Okay, this just trickled in from the Facebook Liberation Front. Robert Swartwout, a mid-level manager at the managerially-corrupt Veterans Administration has just reported that Hurricane Arthur the Miserable has left the North Carolina shores and is spinning out to sea, so the quarterly Swartwout family vacation can resume full speed now that the lights are back on. I imagine a slightly different tone has smothered the coastal towns, resulting in pressing exchanges of concern among the locals about property damages and minor setbacks, but those resilient people live season to season in that horrid storm zone, so they usually manage to snap back rather quickly from a storm of this low magnitude. The ones that don't or can't simply leave for less breezy arrangements.
My snarky but intended only in fun reply to Robert:
Only a low down high fallutin' Connecticut Yankees fan would pay perfectly good US-inflated tourist dollars to win emergency merit badges by way of a stinking little Cat 2 Carolina 'Cane, but also like a perfectly good Connecticut Yankees fan, you didn't turn and run like a low down high fallutin' blue belly deserter either. Therefore, it's a sipping whiskey wash as they say...so please do enjoy your elegant poseur fishing and other fine washables while the government continues to soak the rest of us, and the natives just smile as they're taking yours!
It was a bright day until someone asked the meaning of life, not in the form of a question, but in the form of a meme. Seems my good friend Mike Twigger, as is his way, reposted a rather humorous image with its own text superimposed. In other words, that image to the left of this paragraph. What follows next is a matter of interpretation of what seemed a fairly straight forward riff on scientists, what they know, and how they play it. Then out came the bunny rabbits one by one, doing the bunny hop.
I say, "Good One!"
Laura Waldron then pipes in, "So it's right to force unwanted pregnancies on women?"
Never one to succumb to tired old fiddlesticks, I retort, "Is it right to force unwanted hangovers on young males? Stretching an argument into something else is easy..."
Laura then has the audacity to relieve me of my sensitivities, "Yeah, what does a guy's hangover have to do with a woman's body? Stay on subject."
Now this was just plain vulgarity to my ears. Stay on subject? After she'd jumped from that image to forcing unwanted pregnancies on women?
But Twigger takes her bait. I mean, how long can one argue Laura's point? Argue it into the ground? It's already in the ground. Dead and buried. I have my view. You have yours. Nuff said. But Twigger weighed in. "I agree as a Christian [that] life starts at conception... therefore the baby should have as much right as the mother... although if it affects the mothers health then yes abortion should be available and safe. I believe there should also be surrogate mothers who could carry the baby to term if the real mom didn't want the child."
Well, that last point was interesting. Taking fetus from one oven to another. But that argument about saving the mother's life in a crisis over the life of the fetus has always left me a bit cold and unconvinced. However, Laura responds to Mike before I have the chance to build anything on that small piece of well-treaded ground, "Surrogate mothers expect to get paid. Unwanted pregnancies leads to the birthing of unwanted children which leads to said children being neglected and abused. Speaking from experience here."
Damn interesting comeback. I suppose she now prefers that she'd had been aborted. Now, that's a revolutionary statement, if truly believed by its speaker, which I strongly doubt. But I leave that alone for now. Instead I stay on my original course and her first point once removed, that is staying on topic, or at least the topic she wanted to rehash, "Hahahaha. Laura. I knew you would say that. You took my bait. So to recap. What does determining a living cell found in the womb of a pregnant woman to be life have to do with forcing unwanted pregnancies on women? You, Ms. Waldron, jumped the shark, first."
Her reply was simple. She was catching up. "Because of what the meme implies. Duh. And its so obvious that its a pro lifer meme."
Well, it was time to wrap all this together in a neat package before I could return to her most recent jewel. Is life more important than a wretched childhood, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, my dear, and perhaps one day you will realize it. Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is what I said next, "I call that a bunny hop. Memes can lead anywhere. Like, uh, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar can lead some of us to think well, duh, sometimes, life is just life. End of story. Nothing about abortions or a right to choose or baby names or rapists or regret or sex with your daddy. Besides Laura. If you drink too much, just expect a hangover. Complaining about it or slicing and dicing about how you got that drunk doesn't change anything. You're stuck with the hangover. How you deal with it is the almighty gift of initiative. But then, sometimes bunny hops just get a bit off the beaten path, don't you think? THAT was my point to you at the top of this thread. The question wasn't guess a meme, it was about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media who should know better. That's a meme that begins and ends with the information as it was given. We now see where taking unauthorized bunny hops can lead.
