It happened, though.

Leftovers & Links #57

There’s been much, much more coverage of shoplifters at Walgreens, than of Walgreens stealing millions of dollars from its employees’ paychecks. Ain’t that peculiar?

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Once a month or so, I tie up the accumulated bag of the cat's poop and pee, and because it’s so heavy, I put it on a hand-truck to roll it out to the dumpster. I never scrub the toilet, so dumping the cat's shit is the most disgusting task I do on a regular basis, and I finished moments ago, then washed my hands, and thought about it.

I’m only one old dude taking out his cat’s poop and pee, but this morning there might be billions of people all over the world carrying their cat’s poop and pee to wherever they dump it, dropping sacks of catshit and whatever else onto mini-mountains of plastic and tin foil, curlers and junk mail and rotten cucumbers and last week’s takeout by the ton. Most of it's headed for landfill.

We are killing this place. It’s disgusting, dispiriting, depressing to think about, it’s been going on since before I was born, and I don’t even know what to do about it. All I know for sure is two things — ① whatever ought to be done about it isn’t being done, and ② all that neverending garbage isn’t even the biggest problem we’re ignoring.

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1955 was not so long ago, but it’s a reality I never knew and can’t even approximate to comprehend.

This happened, though. People came together to hear poetry, and it was heard, and worth hearing. It made people pause and think and even laugh, because some of it’s fucking funny. People paid attention. It got through to people, and it mattered, and it was remembered, and it’s astounding to me that it happened. 


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Following the news for a whole lotta years, I’ve heard thousands of politicians being interviewed, and perhaps a dozen times said to myself, “That person is not full of shit” — not lying, not stupid, not ‘triangulating’, not saying one thing to one group and the opposite to someone else, not calculating what’s the answer that will bring in donations, but sincerely giving a damn and trying to make things better.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one. Bernie Sanders is another. And definitely, Stacy Abrams. She’s running again for Governor of Georgia, against a system rigged against her because she’s black, because she's smart, and especially because she’s sincerely giving a damn and trying to make things better. 

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And on the other side of the universe, TV quack “Dr Oz” is running for US Senate from Pennsylvania. He’d be awful, of course, but he’s already awful. “Senator Oz” might even be a net improvement — in DC instead of on TV, he wouldn’t even be in the top 40 of awful. 

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Industrial collapse in slow-motion: Like anything involving big-time capitalism, the clog-up of shipping in California is beyond my understanding. Lots of foodstuffs are rotting, needed supplies going nowhere, because of ‘congestion’ — there's more cargo and ships than docks and dockworkers. The panicked news coverage has slowed, but the backlog apparently continues.

Is it all only wages, wages again? People unwilling to do the work while underpaid, and corporations unwilling to pay reasonable wages?

That’s what I suspect is happening off the coast of Cali, but I can't say for sure from this distance. I do know and it's an absolute certainty, companies paying chickenshit wages is the explanation behind every other “staff shortage” everywhere.

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I was a Star Trek fan as a kid, attended sci-fi conventions and yeah, wore Vulcan ears and thought I knew how to pronounce George Takei’s name. I even corrected people when they pronounced Takei some other way, for fifty years until yesterday. Then I heard Takei on a podcast, and he pronounced his own name wrong!

It’s Gene Roddenberry’s fault. I’d seen Roddenberry speak at a con, he'd worked with Takei for years, so you’d think he'd know how to pronounce Takei’s name. And that’s how I’ve pronounced it, ever since — the way Roddenberry pronounced it.

Beam me down, I was lied to by the Great Bird of the Galaxy. Takei does not rhyme with ‘the pie’, it rhymes with ‘decay’.

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A TV-movie revival of Nash Bridges now exists, and it seems so gaudy surreal ridiculous and thus true to the original, I’ll have to watch it.

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Way down in this too-wordy article, there’s a nugget that made me smile: Stan Lee didn’t like superhero movies. Good to know, and I agree. There’ve been a few fun ones, but most superhero movies are crap.

