Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Darwin Awards

2013 Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us. Here Is The Glorious Winner: 1. When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked. And Now, The Honorable Mentions: 2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved. 3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her. 4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days. 5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit. 6.. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer... $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?] 7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape. 8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from." 9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast... The frustrated gunman walked away. [*A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER] 10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had and the perp had been punished enough! In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with friends and family.... unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long lost friend. In that case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost. *****Remember***** They walk among us, they can reproduce.

Not Hot LP Covers

As a young boy in the 60s LP covers were hot as a Playboy centerfold.

Herb Alpert stuck a blow for overt sexuality with the creamy cover of THE TASTE OF HONEY.

Not all LPs were the same.

Show us that love.

Strangely the Gap Band's DROPPED A BOMB ON ME was not covered on this long-playing record.

Amazing what gets on vinyl.

To hear THE TASTE OF HONEY please go to the following URL

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

ROADS OF THE FLYOVER Part 2 by Peter Nolan Smith

We crossed the Mississippi into Missouri at Lousiana. The river was spreading across the flood plains. "We have nothing like this in England." Brock shot the passing landscape with his movie camera. "Is this going to be in your film?" I hadn't asked too many questions about his Barry Flanagan project. "Barry wants to see the world. He can't travel anymore." The film maker was a one-man crew. Two, if you counted me a driver. Brock stopped shooting. "Imagine yourself trapped in a failing body. You'd want to see all this, wouldn't you?" "And more." I loved travel. href=""> We traveled on US 54 to Vandalia, then turned northwest to Paris on US 25. The rental Ford hit 80 on the straightaways. Something told me it could go faster. "Aren't you scared of police?" Brock aimed the camera at me. "They're out on the Interstates. That's where the cars are." I hadn't seen a cop car since the Highway Patrol cruiser in St. Louis that stopped me for speeding. "This is the Flyover." "Flyover?" "Yes, the land everyone flies over on their way from the east coast to the west, but it's not a wasteland." "No, I wouldn't say that." Brock put down his camera. Miles and miles of newly plowed wasn't much of a thrill, but a week's parole from New York was soothing to my eyes. "How do people live out here?" Brock shook his head passing an abandoned junkyard. US 24 had little to offer in the way of eateries. We were holding off for ribs in KC. "Farming." The raw fields of Spring surrounded the US two-laner. The houses were prosperous. "I feel like we're in COLD BLOOD." Brock had chosen Truman Capote's opus about two drifters murdering a Kansas farmer as his travel book. "Not much has changed