Friday, August 12, 2022

Full Moon Vaccine

Sante Bermeo

I'm stupid.  Really, really stupid.  I got a Moderna booster shot yesterday.  Since the kids are going back to school, I believe that the Coronavirus will bloom again.  I showed up early in the morning and got the shot.  Then I came home and took a camera out for a long walk.  By the time I got back home, though, I was done for.  I climbed into a hot tub for a soak, showered, and ate.  By afternoon, I was aching all over.  By nightfall, it felt like I had the disease.  

Of course.  What was I thinking getting a vaccine on the last super moon of the year, the Full Sturgeon Moon.  I'm lucky I didn't turn into a Werewolf.  

I took Tylenol and went to bed early, but the Tylenol did no good at all.  I still ache all over.  No fever, just body aches.  

I am supposed to take my car in for a service in a bit.  Usually I walk the five miles back home.  Not today.  I don't even want to move, but I don't feel I can cancel.  I will definitely take an Uber back to my house.  

And then I will crash.  It will be an awful day.  I won't feel like reading.  I certainly won't watch t.v.  I will put on some gentle music and sip healthy teas, I guess, and try to sleep.  

After I got the booster shot, a friend asked me why?  

"They are coming out with a new vaccine that is more effective against the new variants in a few weeks."


Yesterday's full moon was Aquarian and supposed to be good for me.  My love meter should have been off the chart.  Ha!  

I would love to simply stop aching.  

It will pass.  That's what they say, though I keep hearing the oral surgeon tell me, "I know two people who died from the vaccine."

* * * 

Do you think they have him this time?  Do you think Trump would take home top secret papers?  Documents about America's nuke power?  

Of course you don't.  Not if you like a good conspiracy.  If this is the case, you know the FBI planted them.  

Me. . . I can't believe Trump hasn't been stoned in the public square.  I can't believe he hasn't gotten the Mussolini Treatment.  

Why would he take those nuke papers home?  That's an easy one.  He didn't trust Placeholder Magoo with them.  He was trying to keep this country safe.  By God. . . that Trump is a hero and a saint.  

My republican buddy brings up Clinton and Ted Kennedy now.  They got away with it, he says.  I don't understand your point, I say.  But I do.  He just keeps pointing to the circus monkeys.  I can barely stand it any more.  Yesterday, he sent me an article by Alex Epstein yesterday.  Never heard of him.  He is famous, though, with "a certain crowd."  He convinces people that the Global Warming Models scientists produce can't predict Global Warming.  He is pro-gas.  He tries to show that the world is better for oil, not worse, that fewer people die now from atmospheric events than ever before, etc.  So fuck me. . . I had to look him up.  Credentials?  A bachelor's degree in philosophy.  He was an adjunct professor at the Koch Brothers Cato institute.  Yup.  A professor with a bachelor's degree.  

I sent the info to my pal but didn't hear back.  

This morning I read about another zoonotic virus in China.  Researchers there say this is just the tip of the zoonotic iceberg.  I asked my buddy if his Boy Epstein had figured this into his Global Warming calculations.  If he hasn't, though, I'm sure he will.  

The world is made up of idiots.  I'm just one among them.  I think I'll isolate in the Bat Cave.  I don't feel I have the power to save them any more. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Mal(l)

It's a dangerous world.  I write this blog essentially for myself, or so I say, but I am fearful of posting almost anything I like here anymore.  My tastes are not the public's.  I'm not sure whose side I'm on any more or where I should take my particular brand of cynicism.  I used to think the Times crowd alright, but they are the ones who now are worried about a shortage of intimacy coaches on film sets.  WTF?  They relish those who publicly confess past sins that can be blamed on the coercive pressures of the world in which they lived.  

"I did it, but I didn't want to.  It was the only way I knew to make them happy.  I was young.  If I knew what I know now, I wouldn't have done it, but times being what they were. . . .' 

There is another crowd who is unaware of most of this.  They barely read at all.  The "common folk."  I am from that throng but ran away at an early age.  You know. . . I was young. . . I tried to please them as best I could. . . but looking back now. . . .

Yesterday I went to the mall.  I was, I'll admit, secretly excited.  I had a reason for going, too.  It was not just an attempt to fill the void.  I had not been since the beginning of Covid, and truly, God knows how long before that.  But there it was, only more so.  The empty spaces that once existed around it were completely filled.  If a chain didn't exist in the outparcels and immediate vicinity of the mall, it probably didn't exist anywhere.  I didn't recognize the landscape and wasn't sure where I was to turn.  I figured it out, of course, and went to the parking lot next to the entrance to Bloomingdales.  It is not a "real" Bloomingdales, but a suburban mall version.  Still, it is the best in our land, three floors of mostly women's clothing and home decor.  

I knew where I needed to go and what I was after, but I couldn't help myself.  I took "the tour."  Some stores had changed locations during the pandemic and other's were now moving in.  The Ritzy side of the mall is on the Bloomingdale's end.  That is where Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Tiffany (etc.) are located.  As you walk to the other end where Macy's sits, the stores become Foot Lockers, Game Stops, and Billabongs.  

In between, there is the hoi polloi.  They really put me on edge.  There were the older white people, schlubs who wandered about in the middle of the walkway or sat on benches sipping sodas.  There were younger whites, mostly tattooed from head to toe, but not so many of them.  No, the mall looked like an indoor version of Queens.  

I passed the giant Apple store.  It was crowded with people wandering about, touching things.  It felt old, though, like walking into an AT&T store.  Apple needs to re-think.  The dew has dried and the shine is gone.  

As with most things now, I guess.  The products in every clothing store looked exactly like they did pre-pandemic.  Many stores had shrunk in size.  A&F was half its former size, as was The Gap.  

I expected to see some barber shops and tattoo parlors scattered about.  This would have better suited the crowd, I thought.  It will, I thought, be tough for the mall to survive. 

My trip wasn't useless, but it was unsuccessful.  I didn't get what I had gone for.  I did smell pleasant when I left, though, like those wonderful candles they sell at Anthropologie.  

I don't think I will ever go shopping again.  It's a TMZ world.  

"I plead the fiff!" (link).  That's what Trump said.  He has said a lot of things.  Now, though, he's a clam.  

"In the near future, everyone will wish to be anonymous for fifteen minutes."  I came across this bromide in the new Lawrence Osborne novel yesterday.  True, dat, I think.  We'll all be outed in one way or another sooner or later.   I think there may be something about this in the Bible.  One day, everyone will know your sins.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Demi Lovato

Does weird stuff just pop into your head that you can't get rid of?  Demi Lovato.  What the hell is a Demi Lovato. . . and why?  I don't have a clue.  

But I can't shake it.  

Demi Lovato.  Demi Lovato.  Demi Lovato.  

I think I'm becoming simple.  

Both the yardmen and the wrecking crew came yesterday.  It felt like a Friday.  I didn't want to dirty up the kitchen right away, so I ordered takeout sushi last night and bought a bottle of nice sake.  Party on.  I got it at a place called Lola.  How could I resist.  It is a hipster sushi place next door to a hipster brewery.  I haven't been to either place in years, but here I am, beginning to thaw.  

"Live your best life, buddy." 

I assume that't the kind of thing one pays a "therapist" to hear.  

