Blue Tail Fly

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Music by chamblee54 on July 20, 2019








Q: What does “Jimmy crack corn” mean, and why does he not care?—Matt, Columbus, Ohio

PG was trolling when there was a convergence of stupidity. (The site does not exist in 2012.) All his life he had heard “Blue Tail Fly”, and been embarrassed. And there, in (pardon the expression) black and white, was someone who wondered the same thing.

It seems as though “Blue Tail Fly” started out as a minstrel song. For those who don’t know, minstrel shows were white people putting on black makeup, and imitating African Americans. Minstrel shows are not well thought of these days.

The story of BTF involves a man named Jimmy. A fly bit the pony the old massa was riding, the pony was offended, and threw the old massa off. He was hurt landing, and died. Jimmy still has to crack corn, but he doesn’t care, because old massa has gone away.

Dave Barry took a poll once to find out the stupidest song of all time. The overwhelming winner/loser was “MacArthur Park”. The combination of over the top show stopping, while singing about a cake left out in the rain, makes this ditty a duh classic.

In the spirit of corny convergence, the video is a karaoke version featuring Donna Summer. Miss Summer is a talented singer, who happened to connect with Giorgio Moroder. Lots of singers could have hit the big time by fronting those records. Donna Summer hit the jackpot.

For a proper post, there needs to be a third stupid song. This is not about stupid bands, singing about being D U M B. Even though they totally don’t belong, there is a video of the Ramones included. PG saw the Ramones at the Agora Ballroom in 1983. This was after their prime, and before a homeless man caught the Ballroom on fire.

We still need a third stupid song, and PG wants to get this posted with as little research as possible. Just like some writer was once given twenty minutes to write a song, and he decided to do the worst song he could think of. The result was “Wild Thing”. PG used to have a 45 of someone who sounded like Bobby Kennedy singing “Wild Thing”. This video (of the Troggs performing “Wild Thing”) has the late Casey Kasem, and Portuguese subtitles. Let the good times roll.

These four hundred and twenty hastily chosen words are a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This was downtown Atlanta in 1941.








Racially Motivated

Posted in Library of Congress, Race, The English Language by chamblee54 on July 19, 2019

A post on chamblee54 examined the local custom of changing street names. Towards the end, there was this sentence: “Some of these changes are racially motivated, while others are not. Some make sense, while most do not.” If you were to say this out loud, chances are good that someone would interrupt you, and say “Why don’t you say racist?

The AP style guide took up this issue earlier this year. Here is what they say: @APStylebook “Do not use racially charged or similar terms as euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable.” @APStylebook “The terms racism and racist can be used in broad references or in quotations to describe the hatred of a race, or assertion of the superiority of one race over others. Our new race-related coverage entry on Stylebook Online offers details on when and how to use the terms.” You have to pay for the Stylebook online. G-d is in the details, and hiding behind a paywall.

@AnApeInKhakis “Remove nuance from journalism. If water’s not frozen, it’s boiling.” @beautypill “Yes, for example “You’re missing the point” and “You should go fuck yourself” both apply here, but critical differences in tone guide which one I should use to address your tweet.”

@Zigmanfreud “Yeah, the HUGE problem with this AP stylebook decision is that the people making the judgment call on what is “racist or racism” are so liberal & so PC that anything short of a white person apologizing for being born white (especially if they are a conservative man) would qualify”

@EvanDonovan “Yes, but when are they truly acceptable? Increasingly, newsrooms want attribution when that word is used. “Xxxxx has been under fire since making controversial comments last week. Yyyyy called those comments racist….”

This quotefest could go on all day. If you want to explore the racially/racist rabbit hole, go to an internet near you. More to the point, is changing a street name racially motivated, or racist? This statement applied to multiple street name changes. Often, race was not an apparent factor. We don’t know when the changes took place, or what government body made the changes.

Is this institutional oppression, or just government nonsense? Changing the street name is typical of the petty, separate-water-fountains nature of Jim Crow. Is the water boiling, or is it not frozen? At some point, the writer needs to think for them self. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Monroe Drive Or Boulevard

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on July 18, 2019









It is an Atlanta cliche. Boulevard turns into Monroe Drive because one was black, and the other white. The white people did not want to live on a street with the same name as the black neighborhood. You hear this all the time, with very little explanation. It is plausible. At one time, Ponce de Leon Avenue was a dividing line between the white, and black, neighborhoods. There are, however, a few questions about this name change business. This is a repost.