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When I was a young whippersnapper, ‘grumpy old man’ was a stereotype, and when I saw a grumpy old man I might’ve laughed. Now I am that grumpy old man and it ain’t at all funny, except when it is.

The whole world is drowning in stupidity and incompetence, and I’m getting old and crotchety and impatient with it all. I’ll do you the small courtesy of not detailing today’s outrages and indignities, but take my word for it — it was outrageous and I was indignant. Harrumph. 

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Here’s an amusing look backward at some rich wingnut who argued loudly against getting the polio vaccine. Unlike today’s wingnuts, he didn’t have a huge slice of America on his side, millions and millions of people refusing a vaccine, and because he didn’t you can probably walk.

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The oldest house in Aveyron, France; built some time in the 14th century.

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CNN has finally ‘suspended’ Chris Cuomo, probably with pay. I barely give a rip about Cuomo, but I care about journalism, so I found this line revealing but not surprising:

"When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother's staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly," the spokesperson continued. "But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second."

Got it. Chris Cuomo’s family is more important than CNN’s integrity, and CNN 'appreciates' that. Thanks for clearing that up.

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I check this site’s stats once in a while, which is always blues-inducing, but fuck it all. I would much, much rather really reach five people, than have 5,000 surfers pop in for a giggle and go. 

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 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


 Sing along with Doug:
"Sam Stone," by John Prine

Sincere tip 'o the hat:
Captain Hampockets
Follow Me HereHyperallergic
John the Basket • LiarTownUSA
Messy Nessy ChickNational Zero
Ran PrieurVintage Everyday
Voenix Rising

Extra special thanks:
Clayton Barnes • Becky Jo
Name Withheld • Dave S.

Leftovers & Links 

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  1. Linden — I want to ask you the dumbest question of your day -- are you still watching Mannix? I've just started watching a few episodes, and sure, it's television, and 1970s television at that, but it seems better and smarter than whatever's on TV these days...

    1. I am still watching Mannix from time to time, along with Barnaby Jones and Cannon, the other shows that run in the middle of the night on the MeTV network. I DVR them, so I can watch them when I want to see them.

      it's funny you say how intelligent Mannix is because I was noticing that the plots can get a bit convoluted for what appears to be a simple detective show. The first season where he works for Intertect sometimes doesn't make complete sense to me, but I've always had trouble with certain types of crime stuff. I'd make a terrible criminal. But I notice it gets easier to understand once the layers of Intertect bureaucracy are gone. I could never figure if Mannix's boss was on his side or not. He says Mannix is his best man but he spends a lot of time fucking up his efforts.

      Barnaby Jones is hilarious because it seems like nearly everyone dies from a 'blow to the head' caused by hitting their head on a table or some other non-lethal regular occurrence. So many accidental deaths it's uncanny. Then there's the idea that everyone who fires a gun at BJ never hits him even though he's standing in the middle of the ground with nothing to hide behind while BJ takes a shot and either wings the shooter's shooting hand or takes him/her out completely. I loved the episode where a fictional rock star is caught for killing his silent songwriter partner. BJ is obsessed with the 'complimentary records' that the late songwriter had of this rock star. Anyone who works in the music biz would fall over laughing, since they're called promos and are not rare or unusual in any way. Most record companies, especially in the '70s, gave them out like candy to get anyone interested in a new artist or album. These days it's all downloads, but I can tell you that at one point in the early to mid '00s, I was receiving at least a hundred promo CDs a week as a 'Reviews Editor' for a music mag. Good thing BJ wasn't still on the job or else he might've used the 'complimentary CDs' as evidence that I killed someone i didn't.

    2. I've only watched a few Mannixes, and I'm skipping around, because while they're good for 1970s television there are lots of better things to watch. I'm enjoying them, though. Maybe 'intelligent' is the wrong word, but they're... stylish, and the episode with the skytrams must've gone over budget.

