Archive for the ‘Beatniks’ Category

Summer of our Discontent

August 1, 2009

When we returned from our (fist) trip to Australia on Inauguration day in January, this columnist was eagerly looking forward to summer (in the US) and the prospect that we would be writing about the war crimes trials of George W. Bush (and our disk jockey would be playing Hank Williams’ “Knock the Hell Out of You” song at the end of it) and his cronies , but it looks like there will be no such columns written this summer (or ever?) and most appropriate song would simply be “So Long, It’s been good to know ya.” It seems we will have to come up with a different idea for a summer column. 

Our question about where was the Queen Mary when Pearl Harbor was attacked got answered when we went down to the tourist attraction in Long Beach and talked to the Public Relations department who consulted the ship’s records and informed us that the ship spent from late November to mid December of 1941, in Trincomalee harbor.  It may have been there for some periodic maintenance.  That shot down our theory about that ship getting an order to evacuate from Pearl Harbor late on Saturday, December 6, 1941 and it caused us to learn that Trincomalee is a harbor on the coast of  Shri Lanka (which was then called the island of Ceylon.)  We planned a long and clever column about that excursion.  Without a war crime trial, it seemed that the need for writing that column was also considerably downgraded.  Folks in the US just don’t care that much about wars.

A few weeks ago, a visit to Homeboy Industries had us inspired to write a column all about it and adopt it as our favorite “good cause” and urge folks to donate money to them (after making an enormous donation to their favorite progressive web site fund raising drive) but somehow, despite all our good intentions, it didn’t get written.

Would a column about our disk jockey’s suggestions for assembling all the most appropriate songs for a Bush era soundtrack album be worth the effort?  Well, maybe after the Labor Day weekend, there will be more enthusiasm for the project.

While in Australia, we kept thinking about the fact that we were missing the Sunday Night Classic radio broadcast featuring Jimmy Kay.  We especially thought of that program while standing in the Record store in Fremantle and listening to the entire “At Folsom Prison” album.  It seemed that the further one gets from Folsom Prison, the better the album sounds.  We recently learned that the Sunday Night program went off the air and that a petition to help it get back on the air is available online.

How about a column about James Crowley?  Have you gotten your Crowley for Congress bumper sticker yet?  They don’t make them?  Wait a week.  They will.  How can the Republicans not love a guy who reminds this columnist of Sarah Palin?

When George W. Bush’s paperwork from his air National Guard days turned up missing, it was (to the conservatives leading the chorus of mainstream media) no big deal.  However, they just gotta see Obama’s birth certificate.  We thought about writing a column about the conservatives’ curious application of a double standard regarding old personal presidential documents.  Is this paragraph good enough?

Since we have managed to get a ride on the Goodyear Blimp and a B-17-G, when we got an e-mail recently saying that the Beat Museum (in San Francisco) has resurrected the Beatmobile, we came up with the idea of writing a clever column that would earn us an invitation to do a ride-along story about some of their adventures “on the road.”  We haven’t gotten around to writing that column yet.

Would it be inappropriate to mention here that the (car and truck) International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame is located in Chattanooga Tennessee?

That, in turn, reminded us that we are still trying to figure out how to get either Qantas, VAustralia, or United Airlines to donate a RT ticket to Australia for the next facet of our new columnist’s tradition of celebrating Christmas in the traditional Australia way (in a bathing suit on the beach) this December. 

That caused us to contemplate writing a column suggesting that maybe one of those air lines should run ads in December in (say) Buffalo, Boston, NYC, Chicago, and Minneapolis, featuring attractive lasses giving a live weather reports from both Bondi and Cottesloe beachs each night.  On a cold winter’s night in the northern part of the USA, it would be afternoon the next day on both of those beaches and the weather report alone should convince some folks that a vacation in Australia at that time of year ain’t a bad idea.

Rodney King once said:  “We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out.”  He was never invited to the White House for a beer.

Now, the disk jockey will play the fugs “Summer of Love.”  We gotta go send a news tip suggestion (about Richard Fine’s legal plight in L. A.) to Rolling Stone magazine.  Have a “retroactive amnesty” type week.

Notes for Chapter 5

February 7, 2009

Notes for Chapter Five

Rain was predicted all day Friday and so I finished up at the SMPL early and headed back to the crash pad.  I got there before a big ole rain storm came along.


It was still looking like rain on Saturday morning but as the day moves along, the weather gets better and better.


Dennis E is supposed to catch up with me today at the SMPL. 


