Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inanimate Love: Guys having sex with lamp-posts, signs, picnic tables, park benches. and cars

By Pablo Fanque,
All This Is That National Affairs Editor

Hey Joe, you looking for a date?

Illustration from our Enumclaw horse story published here two years ago.

  • This posting actually is about national affairs. . .in the broadest sense. As it turns out, however, Americans and The Brits. do not just have sex with other people, and in some cases, animals [1], but, as we wrote about earlier, even sex with ghosts, and a host of everyday, and seemingly not all that sexy, inanimate objects.

A cedar picnic table - one man's idea of a great date

    The picnic table guy
  • "American caught having sex with picnic table" reports The Telegraph, just two days ago. Police said that Art Price Jr was seen copulating with furniture on four separate mornings, most recently on March 14 when a neighbour recorded it as evidence.

The sign guy

  • Police say videotapes they found when the above, unnamed, sign guy was arrested pictured all manner of weird stuff, but cogent to the present article, were hundreds of hours of tapes of the man defiling street signs, as well as actually having sex with the earth itself.
  • With a bicycle! A Scottish man, Robert Stewart, was discovered by two maids having sex with his bicycle in a hotel room.

The Bike Guy - I can explain everything!

"I'm leaning on the lamp-post on the corner of the street"

  • Schoolchildren and women witnessed a 32 year old man in England having sex with a lamp-post. He was arrested and charged "on suspicion of outraging public decency. "

  • Another Brit was charged with having sex with a bench. He got lucky. His penis became stuck, and a crew had to come to free him from the bench. "If it had taken another hour, we would have had to amputate his penis."

The Car Dude (not The car dude; a car dude)

[1] A case only last week: ABC Action News. reports that Caroline Willette, 53, enjoyed a three-way with two dogs. She sent a CD with the images to an acquaintance, who turned it over to The Heat. Willette admitted to detectives that she had sex with the animals in her home as well as watched young girls perform sex acts on the Internet.

Shades Of The Enumclaw Beastiality Case-- A Spanaway, Wash. Man Is Accused Of Having Sex With A Pit Bull
Not now deer! Wisconsin man punished for necrophilia and beastiality--at the same time!
Photograph: Chicken Love Tragedy - A Cautionary Tale of Beastiality in Iberia
Further ruminations on Enumclaw
Horsin' around: update on Enumclaw
Another shocking revelation
Beastiality in south King County
The final horse/beastiality update
Enumclaw Story To Become A Movie
Seattle Horse Sex Film Is Selected For Sundance!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Five images of Abraham Lincoln

click to enlarge

Bobby Bare, Jr. at The Sunset Tavern in Ballard

We saw an awesome show last night at the Sunset Tavern in our neighborhood. My sister in law is a long time fan of Bobby. I knew his dad's music. In fact, I thought that who we were going to see, although I thought it mighty strange he was playing at the grungy but beloved Sunset Tavern. Like some other alt country folk, Bobby has a twisted sense of humor. Bobby stopped in Seattle after touring with Son Volt, and playing at Austin's SXSW. From a recent review in the Baeble blog:

"Blown to New York on a carefree combination of crude oil chords, and sweet summer melodies, Bobby Bare delivers the kind of take on authentic country blues and southern rock that lets the whiskey running through your blood do its job. Humid and hazy at times, fearlessly grungy at others, Bare brought the region that bred him to the Bowery's stage. Whether lamenting for a Flat-Chested Woman in two-part harmony, moaning and whaling like a real singing cowboy, or rolling through rock and roll barn burners, Bobby and his band rollicked like a southern fried Guided By Voices. "

Bobby Bare, Jr. , 43, has recorded several solo albums, along with two major label albums with his band, Bare, Jr., (1998 and 2000) and his new, loosely-confederated band, the Young Criminals Starvation League. Last night he released a DIY album, American Bread, consisting of him covering songs by Bread and America. You get the feeling Bobby is just barely keeping it together, and yet he is sweet and funny on stage.

Bare is the son of country musician Bobby Bare. In 1974 — when Bobby Jr. was eight — they were both nominated for a Grammy for the song "Daddy What If."

He plays now with the Young Criminals Starvation League, a constantly-changing group of musicians who have released three studio albums, an EP, and a live album. Bobby will be at the Sunset Tavern again this coming Friday, for an early show. Get tickets early--last night's sold out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Having sex with The President - Justine Lai's paintings

Justine Lai is creating a series of paintings in which she paints herself "having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives."

Check out her work in progress here.

Alien Lore No. 151 - Ed Anger says "Shut down NASA"

Ed Anger, the Weekly World News' columnist, recently published a piece saying that we should shut down NASA.

"First, let’s shut down NASA. I call it NO-SAW. We’re been at it forty years, and a jillion dollars later, NASA hasn’t come up with one single solitary blue, bigheaded spaceman. All we’ve got for our money is Tang and a box of rocks."

Click here to read Ed's entire editorial.

"If I was Teleprompter Jesus, I’d tell NO-SAW they’ve got 24 hours to show us some little green men or every McDonald’s in the country’s gonna have rocket scientists asking, 'You want fries with that?' "


Friday, March 27, 2009

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

I've written the poems I had waiting. I don't have the energy to paint. My long backpocket piece on Kent's Bus Depot was already used. Pablo hasn't sent in anything political, and my latest Alien Lore article isn't finished yet. I have nothing to say politically or sociologically. Therefore, let's leave this page more or less blank. . .

I don't even have the will to dig up an old piece and present it under the "Reheated" label.

In a few hours, I am flying back to San Francisco after just returning at midnight Wednesday. I'll attempt to make this right on my return. Blank pages=not good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poem: Who Are We?/Put Your Finger In The Dike

I almost always believe otherwise,
But on a bad news day,
It's like we're not all in this together,
That we are just the latest edition
Of a complex species
Drawn together tenuously
In a social order
That masks our genetic disposition
To competition and selfishness
And puts the lie to any notion
Of compassion, altruism, and love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Poem: You in your hole

You are away and apart
On the high, lonesome ridge you built—

Like a lone climber bivouaced
In the blue ice and snow

Halfway up the mountain.
Beneath gathering black clouds,

Sinister fog banks and night lumber in,
Choking off the light

And the only way out.
There is no going up and no going down today—

Just you in your hole,
Listening to Satan and Jiminy Cricket

Debate from each of your shoulders
In the muffled still of the snow cave.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Visual poem - The Foghorn

I created this in Image Chief from this poem published a few weeks back:

I hear three moaning foghorns tonight,
Probably at Bainbridge Island,
Point No Point, and Alki.

I can't detect a pattern.
The foghorns sing to each other
Back and forth across the murky Puget Sound. . .

