Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Existing in New York City: Among the Nerds of Business

Foto by tgw, New York City, August 2013
Say Goodbye to: Jack Beal, artist:

Say Goodbye to: Steven Tari, it ain't easy being Jesus Christ, I mean martyrdom surely awaits you...poor old Steven "Jesus" Tari, killed by hackers...using his laptop, we assume. Steven Tari, 42?, Papua New Guinean cult leader, hacked.

Introduction to What Follows Afterwards From C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite

The power elite is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary environments of ordinary men and women; they are in positions to make decisions having major consequences. Whether they do or do not make such decisions is less important than the fact that they do occupy such pivotal positions: their failure to act, their failure to make decisions, is itself an act that is often of greater consequence than the decisions they do make. For they are in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society. They rule the big corporations. They run the machinery of the state and claim its prerogatives. They direct the military establishment. They occupy the strategic command posts of the social structure, in which are now centered the effective means of the power and the wealth and the celebrity which they enjoy.

In the Land Where Money Grows on Trees 
I've just been reading a boringly long piece on Longform about Yahoo's fabby, doe-eyed, Stanford nerd-girl, Marissa Mayer.  It wasn't that the writer was boring, it was just that the subject matter was boring.  It was the story about the board-room shenanigans of a bunch of spoiled-brat Stanford yahoos and design-conked-out introverts as they go about their daily business of designing new ways to redesign what's been redesigned over and over in terms of bringing in more billions upon billions of advertising monies.

Marissa Mayer was once a shy nobody Middle-Class girl in Wassau, Wisconsin.  She was certainly pretty and cute and blonde, but according to her friends she was so shy she was anti-social, a characterization made ironic by the fact Little Marissa became a pom-pom girl in high school.  Being a superstudent, the pride and joy of her high school teachers, when time came to go to college, Marissa got so many offers to so many schools, she threw most of them in the garbage, except, OPPS! one day she accidentally filled out the form for acceptance to Stanford, which became the school of her choice.  She entered Stanford intending to become a doctor, a brain surgeon.  But brain surgery soon bored shy Marissa.  Being a humanitarian and learning how to save people's lives wasn't up Marissa's alley so she switched over to computer science.  In computer science, sweet little blonde and beautiful Marissa became a whiz kid.  By the time she was in grad school, she was teaching 101 CS kids so well she had a rat pack of nose-in-their-books nerds who were learning linguistics, programming, designing, and from their learning creating new Internet pathways that led from Stanford rags to social networking riches.  Marissa became so outstandingly famous at Stanford that soon a couple of her Stanford pals who created Google offered her a high-paying Silicon Valley job she couldn't refuse.  And from there, the spoiled-brat fun began for sweet little shy Marissa Mayer, the Wisconsin/Stanford whiz babe.

Reading Marissa's story of her rise from Google six-figure flunky to CEO of Yahoo had me puking at just about every turn of events in her life, from her starting to date Larry Page to Larry's eventual demoting her at Google to her buying a 5-million-dollar penthouse to giving money's-no-object parties and buying art and Oscar de la Renta originals to her marrying Harvard-trained pretty boy and San Francisco banker (read: pirate), Zachery Bogue.

Yahoo to me is simply an email address.  I realize, yes, they make their money off advertising and the way they attract advertisers is that through engineered designs and programs and such they track my buying habits and deal makings and sell these user-trends to their major advertisers.  For instance, since my heart attack, I've been allowing a certain holistic cardiologist to email me his latest offers of advice and deals from his supplements and vitamins company.  Next thing I know, this doctor's advertisements popped up in the sidebars of my email's homepage.  I am also quite sure that Yahoo is spying for the U.S. government and allowing the NSA access to all of my emails.  Why, hell, they admit such datamining in the small print of their company policy statements.

What makes me puke over all this Google/Yahoo/Facebook/Twitter/Apple/Microsoft glamor/glitter crap is easily these spoiled-brat computer science majors are piling up billions of dollars by manipulating their own staffs and board members, exchanging CEOs and COOs, kowtowing to hedge-fund operators and private investment fund connivers, and knowing each other and feuding with each other and pulling management surprises on each other and it all being a matter of egos since the money comes so swiftly and easily to these young pricks it has very little to do with care for what's going on out in the real world or how inhuman and vulgar their ways of piling up billions upon billions are.  The main asses they are kissing are the most profitable advertisers they can lure in with their designed homepages or .com sites.  And the irony here is, these spoiled-brat nerds are so frigging rich, they buy way beyond the advertisers offerings that have made them all rich.  They don't shop at Target or Walmart (of China); they don't date through Yahoo dating service; they don't drive low-end Chevys or Fords; they damn sure don't drive Toyota Camrys or Kia anythings; they probably don't have time to even Google, or read off Kindles, or use Google maps (where Marissa was demoted down to by her ex-boyfriend Larry Page); they don't ride the Mega bus when they take trips; and they don't shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.  They live in a world of constant work and job finagling, a here-today (Marissa is CEO of Yahoo today and gone to some other Silicon Valley start-up tomorrow where she'll enter the billionaire class) and once-upon-a-time tomorrow.

