Saturday, July 30, 2016

Superman

               

                     How to keep -- is there any any, is
                           there none such, nowhere known
                           some bow or brooch or braid or
                           brace, lace, latch or catch or key
                           to keep
                     Back beauty…, keep it, beauty, beauty,
                            beauty… from vanishing away?
                                  No.
                                               G. M. Hopkins

             I've never read about Nietzsche the man, but what I've read by him suggests he was a twenty-four carrot asshole. "I teach you the Superman. Man is something to be surpassed." Good luck Friedrich. "I want to teach men the sense of their existence, which is the Superman, the lightning out of the dark cloud of man." I won't argue with Nietzsche that the history of man has been at times a dark cloud, but out of that dark cloud emerged Socrates, Leonardo, Shakespeare, Mozart and myself. Hitler was a big fan of Nietzsche's Superman. I find this odd given Hitler was short, dark haired, and wore a goofy looking mustache, in other words -- he was the antithesis of Nietzsche's Superman.  The scariest thing about Hitler was watching  the adoring German rabble having orgasms while he spoke to them. The German rabble reminds me of Goldilocks' followers. "The sick are the greatest danger for the healthy; it is not from the strongest that harm comes to the strong, but from the weakest." I wonder if Nazi is a shortened version of Nietzsche? Hmm.

             *

           Every morning there's been a cluster of Pokemon kids playing with their iPhones next to the Ale House. I wonder who decided to make us a Pokemon "gym?" It's going to be interesting for future sociologists and psychologists to assess the damage done to these computer obsessed kids. Personally, had there been computers when I was a kid, I probably would have abandoned hanging out in the park and participating in sports, and spent all my time watching porn. There was virtually no hard core porn floating around when I was a kid. I remember well thumbing through the National Geographic's in the high school library checking out half naked Watusi women and their pancake breasts. 

         *

        Anya and her attractive friend Cynara just got back from four days in New Orleans. Anya, who is equally attractive, posted on Facebook a series pictures of the food they were eating. It looked yummy. Pup Crawl Liz is planning a New Orleans pub crawl in the fall. This sounds like fun. I've never been to New Orleans. In 1962 I was planning on stopping there on my way back from Mexico City where I'd been visiting a high school friend. I'd gotten a ride to the Houston Grey Hound Bus Depot. Other than expense, the only advantage to taking a bus in those long gone days was you got to check out scenery in a way you can't when you're driving. When the bus stopped at Baton Rouge two black women got on the bus with three small children, and sat down in front of me. They had bundle's and potato sacks instead of luggage. When the bus driver, a large, fleshy faced man with a huge paunch, walked back to where they were sitting, he said, "you got three kids an' only two adults, so one of the kids gotta pay." An argument ensued. Finally I said, "one of the kids is with me."
         "Buddy, I'd advise you to mind your own business." I know it might shock you, dear reader, but in those days I had a bit of a mouth on me. Things escalated, the driver got off the bus, and a few minutes later he climbed back on board with two white cops. One of the cops was fatter than the bus driver, the other guy was skinny and had a giant adams apple. The fat cop motioned for me to get off the bus.
        "Why?"
        "'Cause I said to."
        I grabbed my duffel bag and followed him off the bus. There was a small crowd loitering around the bus depot. I hate most southern dialects. The fat cop stuck his red face inches from mine and lectured me about Yankees  coming down to "Loo-eez-anna an' fuckin' with our nigga's." His breath was rancid. I think I said something about the poverty of his vocabulary before the skinny cop punched me on my left bicep. It hurt, but not as much as the punch to my right bicep the fat cop gave me. The skinny cop then grabbed me by the throat and told me to get back on the bus and keep my mouth shut or I was going to jail, "an' we'll make sure you get to spend some time in jail with our niggers. I'm sure they gonna like you." This was followed by laughter from some of the people watching us.
         When I got back on the bus an old black man told me he'd paid for the third kids ticket. I did not stop in New Orleans. I couldn't get out of Louisiana quick enough. My arms hurt all the way back to Chicago. In those days the Chicago Grey Hound Bus Depot was located downtown on Randolph Street. When we were getting off the bus the older black lady thanked me for trying to help.