Will put the floppy disks from the Australia trip in storage and that seems (symbolically) like it puts “30” to the trip.


Have to remember to do a tribute to Johnny Cash before the 13th because (as I recall) that’s his birthday.


Called Rev. Dan this morning.  Don’t know where I’ll be next Saturday morning or if I’ll be able to call him.

Journal of an e-beatnik cont.

February 6, 2009

Beatnik Journal Notes for Chapter Four


The place near SMC was rented by the time I called back on Thursday.  I like the way the kid didn’t even say an insincere “sorry.”  Will folks doing things like that be Bush’s real legacy?


I found another ad for a bed near UCLA. 


It turned out to be a young woman renting bed space in her bedroom.  For an old guy, this made it seem like one of two things:  either she hasn’t thought it through or she’s a drama about to happen.  Either way, no thanks!


It rained Thursday and my plastic poncho that I’ve had for years (Decades?) got put to use.  It traveled all over the US and Australia in its package, but now it has been used and will have to be discarded.


Republicans seem to take care of each other.  One for all and all for one.  Democrats seem to adopt the Republican philosophy during hard times.  They want their friends to realize that they should take care of themselves and not ask for anything from fellow Democrats, such as crash pads or what have you.  Obviously there are some exceptions to the rule, but a goodly number of folks are not returning my calls.


Air fares are falling.  If folks have lost their jobs and their homes then they have no excuse for not going on a trip, do they?  Yeah, if you’d loose your job or (if you miss a house or car payment) face repossession, but if you don’t have any of that to worry about why not check out the new low airfares?  A new VAustralia (Virgin?) is offering RT LA-Sydney-LA for only $777.  Yeah, but fall and winter are coming on down there.  There is still about a month and a half of summer left, though . . . .


A call to the main number for the Section 8 Housing part of the Housing Authority for L. A. produced the information that they are (just as in 2004) not taking applications at this time.  If they start doing so again, they’ll put notices in the media.  Until then, see if a friend can let you sleep on the couch for a short time. 

Journal of an e-beatnik

February 4, 2009

Notes for Chapter One

On Tuesday, I called about getting the list of phone numbers from the Senior Housing Office.  When they determined that I had registered with them and didn’t have a local address, they suggested that I drop by and pick up the list of numbers.


I took two busses ($.25 cents old folks off-peak hours) and got there in about an hour and go the list of phone number that has been misplaced since September. 


I wrote a column for Smirking Chimp at the Santa Monica Public Library.  You compose on one set of computers and get Internet access on different ones.  I (thought I) put the column on a floppy disk, but when I got to the Internet access computers I couldn’t open the file.  Kiss that column goodbye.


I check Craigslist, sent e-mails, wrote down phone numbers, and then monitored the jungle drums on the Liberal blogisphere.


I hustled myself back to my host’s pad.  I had to pay $2.80 for a bottle of Diet Root Beer, that sells for (about) $.90 during sales events at the big chain markets. 


Notes for Chapter Two

The phone number for the Section 8 housing, on the list I got yesterday, had recorded information calling “this year” 2004.  Nothing like keeping citizens up-to-date on government information hotlines, eh?


I walked to a nearby Section 8 housing facility and learned that they were run by the Housing Authority of L. A.  Since I knew just where the WLA office was, I hopped on a bus and went over.


They gave me a very similar phone number 252-2500.  So I will try to call that number tomorrow morning.


I asked if I could get two sheets of blank legal size paper but was told that times are bad and they couldn’t give me two sheets of paper.  I guess the media that thinks the bail-out funds are going to be pork barrel projects would be glad to see that government employees are being very vigilant about waste, so there’s no worries (mate!).


I then mailed a letter to a Democratic pal who is very hard to contact.  Could it be that during hard times, Democrats don’t want to be put to the old “one for all and all for one” acid test of being asked for help?  Perish the thought.  I just want to have lunch with him and tell him about a great “based on true events” story (escaped POW) I found in Western Australia.  He tends to be very cautious and makes it hard to contact him.


I mailed off the letter and then walked over to a friend’s place because he hasn’t returned my phone calls for the last few calls.  Some a few months back before going to Australian and then one yesterday. 


He becomes a bit of a recluse and so I will try to bribe him into having lunch with me by offering him a copy of a 50 year old British car magazine.  He likes cars and car magazines, so maybe he will go for the offer?


Then I went to the Santa Monica Senior Center and signed up for lunch this Saturday.


I ran into one of the former photographers for the Santa Monica Outlook and got his e-mail address.  (Building a million reader blog one new “subscription” at a time!)