This is part two of a breakdown on The Dharma Bums. Part one was published a few days ago. Part two is where Ray Smith, Japhy Ryder, and Henry Morley go mountain climbing.
Chapter Six This is where the trip begins. The plan is to go out of town, camp near the trail head, hike to a good place, and then climb to the top of Matterhorn. Henry Morley owns a car, and is recruited to drive. HM is Philip Whalen in real life. He is a bit of a motormouth, with just the barest connection from one sentence to the next. Some have speculated that his rants in tdb are an excuse for Mr. Kerouac to let loose with his typing-not-writing style.
The three stop in a restaurant full of hunters, who are amazed at the concept of hiking without killing animals. The campsite is finally reached in the middle of the night. HM did not bring a sleeping bag.
Chapter Seven This chapter is a return to straightforward prose. The men wake up, go to a diner, and drive to Bridgeport. They will go on to the trail head from there.
This is the second time that PG has read tdb. The first time was in fits and starts. He would read a bit, put it back in his bag, and forget it for a few months. Then came six weeks of working graveyard shift in a midtown office tower. The was a book of short stories by Charles Bukowski in the bag, as a companion to tdb. PG would read a few stories by Mr. Bukowski, and alternate with a chapter or so in tdb. There was one incident during this period, which coincides with chapter fifteen.
Chapter Eight HM is becoming a nuisance. He goes around Bridgeport trying to round up a sleeping bag, and winds up borrowing some blankets from a lodge. The three men get a few miles down the road, and HM realizes that he had not drained his crankcase. He was afraid of the engine freezing over and exploding. This must be before the invention of anti freeze. HM leaves JR and RS, and goes back to drain his crankcase. He will catch up with the other two later.
On page 55, RS says that being in the sunshine infested woods was much better than being in the city. JR replies “Comparisons are odious, Smith”. They have a pleasant afternoon talking to each other, without the constant rattle of HM.
Chapter Nine When Chapter One was published, a commenter mentioned a picture of Jackie Kennedy reading “The Dharma Bums” on an airplane. It turns out that PG had a copy of the picture.
On page 62, RS and JR have a moment that is familiar to many hikers. They are in the woods, surrounded by beauty, and feel the need to be quiet. “This is the way I like it, when you get going there’s no need to talk, as if we were animals and just communicated by silent telepathy.”
On page 67, it is time to cook dinner, and wait for HM. The five steps are tea drinking are discussed. The first sip is joy, the second gladness, the third serenity, the fourth madness, and the fifth ecstasy. PG read this in a workplace breakroom. The tea comes from a machine. You push a button twice, and insert this foil package into the machine. You place a styrofoam cup in a slot, and something called green tea comes out of the machine. It is not cool enough to drink before the break is over. You go directly to the fourth step of tea drinking, madness, when you use this machine.
RS tells JR about a prayer that he knows. He thinks of a person, friend or foe, and says “Joe Blow, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha. The focus is on the person’s eyes, which are said to be the window to the soul.
This is where PG jumps off the bus. His worst enemy for a few years was the bully for Jesus. This person would lose his temper, and shower PG with verbal poison. While BFJ was distributing this toxin, his eyes were on fire. There was hate in the eyes, and Jesus in the mouth.
Chapter Ten HM finally catches up with JR and RS. This is after RS decides to buy a rucksack, and become a dharma bum. Whether he succeeded is a good question.
Chapter Eleven There is a Zen saying, when you get to the top, keep climbing. This is where the three men leave their gear at camp, and make the push for the Matterhorn peak. HM is the first to sit down and rest. RS almost makes it, but can go no further a few hundred yards from the peak. Only JR makes it to the top, and comes bounding down in twenty yard steps. RS learns, too late, that you cannot fall off the side of a mountain.
Chapter Twelve The three men come down from the mountain. It is soon after dark, and the way is lit by moonlight. RS wishes he had a tape recording of JR shouting on top of the mountain, JR replies that the sound was not meant to be heard by the people below.
