August 30, 2010

I can't get this sand out of my shoes

Stephen Shore, Palm Beach, Florida, April 1973

* Is that Mark E. Smith on Your Trapezius?

-- Bonus: U.S. 80s - 90s

* Check out Story/Stereo #7 this coming Friday, September 3: John Davis Plays John Davis (Title Tracks, Georgie James, Q and Not U) with authors Aryn Kyle (Boys and Girls Like You and Me) and Allison Benis White (Self-Portrait with Crayon) 8:00 PM at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

* Richard Yates Monday:

Following the publication of Revolutionary Road and Eleven Kinds of Loneliness, Yates found himself broke, living in New York, not working much. His good friend, William Styron recommended him to E. Barrett Prettyman Jr. for the position as the first speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy, at the time the Attorney General of the United States.

As part of the interview process, Yates was asked to submit a trial assignment -- a civil rights speech to be delivered at an "exclusive girls' college in the east."

In the following section from his unfinished novel (which was found in his freezer after he died and later published in part in Open City 3) Uncertain Times, Yates -- calling himself William Grove -- writes about that trial assignment:

Alone on the shuttle flight back to New York that afternoon, with the sparsely typed assignment sheet in his pocket, Grove felt lost in the sky until he picked up a complimentary copy of Time and opened it to the book section. The featured article that week was an interview with the British novelist and scholar John Wain, and in reply to one question Wain had this to say:

“Yes. Well, I've always believed that the purpose of a higher education is to free the mind.”

It wasn't much, but Grove read it over several times because it might turn out to be useful. And there’d be no need to give John Wain the credit for it; he could make it seem like something Robert Kennedy had thought up himself – or better still, he could let Robert Kennedy attribute it to “wise men through the ages.”

“…Wise men through the ages,” he wrote with a pencil that night at his own work table, in his own Barrow Street basement, “have understood that the purpose of a higher education is not only to discipline and instruct but above all to free the mind – to free it from the darkness, the narrowness, the groundless fears and self-defeating passions of ignorance.”

A full glass of ice and whiskey was close at hand, his first drink of the day except for the quick one he’d taken at LaGuardia Airport, but he didn’t pick it up until he’d finished that sentence – until he’d found, with some astonishment, that it was the easiest and most pleasurable sentence he had written that year.

With his first sips and swallows, and then with deeper swigs that sent authoritative tremors of well-being down his arms, other sentences began to take form. Not many of them came out right the first time but their ways of faltering were quick to suggest their ways of recovery; very soon the page was filled with crossings-out and ragged little writings-in, and only William Grove could tell that this was how it read:

“And so perhaps it’s not too much to say that what we are celebrating here today is the liberation, the setting-free of your minds. School is out, girls. You have earned the right to do your own learning, to develop your own insights and draw your own conclusion, to embark on your own adventures in the world.

“You may sometimes regret your education, for a free mind will always insist on seeking our reality – and reality can be far more painful that the safe and comfortable illusions of the intellectually poor – but your regret will be nothing compared with your measureless capacity for understanding.

“Men and women with free minds may sometimes be mistaken, but they are seldom fooled. They may be influenced, but they can’t be intimidated. They may be perplexed, but they will never be lost.” …

“In the light of a truly free mind no pettiness can pose as importance,” Robert Kennedy would tell the girls of Saint Mary’s, “no bullying sanctimony can disguise itself as leadership, no bigotry – anywhere, ever – can masquerade as accepted social custom.” …

It was time to get into the meat of the speech, the civil rights part of it; and after crossing out one sentence about “American Negroes” and another about the “twelve percent of our population whose skin is not white, he found himself writing something Robert Kennedy had actually said:

“Our current national crisis in civil right can’t be resolved by governmental edict. Ultimately it is a human problem, and its solution will depend on the ability of men and women everywhere to recognize and follow their own best instincts – t move quickly in establishing those reforms which all of us know, in our hearts, should have been made long ago.” …

His first draft for the conclusion of the speech had been built out of a rising series of three or four, semi-climactic statements, with pauses giving the audience time to applaud after each period. That kind of thing…wasn’t appropriate for a college graduation. Restraint, decorum and a merciful brevity had to be kept in mind.

Reluctantly, Grove crossed out a hundred words, hours’ worth of labor, and cut the thing back to where the girls had still been alert and listening.

