Posts Tagged ‘thinker’

From Jack Kerouac To Tom Paine For Words We Never Reconciled

14 Jul


Thomas Paine by Laurent Dabos


Dateline July 14, 2003

Betsy Sue and I have just returned home in DC from a four-day tour of several specific sites in jolly old New England. First stop of keen interest was the Thomas Paine estate and cottage in New Rochelle, NY (up I-95 a few miles northeast of the George Washington Bridge in NYC), and a rather encouraging conversation with the on-premises caretaker there, a presiding member of the Thomas Paine Society. Always perfect timing, we were beaming when we learned that although the cottage was presently closed for painting and other renovations, conducted as an Eagle Scout project not due for completion for another month, we were offered and we made the quick tour and snapped a few pictures of the tiny man's cottage and what was left of his grounds, all to our patriotic delight.

Although this was not our first encounter with the small stature of most men of that era, it was still shocking to note how often we had to duck to get through doors and even the narrow hallways were notably menacing to the modern super-sized American tourist.

Then we continued on up through Connecticut where we stayed our first night in a quaint little Massachusetts motor lodge in a township called Stirbridge, where the wife swears she recalls staying as a child on family vacation. The next morning (July 4th) we drove the hundred miles up to Lowell, MA to breathe the air around that old milltown which was later decimated by the migration of the mill industry to Georgia and other parts south. Our leading purpose in Lowell was to check out the Jack Kerouac memorial erected in the deceased Beat writer's hometown. We were not disappointed.

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

Though nary a bust or portrait of the old drunk was present, a dozen or so marble tablets bearing excerpts from Kerouac's books were set length-wise into the stone plaza, clustered among welcomed benches and the handful of towering and smaller weeping willows on an unappointed edge of town seemingly frozen in dingy time still looking eerily like the period of young Jacques' childhood (the 1940s), all of which seemed to capture the desperate and mournful spirit of Kerouac's beat generation.

To the east spanned an old iron bridge, glistening silver in the morning sun but draped in an indifferent rash of predictable rust upon closer inspection. Due east and south, old mill warehouses now converted into luxury apartments were squired by narrow canals which zig zagged through the entire downtown.

It was sizzling even in the shade by now, but amply pleasant nevertheless as we watched the tourist trolleys whiz by with a few riders we would have joined but for other plans for that day. A quick gas-up at the green and white and we were soon cruising again, this time on the Interstate headed forty miles south into Beantown in anticipation of the annual starburst sky, a born-again patriot's holiday in the footsteps and lantern calls of where this country tis of thee all began, where we had reserved a room on the 27th floor of the four star 28 floor Sheraton in the fiendishly trendy and inviting Boston Back Bay midtown neighborhood marked to the west by the Charles River, to the north by downtown, and to the south by Fenway Park - home of the Red Sox who were then busy setting a home run record down in Yankee Stadium by sending seven pitches off pinstriped pitching into the stands. In a hundred years no team had accomplished this feat against the legendary Bronx squads. Look it up.

After checking in and grabbing some lunch, we rested a bit before shooting to the top of the Prudential Tower (50th floor, attached by an indoor mall to our hotel), where for seven bucks apiece we could view the entire Boston sprawl through the active gray haze of smog and 95 degree heat and humidity. But see it we did, and can't wait to view all the pictures. We later joined on foot some 700,000 headstrong revelers marching toward the Charles where after an evening of the Boston Pops and other special guests, the thirty minute fireworks display wowed many.

Boston officials claimed some 700,000 strong had made it to the Charles River Esplanade for this year's festivities, topping the previous high count of a half million with room to spare, and than doubling last year's 300,000 visitors.
We, however, sweaty, exhausted, and hungry, strolled back to the Boylston Street drag to find some dinner, finally deciding on a dapper little Thai place called Bombay Blue detailed with a beautiful expanse of dark teal paint, red brick, and opaque glass walls. Our only complaint was, what else, the heat, but we were smilingly accommodated with seating in the direct line of the fan purring from the cashier counter. My own soft-shelled crab entree sealed the night for me. A half hour pace back to the hotel, and we still hadn't heard the requisite boom of fireworks, but somehow suspected we had missed the show completely, not that I hold any fascination for the light show. I never have, not as a child, not as a drunk, not as an old sober patriot. No appeal at all.

But Betsy was interested, and strangely enough, just as we arrived on foot back in front of the Prudential Tower which would lead back to the hotel, a strong breeze began blowing into the streets off Boston Harbor. The excruciating heat of a mere half hour earlier had vanished.

