Like a cosmic karmic slingshot.
Once again, not much happened today and it was good. It’s been a day off today and I really don’t have much to write about and since today is the dreadful anniversary of John Lennon’s murder I thought I would republish an entry from
5 6 years ago. It’s a little all over the place but it is from the heart.
Old Dirt Road
Thursday, December 8th, 2005
I used to belong to a bowling league in 1980. Monday nights I’d bowl with the Harcourt Brace Jovanovich teams. I surprisingly was the captain of one. I had my own ball, shoes, and bag. The whole kit and kaboodle, wrist guard etc. I was all pretty much straight edge, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke weed. Smoked the butts though, but 25 years ago, a lot of other people did too.
I think I had a bowling average of about 142. That decreased when I started drinking and drugging. The fun increased, the sportsmanship didn’t. But that was a year or so later. I had some pretty good friends on the scene, Bill Wrice, Derry Pedovitch, John Carroll, Ida Sammartino. Ida was as old as my mother. This was her activity to get out of the house on her own. My mother did that at some point. I used to go with her and my brother, Brian on those Monday nights.
Mom and Brian eventually stopped bowling for HBJ. Mom stopped totally, and Brian bowled for the place where he was working then. I would play with various other kids while Mom and Brian bowled, that was around 1974. Elton was super big and John Lennon had a hit single with ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’ featuring Elton on piano and vocals.
So 6 years later, I’m bowling at Parkway Lanes in Elmwood Park. My friend Derry and I had an extracurricular job with HBJ. We had to clear out a warehouse in Moonachie. When we were going back to Saddle Brook after a days clearing out, we had the radio on, and John Lennon’s first single in 5 years had just came out. Perry and I were big Beatle fans. He liked Paul, I leaned towards John. I liked the name. We were excited because we heard that Cheap Trick was backing him up on his new record and that would probably sound amazing.
What we heard was not Cheap Trick. Not much of an edge. I liked it, but most of the other music that I had been listening to was edgy, and I expected the edgy John Lennon of the Beatles. Or even of the 70’s. But it was a new decade, and he had a new voice and I loved him even more for it.
I grew up in a house of music. My parents and my brothers and sister all loved music. I credit Frank, Annemarie and Brian for turning me onto some really cool things that bring memories in a cascading wave. Frank and Annemarie were more aware of things when the Beatles conquered the States. Brian was seven, and I was two. I was preoccupied with shoving objects up my nose.
One of my earliest musical memories is of being freaked out by the ending of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. I remember Frank playing the single to me in his room and then when the psychedelic ending came up, he turned out the lights. Freaked me the fuck out.
Eventually the 1970’s happened. I was growing up and finding my own kind of music. Elton, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Dickie Goodman, Curtis Mayfield, Carly Simon. The Beatles were working into my DNA. I liked the solo stuff. Paul’s ‘Band on the Run’ was the first album I ever bought with my own money. Couldn’t wrap my head around John’s records, but I dug his singles. 1973 is summed up for me by George’s ‘Give Me Love’ and Ringo’s ‘You’re Sixteen’, being driven to Lodi Summer Recreation by Sharon Iwanicki in her orange Volkswagen beetle.
In 1976 my brother Frank told me he was going to take me to see the fireworks for the Fourth of July on the Hudson River. The original plan was for my father to take all of us to the World Trade Center and see them from his office, but he heard the city would be overrun with gangs from out of ‘The Warriors’ or ‘Escape from New York’, or worse yet, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.
So we celebrated the Bicentennial in Lodi. Frank and Elaine were going to Fort Lee. Turns out it was an adult party and I wasn’t allowed to go. So I went with Brian and his friend Eddie Austeri and tried watching the fireworks through the back window of Brian’s car on River Road in Cliffside Park. Not much to see there, move on.
The next day, Frank, (fried and hung over Frank), felt guilty and gave me a copy of ‘Abbey Road’. The doors were open again and I was enchanted. From ‘Come Together’ to ‘Her Majesty’ I was reborn as a Beatles fan. Both Frank and Annemarie had some records that they hadn’t played in a long time and I eventually incorporated into my record collection.
I started buying anything Beatles I could get my hands on that Frank and Annemarie didn’t have. I also found some old prints of the Beatles from 1964. My room was starting to become a shrine to the Fabs. I collected magazines, books, the solo records, posters. When I started working the collection of records, not just Beatles mind you, Punk and New Wave was coinciding.
Though I subscribed to the Punk ethos of everything old sucked, the Beatles were untouchable in that respect. John had retired by then though and after 1975 he took a well deserved break. I tried keeping in touch with him though.
For his Birthday, I’d send a card. Addressed as
New York City, N.Y.
And I’d always put a return address in the proper place so I would get it back if it wasn’t delivered. I never got any back. I would write and wish him a Happy Birthday or a Merry Christmas and let him know that if he was ever in Lodi, he could always stop by and hang out if he wanted to.
But I guess he was busy with the washing and the kid and all. He might have preferred Rochelle Park.
Derry and I eventually found out that it wasn’t Cheap Trick backing John on the single. We found out when we bought ‘Double Fantasy’. No mention of Rick Nielsen or Bun E. Carlos. I remember when I was shanghaied to the Mudd Club in November 1980 I heard the B-side to ‘Starting Over’, Yoko’s ‘Kiss Kiss Kiss’. So that’s where the edge was. In Yoko’s stuff. I never had a problem with Yoko. I saw her sing ‘Who Has Seen the Wind’ on the Mike Douglas Show and thought she was great.
I had gone to midnight showings of ‘Let It Be’ and whenever Yoko was on screen, people would hiss. I didn’t. I loved John and if he was happy with Yoko, then so was I. I was probably one of the dozens of people that played ‘Double Fantasy’ from start to finish. It was a good album, but nowhere near Talking Heads ‘Remain In Light’ or the B-52’s ‘Wild Planet’.
After bowling that Monday night in December, on my way home, I stopped off at the 711 and bought a copy of Playboy Magazine. Major interview with John and Yoko inside. I heard there were pictures of naked women in the magazine, but I don’t recall seeing any.
I got home and settled into my room while my parents were downstairs watching Monday Night Football.
I was laying on my bed, actually reading Playboy when my mother yelled upstairs, that Howard Cosell said that John Lennon was shot in New York. I figured, he had a gun and was cleaning it and shot himself in the foot. The Beatles still grabbed headlines, even caused Howard Cosell to say that John Lennon was shot cleaning his gun.
I didn’t really worry about it. I figured he lost his little piggy. I continued reading Playboy, reading John’s words.
My mother yelled upstairs a little while later. “Howard Cosell just said that John Lennon’s dead”. No way. Impossible. It’s not in my script. No, he’s going to live to be an old man. I will see him in concert. I will perhaps meet him. Perhaps he’ll show up in Lodi. Hey it could happen. Anything could happen. Anything but this.
This was wrong. I turned on the radio. Vin Scelsa was on, talking, and sounded like he was crying. What the fuck? People were calling in, crying. Beatles songs were playing. Lennon songs were playing. I sat next to the radio for a few hours waiting to hear that it was all a hoax. I was shaken, but still harbored the belief that it was for publicity.
Oh that crazy John and Yoko. What will they do next?
I woke up a few hours later and got ready for work. My mother listened to WNEW 1130AM. They played the songs she liked mainly, Sinatra, Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, Andy Williams. Today they were playing the Beatles. The newspapers were on the table, nasty headlines. John Lennon Shot. Pass the sugar.
I was gutted. Shock. I somehow got to work, but could barely function. I was driving a forklift then, picking orders. I preferred that to College. But I kept breaking down, having crying jags.
Little did I know that this would be the first of several truly horrible moments that would occur in my life.
I couldn’t stop crying. The dream of a Beatles reunion was dashed forever, but I just felt so bad for Yoko and Sean. A brutal murder on your own doorstep. I shut myself off from the world and just kept playing the Fabs and Lennon over and over.
A day or so later, my brother Frank was coming over for dinner. I heard him come in and started walking downstairs to see him. He looked up at me and asked how I was doing. Bam! Instant crying, all over again. My brother Brian had gotten quite tired of it and let into Frank for bringing up John Lennon’s death again. Like it was never going to be mentioned again.
The following Sunday, six days after John’s murder there was a vigil in Central Park by the band shell. Me and a few friends (Derry Pedovitch, Annie Carroll, Bill Wrice) caught the bus to the city and trekked up to the park. There were thousands of people. We walked by the Dakota and then into the park. There was a long moment of silence ended by the playing of ‘All You Need is Love’. Or maybe it was ‘Imagine’. I’m putting my money on the former.
The crowd dispersed, we straggled back to the Port Authority, to the bus and to our cars. I continued listening to Beatles/Lennon stuff for quite a few weeks.
In February 1981, Derry and I went to the Meadowlands Hilton for the Beatle-Fest. That was scary. Hundreds of people whose lives revolved around the Beatles. People that listen to the Beatles more than the Beatles did. “Let’s give a big cheer for John Lennon” Hurrah. Too corny for me. I, at least listened to other music. I loved the Beatles but I loved other things too. I think my grieving period ended that weekend.