I read today that Covid has plateaued in the U.S.  That's about as good as the news gets now.  Another fun fact: prices are not rising as quickly as they were.  

I guess that is good news akin to, "Your not dying as quickly as you were."  I mean, you wouldn't reject the news, I guess.  It would cheer you up somewhat.  

Dems are in trouble, of course.  They'll never get Trump.  He is the movie villain who always turns up in the next episode.  He is Professor James Moriarty without a Sherlock Holmes.  The dems can never get him.  It would take a tough republican to bring him down.  

Meanwhile, DeSantis is outraged that law enforcement would proceed with a warrant against a rich white man in his state.  So much for the old Law and Order type.  They are for the courts as long as the rule "correctly."  They are for law enforcement as long as it isn't against "their type."  

I have no hope that Trump will ever be punished.  And I'd give it a 50/50 chance that there will be more violent rebellion by his acolytes and that it will be cheered on by a republican congress which is almost a certainty in 2022.  

That's all I've got.  For all my "thawing," I still haven't much of a life.  My buddy is on his way back to California right now.  He is at least waiting at the airport for his flight.  He may be waiting a long time, of course.  My hometown airport has been rated the worst in the country for delayed flights.  His wife was rerouted both coming here and going home.  What should be a five hour flight turns into days long journeys.  But with schools opening soon, air travel may become bearable.  Maybe.  Perhaps.  

I hope, at least.  I am on the brink of leaving home again.  Getting out.  Seeing the New World.  

So far, though, I have to say. . . it ain't been all that.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

"It Has Been Good for You"

I went out again last night to meet my Cali buddy for dinner and beers.  My mother says I look better since he's been in town.  "It's good for you to get out with friends," she said.  Dancing Larry was there as was another friend, my buddy's best friend all through elementary school and high school.  He was the class valedictorian and is now a surgeon.  He was the fellow I usually covered in our Saturday afternoon basketball games.  I've known him now for many years.  

The surgeon had picked out the place we met, some food truck craft beer bar on a street between the back of a large shopping mall and an industrial area.  WTF!? I thought.  There was no a.c.  It was hot and sticky, but these were all southern boys to the core.  I was sweating like a drunken pig.  But whatever.  I drank the lousy brew pub local swill and ate a dry falafel sandwich off one of the trucks.  

Despite everything I have just said, however, there was a large Monday night crowd.  

I did not take the picture.  I just saw the girl when she walked in and all but fell over.  

"She's just your kind," my buddy said to me.  Absolutely right.  "She looks like every girl you've ever dated."  There were many elements of truth in that sentence.  I could do nothing, however, but tremble and shiver.  

My tenant had sent me an article earlier about a 2015 trial of a photographer who was being sued by a couple whose image he used in a display for an upcoming gallery show in NYC (link).  The show was of photographs he had taken through apartment windows in New York City.  My ex-wife's father had several apartments in NYC, so I used to go all the time.  In every one of them, the evening entertainment was looking out the window at all the other windows across the courtyard.  People left the curtains open to the world, and by god, you'd see almost everything you could imagine.  And of course, there was always somebody watching you back.  The photographer being sued said he was inspired when he saw Hitchcock's "Rear Window."  Yea.  Weren't we all.  So I Googled the artist and looked at the imagery.  It was pretty.  None of the images were lurid.  And if I were to criticize his work, it would be that his discretion was his weakness.  Everybody likes to see behind the curtain.  What we get from him is a bunch of painterly images.  

He won the case.  

I understand, of course, the fear of being photographed in an unflattering (or worse) way.  On the other hand, we are all being photographed all the time now, whether by someone with a camera, an iPhone, or by surveillance cameras at every gas station, minimart, red light, or crosswalk.  At the factory, they had "security" cameras in all the hidden places, and I am dead certain I was watched "adjusting" myself in some random stairwell.  

But these are the images that will be our historical markers.  This is how we will know who we were, or how your children will judge who we were when we're dead.  Photography shaped our knowledge and values of the 20th century.  

My buddy took that picture and sent it to my phone.  He told the table the story of the drum circle and the Sufi dancers last Monday night.  The surgeon, of course, wanted to know if we talked to the pretty dancers, and I said, "He did," with a jerk of the thumb, so my buddy told the pathetic story.  He was talking to one of the girls and she asked him to introduce me.  He did, but I had no idea that she had asked.  I thought this was another of my pal's outrageous attempts to. . . I don't know, but he does shit like this all the time.  

"And there was C.S. looking at her like he was a mummy.  He was all polite and could barely talk.  He's shy.  He clams up like he's deaf and dumb."

It's true.  I felt like a stroke victim standing before her.  

Having been out and about this last week, however, I realize that it has gotten worse.  I have lost all vestiges of confidence.  I feel like Quasimodo.  

"Look away. . . I'm hideous."

And now boys scare me.  I can't roughhouse with them any more.  My physicality has always been a big part of my self image and self worth.  It is a horrible confession, sure, but worse, I now know I should have gone for the money.  I was sitting with the fellows who had the money, and I know that it makes them happy.  

Now, that picture. . . .  She sure looked happy and confident.  But you never know about such things, do you?  She very well may not have been either.  And god knows what time and circumstance will serve her.  But for the moment, she was an icon.  The photo is not of a particular person but of a figure in a moment.  There is nothing unflattering about the photo; indeed, it is very flattering.  But even if it wasn't. . . well, a photograph is never of a real human being any more than those fabulous Greek statues are. 

And still. . . it feels invasive.  

"I'm not like you guys," I said.  "I am shy around women I'm attracted to.  But it is because I want too much.  I don't want the flesh and blood, you know. . . I want their souls.  I want to be admired and adored.  I want to live in the hearts and minds of women everywhere!"  

My buddy and the surgeon are both married with children, and Dancing Larry has given up on the idea long ago.  And so, after the mediocre beers and the less than sterling food, I was tired and sweaty and wanted to be home.  They were talking about the next bar when I said I was out.  I've had a lot of stimulation this past week.  It has probably, as my mother observed, been good for me.  But I have become like one of those orphan babies that have been left alone in a crib too long and can no longer take much stimulation.  Or maybe it was just age.  I was tired.  I left with promises of future meetings.  

I was done.  

When I got home, I poured a whiskey and sat in my usual spot.  I put my feet up and closed my eyes and let past images flicker across the back of my eyelids.  As Cormac McCarthy so eloquently noted, this is no country for old men.  

Monday, August 8, 2022

This Ain't Sinatra's Summer Wind

I don't know what Airgas is, but I think I have it.  We are coming to the killing part of summer here when thing just get on your nerves, when the smallest events become contentious.  It is the time of violence and murder.  If relationships make it through this part of the year, they are solid.  

Me?  I just have The Airgas.  The Blowhard kind.  You know?  

Having my buddy in town, however, has been good.  We took a two hour walk yesterday through his old neighborhood and beyond, past many historical scenes of our former "crimes."  Even though the town is changing, the past is not.  We told one another secret confidences without fear of reprisal or judgement.  

"Forgive me father, for I have sinned. . . ."  

Our sins, however, are merely of the venial kind.  Nothing mortal yet.  

