Doghouse Roses

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on August 9, 2022

There is a synchronicity to writing about Doghouse Roses in the downstairs parking lot at Walmart. DR is a collection of stories, written by Steve Earle. PG was only vaguely aware of Mr. Earle when he stumbled onto DR at the Friends-of-the-Library table. It turns out that Mr. Earle is a country music star, prison veteran, drug addict, seven time bridegroom, and a great American. It is possible that some of the DR tales are autobiographical.

The title story kicks off the collection. A terminally addicted former country star is being driven home by his wife. On their way out of LA, they go to the hood to buy some rock. While there, the dealer is wasted by an angry handgun. The story, like most of DR, is entertaining, and sort of believable.

Some high minded types read to become a better person, in one way or another. To PG, education/inspiration/motivation are all well and good, but not nearly as important as entertainment. If DR has any life lessons, they are well hidden. PG just wants to pass the time, until the nurse comes to the waiting room, and calls his name.

Over the weekend, PG read a 22k word essay by James Baldwin. If PG is brave enough, there might be a blog post forthcoming. Mr. Baldwin is not fun to read. “But white Americans do not believe in death, and this is why the darkness of my skin so intimidates them.” After wading through 22306 words of this, PG has done his duty reading for the summer.

Getting back to DR, the third story is about a drug runner in Mexico. “The American” displays a knowledge for some subtleties of life in Mexico. He crashes his plane, and just barely makes it back home. “The American” is in two more of the DR stories. We don’t know if he is based on a real person, or the result of Mr. Earle’s well lubricated imagination.

Since this was a used book purchase, there is no need to take DR back to the library. DR is 207 skinny pages. There is still room on the shelf. Pictures today are from ” The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. “

The Origin Of Barbie

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive, History, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 23, 2022








PG found a copy of Snuff at a yard sale. The story was written by Chuck Palahniuk, pronounced paula nick. This book report may have spoilers. This is a repost.

The 197 pages recount an attempt to break a world record. Aging porn star Cassie Wright is trying to take on 600 men in one session. The plan is to die, in a blaze of gooey glory. The story is told by four characters: Mr. 72, Mr. 137, Mr. 600, and Sheila. Each of the four feels a connection to Miss Wright. It is a case of four wrongs making one Wright.

The story gets weirder and weirder. Mr. 72 is convinced that he is the son of Cassie Wright. Mr. 137 became an Okla-homo after being diddled by daddy. Mr. 600 is said to be Miss Wright’s baby daddy. Sheila, original name Zelda Zonk, was another possible Wright baby. After a while, the reader just plows ahead. When PG pays a dollar for a book, he wants his money shot money’s worth.

Snuff has a couple of gimmicks that are repeated to the point of no return. The talent is known by a variety of names, like pud puller, wiener wrangler, page paster, fist flogger, white washer, and sherbet shooter. The movies made by Cassie Wright all had satirical titles, like World Whore One, and The Asshole Jungle. It was funny the first twenty times.

Another gimmick Mr. Nick works us with is the “true fact.” Someone will throw out a chestnut, and say “true fact.” Many of them are Hollywood beauty secrets, like Lauren Becall, and Tallulah Bankhead, drinking eggshell tea. Here is an example.

“… Hitler … was disgusted by seeing his fellow soldiers visit French brothels. To keep the Aryan bloodlines pure, and prevent the spread of venereal disease, he commissioned an inflatable doll that Nazi troops could take into battle. Hitler himself designed the dolls to have blond hair and large breasts. The Allied firebombing of Dresden destroyed the factory … “

Mr. Google has more. “But in 1942 the project was halted when German soldiers refused to carry the dolls because of the potential embarrassment if they were captured by the enemy. Author Graeme Donald uncovered Hitler’s secretive “Borghild Project” while researching the history of Barbie, which was based on a postwar German sex doll.”

“I was actually researching the history of the Barbie doll that was based on a German sex doll of the 1950s. Ruth and Elliot Handler from America visited Germany in 1956 and saw the Lilli dolls that were sold in barbers’ shops and nightclubs – and were not for children Ruth didn’t realise this and bought one and realised later they were not toys. But Ruth and her husband used the doll as a foundation for what became Barbie.”

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.








Cleve Jones

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on June 8, 2022

When We Rise, the autobiography of Cleve Jones, was a surprise at the library. I had heard of Mr. Jones … something about the names project and the aids quilt … but didn’t know much else. Pictures today are from ” The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. “

Turns out Cleve is a 1954 baby, like myself. He has a different story from me. I find myself thinking of where he was in his life, and where I was in mine. It often is not complementary to me. Cleve was living in San Francisco and Germany. I was in Georgia, just being the bum I was.

A vanity project “Oh dear – hearing over and over again how handsome Cleve was and how ‘hot’ all his lovers were grated on me after a while. It’s a shame because I expected more from someone who was there at the beginning of gay liberation, and indeed, played an important part. His vanity or lost youth seemed more important than really getting to grips with the zeitgeist of the period.”

The Amazon one star reviews confirm something that I’ve picked up on from the book … Mr. Jones has a healthy ego. Everywhere you turn, there’s people that Cleve doesn’t like, or who don’t like him. This is one thing that rings true about the Atlanta experience as well. There was always drama. People have their baggage. There is not always room under the seat to stash it.

For those who are new here, here is the story. Cleve had been saving pills for his suicide, when he was a teenager in Arizona. He got it together, met some people, and moved to California. Cleve lived hand-to-mouth for a while. I think he hustled a little bit. After a while, he got a job, and met somebody who lived in Germany. For a few years he would go back to San Francisco, work for a while, and spend his summers in Europe. About this time Harvey Milk had his camera store on Castro Street … more of a meeting place for his buddies, than a profitable camera store. Cleve got to know Harvey, and eventually was worked for him. Cleve claims to have gone into City Hall, on the day that Harvey was shot. He was able to just walk in, and see the body of Harvey Milk before anybody got to it. This part of the story set my BS detector off.

Dan White was tried for the murder of Harvey Milk, and George Moscone. He was convicted of a much lesser charge, and people were offended. It was a mess. About this time, I went to California on a Trailways bus. I wound up in the moonie camp, outside of Santa Rosa. I somehow got got back to town, but didn’t get to spend much time in the city. I went to a club called the Stud, on Folsom Street. It was one of Cleve’s hangouts.

