Sunday, February 27, 2011

"My Family"

Here's one of my Dad's cousins doing his showbiz thing in the 1950's somewhere. My family was into showbiz on Dads side. They was all show folks. My Mom's side were teachers or business folks. Heck of a mix I can tell ya. You should have been at the Thanksgiving dinner table with our lot. Never a dull moment,...not a chance.

Here's a short clip from "da Newz" as we calls it here that features a bit about my family. Yeah there's other material too, but I just wanna show off my family stuff.


"Capturing black New York: Bronx filmmakers launch Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow"

BY Katie Nelson

Documentary filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris believes a photo is more than just printed paper - it's also a patch of community history that shouldn't ever be lost.

This week, the Bronx native is quilting photos and the stories they evoke into the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow, an interactive, multimedia picture book of sorts.

His goal: To create a collective cultural history of colored New York.

Harris and his team started interviewing New Yorkers earlier this week at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse on Convent Ave., combing through curled, yellowed images from weddings, parties, holidays, dance recitals and formal portrait sittings.

The interview process "tends to be the very first time they've shared their photographs with someone outside of the family, so it's a moment of discovery for everyone," Harris said.

Sylvia Smith, (my dear sister), of Chinatown, showed up with a thick stack of pictures of relatives who danced their way into show business, and old newspaper clippings about her grandfather's brother, who was lynched in the Deep South.

"I heard this was like that traveling Antiques Roadshow, but for family photographs," said Smith, 58, referring to the PBS series about antiques appraisals. "For me, family genealogy is a passion. It's part of our history, an American story of migration and immigration that hasn't been written about yet."

( Yep that's my dear sister speaking. She even had a 100+ year old photo of Great Grandma. Also snap shots of Grandma, and my Mommy, as a little girl, in San Francisco during the last Great Depression.)

(That, and photos of a cousin that settled in Ireland,..(?!!), Dad in WW2, images of the farm we once had down South, me in my confirmation suit when I was 11, and my brother in Viet-Nam. There's more about other families in the piece, but ya gets the point here.)

Langston Hughes reading his poem "I, Too"

"Blowing in the Wind"

The "Don't Tread on Me" flag from our Revolutionary era has been captured like the Stars, and Stripes by the extreme right. Like dummies we let these characters keep'em too.

I think it's high time we took these symbols back because they belong to 'all' of us. All not just a relative handful of the grossly uninformed, superstitious, hostile, and or bigoted.

(...hey com'on sorry if I hurt ya feelings, but I said I was biased it's right up there on the mast head 'sides I'm pissed at all this supply side static.)

Anyway the Tea-Party folks claim the "Tread" flag is theirs, and only theirs now.

Imagine my surprise when I read that.

'Guess I should read the papers more often. In fact I missed the whole North African series of revolutions because I was sedated. Eh,..I'm having all sorts of scary medical things finally seen to. ...better late than never, or dead.

If this Mid-Western workers revolt pans out, and spreads the perfect symbol is our old snake dance totem. The "Don't Fuck with Us" flag.

Anyway "I'm pleased as punch" as former *Vice President Hubert Humphrey used to say. Pleased that folks have had enough and are kicking da bums out! Even looks like the United States of America might finally kick some butt too at last.

Where do I sign up. I don't wanna miss anymore of the Revolution!

*Old Hubert was for Civil Rights years before it was safe or made political sense. Too bad like Prez Johnson he became a cold warrior, and blew his humanist creds in Veit-Nam.

Btw in the videos below the best sign I saw was in support of the Teachers Union. It said,..."IF YOU CAN READ THIS SIGN THANK YOUR TEACHER!" that.

"Days of Future Passed"

The few fossil remains of our species brief time on the Earth.

If you were a far, far future archeologist. A descendant of rats probably. These are some of the mysterious artifacts you might find in the strata of 150 million years ago. The works of Humanity.

The items are a late 21st century android. (Click on image to see details.) A mid-20th century radio. Also a computer hard drive, and an audio cassette from roughly the same era.

Note that these fragments are of Human making, and are not to be confused with relics of the very short lived Cetacean technological culture.

