Sunday, July 3, 2022

Over Everything

 

My mom is anti-abortion.  She's really fired up about all of "those women" who are out there acting out about having their rights taken away.  She thinks all life is sacred, I guess, except for theirs.  

"Maybe they are not protesting for themselves," I said to my mother.  "Maybe they are protesting for their sister's right or their daughter's right or a cousin or a friend's right."

"That's not what they are saying," my mother spat.  "They say MY body, MY right!!"

Boy, she's adamant about this one.  

"Why are they out there having sex if they don't want children?"

Oh, boy, I pulled my punches on this one.  You don't want to slut shame your 90 year old mother.  

"What about married women who don't want to have a child?"

"They should use birth control."

"O.K.  Let's say she did.  Let's say she took her pill every day at the same time.  What is the chance that the hormones won't keep her from ovulating?"

My mother just looked at me.  

"Hmm?  Could she still get pregnant?  O.K.  I'll tell you.  Yes.  The efficacy of birth control pills is about 91%.  But what if she is a good Catholic and doesn't take the pill?  What is the efficacy of condoms?  Contraceptive foam?  Diaprhagms?"

Mom's pretty much glaring at this point. 

"I thought you were an expert on this.  Maybe you think people ought to just quit fucking?"

There it was.  Bingo!  "These women" are just going out there and having sex and getting pregnant and having abortions.  Apparently this is pissing my mother off.  

"So you think a fifteen year old girl who got boinked by her boyfriend and gets pregnant should have to have a baby?  You think kids are better off with bad parents?  Why?"

Of course I brought up the SCOTUS gutting of the EPA.  

"Are all the countries doing the same thing?  Why should we?"

"O.K.  I see your logic now.  I get it.  What we need are more people and more pollution.  Got it."  

There is no use arguing with people.  You never change anyone's mind.  My mother is happy as shit that we have so many heroin and meth addicts in our family.  She's especially proud of my cousin's kid who has a baby out of wedlock.  

"He's a good father," my mother says.  He lives in government subsidized housing, sells drugs, and delivers pizza at night.  

"He's a thirty-five year old drug dealing pizza delivery boy whose baby mama went to live with her boyfriend in a Mexican labor camp so she could get away from him."  

Whatever.  

It is fireworks weekend.  White nationalists are marching on the Freedom Trail.  It is an exciting time of celebrating violent revolution, the very roots of our country.  Kaboom!

Many, many years ago, my band played in Gotham's famous lake park with an estimated 10,000 people in attendance.  We claim that as our largest crowd though most people were not there for us and indeed were in far-flung parts of the park.  Still--they could hear us.  Another 4th we played a club in a nearby coastal town to the largest audience they ever had.  The club owner gave us a bonus at the end of our gig.  There had been over five thousand people throughout the door that night.  

Last night before bed, a little stoned, perhaps, I picked up my guitar.  I can barely play it anymore.  The strings cut into my un-calloused  fingers and so I mute half the strings.  I played softly, more so than normal, and sang better for it.  I thought I sounded pretty good.  I had to be stoned. 

My mother and I were talking about the 4th we played in the park.  She was there.  

"Did you make any money playing in the band?"

"Some.  In small clubs, we'd get the cover money to get in.  In big clubs it would be a flat fee.  It got to be a pain in the butt, though, hauling the equipment, showing up in the afternoon to set everything up, run wires and cords and cables, do a sound check, then come back that night to play.  Then we'd have to wait for the crowd to clear and we'd tear it all down.  The money was never worth it."

"You've had quite a life," she said.  "You've done a lot of things."

"Yup.  But it doesn't matter, does it.  I mean, nobody gives a shit.  Nobody cares what happened to some old guy.  It's like watching a silent movie.  It's just not real.  I guess you just wear your experiences.  They are just part of you.  Maybe it shows.  Who knows?"

After chopping away at the guitar and crooning softly to the empty night, I slipped between the sheets.  All night, I dreamt memories of things that had happened, those things that sound like bragging.  Well, I guess they are.  And that's why you can't tell them.  I'd wake up giggling, sometimes, smiling at the memories that were dreams.  Life is a bitch, but I have to admit that mine has sure been fun.  

Here's one to piss you off.  I don't care.  I'm over everything.  


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Maybes vs. Uncertainties

I got my Whopper.  It came with fries and a Coke.  $5.00.  I had a coupon.  Unbelievable.  The meal had to be over 1,000 calories.  And it was good.  Really, really good.  

I want to live that way.  

There is something to be said about the casual life, one where you just live and don't worry about everything all the time.  I think it is called "childhood."  It was more fun.  Maybe I'm going through that second childhood.  I mean  that Whopper made me happy.  All I had to do to beat the blues was just not care.  There are a lot of people who live long, healthy lives not caring.  Maybe it takes not knowing, too.  Therein lies my problem.  I mean, Christ people, I knew what phenol was.  I'm not bragging, I'm just saying.  No. . . I'm bragging.  Still. . . it is not easy being Mr. Knowitall.  

So this morning when I woke up, I wondered what I would do, a brow furrowed kind of wondering.  There was this internal demand that said I must use my time.  I would need to do something productive.  It felt stressful.  

Then I told myself I didn't need to do anything at all.  Not a goddamned thing.  I could do whatever I wanted or not do what I wanted.  It didn't matter.  And suddenly, I felt better.  I have been stressing, I think, since losing the structure of my old life.  My job rarely stressed me out.  I enjoyed it by and large.  It scaffolded my life, so to speak, in that it lent a definite structure.  Living in a structureless miasma has been daunting.  

Until now.  As soon as I give myself over to it--Boom!  

Everything I've done in life has eventually turned out to be shit anyway in one way or another.  I mean, I built no empire.  I did a lot of things that nobody is really interested in or even believes.  Telling it sounds like exaggerated bragging.  

"I was alone in the jungle with Amazon natives puking and shitting, afraid I had contracted typhoid.  I slept in a makeshift lean-to in someone else's hammock.  All I had to drink was Cuzcanea beer."

"We were at 17,000 feet on a crumbly glacier when the whiteout descended.  You could see nothing but the flash of lightning that occasionally surrounded us."

Etc.  

People will listen to the whiney stories of domestic defeat more readily.  They can relate to those cautionary tales.  They will enjoy and even believe in the hyperbolic telling of horrific events and dastardly lovers.  

Which reminds me that today is an old girlfriend's birthday.  I think.  No matter what, I am always wobbly on this detail.  

I do have duties to fulfill, however.  I will need to get some groceries for a celebration of the 4th with my mother.  It stresses me out a little, but I'll deal.  

I've discovered that if I tear my living room apart, I can use it for a studio.  I like my living room.  It is pretty.  But what if I just gave it up for a month or maybe two?  What if I just set up a photo studio there?  Who is there to complain?  My mother?  She rarely comes over any longer.  I don't know.  It's a thought. 

I had another thought last night, too.  What if I bought the camera I really want?  It is very expensive.  But what if I did?  I have things I could sell to mitigate some of the cost.  I'd have to give up a lot of things.  I could sell all my large format camera equipment and some of my Leicas.  I could sell a couple medium format cameras, too.  

But if I did all that, I'd resent the new camera, I'm sure.  It would never make me happy.  

No. . . I should just buy it and eat the money.  

I'm a dope if I think that will make me happier or if I believe it will make me a good photographer.  But you know, it was sure fun eating that Whopper, if you know what I mean.  

