Wednesday, December 29, 2010

HELP!

Hello everyone,

I have a recently completed manuscript. It's a work of fiction. It doesn't contain vampires or supernatural elements added to a pre-existing classic. It also doesn't have any conspiracies involving the Catholic Church or anything to do with the phrase “legal thriller”. It's entitled Last Fair Deal. It does have a strong plot and three dimensional characters. None of them are wizards though. I understand that it may be impossible to publish a novel without these things, but if you or anyone you know might be interested in publishing such an thing, please let me know.

Thanks,

Casey

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

'Round Midnight

My poem 'Round Midnight is now up at Illogical Muse. Check it Out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Modern Times

I watched this the other night because Paulette Goddard reminds me of my Siamese twin that I lost.  



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

door in the floor

On the other side of the door in the floor is a one-legged man. He's serious, or at least he has a serious side. Every time I come by the house, he comes out from under the floor and introduces himself. The last time he told me his name was Doug. Each time it's something different.

Doug is the type to make sure everything except his nose is clean when he's under his man hole cover. Doug offers me a box of day old donuts and a place to sit. He shuffles around the kitchen dragging his plastic and titanium left leg a bit. The slight drag is how I can tell he's tired.

When Doug reaches the edge of the kitchen counter, he turns and comes halfway back to where the open window is letting in the songs of Saturday afternoon. "During the great bloodless revolution," he begins, "I was a colonel in the army. My men and I didn't charge any hills, didn't surprise any enemies."
 
I opened the box of donuts and noticed right off that they all looked flat, as if their jelly insides had been sucked out.

"I lost my leg wrestling a gator on a twenty dollar bet."

The first time we met, Doug had lost the leg to a shark. Over the course of the six months I've known him, his missing limb has been the result of a shark attack, an elephant goring, frostbite, lightning strike. My favorite though, is when he told of how after the revolution, his enemies captured him, tied him to the ground with his left leg exposed. They then let four starving badgers loose, who ripped it off his body. 

My grandmother once advised me to never attack someone's imagination, so I let Doug talk, occasionally throwing donut husks at him when he's not looking.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What Passes.

I decided to clear my head from atop a municipal parking garage. Above the people, above the grimness of reality, I knew I could escape. It was nearing dawn as I climbed the stairwell that smelled of piss, left by various drunkards and bums. I was clutching a half-empty bottle of wine I took from the party. When I reached the top, I took a swig and made my way over to the edge. I peered down, watched the world like a hunchback, as the cops came and went from street to street. I wondered if one of them might be the one who stopped me a few weeks earlier while I was walking these same streets below. He'd asked me what I was doing. “Just walking,” I replied. Then he informed me about the bums who would gladly slit my throat “For a dollar.” “If I only had a dollar,” I'd muttered under my breath.

Deeply rooted in the here and now, I stood quietly and watched the moon disappear. Ah, the mystical moon, Lorca's moon, I mused. The revelations that crept into my mind, like the veils, were long and black. I took a long pull from the bottle and watched the buildings race each other into the sky. From behind and below, I could hear someone beating out rhythms on bucket drums. Whoever it was, they were calling out to the spirits. I glanced up and gazed at the Hotel Florida, with its dark, sad, visage; it stood alone decaying, a forgotten corpse of a time I knew nothing of. As I took another long pull, I turned, studied the lone black car parked behind me, imagining there was a dead man inside it. If there was one, would I report it or just walk away, leaving it for someone else to discover? If the door's unlocked would I search the corpses pockets? I didn't have answers to any of these questions. The situation seemed rife with possibilities and all the potential actions left me feeling morally ambiguous.

Words and tricks have lead me to this place -- left to drift in thoughts and memories -- passing through days and nights, people and places, hoping to transform sweet intentions and bad interpretations into something more meaningful. Standing over a rotting, pointless city, where over the years I've met prophets and con-men, seen visions and horrors. But there has to be something greater than this, I thought. It's like Antonin Artaud once wrote, “It's not possible that in the end the miracle will not occur.”


Friday, December 10, 2010

swiftly goes the reflection

The eye to eye seeing
of me in the midst--
revolution.
You of the past
running, screaming
into the labyrinth.

The bones of images
twisted to form
lyrics to songs
about death and direction.

A captive warrior
becomes a captive audience.
Succumbing to the fracturing
of selves
into multiple millions
with the same functioning organs.
And what can we hope to gain
from trying to comprehend,
infinity being carried on the back of a dust mite.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the things we keep

Despite the importance he placed on objects, the artifacts of his own past, Dr. Thomas Barker kept very few photographs, only seven in all.

The first was of him in a dark suit, starched white shirt -- black bow tie. Next to him is his younger sister, Joanne, in a light colored cotton dress. The photograph is in black and white and he can't remember the color of the dress. The honeysuckle bushes behind he and his sister are in full bloom. It was the day of their older sister, Marianne's, wedding.

