country's integrity,

That sacred heritage passed through the centuries,

From generation to generation in your lineage.

I let that sacred heritage weaken,

For fear of losing the good graces

Of the bigshots of the parish...

...But you know well, my mother and my father,

The little people? It's better for them to keep quiet.

Keep quiet and suffer.

To be immobilized throughout their lives

By the aristocracy

It's the little people who don't have the right

To defend their right!

They don't have the right to shed a tear for their unhappiness

Except in secret from everyone...

However, I can no longer keep quiet,

I've already been quiet too long,

Months and months I have been patient,

Between epochs of rage

And epochs of despair.

I have felt too much bitterness in my heart,

One day soon the package

Will explode,

Like a spring too restrained

And all the worse for someone


There is nothing worse on earth

Than sheep enraged...

24 August 1971.

Read this poem in breton Translated by Lenora Timm

Friday, July 27, 2007

What Love

Mingus Left Off the Question Mark
I spent most of the first 35 years of my life with music being pumped in through my ears directly into my brain. I've written before about the importance of earphones in my life beginning with my first pair, a pair of US Army Air Corps Bakelite earphones worn by pilots in World War II on through all kinds up until I got my first pair of stereophonic (a much more beautiful word than "stereo," don't you think?) earphones.

Stereophonic earphones ruined my marriage of ten years--and to a darling woman to boot, I have to add out of dearest respect for her memory (and oh how I once lusted for her; and yes she was just sixteen when I first lusted after her and, yes, she was one of my long line of Galateas on whom I had effect but from whom I received no credits whatsoever (he said in Shakespearean bitterness))--and before I got my best pair of earphones ever my wife and I would listen to music together, you know, around the stereo (there I go, there I go, there I go), and talk about it and she listened to Monk with me and Mingus, too, openly, you know, and then she was with me as I played barroom piano with my raggedy trio around town and even on the road once until she became the racing secretary for the whole state we lived in--horse racing, that is, and after that I gave up music and became a horse player--and a dog player, my most famous moment in dog racing happening one night when I won all nine races at the Juarez, Mexico, dog track simply because of what an old greyhound breeder I met at the Hilton Hotel in El Paso told me; he said to watch the dogs and watch their ears and then watch to see if one of 'em took a piss and to bet on that dog--that I did, and I won every damn race--the last race I even remember the name of the dog I won big with, LBJ, yep, LBJ the greyhound; and that night I entertained my entourage (and when your wife is racing secretary of a state racing commission you are soon deep in the heart of racing folks from jockeys, breeders, owners, all the way down to touts) at Cafe Central in Juarez with a quail and steak dinner opening with raw oysters, then the quail, then the huge steaks--oh what a life. (And speaking of greyhounds and how cruel racing greyhounds are treated (why you bet the dog that is pissing is because he's probably or she's probably pissing because she's been doped; and besides, man loves torturing dogs (anything so dependent upon man and obedient to him is going meet men who love to torture such beasts, whether human or dog or both), and I refer to multimillionaire pro quarterback Michael Vick and his vaunting of winning dogs and torturing and killing of losing dogs (greyhounds who can no longer run are probably burned alive or gassed or something, too, who the hell knows--all dog breeders are probably cruel to runts or misfits)--just the way it is in Michael Vick's culture, the culture of the multimillion dollar sports stars and heroes, men who are just children when they suddenly find themselves billion dollar industries and earning millions upon millions of dollars a year as head of that industry (the playing of a kid's game), their lives totally controlled by coaches and managers and that gang of buddies that always follow these people wherever they go (like my wife's horse crowd)--wow, what an F-ing life, right? So what if Michael Vick is hung up on dog fighting?--it's controversial, and Michael Vick's fame depends on the controversial as well as the glory he gets from being able to engineer a football game from just down under the center's big ass (meaning he's supposed to be a perfect American and role model for all our dopey dumbass ego-centered kids who have music being blasted into their brains through their iPods now, while they're watching videos and text messaging on their cell phones)--F these celebrity pros; the pro team owners don't give a hoot in hell what Michael Vick does as long as he's a high-paid quarterback, though the same happens to them when they're old or injured to the point of no longer having "field" value that happens with the limp and lame greyhounds and the battle-beaten pitbulls. Besides which one of us hasn't been cruel to an animal at some time in our lives? Who hasn't kicked a dog in the balls or thrown a rock at one, or hated one, or called the cops on one--come on, we all are cruel to dogs--look at New York City up-and-comers--they all have these damn dogs--first of all, a dog belongs in a damn dog house and not a human house--but here in New York City, you have beautiful babes, I know, I used to date this model, and they have these little incestuously bred purebred-hybrid dogs, like Yorkies or those miniature Chinese dogs that have faces that would turn a gargoyle to stone, and the beautiful (or ugly, too) women allow these filthy little ass-and-balls-licking demons to roam and romp at will around their apartments, dog hairs be damn, and animal dander be damned--all of it excused with "oh isn't he or she so cute"--"Hey, baby, your dog's pissing on the floor in here." "Is it over by the front door?" "Yeah." "Oh, that's OK, that's where he goes when I can't take him out for his walk." "When's the last time you took him out for a damn walk. From the looks of the floor over here where he just pissed he ain't been out in several days." "It could be a week; I've been so busy."

