Thursday, February 25, 2010

this is it.

I have a real bad cold or allergies or something. I feel lousy. I've been off work all week. I was about to let the whole thing slip away, but I got a couple of phone calls from friends encouraging me to come to work tomorrow. I'm driving one more trip into the city tomorrow morning. I'm all done after that. I've been driving for a living off and on since 1973. 1971 if you count moving trucks around a parking lot and backing them up to a dock when I was a teenager. I think I'm done with all that. A bit over a million miles. Something like a million and a quarter. That's plenty. I'm glad I did it and I'm glad it's over.

From Kass

Our friend, Kass, posted this in the comments section,

"I haven't updated all of you who were kind enough to include my daughter in your prayers and thoughts because I kept waiting for some final "happy ending" to report, but life is not that pat. My daughter is still in the hospital, but what I can say is we are finally out of the woods, so to speak.

It's too long a story to go into and the details don't matter really. I'll just say it's been harrowing, but miracles do happen and she's going to be OK.

With love and gratitude for all that positive energy that's been sent her way,


Miracles do happen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For Ib, brother and comrade

Ib, I just haven't been giving you the attention you deserve. For your undying devotion to Moulty and The Barbarians,
This is for you. From the department of Ukulele gender studies at Poetry is For Assholes University.

For those seeking enlightenment, you may learn more about Ib HERE.


From The Cahokian, a reminder that the great Malcolm X was killed 45 years ago today.

Also from The Cahokian, an excerpt from one of Malcolm's last speeches,

"Now, the press, behind something like that, they call us racist and people who are "violent in reverse." This is how they psycho you. They make you think that if you try to stop the Klan from lynching you, you're practicing "violence in reverse." Pick up on this, I hear a lot of you all parrot what the [white] man says. You say, "I don't want to be a Ku Klux Klan in reverse." Well, you - heh! -- if a criminal comes around your house with his gun, brother, just because he's got a gun and he's robbing your house, brother, and he's a robber, it doesn't make you a robber because you grab your gun and run him out. No, see, the man is using some tricky logic on you. And he has absolutely got a Ku Klux Klan outfit that goes through the country frightening black people. Now, I say it is time for black people to put together the type of action, the unity, that is necessary to pull the sheet off of them so they won't be frightening black people any longer. That's all. And when we say this, the press calls us "racist in reverse."

Malcolm X 1925-1965

Friday, February 19, 2010

Good news from the culture wars.

One of the few images of the man reputed to be B. Traven.

A little further internet searching has turned up a few books in print by B. Traven. I found a short biography of Ret Marut, the man most people believe was the real "B. Traven" here.

I also found a great little short story by Traven. It gives a nice feel for what Traven was all about. Traven's books are widely available in Spanish. In Mexico he is known and loved as a true friend to Los Indios. You can read the story here.

Traven was a pseudonym. He didn't want to be pointed out as the great author. He sincerely wanted to be a worker among workers and a bit of the salt of the earth. He knew he was an artist, but he saw that there are artists everywhere and he just wanted to make his art.

Now, the other day, I was walking past The Borders Book store at China Basin, across from the ballpark in San Francisco. It has to be the worst big city bookstore in the world. Its only a half hour walk from City Lights Books, one of the best bookstores in the English speaking world. Borders seems to be mostly a gift shop, but they do have displays of currently popular books. In the window they had a huge display of the works of Ayn Rand.

Rand was the polar opposite of Traven. She wanted her face on the cover of every book. She appeared in every media outlet that would let her in front of a camera. She thought she was a genius. One of the few geniuses in the world and set apart from everyone else.

Traven wrote simple, poetic prose about the lives of ordinary people. Rand wrote turgid, adjective laden woofing about the suffering of billionaires. I suppose it's only right that Rand should be given a prominent display in the worst bookstore in San Francisco.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No one knows how white men suffer

Doesn't it make you sick to see this guy exploiting all of his unfair advantages?