Next to it is a photograph of his mother and father on their wedding day. His future parents were both too young to look as defeated as they do in the photo. If Thomas stared at their faces too long, thought about their afflictions and righteous anger, it reminded him of how blind he was to it during their lifetime. And every time he reaches back into the vault, he finds that night forty-one years ago when his mother, for the first and only time in her life, threatened to kill his father. His parents always fought in code, he never understood what his father did to warrant the death threat that night. The reason, the truth, was something his parents would both take to their grave.

On the table next the crystal ashtray he used when he still smoked, and won't part with, is a picture of himself and his wife, Kate posing with their daughter, Carmen in the nursery on the day they brought her home. Their faces wore tight intense smiles, a blend of joy and terror. Two kids running on hopes and adrenalin.

The photo next to it on the same table is of he and Kate with Carmen and their newest addition, Kyle, on his first day home from the hospital. Kate is sitting in the comfortable recliner with newborn in her lap. She is still visibly weary from a difficult birth. His daughter is standing next to her mother, while Dr. Barker stands proudly behind them. Their smiles are all soft and happy, unaware of the alternate reality that was twelve years down the road. The family in this photo would never believe what fortune had waiting for them.

On the book shelf that is to the left of the door, Barker kept a photograph from the year he had his first breakdown. It was Christmas. The last one anyone remembers enjoying all together. For the next eight years the family consciously alternated the suffering. It began with Dr. Barker's Christmas Eve meltdown eight years ago and has continued year after year, with the last being his daughter's cheating boyfriend discovery on Christmas morning. Half way between those incidents was a breast cancer scare. Mrs. Barker found a lump on the 23rd but wouldn't be able to see her doctor until January 4th. The notion of this being the Barker's last Christmas together lived and breathed in the room with the family until it got so tense that everyone went their separate ways after dinner.

The sixth picture in his collection rests in the back corner of a table by the window. When Dr Barker was in an overall better mindset, he would open the blinds of the window and appear to stare out the window. Truth is, he was gazing upon a photo of Bonnie Beachum, a beautiful blond haired teenage girl. Just as Thomas is no longer the boy she fell in love with, Bonnie is no longer the girl he fell in love with, either. He was naïve and seventeen, she was twenty-one, sexual and mysterious. She knew about magic charms and was on the pill. As much as Barker loved that year of his life, the blinds on the window have at least two years worth of dust.

The seventh photo is on his desk, behind and to the left of the phone. It's a self portrait. Every year since he was sixteen years old, he's snapped a self portrait of himself, keeping it only until his next birthday, when he takes a new one. In the early years he'd hold a ceremony, that began with him picking up the photos from the developer, then driving home without opening them. Once he was alone in his office, he'd remove the photo from the envelope. Then he'd remove the framed photo and for a few moments he's compare the two, and make a mental checklist of the facial differences, before discarding last years model.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

love not given lightly

It was love from
one who feared
carbon monoxide.

Suffocation.

Commitment.

She liked the taste of blood on the blade.
Tattooing every obsession upon her canvas--
her page.

The tangible must be remade
It's likeness hidden,
destroyed, or rearranged.

Pure things are
what move through
grasping fingers.

What we chase

What we wish to possess

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dark Was The Night -- Cold Was The Ground

It wasn't the filthiest hotel room I'd ever been in -- wasn't the cleanest either. That distinction is held by the -an eleven story syphilis infected body on deaths door that was located somewhere on the outskirts of Atlanta proper. There were two obese hookers in the lobby watching a 15” TV with rabbit ears, which seemed odd given that the hotel supposedly had cable. The carpeting in the room had at least six visible stains larger than a fist. And I'm pretty sure the one near the window was blood. Later, this spot would make more sense because when I pulled the curtains open to see the view, there were four bullet holes in the Plexiglas. Given that I was on the third floor, my hypothesis wasn't entirely improbable.

I was sitting on the edge of the queen size bed strumming my guitar, trying to get it in tune. The guitar was a beat up Martin D-18 which was left to me by a man named Skeeter Dixon, who I used to play with every Sunday afternoon until he had a stroke. His picking hand was now a slightly curled dead appendage. Between that and his mouth hanging loose and his speech dramatically impaired, Skeeter slid into a deep funk. After he got out of the hospital, everybody came by trying to cheer him up, but his eyes always looked vacant. After a few weeks he stopped letting people come by to visit or play music for him.

His sister and her husband lived across the street and they saw to his needs. One evening when his sister stopped by after work to make him some dinner, she found him sitting in his recliner, lifeless. Blind Willie Johnson was playing on the stereo. Supposedly, he wasn't cold to the touch yet, but he was definitely gone. His sister declined to have an autopsy and the cops and doctors were more than willing to call it natural causes, seeing as he'd just had a significant stroke. More than likely this was the cause, but almost as fast as word got around of Skeeter's passing, rumors started about what actually happened. Before Skeeter was even in the ground most people were convinced that his ex-wife Dora Mae had stopped by and given him a hot shot of heroin to end his misery.

