The Crass Menagerie

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Location: The Promised Land

This is my triumphant return to the lifestyle I've always furthered and forwarded in my heart, at least, so let's blast off. The first half of my life has been incredible and the second segment will include more splendors than any Ottoman Sultan could ever have wished for in his golden repose. Anyway, fasten your laughter belt cuz you're on a collision course with wackiness.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mister X, Indeed

Can you be strangled by sunshine? If so, it's a pleasant way to go out, but I haven't come to grips with the lack of precipitation just yet. Perfect days wear you down, make you feel responsible to be out and alive and it rarely comes without a heavy effort. Such is every day here in the golden holster of the westest state in the cradle of the San Gabriel. Baby steps have been taken and the new tendon flexes a little farther every day. I see a day soon when I walk out into the bountiful sunshine and begin to take my place in a new and exciting tomorrow. No, I'm not going to junior college or night school.... or am I? No, no, I just need to find an all-girl band to manage all the way to the top! Of course having affairs with various band members and groupies and hangers-on. Then I can become my own sensation and retire to my island. There are a lot of monkeys that don't know what the hell they're doing out there.

Highway 2 buzzes away now and again in the cool September night and I remember a funny scene that I saw earlier today. Right out in front of the bunker here, on the shoulder of the freeway, was a an armored truck from Wells Fargo or something and it had broken down. Two police cars turned up immediately and stood extra guard until the BIG tow truck came. Does that sound like an incredible Hollywood setup or what? I love it when real things happen that make you say, "There, it does happen once in a while so why couldn't it happen in a movie and be believable?" I mean, c'mon. I'm looking right out my front window and I'm thinking....It's too much, right? It feels forced. No one would buy this just happening. People will roll their eyes. Thank you, but I have no future dates coming up at the Ha Ha Hole on Pico.

Alright, so now the maskses are off and we turn up the volume on the weekend! Well, there's an air of mystery present to the weekend and I may answer her call. I will put the word weekend in every sentence. The serial gambler knows no greater bounty than that put before him on an autumn weekend. I won't tell you that everybody's workin' for the

Sunday, September 24, 2006

You suck out the poison

Let's see who comes knocking with a brand new crescent on the reads here Strength but I cut the deck a second time, kinda cheated. Poison finds a way to present itself at indiscreet times. There’s a black widow nesting just a few feet outside the doorway. Must I kill it? She’s perilously close to dog level and who knows what manner of travel whims influence the deadly arachnids? I can’t find enough reason to live with a completely unpredictable, venom-filled assassin in a common environment where rehabilitation is not an option. Still, I’ve lived with her here for three days and have yet to act. I don’t take this lightly.
Fighting to live is a difficult situation and poison finds a way to give us a glimpse of hell or at least torture. I can still feel the black rot trickling through my cables and the dizziness comes and goes now and again. My defenses are weakened and take time to smother the invaders that contaminate my system. I pray that a long sleep may come my way but I would like to be awake and fresh on Monday night when the Falcons play the Saints in the Superdome which is where the Saints of football play but not for over a year because of the hurricane. The antidote is tenderness. I’ve gone to a strange place and I feel like I’ve come back to not-so Funkytown which buffaloes me in ways that are hard to fathom. A strong heart is needed to beat poison.

Just make it good. Why does that make my head throb and a word like... stymied comes from some recessed hole like a black spider and paralyzes me as if there were real venom involved.
I have two skulls framing my screen and they demand so much from me. The deep holes that once contained eyes that absorbed a lifetime twice over, perhaps filled with toil and torment, maybe fulfilled and loved, or just lost and hungry for my soul.
I've got to be honest here, that got a little weird, sort of not what I intended and I could feel it going away and yet... felt... powerless.
Harumph. Halloween is coming a little early this year? Let the fright parade begin only his time I'm Joan Crawford to the leering Baby Jane. I hate it this way.
Nevertheless, I shall persevere and I shall return to some state of glory, only to surpass that. Der Zorn Gottes!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Equal Night = Equinox

Let's go, brother Help me get to Easy Street or Sloppy Joe's will do jes' fine, thanky. Spitooo! The belly does not cry in the night but there are rumblings and even a stone cutter can land a society dame here and there or anywhere...
Those words came to attach to a separate entity that lurks beneath my surface. I saved this for myself

celebrate success
try the next combination
to differ the same

I guess that's where it is. But let's turn the inner eye and rewind to just a few nights ago...