How boring these creepy rich boys and girls are; how mean they are; how self-centered and embedded in each other they are...but yay how fucking rich they are and how easy it is for them to get rich as they socialize among themselves, alone at the tops of their virtual reality worlds.

Marissa Mayer, by the bye, lectures all the time at Goldman-Sachs conferences.

Obama, Our Nobel War Prize Winner...Yet Another War We're Getting Involved In
Yes, Brother Obama is being manipulated (their hands up his ass working his brain and mouth) by his warmongering advisers, aides, and generals.  He's using the G.W. Bush trick of hollering wolf via Weapons of Mass Destruction (Nerve Gas in this case (the largest producer of biochemical warfare in the world is the USA)) to get us involved in the War in Syria, a war instigated and started by our own CIA, a war where the good guys are terrorists (mainly al-Queda terrorists) who will now be given free reign to murder Syrian civilians by the hundreds of thousands as We the People of the USA use the Islamic jihad (Assad's Syria is a secular nation) to cripple and leave Syria in ruins as Obama continues to carry out the plans drawn up by the Neo-Cons back in the 1990s when Paul Wolfowitz decided We the People of the USA as a war economy should bring war and ruin to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, the Sudan, Somalia, Syria, leading up to a full-blast nuclear war against Iran, a nuclear war that will bring on World War III when Russia and China rise up against us.  You think I'm crazy?  I'm not the only one who foresees such doom and gloom...most progressive economists and investigative journalists see this scenario happening as we go about losing our jobs, our homes, our cities, our public school systems, our savings, our pensions, our freedoms.  Will we wake up in time?  We the People of the USA since we are the stupidist people in the world will continue to "trust" in these sociopaths and psychopaths that are leading us (lemmings) farther and farther off the cliff (brink) and into total Chaos.

Obama, the Bobble-Head Doll President, Is Going Full Speed Ahead Making Larry Summers Head of the Federal Reserve (Read: Central Bank of the USA)
Larry Summers, the very idiot economist who along with his asshole buddies Robert Rubin and Slick Willie Clinton totally wrecked our economy in respect of Neo-Con ways and means, is going to be head of our Federal Reserve...and you thought Little Timmy Geithner and Ben Bernanke were aristocrat whoremongers...wait'll Larry gets his mitts on turning worthless paper into money.

So hold on to your hats, folks...we're in for a fucking scary ride. And it looks like there's no way to get off this roller coaster that is flying off its tracks and diving us straight into the deepest Hell of Chaos.

Read What Greg Palast Has on Asshole Larry Summers

For The Daily (Insane) Growler  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Existing in New York City: Goodbye to John Graves, a Writer

Foto courtesy The Brazos River
Say Goodbye to: Marian McPartland, Brit born American jazz pianist deluxe...Marian had a long and involved life in the world of jazz...married Dixielander Jimmy McPartland when very young. Marian McPartland, 95, British-born American jazz pianist, writer, composer, and radio host (Piano Jazz.
From The Daily Growler, May 31, 2010: We Were Already Telling You That the CIA Overthrew the Democratically Elected Mossadeq Government in Iran in 1953...a Little British Petroleum History (those crooked bastards!!!):

