WTF Mozilla?

What the fuck, Mozilla? I found this little gem at the bottom of my Firefox browser window:

mozilla_veterans_day_bullshit

Please ‘splain this to me. What part of my service was in the least bit about “protecting the political and personal freedoms of all citizens”? What part of any living generation’s military service was ever about that?

I haven’t seen any Marines standing on the high tension line between fascist and anti-fascist protestors to ensure everyone’s freedom of speech. I haven’t seen any Navy SEALs in the ghetto or the barrio preventing Tasmanian pigs from murdering our black and brown brothers. I don’t recall seeing the Army defending a peaceful grassroots social movement against the Feral Bureau of Intimidation/local Tasmanian pigs/corporate mercenaries, or the Air Force stopping an invading horde of whoever we have always been at war against. (Is it Eurasia or Eastasia? I can never remember. But fuck Emmanuel Goldstein!)

I suppose that one might claim that the War of 1812, except for the US invasion of Canada which was part of it, was about protecting political and personal freedoms. None of those who fought in it, though, can be expected to ever read a feel-good message in a web browser. So… was it the many Indian Wars which protected our freedom? The Spanish-American? Mexican-American? The overthrowing of democratically elected governments in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East? Korea? Vietnam? Blowing up wedding parties? Mi Lai? Bombing Dresden? Hiroshima/Nagasaki? The Bay of Pigs? Cambodia? The attempted Venezuelan coup d’etat of 2002? Installing the Shah? Destroying Libya? Invading Panama? Helping the Saudis murder schoolchildren in Yemen?

Did a joint strike force restore habeas corpus, and I just didn’t read the news that day? Maybe it was the Coast Guard freeing citizens from the prison-industrial complex? The Army Reserve delivering prescription drugs to help keep needy American seniors alive?

Oh, wait. I know what the US military has done to protect our political and personal freedoms: The Colorado Coalfield War, the Pullman Strike, Kent State…

I (held my nose, covered my rectum, and) enlisted during the Carter administration. It seemed then that maybe the United States had learned something from Vietnam, or at least from our ill-fated attempt to invade it. To the young man I was at the time, it seemed a reasonable expectation — after all, the Vietnamese story was essentially a reformulation of the American story. Our land was once colonized by competing global empires that lusted for our natural resources and cheap (slave) labor, and our own ragtag bunch of revolutionaries once kicked the shit out of the mightiest military force humankind had yet assembled, too. When a lesson so completely obvious as that one is held up to your face, how can you not learn it?

By being an American. That’s how.

Which of our freedoms are being protected by our wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, et al.? I’ll settle for a list of only one. Maybe that wedding party we blew up was a secret staging operation for a team of elite operatives who were going to come here to suspend habeas corpus? Qadafi was plotting to repeal a constitutional amendment? Ooh, that evil Saddam, he was out to gut the Environmental Protection Agency and roll back the Civil Rights Act of 1964? I know, I know, it’s that fucking Assad guy who wants to completely suspend the Bill of Rights.

Just now, our celebrated troops are being deployed to the southern border to defend us all against the tremendous threat of a few thousand more farm workers, gardeners, housekeepers, and line cooks entering our workforce.

What the actual fuck, Mozilla? Show me troops surrounding the White House and taking the president away to jail for publicly promising to commit violations of the Constitution, and then maybe thanking some vets will make sense for once. Until then? Nah. Keep your nonsensical jingoism.

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Priorities

Here comes another midterm election, and this time around the news is about unexpectedly high voter turnout. That’s generally good for Democrats, but I wonder these days if good for them is good for the 99%. I guess we’ll just have to settle for this shit until the next constitutional convention rolls around.