Then Miss Liberty and all her tired, her poor, her huddled masses came a knocking with a link that is supposed to prove something to me, again having nothing to do with the original laugh track at scientists and the media. "Oldest, largest, and only statewide Pro-Life organization in Texas. I don't think I came to any false conclusions or BUNNY HOPS. I think youhoweverare trying to be contrarian with me and it won't work as I'm the biggest contrarian I know. You may want to make the meme about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media and make it this deep thing but it was intended to be an attack on Women's CHOICE, on the rights to our bodies, and if women don't fight this attack on us, then what's next? Making rape legal? See you can say its an orange all you want but the truth is, it's an apple."
And she really thinks she's clever, parroting these threadbare statements. After all, apples and oranges in her arguments would be the same because they are both fruits, or to her point, designed to keep women away from the authority over their own bodies. But I press on, "You want to know what's next? Simple. You framed it yourself, in so many words. The question stated: is your own wretched childhood more important than the non-existence from which you were spared, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, dear contrarian," adding, "I refuse to fall for retread handbook. You stretch a simple question about the origins of life into a parade of boogie men without once mentioning the predominant track of using abortion on demand as a high dollar, high risk prophylactic."
"I also refuse to accept you binary proposition. Death is all around us. I can do little about any of it. I take no religious or political position on abortion except to dig further for the truth wherever I find it. But I do find its current practice vulgar and self-serving. If you, Laura Waldron, are so wise as to assign policy binaries on every swirling detail you are fortunate to be able to observe, I dare suggest that you are indeed better off having been born even though you may have experienced a shoddy childhood, rather than to have been neutralized as a thriving embryo. Frankly, this is a tiresome and well-documented argument you make. I found freshness in precisely the point that the image and caption Mike posted made clear, and nothing else, since as I say, if I want an abortion debate there are infinite other places to find one that an ironic Facebook post. The fact that you ran in to make it something else on the basis of a tired meme was your prerogative I suppose, but it certainly isn't the only meme attached to the meaning of life that makes stellar commentary useful and exhonerating. In other words, I write for my own reasons, and you and your transitional memes have nothing to do with it. Lastly, I trust my sarc has not exceeded but merely equaled yours towards me, tat for tit, apple for orange, squeezed or simple peeled, for I would never want to make you feel stupid."
To be continued, if Laura Waldron has more to add. With kind regards to its awesome powers of community, nevertheless King Facebook is not my home. There are reasons for that, also, but I'm sure the usual meme would not suffice, but for sake of shortness of breath, let's just agree that it does (whatever that might be).
I saw the seven words, then it finally registered with all the synchronicity of a lighted odometer turning over from all nines to all zeroes. This was it! The riddle had been solved! In ill-considered black and white here before me, written three days earlier, on my mother’s 48th birthday was the culminating stroke of this freaky name-change operation thing I had charted for months with soft sell handshakes and strange grimaces to any new person who happened to meet me.
And I took the name Gabriel Thy...
The Howell House was clean and active, even upscale I suppose one could say, secure and nearly two-thirds geriatric. My mother lived four floors above me up on the sixth floor of the 18-story building. She was on staff as the senior citizens coordinator and bookkeeper, and I occasionally helped her out with some of the more confined and colorful patrons doing odd chores for them. I was anxious to tell her of my discovery, although I could hardly expect her to understand the impact this fresh twig of myth and reality would have on me, Richard, the eldest of her seven children. It was her birthday and we were to have dinner together. I was bursting with excitement but I was understandably challenged by a mother's sense of her own naming rightsto bring the gift of reason to the dinner table that night.
How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one’s business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.
As it was written on the page, the nameGabriel Thywas not given but was taken. This seemingly minor detail concerned me for a quite a while, not in a truly bothersome way, but as a nuisance, like a flapping scarecrow in a field of errors. Having taken this name was it no longer a gift? But when someone gives you a nickel, don’t you take it and perhaps slip it into your own pocket? Such were the subtleties of bible and literary scholarship, and so it was with my own problematic gestures.
I was thoroughly bewildered. The name was certainly an odd one, a very special one. I liked it, approved of it, but without a doubt it certainly had a very pretentious ring to it. I was not at all certain I in good faith could take it. And what would I do with it? The cornpone religiosity, the in-your-face God-component of the now prophetic name-change operation, self-fulfilling and otherwise, was obvious to me. But I was sure others would laugh me right off the sidewalk. What about those who already knew me as RSNa right interesting vintage acronym already, particularly when pronounced Risen or risin as in...Christ is risen! How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one's business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.
