I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
The love of the body of man or woman balks account,
the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.
The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees,
dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.
The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women,
the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street,
the contour of their shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through
the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls
silently to and from the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats,
the horse-man in his saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles,
and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child, the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hosing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six horses
through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty,
good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sundown after work,
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle
through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again,
and the listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck
and the counting;
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother’s breast
with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line
with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons,
And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers of sons.
This man was a wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person,
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard,
the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes,
the richness and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also,
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were massive,
clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome,
They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him,
They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal love,
He drank water only, the blood show’d like scarlet
through the clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail’d his boat himself,
he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner,
he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved him,
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish,
you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang,
You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to sit by him
in the boat that you and he might touch each other.
I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.
This is the female form,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor,
all falls aside but myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth,
and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it,
the response likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused,
mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling
and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love,
white-blow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.
This the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, man is born of woman,
This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the outlet again.
Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest,
and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.
The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,
She is all things duly veil’d, she is both passive and active,
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters.
As I see my soul reflected in Nature,
As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see.
The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place,
He too is all qualities, he is action and power,
The flush of the known universe is in him,
Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him well,
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost
become him well, pride is for him,
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul,
Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing
to the test of himself,
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail
he strikes soundings at last only here,
(Where else does he strike soundings except here?)
The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred,
No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the laborers’ gang?
Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf?
Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,
Each has his or her place in the procession.
(All is a procession,
The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)
Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight,
and he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float,
and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?
A man’s body at auction,
(For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch the sale,)
I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his business.
Gentlemen look on this wonder,
Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough for it,
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without one animal or plant,
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll’d.
In this head the all-baffling brain,
In it and below it the makings of heroes.
Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in tendon and nerve,
They shall be stript that you may see them.
Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,
Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh not flabby,
good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.
Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations,
(Do you think they are not there because they are not express’d
in parlors and lecture-rooms?)
This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers
in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics,
Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments.
How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring
through the centuries?
(Who might you find you have come from yourself,
if you could trace back through the centuries?)
A woman’s body at auction,
She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the mothers.
Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man?
Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations
and times all over the earth?
If anything is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more beautiful
than the most beautiful face.
Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body?
or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.
O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women,
nor the likes of the parts of you,
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul,
(and that they are the soul,)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems,
and that they are my poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s,
young man’s, young woman’s poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking
or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders,
and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body
or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping,
love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand
the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips,
and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow
in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!
Text for this adventure is from the Project Gutenberg.
The text was reformatted by Chamblee54.
“I sing the Body Electric” was written by Walt Whitman.
An audio version of this poem is available from Librivox.
Reposted May 31,2013, Walt Whitman’s 194th Birthday.
Drug testing used to be an exotic, expensive procedure. In the eighties, it was famous athletes. After that camel stuck his nose under the tent flap, the privilege was extended to anyone who wanted a job. Alcohol use continues to be condoned, with the supply advertised on television. This does not affect the urine industrial complex.
PG is working on getting a job, and testing is part of the ritual. This has happened is four or five times before. The first time was in a dirty MOB downtown, with rude employees. Once, the cup was filled at a chiropractic office, which did drug screens as a sideline activity. All of these had negative scores.
The latest collection experience had a few new twists. You are sent a barcode enabled form to print, and bring with you. The email says to “Limit your fluid intake to no more than 24 fluid ounces in the 3 hours before you test.” An address and phone number are given. PG talks to the lady, who tells him where to park. It is the same lady who will wait on him at the facility.
The collection, and hopeful employment, is in Atlanta GA. “Employer Information” comes out of Riverside CA. “Medical Review Officer/Managed Service Provider” is located in Philadelphia PA. Some delivery service will get some business, and the internet comes in handy again. PG has taken a test where the results were processed immediately in the office. Why is a bi-coastal effort is needed?
In medical dealings, the first concrete indication that you are entering an alien environment is getting the magnetic striped parking ticket from the machine. You drive until you find an empty spot, a few numbers down from the valet parking. Walking past the cluster of conversation at the security desk, you go into the office and sign in.
