Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Illusion to me now


That word keeps haunting me lately.
In "Tangled Up In Blue" (Blood on the Tracks album) Bob Dylan says,
"All the people we used to know, they're an illusion to me now...gettin' through...
tangled up in blue...."
And Fleetwood Mac / "Gold Dust Woman":
Well did she make you cry? Make you break down?
Shatter your illusions of love, Now tell me --
is it over now, do you know how --
to pick up the pieces and go home....?
and, Election Day, a guy at work: "It's an illusion. To make us think that we have a say...."
online dictionary -- ILLUSION.
1. something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
2. the state or condition of being deceived; misapprehension.
3. an instance of being deceived.
Just remembered another one -- on a documentary / feature about the television series "Bewitched" Kasey Rogers (who played Larry Tate's wife Louise for most of the series, though not at the beginning) talked about Agnes Moorehead (the actress who played Samantha's mother, Endora):
Kasey Rogers said when Miss Moorehead was asked about her choice of acting as a career, she would reply, with pleasantly flamboyant emphasis,
"I love the illusion!"
The Election Illusion (if that's true) is to fool us.
Dylan's illusion in "Tangled Up..." is past stuff which may not be relevant depending on how you look at it, and how you feel.
"Gold Dust Woman" illusion is -- sadness and disappointment, hitting hard:
"SHATTER your illusions of love..."
And Agnes Moorehead's Illusion was -- All In Fun, and for the noble purpose of Telling A Story.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Try as I will

[excerpt from book about Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn]
Jules Dassin submits a play to Kate. It is an English adaptation of a French success, Days in the Trees, by Marguerite Duras. Dassin hopes to interest Kate in a Broadway production. She reads it at once, goes to her desk, sits down, begins to write. "My dear Mr. Dassin: Thank you so much for sending me this fascinating play. I found it most interesting, but unfortunately...."

She stops. Her false tone offends her. She picks up a new sheet of paper and begins again. "Dear Jules Dassin: Try as I will I cannot make head or tail of this confusing manuscript, and therefore..."

She stops again. Once more, "Mr. Dassin: This is surely the most idiotic and depressing piece of claptrap I have ever in all my life..."
No. She has gone too far, she thinks.
Finally, "Dear Mr. Dassin: I am grateful to you for thinking of me in connection with your play. I am returning it to you unread, as, alas, I am not available at this time, and have no idea as to when I might..."
No, again. Why lie?

Later, she tells us of her struggle to find the proper response, and quotes these four beginnings.
"And what did you decide in the end?" asks Ruth.
"Oh, I just put all four of them into an envelope and sent it off to him!"
-----------------[end Excerpt]
[From Tracy And Hepburn, by
Garson Kanin. CopyR. 1970,
Viking Press, New York, N.Y.]

Friday, November 26, 2010

shatter your illusions of love

Lately I want to hear the Fleetwood Mac song "Gold Dust Woman."
And again.
A - a-a-a-a-n-n-d -- AGAIN.
If I feel a passion for listening to a song or artist / band again and again, and a lot, I no longer "worry" that I might "get tired of" the music...doesn't happen.
If that's what I want to listen to -- a lot -- I go with it.

On You Tube, there is a performance of this song -- the title is
Stevie Nicks rare 1981 solo "Gold Dust woman" 8 min. !!

The Comments typed in, (read when you scroll down), are a hoot.

"that was intense..."
"u gotta luv Stevie - shes bonkers !!!"
"rad! she's the best"
"this is near religion..."
"what's the meaning of the song? weird hair-dos"
"there is no meaning...it's a Stevie dream that lets you absorb the spell any way that suits you"
"this is how this song should ALWAYS be performed...I never get tired of it"
--and I agree with THAT one, and many others --

a blog I follow sometimes is "Style Rookie" written by a teenage girl named Tavi -- think she's 15 years old -- quite precocious -- checked her latest post and it was titled "Gold Dust Woman" -- I was like, "Whoa!" at first glance, it was like the internet was talkin' right TO ME. Someone else had that song on their mind also.

