Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rolling Rocks Into The Grand Canyon

Back in August 1972 I attempted to reach the bottom from the South Rim.

My friend and I left the south rim at 7am. We had two full canteen. Nick and I ran out of water around Skeleton Point.

The Colorado looked so inviting, but we were parched by the summer sun and quit our quest.

Near the top I ran into someone from my hometown. Moon Marco, who had bullied me incessantly with Joe Tully.

He was friendly and remarked how strange it was that we ran into each in the West. I

agreed and after he departed carrying two gallon bottles of water, I related the connection to Nick, who pointed to Moon and asked, "I didn't hear him say sorry."

Punches, kicks, and slaps.

Daily humiliation.

Never knowing why.

Throwing or rolling rocks or other items down hillsides or mountainsides, into valleys or canyons, or inside caves was prohibited by the National Park Service.

Moon was still within striking range.

"Me, neither." so I rolled a rock down the slope at Moon.

The bully ran for cover, as I rained more boulders at him.

After I stopped, Nick asked, "Are you feeling better?" "Yes, and about a lot of things." We got in Nick's BMW and continued west to California.

It wasn't very far away from Arizona.

Where's The Peace?

My step-father's farm lies about 200 kilometers north of Bangkok. Den annually harvests one rice crop. The rest of the year he tends to his roaming cattle.

His house is small. A solar panel provides energy for a small TV, radio, light bulb, and fan. The sun falls fast on the rice fields and at night my father-in-law drinks lao khao or rice whiskey, while speaking with the ghosts of the past.

They have long conversations and Den couldn't be more happy in this peaceful setting.

He rarely comes home to the main house.

No one listens to him after too much lao khao, but the ghosts have no choice.

They are his prisoners.

Even Preta, the hungry ghost.

Not much meat on Den.

Lao khao is the old man's main source of nutrition and hungry ghosts are not heavy drinkers.

A happy man indeed.

The serenity of the Chao Phyra river is an illusion.

Thailand as a nation is not so fortunate according to the World Peace Index.

Insurgency, corrupt police, and a political military are never a good recipe for peace.

See this URL; http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi/results/rankings/compare/

Back in 2008 the Land of Smiles stood 118 out of 140 countries bracketed by Kenya and the Congo, 140th unsurprisingly being Iraq. This low ranking was the result of the government's failed suppression of the restive South.

Yala.

I actually spent a month there in 1994.

It was very peaceful.

Not anymore.

Siam's 2016 standing has dropped to 125 and Thailand's status will not improve until a wise Thai asks his country end the power elite, "What about a little peace?"

Not that the Muslim separatists are interested in peace.

They want a land of their own, but Thailand is not interested in that solution.

So Siam should be in triple digits for the years to come.

In 2008 the USA was 97th.

Present ranking 103.

It feels more like 1003.

I guess the World Peace Index doesn't count when you export violence.

And import your dead.

Is a little peace too much to ask?

Really?

Steve McQueen thought it was cool and no one was cooler than Steve for a while.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST BY Adam Hochschild

Can you judge a book by its cover?

Certainly not KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST, unless you have an inkling that Josef Conrad's THE HEART OF DARKNESS was based on his six months of visiting the hellish Congo Free State plantation dotting the Congo River and that Kurtz was not one man but many fervently seeking their fortune by exploiting the natural resources in the jungles from ivory to rubber to human labor.

Henry Morton Stanley of 'Doctor Livingstone I presume' fame sets the mark for future company men working for the owner of the Congo, the King of Belgium.

And all he wanted was money.

If it meant cutting off the hands of the workers.

So be it.

The author conjures up a fascinating coterie of characters aside from the afore mentioned, none more quixotic than Roger Casement, the gay Irish rebel, who helps broaden the campaign against King Leopold's ghastly reign,

"Oh the horror indeed.

The book is worth reading, but only if you can get it from the library along with SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA and of course Alan Whitehead's two masterpieces WHITE NILE and THE BLUE NILE.Good luck.

The Brides of Mopti


The Niger River runs 4000 kilometers through Western Africa. Its existence was known to the Romans, although few people were aware of its source. Mungo Park explored the Mali interior finding death beyond the relative safety of Timbucktoo. It was a common end for most European seeking the shrink the expanse of 'terra incognita' on the Dark Continent.