On our return trip from ye olde pot shoppe we stopped in at the big ass chain stupormarket in the next town, a slightly bigger town and so one worthy of a big ass stupormarket chain’s investment. I can’t help but laugh at myself every damn time we go into the place. I’m pretty sure that the excitement I feel when I face that big well-stocked produce section is the same excitement my father felt when he went into a Costco. He was big on that whole impulse-buying half of the store where they sell all of that shit you never really knew you needed before. What was funny about it was that he often cared so little about actually playing with the toys that he’d stash them just wherever as part of putting away the haul, and forget all about them. Some weeks or months later when he encountered some toy again, having forgotten all about it, it was like Easter and Christmas all rolled into one. It wasn’t so funny when he disappointed himself, though. Try to imagine a pathological narcissist hating the surprise gift that he bought for himself. When we get to the big city chain supermarket and I’m heading into the produce section, I believe that I know how my father felt when he got into the shit you never knew you needed section at Costco.

Except that I know that I have to cook and eat whatever shit we didn’t know we needed from the big ass produce section of the big city chain supermarket. I can’t just hide it all from myself and be surprised later. It’s not the same game at all. No one really likes the what the fuck was that when I put it in the fridge? game. Amethyst cheats, too. I don’t even know the game is on and she says to me, “Honey, come smell this.”

I thought once that I had her outsmarted, so the next time she said to me, “Honey, come smell this”, I replied, “Whatever it is, just throw it out.” Most of the time, “Honey, come smell this” means “I’m trying to identify what it once was” rather than “does this maybe smell a little off to you?” But not this time. This time it meant “Do you think that this sauce I’m making from scratch could use a bit more oregano?”

So I try to stop that right there where it starts, in the produce section. I can’t describe how painful that is. On this visit, the sneaky fuckers ambushed me right at the door: Chorizo, ten for ten bucks. Amethyst pointed it out to me. No, I said, it seems a good deal but what the hell do I need with ninety ounces of chorizo? About ten seconds later, she wants to know if I’m sure about the chorizo — and she doesn’t even eat the stuff. And what’d those sneaky fuckers do? They had the same sale conspicuously advertised in the meat section, just beyond the produce section. And what’d Amethyst do? “Honey, are you sure? You know you love the stuff for breakfast.” My sweet wife is the only one who could ever make me feel guilty for not indulging myself.

Just now I’m wondering if there’s room in the freezer for all of those tamales we made last night, alongside those nine slugs of chorizo. And the second half of the puerco colorado that I made? Hopefully Amethyst can do her freezer rearranging magic to find room for that batch of tamales, too. Because we’ve seen snow so now it’s tamale season. There’s just no saying no to tamale season. I’ll throw a lot of stuff away to make room in the freezer for tamales. Not the tequila, of course. When there’s a conflict between tequila and tamales, it’s like when the power goes out. Eat, drink, make room in the freezer!

Ninety ounces of chorizo? A frivolous luxury, at best. A couple hundred tamales for just the two of us? Well, yeah. Of course. Because we ran out of masa.

Our tamale steamer is a big dude, considerably larger than, say, our water bath canners, which are that same size that most everyone has. It being so large, the routine is to dry it as soon as it’s washed, and park it out of the way to air for a while before hiding it away again until next time. If we ever get rich we’re going to have an enormous kitchen, but until then a big freakin’ tamale steamer is in the way until it’s put away. After Amethyst had washed and rinsed the big pot, I took it up to dry it.

“We may not have a mansion and a yacht”, I said, “but we do have one deluxe tamale steamer.”

Without missing a beat, Amethyst replied, “That’s because we have our priorities in order.”

Old Guy Story

I suppose it’s just a normal part of growing older to reflect from time to time on one’s past. This time my excuse is the approaching completion of my 57th lap around the sun, scheduled for Saturday if I don’t die first. Birthdays have never really been a thing for me, but my 17th was a good time. Amethyst threw a small party for me and convinced the local subscription broadcast television station to run the Rocky Horror Picture Show for it. Of course the cake was black with red trim and lettering and we all got silly and danced around the living room.

I spent my 18th birthday in a Kenworth watching rain fall on an empty parking lot surrounded by forest in the Pacific Northwest. My gift that year was a speeding ticket that a California Highway Patrol officer wrote me at about ten o’clock the night before. My 19th was spent in US Air Force Basic Training. My gift for that one was having a TI (Training Instructor) up my ass all damn day. All of the screaming and name calling almost made me homesick.

