People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
A.A. Milne

Top Ten

Raymond Chandler
John Steinbeck
Philip K Dick
William Blake
Kenneth Patchen
William Faulkner
Kurt Vonnegut
William Kennedy
William Burroughs
Lewis Carroll

I just re-read Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley”.
First time I read it, or thought I had read it, was when I was about 7. It was in Readers Digest. My motherly have missed issue of Life and The Post but she never missed an issue of Readers Digest.
She followed Readers Digest scrupulously because of the jokes.She read the Digest jokes only as research. At least twice a week my mother sent in jokes to them. They paid $25.00 if they printed your joke. Which meant that every day my mother would rush to check the mail, flipping through all the envelopes searching for the golden $25 check from Readers Digest. I think it was a check that would have justified her life.
“Humor In Uniform”, “Life In These United States” etc etc. She told horribly embarrassing stories on herself, such as how horrified she was in the army hospital when the nurse brought me to her as a new born. She was fifteen and thought I was the ugliest thing she had ever seen. She wanted to hide me from the world.
For some obvious reasons Readers Digest never published any of my mother’s jokes. That didn’t stop her from sending them in and running to get the mail searching for the check that for $25 that would save and justify her life.
She was never discouraged. The closest she ever came to discouraged, or to reality, was instead of sending in dozens of envelopes with each of her real life anecdotes she would print them on Big Chief notebook paper, each page clearly identified as to where she thought the jokes belonged; “Life In These United States”, Humor in Uniform” etc. and send them in a single envelope.
When Flash Comics published one of my letters she enlarged it, xeroxed it, framed it and hung it in the hallway by the bathroom door. She’d look at it and mutter, “footprints on the sands of time. . . “

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal
Emma Goldman

JW McGinnis
Meiko Kaji. It’s a name you don’t hear much anymore but for a while she was pretty iconic in Japan.
I first became aware of her in the “Lady Snowblood” movies. The Ghastly Ones These films fall short of being chambray classics for me, but still Tarentino copped liberally from them and even used two of Kajhi’s recordings as theme music in the “Kill Bill” movies.
One thing that fascinated me about Kaji in the “Snowblood” films was her face. She seems to have mastered, or been born with, a face that enables you to read your own emotions into any scene. In other words her face manages to reflect your own feelings.
This was further proven when I stumbled across her Scorpion films. Briefly the Scorpion movies have Kaji as a hardened convict, Matsu. These movies are really over the top. Penal reform seems to consist of state sanctioned gang rape, over a year of solitary confinement chained hand and foot to the cold wet floor, (the year Matsu uses to sharpen a spoon into a knife honing the blade against the stone floor using only her teeth!)
Kaji uses only two expressions through the movies. They are ample. Lingering closeups and Vertovian editing conveys an emotional depth to these movies that is exceptional. One elegant sequence features a 100 foot cascading waterfall that gradually turns to blood. This is a practical effect which makes it even more stupefying in a Fleur De Mal kind of way.
But equally breathtaking is Kaji’s flaccid appraisal of the horrifying miracle. Putting it into words would be like trying to describe the Mona Lisa or detail of Heronymous Bosch. The nattering of Manu’s fellow convicts is a relief from the grim spectacle.
My next accidental discovery were the Stray Cat Rock movies. They all star Kaji, but in different roles. The 3 best movies all have some common traits. One is that Kaji wears only a single unchanged outfit Mike Kaluta's Shadow in each, so her stylish look becomes a mere uniform of conformity. Even though the series was shot in the 70’s in this Japan the Summer of Love never excited! The heft chunks of music are all defiantly mid 60’s, often to exciting delirious effect. The dancing, the Japanese music are all mid 60’s cool and hot. Imagine the Peanuts (the two miniature women in the Godzilla films who would sing “Maaawthra, Maaawthora”) covering the Shangri-Las and you’re close to it. I do hope that these were big deal bands in Japan, sort of like The Animals appearing in “Winter Carnival” or the like.
The plots to these 3 little films are intriguing. In all of them Kaji plays an aloof and very tough girl gang leader, fast with a blade and a decision. I get them confused but one of them has the bad boy gang driving around in surplus US Army jeeps! The leader decides to get rid of all the half breeds in201702191926.jpg town. (Half breeds are Japanese and white or black children from occupying soldiers. They are all portrayed as hard working men trying to just get by as opposed to the gang members who are just coasting on the hustle.)
The next is two out oft owners who’ve befriended a US Viet Nam deserter. They plan to finance a trip to Sweden by selling 500 caps of LSD. The math escapes me as it seems that to raise the $30,000 for the boat means each cap wpu;d have to sell for about $60, which is somehow not quite right. But, anyway, some members of Kaji’s gang steal the LSD. The 3 fellows approach Kaji and explain their plight. For some reason helping a US Army deserter is such a just cause in her mind that she makes her girls return the stolen drugs.It doesn’t end well for anyone.
And the last of the 3 good ones has a tall girl who everyone mistakes for a man? She even sings a song with one of the bands and sounds like a male. It good blasé fun,
“Wild Jumbo” Is something of a waste of Kaji’s talent and a waste of time. “Beat ’71” is the only one of the movies to go psychedelic. It’s an abuse. Kaji is a terrible victim and that’s all she is here. She also gets minimal screen time. It would be a total waste except for one inexplicable scene. For no apparent reason a Japanese hippy band shows up on a flat bed truck. The truck has a banner that says, I think, “The Kings of Rock”. The lead singer plays the wadaiko, while the band plays aheavily percussive tune that’s pretty good, a bit like Plan 9: crunching guitar, cowbell and trap set. After they play the number the truck drives off and one of the actors says, “Who were those guys?” and the reply is, “I have no idea.” which sort of sums the whole flick up nicely.
All I’m really saying is that Meiko Kaji is cool in the same way that Bardot and Tuesday Weld are cool. She brings something gracious to the screen and to life. It’s worthwhile checking out her movies.

Cool and Crazy 40

The title of this podcast is a pun . . . I thought it was funny even if I do have to explain it. It’s acoustic, cowboy song stuff.