         *

        I've changed my drinking habits. Because of the occasional reoccurrence of my myasthenia gravis I figured I needed to cut back on the volume of beer I was drinking. Both my doctor and my neurologist have expressed dismay at amount of beer I consume each night. Hence, I'm now pouring my beer into a pint glass of ice. Johnny Ale calls it a "Polish martini." So far it's working. I can sit in the bar for four or five hours, and only drink five or six beers.

        My hearing is deteriorating, especially when the bar is noisy.

        Mitt and Lynn left for Greece this morning for Anita's wedding. Anita, who's Irish, is getting married to an Englishman. They will be moving to DC. I told Anita I'd like to give her the portrait I did of her for a wedding present.

         Hawkeye came in last night. He rarely comes in when he's not working. Mrs. Hawkeye was out with her girlfriends so he went to Kamahachi  Restaurant and had a few cocktails. After finishing half his drink, he said he had to leave because he was seeing double. Both the Bibliophile, and the Cougar came in. It was too crowded to chat so I went home. 

         Hopefully it doesn't rain for a couple of hours because I want to go to Bug House Square and check out the action. Rick Kogan wrote an article about how the park used to be filled with free speech advocates standing on soap boxes; today lovers of free speech have once again been invited to bring their soap boxes and say whatever they want. I loved going there in the 50's.
                     

Friday, July 29, 2016

I Do Not Pretend To Be A Saint

              

                     He flies through the air with the greatest of ease, 
                     The daring young man on the flying trapeze…

            Watching Street Jimmy maneuver his scooter in and out of traffic takes my breath away with his daring do. 

                      You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings 
                         of a wren.

            *

           Although it was noisy in the bar last night, we had no problem listening to the convention of the barroom TV. Our TV makes everyone's ass look twenty-pounds heavier; this didn't help either Hillary or her daughter Chelsea, who'd just given birth. 
          As political conventions go, the event in Philadelphia had to be considered a success. 

              All around the convention floor 
              The monkey chased the weasel, 
              A penny for a spool of thread,
              A penny for a needle,
               That's the way the voting went, 
                           Pop goes the weasel. 

         With all the American flags, red, white and blue balloons, at times it seemed more like a Republican convention than a pro-labor union, Democratic one. This did not disturb me. The object of this election is to beat Goldilocks like a redheaded step child. The Bernie Brats don't get it. They actually believe the-so-called-average-American gives a flying-fuck about Wall Street, global warming, social justice, or simply helping their fellow man no matter his race or creed. History and personal experience have shown conclusively the-so-called-average-American only cares about himself. James Madison understood this perfectly. Unlike Marx, Madison knew power corrupts, and once a person assumes power, he is easily corrupted by it. Marx actually believed that man was inherently good; once mankind was freed from the shackles of capitalism he would become virtuous. Such nonsense. 
           The highest concentration of disruptive Bernie Brats seemed to be residing in the California delegation. By the time Chelsea and Hillary got ready to speak there were a lot of empty seats visible when the TV cameras panned the California delegation. Apparently a lot of the Bernie Brats got tired of getting shouted down by Hillary supporters and headed for the streets. I assume most of the really ditzy Bernie Brats were political novices and actually believed they were part of some transformative movement. The whole Bernie or Bust movement was a utopian dream.  I admire their idealism, but can't help laughing at their naiveté. 
           Before Hillary gave her speech there was a procession of testimonials from average citizens, along with tributes to cops and the military. General Allen spoke. You remember him, he was caught up in the General Be-tray-us scandal. Flanked by a multi-racial group of retired military men and woman, he shouted at the top of his lungs how great the US is. This was a recurring theme. "We are the greatest country in the history of the world." I don't know how this sounds to people in other countries (I'm sure they want to puke) but I know how it sounds to me. A country founded on slavery and the genocide of Indians, while conducting a series of imperialist wars, is hardly great. Yes, we are better than most authoritarian countries, but it would be hard to convince the Scandinavian countries or many of the Western European countries we are greater than they. Hell, we're the richest country in the world, and 33 in infant mortality and 31 in literacy. 
          I think the worst speech of the convention was given by the former governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm. Within seconds her rather pretty face became twisted and contorted like a junkie trying to kick a two-hundred-dollar a day heroin habit cold-turkey.
Expanding her lungs to their fullest capacity, she shrieked, waved her arms and announced that she, Jennifer Granholm, belonged to a free race, and with eyes blazing, was willing to die for her ideals. It seemed to me there was a note of irony in her shrill voice.
          The moment I expect we will be seeing replayed hundreds of times before the election was when a middle-aged Muslim couple stood before the audience and described how their Marine son had died fighting for the United States in Afghanistan. A man of very precise speech, his voice trembling with emotion, the man pulled a copy of the constitution from his pocket and asked Donald Trump if he had ever read it, and then offered to give him his copy. (It would seem Goldilocks never did bother to read the constitution because instead of articles, he says chapters when referring to it.)
         Chelsea was fine. She spoke in a normal voice, and scarcely  moved her head while describing what a great mom Hillary is. I believe her. Bill looked like he was holding back tears as he looked on. 
         Before Hillary's speech a big guy about forty sat down at the vacant bar stool next to me and ordered a Budweiser. When he looked up at the TV screen he said, "how come the Cubs, Sox game isn't on?"
          "We're watching the convention."
          He stared at me like a punished child, "you're kidding."
          "No."
          After he chugalugged his beer he left abruptly. Ukraine Mike, who was sitting next to me, seemed surprised by the man's demeanor. "Gee, that was strange."
          Hillary did what she had to. She kept the shrieking and hollering to a minimum. After her speech Mike asked me what I thought. 
         "I give it a solid B."
         Mike thought that was fair.
          

