Archive for the ‘Punk’ Category

Ballad of The Big Ass Skinhead, The Engineer, and The Artists Nearby


01 Apr

structural-engineer

Structural Engineer

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Alex Roehner romps around the room in her best crayon pajamas, "Use small words and carry a big ass skinhead," she smiles, a service mile of track sunk into the old skinhead she now wants to extend a quiet allegiance. "Hello, my friends," she writes as if she remembers the words of a song she never thought she knew, then quickly types out, "I meant friend in the singular, unless your voices are with you..."

"Allo! Admiring your boots. You caught me looking..." Virtuality, off the record I find myself thinking, is a keen instinct among particular early tribes of hunt and peck typists and rogue artists found in various regions of North America, but according to the latest statistics as compiled by a few former employees of Standard & Poor's—virtuality is not a new phenomenon, but has its roots in the early religious rites of ancient peoples whose archaeological traces can be found worldwide, although much disputed among professionals who chalk it all up as garbage character—lost and found, survival of the fittest, not the fattest, not the thinnest, but the fittest—and not worth the investment of digging for clues as to why this rumor persists while bonding together many populations otherwise stuck on it like barnacles on a favorite whale. That former associates of Standard & Poor's are or might be involved in this study is still a mystery. Then I think again of Alex in her victorious boots. I saw pictures. I think I can smell them heel to toe all the way up the calf in all their splendor from here on this page, despite odors of wet cellar wafting up from the stink below. What can one expect from a place built in the 1740s with beautiful 12" wide planks but no sub-flooring...

"Busted."

"Ha! And I was just writing about things that go kick in the night earlier in the day," say I.

"I will write to you tomorrow," she promises. "My brain is coasting on beer at the moment and I can't lift my unabridged dictionary to aide me in a witty and verbose reply to your wonderfully worded correspondence. I love that you make me think without a drop of arrogance!"

"It's a trick I learned years ago when I created a Zen koan in the form of a question which goes like this: what's the difference between arrogant humility and humble arrogance?"

"One you can hear," she states.

"Your response flew right on past me. Come again..." I am genuinely stumped. But Alex Roehner is no stone in the horse's shoe.

"Arrogant humility must be verbally identified whereas humble arrogance is silent and deadly," she explains in a way I had never considered but made sense at this time of night, and as I write this, so I give her sway.

"Wait a minute. If you're buzzing on beer moving west at forty miles an hour and another bloke is buzzed on atomic fireballs traveling in the opposite direction at fifty miles an hour, which detail do you find most arresting? Nevermind. A joke gone astray. Back to the original koan. I think it is simpler than what you have suggested. Think about it." Here I am trying to get her to land on my square, the one I had picked out for her, but she had been too clever for that.

"Did I tell you about that the other day? My answer is for them to call each other a coordinate." Word games can get silly awfully quick.

"Arrogant humility is like a TV evangelist on uppers and downers and a few dancing girls on the side. Humble arrogance is like the lion with a thorn in his paw." I made my point, but I am intrigued by hers, because it does actually fit the model I had prepared, which leads us to the question, are all squares alike? "Tell me what the other day?" Now, she's lost me in the crayons again. "Not that I recall, and while I recall reams, I might be overlooking something. Please clarify."

"About the Jimmy leaving the station going east at 10 mph with 16 apples and Janey leaving the salon going north with a sack of potatoes. You will get my Alan Aldaish humor in a bit." This girl hangs low. I just love that about her. I wonder if she knows.

"No, just another one of those eerie synchronicities we seem to have going right now," I tell her, remembering something about how she was going to jump off until tomorrow tired and bleary, but we were, lighting fox tails strung to long sticks, and running through the naked woods with only words to keep us armed against the bouncing brown bears and their hunters stoked with large guns, and a license to kill. "That is to say, no, you didn't mention that tale."

"I was going on about it the other day. I am forced to take math so my buildings don't topple and I can calculate bending moments. The problem with math is there is only one answer. In English hell, I can make Jimmy juggle those apples while driving with his knees going in the opposite direction of traffic..."

"LOL! Well, Heisenberg might disagree with you, but for building, stiff calculus will suffice under most conditions. My rebuttal signals a slight twinge of satisfaction. But even on that spot, she ups the cost of doing business with a girl strapped to the gurney forced to inhale the forces that exist in a non-literal world taught to call itself literal.