We have a tendency in this culture (and I'm not off the track, trust me) to make beautiful things ugly or maybe that's mankind's "mission," to destroy beauty--look at our ultimate beautiful women--how they are transformed from pimple-face, plain-Jane teeny bimbos into goddesses with beauty and shape that drives boys and men masturbationally mad from pure instinctual lust--"God-damn that's my woman! Ohhhh, god-damn, why not me, why that Hollywood morphadite?" And you know, I've read where every Playboy "playmate" has had boob jobs, mole removals, scar removals, and even then is airbrushed to almost albino perfection--not many black playmates really--(I don't think the Hef likes black women--probably because he has a small pecker). I can hear Hef now: "I ain't playin', baby, out of that bra and let me see those new breasts I bought you." "Oh, Mr. Hefner, here, look at 'em and you can even come feel 'em--so now are you gonna let me be a centerfold?" "Oh, not yet, baby, there's some other 'talents' I have to grade before I can authorize you as an official centerfold gal [puff-puff--Hef now smokes a bubble pipe like Bart Simpson smoked when he became so cool when he worked for the Mafia as a bartender]." [As an aside: The Simpsons have now been on Fox teevee for 18 years. There would be no Fox network without the Simpsons (Fox still loses millions a year (and this in spite of American Idol, too)--and so does Rupert's New York Post (practically a leftwing newspaper when I first came to New York--Murray Kempton edited it)--yet, "going in the hole" is chicken feed to these big-buck folks--they write-off their loses--it's all done on paper, you see--there's really no "money" involved in most wealthy peoples's wealth--it's all paper wealth--my wife, the one who became racing secretary for a whole state's racing commission, worked her way to the top through her ability to put rich men's affairs in order--she was only 22 when she became the chief assistant (yeah, his executive secretary) to the richest man in this particular state--he elected her racing secretary--he was a race horse breeder and owner and he also owned the racetrack in the city in which we headquartered in those days. From him she got references fit for a saint and my wife was a damn saint, and she came to New York City where she then became the same kind of assistant to a Lebanese billionaire with Saudi Arabian connections and with whom was working as a consultant the world's richest man at the time (1970s) who immediately took a liking to my charming, practical, and accountable wife--from her relationship with this bunch--like I said, they were connected directly to the Saudi Royal Family through the world's richest man whose father had been the Saudi Royal Family physician, my wife's worth rose from 20 grand a year when she started to over 50 grand by the time she quit the Lebanese, along with several hundreds of shares in a oil company he owned that is now a big player in the oil business in California--she left New York City and me worth at least a half a million bucks thanks to her talent for whipping these filthy rich men's affairs into perfect shape. Finally, while we were on a PR trip to Newfoundland--her boss had chartered the Queen Elizabeth II, at that time the world's largest cruise ship, for the stunt trip--President Tricky Dick Nixon was invited (the year before Watergate) and so was the amazing Spiro Agnew--and my wife, a staunch almost-commie, got fed up with the politics (ultrarightwing) of this bunch (mostly oilmen) of out-of-this-world bastards and we jumped ship in Placentia Bay and drove overland to way-out-in-the-North-Atlantic St. Johns and in a bar over an ale and some crackers and raw cheese she went mad with delight and started babbling what she'd been saying since the first time she went to work for one of these overrich SOBs, "These dudes are paper cowboys; they have no money; none of them; why American Express called every day asking when JS was going to pay his AE card bill and I'd tell them, 'oh, honey, I'm making out the check now and he promises it won't happen again, bye' and that's lyin', wolfman, and I'm the most honest woman alive." Agree. In her memory--what a woman I had--but, my quest for my own fame at her expense blew it--rather than riding on her fame and becoming, literally, I don't lie either, a playboy of the Western world, I chose to go my own impoverished way as a blues pianist and novelist-poet--wow, I could have been basking by the pools of the most famous hotels in the world, especially in Greece--my wife and I wanted to go to Greece and buy a place--but, nope, folks, I gave that all up because of what I was listening to under those stereo earphones--you see; like while she was working her ass off, I was home listening to music and writing my own personal greatest novels ever--a Galatea novel I was calling Rachel and a murder-novel that I finished called The Tripellians Adventures in America--about a bunch of cloned people who were put on the highways to rate hotels and restaurants--you know, like for the Mobil Tourguides or Fodors--you know, cloned reviewers who reviewed their assigned hotels and such according to how many stars the hotel's ownership paid for--masters of restaurant and hotel reviewing--star-givers, they called themselves. Oh how us writers love to reminisce.