The lady calls your name, and you go into the room. You hand her the paperwork, and your drivers license. There is a metal box with a lock on it. You place what is in your pockets in the lockbox, and take the key. You go to the sink, wash your hands with plain water, without any soap. It is ok to dry your hands. You are given a plastic cup.
You enter the collection room. Even though you are not told whether or not to do it, you lift the seat. The cup is filled past the invisible line, and the remainder of the product goes in the commode. You do not flush, per instructions. You go out, and wash your hands again, this time using soap. The lady is wearing plastic gloves now, of a tasteful blue shade. She places part of the sample in a small plastic container, and places a sticker over the lid. The sticker has a bunch of numbers, and a bar code. You sign a form saying that the sample was not adulterated, among other things.
The lady is very nice throughout the visit. The office will not receive results, and does not know where the testing will take place. You walk out to your vehcie. Since you have been there less than twenty minutes, you don’t have to pay.
The next day, saw an email. “We have received your drug results back and they have come back as dilute, which means you consumed too much liquids prior to your testing. You will be required to go back and complete another test. Please try and limit your fluid to no more than 16 fl. oz prior to this test.” Adequate hydration will have to wait.
This message came after a facebook exchange. A post was made to a community page. @tejucole I learn more about privilege from what I get wrong about misogyny than from what I get right about racism. A few minutes later, this comment arrived. “Did you mean to post the out of the blue statement about privilege on the faerie page?” PG took the post down. Let sleeping dogs lie, especially the bitches.
The notice about the second test came at 1:30. PG tried to calculate how many ounces of fluid he had consumed, and decided to wait. At 3:30, he went down the familiar road to pill hill.
The second visit to the collection facility was different. There were several people in the waiting room, and they were all serviced before PG. Finally, he went into the room. The lady was much more businesslike than the one the day before. The procedure was a bit different. Go in there, and fill the cup above the line. Do not flush. A minute later, PG comes back with a full cup. The lady poured a sample into a plastic container, and said to empty the cup into the commode, flush, throw the cup away, and wash your hands with soap and water. The procedure was finished at 4:19, Since PG left his car for more than a half hour, there was a $3.50 charge for parking.
When PG got home, he emptied his pockets. There was an extra set of keys. He had taken home the keys to the lockbox. A third trip to the collection facility was required. Two business days later, the test results came back. PG was certified ready to go to work. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
There is a bit of polemic on the internet now, The revolutionary origins of Memorial Day and its political hijacking. It tells the story of an incident in Charleston SC, where newly freed slaves buried some Union soldiers who died in a prison camp. The incident is described as the first Decoration Day, which later evolved into Memorial Day. As the article tells it, this Holiday was intended as a revolutionary statement about Black freedom, and was whitewashed into an all caucasian affair. This is not a good summary of the article, but should do for now. You can read it for yourself.
PG read the article, and started to get a headache. While researching a Memorial Day. post, he came across the Charleston incident. Apparently, it did happen. There were also numerous other remembrances of the fallen soldiers. The War Between the States was an incredibly bloody affair, with many families losing someone. The urge to remember these fallen soldiers was overwhelming. The custom of Decoration Day would probably have happened with, or without, the Charleston incident. It is incorrect to say that those former slaves invented Decoration Day.
There was an exchange of messages. PG left a comment, “That article is not completely true.”
Lendon Sadler Thank you for your comment concerning the historical roots of Memorial day, but could you be so kind as to explain a bit more the inaccuracy contained in the posting.For my sake, and that of my friends, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. And please feel comfortable saying whatever is on your mind in my pages. Sincere regards, Lendon
Luther Mckinnon I will have to think about it some. Also, I am not sure that I have an interest in exploring this issue. I did some research about the celebration in Charleston. It apparently did take place. However, there were other people decorating graves before that. After the carnage of the War Between the States, there seemed to be a lot of activity towards remembering the dead. The slaves in Charleston definitely did not “invent” decoration day. That they had one of the earliest celebrations is notable, but they should not take sole credit. As to the rest of the article… i would have to think about it some, and to tell you the truth I don’t know if I am particularly interested. One of the pieces I read about the evolution of Memorial Day mentioned World War One, which was the next major war the US was involved in after WBTS. Here again, there was a lot of dead soldiers to remember. This was when the holiday evolved into a remembrance of soldiers from all wars. Anyway, I hope this is helpful, and maybe we can explore some of the other issues of that article.
