Sunday, April 30, 2006
A. A. Milne (1882 - 1956), writer
Where does all the free time go? – On my own it seems as if there is very little free time. My book reading has dropped considerably, and as you have seen the blog writing goes on for a couple of days and then as the week kicks in wham’o no time to get anything done. I am taking this week off to do nothing, but try and recharge. Thank you boss!
Friends with money – Daughter and I saw the movie “Friends with Money” it was not bad, a bit on the depressing side, but good. Driving home we were singing to a Mick Jagger solo song “I’ve Been Lonely for so Long,” which she used to come out into the garage while I was exercising to dance to that song. I was thinking while we were singing so horribly off key (more her than me); the Stones have always supplied the soundtrack to my growing up and now growing old years, so it makes sense to have them played at my memorial. I told daughter that I wanted “Paint it Black” played. She, naturally was not thinking any such thing. Her thoughts were I wonder what song I’ll dance with my dad at my wedding someday. I suggested “Sympathy for the Devil,” just to send all the church hypocrites her mother will invite home with something to pray about.
Confession Time – I guess when I feel down I like to watch romantic comedies. The first movie I watched when I moved into my place was “Must Love Dogs,” which I liked. On the Mark thought I was nuts. So, this weekend I purchased “Harry Met Sally,” and “Annie Hall.” Since I am feeling rather blue tonight, I am thinking of going into the living room and watching Woody and Diane from 1977. When that movie came out, I really felt as thought it captured my life at that point. I also purchased John Wayne’s “Rio Lobo,” “As Good at it Gets,” “Casablanca” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” This is a person who normally does not buy DVDs because I don’t really watch them more than once, except for the Godfathers. So, this week I hope to watch my movies and read a couple of books.
iPod – I finally broke down and purchased an iPod. So far, I am not thrilled as I am going on day two of loading music. I got it because, I am going to join a new gym and I figured that I had to update from my cassette recorder. I’ll keep you posted on my iPod experience.
Theater Critic – I suppose it’s not a good thing that I am not a theater critic since the LATimes blasted Salome in yesterday’s paper. I loved it so much I went to see it twice.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
On your little white horse
You lie to your people,
and blame it on your war of course
You call yourself a Christian,
I call you a hypocrite
You call yourself a patriot,
well I think you're full of shit
Mick Jagger/ Keith Richards “Sweet Neo Con”
Thank you Mick !
My favorite rock and roll band just snubbed my most disliked U.S. President. The Great Decider wanted to book the luxury Royal Suite at the five-star Imperial Hotel in Vienna, Austria for a summit in June, but the Rolling Stones got there first.
The self-serving Bush gang was shocked that Mick Jagger would not release his room or the entire floor for them. The suite goes for approximately $7,000 a night. The Stones are scheduled to play in town that week.
Hopefully Mick will vary their play list to include their two political songs ("Highwire" and "Sweet Neo Con") that cover the father and son presidents, who both waged wars in the Middle East.
Now if someone can just evict the Great Decider/Idiot in Chief from the White House that would be a start in turning things around in this country away from the corrupt cronyism that has done nothing but further our path to the new Gilded Age.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Jan Carew, novelist, actor, and newspaper editor
I could really just let loose with a vitriolic string of swear words generally reserved for people I have to share the freeways with to describe how I feel about George Bush and his corrupt and greedy gang in the white house.
Those words would also be directed at the idiots who voted for him the second time, they can have a pass on the first time, but there was no excuse the second time around. This man is a menace and so are his cadre of religious rightwing zealots who all truly deserve a reserve seat in Dante’s Hell.
Yesterday, the Idiot in Chief as I call him or the “Decider” as he calls himself has begun warning people about high gas prices this summer. Right now, at the cheap station where I fill up gas is selling at $3.15 a gallon, of course that was Friday, it could be $3.25 on Tuesday when I return.
Let’s unpack (English class jargon) what the inept Decider has said:
"We're going to have a tough summer because people are beginning to drive now during tight supply," Bush said as he toured a California facility developing hydrogen-powered vehicles.
What he really means is that we working stiffs are going to continue to get in the rear end, despite what he thinks about gay marriage. It certainly will not be tough for him as he spends most of the summer vacationing on his Texas ranch and let’s the world go to hell in a hand basket.
"The American people have got to understand what happens elsewhere in the world affects the price of gasoline you pay here."
What he really means is that when he invades another country for no reason and screws up the oil supply, we are going to suffer, but the executives of oil companies are going to profit handsomely – such as the CEO of Exxon who received nearly a half billion dollars in salary and bonuses!
