Nuclear War

I remember in 1980 when the inconceivable happened and Reagan was elected we all assumed that made WW3 inevitable so what was the point? Any career planning went out the window and we did whatever we wanted. It seemed utterly pointless to think more than a couple years ahead when there were 55,000 H bombs in 1980, most of which would be exploded in the first few minutes of WW3. Once war began, nothing could stop its progression. Mutually Assured Destruction it was called. It was so hair trigger that a flock of geese misread on the radar could set it all off. None of this was secret either, we all knew this. At some point every single day we thought about this. It was always in the back of our minds. A thunderclap would wake us up and we thought it was the end of the world. That’s a special kind of terror, to wake up in pitch dark thinking an H Bomb had just exploded and this, at long last, was it.

I dreamed about nuclear war a few years ago. We were in a car fleeing the mushroom clouds in the rear view mirror. Then more appeared off to the west of us, then east of us, finally in front of us. I woke up in the dark in a cold sweat.

We’ve forgotten this now. Repressed it. Which is a good thing. I’d hate to have other generations live with that fear. I don’t wish that on anybody.

Sprained ankle

Sprained the fuck out of my ankle last week and since then I’ve had to buy three new outfits to match the shifting hues. The greenish yellow is challenging, especially getting a three piece suit that also works with yellowish green. It’s a shame that they don’t sell the argyle socks with matching jacket and two pair of pants, one pair greenish yellow, the other yellowish green. Or maybe just one pair of pants, one leg greenish yellow, the other yellowish green. It would save me money and if I just walked in one direction, nobody’d notice.

Limp in one direction I mean. I gave up walking a knee ago.

Anyway, I sit here staring at my crutches thinking of the things I could be doing but can’t do anyway. My crutches and me are old pals, going back decades, a lotta gimpery under the bridge. I have three crutches, actually, but that’s another story. Most people have no idea you can sprain a codpiece.

Say good night, Gracie.

Shame train

(2015)

Managed to accidentally get about two weeks more free rental car from the insurance company than we were allowed. It’s a long, stupid story, but it really helps being an idiot sometimes and I cannot believe how much patience some people have. Ah well, no matter how much of an idiot I was, the free rental ran out and I just returned the car. Now we’re carless again. In L.A. One of those people. They call the bus the shame train.

Well, we’re just cheap. And careful. Dinged by too many catastrophes, we decided to wait till the big phat insurance check comes in the mail before getting another rental. We’ll need one then to find an old lady Lucerne. I figure we’ll trawl Palm Springs, all kinds of beautifully maintained, low mileage Lucernes out there. Death comes, Lucernes remain. Craig’s List seems bursting with them. We’ll see.

Craig’s List. There was a lady next door who used Craig’s List for other things. Her cries rent the still night air like wanton birdsong. Though actually I never heard them. My neighbors told me, whispering and giggling and tittering like children.

Which is off topic, I know.

Man vs quake

I’ve put hours and hours into cleaning up the heatwave caused eco disaster in the fish tank and it’s beginning to look gorgeous again. I was sitting on the couch watching it like it was television when the rumbling began. As it grew in intensity I just got mad, and madder, and finally yelled Don’t break my aquarium, goddammit! It subsided. The aquarium was fine. I realized I had just yelled at an earthquake.

Now they tell me

So apparently epilepsy and Benadryl don’t mix. Especially combined with lots of strong coffee, little sleep and a nasty sinus infection. Funny what you learn way past the age of being old enough to know better. Better now. A little more memory damage, more leery of writing than ever. Next time I pick an easier disability. Bone spurs, maybe.