But let me rewind a bit, to Friday, September 19, 1980. Nearly fifty of us boarded a plane at Los Angeles International Airport destined for Lackland Air Force Base, on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. I was glad to be getting away from many things, among them the coterie of prostitutes who plied their wares nightly in the Holiday Inn in which the Department of Defense had housed us for a few days of propaganda stunts that ended up not being all that they’d been cracked up to be. I found out on our last day there, when I saw her at the AFEES, that the only cute one wasn’t a professional hooker — she was an Army recruit.

Once on the plane, I found myself wishing to get away from the rest of the recruits with whom I would spend at least some of the next six weeks. I’d never flown on a commercial airliner before and knew nothing about how things worked, but having never been one to let the existence of rules or respect for them (of which I had none) get in my way, I didn’t bother to ask about them. Cutting straight to the chase, I flirted my way into an upgrade to First Class for myself and my future brother-in-law. Once settled into our far superior seats, we proceeded to get completely drunk on free drinks, and did not have to wait long between refills delivered by the flirty flight attendant. I have no memory of what it was that I drank entirely too much of, or for that matter of the portion of the flight between an uncounted one-too-many (but not by any means the last) and the descent into the San Antonio area.

The craft descended, the wheels touched the pavement, and then the engines roared as the pilot aborted the landing. I’m a-thinkin’ the pilot had had one too many himself — oops, wrong runway. In fact, it was the wrong Air Force base entirely. There are (were?) five Air Force bases around San Antonio and his first choice was one of the wrong ones. As were his second through fourth choices. I thought that hilarious. Just randomly choosing from among them, he should have guessed at the right one by the third try. On the fifth and final try, he found Lackland, which was (still is?) also the municipal air terminal. And bobbled the shit out of it, touching down with first the starboard wheels, then the port, then the starboard again, then the port again, and finally both sides at once. So far as I know, I was the only one who was thoroughly amused by it all.

Once deplaned… “deplaned” is such a curious word to me. We don’t say that we got de-carred, de-bussed, or de-bicycled. “Disembark” isn’t much better. To embark is to begin a journey, right? So wouldn’t disembark mean that you got the airport and decided not to go after all?

Once we got out of the goddam plane, the nice gate agent told us that someone would meet us right over yonder. I was quite pleased to find that yonder was within my ability as long as I proceeded at a leisurely pace. The promised someone, though, was not present when I got there. My idea was to wait fifteen minutes and, should no one arrive, go somewhere else. I had relatives not far from San Antonio, and, hey, it’s an airport, right? Score a ticket and away you go. I had no money, but if I can flirt to get a First Class upgrade why not a ticket to Hawaii? Alas, there were no more flights that night and by the time my arbitrarily allotted fifteen minutes were up the place was practically deserted and there were no flight attendants left to flirt with anyway. There was one counter agent in the place, but flirting with men has never been my thing. Not even to score an airline ticket.

So to this day I don’t know for sure whether or not it’s possible to sweet-talk ones way into an airline ticket. I suspect that it probably is, but I’m not keen on flying in our dystopian present in which reaching an airliner entails degradation and humiliation. If no one else can tell me, I’ll never know.

After about an hour, while the rest remained huddled and timid in the waiting area in which they’d been told to wait, I and one other went off to find a telephone. It might have been my future brother-in-law, it might not have been. I was still pretty hammered. I found a telephone number that seemed likely, but was incorrect. Whoever it was that I called told me the name of the correct outfit to call, but nothing by the name he gave me appeared in the phone book. Uh-oh. One dime down, one to go, no margin for error. Tried another, struck out.

One of the things I was glad to have escaped was poverty. I had precisely no moneys when I reached the AFEES (Armed Forces Entrance and Examining Station) a few days earlier. Ever been there, absolutely flat broke? Those two dimes seemed pretty valuable at the time.