Maybe I'll buy a juicer today.  Apples, beets, celery, ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric, black pepper. . . .  That would be the way to start the day.  That would surely put a little pep in my step, a little steam in my strut, a little glide in my stride.  

Hell, the world is full of maybes.  What else have we to battle the uncertainties?  


Friday, July 1, 2022

Can Listeria Cause a Mental Disorder?


What a difference a day makes.  Life's big roller coaster ride and all that.  I didn't wake up with the same enthusiasm for the day as I did yesterday morning.  I'm not depressed; I'm just not ecstatic.  I may have overdone "things."  But as we all know intimately, ecstasy is not a sustainable state. It just don't last.  

It's o.k.  Back to zen.  Back to the comfortable melancholy of old.  But it was fun while it lasted.  

That light--it almost hurts your eyes, right?  Instinctually you avoid looking at it even though it can't hurt you.  It is only white, no brighter than the rest of the picture.  Still. . . don't take a chance.  

The birthday of a former girlfriend is coming up.  I remember that even though I was off by a day when I told the birthday group at the factory some years ago.  Boy was she furious.  I think that was one of the reasons she started hating on me.  But I know it now, and I know how old she will be.  I started thinking about other women I have dated.  How many of their birthdays did I remember?  I remember my first true love's only because I Googled her and found her obituary.  Maybe, I thought, I could Google the others.  

Don't do it, kids.  Don't.  You will find out all sorts of things about people on the internet.  I found so many things, and not much of it made me happy.  Maybe none of it for various reasons.  I now know when birthdays are, and now I know so much more.  I won't go into the serious things I found, the legal documents that rebuke the stories I'd been told.  There is no benefit to recounting those here for they reflect badly on someone other than me.  Let's stick with dissing old C.S. here in these pages.  It is the safest thing and, maybe, the most fun.  Confessions of a lack of character or a moral compass are often more compelling than opining about another.  So. . . .

Let's forget about the billionaire's daughter.  She will always be successfully running in those circles.  It is impossible to fall.  So yea, she's doing better than I am by default.  Let's move on.  

The fashion maven's birthday just passed, as did my ex-wife's.  The one with the kid's is coming up.  I'm up to date.  O.K.  

But you run across a lot of things.  I went to two instagram sites.  Oy.  One is severely disappointing.  No, both were.  Maybe it's just instagram.  Maybe everyone looks like an idiot on that platform.  Maybe they all sound like they read too many positive thinking popular culture self-help books.  

Jesus.  Now I can't say.  My ex-wife is doing very well though.  I took a YouTube tour of her home.  Holy smokes!  Her husband is a very successful builder and she has become, it appears, his interior designer.  We have different tastes, she and I, but she has done very, very well.  All the pictures she posts are from the best places to be at the right time of year--Malibu, Vail, Palm Beach. . . .  Like most of the acceptable people here in my own hometown, she has multiple homes.  

But I saw a picture of her grandmother.  Grannies was one of my favorite people.  She was most gracious and generous, and when she found out that her granddaughter and I were separating, she called me and cried.  Me, too.  What a great gal.  There she was, almost one hundred and one.  She looked exactly the same.  

Later, I saw her obituary.  She died just a few months ago.  Piss, shit, fuck, goddamn.  She was a true champ.  

Oh. . . I found out much more.  But I am not a tattler.  To all my exes credit, though, they are all moving in the better circles.  Raquet clubs and country clubs and vacation resorts, etc.  

And I am still a hillbilly chub.  

Even Q is giving me the high hat.  

I have had a craving for bad food since my digestive disorder.  I read today that there is a Listeria breakout in my own state.  Maybe that is what hit me.  But now, all I have been craving is a Whopper.  I asked the "boys" at the gym if they ever had such cravings.  To the man, they said that they eat shit food once a week.  Hmm.  I haven't had a Whopper in a decade or so.  

But I am trying.  I ate sardines for lunch.  By dinner, I was starving.  I fried up a couple cube steaks and a bunch of potatoes and some kale.  Yes, I fried the kale. I heated some baked beans.  By the time dinner was ready, my hands were on fire with the sting of popping grease.  The stovetop was covered.  The kitchen floor was covered, too.  

I ate everything.  And then I had a chocolate covered Dove bar.  Holy shit!  I haven't eaten this much food for a very long time.  

I had a margarita beforehand.  Wine with dinner.  And then the scotch.  

I have no idea how many calories I consumed.  I don't want to know. 

Filling the void, I guess.  Depression eating?  Oh. . . I am not depressed.  I am not depressed.  I am not depressed.  



Thursday, June 30, 2022

Flying Like the Birdman

How do you know if you are happy?  That's a stupid question, right?  Everyone knows whether or not they are happy.  But that knowing is usually "of the moment."  "Do you have a happy life?" might be a better question, but it is equally precarious a question.  

"Sometimes."

Let's try a more specific question--when you wake up, do you look forward to the day?

Again, that is situational and dependent on what is on the agenda.  

These are half baked ideas I only thought of today when I woke up and realized that I DID look forward to the day, and that, by and large, I do most days.  Coffee, maybe some breakfast bread, reading, writing, a little exercise, lunch, a nap, some little photo thing, the late afternoon cocktail, dinner, sunset, more reading, a little television. . . .  It is a stupidly simple life, but by and large, as weird as it seems, as strange as it is, I do look forward to the day.   Overall, it is enjoyable.  

So there is that, my friends.  I have books and cameras and. . . let us not forget. . . music!  All I lack is the thing that has brought me the main agonies in life.  I love hard, but I can't say that it has been the most pleasurable thing in life.  It is exciting at first.  But in the main, even that becomes routinized and eventually a pretty prison.  You must have a high tolerance for frustration and captivity--on both sides--to continue.  

Or so it seems to me this morning--but your mileage may vary.  

All this to say this morning I woke up and realized that I was looking forward to the day, a very common, regular day, a day in a country torn by ideologies, plunging toward an economic recession, plagued by disease, seemingly hurtling toward the abyss.  

It's o.k.  I'll be alright.  I'll be back to normal tomorrow.  Whatever.  This present mania will pass.  We all know what follows.  

I think it was watching "Fading Gigolo" last night that did it (link).  I stumbled across the film scrolling through the menu on my Amazon Prime account.  Woody Allen and John Turtturo?  2013?  Are you kidding?  How did I miss this?  Turturro wrote and directed and starred in the film, and it is one of the best "Woody Allen" films you will see.  He nails it.  And Allen is Allen to perfection.  I was captured from the moment the music played over the opening credits.  Indeed, the entire soundtrack is good.  

I'm pretty sure it was the surprise of that that cheered me up.  That and deciding not to cook and to simply eat some frozen foods from Trader Joe's, first a kimchi and tofu soup, then a shepherd's pie.  I just popped them in the microwave.  No chopping, slicing, or dicing.  No pots to clean, no cabinets to wipe.  People, I was grooving like the Jetsons.  As good as I am, I may never cook again.  There are many strange delights in those frozen food aisles that I have never sampled.  

And--big confession--I've been craving a Whopper.  I haven't had one in a decade and maybe only a couple in two.  But I remember the incredible pleasure at consuming one.  They are bad for you.  They are really bad.  But I might have to get one today.  I think my body is reacting to the GI illness that deprived me of food for a few days.  It is craving salt and fat.  I'm not bragging, of course.  This cannot be a really good sign,  

But the ease and weird textures and flavors of last night's meal have made me happy.  

Christ, I've become a simp.  