The Style Rookie blog shows fashion ideas to which I can barely relate -- I'm not at that level of sophistication -- but that kid is a hell of a good writer -- I do know that.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

all I had for breakfast was puff-ed rice

It's Thanksgiving!
"Bewitched" ('Samantha's Thanksgiving to remember')
it's on You Tube
I watched that wonderful episode every Thanksgiving, on the family black-and-white TV -- remember? -- Aunt Clara zaps the Stephens family (as well as the nosy Mrs. Kravitz) back to Plymouth.
Samantha has to "twitch" up appropriate wardrobe for them so they'll fit in, and they sit down to dinner with the Pilgrims and Indians; Darrin with his trademark nervous, sardonic edge, mentions the cereal he had for breakfast, leaving him with good appetite for the sumptuous dinner - ! ("All I had for breakfast was puff-ed rice.")

What fun. Ding! Zing! All those zapping sounds.
I LOVE that show.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

food fight

Cossacks. Turks. Wall Street bandits. Corporate plutocrats.
Dick Cheney. (Aaaaauuugggghhhh!?!)
Whatever you got.
The following excerpt is from All Too Human / (a political education), by George Stephanopoulos.
-----------[quote] The word on the Hill was that D'Amato had targeted Harold and me: We were both from New York, and he knew that we'd worked to defeat him in the past. The Republicans also banked on the fact that distracting senior staffers like us was half the battle. If we were busy with our lawyers or testifying in the hearing room, we couldn't be working on health care and crime.
...At first, we were nervous; none of us had testified to Congress before on a matter of policy, much less as witnesses before an investigating committee. But the hearing turned out to be a partisan political food fight.
--------------------[end quote]
[from All Too Human, by George
Stephanopoulos, CopyR. 1999.
Little, Brown andCo. Boston
New York London]
That seems really objectionable and wrong, to me, regardless which Party is doing it -- to spend your energy and ingenuity simply attacking individuals in an administration to distract them from the work they're supposed to be doing is Improper, Inappropriate, and Not Behaving Like Adults.
It would be like if you're out playing baseball and the members of one team run across the field and attack and beat up all the members of the opposing team, and then claim victory because the other team is too injured to pitch or hit.
It seems to me like the idea (notion?) of COMPETITION has gone awry since the 90s.
Example: if one company buys another one which is its competition and then CLOSES it, is that fair competition?
To me, that's not Competing, and Winning by Doing A Better Job, that's -- I don't know -- something else.
It would be like if I were playing ping-pong against somebody, and they abruptly laid down their paddle on the table, took out a gun, and shot me dead. Then -- served the ball over to my side of the table, 11 times, and -- naturally -- I don't hit it back because I'm --dead -- and then the Opponent claiming victory in a shut-out.
Well, granted -- I didn't hit the ball back, but did this Opponent -- WIN?
Is that the competition parents are supposed to raise their children to engage in?
Like -- you don't have to be Excellent, or even Good -- you just have to be Aggressive enough, and Mean enough and Unscrupulous enough to Change The Situation so that you dominate and benefit.
Is that Competition? Healthy Competition?
Or is that Piracy?
Don't worry about winning it fair and square, by striving and excelling and succeeding?
No -- just TAKE IT.
That figure-skating imbroglio in 1994 -- perfect example. Tonya Harding thought she could skate better than all other contestants except Nancy Kerrigan, and we remember what happened there.
Did Tonya Harding and her posse of thugs SET an example which some people followed?
Or did the Harding Clique learn that behavior from our politicians and corporate leaders?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

hoofbeats approaching ?

"They're coming for your Social Security money."
George Carlin says this in the You Tube film referenced here yesterday.
They want more for themselves, and less for everybody else.
They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking.
That doesn't help THEM.

They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table to figure out how badly they're getting f----d by a system that threw them overboard thirty f---ing years ago...
He says "nobody seems to notice" --
they DO notice.
The knowledge has seeped in.

"...the vanishing pension that disappears the moment that you go to collect it,
and now -- they're comin' for your social security money."

dictionary definition: "plutocracy" -- government or state in which the wealthy class rules
dictionary definition: "oligarchy" -- a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few

I read those two words more often in news stories lately -- I used to not know what they meant. They never came up.
Imagining wealthy, privileged people "coming for" our social security money makes me think of "hearing hoofbeats" -- in his book All Too Human / a political education, George Stephanopoulos talks about 92 campapign & five years working for Clinton in White House -- Stephan....refers to "hearing hoofbeats" -- he says his Jewish friends have it in their DNA to listen for hoofbeats because of Cossacks coming to hurt them (remember in "Fiddler on the Roof"?) -- and he adds that Greeks hear hoofbeats, also -- Turks.