Here's a little BP history from its Wikipedia entry.
In May 1901, William Knox D'Arcy was granted a concession by the Shah of Iran to search for oil which he discovered in May 1908.[7] This was the first commercially significant find in the Middle East. On 14 April 1909, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was incorporated to exploit this.[7] In 1923, the company secretly gave £5,000 to future Prime Minister Winston Churchill to lobby the British government to allow them to monopolise Persian oil resources.[8] In 1935, it became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).[7]
After World War II, AIOC and the Iranian government initially resisted nationalist pressure to revise AIOC's concession terms still further in Iran's favour. But in March 1951, the pro-western Prime Minister Ali Razmara was assassinated.[9] The Majlis of Iran (parliament) elected a nationalist, Mohammed Mossadeq, as prime minister. In April, the Majlis nationalised the oil industry by unanimous vote.[10] The National Iranian Oil Company was formed as a result, displacing the AIOC.[11] The AIOC withdrew its management from Iran, and organised an effective boycott of Iranian oil. The British government - which owned the AIOC - contested the nationalisation at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, but its complaint was dismissed.[12]
By spring of 1953, incoming U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorised the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to organise a coup against the Mossadeq government with support from the British government.[13] On 19 August 1953, Mossadeq was forced from office by the CIA conspiracy, involving the Shah and the Iranian military, and known by its codename, Operation Ajax.[13]
Why lookie, lookie, lookie...Iran enters the spotlight. Seems like Ike Eisenhower was out playing golf or else having another heart attack when all of this was going down and he adlepatedly approved it--the Dulles Brothers, John Foster and Allan, were in charge of the world at that time. John Foster Dulles gave us the "domino theory," the Cold War, and designated us as the World's Policemen. His brother Allan, gave us the Central Intelligence Agency. Even Ike admitted when he finally left office after 8 years of playing golf and having heart attacks that we should get rid of the CIA.

But we didn't, instead, we gave the CIA a blank check in terms of expenditures. We gave them their own Constitution and set of rules and laws; we gave them powers beyond belief. As an organization, the Central Intelligence Agency has gone about the world being assholes, pricks, exceedingly cruel ignorant motherfuckers (and, yes, everybody in the CIA would fuck his or her mother if the Big Cheese (Leon Panetta currently--a Clintonista) sends down that directive). They've assassinated heads of state (Allende in Chile); they've overthrown governments (Mossadeq in Iran--see above History of BP); they failed to assassinate Fidel Castro by sending him exploding cigars; they failed big time in the Bay of Pigs fiasco, though they may have, some have said, succeeded in assassinating the President of the US at the time, Johnny Boy We Hardly Knew Ye Fitzgerald Kennedy. Allan Ginsberg through Freedom of Information Act-retrieved documents proved that the CIA and the Mafia worked hand-in-hand in the US and Cuba--along with the big sugar companies and the oil companies--yes, there's oil in Cuba--around Cuba's shoreline. Ironically, though President Obama only a week or so ago forbade American oil companies from signing lease agreements with Cuba to drill off their coast, after the BP well explosion was obviously totally out of control, he recalled that forbiddance and American oil companies (BP and Shell included) are in old Habana now making offshore drilling deals with Raul Castro.

We are desperate for OIL! We the People of the US will start a nuclear war if we don't get control of the world's oil.
Say Goodbye to: Albert Murray, another writer whose books I've raved over for years, Train Whistle Guitar, about growing up Black on the outskirts of Mobile, Alabama; Stompin' the Blues, about the great jazz artists of long ago.  Hey, 97 years he got to live. Albert Murray, 97, American literary and jazz critic, biographer and novelist.
Say Goodbye to: Cedar Walton, jazz pianist supreme. Cedar, like myself, grew up hearing jazz as a youngster in Dallas, Texas.  Cedar Walton, 79, American jazz pianist.
Goodbye to a Writer
I was kind of taken when I read last week that John Graves had died.  The last time I had seen him was forty-some-odd years ago at my brother's goat ranch in Austin.  He met me then, but I'm sure after that he forgot me, though maybe he heard of me occasionally through my brother who knew John quite well.  But I knew him.  I knew him from way back, when I was a young man and living at my brother's house in Dallas.  I was just out of college and I was looking for a job and staying with my brother and his wife until I found one.  I slept in my brother's library and as I didn't sleep much in those days, I stayed up most of the night reading.  One of the books I read then was Goodbye to a River.  It was by a writer I knew little or nothing about in those days.  A Fort Worth writer named John Graves.  Though I didn't know the writer at that time, I did know the river he was writing about.  The Brazos River.  I knew the Brazos from its trickling headwaters, which started up around Lubbock to become the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos, the two offshoots of that fork, the Salt Fork of the Brazos that stretched off on a northern course, and the Clear Fork of the Brazos that swung off on a southern course, a course that led it lumbering over to my hometown, feeding into the source of my hometown's water supply, Fort Phantom Hill Lake.  From Fort Phantom Hill Lake, the Clear Fork of the Brazos went on its way east with a branch of it, Elm Creek, coming on down to zigzag its way on the western edge (in those days) of my hometown, and splitting off of Elm Creek came Catclaw Creek and Lytle Creek, Catclaw eventually ending up in Lake Abilene and Lytle Creek ending up in Lytle Lake,

The Clear Fork of the Brazos after leaving Fort Phantom Hill Lake eventually snaked over east of my hometown to roll down, by then having become the full Brazos River, from the Seymour area to hit the Possum Kingdom Dam that formed Possum Kingdom Lake at Mineral Wells.  From Possum Kingdom Lake, the river headed on a southernly direction to flow under a rickety old bridge that carried Highway 80  uphill to eventually take you up on the grassy plain where sat Weatherford and then Fort Worth.  From the Highway 80 bridge (it looked almost exactly like the bridge in the above photo) the Brazos flowed on south to eventually spill its waters into the Gulf of Mexico, by then becoming the 11th longest river in the USA.