Oh. . . not exercising yesterday might have contributed something, too.  I had to take my mother to a doctor's appointment, the one she has been saying is on Friday at 2:45.  Neither appointment has been on Friday at 2:45.  Worrisome.  But yesterday at 10:30, I took her to a podiatrist.  She has a badly ingrown toenail.  The doc said he would trim it and put a chemical on it that will keep it from growing back on that part of her toe.  

"If I may ask, what is the chemical?"

"Phenol," he said.  Ancient memories of organic chemistry at the university emerged.  It is a five carbon ring with an OH (hydroxide)  attached I seemed to remember.  I would look it up when I got home and be impressed.  I still have a bit of cognitive functioning, it seems.  

The trouble was, he said, this was his very first day in this office and he had none of the tools to perform the operation, so they would call us when they were all set up and we could come back.  

WTF?  Why schedule an appointment when you are not ready to play doctor?

He works for Advent Health now, he said, and he is at three different locations depending on the day.  That's the new medical reality for us all.  He is a high tech factory worker who does what management says and draws his paycheck--as long as he is meeting his quotas.  The benefit for him?  He doesn't have to manage the paperwork required to get insurance and medicare money.   

"Twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift." 

After I dropped my mother off back home, I was free for the day.  I wouldn't go back in the late afternoon.  It seemed a luxury of time.  

I thought I might walk, but I sat down at the computer to try my new editing stuff on a few more images.  Down the rabbit hole for awhile.  Then a trip to the photo shop.  I had to take back a lighting cable I'd been lent.  When I got there, nobody seemed to be in a very good mood.  The pretty girl ignored me completely.  When I left, I realized that she was really the reason I was so eager to go.  I walked out with another piece of equipment, though, which was once again on loan.  Maybe when I return it, she will be happy to see me.  

I kid. 

Maybe I woke up looking forward to the day because I had a banana walnut breakfast cake awaiting me.  When I finish writing this, I will dive in.  Coffee and breakfast cake.  I'm pretty sure I will get the Whopper later on.  

Yes, it is definitely a mania I am experiencing.  And I will crash.  I will see myself as the failure I've become, old, alone, without accomplishments, a virtual shut-in without a desire to travel.  

But for the moment, I will fly like Birdman.  He flew, right?  At the end?  When he went through the window?  

Yea.  

(link)


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Royal Flush?

Cassidy Hutchinson. What can you say? Hell, the liberal press has already made her a martyr. It is amazing to them that a twenty-five year old woman has the guts to come out and speak to the commission. 


Wait! How can they say that?  I thought women were strong and powerful?  I thought they promoted the formidable power of young women?  C'mon, people, you can't have it both ways.  

Of course, they don't know much about her.  Most of the press said she was a twenty-five year old.  Later, they corrected that.  She is twenty-six.  Were they still amazed?  

I Googled her last night.  She went to a small public "Ivy League" college in Virginia.  No one knows if she is married or has a boyfriend.  Nothing about her parents . There aren't even nude pictures of her yet.  She is a real mystery.  

Especially to Trump.  He began tweeting during the trial.  Doesn't even know who she is.  Just another liar.  He says she is just angry because he rejected her for a job at his Palm Beach residence.  But of course, again, he doesn't know her.  

Me?  Oh, man. .  I'm a sucker for these slick republican women.  I just want to know about her parents before I fall in love with her.  If she comes from the working class, I'm not enamored.  I want there to be no bruises, no scars. . . no stink of the common life.  If she was privileged from birth, though. . . she's the one for me.  

I'm kidding, kind of.  Something is off.  I can't tell what it is yet, but I can't put my faith in her.  I have a pretty good bullshit detector.  She obviously hasn't been scrutinized yet.  When CNN, MSNBC, et. al. are eager to jump onboard the "We got him this time" train, I'm suspicious.  I feel like I've been run over by that train before.  

But man. . . I mean she's only twenty-five (or six or so) AND female.  Can you IMAGINE?

I'd say she rode a rocket to the top.  She got to where she is fast.  At twenty-five (or six) most kids in the midwest are still living at home and breast feeding.  Or so the new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics would like to promote.  More breast feeding.  The Times even ran a big picture of a breastfeeding breast to grab your attention.  But don't look (link).  It is rude to look.  The photo is a trick.  There is no need for that.  The story could stand on its own.  Gotcha!  

But, you know, they are really o.k. in certain context.  It is truly beautiful.  Just don't look.  

Trumpers will not be deterred by Hutchinson's testimony.  Like Trump says, she's fake news.  Probably an AI bot.  You can't trust democrats.  They are scum.  Yea, she was a republican, but she's a RiNO.  She has no loyalty.  She has no ethics.  

As all expert lawyers on television (seems to be a good place to be if you are an expert lawyer) say, though, this is all hearsay and most of the testimony would not be allowed in court.  There would also be cross examination and the chance to shoot holes in her testimony.  We don't know what the Justice Department will do with this information, they profess, but it surely makes a good story.  

They'll never convict Trump of a crime.  I've perished the thought.  

I'll admit something strange, though.  That Liz Cheney is getting hotter all the time, right?  I mean. . . . 

If it turns out that Hutchinson is a lesbian. . . holy shit!  Can you imagine?  AND. . . what if her parents are a minority?  Even one of them!  Fuck, man--that's a liberal a royal flush!  

God--I've become a cynic!  How did it happen?  

The picture at the top of the post--what do you think?  Do you have ideas about them right away?  Who they are?  What they think?  Who they voted for?  Sure you do.  You do.  Admit it.  It's just going to be different depending on your ideology.  Are these the moral guardians of the universe or just a bunch of corrupt old white guys who have caused the downfall of modern society?  

We judge.  It is in our nature.  But take a lesson from today's post, my friends.  It is probably better to keep it to yourself.  As my buddy's dad always used to say, if you are stupid, keep your mouth shut and people won't know.  

I should probably take that under advisement.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Sh*t Gets F*cked Up

One should be wary to post a nude picture today without the appropriate FaceBook censorship.  If there is one thing in the world more dangerous than nuclear weapons, it's a woman's "female parts."  Titties.  The vagine.  I'm sure pornography will be one of the next issues the Supreme Court will take up.  It makes sense.  What leads to unwanted pregnancy?  Porn, that's what.  


"And what is pornography?"

"Ain't a man alive that don't get excited by the sight of a naked woman 'less he's a faggot.  Get's a man all riled up.  Makes him feel things, animal things, things that isn't holy outside the sanctity of marriage.  Men can barely control themselves, boy. . . you know that.  Ain't no sense in rilin' 'em up with pictures of naked women.  That's what porn is.  It's the stuff that rile up those feelings."

"Oh.  Men can't control themselves, huh?"

"That's well known, son.  That's why God gave us the Bible.  That's why we got church.  Otherwise we'd all be running around like some Hottentot or Hulu or whatever, naked and sticking it into anything that moves.  Jesus, man. . . they'nt no better than animals."

"Sure.  I can see that."

"It was countries with the Bible that built the moderns world.  If it weren't for that. . . ."

"Like France, you mean?"

"What?"

"Countries like France?"

"Maybe. . . some. . . I'm not sure what you mean."

"Nothing.  Just art, literature, the Can-Can. . . ."

"None of that got you cars and air conditioning, did it, boy?  You know what did it?  The Puritan work ethic.  That's what separates us from the savages."

"Like China, you mean."

"Well, those little fuckers sure can work.  I'll give 'em that.  But they don't have God."

"Right." 

Oh, hell, I could go on for days writing out dialog with this guy.  I talk to him every day, a moral guardian of the universe.  