Thursday, July 28, 2016

We The People In Order To Form A More Perfect Union Need To Metaphorically Make Goldilocks Bleed From Every Orifice




              Are you lonesome tonight,
              Do you miss me tonight,
              Are you sorry we drifted apart?

       Although Elvis Presley shares  credit for these lyrics with two other song writers, I doubt if he did anything other than sing the song. I was a big Elvis fan until he made his first movie. It was a cowboy movie and he played a cringing little wimp of a cowboy. Colonel Parker, his manager, totally mismanaged his movie career.


        Butcovich just stopped by the condo. He had some home made pesto with him. "I'll give you a quick lesson on how to make gnocchi."  After filling  a pan with water and bringing it to a boil he tossed the odd colored round gnocchi in it. "It only takes about four minutes for the gnocchi's to start floating to the top." After pouring the gnocchi's through  a strainer he put them back in the hot pan and added the pesto. "Now try it."
       "It's delicious, " I said gobbling the spongy round objects down my gullet.
       "It's not hard, even you can make this."
       While I was still eating my gnocchi Butcovich bid me adieu.

        *

         Goldilocks is braggadocios. No matter how idiotic he acts, his simpleminded followers continue to adore his antics. His love of Putin seems endless. If the Republican Party leaders actually thought they could control their presidential candidate, it was a chimerical notion. Goldilocks' brain is a workshop of nonsensical blathering. He'll think about recognizing Russia's right to annex Crimea when he becomes president. If he is not elected, the world will suffer mightily for it. After the Speaker of the House and his own running mate contradicted his invitation for Russia to hack the Democrats, Goldilocks doubled down. His campaign manager, Manafort, received serious cash from the ousted pro-Putin boss of the Ukraine. And so it goes.

