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Archive for June, 2008

During the Vachel Lindsay Architectural Tour, we were walking north on Seventh when we all saw a woman leading a big horse from a recently-parked trailer, I wondered to my friend Ed Gehlbach and his good wife how interesting it was that Paul Simon had mentioned “the horse on Seventh Avenue” in his fine tune The Boxer, and here we were witnessing the same thing. At least it was fun to imagine we were. Mr. Ed (the Gehlbach) replied he believed Simon was writing about something else.

Ed was right of course. Simon was talking Seventh Avenue, and we were on Seventh Street.

My “experiment” continues with excellent results. Last night during the 10p gnews (the “g” is silent) I finally gave in and consumed the last four slices of bread in the house, spread (Texan-spin)-liberally with Hellman’s mayonnaise and raspberry jam. It was an elegant repast. The iced tea was as wine.

Yesterday when contemplating Monday, I decided to end my semi-fast semi-soon this afternoon because since I had committed to taking a package to the post office as promised to an e-correspondent, I’d swing by County Market on the flip-flop. This yester-plan came to me about 2:30 today I scrubbed the mail run and delayed the food run until Fresh Air with Terri Gross who had promised an interview with Seymour Hirsch, an extraordinary writer for The New Yorker. The interview was so good, I’m going to listen to the repeat tonight at 7. It’s that good. Mayhaps later I will read his article. It didn’t GRAB my attention when the mag came in Saturday’s mail, but only because I didn’t notice Hirsch’s name which is PLATINUM in print!

I shall dine between Marketplace and the repeat in a few minutes.

For the past three days, I’ve been busting my buns working on my web sites, deleting more aviation pictures and a few arts pages that no longer as essential as when I was doing the CIVAG site. What do I mean by busting mon buns? I mean coming into the office today about 7:30, not leaving except to refill coffee and tea until 4p and coming back to work after half an hour suppertime until 8:00. I really need to get this work done, and I’ve almost concluded I’m going to have to buy more memory for the web pages.

As the new pages of new pictures get posted I will update you here.

Thanks for dropping by.

Live long and “don’t let the bed bugs bite” (<— frequent closing phone conversation wish implanted permanently in my brain by a woman I remember publicly as M.A.P. Heck of a good woman; just not good enough to put up with me for more than three years.)

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I can painlessly transcend sub-nominal circumstances as I did when I declared the planned Saturday of eating other peoples’ food “an experiment,” and ended the day without feeling the world hates me. I had paid a few bills last week, and had to stretch what was left in the account to July 1. (In my kitchen, I had less than half a loaf of bread. half a jar of mayonnaise; coffee and iced tea mix to last me well into the new month.) If esteemed upstairs resident did not pay rent until the second or third, I’d have to stretch it even further. That’s why food availability dictated my social calendar for the weekend. Thursday, I decided that if I could be a mite more social and nourish my body, the result from my socializing would serve two purposes: surprising some folks I haven’t seen since I discontinued my Central Illinois Visual Artists Galleries web enterprise that I’m not a past-tensed entity and consuming what would likely be a light “lunch” but a better “dinner.”

That’s why I attended the Vachel Lindsay Home’s annual neighborhood walking architectural tour starting at 9 Saturday. Light refreshments had been promised at the end. That element was the clincher, but I also wanted to make good my previous week’s promise to the director that I would attend the event with camera in tow. Jennie Battles had hinted she might want me to share some of my memorized Vachel poetry and songs at a House event on July 5. So, really, it was a combination motivation. At the end of it all, along with excellent conversations, handing out some of my new Vachel Pages web site cards and taking some deccent pictures for my VP web site, I had enjoyed my seven or eight cookies and two cups of Jennie’s fabulous Constant Comment iced tea aaaaaaaaaaand departed the home with the happy news that I am invited to share my poetry and song thing at the site next Saturday. There’s no pay involved (it’s a state insitution and budgeting has been cut back; NOT a big deal since I would gladly share at the Vachel house as my gift to that place) but I am invited to lunch early in the afternoon.

