Friday, August 26, 2016

Hooting And Shrieking

       Hillary finally gave an excellent speech. It was long awaited. She took fat-assed Trump apart like a pathologist dissecting a cadaver. She did it in a normal, serious voice. Trump is a racist! He surrounds himself with fellow racists. The new CEO of his campaign, Bannon, is a classic racist-misogynist. Hopefully she has finally learned how to give a speech , and will quit yucking it up.


       Yesterday evening I put on a sport coat and hopped the El. My new friend , The Aficionado, invited me to dinner at the Art Institute restaurant. My Caesar salad was okay, the soup, however, was barely edible. Still, it was lovely sitting on the deck, and as I wasn't paying for dinner, why complain.   The Aficionado loved the "America After The Fall: Painting In The 1930'" exhibit. The Hopper gas station at twilight painting has inspired the Genius to once again try my hand at semi-landscapes. I say semi because I prefer mixing people and buildings into my landscapes. The Aficionado has a remarkable knowledge of Asian Art. We spent over an hour in the Asian Wing. While she was explaining the importance of paper in Japanese and Chinese ink drawings, I got a call from Goo Goo. He was sitting at an outside table with Phil the Mogul at trendy Gibsons. When he invited me to join them for dinner I told him I wouldn't be able to meet them for at least an hour. Although the Aficionado had to go home and walk her poodles, I didn't want to cut short her remarkable lecture on the various techniques used in Asian ink and water color drawings. Goo Goo told me they'd stop by the Ale House after they finished dinner.
         Less than an hour after I returned to the Ale House, the Cougar walked in. She was crying. A friend had committed suicide, and she definitely needed someone to talk to. She said earlier, while she was taking her walk, she'd bumped into Goo Goo and the Mogul at Gibsons. She seemed in better spirits by the time I walked her home.       

            The wounds invisible that loves keen arrows make.

                   What is love? tis not hereafter;
                   Present mirth hath present laughter.
                          What's to come is still unsure:
                   In delay there lies no plenty;
                   Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
                         Youths a stuff will not endure.

          Wednesday night, while we were chatting with Kevin the poet and Rick Kogan, the Cougar accused me of being in love with Audio Tour Stephanie. Now it is no secret that I find Stephanie not only very attractive, but extremely sexy; that said, even if I was thirty years younger, the fact she is a smoker would be a deal breaker. During her accusatory diatribe Cougars eyes were flashing. Could she be jealous of the lovely Stephanie? 

                               If ever thou shalt love,
                        In the sweet pangs of it remember me;
                        For such as I am all true lovers are:
                        Unstaid and skittish in all motions else
                        Save the constant image of the creature
                              That is beloved.  

           Fearing I had been misunderstood I proceeded to explain myself. I tried to clarify how I continue striving for a higher state of ethical perfection. "I am no mere rake, Cougar. The complexity of my character can be off putting at times, I understand this."  With an admirable display of subtlety and humor I stated my case, the gist of which was --  Because I am a man of considerable learning, I am not the least averse to partaking in a little buffoonery -- even sneering jocularity -- if the occasion calls for it.
        By now, dear reader, you probably have discerned Shakespeare is my go-to-guy when I feel the need to communicate with a fellow genius:

                        Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great,
                some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust 
                upon them.
            I am that rare combination  of all three. It is my cross, and I will bear it stoically because I am not unmindful of my duty to mankind.


            I've crossed paths with The Actress a couple of times in the last week. Each time she seemed intensely preoccupied and I had to call out her name.
           "I'm in another world."
           "I hope its a good world."
           "Who knows."
            The second time I saw her was near the El station. This time I waved at her as she approached. Nothing. "Actress, it's me, Bruce."
            "Oh, hi Bruce."
            I'm worried about The Actress. Her lack of street awareness is dangerous. You need to know what's going on around you at all times. 


