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I'm from then

Friday 9/22/23

Started a feature on the Beatles Get Back LP and worked some more on Just Like Them: A Piece by Piece Guide to Becoming the Ultimate Thinking Person's Beatles Fan. I think it's going to hit that 100,000 word mark. It's 98K now, but that's what I expect. We're talking a 400 page book.

Have not ran stairs in three days. Obviously that's poor. Ran 5000 stairs on both Saturday and Sunday, and 3000 on Monday. I had also not done push-ups for two days in a row, but I had done 200 three days in a row, and had a little reserve. Did 100 yesterday, but should just have a really full day of like 300 or so. Walked a quick six miles yesterday.

Sent out a Beatles book, There Is No Doubt. Cheer Pack, Musings with Franklin, Glue God, You're Up, You're Down, You're Up, Billie Holiday book proposal, and an Orson Welles book proposal. Will do what I have to do one way or the other regarding those people and outlets.

Stories I need to write for The Solution to the World's Problems: "The Quiet Chickadee," "Eye of Green," "The Late, Living Mrs. Rinaldi," and perhaps one or two others. Further illustration of how I write books and not collections. A collection works from the other direction. "What do I have to stick together? Do I finally have the bare minimum?" Whereas, I know what I want for my book and I go out and make it. When these stories are done, that will be another part of the process out of the way, and I can really bear down on the next two parts, which are the final two parts of completion.

Sent out the autumn op-ed. Nothing. With one person--two, actually, at the same place--I've put things off as long as I can. Need to do what I need to do. I know what it is. I just hate doing it. But can't be helped. These two guys are straight scum. And all I have to do is put it out there. Their words and actions will speak for themselves. But it's always the last thing I want to do.

It is frustrating when there's a fossil boomer editor who mostly and/or only publishes their fellow fossil boomers. As I've said many times over, I don't believe in age unless a person makes it a thing or their thing. You can be seventy-five and not old; you can be twenty-eight and ancient. This kind of editor I'm talking about is in the latter category and always has been since they entered the publishing world as such in 1964 and got hooked up at some places that are still around now and then became an editor at a literary magazine and that is their whole life, reputation, why The New Republic might run something they write five plus decades later on occasion. It all goes back to bullshit from 1964 (when you could write something, send it to a magazine in the mail, and there it would be in print two weeks later). That was how it was, and then other fossil types of all ages make sure that that's how it remains until interment in the earth for the fossil who's had it be that way for so long. Fossil loyalists.

Last night I was looking at a recent short story by one of these fossils this kind of fossil editor publishes, and sure enough, it's set in 1963 and it starts off talking about the Kennedys and church and it's the most predictable thing ever. The language is frozen in time. And that's all this person can do. So I look into her some more. Guggenheim, check. All of the shit you'd expect. For sucking and boring. Decades of sucking and boring and now being run out a few times every now and again here in the 2020s...just because. And because the fossil boomer editor has eyes only for other fellow fossil boomers. They are elevated above all. Anything that doesn't sound ancient to them is that damn whippernsnapper stuff. They are both blind and prejudiced. They're ageist. A new issue of a literary magazine that will be seen by eleven people comes out and before it does the contents for that issue are teased with a few pieces being mentioned, and you can guarantee that only fossil boomers will get that special citation. Every time.

And it's not so much that there's this story that starts in 1963 with the Kennedys in first person (meaning, it's this person; they are the character, because they could never invent a character with their own voice and that "I" is them), it's that every single thing by that person is this way and has been for over fifty years. They can do nothing else. They can really do nothing, because this isn't an inventive thing they're doing. They're just dipping into the old (boring) memory bucket. A writer is supposed to be able to inhabit worlds and lives, without limit; or, the less limit the better the writer. But the fossil boomer editor sees first person in 1963, references to political events at the time, and they think that's good simply because it's in there and because the person who wrote it is from their time period ("I'm from then!" they think). And the starchiness of the language. Always the starchiness of language. So stiff and lifeless. I think of an undertaker's collar. It's ceremonial: the ritualized publishing of the shit...just because.

Sunday marked 2625 days, or 375 weeks, without a drink.

I've been listening to Jonathan Keeble read M.R. James's "Casting the Runes" every day for like the past three weeks. Downloaded a lot of Bill Evans, plus live material from the Byrds and the Everly Brothers. Also, Blind Willie Johnson's complete catalogue, mess of Grateful Dead, and the Allman Brothers' closing appearance at the Fillmore East. Also, in what marks a significant and surprising achievement for technology for me--being as bad as I am at these things--I figured out how to download streaming-only Grateful Dead shows from the Internet Archive and will soon try and land a full gig from the Fillmore East in April 1971. I've just done it with individual tracks so far. Kind of takes a while since you have to go track by track.

