Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Poor Q. He never made it to Wingo. More drugs are needed to get there, that and an insatiable desire for REAL adventure. I've been there. It isn't much. I took this photo a few years back after RUNNING those railroad tracks with a backpack full of camera gear and water bottles. You can't do that on beer and Xanax, of course. You need a pocket full of uppers to get you there. The advantage is that speed will shrink your pupils to pinpoints which is an advantage on a really sunny day. The downside is that once you get there, you realize there was never any reason to go in the first place. You'll need plenty of water to get you back. Speed dehydrates you faster than a sauna.
I've tried to tell him that all this running around the countryside is a useless waste of time. Get a studio, I told him, and lots of parent permission slips.
But there is no use in being a photographer any longer. We've seen it all. Everything has been photographed to dust. Photos are only good for FaceBook and Instagram. Even the "pros" have their social media accounts, and many of the photos they upload were taken with their phones. There are dozens of apps that will give your phone photos a crazy good look. The drummer from my old band has an MFA in photography from the University of San Francisco. He made a pinhole camera from a fifty-five gallon barrel and attached it to the roof of his car. He made photos that had hours long exposures, then printed the results in monstrous sizes. Now he only uses his phone. He hasn't used anything else for years.
Besides, cameras will get you killed or locked up. When I carry a camera, which is ever day, I get suspicious, mean-assed looks. "What the fuck are YOU up to," they seem to say. If I am standing on a street corner looking through the viewfinder, people honk and yell things out the window of their cars. If I am in rural areas, sometimes people will throw things. There is something wrong with country people, I guess. Those boys are all half-retarded. Don't try arguing with them. You just end up getting your ass kicked. I think most of them want to become policemen.
Sometimes, if you are photographing in a crowd, a real policeman will come up and ask you what you are doing. There's a hard line to answer. Sometimes they will say there have been complaints. That is when you want some credentials, preferably from a right wing organization.
"Oh, I'm just out here trying to document wrong doing by the Antifa crowd. My newspaper, the Fox affiliate, seems to think there is going to be some REAL trouble today. They also wanted me to keep an eye out for some of those trans people. That's becoming a real issue, you know. Now if I see anything suspicious. . . I'll let YOU know right away. So far, everything seems to be quiet."
Since I have no credentials, and since having an officer of the law question you in the middle of the crowd tends to make you stand out, I usually head back to my car quickly before the scene gets ugly.
But you know how it is. You can't tell kids anything. They have to learn for themselves. If Q doesn't get a studio, he still has his child and dogs to photograph. All I have is. . . well, nothing really. Lots of pictures of the birdbath and occasionally the wheelbarrow. It's good to use really expensive cameras when photographing them. I need to get some more gear, though, to really show them best. They'd look really swell with a new medium format Hasselblad digital camera. That would be awesome.
Maybe I'll start making dioramas and using little toy figurines. But I'd probably get cancelled for that as well.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:32 AM
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
One day, this photo will be a classic. . . maybe. Not today, but one day. . . maybe. I just don't have much else in the folder right now.
Again, I shouldn't be writing. I should skip the blog. I lay in bed this morning and tried hard to think of something I was looking forward to. Coffee. After that? Um. . . . I lay there a long time, but I couldn't come up with anything else as hard as I tried. It is like that some days.
I thought about getting a video console. Why not? I've never enjoyed video games, but hey, this is a new world. So I went on Amazon. Holy smokes! They are expensive. so that idea went out the window. I ordered a new photo book instead.
I thought about buying a new camera. . . or two. But that would only make me feel worse in the end.
So I ordered new Hanes t-shirts. They will be here today. You can never have too many t-shirts.
I didn't go to my mother's yesterday. I didn't have it in me. I feel bad about that, but the routine is wearing me down. I am not good company now, anyway. I could sink a ship.
I must move and keep moving. I got more granite yesterday and spread it in the driveways. Thirty bags so far, and you can hardly tell. There is much to do around the house, much work that I dread.
I thought about shooting with my Liberator camera. It is complicated and has not been yielding much that I have liked. The thought of working with it. . . well, that is it. It felt like work, and it would likely be unproductive. I'd be better off working around the house.
So, yea, I could come up with nothing other than coffee, and it is almost gone.
And so am I.
Posted by cafe selavy at 7:59 AM
Monday, July 6, 2020
I don't want to write today. I wasn't going to post. I am uncommunicative at present. I just want to figure things out on my own without distraction. But the days are long and the nights longer and one must fill the hours. I filled them yesterday with nonstop action. I exercised and meditated and hauled granite and spread it in the driveways, showered, lunched, then, due to my lack of sleep and perhaps some Covid hangover, I sat down on the couch and just passed out for hours. I don't know that I ever woke up. Last night, I took a nerve pill and had no nightmares. I plan on total activity again today.
So I didn't want to sit here and reflect on anything. I do not wish to think, analyze, ponder. I want to float out of the big, black hole. But I have a routine, so I made the coffee and read the paper, and even though I skipped most of the disturbing stories. . . am I the only person in America who doesn't give two shits about watching "Hamilton"? There is nothing that could force me into viewing it. I haven't said this out loud to anyone since I am certain I will be taken as a racist or maybe even anti-gay. I don't know if "Hamilton" is in any way connected to the gay community but to say all the gay guys I know love it. But I can't stand musicals. I can't. I can't watch any of them except "The Wizard of Oz." Why the exception? Beats me. But "Oklahoma" and "The Sound of Music" put the fear of music in me. As a young man, when you were supposed to like rock operas like "Jesus Christ, Superstar" and "Tommy," I couldn't. And oh, Jesus, plays like "Cats" and the one about the electric colored super coat or whatever it was. . . well, fuck me if I'll go. I once got roped into giving a presentation to the very prestigious opera guild here in my own hometown, which was fine, but then I found I was expected to go to the fucking opera. It felt like bugs were crawling all over me for however many days and nights that thing lasted.
So no, it is not a racial thing. But even without seeing it, I have a strong hunch and would wager that the content of it is pablum. The way people gush about it, it has to be.
When I read this morning how wonderful it was that "Hamilton" had come to television and that all of America was tweeting the whole show through, I knew I would have to come here to rant and confess.