In the space between I-85 and Dekalb County, there are four streets that change names when they cross Ponce De Leon Avenue. These are Juniper/Courtland, Charles Allen/Parkway, Monroe/Boulevard, and Briarcliff/Moreland. Several streets cross Ponce without changing names, including Spring Street, Peachtree Street, Piedmont Avenue, and North Highland Avenue.

Four thoroughfares are affected by the Ponce rebranding. Juniper/Courtland is mostly commercial, at least south of Ponce. Briarcliff/Moreland is mostly white until you get to the railroad tracks south of Little Five Points. When Moreland Avenue goes under the MARTA line, the neighborhood is Reynoldstown….which was not named for Burt Reynolds.

Charles Allen/Parkway does change from white to black at Ponce. The street name then changes to Jackson Street, the original name, at Highland Avenue. Monroe/Boulevard, one block east of Charles Allen/Parkway, also goes from white to black at Ponce. However, when you cross the railroad tracks, Boulevard goes through Cabbagetown, a white neighborhood. Boulevard residents change color several times before the road dead ends at the Federal Prison. Oakland Cemetery, and Zoo Atlanta, do not play a role in this drama.

If this litany of street names is boring, it is all right to skip over the text. The pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
Roads change names all over the metro area, for a variety of reasons. In the area between Ponce De Leon Avenue and I 20, there are roads that change at railroad tracks (North Highland/Highland, Krog/Estoria.) Others change at Highland Avenue (Parkway/Jackson, Glen Iris/Randolph) or Decatur Street (Hilliard/Grant, Bell/Hill.) Some of these changes are racially motivated, while others are not. Some make sense, while most do not.

No one seems to know when this Monroe/Boulevard thing happened. An 1892 “Bird’s eye view” shows Boulevard sailing off into the horizon, past a racetrack in today’s Piedmont Park. A 1911 map shows Boulevard starting near “L.P. Grant Park,” and sailing past Ponce up to Piedmont Park. A 1940 map shows Boulevard going past Park Drive, only to turn into Monroe Drive at Montgomery Ferry Road. Finally, a 1969 map of “Negro Residential Areas” shows Monroe Drive changing into Boulevard at Ponce De Leon Avenue, like it is today. Boulevard is a stand alone street name at all times.

If anyone knows about this name change business, please leave a comment. It would be interesting to know when these changes were made, and what government agency made them. Google has not been helpful, except for pointing the way to several map collections.








Safety Hazard

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 17, 2019

Babe, Hank, Barry, And Joe

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 16, 2019

In 2007, Barry Bonds was about to break the lifetime record for home runs. Folks said the record was tainted because of steroid use, and because Mr. Bonds was not a nice man. There were calls for an asterisk in the record book. This was odd to PG, who was in Georgia when Hank Aaron broke the home run record in 1974. Back then, the line was that Babe Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron. A lot of hateful things were said about Mr. Aaron before home run 714.

PG decided to take a look at the metrics. This post is the result. As a bonus to the reader(s), Joe Torre and Hank Aaron gets a summer rerun. It is based on a column by Furman Bisher, who went to the press box in the sky March 18, 2012. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

There is a certain controversy these days about the eminent breaking of the lifetime home run record. Currently held by Hank Aaron, the record is threatened by Barry Bonds. Before Mr. Aaron held the title, Babe Ruth was the owner.

Controversy about the lifetime home run record is nothing new. In 1974, when Hank Aaron was about to break the record, the admirers of Babe Ruth said that Mr. Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron did. Many attributed this criticism to racism, with a black man besting a white man’s record. The current controversy is two fold. There are allegations that Mr. Bonds took steroids to make him stronger, and that he “cheated”. There are also concerns about the personality of Mr. Bonds.

PG does not think steroid use is a big deal. Ballplayers are abusing their bodies to perform, and if they take the risk of using steroids, that is their business. Many people disagree.

A good question to ask is, would Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have used steroids if they had the chance? Mr. Ruth was a wildman, who drank during prohibition, and was known for undisciplined behavior. Mr. Aaron played in an era where steroid use was not as common as it is today. The answer to the first question is (Mr. Ruth) probably and (Mr. Aaron) who knows.