I was in San Francisco for the pride parade in 1981. This is about the time when the first reports of aids started to come in. Cleve read these initial reports, and was talked to some friends of his about how worried were. Cleve met a man named Bobbi Campbell. Sister Florence Nightmare RN was the 16th person in San Francisco to be diagnosed with Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

Cleve Jones has AIDS. He was took a positive antibody test as soon as they became available. He was in bad shape at one point, when a doctor got him on one of the early nineties drug cocktails. Cleve responded well to the new treatment, and is with us today.

The Names Project is what Cleve Jones is best known for. TNP created the aids quilt, a massive memorial to the people who died of aids. ”The quilt traces its origins to 1985, when Jones decided to commemorate the 1,000 San Francisco residents who had succumbed to AIDS to date by asking those attending a march to tape placards bearing lost loved ones’ names onto the San Francisco Federal Building. To Jones, the wall of names resembled a quilt. Most of the quilt’s blocks are rectangles measuring 6 feet by 3 feet, or roughly the size of a grave. Many were individually crafted by people whose friends and family members succumbed to AIDS …”

Today, the quilt has over 50k panels, and is a piece of logistic work. For some reason, the quilt moved to Atlanta in the early aughts. Cleve did not approve. His official connection to the project ended about this time. At last report, the quilt is moving back to Caifornia.

The connections keep going on. I became virtually connected to a Georgia writer who knew Lance Black, before he used all three names. The Georgia writer, and Dustin Lance Black, did not like each other. Some things never change. Moving on into present tense, @CleveJones1 was forced out of his San Francisco apartment. His landlord doubled the rent, to more the $5,000 a month. I stay in a Brookhaven house, coveted by Mcmansion mongers. Life goes on.

I Used to Be Charming Part Five

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on May 25, 2022

This is the fifth, and final, installment in the chamblee54 serial book report on I Used to Be Charming, by Eve Babitz. The pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.” The other four parts of this series are available: one two three four

It’s an old cliche about drug abuse … life becomes boring when you quit using. That might be true with Miss Eve. She got scared because of AIDS, and got cleaned up from her druggie ways. She started taking dance lessons, and got into ballroom dancing. When she tried to commit suicide by Tiparillo, the physical activity of dancing aided her recovery.

Hippie Heaven (Vogue October 1992) was the first story that made me want to take notes. “Especially the red rayon forties dress, cut on the bias, that I’d worn the nights I waited in the Troubadour bar in West Hollywood, looking for trouble like Jim Morrison.” Lord, whatever happened to Eve? Writing for Vogue about a dress “cut on the bias.” This is the Dowager Groupie, talking about clothes. Even Eve’s sister Mirandi … who started out as Miriam … made leather suits for Jimbo.

Eve says something about Leicester Square, in London. The Rolling Stones did a song, Cocksucker Blues. They owed a pesky record label one more song, so they decided to give them something they would never play on WQXI. So Mick says something about hanging out in Lester Square, but it turns out to be Leicester Square.

Scent of a Woman (Vogue March 1997) is where Eve finally gets her mojo back. Vogue published SOAW a few weeks before Eve’s catastrophic fire.

Some say that smell is the most animal of our senses. Aromas get directly from the nose to the brain, without the mental filters navigated by sound and sight. In SOAW, Eve discusses the various perfumes of her life. When she was young, the only perfume she felt comfortable with was Here’s My Heart, by Avon. True, it did not make her smell like old stationary, as Chanel N°5 did, but you don’t get more uncool than Avon.

“My great aunt sold Avon when I was a kid, and she and my conservative-about-fragrances mother (the one who flushed my Evening in Paris down the toilet) approved this for me. It was OK, girly, kind of little girly and nowhere near as exciting as Evening in Paris, but I liked it all right. It made me think I was missing something in fragrances, but it was enjoyable to wear.” Avon introduced Here’s My Heart in 1957. Nobody is sure when it was discontinued.

One afternoon in the sixties, Eve went swimming at the house of a Hollywood somebody. In the bathroom, there was a bottle of Le De by Givenchy “Le De came about when Hubert (Givenchy) chose decided to gift his friend (Audrey Hepburn) with a perfume; actually he commissioned two, the other being L’interdit (created in 1957 and commercialized in 1964) and they were hers alone for a whole year. In 1958 the idea of launching perfume under the aegis of his house saw Le De being introduced to the market while L’Interdit was immortalised in … Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

“And then the unthinkable happened. They took Le De Givenchy off the market — or at least they cut back its distribution to the point where it became impossible to find. This is something Andy Warhol would have picketed Givenchy with me for. (Andy Warhol had an extremely funny section in his autobiography The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again,) in which he says that whenever a product is “improved,” the manufacturer should leave the original, unimproved product on sale, too, because a lot of people don’t want what they already like pulled from the shelves.”

Amazon has a terrific one star review of the Warhol book. “I bought this due to a need for additional references. It’s written by warhols assistant and is filled by drivel, pompousism and things you may say on acid trips while your in a room wrapped in tin foil. Save your money and if you a want book about Andy warhol use one of the autobiographies written by an author after Andy died and has no connection to him or his factory friends.”

The last fun chapter is I Used To Be Charming. IUTBC is about the fire, on April 13, 1997. “I had just finished brunch with my mother; my aunt Tiby; my sister Mirandi; and my cousin Laurie. Mirandi would be driving my mother back to her place, where I was also living at the time, and I looked forward to smoking the Tiparillo I’ve been saving for the ride in peace and quiet. The cigar was one of those fashionable but hideous cherry-flavored ones I loved because smoking them made me feel like Clint Eastwood; everyone else hated them. I grabbed one of the wooden matches, struck it against the sandpaper side of the box, when all of a sudden the match fell from my hand. The gauzy skirt I’d put on to go out dancing later went up in flames; my panty hose melted to my legs. Thank God for sheepskin Uggs, which protected my lower legs from burns.”

When Eve struck that match, in a 68 VW bug, her life changed. There were a lot of rude comments about cigars. Tiparillos in particular have a curious market niche. One ad campaign had a picturesque young lady working the crowd, with her pitch “Cigars, cigarettes, Tiparillo’s?” “The modern smoke, found in all the right places, with all the right people.”

