Tag Archives: literature

Allen Ginsberg, Jackson Pollock, Tupac Shakur and Big Vladdy

putinfishyginsygrantparkputin4Gentle Readers,
With one eye on the wheel and both hands on the road, we do our best to keep abreast of odd things happening around the world.
Fitting this dubious category is the statement made by Universal Bully Vlad (the impaler) Putin. News media this week carried a clip of the blue-eyed dapper dungeonkeeper saying…

“The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work….”

Now isn’t that an interesting statement? It makes us look at him in a different way. Patti Smith recently described him taking the world’s biggest nastiest shit, the worst ever taken or left, in a solid gold commode. He really is not a nice man. He was head of the KGB and many people died under his hand, many literally by his hand.

At this point, Informed Intellects, we feel it necessary to note that this blog has always been a friend and has supported the LGBTQ community. The following statements are merely speculation of the purest form. We seriously wonder if Mr. Putin is gay? We look at his baby blues and they way he just loves his wardrobe, the fact that we never see Russia’s ‘first lady’ (although her meat could be hanging to dry for a future state dinner appetizer). Most world leaders do not have pics like this on their Facebook page, do they?putin3

It leads us down the path of trying to figure out what the brute thinks…we look at his choices. There is a lot to be learned from all three of these artist. Oh my, he likes the Arts…he named a poet, a painter and a poet rapper. We have to admit that we enjoy the work of all three as well.

Jeepers…as odd as it sounds, we made a mistake!

Putin didn’t say that, it was another Big Vladdy, Vladislav Surkov. On Monday, The New Republic said this of Surkov… was the chief architect of Putinism. He reduced the elimination of democracy, civil society, and a free press to a handful of cynically named “technologies.” (Given Russia’s historical and cultural uniqueness, he wrote, it needs something called “sovereign democracy.”) He invented the various ways to control, manipulate, marginalize, and co-opt Putin’s political opponents, always with the deft touch of a chess master.

Most blogs would wipe the mistakes clean, so as to look intelligent but not us…we shall take you along with us the thought process for reckoning this situation out…we think they both suck but we can understand what Putin likes about the Big Guy. Hey, everybody needs to let it loose sometime, yeah? Those big shoulders and swarthy dark looks may be what Putin goes for.putinlovey
For his side, we must admit that although Pollock was sexually ambiguous, we suspect that Vladdy really has a thing for Ed Harris, who could do a good Putin without make-up we bet. And is it Ginsberg that interests him or is it James Franco, who played him recently in a film? Tupac? Well, look at the guy…smooth skin, big beautiful eyes (like Putin!)…put the right doo rag on him and he could look downright sweet! We do not wish to insult Mr. Shakur or his estate, however, since we do respect him for his work and for not being the usual thug, as he was expected to be. He was a good man.

So what are we saying here? As usual, we don’t know…we just ramble and throw out thoughts for you to gesticulate upon. We found it to be a strange statement and it was much-overlooked so we had to tell you, Dear Readers, so you could have something to discuss after dinner…speaking of dinner, be sure to dress well!putin

As usual, this is a free bog so if you spot any typos, just put up with them!

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Proper Use of the Word Schlub

 

We did not write this.

 

 

schlub

 

noun \ˈshləb\

 

 

 

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Definition of SCHLUB

 

slang

 

:  a stupid, worthless, or unattractive person

 

Variants of SCHLUB

 

schlub also shlub \ˈshləb\

 

Examples of SCHLUB

 

  1. <you’re a complete schlub—you should do great around here>

 

Origin of SCHLUB

 

Yiddish zhlob, zhlub yokel, boor

 

First Known Use: 1950

 

Related to SCHLUB

 

Synonyms

 

airhead, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, bubblehead, chowderhead, chucklehead, clodpoll (or clodpole), clot [British], cluck, clunk, cretin, cuddy (or cuddie) [British dialect], deadhead, dim bulb [slang], dimwit, dip, dodo, dolt, donkey, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard, dumbbell, dumbhead, dum-dum, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead, ignoramus, imbecile, jackass, know-nothing, knucklehead, lamebrain, loggerhead [chiefly dialect], loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mug [chiefly British], mutt, natural, nimrod [slang], nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noddy, noodle, numskull (or numbskull), oaf, pinhead, prat [British], ratbag [chiefly Australian], saphead, idiot (also shlub) [slang], schnook [slang], simpleton, stock, stupe, stupid, thickhead, turkey, woodenhead, yahoo, yo-yo