My dad told stories of he and his brothers spending many a weekend camped out on the Clear Fork of the Brazos as it rambled through the sandy region of Jones and Fisher counties we called the Shinery.  The brothers Wolfe used to catch mudcats and yellow cats (catfish to those of you not hip to the vernacular of the ichthyological world) up in the deepest parts of that river.  They caught those catfish not with poles but by wading or swimming over near the banks that were bluffs or banks that had some live oak roots snaking out into the river where spotting a big cat swimming along the sandy bottom of the river, catfish are bottom feeders, they would slip their hands into the big front gills of the fish and bring it up out of the water on their arms.  In those days, it was possible to catch catfish that weighed upwards of 30 pounds.

A famous family story is told about my dad on one of those weekends on the Brazos.  My dad was a show-off.  And on this day, the Wolfe brothers had brought along their sisters and some of their girlfriends.  Anytime there were women around, my dad was at his showing-off best.  On this day, on the edge of the Brazos, my dad saw a small tail sticking out of a hole in the sandy bank.  With a big grin on his face, he dashed handsomely over to that small tail sticking out of that hole and he reached down, grabbed it, and pulled it hard as he could.  The result was, he kept pulling out more and more tail, tail that eventually turned into snake.  He ended up pulling out of that hole the biggest damn cottonmouth moccasin anyone there had ever seen.  On popping that large snake free of that hole, my dad suddenly had that grin wiped off his face as he ran like a scared rabbit into the arms of the closest girl.

My own knowing of the Brazos River came at a very early age when my parents took frequent trips over to Fort Worth on Highway 80 to visit with their friends the Youngs or, too, when we ventured off down on the long trip to visit my mother's relatives in Beaumont, in far south-southeastern Texas.  On the trip to Fort Worth, a trip full of fascinating sites, like the remains of the once thriving boomtown of Ranger and then coming off Ranger Hill seeing the ghost town of Thurber that sat on the plain on whose flats one could still see evidence of the many coal mines that dotted that area, and finally approaching the old rickety bridge that traversed the Brazos River.  The bridge bridged over the river's gorge from what to a young boy was high up in the air with the river far down below.  After you crossed that rickety bridge, you came upon two roadside landmarks, the Hilltop Cafe on one side and the River Cafe on the other side of the highway, both famous for their fresh catfish dinners.  And those dinners were magnificent, a huge platter of fried catfish fillets served with tubs of tartar sauce or catsup and horseradish sauce and a big basket of freshly baked cornbread.

On trips down to Beaumont, we not only crossed the Brazos on Highway 80 but after that, turning south, we crossed it at Granbury, then again at Waco, then again at Bryan, and finally crossing it at Navasota and then heading off east and into the piney woods that took us on down to Beaumont.

The Brazos as it flowed down the middle of Texas was notorious for big-time flooding in the spring rainy seasons.  I remember on one trip to Beaumont with the Brazos in a high flood stage we had to detour way out of the way and finally at Bryan to be ferried across the swollen river on a dollar ferry which was motored by a ferryman lugging the old wooden flat-bottomed ferry via rope that stretched from one bank to another.

My maternal grandmother was fiercely afraid of the Brazos.  I recall one spring my family along with my grandmother were on our way to Beaumont and it was during the rainy season and it was a rather cool cloudy day when we sailed down Ranger Hill and finally approached the rickety old Highway 80 bridge over the Brazos.  As we got right up to the point of crossing over the bridge, my grandmother screamed, "Stop the car, Karl...stop the car," which my father did, a moaning complaint on his kerbed tongue.  My grandmother got out of the car and walked up to the edge of the bridge and looked down at the Brazos.  When she came back and got in the car, she said, "You can proceed now, Karl, the Devil in that old river is asleep."

Later my grandmother explained that when she was a kid in Central Texas near the Brazos there were always reports of people falling into it and drowning, being washed away by its dirty red current.  Also the river was notorious for being full of quicksand.  It was a sandy-bottom river and when it was low you could see sand bars all up and down its bed.