        *

         It was noisy in the Ale House last night while we were watching the convention. I had to ask people to quiet down when Biden was speaking. They got pissed off and left. I'm sure the Ale House was the only bar in Chicago that had the convention on instead of the Cubs, Sox game. Biden can be effective at times. He seems to connect with the white, working class, uneducated dopes who are flocking to Goldilocks. I remember the speech he gave many years ago before his brain surgery; he plagiarized a Neil Kinnock speech almost word for word. Kinnock was the leader of Britain's Labor Party back in the 90's. It was bizarre hearing Biden describe his father crawling out of the coal mine every afternoon, washing the coal dust from his face, and playing soccer with the his fellow miners. When I mentioned to someone I didn't know Biden's father was a miner, it turned out nobody else did either because he wasn't.  I suppose if you have to crib a speech, crib a good speech. I can never forgive Biden for helping get Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court. At Thomas' confirmation hearing, which Biden was chairing,  Biden, for reasons known only to him, didn't allow some damning testimony against blubbery Thomas, to be heard. 
         If anyone needed to be booed off the stage it was Leon Panetta. I've always loathed the ex-CIA director\ Democratic hack. As soon as he left the Obama administration he wrote a book attacking Barack. It turns out a large group of Bernie Brats, mainly from California, were booing and chanting while the dumb slob was speaking. The Bernie Brats continue to behave like the puerile assholes they are. Panetta was definitely flustered when the "no more war" chanting started. Panetta deserved it, he's a worse hawk than Hillary.
        I loved Bloomberg's speech. Even though I disagree with most of his political positions, he is not stupid. He was the perfect guy to take on Goldilocks. Being fellow New Yorkers, and twenty-times wealthier than Goldilocks, Bloomberg's evisceration of Goldilocks was especially devastating. The only thing Bloomberg could have added to his tirade would have been: "I could buy and sell Trump. Compared to me he's a nickel and dime street hustler."
          Barack had a tough act to follow. His wife, Michelle, had made a remarkable speech earlier in the week, and the bar was set very high when he took the podium last night. He didn't disappoint. Bartender Kim, who was now off duty, and Ukraine Mike, were sitting to my left. They both seemed mesmerized by Barack's eloquence. Four years ago Bill Clinton saved Barack's bacon at the Democratic Convention. Clinton's speech was brilliant -- he ripped the Republicans, and Romney a new asshole using folksy humor and wit. Well, Barack repaid the Clinton's in spades last night. 
        Earlier in the day it was leaked to the press that Barack had decided on putting his presidential library in Jackson Park. I know Anya was rooting for Washington Park where her mother owns her townhouse. The new site is only a ten minute walk from our Hyde Park condo. I have many great memories of Jackson Park. The Golf Course, which is a driver and a five iron from where the library is going to be built, is where I met Barack. Playing golf with someone is an effective way of getting to know them. Although not a particularly good golfer (he didn't play much) he seemed to enjoy it. He said it was a good way to unwind after teaching at the nearby U of Chicago Law School. He was not prone to temper tantrums like so many fellow hackers; smoked a lot; and would turn his head admiringly whenever a chick with a nice ass walked through the course. He had a wry humor when discussing Illinois politics, and seemed amused by my vicious character assassination of Illinois Republican Boss, Pate Phillip.
        It's going to be up to Hillary to put on her big girl panties and give the speech of her life tonight. She is not going to match Michelle or Barack; my advice -- just don't fuck up!

        Just as Barack was concluding his speech Cougars son appeared. He said he was making a surprise visit to see his mom and dad. The Cougar was next door at Adobo's having dinner with Pub Crawl Liz and Goat Girl. Cougar seemed delighted to see her son. She didn't seem quite as delighted to see her ex-husband. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Putin Wants To Make Goldilocks His Bitch

   

                   And now that we are aged and gray, Maggie,
                       The trials of life nearly done,
                   Let us sing of the days that are gone, Maggie,
                   When you and I were young.

        I love Scottish folk songs.

           *

        Grashopper is into a lot of new-wave craziness. He should be forever grateful he doesn't live in California. Last winter when his feet were cold he put cayenne pepper in his socks. He said they kept them toasty. Thinking that a little more pepper would make them even toastier, he filled his socks up before braving the cold. Sunday night he told us the added pepper made his feet look like they had a bad case of sunburn. I'm sorry I didn't know about the cayenne pepper thing when Fox was alive. I'm sure I could have talked him into putting a lot of it on his dick and whacking off to porn. Fox was extremely gullible, especially considering he was " a fuck-joke comic." When Dado was in the other night she walked over to where I was sitting and said, "Bruce, I want to ask you something?"
          "Six inches hard, ten and a half inches soft, next question." For some reason she shook her head in disgust and stormed off. I borrowed that Joke from Fox. I never did find out what Dado wanted to know. Speaking of Dado, she left with a regular later that night. The circumstances are mysterious. The man is a raw boned chap, with a prominent nose, serious dark eyes, thick black hair, and heavy eyebrows. 

         *

      Street Jimmy said kids busted a car window across the street and stole a phone. "I didn' know who the kids was, they was too far away. I knows when people's be up to no good, I can sense it. The best way to bust a car window is with a spark plug."