“I think I’ve said most of what I came here to say now,” Bobby would tell them (and that was a serviceable little throwaway line because it could be used again and again in other, future speeches). “And I need scarcely to remind you that your generation will have plenty of challenges to face – more, perhaps, than any other in history. My message here is simply that there can be no allowance for your complacency in the days and years ahead, and there will be every need for your active involvement. But take heart. As adults with free minds in a free society, you have literally everything to live for. And remember this: You have nothing to be afraid of. Good luck and may God be with you all. Thank you.”

Wave on wave of phantom applause came rolling and breaking over Robert Kennedy as Grove read through it again. It might not be the world’s most perfect speech but it gave him an unmistakable sense of having done his best. All he had to do now was type it, in the two-finger method that was the only kind of typing he had ever learned, and mark it up and get it into the mail; then in a day or two a Justice Department girl would make a clean finished typescript and see that the top copy was brought, like a sacrificial offering, to the Attorney General’s attention.

“Well, I think this is excellent,” Robert Kennedy said.
“Thank you, sir.”
“I really think it’s a work of art, ah, Bill.” And with the stacked pages in one hand, Robert Kennedy waved the other vaguely in the air as if seeking an elusive word or phrase. “I like the – the elegance of it,” he said at last. “I like the style.”

* We are bored when we don't know what we are waiting for. That we do know, or think we know, is nearly always the expression of our superficiality of inattention. Boredom is the threshold to great deeds. -- Now, it would be important to know: What is the dialectical antithesis to boredom." -- Walter Benjamin

August 25, 2010

distance is up static is down

Otto Dix, The Nun, 1914

What The Hieroglyph Said To A Pauper Formally Known As Morris
-- by Dennis Mahagin

Must have been New Year's Eve, nineteen ninety nine. Remember?
We sat around a booth in that dive bar called Kelly's Olympian,
tossing Alka Seltzer pellets into a big bowl of red wine. Plop, plop, and the hooker whose giggle was like a sizzle, like a wheeze, who kept asking you pretty please to say "tutelage" and "effervesce" in your phony Canadian accent, like Peter Jennings with an axe to grind, -- gently, gently cracked that poor girl up, especially when I confessed to impotence

engendered by meth, and what William J. Clinton had done with his cigar. Couldn't stop thinking about it. Right? Uck... "Yeah well, I'm all through with sex too," you said, "my own brand of nihilism..." You tossed a white pellet into the stew, then some kitchen matches and a torn-up scratch off lottery ticket. "But what about your backed-up ducts? Your moans, jismic goo and student loans?" cackled the drunk-as-fuck Party Girl, (she called her
self Monica!) tilting a cleft chin up, up, into overhead fluorescence. Believe it

must have been a couple hours later, when I climaxed crisply upon her cleavage, her bobbing-for-apples. At the stroke of midnight, I turned celibate, like I said -- and stayed that way, ever since; don't you dare call me fucking ... don't you dare call me Prince ... Honestly, some men, they stare straight into the abyss, they whisper "Spodi - Odi ... Spodi - Odi..." ice blue slates wiped of memory, but my newest name most resembles a medulla oblongata, whorled
by foam, wrought by flame. Still the same old shudder; dig, shredder: I'm about the music, so please wear it ... well, at least try to hear me out.

Fair Trial
-- Frank Stanford

The undertaker went his bail
And the chauffeur lent him
A jacket to wear
A sea blue tuxedo
It was all he had that would
Fit him
And all his friends
Showed up
Not that they carried any weight
In the town
But they came
To give him soul support
Because they knew
He didn't have a whore's chance
In heaven
You can't touch
The wife of the Law
And expect to get away
With it hell
The paper's bound to be against you

August 24, 2010

don't hide
the snake can see you

Julia Fullerton-Batten, Beach Houses, 2005

* Charlie Finch on Work of Art, and reality shows in general, concludes:

The common threads running through all these minor media spectacles include a joy in the desperation of others ("that's not me!"), now including the choice and elitist "desperation" of bad artists and the identification with the bullying behavior of those standing in judgment after a series of arbitrary and idiotic contests. Needless to say, these are the basest of human responses and, when translated into the larger political realm, become simply the seeds of fascism. The art world, supposedly a haven of eccentric exceptionalism, proved just as subservient to the debased conformity of turning art-making into one more crappy relay race.

