Page 123

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Poem, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 8, 2018











Hank Bukowski is about a butt ugly alcoholic who wrote stuff, and probably would have hated PG, and the poems that PG writes. Hank, better known as Charles Bukowski, did not like poems that rhyme. What better tribute, than to retrofit the old poem into the sonnet format?

henry charles chinaski bukowski ~ would hate my sonnets if he had the chance
coffee drinking open mic poetry ~ in dickhater georgia wearing tight pants
hank still has a racetrack episode ~ bets on number nine horse to hit
with a twenty fished out of the commode ~ after taking a dump on top of it
forever spitting out poems like hot turds ~ on the morning after a beer drunk words

That is only 10 lines. It is four lines short of a sonnet, which might be another way to say someone is crazy. There is plenty of things you can write, for those four lines. PG is going to focus on things that Mr. Bukowski did not like. To facilitate this, PG pulled Tales of Ordinary Madness off the shelf. This is a collection of short stories by the bard. (a word meaning poet, that is uncomfortably close to bastard) If he looks long enough, PG will find that rant about things Mr. Bukowski does not like.

PG wrote about TOOM once. “Hank Chinaski might not like PG. There is the rhyming poetry. There is buying a book of repackaged prose at a yard sale. There is the twenty nine year retirement from alcohol use. This is beside the point.” PG is alive. Hank Chinaski is dead.

The recycled sonnet will not be finished today. In the interest of supplying content to the ungrateful internet. PG is reduced to trolling through his archive. Ten years ago today, he published Page 123. This is a meme, blamed on Amanda Brooks, author of The Internet Escort’s Handbook.

“the rules: look up page 123 in the book that is nearest to you at this very minute, look for the fifth sentence, then post the three sentences that follow that fifth sentence on page 123.” The book we will use is Tales of Ordinary Madness. This copy has a presumed typo on page 138. “Disorded” is not a real word. The spell check suggestions: Discorded, Disorder, Sordid.

“”No, son.” I got through the gate and walked north. As I began to walk, everything began to tighten.” Someone has been caught sleeping in a junk car. It belongs to someone else, who beat up the sleeper with a toy baseball bat. He was back in his home town, Los Angeles.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Bath Suit Fashion Parade, Seal Beach, Cal., July 14, 1918, photographed by M.F. Weaver. WISC. Varsity, 1914, was photographed by Bain News Service.



Lost Atlanta

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on January 10, 2018









Lost Atlanta is a coffee table book. The content is the buildings, and institutions, that no longer exist. Atlanta has a long love affair with the wrecking ball. General Sherman was a minor player. Pictures for your Wednesday morning entertainment are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

PG is a native, and knows a few things about the city. While looking through LA, he began to take notes of things he did not know. The names behind the Ferry Roads is one. Plantation owner James Power established Power’s Ferry in 1835. Hardy Pace established his ferry in the 1850s. The fare was 62 cents for a full wagon, 50 cents for an empty wagon, 12 cents for a man and a horse, and 4 cents per head of cattle. The last ferry to cease operations was the Campbellton Ferry, in south Fulton county. The Campbellton Ferry ceased operations in 1958.

Wheat Street Baptist Church is a prominent Atlanta institution. If you look for Wheat Street on google, all you see is Old Wheat Street. It turns out that Wheat Street was renamed Auburn Avenue. “Originally called Wheat Street, the road was renamed in 1893 at the request of white petitioners who believed Auburn Avenue had a more cosmopolitan sound.”

Bald Hill, aka Leggett’s Hill, was leveled in 1958 to make way for the East Expressway, later known as I-20. On July 22, 1864, the Battle of Atlanta was fought there. After the unpleasantness, Frederick Koch bought farm land on the site. His house was at 382 Moreland Avenue. The house was demolished in 1953. South of I-20, 1400 McPherson Avenue has a monument. Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson was killed at that location.

The outfield wall at Ponce De Leon park was covered with advertising. One sign was for Southern Bread. The picture had a “Southern Colonel”… apparently the only type of officer in the CSA … saying “I’d even go North for Southern Bread.” This ad was also painted on the side of a building on Tenth Street, just off Peachtree. The late Jim Henson produced a tv ad for Southern Bread.

Jacobs Drug Store was a prominent chain at one time. It was founded by Joseph Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs had a store in the Norcross building, on Peachtree Street at Marietta Street. In 1886, the soda fountain mixed John Pemberton’s patent medicine with carbonated soda water. The rest is history.

There are a few notes, which do not justify a paragraph. The Governor’s Mansion was at 250 The Prado, in Ansley Park, until a new GM was built on West Paces Ferry road. The Henry Grady hotel did not have a thirteenth floor, but went from 12 to 14. This did not stop the building from being demolished, to make way for the Peachtree Plaza hotel.

When Laurent DeGive built his grand opera house at Peachtree and Houston (Now JW Dobbs,) people were horrified. The central business district was south of five points. The area north, where the opera house went up, was residential. In 1932, the opera house was renovated, and opened as the Loew’s Grand. In 1939, it hosted the world premiere of “Gone With The Wind.” On the other side of Houston Street was the Paramount Theater, and across Peachtree was the Coca Cola sign. The GP building occupies the site today.