My hippie values, though, probably fucked things up.  Those with Woke values will come to the same conclusion about themselves one day.  In trying to do what you think is best, sometimes, you just make things worse.  We tried, but look what happened.  Looking at the hippie movement of the '60s, Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, said, "This country will turn so far to the right you won't even recognize it."  

Boy, he was right.  

I've said it before, but I'll say it once again;  things went to hell when we disbanded reading groups in schools.  Putting the good readers with the good readers and the poor readers with the poor readers was bad for kids self-esteem, they said.  Well. . . we sure don't have that problem now, do we?  Every dumb fucker in the country has more self-esteem than a Nobel Prize winner.  

"Goddamn it, boy. . . you ain't one of those pinhead elitists, are you?  You think your opinion's more important than mine?"

This said through clenched jaws set below some squinty eyes.  

"Only when the facts prevail."

My nameless buddy from the factory says that it was the rise of the social sciences that ruined things.  It could be.  It could be a lot of things.  Maybe it was taking art out of the school curriculum.  Maybe it was the demonization of literature.  It's hard, I guess, when most kids are unable to read even literally let alone figuratively.  I don't think I'd want to be a school teacher.  It would be a constant heartache.  

I've been watching a Netflix series called "Maid."  The show is good but really sad.  It illustrates the cycle of failure that oppresses so many lives.  Take a woman who falls for a guy, gets pregnant, has the baby.  They move into a trailer, start making a life.  But they were young.  You know how things go.  At twenty-five, she is out on her own, a single mom, trying to work and take classes at the local community college.  She wants to get ahead.  Desperately.  She gets up, feeds her baby, drops it off at daycare, goes to work, gets off, picks up the kid, goes home and makes dinner, then, when the babysitter shows up, she heads off to her class.  She gets home at nine-thirty, kisses her sleeping baby goodnight, pays the babysitter, and sits down to do her homework.  She's a dedicated student.  She gets to bed at midnight.  

One night, her baby has a high fever.  She takes it to the E.R.  She doesn't get home until nine.  She missed her class, but she had never missed before.  Another night, the babysitter doesn't show.  Now she's missed two which puts her over the limit.  She is now eligible to be dropped from the class for excessive absences.  Meanwhile, some ne'er do well kid from a middle class family goes because his parents make him.  He comes to class stoned every night, sits in the back of the room and does just enough to get by.  The community college teacher is part time.  His teaching at night is a second job.  He doesn't want to get involved in student issues.  Rules are rules.  They are the same for everybody.  

"I'm sorry, but sometimes we have to make choices in life.  Sometimes it is just not possible to do everything we want to do."

Halfway through the term, mom, the student who most wants to go to school, gets dropped from the rolls. But that's fine with my conservative friend.  

"The world needs maids, and dishwashers and roofers and lawn guys.  Bad choices and all that.  Everybody can't be a winner."

The model, by the way, was legally blind.  She couldn't drive.  She lived with her boyfriend in an apartment with other people.  Her boyfriend couldn't drive because he lost his license after they got pulled over in a traffic stop.  She had pot in the car.  He said it was his.  He did all the things he needed to do to get his license back but he doesn't have the money.  He lost his job because he couldn't get to work.  She took a bus to work at a call center every day, two hours each way.  Sometimes if she worked late, she slept there.  She could have an operation that would restore much of her sight, but it was expensive and she didn't have the money and she didn't have insurance and there was no federal or state money that could be used to pay for it.  When they had a car, both she and her boyfriend were in school.  There was no way they could go any longer.  

Shit can get fucked up.  Sometimes there just doesn't seem to be any way out.  

Oh. . . I was kidding about the picture.  But I wasn't kidding about the rest. 


  

Monday, June 27, 2022

God's Righteous Punishment

Chills, stomach cramps, diarrhea, aches and pains.  Even my skin hurt.  I knew better than to go out.  But I couldn't have gotten sick in just ten or twelve hours, I reckoned.  Whence the misery, then.  Maybe I caught something at the doctor's office when I took my mother on Friday.  Or possibly when I went to happy hour on Thursday night.  I kept pushing the thermostat up.  I couldn't get warm.  I stayed in all day and didn't see my mother last night.  Early, I took Tylenol and Advil PM and went to bed.  During the night, more chills, more cramping.  Trips to the bathroom.  

I don't know what it is, but I'm ravaged.  

Still, it didn't feel like death.  It felt like something that would pass.  I can suffer passing illnesses.  So I sat.  For much of the time, I sat before my big work computer.  I thumbed through hard drive images.  I had an idea.  I worked on a couple old photos to see if it would work.  It did.  I worked on more to see if it would hold up to repetition.  It did in some cases, mostly darker chiaroscuro types.  Brighter, fully lit pictures, not so much.  I did enough to know that I can control the process.  There are a lot of steps though they are not boilerplate.  Each image requires, or at leasts accepts, minor variations.  Overall, though, I got the process down.  

You probably can't tell the difference.  But there is a difference.  The color rendering is different.  The colors are muted and slightly skewed.  It was exciting, but it remains to be seen how I will feel about them down the line.  

I have a hard time making myself drink water.  I have to drink more water.  I think that is part of my problem since my heat-stroke-defying deck work.  Perhaps I have not fully recovered, and then, well. . . staying out and "partying."  I didn't enjoy the bars at all, though, and I know my greatest joys lie outdoors or in smaller cafes and cantinas open to the world.  

And, of course, I would revel in a studio.  

I will try to get back on track today, though my belly is still moaning and I am weak from lack of food.  Ensure and Gatorade, maybe, are on my road to recovery.  

A last thought.  I can really work the heck out of a digital image.  Why am I mucking about with the big cameras?  I have hamstrung myself in a way.  But, I say, it is temporary.  Just until you can make those big negative pictures in your sleep.  

Yea.  'Til then.  

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Among the Throng

I swear, I like these toy camera Holga pictures about as much as anything I shoot.  There are no controls other than an approximate focussing tab that moves the lens back and forth.  There are no exposure controls.  You just put film in it on a sunny day and "click."  Sure.  It is just a crapshoot, but who doesn't like to gamble from time to time.  The camera is everything that the large format cameras are not.  It is cheap, light, and simple.  As the old folk poem goes, 

Carnation milk is the best in the land.  
Here I sit with a can in my hand.  
No tits to pull, no hay to pitch, 
You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.  

For depression era farm kids who had worked hard their whole lives to produce things, Wonder Bread and the like were near miracles.  

Now, like all spoiled brats, I am trying to make things difficult again.  Should I use that precious word "artisanal"?  

I spent half of yesterday afternoon on a FaceTime call with Q trying to help him load his 1950s Russian knockoff of a Hasselblad.  The Germans and the Swedes had a penchant for making things as precise and difficult as they could.  The Russians were not as precise in their knockoffs, but they were every bit as complex.  

Later that day, Q said he thinks he shot a roll of film.  Not sure yet.  

There is, of course, the phone cam.  What the hell are any of us with complicated cameras thinking?

I was lazy yesterday.  I did nothing.  Absolute nothing.  I told myself I should, and I actually got in the car and drove through Gotham looking for a protest march. . . or anything.  But it was that typical hot and hazy southern afternoon and people were pretty absent from the streets.  I made a big loop and was back home within the hour.  

Later I went over and berated my mother.  I didn't mean to.  It just happened.  I guess I'm simply a shameful little shit.  

Or maybe something else.  

