Last Laugh CL
Last Laugh CL
4504 Pine St. #4B
Philadelphia, PA 19143
April 22, 2001
Got your latest Last Laugh a few days ago. Yeah, Karl's still in Philly - are you sure you have his right address?
P0 Box 42077
Philadelphia PA 19101
It was interesting to read your account of NYC and the Amato. I had to laugh when you mentioned something about a "strange square" on my forehead - this guy's fulla crap, I told myself. But just yesterday I was talking with somebody and he said yeah, there's a square that forms when you raise up your eyebrows. So I came back to my place and stared in the mirror for a good ten minutes or so, moving my eyebrows up and down, and yeah, I guess there is something. Never noticed it before.
I think you and Jack were the class of the event. myself.
Things have settled down a bit with the group since the last time I saw you. Our next big "show" will be here in Philly, to announce the release of our publication. Probably around June 2.
What were your feelings about NYC? It's not one of my favorite towns. I'm not all that fond of cities in general, to tell you the truth - I find them loud and crowded and just too much of everything. I came here to Philly to work on the ULA project, but really I'm a rural boy at heart and would much prefer to be back home in the woods in Western PA. NYC, in particular, almost always depresses me. That city looks like it got the hell beat out of it every time I'm there. Even the "good" parts of the city look worn out.
Philly's a little bit better, at least to me, mainly because it's not nearly so big. One can get a better handle or fix on the place. Plus, I luckily found a reasonably quiet neighborhood to live in, which helps. The one thing I miss, though, is green. I suppose there must be some kind of city parks or something, some kind of nature, but the last one I went to turned out to be nothing more than a big fountain with a gravel path around it. That's not my idea of "nature", to tell you the truth. I used to take long hikes in the Allegheny National Forest and there were times and places you could go to where the noises of civilization just completely died away. The woods aren't quiet, not by any means, but they are peaceflil, and I do sorely miss that sense of peace.
I share your fondness for dogs. I think you can divide the people of the world into two groups - dog lovers and cat lovers. Me, I've never understood the appeal of cats. They simply seem too smart to be a worthwhile pet. You watch them and you can't help thinking what do they really know? How do they conceive of their relationship to their owner? With a dog. no such insecurity. Dogs are open creatures - their emotions are writ on their face for all to see. I like such straightforwardness.
Keep in touch.
I got your new Last Laugh Your write-up of The Big Show is great.
I thought both you and Jack were excellent at the event. You well confirmed my faith in you when I made you headliners.
If you have a spare 8 or 10 copies of this Last Laugh, send them along and I'll distribute them for promotional purposes, as you've done the best write-up of the Amato show, and I want people in NYC to realize it was a historic event. I'll send on ten or twenty bucks for the copies when I can. Right now I'm flat broke - I just got a job as a telemarketer.
(Amie, Jeff Potter, Bill Blackolive and Joy)
Ah, to be after several swallows of wine on SSI in the U.S. of A. sitting in a pickup and Medecine Dog has dug place in beach sand by driver's side to cool and I view the splashing warm waves this horizon of mystical Gulf of Mexico. Upon my dash I have all this, can of nuts, sack of whole wheat biscuits, sharp cheddar, summer sausage, jalapenos, bananas, avacados, and my dictionary and a friend"s desktop published big novel I hope is not a big task to read. Now days even on a week day on the Mustang Is1and beach one must drive clear to the Corpus Christi city limits to get maybe half a mile from strange parked vehicles of possible pitbull fear, or general television fears. Then, hope is a needful stranger does not come park fifty yards away, which can happen before he sees Medicine Dog. In reality, every family ought to spoil a pitbull, but that television became the modern citizen's superstition. In real life you want safe kids give their bulldog chicken necks and beef kidneys and the bulldog will love the kids.
Big moon middle of May though Medicine wants more action I rest all night, having a discomfort of old muscle strain of right buttock which in some way on the New York trip had returned, and is worse than it has ever been, some way, causing an actual limp.
Eight in the morning after expresso and tramp for Medicine in hills and weeds back of empty warming beach, on beach I spend twenty minutes of a thunking jog, and with two sprints, same time getting Medicine to leave be a curled old possum he bit because it firstly had attempted a bluff. I have seen my killer not mind a possum if it will just walk on and mind its own business. In my injuries and inconvenience, if I had run within past decade I had not sprinted, but that two or three times I ran in a shout at the pup Medicine, when he was not responding right inside the neighborhoods of scary humanity, my rage of ten yards affecting the pup to halt and cringe, not knowing that was as fast as his human could go just about, but really it is the pup prefers to please his human, or more or less, when he is not being so funny or contrary. Last week Bix was down here with us he chuckled that Medicine is too much a person to obey humans like a normal dog, but I said, ah, he just puts on all this performance, he has humor, but with me is still just my little puppy, needs me and prefers I am happy with his deportment.
Lord, is Medicine fine, rugged, noble. My daily adventure just looking at him. He is four and one half years old.
My sprint this day is awfully thunking slow. Leastways my hands keep quick. I keep toned. I am a hell of a guy. Lord, if you do not grow up with mountains or desert you must get into the sea. The sea is medicinal. Maybe I can finish my wine and get by with no aspirin this morning.
I am slow getting some word out of Jones about this Dr. Steve, and I hope Jones is OK. Plan has been that in a year I live with Big Tammy and her chlldren and she put me up with a computer, when she is out of school, or by time she can manage a big yard for the bulldog she gave me, she who already knows auto-mechanics and computers, fixed my truck couple summers back. It has been inconvenient for me to go study the TG website at houses of friends, less so over at Bix's in Fulton but that takes my gasolene. I have not seen the site since Tammy and her daughters drove through and met us over there, while Bix is in complaint Dr. Steve does not represent Texas Gang, as might so appear to the literary stranger. Dr. Steve, old buddy of Jackson Jones's, is clever in his bombastic or mere drunk on his commode, dependent on the personal nose of the reader, and I had but glanced at his stuff and Jackson said we can take him off if I liked but he did not seem horrible and we were already concluded to be keeping open house.
ASK DR STEVE
Dr. Steve Savant, renowned scholar, physicist, political theorist, humorist, moralist, atheist, and all around good guru answers questions on any subject. what is it you want to know?
The Writings of Dr. Steve
This may or may not be a work of fiction, and the names may or may not be changed to protect the innocent or the guilty. I am not trying to deliberately offend ANYONE, except those intended, and no one knows, for absolutely sure, who those are ---- except myself. Whatever settles comfortably in your neural net as an acceptable attitude toward these works is surely as hell all right with me.
These writings are for the most part comedic exaggerations. There is no attempt made nor desire present - consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously - to libel, slander, rape, pillage, or to otherwise cause malicious damage, loss, bankruptcy, public contempt, defamation, inflammation, insurrection, blasphemy, treason, sedition, trauma, dismemberment, deprogramming, parole denial, unexplained absence, involuntary exorcism, psychotherapeutic counseling, or any other form of self-interpreted ,cruel and unusual punishment to any persons, sexes, creeds, ethnic groups, institutions, corporations, cults, cabals, clubs, cliques, gangs, governments, armies, militias, fraternal organizations, eleemosynary assemblages, animals, vegetables, minerals, wimps, logos, icons, trademarks, mascots, deities, devils, demons, mutants, microorganisms, poltergeists, phylums, fairies, mythological beings, UFO's, alien life forms, solar systems, galaxies, interplanetary debris, alternate universes, computing machines, inanimate objects, or any combination, derivative, integration, extrapolation, or Venn-diagrammed hybrid permutation thereof.
AND, if after all this apologia, you read this anyway and elect to be offended, then please accept my offer to, thoroughly, efficiently, and with utmost precision, pound sand up some pariahed orifice of your anatomy (your choice, of course). Conciliation has its limits.
In other words, pound sand up your ass to stop the bleeding. Ciao.
