Sunday, February 27, 2011

Poets, Poets, Everywhere--So Where's My Draft to Drink?

Foto by tgw, New York City "Looking West," February 2011
Say Goodbye to: Bluesman Eddie Kirk or Eddie Kirkland.
How did he die? Poor old Eddie, 88, was still driving--tried to make a U Turn down in Tampa and was hit by a Greyhound bus--what a way for a bluesman to go...

Eddie Kirkland (August 16, 1923 – February 27, 2011) was an American blues guitarist, harmonicist, singer, and songwriter.

Kirkland, known as the "Gypsy of the Blues" for his rigorous touring schedules, played and toured with John Lee Hooker from 1949 to 1962. After his period of working in tandem with Hooker he pursued a successful solo career, recording for RPM Records, Fortune Records, Volt Records, and King Records, sometimes under the stage name Eddie Kirk. Kirkland continued to tour, write and record albums until his death in February 2011.


Say Goodbye to: The Duke of Flatbush, Edwin "Duke" Snider: Duke Snider, 84, American baseball Hall of Famer (Brooklyn Dodgers) He was an ex-Fort Worth Cat; and an ex-New York Mets cat, to boot.
Duke Snider Going After One Against the Ebbetts Field Centerfield Wall

Animath Faiza
I had never heard of this person until the other morning when I was checking the Wikipedia Death List (always ripe with soccer players's deaths) and saw that she had died Friday. What made me curious about this lady was her distinction as a what, a lot of poets around, and they do die. But how about a Maldives poet? A Maldives poet who writes in the Dhivehi language?

From Wikipedia:

Aminath Faiza (? - February 25, 2011) was a Maldivian Dhivehi language poet and author.

Faiza began showcasing her work during the 1950s after Mohamed Amin Didi, the first President of the Maldives, created the "Garden of Dhivehi Poets" local Maldivian literature. [1] She would publish her poems and other works in magazines and other publications throughout her career.[1]

Faiza also served on the advisory body of the Rayyithunge Muthagaddim Party, the first political party founded in the Maldives.[1] She became the deupty headmistress of the former Madrasat–ul Saniyya school, and was a member of the National Committee on Historical and Linguistic Research.[1]

Aminath Faiza died of complications of a stroke at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Malé, Republic of Maldives, on February 25, 2011, at the age of 82.[1] A resident of Daisymaage, she was survived by her three children.[1] She was buried at the Aa Sahara cemetery in Male in a ceremony attended by political and cultural dignitaries.
Animath Faiza's Most Famous Poem in Dhivehi (read right to left):
Aminath Faiza poem 'the nation's Ameen.. ah!
aminath faiza - poem - the nations ameen.. aah!
Aminath Faiza's poem 'The Nation's Ameen.. aah!'
from Faiythoora 202, 1996


If you'd like a translation, go to the Maldives Culture site link above where you can find it--the site's also interesting because it contains a fairly "compleat" history of the Maldives--a very interesting society to a Sociologist. Animath Faiza is one of those singular women who arise out of all cultures, and in her most famous poem she totally patriotically praises the first duly elected president of the Maldives after they got their independence from the British Imperial Throne/British Occupation Forces and Government--I mean so many of the world's current conflicts can be traced back to the conquering actions of the British Empire--the purveyor of the PROPER civilization for SAVAGES--and certainly to the sophisticated Brit conqueror, these Maldives Islanders sure were savage-looking as hell--the first clue being, "I say, those woolly buggers are bloody naked."

I haven't read the translation of Madame Faiza's poem--I prefer trying to read it in Dhivehi--what a language--you've got to love it and understand it just by its look--which to a Maldives Islander is an easy right-off-the-top-of-their-heads read...the rhythms, the rhymes. I'll be cynically critical and admit, and I've weighed the possibility of my Western chauvinism in terms of her work, I'd probably find this her most precious poem in the Maldives rather naive and simple and, oooh, elementary. I condemn myself--but it looks so interesting in Dhiveli, I could not trust an translation of it into English. [NOTE: You can download a pdf version of a Dhiveli Dictionary on the Maldives Culture Website linked above.]

I read up on Dhiveli and how it is a conglomerate language--of Arabic, Hindi, etc. And it seems to some Maldivians a "racist" language in that it was forced on them by the Islamic/Arabic invaders and occupiers. One Netherlands site said you could use htm symbols to approximate its alphabet. The site seemed geared to Windows XP , however, and not my Mac so I had trouble using it.

Other Poets, Other Rooms
New novelist phenom Teju Cole says in his essay about the Black Eagles football team in the recent World Cup and a poem written about them that poetry has to be necessarily in an not off-the-bat understandable form to be true poetry. And this is a general attitude among most poets, especially those who are qualified by reputation to be real poets and not phonies. I'm sure you would put most song lyrics in the phony poetry category. Or how about Poe's The Raven, a highly revered American poem?--once memorized by most schoolkids in this country. My dad could quote The Raven full length from memory--even acting it out as he reeled it off. My dad, educated in the early 20th-Century, could quote a lot of old classic American poems, like Hiawatha; The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck; and several other Poes, like Annabelle Lee.

I grew up with my grandmother a published poet. My grandmother was a natural-born poet, though today most of her poetry would be condemned by the celebrated American poets as being primitive--in the cute sense of the word. I used to read my grandmother's poetry books and find them revealingly fascinating, though rereading them now I can see how "flowery" they are--though the imagery in some of them amazes me in that it came from my grandmother, the woman who lived with my family in her back-of-our-house apartment for most of my developing years. And when you entered that apartment early in the morning--hoping she had made a big breakfast for herself that morning--especially hoping she'd baked a batch of her famous tea cakes and made a huge extra bunch of sausages and scrambled eggs peppered with jalapenos and bits of fat-back belly bacon in them that morning--and always when you knocked and she said to come in she'd already be at her typewriter writing--always writing at her poems--though she tried her hand at two novels, one published but the other one condemned as the pathetic effort of an old woman whose characterizations were pretty and neat but of no consequences to contemporary sophisticated American readers. I remember how my brother tried to help her get her last novel published. It was entitled Hilda and subtitled "The Story of a Woman Lost to Time"--a great subtitle, I thought; yet the subtitle didn't really describe this fictional woman's story, a woman same as my grandmother who wanted so much to be a respected poet and writer and yet now in her late years she sits surrounded by her rejected manuscripts and a pile of rejection slips--surrounded by her precious manuscripts, all typed up with great effort and perfection by her over the years on her precious L.C. Smith typewriter that she had bought brand new in the 1920s, when she started seriously trying to get her work published. And, yes, my brother let me read this Ms after my grandmother died and I saw right off that Hilda was so autobiographical with its great respect of nature through flowers and birds and the frustration at having all these poems in her head, her self-educated head--she had written about how as a young girl she had gone every day up to the a college close to her home, a girl's college, she had hung out by the open classroom windows absorbing all the learning she could obtain that way--becoming noticed by the college's head, "a gentleman of great breeding," as she described him, who called her into his office one day and came away letting her sit in on an English literature class where she was introduced to the man who became her writing hero, Lord Byron.

Upon her death not only did I inherit my grandmother's (and Hilda's) old L.C. Smith typewriter but also her copy of The Collected Poems of Lord Byron, an early-20th-Century Longman's edition. Every page contained her penciled marginalia--expressly explicitly romantic when it came to that marginalia that accompanied the selected sections of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. "How bold of vision he makes those alpine peaks, as though it is they speaking through his descriptions...." "As he passes through these expanses of the European landscape it is as though he is getting his language from Nature, his words so naturally in place in this journal of so vast a journey."

It's also obvious from this last Ms, that my grandmother had reached an age--she was in her 70s when she wrote it--where she realized her early success--she had two books of poetry published in the 1930s and her novel published in the 1940s--was long past, long gone, and she was puzzled in an overwhelming way by her late-age rejections--the rejection of Hilda the rejection of her as a writer, and embarrassingly, too, as a poet. The book ends sadly with Hilda sitting going over and over her rejection slips--"We are sorry but after reviewing your manuscript we find it is not fitting our current publishing agenda"--all signed simply "The Editors" with no personal names or hand-signed slips--the ultimate death-notice rejections--those with no hope in them. The book ends with Hilda sadly alone and totally rejected--wondering naively if her being rejected as a writer and poet and person would affect her status in Heaven, where she oh so wanted to be perhaps God's favorite poet.

My grandmother lived several more years after my brother made his final attempt to place Hilda with an editor acquaintance of his at Simon & Shuster. He received the Ms's final rejection slip with a hand-signed note this time from this editor saying how sad it was to read but also how totally out-of-date it was and how childishly written it was. She put the final death sentence on the Ms by saying, "I know of no publisher who would consider this Ms in its present state; in fact, I don't even suggest she even rewrite it...." The ultimate condemnation of my grandmother's final work. My brother never showed her that rejection slip; in fact, he never gave her back the Ms and it now rests to yellow and rot away to never be read in his archives at a Texas university.

