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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

There's Just More History All The Time!

I'm still thrashing around in history here. I remember being assigned to take photos of a bonfire in 1967 and the flame got taller and taller and started looking like a roaring tiger or devil on one side. Here, I'll show you:

The proof looked like this after friend Carra doodled and captioned on it. She thought a gate to hell got opened. Her sister said, "Yeah, you wish !" Thing is, this --happily with the exception of 20-foot-tall flames-- was how parties often looked, even indoors, in 1967.

I'd generally go in, wave and say hello to the great fug of smoke, then head for the kitchen. In 1967, just like now, the kitchen was not only the heart of every home, it was also the mind. In late evening, in late '60s kitchens, the drugs of choice were espresso and Kahlua. Intellectual discussions distanced themselves from living room fugs because patchouli is quite flammable.  Transcription is available if I can just access the correct neural pathways. Yes, there's one:

"Ok, ok, Anatole France says, 'If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it's still a foolish thing'."

"Of course, but he would have to concede it is also an amazing coincidence."

"Semantic conflict! Like saying you saved up to buy a quarter-horse because you couldn't afford a whole one."

"There were beautiful horses at the last demonstration."

"Mounted police?

"Yeah."

"Where do they put the sirens on those poor things?"

"Oh man, you're so right-brained!"

"What?"

"It's like rubber gloves. You go wash dishes and find two right gloves, so you turn one inside out and it becomes a left glove."

"That works?"

"Yeah, really!"

"So could we do that with, like, Congress?"

"Oh wow."

"Congress is a male-dominated citadel, no chance."

"Beg to differ. Citadel can be either gender."

"Meaning?"

"Well, it can be a fort, which is masculine, or..."

"Fortress! That's feminine!"

"Far out!"

The kitchen circle may have been small but its membership was prestigious, portable.  It can be accessed from infinite points in space and time, which is why we have memories. Not much point in history without memory. This means each mind in each life-form contains an index of spacetime coordinates, without which neither present nor future would exist because there'd be no point of reference or definition. In other words, no point.

I am now in another kitchen, 48 years in the future of 1967, and I got into my toybox again to hold artifacts in front of this webcam. This one is an old gift from a thespian and vocalist who steadfastly believed in a project she worked on so many years ago, a show about the future that did not merely outline shapes of things to come but also maintained the final frontier contained whole new possibilities of existence. Yes, it's addressed to Geo. with "love".


Oh, go ahead and say it: Uhura is my secret pal !!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Primer On Ferlins And Fugs In Life Encountered

Just learned how to make webcam go again. Now need theme for post. This requires I get into my box of old toys and vinyl record albums .

Allen Ginsberg and I listened to Fugs the same year --he, far more famously than I. The year was 1966.


I liked that year. I looked like this:
I was a student. Minimum wage was $1.45 an hour. I had my first play performed. I had scads of friends.

Allen Ginsberg looked like this:

Allen Ginsberg was a great poet. You could work an hour or so and make enough money to buy his book at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. City Lights Bookstore is owned by Mr. Ferlinghetti --he is a great poet too. Mr. Ferlinghetti had a press on the premises on which he published many other great poets. He has scads of friends. He is 95 years old now.

I don't know if he was friends with the other Ferlin, who sang ballads and rockabilly and recited folk poetry. Ferlin Husky passed away four years ago at age 86, but in 1966 I lived in a rural ranching town and my two favorite Ferlins were in their primes. However, the Fugs to which Mr. Ginsberg referred in Airplane Dreams were a musical group that incorporated great poetry into their songs. They looked like this:
I bought this album at Thrifty Drug Store in 1966. It is their third or fourth album and is called "The Fugs First Album", Its songs are listed on the back:

They weren't a very melodious group but their songs often contained lyrics from Wm. Blake and Algernon Chas. Swinburne, both very great poets. This bring us to the word, fug. "Fug" was often used by American writers as a marginally acceptable homonym for another coitional slang word that was not permitted by censors.

