Tuesday, September 30, 2008
While waiting for a bus in Santa Monica after a doctor visit today I saw a beautiful 57 ford go by and it brought to mind the beat up smoking 57 Ford my friends brother had in North Truro in the summer of 1979.That summer My friend Tom his brother Dave Guiler and I rented a place a little north of Babes that were sort of glorified motel rooms.The bldgs had just been moved there from somewhere else and next to us lived two of the Babes girls above us three Truro lifeguard gals one of whom was an on again off again sort of high school flame of mine from Pittsford N.Y. and in a seperate bldg in back was an older dude and his gal with a beat up old chevy wagon with Miss. Plates who fancied himself a writer but mostly just smoked and drank whiskey while sitting outside at his manual typewriter and then got into shouting matches with his lady.Dave worked for some brothers(Morton?)in Wellfleet the name of whom escapes me that were big trash haulers and had a wicked huge beach party called the Garbage Mans Jubilee each summer(I survived two of them).As a result Dave's route included the Airforce tracking station in North Truro and he had a PX card which meant he could buy beer on Sundays which in blue law Mass. at the time made him a good guy to know.Dave also was a doorman on occasion at the Wellfleet Beachcomber and one foggy night he,his brother Tom and I drove there from North Truro after a few.Going down the narrow two lane road to the Beachcomber on a moonless foggy night the headlights decided to quit from the moisture.So Tom and I leaned out the window as the lights went out then came on and we made our way slowly to the Beachcomber in the 57 Ford laughing and sipping cold beer feeling how great it was to be alive and young on Cape Cod in the summer.I recall that night that the Beachcomber was full of really good looking girls but it also had two sisters of a girlfriend from the summer before who did everything they could to remind me of their sister the minute I started talking to a girl that night.For some reason on the way home the lights came on and worked all the way back to beautiful North Truro and the moaning of Highland Light.By the way it was 99 today in Los Angeles and 95 on Wed forecast just after I had two nice fall nights.Sat's high is forecast as 68 but it is back to 90 on tues.I can't wait to go east and some chill in the air nights.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
This has to be one of my favorite words in the English language.Just reading it brings to mind sunsets with a sky that is not quite clear but infused with wood smoke from fires and a slight chill that hints at winter.Even here in L.A. I caught it a few nights back right before sunset standing outside smelling someones fire for the first time this fall a slight haze in an otherwise clear sky.A friend sent me the Misoulanews.com link today to a special section on James Crumley and it's five pages of great tributes to him one of which is hers.I wish I had a bunch of dollars so I could book a deluxe sleeper room on every Amtrak route in the west and just ride the train for a few weeks with a good supply of Bourbon and Single Malt and all the Crumley novels just reading and sipping.Of course after riding the western rails I'd probably have a dream where I was at a nudist resort near Jellystone Park with Yogi and Boo-Boo.Sweet Pea and I planted some bean seeds today because the ones I gave her before were two years old and even though she keeps asking me if I watered her two little pots I told her it's been three weeks and nothing so I don't think they are good anymore.These seeds today were from a vine this summer so hopefully I can help her transplant these before I go east.Knuckle Sandwich has decided he is going to be Charlie Brown this year for trick or treat but no word on Sweet Pea.I have been back east the past several years for it so have never seen them out but Sweet Pea turns 5 the week after I return in November so we have to do a good party.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
This weekend is the Naples N.Y. Grape Festival meaning over 50,000 to 100,000 souls will be descending on little Naples consuming grapes,grape pies,wine and other food.I just read an article tonight that the grape crop is really down this year because of wacky weather and that some ladies are not selling pies.I am now freaking out that when I get down to Naples in a little over two weeks Grape Pies will be hard to come by.I know that's probably not true but no doubt I will dream about it at some point.Speaking of dreams while I have had some doozies of late I usually can relate certain things in them to something I read or saw a few days before but last nights dream of being at a tropical nudist colony in Australia with Marcia and Jan Brady and then watching a croc get attacked by a lion by the resort bathroom while trying to coax out Jan has me baffled.To top it off a bright green and white stretch limo drove by with United on the doors which is a cab company in Los Angeles that uses those colors.Maybe it's the switch to Honey Nut Cheerios from the regular the past week.