We went back to the waiting area to beg for more coins, but none of our fellow recruits was in a generous mood. I thought them unforgivably infantile to just sit there because some chick who worked for Delta Airlines had told them to sit there but they were, after all, recruits. Fine specimens, the lot of ’em. Off we went to speak to the counter agent to ask if I might use his phone. No dice. He did, though, do as I would have and just called different likely looking numbers at the base until he bumbled into someone who was able to tell him that the welcome center was closed for the weekend. No one was expecting us. I thought about just calling the whole thing off and finding some other place to go, but then the helpful person on the other end of the wire asked him to tell us to just hang around and someone would come get us.

Three hours into the fiasco, a bus driver came into the terminal and rounded us up. He told us that they’d reopened a chow hall at some squadron other than the one to which we were assigned, and after doing whatever bureaucratic bullshit was required at the welcome center we’d be fed, and then taken to our squadron. Progress! “Food good”, my brain drowning in the urine of microorganisms said. When the drinking is finished and you’re still awake, food or anything approximating it sounds like a grand idea.

After doing our thing at the welcome center, which seemed to take entirely too long, we were taken to the chow hall. While eating, perhaps because of it, my intoxication evolved into the beginnings of a hangover that took what little bit of fun there was right out of the evening. And then off we went on that funny blue school bus to a funny looking building, that didn’t look anything like a barracks to me, which would be home for the next six weeks. The driver remained in his seat and just pointed, telling us to go stand over there and our TI would find us. He cautioned us to be quiet because others were sleeping. Sleep sounded good to me. The best part of a hangover is the first part that you get to sleep through, am I right?

So we went over there and we stood around for a while waiting to be found. After a few minutes of standing around, we heard footsteps (tap shoes? What the fuck?) coming down concrete stairs and a man yelling all manner of obscenities. Insulting us before he’d even seen us did not endear me to the man, at all. If I’d wanted to have insults screamed at me in the middle of the night I could have just stayed at home. And to have someone wearing taps on his shoes doing it? Gimme a break.

The man doing the screaming, when he appeared, reminded me of a Bantam rooster. Small and cocky. When he came closer, he reminded me of a cop. Not good. I detest cops. We ain’t gettin’ along, me and him. Not at all. As he shoved us around into something approximating a proper formation, he screamed at us about not knowing shit and being the most pathetic bunch of morons and dipshits he’d ever seen in his life. Forty-eight of us being from California, he screamed that all there was in California was steers and queers and he didn’t see no horns.

Hey, clown, that’s a Texan joke. California is not famous for beef cattle. And you’re the one with goddam taps on his shoes.

Once we were “formed up”, he proceeded to give each of us a moment of his personal attention. Lucky me, I was in the front row so would be one of the first. I was the third or fourth that he got to, and it was pretty clear by the time he did that he wasn’t going to be interested in an introduction and getting to know me. If you’ve seen the movie Full Metal Jacket, it was something like R. Lee Ermey’s bit, but more aggressive and louder. He got right up in my face, with the brim of that goofy Smokey the Bear hat bouncing off of my forehead, and screamed all kinds of unkind things at me. The experience had pretty badly rattled the guys to my left, but me? Nah. The little idiot couldn’t hold a candle to my dear old mother. I was completely nonplussed and hungover besides. Didn’t give a fuck at all. Every question he screamed at me, I answered in my usual quiet conversational tone. “Yes sir” and “no sir”, mostly. And I looked him in the eye the whole time.

The little banty fucker noticed that I was unaffected by his best bullshit, and challenged me. “Boy!”, he screamed, his saliva flecking my face, “You seem to think you’re some kind of badass! Are you some kind of badass?!” “Hmm, trick question”, I thought. Okay, I’ll play.

“Yes sir.”

“No shit?! You think you’re some kind of badass?!”

“Yes sir.”

The almost-a-man did not know how to react to that. Apparently I was the first one ever to answer that question affirmatively. He backed up a step and looked me in the eye for a moment. I kept my gaze locked on his eyes — I didn’t know yet that TI’s were not allowed to hit or manhandle us, and I was watching for the tell. I half hoped that he would give me an excuse to shut his loud mouth. Instead, he snatched his goofy hat off of his head and threw it down on the concrete.

