Mary Ann in Autumn

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on September 16, 2021

There is a moment near the end of Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel. Michael is talking to his much-younger husband, Ben. Tangerines are involved. Michael says something about a song “from the sixties.” Claudine Longet sings “Would you like some of my tangerine? I know I’ll never treat you mean.” Claudine Georgette Longet is alive in 2021.

Flashback to the summer of 1973. Sopwith Camel is opening for Rory Gallagher at Richards. They play the closest thing they had to a hit, “Hello Hello.” “Would you like some of my tangerine? I know I’ll never treat you mean.” Somebody in the audience liked that song, and offered them a great deal of money to play it again. “Would you like some of my tangerine? I know I’ll never treat you mean.” SC wound up playing “Hello Hello” five times that night.

TOTC books are known for their unlikely plot twists. They are fun books, but not to be taken literaly. MAIA is no different. Mary Ann has unterine cancer, and just caught the husband screwing the life coach. She flies to San Francisco, and stays with Michael and Ben. A couple of long time lady-friends hook her up with an amazing gynecologist, who gets her to surgery in under two weeks. There are a few more subplots, which come together in a *bangup* finale. Check your critical thinking at the door, and you will be just fine.

Armistead Maupin writes about San Francisco, with a sharp eye for detail. One character is a dog park. Another is the homeless population. A third is the lifestyle blogger, which is obsolete just a dozen years later. (MAIA is set in 2008, which already seems like another century.) Somehow, these scenes marinate one another, producing a head-exploding finish. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.”

She Always Carries Jonquils

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on August 28, 2021

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.”

Squeeze Me

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on August 25, 2021

A new laptop has found its way into the world of chamblee54. The best way to make friends is to assign chores to the new device, and just do it. The first one was this poem. There were numerous challenges along the way. I never hesitated to take a break. Finally, the poem was finished, and posted. The next assignment is a book report on Squeeze Me, by Carl Hiaasen.

One challenge of working with Mr. H is the surname. The first google how-to, Pronounce Names, got it wrong, after running a popup ad for Lucy McBath. (The congresslady’s son was killed in Florida.) Finally, another video was found, where the man introduces himself. The proper way to say Hiaassen is HI-a-sin. High a sin. How could anyone mess that up?

SM is set in Florida, with most of the action taking place in Palm Beach. There are plenty of widows, with too much money, and way too much spare time. A group of them, called the Potussies, are Presidential groupies. A sometimes resident of PB bears a striking resemblance to a recent POTUS. The Secret Service code name is Mastadon.

Trump bashing has been the national pastime for the last few years. Most of it is unimaginative, featuring an unhealthy obsession with racial attitudes. Mr. Hiassen takes Trump bashing to a new level. Between the adderall, and the velcro wig holder, it is little wonder that POTUS cannot satisfy Mockingbird, his wife. She takes comfort in the arms of a Secret Service agent.

The plot centers around a Potussy, eaten by a Burmese Python. The snakes were imported to PB by Skink, a recurring Hiassen character. I have always thought Skink was one of Hiassen’s yuckier characters, and was happy to go through most of the book without him. Alas, when it became clear that the snakes were manually introduced to PB, it should have been obvious who was responsible.

SM is a wild ride. It is like eating a box of chocolates… you know you will run out soon, but cannot resist just one bite. Soon it will time to look up something else to get from the library. There are two volumes in the “Tales of the City” series to go. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

The Heroin Diaries

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on August 12, 2021

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star turned up on the used book table at the Chamblee library. A hardback copy was $2. THD is a visual overload. Every page has comic-book drawings, in a horror show theme. The text/background switches back and forth between red, black, and white. If you are in a spot with low lighting, red on black text is almost impossible to read.

THD is about the life, and near death, of Nikki Sixx. He is the bass player/creative force for Mötley Crüe. THD starts Christmas 1986. The main portion ends at the end of 1987. There are a few pages, telling the short version from 1988, until the book’s publication in 2007. The copyright is assigned to Nikki Sixx, with Ian Gihins the editorial miracle worker. Mr. Sixx kept a diary throughout 1987, and added comments in 2007. A cast of characters adds further commentary.

Nikki Sixx did a lot of drugs in 1987. Heroin, cocaine, and Jack Daniels were the big three. Crüe went on tour in June, and were on the road the rest of the year. The “Girls, Girls, Girls” tour may have been the high water mark for rockstar bad behavior. One story has Nikki, and Tommy Lee (Crüe’s drummer/Nikki’s co-conspirator) set a hotel room on fire. Nikki thought it was someone in their entourage, and was surprised when it was a Chinese tourist. There are many more stories.

Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna Jr. was born December 11, 1958. THD starts two weeks after his 28th birthday, ending his chance to join the 27 club. At some point, and ex-girlfriend took a boyfriend named “Nikki Syxx.” Frank Feranna had a tough childhood. After his father left, Frank was bounced around between his mother, and his grandparents. Somewhere in there, his mother is said to have dated Richard Pryor. Frank got older, with a lot of issues. AHD goes into great detail about his childhood, and the self-medicating that followed.

The GGG tour came to the Omni, in Atlanta, November 20, 1987. By this time Guns and Roses were the opening act. (Slash on the same tour as Nikki Sixx, what could possibly go wrong?) “Axl Rose was onstage in Atlanta when he saw one of the security guards, who turned out to be an off-duty cop, pushing their fans around. Axl jumped off the stage and started fighting the guard, so security grabbed him and took him backstage. So Slash sang a few songs, and Guns’ drum technician sang “Honky Tonk Woman”—four times, not terribly well.”

“As concert promoter Charlie Brusco walked through the back door of the arena shortly after the concert started, he knew something was wrong. “I heard this horrible sound,” Brusco says. “I look up, and one of the guys in the road crew was singing.” A roadie for the band named Big Ron was on lead vocals, because, earlier, Rose had jumped offstage, punched a cop, and been carried away. The Omni’s head of security told Brusco, … “Third strike, he hit a black female Atlanta police officer. He’s going to jail.” Brusco begged for Rose to be allowed to finish the show. Finally the security chief said, “If he apologizes to the police officer in writing, we’ll let him go.” Brusco agreed. He was led to Rose, who was sitting at a makeshift booking table wearing his trademark bandanna. Rose dutifully signed his apology, and security brought in the female officer. Then Rose looked up and said, “Fuck you, you fucking jag-off cop.” He was hauled to jail, and the show was canceled.”

An amazon one-star review: “I don’t know how you read this and aren’t questioning how Nikki Sixx isn’t in prison for rape; “Nikki. He asked me if I was serious about her, and when I replied that we were just getting to know each other, Nikki started telling her how hot she was. As he bent her over what was a locker-room bench she complained that she was in the middle of her period. Nikki told her he wasn’t scared by a little bit of blood and proceeded to have intercourse with her right there on the spot, in front of anybody who happened to be there.”

THD is ever-so-slightly misogynistic. The phrase “CHICKS=TROUBLE” appears throughout the book, beside the tittie bars and groupies. The ladies are definitely not as important to Nikki as the drugs. “My dick didn’t seem to be aware that she was there. She kept asking me what was wrong, and I was so out of it that I thought she meant what was wrong with the world, so I started talking about global poverty and shit. I’m not surprised she left. I suspect she won’t be coming back.”

“We paint the outside of our bodies beautiful but the inside is like dead men’s bones. … We mistake lust for love and pop more pills, slam more drugs, drink ourselves silly or end us, as I did, scraping the inside of a pipe just to hit the resin and flush life down a toilet.” Evangelist Denise Matthews, aka Vanity, was Nikki’s girlfriend for much of 1987. A former gf of Prince, Miss Matthews had a volatile personality. Being a serious crackhead did not help. Evangelist Denise Matthews passed away February 15, 2016. Her kidney failure is almost certainly the result of her crack addiction.

Near the end of 1987, Nikki shot too much heroin. Many people thought he died. He managed to pull through. The next few years saw Nikki get sober, only to relapse, only to get sober again, only to relapse. Rinse and repeat, unlike the appalling approach to personal hygiene. Hong Kong, December 19, 1987: “P.S. I smell so bad, I haven’t showered since LA I can see people actually look repulsed when they get a whiff of me. I stand next to people just to fuck with them. I didn’t bring any clothes with me, just cash. Fuck, what else do I need.”

After 1987, the narrative becomes much less detailed. Nikki gets married and divorced a few times, with a few children born along the way. At one point, he abandoned his wife and kids, which made him feel horrible, but did not stop him. Finally, Nikki detoxed for good, and was clean when THD was written in 2007. According to his instagram, Nikki Sixx has been sober 20 years on July 2, 2021. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 13, 2021








When an author has book product, the author gets interviewed. This is how PG first heard of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson. The act of using “the media” to promote book product is a curious analog to shaming. To have the exhibitionism on the wtf podcast, starring the shame-proof Marc Maron, is another item on an overloaded irony buffet. This is a repost.

Justine Sacco made an unwise tweet about AIDS and white privilege. She landed in South Africa to discover herself notorious, and unemployed. The tabloid press said Max Mosley was at a Nazi themed sex party. He sued the paper about the Nazi part, won a settlement, and boasted of being a player. The tabloid newspaper got caught in another scandal, and was shut down.