Another ad campaign asked the oh-so-modern question ”Should a gentleman offer a Tipparillo to a lady?” A later campaign produced a TV classic. “In 1970 the Federal Trade Commission banned cigarette commercials from American airwaves. However, cigars did not fall under the FTC ban, and so we have these two commercials from 1973 for Tiparillo cigars, which — if you believe the ads — must be offered to a lady, which will be appreciated more than “candlelight and small talk.”

Fiorucci, the book takes up the last 48 pages of IUTBC. Eve wrote text for a collection of graphics from the Fiorucci fashion emporium. Fiorucci closed its retail stores in the eighties, and is mostly known today because it rhymes with Gucci. “Zeigt und erklärt, wie und warum Fiorucci in den 70ern und 80ern bigger than life war. Das Buch ist Kunst, Marketinghandbuch und Poesiealbum in einem.”

I Used To Be Charming Part Four

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on May 11, 2022

What follows is the fourth installment of the chamblee54 deconstruction of I Used to Be Charming, by Eve Babitz. Pictures today are by “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.” Other features in this cycle are available. one two three five

Sober Virgins of the Eighties (Smart Fall 1988) was published in late 1988, at about the time I quit drinking. IUTBC is in chronological order. The pieces covered today are from Eve’s overboogie recovery days. Many are written for Esquire. “Every product was carefully curated by an Esquire editor. We may earn a commission from these links.” Eve may be counterculture, but by 1990 she was writing for the emperors tailor.

By 1988, aids was hitting like a ton of bricks. While some still partied, many started to clean up their act. SVOTE is about this. “Of course, now that it’s the eighties, most desirable members of the opposite sex give rise to dark wanderings like “If they’re so cute, why aren’t they dead?”—which for me really put a damper on sex and made me actually take up chastity for almost two years. … The great thing about the eighties is that if you’re still alive, there’s hope. That, anyway, has changed.”

SVOTE was in the first edition of Smart, in the “Love and Science” column. “One smart reader is worth a thousand boneheads” HL Mencken “Terry McDonell, the now legendary magazine editor, was starting his own magazine, Smart, in 1989. When he said he wanted to evoke The Smart Set, the stylish, literary monthly edited by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan in the Roaring Twenties, I thought of Lucian Bernhard’s Bauer typeface from 1929, Lucian. That resulted in another early Font Bureau digitzation of a vintage foundry type, Belucian. At that point David Berlow was thinking of a adding a “Be-” to the names of all his revivals (cf. Belizio), but we talked him out of that later.”

Ronstadt For President (Smart May-June 1989) returns to Eve’s friendship with Linda Ronstadt. Eve is sometimes credited with designing the album ocver for “Heart Like a Wheel.” Other sources say that Eve was the photographer on the inner sleeve. Very little is said about Eve as a photographer. Mostly, artist Eve paints, and assembles collages.

RFP is about Linda’s struggles to make it as a singer. Her looks got in the way. “… men like Hugh Hefner would be propositioning her with “Let’s just shoot you with no clothes on, why don’t we?” and casting directors were trying to interest her in movies. “That’s not what I am, Eve,” she said, laughing and laughing. “Me with no clothes, imagine!” …

“I mean, Linda is just your normal good-time overeater type of person, whereas Jane Fonda, as she mentions in her book, was a bulimic—one of those sneaky people who eat and eat and then throw up. And bulimia is not what I want in a politician at all. I want things to stay down. And I want Linda to sing a slow, sexy double-entendre version of “You’re Just Too Marvelous” to Gorbachev.”

Rapture of the Shallows (Smart July-August 1989) was about Walter Hopps. He created an art gallery called Ferus, despite the NY notion that LA was a wasteland for art. Mr. Hopps was also Eve’s extramarital bf, and the motivation for the chess photograph with Marcel Duchamp.

“Ephemera mattered at Ferus. Founded by curator Walter Hopps and artist Ed Kienholz in March 1957, the “Ferus” honorific was designed to commemorate an unknown artist named James Farris who shot himself; the peculiar variant spelling of the gallery’s name got transposed, however, when Robert Alexander (a.k.a. “Baza”), the collage artist and poet who executed the gallery’s earliest typography, proposed “F-e-r-u-s” instead. Why? “Because it has more strength typographically,” Hopps remembers. Hopps’ response? “Let’s do it.” And thus, the gallery’s founding identity was composed with an ephemeral sensibility and by a typographic twist of fate.”

Eve: “I’m going to write a piece about John Goode and maybe Ed Ruscha and Laddie Dill and …” I told my friend Aaron, a New York collector who lives here but hates it. “Those phony-baloney bulshit artists … they all suck. They’re just for restaurant openings, tea at Trumps.”

In the Bret-Lili podcast, Trumps came up. It seems to have been quite the trendy place. In The Shards, Bret meets at Trumps with this semi-closeted producer, (and father of Bret’s gf.) He pretends to be interested in Bret’s script, but is really after Bret. If you like, you can buy a matchbook, and a small plate, from Trumps.

The Sexual Politics of Fashion (The Washington Post Book World July 30, 1989) is about books, (one two) that people wrote about fashion. Eve was not impressed with either. “But the Luscious photographs and illustrations are given a continuous cold shower by the prose: Every time you get a romance or fantasy going in your head … you are smacked into rectitude by phrases like “gender-specific” or just the very word “gender” itself which is enough to keep me from wanting to hear more, no matter how cute the people in the pictures are.” Eve had an eye, however badly focused, on the future. In 1989, gender meant boy and girl. Today, gender is the new civils rights movement, more third-railish than even race or football.

Gotta Dance (Playboy October 1989) was written for Playboy magazine. It’s mind blowing to think of Eve working in concert with Hugh Hefner. Apparently, when sex/drugs/rock/roll not longer did it, Eve started to dance.

“My only recommendation to a man who is even remotely thinking about ballroom dancing is to be careful. Unless you have a very large trust fund or a very strong character, don’t begin at Arthur Murray. Once they hook you, they have you for life. … “Me?” you say. “Hooked? On ballroom dancing? Come on!” … “I know. The only reason you’d take ballroom dancing at all would be as a joke. So that’s why I’m telling you: Don’t. Like a newborn duck, you’ll get imprinted on your teacher and your classmates, and then they’ll sign you up for lifetime lessons. Later, when you ask around, you’ll discover that you could get the same lessons for less from someone who used to teach at Arthur Murray and now gives lessons himself.”