           Street Jimmy said he helped a man move a dresser into the high-rise across the street from where O'Rourke's used to be. 
         "After we gets the dresser in his crib I see's a big rat runnin' across the floor, so when I goes to jump on it he say, 'hey, Jimmy, don' be stompin' my rat, he's my pet.' It blew my mind. It was a big nasty lookin' rat likes you see on the street. The dude gots a whole bunch of rats in his crib. He gots little houses for them in a cage, an' he gots food an' water, an' when one comes up to him he gives it some cheese an' he say, 'now go back in your house an' the rat go back in his cage, it freak me out. He gots 'em trained to do shit, an' the guy ain't no dumb muthafucka, his house be clean, he gots a nice car. They smart rats. He had about eight of 'em."
         "Well, rats are pretty smart. I suppose if you get them when they're babies you might be able to train them…"
        "I don' like rats. I likes killin' 'em."
        "I'm not fond of them either."
         "Why you think he like to keep rats?"
         "The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings…"
           "I think Shakespeare might have had a couple of pet rats under certain circumstances."
            "Who he?"
            "The greatest poet that ever lived."
             "Why he so great?"
             "He understood human nature: 

                       Let me have men about me that are fat;
                       Sleek headed men, and such as sleep o' nights.
                       Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
                       He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

            "Wha' you mean about fat men?"
            "They're lazy. The skinny bald guys are dangerous."
            "For real?"
             "For real."


                 My pastel of Jesse Jackson Junior with the hot blonde he gave the fifty-thousand dollar Rolex for pussy. The guy with the camera is former US Attorney Fitzgerald who nailed Junior. The Indian seated at the table wearing the turban was one of Junior's bag men. I thought the waiter was a nice touch. 
                Junior just got out of the joint. Junior's wife is presently doing time. Shame pop didn't get to do some time.

D-Train is presently boycotting the Ale House because we won't assist in helping him commit suicide.

One of my many Ruben Four Toes portraits. Shakespeare would have loved Ruben. Ruben was a modern day Falstaff.

Former S. Carolina Gov. Sanders diddling his "Soul Mate" while his wife looks on.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


       Marshall Field continues to duck me. For years he's sold people in the bar various items , some of which are deals, and others which turn out to be deeply flawed, if not useless. It's always been a subject of debate as to where he obtains the items he sells. I'm sure most are simply things people have tossed out in the more affluent neighborhoods.  For the most part he seems to have a place to live, although  occasionally he's had to share the loading dock with Street Jimmy behind the Historical Society building. He's far more personable and intelligent than most of the other street people, and he's had numerous odd jobs. Because he's a veteran, he has access to the VA hospital. His pattern is as follows: ingratiate himself, borrow a few bucks, pay it back promptly, and borrow more. Eventually he borrows ten or twenty, tells you he'll pay you back the next night, and disappear. He's pulled this stunt a half-dozen times not only on me, but Hawkeye and Grasshopper. Each time I swear I'll never loan him money again. Eventually he seems to get back on the straight-and-narrow, and each time I let him con me out of  another loan. No more, I've finally learned my lesson. Marshall Field here's what I have to say to you: Hope, not dope! Hugs, not drugs.


         Met an interesting young poet last night. Journalist and local radio host, Rick Kogan, brought Kevin Coval into the Ale house after they'd dined next door at Adobo. Although I was not familiar with Kevin, the Cougar was. Rick, after sitting down next to me, made it clear he was offended when I'd suggested on a previous blog that his capacity, as well as his appetite, for drinking hard liquor had diminished of late. He disabused me of this notion last night. Cougar did her best to interest Kevin into wooing her young daughter away from Ho Chi Minh Jr., before her lovely daughter completely succumbs to the Los Angeles lifestyle. Personally, I think it's too late. Ho Jr. seems like a nice enough lad, and although it's possible to take the girl out of the Valley, I don't think at this point you can take the Valley out of the girl. After seeing several pictures of Cougars comely daughter, Kevin seemed at least willing to give it a try. 
           When I got home last night I googled Kevin Coval. There are numerous videos of him. Not only is he a compelling poet, but he runs a charitable project that encourages inner-city kids to try their hand at poetry. I was quite impressed.


