Friday, February 24, 2012

Barney Rosset, RIP

I was surfing the net Thursday when I read about the death of Barney Rosset, former publisher of Grove Press.
who died Tuesday at the age of 89.

He, of all the men alive during my life, was the most important and influential in expanding what the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would and could cover in this country.

I didn't get a link to his obituary, but The New York Times called him "the flamboyant, provocative publisher who helped change the course of publishing in the United states" and the winner of "ceebrated First Amendment slugfests against censorship."

He had defied censors in the early 1960s by publishing Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence and Tropic of Cancer byHenry Miller. He went to court to fight censorship and won both of those cases.

He also published The Autobiography of Malcolm X, a controversial book about a controversial man. It also has been one of my favorite books.

However, Barnet didn't just publish controversial books. He also published books of avant-garde literature, such as Samuel Beckett's plays and novels, as well as the plays of European dramatists like Bertolt Brecht, Eugene Ionesco, and Harold Pinter,

(The pic above is of Beckett, on the left, and Rosset. It's been shamelessly lifted from The New York Times website.)

Say what you want about Waiting for Godot or Endgame, but they aren't obscene and were never labeled as such. But they were definitely labeled obscure, and far from plays like...say...

The Man Who Came To Dinner or You Can't Take It With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart...Broadway productions of the 1930s and definitely in the mainstream of their time. And they still stayed mainstream; when I was in high school, the drama department put on a performance of The Man Who Came To Dinner.

But Grove Press is the U.S. publisher for both plays. And I get pleasure from that because it showed a wide range of taste.

Rosset and Grove Press also published
French surrealists, American Beat poets, German expressionists, and Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis, by Eric C. Berne.

I used to own older, used Grove Press editions of Tropic Of Cancer, The Autobiography Of Malcolm X, and Waiting for Godot. I took pride on owning those editions of those books because they were published by Grove Press, and also were excellent examples of and for the company.

But books, like cars, often get so old that they must be replaced. I bought a new edition of Tropic Of Cancer published by the New American Library and The Autobiography Of Malcolm X with an edition published by Ballentine Books. Both companies, I assure you, would not have published those books during the 1960s.

But I sill have that old Grove Press copy of Waiting For Godot with me. If it's not in good shape, it's in good-enough-for-me shape.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Of Champions ...

breakfast ...

and lunch ...

I don't think you'll be hungry enough for dinner, because if you eat them during a day, you won't be hungry.

And if you eat them all your life, you'll probably die sooner rather than later.

The Titles Of Some Books ...

I won't be reading...and definitely won't be writing...this year or any other year:
The Devil, Miss Jones, And The Deep Blue Sea

The Human Pretzel

Syphilisation And Its Malcontents

The Designated Negro

Notes From Just Under The Surface

Crosstown Ladies/Midtown Wives

Lucifer's Debutants

Beneath The Valley Of The Angry Gray Ultra-Goblins

From Walmart To Wall Street And Back Again

Y Kant Immanuel Think

Mandelbaum And Mandelbrot

Paradise Misplaced

Friday, February 17, 2012

Say Cheese

i'm browsing through thousands of single slices of cheese.

to be exact, 2350 of them.

of that number, 560 are swiss. the rest are american.

i'm putting them in chronological order:
which ones to eat first tomorrow afternoon and which ones to eat every day after that until two months from next thursday.

thanks for your offer to help me but i don't want it now.
counting the cheese slices and putting them in order relieves my mind of my sorrow at the mediocrity and mendacity of everyday life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two Things, Noted

I was out running errands Monday morning. These two things, I thought, were worth noting in this blog:

At the northeast corner of a busy intersection, I saw a young man dancing in place. He was advertising a sale at a national hairstyling chain: $6.99 for a hair cut instead of the regular $12. His costume was a blue bottle, probably of shampoo, with a white cap.

He was less than 100 yards from a spot where a tax-preparation business usually has a young man dancing in place during tax season. He usually wears a costume that is of the Statue of Liberty, down to the sea green robes and crown.

About two weeks ago, I saw a young man dancing place there as he was wearing a Spider-Man mask and shirt under his Statue of Liberty costume. It was cold and snowy and the winds were blowing hard, so I believe he wore it to keep warm.

I went to the local post office to get some stamps and mail some bills. As I was leaving, I dropped my stocking cap. I had removed my cap when I entered the post office because I was taught it was mannerly to remove your hat (or, in this case, cap) when you were indoors.

Some bastard asshole going into the post office said, "Hey, you dropped your hat, buddy."