out here." Mine was Herman Melville's TYPEE. I hadn't even opened it. "The last time I came through the Midwest was in 1994 in a Studebaker Hawk." "That's why I wanted you with me. You're American." I pressed PLAY on the CD. Arthur Lee and Love's IF 6 WAS 9 and my foot hit the gas. The Ford was all go. Rain sploshed off the pavement of the four-laner. Kansas City rested on a hill. The sun broke through the clouds to transform it into Oz. "I love America." Brock filmed two minutes. I doubted any of it would be in his film. "My friend, Joe, ran away to Kansas City in 1965. He was 13 and wanted to see if there were any pretty girls there." "As Wilburt Harrison said in the song." "He found none and the cops sent him back to Boston." "But he got here and here is a long way away from there." "And that's the truth." Downtown Kansas City mimicked St. Louis purgatory and we booked a room in Kansas not fat from Ray Santo. The South Shore native was free tonight and we met for ribs. Brock and I got sloppy. Ray stayed clean. "I have to play later." Ray was a drummer in the KC scene. "We're coming with you." Brock ordered another round. The three of us left the restaurant in a taxi. Kansas City police actively sought out drunk drivers. "But not drunks." Ray gave the driver directions. "Not yet." I muttered, because Kansas was next to Oklahoma and that state didn't believe in curves. Five minutes after we arrived at the crowded nightclub, Ray hit the stage. The band performed a tight set of country-western. Brock almost yee-hahed during a break. "How do you know Ray?" "He went out with my sister." Ray had a Corvette. He played good hockey and shoot better pool. My mother didn't approve of his dating my younger sister. "Back in 1970." "That's thirty years ago." "Yep." I hadn't seen Ray in too long. I yee-hahed him and Brock joined me. Drinking beer in Kansas was good. After coffee and donuts at the motel I drove us to Overland Park. Flanagan had a Hare statue in the middle of the Johnson County Community College campus. A uniformed guard gave us a pass. Our parking space was specified as 'visitor'. The art director met us on the walkway. "School's not in session." JCCC offered its student body of 37,000 the chance of changing lives through learning. It was a big school. "That's fine. We're here to see the Hare." Brock broke out his equipment, as we entered the Administration Building. The sign on the door warned NO GUNS. "Well, here it is." The director stood before the 11-foot statue of a Hare on a Bell. I liked the one in St. Louis better. It was very Nijinsky. Brock asked our host questions about his feelings about the Hare. I made myself scarce during the interview. I liked to know nothing and pulled out my cellphone to call New York. No one answered, so I visited the Nerman Museum attached to JCCC. The sky was threatening rain. The clouds weren't telling any lies. An hour later Brock ran to the Ford in a downpour. He carried the camera bag under his coat. I was listening to Dave Van Ronk's BOTH SIDES NOW. "It's more important than me." The Scot sat in the car. Rain dripped off him. Brock shut off the AC. "That was great> I interview seven people. They really get the Hare." I wished that I could. "What now?" "North to Iowa." "Right." I pulled out of the parking lot certain no one had said 'North to Iowa' in this century.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ROADS OF THE FLYOVER Chapter 1 by Peter Nolan Smith