Once I had the guitar sounding the way it should, I began playing Blind Willie's “Dark Was The Night-- Cold Was The Ground.” Somewhere in the midst of it I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror that was mounted above the dresser across from the bed. The dark circles and three days of beard growth were only gentle signs of what I had been through these last few days, months, and years. I smirked a bit then started up playing another Blind Willie tune called “I'm Gonna Run To the City of Refuge.” Running was what I was doing at this point. I don't know if this one bar town in the middle of the desert somewhere between the Arizona border and Los Angeles was a place of refuge, but it was where I needed to be. To fully understand the circumstances it's best to know why I ended up there in the first place.







Friday, November 12, 2010

From Bob Dylan


"A poet to me is someone that wouldn't call themselves a poet"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy (A Review)

Warren Zevon's 1978 album, Excitable Boy, might be one of the best albums to come out in the 1970's. At the very least it's a necessary antithesis to the mellow SoCal sound of The Eagles and Jackson Browne. The songs on the album have all the Zevon trademarks; flair, biting dark humor, and a wonderful collection of antiheroes.

The album opens with “Johnny Strikes Up The Band” which is kind of tribute to Rock N' Roll.

“Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner” is Zevon showing off his intelligence with a dynamic piece of historical fiction that was co-written with David Lindell, an ex-soldier of fortune. The song is a dark ballad about a mercenary seeking revenge against the man who killed him deep in the Congo. “Time, time, time for another peaceful war/ Norway's bravest son/ But time stands still for Roland 'til he evens up the score.” When the now headless Roland finally tracks down his murderer, “Roland aimed his Thompson gun - he didn't say a word/ But he blew Van Owen's body from there to Johannesburg”. Unfortunately for Roland, killing Van Owen doesn't end his torment and his is forced into an afterlife of mercenary work including a strange run in with Patty Hurst.

Next up is the classic tune “Excitable Boy” which in grotesquely humorous tale of a boy and his obsessions.

“Werewolves of London” is Zevon's most famous song. It's also possibly one of the silliest videos ever made. The song is a comedic tale of a stylish werewolf loose in London. He eats beef chow mein, has a tailor, and even drinks pina coladas at Trader Vic's. “ahhhooooo werewolves of London/ Draw blood.”

After the comedy comes the heartbreak. “Accidentally Like a Martyr” is one of Zevon's best songs. “We made mad love/ Shadow love/ Random love/ And abandoned love/ Accidentally like a martyr/ The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder.” The song was notably covered by Bob Dylan and also provided him with the title of his 1997 release Time Out Of Mind.

“Nighttime In The Switching Yards” is Zevon getting down and funky, including a fat bass line and a full-on P-funk guitar riff.

“Veracruz” takes the album in another direction. Opening with the line “I heard Woodrow Wilson's guns”, the song is another piece of historical fiction. The song is about the occupation of Veracruz by the United States military in 1914. President Wilson had ordered the Navy and Marines to take control of the port and city after he received word that Germany was sending weapons to Victorino Huerta, who had taken control of the Mexican Government, much to the displeasure of Wilson. Ironically the arms shipment to Mexico, originated from the Remington Arms company in the United States. The guns and ammunition were shipped from Hamburg, Germany, to Mexico allowing Remington Arms a means of skirting the American arms embargo. Showing yet again, that capitalism always beats out nationalism.

“Tenderness on the Block” is possibly the least interesting song on the album. It's a quick and simple song about a young girl coming of age.

Excitable Boy ends with an anthem and Hunter S. Thompson's theme song, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.” The narrator of the song finds trouble at every turn, whether he's taking home a waitress who happens to be affiliated with the Russians (before the fall of communism), gambling in Havana, or hiding out in Honduras. But like any crafty and desperate man, he keeps going even when he's “stuck between a rock and a hard place/and down on my luck”. He's also smart enough to ask for help when things get truly desperate, “Send lawyers, guns and money/The shit has hit the fan.”


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3 Questions......

 
 Has anyone ever rapped about Curt Flood?




What's more terrifying, a koala mad with blood lust or a clown with a sense of entitlement?




If some may sink and some may float, which would you be?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dempsey and Firpo

The men in the front
have Modigliani eyes.

Brothers or lovers
of
Lunia, Jeanne, Anna.

Two men,
in the guise of pugilists,
try and kill
without being
killed.

Firpo's face,
all angles and bangs
watches the aftermath
of a single blow.

Dempsey in white,
knocked soundly,
over the middle rope
into the arms
of sweaty gentlemen
and the sporting press.

Lights in the distance

Frozen in a moment

In a daze
mistaken for
approaching trains.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

under the big tent

I dream you in silver,
a star in this sideshow.
I dream you giving the whip
to the lion's tamer.

I dream you giving yourself,
but not your soul.
We are like Siamese twins
waltzing across the circus floor.