“If you’re so fuckin’ bad, step on my fuckin’ hat!”

“Yes sir.”

Keeping my eyes locked on his, still expecting a physical attack, I put my right foot forward and, in a deliberate manner, crushed the crown of his hat.

“No shit!”, he screamed, then picked up and punched out the crown of his hat. Then he moved on to the next guy and screamed at him for a while. That guy was more easily intimidated.

The one after him, though, was not. That guy was a surfer from Huntington Beach, kinda typical looking with long, blonde, curly hair and a deep tan. He was wearing surf shorts, a long-sleeved surf shirt, and sandals. What the TI didn’t know, what the baggy shirt concealed, was that he was also a bodybuilder.

Apparently, after enduring a bit of screaming, the surfer dude clenched his fists. The TI noticed.

“You want to hit me, boy?!”

“Yes sir!”

“Well then what are you waiting for?! Fucking hit me! … C’mon, faggot, fucking hit me!”

POW!

The TI failed to react in time, but did manage to turn his face away from the blow. He took it on the cheek and was knocked down. His dirty hat with my footprint on it flew off of his head and landed behind him. Seeing that the surfer wasn’t continuing the attack, the TI got to his feet and quickly put his hat back on before he resumed screaming. He pointed toward his left and screamed, “Get off my base! Get the fuck off of my fucking base! Go, boy! Fucking go!”

The surfer dude took up his bag and started walking while the rest of us watched him go. After going about thirty feet he stopped for a moment, turned, and came back. “Which way to the gate?”, he asked.

“Oh just get your ass back into formation”, the TI said, in a commanding but not yelling voice. The surfer, keeping a wary eye on the TI, did so.

I was amused to note that for the remainder of the bunch our TI didn’t challenge anyone as he had the surfer and me. Steers ‘n’ queers, huh? (I’ve nothing against queers, as a class. I just thought it funny that he’d made that kind of noise right up front and then been both humiliated and knocked on his ass within five minutes.)

It being a Friday night, we wouldn’t get our haircuts and uniforms until Monday. Both the surfer and I were singled out for special treatment throughout the weekend, of course.

Typically a TI remains with the new recruits 24/7 for the first… week, if I remember correctly. There’s a bed in the TI’s office for the one stuck there overnight to sleep in. But there were fifty-one of us in the flight, the forty-eight from California plus a few more that were added for some reason, and only fifty beds in the barracks. So one of the recruits slept in the TI’s office until another bed could be obtained on Monday, and the TI slept on a sofa in the dayroom. The Bantam rooster TI, he wasn’t so bright. Didn’t change the sheets. That cute not-a-professional hooker, the Army recruit I mentioned a few hours ago? Crabs. Sergeant Banty took ’em home to Mrs. Banty and didn’t remember by the time the itching started which of us had been in the office bed. The guy he thought it was got special treatment for a while, and then recycled. The guy who’d actually been in the bed not only got clean away with it but became the TI’s assistant, called a “house mouse.”

Once our heads were shaved and we were all wearing the same olive drab uniforms, the Banty TI spent the next couple of weeks giving another guy the special treatment that he’d intended for me. I didn’t mind. What brought the mistake to the TI’s attention was a particularly energetic dressing-down during which I remained calm, and from that day forward I got double or triple helpings of shit to make up for it. I still didn’t mind. After a couple or three days of it, the little monkey took to screaming from beside me because he couldn’t stand to look me in the eye — when he did, I maintained my gaze and smiled just a little every time he averted his eyes. Just fuckin’ with the guy. It was fun. He was a petty little narcissistic prick, and denying him the ego gratification he so desperately needed meant a lot to me.

I know that’s stupid, taking one’s eyes off of the prize, but it’s a compulsion about which I can do nothing. I hate narcissists. I blame conditioning. Children who are abused by their parents will be abused by most of the narcissists they’ll ever meet. Siblings, teachers, clergymen, civic leaders, you name it. Those of us who fight back are not spared, not even when the abuser knows that we fight back. For me, and for everyone like me that I’ve ever met, fighting back isn’t a choice; it’s a compulsion. My confrontations with the two narcissists in the flight, who of course were not TI’s, were physical — and neither was instigated or started by yours truly. No one said a word to any TI, as all were glad to see the assholes knocked on their asses.