As a young baseball player, I played one summer for a semi-pro oil company team out of Abilene in the Brazos Valley Fast Ball League and we bused over along the Brazos to play the other teams in the league, which were Breckenridge, Ranger, Palo Pinto, Strawn, and Mineral Wells.  I remember especially the game against the Palo Pinto Pintos when a very old Native American we called Chief Blazer pitched for the Pintos.  Seems like everybody on the Pintos was old.  Everybody on my team were young, strong teenagers, yet those old guys whipped our asses good more than once that summer.  I was later punished by my manager for using the word "Fuck" during a game...I had a bad temper in those days  As a result, I quit the team and went with my family on a trip to the Pacific Coast.

The last time I was on the Brazos was on a fishing trip up on the Clear Fork of the Brazos around Truby.  I had a brand new fishing rod and reel and was using a River Runt lure.  I stayed up 48 hours fishing on that trip and never even got one bite.  I wasn't the only one since nobody in that group, there were four of us, caught anything on that trip.

From Goodbye to a River, Examples of the Wonderful Writing of John Graves
"If a man couldn't escape what he came from, we would most of us still be peasants in Old World hovels. But, if, having escaped or not, he wants in some way to know himself, define himself, and tries to do it without taking into account the thing he came from, he is writing without any ink "in his pen. The provincial who cultivates only his roots is in peril, potato-like, of becoming more root than plant. The man who cuts his roots away and denies that they were ever connected with him withers into half a man.” 

"I would be annoyed if I were any more in tune with modern sensibilities. I was shaped differently. The world in which I grew up was Texan and Southern, and it had many, many failings. I think I've gotten rid of most of the bad things in myself from that earlier age, but I don't adjust to the way things are progressing now.”

“Neither a land nor a people ever starts over clean. Country is compact of all its past disasters and strokes of luck–of flood and drouth, of the caprices of glaciers and sea winds, of misuse and disuse and greed and ignorance and wisdom–and though you may doze away the cedar and coax back the bluestem and mesquite grass and side-oats grama, you're not going to manhandle it into anything entirely new. It's limited by what it has been, by what's happened to it. And a people, until that time when it's uprooted and scattered and so mixed with other peoples that it has in fact perished, is much the same in this as land. It inherits.”

A Sad Goodbye to John Graves

for The Daily Growler

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Existing in New York City: An Interrupted Cooling Out

Foto by tgw, "An Out-of-Work Musician's Studio...a sad place," New York City, 2013
MONEY IS OUR GOD...the rich rule from heaven on earth...the poor live in hell on earth
Say Goodbye to: Haji (Barbarella Catton), the Russ Meyer actress famous for her role in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (she wrote her own dialog); she became a cult heroine in some parts of the art world.   Haji, 67, Canadian actress (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!).
Say Goodbye to: Johnny Logan. I was once, a long, long time ago, a Boston Braves fan.  The Boston Braves were Boston's National League team; it eventually was uprooted and moved to Milwaukee...only to end up in Atlanta.  Johnny was an all-star shortstop and a .288 lifetime hitter who specialized in bloop singles and doubles.  Johnny was on the Braves when they were great with Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews.  Johnny Logan, 86, American baseball player (Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates.
Say Goodbye to: Eydie Gorme.  As a young dandy, I saw Eydie Gorme one time by herself, without Steve, and I fantasized about making it with her for many a moon after that.  She was a very zaftig  chick.  Eydie Gormé, 84, American singer ("Blame It on the Bossa Nova").
A Lesson in Proudhon's Idea of Mutual Banking
We trust no man will do M. Proudhon the injustice to suppose that his labor and capital ideas are all condensed into the brief statement which closed our last article. In that we rather aimed to present the essence of the question than to develop an entire doctrine, or even to hint at any other than the main point of the general argument. By the way, we do not remember to have seen this presented in any chapter or passage of our author's writings, and justice to him requires it to be stated. Did space or time permit us to treat the entire subject thoroughly, we should have taken it up under several distinct heads,--namely: capital is essentially unproductive, and therefore rent and interest are robbery; rent and interest violate the law of fraternity, and cannot do otherwise; the natural increase of wealth tends to their diminution and ultimate disappearance, as is evident from history. They may and well be done away with by the organization of mutual credit, and therefore are intrinsically false.