Easing down on myself
Having ground my own gears
I'll try the easy winds
That were always under me

I demand that everyone celebrate some bit of good fortune and overdo it a little because it's been a while and you've earned it. Go on. Goon.
Reverse the tides unless you like them the way they are and carry on, my wayward son, but forget about any peace bullshit.
I get a kick out of daring myself to myself.
Two skulls are better than one.
Wayward ain't so bad. You get used to it.
Cooler weather comes yet again at the arranged time which hints that perhaps some intelligent kind of design type deal planned this because coincidence is limited to a couple of times in life and it's like you'd say, "Well, what if the Dodgers were behind with first place on the line and were down by four in the bottom of the ninth? They could just hit four home runs in a row and tie the game. Then, if the other team went ahead in the tenth by a run, the Dodgers could just hit a two-run homer in the bottom half to win it." Sure. That happened last night, by the way, so anything can and does happen.
Don't pull that trigger 'cuz you ain't seen everything yet.
I did see a man eat his own head the other day.
With temperance as the watchword, much nicer than forbearance, I must say, I shall start a fresh chum line in an attempt to land a fish to give the taxidermy man a heart attack. Let 'em Google that. I just want someone to swallow me whole.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Behind the Screams

Sorry, folks. The political blather that was here before looked so tired I just had to get rid of it. Sorry for the inconvenience but who said I knew what I was doing? Well, who? Just go out and have fun for cryin' out loud and reap the whirlwind. Accept luck if it's offered and don't piss in the wind. But enough benevolence, I am sometimes so generous that I run out of time for myself. Ask anyone and they will tell you that Tony the Bold is a river to his people. Does this sound like a poor man?!
Anyway, here are a few photos showing the lighter side of The Crass Menagerie as we had a little fun before this posting went into production. We were worried that the public at large might not understand the process of putting the finishing touches on something that will only exist in electronic surreal limbo. Every idea gets bounced off a few skulls and then if it passes the test we inflate it to hilarious proportions or it could be a philosophical concept that we flesh out together and see if we can generate some dialogue among the higher minds and get this party to the peak that everyone enjoys the most, right?
I happened to notice that the autumnal equinox takes place on the 23rd in the east but it occurs on a more civilized 22nd here in the west. Hey, that's the time the sun picked to cross the equator so don't whine if your radio stations start with W.
What does Walter gain from the sphere of knowledge? Is this pursuit a noble thing or a vane folly? Is it polite to end with a question?

No, you are my guests.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Miss Jean-Louise, stand up.....

