Now all I’ve got is sorrow and pain Joey Ramone

Emily by Jugeminias
Click images for desktop size: “Emily” by Jugeminias
Missing my puppy badly.
I slept better last night. Discovered a plan that semi-worked. Involved a lot of propping with pillowsRabid and proper splaying. I slept for 3 hours straight through.
But dreamt of my puppy. On nights like this she’d tell me puppy jokes, watch over me and recommend a good snack. Being a doctor dog she’d know when to nuzzle me, when to play with me, take me outside, when to have me pet her.
I miss my puppy. Trying hard to not let my desperation for her turn into obsession.
Obsession almost always means you miss the obvious solutions in life.
I’m hoping that tomorrow starts to yield some results to my mad flurry of resume rending job searching. Its time for interviews and time for hoping.
I went to this store, Ross. They have plenty f cheap slacks. They sell Dockers for like eight bucks. I figure dockers are okay for some interviews. I begrudge spending the eight bucks.
I bought some used books yesterday. The trip was to drop off job apps. I got four books for nine dollars. Three of them will be interesting but hardly vital, the find was David Drake’s “Killer”.
“Killer,” is a book I was thinking about months ago. Its a science fiction tale about a vicious killing machine monster that gets loose on earth. What makes this story compelling is that the earth its gone to war with is ancient Rome! And the monsters hunter is a former gladiator!
I’m into the first one hundred pages. The story drags a bit more than I remembered but its still fascinating. There’s some effort made to show the life of free Romans. The history lesson is integrated well into the plot so it hardly feels like you’re learning anything at all! Good stuff.

July 5, 2009

We woke the next morning with heavy growing hearts. A border, an imaginary line meant we had to Enhanced Canadian Wilderness By James Davidson
Click images for desktop size: “Enhanced Canadian Wilderness” by James Davidson
go our own ways.
The Days Inn provided a free breakfast. We decided to save some money and eat it. The breakfast was poor but could fill you up.
The worst part was a tray full of eggs cooked someway that they’re all perfectly round. They are also nearly indestructible. Even though heaped on the plate none of their yolks showed any hint of breaking. I was afraid of them. They did not seem like food but more like the Japanese plastic sculptures of food the restaurants display.
To while away the time until checkout we walked and talked. We thought of strategies, of hopes and of plans. All bright optimistic stuff to avoid thinking of my departure time.
When we checked out we went looking for a bookstore, so I could get something to read on the long bus ride.
We went to Borders. My friend found a couple of cook books and a gluten free magazine she’d never before seen. I couldn’t find anything. The prices for he titles were too high for my remote interest inThe Return of the Vampire them.
We then found a spectacular looking used book store but it was closed on the Sunday. We looked through the windows and regretted the day.
It seemed a nice place to sit and talk and attempt to say goodbye.
Divine Right
Click images for desktop size: “Divine Right” by Marvel
We had lunch at this Irish style pub. I had a quesadilla . . . it was not good but better than I feared.
Following a last second “I need another bungi cord” panic we went to the bus station. We sat and waited. Talked.
There were two US Immigrations cop hanging around. Border Patrol this far from a border? My bus pulled in but we weren’t allowed to board. The Border Patrol had to go in and harass the passengers. They pulled an Indian guy off the bus and were huge jerks. They made him get his luggage and they inspected everything in an incredibly arrogant fashion.
I got on the bus. My friend was in tears. I flashed all the ASL I knew at her. I don’t know if she knew what I was saying. I kept flashing ASL even as the bus pulled out. When we got to the other side of the bus station my friend was out there. She waved. I waved back and watched her walk to her car. I wanted to tell her there’s no sense in crying. No one was dead yet.
So two days out of prison, nearly 4 weeks from a heart attack and here I was on the dreaded Frank Melech
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Frank Mellech
Greyhound. No chance to recover. No chance to breathe.
I had 16 hours to think about things.
I started thinking about the racist cop who started this ugly turn. I don’t like cops. Its their insanity and their presumption I don’t like. After they’ve been at it long enough they start to think that everyone is guilty and its only a matter of time till they have you under the lights burying their saps in your kidneys.
This Scott McVicar wasn’t even unique. I’d noticed that the area cops were almost all of a freaky breed. They remind me of nothing more than the cops in “A Clockwork Orange”. “Just jobs for two who are of job working age!”
They’re thugs too cowardly to run with the gangs and the worst of them who find the gangs to tame for the sadistic hatred they carry in their souls.
The sick part is that they no longer make the cops wear uniforms, not consistent uniforms. They let them fuss and futz with their uniforms to the point that there is no longer any relief when you see aSan Quentin cop. McVicar wore no name tag – ever. He even obscured his badge. He fitted and tugged his uniform and wore so much extra unofficial gear he looked more like a manga character than a cop. He wasn’t alone. The end result is they look like a manga inspired gang that gets to carry guns and openly hate.
I’ve never seen any police force in the world that allowed its cops to customize their uniforms to such an extent that the officers couldn’t be readily identified. Not even in Africa around the equator. They want the police to be readily identified in an effort to stop trouble except in Canada where the by-word is to let the thugs keep the thugs in their place and who cares what they look like.
Suddenly squad car cops are allowed to do investigations. And a cop so stupid and ignorant he thinks everything he sees on the internet is true. And based on that I was thrown in prison. I was never fingerprinted, photographed nor DNA tested. They have no idea if I was even the guy in the story. But on the whim of a racist cop who thinks in sci-fi fantasy cop terms I was arrested and thrown in prison by K.W. (Ken) McMurtrie, an immigration cop who tried to glamorize his role by Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: “Frankenstein” by Universal
pretending that I was a dangerous arch fiend so he could justify his budget. Then when his speculative case fell apart he lied and tied to justify his heinous acts. He doesn’t care about people. Just about his superiors reaming him about going over budget.
In my friends neighborhood there was a mini scandal. Some 25 year old kid walked up to an old man and punched the old man until he was dead. No one could understand it.
Now I do know what happened. He’d just been released from Maplehurst.
You can’t take a young violent man, throw him in a ell, abuse and debase him through a constant, clearly administratively approved series of verbal, physical and psychological abuse. Reduce his self esteem to less than zero and then give him nothing but time. No encouragement, no chance to improve himself, just encourage his violence, set him up to commit institutionally approved violence against other inmates.
Are the people who set up this system illiterate? Haven’t they bothered to read or even be aware of Shiver of the Vampire the last 60 years of penal work and reform.
MAXSEX (Maximum Security) is harsh. I’ve visited prisoners in MAXSEC in Europe and the USA. I was treated with respect. So were the prisoners. The sort of behavior exhibited by the guards at Maplehurst would not have been tolerated at any of those prisons if only because the type of prisoners in MAXSEC would think nothing of killing a guard ho was insulting and belittling and threatening, but also because everyone knows very few MAXSEC prisoners get life sentences. Most of them will be out on the street. In a true MAXSEC prisoners case every effort is made to attempt to rehabilitate him to avoid just spitting killers back onto the street. They succeed quite often. More than 70%.
The prisoners at Maplehurst are NOT MAXSEC! Shoplifters are not MAXSEC. They do not promote a danger to others around them. Guys on two year sentences for being drunk and disorderly are not MAXSEC.
Maplehurst makes no attempt at education or rehabilitation. They punish. The punish the innocent and the guilty equally. But what else they are doing is training killers. You could even produce an argument proving it is intentional.
It was in the 1930’s that it was shown that the treatment of prisoners especially in modes such as practiced at Maplehurst increased a prisoners propensity to violence and that propensity stayed with the prisoner long after his incarceration had ended. Repeat offenders increased and the repeat offenses were noted for their escalating physical violence.
Click images for desktop size: “Forest” by Unknown
The punishment administered at hell holes like Maplehurst punishes society far more than it punishes the prisoner.
We got nearer my stop. The bus was over crowded and it was making my shoulder crazy.
I knew instead of thinking of the injustice of the recent past I needed to start thinking about the future or I’d be in trouble.
All I could think about was my puppy.
But she’s not here.
Maybe she never will be again.
I refuse to accept that I deserve anymore punishment. I rebel.

