JACK, WE HARDLY KNEW YE
november 22, 2002
I just realized that tomorrow is the 22nd of November. On November 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy was put to death before the eye of the world. I was ten years old at the time. Like many people, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard this news. I realize that a fairly lightweight little bulletin that reaches a number of people comparable to that of a small Baptist church in Kentucky or a reasonably full Airbus is hardly the place for great moaning polemics on the snuffing by force of liberal ideals or the insidious refusal of fascism to just die of embarassment, but what the hell.
I just didn't want to let another anniversary go unobserved by me. This little missive is my JFK memorial.
I remember when Jack Kennedy came to my hometown of Pueblo, Colorado in the summer of 1963. Maybe it wasn't even summer. Maybe it was on the same fatal trip. It would have made sense for him to stop in Colorado before heading further South. He had come to speak upon the allocation by Congress of funds to build a dam and reservoir in Pueblo, a stubbornly arid place.
East 4th Street was the way to Pueblo's little airport. It was also the main street to the Barrio, the Mexican neighborhood, my neighborhood. All of us mexicans loved Kennedy because he was Catholic like us and because we perceived him as being on the side of those of us outside the grace of white America. We all lined up there on east 4th street, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. As it turned out, he didn't stop, but he did slow down.
I remember seeing him there, backlit by the glare of the Colorado sun. I was amazed to see that his hair was red. The sun in that red hair made him look like very Apollo himself, Dionysos, Balder, the hung god come to perish for his beauty.
It doesn't matter that Kennedy turned out to be another Irish machine politico, a spoiled frat boy with a bad back. Like the Russians after Stalin, we were all basking in the thaw after so many numb years under Eisenhower, and like the Russians we would have to learn what it felt like to have the cage door slammed back in our face.
Now we have empty suits like Clinton and Blair and Schroeder and Bush, fronting like the pimps they are for the fascist reptiles who truly call the shots around here. Ah well, I will nip this diatribe in the bud before it goes on too long.
I remember you, Jackie boy. I remember November 22nd. There. I have said enough.
wednesday November 2, 2002
I seem to have been absent from your inboxes for a while. Miss me? I sure did. Time and tide find me in Athens again, preparing a show with my goombah Coti K. We will do our "Uneasy Listening" show at the AN club here in Athens on Saturday Nov. 9 and Sunday Nov. 10. If you happen to live in Greece, or you are desperate and fanatic, be sure to catch us. This show is an example of "surreal cabaret" and/or "semiotic stress disorder". We are using some handy modern gadgetry and some very modern attitudes to take everyone's minds off of the great shrieking pit of existential nausea that is life in the first part of the 21st century. Whew. Excuse me. I was looking at a picture of George Bush and I lost the will to live for a second there.
Other than that, things are ticking along well enough. Tuxedomoon is still lollygagging around, waiting for the proper home for our next "proper studio release". Oh well. "We will sell no swine before its time".
Enough o' my yakkin'. I feel compelled to share a little story with y'all. I have had mosquitoes on the mind lately, from rehearsing the "Uneasy Listening" tune called "Re-Build the Mosquito" and since the little hell-spawned fiends refuse to do the decent thing and become extinct. They are still active in Greece. You think we get this climate without having to suffer? Hah.
Here is perhaps the only myth in human culture which bothered to explain the mosquito.
########### The Young Chamorrita Bride who turns into a Mosquito ###############
One day the son of a chief from Talofofo on the island of Guam wanted to marry a young
Chamorrita girl who was the daughter of the chief from Tamuning. When the couple
received the consent from their parents, they agreed to marry.
Soon after, the young bride died unexpectedly. Because of his undying love for his wife,
the husband kept her body by his side and wept day after day.
After a while, he built a raft from a dokdok tree put his wife's body on the raft and started
out to sea. Suddenly a taotaomona appeared before him. It said to the young Chamorro, "I
can bring your wife back to life."
"In order to do this, I need a pin made of bamboo." The young Chamorro husband made a
pin of bamboo and gave it to the taotaomona who stuck it into his hand. Blood from the
wound flowed onto his wife’s body, and behold, she came back to life.