But at this spot on the beach barely in CC city limits Bix showed me a couple Dr. Steve pages off the computer, inclusive of above disclaimer, inclusive of short email exchange between Bix and Dr. Steve, about Dr. Steve's calling it OK to eat up the whales, which is how I had become alarmed. Before the race of man kills all my animals and maybe technologically survives to live in capsules like the clonish Reticulians (The Grays), I prefer all the race of man dead, personally. I will have liberty, or death. Nothing ever in between, babble between turds. Yes, it is a tad alarming, my cousin Crate traveling In Asia may direct the literate stranger to texasgang.com, who even possibly could stumble Into Dr. Steve, glance at this disclaimer, check a line or two of vulgarity further, and go away, not read Bi11 Blackolive? In a few sips of wine on calm beach with Bix and Medicine I read Dr. Steve on dull reservation Indians he saw in his youth in Oklahoma and let's eat the whales and says to Bix he should be glad to be head-of-the food-chain. Said no animal is noble but human beings. Said whales are stupid.
Buggered humans will shoot wolves, orcas, elephants, noble social animals who will take bodily risks in sake of their babies of the pack or herd. Not only the mother of the baby but the whole group is ready. An orphaned human in the rat-cage city can possibly starve ar be buggered, as may an orphaned chimpanzie, but an orphaned wolf cub in a pack, never. Some of us know, even a male wolf may steal a sled dog puppy from a camp of eskkimos, to feed it, upchuck soft food for it, care for it. The wolf, in mythology, documented in one case I know of, can raise a human baby. Lord, some of us in thy image, are wolves.
I am reading from the journal of Louis and Clark and these guys are jolly fellows in their way, though out of touch. The subordinates get out of line any they are horsewhipped, fifty to one hundred lashes, and they are crossing the wilderness always in need of meat but they shoot wolves for no reason, shoot grizzlies for meat and because the grizzlies smell their mindless fear and sometimes chase them. White man plumb crazy.
Jacky, you are my oldest friend (and your siblings three) and I will trust Dr. Steve in your care but he ought to be in his special department, POOR DEVILS OF THE EARTH, DISEASED PUKE, HOWLS FROM DARK CHAMBERS, or like that, in order the Literate Stranger understands this is not us, but heed me, do never leave this Dr. Steve unattended around small children.
It would be too late for a Dr. Steve to climb a mountain solo and come to his hind legs and drop two thousand micrograms of LSD and get much i1lumination. That would be horrific cosmic upheaval, in a case of a Dr. Steve. Civilised peoples require psychedelic experiences but when one of them hates animals he is eating his own fingers and toes and it is too late then.
Read MOBY DICK. Melville was a hippy. The whale is spaced, cosmic, not in smaller focus while he basks on the sea surface building his oxygen. His evolution did not include men in boats coming to kill him. Though, as Melville in the novel records, minds of sperm whales have been known to pull back in, in order to kill puny men. Sperm whales are recorded in a few instances to have rammed and sunk wooden whaling vessels. Forsooth, we should keep at minimum one blathering Dr. Steve as reference to those buggered children whose throes demonstrate craft of broken minds. Said craft leads men to politics and the U.S. presidency. It is interesting.
For be a man's intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base. This it is, that for ever keeps God's true princes of the Empire from the world's hustings; and 1eaves the higest honors that this air can give, to those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Devine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency.
Herman Melville, hippie,
American writer, soul
brother to B111 Blackolive,
speaking of civilization's
indulgence for bullshit
We left one Sunday and drove to somewhere in Georgia, then on
to Hilton Head Island the next day where we met up with old friends. I awoke Tuesday morning with an awful pain in back, neck and left arm. We hired a boat to take us upriver to Savannah where we spent the day studying the history of this fantastic town. I could have easily walked around these cobblestone streets for several days, but some of the pleasure was getting harder and harder to stand. I found a microbrewery and quaffed a couple of pints to wash down a few aspirins, then walked around a while
longer but the pain would not subside. At an outdoor cafe we shared various tapas and I imbibed several dos equis, then some light beers on the boat ride back (1 1/2 hrs. each way) but still no relief. Back at the condo a pint of Virgin Island got me to sleep, but the next morning brought truly excruciating pain which nothing would ease. We found an estuary in the middle of the island, bought some squid and fished a while, but I knew by then we must start for home pretty soon. S0 we headed on south to Jacksonville, Fla, to meet up with my stepson, Kevin, whose aircraft carrier had just pulled in to port. We spent the night at the naval lodge and visited and all the while my misery continued to bloat. I drove the 600 or so miles the next day and tanked up on rum as soon as we got home, but by now my left arm is totally incapacitated not only from pain but also from lack of strength. I went to an after-hours clinic where they gave me muscle relaxers and pain pills. No matter, nothing helped enough to bring sleep. A couple of days passed with no letup, so I went to another doctor who examined and exrayed me and found I had slipped or ruptured a disk in my neck between C5 & C4 vertebrae. He gave me stronger pain medication and muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories & scheduled an MRI for a few days later. Still, no abatement of pain whatsoever. I made it to the appointment but was not able to contort properly inside their machine for them to get a picture. So, I went to a neurosurgeon who gave me "powerful" pain pills, muscle relaxers, antiinflammatories, and started me on steriods. After six hours of taking the first dose of the steriod I fell asleep and,
upon awakening, was unbelievably free of pain - miraculously free after weeks of unrelenting searing pain. I still do not have the strength in my left arm to type a letter, but it seldom hurts much.I am pretty doped up, but this is the first I have been mentally able to even attempt writing. My steriods will run out Wednesday and then Friday I get doped up for another try at the MRI. They say they have to have it to tell what exactly they must do to fix me.
A1so last week Vicki started on her new chemotherapy for the HEP-C and it's got her down and out, so it's pretty shitty around here lately all & all.
We had come to Port A the week you were in New York and found a house. Signed a contract and gave them earnest money, but when we got back home the realtor called & said the guy changed his mind.
So we have to start over looking for a place. In the meantime we haven't had any luck selling our place. I guess this move is going to take longer than we had hoped, but our plans are still set to get there as soon as we can. Vicki has these big plans for spending a lot of time on the beach & already bought an old Jeep with 4-wheel drive. Says she plans some campouts way far south on Padre where she can get away from all the people. She has an old frame house in the woods in East Texas that her grandparents left to her, so whenever we sell out here, we may move there until we can locate something in Port A. We have stayed there many times and it is peaceful with indoor plumbing & pot belly stove. I need to do some more work on it anyways.
Dr. Steve has you all worked up. I had mentioned to Vicki that you have grown noticeably more serious over the years but did not stop to think that you might also be losing your sense of humor. But I think not, now that my head is clearing a little. It seems Bix showed you the whale thing completely out of contex and I wonder why. First let me say that in all the years I have known Dr. Steve I can recall not one single instance of him saying something that could be construed as serious. His way is to say nothing that would be generally agreeable or that would satisfy the inquirer. Folks email him with a question and he tries his best to upset them with his answers. This is hilarious stuff, man. I get comments sent to texasgang about his page and yours is the first to be negative. The only way someone can find these replies he has written is to first read his opening "disclaimer", and obviously Bix did not show that to you, I wonder why. Reread the whale letter after you read the disclaimer and you should see that he is making his point by saying the opposite, and that is more likely to arouse. It would seem sinful for texasgang to censor a fellow gangster from misinterpretation. Anyways, I am far behind now, haven't finished posting Last Laugh or the other story you sent and some pictures from Bix. Last trip I brought your briefcase loaded with all your material I have finished, but alas missed you. Vicki & I were looking forward to your return & the telling. So I will keep it safe and bring it next time maybe in June if we are hale. 1t will be nice to get moved there - better communications would help on this project. The website is still in infancy and needs much work. I also have to get Tales of Sodomy retyped before it will scan. Those old letters you included in Last Laugh this time will not scan either so I am having to retype them. So far, before my disk thing I had scanned in six pages and it took me six hours.
I got a really nice note from someone who had come across texas- gang. I wrote back and asked how they had come across it since we haven't submitted yet to the search engines, and they replied that they were on Yahoo looking for ezines with humor, art, poetry, etc. and texasgang.com came up.