I did become more active about Gun Control, and John’s message of love and peace is still needed today. I do miss John. I miss George too, and I miss a lot of people and I am grateful for the ones that are still here and aren’t hiding.
Give Peace a Chance
Plenty cold out today. I woke up at around 11:00. No shame in that. No need to get up earlier. Life was better, more comfortable and a lot warmer in bed. I’m sure the ones who have something to say about my waking up at 11:00 are the ones who had to get up earlier than that.
I don’t put them down for getting up so early so they should just keep quiet on the subject. I didn’t do much, didn’t go out for the bagels, didn’t get the paper. Bill was on his way back from Atlantic City. I did have the plan to head into the city and get a new calendar though.
I watched Live from Abbey Road. They featured the Hoosiers (not from Indiana), the Black Keys and Manu Chao. The Hoosiers, who I did not know of before were impressive, or at least the lead singer’s voice was impressive. Manu Chao I knew of and have one or two of their CD’s. They’re OK. I liked them more 10 years ago, Julio turned me onto them.
The Black Keys were a big disappointment. Too noisy, too metal. They seemed like nice guys though. They reminded me of bands that would play McSwells on a Thursday night. Nice enough to talk to but you’d want to leave the room if you could when they played.
Speaking of Thursday night bands from McSwells, the horrible Soundgarden has decided to get together. I guess the pretty boy front man’s solo career didn’t go as he had hoped, Chris Cornell. His last attempt was something done with Timbaland who usually has the golden touch. Not in this case though. Yes, I guess you can tell that I think Soundgarden sucks.
I also watched a documentary about Gay Muslims in the UK. Man, religion is so stupid and the world would be so much better if people would just stop believing in these idiotic myths.
I took the Path train in, and stopped by Guitar Bar and said Happy New Year to Jim Mastro.
The train wasn’t too crowded and I stood next to four Port Authority police officers. Read the New Yorker, finally made it into December so I’m making progress. Walked over to Barnes & Noble on Union Square. Very cold out but I heeded Bill when he came home complaining about how cold it was so I dressed in layers.
I decided to exchange the John Lennon biography that I had gotten since I read it already and found the music book section. I exchanged the Lennon bio for Revolution in the Head. Yes it’s a book that I’ve read before but it’s more of a reference book, with details on all the songs the Beatles had recorded.
I had a copy that I needed to order from the UK a few years ago and lent it to my brother Frank. I asked for it back but he said he didn’t have it. Whenever I read something about the Beatles, most of the time, Revolution in the Head gets mentioned.
I took it out of the library a few months ago but it was the first edition. This version has been updated in 2007, the third edition. So while I returned the Lennon bio which I’ve read before, I exchanged it for another book that I had read before. That is so me.
Could not find any Beatles calendars so I bought an Elvis Presley calendar which is so not me. I figured after reading a quite from John Lennon saying that Elvis changed everything for him, that if it weren’t for Elvis, there would be no Beatles.
I certainly can’t say I’m much of an Elvis Presley fan at all but I do like the Sun Sessions. When he still had balls.
Lazy lazy lazy. Wet outside, been raining all day, melting most of the snow. Not even sure if I’m going to write today. Still not sure.
Last night was fine and mellow and quiet. Bill and I watched Robin Williams latest HBO special which was very funny in spots and not so funny in other spots. Spotty performance I guess.
Bill is on the train heading to Saddle River Tours in Garfield for a drive down to Atlantic City. That’s his evening for him. Me, right now I’m watching the first DVD of Bob Dylan: No Direction Home. PSE&G came today. Pretty sure it was the same guy as last month.
Once again it took 5 minutes and once again there was no charge. He did say the stove was about 50 years old and perhaps it was time for the landlord to get a new one. I know better. I doubt Peter the landlord would do such a thing.
But it’s working now and that’s what really matters. Last night, it was all a big pot of water cooking to a slow boil to make things warm. And humid. Now it’s dry and warm.
Just had some lasagne that Karen had sent me home with on Christmas Eve. There is still some left for Bill but I don’t think he’s the reheating type and I guess I’ll be eating that tomorrow, just so it doesn’t go bad. It was very good though.
Now I’m putting in the second DVD of Bob Dylan but I think I will hold off and watch the news so I can find out what’s been going on in the world. Besides the woman who tackled Papa Ratzi. The Nigerian guy who tried to blow up a plane over Detroit is an interesting story but what’s most interesting is the passengers who acted to subdue the flaming Nigerian.
In the New York Times there’s an article about the guy being the son of a prominent Nigerian banker which immediately makes him suspect, what with all the money schemes coming via email from Nigeria.
Overall just a lazy day, promising to be a lazy evening. More Bob Dylan, maybe the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Nothing much on TV tonight anyhow. Bill and I watched most of the Paul McCartney: Good Evening New York City concert DVD.
Bill loved it, but still we couldn’t see ourselves with Anne & Earl and Julio & Stine in the crowd. Still it was a fun watch. Bill went to bed midway through and I turned it off before the encores last night. But I did finish it off this afternoon.
I always enjoy listening to the Beatles, but during the holiday season they become much more special. It’s interesting to read the comments on their thousands of YouTube clips. So many people, younger people get into the Beatles for the first time. I
just think that’s amazing, but I always felt any person that loves music, at least almost as much as I do, eventually discover the Beatles and become fans, getting a thrill seeing their videos and interviews online. I think that’s fascinating.
I’ve decided to not write tonight.
Tomorrow I’ll be participating in an open reading of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice at 12:45PM. Join us, it should be interesting and fun, even! Yea or Nae!
A blessed fatigue. Not overtly so. Let’s see. Last night, watched the second half of the Dark Knight. Still blown away by Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. Truly deserved the Academy Award for it I think.
The whole movie is so very good, but Heath Ledger stole the movie. It’s still a shame that his life was snuffed out like it was. It was on HBO and I knew if I waited I could catch the west coast broadcast and so that’s what I did. Caught the first half up till the convoy destruction scene in the middle of Gotham City.
Bill was working the 6PM to 6PM shift so he wasn’t home. I slept soundly when I went to bed, but missed his warmth in the night. He got home around 7AM with the sun shining through the blinds. And as usual after he put his sleep apnea mask on, his head hits the pillow and he is out like a light.
He was good enough to bring home the paper and bagels saving me from the trouble of doing it myself this morning. I puttered about on the quiet side as Bill slept.
Still avoiding the news programs and watched Across the Universe a few hours later. Bill was awake by that point and wondered what it was I was watching. He enjoyed it, as I slowly indoctrinated him into the Beatles music some more.
It’s a beautiful movie to watch, a bit over the top sometimes, sometimes a bit wonky but overall an enjoyable movie. I knew there was a Lawn Hors d’œuvre marathon on and I wasn’t in the mood for that. I wanted to be entertained.
After Across the Universe ended I searched on the TV and saw that All Together Now was about to begin and switched to that. Bill got a kick out of that. It’s about the making of the Beatles LOVE Show in Las Vegas with Cirque de Soleil. More Beatles, Paul & Ringo with Yoko and Olivia.
Bill enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the show in progress over the course of almost a year, asking me would I do some of the high wire acrobatics in the show for $1000. If there was no risk of life or limb of course I would. Hell, right now there isn’t a lot I wouldn’t do for $1000.00.
But I do have my limits and some principles and those can always be negotiated.
Just got back from Julio & Stine’s. They’re still having problems with their heater so I brought down the 2 Allen wrenches I had which we of no use and some matches. Alexander is now chatting somewhat.
The parents are clearly getting on each others nerves which makes me think that mother and child flying to Denmark next week might be a good thing for a break.
Alexander is quite amusing and always angling for my attention just like his parents. Now I’m being pulled in 3 directions, but I focus on Alexander since he’s less stressful.
Just checked my cellphone and I missed a call from my nephew Brian. I left the phone in the apartment while I was downstairs. That sucks but he sounded really good, saying he misses Bill and myself and he loves us and hopes to see us soon. He also said he’s feeling good so that is excellent news! Wow!
Today was a nice enough day that I went to the river with my guitar expecting to maybe see Tariq or Tim. Neither was around so I just played guitar by myself. Didn’t really sing, maybe grunted a bit.
Played a bluesy slower version of Love Shack, The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Elton John’s Hercules, Please Please Me, Me & Julio by the Schoolyard.
It was a lot of fun, and I made $3.00 which isn’t a lot to most but it was a slice of pizza for me, and officially makes me a busker, having made some dosh while playing.
I’m very happy with that result. I think The Lion Sleep Tonight will be my go to song since it’s really easy to play and only three chords. And as Annemarie remarked, a lot of kids probably know it from the Lion King. I wouldn’t know since I’ve never seen it. But I think it’s a nice feather in my cap.
Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be even nicer and I plan to go out earlier. Not for the money, but for the practice.
The money is nice though, but as usual, I’m not in it for the money, I’m in it for the music, for the art, for the X Ray Style.