What is worse that people are not demanding investigations and impeachment hearings.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Arthur Miller (1915 – 2005), playwright
I have been exceedingly busy, which is why I have not posted. Thankfully, On the Mark had a few things to say. I also figured things might slow down a bit, so I booked several events during the week. I was mistaken. I was exhausted everyday and night.
Tuesday night. I attended my poetry class, which I am really enjoying. I feel as though I’m learning a lot, especially since I knew little to nothing about the art of poetry before this class.
Wednesday night. On the Mark and I went to Pasadena to see Gerald Clayton in a solo piano performance at the Pasadena Jazz Institute. Clayton’s father and uncle are well known jazz musicians. In any case, it was two hours of wonderful piano jazz by an up and coming performer. His jazz playing carried a bit of blues and soulfulness that made the pieces introspective and foot tapping. He is only 21 and so poised. We saw him twice at Catalina’s Jazz club in Hollywood; a couple of weeks ago playing with Roy Hargrove and a few months before that with Frank Morgan, during that show he played a duet with his father who plays the stand up bass. The kid is incredible.
Thursday night. An up-and-coming playwright friend and I went to see Oscar Wilde’s Salome at the Wadsworth Theatre in Brentwood staring Al Pacino. Pacino’s acting blew me away. I thought that he over acted and that every movie had some soliloquy for him that he could phone in. I was wrong. I can never hear the word Salome again without hearing Pacino’s voice --
“Saaal O May dance for me.”
Saturday night. I loved Salome so much that I went online to Craig’s list and went again Saturday night. And it was just as good. I had to see and hear Saaal O May begged to dance, again.
Sunday. I am going to read the newspapers and try to keep up on the writing this week.
Monday, April 17, 2006
One of the hottest crazes in jewelry (as reported this weekend in the business section of the L.A. Times, no less) is the new "roach brooch," a live, hissing, 3-inch crystal-studded cockroach that one wears by chain or pin.
They sell for $40 at the store in Salt Lake City where they were introduced, or one can buy them on the internet for $80. But you should know there is a waiting list.
One buyer, a 4th grade teacher, said, "I love all animals."
By the way, the designer uses only male cockroaches because the females bite. I'll leave it at that.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
1) Computer flash memory drives containing sensitive information on military tactics are stolen from the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Then, get this, the drives are sold in an open bazaar just outside the gates of the military base. There is no better definition of "right under our noses."
2) A string of ex-generals call for Rumsfeld's ouster. Pres. Bush says forget it, he's doing a great job. Part of his rationale is based on the support of a current general (Pace)...like he's really going to say anything negative at this time.
The transcript of Moussaoui's testimony yesterday highlights what we're up against. Although we "want" him to be crazy, these are comments of a sane man:
About his role in the 9/11 conspiracy:
"There is no remorse for justice. No regret. No remorse."
Would he do it again tomorrow (crash plane into the White House) if he could:
About an Army Lt. Col. who crawled out of the burning Pentagon (a witness in the trial):
"I was regretful he didn't die."
About a Navy Lt. Cmdr. who died in the Pentagon:
"Make my day."
About being willing to kill Americans, even in prison:
About Timothy McVeigh:
"The greatest American."
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Jane Austen (1775 - 1817), novelist
Where is the news in that story? So are the marriages of bankers, lawyers, grocery workers, farm pickers, and especially high-powered executives who have the money to buy young beauties far beyond what their looks warrant.
Eight sailors where charged with arranging fraudulent marriages to Polish and Romanian women to help the women obtain U.S. citizenship and to collect bigger military housing allowances for themselves.
Let them marry; to me that is better than parading prisoners around in their underwear.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Blessings on him who invented sleep, the mantle that covers all human thoughts, the food that satisfies hunger, the drink that slakes thirst, the fire that warms cold.
Miguel de Cervantes (1547 - 1616), novelist and dramatist
I'M SO TIRED
I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
I'm so tired I don't know what to do
I'm so tired my mind is set on you
I wonder should I call you but I know what you'd do
You'd say I'm putting you on
But it's no joke, it's doing me harm
You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain
You know it's three weeks, I'm going insane
You know I'd give you everything I've got
for a little peace of mind
Monday, April 10, 2006
The alarm goes off and then the house starts to rock
In and out of the bathroom by seven-o-three
By seven-ten he’s down stairs drinking his tea
Ray Davies, The Kinks “Rush Hour Blues”
As your alarm jars you awake this morning, just think that the CEO of your company, if it’s not you, is making approximately 700 times your salary. Compared to the 56 times the CEO was making when your dad or grandfather was working.