         For the last couple of weeks Street Jimmy's been waiting for me each morning. He's much more punctual in the summer than winter. During the summer he just has to scoot a short distance from where he's camped out the previous night; when it gets cold he sleeps on the El; being a deep sleeper he habitually sleeps past his stop. When I saw him this morning he said, "I sleep good las' night, I went to sleep early."
        "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."
          "Tha' real."
           Midway through his sweeping Jimmy looked up at me and said, "James died…it blew my mind, I didn' even know he was sick or nothin'."
           "James from the Mustard Seed?"
            "I was wondering about him. I used to see him every morning pulling his suitcase to the Mustard Seed AA meetings. What did he die of?"
            "Lung cancer."
             I nodded knowingly, "I'm not surprised, all that crack he smoked over the years, not to mention the cigarettes, sealed his fate."
            Jimmy gave me his I find your argument weak and inconclusive look, "you don' know tha'."
            "Oh yes I do," I lied, "James told me the reason he went to meetings every morning was because he thought he could save some young man or woman from doing the same things he did. He told me the crack cleared the way for the cigarettes to give him cancer. He told me he saw X-rays of his lungs, and the cigarettes had turned the inside of his lungs into gooey brown mucus…"
           Jimmy's eyes were filled with horror, "he showed you those pictures?"
           "Yes," I said still lying, "he didn't want to show you because he thought you'd freak out."
            Jimmy said he didn't want to discuss James anymore.
            James, who was a black man about my age, lived in a South Side homeless shelter. Like most people in shelters, he had to drag his belonging around whenever he left the shelter. He was very loud, and very affable. We'd been on a first name basis for at least ten years.


           Below is my iconic painting: "Blood Sister Funeral." The Blood Sisters were a hard drinking group of ladies that frequented the Ale House as well as O'Rourkes, the Billy Goat and Ricardo's, back in the day. Mike Touhy was their "titular" leader. She was also my all-time favorite drinking companion. In the painting below she is shown in the coffin and at the top of the painting flying off to heaven. Her angel escort is Tracy, her vicious, witty, gay pal. I used Tribune John as the priest because of all the denizens of the Ale House, he looked the most like a priest. The lady showing her tits is Barbara S. Barbara had great tits, and as luck would have it I was able to paint them from memory. Morgan P. is holding the cigarette. She's presently residing in Tampa. The woman in the suit is prominent novelist, Carol A.  Pat C is next to Carol. Pat, who is also a well known Chicago author, is Charles and Ida's mom. Janet P., a former Ale House bartender is sipping her drink from a straw. Another prominent local writer, Denise D. is holding a wine glass. Lois B. is the blonde weeping next to the coffin. The painting has been hanging in the Ale House for about ten years.              

       Below is Hawkeye playing his pipes while Nicki is getting fucked by Humphrey Bogart, with Edward G. Robinson looking on. I placed Hawkeye Jr.'s portrait next to his dads painting.

         Next is a painting of my favorite funny man, comedian John Fox, being chased down the street by Fatal Attraction. I miss Fox very much.

       Below is Fox hanging himself with a portrait of Fatal Attraction in the background. I'm not sure if Fatal is still pissed at me. I haven't seen her since I wouldn't let her in the Ale House door the night of Ruben Four Toes funeral. She was predictably shit-faced. Generally when we don't see her it means she's sober which, in her case, is a good thing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Close But No Cigar