        It's been marvelous weather for walking. The water in the Lily Pond next to the zoo was overflowing from the heavy weekend storm waters when I walked through it Monday. I discovered another colony of night hawks living in the trees above the Zoo's flamingo pond. I assume they're a spinoff from the colony that lives in the nearby lagoon. The large, lethargic, clay colored birds are not prepossessing. 

      Street Jimmy said he saw Mrs. Clown a couple of days ago. "She be gettin' in a cab. She was all fucked-up, so I be holdin' the door open so I could be talkin' to her an' the cab driver tells me to close the door, an' I say, 'fuck you.' He be one of them African drivers. They don' like American black people, they prejudiced and they be blacker than hell. They hates us 'cause we speaks English. Foreigners be's like tha'. They jealous of us."
        "Jimmy, I don't think anyone in the world is jealous of you."
        "Why you say tha'."
        "Because you live like shit. You sleep behind garbage cans, beg for money and spend it all on crack. Why would anyone be jealous of you?"
         "You be surprised how many people be jealous of me."
         "I admire your eloquence and spirit Jimmy, and I'm sure upon further consideration that there are millions of people in the world far worse off than you." 

    *

         Syndicated columnist, George Will thinks the reason Goldilocks won't release his taxes is because they will show he is deeply indebted to Russian oligarchs close to Putin. Coming from a right-wing pip-squeak like Will, this makes sense. Goldilocks has been effusive in his praise for the Russian strong man. Putin has every reason to want Trump in the White House. Goldilocks knows less about US foreign policy than the average junior in college. A really good con man can easily con an over confident con man like Trump. Goldilocks' absurd threats on our Eastern European NATO allies has to be music to Putin's ears. It is up to the press and the Dems to nail Goldilocks about not revealing his taxes. If he's hit often enough about his taxes, Goldilocks' misanthropical temper will do him in.
          George Will is a ridiculous oddity. He's partial to bow ties. The features of his pale face are marked by reserve and gravity. It's easy to see how the tiny imp had been bullied and made fun of as a child. With pensive melancholy he appears on TV shows spewing his right-wing, Reaganesque drivel. A number of like-minded Republican establishment types have also condemned Goldilocks and insist they won't' vote for him. What continues to make Goldilocks dangerous are the uneducated, loser-white men who populate states like Pennsylvania and Ohio in great numbers. If black people, women, and Latino voters stay home and don't cancel out the loser-male-white vote, Trump could win. I think we'll have a better idea about how this is playing out a  month from now. The last Cub game I attended Will was sitting in a  nearby seat. He was alone, wearing a tweed sports jacket and his customary bow tie. The Cubs should make the effete simpleton their mascot.

         *

      I watched the Democratic convention last night with Gentleman Lee, Ukraine Mike, and Adonis on the Ale House TV. It was not as crowded as the night before so we were able to hear quite well. The theme was to make Hillary more human. There  were a series of impressive testimonials from so called regular people. Howard Dean gave a lackluster speech, however, when he parodied his famous shriek-speech at the conclusion of his speech, we all chuckled. It turns out Adonis is a Bernie Brat. Ukraine Mike is not. He is a hardcore Hillary supporter. Because he speaks fluent Russian, and understands Russian politics from first hand experience, he thinks there's a lot of substance to the idea Putin is trying to help Goldilocks. My position is this: Trump has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not Putin's puppet. 
       Bill Clinton, although aged, and not nearly as robust as he used to be, did a fine job of humanizing his wife. I did not know how active she'd been in nitty gritty social justice activities. It wasn't an electrifying speech like the one Michelle Obama gave the previous night, but it definitely got the job done. It will be interesting to hear what Barack has to say tonight.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bernie Brats Misbehaving

                    
                I remember the way we parted,
                  The day and the way we met;
                You hoped we were both broken hearted
                  And knew we would both forget…

               And the best and the worst of this is
                   That neither of us is to blame,
                If you have forgotten my kisses
                    And I have forgotten your name…