A CEO friend told me he does not give employees a rise every year automatically. “Has the employee improved in their position by 2-6 percent every year?” I am not sure there is any kind of measurement for that, but I would say keeping a talented and trained employee is probably worth the minimum increase every year.
The article in the Sunday New York Times Business section opens with the story of a 30-year employee who started in 1977 at $6.40 an hour and today is making $13.25 an hour. The CEO of this unconscionable company (ConAgra Foods) was given $45 million during his eight years at the helm, and was given an estimated $20 million retirement package as he walked out the door.
Those of us hustling off to the office this morning, according to the March 25 Wall Street Journal are leaving earlier. I know I am. The reasons include beating traffic to getting a jump on ever more busy days. The article says, “The shift to sunrise comes thanks to everything from heavier rush-hour traffic to BlackBerry overload that has left predawn as the last refuge for many people.”
So as we sip our coffee, tea or juice, just remember we are sleeping less, working more and watching the middle-class disappear into the gap between the rich and poor.
Happy Monday and enjoy your week!
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The most prominent reason that Bush has stated in speeches, etc., is Iran's threat to Israel. I say let Israel take care of itself. Israel, with its own military might, doesn't need the U.S. to babysit or play bully for them.
I don't remember too much from my Catholic upbringing. But I do remember learning something about how Satan, when he makes his move, will do it in a disguise that will surprise everyone.
(Note: Despite what the little note below says, this was posted by On the Mark, not The Misanthrope)
Jack Woltz, Hollywood mogul in “The Godfather”
Blogging. Toner Mishap is reminding me of the Johnny Cash song “Ring of Fire”, because the numbers are dying, crashing is more like it. I am going down, down, and the flames are growing higher. I feel a bit like the boxer who gets back in the right after retiring. He should have stayed retired. (Don’t worry mom, I am going to keep doing this a bit longer.) My mother, who I thought gave up reading Toner Mishap since we were writing only when the mood struck, informed me she was delighted to see I was posting again. When I asked how she knew, she said that she checked every morning as part of her routine. I did not intend to tell her because I feel a bit self censored, but I suppose I shouldn’t feel that way. I think I blogged about this last year, I was talking to my mother on my cell phone when I was cut off getting onto the freeway and I let fly a string of expletive deleted words that only Dick Cheney would only use when talking to Democratic senators, then I realized my mother was still on the phone, oops.
The Rolling Stones. The Chinese government is taking a cue from CBS or whatever network aired the Superbowl and they are censoring five Rolling Stones songs including "Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Beast of Burden," and "Let's Spend the Night Together” and the new song “Rough Justice.” Hmmm, obviously the Chinese authorities are not familiar with the Stones’ catalog, so if Mick Jagger were truly rebellious and not just into his faux rebellion nonsense, I would recommend that he play: “Star Star,” “Some Girls,” “Bitch,” “Rocks Off,” and “Sparks will Fly.” But, it’s only about money for Mick and the guys.
Jazz. On the Mark and I went to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts last night to see the jazz legend Sonny Rollins. Stupendous. Rollins' playing conveyed his love of the music and his extraordinary talent. He is 76 years old and he was on stage with his saxophone for a solid two hours without sitting. Joshua Redman’s show at Catalina’s Jazz Club earlier this year was amazing, but Rollins took the jazz to another level altogether.
Stones Update. Maybe I am too hard on Jagger. According to the New York Times, the sold-out performance brought together cosmopolitan Shanghai at its richest, in more senses than one. With the cheapest seats going for about $40 — and most priced at 5 to 10 times more, well above monthly salaries for most people here — the cost ensured that well-heeled foreigners dominated the crowd.
Mick Jagger, the group's lead singer, acknowledged as much himself in a news conference the day before with a comment meant to address two of the most delicate issues surrounding the event, the heavily foreign audience and the restricted song list.
"I am pleased the Ministry of Culture is protecting the morals of expatriate bankers and their girlfriends," Mr. Jagger said, adding that he had 400 other songs to choose from, so "it doesn't really matter."
A popular blogger here (in Shanghai), Wang Xiaofeng, is typical of the group for whom the Stones are a relic of another era. "For most Chinese rock 'n' roll fans, the Rolling Stones are not even as attractive as a domestic pop singer, or the Super Girl contestants," referring to a television show that resembled American Idol. "In the eyes of fans, the Rolling Stones have more meaning as a rock 'n' roll symbol than as a kind of music. They are as unfamiliar as they are familiar."