I came home and made some cod for dinner all the while thinking I'd rather just go to Burger King.  All this cooking, all this cleaning, all this. . . . I just want to punch a hole in the son of a bitch.  

I took dinner to the deck to eat with the cat who had shown up to be fed.  She hung around when she was done.  She has taken to jumping up on top of my covered grill to perch.  The other night, she kept looking at the fence and then took a leap up to it.  

"Now what, cat?"

From there she climbed the large viburnum and got onto the neighbors roof.  WTF?  I didn't know this cat could manage any of this.  

But last night, she just rested on top of the grill for a very long time.  

I went in when the mosquitoes arrived.  I poured a glass of wine and read.  But something was eating at me.  I needed to go out, I thought.  I needed to see the world.  I'm just sitting in my house dying.  

So I went to the closet and put on some jeans I haven't worn in at least two and a half years.  That and a black t-shirt.  A quick check in the mirror.  Really quick.  I didn't want to look too hard.  When was the last time I went out to a bar alone?  Not since Covid.  It had to be before I met Ili, back when I had the studio.  Jesus. . . eight years?  I wasn't even a blond then.  But I wasn't fat, either.  Whatever.  I put myself into "historic mode" and walked to the car.  

The cat was still lying on the grill.  Odd.  She never stays around so long after eating.  

"See you later, cat.  I'll be back."

I drove to a place the "boys" at the gym keep touting.  

"It's really laid back.  You'd like it.  It's casual and there are a lot of hippie girls who hang out there." 

When I walked up,  there were two bouncers blocking the door.  That didn't seem very laid back to me.  The big Black man looked me up and down without smiling.  It kind of pissed me off, so I threw my arms out and asked, "am I good?" more aggressively than I intended.  He laughed and put his hand on my shoulder. 

"Yea man, your good," he laughed.  

The bar was much bigger than I had anticipated.  I'd been there decades ago when it was another place, an art bar, but it was only half this size.  Apparently they had gotten the adjoining space and knocked out a wall.  The bar was a big U.  Just as I walked up, two fellows were leaving.  I took a seat.  It was loud.  Really loud.  I had to lean toward the bartender to hear.  

"An Old Fashioned," I said.  It wasn't very good.  

I have to say, the crowd was pretty evenly split between women and men, but it was made up of the lesser hoi-poloi, I thought, a crowd consisting of fives and sixes, a crowd where a seven looks like a nine.  There were the usual gym boys with their short tight sleeves exaggerating their repetition made muscles.  There were the fay hipster boys of a certain ilk.  The women were youngish, beyond their college years which never happened, or beyond the four years they spent at the junior college getting an A.A. degrees.  The best of them were plumpish, not yet having gone over to fat, collagen still holding, if straining.  God, I thought, I don't want to hear what they are saying.  

A fellow in a black button up shirt and black pants asked if the empty stool beside me was taken.  I shook my head.  He leaned to the barkeep and ordered something I couldn't identify when it came.  It had olives in clear fluid, but it wasn't in a martini glass.  

"Cheers," he said bumping my glass in a toast.  "What are you drinking?"

I was trapped.  I guess it is better to be talking to someone at a hopping bar in order not to look like a loser or a mass murderer, but I can still manage on my own.  My new friend, however, was very chatty.  He told me he was in the hospitality business.  Royalty and famous people didn't impress him, he said.  He had waited on many of them, and. . . you know. . . they piss just like he does.  That was a new one to me.  Then he went on to tell me boring story after boring story of the people who he had met.  George Carlin.  He was head over heels for Carlin.  That story creeped forward toward a blank nothingness in excruciating detail.  He was going out with a girl who wanted to bring her friend with her.  When they went to pick her up, it was "a million dollar house at the country club."  A man came down the stairs in his robe and slippers.  

"Robe and slippers!!! He asked me who I was and I introduced myself thinking that I knew him from somewhere.  It was his daughter we were picking up.  He asked if we would be drinking.  His daughter was twenty-two.  Then it hit me.  THIS was Dan Akroyd.  I was going to be chauffeuring Dan Akroyd's daughter around that night."

Oh. . . I just want to give you a sense of the marvelous I experienced.  

Next up was Stephen King.  His brother was an architect who designed a house on one of the keys in Sarasota.  Someone bought the house from the people he designed it for, and they said that the new owner wanted to meet with him and make some renovations.  The didn't tell him that it was STEPHEN KING!" 

Turns out he is a fanboy for King.  I got to hear about it in savage detail.  

All the while, I was smiling and nodding and thinking, "I'm sure to get Covid."  As I glanced around the bar, my heart sank.  I never liked places like this.  I must look like somebody searching for his granddaughter, I thought.  

When my drink was gone, so was I.  I nodded to my new friend and hobbled to the door.  

When I got home, the cat was gone.  Of course.  

I prefer small, intimate places.  The place the "boys" had suggested was not that.  I had wasted a foolish hour.  

But one good thing came out of the night, something I could be excited about.  I know I can wear those jeans alright.  It is good to have a standard alternative to my hippie pants.  You know, the costume makes the man.  

I should get out early with my big cameras and make some pictures.  I have two series in mind--"American Pastimes" and "American Worker."  All large format, strained formal poses.  I can see it clearly.  Making it, however, takes big ovaries, or, depending on gender. . . .  There is an empty lot in Gotham that has a wall that would make a marvelous background.  Yesterday driving by, I thought to set up my camera and wait for some willing prospect to come by.  

"Hey, you. . . would you let me take your picture?"

That's why I eschewed "balls."  Mine become a bowtie when I think about it.  I'm sure once I get started, though. . . . 

The day is young and long.  I don't want to sit inside my house and rot.  I have to get out among the living.  Those hideous creatures.  They will be out brunching en masse, sucking up mimosas and Bloody Marys and eating shrimps and sausages and eggs Benedict and croissants.  

See?  You see?  

God. . . I feel shaky this morning.  I probably caught Covid.  God, please. . . spare me the Covid.  I've learned my lesson.  I won't go among your most marvelous creations again.  I swear.  I'll keep to myself.  I'll read.  I'll make pictures.  I'll write.  Just give me strength.  

Oy. . . the brutes. . . the brutes. . . . 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Precious Ones

 


Have you heard about the Supreme Court Ruling on Roe vs. Wade?  No?  Oh, well, let me tell you. . . life is special.  Every life is precious.  

I had to take my mother to a doctor's appointment yesterday at 2:45.  That's what I thought.  I worked out and then sat around and shot the shit with the "boys" for a while.  When I left, I was on my way to Whole Foods to pick up stuff for lunch, then home to shower and eat before I picked up mom.  I decided to call her when I left the gym.  Good thing I did.  

"My appointment's at 12:45," she said.  It was 12:30.  I turned around and drove to her house, grubby, grungey, and stinky.  

"You've been telling me 2:45 for a week.  WTF?"

When we got to the office, it was the wrong one.  My mother starting getting angry.  

"I called here and they told me that this is the only office.  The woman told me I was scheduled here."

I knew this wasn't right.  She has another doctor's appointment next Friday.  That is the office she called.  

"Well. . . the doctor will hold an appointment for you if you want to go to the other office."

The office was across town.  My mother was frustrated.  

"Come on, let's just go and get this over with."

So we traversed the busy city to get to the other side.  

Her doctor, an ENT specialist, is a real beauty.  Some years ago, when she was first hired straight out of the box, my heart fell when she walked into the room--knee boots, short skirt, long, dark hair, and the face of an angelic athlete.  I've never gotten the vision out of my head.  Of course I would drive my mother across town to see her. . . again.  

