Monthly Archives: December 2017

ideas

The way my luck is running , if I were a politician I’d be honest .— Rodney Dangerfield

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I came across a photo of Pet Rocks recently . Pet Rocks was a fad in 1975 that evidently lasted only about six months  but made the man who marketed pet rocks , Gary Dahl ,  a millionare .

If you don’t remember Pet Rocks , it was an opportunity to buy , for  I think  $4 , a river rock painted with a face . It came in a box with breathing holes and a manual of care , as if it were a living thing . They sold like hot cakes , so to speak , for a short time .

So , by the way , when POTUS says MAGA  , is he referring in part to stuff like Pet Rocks ? Just asking .13. Pet Rocks.jpg

I wrote once upon a time , long long ago , about another entrepreneur I once  came across  in yesteryear who had patented two slits on highway construction signs that made the plastic signs able to be stuck on the top of highway cones , ie. no need for a separate stand for each sign . They sold like hotcakes too , so to speak , and I’m quite sure that the inventor of the two little slits was another quick millionaire . He was a teacher when he came up with the idea all those years ago , so I say all power to him , and may he incessantly hob nob with the 1 %  if that’s what he likes to do . ( Oh , I know , a millionaire to a billionaire is like a me to a millionaire and so they may not routinely hobnob , but so what ! )

I was sitting with a friend sipping tea recently thinking about all of this .FRANKENSTEIN DRINKING TEA

Hey , how about some lunch ? she said . ” Eggs ? ” Yeah , eggs , if you got some.farm wife eggs

Well , to be honest , it wasn’t tea . I’m not much of a tea drinker . Coffee instead . Or beer , if you’ve got .

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women drinkers

You know what ? Money is the root of all evil  . Glad I don’t have some great secret idea that I might have cashed in for a significant  and easy-peasy  fortune. Who needs it ? Those kinds of things only complicate a person’s life . I prefer a simple existence.Bedlam patients (16)

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I know , you say , ” Sour Grapes ! ” . Not at all . wpa-poster-25

It’s a matter of keeping your priorities straight , I think .

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Of course , I could be wrong . I could  hopelessly be trapped for a life sentence in a cardboard prison , the bars made of my own inimitable misconceptions.

(Well , I am , of course , but so what !)

Buster Keaton From Between the 1920s and '30s (0a)

Money can buy you a fine dog , but only love can make it wag its tail. ——–Kinky Friedman

Good luck out there ! May you be as lucky as a mosquito in a nudist colony . May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future .

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Oh , and have a Happy New Year .

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lost something in the translation

key vikingI’ll try not to spoilwac as I write this .

I’ve been trying to follow a blog from Poland . I don’t know how that began . But the posts , probably more and more creative and well-written in Polish , become , I think , less and less translatable on the simple automatic google translator . Here’s a sample of a recent post :

   ”   I’ll try not spoilwac and not out-talk.

Smarzowski like , even though it is unfavorable portrait painter and accuses him redrawing indeed , his films ( ‘HighwayPatrol’ , ‘The Dark House’ ) is the essence of what is wrong , the intensity hardly bearable for the well-being of viewer . Overdoing ?  I do not know……It’s not like bends , these things happen in this country , do not kid yourself . A Smarzowski is as talented perfumer who brings hajchorokterystycznlejsze threads and merges them into a striking bouquet. striking literally because the smell of condensed pounding his fist at you between the eyes .    “

It’s a film review , of course , and the filmmaker is , evidently , also a talented perfumer . I don’t think I’ll go see the film . Two reasons : 1. I don’t know what film is being discussed , and 2. I wouldn’t like the smell of condensed pounding .

I would like to get my hands on that bouquet of hajchorokterystycznlejsze threads , though . I’d give it to Ada as a surprise. They’re hard to find in this country .

Overdoing ?  It’s not like bends . Do not kid yourself .anglo-saxon print

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photogs

Buster Keaton From Between the 1920s and '30s (39)

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photographer woman old

 

Buster Keaton From Between the 1920s and '30s (19)

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Christmas 1917: Doing as well as can be expected

History Geek

The festive season can be a stressful time with work deadlines looming, last minute dashes to crowded malls and holidaymakers clogging the highways. It can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed, but we have it pretty good really. Most of us are fortunate enough to have a roof over our head, food on the table and if we are lucky maybe even a few people that tolerate our company enough to share it with us for a couple of days. Things weren’t that comfortable one hundred years ago.