There will come a time
When we will likewise
All sing to each other.

Kindly Be Aware. . .

I am sitting in my room at the St. Francis on Powell Street in San Francisco. The minibar has this very strange sign posted prominently. Does it mean that each item--chips, alcohol, sodas, candy bars, etc. is wired? Do they all have a little magnetic or radio tag attached?

If I pick up, say, that bottle of red wine and look at it for 12 seconds, does it automatically get charged to my room? This is a new one on me. . .

Jack in SF 11:00 pm

Monday, March 23, 2009

Poem: The earth in motion

The mountain is the youngest child
Of heaven and earth,
Striving ever upward

And simultaneously tumbling down,
Like the five volcanoes
That surround me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Not In My Neighborhood" Welcoming a new neighbor. . .The Jail

click to enlarge The Tombs

click to enlarge

I was walking near my work the other day, when I stumbled on this sign at a site that is currently a garbage truck depot. This neighborhood is a mix of office parks and industrial. If this sign went up in my, or your neighborhood, no telling what kind of a brouhaha it would raise. But in the anonymous area where I work, near the borders of Kirkland, Woodinville, and Redmond. . .well, really?, what better place to put a jail than a spot where the nearest house is at least a mile away.

click to enlarge the Brooklyn House of Detention for Men

We lived across the street from the Brooklyn House of Detention for Men on Atlantic Avenue for two years. It never seemed unsafe, and there were no escapes as far as I can remember. You would see girls and women on the street yelling up at the windows sometimes, and there were usually plenty of police coming and going. . .all in all, it probably made for a little safer neighborhood. It was a grim structure...but nothing like, say The Tombs.


Video: Mind by The Talking Heads

A music video culled from a strange documentary on The Talking Heads. It's worth watching--despite the somewhat muddy sound--for the opening religious bit, and for David Byrne's always awesomely bizarre dancing. Mind is one of my favorite TH songs.

by The Talking Heads

Time won't change you
Money won't change you
I haven't got the faintest idea
Everything seems to be up in the air at this time
I need something you change your mind
Drugs won't change you
Religion won't change you
Science won't change you
Looks like I can't change you
I try to talk to you, to make things clear
but you're not even listening to me...
And it comes directly from my heart to you...
I need something to change your mind.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Greyhound Bus Depot in Kent, Washington: Going To Red's

This photo of Kent's Meeker Street, about three blocks west of the Bus Depot,
was taken in 1945, about 15 years before the events described here. Meeker

Street didn't look much different at all, except the cars were newer.

[Ed's note: I have had this story half-written for a year now. I wanted to find photos of the Bus Depot. None seem to exist. I had always hoped for more details...more information on what it was like...what actually transpired there. Unfortunately, neither my 85 year old mother, or 75 year old mother and father in law--who were denizens of the joint--have been able to further illuminate the story. Maybe they will when they see this in print.]

Before rural and suburban areas around Seattle had a metropolitan bus and train system; before they created the Howard Hansen Dam that would prevent the Green, Black, and White Rivers from flooding the valley in which I grew up, we had The Greyhound and Red's Bus Depot. After my father died in 1964, the Greyhound was how we got around. . .if we got around. Getting around was going to Seattle on the bus at Christmas to window-shop and have a sandwich or sundae at The Copper Kettle, or the Paul Bunyan Room at one of the now defunct Seattle department stores.

Red's Kent Bus Depot, located on Meeker Street, two doors in from Central Avenue, was a magical, male, perfect small town place. Being the bus depot in a 3,000 person [ed's note: in later decades, it would become an 85,000 person city] town meant that you were a hub of activity.

Red (a/k/a Gordon Mageness) ran the cafe and Bubbins sold tickets and managed the Greyhound side of the operation. Bubbins even wore a green eyeshade, a vest, and a garter on his crisp, white long-sleeved shirt with a perfectly double-knotted Windsor tie. I don't have a picture of Bubbins, but he looked like an older, shorter (!) Harry Truman, well-haberdashed, a little cranky, and very business-like.

A chocolate malt served in a glass identical to those used at Red's Bus Depot Cafe

Red was unusual in Kent for being a life-long bachelor. He had been married early (to whom????), and I remember often visiting our relatives in the Hillcrest Cemetary and we would stop at the joint grave of his children, who either died at birth, or early in life. I remember the elaborate gravestone, in bronze, with lambs on it. [Were they twins? How did they die? Who was his wife??]. No one ever talked about his wife. I don't know what happened with their marriage. Red was the only man we knew who was a bachelor. All I could figure out about being a bachelor was it meant you could own a speedboat, belong to the Elks' club, and go to the barbershop every day for a trim and a shave. He was surrounded by friends at work, ate dinner at the Elks, and even owned a chunk of a racing filly. . .bachelorhood looked OK.

From the time I was about eight years old, Red would frequently have me run over two blocks to Dunham's for iceberg lettuce, tomatoes or onions, or to have Ray Dunham grind 12 more pounds of sirloin. These missions were always good for a quarter and a vanilla malt.

Red's cafe menu listed hamburgers, cheeseburgers, tuna-fish and toasted cheese sandwiches, soup, chips (regular and barbecue), cottage cheese and canned pineapple wheels nestled in fronds of iceberg lettuce, floats and sodas, ice cream cones, sundaes, hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, milkshakes (served in a tall glass along with the "extra" in the metal container), Boyd's coffee, tea, grapefruit, orange, and tomato juice, milk, bottled soda pop (only beer came in cans), and Green River on tap [ed's note: Green River was developed in 1919 by the Schoenhofen Brewery of Chicago as a non-alcoholic product for the Prohibition era. It was popular for many decades as a soda fountain syrup, and for many years, trailed only Coca Cola in popularity].

Watching Red make milkshakes was a sensuous experience. He slapped a spotless and gleaming stainless steel container on the counter and used a polished scoop (that sat in a container under a trickle of warm water) to dig three generous scoops of vanilla ice cream from a three gallon tub, pumped in a stream of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry syrup, followed by a righteous pour of whole Smith Brothers milk (the dairy my friends Jim, Kathleen and Frances's extended family owned) and a scoop of malt, if you sprang for an extra nickel. He walked over and snapped the metal container into the pale green shake machine with a decisive click, flipped the switch and the medium-pitched whirring began. After an indeterminate, but always perfect, period of mixing, he poured it into a tall glass, and left the rest on the counter.

