Monthly Archives: June 2018

jessie and the gents

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Ask me if I’ve been to Liechtenstein . Ask me if I was there to attend a fan party of the band Jessie and the Gents .

Someone might go to Liechtenstein to see the story book castle of the Prince high up on the hill above the town , or to taste the chocolates , or to hike up in the mountains  or , perhaps , to visit their own personal stash of money that sits safely somewhere locked up in a Liechtenstein bank .

Ada and I went there to see some friends . It happens that that guy in the black gambler duds , Putzie , is a chimney sweep who plays slide guitar for Jessie and the Gents . He also plays accordion for the occasional Cajun song they might perform during a gig . People assume that the band must all be Americans , maybe from Texas  , come to Switzerland by way of Austin or Nashville , but no .

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I met Putzie a few years ago at a wedding in Connecticut of another musician friend of mine , a guy originally from New York City who lived and played in Switzerland for several years . Putzie said  hey , come on over to Liechtenstein for a visit . Be careful what you ask for . It took Ada and I a few years to make good on Putzie’s offer , however.

We stayed with Putzie and his wife Vera for a few days and we had a fantastic time seeing some of the countryside , eating raclette and schnitzel  and laughing at Putzie’s stories . We had seen Putzie and Vera and their kids and his mother  in San Diego a few years ago when they came for a Christmas visit . They surprised their daughter who was studying in San Diego .

It seems Putzie hates mountains and loves San Diego . He’d be at home in the bayous of Louisiana , the bars of New Orleans , and the honky -tonks of Texas  . There is a steep mountain behind their house in Liechtenstein , though , that Putzie  pretends to ignore . I reminded him  from time to time that the mountains  were there . Right there . He , unlike Vera , is not originally from Liechtenstein . He’s French-Swiss . I guess there aren’t any mountains in Switzerland. Maybe he’s not used to them.  LICHTENSTEIN 2018 June 104

Anyway , check out Jessie and the Gents . It’s a good band . Ada and I  joined the official fan club and participated in the fan club concert/party at Jessie’s home . I was in charge of keeping the fire lit on the patio . Jessie assigned me that job. I guess it kept me out of trouble as the band set up . I didn’t have my cowboy boots with me . Well , next time .

 

 

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c and r

I worked for a while for an outfit in Los Angeles called C and R Clothiers . They had one store at that time with  a warehouse attached . I worked in the warehouse . I had a little plastic gun that shot those short strands of plastic that hold the price tags onto clothes , and I also helped unload the cartons of suits that came into the warehouse once or twice a day . It wasn’t demanding work , but dough is dough and honest work is honest work .

I never for a moment thought these guys would stay in business very long . They had fifteen or twenty of us in the back storage area all day long  among the racks of clothes . I figured that  they needed only about three or four workers back there . There was nothing to be done most of the day for so many people . One guy slept under the clothes racks all day long every day . Some of the employees pitched pennies against the wall for hours . They’d stop for the few minutes that the manager would come back every so often to wander around to check on things. In those moments  all of us grabbed our little plastic price guns , aimed them at suit sleeves , and pretended to be busy ; but the truth was that everything that needed to be done already had been done .

When a delivery  truck came in once or twice a day all of us were busy for about fifteen or twenty minutes while we unloaded the cartons full of men’s suits , broke the tops open , and counted suits  . Each cardboard carton held sixty suits , give or take a couple .

The guys I worked with were so lazy that they eye-balled it and guessed the inventory count rather than actually counting as if actually making a count was too much of a struggle . One guy held a clipboard and a pencil to record the count while another guy counted . Well , the  guy was supposed to count but on a regular basis he didn’t bother . The conversations between the two often went something like  “Well , write down sixty-one for this one since we’ve had four with sixty already  “. It was a guessing game and so the final counts could never be relied upon .

We employees got a 10% discount on suits . All C an R Clothiers sold were men’s suits and maybe a few accessories. There were two fellas I worked with who regularly had the manager fit them into nice suits . They told the dopey manager that they intended to buy the suits because of the discount and he would give them advice , tell them what a good choice they had made , or suggest an alternative .

Of course , these guys  never intended to buy the suits. They would put the chosen suit into one of the  collapsed cardboard cartons , all of which were dragged outside and piled high  on the back lot . One of the two guys had a friend who would pick the suit up for him during the day . The other guy took his stolen suit home with him after he punched out . And this went on week after week .

No , I didn’t turn these guys  in . I don’t work for the FBI , and I figured in this case that it was really none of my business . If the place was managed at all efficiently these guys would have been easily caught , but the manager was an ignorant  dunce and the two owners were seldom around .