 

Antonyms

 

brain, genius

 

Related Words

 

booby, buffoon, fool, goose, loony, lunatic, madman, nut, zany; loser; gawk; featherbrain, scatterbrain; beast, boor, cad, churl, clown, creep, cur, heel, jerk, skunk, snake, stinker, villain; bimbette [slang], bimbo [slang], himbo

 

Near Antonyms

 

egghead, intellect, intellectual, sage, thinker, whiz, wizard; polymath, Renaissance man; sharpie (or sharpy)

 

more

 

 

 

 

 

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One From The Poetry Corner

bullwinkleEsteemed Readers, Bottom Feeders and Counters of Meters, today we bring you an installment of the Poetry Corner. We promised to keep this blog going, so we are happy to be in your face.
The following poem is the first in what will be known as the ‘Yakima Cycle’ by Michael Hendrick, a drunken friend of ours who can’t be trusted with your daughter…a sad one, boys and girls, sniff, sniff. He redeems himself with his poems…maybe not this one but he seemed quite insistent that we publish it for him and it is a ‘limerick’ really. As per our buddies at the Encyclopedia Brittanica a limerick is a popular form of short, humorous verse that is often nonsensical and frequently ribald. It consists of five lines, rhyming aabba, and the dominant metre is anapestic, with two metrical feet in the third and fourth lines and three feet in the others.
These short rhymes often involve a city name. We chose Yakima as our city and Mr. Hendrick, in his infinite kindness, offered to share poems written just for this blog…a saint of a man, is he.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A certain young woman from Yakima
got randy but had quite a hacking cough.
Though she sounded a fright,
she loved a new man each night.
Her ten kids proved that she did not whack’em off.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now, Kids…it is nothing against women, nothing against Yakima and most certainly not against masturbation…if anything, is insulted here, it is the Rhyme itself, but it endures, year after year.

Oddly, though…the most popular blogs here are the ones having to do with insults and words and we find that to be very interesting and think we will do our best to include more such material in days and weeks to come.

Welcome to the Working Week!

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Egypt Cemetery by Michael Hendrick

 Dearest Readers,

It seems like all we do on this page anymore is to apologize for not keeping up to date and blogging as usual, like last year. We have even gotten a warning from Amazon.com that if we do not post another blog, we shall no longer be published on the Kindle page there, so let us explain.

The novel, Egypt Cemetery, is a trip through the childhood of Michael Hendricks (yes, Hendricks), as seen by the author, as far back into the 1950s as he can recollect and taking him up to the sad year of 1971, by which time JFK, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, along with the ‘hippie scene,’ were all dead.

It is a story, it is a purging of the soul, it is what kids did back when kids were allowed to be kids and grown-ups were still allowed to yell at strange kids whenever they saw them up to something wrong.

Today, if you yell at a strange kid for riding his bike into traffic and nearly killing himself without realizing it, it is as good as starting a Third World War. Parents do not care if the kids are safe. They just do not want you to yell at them.

When we were kids, we got yelled at everyplace we went. Sometimes we got chased. Somebody was always after us, one way or the other. We did other things back then, besides get yelled at, that the youth of today will never have the opportunity to experience…like making crank phone calls. The closest you can get to that today is watching Bart Simpson make a fool out of Moe over the phone at Moe’s Bar on The Simpsons.

Nobody asks if you have Prince Albert in a can anymore, of if your refrigerator is running. All the fun has been stymied in the wake of caller ID. There is no more fun anonymity. There is no more good music on the AM radio. Monsters are no longer scary.

Today, a big issue is bullying. When we were kids, it was a free for all, as to who could heap the worst insult onto the next kid. If you got insulted, you shot back. We actually used to purchase ‘insult cards’ at the price of 25 insults for a dime. They were the size of business cards and said things like, “Get rid of 20 pounds of ugly fat…cut off your head!”…of “Its nice to see your back…especially after seeing your face.”

There was a whole industry devoted to helping us insult each other. Another good one was to take the theme song from a currently-popular television show and insert the name of your victim into it, while adding assorted rhyming jibes to the tune of the ditty. Or take the case of the poor unfortunates who were marked from the start just by the spelling of their last names…like Randy Nipples, who was doomed to a life of saying, “It is ‘Nip-PELS!” Sure we had our fun with his name but we played together, too.