Monday, November 22, 2010

thew us overboard - ?

Check this out:
go to YouTube, and type in
George Carlin describing facts about this plutocracy

then click on that, and play it -- it's about 3 minutes.
It has some "f" word in it -- (since it's George Carlin (RIP), probably don't have to warn about that...)


Friday, November 19, 2010

slumming angel mean streets

Type in, on Google,
Nathan Bransford blog
go to it, then Scroll Down a little until you see a picture of Alan Greenspan.
And read that post.
Vintage Books put out some quality paperbacks of the novels of classic American crime writers, pre-1950: the first Raymond Chandler book I picked up, on the back was this quote:
"Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence." -- Ross Macdonald
Then, as I picked up other Raymond Chandler-authored books from the bookstore shelf, I kept flipping them over to see the back and read something as Good as that. Well, it was that, on every book -- same quote!
-----------[From "The Simple Art of Murder," an Essay, by Chandler]:
In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. [end quote]
[The Simple Art Of Murder.
CopyR.1934. Curtis Publishing]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the RADIO rolled you?

...And -- there's another song like that.
On You Tube,
listen to three songs:
"Done Too Soon" by Neil Diamond -- 1970
"Life Is A Rock (but the radio rolled me)" by Reunion -- 1974
"We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel -- 1989.
Similar topics and expressed in a similar writing-style: sort of a fast -- list -- of people and /or things -- places, events....
Interesting -- wonder if Reunion was influenced by the Neil Diamond song, and wonder if Billy Joel was influenced by both of the previous numbers -- maybe Neil Diamond was inspired by a song which came before 1970 that I haven't discovered yet!
("nothing new under the sun"...)
And early this evening I was informed and introduced to an (apparently) famous recording by one Clarence Carter.
Great, jumping censorship boards!
Holy Ladies' Auxiliary!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

wrapped in influences

"There is nothing new under the sun."
Wondering, "Who said that? Who is the famous person who made that statement, which became a quote?"
Ecclesiastes, that's who.
didn't know, was biblical.
"What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun."
--Ecclesiastes 1:9
Listening to that Neil Diamond CD, came upon a song called "Done Too Soon" --
Jesus Christ, Fanny Brice,
Wolfie Mozart and Humphrey Bogart and
Genghis Khan and
On to H.G. Wells.
Ho Chi Minh, Gunga din....
and it goes on like that -- bunch of people, through History.
And I thought, "That reminds me of something."
Billy Joel.
Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray,
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio.
Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom,
Brando, "The King And I,"and "The Catcher in the Rye"...
We didn't start the fire, it was always burning,
since the world's been turning....
-- a song called "We Didn't Start The Fire" --he sang it in a real rapid-fire style, you had to listen fast to keep up.
Both songs about same topic -- world's different yet the same, and People are essentially the same, but they struggle with differences in goals & what they think is right.
Stream-of-consciousness style.
The Neil Diamond song, 1970
Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start...", 1989
So I'd assume Billy Joel was influenced by Diamond's "Done Too Soon."
When I think about influences, I think about that "nothing new under the sun" statement.
Woody Allen has said Jack Benny was a powerful influence & inspired much of his own comedy. Or was it Bob Hope? (OK, Bob Hope.)
Bob Dylan idolized Woody Guthrie and was inspired to find his own style by soaking up Guthrie's style.
In rap music, & hip-hop (and also R & B, I guess) they sometimes use lines from someone else's song, and they call it "sampling." (There's a Janet Jackson song with Joni Mitchell lyrics in it, for example.)
------------------------ And I was very interested to learn, back in the 90s, that the movie "Clueless" was based on the story-line in Jane Austen's "Emma."
There isn't anything new. And yet everything is new.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

