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Saturday, November 27, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Forgot a couple things in the previous entry.
First, here's a thing I wrote a few years back:
And here are excerpts from an email I just got:
Dear "Sport", if I may:
Your remarkable screed entitled 'Jonathan Schwartz vs. Lois Hunt' popped up on my screen as I was Googleing myself in search of a certain ancient LP of mine...
...Earl used to say that we were never really famous, just "half-assed well
known." Therefore, in a sense I cannot truly fault the current 'hot' DJs for
being unaware of our, or my existence. That being said, as you noted there
was no call for the gratuitous, casual cruelty of their assessment of our
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unsolicited and highly
articulate response to those worthies.
Ms Hunt is 80 years old, and couldn't be hipper, from what I see. Made me smile, that did. Bless you, Lois.
I contributed a bit of text to Irwin's wonderful new Fantagraphics book on artist Jim Flora. My other pal Laura Lindgren (co-owner, with good ol'boy Ken Swezey, of BLAST BOOKS) designed it, and it is well worth your dough.
Prior to election day I sat in with David Garland for an unusual, tongue-in-cheek "vote for my selected tune" program. Dunno how it sounds, but it was fun to do. Here it is if you want.
If that link doesn't work, go to wnyc.org. then to the programs list, then "spinning on air" then "october shows"
I return*. Kill the fatted calf.
Autumn was a mixed bag**, but over the mix hung a dire depression. No point in recapping now what I was unwilling to relate then.
A ROOM OF VOICES
What was good, then?
SMiLE by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, live at Carnegie Hall. Oooh, baby baby!
Did I already mention that? What else?
A few things, but screw it***. The weird part of this past while was the tug of emotions between the babies' first birthday and the about-to-arrive first anniversary of my Dad's death. What can I say? I love them, I miss him, and on we go.
The other notable bummer was a family epidemic of severe colds, which began in September and repeat-relayed throughout the clan, old and young, for the entire time up to and including tonight. One would recover, another would come down. This one would pass it back to the newly recovered and on it went (goes?). Worst was the way it hit the babies, who are so helpless and unable to communicate their specific complaints but who offer a general, agonized, day-and-night caterwaul for the duration.
Then Mom got it... my worst fear. She is now in hospital, being treated for what was about to become raging pneumonia. Evidently she is improving, but you understand the terror.
ANOTHER YEAR OLDER AND DEEPER IN DEBT
My birthday came and went this past Friday. Not much of anything, though I did hear from a couple of friends. This shocked me, since I've been so out of touch with most, and -- more damagingly -- in touch with some. I see a few friendships sailing over the horizon, like the boat Chuck Berry missed in "Havana Moon." I have not been much fun, nor much of a friend lately, so these bonds do loosen and relationships slip away. Others, I expect, are simply dormant.
But it is some comfort that a few folks took the time to check in with kind regards. You know who you are, and you're better than I for doing it.
HACK HACK pt 2
There actually was a slightly belated celebration arranged by dear Bianca Bob, a tandem tipple for me and b'day mate Don "Deuce" Brockway. However, I had to leave in the middle of the fun to execute my first assignment for the NY Daily News (?!), a review of a Minnie Driver gig (?!?!) at Bowery Ballroom. Got the job the previous afternoon. The show was scheduled for 10pm. Deadline was 11:30pm (!?!?!?!?!?!?!?). Minnie hit the stage a little after 10:30 (!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??). With fellow celebrant "Deuce" Brockway along as assistant/enabler, I frantically typed the piece at the upstairs bar AS the gig proceeded. "Another whiskey, bartender!" I hunkered over the laptop in a big-town fever, just like a latter-day Hildy Johnson until I felt the piece had reached journalistic ripeness (translation: hit assigned word count), then bolted out to a newspaper kiosk on Bowery and dictated the gemlike prose (via Deuce's cellphone) to my editor as traffic shrieked around me.
As I closed the laptop, sucked my viceroy and swigged a spot o' scotch from my purloined glass, Deuce (so dubbed for his Sinatra-inspired bribing of a full-parking-lot attendant earlier) pointed out a Daily News truck rounding the corner. It was a mild, gorgeous New York night, and I felt like the MOTHERFUCKER. Back down Ludlow, where Irwin and Shana kindly waited for us after Bianca and the others had to head home. We four enjoyed the dregs of the Brockway/Murphy birthday hang, and that was that. Next day, there she was in black and white: my premiere offering to the city press. What a blast.
Now we wait while Mom recovers. No Thanksgiving at the Old Ronkonkoma Home this year, but such unwelcome evidence of the old life's disintegration is countered by the rapidly recovering Miles and Lily and the new life's continued progress. Maybe we'll all share a belated turkey when Mom comes back home.
Should also mention in passing that I've managed to actually finish some lyrics these recent weeks. For the two albums I plan to make. Seems trivial, but not to me it ain't. Probably gonna make these albums all by myself. Somewhere I hear a blog-reader or 2 going "whew!" in the fresh and welcome knowledge that I won't bug them for help. That's all for now, pilgrim.
(one of the nicer Fall evenings involved a post-election day dinner with my pal Ken Emerson, author of the Stephen Foster bio "Doo-Dah!" ...afterwards I wrote one of the many blog entries that never get posted, excerpted below, just for the hell of it. While the following has nothing to do with Ken, it should be noted that he spent a lot of our evening insisting that I try to get work writing for one of the daily tabloids. Who knew I'd start doing just that in a couple of weeks? In recognition of the man's strange sagacity, I'll post this one anyway. It will also, perhaps indicate the kind of things that never get posted, and why)
O, most blessed: a night in New York when you look around and truly see a city that for once is not glowering back. You stand by the gutter, where all bad smokers must go after excusing themselves from the bar where several never-or-formers have just repeated the mandatory annoyance: "that's a terrible habit you know." Sure do, but the reminder always helps, so thank you thank you now let me go and be terrible. So there you are on a rare city night where the street is a comfortable place to stand and puff, not frigidaire frosty nor crowded with others nor humid and reeking nor pissing-wet. Autumn, the one good season of a grown-up's year, wherein a few good nights promise faint hope to the pistol-whipped man in bad need of a lyrical hour.