On page 93, RS discovers the weak spot of JR. They get into town, and are hungry. JR is afraid to go into one restaurant, because it is too nice. He is finally persuaded to go to the nice restaurant, and it does not kill him. This is the end of part two. Photographs today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
Someone on facebook had a link to a grammar test. It seemed like a good excuse for some text. The first question is about the its/it’s quandary. This is one where the logical answer is incorrect. The second question is the same thing for who’s/whose. In this matchup, what you think should be correct actually is. Questions three (whether/weather) and four (your/you’re) were easy. You get the results immediately after submission. When you are correct, the test says “Yes! Great work!”
Five was a bit tougher. “The car beeped at Jon and I/me. Karen and I/me went on holiday.” In third grade, PG was taught to use I, rather than me. Could the placement of the nouns, before or after the verb, affect this choice? The only way to learn is to answer the question. PG answered I for both, It seems as though the correct answer, for the first sentence, is Jon and me. The site explains: “A simple way to test whether you’re using the right one is to think about whether a statement would still make sense if you removed the other person. You wouldn’t say, “The car beeped at I” so the correct pronoun is ‘me’.” When you are incorrect, the test says “Sorry, wrong answer!”
Six (years/year’s) and seven (that/which) required a bit of thought, but were answered correctly. By now, the test had a pattern. If the first sentence used one word, the second sentence used another. In question eight (have/of,) the test threw a curve ball. The logical answer for both sentences was have. However, the previous test questions had called for a split answer, that is to say, using a different word for both sentences. PG answered with of for the first sentence, which was the incorrect answer.
Nine (less/fewer,) ten (there/they’re/their,) and eleven (affect/effect) were easy. Twelve (i.e./e.g) was a bit of a struggle. PG seldom uses i.e., and cannot remember even reading e.g. The sentences were: “Some animals are really cute, e.g. kittens and puppies.The primary colours (i.e. red, yellow and blue) are my favorites.” PG made a lucky guess, and was correct.
Thirteen (hear/here) was a gimme. Fourteen (whom/who) is one of the things that drive writers crazy. The logical answer is to make both sentences use who. On a whim, PG answered one with whom. The sentences were: “Whom did you see at the bar last night? I can’t think who would have eaten all the doughnuts.” The explanation offered: ‘Whom’ is used when referring to the object of a sentence. Use ‘who’ when referring to the subject of a sentence. There’s a trick to help you remember: If you can answer with ‘he’, use ‘who’ (e.g. ‘he ate all the doughnuts’). If you can answer with ‘him’ use ‘whom’ (e.g. ‘I saw him at the bar’). Just remember that ‘him’ and ‘whom’ both end in the letter m.”
Fifteen (lie/lay) was a gimme. Sixteen (bored of, bored by, or bored with) was a lucky guess. PG used with and by, because they sound like correct usage. This gives a final score of 94. If credit is given for the curve ball on question eight, the score would be 97. The test is sponsored by Staples Canada. Various electronic devices are displayed at the bottom of the last page. “This Web site is intended only for use by Canadian residents. See International Sites. See our delivery policy for full details.” It is not known whether the rules of grammar are different south of the border. Pictures, from the lower forty eight, are from The Library of Congress.
It was six am on thanksgiving wednesday morning. PG was eating breakfast. In an hour and forty five minutes, it would be time to get on the road. This should be time to take the Mental Age Test, write about the test and the results, and do the other human chores needed to function in polite society. If not, then the post will be there this evening.
The test is multiple choice. The first question asked what birthdays are for. PG tries to ignore this day, and that was an option. The next four questions had no good answers, and required the least bad answer. If you recognize this, you get ten years added to your score.
Question five is whether baseball hats look better with the bill in front, or in the back. There is no qualification. If it it is raining water, then the bill keeps rain out of your eyes. If a flock of birds is overhead, then the bill keeps the droppings off a red neck. It is a case of situational ethics.
