16 September 2021

Random Thoughts on Atonement Day – It is Yom Kippur and I am fasting. I am hungry. My mind is telling me that I am doing the right thing. A small gesture of sacrifice for being able to have most of what I want every day.

I strive harder today to be more forgiving of others. Not doing so well with that one. It’s hard to understand how the selfishness of others that causes others pain is to be forgiven. I know that the idea is to forgive, for they know not what they do. 

When I see anti-vaxxers proclaiming their “right” to be stupid and selfish, it just makes me feel more for the others whom they put at risk. Now I am supposed to roll past that and do a Gandhi. Lots of luck. I want to yell at them, but that is my lesser self-talking. My higher self wants to lead the way to their eventual understanding that they are part of a bigger community called humanity, where the individual I is not as important as the collective whole. Today especially, thinking of others is prime. The betterment of us all. Nice concept but when I am hungry and angry, it’s a hell of a lot harder.

            We keep struggling to get past this pandemic and people are hurting due to closed businesses etc. What I struggle with is that the cure is right in front of us and about 60% of us are doing what is necessary. The others who are slowing us down with their half-baked scientific knowledge and primal fears are my struggle today. How do I just accept that it is their right? My idea is that you can only have that right in your own home. But once you leave your door and venture outside, you are now part of “others” and different rules apply. You now affect others by your choices, and in my opinion, if you put others’ health at risk, you no longer can claim your “right.”

            I also am having difficulty with the culture of lying. So many people today believe what Trump says. Current thinking is they are 30% of us. It is scary to believe that they can believe that what Q-anon says. Satan-worshiping cannibals and child molesters are plotting to take over? Aren’t there medications for those thoughts?

 Now every time a Republican loses an election, they want you to believe it’s because it’s rigged against them? Since when can’t you just lose an election? The election system in the USA has stood the test of time as honest and true. Now the lying has created doubt in his lemming followers. I am furious at the destruction to democracy that this one man has caused. How do I get past this today?

The answer sadly for me is I can’t. I believe in truth and honesty. Shouldn’t we all?

It is not just a matter of opinion, There are facts.  Truth. Things provable, like vaccines which prevent death. The world is so much more divided since the emergence of the right-wing. How do we say ok they are part of us when they don’t want to integrate and join in constructive dialog? I am angry, frustrated and don’t feel very good about my ability to be more compassionate. Seems they have forced me to pick between their right to their beliefs or the others they hurt with those beliefs. I don’t want that choice today.

            So I will wait till the sun goes down, eat my meal, thank god for providing it and then ask him to just forgive me because I am failing at this forgiveness thing.

9 September 2021

                                                            Jean Paul Belmondo 

I was a bit unprepared for the torrent of thought and emotion that was released in me after I heard of the death of my French New Wave role model. In the ’60s when French movies were made by the likes of Truffaut, Goddard, and Resnais, the wildly popular “in the now” cinema presented an entirely different Existential world of detached weirdos and comic faux pas. “Slice of life”  features without a moral point of view were seen from different country’s film directors, with their unique point of view.

Welcome to the European ’60s. Seems old hat now. But then it was challenging the societal norms of the day. Kids worldwide were leaving their parental homes for travel and adventure. “Experience” meant many things and all the Arts now had a focus. Characters portrayed without any other point of view, but for themselves, They were in seemingly every film.

Some of the hype during that phase was led by Jean Paul Belmondo, whose character was quirky, funny, poignant, and yet broken. His movies portrayed “the cool” Belmondo with a Gaulios hanging from his lip. To this very day, I regret my young man wanting to be his phase… I smoked those Gauloise in France and leaned up against buildings with one hanging from my mouth. I sat at the Parisian cafes a lal Belmondo style. My mother swore I had lost my mind when I tried to live that way. Unfortunately, I learned from her that she was right. But I had ten years of full experiential bliss, trying to figure out if the Free Spirited generation really had something,  or were they just…  lost.

The Belmondo movie star status was a surprise to many. He had an oversize mouth and a strong, too big nose for a leading man. But he had “cool” and there was an entire generation of people living during the festive ’60s that wanted no ties, nothing that inhibited the joie de vie of living free, and Jean Paul represented that person for most of his career.

His death at 88 was a jolt for me. He had represented so much of what I was to become with my Family Theatre days of leading spontaneous theatre bits in the Algarve in Portugal in the summer. It was Belmondo and Theatre of the Absurd joined at the hip for the Europeans on holiday in Portugal. They were the jet setters from all over Europe with some Americans thrown in.