If you look carefully below at the last image you'll make out two 150 million year old fossilized spark plugs. They sit in the shallow beach wash of a sea in what was Tibet. The discolorations in the water are possible petroleum traces.

" Viva La RevoluciĆ³n!"

(Current Corporate Flag of America.)

Who'd 'a thunk it. Americans actually fighting for Economic Justice. This hasn't happened since the last Great Depression. 'Guess shit has to get 'this' bad before cops, and workers march together to make sure their kids eat.

Did you hear about that? When the tea-party nut job Governor of Wisconsin ordered the heat, the cops to bust up the rallies, and clear out the State House they said "bleep you", and joined those that had taken over the building.

Good grief!

That's what shook me out of my cynical lethargy. I expected the heat to bust heads, and the protesters to slink away grumbling like they always do.


Or maybe not. Things are desperate, and have been for years. Indeed the middle class allowed the ownership class to rob the country blind. The needs of the poor, and working poor hasn't been on the table for decades. Nearly 50 years in fact.

So that's not what's driving this. The Ownership folks have gutted everybody, and everything, and are now set to finish off the middle class. That's what sparked this.

Teachers, cops, nurses, carpenters, firemen, heck even communications engineers like me, and all the other barely functioning middle occupations are on the chopper now. I guess we're not going to go as quietly as expected.

Granted there's mostly a news blackout on this resistance movement. As opposed to their tea-party opposite numbers. 200/300 tea-party folks showed up to counter the nearly 70,000 pro-union activists.

The tea-nuts got all the face time on tv. You would have thought the numbers were opposite from what they were. Life in a free country. Still despite this news in getting out to the whole world,..even the rest of the U.S.of A.

Proles from sea to shining sea are sending support to the folks at the front. Everything from warm gloves to pizzas. Even my useless union AFTRA is marching in Solidarity. There's a big demo planned for here in the Emerald City that I plan to join up with.

Still being the pissed off cynical bastard I am I'm not sure if this Mid-Western Revolution will spread. However I'm glad, very happy indeed it's happening.

Gives one heart to know that some are actually awake, and have realized that we're in a cattle car headed to the 3rd world. ...not a place we really want to go to.

One more thing.

I said I'd lay off the guy, but I can't let this one go. We thought Obama would have led something like this when we elected him.

He said he would.

He said if they tried to take away our right to unionize if elected he'd come, and "march on the picket line" with us. He said those exact words.

He said he's get some "comfortable shoes", and march to defend the right of American citizens to collective bargaining. So far nothing. Not a gesture. Not a word from him that he's going to honor his promise.

'That useless Bastard.

Looks like we're going to have to do this one on our own.

"Last of Winter?"

As I think I mentioned on my Queer blog,..."It was near 70f a few days ago, but then it dropped to 17f, and snowed a day or so later."

It's that time when we transit between our two seasons. Blizzard, and Heatwave. Hang on comrades thanks to climate change Tornadoes are possible when the Heat comes back.

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Coloreds Blocked from Titanic?"

I always assumed that "Coloreds" were barred from passage on the Titanic as well as other luxury liners of a century ago by the tradition of Jim Crow.

On American lines this was mostly true. However on the White Star line apparently no specific regs. were written down. None that I've so far found.

This from the "encyclopedia titanica".

"Blacks were apparently permitted accommodations on the Titanic in 2nd and 3rd class. World champion Jack Johnson was offered such a spot when he sought tickets, but he refused to accept, saying they were beneath him."

"Probably saved his life."

Instances of black workers prevented from working on the ocean liner or prevented passage as servants of the richer passengers has not been officially documented. Not that it didn't in fact happen given the customs of the time.

Huddie Ledbetter

Lyrics of Leadbelly's "Titanic"

Captain Smith, when he got his load
Mighta heared him holl'in', All aboa'd
Cryin', Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
Jack Johnson wanted to ge on boa'd;
Captain Smith hollered, "I ain' haulin' no coal."
Cryin', Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
It was midnight on the sea,
Band playin', "Nearer My God to Thee."
Cryin', Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
Had them lifeboats aroun'
, Savin' the women, lettin' the men go down.
Cryin', Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
When the women got out on land,
Cryin', "Lawd, have mercy on my man."
Cryin', Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
Jack Johnson heard the mighty shock,
Mighta seen the black rascal doin' the Eagle Rock.
Cryin', Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.
Black man oughta shout for joy,
Never lost a girl or either a boy.
Cryin', Fare thee, Titanic, fare thee well.

