Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks Giving, Awareness

My dad's good friend passed away this week.  After hearing about / witnessing nearly forty years of camaraderie, Schadenfreude, rivalry, jibing, belittlements, favors performed (sometimes grudgingly, other times without even asking) ... weekly breakfast and lunch rituals (my mom's frustrations at the "bromance") ... general support, bonhomie and the occasional assist with each others' families ... and at the end of the day, companionship and a comfort factor ...

My dad's friend of nearly forty years is no more.

Gordon died of a brain tumor, which overtly manifested its ugly head for the first time on November 1st, just over three weeks ago.  Apparently, he'd complained of headaches every now and then, more and more frequently ... but these were generally (too easily, conveniently) dismissed as what happens to you when you become old(er).  My own squinty vision, my dad's pained feet, my mom's knobbly knees and Gordon's headaches, all written off to inevitability.

Until this past November 1st, when my dad's friend collapsed - an aneurysm being to blame on the surface, while lurking and festering, metastasizing, below was the inoperable brain cancer which ravaged and killed him.

In just over three weeks!  You have to discover it ... Invite cure and treatment.  When "it" finds you, showing up at your doorstep, the game's usually over.

I thought of Gordon the other day, before I learned of his death (though I knew he was unwell).  Just randomly began thinking about how fast things happen ... about my own memories and knowing of him, mainly through his son, who's my age and with whom I went to school (Geoff, if I remember, was left-handed ... just like the spelling of his first name!) ... How at least he'd been released to home care and family for what would be his final days, and of course, the impact on his family.

How my dad, in his own words, doesn't "do sad" but would need to attend his best friend's funeral, before the weight of reality, new sense of mortality and feelings of loneliness set in like a northern Wisconsin winter ...

And if I were googly-eyed, I might try to suggest that it was that very moment, when I randomly and powerfully began thinking of Gordon, that his soul left his body ... and another little piece of my own life left me.
 “Give (Thanks)”, ©Jeff Glovsky
 * * *

GLIOGENE International Brain Tumor Study

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Numbers Scheme

This was not the original plan ...

The plan was to match up my number of posts here -- or 'annual output' -- with the number of each corresponding month.  For example, June, when I started, should've seen six posts ... August, eight, right (because that's the eighth month)?

October, there should have been 10 posts, etc.

So here we are now, at the end of November, and I've only had seven things to say!

Seven seems to be the mean:  the overall average of monthly posts that time (or inspiration) allows me ...

I was wandering around a carnival once, or maybe it was some street fair or boardwalk / hippie part of town (like Santa Monica Pier or Pike's Place) some place ... and these Jesus freaks were pummeling people with pamphlets promising redemption.

One pimply prophet, someone's young runaway, ran up all saying, "Sir!  Sir!  Can I just talk to you for a minute?"

It was the first time I remember ever being called "sir" - so it must have been about twenty years ago ... right at that tipping point between Youth and Now.

"Not now!"  I remember clearly snapping.  I was snapping photos, and wanted then, like now, to be left alone doing it (buildings and night skies and moods much more vital than people to me, even then, like now).  "You're like the seventh person to come up to me here.  What part of town is this?"

The pimply young prophet did not miss a beat!  "Seven ... You mentioned seven," he says to me, eerily.  "What's that about?"

"Well," I begin, mustering enough patience to be able to feign.  "Seven is a natural number following six and preceding eight.  It's the first integer reciprocal with infinitely repeating sexagesimal representation ... and in quaternary, seven is the smallest prime with a composite sum of digits.

"It's also a purty little glyph...".  I reach down and unzip my fly, and that does the trick!

The pimply prophet's off and running, not looking back.

I was telling this story to Kléber the other day, this guy who lives in the apartment below mine.  I was jockeying for a parking place (i.e., crossing several lanes of traffic while down-shifting, finishing a pretzel (wiping mustard off my tie) and sending a text message) when I ran into Kléber -- literally -- stepping off the curb in front of our building.

As I was helping him to his feet, we started talking about numerology.  Kléber was all pissed, because his wife had just accused him of removing some photographs from a family album, and he wasn't looking where he was going (that's why he ran under my Volkswagen) ... We started talking about numbers, and I told him about my run-in with the meaning of the number seven.

Then it occurred to me, while we were chatting, that each month since July -- July of course, being the seventh month -- I've posted more or less seven items ... except September, the ninth month - when I correspondingly posted nine.

... I have no idea how any of this all ties together (seeing as you asked) ... but it wasn't the original plan.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Curious Accounting

Hey, why not one thousand three hundred thirty-seven as a milestone?  A nice and oddly rounded number ..

A few people like my stuff a little.
(Thank You!)

Friday, November 15, 2013

I Rate (Inspiration)

"In a controversy the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves." - Buddha

"Disturbing," she says to me, assessing my writing.  "Obviously, you're very angry." 