I don't know, man. I am pretty doped up and looking back over this letter I don't knew if you will be able to read it or make sense. Even sober I seldom longhand anything since computers, and lost serif abilities when I learned to write cyrillic many years ago.
Anyways, just wanted to let you know we are still alive & planning to homestead there. Hope your folks are doing okay - tell them Hi for us.
Assuming I handle the MRI and they fix my disk I should be able to get back to work on texasgang in two weeks. 0h, and also I wanted to let you know that the closest nasal spray I could find to what you said is "phenylephrine hydrocloride." Don't know if that will work but I picked up one bottle for you to try and will bring it next trip.
Have you heard lately from Ann Seaman? I feel badly that I have owed her a letter for sometime. If you write tell her I am catching up. Anxious to hear about her trip to the San Antonio trial.
Yeah. Come in from El weekend with my parents and put on Geoffrey"s latest tape sent, jazz and flamenco and some singers, Howling Jay Hawkins, Tom Waits, James Brown, Slim Harpo, Hendrix, and second up is James Brown's DOWN AND OUT IN NEW YORK CITY. I have been no James Brown fan but hand it to him on this one.Maybe he did it before he got comfortable.
Three decades back a black footballer housemate of mine named Benny Britt liked James Brown. I could get power off Jimmy Reed or B.B. King, but Benny got power off James Brown , whose style I never grasped. It is all complex. In this farm house owned by a Las Cruces dentist, another black jock type named Jim Connely lived with us off and on, who liked jazz as I did, and amidst rock'n roll could request Hendrix or Joplin, which I could dig and by now I have grown to love Joplin. Anyway, Benny and were more hippy, Benny and Jim did not much like each other, Benny and I liked pot and psychedelics, which Jim did not care for. Jim liked all alcohol and to tell lies when drinking, tall tales without regard was he being believed, but rather his form of communication. Unlike Benny Britt, Jim Connely was not apt to confide in a friend. He did try to confide just a bit in me, but I had been on the duller side. I look back now and think we could get along easier. Jim could ride but could be hard on animals and the two horses I cared for were unruly, and Jim impatient and hit one with a board and I threatened him. I scared him, also scared him when he tried to disipline a pup I had. When I scared him he could stay away a few days, had his parents living in Las Cruces. Unlike Benny, Jim could have this meanness toward animals. Jim had boxed heavyweight in the Army, in fact we had briefLy discussed maybe getting some gloves and working out, then he saw it flash in my eyes he would be a target, though he had more a psychic fear of me, than physical. He was a tough guy locally, could beat up the redneck ilk, also could drink and get along with them. Whereas Benny had done his last year as a speedy halfback at NMSU, Jim would go out and try to make the team and could not, too slow for backfield and at six two and two twenty was not large or skilled enough for the line. That pup I had had found a better home somewhere - very friendly pup - when during my bad love affair with Elizabeth Baca I had gone to Albuquerque for a time, had left the pup with a jock housemate nice guy. Right before Benny moved in, and that other nice jock went on for a try with the pros, didnt make it. This landlord liked the local football players, how I had got to live there - the landlord knew my brother Kelly who had been a jock, football captain, before he went to being a radical student. When i did give it up trying to "get a job" in my madness, in Albuquerque, did get back and the pup had gone, and Benny was there, and Jim in and out, indeed Benny also in and out a lot because he hung out at the houses of girls a lot - do not now know what either guy did for money - the landlord dropped this big pit bull pup on me, Sue. Sue was six or eight months but large with possibly a streak of bullmastiff but none of us at that time knew what is a pitbull, but this dog Jim Connely respected. He said if she had pups she might bite.
Sue was impressive, maybe fifty pounds right then, powerful energy but this was not manic energy, but instinctive, bestial, intelligent. I did not know she was old enough to come in heat, get pregnant. I was in love with her first day and enthralled by her physicality. I have written she could have eaten any bisen. As canine has greatest endurance and she toyed with the horses who could not touch her, but for the day I yelled at her to stop, she turned at me and the large race horse caught her head in a hind kick, hurt her feelings, did not stun her. She could open the screen door and went on into my bedroom, but to bother the horses more the next morning. I have written about her, and her strange, wolfish pup I kept, Sissie.
With Sue and Sissie there was my scene for about a year more, with maybe three in-and-out very interesting housemates, before the landlord got rid of everybody, and Sue and Sissie and with big trunk presently had to hitch hike down to the Coastal Bend. Looking back today, three decades later, Connely was remarkable. Being the New Mexico native he had learned Spanish on his own. He was versatile and handy and his social skills worked in the general way, like drinking class. It had been just a bit exceptional of him to have early told me something of his personal self, for example that his family considered him clumsy. His younger brother, Gerald, had a track scholarship at NMSU. When Jim came out of the Army, and Gerald who is smaller had taken high school wrestling, they wrestled and Gerald pinned Jim and Jim solved that by biting Gerald, who was a less gruff, more pleasant personality. When Jim was trying to make the NMSU football team, one of the backs was picking on him, for being slow, and he snatched the guy up and slammed him, broke his collar bone Jim said. Jim confided in me how a few years earlier his spanking a white girl (playing around, mutual consent) would not have been permitted (by the girl). I was not then too sensitive about that stuff, having come almost directly from an older and rougher race scene in the California Bay Area. The shit was convoluted, a generation of black guys freer to be violent and I was white and friendly but violent as well.
Murray Rosenwasser of Texas who once was a hippy and student radical visited me for a few weeks at the farm house. 0ne night we and this hippy dope dealer friend of my brother Kelly's (Kelly got drafted, did not have flee to Canada because they sent him to Korea, all to big relief of our father), named Andy, had been out on this century old adobe barn smoking pot, Jim had joined us a spell, had a bottle of brandy. The farmhouse had a drive from the highway of a few hundred yards but something brought us a car loaded with wetbacks. I cannot remember, possibly they needed to know where to go to get gasolene. Jim came down and engaged them in Spanish, waving his big arms out over what he was calling his farm, telling these little guys who had piled out of their car they were welcome to hang out if they did not mess with his stuff. I was quite amused, yelled down: you tell em, Big Jim! It was very funny, and Jim was less interested in the humor of it than his bullshit, in being the land owner in the moment, and the wetbacks only requested directions for something. Shortly therein, as Andy had a jeep, he, Murray and I followed them in Andy's jeep, pointing them somewhere, maybe they needed gas and feared they might not make it, but their exaust pipe was spewing sparks, the whole way like fireworks. What we did next I do not recall, it was bizarre, we did not know what they had in their tank, then we were back at the farmhouse and Murray and Andy were worn emotionally, lighting up more pot. Seems I even asked them what was wrong, but they did not care to allow their nerves had been wrung.
Benny was remarkable. He too would lie a bit off his past, he too had race anger, while also he read much and could be easy in any crowd, associated normally with hippies and jocks. He was helping coach the freshman football players and he and I turned a pack of these youngsters onto psychedelics. He said you party with black guys they don't want to talk about anything, they just want to goof, you party with the white heads they want
to talk about all this stuff, and I can do it either way. Benny was a "lover," he said, charming and sensitive and women could let him hang out or give him some cash. 0ne trip we were on psilocybin, with yet another very interesting housemate who was in and out, young Vietnam vet white guy, good friend of mine who was in and out and I don't want to digress, but we were all stoned and drinking wine and here was Benny wno liked showing his big arms and legs rock'n rolling at a large mirror, the other friend and I on a couch watching, perfectly normal activity. Benny wore a sheath knife then, at that point, but a little drama while we were getting to know one another. Another psilocybin trip, shortly later with only him and me during a sunny
day, he was out in the yard chunking his knife from a rather short range into a tree. I watched a spell, and we were becoming very stoned. I said: your grace is very good. But you know what I got on you? What? Chunk, he retrieves it from the tree, then chunk. Strength. 0h, he said. pretty funny, no argument, he was so cool. But it was true, though he was a few pounds heavier, being couple inches taller, I had torque on him, could rush him.