Signed D.C. (alt) – Love
A World Of Our Own – Seekers
It’s Gonna Be Alright – Gerry and The Pacemakers
Rosemary Rose – Kinks
Three Steps To Heaven (Version 2) – Eddie Cochran
Bird Dog – Everly Brothers
A Teenager In Love – Lou Christie
I’m Low, Low, Low – Loy Clingman
Play That Cheap Trick – Tommy Womack
It’s In The Bottle – Robert Gordon
Hey Joe – Ed Kuepper
Knapsack – Amy Rigby
Waimea – Travoltas
Wild Thing – Senator Bobby
A Thousand Miles From Nowhere (alt) – Dwight Yoakam
Treat Me Nice – Glen Glenn
For Your Love – Graham Gouldman
School’s Out – Hellsongs
Singing In The Rain – John Martyn
Tompkins Square Blues – Optic Nerve
Don’t – Persuasions
Waterloo Sunset – Peter Bruntnell
Ordinary World – Green Day
What Exactly – PF Sloan
A Day In The Life – Phil Angotti
Set Me Free – Pineapples
Dream Lover – Ricky Nelson
Sunrise – Who
Living Next Door To Alice – Smokie
Thirteen – Sparkle Jets UK
First Time – Teenage Bottle rocket
What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round? – Those Big Belt Buckles
Find Another Man – Travis Wammack
Streets Of Laredo – Webb Wilder
Thank You – Whigs

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I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.
John Steinbeck

1946 Esquire by Vargas
Click images for desktop size: “1946 Esquire” by Vargas
Back in the day movie music used to be not much but Miklos Roza and Ben Hur kind of things. Then “Blackboard Jungle” with “Rock Around the Clock” and Elvis changed all of that; for the better I think.
50,000 B.C. (BEFORE CLOTHING) I think it was Frank Zappa who pointed out that the best thing about “Blackboard Jungle” and Elvis in the movies was that there weren’t any parents yelling to turn it down! No wonder some theaters reported riots and switch blade vandalism.
So this collection is nothing but a mess of music from TV shows and movies. I hope some of it is surprising and all of it fun in a Big Beat way. Odd to me is that pop music has pretty much taken over the media. I mean, you can take almost any reasonable song and find out some show or movie has used it. Alan Arkush took this to its peak or its nadir with “Crossing Jordan”, and then David Chase and T Bone Burnett turned the quirky pop song soundtrack into its own growing genre. It also makes some embarrassing moments such as a review of the newer Fantastic Four movie where this person said the most exciting moment of the movie was recognizing a fave tune in Invisible Girl’s ear buds!
This stuff isn’t like that. Like I said, it’s intended to be fun and you can dance to it. I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t want to do that.
I’ve tended to use cover versions, just because they tend to be less mawkish than the originals and a bit more fun. One exception is “Love Is All Around” which Wet Wet Wet turned into a massive hit for “Notting Hill” by adding strings and aspartame to the max, then singing it in a smooth smooth tenor. I prefer the original which is sung by a dazed punk who just a few months before just wanted to do the “Wild Thing” with, probably, the same girl.

My Life In Motion Pictures
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – Los Plantronics
Sing, Sing, Sing – Flat Duo Jets
Batusi A-Go! Go! – Or – (I Shouldn’t Wish To Attract Attention) – Nelson Riddle
Ben – Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
Stand – REM
Cry Me A River – Jeff Beck
The Lonely Bull – Duo Tones
One Eyed Jack – Jailbirds
Battleship Chains – Georgia Satellites
Soul Man (stereo) – Sam And Dave
Runaway (‘Crime Story’ version) – Del Shannon
Poison Ivy – Vulcanes
Hang ‘Em High – Sandblasters
Little Green Bag – George Baker Selection
Travelin’ Man – Ricky Nelson
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding – Matthew Sweet And Susanna Hoffs
The Ballad Of Paladin – Johnny Western
Action – Freddy Cannon
High School Confidential – Blasters
Misirlou – Emotionals
Duke Of Earl – Gene Chandler
Goldfinger – Man or Astro-Man?
With a Girl Like You – Rutles
Do Anything You Wanna Do – Flashcubes
For A Few Dollars More – Death Valley
Goo Goo Muck – Frank Popp Ensemble
(Theme From) The Monkees (Previously Unissued Early Version) – Monkees
Five O’Clock World – Vogues
Eve Of Destruction – Dickies
Oh, Pretty Woman – Rockapella
Dead Flowers – Barney Bentall And The Legendary Hearts
Love Is All Around – Troggs
North To Alaska – Dwight Yoakam
You’re So Vain – Tony Randall And Jack Klugman
Inner-Manipulations – Barry McGuire
The Riddler – Riddler
I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song) – Ikettes
Bits and Pieces (stereo/vinyl) – Dave Clark Five
Couldn’t Get It Right – Climax Blues Band

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I’d rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet
Jack London

Beacon By Darcy

Click images for desktop size: “Beacon” by Darcy
There’s been a lot going on. Too much really, and all that sort of stuff that to understand this story I have to tell you this other story first and then this other story third.
There’s the old sufi story, “When sewn into a bag of oats one can panic or one can be like the mouse and slowly eat your way out.” Or one can think about other great stories and the state of the world. Hickey And Boggs Hence, here’s my list of the five greatest American novels.

  • The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler – To me, this is still the greatest American novel. It doesn’t explain the world just the fabric and soul of a nation as encapsulated within Los Angeles. As everyone knows, as Hollywood goes so goes the world. In this story about friendship and devotions all the people are portrayed as human, faces loved by someone. Everyone has dreams, desires and a trace of nobility if one is open enough to see it. Even the evil and contemptible offer something glorious to the world and if you can’t see it then it is because of the evil in you. There’s plenty of politics here, all of the self serving and corrupt type. Politics makes even men of vision and hope finally succumb to the weariness of this world till they become as callous and embittered as the evil they seek to destroy.
    Robert Altman made of movie of this. It was terrible beyond believe.
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Sadly, almost ridiculously this book is more pertinent today then it was to its contemporaries. The only thing is that the “bosses” have gotten more corrupt, more clever, and more ruthless and more heartless. This story holds up to the light the evil we have accepted and come to envy. How we have forgotten the Populism and drive that led us to love our fellow man is made clear in the way minor characters in the story are now harbingers of a grim future as apocalyptic as any cheesy sci-fi novel’s worst dreamings.
    It’s a story of people. The Joads are easy to identify with, in their simplicity, dumbness and urge to survive. That life is a black top highway is common knowledge to all of us from the Beauty Admiring A Warbler In A Plum Tree by Tsuki Settei