Even those Gilbert and Sullivan "Monty Python" skits irritated me, though I must say I saw "Topsy Turvey," a movie about their relationship, and thought it wonderful. I guess I can watch a movie about a musical as long as it is not a musical. Perhaps.
These are strange and terrible days. The Times is reporting that minorities are getting Covid more often than. . . what do they say, others? They provide data to support that. I believe the data. They don't, however, provide evidence as to why. They play hunches. You can't do that. You can't speculate based on your emotions. I mean you can, but it is unsubstantiated bullshit at that point. Mixing science with social speculation is bad ju-ju. But that is what happens when you want to promote an agenda.
Such is the case with Covid demonstrations. As you know, I've been saying you can't condemn one demonstration for spreading the virus because it is pro-Trump and not condemn another because you favor the cause. Today, the Times admitted that might be the case, but only in a tepid fashion, and they lean to the side of "just" causes over "unjust" causes (link). That is to say, they admit the moral dilemma but still fall on the side of a certain agenda. Those other people are still deplorable.
Again, of course, they take their cues from this blog.
I have a morning of fair weather before the afternoon storms roll around. Afternoon storms are good. Without them, we bake. With them. . . well, I took dinner over to my mother's house yesterday and we ate outside. It was a very comfortable 75 degrees. Those cooling rains are welcomed. But I have to try to get some more granite to put down today. I can only haul so much at a time in the back of my Xterra, and the granite has been in short supply. I go every day to see if they have gotten any in. I left some yesterday. I'm hoping it is still there when I go back this morning. And I have stretching/breathing/yoga to do and a very long walk. I hope to tire myself out again today. And not to think such terrible, debilitating thoughts.
I'll admit I did watch another disturbing documentary last night. "Lot Lizards." It was about prostitution in the big truck stops. Wow. That is all I can say. I had no idea these places even existed. We pretend to know life, but there is another world just on the other side of the fence that most of us hope to never see. It is, however, out there. And they are out there. And I promise, you don't need fantasy and science fiction to scare you. Vampires and aliens are romantic visions compared to what is truly just beyond your front door.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:12 AM
Sunday, July 5, 2020
I forgot to mention that last night was the full moon. I didn't forget, actually. I thought it occurred on Sunday, which it did, just after midnight on Saturday. Depending on your source, you would find it listed for either night.
There was something else I forgot to mention. I didn't forget, actually. I was reminded of it last night. On July 4th, 1984, our band played to a crowd of 60,000 people. They were there to see the fireworks show, but still. . . .
Those bits of information came to me after returning home from my mother's house where we had the traditional hotdog, watermelon, and beer. I recounted many of my crazy solo travel adventures for her. What a life I've led.
Then I came home to a dinner alone.
Bored, with many symptoms of depression, I decided to watch one of the movies I've queued in my Amazon account. I chose "Sunshine Hotel." What a mistake. It was morbidly fascinating, but terribly disturbing. I don't recommend watching it right now. It is about the last flop house in the Bowery. I watched "On the Bowery," the 1957 docudrama about this same neighborhood some time ago. Same people, same situations in "Sunshine Hotel." It is unbelievable that many of the residents have lived in 6x4 foot cages for fifteen or twenty years. It is terrifying.
I had nightmares, of course, and finally had to get up in the dark to staunch them. But I have been unable to shake it. The nightmare continues
No, I can't recommend that you watch it. It is just too powerful.
I don't like the trajectory I am on. I can't be a tough guy any longer. There comes a point when you know the next blow will be the one that undoes you. You don't want to sit and wait for it, but what else is there to do?
I wasn't going to write today. I shouldn't. But, as the song goes, there is nothing that competes with habit.
Posted by cafe selavy at 7:31 AM
Saturday, July 4, 2020
Happy 4th of July. Q says that in California, to prevent the spread of Covid, people will be allowed to set off fireworks only indoors. He says his son can't wait. Here in my own hometown, I haven't seen the usual outward signs of the American Birthday. In normal times, the banner waves and the bunting abounds, but all I have for you is a picture of what Vidal called the Patriotic Gore. Patriotism and Outdoor Kitchens have a long and uncomplicated history in this country. Remember when car lots began using little American flags strung all around their lots to sell cars from Europe and Asia? I took this photos on one of the ugliest stretches of American highway you are likely to see, a barren, wasted landscape dedicated to commercial blight. I am reminded that when I drive through some of the worst areas of town, where yards are piled high with old tires and scrap metal parts, where carports are full of precious debris, where houses are badly in need of paint and repair, where families gather in cheap plastic chairs on untended lawns, every other house is flying the Stars and Stripes, that burning symbolic ember of the Great American Dream. Freedom, it shouts. Gallantly hailed.
Now don't get me wrong, and you probably don't. I am a patriot extraordinaire. I love freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the peaceful transfer of power through the election process. . . all of it. But in my lifetime, Neoliberalism has diminished much of what made this country wonderful. Now, through privatization of everything from prisons to military services, we have an infrastructure that no longer functions. So we mourn the rich who must die flying in private helicopters over the clogged, mismanaged highways of the poor so as not to be inconvenienced. Indeed roads are no longer built to move traffic but to serve home builders and the Walmarts and Target's that will profit from them. If you want to get from one place to another and you can't afford the helicopter, they may build a toll road. That, now, is the price of freedom.
But Trump vowed to fix all that. Right after he finishes building that wall. Oh, we all knew that he couldn't win. It was just entertainment, the big national joke. He is such a patriot, he celebrated July 3rd. WTF?
Don't count him out. Not everyone reads the N.Y. Times and watches CNN. If you only converse with liberals, you need to get out of your shell and talk to the old Newt Gingrich crowd. Even a portion of African Americans are straining credulity in backing Joe.
I am going to make a bumper sticker that says Dump Trump 2020. You won't need to put a Biden sticker on your car. You can just Dump Trump.