The French came, saw, and went to Mali. They left the land of the Strong Brown God in 1960 and the nation of Mali returned to obscurity. The BBC News resurrected the world's attention to this distant land with a reportage of brothel towns along the Niger River, where thousands of Nigerian women have been enslaved in whorehouses to serve Muslim men unable to afford multiple wives.

Foreign travelers first saw this rampant sex trade in cities such as Mopti.

One traveler said, "I fired our first travel guide in a dark and dirty brothel in Mopti. The brothel was the cheaper of the two 'hotels' and served cold beer when the electricity was working, but was primitive, squalid, and full of noisy drunks."

Obviously a no star hotel.

And neither was The Hotel Bar Mali.

"A marvelous place to luxuriate in squalor. For the squeamish, it was indubitably a mirror on hell, a place where six of the seven deadly sins were practiced continually, or more accurately, continuously, since there was no significant interval in the on and off of coitus uninterreptus and other frenzied debauch."

Any town that far from sanity will attract the scum of the Earth.

Mopti, for far from heaven, so close to hell.

This photo was not from National Geographic photo shoot.

Peter Beard in Paradise

In 2008 Peter Beard defied the death.

Not only had the famed photographer survived a goring by the tusk of an African elephant, but even the ravages of his own excess.

Bravo for a new life in St. Tropez.

Here's an elephant attack joke:

This tourist returns from Africa and calls his doctor.

"I was raped by an elephant."

"Raped by an elephant?" The doctor is alarmed having once seen an aroused bull elephant at the circus. "I want you to come in right away."

An hour later the man walks into the clinic. Each step misery. Once inside his office the doctor tells the patient to pull down his pants and is astounded by the size of the man's distended anus.

"I know elephants have big penises, but this is huge."

"Well," The tourist lowers his head. "The elephant first fingered me."

photo by randy koral 2010

The Shine of Donyale Luna

America was white in 1964 from coast to coast, however Malcolm X preached resistance up in Harlem and Martin Luther King was leading marches in Selma, Alabama. Reacting to the blowing in the wind, Nancy White, the Harper's Bazaar editor, transported an unknown black teenage from Detroit to the starry heights of the international modeling set.

According to Wikipedia Donyale Luna was 5-11, flat-chested and X-ray skinny. Her legs were as stilt-like as a Giacometti sculpture, her fingers extended and spidery. She had caramel-colored skin, almond-shaped eyes, full lips and an oval-shaped face, which, in certain poses, retained an owlish surprise, as if she'd just been pinched from behind.

Half African and half Quechuan from the Andes the black model strode onto the runways of New York and Paris.

The world was hers.

London's Telegraph reported that Luna wrote a friend, 'New York is a dream… a man danced me down Fifth Avenue, and all up and down Broadway men were eyeing and whistling at me, and so many other unbelievable things. I'm really getting the works from head to toe by Harper's Bazaar's best! As soon as possible I'll send you a picture of the new me. I'll be on top of the world if it takes every breath I have, every muscle of my skinny body. I feel it, I know it. I'll be some kind of star real soon. Real soon."

Avedon shot her for Harper. His photos transformed the school girl into a jet-set princess after a violent family tragedy in which her drunken father had been shot dead by her mother in self-defense. Luna took solace with high class friends, but defected to London, as her career languished in racist America.

In the city of BLOW-UP she became a star for David Bailey, William Klein, Helmut Newton, William Claxton, and Dali.

"She had no tits, but lots of presence," quipped her model friend Pat Cleveland in the Telegram article. "We'd walk down the street and men's mouths would drop open in awe. When we walked into restaurants people would stop eating and stand up and applaud. She was like a mirage, or some kind of fantasy."

And like a mirage she vanished into the world of drugs and died a model's death in Rome.

A black beauty forever.

ps America is no longer all white.

15 Minutes of African Garage/Psych Rock from 60's Era

Garage rock existed everywhere in the world during the 60s; Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Here's 15 minutes of savage rock from the Big Continent.

Check out this URL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MicORkZyNaI

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mungo Park - Explorer

European geologists were baffled by the rivers of Africa.

They were puzzled by the sources of the Niger and Congo and even thought that the two rivers were one. Expeditions were sent out from the capitols of the empires. Mongo Park was one of those explorers. The Scot had reached the Niger in the end of the 18th Century, traveling east to Bamako before turning back to the Atlantic.

His book TRAVELS IN CENTRAL AFRICA was a huge success.

Eight years later Mungo Park struck out for Africa.

Europe wanted to solve the mystery.

It was no mystery for the inhabitants of the Niger flood plain.