This being non fiction, Mr. Ronson goes all over the place. There is a $500 a seat weekend seminar on “radical honesty.” There are academics, of various levels of intelligence, who write about shaming, prison techniques, and other trivia. There is a company who floods the internet with flattering stories about you, so that the trash goes to page three of google. There are also more people whose lives were ruined by public shaming. One example is the rape victim who committed suicide after her cross examination.

The star shaming saga is donglegate. (spell check suggestion: congregate) Two young men at a tech conference made a tacky joke. A lady, Adria Richards, took a picture of the young men. Immediately, the picture was on twitter. @adrisrichards Not cool Jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and “big” dongles Right behind me.

In her interview with Mr. Ronson, Ms. Richards said she felt that the dongle joke jeopardized her safety. “Have you ever heard that thing, Men are afraid that women will laugh at them and women are afraid that men will kill them?” “People might consider that an overblown thing to say”… She had, after all, been in the middle of a tech conference with eight hundred bystanders” “Sure And those people would probably be white and they would probably be male.”

While researching donglegate, Mr. Ronson talked to some people at 4chan. There was a comment made. It went into the preview copies of the book, but not the final edition. This is part of the the publicity process. Someone took offense at this comment, and made an issue out of it. For more details see this story, File under ‘inevitable’: “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” author Jon Ronson slammed by Twitter-shamers.

In all of these tales, Mr. Ronson’s name was spelled correctly. Some say there is no bad publicity. Whatever is said creates awareness of your product. There is a lot of awareness for SYBPS, and Mr. Ronson, right now. ‏@jonronson Feeling incredibly sorry for #RachelDolezal and hope she’s okay. The world knows very little about her, her motives.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Picture #06662 is from “Second International Pageant of Pulchritude and Eighth Annual Bathing Girl Revue, May 21, 22, 23, 1927, Galveston TX.”







I Was a Child

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on June 6, 2021

The Chamblee library had been closed during the pandemic. The re-opening coincided with PG running out of reading material. He went over there, and naturally did not find anything right away. Finally, a skinny book in the biography section spoke to him. I Was a Child: A Memoir, written by Bruce Eric Kaplan, or BEK.

The author/illustrator does cartoons for The New Yorker. Twenty five years ago, PG worked all the time, and had a cheap lifestyle. He bought magazines, and probably saw a cartoon or two by BEK. Or maybe not. Google/wikipedia are not cooperating with this question: when did BEK start at tny? The *ironic npr listener* style of cartooning is a staple of the magazine, whether BEK draws it or not.

IWAC is about growing up in suburban New Jersey in the sixties and seventies. PG is ten years older than BEK, and considerably less Jewish. The black-and-white-tv mentality described here does ring true. Parents are frazzled old people, brushing their remaining three hairs over a bald scalp. Mom smokes a cigarette she earned, using an heirloom glass ash tray. In PG’s house, the glass ashtray was kidney shaped, and strictly for company. In those days, you had an ashtray.

One time that IWAC moved PG was page 104. BEK is talking about walking with his mother. “She would suddenly shriek, “Watch out for the dog BM’ as if you suddenly explode if you stepped in it.” Mothers have to have a word for feces, for obvious reasons. For some reason, in the fifties, the abbreviation for bowel movement became the proper expression for animal waste. Apparently, this was just as true in New Jersey as Georgia.

The book was an admirable absorber of time for its 191 pages. If it did not have so many drawings, it would have only been 100 pages, if that. It ends with father dying, and BEK going to the family house to get what he wanted. He got the “Its a small world” album, and left the house forever. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Blonde Stories

Posted in Book Reports, Commodity Wisdom, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 19, 2021

The world is in turmoil. People are killing people for no good reason. The government is run by liars and scoundrels. Religion is a dirty word. It is time for blonde stories . Thank you FunnyJokes. Pictures are from The Library of Congress

A married couple was asleep when the phone rang at 2 in the morning. The very blonde wife picked up the phone, listened a moment, and said ‘How should I know, that’s 200 miles from here!’ and hung up. The husband said, ‘Who was that?’ The wife answered, ‘I don’t know, some woman wanting to know if the coast is clear.’

Two blondes are walking down the street. One notices a compact on the sidewalk and leans down to pick it up. She opens it, looks in the mirror and says, ‘Hmm, this person looks familiar.’ The second blonde says, ‘Here, let me see!’ So, the first blonde hands her the compact. The second blonde looks in the mirror and says, ‘You dummy, it’s me!’