Having finished with ecclesiastical literature, about this time I had also finished reading, was presently reading, or would very soon be reading the herded vapors of Gide, Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Miller, Darwin, Kerouac, Nietzsche, Castaneda, and Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, A Metaphorical Fugue on Minds and Machines in the Spirit of Lewis Carroll, the latter, a landmark ransom for me, among others. But I would not wholly give up the ghost. I clung to every shred of hope massaging my investigations that God would clear me for landing his understanding, that each and every one of the moderns were wrong in their denial of deity, dead wrong in their intemperance in disparaging the creative power from without, even as they worshipped the creative power within whether it be DNA or environmental advantages. Time and time again I found the writers complaining not against Christ but rather against the wretched incarnations of the church, its scavengerlike methods poisoning their minds against all of the burlier forms of theology and the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jesus of Nazareth. Still I persisted just as I persist today.
And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.
I don’t remember my mother’s initial reactions to my telling the tale of the harbinger bringing forth her son a new name. Not then, not there. She in all likelihood, since I don’t specifically remember her response, sighed and said something along the lines of, “That’s interesting, son,” while thinking to herself that this was just a passing artistic phase or something or another and to follow form she’d share no words either of encouragement or of any personal horror. She’d always thought of herself as somewhat of a mystic, but was not easily persuaded that any such thing would rub off onto her children. So I use the words "not then, not there" simply because there was no mindjarring quarrel I recall from that Sunday night, and shortly thereafter, speaking both epistemologically and chronologically, things begin to shift into place with great importance.
The name was mine to take. That much was had been chanced upon, had been written, had arrived in a happy circumstance. There was no doubt in my mind that this was living theatre, that I had been given an emblazoned word of prophecy in Corpus Christi, and it was fulfilled here in Atlanta because I had stayed the course. But I also intuited that there were certain terms involved, certain measures and quotas to be filled, certain spiritual hoops to be jumped through in order to discern whether or not this was this real McCoy. Because it was my understanding that I’d come to this earth through the wondrous body of a woman, was named by that same woman, had bullishly married and was now irreparably separated from another woman once twice my age, it was preserved in my mind and reinforced by circular logic that if this name change was truly from God, my doubts could only be dispelled if endorsed by a woman. And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.
I was working three hours a day downtown delivering pizzas and sandwiches on foot to the downtown Atlanta highrise luncheon crowd. I saw many faces and shared a quick grin or a few words of friendly chat, but my social importance was next to nothing. When I had a few dollars to spare I’d occasionally dip into a rather eclectic pub down Peachtree Street a few blocks from the Howell House for a pitcher of cheap suds, but knew only a few guys, the bar maid, and maybe one woman superficially at best. The happy hour crowd was always buzzing with a spattering of high profile cultural scooters including the nucleus I later grew to appreciate individually as an art curator, a couple of attorneys, an old hippie or two, a librarian, a couple of salesmen, a science fiction aficionado, a banker, a copywriter, an amateur actress, a faux cubist painter, a few struggling musicians, a chess champion, and a CDC technician.
The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.
This circle of soon to be regulars was still small at the time of the White Crow writing. All of them knew me as Richard, slightly weird and chalked up with an armload of library books. Keep in mind of course that when I introduced myself to someone, that was the last mention of a name-change operation, the line was dead until the next stranger was introduced. I didn’t go around like some enfilading riflemouth spraying people with some nonsense line in search of attention. In fact I was often quite self-conscious when introducing myself. Within a few days (three, four, five?) however I was to meet a young woman four or five years older than me named Kathleen Baker, a woman whose more delicate features were overshadowed by the liberal contours of her body. She weighed over 300 pounds, sang classical music with the voice of a monk, and immediately seemed to enjoy the nimble dispatches my wit invested among the afternoon mélange. Thinking again as I write this, perhaps I hadn’t told my mother of the Gabriel Thy transmogrification after all, not then that night of her birthday, for whatever reasons I now forget, because with each ascendant memory, in fact, as I am thinking about this concentratedly for the first time in many years, it seems that Kathleen Baker’s were the very first ears to hear the entire mess of fish from beginning to end, sans of course, the still confidential part about needing a woman to validate the transition (part of the test is to not publicly reveal all the details but to allow the truth to unfold according to God’s will and not mine), and that she energetically embraced the novelty of what she was hearing and resolved at that very first meeting to call me Gabriel, Gabriel Thy, enough said. And so in that unorchestrated off the cuff fashion this woman became the first person to know me only as Gabriel Thy, not Richard Nix.