you got yourself two good hands

...And when your brother is troubled you gotta
reach out your hand for him,
'cause that's what it's there for
And when your heart is troubled
you've gotta reach out
your other hand, reach it out
to the Man up there 'Cause
that's what He's there for...
sometimes I forget how great Neil Diamond is, and then I put it on, and --
When God made Neil Diamond He said to Himself, "today I'm going to make a musical artist to be enjoyed, loved, and never forgotten."
Then He put on His Goggles, got His Tool Box, and made Neil Diamond, then crossed that off His List of Work Orders.
Diamond's delivery has a richness and sweetness that just grabs you, whether or not you wish to be grabbed. The thing you notice is how many of his songs "shift gears" several times, throughout -- there's the slower, contemplative passage, then building up a little faster, a little more powerful, 'til it's rockin' totally.
Above lyric from "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" -- perfect example -- the part typed in at the top -- two good hands, etc. -- is actually spoken, not sung -- like Rap.
When I hear "Cracklin' Rosie," "Holly Holy," "Soolaimon," "Cherry Cherry," and of course Traveling Salvation, I feel like I'm riding in a car with somebody on a bright summer day, over a curving, forest-lined road in the hills.
...Maybe that's because when I first heard these songs -- I was ...'riding in a car with somebody on a bright summer day, over a curving, forest-lined road in the hills.'
The summer I was 18, before leaving for school, I worked as a waitress in a resort town. Met a man who was a writer -- he was driving me back home one day & he put in a cassette and it was Neil Diamond.
The writer told me, "I like this kind of music -- it brings you up -- makes you feel good."
The writer was older than me. It was like sitting around talking with a real -- grown-up.
That summer: !! thing is, guys my age, the conversation would be:
Wanna get high?
Wanna go in the bedroom?
...Wanna get high?
(What can I say? -- it was a laid-back era...)
Inside my head, the conversations would go this way:
"Wanna get high?"
("I don't know how to smoke.")
"Wanna go in the bedroom?"
("I don't even know your -- last -- name!")
"Wanna get high?"
("I already told you, I don't smoke.")
--------------------however, in Reality it was worded more circumspectly, but gist was same. I'd take a side road -- "Can I see your records?"
People would have record albums all in a row, on a shelf, or lined up just on the floor, with something holding them steady, at the left and the right, like book-ends.
(That's probably how I became really immersed in Music -- spent so much time on people's floors, reviewing their album collections..)
One guy I remember had old albums -- (not as "old" then as now!!) the Beatles--"White Album" and Country Joe & the Fish (no kidding!) -- And it's one-two-three -- what are we fightin' for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn -- next stop is Viet Nam...
also bands called Hot Tuna, and Canned Heat,
which I got mixed up, thought was Canned Tuna.
The Writer talked to me about California and Carmel and books and authors and his book that he was writing. We went to a big nightclub and listened to a live band, and danced. We ate salad one day in a diner in a little tourist town, & had steak one evening -- I wore a dress.
He encouraged me in my ambition to be a writer, and in my college plans.
Like a mentor, I guess.
I never had to sit on his floor and go through the record albums.
And the really powerful gift was -- he asked me to take a copy of the novel he was writing and read it, and write my comments about it -- like a "test audience," sort of. He said it was fine to put comments or notes right in the margins, because it was an extra copy which he had made for that purpose.
---------------------I read it, and made some notes, gave it back; when he got back to me, later, he said he really appreciated me reading it and that my comments were very thoughtful and helpful -- something like that.
This had a profound impact. Because of the age I was -- summer after high school, and it was formative -- transformative, sort of. Internalized an understanding that my
feelings --
That's worth a million.
Have to channel gratitude into Something Positive for Somebody Else. ...