A blonde suspects her boyfriend of cheating on her, so she goes out and buys a gun. She goes to his apartment unexpectedly and when she opens the door she finds him in the arms of a redhead. Well, the blonde is really angry. She opens her purse to take out the gun, and as she does so, she is overcome with grief. She takes the gun and puts it to her head. The boyfriend yells, ‘No, honey, don’t do it!’ The blonde replies, ‘Shut up, you’re next!’

A blonde was bragging about her knowledge of state capitals. She proudly says, ‘Go ahead, ask me … I know ‘em all.’  ‘OK, what’s the capital of Wisconsin ?’ The blonde replies, ‘Oh, that’s easy. Its W.’

Q: What did the blonde ask her doctor when he told her she was pregnant? A: ‘Is it mine?’

Bambi, a blonde in her fourth year as a UCLA Freshman, sat in her US Government class. The professor asked Bambi if she knew what Roe vs. Wade was about. Bambi pondered the question; then, finally, said, ‘That was the decision George Washington had to make before he crossed the Delaware.’

Returning home from work, a blonde was shocked to find her house burglarized. She telephoned the police at once and reported the crime. The police dispatcher broadcast the call on the radio, and a K-9 unit, patrolling nearby, was the first to respond. As the K-9 officer approached the house with his dog on a leash, the blonde ran out on the porch, shuddered at the sight of the cop and his dog, then sat down on the steps. Putting her face in her hands, she moaned, ‘I come home to find all my possessions stolen. I call the police for help, and what do they do? They send me a BLIND COP!’

Marilyn Truther

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 2, 2021

Marilyn Monroe was photographed reading Ulysses, the famously difficult book by James Joyce. 63 years later, a man posted the picture on twitter, while promoting a study course on Ulysses. If Marilyn read it, then you can too! PG said something uncooperative, and a brief twitter fight broke out. Since the Ulysses dude, and his tweeting buddy, did not give permission, they will not be quoted here. One exception, the titular “Marilyn Truther,” was coined by the study course promoter.

@chamblee54 It was a joke, at one time, to give models a book to pose with. It was considered funny to give them a difficult book like “Ulysses” ~ Who needs to show a citation? I may be wrong. I asked Mr. Google, and found this. ~ According to photographer, she did not read it from start to finish. A more accurate answer is that she read parts of it Story by photographer should not be taken as unchallenged truth, but it is all we have I should have researched this before i spoke. Did you? ~ I had read that about other models. I also read numerous quotes, attributed to Marilyn, that proved to be phony. Photography is a medium open to manipulation, and creation of fantasy. Just because you see a picture, that does not mean it happened. ~ Eve Arnold… a woman … took that picture. How do we know Marilyn told the truth? Maybe Marilyn was just trying to make a good impression on the lady. Would Marilyn have said the same thing if the photographer was a man?

PG disputed that Marilyn Monroe had read Ulysses, and will never know for sure either way. He was not the first person to wonder about this. “Richard Brown, a Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Leeds with a special interest in James Joyce, was intrigued by Eve Arnold’s photos of Marilyn. Curious to know if Marilyn was indeed reading Joyce’s novel or if she was merely posing for the photo, Brown wrote Arnold a letter, which she replied on 20 July 1993. Unfortunately, I don’t have Arnold’s complete letter to show you … In any case, the excerpt from Arnold’s letter is interesting as she was telling Brown exactly what he wanted to know”:

“We worked on a beach on Long Island. She was visiting Norman Rosten the poet…. I asked her what she was reading when I went to pick her up (I was trying to get an idea of how she spent her time). She said she kept Ulysses in her car and had been reading it for a long time. She said she loved the sound of it and would read it aloud to herself to try to make sense of it — but she found it hard going. She couldn’t read it consecutively. When we stopped at a local playground to photograph she got out the book and started to read while I loaded the film. So, of course, I photographed her. It was always a collaborative effort of photographer and subject where she was concerned — but almost more her input.” “Quoted in Richard Brown, “Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses: Goddess or Postcultural Cyborg?”, in R. B. Kershner (Ed), Joyce and Popular Culture, p. 174.”

“Monroe is reading the 1934 Random House edition, with the dust jacket removed. This is the edition that was famously set from a pirate version containing numerous errors. This defect notwithstanding, the dust-jacket artwork and typographic design by Ernst Reichl constitute one of the great works in the history of book design.”

What does this say about a screen icon who died in 1962? Maybe she was smarter than your typical dumb blonde. Maybe not. Marilyn had an instinct for the camera, and looking good on the screen brought joy to millions of fans. Is this post mortem resurrection, as an intellectual philosopher, merely another fantasy concocted by well meaning fans? Pictures never lie, and there is a picture of Marilyn, reading Ulysses, with a serious look on her pretty face. Of course it is real! A fantasy involving Norma Jean Baker Marilyn Monroe? How absurd! As long as the merchandise is paid for, and the instagrammers inspired, should we even care?