The river came from one way and wen the other.

It was only a problem when the Niger overran its banks.

The the river went in all directions.

The expedition was beset by disease.

Eleven out of the thirty-nine Europeans arrived at the banks of the Niger.

They continued down the river on a modified canoe.

The men died one by one.

Park's last letter stated, "I shall set sail for the east with the fixed resolution to discover the termination of the Niger or perish in the attempt. Though all the Europeans who are with me should die, and though I were myself half dead, I would still persevere, and if I could not succeed in the object of my journey, I would at least die on the Niger."

The Africans frequently attacked the travelers.

The expedition ended at the Bussa Rapids.

The natives killed everyone.

THE STRONG BROWN GOD: THE STORY OF THE NIGER RIVER By Sanche de Gramont contains an excellent account of Mungo Park's exploration as does T C Boyle's WATER MUSIC.

The Niger still rolls to the sea.

As strong as ever.

Brown as mud.

Bamako On The Strong Brown God

Bamako is the fast-growing capitol of Mali. The word 'Bamako' means crocodile in the Bambara language and the ancient town has served as a market town since Empire of Ghana dominated the region. The city of 2 million inhabitants straddles the Niger River.

Three bridges span the wide river.

During the dry season two causeways provide other options for crossing the Strong Brown God.

My friend Alice is the ambassador in Bamako.

I hope to join her in November.

The dry season and the dry season is real in the sub-Sahara.

Pepe Le Moko

An ex-girlfriend from Paris saw this photo and remarked that I resembled the French actor Jean Gabin in PEPE LE MOKO.

She wasn't too far off.

But I think it was the hair.

I'm sitting in the 169.

I wish it was on this wall.

Algiers I think.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Oculus At The World Trade Building

When the World Trade Towers collapsed on 9/11, the weight of the Twin Towers crushed the subway hub in the massive buildings sub-basement. The federal government and the governments of New Jersey and New York agreed to create of new station. Its construction was long-delayed and the cost blossomed from $1.9 billion to $3.9 billion in the course of the fifteen years since 2011.

The Oculus will serve 250,000 daily passengers of the PATH system.

The original design by Santiago Calatrava was to resemble 'a bird being released from a child's hand' with a mechanically movable roof, however Homeland Security demanded alterations to provide greater security and the New York Times reported in 2005, "In the name of security, Santiago Calatrava's bird has grown a beak. Its ribs have doubled in number and its wings have lost their interstices of glass.... The main transit hall, between Church and Greenwich Streets, will almost certainly lose some of its delicate quality, while gaining structural expressiveness. It may now evoke a slender stegosaurus more than it does a bird."

People regarded the Oculus with wonder, but the cost of $3.9 billion is a little less than three times the annual operating budget of $14 billion and more than twice as much as Amtrak's yearly cost.

Of course the LIRR only travels to Long Island and Long Islanders are conservative by nature.

They deserve nothing better than what they get.

Shitty trains.

Versus the TGV of France.

HITCHHIKING PROHIBITED by Peter Nolan Smith

The weather along Montana's Continental Divide shifted from summer to fall to winter in late-August of 1972. My college friend Ptrov and I were bound for Boston to start our second year of university and we crashed a night with a trio of carpenter gypsies constructing a rest stop on the new interstate. Bulldozers had churned the dirt highway into a muddy bog for the passing trucks. At night few drivers dared to brave the four-lane quagmire and six of us watched the stars wheel across the heaven without the glare from the headlights of long-distance truckers.

In the morning Jackson offered us jobs.

"Why don't you stay here?"

The mountains stretched to a big blue sky.

"I'd loved to, but my draft number is 193, so I'm staying in school."

"I was in Vietnam. 1967 to 1969." He had the number of days memorized. "Hard times and I thought anyone who didn't go was a commie. The Tet Offensive changed my mind."

"It did that for a lot of people."

The forces of the Viet Cong had been decimated, but the Pentagon had lost the hearts and minds of America. Now Nixon was into the fourth year of his Viet-Nam War and the draft board was inducting nineteen year-olds as deep at 251.

"Better you stay in school for the duration."

"And I'm in love." Ptrov had a girlfriend in Milwaukee. Sue attended the same university three of us went to the same college.

"Both are good excuses." He wished us good-luck and we went out to the highway. Three minutes later a broken-knuckled miner driving his Ford 150 stopped on his way to work.

"I'm going to Butte."

"Evel Knievel came from here."