So, I get off work and I go into the driver's room There's this asshole sitting there watching Fox news, as he does every night. I find that I am being asked some over personal questions as to just what my retirement income will be. I make a little joke, "Look, I'll have a check coming every month and if I have to panhandle for the last week of the month, I don't give a shit."

The asshole says, "Yeah, but those panhandlers make 60 or 80 thousand bucks a year. They're all hustlers."

So, I say, "Asshole, err I mean Bob, that sounds like an excellent hustle. Why are you working when you can make that kind of easy money standin' around in the rain?"

Asshole says, "What about the guy in the wheelchair on Van Ness? He always gets all hunched up and looks bad when he's panhandling but you see him later and he's doing wheelies. He probably doesn't even need that wheelchair."

I say, "What a lucky guy. Living that good life in a nice wheelchair. Why don't you get a nice wheelchair like that and start living large?"

Asshole says, "You know what I mean. Those guys have put together a scam."

I say, "Bob, I hate to break it to you. There's a lot of fuckin' scams in this world. That TV you worship is a fuckin' scam. The banking system is a fuckin' scam. Putting on a suit and keeping up appearances so you can lie to people and steal their money is a fuckin' scam. Don't be chickenshit Bob."

So, Asshole says, "You know what I mean. Half of those guys don't even need those wheelchairs. They're lying!"

"Alright Bob, don't scam. Be an honest man. Show some ambition and initiative. Be a man Bob. A moment of pain and a lifetime of privilege. Take a fuckin' chainsaw and cut your fuckin' legs off. You deserve it Bob. Shit, you owe it to yourself."

At this point I'm so angry I'm shaking. I walk out and call Doctor Wayne. Doctor Wayne is another one of those wheelchair scammers. He has cerebral palsy. What a fuckin' scam. He was told that he was mentally retarded and spent much of his childhood in some of those real plush California state hospitals. He has a PhD in psychology. He is remarkably kind and patient.

"So, Wayne, could I have handled this any better?"

"No," he says, "but you probably should have cut it short and told him to fuck himself."

Really, there are assholes out there who feel oppressed and exploited by guys in wheelchairs. Fuck me.

Fuck them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Wonders of Science

The late Jim Hurd, public librarian and man of the people, used to drink with a good ol' boy named Li'l G. G was not impressed by Hurd's computer abilities. "I'll buy a computer when they invent one that'll suck my dick", said G.

Hurd said, "Well, Li'l G, start savin' up".

There's supposed to be some kind of mobile app thing on my fancy new phone that will allow me to post here. I got cross eyed typing on those teensy little keys and then hit "Post". I got back an error message saying that I needed to register my device by sending an email with the word "REGISTER" in the text. I made the mistake of sending the word, "register" instead. I got back another email ordering me to send another email with the word "REGISTER" in the text. I tried to comply, got another error message. Tried again, failed again etc.

Finally the google and phone company decided I was a good boy and set me up with a new blog. I don't want a new blog. I want to post at this blog. Oh well.

I don't care how many stars it got. I'm not going to buy that blowjob app.

Monday, February 15, 2010

the plan as it currently stands

I am off work today for the three day Valentine's day holiday. Tomorrow I go back to work for two weeks and then it's all over. 22 years on the job and I'm done with it.

The plan as it currently stands is to take a couple of months, get rid of most of my stuff and hit the road for a while. The big plan, more or less, is to cross Canada, head to St. John's and finally see Newfoundland, where my father was born. After that, I'm thinking I want to head down the east coast and look up some friends in the New York/ New Jersey area. After that I have no idea what I'll do. I'll have my passport with me.

Any invites, especially for a free place to sleep, will be welcome.

To tell you the God's honest truth, I'm kind of scared. I've never had this kind of freedom in my life. Actually, I'm trying to scare myself. 22 years is a long time to be plugged into a routine. I'm hoping to break some habits, find some new ways of thinking about things.

I've got a fancy telephone. I can send emails from most everywhere on earth. I can even squint at the internet on a little screen. I'll be bringing along a ukulele. Something is bound to happen.