If you fancied soup, he opened a single-serving size of Campbell's and dumped it into a proprietary Campbell's soup heater. There were usually a few cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches cooking on the flat steel grill, along with a pile of onions sizzling in a pool of golden fat. Next to the ancient (even then) manual cash register, were candy bars, cigars, snoose, combs, rain bonnets, nail clippers, aspirin, cigarettes, mints, Callard and Bowser's butterscotch, Cadbury's chocolate, Big Hunks, Dots, Junior Mints, Three Musketeers, Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, Almond Joys, Mountain Bars (made in Tacoma), and gum. Across the floor was a rack of newspapers and magazines: Time, Life, Post, Detective Magazines, the women's magazines (Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, and the like), tabloids, Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. I don't think he carried any skin magazines. Playboy had recently debuted in the 60's, but this was more or less a family cafe. He probably kept the Playboys in the mysterious back room).

The bus depot's decor was minimal: a few tattered travel and bus posters, a black and white television, and a large portrait of F.D.R. My father-in-law Pete acquired the FDR poster when the depot closed down. It now resides in his den. There was a black and white TV on the wall (I never saw a color TV until I was in 11th grade at a friend's house).

The place was a fascinating mix of blue collar and white collar. Lawyers, merchants, dentists, and judges sat side by side with furnace repairmen, framers, sheetrockers, roofers, and like my Dad and Norm Peterson, Bill Cavanaugh, Al Corkins, Al Simms, and Al Conwell. I remember seeing my future father-in-law--Pete Curran-- there, along with his brother and some of their law partners. They were the guys wearing suits. My dad and his brethren wore overalls, or blue work shirts and jeans. . .usually spattered with paint, mud, or engine grease.

The mayor of the town showed up on occasion--Alex Thorton, who owned a car repair shop a few blocks down Central Avenue. I remember seeing Lou Kerhiaty, who owned the town's Ben Franklin (a/k/a Dime Store), and the Yahns, who owned Edline-Yahn funeral parlor. Kenny Iverson. a friend of my dad's, was the shortest man I knew. He was the only one of our friends who wore a suit. He was a salesman. Of course, the lawyers and funeral directors also wore suits, and some of the businessmen and druggists, and bankers. But most our our family's friends were strictly blue collar. Red presided over a fascinating amalgam of blue and white collar folks.

Although United Parcel Service was founded in Seattle in 1907, I never remember seeing a UPS truck. In those days, Greyhound was what UPS later became. Every bus coming from Seattle and elsewhere carried packages destined for Kent. Auto parts, chemicals, mail order clothes, gifts, and tools all arrived in the Greyhound cargo holds. If you needed a package sent or delivered, you either used the Post Office (as it was then called) or you used Greyhound. They didn't deliver, however. You went to the Bus Depot to pick up your packages: carburetors, bolts of muslin, cartons of books, seeds, and farm implements.

I remember being in the Bus Depot on November 22, 1963. . .and the fellas asking me who would be President now. There were no tears at the bus depot that day, but there was a stunned sort of hush as people watched events unfold on the black and white TV hung on the wall. I knew the name Lyndon Johnson somehow. The bus house gang were Democrats, but Scoop Jackson/JFK defense/blue-dog Democrats. I was awarded a soda for knowing LBJ's name.

The dark oak back-bar was even by the early 1960's looking ancient, with dark heavily-veined, and probably smoke-encrusted wood. The glass-fronted cabinets lining the back bar were filled with soda bottles that looked like they hailed from the 19th century. There was Nehi Soda, NuGrape, Honey Dew (made in the Seattle area), a brand of Sarsparilla, Orange Crush, RC, Dr. Pepper, Shasta soda (another northwest brand), Bubble-Up, Kickapoo Joy Juice, YooHoo chocolate, Seven-up, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Schweppes Ginger Ale and Bitter Lemon.

Three beautiful leather dice cups with yellowed ivory dice sat on the bar for low-key gambling. If you wanted to roll the dice for lunch, Red was always game. You got a free lunch, or paid double if you lost. I think the odds were pretty even if you were a regular; it was something to do.

If you were friends with Red (and who wasn't?) in the back room there was a jug. He just might invite you in the back for a "snort." The jug was a half gallon of Canadian Club, or Jim Beam. I can't remember how it was dispensed--did they mix it into the standard drink I remember all adults I knew dranik (the 7 & 7)? Among my people, hillbillies one generation removed from the hills, a drink meant a Seven & Seven, a/k/a, a Seagram's Seven mixed with Seven-up. Or beer. But beer was not really considered an alcoholic beverage. Some of my friends fathers left for work with a six pack in their pickup. When they came home, it was gone, replaced by a fresh "sixer." And they had probably also stopped into the Pastime, The Blinker, The Club, The Moonlite Inn, or The Virginia, to snort one or two on their way home.

The closing of the bus depot - In the late 1960's, The Bus Depot closed. Seattle and King County had passed "Metro," a sort of latter day WPA project that finally cleaned up Lake Washington (and did it very well), helped build the dam, and fund a comprehensive King County bus system (and tried to get a subway system passed...the failure of which is one of Seattle/King County's great mistakes). With the coming of Metro buses to Kent, there was no longer a need for a Greyhound bus stop there. If you were taking a bus to a distant place (I took the bus to NYC three times), you took Metro to Seattle and connected at the Greyhound Bus Terminal on Stewart Street. Metro offered Red a job at the Metro offices in downtown Seattle, and he took the job. In later years, I often stopped into their office (I think it was around 3rd and Marion) to say hi to Red, who sold monthly bus passes from a window in the lobby.

That's about all I can recall. There is only so much a ten year old's memory can dredge up through a forty-five year old filter.

Other stories about Kent, Washington that have appeared here:

Square Dance At Valley Elementary
Foot Washing Baptists & The Catholic Devils
Cruising the Renton loop with a keg of nails
My Pathetic Political Career
Growing Up In Kent, Washington: Tarheels, Hayseeds, Hillbillies, and Crackers
Uncle Guy, more hillbilly cred, and living a good life
Fishing With The Old Man
Uncle Romey
It Can Happen Here: Japanese Relocation Camps, 1942-1946
More on the El Rancho Drive-in in Kent, Washington
Snack bar ads, intermission countdowns, and the El Rancho drive-in
Four more images of Kent, Washington in the 40's and 50's
Kent, Washington's Meeker Street 1946
Too good to leave in the comments: Scooter and the Hell's Angel Heavy chug-a-lugScooter and $2 all you can drink beer day at the Sundowner circa 1973
My Grandma's tavern in Carnation, Wash.
My Dog Slugger
Hucking Eggs in Kent, Washington
Home-made Hillbilly Toys
Square Dance At Valley ElementaryFoot Washing Baptists & The Catholic Devils
Hillbilly Cred
"Chicken Thieves Busy in Kent And Vicinity"

We beat The Beach Boys?

