Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Was it a Wagnerian opera, or was it just your stomach rumbling?


Look at the shape I'm in
Talking to the walls again
Look at the state I'm in

--Finger Eleven

Dante's hell lasted only one night. Our own seems considerably longer as some of us are well over Dante's age of 47 at his death
Back in the days of political incorrectness, my pal would say, "Beware of Wops Bearing Gifts" and actually wrote something about Fellini movies.
"Yeah I saw Satyricon. The intellectual hippies said it was great, but I really got tired of badly built boats, farting gryffons and Robin in exile looking for Batman."

But Dante Alleghieri. Nothing Greek about his gift.

He was the gretest poet of the middle ages, possibly all ages. No wonder Harvard University still publishes him along with the motto, Truth.

Ah the truth of one bad night.

You are ill. You can sense the life force in your hard drive, but you can't bring up the video so you see your life as an exercise in futility and how can you hope for a future when you know for sure you're going to die?

It is small wonder that 19th century hotels would have bottle of brandy at bedside "for to keep off the chills."

I had a Dante dream last night, possibly triggered by a tooth extraction and a root canal.

In the middle of the dream, everything seemed grey, grey, grey. No colour. And something was chasing me. You know the dude. The dark- robed guy
That wasn't a weed whacker he was carrying over his shoulder; he had hoodie.

Scrooge come to collect. Your life.

Ah all the families you mislaid. All the women you have scorned to your regret.
Your insecurity over having a genius son.

The Ulyssean voyage is often not altogether noble. But I think Fellini got it wrong. There was nothing gay bout Odysseus, dallying with Nusicaa on the island of Calypso whlle Penelope kept the flame and warded off the suitors.( The bloody massacre of the suitors later, aided by his son! Hoary old poontanger, but a hero all the same. Yeah Pagan. But the Odyssey is nevertheless one of thetwin Bibles of the Greeks and its message is not feminine, like our New Testament.

Obviously, a closet warrior like Nietzsche would have loved Odesseus as he obviouly loved Zarathustra, his Superman.
But Zarathustra came from ancient Persia, and not the school of paper hanging as some historians might submit. Nietzsche believed in special strengh of all the races and only by combining the best qualities (he says) could man achieve Superman status.

Of course, once spurned and even ridiculed by Wagner's wife, Nietzsche would go home and sulk. "These people are not fit to shine my boots."

Also Sprach Zarathustra!

In any event. Back to the nighttime creeps and and the intimation that all is futile and we're all going to die.

It is the talent that struggles thus.

For you know in the morning that you will be born again. Miraculously.

And you will wonder what all that Sturm und Drang was in the middle of the night
There is a sunflower that has only just budded out in a halo in your garden.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The sick rose.


In my creative writing class one day, I had a phys-ed instructor who happened to be a scribbler.
I had made up some assignment about writing about a flower (hell, better than a brick wall) and he got right into it.

"I knelt down to smell the flower, got down to 'flower-sniffing position', and making sure that I was in a safe mode, I smelled it. It was a rose. It's value was intrinsic.

Omigod. Trying to teach Super Dave to write about sniffing flowers. And what the hell was so intrinsic about the value of a rose? I was probably missing something. The real old Super Dave would have thrown me a curve. The rose would have exploded or something.

But maybe I did miss his point. Maybe should have listened mor carefully once past the jock talk?
Maybe a broken heart. Jocks get them too.

A poem by Blake is on so many levels that even a jock would get it.

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

Wow. Talk about levels. Sick rose. Sick you. Something eating away at you. Perhaps your spouse's lover, or the cancer; who knows. And his dark, secret love
Does thy life destroy.

At least three levels, but the rose image is kaleidoscopic, and there are many, many more levels.
William Blake. Dang that mad, wonderful lithographer! Genius at descibing some relationships.
"And every day, as he grows weaker
"She grows stronger." And he illustrates it all with a nude man and woman, on their knees, tied back to back..
Cookie monster, that Blake.

Well, thank God I am not wound -up or talented enought to be a William Blake.
My wife did once tell me though, "If I cranked you up a notch or two, you'd be Sylvia Plath."
And here am I with an electric oven. What woud be the point?
We all get so precious, so high strung when we are young poets.
Reflecting on roses, we step into potholes.
And a passiing Yahoo may well push our face all the way down to the mud.
Nietzsche says our noses are pushed down into reality, into the nitty gritty. For nature does not allow the impractical dreamer or esthete to live long, or even reproduce. Nature is red in tooth and claw, and the pteradactyl is still up there, whether in the shape of a Pterosaur or a Boeing 727. Or a wild-eyed bomb thrower.