Juimonos (Let's went)- Little Richard Elizondo Combo (Buy)

I'll admit to being in a bad mood

In addition to the fact that Ayn Rand thought that she was the greatest genius in the history of history since forever she also considered herself to be an irresistible temptress whom no man could resist. If she had not made a brilliant career out of writing bad novels advocating narcissism and sociopathy as worldview and ideology she believed she would have had a brilliant career as a femme fatale film starlet.

And yet, so many of her admirers are creepy assholes....

Anyhow, when I said that you should beat up a graduate student to get the money to buy B. Traven novels, I didn't really mean it.
I have a friend who is a former graduate student who really did read W.S. Maugham and she is a perfectly decent person. Don't beat her up.

Also when I said that I would gladly see Ayn Rand forgotten by history in exchange for a world where B. Traven is shown the respect he deserves I was sort of overstating my aim. I really just meant that I would gladly see Ayn Rand forgotten by history. Traven could take care of himself.

I follow the games

Thanks to my friend Alice Wolfson. It is fun to be old and laugh at the affectations of clueless young people. It really is.

Rumor control

Rumor has it that "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen is the greatest song ever recorded. A lot of people seem to believe that they are required by internet law to email me links to various persons performing this song. I've checked it out on Snopes and other internet sources and there appears to be no foundation to these rumors.

Through careful research, I've been able to determine that this is the greatest song ever recorded:

LSD- Go Devils (Buy)

Be sure to post it on Facebook and send all of your friends real bubbly emails with links to this wonderfully beautiful and inspiring song. I'm sorry to say there does not appear to be a video on Youtube of the Go Devils performing this song during the Olympic opening ceremonies so don't forget to let everyone you've ever come across on the internet know how moving their performance was.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A post script

And on the other hand, the modern world is swell. I tell you it is swell. When Traven is silenced someone else will take his place; someone whose heart is as vast and whose vision is as plain as Traven's.

I can only give you a link to part of this fine piece by Rebecca Solnit. She's not the modern Traven but she's worth reading. Track down this article. Read it. go celebrate Carnival. Turn the world upside down, for a minute, in one little place, anytime, anyplace you can. LINK HERE.

the modern world sucks

The internet is full of bad news. Bad news.

I just found out that there are no B. Traven books in print. Not in the US anyhow.

When I think of the worthless fucks whose books are read reverently by graduate students and writers workshop idiots I really seriously want to break things and curse.

The next time you meet a graduate student who admits to having read W.S. Maugham, beat him up, take his money and use it to buy a copy of "The White Rose". You'll have to track down a used copy but it will be worth every cent you steal and every drop of blood that graduate student sheds.

Sometimes I think that art is just some crap I use to pass the time but GOD DAMN IT I would gladly trade the whole of John Updike, William Faulkner and Ayn fukkin' Rand- I would happily see their memory wiped from the face of the earth- in exchange for a world where B. Traven is given the respect that he deserves.

The modern world is a heaven for cowards, punks and snitches. It is a world ruled by vampires.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A personal request.

Kass is a regular reader here and at Mick Farren's Doc 40 blog. Just at the moment (s)he's carrying the weight of the world. (Her) daughter has cancer and (s)he's helping her cope. She's scheduled for brain surgery next week. (S)he has asked for prayers and good thoughts.

I don't know if prayers are magical. I don't know if prayers can help someone far away. I know that praying helps me. When I pray for someone else it makes me a better man. I know I bring some of that with me when I get up from my prayers.

Every day I go out in the world, knowing that I am less than perfect. The best I can hope for is that maybe I can do more good than harm. When I pray I figure I'm improving my chances of doing something right. Maybe that has a ripple effect. Maybe the small good that I am able to bring to the world can send out a wave of tiny acts of kindness that will reach someone far away.

If I have a ministry I figure it's pretty tiny. I'm also pretty sure it's about acts not words.

Keep Kass and (her) daughter in your thoughts and prayers.