One of those two was so narcissistically injured by it that when he went on dorm guard duty in our “baby flight” the night of our confrontation  he rousted them all out of bed and abused them. He screamed at them, made them do push-ups, punched a few of them, flipped over some beds, and just generally terrorized the poor bastards who had no idea that he had no right to do it. I relieved the asshole for the next shift, and found the anxiety in the barracks palpable. I did my walk-through and found that they were all awake, and some of them trembling as I passed. So, naturally, I asked what was going on and got the whole story. My future brother-in-law relieved me after my two hour shift was up, and I clued him in about it, and some of the baby flight told him about it, too. The next morning we both went to Sergeant Banty to report what we’d been told, and the narcissistic little prick from Chicago named Chavez was pulled out and discharged for it.

Petty Sergeant Banty… Petty Sergeant is not a rank, it’s what I call the guy because he was infamous for being a petty tyrant. Our flight had had three TI’s rather than the usual two, with the lowest ranking one being in training. We were his last training flight, after which he would go on to be a fully fledged TI. He dropped by the casual barracks where a bunch of us were waiting to ship out, and shook my hand and congratulated me for making it. He said that the Banty had hated my guts and was open about the fact that he was out to get me ever since the hat crushing. He also said that he was damn glad to be getting away from Banty because he was “a mean little prick”, and that most TI’s were not. None of the other TI’s liked him, and those who could avoided him. We talked for a while longer, and he said that the scuttlebutt was that Banty would not last much longer as a TI with the squadron commander who’d covered for him having just left to return to a fighter squadron. I felt a little bit better about being in the Air Force after hearing that. It was a transient feeling.

Of the fifty-one of us who’d arrived together, the surfer dude and I were among the only sixteen to graduate together. Another was my future brother-in-law, who barely made it. He was downright skeletal at the end of it, due to the stress. The rest were recycled or discharged. The house mouse who brought the crabs from the Army recruit chick in LA to petty sergeant Banty in San Antonio was also one of the sixteen, and he gave me a roster with the names of all of those who hadn’t made it stricken-through. I’ve still got it.

America: The Farewell Tour — my thots

I’ve just finished reading Chris Hedges’ America: The Farewell Tour. It’s a good but god damn depressing read. For those of social conscience and social consciousness, what he’s written provides snapshots of and commentary on what is already well known. The rest he is very unlikely to reach.

We in America lack the language of social revolution. We don’t even know how to think about it. We speak of our democracy in spite of the fact that the United States has never been and was never intended to be a democracy. Bernie Sanders spoke of bringing a revolution and what spun off of it was an organization calling itself Our Revolution, but how can anyone call supporting the Democratic Party a revolution? Nowhere in any of that twaddle was scrapping the US Constitution and starting over even hinted at. That would be a revolution.

And, obviously enough, a constitution that doesn’t suck is necessary if we’re to defuckerize this whole disgusting immoral culture we are trapped in. I don’t mean immoral as in people do not limit themselves to the kind of sex that Elohim would approve, I mean immoral as in killing hundreds of thousands or millions each year around the world, another hundred thousand or so at home who want for medical care, thrusting more and more into poverty when there is no excuse for the existence of poverty, powerful people sexually assaulting powerless people, fucked up individuals doing mass shootings, biosphere pollution being accelerated rather than eliminated, and so on. You know. The news.