The clown faced organist
playing the soundtrack
to our secrets and lust games.
I've got promises in my pocket
but no key to open the door.

I've got the trapeze girl's kisses
but my heart isn't hers to adore.

I've got the strongman's threats
but no desire to refuse you.

We are the knife thrower and his exquisite assistant
clinging to the ethereal,
while the bearded lady sings her hymns.

Where are you tonight?
The ringmaster will be here soon
to deliver my fate.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Helter Skelter (1976)

Helter Skelter aired across the United States in 1976, much to morbid fascination of the multitudes. The made for TV film is based on the 1974 book written by chief prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. In the United States, it aired over two nights on CBS. In some countries it was shown, with additional footage, in theaters.

The 1976 film was directed by Tom Gries and stars Steve Railsback as Manson and George DiCenzo as Bugliosi, Nancy Wolfe as Susan Atkins, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre alum, Marilyn Burns as Linda Kasabian. Screenwriter JP Miller would go on to receive an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best TV Feature or Mini-series Teleplay in 1977.

Helter Skelter is based upon the murders committed by the Charles Manson Family in 1969. The best-known victim was actress Sharon Tate, who was married to director Roman Polanski, and pregnant with the couple first child at the time of her murder. The title was taken from the Beatles' song of the same name which appeared on the bands eponymous titled ninth album, which is more famously known as the “White Album”, that was released in 1968. It was revealed during the trial that Manson used the term, “Helter Skelter”, for the race war he envisioned, and the words had been scrawled in blood on the refrigerator door at the house of one of the victims. Many stories have circulated over the last forty years about how Manson had used LSD and repeated playings of the song to brainwash members of the family.

The film suffers from the same things that most made-for-TV productions do. And the hokey opening in which the narrator speaks directly to the viewers at home doesn't help. What does engage the audience is the strong performances by Steve Railsback and Nancy Wolfe. Railsback is electrifying as Charles Manson, especially in the courtroom scenes in the second half of the film. He manages to channel Manson's manic energy and crazy outlandishness with a terrifying accuracy, that leaves the viewer wondering about Railsback's own mental stability.

Wolfe's performance as Susan Atkins also contains the same kind of intensity but unlike Railsback's/Manson's mania, Wolfe's, Atkins has the cold, unsympathetic, matter-of-fact demeanor of a true psychopath.

Both the book and the film Helter Skelter are sensational examinations of the brutal and vicious crimes that still fascinate and hold our attention forty years later. They provide us with an up close and personal look at the murders that came at the tail end of the peace and love 1960's. For many, the murders are a fitting end to a turbulent decade that despite all its idealism, will always be marred by the violence of the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X, as well as the horror of the Vietnam war.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Irreversible: A Review

Gaspar Noé's film Irreversible was one of the most discussed and debated films to come out in the last decade. The film stars Monica Bellucci (Malena) as Alex, and Vincent Cassel (Ocean's Twelve, La Heine ) as a couple that is about to be doomed by irreversible acts of violence. Noé, wrote, directed, photographed and edited the entire film himself.

The film is told in a non-linear narrative style and opens with disorienting and shaky camera angles and movements. Then we see two men talking in a small apartment suite. One of them is the "Butcher", the protagonist of Noé's film, I Stand Alone. Their conversation is interrupted by the noise coming from street below where a homosexual S&M nightclub called "The Rectum" is located.

Marcus (Cassel) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel), are removed from the nightclub by the police. Marcus is on a stretcher and Pierre is in handcuffs. Earlier Marcus and Pierre arrived at the club in a frantic search for somebody nicknamed "the Tapeworm". Marcus finds who he believes to be the man and attacks him. The man breaks Marcus' arm then attempts to rape him. Pierre rescues Marcus brutally crushing the man's skull with a fire extinguisher. It is revealed that this run in was all for nothing because Marcus and Pierre attacked the wrong man.

Marcus and Pierre went in search of “the Tapeworm”, seeking revenge after they discover that he was responsible for anally raping Marcus's girlfriend Alex (Bellucci), and placing her in a coma by beating her severely in a pedestrian underpass. It was rumored that after this scene, which was shot in a single take with one camera and in real time, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival many members of the audience were so outraged they stormed out in disgust. It was even rumored that some were crying or near vomiting.

If the viewer is able to make it through the terrible violence of the first half of the film then one is treated to an equally painful but beautifully told love story. The penultimate scene being when Alex reveals to Marcus that she is pregnant while the two are lying in bed together. Just before this, we see Alex, alone looking at the results of a home pregnancy test that confirms she is now carrying a child. She is then shown sitting on the bed clothed, with her hand on her belly. A poster for Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey, with the tag line "The Ultimate Trip", is on the wall behind her. The final scene of the film shows Alex in a park reading An Experiment with Time by John William Dunne, while Beethoven's 7th Symphony is heard in the background. The film dissolves into more disorienting camera techniques until the final title card appears, which reads: "Time Destroys Everything" which is a phrase uttered in the film's first scene by one of the men in the apartment.