"That he did and he got fired from the Anaconda copper mine for doing a wheelie with an earthmover. Lots of wild men come Butte too. For a small city is has a lot of good bars."

"I'd like to check them out, but we're heading east."

Out of the pine-lined mountains the day turned bright and sunny in the open valley. The miner left us at the entrance to the Anaconda Copper Mine. A slender chimney rose from the smelter. The brick tower was probably the tallest structure between Seattle's Space Needle and a skyscraper over a thousand miles to the East in Minneapolis.

The next ride took its time in coming. We were between shifts at the mine, but an hour later a trucker hauling potatoes drove us to Logan. This section of I-90 was also under construction, so he stopped on the Montana Route 2. Train tracks separated the road from a river. We got out of the truck and he said, "I'm going a little farther down the road to the prison. Maybe another twenty miles. I'm not allowed to drop off riders on that stretch of the highway, but you should get a long ride from here."

The long-hauler dieseled south.

While the traffic was light, the road had a wide shoulder and cars drove slower this close to town but after a half-hour Ptrov pointed to a road sign.

"You think that sign has anything with our not getting a ride?"

"Might."

A hundred feet from us stood rose a yellow sign stating HITCHHIKER MAY BE ESCAPED INMATES.

"Maybe people will think that anyone before the sign isn't a convict, since what fugitive hitchhikes back to where he escaped?"

"Probably because he couldn't get a ride. This place sucks."

"Only if you're in a hurry."

A steep bluff rose from the other side of the river. The long trains lurched across the web of tracks and, as the trains departed the marshaling yard, Northern Pacific engineers waved from diesel locomotives moving at a walking pace.

We took turns sticking out our thumbs. Ptrov stood in the same spot, figuring that that tactic of getting a ride was better than my strategy of moving from place to place. There were no numbers involved in either equation, because the end result was zero. No one was stopping for us and the sun was getting low in the West.

What if we get stuck here forever."

"We could always jump on a train. They're headed in the right direction." A freight train was hauling empty box cars with their doors open to air out the interiors.

"But where? North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming?"

"It's just a thought." Walking was not an option.

Evening came fast and we lucked out with two brothers driving a Ford Falcon all the way to Cape Cod. Neither of us were hitchhiking at the time. The older brother had just gotten out of the Navy and they were going home. They had nothing against hippies.

"Been there long?"

"Long enough."

"Where you headed?"

"Boston.

"We're going to Maine."

Then let's get going."

It was good to get out of Lodge.

We were no convicts and home was on the other side of America.

Only two days away.

A Painter Painting a Picture


Hitchhiking was a good way to travel between Boston and Montreal in the early 1970s.

The 400 miles of I-89 was one of the East Coast's most scenic highway, slanting across New Hampshire and Vermont to Lake Champlain then into Quebec.

It was a great trip from start to finish.

In August of 1971 I was heading north to meet friends in Montreal.

A Karman Ghia stopped in Lebanon and the longhair said that he needed money for gas. I gave him $5. Ace drove me from Lebanon to St. Albans with Jethro Tull on the 8-track When I got out of the car, the longhair handed me a pill. The horse choker capsule was an inch long.

"It's LSD." The hippie flashed a peace sign. His iris wavered in size. "Very strong. Take it with friends and don't look in a mirror."

"I know better than that."

Looking at your reflection was a mistake no one wanted to repeat on a trip. I had once stared at my shimmering face for hours on Orange Sunshine.

My eyes had been a single black pool greeting a stare into eternity.

"Thanks for the gas."

A gallon was 35 cents.

$5 was good for a week's driving in the VW.

I flashed him the peace sign and stood on the interstate's shoulder.

The next ride was to the border.

Canadian immigration asked for a driver's license.

The official saluted my entrance into his country.

Two hours later I was drinking beer with my New Zealand friends at the Winston Churchill Pub. My Irish friends were playing a gig off St. Catherine. Several French girls came home to Benny's apartment on Barat Street. I showed them the LSD pill.

The night was velvet with darkness. Pink Floyd was on the Denon turntable.

A bootleg release of MEDDLE.

I divided the powdered pill into section.

1/3 for the four girls.

1/3 for my three friends.

1/3 for me.

One hour passed without any effect, then Benny put on the Jefferson Airplane AFTER BATHING AT BAXTERS, then the first flash of light warbled from the corner of our eyes. The girls danced with POO NEIL. My friends held the album cover in their handstand we chanted, "A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting...."