Further Tales of the City

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on January 4, 2018








PG finally read Further Tales of the City. The yard sale casualty, read after sitting on a bookshelf for years, was the third volume in the Armistead Maupin series. PG has written about other TOTC books recently: Whales of the city, More Tales Of The City

FTOTC is not a documentary, even if one of the characters is a doctor. (Documentary is where u are between the doc and the men.) The gynecologist, Jon Fielding, is reunited with Michael Tolliver, the centerpiece queen of the TOTC. Dr. Fielding will die of AIDS between book three and book four. FTOTC is set in 1981, when the rumors got too loud to dismiss.

Another 1981 moment involves a movie star, known only as ____ _____ . He appears throughout FTOTC. After his engagement to Gomer Pyle was off, ____ _____ shacked up with Ned Lockwood. After that bit the dust, Ned moved to San Francisco, and became pals with Michael Tolliver. ____ _____ invites the bois to a Hollywood party, where Michael gets to know ____ _____ .

A book report should mention the plot. DeDe Day returns from Jonestown, and Mary Ann Singleton is hired to tell the story. … One chapter is titled “Dede Day’s D-Day” … This is starting to be too much work. If you want to hear the story, read the book. There may be a tv show about it, if you prefer to consume story product that way.

Maybe we can just document the beginning, and the end. In the first chapter, Anna Madrigal, the landlady for many TOTC players, is luxuriating in the glory of a San Francisco spring. At the end, a society columnist leaves a shack in the park. She looks up to see a policeman, and a priest, coming out of the bushes. All four have sheepish looks.

One Star Reviews are essential to online book reports. Not worth the time. Zero stars By Kindle Customer There is nothing redeeming or enlightening in this book. It is a sad commentary on a lifestyle that creates so many problems, and in a lot of cases, ultimately sadness. I bought this book by mistake and felt compelled to read it because I bought it. For me, it was a complete waste of time. ! 1.0 out of 5 starsAbysmal By Pauline Butcher Bird If literature is one end of the scale, then whatever is the other end, this is it. A group of cardboard characters intermix in 1970s San Francisco. They have no lives but to eat, drink, have sex and take drugs together. Page after page of dreary dialogue that is easily skipped through. My book group’s choice, but even with that demand, I gave up after 40 per cent. If anyone can tell me it gets better after that, I’d like to know.

Armistead Maupin, the author of FTOTC, and possible model for Michael Tolliver, has moved from writing fiction about made up characters to autobiography. With fiction, you know it is all made up. The memoir, Logical Family, is readily available. One day, PG will find it at the library.

Logical Family: An Evening with Armistead Maupin is a recent rado show. Mr. Maupin “reads from his funny, poignant and unflinchingly honest memoir, in the company of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.” The first five minutes are special. The author makes a dramatic statement, and the orchestra kicks in with “Overture to Gone With The Wind.” You have to hear it for yourself. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.










Milo Gets Edited

Posted in Book Reports, Commodity Wisdom, GSU photo archive, Holidays, Politics, Race by chamblee54 on December 29, 2017





LBGlass - 043z






Milo Yiannopoulos is getting attention again. It seems as though the the editor’s notes for his book have been leaked to the press. Many of the comments are unkind. If you have ever wanted to see bad writing dissected and disembowled, this is the time. PuffHo, which knows a thing or two about recycling free product, has a helpful list of some of the zingers. “No need to drag the lesbians into this!” “Three unfunny jokes in a row. DELETE.” “This is definitely not the place for more of your narcissism.” “So much inappropriate humor is irritating.” “Can you really prove a causality between [Black Lives Matter] and crime rate?” “DELETE UGH.” “Too much ego.”

Two things should be noted. Milo did not actually write Dangerous. Miloproduct is produced by a crew of interns. One of these drones got in trouble: Milo Yiannopoulos Speaks Out About ‘Bonkers’ Former Intern Arrested for Murdering Dad. Nobody seems to know who gets the copyright credit, or blame, for Dangerous. It might be a good trivia question.

@DALIAMALEK “Simon & Schuster: We were ready to give Milo’s perfectly acceptable racism a voice, but it was poorly written & structured Twitter: Look at the witty editor that worked to normalize white supremacy slaaayyy” Some people think Milo’s book was cancelled for moral reasons, like being politically incorrect or badly written. Actually, the deal was trashed after Milo opened his mouth once too often, and became too controversial.

Simon & Schuster is not opposed to selling bad books to make money. In 1981, S&S published HOW TO STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS— AND WIN! This tome was written by Roy Cohn, who probably would have thought Milo was too old. The NYT review notes “Despite his reputation as a playboy bachelor, Mr. Cohn believes that a marriage should be ”kept intact” if there are children.”

Chamblee54 has written about whatshisname one two three four five six seven times. The pictures are usually better than the text. In one episode, Bill Maher said “Stop looking at the distractions and the clown show and look at what matters.” Then, without a trace of embarassment, Mr. Maher introduced Milo, who is both distraction and clown show.