Old kingston Trio song:
What nature will not do to us.
Will be done to us by our fellow man.

All those therapists out of the nineties. Relax. Stop being so anxious. Have a good time. Nothing is out there to get ya. It's just evolutionary reflex. The Pteradactyl is gone.
Ha.
It's got four engines and a bag of box cutters.
And what fear will not do to us.
Will be done by Homeland Security.
Keep 'em scared. Keep 'em meek with images of Abu Graib.

George Orwell was an optimist.
Oh our dear totalitarian time.
And I don't think even Obama is getting it.
They did a sales job on him over in Afghanistan, and he seems to have taken hook, line and sinker.
And instead of recommending an immediate pullout out of Iraq, ( All the soldiers, and all theU.S. puppets and their families carted of by C-5's yesterday) he wants to do a lateral arabesque and shift all the manpower to Afghanistan, where drug dealers and pipeline contractors are about as plentiful and as dangerous as they are here in Ontario.
Protect the drugs and pipes.
Oh Barrak.
You talk to the generals, of course they will do a sales job on you.
Talk to the people. But you can't get to the people.
You talk to Karzai. Why does Karzai somehow sound like CIA?
'Cause he is.
The Afghan rose might well be a poppy.
And it is sick.
Drooping and bleeding.
From a wound that will just not heal.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My picture file. Kaput. I am seriously thinking of becoming a shepherd...Lord knows I've tried everything else, including rock star.


Never mind rock'n'roll.
I am on a bad roll.
For a computer geek, I'd make a fine blacksmith.
Persistence runs in my family, but it's like a chimp with fleas here. Both suffer damnably, and neither can win.
One was doing so well when one started out blogging. I could work out complex problems by pick, pluck and pray.
But now Hephaestus, the god of technology seems to have abandoned me, and I am reduced to simple shepherd.
How nice it was in the old days of hot lead.
Yeah, but that had its peculiarities too. I thought I could read backwards all right till I got down to a chase of newspaper or book print.
Jesus. Upper and lower case letters do not look the same way at all. Might as well be cuneiform, viz., <<<<<<<<<<<<
Dyslexia does no run in my family. While in the Air Force, I had to learn to write backwards on a lit plexiglass map so the controller in front facing me could get the track symbols and information, speeds of the planes, weather reports and all.
After a while it got to be second nature to write backwards. But if you put these very words up on a mirror ritght now, you'll see that the letters themselves are actually turned around. They have risers and descenders, serifs too. Never got the knack of setting up a page of hot lead type backwards. This was a special skill of the linotye operator, always a gay guy, for some reason.
Gay poeple are more left-handed than not. The right homme in the right place?
Had to be some reason I failed as a linotype operator.
Work around lead all the time. Lead poisoning. Mad hatters in the composing room.
And lordy, be careful not to spill a chase of type and start picking all the letter slugs up. Puff the tragic typie will getcha.
We used to make up songs about it.
Puff the tragic typie
Sat high on the shelf.
Couldn't find a **** to grab
So he ended up grabbing himself.
Yeah. Upper and lower.
They say the most complex problems are solved, oddly, with humour.
I am losing my sense of humour.
For god's sake, all I want to do is write, and maybe set up a picture or two. Is that too difficult to execute?
Well, not until I got my Windows 2000.
Never mind Bill Gates or all the ingenuity and the money he has.
Dare I say that a product has been put on the market that doesn't work half the time?
I am starting to believe that Mac really is "better built trucks."
And Windows is a shuck.
I am so frustreaded that I am starting to swear in Afrikaans.
Never mind H T M L
Rhymes with Boorkill, in Afrikaans.
Which is quasi-Dutch for a farmer's major appendage.
And that's quite an HTML tag.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The relationship machine


I am timorous and cowering as I put up this new blog after a week's absence.

My computer broke down and it took three trips to the shop and back, and even then, the &^ ing thing went kaput and I found out how really stupid some Bell IT guys are and the only ones who seem to have any real skill or knowldge are Indian ladies named Shehiroz or Kareema.
I will never mention the Pakistani quota again, even though we don't have one in Canada. It was only because of a lady from Pakistan that I got my modem to work right." Blue cable, Sahib. From Bell." Hey. It works!