       Algernon Charles Swinburne, the author of this poem fragment, is an English poet. He was born in 1837. I've always loved the name Algernon. If you want an eccentric child with an unsettled brain, you might want to name him Algernon. I suppose there's nothing inherently wrong with a child meditating on life's complexities, I was such a child. Still, a self-indulgent preoccupation with the absurdities of adolescence can lead to melancholia and in some case, severe depression. My adolescence was a nightmare. From the age of thirteen to fifteen I walked around with a perpetual hard on. The crotch of a tree aroused me. I routinely wore a jock strap to conceal my lust. To make matters worse, I had severe acne. Girls recoiled from me in horror. This exacerbated my anti-social tendencies. I filled my days wreaking havoc on the citizens of Uppers Grove. I was not a routine juvenile delinquent; no, I had imagination. I considered myself a vigilante. The wave of terror I launched upon the citizenry of this right-wing, racist community basically ended when my acne abated and I procured my drivers license. For the next two years I devoted most of my waking hours to having sex with my equally sex-crazed girlfriend. 
         Swinburne was an alcoholic, algolagniac (he liked to be flogged), and highly excitable. A poet of the decadent school, he became a member of the Pre Raphaelites. These were a group of madcap young Englishmen that wished to go back to the style of painting and poetry before Raphael. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Millais, who were also members of the group, were both top notch artists. Swinburne wore his decadence like a badge of honor. Fellow libertine Oscar Wilde said , "Swinburne was a braggart in matters of vice." Most artists and poets are, at least the ones I have known.

                             Change in a trice
                The lilies and languors of virtue
                For the raptures and  roses of vice…

               The delight that consumes the desire,
               The desire that outruns the delight…

               I am tired of tears and laughter,
                 And men that laugh and weep;
              Of what may come hereafter
                  For men that sow and reap:
              I am weary of days and hours,
              Blown buds of barren flowers,
              Desires and dreams and powers
                  And everything but sleep…  


                 *

         Last night we watched the Democratic Convention on the Ale House TV. Even though it was unusually crowded for a Monday night, I could still hear most of the speeches from where I was seated. It was raucous. The Bernie Brats were behaving like petulant children. I'm tired of telling them that I too voted for Bernie in the primary; I also sent him two-hundred bucks, however, he lost. The choice between Hillary and Trump is not even worth debating. Trump is a simple minded, maladroit, fraud. He's figured out how stupid the rabble is and plays too their puerile prejudices. His speaking style, and facial gestures are reminiscent of Mussolini. John Adams, a founding father of US politics summed it up: "Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces." Unfortunately, the Bernie Brats don't understand this - they don't really care about ideas, they prefer the cult of personality. 
         Before Michelle Obama spoke, comedian Sarah Silverman, who was a Bernie supporter, spoke to the convention. When the booing commenced she walked back to the mic and said, "you Bernie or bust people are ridiculous."
         Michelle Obama was remarkable. In a normal voice choked with emotion she knocked the ball out of the park. It was certainly one of the best convention speeches I've ever witnessed, and I've been watching political conventions since I was twelve. I remember well in 1952 sitting next to my dad on our couch watching the Republican Convention. When Ike beat out ultra-right-winger Taft for the nomination tears appeared in my fathers eyes. I didn't watch the 68 Dem convention because I was on the street every day and night. From what I hear it was great TV.
        Elizabeth Warren does a really nice job of slicing and dicing Goldilocks. She always manages to get under Goldilocks' skin. When Bernie took the podium he did everything one might have hoped he would do. The Bernie Brats even booed him. I hope Hillary studies Michelle's speaking style. This ridiculous need to scream, yell and ham it up is off putting. Cory Booker did a scream and yell speech which I found abhorrent. While I was watching the speeches, the Cougar and her friend Carolyn joined us. Carolyn, who is black, appears to be a Hillary hater. Whatever her political views are, she was in awe of Michelle's speech. I didn't realize until I got home how ill-behaved the Bernie Brats had been during the proceedings. Because of the noise in the bar I couldn't hear all the booing they had been indulging in.

          I'm concerned about my myasthenia gravis. I'd been a-symptomatic for almost two years. For the last month I've had brief episodes of slurring my words. When I walked the Cougar home I was a bit wobbly. I guess I'm going to have to make an appointment with my neurologist. Damn. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

O Most Lame And Impotent Conclusion

             
                Wavering between the profit and the loss
                In the brief transit where the dreams cross
                The dreamcrossed twilight between birth
                And dying… 
                                   T.S. Eliot from Ash Wednesday.