I got a email before writing this. A young lady we knew, back in the day, passed away. For purposes of this story, we are going to call her Aspen. She drank the kool aid, and signed a mega-bucks contract with Fred Astaire dance studio. One time Aspen got me to go to a party, with “champagne ladies” trying to sell you dance lessons. I declined the kool aid.

The Soup Can as Big as the Ritz (Movieline November 1989) is about Andy Warhol. Walter Hopps brought the soup can paintings to California in 1962. Andy made it to the infamous Duchamp opening in 1963, which promted the photo of a naked Eve playing chess with Mr. Duchamp.

Walter Hopps: “… we may have also seen, in Warhol’s studio, work in progress that included one of his first Campbell’s Soup cans. … I said to Warhol, ‘Absolutely, I want to take some of this work for a show in Los Angeles.’ Warhol, who had never been to California, answered with some excitement, ‘Oh, that’s where Hollywood is!’ In the sea of magazines and fanzines scattered on the floor, so deep it was hard to walk around, were all those Photoplay and old-fashioned glamour magazines out of the Hollywood publicity mill. So a show in L.A. sounded great to Warhol. He agreed, and thus the multiple-image soup can show came to Ferus in 1962. Warhol missed that first exhibition of his Pop images, but he finally made it to California in September 1963 for the opening of the Marcel Duchamp retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum and his own second Ferus show.”

Andy Warhol: “Marcel Duchamp was having a retrospective at the Pasadena Museum and we were invited to that opening … They served pink champagne at the party, which tasted so good that I made the mistake of drinking a lot of it, and on the way home we had to pull over to the side of the road so I could throw up on the flora and fauna. In California, in the cool night air, you even felt healthy when you puked – it was so different from New York.”

Eve gets talking about Edie Sedgwick here. “The next time I saw Edie she was sitting at the bar at Max’s Kansas City with Bob Neuwirth, the famous hippest coolest art type guy of his generation, and again she was crying this time into a gin and tonic. … Suddenly my ambition was to look gorgeous and miserable, but I’m always so thrilled to be anything and do anything in those days. … If you weren’t on speed you weren’t in New York City in the sixties. I was certainly on it. In fact, if you took the speed out of New York in the sixties, it would have been Des Moines. …”

“The world’s most fabulous people were dancing everywhere, and on stage was Nico, the girl lead singer of the Velvets looking down at the audience with eyes that’s all nothing but apolcalyptic collapse and the voice that did nothing but omit a bagpipe like drone.”

“On October 23, 1967, in New York, singer Nico sang with The Velvet Underground. … Nico’s delivery of her material was very flat, deadpan, and expressionless, and she played as though all of her songs were dirges. She seemed as though she was trying to resurrect the ennui and decadence of Weimar, pre-Hitler Germany. Her icy, Nordic image also added to the detachment of her delivery. … In between sets, Frank Zappa got up from his seat and walked up on the stage and sat behind the keyboard of Nico’s B-3 organ. He proceeded to place his hands indiscriminately on the keyboard in a total, atonal fashion and screamed at the top of his lungs, doing a caricature of Nico’s set, the one he had just seen. The words to his impromptu song were the names of vegetables like broccolli, cabbage, asparagus… This “song” kept going for about a minute or so and then suddenly stopped. He walked off the stage and the show moved on.”

Blame it on the VCRs (Smart June 1990) “In the meantime, the gay men and the feminists were in the background, girding their loins against the Farrah Fawcett spun-gold hair of the seventies, trying to ruin everything. And they succeeded. Yes, men were pigs, women were exploited—yet gay men were, well, out of the closet and staying out and up till three in the morning, having more fun than anyone else ever did in the history of mankind. They made straight people jealous.”

Jim Morrison is Dead and Living in Hollywood (Esquire March 1991) Part of the Eve Legend was that she was Jim Morrison’s girlfriend for a while. Nobody is sure how much of that is real. Eve doesn’t really seem to be too terribly impressed with Mr Morrison, who she calls the Bing Crosby from hell. Jimbo was basically a fat drunken asshole. Pamela, the heroin Juliet to Jimbo’s whiskey Romeo, does not seem to be a very nice person.

No matter how chummy Eve was to Jimbo, she did not design any of the Door’s album covers. Eve did do the cover for the Elektra reissue, The Best of Lord Buckley, who may have been the strangest neo-celebrity that ever lived.

I was a Naked Pawn for Art (Esquire September 1991) returns to the infamous picture of naked Eve playing chess with Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp. “The trouble was, I had been taking birth control pills for the first and only time in my life, and not only had I puffed up like a blimp but my breasts had swollen to look like two pink footballs. Plus they hurt. On the other hand it would be a great contrast — this large too-LA surfer girl with an extremely tiny old man in a French suit. Playing chess.”

On page 243, there is a typo. This is something that you see in hard copy. I treasure the moments when I catch a typo. and there he was it was just that they were changing suddenly the had eyes to see.

Life at Chateau Marmont (Esquire January 1992) Then she has a story about Chateau Marmont. of which many stories could be told and hopefully they spray Down the Walls of that hotel and they were doing a renovation of it. “In L.A., the impulse to tear down anything good but old and rebuild it crummy and different is so rampant that the only things anyone tries to restore are women’s faces.”

They Might be Giants Esquire May 1992 (Esquire May 1992) features a photo shoot of four hot, photogenic young actors. Thirty years later, none is a superstar. Being called the next James Dean is somewhat of a curse.

“James Dean was rock and roll before anyone knew it wasn’t a fad, and he was rock and roll before it was Disneyized and turned into role-model material. He was the role model for people who hated role models, and what we still want is more James Dean’s and no one will ever be James Dean enough.”

The trouble with James Byron Dean was that he lived the image, and it f****** killed him. When I was a kid, the one person that “they” held up as a bad example was Joe Namath. When you’re a kid growing up in Georgia, you need bad examples. Today, Broadway Joe is on cable tv, on commercials for medicare insurance. The kids he was a bad example to are buying medicare insurance.

Harvey Fierstein

Posted in Book Reports, History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Politics, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 28, 2022

@HarveyFierstein wrote a book, I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir. Harvey Forbes Fierstein is selling his book, and saying festive things in the process. This will probably not influence one star commenter amazon customer. “This story seemed disjointed and superficial.”