             A friend called me yesterday and asked if I'd care to join her for a picnic at the little park in the middle of the Viagra Triangle. It was a perfect afternoon as I strode forth from my dungeon like condo into the bright sunshine. My friend had made homemade spicy tuna sushi, and little pork dumplings. They were delicious. After lunch we walked over to the Museum of Contemporary art. The Kerry James Marshall exhibition is still hanging, and although I was not overly impressed with the show the first time I saw it, I was more than happy to give it a second look. Before we walked up the stairs to see the Marshall exhibit we checked out the so called works of art on the first floor. They really should change the name of the museum to The Museum Of Wasted Wall Space. 
           Although I had a few new insights into Marshall's paintings, I still found them repetitive. My friend liked them more than I did. I told her she should check out the current show on American Art In The Thirties  at the Art Institute before it closes. I'd love to see it again. It should not be missed. After we finished looking at the paintings we sat out on the patio of the museum and enjoyed a couple of Stella beers. They have free jazz concerts on Tuesday evenings, and they were busy setting up. By the time I walked home  my back was killing me. My early evening nap acted as a restorative. I got to the Ale House a little before eight. The Cougar was wearing an eye-popping spandex outfit. She denied having said what I quoted her as saying about anal sex. With a sly grin she said, "close, but no cigar." I find the Cougars propensity for mendacity quite endearing.

                 I am falser than vows made in wine.

                  Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak.

                  Lady, you are the cruelest she alive
                  If you will lead these graces to the grave
                  And leave the world no copy.

         I have no problem with practical mendacity. In Cat On A Hat Tin Roof, Big Daddy railed against MENDACITY! I think Shakespeare was more on the money:

                  I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad.

          The Genius' just completed these four portraits: "O, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful, wonderful! and yet again wonderful! and after that out of all whooping." It's clear that Shakespeare anticipated the Genius. Thank you fellow genius Shakespeare for your kind words.

                                           Shade Murray     
                                           Hawkeye Junior

                                         Stephen Walker              

                                           Ukraine Mike

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Anal Sex


                 Away, you scullion! You rampallian! you fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

           Falstaff is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters. I was fortunate enough to see Henry the Fifth performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. No one in history was better at the art of the insult than Shakespeare. Scullion is a menial servant; a rampallian is ruffian or scoundrel; fustilarian is a fat, slovenly person. Back in the 60's I committed to memory a number of Shakespearean insults; unfortunately, almost no one knew what I was calling them. I've thought about dusting off some of these classic put downs to use on Trump supporters , but, because of their ingrained obtuseness, I think it probably would be pointless. Still, I haven't completely given up on the idea. Shakespeare would have had fun with Trump as well as his supporters:

                 Thus we play fools with the time, and the spirits of the wisest in the clouds mock us.
                or: Uneasy lies he head that wears a crown.

           Henry the Fifth is loaded with many other Trumpian allusions:  
                   We see which way the stream of time doth run
                   And are enforced  from our most quiet sphere
                   By the rough torrent of occasion.

          Whenever I see a picture of Trump with his sport coat off the term Fustilarian jumps out. The ever-present sport coat hides his fat ass. It was hilarious watching him do the photo op of "helping" the Louisiana flood victims a few days ago; it was in ninety degree heat and he had his sport coat on. Trumps golf swing reminds of another fatso, Jacky Gleason. The golf course is one place where the fustilarian buffoon can't hide his fat ass with his sport coat.

          Melanie Trump remains in hiding. Not only is she still reeling from the aftershocks of having gotten caught plagiarizing Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention speech, she is presently in the middle of a bigger, more fun-filled scandal.  The London's Daily Mail reported that Melanie's claim of having come to the US in 1996 to launch a modeling career has serious holes in it. First of all, she lacked the proper papers, which is ironic given her hubbies views on illegal aliens. The Daily Mail's source for its story is Paolo Zampoli (great pimp name). Paolo not only ran a modeling agency, but a high-end escort service as well. The year Melanie posed for her racy nude pictures was 1995. The Slovenian bombshell is alleged to have been a high-class call girl specializing in rich, old men. What gives this story so much credibility is her marriage to rich-old-man Trump.
        There is no scenario whereby a hot, reasonably educated chick would marry a slob-low-life like Trump, if it wasn't for his money. Let's get real, for a chick like Melanie to polish the fustilarian Trumps nob, the money had to be significant. And she's clearly earned every penny of it. Melanie reminds me of some of the women in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

               Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again?

               Would it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a cod of wayward marl?

        I like the image of Trump as "a cod of wayward marl."


               Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more,
                    Men were deceivers ever;
              One foot on sea, and one on shore;
                    To one thing constant never.