Jazz panel

I was at a symposium or something once that had jazz panels. I was never into jazz panels. They tend to be bookish and dull. I usually find anything jazz that doesn’t involve people actually playing jazz to be bookish and dull. But I checked out one of these panels, though, because it had an old alto playing be bop buddy of mine on it. Old be boppers are never dull. If they’d been dull they wouldn’t have done something looney like playing be bop. But this panel was dull anyway. Dull dull dull. Even the panelists looked bored. So I told a pal sitting next to me that I could completely wreck it. He said I couldn’t. I said just watch this, and raised my hand and asked about Johnny Hodges. My old be bop alto buddy hated Johnny Hodges and out came a long winded, offensive and hysterically funny diatribe against the way Johnny Hodges played saxophone and against pre-bop alto saxophonery in general. People in the audience were offended and yelled back. After a few raucous minutes things finally settled down. So I raised my hand again and asked about Art Pepper. My old be bop alto buddy hated Art Pepper and went into another long, offensive and hysterically funny harangue against Art Pepper. All hell broke loose again. The famous trumpeter on the panel, to calm things down, told an extremely rude joke about Puerto Rican women. The famous trombone player talked about how high he used to get. My bop buddy talked about reefers. The trumpeter told another rude joke. The trombonist had a million drug stories. My buddy went after Johnny Hodges again. The trumpeter told another joke. All three panelists were in stitches. People walked out. The moderator just gave up entirely.

And while that was probably the best jazz panel ever, I promised myself that I would never do that again.

So consider this an apology.

(2009. Originally posted on BricksPicks.com)

AOC’s extraordinary speech

That was a simply incredible speech AOC gave on the House floor today. Did she write that herself? I’m assuming so. Hard to see how it could have been otherwise considering she was responding to comments made on the House floor 24 hours before. It was so perfectly composed. It’s the kind of thing teams of professionals get paid big bucks to come up with. I wonder how much of it was even written down and how much was extemporized. And her delivery was flawless. She’s apparently a very quick study, she’s been there two years and is already a master of the peculiar art of addressing the House of Representatives. It was a master class in oratory. A historic speech, I’d say, and it’ll probably just get more famous with time.

Lock down

Just realized l‘ve spent the last ninety mins looking for just the right wooden box kinda thing for my desk. Retired guy trapped in the house syndrome. If I’d been a stoned retired guy trapped in the house I would have already bought several and be eating cold pizza by now. If I’d been a drunk retired guy trapped in the house I’d have forgotten all about the box and been looking at porn. But I’m the buzzed on coffee retired guy trapped in the house looking at hundreds of boxes seeking just the right one.

Birds singing

Just posted this on BricksBrain.com:

For a writer I certainly don’t do a lot of writing anymore, then again I’ve never felt less epileptic in my life. Writing sets off epilepsy which creates more writing. The more the epilepsy, the more creative the writing. The more creative the writing, the more the epilepsy. The more the epileptic writing, the more the brain damage. Oops. Thus, sidelined, I just kick back and watch all the shit go down. These are marvelous times for watching the shit go down. Glorious times, even. Watching history happen from our little urban forested haven. Lots of time to read and watch old movies. The less the epilepsy, it turns out, the more the reading. I’m wending my way though stacks of turgid volumes. Don’t even ask. The constant writing in my head got in the way when I was trying to read. It’s good to have the fountain of words turned off. I can listen to people now and not rewrite what they are saying. I can listen to music now and not hear it as writing. I can look at the landscape and not see it as stories. I can listen to birds sing and not hear language. I just hear birds singing.

The crazy beauty of another Fourth of July in Los Angeles

I just love all the cacophony. It’s crazy beautiful. I’ve always loved the sight and sound of fireworks and this is one of best nights ever. We’re stuck at home this year, away from our annual Eastside hilltop vista, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. We can’t actually see much if the action here, with our view is blocked by a couple ridges and a zillion trees, but the sound echos amazingly up here, just extraordinary acoustics. The bursts close by are startling, while the most distant pile up in rumbling waves that have cone across miles of city. It’s an acoustic Jackson Pollock, random sweeps of explosions, low rolling waves of sound, the high treble of some rotten kid with strings of fire crackers across the street, the deep bass of enormous explosions big enough to blow off arms and legs. I really like the occasional concussion, a sound so big you can feel it, the aural gone tactile. All this madness really is a kind of anarchy, you know. It’s one of the things I most love about our city, all the backyard anarchy that comes every Fourth of July, the city so lawless with pyrotechnic misdemeanors that they’ve given up trying to enforce them. Freedom. A silly and fleeting sort of freedom, yeah, but a freedom from authority nonetheless.

Wow. That one was loud.