The article in question is at a site called Liberation, “Newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation at LiberationNews.org.” There is a some historic revisionism, with statements like this. “In 1877, the Northern capitalist establishment decisively turned their backs on Reconstruction, striking a deal with the old slavocracy to return the South to white supremacist rule in exchange for the South’s acceptance of capitalist expansion.” Whatever, dude.
The custom of Decoration/Memorial Day is pretty much what it says it is… to remember the fallen soldiers of our wars, especially the ones with lots of casualties. According to this source, it was World War I that facilitated the transition from Decoration Day, focused on WBTS, to a Memorial Day that honored the dead of all wars. It almost certainly was not done as a gesture of white supremacy.
The so-called lessons of history are very versatile. You can find whatever facts are convenient for your agenda, and if you don’t get what you need you can make some up. After all, there is nobody alive today that can remember 1877. We have to take the word of whoever tells the tale of a “deal with the old slavocracy”. Sometimes, these stories are more plausible than others.
Sometimes, things just don’t ring true. “The concept that the population must “remember the sacrifice” of U.S. service members, without a critical reflection on the wars themselves, did not emerge by accident. It came about in the Jim Crow period as the Northern and Southern ruling classes sought to reunite the country around apolitical mourning, which required erasing the “divisive” issues of slavery and Black citizenship.”
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
During the time between Memorial Day, and the day Elvis died, the sky is light enough to ride long after suppertime. Around the Summer solstice, daytime heat is such that most sane people stay in the air conditioned shade. It is only during twilight that the outdoors is fit for man and beast.
A bicycle is a great companion for these times. When you go uphill, your muscles clench and relax, your lungs hoover the magnolia scented air, and your heart goes plump plump plump. Many bystanders only see the face of the rider, which may appear to be in pain. Often, the face is playing the martyr, while the heart is delirious with joy. Once you reach the top, you get to ride downhill.
On this day, PG rode past a house that was closed for repair. In a trashcan was the sun bleached remains of an American flag. The flag had been placed in the yard, by a realtor, as an advertising gimmick. PG was offended by the shabby treatment of this flag. He pulled it off the pole, put it in his bike box, and rode on. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
Memorial Day started as Decoration Day. During the War Between the States, people started to go out to graveyards, and put flowers on the soldiers. It is tough to say whether the custom started in the south. or the north. Waterloo NY is considered the official birthplace of Memorial Day. This is not what Abba was singing about.
WBTS was by far the most costly war in American history. There were more casualties in WBTS than in World Wars I, II, Korea, and Vietnam combined. Americans were not used to this carnage on this scale. Decoration Day was one of the results.
It was also, literally, a divisive war. The causes of the conflict are debated to this day. More men died of disease than in combat. Shitting yourself to death is not glory.
An important cause of the war was the desire, of some, to maintain their investment in slaves. In other words, the hundreds of thousands of Southern deaths were to insure that African Americans cannot be free. The lofty rhetoric of Memorial Day does not always reflect the squalid reality.
The legend is that May 30 was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any major battles. For many years after WBTS, the southern states had a separate day of remembrance. Confederate Memorial Day is still observed, though not on as large a scale as before.
The next major killing session for the United States was World War I. After this conflict, May 30 evolved into a day to remember all soldiers who died. The south began to embrace the unified holiday.
The United States lost at least 116,516 men in World War I. Almost all of these casualties were in 1918, the last year of the war. The other countries lost far more men. Not one person in a thousand can tell you today why World War I was fought. All it did was provide the causes of World War II, which was even more costly.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These are Union Soldiers from WTBS.
To this day, there is confusion about why the United States fought a war in Vietnam. There is talk about communism. There was a dominoes theory. (The delivery took more than thirty minutes.) The one which aroused PG’s curiosity was the urge to “nail that coonskin to the wall.”
According to the History News Network , President Lyndon B. Johnson made three trips to Vietnam. “In 1961 Johnson, then vice president, visited Saigon. He assured the South Vietnamese the United States would stand by them … LBJ called South Vietnamese leader Diem the “Churchill of Asia.”