And the music I was listening to was jazz--and I was especially frozen in amazement with jazz-cats like Prez, Hamp, Diz, Bird, Miles, O.P., Brother Ray, Hawk, Bud--and Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, and especially that Workshop album--and that masterful creation Mingus called "What Love." I listened to it again this morning--and that's what broke up my marriage--what I heard under those earphones, like this amazing "What Love," with no question mark.

Another episode in my continuing as is continuing in the continuing present of my pursuit of fame and how to get it, either on your own or with the help of the Mickey Mouse Club.

Sometimes there's fame and shame: as per the shenanigans of a millionaire pro football player setting dogs on fire who can't win or Lindsay Lohan drinking and drugging out of control because she's becoming aware her fame is on the wain and soon she may be a has-been--plus, shit, her whacky dad is out of jail now and he says he's gonna take care of his precious little family and especially poor little ego-tripping millionaire Lindsay. While these privileged assholes were burning dogs alive and driving drunk a hundred miles an hour all coked up (don't worry, she'll go to one of those Hollywood rehab spas and clean toilets or something--she'll be back drinking and druggin' in her low-brow way in 6 months), an Iraq veteran just home from Iraq, obviously in a very depressed state because he'd been ordered to shoot in cold blood two Iraqi soldiers (sorry, folks, I forget their "terrerists") and when he applied to the Vet for treatment for this depression he was turned down--so he came home and hanged himself in his folks basement where he was living--hanged himself using a rubber hose. On the bed by where he hanged himself he had placed the two dog tags of the Iraqi soldiers he'd had to kill--he had to shoot them point blank through their foreheads--he blew their brains out--he was ordered to do so by his superior--and that's the Army way--"KILL or BE KILLED." You have to learn to KILL in order to save your ass from being killed. That's the Army, folks. Case closed.

for The Daily Growler

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Do You Know Who I Am?"

The Wolfman Opens the Paths to Fame
I composed a piece based on a B-flat mixolydian scale I was using as piano practice yesterday morning, taking it from a thin book of scales based on American jazz pianists's styles, one of the many jazz instruction books created in the 60s and 70s by the "late great" jazz piano teacher, John Mehegan, who got into jazz in 1945 as a teaching assistant to Professor Teddy Wilson at the Metropolitan Music School in NYC (read: New York City) and by 1946, John was head of the school's jazz department. John was also the jazz critic for The New York Herald Tribune and recorded with his own trio in the 1950s.