My mother and I will probably have a hotdog together today and talk again about how lucky we have been to live so comfortably for so long. Born in a rickety farm house during the depression, she, like so many Americans, moved into a solid middle class existence, owning her own car, living in her own home, getting air conditioning and a color t.v. and eventually her own credit cards. I, the son of American workers, had the luxury to play at Bohemia, wear long hair and march against the war. I got to go to college and graduate debt free, get a job and become a pensioner. It's not like being a professional athlete or a famous musician, but I never went hungry and always slept in a comfortable bed except by choice. So yea, I am a patriot.
Now we just need to escape what my friend calls The National Nightmare.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:46 AM
Friday, July 3, 2020
I guess that sign pretty much says it all, doesn't it? Try explaining that to the kids. Hell, try explaining that. Much to unpack there. Genius.
I read a headline today that struck me. "Happy Birthday, America. Get Well Soon."
It may take awhile. November 4th is a long way off, and January 20th even longer. I can still see a way for Trump to win, but it is a long shot now. When Americans get BLM fatigue, the numbers are going to change a bit. LatinX are already having trouble with the movement. Asians don't care about it. Kids would rather party than vote. And as white middle class families watch their savings disappear, they will begin to resent the increased competition for resources. Look for the #WhatAboutMe movement. And of course, there is Old Joe himself. This whole thing could go sideways just like it did last time.
People don't really like change.
I'm going to make a confession here. I've never liked Dixie. I grew up with it, and I have a visceral reaction to it. That flag, those fellows, they've always turned my stomach. I've never told anyone this before, but in truth, Dixie has always scared me. There is little about it that isn't violent. Even in its most peaceful moments, violence writhes just beneath its skin. And the Dixie Drawl is only attractive in women. In men, it sounds either stupid or vicious. O.K. That is cheap and wrong. But still, that flag incites the gag reflex in me.
And that is after a lifetime of living in the Sunny South.
And so goodbye Mississippi flag, and goodbye Rebel monuments. It's time to join the Union.
But you know, that will play in Trump's favor, too.
The morning is sunny with a promise of afternoon storms. I went out yesterday and made some photos. I need to do the same today. The afternoon storms are welcomed here as they cool the air and make life more bearable, but they are not much good for photography. And in truth, right now, what else have I?
Just Real Jack and Ready to Go.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:50 AM
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Where does one go in the Time of Corona to get oneself straight? There used to be asylums and sanitariums that would get you back on the road to Wellsville. Long stays in the mountains or by healing waters with strict restorative regimens would bring you back to a healthy equilibrium. Hell, I'd head to Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain at this point. But no such place exists now. All that is available are Covid wards in isolation and lockdown. No comfort lies there.
I guess I won't go out of the house this weekend. My state is celebrating the plague. It is a game of survival of the fittest. I will sit on the sidelines and wait this one out.
Oh, shit . . . I just remembered I drunk blogged you last night. I don't know. I'll have to go back and look at what I said. No, I remember. I was going to write about Edward Hopper and Stephen Shore, whose new book, "Transparencies," I received yesterday. It is composed of his 35mm work in the 1970's. It is a gorgeous book, large, well made with thick pages and beautiful printing. There was a zeitgeist at the time, apparently, that drove people to photograph in the vernacular, so to speak, to elevate to an art form the aesthetics of snapshot and postcard photography. Eggelston, Shore, and as we are learning, many others, were making photographs of the mundane world in living color. There is a blankness to the images that remind me of the paintings of Hopper. Hopper's buildings and houses and light evince a sadness that is nearly inexplicable. Shore's images suggest a spiritless wasteland devoid of joy. But where Hopper's paintings have a warm romantic melancholy, Shore offers a colder blankness, a cluttered landscape of distant things. Painting vs. photography, of course, but also a difference in emotional perspective, too.
Etc. I don't have the energy to go on thinking about comparisons this morning. It was surely a mistake to have begun. I'm just not up for writing a freshman paper today. Maybe it is best simply to say that it might be the difference between reading "Winesburg, Ohio," and anything by Beckett. Yea, that's a lot easier. Now the burden is with you.
The world outside my door is sparkling with sunlight. I should be out photographing right now. The images I got back yesterday were all taken under hazy skies and are not as dramatic as I had envisioned. I thought that it might work given the muted colors of Portra film, but it didn't quite work out that way. So, yea, maybe I'll grab my camera and get in the car. There are a couple things in a town only five miles away that I have been eyeing, and they aren't going to photograph themselves.
Posted by cafe selavy at 9:18 AM
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
It has been a harrowing day both emotionally and physically. But whatever. I just thought to write something tonight before I pass on to the world beyond. These are difficult times at best and tragic at worst. I thought this sign in the window said it best. That's what we do. "Just keep swimming." That's what Baretta said. Just keep swimming.
I wrote a semi-apology to the "flame" I drunk texted last night. She was spectacularly unimpressed. Whatever, or in Vonnegut's language, and so it goes. These are strikingly awakening times. We exist rather than live. We are trapped in nature's dictum.
I meant to write about Edward Hopper and Stephen Shore, but I have drunk the whiskey and eaten the gummy's. This is my blog version of drunk texting, I guess.
I'll apologize in the morning. You will be spectacularly unimpressed.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:45 PM
Is it just here in my own home state that they can't predict the weather, or is like this everywhere? I try to convince my mother that science is a good thing, but weather forecasting is based on science, so the argument is lost. Of course, predictions and forecasts are only as good as the assumptions that go into the model. Dr. Anthony Fauci explains this all the time. But I've never seen anything as predictably wrong as the weather forecasting here.
I got up early today to go take photos in the early morning light. There is none. There was supposed to be. Even now as I sit beneath a cloudy sky, the weather app shows that I am and will be sitting under cloudless skies.
It all went to shit when they began using percentages for predictions. 40% chance of rain. What the fuck? It is impossible to be wrong. Weather maps used to have isobars showing air pressure. I learned how to read them like a topographical map, sort of. Where the lines were pushed together, you knew something was coming, the closer the lines, the more severe. Now they show pictures. I haven't learned to read the pictures yet. Today there is an 80% chance of a smiley face. Tomorrow only 50%.
They had to do that, though. They had to dumb down the weather map. Once one t.v. station or network replaced a real meteorologist with a funny or pretty personality and started using stickers instead of actual scientific notation, you know where the ratings went.