                For I am nothing if not critical. 
                I am not merry, but I do beguile
                The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.
                                                        Othello

       Nate Thurmond died last week. He was a 74 year-old former basketball player. Although not as famous as rivals Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlin, in his prime, he was better; not only was he an amazing rebounder, he was more versatile on offense, and a better shooter than his other two fellow Hall of Famers. He didn't play good defense,  he played great defense! I got to see him a lot when I was living in the Bay Area, especially after I acquired season tickets directly behind the visiting bench at the Oakland Arena where the Golden State Warriors played. It was impressive watching him night after night. Rick Barry got most of the publicity, which never seemed to bother Nate The Great. In fact, few things seemed to bother him; he was a very stoic player, as well as in person. 
        Back in the 70's I spent a lot of  time hanging out in a bar in the Marina section of San Francisco called Slater Hawkins. It was frequented by guys trying to pick up hot chicks, high-class hookers, gamblers, hustlers, the gang from the KPIX TV station down the street, and assorted other celebrities.  Over the years I met a lot of famous pro athletes in this bar. The owner, Tommy Turner, and I became fast friends and we played a lot of golf together. Tommy was a chain smoker. Thinking it would impede the ill-effects of his nicotine addiction, Tommy used a cigarette holder religiously. He had a neatly trimmed mustache,  slightly sunken watery eyes, an ashy, unhealthy complexion, and was rather more inclined to corpulence than fit his frame. 
         Tommy's  former business partners were forever suing him. I can't count the number of scams and hustles Tommy and I pulled off together during the five years preceding my return to Chicago. Because he was not given to stoic austerities, and cocaine having become a wide spread fad in the 70's, I was not surprised to learn after I returned to Chicago that Tommy had succumbed to putting powder up his nose. The last I heard he was in Arizona.
        One night I was sitting in Slater's with Tommy and some other hustlers and fellow scamsters; we were discussing something nefarious when Nate Thurmond walked in with a young white chick I'd never seen before. Nate, being black and 6'11', as well as a man of fashion, was quite conspicuous,  especially sitting at the circular bar next to a 5"2", buxom white girl.
        Carl the Bookie leaned over the table and said to Tommy, "that isn't Nate's regular girlfriend, is it?"
        Tommy shrugged his shoulders slightly,  squinted through his horned rimmed glasses in the direction of Nate and the girl, and said, "no, I think his girlfriend is even shorter."
        Tim The Salesman said, "Nate really likes the short blonde broads, doesn't he."
        We had been chatting together for about a half hour when a loud crash could be heard directly outside the window we were sitting next to. A Rolls Royce had just crashed into Nate's Mercedes which was parked at the curb. And then there was the sound of another crash, and yet another crash. The Rolls was backing up, taking aim, and repeatedly smashing into the Mercedes. The entire bar looked out the window in astonishment as Nate rushed out the door. Raising his arms at the driver of the Rolls, but daring not to get between his car and the Rolls, he shook his head helplessly. By now we were all on the sidewalk. Nate was pleading with the driver of the Rolls, which had steam streaming out from under its mangled hood, to cease and desist with the carnage. With one parting smash into what was  left of the side of Nate's mangled vehicle, the woman inside the Rolls sputtered off down Fillmore Street with her middle finger extended out the open window of the Rolls. 
        Traffic had come to a halt and there had to be at least a hundred stunned people discussing what they'd just witnessed. With a remarkable lack of emotion, Nate, ever the stoic, surveyed what was left of his luxury automobile before walking back in Slaters and sitting down on his bar stool. Tommy, placing his hand on my shoulder, whispered in my ear, "that was his Rolls, and that was his girlfriend driving it." A few minutes later after two police cars arrived Nate went back outside to talk to the cops.
         I don't know what happened to Nate and his girlfriends relationship after her fit of pique. Although the story made the papers, the only thing I can remember was Nate's insurance company refusing to pay for the car damage. I could see their point.