We live and we work so we can die Sam Fuller

D'Amour by Douleur
Click images for desktop size: “D’Amour” by Douleur
I’m re-reading Raymond Chandler’s and Robert Parker’s “Poodle Springs”. That’s the book that was supposedly based on notes and pages Chandler was working on when he died. I’ve heard itsKing Kong anywhere from 5 pages of manuscript to 100.
Anyway, somebody hired Robert Parker to finish the book up.
When I first heard of this I rushed and got it right away. Got it in hard cover. I mean this is literature. Raymond Chandler. When you Hope and Crosby
Click images for desktop size: “Hope and Crosby”
live in pop culture land as much as I do literature that you can actually enjoy, that isn’t some arduous task that will some how make you into a mythic better person, you have to jump on it. Buying it in hard cover made it mean something, made it permanent and real.
I was pretty excited and really sort of sad that it more than a little bit sucked.
Robert Parker isn’t anywhere near the writer Chandler was. Chandler was about the scene, the characters, and the poetry. Parker is about the plot, about the mystery and the crime.
Because of Chandler I’ve read a lot of mystery stuff. Don’t care for most of it.
Part of the problem is that its hard to figure which is Chandler and what is Parker imitating Chandler. Like there’s a scene where Marlowe helps out a gambling cheat who’s also a bigamist. He helps him avoid getting arrested for murder because he saw the guy with his first wife and thought they looked sweet together. That’s not totally inconsistent with Marlowe, but it’s a bit too sentimental to be taken seriously. You wonder how much did Chandler intend to keep and how much was just taking a look at it.
Conquering the World
Click images for desktop size: “Conquering the World” by Unknown
At this stage of his life Chandler did all of his writing into a tape recorder then had it all transcribed. He would then ruthlessly edit the typewritten pages.
Its easy to imagine the meticulousness that he approached his editing. When he submitted his first short story he went through and typed it by himself. Because the cheap pulp magazines used justified margins Chandler went through and typed his manuscript with the same justified margins! This wasn’t mousing over a button and clicking it, he counted letters and spaces and figured it all out.
So even though he typed things out there’s no guarantee that he would have left it in the final story. We all know that Marlowe could get sappy, but he never acted sappy and he never saw killers as friends no matter how much he liked them before they became killers, no matter how sympathetic he might be.
In the book Marlowe is married to the multi-millionairess Linda Loring nee’ Potter from “The Long3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt Goodbye”. Parker has them constantly squabbling about how Marlowe has to be his own man. Chandler never squabbled. You get the impression that Parker had so many great squabble lines that he decided he needed to use them all. Instead of condensing them all down to a bare element he scatters them throughout the story so they become tedious instead of whip smart. After the first squabble you know this marriage is doomed. Chandler would have let us see that love is always present but the people are just too wrong for each other. All the bickering just makes us dislike both of the people and feel relieved when they’re apart.
I even wonder about the title. “Poodle Springs” as a nom de plume for Palm Springs is a little weird. Chandler didn’t like dogs so perhaps he’d have kept it to show his contempt for the desert resort. But the same way he let Faun Lake stand in for Big Bear I don’t think he’d have let his roman de clef predominate the story. It was the location, the air of the scene not the feelings for the place that overwhelmed.
Back in the life where I cared about such things I wrote an adaptation of Chandler’s last original unproduced screenplay. I wrote it so I could make the movie with my friends, shoot it on 8mm stock with sound than transfer it to video for a sale to VHS. It was a good plan and I managed to strip the story down to free to use locations (borrowing from all my friends, their homes and their clubs, restaurants and offices). We even shot a few scenes before the contact I had at the video distributorship told me the cost the Chandler Estate agents wanted for my adaptation. The WGA said that my script contained about 35% of Hannabai by Kurkosawa
Click images for desktop size: “Hannabai” by Kurkosawa
Chandler’s so I had to play ball. Forced me to abandon that little dream.
In rewriting his screenplay and bringing it into contemporary LA, a stripped down LA, I was inadvertently following Chandler’s big advice for how to learn to write. He always preached that you had to read something you liked then sit down and rewrite it in your own words. Not copy it but try to recreate the impact of the scene or the characters.
The by product of this is that I learned more about how Chandler constructed his scenes, what appealed to me and also how different Chandler’s and my view of the world actually is.
In understanding it I grew to appreciate the differences as much as the similarities. I was able to see more clearly his concepts of the world and of LA. It served me well in understanding people, and having compassion for those who are different and those who I think are just wrong.
I guess “Poodle Springs” as flawed and poor as it is still serves some purpose in that it forces me to remember the the LA that Chandler created so that I can recall more vividly the LA I lived in.2001

It rained all weekend. My friend had to work all weekend. Not the best of times. Done now.
My friend meets her new boss today, on the telephone. Conference call thing. Seems odd to me but at least they didn’t ask her to make the 2 hour drive to meet him.
My arms have become ridiculous. I’m bored with the agony. Tomorrow, if I get my bike running today, I get my Doctorate in self Injectology. I’m holding out the wispy hope that insulin might go some way to relieving this grief. So bad that muscles around the pain have turned into walnuts. If I was of the paranoid bent I’d decided the knots are masticized tumors.
The foster dog is amazing. He has to live in his crate with the stupid cone head collar on but he remains joyous. Sometimes a little bit more than required. I’ve only ever had one foster dog who arrived calm. Charles. an old cocker> He was very much about his business and even more so about his pace. Otherwise every foster has arrived full of life, a complete ignorance of most things human, and an inbred compulsion to play with everything.
I think that’s right.