(As with most artists each performance is different.)

Below is a radio control scale model of the ship in question. Well done! I was given a gift of a similar kit some years ago. This around the time that the last major "Titanic" film came out. I never built it out of superstition.

Shades of the Scottish Tragedy.

This is also, I assume, why 'no' ship no matter how grand has been so re-named.

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Malcolm X"

On February 21st 1965 Malcolm X was executed by the then "Black Muslim" organization, now the "Nation of Islam". Elijah Muhammad the head of this sect is widely believe, by those outside of the group, to have ordered this hit after Malcolm X departed from the strict tenets of Muslim beliefs.

After Malcolm X went on his famous Hajj to Mecca he began to grow, and evolve towards a more humanistic view of society. In the Mid-East, and Africa he saw people of all colors within his faith treating each other with respect, and affection.

This clashed profoundly with the "Nation's" insular ethnic/racial values.

He was still a radical for racial justice, but nolonger trusted by the sect. He was changing, growing, evolving. Becoming more, much more than he was when he joined the Black Muslims.

This was perhaps Malcolm X's worst offense against his former mentor Mr. Muhammad, but certainly not the first. In the end his potential as a strong rival from within or a threat from without of the race nationalist movement cost him his life. History can only wonder what Malcolm X could have achieved had he survived.

Malcolm X on his Hajj.

I have personally witnessed that in the decades since his murder only Malcolm's pre-Mecca speeches, and actions are commemorated. The true reasons for his murder glossed over. His more worldly views pushed to the side. Only the angry racialist is honored among too many.

Even responsibility for his killing is shifted to other parties. Some vague conglomeration of local rouge cops, the Mob, and the FBI are to blame.

Mind you none of these groups were remotely sorry to see Malcolm X killed. It is a certainty that they would have eventually done it themselves. It's just by historic chance that the Nation got him first. He was indeed a dangerous man. He had the potential to radically bring people together. Not unlike Dr. Martin Luther King.

Imagine a Malcolm/King alliance.

Such would have been the System's worse nightmare. These men 'had' to die to keep things as they were. You'll note that in the nearly half century since the 1960's political eliminations no other major social reform figures have been assassinated. No need since no one has threatened the status quo as seriously since.

They know better.

The Nation of Islam is main-stream now. They have no interest in changing anything. Nor it seem does anyone else. The system doesn't shoot people that work to foment distrust, and keep people apart. Such movements, and personalities are assured of long untroubled lives.

So it goes.

Humm,..he may have been on to something there.

"Only actual Titanic footage"

"When America was Great"

Well okay this was the era of routine race lynchings, and the last of the destruction's of the Native Nations.

If ya overlook that, poor hygiene, malnutrition, and a life span of 48, for white males..they didn't figure anyone else's then. Other than all that noise it was swell!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Flatbush Avenue as seen is 400 b.c.

Well I was wandering down Flatbush Avenue when this *foreigner walks up to me. First I'm surprised 'anyone' would walk up to me,..being so grumpy looking these daze.

*Amuricur is a nation of pissed off over taxed ex-foreigners. So maybe I should'a just said tourista, and left it at that.

The touristas mostly stay in Manhattan. The only auslanders over the bridges are mostly Green Card hunters. However with the dollar worthless the tourista are spilling out all over the city looking for bargins.

Anyway the whole point is what this guy, and his boyfriend, why do the gay ones always come up to me? Eh, now that I think of it, I 'that' obvious?

These guys besides asking me where the Brooklyn Museum was, clear sight two blocks away. Besides asking me that they wants to know why there are so many American flags about.

I was tempted to punch'em both out yell'n "Welcome to America ya stupid twits!!"

Turns out these was some sort of Brits. Hard to tell that tribe apart. 'Except for them folks from Newcastle. I ran into a bunch of kids, and their teacher from there on the subway once.