Nowadays you can dance, seduce, eat worms, make a dress, double date and, now, paint and sculpt, in the realm of cheap competition. For culture at large in our dumbdowned society the laurels of the Greeks have become not a crown of thorns, but one of candy wrappers and rusted tin cans. Nothing good can come of it.

* Pavement tour diaries.

* "Someone came up to me after a show & told me I sound quite a bit like Jad Fair. I told him I sound exactly like Jad Fair" --Jad Fair

August 23, 2010

I never tried as hard as I could
I've seen more than I've understood
Take my father who came back from the dead
"I needed just one more drink," he said
He sat there reading books
While my mother slowly lost her looks
And even though we were poor
The sun still shined on our door

Natasha Drewnicki, 2010

* From Harper's September 2010:

-- Number of people in India who currently have access to a mobile phone: 617,500,000

-- Number who have access to a toilet: 366,000,000

-- Percentage change in new home sales in the month after a federal first-time homebuyer program expired in April: - 33

-- Number of prison inmates who received tax credits under the program: 1,295

-- Rank of BP among the largest fuel suppliers to the Defense Department: 1

* Soft Focus: Ian Svenonius interviews Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon.

* "An entire life spent reading would have fulfilled my every desire; I already knew that at the age of seven. The texture of the world is painful, inadequate; unalterable, or so it seems to me. Really, I believe that an entire life spent reading would have suited me best. Such a life has not been granted me." -- Michel Houellebecq

August 18, 2010

left my hotel in the city everything was clear and set

Don Donaghy, Untitled, 1964
Copyright (c) Estate of Don Donaghy

Death of a Window Washer
-- by X. J. Kennedy

He dropped the way you'd slam an obstinate sash,
His split belt like a shade unrolling, flapping.
Forgotten on his account, the mindless copying
Machine ran scores of memos no one wanted.
Heads stared from every floor, noon traffic halted
As though transformed to stone. Cops sealed the block
With sawhorse barricades, laid canvas cover.
Nuns crossed themselves, flies went on being alive,
A broker counted ten shares sold as five,
And by coincidence a digital clock
Stopped in front of a second it couldn't leap over.

Struck wordless by his tumble from the sky
To their feet, two lovers held fast to each other
Uttering cries. But he had made no cry.
He'd made the city pause briefly to suffer
His taking ample room for once. In rather
A tedious while the rinsed street, left to dry,
Unlatched its gates that passerby might pass.
Why did he live and die? His legacy
Is mute: one final gleaming pane of glass.

New Religion
-- by Bill Holm

This morning no sound but the loud
breathing of the sea. Suppose that under
all that salt water lived the god
that humans have spent ten thousand years
trawling the heavens for.
We caught the wrong metaphor.
Real space is wet and underneath,
the church of shark and whale and cod.
The noise of those vast lungs
exhaling: the plain chanting of monkfish choirs.
Heaven's not up but down, and hell
is to evaporate in air. Salvation,
to drown and breathe
forever with the sea.

two nights before my 72nd birthday
-- by Charles Bukowski

sitting here on a boiling hot night while
drinking a bottle of cabernet sauvignon
after winning $232 at the track.
there's not much I can tell you except
if it weren't for my bad right leg
I don't feel much different than I did
30 or 40 years ago (except that
now I have more money and should be able
to afford a decent
burial). also,
I drive better automobiles and have
stopped carrying a
I am still looking for a hero, a role model,
but can't find one.
I am no more tolerant of Humanity
than I ever was.
I am not bored with myself and find
that I am the only one I can
turn to in time of
I've been ready to die for decades and
I've been practicing, polishing up
for that end
but it's very
hot tonight
and I can thing of little but
this fine cabernet,
that's gift enough for me.
sometimes I can't
believe I've come this far,
this has to be some kind of goddamned
just another old guy
blinking at the forces,
smiling a little,
as the cities tremble and the left
hand rises,

August 11, 2010

After all is said and done
Gotta move while it's still fun
Let me walk before they make me run
After all is said and done
I gotta move, it's still fun
I'm gonna walk before they make me run

Stephen Coyle, Summer, 2008

Throwing Away the Alarm Clock
-- by Charles Bukowski

my father always said, "early to bed and
early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy
and wise."

it was lights out at 8 p.m. in our house
and we were up at dawn to the smell of
coffee, frying bacon and scrambled

my father followed this general routine
for a lifetime and died young, broke,
and, I think, not too

taking note, I rejected his advice and it
became, for me, late to bed and late
to rise.

now, I'm not saying that I've conquered
the world but I've avoided
numberless early traffic jams, bypassed some
common pitfalls
and have met some strange, wonderful

one of whom
myself—someone my father

-- on vacation, back next Wednesday.