People are like stained-glass windows; they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Interleaved by LawnElf My mother always had a lot of friends. They were usually young women.
I didn’t understand it at the time but often one of these women would end up staying with us. TheyThe Night Walker were unwed expectant mothers. They had no place to go. Even though we lived in near poverty my mother always opened our home to them.
At first I didn’t understand what pregnant even meant. I just knew it was some lady that worked at the concession stand at the drive-in with my mother. They stayed with us, got fat and then they weren’t around anymore.
Day Dreams by Paul Fischer It always felt a little bit empty when they’d leave.
My mother continued doing this even after she got married. My stepfather didn’t mind having another attractive woman in the house. From my step-father I heard a lot f disparaging phrases: Round heels, shacked up and stupid, knocked up and broke, and one I still don’t really get, tripped the guy and beat him to the ground.
I liked the young women. They’d stare at me sometimes in a funny way I couldn’t grasp but I liked them well enough. One in particular fascinated me. She was a morose girl, from the east coast she was as close to a beatnik as I’d ever seen. She said “cool” a lot and wore black turtle necks and a beret. That’s as close to a beatnik as you could get in Southern California. The climate is not conducive to introspection. She might have been my first love.
She would borrow my red card board record player and play this one album, Gregory Corso’s “Happy Birthday to Death”.
To me this was a weird record. It wasn’t songs. It was this guy, Corso, reading his poetry while this bongo player just wailed away. I liked the bongo’s at least. I’d sit with her while she played this. Partially to protect my precious record player and partly because she’d talk to me. I had little idea of what she was talking to me about but she spoke so seriously and intently it made me feel like I was being treated as an adult.
Pin Up Art by JW McGinnis After one of her soliloquies I felt like I should fill the silence so I’d ask a stupid question that seemed important to me. Like, on the record, it bugged me that after each cut the people didn’t clap and applaud but they’d snap their fingers and shuffle their feet. It seemed weird then and now.
Now I realize it gives me the impression of some guy who got rich for the day at the race track and was at some lurid live sex show and this sweaty guy keeps shouting out, “Oh yeah baby!” while the rest of the raincoat crowd pretends to ignore him.
Anyway after I’d ask my stupid question the beatnik girl (who’s name I can’t remember) would tussle my hair gently, look at me sadly and give me a hug, sometimes even a kiss on the cheek.
I’d just started drum lessons then. I didn’t have a set. I just had the rubber practice pad and anything else that fell under my drumsticks.The Return of Count Yorga
I liked the bongos. Liked them a lot. And then actually found a set at a yard sale. Cost a quarter. I think they were used more for decoration than for playing. Something to throw on the lanai for the tiki torch parties that were popular in the neighborhood.
I’d also only heard bongos on the record. I didn’t know they were played by hand. It only took a couple of days for me to put the drumsticks through the skins. A whole quarter wasted. The price of a comic book down the tubes.
The beatnik girl who seldom noticed me except she was going through some sort of maternal angst, tried to show me how to use them, playing along with her Corso record. I wasn’t interested in her bad music lessons so I listened to the words, Corso’s words:
I stand in the dark light in the dark street and look up at my window,
I was born there.
The lights are on; other people are moving about.
I am with raincoat; cigarette in mouth,
hat over eye, hand on gat.
I cross the street and enter the building.
The garbage cans haven’t stopped smelling.

Frank Sinatra I liked that.
I guess beatnik girl felt some maternal streak and decided to tell me about Corso, stuff she’d read on the record sleeve. Corso got sent to prison 3 times. For stealing a toaster, a suit and breaking into his school to have a warm place to sleep. All before he was 17. He was imprisoned as an adult with Mafia hoods and murders.
Prison scared me. I didn’t think of poets as tough guys who could survive prison. I thought prisons were where you went to die.
I found out it was easier to read poetry than to listen to it. Even with bongos it’s easier to read.
Corso’s stuff was funny and mean. There was a picture on the back of one f beatnik girls books. He looked like a handsome prize fighter.
Poetry had its own music to it. It wasn’t song lyrics. The best song lyrics, to me, are slogans, something to counterpoint the beat.
Poetry carried its own beat. For Corso it was tough and percussive. Words barking out at the night before heading into the long howl of the end of us all.The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
I can’t remember beatnik girl’s name, or her face. But I remember Corso.

I’m getting used to my new mouth. Brushing my teeth is still a hassle. Eating is a chore but not an impossible one.
Blood pressure is still all over the place but always slightly too high.
The pain in my right shoulder is aggravating. I remember that when I had similar in the left it took me three months or more of daily exercise to finally sort it out. Since my left elbow and thumbs are still gimpy I feel a bit lost most of the time. Making coffee is more of a chore. It feels like one of the labours of Hercules getting the kettle plugged in. Reaching for stuff, even light stuff takes grit.
The best thing about this weekend was that my friend has got four days off. Today’s the last of them. I like her being around. I think she likes being around. I like to think that part of her pleasure at being home is that I’m here. Crabby people like to think that they are somehow an asset.
We watched the “hot” new Japanese film, “Ichi”. That’s the rethinking of Zatoichi. It replaces the cool blind masseur with a femme yetar player.
It was terrible. They cast some forgettable J-pop star as Ichi, I figure to try and catch the same lightening that fired the similar in intent “Azumi”.
“Ichi” sucked. It was boring, meandering and a waste of the totally cool actors they did have in it.
Rapunzel by Olivia No humanity. No soul. Bad fighting.

The iMac is giving me big fits. This morning it was all locked up. The UIServer crashed so couldn’t do anything but reboot. Oddly it killed the network connection for some unknown reason. Then had to reboot it again after less than an hour. Everything just locked up and refused to quiesce. Still making daily back-ups, even though I forgot yesterdays.

Time is not measured by the passing of years, but by what one does, what one feels and what one achieves Jawaharlal Nehru