Yes, that was it. She listened to my poem and she approved. Mother would learn only later, and now I recall another event which I shall get to shortly. That afternoon at the Stein tavern I did however note my apprehension at appearing far too pretentious for these cynical hobbyhorse times by dubbing myself Gabriel Thy. I was a nothing, a fledgling writer, a seeker after an illusive and much debated truth, caught within the mechanical web of all breeds and conjugation of fact and fantasy, and yet despite my busy faith and rote exhilaration, I could not call myself a christian because quite frankly I couldn't fathom exactly what the word meant anymore, if indeed I ever did. There were so many conflicting versions of the title that I just preferred to leave it alone, to let the scavengers pick the bones clean if need be.
Little did I know at the time that even as I in all seriousness was changing my name thousands of others were performing a similar operation. The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.
Names like Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious became the norming curve for acceptance into this thriving cult of nothingness. My own name mutation, void of applause or record deals, shock value or normalcy, was a serious matter, referencing everything I earnestly believed about the nature and signature of the Creator, flagging for all to observe, his will for me and mankind. To understand this name would take time for me as I experienced what surely would be a new direction in destiny. The easy part was over. Onto the Directed Path of God’s dotted line I was willing to sign, but where, and how?
My anxiety with these problematic questions did not evaporate with the introduction to Kathleen. I still begged in my spirit for more validation.
From Bonnie Jones Davisson
September 27, 2009 at 10:58am
You are such an inspiration Gabriel! I will call you that because it suits you as you are. I am so sorry to hear about your mother's struggles. One thing my siblings and I did was to pamper my mother as she was - a true queen. In her latter months, we would go into the nursing home and just crawl inro bed with her, holding her close just to hear her heart beat. We are a very close family, and it was all because of her. She was our sun, and we were mearly planets made from her stardust.
Yes, David died in his sleep. His heart just stopped. He was a type A, head of the gyn. dept. in Thomasville GA. If I go, that's how I want to do it. I remember in one of my attempts at leaving ths Earth, I was guided by David for 3 days, as I spoke French the entire time. Strange what the mind will do. Mutt is simply that, a Mutt. I hear he also has heart troubles, but his boxing days were over a long time ago. He and I had an affair during his boxing days, but my true love was David. I sincerely think had Bobby not been around the two of us would have connected. Mutt has 2 boysHunter and Fisherwhich speaks volumns as to Mutt's lack of sincerity and unimaginable ego. Were it not for his mousy wife, Robin, his sons would be wild and free, much like Luke's. Good grief! I have told you more buried secrets of my life than I have anyone else! Why do you have my trust so easily?
I have not been on Facebook much lately. I am preoccupied with my daughter's wedding. As a highly gifted child, she is rejecting all tradtitional ceremonies, and is insisting on wearing a pair of $400 knee boots under her dress - of which I thought looked cheap. Intervention meant going to Athens and visiting flower shops, which she finally conceded as beautiful, but is still stubbornly rejecting the cake, which I will do anyway. She will thank me when she's older.
I am also preoccupied with changing pain medication doctors and doing physical therapy. I am also studying with a Jehovah's Witness, of which I have 2 sisters who have practised the religion for over 40 years. Too much has come to pass that they have said would to ignore this religin as not being at least worthy of a second look. I also like the way they are always studying the Bible. Their worships on Sundays are not ranting and ravings, but actual talks by various elders who constantly refer to the Bible to support their subject of the day. I was amazed that in Genesis, it says that the Earth shangs in the heavens as if on a string. Why didn't the Pope KNOW that when the church banned Copernicus to house arrest?
Many exciting things happening right now. I will keep you posted.
Your friend and confidant,
Woman, oh, woman. Well, with every note, Bonnie, you come with both barrels loaded it seems. That's a good thing. Thanks for the update on the Daniel brothers. Tragic, in David's case. As stated earlier, I didn't actually know Mutt, and I had no idea that you bounced around with him at some point. I do appreciate your honesty. Very refreshing to find someone who finds redemption in detail, and craves loveliness despite the reckoning one's path in life often brings...
The story of your mother, of course, is a warming example of what family life can be. Cling to the memories, dear woman. Life is fleeting, and we make of it what we dare within the circumstances we may wrestle and the choices we can muster. Unfortunately, my family never quite measured up to those many ideals we sought, rugged individualists to the core, each of us, beginning with a hardcore alcoholic father and a mother of seven who never REALLY wanted to mother, but chafed an entire life craving to exude ideas of exceptionalism while denying her often troubled, even troublesome yet striving children the same. But after all is said and done, I guess she did her best, as did we.