Last night at Rand & Lisa’s with Lois and Fred. After telling Lois about the three hour nap the other day following lunch with Rand, Lois was so excited about the whole idea of taking a nap.
I suggested we swap places. I’ll take her job and she can have all the naps she wants.
It was a pleasant little get together, and though Rand said I wasn’t, I was the fifth wheel. Just a matter of fact. 2 couples, four people and me. I was fine with it, having been that wheel many, many times.
After a cocktail at Rand and Lisa’s we headed up towards McSwells, for one or two more. As we walked up I was frantically looking for my lighter so I could enjoy a quick smoke en route.
Lois was telling me about a project she was working on as a German art dealer. I patted my pockets, rifled through the pockets and finally gave up only to find the lighter in my hand.
The Bongos at McSwells. Scott and Andrea and Chaz and one or two faces from back then. Since Meghan Taylor was under the weather with the flu I didn’t go in the back. Really didn’t care.
20 years ago it would have been something to see the Bongos after breaking up in 1987. No it’s a day late and a dollar short. It was good to see Scott and Andrea again.
I’m sure they’re still living apart, Andrea living in Asbury Park and Scott living in the Jersey City Heights. Their kids were there Ed and Elmer. I don’t know if Chrissie made it, but it was otherwise, a Harbison family reunion.
It was good to see Chaz again as well. I came home a little buzzed after a couple of pints and sat down and wrote most of the above. Today was a gray day again. Rain expected most of the weekend, so it’s going to be an indoor weekend mostly.
I have from the library a 3 disc DVD set of the Dick Cavett show, Musical Guests. Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, Crosby & Stills, Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and George Harrison.
Not as interesting as I had hoped. George Harrison is the most interesting for me of course. Jefferson Airplane were deadly dull. It’s fun to see the clips knowing the history of what was going on behind the scenes.
Sly and the fear and loathing that comes with excessive coke use, Janis not alive much longer after her visits on the Cavett show. George Harrison was in the midst of the ongoing Beatles break up that wouldn’t really be resolved until 1976.
In the last issue of Mojo, with Kraftwerk on the cover, there’s a review of yet another Beatles book. This one got my attention with the gossip and the juicy details and a good review.
It’s Called ‘You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle for the Soul of the Beatles’. Apparently it wasn’t all lovey dovey (though that’s been dispelled).
Paul writing a note to John during the White Album sessions saying ‘You and your Jap tart think you’re so cool’ and also Paul secretly buying up shares of their publishing company Northern Songs.
They all come off badly. Ringo was a drunk, Paul really didn’t care that John was murdered. And George had his own problems with his constantly choosing the wrong manager who would steal money. He did that a few times. And John with his hang ups and problems.
It seems so gossipy I hope it gets released in the States. It’s been on the shelf in England for a few weeks already.
Last night on the Python documentary was all about the Life of Brian and how Graham Chapman finally sobered up.
It’s back to work for most, and another day with less people around for those of us between jobs, or to put it less delicately- unemployed. It’s now raining out quite hard making me glad that whatever I had to do today, I got it done before the downpour.
I did laundry, ran around midtown looking for a photograph of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing in ‘Top Hat’. It’s for one of the occupants of the offices at the old job. Owner of the company is a multi millionaire and I was asked by his assistant to find the photograph and get it blown up for his mansion in Palm Beach.
I didn’t mind, but Jerry Ohlingers’ once of west 3rd Street by Bleecker Bob’s, then on 14th Street is now on 35th Street. At this rate they will be across the street from the Apollo in a number of years. But I couldn’t find that exact picture and they suggested Movie Star News on 18th Street which was closed today, presumably for Yom Kippur.
So I will have to try tomorrow. Weather permitting.
I spoke with my sister in law Elaine today. She was off of work due to the Jewish holiday. It was an unexpected and fun chat. She was thinking about seeing Leon Russell yesterday but she was a fan of his back in the day. I emailed her some pics of ol’ Father Christmas and since she didn’t see them, not being at work, I told her about them which really isn’t the same thing as seeing them.
And since a picture is worth a thousand words, and I sent her 4 pictures…well, do the math.
One of the things that came up was my brother Frank. I don’t know if I mentioned it in an earlier post, but one thing I told him in my Beatle remastered euphoria was the fact that there was a slight jealousy regarding the Fabs.
It was also an attempt to boost his ego.
I told him that I was envious that he was aware of the Beatles releasing new records back then, and when I started listening to them, they were history and nothing new was going to come from them as a group, only as individuals which as you may well know, is not quite the same.
It was just something that came into my mind as I was riding the bus into the city. Just odd little transient thoughts that take up temporary quarters in my mind. So things seem to be back to normal, which is so loosely defined in my world.
Not like ‘Next to Normal’ the Broadway musical about a woman who’s having a nervous breakdown. People apparently leave the theater very depressed and not singing a happy tune. Not the show for me to see though it did win a couple of Tony awards I think.
I myself happy that I haven’t won any Tony’s. I don’t have a mantle to put them and wouldn’t know if I should get the mantle first or win the award first. Overall, I am content, not contentious. That was Saturday
and not today.
Well I broke down and bought the remastered White Album, Abbey Road and Sgt Pepper. When at Target the other day I saw they had the best price and after obsessing about it, I decided to bite the bullet and get some.
The White Album was listed at $18.99 which is cheaper than what I paid for it 10 years ago, close to $30.00. If you’re a cashier at Target, if there is no one on your line you have to stand in front of the registers and tell people that you’re open.
At the register (#9) it was marked down to $16.99 and then the cashier applied a $5.00 gift card, knocking the price down to $12.58. At that price I also picked up Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper. And those were $13.99, at the register- $11.98 and the $5.00 gift card was applied to that as well so it was too good a deal to resist.
I was so excited about it that I told Rand and Chaz about it. And they do sound better. The CD’s. Rand and Chaz sounded the same. The records have more of a warm feeling, full sound- not flat like before. And I’m no audiophile.
That was basically the highpoint of the day. It’s been a better day than yesterday.
Online I sent the fat geezer from England who was giving me a hard time yesterday to the Spam folder never to be heard from again. I stopped by Tunes to check out their price and everything was a few dollars more for the remastered Beatles CD’s.
I called up my brother Frank, just to check in, to let him know about the Target prices. I was feeling pretty good, walked along the new walkway between Hoboken and Jersey City. They were setting up for the official opening with Governor Jon Corzine making a speech.
On the way home I had to get some juice and butter substitute and I got a call from Frank. I told him how the Target deal went down. He had mentioned earlier about how he would like a mono copy and I told him then that it wasn’t for individual sale, only as part of the $300.00 boxed set.
He said his friend Alex got it for $100.00 and I sort of disputed that. Outside the supermarket, in a good mood, last day of summer he mentions again how he’d like a mono copy. I said his friend Alex could burn a copy for him I’m sure, but I myself wouldn’t expect one from Alex since I’m not Alex’s friend.
Once again I get accused of being antagonistic. I tell him that I’m not antagonistic, I don’t appreciate being called antagonistic like he did on September 9 when the Beatles stuff came out again.
I was quite happy and thrilled and trying to share that happiness with him but he’s not having any of it either then or now. I told him it would probably be best to end this conversation right then and there since it’s going to a bad place and I didn’t want to go there.
I do my shopping and come home excited to hear the Beatles stuff. I feel a little bad, especially when I open my emails and there are 2 links that Frank sent. One was an R. Stevie Moore thing covering Elton John’s Think I’m Gonna Kill Myself and the other was this fabled rapid share list of the Beatles remastered from WFMU.
I decided to call him back and thank him for the links. I try to explain how I am feeling and during that he tries to interrupt me but I don’t let him. ‘Oh it’s all about you,’ he says. I tell him I am trying to tell him what is going on. He’s a bit put off that I didn’t enjoy a link he sent regarding an off shoot of Arcade Fire. I tell him I haven’t listened to Arcade Fire since May 2007 when I had my meltdown at their Radio City show.
I respect him, even admire him but what’s the point when there doesn’t seem to be any respect coming my way? He had another call and I told him to call me back if he wanted to. He hasn’t.
Now that’s the Junior side of the day.
The Senior side is about my father who died 10 years ago today. It’s hard to write positive things about my father. He did put a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs and food on the table but he also ran a tight ship, kept us in line by browbeating us or actually beating us.
He was 40 years older than me and I don’t think we ever really got along. There was never any moments of a hug and saying I love you.
Growing up I disliked him so much that I indented an X on his face in a picture of him and his siblings. He did try to make a connection I guess, but talking to a 15 year old boy like he was 5 years old wasn’t the way to do it.
I didn’t like the way he treated everyone in my family and wanted him out of my life, the sooner the better.
But that would never happen, even after abandoning my mother in Cape May and driving back to Lodi after my mother jokingly said when having after dinner cocktails at some restaurant ‘that she was fine and didn’t need his money’.
He decided to teach her a lesson by deserting her, my mother. He felt totally justified in this.
After my mother passed away in 1991, I was living in a bad situation and he was as well after losing his wife that I thought we could both help each other out. Everyone warned me about moving back to Lodi but I saw a side of him I had never seen before.