Jazz No football this weekend. None.
Why bother with weekends if there’s not a feeling of football.Private Hell 36
It gives me time to think. Who needs time to think? What I think about is life and guilt.
Every time there’s a tragedy there’s a pretty human response to feel like some how you’ve failed. Like you could have done or didn’t do the one thing that could have made things different. Somehow different always feels better.
Maybe its not a human thing. Maybe its a catholic thing, this guilt.
HK Pepnx II But like when the little blind dog died I spent weeks thinking what I could have done to give him more time. When the car died I still keep rolling through my mind what I could have done differently, what I should have done. Even when I conclude that we did what we could there’s another possibility.
This doesn’t detract from addressing issues. It doesn’t bog you down. Maybe Catholics are trained to feel and deal with guilt.
We have found a place that sells cars at a reasonable cost. With a couple that look pretty possible. Used cars but . . .
When you remember that my first 3 cars each cost less than fifty bucks . . . I even got one car that ran until I sold it for a game ball used cars costing over 10 grand kind of freak me.
Some of these cars still have warranty time left so we’ll check it out.
For various reasons that reminds me of stupid errands I did with my second car (the first car, a green 52 Pontiac with the amber indian head for a hood ornament [yes, older even than me] the one where I shoe polished the leather upholstery – the car still ran great, especially with my specially Indians Hunting Buffalo by Charles Russel Marion designed coat hanger choke, but the smell of the shoe polish got you super sick after about 10 minutes).
I was writing songs so I thought I should check out some poetry. I was driving back from the beach when I saw this book store I’d heard of on the wrong side of the street. I did a you turn and went into Papa Bach’s. It was a weird hippie joint. They burned incense which still makes me queasy. They had all these small press books and this line called new directions.
They had this book by William Borroughs. “Naked Lunch”. I thought it was “Naked Came a Stranger” which was like this porno book I’d read about in the LA Times. It was supposed to be an “erotic” novel that was written by a different author in each chapter. Being a kid I was most stunned that women had written some of it. I was still convinced that women hated sex and only endured it with a huge amount of cajoling and pleading. The idea of women writing porn was jaw dropping.Rape Squad
I figured in this hippie shop they’d sell porn even to a grossly underaged kid. So I grabbed “Naked Lunch” (thinking it was “Naked Came a Stranger”, how many books could there be with naked in the title anyway) grabbed a mess of small press poetry and New Directions books (to conceal my real intention was the purpose) and stood there, a fifteen year old surfer in baggies ready to make my purchase.
I went to school that day and spent the whole day reading “Naked Lunch” in class. I didn’t care if it was the wrong book. It had plenty of porn, but all the wrong sort. It was the fact I found it funny, mystifying and well, at that time my world consisted of the beach, football, clubs, school and avoiding my step father.
“Naked Lunch” was about places I never imagined could be, about people I didn’t seriously think existed. I thought it was great.
After reading it through twice in a day I loaned it to my friend Tom. He thought it was crazy but liked some of the funny bits. We began having conversations straight from the book, talking in that weird broken metier of drug addicts and William Burroughs. Our favorite joke became, “I am the Great Slashtubitch and I can tell you fake the orgasm by the way you wiggle your big toe!” I have no idea why we thought it was funny except in some sort of Bevis and Butthead way.
Pretty soon we’d infected the entire football team with the book. About 80 high school kids roaming the halls reciting chunks of “Naked Lunch” to each other was not something I figure the Board of Education would have approved of.
Anime There was an Assistant Principal at school. He was in charge of discipline. That meant he was the guy who gave you detention and called your parents if you were absent or parked your car in the wrong spot or if your muffler was too loud. He carried a hunk of celluloid in his pocket so he could measure your hair to make sure it didn’t cover more than 1 and 1/2 inches of your collar . . . Catholic School.
Thing is, he dug the job, the power we guessed.
His name was close enough to one of the “Naked Lunch” characters, the Sollibees, that we all took to calling him Mr Sollibee (The sollibees were creatures who lived underneath tavern bars, they poked their heads out through holes in the bar to “service” customers while they drank. The name fit our attitude towards him perfectly. Soon the whole school was calling him Mr Sollibee. I don’t think he ever twigged as to why we were all suddenly mispronouncing his name. None of the other teachers did either. At least we never caught any of them laughing.
Because that book was such a hit I checked out the other things I’d picked up that day. I wasRide The Pink Horse amazed. Kenneth Patchen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso. Beat poets.
None of them helped me write any songs but they led me to believe that poets were the next Superman. I read how Corso used to read his poetry to a simple bongo accompaniment, which still sounds totally cool to me. And Kenneth Patchen explained the movies in his head and made them sound cooler than “The Great Escape” and “A Fistful of Dollars” combined.
I rally thought these were the guys who had powers “far beyond those of mortal men”. I doubt if they helped me write better lyrics . . . (look for me babe but I ain’t there; could hardly stand improvement . . . ) but I felt these guys understood parts of the world that I sensed were out there but had never seen. I thought that they had the map to something important. Something important to me and to the world and that it was a power they had, power louder than my Fender amp. I liked them, adored them and didn’t want to be Jeanne D'Arc by Michael Parkes like them but I wanted to know what they knew even while I thought it was impossible.
Their effect on me was that I lead the conference in yards and touchdowns that season.
For the first time in my life I wanted to go someplace that wasn’t in California.

Its been cold here. But we seem to be in the middle of a snow drought. There’s enough snow on the ground to keep everything pretty and the constant snow means the dogs and I have got solid paths wending through the yard. Great paths that lead no where but are easy to follow.
The giant dog has suddenly decided he won’t go outside without me. I have no idea why. His attitude hasn’t changed and when we go out together he gets full on dog play crazy. Bears watching.The Shining
A couple of weeks ago the gentle dog went to work with my friend. He got so excited he leapt in the air and landed sleeping on the ice. Lately we’ve noticed that he starts to limp every time he first gets up from sleeping or just lying around. Its not a bad limp and it vanished pretty quickly. He has no tenderness in his legs and no change in his attitude. Walking him is still like walking a kite. So I worry. Today started to give each of them 500 mg of Glucosamine to lubricate their joints. Reports as events warrant.
Of course my puppy still loves me and I love her.

Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time Abraham Lincoln

Erotic Apera by Alex Varenne

Click images for desktop size: “Erotic Opera” by Alex Varenne
I wasn’t very overwhelmed with the inauguration speech.
Somehow it reminded me of a my old physics professor berating the class for doing so poorly on anHere Comes Mr Jordan exam that he had to throw out the bell curve.
I don’t mind being underwhelmed. FDR was not a very magnificent speaker and he pulled this country out of a similar set of nasty circumstances.
I was very disheartened by the actions and comments of people like Rush Limbaugh. I mean there’s a fat kid who clearly had his butt kicked every day when he was growing up and now has so much nastiness left in him that all the other fat kids with bruised rear Penguins by Wallpaper Coll

Click image: “Penguins” by Wallpaper Collection
ends follow him slavishly.
And the other Republican antics are just so much dross that its apparent they’re committed to becoming a third party.
One thing is that Cheney reminded me of was Mussolini. An evil man as judged by history who viewed himself as compassionate and who cared for his people. He did not think he lied. He thought he was being Machiavellian clever.
There was this odd book, “Inferno” by Larry Niven. I don’t usually like much of Niven’s stuff but this book had an interesting conceit.
It retold Dante’s “Inferno” in the simplest Cliff Notes way possible. The guide through the Seven Circles of Hell was Benito Mussolini.
Here the endless damnation, pain and torment was not seen as an end in and of itself. The layers of hell were seen not as a test but a rite of purification. A voyage through lakes of boiling blood and burning pitch to self awareness and discovery. So that by making the long path of torture through hell one can finally understand themselves and rise up to heaven.
Girl, Scotty and Violin by Archie Dickens

Click images for desktop size: “Girl, Scotty and Violin” by Archie Dickens
The book uses people like Billy the Kid to show how this rite can be abandoned but not failed. “Inferno” eventually ends up listing the seven circles of hell the same way De Sade’s last book descended into being a simple lists of tortures he wished he been able to try.
Its an nteresting read and as Mussolini details his sins and regrets it is words that belonged in Dick Cheney’s mouth. Cheney has implemented torture and been directly responsible for the death of thousands and still feels no regrets.
Who moreso deserves hell and an eternity of struggling through the lake of boiling blood.
Not even Bush, moving into his restricted multi-million dollar home has been so callous, unrepentant, blame shifting and vile he’s a man doomed by himself.
Here’s to a future.The Incredible Shrinking Man