Then my own IT guy who somehow thought my blog space was my home page; ah well. Learn as you go.

So I am nervous as a cat as I type this, having serious thoughts about taking up the priesthood or becoming a shepherd.

The priesthood because I met this knockout blonde, spent Sunday morning with her and now that she is home and I am at my workspace, I am (I swear) getting something like separation anxiety...Hell, I barely know the woman. My IT guy who has met her says," Hey man. You think you got internet trouble? That's real trouble." Well, she does look like Marilyn Monroe and here I am at my hysterically young age (ha!) alone for a long time and all Sunday moring seemed to me to be sending out hormones and enkaphelins that would fell even a statue of El Toro--or it seemed that way to me, old attic dweller and peruser of funny magazines.

Seems that I had suddenly come alive and wondering all the while where I had been these past few years. Didn't Hemingway write something like "Men Without Women?" They were all violent dudes.

I swear some days I'd terrorize an entire village if I spend another day without female company. "We are troublesome creatures," says a neighbour. "But you can't get along without us."

Well, a looker like that probably has at least two, maybe three men pole-axed like this Polack (almost), and when I took her to the restaurant all the men's eyes were upon her and she said hello to one or two. Ah. Trouble in the making.

I hate problems. I hate trouble. But I get into woe all the time then I have to use all the imagination and all the adrenaline to get out of tight squeezes, and at my age, it's kind of hard on the old ticker and as I look back at the past, the old face took a beating as well.
How many blows have I cleverly stopped with my face. Trying for a karate hold on the guy at about the time he punches you in the on the nose. Ah. Press L for Loser!
And mistaking some poor restaurant cook for my mistress' lover, whamming the poor Greek on the cheek --and realizing, that it was a case of mistaken identity. Double L for loser!

Ah well.Make your move. Think of the years of regret....Never mind. Better to move; you can deal with the regret later.
The I-Ching is full of regret. "Little fox dips his tail into the water. Remorse; noting will further."

Last night my blonde bomber visited a female friend who lives next door to me.
Ah. Press L for Loser!
All signals like this have a positive sexual charge.

I definitely need to get out more.
But to get ambushed at my front door would be kind of nice.

Trouble. I have a natural talent to forsee impossible situations.
But I havent felt so good in a long time. Where have I been. On the moon?

Ah. Lunacy.

Herodotus says "stay with the easy conquests othewise she'll have you baying at the moon with her manipulations"..
You can spot a relationship machine from miles away, but that doesn't mean you're going to stay away.

I'm sure this is all going to pass.
Take up the priesthood.
St. Anthony in the garden.
"Get the hell out of my rosebush, mad monk!"

Same thing every time. You just get enough ink in the papers and enough money together to fly on at least on engine--and wham. Relationship. What does all this have to do with getting that book out?

The priesthood. The priesthood. Pater Noster.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Speedy Mercury READ MY BOOK

Thirty- three years ago, on an unusually bright January day, I decided to stop teaching and become a real writer, not a teacher of writing.
Seemed like a good idea at the time. I was nearing forty, the deadline decade; I was meeting all my turtles, the once- fastest rabbit (mouth?) in town and though having a million words in print, these were in column form and I was not sure if that really counted. I had in print one small novel, "The Black Icon", which was published, of all places by the Bradford Witness Publishing Company, ON.
People would ask, "Are you a Jehovas'? You gonna stick your foot in my door and tell me to awake? You hear the one about the scion of a Jehova's Wintess and a biker, who comes to the door and tells you to f*ck off?
Enough that I didn't feel very authentic. So I quit my job at the college, surrendered the vows, left my wife (who was probably glad to get the crazy bastard and his beer bottles out; there had been issues) and made for the place where the writers go. Mexico. Cuernavaca. Crooked horn. And yes, after a spell there I was somewhat bent and wastin' away in Margaritaville, forget the manuscript and the vows, foxy chicks gotta get, foxy psychotics from California telling me to get in touch with my feelings, American woman, stay away from me. Ah, but she bagged the fool, and if you sleep with somebody crazy you'll end up crazy too, and soon I was "getting in touch with my feelings" tried to get away but she followed me all the way to San Miguel de Allende, where I soon discovered that I had drip to my whistle and thinking of that old limerick, "Since I met your lovely daughter/ I've had trouble passing water".