But it is early and the brutal part of summer has just begun.  As prices rise and conveniences disappear, who knows what lies ahead on this thousand miles of bad southern highway?  I can only suggest that you read your Faulkner.  The sins of the father, the past consuming the future.  Etc. 

My former art dealer, however, tells me that it is the perfect time of year on the New England coast.  I guess so.  Oh to be a Kennedy lolling away the summer in a giant summer home, sailing gorgeous wooden boats before dinner.  I have a recollection of Sylvia Plath having such a summer, I believe.  I read her letters so long ago, but I am fairly certain.  

And maybe she'd take me to France
Or maybe to Spain, and she'd ask me to dance
In a mansion on the top of a hill
She'd ash on the carpets
And slip me a pill
Then she'd get me pretty loaded on gin
And maybe, she'd give me a bath
How I wish I had a Sylvia Plath ("Sylvia Plath," Ryan Adams)

 It is a lovely song, but a bit morose really.  

And she and I would sleep on a boat
And swim in the sea without clothes
With rain falling fast on the sea
While she was swimming away, she'd be winking at me
Telling me it would all be okay
On the horizon and fading away
And I'd swim to the boat, and I'd laugh
Gotta get me a Sylvia Plath

I saw Ryan Adams at the newly remodeled Beacon Theater in NYC the summer he crashed.  It was at that very concert.  The audience was a NYC crowd, for sure.  People mingled and talked and one fellow kept calling out for a Brian Adams song.  Ryan found no humor in it.  He should have.  He flew into a tirade and took out a pocketful of money and threw it at the fellow telling him to get out.  The internet blew up, and the crowds heckled Adams at every concert on the rest of his tour.  Everything went to shit for him from that point forward.  It is a shame.  He had been such a wonderful talent.  

I don't want a Sylvia Plath myself.  Nothing but terrible trouble and sadness there.  She'd already tried to commit suicide by the time she was nineteen.  Nope.  Give me the steady one, the straight arrow who just loves being around some melancholy soul who needs succoring.  Yup.  That's the girl for me.  

But I won't find her in this summer wickedness.  No.  That would be asking too much.  That would require a miracle.  

Here is a link to the version of the song Adams played at the Beacon with the same two musicians who accompanied him there.  I'm not posting it, though, because I don't really recommend it.  But if you are curious. . . . (link).  

It's not a summer song.   

This one is.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Outlandish Tales Inappropriate and Colorful

Somewhere in Spain in the 1980s before Running with the Bulls

My Cali buddy called and asked me if I could come to his parents' house for drinks and dinner.  Oh, boy, I said. . . indeed I could.  Dancing Larry would be there, he said.  Dancing Larry is always there.  He's the sort of sidekick Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the like always had (link).  He was a NASA engineer, but you would never guess it.  He was also a very good marathoner.  His routine was always to skip breakfast, go to the gym during his lunch hour, come home and run ten miles, then have dinner which usually consisted of two bottles of wine and a cheese and fruit platter.  When the weekend came, he would celebrate by getting a pitcher of margaritas.  I've known Larry since the '80s.  He was first a sidekick of my dead ex-friend Brando with whom I teamed to lead a group to climb Mexico's nearly 18,000 foot volcano, Popcatepetl.  Larry went on that trip.  That is when I met him.  

He was a madman.  

Larry is now 75 and lives alone.  I only see him once a year when my Cali friend comes to town.  On these occasions, Larry drinks, smokes pot, and passes out at my friend's parents' house.  It is a ritual, a routine with which the parents are familiar and comfortable. . . and even amused.  Larry likes to tell the sort of silly jokes that ten year old's enjoy but with an adult-ish twist.  Everyone laughs, not because the jokes are humorous, but because Larry tells them.  They never amuse me, however, and I cannot make myself laugh, but I usually have a quick tagline to add which seems to my mind to make the thing funnier.  

I am quick that way. 

All in all, though, Larry has long been part of my outdoor adventure landscape, and I look forward in an odd way to seeing him.  

I like to tell stories of his sexual misadventures in various countries.  Larry doesn't mind.  In fact, I think, he enjoys them as they are a validation of a sort, for in the main, Larry doesn't date.  But. . . he does like "the ladies."  He's just a bit too strange for the sustained relationship.  

Now, at 75, he says he is comfortable with aging.  

"Are you still running, Larry?"

"No, not really.  I shuffle."

"Me, too,  The old man shuffle, I call it.  Uphill.  It hurts too much to do it on flat land."

I am not comfortable with aging at all.  Aging is a horrible disease with which we are afflicted.  As I've mentioned, I think, scientist experimented with giving the blood of young mice to old mice, and vice versa.  The old mice got younger.  And, of course, the opposite.  I am looking for willing victims with my blood type to help me.  I now understand the fascination with vampires.  I need blood, goddamnit.  Young, radiant blood.  

But I digress.  

When I got to my friend's parents' house, they party had already begun.  I always enjoy seeing the parents.  I've known my buddy and his parents longer than I've known Larry, I think.  Too many years and a flagging memory puts me at a loss for an exact timeline, but I met my Cali friend just after he graduated college and had gotten his broker's job.  He and his buddies used to come to the old Prison Gym where I worked out, and he says they wanted to be like "the big hippie."  They all went on to become college athletes in various sports and far surpassed me, and it was with this group that I was invited to come out on weekends to play basketball.  

I took my buddy on his first rock climbing trip.  I led him on his first high altitude mountain climb.  He made a fortune as a broker, retired at thirty, and became an outdoor mountain guide.  He climbed El Cap and Half Dome, McKinnley and Aconcagua, and was invited on an Everest expedition.  He got a job with Outward Bound and led groups on 21 day survival trips in the Sierras.  I continued to climb with him when I could, but he was always the lead climber.  I trusted him because he had money and a reason to come home unlike most climbing guides who live in the back of a van or in somebody's closet in a mountain home.  We had some close calls, but we always made it back without serious incident.

We have a long and colorful relationship, and I officiated his wedding in Yosemite.  After he and his wife had kids, he sold his rock climbing gear.  Now he still leads clients into the wilderness, but these are more nature outings with strenuous hiking than thrill seeking adventures.  He needs to get home to the kids.  

His parents ordered pizzas for dinner, but I told my buddy I needed something more.  I volunteered to get the pizzas.  My buddy and Larry came along.  We stopped and got two roasted chickens at a good Greek place and took Larry to a convenience store to get scratch off tickets.  My buddy's niece and her husband were coming over, and Larry has a long history of playing lotto with them.  He bought $100 worth.  

Chicken, pizza, salad, and a good Chianti Classico later, my friend's father made me a cocktail.  The niece had come.  Now it was "The Larry Show."  

Larry was already in the bag when my buddy fed him the gummy.  We all sat around and listened to his semi-coherent ramblings, me serving as moderator using my narrative skills to tie things together.  Per usual.  I guess it is my schtick.  We are all characters in our own way.  We play our roles.  I would start some outrageous Larry Tale and he would pepper it with "colorful" descriptions of unusual and inappropriate things--trips to the nude bar in Mexico City, nights in some whorehouse on the outskirts of town.  Etc.  Eyes pop, but nobody objects.  This is Larry.  This is the deal.  It is all too usual for me, but for "normal" people, it is an exotic trip into the mind of a dead on freak.  There is, however, a warmth in the air.  Larry is loved.  