August 10, 2010

I started out younger at most everything
All the riches and pleasures, what else could life bring?
But it makes me feel better each time it begins
Callin' me home, hickory wind

Stephen Shore, Yosemite National Park, August 1979

* The great men of Junk Food, a timeline. excerpt:


Two street vendor brothers — Frederick and Louis Rueckheim — sold a popcorn, molasses and peanuts confection at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. By 1896, they had perfected their recipe and called it Cracker Jack, and would soon repackage it for freshness and start advertising around the country. “They created a product that is commercially available nationally and salable,” said Mr. Smith, who considers Cracker Jack America’s first junk food.


Tootsie Rolls, manufactured in New York City starting in 1905, changed junk food with one simple touch, and it had nothing to do with the chewy chocolate taste. It was the first penny candy to be individually wrapped.


One unusually frigid night in San Francisco in 1905, 11-year-old Frank W. Epperson accidentally left a powdered-soda drink he had made for himself on the porch with the stirring stick still in the cup. The next morning, he awoke to find a frozen concoction, on a stick.

He tasted it. He showed it to his friends at school. And then he went on with his life, eventually going into real estate. It was not until 1923 that Mr. Epperson finally applied for a patent for his discovery. These days, Unilever sells two billion of them in the United States each year. Mr. Epperson initially called his product Epsicles. His children had another name: Pop’s ’sicles.

* "You can't fool others if you are fooling yourself." -- Jenny Holzer

August 9, 2010

I saw God's shadow on this world
I could not love the world entire
There grew a desert in my mind
I took a hammer to it all

William Eggleston, Woman on Swing, Jackson, Mississippi, late 1960s

* Excerpts from David Foster Wallaces' Consider the Lobster:

Lobster is essentially a summer food. This is because we now prefer our lobsters fresh, which means they have to be recently caught, which for both tactical and economic reasons takes place at depths of less than 25 fathoms. Lobsters tend to be hungriest and most active (i.e., most trappable) at summer water temperatures of 45–50°F. In the autumn, some Maine lobsters migrate out into deeper water, either for warmth or to avoid the heavy waves that pound New England’s coast all winter. Some burrow into the bottom. They might hibernate; nobody’s sure. Summer is also lobsters’ molting season—specifically early- to mid-July. Chitinous arthropods grow by molting, rather the way people have to buy bigger clothes as they age and gain weight. Since lobsters can live to be over 100, they can also get to be quite large, as in 20 pounds or more—though truly senior lobsters are rare now, because New England’s waters are so heavily trapped. Anyway, hence the culinary distinction between hard- and soft-shell lobsters, the latter sometimes a.k.a. shedders. A soft-shell lobster is one that has recently molted. In midcoast restaurants, the summer menu often offers both kinds, with shedders being slightly cheaper even though they’re easier to dismantle and the meat is allegedly sweeter. The reason for the discount is that a molting lobster uses a layer of seawater for insulation while its new shell is hardening, so there’s slightly less actual meat when you crack open a shedder, plus a redolent gout of water that gets all over everything and can sometimes jet out lemonlike and catch a tablemate right in the eye. If it’s winter or you’re buying lobster someplace far from New England, on the other hand, you can almost bet that the lobster is a hard-shell, which for obvious reasons travel better.

As an à la carte entrée, lobster can be baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, sautéed, stir-fried, or microwaved. The most common method, though, is boiling. If you’re someone who enjoys having lobster at home, this is probably the way you do it, since boiling is so easy. You need a large kettle w/ cover, which you fill about half full with water (the standard advice is that you want 2.5 quarts of water per lobster). Seawater is optimal, or you can add two tbsp salt per quart from the tap. It also helps to know how much your lobsters weigh. You get the water boiling, put in the lobsters one at a time, cover the kettle, and bring it back up to a boil. Then you bank the heat and let the kettle simmer—ten minutes for the first pound of lobster, then three minutes for each pound after that. (This is assuming you’ve got hard-shell lobsters, which, again, if you don’t live between Boston and Halifax, is probably what you’ve got. For shedders, you’re supposed to subtract three minutes from the total.) The reason the kettle’s lobsters turn scarlet is that boiling somehow suppresses every pigment in their chitin but one. If you want an easy test of whether the lobsters are done, you try pulling on one of their antennae—if it comes out of the head with minimal effort, you’re ready to eat.