By Pablo Fanque,
All This Is That National Affairs Editor


Jack Brummet
All This Is That Poetry, Pranks, Paranormal, Pop, Painting, and Persiflage Editor

As you probably don't know, All This Is That is named after a Beach Boys song with the same name. The song itself is about eastern philosophy and meditation. Why did we name this blog All This Is That? Because we liked The Beach Boys, and we liked the way it sounded. And because All This IS That. It really is.

These days on most search engines (especially Google), All This Is That is the first result. We beat the Beach Boys! Jack's wife Keelin looked at us with a jaundiced eye when we told her that. Kind of a "OK. Who cares?" look. And she's probably right. It's narcissistic? Maybe. But it really just feels like a tiny bit of vindication. . .something we don't get a lot of. Just an acknowledgement that maybe four and a half years flogging this blog hasn't gone completely unnoticed...

Craven, 'though we may be, it's kind of cool. A video of the song appears below. . .


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Poem: Foghorns

The Point Lonsdale Foghorn

I hear three moaning foghorns tonight,
Probably at Bainbridge Island,
Point No Point, and Alki.

I can't detect a pattern.
The foghorns sing to each other
Back and forth across the murky Puget Sound. . .

There will come a time
When we will likewise
All sing to each other.

[ed's note]: Foghorns are really just audio lighthouses. Modern foghorns send out laser beams to test for visibility. If the laser indicates that visibility is low, a computer activates the foghorn, which sounds until the laser shows conditions have cleared. The notes of foghorns are extremely low because low sounds carry better, providing more of a warning. For large ships which do not turn or move rapidly at all (ask the Titanic survivors), the sooner they know of objective hazards. . .the better.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Del McCoury band play My love Will Not Change

As I have slowly drifted away from jazz (but not rock) over the years, 'grass and country have filled the vacuum. The Del McCoury band are among the high practicioners of bluegrass


Sly and the Family Stone - Stand! (A YouTube slideo)

This is a great video of one of the great rock and sould bands of the '60s. Sly & The Family Stone were one of the first integrated rock bands, with people in a range of hues. They gave a lot of hope and inspiration. And they flat out played great music.


In the end you'll still be you
One that's done all the things you set out to do
There's a cross for you to bear
Things to go through if you're going anywhere
For the things you know are right
It s the truth that the truth makes them so uptight
All the things you want are real
You have you to complete and there is no deal
Stand. stand, stand
Stand. stand, stand
You've been sitting much too long
There's a permanent crease in your right and wrong
There's a midget standing tall
And the giant beside him about to fall
Stand. stand, stand
Stand. stand, stand
They will try to make you crawl
And they know what you're saying makes sense and all
Don't you know that you are free
Well at least in your mind if you want to be
Stand, stand, stand

Contrary to what Grandma's Boy postulated, does marijuana help or hinder videogamers?

click to enlarge The President

The White House Drug Czar's office has stumbled through a varying set of warnings about the dangers of marijuana over the ten years. The cannabis that once would saute your brain or, more likely, lead to heroin addiction, has been downgraded. . .it is now a cause of feeble gaming.

The new ads posit that while reefer may not specifically kill you, it will turn you into a crappy gamer.

DARE send-up

The Drug Czar Office (now run by Seattle Police Chief Kerlikowske) is going one further: not only does marijuana cause you to spend hours of wasted time on your couch, it chisels away at your gaming skills.

"Getting high affects your brain in ways that may directly influence your gaming ability," warns the Drug Czar's web site. "Many of the skills required for beating a level, defeating an opponent, [and] beating games" are erased by marijuana use.

Some famous gamers in the zone

The site interviews a computer-generated character: "I used to have a good time with Lyle," she says. "We made a good team. He had skill. He had swiftness," she says. "Well, he used to, anyway. Then our last fight, Lyle decided to get high. And it was simply: sayonara skill, sayonara swiftness."

The 2009 US budget allocates $100 million for the Drug Czar's media campaign.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'Moto [a/k/a Victoria Lenti] Remembers Mel [a/k/a Jerry Melin]

click to enlarge - Vicki Lenti on the Staten Island Ferry (with Our Lady Of the Harbor in the distance)

Vicki Lenti, or Moto, as we often call her, which is really short for Lentimoto, sent me this nugget about Jerry Melin a long time ago, and for some reason I am just getting around to posting it.

It's kind of appropriate, because tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day, and it was exactly ten years ago on Saint Patrick's Day that Jerry Melin's funeral was held in Ross, California. Namasté, brother!

Jerry Melin
By Vicki Lenti

Catfish was how I was first introduced to Johnny [ed's note: often now known as Jack]. The year was 1972 and I met Chris (Milo) Petersen at Green River Community College. Little did I know that the course of my life would change after that meeting. With Chris came his friends. . .and they soon became my friends. I was introduced to John, Johnny, Jack, “Cat” ”Catfish” Brummet, Jerry “Bart” Melin, Kevin “Scooter” “Mort”, “Tibbs” Curran, Keelin Curran, and Frances Hayden. I was one of the lucky females to get a nickname, and that was Moto. I remember Jerry giving me that nickname, but it may have been the combination of Jerry and Johnny. Anyway, 36 years later, I will still answer to it.

I was taken aback by this group of people when I first met them. I remember thinking that they were the hippest (1972) group of people I had ever met and that Keelin and Frances were (and STILL are) the epitome of “together” females. From Tacoma to Kent to Bellingham to NYC and back to Seattle, my life has been blessed with knowing them. Through them I met so many others, like Nick Gattuccio, and the list goes on.

So many memories come to mind, it is hard to know where to start. I found this blog by searching under Jerry’s name, so I will pay tribute to him. I LOVED JERRY. I loved all these people that I met in 1972, but Jerry and I had something special--as I know Jerry had something special with all the people he loved and I feel so lucky that he loved me.

click to enlarge - Jerry on Bainbridge Island, visiting Jack and Keelin

When you were with Jerry, you were important to him and you felt it. I remember some early memories of Jerry; one of the first was that he had that long fingernail (his pinky finger). I remember having a bad cough at the time and got some codeine cough medicine. Jerry asked for a swig and drank half the bottle.

Jerry always pushed the limits, and I don’t know how many of the stories I heard at that time were true (I believed them all), but the image I had of him was like “Neal Cassady or Dean Moriarty,” Jack Kerouac’s friend in On the Road. I loved this about Jerry and I was even a lucky recipient of a Jerry Melin “fake” driver’s license. [ed's note: see Jerry Melin, Master Forger and Craftsman].

I had a green Ford Maverick in those days and something was always happening to it. One day I went out to drive the car and it was gone. In calling around, I found out someone had hit it the night before, and it was slammed into a building. The city had towed it away. Jerry rose to the occasion, donned his leather jacket and (I think) with Milo, went to the tow yard to retrieve the vehicle and make sure I didn’t have to pay a fee.