The first time chamblee54 wrote about Milo had a prophetic quote. “This is the first time many have heard of Milo Yiannopoulos. Unfortunately, it probably will not be the last. He authored a piece at Breitbart, where he said “Trump’s critics have accused him of being over-the-top in his response. Surely, say his critics, insulting a rival’s wife for being too ugly is simply crass, classless, and rude. I agree. It’s all of those things. But that’s a good thing. … In the process, he’s certainly lowering the tone — but it badly needs to be lowered. Only by totally ignoring people’s feelings can we end the left’s culture of grievance, offense, and victimhood. …”

@FrankConniff “The editor’s comments on Milo Yiannopoulos’ manuscript were harsh, but if Milo had been willing to take constructive criticism, the result could have been a whimsically racist book that everybody loved.” Many of the naysayers are calling Milo, and his product, racist. This is a reflex action to many SJW, who seldom miss an opportunity to scream racism. The ironic thing is that Milo talks loudly, and often, about his fondness for black men. (Those who talk the most do the least.) On page 96, Milo says “”I love black people. Indeed, I love black people so much that my Grindr profile once said “No Whites.” I’d considered “Coloreds Only Served in Rear,” but that was a little too edgy, and Grindr once deleted my profile once for writing: “Don’t contact me if you’re under seven inches or you know who your dad is.”

Hopefully, Milo’s fifteen minutes will be over soon. There will always someone else to call racist. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.










Hollywood Babylon

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on December 26, 2017

PG recently read Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood’s Darkest and Best Kept Secrets. It was the second time read the book. A yard sale last summer had a deluxe edition on sale. The man asked PG how much he thought it should cost. “If you are going by the amount of truth in it, the price should be a nickel.” In a fit of synchronicity, PG was on his way to a party, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. This is a repost.

HB is highly entertaining, despite those troubling concerns about the facts. The cover has an NSFW picture of Jayne Mansfield, where the top of her dress serves as a display case for her boobies. HB goes all TMI about the death of Miss Mansfield, but it is a model of good taste compared to Find a death. The *bottom line* is that Jayne Mansfield was not decapitated in that auto accident.

While asking Mr. Google whose jugs adorned the cover of HB, this article came up: Satan and Mummified Psychics: A Kenneth Anger Marathon at Sweat Records Tonight. Someone with too much free time was promoting an evening of the short films of Kenneth Anger. Mr. Anger, born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer, has the copyright credit for HB. PG suspects that other scribes helped out. In some parts, the prose is purpler than in others. Of course, when writing about Hollywood, it is fitting that a committee produced a book filled with lies.

The Miami story disputes the notion that Kenneth Anger was a child star. “Almost exactly 83 years, 7 months, and 21 days ago, a little boy named Anger was born in Santa Monica, California. (Actually, the kid’s birth name was Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer.) He attended a school for child stars, did dance steps with Shirley Temple, and minced about as the changeling prince in the 1935 Warner Bros. movie version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But all that might be bullshit. There’s not much documentation of Anger’s alleged child star days. The one legit source that seems to corroborate the claim is Mickey Rooney. He played Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and he says Anger’s mommy dressed him up as the girl named “Sheila Brown” who officially played the Changeling Prince.”

A website called managed to snag an interview with Kenneth Anger. The introduction has this story. “He went on to recount the time Kenneth showed up at fellow director and mutual friend Curtis Harrington’s funeral at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery wearing a black raincoat, eyeliner, and fingernail polish. His shirt was opened to his navel, revealing the giant lucifer tattoo emblazoned across his chest, and he was accompanied by a boyish photographer who took pictures as Kenneth kissed Curtis’s corpse before its cremation. Before he was ejected from the premises, Kenneth handed John a small plastic vampire figurine that contained mint candies inside, clarifying its original use by saying, “It’s actually a dispenser for tickle-ribbed rubbers.”

The interview had a few high moments. VICE But it did attract the attention of sexologist Alfred Kinsey, whom you befriended. Did he encourage your work?

KA Yes. Kinsey was doing interviews for his book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, and I don’t know… What if you are not human? The title is kind of awkward, but that was what he called his research book. He was basically a biologist, an expert on wasps, of all things. When he came to LA to do interviews, I met him. He came to see Fireworks at the Coronet Theatre at a midnight showing, and he wanted to buy a print for his collection at Indiana University. I agreed, and that was the first copy I ever sold. But I remained good friends with him until the end of his life.

VICE Do you have a favorite star from this era?

KA I love the career of Rudolph Valentino, who died at 31 and had an amazing trajectory in that short time. His life continues to fascinate me.

VICE Do you continue to find new information?

KA I have plenty of information on him. There are facts, and then there is gossip. I go for the facts, but I will listen to the gossip. [smiles]

VICE Your willingness to sift through the gossip was a point of contention with some people when Hollywood Babylon was published, especially after its second printing. Some have accused you of muckraking, and others have even gone further and claim that it contains factual inaccuracies.

KA Well, I’ve never been sued…

VICE In other words, your detractors can’t prove it.

KA No one ever came up to me and said, “Well, you made the whole thing up.” Because I didn’t.