The LP art shrank into the sub-universe of time and space.

We were wandering in a microcosmic dream.

Each layer funnier than the last.

Dawn broke early on the St. Lawrence. Stars melted into the sky and we chanted, "A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting...."

One last time and then we returned home. I slept with a girl named Cheree. Her flesh was as soft as still air.

She spoke French, no English, but chanted with an Quebecoisse accent, "A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting...." until the words softened to a mutter and her skin turned to feathers.

It took me a long time to come down.

Cheree was my parachute.

She provided a soft landing.

"A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting...."

I'm glad that my mind remembered Cheree's name.

My name too.

ON THE SOUTH SHORE by Peter Nolan Smith KINDLE VERSION

I was lucky enough to live through the 1960s as a teenager on the South Shore of Boston.

Home was still home to us.

My friends and I led charmed lives at the Quincy Quarries, Surf Nantasket, and Wollaston Beach

ON THE SOUTH SHORE recounts those lives.

The time was short, but retelling these tales brings back those years, if only for a moment.

They were good ones.

Here’s an excerpt from THE HOLE OF HEAVEN

According to the Old Testament God banished Adam and Eve from Eden for eating apples and this Original Sin condemned future generations to this mortal coil, however humans have defied this divine decree with repeated attempts to recreate Heaven on Earth. Most of these utopias have been short-lived, for nothing irked the true believers more than people enjoying the rewards of a good life in the present and in 1965 the teenagers of Boston’s South Shore celebrated the pursuit of earthly happiness at the infamous Quincy Quarries.

The spring-fed pits offered pleasure without any parental supervision and the passage from boys to men was achieved by a leap off the craggy cliffs into the rock-bound pools. The sun never shined so bright as on the rims of The Hole Of Heaven and Josephine’s, but Brewster’s Quarry was the favorite haunt for the thousands of teenagers devoting their youth to the life of a fallen angel. An anonymous teenager had named the vast abyss the Hole of Heaven back in the 40s, however these summer swimming holes were not natural to the glacier-carved Blue Hills.

Stonecutters had carved granite from steep ledges to build the Bunker Hill monument and the first train in America had hauled these gigantic slabs from the ever-deepening pits. These indestructible blocks had provided the building material for countless courthouses, wharves, and lighthouses on the Eastern Seaboard, but in coming of steel and glass skyscrapers exiled the construction of granite monuments to the history books.

Stone ceased to serve the living and only undertakers could feed their children from the tombs of the dead, so in 1963 the stonecutters turned off the water pumps and the quarries were flooded by the springs running deep under the earth.

The aquifer held generations of pure water. Its color was emerald green and every April teenagers from South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and my hometown flocked to the quarries like Celtics fans to the Boston Garden.

In December of 1963 Arnie Ginsburg declared that the Kingsmen’s song was the worst record he had ever spun on his NIGHT TRAIN show. The WMEX DJ was no teenager. LOUIE LOUIE hit #1 in the winter of 1964 and every garage band in Boston covered the A-major standard. The drummer saying ‘fuck’ had nothing to do with its success. America was leaving the 1950s for good.

Boys and girls made out at the Mattapan Oriental Theater during Saturday matinees. Hair crept over ears and shirt collars like uncut lawns. Our parents battled this rebellion with edicts against kissing, drinking beer, rock music, long hair, dancing too close, and certain friendships. Whole towns were declared off-limits and no forbidden destination proved more irresistible to young boys than the Quincy Quarries south of Boston.

These teenage oases were only accessible by foot. LOUIE LOUIE played on transistor radios, while boys and girls basked in the summer sun. The Kingsmen’s song had legs.

Jumping off a cliff worked better to a dirty sax than the Beatles’ saccharine harmonies of I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND. The feuds between towns and gangs were put on hold at the quarries. Teenagers came for fun, a swim, the thrills, and refuge from parents, priests, teachers, and police. The authorities tried their best to shut down this paradise, for unfortunately the quarries were a magnet for accidental drownings and drunken mishaps. Joyriders drove cars into The Hole Of Heaven to imitate James Dean’s chicken run in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. One or two of these daring acts ended in misadventure.

Many of the stories about the bottomless pits were urban legends. The most famous was that of a kid jumping off Shipwreck’s craggy prow and landing on a submerged car. An antenna pierced his arm. This gruesome tale was retold each summer, as if the accident had occurred recently, although its origins were lost in the haze of myths.

