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Much to dig into

Saturday 11/7/20

Someone--an author and professor--described Meatheads Say the Realest Things to me today as utterly unlike everything in contemporary fiction, and drastically better than everything in contemporary fiction. These statements are accurate. That is part of the problem right now. Paradoxically. Hellishly.


I like that the Christmas displays are out at Starbucks, and the annual holiday cup has arrived. I must stock up on many bags of the Christmas blend--it's what I like to drink throughout the year because I love Christmas, though I am alone now on every Christmas, and going back to 2012, my Christmas routine is to cry, vomit, and work. I don't talk to a single person on that day. In my life, I have no one, as has been documented here, and I don't need to make a very hard day even harder by having some token conversation with someone who has caused trauma. I love Christmas and I hope to have many happy Christmases in the future if I am in a better situation.


I also like the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser. I like people--and imps/sprites/or whatever these two guys are--who have passion and commitment, but grammatically speaking, their names kind of bother me. It should be Heat Miser and Cold Miser--parallel structure and all.


I dig their little songs, too. And that they have mini dancing versions of themselves.


A woman wrote me yesterday and tried to impress/entice me by talking about how she was a model. This was a romantic thing. Do I really seem like someone who would care at all if you were a model if you have nothing to say? If you are not far smarter than most people out there? I could care less if you are a model. I know someone who only cares about how someone looks. He used to have a few different relationships going at once, in different places. He'd just cheat. And he was down to two relationships, and one didn't work out--I don't remember the reason--and then he just married the other person, who is dim. That's generous. And they committed to a life of never being challenged, never growing, and intellectual impoverishment. Same person who used to tell me, "You can fuck all of these hot women, and all ages, college girls, why don't you do that for a bit?" They partially wanted me to do this so I'd tell them about it, and spice up their personal Pornhub bathroom sessions, which are important to this individual as the years go by. It is impossible for me to be interested in you--at all, in any interactive capacity--if you don't have something unique to say. And if you do not try to grow, or do not want to try to grow.


Sent out a very strong Beatles/John Lennon op-ed pitch. Hopefully I get to do it. Also have an idea regarding Lennon for a non-op-ed piece. Have not pitched that yet.


Yesterday and today I walked eleven miles, and ran the Boston College stairs ten times. Each day. Good paces on the stairs--I took a video of the last run. I'm in the process of starting a YouTube channel that doubtlessly no one will see right now or subscribe to, which will include audio of the radio interviews, plus videos from my travels, walks, hikes, with me talking about this or that. Even in a video where I'm running the stairs, I give some amusing narration. I did post that video on my Twitter, for all of six people to see.


Here we have the sun coming up over the Harbor yesterday morning:



This part of a family of turkeys who live in this particular spot in Brookline, with one of them perched on the small fence:



Here is Amory Park, a favorite spot of mine:



And this is me, looking rather grizzled and unkempt--I shaved today at least--also yesterday, after running those 2600 stairs.



I saw a Tweet today from Colin Cowherd, a witless moron who thinks he is quite smart, because he has been told this by enough other witless morons who equate making no sense whatsoever with being "deep." Cowherd is that guy at the bar, or in the dorm room, who is drunk or high, and loves the sound of his own voice, and thinks he's coming up with these matchless insights about the meaning of life and shit, but it's just a stoned tool, conflating logorrhea with wisdom (a presumed wisdom which he has but others do not--a guy like this always tries to make you feel like he sees things from a vantage point no one else does, and he's providing a service by sharing; that's the grandiloquent tone). You can fool a lot of people with this approach, if you have the connections that can put you in a position to do so.


Here was his Tweet: "Mike Pence just removed the fly from his head, signaling that it's over."


What does that even mean? Do you see how desperate he is to sound clever? Obviously the fly from the debate. But the way he set this up, what it means is that the fly is/was locked in place. And the affixed fly connotes an approach to victory. What stoned, stupid nonsense is this? And when one admits defeat, the fly is removed by that person?


You're dealing with an imbecile. And no one ever calls this out. Why? Can people really not tell? This is how he talks about everything every time I've heard him. What we often do is equate not having any clue what someone means--especially if they use "big" words, which they almost always use incorrectly--with being "far out" and "that's deep, man." (In publishing, you can have no talent whatsoever--Mark Doten, for example--and just vomit forth meaninglessness, and simply by dint of the shills and sheep of the publishing community, you can be hailed as brilliant, when it would be impossible for anyone in this world to honestly give a damn about what you've written. Or even just understand it.) You could be saying anything. People won't know if you do this stoner deep thing. People don't know a lot of words. And they're really not paying that much attention to you--they just think they're supposed to and that you are "important." And you can make millions and millions of dollars that way with your idiocy, narcissism, complete lack of wit or knowledge, and gasbaggery, if you have the connections.


Sent that graphic novel to my nephew for his birthday. I'm not sure it was a good gift. I think he might like it, though.