After many mishaps to that car, I was sitting in an apartment. that Jerry and Fran occupied. We heard a crash, looked out the window and Jerry says “it’s Moto’s car”. We all ran down the stairs and confronted the person who hit me. My car, which had been hit several times before, looked like an accordion. The person who hit me had insurance and since I was only in town for the weekend, we met with the insurance company to settle matters. Jerry went with me and the agent offered me $1000. This was big $$$ at the time and the car wasn’t worth much. Jerry told me beforehand not to say anything too quickly. When the agent offered the $1000, Jerry and I were silent, then Jerry looks at me and say’s “Well Moto, what do you think?” To which I replied “I guess that’s fine”. I thought I would have to pay at some point to have this car put down. This was a jackpot and we laughed all the way home.

In 1982, I was lucky enough to drive with Jerry cross country to New York City. Jerry pushed my dark side somewhat and we ended up in the kind of places I would only end up with him. We stopped at a strip club in Amarillo, Texas and listened to the Blues on Front Street in Memphis. As we approached Washington D.C., the same day as Ronald Reagan’s inauguration [ed's note: Vicki must have the dates wrong...RR was inaugurated in '81], he told me that if anyone asked what we were doing there, to say we were on a mission from Jane Wyman to buy the Blair house and not to give out my last name.

Arriving in NYC, on the doorstep of John Brummet and Keelin Curran, we entered a new chapter. First, I must say that John and Keelin were incredible. They let us stay until we found a place and that whole time is such a wonderful memory to me.

Happy hour took place daily at John and Keelin's with red wine, and new WAVE music was in the house. They introduced me to the “Talking Heads” the “Pretenders” and all the wonderful bands of the time. CBGB’s, NYC. . .what more could you say? – good bye disco!!!

Jerry and I got an apt. on Ave. B, which at the time was dicey (now trendy). Jerry “greased” the super’s hand and we got the apt. We quickly named it B flat and started to fix it up. Jerry started substitute teaching and his first job was at a Hassidic Jewish school. I remember reading (AND busting up over) the scraps of paper on that table, that the kids wrote, answering Jerry‘s question on what they learned today – not a good question to ask. Part of that first check was spent in a little storefront room up the street (by Kevin’s place) where pot was openly sold by the Moghrebis [ed’s note: the St Mark's Place Puerto Rican Pool Hall, reefer & hash Emporium]. There was NEVER a dull moment when were with him. His wit, his attention to detail, everything…I MISS JERRY very much!!

There are so many stories about this great group of people. These are some of my memories of Jerry, and I hope to add my memories of others at a later date. Unfortunately for me, I have not been the best at keeping up and I miss and love all of the above. Thank you for enriching my life and introducing me to so much, and being involved, and who you are.

Love to you all,

MOTO (Vicki Lenti)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Senator David Vitter: "Do you know who I am?" Security worker: "Sure, you're that senator who likes to wear diapers with hookers, right?"

By Pablo Fanque,
All This Is That National Affairs Editor

Senator David Vitter missed a flight and tried to open a jet way door after the gate had been closed. He then got into a broil with security (Do you know who I am?). Read the full story here, and/or watch the video clip below:


The Beatles: Ask Me Why (a YouTube "slideo:")

Ask Me Why
Lyrics and music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

I love you, 'cause you tell me things I want to know.
And it's true that it really only goes to show,

That I know,
That I, I, I, I should never, never, never be blue.

Now you're mine, my happiness still makes me cry.
And in time, you'll understand the reason why,

If I cry,
It's not because I'm sad, but you're the only love that I've ever had.

I can't believe it's happened to me
I can't conceive of any more misery.

Ask me why, I'll say I love you,
And I'm always thinking of you.

I love you, 'cause you tell me things I want to know.
And it's true that it really only goes to show,

That I know,
That I, I, I, I should never, never, never be blue.

Ask me why, I'll say I love you,
And I'm always thinking of you.

I can't believe it's happened to me.
I can't conceive of any more misery.

Ask me why, I'll say I love you,
And I'm always thinking of you.

Poem: The War In Your Head

When the way ahead is fogged,
When the doubt and cold set in,
You are at not at liberty to retreat.

When reason degenerates,
Flight is a mad scramble
For the exits.

Retreat is a gathering of reason
As the dark forces assemble;
A provisional step back

As you assemble a full head of steam,
Biding time
For the counter-insurgency.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Joe Biden: "Give me a f*&$#ing break!" - another VP Biden hot mic moment

At an event at the other Washington's Union Station today, where Vice President Joe Biden was heralding the $1.3 billion investment (boy doesn't that seem like a pitiful amount after the bailout numbers?) to rebuild the train system, a microphone picked up a Senator addressing Joe, as "Mr. Vice President," to which he gave his now standard reply: "Gimme a f*&$#ing break." Crazy Joe didn't know there was a hot mic'.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Amelia by Joni Mitchell from the Shadows and Light tour (with lyrics)

Amelia is one of Joni Mitchell's great songs. . .in my booklet. The imagistic lyrics are gorgeous. This is an "acoustic" version with her soloing on the electric guitar, in one of her alternate tunings. I like the studio, electric version (with Jaco Pastorius) best, but this is very nice.


Music and lyrics by Joni Mitchell

I was driving across the burning desert
When I spotted six jet planes
Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
It was the hexagram of the heavens
it was the strings of my guitar
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

The drone of flying engines
Is a song so wild and blue
It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
Then your life becomes a travelogue
Of picture-post-card-charms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

People will tell you where they've gone
They'll tell you where to go
But till you get there yourself you never really know
Where some have found their paradise
Other's just come to harm
Oh Amelia, it was just a false alarm

I wish that he was here tonight
It's so hard to obey
His sad request of me to kindly stay away
So this is how I hide the hurt
As the road leads cursed and charmed
I tell Amelia, it was just a false alarm

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

Maybe I've never really loved
I guess that is the truth
I've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude
And looking down on everything
I crashed into his arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
To shower off the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
I dreamed of 747s
Over geometric farms
Dreams, Amelia, dreams and false alarms

Adventures with the Identikit

click to enlarge

Every once in a while, I break out the Faces 3.0 software and crank out some police sketches.

I did these last night. One serious limitation of the software is that it is difficult to create a female or Caucasian face. It was created for a different era, I suppose (the software is 10 years old...not that different an era). I've created a Hitler and and Elvis, but it's tough to create a recognizable person. Right after I said that Jeff Clinton used an online flash identikit and cranked out a sort of plausible version of me!:


Friday, March 13, 2009

Claire Brummet & Colin Whitchelo's South Korea Blog

Claire Brummet & Colin Whitchelo have now been living and teaching English in South Korea for about two weeks.