Despite being painful to watch the film does engage the viewer both viscerally and intellectually in a way that very few films ever have. Most of the audience is split as to whether or not they like or dislike the film despite the fact that it Bronze Horse" award at the Stockholm Film Festival and competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

From Ray Bradbury

If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From Roald Dahl

I don't care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Passion of Joan of Arc (Pt 1)

For the next eight days I will be posting Carl Theodor Dreyer's masterpiece, Passion of Joan of Arc, starring Maria Falconetti as Joan. The film is a beautifully shot and devastatingly powerful work of art. I hope you enjoy. 


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dryer's Passion of Joan of Arc

Beginning Monday 10-18-10, I will be posting Carl Theodor Dryer's masterpiece, Passion of Joan of Arc. The devastatingly powerful film, stars Maria Falconetti  who gives what could be considered one of the most passionate performances in the history of cinema.  


Thursday, October 14, 2010

From Ernest Hemingway

What a writer has to do is write what hasn't been written before or beat dead men at what they've done.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From Kurt Vonnegut

I think I succeeded as a writer because I did not come out of an English department. I used to write in the chemistry department. And I wrote some good stuff. If I had been in the English department, the prof would have looked at my short stories, congratulated me on my talent, and then showed me how Joyce or Hemingway handled the same elements of the short story. The prof would have placed me in competition with the greatest writers of all time, and that would have ended my writing career.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cincinnati Reds All-Time Home Run Leaders

The Cincinnati Reds baseball club originated in 1882 as the Cincinnati Red Stockings In 1890 they settled on the “Reds”, though they used the name "Redlegs" for part of the 1950s to avoid any perceived association with Communism. The Reds have a long successful history and many of the games best hitters have worn the uniform including Pete Rose, Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench, and Ken Griffey Jr. The most famous era of Cincinnati Reds baseball would have to be the years of the “Big Red Machine” which lasted from 1970 to 1976. The years of the “Big Red Machine” also produced two of the top five all time home runs leaders in Reds history.

Ted Kluszewski is number five on the list with 251 home runs. Kluszewski was born in Argo, Illinois in 1924. "Big Klu"was a career .298 hitter with 279 home runs and 1028 RBI in 1718 games. In ten of his fifteen seasons, Kluszewski walked (492) more often than he struck out (365). In 1955, he hit 47 homers while striking out only 40 times. No player since him has hit 40 homers and struck out 40 or fewer times in the same season.

Coming in at number 4 and the only active player on this list is Adam Dunn with 270 home runs hit while playing for the Reds. Despite a high strike out rate, “The Big Donkey” is one of the most consitant power hitters in the game today. On July 4, 2009 Dunn became the 123 player to hit 300 home runs for his career.

Tony Perez and his 287 home runs are number three on the list. Perez was a key member of the “Big Red Machine” in the 1970's and after his playing days ended he went on to manage the Reds in 1993. In 1998 Perez was elected to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, but the greatest honor would come in 2000 when The MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown opened its doors to him.

In at number two is possibly one of the top players in Major League history. Frank Robinson hit 324 home runs as a member of the Reds between 1956 and 1965. Robinson is the only player in history to win the MVP award in both the National Leage (Reds in 1961) and American League (Orioles in 1966). He also voted Rookie of The Year in 1956 and won a triple crown in 1966. In 1975, Robinson became the first African-American manager in Major League history. In 1978 Frank Robinson was elected into both the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. Then in 1982 he was elected into The Major league Baseball Hall of Fame.

Johnny Bench, arguably one of the best catchers to ever play the game, comes in at number one with 389 career home runs as a Red. Bench was another member of the feared “Big Red Machine”, who played with the Reds from 1967 to 1983. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1968, and was voted NL MVP in 1970 and 1972. In 1986 Bench was elected to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, followed three years later by his induction into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1989.

The Cincinnati Reds have had many great hitters over the years and with the likes of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce currently playing for the team, the future looks as bright as the past.

Monday, October 11, 2010

St Louis Cardinals All-Time Winningest Pitchers


The St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization is second to the New York Yankees in regards to consistently producing winning teams. The Cardinals long, storied history is predominately known for the hitters and fielders that have worn the uniform with the likes of Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, and Albert Pujols being the big names. What has been generally overlooked is the excellent pitching that has helped the Cardinals win 10 World Series titles, 17 National League Pennants, and 11 Divison Titles.

Coming in at number five on the St Louis Cardinals all times win list with 144 is Bill Doak. Doak was born January 28, 1891, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He played 11 years with the St. Louis Cardinals and is among the Cardinals' top ten in eight pitching categories, with his 32 shutouts second behind Bob Gibson.

Bill Sherdel is 4th on the list with 153 wins. Sherdel was a tough left-handed pitcher that played fifteen seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Braves. Besides ranking 4th in wins, Sherdel is 3rd in games pitched (465), 4th in innings pitched (2450.7), 5th in games started (242), 8th in complete games (144), in Cardinals franchise history.