I picked up my stocking cap and said, halfway between a whisper to myself and my regular speaking tone: "Why didn't you help me pick it up, asshole?"

I did a few more errands. As I was driving home, I saw the asshole walking on the main north-south street of my city. but I wasn't mad enough at him to yell out my car window at him or give him any other shit.

I was surprised at my semi-outburst. In in the past, I usually would've kept quiet during such an incident.

Happy Valentines

All right...

Just to prove I'm no grump, I wish all of you a happy Valentine's Day...especially if you have a special someone to share the day.

And here's my valentine to the world.

(In case you don't know, that is Hobbes the tiger from Bill Watterson's comic Calvin and Hobbes, giving all of you the heart sign.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Few Notes On The Lower Middle Class

...that, I must admit, I despise more than the ignorant and belligerent working class -- that is, white trash/rednecks.

It's basically white-collar people with a blue-collar attitude. They're trapped economically between the middle/upper-middle classes and the working class. Its members usually don't rise to the middle class or higher, no matter how much they bow and scrape to them, and are scared to death of dropping into the blue collar working class and the loss of social status that comes from that.

They often lack a certain class or style. They are often uncultured and boast about that. They tend to be rude, hostile, and belligerent against the arts and artists.

They are often strongly bigoted against women, minorities and gays. But in secret. They don't have the courage of their convictions, no matter how terrible.

Opposed to them is the upper class, whose members often are just as bigoted but don't hide their opinions because they won't be punished in any way for them. Also opposed to them are the lower classes, who are often just as bigoted but don't care about the consequences from their bigotry.

They rarely openly defy authority, but burn with anger and sometimes hatred of it. It was why so many of them back in the 1960s hated the radicals like Students for a Democratic Society in its more militant phase or apolitical hippies who often went their own way.

They tend to be anti-Semitic. Just as many blacks believe THE MAN -- that is, whites -- keep them down, the white lower middle class blames THE JEW for their misfortunes.

Looking back, I had an uncle who had that attitude, even though he was an executive for a telephone company. He was transferred from the Indianapolis office to the New York office. His children/my cousins halfway jokingly called him Archie Bunker.

I also worked for an editor who had those attitudes; he was the first anti-Semite I ever knew personally.

Infamous people with that outlook include Richard Nixon and ... Adolf Hitler.

The Republican party has courted those types of people for the last 40-plus years. Often, that has bit its members in the ass.

I've been writing around these people in this blog. As the year passes, I hope I have the tenacity ... and the courage ... to deal with them and to expand my notes into a more formal post.


Jumping from bridges into rivers or lakes or bays or other bodies of water ...

Jumping to conclusions, often wrong, when you don't have all the information you need to make the correct decision, or much of that information is wrong.

Jumping out of a plane? Make sure you're wearing a parachute.

Jumping for joy? What a cliche. Celebrate like an adult. Please.

Jumping jack? The exercise? The picture above is poor form for it.

Jumping beans? From Mexico. And they do exist. Please clink the link here if you want more information.

Highly...But Not Lowly?

Hghly is often used as a synonym for very of plausible. But you never see or hear lowly used as a synonym for not very or implausible.
When a Victorian lady wanted to get fucked, she would say to a man:

"O love, kindly possess me in the carnal manner, if you please."
The drinking glass is bipolar; it's either empty or so full it's overflowing.
I was watching the TV show Cops the other day. I wasn't sure if the episode was filmed in the South during the late 1980s ... or filmed in the South today.
if truth be told,
then truth be bold ...
or so you hope.
You're so goddamn stupid because you got brain damage from sticking your head up your ass!
Meanwhile in the back woods, a brown bear's either 10 feet tall or 10 feet long...depending on if he's vertical or horizontal...and weighs 1,500 pounds...that doesn't depend on if he's vertical or horizontal...
I bent down the smell the flowers ... and got a kiss from a rose at the tip of my nose.
It ain't love if you're charging for it, baby.
During the early 1980s, the Reagan administration's economic policies were described as trickle down, but not flow down. I wonder why.
it's strange how a couple who's vocal while sexing can often sound like either he or she or both of them are getting tortured or killed: especially if the woman doesn't lie there like a sack of potato flour.
The weight of the injustice in this world can crush your soul to the size of a pea.
"Did someone say chicken pot pie?" the stoner asked. "Woah, dude, those are three of my most favorite things."
He liked his women the way he liked his kiwi fruit: firm yet yielding, sweet yet tart, and with short, fuzzy brown hair.
She was the snotty member of a snobby sorority. She and her "sisters" were impossibly tall, impossibly lean, and impossibly blonde.
O well that's done ... so put a spork in it ...
NOTE: I'm revamping the format of jottings. I'm deleting sentence fragments and individual words from the posts, but leaving complete sentences. I plan to do this as an ongoing project for all the jottings posts.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Notes On The Super Bowl

I've written some notes on the Super Bowl, which was played Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis. They're some personal observations of things that interested me. Those of you who want more information, including a story with more details about the game, can check the Internet.