    Click images for desktop size: “Beauty Admiring a Warbler in a Plum Tree” by Tsuki Setti
    Far West.
    This book is so full of story and people that just skimming the film from the top of it like the skin from a hot cocoa gives enough material to make a great movie. And that happens so seldom except with those heavy Russian novels that are portentous and no fun at all.
    This book entertains, horrifies and educates. Looking at the past we can see our present and foretell the future. Politics, yeah we got it by the bucketful, and it’s the politics we wish didn’t exist.
  • The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen – America wasn’t a superpower yet. Believing in her was betting on the underdog, the mongrel. It’s easy now to be a jingoist xenophobia. We won and now we’re fading out to join those other great empires of the past.Hammett
    Patchen’s novel takes the same journey as the Joads took in Grapes of Wrath, but it is a different highway through a different country side. One where Adolph Hitler and Jesus Christ are hitchhikers riding in the same back seat of the same old Buick. And Hitler and Christ are only incidental characters we note almost in passing.
    It’s a violent uncompromising vision of America. Accurate too. Right up to the final disintegration.
  • The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs – We need great books that make us laugh out loud. I first read this is high school. I passed it along to my friends and before long the entire team was yelling quotes at each other in the hallways and classrooms. We gave certain teachers and coaches nick names based on characters in the novel. Now I wonder what the school thought about their best, handsomest champions shouting out things like :I am the great Slashtubitch. You cannot fake the orgasm on me. I can tell if you come by the wiggle of your big toe.”
    They made a weirds movie of this book, by David Cronenberg. The movie wasn’t great at all. The novel is and will take you to an America ruled by caricatures who give into their basest desires and then put off the evil and monstrosities as being for our own good.
  • Ironweed by William Kennedy – The story of a second baseman.
    They made a movie of this book. When they announced it I said to people that it could be a great movie so long as they didn’t cast Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep in it. So of course it starred Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep and of course it sucked.
    This is an amazing book.

This is the latest podcast. I’m still surprised that there are as many downloads of these as there are. Who knows why.
I’m proud of this one. It’s what I wanted my wife’s birthday podcast to sound like.

The Cool and The Crazy 8
Schooldays: LA

Travoltas – Endless Summer
Plimsouls – Good Times
Dorktones – Everlasting Love
Ramones – She’s A Sensation
Third Bardo -Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Florian Munday & The Mundos – Rip It Up
Mink Jaguar – Red Queen
Boss Martians = Hey Hey Yeah Yeah
Bill Loyd – Trampoline (alt)
Wet Willie – Shout Bamalama
Exciters – Tell Him (unedited)
Red Cross – Yesterday Once More
Chesterfield Kings – Somewhere Nowhere
Jello Biafra – Convoy In The Sky
Teen Machine – Bitchin’ Camaro
Crimson Ghost – Attitude
Trashmen – My Woodie
Astronauts – Our Car Club
DiMaggio Brothers – Every Breath You Take
Bob Dylan – You Belong To Me
Eddie Cochran – My Way
Big Daddy – Eye Of The Tiger
Everly Brothers – Gone, Gone, Gone
Blasters – Samson And Delilah
Outsiders – Time Won’t Let Me
Brogues – I Ain’t No Miracle Worker
Plan 9 – I’m Not There
King – Come As You Are
Herb – The Work Song
Yep – Waterloo Sunset
Come Ons – Strangelove
Toxic Audio – Lean On Me