Free Library of Philadelphia begins the discussion. The lady began with the traditional question about how Popeye Harvey got started. “I never wanted to be a writer. I never wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be an artist, but artist is is the 1950s word for gay.”

The chat turned onto the topic of sobriety. “By the time I stopped drinking I was drinking half a gallon of southern comfort a day, of 100 proof. So you’ve got to work your way up to that, because that will kill you if you try doing that on one day’s notice.”

“I think we’re almost gonna head to the Q&A, but I’m curious.” (Harvey puts the Q back in Q&A) “What advice do you have for young artists starting out in the world right now?” “Go get a real job.”

Barbara Walters interviewed Harvey in 1983. 39 years later, it is a cringefest. “His name is Harvey Fierstein, and with this success, he’s become Broadway’s newest celebrity. He is, to say the least, an unlikely celebrity. Harvey Fierstein, 29 year old homosexual playwright, actor, two-time Tony winner, and, just until a few years ago, earning his living as a drag queen … a man dressed up as a woman. At the age of 13 his middle-class parents from Brooklyn knew for certain that he was a homosexual, and by the time he was 15, he was performing as a transvestite.”

The 20/20 appearance is remarkable in many ways. Baba Wawa was known as a close friend, and possible beard, of Roy Cohn. She knew a lot more homosexuals than she acknowledged that night. Ms. Walters was roasted in a 2013 article about her retirement. “She’s old friends with make-believe TV tycoon Donald Trump.”

The WTF podcast, with Marc Maron, made this feature necessary. There was the time Harvey’s mother took his grandmother to see Torch Song Trilogy, when it was on Broadway. “She’s watching the show, and she’s hard of hearing, and in the loudest voice that has ever been projected in in a Broadway theater, she says “So Harvey’s a homosexual,” and my mother, in a voice loud enough for my grandmother to hear her, said “how should I know I don’t sleep with him.”

“No one knew who gay people were. We were something they talked about. We were vampires that only appeared at night. We weren’t normal people. Then aids hit … and suddenly we were everywhere. We’re doctors and teachers and lawyers and priests and mothers and babies. Now they see us everywhere, hospitals, classrooms, obituaries. We were gay, and now we’re human, that was a huge change. All of a sudden we existed. Now did they run away from us, did they turn their back on us, did they wish we did all die, maybe, but we were no longer deniable. We existed, and that changed everything. We’ve now got this war we’re fighting for our lives, because because of aids, and out come these young people screaming for marriage equality, and I’m saying what the [ __ ] is wrong with you people. We have we have so much other work to do. We’ve got all this crap going on to take care of, and you care about a [ __ ] wedding cake. Where are your values? Then I stopped myself. I said, you know, these are younger people than you, and don’t they have the right to define what the revolution should be? So I shut my mouth, and I went to work for them, and they turned out to be right.”

“Now this generation, coming back to where we started this whole conversation, has brought up gender, said, we’re now going to show you about gender, or at least question all of the roles of gender once again. I don’t understand it but I have lived enough history now to know, follow the young people, it’s their world, it’s not our world. We should shut the [ __ ] up. The role of an elder is not to tell you what to do, even though people think that’s what an elder is supposed to do. The role of an elder is to facilitate what young people want to do. That’s the best thing we can do.”

Marc Maron: “That whole world of gay sex that you write about it, to me it’s just like, oh my god, I mean like it was just you just walking around [ __ ] wherever you wanted, and just like kind of the insane electricity of that world, I can’t even imagine it.” Harvey: “Mark, my love, do you really think we aren’t still doing that? You really think i can’t take you to Central Park now, and show you people
[ __ ] in the rambles, are they yeah of course they are … it’s boys yeah what do boys need to have sex a finger that can pull down a zipper.”

“I never had children, believe me, raising Matthew Broderick was enough.” Pictures for this unpaid exercise in book promotion are from The Library of Congress.


Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on April 24, 2022

When you type the word gonzo into the amazon search facility, you are given several choices. You can buy gonzo stain remover, gonzo muppett, gonzo odor eliminator, gonzo shirt, gonzo the art, and gonzo the life and work of dr. hunter s. thompson. All of these products are covered in a book PG is wading through, Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson. This is a repost.

There is lots of speculation about the G word (Gonzo, not G-d, although they may have more in common than some suppose. It is safe to say that no one claims “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” to be the word of G-d.). Lord, lets not get caught on the barbed hook of religion, this is supposed to be a review of a book about Horseshit, or  Hunter S Thompson, who has the same initials.

Getting back to Gonzo, it was a cajun expression meaning “to play unhinged.” A man named James Booker recorded a track called “Gonzo,” which is embedded in this commentary. HST played the song non stop, which was not amusing to fellow journalists. One of these people was a Boston fuddy duddy, who called HST “the gonzo man”, and said that in Boston bars, Gonzo meant the last man standing. You can’t believe everything that you hear or read. Taste and feeling are equally suspect, but you can believe what you smell. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, while ugly uses all five senses.

PG used to read a bunch of celebrity biographies, and there is a pattern. They are born, and have childhoods. Somehow, they get a break, and become famous. The fame period lasts a certain time, but the bad habits they acquire last a lifetime. After they have seen the mountaintop (or the place in the Nevada mountains where the high water of the sixties broke up into the sewage of the seventies), there is no where to go but down. Tallulah Bankhead was surrounded by “caddies”, these young queens so enamored of her presence that they put up with her increasingly awful behavior. “A day away from Tallulah is like a month in the country”.

HST fell into this mind trap of duality. Apparently his prodigious intake of substances never slowed down, until he was in a wheelchair towards the end. He was writing a sports column for ESPN in his latter days, about 300 pound samoan quarterbacks who will take the NFL by storm. PG had not read anything by HST in years, and was almost surprised that he was still alive.

The ever facilitative dangerous minds has a BBC show about HST. The show was produced in 1978, a few years after the abdication of Richard Nixon, and into the regime of Jimmy Carter. Smiling Jimmy is not mentioned in this telefilm, but there is a conversation between HST and John Dean. In the rest of the show, HST and sidekick Ralph Steadman drive around in the desert between Las Vegas and Hollywood. You see the place in the high desert where the wave of the sixties broke, setting off the tsunami of Nancy Reagan just saying no, and hiring drug runners to ship guns to  terrorists.