While you are keeping hypocrisy statistics, Mr. Aaron and Mr. Bonds played on television, where beer commercials were constant. While alcohol is *now* legal, it is a very damaging drug. Any ballplayer who plays on television promotes its use. This is both steroid users, and non users.

As for personalities, there is the widely circulated story about the college team that Mr. Bonds played on voting 22-3 to kick him off the team. At the very least, he does not charm sportswriters.

In 1917, Babe Ruth was suspended for hitting an umpire. He was known for his outlandish behavior throughout his career. It should also be noted that he played in an era when the press did not scrutinize the behavior of players. How would today’s media treat Babe Ruth?

PG once heard a radio show caller say that Hank Aaron was a mean racist, who would just as soon cut your throat as look at you. He had never heard this said out loud before, but had heard hints about Mr. Aaron’s personality over the years. People who achieve great things are not always friendly.

Mr. Aaron is the only one of the three that PG met, however briefly. In July of 1965, the Milwaukee Braves came to Atlanta to play an exhibition game in Atlanta Stadium. After the game, PG was allowed to wait outside the clubhouse, to get autographs from the players as they left. Joe Torre saw the crowd, hid behind a truck, and made a quick getaway. Hank Aaron came out, patiently signing every autograph, while smoking a cigarette.

The fact is, all three men played in different eras. Babe Ruth never played at night, never flew to California, and only played against white players…many of the most talented players of his era were in the Negro League. Hank Aaron played before free agency, interleague play, the DH, and widespread use of steroids. The only way to determine who is the home run champion is to count how many homers are hit, and award the prize to the man who hits the most.

Which of the three made the most money? Barry Bonds, by a wide margin. He played in the free agent era. Babe Ruth had the best line about his salary. In 1930 Ruth was asked by a reporter what he thought of his yearly salary of $80,000 being more than President Hoover’s $75,000. He replied “yea, but I had a better year than he did.”

Who played on the most teams to win a World Series? Babe Ruth 7, Hank Aaron 1, Barry Bonds 0.

The career of Babe Ruth was a long time ago. He made a greater impact on America that the other two combined. He was one of the first sports superstars, as America emerged from the carnage of World War One. Mr. Ruth broke the single season home run record, he hit 29 homers. The next year, he hit 54. There is a possibility of a livelier baseball.

Babe Ruth captured the imagination of America like few personalities ever have. Playing in New York (which dominated the press) did not hurt. He was a man of his times…it is unlikely than anyone could have that kind of impact on today’s superstar saturated America. While his record has been broken, his place in the history of baseball is the same.

UPDATE: As of July, 2016, the lifetime home run leaders were: Barry Bonds, 762, Hank Aaron, 755, Babe Ruth, 714, Alex Rodriguez, 696. Mr. Rodriguez is said to have used steroids.

Furman Bisher has a piece at the fishwrapper site about Joe Torre. (The link no longer works.) The punch line is that Mr. Torre “grew up” when the Braves traded him to St. Louis. PG was a kid when this was going on, and did not hear a lot of what went on.

In 1965, the Braves played a lame duck year in Milwaukee before moving to Atlanta. One night, there was an exhibition game at Atlanta Stadium, the Braves against the Yankees. PG got his oh so patient dad to take him to the clubhouse after the game, to get autographs. In those days, you could go into the bowels of the stadium and wait outside the locker room. Hank Aaron signed dozens of autographs while smoking a cigarette. Joe Torre came out, hid behind a truck, and took off running.

Mr. Torre was a raccoon eyed catcher for the Braves. In the first regular season game in 1966, he hit two home runs, in a thirteen inning loss. Soon, the novelty of big league baseball in a toilet shaped stadium wore off. Mr. Torre got at least one DUI, and a reputation as a barroom brawler. He was traded to St. Louis in 1968. Mr. Torre hit .373, and won the national league MVP in 1971.