Ironically, I also inherited her copy of her published novel. Inside it I found a letter from a New York City poet, he was a pretty famous poet to the newspaper poem column crowd at least, concerning a poem she had submitted to him for criticism. His reply was that he had found her poem intriguing--he liked several of the lines in terms of their position in the poem--and overall gave her an "A" for effort, though he did suggest some areas where the poem needed "some improvement"--at the end of the form letter, he checked off the general areas on which the poem needed work. Though a form letter, it was hand-signed by the guy.

I became a published poet during my senior year in college. My first published poem was called "The Flying Red Horse and the Telephone Pole"--it was published by the poetry editor of the Piggott, Arkansas, newspaper's poetry page. This lady accepted it and asked me to submit any other poems I had, and I submitted one I wrote hot off my head and typed up on the spot and she accepted it, too. After those two poems, over the next 5 years I published over 20 more poems in various literary and poetry journals--some of them fairly successful, like one published in a University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee-backed poetry journal that got me a 15-minute spot on the journal's once-a-week radio show on the UW-Milwaukee's FM station--15-minutes in which I read my poems and discussed how I had been almost entirely influenced in my writing by Gertrude Stein. I rued later not giving my grandmother the main credit for my ever even attempting to write a poem. And in honesty now I can say it was a haiku poem of my grandmother's I'd found in a Haiku publication from the 1930s that got me interested in writing poetry--haiku, the Japanese form of poetry that became a craze among US poets during the 20s and 30s--and I was so intrigued by that poem I learned and practiced haiku for over a year, eventually getting it down--and only then switching over to my own sort of free-verse poetry, those that got published like hotcakes for 5 years. Ironically, after college, I became ashamed of my poetry, to the point of being ashamed of listing my poems as my published works when I started submitting short stories. I remember how thrilled I was when my first short story was accepted for publication in an at-the-time girlie magazine competing with Hugh Heffner's very successful Playboy naked-girl format legitimized by former magazine editor, Heff, publishing "serious" short stories and book excerpts (of course with MALE interests, the primary one being SEX) between the air-brushed photos (no pubic hair allowed) of naked women. This Playboy copycat magazine paid me $600 for the rights to a story I had written while living in Mexico City about this American guy going to a Mexico City party where a gay guest is uncovered and then is begun to be humiliated by the more macho male guests to the point that these guys eventually murder this gay guy--it was a good story--I thought well written--though it never appeared in the magazine. Soon after this acceptance, I got another of my stories, this one more sexually explicit, published, this time in a sleazier girlie mag but one managed by a famous old magazine editor in the sleaze business--and this time this story was published and I remember running down to Tito's Grocery Store (in Santa Fe, New Mexico) and picking up several copies Tito had ordered from the magazine distributor and put back for me. How proud I was. Finally, I was no longer ONLY a poet. This story led to my being picked up by the Scott Meredith Agency, who sold it to a magazine in Denmark. When Scott Meredith tried to get the rights to my Mexico City story from that magazine that canned it, they refused to release them--a magazine now long-since out of business.

My attempts at becoming a great published writer and respected poet after a long while of efforts became a huge pile of rejection slips--and difficulties with New York City editors--so eventually, I gave up submitting my work.

Now, I have these schoolboy notebooks always by my side. Of late, I've filled two of these notebooks with, of all things, POEMS...and song lyrics. I amaze myself sometimes with off-the-top-of-my-head poems that sing back to me my own deepest reveries, no matter how clearly understood they are--though I certainly understand Teju Cole's saying a poem easily understood is not a great poem--though I also doubt that Teju Cole would find my most clearly understood poem clearly understanding to him.
A Poem, by Elmer Snowedin, The Daily Growler Poet Laureate

Sliding Glass Doors

My mirror image cracked me in two
Why? I cried, Mirror, Mirror in my face
My face blitzed with your kisses
Glass-cracking kisses..."Cut them out!"
There is so much pain in self-love
Especially when you're distracted by it
While on your merry way to the back yard.

Elmer Snowedin
Coleridge, Nebraska
for The Daily Growler

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

thegrowlingwolf Goes on an Anglophobic Rage
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor Happily Meeting One of Their Favorite People
The Prussian-Blooded King George VI Proudly Wearing His Freemason Garb

The Royal Fops of Merry Ole England and Their Hold on US White Folk

I don't get it. Anybody whose read The Daily Growler for even a bare length of time knows my particular contrarian stance on what seems to be a love affair between White Americans and England and all that is "British." I find it so hypocritical and so racist even. Of course, I'm extremely anti-British first of all in terms of American roots music and the fact that a bunch half-talented copycat Brits took advantage of this music being a unifying music in that it was bringing American White kids and Black kids together, so, hell yes, Brit boys grabbed hold of the contracts offered them by US record companies and record promoters--and then these lawyer geeks and promotional boobs brought the Fab Four to this country in 1964, which, to me, brought about not an abrupt end but a gradual end to the rising popularity of Black-influenced rhythm and blues, swinging rock and roll, and most of all the end to a golden era in jazz improvisation.

Black and White music of the 1950s was integrating television for one thing--it was integrating our popular music and culture--it was integrating our dances. Watch the early Patty Duke Shows--1964-65--and you'll see Blacks going to high school with Patty and going to the shake shop with her and at all the parties and dances.

White kids in my day were tired of the old-fashioned Protestant Ethic bullshit our White parents forced on us. We looked for an escape from their world, the world of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dinah Shore, Doris Day, Pat Boone--even early Tony Bennett--God awful boring sweet-ass romantic music. We were tired also of movies stressing American-Dream bullshit. We were fucking tired of war movies and Westerns and John Wayne and Clark Gable. We agreed with Reverend Ike, we didn't want our pie in the sky, hell no, we wanted it right here and now and on the table and still hot and maybe with a dollop of ice cream on it. So I'm very chauvinistic about my being naturally born into the basic forms of American roots music, from the Afro-American contributions of rags and quadrilles and blues and jazz to the truly original American classical music of Charles Edward Ives, the inventor of polytonal and atonal music--writing polytonal music at the same time as Debussy and writing atonal music years before Schoenberg got famous as its inventor.

This USA love of all British is especially noticeable in the entertainment industry. Last week I asked the question on my "Grammies" post as to why Mick Jagger was chosen to pay tribute to Solomon Burke on the American Academy of Music "Grammy" (for the British term "gramophone"--the American term was "phonograph") Awards show on February 13th?

Then this week I fell into watching one of these Hollywood 30-minute infomercials that pose as actual documentaries on the making and the thinking behind certain films they're promoting for the upcoming Academy Awards. In this case, the film was The King's Speech, a film that is being heavily lauded as a sacred masterpiece of a film. This is THE film this year if I am to believe this puffy piece of supercilious advertising. This reality ad went on to trumpet that this movie is actually favored to be a big winner at the coming Academy Awards show this year. And I got to watching this bunch of Brit fops going into detail about this totally Brit propaganda story about how this stuttering-stammering morganatic bastard fop of a Windsor-Prussian-Nazi bloodline royal highass bravely made this speech that, as this movie is claiming, perked up the almost beaten-down Brits who were being bombed back to the Stone Age by those German-Nazi rocket bombs, what the Nazi scientists called their latest devil of a human-being killing and city destroying device, the V-12 rocket bomb, or buzz bomb, as the Brits came to call them. And, yes, these scientists were the same Nazi rocket scientists who would after the German surrender be bundled up and stolen out of defeated Germany in the dead of night only to show up here in the good old USA, the vilest one of the bunch, Werner Von Braun, made head of our rocket and space program in Huntsville, Alabama, a murdering rat who got to end his corrupted life as a highly respected, highly paid, great American. Why he has the whole complex in Huntsville named after him. Ironically, it was an American scientist, Robert Goddard, who was the brains behind rocket science.

Guess who actually heard this "King's Speech" live?--as it was being broadcast on the radio back in the middle of our 20-Century's most righteous war. If you said, "You did, Wolf Man, you heard it live," you would have been correct sir or ma'am. Yes, I heard it, and remember it--how the speech was preceded by the ringing of Big Ben and an announcer saying, "London calling...London calling." And, yes, I remember at the time even my own parents talking about King George VI and his precious wife, Mother Mary--why, that's the same name as Jesus's mother! I say! What a pip of an analogy, old boy. I heard that speech--and I heard Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speeches, too--and even I as a little sniveling kid recognized FDR's speeches as more relevant to me than old King George the VI's most famous speech. I heard live Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech...the "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" speech--and I listened to Roosevelt's famous "Fireside Chats"--I remember them, too. I also remember how we took the longest to get fully behind the Brits--Churchill using his American mother to try and get we spoiled-brat mixed-bag Colonial weasels to support the Brit fight against the super-Christian and Vegetarian, Adolph Schikelgruber. I remember all those summit meetings--Roosevelt the cripple going to Potsdam or sailing out into the North Atlantic and meeting with Churchill, a big pompous-ass aristocrat--a parasite on the British common man, and Uncle Joe Stalin, a paranoid schizophrenic Georgian peasant whose only solution to a problem in the goat herd from either temper or weakness is a final solution--whack the son of a bitch. But I do remember that night the King of England, George the Sixth, made this speech that they have now made into an American Academy Award-potential-winning movie--a movie that wasn't made in the why not put it in the foreign-film category?