The Red Sox rehired Alex Cora, a move I was displeased to see them make. They'll do hires and signings to combat bad press--this ownership group is pandering and repellent that way. It's not the cheating I object to as much as the hubris Cora displayed in 2019, which leeched through the entire team. The idea that not only could the Sox show up and win without any prep, but that they could take the first part of the season off and still cruise to 100 victories. He was fortunate in 2018--that team was. They were carried in the postseason by role players. That's why they won--guys who are not everyday MLB players had the collective run of their lives. Cora made reckless moves that worked--barely. They just as easily could have gone the other way, and the Sox would have lost. Now you have a team whose best players need to play for a certain manager? That's obviously Eduardo Rodriguez, who is soft, soft, soft. And it's obviously Rafael Devers, who is also soft, in a different way, with that roly-poly body, which was a lot rollier and pollier last year. And clearly this was not the GM's hire, but that of the owners. Not a good way to do front office business.


I'll give this a ten percent chance of happening--which is decent--but I'd like to see BC beat Syracuse today in a route, Notre Dame upset Clemson, then BC knock off Notre Dame next Saturday at an empty Alumni Stadium as I run stairs outside. The top of the stairs looks straight at the reservoir-side upper deck of the stadium. Realistically, my guess is BC wins, Clemson wins, ND beats BC.


This is a photo from today facing the opposite direction, with the last few stairs of the my runs. That's the moon over Gasson, and also a contrail from a plane that just passed.



Spoke to my nephew on the phone. I don't really know him. I've been here all of these years dealing with what I've been dealing with. I heard my niece in the background asking if I'd be getting her a birthday present, too. Already have one picked out, actually--an illustrated book of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. She likes princesses, though she's kind of tough and no-nonsense herself. From what I can gather, she has a dry wit. And she'll also kind of tell people if they suck, so, I don't know, I sort of get that?


Them! is airing tonight on Svengoolie. Saw a bit of it again recently--hold up really well. James Arness is excellent in it, too. This is before the premiere of Gunsmoke.



I'll be discussing Meatheads Say the Realest Things on the radio on Tuesday. Kimball posted something nice about the book on Facebook today, saying how funny it was, but also how touching and that it will make you a better person. This is a book that features a haunted Hitachi vibrator. And is so sad in places. All about this idiot meathead. Who is made fun of. But it is a magical book. As I wrote earlier, it is a book of the zeitgeist, to love, to love deeply, to reread, to quote, to unite, to bring people together. People who may seem to be opposites. And it looks like no one will see it right now--when I know that literally millions of people would love it--because of this situation I am in. Because of the blackballing. The hate. The envy. The embargo on coverage. The discrimination. The complete absence of marketing and publicity. You could make so much money off of this book. Will also talk about it later on Downtown for a second time, from different angles, when Bruce Pratt fills in. Maybe my favorite ever segment on Downtown was back in February when Pratt came on as a co-host for my segment. I went out that night with a composer I know for a screening of Out of the Past at the Brattle, and I was bounding over the pavement, because I felt like I had said things of huge consequence, historical consequence, that needed to be said, and that, come a point, would always be known, be in articles, biographies, papers, etc. I don't know what Pratt might ask, but it's compelling to me what he asks. His questions tend to get a lot out of me. I documented the writing process in real time in these journal pages back whenever it was--April, I think, of last year--but the entirety of Meatheads was written in one week. Seven days.


I like that the cover of my Sam Cooke Bloomsbury book is pink. I don't want to say that I have favorite colors, just as I wouldn't say I have favorite words. The context is what determines the value of the words and colors. For instance, had one told me, before I wrote it, what the final words of "Dead Thomas" would be, in one sense I would have been very surprised. I could do this with a lot of things I compose. In another sense, I would not be surprised, because the context, the story, the characters, will dictate to me what those final words will be. But as for colors, rose quartz was always one of my favorite minerals. Along with aquamarine and smoky quartz. I've never had a problem with pink--wearing pink, whatever. Just like I have no problem loving the ballet. I have never thought, "oh no, this isn't masculine." I have only cared about being true to who I am and growth. When you are true to those things, there is nothing negative anyone will think about you, with cheap ideas of masculinity or what not. But I really like how that pink looks on the Sam Cooke cover. If they had left it up to me, that's the color I would have picked for this book.


Speaking of Kimball--he mentioned on the show the other day that he had an opportunity to go to a Who concert at Boston Garden when he was fifteen or sixteen and passed it up. He's most likely talking about this December 3, 1973 show behind Quadrophenia, so I'll send him the link.