A few bites and bends of the elbow with a chum was why I came, and a miracle of minute proportions preceded his glad arrival. Here -- in the city most loathed by those to whom cities mean so much they fucking bow and pray toward one every day of their deluded lives -- everybody's groaning over the previous night's election. I say a few words myself, a bland few, chosen to harmonize with those said already and imply that I have no argument with the surrounding assembled. Simple boozer politicking and not insincere, since I can hurl calumny at either side at any time, knowing there's enough "fuck them" to go around and who cares anyway? Some people like to get all worked up about this shit. I like a nice cocktail and a nice ephemeral chat. A smiling companion at the bar is your human connection at fullest flowering, so long as a few stiff ones and a light dance around the topic at hand succeed in avoiding all divisive hints of which brand of killing you prefer. War? Death Penalty? Abortion?
I'm with you... THEY ain't people!
I'm with you... they're PEOPLE!
I like a nice cocktail. I like talk as important as the free peanuts are nutritious. Trivia. Blarney.
A terrible person. With a terrible habit or two. 'scuse me; gotta step outside and send a Beardsley curl of terrible smoke twisting upwards along these lovely buildings, so hated by all those... uh... people.
Asshole credential now established, in case anyone forgot in the long lapsus bloggum, I'll remention the aforementioned tiny miracle. Some gal came on to me! A looker, too! Why? Can't fathom. I showed her pictures of the babies... mentioned the loving wife. Didn't matter. She tendered a parting invitation, effective the following night. How pleasant it was! Such flattery. You think: "she was drunk" ...no, no she wasn't, prick. Neither was I; the night had just started and I'd had but one tequila. She was grabbing a fast one before starting the night's work at another joint down the street. Naw, this was an unaccountable case of unsolicited female interest directed towards me, and I was as puzzled as you.
Let's face it, I'm not exactly cuntnip. Even in the glow of youth I attracted 'em only sporadically, and then they mainly fell into two types. First and most frequent were yer nerdy smart chicks, often a tad porcine, who saw in me a not-completely uncool type with whom they might actually stand a chance for fine romance (to crib a brilliant rhyme from our Bard-o'-the-One-and-Nine, Springsteen the Bruce). Mind you, they'd drop me like a hot spud should some nearby Johnny Depp deign to offer them a chance at cleanin' his clarinet. However, it seemed that these, my female counterparts in tourist class, had a more realistic view of things. They didn't waste precious time as I did, mooning over the unattainable. They lowered their sights to a level commensurate with their station in the caste system of bangability and saw... me. Bland and pale but not ugly, and oddly amusing. Ah! the sparkling memories of these encounters....
(omitted description of several auld encounters, funny but more wisely deleted, went here)
I'm not saying there weren't some loving, wonderful experiences with attractive, sharp women. But those ones WERE drunk, and, no doubt, are now sketching me as an egregious ghost of fuckmas past on their own blogs, if I'm remembered at all. Fair's fair, now. Nor am I suggesting that the ones who'd have me and who had me are somehow embarrassing to my memory. No! They were mostly wonderful people. Just not on my resonant freqeuncy to any notable degree. And, truth be told, the fact that I married my most notable exception to all the above, in a unique moment of clarity and luck, is why I can be so obnoxious about it all now. My point though, is that even when I was supposedly at the prime age of potential desirability, the fish weren't biting. Accepted with due solemnity. Braaap.
This is not unlike the late realization that my music failed because... people don't want to hear it! Because they don't like it! Simple as that. Accepted, at long last, with due solemnity. Urp.
So now, years along, how can it be explained that a choice chick - apparently in full possession of her faculties - throws me the ol' goo-goo eyes? Christ, my every gesture broadcasts sullen surrender; each bon mot drips with killjoy oozins of grim disappointment. My lard-girded middle aged corpus ...no-ones idea of delecti even before the sediment of sedentarianism had accrued ... slogs its weary sloth-march under clouds of black futility. Can I get an amen? Ah, shut up.
I'd rather not know. A moment of such harmless flattery is a scarce thing. Some months ago, for example, I was joined on the cold curb of terrible habit by a little minx from Scotland, in New York on holiday. She'd obviously been guzzling some heady concoction back inside the ginmill, and was chatty as all get-out. Amidst her monologue on this and that adventure, I opined that I was "a bit old" for someting or other she'd mentioned as a must-do... dunno what... going to a rave or extreme snowboarding or growing one's second teeth... and she said "aw g'wan, mate, yer not that old, are ye?" I disclosed the true and factual antiquity of her fellow smoker, to which she replied, "well, ye don't look it! Ye look a lot yoonger!" I smiled. "Well, thanks, that's nice to hear." She wasted no time adding "well, I'm not sayin' yer attractive! Yer a bit chubby, eh?" Fucking tartan twat.
So, honest, I am not crowing about this lone instance of ego-strokage as if it vindicates me as a late-blooming hunk of oooh-yeah. Far from it. And it means nothing in reality anyhow, since I am not in the market ...and glad of it. Just noting a nice little moment from a nice little night that came and went, as all nice little things must.