Trust me, folks, and here's a superchauvinistic statement on my part, the Brits would be goose-stepping and Siegheil-ing all around the island today if it had not been for the Yanks...the Americans...who showed up by the thousands in England to bolster the combat troops and the air force squadrons of the British Armed Forces. Fuck whether Georgie Sixth gave that speech or not--what mattered was the stammering King knew the Yanks were coming into the mess full-fledged with money and manpower--this fop of an morganatic bastard never really wanted to be King--though he wasn't fop enough to reject the throne like his brother, the Duke of Windsor, a perverted playboy who loved dressing up in women's clothes and sitting watching some young London society gay boy fuck his American wife.

I don't hate the British people with as much passion as I do the British Royal Family--or, in fact, any god-damn royal family wherever they are. I do hate this White American adoration of British people though. Perhaps it's an adoration forced on us by our corporate-controlled media. And aren't corporations now setting themselves up as our Royal Betters?--our Power Elite crowning themselves our Kings, our Dukes, our Earls, our noblemen--divinely instructed, divinely ordained, divinely privileged?...God-damn I hate such an attitude--BETTER ANARCHY than living under a King, a Master, a Sheik, a Libyan Colonel, or an Egyptian President.

But Brits are thick in our American lives. British chefs rule in the restaurant kitchens of NYC nowadays. Brit chefs are basically simply European-style chefs, i.e., Wolfgang Puck and that European ilk who got their fame hustling overpriced miniportioned dishes in celebrity-frequented restaurants and hangouts, foods better known for their presentation than their taste. I mean we are just now getting the raspberry sauce bullshit out of our cuisine--only now the Brit chefs have come up with other kinds of saucy swooshes--swooshed on a huge platter of a plate in whose center is a dainty, say, 5-oz filet mignon on a bed of fennel, with a persimmon-cilantro sauce--just a swoosh now--over it, a sprig of rosemary on it--"Ahhh, I say, Chef, what a brilliant presentation...why it is so pretty I hate to eat it." And all for only $65.00 a la carte. And, hey, for desert you can order the ice-cream sundae with that pure 24-karat gold topping--for only $2,000--"Oh, we'll take 5 of those." Fool's gold, we'll bet you.

Forget how we White Americans are so swept off our feet by Brit salesmen, especially those selling us cheap-ass, Chinese-made, Ron Popeil-reject crap--like the currently hot-selling automatic stirrer a Brit fop is hustling on us on one of those 24/7 infomercials. This little piece-of-shit tin-and-plastic battery-operated crap you are told you can put in your pan of gravy or in your small pot of soup (it wouldn't fit in a huge soup pot) and simply press down on the top of it, switch it on, and it stirs your food for you while you're doing other things like chopping up onions and celery.

My generation of White kids also became infatuated not only with Black music, but also Black cooking. When I was a playboy type in New York City in the 1970s, nearly all of the best chefs were Black guys. Phoebe's on The Bowery's hamburgers were known all over NYC as the best and biggest and juiciest hamburgers in the city--cooked in a very small narrow kitchen back by the restrooms by a tall gaunt Black man (the Chinese guy who was his assistant in those days is currently the head chef at my fav Irish pub just down the street from where I live). And there was Jack's Nest, a Southern-style soul food restaurant, still going strong down on Second Avenue--with the kitchen open and you could see the Black chefs ruled over by a large stately Black woman--turning out the chitterlings, the ham hocks, the beef tips and rice Carolina style, the barbecued spare ribs--GO ON, folks--there's not one damn soul-food restaurant left--well, there's still Sylvia's up in Harlem--but it's not the same food. Like nothing was better than finishing a gig at 3 in the morning, packing up and then taking your equipment back and dumping it off at your pad and then making it over to the Pink Tea Cup on Bleeker in time for a monster breakfast of sausages, grits, and scrambled eggs--served with big steaming mugs of strong-ass coffee.

OK, I'm an Anglophobe. But also, OK, I'll admit to owning 2 Jaguars and an MG 1600A in my lifetime--and one Jag was my dream car, a white 4-door sedan, a Mark V, revised for the American market by moving the steering wheel as is from the right side over to the left side. This left your gearshift where normally your turning signal lever was--it meant that anytime you left the Jag at the filling station or the mechanics they inevitably broke the turning signal lever trying to shift the car into gear.

I'll admit there are some British writers I've always admired--Wyndham Lewis for one; Frank Harris for another; D.H. Lawrence; Evelyn Waugh; Joyce Carey; Siegfried Sassoon; and you gotta like Will Shakespeare; you gotta like Basil Bunting; you gotta like William Blake; you gotta like Gerard Manly Hopkins; you gotta like Sir William Walton's Facade; you gotta like Ralph Vaughn-Williams's Antarctica Symphony. But for the most part, I cry, spare me these British salesmen, chefs, rock stars, entertainers (like comedians and one late-night teevee talk show host), and actors and actresses--and you may as well throw the Aussies in the heap, too, even though if anybody should hate the Brits more than the Irish Republicans, it should be the Aussies.

Whewwwwww...that was fun...venting my rage against Britain...and this little fool fop of a Prissy Prince who's marrying the golddigging commoner in a while--what a bunch of foppish bullshit. I guarantee this couple just like this little parasitical worthless fop's parents will soon be in the divorce courts and all over our news headlines once again. A fop prince who while his mother was banging the gang down at the royal stables, his father was banging a horse-faced noble woman out in the muddy fields of one of the royal palaces--at what a cost to the British common men and women!! It wasn't that long ago that old King George VI's daughter, Lizzie, the keeper of the royal Scotch bottle, was bitching about the royal asshole household being in arrears and needing a little more than the several million pounds a year the royal fops now make.

And while I'm on the subject, thanks to Walt Disney and the Disney Kiddie Corruption folks, the ideal is still that of princes and princesses and kings whether in symbolic African animal situations or even in an undersea adventure--the KING is always the respected LORD of all while the vassals are ignorant but fun loving loyal dutiers fulfilling the King's orders to respect your elders, brush your teeth every morning, and watch out for the anthropomorphic donkey's back kick--he can't help it, it's the animal in him.
What I Hate Even Worse Than the Brits
Here's one that is griping my ass big time. This budget-trimming bullshit that is currently going on in our rabble-rousing House of NONrepresentatives, a house divided in favor of total nincompoop Yahoos with no ability to reason beyond their stubborn jealous racist heads. These people in the House who are determined to bring down our government--to take their stupid spending sprees and blame them on our Black (he's actually half White, too) president, the bleeding-heart Liberal Democrats (I really don't know who these people are, do you?), and of all people, those who work for our governments, including school teachers, firemen, and cops. This is politics of ruin being forced on us by politicians from low-populated backwards states like Kansas, Idaho, Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Southern California, South Dakota--check it out, these Yahoo dumbasses are changing our lives for the worse not the better. They defiantly refuse to tax the rich or the corporations. Exxon-Mobil continues making the highest profits in Capitalist history; yet they paid only 1% of those profits back to the American people in taxes last year. Meanwhile, the average dumbass American is paying upwards of 30% of his EARNINGS (taken out of his or her pay before he or she has a chance to count it) in taxes--taxes which are collected and then distributed out to every man, dog, and jack off in the world EXCEPT the American people. I'm just reading where General Dynamics had gleaned a big military weapons deal with the Great Libyan Dictator now pro-Western (remember when Reagan killed his daughter with a rocket?) Colonel Kha-hah-hah-daffy to the tune of 265 million good ole USA bucks--weapons now being used to massacre the Libyan people who like the Egyptians finally got up off their asses and packed the streets in defiance of a 30-year dictatorial regime in the case of Mubarak; 40 years in terms of Kha-hah-hah-daffy.

And in Madison, Wisconsin, hot damn, and in Columbus, Ohio, today, hot damn, the American people, our teachers and firefighters and civil servants are off their asses and packing the streets. Hey the hippies did it and got the Vietnam War ended and Big Balls Lyndon Johnson down in defeat, even though they petered out after the Democrats once again fucked up and ran a namby-pamby candidate against the vicious and drunken ego-maniac Richard M. Nixon who took over--though trust me, Nixon was a leftwing liberal compared to the Libertarian-Reaganlovers the numbskull Yahoo voters in these low-populated backwards states put into power--like they love shooting themselves in the foot they've just had in their mouths.