On October 26, 1966 Johnson visited Vietnam on his first trip as president. The week before anti-war protests had been held in 40 cities in the United States. At the end of December 1967 LBJ worked in another trip to Vietnam while traveling to Australia for the funeral of Prime Minister Harold Holt, who had died in a drowning accident. Visiting Cam Ranh Bay, LBJ urged the soldiers to”nail that coonskin to the wall.”
While researching this post, PG found a feature comparing BHO in Afghanistan to LBJ in Vietnam. (Lebron James is not taking his talents to Hanoi.) The story is that LBJ had serious doubts about whether we could win in Vietnam, but did not want to appear weak. (He may also have been influenced by the fate of JFK, who had started to withdraw troops from Vietnam.) There is a pungent paragraph: “In this narrative, Johnson sent up to 1,000 Americans a month to their deaths because he didn’t “want the political fallout that would come from not fighting” Vietnam. Others have argued that, contrary to Blankney’s assertion, LBJ really wanted “to nail that coonskin to the wall” in Southeast Asia; that he fought it from strategic principle not political expediency. But many will concede that whether LBJ wanted to win it or not, he fought it with one eye to the public relations polls and the reactions of his own left wing. He imposed so many restrictions, introduced so many rules that perhaps whether LBJ ‘wanted to win’ or not, his objective strategic behavior was in the end indistinguishable from someone who wanted to lose. And he lost.”
Many of the soldiers in Vietnam were drafted. This means that the government told you that you were going into the service, or going to jail. (Young readers might be unfamiliar with the concept. When you ask your elders about communism, you can ask them about Selective Service.) While the government was dithering in it’s approach to the war, the men who were sent to fight were ordered to make a total commitment. Many did not come home alive.
Another online feature about Obama’s challenging war options shows up a difference in attitudes about war today. “Publicly, Johnson said it was a war we had to fight and that we would win it. Now, of course, we know that he believed we couldn’t win even before he sent the first of those 57,992 American boys over there to die.”
Whether you agree or disagree with a war, it is preposterous to say that the soldiers are boys. If anyone deserves to be called a man, it is those troops. Today, we have more women in our armed forces than we did in Vietnam. (This page of statistics lists, by name, eight American service women who died in Vietnam.) It simply isn’t said, of this war, that the soldiers are our boys and girls. While the dirty business of war goes on, it is an improvement to not call our soldiers boys.
At the seven minute mark of his speech on Afghanistan , BHO starts a paragraph with the phrase “my fellow americans”. Those of a certain age will remember another democratic warpotus, Lyndon Johnson, who was fond of saying MFA. Whatever rude things were said about lightbulb Lyndon, no one ever asked to see his birth certificate. Perhaps that is what BHO meant by that phrase.
The paragraph that BHO starts with this bit of sixties nostalgia (four year old Barry probably did not see the SOU message linked above) caught PG’s eye when reading the transcript . “My fellow Americans, this has been a difficult decade for our country. We have learned anew the profound cost of war — a cost that has been paid by the nearly 4,500 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, and the over 1,500 who have done so in Afghanistan — men and women who will not live to enjoy the freedom that they defended.”
Are you sure, Barry? Over a million Iraqis live in exile in Syria as we speak. They may have jumped out of the frying pan, and into the fire. The reason they left was to escape the civil war that our “liberation” of Babylon set off. They have paid a price for our “mission accomplished”.
Are you sure Sean Hannity? Every day, you say to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. ( At least you were the last time PG was brave enough to listen to your show.) Historically, the profound cost of war has been paid, at least partially, by higher taxes. In world war two, people sold war bonds, and encouraged each other to invest in the defeat of the Nazis. In this war, the right wing wants to pay for it by lowering taxes. The result is a national debt that is going to burden our economy for decades.
Getting back to the message by BHO (It was made in an empty hall, with gilt edged chairs replacing the Seal of the Presidency. Not to worry, BHO was wearing a flag pin on his lapel.) … there was another Vietnam flashback at 7:53. “And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance.” Is this light at the end of a tunnel?