HB is a fun book, with great pictures. The stories are mostly lies, but this is Hollywood we are talking about. With its continued popularity, there will be plenty of copies at yard sales and used book stores.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
This feature presentation was written like Kurt Vonnegut.


Flannery O’Connor

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on December 21, 2017







With one day before it was due, PG finished reading Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor , by Brad Gooch. The author is a professor of English at William Patterson University in New Jersey. He spares no citations, to show where he gets his information. This is a repost.

Chamblee54 has written before about Miss O’Connor , and repeated the post a year later. There is a radio broadcast of a Flannery O’Connor lecture. (The Georgia accent of Miss O’Connor is much commented on in the book. To PG, it is just another lady speaking.)

Mary Flannery O’Connor was born March 25, 1925 in Savannah GA. The local legend is that she was conceived in the shadow of St. John the Baptist Cathedral, a massive facility on Lafayette Square. Her family did leave nearby, and her first school was just a few steps away. This is also a metaphor for the role of the Catholic Church in her life. Mary Flannery was intensely Catholic, and immersed in the scholarship of the church. This learning was a large part of her life. How she got from daily mass, to writing stories about Southern Grotesque, is one mystery at the heart of Flannery O’Connor.

Ed O’Connor doted on his daughter, but had to take a job in Atlanta to earn a living. His wife Regina and daughter Mary Flannery moved with him, to a house behind Christ The King Cathedral. Mr. O’Connor’s health was already fading, and Mother and Daughter moved in with family in Milledgeville. Ed O’Connor died, of Lupus Erythematosus, on February 1, 1941.

Mary Flannery went to college in Milledgeville, and on to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She dealt with cold weather, went to Mass every day, and wrote. She was invited to live at an artists colony called Yaddo, in upstate New York. She lived for a while with Robert and Sally Fitzgerald in Connecticut, all while working on her first novel, “Wise Blood”. In 1950, she was going home to Milledgeville for Christmas, and had been feeling poorly. She went to the hometown doctor, who thought at first that the problem was rheumatoid arthritis. The illness of Flannery O’Connor was Lupus Erythematosus.

Miss O’Connor spent much of that winter in hospitals, until drugs were found that could help. She moved, with her mother, to a family farm outside Milledgeville, which she renamed Andalusia. She entered a phase of her life, with the Lupus in relative remission, and the drugs firing her creative fires, where she wrote the short stories that made her famous.

Another thing happened when she was recuperating. Flannery was reading the Florida “Market Bulletin”, and saw an ad for “peafowl”, at sixty five dollars a pair. She ordered a pair, and they soon arrived via Railway Express. This was the start of the peacocks at Andalusia, a part of the legend.

During this period of farm life and writing, Flannery had several friends and correspondents. There was the “Bible Salesmen”, Erik Langkjaer, who was probably the closest thing Flannery had to a boyfriend. Another was Betty Hester, who exchanged hundreds of letters with Miss O’Connor. This took place under the stern eye of Regina O’Connor, the no nonsense mother-caregiver of Flannery. (Mr. Gooch says that Betty Hester committed suicide in 1998. That would be consistent with PG stumbling onto an estate sale of Miss Hester in that time frame.)

The book of short stories came out, and Flannery O’Connor became famous. She was also dependent on crutches, and living with a stern mother. There were lectures out of town, and a few diverse personalities who became her friends. She went to Mass every day, and collected books by Catholic scholars. Flannery was excited by the changes in the church started by Pope John XXIII, and in some ways could be considered a liberal. (She supported Civil Rights, in severe contrast to her mother.)

In 1958, Flannery O’Connor went to Europe, including a trip to the Springs at Lourdes. Her cousin Katie Semmes (the daughter of Captain John Flannery, CSA) pushed Flannery hard to go to the springs, to see if it would help the Lupus. Flannery was reluctant…” I am one of those people who could die for his religion sooner than take a bath for it“. When the day for the visit came, Flannery took a token dip in the waters. Her condition did improve, briefly. (It is worth speculating here about the nature of Flannery’s belief, which was apparently more intellectual than emotional. Could it be that, if she was more persuaded by the mystical, emotional side of the church, and taken the healing waters more seriously, that she might have been cured?)

At some point in this story, her second novel came out, and the illness blossomed. Much of 1964 was spent in hospitals, and she got worse and worse. On August 3, 1964, Mary Flannery O’Connor died,







PG remembers the first time the name Flannery O’Connor sank in. He was visiting some friends, in a little house across from the federal prison.

Rick(?) was the buddy of a character known as Harry Bowers. PG was never sure what Harry’s real name was. One night, Rick was talking about Southern Gothic writers, and he said that Flannery O’Connor was just plain weird. ”Who else would have a bible salesman show up at a farm, take the girl up into a hayloft, unscrew her wooden leg and leave her there? Weird.”

Flannery O’Connor was recently the subject of a biography written by Brad Gooch. The book is getting a bit of publicity. Apparently, the Milledgeville resident was a piece of work.

PG read some reviews of this biography, and found a collection of short stories at the library. The book included ” Good Country People”, the tale about the bible salesman. Apparently, this story was inspired by a real life incident. (Miss O’Connor had lupus the last fifteen years of her life. She used crutches.) And yes, it is weird. Not like hollywood , but in the way of rural Georgia.