"So will calling a structural engineer. Aha!"

"You've heard that science now suggests that observing an experiment can change the course of that experiment, right Alex? But don't scientists observe ALL experiments? I guess the key, and I forget this insidious detail, whether observation of an experiment will change the course of that experiment in a PREDICTABLE or UNPREDICTABLE way."

"Sounds like every word that leaves your mouth is history."

"Or history repeating itself, ha! Besides none of these words are leaving my mouth. I am typing." I pop her a good lickin' with that hit, I think. She's a slammer, alright.

"You're a funny man," she counters.

"Not only that," I type. "I paint pictures few can decipher, or even try. So I guess perfection is not as funny as math."

"But just as confusing."

"Just to be clear, said Confucius, before boarding the train, I have no seeds..."

"Where ever you go, that is where you will be, young grasshopper"

"Oh, that one's old, must be history repeating itself." We are both wearing thin, obviously, nervously fingering our crayons and our last few consonants in the stack we kept near the water tea glass, and Vitamin D pills I took because I never left the terminal long enough to get any sun.

"Or I haven't gotten there yet, wink wink." Another stinker, we're falling out of love with the words that brought us this far, now mere alphabet slaves to routine and obligation. I wonder if there will be a resurgence of energy, of creativity, of probing, thrusting, bouncing unfettered words strung out on string, made for you, played for me. I wonder.

"Oh, you're there alright." You're a buttercup solo in a runaway dandelion field, I murmur to myself, now, as I consider that night when we were living at the Farm. Those were good days. Too bad the old man had no vision. Being an old stuffy government lawyer got the best of him, so I add the next lines to deflect. "And that's me in the corner, losing my virginity. But only because I'm a Libra. And there is no way a Libra can be a free spirit. Am often called one, but they just don't understand the conflicted soul the way us Librans do."

"Thats funny most people say I'm not there, or home, either."

"Silly wabbits. Home is there."

"In a Westinghouse."

"Such an illustrious past, the Westinghouse name." And brand. Surely Alex is too young to remember that tagline from the days of black & white television. She's an inspiration, quick and rich in symbolic references that have specific meaning to me, even this reference to Westinghouse. I give her that. But of what long term use is she to me, or I to her? But I don't have the opportunity to follow up the Westinghouse gem, as she is flagged as offline. Ah, she's back.

"Sorry to flee momentarily but Ive been on this silly FB for a bit too long for one day. I have some serious thinking to do if I am to reply to my friend Gabe and discover Suess' dark side. Dream Grand."

"Okay, thanks for chirping in..."

"Chat tomorrow?"

"Most likely. Bye, and hang tough..."

"Which is safer than Hang 10."

"Especially when you've only got eight."

"Just know I'm smiling."

"Skipping all the way to the building that never falls down...somewhere...and it ain't over some ephemeral rainbow. Just so you know."

"The vision of you skipping with "Skip to the Loo" (haha) is well, well, worthy of some angry art. You are such an inspiration."

"Guess my work is done, he smirks." And I meant it. That was a playful exchange. It's getting late, but not too late to keep the lights on for the honey pot to catch the next fly...

"Meanwhile back at the homestead..."

Are you still here?

"No. Gone home. Clocked out and gone home." I presume Alex Roehner, the girl with the most curious hair I know (with nod to D.F.W.) is working from home. A minute has passed...

"Can't pull yourself away from the little screen?" I tease.

"Busted again," she types. But actually I was the busted one the first time these words were used tonight, or so I'd originally thought, busted for peeping her in her hip boots. But I carry on.

"Home is where my laptop is, tiny dancer..."

"Like a candle in the wind" To have both tapped Elton John was a subtle move, but I realize that in saying that I have be giving people the wrong impression. I can live with that. But, I was just a big fan for a string of four or so albums.

"Caught between the bull and his Picasso. The taxi girl and the sneaker in the rye. Forty secrets the Dali Lama failed to mention on his way down the mountain. Anyways. I'm gone. You take it away. We'll meet up again tomorrow." That's should up the ante. Can't wait to see her next move.

"I have a suspicious feeling this banter could be documented."

"Copy and paste into a text doc. Only way I've found."

