11,041 vagabonds plus:
a Kerouac prayer
I bless you, all living things
I bless you in the endless past
I bless you in the endless present
I bless you in the endless future,
....and with that, along with fellow-vagabond, Japhy Ryder, a man in search of Solitude and Truth, Ray Smith, the narrator of The Dharma Bums, takes the reader on adventures into the high Sierras, and into isolation in a cabin in the Pacific Northwest above the clouds seeking the Zest of life.
The finest read of my Summer, published a year after On The Road.
It was warm and so perfect after the torrential rains had passed through the previous evening. The winding road surrounded on both sides by overgrown shady elms stretched onwards up and around a steep climb and fell down into the vale. Along the road at one point a hawk swooped down in front of his Ducati almost as if it was an escort. He imagined reaching out and touching it. She will love to hear about this, he thought. His bike came to a screeching halt on Main Street diagonally parked in front of The Coffee House. She was waiting for him sitting by the window at a small table with a light blue checkered tablecloth. She waved and smiled at him.
She was lovelier than a lullaby. Her light skin was the same color as the foam head on her Latte. Messy silky shoulder-length hair seemed darker in contrast to her complexion. Her jean jacket was hanging on the back of the wooden chair she was sitting in and she put her cigarette out. He walked in and hugged her but she was the last to let go. It made him feel taller.
They played their little meeting game. “Nice to meet you,” and “Do you come here often?” as they sat opposite each other at the solitary window table. They looked out as the streetlights flickered on and grew bright quickly. An elderly couple holding hands strolled by on the other side of the street. They stopped and peered into a jewelry shop and their silver hair reflected like a prism in the lit window.
“I’m hungry,” he said happily, looking at her once again.
“Me too,” she replied quietly.
“I want one of everything,” he joked looking at the menu upside-down. “And, I want a side order of burnt toast.”
She laughed with her hand covering her mouth. The waitress smiled but she’d heard it a thousand times.
“I love a good joke,” the waitress deadpanned.
Waiting for the food to arrive he relished in the opportunity to talk to her.
“How have…,” he started, but her cell phone rang. Whoever it was did most of the talking. She was attentive and looked concerned. “Uh huh….yes….I see.” He felt his chance slipping away. He was looking down fumbling with the silverware with his right hand. He counted the water spots on the spoon. He thought, I’d rather count the little freckles and moles on her. He looked around the diner and saw an old man that he thought resembled Ernest Hemingway. The waitress was refilling his coffee cup and he smiled his thanks. When she left, the old man with the white beard reached into jacket and pulled out a small shiny flask, unscrewed it quickly and poured twice into the porcelain cup. He licked his lips.
He felt her fingertips gently touch his left hand. He looked up and she smiled and then made a funny face and chewed on her tongue. He laughed through his nose.
“I’m hungry,” she said, after putting her phone down.
“I am too.”
“What shall we do later?”
“Whatever you’d like. I’m at your service.” And then, “I’ll go shopping with you.”
“I’d love that,” she said.
“I’ll keep an eye on you,” he said mischievously, "sticky fingers."
She turned away from him. Her eyes filled with tears as she looked out the window. Her faced burned. She was silent for a few minutes. He thought, You Bastard, you couldn’t leave it alone, you rotten stinking ignorant peasant.
“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, but she slipped farther away it seemed.
“Do you come here often?,” he asked with no response as he began to panic.
“Please know me,” he whispered.
She looked at him after dabbing her eyes. “No harm done,” she said kindly.
“I’m so hungry.”
“Me too,” she said happily.
But they ate in silence. She really didn’t know him.
When they were done they parted.
Found this on a dusty shelf. I wrote some lines a few years ago to this Café drawing my friend in Paris, Hervé , was so kind(as always) to let me put words to.
soooo excruciatingly dull
Just peeking in at the DNC - Where are the great orators such as Ann Richards and her classic '88 'Poor George' diatribe?
There was Hillary tonight, elevating one octave higher into the paint-peeling zone and. speaking. as. though. each. word. is. followed. by. you. know. what.
And was last night's video tribute to Uncle Teddy produced by a moron!? You open it by showing....water? Water!?
(But it was good to see Sweet Caroline last night in the Convention's one shining moment.
I admit...I've been in love with her for years.)
Dull dull dull dull dull as the accountant laments in the Monty Python sketch I am reminded of...
overheard at the market
"Daddy...why isn't she beeping?"
Small child observing a large lady backing up her grocery cart.
best friend's birthday
Are you like me? When making important choices in your life, do you more often than not make the wrong ones? (Sounds like an infomercial opening, heh? Kind of like hair regrowth. No, I ain't selling nothing.)
Once in a great while something that we really have no control over - love and affection - just happens, and we consider ourselves lucky.
Today's the birthday of the luck of my life - Doris.
Happy Birthday, Dear Doris! Best Wishes from your ol' American Pal.
And you can see the makings of the Big Talent she's become today in this music video when she was just adorable 6.
She sings! She dances! She...sings!
Something gets lost in translation here though. But everyone seems to be having a good time.....
still trying to be like him
Dad's been gone now 33 years, and I still can't say goodbye.
Chet Atkins, who rarely sang, had a wonderful tribute to his father, I Still Can't Say Goodbye.
It's towards the end of my playlist below if you'd like to listen.
Wind blows through the trees
streetlights, they still shine bright
Moon still looks the same
but I miss my dad tonight...
Cinema should make you forget
you are sitting in a theater.
film of the day
The true test of a great film. I watched this sad comedy a week ago tonight, and I am still thinking about it - and I can't wait to see it again.