We hold these truths to be self evident: All human beings are equal. All have the right to adequate housing, sufficient high quality, nutritious, and enjoyable food, suitable clothing, clean air and water, and education appropriate to their individual abilities and aspirations. All have the right to share in the wealth of society and reap its benefits. All have the right to think and say whatever the fuck they do but no one can be compelled to listen. Whatever is a competent adult human has the right to engage in sexual activity with whatever else is a competent adult human, in any number, so long as all involved consent to the activity and aren’t so wasted that it’s not really consent (but getting drunk with the intention of making questionable decisions is quite alright). All competent adults may ingest by any means anything they so desire, except eggplant, even if it kills them or miffs their own or someone else’s god or gods. No one gets to fuck with your shit and you don’t get to fuck with anyone else’s. War sucks so we ain’t gonna do it, but if someone brings it to us we’re gonna waste ’em. Cannabis doesn’t suck so we’re gonna do a lot of it (but it’s not required that you do if you’re some kind of weird boring fucker). We have an internet now so we can do direct cosmopolitan democracy, and we’re gonna. Any who would find this cooled out setup intolerable may, optionally, move to and never leave the island of Diego Garcia where the only ostensibly edible substance is eggplant and Donald Trump gets to say whatever goofy shit comes into his empty head any time he wants, and it is broadcast on very loud and inescapable public address speakers which cannot be switched off, and on every video device, and he’s naked all the god damn time.

That was easy. Those founding fuckers had to have a whole long convention to come up with the piece of shit they foisted onto us?

Revolution is coming. If I were an oligarch I would surrender now.

A real mother for ya, yeah.

And if you look you will discover…

That’s it’s a real mother fo’ ya, yeah.

When this song came out… Oh lawdy. I had a portable AM/FM/8-track stereo player, a cube lookin’ thing with a speaker on each side that split into two so you could actually enjoy the stereo effect when you weren’t strollin’. I also had what was known as my “fan club”, a group of three to six girls who came around most days to hang out with me in my front yard, dancing, flirting, and smoking — only tobacco when the peeps were looking. I kept the other stuff stashed where the peeps would never look for it. The tunes were an eclectic mix, what with Los Angeles being just across the county line. What we now call classic rock, punk, and funk, mostly. (NO FUCKING DISCO!)

Ya wanna know how to get depressed in almost no time? It’s easy. Late at night, no one around but you, sitting in the dark: play this:

The World Is A Ghetto by War.

But then to dig back out of it, War comes to the rescue:

Heh. Also in 1977 (as was A Real Mother For Ya) my best bud Janet and I used to get picked up by one of our best buds in her Chicano boyfriend’s ’64 Chevy Impala lowrider with a stylin’ paint job that cut grooves into the speed bumps — it was a major scene, a lowrider cruisin’ the white bread ‘burbs with a bunch of us hot boxin’ the shit out of it. We never even got looked at cross-ways. White kids didn’t get fucked with.

A kid I’d known since forever (and who played the youngest son Toby on the Doris Day show), I’m sure, was the inspiration for Spicoli. His van was a Chevy rather than a microbus, but falling out of the side door was his thing…

I mention that because more’n once Todd would be falling out of his van as we were pulling out of the high school parking lot in the low rider. He died in a motorcycle crash in ’83, and I didn’t hear about it until a couple of months later — I was in the Air Force at the time and didn’t hear about it until I went back to town on leave with the girl from Florida I was dating at the time.

A little more War:

Indeed.

On the other hand, shoot ’em in the back now…

The Ramones were regulars at the Cuckoo’s Nest, just down the road, but ya had to be hard core to go there because of the shitheels in the parking lot. I was actually more into Elvis Costello:

So where are the strong? And who are the trusted? (Ain’t seen ’em lately.)

Down in the pleasure center hell-bent or heaven sent…

And of course The Heads:

But then, every Saturday night at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset Strip they played this right before The Rocky Horror Picture Show:

Naturally.

I appeared in a Japanese documentary about… I dunno. Maybe it was the Rocky, maybe it was the Sunset Strip. I have no idea what those Japanese filmmakers were saying. I suppose they thought it unusual that one who looked as I did, being in the Air Force at the time as I was, was there surrounded by all of the freaks ‘n’ geeks ‘n’ queers ‘n’ weirdos at the midnight showing of the Rocky at the Tiffany. They looked very surprised when I said that I’d quit counting after my 200th time… and then I kinda fazed out and the next thing I knew I was married for a few months to the fashion model I was there with that night.

And that’s why we wander and follow la vie dansante.