"Naw, that's falling in the misconceived trap that genius is gone for good. DONT DO IT!" she cajoles. Surely she doesn't think I'm going to pay attention to that big fat lie. Documentation no way belittles genius. Nor suffers it lightly. Nor uses up all its eggs. As you see, I kicked against Roehner's grave wishes, for better or worse, and I trust she will be happy to bounce through this moment of time. Hell, that's what writers and painters do. They document. Enter the readers.

"Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word has a dilemma for you. On that topic, have you checked out Goodreads yet? No? Chagrin."

"Not yet. Tiny magnetizing screen remember? Oh, and Structural engineering class and new NY Sunday times x word puzzles. Trés busy á demain."

"Goodreads is simply a space where you post your own favorite literary experiences. You rate them. You critique them, et cetera, yada yada, dada. It's similar to Facebook and the two services actually interact but Goodreads is ALL about books, your books, and other people's lists. Take it or leave it. Wish it were around about fifteen years ago when I was trying to catalogue my personal library, and had few tools worth fussing over. Well, she's off the clock now. Time to turn the lights out, methinks. Bye dark angel..."

Albums That Impacted My Life


02 Mar

flowers-lp

My First Big Rock Record

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After a "days on end" bombardment of these viral things, I have succumbed to pressures, peer or otherwise, to post my own. Whatever. And don't forget to catch a few tracks over at Radio Scenewash. Enjoy.

As a younger adolescent, "Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hints" stands the test of time in making that first early impact. Of course, I also heard a good chunk of Johnny Cash and the Carter Family, thanks to my old man's influence, which has always stuck with me. Remember, I grew up in a very small town in the Old South, and this was when AM ruled. FM was still mostly a twinkle in the eye. We caught our radio in snatches where we could. Down on the Georgia coast, snagging the bouncing waves of WLS in Chicago and WOWO in Fort Wayne, IN was hit and miss depending on the weather and cloud cover, but it was massive, even illicit fun to curl up under the covers at night, and steal those rogue high-powered AM waves when we could. Listening to rock and roll in those innocent youthful years in the late 60s took work, and patience. Then came high school and own my first vinyl purchase...

1. Flowers - Rolling Stones (paradigm No. 1, poet laureates with guitars)
2. Harvest - Neil Young
3. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan
4. Greetings from Asbury Park - Bruce Springsteen
5. The Hoople - Mott the Hoople
6. Close Enough For Rock and Roll - Nazareth
7. This Year's Model - Elvis Costello
8. Telekon - Gary Numan
9. Power, Corruption, Lies - New Order
10. We've Got The Beat - the Go Gos
11. Never Mind the Bollocks - Sex Pistols (paradigm No.2, punk political underground)
12. Easter - Patti Smith
13. Ten Witches - 9353 (single, but brutal)
14. Senseless Offerings - Black Market Baby
15. The Age of Quarrel - Cro-Mags
16. Troops of Tomorrow - The Exploited
17. Psalm 69 - Ministry
18. Rammstein - Mutter (paradigm No.3, industrial religious goth & electronica)
19. The War on Errorism - NoFX
20. Assassinate - Birmingham 6
21. Harmonizer - Apoptygma Berzerk
22. Jesus Christ Superstars - Laibach
23. Embryodead - Wumpscut
24. Cyberia - Cubanate
25. Linger Fickin' Good - Revolting Cocks
26. Southern Born Killers - Stuck Mojo
27. Judgement - VNV Nation
28. Burden - King Giant

Okay, these are the "gamechanger" LPs threaded into three distinctive but overlapping paradigms, each listed in the chronological order more or less (I didn't use references to map this list) in which I was introduced to them, or in one case, a single track that egregiously throttled my perspective in terms of those emotional and intellectual cadences which continued to draw me to the music as I pursued the soundtrack of my life.

A probing sort hiding among my friends might even scratch closely enough at this list to expose one or two similar strains of energy these selections reflect over forty or so years of rocking out to the Almighty Sounds of My Deliverance, but then again, we live in such superficial times where nothing matters very long.

This list is not a comprehensive list of my favorite albums of all-time, or within any given season, but they are the life impacted albums, the ones that have inevitably left its mark in such a way within its particular context, that I need no bread crumbs to find my way back to them.

And we must remember that there are always many global and esoteric variables at play in considering these impact moments in one's rather random listening life, but this is not the space to map that baseline. Suffice it to say, however, these 28 LPs will always remain special, each for their own reasons, to me. Perhaps there are more yet to come.