She wore scrubs and a mask.  But she found nothing wrong with my mother's ear.  Mom's hearing is good, too.  

It was three-thirty when I dropped my mother back at her house.  I had consumed nothing but coffee.  I stopped at the grocery store to get vegetables to roast.  Lots of them.  And what the hell--some wine, too.  I could have a glass of wine.  

After a hell of a lot of chopping a monsoon broke outside.  There would be no grilling tonight.  I put the vegetables in a cast iron pot and cooked them in the oven.  

Oops.  I was already several glasses of wine in.  

I went to the living room and turned on my Apple Music channel.  Mine.  The one named after me.  There are times when it thrills me.  Last night was one.  I started pulling photo books out of the piles on the floor.  I was looking for inspiration.  I wanted to see large format photographs of people framed head to toe.  I was looking at the photographs in ways I'd never looked before, guessing at the large format focal lengths, aperture openings, etc.  I looked at clarity and/or bokeh.  

By six thirty, the vegetables were done.  I spooned them over the jasmine rice I'd cooked.  More wine and the news.  Oh, did you hear?  Yea, it's been all over the news.  Baby killers are getting run out of town. 


You boys better keep your peter in your pants.  You might end up with a lifetime of something you don't want.  Just stock up on your Clarence Thomas selection of sick porn movies and keep to yourself.  What?  Yea, there's a list of them somewhere.  I'm sure you can Google it.  

This ruling seems counterproductive to the desires of the extreme right to me, though.  As I've pointed out in other posts, minorities have more abortions than do whites.  White Power people are just going to  to be  growingly outnumbered. . . and outvoted.  Maybe, however, they plan to continue the retroactive assault rifle abortions.  

Or so I told my mom.  


My mother is against abortion.  I told her she needn't worry.  But she is of the all life is precious camp.  I told her her hillbilly relatives' weren't.  The world would be a better place if most of them had been aborted, I said. They are just a bunch of tatted up drug retard criminals who never contributed anything to the social good.  They are nothing but drains on our society. 

She snorted.  She didn't argue.  

But hey--just look at the signs of these anti-abortionists.  Apparently, they couldn't pass a quiz on the difference between a zygote, an embryo, a fetus, and child.  I don't know what that image of god is on that last person's sign, but it scares the hell out of me.  

It is cloudy this morning, and the forecast is for rain.  Some of my photo hopes are dashed, but it could be o.k.  I'll do something, then I'll do nothing.  I'll listen to music this afternoon and read and drink hot tea.  If it is clear this evening, I will go to a bar and do some MDMA and dance until dawn.  

Friday, June 24, 2022

If a Tree Falls. . . .

It's not you. . . it's me.  I'm trying.  It's not that I am not trying, but things just keep falling into the shitter.  So to speak.  The world dances and spins, I assume, like the dervish it has always been, but I don't seem to be part of that dance.  I wrote "of late" but "late" is relative now.  I mean the last couple years or so.  I don't remember them.  They blur together like a smear.  The years are simply gone.  I'm covered in forest growth. . . mushrooms, liverworts, algae.  

I spent the day working out photo gear for shooting strobes with the new camera.  I unpacked much stuff from the studio, boxes that have not been opened for six years or so.  I've had trouble getting all the connectors right, but finally, yesterday, I got things working.  I wanted to test the system, but I had nobody to photograph, so I set up a stick in a chair to approximate the height of a person so I could get an idea of what distance I would need for framing with different lenses on the Chamonix 4x5.  I found some old Fuji instant 4x5 film and the instant film holder so that I could see the results right away.  After a half day of futzing with things, I made a picture.  

Like I said, it's not you. . . it's me.  Maybe I've made a mistake in dedicating myself to the large format cameras until I have the entire process down pat as I don't make enough pictures to keep up with the blog. Oh, I have billions of old photos, but I want to present The World Today.  I'm just embarrassed by what I have been making, so empty, so hackneyed and so bad.  

There it is--the result of a half day's work.  No. . . maybe more as I had to do what I do with the instant film in order to scan it and get "the look."  I spent an hour or so last night with the two pieces of film I shot.  Yea. . . I'm really fucked. 

After all that, it was day's end and time to go "party" with the factory group.  I hardly ever feel any lonesomeness in life, but just recently, probably when I started working on the deck and after, I have felt pangs of it.  I reckon that much of it had to do with falling ill and falling prey to the darkest of thoughts from which their was no one to distract me.  You know the drill.  

"Oh, honey, I love you so much.  Can I get you something to make you feel better?  You want some soup? No?  Gatorade?  Do you want me to put on some gentle music?  O.K.  I'll just rub your head.  Go to sleep. You need rest."  

That sort of thing.  It is a weakness, I know, and life isn't like that, but after years of isolation in my own home, my imagination tells me that this is what everyone but me has to palliate the unease of living in The Time of Covid.

Still, as mentioned in the prior post, I was anxious about going to happy hour.  My social skills are worse than ever, and they were never really very good to begin with.  

It turned out that the group was inside a restaurant/bar.  The place we were supposed to meet across the street hadn't opened yet and it was really too hot to sit outside they said, so we mingled with the Covid Crowd.  I calculated the odds.  Fifty in one hundred thousand people have Covid at the present time in my county according to the N.Y. Times.  So double that.  A hundred in one hundred thousand, or ten in ten thousand, or one in a thousand.  I estimated there were one hundred different people in the bar from the time I got there to the time I left.  I figured I had a one in one hundred chance of becoming infected.  Not great odds.  

Maybe that affected me.  The group was sitting at a line of tables, one of those setups where you were only going to be able to talk to the people in your immediate vicinity.  And the place was like an echo chamber.  It was insanely loud.  A one man band began to set up about twenty feet from us.  The whole thing was, for me, a horror show, and the funny thing was it served to exacerbate rather than ease my loneliness.  The heat and the noise drained me of energy.  I struck up conversation with the people across the table, but I my voice wouldn't work.  I don't know if it was caused by the almost total disuse of my vocal cords on a day to day basis or if I was just getting an old man's voice, but I had to give up out of embarrassment.  So I sat and smiled and drank a beer like a man who is deaf and dumb.  Once in awhile, someone would make eye contact with me and I would grin and nod like an idiot.  

I should say, the afternoon was dissatisfying.  It dumped me deeper in the well.  

Having had but a glass of wine in the past five days, when I returned home, I said fuck it and poured a whiskey, the alcoholic's only friend.  Or so, sometimes, it seems.  

On a grand scale, I'd say my life has come to seem very meaningless.  I thought maybe I could produce my way out of this state, but I am producing nothing.  I'm standing in quicksand watching the world rise above me.  

Today is Friday.  People are happy.  They will go out without fear, without Covid trepidation, as couples or in groups of seekers, eyes dancing around various rooms, shouting, laughing, or leaning close to one another over dinner.  I don't know.  I can't remember.  I?  I will go to the gym, come home and shower, eat a small lunch, then drive to my mother's house to take her to a doctor's appointment.  When that is done, I will take her home and sit with her for a bit.  When I leave, it will be just shy of dinner time.  I will go to the grocers and get vegetables and a bottle or two of wine.  Later, I will cut and season the vegetables and put them on the grill.  I will pour a glass of wine and light a cheroot and sit out on the deck keeping eye on the grilling vegetables.  That is, if the weather permits.  If it doesn't, I will grill in the oven and turn on the television.  I will have eaten well before dark.  I will read and wait for darkness.  Later, alone, I will roll into bed.  