So look for some hard times heading our way. Once again President Obama is refusing to be the world leader of change he promised us when we unanimously elected him president in 2008. And now look at the rightwing nutjobs coming out of the wormholed woodwork throwing their hats in the ring for the coming 2012 presidential race--primaries and caucuses beginning in a few months, folks. Yep, another year-long presidential campaign is beginning soon--all the nutjobs will be out there blabbing forth their wrong economics their wrong statistics their prejudices in our Yahoo faces. I just read where California is now officially a White minority state. No wonder there are some vicious White politicians from California who are determined to bring down Obama one way or another. It's a sorry state of affairs for We the People in terms of our future incomes, our future chances at education, our future retirements, our future as either slaves or vassals--as once again the British form of Capitalism and its greed for profits and more profits is corrupting us and ruining us--when Samuel Gompers, the great American unionist, was asked what labor unions wanted, he said, the same thing the corporate robber barons want, "MORE."

New Jersey's big fat overweight pig-jowled governor is riding roughshod across the Hudson from me over the dumbass Jersey voters--truly dumbass, though let's face it, they had a choice of an ex-Goldman-Sachs pirate, Johnny Boy Corsine, who could only promise more taxes and higher tolls and state taxes as the solution for Jersey's state budget being a few billion bucks in the hole or Fat Boy Christy (he'll probably die in office, wanna bet?) who said he was going to do away with taxes and tolls and tunnel projects in favor of going after government workers including teachers, firemen, cops, townships, blah, blah, blah. The voters in New Jersey got what they asked for--now they are ruing that day.

And in New York City, our little-man billionaire fop mayor is Power Eliting his privileged fucking way against the citizens of New York City, the majority of whom he hates, shutting down schools and firing thousands of teachers; shutting down fire houses and laying off fireman by the hundreds. In response to a huge fire in Brooklyn a day ago that got out of control and totally burned down a 5-story apartment building, the fire department union spokesman said they had failed in putting out this fire--1 person died in it--because of the extraordinary high winds and cold temperatures but also due to a shortage of firefighters--hundreds of whom had just been laid off and their fire houses closed by Billionaire Mike Bloomberg--who paid 200 million dollars of his own money (think of that, folks) to get himself elected to an illegal third term as mayor of the greatest city in the US. Bloomberg's response: "Hey, I expect these low-life firemen bastards to bitch and blame me for their inability to put out that fire. Hey, they've got to learn to work a little harder during these hard times." Mayor Bloomberg just shot the New York City firefighters the bird and told them Dickless Cheney style to go Fuck themselves--and to obediently bend over and let him fuck 'em some more up the ass. The firefighters's response to the mayor, "This little billionaire prick had rather save dollars than human lives." This privileged lucky asshole bullhorned us that he was the successful businessman who could get this city in shape--instead, we are deeper in the hole than we were when he took office. Plus, this bastard is firing schoolteachers by the thousands, closing down schools, privatizing NYC public schools through this charter school bullshit, another way for bigshot, Mayor-buddy hedge funders to make our public schools profitable, so profitable that pirate banks and financial fraud pits like Goldman-Sachs are investing in these schools. [According to a late night comedian, Mayor Billionaire Bloomberg gave as a reason for needing immigration reform as, "So more foreign models can come here to work." This is the Power Elite attitude towards the commonest of us that We the People of the USA will be facing over the next few years.]

I give up. I'm tired of this anti-British ramble. I'm listening to the music of Ellsworth Milburn as I type this. I don't expect anybody to know who he is, though I highly recommend his Menil Antiphons for 8 Players, if you are culturally transcended that is--Transcendentalism is very American, you know.

From the Mind of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

A man in debt is so far a slave.

From Brainy Quotes

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.


for The Daily Growler

Saturday, February 19, 2011

thegrowlingwolf: Keeping Track of My Relatives

Foto by tgw, New York City, February 2011
Keeping Track of My Relatives
Why do women love studying apes? I watched a teevee show on apes last night--I watch all the monkey shows on teevee--checking on the relatives, you dig? The featured participants in the show were two babes, one a very tough-looking rather mannish sort of woman and the other a Hollywood-sparkle-plenty type (female celebrities like to make set-up African-jungle pseudo-documentaries--you know, they're concerned about the apes--and while they're there they may adopt a couple of African orphans as well). So these two babes were in Africa, though it could have been a set-up jungle down at Busch Gardens for all we viewers knew. They had a male guide--it looked legitimate because the guide and the babes on close ups had flies and gnats and bugs and unidentified flying objects congregating around their faces and hands--and suddenly this little trio of human monkeys came upon this big silver-back ape male--GASP...and these women suddenly went into a state of awe. They were so excited I could smell their boiling hormonal juices steaming out through the teevee screen. They reminded me of Diane Fossey, the babe who literally fell in love with male apes--and then I recalled Jane Goodall--babes in love with apes. Diane and Jane lived among the apes.
Diane Fossey and Jane Goodall

Me, I never liked my jungle relatives (Cheeta, yeah, but who could not like Cheeta?). The first time I visited a monkey house was at the zoo in my hometown. It was a fairly compact wooden structure behind the main zoo--the big jail cages where they kept the ferocious beasts, like the old King of the Beasts whose name was appropriately Leo whose plaintiff roar could be heard echoing across my end of town every sundown religiously on time--roaring out his beckoning for a mate to rescue his ass from this zoological incarceration--his roars belched out 4 or 5 in a row or to his satisfaction when they'd suddenly die off echoing backwards, way back, back to their ancient homelands where before those apes evolved into human beings the King of the Beasts were pretty much rulers of the plains of Africa--until human beings put them in their place--that place that leads to their extinction.

My hometown monkey house was filled with a gaggle of neurotic chimps and one old gorilla male who simply sat on his big fat ass and looked dejected--as if if you handed him a guitar, he'd immediately start playing and singing the blues. The neurotic chimps were vile--one was playing with his own shit; another, a young male, was masturbating like a Cynic on an ancient Greek street corner--and one, who was certainly a little paranoid, kept, I swear, shooting all us dumbass human's the bird.

"Too much monkey business," Chuck Berry, one of the inventors of true rock 'n roll (the swinging kind; not the punk/Brit kind), sang.
My mother's hometown was Beaumont, Texas. That's down in the southeast corner of Texas. It's a river port on the Sabine River; a deep-water river port, too. My mother's mother after her husband, my grandfather, died, pulled up stakes and followed the new head of the household, her son, out to wild West Texas on the Old Frontier, out toward the setting sun from Fort Worth, which billed itself in those days as "Where the West Begins." My hometown billed itself as "The Key City of West Texas." The family consist at that time was my grandmother, the poet/millinerian/florist/librarian; my Uncle Brother, the following-the-sun only son; my mother; and my mother's older sister, my Aunt Gee. My mother married a West Texas man when she was 16. So she was trapped in West Texas. My grandmother got a little successful in my hometown so she settled down there. But my Aunt Gee, she hated the place.

My Aunt Gee was a hot little minky of a babe. She was petite (trim, as they said in her day), extremely pretty, sassy, like she knew she was hot and attracted exciting men, men who wore sharp clothes, drove big nice cars, knew how to dance the latest dances, and who had their sights on the heights. After she graduated high school, she enrolled in the local Drake Business College and got a "degree" in secretarial science. She then found she was a shoo in for getting good secretarial jobs and the next thing the family knew, Aunt Gee was back in Beaumont, first marrying a sweetback man who was handsome as hell but was a roamer with a roving eye. She had a son with this man, but after that marriage failed and she got her divorce, she suddenly fell swoon under the spell of the man who became my favorite Uncle, my Uncle One-Eye.

Uncle One-Eye was a dashing man, half Cajun, with that dark black-haired-black-eyed handsome swamp look to him--a charming man who dressed to the nines--his favorite hats were Miller hats that he'd buy and then have blocked to his specifications--this is back when hatters blocked hats for their customers--custom fitted--his favorite shoes were French Shriners--handmade--their sizes marked in ink--sporting what were called Cuban heels--his suits were the best Hart, Shaffner, and Marx measured-to-fit suits--his shirts were the finest silk shirts from Sulkas in New York City--and, yes, he had one-eye. He'd lost his eye working in the big refineries south of Beaumont in the Port Arthur-Orange area when he was young--at the time Beaumont was famous in oil history as the home of Spindletop, the first big domed oilfield discovered by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil geologists in Texas at the turn of the last century--it put Beaumont on the map and brought to birth the following oil companies: The Texas Company--it became Texaco; the Gulf Oil Company; the Magnolia Oil and Refining Company--it became Mobil; the Humble Oil and Refining Company--it became in later form Exxon. And this oil field cluttered all around the city of Beaumont--and Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange became oil boom towns--wild and woolly places where the work was hard but rewarding and the opportunity to get rich quick was everywhere. And my Uncle One-Eye married my Aunt Gee and together they invested in oil stocks--didn't get rich, but got secure enough that soon they were sportin' around the area in their sharp new Ford roadster--and next thing you know, my Aunt Gee was pregnant and soon giving birth to her second son, my cousin Jay-Jay.