      Yeah, I agree that the boss in season one, everything about Intertect, never made a lick of sense. I only watched two from season one. I missed Peggy. Always liked Peggy, and she didn't come aboard until season two.

      I watched a lot of Barnaby Jones way back when too, and it was fun, sure, but the dude was too old. It's like Matlock, and whatever the Dick Van Dyke thing was — if you're supposed to be badass, it needs to be plausible that your hero might punch somebody if he needs to, and none of those guys had anything.

      Hey, I never even said I'd review records, but *I* got "complimentary records" now and then in the 1990s...

  2. > Is it all only wages, wages again? People unwilling to do the work while underpaid, and corporations unwilling to pay reasonable wages?

    It's like a slow rolling general strike. The only thing missing is the pickets.

  3. Also... Howl. I read it only once, a school assignment, and so what. It is alive at the youtube link, starts at 3:25. Thank you.

    1. I've perhaps paid too little attention to the beats, but Howl impressed me, spoken. Jack K never did it for me, though. Nor Cassidy. Before yesterday I would've said Maynard G Krebs was my favorite.

      I like thinking it's a general strike, gathering steam. I'll be on strike in a couple of months, when my job finally dumps me.

    2. Howl at this, the first verse of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's I Am Waiting.

      I am waiting for my case to come up
      and I am waiting
      for a rebirth of wonder
      and I am waiting for someone
      to really discover America
      and wail
      and I am waiting
      for the discovery
      of a new symbolic western frontier
      and I am waiting
      for the American Eagle
      to really spread its wings
      and straighten up and fly right
      and I am waiting
      for the Age of Anxiety
      to drop dead
      and I am waiting
      for the war to be fought
      which will make the world safe
      for anarchy
      and I am waiting
      for the final withering away
      of all governments
      and I am perpetually awaiting
      a rebirth of wonder

    3. Of course the case he's waiting for is the suit against him filed by the United States Government and the United States Post Office for publishing Howl when nobody else would.

      Spoiler: Ferlinghetti won for all of us.


    4. Insert standard disclaimer: I'm the unwashed masses, don't know diddly, and ought to be embarrassed by that, but...

      It's hard to make poetry work, when it's printed. The reader has to come at it with a receptive mindset, turn off the radio and put out the cat, blot out all the distractions from every direction. And then has to work at it, since it's a few words of imagery at a time, instead of sentences and paragraphs of prose, so the poet's done most of the heavy lifting but the reader has to put in some effort, too.

      I read the Ferlinghetti, understood and appreciated it, thanks. Also, of course, I appreciate what he did.

      And then a bit later, I clicked around and found the poem spoken aloud, which spoke more clearly to me.

      Unwashed mass man, that's me.

    5. I did my 'Honors' Senior Thesis in college on Howl. 'Honors' meant I had to make my Senior Thesis 25 pages instead of 20, which was no sweat to me, since I'm wordy by nature. I don't remember a thing about my thesis, but my professor -- considered to be the 'toughest' professor in the English department and the only prof I thought wasn't a fossil in our state college -- gave me an A- and said I had a future writing literary criticism, which sounded then as now as a thoroughly useless talent.

      I saw Ginsberg read in 1985, during my senior year in high school. Me and two friends made the visit to the local community college to see him and were the only younger-than-college age attendees and unlike the college students actually wanted to be there. I couldn't believe that this icon of the Beats was going to read in a town nearby. Years later, I became friends with the guys who brought AG to that college and I realized just how small the world is for people who have any interest in anything besides making money.

      Ginz was brilliant. A real entertainer. He couldn't sing for shit but it never stopped him and he brought latter-day Fugs guitarist Steven Taylor with him to accompany his primitive harmonium playing. He read from his 'greatest hits' and impressed my friends as well, who were equally obsessed with AG for months afterwards. Of course, the local newspaper missed the essence completely and went for the barrel-scraping "Gay Poet Comes to Community College." My dad, who was mortally afraid I was gay, was appalled that I'd attended this Den of Sin and I patiently explained to him that while yes, Ginz's poetry often made reference to his homosexuality, it wasn't his entire being and it mattered not a whit to me. I left out that the things I liked most about AG at that point were his anti-establishment, anti-middle class homogeny takes on society.