The comments to the feature by Furman Bisher were interesting. Cecil 34 contributes
“The reason that Torre was traded is because on the team’s charter flight back to Atlanta back in 68, a drunken Torre got into a fistfight with Aaron. Aaron popped off to Torre, and thus the fight was on, broken up by the other players. Since Aaron was the face of the franchise at the time, Torre was traded. There had been bad blood between them for years before this incident anyway. Reasons vary. But the final nail in the coffin was this fistfight. I was told Torre could pack a punch and Aaron came out on the worse end of it.”
There has been whispering for years about Hank Aaron and his attitude. Furman Bisher made hints once or twice, but there was never anything of substance. It seems that Mr. Aaron does not lack for self confidence. Mr. Aaron was the subject of much racially based abuse while chasing the home run record in 1973, and some anger is justified.

Hank Aaron was known to not get along with Rico Carty. Mr. Carty is a dark skinned man from the Dominican Republic, who was popular with fans. Mr. Carty was eventually traded. Rico Carty had a barbecue restaurant on Peachtree Road in Chamblee, next door to the Park and Shop.

Joe Torre was the manager of the Braves in the early eighties. The team won a divisional title in 1982, but lost the NLCS. This was after Ted Turner bought the team. Mr. Turner fired Mr. Torre in 1984.

Getting back to the comment thread, Misterwax contributes
“Turner cut Joe Torre loose because Ted was in love with Henry Aaron and Aaron thought Joe Torre was a white supremacist….A hangover from the clubhouse days when they were teammates…still does today. And THAT is the only reason he was cut…because Hank Aaron said so.”
Hank Aaron was recently quoted on Barry Bonds and Steroids. Joe Torre retired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. He won four World Series as manager of the New York Yankees. Furman Bisher outlived Bear Bryant by 26 years, passing away March 18, 2012. Selah.

It’s Silly To Still Be Fighting

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on July 15, 2019

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Cyclobenzaprine ~ all about pete ~ my mayor pete problem ~ dominic dunne
tv academy interviews ~ portland ~ stable genius rant ~ are the police racist?
John Kennedy Jr. ~ rhetorical devices ~ fred is a square ~ nick drake
“I have a story out today that I’ve been working on for most of this year. It’s about the best-selling evangelical memoir “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” and what happened when its co-author—the “boy”—said it was all a lie.” ~ If the possessive pronoun of they is their, then heir should be the possessive pronoun of he. The possesive pronoun of she could be Cher. ~ Without Ross Perot, GHW Bush would have been re-elected. It is eerie to have Mr. Perot meet his maker when Slick Willie may be getting in more trouble. ~ This is another manufactured controversy. Very few people have complained about a black lady playing Ariel. Even if they did, why should anyone pay attention? This is cynical movie promotion. America is being played for fools, again. Whenever race is involved. people lost their ability to think clearly. America falls for whatever outrage is being sold. ~ You’ve been recognized as one of’s top fans. Get your badge now. ~ Channel two got a juicy quote, out of a man who had a racism lawsuit filed against him. What are the ethics of this for the tv station. Obviously, the man should not have made that statement. Does the tv station have any responsibility for talking to this man? Apparently, he has not been served with any legal documents. Either he does not have a lawyer, or he is ignoring the advice of his counsel. Should channel two talked to that man on camera? ~ This is from ~ pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Inter-city beauties, Atlantic City, 1926 ~ true stable genius was performed last night at Ammazza pizza emporium in North Agnes Decatur:
a big subject today at the white house ~ the tremendous dishonesty bias
discrimination and suppression blouse ~ on fake news media miley cyrus
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when I leave office in six years drooling ~ with sleepy joe biden alfred e newman
skinny nervous pocahontas penis ~ great looking smart a true stable genius ~ selah

The Bike Wreck

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 14, 2019

PG went out on his bike, to put the check in the mail. On the way back, he saw a sign for a yard sale. Once he saw the yard sale sign, he continued up the sidewalk, to the next street. Yes, it is technically illegal, but the law is seldom enforced. There was a manhole cut into the sidewalk. PG went to the side of the manhole, and went off the sidewalk. There was a space, between the sidewalk and the yard. The front wheel of the bike got caught in this space. Next thing PG knew, he was thrown into the street.

Apparently, nothing was broken. Both legs had road rash, and both wrists were sore from breaking the fall. What concerned PG was the right shoulder. The force of the fall had been absorbed by the shoulder, which was probably going to cause problems.