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

Sorcerer's Transformation
Click images for desktop size: “Sorcerer’s Transformation” by Unknown
When I was seven years old movie theaters were just starting to decay. Movie Palaces they liked to be called.The Raven
On Saturday’s my mother would drop me off at the Starlight Theater. The Starlight had a Kids Matinee. They showed 10 cartoon, 3 Three stooges shorts, and some incredibly cheap Monster film. It was great. About 200 to 200 hyped up kids with only a teenaged usher for supervision!
My mother gave me a dollar. A dollar was a lot of money. It was 8 comic books, a league baseball. It was calculable wealth but it was still wealth. So, often I’d find out when the movie let out so I could meet my mother in front of the theater and then bug out of the movies to have more refined dollar flaunting fun.
The Starlight tried to live up to its name by having black ceilings that were studded with whispering galaxies made from those little white Christmas lights. In a more cynical time it was probably nothing but cheesy but in the age, the time and the fact that I was 7, it was a wondrous thing that took everything to the level of celestial purity that made the surf and the ball field seem somehow smaller than dreams.
My mother would give me a dollar to go to the kiddie matinee. I always carried the dollar rolled up in a ball, clenched tight in my fist. I carried so many gooney things in my pockets it was the only way to keep the dollar safe. I paid my admission, 25 cents, and got my 3 quarters in change. Immediately I went to the candy counter and got either a popcorn or a box of Boston Baked Beans. They were both a quarter so the choice depended on external factors. The popcorn came in a box that could be dismantled and turned into a wicked paper airplane. The plane could be launched at the screen at the appropriate moment for big laughs or for frantic boos if the plane fell short or missed some cool target, like a naughty human body part.
King Features Xams Card
Click images for desktop size: “King Features Christmas Card”
The Boston Baked Beans were more introspective, they could make a pretty nasty sounding kazoo but that was a one note joke and lacked nuance. It was in the eating that they shined. I could nibble off the candy and then save up a handful of the “beans” for dual snack age fun. I also got to debate whether they were some strange bean I should coerce my mother into buying or if they were, in dull reality, stale peanuts. And if you’d ever had my mother’s Sunday bean dinner you also would prefer stale peanuts flavored beans.
We all loved the cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons. The theater would get quiet when they were on then get raucous again when they put on a Deputy Dawg or a Heckle and Jekyll. For me it was incredible seeing the cartoons on a big screen, an enormous screen.
I’ve never been blown away by IMAX movies. If you asked me how big the screen was at the Starlight, the Old Egyptian, or even the old Cinerama Dome, I’d have said it was as tall as an angel 12 Monkeys and as wide as an angel’s wingspan. I always thought the IMAX screen was as tall as an angel and as wide as an angel’s wingspan and a bit more.
In London there used to be a Cartoon Theater in Piccadilly Circus. It was only a pound so I went hoping to recapture some of the scents of the Starlight on a Saturday. It was disappointing. The screen was small and high above the crowd. They showed some Warner Brothers stuff but it was all the made for TV stuff. It kept cartoons far too life sized.
The Cartoon Theater is gone. I think there’s a McDonald’s there now or a Wendy’s or some other American bastion of domination. It really doesn’t matter much which one it is now. At least not as much as what it once was.
The Boston Baked Beans would last me through the cartoons and get me to the Three Stooges shorts. My next course of action was predicated on what 3 Stooges they showed. For a “Curley” I would not move. It was too much fun then. We all laughed if not at the movie itself than at all the great Curly impressions that would go on around us. For a “Curley Joe Rita” there would be pandemonium. We all hated him as an impostor, a ne’er do well who encroached on our sense of order in the universe. The sight of 7 to 10 year olds in near riot agitation must have terrified the theater manager enough that anything other than Curley or Shemp was a rare occurrence.
There are many Shemp fans out there. Some who consider Shemp a more mature flavor of Stooge. They point out that Shemp was actually in “real” movies. that Shemp stood up to Moe and tried to hold on to his place and individuality in life.
I’m not one of those. Without Curley the Stooges were a mere nostalgic craze, a dim memory of what greatness once was and what greatness would seldom be again.
If a Shemp Stooges came on screen I would go out to the lobby to construct the greatest concoction Astronomer by Gerrit Dou
Click images for desktop size: “Astronomerd” by Gerrit Dou
ever devised by the 7 year old mind.
I would go to the soda machine and get a cup of coca-cola without ice. Then I would go to the ice cream machine and get an ice cream bar. On the east coast I’ve heard them call an ice cream bar an Eskimo Pie and other heathen slurs. it doesn’t matter as this was my invention and as such I claimed the right to name the ingredients appropriately and correctly.
Each ingredient was a quarter. Fifty cents was a fortune to me but is still cheap for the joy and pleasure it would soon construct. I mean, for fifty cents I could buy a pint of strawberry ice cream and two comic books from the drug store on Sunset Blvd and then go to the beach and stare at the waves while I waited for some gremmie surfer to lose his board so I could run out grab the lost stick and ride some shore break before the gremmie could yell at me. And yet, I insist my invention was better even than that!
The first time I had the stroke of inspired genius that led me to this creation was when the movie was “The Astounding She Monster!” was showing. It is appropriate that this piece of neglected cinema should have inspired other acts of genius. It was also a day we’d managed to smuggle my 4D Man dog, Alex, into the movies. The pandemonium was such that after we got him into the theater, past the teenaged ticket taker we were totally safe to enjoy ourselves.
“The Astounding She Monster” was about a blonde alien woman who wore silver skin tight spandex (or whatever it was they used in the pre spandex days), with over plucked eyebrows and dark lipstick. She glowed and glittered!
Aside from the over plucked eyebrows she was as perfect a woman as had ever been imagined. Except she had one serious problem: Everything she touched on earth died.
A dog barked at her and she went to pet it and the poor thing died from the terrible radiation that coursed through her.
Everything of beauty, everything she might love was doomed to die at her touch. The tragic denouement had the “heroes” tracking the wracked creature by rolling her footprints, footprints that burned themselves into the grass.
This is pretty profound stuff for a kid. And you wrap profound messages up in a glowing glittering blonde and wrap it in sparkly spandex and you’ve opened up a path, a neural road to forever.
It’s too bad “The Astounding She Monster” wasn’t a better movie. Instead it’s just a semiotic film that allows access to the better past and dreams of children who dream of making themselves better than their parents, the establishment and the world.
But it was during this movie that I learned to love story telling and it was during this movie that I learned my great kid secret and made my great kid invention. The first thing I had to do was eat the chocolate coating from the ice cream bar. This is very important as if any chocolate touches the other ingredients the chocolate becomes poison.
Trying to neatly nibble the icing off an ice cream bar in the dark while intently watching a monster movie while surrounded by 400 rowdy shouting running kids is no easy task. But, like many mundane chores, it has to be done. At least in this chore there’s a payoff.
When the ice cream bar is denuded it has to be inspected and not dropped. This is especially important when your dog is with you. Dogs love ice cream. At least all my dogs love it. International Wings by Boris Vallejo
Click images for desktop size: “Wings” by Boris Vallejo
is clear that anything that falls on the floor is automatically the dog’s.
By now the ice cream was pretty drippy, which made my hands sticky, the dog excited and those gray shadows of despair were allowed to creep in. Everyone else was having fun and I was involved in experiments as deranged as the mad scientists on the screen. Great moments should always be thus.
The next step is not scientific, that means it must be art. In my world there is only science, art and faith.
You had to study the coke and study the ice cream – by now you have probably figured out what the invention is, if not its only because it is so mind snapping that you can’t believe the simple genius invested here – and you must not account not only for the volume of the ice cream and the displacement of the coke but the variable that creates art – the foam! The foam that makes what happens next the pinnacle of greatness and not just another kid screwing around and making a mess.4 Flies on Grey Velvet
When things were just right you plunged the ice cream into your paper cup of coke and there, as inconceivable as it might seem you were in possession of a portable black, the elusive coca cola float!
And after you had stirred the mix you still had the ice cream bar stick which your dog would enjoy eating until it was time to leave the movie.
I’ve told all of this because my wife has just gotten her visa. She can come and live and work here in the IS of A. So can giant dog and gentle dog and the new addition, aggro dog, can all come and live here and we can be a family once again. We’ve always been a family but now we get to live as one.
After nearly 2 and a half years it’s over.
Al the money, all the paperwork and fretting and worrying and cursing and doubting is over. All the begging for letters of reference and being held prisoner to some whacko government standards of life are done. We’re free.
And on hearing that my wife had gotten her visa the only emotion that compares is that time when I was 7 and I invented the portable black cow.
As I sat in the dark and watched my monster movie, my dog at my side while I sipped the aphrodisiacal sweet and foaming creamy concoction that I had made with my own two hands is about how I felt when I heard my wife and my family were going to be together with me again until the end.
Not that I would consider my wife an “Astounding She Monster” except maybe sometimes to keep things interesting. Although I do think she’d look great all glittery and glowing. But she probably wouldn’t do that. She’s like that.