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Well after making comments about the different books the other night I happened to glance way right from my computer(What I like to call the Sean Hannity bookcase)and my eyes came to rest on a hardcover four book set of Fitzgerald I picked up from BOMC some years back.Three of them I've read many times but the 4th one"This Side of Paradise" I only read once 73-75 so either from junior year to the year after high school.I find after 30 plus years I recall very little of it but I am enjoying the read.All Fitzgerald was so wide eyed hopeless romantic to me then that I pictured myself in every page(well that and the weed I was smokin) and now I find myself a little less enchanted by it but still in love with the prose and style.Now reading it I don't project myself and my world as it was back then into it.On another note a great American Writer that not many know about passed on Wed.James Crumley was a crime writer but not really.His novels were outside the basic crime thing.He was like Chandler if Chandler had been on Acid and Speed at the same time.The closest before him I can think of in style is Nelson Algren sort of.Great writing and his novels are well worth a read.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
One of the groups I visit online is now doing a readers talk on Edith Wharton's "House of Mirth" and somebody put up the illustration below from an edition they found.It was common in that day to illustrate books though Wharton detested it I know in this book.If you click the picture on to enlarge a few readers pointed out that Lily though a young woman seems to have the old matrons"Hens Breasts" going on in the illustration.Another reader pointed out the washerwoman screams drag and when I saw it said not only drag but Chris Farley in drag.I mean it's a dead ringer for him.After this was put up the talk sort of turned into remarks on that and the late Mr. Peniston another character so I'm waiting for it to get back on track.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I posted this quandary in one of my Yahoo groups but I firgure I'd add it here also.My current reading pile is down to one book the Russian short horror stories I mentioned the other night and I freak out when I only have one book.I found a History book to add but I'm stuck on a few novels.I have on the bed trying to pick from"The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins,"A Passage to India" by E.M. Forster,"World Light" by Halldor Laxness and"The Octopus" by Frank Norris.I'm leaning towards"World Light" but Laxness is not well known so I'm thinking that would be the book to bring on my flight in October.I picture pulling it out and the young Nordic Blond next to me saying."You read Laxness? I'm from Iceland also.I'm on my way to Rochester to visit my very old blind aunt and don't know a soul there.Maybe you could show me around?" Thank you Halldor! We'll be sitting on a blanket in one of Rochester's beautiful parks looking at the fall color while she drops grapes and Herring in Sour Cream into my mouth.
Monday, September 15, 2008
On relative notes I got an email from my brother in San Diego today of my 13 year old nephew Patrick sporting a huge shiner and stitches in his nose.He's the goalie on his soccer team and saturday as he dove to make a stop he and an opposing players cleat got to the ball at the same time.I talked to him last night and found out his nose and cheekbone are also fractured and he gets surgery on the nose after the stitches come out.I was thinking how much the pic reminded me of one of myself a few years after high school right after XMass.But mine was the result of eating a couple of Rohr 714's and going to a friends parents house for a party where I drank and then on ludes and beer tried to drive my car which resulted in me getting beat up and my keys taken away so I didn't hurt myself.In the aftermath I wound up beating the crap out of a 5ft Santa light on the friends neighbors lawn as his mom happened to look out the upstairs window after they arrived home.This was years before Chevy Chase did it in Xmass Vacation.Anyhoo I couldn't tell my 13 year old nephew that story though I wouldn't put it past his dad to tell him it.My eldest nephew from L.A. area is spending fall semester in Luxembourg from Miami of Ohio.Seems they have a castle there.He's doing a blog on it and it's pretty well done.He and a few other guys are living with a local family with two young boys and my nephew is a big foodie so he's loving that part.His description of his weekend trip to Belgium and the hostels was priceless.When I finally wound up at my last college stop Northeastern the farthest I went was moving from a third floor room to a second floor room and then back to another third floor room at the old frat house on St.Paul Street in Brookline.Well that and offseason roadtrips to Truro and Provincetown with a carload of brothers.