They just started a blog, right here on BlogSpot ®. Bookmark it and check in on their adventure. There are already some excellent nuggets there..

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photograph: Frances and Jerry, mid-70's

click to enlarge

A Keith Haring mural on Houston Street on NYC's lower east side (early '80s)

I'm pretty sure this photo was taken by Jan Newberry or Miya Ramsay, although I don't remember either of them having a Polaroid Land Camera. I have the original Polaroid, but no one has written on it. It was stapled to a postcard or something and mailed to me from San Francisco, according to the postmark. In 1982 I was living in Seattle, just after leaving NYC and Europe, and before moving to San Francisco. So, someone took the pic. in NYC, and mailed it to me from SF? That would make Jan the likely photographer.

When we lived in NYC, you could still see Keith Haring and Basquiat doing graffiti on the street and subways. Haring used to do chalk drawings several days a week on these black panels in Times Square Station, which I passed through on my way to my job in the village. I saw him a couple of times drawing with chalk on the wall. Had people realized those drawings would one day be worth tens of thousands of dollars, they would have probably removed the walls.


The luckiest man alive - Cem Tokac, the incredible survivor

Turkish truck driver Cem Tokac somehow survived this unbelievable accident with only a few bruises. In the first part of the video, notice his hat being blown away. Jump to 0:20 in to see a closer view of this incredibly lucky guy. He should probably propose to Catherine Zeta Jones, throw mondo cash into the stock market, or get into a high stakes poker game real soon...if luck really does run in streaks. . .


Today on the Interwebs: The Malört Face

Today On The Interwebs is one of my favorite blogs. He digs stuff! And he is almost never snarky. He wrote today about The Malört Face. .

Malört is a "wormwood-flavored Swedish schnapps. It seems like Malört face could describe the worst possible face you can make." He wrote: "Malört Face is a Flickr group showing people who have just tried Malört."

Check out the Malört Faces and slap in this bookmark for Today On The Interwebs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Poem: Defensive Daydreaming a/k/a Sparks

I have been [very slowly and spasmodically] attempting to winnow a manuscript of 280 pages of poetry (already down from 350) into something more suitable for print form. Or at least something an editor won't think is the mad emissions of an escapee from the laughing academy.

I first wrote this poem in California 26 years ago, and have returned to it over and over, a) because I liked it; and b) because I always felt a little sheepish over the tone and structure, which is so clearly influenced by the great poet and MOMA curator Frank O'Hara. I like the poem, but I am not going to fiddle with it anymore. This is the last tune-up! I dislike this phrase intensely (because it is too often used to write something off instead of fixing it), but. . . it is what it is.

Defensive Daydreaming

Six hours into the surprise visit, he lumbers on.
My brain unsnaps from its moorings
and drifts like a drunken dirigible
into the torrent of everything I've seen,
smelled, eaten, licked, drunk,
smoked, touched, read, watched, and heard.
It's like he's been talking weeks now
and I remember Nikita Kruschev
on the television at the UN, flashing
those bad teeth and that goofy smile,
pounding those oxfords alive.
I try but I can't quite hear him;
I hear my friend narrating himself.
Things have gotten so out of hand that
I remember today is Renoir's 164th birthday
and I don't even like his painting,
but, hey, at least he threw in some nudes.
He looking at me! What did I miss?
He looks for a yes and keeps talking.
"Yeah," I say, "right. . .yeah." I think about
Motherwell's Reconciliation Elegy
and how he charged around the studio,
rolling vast turgid highways
of black oil over acres of canvas.
I think about Alice Neel
painting all those people
and what they thought
when they saw the final product
or what people thought when they saw
the first Cubist or Dada paintings.
My friend looks for a show of interest.
Yes! By all means, encourage him.
I cock an eyebrow. He revs back up
and I think about my favorite color,
that mid-palette blue...a blue bisque,
the color of my grandma's cameo brooch...
vibrantly subtle...is that possible?...
yes, it's the color of Della Robbia's Florentine ceramics.
He goes on about old times, about how it was then,
way way way back when when when
when we were all back where, back when, doing what
with, for, and to whom. My brains coughs up chimes,
resonations, cross-references, cerebral links,
odors, tinkles, cues, and subtle whiffs of distractions.
I hear Charlie Parker play Carvin' the Bird
somewhere in my head and it segues into
Black Throated Wind and lurches into
Foggy Mountain Breakdown. He jumps
from childhood to yesterday, in between, and back.

I think of my gal and my pal Keelin
and Jan and how in the end
it was probably a good thing plural marriage was frowned upon.
I think about the incredible, loving extended family
we built in Brooklyn and Manhattan and how often
every single one of them--Mel, Keelin, Jannah, Nick, Kevin, Jan, Miya,
Colin, Tony, Cheryl, Pinky, Fuzzy, Dot, 'Moto, and all our side friends--
shoot across memory like blazing comets, like right now.
See? He keeps sensing me drifting and dreaming but
I nod and wink and pick up the reverie, falling, falling
back, back, back to the night my daughter was born.
It was as quiet as a painting in Berkeley,
driving at three a.m. on Telegraph Avenue
toward Oakland, to the delivery room.
I saw a new moon hung on our old sky.
We watched the monitor and waited.
When her robber-stockinged face came down,
one bleat to the rafters started us all breathing again.
He's buzzing in my left ear
and the rhythms say I am safe.
I think about dreams--not drifting
like this, but real R.E.M. dreams:
I don't know which is better,
to dream it or see it,
to see it right now,
or to have seen it.
I don't know which is better,
the memory or the thing itself.
The memory can be repeated forever
but loses fidelity like an old record
and the fictions your mind confects
start filling in the gaps
until the memory becomes a framework
for what we wanted to be, or what should have been.
He nudges me, waiting for a yes, the go-ahead sign.
Yeah baby, take it on home. I think about Casey Stengel.
He suspects I am drifting over the hills and far away.
I nod "um." It is the sun's birthday
and where did the crows go? When he jumps to El Toro,
my mind starts sleepwalking from Boot Camp.
I wonder if I will ever get to Palestine,
or if there will ever be another Palestine,
or if I will get back to Seville or Tetuan,
Chora Sfokion or Brooklyn, Heraklion or Hoboken,
Vinaroz or the Delaware Water Gap, if I will ever see
Leningrad or Katmandu, and I wonder
if I would want to see Calcutta, Johannesburg,
Bhopal, Cleveland, Camden, or Port-au-Prince?
I don't know which is easier:
to listen or pretend to listen?
I think about bottles of beer
chilling in a tub of cracked ice.
Sexy rivulets of water fall down bottles
glistening in the hot sun.
Even my nose is tired.
Should I pee, or hold it?
Should I hold it and focus
on the distraction?
What did Gertrude Stein mean
when she wrote about those
"Pigeons In The Grass, Alas?"
Was it the pigeons or the grass
or the pigeons and the grass aggregated?
I want to bang my head on the wall
to dull the pain between my ears,
and he's warming up for the stretch.
A pipe doesn't slow him down and the wine
just keeps his throat supple, his voice nimble,
and the memories and word torrent flowing.
He talks about the Marines
and six years marching, marching marching
on the parade ground erect and spitshined,
marching, saluting, dreaming, marching, yes-sir-ing.
I remember Nick Gattuccio's name
means Sicilian Dogfish and the time we drained
a demi-john of Chianti in Florence.
He tells me twenty things I don't want to know
and ten I'm indifferent about for every one I do.
He remembers where he left off
and murmurs a bridge to the next installment.
I think about the firefall of light I saw that day
on a rising skyscraper.
The welder is a star thrower, and constellations
of pale yellow sparks tumble from a heaven
of beams and girders strung with wire and pipe.
Those sparks are like his words, falling down iron bars
to disappear like fugitives in a white lake of sparks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Drawing of Jack and Keelin Curran by Jerry Melin, 1981