Words mean exactly what I want them to mean
Humpty Dumpty via Lewis Carrol

Route 163 by Kuba Klewaniec

Click images for desktop size: “Route 163” by Kuba Klewaniec
Just finished re-reading Steinbeck’s, “The Grapes of Wrath”. Great book, great story.
What’s crazy is that a rare masterpiece of a book was actually made into a masterpiece of a movie.The Blue Dahlia
I’m used to a masterpiece being decided as much by the medium as the content. I can think of great books making good movies and great movies being made from decent books, But almost no great movies coming from great books.
I think its a testament to John Ford that the hardest thing about reading the book is shaking the near indelible images from the film. And its a testament to John Steinbeck that it doesn’t take long for Tom Joad to be talking in his own voice instead of Henry Fonda’s, and for the Preacher to become something big and real instead of a creation of John Carradine’s.
They’re both great works and they stand independently without complimenting each other. They remain unique and special each unto themselves. I think this is mainly due to the brilliance of the story. Stories about people finding their own way in a terrible land full of promise, promise withheld from the people, are always the stuff that fires up my imagination, It’s the sort of story that creates values and gives a vivid purpose to morals.
The book is what’s in front of me now. We know the story, the dust storms and the banks that created the depression. The rich bastards that perpetuated the depression for their own self serving purposes.
In the book the enemy is spelled out plain: “when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the oppressed. The great owners ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great The Stranger DC Comics

Click images for desktop size: “The Stranger” by DC Comics
owners was directed at repression.”
One of the things that sets literature apart from fiction is the ability of the writer to touch a stone and to see that stone from the gravel pit and into a future that exceeds his own generation’s lifetime.
Steinbeck in telling the simple tragedy of the Joads driving a clunker 2,000 miles has set the stage for myth and metaphor. The simple plight of one family is amplified through it’s present into ours so that people become symbols and names fail the reality and the names become us.
Explicit in “Grapes of Wrath” is the rise of the Populist movement in America. Populism terrified the big owners. They had to brand it with false names calling the adherents commies and reds. They were no such thing.
Populism believed in keeping people alive. It believed in self government , in supporting yourself and each other. It believed in feeding the children and in giving a man the dignity befitting a humanBorn To Be Bad being. Not very lofty ambitions.
The billionaires called the populists, reds, thugs, they called them an evil that would destroy America and they refused to let them alone and worked their hardest to destroy them. Steinbeck summed it up, “And the great owners, who had become through their holdings both more and less than men, ran to their destruction, and used every means that in the long run would destroy them. Every little means, every violence, every raid on a Hooverville, every deputy swaggering through a ragged camp put off the day a little and cemented the inevitability of the day.”
See, the Koch Brothers haven’t done anything new. They learned a few things. They appropriated the populist moniker and replaced swaggering deputies with racist young people and soft frightened old people. They used fear to motivate the people who don’t have enough to arm them against the people who don’t have anything. Then they went after the unions, the workers, while they acquire and force out the small businessman while telling the small businessman it is all the fault of those other guys. The Koch Russ Tamblyn-West Side Story

Click images for desktop size: “Russ Tamblyn”
Brothers and their allies scream: It’s the Chinese or the Koreans or the Japanese and its your next door neighbor. It is everyone but me. And all we do we do to protect you until you become one of them.
Populism was bought with blood and gunfire and some of the blood was that of starved to death babies and all of it was from people who just wanted to work and have a home and enough to eat to stay alive. What we have today are the jack booted owners appropriating a name in an effort to side step the real suffering they are causing.
A better example of Tea Party faux populism is seen clearly in the film, “Meet John Doe” which is related to Steinbeck in its populist views and its view of the many by exploring the plight of the few. In “Meet john Doe” a genuine populist movement is financed then used and abused for personal gain by Eddy Arnold. Of course, in the movie as in real life, the populist characters survive the horrid abuse and exploitation because the faith in fellow man is greater than the faith in governments and establishments.Bride of the Gorilla
The book “Grapes of Wrath” is bleak because a world controlled by people who have forgotten their humanity in favor of acquisition is a terrible and bleak thing. The world of Ayn Rand jerks is a desolate and an unrich place not fit for habitation even by her adherents. Deeper and of great beauty is the life of those poor who struggle along and learn to live together with each other who see life as a small chance at pleasure and happiness.
“Grapes of Wrath” is a great book, meaning it’s entertaining, lively with a story to tell about people.When you tell a great story about people you manage to become pretty all encompassing, not sodden or turgid but inspirational even in despair.

For the quality of owning freezes you forever into “I”, and cuts you off forever from the “we”
John Steinbeck

Untitled by Marta Dahlig

Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Marta Dahlig
I did my blood work on Friday. They take too much blood. That night the fasting and the blood loss made me wake up with the shakes and the night sweats. Since it was in the mid 50’s being drenched At The Circus with sweat was disconcerting. My puppy, who know matter what anyone says is a good girl and very crazy, took care of me and watched over me.
The blood work was as annoying as usual. They always have to stick me too many times to find a vein. The person drawing the blood kept talking about how tight my skin was. I asked what she meant by that. No one had ever called me a tight skinned anything before. It was a good thing, a compliment I guess. I might have taken it better if the nurse in charge hadn’t put me through the usual tom foolery about how I don’t look as sick as I am.
Won’t get the results for a while. Have to get them online. Internet age. A curious thing, I think sometimes.

My wife has a new foster dog. An all white shepherd looking girl. The white girl dog was rescued from some well meaning but neglectful S4w-FashionSexPoliticsAndMusic-294.jpg

Click images for desktop size: “Unknown Goth”
abusive owners who thought they were doing the right thing . . .
The white girl is doing okay. She has issues. How could she not. She doesn’t get along with the giant dog, which is understandable but she also has issues with the gentle dog. That is not understandable.
Still, experience dictates things will calm down and mellow. Dogs are too much like people sometimes. You take a small scared person and drop them into an established family and you know what happens.
Everybody reacts differently and yet we all react the same. Most, but not all, abused creatures including people are scared. When they come into a new situation from an abusive one they spend an amazing amount of energy either succumbing to the further abuse they anticipate or, the healthier ones, doing whatever they can to try and stop the abuse from ever happening again.
Purple Angel By Artemis Rosakis

Click images for desktop size: “Purple Angel” by Artemis Rosakis
Both types of people will usually respond to some calm and some laughs. They just need the space to be jerks and in a short time, shorter for dogs, when they don’t get the terror they expect in response they give up the act. Some are too terribly abused and it takes more to get through to them, but they can be gotten through to if the goal is to let them be happy and not to control them.
I think the white girl will fit in well enough until she finds her forever home and that’s all I ever ask.