But here we are, 24 fat and lean years later, still tied in knots, madly in love with each other, best friends forever, and rarely seen in public without the other except during the weekday when she counts the beans in her big office while I chip away at the art world. Her already elderly parents were scandalized by all the brute stylings of the wedding we planned ourselves (mostly me), and for that small over-indulgence I am regretful, but it WAS indeed a unique event.
I hazard to make any remarks about your daughter's choice of wedding apparel because you may be right. The boots may indeed look cheap. Cheap is a fashion choice with its place, its own context and subtext, it still must fit and flow.
I too, am strongly opinionated about fashion, although I am somewhat of a slob myself except when I reclaim the magic. Then I can't fail to strike an erstwhile artistic pose with compliments swirling. In another life, as the saying goes, I might very well have aspired to a life of fashion design. You may remember from high school some rather odd choices I wore to class. Checkered pants, golfer's attire. White shoes, perhaps. From junior high forward, my bold clothes tended to set me apart from the general population, a trait I still maintain to some degree.
That said, my tastes range from traditional upscale lines to street punk debonair. Without embarrassment I have all but dressed my wife for 26 years. Admittedly she resisted early on, but grew to appreciate the benefits. She of course now solicits my eye, and recognizes that I love quality with flair. She sometimes admits the truth that she exudes no taste whatsoever, if anything, maybe classic Tom Robbins cowgirl blues couture. So, if daughter's boots are shiny vinyl high kickers, I say, yuck to cheap, kitsch hooker glam. No way. But if they are matte black thigh high combat boots, with luxurious white quilt-stitched silk gripping her, she'd have my vote, as long as she matches it with a black silk headscarf appointed with red rose to regale her hair in something other than a stale 1950s-1960s bouffant that is so popular with the wedding planner set for decades. Of course, I'm presuming she has long hair, but even if she doesn't, a similar treatment would probably be agreeable. This is all fanciful speculation, of course. Can't quite kill the punk rocker aesthetic I wholeheartedly embraced I suppose.
OK. That was me in Project Runway mode. Please pardon me, if I've insulted you, Bonnie. Perhaps I should share. At the Sue & Gabriel wedding in 1985, no holds barred punk rock motif all the way, my wife and I boasted a square black cake with a pirate's skull & crossbones on top in mockery of all the scripted storybook marriages that then and now fail at a 50% rate. She called all over the city of WASHINGTON, DC for black roses. None could be found. Florists thought she was crazy. We ended up spraying silk red roses black. Nowadays, authentic black roses are found everywhere, roses actually bred to be black. Yup, we were part of a trendsetter generation, for better or worse. But here we are, 24 fat and lean years later, still tied in knots, madly in love with each other, best friends forever, and rarely seen in public without the other except during the weekday when she counts the beans in her big office while I chip away at the art world. Her already elderly parents were scandalized by all the brute stylings of the wedding we planned ourselves (mostly me), and for that small over-indulgence I am regretful, but it WAS indeed a unique event.
As for the Jehovah's Witnesses, I too, have extreme experience with them. But I will delay that deposition until the next letter.
From:Bonnie Jones Davisson
Date: September 24, 2009 at 11:35am
Is that you, the clown? My husband worked at a Holiday Inn when we first moved to Orlando, and I voted at a Holiday Inn Express during that fateful '00 election, but I still don't see the connection. This one you will be forced to slap me directly in the face with the answer.
Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie. Go back to my original post. I was making some kind of joke, and I parenthetically proposed that you read the line I had written metaphorically with the same spirit, voice, and cadence as the commercial. The rodeo clown is not me, and has nothing to do with me, nor does Holiday Inn have anything to do with me, but is only one of many commercials Holiday Inn Express has aired using this same "voice" that beams, "Yada yada yada, but I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night" inferring that a good night's rest at Holiday Inn Express was of such magical power that a stay allowed you to perform extraordinary, almost magical feats in situations you are hardly trained to accomplish, the next day. If that explanation doesn't help, I mean really, let's drop it. It's no big deal, unless you suspect that magic is somehow in the making. I am quite the metaphysician's mystic myself, but have a strong objective side to me that discounts the hocus pocus of wordgames as just that, wordgames. Wittgenstein, Popper, and all those crazy but highly focussed philosophers who taught us that language is a conspiracy of two or three gathered. We simply create and agree upon understanding, thus realizing the etymological organism in its most basic organizational form. That stuff...
I am disturbed to hear of your health predicaments. You have a darling family and chances are they still want you and need you in their lives. And didn’t I read that you’re gifted with a loving husband soon to be restoring his Lady to the Theme Park sovereignty of her youth? Slow fun can be fun too.