Am I?  I wouldn't say very angry.  "Very" being the overused word of a pre-teen, or twit waking up to an AOL homepage:  'This star's dress was very awkward' ... 'What happened next was very cute!' ...

Verily, I pray, forsooth, spare me your limp and impotent adverbs!

"The new German one is weird," she says smartly ... failing (not deigning) to elaborate.  "What do you hope to achieve with this?"

"With what?"

"Your writing.  Little stories."

"My 'little stories' comprise the pieces, and piecing together, of a life."

"I see."

"However bent, misspent, or insignificant ... small.  I write with a big mouth!"

"You talk like you write," she says, again smartly.

"Vice versa.  But thank you."

I swallow a toothpick -- the gnawed, wet remains of one -- by mistake.  "Holy shit ..."

"Want some water?"  She hands me a glass of wine. 

I started this blog (to answer the question) with one goal in mind:  to stop, at the very least, counter, the Ripoff Reports and other libelous public defecations on my name ... which have been my scarlet letter, my Jogi Löw moment, my 15 minutes of internet infamy, since 2010.

In the disgusting, un-private glass sphere that our globe, and each of our lives, have become, I refuse to relinquish control of my name ... my life, my potential for livelihood ... because one individual -- in his own mind, running around with cape and red underpants, thinking he was doing something Super and righteous ... and others then, blindly, hysterically piling on, compounding the damages inflicted and delaying, if not preventing, (re)solutions -- campaigned to defame, "name and shame" and destroy me.


That won't happen.  Nothing like it.


"I'm very angry.  You're right," I say.

Get over it, Jeffrey ... my mom used to say, when I'd petulantly refuse to do something or other if things didn't go, from the get-go, my way; then my first 'real' job in New York, as a light and sound engineer at a theater/cabaret called The Ballroom ...

Eventually, I quit The Ballroom, and I was at this party when The Doors came on:  "Five to One", and the line, "Your ballroom days are over, baby" ...

Having just left a job at a place called The Ballroom, I bellowed and blustered along with that line, in my best and loudest, drunk Jim Morrison.

"No one cares, Jeff," my then-girlfriend told me.

I went home from the party that night alone.

My point being, I know.  I get it:  No one does care.  And I've already made my belabored points, in writing and publicly flailing away.

But I care.

My goal will be achieved.

My voice in a cape, and my pen in red underpants ... Saving my name and reputation.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Freundlichkeit (Human) Kindness

"(L)ife in itself is a chain of rainy days ... I think I'll go for a walk with my umbrella" - Sun-Young Park

'Kickin' it old school', as the kids say ... pen and an actual notebook, loaded with paper, not apps and icons, in hand ...

There's something to be said for people-watching -- Leute beobachten (or Schadenfreude, as the case may be) -- or spying, as the good people of the Gärtnerplatz in Munich keep saying.

A sort of equivalent to New York's Union Square, der Gärtnerplatz -- minus the nodding junkies, the smelly nutters, the ridiculous "protests" ... the homeless with pent-up, directionless anger ... directed toward themselves, at bottom; but then, at white people, black people, chess winners and losers ... People with hair, and wearing glasses.  Or not.

At the world and everyone, every thing in it.

... unlike Union Square, in fact.

Der Gärtnerplatz is not unpleasant.

November wird hundsmiserabel, I think rudimentally to myself - like I'd think to myself forty years ago, when English was a new language.  Then twenty years ago, when I first visited Munich, I instantly felt that I'd spend some time here.  Relatively quiet and small, i.e., liveable, compared to the ugly, pretentious slut, Berlin and that clenched New York pretender, Frankfurt.

"Franky-Boy!  Mr. Albert Sinatra!" the DJ'd announce giddily ... and the bar would erupt in a marble-mouthed chorus - like a room full of stroke victims, shouting heavily accented, tone-deaf English:  Ist!  Op!  Zum!  Du!  New-York, New-YORK!!! ... 

"Franky-Boy!  Albert Sinatra!" the DJ'd cry, and the Weissbiers would hoist to the sky and I'd sigh, and just know I at least had to try and get back here!

"Polizei!  Hilfe!  Polizei!"  A night cry ...

I slip out the door of my terrible pension, across from the station, and go down to see.

There's a guy on the ground, with a boot in his back:  "Release me!" the guy's yelling up, in English, to a man in green, one of Bavaria's Finest.  "Bullenschweine!" (the guy's switched to German) ... "Sofort!" he shouts to the boot in his back (and the cop's deaf ears).  "Release me!" he Englishes again, "Immediately!"

The Bavarian cop presses down in a Schuhplattler.

"Free sex!  She was giving him free sex!" the guy yelps.

And nobody is really quite sure what that means.