Everyone there absolutely reveled in spontaneous events in theatre, music, and film. The world of Party had a home in the Costa del Sol and the Riviera. We went to Cannes for the Film Festival and jaunted over to Monte Carlo for the Casino and Disco world. When back in New  York I waited each week for my French “Cahiers du Cinema” to arrive every Friday. That with the Village Voice’s film reviews made for my choices each week. The New York hip Arts scene at the time was dominated by La Mama, the Filmore and eventually CBGB’s, and the Andy Warhol phenomena. Be ins dominated page Six. Vogue was everywhere. The Stones partied upstairs at Max’s Kansas City. The Electric Circus went all night on St. Marks’s place.

Jean Paul Belmondo never made great films but he was a niche actor that just never went away. Glad he lived a long life. He eventually got married and raised a family. He had a lot of fun along the way. Jean Paul, you sent me out there to find what I wanted, and it opened so many doors, and for that I thank you. One can go down many wrong roads before one finds the right one. I sure did.

July 9, 2021
Hopeless Haiti
If there is one other country, other than Somalia or Afghanistan that is more ungovernable than Haiti, I don’t know of it. For decades Haiti has been plagued by dictators, corruption throughout the entire political social system, gang rule, and violence. In the past decade over ten billion dollars has been sent to Haiti with no visible results. Election voting in the 11 million population is less than ten percent. Those elected are beholding to gangs and lifelong corruption politics. Self-servers rule. The people starve and poverty continues at all time levels. The devastation of the 2010 earthquake can still be seen. There just is not any infrastructure that works on a consistent basis. It is tribal and gang rule that controls Somalia and Afghanistan as well as Haiti. Why gangs? When parents can’t provide security and a path for their children, the outcome is to go to the streets for it. That’s where the rules are different, and survival depends on joining to fight one’s enemies (competitors for survival). When those in power are supported by gang or tribal rule, it forces the us vs. them mentality thereby fragmenting the social wellness of all the population. Therefore, little negotiation is possible. Chaos remains imbedded in values and reputation. Trust of leaders is minimal as the basis of their power is suppression. And on and on it goes. We here in the USA are at the first stages of mob rule with the us vs them mentality being seen in political speeches and hate group rankings. Jan 6th was the first attempt at insurrection by mob mentality. In Haiti voter suppression and corruption are key to maintaining power and if you listen closely to the fringe right in the USA, they are saying the same things. Except the fringe right now has a voice from the ex-president of the USA, an extremely dangerous circumstance. Be careful when you see an angry mob flouting an American flag. They are not for democracy; they are for mob rule.

March 19, 2021
Thoughts about Robert Aaron Long
First of all these killings are not part of the media-fueled Asian hate campaign, we are reading about. This guy was psychologically a sex addict due to his compulsiveness of acting on his sexual needs. Every one of us has to learn how to control and properly channel these impulses. But what if you felt the Devil was making you feel it? You could start down a path that you can’t recover from. His inability to channel his normal sexual feelings and urges led him down a path where he eventually tried to eliminate the source of his attraction. If you were a food addict instead, it’s like having to take out every McDonald’s. The problem was being a Baptist which forbids sexual expression. His guilt in his inability to live up to an impossible religious standard made him try to control the environment around him as he knew he could no longer control the urges.
That’s what’s wrong with beliefs that try to suppress urges rather than channel them. This poor sob was living a nightmare that he could not control. So when he finally snaps his mind tells him if he eliminates what is attracting him, then he will no longer have the urge. No, it would just transfer. He killed whoever he was attracted to, it has nothing to do with hate or Asians. If they were Eskimos or Peruvians, it would have made no difference. They were his sexual outlets and that’s what made them the targets He was suffering from self-hatred and loathing.
We see it every day in a therapist’s office. Anxious people trying to control others so they don’t get anxious. Don’t get daddy upset, he’ll drink. Don’t say that, you’ll get hit. The misinformation here is that they blame the victim rather than control their anxiety or impulses. He could have been counseled successfully and it would have prevented the killing of 8 innocent people. Maybe he had an underlying psychosis which linked up with his sexual addiction. I don’t know his specifics but I can tell it’s not about Asians. If it were he could have taken out the nail salon or the Hung Fat restaurant, on his way to the massage parlor.
Don’t buy into the media campaign. There might be people who have trouble with Asians, but everybody has somebody they think is lousing up the country. It’s the people who think that way that is the problem.

