Monthly Archives: October 2013

Going On The Account: Samhain My Oats Tonight…

For those who may have missed all the plastic pumpkins and folks dressed weirdly around the neighborhood either rolling with their kids or rolling into bars, Happy Halloween.

It doesn’t feel entirely real this year, considering we missed last year’s due to unfortunate circumstances, and the year before there was a freak snowstorm.  I had to be reminded about the snowstorm, because a little snow in October if you’re not from Erie County versus being slammed by a hurricane, the later always trumps, but anyway…

I wasn’t quite as into the spirit as I should or could have been.  A few folks around me had on costumes, and I had to improvise by declaring that I was going as a member of Anonymous, which yes, sounds as lame aloud as it just did when you read it.  And if I tried to do the Village Halloween Parade with that, I would be in real trouble; the last time I went, I was doing a full-on Dracula-via-Lugosi gear, and some schmuck doing Freddie Krueger decided to rake my face with his plastic claws.  No physical harm done, but on top of a nigth the crowds were too deep to get close to the parade or into the bars it just added a chocolate coating to this crap sundae.  Even now, I still would love to hunt down and eviscerate the stupid fuc-

Buuuut, anyway…

To make it more so detached from feeling it, there are signs that the Trick-or-Treaters are going elsewhere tonight.  Usually our residence has a sign-up sheet so that the ghouls and goblins know where they can go for their tricks; this year, not a lot of folks looking to goblin’ anything sweet signed up, which means we have a lot of candy that’s going to go to waist…

Yes, that spelling was intentional; give me a choice on what to binge on, I’d rather my sugars were liquid and fermented than in solid portions marked “Fun Sized” on the wrapper.  The end result is the same in the end, regardless, with a few pounds more ballast to heft at the end…

So here I am, a few years removed from doing a proper Embrace of the Darkness like I used to, at home, the only person here who’s actually enthused enough to want to put on a holiday-appropriate movie; I’m vacillating between The Wicker Man (the original),  The ShiningThe Last Man on Earth, and Crucible of Terror.  The alternative is to watch some tigers eviscerate some sea mammals; the way I just said it is a lot more holiday-appropriate than what it actually is…

I just wish I could feel it more intently.  I would love to get all into a party place like…

But tonight, I feel a lot more like…

Or I should just shut up and write…

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Going On The Account: Because It Amuses Me, No…?

I had a good friend on Facebook (where I can be reached if you so desire) share with me the following YouTube video…

 

Which, frankly, is a lot more prescient than you might initially imagine…

 

Consider this closely:  Both Edward Teach and Alphonse Capone did the same thing, in that they built an organization to maximize their enterprises and bring efficiencies to their operations, both of which were not accepted by the so-called “legitimate” economic authorities of their time.  Both Blackbeard and Scarface offered product in high demand in an economic environment where a market existed despite the desire of the authorities to prohibit the demand, if not outright outlaw it.

Which makes the two figure and their culture fairly equivalent.  Though, granted, we’re not likely to see a lot of Tony Montana imitators showing up at Gasparilla any time soon, if given a chance to meet on neutral ground, they might find a lot more commonalities than initially assumed…

But there is a serious question posed here:  How much of the pirate culture ends up influencing the gangster ethos we find later on?  Do the efforts to countermand the mercantile economics of the 17th Century play a role in the formation of the gangster alternate economic model we face in the 20th Century?  Can we claim that the Five Families owe their existence and organizational framework to the work done by those members of the Brethren of the Coast hundreds of years earlier?  Is there a solid connection we can make between the two?

And what would the impact be if we could?  Would pirate fest organizers have to start serving folks in Fedoras as equals if they started showed up at their events?  Could I get a discount at any tour of Chicago’s mob tour sites if I started to say, “Avast! I’ll have that bilge rat boarded and plundered if ye not be striking yer colors, now!”

(And trust me, if you hear me saying that, ’tis a pretty dire situation; I can be quite loud when I get pirate-y…)

In the end, does the under-culture that infuses American history bear a strong connection from pirates to gangsters?  And are we better off recognizing this?  Admittedly, when there was some direct connection between the two cultures, Scarface did whack the successor to the local New York pirates, so perhaps there’s not as much natural affinity between the two groups as one would imagine.