Monday, November 15, 2010


Back to work.
a book entitled Waiting for the Weekend
written by Witold Rybczynski
-- he studied the history of leisure time, and then told us about it --
I'm always charmed by old photographs of skiers that show groups of people in what appear to be street clothes, with uncomplicated pieces of bent wood strapped to sturdy walking boots. These men and women have a playful and unaffected air. Today every novice is caparisoned in skintight spandex like an Olympic racer, and even cross-country skiing, a simple enough pastime, has been infected by a preoccupation with correct dress, authentic terminology, and up-to-date equipment. This reflects a concern for status and consumption, but it also suggests an attitude to play that is different from what it was in the past. Most outdoor sports, once simply muddled through, are now undertaken with a high degree of seriousness. "Professional" used to be a word that distinguished someone who was paid for performing an activity from the sportsman; today the word has increasingly come to denote anyone with a high degree of proficiency; "professional-quality" equipment is available to -- and desired by -- all. Conversely, "amateur," a wonderful word literally meaning "lover," has been degraded to mean a rank beginner, or anyone without a certain level of skill. "Just an amateur," we say; it is not, as it once was, a compliment.
--------------------[end Excerpt]

This part cracked me up:
[excerpt]: ...Leisure was also a way of asserting status in a public way -- hence the popularity of such pastimes as fox hunting and shooting, which by law and custom were unavailable to ordinary people. [this is 19th Century England] The pastime of yachting, which grew in popularity during the first half of the nineteenth century, was ideally suited to conspicuous consumption. It was expensive, hence exclusive. The yachtsman could distance himself from the crowd simply by sailing out into the middle of a lake -- there as no need for fences or enclosures. At the same time, it was -- and remains -- a gratifying opportunity to be seen, admired, and envied by the plebeians on the shore.
----------------- [end, Excerpt]


Friday, November 12, 2010

so thick you could cut it with a knife

"The tension in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife."

It seems like that used to be an expression -- you don't hear it much anymore.
And, variations:
I heard a guy describe somebody once: "He had an accent so thick you could cut it with a knife."
(And that guy -- the one who said that -- spoke with a Boston [Bah-ston] accent so thick, you'd have to go get a knife to cut that....)

I was thinking -- the following scene
has Atmosphere
that is
"so thick you could cut it with a knife."

------------------------ [excerpt]
"Who the hell is Willie?"
"Willie is the fellow with the Christmas tie," I said. "He is Cousin Willie from the country. He is Willie Stark, the teacher's pet, and I met him in the back room of Slade's place a couple of months ago and he told me Lucy didn't favor drinking. I'm just guessing about her not favoring stealing."

"She don't favor Willie being County Treasurer either," Jim Madison allowed, "if she is the one putting him up to what he is doing. Doesn't she know how they run things up in Mason County?"
"They run 'em up there just like they run 'em down here," I said.
"Yeah," Jim Madison said, and took the foul, chewed, and spit-bright butt of what had been a two-bit cigar out of the corner of his mouth and inspected it and reached out at arm's length and let it fall into the big brass spittoon which stood on the clover-deep, Kelly-green carpet which bloomed like an oasis of elegance in the four floors of squalor of the Chronicle Building. He watched it fall, and said again, "Yeah, but you leave down here and go on up there."

So I went up to Mason City in the Model-T, and kept my jaws clamped tight when I went over the washboard and hung to the steering post when I went over the sideslipping dust, and that was a very long time ago.

I got to Mason City early in the afternoon....I went out into the street, where the dogs lay on the shady side under the corrugated iron awnings, and walked down the block till I came to the harness shop. There was one vacant seat out front, so I said Howdy-do, and joined the club. I was the junior member by forty years, but I thought I was going to have liver spots on my swollen old hands crooked on the head of the hickory stick like the rest of them before anybody was going to say anything. In a town like Mason City the bench in front of the harness shop is -- or was twenty years ago before the concrete slab got laid down -- the place where Time gets tangled in its own feet and lies down like an old hound and gives up the struggle. It is a place where you sit down and wait for night to come and arteriosclerosis. It is the place the local undertaker looks at with confidence and thinks he is not going to starve as long as that much work is cut out for him. But if you are sitting on the bench in the middle of the afternoon in late August with the old ones, it does not seem that anything will ever come, not even your own funeral, and the sun beats down and the shadows don't move across the bright dust, which, if you stare at it long enough, seems to be full of glittering specks like quartz.

The old ones sit there with their liver-spotted hands crooked on the hickory sticks, and they emit a kind of metaphysical effluvium by virtue of which your categories are altered. Time and motion cease to be. It is like sniffing ether, and everything is sweet and sad and far away. You sit there among the elder gods, disturbed by no sound except the slight rale of the one who has asthma, and wait for them to lean from the Olympian and sunlit detachment and comment, with their unenvious and foreknowing irony, on the goings-on of the folks who are still snared in the toils of mortal compulsions.