I composed this piece on this B-flat mixolydian scale after listening to the old Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop recording made in the 60s from the Showplace in New York City, the famous recording among jazz aficionados where Mingus insists on no applause between solos, in fact, no applause at all even after the pieces ("To us it's just noise"), no ice-clinking-in-drink-glasses noise and "no ringing the cash register" noise was allowed either. It's an amazing live recording. There is no noise on it--except the noise the musicians make except that's not noise but a part of the experience. One tune on this album, "What Love" (it appears on most albums with a question mark but Mingus didn't put a question mark on it), is a twelve-minute Mingus extravaganza, a melange of staged roles filled amazingly by the superamazing Eric Dolphy, who's off in his own outerspace in his solos, yet sticking to the form (the Mingus root), the form that is embedded in Mingus's huge brow; and there was the brassy, punching trumpet punctuations of Ted Curson ("Mingus was tough; you learned it his way or he fired your ass")--and Dannie Richmond, Dandy Danny, the Mingus drum machine, preset to Mingus butterfly rolls, rim shots, snare beats, and bass bombs and such--and Mingus "ah-um-ing" and "wee-dwee-eeee-ing" behind the horns as he stabs orders at Dandy Danny--and my Holy Nefretiti, you get into Mingus and you get inspired and as a pianist you soon learn he created it all at the piano and there is an album of Mingus playing the piano and I'm lucky enough to have been able to get to witness and actually sit by Mingus one time at the Top of the Gate in NYC in 1969 as he played the piano--he had just suddenly stopped the band in the middle of a tune, told them to take a break, and then walked over to the piano that was sitting by us and started playing the tune on out on the piano. Sitting there a long time playing and then just diddling around, once looking over at me and my wife but not saying anything, just looking at us. What a thrill for a young man who thought he was a jazz pianist but would not have dared pushed that jazz legend off the piano bench, no, rather I watched his hands and fingers--that's what would-be jazz pianists should do, watch these masters's hands and fingerings, even when Mingus was playing the bass a pianist should watch his hands and fingerings there, too. I used to love watching old films of Duke Ellington playing the piano at the Cotton Club back in the jungle-music 30s--wow what showmanship--and that's what it is, folks.

You gotta have it, even when you're composing pieces based on the B-flat mixolydian scale with a Monk-like dominant chord in the bass lines following the B-flat mixolydian chordal scale--and that's really the showmanship brewing up stuff in your creative juices. There must be something next-step in everything we do. Oh, sure, some famous folks get hung on a good-paying step and never need to take a next-step, but those of us who are never satisfied with anything we do no matter how great it is are always waiting to take that next-step--"If I only had my own band."

Showmanship is essential to fame, whatever degree of fame you want, whether it be local bar fame or national big tour fame.

You all who know me know how I feel about all of these poor little Mickey Mouse Club and American Idol creature-singers that are currently hitting the skids, getting famous based on how well they performed at the Mickey Mouse Academy of Robotic Talent, and god-damn, a whole shit pot of our current young F-ed up entertainers were flushed out of that Mickey Mouse Club mill, Britney, Justin, Rickey--all the little stars, J Lo, Christina, all little perfect dancers and singers and group singers and shit, totally not really talented, but cute yes, swell asses and swell looks-- but talented, hell no! I mean come on, most of their performances are lip-sync-ed and their recordings are all Pro-Tooled--"Sing as sharp as you possibly can, Britney, baby, though don't worry about it--I mean, sweetheart, you're flat by nature, but we have this Pro-Tools in here, it cost thousands of dollars, baby, and it'll make you on almost-perfect pitch, so let's go boyz and girlz, let's make a hit recording!"

We old jazz guys saw the highest form of entertainment fame as so commercial as to be already stale the minute it was declared fresh. Going commercial meant you weren't gonna last long.