A few hours later, PG was fretting about going to an ER. How long would he be there before anyone saw him? Would the insurance cover this? PG then decided to google emergency rooms in his zipcode. There was a place on Peachtree. A phone call confirmed that the insurance was accepted there, and that he could be out before the place closed at 8pm.

On The Road would keep PG company in the waiting room. The story of Dean (Neal Cassady) and Sal (Jack Kerouac) was up to part four, with just a few more pages to go. PG grabbed a few sheets of paper, and an inkpen. The hardplastic covered magazines would make a good writing surface. PG got to the doc-in-a-box at 5:50 pm. The lady said it would take about a hour to see a doctor.

When the OTR story picks up, D&S are in New York. Sal has some money, and got bit by the travel bug. “What’s your road, man? — holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow. Where body how?” Dean is going to miss his pal, but has too many wives and babies to go along. “‘Inez loves me; she’s told me and promised me I can do anything I want and there’ll be a minimum of trouble. You see, man, you get older and troubles pile up. Someday you and me’ll be coming down an alley together at sundown and looking in the cans to see. … All I hope, Dean, is someday we’ll be able to live on the same street with our families and get to be a couple of oldtimers together.”

In chapter 2, Sal is riding a bus to Denver. He gets to talking to a young man, caught up in the prison lifestyle. “Here was a young kid like Dean had been; his blood boiled too much for him to bear; his nose opened up; no native strange saintliness to save him from the iron fate.”

Sal gets to Denver. Stan Shephard is going to Mexico with Sal. Before this er visit is over, Dean will be going. “Okay, it was agreed, Stan was coming with me. He was a rangy, bashful, shock-haired Denver boy with a big con-man smile and slow, easy-going Gary Cooper movements. ‘Hot Damn’ he said and stuck his thumbs in his belt and ambled down the street, swaying from side to side but slowly.” At 6:31, the nurse invites PG to enter the inner sanctum.

Word spreads that Dean is on the way. “I’ll talk to him,” I said grimly. We didn’t know what to expect. “Where will he sleep? What’s he going to eat? Are there any girls for him?” It was like the imminent arrival of Gargantua; preparations had to be made to widen the gutters of Denver and foreshorten certain laws to fit his suffering bulk and bursting ecstasies.”

Before chapter 3 syllabizes into technicolor fury, the er business needs to be attended to. No bones were broken. It looks like a sprained shoulder. Scripts are called into the pharmacy. PG is told to be slack … like he ever needs to be encouraged … and let the healing process take its course. At 7:16, PG is out the door, on his way to CVS.

The yard sale that started it all was the next day. PG saw a vcr, and offered the man the $1.86 in his change purse/skoal can. The vcr had a tape stuck in it, “Samantha & Co/ An Orgy.” The vcr worked.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Parts one through seven of the series have been published. part one part two part three part four part five part seven

James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Race by chamblee54 on July 13, 2019

In the spring of 1963, KQED filmed a show, “Take this hammer”, about James Baldwin. The snippet in the video above seems to have been the last three minutes of the show. Here is a transcript. Mr. Baldwin discusses a six letter insult. The n-word is more about the speaker, than the spoken of. A 2010 blogger had this to say.

What resonated with me about this particular video though, is the universal experience we’ve all had being referred to, thought of as, or called something we inherently are not. Not because of something we’ve done, mind you – but because of the way others “interpret” us. Those of us that “transgress” gender norms are often given titles and names that don’t fit who we are – but are more representative of the fears and desires of others. I’ve often felt that people’s projections of me are oftentimes just that – their projections. However, Baldwin’s ending sums up a solution to this perfectly: “But you still think, I gather, that the n****r is necessary. Well he’s unnecessary to me – he must be necessary to you. Well, I’m going to give your problem back to you…you’re the n****r, baby…not me.”

It is now 2019. (All discussions of race must mention the year.) The TV show was fifty sixr years ago. A few things have changed. To many white people, overt expressions of racism are seen as bad manners. The n-word is taboo in polite company. The overall attitudes may not have changed, but most white people are careful how they say things.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These men are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States.

A few weeks ago, this blog published a feature, James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word. At the center was selection of James Baldwin talking about the n word. There was a transcript available, which makes today’s exercise a lot easier.