My puppy’s aun made a suggestion: that we look for a year old car that still has a few years left on the warranty. A pretty good idea. The main stumbling block is that brand new cars can be had with 0% financing. That might make the slightly used car more expensive. We’ll have to keep searching though. Its worth investigating.
One idle thought I’d had was trying to pick up a junker, “Transportation Cars” they call them in the ads. Something to last a few months until the Honda hybrids come out. The price on them seems to keep rising but its still cheaper than most out there and 63 mpg is pretty cool.
So much to consider and time is like a taxi meter right now.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Amazing Taprohmtom Braid Tree Temple by Whamuel
Click images for desktop size: “Amazing Taprohmtom Braid Tree Temple” by Whamuel
It snowed. Another 2 and one half inches, I’d guess.
I was only partially joking about snow shoveling and martial arts having a similarity. When I shovel snow I get a feeling eerily similar to the feeling I used to get at karate special trainings.Blood Beach
Its the constant repetitive motion perhaps. Or its like the comedy training in “Return to the 36th Chamber” where the monks have the acolyte do what seems to be a dull never ending task. It ends up that the acolyte has been martial arts training. So well he isn’t even aware of it. “Karate Kid” stole the well and condensed it to “wax on, wax off”. Which is easier to remember but not quite as deep.
What I’m referring to is the meditation part of the exercise. Shoveling snow and throwing 1,000 kicks aren’t as different as I’d Dark Days by PicDeskTop
Click images for desktop size: “Dark Days” by PicDeskTop
like to think. The major difference is that at the end of the snow shoveling exercise you can look back and see a clear path that, hopefully, leads somewhere. With martial arts you only have a tired body and the feeling that you’ve accomplished something great.
I’m not sure which is more zen.
In the “Lone Wolf and Cub” manga and movies there’s a story about Ogami Itto being hired to kill a monk. a very holy monk; a Buddha walking the earth.
Ogami confronts the monk as he prays in a temple. In the manga Ogami’s sword slashes and cannot touch the immobile monk. In the movie Ogami cannot even draw his sword.
The monk tells Ogami he cannot be killed because he “is one with the void. The universe begins and ends in me. There is no place where you can strike the heart of the universe. You are enlightened Ogami Itto but your enlightenment is only that of the assassin.”
In the comic the exchange ends with the monk saying, “to kill a Buddha you must be a Buddha.”
Woody Acres by Jon Draperr
Click images for desktop size: “Woody Acres” by Jon Draperr
In the manga Ogami goes to a temple, fast and prays for 3 months before feeling he is ready. He confronts the monk in a procession and attacks. A line of blood drops down his forehead. He raises his hand and says, “A magnificent stroke.” Then his body splits in half, sliced down the vertical from skull to hips.
In the movie Ogami uses a scandalous trick to get the monk in his grasp. He pulls the monk from a boat and drags him underwater. There Ogami stabs the monk with a knife. The monk says, underwater, “so this is the path to enlightenment you have chosen.”
I don’t think I have a preference between the two ways of telling a story.
I do know that I used to do an annual fast. The first week was rough as the body tried to live off the toxins I’d ingested the previous year. After that first week I felt great. Demonstrably stronger, Belle et la Bette faster. Better concentration.
I used to run five miles every day. During those runs my mind thought of nothing. I didn’t have a Walkman or an iPod. I only had the white noise in my brain to keep me company. I marked out the distance previously. I’d start the stop watch and run. Very few of those runs produced any memories. I’d look at the stop watch and 32 to 35 minutes had passed. I was at the mark I knew was five miles from the starting point. That was the only evidence that I had done what I set out to do.
I wonder, now not then, if this was the state of meditation that the Shaolin monks strove for when they practiced their martial arts. To simply flow. To live with their minds filled with something like my white noise?
I’m not a good Buddhist or Christian, I’m not much of a good anything, except a good man. I can say Autumn White Birch by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: “Autumn White Birch” by Maxfield Parrish
that with pretty much a calm self assurance.
Shoveling snow produces some similar meditative ideals in me.
Lewis Carroll, (Charles Dodgson), wrote a book that’s been fairly well maligned: “Sylvie and Bruno”. Dodgson was a great writer. No contest. Most people would call James Joyce a great writer. He wrote three great books. William Faulkner is a great writer. He wrote three great books and created a lot of great scenes. Even my pet, Raymond Chandler only wrote two great books. Charles Dodgson was a great writer.
His “Sylvie and Bruno” is hard to track down. It has some problems but also some great scenes. One of the Chapters of the book is titled, “Bruno’s Revenge”. It was based on a short story he’d published years before in some dwee Victorian Kiddie mag.
In the story Bruno is angry with his sister, Sylvie. He feels he’s been wronged and seeks revenge by Black Ceasar destroying her carefully tended flower garden.
Before he can begin his odious task the narrator, an ill defined adult who alternates between being omnipotent and hapless, stops Bruno and then helps him expend his rage by lovingly enhancing the garden, finding colored stones to accent and line the paths, removing weeds and whatever other stuff you do for a garden.
At the end of his labours Bruno and the narrator are exhausted. Bruno finds his rage has dissipated. The physical exertion in the spirit of kindness, not forgiveness but kindness has removed his rage and transported him closer to the Victorian God Dodgson fervently believed in.
I think you need to pay attention to Dodgson. He made a deep impression in four different disciplines, Kids Lit, Math, Photography and Religion. I mean, any guy who can mathematically prove that Jesus Christ was the Messiah is a force to contend with not against. And its in nice Western terms and not alien Eastern philosophy.
My shoveling the driveway, I guess that’s a difficult task, some consider it ridiculous, was my “Bruno’s revenge.”
I’ve been angry about the neighbor’s dumping a ton of snow pressed against the gate, angry about shoveling it out at midnight so we can get into the house, angry that I still can’t use the man gate, angry that even after shoveling it out he sees fit to block the gate with his trailer and snowmobile.
The physical labour locked me into the white noise in my head. It expelled my rage and accomplished something positive.
An Impossible Dream by Sweibel
Click images for desktop size: “An Impossible Dream” by Sweibel
Last night I went out with the dogs to tour the house, like we do every night. I bought them inside and back out to get the mail. I have to use the car gate to do this now and while the gentle dog and the giant dog are getting better at it they still can’t be 100% trusted outside. So I went back out to get the mail and was shocked to see that the snow mobile was parked so close to the gate I had to climb over it to get out.
I came back inside enraged. I know that I have to let the rage out or it turns into dark fury so I complained. I got responses that I didn’t anticipate.
I went back, climbed the snow mobile and knocked on his door, filled with undisapated rage justified with ludicrous “facts”, like the fire department can’t get into the house, an ambulance and how he had no right to dictate what times we were allowed to come and go.
Angrier still that I still don’t feel that this is malicious more that this guy is such an ass he doesn’tBorn for Hell think or care about others.
Luckily he didn’t answer the door. I think he was asleep and I didn’t press it. I wasn’t that angry yet. That’s the furious parts job, to be irrational.
This morning I dealt partially with the snow. When the snow stops I’ll finish the rest of it, if I’ve time.
When cleaning the car I was surprised that it was coated all over with ice. There’d been no rain and the temperature has not gone above freezing, the car hadn’t been moved in 3 and half days, so I’m bewildered. My only guess is that the sun shone yesterday. I guess it heated the glass and metal enough to melt stuff and then it refroze. Its just a guess.
When my brain isn’t filled with white noise its filled with thoughts like that. Those thoughts always lead to other thoughts like that.
The noise is better, calmer.
Maybe its because I’m dumb. I’m the kind of dumb who believes people are smarter than me because they say they’re smarter than me. It takes a lot to change my mind.