click to enlarge

Kutiman's Mother Of All Funk Chords: the best mash-up this year (so far)

This is a wonderful assemblage, where Kutiman assembles/mashes up clips of many people's solo instrumental videos from You Tube. And it ends up as a mostly coherent funk song. I don't know how many solo performances were concatenated to make the video...but it looks like 16 or so. . .anyhow, a definite must-see. . .

It's been ten years and 7 days days since I last heard Jerry Melin's voice

Click to enlarge - a painting I did from a photo of Jerry. Curiously, on the wall behind him
is a piece of sheet music for the song "Dear Old Pal Of Mine."

My great friend Jerry Melin died ten years ago today. It was probably the second worst day of my life. As St. Paddy's day comes around, I always remember Mel, and his funeral on St. Paddy's Day itself. I have printed this before here, once or twice, and feel compelled to one more time. I still have moments when I wish I could tell, or ask, him something. I don't think a day goes by that I don't think of him at least once. And ten years later, his intelligence, and love of life and friends and family remain a part of my life. When I read or write or paint or speak or draw or recite of listen to music, or watch a movie, I often feel Mel looking over my shoulder. He may not applaud or approve whatever I'm up to (and I can live with that), but I still check in with him, as best I can. Mel: there is no question about it--you are both still missing and still missed.


I'll never forget--as long as I'm compos mentis--the morning Dot Melin called me to tell me the news. It was about 7:00 in the morning. I was taking a shower and my son Colum came in and said Dot's on the phone for you. And I knew. I knew it as sure as I'd known it that day on May 19, 1964, when I rode home on my bicycle from a baseball game and saw my mom standing on our back porch watching for me to arrive home. "He's gone."

It was this week he died. His funeral was held on St. Patrick's Day.

Ten years ago, Jerry Melin, died in Marin County, California (where he lived near The Grateful Dead, a band we both loved). He even met a few of them during his years in Ross. Mel's death was a jackhammer blow; a blow I still try to understand and absorb. There is not a day when I don't think of him often, all these years later. Even now--last night, in fact--there are things I want to tell him; things so strange, or amazing, or bent, or obscure and ethereal, that only he could plug in to them. And yet my loss is nothing like that experienced by Dot, and his three wonderful daughters. Whenever I see them, I know that he's smiling and maybe bragging them up to Gabriel and St. Peter.

Mel died instantly of a heart attack in the middle of a tennis match. His wife, Dorothea, asked if I could speak a eulogy at his funeral. I wasn't sure I could, if I could even write it. I wasn't thinking right. Somehow, 'though, I felt Mel peer over my shoulder and was able to get something on paper. I was even able to deliver the eulogy in a packed church without completely breaking down. It wasn't looking at his widow or his three young daughters, or all our friends, or the people of Ross that got me through it. I asked myself "what would Jerry do?" How had Jerry managed the deaths of our friends Phil, Peter, Jannah, Colin, or his father? It was not by boohooing...that was not his way.

The Way was to realize that chapter was over and go from there, and celebrate. "You celebrate them by digging that we're here, " he would say, "there's plenty of time to be pushing daisies. You celebrate them by celebrating this. Dig this and dig it now because tomorrow never knows, as that hippie Beatle sang."

I gave a eulogy at his funeral in March, 1999:

Eulogy for Jerry Philip Melin

[This first paragraph about the church I ad-libbed at the funeral and wrote down when I got on the plane that night].

I look around this church, and I see--what?-- Three Hundred People? I know Jerry would have been amazed; he would be amused. This is half the town of Ross, California. Jerry never dreamed he could sell out a Catholic Church. It's S.R.O.--Standing Room Only--here. It should be. No, Jerry could not have dreamt this. I wonder if it's some kind of dream myself. But I know it isn't, because we are here, together. And I wish we weren't.

My earliest Jerry memory might be the Letterman's Jacket Incident. Jerry lettered in gymnastics, and had later made "improvements" to his Kent Meridian High School letterman's jacket. In addition to a carefully rendered, bright white rendition of Mister Zig-Zag on the back, he reversed the letters on his jacket to read MK. The football coach stopped him one day and asked (I'll try my dumb coach voice): "Hey­­ what's this MK jazz stand for?"

When Jerry answered "Mein Kampf," the coach, of course, went absolutely bananas. Jerry had to surrender the Jacket eventually because it violated several rules, but for Jer this was a personal triumph, beating anything he'd done on the parallel bars or the rings, and leaving his vaulting wins far in the dust. He'd riled The Man.

Over the years, I called him at various times--of the names I can actually say in church--Jed, Jer, Mel, Bart (referring to the Hobart Dump), Jeddy and even sometimes, Jerry. These last few years we settled into Mel, and he called me either Doc, or Jack.

He was a skilled artist, creating bawdy cartoons of people locked in improbable combinations and situations, and incredible William Blake-inspired drawings of sinners and angels. He was a skilled stockmarket analyst and a securities trading wiz (not bad for a guy with a degree in English literature). He wrote chilling fiction and fantasy, often in stream of consciousness bursts, folded into those twenty page letters from Mexico, Alaska, Greece, Bellingham, Manhattan or Seattle. He was an introspective philosopher who could keep you up all night discussing The Big Ideas, and Art and Women and Godhead. Jerry was also a prankster unparalleled. I could go on about that alone forever. Jerry was an adoring husband, a doting father, and a friend whose intensity swallowed you up. You knew he loved you.

I tried to find my box of letters, stories, drawings, and poems from him before I came to California for this funeral--and even those many emails. His letters to me, at least, were machine-gun meditations on life--a vortex of free associations on the nature of Art and Destiny and Man's follies. These letters were shot through with his comic vision of humankind that plumbed the lowest and highest of humor.