Politically, you are …Select from… Conservative ~ Green ~ Liberal ~ Socialist.
This is number six. What if you think these labels are dishonest red herrings? There is no good answer. For politics, this is appropriate.
You see someone fall over in the street. Do you … Select from… Laugh ~ Run over to make sure they are OK ~ Thank the heavens it wasn’t you ~ Shake your head and think ‘muppet’
There is not enough information given. You don’t know who the person is, how much they weigh, why he/she fell over, or what street it is. If it is I 85, then the person will be smushed into the pavement before you get to the side of the road. If it is Culduhsack Drive, then you pick them up, and ask if they are ok. If they don’t answer the situation is probably more serious than most people can deal with.
Before you skip over this, and go look at the pictures, (from The Library of Congress.) we will not be discussing all twenty questions. If you want to see them, there is a link above to the test. Question thirteen is something you might expect from a british test. It’s hot. You want an ice cream. You buy … Select from… A magnum ~ A cone with a chocolate flake ~ An ice lolly.
The ad below this question is for McCormick seasoning. When you click on the ad, a window comes up. It has a recipe for Italian meat loaf. Something says this would not go well with an ice lolly.
And so on and so forth. The final screen gives the answer. The device says “The My Mental Age Test Your mental age is 42.” The option to share on facebook is respectfully declined.
PG was researching a previous post, and decided to check up on little Ralphie Reed. His group’s website has a headline video, Franklin Graham: America Has Turned Its Back on God. It does not mention why anyone should care.
Franklin Graham’s claim to fame is his father. Billy Graham is a TV preacher superstar. The elder Graham is still alive, so it is fair to make negative comments. PG walked through the living room countless nights, and saw parents glued to the tube. The Billy Graham crusade was a staple of television. The blow dried superpreacher stood in front of a football stadium full of admirers, telling people how not to go to hell. Sin, salvation, send money. Is that all there is?
If Franklin Graham did not have a superstar father, he would be nobody. Life is not fair, and the opinions of Franklin Graham, and his sister, Anne Graham Lotz, are treated with the reverence Catholics give to the thoughts of the Pope. Franklin Graham has gotten a lot of attention with some rude comments about Muslims. Islam and Christianity use the same G-d.
It was some comments about G-d in the video that annoyed PG. “We’ve turned out back on G-d. We’ve taken G-d out of our schools. We’ve taken G-d out of our government.” Apparently, Franklin Graham and PG have different thoughts about G-d.
G-d is in everything and everybody. If you turn your back on G-d, she will still be looking you in the eye. If you have a room full of children, then G-d is present in that room. This idea of a puny G-d, that you can turn your back on, may be the most offensive thing ever said by the Graham family, Inc.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
Fifty years ago, John Kennedy went to the oval office in the sky. Did Marilyn Monroe greet him?
The bullets hit Mr.Kennedy at 12:30. He arrived at the hospital at 12:37. He had a faint heartbeat on arrival, but quickly succumbed to his wounds.
In Georgia, PG was nine years old. He was in Miss Mckenzie’s fourth grade class. There was going to be an assembly soon, and the class was going to perform. There was a rehearsal in the cafetorium, and some of the kids were acting up. They went back to the class, and PG thought they were going to be chewed out about the misbehavior in the cafetorium. Instead, Miss Mckenzie came into the room, and told the kids that President Kennedy had been shot during a parade in Dallas Texas. She did not say anything about his condition. One kid cheered the news.
School let out at the regular time, and PG walked home. His mother and brother were crying. He was told that the president had died. The cub scouts meeting that afternoon was canceled.
Later that night, a plane arrived in Washington. The tv cameras showed a gruesome looking man walk up to a microphone. He was introduced as President Lyndon Johnson. This may have been the worst moment of that day. Pictures by “Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.