Loss and grief.
I was working in Hoboken and taking a bus to Manhattan and then a bus to Hoboken. It was a job and I had no other options.
One morning as I was getting ready to go to work, I used his deodorant. He must have seen me doing it and he says, ‘I don’t know what diseases you have, but don’t use my things!’ I could not wait to get away from him, I would be happy if I had never saw him again.
I lived with him for 3 months in Lodi and didn’t speak to him from 1991 to 1998. Before that I didn’t speak to him after kicking his pregnant daughter out of the house for a couple of years, until my mother passed away.
But of course he was around. At Xmas eve dinners at Brian & Karen’s my brothers would try to get me to wish him a Merry Christmas. I had done it before and each time I would be rebuffed. And once again I went up to him hand out for a hand shake and he would look the other way. I told my brothers that I am tired of being the ‘better man’.
To others he could be quite the charmer, but to me he was a mean, petty and vindictive man and I do not miss him at all. I didn’t like him and thought he was an idiot. I’m sure he felt the same way about me.
In fact, I don’t think I really became an adult (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) until he died. Bill notices my lack of self confidence and my zero self esteem, and has figured out where that came from.
It was oddly reassuring to hear from my cousin Jackie that he didn’t realize how bad things were under his Uncle Francis’ roof until after he died. It was good to get some sort of recognition of neglect.
So here I am 10 years later, butting heads with his son with the same name.
I simply cannot win with anyone named Francis Xavier.
But I will always give Junior another chance.
An hour or so later.
Just got back from a walk around Hoboken after dinner. Enjoyed a cigar, listening to the iPod. Thinking about my father and that classic line from Paul Westerberg from the Replacements, ‘He might be a father but he sure ain’t a dad’. That sums up a lot.
I recalled when I was living with my father and during a lull in our stormy relationship we went out to dinner. He was going on about how his mother, my grandmother, treated him like a prince and my mother treated him like a prince. What a princely life he had.
The thing is, around that time Jim Mastro and Meghan Taylor had thier first daughter Lily. Now Jim and Meghan weren’t selfish at all and when Lily came into their lives Lily became the center of all tings Jim and Meghan, as it should be.
I couldn’t (or can’t) help but compare my father to Frank & Elaine and their daughters, Anne & Rex with Earl and Brian and Karen with their 3 kids and how their lives revolved around their children, like Jim and Meghan. But no one would be most the important in my father’s life, except my father. It struck me as odd and made me realize that we were in competition with my father for my mother’s affection.
We lost of course since we weren’t the breadwinners.
He said and did some truly rotten things. But he was my father and he put food on the table, clothes on our backs and put a roof over our heads.
So for that I will say ‘Thank you’.
OK, last night after writing I read my daily edition of Popdose, which is an excellent online source for music and other things. They had a very good review of the Beatles catalog being re-released. Or rather several good reviews of the catalog.
Let’s face it, this is the only time that most music writers would ever have a chance to review the Beatles as a ‘new’ release. At the end of the review was a free download of the remastered A Day in the Life, which I of course downloaded.
And I have to say, A Day in the Life sounded really, really good. I listened to it on headphones and I heard somethings a lot clearer than I ever did before.
Got me thinking that perhaps I will eventually buy everything all over again eventually, especially if I don’t get any for this weekend (and I’m not expecting to get any) for my birthday.
I even liked it enough to post a link to the Popdose website on Facebook, even stating that it included a free download. No one commented so I couldn’t say if anyone followed my lead.
I went to bed a little while after that. 1:00 seems to be the ‘go to bed’ time these days for me. Bill was up and out, kissing me good bye before he headed off to work at 7:00.
I stayed in bed until 9:00 which is the usual lately. I puttered around trying to figure out my day. I called my brother Frank to see how he was doing. I called him the other day but he was having computer problems and his computer guy had shown up.
He never called back which is no big deal, so here I was calling him again. I was initially calling to tell him about the A Day in the Life download and how good it sounded.
He asked how I was handling my unemployment. I said there is a sometime battle with depression but it usually doesn’t last. He asked about the Xanax and I told him I take it every now and then when things seem overwhelming and anxious.
He suggested anti-depressants and I told him I would pass, like I said the depression that I sometimes feel is momentary and I can get through it just fine. Still he suggested the anti-depressants again.
He still has difficulty speaking sometimes, trying to gather his thoughts. He also said I sounded antagonistic (or words to that effect) and I swear I wasn’t.
The thing is I take him seriously and try to be patient with him when he tries to talk. He doesn’t think I am patient at all.
I tried steering the conversation back to the Beatles and the remastering but it seemed pointless. He said we weren’t on the same wavelength. I made a joke about how we weren’t on the same Van Morrison album (Wavelength) which he didn’t seem to get.
It’s a shame, Frank and I used to be really close but not lately. There’s something like a chemical reaction when we meet or talk. He’ll always be the older brother and I’m always trying to win his favor while walking a tightrope and being true to myself.
It seems that when I am true to myself, and not liking something he likes, he takes it really personally and gets offended. Still, I do my best to be there for him.
I guess this is how it will be between me and him from now on. It’s also probably the reason I wasn’t invited down the shore.
I mean after the blow up between me and him in May with Elaine in the car as we meandered though Brooklyn, who would want to be in a beach house with two brothers at each others throats?
I guess he resents me, thinking I live such an easy life. But I don’t lead an easy life, it’s quite hard sometimes. The thing is I don’t complain about it.
Sure I’ll write about it on here, but as you can sometimes tell, that I occasionally start out bitchy, but by the end it’s over, or at the very least by the next entry.
I do love him, warts n’all. He is my oldest brother and out of Annemarie and Brian and myself I’m the one who is most in contact with him.
This afternoon I went into the city and helped out my old friend Dan Moore who works at Housing Works on east 23rd Street.
From their website: Housing Works is the largest community-based AIDS service organization in the United States, as well as the nation’s largest minority-controlled AIDS service organization.
They have a big event going on next week and needed some help preparing. Dan has been posting on Facebook, looking for volunteers. I replied a few weeks ago saying I would pitch in and I felt today would be a good day.
I walked over from the 23rd Street Path train and saw Dan who graciously said I looked 15 years younger than I did when we last saw each other. He quickly set me to work, moving things from their basement to a spot on the main floor where the event will take place.
In the midst of moving some big, heavy, cumbersome pieces of furniture who calls me but Frank to tell me he downloaded the White Album from the WFMU website. I tell him I couldn’t really talk at that moment which of course seemed to upset him.
As Juan used to say, ‘Whatevs’.
I helped move some more things up the stairs but after two hours, my back started bothering me. I found Dan and told him that my back was acting up and he was quite understanding and thanked me profusely for helping out.
I told him I would try to come back and do some more but for today, I was done. He invited me back for the event on Tuesday which was nice.
On the way back to the Path train I called up Frank who told me about the download from WFMU. He said they posted it on Rapid Share and I told him I would try to get it somehow.
Since I was calling from the street, the phone connection wasn’t the greatest and I didn’t hear everything that he said and I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask him to repeat himself
It’s Wednesday I suppose. Overcast at that. Not much going on. The Beatles were all over the place today. Except in Tunes, the local record store where all they had were the old discs.
I wasn’t going to buy any since I had everything already, plus the Beatles have enough of my money already. I’ve owned their stuff on vinyl (both LP & 45’s), cassette and CD.
I was most interested in the mono releases but their only available as part of a boxed set. You see up until the White Album, the Beatles were most involved in mixing their records in mono.
Stereo was more popular in the US and after the mono mixing, the Beatles would go home, leaving the stereo mixing to the production staff.
From what I heard it’s supposed to sound amazing but not being much of an audiophile I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, despite the rave reviews from Mojo and Uncut as well as a few other publications.
Don’t get me wrong, if someone came and gave me a copy of Revolver I wouldn’t turn it down. Tunes did have the re-release of the Feelies first two records, Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth.
I will probably pick up Crazy Rhythms sooner or later. From what I heard, there’s a live show from the 9:30 Club in DC that Andy, the former sound guy at McSwells recorded and mixed.
Last night Bill sang the National Anthem for the third time before the NY Liberty game at Madison Square Garden. This time it was certainly different. More stringent security, passes needed, a wave of the wand.
Our assigned intern, Mike led us through the passageways of the Garden setting us up in the Press Room. Previous years we had a dressing room so Bill could change his clothes and do some vocal exercises beforehand.
Intern Mike had left us so Bill asked if there was a space where he could practice. It turned out Mike wasn’t supposed to leave us in the Press Room and a guy named Rick brought us to where we were supposed to be.
An empty room close to the basketball court.
There was someone’s things in there already, but Bill and I didn’t pay it any attention. He changed his clothes and did his warm ups. We were pretty much comfortable there when I heard a knock on the door.
I opened it and there were a few women. Groupies? I thought, but no, they were supposed to be in there and not us. So we were shuffled along to yet another room, and waited to be called up.
I once again recorded Bill singing on camera. That was done in a low key manner since Cablevision likes to control everything that goes on under their roof. I had an all access pass so I was able to walk around the basketball court.