The crew met at Miguel Abreau's Gallery on Orchard Street. We were honoring Brock Dundee. The Scotsman had finished filming a documentary about Afghanistan for the UK's MoD. Dannatt joked that Brock was a spy. "James Bond was a Scot same as everyone in MI6." Brock gave the art critic a steely squint. For the rest of the night Dannatt's joke were at everyone's expense other than the happy Scot. Brock was in a good mood. He had money in his pocket. His wife Joanna was selling his painting and his kids were healthy "It's nice to be someplace you can drink a beer without worrying about a bullet chaser." Afghanistan wasn't a joke and Brock asked, "You?" I haven't seen my kids in months." They were on the other side of the world like their mother. "But I'm working on 47th Street." "How's that going?" Brock was familiar with my gig in the diamond district. href=""> "I've had better years." I hadn't sold a diamond in a month. Jewelry was the last thing on a man's mind in 2009. "But I'm taking care of my kids." "How'd you like to take a trip?" "Where?" I hoping to hear Thailand. "Chicago-St. Louis-Kansas City-Iowa City-Minneapolis-Chicago." Brock was serious. "I'm doing a film about Barry Flanagan. The Irish sculptor. "Rabbits." "Not, hares." Brock knew Barry. The sculptor was very sick. Brock's project was to film various sculptures around the USA and show them to Barry in Ibiza. "Why do you need me?" I sounded useless. "Because I can't drive." Brock mentioned my pay for the trip. "Count me in." I loved road trip. Two weeks later I met Brock at his midtown hotel. He had been drinking most of the morning. "Left Kabul two days ago." "Well, you're back now." I could smell the Khyber Pass on him. He slept through the taxi ride to JFK. We hit the Sushi Bar at the Jet Blue Terminal for raw tuna and cold saki. An hour later they called our flight. Brock and I boarded the overcrowded 737. I opted for the window seat. Brock lifted his bag to place in the overhead compartment. The chubby steward closed the door on my friend's fingers. "Ouch." "You're drunk and you're not flying to Chicago on this plane." I explained to the pilot that Brock had returned from Afghanistan. In 1842 only one British soldier escaped the fall of Kabul. The army had numbered 15,000. I couldn't say what he had been doing over there, but I believed he had been making a film. I knew his protectress the honorable Alice. "We'll put you on a flight for tomorrow morning." I thanked the pilot and ordered Brock not to say a word. We booked into the JFK Ramada. The bar was filled with Deadheads migrating from the legendary band's New York stand. They came from all over the world. We hung out with two guys from California. They were both named Steve. Brock and I caught the morning flight. The flight attendants showed us to our seats. Two hours later we got the rented car at O'Hare. I drove on the Interstate. I-70 took us to St. Louis, however the truck traffic on the Interstate was a horror. "You mind, if you take back roads." "That's why you're here. This film is as much about the trip as it is the sculpture. Barry's dying. He wants to see the world." "Then I'll show it to him." I got off the highway. Joliet was on the Des Plainnes River. We passed the Correctional Institute. It seemed to be the only business in town. "They filmed THE BLUES BROTHERS here." Brock was a film buff. We crossed the river at West Jackson and passed under I-80 on the way to Peoria. There was little traffic on the river road. The Illinois River valley was wide. Once hundreds of ships plied the river's muddy current. Today Peoria was a ghost town of abandoned factories. Steel was turning to rust. Globalization had not treated the city with kindness, however the Caterpillar factory was working a double shift. Someone still had money for gas and I stepped on the accelerator to get us out of town. We drove through the farmlands. Across the river. We had planned to stay in the cities. Brock said, "St. Louis is a zombie movie backdrop." A suburban motel was cheap wasn't far from the Cahokia Indian Mounds. I had slept atop them in 1972. Brock and I shared a room. We went down to the bar for happy hour. On my third margharita my cell rang. It was Mam in Sriracha. My son Fenway was sick. I had to wire money. The only Western Union was in East St. Louis. I drove into a dark neighborhood of abandoned buildings and empty lots. The people were friendly. I send $150. On the way back to motel a highway cop stopped me on the highway. The trooper said I was speeding. I explained my story. He believed me and let me go. I was a lucky drunk. In the morning we filled the rental car with gas and drove over to the Canokia Indian Mounds. "These were the largest structures in North America until the 1900s." Canokia's population was greater than any 13th Century city in Europe. "I camped on the top of that mound in 1973." "A hippie?" "On my way to LA." We climbed to the top of Monk's mound. It was over a hundred feet above the plain and the Mississippi shone in the distance. The tall trees blotted out most of the present. I stood in the year 1277. American culture had constructed a huge mound of garbage closer to St. Louis. in 1996 Barry Flanagan erected the Nijinsky Hare next to the new St. Louis Hockey Arena. I recounted Bobby Orr's goal against the Blues to Brock. I doubted the Checkerdome's replacement had a shot of that iconic goal. "What do you think of the Hare?" Brock broke out his camera. The sturdy Scot was shooting commando-style. "The Hare is good for all." Brock interviewed workers and commuters coming off the trolley. Everyone liked the Hare. We wandered up the Mississippi. This was Mark Twain land. I turned west at Lousiana. We were on our way to Kansas City and according to Wilbur Harrison, "They had a lot of pretty girls there."