Gabriel

Twenty-Five Random Things About Me


31 Jan

spikedpunch

Punk Ain't Dead in 1985

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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.

Magnets In The Broader Sense


09 Oct

I. Natural Selection

pushing this open paranoia preamble where effing ironies
can't compete with the steady parade of divas shoving crass
the beacon sass into wry faces of fly America as she crumbles
to her skin-colored knees looking for go daddy go
off to the beach, down to the shore

a petty officer's bargain to famous quotes,
paper or plastic quotas, plug and play devices
siphoned off the highlander's lovely terms
proud to be schooled in urban hubris,
strutting around in those Great Empty Legs
economic theory gone sour like rainy day
toadstools, some mediocre rite before curfew,
lured, groped, incensed, kept begging for more,
ever more frequently without the usual flutter
traffic, those thousand and one Persian tales
leaning heavily upon the elocutionist's shoe
preaching a diet of polish sausages, juicy gossip...

can you see it, it's easy if you try
but at least Europe the Lesser no longer
wails on about tiny hotdog explosions on the 4th
scaling the absence of Mr. Monroe's lost doctrine
ashen Cuba defies, cruel Afghanistan survives—

and, "oh say can you see..."
former glory of Beirut the Paris of the Middle East
as fully capitalized revelation or just so much
a simple pound of flesh among many,
endangered pigeons dancing in purple brows of Khomeini
like sweaters on cockring girls we used to marry just to swing
her father from that melting forest we knew how to follow
like a good rule when it mattered,
for a price of a ticket,

recorded here as burning sheep to shake down the nations.

Biblical floods of panic warriors aching to march
took to taking of old hills and dry dales and still shots to defend
scrubbing magnets, the brass armory, and roving ideals, as older ones
of each become unavailable or unrenewable.

II. Magnifying Glass

every newsroom model doffing designer eyewear,
tagged uranium flags smiling at cleanup observations
under broad bold Houston Intercontinental airport sky
trapped in a bursting bubble of imaginary fairness,
my engineer's transit crushed under huge rubber wheels
never a clean coordinate again to appeal to concrete
surfaces from which I am paid to observe the observers,
pay next to nothing, right next to it...

several beautiful women in pumps, hatred their mouths
furiously debate merits of slick, shiny Chinese silk
patches hand-sewn by able and ready prisoners
air-tight, dignified, aeronautical,
flattering our formal fighters,
interpreters of the return.

ruling class black and white pictures
we'd inhaled from life-sized magazines
before television, world travel and Hollywood
reign we satirized as classical opulence, overindulgence
not really a part of the walking around psyche
approach until we grasped the greasy ugly truth
of one hundred, even four hundred years
of transitory inviolate stain

not until milk delivery stopped clinking
milk racing down our collective chins
came bearing key genetic histories
measuring keen the Iron City past
from racy cornerstones Sumerians
squatted, calculated, mined

not that I buy all that much of it,
I rise to salute smile I once borrowed
(pencil between my teeth, eraser in my fist)
kept in a bedside jar pennies on the dollar
until fly frazzled razorback of ancestry
finally perished for lack of direct proof,
a better argument or soil worth the rank
as the living finally earned
the promises of death...

battery mates compost
fly-away pinstripes stripped down
same doubt history frequently changes to maybe
survivors service armies stinking of fashion
fifteen full and pepsident minutes

until xeroxed Andy Warhol coughs
in grave confirming active swindle
revived from sandlot grassed over
during Cleveland riots & responsibilities
firm peaches along the tracks in Willacoochee,
DuPont-Lucent layoffs starched to hostility
class warriors storming erudite Berkeley
taking cues, La Crosse teachers' unions
grudge pound Corpus Christi, signaling
Vincennes railroad men to echo Window
Rock tattoo artists, as Boise sheep
herders with aim to build
skyscrapers all the way
to Times Beach the Almighty isotope,
spackle bromides of oil and water pipelines

stealing from filthy poor to give to filthy rich,
and save our uncle from Law of Spic and Span
finally put to its rightful use.