Bill sang quite well once again and got an nice round of applause. As we headed back to our seats a few people stopped him and told him was a good job he had done. We sat with Bill’s boss and a few co-workers.
The NY Liberty were getting trounced and Bill and I made a hasty exit at half time. Just in time to miss the Jon Benet Ramsay types on the court screeching Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
A nice ride home, ordered some pizza from Grimaldi’s and just chilled out for the rest of the night. That’s it, plain and simple.
Here’s Bill again from last night, singing the National Anthem.
OK, here’s an early post. Bill is singing the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden tonight before the WNBA NY Liberty game. I’m heading out shortly and might post later, but if I don’t….
Inspired by Popdose as well as a few other articles and blogs I’ve decided to follow their lead and do a posting on my favorite (not so famous) Beatles songs. So either read on or roll your eyes, it’s entirely up to you.
The ball is in your court and my words are on the page… or rather screen.
One After 909- Let It Be. Great songs from their early days, recorded then and re-recorded in 1969. Almost a sloppy take, but it sounds like a lot of fun. This song has been popping into my head a lot lately, but having written that it probably won’t anymore.
She’s A Woman- Past Masters Vol 1. I actually prefer the reverb version that came out in the US on Beatles 65. A really fun song to play, pretty simple. A great rocker of a song.
Old Brown Shoe- Past Masters Vol 2. The B-side to The Ballad of John & Yoko. I love this song, perfect pop. Great middle eight. George was definitely coming into his own on this one. I just love this song.
With A Little Help From My Friends- Sgt. Pepper. Yay Ringo makes the list! Of course it’s a Lennon & McCartney song written especially for Richie. Very simple and written for Ringo’s range. Don’t throw tomatoes, just stand up and walk out on him if he sings out of key.
I’ll Be Back- A Hard Day’s Night. A Lennon song, he wasn’t entirely pleased with it, at least in one interview, but he was known for vacillating on his opinions as we all do. Last song on A Hard Day’s Night, nice way to finish the album. Another song I enjoy playing on the guitar.
You Won’t See Me- Rubber Soul. Another great pop song from, let’s face it, the best pop band ever. Even Anne Murray couldn’t damage this song. Great lyrics, great backing vocals.
I Want to Tell You- Revolver One of three George tracks from Revolver and my personal favorite of those three. I think the Fabs were at their most together on this album and they all gave their best on each track, with this one standing out.
Boys- Please Please Me A cover for Ringo to sing. Sounds like a lot of fun going on with the bop shoo bops. Had to change the pronouns though of course.
Rain- Past Masters 2 B-Side to Paperback Writer. I’m pretty sure this is when they first started using backwards tapes in the mix. Pop psychedelia from 1966, also a great video, with the four of them looking so cool.
Things We Said Today- A Hard Day’s Night A song from Paul for Jane Asher? Maybe. Pretty mature for a 22 year old. Great opening guitar hook, downbeat. Always reminded me of gypsies.
For You Blue- Let It Be Another George song, not his best but included here. I sometimes play Kansas City on guitar and a few people asked me if the songs is ‘Because you’re sweet & lovely’ meaning this song. Similar chords perhaps or maybe it’s just the way I play it.
If You’ve Got Trouble- Anthology 2 Give the drummer some! Written I believe for Help, but not used. A throwaway song but another fun track, especially when Ringo says, ‘Oh rock on anybody!’.
Tomorrow Never Knows- Revolver Last song on my favorite Beatle album. I sometimes wonder how much this track freaked out the teenagers who heard it for the first time. It might have been misunderstood back then, or even hated but it certainly has gained a lot of cool creditability as time went on.
Here There & Everywhere- Revolver This is the song that Paul definitely wrote about Jane Asher. I first heard it on the Love Songs compilation in the late 1970’s. A truly beautiful song, great harmonies.
Here Comes the Sun- Abbey Road Like someone wrote on another blog or article, is there a better song that ever started a side two of an album? Legendarily written when George played hooky from an Apple Corps meeting. I don’t think John was in on the session.
What Goes On- Rubber Soul The only Beatle song credited to Lennon/McCartney/Starkey. Not the best but not the worst either. Good Carl Perkins like guitar from George.
A Day in the Life- Sgt Pepper Still a fantastic track, the ending to Sgt Pepper, simply amazing and thrilling. Even watching the video or short film of the orchestra recording is a gas. 42 years later it still raises goosebumps.
There are other songs as well, It’s All Too Much & Hey Bulldog from Yellow Submarine, You Can’t Do That from A Hard Day’s Night, Lovely Rita from Sgt. Pepper, I Need You from Help, Revolution 1 from the White Album. I could go on you know, but I won’t.
Last night Bill and I watched the last hour of the Concert for George from 2002 after the daily dose of Lawn Hors d’œuvre.
It’s a very good video despite Eric Clapton being around. I enjoyed it even more than previous times I’ve watched it. It ends with George’s buddy, Joe Brown playing a ukelele and singing I’ll See You in My Dreams.
I woke up this morning with that song in my head. A nice yet sad song.
And here’s Bill…
Still pretty tired from yesterday’s bicycle riding and despite how tired I was last night, I did not sleep well at all. Lot’s of tossing and turning and very little rest. Bill slept like a log of course. He was up early for another bus excursion.
Last night we watched some Beatles stuff on VH-1 after a dosage of Lawn Hors d’œuvre. Basically the last hour of John Lennon: Imagine which has a great scene where John and Yoko are strolling through Central Park and they come across some guy who’s absolutely thrilled to meet THE John Lennon.
Of course he asks when the Beatles are getting back together and John says ‘Tomorrow’ which makes the guy laugh and say ‘You’re full of it.’ The next scenes are about John being brutally murdered at the Dakota in front of his wife.
Bill was off to bed, and I joined him after entering my unemployment claim at 12:01AM. And from there on in it was an uneasy sleep. Woke up, Bill was on the road. I made some coffee and had a cup before deciding to head out in the world.
I was out of coffee and decided to get some more so I wouldn’t need to stress that tomorrow morning. But since the was a holiday weekend, Empire Coffee wasn’t opening until 10:00. There was a young woman standing outside as I walked up and she asked me the time.
I told her, ‘It’s not 10:00!’ She laughed, and I told her the true time, 9:35. Then she asked if there was a Starbucks nearby and I told her there was and set her in that direction.
I decided to do some other errands, bagels, newspapers to pass the time but despite walking a few blocks up and over and getting those items I was still waiting in from of Empire Coffee 10 minutes early, despite taking my time.
This time I waited with some members of the stroller set. I was a gentleman and let them in before me for their lattes, their chai tea before I got my pound of
flesh coffee. Then I came home and read and ate and tried to figure out what to do today.
I was still tired and achy from yesterday. I thought about going to Tomkins Square where Rand and Lisa had a table for the Jack Kirby Museum.
Also thought about walking up to Central Park again, this time through the Brazil Day festival on Sixth Avenue. I wound up heading into the city on the Path to 14th Street and walked down the street enjoying a cigar.
Walked by the former Farfetched which is now a black hole of goth. Such a drag. Walked down St. Mark’s Place, surprised to see a new sneaker by Vans, featuring the Pixies, or at least their logo.
Crazy crowded on St. Marks, lot’s of tourists and perhaps NYU students which is basically the same thing. Saw Rand & Lisa and their friend Richard and hung out with them for a while.
Jerri Meyer showed up, former girlfriend of my former roommate Jimmy Lee. Nice to see her, she’s still employed at Sony much to her surprise.
Spent over an hour there and had an enjoyable time. After Tomkins Square I walked over to First Avenue and caught an uptown bus for a quick stop in the office.
I wanted to check Greg Stevens stuff before he came in on Tuesday and all was in order.
Then a walk to the bus terminal, skirting the Brazilian Festival and most of the gawking tourists in Times Square.
Came home, made myself a nice supper and now here I sit, not as tired as earlier but still pretty much tired.
Today has been a day unlike any other. This morning just before noon I was sitting at the computer, planning my day when I heard what sounded like an explosion.
Didn’t hear anything after that so I didn’t think too much about it. A few minutes later, I was looking at Hoboken 411 when it was announced there was an twin engine plane in a collision with a helicopter over the Hudson River.
I texted Julio as well as Rand & Lisa. Julio didn’t know anything about, he was in West New York, Rand & Lisa think they heard the explosion.
Julio and I had walked around that area last night talking about how nice it would be to live in the upper reaches of Hoboken, but he had discussed it with Stine a few weeks ago and they agreed that yes it was nice, but too noisy what with all the helicopters going up and down.
It’s quite noisy across the Hudson River from the west 30th street heliport. There are helicopters going in and out all day long.
I wanted to put Bill on one of those helicopters a few years ago for a birthday present. It was something like $100 for 3 minutes flying over Manhattan but I put that idea on the back burner and soon forgot about it.
The heliport is used also by celebrities flying into Manhattan from various airports or the Hamptons. I saw Penny Marshall leaving the heliport a few years ago when I was riding along the Manhattan bike path.