PG has sixty or so more pages to go on this book. Thursday morning is a ride up to Tennessee, and the book needs to be back at the library. It is not worth an overdue fine. The fun is over, and all that is left if for HST to decline and die. Buy the ticket, take the ride. And play dumb when you learn that the phrase is a registered trademark. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

I Used To Be Charming Part Two

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on April 12, 2022

This is part two of the chamblee54 syllabication of I Used to Be Charming. IUTBC is a collection of magazine articles, written by Eve Babitz, aka LA Woman. Considering the later turns in her story, maybe we should call this a MAGA zine. Other episodes are available. one three four five
Venice, California (Vogue August 1979) is about living in a funky house, somewhere near the beach. It is noteworthy for a comment on page 131, where Eve extols the joys of rollerskating with Annie Leibovitz. The photographer is mentioned in another Eve article. “She navigates the city’s highs and lows during weekday mornings spent ‘maniacally’ roller-skating with her lover Annie Leibovitz.”

Details of the Babitz-Leibovitz thing are tough to come by. Lists of Eve’s playmates usually include Ms. Leibovitz, along with other suspects. “The photograph on the striking cover of Eve’s Hollywood was taken by Annie Leibovitz (the two are lifelong friends).”

“I never talk about politics … Although I was so happy [when] my friend Linda [Ronstadt] was going out with Jerry Brown.” … VC mentions women trying to look like Linda Ronstadt. The singer keeps turning up in Eve’s work. Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

Eve is better known for adventurism with men. Dan Wakefield has an amusing story. “Eve always woke before me and was often on the phone, sometimes talking to girlfriends with uncensored intimacy, never bothering to whisper. She evidently assumed that if my eyes were closed I was fast asleep. Not always. … I was not a rock star — that was okay. But then she went on to compare my private parts to those of one of her rock stars, Jim Morrison, describing mine as a “nice” change for the smaller. I was not asleep anymore. My most private part (“private” no more!) was now the subject of discussion, and I was coming off second best — it sounded like a distant second best.”

Honky-Tonk Nights (Rolling Stone August 23, 1979) It was a Magic Moment. A beautiful Sunday morning. The washing machine wasn’t spilling over the drain pipe. I decided to look at my book. H-NN is juicy. It’s about Eve’s groupie adventures at an LA club called The Troubadour. We’ll get to the the rest of the story in a minute, but first the magic on page 112. “… made things seem legit even on nights when Gatsby, Steels and Nosh (what someone dubbed Crosby, Stills and Nash during a particularly horrendous time when they were in the middle of recording that first album and everyone was thinking it should be called Music From Big Ego…”)

“… I was a groupie I posed as an album cover designer and photographer, while others disguised themselves as tailors, record company secretaries, or journalists. For women like us, hanging out in the Troubadour bar every night was, you know, business. I mean, I told people—even myself—that I had to do it. But when I dyed my hair the color of a pumpkin, even my sociology professor uncle, who only knows what he sees on The Merv Griffin Show, wondered if I hadn’t become one of those groupies. …” Eve was dying her hair pumpkin orange when Donald J. Trump was writing “C” on lease applications. The girl was MAGA before MAGA was uncool.

“… You had to wear a diaphragm just to walk through,” Susan Smith, one of the waitresses, told me. “The semen potential was so intense it was enough to get you pregnant just standing there.” Meanwhile, Steve Martin was sitting alone at the bar, drinking a glass of white wine. “Oh, poor Steve, he just has no sense of humor.” …

“ … Steve Martin used to say, “You’re like Linda. You’ve got opinions about things.” I used to worry about that since having opinions about things—if you were a woman in those days—didn’t seem to inspire mink coats or foaming lust … but it was true that Linda and I were somewhat alike, because we both read … and we were both always on diets. In our opinion, the best way to lose weight fast was to go on a fruit fast, and we did this once together—telephoning the other when we ate so much as a single orange—until at the end of the week we both lost twelve pounds. At this transcendent moment, I took a bunch of pictures of Linda to document her perfection: she looked like a French convent girl on her way to seduce a lecherous old count.”

The Troubadour is a trooper. It is still open, all these years later. Alas, when you go to their website, you are assaulted by a popup announcement: “The City of West Hollywood requires all patrons, staff, and artists to be fully vaccinated. To attend a show at the Troubadour all attendees 12 and over will need to provide: Photo ID with Proof of Vaccination (card, photo of card, or CA QR code) Final dose being at least 14 days prior to the show. More information available at″ CA QR Code would have been kinky back in the day.

Anna’s Brando Esquire October 1979 I started to write about Marlon Brando. I typed the word Brando, but spelled it Brand0, with a zero at the end. There is something groovy about calling the actor Brand Zero. Like that song I heard years ago on the radio. “You were Marlon Brando, I was Steve McQueen, You were k.y. jelly, I was vaseline.” It was such a disappointment to learn that boring old Leonard Cohen wrote that.

I was reading AB in a zhugh gothic waiting room. This was where Anna Kashki Brando told about her first encounter with steatopygous glory. STEE-ah-toe-pee-gus means having a fat butt. “Living in rooms opposite these slave girls, and seeing them at all hours of the day and night, I had frequent opportunities of studying them. They were average specimens of the steatopygous Abyssinian breed, broad-shouldered, thin-flanked, fine-limbed, and with haunches of prodigious size.”

Brando for Breakfast, by Anna Kashfi Brando and E. P. Stein, is the topic here. “Anna Kashfi was born Joan O’Callaghan in Darjeeling, where her father, William, worked for the Indian State Railways. Like many Anglo-Indians, William and his wife, Phoebe, decided to relocate to the UK following Indian Independence.” Anna wound up in Hollywood, and married the steatopygous method actor. Anna was the mother of Christian Brando, who was his own brand zero.

After leaving the zhugh palace, I went to a nearby Kroger. The couple in the car beside me were having a loud, entertaining argument. Meanwhile, I read this passage in AB: “In her mixture of rectal conjecture and quotes from Pauline Kael cut in half so that they mean the opposite say the opposite of what they meant, Anna seems to speak for all of them—one long wail of howling outrage.”

Out of the Woods American Film May 1987 It was the next to last year of the Reagan regime. Ronnie was an actor, playing the greatest role of his life. Ronnie did not dye his hair, it was prematurely orange. Eve got a deal to interview James Woods, another actor with a conservative bent.