In my ephemera collection I have a number of Christmas cards sent home during the two world wars. Most of them I’ve purchased from stamp dealers, who find them tucked away in collections of postcards or covers. They aren’t too difficult to find. Each one is a personal reminder of a long-forgotten Christmas that someone spent away from home.

This year…

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Christmas Alphabet : T for Tom Waits – Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis

Yeah , well , a good Christmas story re-blog , if you ask me .

The Immortal Jukebox

Last month I went, for the fourth time, to see Conor Macpherson’s modern masterpiece Play ‘The Weir’.

It’s a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy depending on your point of view.

The whole action of the Play takes place on a single evening in an Irish rural bar.

As the drinks flow the four characters tell, in sequential monologue form, riveting stories imbued with puzzled pain, aching regret and unending longing.

Strings break in Heaven.

As each story unfolds more is revealed by the tale than the teller had ever expected.

By the end of the play though they are raw from the experience there is a shared sense of catharsis and, almost miraculously, a feeling that the surrounding darkness is pierced by rays of light and fragile hope.

The search for that fragile hope is one of the main reasons we tell stories – both to others and to…

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at swim two birds

 

 

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An Irish -Polish tale .

In the very old days , when people in Ireland lived under hills , even before the Irish lads fastened sacks of enemies’  heads to their waists and carried the sacks around with them in order to  occasionally roll them toward rival chieftains , and that sort of thing , you know , way before good old Saint Patrick arrived on the island and inspired  beer drinking guys to dye their beards green once a year , way before  English buggers invaded the Holy Ground , before all that there was an ancient  ancestor of mine  who had fallen head-over-heels for a beautiful gal who , surprisingly enough , was a shape-changer . A lithe bird indeed .

She was a willowy goose as well as a woman and she had to fly off every so often to places unknown . It’s simply how things were in those days . I suspect the old boy didn’t know that his girl was also a graceful goose , but I could be wrong about that , after all . I think he was dumbfounded on the day when she disappeared . He probably blamed himself , not knowing that sometimes people change suddenly into fish or birds or hedgehogs and all of a sudden they go away for vague periods of time . Why he wasn’t aware of such things in life may seem a bit strange , now that I’m thinking of it , he being so thick , as it were ;  but I can see how it might happen that way , too , he being an ancestor of mine , after all .

An old friend of mine, the Sicilian beach bum ,  saw pictures of Ada with geese and asked me to write about it .  He suggested the title What We Do Is All For the Birds , but I decided not to use that one , this being a sunny bright day in December . I may be at risk of the Sicilian evil eye for doing that , but so be it .  I , instead , stole a title from an Irish writer of past decades . I’m pretty sure that he won’t notice , or if he notices ( he having been dead for decades ) , that he won’t care .  I’m just borrowing it , anyhow . Anyway ,  sometimes a blog writer has to take a few risks .

Well , moving right along , I ‘m not saying that Ada is a shape -changer , necessarily . She did kind of take over the flock when we went for a picnic recently , nevertheless , and ran along with them for a bit . When I approached , on the other hand , they  skedaddled pretty expeditiously . Just saying .

My old ancestor , let’s call him Angus , noticed one day as he watched a flock of geese flying overhead that one of them had a golden necklace around it’s neck . Never having seen a goose with a necklace before , and  not having himself  just fallen off of the turnip truck , Angus knew an anomaly when he saw one . In fact , he suspected that that gold necklace was the very one that he had given to his girlfriend some time before , so he put two and two together and realized that this particular goose was either , 1. a jewelry thief or , 2. his girlfriend .

Okay , so far so good , but now what ?

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I must admit at this point that I have never given a gold necklace to my girl Ada , so most likely this is why I have missed such disconcertingly odd shape-changing occurrences . Or it could be that actual shape-changes are a thing of the ancient past , and perhaps nothing like that happens anymore .

At any rate , you probably would like to know what happened with Angus and the goose girl . She came back around in human form at some point . The two of them talked it all out and they made an agreement that every once in awhile she would have to change shape and fly off with the gaggle . So he agreed . What else could he do ! And , of course , they lived happily ever-after . back step, etc 009.JPG

Ada says she is going to Poland within the next couple of months to see her sister and together the two of them will take a short flight to Portugal for sister-bonding time and a brief vacation . A short flight south in the winter .

I wonder .