At 8:58 comes this gem:“When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own.” Since BHO has taken over as warpotus, the drone strikes over the third world have dramatically increased. This is air slaughter, against a helpless population, directed by remote control from a cave in Nevada. Many of the people killed in these raids are women and children, who are not members of Al Qaeda. (To be fair, some of the children would have been terrorists if they had been able to grow up.) We don’t have to choose, because the decision was made by warpotus BHO…we will use our high tech weapons to KILL, KILL, KILL.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a double repost
The food and service was terrific. Once PG got an inkpen that worked, the ticket was signed. It was time to go home.
Ashford Dunwoody Road, between Johnson Ferry and Peachtree, is a narrow two lane road. Like most Atlanta roads, there are hills and curves. It has a 35 mph speed limit. Ashford Dunwoody Road is not a good place to drive fast.
PG noticed a large vehicle that was uncomfortably close to the back of his vehicle. There was a turnoff lane for a subdivision, and PG pulled into it. The large vehicle seemed to speed up as it roared by.
Going down the road, the large vehicle kept getting further and further away. PG was doing 40, which was over the speed limit. Soon, the large vehicle was 200 yards ahead. This was in a section with a creek crossing, and a large hill going around a curve. It was a typical Atlanta driving experience.
At Peachtree, the large vehicle was waiting for PG behind a red light. It was a silver GMC Yukon, with a Georgia Tech prestige license plate. (The tag number is available to an appropriate law enforcement agency.) The Yukon was stopped in the middle of the crosswalk. The red light took a few minutes, before PG made a left turn and went home.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
Somewhere along the line, the boss decides you have a “negative attitude”. From that point on, you are not allowed to complain. It is almost as if it were a gimmick to keep you in line.
A lady named Barbara Ehrenreich agrees that there is entirely too much positive attitude required of people. She wrote a book, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. In one interview, she says “And again, you know, don’t worry about the world. Don’t ask the question about where the cancer comes from. Don’t ask why so many people are not employed, even in good times in our country. And it was the same sort of thing. And that’s when I began to think hey, this kind of operates as a way of quelling discontent, quelling dissent, you know, when you can’t say I’m mad about -whatever. You just have to swallow it and smile.”
Ms. Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. She found herself in a pink tsunami of cheerfulness. The pink teddy bears did not do anything for her spirits. The whole culture of happy talk, about a life threatening illness. grossed her out.
At one point, she was given a tote bag. In it were some crayons. I said, “This is really nice, but what’s with the crayons?” And this woman said to me, “Well, that’s in case you want to write down any of your thoughts.” And I said, “I’m a writer. I don’t use crayons.”
The promotional interviews quoted here were conducted in 2009. This was before the Susan G. Komen foundation hired Karen Handel. During the Planned Parenthood meltdown, some unflattering things came out about the SGK foundation. It probably did not help Ms. Ehrenreich’s attitude.
So the book happened. PG has not read it, but has seen a few reviews and interviews. The New York Times has a great review. It says “America’s can-do optimism has hardened into a suffocating culture of positivity that bears little relation to genuine hope or happiness.”
One interview has a stomach churning comment. It should be noted that this is the lady talking, and that there is no confirmation of this. “Yeah. And here’s something that really horrified me that I learned recently and put in the book, is that some breast cancer support groups expel people who go into metastasis and who are clearly going to die. You can’t be in the group because just your presence might bring other people down.” (A google search of the phrase “breast cancer support groups expel people who go into metastasis ” shows little support for this story. Two front page results involve Barbara Ehrenreich interviews. Skepticism should not be limited to positive motivation.)
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
The issue of public prayer at secular events has been fussed over many times. The Supreme Court is going to hear Town of Greece v. Galloway soon. It deals with whether, or not, Greece NY should open town meetings with a prayer.
Once, a man saw his child get excited when there was a prayer on TV. The kid said that the prayer meant the cartoons would start soon. There was a religious program, before the cartoons. The prayer was at the end of the show, meaning the cartoons were about to start.
That is about what prayers before a public event are worth. Prayer is reduced to a meaningless gesture, when used in this manner. This does not speak well for the custom of prayer.
One superhero is reported to feel the same way. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Pictures are from Gwinnett County.
