Saturday, November 29, 2008

old Czech book covers

Rich, detailed, and colorful covers with character, from the 1920's and 1930's, presented by the Smithsonian Institution.

Breathtakingly beautiful.

...with a vagabond nod to
Passy en invierno

Thursday, November 27, 2008

horning in

This just in.

As part of the 25 billion dollar bailout agreement, GM will be required to produce Buicks with an exterior and prominent multi-directional aaOOOga! horn, reverting back to their 1924 model(as showcased in the photo below by 'Bud' Coolidge, founding member and president of the American Association of Aaooogas).
When asked about the updated design, rated at 210 decibels with enough force to raise one doubtful eye brow on Nancy Pelosi at a mean distance of 300 feet, AAA spokesman, Arnie Catchatorie, responded by yelling astonishingly,
"Could you repeat the question, young man, I have ringing in my ears!" Not waiting for any more questions, he hurriedly mounted a motor scooter without a horn and sputtered away in the direction of Canada laughing hysterically, twenty dollar bills escaping from his trouser back pockets, floating in the wind like wayward magic carpets.

The White House had no comment. They were feverishly sealing packing crates with duct tape. President-elect Obama could also not be reached for he was playing basketball, swishing amazing shots from the base line, arcing in slow motion almost from behind the backboard.

More updates as warranted.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


for the good of all men....

in Ireland....

Friday, November 21, 2008

yeah, but will she let me carry her books home

Dear Willow slugged me upside the head with a book while I was lookin' the other way to list my...

Essential Reads in:
~A fourth book of your choice from any genre

Fiction ~
Mother Night
by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
KV's stuff is always great for me. There was never a let down, but this one was the one I just never wanted to end.
To label it an anti-war satire just isn't enough.

Autobiography ~
Ashenden, or The British Agent
by W Somerset Maugham.
As Maugham puts it - fact is a poor story teller.
Maugham's book is based loosely on his stint in The Service in WWI. Although admittedly fiction, Maugham turns monotonous incidents into entertaining stories of espionage.

Non-fiction book ~
How To Win Friends And Influence People
by Dale Carnegie.
Essential alrighty. My Bible. Read. Let it soak in. Repeat.

Time Enough At Last ~
A Hunter's Sketches
by Ivan Turgenev.
A hunter travels the 19th Century Russian countryside, in these vignettes that aroused the shame of serfdom in the author. With humour and realism, Turgenev shows peasants as individual human beings with intellectual and spiritual potentialities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

spirit never dies

A loss of signal recently sent chills through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that the little rover, Spirit, had her wings saturated and weighted in red dust from a violent storm, and that she would be silenced forever.

Behold! On the Second Day, although weakened by the ferocious burden, she responded to commands sent from home and struggles to live.

And it got me to our lives, how the body has an inert strength to heal physically, and that no matter how depressed we get, how far we tumble, we can rise again, dust ourselves off, and although the outlook looks bleak with conflicting signals, our bodies are fortified to heal spiritually.

Depression does always go away. All ways.

Friday, November 14, 2008

7:02pm at 704 Houser St., Queens, NY

"Holy cow there, Edith!"

"What is it, Arrr-chee?"

"Geez, dingbat...can't youse see what time it is there?"


"Geez...leave me alone...bring me a beer...The Andy Griffith Show has started!!"

"Ok, Arrr-chee.."

"Now look what you made me do...I like to whistle da opening theme there...ah, geez..."

"Here's your beer, Ar-chee..."

"Hey, look that Goober...what a yahoo he is...heh heh heh...reminds me of Stretch Cunningham."

"...And there's Aunt Bee, Arrr-chee....reminds me of my Aunt Doris. She was...."

"Stiffle with your Aunt Beets!....I'm trying to watch here...look at Barney...he cracks me up there..."

"He looks hungry....."

"Yeah....bring me a sandwich there Edith...."

Ok, Arrr-chee....but I have a question."

"What is it now, Edith?"

"Why didn't they let him put bullets in his gun?"

"Easy, Edith. Because that there Hollywood was run by Commie Pinkos, but if Charlton Hester there of the ARA...the American Rifle Amalgamation, were still in charge he'd a had a loaded weapon there that's for sure."

"Oh. I thought maybe they didn't want to take any chances and have the gun go off since they had that cute little boy around."

"Naw, Edith......stupid Com-mie Pink-kos....ah geez, bring me a sandwich, huh?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

'til the boys come home

Keep The Home Fires Burning
Music - Ivor Novello
Lyrics - Lena Ford

sung by Cerys Matthews

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Thursday, November 6, 2008

all my love's laughter

Dedicated to all the extraordinary women venturing out of their little blog cabins in the vale from time to time and visit the sketchbook.

A wonderful song just for you, written by Jimmy Webb, and performed by Art Garfunkel.