I'm the only one in the world who has gone nowhere.  My mother went to an AARP meeting the other day, and later she told me that she was going to sign up for one of their trips to Miami and Key West.  Jesus Christ!  Even my 90 year old mother!

A funny takeaway from yesterday's happy hour.  It is an educated group of people with grad degrees, mostly Ph.D.s.  One fellow who just married one of my old friends from the factory (and one of my first models) teaches at the university.  I don't know him very well as I only see him at these happy hour meetings.  He asked me how I liked retirement.  I went into my usually litany of complaints.  

"It hasn't been much fun."

He asked me how I spent my time, if I had a routine.  I said, "I guess.  I get up, make coffee, and write. Then I get ready and go to the gym.  I come home and take a shower, make lunch, then take a nap.  When I get up, it is time to go to my mother's house.  After that, I come home, make dinner. . . ." 

"What do you write," he asked.  "Are you writing a novel?"

If ever I say I write, this is the question I'm asked.  

"No."

"Oh. . . so you're just writing for yourself?"

There it is, the second question.  His wife is starting a writing group with another of the factory workers who has a Ph. D in literature.  They will meet and talk about their writing, give encouragement, and will provide prompts for those who cannot think of where to begin.  

I can't imagine.  

I am shy about saying I "write."  How can I possibly explain.  I am pretty sure I can write.  I think I've developed a voice and a certain if not distinct style.  But to what end?  It is to no end.  It is just writing, carving something out of the everything, holding on to a little bit of nothingness.  

"Well," I said with great trepidation, "I've been writing a blog for many years." 

Why?  Why did I say it?  It only invites more questions that I have to deflect, and immediately I am sorry. 

But the questions linger.  

"So you just put down random thoughts?"

"Probably."  

Later, I wish I had said, "but I have a narrative mind.  It all goes together, and sometimes, even if others don't notice, the writing is crafted.  There are beginnings and endings often and sometimes things that are strongly symbolic.  I mean, man. . . I can turn a mean trope."  

Such cawing, however, is unseemly.  

Last night when I worked on that hideous picture of the chair above, I also worked on an old file from the studio.  It turned out lovely, but it is the kind I no longer show here any more.  The market for such things has dried up.  It's o.k. but I need to make something new.  Yes, I may be making a mistake with this large format stuff, at least in deciding to not use any other format cameras.  I'm feeling very stymied.  

My voice would not work in the bar.  I'm not sure. . . well, you know. . . if a tree falls in the woods. . . . 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Anxiety Over the Good and the Easy

(colorized)

I should never have said I wanted to photograph my friend's daughter.  Now I'm a wreck.  I've been going through the old equipment from the studio along with the new equipment, too.  The old stuff from the studio is packed away in crates and boxes in the garage.  It is a mess.  I'm trying to find connectors that will make the old stuff work with the new stuff--unsuccessfully.  Yesterday I went to two photo stores looking for things without any luck.  I will have to order what I need online and hope that I order right.  But to what end?  I have no studio.  God, I wish I had the studio again.  I am trying to set up a studio in my living room, but that feels about like transforming the school gymnasium for a high school dance.  Do they still do such things?  

Another photographer has offered me the ability to shoot in his little studio, but I am afraid it is much too tiny.  I don't think I'll be able to position everything in there.  

There was so much space before.  

So now I'm stressing myself out. 

Today I am going to the museum to see the contemporary art exhibition of artist in my own home state, after which I am meeting the factory group for happy hour.  My people-less world gets peopled.  This, too, makes me anxious.  I weary of people so quickly now.  This group has its expectations of the me I've mythologized, now to my own regret.  I can't live up to those expectations any longer.  

And yet, I still try to control the narrative.  I will have to drink which I haven't done since getting sick.  I will have to represent.  It is quite possible, too, that the mother of the girl I am to photograph will be there.  What horrors might unfold?  At least two people in the group had been to my old studio.  

Well. . . if the deal gets queered, I'll be off the hook.  

"He'll probably want to get her naked."

"Though I don't see any moral problem with nudity and the human form, that is not necessarily true."

"He'll probably want to get her naked." 

Sure, I want to photograph everyone in their native form.  But, you know. . . it's not a deal breaker.  I must admit, though, that I DO love the scandalous.  

Per yesterday's post, I do not want you to think I've switched my politics.  I've not gone to the other side.  I am simply worn out with the ineptitude of democrats.  Biden's big cash giveaways have been bandaids on a terrible wound and completely ineffective.  He wants to cancel student debt for those who tried an end run around education by selecting for-profit colleges that seemed to promise some kind of easy access to university degrees.  He would forgive the debt of those who tried not to try and never succeeded while others who degreed from legitimate colleges are left paying on their own.  Now he wants to rescind the gas tax for a few months.  To what end that?  We'll have to pay in some other way.  The government is not going to simply stay, "Yea, we were not really using that money."  He has done nothing to tax the rich and rich corporations, but he has put a lot of economic burden on the legitimate middle class.  He drives them evermore to the radical right, even those who do not say it aloud.  

Oops.  Never mind.  I've been watching too much t.v. 

I've only had one meal with meat in the past six days.  I may continue on this track awhile and see how it feels.  I'm preparing for the coming holocaust where we will be lucky to have beans and rice.  But beans and rice are really, really good.  

I want to get away, to get out of town, or so I say, but for the next couple weeks, I am duty bound to my mother.  She has made a number of medical appointments.  I asked her if she wanted me to take her, and she said yes.  I don't blame her.  She wants another brain to reassure her.  All I can do is cross my fingers and hope as the springs of the old clock begin to wind down.  Both hers and mine, I'd guess.  I'm increasingly impaired as the injuries from my accident grow steadily worse.  Too many broken bones, too many incised muscles, too many ripped and torn things left unrepaired.  Some days, now, I can't reach above my head with my left hand.  Such a thing is terrifying.  I guess I wasn't prepared for a continual decline.

But you know. . . I have a long-standing reputation to uphold.  

Grumble, grumble, grumble. . . it's the heat.  Today and tomorrow are forecast to be 99 degrees.  There is a reason for those brutal summers in Faulkner's novels.  Summer is the time of hatred and murder in the sunny south.  There is meanness and madness.  Women get raped, men go missing, and general brutality rules.  We seem to be living nationally in the Time of Faulkner.  

I need to make a trip to Oxford, Mississippi to see for myself, the birthplace of that mythical Yoknapatawpha County.  I've been saying that for decades.  I can't believe I haven't yet.  

The morning calls.  I have a few things I need to do before it gets too hot to be outside.  After that, my day will be spent in the cool climes of he museum then on the covered deck of a fancy suburban restaurant.  

That's a hell of a thing to stress out over, isn't it?  

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Comme Ci, Comme Ca

I woke kind of happy today.  I can't put my finger on the reason exactly.  I just feel better, I guess.  I mean, as good as I ever feel.  My mother made dinner for me last night, the roast we were going to have on Sunday, and it was fine.  It was the first full meal I'd had in days, and my belly didn't reject it.  Yay!  I'm back on the road to obesity!

Yesterday, I talked to a number of people who have had the same sort of symptoms, so I am assuming I caught a bug somewhere.  Everyone who had it did a home test for Covid and came up negative.  My friend whose husband is a pharmacist says that they can't keep Tamiflu stocked right now, that it is flying off the shelves.  

I think I just exacerbated my condition with the deck work in the 100+ degree heat index.  