After spending every minute between that fine tour processing the pictures I took, working on my web pages and tossing several cups of Folgers instant down the hatch, I stopped only long enough to change clothes and head over to Springfield Art Association’s reception for their new gallery exhibition. It was the first time I had visited the place since shutting down CIVAG and the first time most of them had seen me without facial hair (notwithstanding those growing out of my ear lobes). All in all, it was a very happy event that included warm greetings from director Angie Dunfee, friendly encounters with artists Gloria and Jerry Josserand, and a fast posed photo shoot of Tony Leone, owner of Pasfield House.


The finger food and wine are the best of any gallery reception I’ve attended and I guiltlessly consumed all I wanted. I wasn’t piggy about it; put only twice as much on my saucers (three or four rounds) as most of the others, took some pictures for my blog and future applications, and departed for the big blues and jazz fest downtown where I had volunteered to help. My camera went along, of course.

We missed a major downpour by Divine beneficence. Walking from my car to the big doin’s I expected to be drenched by what seemed major precip before I arrived. The skies didn’t dump on us. After helping take tickets about half an hour, I spent the next three and a half at the been truck and had a great time. I also found time to get away for a few minutes at a time to take some pictures of some of the bands. The whole evening was a breeze with excellent people and fine music, especially a group from Memphis whose name I will share when I find it somewhere. .I was having so much fun I didn’t think to take home a program.

Throughout the night, I had consumed all the beer I desired in the course of “testing” newly tapped kegs, but I had eaten nothing. No time and no dollars. As the event shut down a little after midnight, I was walking by the food vendors next to the beer wagon when someone shouted “Anyone want some leftovers?” I GRATEFULLY took home two bratwursts and kraut and two hamburgers, all I could hold with two hands without seeming like a third-class beggar. The beer I had consumed (not a LOT) might as well have been water based on the nil impairment encounterd driving home. It’s not risking lying to myself to believe I had worked it all out of my system.

On arriving home in the piquant coolness of the near south side at 12:30 am, not having any alcohol of any kind in the house for more than a week, considered myself LUCKY to down two glasses of Lipton Instant while almost inhaling the burgers and brats while watching the second half of DaVinci’s Inquest. It was an incredibly satisfying conclusion to a day uncommonly productively spent and amply rewarding.

Today, I could have gone to the grocery store for more provisions, but I’m counting my past-midnight repast fair and ample nourishment for the day. All day, I’ve been at this computer processing pictures from yesterday and working on my web sites, trying to reduce aviation photo content to make more room for arts-related pictures. I know that if I eat even two pieces of toast and margarine, with raspberry jam of course, I’ll only become hungrier and eat the rest of the bread tonight. Instead, I’m cutting myself off the coffee so I can get to sleep at a decent hour (‘Round Midnight as Thelonius Monk might say) and IF I reward myself with food, it will be close to bed time. My “experiment.” has been successful. When I’m having fun or working productively, food for me is incidental anyway. If only I could spend more time engaged in productive activity, this froggy countenance I call my baaaaahdy might be in better form. So might my life.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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Here’s why. Consider his slogan — “Change We can Believe In.”

Is that the mantra of an Eastern intelligensia-type? Heck no! If he was one of those, instead of being one of the people, by the people and for the people, if he was a lingual effetist, his slogan would be . . . .

Change in which we can believe.

Live a great many years properly.

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I’ve just logged about an hour over at Umbrage Universal, mon other blog, and hours before that updating my Brotherhood of Jobs web site, and that workout prompts this romp in semi-flashback. . .