It's The Station Agent (2003), written and directed by Tom McCarthy, staring Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, and Bobby Cannavale.
A man with a passion for trains and solitude inherits a plot of land with an abandoned train depot. Sounds like paradise, heh? But being a dwarf he obviously attracts attention. He meets, Joe, a brash hot dog vendor desperate for human interaction, and Olivia, a divorced local artist surviving tragedy. Simply put, it's about people and friendships and honestly coming to terms with who they are and what's going on in their lives. The dialogue is sparse it seems, thankfully, with scenes of silent contemplation that moves the film along at an appropriate pace. Only the trains need to speed by.
Amazingly, the day after I saw this film I encountered a dwarf. He was a receptionist in a local engineer's office. I found myself not looking down in embarrassment, nor looking past him.
I admit I needed The Station Agent.
I make no campaign promises...
you. are. there!
You walk through a door and unexpectedly find yourself on a movie sound stage with DeNiro, Streep, Pacino, and Keaton, all dressed in late 19th Century garb.
They all freeze in their tracks, obviously in the middle of a scene, and turn to you. Deniro looks impatient with an upside down smile and exhales through his nose. Streep melts you with a cordial, sympathetic smile. Pacino overacts just clearing his throat. Diane Keaton charms you with a knowing wink.
The director, Francis Ford Coppola, sweating profusely and trembling like an old man, is pointedly gesturing at you to say something. Anything! The film is rolling! Time is money!!!
You take one step forward and say!:
I've read everything now, finally completed on the day I turn 50 -
The Gothic beginning, short fictional slices of life, pointed profiles of the famous, colorful travel sketches, and worldly ventures into journalism
- There's no other author I can say that about.
When Selected Writings arrived in the mail a couple of years ago, I pushed aside a Hemingway I had just started after reading the classic opening paragraph of Breakfast At Tiffany's(also, half a century old, just like me!):
I am always drawn back to places I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods. For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment. It was one room crowded with attic furniture, a sofa and fat chairs upholstered in that itchy, particular red velvet that one associates with hot days on a train. The walls were stucco, and a color rather like tobacco-spit. Everywhere, in the bathroom too, there were prints of Roman ruins freckled brown with age. The single window looked out on a fire escape. Even so, my spirits heightened whenever I felt in my pocket the key to this apartment; with all its gloom, it was still a place of my own, the first, and my books were there, and jars of pencils to sharpen, everything I needed, so I felt, to become the writer I wanted to be.And, from there, I thumbed my way onto a memorable ride.
Remember a time when Saturday morning cartoons were over and the old Cap'n Crunch was starting to backup and you were ready to snap off the TV and head outside to play and this post-adolescent brainy show was just starting?
SCTV does their take on it.
Something goes wrong.
poem of the day
Crossing The Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Lord Alfred Tennyson (1889)
Imagine hearing the thunder and splashing as you're across the street watching this vagabond singing in the rain. Go!
"Before you get rollin', your life makes a beeline for the drain."
From John Huston's Fat City(1972), with Stacy Keach as a boxer on the skids, Jeff Bridges as a boxer on the rise, and Nicholas Colasanto, the trainer. A film about the lonely, and their limited expectations. A great film. Here's the first five minutes.......
my summer vacation
And oh what a time it was!
Well, my old college Professor, a Professor Frink, had 2 tickets for the Krustylu Studios tour, but was called away to Las Vegas on a very urgent mission to assist his mentor and benefactor, Jerry Lewis, being held in solitary confinement after getting hauled to jail for trying to smuggle his 'koisen claven'(?) onto a passenger airline.
After a three and a half hour phone call with the good professor, I suddenly deduced he was offering up the tour tickets to me! Woo Hoo!
So, I took my dog, who was a big fan of Itchy.
I'm sorry, no cameras are allowed onto the studio lot, so the photo above was taken by a passerby. A fine young man, except he yelled HAAAha, dropped my camera, and ran. Police Chief Wiggums, moonlighting as Head Security, apparently was startled and fired seven shots into the camera after yelling 'halt!'
And here I just bought that Polaroid Land Camera out of the trunk of Fat Tony's car. "The latest craze," he tells me.
Now it looks like a busted accordion. Sounding better than an accordion, it went "vvvvvvvvvvpft," and spit out that one and only photo.
But....we had a grand time. Surprisingly, even though appearing sliced into many sections and scattered while shooting on Stage 2, we found Scratchy to be more personable. Itchy seemed more standoffish and refuse to autograph an 8 by 10 glossy. You just can never tell. Sideshow Mel had only one good story to tell about his rise to fame, but his flowery voice had the opposite effect and my dog just yawned. Krusty, the tour guide to his own office suite in the basement, seemed to bore easily. That is, until my dog jumped up on him and started to lick his scar. While the two were bonding I took the liberty during the diversion to unfold a resume from my back pocket and place it on a stack of photos of nude women on Krusty's desk.
Short story: I start work Monday next as Herschel Krustofsky's head joke writer.
Oh the irony. While visiting over on Stage 3, we watched for a few minutes as they had open auditions for the lead role in The Jerry Lewis Story! A Hans Moleman was doing a "Hey, LAY-dee" soliloquy, but something was seriously missing. One humorous note: A large 2 ton spotlight fell during his performance and crushed the little feller to death.
A tour that you and your favorite pet will enjoy!
All original designs and text created by the author of this blog, Phil L., are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike3.0 License. All other materials remain the property of their respective owners and/or creators, unless of course they are part of the public domain.