The New York Giants won the Super Bowl 21-17 over the New England Patriots. Giants quarterback Eli Manning, seen in the picture above, lead a fourth-quarter comeback and running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored the go-ahead touchdown with 57 seconds left in the game.

The Giants had beaten the Patriots 17-14 in the 1998 Super Bowl, thereby denying New England a perfect season.

Manning was the game's most valuable player. He had 20 completions of 40 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown. He also was the most valuable player in the 1998 Super Bowl.

From what I heard, people who visited Indy for the Super Bowl were very pleased with the layout of the venues. All close together and stuff. Because of that, I bet that Indy will host another Super Bowl within the next 10 years, if not before 2020.

For your information, the next three Super Bowls and their sites are: New Orleans, 2013; New York, 2014; and Phoenix 2015. Nothing else has been set after that.

Weather helped a lot. The week before the game, it seemed a lot more like early spring than midwinter. Last week, temperatures were often in the high 50s and not much rain fell.

(UPDATE, FEB. 11: About half an inch of snow fell the night before. Strong, cold winds were blowing. The high temperatures were in the lower 20s. I must admit: As for the weather, the Indianapolis area was lucky.)

Also, during the last two to three months, several manhole covers in several downtown Indy streets blew off. Luckily, none did the week before the Super Bowl and the day it was played.

The people in the Indianapolis area were predominately cheering for the Giants, because Eli Manning is the younger brother of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. It also cheered against the Patriots who had a strong rivalry with the Colts for the last decade.

There was a slight controversy after the game. Gisele Bundchen is a Brazilian supermodel and the wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

After the game, a Giants fan yelled at her, "Eli owns your husband!" She was caught on video saying to a friend, "My husband cannot fucking throw the ball and catch the ball (at) the same time. I can't believe they (Patriot receivers) dropped the ball so many times."

I must give her credit for standing up for her man. But, on the other hand, she doesn't seem to be very bright or deep. I once read at my local library a cover story about her in Vanity Fair magazine. The author had to pad it to make her interesting.

I watched the game through the end of the third quarter, when the Patriots were ahead 17-15. I was getting tired and didn't want another cup of coffee. Plus I wasn't strongly emotionally invested in either team; I could wait until Monday morning to see the results.

I also was watching the game through a stream at However, it was sluggish and got stuck too many times.

I've had problems with viewing videos since I've been hooked up to the internet at my new apartment. I plan to check on how to speed it up.

I also bought a six-pace of beer Saturday,because Indiana doesn't have any retails sales of alcohol on Sundays. However, I didn't even drink one of them.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Love And Potatoes

with valentine's day a week and a half away, i thought i'd post this. it's somewhat offbeat, i admit, but appropriate in its way.


if you say 'my love is like a red, red rose,' i disagree.

if you ask why, here are some reasons.

roses only last like a couple of weeks; that is, if you leave them in water. and they really only exist to be pretty. so if you say 'my love is like a red, red rose,' that's like saying 'my love for you is temporary and transitory and based solely on appearance.'

but a potato is entirely different...and in some ways better.

potatoes last for a long time. in fact, they actually sprout even if you just leave them in the sack. that part alone makes it a good symbol. it means, 'my love grows even when i'm alone.'

but wait; there's more!

there are so many ways to enjoy a potato; you can even make a battery with it! here's a link to show how it's done. that's like saying 'i have many ways in which i show my love for you.'

try doing that with a rose.

potatoes are somewhat plain, but to compare your love to one is like saying 'it doesn't matter at all what you look like, i'll still love you.'

(photo from

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Life, after all, is just a masquerade in a dimly lit ballroom ...

Where everyone rotates and changes partners until the lights come up...

Then you find yourself dancing with death.

That embrace lasts forever...and ever...

Happy Groundhog Day

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and razor lay crossed... first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes

First published 90 years ago today in Paris: Ulysses, by James Joyce.

So noted.

Above is a picture of the author, stylin' and profilin'.