Mehegan and Mingus taught against commercial fame; eccentric fame, yeah, that's just a part of the way you establish the legendary aspects of your fame as a jazz great--the legendary aspects--like Mingus dumping drinks on people's heads for making too much noise during his solo--or like Miles punching out white dudes at parties who tried to overcompliment him--he called it white patronizing! But, that was just the legends that kept these guys working and making money so they could create their own special brand of entertainment, an entertaining that asked for quiet respect and not dependent on a lot of noise to cover up the lack of talent of most entertainers who make it big enough to draw a huge crowd of screaming minnies and mickeys who are screaming as they're music star heroes half-ass lip-sync to their latest "created" hit song while the band behind them only distinquishes itself with the amount of noise it can generate with all amps on the "10" on the volume knob and the drummer blasting away on 4 sets of drums and a thousand cymbals. I used to laugh my ass off at the Beatles fans--they screamed so loud at their concerts they had no idea whether the Fab Four were coked and heroined out of their skulls or whether they had just returned from buggering an Anglican bishop in one of their choir boy roles--sorry, I have no respect for the Beatles and their Lydian modal Anglican church music. I'd rather be forced to listen to the Rolling Stones than the Beatles and I hate the Rollings Stones, too, don't worry about that. There is not much British that I like. Yes, I've owned Jaguars; that doesn't mean they were great automobiles--they looked good, but god help you when you took 'em in to be repaired. And yes, I've always loved Scottish tweeds, especially the tweeds from the Hebrides--I have Scotch in my genes--and, yes, I love the writings of Somerset Maugham; and, yes, I love Ralph Vaughan-Williams's Antarctica Symphony--whooo, that's a cold beautiful icy mother of a piece of music. It is like standing in the middle of Antarctica and taking deep long breaths of the cold air and listening to long cold sweepings of the monotonal winds whose scales sweep from cold deep bass drones up to high icicle whistlings. Though mostly I don't like anything British.

for The Daily Growler

And How Are Things in Baghdad?

Not so good if you're a kidnapped Filipino. From the Progress

Slave labor used to contruct U.S. Embassy In Baghdad.

During testimony before the House Oversight Committee today, Rory Mayberry, a former subcontract employee of the firm responsible for the construction of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said he believes that at least 52 Filipino nationals had been kidnapped to work on the embassy project. He testified:

Mr. Chairman, when the airplane took off and the captain announced that we were heading to Baghdad, all you-know-what broke out on the airplane. The men started shouting, it wasn’t until the security guy working for First Kuwaiti waved an MP5 in the air that the men settled down. They realized that they had no other choice but to go to Baghdad. Let me spell it out clearly: I believe these men were kidnapped by First Kuwaiti to work at the US Embassy… I’ve read the State Department Inspector General’s report on the construction of the embassy. Mr. Chairman, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. This is a cover-up and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to set the record straight.

And Finally, The Daily Growler Announces the Death of a Baseball Legend

Umpire who called more than 3,000 baseball games dead at 90

Longtime major league umpire Henry Charles "Shag" Crawford died Wednesday, July 11, at an assisted living facility in a Philadelphia suburb. He was born in Philly in 1916, and served in World War II. Crawford began as a minor league umpire in 1950. He became a National League umpire in 1956, officiating in 3,082 baseball games, including three World Series, three All-Star Games, and two NL Championships. Crawford retired in 1975. During the 1969 World Series, Crawford ejected Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver during an argument in Game 4. Crawford officiated at the first game at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, and was a co-founder of the umpire's union. His son Jerry became an umpire in 1976, and another son, Joey, became an NBA official in 1977. Crawford was 90.