Meanwhile, among other bombshells I expect to volley one at a time, you mentioned that David Daniel died. When and how, do you mind? I heard Mutt became a professional boxer, but don't know any more than that. Dr. Henry Rodeffer is still in Fernandina, I discovered. What about Suzy? What about Philip Daugherty? What's his story? Mark didn't reply. Not that I expected anything more.
As for you dear Lady, convivial Queen of Theme Parks everywhere, don't let the wretched Georgia school system claw at your soul. It's hardly a secret, but everyone with spark in the dark is hush hush and too politically correct to admit that America the Beautiful is crumbling from within and without. Unfortunately it's my perception that things are only headed for the worse. There appears to be no escape. If you must acquiesce, allow any enemy their folly, but never give into these bastards, whatever their stripe. Our only consolationas unforgiving time renders its verdictis even breakneck stupidity is fleeting.
I am disturbed to hear of your health predicaments. You have a darling family and chances are they still want you and need you in their lives. And didn't I read that you're gifted with a loving husband soon to be restoring his Lady to the Theme Park sovereignty of her youth? Slow fun can be fun too.
She had flown that night with less than five dollars in her pocket. So she had to leave the hostel and foot it to the Western Union Office however far away that was, and have somebody wire her the money. Her grant check as expected came in the mail at the hostel on Monday, less than 24 hours after she was found dead on Easter Sunday.
My mother also died, now about five years ago, struggling down that last stretch in seeking her doctorate at the Adler School of Psychology, starting school in her late-fifties at Oglethorpe U there in Atlanta, earning her BA in 1999, where she was a star, and main topic in the president's address at Graduation Day. All this after raising six kids, having triple bypass surgery, and beating cancerous melanoma and lymphoma. My mother, however was a psychological mess, very smart, but with a keen intelligence mismanaged with great care, as her entire life was spent seeking respect, when in reality it wasn't respect she wanted but a highly cultivated admiration. She suffered all manner of struggle just to be admired, but most of all she wanted to be recognized as an authority. But at 69, she crumpled to the bed in a Chicago youth hostel on Maudy Thursday of the '03 Easter weekend, after a long flight from Atlanta only to be told by the NEW night manager that she couldn't get into her room (of nearly three years) until she caught up with her rent. She had flown that night with less than five dollars in her pocket. So she had to leave the hostel and foot it to the Western Union Office however far away that was, and have somebody wire her the money. Her grant check as expected came in the mail at the hostel on Monday, less than 24 hours after she was found dead on Easter Sunday.
She was a true character, a product of her generation however, and while I am indeed MY MOTHER'S SON, the eldest of six, and closest in resemblence both physically and intellectually to her, we were fiercely at odds most of the time in a battle of wits I refused to concede simply because she was my mother.
There's more, lots more, Bonnie, but I'll end here for now. Forget the Holiday Inn Express bit. It's totally irrelevant to anything of consequence...
Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.
(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)
1. I used to hang with Ru Paul in Atlanta back when HE played in a band called Wee Wee Pole, mostly at the 688 Club and the Bistro, both now defunct.
2. I was a brilliant child (one of the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging myself through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix…), then I bumped into the lads of 9353, and learned something else about myself.
3. Bob Dylan, Thomas Paine, and Henry Miller, in that order fascinate me to the ends of the intellectual spool, are my heroes, and oddly enough, both the Right and the Left claim them (well, Miller might not make the cut on the Right), and yet all are despised by both the Right and the Left when it suits them.
4. I hitchhiked from Atlanta to NYC to meet Allen Ginsberg with seven cents in my pocket because I had lost my whole $250 paycheck earned working a roofing tar kettle the night before dancing and boozing with a hole in my pocket I had sworn to avoid, all in celebration of my departure. I also met my future wife on that trip. It's a long story.
5. I was a literary poet when I came to DC. I then became a drunk, quit writing poetry in deference to my rocker friends and enemies like Bruce, Boyd, Vance, Gene, Jamie, Rene, Lloyd, Frank, Henry, Andy, Jack and so many more of that squiggle of spit-possessed renegades.
6. I grew up poor among the poor. My five siblings and I often slept in sleeping bags curled up around the only kerosene heater in the house built in 1865, later burned to the ground by an arsonist in 1972, along with many of my childhood treasures. My father collected junk Cadillac & Pontiac hearses and DUIs as if nothing else existed for him.