A damsel with a dose. This was not getting the Great Canadian novel done. Letter from the poor wife. "Whatcha doin', McLuhan? --"Shrew and the kids." Behaving badly.. How many novels on behaving badly?
A Fan's Notes
All of Burroughs.
Kingsey Amis
Me.

My novel came out, eventually. The Fire in Bradford, but as my impoverished banker and sp0nsor was to tell me, "Ivan, the fire was in your pants and not in Bradford. And, he added after a few drinks, "Your asshole is in Ottawa".
Behaving badly. Jerry Rubin:" If it feels good, do it." Ah but there were reasons for the odyssey. There had been a problem with my poor foo-foo valve. Doctor had said it was nasty and the antibotics weren't getting it. Well, with sunlight and marathon sex, one did repair ones foo-foo valve, but at what cost? Ragged Dick the Match Boy. Always the Horatio Alger follower. "Give you a bully shine, Sir" rags to riches all my life and now surely on the road back to rags. I think there was a movie made of this, titled "The Jerk".

Standing today in front of the bookstore where I'd made me decision to chuck it all and become a writer. Meeting herds and herds of my turtles as the passed the maddened hare. Someone taps me on the shoulder.
"You Ivan?"
"Yes."
"I read your book," said the stranger, who turned out to be a bus driver in Toronto.
Hah. Speedy mercurial figure. "I read your book. It's a knockout." Wow. Hey....If you can reach one person... But the hell and high water to get there. Do you have to be a devil to get your halo? Surely felt like hell going through the process of the novel/autobiography. And damn it all, it seems like it was all somehow worth it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ten Commandments for Writers


Damn, damn, damn and double damn.

What with google and its immense resources, you can never find the information you really want, like writings by a now well-out-of -date and somewhat obscure author named Tristan Tsara. Or maybe some utterance by the Third Caliph of Badhdad in the thirteenth century. Or a Borges story about that caliph and how he hat put his antagonist in a straight labyrinth, which is the cruellest and most complex of all.

So when I googled to find Tristan Tsara's Ten Commandments for writers, there were lots of imitators, but not the chiselled commandments of Tristan Tsara.

So I am reduced to mere memory, and there will be a lot of blanks as I try to remember Tsaras' advice and his thunder from the mountain

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR WRITERS

I. Respect for thy fellow authors, sayeth the Lord, thy God, and thou shalt not worship the false gods of fame and fortune.

II, Thou shalt not envy the quick success and royalties of your fellow authors, for superficial talent is quick to take hold and will not last, whereas deeper talent takes longer and its success is the longest lasting.

III. Thou shalt not criticize a fellow authors published work if thou are not published thyself. This will not count.

IV. Remember to keep holy thy writing days.

V. Honor thy editor and thy hardworking agent. She has a good heart in spite of it all.

VI. Thou shalt not kill thy neighbor's ego while critiquing her work, though purple prose may be slain at will.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery just to obtain material.

VIII. Thou shalt not steal plot ideas or words from thy fellow authors. *

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against another author by spreading gossip or by criticizing her work to booksellers and reviewers.

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighboring author's wife, even if thine own refuses to support thy work.

X Thou shalt not covet thy neighboring author's contract, nor her place on the Quill and Quire (Canada) bestseller list
Whoops! That's eleven....Bu then I was always crummy at Roman numerals.
..........................

* Unless thou art stuck.
..............................
What are your Ten Commandments as a writer?
Cranky today. My picture file is corrupt. I am corrupt. My left jaw is throbbing witht the extracted teeth and I can only taste half of my martini because of the novocaine.
I can not talk very well today, and people seem to ignore me like they would a retarded person.
Now I know what that feels like. Come on new teeth!
I will be off the air for two days due to computer maintenance. Now you can write all sorts of scurrilous stuff here to be picked up by the automatic monitor....Man, am I going to have reading material when I get back. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

MAD in academia



The cultural-philosophical attitude known as nihilism vanished at about the time of the ascention of the Bolsheviks in Russia.
An important element had vanished from the scene. Was it because the Russian character was changing?
Or would the nihilism just change to burlesque, as new Communists, in the privacy of their minds, would now embrace burlesque or satire to counter, with a private laugh, a new tyranny.