There happened to be  a Mr. C and a Mr. R ( Correnti and Reisbord ), who owned the joint . They’d come in every week or so to have a look  . As I remember it , Reisbord would tend to whine  about some of the lousier-looking suits on the racks , as many of them were , and Correnti would reassure him that they would sell no matter what . I guessed that Reisbord was the money source and that Correnti was the brains of the operation . Correnti sort of dragged  Reisbord  along on a chain hooked to an imaginary ring in Reisbord’s nose . Well , that was my impression ; but what do I know !

This was their business strategy :  Suit factories would occasionally over- produce a certain suit in a particular size , let’s say size 44 long  for example ,  and the manufacturer would find themselves unexpectedly with way too many size 44 longs , and then Correnti and Reisbord would arrive to buy up that surplus in that size at a cheap rate . C and R  would pass this discount price along to their customers .  A guy could get a good suit at C and R Clothiers for a good price —- but only in 44 long , or whatever the size for a particular suit happened to be . Store customers would continually  find a suit that they liked and ask for it in their size . Ah ! There’s the rub ! That’s where the whole thing broke down . C and R wouldn’t  have a suit  in their size unless their size happened to be the one  size on hand .

I thought that these guys would be out of business in a few months . Maybe a year if they were especially stubborn. Suddenly, however ,  they opened up hundreds of stores within a very short period of time . I guess they forgot to tell me their overall business plan . I suspect that they made a killing , too , in a short time with all those stores around southern California .

I wished the best for Mr. Correnti and Mr. Reisbord . I wouldn’t say the same for that dopey manager.  He fired me for wearing my sweater tied around my waste . It was my thing to do in those days , but he told me to take it off . Why ?  ”  Because I told you to .” I worked in a warehouse , for heaven’s sake ! I told him that I wouldn’t take it off and so he told me that I was fired . Ah , then I got to use the old standard line :

” You can’t fire me !” I said.beard

” Why not ? ” he said .

” Because I quit , ”  I said , and I walked out . It surprised him sufficiently enough to satisfy me at that time and forever afterward .

I knew that their business was collapsing around them anyway and that I was probably getting out of there just in time .  Well , what do I know !  I guess I don’t have much of a business sense . I had evidently underestimated  old Correnti and Reisbord .

 

 

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redman van and storage

Furniture .

Every mind is a room packed with archaic furniture . 

I was reading a post from  No Facilities about , in part , a table . The author of the blog , among several other admirable pursuits and accomplishments in life  , is a woodworker . I’m not a woodworker , but I belong to that esteemed and extensive club of people who wish they were .

If I were to go around again in life , I’d learn a musical instrument , master woodworking , and learn to fluently speak at least one other language  . I’d also shamelessly take specific characteristics from friends of mine and make them my own. Oh , and I’d learn to sail .

Ada and I are having a cabinetmaker build us something for the front hallway . He and his wife were over measuring a few days ago . Suddenly the world seems full of furniture , or is it just my cluttered mind ? So I thought of Redman Van and Storage . That’s how a cluttttttttered mind works , in my case anyway , if you don’t have one .

I worked for Redman Van and Storage in my high school time , during the summers and on Saturdays the rest of the year . They paid me $ 1.80/hr.  I can talk about it freely because it isn’t there any more . Besides , the solemn oath to not speak about any of it at all for 50 years is about up too , so I think it’s okay to blabber.

There was a Redman working in the front office when I was there . He was the big boss. He had inherited the place from his father . His father and uncle were smart hard-working businessmen , I understand , who built up the warehouse facility in Santa Monica and  another one in a nearby city , tied their little company to the huge Mayflower company house movers , and thrived.

Then the son took over . He spent his days on the phone “touching base” with other wannabe success stories , and continuously checked in with social and business clubs , setting up lunch dates presumably , and social butterflying around town . Meanwhile , his brother-in law ran the business from the other Redman warehouse  .

You might ask me how I know this . After all , I was just a punk kid hauling tables and chairs , lamps and mirrors around the yard and moving  them up and down on the freight elevator for a dollar eighty an hour . How would I know anything about the overall business ? Well , I’ll have you know that I had at the time  several inside informants , and I listened to scuttlebutt . There are no guarantees , nevertheless , that this is all precisely accurate information . ( Cluttered mind —remember ? ). I will say in my own defense that none of these facts are given under oath , don’t endanger anybody , and et cetera . And , no , I’m not connected with and so I don’t share information with The Deep State , the all -powerful Shadow Government that constantly watches , plants spies in locales like Redman Van and Storage in Santa Monica , and waits . Fifty years is nothing for them , by the way . They’re patient.