Parents vigorously petitioned the Quincy mayor to shut down these threats to their children’s well being and his police and town workers responded with uncharacteristic vigor.

The Quincy garbage men dumped old telephone poles into the water. Teenagers used them for logrolling contests or wired them together for sunning rafts. Police raided the quarries. They were too out of shape to catch young legs.

The town was accused of ignoring its civic duty and in August 1965 a selectman from the shipyard suggested pouring refuse oil from ships into the quarries. Three tankers were parked overnight by the edge of Brewster’s to unleash their foul black liquid into the main pool with the dawn.

That evening I sat on a lawn chair to observe a meteor shower. Bats flapped their wings through the soft summer air and a light wind hushed through the trees. A whooshing boom shattered this suburban calm.
My eyes widened as a flaming mushroom cloud roiled over the woods.

Seconds later two more fireballs scorched the night sky.

I jumped to my feet, fearing that the Russians had nuked Boston, and crouched under the picnic table in anticipation of the shock wave. Several minutes later my mother came out of the house and ordered me inside.

As a 13 year-old boy I obeyed her 99% of the time.

The morning’s newspapers reported vandals had torched the trucks at the quarry. The police had no suspects, although the teenage grapevine introduced a trio of heroes to the South Shore.

Donnie, Lee, and Eddie.TO CONTINUE READING

Please go to this URL

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CA51TA8/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

A Not Very August Afternoon - The Beacon Street Union


Back in 1968 the two best Boston bands were Ultimate Spinach and Beacon Street Union. My best friend and I attended several of their psychedelic Saturday concerts on Cambridge Commons near Harvard. The longhaired coeds dressed like peasants. None of the hippie girls were fat and few wore bras.

Chuckie and I hadn't been to a barbershop since the beginning of the summer. We wore beaded vests, bellbottom jeans, and Frye boots, since we thought that they made us taller and therefore look older. We lied about our age. Neither of us were lucky with the older girls, but the Cambridge Catholic girls were easy, mostly because we were Catholic school boys.

1968 was a good time to be sixteen.

The world was in revolution.

This afternoon I played several song from BSU's 2nd LP THE CLOWN DIED IN MARVIN GARDENS. The best is A Not Very August Afternoon. It'll make you feel very hippish, which is not a bad thing of a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Click on this url to hear the song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-G9Rs0YmTI

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Battle Of Long Island 1776

After successfully ousting the British from Boston on March 17, 1776, General George Washington assembled the 10,000 strong Continental Army in New York to deny King George III's Royal Navy access to the harbor. Throughout the spring and summer Washington's commander's prepared defenses in Manhattan, however in July the British task force landed in Staten Island and General Howe gathered over 30,000 troops for his offensive.

After making landfall on August 22, the redcoats strengthened their numbers with Long island loyalists. Still believing the city to be the prime target, Washington sent over 1500 troops as reinforcement to General Isaac Putnam's command.

It was not a feint and on august 27 the first blow fell on the forts of Long Island, taking the rebels by surprise with overpowering force of arms.

The battle was a disaster for the Americans.

The bravery of the Maryland 400 forestalled defeat, but at day's end Washington and his troops were trapped under Brooklyn Heights. One more push and the rebellion would be quashed with traitors hanging from every available tree in New York.

The attack never came that night.

The British had been taught a deadly lesson at Bunker Hill.

They dug ditches ever closer to the American lines.

In the morning the redcoats discovered that Washington and his soldiers had been evacuated by John Glover's Marblehead regiment.

9000 troops had escaped the trap and the war wasn't destined to end until General Conwallis' surrender at Yorktown six years later.

Not a victory.

Most certainly a defeat.

More a draw with the British realizing that the world would turn upside down one day.

But not on August 27.

Rockaway 116th Street

The Sand Bar on 116th Street in the Rockaways was a great place to kill the end of a bay at the beach, until Tropical Storm Sandy destroyed the legendary dive bar. The city condemned the property to pave the way for a nine-story luxury condo development by the Marcal Group without out any plans for affordable housing.

"We are not affordable housing developers," said Mark Caller, the principal partner

A friend of mine extolled the project.

"It will bring new life to that area."

I hate it, because the Rockaways have always been working-class and I like it that way.

But just like the East Village, Chelsea, Harlem, Chinatown and many parts of Brooklyn, the city prefers luxury condos to middle or lower class housing.

Why?

Not because of taxes.

Because they will empty the city of the under-class.

Economic and ethnic cleansing.