The reports are saying that there were no survivors, 9 people dead. It’s also been reported that a wing from the twin engine plane landed on a roof at the campus of Stevens Tech.
It’s been a messed up week, outside of my world.
There was that loser asshole who went to that gym outside of Pittsburgh and turned out the lights and started shooting a room full of women who were doing an aerobics workout.
He claimed that he was rejected so many times by women (30 million by his count). How many women did he reject, that weren’t up to his standards? What a scumbag.
He left a trail, his plotting for a year or two about how he was going to kill some women. What a fucking loser. I hope that the maggots and worms don’t have anything to do with him, too bitter. Let him rot.
There was some good that also happened this week, Judge Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed to be an associate justice for the Supreme Court, and was sworn in this morning.
Bill and I watched it, afterwards, Bill let out a loud ‘Boricua!’, signifying that he and Judge Sonia Sotomayor are both Puerto Rican.
And today, or rather this morning in London, crowds of people showed up to celebrate the photo shoot for the cover of the Beatles Abbey Road. It was 40 years ago today, Iain Macmillan set up a step ladder and had the Fabs on the zebra crossing a few times.
It was over in 10 minutes, then they went back to disliking each other.
I also went into the office today and did 2 hours of work for Greg Stevens. It was nice, no one else was there. If I can continue helping out Greg Stevens, this is the way I would like to do it.
Well it’s been a lazy, good for nothing Friday. No, not really. Been busy. Did some laundry, went to the library, smoked a cigar on the stoop. That’s basically it. So that means, since I have nothing to write about, it’s time for the iTunes shuffle.
The Belldog- Brian Eno & Cluster from the album After the Heat. A good song by one of my favorite people teaming up with 2 German guys named Moebius & Roedelius. The UK Music press labeled the genre, Krautrock. A nice meditative and mechanical song. Hard to find. I had a cheap vinyl copy and sometime ago I found a download which I promptly downloaded.
Sad But True- Orbital My favorite Orbital track. Probably a great club track but how would I know? I dislike clubbing. I got this disc (Snivelisation) from Rand & Lisa and played a few tracks for Bill last night. He loved it but couldn’t find it on iTunes. Since I had the disc available, he uploaded that and saved some dough.
My Mummy’s Dead- John Lennon from Lennon Legend. No editing the list here. This is the last track from John Lennon- Plastic Ono Band. Of course the title betrays what a downer it is. Only 1:16 long which is more than enough time to move onto the next track.
Oddly enough, following the Walrus comes,
Egg Man- The Beastie Boys, from Paul’s Boutique. Paul’s Boutique is the Beastie Boys 2nd album and a step forward from Licensed to Ill, produced by the Dust Brothers. Great use of Bernard Hermann’s Psycho strings at the end. The actual boutique, once located on the Lower East Side has been gone for years and the cover is now unrecognizable. Hope Adam Yauch recovers soon enough.
The Part You Throw Away- Tom Waits, from Blood Money. Got this and the companion CD, Alice, from the Arcata contingent a few years ago. It’s a great pair of records, but not something I play too often. Very downbeat, Germanic cabaret feel.
I Got You (I Feel Good)- James Brown, from Live at the Apollo Volume 2. 29 seconds long, a very fast version used as a bridge between songs. I would have loved to have seen this show in 1967, but I doubt if my parents would have been so keen on going to Harlem to satisfy the whims of a 5 year old. It’s definitely a phenomenal record.
Dreaming- Blondie, from Blondie’s Greatest Hits. Another great song. Clem Burke is a fantastic drummer on this, but then again he’s always a fantastic drummer. He used to pop up at McSwells from time to time, just to have a drink. He’s an acquaintance of Chaz’ I believe. One of my favorite Blondie songs.
Come Together/Dear Prudence/Cry Baby Cry [Transition]- The Beatles, from the Love album. A good mash up courtesy of Giles Martin, George Martin’s son. Seems like it’s been more than a week since I saw Paul McCartney last Friday with Bill, Anne & Earl, Julio & Stine, but it’s true. And this is another disc that Anne got me a few years ago.
Simmer Down- The Wailers from the Bob Marley- Songs of Freedom boxed set. I love the early songs of the Wailers. So young and fresh with the ska. Easy to see where the 2 Tone bands got some inspiration. Fun to sing along and dance to, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Pretzel Logic- Steely Dan, from the album of the same name. Another great song and one of my favorite Steely Dan songs. Where did you get those shoes? Now Becker & Fagen are on tour, playing all their hits. No money in record sales these days, so they’re on the road, one night devoted to the Royal Scam, another night for Aja etc. I’m not going, too much money.
Hey Hey- Neil Young, from his Greatest Hits. Neil’s response to Punk Rock which was basically over by the time this came out. And Johnny Rotten didn’t die. It was Sid. This is the heavy version, not the acoustic. It did get airplay on the late lamented WPIX-FM back in the day.
That’s about it. I know how much you all like the shuffle reports.
Don’t know if I’ll post tomorrow, I may be in Otisville, if Pedro ever calls back.
OK, so it’s Monday and it’s a soggy Monday. Nothing but rain. Much like yesterday. It’s supposed to rain every day except for Wednesday, at least that’s what the meteorologist says.
It’s funny, I’ll watch the news to get the weather, then when the weather comes on, I totally blank. I think it’s because of their voices. I hear the voice and I am a million miles away.
Since we have digital cable, I usually wind up rewinding a minute or two to get that five day forecast. That happened last night but I didn’t care since I would catch the weather on the Today show.
And the forecast was rain.
Last night I didn’t watch TV, just played music. I played music instead. Started out playing Bob Dylan’s latest, Together Through Life. I really like it. It’s a fast 45 minutes and quite good.
Then I listened to Jenny Lewis ‘Acid Tongue’ and that is quite good as well, perhaps even better than Bob Dylan. The last song on Acid Tongue is ‘Sing a Song for Them’ and it ended with a familiar string section that reminded me of Old Dirt Road by John Lennon off of Walls and Bridges so I played that.
That set me on a John Lennon kick, through most of his catalog, a few things from Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, the Acoustic album and the Lennon Anthology. I played Beautiful Boy, the studio version and the acoustic version.
Bill was home by that time and he really only knows Beautiful Boy through Mr. Holland’s Opus, one of Bill’s favorite movies. A few more Lennon songs, finishing up with ‘Sean’s Little Help’ where 5 year old Sean Lennon is singing ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ which provided a perfect closer with the Beatles version.
Then it was time for the news and for me to blank out on the weather. Bill had his sleep apnea mask on and I soon fell asleep next to him and his buzzing apparatus. I woke up a little before 8:00 this morning, surprised to see Bill still in bed.
I nudged him and asked if he was going to work and he said he was taking a day off. That through me off a bit but I recovered and found myself in the shower getting ready for work. Donned a suit and headed out into the rain.
Caught the bus and buried my face in the New York, reading about Rwanda. Made it to the office, a few people out today making it very quiet.
Quiet enough that I was able to catch a crosstown bus and walked over to Studio 54 to see if I can join the Roundabout Theater’s Usher Program for the latest production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
The guy in charge of that is a guy who sits in a chair all day with binders. I asked to sign up for the play but he told me it was all filled up for the season. So I signed up for the waiting list.
It’s probably not going to happen and if it does happen it will probably be on a date that is inconvenient for me. Oh well.
I came home from work, and got a letter from my bank.
Out of 4 illicit charges on my card, 2 were disputed in my favor. The other 2 which were the items that were actually shipped to me, according to the bank, seemed authorized.
So I was on the phone for an hour dealing with 2 different customer services.
One issue has been resolved after getting on ‘Mary Jo’s’ nerves, the other I will have to deal with tomorrow during daylight hours, as per ‘Vern’s’ suggestion.
Well it’s Friday again. I just got back from a quick dinner with my sister in law Elaine and my niece Corinne. I was going to take a train home but they insisted on dinner before that and since I had pizza 2 times last night, pizza in Garfield was out of the question.
We wound up going to a restaurant named Charlie Blood’s where Corinne was able to schmooze with a few board of education people since she’s trying to get a job in education when she graduates from college this year.
I didn’t mind, I got some food and all I had to do was leave the tip. Elaine picked up the tab since I paid last time on St. Patrick’s Day. I was out in Garfield to play guitar with my brother Frank. The original plan was for me to go out there around noon and be back in Hoboken around 4:00.
Of course when dealing with Frank time is never of the essence. He thought he’d drive me home around 7:00. I first said no and stuck to my guns but as the morning passed I found that I didn’t want to hustle for a noon train. Plus I was still doing laundry.
I got it together eventually, burned a handful of CD’s for him, getting some old Mojo and Uncut magazines for my brother, brought some songbooks of Bowie, The Beatles, Macca and a download of Graham Parker & the Rumour’s Squeezing Out Sparks. Loaded them all into a now quite heavy bag.
It was good to see Frank, and I think he got a lot out of my visit. The train ride was uneventful. I wasn’t
the only person with a guitar. That was unexpected.