Then I got harder on my new unfamiliar friend, took on one of these full memory past life flashes, told him I had killed him at the water hole past life. The farm house was the Water Hole. Benny could not comply with my memory, so cool, only twenty-two years old. Next, there were these wetbacks yelling at us from adjoining crop land, about this stray horse one of us likely me had tied with too long a rope, and the old horse was down with all four feet neatly together twined in the rope. I went over there, like one hundred yards, freed the horse and led him closer in and, tying him to something near the house, whipped off this knot that shortens, startling the horse the lines flashing by his face, where each time the line gets folded, till one then does a wrap on the folds, then sticks the end of rope in somewhere ~ pulls it to. Normally, I do not know this knot, problem of where to stick the end and pull it to. A11 the while, I was securing my horse at the Water Hole in order to go deal with this other outlaw I did not want there. Benny was cool. I just figured he was lying, till next day.
Hard to find proper space for any writing these days, even letter writing, but have a break between classes at school now so am using the school computer. Received your letter and Last Laugh. Really enjoyed the thirty some odd year old letters, and the one from your camp days in '59. You had a bit different voice then, still playing around with style, say "of course" a lot, but the boldness is there from the beginning. And you sound so cheerfiil and happy natured in that first letter from camp. In a couple of the later ones, I can see a darker side slipping in, some signs of depression, perhaps, but still a lot of excitement about life. Interesting where you try to console Mike on his Berkeley blues. Also, your early thoughts on acid and mescaline. Do you still like mescaline better? You hadn't quite voiced your "acid is flight or fight instinct" yet, but the "man live not by bread alone" sentiment seems to be there. Kelly the jolly prankster. If you have more old letters, I'd love to read them. You know I am fascinated to obsession by my family's past and the Texas scene in the sixties. I wonder had Kennedy or MLK died by the time you wrote the letter to Mike. I know Bon claims large influence in her life from those events. How so Bill Olive?
Jeff Potter sounds interesting, real, honest, though hard to say if his alternative book publishing method might turn profitable. I thought his review of Texas Gang very good, brought back memories of the book for me. I'll have to pick it up for another read at some point. Still no luck getting the website, and Rasmussen says he can't get it either. Had I a computer whiz friend, maybe he could figure a way, or maybe not. I have no idea the nature of the problem, but interesting to hear some stateside folks have had problems as well, not just a Japan thing. I got a kick out of Saunders wriing, but really don't have time to read 20 booklets right now, maybe three or four, if you get around to sending them. I'm more interested in L.L. though, since I can't get it from the website and would dig reading more old letters. Thanks for keeping me on the postal list, sorry to not be more geared into the computer age.
Had a four day vacation, got my mind a little cleared out. Hopped on a train with Akiko, went a couple hours into the rural mountain area not far from Nagoya, and hiked along an embankment above a river. Found a way down to the river, set up tent, shared some herb and watched the sky go dark. Next day hiked the two or three miles back to the little mountain town, had a bath at the hot spring fed bath house and then took train back into Nagoya. First time in awhile I've had several hours at my disposal with nothing to do but take herb, listen to the birds, watch cloud formations go by. Akiko is sleepy by nature, always wanting to lounge about, (whereas I tend to be hyper) so she enjoyed the dowm time as well, noted an affection for the foliage and animal life and an increased overall sensitivity due to the herb. Plus, my chronic cough and lethargy seemed much cured in the mountain air. As always in such a circumstance, I was struck by how I can continually forget and forget the importance of slipping out of the cycle of obeisance to one's self imposed duty. Took a lot of pictures. Have recently found a lot of relief in photography, perhaps drawing from the high I used to get from writing. There is danger in spending too much time in my car everyday, to giving up the luxury of mental release, to not indulging my loftier wants. Still, my job, being around the girls, is always a charge, brins me out of my apathetic broodiness. And there is an empowered feeling I get here. If I can keep up my exercise, remember to get out, take some pictures, I do O.K. Some foreigners get pretty far gone over here. The impassive front people offer in public can be infuriating, especially in traffic situations. I try to just ignore this passive aggressive thing in Japanese, where they might rudely cut you off in traffic, but when you honk, they just look forward, will not engage. Some foreigners see red, and without the system of checks and balances you have in the U.S. where if you are too aggressive, one guy out of five is going to challenge you, the guys here just indulge their ire, become the "tough guy," they could never be in the U.S. I met this one guy, tall, willowy fellow with glasses, nice enough, kind of nerd type, who was bumped by a car while on bicycle. He got off his bike and started yelling at the driver, a young Japanese guy, who just looked straight ahead, ignoring the screaming foreigner even as he then proceeded to pound on the guy's car hood, and finally open the guy's car door, grab his cell phone and hurl it onto the pavement. Incredible, funny story. No way this guy would be like that in the States. Guys will be this way with women here, too, become womanizers, where they were losers back home. I try to keep things in check, realize how lucky I am to have calm, grounding Akiko in my life, remember to get out of town now and then.
Sending you a tape. Maybe I've put a couple of the songs on the last one I gave you and Kelly, can't quite remember; but have been enjoying this Flamenco guitarist, Manitos de Plato, so have put some songs by him on there, recorded in the sixties I think. Also, got a James Brown CD from early '70s so put some of that on there too. Hope you like it.
June 4, 2001
Glad you got the tape. The woman who works at the small post office near my school has a funny air about her; seems a bit curt, which is pretty atypical of a female working in a behind the counter job. I have suspected that she has some gripe with foreigners, and have feared that she might do sabotage to the packages I send through her; but I guess my fears have been unfounded. One day in the post office I waited patiently for my turn (I had already heard from the Canadian woman I work with that the post office lady was not very friendly, so wanted to start of on the right track) and there was some general confusion about who was next, and I waited as people seemed to pass me by. Finally, she gestured to a man to step lorward but he balked, protested that it was my turn next, waved me forward so that she must grudgingly deal with me. Again, this is quite the exception around here.
Yes, I have tended to not like a lot of male singers, but I do like rhythm and blues male singers, and have really been enjoying this James Brown CD I picked up recently. In retrospect, though, probably could have left off the "Mama's Dead" song as it is long and a little maudlin, though I do still like his singing on it. Screaming Jay is just a nut, so is entertaming. The Slim Harpo CD I have is mellow, has a lazy Southern sound I enjoy. Yes, it is Los Lobos who do the Spanish song you mentioned. I am at work now, so can't remember the title either. Is it Maricella? Los Lobos are from East L.A, kind of a Mexican blues/rock band. They have a couple singers, and one sounds more Mexican than the other. I hope this tape won't go slow on you the way the other has, but I can't seem to find the same kind of tapes here as I used to in the U.S. I hope to get a CD burner some day so I can make CDs instead, which are more durable. Do you have access to a CD player?
Thanks for sending another letter and more perspective on your vibe during the sixties. It is interesting to me. In your letter, parts of your voice are very much like the way you write today, but there is something else, a cheeriness? You have a positive approach to everyone in the family. Guess the years of frustration at being an unpublished writer had not built up yet. Must have been exciting to read Henry Miller in 1960, while it was still banned in the U.S. You say had you the wherewithal to be mindless for the period of time it would take to earn wages to afford travel you might have enjoyed going to the Amazon. Yes, had the financial means been there for all of us, I wonder what might have been different. Being in Japan is a trip, but wouldn't call it a "great heroic adventure" per se. Pretty easy lifestyle here, only get challenged to the extent that I want to be challenged. I am making some breakthroughs with the language, which gives me more access to what the true Japan thing is, though I've still got a long way to go to really break through the barrier, and I don't think foreigners ever really get to the true heart of Japan, but then a lot of Japanese probably don't either, being so busy trying to absorb as much foreign culture as they can.