I remember clearly the first time I visited Beaumont...and Beaumont attracted me. I mean the main street in downtown Beaumont was shadowed over by these huge ocean-going ships that were tied up at the Beaumont Port--mostly big tankers, but also a lot of freighters. Beaumont was also full of parks, a lot of green space, and all over the city were huge old oaks and elms all of 'em covered in mistletoe and Spanish moss and tall, tall pine trees all over and especially in my Aunt Gee and Uncle One Eye's yard at the house Uncle One Eye, a fine carpenter, had built with his own hands, a big two lot cool and inviting to me. The part of me that inherited my mother's dreams trying to lure me back to the maternal homeland.

However, before I ever visited Beaumont, I was already familiar with my Aunt Gee and my Uncle One-Eye as they visited West Texas several times a year, especially on holidays. My Uncle One-Eye by the time I knew him well had become a bit of a part-time gambler (he was a carpenter/handy man and junk collector by trade) whose specialty was craps--my Aunt Gee bragged how she'd never seen Uncle One Eye lose at the craps tables. Once a year, Uncle One Eye and Aunt Gee made a pilgrimage to Las Vegas--in particular my Uncle's favorite place, Harrod's on the Strip. That trek took them through my hometown and then back through as they were returning to Beaumont. On those return trips they would always show up with souvenirs and my Aunt Gee would have new clothes. Plus they were always around at Christmas--I mean, my Aunt's mother and sister and brother were there--so as a kid I knew my Uncle and Aunt intimately; like I said, my Uncle One-Eye became my favorite Uncle--and, too, I knew my cousin Jay-Jay.

Jay-Jay joined the Navy at the start of World War II, the righteous war. At the time he was only 17, but he lied about his age and the Navy took him. The first thing they did was pull all of Jay-Jay's teeth. He had bad teeth, you see, and the Navy couldn't risk throwing Jay-Jay into combat and have him come down with a toothache in the middle of battle, so they pulled all his teeth. He had a full set of phony choppers in his mouth at 17. Jay-Jay went on to see a lot of action in the South Seas and especially in the Philippines. After the war, he came to Dallas and stayed with us for a couple of weeks while he was getting his muster-out pay and his GI Bill eligibility in order--he was intending to go back to Beaumont and enter Lamar Technological College--or Lamar Tech--to work on an electrical engineering degree--since he had gotten involved in electronics and telecommunications in the Navy. That visit was very important in my life because one day while staying with us, Jay-Jay sat down at our old Mason and Hamlin piano and MAN-O-Manischewitz, Jay-Jay wailed out the "Honky-Tonk Train," the boogie-woogie classic made famous in those days by the boogie duo of Meade "Lux" Lewis and Albert Ammons--they had been a rave at Timme Rosenkrantz's From Gospel to Swing Concert in Town Hall here in New York City back in 1938. And my cousin Jay-Jay worked that old Train out just right--a velvety rockin' clickity-clack beauty that swept up my attention and I made Jay-Jay play boogie-woogie over and over and then he tried to teach me the boogie left hand--and I got it down--and, by golly, because of cousin Jay-Jay, the piano became my mistress, and as a result of gettin' the 8-to-the-bar beat down in my left hand and letting the virtuosity in my right hand burn, I became a little boogie boy at age 11, playing boogie at parties and at junior high assemblies; the two boogie masters in my hometown for a brief moment were me and a blind guy whose only boogie was his version of the Sabre Dance. From boogie I went on to be-bop--and soon I'd left boogie behind...and as I progressed on up through life, I lost track of cousin Jay-Jay. The last time I saw him, it was in Beaumont, and Jay-Jay had married a British airline stewardess, a beauty of a London redhead, and he had two kids with this woman, and a crazy affair that ended in a dirty divorce--and cousin Jay-Jay was an adult by then, handsome as a movie star, smoking a pipe to keep his nerves under control. After that I went on to college, then married, and moved to New York City. I lost track of cousin Jay-Jay after my Aunt Gee died at 89 in 1991. I had called her just before she died. She was living with cousin Jay-Jay and his new wife, a Beaumont girl he'd met and fallen madly in love with.

The next time I heard of Jay-Jay was through my brother in early 2000. Jay-Jay had shown up one day at my brother's digs in Central Texas and he told me Jay-Jay was now a high-up with Bell Telephone and Lucent--he'd started with Western Electric, the old manufacturing division of the original Ma Bell telephone monopoly--and living in the Hill Country of Texas.

One time while I was visiting Beaumont, I was still a kid and Jay-Jay was still hanging around his home then, he sat down at his mother's piano and sang a little song he'd written. I never forgot the song and recorded it with theryefarmerfromqueens in the 1980s. It was called, "She Made a Monkey Out of Me."

I came across the recording the other day--on one of the hundreds of cassette tapes that are in-boxed or sitting in naked stacks on my floor. I got to wondering about cousin Jay-Jay. I wondered was he still kicking and I thought, I should give the dude a call. After all, we are kinfolk and we do have the same emotions and desires and dreams running through our genes--so I looked him up on Google.

Ah, hell, I was stunned--the first response I got was cousin Jay-Jay's obituary. He had died back in December of 2010 after, the obit stated, a "valiantly fought battle with cancer." Damn. I just missed him--another one of my blood gone. And dammit, I got to bitching inside myself how cruel being a human being is. How cruel that we know death is inevitable; yet we try and convince ourselves we are invincible monkeys--monkeys not from evolution but from being created by some human-monkey-created supernatural father who lives off somewhere in our atmospheric clouds, our allegorical clouds.
My Cousin Jay-Jay was born in 1927...he left the coil on December 12, 2008, age 81...this wonderfully talented soul who beat the path I now journey before me, showed me the exquisite art of piano playing, and who will keep on keepin' on in my life's tale for as long as I keep keepin' on...keepin' on ridin' on that Honky-Tonk Train. "Beat me, Daddy, eight to the bar," and old Jay-Jay could sure beat you eight to the bar in every thing he did--he was a good golfer, too, I might add.

for The Saturday Morning Daily Growler

Thursday, February 17, 2011

thegrowlingwolf Julie Flips Through Remnants of His Past

Foto by tgw, New York City, February 2011 (shot through a filthy plate of glass)
Julie Flipping Around in My Past
I first heard the use of the word "Julie flipping" in a head-arranged blues called "Osie's Blues." It's on an old Vanguard LP that was attempting to revitalize the old Basie Kansas City Seven sound. The tune took up 2 minutes and 26 seconds on the album. It was sung by Osie Johnson, who was the drummer on the album that featured Al Cohn, Joe Newman, Urbie Green, Frank Rehak, Milt Hinton, Freddie Green, and Nat Pierce (if you aren't familiar with these guys, too bad; I don't have time to give you their bios). The chorus to this blues is: "Stop lollygagging, baby; Stop finger poppin', baby; Stop julie flippin', baby...." I'm remembering this from memory--I haven't had the album since the 1970s when I sold all my jazz LPs at a flea market that used to be down on Canal and Greene streets here in NYC--so I haven't heard the tune in 30-odd years. "Lollygagging" was definable. I knew it meant wasting time. It's in the dictionary. "Finger popping," too was easily defined as "wasting time"--you know, like you waste time cracking your knuckles. (Modern lingo also defines "finger popping" as "popping a woman's cherry with your finger" [consult the Urban Dictionary in our Blog List].) But Julie flipping. What the hell did Osie mean by that term? I suppose I'd have to know what a Julie was. Of course if say Julie Andrews flipped somebody the bird...but Osie didn't know anything about Julie Andrews flipping anybody the bird since this album was made shortly before Julie Andrews came on the scene in Lerner and Lowe's My Fair Lady.

When I thought of Julie flipping, I was lollygagging about trying to find something to start my writing juices flowing. I had just finished reading my old pal L Hat's latest post. His opening sentence was an L Hat masterpiece: "There are books in my collection which I've owned for decades and which spend most of their working lives sitting quietly on a shelf, usually in a back row, thinking their dusty thoughts until, once every five or ten years, I need to consult them, at which point, having determined after some trial and error behind which of the limelight-hogging volumes they are to be found, I pull them out and locate the desired information" (see ). I've always been after Mr. L Hat to write--he's a damn good writer with a beautiful underlying devilish sense of humor, as has he been after me for decades to put my own writing into a publishable form--could it be we are both similarly unambitious when it comes to kicking against the pricks. It was good ole Saint Paul (Saul of Tarsus) who used "kicking against the pricks," according to the Good King James's translation of the Holy Book of Christian Babble. Here's an interesting explanation of the phrase according to a Christian theological site:

"It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks", is a proverb that was used often by both Latin and Greek writers. The word for "pricks" in the Greek is kentron {ken'-tron}, which means a point or goad. In fact, in other translations (such as the NIV) the word "goads" is used.