[ Washington DC, 2013 ]

There Once Was An Antagonist


24 Sep

anatagonist

Antagonist, NYC 9/07

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In New York City, on Thursday September 6, I showed a few antagonistic paintings in a tiny sweltering East Village basement. Highlights included a long chat with a New York poet about the enigmatic state of literature from the perspective of Generation Y still searching for its own voice, networking with a fellow who owns and operates the same image press I've had my eye on for some time now, and the pride of beautiful young felines who flashed this old poet and painter a smile. The heat was nearly unbearable however. This was the first night back into the space after a crisis. The AC was not working, a victim of torrential rains and flooding in the lower areas of New York City, including this East Village basement a few weeks earlier. Made a mess out of me. Sober & sweaty. Thanks, New York.

Shout out to fellow Antagonists Alex, Scott, Tom, Julian, Kari, Ted, Un, Ethan and Liberty Sue, each for your generosity of spirit...

There was some talk of a Berlin gallery which interested me, and I even sold a couple packs of postcards...

The Telephone Song (And Dance)


10 Aug

GuyKawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

samplex

Originally published on October 1, 1996

Still haven't processed my photo op with the Mac Guy Kawasaki...

Have you heard from Landry since the middle of last week? I haven't. And did I tell you what happened when I tried to research the current status of the home ISDN bill still before the Public Utilities Commission (every last one of those 1400 plus dollars) on what is supposed to be a $250 per month flat rate with zero message units? I'm thankful Peter's friend Bret Mingo configured the line and files the papers properly, and alerted me to this nasty little message unit scam that phone companies like to run on us small fry IT startups.

And now that I think of it, it's been a week since I requested a copy of the commercial specs and pricelist by phone. But anyhows, I got quite a bit of runaround at both the telephone company AND the PUC, finally getting a call back from someone in the Department of Energy a few days later(which dazed me for a few seconds until I finally figured out the relational matrix of ifs, ands & buts since he didn't know why he was calling either). Still nothing. He told me I should call the PUC. I told him that's who I thought I had been referred with digits by the telephone company to call. Alas, I rang his office instead. He admitted to being somewhat part of the process, but....

I think I need a telephone job. To know nothing is to fulfill the obligations of the job.

GT

Who's Got Crabs? Add More Bread Crumbs


05 Aug

fp5835samplex

[Dedicated to my two friends Kathleen & Lil Peanut, who swore vengence on me if I didn't share this recipe with them. I did, and now you ALL can have a taste. Ha!]

Okay girls, let's ride! Gabriel's Georgia Lowlander Crab Dressing. Like I've pointed out, I've never measured anything, so this whole process might seem a little vague until you get the hang of it. The first time I made this stuffing, it was totally from scratch, in the sense that I used plain bagged breadcrumbs and croutons because that's what I had in stock at the time. But since that first time, I have always used StoveTop Stuffing. Savory Herbs variety, but cornbread or pork would work as well.

So let's get started on an ordinary sized batch using TWO PINTS of crab meat...

Let's talk crab meat. Of course, Lump white is the best, very expensive, but it does render the best flavor and is chunkier and cleaner than the rest of the crab. Backfin is good, but claw meat will also do nicely enough. These two varieties are more often on sale, a better fit for most of us on tight budgets when the lump white prices are kissing the sky.

So, in a LARGE FRYING PAN, sauté half a bag of frozen yellow corn in a scoop or two of margarine until slightly browned, and then toss in a large diced onion. No need to overcook the onion, but stir just enough to mix thoroughly with the corn and margarine. Then stir in TWO PINTS of well-drained crab meat of choice and declump with spoon or spatula as desired until thoroughly mixed with corn and onions. Continue to stir the mix. Here it gets tricky. To crabs, McCormick Old Bay Seasoning is the bomb. Not enough, and the great taste of MOBS is understated. Too much, and the dish tastes salty, and overwhelms the natural crab flavor. Since I never measure, I just pour gently and continue to sift until the crab & corn is rich in flavor. For beginners, I'd suggest starting with a quarter of a cup of MOBS, mixing liberally into the meat. If you believe you need more, simply sprinkle more into the batch while stirring. It WILL TASTE a bit salty, of course, but remember, once you stir the meat into the stuffing, this saltiness will dilute, if not overdone.

In a separate 2 quart pot, open two boxes of Savory Herbs StoveTop (Have a third on hand for emergencies). Follow directions on box. Do not overliquify. If you do, you will need to add more bread crumbs, croutons, or stove-top. Otherwise, the dressing will have a mushy texture best avoided.