I knew (I suppose) that this day would come but I had no idea it would ever take this long to get here, basically the last third of my life. The Atlanta Braves have officially been eliminated from contention for the National League East pennant. I've been trying to gauge my feelings and pay this the proper respect but I can't get around the mountain. Just trying to pick out a few memories proved impossible but maybe I can slam it all in to one lightning round:
1991 started with a rainout that I sat through while trying to get over the flu and then I came the next afternoon to see us get beaten by the Dodgers, the All-Star Break came and the Braves were nine and half games behind L.A. in the then National League West but the pitching nucleus came together and the run was on, Terry Pendleton was MVP and won the batting title, the city went tomahawk crazy, playoff tickets were impossible to get, I watched a game in a hotel room in West Palm Beach, Florida in September and we went down 5-0 in the first inning to Cincy but we rallied and won it on a Justice homer off Dibble in the ninth, an incredible call by Skip Caray, attending the final games against Houston and watching the last out made on Saturday afternoon and then turning to watch the end of the Dodgers game on the jumbotron in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium as the Dodgers went down to the Giants which gave the Braves the division title, drinking champagne on my front porch on Myrtle Street that crisp afternoon, some of the finest fall days and the sharpest October weather I can ever remember, the rally house, the rally dog, Sheep-Nok-A-Homa, dueling the Pirates and Steve Avery winning two 1-0 games, game seven victory and tequila fuelled party at my place, entire Braves team autographs my naked body in colorful magic-marker while I'm passed out after post game revelry, Greg Olson signs me three times, the greatest World Series ever, to the tenth inning of game seven and we settle for almost, 1992 and we play like the defending N.L. champs, Otis and "the catch", seven with Pittsburgh again but the final in ATL this time and I attend with Erin Mohan, erupting with the rest of the stadium as Barry Bonds' undoctored arm couldn't beat the reconstructed knees of Sid Bream to the plate, BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN!......BRAVES WIN!
I also recall watching the black ball of Ed Sprague sail over the wall, just to the left of where I was sitting, in game two of the World Series and a home split with Toronto instead of a 2-0 lead, holding game seven tickets but watching in the kitchen of 1266 North Highland Avenue as Otis Nixon was out by an eyelash trying to beat out a bunt with the tying run (Jeff Blauser {the Fonz: Henry Winkler}) charging home from third in game six, tears stinging my face as the Goodyear blimp buzzed directly over the house on its way to the next big event just an hour after the final out, 1993 and the greatest division race since the leagues were split in '69, trailing the Giants by seven and a half in early August, attending a three game sweep in Candlestick Park with Glavine, Maddux, and Avery doing the pitching and McGriff and Justice scalding the ball, the last day of the regular season and the Braves win 104 games to Frisco's 103, amazing, losing to Philly in a stunner, the lost '94, finally in the N.L. East and first in the division for years to come, the mechanical precision of 1995, watching game six of the World Series at my own Halloween party at 1112 Hudson Street in Virginia Highlands, Marquis Grissom squeezing the last out and the Atlanta Braves were World Champions.
1996 was one of the great disappointments of my life, not just my sports life, I attended every playoff game that year, watched as we faced elimination twice in games six and seven against the Cardinals, the former a nail-biter, the latter a laugher, 15-2, winning the first two games at Yankee stadium and looking invincible, Andruw Jones homering twice in game one at age nineteen, looking good in game four until Mark Wohlers underhand-tosses it to Jim Leyritz who couldn't hit Bobby Cox's fastball, saying goodbye to AFC Stadium as John Smoltz lost to Roger Clemens 1-0, standing there at my seat in the last row of the upper deck and looking at the near complete Turner Field from the converted Atlanta Olympic Stadium across the street newly named Hank Aaron Drive, standing there 'til they told me to leave, multiple experiences at Turner Field and many great games and the great 1999 NLCS when we sent the Mets home crying, watching game four of the World Series at 7-B in the East Village as the Yankees swept us out and one of the great over-achieving runs in history still goes overlooked, incredible teams with incredible class and heart this decade but way too many teams celebrating on our field, building on Jeff Francouer and Brian McCann and Adam LaRoche and Chuck James and old Andruw who will turn thirty early next season. The Braves had my love before the run but now I've gotten more joy out of my team than I would've thought possible in ten lifetimes. What an incredible ride this has been. I still can't see the whole thing at once, it won't fit on my screen. Where were you in 1991?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's already yesterday