One surprising effect of the great movie :I Saw The Devil” (which my wife thought was bleh) is the typical Asian rip offs of it. A sub genre exploring the tenets and roots of evil and fighting evil when just being good is nowhere near enough?
Jeong-beom Lee’s “The Man From Nowhere” could never have existed with “I Saw The Devil”. That Bad Girl doesn’t stop it from being great. It actually benefits from the association and uses some shorthand to amplify its effects. Iy also uses a similar shorthand referring to Bresson’s “Leon” to good effect.
Lee leaves most of the weighty stuff behind but gets plenty of good enough actors to give the timbre in the scenes.
Bin Won plays a former secret agent who left the service when his wife, pregnant with a girl, is killed in retaliation for one of his assignments. Won responds by becoming a ghost. He runs a pawn shop. He lives in the back of the shop and touches no one.
His clientele are junkies and thieves. One drug addict hooker has a little girl. Won has a safe affection for the little girl but keeps her at arms length. He barks at her and bullies her. She fills his iPod with music, for a fee and pawns her mothers things for drug money.
One day the mother gets involved in a drug heist. She is way over her head as the owners of the drugs want them back. She sticks the drugs in a camera case and has her daughter pawn the case to keep them safe.
After the gangsters show up to get the drugs this becomes a rip roaring action tale and its awesome, never letting the message get in the way of some terrific and terrifying fights. The message is pretty simple: The world is a terrible place and it is up to all of us to look after each other, especially for the strong to protect the weak.
The other rip=off movie that rates highly with me is Ching-Po Wong’s :Revenge: A Love Story”. Not surprisingly the title also describes the plot.
The movie starts with Juno Mak murdering women, pregnant women in the vilest most inhumane fashion possible. He slashes the women open and rips the near term fetuses from their bodies. He Pirate Pattern by Pirate Boy

Click images for desktop size: “Pirate Pattern” by Pirate Boy
then throws the fetuses into the river.
The murders are brutal and excruciating. We soon discover that the dead women’s husbands are all cops, not only cops but cops on the same team. And just when we’re about to settle in for a good ol’ serial killer type film there’s a shift. The cops catch Mak and after brutally torturing him we see, in flashback, the reason for these heinous crimes.
What we see is unexpected, terrifying and tear inducing. There’s no way to prepare for the reality of the situation presented here other than it’s more than just tragic. Its presented in a totally believable way and is guaranteed to score the soul.
A few American reviewers have trashed the movie as being pretentious, a B action movie with A movie aspirations. I say, so what?
It separates itself into sections introduced by Bhuddist koans. I think this makes some uncomfortable and needing to write the whole thing off.
It explores evil at his most common denominator. And it does so with a grim purpose to force us to have an understanding of humanity and with all understanding comes a dark price: Forgiveness.

There are three constants in life: change, choice and principles
Stephen Covey

Dreaming Sighs
Click images for desktop size: “Dreaming Sighs” by Unknown
My mother-in-law was cremated at 1:00 PM on Friday.
I couldn’t be there. Canada.
My wife is as devastated as you’d expect. She’ll survive. She’s tough enough for that even when she Tobor the Great doesn’t believe she is.

Now I hate being an adult and being mature. Things like this make me regret it. I want to go back to those days of complicated decisions like whether or not I should iron my underwear.
It doesn’t seem right that from life to the grave should take just a week.
Not fair at all. Just unvarying and inevitable. It’s the pragmatic, existentialist attitude I have that takes affront at all this. It’s the way it is and the way it has always been and people never expect it or learn from it or anticipate the sadness and madness we all carry within us. It sickens me that selfishness overwhelms compassion for many of us. But that is unvarying and inevitable too.
Ibsen said something like, “The majority is always wrong.” Steve McQueen liked to quote it. We are the majority.
But we’re also the white knights and the only hope each other has.
If we weren’t that there’d be nothing left but despair.
My top ten flics for 2010 list is only 3 movies long.

1) Kick-Ass – This is a movie that slips past the mindlessness on first viewing. It starts out a simpleminded teen comedy thing but then erupts into something I’ve never seen before. It’s a smart movie, with a hip sound track. It also includes one great performance and one great character. In one word “Hitgirl”.
There’s a scene in the movie that actually gets me misty eyed. Shocker. It’s where the bad guys are beating Kick-Ass and Nick Cage to death on a web cast. All seems lost until an 11 year old girl’s Grand Ages of Rome
Click images for desktop size: “Grand Ages of Rome” by Unknown
love for her father draws her into the heel bent world he created for her and leaves as her only legacy. She comes and systematically and believably kills off the bad guys with knife and gun. Cage has been set on fire but even while burning alive he yells out commands to Hitgirl, commands she understands even though Cage’s voice is a shriek of pain, love and concern.
It’s an unbelievable scene that they nearly but not quite ruin with the bathetic conclusion.

2) I Saw The Devil – I’ve already written about this devastating Korean serial killer movie.

3) Ong Bak 3 – Must see even though it fails as often as it succeeds. Tony Jaa will never, it appears, exceed his brilliant “Tom Yum Gum”, but here he attempts so much more.

Eighty percent of success is showing up
Woody Allen

Seasons Greeting 2010 by Ankhammentu

Click images for desktop size: “Seasons Greetings 2010” by Ankhammentu
After too long I’ve finally seen a good movie, in fact it might be the best film I’ve seen in 2010.
“I Saw the Devil” directed by Ji-woon Kim. He’s the guy who made the stunning “A Bittersweet Life”Calvin and Hobbes and the Asian mega-hit, “The Good, The Bad and the Weird”.
Byung-hun Lee, from “A Bittersweet Life” and GI Joe, plays a Korean secret agent. On a snowy night his fiancee calls him. Her car has broken down and she waits for a tow truck. Lee, even though on assignment, finds a place to sing her a love song, to keep her company while she waits.
While Lee sings a good samaritan knocks on his fiancee’s car’s window. He offers to help. Lee tells her to stay in the car and not to trust the stranger. The stranger is played by Min-sik Choi, the brilliant actor best known from “Old Boy”.
Lee tells his fiancee to send him away and to just sit and wait for the tow truck. Very politely and sweetly she thanks Choi and tells him she’d prefer to wait. He seems to go away. Moments after she hangs up the phone Choi attacks her car with a hammer breaking out the windows and then dragging her into his van. In his van he bashes her skull with the hammer but he waits to kill her back in his dingy dungeon where he rapes and decapitates her. Choi brushes the gore down the basement drain.
The next day a child finds a plastic bag with the fiancee’s ear in it. The fiancee was the daughter of the local cops Chief of Detectives. This engenders a full on search. With much angst and fanfare they discover her head in the shallows of a river. Clearly it was thrown from a bridge. Implicitly this brings up the old Buddhist sutra, “I would be a bridge of stone for 500 years for the chance of her crossing me.”
Kim takes two weeks off from work, supposedly to recover from his grief but, and this is true of John Lennon