The message is that childhood has changed. It is not as much fun…or it does not look it, anyway. In many ways, we are glad to be considered ‘old’, since the new world is not as much fun as the old one. In Egypt Cemetery, the author tries to present those innocent days of youth, before everything had a double meaning and things were what they appeared to be. It is not exotic, it is not earth shattering, it is not politically correct…it is the way it was before the internet robbed us of everything from regional dialects to colloquialisms to regional pride. We are all one big country now. We are all starting to sound the same. In the sixties, you could tell where a person came from as soon as they spoke. Not any more…even the charming and warm southern accent is fading, and that is a shame.

The cemetery pictured above is actually the cover photo for the book, taken by the author in County Tipperary, Ireland. His love of cemeteries began at with the Egypt Cemetery in Podunk, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Hendrick is an integral part of the writing staff here at CFYSA and we look forward to his return in July, or maybe even in June, once he has finished all the editing and writing of the novel. If you are hungry for some new work from him, you can get a copy of Beatdom Issue 11 ~ The Nature Issue. You can enjoy the front cover he conceived of Arthur Rimbaud (painstakingly drawn by the back-from-the-dead fingers of illustrator Waylon Bacon) or look at the tables of contents, which he photographed at two places which are very dear to him, his local library and the raptor sanctuary, where he has been a volunteer for fourteen years.

On the back cover, you can see the cover of Egypt Cemetery, as it will be published, and inside you can read interviews he conducted with Beat writer Ann Charters, country music legend Hank3 and punk rocker Richie Ramone, who was the fastest drummer in the fastest of the original punk bands. He also recently conducted an interview with punk icon Patti Smith, which will appear in Issue Number Twelve of Beatdom…The Crime Issue. Part of that interview is posted on www.beatdom.com .

So hold onto your hats and the fun will begin again soon enough. We just need Michael here to inspire us with some of his insane views that somehow seem to make sense in an insane world. He is almost done with the hard work and misses his readers very much.

He says we should say, “Hello!”

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We’re Baa-ack!!!

     Gentle Readers,

     Much thanks to you for keeping this blog active by reading the archives for the past few weeks. Your visits are appreciated.  We have been busy with a few things, the least of which is putting the final touches on the soon-to-be-released ninth issue of Beatdom, the Drugs Issue and also the Fourth Anniversary Issue.

     We will be moving to a new format which will make owning a copy of your own much easier.  This issue has been graced by the work of Rachel Harper, who did the great cover art you see here, as well as a very cool table of contents. Rachel is a very busy Philadelphia artist and we were very fortunate that she took the time from her overwhelming schedule to provide us with such nice images.

     Inside, behind the cover, we have some excellent stories and essays by Chuck Taylor, Katy Gurin, David S. Wills, Geetanjali Joshi Mishra and more.  As for Yours Truly, we shall have two stories in this issue; one on ‘drugs and creativity’ and another which reviews two Beat-related DVDs, The Life & Times of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.  This is also out first issue as ‘Editor,’ so we pat ourselves on the back for that and give a ‘tip’o’the’hat’ to David S. Wills for the honor.  David started Beatdom four years ago, at age twenty…no mean feat.  Since then, he has made the Beatdom name familiar around the world by

     This is the ‘Drugs’ issue, so do not be surprised if you hyperventilate while reading it.  We are just tying up loose ends and will send out a shout when it is ready for sale.  We also have been working on tee shirts using the cover art.  Get your order in early if you want one of those.

     Another thing which kept us from the blogosphere was Zoning…no, not the type of zoning that we are known for here at CFYSA.  Zoning is the new novel by Spencer Kansa, which will be released by Beatdom Books in July.  William S. Burroughs, a mentor of Kansa, read it and noted that it ‘reads like an urban Celine’. Fans of Burroughs will enjoy the wild ride that Zoning takes them on, stretching time and space in a fantastic tale of two earthlings bound for no good. Fans are lining up in Scotland already to get a copy.  We have been busy with the reading and editing and all those attendant duties and look forward to both the launch of Beatdom Books and Zoning

     Beatdom Books will also be publishing The Dog Farm, the much-awaited, sometimes acrimonious memoir of life in the armpit of South Korea, by David S. Wills.  Having read it a few times, we must admit to enjoying it more with each read.  Again, we will tell you when it is available.  It is a tale of the Beat road of today.