My buddy's parents are as old as my mother, so earlier than later, I say it is late, and I must move on.  

"Yea, it's time for me to go to bed," says my buddy's dad, and thus ends the party.  Larry, per usual, is staying over, too drunk and stoned to drive anywhere.  I say thank you and goodnight to my friend's mother with promises to see everyone again soon.  The men walk me to the car, some pissing in the yard under an August moon, then with rough guy goodbyes, I start the car and make my way home.  

We've done this for many, many years.  It is a sacred ritual, a transcendent celebration bordering on the religious and eternal.  Back home, I picture them putting Larry to bed, then the boys.  I pour the last drink of the evening and lie back into the couch.  In a moment, I will go to bed.  I close my eyes and remember the evening's events, and for the moment, I am happy.  

Saturday, August 6, 2022

I Thought a Little Color Might Be Nice

Back to the beach narrative?  Maybe.  I've kind of lost the story now.  Waking up in a dark hotel room not knowing what time it was.  Getting up to find my phone and see.  Oh, no!  Half a night to go.  Waking up again.  Against the darkness of a tomb, I decide to turn the light on in the bathroom and close the door.  A little light for orientation.  Complete darkness freaks me out, I guess.  It is scary.  I do not have that at home.  Two of my bedroom walls are windows covered by shutters.  Dim lines and faint shapes.  No, total darkness is too much like being buried, too much the eternal tomb.  

It is no wonder they say heaven is bright and white.  Streets paved with gold. Reflective.  Shiny.  In heaven, I imagine, there will be no need for sleep.  

I managed to stay in bed until seven.  It was a struggle, but there would be nothing to do when I got up.  Only hotel room coffee.  At seven, I walked across the highway to the restaurant I'd been informed would, indeed, have coffee at that hour.  It wasn't great coffee, but it was better coffee than the foil wrapped stuff in the room.  I got two cups and recrossed the street.  

By eight, the hotel restaurant was open.  It was a grungy little place without music.  Why, I wondered?  I could hear each fork hitting the plate, could hear the humming of the refrigerator and conversations fairly whispered in low voices.  I ordered a breakfast burrito.  It was as good as the ones you get at 7-11 but greasier.  Halfway through the meal, someone remembered to turn on the music.  

My buddy called while I was eating.  "Come up here," he said.  "They are making breakfast by the pool."  Isn't that the way it goes.  I told him I'd be up in a bit.  Back at the room, I packed up.  Everything felt damp.  I couldn't figure that one out, but the floors felt slippery, too.  If I got out without a fungal infection in my lungs, I thought, I'll be lucky.  

When I got to the resort, everyone was poolside.  We sat in recliners under big umbrellas facing the ocean.  My buddy took the kids to the ocean to body surf.  I declined saying I was leaving in a bit and didn't want to drive home salty.  There were showers, they said.  That's alright.  You go.  I sat and chatted with mom.  A pod of dolphins surfaced a hundred yards or less behind the boys, but they could not see them.  "They're big," I said.  "I was kayaking with some friends one day when a pod of dolphins joined us.  All eyes popped.  They were like little whales, longer than the kayaks.  We were looking at one another as if to say these things are friendly, right?  And then they were gone."

The boys came up from the beach and we told them about the dolphins.  "We knew there were no sharks around," I said.  "Dolphins don't tolerate sharks." And I, with my antique zoology degree, explained the careful relationship between dolphins and sharks and how the sharks will attack the sleeping dolphins, especially the young ones, and how the dolphins deter them with their superior speed and mobility, ramming them in the gill slits, their most vulnerable spot.  The boys liked that.  

In a bit, they went into the great giant pool.  I told my friends from California that I thought I should be getting on the road for home.  I had brought my big Liberator camera thinking to make some heroic portraits of them on the beach, but things were hectic and we never managed.  

"Would you take a picture of us before you go" my buddy's wife asked?  

I pulled the beast from the bag and began the process, gazing through the hood into the ground glass, focussing, pulling out a viewing lens and putting it on top of the hood in order to see closer and get critical focus.  People all around were looking at me.  

"I should tell people I'm the resort photographer," I said.  "I could charge them a ton of money."  

I pulled out my phone to meter the shot then wound the big shutter key on the side of the camera to the proper speed.  I pulled out a film holder, set it into place, removed the dark slide, looked closely into the viewfinder, and hit the exposure button.  

Putting the dark slide back in, I flipped the holder around.  "Let me take one more for safety's sake."

And again, different shutter speed, different aperture.  

"I can't wait to see them," my buddy's wife said.  

"Yea.  Me, too.  I hope they come out."

The drive home was easy.  I was able to set cruise control for most of it.  Traffic was moving quickly near the ninety mark.  Not a copper in sight.  

The comforts of home.  The familiar things.  By nightfall, though, I was thinking I would like to go someplace else.  I'd had fun, after all.  There was the drum circle, of course, and the lovely Sufi dancers.  There was the ancient city and my chance to reflect on the great mass of American tourists walking slack-jawed through the streets.  No, really, I thought, it was fun.  

It had been hard to cut the cord, but once it's cut, you know, you manage.  School is starting soon, and the great American summer will be ending, not actually but practically.  With kids in school, the crowded places will be less so.  I may finally use the luxury of my time to good purpose, I thought.  


The Art of Travel is often best thought through in your own home.  

Friday, August 5, 2022

Just Got Back Online

 I would have posted earlier, but my internet has been out all day.  It is strange how dependent we are on something we have no control over, but it is a good lesson about things to come--famine, water rationing, pandemics, global warming.  The list goes on for another mile or two.  This morning, I couldn't email, couldn't read the news, couldn't even listen to MY music because Apple has stolen it all and put it "up there" somewhere in the cloud.  I never asked them to do that.  I don't want them to upload anything of mine.  But they do.  "Jesus Christ," I wondered, "what am I supposed to do. . . jerk off to magazines?"

I didn't really think that.  I just wanted to write it.  Still, I paused a long, long time before I did.  So, in reality, I guess I did think that after all.  Life just felt so 1950s.  

So. . . I was going to write the second part of my beach narrative, but that will have to wait.  I have things I must do before the rain begins.  Life is changing rapidly here.  School begins next week.  The Country Club College girls are returning.  Probably some boys, too.  I really hope not.  But everything from Covid to Monkey Pox will be in the air, so I am going to get my second booster shot this weekend.  Once kids start back to school, infectious season begins.  

Why in the fuck they start school early in August is beyond me.  

Hey. . . how 'bout that Alex Jones, huh?  He is a liar!  Who knew?  He seemed so. . . academic. . . you know?  He had some really smart things to say.  When I kidded my republican friend about this, he said--and you've already guessed it--"What about Nancy Pelosi?"  What the fuck is it with republicans and Pelosi.  He's all over her going to Taiwan.  I said she had always been a Sinophobe.  He retorted, "Where was she when Hong Kong got fucked?"  So I Googled "Where was Pelosi when Hong Kong got fucked?".  Oh, boy, I said, don't do an image search.  I was on some sites for hours.  I can't wait to see what kind of internet ads I get now.  