        While we are  on the subject of men, I was fortunate enough to be present for a fascinating conversation between The Bibliophile, and Cougar last Saturday night. We were sitting in the window table at the Ale House when the subject of anal sex came up. The Bibliophile and her husband never start their evenings off at the Ale House, they prefer one of the mundane, singles bars that  proliferate on Wells Street. When we eventually receive the pleasure of their company, they are always shit-faced. 
        Ukraine Mike was also present. He had a charming young lady visiting him from New Jersey. Bibliophile insists she can always tell when Ukraine Mike is drunk "because he sweats a lot. In fact he goes into a full bodied sweat when he's plastered." Mike understandably took exception to this description of his capacity to drink large quantities of beer. 
         Earlier in the evening, at his insistence, I took Mike down in the basement of the bar and showed him the just completed portrait I did of him. "I won't be able to frame it until it dries." I quickly perceived by the look on his face that Ukraine Mike was displeased. 
         "I thought it was going to be bigger, and that maybe you'd have the Ukrainian flag, or something in the background."
         His unrestrained candor vexed me. "This portrait came out perfectly. It is a magnificent rendering." I suppose I should have viewed his lack of taste with pity rather than anger, but I couldn't.
         Earlier, when the discussion of anal sex came up I remained mute for the most part. Within seconds I realized that the two women I was sitting between knew what they were talking about. It was if I was sitting at a table with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig while they were discussing the art of hitting the curve ball. Bibliophile had an interesting theory about why certain men prefer anal to vaginal sex: "They've got small dicks. Pussies aren't tight enough for them. I remember one time a guy with a tiny dick stuck his dick in my ass, and he yelped really loud; it was like he could finally feel something…"
         The Cougar nodded knowingly. "I've had the same experience." 
          For a good twenty-minutes the ladies discussed their numerous anal adventures. When the Bibliophile pointed out that I was strangely silent, I shrugged, "well, I've never been a big fan of anal, I've always been a pussy man."
         Over the years I've tried to be a gentleman when it comes to sexual etiquette. If a lady asks me to perform an act that will not cause me pain, I will try to oblige if I am capable. Over the years I've only had a handful of women ask me to stick my dick up their poop holes. It seems to be a niche hangup. The same chicks that seem to enjoy anal, also tend to want to be spanked, and have their hair pulled. This does in no way enhance my sexual experience. In the unlikely event  some fair maiden should ask me to stick my 76 year old dick in their anal cavity, I think I would have to decline. The last time I entered the Hershey highway, I ended up with a devastating bladder infection. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Chicago Air And Water Show


         I received a lovely letter this morning from Jayne Thomas. Jayne, who is presently living in Richmond California, grew up in nearby Skokie, and is a life long White Sox fan. She sent me some clippings from a local newspaper which I plan on reading this afternoon. I'm sure it's much easier being a Sox Fan in the Bay Area than  in Chicago. Jayne asked me if I think the Sox manager should go. Yes, Jayne, and so should the General Manager and Kenny Williams; however, most importantly, the clueless owner should either hurry up and sell, or at least have the decency to die. Not only is the lousy owner responsible for the demise of the Sox, he's also the idiot behind the Bulls disastrous basketball team.