I seen Sim Saunders done built him a new barn. Then, Yeah, some folks thinks they is made of money. And, Yeah.

So I sat there and waited. And one of them said it, and another one leaned and shifted the quid and answered, and the last one said, "Yeah." Then I waited again for a spell, for I knew my place in the picture, and then I said, "They tell me there's gonna be a new schoolhouse." Then I waited another spell while the words died away and it was as though I hadn't said anything. Then one of them let the ambeer drop to the dry ground, and touched the spot with the end of the hickory stick, and said, "Yeah, and steam heat, hear tell."
-------------------------- [End, excerpt.]
[All The King's Men, by Robert
Penn Warren, CopyR. 1946,
Harcourt, Inc. - Orlando, Austin,
New York,, San Diego, Toronto,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

he can pull it off

[excerpt] "In one respect, perhaps, Mr. Elton's manners are superior to Mr. Knightley's or Mr. Weston's. They have more gentleness. They might be more safely held up as a pattern. There is an openness, a quickness, almost a bluntness in Mr. Weston, which every body likes in him, because there is so much good-humour with it -- but that would not do to be copied. Neither would Mr. Knightley's downright, decided, commanding sort of manner, though it suits him very well; his figure, and look, and situation in life seem to allow it; but if any young man were to set about copying him, he would not be sufferable. On the contrary, I think a young man might be very safely recommended to take Mr. Elton as a model...."
----------------------[end excerpt]
[From Emma, by Jane Austen,
CopyR. 1815.]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a perspective on the BOOing

"I had a perspective on the booing."

Bob Dylan said that in "No Direction Home" (documentary by Martin Scorsese).

A big -- THING -- in the early years of his career was mid-sixties when he got an electric band and performed & recorded with them.
It was controversial with his fans.
People got real excited and upset about it.
Some audience members at Newport Folk Festival, 1965 walked out on his performance, or "booed" or both. Audiences had mixed reactions to Electric Dylan as late as 1966 (there's a double album from that tour -- London).
One ticked-off Brit says, "I came to see a flippin' folk singer, not electric pop music."

We listen, today, and it's like --
"Blowin' in the Wind" on acoustic guitar -- great!
"Maggie's Farm" on electric guitar with band -- great!
It's Dylan!

But back then his "folk" fans had a whole entrenched position / opinion about the parameters of folk music, and THAT was what they were swept away by, and THAT was what they paid to hear and wanted to hear.

I love electric "Maggie's Farm" but I guess for fans in a certain mind-set -- and of course they LOVED Dylan, so if you love something, or somebody, the disappointment is that much more painful if things don't shake out well, or the way you thought...for those Folk Fans, who were Serious in their love of the music, hearing "Maggie's Farm" electric when they were primed for "Blowing in the Wind" acoustic might have been somewhat like ordering salad and being served lasagne.
Or maybe being hit on the head with a lasagne.

Playing electric was perceived as "rock and roll" rather than "folk."
And "rock and roll" was perceived, by these particular audiences, as "going commercial."

"Depraved" -- Joan Baez's description.
Maria Muldauer: "The volume of the blues band was kinda wild; you couldn't get the words too clearly."
Peter Yarrow: "It was so loud -- you could not have the intimacy that we had enjoyed with folk music."
Pete Seeger says, all these years later, "It's impossible to get all the words, when you've got those electric instruments going! You could not understand the words!"
And this gentle, now very old folk singer says, with desperate enthusiasm mixed with frustration, "If I had an axe I'd chop the mike cable right now - !"

Trying to save Dylan from his own music.
The "axe" statement spiraled around into rumor / blown out of proportion, just like in any situation the story gets bigger, the more different people hear it and repeat it.

"I understand Pete Seeger had an axe and was going to cut the cable."
"Pete Seeger had gone to get an axe."
Dylan: (shocked, and in pain) -- "I heard Pete Seeger had been going to cut the cable -- It didn't make sense to me -- someone whose music I cherish -- Ooh! It was like a dagger! The thought of it made me want to go out and get drunk."
After Newport, Bob Dylan and The Band played at Forest Hills & by then, Dylan says, "The booing didn't -- I wasn't -- I had a perspective on the booing. Because -- uh -- you gotta realize, you can kill somebody with kindness, too."