Which is why the landlords are the first ones to be executed in a revolution.

In the words of Proudhon "All property is theft."

And Chairman Mao believed the same thing.

Except he also believed that all property belonged to the state.

There has to be a middle ground, but the Marcal Group's plans are only for the rich.

So up against the wall, mother-fuckers or mā le ge bā zi in Mandarin.

Bring back the Sand Bar.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lily's Time Out

When you're bad, you go to the sin bin.

Even Lily.

A blonde as pure as snow and a bad girl in good light.

This postcard from the 1920s served as an inspiration to many like Lily Bayliss for Pete Townsend's first power pop hit.

To hear the Who's PICTURES OF LILY please go to the following url https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BmkBroiw1s

MOSES' BEST FRIEND by Peter Nolan Smith

New York City showed its teeth the winter of 1980. The police were racketeering our after-hours nightclub. One of the Continental’s backers was a gangster from Odessa, Russia. Vadim was going out with my old girlfriend from Buffalo. The tough zek smuggled stolen icons and passed bad paper. Lisa looked good in his furs.

Only problem was that our newest investor in illegal enterprise looked like the FBI mostly since they were the FBI investigating the dirty cops.

Arthur had hired me to work the door, however his partner, a poster boy/model for herpes, didn’t like my attitude and Paul Garcia wasn’t alone. Arthur apologized, “I got to let you go.”

“No worries.”

The microphone wire on Arthur’s chest was never a good sign and I accepted the offer from a Paris nightclub to work the door as a physionomiste i.e. doorman. Jacques and Fabrice paid my plane ticket to France. I got to choose a DJ. Vladmar was my choice. He arrived one day after me. The dance crowd loved his spinning of cold wave hits. I was another story.

“I don’t know how to speak French.” Two years of grammar school French from a nun with a lisp had taught me how to ask, “Ou est le Bibliotechque?” I explained to the owner.

“Pas de problem.” Jacques shrugged with ease.

The previous door person had been Farida, an Algerian Amazon. She was leaving her post to pursue a modeling career. She was that beautiful.

"I want someone not French. You only have to say two words. ‘Ouais’ or ‘non.”

“Okay.” I had learned that trick at CBGBs, Hurrah, and Studio 54. “But I don’t know anyone in Paris. Not the famous people. Not the people who go to nightclubs.”

“Bien.” His partner was tired of everyone getting in for free. “Make them pay. I don’t care if it’s Brigitte Bardot.”

“But how shall I treat them?”

“Like shit.”

“Like shit?”

“Comme le merde.”

I followed those orders to the tee, except I treated my favorites with glory and I built a new clientele for the old bathhouse off the Avenue Sebastopol; rockers, punks, models, gangsters, pop stars, and just normal people too.

For the most part the owners liked the mix.

It was edgy.

One night a decrepit clouchard approached the entrance to Les Bains. The bouncers moved to prevent the derelict's climbing the stairs. They were off-duty Legionnaires. I ordered them to stop and asked the grizzled drunk in Boston-accented French,"Why are you here?"

“Because I’m a good friend of Moses.”

"A personal friend?"

"From birth. He told me to meet him here."

"Come on in."

"Are you serious?"

"Mais ouais." I had heard plenty of excuses from people seeking to enter the Bains-Douches. None of them were as good as that offered by this 'friend of Moses'.

"I have no money." The clouchard patted his pockets.

"A friend of Moses doesn't need money. Here are two drink tickets. Have a good time."

His raison d’etre granted him entry to the elite boite de nuit and I went inside from time to time to make sure that he was having a good time. The clientele of the Bains-Douches opened their hearts to the Friend of Moses. He wasn't one of them. They liked different. I considered him harmless, until my boss stormed up to the front door.

"What's wrong?" I didn't have an idea what, but I was sure about the 'who'.

"Your friend drank a bottle of wine from Thierry Mugler’s table." My boss had a sweet spot for the fashion czars of Paris.

"Really?" I regarded the designers as a little full of themselves and laughed at the situation.

"You think it's funny."

"Just a little. I'll show him out."

“Why did you let him in?”

“Because he’s a friend of Moses.” The excuse wasn’t so funny to the patron, but he had never seen Charlton Heston part the Red Sea in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

I know it was special effects, but the real thing must have been very impressive.

I had the bouncers or 'videurs' escort the clouchard from the dining area and he cried out, “You can’t treat the friend of Moses like this.”

“Sorry, I'm just doing my job."