We also argued about the nine year sentence for Griner.  I couldn't believe it, really.  Whose side was he on?  Here's a gal who pleaded guilty to bringing a substance into a foreign country where it was illegal.  Her defense?  "I don't know how that got in my bag."  So this is a U.S. crisis?  I wish they would let her go.  I am not for punishing pot smokers.  But the Federal Government is.  We've been putting kids in prison with longer sentences for a little boo since the Nixon White House.  And Reagan made it worse.  So there seems to be a real hypocrisy here.  Still--Free Griner.  But don't go trading a Russian arms dealer responsible for many U.S. soldier's deaths for her.  Jesus Joseph and Mary.  

I heard a female sports reporter saying that Griner is the greatest athlete in the world but doesn't make the kind of money the male basketball players make and so has to whore herself out to the Russians to make extra basketball money.  I'll assume you've heard Bill Burr's response to this.  If I choose to be the best horseshoer in the world, can I cry because they don't pay me the way they pay LeBron James?  

Professional sports is a big commercial bunch of horseshit.  I hate what it does to kids.  And I hate anyone people call Coach.  O.K.  Hate is a strong word.  Despise, then.  I think that we should exchange everyone named "Coach" for Griner.  That would tickle the shit out of me.  

Maybe I should post a different photo.  I am not very Buddhist here in this post.  But I wanted to show that I DO hit focus with that big old camera sometimes.  Did you see yesterday's?  How in the hell does one miss on infinity focus?  Somehow I managed.  

O.K. O.K.  I gotta run.  Do the dirt baby.  Do the dirt now. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Sufis and the Barnacle

A few days away were strangely something.  It was, first of all, a reminder that things are still not as they were, and maybe they never will be.  I met my California climbing buddy and his family at a seaside resort, though I did not want to pay resort prices and stayed at a cheaper place just down the street.  My first choice had been a $79 room just across the road.  It had fairly decent reviews.  After going there, I guessed that crack addicts and meth whores like to write reviews, too.  There was a time I would have, but I have gotten too comfortably old for that shit anymore.  I chose a more family oriented place on the ocean about a quarter of a mile away.  

Driving the few hours to see them made me feel a bit like I was coming untethered from the mother ship.  I was in familiar territory, but I kept remembering things I should have packed.  That morning, I grabbed random items, and far too many of them.  My main concern was cameras, of course.  This would be a photo trip.  I would finally get out to make some masterpieces.  

I got to town before they did, so I made the short drive to the oldest city in the U.S. and walked around in the terrible heat.  The college there takes up much of the historic district, but it was closed until the fall semester began.  The fine arts museum was shut up tight as a drum.  Everything was still.  I trudged on. 

As I made my way into the old town with its narrow, breezeless streets, the number of hoi polloi grew exponentially.  They wandered about with ice cream cones and hot dogs wrapped in pretzels.  I decided to dash upstairs to a bar that I went to with Ili the last time I was here.  That was our second "date."  I went out to the balcony and sat at the very table we sat at together and ordered sangria and some tapas dishes.  It was strange, I thought, and I determined that I wouldn't tell anyone of this digression, but I figure what the hell.  It is not like I was committing a crime.  I was just visiting the scene of one.  

But two sangrias and some tapas and the growing and unbearable heat made me dopey.  It was time for me to try to find my car and head back to the beach where I needed to find a room for the night.  

I hadn't checked into a hotel for. . . what?  How long?  Years.  It was familiar, of course, but strange, too.  I told the lady checking me in that I was an early riser and asked her about coffee.  The hotel kitchen did not open until eight, she said, but the restaurant across the street opened at seven.  Shit.  What if I wake at six, I asked?  There were coffee makers in the rooms.  This did not make me happy.  

I grabbed my bags and headed to my first floor room.  It was big, but it was not nice.  I have gotten used to the luxuries of home, it seems, with 19th century carpets and deep leather couches.  If I had the money, I guess I'd be a Four Seasons traveller. . . but I don't, so this standard fare American tourist room would have to do.  I plugged my almost dead phone into a charger looked around.  I needed water.  Badly.  But there was not a bottle in the room, not even for sale.  I went to the bathroom and opened one of the plastic cups wrapped in plastic.  I turned on the tap and let it run for a minute, then filled my cup.  Jesus, God. . . no.  Remaining dehydrated, I lay on the bed to take a short nap.  The bed wasn't bad, but I was too restless to sleep for long.  I had a text.  My friends had arrived and wondered where I was.  Then I got a call.  

Their hotel was really nice.  It had a giant lobby, several bars, indoor/outdoor seating by the acre, and a pool the size of the Bahamas.  Their room, however, was much smaller than mine, and they were housing four.  It looked like there had been an explosion.  But they were campers and did not feel compromised.  We sat and talked and I got to know the boys who I had not seen in years.  I like kids fine, but I did not envy the parents at all.  I would leave for my own room later, but they would be living in the ruckus for a long time.  They tried to get the boys to go to the pool, but the kids wanted to stay in front of the adults and fight with one another.  Mom and dad were used to it. 

Eventually we opened a bottle of wine, stuck it in an ice bucket, and headed outdoors.  I was in trouble, though.  I hadn't been around women in tiny bathing suits for a long, long time.  These were not the women I'd seen downtown, overweight with bad hair.  No.  These were the women of personal trainers and spas.  You know the type.  My type.  Snotty, entitled women with manicured toenails, flat stomachs, and whatever the doc could do.  

My buddy noticed.  "You haven't been out much, have you?" he laughed.  

Nope.  I hadn't.  I sat there all belly and bad hair myself.  I had let myself go too long.  These women were not going to be eyeballing me.  I thrilled and despaired in equal measure.  

The afternoon wore on pleasantly with wine and conversation.  My buddy's wife and I had plenty of catching up to do while he managed the children.  We didn't want to go inside, so we ordered dinner for the patio as the air cooled with the sea breeze.  The food sucked, but I had already decided I would never eat again until I was sleek as a baby seal.  I ate a few scallops and gave up.  For Christ sakes, they served them with kale.  Kale?  No, no. . . it should be spinach.  I focussed on the squid I had ordered as an appetizer.  They were as disappointed with their meals as was I.  So much for resort food.  

After dinner, it was time to stroll.  The boys went to the pool and my buddy's wife went to walk alone on the beach.  He and I walked he boardwalk until we came upon a strange and wonderful drum circle that was taking place at the public beach next door.  It was hypnotic, of course, the drum beats and the hippie girls dancing.  When we got there, they were three.  One was obviously trained in some sort of Sufi belly dancing.  Her moves were subtle and crazy and I immediately thought I wanted to take lessons.  The other two were not as practiced but were certainly talented.  They moved like the waves and the wind.  I felt myself a barnacle.  I would start dancing at home,  I thought.  I would find a drum circle near me and be a dervish until I was skin and bones.  I would eat hippie food and wear patchouli oil and gauzy hippie shirts.  Something.  Anything.  

"God," I screamed, "look what Covid has made of me!"

It was a silent scream, of course.  

My buddy, who is a mountain guide in the Sierras and lives entirely with outdoor Cali folk, struck up a conversation with one of the dancers.  This was her first drum circle, she said.  I was floored.  She looked as if she had been born in one, raised in gypsy camps and danced by the firelight nightly.  I envied my buddy, all savvy and outdoor slim.  I've been beaten up pretty badly, I thought, but something has to change.  I used to be one.  Now. . . not so much.  