How is your' buttock injury? Amazing, the degree of exercises, rest, annebriation you go through daily in order to warm up enough to get through the day. Can't quite visualize the standing broad jump with weights you described. I'm doing O.K injury wise, my sciatica leg is doing better, but have been having a lot of labored breathing, allergy symptoms, weariness in my muscles. Not really sick, but maybe just chronic allergy or have recently read that late onset asthma is on the rise and am half wondering about that. Playing basketball the other night, found myself holding my knees, with this feeling like I couldn't get enough oxygen, and my muscles feeling worn out, though I hadn't pushed that hard and usually outrun just about everyone on the floor. Maybe I should get ahold of some of that isolated protein you mentioned.
Yeh, in the mideast, Israel has the might, are the oppressors, so my sympathies tend to go to the Palestinians, terrorist acts or no. Reading the papers over here, with their international bias, Bush seems to really be pushing the U.S. into an isolationist position. Clinton was well liked, for better or worse. Just on personality alone, Bush is becoming very unpopular, and the way he has handled diplomacy not only with China, but other Southeast Asian countries, the NATO nations, he is really destroying a lot of the groundwork for good world relations that has taken several decades to lay down. At least that's the feeling that comes across in my paper. I dunno if Gore would have been better liked or not, but popular opinion over this side of the ocean is Bush is the son of a wealthy oil family who is out to keep America's oil supply going forever and to give breaks to the wealthy and to hell with everyone else because America has to look out for its own. Living over here, I feel a large degree of detachment from it all, read all this without much emotion.
I've been too busy to read the "Cooking with so and so..." zines, so haven't further comment at this time, but will try to get to them at some point.
Akiko has been sick with fever every night and coughing for a week, and has stayed home with her mother's cooking, so haven't seen her in a couple weeks, but we are doing well, contemplating getting a place together, though we'd probably have to get engaged first to ease her pareuts to the idea. Funny, in your letter to Kelly, mentioning how Janus' parents were upset about she and Kelly living together out of wedlock, and here, some 33 years later, I go through same thing.
Somewhere in mid teens I had taken a crush on Marilyn Nonroe. Could I meet her figured I, she might marry me. Hell, she had plenty money, I was stable, poetic, masculine. Couple years later, Raul Botello and Tiddle and I took this job scraping paint at the light house - gee, mine is zero recall how did we get over there, this seperate island - we were sleeping over there without a boss and inclusive of memory I was eating raw oatmeal and oysters is my telling Botello I wanted to find me a beautiful rich woman. Scraping paint, or attempting to - feh! Botello said I was depressing him. Maybe nothing worse than scraping paint. Before we even got over there Tiddle's mother had said they would fire Billolive because he is too slow. But I do not recall how I got lose from there. Many details are gone.
My father did this well paying labor at Harbor Island, loading/unloading tankers, and early I asked him why did they not hire Mexicans. In the fiftties in Aransas Pass Mexicans or blacks got a dollar an hour, maybe. My father answered: That is just not our policy. Years later somewhere he had stopped calling Standard Oil "us." Around 1960 he was transferred to Baytown to learn the new job of testing chemicals. Maybe at about that point Standard 0i1 was being forced to hire Mexicans and Negroes in Texas.
In turn of century melancholy I can answer my nephew the assassination of Kennedy or MLK were not much to me because I already was a beatnic. I was disgusted with phoniness in U.S. social etiquette well before puberty. I did not like the first grade. It was better the nature boy learned to
read but it has been a strain. But first grade I learned my genetics. I could toss the other first graders. Then my tough father encouraged this so I accepted a hero complex. Movies, westerns, defend others and be sterling. Don't quit, and the big guy will fold. I took this and went on, though too
he spent a number of years saying his friends could have beaten mine and he me till I became his size and cornered him to wrestle and choked him and he passed out, said I cheated. But it was confidence for me, I went on.
I dug the Beats in a notion male poetry can be a shout, after readIng LEAVES OF GRASS and ON THE ROAD, back when falseness of demeanor carried more etiquette than it does even now in the U.S., back in white working class Texas in the fifties, late fifties was it. Thus, gushy Kerouac did arouse many such of us manly louts, from that drinking class. Most people may not remember, as I do so well, how most men were not so secure in their image, to be verbalizing on a full moon, or past a limited sentence say. Or on trees or flowers or birds or Gulf waves that change every day much, and to forget allowing anything get a little further out. Before subtleties of the intellectual Beats had ignited the less intellectual hippy revolution, most young males had not been about to stare off spaced out , as had I always, who could fight, as had my long buddy John Brundrett now, but who could say huh, float could he, a reed in wind. Maybe the relaxed stare is considered "feminine side?" Well, I don't yet pick it up, what the hell is this folks are talking, "feminine side." Feh. My brother Mike was more peaceful and we were reading pulp, and he still does though back in the fifties he read anything say Nietzsche or Plato and still may, but I in late fifties went round about then Whitman, Kerouac, Henry Miller, Hemingway, took to heed of style, art in a society so knotted my very carriage could bother people, I walked like the world is a joke. That Billolive is crazy, he doesn't even believe in God. My irreverent amigos sensed it all, conflict and fear, if not comprehended it is surely visible, and should I have bullied I sat amidst compadres. When a friend paid me maybe less than a dollar was it 1957 to eat one then a second cricket on the school yard one sunny afternoon ~Ihad no thought to shock, already knew humans in parts of the world ate insects, and I'd been munching a few grasshoppers since pre puberty in said knowledge but I was practically shocked how shocked the four hundred student body. My amigos were amused, and too it amused them how I who was a grand weirdo would fight anybody.
Well before I could legally buy beer in Texas I was a beatnic. I had liked Jack Kennedy OK, to answer Geoffrey. In the Kennedy/Nixon debate Tricky Dick was transparent, pathetic. By time of the Bay of pigs, I was too disturbed and occupied to care much, though still thought the commies misguided. Jack Kennedy''s being shot is easily remembered for me too. I recall that from the first many folks figured it more than any lone assassin. In a society of falseness nothing of that surprises a beatnic. I watched on TV Ruby shoot Oswald, in the slow motion Oswald look into Ruby's eyes, before flinching from the bullet. In that time, I never paused at likeable John Kennedy's banality: Ask not what your country car do for you, ask what can you do for your country. Pretty funny, this past year, my father and I sat at the box and this from Kennedy came on in some context I disremember and my father who now days repeats "pimps, protestitutes, and politicians," snorted. He said something, I forget, "I bet you'd like that," something like that.
In sundry beatnic writing people were saying "the society is no longer sane," and I did then question whenever was it. Henry Miller wrote about its lack of spirit. In a bunch of essays his THE STAFF OF LIFE spoke of fake bread in the U.S. Miller said the very birds in the U.S. suffered from this garbage bread tossed out to them. Guys I knew on the Mexico side said when you cross the river there is no more laughter in the streets, people are frowning, and the women have headaches. Anyway, before E1 Hippy revolution, more women with headaches. Nowhere else on Earth be there such contrast between borders, which in itself woke my survival instincts. In Berkeley in 1965 or 1966 I had my single prophetic dream where South America pulls down our civilization. U.S. citizens voted Tricky Dicky back in. He began the fake war on drugs. Where billions cannot be counted war is not waged. After the hippy revolution or seeds of discontent the country shifted back a few waves into the Reagan Era, just say no, generational gap supremo.
It is not the guns, it is the lies. Just say no. My country right or wrong. Love it or leave it. we USE that oil over here. My people treated their slaves good.
Rats in a cage eat their offspring. Mind gone citizens mindlessly repeatedly witness tanks smash a house which has children. The children count less than children Timothy and his gang killed. Five thousand kids in Iraq per month do not count in a decade. South of the U.S. border counts not. Raped U.S. kids who kill their parents have no political value, can be imprisoned for life. A bedeviled CIA spokesman said worse than a rogue nuke can get us is a teenager or foreigner may erase all the money in all the U.S. banks.
Hitler is in home movies petting animals and children and he slept past noon and indulged puerile fantasies while an enormous insane bureaucrasy built about his person. He could take speed and rave and the Germans were hungry and humiliated. The human critter is one hundred percent the same every time, that shit can happen anywhere. Nothing has sunk into the commons like MIGHT MAKES RIGHT. Son, all land has been taken from somebody else. We use that oil over here.