And of course--Dylan: "You don't need a weatherman/ To know which way the wind blows."
Have you ever given a real road map to a millennial? Have you ever watched one try to read an analog clock?
But enough of that.
I spend a lot of time alone, as I have reported here again and again and again. Last night, just before bed, I must have written to an old flame, as they used to say. I had a text from her this morning. I went back and looked. Oh, boy. Those are some old tricks I am up to. I shouldn't be bothering her now. But I was watching "Peter Gunn" again, and I just can't get enough of Edie Hart, and she looks and sounds much like the old flame. Jesus, that show needed a lot more Edie. Or, perhaps, I do.
July is here, and we rejoice. Summer vacations. Road trips. Europe. The mountains. Lazy days of summer. Backyard barbecues with the neighbors. Homemade ice cream. Big houses on the Capes.
Or. . . me and ma sitting in the driveway with an Old Milwaukee.
Wow. That took me a good, long while to spell.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:20 AM
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Pain reduces life's pleasures. Pain relief, however, brings a new appreciation of the simplest things. I am not one to jump into the relief drugs can bring. I put it off as long as possible as I know the diminishing returns over time. Yesterday, I stayed busy. Really busy. I went to the exercise course for a workout first thing. Some of you will question the efficacy of that given that my back was hurting very badly, but I am an expert in this area after having lived and trained with pain and injuries for decades. I did nothing that caused me excruciating pain. Not even things that brought on major pain. Minor pain, maybe, but I know the threshold up to which one can work. Nothing I did yesterday caused me real pain. I had a successful "exercise experience."
The rest of the morning was spent on yard work and driveway repairs and a few other errands. The hot shower seemed to loosen my back up a bit, but sitting down for lunch, I knew I was still in trouble. The dull ache I experienced while moving was supplemented by a sharper, harder pain that overlapped it. I tried lying down, but that was worse, so I ran more errands, mailed some things, and prepared a cocktail to take to my mother's. When I got there, she offered me an ice pack. Sure.
Home, dinner, and I still hadn't taken anything for pain or inflammation. I watched some t.v. and drank some scotch, and then. . . yea, yea, I took a prescription pain pill a former housemate had left behind and half a muscle relaxer that I have left over from another time. Within half an hour, my eyes were getting heavy.
I slept pain free until five. Why drugs work for six instead of eight hours is a medical mystery, but by five, they seemed to have worn off and the slow, gripping pain was growing.
I will not go all day without another pill. Once I'm in, I'm in. Drugs have a purpose. That's why they call them drugs.
But I won't be driving over to the beach today. I'd look like a corkscrew when I got out of the car. But what, then? What will I do? Well, I've had a lot of practice these past few months of wasting my life and doing nothing. I guess I will get more practice in that.
Now that you are caught up on the local news, its time for the national. When Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters "Deplorables," we all knew she had made a big mistake. And now we all know that she was right. But. . . and here's the bigger thing that isn't stated. . . liberals spent years and years and years making certain they had a voice. They had to make sure that everyone got a prize, that nobody was left out. School classrooms were no longer segregated by achievement or intelligence. Grammar became as unimportant as logic. We elevated E.Q. over I.Q. We learned to say, "Well. . . that's good, too." Liberals loved the postmodern as they love most things iconoclastic. Old orders were overturned. Everything was leveled. Hierarchy was replaced with a labyrinth. No more better and worse. Everything, including science, was a linguistic trick to be questioned. Morals were a master narrative of those in power and could be set topsy turvy by deconstructive means.
Hey, I spent a lot of time and energy studying all of that. And I'm fairly good at it, too, good enough to know that most people espousing the ideals didn't fully understand them, and the ones who understood them least used them most "effectively."
And now we have the Elevation of Stupid. And the left's unwillingness to question anything iconoclastic, unwillingness to call bullshit on even the worst ideas that are opposed to the current order, is maddening. You can't assume that just because someone is iconoclastic they are smart. There are just a lot of dumb ideas being elevated right now. Liberals are steadfast in their desire to replace the idiocy of the Deplorables with some idiocy of their own.
I grew up with the call to "Question Authority," but I assumed they meant to do that with intelligence. Maybe that needed to be stated in there somewhere. We live in a time of social revolution, but there is no shortage of idiocy on either side. Did you ever read "Mad Magazine"? In particular, "Spy vs. Spy"?
It's like that. It's a coin with no heads and no tails. Intellectuals are shouted down by the rabble. The partially educated have taken to the streets.
Hey now, that was fun. Let's move on to the weather.
Don't go outside today. Everything's fucked up.
Maybe tomorrow my back will be better and I'll be fun again. But pain can make you mean. There are really only two kinds of people in the world, the sick and the well. No, wait, I mean the young and the old. No, no, I mean the certain and the uncertain.
Well, then, until tomorrow. . . .
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:00 AM
Monday, June 29, 2020
The cat didn't show up for breakfast yesterday. When she didn't show up for dinner, I figured the coyotes got her. She showed up later, however, and I fed her just a little bit to show my disapproval. She wasn't very hungry, though. She is obviously eating elsewhere.
Story of my life.
But I read this today, and I know I will not get any dates talking about my cat (link).
I went out walking with my Rollieflex yesterday and shot three rolls of film in the dingy haze of a brutal Florida summer that includes Saharan dust. I will take them to the lab when the photo store opens. I love that old camera now after having had it for many, many years. Funny how that goes. If the pictures from yesterday do not wow me, though, who knows? Things could change.
I know a lot of people question why I take photographs and why I write. Well. . . (link). I've read Montaigne's essays, and I think what I liked most about them is that he made his own journals. He cut the paper and decorated the pages by laboriously drawing borders with colored inks. Fascinating.
I was woken this morning by excruciating pain shooting through my lower back. No matter how I moved, I couldn't make it subside. I got up in the dark. No luck. Was it my back, I wondered, or was it something worse? The pain is still with me as I write. I will take a walk in a bit and see what happens. I know pain. I promise you, this is pain. It takes my joy level down many notches. You know, the joy of living an isolated life in the Time of Corona. But that life will seem much more tolerable, if not delightful, if this pain subsides. All of life is like that. Context.