     Pardon us fro the brevity of this blog…we apologize for our absence and hope to be back on our schedule and amusing you all a few times a week, as we get nack to business as usual.

    We thank you again and it is good to be back!!!

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Beatdom Books, Exclusive Pics, Edgar Allen Poe and Other Things

     Readers, Tweeters and Brain-Feeders,

     At left you see an exclusive photo of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs.  It was taken by affable filmmaker Jerry Aronson, who brought us the wonderful movie, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg.  Jerry, in his kindness, allowed us to use five rare photos (four previously unseen in print) to illustrate the review of his DVD re-release of the work, which include an extra DVD with tons of great material – a review of which will be found in Beatdom Issue Nine, The Drugs Issue.  Look for Issue Nine and the review next month.  Also see www.allenginsbergmovie.com

     If you have been on the Beatdom website, you will know that we are celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of Beatdom, the world’s most popular Beat-themed literary journal.  We are also celebrating the birth of Beatdom Books,  a new publishing concern which will be publishing books by literary gadflies Spencer Kansa and David S. Wills, who will both publish novels on Beatdom Books this year.

     Kansa’s offering,  Zoning, will be a welcome addition to the book collections of fans of William S. Burroughs.  Burroughs, in fact, praised the work by Kansa and even provided him with a photo for the cover, which we will be using.  Kansa’s voice, though new and original, channels some of the old, guttural Burroughs panache in it’s own way.

     When we say “we” in this case, we are not referring to the ‘editorial we’ (as used in The Big Lebowski) but the “we” as in David S. Wills and myself, Your Humble Narrator. 

     Mr. Wills has spent three years in Asia, literally sweating over his long-awaited ‘asian rum diary,’ The Dog Farm, which is sure to win him a whole new cadre of Korean critics.  Mr. Wills and myself will be partners in Beatdom Books.  Having spent a drunken fortnight in discussion of all things written and worldly with Mr. Wills last August, we found him to be a most agreeable and far-sighted man, and we are happy to form this new company with him.  He even gave me a hot tip on an asian casino stock which has taken care of my real estate taxes for this year and the next.  That is a good partner.  Cheers, David!

     Now we get to the ironic part.  In digging around the grey matter, looking for a snappy title for this blog, we hit upon the word ‘beat’ and thought we would use a line from Edgar Alllen Poe’s great story of terror, The Telltale Heart.  From the bookcase, we plucked a copy of The Assignation and Other Tales by Poe.  The book is a Claxton Edition,  printed (perhaps) in the 1800s by Belford, Clarke & Company.  There is no year of publication in the book anywhere.  Belford, Clarke was a Chicago-based company but a tiny note in print says the volume was printed by Trow’s Printing and Bookbinding Company of New York.  It may be valuable – perhaps for it’s place in print history.  Though not having exhausted the internet with a search as yet, this brings back memories of last Spring, when we tried to find the value of a couple copies of The Outsider, a hand-printed literary journal published in New Orleans in the early 1960s.

     Google led me to an article on a film, The Outsiders of New Orleans: The Loujon Press, made by Wayne Ewing in 2007.  The article led us to write an email to the author, who happened to be David S. Wills.  While the value of The Outsider (Issues 2 and 3), has yet to be determined, the idea was to sell them and clear some shelf space.  As it happened,  we were invited to write an essay for Beatdom and have been a regular there ever since,  becoming Assistant Editor while working on Issue Eight – The Sex Issue.  When the book collection started, we never considered what trouble it would be to get it out of the house.  Now it is growing organically, with books holding our own work taking up even more space!

     Irony is the way of the world and it always is amazing to see how one thing can lead to another.  A year ago, serious writing was a thing of the past.  Within the last year, we have published in three issues of Beatdom, wrote requested material for a live, naked performance celebrating women Beats, Lit Undressed, held in Omaha, NE, and have embarked upon a new endeavor in the world of publishing.  This being our 54th year on this sphere, we are happy with ourselves and with you,  Kind Readers, for your continued support!

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Bullies and Insults and Bears, Oh My!