I recall watching a baseball game on TBS when I was young, between the Braves and the Mets, in which Gary Carter hit a three-run homer in the first, and a grand slam in the second. I was sitting there thinking, "damn, game has hardly started and dude has 7 RBI." The game was from July 11, 1986. Carter is underrated--he's one of the three, four, five best catchers in baseball history. My favorite player was Carlton Fisk, and these two are about as even as players get. Fisk was the better athlete, a better base runner, one of the smartest of all ballplayers. Carter had more obviously big years. With Fisk, you have to understand the context of some of his years. Like with 1972, one of the handful of finest seasons a catcher has ever had, but it doesn't look that way when you just inspect the wrong numbers, and don't measure them against the rest of the league. What's interesting about Carter in 1986 is that he finished third in NL MVP voting, with only a .776 OPS. He hit .255, and he had 24 home runs and 105 RBI, which is the gaudy portion of his offensive output. The power numbers. But look how much of that output comes from two innings, right? Without those two innings, his stats look a lot different, and he's probably like tenth in MVP voting. Both were exemplary defensive catchers, too. Fisk should have had four, five, six Gold Gloves, not the single one he did have. For instance, he was much better defensively than Lance Parrish, another favorite of mine. Parrish was a tank behind the plate, and pretty immobile. He had the gun of an arm. Fisk was an athlete behind the plate--he got to foul balls that Parrish couldn't. He was much quicker, too, when it came to pouncing on bunts, forcing runners at second. When I watch those old Red Sox games from before my time, I am struck by Fisk's athleticism.


Watched the first two episodes of this new season of The Mandalorian. I think it's effective because it taps into that serial vibe--doesn't try to do too much, doesn't throw out its back reaching for grandiosity. The scale is right. You cannot force things--you have to get the scale right. If larger things come from what you've done, that's fine, but they have to originate from scale. Something like "Fitty" becomes this huge, huge thing, but it develops from scale--by which I mean, it always stays within itself.


Also saw the 1946 noir, The Chase, which has some nice ideas, but too many implausiblities and jerky plot changes. It's based on a Cornell Woolrich novel, and if you watch a lot of noir and listen to radio programs like Suspense often, you'll find yourself thinking, "Was there a time in the world when Cornell Woolrich wrote everything there was?"



I sent letters to these places, covering a variety of things--short stories I am offering, pitches, follow-ups, check-ins on work to be published, books-in-progress, the attempted sale of Cheer Pack: Stories, with its stories from VQR, Glimmer Train, Harper's, etc. Many of the people at these venues hate me greatly, and would sooner shave their faces off than let me in: Epoch, Narrative, Grove/Atlantic, Lit Mag, The Atlantic, Harper's, The Baffler, Other Press, Scribner's, The New Yorker, McSweeney's, Post Road, Kenyon Review, Sagging Meniscus, Boulevard, The Sun, The Paris Review, TLS, The American Scholar, One Story, Cincinnati Review, London Magazine, Auteur.


Received something from the Guggenheim people. I didn't look at it very closely. It was about sending materials. Not sure if everyone got one. My sense last year was that I made it to some stage past the initial one, and this note seemed to indicate as much again. Who knows. I'll get it when I get it. Whenever that may be.


They're pretty terrible, but I find it comforting that Hallmark Christmas movies are on. As cinema they're dreadful, but then again, I realize that not everything has to be Citizen Kane to have some kind of value--they can just be Doritos. As I said, I love Christmas. Pretty much any Christmas thing--save that foolish Chevy Chase movie that I can't believe people like so much--is something I'll watch. Have on. Go to sleep to. The better Hallmark Christmas movies, I've noticed, involve people traveling and then everything goes awry. Like there's that one where the woman and the guy get into an accident when she thinks that he's her future brother-in-law or some such, but he just has the same last name as her boyfriend, and she ends up staying at his place with his parents waiting for the boyfriend to show up, and then the boyfriend is not related to these people at all. Oh--A Very Merry Mix-Up. I remember now. Not good. But I'll watch that bad boy. A Christmas Detour was in the same vein. Saw that the other day before I went out on my walk and to climb. Or saw most of it. You don't need to stick around until the end. You know what's going to happen. And it's not like you must see the latest execution of Hallmark deep focus photography.



Formally I did not write anything yesterday or today, but I had two epic days of writing with all I've done in my head, and on so many works, and so many disparate works. About a dozen short stories--long ones, and ones for Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives consideration. "Wet-on-Wet," "Edee Upstairs," "On the Cable," "Super Heated Air," "Girls of the Nimbus." Among others. I also wrote in my head a good chunk of one of the three jazz pieces I must execute swiftly, that being the one on Art Tatum and V discs. I'll get that and the Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald pieces done in short order.


Have given some thought to doing a couple new episodes on the Songs of Note podcast. I have a Christmas idea that is pretty much a no-brainer, and mulling some stuff for November to see if one might be a fit for this month.


It's four o'clock now. Figured out a few places since I began this entry for that other Beatles/Lennon idea. The feature-length one. Haven't eaten today. Or had any water. Will drink copious amounts of the latter and watch a little bit of the second half of this football game.