Two Negatives Do Not Add Up To A Positive

In simple Math multiplying two negatives result in a positive sum, however -1 + -1 = -2 and earlier in the month internet panic-mongerers announced that the multinational agriculture giant Monsanto ie Thorne Enterprises of THE OMEN had purchased a mercenary army from Academi aka XE or the infamous Blackwater renowned worldwide for pedophilia in conflict zones such as Bosnia and Iraq. This news was not true, for Monsanto was simply seeking assistance to infiltrate animal rights and anti-GM organizations from Erik Prince's security company, paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars to perform this task. Bill Gates has also entered into the cabal with Monsanto to bio-engineer GM crops in Africa backed by the Chinese. -1 + -1 + -1 = -3 And no one really know who's owns Academi, but according to Wikipedia Jack Quinn, former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton and former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore. Monsanto's fingers are everywhere.

Ich Bin Ein Amerikaner

Last night my landlord/friend AP and I were joined by his loving daughter on the roof of the Fort Greene Observatory. AP hugged Lizzie and pointed out stars. It was a clear sky for New York. "Up there is Alpha Centuari. It's the closest star to Earth." "How far away?" Lizzie was a curious child. "4 light-years." "So if we drove there it would take a long time." "Yes." AP and I will never make that trip. Planes flittered across the low horizon. "And there satellites up there." I hadn't ever seen one above New York. "Spying on us." AP believed there was something terribly wrong about the NSA eavesdropping program. "But we're not doing anything wrong," protested Lizzie. The ten year-old had long blonde hair and I called her Hippie Girl with affection. "Yes, we are doing nothing wrong, but it's time to go to sleep." The three of us descended off the roof. I went to my room and listened to PUBLIC IMAGE by Public Image, then opened up my MacBook to read the news. The BBC reported that thousands of Germans and New Zealanders were protesting against the NSA spy program. The only public gatherings in America were at baseball parks this weekend. No one munching on an over-priced hot dog at Yankee Stadium cared about the evasive surveillance programme known as Prism or Eric Snowdon. The German government has denied any knowledge of the secret electronic spy network. In the words of the immortal Colonel Klink from HOGAN'S HEROES, "I know nothing." And the same can be said about the Land of the Free, except we say, "I don't care about nothing." I only wish I could feel the same.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Great Barrier Wasteland

Australia is a huge island with tremendous mineral deposits and proximity to China. Miners work triple-shifts in the Western Desert to satisfy the power demands of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Geologists recently discovered a vast Queensland coalfield in Eastern Australia and the country's Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water has announced an impending decision on a shipping channel through the Great Barrier Reef. Unesco considers the Great Barrier Reef a protected site. Environmentalists fear the dredging will hasten the southern ocean reef's decline, which has been already jeopardized by rising ocean temperature. Coal is cheap power to China. The deal is worth billions. Of course this proposal is a scare tactic by the Queensland government to ease acceptance of a 'more benign' port farther from the Great Barrier Reef. Clever capitalists. It had to be the only sane explanation, for no one would be mad enough to destroy the Great Barrier Reef. Not for all the tea in China.

Get Da Jag

My friend Cynthia from the Bush Tetras was looking for a car in LA. Only losers walk in the City of Angels. A pale-yellow Jaguar E-Class caught her eye and she wondered whether she should purchase it, if only in her mind. "Get da Jag." I green-lighted the buy. Back in the 1960s two teenage motorheads from my hometown tried to re-arrange the direction of their father's Jag ie reverse the front end to the rear end. Their mechanical effort was an absolute failure, but a brilliant failure. The Jag sped down the suburban street out of control. There was no steering. No brakes either. The two innovators ended up in a field. Their father came home from vacation. The Jag never drove right again and he never admonished his son. After all it was just a car.

15 Ways to Know That You're Old School South Shore

1.) You dove off Shipwreck and lived to tell the tale without getting a car antenna in your arm. 2.) You remember the SS Mayflower at Nantasket Beach. I had a head-on crash there in 1969. VW versus a Delta 88. 3.) The Surf Nantasket was your favorite dance hall. 5.) The Rocking Ramrods were your favorite band. Watch this URL 6.) Ridge Arena was your favorite concert hall. I saw Teddy and the Pandas with the Loving Spoonfuls there. 7.) You can't wait for winter to be over, so you can get fried clams at Wollaston Beach. 8.) Big Blue Hill is the highest elevation in your childhood. 9.) You saw a ship launched on the Fore River. 10.) You've driven down to Hull to watch the hurricane batter the sea wall. 11.) You made it from Wollaston to Nantasket in 15 minutes. On 3A 12.) Hojos was your favorite ice cream. 13.) Your hometown was founded by a Pilgrims. Their last names are not yours. They don't call the South Shore 'the Irish Riviera' for nothing. 14.) If you know Tim Wakefield is the most famous person to ever come from the South Shore. 15.) You consider the Neponset River as a protective barrier against Boston. Not its people, but the city. May it run deep forever.