Thursday, January 29, 2015


In HS, Stuart Rodes &  I attending evening seminars at the Chevy plant in Tonawanda, they soliciting recruits for their school, GMI, General Motors Institute, complete with jackets, a field trip to Boulevard Mall, a 180 degree screen, 2 Corvettes running down the road had us falling out of our seats, in the parking lot, first spotting a Triumph GT6+, thinking, 'A poor man's Astin Martin, that's the nearest i'll get to a James Bond car.

It's funny, all the time at UB, never ran into Project friend, Lorne, save for the occasion, walking up to campus from my flat on Lisbon, spotting Lorne Beebe at the corner of Parkridge & Winspear, as it happens, in the passenger seat of a Triumph GT6+.

The GM people planned a 2-day trip to HQ in Flint, MI, though scrapped when funding never materialized.  Later discovering Flint being film director Michael Moore's hometown  ('Roger & Me', 1989), Roger Smith being the CEO of GM at the time, and a tongue-in-cheek rival to Cannes, Moore launching a Flint Film Festival.

And should be no surprise it was a 'Roger Moore' (TV's 'The Saint') who took over for Sean Connery as James Bond.

 Or a different 'Flint' (Larry Flynt) who, at the height of an impeachment of a President, pointing-out the hypocrisy.

help me, rhonda

Quiet, kept mostly to herself, though Kaz had a flirtatious thing with her, Rhonda was the artistic one in the class, she getting an award at an assembly, when noticing a cacophony of girls in the audience clearing their throats, under their breath, thinking, 'What's up with this?', more so when making-out their feigning coughs, "A whore, a whore, ...".

That was Junior High, didn't see Rhonda again til after finishing at Bennett High, at the time crashing at Kaz's house, one afternoon, he and I stopping by her place, a depressing converted store front apartment, up Kensington Avenue, she pregnant.

Recalling when driving around, 'The Worst that Could Happen'  [Brooklyn Bridge, 1968] coming on the radio, "Turn it off! Turn it off!", Kaz demanding, "It reminds me of Rhonda."  And the Universe the way it is, and Kaz being Polish, am sure 'knock wurst that could happen' figures in there somehow.

 Also, coincidently, around the time the Beach Boys' 'Help Me, Rhonda' getting play time. Funny, over the years, hearing that phrase cited on 2 occasions- By Richard Bornemann, my housemate in DC, who exhibited the look and affectations I would recognize years later in Jerry Seinfeld, AND then by Jerry Seinfeld, himself, in one of his episodes.

Funny, taking a 'C++' seminar in Crystal City, running into Richard, not seeing him for awhile, "And you'll approve of the car I got, ...", he remarked, parked outside, a Saab 99, the same Seinfeld drives in the TV Series.

Monday, January 26, 2015

field of readings

Lama trying to instill good reading habits in me, leaving me a small pile of books, recalling 'Microbe Hunters' [Paul de Kruif, author] and 'The Good Earth' [by Pearl S. Buck], unable to get through the first page or 2, then turned-on to other books, unable to put them down.   'Lord of the Flies' [by William Goulding, later a 1963 movie] comes to mind, British school boys being evacuated from the war-torn UK, after their plane crashes, finding themselves on a deserted island, isolated without parental guidance, Ralph, elected 'Chief'; Jack, a schemer; Roger, a sadistic bully; Simon, quiet, dreamy and an epileptic; Piggy, with athsma (or 'assmar', the others mockingly); and the twins, Sam & Eric, all symbols to sides of a self-appointed society, without connection, soon slipping into hedonism. 

New to the Projects, set out exploring surrounding fields, found myself, like Ralph, a de factor leader of a loose band of neighboring kids, a tot in tow, stepping up the plate, as it were, in the vernacular of Goulding's novel, the 'bigun' coming to the aid of the 'littleun' with nature's call.  The young family next door, having just moved-in, moving out, a lyric from Billy Joel tune ['Anthony's Song, 1977].

While in school, Steinbeck's 'The Pearl' assigned by Lama, recalling a passage, the lead character crawling on the night beach toward the Doctor's hut, under a full Mexican moon, conscious that the its illumination might reveal him, thinking, having only known the city,  'Is that true? About Moonlight, that is,' not till arriving in the 'Valley of the Moon', finding it so.

So first visiting Santa Rosa, downtown, Teresa introducing me to a corner hot dog vendor, Ralph, "He's in the Program," she adding, just prior applying for a wait job, at a nearby Italian restaurant, Anthony's.  Funny, over years of meetings, all over, never spotting Ralph at any, until that observation came to mind, then running into him at 'Mature & Sober', a woman Debra chairing.  Same name as my ex-wife, once educating me, 'Ralphing' a form of massage therapy; she having asthma since childhood.

And when relocating to the town's West End not long after, finding my way through the Food Court in the Plaza, recognizing a woman from St Anthony's, she working the counter at Mrs Field's Cookies, "I'll give you something to dream of," she said in passing, sounding like an invite, though at a loss as to what, only now seeing a connection, 'Field of Dreams' [1989] a movie shown in rehab.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


So when acquiring a skateboard, at the time not long on the market, arranged with Cliff for an afternoon of downhill racing, I on West Ferry, he near Central Park, agreeing on a midway point, the yet-to-be-opened exit ramp across from Kensington  Heights,  Hwy 33 then unfinished.  Thinking back during a time of curious Revelations, did it have to be '33', the 'Hi Way', that is, a.k.a the 'Lo Rd'?