The Great Southeast Music Hall was an important part of life in Atlanta during the seventies. It was located in the elbow of a shopping center, Broadview Plaza. A bowling alley was downstairs, a two level K mart next door, and Atlanta’s first hispanic neighborhood across the street. Like almost everything else here, Broadview Plaza was torn down, and replaced by a more uppity set of stores.
When you went into the lobby of the Music Hall, you noticed the walls. Performers were given a magic marker, and encouraged to leave a message. John Mayall found the ladies room, and said he likes to be near the ladies. The late Phil Ochs said “Impeach Nixon and Agnew”. What happened to those boards is a good question.
The auditorium held about 500 people. The stage was only three feet or so above the floor. There was an empty space in front of the stage, and a few rows of bench backs behind that. When the place opened, there were lots of pillows on this floor, with the Music Hall logo. The carpet in this front area was fresh when the place opened, and got progressively grosser as the years went by. Beer was served in aluminum buckets, and inevitably some wound up on the carpet.
The show the Music Hall is most famous for is the US debut of the Sex Pistols. PG didn’t make it that night, but has heard from a few who did. The performance was said to be horrible. There are stories of Sid Vicious wandering through the apartments around Broadview trying to find heroin. Years later, PG was reading about that night in Please Kill Me, when the train he was riding pulled into the Lindberg Marta station. This is across the street from the Broadview Plaza, still standing at the time.
These days, the intersection of Lindbergh Drive and Piedmont Road (about a mile north of the park) is next to Hiway 400. When the Music Hall was in it’s prime, the land for the Highway was owned by the State of Georgia, which was fighting legal battles over the highway. The land had a network of dirt roads, one of which connected Buford Hiway to Lindbergh Drive. When you went from Chamblee to the Music Hall, the most direct route was over this dirt road. This dirt road is where Sidney Marcus Boulevard is today.
Eventually, the business model for the Music Hall did not work, and the facility moved to Cherokee Plaza. This Music Hall was in a movie theater. The Cherokee Plaza Theater was the scene for the world premiere of Son of Dracula . This move did not work, for a number of reasons. The parking lot was too small, and people who wanted a loaf of bread from the A&P were blocked out during shows. Cherokee Plaza is just outside the city limits, on Peachtree Road. In the late seventies, DeKalb county was aggressively fighting drunk driving, and had roadblocks. Many of these roadblocks were outside the Music Hall, which kept many people from attending. Before long, this Music Hall closed.
Many years later, PG bought a second hand typewriter, and needed a ribbon. (Younger readers should ask an older person about this.) He went into an office supply store in Broadview Plaza, and soon realized that he was standing on the site of the Music Hall. He asked the clerk if he could have a bucket of beer, and got a very strange look in return.
One industrious afternoon during this era, PG made a list of shows he saw at the Music Hall. The memory cells are already protesting, but we are going to try and remember as much as possible about these shows. A big thank you to Wikipedia for help with spelling and names.
New York Rock Ensemble – PG walked into the auditorium during the last part of the first show, as the band played “A whiter shade of pale”. The bass player wore lace up boots, with the pants legs tucked into them. Before long, the second show came on stage. Keyboard player Michael Kamen was the central focus, acting out the lyrics to “Anaconda”.
Silverman Deborah McColl fronted this drummerless band
Al Kooper PG has written about an unfortunate incident involving Al Kooper during this show. This would have never happened in “The Catcher in the Rye”…the kids always knew what time it was in that story. Mr. Kooper did a solo show, including “Sam Stone” by John Prine.
Ellen McIlwaine/ James Cotton Blues Band Ms. McIlwaine was pregnant, and played slide guitar. Mr. Cotton played harmonica. One of his players started to fan him with a towel, because he was hot.
Breakfast Special/ Doc and Merle Watson Breakfast Special was a local bluegrass crew, who did “The coming down song”. The Watsons did ” Deep River Blues” and “Thats All”, among other things. PG had a copy of their latest LP, and asked Merle to autograph it. He wrote his name on one side, turned it over, and signed Doc’s name on the other side.
Mason/Atlanta Rythym Section This show was the night Led Zeppelin played Atlanta Stadium.