    What is credit?
    It is a sort of corollary to the exchange of products, or a kind of second stage of that process. A has a bushel of wheat which he does not need and which B does, but B has nothing at present to give in exchange for it. A lets him have it, and receives his promise to deliver an equivalent at some future time, when he shall have produced it. Such is the operation of credit, which arose soon after the first commencement of exchanges. Presently it assumed a new feature, which may be illustrated thus: B needs A's bushel of wheat and has an article produced by himself, but cannot divide it so as to render an equivalent, or does not wish to dispose of it at present, and accordingly takes the wheat on credit. Thus credit is the giving of one product in consideration of the future return of another yet to be produced, or which is already produced, but not on the spot or in a condition which will allow it to be delivered. The uses and advantages of this operation are well known, and need no explanation.
    All credit presupposes labor, and, if labor were to cease, credit would be impossible.
    What, then, is the legitimate source of credit? Who ought to control it? And for whose benefit should it most directly be used?
    The laboring classes.
    But, instead of credit being governed by the producers in a nation, it is always in the hands of the intermediaries, the exchangers and agents of circulation; and, instead of being used to aid the workers, it is generally used to make money,--i.e., to get the greatest possible amount of the products of labor for the least return, and, if possible, for none at all. And it is manifest that, if the working classes could once gain possession of this great instrument, which rightfully belongs to them, they might escape from the necessity of working for others, or, in other words, of giving the larger part of their products for the use of capital; they might become the owners of the tools they use, become emancipated from the domination exercised over them by their agents and public servants, set up for themselves, and enjoy the fruit of their industry.
    But how can they gain possession of this instrument?
    By the organization of credit, on the principle of reciprocity or mutualism, if we may use a new word. In such an organization credit is raised to the dignity of a social function, managed by the community; and, as society never speculates upon its members, it will lend its credit, not as our banks do theirs, so as to make seven per cent. or more out of the borrowers, but at the actual cost of the transaction. A practical illustration of the above named principle in a similar matter may be found in the system of mutual insurance. [From Proudhon and His "Bank of the People" by Charles A. Dana]

Cooling Out in New York City...But Interrupted
It ain't easy: cooling out in New York City.  It means you have to withdraw deep within yourself. It means you have to ignore the outside real and live within your own private real.  I pass my time in this real space reading, writing short stories, writing short verses some I turn into song lyrics, thinking out loud, laid back, enjoying what short span of life I have left on this mysterious but marvelous mortal coil.  "Cooling out" means avoiding the barbarisms going on out in that outside real.  And like I said in the beginning of this, it ain't easy.

In the middle of my beginning this self-imposed cooling out, I was listening to a 6-CD set of the complete Prestige recordings of Sonny Rollins, when the god-damn phone rang.  And, yes, I curse phones and the behemoth phone companies all of which are offshoot scams of the once-hydra-headed beast called the Bell Telephone System.  My provider, for instance, is Verizon, a combination of vertical and horizontal that a branding company was paid big bucks to come up with.  Verizon's existence happened after, first, New York Bell and New England Bell merged to become NYNEX, and, second, NYNEX merged with Bell Atlantic and who knows what other Baby Bells to become Verizon.  I recall a time when all these Baby Bells were going under and then along came the cell phone (there is an article running on Longform that claims Heddy Lamarr, the late actress of many dubious fames, was a major player in the invention of cellular technology).

My generation despised phones.  Phone calls drove us up the wall.  We hated phone calls to the point we got unlisted numbers.  Then we got caller ID.  But, like I said, then came these god-damn cell phones.  I walk around New York City amazed at young people walking along the sidewalks jabbering away with someone on their cell phones, cooking further their already cooked brains.  I wonder, who the hell are they having these marathon phone conversations with?  I go in restaurants and people are talking on cell phones in the middle of their overpriced meals.  I want to go up to them and asked them, "Hey, pal, just who the hell are you talking to in the middle of your meal?  Who the hell is it that necessary to talk to?"  Hey, most of my friends have cell phones.  But not I.  I've never owned one or wanted to own one and I'm reluctant to use one when a friend of mine hands me theirs and says, "Here, say hello to this one or that one."

So in the middle of my cooling-out session, my phone rings.  It's my old guitar-playing friend and band leader who's band I used to be in.  Since I haven't talked to him in many a moon, I answer with a quick "What's up?"  A couple of years ago I knew this guy had had open-heart surgery so we prided ourselves on being cardiac attack survivors.  This time he said he was sitting down one day a month ago and when he went to get up his legs collapsed under him.  When he tried to stand up, he found he couldn't.  A friend called EMS and they whisked him over to Beth Israel Hospital here in Manhattan where he was told he'd had a clot in one of his legs.  Believe it or not, though, that's not why he was calling me.  He was calling me to tell me his band had been fired from its every-now-and-then gig at a joint down in SOHO in lower Manhattan.  Ironically, this is the joint at which I was sitting in with his band the night I had my heart attack (now over a year and a half ago).  "Why the hell did they fire you, man?" "They said the band was too loud."