A goad is a stick with a pointed piece of iron fastened to the end of it. This instrument is used to prod the oxen on when they are plowing. When a stubborn ox attempted to kick back against the goads (pricks), he would actually wound himself. The proverb was often used to teach the lesson that it is foolish to rebel against a powerful authority. Any attempt to do so would result in much greater difficulties.


Notes From My Past (That in Which I've Been Julie Flipping)
I am a journalist in that I do keep notebooks. Like I'm reading along in whatever book and I see an interesting point or conclusion or insightful deduction, I have to write it down no matter how long it is. Usually, I am reading 10 or 15 books at once: currently, for instance, I'm reading in this order: David Woolbridge's From Steeples and Mountains on Charles Ives; Albert Murray's Train Whistle Guitar (a very difficult book to read--his writing reminds me of Toni Morrison's writing); Toni Morrison's Jazz; Charles Bukowski's fun book Ham on Rye; Gunther Schuller's The Swing Era (using Gunther's autograph on a 4 x 5 file card as my bookmark); Lewis Porter's The Lester Young Reader (I'm trying to get a feel for Prez's language and attitudes and habits and considerations for a stage show, Leave Me Alone, I've been writing on for several years now); I'm always reading, too, from my constant by-my-side Bibles: Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class; Perls and Goodman's Gestalt Therapy; several of old Sigmund Freud's books; always a book of Ez's poetry; Henry Miller's Books in My Life and Nexus; Neil Smelser's The Problematics of Sociology; C Wright Mills's The Power Elite; and my little pocket New Testament, Philip Wylie's An Essay on Morals.

I open a notebook from 2007, begun October 8th. The first notation I come across that grabs my Julie-flipping attention is "Elephants eat 16 hours a day." Next I come across Ez's well-known statement: "Don't translate the words; translate the meaning." Then I stumble onto: "The word 'vaccine' comes from 'cow pox,' a weak form of small pox, the vaccine that fights against small pox." A quote from G.W. Bush: "You can't be president and head of the military at the same time." Hmmmm. There's something to contemplate. Then here's a note: "Africa supplies 24% of US oil." Philip Wylie on Sex: " the chief vested interest of religion. It is a principal concern of government. When law and religion were embodied together in tribal customs, the administration of sex, next to traffic in ghosts, constituted the main means of continuum for those in authority. Machinations of tabu and privilege, unconscious and traditional though they were and usually still are, capture the libido (the psychic energies) of the many, and hold them subject to the authority of the few" (p. 33, An Essay on Morals, Giant Cardinal Edition, 1960).

How's that for Julie flipping about?

Here's a note in my own hand: "I never thought about it--it's just something amusing to me really--but I just realized how Jesus X. Christ in order to be the Jewish Messiah had to perform miracles, healings, and the casting out of demons." He had to do these things in order to fulfill the prophecies in the Torah.

"SNIPS--points in your DNA genome that give you your personal gene profile."

"Mercury turns into methyl mercury (or methylmercury) (deadly) when it's under water. That's the mercury that is poisoning our fish. Plants with huge long root systems can live in lead, motor oil, etc., but not in methyl mercury."

"The normal meal for a Barbarian was porridge and beer."

"Putting hands together comes from medieval times. Vassals held their hands together in homage to their fiefdom lords. Out of its secular form came the Christian method of praying--which in actuality is the Christian giving homage to his or her fiefdom lord and master, Jesus H. Christ."

I'm julie flipping away now. It's like I'm stealing Barabbas Munn-Dayne's "jots and tittles" style. I'm writing like Larry King used to write. And god how I despise Larry King, the lying bastard; the henna-haired creep who claimed he was best friends with Sandy Koufax when he was a young man in Brooklyn. Sandy when asked if he remembered Larry King from the old neighborhood, he replied a simple, "No."

From my notebook: "Peace has never been profitable throughout European history. Always the lords made their best money off going to war." This is still true today.

On another notebook page I'm stating that "Pretty" is a word found in the dictionary between "Pretor" (Praetorian) and "Pretzel." Then I started using it in its tone-down forms: "She's pretty ugly." "It's pretty bad out today." "He's pretty much crazy as a bedbug." "ME: praty or prety meaning 'artful,' 'clever,' 'pat,' and 'apt.'" "I've got it down pat." Which reminds me of one of my old girlfriends. "She's pretty ugly," my notes say, "is used to tone down a statement." "OE: priettig = 'tricky'; from F: priett -- 'to trick.'" "Elizabeth Barrett Browning said, 'Pretty words that make no sense.'" "In Scotland, 'pretty' means 'stout' as in 'a very pretty profit' or 'it costs a pretty penny.'" "'Pretties' is another word for 'dainties,' or women's panties."

"Mark Twain said, 'You go to Heaven for the climate; you go to Hell for the company.'" And this note led to a bevy of notes concerning a novel I was writing on called Marilyn in Hell.

The last entries in this little "my" notebook are: "Gin-soaked raisins for arthritis"/ "What good is life without a woman?" A ululation from the Wolf Man.

for The Daily Growler

From wood s lot: MW (the Wood in wood s lot) is a fine photographer. I must admit he is the reason I started putting my own photography up on The Daily Growler. As proven by his photos, he's a hell of a lot more accomplished photographer than I am--and surely he uses a better camera than I do (I'm an old obsolete Toshiba 400 man)--here's one of Mark's photos from his latest posting at the Wood Lot:

February 4 to 21, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Great Communicator Taught Us: "Trees Cause More Pollution Than Automobiles."

Foto by tgw, New York City, February 2011
Say Goodbye to:
George Shearing died yesterday of a heart attack. Wikipedia calls him a British-born American jazz pianist. I wouldn't give him that kind of distinction (he did become a naturalized American in 1956), though I did enjoy the Shearing Quintets and Quartets in the 1950s. I always admired old George for using vibraphonist (also vibraharpist, per Red Norvo) Margie Hyams (that's her in the above photo--along with Chuck Wayne on guitar, Denzil Best on drums, and John Levy on bass)...and once when I saw him live in Albuquerque, he had Gary Burton on vibes. Plus, George wrote "Lullaby of Birdland," so he gets an A in that effort. Plus, George was blind. Blind pianists live in their own worlds--just think. Great blind pianists: Blind Tom, Whistling Alex Moore, Art Tatum, Lennie Tristano, Ray Charles. So, so long to George Shearing. Sir George Shearing, 91, British-born American jazz pianist, heart failure (from Wikipedia Deaths 2011).
Gino Cimoli, the great old Brooklyn Dodger ballplayer. Gino Cimoli, 81, American baseball player (Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates).

Chuck Tanner. This one caught me by surprise; seems like Chuck was just managing recently--he wasn't much of a player, but he gained his greatest fame as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chuck Tanner, 82, American baseball manager (Athletics, Braves, Pirates, White Sox) and player (Braves, Dodgers), after long illness.

Betty Garrett. I go way back with Betty Garrett. I first remember her working with Jack Oakie in a Shirley Temple film. She also played the wife-swapping wife/carpenter/plumber on All in the Family. Her biggest role was probably On the Town. Betty Garrett, 91, American actress (On the Town, All in the Family, Laverne & Shirley), aortic aneurysm.

Bad News Brown. Though I've never in my life heard of this dude, he deserves a tribute in The Daily Growler as a potential The Daily Growler Hall of Famer. Seems the bad news caught up with Bad News--see how he died. Oh the hell of being a Canadian rapper and harmonica player. Bad News Brown, 33, Canadian rapper and harmonica player, beaten and shot.

The Great Communicator Speaks

"I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself."

"Facts are stupid things." [The idiot thought he was quoting John Adams who said, "Facts are stubborn."]

The Great Communicator when asked what kind of governor he was going to be replied, "I don't know. I never played a governor before."

"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles."

"All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk."

"Approximately 80 percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources."