                   Base men being in love have then a nobility in their
           natures more than is native to them.
                                                    From Othello

                   O God! that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains; that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts. 
                                                      More Othello
                   
          

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Swimming Underwater And Holding Your Breath

        

             After such knowledge, what forgiveness? 
                    think now
             History has many cunning passages, 
                    contrived corridors
             And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
             Guides us by vanities.
             Paint me the bold anfractuous rocks
             Faced by the snarled and yelping seas.
                
         From everything I've read T.S. Eliot was a loathsome, pretentious  human being, however, the right-wing, Catholic, Royalist could write poetry. Born in pedestrian St. Louis, he became an English citizen. From the videos and photos I've seen of him he was a pusillanimous, simpering man governed by decorum. He read his poetry in a low, confidential voice with an affected British accent. 

            Normally I no longer write Sunday blogs. I decided to make an exception today as it's too hot to take a walk. Last night was a typically fun-filled Saturday at the Old Town Ale House. Earlier in the day I'd taken a long, late afternoon stroll along the river walk and then zig zagged my way back to Old Town. Although it was hot, it was overcast enough to protect you from the full power of the sun.

                           You know only
               A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 
               And the dead tree gives no shelter, the
                            cricket no relief.

          It had been drizzling since I started down Michigan Avenue; I didn't get caught in the first downpour until Delaware Street. I don't mind getting wet when it's hot out. I stopped by the Ale House and had a beer with Hardware Nick and Gentleman Lee before I purloined Street Jimmy's umbrella and braved the thunder, lightening and rain. No sooner did I take off my soaking clothes that Tobin called and said the basement of the bar was flooding. I told her I hoped nobody had put anything of value on the floor, and took a shower.
          A couple hours later when I returned to the bar the flooding had receded. There was some damage; someone had left a box of coasters on the floor and Tobin had left a large box marked ceiling fan on the floor. I'm always thrilled when she arbitrarily decides to do something. The new thermostat was a ridiculous idea. 
         I had a lengthly conversation with Irish Chris and the Cougar.  The Cougar seemed chipper, almost affectionate. The two Republican blondes came in with a Middle-Eastern looking woman who loved my new Goldilocks and the Three Bitches painting. They were escorted by Republican Todd. Todd had just come back from the Republican freak show in Cleveland. He's a realist and is depressed about Goldilocks taking over the party. When he said the mood of the delegates was somber, the Cougar said she'd heard just the opposite. Sometime after midnight the Cougar yawned, stretched her arms, put on her New England lobster fisherman rain gear, and said good night. Irish Chris was by now in his cups. The more he drinks, the more pronounced is his Irish brogue. 
         Much of the evening had been devoted to the subject of sex. It is a subject the Cougar is no stranger to. Irish Chris, ever the Irish gentleman, saved his most interesting stories till after the Cougar departed. I consider myself a man of the world, and have a number of not only interesting, but some might say - shocking sex tales in my repertoire, but I can safely say Irish Chris described a couple of weird adventures that had me in awe. 
         "There was this girl, she had a pretty face, and nice tits. Her arse was a little on the plump side, but she was a comely young thing. The minute I got her into my apartment I gave her the old (mimicked finger fucking her) pulled down her panties and started munching on her. Well, the smell was not pleasant so after I got her into my bed naked, I said, 'I've got these dainty wipes in my bathroom, perhaps you could avail yourself of them and clean your vagina, as it has a foul odor emanating from it'. This, as you can probably imagine, displeased her. She proceeded to slap my face, get on her hands and knees, and fart in my face. She was only about four inches from my nose when she blasted me. Now what happened next is the really interesting part; you probably thought she'd go home in a huff, but no, she went into the bathroom, freshened up and came back. " 
        I'll leave it to the readers imagination about what happened next. (The only clue I'll give you is there was feces involved.) Chris had several more anal, and poop related stories that I found equally fascinating.

               Between the idea
               And the reality
               Between the motion
               And the act
               Falls the shadow.

        I didn't get home until two.

           *

           This morning Street Jimmy, Buzz Kill, and I went down in the basement. Jimmy mopped bleach on the parts of the floor he could reach. After Buzz Kill and I assessed the damage, we saved what we could.

                    Terminate torment
                    Of love unsatisfied
                    The greatest torment
                    Of love satisfied.