         Yesterday afternoon Cougar and I walked over to Phil the Mogul's amazing condo overlooking Lake Michigan to watch the Air and Water Show. Cougar assured me the good stuff didn't happen until around one. She called me at the Ale House at one to tell me she was going to be a few minutes late. 
         "It's not my fault, I'll tell you when I meet you."
         The minor emergency which caused Cougar to be late was compelling: "I was getting my nails done, and there was mass confusion and I said, 'hey, I have to be somewhere,' and they still dilly dallied, so I'm late." 
           It was a powerful excuse. "Certainly getting your nails done is far more important than a once a year air show."
          The Cougar smiled, "look," she said displaying her harlot red finger nails, "just the way you like them."
          With awe and admiration I inspected her fingers. "They look like they've just been dipped in fresh blood.
          "And, my toes match."
           She said this with a congenial smile. 
           North Avenue was crowded with people going too and from  the beach, which is the focal point of the annual Chicago Air and Water Show. Phil The Mogul, although he presently spends most of his time in London, and has a house in a north suburb, also has a condo overlooking the beach and the park. Because he recently bought the one bedroom condo next to his three bedroom condo, and is planning on eventually gutting them and combining them into one very large condo, he generously offered to let me use his big condo for an art studio for the next couple of years. At the time Phil made this offer Gracie, who was still in town, had turned my basement art studio into a kennel. When Gracie left for Maryland precipitously I turned the basement back into an art studio. This was fortuitous because the producer of Parts Unknown, Michael Steed, wanted to do a segment on The Genius discussing  painting Vladimir Putin in a tutu with the shows host, Anthony Bourdain. After we were done taping Parts Unknown I suppose I  could have shlepped my stuff over to Phil the Moguls condo, but fully aware of the arduous nature of the undertaking, I procrastinated.  I reconciled myself with the knowledge I was devoting most of my time to writing. Therefore, I did not take advantage  of Phil's very kind offer.
           Phil had instructed me that if he wasn't at the condo when we arrived, I should  let myself in with the keys he'd provided me with almost a year ago. Luckily, Cougar was with me because I am terrible with keys and locks. After about ten minutes we figured out how to get in. Cougar was impressed. As she prowled around the  rooms a series of parachutists floated down from the heavens outside the floor to ceiling windows.  "This is the perfect place to watch the air show," she smiled. The sky was bright blue, and the stark-white clouds were a perfect background for the aerial hijinks taking place around us. 
        Phil had several comfortable chairs arranged by the windows. After about a half an hour he arrived. He'd been taking pictures with a very professional looking camera. When I asked him how he learned to use such a complicated camera he said, "I studied photography in school." It must run in the family, because his wife and he just dropped their eldest son off at the University of Southern California where he plans on studying film. 
        When the Thunderbirds roared into sight, we went from window to window watching their daredevil antics. When Cougar said she wanted to be a jet pilot I assured her she'd have made a great one, "you certainly wouldn't have a problem with massacring innocent civilians." Of course this was said in jest.
         With a polite inclination of her head, Cougar smiled. "No, I wouldn't, would I."
           Ever the good host, Phil asked permission to smoke a cigar. I accepted his kind offer of a Stella Beer. While opening a bottle of wine for Cougar he cut his finger slightly. A gentlemen in every sense of the word, Phil described his love of wine. "It's not just the taste, or the vintage, it's cultural, it has to do with history, I find it quite fascinating." This from a guy who was born in Gary Indiana. 
          Phil was speaking a language Cougar could appreciate. Although she was born in equally blue collar Elkhart Indiana, Cougar could have easily  waxed eloquent on why she preferred ermine to mink, diamond coronets to ruby necklaces, or golden slippers to open toed mauve silk ones. We were in rarefied air, and the conversation was equal to our elevated environment.
          Around four Cougar said she had work to do. After thanking Phil for his hospitality, we joined the throngs of sight seers returning from the beach. After I bid Cougar adieu I went home and took a much needed nap.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Star Light, Star Bright

              A short time ago my slumber was again disturbed by a couple of low flying fighter planes. Because of this mornings heavy rain we were under the impression todays Air and Water Show had been canceled. In spite of the persistent  rain a raggedy procession of men, women, and children continued to walk past the Ale House in the direction of North Avenue Beach. Obviously, my information was incorrect and the Air Show is proceeding as scheduled. Not only is it proceeding, the sun is now shining and the constant roar of airplanes can be heard in the distance. At least I got a solid hour nap in before the shrieking  jets started skimming my roof top. Even though I didn't get home until the wee hours last night, this should sustain me until late into the afternoon. 

                     My candle burns at both ends; 
                        It will not last the night;
                     But, ah, my foes, and, oh my friends - 
                       It gives a lovely light.