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Erich Fromm (1900 - 1980) psychoanalyst and philosopher
New Rules. If the Los Angeles Times is going to run an editorial page commentary by Bill Maher (it does about once a quarter and on the same day his show airs), let’s call it what it is – a preview of either the monolog or his commentary to end the show. I don’t begrudge Maher for getting a bit of PR for his show as well as receiving a couple of hundred dollars for the written piece, but I do fault the Times for rapidly losing its standing as a world-class newspaper. One day this week, the paper covered a private party as a news item because former presidential front runner Gary Hart was a dinner guest plugging his latest book.
I am going to have a dinner party with a few smart people and we’re going to discuss and no doubt come up with solutions for most the world’s ills. Which reporter are you sending? Hell, they don’t have to come the party for solutions, just read some of the blogs on the blogroll list.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration
I went to listen to Kevin Phillips speak last night at the downtown Los Angeles Library. I have found that after seeing several authors in such talks they simply use their preface as their talking points. Phillips was no different. Here is an excerpt from the preface of his book American Theocracy, the Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century:
Over the three decades of Bush presidencies, vice presidencies, and CIA directorships, the Republican party has slowly become the vehicle of all three interests [(1) the oil-national security complex, with its pervasive interests; (2) the religious right, with its doctrinal imperatives and massive electorate; and (3) the debt-dealing financial sector, which extends far beyond the old symbolism of Wall Street.] The three are increasingly allied in commitment to Republican politics, if not in full agreement with one another. On the most important front, I am beginning to think that the southern-dominated, biblically driven Washington GOP represents a rogue coalition, like the southern, proslavery politics that controlled Washington until Lincoln’s election in 1860.
The potential interaction between the end-times electorate (those religious zealots who think Armageddon is under way), inept pursuit of Persian Gulf oil, Washington’s multiple deceptions, and the credit and financial crisis that could follow a substantial liquidation by foreign holders of U.S. bonds is the stuff of nightmares.
I agree 100 percent.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
is a journey
into the unknown.
Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893 - 1930), Russian poet and playwright
I work downtown and going across down is generally a pain. Going across town in the rain is even a bigger pain. I vacillated about whether I wanted to hassle driving across town in the rain to UCLA to take a poetry class.
I turned off my computer, and I was still standing around in my office, when a co-worker came by and asked why I had not left for class yet. I told her I was not sure I wanted to deal with traffic and getting home at 11 p.m. and have the alarm go off at 5 a.m. But she encouraged me and I went.
I wrote down the registration number, the instructor’s name, printed out a map to find the parking structure, I just forgot one little item – the classroom number. I got to the campus, hunted for the lot, asked a few people who looked like they might be going to an extension class if they had a catalog, no one did. I called the main office, which was closed. Finally, I discovered a campus bookstore nearby, which had the catalog.
I found the class and it was everything that I hoped it would be. It was a wonderful break from the corporate world. The instructor is intelligent or appears so, and the 10 students, who range in all ages, appear interested and interesting. I look forward to next Tuesday.
Tonight is Kevin Phillips at the downtown library discussing his new book “American Theocracy, The peril and politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.”
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Graham Greene (1904–91), novelist
This is excellent news for the citizens of the United States that a suspected corrupt politician (House Representative Republican Tom DeLay Texas), has decided to give up his reelection bid. It is especially good because the not-so-bright or the bribed citizens in his gerrymander district may have elected him again.
DeLay said in a statement, After many weeks of personal, prayerful thinking and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to close this public service chapter of my life.
I would like to know what prayerful thinking is? Did he read the Pray may be dangerous article last week and started praying for Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle or his former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges, or for Jack Abramoff?
We can only hope DeLay ends up behind bars so that his political career as a lobbyist will also be stopped dead in its tracks.
The way I see it, we have just lost one of the flying monkeys who guards the witch/warlock in the White House. I' m hopeful W will melt away by 2008.
Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744) poet
Ignore that man behind the curtain! As a matter of fact, don't ever let him touch the controls again.
B2 isn't watching over the technical aspects of the site anymore, that doesn't mean he wouldn't help me, but I was playing around with the controls and apparently turned off the comment button. My apologies to all who tried to comment. I was feeling very unloved.
B2 and I were able to comment on my Sunday post because we are members, so I didn't realize the mistake until I was playing around again. Also, Janet at The Art of Getting By sent me an e-mail alerting me to my bonehead mistake.
Please feel free to comment, please.
Robert Hughes, art critic
The Getty Museum has been open for 10 years and a few weeks ago was my first visit to the place. Let me tell you it’s incredible. The outside views alone are breath taking, let alone the magnificent artwork inside. I will be visit again very soon.
This photo was taken at the Getty Museum looking east. The office buildings in the center right are in Century City. In the far left just beyond the dark clouds is downtown Los Angeles (note, it is worth clicking on the photo to see it a bit larger).