A detail so obvious that most recipes don’t even bother to mention it is that each lobster is supposed to be alive when you put it in the kettle. This is part of lobster’s modern appeal: It’s the freshest food there is. There’s no decomposition between harvesting and eating. And not only do lobsters require no cleaning or dressing or plucking (though the mechanics of actually eating them are a different matter), but they’re relatively easy for vendors to keep alive. They come up alive in the traps, are placed in containers of seawater, and can, so long as the water’s aerated and the animals’ claws are pegged or banded to keep them from tearing one another up under the stresses of captivity,8 survive right up until they’re boiled. Most of us have been in supermarkets or restaurants that feature tanks of live lobster, from which you can pick out your supper while it watches you point. And part of the overall spectacle of the Maine Lobster Festival is that you can see actual lobstermen’s vessels docking at the wharves along the northeast grounds and unloading freshly caught product, which is transferred by hand or cart 100 yards to the great clear tanks stacked up around the Festival’s cooker—which is, as mentioned, billed as the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker and can process over 100 lobsters at a time for the Main Eating Tent.
The more important point here, though, is that the whole animal-cruelty-and-eating issue is not just complex, it’s also uncomfortable. It is, at any rate, uncomfortable for me, and for just about everyone I know who enjoys a variety of foods and yet does not want to see herself as cruel or unfeeling. As far as I can tell, my own main way of dealing with this conflict has been to avoid thinking about the whole unpleasant thing. I should add that it appears to me unlikely that many readers of gourmet wish to think hard about it, either, or to be queried about the morality of their eating habits in the pages of a culinary monthly. Since, however, the assigned subject of this article is what it was like to attend the 2003 MLF, and thus to spend several days in the midst of a great mass of Americans all eating lobster, and thus to be more or less impelled to think hard about lobster and the experience of buying and eating lobster, it turns out that there is no honest way to avoid certain moral questions.

There are several reasons for this. For one thing, it’s not just that lobsters get boiled alive, it’s that you do it yourself—or at least it’s done specifically for you, on-site.13 As mentioned, the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker, which is highlighted as an attraction in the Festival’s program, is right out there on the MLF’s north grounds for everyone to see. Try to imagine a Nebraska Beef Festival14 at which part of the festivities is watching trucks pull up and the live cattle get driven down the ramp and slaughtered right there on the World’s Largest Killing Floor or something—there’s no way.

The intimacy of the whole thing is maximized at home, which of course is where most lobster gets prepared and eaten (although note already the semiconscious euphemism “prepared,” which in the case of lobsters really means killing them right there in our kitchens). The basic scenario is that we come in from the store and make our little preparations like getting the kettle filled and boiling, and then we lift the lobsters out of the bag or whatever retail container they came home in …whereupon some uncomfortable things start to happen. However stuporous the lobster is from the trip home, for instance, it tends to come alarmingly to life when placed in boiling water. If you’re tilting it from a container into the steaming kettle, the lobster will sometimes try to cling to the container’s sides or even to hook its claws over the kettle’s rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof. And worse is when the lobster’s fully immersed. Even if you cover the kettle and turn away, you can usually hear the cover rattling and clanking as the lobster tries to push it off. Or the creature’s claws scraping the sides of the kettle as it thrashes around. The lobster, in other words, behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water (with the obvious exception of screaming).15 A blunter way to say this is that the lobster acts as if it’s in terrible pain, causing some cooks to leave the kitchen altogether and to take one of those little lightweight plastic oven timers with them into another room and wait until the whole process is over.

* Check out this penalty kick.

* "Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." -- frank zappa

August 4, 2010

cigarette stuck in the sidewalk crack
reminds you of things you'll never get back

Jen Siska, Deer To me, August 2006

Fuck Poem
---by Joyce Peseroff

The rooms live on.
When we finish, they continue,
the walls creating the same space,
holding the same air that held
our bodies when we
held our bodies,
preserving the scene
when we have abandoned it
for some novel sunset, some television,
dinner at a friend's.
The bed is forced into it.
The lamps compose themselves in darkness,
the turntable turns at 33-1/3 revolutions
per minute for hours
after we have forgotten the problem,
and I think it's amazing.