You wouldn’t believe who I just met out at the airport! GENE AUTRY! Dad and I went out to the airport to watch the airplanes like we do many Sundays when the weather’s so nice. I love to watch them take off and land, the drama that doesn’t end for me until the airplane is almost out of sight after leaving, going who knows where. When they come in, that long descent, becoming more than a distant dot just above the horizon, growing bigger so that I usually can tell a Cessna from Stinson before Dad and really getting interested with the distant silhouette tells me it’s a big airplane, a DC-3 or a C-119 delivering cargo to the Air National Guard unit . . . . that is so nifty, especially when they taxi by and I can smell the aviation gasoline and their hot engine and feel the breeze from their propellers . . . . . is there anything better at 11:30 on a sunny Sunday than this? Not in MY book! Well maybe, come to think of it. Dad and I usually go into the terminal restaurant and he buys me a hamburger, some sizzly french fries and a Coke, and we sit at a booth by the window where we can see the planes come and go. Those aromas mix with the fragrance of the hot vynl upholstery and a touch of cigarette & sometimes cigar perfume and life is the best. If I could, I’d stick one of those Phillies Cheroots into my nose so I could savor the sweetness, but Dad would have a fit. And as long as he’s buying, I can live without it.

So we’re walking out of the restaurant, and there are some people in the parking lot, like a group or a small entourage. In the middle is Gene Autry — GENE AUTRY! Pop didn’t tell me about this, but he must have known because usually he doesn’t bring his camera when we come to the airport!

So we walk over, and all the grownups are nodding and smiling, especially Mr. Autry who bends down and shakes my hand when one of the men introduces him to Dad and Dad introduces him to me! What a neat guy! I think the first song I memorized the words to was his recording of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Not really a cowboy song, but a fun song for sure. I’ve seen him in the movies too, mostly downtown at the Orpheum. I’m really glad Dad took a picture! Maybe he’ll have it blown up to an 8 x 10 or something. Maybe I’ll learn how to play his songs on a guitar when I grow up. Man, what a treat!

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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It’s about 83 outside the showroom of the stoner joint where I’m working this summer — or maybe for the rest of my misbegotten life. Inside, it’s a breezy 81, thanks in part to the five ceiling fans in motion; surprisingly comfortable. From this computer, looking into the room, I resemble a “Kilroy was here” illustration: if a giant scythe swept into me at counter-top level, I’d loose the top of my head from just below the bridge of my nose. Worse, there’d be no one here to close the joint at 5. The walls are lined with 12 x 12 inch x 1/2 inch thick samples of granite, marble and onyx. Jewelry has vastly less allure to me than the colors and patterns polished into these natural “stones.”

To my left is a ceiling-to-shin picture window facing west. A few single-story metal-clad buildings across the road that used to be part of Route 66 afford me a generous view of the sky, a kinetic canvas of cloud, blues and greys. When the rains come in, I have a view that unfolds before my eyes like a movie produced and directed by Mother Nature. I’d have to pay a lot for an office with this view. But I don’t need the view when I’m writing for dollars, and that’s good because my home office faces my driveway and neighbors’ kitchen. Here the employer pays me. It’s a good deal, tolerable even when the temperatures are in the 90s.

I’m sitting at the edge of the world most legal citizens know as Springfield, Illinois, and most of the rest know as “No lo comprendo. Los Estados Unidos; nada mas.” The four-lane street just 20 feet from the front door on the city’s far north east side carries a major share of trucks and vans entering and eminating from the new retail area which has blossomed big time less than a mile south. Those going south will eventually connect to some of the largest hotels, a stone’s throw from the power plant, and a quick turn to Lake Springfield. Those going north will quickly encounter Sherman, Illinois, maybe two miles away and a swift merge into Interstate 55 just north of there. It is a moody thoroughfare, bursting with traffic irregularly all day and sometimes so berefeft of steel on wheels you could read a chapter from War and Peace sitting in a lawn chair in the southbound lanes. It’s so close to I-55 that ambulances are frequent. This morning about 10, one blew by sirens screaming and lights flashing at probably 60 instead of the usual 45. Three minutes later another ambulance followed. Conclusion: serious carnage between Sherman and the highway. Just a guess. I hope they were crews in training, but i know better. This is not a noisy place. Only the noise from tires on concrete — little more than hissing — intrudes. Two feet from my left hand, my radio is tuned to WUIS public radio and All Things Considered. Life is unhurried behind the counter here on the edge of the world.