     Interested Entities,

     It seems like the national anti-bullying campaign is still gaining steam.  It has nothing to do with Beatdom, the cool literary journal pictured.  I couldn’t find a good bully photo fast enough so it seemed to make sense to remind you all to get your copy of the Beatdom Sex Issue, which features some fine writing, including a few pieces by Your Narrator.

     However, with all the anti-bully rhetoric floating around, we cannot ignore that a large number of readers are brought here by searching on ‘insult,’ due to a recent post.  As an insult maven who sharpened his teeth on gritty replies as early as the second grade, this is found to be an encouraging sign…people are interested in insulting each other again.

     First, let it be known that, as an adult, Your Beloved Scribe, myself that is, only insults people I like.  An insult can be used a little term of endearment…a psychic poke in the ribs.  As far as people who are not liked, they are better off ignored and the insults saved for better subjects.

     One recent blog here noted how ‘insult cards’ were once available at magic and novelty shops.  These were meant to get laughs on stage when your magic trick went wrong, we reckon, but personal use of them was limited to siblings and schoolmates.  One great moment, never to be forgotten, was finding a copy of 1001 Insults For All Occasions in the adult section of the Whitehall Library, in Whitehall, PA.  As a bad kid, reading and writing were the only redeemable values going for me.  By fifth grade, the children’s section was exhausted.  All the Henry Huggins,  Beezus and Ramonas and other serials had been exhausted.  My perception level was not subtle enough to appreciate adult novels but the non-fiction section was a big draw for me.  At that time, in the mid-60s, the library had maybe a half dozen books of insults.

     Needless to say, they were all devoured voraciously.

     There are many resources available to us today, for insulting people all around the world.  My close friend and publisher, who spent a lot of time dealing with Korean insults, may appreciate the following.  I think it is nice to have a site that allows you to annoy foreigners, for a change.  www.insults.net will help you swear in dozens of languages.

     This is what they give you to go up against the Koreans in a battle of words:

How do I swear in Korean ?

Ssibal-seki /
Samanes-seki            - Son of shit
eemee sheemee pek 
     poejee dah         - your mother has a bald pussy
Geseki                  - Son of a bitch

Yumago                  - fuck you

shibseki                - bitch, whore etc.

Ko-chu-pado             - suck my dick

Kochu                   - dick
Dong-mogo               - eat shit

K-sa-key                - bitch

She-pa-nom              - No exact translation but bad
Ja - shick              - You are a bastard.

     This is how they do it in Korea.  As you can see, they are not exactly a well-thought-out style of insult.  These are more like the type of insult you holler out of a car window.  You do not see much of that, anymore, either.  In younger years, one could not be seen in public, walking hand-in-hand with a girl, without some moron driving by and yelling out the car window, “Fuck her! I did!!!”

     You just don’t see this much anymore.
    

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Trending ~ Rock Stars and Books

     Rabid Readers and Word Worshippers,

     The regular delivery of this blog has been somewhat hampered by the introduction of about five fluid ounces of beer to the keyboard of my laptop.  Though blotted up quickly, after a few days the PC started making a noise like two rusty wheels grinding together and became a bit incooperative as regards daily use.  Thanks you for hanging in there while we deal with it.

     Last year, the world of literature saw debut writing from rockers Patti Smith and Keith Richards.  Patti won the 2010 National Book Award for her wonderful account of her life and years with Robert Mapplethorpe and the whole music world is happy for her.  She is currently at work on a detective novel, probably the first of a series, which is eagerly awaited.  Richards, too, made a splash with his 576-page memoir Life.

     In the past, books by rockers have been a ‘hit and miss’ affair.  Bob Dylan’s Tarantula caused a media frenzy until people tried to read it and found it to be too cryptic.  John Lennon fans enjoyed In His Own Write  and A Spaniard In The Works, although they are not too well-known among his fan base, generally.  We have not yet read I, Me, Mine by George Harrison but feel it should be mentioned, by dint of Dylan and Lennon being written about.

In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works  Product Details

     This is all great and makes for lots of interesting reading for us rock’n’roll-loving types but it looks like musician/actor/presence Steve Earle has come up with a new twist to the publishing process.  Long known and respected in both country and rock music for his many highly regarded LPs, like Copperhead Road, The Mountain, El Corazon and Transcendental Blues as well as his pre-sober string of hit singles such as Guitar Town, Hillbilly Highway, I Ain’t Ever Satisfied, Goodbye’s All We Got Left and others.  Sadly, a huge number of people know his work but not his name from his work on the soundtrack of the Steve Martin/John Candy comedy, Planes, Trains and Automobiles; a lot of people know his face from his work as an actor on top-rated HBO hit, The Wire.