I was reading a blog tonight I stumbled across a month or so back called"Fast Grow the Weeds". It's some lady and her husband and young daughter on a farm in Michigan and it's quite entertaining with lots of picks of veggies,ducks,turkeys,geese etc and tonight she had a pic of friend Rob playing bagpipes after a good rain.Now I have a special thing for the pipes.Years ago I had a noisy neighbor below me who would start up at all hours.I had a Bagpipe LP(I said it was years ago) which when she started getting out of control I would put the Bagpipes LP on point the speakers into the floor and crank it.It worked everytime.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I try to keep politics out of this blog but after watching the interview with Charlie Gibson and Caribou Barbie tonight I must say she's even scarier than I thought.If you switch two letters from Palin you have Putin and I'm not sure which one is a larger world menace if let loose.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
In October-November when I'm roaming around the old home sod in Western N.Y. two of the things I look most forward to are fresh cider and Grape Pies.The area around Rochester especially between Rochester and Syracuse near Lake Ontario is huge apple growing country.The Schutt's label below is from Webster,N.Y. a suburb of Rochester that was when I was growing up an almost weekly event for fall and into winter.We all piled into the ford wagon on Sunday afternoon for a drive out to the country and Schutt's.They are still there now open year round but driving out to the mill last year I was struck by what was once farm country is now pretty built up with tract homes around them.As kids it was all pretty much farmland on plank road.Schutt's always had cider pressed just by apple and mixed but My father and most of us loved the cider made from Northern Spy apples.As I was driving south to Naples last fall and going through Bloomfield N.Y. which I've done way to many times I noticed a sign for the first time ever."Welcome to Bloomfield,Home of the Northern Spy Apple"Either this sign was behind a tree for thirty years or I did not notice it.I was making the drive to Naples because the Naples/Bristol area is home to another Finger Lakes food heaven.That's the Grape Pie.One either loves or hates them and I love them.In Naples alone there must be ten different ladies making and selling them.During the Naples Grape Festival hundreds are sold.You can get pies,tarts,bread,Ice Cream,Milkshakes all in grape.Along the back roads farm houses have tables out front with home baked grape products and a box to leave your money in.Even the Rochester based grocery chain Wegmans sells Grape Pies but it's driving down into the country and buying a local one that makes it sprcial.I think my fave is Monica who has turned her pies of all flavors into a buisness and has been on the food channel but Monicas Pies no longer ships through the web site.I asked her last year and it seemed it was all becoming too much so she only sells at the store again.A local farmstand on the other end of Naples sells suzies pies who works for a local doctor my friend sells medical supplies to and I love those also.In fact suzie is saving a few for me cause hers were all gone by the time I made it down there last fall.When Suzies Pies run out the farmstand sells another ladies pies whose name I forget at the moment.There's even a sign for Mom's pies pointing down one side street.A slice of Grape Pie and some good Vanilla Ice Cream is about as good as it gets.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I'm several stories into the Russian stories book and I am really taken so far by Nikolai Gogol.His story"Viy" was the first in the book and so far the only one that could be called horror.The others I have read two by Tolstoy have dealt with the human emotions,greed,facing death and they all have been very good so far.There are a few more Gogol stories to come in the book and I shall look for more.I love the way he sets mood especially in dealing with outdoors.I think the two masters of setting are Hemingway and Mishima especially with color.Mishima blew me away with his use of color in settings when I read his four novel set in college especially in"Spring Snow"I'm trying to think of the three other titles in it."Runaway Horses",one with Temple of the Golden Dawn? and the other I'm drawing a blank.I also was amused to see Gogol wrote the novel Tarus Bulba(sp) as it was a favorite movie as a youngster.I first saw it on the late show on Sat night when I was like ten sleeping over at my Aunt and Uncles.Since I slept on a sofa bed in their living room I got to watch TV till I fell asleep while they played cards with friends in the kitchen.Tony Curtis and Yul Brynner in a great early 60's costume drama.Sort of a Romeo and Juliet of the Ukraine and Poland .Come to think of it Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas did"The Vikings" also another late night movie of my lost youth.