The cult of Marilyn has shown up on chamblee54 before. “Someone told me that Marilyn Monroe once remarked that she enjoyed reading poetry “because it saves time.” I like this quotation so much that I’ve never dared to confirm it; I’d feel disenchanted to learn it was bogus.” This search for authenticity led to a forum called Data Lounge… “… get your fix of gay gossip, news and pointless bitchery.” The “Marilyn: Smart or Stupid” debate rages through 200 comments, reaching a peak at comment 196. “Yes MM said every one of those quotes by herself! … But I’m worried for her, cause She’s my main spirit guide and Saviour and she recently commanded me to share this message! …

In 2014, a facebook notice appeared. It was promoting a blog post by known idiot Matt Walsh. “If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”… “the original quote is from Marilyn Monroe. It’s even more vapid and nauseating when taken in its full context: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Out of all the profundities ever uttered, what does it say about our society that THIS is the quote we’ve decided to take to heart?” It is generally accepted that Marilyn did not say that. The top debunker is now a malware distributor, and not available for viewing. Somehow, that seems appropriate.

Pictures today are from the Library of Congress. “Listening to speeches at mass meeting of Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers protesting congressional cut of relief appropriations. San Francisco, California.” Photographer: Dorothea Lange February 1939. This is a repost

Atlanta Rising

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on April 1, 2021








Atlanta Rising: The Invention of an International City 1946-1996 is on the shelf at the Chamblee library. This book is a history of Atlanta in the modern era, written by former fishwrapper scribe Frederick Allen. This is a repost from 2014. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

The story begins in 1948. AR is weighted more to the older part of the story. The main text is 248 pages. On page 124, Ivan Allen has just built a controversial roadblock on Peyton Road, which would be in 1962. The further along in the story, the fewer details are included. The first big story is when Georgia had two governors. This is one of the best descriptions of the two Governors controversy around, and does not mention Ben Fortson’s wheelchair cushion.

The mayor at the start of the story is William B. Hartsfield. “Willie B” was a leader in creating the Atlanta Airport, and in building it into the powerhouse it is today. He was mayor until 1961, when Ivan Allen Jr. moved into the office.

AR has many moments of unintentional irony. When you read a book 18 years after it was written, and fifty years after the events in the book, you see things that could not have been imagined before. In 1960, many of the political-business elite thought it was time for Mr. Hartsfield to retire. Among his shortcomings was an indifference to sports. Mr. Hartsfield thought that a new stadium would be too great a drain on the city’s taxpayers. Fifty four years, and three stadiums, later, the power elite is going to build another stadium. Atlanta Stadium cost eighteen million dollars. The Blank bowl will cost over a billion. (In the past year, a plan to move the Braves to Smyrna was announced.)

One of the big stories here is civil rights. Atlanta came out of that struggle looking pretty good. It was a combination of image conscious businessmen, enlightened black leadership, and a huge helping of dumb luck. In 1961, the city was under federal pressure to integrate the schools. The state was firm in opposition, and the city wasn’t crazy about the idea anyway. Then, another federal court ordered the integration of the University of Georgia. Since the people would not stand for messing with their beloved University, the state laws forbidding integration were quietly repealed. The city schools were integrated with a minimum of fuss. (The book tells this story much better than a slack blogger.)

The controversy about the 1956 model state flag was going full steam when AR was written. The book has some legislative records, which for some reason never made it into the fishwrapper. There is no clear cut answer as to why the legislature changed the state flag. It was mentioned that at the national political conventions, you could not have a written sign, but you could wave a state flag. This controversy provided a diversion from gold dome crookedness, and hopefully has been laid to rest.

A man named Lester Maddox sold fried chicken, and ran for public office. AR describes Lester as looking a bit like an angry chicken. Through a series of constitutional convulsions, Lester was elected Governor in 1966. The state survived his tenure. In the seventies, when Jimmy Carter was running for President, Lester said a lot of rude things about Jimmy, helping the smiling peanut farmer get elected. In another turn of fate, Lester Maddox died June 25, 2003. This was two days after the eternal departure of Maynard Jackson, the first black Mayor of Atlanta.

The book ends with the 1996 Olympics looming over the city. Billy Payne led a smart campaign to secure the games for Atlanta. One of his moves was to keep Jimmy Carter and Ted Turner out of the action. After the 1980 boycott, and the Goodwill Games, neither person was popular with the I.O.C. The book was published before 1996. The Olympics were a blast.