New Riders of the Purple Sage When the Music Hall opened, a performer would typically play from Tuesday to Sunday. NRPS was a one night show. They worked well in the packed hall, and shined on “Glenville Train”. The next year, they did a tour with Commander Cody and The Lost Planet Airmen. Commander Cody opened, and raised hell. NRPS followed with a mellow rock show, and before long people were getting bored and leaving.
David Buskin / Loudon Wainwright III Chamblee 54 has written about this show before. Mr. Buskin talked about doing a show at Max’s Kansas City, the person sitting next to PG said “Gross”.
Steve Martin / Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Chamblee54 has written about the show by Mr. Martin . This was his last tour as an opening act. Nitty Gritty was a sight to behold. John McEuen played fiddle, and recited a poem about life.
Martin Mull / Melissa Manchester PG went to see Mr. Mull, who opened the show with a three piece band. (After the show, Mr. Mull said the name of the band was the (your name) (draws a blank with his fingers) orchestra.) The headliner was Ms. Manchester, little known at the time. She was a knockout. While standup comedy has it’s place, for emotional impact there is nothing like a singer.
Texas Gary Bennett / Weather Report Mr. Bennett played acoustic guitar, and sang, as an opener for a packed house of jazz rockers. It did not go well. At one point, trying to get some rapport with the crowd, he said ” has anyone here been busted at the Omni?” ( The authorities had begun arresting people for smoking pot at the major concerts.)
Weather Report was amazing. Josef Zawinul had the loud keyboard sound, Wayne Shorter played his leads on soprano sax, and there was a drummer and percussion player. There was tons of rythym, to go with the electronic jazz sounds. When it was over, PG went up to Mr. Zawinul, shook his hand and, and said thank you. He was pouring a glass of beer from a pitcher, and looked a bit startled.
David Pomerance / Rahsaan Roland Kirk Chamblee54 has written about this show before. Mr. Kirk was a force of nature, the modern miracle of the tenor saxophone. He did not suffer from false modesty. This was the night Richard Nixon resigned, which pleased Mr. Kirk no end. The blind Rahsaan said that he did not want to see his audience, because we were too ugly. At one point, his band had been jamming for about ten minutes, when PG realized that Mr. Kirk had been holding a single note the entire time. The three saxophones at one time thing was a visual shocker, but he got sounds that way that you cannot get from a single instrument. At one point, Mr. Kirk pulled his sunglasses off, and made a face at the crowd. It was an amazing evening.
Chic Corea / Return to Forever This was a disappointment. Tickets were $4.50, which may be the most PG ever paid at the Music Hall. The band only played about an hour. It was all electric, ignoring the acoustic instruments set up on stage. RTF was a four piece, all star band. They had Chic Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al Demeola on guitar, and Lenny White on drums. That sounds like a great show, but it turned out to be four solo artists jamming. There was no cohesion, and the overall sound was less than the sum of the individual parts. Corea leaned over his keyboard, twisted knobs, and made faces, as if to say “look at how intense this is”. It wasn’t.
Mccoy Tyner The former Coltrane sideman played a very nice show. He had a percussion man, with several tables covered in exotic instruments. PG took a break after to first show to hang out at a neighborhood disco. When he got back, there was no doorman checking tickets, and anyone could walk in for free. PG took advantage of this discovery many times over the next few years.
Bill Crystal / Jean Luc Ponty Former Frank Zappa player Jean Luc Ponty played at the Music Hall, with a bass player who was a fellow Zappa alumni. The surprise of the evening was then-unknown Bill Crystal. A few weeks after this show, “Soap” would premiere, and make him a star. Mr. Crystal did a killer impersonation of a gila monster.
Between shows, Mr. Crystal had been entertained by a local musician. During the second show, he held his finger to his nose, made a snorting sound, and said thank you. PG heard this, and yelled “Locker Room”, the name of a “deooderizer” that some liked to get a buzz sniffing. Mr. Crystal said “Locker room. Jeez, I need to get the hecklers rosetta stone to know what he means”. Good times.