We decided to plop down on one of the handful of benches there among the modern sculpture installations, soaking up the city and the time. We chatted, and watched quick, pretty people flow across the stones for thirty minutes or so before making it back to the room, but not before Betsy almost ducked me for the hotel bar where the big screen TV had just announced the fireworks were to begin. Not me. I was flustered, fuzzy, and finished. I had to get out of my clothes and horizonstal, still not rested enough after two earlier all-nighters launching RADIO SCENEWASH, my online radio station of which I'll spill more beans later.

So, despite everything, we watched the historic display on television, can you believe it? Boston officials claimed some 700,000 strong had made it to the Charles River Esplanade for this year's festivities, topping the previous high count of a half million with room to spare, and than doubling last year's 300,000 visitors. The big news, echoed various forms of the media, was the influx of travellers from across the nation who had spirited specifically to Boston to toast her as the symbolic cradle of patriotism and freedom that marks this nation's birth.

On the way back, we stopped in Darien, CN for lunch. Quaint? This little nest of quaint is like some fairy tale. Had hot sandwiches at a busy little tavern where the men's restroom was plastered in nudes and other erotica from a bygone era. I asked the wife if she'd had a peculiar potty room experience, and she said no before I told her about the men's decorum. Very strange. And then we were off to Philadelphia where we visited the awe-inspiring Museum of Art, the tiny but delightful Auguste Rodin sculpture gallery, and lastly, the Edgar Allan Poe House, while visiting a friend (Yet Another Steve Taylor) who gave us the play by play tour since all these places are within walking distance of his apartment, although the Poe exhibit is more like a long we drove. Twas thoughtful of you Richard Waller to call my dear dear Betsy. Something eerie about getting a ring in Philadelphia standing in the EAP museum however. Congratulations on your continued energies. I know you are excited to still be going strong. Keep us informed. I'm tired as tigers with heavy eyelids today, Betsy's at work, but thought I'd let you know I got your note...


Quaint living...

Most of this nation's general population of a certain age knows nothing of the struggles and successes of our beloved very first American—Thomas Paine, Citizen Paine, critic of scroundrels and perfumed highbrows alike, instead we are taught from the overwrought spit-polished images of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, no insult to these men intended, but for the love of liberty, why is the reputation of this very singular mind and heart of the revolution allowed to wither on the vine of American culture?

Long live Citizen Paine! I was told by the Paine cottagemaster that the BBC was planning to cross the pond to film a feature on him. Let's hope so, and let's also bear witness to the desire that the egonomical fox Bill O'Reilly hasn't forever tainted the name of the very author of the American Revolution with his recent attacks on the so-called ultra left Tom Paine web site financed by staunch liberal Bill Moyers, and run by his son...

The Writer's Block

13 Sep




Originally published on September 13, 1999

KUBHLAI: Like me, he is markedly unimpressed with the intellectual sincerity of Man. Where he immediately impressed me was by identifying precisely that there is a distinct duality between *Worldview* (''weltanschauung'') and *Philosophy* or supposedly objective human reasonings in general. Now I have never clearly made this distinction between philosophizing and worldview—rather leaving it as an assumption I suppose, that thought (along with other attitudinal modes) is but the building bricks of the total Worldview. In Hulme however, they are at odds from the very start; philosophizing (by which is meant human thought and judgement in a wider sense) lays claim to the humanist value of ''Reason'', but all the while the Worldview, which is defined as the grand picture we have of where our "satisfaction" lies, is exerting a gravitational force tempting us to construct complex arguments which, by an amazing coincidence' as it were, arrive at a point which is ''satisfying'' , which provides an apparent justification for the often crude and simplistic desires which were there a priori.

GABRIEL: Here is an interesting piece I found somewhere under a napkin not of my own choosing, a piece quaintly reviewing Kundera's TESTMENTS BETRAYED: "Kafka, Stravinsky, Rushdie—the modern artist confuses and often outrages critics looking for the clarity of orthodoxy. Kundera, whose talents as a literary and music critic almost match his formidable gifts as a novelist, defends the artist against obtuse or perverse critics, disciples, and allies. Thus he rescues Kafka the artist from the embrace of disciples who want to remake him into a thinker. Likewise, he brings the genius of Stravinsky out from under the shadow of the misguided criticism of a close friend. Similarly, Kundera reclaims Rushdie's Satanic Verses as an imaginative work from progressive intellectuals who have never read it but have claimed it as a political symbol of the need for a free press. Discipleship, friendship, and comradeship can all turn into betrayal. Against such betrayal, Kundera insists upon the creative autonomy of the novelist and the composer, whose works live in an ambiguous sphere outside of all history except the capricious history of human creativity. Though he offers keen insights into music and literature, it is in his celebration of humor in the European novel that Kundera's genial brilliance burns most brightly."

The writer steps down from the podium.

Stitches And Snatches, Grins From Nacogdoches

11 Oct


Research & Development


Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 07:29:21

Hi Gabe! sorry for the delay, kinda hard to volley with someone who won't return the serve, huh.