Reread A.M. Burrage's "Smee." A lot less impressed now than when I first read it however many years ago. There's not that much to it. I like Burrage, don't get me wrong. But there's often so little to the ghost stories one reads, or they don't add up. James, for instance--and I'll be writing more about this soon--had three stories that are so much better than his other stories and they were written across a long period. It's not like he banged them out one May. Really nailing it was a rare event for him.

On Saturday evening after the BC-Florida State football game I went to a play at Old North Church--one if by land, two if by sea--called Revolution's Edge by Patrick Gabridge about three Boston families on the cusp of the Revolution. Thought it was very effective. Stuck around for the Q&A session with the actors--who nailed it--afterwards, too.

Did not know until yesterday that Ted Williams twice made the final out of a no-hitter and that both Carlton Fisk and Wade Boggs did so in 1983.

Why did it take Johnny Mize so long to get into the Hall of Fame? He didn't make it until the Veterans Committee put him in in 1981. Johnny Mize was a closer to a top ten hitter of all-time than he was a guy who should have gotten into the Hall nearly thirty years after his career was over.

Listened to a number of Dragnet radio episodes last night, including "The Big Little Jesus," a Christmas episode that is far less depressing than the Christmas episode of the series I discussed on the radio one time about a kid who accidentally shoots and kills another kid and who is then given the dead kids presents by the shattered father. Does the Jack Webb character have to be so negative? Ninety-five percent of his lines are negative. It's radio so obviously you don't see people smile, but you know when the characters are smiling, and I can't think of a single instance when Webb's character so much as cracks a smile. That's not very realistic, is it? If that was true, you'd need a great amount of help. No matter what you are going through, no matter how hellish, you still smile on occasion.

In a world where almost everything now is annoying, it's nonetheless hard to top the Burger King commercials on that front. The constant and incorrect overuse of "literally" does it, though, but not a lot else.

Why is it necessary to make like one is an idiot and could only and ever be an idiot and an immature idiot at that and call a win a "dub"? Also, what is with calling a base hit a "knock"? There is that phrase, to knock someone in, as in drive in a run. So any time I hear, "And that's a knock for so and so," I look up and thinking, "Good, the Red Sox are on the board," and instead they are trailing 4-0 in the fifth and someone got a single with two outs and the bases empty.

Brad Marchand was named the captain of the Bruins. The other day I was sitting in a cafe reading Wilkie Collins, and this morbidly obese man who looked about fifty but was probably thirty-two was talking from his table with some senior citizen from Florida who had come up for the Florida State game at his table. The Florida guy had a wife who was generally ignored--it was very obvious that she was meant to be seen and not heard--while these guys talked sports. Stupidly. Sports were the large guy's entire life. He said things like, "When we won the World Series in 2004." It was sad, really. And sadder because he knew nothing about sports. He'd say the most obvious things, and you could tell those were his "time to go to the well and impress someone with my sports knowledge" things. "We were the first team to come back from down 3-0." No shit, really? The older guy mentioned Carl Yastrzemski being a favorite of his, and the big guy didn't know who that was. People, as a rule, won't know anything that predates their birth. Like the world did not exist before their ignorant, lazy self came down that canal into it.

Luckily I had earbuds in my bag and so I was able to fire up Wheels of Fire and drown this guy out--though I'm not sure Cream and Wilkie Collins pair all that well together--but I thought about this man when I saw that Brad Marchand was named captain of the Bruins and all of these guys like this guy said it should have been David Pastrnak instead because he's the better player. What I'm saying is you have someone for whom sports is their entire life. Or, to put it differently, the thing they care about most in life. And they have no clue how anything in sports works at the most basic of levels. Total ignorance. And sports are simple. Comparatively speaking. How can you not know how the whole captain thing in hockey works? Most people think it just goes to the best player. No. It automatically goes to the best player on a young team and that player is some all-time talent. So Connor McDavid was the captain at an early age with the Oilers. But usually it goes to a good, veteran player who is a top two line forward or first pairing defenseman who has been around for a while, has had a leadership role in the past. That kind of thing. Pastrnak the leader? Come on. He's a goofy guy who wants to dance. He's not the leadership backbone of your team. That's not his personality, or what you can expect him to be. Goofy guy who likes to dance and likes funny hats. Yes, he's better than Marchand right now. Marchand is thirty-five. Marchand is also a likely Hall of Famer who was once a better player than Pastrnak currently is. That would have been crazy if Pastrnak was named the captain.

For taste, I don't think any juice surpasses white grapefruit. Cranberry juice from the bog may be more valuable because of its heart health benefits, but white grapefruit juice helps with cholesterol and is as refreshing, I'd say, as juice gets.

My mom had surgery to remove a cataract on Tuesday and then had a follow-up visit yesterday so I phoned to check on her, and Amelia was over the house with my sister so we did the FaceTime. This is her trying to scare me by running up fast to the phone which she kept doing.


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