Line Mining The Sonnets

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Poem, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on November 14, 2020

Find the sonnets of Shakespeare. Copy them into a word document. Read each one, and isolate the lines that resonate. Match up the lines by rhyme. Compile villanelles when appropriate. Retrofit rhymes onto others, pair them into couplets. Incorporate them into sonnets and octrains. Since the lines are already iambic pentameter, there should be minimal metric revision.

It became obvious that hearing them read would work better. A lovely source turned up. Earlier this year, Sir Patrick Stewart read a sonnet a day. The actor sat down, put his glasses on, opened his book, and read a sonnet for the camera. There were little comments, about the poems, scattered throughout the videos. With the aid of Sir Patrick, I began to get a sense for the iambic feng shui. In my own craft, I have long struggled with meter. Maybe this will help.

Everything is lower case in my graphic poems. There is no punctuation. It soon became apparent that commas were essential to the pacing of the sonnets. As for the capital letters, it is likely that Mr. Shakespeare capitalized. This was a few hundred years before e. e. cummings.

How do we know for sure? The original manuscripts are not available. “None of Shakespeare’s original manuscripts have survived, due perhaps to the fact that they were written, many of them hastily, strictly for stage performance. Not so much as a couplet written in Shakespeare’s own hand has ever been proven to exist.” There is speculation as to the true authorship of these pieces.

“Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published together in 1609 as a quarto, athough they were probably written much earlier. The sonnets, far more popular today than the epic poems, are still published both individually and as a group.” How did these sonnets get from the desk, to the printed page?

Sonnet LIV ends with “When that shall vade, my verse distills your truth.” @SirPatStew commented on the word vade, just as I was ready to take a google break. A site, Shakespeare’s Words, appeared. Vade seems to be the same word as fade. And no, this blog was not named for Sonnet 54.

1609 not only saw the publication of the sonnets, but the production of the King James Bible. There are legends that Mr. Shakespeare was involved in this project. “Because, if you count 46 words from the beginning of Psalm 46 and 46 words from the ending of the psalm (not counting the “Selahs”), you arrive at these two words: “shake” and “spear.” … Shakespeare would have been 46 years old in 1610, when scholars were finalizing the translations for publication the following year.”

Some Bible scholars are not fond of this story. “Nevertheless, just like the idiotic claim that King James was a sodomite, the story will undoubtedly be repeated ad nauseum no matter how thoroughly it has been discredited.” Less debunkable is this: “William Shakespeare is an anagram of ‘Here was I, like a psalm.'” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.


Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 21, 2020

Lately, I have been walking to the gym. It is about 1.4 miles one way. I go there, do my workout, and walk home. One consequence is not riding the stationary bike, and listening to podcasts. When it is a good story, this can be transformative. It is an magical escape from one place, into another.

Today, I chose to listen to a story while walking home. The story was Rainbows, by @JosephONeillx. It was one of the good ones. By the time I went through the railroad underpass off Peachtree Road, my pace had grown even more glacial than normal. I did not want to miss a single detail. It did help that I was off the busy main road, whose loud traffic drowned out the action.

Listening to a story, as opposed to reading it, is a different path for the information. The author’s voice telling the tale is a more intimate connection that reading dead tree text. In this story, the reading author is a man. I assumed the lead character, Clodagh, was also male. When a Aoife, the daughter, appeared, and a husband named Ian, I just thought this was just the trendy New Yorker. It wasn’t until much later in the story, that it dawned on me that Clodagh might be female. The gender is never confirmed one way, or the other.

The story is rather disturbing. (Spoiler to follow) Aoife is being sexually harassed at school, and files a complaint. The boy who gets metooed is the son of a laundry owner. Clodagh Nolastname is a VIP customer. (This all happens in New York. Clodagh is not poor.) The Chinese laundry lady tells Clodagh to take her business elsewhere. Clodagh is mortified that it was not handled family-to-family, but through the authorities.

I continue to walk through a glorious October afternoon. The leaves are still mostly green. The election is in two weeks, and we will see what becomes of the anti-christ POTUS. The story ends when I get into the house, and I listen to the credits. Theme music is by North American Plastics, which somehow sounds as New Yorkeresque as not knowing whether mom is a man, or a woman.

Pauline Kael, Gina James, And James Broughton

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Poem by chamblee54 on October 11, 2020









Pauline Kael was the rockstar film critic. James Broughton was the radical faerie poet laureate. They were lovers, and had a daughter, Gina James. Pauline and James were not married, contrary to what some naysayers would tell you. This is a repost.