      The only Kerouac books I enjoyed were On the Road and Big Sur, though I always get bored with Big Sur in the same spot every time I've tried to finish it.

      I saw Ferlinghetti read a few years later at Seton Hall, the Catholic University. He signed my book of his stuff on the page of my favorite LF poem, In a Time of Revolution For Instance, which I still recommend.

      The final 'beat' I saw read was Tuli Kupferberg, who was outright hilarious.

      I went to Catholic school from k-8 and at one point we had a young priest named Father Stan. He was OK but there was always something about these guys that I never liked. I guess it comes down to the fact that they likely saw that I didn't completely buy the bullshit they were selling and they knew I'd never stick around for the long haul. Our main pastor was a big fat priest who talked way too much about how our parish needed to become a 'tithing' parish while he had fancy fish dinners delivered privately to the rectory.

      When my mom and dad died, none of the A-team priests showed up to their wake/funerals. The church has the nerve to send priests who never knew them, despite their own dedication and generous support of said church. Shameful, but I knew it was a racket.

    6. Mr Arden, I envy your time with Mr. Ferlinghetti. I fell in love with A Coney Island of the Mind about the time I hit puberty, which I think is a coincidence, but you never know.

      I made four or five trips to San Francisco as an adult, on what we used to call "business", and on three occasions made my way to City Lights, not for an autograph, but for a handshake with Mr Ferlinghetti. I just wanted to thank him for his poetry, but each time I barged into the store, a clerk (or whatever you call a person who works at a Beat bookstore) pointed up the stairs and said something like, "You don't want to go up there right now -- he's working."

      Now, as an old man who recognizes the brief spark that is a life, I'd probably go up the stairs anyway, but when I was a younger man propriety prevailed. "OK, I'll catch him next time" is an inexcusably non-Beat response. I never caught him.

      On the other hand, I never stopped enjoying his poetry or admiring his courage. If somebody ever decides to erect another, smaller statue on Liberty Island I'd like to volunteer to make the case for Mr. Ferlinghetti's likeness. I'm just not sure which poem fragment should go on the pedestal. Emma Lazarus is hard to beat and just as hard to tie, but Mr F could at least give her a run for her money.


      Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
      With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
      Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
      A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
      Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
      Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
      Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
      The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
      "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
      With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    7. “Gay Poet Comes to Community College” made me snort my breakfast broccoli. My knowledge of all things beat is slight, but I’m starting to think I should work on that. Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti I’ve read in very small doses, and Kupferberg never at all. Even knowing nothing, though, I knew by 1985 that Ginsberg was more than “gay poet.”

      My Kerouac knowledge is even more minimal. Along about the same time Ginsberg was reading his poetry to you, a few people had told me Kerouac was where I should be, so being a cheapskate and poor I went to the library and looked for Kerouac. I went at least twice, maybe three times, and every time the book I wanted (On the Road, everyone had said) was checked out. They had a pre-computerized waiting list, fill out this form and give us your phone number, but I was never one for waiting, so I gave up. Much more recently, I finally checked it out from the library, but my attention sputtered as it does, and I never got past the second or third chapter.

      One of many things I’ve missed out on, all my own damned fault. Will I catch up with the essential writers now? Unlikely. There are twenty books on my gotta-read list, half of them are here in the apartment, and it’s first come first read, but I read rarely and slowly...

      Religion is a racket, and funerals to me are the worst way to remember someone, but I’m sorry the bastards gave your father a second-string memorial service.

  4. > I would much, much rather really reach five people, than have 5,000 surfers pop in for a giggle and go.

    Please count me as one of your five.


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