Keith Jarrett This is another show that might have been better than PG’s enjoyment. At one point early in the show, PG moved over to the front of the stage, to look at Mr. Jarrett’s hands. After the show, people told PG that the player had been giving him dirty looks when he did that. PG asked Mr. Jarrett about it, and he said that PG had interfered with his concentration.
This show featured a quartet, instead of a solo piano. The bass player was Charley Haden, who seemed a bit puffy faced. PG later learned that he had been addicted to heroin at the time.
Melissa Manchester Ms. Manchester came back for another week at the Music Hall, about a year after her first appearance. At one point, she asked the band if they were ready to do a new song, and then performed “I got eyes” for the first time in public. This was later the b side to “Midnight Blue”. One of the players in her band was a man named James Newton Howard. Part of the deal for touring with her was that he could play a solo number on piano, called “Newton’s Ego”. He later played with Elton John, and became wealthy writing film scores.
Flora Purim /Airto Moreira On PG’s 23rd birthday, Flora Purim played at the Music Hall. At the time, PG had a profound appreciation of her albums. The band had a nice sound, and was the equal of her records. The Chic Corea tune “Light as a Feather” was a standout. Her husband, Airto Moreira ( eye, ear, toe) fronted the band on some of the numbers, and had some funny routines. Ms. Purim held two microphones throughout the show, with one connected to some audio filters. PG found holding two microphones to be visually distracting. PG had known of the Jewish ancestry of Ms. Purim, but had not thought much about it. Then he saw her live, and realized that she does, indeed, look Jewish.
Hot Tuna Hot Tuna is a dependable, though not spectacular, band. On a previous show in Atlanta, they went on stage at 10:55, and played without a break until 2:50. This night, a fried of a friend was working at the Music Hall, and PG got in before the crowds, to get a prime spot, in the first row of benchbacks. At one point, PG was rocking back and forth against the benchback, and a neighbor asked him to quit.
Shakti This was an acoustic, Hindu oriented band fronted by guitar superman John McLaughlin. The numbers seemed to go on forever.
David Manion / Mark Almond This was a long awaited Atlanta performance by Mark Almond. (This is a jazz/blues band, totally different from the Soft Cell vocalist with a similar name.) They played two sets, which were only an hour or so long. This was disappointing to the people who could not wait for the second show. In the second show, they “took the shackles off” saxophone player Johnny Almond, and he played a wild solo during “The city”.
The incident we are about to describe may or may not have involved David Manion. What happened was, a small portable radio was playing on the edge of the stage. The spotlight was on the radio, which sounded like gibberish to most of the audience. Gradually, the chattering audience got quiet, and tried to listen to the radio. After a few minutes, a man came out, and stood in darkness behind the radio. The PA speaker announced “The new force of rock in Atlanta”. The man then dropped a large piece of granite on the radio, smashing it into bits.
Laurie Chapman / Stomu Yamashta Laurie Chapman was a singer/piano player, with some good stories. She told of a trucker, driving beside her and talking to her on a cb radio. ” You better get that drink out from between your legs before it gets too hot to handle”.
Stomu Yamashta is somewhat of a star in Japan. The show here was filmed for showing on TV there. His band, Go, was an all star collection, including Ava Cherry. She was a backup vocalist, and girlfriend, with David Bowie. After the show, PG was introduced to Spencer Davis in the lobby.
The next few shows were at Cherokee Plaza.
Martin Mull Mr. Mull was a solo star this time. He did a song about doing nothing, adding that dead people can do it too. The parking lot was packed, which was a major problem at the new location.
The week before the Super Bowl in 1994, Mr. Mull filmed a Comedy Central show in Woodruff Park. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were kicking field goals. After the filming PG stood a few feet away from Mr. Mull, but could not think of anything to say.
Sun Ra PG went to a wedding, and a bunch of people from there to see Sun Ra. This was an entertaining spectacle, with a big band and dancers. After the show, PG asked Sun Ra how he could afford to take a band like that on the road. He said he was doing it for beauty.
David Bromberg This was another big band production. PG showed within a few minutes of the gateman leaving his post, and saw about 45 minutes without buying a ticket.
Lester Flatt/John Hartford One boring Saturday night, PG walked up to the Music Hall, and saw the two fiddle players jamming. A few weeks later, Lester Flatt passed away. This is a repost.