Some of the reviews try to deal with her attitudes about Black people. On a certain level, she is a racist. She uses the n word freely, and her black characters are not inspiring people. The thing is, the white characters are hardly any better, and in some cases much worse.

The stories are well crafted, with vivid descriptions of people and places. The reader floats along with the flow of the story, until he realizes that Grandma has made a mistake on a road trip. The house she got her son to look for is in Tennessee, not Georgia. She makes him drive the family car into a ditch. Some drifting killers come by. Grandma asks one if he prays, while his partner is shooting her grandchildren. Weird.

In another story, a drifter happens upon a pair of women in the country. The daughter is thirty years old, is deaf, and has never spoken a word. The drifter teaches her to say bird and sugarpie. The mother gives him fifteen dollars for a honeymoon, if he will marry her. He takes the fifteen dollars and leaves her asleep in a roadside diner.

There was a yard sale one Saturday afternoon. It was in a house off Lavista Road, between Briarcliff and Cheshire Bridge. The house had apparently not been painted in the last forty years. Thousands and thousands of paperback books were on the shelves. The lady taking the money said that the lady who lived there was the friend, and correspondent of, the “Milledgeville writer” Flannery O’Connor. This is apparently Betty Hester, who is mentioned in many of the biography reviews.

PG told the estate sale lady that she should be careful how she said that. There used to be a large mental hospital in Milledgeville, and the name is synonymous in Georgia with mental illness. The estate sale lady had never heard that.

This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. It was written like James Joyce. An earlier edition of this post had comments.

Fr. J. December 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm I am glad you take an interest in Flannery, but to say baldly that she is a racist is to very much misunderstand her. For another view on Flannery and race, you might want to read her short story, “Everything that Rises Must Converge.”
chamblee54 December 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm “On a certain level, she is a racist.” That is not the same as “baldly” labeling her a racist. (And I have a full head of hair, thank you). As a native Georgian, I am aware of the many layers of nuance in race relations. I feel that the paragraph on race in the above feature is accurate.







More Tales Of The City

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on December 15, 2017






Whales of the city is about books four and six of the Tales of the City series. In this report, PG notes that he has yard sale copies of books two and three, but does not know if he read them. He soon learned that he had not read those two books. Significant Others, book five, is the one that PG read, found in the library eleven years later, and read again.

More Tales Of The City, book two of TOTC, is the subject of today’s book report. It begins with Micheal Tolliver’s Valentines Day Resolutions for 1977. “3. I will stop expecting to meet Jan-Michael Vincent at the tubs. 4. I will inhale poppers only through the mouth.” Cruise ship people wonder why Michael wore a T shirt advertising Crisco.

MTOTC occupies a totally different world from the 1988 scenery of Sure of You, book six. Consuming these stories out of sequence can lead to some head scratching. Either Armistead Maupin could see the future, and had a perverted sense of humor, or synchronicity is real.
SPOILER ALERT Things in various parts of TOTC will be discussed below. If you are spoiler sensitive, you can just skip over the text, and look at the pictures. These images are courtesy of The Library of Congress.
The end of MTOTC shows Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton bemoaning the departure of Burke Andrew. Mary Ann met Burke on a cruise ship. They had their moment, and Burke got a job in New York. Micheal goes back to his southern queen roots, and quotes Scarlett O’Hara… tomorrow is another day. Fast forward four books/eleven years. Burke is a married New York hotshot. He gets Mary Ann to leave San Francisco, finally, and move on to national stardom in the Big Apple.

86 is an expression meaning get out of here. On page 86 of MTOTC, we see this 1977 comment: “There are – and this is conservatively speaking – one hundred and twenty thousand practicing homosexuals within the city limits of San Francisco. … Those one hundred and twenty thousand homosexuals are going to grow old together, Arch. ….Think of it! The first gay nursing home in the history of the world!” The Arch mentioned in this sales pitch is Archibald Anson Gidde. He will die in book six. The obituary will use a euphemism.

A lot of those 120K P.H. were going to die between book two and book six. One of them is Dr. Jon Fielding, an on-and-off bf of Michael Tolliver. The two re-connect on the same cruise ship that facilitated Mary Ann’s romance. On page 109, Michael is fantasizing about having a decadent funeral. Jon listens appreciatively, then says “Don’t die, O.K.? Not until I’m through with you.” In less than five years, Jon will be through with Micheal, and everything else.

MTOTC is a fun book. It is not a documentary. A few of the plot twists will stretch your credibility. It is escapism, and is set in a more innocent era… back when things were still fun. Before we go, we need a couple of one star comments. Robert S. Marrinon “While Tales of the City had redeeming love and touching stories, “More Tales of the City” was simply filthy. I can see why it sold for one cent.” Rozanne “I can’t believe I read another book by this guy. He’s pretty awful.”