          I had every intention of going straight home after I said goodnight to Phil the Mogul and young Meagan, but as Oscar Wilde stated so eloquently: "I can resist everything but temptation." He also is quoted: "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it."  I have always loved reading Oscar Wilde and watching his wonderful plays. I'm sure he would have fit in nicely with the Ale House regulars. "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." Or, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."  Last night, as chance would have it, I managed a good look at the stars.


         The new Cub fans that are multiplying like fruit flies are incorrigible. I can almost tolerate the real Cub fans -- they've paid their dues, and have been defamed and vilified sufficiently for their follies; no, it's the Johnny come lately Cub fans that are turning my not that delicate of a stomach. Hawkeye is a case in point: He doesn't care about baseball, however, his son does and so Hawkeye feigns an interest in the Cubs. During the course of a televised Cub game, at most he might look up from his crossword puzzle three or four times. He only affects an interest; when the Cubs were in the playoffs last year he was completely indifferent to what was taking place. When I asked him about his lack of interest he said smugly, "I'm a fair weather fan." 
        "Nonsense, you don't know they're going to lose to the Mets. That's just a cop out, because you simply don't give a flying fuck about baseball or the Cubs."
         Hawkeye, in a typical fit of peevishness, shrugged and returned to his crossword puzzle.


        When I walked past St. Michael's church on my way to Treasure Island grocery store yesterday, I chanced to see Street Jimmy sleeping in front of one of the three large entrances to the church. His head was propped up on what seemed to be a jacket. The makeshift pillow was his only concession to comfort. His body was sprawled awkwardly on the concrete step, with his scooter protectively pinned behind him against the church door. I confess I am jealous of Jimmy's ability to sleep soundly in almost any situation. And when I say soundly, I mean in a state of total oblivion. As I walked by him I thought of the descriptions I'd read of the World War Two Japanese soldiers who fled into the Philippine jungle rather than be captured by the victorious American soldiers. Many years after the conclusion of the war, a number of these Japanese soldiers, unaware of the Japanese surrender, were still being discovered in the dense Philippine jungles. 
        According to the scientists that studied these soldiers after they were brought back to Japan, they all shared certain survival attributes. Among these survival skills was an ability to sleep soundly in the most trying circumstances. One scientist compared the soldiers ability to sleep as similar to that of most jungle animals. The chief difference between Jimmy and these non-surrendering Japanese soldiers is significant: The Japanese soldiers could wake up out of a sound sleep completely alert. It sometimes takes Jimmy hours for his head to clear. In Jimmy's defense, the Japanese soldiers had not smoked ten or fifteen crack-cocaine rocks prior to dozing off.





Friday, August 19, 2016

Mien Kampf

          I'm getting a late start today because the planes practicing for the Air and Water Show keep buzzing my domicile. This has seriously disturbed my tranquility. Loud noises and airplanes bring back my draft-dodger post traumatic stress disorder syndrome. I dislike the concept of war. Yes, I know that if you are attacked you must fight back; unfortunately, the US can't seem to resist using its military toys to attack countries that aren't attacking us. The Blue Angels won't be appearing at this years Air and Water Show; I imagine it has something to do with the recent crash of one of their planes. It is in the general interest of mankind that the US retains enough military might to smite intemperate nations fucking with our national interests. I get that. I just wish my nap wasn't disturbed.