The next night, I spy the guy, Larry, rolling (for he'd had a chair, and been unceremoniously dumped from it the night before by the 'man in green', one of Bavaria's Finest) through the Gärtnerplatz.

I ask him what happened:  what he'd done, and why he was being arrested?

"Wasn't me," he avows.

"Yes it was," I avow back.

He asks me to wheel his chair "just up the street".

Well, I'm not sure what to do, really.  'Kindness breaks no bones', as they say here ... but I don't have time to be wheeling Larry!  The German autumn night is young, and I'm supposed to be meeting meine Frau ... Meine Frau ist stinksauer auf me mow ... er, now ... and I was going to bring her some Blumen flowers.

Eenie meenie meine Frau ...

Can't be wheeling Larry now!  But he's an American, like me, in Paris ... Larry, Gene Kelly and I ... start pushing, his weird German wheelchair across the Gärtnerplatz.

"That's it," he grunts, "just up here."  We get to the steps of the Staatstheater, and I start thinking Larry might have a date too.  Gonna meet up his love for a night at the opera ... but no.  Larry asks me to hang a right.

Then another ... We go around again ... Twenty minutes or so later, we're back at the steps of the Staatstheater!

So, "This is where we part, my friend ... "

"Oh, I'm your friend now," the strange(r) Larry snaps.

I leave him, sitting in his chair as it begins to rain, again, in autumn Munich ... ein Sauwetter!

Not getting better!

November wird hundsmiserabel ...
"The Shadow", ©Jeff Glovsky

Friday, November 1, 2013

Vicious Bandwagon

"It always bothers me to see people writing ‘RIP’ when a person dies. It just feels so insincere and like a cop-out. To me, ‘RIP’ is the microwave dinner of posthumous honors." 

We lost a biggie last week, with the passing of quintessential New Yorker, not quite glam rocker, punk rock godfather and irascible, not lovable poet "curmudgeon", Lou Reed.

Musically, Lou and most of his incarnations were secondary to my listening interests:  influential, sure.  Groundbreaking, no doubt.  Could he play guitar?  Listen to his attack, with Mick Ronson, on "Vicious" - but to my ear, something was always missing.  He couldn't sing to save his life, first off!  That droning, aggressive monotone in which he spoke his songs was clearly effective in serving the material -- imagine "Sweet Jane" or "Walk on The Wild Side" delivered any other way -- but in the end, it was alienating.

And that's exactly what the man, and the material, wanted:  you didn't connect with, or "get", Lou Reed ... You didn't "relate" to Metal Machine Music ... and even if you did, or claimed to, you weren't wanted.

As a listener, Lou Reed could take me or leave me.  And I was generally indifferent to Lou Reed.

Though musically (creatively, artistically), I may have found his 'don't give a fuck' shtick vaguely compelling in an arm's length, respectful way ... personally, in terms of the guy's overall comportment - Lou Reed, by most accounts, was a twat.  And I'm sorry (no I'm not), but he doesn't deserve the canonization he's been receiving from members of the press and others who suffered his "curmudgeonly" abuse, and it's somehow excused now -- no longer painful or professionally embarrassing -- because he's dead.

Typically hypocritical, and desperate to be loved-sounding.  "I was there ... a part of things.  I get Lou Reed!  And now he's no more, but his music lives on and I feel that too:  Look, I'm downloading "Perfect Day".  Isn't that neat?".

It's like the selfish parent refusing to let go, and dressing the baby in punk and rock t-shirts; or the onrush of simpletons suddenly buying Steinbeck ... misled by the vaguely slinky title into thinking there's something Fifty Shades-kinky about East of Eden (before diffidently stalling on page fifteen, when it's realized there's no page of biblical passion!).

It's like a CE (Christmas / Easter) Christian ... High Holiday Jew, or an idiot who lines up to wait to eat out:  just a bandwagon jumper ("I don't even like hamburgers!"); or a 'friend', 'fan' or 'follower' without knowing why.
But you know people get all emotional / and sometimes man, they just don't act rational / You know, they think they're just on TV - Street Hassle (1978)
Simply put, enough with the Lou Reed eulogies.

Apparently, Lou Reed could be an asshole.  I never met the man, but I did deliver musical gear to his wife once (at the time, I think, his girlfriend) ... and she was an asshole!

No, that's not true.  At all.  Let me state unequivocally, that I'm joking:  Laurie Anderson, in the seven-second glimpse that I caught of her while I was humping an amplifier into place, was certainly civil ... and likely, she knew and loved the "real" Lou Reed, not the "Lou Reed" of (velvet) underground music ... the (john) caged "artist", the New York doll from "out on the Island" ... the asshole that comprised "Lou Reed" - which the real Lou Reed would deign to show us ... real people rarely the way they're perceived ...

There he goes now ... May that spirit of punk be left in peace, to rock on undiluted.
"Walk on The Wild Side", ©Jeff Glovsky