Whales Of The City

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on November 25, 2017

The plot lines in “Tales of the City” can be tough to figure out. The books have been *coming out* since 1978, which is several lifetimes ago. PG read the first installment, Tales of the City, sometime in the eighties, thought it was fun, and went on about his way. At some point, PG got copies of More Tales of the City and Further Tales of the City, but is not sure if he read them. Significant Others turned up at a yard sale. PG remembers the step grandson rescuing the step grandpa at a radical women’s retreat. Good clean fun.

Babycakes and Sure of You, the last two books of the original series, will be discussed today. It can be tough to make sense of the plot. Michael Tolliver goes from the “Whore of Babylon” to model HIV+ citizen. Mary Ann goes from the naive Ohio girl to a popular TV personality. Mrs. Madrigal is Mrs. Madrigal, and San Francisco is San Francisco.

PG found Babycakes in a box of free books at a faerie gathering. Merry part, merry meat again. BC is set early in the Reagan Presidency. Michael’s bf, Jon, died of AIDS in 1982. Michael goes to England, and runs into an old friend, Mona. It is a complicated, and tough to believe, story. You have to put away your skepticism, and go with the story. It is a good story, and fun to read. This is why PG reads.

Sure of You was the last book of the original series that PG was sure he had not read. The library had it. SOY is set in 1988, and this is a key part of the story. AIDS is running wild. Michael has a pill box with a beeper. Everywhere you turn, men are dead and dying. PG lived his version of 1988 in Georgia.

There were some interviews with Armistead Maupin during this era. He is very angry, and into outing celebrities. The name Tom Selleck was prominently mentioned. This anger shows up in SOY. Michael goes to a black tie reception with Mary Ann. A famous designer, who might be Calvin Klein, hits on Michael. There is an angry lecture about being in the closet. The improbability of Calvin Klein hitting on a plant store owner is not mentioned.

On page 107, the designer’s wife says something to Mary Ann about Ivana Trump. The TV personality wants to know what Mrs. Trump is like in real life. Thirty years later, Ivana Trump is the ex wife/kidsmomma of the President of the United States. Maybe those plots were not as far fetched as what really happens. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.


She Always Carries Jonquils

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on August 24, 2017

PG found Archival Atlanta: Electric Street Dummies, the Great Stonehenge Explosion, Nerve Tonics, and Bovine Laws : Forgotten Facts and Well-Kept Secrets from Our City’s Past at the Chamblee library. There are always more stories to be heard. This repost has pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. It is written like Margaret Mitchell.

In the 1840s, the Western and Atlantic railroad wanted to hook up with the Central of Georgia railroad. The spot for the meeting was called Terminus. One idea was to name the town for William Lumpkin, a former Georgia Governor and a railroad executive. Lumpkinville sounded bad in the mouth, and the new town was named “Marthasville”, after the daughter of the Governor. (Martha is buried in Oakland Cemetery.) Few people liked this name, and someone decided that the feminine form of Atlantic was Atlanta. Unlike the state flag, this is unlikely to change.

The new town prospered, and recovered from the unpleasantness of 1864. In 1875, there was a problem with stray cows. The answer was the “1875 Cow Ordinance”. The law required that cows be kept in a pen at night. A fine of two dollars was assessed for every stray cow that was caught.

About this time, there were a few very busy railroad tracks going through downtown. People were getting tired of waiting for the trains to go through. One by one, viaducts were built over the tracks, creating a forgotten ground floor. This was built up into Underground Atlanta in the sixties, which was red hot for a while, then cooled off, and is now so so.

In 1897, J.W. Alexander was the first person in town to own a “horseless carriage”. One day, he decided to take a ride to East Point. A mule objected, and kicked man and machine into a ditch.

It is a rule that all history books about Atlanta have to discuss Coca Cola and Gone With The Wind. There are only so many stories to go around. This book tells of an Alpharetta farmer who bought the Tara set from MGM. He stored in a barn, the location of which was a secret. Betty Talmadge wanted to buy it, and the price went from $375k to $5k. After a while, the sale was finalized. There was only one problem…the farmer died, and never told anyone where the barn was. Mrs. Talmadge got the money from her husband’s overcoat, went to Alpharetta, and found the barn. The set was moved into another secret location, where it was in 1996, when Archival Atlanta was published, at an undisclosed local location.

Sam and William Venable owned Stone Mountain, and had a quarry there. (The Ku Klux Klan held meetings on the mountain.) (The spell check suggestion for Ku Klux is Kook Klutz.) Sam built a large granite house at 1410 Ponce de Leon Avenue, and stocked it with ammunition. He thought a race war was on the way, and wanted to be prepared. One night, a chimney overheated. The roof caught on fire. The explosives in the attic exploded, and took the roof off. The house was repaired, Mr. Venable died, and the house became part of a Lutheran church.

One of the few ante bellum houses in Atlanta is near Grant Park. It was once owned by Lemuel Grant, who donated the land for the park. He stays in a large marble house in Oakland Cemetery now. The Grant Park house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John Marsh, in partnership with Boyd Eugene Taylor. After the death of Mrs. Marsh (also known as Margaret Mitchell), she was known to visit the house.
“Margaret just wanders through the house, looking things over. She never talks, and she always carries jonquils. The first night she came I was very shocked. I went out to her grave at Oakland Cemetery the next day. I’d never been to the house before. But I was almost certain of what I’d find. The plot is covered by a bed of jonquils.”