In 1966, I had read many stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle --a great writer of historical, medical, detective and science fiction. He sometimes described the atmospheric result of Sherlock Holmes's nicotinic meditations as a "thick fug of tobacco smoke in our sitting room" which Dr. Watson treated by throwing open the windows at 221 B Baker St.
The British word would recur to me later, after I left the little rural ranching town to seek my fortune. I had scads of friends and they would invite me to parties in the big city. In the late '60s, these parties usually took the form of a dense fug of smoke with arms and legs sticking out of it. I would bring my favorite record album in with me and hand it to some of the arms. Soon I would hear it going on the stereo and voices in the fug would react to The Fugs. "Oh wow," they would say. "Oh wow."  


Friday, January 23, 2015

Max Baxter And The History Of Incarceration

                                                 [Wikipedia pic.]

It all began at a retirement tribute to Max Baxter, a superintendent who directed operations at parks and public campuses all over the city. I was in attendance. We'd just been served a politically correct entree which, like all politically correct entrees, was constructed to offend everyone's sense of dietary rectitude. I believe it consisted of guacamole, brown rice, black beans and Portland cement.

The labor foreman stood up to propose a toast: "I just wanted to take this opportunity to say no man has better earned or deserved the respect of those privileged enough to have worked with him. Ladies and gentlemen, let's raise our glasses to Max Bastard!"

Ok, you try saying Max Baxter real fast two or three times. My examination of this mispronunciation has taken me on an historical odyssey of  social gaffes, gaucheries and miscalculations. There was a time, during the ultimacy of class hierarchy, when such human errors were legally actionable. Most people wisely kept their mouths shut and avoided retirement dinners, but there were still incidences.

Over this essay is a mural from Pompeii. It shows a group of seven men in an ancient Greek ΠΟΚI (pokey). They are there for claiming a tyrant and a τύραννος are the same thing so there might as well be democracy. There are no walls or iron bars in their ΠΟΚI. Those are modern inventions. It sufficed back then to simply usher offenders to a sheltered place, give them food and blankets, then glue their sandals to the ground. There were no recorded escapes, but many rumors of guys running home barefoot with new blankets over their heads.

This led to municipal gardeners getting assigned to create and maintain obstacle courses for Law And Equity classes sponsored by the state. High school students would enter these programs to get fit enough to become peace officers. I worked closely with clubs like FPOA (Future Peace Officers of America) and FFA (Future Fugitives of America, which the former chased) to lay out and grade these athletic courses with my tractor. I always made them end in a sheltered place. Max Baxter used to ask me why I did that.

I said, "Well, that's where the pokey goes, Mister Ba...uh."

"Just call me Max."

  

Monday, January 19, 2015

UFOs Like Riddles


"Well, hello you."

"You-Eff-Oh, if you don't mind."

"I'm Geo. You don't really have a name, do you?"

"Uh, no, I travel light."

"So what brings you --may I call you 'U'?-- to my garden tonight?"

"I just saw you looking up in the dark. I've seen you do that a lot over the years and thought I'd visit."

"Thank you U.  I appreciate the company. Been here long then?"

"Oh yes. I love to roam over the towns as they go to sleep and watch the few restless bits of traffic --engines starting and lonely cars stirring like fevered dreams."

"That's your assignment, your whole mission to this planet?"

"No, that would be silly. It's just that I've been here so long...if I knew now what I knew then..."

"Ah, I understand. We humans have a similar saying: If I knew then what I know now, surely I have forgotten it."

"Or, you could have accomplished all you've done since in ten minutes. Funny humans."

"Funny UFOs. You remind me of someone I used to know."

"Who?"

"Me, or someone else --I forget. Do you remember what planet you came from?"

"Only that it was an unhappy place. Contentious populace. Our tolerance of each other was considered a recurring miracle. It comprised our whole religion. Many of us volunteered to explore the universe.

"I'd like that, U."

"But Geo., there must be so many people, like you, whom you could get along with easily."

"Oh I get along fine! But try to understand, there is nobody else like me --sometimes I can't even do it."

"Is this a rare condition?"

"Certainly not. Everybody on Earth suffers from it."

"Then, you ARE all alike! Hahaha--Zooooom!"

"Hey U! Come back here...oh dang, out-riddled by a UFO again!"


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                        For  Brigitta: My Aventures On Kaboom