From a More Brilliant Mind: C. Wright Mills (a fellow Texan, I might add):

"...certainly the enormous size of the modern corporation cannot be explained as due to increased efficiency; many specialists regard the size now typical of the giants as already in excess of the requirements of efficiency. In truth, the relationship of corporate size to efficiency is quite unknown; moreover, the scale of the modern corporation is usually due more to financial and managerial amalgamations than to technical efficiency. But inevitable or not, the fact is that today the great American corporations seem more like states within states than simply private businesses. The economy of America has been largely incorporated, and within their incorporation the corporate chiefs have captured the technological innovation, accumulated the existing great fortunes as well as much lesser, scattered wealth, and capitalized the future. Within the financial and political boundaries of the corporation, the industrial revolution itself has been concentrated. Corporations command raw materials, and the patents on inventions with which to turn them into finished products. They command the most expensive, and therefore what must be the finest, legal minds in the world, to invent and to refine their defenses and their strategies. They employ man as producer and they make that which he buys as consumer. They clothe him and feed him and invest his money. They make that with which he fights the wars and they finance the ballyhoo of advertisement and the obscurantist bunk of public relations that surround him during the wars and between them.

"Their private decisions, responsibly made in the interests of the feudal-like world of private property and income, determine the size and shape of the national economy, the level of employment, the purchasing power of the consumer, the prices that are advertised, the investments that are channeled. Not 'Wall Street financiers' or bankers, but large owners and executives in their self-financing corporations hold the keys of economic power. Not the politicians of the visible government, but the chief executives who sit in the political directorate ... hold the power and the means of defending the privileges of their corporate world. If they do not reign, they do govern at many of the vital points of everyday life in America, and no powers effectively and consistently countervail against them, nor have they as corporate-made men developed any effectively restraining conscience." From: C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite, "The Chief Executives," 1956.

How 'Bout Those Grammies!
What was Mick Jagger doing there? It's the American Academy of Music Awards. Oh, I forgot, Brits are considered American musicians aren't they. Hey, I've admitted I met Jagger one time and he wasn't a bad sort; he, like all Brit rockers, was eager to prove to American dudes he was hip and cool. On the other hand, he can be quite embarrassing, which he was Sunday night on the Grammies when he did a tribute to Solomon Burke by covering "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love." And Mick, like all Brit musicians, came out trying to put big-man depth in his nerdy imitative voice, trying to sing Black, and, to me, he made a mockery of Burke's works. EXCEPT, I must admit, Jagger put on the best show in terms of getting the audience stirred up and focused back on where all those Brit boys stole their fame and fortune from by mocking American Black musicians, and getting filthy rich doing it while the artists they claimed to admire mostly died in poverty. I don't know if Solomon Burke died in poverty, he was having a very successful come-back tour in Europe when he dropped dead in a Netherlands airport, but I'll bet you anything, he didn't die as rich as Mick Jagger's going to be when he dies--and as skinny and anemic as old Mick now looks, I'd say he'll be buying the farm--shall we say "soon."

I didn't watch many of the other touted celebrity acts, like Lady Antebellum--god what a god-awful singer she is. I did watch Dylan's big moment. I never liked Dylan's music--I considered him as copycatting Woody Guthrie--Arlo can imitate Bob better than Bob can imitate Arlo's father, in other words. Even when he confiscated the Canadians and Lee Von Helm and made them The Band and made "Like a Rolling Stone," I still heard Woody--even Bob's lyrics followed the same rhythmic patterns and vocal embellishments as Woody's. But, recently, I've come to dig Bob as a individual since I saw that Frances Ford Coppola docu on Folksy Bob. I liked Bob's attitude in that puff piece. I liked his attitude toward the music he heard when he was a kid; the same music I heard when I was a kid--and Bob and I are related in age and the small-town growing-up environment--I chose a piano as my instrument and jazz and blues as my genres, which meant rather than hit Highway 51, I had to stay embedded with my instrument and learn it further than picking out some chords and sticking to them (again a la Woody's guitar style)--plus, I had to learn much more complicated melodies and polytonal and atonal lines--as Jaki Byard taught his students, I tried to accomplish a little technique in all styles of jazz and blues. Bob instead hit the road and realized he had to get to New York City...whereas, I stayed in Texas--and, yes, I withered on the vine where Bob went on to fame and fortune and a place in American music celebrity and history that earned him a documentary by Frances Ford Coppola. The closest I've ever been to Frances Ford Coppola was about 20 feet--he happened to be in his restaurant, Coppola's on Third Avenue, while my wife and I were eating there and not enjoying the rather bland Italian food that we were served by a snotty actor-waiter--actually the woman manager came over and apologized for this asshole's bad attitude--I should have demanded F.F. himself come over and apologize by picking up the check. As a result, I've never again entered a Coppola's restaurant--in fact, I don't even think there are any Coppola restaurants left in NYC. If there are, I could care less. I wouldn't drink his fucking celebrity wine either--all these Hollywood phonies (all actors are phonies) going into the wine business. I'm not a wine snob. I find a nice bottle of Gallo Hearty Burgundy just as savory and inebriating as a bottle of $500 French Burgundy that the Japanese used to buy up every year overpaying for it. In fact, I have no idea what wines are what these days--I'm still marveling at the rise of Shiraz wines--especially those from Australia. All of this 'round Bob's barn to say, yes, I dug Bob's coming out and singing "Maggie's Farm." Plus I love the star way old Bob treated his youthful and adorational back-up bands, two brothers's bands I've never heard of, both of whom sounded like a reemerging of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Of course these young men were brilliant technicians and they did their best to swing their folksy pseudo-bluegrass picking--bouncing straight up and down pogo style like good little obedient White boys. Bob blew 'em all out of the holy waters even if his voice is shot and his demeanor is other world, he's still paid so many dues, you gotta love the guy even if you hate him.

for The Daily Growler

Saturday, February 12, 2011

thegrowlingwolf Flies to Tokyo in Three and One Half Hours
Ronnie Reagan at His Best
Ronald Reagan Is 100 Years Old But He Doesn't Realize It

Yes, the Gipper is 100 years old this year. And yes the fol-de-rol and the perfumed bullshit over this old overrated piece of crap is going to be piled higher than the recent snows that have unusually wreaked havoc with us all winter (and NO there is no Global Warming!!).

In the summer of 1966, my wife and I flew out to Santa Clara, California, where I was being interviewed for a teaching position in the Sociology Department of Santa Clara University. While being interviewed, my wife and I were invited to a faculty party. Yes, I knew Santa Clara was a Jesuit college, one of the oldest colleges in California, opened in 1853 around the Santa Clara Mission that is a part of the campus still today, but to hell with my religious intolerance, out of all the applications I'd sent out only Santa Clara responded so enthusiastically and I was eager to land a college teaching position, so I threw my prejudices in the recycle bin for the moment. Plus they had some things on their side. I had been told by one of my graduate advisers that though Santa Clara was a Catholic college, it was pretty progressive in terms of its Social Science Department. Plus, he added, they were well endowed and paid pretty good salaries. The job I was applying for paid $15,000-a-year, which in the late 60s was damn good money (my first job in New York City as a copyeditor only paid me $11,500-a-year in 1970). Also, this once all-male school (same as Notre Dame once was) had just become coed, allowing women admissions for the first time in its over 100-year history.

The faculty party was boring as hell. A bunch of psychologists had brought along tapes of Alan Watts lecturing on mantras and mandelas (the word comes from Sanskrit and means "circle," the circle perfection to a lot of cultures including our own Native American Indians)--Buddhist bullshit that Alan had a knack of combining with Western psychiatry for his own brand of East-West psychology. Transcendental Meditation was coming on big in those days, too, thanks to an Indian fakir named Mahesh Prasad Varma, or as he referred to himself by his "business" name, Maharisi Yogi. Plus the Beats were into Buddhism and it was they who led the Hippies into tantras and meditation and lotus positionings and the novels of Herman Hesse.

The talk that night at this faculty party--yes, there were a couple of Jesuit priests there--surrounded Alan Watts and his ideas, but eventually got around to California politics since at that time this goofy ex-actor, Ronald Reagan, was running for Governor against Jerry Brown's old political parasite father, Edmund "Pat" Brown.

I had always thought of Reagan as an actor joke. I mean, come on, this big docile fool's greatest acting acclaim was that he had played The Gipper in The Knute Rockne Story, a movie based on the football coaching career of Knute Rockne, the man who put Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, on the map with their Fighting Irish football team (now, ironically, 80% Black players none of whom are Irish). After that, the only thing this drugstore cowboy actor was known for was his second-banana role to the much-better actor, a charming chimpanzee named Bongo, in the silly movie Bedtime for Bongo. Later, of course, he worked for General Electric and 20 Mule Team Borax on television.

Right off the bat when the conversation got hot, I got in an argument with several of these Californians by saying I couldn't see the people of California voting this clown in as Governor. "Hey, friend," one cynical guy said (he was a Phys Ed teacher), "you don't know California voters. Reagan is currently running ahead of Brown." "But," I said, " you guys, are you voting for him?" "Hell no, but this is Northern California. We're different up here. But Southern California, especially L.A., is Conservative and full of shit and, yes, they will elect Reagan as Governor." I bet the whole party that no way would California be so foolish as to elect so soapy and insincere a bad actor as Ronald Reagan as their Governor. I think the bet was that if Reagan became Governor of California, I'd kiss all their asses in the middle of Buck Shaw Stadium (before they discontinued football in the 90s, the SCU Broncos, under their legendary coach, Lawrence "Buck" Shaw, won 106 and only lost 40 and 1 tie; at one time the Broncos won 20 straight home games. This stadium since they discontinued football is now home to SCU's very successful soccer program).