Then again, we could always use allies against those damned ninjas…

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Going On The Account: Looking Further Out

Forgive the radio silence; too many late nights lately, including one that came close to being heart-wrenchingly fatal…

In the interim, word came out about two Americans seized by pirates off the coast of Nigeria.  The only real surprise here is that this action didn’t take place sooner.

 

You’d think that the world would have assembled a flotilla along the same lines of CTF-151 to sail off the west coast of Africa before now, but we’re not hearing much about actions to protect vessels out this way.  Whether it’s because unlike Somalia, there is an actual state ashore that’s (supposedly) providing order and can handle their own crises, or the fact that said state which may or may not be doing what it needs to happens to be a member of OPEC, and thus has a few friends we don’t want to piss of if push came to shove there, or if the appetite for foreign adventure has dimmed after being on station for four years already, there’s no apparent call for all hands on deck to address this side of the continent.

 

Maybe the push to frack the hell out of as much shale gas as possible here is what’s keeping Nigeria from turning into another international crisis.  Which is a great example of the Law of Unintended Consequences; we come up with a solution to a long-standing issue (dependence on energy from overseas) but find ourselves with problems we hand’t counted on (unprotected shipping).  Just as the only way you can ever truly be carbon neutral is to just be dead already, so we will never solve anything with a solution; all we’ll ever do is fix one issue and get ready for the next one that results out of our fix…

Speaking of resolving an issue, there’s an interactive piece over at nytimes.com, “A Game of Shark and Minnow” that looks at the stand off between China and the Philippines and their claims over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.  Even if you don’t have a lot of interest in the issue itself, the coverage provided at the site is very innovative and worth scrolling through just to admire the software engineering used to relay it.

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Going On The Account: Oh What A Beautiful Morning…

I mentioned late Monday here about the radio appearance on “Hour of the Wolf” on WBAI

…I think I did; I’m going on fumes at this point, gimme a sec-

…oh yeah, I did…

Well,  I enjoyed the chance to do this.  I have to thank Jim Freund for having me on in the very early part of this morning, from three to six bells on the overnight watch, hence the fumes.  I had a chance to talk a little about my background, and gave “Act Naturally” a reading to a large audience.

They say we are our own worst critic; they also warn us that pride hath a fall.

All said, though, I think it went pretty well.

Of course, you don’t have to just take my word for it; you can hear for yourself at your leisure right now…

[EDIT:  Yes, the link above is dead; only just found this out very recently.  However, see my blog post from February 10th of 2014]

As for me, if any wolves show up at this hour, have them leave a number and I’ll get back to them when I’m more coherent slumble quabaki dru…

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Going On The Account: Hear Ye, Hear Me!

Has anyone here ever said to themselves, “I want to hear the guy who wrote Raging Gail and Red Jenny give a reading,” but due to time and geography didn’t get the chance?

 

That comes to what, three of you…?

 

I’m happy to say that if you fit this demo, you’re in luck tomorrow night:

I am scheduled to be a guess on “Hour of the Wolf” which will be broadcast on WBAI FM, 99.5 on the dial.  And if you live more than 75 miles outside of New York, you can live stream their signal.

 

The show’s scheduled to be on at 0130 (1:30 AM) on Thursday, October 17th.  Which means the further away from New York you are, the more convenient the time the show goes on.

And if you can’t catch it live, the program is archived for a limited time, which means you can listen to it soon afterwards at a time of your choosing.

I’ll be reading some of my stuff on air and sharing some insights with host Jim Freund, trying not to come across as a total ass in the process.  Which it may be too late to hope for, but we’ll try…

Hope you get a chance to catch this one!

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Going On The Account: Take His Advice, Please!

 

Listen to the nice carp; he knows what he’s talking about…

Don’t end up like Mohamed Abdi Hassan, aka “Loud Mouth,” who was conned into leaving Somalia by Belgian officials who pretended they wanted to make a movie based on his exploits, and wanted him as a technical adviser for their own Captain Phillipsinspired piece.