Sources: Associated Press, worldumpires.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thoughts Passing in the Night

This Wylie Coyote Eats Roadrunner for Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper
This man of wolf or wolf of man, depends on your point of advantage, was a pup during a generation I think of as the "Forgotten Generation," though in retrospect I think that's a misnomer--my generation's more like the "Ignored Generation." But my most kind critics say I write contemptuously of everything and everybody because I'm basically professionally jealous of the scumbags posing as saints I usually come down on the hardest. Screwballs that I think are harmful to my pursuit of happiness, by God, and I'm determined, that's the wolfman in me, to catch my happiness before I die, and, without the help of a god or of anybody's imagination; right now I'm a happy man and would be a happy wolf, too, if that aspect of my personality took total control of my Id--I mean I'd bring in the best baby elk kill, belly up and ready for communal dining; and my fur would be the silveriest--(the word "silver" suddenly reminding me of reading one time, I think it was when I was a kid and it was from a Mutt and Jeff comic strip and it was about words that are impossible to rhyme and "silver" was one of those words... and then I got sidetracked and told myself to stop right in the middle of this parenthetical aside and say something about my feeling about English; yes, folks, English; and I can jest (read: joust) with the best of the politically correct and say, "Oh god--just like white folks are becoming the lowest form of human being in the evolution of our cultures, so is English, identified as the official language of the true White Folks, those of Anglo-Saxon origin, becoming the lowest form of language in that evolution." But, I would say in private, I can only speak what I call American; yes, it's basically the "King's" (James, right?) English, but it's gone through many evolutions and has accepted so many bastard words, idioms, etc., into its accumulative voice--so many so that H.L. Mencken wrote a classic book about what I speak and write, The American Language, and it was required reading for me in Sociology 102 when I was being hypnotized by the American school system into believing what I was taught--I've never been easily hypnotized (almost once by the great hypnotist-entertainer Polgar)--and all the linguists, who are basically sociologists (originally encyclopaedists--diarists), knew that book inside out--I mean what a work of American art!--any writer should be totally proud of such a tome--and an amazing compiling and then writing feat--and this old curmudgeon wrote a column (blog) every day and then wrote essays and other books and managed a magazine one time--so anyway, I just thought I throw that in--and adding also then again that also members of both my mother and father's families spoke a lot of bastardized languages, especially Scottish, Elizbethan English, Spanish (both Catalonian and Mexican and Tex-Mex (an Uncle Bill who ran a grocery store in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas (on the Rio Grande River (read: Rio Bravo)), Italian (one of my aunts married a New Orleanian Italian), Dutch (just south of my hometown is the town of Lowake and everyone in Lowake when I went there all the time was Dutch and spoke Dutch, whether Rotterdam Dutch, High Land Dutch, or Goddam Dutch, I don't know), German (my dad's brother married a Texas German woman from Goldwaithe, Texas, and my mother's brother had a movie theater in New Braunsfel, Texas, where the newspaper was printed in a German and English edition), Cajun (Arcadian French) (my mother's sister's husband was a Texas-Cajun, who, by the bye, took me for my first-ever meal of real barbecue (even in those days it was called "old-fashioned" barbecue); I had a platter of ribs and a complete ham dinner in one sitting, down on Railroad Avenue on the wrong side of the tracks in Beaumont, Texas, my mother's hometown), and French (one of my dad's brothers, not a very educated man who spoke deep country American (like Elizabethan English), had learned a decent French while serving in the trenches with the French forces in WWI, the war to end all wars)--close parens!) Which brings me to Freud.

Freud ends his essay entitled, Reflections Upon War and Death, with:

"We remember the old saying: Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you desire peace, prepare for war.

"It would be timely thus to paraphrase it: Si vis vitam, para mortem. If you would endure life, be prepared for death."

And Now For a Little Wisdom From Philip Wylie

"Is it more valuable to cling to their myth of human divinity than to find out what manner of animal we are so that our behavior may itself become somewhat divine?" An Essay on Morals,
page 21.

I read the word "fear-forms" in the same book--Wylie gives as an example of fear-forms: "repugnance and shock."

"People don't hold human life sacred; only their creeds."

"Science, which had enjoyed its century of light and truth, was locked up and made military." Page 8 of EOM.

"Fear is the mother of all gods."

"Those who believed in force alone had to believe in instinctual man, in irresistible impulse, in evolution by aggression, in pecking orders, in tyranny set over tyrannies." Page 13 of EOM.