Couldn't have been a month or 2 later, getting word Skip broke her wrist, trying-out a skateboard in the aisles of Twin Fair, could have been a coincidence, so too the market being on East Ferry in Buffalo.

Around the time of conceiving the thought of posting the coincidence, happening upon a custom skateboard booth at Wednesday Market, hinting at the link between consciousness and reality.


Knew Cliff since 4th grade at PS 61, he, Jewish, I, undecided, the only ones left in the classroom each Monday afternoon after the other schoolmates went off for 'Religious Instruction'.  Recall the teacher having us fill the time by summing columns of numbers on index cards, our reward for getting them all right- Not having to do it the following week.

Cliff went on to solve some internet hacking mystery while at Livermore (featured on Nova), authored a couple of books on the web, and, while crashing in Columbia MD with a mutual friend, caught him on the lecture circuit (at John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab?, Laurel MD), with Tom Clancy.  Cliff using the opportunity to take a jab at the Hubble Telescope, an error in grinding the lens going undiscovered up to and after launch.  And I was there at the beginning, Kleinhans Music Hall, for his work in suspended animation of gold fish, Cliff accepting winning a State-wide Science Competition.

As if to perhaps manifest how life goes full circle, Cliff now semi-retired in the Berkeley Hills, marketing custom hand-blown glass 'Klein Bottles' out of his house, they the 3-D counterpart to the 'Mobius Strip', zero volume, folding onto itself.

And as if that were not enough, spent the last few days shopping for a pepper mill, prior to finding Cliff's photo online.

oh superman

What might, looking back, appeared as an opening for 'Mission Impossible', got a tape in the mail from classmate Clifford Stoll, promptly mounting it on my newly acquired reel-to-reel, from where else, Albrichts.  Had to laugh, it opening with the theme from TV's 'Superman', before hearing Clifford's voice message.

An otherwise insignificant episode over a lifetime, had it not pointed to the first experience with irony as a kid- 'How is it Superman dies from shooting himself?' [1959].  (Though investigations since have raised its fair share of questions of suicide.)  And never dawning on me, til hearing it in a recent Coast-to-Coast interview, "Can Superman's X-ray vision see through clothes?"; the "No" response never explained.  If you think about it, only time privates are covered with a lead shield is during dental x-rays.

In the transformation of Superman to the 'Big Screen', finding Christopher Reeves filling Steve Reeves role; how weird is that, only to be later paralyzed in a polo accident.  Oddly enough, just months prior, was at a party in Soho (NYC), spotting Christopher Reeves across the room. 

More recently, hearing of a 'Daily Planet' in Santa Rosa, wanna say a nightclub, before my time, though working with a driver resembling an older Steve Reeves.

Friday, January 23, 2015

the robinson twins et al.

Like matching pear--shaped characters out of an animated cartoon, the Robinson Twins appearing here & there around the halls and classrooms of Fillmore Junior High,  boisterous, agitated, lost in their own world, with trepidation always going on about 'the Buells'.  Asking Lama one day, "Who or what are these 'Buells' of which the Robinson Twins speak?".  "'Buell' is a street they pass on the way to school each day," was all he needed to say, surmising, due to their oddness, kids there likely teasing & bullying them en route.

Perhaps not immediately, but ringing a bell, us kids in the Projects having our own name for a rival gang from a neighboring street - 'the Appenheimers', meeting halfway in the fields, lobbing rocks & stones at each other.  That in time the site of the new Junior High, itself with an Appenheim address, had to adopt a policy of peaceful co-existence.

Odd too, as my grasp of history extended, 'Appenheimer', so close in spelling to 'J. Robert Oppenheimer', deemed 'Father of the Atomic Bomb', alma mater, Harvard and Christ College (Cambridge).  Made head of the 'Manhattan Project' in Los Alamos NM, he directed efforts toward 'Thin Man', then concentrating on simplifying the gun-type device, 'Little Boy', before integrating it into a new design, 'Christy Gadget', later tested at a site, codename 'Trinity'.

The last house on the block, Appenheimer & Fillmore, that of a girl in my class, tall, blonde, a unique laugh to match a unique name, Candy Bean.  Ronald Regan had a thing for jelly beans.  Leland & I however, both having eyes for another girl with an equally curious name, Melanie Musial, my attention shifting to Maxine Waters.

A Graduation Dance in the cafeteria marked the last day at Fillmore, the House Band, former members of the 'Appenheimers', playing. 1 song over & over, ' Bony Moronie ',Purcelli on vocals, Yeager on guitar, ....Yeager?! ....wasn't he a test pilot, early in the 'The Space Age', breaking the sound barrier.

Lama, having us for 7th & 9th grades, had an mutually beneficial curriculum agreement with Mrs Chalmers, our 8th grade English teacher- If she took care of 'grammer & syntax', he would cover the 'creative writing' end.  So in Room 108 afterschool, Mrs Chalmers marches in, a composition of mine in hand, she glancing from Lama to me, in what appeared as either polite indignance, or bemusement.  The paper's topic- the Robinson, including an observation of them warming-up to the Assistant Principal.  Odd that that would be the vignette played-out for me to record, around Twins, obviously nuts, and a member of the school administration, last name 'Ward'.