But now is one difference: technology, which became the web. H.G. wells said our only hope is to absolve borders and by time he died he said we won't make it, but, hear me, Dear Reader, the web shall absolve borders. The kiddies have begun to cease to be ruled. NY very daughter goes with one of these cyber geniuses.
Sorry I haven't written. I liked your previous letter just fine. And I've been thinking on the views you expressed.
I've just not done much letter writing lately. It's all been email! I Will write a note in email, but not on paper. I don't know why.
Also, I just delivered 3 dayjob books to the printer. Plus I have another 6 dayjob projects to do in the next few weeks. So, yes, I've just been busy.
And I put up a 1/4 mile of garden fence (deer fence!) and tore down old fence and got an old orchard into shape and put in several days fixing up this old house I rent out in my favorite old local town. I keep this old house just to keep a toehold in that town.
No canoeing yet this year, or fishing or hardly any biking. whew! I just took my first R & R hike in a park of the season after dropping off those deadline books. But it hasn't been bad busy, to me. I guess I just tend to pull in my antenna when these times come. Every spring is dayjob deadline time for me. Fall is my free time.
Thanks for your further remarks about the "meaning" concept as relates to the philosophy book. I think the author probably explains what he means by that word somewhere. He's a pretty careful guy! I think he believes that many people today work hard to avoid having meaning in their lives. They use replacements for it, like sports, TV, jobs, fun and shopping. They try to keep themselves distracted so they don't notice the lack of meaning. But their soul knows it and can't be fooled and does what it can to repair things. Today this often means that the soul hurting for lack of meaning sounds all kind of crisis alarms which maybe people mistake for depression and anxiety. Maybe a lot of mental illness is the soul trying to tell the person to get back to being healthy again somehow.
We read this philsopher's books as part of a reading group. Many of the group members are teachers, doctors and social workers. They find that the current approach to reality is totally out of whack. They think it's insane to have an idea that all the little hyper kiddies need is more drugs to fix their problems. They see it as part of insurance companies trying to feed off the living. So it ends up that they talk together and encourage each other to do their best to keep kids away from the clutches of the professionals. If a kid is going nuts maybe it's because he has no family, or too much TV. What does "chemical imbalance" mean? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Living like people do, a person would have to be nuts to do it. The poor innocent children of course suffer the worst. All the adults will pay for it, too.
Now that I have two kids it just tears me apart to think of anything bad happening to them or to other little kids. They look to adults. Can you imagine someone trying to USE a child? Someone trying to SELL to a child? Lie to them about something to make some money? If an adult parties instead of taking care of his kid, he needs to be hit with a board. It's fine to hang out and relax but I can't stand the idea of not caring for kids. Kids don't need that much. They need to be part of something. Then they can take it from there. They don't need lies and evil. Well, this is what I'm finding. I screw up, sure. But having my kids look at me often makes me change how I do things, to make them make sense.
Anyway, in their jobs, these reading group people I know use a book called the DSMV-4 or something like that. It's today's mental health diagnostic bible and many professions use it to get paid by insurance companies. Even teachers are now familiar with it. In it behavior gets called an illness then gets a number. The number means cash. Under "depression" they have 8 points. Each of these represents what used to be considered signs that a change in life was under way. Maybe a rite of passage. A time of opportunity. Crisis doesn't have to be only bad. Today, change is considered evil. If you change your job, your friends or your interests, you're sick. Take a pill.
Another thing that the philosopher says is a danger to the soul (which is always thirsty) is to distract yourself by getting outside yourself via ecstasy. He writes that ecstasy can be used for good or for escape.
Getting meaning in your life is about dealing with things, I guess. Facing them instead of avoiding them. Who knows where it will all lead.
I agree with what you say about truth always moving. I think the philosopher agrees as well. It's the fixed idea that kills. So much of our fun, though, he says is a kind of clinging fixation. We say I need a roller coaster, I need a good movie, I need some loud music. It seems like it's about escape. Well, all this stuff needs repeated mulling over.
A neat thing I learned from this reading group already is that you have to read something 3 times in 3 ways to start to get the gist of it. Doing this 3 times trick also helps you see change as it happens, helps you focus not on the thing but on life. The 3 ways to read a book so that you know it are kind of cool: first time like you read a newspaper, second time like you're telling it to a friend, third time try to figure it out.
I often to forget to make myself really clear on things, maybe I did so this time with the "TG" reprint idea. My plan is to do it as soon as possible. I thought I'd mentioned that it may well take a year or so to get going on it. I roll slow but I always roll. I always think that I tell my story to everyone, but maybe I forgot to fill you in on it. I've been publishing my hobby books aggressively for several years now, flat out. I have 23 going now. I have agreed with my wife and with sanity that I take a hiatus from doing this. So I haven't done any OYB book work since my last magazine issue came out in Nov/Dec last year. The idea is that I'll take it easy awhile. Well, not easy, but get caught up on regular life. Go fishing with the family. Then I'll hop back in with the workflow of OYB projects on the side from my dayjob. My schedule line-up is that I have 2 more books to do for my philosopher friend, then his whole series will be complete. I have 2 books of my own that are 95% complete that I will finish. I have some features I'd like to add to my OYB website. Then I'd like to do "TG" then more Jack writings. That's my plan. It's probably a 2-year plan. I would've thought I would've mentioned it. My apologies if I didn't. [PS: Here's an excerpt from my previous letter of March 26. A good thing about computers is that they have more memory than I do for certain things.... "All this is something I'd do within the next couple years. I did a lot the past couple years and so now have to take it easy for awhile."]
I'd very much like to do "TG" and I think I can do a good job on it. I may well by that time have some better national promotion system up and running for all my books which yours can then piggyback right onto. The other books indeed are picking up some steam. I have an unusual "recumbent" bike book that is now quite popular. I'll be doing my first national mailings to bookstores and libraries for it one of these days, and all the other titles will go along for the ride.
I've kept promoting "TG" on the internet in other literary forums. I've run into Doug Bassett
posting in non-zine forums as well! (But I notice that I haven't put my review up at my own
website. I tend to update my site a couple times a year. This is death for the popularity of a
site, but whatever. People still seem to like mine OK.)
I agree with you that overly scary people should be compartmentalized on a website. A website can have very scary ideas presented but they need to be done right so that visitors don't have a kneejerk reaction. There's a right way and wrong way to present the most extreme ideas. I like your idea of putting Dr. Steve into a "dungeon" labeled area. Good luck!
I have heard a bit from the ULA Gang. They're having a zine release party in Philly on June 2, I think. They seem to be keeping a low profile. Probably trying to work out their leadership problems. Too bad. Karl says he has to recover for awhile.
Thev're out there, though. Mostly I hear from them via email.
Joe Smith wrote and told me about his interest also in reprinting "TG." He seems like a good kid and I like his Orthophobe. It seems like too big of a project for someone with no experience, offhand. I encouraged him to keep trying things and to actually do a few books before he tries a big book project. "Doing a book" means pulling off probably 50 different steps that it takes to get a book done and let the world know about it then take care of all business after that. I've been doing books for my dayjob for over 15 years now and still feel like a beginner. It's a big scene to try to handle! I look forward to seeing his FIRST book effort sometime. Really, I have seen hardly ANY zinesters attempt a book. Of course, most zine projects themselves flop. Especially when they include others, I bet. Joe says he can get help from a bunch of people he knows. Yet his zine reports on his past experiences show that those who say they'll do something don't. And he himself has moved and dropped projects. Oh, those young people! It seems like the ULA was the first outfit that did what it said it would do in his experience.
That's what I liked about the ULA: its hardcore nature. It's sad if they're having a dispute now. Something like this maybe needs to be run like a military operation or a farm. It's serious stuff. You can't have whining. Hell, people can disagree but as long as every one really works hard and puts out, it should work out. I suspect that laziness is the root of the troubles.
