Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Sudden thought: I don't support Prez Bush ringing America with 12 foot hight barbed wire fencing. I might want to leave in 5 years.

As I completed my absentee ballot last night I asked myself, why is Jerry Brown on it? Haven't we had enough of Jerry Brown? He's not even qualified to be our attorney general.

It took a bit of studying to understand all of the propositions on the ballot. I wondered if most took the time to read the pro and con of each initiative before voting. Or, did they, like a 14 year old male student when presented with a multiple choice test simply fill in the blanks without reading? That explains how Bush Man got into office 6 years ago. He was a multiple choice on the right space on the ballot and at the right time. Bingo.

George looks like a school boy these days who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Look at this face. If there was ever a defensive look on a person old George is the poster boy for that one. Reminds me of days as a principal questioning kids to find out who done it. "Not me! It was him!" Or, "I dunno."

The thought of another trip have been running through my head: Where next? We're thinking Amtrak to Seattle. Board Amtrak for Seattle at 3:30 a.m. (or 8:30 a.m. if they've run over a cow and had to stop to cut up the steaks). Book a compartment, complete with shower and potty. Read. Eat. Enjoy the passing scenery. Arrive in Seattle at 9 p.m. unless we hit a cow.

We'd stay for 3 or 4 days. A hotel in downtown Seattle would be booked, close to Jazz Alley. I love listening to all types of jazz. I grew up listening to jazz music and enjoying fine wine.

As a lad I dated the daughter of a San Francisco State College professor of English. The professor was an expert on Faulker and lectured extensively on his writings. During this relationship I learned a lot about life in a very short period of time.
At 15 I learned the finer points of drinking wine. I drank wine with every evening meal in their home. Odetta and Nina Simone songs were played frequently on the record player. The professor loved to sing. It was not unusual for her to parade through the house clad only in a nightgown at 10:30 p.m., more than slightly lit singing, "I love you Porgy, don't leave me . . . " the title song from Porgy and Bess. And then she'd laugh, give me a hug and tottle back to bed.
FM radio was new. There were two Bay Area FM stations on the dial in 1959. The professor bought an FM radio. We listened to radio without the snap, crackle and pop of AM radio. Public radio was the only FM game in town. It carried lectures, classical music, debates - all of which I had never been exposed to.
At 16 I sat at the underaged section of the Blackhawk Lounge in San Francisco and was awe struck with Miles Davis. And in the same year I spent three days in July on an Indian reservation to observe a celebration that went from day into night and into the next day.
At 14 I learned about sleep overs. Our unmarried professor enjoyed the company of men. There were several on the string that would wine and dine her frequently. Once in a while a woman would grace her bed with the excuse that hers was but a two bedroom home and there was no room anywhere else for her friend.
Today if half of these things happened with someone like me ages 14-16 the professor would be in deep trouble with Child Protective Services. Times change. In some cases, we're poorer for it.
Many years later I continue to appreciate wine, listening to jazz and hold an understanding . . . an empathy for our Native Americans. I can take or leave Faulkner. To this day same sex sleepovers still puzzle me.
At 17 I dated the daughter of a local beer baron whose quickly made, cheap green beer permeated most west coast liquor stores. What more could one ask for? All the beer I wanted -mine for the taking from the back porch of their family mansion, her mother's new Thunderbird at my beck and call, and a nice looking, Catholic school school girl on my arm.
It was one evening that the two of us decided to see Ray Charles in Oakland. He was appearing in concert. Having listened and enjoyed Ray since 14 it was a great opportunity to see and hear my hero. Thunderbird, girl, beer from the back porch and it was "hit the road Jack".
An hour later we were in Oakland parking the Thunderbird and walking up the steps to buy concert tickets. It didn't take long to realize that the two of us were the whitiest of the whites, honkies where there were no honkies. At best, this was intimidating to the two wide-eyed middle class kids standing on the steps. We had entered another world, one we were unsure of.
Well nuts, we left. It was just too much. In retrospect, we should have gone in. But it was 1961. The civil rights movement was not yet gathered steam. Racially, tensions ran high in Oakland.
Shortly after that Ray went country. And I lost interest in Ray Charles.

Live jazz where we live is non existent. If you like hippie drumming you can find it on any Sunday in our local park. The hippies drum to keep the crystals in order. If they don't drum the crystals get all screwed up. If that happens we're in big trouble.

That's why I'll enjoy Seattle. The trip will be booked to coincide with the appearance of one of my jazz favorites like David Benoit, Hiroshima or Pat Metheny. We'll walk the streets of Seattle, eat the food, love the sights and try not to get mugged.

I wrote a while back in relationship to airline travel that half the fun is not getting there. Those TSA bastards take all the fun out of traveling. 10 years ago who would have thunked that you'd have to take your shoes off to get on an airplane?
Train travel remains about same as it was when I crossed the United States at age 2 1/2 with mom and her new man. The slow, easy, back and forth motion of the train is still there. It puts even the crabbiest of babies to sleep.

Amtrak trains are big and shiny. Don't you just love to watch them head down the tracks?

Next life? Amtrak engineer.

That would really toot my horn.
PS Blogger is hard to figure. Three times I've inserted double spaces between each of the paragraphs. Three times all of it doesn't work. Not being able to space each of the paragraphs must be one of those mysteries in the world of computer programming. Here's goes try number four!!!
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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States