Then throughly mix the meat and bread stuffing in a separate mixing bowl or reuse one of the current pans, if large enough.

Thirdly, let's turn our attentions to an oven-safe casserole deep dish or baking pot.

If using a deep bowl, fill with the casserole about halfway, then sprinkle or place in a layer of thinly sliced cheddar or monterey jack cheese. Continue to fill bowl until all mixture is used or capacity of bowl is reached. Repeat the cheese layer. Then for visual effect, add for color or preference, whole unpitted olives, jalepeños, bell pepper rings, sliced tomatoes, or whatever suits your fancy on the surface of the dish in an arrangement that suits you. I used olives this past weekend, but remember, this is your chance to be fancy. If using a deep dish pyrex pan, I would skip the middle layer of cheese. Another variation I have used is to hold back enough crumbs or croutons to sprinkle among the top-layer garnish, for that crusty effect.

Finally pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until slightly browned.

Now you've got a dish you can't get enough of...

I think it's all here. Best I can recollect. Boo yah!

For Gene Lee Wilcox, R.I.P.


26 Jun

wilcox

Gene Slept...July 12, 1964 - June 26, 1998

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Last words on the life and death of Northern Virginia Teddy Boy rocker Gene Lee Wilcox who died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound one sweaty night in June, 1998.

Be careful. Watch out. I take names, ranks, and serial numbers. That's right, I spent some time tonight searching for a copy of the eulogy, or more specifically, the letter I wrote to a friend then living in San Francisco of the untimely passing of my dear friend, Gene Lee Wilcox.

I myself was laid up, recovering from anal surgery to remove a fistula, missed his funeral, and only managed a few weeks later with walking cane to visit the grave of my outrageous but most intellectually connected friend and brother in Washington DC. There were folks I spent more time killing time, wasting weekends, boring each other with nothing in particular, but with Gene there was a mutual respect and fist-solid connection.

Gene frankly was in a league of his own as the ONLY spirit in Washington, DC who freely showed me the molecule of respect I felt I had earned in this tight-assed town, knew both the brutal extent of my trespasses and the splintered breathe of my genius, despite the wealth of ruthless gatekeepers barring the door to my passage. That has changed a bit, but Gene was a trailblazer. Even after I imposed my own exile from the city's music scene sometime in the early 90s, Gene insisted upon his duty with those occasional unannounced visits which almost always turned into a three day drunk rockathon, and more heart to heart than either of us could weather a fourth day. In a word, there was no trace of COMPETITION between us, just unquestionable friendship, mutual reassurance.

Tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of his passing. I haven't found the letter yet, but I am still mining old files hoping to find it. Meanwhile, I have posted several other compositions written to the same person, a vigorous sass of a woman named Landry, a year or two earlier, none of which have anything to do with Gene, but everything to do with why I think Gene respected me, much to the amazement of everyone else circulating on the sad periphery of this insane local culture, myself included.

Not for the easily charmed...

Jack London's Hundred Years War


06 Oct

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Young Jack London

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The name Jack London conjures up dreams of the Great Yukon, ferocious wolves, pernicious gambling, alluring dancing girls, and an occasional drunken and bloody bar brawl, timeworn icons of the American taming of the Wild West, and a progressive poltical mind. The common response most casual readers hibernating in the dark, dank literary caverns of America to those rugged writers who lived life as if it were a program of perilous escape and beaconless frenzied abandon, is exemplified by the enduring myth of Jack London, the turn-of-the-century adventurer culturally transformed into a mild sedative for rambunctious boys. A fanciful string of Walt Disney films depicting the tumultuous capers of an innocent lad bent on civilizing his fellow outdoorsmen has enchanted the eager hearts and minds of anyone who ever dreamed of rubbing two wet sticks together to warm themselves and their pals, or to roast a marshmallow and a wiener on a cool October evening without the usual convenience of newspaper, lighter fluid or a half-dozen matches.

These overly-sentimentalized adventure flicks tickled the boyish imagination. Usually told in first person, the stories gave courage to those of us who cowered before the barking voices and effective forces of pounding fists offered by the local neighborhood bully. Introspection by the hero of our stories was always light-hearted, boyish, somewhat protected from the beastly nature of beastly men and women. American film. Always a happy ending.