Religious nutjobs, says Wylie, accept the science they need (locomotives/light bulbs), but they refuse "to take advantage of the fact there was no God, no Heaven, no Hearafter for their bodies or their souls, no Holy Ghost, Atman, Virgin, saint or apostle, that all these were the inventions of animals...." Page 15 of EOM.

for The Daily Growler

The Following Is a Review of Philip Wylie's Famous Book Gladiator

Readers of superhero fiction will find this 1930 novel hauntingly familiar.

Philip Wylie's Gladiator is often cited as the inspiration behind Superman. The parallels are obvious: Both Hugo Danner and Clark Kent grow up in rural small-town America, possessing powers far beyond the common mortal; both are imbued, from an early age, with a profound sense of fairness and justice; and they hide their respective secrets from the world at large. The resemblance is even more obvious when you consider the original 1930s conception of Superman. Their powers are the same: great strength, skin so tough that it can withstand just about anything short of an explosive artillery shell, and the ability to jump so high and so far that it almost gives the impression of flight. And both, despite their superhuman status, espouse a political philosophy that celebrates the common human being over capitalist elites.

In Gladiator, readers will find the roots of other superheroic icons. Hugo Danner's scientific creation and upbringing by a scientist father recall Doc Savage's origins. And rarely mentioned are Gladiator's links to Spider-Man. The prototype for the famous scene in which the fledgling Spider-Man defeats a hulking wrestler to make money is found in Wylie's novel; Hugo's bout in the ring is eerily similar to Spider-Man's as seen in 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15 (a scene later filmed by Sam Raimi in 2002's Spider-Man). Even Spider-Man's famous motto—"With great power comes great responsibility"—is touched upon during Hugo's many ruminations about his place in the world. At one point, in this novel from the pre-superhero era, Hugo even considers using his powers as a vigilante crime fighter!

Gladiator is a brave novel that unflinchingly portrays people at their ugliest and pettiest, all the while reflecting on the better worlds that could be were it not for humanity's relentless failings.

The above review comes from a sci-fi blog whose address we failed to note.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Poultry in the Air

I Googled: "the worst poem ever written" and by Unanimous Internet Decision Here 'Tis:

A Tragedy

Theophilus Marzials

The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.

Plop, plop.
And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks -- "Stop,"
And my heart shrieks -- "Die."
* * * * *
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them -- and fled
They all are every one! -- and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.
I might reel and drop.

And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
Flop, plop.
* * * * *
A curse on him.
Ugh! yet I knew -- I knew --
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end --

My Devil -- My "Friend"
I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air --
I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)
I can dare! I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.
Plop, flop.

Now, what the hell is wrong with me, I rather like it. Theophilus Marzials. Sounds made up, but, yes, it seems this man existed at one time. "Drop. Dead. Plop, flop" and damn if that isn't the way you drop dead.

Here's a statement back up the claim:

Theophilus Marzials

My thanks to Alexandra Botelho for suggesting the next item. She writes, "Many people consider 'A Tragedy,' by the minor Pre-Raphaelite poet Theophilus Marzials to be the worst poem ever written in the English language. It was published in 1874, in his book of poems entitled The Gallery of Pigeons. Rossetti hated it." I must say I could scarcely believe it wasn't a spoof, so I checked the first edition, and sure enough this text is accurate and the book clearly had pretensions to be taken seriously.

The above comes from The Bad Poetry Index--here 'tis:


Hasn't everyone written some bad poetry?; more than good; and even the good write bad poetry, besides dying young and finishing last. I was once a bad poet and I had 22 poems published when I was young in little mags entitled, Golliards, Quartet, Sword & Scimitar, The Magdalene Express--"They built the ampitheater with their teeth to watch the man eat the A-bomb with his ass...." Come on now; please I was young. I was even giving a 15-minute segment on the University of Wisconsin FM station during which I improvised an interview with Gertrude Stein. I thought it was great; I gloated over it. A friend at the U of W swears he heard my segment on the show--though my friends are weird and think they hear a lot of things they don't really hear. There's a poem in there somewhere. "Drop Dead. Plop. Flop."

How else can you drop dead?

for The Daily Growler

Monday, July 23, 2007


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