We, that is the other proles sitting next to me on the "F" train couldn't make head or tails of their accent. I thought they was from Norway. Good grief, and they say classic Brooklynese is distinctive.

Syd will ya get to the point goddammit!!

Okay, okay, they wanted to know what was the big deal about all them flags. Seems us United States'ers is kinda unique in that despite spending so much time hating, and shooting at each other we actually love our country, and the bleeding zebra too. ...aka Old Glory.

Yeah, yeah race nationalist, and rightist/left fanatics hate it, but fuck'em.

Commie Anarchist Pervert Revolutionary that I am I still digs the colors. Runs in the family. Runs in 'all' our families in this country. So ya can't throw a rock around here without hitting that Congressional compromise in the stripes.

There was a bunch of other contestants.

Holy crap. What the hell was these guys thinking.

The winner.

Old Glory gleefully flaps from just about every building in every part of town from sea to shining over heated sea. Granted it's true origins are full of lies, betrayal, and splattered with innocent blood. We still love it because it's an idea. It represents an idea. Hope,...there's that word again.

Yanks is suckers for Hope big time.

So there it is. You wash up on the beaches of the land of the not as free as they used to be. The first thing you get, besides robbed, beaten up, arrested, a shabby apartment, a crappy job,...and all that if you're lucky. The first thing they hands you when you as you go through door number three is da stars'n stripes. ...mostly made in China.

Long may she wave.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Springster",...or snow melt

Although the last several daze have been well below freezing. Temps in the teens, and wind chills below zero! That, and snow squalls all the time, this afternoon for a while.

Did I mention we still have four, and five foot filthy piles of frozen slush everywhere.

Despite this.

In spite of all the frozen noise today there was a change in the air. The wind was still frost bite bait, but different.

The air had an edge of spring about it. The winds had the sweet scent of growing things. The trees were giving off springtime pheromones.

It's Springster!

Baby pigeons,..rats with wings, have hatched, and are starting to swarm about. Though freezing today had the feel of spring. One could actually feel warmth from the sun. A sensation not felt since maybe late October.

'Course this means that heat, and humidity are just weeks away. This because our spring only last at best 10, 12 days. There's two basic seasons around here,...Blizzard, and Heatwave.

Mind you we can still get two or three big ones in the next month or so. However we've turned the corner on this particularly Arctic winter of 2011.

What the heck. The show must go on.

Happy Springster!

"Cats that look like Hitler"

This can't be happening. However check out the link. >>>>>>

I knew them little guys was up to something.

"Monster Island"

Well there I was sitting around Sydney Haus minding my own business. When suddenly I remember that I have toy tanks, and monsters in my closet. As they say in the legal trades, "...He had the motive, and opportunity".

"...and a camera."


My brother Johnny was a medic in the Vietnam war. He flew in to save lives as opposed to taking them. He ended up a hero anyway.

"My Big Brother"

My Big Brother Johnny was a good father, husband, son, brother, friend, scholar, gardener, and war hero. He cared passionately about people, and the world. He started an outreach, and homeless rescue, and rehabilitation center for the veterans of his war, Vietnam, and all the others that followed. The complex now bears his name.

Btw he was commended by three different Presidents from both parties for his Veterans outreach work. John was further honored by being the first veteran to be buried in the new military cemetery in San Diego a few days ago.

He also thought my being Queer was fine. Back in the day that really mattered.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Gals from Hell"

I was hanging out with my pals at the Vicarage. This after my further oral surgery, and massive drug intake afterward. Legal meds! Anyway I was too blitzed to travel so there I was.

However while there Nurse Pickles, the good Rt. Rev., and I had loads of fun watching local Roller Derby action on the tele-viewer. I'm a fan of the Brooklyn Bomb Shells!

What'a swell bunch'a gals, and you'll note I haven't inferred they was all Dykes. Aw my dear sistahs Lesbos. Carmen Monoxide, Bee'zerk, Bitch Cassidy, Beatrix Slaughter, and Luna Impact. Swell comrades all!

Well okay I don't know their personal habits, I'm just being stereotypically incorrect.

Anyway I loves the Bombers.