Apparently, the promise of getting an additional booty from his trips to sea, or maybe a strong desire to come up with a more accurate account of the action (though he might have made a few coins on the side if he was a professional witness against Mersk to counter Phillips testifying against his former crew…), led him to be talked into flying from Somalia to Kenya, where he was picked up by Belgian officials who were Lying-in-wait than Lions Gate.  They whisked Loud Mouth off within moments of grabbing him, and he’s scheduled to face arraignment on October 15th in Bruges.

Let’s be clear here:  If you were part of a Somali pirate crew, and someone claims to be a producer who wants to take a meeting with you, DON’T DO IT!

At the very least, Skype first, then insist on taking a face-to-face somewhere safe, like Dubai…

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Going On The Account: ‘Tis The Season? Really…?

About a month ago, this disturbed me…

 

I tried to ignore it, tried to laugh it off, because it’s just commerce run amok.  You can’t blame desperate people acting idiotic if they’re afraid they won’t meet their projections, unless they do something idiotic.

And compared to other acts of idiocy lately, this was pretty benign…

But it’s not just these folks now; I wandered into a Macy’s* the other day and saw that their Christmas display was going on full bore.

While I was wearing short sleeves because it was so warm.  Many miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line, too…

And at that point,  snapped.  I babbled, I gurgled, and then I tried to come up with words…

That soon got set to music; in order to deal with the trauma, I turned yet again to the Dark Art of Filking, and came up with this:

(Sung to the tune of “The Carol Of The Bells”)

Oh no not now

Oh really? Wow!

No no not yet

Can we not get

A chance to breathe                       /                              Not…   now…

Go away leave                                  /                              Not…   now…

It’s just too soon                              /                              Not…   now…

Go ‘way you goon                           /                              Not…   now…

 

You say Noel                                      /                              Not…   now…

I say Aw Hell                                       /                              Not…   now…

Till Halloween                                    /                              Not…   now…

I’m not so keen                                                /                              Not…   now…

I’d say no way                                   /                              Not…   now…

‘Till Turkey Day                                  /                              Not…   now…

Just let me be                                    /                              Not…   now…

It’s too early                                       /                              Not…   now…
You put away

That Christmas sleigh

Don’t want to see

Holly- ivy

Let the time race                              /                              Not…   time…

At normal pace                                 /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

 

I really hate                                        /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

That you can’t wait                          /                              Don’t do it now …

I really wish                                        /                              Don’t do it now …

That you don’t dis                            /                              Don’t do it now …

I’ll make it clear                                 /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

Not yet this year                              /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

I do not want Christmas now

I do not want Christmas now

 

You make me ill

Won’t you just chill

This is so messed

Give it a rest

You make me ill

Won’t you just chill

This is so messed

Give it a rest

 

 

You say Noel                                      /                              Not…   now…

I say Aw Hell                                       /                              Not…   now…

Till Halloween                                    /                              Not…   now…

I’m not so keen                                                /                              Not…   now…

I’d say no way                                   /                              Not…   now…

‘Till Turkey Day                                  /                              Not…   now…

Just let me be                                    /                              Not…   now…

It’s too early                                       /                              Not…   now…
You put away

That Christmas sleigh

Don’t want to see

Holly- ivy

Let the time race                              /                              Not…   time…

At normal pace                                 /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

 

I really hate                                        /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

That you can’t wait                          /                              Don’t do it now …

I really wish                                        /                              Don’t do it now …

That you don’t dis                            /                              Don’t do it now …

I’ll make it clear                                 /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

Not yet this year                              /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

I do not want Christmas now

I do not want Christmas now

 

You make me ill

Won’t you just chill

This is so messed

Give it a rest

 

Not Christmas yet…
No….

 

And for those looking for the tune, I’m offering this:

 

Okay, Irving Berlin it ain’t, but silence wasn’t going to serve anyone either…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

*The fact that I’m amazed that there’s enough branches of Macy’s out there to just wander into one (thanks a lot, Federated), and no one else I know thinks twice about it, is just hitting me how long I’ve wandered the surface of the earth; thoughts along those lines belong in January, so that’s also being vigorously pushed aside…

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