February 25, 2021
Going to have my say. I have been playing or watching baseball for 74 yrs. I know the game. Why do they keep f’n with the ball? A few years ago regular pop flies carried for homers. Now they are playing around with the stitches and inner core. Why keep stats if a pop fly one year is a homer the next? Leave the damn ball alone. Plus they keep moving the outfield fences or raising and lowering them. Play with the same ball and leave the bats alone as well. Tradition? They never heard of it. Shame on them.

January 15, 2021
How did we ever get this fuckin’ crazy?
Yesterday the newly elected Republican House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from the newly flipped state of Georgia, caused a ruckus when she refused to wear a face mask at her swearing-in ceremony. Then later she released a post wearing a face mask that read Trump Won. She went on to say that on her first day in office, she will introduce an article of impeachment against Joe Biden on his first day in office. She believes that he was abusing his power by letting a foreign government (Ukraine) steal the election that Trump won by a landslide.
She is a far right-wing Q-ANON member, who believe there is a deep state conspiracy of satan worshiping cannibalistic pedophiles who are running a global sex trafficking ring and are plotting against Donald Trump. Trump according to them is planning a day of reckoning, known as “The Storm” when thousands of members of the cabal will be arrested.  I am not making this stuff up. Sounds like stories I heard in the emergency room when the cops brought in naked people who ran down the city streets spouting paranoid craziness. Now they are representatives of the Republican Party of Georgia.
Further information coming from the police and FBI reveals that many of the invaders of Congress were Q-Anon members. Not only are they delusional but they are armed and dangerous. And who is their hero? None other than the savior Donald Trump. We all know how moral, Christian and caring he is.
Is it possible that we have lost all ability to see paranoid delusions? They are a real condition and many people are now in locked wards receiving medication for saying similar things. But when a President lies daily and blames honest media for years, this is what you get. Loose fringed people who have sex, politics, and religion all tied together with one of the most dishonest people whoever reached the political summit of America. They believe he won the election and no amount of fact-checking from Republican and Democratic officials can change their belief. It will be interesting to see how she does in Congress. If she gains any kind of power you will know that reality has lost its way and the inmates are now running the asylum. My bet is Trump will be arrested before he can save them from the cabal. But don’t worry,  Don Jr. and Ivanka will save us.

January 1, 2021
Mushroom and the Jefferson Airplane house
I first met him in the Army Stockade in Mannheim, Germany. Mushroom had been the company clerk for an Army unit stationed in Paris. He had enlisted because he felt he needed more discipline. For that extra year of service, he got to pick his post. He chose Paris. He was living with his wife and newborn son in an apartment near his office work station in central Paris. He loved it. Cafes and great food.
He was as he called it “living the high life.” Then Charles de Gaulle threw the American Army out of France and Mushroom was reassigned to Worms, Germany. He was now the company clerk for a field unit that was guarding a missile silo in the ground. He was living in a military compound for married NCO’s, and it was nowhere near a town. He was angry, feeling cheated, and was miserably bored. He filed for a transfer but it was denied. He had two months left on his first year of service and demanded they honor his choice of the post request. They refused and said he would be credited 2 months service at the end of his 3 years tour. He was now livid and started acting out in his job as company clerk. He misfiled papers, sent requests to the wrong office. He screwed up the company payroll. He was warned and disciplined with fines. But when he loused up the company commander’s vacation request and reimbursement pay, he was given an article 15 and sent to jail to await trial.
So Mushroom arrives at the Stockade in Mannheim and like all new inmates, has to have a psychiatric mental status examination. You need to be legally competent to stand trial, just like in the civilian world. My job is to do those evaluations. Mushroom comes into my office with a big grin on his face. He starts with “Are you the guy who can get me out of the Army?” I tell him my job is to evaluate his sanity to stand trial. “ Well they have a section 8 for misfits don’t they”? I said that’s only after your trial if you are found sane. “What?” If you are not found sane you will be transferred to a psychiatric facility for treatment and will be reevaluated later for trial. “No I don’t want that, just will waste my time.” Long story short, Mushroom was sane, super smart, and had a personality disorder but well within legal guidelines. He knew what he was doing and it was all aimed at getting him kicked out of the Army.
I liked the guy. He was quick-witted and funny. After I got to know him better and he trusted me, he told me he was a “head”. Meaning that he loved to smoke hashish and he sold “shrooms.” They were LSD laced mushrooms, and that was his nickname. Mushroom.
There are a few subcategories for the Army to rid itself of people who fall somewhere between crazy and criminal. He was neither. The Army’s choice was to either to keep him on the payroll, which included his wife and son, or just quietly discharge him without making the severe life long choice of a dishonorable discharge. Eventually, that’s what happened, I wrote in my report that I thought he would continue to be disruptive with acting out behavior and that continued incarceration would neither benefit him nor the Army. The psychiatrist agreed with me and Mushroom was separated from the Army under general conditions not conducive to military service standards.
After we were both out of the Army and back in the States, I got a call from a mutual friend who told me Mushroom was coming to NY and wants to see me. So I met him. He’s now a flower child selling psychedelic art. He’s using dayglo paint, the rage at the time. Still selling mushrooms and making more money that way than with his “art”. His child was now five years old, and just for info purposes, his initials were LSD. Tells you everything right there. We had lots of laughs together, but I made sure not to back his financial schemes about mushrooms.
The following year I had hitched cross country for the second time and found myself in San Francisco. I called Mushroom. He was over the top excited. Said it was perfect timing as he needed me to be his “business agent” in name only, as he had a meeting coming up at the Jefferson Airplane house.