Update!! Kass is a SHE. Keep Kass and HER daughter in your thoughts and prayers.

Listen Lord, A Prayer- James Weldon Johnson, Margaret Waike (Buy)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

further proof that ukuleles inspire coolness and coolness attracts ukuleles

From The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra's website. Orchestra member Gemma Gracewood's biography:

"If the WIUO was the solar system, Gemma would be the sun, bathing everyone in life-giving rays of goodness.

If the WIUO was the Titanic, Gemma would be the propeller, driving us to collide deliciously with the icebergs of international acclaim, and leaving us to drown in the freezing waters of musical ecstasy.

If the WIUO was a sacrificial goat, Gemma would be its beating heart, held aloft, spraying blood before being placed in a ceremonial bowl and eaten raw by delirious ukulele supplicants.

Gemma likes the colour green. She adores its green-ness, its vertiginous appleness, how it coos like dove and laughs like a young cloud in calorific distress. Think of feijoas... plump and facile. They sweat and mould in the harsh Brazilian sun, crying tears like sugar - waiting for the grace of a jewel. Gemma likes feijoas, and she handles them like they were her children.

When the Nano-Machines get here, when the noosphere reaches its 'tipping point', when we have learnt the 7 billion names of god, when Omega-minus meets its transcendental function, Gemma will be there waiting for us. And she'll say, "Hey guys, I've met some real crazy dudes from Andromeda who are keen to sit in on our next gig!"

New Zealand- another place I'd rather be living. At least I'm not pregnant.

One's On The Way- Loretta Lynn (Buy)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Real Class

Ami Worthen of Mad Tea Party presents a musical tribute to her Pohaku ukulele.

Peter Hurney, of Pohaku Ukuleles is a hell of a classy guy. He just sent me both versions of the Pohaku calendar for 2010. As in previous years there is a spicy bleu risque calendar (tits) and a bikini version. Both are backed with a magnetic strip for convenient mounting on your refrigerator or toolbox. I won't be posting any of the calendar pictures but you could buy a ukulele from Peter and get your free calendars in the bargain. If you can't afford one of Peter's ukuleles just get ahold of a ukulele and play it.

It's Cold Outside- Mad Tea Party (Buy)

It's Cold Outside- The Choir (Buy)

Whadaya Want- Mad Tea Party (Buy)

A reply to our friend, @eloh

I have maintained my link to the The Iowa Writer's Workshop Is Totally Corrupt Blog because, dammit, someone has to point out that the Iowa writer's workshop is totally corrupt. I know that they haven't posted anything since 2006. Maybe they were silenced by minions of the Iowa Writers Workshop.

I really don't like the Iowa Writers Workshop. People go into it writing things like, "A tall, thin, blonde man walked across a recently mowed field".

They come out of it writing things like, "A long, lean figure navigated a barren stubble of stiff, sun bleached winter wheat. His eyes spoke of windswept distances and aching loneliness. His hair was the color of wild oats on a forgotten hillside."

Bite me.

The work of exposing expensive writer's workshops must go on. Fuck 'em. Go write something.

Growin' A Beard- The Morrells (Buy it if you can find it. Check the prices on this one.)

"Put some hair on it."

Busking on the frozen tundra.

It's either inspired creative parenting or child abuse. Ross K of Gazetteer fame has been dragging his kids out in public places and busking on ukulele and guitar. I think it's great.

I really like this video because it also introduces us to The Hammer, Mr Beer N. Hockey's famous dog. There's even reason to believe that some of those grown up knees belong to Beer and Sonia. Plus I dig that crazy harmonica.

Ross and his kids kind of remind me of Dr. Michael Homan and his kids. Dr. Homan is a friend of a friend of a friend. Four years ago he helped his, then ten year old, daughter, Kalypso, make a documentary about why she loves New Orleans and how she felt about Hurrican Katrina. It's one of my favorite YouTube videos. Kalypso and her dad are both great bloggers.

I was really pleased to see Beer and The Gazetteer get together. I hope to meet some of my readers someday.

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