Well, my back is killing me. I can't sit here any longer. I am going to have to go look for a dealer selling morphine. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll try heroin.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:30 AM
Sunday, June 28, 2020
I partied with my mother last night until after sunset. We sat in the driveway and drank beer until nine. Well. . . she drank beer. I had scotch. It was a regular Saturday night fiesta. I go over every day, so sometimes the conversation drags, but last night was pretty lively.
That's life in The Time of Corona.
When I was leaving, I asked her what she was looking forward to on Sunday. She couldn't think of anything. I said it was important to have something to look forward to. I told her, I said (he-he) that I was looking forward to the morning's first cup of coffee and reading the news, and after that of heating up a croissant, then later walking with my camera. . . . Small things, I said. You have to find little pleasures for yourself.
Oh, I am so wise.
This morning I wake up with none of the joie de vivre I expounded last night. Maybe it was the scotch.
Many mornings I am silly, if not goofy. I've given up reading news stories on CNN and the N.Y. Times websites. I usually just read the story's tag line. I find that by and large, that is all there is to the story. Half of what they write is a recap of what one already knows, and a quarter of it is filler and non-sequiturs. I often clip the tag line and send it off to people with ironic or absurd comments. Most often I send them to Q and to C.C. I can say things to them that they won't pounce on, veins popping, teeth bared. But sometimes I make a mistake and send them to others who like to go along for awhile until they see a chance to whack me with some mistaken moral superiority. Suddenly, they are shocked or outraged by my callousness or what they may perceive as my misunderstanding of things, and they are bound to set me straight like an errant boy.
They are the sort who will sucker punch you in the balls.
They used to call that "giving the high hat," I think. In certain high tones, they will lecture me as if we are having our discussion in an academic journal. They pretend they've been called by CNN to offer scholarly witness to an event. I can feel the righteous head shaking as they deliver their lecture in pious tones.
Uh, dude. It was a joke and you ain't no Harvard professor. At best, we're playing in the little leagues.
All of that to say. . . you should know C.C. We worked at the factory together for years. He is one of the smartest fellows I know. He has gotten me in lots of trouble over the years, but you know, sometimes you just have to do the wrong thing. When he knows more than I do about something, he lets me know, but he never high hats me. He erudite and has deep scholarship in some areas, but he usually ends with, "But what the fuck do I know?" It is an endearing quality.
Outside this blog, the number of people I am weird with shrinks. Hell, even the number of people coming to the blog is shrinking. My weirdness shrivels in time like an old man's penis. I wanted to say "dick," but I would probably lose some of my more delicate readers. Ah, fuck it--like an old man's dick.
I do try to edit my remarks for my audience, by and large. But as I began, I am a little off this morning. There is less to me than there seems.
I told one of my long time pals to watch "Peter Gunn" and sent him some of the music from the show that I have posted here. Yesterday, he sent me this.
"Why d'ya gotta always give me the high hat?" I wrote back.
I like it, though. I should send him back a song from a group I knew who were fairly "famous" for a small group of miscreants for using that tune. All that remains is a crummy club recording. It doesn't do justice.
I've been waiting for half an hour for the video to render. I'll come back and edit it in later today if it is successful.
Posted by cafe selavy at 9:58 AM
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Pride month is winding down as we come upon the anniversary of Stonewall. For certain reasons which will remain a secret on this blog right now, I've been looking back at photos I took in college. I sent some to my old college roommate. He and his wife laughed at my knee socks and short shorts.
"Was I gay?"
What? I sent the picture to Q. He FaceTimed me right away.
"I've always told you you were gay."
I have to laugh. I met a guy through my dead ex-friend Brando once who was getting married for like the tenth time.
"If this one doesn't work out," he said, "I'm going to try guys, and if I like it, I'm going to kill myself for not having done that from the start!"
I don't mean to sound like one of those lying liberals, but I DO have many gay friends. No prejudice, but I've never been attracted to one. But with all the photos I've taken of women, I might be better served telling people I am. I don't think I'd get the same criticisms.
The photo is one I took last Sunday with the Rollieflex. That camera and the Portra film are a pip. I want to go out and shoot some more with it.
I've stayed up late for two nights in a row now. Drinking, too. Last night I went to my neighbor's house for a little b-day party for my travel/art friend. I am afraid of Covid, of course, but it was fun to get to talk to someone other than my daily trips to mom's. The party finished up early, but I came home and poured some scotch and texted and FaceTimed and stayed up past my bedtime again. Fortunately, I slept until 7:30, so other than losing the morning, I should be o.k.
We are learning more about Covid. The more symptoms they find, the more I have. I am like a first year medical student in that. The issue impacting me most now, though, is travel. I am free. I can do whatever I wish. Except go anywhere. Except get close to people.
Staying up late may be a version of "Travel, the Home Version. " Could be.
I was going to post the photo here. I've been trying for minutes. Google keeps telling me it is not a photo file even though it is. I've tried resaving it, but it won't work. I'm taking this as a message from God. The photo won't get posted here today. It is probably better that way.
Posted by cafe selavy at 9:46 AM
Friday, June 26, 2020
Man, I think I have fallen in love with the Rollieflex. The photos I got back from the lab are fantastic. This is a lab scan with nothing done to it in Lightroom or Photoshop. Just the straight scan. Out of the four rolls I shot, I like almost half the images in some way. That is a good yield for me. The camera is super light, and shooting from the waist is a nice change. More of this to come.
I stayed up later than I like last night. I was drinking and sending music videos from the early 60's, pre-everything. Before the revolution. The end of the post-war era. Through the Go-Go years. Jesus, I was drunk. I can feel it this late morning.
I'm going back on the wagon.
Speaking of Go-Go, I think it must have started with this song the day before.
My first year in college, I moved into an apartment on the outskirts of town. I had to drive by one of the big topless bars in town coming home from school. One day, since they had dropped the drinking age, I stopped in. I'd only been in one bar in my life, so slinking into this black hole was disorienting, but in a few moments, once I could begin to see in the near darkness, I was simply bewildered. It was afternoon, not evening, so the bar was fairly empty but for a few hard core cases. In memory, this was the only song that played.