All My Love's Laughter
All my love's faces
She comes in the morning
Her cloak in her arms
She's following after
The King of all Places
And your tenderest warnin'
Could bruise all her charm

But don't lose your heart
To that beautiful sinner
Who walks without shining a light
She stands in the shade
And the sun is there in her
But you'll never know til it's night

All my love's softness,
All my love's graces
She carries all things
In her tiny white glove
She hides all her lostness
In satins and laces
And everyone says
She's searching for true love

But don't try to hold on
To Satan's proud lady
Who stands with her flock
all alone on the hill
Her stockings are hung
And her eyes are so shady
She's winning, and you never will.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the obama empty suit blues

I got 'em bad. What a sad day yesterday.

So, as always, I turn to the legendary Louis Armstrong & His All Stars whenever I'm down..

Hang in there, my fellow 56 million or so Americans. Conservatism does work, and we'll rise to top one day again once we find a worthy candidate.

Basin Street Blues, Stuttgard, Germany, 1959.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunset Cafe Stomp

a sequel, of sorts, to
it's all true!....

Hemingway, sitting alone by the window with a pile of books in the opposite seat, took the pencil from behind his ear without taking his eyes off the large cafe owner, fat hands clasped behind him, watching three pretty girls in a booth. He wondered if such a large man had the capacity of lust. Dropping the pencil not really caring, he wondered aloud to no one where in the world is Spencer. The large cafe owner wiped his aroused trembling lips with a dirty handkerchief and nodded to the writer. God, I hate this dump.
He gathered up the pencil that had rolled to the marble floor and wrote those five words as his new short story title on a clean lined page from a gift notebook once bundled in delicate white tissue paper tied with blue silk string that Audrey had plucked from the tiny waist of her snug cream colored capris on a lovely rainy day at the old place. It was a mighty good excuse for the white-whiskered man to kiss the cheek of the waif. Spence, Buster, and I applauded politely on that happy day.

Tracy kicked at the black embers on the narrow brick street corner where the Blue Cafe once stood. He looked out amongst the still smoldering ruins shaking his head mournfully, looking at nothing where she once stood. He always did call the place 'her.' Even in the days after she burned and collapsed to the earth. Giving one last angry kick planting a soiled mark on his right shoe, thinking of that horrific phone call giving him the bad news, he turned away and started for the new diggs, the crowded Sunset, to share a bottle with his friend.

I was across the street watching Audrey with her head down crunching dead leaves against the curb under her light step, the reflected sunlight sparking from her silver-studded ear lobes. I'd given her the directions to the new place the day before, just as she had returned to town still carrying her overnight bag, but she looked so lost I went ahead and wrote them out, all right angles, on the back of a yellow envelope. Now she really looked like a lost lamb, but as I started across the street to assist once more, without looking, a car screeched to a stop at my feet and the angry crumpled-face driver thumped the horn like he was proud to have a deluxe accessory and was overjoyed at his first opportunity to try it out. I responded by making a most lovely obscene gesture.

Buster came to the rescue like a hero out of a silent movie. He had been blamed for the fire that destroyed the Blue, but I just know he was not at fault. He might be Mr. Pratfall, but I've never known him to be clumsy. Wearing an over-sized white apron, he had been sweeping the sidewalk at the store front on Audrey's side of the street, and after a few shoulder shrugging words from Ms. Hepburn, he dropped his broom and started to give directions to the Sunset Cafe in a grotesque scene like he was on stage doing a plate spinning routine. Audrey began to laugh hysterically. I smiled watching them as I embraced the driver in a neck lock and was pounding his crumpled face back into a more human-like shape.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mr. Hulot's Holiday

Sometimes, I go beyond loving a film to death, and become just downright fond of a movie.

That is why a smile rolls across my face like the wave washing up on shore to an abandoned rowboat, and the music begins in this Jacques Tati comic masterpiece from 1953.

Tati's Mr. Hulot, a well meaning bumbler, creates havoc at a beach vacation spot accompanied with a pretty blonde, small children, a retired general in perpetual reminiscent mode, et al. in what could almost pass for a silent film. Thankfully it is not, because even an annoying spring door almost becomes a central character. But Hulot is quietly, and oh so politely oblivious to the havoc he creates. Most of the time anyway.

Despite the mischief, somehow, I wish I could vacation and spend time with Monsieur Hulot, that tall gentle man physically graceful as Buster Keaton.
I guess I do every time I watch.


Studs Terkel

The cigar smokin' Chicagoan, radio and tv man, author, conversationalist, and friend to non-famous vagabonds everywhere, has died at the age of 96.

Like Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, who was destined to be wherever a cop was beating up a guy, Studs documented the struggle of ordinary men wherever there was a picket, or a petition to be signed and defended.

11,041 vagabonds plus:
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