As far as me and hobby book projects, I have found that it often takes hiring about 6 people before finding one who will do what they say they will. I now generally save time by doing it all myself.
But so far I've done every project that I said I would. It just takes time. Actually, this is the rirst break I've taken in years.
As for Jack, he was sending me pamphlets tor awhile there. I really liked them. Now he is back online doing his website and saving the postage/copying money. His website is still http://www.thedailybugle.com. He's put some good stuff up there already.
Well, I hope that all is well wiith vou. Martha planted our garden today finally. Now it's raining good. Next, to get my bike up and running. My spring is still backed up, but it's getting there!
Asheville is full of random checkpoints these days, even on fairly small back roads, where they stop you to "see if you're wearing your seatbelt." & of course check your liscence - look in through the windows of your car. Luckily, no one I know has been seriously fucked with yet - then again, lots of them have more or less stopped driving - I've been busy fixing wheels of old bikes.
I can't remember if I sent you this Doris. The last LL was really good. Sorry to hear about that dumbass on Texas Gang. com.
Hope it gets cleared up!
I am flying over NYC now on my way to see my sister & baby. But I want to go to the city. I can pretty much see my last summers house from here - can see the project's 2 blocks away anyway.
asheville has been good. fresh food at Ly sister's farm. The guy she works with might give her some of his land & the house shes living in. I'm scouting out the mountain behind her house for a good spot to build a shack. I hear there is a cave w/ a spring & an old still. on the other side of the ridge. probably too far up to realy be good for me to live in. but the mobile house is woring out nice. and I've been taking care of myself better. more or jess quit drinking. taking herbs to build up my lungs to deal with my asthma. getting a story (from #17, edited) printed in UTNE reader - Kind of ridiculous but what the hell. $50 & I can show it to the famIly.
Aransas Pass High School class reunions are held at Port Aransas. I went to my first, June 22 of 2001, for folks who graduated later fifties or earlier sixties. Strange doings, for me, same time Lyla had flown in Madrea for two weeks. But I did tell Bill Sims I would come, and old compadre Clyde Magnor whom I had not seen since summer of 1656 had told Hatch he was coming from Kansas. Too, Packy said he was coming. I thought about bringing Madrea, then thought about watching boxing on TV instead, and next Kelly then Bonnie on phone were telling me to go and take Madrea. But I was leery or feared boredom and almost did not go, sought excuse to not. My daughter said let's go and we can leave if it is too boring. We headed out and I picked up a 1.5L bottle of chardonnay.
In U.S. twentieth century culture the four years of high school could be happy or unhappy per person but would be memorable. This in my own case was the unhappiest period of my life, agonizing boredom, anger, disgust, depression, sexual frustration unto mania, near suicide. The bulk of A.P.H.S.ers who came right before the hippy changes were to me the most
insipid of our race. They in turn considered Billolive insane. And yet, rumor unto myth be it, APHSers of that period are weirder and more distinct than the general lot. People close to me have been remarking so
all these decades in either event.
Madrea and Medicine and I pulled on over behind the Port Aransas Community Center. Medicine was getting some familiarty of his general environment and Bill Sims and wife who live next block walked up. Bill suggested we put up Medicine and come in and see some people I have not in many years. Forty years. We put up the bulldog and went on in.
Bix was in there and other friends , like Boyce Elliot M.D. who of folks I have not seen for forty years was the only one I could still recognize. There was no music but well over one hundred people, creating a din. Wearing name tags, I got a name tag. People would come up wearing a name I might or might not recall, shaking my hand loudly. Several were middle aged women who never in high school had reason to talk to me. Ah, a couple looked OK and I informed them I am a high school drop out, said I was maladjusted. Several people came up asking about Bonnie, who had been popular. The most interesting of these strangers and middle aged people from a past was a youngish strange looking lout of familiar name and Jackson Jones history, Kenneth Ferrier, who was talking to John Brundrett when I walked over to John. Kenneth Ferrier is large and somewhat bunged up physically but already knew of texasgang.com. A wilder adventurer sort I really could not talk well with in the deafening noise. He met Madrea and I was proud of Madrea but she got bored in the noise and drank a cup of wine and went out to the truck to sleep with Medicine Dog. I did talk with Clyde Magnor and wife Peggy off and on. Very hard to keep a dialogue up in minor bedlam though Magnor was always a fiesty man and energetic mind. 1t is excellent we are again in touch.
There was a second night in a larger building with recorded music playing constantly but in the space conversation was more possible. Madrea had chosen to stay home with Medicine and my parents and I had come over with Richard Hatch and wife Nancy. This time there were more people and some of their younger generation though it cost ten dollars. Bix had been tired from APHSers doing a photography thing during the day for hours of talk and skipped this night, but Packy who never made the first one made this one. I was drinking another bottle of wine and right off met old great friend Robert Shake, who leaned in posturing this squint at me, and I could have recognised his humor but he was heavy so I had to give in, am no visual person, etc. I had not seen Shake since 1971 or 1972. I would be traveling back and forth from the Magnors and Hatch at a table to Shake and wife, Charles Oualine and wife - Oualine was Shake's best partner - both these guys were Packy's close friends - Packy came on in and he moved back and forth as well. Back at the Hatch/Magnor table went some funny dialogue with Magnor and me and Boyce Elliot who also was traveling around. Boyce who boxed high school golden gloves was giving his account of my being TKOed to Magnor, who had he not left APHS in 1956 would have been on my father's boxing team when we beat the Corpus Christi high school teams, year before I dropped out. Boyce had given his account of my TKO to Magnor the first night, then I caught it this second night, which has it ~ could have taken this sleek black welterweight champion of the previous year but when he connected to the corner of my chin the referee called it off because I looked dazed, when in truth ~ always looked dazed, could have taken the guy. I laughed, naw, this guy was too slick for me, I could have got him the next year, when I turned coordinated. I had a punch, may have
got anybody next year, but though nothing is funnier than real life nothing is sadder too. Bonnie Olive had requested I find from Charles Oualine where is his sister Joan who is my sister's close friend who had "vanished" and I learned Joan like their parents is dead from cancer. I might talk of these individuals, whom I know, whether or no the main body of APHSers is any daffier or but afflicted by a crop of weirdos inside a lopsided decade, who were popular or not, athletes or not, happy or not, yet of my ilk, who can save our bent world of mankind. Kenneth Ferrier's card says THE~ GUNMAN. Shake's says he is business manager of electrician's union out of Corpus.
Shake and Oualine were athletes and likely happy in a student body of four or five hundred, Hatch and Packy and I were pissed off athletes and not likely very happy. Magnor told me he had liked high school. What got my attention of a class reunion taking in several years is how sentimental and friendly they are forty years later. These are people right before pot and drugs came. Though a Kenneth Ferrier probably got around to that. Ah, Dear Reader, wine has me sloppy, his card says not "GUNMAN," but "GUN MAN", he is a gunsmith, maybe I will visit his arsenal with Jones. Probably it is about 1966 or 1967 pot and acid were available at APHS and now according to headline story of banal Aransas Pass Progress the popular stuff at APHS is cocaine and heroin and steroids. Sims handed me that front page piece about two months ago. I am wondering will the drugged generation be less sentimental, more cynical?
But Robert Shake's presence - he lives in Corpus - causes me to recall he may be the only person who has replied to me truthfully that he too can feel his brain. Feeling the brain, same as my inability to picture anything at all in my head during awake time, was/is so difficult to talk about, due to quarrelsome scepticism of friends, only very irregularly do I use these things in dialogue. I had brought these things up possiby early as 1954 or 1955 to sneering Packy or Hatch and/or associates and then did not, or hardly, till Maybe with Shake in some circumstance around 1958. Surprised to hear others do not feel the brain, he blurted: well, how do they know they think! I reminded him science has informed us we think through the brain in the skull, is how. Yes, with Shake I should bring this stuff up again.