My buddy's wife showed up and the drum circle took a break, and although it was not late, I was tired.  I had not had this kind of interaction for years now, and every fiber of me was ready to lie down.  I told my friends I'd see them in the morning and made the long walk back to my car.  

Back in my room, I stripped down for a quick shower.  The mirror told the tale.  I had a lot of Sufi dancing to do.  It was daunting.  

A bit later, I lay in bed in the cold dark room.  I hoped I'd sleep late.  I did not want to have to drink that shitty room brew in the morning.  To the hum of the hotel air conditioner, I drifted off into a hopeful Sufi sleep. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


Silly phone pics.

And, of course, an average Monday night drum circle.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Spinning Wheels

If I post this, I may not be around for a few days.  It will mean I am getting out of my house for awhile.  I have been out twice since January of 2020.  What will happen?  Will I get sick?  Will I die?  Not from the 'Vid but from the strangeness of it?  I may not even go.  We'll see.  But it I post this, I am gone.  And if so. . . I'll be back soon enough. 

* * *

It is morning, and I sit with a cup of coffee and think things through.  I may go.  I haven't decided.  I don't know.  

It is excruciating. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Real

First you take a picture, then you put it into a computer and muck about.  Is it still a photograph?  I think not.  At that point, it becomes something else.  What?  An artifact, I guess.  It doesn't matter really.  I was just thinking about it after reading this article on an AI influencer in South Korea (link).  The definition of "real" has changed.  Or has to.  When the created thing isn't "real", I mean, but exists. . . . 

Well, that's something for another time.  It's a rabbit hole if you want to go there.  I was about to apply the term to gender identity, etc.  Nope.  Not going.  

This photograph is virtual.  It is not real.  

The virtual world is captivating, though.  That's why kids don't go outside anymore.  Nature is messy.  It even seems boring.  Growing up, I would lie on my back and watch clouds make shapes and faces.  Can you imagine?  

"Hey, Tommy, come out here and look.  Do you see the rabbit?  Look.  See?"

O.K.  There are no kids named Tommy anymore.  Milo.  Kai.  Mason.  

The clouds were real.  The faces weren't.  Were they virtual?  

I'm not judging, not saying one thing is better than the other.  They are.  That's all. 

* * *

I've been reading about Chinese rockets and where they fall.  There are more rockets than ever.  Every country is sending them into space.  It is strange to me, however, that nobody ever talks about the toxicity of these things.  How much toxic bullshit goes into the atmosphere when they are launched?  What is it composed of?  What happens when they blow up?  When they crash?  Of course the government is exempt from telling us.  But SpaceX?  Are they covered under that blanket?  Do you think they are green?  Are they making rockets that are electric?  How dirty is a South Korean rocket?  

Every time there is a launch, I put tin foil in my hat.  



* * *

I didn't move yesterday.  It was the loveliest of days, but I didn't open the door until very late in the afternoon.  I'm still wearing the clothes I wore on Friday.  I kept thinking to go out and take a long walk, but I napped and read.  Then, near dusk, I made a simple meal.  Color coordinated, I told my friends.  Afterwards, I collapsed onto the couch for a night of silly t.v. 

I hope to do something today. . . but I have serious doubts.  

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Catching Up

 I hadn't made one of these for quite awhile.  But it was Friday, and my climbing buddy from Cali was in town and coming over.  I popped a bunch of chicken thighs and onions and carrots and spices and wine into the pressure cooker and sat down in the muggy southern heat to wait.  He was to pick up his wife at the airport at midnight, so, oh shit. . . you know.  Once again, for the second time in as many weeks, I was worried about having someone stay beyond the Carnegie hour.  I was also worried about drinking too many of these while waiting for him.  

When I finished my drink, I went back inside and put on the jasmine rice.  I opened a can of baked beans.  It was going to be a simple, hearty/hardy meal.  I poured a glass of wine.  

Per usual, my buddy showed up late.  He is a time pirate.  It is his passive/aggressive way of controlling his world, I think.  But I remained disciplined in my consumption, so when he showed up drinking a beer, we were pretty much on par.  

There is never any real catching up to do with old friends.  You just continue the conversation where you left off.  We've been texting pretty often since the Yosemite fire came within two hundred yards of his house, so there was that.  He has a more complex life than I, having a young wife and two young boys.  There is more to tell.  Me?  What is there?  Somehow, though, I had a lot to say about the nothingness of my existence.  Like some photos, I enjoy coloring the monochrome to make it strangely attractive.  At least that is what I think. 

We ate on the deck in the last of the long day.  I had been worried, but dinner turned out to be spectacularly good.  My cooking tip to you?  Don't bother putting water in a pressure cooker.  Just wine.  Don't worry.  It will be fine.  He kept dipping ladles of broth into his bowl.  Later, when he was gone, I just drank it from the pot.  

Around ten, his wife called from an airport not on her itinerary.  Her trip had gone south.  Her flight was cancelled and they rerouted her to another city where she was supposed to get on a plane that hadn't arrived.  She was standing in a long line, she said, and didn't know if she would get out of the airport that night.  One can only wonder what happened to America and just how bad things will get.  

Trump or Biden?  Who do you blame?  

That's the silliest argument in the world, but it serves the simple minded.  

He got a second call an hour later.  He wouldn't be picking her up that night.  

And then it was one in the morning.  His boys were with his parents, and he was heading back.  I still had to clean the kitchen.  

I didn't open my eyes until eight o'clock.  It felt as if half the day were gone.  

And now. . . it is.  I have half a Saturday ahead of me.  Not even.  There will be some napping.  But the sky is blue and the day is sunny.  I know what I should do.  It remains to be seen what I will.  

"Too many mosquitos," texted my travel/art buddy when I sent him the picture of my drink.  They are bad this year.  

Friday, July 29, 2022

Spa Life

I had a real "girl's night" last night--minus the girls.  I shed my toxic masculinity and soaked in a tub.  I'm fucking with you.  My masculinity is not toxic.  Actually, I've got a lot of femme going on.  That is not to say I'm a feminist, but maybe.  One of the feminisms, anyway.  Is that a toxic appropriation?  Again, I'm just screwing around with the current "culture conversation."  I get to decide who I am.  You're not the boss of me.  

So first the tub, then a shave.  I shaved because I was thinking of going to a spa to get a facial.  The salon kind. I love getting a facial (the salon kind) though I've only done it a handful of times.  The last one was many years ago now, a spa day that Ili bought me for my birthday.  I was reminded of it yesterday when I downloaded all the photos on my iPhon.  I had to.  The phone was full and not functioning.  Of course I looked at the god I don't know how many (thousands?) of photos on the giant computer screen, mostly from the Ili years of fun and travel. And then the non-Ili/retirement/Covid years.  Those are mostly selfies and drink and food photos.  And there I was, face melting with time.  Ili stayed the same.  She was not shy about about affording herself beauty treatments.  She had all of them very often.  

Why, I thought, shouldn't I?

So, in order to prep properly, I shaved.  