Just thought you’d like to know.

Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.

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They’ve given you a number and taken away your name.

The rosster crows on his kness because he doesn’t know how to wark.

I digress.

Mark your calendar for June 28. Early risers will want to take in Springfield Art Association’s reception for “The Many Faces of Abe – The Jime and Carole Shay Collection.” Their excellent gallery is located at the Edwards Place Historic Home, the oldest home in Springfield on its original foundation, at 700 N. Fourth Street from 5:30 through 7:30 pm. They’re good people there, and the event will be the perfect warm-up to segueway into

The Blues & Jazz Fest on the downtown mall which runs from about 5:30 to 12:30 if I remember correctly. This event charges admission but it’s a heck of a bargain. All sorts of talent will be there, and it’s a terrific venue to boot. The event will see major PR in local media, so check your local Lisztings.

Meanwhale, back on the raunch — make that ranch — I’m totally bummed by George Carlin’s untimely demise. Fresh Air shared an excellent retrospective on WUIS Monday. Charlie Rose on WSEC gave him a token ta-ta. The excerpt from Carlin’s 1996 interview was less than 15 minutes. They should have given him much more than that. George was the “Willie Nelson of American comedy before Willie reinvented himself as GC did. There was not a sharper mind on stage. Rose reported he had recorded 22 comedy albums. 22! Though I admired the guy, I don’t have ONE of them. I’d like to suggest that if he dressed more like Shelly Berman or even Mort Sahl, I’d have bought at least a few, but that’s not true. I don’t have any Martin or Sahl  albums either.

In the fine Fresh Air interview replay George considered his future given the fact he had survived three heart attacks at the time it was recorded. He said whatever might significant illness might come to him, he hoped he’d be able to write, to communicate his thoughts. He said he’d hate to live without that ability. Maybe we should be grateful that he did not have to live with that incapacity. I will miss just knowing he’s with us.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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So who the fring-frang is Funky Wingerbean anyway? I met him as the high school nerd who grew into the young married who was an aspiring writer and lived above an Italian restaurant. There was a head portrait of a fellow who could be the guy who might greet you as you enter Wal-Mart (btw did you know that “wal” in German is “whale?”) and the Sunday color strip — again displacihng Frank and Ernest — packs all the punch of a Sam Levinson anecdote (this reference will separate true humor historian/devotees from the rest) told to Jack Parr in 1963. This will be my last “Funky report.” The strip is so oatmeal and Citrucel it no longer holds its once-moderate allure for me despite the excellent drawing and panel conposition.  Sayonarra Funk-meister.

On the positive side, Doonesbury Flashback has been replaced by Doonesbury with the appearance of Sunday’s fine go round confirming Garry Trudeau has returned to the present. It’s a “must read” for political whankers like myself, so smoke it if you can get it. Opus scored a three-base hit today: nice effort, but not a keeper for the collection.

What did Meet the Press with Brian WIlliams and This week with George the Greek have in common today? They showed essentially the same map graphic that illustrated formerly Bush-carried states that now lean Obama, and they showed the Barack-meister’s new tv ad. Both shows were better than usual, and they’re usually very good. Kudos to MTP for interviewing Lindsay Graham and Joe Biden in a civil discourse. Graham oozes all that reeks of $43s crowd, but he’s a decent speaker. Biden is the cream of the cream in my political refrigerator.

A fellow at a party I attended last night made an excellent case for Jim Webb for VP and Biden for Secretary of State. It sounds like a winning combination to me. You TOO?

Live long . . . .   and proper.

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