“What? You are going to the Airplane house?”
“Absolutely, I have a meeting with Jorma and Jack Cassidy.”

The Jefferson Airplane band was as big as the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. They were the American answer to what was called the British Invasion. The Airplane house was considered as sacred as Mecca, by the rock n’ roll Hippie community. The ultimate hip center of San Francisco’s rock scene. They were the stars of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East and West. It was hard to believe that Mushroom would actually get an invite to go there. He said they accepted his request for a meet to see his designs for their next album cover. The Beatles had just done Sgt Pepper and the Stones just released Magical Mystery Tour. Mush said his dayglo cover, seen under a blue light would blow everyone’s mind. The Airplane liked the idea.
So I would be there to keep Mush focused as his excitement and A. D. D. Could derail a serious conversation. I agreed to go, this was going to be epic.  Security was very tight. Sure enough, our names were on the guest list. Once inside the house, we saw rock n’ roll photos of all the top bands of the day which were autographed and plastered over multiple rooms. This was like being in Graceland during Elvis’ reign. We were led upstairs to sit on a big leather couch. We watched the inner circle of the real rock star world walk by. First was Jorma Kaukonen who said hi and told us we would meet in about 10 minutes. Next Jack Cassidy walked by holding his guitar. Down the hall, we saw Grace Slick being followed by what looked like reporters. We tried to not look like star-struck tourists. But we were, and I then told Mush we had to stop gawking and stay focused that we had a legit business meeting.
Jorma came out and said ok come on in. Inside Marty Balin was there as well. They asked us to make our presentation. Mush did pretty well. He opened the portfolio and passed around the dayglo covers which looked like a kindergartner’s doodles. Mush said “ You can’t evaluate these unless you see it under a blue light. Jorma said, “ok follow me.” We went down the hall and not only did they have a blue light, but they also had a blue lightroom. When we walked in Mushroom’s drawings burst into life. Wow said Jorma. He liked them, so did Jack. We walked back to the meeting room.
They had the business agent in the room and he said, he had doubts about how to promote the concept. The record stores don’t have blue lights and without the light, it just doesn’t work. Mush said people know about blue light and it’s still a cool idea. There was disagreement among the Airplane and they asked us to step outside while they debated the issue.
Back on the sofa, we were cautiously optimistic. Mush was sure that they would agree to do the cover. I had more doubts as I said this is a business decision and not an artistic one. When they emerged they said no decision would be made now as they had to get all band members to see it in the blue room and the business people would have to do more research as this was a totally new concept, and said they would get back to us. Mush left his portfolio with them. They said feel free to see the house with any room that had an open door. We were floating. We meandered about looking at all the framed gold and platinum albums on the wall. We even saw Jan Wenner from RollingStone magazine talking to some Airplane staffers. We felt really good and left there on a high note.
It took a week for Mushroom to hear that they decided against doing the project. Mush called and asked for another meeting to discuss doing Airplane 3×5 cards, keychains, and a book of dayglo band pics. To my utter shock, they agreed and we went back to meeting number two. This was a poorly thrown together proposal as it was mainly ideas without the product itself. Mush had some drawings of the band members on 3×5 cards and his idea for a book, but only Jack was at the meeting and now there were three business people. We were thanked but they said they were looking at different ideas. This time they walked us out after giving Mush his portfolio.
In the months to come, we saw Jefferson Airplane dayglo tee shirts hit the market. After all, was said and done, we agreed that Mushroom had taken us to the mountain top, he never got the financial deal, but we could tell one hell of a story.