Then, I thought, I should do a home DIY facial.  I should look as good as possible going into a salon, right?  So I mixed up turmeric, organic honey, whole apple cider vinegar, and milk and slathered it on my face.  I poured a scotch and sat down with this massage cushion thing with roller balls that grind you in every direction.  I hardly ever use it.  It was a present from my mother years ago.  But last night, orange faced, scotch in hand, I closed my eyes and let the massager work its magic.

Why, I wondered, do I not do this all the time?  I was feeling luxurious.  

You can't leave the turmeric on your face for too long, though, or you will turn orange, so after the massager had completed its cycle, I got up and rinsed my face.  I got orange turmeric everywhere.  

But I wasn't done.  Oh, no, buddy.  I made up a second concoction of organic honey and egg white.  And a second scotch.  Soothing music and tranquility now.  

And when that was done, I finished off with a rinse and some coconut oil.  Wow!  My face was as smooth as. . . .  You can do with the simile what you will.

I swear I will spend more nights this way.  Chill,  A little yoga.  A little wine.  

This morning when I woke up, I could feel the glow.  New hair, a smooth and fair complexion. . . . I'm as pretty as that little flower.  

Don't jump to conclusions you sarcastic bitches (including bastards).  That's an old plant.  Still. . . . 

I need to run out and let some girls see me now.  Well, after I lose about twenty pounds.  I need to go on a serious diet.  Ili used to do that, too.  She could go without food for days and weeks, living off liquids.  I should.  

I don't, however, want to.  Just the thought of depriving myself of tasty meals makes me want to weep.  I do eat clean and well and good.  Last night I had cod and broccoli and rice.  The food, I think, is not the problem.  Hmm.  I wonder what, then, is putting the weight on me?  Could it be my "medicine"?

If only I could run.  Yesterday, after the gym, I decided to walk a few miles.  I really wanted to run, but, you know, old bones and joints. . . so I just walked as fast as I could.  "Walk like you are running," I told myself.  "Go, baby. . . go."  And I did.  If anyone would have seen me, they would have called the authorities and had me locked up in the Museum of Silly Walkers.  But this was serious business.  My heart was pumping.  

Then, on the long straight stretch of road going home, I was hounded by a garbage truck.  I picked up my pace as fast as I could to stay ahead of the stench.  Boy, I thought, you are really hauling ass now.  That is when, just at that moment, a woman passed me.  Not running.  Walking.  She was neither young nor slight.  She was like some rendering of me.  She didn't pass me and slow down, either.  I was stunned.  I tried to keep up with her, but she was outpacing me 1.5 to 1.  I felt humiliated.  Surely she would have to slow down in a minute.  But no.  She left me like the coyote in a Road Runner cartoon.  

I'm going to work on my speed walking.  

I should try hand painting that flower photo and see how it looks.  All I need is red and green and some off-white.  And I need to get some cut flowers in the house.  I haven't had them since. . . . 

That record is getting worn.  

I need to get out and see the shocked look on people's faces.  

"My god. . . what have you done?  You look so. . . young!"

It's easy to imagine sitting here with a cup of coffee.  Maybe I'll just take more selfies.  

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Summer Doo

Fuck art. . . let's dance!  

So it went yesterday.  I had a hair appointment at eleven.  That should have given me plenty of time to get things done in the morning.  I had in mind a leisurely but long walk before I showered.  But way led to way, as they say, and before I knew it, the morning was gone and I was out of time.  I had to rush to make my appointment.  

I was going to take that first wonderful picture of my beautician working with the Big Old Liberator, but she, too, was running behind.  She was slammed, she said, with clients back to back to back until eight o'clock that night.  

We didn't make the picture. 

What we DID make was me look differently. 

Low lights for the low life.  I told her my blonde was looking too much like grey after she "cooled" me with a silver tone last time.  

"I don't know what I want.  I'm feeling poorly about myself.  I look old.  Make me young, babe.  I want to be young."

She really worked me over good, sort of like a Waring blender.

Three hours later, I did look different.  Not a bit younger, though.  Nope.  Not a wit. 

I stopped by my mother's house to show her my short hair.  She always wants me to cut it short, hillbilly that she is.  But when I got there, she was gone.  Hmm.  I told her I would stop by after my appointment.  Oh, well, it was mid-afternoon and I hadn't eaten.  I thought about my options.  I chose to eat badly for the second time this month.  It had tasted so good the first time. . . . 

The meal and the hours in the beautician's chair had tired me to the bone, and even though it was late, I chose to nap.  

I didn't wake up until five.  Five is not a time to wake up from a nap.  You don't really wake up.  You are simply somnambulistic.  And dyspeptic.  Taking a nap after a Whopper had done me dirty.  I knew there would be no dinner for me.  Still, there were necessary things I needed to get.  First Whole Foods.  

This is, without doubt, the best cheese I've ever eaten.  Q says at $39/lb it should be.  Jesus. . . I hadn't read the fine print.  

What can I say? 


Dinner on the deck.  A poorly constructed Caprese and a criminal chard.  Two cats and some mosquitos.  A neighbor walking her dog.  

"You got a haircut!"

"Some color, too.  I've been revamped." 

"It must be your summer doo."

"That's it."

I had gotten two packages that day.  One was a cheap pair of cargo shorts from China.  They are not like the culottes I've been wearing.  Calypso pants.  Whatever.  The ones that make me look like a hippie gangsta.  Nope.  These are standard American.  I can wear them around "normal" people when I need to.  They are so good, I'm ordering another pair.  

I got more 4x5 film holders, too.  Brand new at 1/3 the price.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  

All in all, it was a good day.  

After dinner, I watched the news on YouTube.  It is much better than turning on the networks.  I can watch the first minute of the story and then, when they bring in the professional speculators, I can switch it off.  I get an hour's news in mere moments.  

Then I watched some of YouTube's recommendations.  I've been looking at some of the clips from the Newport Folk Festival.  If I were going to travel, I should have gone to that.  It looked beautiful.  The festival ended with a performance by Joni Mitchell who had last been there fifty years before.  Mitchell, in poor health after a brain aneurysm, was great maybe due to and maybe in spite of Brandi Carlisle.  What was needed was Paul Schaffer to manage the music.  In spite of the haphazardness of it all, though, I was brought to tears.  Over and over again.  Unimaginably.  WTF?  I can't explain it other than the inevitable sadness that comes with the final act, the end of things.  Nothing, not genius, not talent, not will nor grit, can save you.  

Not even a new doo.  

The cats are back.  The boy from next door has returned and lies on the deck to greet me every morning again.  I take him a little food treat, but he doesn't eat it.  He isn't here for the food, apparently.  I think he just comes to say hello.  He waits patiently until I come out, and then he leaves.  He had been there alone for a few days, but now the little feral cat is there to join him.  He has reestablished dominion over the property, I think.  I do not see the other cats any longer.  After his big lockup, I guess it took him awhile to get his legs back under him, but he's got the swagger once again.  The feral cat couldn't be happier.  It makes me happy, too, bringing back a little of the domestic normality that has been lacking.  

I eschewed sleeping drugs last night as I attempt to cone to that herbal hippie glow I so desire.  Of course, I slept like shit (if sleep it can be called).  I shall live on Caprese salads and Chardonnay, with the occasional expensive French cheeses.  It is untrue, but it sounds romantic to say so.  