Step right up and deliver us from stagnation in a time of rapid transit that passes me by; a low steady rumble on the 2 freeway a constant reminder and protector from the less enlightened.
OK, let's slow that way down.
Dominique Wilkins was inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend and I hope Atlanta really appreciates him for all he gave the city. I pull for the Hawks with all I've got (I paid $100 to see them play the Lakers here this year when I couldn't afford imported beer) but they've sucked away all my well wishes ever since they hung up number 21. Back in the '80's we literally sang his praises, writing songs for our mighty warriors in red, white, and gold (see comments). The greatest game I ever watched was the game seven duel in the Boston Garden in 1987 when Dominique, se magnifique, went head to head with Larry Bird and scored 47 but the Hawks came up just short at the buzzer. A lot of people I know, not just Atlanta fans, say that was one of the greatest games in the history of the league. I hate to give him any space here because I detest his work with the Yankees but in those days John Sterling was the voice of the Hawks and I listened to his descriptions of the mighty 'Nique in the glory days. The man who gave us El Nique-O (which I called him on in a bar once and he accepted it) once noted during a broadcast, "There's only one word to describe Dominique: indefatigable!" I rarely missed a playoff game in those days and screamed my head off in the old Omni which I can't believe I miss but Phillips Arena doesn't have any soul at all which is sad because it's a great building but it feels flat inside. Back in the days of 'Nique and Tree Rollins and Doc Rivers and Randy Wittman and Spud Webb and Cliff Levingston and Antoine Carr and Kevin Willis, that crusty old building would boil and tremble at the height of springtime, when the Celtics and the Pistons and the Pacers and the Bucks would dance the dance in the richest era of the game, by far. I wish I could have been in Springfield, Mass. the other night to cheer for number 21 one more time.
"Bernstein, am I a stuffed shirt?" asked Jed Leland those many black and white years ago. Sometimes I feel like I saw where the whipping post used to be but maybe suffering is a personal experience that no one could truly compare with another. You know, like with weaker humans than my own self. Galactus would compare them to ants and the comparison holds some wisdom. I mean, come on, we all heed the voice of Galactus.
Through it all the bright eyes of Walter probe me in ways that I cannot describe. He scans me but for now mine is the superior intellect. In my infinite wisdom I play a game and allow him to live under the illusion of rank. I'm such a nice guy.
Oh, and the Hawks beat the Lakers this year, by the way.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Maybe I'm Johnny Utah, Miss Lane

Here is a last look for a little while at Laveta Terrace and the lunatic fringe which currently has openings for a premium initiation fee, worth every penny. My labours afford me a special otherness today and I allow the festive spirit to boggle over into the mundane and the ordinary seems extra ordinary. On this day the higher force has placed me back in Silver Lake in Bob's Bunker, built beguilingly into the hillside across from Highway 2 at the freeway's very inception. Still, plentiful California greenery creates a scene of great beauty and the hum of traffic is soon lost on thoughts of whimsy in the mighty sunlight which rains straight down to the very base of our canyons at the height of day but we are shielded in the cavity, Walter and I, and watch from the shade as the foliage gently fans and I think about future days when I'll pursue physical exploits beyond the muddled. Bah! Today can still find its greatness.
Today I feel the Crush of Labours
I must wander in the desert to find the way
Back to the Promised Land
Which requires that you get your ass up in 'em woods
Oh, we'll take your money
The winding path has crested
A dark valley full of mystery and promise waits below
Tomorrow's light will reveal honesty and intent
Seeking something close to purity
Ready to leap into virgin folds of intrigue
Without a parachute
Just catch the guy that jumped out before you
That be the way of the American Adventurer
The Republican American Adventurer

They say the Good Times will Roll if you get in a Groove so I'm gonna stop fighting it and see what's in the dark valley that starts to feel like ... I do wanna go. Teach me the easy way because I wandered from the path that I had trusted but got tricked into slavery and now I prepare for my new face on the west coast. Just wait 'til these legs can carry my new face somewhere. That will be special.
The sun starts to lose a little of its nuclear intensity and the light takes on a gold tinge that hints of something potentially sublime or just outright lime.
Twilight of Labours and the last rays clip the hilltops across the highway to the west and the mercury eases down the tube to a respectable pressure which every one can enjoy. I live in the cradle of the mountains
The ocean lingers on an aroma, alive
Perfume and shampoo, skin softener and oils, all out there, somewhere through the thicket
Possibility awaits the earnest

Some ghosts are still left in the night
The ghosts of a dying season
In a few weeks they'll be gone til next July
Replaced by different spirits
That fit other parts of the mind
Shorter days affect the outcome
So proceed with caution

The first walking dream occurred the other night and made me feel fresh in the early afternoon when I assimilated it all, studying my psyche carefully, in spite of the danger, and turning up only dead-end yearning and desire which made me feel like Norman Bates. Maybe I should give myself a break on this one. Maybe.
Regardless, does anyone have regards anymore? They certainly don't seem as freely given in our electronically dependent society. They should shut off the power to the city, except hospitals, airports, etc. maybe three nights a week and we just have to read by candlelight or improvise. Maybe two nights, starting at eleven, or midnight. Hmm.
I, Hatchet Jack, being of sound mind and broke legs, do hereby..... A special no-prize to whomever nails that one.