Much of the information in this feature is taken from online reviews of Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, a 2012 biography written by Brian Kellow. Gina James, also known as Gina Broughton, was not interviewed for the book. Neither did she participate in the making of Big Joy, a movie about James Broughton. (A wig store, Gina Beauty Supply is located at 25 W Broughton St, Savannah, GA 31401.)

Pauline Kael was born June 19, 1919, Petaluma, CA, died September 3, 2001, Great Barrington, MA, and stood 4 feet 9 inches tall. James Broughton was born November 10, 1913, Modesto, CA, and died May 17, 1999, Port Townsend, WA. Neither one had a middle name. Both used their birth name throughout life. Both had lives, before meeting in the late forties.

When she met James Broughton, Miss Kael was living what would later be called the bohemian life. After moving to New York, and being dumped for composer Samuel Barber, Miss Kael moved back to California. “Returning to the Bay Area with her tail between her legs in 1945, Pauline became involved with the incredibly effeminate avant-garde filmmaker James Broughton. He managed to impregnate Pauline but threw her out as soon as she told him, whereupon she moved to Santa Barbara to give birth to her daughter, Gina, in 1948″

“Like her early career, Kael’s personal life was also fraught with failures. Kellow says “she had a habit of falling for gay men” earlier in her life because “they tended to share her passions and enthusiasms.” She had a daughter … with one of them, experimental filmmaker James Broughton.”

“For a time, during the 1940s, he lived with future film critic Pauline Kael. She encouraged his filmmaking endeavors but their relationship ended after she got pregnant. … Pauline Kael thought that Broughton made the biggest mistake of his life when he turned down a studio film after winning the prize at Cannes.” (Apparently Mr. Broughton was from a wealthy family, and could afford this attitude. Regarding his movie The Bed, Mr. Broughton said “It was the only film I created that ever made any money.”)

“Which brings us to the strange tale of Pauline’s only child, Gina James. … In 1948, at age 29, Kael got pregnant after she “talked her way into moving in” with James Broughton, a bisexual poet living in Sausalito. By Kellow’s account, Broughton was furious at the news of Kael’s pregnancy; he felt trapped and tricked by her. One of Broughton’s friends reported that he kicked Kael out of his house. She moved to Santa Barbara to have the baby. The birth certificate listed the father as “Lionel James, a writer”. It is one of the disappointments of the book that Kellow shines little light on Kael’s passion — or whatever it was — for Broughton, on how she processed that cruel rejection and on whether Broughton ever recognized Gina as his daughter.”

James Broughton moved on with his life. He made experimental films, got married, and fathered two more children. At some point he met Joel Singer, and began the romance that would last the rest of his life. It is tough to say whether he was genuinely bisexual, or whether he was playing the role society expected of him.

This review of Big Joy continues: “But interviews with Singer, waxing poetic about his years with the artist, are balanced by reminiscences from Broughton’s ex-wife and his abandoned son. Rather than only celebrating silliness, I found it admirable that the directors didn’t gloss over the pain he caused his wife and children. After all, when you think about it, he spent all of his life unable to decide if he was gay or straight; leaving a lot of broken hearts in his wake.

We learn from Kael that he flirted with everyone he met. “He rode off into the sunset with some guy,” his wife, Suzanna Hart tells us. “That was very sad for me, but not for him, which was…very irritating.” In her segments, Hart keeps her emotions in check but you can clearly read the sadness and anger in her face. The son doesn’t have much good to say about his absent father and the two daughters (the first by Kael and the second by Hart) both refused to be interviewed for the film. Singer has a lot to say about their blissful decades together, but he also comes off a bit heartless when he shows no guilt over breaking up what he calls Broughton’s “loveless” marriage.”

The baby daddy leaves, and the struggling writer becomes a single mom. “… Kael’s relationship with her actual daughter was something out of a Tennessee Williams play, and not in a good way. Kael home-schooled Gina and, as the girl grew up, kept her close, as a typist, projectionist, driver and right-hand man, and she banished any friend who actively encouraged the young woman to break out on her own. Though she was in many ways a loving and committed mother, helping to raise Gina’s son and always living nearby, one senses a Gothic selfishness in her mothering.”

Gina James declined to talk with Kellow for his book, but the author says Kael and her daughter had a sort of symbiotic relationship. “Pauline did not type, Pauline did not drive — Gina performed both those functions for her. And Gina was a very good critic of Pauline. She got to see Pauline’s copy before anyone else did and she often had very, very important and influential things to say. But Pauline really wasn’t wild about the idea of Gina breaking away and having her own life apart from her, and she didn’t do anything really to encourage her in that direction as far as I can see.”