So yea. . . fuck art.  Let's dance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

I Wanna Go Back

I saw this while walking around Gotham trying to burn up the film in my various cameras.  There's nothing like a good platitude.  What is there to do with a platitude but put it on the side of a building?  Big.  Platitudes need to be big.  The bigger the better.  They are especially important if you want to get elected to a public office.  Or if you want to be on a network show like "Today" or "Good Morning America."  

"All our hopes and prayers. . . ."


The other day, I posted two pictures on a large format forum that I made with X-Ray film.  They were severely underexposed and were not good photographs.  I said so when I posted them to illustrate how to develop film that has an emulsion on both sides.  You must be careful not to scratch the side that faces downward, but I had no problem with that.  People began to "like" the post.  Then some fellow posted that they were not good photos AND that X-Ray film did not have emulsion on both sides.  

Well, I said, that is what the manufacturer says as do some well-known large format photographers.  He replied that he was a dentist and had used X-Ray film for years, and he went on to explain.  I wanted to reply that he was a dentist and that probably was the reason he was so uninformed, but I didn't.  Somebody else did, though, in essence.  I didn't want to get into an internet fight as there is never any way to get out of it once you are in, so I deferred to his "knowledge" and posted several links to medical articles on double sided X-Ray film, clever boy that I am.  

But he was like a dog with a bone.  He became more adamant and obtuse, so I Googled him.  His FaceBook posts were all conservative republican shit from OAN and Newsmax and other propaganda sources.  I wanted to tell him that he was an idiot, but I didn't.  

Yesterday he conceded that I was a knowledgeable fellow.  See what a little reserve can do?

The offending images.  

That is, however, the way life seems to go now.  People argue stupid shit.  They like to demean.  I shouldn't universalize my experiences, though.  Maybe I'm just under some dark cosmic cloud.  My chakras may be clogged.  Maybe I need Reiki to have my auras cleansed.  I know people.  It is not out of the question. 

I'm thinking of investing in a mood ring. Surely there is one on the Goop site. 

I get beautified today.  I forgot that I told my beautician to be dressed for a picture.  I remembered when I woke up this morning, and it made me nervous.  I'll fuck it up, surely, and then there will be that between us.  

"It's because you had clothes on," I'll tell her.  "They ruined it."

She is learning how to read auras.  Maybe she got mad at me and put the bad juju on me.  

All my poking fun at things, though, may be a defense mechanism, for I want to live the clean and healthy life.  My body hurts.  My mind is twisted.  My soul aches.  Waking this morning after a weird night, I was thinking that I would eschew the gym and weights and all the pain that brings to me.  For the rest of the week, anyway.  Long walks, yoga, herbal teas. . . you know, the hippie life. . . that is what I feel I need.  Not the hippie drug life, the other one.  Organic,  I need to get an herbal glow.  

First, I'll need to have my brains sucked out.  Then I can get the deep colon cleanse.  

I kid.  But I have been heading in a bad direction for awhile.  I need to re-establish contact with the living world again.  I need some life affirmation.  


Long walks and canasta, perhaps, and a transistor radio playing old Guy Lombardo tunes.  Simplicity.  

I was thinking of taking Spanish lessons, but that is a dangerous language, I think.  I should study the language of happy people.  Polynesian, maybe.  Is that a language?  

I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
I want to be with all the kanes and wahines that I knew long ago
I can hear old guitars a playing, on the beach at Hoonaunau
I can hear the Hawaiians saying "Komomai no kaua ika hale welakahao"
It won't be long 'til my ship will be sailing back to Kona
A grand old place that's always fair to see
I'm just a little Hawaiian and a homeside Island boy
I want to go back to my fish and poi
I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
Where the Humuhumu, Nukunuku a puaa goes swimming by
Where the Humuhumu, Nukunuku a puaa goes swimming by
I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
I want to be with all the kanes and wahines that I knew long ago
I can hear old guitars a playing, on the beach at Hoonaunau
I can hear the Hawaiians saying "Komomai no kaua ika hale welakahao"
It won't be long 'til my ship will be sailing back to Kona
A grand old place that's always fair to see
I'm just a little Hawaiian and a homeside Island boy
I want to go back to my fish and poi
I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
Where the Humuhumu, Nukunuku a puaa goes swimming by

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

To All the Victims of Their Youth and Beauty


As the face of the infamous 90s fashion trend "heroin chic," [Kate] Moss said she felt she often became "the scapegoat for a lot of people's problems."

"I was never anorexic, I never have been... I had never taken heroin," she said. "I was thin because I didn't get fed at shoots or in shows, and I'd always been thin."

So in 2005, when a British tabloid published photos of Moss appearing to take cocaine.

So much for her apocryphal statement, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."   

"Getting old is hell," they say, but I think it is the reverse.  Hell is getting old, or so it seems.  All this looking back, all this regret.  Is it the Bible or Milton that tells me the flames of hell are cold, flames that give no heat?  Surely it was Milton, but any old man with a creative mind might have written about the cold flames of regret.  What is most reprehensible, though, is the blame game.  Celebrities, at least, all seem to have been victims of something or somebody.  Duh!  No shit?!?!?  Why do people write?  Being human is conflict enough.  All this careful plotting. . . . 

My regrets are far more subtle.  I wish I had been more learned when I was young and would have been more considerate of my friend's mother.  She was a sad alcoholic.  I don't think I ever gave her a kind word.  


I sent this to some last night with this message:

"Shotgun.  Shoot him ‘fore he runs. Do the dirt, baby.  Do the dirt now!"

Too many people were too young to get the reference, though, so I had to send this.

I got into a bit of music nostalgia last night while working on some images.  I had spent far too long scanning some of the 35mm film I am trying to finish up.  Working on them is difficult for me now that I am enamored with those big negatives.  I got a song lyric stuck in my head.  Just a very short line.  I couldn't shake it.  

"Are you ready?  Yes I'm ready?"

WTF song was that?  Oh, man. . . the Google knows. 

This isn't the version I put on Radio Selavy, but since I went with the t.v. version of "Shotgun," I thought it would be apropos here.  

Both of these songs were released in 1965.  That was the year I met My Own True Love.  To make working on the images bearable, I asked Apple iTunes to play "Hits of 1965."  

Music has changed.  I tried a little "Hits of 2020."  I don't think being human has constancy any more.  Something happened.  Maybe it was CRISPR.  My mother said that Russians are stealing our DNA and are able to kill us.  I asked for clarification but got none.  She told me I could look it up.  

I don't think my mother has a firm grasp of what DNA is.  I do think, though, that the human genome was cooked a little bit at the turn of the century and the nucleotides got baked.  I have no data to support this, but the evidence seems to be everywhere.  Mine is a solid hypothesis.  Can you prove it isn't true?  But you know, they say it was plastic that did it.  Hmm.  

I'm learning new rhetorical strategies at the Trump Republican YMCA I go to.  Deriding people who don't agree seems to be a big part of it.  Sarcastic retorts seem all the evidence you need.  It simplifies things, I must say.  Did you ever try to memorize all the logical fallacies?  Don't bother.  It seems that the legal industry has invented a whole new set of them.  

O.K.  I need to get out of this.  I'm rambling and The Wrecking Crew is coming today.  I will put on some early 60s music and get the house ready for them.