“that’s a pretty neat trick,” said the man.
“thank you,” replied the taotaomona and disappeared.
Soon the young husband, tiring of sea food, decided to swim to shore to get some fresh
fruit. On his return with the fruits, he saw his lovely wife standing on the raft with the
She told him that she was going away with the taotaomona. The enraged husband knew
that he would have to kill her for betraying him. He stabbed her with the same bamboo pin
which had brought her back to life. (The taotaomona, being no fool had buggered off.)
Her blood flowed into the water of the river, and she disappeared. As her blood emptied
into the ocean, it turned into mosquito larvae. It is not known what happened to the young
husband, though some believe that he became a taxi driver in Athens.
Today when a mosquito bites people, it is sucking blood with its long proboscis, trying to
get back enough blood to become the once beautiful young bride which once lived on
Thank you for your kind attention. See you at the taotaomona's place for Guamian snacks.
EDINBURGH AND BEYOND
Greetings, fellow agents. Yesterday was Friday the 13th all over the world, except for Greece, where it was Friday the 10th. Tomorrow is Greek Friday the 13th, except that makes it Sunday. Damn Gregorian calendar! As usual, the Greek custom on Friday the 13th is to get in your car and drive as fast as possible, being sure that you shout constantly and forget to shave, especially females. Wait a mo', that's what they do every day here!
As you may gather from that introduction, I am in Greece now. I have been here for a while, having returned from Edinburgh where my wife Athena particpated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I could report on the goings on there, except I spent the whole 2 weeks carting my 2 year old son Ian around. It was a pleasure. Many days we could be found in a cemetery where the little tyke played on the picturesque headstones, kicked over by picturesque scottish lager louts. I told him, in fatherly Addams Family style that we were amongst the dead. "Deh..." he solemnly repeated. "Now play, my son!" I urged him, and so he did. Then it was off to the local petting zoo, Gorgie Farm, where he made the acquaintance of Maggie, an enormous "Stone-age pig" the size of a small car, aptly named after the former Prime Minister Ms. T. "Pee-K" he would say, and I would reward him by giving him a day off from his scripture lessons and having him translate only one page of Latin. After a great deal of strolling around in his enormous (and HEAVY) stroller, it was off to the lawn of St. Mary's Cathedral where we would peruse the many pictures of "Jeezy" which I assured him was the name of that renowned Israeli beatnik water skier. Then we would retire to the enormous lawn of that cathedral, which he had decided was an appropriate place for infant defecation. "Good boy" I would say. And then I would photograph his donation to the Scottish ecosystem. How smart he looked in his new infant leash, one manacle on his wrist and one on his father's. He laughed, knowing that he was leading.
Ah, youth! As Oscar Meyer said, it is wasted on the young. They are too damned stupid and broke to take advantage of it. Of course, by the time they get their hands on some money, they are too old to enjoy it. And the cycle starts again. Yet, I don't regret a single day of my life. Well, maybe one. All right, a lot of them. Most of them, in fact. But that's water under the hedge, so don't go counting your chickens before you eat your cake. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.
Before I get carried away (they are here to repossess my knees) I should tell you about a couple of the events coming up for uncle Guido here at Harpoon Investigations. (Me, in case I grow too cryptic). First, I return to Italy where we will perform the ever-popular "Isaia l'Irreducibile" September 22 a Roma and September 24 and 25 in Napoli. Then I return to Athens. On November 8 and 9, my friend Coti K. and I will perform "Uneasy Listening" at the newly-refurbished AN Club in Exarchia. Uneasy Listening is a bit of what I call 'surreal cabaret' in which we do gibe and gambol in the wave (sic) using many found objects, coti's adroit manipulation of his many fine musical computing devices and my ham handed readings of computer-generated and guido-generated texts. I am also hammering away at multi-media this time. I intend to bring a bit of the old Mundoblaineo style into the light of day.