     True music/lit afficianados may also point to Kinky Freidman, the Texas Jewboy, who has been putting out detective novels and albums for years but, per the general public, lives in obscurity.  He is appreciated more by other musicians and writers than the public, it seems.

     Back to Earle…in April, he will release a new collection of songs, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.  Country fans will know that it is the same as the title of the Hank Williams song, which was Williams’ most recent release prior to his untimely death at age 29.  The Hank song does not appear on the LP, although Earle says it is the ‘most country’ album he has done in a long time.  That is the cover, pictured at the start of this blog.  Below is the cover of his first novel, with the same title as the LP, which will be released in May, just after the collection of songs.

     Pre-release reviews are very good.  Patti Smith said, “Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit and cinematic energy he projects in his music.I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive is like a dream you can’t shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades.”  There are many other good reviews but a good one from Patti is enough for Your Humble Narrator.  Well, we did mention Kinky, so we should quote him, too, as saying, “Steve Earle is afflicted with the curse of being multitalented. A legendary musician, songwriter, entertainer, poet, and social activist, now with this debut novel he proves that he’s a novelist of the first order. Laying bare the emotional history of country music, he takes the reader through a dark seedy dangerous world and back into a dawn of redemption. Steve Earle writes like a shimmering neon angel.” 

     The title is not just a rip-off from Hank’s catalogue.  It figures into the plot, as does Hank.  Some of us still can’t get enough of Hank.  Since we have not read the book, we can not accurately describe it, so we offer the sysnopsis which is available on amazon.com. It goes like this:

Doc Ebersole lives with the ghost of Hank Williams—not just in the figurative sense, not just because he was one of the last people to see him alive, and not just because he is rumored to have given Hank the final morphine dose that killed him.

In 1963, ten years after Hank’s death, Doc himself is wracked by addiction. Having lost his license to practice medicine, his morphine habit isn’t as easy to support as it used to be. So he lives in a rented room in the red-light district on the south side of San Antonio, performing abortions and patching up the odd knife or gunshot wound. But when Graciela, a young Mexican immigrant, appears in the neighborhood in search of Doc’s services, miraculous things begin to happen. Graciela sustains a wound on her wrist that never heals, yet she heals others with the touch of her hand. Everyone she meets is transformed for the better, except, maybe, for Hank’s angry ghost—who isn’t at all pleased to see Doc doing well. 

A brilliant excavation of an obscure piece of music history, Steve Earle’s I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive is also a marvelous novel in its own right, a ballad of regret and redemption, and of the ways in which we remake ourselves and our world through the smallest of miracles.

     In reading this, it looks like they rewrote Patti’s review, the word ‘redemption’ is too coincidental and the use of the word ‘regret’ hectors the word ‘remorse’ in Patti’s review.  So that is how Amazon gets their descriptions…plagiarism.  I did not expect that insight to surface!  Anyway, get ready for some good reading and listening, too.

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Taking Dad To Ireland, Blood Across the Shannon and Kilts Are Not Irish

     Exhaulted Readers,

     As we stumble upon Saint Patrick’s Day, we thought that a few blogs about the old sod may prove appropriate.  To cut to the quick, let us make one thing clear.  If you see some big goon in a kilt at a bar or Irish function on Wednesday, it is surely an idiot who does not know the difference between Scotland and Ireland and probably bought the kilt as a convenient way to get into a fight.

     Avoid men with kilts, in general, in America, 364 days of the year.  They are allowed one day unless they are first-generation Scot.  Now, that we have annoyed that foolish segment of the population, allow us to continure with the actual story.

     As this is a personal (albiet ficticious since nothing on here is real) tale,  permit me to continue in the first person, I, to make it a bit easier.  The ‘I’ in question is full of bright ideas.  Many are fueled by booze and sentimentality, so the term ‘bright idea’ is a touch of the old sarcasm.  This time, this bright idea, came to pass beginning in late 1999,  the year my mom died.  It was a particularly grim holiday, either turkey day or xmas, and the old man and I sat at the table with the full meal and fixings.  It must have been turkey day, the first holiday without my mom around.