Somehow, last night it led me to this.
It went on all night long.
But that is how I learned to dance. Those are my moves, especially Laura Petri's.
Trump is losing until Placeholder Joe makes his VP choice. The Times released a poll that indicates that most voters, including three-fourths of black voters, don't think race should be a factor in his choice. Sorry, but the narrative has already begun. First he makes a choice, then his double digit lead shrinks so he starts campaigning and the lead shrinks further. If they find an effective treatment for Covid, Trump will benefit. As C.C. says, Biden isn't winning, Trump is losing.
Vegas had Trump winning the election until recently. I checked yesterday, and now Vegas odds are on Biden. That's a better indication than the polls, I think. People will say anything, but when it comes to money, they are serious for sure.
The earth is burning up here in my home state. Predicted temperatures of 98 all week. Now the wildfires begin, and the Saharan dust storm has arrived. Air conditioners can't keep up with the heat. The sun will knock you off your feet. People are getting cranky. We'll alternate between this and hurricanes until the end of October. I'm keeping the rooms dark and the fans blowing. I don't know if I can actually quit drinking. Liquor seems imperative. These days are the stuff of William Faulkner/Tennessee Williams literature. Mayhem and madness, murders and rapes and lynchings. The south is the way it is for a reason. Things didn't just happen on their own. Mean southern boys full of bourbon, old men clinging to power. The Uber-sensuality of Eula Varner (if you don't know, look her up), and the sensual determination of Maggie Pollit. Nothing good can happen here this time of year.
Unless you know how to dance.
Or, best, if you go to the beach.
And, of course, can dance like Mike Love.
Posted by cafe selavy at 9:28 AM
Thursday, June 25, 2020
I broke my Covid isolation yesterday and went to the beach. I almost didn't. It was hard to leave the house. I have Stockholm syndrome, I guess, or the lockdown version of it. After being home for so long, the world "out there" seemed more than a little scary. I kept putting it off. I couldn't remember how to get ready for a day away. What did I need? What should I take? What if the car broke down? Finally, later than I intended, I trembled my way to the car and hit the highway. It felt like floating.
Ten miles from home, my head was spinning. Twenty miles from home, and everything seemed familiar. There was the exit for the factory. There was the exit for Gritville. Beyond.
I just wrote the most jejune, hackneyed description of the day one could possibly write. It betrayed the grandeur of the day. Sun, blue salt water, waves and sand, brilliant light, me knocking around the surf unable to swim since the accident afraid to drown, then unbelievably swimming. A flood of memories of surfing and sailing and island hopping and scuba diving, of watching Jacques Cousteau with my father, first trips to Florida as a child. . . .
It was therapy, physical and mental. The things I've been thinking, the things I'd rather think.
I stopped at the French bakery on the way home. Turkey and provolone on a fresh baguette, a cream eclair, two bags of coconut macaroons, one for me and one for my mom.
It's been six months of silence. That's enough. Something has to change. Yesterday might have been a beginning. But you never know. There was an old t.v. show called "The Prisoner" that I watched when I was a kid (link). Every time the prisoner thought he would escape, a giant bubble would come and bring him back. I know, it sounds stupid, but you should watch it and see. I think I might escape, but I'm watching for that giant bubble.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:35 AM
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
I thought the younger generation was supposed to be Woke. Rather, they are spreading coronavirus faster than a republican can . . . oh, I don't know. Fill in the blank. Obviously, however, young people are not socially concerned nor aware. They need to be renamed "The Covid Generation." As long as THEY are not going to die from it, fuck everybody else. That's o.k. Just don't try claiming the higher ground.
As a generation, I mean.
We try to make certain people representative. But they are not. Boomers were not hippies. Gen Y were not Hipsters. And today's kids ARE NOT WOKE. They waive the banner and love to go after people, sure. But when it comes to real responsibility, well that's something else.
Just like every other generation.
I'm for you, in theory, but first me. Then you.
Marching is fine. It is fun. I've done a lot of it. It's colorful, it's outside, and sometimes there is music. You get to shout at people and of course it is against the police. Always was. Against the military, too. And war. For minorities. Against the bad people, for the good ones. Full of easy phrases and slogans. Keeps things simple.
And later, there is all that righteous snuggling.
I'm for it. But if you think these kids are something better than what came before, go to a college bar tonight. They just took away the liquor license for one in my own hometown. Surprisingly, they were not following the rules and 50% of its patrons got Covid-19.
Of course, none of them got sick. So what's the problem?
Who gives a shit about this (link)? Old people suck. Look what they have done. This is their punishment. This is what they get.
O.K. I'll quit it. I'm not blaming the kids. I'm blaming CNN and others who want me to think there is something radically good about the new generation. Funny thing is, those kids are not watching. But their parents are, the ones who have been telling us how special their offspring are, the ones who have been trying to rationalize their own hideous personalities by filtering them through their children.
Ask any teacher or professor about this.
O.K. O.K. I'm a bitter lunatic. Whatever.
But they are not Woke.
My travel/art buddy had a birthday yesterday. I am a bad fellow to have as a friend if birthdays are your thing. I don't know anyone's birthday but mine and my mother's, and I wish I didn't know mine. But when I found out last night that he was becoming a man of a certain age, I grabbed a bottle of wine and a print and headed over to present them. He offered me a socially distanced drink and we sat outside among the mosquitoes and chatted for awhile. He was going to Europe for a pilgrimage in the spring. Cancelled. He was to go on an upcoming trip to Tanzania this fall. Cancelled. He decided to go on his pilgrimage in September. Might be cancelled if the EU bans Americans.
"We will die in our homes," I said. "We are fucked."
My mother conceded yesterday that this is beginning to get to her. "I think I am getting depressed," she said. I might get her a dog. "But what would I do with it when this is over?" she asked.
It will be over 96 degrees here every day this week. The unobstructed sun will buckle your knees. I told my mother we would get a kiddy pool to sit in. It works. I've done it before. Sitting under a sprinkler works, too. I've gotten hypothermia on the hottest days playing on a slip and slide and sitting in a kiddie pool. I don't care what the neighbors think. We'll do it in my mother's front yard. I'll photograph it. It will really be something.