Across the aisle from me was a young man with a military type jacket with brass buttons, bed head and a Jay-Z patch as well as a Pink Floyd patch with hammers from the Wall movie. You’d think we’d communicate since I had a guitar and so did he, but no, it didn’t happen.
This wasn’t the early days of rock and roll where you would see someone else with a guitar and strike up a conversation and perhaps start a band.
I got off the train at 3:00 in Garfield and Frank showed up a few minutes later. He was the only one at home, now that he’s retired. Frank likes to warm up playing along to the blues channel on cable. He was surprised to learn that I don’t know anything about the blues.
Surprised since so much of the music I like is based in the blues. I’m not an Elvis Presley fan but a few bands that I like loved Elvis. Maybe it’s because I had seen too many bad blues bands, and I tend to avoid the blues at any cost. Maybe a John Lee Hooker song every now and then but really, no thanks.
I think I did a good job of following his lead but I tend to spend too much time trying to figure out the chord formations as he played. When it was my turn I started playing She’s A Woman by the Beatles. Easy enough, 5 maybe 6 chords total. Frank was playing lead to my rhythm since I can’t play lead to save my life.
It was going well until Frank turned the TV back on and threw in a DVD of Ken Kesey and Neil Cassidy at the World’s Fair in 1964. I learned years ago from Ann Boyles that a TV really takes away from a party or scene that might be happening.
I think next time I will have to insist that no TV will be turned on after he gets warmed up. Despite the stroke I think Frank is still a good guitar player, still way ahead of me on that.
Tuesday today. Let’s see, Bill woke me up again this morning at 6:50 which was fine. I was out of bed and doing my thing. Bill is off to his sleep apnea test tonight which leaves me solo. Not such a bad thing, though the bed will be emptier than it should.
Looking forward to President Obama’s press conference tonight. Still a refreshing thing to see and hear a world leader speak so intelligently and with authority. For some reason the right wing nuts have been going off on the fact that Obama reads from a teleprompter. What the fuck is that about?
I know the previous President, you know, the door knob, had difficulty pronouncing nuclear correctly, but all they could do is complain that Obama reads from a teleprompter? What? Did they think Bush was talking off the top of his soft skull?
They also have been complaining that Obama is busy multi-tasking. I know, that’s not right, especially since the door knob before him had difficulty watching TV and eating pretzels.
Yesterday was a busy Facebook day. Last night I was posting with a few other people, specifically Pat Longo. Nice guy, friends with my brother Frank and other WFMU types. Pat doesn’t like the Beatles. Says they’re overrated.
I can see how he might say that though I obviously don’t agree. For me, my love for the Beatles, isn’t just the music. It’s the whole cultural phenomenon that started 45 years ago and continues to this day.
They still sell plenty of records and books, and soon they’ll be on Guitar Hero or perhaps Rock Band. I don’t know, I’m not a gamer. For the seven years that they were active, they were in my eyes, four of the coolest people on the planet. Clothes, hair, & attitude still resonates. I know, I’m biased.
I love playing their songs on guitar and singing along. I’ve read their books, from badly written biographies to trainspotters writing about every recording session to the smallest detail. Moms and dads and kids liked them and still do.
I was devastated when John was murdered, and was very upset when George was attacked by an intruder and I cried when he passed away a year or so later. I shed a tear or two seeing Paul live at Madison Square Garden in 2005, and smiled sweetly when I saw Ringo do a morning set at Bryant Park for Good Morning America.
I think they were and still are amazing. There were moments that I resented them for casting such a large shadow on everything that came afterwards. The resentment was momentary and faded away and still I loved them. They probably resented the shadow that they had created and were forced to live in. Still, they weren’t going hungry.
I think one of the first musical memories I had was of my brother Frank playing Strawberry Fields Forever and when it faded out and in at the end he turned out the light in his bedroom and scared me. Strawberry Fields Forever makes for a better musical memory than Winchester Cathedral which could actually be the first song I actually recognized.
I owe my Beatles fixation to my brother Frank who gave me my first Beatles LP as a consolation for not taking me to see the bicentennial fireworks like he had promised. It was Abbey Road, their last album. Which in a way makes sense for me since I tend to do things backwards.
I started collecting their records, looking for the original Capitol Records rainbow edged albums, or releases on the Apple label, buying import singles with songs I never heard before, like The Ballad of John & Yoko.
Side note: one of the reasons that I took the job at McMann and Tate aka Wolff Olins was because they helped design the Apple Records label back in 1968. And that didn’t go so well for me 38 years later.
I just figured out a few weeks ago that John, Paul, George & Ringo, which I’m sure you know is sometimes how they’re mentioned, is the order that the band was formed. Maybe it was obvious, maybe I’m a dunce.
From July 5 1976 until December 9 1980 I felt I might have a chance of seeing the four of them perform again, or at least release a record. We know how that turned out.
But I still play them, I’m still enthralled, and I’m still a Beatles fan, and you know you should be glad. Yeah yeah yeah!
What a cold and wet day this has been today. Just really crappy out. Last night was quiet again. O & Rm which is wearing thin, then the Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Didn’t watch Scrubs yet. Still have to watch that Stax Soul Revue from the other night.
Slept really well last night though. Woke up to the sound of rain which made getting out of bed that much more unappealing. Still I rallied.
I’ve been reading online some post about Yoko Ono. It was from The Curvature, A Feminist Perspective on Politics and Culture. I really enjoyed it. I always felt Yoko was unfairly blamed for the break up of the Beatles.
cut and paste
I remember seeing a midnight showing of Let It Be a long time ago (Lennon was still alive) and whenever Yoko was on the screen people in the audience would hiss and yell things. I liked John enough and felt that if he thought she was cool, then she was cool with me.
John, Paul, George and Ringo were pretty much tired of each other. Brian Epstein had passed away and he was basically the barrier between them and the music business. That was the beginning of the end.
They weren’t really the cuddly mop tops that people imagine them to be. They could be assholes too, or in John’s words, the biggest bastards in the world. And Yoko could be an asshole too.
They couldn’t get it together to buy their publishing, John was flirting with heroin, Paul was sleeping with anything in a skirt, George was unhappy being a Beatle and Ringo felt his role was being diminished.
George and Ringo were also fed up with Paul telling them how to play and what to play, and if they couldn’t do it, Paul would do it himself. The showdown between Paul and George can be seen in Let It Be.
There was also a betrayal of John by Paul. They had a deal to own equal shares in Northern Songs, their publishing company. But unknown to John, Paul was buying up his own shares which John eventually found out.
It’s not a pretty story and it ended badly for all concerned. But basically the break up wasn’t Yoko’s fault. They were heading for a break up anyhow. Do you think the Beatles could have lasted into the 1970’s against Led Zeppelin? I think they ended on an up note and became legends.
Another report that I’ve been reading is related to something I posted last year on July 28, 2008 under the title, God. I wrote about Sean Kennedy who was attacked, punched so hard in the face that facial bones were broken, causing Sean Kennedy to fall and when he hit the pavement, his brain stem became separated ensuring his death.
The murderer, Stephen Moller received a sentence of 18 months. In South Carolina it seems a gay mans life is worth less than a straight mans life. To rub some salt in the wound, Moller the murderer is being considered for parole since 18 months for murder can be such a difficult thing.
I was motivated to write a letter to the parole board asking them to deny his parole at the upcoming hearing. I’ve never written a parole board, not even requesting that John Lennon’s assassin remain behind bars. But this motivated me enough to do so.
Whether or not a letter from some homo in Hoboken has any weight to a South Carolina parole board, I couldn’t say. But I felt I had to do something.
Here is what I sent to the South Carolina Parole Board:
Department of Probation Pardon and Parole Services
2221 Devine Street, Suite 600, PO Box 50666
Columbia SC 29250
RE: Stephen Andrew Moller – SCDC ID # 00328891
To Whom It May Concern:
I have just read online and in the print media of the fact that Stephen Moller (SCDC ID # 00328891) is being considered for a parole hearing. Stephen Moller is a murderer plain and simple, despite the fact that he was charged with the involuntary manslaughter (after screaming anti-gay epithets) of Sean Kennedy.
This is reprehensible. Moller took Kennedy’s life, and destroyed the lives of Kennedy’s family and friends. To allow something like Moller a chance for parole, a chance to kill again would be a travesty of justice, much worse than the year and a half sentence that Moller has received. Someone like him should be behind bars for life.
A mistake has been made with Moller’s sentencing. Please do not make that mistake even worse by granting an early release, especially since the year and a half sentence was a joke.
Well it’s back to the grind. Last night Bill and I watched the Jack Benny dvd. A collection of 4 of his shows from 1954. I watched it on Sunday and I knew Bill would enjoy it so I saved it and watched it again. Bill took the day off as he was quite tired which made me fearful that he might be coming down with what I had but no he was just tired after the weekend and the change in weather.
It’s been getting quite cold. After Jack Benny we watched O & RM which Bill has been getting into more than me. I suppose I’ll keep watching it until things wind down after the election. I wrote that with difficulty. It’s not easy to type with your fingers crossed. I almost switched off RM and put Heroes on but since I was recording it, RM it was.
