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Figures

Sunday 6/11/23

I didn't know that Glenn Davis played in the Cape Cod League. Saw yesterday that he is a member of the 2023 CCBL Hall of Fame class, having played for Chatham in 1980. I really liked Glenn Davis. He was runner-up to Mike Schmidt for NL MVP in 1986, when he hit 31 home runs, but he played in the Astrodome, so 31 home runs was this big number because the place was so cavernous. You were extra impressed at the time. He also had a cool Diamond Kings card.


I awoke later than I should have yesterday. Raced to Charlestown to do the Monument so I could get back and then hustle off to the Brattle, but the Monument wasn't open at ten and now I'm wondering if I can read a sign at this point or what is going on. I didn't go to the Brattle. Up all night trying to think of a way out of this situation, restless and despairing and beyond frustrated and discouraged, so much so that I shouldn't use those words at all. This is something else and there's no comparing, no frame of reference. I was hot and sweating. I went to Haymarket instead, got fruit and vegetables. Sat beside the disused tollbooth from the 1950s. Just sat on the grass. Thought.


Figured I'd get some errands out of the way since I wasn't good for much else. Got tea, shampoo, paper towels, Melatonin, foodstuffs, socks. Planned some radio things. Planned other things. Mulled how to handle assorted things. Things I don't want to have to deal with at all, but it can't be helped. We can go this way, we can go that way, we can go this other way, but if you're just going to screw me, we're going to go this way.


Then there's the evidence of the ways and the conduct on that person's end, the better, obvious, and just options that had been in place over time, and the reasons for what was done was being done, and that all goes up on here. Further, here's someone truly kind behaving in a truly kind way, and someone truly professional behaving in a truly professional way as well, with work for which there is no legitimate nor theoretically legitimate reason for it not to have ran, been awarded, what have you, and is easily shown to be better than what did run, was awarded, what have you. Quite simple. It's easy to prove it wasn't the quality of the work, the qualifications of the person, or the conduct of that individual. Take it all away, and all that remains is proof of the discrimination standing front and center for all to see.


I was saying to someone today that you can't just tell the truth. If the truth is something negative, it's never enough just to put it out there. That can come back on you, especially in a world where we're supposed to lie and cover-up and keep the truth hidden. Tone matters, track record matters, the lead-up matters, language matters, presentation matters. I'm always aware of this. But I was thinking it through for the latest time yesterday when I thought of various people. I guess I wasn't actually doing nothing. I'm never doing nothing. But I wasn't doing what I intended to be doing. There's time, though. The order can change.


Made a discovery of entire broadcasts of Alan Freed's Rock and Roll Dance Party, which were these half hour radio programs that went out live over the airwaves in 1956, with live rock and roll performances (and also contributions from Count Basie's band). Awesome stuff. Chuck Berry, Johnny Burnette and the Rock 'n' Roll Trio, Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps with Cliff Gallup. Also found some outstanding Jesus and Mary Chain bootlegs, mostly from 1985.


There's so much I'm creating write now that it can almost feel like I'm keeping secrets from this journal, because I can't go into all of it, or I haven't gone into certain things yet.


Someone sent me a photo of my first four books. They said that they carry them around with them, and there it is, all of that genius, and it just depressed me. Because of everything else and everything that pertained to those books. I didn't know what I was supposed to say. It just made me really unhappy which is redundant obviously, but I didn't like seeing that photo and wished I hadn't, nor the note. Some other time in the future would be different, allowing that this part of my Job-like existence was over and all was different. Plus, there are the stories I could have shared about the people at those places and the places themselves. That was all going through my head. And also part of what I was thinking today regarding truths and how to present them.


A thing about me is if there's something that's incredibly unpleasant to do, no matter how unpleasant or difficult that thing is, I'm eventually going to do it if it's the right thing. It could be the least pleasant thing in the world. Or what I want to do the least. My loyalty is, above all, to one thing in this world. And that's doing right by my work. Not letting someone screw my work over with their hate, shortcomings, incompetence, envy, what have you. My loyalty is to my work before it's to any person or any thing. That's how it is because that's how it should be, given what that work is.


I might put something off because it's so unpleasant to do. I need to get better at that. I'm not a confrontational person. But the time always comes when I do it. Because that and it are bigger than the reservations, the unpleasantness, and the people and places. I answer to those bigger things. I can't not answer to them. Especially when they pertain to my work, which is the biggest thing. If I can't do right by my work, even if it's hard, then I am someone who can't answer to what I regard as the most necessary of absolutes, because this work needs to be able to be what it can be in this world. And I believe that matters as much as anything. If I don't do that right thing, then I am not who I think I am, nor whom I want to be, and I let myself down as a person, and do so knowingly.


I cannot and will not do that. I won't slink to the side and try to live with the wrong I know I've done because I wasn't brave enough or willing to take on what had to be taken on, with something of the utmost importance, and of an importance beyond myself. It's just not what's going to happen.


Sometimes I want to say, don't make me do it. Please. You know I'm speaking the truth. You know the case will be definitive. You know everyone is going to see it. You know it's going to move your name up on the search engines. You know I have all of the documentation and proof. And more than you know at present which you will learn later. Because it's me. You know I've gone out and gathered everything and found out more.


Get ahead of things. Fix it. Be proactive. Don't compound wrong with more wrong. Sometimes it's so easy and simple, too. Often.


Anyway. What else? I'm reading Only the Ball Was White, a history of the Negro Leagues, plus Winston Churchill's My Early Life. I like finding covers for these rare recordings. It's sort of soothing. For concerts, I like to see if I can find an image of a ticket to that gig, or a poster advertising it.


Back to listening to Gunsmoke when I go to bed at night. I love those five-part Johnny Dollar episodes, but Gunsmoke really is the best dramatic radio program there is. There is a lot of artful radio from the middle of the century, but Gunsmoke stands above everything. You have to listen that program, I'd say, or you'd have an incomplete education in the art of this country. There are certain things you need to hit. You need to know Dylan and Whitman and Louis Armstrong and John Ford and Billie Holiday and David Smith and Melville.


I think you need to know the radio version of Gunsmoke, too. You couldn't entirely overlook what dramatic radio meant to this nation, and if you're going to focus on a sole program, it should be this one.


I'd be curious to play an episode like "Home Surgery" or "The Cabin" to a class of high school students and see what they thought. I think most would be surprised that something like this existed "way back then."


Received an advance copy of the upcoming Coltrane/Dolphy set. I think Eric Dolphy is the great undersung hero of modern jazz. I would even say that he's the most influential jazz musician of his era. I think more people took their cue from Dolphy than anyone else. Coltrane did. He knew where it was at with Dolphy. You could call Dolphy the jazz musician whisperer. It's remarkable what seemed to happen whenever he was around, rubbing off on people. I bet if you asked those guys, there wasn't anyone they held in a higher regard. That man's intelligence is in every note of his music.


The text on the back of Glenn Davis's Diamond Kings card is amusing. "He would have compiled even better figures." Sounds like the 1930s. Figures?



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