As George Orwell pointed out in an essay written in 1943, London is one of those rare writers of genius like Edgar Allan Poe who enjoy a more prodigious reputation outside of the English-speaking world than in it. While Poe is critically respected both in England and France, the author of Martin Eden has been greatly admired by German, French, and Russian readers.

Orwell points out that Lenin's widow described in a short biography she wrote of him, of how she used to read stories to her husband on his deathbed as he lay paralyzed. On the day of his death she was reading from Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol, but he was put off by the bourgeois sentimentality of it all. The last words Vladamir Lenin ever heard were from Jack London's Love of Life.

Obviously, Lenin was initially drawn to London's political writings. He remained an ardent Socialist, and, as Orwell points out, one of the first American writers to pay any attention to Karl Marx. His reputation in Europe is mainly founded on another of London's books, The Iron Heel, a remarkable book of political prophecy predicting the rise of Fascism. London understood that when the working-class movements began to take on expansive dimensions and appeared to be taking over control of the world, the capitalistic class would hit back. And until Hitler came fully into his own, most Socialists imagined Marxism would simple swarm over the earth without a resistance.

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Martin Eden by Jack London

In London's book, Martin Eden, the protagonist, Martin has weathered a poor working class upbringing‚ his playground was the dirty streets of Oakland in the first years of the new century‚ his pals scrappy street fighting lads like himself, his girlfriends coarse and profligate. But Martin Eden was looking for a way out. As a dedicated merchant marine, he accepts the challenges he places before himself with gusto. Voyages upon the harsh high seas for eight months of the year before docking off on extended furlough took their toll.

When back on the hill he stayed with his sister and her husband to the ambivalent reluctance of everyone involved. Robust yet uncouth, ignorant yet yearning for knowledge, Martin is introduced to a young middle class socialite named Ruth. She is the eternal rose, the effervescent source of beauty and redemption who lights a brilliant flame in young Martin. After hearing Ruth read from a collection of Swinburne's writings, our young feisty street punk, the brightest and the strongest grubbing up from the ribald and murky bowels of nothingness is transformed, in a sense, baptized by the fiery spirit of literature and fine perfumeries Ruth brings to him, and certain chariot wheels of grace for Martin Eden are set in motion. The brittle romance is charted very plainly by the author. Resolving to educate himself, the slate of middle class values and structures make their way into the agenda of the young Martin in search for a group of people he can call his own. Burning the midnight oil, abiding a strict schedule of three to four hours of sleep per night, Martin Eden first feeds his intellectual starvation by devouring the classics. After several alternating tours of duty at sea and in the mimicked words of the masters he consumed, he begins to write down stories of his adventures, pouring his soul and sensitivities into pages which began to mount into an inhuman pile of rejection notices.

His relationship with Ruth began to sour when it became apparent that she was unable to comprehend or suffer the intense struggle against the gods of moral and intellectual responsibility he was grappling with and would continue with until a victor had been proclaimed. Her father and his political friends were hopefully tied down to ineffectual status quo methods and arguments. Their condescension only fueled the young aspirant until a chance meeting with a group of revolutionary anarchists and socialists invigorated his spirits briefly. Before long even this more edgy crowd, edgy to be sure, but just as pompous and pre-occupied with status within the ranks matched only by its endless wordplay dishearted him. Yet he still believed that there was more to life than all this useless rhetoric and senseless destruction-oriented propaganda caught up in a war of words rather than the toil of sweat, blood, and tears. Undeterred, young Martin Eden pressed on.

jack-london-stampTime, however, began to wither the young author's compulsion. It seemed an impossible achievement to gain access not to the wisdom of the sages, which he knew he already possessed but to the class of people who upheld the rules and vestiges of that wisdom. After his breakup with Ruth in a mutual dissatisfaction of personal tastes, and a hasty exploratory expedition to his old neighborhood gang, Martin decided that only the posturing fame and accompanying new fortune society bestowed upon an exciting, freshly discovered, trailblazing young writer could sustain his intensifyingly deceptive thirst for social and intellectual acceptance. He begins to write more earnestly.

When favor finally arrives, the newest bon mot on the literary scene is quick to discourage the usual fare of bandwagon jumpers, those who had rejected his pieces only months before‚ now clamoring for more, more, more! Noting the irony, he held to his guns when certain editors insisted on seeing any manuscripts still lying around, manuscripts already once rejected by these very same editors. More truth was dawning upon our young adventurer.