But this, spoken out loud, would lead to the Gulag or the gallows.

Thus begins my thesis on nihilism, which, of course, was designed to keep my A status in graduate school.
I could not fail. I had to read like hell.
And sometimes offer entire phrases without attribution or footnotes.

I mean, if you're in a lab and the potassium permanganate doesn't turn blue as its supposed to in the experiment, what's wrong with a little ink or blue colouring to help the process along? Or purple, which is close enough. Got to maintain that A status.

Ah purple prose and plagiarism.

You gotta keep that A to stay in the course.

I think I had been too hard on myself with my careful attribution and footnoting.

I have since read a number of master's theses in social work, say, and I have found these candidates not only extraordnarily dim, but outright thieves when it came to their ideas.

Myself, I was riven with doubt over my sociology thesis."I'm going to fail. I stole it all. They will catch me."

Well, no. Most sociology profs aren't all that far ahead of their students, and in a discipline that is largely bankrupt, it's only the statistics that you present that can be challenged.

Like I had offered that all deviants live in corner houses on the block.
I knew this for sure, as I lived in a corner house.

So did my prof, I guess, and he didn't give me full marks.
"It's been said before, by C.W. Mills."

Well, at least he was awake. And probably a corner deviant too, for who else would be privy to that kind of arcane information? He did admit to me that his adopted eleven-year-old dauther, Hester, had been making advances to him, which were well past ordinary childlike innocence.
Or was he just a dirty old man, and worse, in a closet?
The social sciences stem from classical philosophy and visual art.

And how many times in the Symposium would Plato, heavily made up, would croon, "I'm going to make myself pretty for a pretty man?"

Of course, today, we would be held as bigots if we were to criticize such an attitude.
Boy-loving is elevated to religion. We must be politically correct.
And in the privacy of our minds, resort to a kind of satire or burlesque. We think of Kurt Vonegut Jr. "All Greek philosopy is one large bumfuck."
It does strike me that it is the artist and not the social scientist who really knows anything. Sociology is applied common sense and statistics. But as" Lone Grey Squirrel"sagaciously states in his blog, you can make up statistics on the spot just to prove your point.

So here is a quote by William S. Burroughs that would either fascinate or repel my poor sociology prof.

"In Timbuktu I once saw an Arab boy who could play a flute with his ass, and the fairies told me he was really an individual in bed."

Startling, but somehow romantic in our post-modernist, techno-gay future.

Certainly worth a hundred closely-reasoned theses.

And all it was was a genius farting around.

M.A. theses. Most of them bullshit and farting around. And worse, stolen, especially in a non-dissertation thesis, where you don't even have to prove your point to a commitee.
How Burroghs must have mystified his profs at Harvard.
Or intrigued them.

And how often is the truth supplied with humour.

Even in a jugular vein, as I had submitted, in my Master's thesis, on of all things, MAD Magazine.

I did not have to copy or improvise.

The MAD artists were happy to supply the information.

Said illustrator Willie Elder.

Man, you are one of us.

"But as Groucho Marx said, "I wouldn't want to be part of any club that would have me as a member.

Hoo Hah!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

An apocalyptic dream in the middle of the night


Twin towers

The symbol for eleven

Like strange love gone bad.

Like America.

Like the song by a new group called Finger Eleven


Look at the shape I'm in
Talking to the walls again
Look at the state I'm in

No hostage has been held like I've
Been holding mine but I'm just fine
Since I've been without you
No prisoner could climb the walls
That I've built up in my mind
Since I've been without you
But I'm holding down and out
I'm desperate without you
Look at the shape I'm in
Talking to the walls again
Look at the state I'm in
Bent and broken is all I've been
No universal truth this time
No other universe but mine
Could ever feel as unaligned
Since I've been without you
No instances from time to time
Feel like things will turn out right
Since I've been without you



The wonder of the beauty of America crying in the months after 911, the beautiful singers, Faith Hill, and Jewel and even our own Shania Twain singing a dirge to America and love itself as pirates took over the White House and Congresss; and America, like William Blake's Rose was sick, and the solitary worm that flew in, "in the in the night, in the howling storm", found out America's bud of joy, it's ethos and its culure, and ground it all into the dirt.