Amazon one star comment: And her poor daughter – what a fate – TYPING all that. Poor Gina, — I can see her – Kellow described sitting silently in some coffee shop while her mother raved on and ON with her pet directors.

An affair with the experimental filmmaker James Broughton produced a child, Gina, whom Kael raised by herself, Mildred Pierce–like, heroically supporting them with a number of odd jobs, including running a laundry. Gina’s heart condition required expensive surgery, and Kael ended up enticing Edward Landberg, the owner of a local art-house theater, Berkeley Cinema Guild. They had begun as co-programmers. As Landberg tells it: “One day, when I was over at her place, I happened to graze her breast with my hand, and she kind of looked up and said, ‘What have you got to lose?’” Their marriage proved a fiasco, but Landberg agreed to pay for Gina’s operation, which Kellow suspects had been Kael’s motive all along…. Kellow shows more independence in assessing Kael’s treatment of her daughter Gina, whose ambitions to become a dancer or a painter she did little to encourage, preferring to keep her on “a silver cord . . . she had also grown accustomed to the steady, dependable role that Gina played—as secretary, driver, reader, sounding board—and she was loath to give her up.” Gina, for her part, was mistrustful of the dynamic she witnessed between Kael and her acolytes.“

“The closest and longest-lasting partnership of her life was with her daughter, Gina James … James considered speaking to Kellow, but finally declined, leaving a blank space at the center of this otherwise vividly detailed biography. Gina lived with her mother till she was over 30, typed up her reviews after Pauline stayed up all night writing them in longhand, and gave up both college and a shot at a dance career to serve as her mother’s caretaker, companion, and driver….

Kellow cites the text of the breathtakingly passive-aggressive eulogy that Gina delivered at her mother’s funeral in 2001: “My mother had tremendous empathy and compassion, though how to comfort, soothe or console was a mystery that eluded her … . Pauline’s greatest weakness, her failure as a person, became her great strength, her liberation as a writer and critic . … she turned her lack of self-awareness into a triumph.”

One more chapter remains. “Gina lived with Kael well into her thirties … That she married and had a child, Will, seemed to catch Kael by surprise, though she ended up adoring her only grandchild, someone with whom she could watch action movies with.

Kael died in 2001, when Will was about 19. Unfortunately, and Kellow made no mention of this in his book whatsoever, there’s a horrible postscript, one that may well have been the reason for why Gina declined to be interviewed for the book. On October 6, 2007, Will, then 25, went hiking in the East Mountain State Forest in the Berkshires. He was an avid hiker, not to mention a devoted martial artist. He had a girlfriend. He never came back. Gina reported him missing, but his body wasn’t found for more than week, on October 15. … “authorities found camping equipment nearby and while cause of death has not been determined, foul play is not suspected.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. UPDATE These two comments were made to the original post. Anonymous said, on June 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm Your piece on Kael and Broughton is rife with misinformation and judgements galore and unbelievably badly written. Get a life and stop spreading falsehoods. And next time you put your fingers to a keyboard do your due diligence! James’ son was NOT ABANDONED! He lived happily with the two of us after the divorce. You fail to recognize that James’ ex-wife was a classic fag hag who had been married to another gay man before her relationship with James. She had been in psychotherapy for years before they got together and for many years after they split up. James certainly did not spend the rest of his life uncertain about his sexuality. Read his autobiography COMING UNBUTTONED and you’ll discover how misinformed your take on him is. You have done a great disservice to your readers by publishing such homophobic nonsense. Joel Singer ~ Sterling Wilson said, on August 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm Curious about this autobiography, I found the following from a Publishers Weekly review “Broughton forsakes introspection for literary gossip and name-dropping: Kenneth Rexroth, Pauline Kael, Dylan Thomas, Anais Nin. The birth of a daughter is dispensed with in two sentences. Broughton’s insistence on making himself the center of attention increasingly intrudes.”

UPDATE A journey down an internet rabbit hole uncovered this item. It is from “Remembering Harry and John”, by Mark Thompson on the occasion of Harry’s 100th anniversary “I remember the night we were socializing at the San Francisco Art Institute at a gala tribute for James Broughton. Harry (Hay) and James had sparked briefly as Stanford University undergraduates, but didn’t meet again until fifty years later at a faerie gathering. Few people knew that James had fathered a daughter with esteemed film critic Pauline Kael during their bohemian Berkeley days, but Harry was alert to the fact. Kael and Broughton were having their own reunion at the moment when, with typical impudence, Harry interrupted the conversation by loudly asking, “So, who was the mother and who was the father?” The stunned silence was punctured only by the whoosh of Kael’s furious departure.”