The sun can’t shine on all creatures Shonen Knife

Soa Lee
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Soa Lee
Its snowing now. Big fluffy snow flakes. Sweetly sunny. Pretty stuff. Distracting.
My friend took the gentle dog to work with her today. They’re having a doggie party today.1984 Hopefully there’ll be a half dozen pups there ensuring nothing work related gets done, only important doggie chores accomplished today.
Click image: “Fans” by Gothic Walls

The BSC Championship was sort of boring. Sloppy too. I never saw any really decent football. Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow had moments that were very satisfying but mostly it looked like the SEC and Big 12 were both grossly over rated conferences. Neither looked like Champions.
I can understand Utah making all kinds of whiney noises about law suits demanding to be called the Champs. What a waste of intelligent energy.
I don’t think Utah looked indomitable either, but they have an argument. Times like this I prefer the Alice (The Devils Bride) by Stephen Fabian
Click images for desktop size: “Alice (The Devil’s Bride)” by Stephen Fabian
old Bowl system where their was no definitive champion just people’s opinions and good arguments for the rest of the year. A playoff system is the only thing that would work if we really have to have a “true Champion”.
I’ll still hold to my stance that all kids who play this game and struggle to the end are Champs.
I was impressed with Tebow after the game. Percy Harvin said the right things very sincerely. All the kids deserve to be Kings of the Football World.

Watching the game made my mind wander (boring sloppy games often do).
I thought about Obama working so hard to reconcile the country. He’s trying to do that “hands across the aisle” thing. The Republicans are circling and like most demagogues see his attempts at rightness to be weakness. A weakness to exploit for gains that have nothing to do with us, the 1984 people who suffer their indignities.
I don’t think anyone ever sees themselves as evil.
Even a monster like Hitler was a vegetarian for moral not health reasons. And that vile thing probably believed he was doing the right thing for himself and the world. You wonder if at the moment before he died he had a glimpse of the wretched hateful thing he had become.
I’ve listened to Dick Cheney proudly explain why he thinks torturing people we assume are guilty was a brilliant thing to do. How he circumvented the law to “protect” us. I’ve listened to Bush not feel responsible for the economy, and how he wishes he had invested the entire Social Security Fund in the stock market. In fact, that’s his biggest regret. Not wiping out Social Security.
(Since the Destroyer books once did a edition that involved outside forces destroying America by manipulating the stock market, I wonder where he got this idea. In the book America is saved because of a massive infusion of cash that secretly came from the Social Security fund. Maybe this is Bush’s idea as well. Scary stuff.)
As I listen to everyone rewriting history and replacing fact with fancy you have to say that not all these people could be lying. I think they really believe that stuff they’re spouting. That from their ivory towers they see not the same sun as we see, nor the same earth.
We invaded Iraq because we thought Hussein did not provide ample proof he had no weapons. We Toot Sweet
Click images for desktop size: “Toot Sweet” by Unknown
justified staying there because Hussein murdered his people, denied them simple civil liberties such as freedom to travel. He rested in gilded palaces while his people struggled to survive. He tortured people to get them to confess to real or imaginary crimes.
He was hung for these crimes. Probably rightly so. I don’t know enough about anyone that would justify killing them or not killing them for that matter. (That belief kept me out of a lot of jury duty.)
What bugs me is that Cheney and Bush are now boasting about doing almost the same things that Hussein was murdered for.
I think that they need to be tried for war crimes, for torturing human beings, for holding American citizens in prison on suspicion, for killing people.
As they have said, “if they are innocent we have the system in place to allow them to prove it.” Which might be contrary to what I thought were the American Principals and laws but why not let A Bullet For Joey them be subjected to the World Court.
Forcing them to testify and to confront the evidence against them would clear the air. It would raise our world status, our own self respect not matter what the verdict. Do most American realize how hated we are in the rest of the world. How hated George Bush is? Tony Blair escaped scandal after scandal but he was ousted as Prime Minister of the UK because he chose to side with Bush.
It won’t happen. We still have segregated neighborhoods and a President who chooses to spend a few million to live in it. And too many people who think that is cool.
The Republican administration doesn’t think its evil. They think they did what was right. A lot of people agree with them. I don’t. I don’t want to live in a world that sees nations collapse in on themselves with self serving stupid arrogance. We used to lead the world, maybe we still do.
It was Ibsen who wrote, “by simple fact the majority is always wrong.”

The Medicine Teepee
Click images for desktop size: “The Medicine Teepee” by Unknown
Didn’t sleep well last night. Worries. Finances. So what else is new?
All that scrapping has resulted, not in a surplus so much as an ability to take care of some things. Health and car mostly.
Eye tests and brake jobs sort of extravagances.
I’ve also cut my pain killer intake in half. More economy. Maybe was too drastic a cut off. Discomfort level rising sort of thing. So that now I just feel hollow and a little frightened. I’m not scared. Its that sort of fear you can’t ignore or escape. Not dread. More grounded and less elliptical than dread.
I’m lucky to have dogs and friends. The only known antidote.
I’m a lucky guy.

I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it J.D. Salinger

Returning the Sphere by Michael Parkes My friend goes back to work today.
Feel rather blank about that. She made this a happy holiday. I fell way behind in my self assigned chores but had nothing but memorable fun.
Sunset Blvd I think the dogs will miss her being about even more than I will.
Predicted horrid weather did not really materialize. No ice storm. So she’ll go in and I’ll take the dogs for a long walk and everything will settle back into place. The dogs will have the hardest time getting back onto the non-holiday schedule.
I know its been a good holiday because I have a morbid fear of taking out the garbage tomorrow.

We watched an interesting movie the other day, “Wendy and Scar Nebula Lucy”. I don’t think I liked it much.
Its about a girl who is traveling by car from Muncie, Indiana; going to Alaska to find a new frontier, a new life with just her and her dog, Lucy. Wendy’s plans are vague. She takes employment advice from a drunken reprobate who dances around a bonfire while exhorting the other reprobates with stories of past drunkenness and destruction.
She sleeps in her car that night after calculating her meager finances. She’s awakened by the store security guard who tells her that she has to move her car. It won’t start. She grinds it. It sounds like a blown head gasket, but no one seems to know this.
She eats and waits for a garage to open. When she goes to feed the dog she discovers she’s out of dog food. She goes to the local grocery store, ties Lucy to the bike rack while she goes inside. The Wolf by Wallpaper Collections Wendy gets busted by some nerdo high school kid for shoplifting two cans of dog food. The kid insists that they call the cops. The cops take her away ignoring her pleas about her dog, who is still tied up in front.
Several hours later she’s released. She has to pay a fifty dollar fine. Cops being the jerks they like to be let her take a bus back to find her dog. Lucy’s gone.
The rest of the film plot is about Wendy trying to find Lucy and to get her car running. This is probably enough plot for a movie. What’s frightening is that the theme of the movie is the intense vulnerability of twenty-ish Wendy. One person is modestly kind to her, the security guard who made her move on. His kindness is manifested in directions to the dog pound and then by letting her use his mobile to call the pound even going so far as to let her give them his number if there’s word on Lucy.The Host
The rest of the world, her family, the people on the street, the sun, the moon and the star, the garage mechanic could care less about her devastating plight. They all have their own lives and there is the pervading ill feeling that they are all just an unforeseen incident away from joining Wendy in her fall from stability.
Vulnerability, lack of stability and the lack of a caring world, where victims can only victimize each other and dreams are gambles and well meaning promises that cannot be kept.
Its a sad film. Well done for the budget. Slow but interesting enough to keep watching. Nothing dramatically tragic happens in the movie which makes it sadder still. Its a movie that’s too easy. Its like watching the legacy of George W Bush, the train wrecks of the lives of the common man.