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Review: Alma Lolloon by Joe Linker

 

Sometimes I prefer a novel that goes someplace . I like Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men , for example . A couple of guys get a job on a ranch ( at a ranch  ? ) and this leads to this and that and Slim is this kind of a guy and Curly is another sort of a guy and Candy is there to add a little interest and Lenny and George are caught up in it all . And the rabbits , of course , the rabbits .

Well , you know , I’ve read books of more recent vintage too .  I’m reading some kind of a mystery that takes place in Lisbon sometime after but also during World War II  . I’m waiting for the two time periods to mesh in some comprehensible way that links to the murder of the young woman which seems to be the glue that tries to tie the whole story together . I’m trying to maintain a modicum of patience to soldier through and so I read on and on and on . Waiting .

I’m in the middle of a biography of Phil Ochs , too . I have to say that I probably should have abandoned the effort some time ago , but I usually stubbornly push on , an eternal optimist I suppose , hoping it gets better because it has to it couldn’t get worse ,  wondering all the while why in the world the thing was published in the first place .  There’s a lot of crummy stuff out there ; I’m sure you know .

I just finished Alma Lolloon , a short novel by Joe Linker . There are no rabbits , but there are a host of characters showing up . I have to say that I’m not sure whether Alma Lolloon is a character herself or the harried author , or is it Annie ?  Surely Hattie  the prof isn’t the only true writer and puppet master of the bunch , writing them all into the novel . Tell me the beer joint is real , at least , where the novel folk tend to congregate . And why did Angel look away ? I’m still suspicious about that move . ( The Stations-of the Cross caper ! )

I’m not good at names . There are  people throughout the novel endlessly shuttling in and out of literary skuttles  . I found myself relating to Curly , the voice of Everyman , who asks the questions I’d most likely ask , who offers the comments I’d most likely proffer . Is Curly man or woman though ( not that it matters ) ? Is Curly another fictional being , munching scones and clicking those knitting needles at the regular writers’ conclave ?

I think Linker throws us into a novel experience , I mean a novel experience of a novel writing experience . He plays with American lingo with perhaps just a little too much glee , and we get quick tastes of these guys and those gals doing their things  here and over there , bits of exploits altogether hard-boiled and  idiosyncratic  and indigenous .

But.

But we never find out whether Lenny gets the land with George and raises rabbits . I remember about the rabbits , George .  When you read Alma Lolloon , you had better have listened to Lenny’s friend George , I think : To hell with them rabbits . That’s all you can ever remember is them rabbits .Buster Keaton From Between the 1920s and '30s (0a)

Ain’t no rabbits in Joe Linker’s novel , unless I somehow missed ’em . There are stolen Stations-of-the Cross . Maybe that counts for something like rabbits . The whole thing spins around the inner ins and outs of novel writing . Who the hell’s writing the novel sort of makes my head spin , but the fact that the effort’s ongoing is not in doubt .

I don’t think that we can put the entire effort on the shoulders of Alma Lolloon . I think Alma might suffer from postpartem depression when a novel is finally born . Or is it ? Or is Annie the author ? Or is Hattie there behind the curtain using another nom de plume ? Is it really a knitting group , anyway , sipping tea and munching scones while reading works aloud , or are they swilling mugs of beer and shooting pool down at Fowlings , the dive bar near to the gallery ?

There’s a novel in there somewhere , no doubt . While reading Joe Linker’s latest novel I was remembering an Irish novel I’ve read that dates back to about the time of of Mice and Men . It’s called At Swim Two Birds , by a writer called Flann O’Brien , but that name is a nom de plume too . O’Brien lets his characters loose , also , so much so that a reader like me ( as I ) wonders if it isn’t letting these fictional beings go a little too far . Sure , have them in  a novel , but when a writer gives them the pen ( computer keyboard ) and allows them to run wild and even to write their own novels within a novel , well , then , who is in the end  in control of the story ? The Curly in readers like me begins to wonder .

I’m not saying that I necessarily object , but these unrestrained characters can strangle a good prosaic plot , perhaps , and flip the tables over on an unsuspecting conscientious and self-conscious writer , the poor scribbler potentially cowed and bullied  by her/his own fictional creations . What in the world is the world coming to , I ask ?

I would say , read Alma Lolloon if you have a hankering for a bit of literary exploration and creativity and you want a little diversion from the humdrum . It’s  well written and fun to read .

 

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