This old friend wasn't concerned about the fact he was possibly facing another major heart surgery.  His concern was over the state of his band and his losing a venue for his music.

After we finished our conversation, I sat by my phone and contemplated the misery my old friend had imparted to me.  A loss of a chance to perform a music that had been embedded in his make up since he was a teenager in Detroit.  I knew how he felt.  I myself once worked quite regularly here in NYC as a band singer, then as a blues pianist and singer, then lastly as a blues harmonica player.  Then in about 2005, all the venues I had to work in dried up.  I, however, took it as a fact of life in the music business.  Along had come a new generation with their new forms of music and their new ways of doing it and I realized I couldn't compete with this bunch so I "retired" to my inner sanctum where, yes, I continue to make music, to write songs, to compose instrumentals, and burn CDs, but I figure, and I think I figure logically, I'll never have a steady gig ever again.  So all I can do is feel sorry for my old pal the guitar player.  He was proud of his band.  And it was a good band, guitar, bass, drums, tenor sax, and trumpet...and harmonica when I worked with him.  Excellent charts.  But, and this is a big but, there came a time when as his natural heart began to conk out of him, so did the heart he put into his music conk out on him.  There's nothing sadder to me than a musician who can no longer get a gig.

for The Daily Growler

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Existing in New York City: Overseered by Sociopathic Fools

Foto by tgw, "Looking West," New York City, 2013
MONEY IS OUR GOD...the rich rule from heaven on earth...the poor live in hell on earth
With His Nose Deep in the Filthy Crack of Wall Street's Ass, President Obama Fucks Us
It is hard to believe but it is true, President Obama is proposing replacing Wall Street asskisser Ben Bernanke (a G.W. Bush henchman) as head of the Federal Reserve the asinine fool and economy wrecker, Larry Summers.  I mean, this jerk, Larry Summers, is an economist alleycat with more than the normally granted 9 lives.  This fool of a man and backwards-thinking economist keeps coming up daffodils and roses no matter how many times he fucks up.  We have this jerk still around thanks to old Slick Willie Clinton and his asshole buddy Robert Rubin, now making millions of bucks a year in his high-paying job with the once going-bankrupt CitiCorp, the group of derivatives pirates saved from going under by that little prick G.W. Bush and his bank bail-out bandits.  Truth is, you can trace this fool, Larry Summers, back to when he was an adviser to Slick Willie (the "I Did Not Have Sex With That Woman" liar) Clinton, when Larry and Robber-Baron Rubin advised Clinton to deregulate Wall Street and allow them to go hog-wild in the commodities, derivatives, and mortgage markets.  So when old Robber-Baron Rubin who Clinton appointed his Treasury Secretary left that cushy job and took his backwards thinking down to Wall Street, Clinton, that fool, replaced him with Larry Summers.

Larry Summers, in case you've forgotten, is also a racist pig who advised President Slick Willie Clinton to dump all our nuclear waste in Africa.  Then this fool brought about the financial crisis and began the wrecking of our economy by advising Clinton to deregulate the financial industry.  After being Clinton's Treasury Secretary, Little Larry, the scumbag, was pulled out of the alley by Harvard University who made him their president.  As president of Harvard, Good Ole Boy Larry showed how much he hates women by saying women weren't capable of succeeding as scientists.  Such deep thinking was just out of their genetic make up, according to Larry.  Soon, after he wasted several billion dollars of Harvard's endowment, Harvard finally got the message and canned Larry's worthless ass.

You would have thought that twould have been it for Larry.  But not old rising from many graves Larry.  Nope, he next showed up working with his nose up Robert Rubin's ass for CitiCorp where worthless Larry pocketed millions of bucks in salary and fees.  And what happens then?  "Yes, We Can" Obama wins the presidential election in 2008 on promises of change and reform only to jiveass stab the foolish American voters who fell for his jive in their backs by bringing in as his advisors a bunch of Clinton clowns like David Axelrod, Emanuel Rahm, and, yep, you guessed it, Larry Summers. Now, Barack "Gimme Wall Street Shelter" Obama wants to make this fool head of the Federal Reserve, a private bank itself that should be done away with and the printing of money turned over to the Treasury.

