Sunday, September 18, 2016

September Song

For your pleasure.  Sarah Vaughan and Clifford Brown:

Two Self-Dealing Inveterate Dissemblers Walk Into A Presidential Election ....

.... and ask to be our President.  A caretaker incrementalist who is an archetypal example of what becomes of a socially liberal idealist when they gain entrée to the Establishment's sausage-making machine vs. a colossally ignorant, boorish, ADHD-afflicted case study in greed and arrested development.  Those are the choices, folks.

Fuck them.
Fuck Gary Johnson.
Fuck Jill Stein.

I'm voting for Clinton.  It solves nothing but buys time to do the work that needs doing.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Work-In-Progress: excerpt from "Baby Mine"

Roselle was really tired and wanted a seat more than anything or she thought she would die or at least not be able to make it through another day.  The girl with the three babies got the last one.  Two who the mother pretend were twins by dressing them the same but anybody who’d had twins or too much sex before her 6 week postpartum checkup knew that those 2 babies were born 10 months apart and they and the toddler who already had streaks of dried snot forming a parentheses around its open and drooling mouth were staring up at Roselle.  She sighed, no seat, no mercy for her knees and the pain got louder as the bus lurched down the boulevard that she almost bit through her tongue.  But, Roselle made it to the Wexlas Avenue stop and thanked God that the bus stopped right in front of the school.  She lurched her way forward into the employees’ entrance and promptly sat down at her station ignoring that she needed to pee.  The children, all blue legs and white arms, gamboled past her with box cutters, Nintendo PlayStations and sodas in their ballast-like backpacks.  She prayed that the morning would be over fast.  It was the only thing that kept her going on the job except for seeing Mr. Washington, who had begun work at PS 304 the same day she had.  Everybody talked about how fine he was; and the more he ignored them, the more the girls said he was funny.  At break, Roselle didn’t join the argument one way or the other.  It would give away whatever feelings she had, and she was not going to give herself away, not even to herself.  Every Monday Mr. Washington was the topic of the guards’ 15 minute break, and when she was asked to take sides about the man, Roselle sucked her teeth and waved away the question.  Besides, because of how she esd nobody expected her to have much of an opinion about a good-looking man.  He was none of her business.

I'll Stand With You

A reminder of what real courage can cost a person and a family.  Know your history. All of it.

Image result for black power salute at summer olympics 1968 download image

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Just Checking In

By desire and habit I lead A Very Boring Life. I seldom want to go anywhere, particularly at times like these when it is about 300 degrees Fahrenheit with 1000% humidity and one leg is much larger than the other because it is swollen in all its plantar fasciitis glory. Extreme heat and humidity exacerbate it; as do long periods of sitting, such as on a train to Philly or New York.  So today, here I am with the throbbing log I call my leg and a picture to prove I left the house:

That is a shot of the the Amtrak station in Philly last Sunday morning on my way out of town after having gone to Scribe Video Center's premiere of The Great Migration, a documentary on what I learned is was the first wave (1916 - 1930) of the African-American migration northward.  Some of you may know that when I decided to leave Brooklyn my first choice was Philly, which inexplicably I've always loved.  For the first time since settling in New Haven I wished I had.  There is something about the people there I just like.  Challenged, but not passive or defeated.

Granted, love letters to a city you've only spent a night or two in can be naive, but having followed the outrage du jour here in New Haven I despair of the racial tribalism which so distorts our local politics.  Lately it has been the controversy over Corey Menafee's breaking of a stained-glass window in a Yale dining hall, then no doubt being strong-armed by Yale to resign or be fired, then becoming the darling of left-leaning activists who, again no doubt, pointed out Yale's hypocrisy alluding to years' long under-the-rug-sweeping of a scion's or a prominent WASP's behavior but scarcely admitting to Mr. Menafee's wrongdoing (even if he himself admits it) and then his plight becoming the latest proxy for the rolling race/class, union/administration, town/gown shitshow that always accompanies a power and resource struggle within a closed system.  I've ceased to see these conflicts -- Menafee's job, re-naming Calhoun College, what Master Christakis said  -- as efforts to overturn oppression and class privilege, and come to see them as dominance battles in an institution that needs reform (as all institutions do) and yet, if one remains affiliated with it by remaining a student there bestows -- by intention and design -- incredible advantage in the marketplace.

I grew up in a university town and the lives of people on a 2-year or 4-year clock is very different from those who are permanent residents.  What matters deeply to short-timers (and here I'm mostly talking about students; with those who are seeking tenure there is more to lose) is often obscure to city dwellers, and the long-term consequences of the fight over Yale's soul, whichever side "wins", become the city dwellers' to deal with. For better, and often enough, for worse.