Mr. Baldwin was discussing this nasty word, and offered an insight into who the user of this nasty word was really talking about. Now, there is another nasty word being casually tossed about these days. This other nasty word is racist. What would happen if you took Mr. Baldwin’s talk, and substituted racist for nasty? It is an interesting way to look at things. What follows is not a perfect fit, and may be offensive to some. A few times, it is very close to the truth.

Who is the racist? Well i know this…and anybody who has tried to live knows this. What you say about somebody else (you know) anybody else, reveals you. What I think of you as being is dictated by my own necessities, my own psychology, my own uhm fears…and desires. I’m not describing you when I talk about you…I’m describing me.

Now, here in this country we got somebody called a racist. It doesn’t in such terms, I beg you to remark, exist in any other country in the world. We have invented the racist. I didn’t invent him, white people invented him. I’ve always known, I had to know by the time I was seventeen years old, what you were describing was not me and what you were afraid of was not me. It had to be something else. You had invented it so it had to be something you were afraid of and you invested me with it.

Now if that’s so, no matter what you’ve done to me I can say to you this, and I mean it…I know you can’t do any more and I’ve got nothing to lose…and I know and I have always known you know and really always..…I have always known that I am not a racist…but if I am not the racist…and if it is true that your invention reveals you…then who is the racist?

I am not the victim here. I know one thing from another. I know that I was born, am gonna suffer and gonna die. And the only way that you can get through life is to know the worst things about it. I know that a person is more important than anything else. Anything else.

I’ve learned this because I’ve had to learn it. But you still think, I gather, that the racist is necessary. Well he’s not necessary to me, so he must be necessary to you. So I give you your problem back. You’re the racist baby, it isn’t me.

Kittens Freak Out Part Two

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 12, 2019

Kittens Freak Out

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 11, 2019

On The Road Part Three

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on July 10, 2019

In the last installment of this On The Road slackathon, Dean Moriarty (Neal Leon Cassady) and Sal Paradise (Jean-Louis Kérouac, aka Jack) were being obnoxious in Frisco. 71 years later, in real life, the Family Barber Shop was closing. In the next 13 days, MAD magazine announced plans to cease publication, and the thirteen star flag became a symbol of racism. The world is without redeeming social value. One answer is to go back 71 years, and see where the road takes us.

In chapter 3 of part 3, Dean and Sal are about to go to New York. First they are going to have 2 days of kicks in Frisco. Before this happens, a lady needs to tell Dean off. “Your have absolutely no regard for anybody but yourself and your damned kicks. All you think about is what’s hanging between your legs and how much money or fun you can get out of people and then you just through them aside. Not only that but you’re silly about it.”

Chapter 4 is wasted on a trip to jazz nightclubs in seedy neighborhoods. “Holy flowers floating in the air, were all these tired faces in the dawn of Jazz America.” Chapter 5 is where the story picks up again. A travel bureau helps D&S get a ride in a “fag Plymouth.” PG read that line in amazement … that was something he remembered from reading OTR in 1984. The Orwellian synchronicity of it all. 1984 was just another year. Ronnie Reagan won a landslide re-election over its-his-turn Walter Mondale. America tottered on, with PG settling into a slack lifestyle. What PG did in 1984 had little to do with a dystopian book … a book that everybody talks about, but few have read. One thing PG did in 1984 was read OTR, and remember almost none of it 35 years later.

D&S are careening across the deserts and mountain passes into Denver. Along the way, they scared the fag Plymouth driver into prophylactic pansexuality. “At one point the driver said, “For God’s sakes, you’re rocking the boat back there.” Actually we were; the car was swaying as Dean and I both swayed to the rhythm and the IT of our final excited joy in talking and living to the blank tranced end of all innumerable riotous angelic particulars that had been lurking in our souls all our lives.” After a while, FPD hits on Dean, but can’t afford him.

“It was with a great deal of silly relief that these people let us off the car at the corner of 27th and Federal. Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” Once in Denver, D&S go looking for kicks, Dean’s father, and whatever else gone thing is the IT of the day. Cousin Itt shakes his head. Dean does connect with a beloved cousin, who has gotten religion. Beloved cousin no longer wants to associate with Dean.