     He was getting teary and, in an effort to switch up the mood of the meal,  I suggested that we take a trip to Ireland the following year.  He was one of those types with the ‘honk if you’re irish’ license plate holder and was easy to deal with on holidays because you just needed a new book on Ireland, which he would never read anyway.  It was a chance to go to Ireland, which I had been thinking about anyway; it was also a way to show that life was not over and there were still things for him to do that he had not even dreamt of.

     As it turned, a golf buddy of his, Louie,  ran tours to the Emerald Isle for several years and we joined a trip he was putting together for the upcoming May.  It took all the planning off my hands, so that was just perfect…until we got there and it dawned on me that he went to sleep at 10pm every night and the sun didn’t even set until close to 11pm that time of year.

      I had never considered the implications of taking an 80-year-old man with a 70-year-old tobacco habit on a plane or how the altitude would affect his lungs.  We started off with a couple days at the Royal Dublin Hotel on O’Connell Street, with the statue of Parnell, the Great Patriot of the Irish Nation.  The old man took it easy, after the scare at the airport, where they put him in a chair and gave him oxygen for a bit.

     So, here I was in Ireland, the only young man in a group of senior citizens, the youngest of whom may have been in her mid-sixties.  At least nobody would try to hang around with me.

     It was great to be on the main street of the city, in walking distance of Trinity College, the famous old government buildings, the Book of Kells, the house where Bram Stoker labored over his novel, Dracula, which would sell many hoodies, hundreds of years after it was printed.

     There was a stain on the pillow, which I noticed the first morning and took to be a result of drooled-out tobacco juice, which stained a number of his clothing items.  There was another stain the next morning, as was discovered as bags were packed to leave Dublin and head down coast to the Munster area, where many of the first great kings of Ireland came from and where they fought many of their fiercest battles, defending their homeland from the inevitable pillaging which plagued the People for centuries.

     While in this corner of the Isle, we stayed in Clonmel (meaning honey meadow), near TipperaryThe Hotel Minella was home for a few days, in the middle of the orchards where the apples for the wonderful Magner’s Irish Cider are grown.  The hotel was an extravagant affair.

                                             

    It lay along the River Suir, with the Comeragh Mountains looking behind.  Here, again, we spent a few days.  Dad had gotten a bit tired and so was I, so after a few drinks, we retired to the room on early-afternoon to get into an argument over the television.  I was watching the movie Butcher Boy, the disturbing tale with Sinead O’Connor as the Holy Virgin Mary.  While an excellent flick, it was beyond his sensibilities, so I tried for a short nap and went for a walk.

     The grounds were fantastic and, as stated, were surrounded by the orchards and farmland.  A dirt road ran sort of parallel to the river.  Apple trees and livestock ran along the gurgling waters of the Suir.  This was more like a creek than a river.  This was not the grand, majestic Shannon but it was lovely.

     Returning from my walk, a shower was in order and as I shaved before stepping into the tub, a few specks of blood near the mirror got my attention.  It was not a lot but it was in a small ‘spray pattern’.  I cannot even say that i knew it was blood at that point, looking back.  It totally surprised me.  A nice meal and an evening of drink, and at the light of dawn, the little dirt road beaconned.  Nobody was awake, not even the hotel staff, as I slipped out the door in my running shoes.

     I found some cows, feeding in a lot along the road, just a quarter mile from the hotel.  Having seen cows many times before, I am not sure what attracted me to them but I sidled up to the gate which held them in, to take a picture.  They all were chewing at the tall, green grass.  I got a shot or two of them chewing and thought it may be a good time to practice my ‘moo’, so one was brought up for the benefit of the bovine and it got their attention, as you can see in the photo.

                                                       

     Having made a good impression on the cows, the brisk walk continued and after a few hours, the hotel appeared in site again and it was just in time for a continental breakfast.  I stopped at the room to shower.  There was no blood on the wall, but here were bloodied paper towels in the trash.  It looked like he had been spitting up into them.  This was starting to get serious and we still had more than half of Ireland waiting for us.

     We will pick this up tomorrow, at the Hotel Minela.  Thanks for your patience.

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Facebook – Friends and Enemas, Part II

     Gentle Readers,

     Since so many of you were interested in the subject of the last blog and, since Your Humble Narrator had a nasty virus, we shall pick up where we left off – with poor, pissed-on Wankie and his appearance on the ‘friends’ pages of the same people who stole his car, poisoned him and pissed on his noggin.