I am "saving" scripture letter to read after I list mine. Enjoyed your last transmission, but events preclude my sitting at the computer without interruption. Am having to do three jobs as two of the parent's caregivers have been 'out' and I am starting school, and working away from my office. Will hope for time early next week. Hope all is well in Thy house!


Hey, back atcha George! Glad things are as you put them, stitches and snatches, grins from Nacogdoches, and silence not some ultimate dismissal my everpresent paranoia might have me believe. Thanks for the short note which certainly helped soothe the savage beast inside. Check in when you can, and I’ll do the same. Look forward to your list. Good health and good sonship!


Date: Fri Oct 10, 1997 3:49:12 PM America/New_York

Well old pal,

As you’ve crossed my mind many times in the past few months, what was it, middle of May since you last found your way into my mailbox, I finally took the chance that you weren’t peeved at me for some ungodly reason so much as crowded in a life of things and persons you can see and touch, and simply fuzzied me out of the already blurred picture. I mean, the last I read you were starting a class, and then were to compile a TOP 10 scripture list, having refused to peek at mine until you had completed your own…

Oh well, the best laid plains…

Hope this ruthless old world is treating you and your family, particularly your elderly ones with grace and kindness. I hope to hear from you some day, but if I don’t, what we DID share certainly improved my lot in the spring of ’97.

Best regards,


Date: Sat, 11 Oct 1997 09:09:52

Another Galaxie heard from. Yes, your latter assumption is the most accurate...the details of life come so rapidly, and with such force, I am only able to work on details that are directly in my line of sight...however, I have not forgotten.

Picking just ten favorite scriptures proved to be beyond my current capabilities. It seems, I would pick some, and others would pop up having more influence and meaning than the last...and so my friend...ANYTHING I say will be a spurrious comment, an insignificant inanity, a compilation of what has only just recently passed under my nose.

Speaking of minutia, have you read about, or seen on TV the lastest discoveries regarding black holes? Steven Hawking et al are coming to some startling conclusions about the space time theories developed by Einstein…as mass goes infinite, time stops. The quantum singularity fits the biblical description of the pit, abyss, hell…from which there is no return, no light at all escapes.
Since last we "spoke," many adventures, and opportunities have come and gone. Summer was too fast this year, with only the bare minimum amount of goofing off. The adventures that I was able to pull off, will have to last me, because from here untill spring, it looks like serious adult type stuff.

My engineering/inventing business took a giant step forward in June, when the President of the company got fired from her day job as Operations Mgr. for a telecommunications company. She went to work full time for me, writing business plans, and setting up trade shows; hireing marketing staff, and design consultants; and generally preparing us to seek venture capitol, and the licensing/sale of new technologies. It is strenuous for me, because everyone feels they have right and duty to 'question' the inventor, pick apart the product, and reinvent the wheel. I've become glazed over, trying to thicken my skin, and supress the urge to just tell questioners "fuck you, if you can't see the future...rot in your own waste in the present!"

We both know how satisfying that is for a moment, but to truly "change" the world, we must bless it's myopia, and try to heal it. To influence, and encourage a way to think differently. We will not transcend the wheel without struggle and sacrifice.

My sacrifice, it seems, is to continue to play the game of patiently waiting for others to "get it." Wade through their arguments about why it won't work, wait through the innanities of financial chaos, and be ready, willing, and able to cheerfully present intellectual property, to anyone who may have the key to utilizing it. Since the only time I'm truly happy these days is in my R&D lab, proving theories, I am aiming at delegating all other aspects of the engineering to contractors, so I can build full time.

Two days ago, I said "screw the world"...turned off the phone, didn't answer the door...and "built" a better mouse trap, that I concieved (and patented) in 1988. It is a vacuum attachment. One baits it, plugs the vacuum into it, and when a sensor is activated by the pest, it automatically vacuums the little critter into a 'safetrap' or disposal bag (depending on how humane the user feels tword rodentia). It is automatically set to get the next one 3 seconds later.

Little stuff like that keeps my mind occupied untill I am able to establish consensus regarding more important issues that Innovative Engineering Inc. has the solutions for; such as, eleminating landfills, cleaning up toxic waste, and overcomming gravity, to name a few.

Oh well, on with the minutia of life.

Speaking of minutia, have you read about, or seen on TV the lastest discoveries regarding black holes? Steven Hawking et. al. are comming to some startling conclusions about the space time theories developed by mass goes infinite, time stops. The quantum singularity fits the biblical description of the pit, abyss, hell...from which there is no return, no light at all escapes.

Well, I hope you and yours are well and happy. Please don't think that I'm ignoring you, if I am not writing...just an overwhelmed thinker, trying to keep up...but am always interested in an exchange, even if time does not permit.




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