Needless to say I lost that bet. Reagan won the governorship over Pat Brown, surprisingly, yes, by one million votes. Right then and there I marked California off my list of progressive states. Yet, California had UCal at Berkeley, at the time to me the college to go to if you wanted to be a free-thinking all-round knowledgeable American human being. Yet, Reagan hated the University at Berkeley. In fact, Reagan, who had a degree from a nothing college in Illinois, where the Gipper was born, spent a lot of energy in trying to wreck the California college system, second only at the time to New York State's college system. Reagan's winning the governorship of California over so-called Liberal Pat Brown was called by his pundits as "the right moment," meaning, it was the right time for the Conservative Republicans to regain their power after Barry Goldwater in losing to Lyndon Johnson almost put them and the Republican Party in general out of business.

I moved to New York City in 1969. John Lindsay, a pretty little rich boy, was mayor. The climate was mixed, on the one hand, Midtown Manhattan, where I moved, the "fashionable East Side," was stable and prosperous and fun while things were still a little more revolutionarily active in Harlem, on the Lower East Side, in the Bronx, and big revo-activity across the river in Newark, New Jersey. There were still riots in Harlem. There were still antiWar gatherings in Central Park. There were "Free the Panther 21" rallies in Central Park. There were hippie music concerts at the Band Shell in Central Park. The Young Lords were active in East Harlem; Rap Brown was hanging out over off Central Park West in the East 60s, which were basically Puerto Rican neighborhoods, except by the time I arrived what the White Ruling Class called "Urban Renewal" was emerging as a real estate-development scheme--and this scheme eventually drove the "feelthy" Puerto Ricans on further Uptown and eventually on up the West Side. It was a diversified city then. The Weather Report blew up bombs late at night in front of the big banks--bombs that usually simply blew out the huge plate glass windows of these buildings and never that I remember even injured anybody. Then the amateur bombmakers blew themselves up in a brownstone in the Village and that sent the rest of the gang on the run from the FBI, including the infamous Kathy Bodine, daughter of lefty-defender lawyer Leonard Bodine, who went underground for many years under an assumed name (to later be uncovered in the 90s working as a newspaper woman). The Vietnam War was still going on. Tricky Dick was President and Spiro Agnew was along for the ride. John and Martha Mitchell were on the scene. With all of that going on, and that's only a mere smidgen of what was going on--like there was the music scene, the jazz clubs, the punk rock clubs, the reggae clubs, the r and b and blues clubs, the hard rock clubs, the folk joints, the piano bars--and Off-Broadway plays like Che were being performed--and nudity on stage was the big sell point even on a hippy play like Che, or in Joe Papp's production of Hair, but in particular a fun-and-games play called Oh Calcutta!

Reagan had been long forgotten, though we knew he was still intent upon getting his blockhead in the door of the Republican Party so the damn thing wouldn't slam on him next time he made his bid with his army of California John Birchers in the end 70s after Little Jimm-eh Cah-ter fucked up, not as President--as President, he was OK, he managed to keep the budget level and good times in the country--but he fucked up with his handling of the Iran hostage crisis--and it was the end of that Iran hostage crisis that big old phony-smiling dumbass-actor henna-haired piece of crap (I got this expletive from the late Grandpa Al Lewis) Ronald Reagan reappeared in the sights of my fight against a Conservative-Nazi takeover of this country--a country already practically a police state--the National Guard dumbass troops still taking orders to lock and load and fire on American citizens with the intent to kill them--taking orders from pot-bellied tinhorn officers, local insurance salesmen and bankers and shit--finally getting a chance to kill Americans with wild abandon at Kent State.

Again, I bet my wife and friends that surely Reagan wouldn't win in 1980--even though the asinine Dumbocrats and Jimm-eh Cah-ter ran a disastrous campaign trying to prove to rightwing-loving Americans that Ronald "Bedtime for Bongo" Reagan was a dangerous rightwing nutjob even more dangerous than Barry "In Your Heart You Know He's Right" Goldwater. Problem was: Jimmy Carter fucked up. His attempt at rescuing the hostages was so stupid rather than rescuing these Embassy workers he left behind a pile of wreckage outside Tehran--one a rescue helicopter that crashed and burned. Then, that asshole Reagan and the man they called Casper "the Ghost" Weinberger pulled a good one. They contacted the Ayatollah
Khomeini and told him, "Hey, dude, here's what'cha do. Hold on to those hostages--they're of no concern to Mr. Reagan and myself--until after Mr. Reagan gets elected--and don't worry, he's smearing that Southern peanut farmer's ass all the way back to Gawjah--so you help Mr. Reagan get in the cat-bird seat and by golly we'll send you so many of our great god-damn weapons and jet planes and shit, why, your army'll be the biggest god-damn A-rab army--er-ah, I'm sorry, you towel heads ain't A-rabs? Well, to Mr. Reagan you're all one and the same, so it don't matter to us, we'll call you Purr-shuns...anyway, what'cha say, is it a deal?"

And by God, next thing I know I'm sitting in my office at one of the great New York City management consulting firms (formerly known as accounting firms) when my wife calls me and tells me the old drugstore cowboy had been gunned down in some legal gunplay in the District of Corruption. "Did he buy the farm?" I cried over the phone. "No," she said, "though he took a bullet, he escaped a fatal wound...Reagan is safe, they are saying, but a member of his staff has been hit in the head and is in critical condition...but not to worry, the Great Communicator's going to make it." And that did it. No matter what this piece of crap did after that, the American electorate (the nuts who vote) raised him to a higher level than just ordinary old president--they lifted this bastard up so high, why--"You god-damn right he's right when he says government has no business being big and interfering in our rights to rugged individualism and Old West law and, you know, as an actor, President Reagan learned all about being a soldier, a football player, a cowboy, a lover, and a zoologist...and oh yeah, hey, man, he used to broadcast baseball games...the man's a fucking genius."

After that, I ignored Raygun. He made his famous speeches but I never listened to them. Even when I tried to listen to one of his speeches, I couldn't piece together any kind of even simple shit out of what he was saying--except things like how he hated poor people and how he believed in what he called a "free-market economy." And oh boy, I shuddered, but kept my mouth shut when Reagan started rolling our asses toward to biggest budget deficit in the history of the USA. And remember, his own vice-president, a man who would eventually top Reagan's budget deficit by billions, said Reaganomics was Voodoo Economics. Of course, a lot of Americans believe in voodoo and witchcraft and demonism and holy men and instant miracles and eternal life. Whatever, I was on a plane high above such shit. I ignored Reagan. Though it was hard to. Especially when I was watching him in a press conference during his second term and I told my wife, "Check out this asshole's look. Doesn't he look like he's lost? Look at him--and listen to him bumbling like a fool with whatever that actor-crap is he's trying to tell us--a new law against the workingman perhaps?--who the hell knows? That bastard's losing it, honey." Why, heckfire, that was the sign of Alzheimer's creeping up on him I was seeing in his face. A look of duh--"Where am I, Mommy? Can I have another jelly bean?" Now, Reagan's son, Ron, Jr., really a worthless son, is a guy who at least got smart enough to see that his father was a personality-less dumbass who never recognized any of his children, never talked about them, never introduced them to people, and certainly never gave them love--banging other babes--yeah, Ronnie was a fuckmeister, or so he claimed--and now Ron, Jr.'s saying that during his father's last years in the White Man's House he was suffering from Alzheimer's.

So Reagan is one hundred years old--six-feet under--yet, I'll bet he doesn't even know he's dead yet.

for The Daily Growler

For More GREAT Reagan Put-Down Here Ya Go:

Note: The Daily Growler
has new computers--5 in total now, including a new iMax G5 running on the Leopard operating system due to Apple obsoleting what we thought was one of the great Apple OSXs, Panther 10.3.9--it was tough and reliable, but then so is our old G4 we were running it on--10 years of faithful service. Now we are upgrading to Tiger 10.4 on two machines and eventually Snow Leopard on our new G5 platform. The Growler is going modern, up-to-date. Why, we may even hire Arianna Huffington as a blog consultant--except she's got a big job now--she made 12 million off the deal--deliberalizing her Huffing-and-Puffing Puff Post--because she says she's turning Conservative again--remember she once backed Newtie Gingrich. She's a bitch. A whore. A golddigger deluxe. The concubine of old Michael Huffington who after having sex with her turned into a transvestite. Sorry, folks, we're not normally this mean.

for The Daily Growler