“Yeah, I put batteries in my alarm clock and try to get here on time. … I admire James Cagney ‘plant your feet on the ground, look the other guy in the eye, and tell the truth’ school of acting. I’m not into the ‘four hours before you go to work pretend you’re a radish’ school of acting. … This guy wants us to drain his blood and sleep in a coffin. It’s like Laurence Olivier’s great line to Dustin Hoffman, who stayed up four days to look tired. He said, “Can’t you try acting?”

Part of the Eve legend is the conversion to MAGA politics. In her groupie pieces, she doesn’t talk about politics. While the entertainment industry is reputed to be wildly liberal, the bottom line is still the bottom line. There is a lot of money in show business, and people do what they have to do. Eve may have been the closet John Bircher at the Troubadour.

Lily Anolik is famous for luring Eve out of her shell. During an appearance, Ms. Anolick talks about how she charms Eve. “she’s my indifferent mistress, and I buy her stuff … These out of print volumes that are enormously expensive about Chinese history. Ann Coulter books, MAGA hats. … just little love tokens, which I always get her … when I’m in Los Angeles …”

Throughout it all, Eve is a white woman. Some sjw-types have taken note. “It’s a breezy rebuff of heteronormative relationships, while also alluding to a seductive life of carefree sex influenced by her own life experiences. But it’s also saturated, as so much of Babitz’s writing is, with a carelessness afforded by whiteness and beauty. Her blithe acknowledgment of her own beauty’s benefits — “I looked like Brigitte Bardot,” she writes in Eve’s Hollywood — ignores the fact that this likeness would not be so advantageous if it did not signify the blonde, fair-skinned aesthetic venerated by the whole of the Western world.” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Atlanta Rising

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on April 6, 2022








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.









I Used to Be Charming Part One

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on March 26, 2022

My current book is I Used to Be Charming, by Eve Babitz. The plan is to have a multi-part dialogue. IUTBC is a collection of magazine pieces. Sometimes the magazine is as much fun as the story. This is especially true for No Onions, a story about Archie, Veronica, and people who don’t to eat onions. The story was in Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.

All This And The Godfather Too kicks off the book. Eve gets hired to go to Lake Tahoe, and write about the production. There are magic moments. Eve gets booked into a San Francisco hotel, along with a spy gathering. The phrase employed here is “buggers convention.” When you consider the British meaning of “bugger,” you realize that San Francisco is always a buggers convention.

On page 27, Eve is writing a story for some magazine. She types on single-sided pieces of paper, and writes a number at the top of each page. Eve is an alcoholic space kitten, and forgets page 29. The manuscript goes to Europe. Someone spends $34 to call Eve, and find out there is no page 29. This happens on page 28 of IUTBC.

Mr. Coppola made of ton of money on the first Godfather, and goes around San Francisco buying things. He’s got this office building, which is now a boutique hotel. Mr. Coppola also bought City Magazine, which became a financial quagmire. City Magazine shut down in 1976. Eve said it was not saving the magazine, as much as keeping the Titanic afloat.

Cindy Williams appears at a dinner. She had starred in a couple of movies, and was starting to make a name for herself. The dinner was before Laverne & Shirley. It is fun to read something 47 years after publication, when you know what the author did not know.

I read a 1980 Playboy in the mid-eighties. The article was about the 1980 elections. A press secretary was asked about the zero factor … the way Presidents, elected in years ending in zero, seem to die in office. The man said, this was interesting, but we really are not worried about it. The PS is question was James Brady, who was severely wounded in an assassination attempt on President Reagan.

ATATGT is written for something called Coast magazine. You can buy a copy on eBay for $99. It’s a beautiful magazine, with a drawing of Mr. Coppola on the cover. Eve Babitz is above the masthead.

My God, Eve, How Can You Live Here? appears in City Magazine, “Vol. 8 No. 64 Apr. 30- May 13, 1975 “Inside Los Angeles” Edition.” Eve wrote a survival guide to LA, intended for visitors from San Francisco. “Rent A Car: That’s Rule One.” She calls one road the Raymond Chandler Memorial Parkway. Chandler wrote fun books, about an LA that no longer exists.

My Life In A 36DD Bra appeared in the April, 1976 edition of Ms. Magazine. How this got on the cover of a feminist magazine is anyone’s guess. Eve’s mammaries are part of her aesthetic. “When she graduated from Hollywood High in 1961, Babitz wrote to Joseph Heller: ‘Dear Joseph Heller, I am a stacked 18-year-old blonde on Sunset Boulevard. I am also a writer. Eve Babitz.’ … Babitz wrote a Daisy Miller-inspired novel, which Heller sent to his publisher: it was turned down.”

Her booby broadside has a feminine slant. The men who hit on Eve routinely say that they are really leg man, even when drooling over her chest. Despite sporting enormous breasts, Eve rattles on about how she does not like her ass. This type of anti-feminism can be dangerous. Another article in the April Ms. was TRASHING: The Dark Side of Sisterhood. If you substitute “cancel culture” for “TRASHING,” that article could have been written today.

Eve had her ups and downs, before taking the ultimate downer December 17, 2021. Someone managed to snag an interview in 2019.

LA Mag You went from sex, drugs, and rock and roll to what The New York Times described as a political conservative and supposed MAGA hat owner.
What brought this change about, and where do you stand now?
Eve I never talk about politics. … Although I was so happy [when] my friend Linda [Ronstadt] was going out with Jerry Brown. …
LA Mag All of your writings contain what the press calls “unabashed hedonism.” We’re living in an antihedonist moment now: political correctness and Twitter quash humor/sarcasm/sexual jokes. Sobriety’s rampant. If your books debuted now, how do think they’d go over?
Eve I can’t imagine, and luckily I don’t have to! Also if I were writing now, I doubt the books would be the same. After all, my sobriety is rampant, too!
LA Mag What are you currently doing with your time?
Eve I see my friends; go to [AA] meetings. I am gratefully sober.
I read all the time: books, magazines, everything.

Losing Weight Made Me A New Person—A Novelist appeared in the September, 1977 edition of Vogue. Traditionally, September is the most important issue of the year for fashion magazines.

The story is as much about alcoholism recovery as losing weight. Eve was quite a lush in her day.
Of course, when you knock off the sauce, you eat/sleep/exercise/fuck better, and become a healthier person. And, as we learned in the 36DD story, Eve was already a healthy girl. Never mind that the early alcohol recovery did not last. Eventually, Eve became a cocaine aficionado.