The novel, Jack London insisted, was an attack on individualism, the fierce individualism of his era. Being aware of the needs of others, of the whole human collective need, Martin Eden lived only for himself, fought only for himself, and, if you please, died for himself.
Suddenly all the wares of the world are at his feet. Old cohorts quickly emerge from the cracks of endless walls he had never been able to tear down with either his bare fists or the restless but youthful energy rolling off his tongue. Now his words were famous. Now everyone understood. Now everyone wanted to be his friend. Jack London was a born rebel whose manipulative personality demanded the immediate gratification of his contradictory wants. His dialectic of appetites wore on without a synthesis of satisfaction. He once confessed to wanting to drive forty horses abreast with the thousand strong arms of an army. He was a heavy drinker. He died relatively young.

Martin Eden is London's most autobiographical novel. His early death at age forty brought on by his excessive bouts of drinking and exposure to the elements is foreshadowed by the character, Eden, who hurls himself into the ocean depths in route to a tropical island he had recently purchased. Although I am aware of no supporting evidence, perhaps this book is where the poet Hart Crane derived his idea for his own self-inflicted drowning some twenty-four years after its initial publication.

The novel, Jack London insisted, was an attack on individualism, the fierce individualism of his era. Being aware of the needs of others, of the whole human collective need, Martin Eden lived only for himself, fought only for himself, and, if you please, died for himself.

An irony of the book resides in the fact that it is the only one of London's fifty books that his publishers, Macmillan, has kept in print in a cloth edition for seventy years, while it has invited the most chafing criticism from the profession as being too pessimistic, denigrating capitalism and self-improvement and ambition without providing any alternatives. London was confused with the hero of his book.

Turn of the Century Writers

Turn of the Century Writers

Indeed, Martin Eden is a clean read, swift in its situational currents and colorfully determined in assessing the problems the individual faces in his exodus from the battlefields where intellects clash and flesh recoils in a never adjourned meeting of forces. To stand headstrong on a frozen tundra against the elements or to bob just above a watery abyss to test the very nature of controversy, measuring the bonds and covenants between life and death, is an event reserved for the rare few who dare engage with full intellect both the demons within oneself and those within the society in which one struggles to comprehend.

In his time Jack London lived and died as a striking contrast to the Horatio Alger and more recent Ronald Reagan myth of hard work, love, success and respect. Whereas Alger inspired, London depressed the readers of early 20th century America. The simple fact is that one must find solace in the tribes as they exist, that one must have faith in the unlovely, seemingly mechanical society in order to prosper. We exist in time and place simply to count out measure until we evolve into something else, hopefully better equipped to face ourselves as we really are individuals marooned on a island surrounded by a sea of hopefuls.

Find a copy of this book. You are probably someone he has written about. A century later, we find little solace in realizing that Martin Eden's impassioned plea for a more redemptive manner of living still remains part and parcel of the ageless quarrel all religion, art, and politics seeks to address: can we really help ourselves once we know who we are?

Speaking Of Ambitions, Wheeling WV


06 Apr

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Up Against The Wall

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Calling all Wheeling area rockers, playas, and art phreaks to drop me a line detailing any thoughtful insights and blowhard opinions you might have on the local scene. Serious word. Chumps and other 'tards can penetrate themselves. No tolerance for silly lads with a yen for tragedy in this survey.

As stated elsewhere, I have recently immigrated to Wheeling WV from Washington, DC for the primary purpose of setting myself up with cheap (cheaper than DC) studio space in which to paint, write, edit loads of club video I shot in the Eighties, et cetera. However, given the special plight of downtown Wheeling's urban blight offering an enormous opportunity for some local entrepreneur to invest in an alternative gallery space with music and eats to help draw in the nightlife, I am interested in knowing from eager young 20-and-30-somethings just how desirable and/or feasible this idea for innovative nightspace would be considered by the local establishment, the area's youth culture, YOU IN PARTICULAR, et cetera.

Check this, ain't rocket science here, just taking the pulse of Wheeling area heartbeats. Let me know. Check out the Live365 radio station I operate. If your interest in something more that you've already got, is triggered, then sign up as a friend on MySpace, and start feeding me those opinions. I'm not promising anything in stone at this point in my rather off the cuff feasibility study, but in six months to a year, perhaps, if encouragement is strong and red tape not prohibitive, who knows what a bit of maverick teamwork can pull off...

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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