But that is going to happen if you go around people.  You don't get contagious diseases sitting about the house alone.  Still. . . sometimes I like to be among the throng.

I like to watch.  

I got some news yesterday that should excite me but rather scares me badly.  My friend is ready to make a date for me to photograph one of her teen daughters.  I've been after her since they were little kids to let me make photographs, but now that I haven't shot a willing human being in six or so years. . . .  Worse, she said she wanted to use one of them for her daughter's graduation something or other.  WTF?!  She doesn't really know what I do, I guess.  I guess?  Ha!  If she knew, I wouldn't be allowed within whatever distance it is I am supposed to stay away from schools.  That's a joke for those of you who have just somehow landed on this post from Google.  I still joke about things though it is frowned upon.  

When she said "graduation picture," I kind of freaked.  I said, "That's not exactly what I had in mind.  I was thinking more like a Patti Smith vibe."  What I am doing is photographing the girl with her viola.  She has been accepted in some prestigious music program at the local university which is a big deal as they have one of the best music programs in the country.  I thought it would be a good way to start a series I have in mind with the big cameras.  

She texted me later and said her daughter had Googled Patti Smith and she sent me a screen shot her daughter had picked.  O.K. I thought, now we're getting somewhere.  

"Next thing you know, she'll be reading Rimbaud," I responded having no idea if this middle-aged Ph.D. in math had any notion who Rimbaud was.  

I've asked her to do some makeup and hair concepts and send me phone pics so I have some visuals of what she is thinking.  God knows, though, what they are expecting of me.  I feel I've been well-prepared to disappoint.  

"Oh, buck up, laddie, you've got this.  Don't be whining like the little bitch that you are."

"Sure." 

So, yea. . . there's that.  Shit or get off the pot, as my aunt used to say.  It's "go time."

I watched some of the 1/6 Commission hearings last night.  I'm afraid they've lost their impact.  The presentations have become predictable.  Even liberal t.v. analysts, those ex-federal prosecutors that show up on all the news shows, say that the commission is presenting a lot of hearsay evidence that would never be allowed in court.  And are we all tired of watching the clips of Bill Barr saying "bullshit"?  Well, no, one does not tire of that, but they have shown the clip too too many times.  It feels like they don't have everything they need.  They are dragging things out through repetition, I think.  The information needed a better package.  

They seem to be screwing their own pooch.  

I'm pretty sure that most people are not paying attention to the hearings anyway.  Attention spans are short and interests fade, just as it has for the war in the Ukraine.  Russia will win, of course.  They and China are flexing their muscles around the globe.  It is clear that the strong countries of the world will rule the rest.  It has never been otherwise.  Why should it be now?  

I am finally sick of the Biden administration.  It is a terribly failed compromise.  Get ready for the DeSantis presidency.  Then Ivanka can be Governor of Florida.  

What a world. There is no understanding it.  I'm just trying to live in it.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Longest Day

It is, officially, Summer, once people's favorite time of year, now the Season of Terror.  This will be the longest day of the year--twenty-four fucking hours.  No, no. . . you know what I mean.  It is the solstice, and as you learned in elementary school (right?  they still taught things like this?) in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the day the sun stays above the horizon for the more hours and minutes than any other day.  For some of you, it may seem never to set.  For my friends in Sweden, for instance, it will be a day without end.  But maybe in Sweden, summer is still a time of celebration.  Don't worry, my friends--we will all be moving there soon.  

I feel better today than I did yesterday, I think.  I did not just bounce back from whatever malady preyed upon me.  It seems to be a slow recovery.  It has left me mentally pooped.  My thoughts have been darker than usual, and the relentless solitude has not helped.  I will begin to go out to sit on public benches in order to talk to people soon enough.  I will become a "figure."  

That is the sort of thing that creeps into my thoughts, you know, but then I will go to the grocery store or the photo shop and some girl will smile at me, and I will be happy again like an old man who's lost much cognition.  

"Did ya see that, huh, did ya see?  Grrrrr."  

Today, I know that's silly.  That is how I know I am feeling a bit better.  I still "know my place."  But won't it be a happy release, one day, when I've become so senile that such things won't matter, when I can shit myself in public and laugh?  

"Jesus man, c'mon, stop with that stuff.  Why do you have to say things like that?"

"I've been reading Houellebecq again.  His writing has an influence."

But there are good things, too.  I've only consumed about 1,200 calories in the past two days, so I consider this the start of a new weight loss diet.  I am surely over the DTs by now.  That lent substance to my darkened mood I suppose.  How could it not?  

I also have learned that I MUST quit this macho stuff.  I can't keep up with my old self, that's for sure.  I will to have to give up on my Olympic dreams.  Tine takes its toll on everyone, even Batman.  

O.K.  That is still much too flattering.  Too young, too strong.  But I have cast a persona that I can not live up to anymore.  Pilates and chair yoga. . . that's where I'm headed.  

"I thought you were going to be more positive?"

"I'm trying."

Yesterday, Amazon sent me this. I guess the algorithms caught me 



I thought this was funny and sent it around to my friends.  Here was the typical response:

"I cannot even imagine you in drag. You’re WAY too much of a guy. Don’t try it. 😂 "

Well, not completely true.  There were many people hoping to see me "come out."  There were those who would probably like me better this way.  I had to confess that I am only wearing Mumus.  

Speaking of which, have you seen what happened to Gerard Depardieu?  Gone the way of Welles and Brando.  But I relate.

On 18 May 1998, Depardieu had a motorcycle accident with a blood alcohol content of 2.5 g/l [53] on the way to the shooting of Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar, by Claude Zidi. He was prescribed forty days off work.[54]

In 2012 he was hit by a car while riding his scooter in Paris.[55] The same year, while intoxicated with 1.8 g/l of alcohol in the blood, he had another scooter accident, without injury and without collision with a third party.[56] Since the 2000s, the actor has suffered at least seven motorcycle or scooter accidents.

Uh-oh.  I've gone down the rabbit hole with this one.  No kidding. . . he made a movie with Houellebecq.

I will need to watch this.  Sadly the rabbit hole led me to another place.  This woman has claimed she was raped by Depardieu.  

He tried to have the charges dismissed in March, but the courts dismissed his claim.  There will be a trial.  

I shouldn't Google while writing.  This has become an utter mess.  But I think I am better today.  I've watched a LOT of t.v. the past four or so days.  A lot for me, anyway.  I started a Netflix series called "Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet."  It is shocking.  I've asked my conservative buddies to watch episodes 3 and 4.  That is as far as I have gotten, but the show covers in very graphic ways how hate is spread online.  I thought I had an idea, but I didn't.  It is pretty scary, and I KNOW that this is the source of "information" for even my smartest of conservative friends.  They float on top of the hate and madness of the mob, but they are living in the same info bubble.  

More fun, however, I've been watching "That's My Time with David Letterman."  It's Dave being funny again.  It is like a short visit to the past, except with a beard.  It is a thousand times better than his other show where he tries to be an intellectual in order to cleanse, in some symbolic way, the sins of his past.  There is none of that in the new show.  And the longest episode is twenty minutes.  You're in, you laugh, you're out.  And the theme song is good.  

How good!  It is so good I searched the internet and couldn't find mention of it.  I watched the end credits, but they are super fast.  Maybe a tenth of a second.  I tried twice but couldn't catch it.  Finally, however, intrepid fellow that I am. . . . 


O.K.  That's it for me (roll the music).  Thanks for being here.  You were a great audience. . . and goodnight.