3rd on the Cardinals all-time wins list is Bob Forsch with 163 wins. In a 16-season career, Forsch is one of the very few pitchers, and the only Cardinal, to throw more than one no-hitter. The first came against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1978, and the second happened in 1983 against the Montreal Expos.

Jesse Haines ranks 2nd on the Cardinals all-time wins list. Haines born in Clayton, Ohio in 1893 and pitched for the Cardinals from 1920 to 1937. He retired from the Cardinals in 1937 with 210 wins. He is also the first Cardinal pitchers to toss a no hitter when he blanked the Boston Braves in 1924.
Haines was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970.

With 251 wins, Bob Gibson is first on the all time St. Louis Cardinals wins list. From 1963-1970 Gibson was quite possibly the most dominating pitcher in the game, posting a record of 156-81 during that span. Gibson was also awarded, Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1970, World Series MVP Awards in 1964 and 1967 and 8 Gold Glove Awards.

1968 was the year of Bob Gibson. He would finish the season with an incredible 1.12 ERA, 13 shutouts, and at one point a streak of 47 consecutive scoreless innings. Due to a weak Cardinals offense that season he would only post a 22-9 record, losing five 1-0 decisions. The Cardinals would go on to face the Detroit Tigers in the 1968 World Series. In Game 1 of the series, Gibson struck out 17 Tigers, setting a World Series single game record that has yet to be broken. The Cardinals would unfortunately go on to lose the Series 4 games to 3.

In 1981 Bob Gibson had his #45 retired by the St. Louis Cardinals which coincided with his election to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

The tradition of solid pitching in St Louis continues on into the 21st century with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright who each have a strong shot at breaking the top five wins list before their careers are over.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

From Harper Lee

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.


Monday, October 4, 2010

the hobo got too high and other adventures

A NEW VIDEO FROM THE ALBUM
THE MARCH OF THE TONGUE BRIGADE
BY
CASEY MENSING WITH JUBANO!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

memories are smoking guns

Memories are smoking guns
In the hands of girls
with black painted nails
and curse words on their lips.

Investigating the organs
and what makes
the heart
thump
with such violence.

The sharp insistent pain
of electricity coursing

assaulting,
violating, all sensation.

She offers a glance
steps toward,

gets close enough
that we
almost
graze lips.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

From Roberto Bolano

I can be a clown to my readers, if I damn well please, but never to the powerful. It sounds bit melodramtic. it sounds like the statement of an honest whore. But in short, that's how it is.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ride Lonesome: Review

Ride Lonesome was released in 1959 by Columbia Pictures. The film is the fifth in director Budd Boetticher's "Ranown" westerns cycle. Like the other “Ranown” westerns in the cycle, this film stars Randolph Scott (The Tall T, Ride The High Country). Costarring are James Best (Dukes of Hazzard) and Lee Van Cleef (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly). The series began with Seven Men From Now (1956) and ended with Comanche Station in (1960). All the films in the cycle were produced by Randolph Scott and Harry Joe Brown and distributed by Columbia Pictures.

As with the other films in this popular and influential series, the theme of man's isolation in a brutal, unforgiving, and at times absurdly cruel reality is at the center. Despite the fact that these films were low budget B-movie Westerns, they are regarded by many critics as being comparable to the great works of existential writers or the epic narratives of the bible. And can be seen as an influence on the westerns to come. Including Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns, to the more recent existential western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007).

The film stars Randolph Scott as bounty hunter Ben Brigade. Brigade captures wanted outlaw Billy John (James Best), who warns Brigade and anyone who'll listen that his brother Frank (Lee Van Cleef) will never allow him to remain a prisoner of Brigade's, or to keep his date with the gallows in Santa Cruz. But Brigade doesn't just want to bring Billy John in for reasons of justice and reward, he's also got a score to settle with Frank.

With the journey to bring Billy John to justice underway, Brigade stops at a staging post, where he saves the manager's wife, Carrie Lane (Karen Steele), from an Indian attack, and enlists the help of two outlaw gunmen Sam Boone (Pernell Roberts) and his friend Whit (James Coburn), in his big screen debut, to continue the journey; hoping there will be safety in numbers. Brigade knows that the reward on Billy John's head is the real motive behind Sam's and Whit's arrival, and that outlaw leader Frank won't be far behind. As the Indian attacks persist, the outlaws plan to take Billy for themselves. But the man of action Ben Brigade has plans of his own . . .

Boetticher cinematic style reaches its fullest potential in Ride Lonesome. His use of long single shots for many of the traveling sequences adds to the dramatic effect and gives the film a sense of endlessness, as if time now stands still and all those involved in this journey are trapped in dismal purgatory.

All the films in the cycle can be found in the Budd Boetticher boxed set.






Thursday, September 2, 2010

a last one

Did Donald Sutherland ever play Kafka?”
Anne asked, as she put on her coat.