Having trucked the typewriter to the parents' house for Madrea's visit I have been typing this LL here, and after the APHS reunion came letter and small book by Raul Botello Jr. Picked it up at the Brownrats' coming with Madrea and Medicine from spot on beach where began this LL. Lyla then Madrea, think the Botello letter and book impressive, here is the letter. The book is self published, ancient history off Golfe de Pouzzole, area of Italy he has frequented, titled SUNKEN CITIES AND TEMPL~ES OF BAHIA. I am reading it with interest amidst all disruption.
I do not know if "my woman" is deserting me, who would put me up with a computer when she is out of school in another year, have me care for her two daughters who seemed ready to love me already. Very individual, great kids she has, either way. Either event, I have the people, and texasgang.com will roll on. I am a mutant and will live longer than other people. A human is a fool but spirit is sacred. Now we gather internationally, ignore authority. Thurgood Marshall did not speak up enough, too bad for him, and TexasGang has no chains.
June 19, 2001 Dear Bill,
You have no idea how great it was to receive your letter, you old rascal. The last time you wrote was when you left Aransas the first time. As I remember it, were in California having a dire episode with yourself. You mentioned suicide. I immediately wrote back questioning how you could even consider such a bogus answer to life and to your friends. I never heard from you again until now. I've often thought you perhaps didn't like my response to you. I wasn't sure. One day, while browsing the internet, I saw your name and ended up at the TexasGang site.
By your comments in the letter it seems that you are still pretty much the guy I always liked and admired in school. I was really sorry to see you go away. But, in retrospect, you did what you had to do and that's always the right thing to do. Sooner or later we all have to go our own way to find ourselves. But the world seems to have gotten smaller now and time has certainly flown by.
I've sort of bounced around parts of the world in search of I never knew what. I found many things, some I liked and some I didn't. I tended to go with the flow (the easy way out) but with that came many satisfactions.
I've explored and climbed, photographed and documented, written and published. Everywhere I've been seems have created a new chapter in my life. I've developed strong and meaningful relationships. But, best of all, I've kept close emotional memories of my high school friends and our times together.
I don't remember "making" friends. Dear friends just seemed to happen as if they'd always been there. In spite of emotional and ideological differences among some of us, I never lost a friend through differences of opinion. The significance is that true friends remain true friends forever. We were close because we were few and stuck together. It is the cherished memories of these relationships that have helped me survive and continue to grow. Now, many of us are gone. Memories linger as the light of day fades.
If I ever had a really enemy in life it could only be me. There were many golden opportunities for jobs and careers but it seems my renegade nature deprived me of many. Sometimes circumstances worked against me and sometimes I worked against circumstances.
Because of my yearning for adventure and excitement, I had many close encounters with doom. Selfish by nature, my only interests were my own self-satisfactions regardless of others. I can only be thankful that I've been spared and life has been so good to me in spite of myself.
Always in search of the unknown, I've explored, investigated and researched ancient ruins on land, in the mountains, under ground and under the sea. My diving finds in Italy led me to Roman archaeology. After four years of explorations in Pozzuoli Bay I organized my notes, sketches and charts together to publish a book based on my findings. Archaeology and diving have been my great interests in life.
After futile efforts to find life after high school in Aransas, Manen and I one day looked at each other. Don said, "Botello, let's go on active duty with the Marines."
It seemed like a great idea at the time. It was a way we could perhaps find a secure future without simply abandoning home. This wasn't a complicated matter since were already members of the Reserve unit in Corpus. Off we went to Camp Lejeune for additional training.
Manen and I were in the same battalion for a few months, then I was sent to Yorktown, Virginia, and ended up in Colombia on Embassy Duty. Bogota was and remains an intense socio-cultural environment.
Drugs were not the mediurn of trade for Colombia at that time. Emeralds were the medium. As there were no military bases, the five Marines there, including myself, had to live among the civilian population. Wild parties were dawn to dusk events. Fun-loving Colombians seemed to enjoy having us at their parties. Often, impromptu parties simply erupted when more than one person found themselves together in an abode. Suddenly rum and coke appeared and LP's were spinning with merengue. Merengue is Latin music you don't move to, it actually seems to move you on the dance floor, fitting for the rum and coke that flowed freely.
Embassy duty was also exciting because I had the opportunity to meet and be around prominent people. Four of us Marines served as Jackie Kennedy's personal bodyguards during JFK's presidential visit to Colombia. I also played jazz in jam sessions with the U.S. ambassador who played the trombone, the Austrian minister, and professional musicians from Bogota'. Paul Winter came for a tour with his sextet and we ran the town together, jamming in all the night clubs.
During the Colombia tour I also served in Uruguay for the ouster of Cuba from the Organization of American States. It was interesting because rumors went around that Castro wanted to disrupt the conference and was sending in a planeload of armed thugs. We (the security staff) were prepared and eager to see what would happen. Nothing happened. In the conference Castro's emissary hammered the hell out of the conference table with his shoe (an old Russian political ploy,) and Cuba was voted out of the organization.
From Colombia I was sent to Quantico, Virginia, for a few months after which I ended up with the Marine Detachinent in Rota, Spain. My first marriage to a lady in Seville, Spain, lasted for almost 20 years. I lived in Spain for about 10 years altogether. We had two daughters there. During my civilian years in Spain, I lived among gypsies and followed the dusty Hemingway trails as a correspondent for a Madrid based daily newspaper. Over time Spain became my own culture. That was then.
Later we moved to California where my parents and brothers lived. My ex and I shared good times and lean times. Just when it seemed life's things were in order, our daughters grown and a good military career going on, the marriage fell apart and ended in divorce. At that point it seemed that my life was in total disarray. But from this event my life changed dramatically for the better. My next period was Italy.
The first assignment to Italy came when I joined the Navy (after Marines and college). I was still married to my Spanish ex-wife. But the second time assigned to Italy a few years later, I was then a recently divorced single due yearning to do many of the things previously missed in life. I took up skiing, a new experience which became a passion. I had no expectations of becoming married again. But, when least expected I met my second wife, a Neopolitan with U.S. passport, who has been with me ever since. We have a twelve-year-old boy. I spent about nine years living in Italy, and traveled a lot throughout Europe.
Since discovering Texas Gang on the internet I've also established contact with Hatch. He was kind enough to send me a list of APHS guys. That list included Magnor. Well, lo and behold a couple of months ago Magnor called to say hello. In keeping with his gruff friendliness, his greeting was "What's a Mexican doing living in Richmond, Virginia?" That statement took me right back to our high school days. It was great to hear from him.
Last year, only about two weeks apart, Larry Ray and Manen called to say hello also. They found my name on some internet listings. It turns out that Ray and I have been to many identical places and did similar things but at separate times.
I've never attended a class reunion, not because I wouldn't like to, but because I've been far away for so many years. Even now, it's very difficult for me to get away for any period of time. If the opportunity arises, I would make a trip just to see certain friends. I haven't been to Aransas at all since 1967.
By the way, saw this on the internet. Thought you'd find it interesting.
By RICHARD PYLE, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - The original manuscript of "On The Road, " author Jack Kerouac's epic tale of disaffected youth wandering America, was auctioned Tuesday for $2.43 million, a record for the sale of a literary work.
James Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team, outbid several other would-be buyers for the 120-foot-long scroll filled with the single-spaced typewritten narrative that eventually became a literary sensation and cult classic.
Christie's auctioneer Francis Wahlgren said the price -$2.2 million plus a buyer's premium of $226, 000- was "a new world record for a literary manuscript at auction."
The previous champ is believed to be a 1920 copy ofFranz Kafia's "The Trial, "which sold for $1.98 million in 1988.
Irsay said he was honored to acquire the original manuscript of the book he first read as a teenager in Chicago. He said he hoped to display it in an Indiana museum and perhaps take it on a national tour that would duplicate the wanderings of the author and his coterie of friends half a century ago.
"I look on it as a stewardship. I don't believe you own anything. In this world, it's dust to dust," Irsay said.
He also said he wou1d like to display the manuscript next to the Lombardi Trophy emblematic victory in the Super Bowl. "Maybe that will happen next January, "he said.
The best of my thoughts to you good buddy