Blogging from deep down beneath the Greater L. A. hipsterpolitan region….

I’m a writer, but there are zillions of writers, perhaps you’ve noticed. This here is a bunch of my stuff. I hope you dig it. There’s an index here. (And a much shorter selected index here.)

My email is brickjazz@yahoo.com. My phone is 323-420-7410. I do a lot of short writing on Facebook, and really short writing on Twitter. I’m all over the goddamn internet and all over this goddamn town.

And a guy in a gorilla suit

Nothing like laying on the floor watching Bikini Beach. Or is it Beach Blanket Bingo. The one with Annette, Frankie, Keenan Wynn and a guy in a gorilla suit. Apparently I was asleep, as I hate these movies. Click. And the computer was still on. There’s a half written essay on the writings of Gavrilo Princip that it appears I abandoned for a handy pillow and George and Gracie. When Gracie is making more sense than you are it’s time to stop writing. That’s always been one of my tenets: use more verbs, less adjectives and make more sense than Gracie Allen.
Gracie Allen.

Gracie Allen explains.

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Lies, hate and dengue fever

Ya know, people can rant all they want making up lies about dengue fever being spread by undocumented Honduran children and it will have no health effects on anybody, you either get bit by an infected mosquito or not. All this does is encourage racism. It’s not even an immigration thing, if it were they’d be warning us against anyone who came from a tropical region, legal immigrants, returning vacationers, business travelers, even people who went to the World Cup. But they don’t. This isn’t about immigration policy and it’s not about public health. This is just about racists who can’t stand the sight of little brown babies. This is just hate, pure hate.

Congressman Phil Gringey, MD, says illegal immigrant children will give you dengue fever. It's one thing to be an ignorant politician. It's quite another to be a lying doctor.

Congressman Phil Gringey MD, says illegal immigrant children will give you dengue fever. It’s one thing to be an ignorant politician. It’s quite another to be a lying doctor.

 

 

Excoriated

Interesting day yesterday. I was excoriated repeatedly in private for being a fascist (a real jackbooted Nazi kind of fascist, too) who tries to hide behind a pathetically wimpy bleeding heart liberal false front, and besides that I betrayed the entire Los Angeles jazz scene by being such an LA Weekly-quitting self centered hopelessly insecure egomaniacal fascist hypocritical cranky bum who betrayed and insulted everyone who once believed in me (what?) and happens to write well. None of which fits well on a bumper sticker.

Also, I hate women.

Actually that was the abridged version. I left out some of my more loathsome traits. Thankfully this was all in private correspondence and not on Facebook. I mean I sure wouldn’t hire me after reading that.

People don’t take Stalin jokes lightly. Lesson learned. My sincere apologies to jazz, women, and Vladimir Putin.

If this is what it means to be a “public figure”, I vant to be alone.
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Joseph Stalin in 1915, the good times.

Joseph Stalin in 1915, the good times.

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Dancing

There’s this wonderful old World War Two vet I know, well into his nineties, who I see at clubs and shows all over the place, always dancing. What a nut. I’ve seen him dancing to swing, country, blues, salsa, funk, jazz, western swing and rock. Even reggae. Always has a babe for a partner. Loves to dance, he says. Started dancing to the swing bands. Jitterbugging. All hell was breaking loose over in Europe but he was busy dancing. He was a kid. That’s what you did then, danced. Then came Pearl Harbor and his draft notice. Went through the war without a scratch, somehow, though his unit was mauled a couple times. Some of those Nazis, he said, were fanatics and would fight to the death. It’d be hopeless and they’d keep firing. Friends kept getting killed. Mines going off. Snipers, machine guns, 88′s. He was nearly blown to pieces more than once. The Battle of the Bulge was the worse, he said. They were all freezing cold, and a rifle isn’t particularly useful against a Tiger tank. Thought he’d bought it more than once. On top of all that the Nazis were massacring prisoners. If you were Jewish the last thing you wanted was to surrender to one of those SS bastards. His company had been cut off, and it looked bad, but somehow they managed to rejoin the rest of the battalion. Left a lot of friends there, he said. He saw one blown to smithereens. Should have been him but he had slipped out of the foxhole for chow or to take a leak or something–just before the mortar bullseyed his buddy. Nothing left. Somebody was looking out for you, I said. He laughed. No, just luck. That’s all it ever was, luck. Later, in Germany, all the towns were gone, flattened. The RAF had gotten their revenge. The people were giving up, meekly surrendering. But there were fanatics everywhere. Hitler Youth who kept fighting no matter what. You’d see them later, just kids in baggy grown up uniforms, dead. He kept losing buddies right to the bitter end. Still, he made it and now a zillion years later he dances every chance he gets. A lady comes by and taps him on the shoulder, and they spin slowly, lightly, across the floor.