“Not yet,”
I replied. 

We'd had a million conversations that 
began or drifted or paused. 

Then we had a last one.

Monday, August 30, 2010

ask me now

It's a fatalistic view
of a bygone era.

Cigarettes
Neckties

Miles Davis blues.

It's a hand in an elegant glove

Discretion

Gentle kisses on ear lobes

Whiskey neat

Blackouts

The fear . . . the fear . . . the fear

Old atomic age

Teen rebellion

A call for a simpler time, place, and way.

Daydreams of
chasing hobo ghost trains.

Friday, August 27, 2010

but the view is nice

Tall standing,
upright.
Charlatans
dream of high times
fair games.

Sun has set
Song turns in a verse
Plot is lost
One is left
alone in the square

Now you're a
high class
sideshow
freak.

And it's that sensation,
the one you can't
put your finger on,

or even wish to consider

contemplating.

Tightness,
heavy and weary.

Your heart feels more like
a clenched fist
that wishes
it did not
exist.

From between your teeth,
tongue
picks out
the remains of what
you held back

and will be forced to swallow,

again
and
again
and

again until nothing of that life
remains.









Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough: A Review

We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough is Mike Young's most recent book. His first, Look! Look! Feathers was published in 2010 by Word Riot Press.

In the poem “Money”, Young states “They know that being amusing is good because it makes you feel good and feeling is everything...” This line best summarizes the poems in We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough. There is a sly, yet comfortably awkward self awareness in these poems. The poems that make up this book are a collection of experiences that anyone can relate to, but what sets them apart from most contemporary poetry is they lack overwhelming self-indulgence. They're also really quite fun to read.

The poems in the book are of their time—the immediate present. The lines flow, the images shift with such fluidity and nonchalance they fit perfectly in the technological daydream we live in. But Young also borrows a style and use of imagery that recalls the cultural heroes of the 50's and 60's. Especially “Mindy the Famous Divebomber Visits the Thrift Store We All Care For”, which reads like a delightfully absurd short film treatment.

This is one of the better collections of poetry I've read this year. Please order your copy of We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough and check out Mike's blog Dragonfly On A Dog Chain.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sympathy for The Devil Review

Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil (1968) was made in the midst of the directors political period that had begun in 1967 with La Chinoise. Besides featuring long takes of the Rolling Stones recording their signature classic “Sympathy for The Devil”, the film is interspersed with scenes of The Black Panthers and other radical political moments that attempt to capture the turmoil and upheaval that was going on around the world in the mid to late 1960's.

The film begins with the title card “The Stones Rolling”. The viewer is given a glimpse of the Rolling Stones loosely jamming through “Sympathy for The Devil”. These scenes are mixed with shots of a girl spray painting slogans on windows and the sides of buildings. The shots of the Stones at work and the Graffiti Girl are tied together by the voice of Sean Lynch reading from various texts that are both erotic and political, much in the same sense that the Rolling Stones recording “Sympathy for The Devil” is; with Mick Jagger being the perfect poster boy for this exploration.

“Outside Black Novel” is the title of the second part. The scene opens with a member of the Black Panther party sitting in a wheelbarrow reading out loud from a book. The wheelbarrow is sitting in a junkyard littered with beat up, rusting cars, that is in an industrial area near a river. As the camera moves from him to other men, we see that all of them are reading from various revolutionary texts, including those of Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), while gearing up for an impending confrontation. Machines guns begin to be distributed as a car pulls up. Inside are three white women who have been taken prisoner. While these women are paraded through the junkyard one of the Black Panthers reads a piece in praise of white women.

“Sights and Sounds”. The return of Sean Lynch and the Rolling Stones.

“All About Eve”. A scene that involves a camera crew following a woman named Eve Democracy (Anne Wiazemsky), in a forest. She's dressed in a simple white peasant's dress. As she strolls around the woods she is being followed by a camera crew and an interviewer. Eve Democracy always answers "yes" or "no" to the questions being asked of her.

“Hi Fiction Science”. The Stones. Graffiti on parked cars. Charlie Watts is a bad ass.

“The Heart of Occident”. This scene takes up one quarter of the film and is shot inside a small bookstore that sells diverse items such as American comic books, Marxist pamphlets, and various men's magazines. Shots of the store are soundtrack by voice-over reading political text, Sean Lynch's continued narration, and The Stones playing Sympathy for The Devil. Alternating shots of the store and consumers casually enter the bookstore, approach a bookshelf, pick up books or magazines, exchange them for a sheet of paper, and then slap the faces of two Maoist hostages. Toward the end of the scene, a small child is admitted for the purpose of buying a pamphlet and slapping the faces of the hostages. This scene is the moment when Godard brings together all his ideas on the political and the erotic.