Posted by cafe selavy at 9:03 AM
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
I was feeling really good during my exercise run yesterday. I was on my last lap of the half mile trail. It is difficult for me since the accident, but the loop is made up of four exercise stops which means I don't need to run straight mileage. It is a great workout that my climbing buddy and I worked out some thirty years ago. Oh, we were real athletes then. He still is, I think. Now I go and do the old man shuffle from stop to stop just to get the old heart racing.
Each time I go out, now, I tell myself that I will do more than I did the time before. And I had. Then, on the final go 'round, I told myself that if I could do twenty pushups, I was a hero. And I did. No problem. And this is great for a guy who has a difficult time raising his hand to the back of his head. So I began the final part of the last leg, a happy hero who felt less flabby and jiggly than he has for awhile. I headed for the final slight decline, and perhaps I was so happy that I picked up my pace a bit, but nothing really, when--POP!--the old hammy went. I have torn this hamstring before, and I knew immediately not to take another step. I hopped to a stop on my right leg.
Shit, shit, shit, motherfucker. I had jinxed myself.
But that wasn't it, really. I mean maybe, but I have not been doing my stretching exercises since coronavirus ended my visits to the gym. I don't like working out at home. Home is for other things. The gym is for exercise. The result has been that I have become tighter than a drum. I keep telling my mother I need to stretch. She keeps telling me to stretch. Flexibility is the first thing to go. And I have lost it. The old hamstrings are just about as short as they can be.
So I limped my way around the exercise loop and came home. To ice, of course, but I am not good at icing. I am bad at it. I hate it. Instead I took a hot shower and ate some ibuprofen. And limped.
And so my hero's journey to a svelte, road-like body is stalled. Once again.
I didn't watch porn last night, of course. I was kidding about that. I am bored by pornography very quickly. Oh, I like it for a few seconds. I enjoy a good GIF now and then, some little sensual delight, black and white shot in some subdued light, or some amateur thing done by a young girl who will later in life report herself to the MeToo movement, but real porn has never interested me. I am a sensualist at heart.
Rather, I watched "Queen in Paradis," a documentary about Reine Paradis, an artist photographer. It sustained me and informed me as to why I am not making any good work right now. When I had the studio, I was fairly obsessed and had nothing but that and the working life. All Paradis has is the life of an artist. And she is obsessed. Like anything, success comes through effort. Lots of it. I have not truly been working. And so.
My dreams last night were neither of a sensual nor an artistic life. For some reason, I dreamed of setting up a successful trading business in an impoverished Moslem culture. I spent the night trying to figure it out. I'm not sure where that came from, but at least I wasn't having nightmares.
I need to figure out how to watch only BBC shows. I have given myself over to them for the news. It is informative and still calming. I love their demeanor and hope they never lose that royal touch, though I know they must. British kids want the same cultural expressions as their peers across the globe. Tats and hip-hop/gangsta rap, not the subtle, gentle expressions of a high-toned, bygone era. But it seems quite enviable. Yes, more BBC for me.
There was a red sky this morning. I hope it means rain. When it doesn't rain here now, the heat is unbearable. The sun is literally strong enough to buckle your knees and knock you down. At five-thirty yesterday when I was visiting my mother, it was 93 but with the humidity it felt like 100. That's what the weather channel said, anyway. Roll on some clouds. Provide us respite.
I just realized that the photo above is years old. I just had the film processed last week, so it has been sitting in an unused camera for a very long time. How do I know it is that old? The picture is one of two hanging one above the other, and now the order is reversed. Also, that is before we put up the new heavy curtains. And that lamp is no longer there. Funny to see that now. Just a reminder of the way things used to be.
And that, in part, is why we make photographs in the first place.
Posted by cafe selavy at 7:40 AM
Monday, June 22, 2020
People here are complaining about the heat. Last night at nine o'clock it was still 90 degrees. I spent the day on my feet as your correspondent out and about in the diseased and abandoned world. I walked up and down deserted streets in the relentless inferno with my two Rollieflex cameras taking useless photographs of partial things. I was a sweaty mess, but it was fun.
I relearned a lesson, though, while out shooting film. Always take more than you think you will need. I burned through what I had before I was done, so I made the long, film-less walk back to my car and drove home. I felt I hadn't done enough corresponding yet, though, so I grabbed another camera with some color film and hit the streets once again. It was mid-afternoon, and man, it was REALLY hot, that kind of pressure cooker hot you only get here and in that swath of loathsome summer hell stretching from New Orleans to Houston. Have you ever been to Houston in the summer? Why, oh Lord, why? I know people who come here to my own home state in August, people who have lived here, people who should know better, and when they get here, they complain. I think, what is wrong with you? Have you lost your memory as well as your mind? August and September here are the killing months. There is no respite from the heat and humidity. None. Those who are complaining now will succumb to madness as sure as shitting come that murderous time.
But relief is on its way just now--a giant Saharan dust storm. God knows what zoonotic plagues will accompany that.
I am hellbent on escaping. I'm still looking for a cheap, light, small travel trailer. They are difficult to come by I am finding. I texted a couple on Craigslist last night who are advertising a 1962 Airstream Bambi for $2,000. I haven't heard back yet. I let myself get excited when I saw the ad, but I know that things that look too good to be true usually are. I am prepared to be disappointed.
I remember last night's dreams vividly. I'm not going to bother you with them except to say that I think the last thing you watch on t.v. is what you dream about. I watched videos on small campers and dreamed about them all night long.
Maybe tonight I should watch some porn.
The house in the photo above is on the site where a home that was once a speakeasy stood. Al Capone used to visit in the cooler months for a little R&R it is reported. The house stood until the fellow who bought the property a decade ago knocked it down to build his office. The man across the street from where it stood said that when they were remodeling his house they discovered a tunnel that was built beneath the street from the old gambling speakeasy, an escape tunnel, I guess. We called the old place the Pepto Bismal house because of its color. The fellow who owns the property now bought four houses that surrounded the one he was building, one for his pool, one for his office, one to expand his grounds, and one to build a garage to house his many cars. The last never happened. The lakefront across the street from the house is huge and people mistake it for a park. Many of the photos of the moon you've seen here have been taken there. The fellow who owns the place has other houses and isn't around that much, but he's a nice guy and doesn't seem to mind anyway. It is wonderful to think, though, of my neighborhood's gangster history.