Click images for desktop size: “John Lennon” by Unknown
much of the film – not much is stated outright except the ignorant claims of the police and the killers – the rest of the time we’re nudged into believing we know what is going on in others minds, everyone knows he is going after the serial killer.
Even though we know who the killer is we watch Kim try and locate him. The first suspect he tortures brutally and so thoroughly that the scum confesses two murders he did commit to the police!
The hunt continues and it is sickly fascinating. Until Kim finally tracks down Choi in the middle of another rape and murder.
Kim rescues the girl but stops to smash and beat Choi. When he has beaten him near senseless he whispers to CHoi, “That which is coming will be even more terrible. Then Kim breaks Choi’s arm. He also shoves a GPS capsule into his mouth so he can track him.
What follows is the disintegration of Kim. The atrocities he heaps up on Choi are transfixing and brutal. Kim, ultra cool and suave and Choi filthy and perverted, we find ourselves willing for Kim toPopeye simply kill Choi.
Then, unexpectedly, Choi proves his monstrous character has a brain and enough heart to hate and to want revenge.
From here on the movie stays taut, frightening and disheartening. It’s not until the blistering conclusion, a conclusion that could scarcely be improved but still falls inches short, that we see humanity resurrect itself in these two monsters. The humanity it shows is as terribly sad as the depths of its depravity were hateful.
A movie to seek out. the direction and the acting could not be improved. It’s a modern movie that avoids nothing and permits no mere coincidence to mar the terror it inflicts on our souls as it struggles to force us, the viewers, to admit or frail humanity.

The law that should have shut down my job went in to effect, but it only worked for 2 days.
I was disappointed. While one judge in a different district found the law shutting them down to be solid and enforceable another judge swallowed the argument that 1 line in the law was too vague and in its vagueness violated the 1st amendment!!
So it’s business as usual. I got two days off though and that’s a good thing . . . without pay of course. Money buys everything.

My wife is coming next week along with gentle dog and Giant dog.
We’re excited.
I sent out my Christmas cards. If you didn’t get one it’s because I don’t have your address, so it really is all your fault.

Now that the college season is over the NFL gets that more important. Last week I was 12-4, which Skyler Steele

Click images for desktop size: “Skye Steele as Red Santa”
is pretty blah for this part of the season. I want to win a prize! Even a 20 buck certificate for beer and hot dogs would be okay1 So long as I get a prize! My wife made some picks . . .
My picks are in bold.

Indianapolis at Tennessee – I figured the Colts were slightly less messed up than the Titans.

Cleveland at Buffalo – Cruddy game of the week and also my Mini-Upset of the week. To me the Bills have looked more impressive when they’re losing than the Browns have while they’re losing . . .

Tampa Bay at Washington – Common sense says to take the Bucs. Sometimes I wish I could tell my common sense to shut up because I really think the Redskins should win!

Atlanta at Carolina – I really wish I could track down anyone willing to pick the putrid Panthers. Santa Calus Conquers the Martians They probably think Jimmy Clausen is a great QB . . .

Oakland at Jacksonville – At the start of the season no one could have picked this as a game of the week contender. But it is. I’m taking the Jaguars because of Jack Del Rio and that they’re at home.

Green Bay at Detroit – The Packers will win but I expect the Lions to make this a lot more interesting than it should be.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh – This game is on TV here. I won’t watch it. I have to pick the Steelers but I want to see the Bengals and Carson and Ochocinco tear it up!

St Louis at New Orleans – Its time for the Saints to start tearing opponents apart, at least if they want to get to the Super Bowl again.

Seattle at San Francisco – I never figured the SeaHawks would be as good as 6-6 but I sure figured the 49er’s would be league killers! Now I’m picking them becasue the SeaHawks have not been too good on the road.

Miami at New York Jets – After the Jets getting beat down last week by the Patriots I’d hate to be their opponent this week.

Denver at Arizona – Cruddiest Game of the Week!
Star Leaves by Fabio Toscani

Click images for desktop size: “Star Leaves” by Fabio Toscani

Kansas City at San Diego – After the dismal showing last week the Chargers will not improve much but the Chiefs don’t have Matt Cassel so . . . .
New England at Chicago – Game of the Week! The Bears have been shocking and the Patriots are riddled enough on D to make this one really really interesting!

New York Giants at Minnesota – When the big stories are the snow storm and whether Favre’s streak ends tomorrow you know not to expect much from the game.

Baltimore at Houston – The Ravens need a win and the Texans are playing for next years paycheck.

Philadelphia 28 at Dallas 27 – The Over Hype Bowl. This game will be dire.

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on
John F. Kennedy

Autumnal by Christine Theis
Click images for desktop size: “Autumnal” by Christine Theiss
I saw “Ong Bak 3” the latest and possibly last Tony Jaa movie.
I saw it in Thai, without subtitles. Since I’ve only been to Thailand twice, make that once, the otherHeadless Ghost time I only went to Bangkok. Bangkok isn’t Thailand any more than Tijuana and Juarez are Mexico. So I’ve really only been to Thailand once and that time with a native translator so there was never any need or urge to learn any Thai at all.
But I watched “Ong Bak 3” and I may not have gotten some subtle nuances but I sure followed the story, followed it well enough to gasp and holler at all the right spots too.
You might remember I was vaguely dissatisfied with Ong Bak 2. Number 3 makes it apparent why. These are not two films but one epic film. A three hour story that got chopped in half, chopped into mouth sized bits. Taken together its a film that just falls short of magnificent. They don’t jell as two separate stories but as one tale of a man’s transformation from prince, to slave to pirate to saint it’s ambitious beyond the talent of Jaa as director. Don’t mistake that I do not think that Jaa is seriously talented as a director. He made a comprehensible, enthralling story in a language that might have been gibberish for all I knew. The story he tells is big and has thwarted numerous directors and writers before him. The closest to his theme is, shockingly, Alejandro Jodowrosky’s obnoxious “El Topo”.
“Ong Bak” attempts much and delivers much. It’s a solid noble film that is easy to believe in. It should be seen. This isn’t some tired little story about a guy and girl who do something that doesn’t mean a damn thing while it tries to be funny. This is a movie. It entertains and tries to lead us someplace different in our lives and tries to show us a new corner of the world our time and confusion has forced us to ignore. Its a big plan.