The Terranauts

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on June 23, 2017

PG was trolling the Chamblee library, and saw a copy of The Terranauts. This is the latest novel by Tom Boyle, an author who PG enjoys. Something was needed to look at in those times that require reading material: warming up the car, eating, waiting rooms, and parking lots. If the story gets good, this can progress to stretching out on the couch, and letting other pastimes wait. This book report may have spoilers. Read it at your own risk.

Terranauts are people who go into an enclosed bio-sphere. The sentence is two years after enclosure …. nothing in, nothing out. The story is told from the POV of three people: Dawn Chapman, Linda Ryu, and Ramsey Roothorp. The story goes chapter by chapter, with the narrators taking turns. In the spoiler alert above, it might be noted that the primary characters are already spoiled. Dawn and Ramsey are chosen for the mission, with Linda sulking on the outside. Veteran novel readers know what is going to happen with Dawn and Ramsey.

The library works on a three week cycle. After twenty one days, you either return your book, or renew it for another cycle. Terranauts was mildly amusing at first, but not compelling. The story went on. None of the story tellers was terribly likeable, but seemed to be competent at doing what terranauts do. The facility, nicknamed E2, or earth two, became a character of sorts. There was a nasty power outage. The crew came within minutes of having to break enclosure, or die for the cause.

After six weeks, PG was roughly half way through. When he got to the library, a copy of Tropic of Cancer was waiting. PG had requested TOC months earlier, and had given up on receiving it. You cannot renew a requested book, so PG had three weeks with Henry Miller’s scandalous output.

Henry Miller is tough to pin down. There are interviews on youtube. Mr. Miller talks about how the French include women in their conversations, and have a lot of respect for them. This benevolent attitude is the direct opposite of his novels. The Miller character in TOC is a pig. The story is beautifully written, despite, or maybe because of, the flawed characters. PG has the sense that it was conceived in French, and then transcribed in English. TOC has a prose poem feel to it. You want to slowly read it, line by line, and then stop and savor it. You probably will not finish in twenty one days.

When it was time to return TOC, The Terranauts was on the front shelf. This is the shelf with frequently borrowed books that have not been relegated to the stacks. PG decided to take Terranauts home. Within a few pages, Dawn was pregnant. Ramsey was the daddy. Linda was not happy. The story now has a macguffin, and is fun to read obsessively.

Dawn goes on to do what she wants to do. Ramsey goes along with it, until he doesn’t. At about the due date, the novel begins to get weird. The plot does not register. Dawn becomes more abstract. The story finally comes to a conclusion, of sorts. Linda is a bitch. Ramsey is a bastard. Dawn is just sort of there. E2 functions as well as can be expected.

Tom Boyle is a competent, enjoyable word craftsman. PG gets the sense that The Terranauts was a story that defied easy conclusion. The Terranauts may not change your life, but the portion of this life spent reading it will not be wasted.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Photographs were taken by Lewis Wickes Hine. Most of the hospital pictures were taken June 12, 1918. “Dressing the wound Military Hospital I, Neuilly” The group photograph appears after the text. “American Red Cross on the best of terms with Belgian children at an American Hostel for refugees at 46 Rue du Dr. Blanche, Paris. June 1918”


Hank Chinaski Lives

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 9, 2017

In the next quarter century, the surplus grew, thanks to Bukowski’s nearly graphomaniacal fecundity.
“I usually write ten or fifteen [poems] at once,” he said, and he imagined the act of writing as a kind of entranced combat with the typewriter, as in his poem “cool black air”: “now I sit down to it and I bang it, I don’t use the light / touch, I bang it.”
As could have been predicted, it started with a post at Dangerous Minds. The feature was about the late Charles Bukowski, who was called Hank by those who knew him. The writer/drunk had always been a bit of a fascination to PG. Out of the millions of useless drunks feeding the urinals of planet earth, at least one will turn out to have had literary merit.

A trip to Google city is made, and quotes from the bard are found, along with the wikipedia page. All of this leads to a New Yorker piece about the gentleman. After nine paragraphs, and two poems, there is the phrase that set off PG…graphomaniacal fecundity.(spell check suggestion:nymphomaniac)

As best as we can figure, g.f. means that Hank wrote a lot of stuff. This is a good thing. PG operates on the notion that if you keep your quantity up, the quality will take care of itself. Hank seems to agree, spitting out product “like hot turds the morning after a good beer drunk.” He seemed to take pride in doing what Truman Capote said about Jack Kerouac…he doesn’t write, he types.

If you google the phrase graphomaniacal fecundity, you can choose from 71 results. The top six apparently quote the article in New Yorker. A blogspot facility called poemanias quotes the paragraph from the New Yorker, with the title “On Bukowski’s afterlife”, while Fourhourhardon reprints the entire thing. Neither provide a link back to the original.