Heroes was good I thought. They’re getting rid of some superfluous characters which is fine by me. Bye Maya. Take your black tears of death with you. Hiro might be getting interesting again. Parkman, the cuddly clairvoyant bear cop is back, in love with Daphne the speedster who may or may not be double crossing the cuddly clairvoyant.
Oh and Peter lost most of his powers, but he still has that handsome power, and that Sylar. He’s fast becoming the most interesting character once again.
Couldn’t fall asleep until midnight, tried watching Letterman’s Top Ten but he just wouldn’t stop talking about Bill O’Fuckface which is almost as bad as seeing him so I finally fell asleep. Bill up before the sun and out the door.
I woke up to the Beatles singing Can’t Buy Me Love which was a nice way to start the day. I thought I would be running late again, but I wound up leaving early out of boredom.
Doesn’t seem like I’ll be seeing Casey non the bus anymore. We emailed each other and he’s working downtown now which is where I originally thought he was working but it turned out he was a couple of blocks away. Still trying to get his script to Martha G., just haven’t heard from her.
Work was good. Tom Chin learned his lesson. Greg Stevens came in, still a bit ill. He definitely seems to have what I had and doesn’t blame me for it. The day went by at a nice pace. I was relatively busy which helped.
This afternoon was a bit of a shock. Greg’s wife, Lorraine rents some office space from us, running a charitable organization out of her office. Around 3:30, one of her assistants called for me to call 911. It turns out that Lorraine was feeling faint and they were worried that she might have been having a heart attack.
She has scoliosis which sometimes affects her left arm, hence the cardiac fear. The paramedics came and checked her out and she agreed to go the hospital for some more tests. Greg had left the office and was at his acupuncturist and he was unavailable so I tried leaving a calm measured message regarding his wife’s health. That was all I could do, it was time for me to go home.
Now it’s 9:00, I just got off the phone with my dear friend Billie in DC. I hadn’t heard from him in a while so I was worried. He’s fine, once again letting me know that’s there was nothing to be worried about. I told him that Bill and I will try giving him a call on Saturday from the B-52’s show.
Friday comes and Thursday goes. Last night was a lot better than the night before. Good feelings all around. Nothing much happened and judging by the comment, nothing much happened with you. That’s what I’m writing about today. You. How are you doing? It’s been a while and I hope you are well. Feel free to get back to me when you figure out how you are doing.
Tonight Bill and I are off to Shea Stadium which is being torn down this year to make way for a new stadium, to be called Citi Field since I guess Citibank put up some money to rebuild. I wonder how the Shea family is dealing with it. I mentioned to Bill earlier in the season that I would like to attend a Mets game for old time’s sake.
I used to go to Met games every now and then with my family, with the Boy’s Club of Lodi, and sometimes with a bus load of drunken veterans with a garbage can filled with cans of beer.
There’s also the thrill that the Beatles played Shea Stadium. Once in 1965 and again in 1966. I wasn’t at either show since I was too young, and neither were my brothers or my sister. It was actually 42 years ago tomorrow that the Fabs played there.
I’m pretty much excited, I haven’t been to a professional baseball game in decades and I’ve never taken the train there. It should be a fun time all around. Bill is a Yankee fan so who knows how he’ll deal with it. I have a feeling he’ll be fine, putting up with it because of me.
I went to work today and took a half day so I could go home and nap, get ready and do some laundry as well as pick up 2 tickets for myself and my brother Frank for The Bird and The Bee at McSwells in October. Hoboken is deserted again, most residents went down the shore already, so if you’d like to park in Hoboken, now would be the time.
Tomorrow the plan is to go down the shore with Chaz. That was all his idea. I bought a new umbrella and this will probably be the only time this season to use it. Sandy Hook I guess will be our destination and who know, perhaps meeting Connie will be in the cards. That is if Connie will be back from California.
Speaking of California, today is my sister Annemarie’s birthday. I planned on burning some cd’s as I’ve done the past few years, but I can’t seem to burn a cd anywhere. Plan B was getting a copy of the new David Sedaris book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
I hope she likes it. I plan on getting a copy from my library as soon as it is no longer labeled as being a new book. So a very happy birthday to my favorite sister. That’s a safe thing to say since she’s my only sister.
Happy birthday Annemarie. You don’t look like a monkey, and you don’t smell like one either.
It’s back to work and back to reality for me today. Yes I am back on planet Earth. Last night’s entry was difficult. I posted, Harpy commented, I unpublished it, then Harpy pointed out the typos which I corrected and republished. I used to do that sort of thing back in the 1980’s, a lot of acid. Jet and I had a sheet with Conan the Barbarian on it, which Jet called magic.
We’d nibble at the magic for what seemed like weeks, I would get a kick out of going to McSwells and hanging out with friends most of the time tripping. I definitely enjoy the experience with Juan over the weekend, a little ego destruction. Really cleared the deck of hang ups and whatnot and I feel more clear headed and reasonable now.
It was ironic after being with my brother Frank this weekend, him telling me tales of his wayward youth, mainly with him tripping a lot of the time. And here I was, hours after being dropped off by Frank, getting on the bus and taking another trip. No regrets on my end and as far as I know, Juan had none either.
As I was wandering the omniverse Saturday night/Sunday morning I was thinking about what I would write for the blog, but it didn’t exactly come out as planned. I didn’t want to be too obvious, not that there are children reading this and then telling their parents, that they want to do acid since they read about it on a blog.
That would be funny to me at least, a child reading this blog. Now if I produced some bomb making instructions, that would be cause for concern. There was the experimental influence back in the day, The Beatles, William S. Burroughs among others who dabbled becoming addled.
Also in the early 1980’s there seemed to be a resurgence in the use of hallucinogens. The Rain Parade, The Three O’Clock and others from LA while other bands from all over seemed to be making psychedelic music. And there were a few other people at McSwells who indulged in such substances then so I was in good company.
Eventually the supply ran out, only reappearing from time to time. I think the last time I had done it was with Roda in Central Park when we had gained backstage access to a spoken word performance hosted by Tricky.
It was a nice night, Roda and I thought we bonded with Tricky and exchanged phone numbers, which days later Tricky changed his number. Roda and I wandered around Central Park, laying about in Strawberry Fields and the Sheep Meadow, tripping out on the electric trees at Tavern on the Green.
We even used the restroom in the restaurant, since it’s on public property, public access to the bathrooms are required. I remember it was at the end of a hall of mirrors and that the little man who used to tour with Kid Rock was thrown out of a party for Kid Rock for being too drunk.
So now I am back in the present, feeling good and refreshed. I was even able to walk through the crowds of tourists and didn’t wish any of them ill will. All very pleasant.
Today is the fourth of July. The country is 232 years old. Or at least the Declaration of Independence was stated on this day. Actual independence didn’t happen until a number of years later. In 1976 was the bicentennial. A major event. My father was working in the World Trade Center at the time and a few months before, there was a plan to have a party in the offices so we could watch the tall ships and the fireworks from on high.
That was the plan until rumors started floating around about how gangs were going to be roaming the streets mugging the deep influx of tourists. That scared my father enough so that we spent July 4th in the backyard of 13 Riverview Avenue in Lodi, which despite what you may have heard is not the same thing.
My brother Frank had promised to take me to see the fireworks that night. He was at a party with his wife Elaine though and didn’t show up. There were plenty of firecrackers to keep me amused. My brother Brian wound up with me in the back seat of his car while him and his buddy Eddie drove around River Road in Fort Lee that night where I heard the fireworks going off overhead, not actually able to see them due to the tree tops blocking the view.
It wasn’t that bad, I still got back home and met up with my friends. I stole a pack of Marlboro’s from my mother and got caught but was let go when I explained it would be easier to light a firecracker with a cigarette rather than using matches or lighters. Somehow that worked and I walked away with a hard pack of Marlboro’s in my pocket. That’s probably when I started smoking.
Me and my friends whiled away the remaining bicentennial hours blowing up whatever we could. My sister Annemarie worked in a hospital at that time and gave us all warnings about people in the emergency rooms due to playing with fireworks, so we were careful, though a firecracker did go off in my hand, leaving my thumb and index finger numb for a few hours.
My brother Frank tried to make up for his absence the next day and gave me a copy of Abbey Road which is the first Beatles album I ever owned. I forgave him and soon got every much into the Beatles.
This year, it’s been overcast and muggy. Rained a bit today. Hoboken is like a ghost town today. I rode around, wound up by Battery Park. Bill was spending time with his mother, didn’t make it down there. I rode around, the streets crowded with tourists everywhere as well as Statues of Liberty.
The Feelies sounded great, but I couldn’t see them. I wound up outside the park and listened. Brenda was saying thank you after each song, I wonder if her mother asked her to. I was bored and decided to ride back to the Path train, taking it to Exchange Place and riding home from there.
Not much else going on today. Bill’s staying at his mother’s apartment since the fireworks will be going off 100 yards from her bedroom window. Here’s some pics.
Careful with those fireworks and have a happy Fourth of July!