The Majority of American Whites Are Right-Wing Nutjobs
I was just reading a 2007 Marie Claire article on Sara Jane Olson's family and how they were coping with finding out their mother was in actuality a former member of the Symbiolise Liberation Army (the SLA)) while studying Women's Studies at UCal-Berkeley.  She was known then as Kathleen Soliah.  The end of the SLA came when Los Angeles police surrounded a bunch of SLA members who had taken over a small cottage and were hold up inside with a lot of weapons.  In a fierce show of L.A. cop power, the cops burned the SLA goofballs' asses to ashes, and when two of the women tried to come out and surrender the cops blew 'em away, shooting one of them in the back.  The SLA was at the time under the leadership of one Donald DeFreeze, a Black militant who called himself Cinque after the African slave, Joseph Cinque, who had liberated the slaves on the slave ship Amistad.  And Kathleen Soliah, a Fargo, North Dakota, girl with ambitions of being an actress, and her brother, Steven, fell in with this pseudo-revolutionary group, a bunch of fired up guilty White people who were being swayed by this one Black man, a man who had just escaped from a California prison where he had been sent after being convicted of stealing money from a prostitute.  This is the same group that supposedly kidnapped billionaire heiress Patty Hearst and her wimpy boyfriend, Steve Weed, and, according to Patty after she was later caught, said she was raped and tortured and finally forced to get caught on video carrying a submachinegun and shouting tough-girl orders as the SLA robbed a local bank.  Privileged Patty suffered no consequences for her shenanigans with the SLA, becoming one of this pact's White boy's lovers saying he was the most wonderful man she had ever done the double-back beast with.   Privileged Patty was given a full pardon by old Slick Willie Clinton.  Kathleen Soliah, however, not being privileged, with her brother, made good an escape, first to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), later ending up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as Sara Jane Olson, where she settled down, married a doctor and bore three gorgeous daughters.  And then one day in the early 2000s, after being profiled on America's Most Wanted, the teevee show, a suspicious neighbor turned her in and the police arrested her.  She ended up in a California women's prison being sentenced to 20 years to life, cut down to 20 years after a plea bargain deal.  After serving only about half her sentence, she was approved for parole.  Due to a clerical error, she was released before the proper time in 2009.  She was recaptured at LA X and sent back to prison only to then be released properly and allowed to serve her parole time back home in Saint Paul, Minnesota. All went well until this year, when Sara Jane Olsen reappeared in a Saint Paul newspaper working for reducing the sentencing of crack cocaine abusers in our privatized prison system and promoting a petition she and a neighbor wanted sent to President Obama (himself at one time a pot smoker) trying to get him to reduce these addicts' sentences or even pardon a lot of them and devote the big bucks it takes to keep them in prison to rehabilitation programs.  Sara Jane's appearance in the Saint Paul newspaper sparked a bunch of fiery comments from the Minnesota wingding rightwingers, which is most of the state, saying she was a leftwing terrorist, a murderess, and should be hogtied and lynched or at best sent off to be thrown on the garbage heap of terrorists at Gitmo.  Most of these rightwingers theorized that Sara Jane had been given leniency because she was a member of the Minnesota leftwing Democratic Party and a strong backer of our leftwing, Muslim, anti-American President Barack Obama!  I could give one fart in hell about Sara Jane's guilt or innocence, the thing is she served her time for having a not very much involvement with this stupid SLA group (she admitted to placing pipe bombs under L.A. police cars and being an accessory to murder when during an SLA bank robbery a woman in the bank was killed).  My bitch is with the hypocrisy of the rightwingers in this nation of rightwingers.  I mean they see nothing wrong with sending our poor dumbass young people off to kill, maim, and bomb and be killed, maimed and bombed in two illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started by one of their dumbass kind, G.W. Bush, a little AWOL jerk whose rightwing cowardly reactions to 9/11 ended up bringing ruin to two sovereign nations that hadn't done one damn thing to bringing harm to this country.  As we should know most of the 9/11 boxcutter-wielding terrorists who blew down the World Trade Center towers were Saudi-Arabians (Osama bin Ladin being a Saudi who was stepbrother to Prince Bandar Bush (remember him?)).  But then I calm down when I recall my contention that all-American Whites are rightwing nutjobs and I return to dealing with my own inner demons as I try to ignore the insane politics currently awry in this Great White Father nation.  (It's OK, by the way, the way we treat Native Americans.)

I've Been Reading T.S. Eliot

I rather like this guy,
My brother's favorite poet,
From Boston via Saint Louis
Preferring  London
To his native land.
My brother, in great respect,
named a son
After this man,
A tragic son
Who with shotgun in hand
One afternoon in California
Proved he should never
Have been named for this poet.

for The Daily Growler