His warped sense of humor and willingness to talk from the heart sustained us through a lot of happy times, tragic losses, and life itself.

In 1978, Jerry and I took a most ill­-advised trip from my home in New York City to his home in Seattle. You could travel from anywhere to anywhere in the U.S. for $49 on the Greyhound Bus.

One of the things I remember most about that trip is how much we laughed and babbled and talked through the night as we crossed those twelve desolate, frozen states in those nightmare bus seats, usually trapped in the back of the bus, near the toilet. We finally arrived in Seattle, and staggered off the bus after three and a half showerless and cramped days. We went to our respective family's homes.

Jerry called two hours later to see if I wanted to hang out. We had been six inches apart for 85 hours! I was ready for a serious and long Jerry­break, but he wanted to know when I would be arriving at his place to liberate him! There was more to transact! We had unfinished business. He could never have enough. I was always the first one to go, to hang up, log off, or go to bed. He never ever wanted to say goodbye.

There was never a time when we talked that he didn't hound me to come visit him in Kent, Seattle, Bellingham, Manhattan, Long Island, Mexico, San Francisco, or up in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Wherever he was was where I should be. It was critical that he knew exactly when we would see each other again. It was always "Jack. . .drive that car down here tomorrow. . .it's only 16 hours and you've got five days off." Or "Doc. . .come down here and quit working so damned hard. . .we'll sit in the hot tub and talk about politics and Rembrandt and old kings."

Jerry would never ever hang up without extracting a solid promise we would get together As Soon As Possible.

In retrospect, I wish I had driven down here a week ago, the last time he insisted I come immediately. He was really applying the heat this time. He knew I had a lot of time off, and I thought about it. He really applied the pressure­­. But I don't think Jerry had any sense of what was to come later that week; I don't think he knew he had days to live. He just wanted that visit to glimmer in the distance, as a possibility, as a carrot to keep him going. Mel had to know you'd be there again, in person.

How can we not all love and cherish someone who loved us as relentlessly as that? For everyone who knew and loved him, there will always be a void that only Jerry can fill.

I'll miss those midnight calls about Flemish painters and Yeats and Shakespeare and the mad popes. It was all so very important to him and he always wanted every detail about my life, and the things I read and wrote and painted, and created at work, and about my family, and about my wife he adored. . .all of that was never far from his mind. Half the time, I couldn't pry a word out of Jerry, but he was there, pumping words out of me like an oil derrick.

Mel measured his life by the people he loved. That was his yardstick. I hope we can all come to practice even a little bit of what he taught us about devotion and intensity and reaching out. Jerry's love was relentless.

I know I speak for Jerry when I tell you he wants us to somehow accept this terrible thing and learn to laugh again. Jerry was never much of a mourner; he was a liver. This much commotion about his passing would be too much. He wants you to ponder not his passing but his glorious transit through this bright blue ball.

It's going to be too long
until we hug Jerry
but until then,
I know that once you're through
with the orientation and settling in,
you'll be teaching those angels
new moves and showing them
just how much room there really is
to dance on the head of a pin. ­­­­

Jack Brummet, 1999


Some other articles (although the ones wth audio links no longer work) on Jerry:

Jerry Melin, Master Forger and Craftsman
A Blog for Phil Kendall
Photograph: Jerry Melin At Mud Bay, Bainbridge Island, Washington
Jerry Melin, still missing, still missed
Mel, Part 1
Audioblogger Post::::Kevin Curran And Jerry Melin Meet The Poet Allen Ginsberg At The Grass Roots Tavern On NYC's Lower East Side
Senator Jerry Melin Speaks Out About 1979
Further ruminations on Phil Kendall

Painting: Hi Mom! I'm Paroled!

Monday, March 09, 2009

On the Surf N Turf Circuit: Faded supernovas, one-hit wonders, and bands you've sort of heard of board their buses on the casino loop

Hearing that Jewel was playing the casino circuit now, I began wondering who else had been reduced to the casino loop. An unbelievable array of bands and singles are criss-crossing the country now, and may be nearly as big a draw as the $1.29 well drinks and the $9.99 all you can eat buffet.

Even people who can still sell out mid-sized venues like Bob Dylan (it hurts to type this), Cher, Jimmy Buffett and Shania Twain have hit the casinos.

The Century Casino in Edmonton, Alberta has recently hosted acts like Trooper, Herman’s Hermits (who in their prime often out-sold The Beatles), Air Supply, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and Don McLean. They have also had arguably strong rockers appear like Joan Jett and Cheap Trick.

Wayne Newton started out playing casinos, but now he's playing the really crappy ones. Danke Shoen, dude!

Blind Melon, Vanilla Ice, Chilliwack, Soul Asylum, Kim Mitchell, The Cowsills, Glass Tiger, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Blue Oyster Cult have all recently played in a Calgary casino.

Three Dog Night, The Doobie Brothers, The Allman Brothers, Blondie, The Beach Boys (with none of the Wilson Brothers), The Oustsiders (Time won't let me...a great rock single), ? and the Mysterians, Eric Burdon of The Animals, Tommy James & The Shondells, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & The Raiders, Mitch Ryder of The Detroit Wheels, and Ron Dante of The Archies have all hit the circuit.

Air Supply also played the Stampede Casino. Kelly Doody (nice name) wrote in the Calgary Sun: "I asked one of the clean-up staff if it had been a sold-out performance. "Yeah," he told me emphatically while straightening back out the banquet chairs. "I'd say there were at least 200 people in here."

He's not a rocker, but the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut had a year long agreement with The Daily Show's Jon Stewart to appear.

Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Californiahas brought in rockers, as well as people and bands like Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Keith Sweat, Kool & the Gang, and even bands like Rascal Flatts, and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, that attract the under 50 set.

Jewel. I am really not a fan of her poetry, but I thought her first album was pretty good. She tried to become a pop tart and it didn't fly with the public, and now she too is on the Surf N Turf Circuit.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Yeah, Tom Fogerty is dead, and founder, singer, songwriter and guitarist John Fogerty won't go near them, but Stu Cook and Doug Clifford have been on the circuit the better part of the last two decades.

Journey. Actually, these guys can sell out ampitheatres, but they also work the casino circuit. The greatest part of the new (and Steve Perry-less) band is that they hired the spot-on singer of a Journey tribute band to front Journey.

Bret Michaels. The Poison lead singer parlayed success on VH1's Rock of Love into a tour, stopping mainly at the casinos.

Kansas tours with an orchestra, and sometimes charge up to $75 a seat.

And there are literally hundreds more bands you've heard out there, in the great American night, hurtling on buses to their next gig up the interstate.