Before moving on with OTR, this narrative has been interrupted for a youtube euthanasia emergency. Eighteen years after Dean/Neal went chasing kicks in the sky, bf Allen Ginsberg (Carlo Marx in OTR) wrote a poem about Allen’s butthole. This ode to shipping and receiving was recently indentured by a Tennessee entertainer. While looking for the text, google supplied a link to an Urban Dictionary definition of Allen Ginsberg. This UD page features an ad for Joe Biden.

D&S cavorted for a few days in Denver, and got out before they were, justifiably, arrested. “As the cab honked outside and the kids cried and the dogs barked and Dean danced with Frankie I yelled every conceivable curse I could think over that phone and added all kinds of new ones, and in my drunken frenzy I told everybody over the phone to go to hell and slammed it down and went out to get drunk.” Soon, they had a ride to Chicago. Through cruel fate, Dean was allowed to drive. “We had come from Denver to Chicago via Ed Wall’s ranch, 1180 miles, in exactly 17 hours, not counting the two hours in the ditch and three at the ranch and two with the police in Newton, Iowa, for a mean average of seventy miles per hour across the land, with one driver. Which is a kind of crazy record.” There should be a video game. Sit terrified in the backseat of a 1940’s Cadillac, while Dean Moriarty drives a hundred miles per hour, on the wrong side of the road, getting back on the right side of the road just in time to avoid a head on collision with a truckload of cattle. The telekinetic essence of the Frisco jazzmen can be recruited to provide the soundtrack. The death defying cattle will be played by Charlie Parker. Dean’s play by play filled in by Gene Krupa. “Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there.” “Where we going, man?” “I don’t know but we gotta go.”

“Every now and then a clear harmonic cry gave new suggestions of a tune that would someday be the only tune in the world and would raise men’s souls to joy.Once there was Louis Armstrong blowing his beautiful top in the muds of New Orleans; … sending it out broadcast to rock the jazz world.” … Later the idea would be to jazz the rock world, before hip hop levels the playing field once again. … “Then had come Charlie Parker, a kid in his mother’s woodshed in Kansas City, blowing his taped-up alto among the logs, practicing on rainy days, coming out to watch the old swinging Basie and Benny Moten band that had Hot Lips Page and the rest — Charlie Parker leaving home and coming to Harlem, and meeting mad Thelonius Monk and madder Gillespie — Charlie Parker in his early days when he was flipped and walked around in a circle while playing.”

Thelonius Monk … thank g-d for copy/paste … lived longer than most of the players in this tale. PG first heard of TM on the loudspeaker at Atlanta Stadium, when the announcer told of a Jazz Festival coming to the newfangled stadium. In his later life, Mr. Monk got as weird as his first name. Al McKibbon tells this tale: “He was also the bassist on Monk’s last album, made in 1971. At that time the two men toured with the Giants of Jazz, and McKibbon experienced more of the pianist’s eccentricities: “In Tokyo we were having suits made, because they do it so fast and all that. Monk had his measured lying in bed. He wouldn’t get up for them. … On that tour Monk said about two words. I mean literally maybe two words. He didn’t say ‘Good morning’, ‘Goodnight’, ‘What time?’ Nothing. Why, I don’t know. He sent word back after the tour was over that the reason he couldn’t communicate or play was that Art Blakey and I were so ugly.”

“Great Chicago glowed red before our eyes.” D&S delivered the vehicle to its owner. “It was now time to return the Caldillac to the owner, who lived on Lake Shore Drive, in a swank apartment with an enormous garage underneath manged by oil-scarred Negroes. We drove out and swung the muddy heap into its berth. The mechanic did not recognize the Cadillac. We handed the papers over. He scratched his head at the sight of it. We had to get out fast.”

After a visit to Detroit, D&S made their way to New York. Sal’s aunt said Dean could only stay for a little while, and then he would have to go. Dean needed to behave himself for a while. “Not only that, but a few months later Camille gave birth to Dean’s second baby, the result of a few nights’ rapport early in the year. And another matter of months and Inez had a baby. With one illegitimate child in the West somewhere, Dean then had four little ones and not a cent, and was all troubles and ecstasy and speed as ever. So we didn’t go to Italy.”

Part three of OTR ends here. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. The complete series has been published. part one part two part three part four part six part seven

It’s Okay

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 9, 2019