7. I once told Jesse Jackson I don't stomp the pavement for any cause. And yes, I shook Ronald Reagan's hand as he was leaving the Jacksonville Convention Center in 1972, as a Nixon delegate in the first highschool mock convention of its kind. My particular Florida highschool represented the state of Tennessee. Shirley Chisolm was also there.
8. I recall the Kennedy assassination in full black and white. I was in the third grade. I watched the aftermath at Darwin Gale's house while he was outside playing in the dirt with toy soldiers, our usual connivance.
9. I was married to a Jehovah's Witness twice my age, mother of three, when I was eighteen, four weeks after she smothered my virginity. What a dweeb I was! It lasted three horrific years.
10. With a nod to Yeats, I slouched in the dirty and dangerous coke ovens at Bethlehem Steel on Lake Michigan back when America was strong, though the steel industry was just then beginning to feel the coming shrinkage.
11. My grandfather regularly played chess with King Faisal Ibn Abdul of Saudi Arabia when he was a construction superintendent there in 1966. This king was later assassinated by his own nephew. Spud Woodward, my grandfather, left after six months of his two year tour seriously needing an adult beverage, of course banned over there.
12. I became a painter after reading a book.
13. I believe America is in deep shit, and I also believe we haven't a pooper scooper to our name as a nation.
14. If it weren't for money, I'd be a rich man.
15. I lost a 900 page novel manuscript among other fine washables when I accidentally erased it off my computer.
16. As a former Episcopalean acolyte and Eagle scout, well not quite, my family moved to a remote barrier island owned by the Carnegie and Rockefeller families when I was fourteen, effectively ending my scouting career at Life, anyhow, what was my point?
17. My family were among the original band of Scottish Highlanders to found the State of Georgia. Names like Mackintosh, Spalding, Kenan, Woodward, Atwood lead straight to me. Big effing deal some might say; I say it's all in how you present the information. Did I mention one of my ancestors traced my heritage straight to William the Conqueror, the bastard lord of feudalism? Thirty-one generations. I did the math. Lots of people are my cousins.
18. I have never been to college. But I am still a tool of my enemy, and I cannot visualize an escape.
19. Guns. Now that's something William S. Burroughs knew something about.
20. I either secretly or outright despise Marxists because I am right of center and am more generous with my time and my treasure than any "ever so concerned" Marxist I have ever met.
21. I realize that the line is being drawn in the sand even as I write these words and parse these syllables. There is no time left to write poems or paint pretty pictures. Now is the time for all good men and women to rise to the challenges our spineless leaders have injected into our collective bloodstream.
22. Twenty-five years with the same woman. Haplessly married, but unbreachably united. A story for the ages. Check out Abelard and Heloise.
23. I am either supra-confident in public (usually a byproduct of alcohol, of which I rarely partake these days), or timid and tragically neurotic and full of self-doubt. Ask around.
24. In the spirit of jolly old Saint Nix (one of my former namesakes), I am always making a list and checking it twice, determined as hell to discover who is naughty and who is nice.
25. My greatest shame is that few people who call themselves my friends have ever bothered to listen to my Internet radio station, Radio Scenewash, or read, much less respond to any of my blogs in the several years I have operated them. Such is MY life in the fast lane among the self-satisfied and the splendid.
Richard Handley Waller artist, poet, and lover of music.
"What if you had been a child put to work in a cotton field near Roanoke, AL, and ten years later you found yourself in a room with the Emperor of China? It happened to me, but I didn't have the slightest idea who the man was."
This was the lead sentence to the autobiography Richard Waller was working on before his death. It also reflects on the extraordinarily interesting life he led.
Richard Handley Waller, 81, of Albany, GA, died of heart failure August 8 at Phoebe Putney Hospital, after a long illness. The body will be cremated as per Mr. Waller's express wishes. He will be interred in Roanoke, AL, next to his beloved Mother, Father and Brother; Ethel George Waller Hedrick, Handley Saunders Waller and Thomas Eugene Waller. Mathews Funeral Home in Albany, GA is in charge of the arrangements. A graveside memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. (CST), Saturday, August 16, 2008, at Cedarwood Cemetery in Roanoke, AL. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Albany Symphony in memory of Richard Handley Waller.
Mr. Waller was born in Roanoke, AL, grew up in Newnan, GA, and served in the U.S. Army in Manila and Tokyo in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Headquarters. While he was in the service, his family moved to Albany, GA. In 1954, he received a BS degree from the School of General Studies of Columbia University in the City of New York, where he lived for twenty years. He returned to Georgia in 1970 and was retired from Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation. He made his home in Albany for over thirty years and was well known in the community.