"Pas de problem." Then he cried out, “Just wait till I talk to him. He has more plagues up his sleeves than I have fleas.”

Nothing as bad as the killing of the first born visited the Bains-Douches and several nights later I spotted the friend of Moses in Les Halles hectoring passers-by about the 27 Commandments. I wish that I could remember his 'thou shalt nots', except I’m lucky if I can repeat Moses’ 10.

One afternoon he cursed everyone with damnation at the very popular Cafe Pere Tranquille.

The junkies and drunks laughed at his predictions of doom.

I looked to the sky.

The madman pointed a finger at me. “That Amerlot loves God.”

And I wish it were true, but I had been a non-believer since 1962 and I gave him 20 francs, for it wasn't such a bad idea to have the friend of Moses saying good to the Grand Seigneur, even if the drunk is completely mad, for while their Lord moves in strange ways, so do the mad.

The 10 Unanswerables


According to the Old Testament Moses descended from Mount Sinai with two stone tablets inscribed with 17 Commandments and although the adopted son of the pharoah was the only man in the crowd who could read, Yahweh deigned not to write in Egyptian, so there could have been a thousand commandments for all Moses or Charlton Heston knew in the DeMille's version of THE TEN COMMANDMENT.

The re-interpretation in the ensuing millenia have whittled the 17 to 10, although the late comedian George Carlin shrank the list to One Commandment 'THOU SHALT KEEP THY RELIGION TO THYSELF!!!'

I have religiously obeyed his non-divine edict, as have an increasing number of non-believers, however American education has ignored Judeo-Christian thought for the last half-century along with geography, history, math, art, PE, and any science with an -ology at the end of the word.

People know less and less. Few can complete all the Ten Commandment, however anyone can resurrect the list by going to ask.jeeves.com and the interactive website had come up with its own list called the Ten Unanswerables, which are the following.

1. What is the meaning of life?

2. Is there a God?

3. Do blondes have more fun?

4. What is the best diet?

5. Is there anybody out there?

6. Who is the most famous person in the world?

7. What is love?

8. What is the secret to happiness?

9. Did Tony Soprano die?

10. How long will I live?

Having recovered from my Friday night occupation of a bar stool at Solas on East 10th Street, I will try to provide Ten Answers for the Ten Unaswerables.

1. The meaning of life is simple. Live today for tomorrow you die.

2. There certainly isn't a bearded God wearing a muumuu in the clouds.

3. Blondes have more fun, if you like blondes.

4. The best diet is excess in moderation.

5. There are plenty of anybodies out there. They just don't know where we are.

6. The famous person in the world is Andre the Giant. To me at least.

7. Love is like pornography, I know it when I feel it.

8. The secret to happiness is loving yourself and the world around you. Even in North Philadelphia, which can be a very bad place.

9. Death on TV is cancellation. Even Tony Soprano can't escape swimming with the fish on TV.

10. Everyone lives until they die. See answer one.

Not trying to be smart, for anyone who thinks that he has heard all the answers has not heard all the questions.

TOUCH OF EVIL Opening Scene

According to Wikipedia many critics considered Orson Welles' three-minute, twenty-second tracking shot in TOUCH OF EVIL as one of the greatest shots in cinematic history, especially considering that it's the opening scene.

Here's the synopsis.

On the U.S.-Mexico border, a man plants a time bomb in a car. A man and woman enter the vehicle and make a slow journey through town to the U.S. border. Newlyweds Miguel "Mike" Vargas (Charlton Heston) and Susie (Janet Leigh) pass the car several times on foot. The car crosses the border, then explodes, killing the occupants.

To see the opening scene of TOUCH OF EVIL PLEASE go to the following URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg8MqjoFvy4

Out Of My Small Hands

NRA president Charlton Heston famously told a gathering of gun-lovers at the 129th NRA convention, in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 20, 2000, "I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."

While the slogan's originality has been attributed to the Hollywood actor, however the line was first popularized by Bellevue, Washington's Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in 1970, "I Will Give Up My Gun When They Peel My Cold Dead Fingers From Around It."

Tough words.

From a actor wearing a wig.

And I never believe anyone who lies about their baldness, especially Donald Trump.

Most recently a north Carolina Sheriff extolled the GOP candidate's shooting ability, saying “I’ve got to say this man can shoot.”

However judging from his grip of a rifle, I could pry any weapon out of the fat short eye's small hands without a fight.

And fuck Charlton Heston too.

He had small hands too.