And so, to the tune of old Beatles, "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people":

Look at the shape I'm in
Talking to the walls again
Look at the state I'm in


Art bows to commerce and where there is no commerce, there is no art. But you can't kill art if it's for itself.
Even though the pirates and the con men continue to confound Congress and more trillions have been poured into the continuation of the Iraq and Afghan wars and we are hardly near to where we first began.

The Saudi insurgets' game was so easy to see through if one had studied the "Arab Mind" the almost Christian Byzantine deceitful ways of it--the image of the the nimble, vituperant serpent and the exhausted ibis trying to harpoon it. And failing, and almost dying.
Flailing, failing, again and again, until the Ibis is almost immobilized out of fatigue and about to be dispatched by the asp.

And with a fool at the helm, America, like the Ibis seems exhausted, culturally and economically, waiting for the evil bite.

And the serpent, who had heretofore keened, "Let me in, oh tender woman.
Let me in for heaven' sake"
About to give America the thorough, poisonous gnaw that is the asps's.

But the serpent, down-looking, earthbound, could not see the Chinese kite overhead and its high-seated observers.
From above: " Lower the snake-killing goddess. Those foreign devils will understand that.
They are, both, the Nubian and the Scyth, so simple- minded!"
##

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Down to the house of the rising sun. Or was it a toga party?


Life leads you down strange paths, and even stranger tactics and ambushes as you try to get back the one you love.

The idea was to ambush the one I love with her new Italian paramour.

Found the address. Silhouettes on the shade.

Silhouettte, Silhouette, Silhouette ...die. .. oh.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. He seems to play with she. I sit in the car an almost play with me.

Jealousy. Night and day you torture me.

Was I bent on revenge, or just a garden variety peeping Tom?
I had to close with my enemy.


I see the man sitting in the nightclub. I think he needed a break from her. Having a beer.
He seems to somehow recognize me. He beckons me to come to his table.
The man is swarthy, natty, Frank Zappa moustache.
I am fair and frazzled.
He is smiling. Says not a word to me. Orders two beers.

I am maddened by jealousy, high on adrenaline. "You Billy Gambini". He keeps smiling and just nods.
"What are you doing with Celia? He shrugs. extends his hands. Certainly one good-looking Cicilian.

Ah well. Positive ID.
Rage, outrage. How dare he steal my woman?

I let fly with a backhander that knocks him well back in his chair. He is not getting up.

I back out of the club.

Well, nothing is revealed, but at least I feel better. And all the worse for Billy Gambini. But I know Billy is in he mob.
These guys answer pretty fast, so I'd better look to my future.

Well, don't they work fast? Answer right away.

Came home to find my aparment on fire.
Lucky this time. Called 911. They put out the fire in the stairwell, wihch was about the extent of it. This time.

The best way to get back at your enemy is right under his sword.

Two weeks later, I went back to the nightclub and asked for a job as a lounge singer. Auditioned for it. Got it.
Was in a duo, the other guy a Greek Bazouki player, on which he could play, strangely, the coolest rock and counry stuff. Also Turkish.
There were two exotic dancers, one thin an svelte and he other Turkish and fat. The owner was trying to line me up with the fat one. Always my luck.
I got hugely turned on by the thin one, who was doing some sort of dance of the seven veils, with the old bazouki player right in there, and I couln't follow. Picked up a tambourine.

The old bazouki player was on his knees with his instrument. Worshipping the eternal feminine.
I banged my tamborine.


What in hell is going on here? I was hoping to catch Gambini again, but, once bitten, twice shy. He had not shown.

Two burly guys came in.

One took a seat just under where I was banging the tambouine. They ordered drinks. "Shut that f*cking thing down" the blond one hissed as I banged the thing six inches from his head.

I am full of adrenaline; I was hoping I would see Gambini again and get him back for trying to torch my house.
Full of adrenalie and machismo. I have the tamburine in one hand and tell the burly to eat right here.
Srtrangely, there was no more complaint about the noise and music.

The following day, my apartment was burned to the ground. Logo on the remainding window pane. "Made in Calabria."

I am at my friend's apartment now. He knows the ways of drug dealers.
"Do you think they'll hit again?
"Nah. You just want the chick. Not the drugs."

I couldn't have invented this story.
It could only happen to me.
My girflriend is trapped by a pimp in Toronto, and she seemed to have liked that kind of thing.

I find her alone outside. Attempt a rescue.
But she just turns from me, applies some sort of black tourniquet to her left arm and runs back to the house.