Still, at Newport somebody had to grab the mike, after their electric set, and tell the audience, "OK everybody calm down! Bob's gone to get his acoustic guitar!"

[quote] "When people...ask me how I can possibly operate in the current political environment, with all the negative campaigning and personal attacks, I may mention Nelson Mandela, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, or some guy in a Chinese or Egyptian prison somewhere. In truth, being called names is not such a bad deal."
---------------------- [end quote]
[From The Audacity of Hope, by Barack
Obama, CopyR. 2006, Random
House, New York.]
Let's hear it for

Friday, November 5, 2010

wouldn't mind being lifted

"Mr. Obama, It's Time for Some Poetry"
is the title of a column written by Nicholas Kristof --

he writes,
It's puzzling -- candidate Obama could be so inspiring and eloquent, while President Obama has been flat. I wonder if he hasn't absorbed too much of Mario Cuomo's dictum: "We campaign in poetry, and we govern in prose."
Please, Mr. Obama! The prose needn't be as dry as the Harvard Law Review. And we wouldn't mind being lifted by an occasional verse of poetry.

If Mr. Obama is going to connect with voters, he must confront the economic crisis emotionally as well as intellectually. He'll need to focus not only on optimal policies but also on pithy messages. It does no good to have a great product if no one buys it.

Bill Clinton would be a terrific tutor. Despite his current wealth, he came across on the stump as virtually another victim of the recession while arguing lucidly for Democrats as the best redress for that pain. Mr. Clinton is as much a policy wonk as Mr. Obama, but he devotes far more energy to marketing.
[end quote]-------------------------

This guy thinks what we need is some poetry. Well -- he isn't being hostile, mindless, or verbally abusive, so I'm not going to veto it or make fun of it.
"Well," said Pooh, "in poetry -- in a piece of poetry -- well, you DID it, Piglet, because the poetry says you did. And that's how people know."
[From The House At
Pooh Corner,
by A.A. Milne,
Copyr. 1928, E.P.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

that strength which moved earth and heaven

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world...
...for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Off all the western stars, until I die...
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are, --
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
[Alfred Lord Tennyson,
from the poem "Ulysses"]

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

power to the people

"It won't make any difference."
"Are you going to vote?"
"No." (patiently, firmly)
"I'm going to vote."
"It won't make any difference" -- that was a man I work with, who can talk as he keeps walking, away from me, down the hallway and be twenty feet away, & talk without turning his head, & somehow I can hear him. It's as if the words, which are being spoken away from me at a steadily increasing distance, are floating back toward me.
(Maybe he's a sort of ventriloquist -- "throwing" his voice.)
...He isn't wrong, but he isn't entirely right either.

Another man at work said he wasn't voting because the whole process is to give us the illusion that we "have a say" -- well yeah it's an illusion if you don't Go Down To The Polls (!)
No, really I know what he means and he's not completely wrong or entirely right.

Nothing I voted for passed!
Batman didn't win -- (back to the Bat Cave).
No seriously -- some of my votes turned up winners. Not the ones I was most interested in.
(And then our local paper, front-page headline this morning, announcing that one race was as yet "to close to call."
Everyone makes mistakes, but geez -- two years ago they ran a headline about Blagojevich referring to him as the Governor of Chicago. - !

Medical marijuana didn't pass.
(The heck with those cancer patients -- let 'em suffer!) I think that's awful.
What if we legalized marijuana across the board, for anybody? Anybody over 18, or something.
Could create a new industry. Think of the funds we could raise, taxing it. And -- create jobs for tobacco and liquor lobbyists.
Wouldn't it help the economy?

A man I knew who survived Japanese prison camp during WWII used to say, "One problem with democracy is that the voting process is based on the assumption that nine idiots are smarter than one genius."
As with the people at work who tell me "it doesn't make any difference" & "it's an illusion" -- I could not think of an argument for the "9 idiots" point. But I still would never want to live in one of those countries where you can't vote and they've got a dictator.

I may change the title of my novel from
"Wondering About The Questions Of My Time"
"The Education Of One Idiot."