I;m a Jim Thompson fan. Only problem is that Thompson, due to money mostly, seldom put The Black Phantom by Syd
Click images for desktop size: “The Black Phantom” by Syd
together great books. There are great starts, great sections and sometimes great endings but it wasn’t often he put together a masterpiece. His most solid book was probably “The Getaway” and his masterpiece is probably, “The Killer Inside Me”.
“The Killer Inside Me” is about Lou, an affable, good looking, innocuous appearing dummy. Except Lou is nothing like the adaptive persona he’s adopted. He’s a sociopath, bright, cunning and evil. He’s still likable and part of the books tension comes from wanting Lou to succeed in all the vicious things he does.
Lou probably would have lived out his life rejoicing in his small cruelties, concealing his insanity but a hooker moves to town. Lou discovers she’s a submissive and loves to play sex scenes with his dom reality.
They concoct a scheme to escape the small town and to be able to go someplace where they can go live together and be happy. Except the girl forgets Lou is happy and he allows her to plan and works Hondo her plan into his plan of violent revenge and homicidal ecstasy.
Lou becomes a calm and calculating serial killer. He delights in watching others attempt to discover his evil. He enjoys planning around it and succeeding. He appears he deserves to keep murdering people.
Now there’s a new movie based on the book. It;s really poor. The problems start with the casting. Casey Affleck is just the wrong type. It needed someone bright and buoyant. Even Ashton Krutcher Lara Croft
Click images for desktop size: “Lara Croft”
would have been a better choice. Affleck does fine with the broody stuff but is worthless at the good ol’ boy end of things. The result is a thin performance devoid of any emotional patois.
But Affleck seems like a genius compared to the befuddled performance of Jessica Alba. How can I say this – playing the little sub whore Alba generates absolutely no heat. I remember having to see a high school play of “Death of a Salesman” where the kid stuck playing Willie Loman thought the way to show weariness was to read his lines as fast and monotonously as possible. Alba is horrible. She’s playing a hooker, a fetishist. She has at least 3 sex scenes and she is just nothing but dull and boring.
The rest of the cast is good but with the two leads so abysmal and wrong headed they have no Love
Click images for desktop size: “Love” by Unknown
current to swim with or against.
The movie follows the book near exactly but it has, seemingly, no comprehension of what the book was about. They are just bits and skits. There’s no emotion, no heat, no stink of the dust of West Texas. It’s like a Disney version of the Kama Sutra or something. What a failure and these jerks will probably blame Jim Thompson’s source material instead of their own bumbling incompetence.

I still love my nook. The Kindle is lighter, easier to hold and navigate. The nook touchscreen looks moderately cool but is a pain in the neck to work and a monstrous drain on the battery. Also the Kindle whispersync works while syncing the nook is a chore. But I love it. It lets me read.
With the Kindle 3 promised and B&N’s future looking well, unpredictable, you can get nooks on ebay, brand new, for under $50!
The advantages of e-readers are pretty obvious. Still my favorite is carrying around the 3 books I’m High Sierra currently reading and changing the fonts and font sizes when appropriate.
Presently the most interesting thing I’m reading is “Through a Dog’s Eyes” by Jennifer Arnold.
Arnold has cred because she founded and trains service dogs for Canine Assistance. Doesn’t make her a good writer though. This book is a mess but no more so than 90% of the books I read about dogs.
She tries to be thorough but it comes across like a high school student trying to compose a Doctoral thesis. But the facts are interesting and her observations are valuable enough to make the slog worthwhile. I have to agree that my training and basis for my love of dogs is her old fashioned method that has been burnished and altered by my respect and general fondness for dogs. She has valid points that I discover I’m already incorporating in my doggie relationships.

With as much love as I have for lists I’m surprised to discover I’ve never written up a list of my top ten fave books!

  1. The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen – Sort of figures that this is one book that would not translate to an ebook reader as it uses typography to delineate some of its more astonishing images both on the page and in your head.
  2. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler – This was a rough call as Chandler’s “Farewell My Lovely” could fit here just as well. Moose Malloy and Phillip Marlowe are two of the greatest characters in fiction in a great story. “Goodbye” is the better more ambitious book though. Terry Lennox is no slouch as a character either.
  3. Hector Berlioz Autobiography – A life of music. Skillful and full of rhythms. Its a madman’s descent into crushed dreams and genius.
  4. The Whole Earth Catalog edited by Stewart Brand – A catalog of tools, most of them books. A lot of toys and implements to take us into the future. And there was this grotty little novel onin the corner of each page. The future it was trying to build never happened. Shame really.
  5. The Complete Works of William Blake – You need the edition with plates and artwork. I even like to muddle through the prophetic poems and try and separate the poetry from the Swedenborganiasm.
  6. Alice in Wonderland – By Lewis Carroll – Another book that doesn’t really work on an ereader. Its still brilliant.
  7. Ironweed by William Kennedy – Baseball, bums and music. A heart stopping examination of death and the thinness of life.
  8. Deus Irae by Philip K Dick and Roger Zelzaney – Perhaps the bleakest view of life after the apocalypse. It has no joy except the small joys that we find when we’re not prepared to let despondency rule the day.
  9. Happy Birthday of Death by Gregory Corso – He used to read his poems to bongo music and thus created, single handed, a stereotype and a cliche. His stuff is solid.
  10. Naked Lunch by William Burroughs – Read this first in high school. For a while the entire football team and baseball team were doing impromptu skits quoting pages of the book. Crazy and cool.

A Desperate Stand by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: “A Desperate Stand” by Charles Russell

For me; I’ve been sick. Don’t understand it. Wild stabbing pains, my joints all feel sprained, lots of chest pain. Don’t get it. Cardiologist on Wednesday.