I hoped they wouldn't burn down my new apartment.

"You were in with the wrong crowd," the busty librarian says when I publish what happened in my own underground paper.

Fok. Damn faggy English teacher and sometimes cabaret musician with a student from the house of the rising sun.

And she had to pick me. Fer nothin.

We would roam around the house of ill repute on off days
A cathoue on off-days? Well, Gambini was growing less and less popular and the consruction workers came less and less. The dungeon, the bunk beds and the upright stove there for cooking drugs. Weekends, the biker chicks in jeans, wating for the call.
Roaming around Dracula's lair.

I would play the guitar. She would dance

Friends had tried to warn me.

"What is it with you Taulouse-Lautrec?"

They will break your knees. They will break your prick.

Look what happened to your bar owner friend.


Well, they almost got me too.

The Scotsman at the bar, picking a fight, almost kicking my head in.

Who was writing this novel, and how did I get myself into it?

Tit and tat warfare between me and Gambini.

I write a Toronto Sun story and identify him as a pimp.

"You have libelled my husband. ..." Husband? and you have libelled me."

Out comes the story. "Girls for hire."

This does cause them to split up for a while. And then permanently.

I lost time, teeth and money during this long episode.

And so did Gambini.
And I myself still have bad teeth. What goes around, comes around.
And now, I'm not sure I want her back.


I sit home at night and listen to stark blues by one Pura Fe.
"Look what your rage has done."
And "House of the Rising Sun."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Journo Good Journo Good, Baby Journo Good.



In my checkered career as a journalist and literary hired gun, I was often like that Al Capp character out of the Fifties, Joe Btfsplk, "World's most loving friend and worst jinx who always travels with a dark cloud over his head. Trouble always followed his enounters, even his most innoncent encounters."

Hardly anybody today would remember Joe Btfsplk, or for that matter Al Capp, twisted genius, who himself a gifted product ot the fifties, was one day caught with "greasy kid stuff".
I dare not elabortate.
Except to say there was a song in those days that went like

"Nothing could be finer
Than to be in Carolina in the Morning..."

With poor Mr. Capp, it seemed to go

"Nothing could be finer
Than to shack up with a minor
In the moooorrnin'


Looking back on my days as the Joe Btfsplk of journalism.

For a long time, I had this little black cloud over my head, with a lightning bolt cocked and ready.

I swear that for a year this version of a misemployed and misguided Joe Btfsplk had done more damage to the profession than any nymber of community college graduates who thought they could write.

I could write okay, but a misemployed "creative writer" in a factbound business brought more libel suits, firings, and threats to ones life.

I have hard time with facts.
I play fast and loose with them.
I am a producer of fictions, lies.
I made a terrible Joe Friday ("Just the facts ma'am") and I spun terrible yarns.
My poor editor, Gerry Barker, out of Bradford, Ontario almost got himself fired from the Star one day when I gos so bored with covering courts I produced, out of my own head, a miscreant sheep always in trouble with the law.

"Sheep fingered in trial", I would invent the headlines.

"Sheep goes berserk. Slays eight.

"Sheep say Baah to accusers."

Somehow some of these yarns actually got into print, like the story of Sarah the Goose, who had fallen in love with a Toronto-bound GO train, a locomotive god that made her go "all feathers" every time he roared by, and one day there was this terrible coupling. A north-going Sarah and a south-going train.
"Come on train," sighed Sarah--and there was this sudden, crashing climax.
Clear the track. GO Train coming!
Swoose Goose.
Anna Karenina of the webfooted set. Heh. Put her on my own web.

Never let the facts distort a good story.

There was just this poor goose offed at the level crossing I had to make amends. Had to invent something.

(Curiously, W. Somerset Maugham does say somethere that this kind of tendency is what makes a novelist. Says Maugham:
"You should indeed distort the facts to produce a good story. It's almost de rigeur.")

Beware of a madman with a typewriter.

I was not "a penis with a thesaurus" as some have teemed, termed he great John Updike, but I was certainly a liar with a laptop.

SHEEP CLAIMS HE WAS PATSY IN PEN

And then there were the days I was a literary hit man for disgruntled public school teachers who wanted their principals fired.

I would invent improrieties perpetrated by the school heads, get myself into libel suits.

Principal feels "sheepish" after bestiality romp.