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

hip hop and the holy spirit

Saturday night I got to hear Haiti Boy White Boy perform live, in a local nightclub.
(Urban legends say there are a lot of fights there; but there were no fights while I was there.)

Haiti Boy White Boy is a hip-hop duo.
One young lady in the club who knows me from work asked, incredulously,
"You like this??!?"
When I was in junior high I began collecting a few 45s and albums, loaning & borrowing different ones, with other girls. My dad would say, "That's not music, that's just noise."
Because it was rock.
(Or -- maybe, at that age, it was "rock-lite.")
Once when I was between 25 and 30, I think, I heard something particularly obnoxious on MTV and heard myself think, "That's not music, that's just..."
And I made myself stop, and promised myself that while I may not like every song, or every artist, I made a promise to my -- my own life, that I wasn't going to say that sentence, about the music being "noise" and instead was going to stay open to whatever the new generations listen to and at least find something positive to think about it, and try to understand why they like it.
Plus, if someone I know personally is performing music,
I'm there.
Also in the nightclub, someone I used to know came up to me and said, "I wondered, 'Can I talk to her?'" Of course you can talk to me! -- (I thought she had moved away, out of state. Somebody had told me that, with great authority: "She moved. She's not here anymore. She went back.")
Uh -- I don't think so.
Misinformation emerges frequently.
Sometimes I think the more Information we are bombarded by, the less of it is at all reliable.
Haiti Boy White boy = Talent.
They've got something.
The holy spirit -- whatever.
Check out their videos on YouTube.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Things got outta hand


--These are just not very bright guys...Things got outta hand.
--Hunt's come in from the cold. Supposedly he's got a lawyer with $25,000 in a brown paper bag...
--Follow the money.
--What do you mean?
--...You tell me what you know....I'll keep you in the right direction, if I can. But that's all.
Just -- follow the money.
[in a voice that's between a murmur and a whisper]
Last night, was lifting weights, in my pajamas, in my bedroom, while watching All The President's Men.
The advice, "follow the money" can work, too, when you're looking at ballot issues.

Although the first thing to know about ballot issues is, you're almost always completely safe in voting "No" across the board on all of them. (That saves time!)
Anybody who's out to amend the State Constitution is up to no good.
(Oh, maybe that's too broad and bold a statement, but really in my experience that's the way it is.)
The State Constitution is fine.
People (and groups, organizations) who want amendments often want:
a) publicity
b) to move some money (and it's a safe bet, that will be good for them and bad for somebody else!)
c) both of the above -- or
d) they're indignant that they couldn't get something passed in the Legislature.

An example: tomorrow's Election Day and we have Constitutional Amendment L to vote on.
"An Amendment...relating to the trust fund created from the proceeds of the state cement enterprise sales." (Follow the money.)
Two things which stand out, to me:
1. This fiscal transfer change is to be conducted "over a four year period."
When it goes over a period of time, then they're doing something wrong -- they're taking someone's money, reducing their funding, raising their taxes, something like that which the people wouldn't support, & the reason for "spreading it out" over a period of time, like that, is to reduce immediate impact, & hopefully avoid some of the wrath from public / taxpayers / and whomever got screwed (pardon my French).

Any proposal which is to be implemented over a period of time is suspect, in my book.

2. "The amendment also eliminates a distribution from the trust fund to support education."
Ding! Gotcha! Reducing state funding to education is a back-door way of forcing you to raise your local property taxes. That type of proposal usually comes from groups and coalitions who are pushing a state income tax. That effort (or prospective option) has been hovering about in this state for decades.
And the fact that they need a change in the State Constitution to get it done, tells me it is
not a legitimate proposal that's good for the people -- if it was, they could've got it passed in the Legislature.

And I don't write this from a position of being absolutely anti-state-income-tax.
The thing is if you've got a legitimate, thoughtful proposal that inclues a state income tax, if it's good for the state, and for the people, then you can get that passed.

Proposals such as Amendment L are meant to exert painful leverage on taxpayers, to create eventual crisis. I just don't like those kind of tactics.
If it's a Good Idea, and a Legitimate Proposal, then you'd be able to sell it "above the counter."
-------------------- Follow the money.