Mr. Waller was a world traveler and enjoyed the art and architecture of the many countries he visited. He enjoyed his retirement in Albany and was a member and past president of the Georgia Artists Guild; a staunch supporter of the Albany Symphony; and a member of the Albany Writers Club. A talented writer who was not afraid to express his opinion on matters he cared about, Mr. Waller also often injected humor in his editorials and poems. Many will remember his letters to the editor in The Albany Herald's "Squawk Box" and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Also a talented poet, he was the author of two books: Beethoven's Brain and Other Poems, which was used as part of the ticket sales for the Newport Music Festival in Newport, RI in 1995 and what he considered his highest achievement; and The Famous God Said Sonnets. He also composed music and lyrics; played the violin and the guitar. Always creative, he won awards as a talented painter and photographer.
Mr. Waller had an inquisitive mind, and was constantly reading and studying music, art, writing, religion, and, in later years, mastered the computer. He liked to point out that on his paternal great-grandfather's gravestone is carved these words that also describe his life: "He did what he could." His wit and his e-mails will be sorely missed by his family and many friends. He loved to share his knowledge with all.
He was born a Baptist, but died a Universalistone who believes that salvation is extended to all mankind. A life-long bachelor, he is survived by cousins on both sides of his family, Wallers and Georges, and by many nieces and nephews of his step-family, the Hedricks of Albany and Atlantasome loved, some unloved; and, the feeling was mutual. He is also survived by his beloved cat, Prunella.
Married in March, they are newlyweds, but my brother's daughter Jill, now living back at home with her dad, and her husband Jon Wall, now serving in Afghanistan, after a stint in Germany, are rocking or are soon to be rocking both the cradle and the world. Weall of us in the extended Woodward familiesthank you for your devoted service, Jon!
Jill is expecting their first child in December, and Jonathan just got a write-up in the famous Armed Services newspaper STARS & STRIPES. The Mid-East edition. Read it all.
As for not allowing HTML, you betcha. I prefer to keep a clean house, plain and simple. People posting oversized crap wrecks havoc on a web page. I rescued Shelley at her request from an overwrought posting a few days back.
Sorry, but now you know my dirty little secret, I'm THAT breed of jerk.
I grew up in a household of chaos, spiritual corrosion, and debilitating disorganization thanks to otherwise pre-occupied parents, one on drink, one against it, and five struggling siblings sporting varying degrees of that synthethic victory over the world around us, so I was fortunate to be born with a natural tendency and intense desire to create order in my life. Except for the pitiful state I allowed my flesh to become, that natural resistance to the Second Law of Thermodynamics pretty much sums up my approach to fighting the good fight, informing my politics, my art, and my mysticism. I would surely be dead otherwise. Am nearly so, as it is...
Unfortunately I decided at some point to allow heathens to storm the walls behind which the spirit runs the halls of liberty, as the better part of valor in fighting forces I should have should ignored, and found a better way to overcome...
So, no Pig Science, you may not have permission to mess up my pages with ugly out of place banner ads, and other trashy habits of the digital rover...
After seven plus years of running my own email server from home, I am finally ready to admit defeat at the hands of the enemy. Continued crashing of my once quite reliable mail server due to continuous and unstoppable viral spam attacks (literally, a denial of service blitzkrieg) have taken their toll psychologically, so I have decided to toss the whole smarmy POP/SMTP protocol into the dustbin with other once dreamy failures I have birthed in these miscreant times. Massive cleavage. The endless expenses and long tiresome hours of attempted spamblocking are no longer worth the fleeting glories of Internet self-reliance. This Dutch boy has done lost his flavah...
As I ponder the considerations any dirty-fingernailed war correspondent must never forget, I realize I will be forced to use some other slave form of digital communication. This DIY movement is great when one can rally others less driven to pile into your own creative inertia, but of course I've never had the privilege, so otherwise it's long heavy haul. It's times like these when we can take solace in some of our more classic cleavage. Checked out Cyd Charisse, did you? (But of course, I need some form of email, now don't I?) The choices are slim. I've long despised & avoided all those junk-infested web mail offerings, and my current ISP has been problematic in the past, can you say Verizon, so I'll cling to the fog on this decision for as long as I can hold out.
Meanwhile, my web servers are back in action. That's a load off, as I nurse a nasty ear, nose, and throat infection. Spent four and a half hours at the Wheeling walk-in clinic yesterday just to get a script for antibiotics. What's left of full health is still a few days away, but I am securely in recovery mode at this writing. My sweetie's back at home, and I'm all alone again, cast into an experimental exile of my own making. This is going to be a tough year. Just like all the others.
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""