Well, we didn't get a lascivious story from old Priapus after all. He seems to have contented himself with a coffee maker, which is good. Tasty coffee is important. Mom and dad need to stay fueled.
Still, I may try watching something sensual before I go to bed tonight. If that works, you will be the first to hear about it. Right now, I have no one else to tell.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:07 AM
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Well, it is the day after the summer solstice, the day when all the successful male breeders get to celebrate. They have done their jobs. They do not have stingers and collect neither nectar nor pollen. Today they sit fat and happy in their chairs while dutiful wives and children bring them presents wrapped in decorative papers--ties and after shave. Many, of course, have children who still live with them, but many, too, have children scattered to the wind, either grown or living elsewhere with the victims of their fertility. Some have multiple families spread about the land, having made deposits at various stops and stages of their lives. Some have been generous in their support while others have completely abandoned the idea.
Regardless, it is their day.
It is a stark reminder to those of us who are child-free. Somehow, we think, we have shirked our natural duty. Who will love and feed us in our old age? Were we merely selfish or could we truly not afford the consequences of such a commitment? Could we never find someone we would trust to be a stable mater?
Or maybe we have simply given our lives over to a higher order, have become spiritual guides in the Land of the Lost.
Regardless, today we celebrate the Accomplishment of the Loins. The one with the most offspring wins.
Sour apples. I must say, I was unsuccessful at fulfilling my natural fertility rites yesterday. I'm blaming it on Covid, which is a good thing for what else have I to blame it on? Just because I haven't been to a gym in for months nor to a beautician in six, just because I, at present, look much like the Unabomber, that doesn't mean I couldn't find some crack addict to love me for a few minutes. No, no. . . it was the Covid that did it.
I watched the Trump Show last night. I can't help myself. "It" fascinates me. I mean, the whole thing. The Reality T.V. President, the adamant, adoring crowds. . . it all seems like an apocalyptic movie. I watched it with a mask on, truly. I could feel the humid air in that stadium filled with coronavirus droplets circulating, could smell the bad breath of death with every inhalation. If I were younger, I'd be like the kids, I'm certain. I wouldn't give a shit knowing that if I caught it, there would be at most minor health consequences. For me. And I would gladly eschew the company of old people--just to keep them safe.
"Sorry, gramps, I can't come over and hang out. I think I might have contracted the virus. I'd love to see you, you know, but I can't take a chance on infecting YOU."
But that Trump crowd was full of old fat white people with high blood pressure, respiratory issues, and god knows what other medical conditions that have befallen them. The room smelled of disaster and mortality. It reeked.
But we all know that republicans are not as susceptible to the virus.
Trump appeared a man doomed. He admitted in the middle of his speech that his performance was "average," which means he knew he wasn't hitting the high notes, was not inspiring the horde. It must have dismayed him that his flock was a fraction of its expected size. He surely was enervated by the sea of empty blue and red seats upon which he looked. He tried, but there was something lacking. Still, he struggled on for almost two hours to a crowd who had been there for hours more suffering through surrogates trying to incite the rabble.
It looked every bit a calamity.
For the first time, I am beginning to believe that he could actually lose. I'm afraid to hope, but he certainly looks to be trending down. As I've said before, stupid can only take you so far, but corruption. . . that can give you an edge, and there is no lack of that in this administration.
Still, I'll not speak poorly of Trump today. He is a father, after all, with children strewn across many families. It is his day. He has done what nature has called on him to do. He, too, gets the prize.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:44 AM
Saturday, June 20, 2020
Juneteenth is over. Now it's Trump's turn. Have any of you ever been to Tulsa? I Googled "Tulsa" to do some internet traveling. Here is what I found.
Is Tulsa Oklahoma a good place to live?
Tulsa is in Tulsa County and is one of the best places to live in Oklahoma. Living in Tulsa offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Tulsa there are a lot of bars, restaurants, and parks. ... The public schools in Tulsa are above average.
Is Tulsa Safe?
Tulsa Warnings and Dangers. Tulsa is pretty safe for a mid-sized city, though its crime rate is higher than the national average. It is generally safe to travel anywhere in the city during the day, but at night there are a few areas where you should be on the alert. You can find a crime map here.
What part of Tulsa is bad?
North Tulsa is the most dangerous part of Oklahoma. However the rest of the city is pretty safe with the exception of a few neighborhoods.
There you go. Sooooo. . . I Googled "Who lives in North Tulsa?" Here is what I found.
I'm guessing that is not where the Trump rally is going to be held. We'll see what happens, if they decide to play Cowboys and Negroes in Oklahoma's second largest city.
Me? Oh-ho, I'm not going anywhere. I live in the Party State, the state of Eternal Spring Break. Everything is open. Our Governor says that the increase in the Coronavirus here is a good thing because it is mostly young people who will not end up in the hospital. Now there's some thinking. That's why he's in charge and I'm sitting around the house alone wondering why my voice doesn't work. I thought I was unconventional, but this fellow is off the chain.
Still. . . people gotta work, right?
And party, too.
I wish that I were young again (and held her in my arms) (quiz--who said this, almost?). I would participate in the Fertility Rites of the Summer Solstice. That's right! Today is the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. You should be naked and chasing or being chased by someone through the woods, down valleys and over the hills, flowers braided in your hair. It doesn't matter if you are black, brown, Asian, or white, whether you are a boy or a girl or trans, whether you are straight or LGBTQ. Today's the day. The time is now.
Remember, young people. . . you won't end up in the hospital.
I expect an ardent, vivacious report from Q tomorrow about his lusty adventures with the mythical Raquel.
Me? Oh, you know. I'm sort of stuck with the whole relentless masturbation thing. And endless hours of watching t.v. But I promise, while watching the Trump Odd-ysey in Tulsa, the two will not coincide.
Try to get THAT image out of your head.
O.K. Summer's calling and I am compelled to respond. Let us see what summer brings.
Posted by cafe selavy at 8:25 AM