         I have gradually learned to cope with Cougars eccentricities. It took me an extended period of time to avoid letting her bizarre political views cause me to lash out in rancorous discord. My chief goal in life has always been one of acquiring and communicating knowledge. I am also aware of the honor I am bestowing when I  allow select people  to enjoy the intimacy and wisdom of my genius; unfortunately, most people don't  know how to respond accordingly. Alas,  I live in a lonely intellectual world. Voltaire understood this when he said, "where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise." I have little patience for the vulgar and the ignorant, especially when they are caught up in the political fervor of our time. Because of the acuteness of my intellect, and the precision of my language, I tend to constantly upset less informed people. It is a price I have learned to cope with.
         The Cougar is prone to capricious self-indulgence.  She doesn't believe in reasoned argument. If she said six months ago that Donald Trump would become president because there are more dumb people in the US than smart people, and you make a scholarly objection, she gives you anecdotal accounts of what people she knows have said. When I challenged her to a significant bet she said she wanted to wait until after the conventions. Last night when I asked her if she still thought Trump would win, she denied ever saying he would. Three months ago this would have irked me; this is no longer the case. She is a connoisseur of the white lie.  She readily admits regarding fibbing as an innocent necessity in order to avoid frivolous conflicts. When all else fails she bares her fangs and laments she is a  victim of political persecution. 
          For years I have cut short many a political argument by challenging the person I am disputing with to wager. This almost always shuts them up. The most money I ever won on a political election was when the late Harold Washington became Chicago's first black mayor in 1983. At the time there was a blue collar bar down the street called the Saddle Club. Although there were a number of black regulars, Sonny, the owner, and most of the white tradesman were hard core racists. Because of my prowess on the links,  I became golfing friends with a lot of the guys. 
          In 1983 two white people were running against one very clever, charismatic black person, I bet the ranch on Harold with the boys at the Saddle Club. I also bet a bunch of the Italians that hung around Ranalli's. The wild ravings of these racists was music to my ears as I made my bet collecting rounds. On more than one occasion threats upon my physical well being were directed at me by some of the sore losers.
         Political betting is similar to sports betting. It is always stupid to bet emotion. If Joe Shmoo says X is going to happen, his opinion is only as important as how much he's willing to bet on X. There's a wonderful book on sports betting by a sports writer named Larry Merchant. The book is entitled "National Football Lottery." I read it about thirty or forty years ago. It explains how the Vegas lines are computed; it also describes how the Lenny Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs football team almost got nailed for fucking with the point spreads, etc. One of my favorite quotes in the book was by one of the smartest book makers in Vegas. (I can't remember if it was Lefty Rosenthal, or one of the others.) Anyway, when Merchant asked him how it would affect the line of a game if Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Packers, said a team was going to win, the bookmaker said, "it would depend on how much he bet." What wisdom is contained in that pithy answer!

        Trump's Campaign Chairman,  Paul Manafort, just resigned. In retrospect one wonders just how long Trump, and the people around him thought they could keep the ostentatious Putin-Pimp around the campaign. It becomes more obvious each day that Trump is joined at the hip with Putin and the Russian oligarchs. If the TV pundits had brains as well as balls, every time a Trump surrogate comes on one of their TV shows the first question they'd ask would be this: "Look our viewers in the eye and assure them that you are absolutely positive there is nothing in your bosses taxes that would link him to Russia and Putin." Of course the surrogates could not guarantee any such thing, so the easy follow question would be: "Then how can you justify his not releasing his taxes?"
        Manafort fascinates me. Sleaze oozes from every one of his orifices; his smugness is intoxicating. At this point I don't think the KGB has any choice but to assassinate him. Can you imagine the tell all book this specious sophist could write? The new campaign managers have Trump reading off  a teleprompter again. He is beyond boring when he reads his speeches. He even admitted to misspeaking in the past. The giddy pundits clapped their hands and clicked their heels at Trumps latest "pivot." Trumps mannequin wife has not been seen or heard from since she got caught plagiarizing Michelle Obama's speech. Fat tub of shit Chris Christy has also been keeping a low profile. Rudy Giuliani, the spastic, former mayor of NY seems to be Trumps latest go-to-guy. It's hard to conceive of a more evil, grotesque crew than Giuliani, Trump, Gingrich and Christy.
          Trump is reported to have had Hitler's Mien Kampf on his bed stand for years. What a lovely image…such appropriate bed time stories.  "Mankind has grown strong in eternal struggles and it will only perish through eternal peace…Strength lies not in defense bit in attack…All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception  of the least intelligent of those towards whom it intends to direct itself…The great masses of the people…will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." Each one of those bon mots could just as easily dripped out of Trumps ugly mouth as Uncle Adolph's.  

              And so it goes. I'm going to try for another nap. Peace and love.