The Day She Gets Her License
-- by Susan Jackson

The car is as long as a city block
and sleek
the fins stretch out as far as the eye
can see
or so she imagines.
It's the early days
of metallic finish
the color of the car
blue frost or silver
depending on the way
light glints
off the surface
or how high
the sun is.
With the top down
the red leather seats shine
like the inside of a flower
like a flag in the wind
and her hair trails out
behind her, flying.
When the guy on the corner,
the cat with the long side-burns,
looks across the street
and whistles
she knows it's for her
she knows
she's beautiful
she will always be

Excerpt from I Remember
-- by Joe Brainard

I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.

I remember the first ball point pens. They skipped, and deposited little balls of ink that would accumulate at the point.

I remember learning how to play bridge so I could get to know Frank O'Hara better.

I remember the outhouse and a Sears & Roebuck catolog to wipe off with.

I remember the organ music from As the World Turns.

I remember being disappointed the first time I had my teeth cleaned that they didn't turn out real white.

I remember that Lana Turner was discovered sipping a soda in a drugstore.

I remember not being able to fall asleep on Christmas eve.

I remember bathroom doors that don't lock and trying to pee fast.

I remember sex on too much grass and the total separation of my head from what's going on down there.

I remember inching myself down into water that was too hot.

I remember awkward elevator "moments."

I remember the exact moment, during communion, that was the hardest to keep from smiling. It was when you had to stick out your tongue and the minister laid the white wafer on it.

I remember little wax bottles with sweet liquid inside.

I remember once when it was raining on one side of our fence but not the other.

I remember hating myself after adult gatherings for being such a bore.

August 2, 2010

For what is a man? What has he got?
If not himself - Then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Michael Nakoneczny, Buzz Me In, 2008

* Excerpt from Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, a 1965 Esquire article by Gay Talese:

Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel -- only worse. For the common cold robs Sinatra of that uninsurable jewel, his voice, cutting into the core of his confidence, and it affects not only his own psyche but also seems to cause a kind of psychosomatic nasal drip within dozens of people who work for him, drink with him, love him, depend on him for their own welfare and stability. A Sinatra with a cold can, in a small way, send vibrations through the entertainment industry and beyond as surely as a President of the United States, suddenly sick, can shake the national economy.

For Frank Sinatra was now involved with many things involving many people -- his own film company, his record company, his private airline, his missile-parts firm, his real-estate holdings across the nation, his personal staff of seventy-five -- which are only a portion of the power he is and has come to represent. He seemed now to be also the embodiment of the fully emancipated male, perhaps the only one in America, the man who can do anything he wants, anything, can do it because he has money, the energy, and no apparent guilt. In an age when the very young seem to be taking over, protesting and picketing and demanding change, Frank Sinatra survives as a national phenomenon, one of the few prewar products to withstand the test of time. He is the champ who made the big comeback, the man who had everything, lost it, then got it back, letting nothing stand in his way, doing what few men can do: he uprooted his life, left his family, broke with everything that was familiar, learning in the process that one way to hold a woman is not to hold her. Now he has the affection of Nancy and Ava and Mia, the fine female produce of three generations, and still has the adoration of his children, the freedom of a bachelor, he does not feel old, he makes old men feel young, makes them think that if Frank Sinatra can do it, it can be done; not that they could do it, but it is still nice for other men to know, at fifty, that it can be done.
Frank Sinatra does things personally. At Christmas time, he will personally pick dozens of presents for his close friends and family, remembering the type of jewelry they like, their favorite colors, the sizes of their shirts and dresses. When a musician friend's house was destroyed and his wife was killed in a Los Angeles mud slide a little more than a year ago, Sinatra personally came to his aid, finding the musician a new home, paying whatever hospital bills were left unpaid by the insurance, then personally supervising the furnishing of the new home down to the replacing of the silverware, the linen, the purchase of new clothing.

The same Sinatra who did this can, within the same hour, explode in a towering rage of intolerance should a small thing be incorrectly done for him by one of his paisanos. For example, when one of his men brought him a frankfurter with catsup on it, which Sinatra apparently abhors, he angrily threw the bottle at the man, splattering catsup all over him. Most of the men who work around Sinatra are big. But this never seems to intimidate Sinatra nor curb his impetuous behavior with them when he is mad. They will never take a swing back at him. He is Il Padrone.

* "In 1965, I had my first acid trip. I told my mother. She was very concerned. She said, That could lead to marijuana." -- Paul Krassner