Goliath and Petey Luvs Blog take the same copy-paste approach. The first tries to get you to pay for more reading material. This forum also does the control A-C-V approach, but yields this comment : “He was a contemporary of the Beats, but not quite one of them because he was darker and not as willing to smoke a joint and sing Phil Ochs songs on the lower east side.” The truth is, Hank hated marijuana, and had the classic alcoholic attitude about it. So it goes.
Keep and share copies the complete New Yorker feature, but has some other thumbsuckers about Mr. Bukowski.

It is a truism that new media borrows content from old media. Stories, told orally from genration to generation, are compiled into books, which are then made into movies. Plastic panels try to look like wood. The newest new media that old fogey PG knows about is twitter. People tell little stories in 140 characters or less, which go around the world in seconds. With this abundance of media, there are not always enough messages to feed the beast.
On twitter, there are people producing twitter feeds from dead authors. Maybe these wordmongers went to a place with internet access. Kurt Vonnegut (three hours ago)
“Busy, busy, busy”. Mark Twain (three hours ago) “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint”. Brautigan’s Ghost (twenty two hours ago) “I cannot say to the one I love, “Hi, flower-wonderful bird-love sweet.”
The deceased content maker best suited to twitter might be Conway Twitty. One slow day two years ago, Yahoo asked peeps
Do you think Conway Twitty would have used Twitter? ~ He gave them the idea ~ I think Twitty would tweet, Twitter would be Conway’s, way of of communicating to the world, Twitty would be tweeting his little Twitty head off, ~ I better send out a Twitty Tweet ~ Cute, but a serious answer, probably. A media hound, he’d want to get his name plastered everywhere. ~ If he did that would have made him a ‘Twitty Twitter” ~ Who cares, he’s a twit anyway”.
There are four Twitty Twitter feeds. @ConwayTwitty (Oct. 21,2009)
“The Conway Twitty Musical is getting great reviews in Branson!!! . @TwittyTweats (January 12, 2012) “In Twitty City, it never snows. All the men wear gold medallions and blazers. And the women never cry. Unless you hold them.” @Conway_Twitty (February 20, 2012) “My cock is an amphibious assault vehicle” @conwaytwittier (April 28, 2012). “@JasonIsbell How’s the English weather treating your hair? I had the hardest time keeping my pompadour in tiptop shape there.” @twittybirdmoda is written in Japanese. We’ve never been this far before.
The original concept for this post was to spotlight twitter feeds borrowing material from Charles Bukowski. Hank is the beer bard of Los Angeles. He is a hero to many. Out of the millions of worthless drunks populating bars, at least one could write poems. It gives you hope for mankind.
The front page of a google search for “charles bukowski on twitter” yields eight feeds. The original plan was to ignore any that were not updated in 2012. An exception will be for @hank_bukowski (Yeah it’s good to be back). (January 25, 2009)
“Yesterday I met Adolf H. in hell. He is fuckin stupid.” “too lazzy these days, too drunk to twitter”.
With the 2012-only rule in effect, we are left with three Bukowski thieves. @BukowskiDiz (May 1)
“Curiosidades sobre Charles Bukowski“. @bukquotes (May 8) “all the mules and drunken ladies gone the bad novels march…”. ~ “I always read when I shit and the worse the book the better the bowel movement.” @bukowski_lives (one hour ago) “Basically, that’s why I wrote: to save my ass, to save my ass from the madhouse, from the streets, from myself.”
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a double repost. Another repost was published May 12. This is probably it for this year.


Born To Run

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on April 6, 2017

Born To Run, the Bruce Springsteen autobiography, is due back at the library. When PG requested it, there were 96 people ahead of him in line. Renewing a book this popular is not permitted. PG is on page 420, after the funeral of Frank Sinatra. It is time to write the book report.

Amazon has lots of Bruce product for sale. One suggested item is Bruce Springsteen: The Coloring Book: A Tribute to the Rock & Roll Boss Born to Run. One star reviewer Kevin P. said: “Sorry, but this is the creepiest thing ever.”

The story begins in New Jersey. Bruce lives in a lively neighborhood, with a troubled father. At some point Bruce starts to play guitar. His bands find success on the Jersey shore. They play a lot of shows, and many stories could be told.

Some how, they get a new years eve gig in California. Driving in shifts through the night, the two vehicles get separated. Bruce is forced to drive. This is a problem, since he never learned how. Somehow, the truck makes it to Big Sur in one piece.

The story goes on. Bruce signs a management contract with Mike Appel. This works well for a few years. Then Born to run, the album, comes out. Bruce is a superstar, but has little money to show for it. After spending a few years suing Mike Appel, Bruce is free to make more albums, and become a super duper star. Somwhow, Bruce made it work.

We should note at this point PG’s ambivalence about Bruce Springsteen, inc. The man has written some good songs, and is reported to give good concert performances. PG has long since gotten over seeing Bruce on the covers of Time, and Newsweek, at the same time. Bruce Springsteen puts his New Jersey britches on one leg at a time.

One of the problems of autobiography is the tendency of authors to put them self in the best possible light. Bruce does that, but still mentions that he sees a shrink, got divorced, and can be a ego happy control freak. It is lonely at the top.

If you are a fan, you will probably enjoy the book. It is better than most self help stories, and will probably motivate you just as well. It is not the greatest thing PG ever read, nor is it the worst. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.