I did have my hair a little long in those days , however , and I began to grow  a scraggly mustache. The mustache was the straw that broke the camel’s back I guess . Little handwritten notes began to be posted around the warehouse that warned of an imminent infiltration by Communists . I didn’t even know that the notes referred to me and my mustache until Roy , the warehouseman and my immediate supervisor , told me .

Roy may or may not have known who the note-poster was . If he did he never told me ;  but he told me to forget it , don’t worry about it . Those were the Love It or Leave It days of old , the time when cops boarded Greyhound buses to demand that all young men on the bus show their draft cards , the time when hard hats beat up hippies and Elvis was asking Nixon for a special  assignment in undercover work . 1945, first atomic bomb dropped

And so the world goes ’round. We’re still waiting in this country to be suddenly hit with a nuclear weapon from space . Nowadays , however , some of us think that would be a relief , I suspect . We’re demonizing category after category of those whom we fear or just don’t like , but  little handwritten notes don’t have to be posted on warehouse walls any more . We have technology nowadays to take care of spreading our individual and/or our mass incivility  around .

Roy always had my back , so to speak , at that old job . I think he could just simply see me for who I was .  Thanks , Roy .

I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic , and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose . —– Arthur Conan Doyle

 

 

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sails on sailors’ boulevard

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a tour around the neighborhood

You may never have been to Szczecin , Poland . If you get over here I will escort you around . It’s a good city for walking .

To tell you the truth , I’ve never driven here . I know my limits . I’d never drive in Paris either . Maybe we should just leave it at that . I could drive in this city if my life depended on it , but I’d prefer not to . So , we’ll walk . Walking is good for you .

Here is the residence. It’s been around for some time . They say it was built as German Army officer quarters . The city was German then .  Achtung baby ! We’re two of those windows , and we look out over the park . Szcz, 2018 neighborhood walk June 5 331

Here’s a look at the front door . Across the street is a large park . Workers were trimming the hedges today. I was smelling gas all day afterward , but they did a good job . There’s always a trade-off in life ; you can have a nicely trimmed hedge out front and inhale the  gas fumes , for example , and die a few years before you otherwise might , or you could suffer the embarrassment of an overgrown hedge out front . Everything in life is a choice.Szcz, 2018 neighborhood walk June 5 161

Now we’re walking up the street toward the river . On the next block is a government building . County government , as far as I know . The building has been there a while . They don’t do architectural work like that no more. Not that I know of nohow .

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Szcz, 2018 neighborhood walk June 5 188At the end of the street is a restaurant called Colorado . It’s supposed to be American themed , but they never asked me for advice. They should’ve. I would have pointed a few things out to them .

It’s a busy place , though . Some people make a point of wearing Levis and boots , I’ve noticed ,  and probably enjoy being in an American fantasy for an hour or so , in a Cowboy and Indian sort of way . Maybe they watched too many John Wayne and Gene Autry movies . Or Hopalong Cassidy or Lone Ranger episodes , perhaps . But most of the customers are probably simply tourists looking for a place to eat . The food prices are higher than most restaurants around town , and the food and atmosphere are  American in wishful thinking only . But I can buy you a beer there if you insist , because we can sit and look down at the river , even though the beer will cost a few more zloty  than anywhere else in town . Your choice .

 

Now we’ll turn the corner and look along what they call Waly Chrobrego . There are a couple of accent marks missing in that name as written here , and we just won’t worry about the pronunciation for our purposes today . We’re just walking , looking at this small corner of the city .

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Szcz, 2018 neighborhood walk June 5 192Another time we’ll climb down the steps to the river. There are several good little places to grab a beer there for a fair price and we can watch the boats and barges go by . For today we’re just walking around the block , though . Sorry . I’m snapping pictures as I walk . ( I know ; I know ; I can hear your criticism now : ” It shows “. You’ll have to live with it .) We’re turning the corner and heading back . There’s another smaller park to our left .Szcz, 2018 neighborhood walk June 5 295

Now we’ll turn another corner , to our right , and head back home . I’m not showing you the Sea Academy dormitory high-rises or the other Academy buildings . Not today . You’ll have to wait . If you visit in the summer we might send you across the street to rent a room in one of the dorms . Very comfortable and very cheap . For now , we’ll just walk .

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That side is a little seedy , I admit. It’s not the sea scouts making the mess . I think we have some borderline hooligans living on that side . We’ll just move along and turn the corner again .Szcz, 2018 neighborhood walk June 5 330

Here we are again where we started . Okay , as my English friend Willie might say : You’ve left out the choice bits . Yeah . I know . Next time .

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1944

They’re murdering us here . Let’s move inland and get murdered . — Col. Charles Canam , Utah Beach , June 6 , 1944

 

 

 

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Szczecin in June

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