Mimicking the earlier scene of the camera crew following Eve Democracy is the last scene to the movie, where the camera crew mills about on the beach, and from afar, one man asks another, "what are they doing over there?" To which the other man answers, "I think they are shooting a movie." A large winch or crane is positioned on the beach, and a woman in white is laid down upon the end of the crane, and elevated on the platform until she is well above the beach. She doesn't rise up, she just remains motionless, half-hanging off the crane, one leg dangling.

The end of the film's soundtrack was altered to include a full take of the song in its final form. This angered Godard and caused a dust-up between him and the producer responsible.

During filming of The Rolling Stones' recording, a fire broke out in the sound studio. While footage of the studio on fire was not included on the film, it does exist and has been used in other films.

“Sympathy for The Devil” or “One Plus One” as it is also known, is an example of Godard breaking away from the conventional narrative in his films. He attempts in this film, as well as in 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her and The Weekend, to give scripted scenarios a documentary feel. He also uses these films to make bold philosophical, political, and social statements without coating them in contrived plots and characters. What is also interesting about this film and the others of this era, is that if one watches all of Godard's films prior to this time period, his direction and evolution as a film maker seems to make more sense. Much in the same way that Godard's contemporary, Bob Dylan's evolution as a song writer doesn't seem as jolting or unusual if you study patterns of influence and fascinations beginning with his “Freewheelin'” album.

 
 


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Do Fraggles Know About America Before Moving Here And Then Sending Postcards To Their Nephews?

This piece was written by my good friend Carl Polgar. It was originally posted on his blog Honey Brown Blues.





 This is not a rhetorical question, I’m looking for an answer: What do Fraggles know about America before they move here?

I think conditions in their cave system must be much worse than we can imagine. For example, even if I found a killer job at one of the Doozer’s many construction sites, (and killer jobs are available there,) I think I would first check to see where the Doozers stood on Westerners. If they seemed pretty cool, then I might consider the move. I would not think, “aw, I’m a nice guy, once they get to know me everything’ll be just fine” – because who knows what could happen before they figure out how swell a fellow I am?

NPR reports that Fraggles have been having a hard time dreamsharing in America. Even in 1995, studies showed that over half of the Americans polled believed dreamsharing was anti-American, anti-western, and pro-terrorism. After September 11th, these numbers have grown, obviously.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in support of Fraggles being given a hard time… I just wonder, do they have any idea before they come over here that they aren’t going to be met with overwhelming support? I doubt they do because Enemy Fraggles deep in their own cave system hate America, and have been spreading disinformation for generations to the good Fraggles. As a result, most Fraggles polled distrust Americans more than Americans distrust Fraggles.

Some of things I find most baffling:

1. They chose places like Tennessee. Did no one tell them how many Silly Creatures Of Outer Space live there? Having spent a lot of my life there, I still don’t feel that I can travel through some areas of the state without feeling some anti-Fraggle rhetoric. What makes someone drive through Columbia, Tennessee and say, “looks like as good of a place for a dreamsharing center as any?” All of the complaints mentioned by the man on NPR are for places like Omaha, parts of Iowa, Oklahoma… places that any progressive American would want nothing to do with.

2. Why come to America at all? Since so many in their cave system don’t like us or understand our ways or call us such demeaning names as “Silly Creatures”, why pick America of all places? I don’t know if their news covers it, but certain Americans are throwing quite a fit about a group of Christians immigrating and “taking their jobs” – and these people just happen to be a little darker and speak Spanish, not an entire cultural and Children’s-Television-Workshop-based upheaval.

3. The people who want to be kind and support them are usually not the kind of people a devout and faithful Fraggle would like. They will be the abortion supporters, the homosexuals, and generally sinful. Just coming from my own perspective, if I did believe in dreamsharing, I would want to stay as far away from America as possible. To disparage the President, people claim he is a Gorg. Many Americans believe we are at war with Fraggles, Gorgs, and Doozers. (Which there is an element of truth to, in the sense we never would have been so bold with white Christian puppets.)

In American, there is freedom of religion. There is a separation of church and state. However, I’m sure there aren’t many nations that stay occupied with it less. I have heard my entire life, mostly in the south, that we have lost our way and we need to get back to America’s original Christian values. Many Americans believe that the country was founded by Christians, rather than deist humanists. (Because our education system sucks, another nice thing about America.)

For the record, if there are any Fraggles that read this, I don’t want to deter you. All I am saying is you must realize that it is going to be hard to assimilate into the culture if you move into a place that is 98% Baptist, 75% white, 0% Fraggle and 56% of people suspect you of being a car-bomber in waiting.

There are many places in America that would be a great place to live as a Fraggle, but you should think before you set up housekeeping and build a dreamsharing center. One should check out all the options before making a firm decision on where to spend the rest of their life.

Columbia, Tennessee… Seriously? Not even Marjory The Trash Heap would want to live there.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

each time

It's all a gamble
even when you've rigged the game.

The pacing
that keeps you from sleeping,
more so than the nightmares.

Knee deep
in an inky
midnight sea

we close our eyes
dream

until we feel starry-eyed

weightless.