     First, you will notice that today’s photo is one of a public library.  This is not the library I grew up with…this is just a library I happen to have a picture of.  It is the Reading, Pa., Public Library in the center of the city.  I have the photo because it is the first time I ever held a protest sign.  That is me, behind the sign with the Converse Chuck Taylors sticking out from beneath it.  I had two libraries as a child, a great one in Whitesboro, NY, which used to be an Underground Railroad station which had secret tunnels for hiding slaves; my other library in Whitehall, PA, was an excellent one, too,  since it was a brand new building and had tons of new material and a huge kid’s section.  This was the library where Your Narrator first threw up as a result of nicotine overload at age ten.

     When vomiting, you are pretty helpless.  Locked in that bright, well-lit library lavatory, spewing the broth with the librarian rap, rap, rapping on that door,  the puking was private until the door was opened by my ghostly form, sweaty and white as sun-dried bone.  It is best to be left alone in one’s misery.  Do Unto Others, as they say.

     So, that being said, mostly by way of ADHD-fueled diversion,  it was never my pleasure to see anybody suffer, aside from siblings when growing up.  My old man was a boxer in the US Marine Corps divisional matches.  My brother was a master of martial arts, Black Belt in Judo, Karate and Martial Arts Weaponry, all.  Much of this writer’s childhood was spent hiding from some bigger, older kids who were always rumored to be ‘after him’.  The urge to hurt others never took seed in me.  On the other hand,  my father and brother never got laid very much (judging by their childlike unfamiliarity with the sex act) and it is better to be a lover than a fighter, anyway.

     The kids who chased me were usually two or three years older, in high school and short…short as in sawed-off, as in runt.  Over six feet tall going into the seventh grade,  the target was on my back.  The library was devoid of this type of juvenile as well as most all the kids who went to school with me.  None of them cared much about reading.  Even in high school, only one or two were anywhere near approaching the state of ‘book smart’.  The library was sanctuary.  The outsider behaviour came early to me.  My friends were books and my dog, the ever-faithful Gus.

     But that is okay, since being an outsider kept me away from most scenes like the one described in the previous blog.  However, let us revisit that behaviour and ponder a few things.

     What real joy do we get from pushing somebody to the limits, using the most uncivilized behaviour?  Worse yet, how do we still find joy in incidents which openly point to our own depravity?  How do you find joy in what would be dubbed ‘torture’ if it were performed in Gitmo Bay?  We all do irresponsible things as youths but isn’t it a bit sick to revel in them forty years later when, as adults, we should own our actions in the name of either Karma, Christ or culpability?

     Worst of all, how do you ‘friend’ a person who has poisoned you and urinated on your shag hair cut?  How do you see the faces of people who stole your car, your weed, fed you treefrogs while hungover, laughed the whole time – how do you send a message to ask them to be your ‘friend’?  Of course, we have always let bygones be bygones but some things are too warped to be bygoned.  Is it short memory?  Is it a desperate attempt to hold onto your school days?  Is it proof that the drugs in the 1970s were really that good and so such incidents are seen through a warm and dreamy haze of comfortability?    

     When queried as to why Wankie appears on the ‘friends page’ of these guys, they patently denied it…which was stupid since he was right there on the screen, in alphabetical  order.  When it was pointed out that they had to manually accept him as a ‘friend’ for his profile to show up there, it always seems to have been an accident.  “How did he get in there,’ they ask aloud. 

     Many of these guys married early, made homes, got taken by their ex-wives and are starting over.  Some of them hate women because of the grief caused by premature marriages which gutted any hope of an exciting future and bank accounts gutted by exes who got tired of coming home to hear the strains of Genesis drifting out of the windows.

     Can you get therapy for things like this? Certainly if you are the pissee as opposed to the pisser,  the need for therapy is probably a personal thing that begs to be answered in the recesses of the mind of the put-upon.  What kind of therapy do you give adults who still find this sort of stuff to be funny?  That is the real question.

     These days, ‘bullying’ is a big issue.  Considering the way kids acted when we grew up, the ‘bullying’ of today is small potatoes.  Kids need a certain amount of denigration to put them in place.  It toughens them up for the world of Facebook.

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