The two pics I put up down below tonight are two of the places I should be spending some time at when I go back to Rochester in a month or so.The Canandaigua Lake pic is looking towrds the South where a few friends have places.The cottages are generally more spread out and secluded towards the south end.Where this pic was taken is on the east side of the lake around the area where some friends and I rented a cottage one fall with the great idea of going to Finger Lakes Community College while living lakeside.In theory it was great but in reality it turned into mostly party time at the cottage with many late night runs in my 75 Vega Wagon to purloin car loads of fire wood from vacant summer cottages.We had a lot of fires and a lot of parties.My dear late friend Ann'S parents cottage was down on the west side way south where our gang spent a lot of time and after she was going out with my friend Russ who became her husband Ann's parent's bought this large modern house above their lakeside property and gave it to her and her two brothers.It was on a hill above the lake and had floor to ceiling windows in the huge living area overlooking the lake for miles.We basically furnished it with mattresses and chairs from our local bar Thirstys in Pittsford,N.Y. which would get tossed out the backdoor of Thirstys in the right before closing time and somehow wind up at the lake.The downstairs master bedroom also had a Bidet which none of us guys had ever seen before.A lot of Toga Parties at that place. The best thing though was the upstairs bathroom had wallpaper with ducks on it and the Kinks had a song at the time "Ducks on the Wall" Well that and the allnight charades games wearing Togas at least most of the time.The second pic is on the East side of Port Bay(The Wild Side) from the looks of the dance.Port Bay is a small bay off Lake Ontario about an hour east of Rochester where another friend has a cottage.It has one bar/restaurant that closes about ten at night but Port Bay is great becuse it's very rural and much more blue collar than Canandaigua Lake has become.I like this pic from the RV park on the other side of the Bay from my friend cause that's about as exciting as it gets there.Well that and the naked lady fountain up the road a few miles in the middle of the village of Wolcott.Also looking at the pic it's obvious the dude on the left chugging from a can of beer with a few other cans and a bottle around him is out looking for trouble.You can bet before the Lawrence Welk tape runs out he's going to be hitting on one of the ladies on the dance floor and fists will fly.Probably get banned from Bingo nights because of it.I still recall being at my friends Port Bay cottage several years ago in October and I was sleeping on the living room couch when around dawn I come awake to shotguns going off and from years of living in L.A. I hit the floor and as I do I realise where I am and it turns out to be Duck Hunters on the first weekend of the season.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
After finishing "A Good Man in Africa" last night I was going through my unreads and pulled out"Stories That Scared Even Stalin"I've had it for about a year and figure with fall coming on it's a good time to have a horror book of sorts bedside.I think I've pretty much gone through the Victorian,Edwardian collections I love so much though a re-read is about due but I'll take a crack at the Russians though I know they will be quite different stories.Many longer in fact the last in this book"The Double" by Dostoevsky is a novella at well over 100 pages.There are other stories some more than one by Tolstoy,Puskin,Chekhov,Turgenev,Sologub and Gogol whose opening story"Viy" several folks have told me is excellent.In the rest of the pile I have like 20 pages left in"Lewis and Clark through Indian Eyes" about 40 pages left in"The Discovery of France" and about 25 pages left in"Portrait of a Lady"All three have been in that state for some time.I have a thing of late that when I get to the end of a book I like I hate to finish it though James took awhile to get into.Any suggestions on another Henry James written in that style before he really got long winded would be appreciated.The Bostonians?,The Ambassadors? though if I recall that's a later book when he took a page to say three words.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Last night an online friends blog mentioned half frog men and I had to pull out my collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories.Then I had to start rereading and so I had some wonderful dreams.Today I went over to Trader Joes and while waiting for the bus I sat down on the steps of St.Timothy's Catholic church.I was thinking about Lovecraft and all of a sudden a little cloud came by in Sunny L.A. and I felt a large shadow behind me.As I'm thinking about the shadow I hear this odd droning sound and look up to see what looks like a sideways hummingbird coming at me.It wasn't a bird though it was some very large winged insect and it was coming low and then swerved right over my head towards the church.By now I'm talking out loud* and laughing a bit at the strangeness of it all.I glance across the street at the carwash and see two of my carwash buddies looking at me.I wave and hope they don't think I'm off my rocker.As for the insect I'm not sure what it was,maybe three dragonflys trying to save gas money flying sideways together or doing kinky dragonfly sex things but whatever it was it was big and droning.So tonight I put the Lovecraft back on the shelf and tonight I'll get back to my regular reading. *I do tend to talk out loud to myself.My neighbors have made mention and one sister in law once said I talk to myself almost as much as a street person off his/her meds.That was some years ago, today with those earplug cell phone attachments you don't know what the person is coming at you talking loudly.It ruins the old addage I knew as a kid that "Only crazy people talk to themselves"