“Her friend Paul Ruscha was once quoted saying, “She’d blown her book advance on coke, fucked up her nose. She called me, begged me to come over. I couldn’t believe what I saw. There wasn’t an inch of floor not covered in bloody Kleenex. The cats were running around high.” … She stopped using in May of 1982. “Everyone has their own reasons for stopping an addiction. It’s hard to say what it is, except you know in your bones that if you don’t stop at the moment you decide, you never will.”

It is traditional for drunken writers … redundancy alert … to talk about the many authors who were raging drunks. Eve even coins a verb … Mailered … to describe this. Stormin’ Norman was as famous for his drunken brawling as his prose. His place in the slobberin’ scribe hall of fame is assured.

When people noticed that Eve was losing weight, and not being drunk all the time, they started pestering her to write a novel. She started pasting notes together. “I thought it was a little greedy of her. After all, I was the one who’d gotten the corpse from the guy in the alley at midnight; now she wanted me to dissect it all by herself, and I hadn’t even finished drinking the blood.”

I was reading the chapter about losing weight in the Walmart parking lot. At one point, I looked up from the text, to see a 300 pound women and her equally porcine husband. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. More “Charming” episodes are available. two three four five

Common Sense Quote

Posted in Book Reports, Commodity Wisdom, History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on March 19, 2022

0312 – We’re going to conduct a facebook experiment. I posted a video from Dr. John Campbell. He discussed some reputed side effects of the Pfizer vaccine. Soon, Facebook sent me an admonition. “… The post includes information that independent fact-checkers said was partly false. …” The suspicion here is that Facebook has a problem with Dr. Campbell.

On to today’s experiment. I’m listening to another video from Dr. Campbell. He admits that he made some errors in his interpretation of the Pfizer data. He goes on to say “you can’t put solid footsteps into fresh air you need solid ground.” This is just a common sense quote. My plan for today is to make a video segment of the CSQ, and post it on Facebook. Lets see if the fact-checkers have a problem with it. As of March 19, Facebook has been silent.

0314 – I was through with Blocked and Reported, and making great progress on my picture. It was time to go out. I had two destinations. One was the gym. The other was the library. I had a book, The Santa Suit, to return. Think — inside the work — outside the work.

TSS is not a great book. Perhaps that was what was needed. With the book I am starting, quotables lie on every page. The desire to go in depth may prove irresistible. However, I read to have fun. Sometimes a trifle like TSS is what I need. Just read a story, without provoking great thought. The fact that TSS is easy to read indicates that the author worked like hell. Easy writing makes tough reading.

0318 – I’ve stumbled onto this podcast series about the shooting of Martin Luther King, The MLK Tapes. The shooting was quickly blamed on James Earl Ray. He was supposed to be a racist/white supremacist, and most people believed he was guilty. It turns out that there were serious problems with the government’s case. The podcast series is downright fascinating. It’s not something I’ve really thought about a whole lot. I just accepted the conventional wisdom, and went on with my life.

In episode 3, the case was going to trial. Mr. Ray’s lawyers were confident of an acquital. The government was not going to have that. For some reason, Mr. Ray fired his first lawyer. A gentleman named Percy Foreman took over. Soon Mr. Ray entered a guilty plea.

In the show, people talk about how worthless Percy Foreman was. I was curious if Mr. Foreman was still alive, so I googled him. A legal document turned up. JB Stoner was lawyer number three. Mr. Stoner was an extreme racist, even by Georgia standards. He ran for Governor in 1970, and made a spectacle of himself. At one point, Mr. Stoner sued a TV station, to allow an ad with the n-word.

There are many stories that could be told about JB Stoner. The candidates were speaking at the Governor’s Honors program. Mr. Stoner was going through his routine, when three students starting walking up the aisle. A young black man, with a blonde on each arm, walked up the aisle to the front of the hall. The man who won the Governor’s race, Jimmy Carter, was laughing so hard that tears came out of his eyes. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Mr. Eno And Mr. Isherwood

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Religion by chamblee54 on March 8, 2022

I was listening to a conversation between Brian Eno and Rick Rubin. Mr. Eno made a comment that sent me down a google rabbit hole, looking for a digital holy grail. When I did not find what I was looking for, I returned to the conversation. Before long, Mr. Eno said something very similar.

“I’d heard something on NPR. It was a poet, a black poet from somewhere in America, reading this poem called Cadillac. I spent years trying to find this thing. I never found it. I wrote to NPR, and I phoned them up, and everything. It was called Pink Cadillac … this amazing, very rhythmic poem, about how he wanted a Pink Cadillac.” This quote got me thinking about another detail.

There are bits of knowledge that want to remain hidden. One is from Christopher Isherwood. It was in a magazine, sometime before 1994. The author died in 1986. The comment was about when you choose a religion. It is not the doctrine that attracts you to a religion, it is the people who introduce you to this observance. If the right person had told Mr. Isherwood about Catholicism, he would have become a Catholic. Instead, in 1938, Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard introduced Mr. Isherwood to Swami Prabhavananda, and the Vedanta Society of Southern California.

“He (Isherwood) published an account of his spiritual journey at the end of his life, called My Guru and His Disciple.… It’s interesting because it’s so frank and unromantic about the spiritual life. Where Alan Watts basically bullshitted his way to guru status while secretly being an alcoholic and treating his wives like crap, Isherwood is totally upfront about his boredom, his frustration, his vanity, his sexual escapades … he gave us a wonderfully unvarnished account of spiritual mediocrity. As Pema Chodron says, we spend most of our spiritual lives in the middle – not completely lost, yet not completely saved. Just muddling through.”

I did not find the quote I was looking for, but I did find another piece to the puzzle. I went back to Mr. Eno and Mr. Rubin. Then, out of nowhere, came this: “I think that’s the that’s the power of religion as well. The power of religion is not the connection with God, but the connection with the rest of the congregation. The connection with all of the people who also believe in that particular story. I’m not really religious myself but i really respond to that idea.”

Before we return to The Library of Congress for more pictures, there is a quote about God. While responding to a question about spiritual discipline, Mr. Eno said: “I don’t want to be a believer. I want to be somebody who, as far as possible, understands and knows things. Believing things leaves me a little bit unsatisfied. If I find myself believing something, I want to test the belief. I want to say how do I find out how valid this is.” If you want more, you can listen to the complete interview.