"I've never sent a valentine to a sheep in my life," protested the subject....And you, Sir, are *&^%ing crazy."

The original practioner of my kind of writing in those days was old Thomas Sterne, and his Tristram Shandy written way back, in the eighteenth century.
"Shandyism"was its name and b.s. was its game.

Pull a shandy.

Make them choke on their kippers.

Yellow journalism,

Well, I tried to be "The Yellow Kid" out of the old Heast Papers three generations ago. Some say "The Yellow Kid" was he first real comic book character.

Katzenjammer Kid, looking for trouble.
I found it.
And after all the lawsuits and the firings,
Ended up like poor Joe Btfsplk.

Ah, but never let the facts distort a good story.

Sheep dyed-in -the-wool
claims damages.


You don't have to be crazy to be a writer...

And how many normal decent hardworking people seem to want to go that way.

I know I did.

Now it's too late.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Canada Day...Or is it "The Cat Sank" watching a silly Canada Goose?


Today, I met a FOOF.

FOOF?--Fine Old Ontario Family. Scion of United Empire Loyalists. (Revolution Americans would have called them Tories).
Still sounding vaguely English, though long ago up from Pennsylvania.
Sentient, Extremely talented. Somehow gay.

People who started Canada.
And now supplanted by by a parvenu of nerds, Pakistanis and other optimists.

Every year now, a "city" of 400,000 people prangs itself, like an asteroid upon our small population of some 31 million anxious, addled, and largelly unemployed souls.

Multiculturalism.
Some would say cultural suicide.

Mammoth immigration is good, says Ottawa.
Elephantine immigration is bad, says the working man.
"Not the immigrants' fault--they haven't got a job either. But there just ain't enough to go around."
Doctors driving taxis. Surgeons hacking out auto parts...And now nobody's buying American or Canadian auto parts either.
Brake discs made in China. Crockery made in China again, as in day of old.
Wallmart made in China.

Kerrogu Korn Frex from Malaysia. But now domestically produced again, because there is no corn in Malaysia now.

Law of diminishing returns.Can we afford immigrants and their aging folks any more? the lone FOOF wonders.
But the FOOF, never a bigot, has a sense of noblesse oblige.
"You don't have to pay," --UEL phrase out of 1799, the year at which they too, the FOOFS themselves became immigrants to Canada after the Yanks kicked them out for beingr "Tories".

You don't have to pay.

But FOOFS have been paying for a long time. And now they are largely gone.

So few FOOFs. So many immigrants.

If I were a FOOF, I'd be insulted.
So many mundane prosaics...."Excuse me" as they jump line. They don't get jokes. "I piss on your sophistication"....Specific operating concerns. Language for information only. "Where is washroom?" "Where is job?"

A charter of rights and freedoms is vetted by Supreme Court judges. And they are more and more the same people. FOOFS and FROGS no longer count.

You don't have to pay. Well, now it's PAY.

Oh how I mourn the passing of the FOOF.

Where is there a culture to tie to now?

Carbon-copy Americans at a time when America itself seems to be run by the devil.

The FOOF across the table from me is titled. John Smith III, he signs his legal papers.
He is fat, not all his fault--glands. He has a heart codndition. Bred a tad too close.

And nowadays it seems that only Pocahontas is in there pitcing when it comes to a culture, for we ain't got none and the aboriginals are getting theirs back. Adam Beach, and Robbie Robertson, and Harold Cardinal and Susan Ugulark. Long live Buffy Ste. Marie.

The FOOF, like all rare royalty, is somehow sick.
He has lost his hair, his land and and is not even sure if he's sexually up to it. The parvenu is certainly outbreeding him. In spades.

Yet, the ones I've met will give you the shirt off their backs.

"You don't have to pay."

The FOOF like a poor, but generous Indian.. "Piece of cake" when it come to bumming a cigarette.

"PIece of the action", suggests the FOOF to every immigrant.

Until there is no more left of the magic skin.

Somehow, democracy has been supplanted by an aristocracy of judges. They have the vault with the constittuion in it. We have useless paper.

The FOOF knows. Quarduple the number of judges to stop the rot.. Have them actually run for office.
The more judges the lower the social activism, which has elevated to drama the arse bandit, violent criminal and the corner abortionist.

"You don't have to pay."

But we do, we do.

O Canada.

Give us back our country.

Or at least wait for the Indians to get it back for us.
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