USO dance, 1944

USO dance, 1944

 

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Uncle Joe

Those corpses decomposing in the sun in Ukraine, it’s such an appalling public relations disaster for the Russian government and I’m wondering just how much control Vladimir Putin actually has. People keep calling him Stalin–I certainly have–but Stalin would have had this scene swarming with NKVD, locked down, the bodies would be gone, the wreckage cleared, the Buk crew probably shot, and the idiot generals on the phone worried about their own fate. There would be no videos at all. None. An official story would be in all the Russian papers, on the radio, the TV. No rumors–rumor mongers would be shot–just the official story. That is all the western media would see. The official story might have been a lie, but it would have been coherent. No idiocy about the passengers being already dead. No talk of a plane full of spies. No absconding with a Buk missile launcher in broad daylight. It is so bizarre to see what is unfolding now, such a sloppy, undisciplined approach, armed men firing warning shots, bodies rotting on the road, and complete incoherence in the official explanation. How much in charge is Putin, really? How is this happening?

Uncle Joe would know what to do.

Uncle Joe would know what to do.

 

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Facebook quizzes

It says volumes about Facebook group intelligence when you keep seeing “Are you a genius? You have ten seconds to come up with a word that begins with an s and ends with an r.” A zillion Facebook friends respond “sir”. Or “sir!” Even “SIR!!!!” Someone adds “Fun!”

Yesterday another Facebook challenge said 90% of people could not name a word that began with a and ended with e within twenty seconds. Anyone can think of a word that begins with an a and ends with an e within twenty seconds. All the Facebook friends say are! Someone said ace!  An intellectual said acre! This test would only challenge a second grader.

For some reason people on Facebook are not insulted by these. But try this. Go into a bar, have a couple beers and then say loudly I bet none of you can think of a word that begins with an a and ends with an e. Everyone will say “are”. Tell them they’re all geniuses, but now let’s see if you can come up with a word that begins with a s and ends within an r. They’ll all say “sir”. You say wow, you’re all geniuses! They’ll say no, you’re just an idiot. You don’t ask another. You pay your tab and leave, feeling really stupid.

Bar full of haters, you post. Begins with an h and ends with an s. What classic rock band are you?

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Jackie Kelso

(this was a comment on a thread at Mel Martin’s Saxophone Forum)

Jackie Kelso was a regular at Charlie O’s, especially when there was a terrific sax player on the stand. He always went alone, and not to talk or hang but to listen. I remember he was quite taken with Benn Clatworthy’s playing, knocked out even, and was there every time, listening and learning, he said. He was in his late eighties at the time. Jackie Kelso was a very intense listener, very focused. No talking during the bass solo for Jackie Kelso….

The last solo I remember seeing Jackie Kelso take was with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra at the Central Avenue Jazz Festival. This was 2010, I think. Can’t remember the tune, but Jackie had an extended bit on soprano that was quite beautiful. I remember talking to him about it at Charlie O’s not long after, I think that was at a John Altman gig In fact. (John always had a few legends in the house when he played there.)  The next time I saw Jackie Kelso was at a Gerald Wilson gig at Catalina’s, but he was in the audience. My legs just gave out on me, he said. You could tell he was not used to listening to Gerald from the audience. He was gone a few months later. Think he’d just turned ninety. People were taken aback, he’d been a presence on the jazz scene for so long. He’d been an annual presence at the Central Avenue Jazz Festival (and had some of the best interviews in Central Avenue Sounds.) And for me he was part of the much missed Charlie O’s scene as well. That was all only a couple years ago, but it seems like another lifetime.

Gerald Wilson’s sax section at the 2010 Central Avenue Jazz Festival: Kamasi Washington, Carl Randall (who we also just lost), Randall Willis, Jackie Kelso, Louis Taylor (behind Jackie), and Terry Landry. I copped this from Terry Landry’s website, and the photographer was Curt Sletten.

Gerald Wilson’s sax section at the 2010 Central Avenue Jazz Festival: Kamasi Washington, Carl Randall (who we also just lost), Randall Willis, Jackie Kelso, Louis Taylor (behind Jackie), and Terry Landry. You can just see the brim of Gerald’s cap there on the right, he always stands right in front of his battery of saxophonists, the harder they blow, the bigger his smile.  (I copped this from Terry Landry’s website, the photographer was Curt Sletten.)

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