Somehow that movie made me think of the greatest tragedy of the 21st Century. The loss of our free press. A very systematic destruction caused by the freedom of the press being exploited by the rich. The constant dumbing down of America and the world.
Journalism used to be nobel. Reporters used to work on stories. The people trusted the press to blandly report staggering facts. We all knew the press was manipulated. One of the few scenes I liked in “Citizen Kane: was when he had the two A Walk In Time by n0rcalguy headlines prepared for election day. One read, “KANE WINS” while the other read “FRAUD AT POLLS”. We were trained to look past that, to interpret and refine. Only the “other guy” was stupid enough to fall for the obvious ploys.
In the 60’s guys like Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson raised journalism to an art form.
They worked with unflagging energy, visiting the places, interviewing the people, assembling the facts from the phantasmagoria of conflicting views and distilled it to a vivid narrative that had the power and purity of fiction. But it was real. Almost too real to bear.
Capote’s “In Cold Blood” showed the power of the “true crime” novel. All the facts and the words were real. The emotions, the words, the actions, the emotions were all real, verified and accurate.
At about the same time Tom Wolfe was also working on the “new” journalism. He produced some The Damned Don't Cry interesting work. (Although I’m still trying to understand what the surfers in his South Bay surf story were actually saying when they used the slang term “panthers” to describe non-surfers. It a word I’ve never heard used. I don’t know if he misheard them or if they were having some one day joke, perhaps at Wolfe’s expense.)
It culminated with the brilliant “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test” describing the life of Ken Kesey and Jack Cassidy, two giants of fiction. One a writer of not insignificant talent and the other a character transformed by Jack Kerouac into one of the great fictional characters of all time. Wolfe lived with them, reported on them and wrote a non-fiction book that burst with drama, reality and perception.
While Capote’s book left him an emotional wreck unable to follow it up Wolfe’s no less interesting but emotionally safer work enabled him to continue to the present day.
Spirit by Seven Edge The west coast had another journalist – Hunter Thompson wrote “Hell’s Angels”. He realized his job was not to create characters but to divine and then to define the character, conveying them with a clarity that infected the milieu. He worked not with boring stats and charts but with a vivid present that made the people even more real than they actually were.
Thompson then went on to create Gonzo Journalism with his serialized masterwork, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.
The success of these new journalists didn’t go unnoticed by other aspiring reporters. But their work was too hard. Not only was it necessary to find the story but then you had to meet all those people, distill the facts, report the facts (which used to be the usual reporters job) but then you had to build these facts into aThe Man Who Turned to Stone narrative, adding drama and imagery. and somehow avoiding those moments were real life is not as exciting as drama.
It was a lot easier simply to create the whole story under the old justification that “someplace out there there really is somebody like this”. Not only was this a tidier mode of reporting and story telling, it was quicker and much less stressful. Things could progress the way they should go instead of the way they might.
So we had all the scandals of award winning reporters actually just writing pure fiction. It created some scandals but it still is going on today.
So reporters got lazier. They saw the ambitious caught in their own scandal, they saw hacks get TV shows that replaced facts with opinion. They saw guys doing less work and getting more money while their employers refused to publish the big real stories for fear of offending advertisers and because it didn’t fit the way the rich thought the world should be.
Now we have the internet. Which seems to be nothing but personal bias. Its easy to find a news source that fits your personal prejudices and easier still to find sites to revile. The reporting is sloppy most of the time. No one investigates or digs through to truth. They seem to start out with a concept they want to prove and look for the facts that prove it while ignoring any facts that might disprove.
The insanity of this was bred in the law. OJ Simpson is an easy example. We all “know” he is guilty. It used to be that only an idiot would dispute the verdict of judge and jury. But California passed a The Long Leg by Edward Hopper law that said it didn’t matter if you were found innocent, we could apply a new standard for the civil courts that ignored the criminal courts decision to redefine the truth.
Now we weren’t idiots we were people who were capable of deciding the truth because we were told there were several black and white truths that were ours for the choosing. News became nothing more than entertainment to feed us the different truths we wanted. Pick one.
The free press gave way to entertainment and laziness that was rewarded more handsomely than those fools who put themselves at risk, who dug and fought to find the one truth.
Sad stuff for us. The end result is that a movie gets made about a nice girl who loves her dog and The Shiver of the Vampire discovers that the world is nothing but an uncaring place where what we are no longer matters and love has to be discarded for dollars and pence.
A documentary.
I think its just the end result of a press that ignores that our leaders have turned us all into war criminals who torture and violate all the principals that used to make us the good guys. They bow to the pressure instead of standing tough armed only with the truth and an unquenched desire to reveal that truth to us all.
So we suffer and we suddenly can only notice our own suffering and not the anguish of the man next to us.

The sun is out. Its time to take the dogs for a long walk. They don’t like the fact that the world changes on human whims. They’ll still laugh, are laughing now.
So am I.
Its just harder to notice when I do it.

Life must be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwardSoren Kierkegaard

Cracked Wheat
Click images for desktop size: “Cracked Wheat” by Unknown
When I was around 7 I remember being in the car with my new step-father and my mother. We were on a two lane highway going someplace I don’t remember. It wasn’t very important, to me anyway.
Robot Monster We were in a salmon cake colored Plymouth Belvedere, old but fancy, when suddenly I saw behind us a bunch of motorcycles: choppers.
In a few moments the car was surrounded by choppers. Big hairy brutes wearing Hells Angels colors, riding choppers. Some of the bikes were elegant and beautiful. Others were ratty and rusted while others were in the middle of their transformation. All of them glistened gloriously in the bright California sun.
It was a Hells Angel snake about 50 bikers just tearing up the highway.Ghosts
Click images for desktop size: “Ghosts” by Unknown