If all goes well, I shall webcast this extravagance. I intend to stream forth with live video and audio, live chat with Uncle Blaine from the stage, and some kind of free something or other for members of this list. I don't know what yet, but it's gonna be BIG, ladies and germs, bigger than anything in this paragraph.
That said, I conclude with a couple of little stories I have gleaned from the web, working on an idea called "100 new ways to die" which I will turn into a song, or at least a JPEG file.
yours in turpitude
(from the Darwin Awards website
"Fish-Impersonation Deaths On the Rise in Melbourne"
(29 November 1995, Australia) The badly decomposed remains of Neil of Melbourne were discovered in a paddock near Toolondo Reservoir. Neil's death was shrouded in mystery, tragedy, and a fish suit.
Local law enforcement officials said the 49-year-old man was wearing a "heavy, green plastic bodysuit," which he apparently constructed from old waterbed material. The suit, from which one could only be extricated painstakingly after unfastening a full-length zipper along the spine, constricted his legs into one mermaidesque tail. The only openings in the suit, aside from the zipper, were two eyeholes.
Neil's garb, enclosing his entire body like a maritime mummy costume, restricted his breathing as well as his movement. He was discovered in this attire, which the Melbourne Fish Costume Bureau stresses was "not approved," less than a kilometer from Toolondo Lake. He apparently had attempted to swim back to his home.
A second, yellow-colored suit was found in his garage.
The psychological motivation for Neil's fatal excursion remains unclear. Police have learned that he was taking medications for epilepsy and diabetes at the time, and speculate that his behavior may have had a chemical basis, but locals have their own theories about the aquatic abberation.
"He wanted to be a fish," disclosed one unnamed resident, recalling incidents in which Wilson would swing from a rope while wearing the suit at the lake. Other comments from the Australian community included "bollocks" and "criminey."
Wilson's death brings the Melbourne fish impersonation fatality toll to one, up infinity percent from zero in the previous year.
Guest Writer: Troy Plattner
Famous Last Words
Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
~~ Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30,
1900 --- cerebral meningitis.
Why not? Yeah.
~~ Timothy Leary, d. May 31, 1996
Don't worry, it's not loaded.
Suicide playing Russian roulette.
~~ Terry Kath, rock musician, d. January 23, 1978
Capital punishment: them without the capital get the punishment.
Executed in electric chair, Florida.
~~ John Spenkelink, d. May 25, 1979
I did not get my Spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.
Executed by injection, Oklahoma.
~~ Thomas J. Grasso, d. March 20, 1995
I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my ass.
Executed by injection, Texas.
~~ Johnny Frank Garrett, Sr., d. February 11, 1992
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME
July 10, 2002
Happy Birthday to me
Yes, it's true ladies and germs, tomorrow, July 10, 2002 is my 49th birthday. On Friday, July 10, 1953 Mr. and Mrs. Reininger took delivery of a big mess of trouble at 3 am in Pueblo, Colorado. What does 'friday's child do?' Hell if I know. I am quite frankly amazed that I have made it this far. I don't need to be reminded how close I am to the 'blue period', my fifties. I say it is blue because I associate colors with numbers in a big way. The number 5 is blue for me, therefore, 50 is blue.
Forty nine is black followed by red. This is called 'synesthesis'. It is quite a common phenomenon wherin some people experience the input of some senses with other senses. Some people, for instance, see colors when they hear sounds, often seeing moving fields of patterns while listening to music. I am one of these. Number/color association is the most common.
I have been spending the last weeks working on my tan and swimming in the sea. This island is marvelous. Tomorrow night I go to Italy where I will play with people from Materiali Sonori in an evening of improvisations. It is worthy to note here that the record 'Keen-o' featuring me, Roger Eno (Brian's bro) Pier Luigi Andreoni and Giancarlo Bigazzi is just now becoming available. One may purchase this fine item at http://www.matson.it
tell 'em guido sent you.
When I have some pearls of wisdom to share, rest assured that I will pass them on. At the moment I feel blessed to have the opportunity to let the sea teach me a couple of things about permanence.
Thanks all, especially those of you who have jumped the gun and wished me happy happy joy joy already.