Monday, April 03, 2006
Raymond Chandler (1888–1959), author
Thanks to B2, who pointed this out to me, I in turn will suggest you check out Stereo Gum and see how the Rolling Stones sold their music to commercials way back when for Rice Krispies.
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough
Elton John (singer songwriter) “Yellow Brick Road”
Before I settled in for the evening Sunday to watch lesbians, polygamists and Mafioso, I went on a short hike in the hills behind me. In order to get up to the trail one must go through a guarded gate community and pass the multi-million dollar homes.
Homes I pass on my way to the trail.
You don't get much privacy for a few million dollars anymore
This is the home I would love to have. See that white speck out there. That house is only about 20 minutes from the city, but they must feel like a million miles away.
What most the homes will look like after the big quake.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), writer and humorist
My picks for the season will come as soon as I sit down and study it. But I can tell you now I am most likely going to pick the Angels to be in the World Series. ( My picks are now below)
Here is a little front yard decoration to commemorate the start of the ’06 season.
American League Champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
National League Champion: St. Louis Cardinals
World Series Champion: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Anonymous, (A soldier describing battle conditions; variously attributed, often to a Captain Strahan at the Battle of Bastogne (1944), but almost certainly dates from Dunkirk (1940)).
Passive. I have a nice little place with a nice view, no other dwelling obstruct my scenic vista from my bedroom or living room windows. The only glitch is a noisy neighbor. No dogs, just loud a vibrating bass line. I was only in the place a month when I was awaken at 2:45 a.m. I went downstairs and knocked lightly on the door below, but soon realized the music was not coming from them. Thankfully I didn’t beat on the door demanding the music be turned down. So as the Laker basketball announcer Chick Hearn used to say, “no harm, no foul.” I walked around back and found the offending party. I asked who lived there and told him the music was a bit loud and it woke me up. He apologized, I accepted his apology, and it was no big deal.
The next week it happened again at 3:15 am, but I was able to fall back asleep. This past Wednesday the music was loud and vibrating the walls. I called the front office and left an angry message and then I got dressed and walked to their front door and rang the door bell. “Oh, no,” I heard from behind the door. I again asked for the person so lived there and I torn into him verbally. I told him I knew his entire CD from the bass line. He tried to apologize and I told him that it didn’t carry any weight since he was so inconsiderate. He said it wouldn’t happen again. I march back upstairs and left another message for the front office telling them what I had done and they could call me in four hours when my alarm goes off.
The next morning at the office, the landlord calls and tells me they will present the young partier with a letter of “lease violation.” But, they also told me I was the only one to complain. I found that rather amazing. There are three other units attached that could hear his music, but never said anything. I don’t get it. Daughter said, apartment life is different, dad. Others at work also mentioned that is normal. I am sorry, for the money I am paying each month I want quiet considerate neighbors, and if not, I want management to do something about, but I guess as Uncle Ernie told me I am just an old man.
Recent CD purchases. Little Willies – not so good
Ray Davies, "Other People’s Lives" – very good
Artic Monkeys, "Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not" – very good
Rosanne Cash, "Black Cadillac" – good
Elvis Costello, "My Flame Burns Blue" – very good
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, "Hammersmith Odeon, London '75" -- very very good (you hear why Springsteen became such a powerhouse)
Saturday, April 01, 2006
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
Bob Dylan (singer/song writer), “Things have Changed”
I missed the community of writers and readers. We (On the Mark, B2 and myself) officially stopped writing at Toner Mishap back on Sunday October 9, 2005. We were good, if I do say so myself. We covered a number of topics and brought a realistic and sarcastic perspective to much of it.
I am attempting to make a return. I won’t commit to writing everyday, but I’ll write as I feel like it, as I have been doing, but just a bit more regularly. I am hopeful that B2 and On the Mark will show up from time to time other than just in the comments section.
A Room of my Own
I am now legally separated, have a place of my own in a nice location for the time being until I decide ultimately what I want to do (meaning buying something). It’s been a few months and while it’s sad I don’t think either of us have any regrets that it was not the right thing to do. I mention this because a lot of what I will be writing about will be more personal (maybe) than it was in the past. Really, what choice do I have, how many ways can I say I hate our White House gang?
I have been hiking the hills locally a bit and I love it. My friend, who enables me to avoid grocery shopping by providing delicious food at reasonable prices (Uncle Ernie’s), suggested hiking a while back inspired to explore the hills even more. Once the rain stops I will go back out with my camera and show you my current favorite walk.
I am writing this at 12:44 a.m. listening to the rain and Beth Orton’s “Comfort of Strangers” CD and I just noticed that it is April 1, but this is no fool’s day joke. I look forward to seeing you all again.