I heard my father yell at my mother, “Whatever you do DON’T look at them!” as he scrunched low behind the steering wheel. My step-father was the biggest adult I’d ever seen. I was fascinated that these bikers scared even him.
Of course I clung to the window staring at these guys. They were big, ugly brutes. They looked beautiful because they looked like freedom.
Some of them even waved at me but mainly they were focused on something else; on being free I’d have thought. For about five minutes the bikes roared past us. The snake trailed two abreast and when they reached the car they zipped and passed us on both sides. They counted only on their sheer presence to hold my step fathers fear in check to stop him from veering the car to either side and wiping one of them out.
It was incredibly exciting. Free to be anywhere they chose with their buddies who were just like them. That they scared the bejeezus out of adults was only a fringe benefit. What was cool was their Wall Of China
Click images for desktop size: “Wall Of China” by Unknown
arrogance in their sheer presence.
I read the papers and looked at adult books about the Hells Angels. For a while they were my icons. They represented everything I wanted to be.
That’s how I discovered Hunter Thompson. I was about 10 when I read his book on the Hells Angels.
I never became a biker. I had a couple of friends who did. Two of them are dead and the others in prison. The two who died did so on the road. One smashed into a culvert on PCH. They figured he was doing over a hundred on his old Indian Chopper. The other smashed into a truck on the 405 during rush hour. The third is in prison. He was the “pick up man” in some sort of kidnapping. I never got the full details. He was just the guy who was supposed to pick up the money. When he did he was descended upon byShe Creature cops. I’ve seen enough movies to understand that.
If you go down to Venice Beach you always see the burned out bikers hanging around. Like the old norse crones who shared one eye and a tooth between the three of them you can see the drug wrecked bikers passing a joint and, you assume, their surviving brain cell as they laugh and tell stories that don’t make a whole lot of sense. A lot like listening to Sky Saxon tell you about his plans for the future. (Sky Saxon and the old drug casualty bikers should be hired by the government to travel to high schools. Twenty minutes of listening to them talk is the surest inducement to not to drugs that I can imagine.)
I’ve been thinking about bikers because I’ve been reading this book: “At War With Hells Angels”. War?
Its a bad book. I find it amusing. This is the third book this guy has, apparently written about the Angels. I think he’s obsessive. The book is about the war between bikers in Illinois, Canada and Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Luis Royo
I’m a SoCal guy so I’ve always been a touch perplexed about how you can be a biker in a place where you can only ride about four months out of the year, but that’s just my own personal concern. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a family that represents freedom and fear?
This writer tries to paint the Angels as the new Mafia. Maybe its so but I’m befuddled by how you can be a secret crime organization when everything about you marks you as a biker. When you wear a uniform that is known throughout the world.
He paints the Angels as the ultimate evil in the world. I’m not exaggerating. He sees the Angels as evil incarnate and proof that God is in retreat!
I think he saw the totally cool movie “Stone Cold”. Its the last great biker movie staring Brian Bosworth (Awesome line backer from Oklahoma who fizzled as a Seattle SeaHawk in the NFL – Bosworth’s big claim to fame was being one of the first Scarlet Claw athletes suspended from the NCAA for steroid use, which prompted Bosworth to show up at the OU bowl game wearing a knee length T-Shirt that used the NCAA initials to spell out National Communists Against Athletes . . . strange. Maybe it was this attitude that kept him from being a movie star. He’s pretty good here, especially as a debut.)
In “Stone Cold” Lance Henriksen gives his greatest performance as “Chains” the president and leader of “The Brotherhood”. A Hells Angel’s clone. Henriksen gives the movie the edge and movement towards greatness. He;s incredible and undefeatable. He raises evil on earth to giddy heights. Tres cool.
But even this fictitious character so brilliantly embodied cannot compare to the evil that this writer paints for the real world Angels.
The writer uses too many charts and diagrams to ever prove his point to me but I like that it reminds me of my child hood when I could think of nothing more gorgeous than ripping through the highways with my friends while my step-father cowered behind the wheel of his safe car.

Lots going on. All just life. The drains here are clogged. This is an old house and the clog is at a junction of ancient cast iron where PVC pipe has somehow been welded on. The runs of pipe are over thirty feet long! I have a six foot snake . . . So it will be interesting.

You’re my brother. You should have looked after me Bud Schulberg

Falling Star by Emperaa There’s a writer, Stanley Elkin. He likes to be identified as a Chicago writer. A pretty select group, I guess.
I can only think of Elkin, Saul Bellow and Sara Paretsky and that fellow who wrote “Man With the Golden Arm”, Nelson Algren.
I always think of ALgren as New York based because of all his early TV work. The Legend Of Hillbilly John Thing is I always think writers who locate themselves in a particular area are pretty interesting. I mean, Faulkner had his mythic south, Kennedy has Albany New York, Joyce had Dublin and Chandler had L.A.
It always seems that the more specific a good writer gets the more universal his story becomes. I’ve got no proof of this. Its just the way things feel to me.
Stanley Elkin had multiple sclerosis. It killed him. He was probably thinking about how it was going to kill him when he wrote “The Living End”.
“The Living End” is a funny story about this jewish guy who dies. The fellow goes to Heaven. He’s disappointed because Heaven really doesn’t come up to his expectations. He thinks it looks a lot like Disneyland, but he guesses its better than the alternative.
Suddenly he is confronted by the voice of God. God begins to berate our hero. He condemns him to hell because he once ate a piece of bacon, he wore pants with zippers instead of buttons, he worked on the sabbath. God casts this guy into the darkest pits of hell shouting out his final transgression; “and you thought Heaven looked like an amusement park!”
Fernando Vicente For this sins the hero is doomed to suffer eternal torment alongside murderers, rapists, child abusers, lawyers . . . That his seemingly minor sins were seen, by God, to be as serious as genocide. A commandment is a commandment. A sin is a sin. Its a funny little book. Too hard to find, I think, but worth picking up.
There’s always something about divine justice that horrifies and interests me. I think its pretty normal to at some part of your life to think that you’ve been hard done by. What’s important, I think, is not to let it bug you to the point of being morose or silly or cruel.
I’ve taken it too far, often. I have an adolescent concept of correctness. My greatest fault has been in not allowing people who love me to be a part of me. Sometimes in idiotically minor ways. To let a player help me set up the field, help me carry stuff when my arms are full. The Canyon by Maxfield Parrish Little meaningless things that might have let them know that I valued them and trusted them to be a part of me.
Its an old true cliche that the easiest way to get someone to feel indebted to you is not to do them a favor but to allow them to do you a favor.
Somehow I turned that into a code. I didn’t want to have people feel indebted to me. I feel indebted to so many and sometimes it weighs heavy. I wanted everyone I loved to feel unencumbered, free to pursue their dreams and to help others they met to pursue their dreams.
I have to remind myself that this tic of mine when added to my natural aloofness can make me seem heartless and unfeeling. That’s not very important in itself, others perceptions of me. It is important when it makes people think that I think less of them. I don’t grasp sometimes that how I feel about people is sometimes important to them. Probably a lot more The Hills Have Eyes important to them than how they feel about me.
Its just something I have to remember.
My friend sent me one of those test things that was supposed to tell you how much of an animal lover you are. I had a problem with it. The basic premise was skewed. It relied on a faulty concept that you could only love animals if you hated people . . . there was no lee way in thinking that animals and people are pretty equal in my eyes.
Its that same sort of thinking, not realizing there are alternatives that exist outside of ourselves that plagues me. I have to stay always aware of it or I become nothing except some sort of monstrous saint.

I’ve been calling the school twice a day trying to reach the HC. I left a message today. If he doesn’t call me back I’ll move along. There’s a limit to how much stalking I’ll do to get an unpaying gig.
My friends interview went well. They pointed out she’s pretty well over qualified for the position. From what she says her potential immediate superior was the most concerned about this.
She liked the people and the job seemed interesting enough, at this stage, to keep her interested. They were seeing 9 applicants and will start their short list call backs on Tuesday.

Last night watched the last of this summers comic book flics. “The Incredible Hulk fits in nicely between “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight.”
I didn’t think it was that good. The acting was fine and for the first time I appreciated Liv Tyler. Fat Frac by NBD I had a hard time thinking of skinny Tim Roth as a quasi killer super soldier . . .
What I liked about the Hulk movie was that he wore purple pants, the Lou Ferrigno and whack Bill Bixby cameos, and that he says, “HULK SMASH!”
I also got excited because the story played out almost like the comic book “Abomination” I remember reading when I was a kid.
I was pretty disappointed in the action. I guess Corey Yuen was a lot more responsible for “The Transporter” than given credit for.
Of course all misgivings were forgotten at the end when Robert Downey Jr enters the bar and gives a hint that there’ll be an Avengers movie next summer!
I know it wasn’t promised but in these kind of things a hint is more binding than a promise.