I'm still on vacation!
So breakfast is watermelon (/me shudders a bit at the potential for
stereotyping, but watermelon is Good for You), some damn fine coffee, and
WKCR. The previous DJ, on his first-ever shift, finishes with some Count
Basie circa late-1930s, which rocked like a motherfucker -- I'm now seeing
how the Basie band was considered so cool back then (and how they were able,
in the 50s, to briefly get some mileage out of the burgeoning rockmania of the day) -- and then a half-hour of Joe Williams songs,
backed by a slightly-later version of the Basie band.
I remember, as an insomniac little kid, watching Williams various times on the
Tonight Show; Johnny, Doc Severinsen, and the band
would be all excited about having Joe "sit in" with the band, and I'd be impatient for the sitting-in to be over with, because George Carlin or
Bob Newhart would be the next guest, and that's what I'd be waiting for, not this old, white-haired gentleman with the corny baritone.
But this morning, years later, it was different, hearing the original
recordings of songs like "Every Day I Have the Blues", not corny at all,
but a lively piece of both jazz and rock history.
Next on KCR was Phil Schaap, the legendary jazz DJ and historian (and my
onetime electronic mentor of all-that-is-jazz), who plays Charlie Parker
music each morning, and, today, various live recordings of Bird from the 40s,
done by überfan Dean Benedetti. Back, long ago, when Schaap was on WBGO,
it was a joy to start the day with a strong cup of coffee, a nice joint, and
the bop tracks o'wax he'd play; the radio reception wasn't all that great,
but it was good enough -- the music was buzz-enhancing, regardless of static.
I'm finishing a brief assignment this morning, a quite unusual one: distilling
disparate text-file lists of strip clubs into a common format, for later
inclusion in someone's database. It means, uh, stripping the remnants of HTML
tags in some cases, stripping a ton of newline characters in other cases, and
making note of missing info -- the absence of a phone number here, a city
there. I sat in the CyberCafe in Soho last week, with the webmaster of the
porn sites that use the aforementioned database, looking at some of the
sites, feeling a bit squeamish there, wondering if any of the cafe patrons were
glancing over at the GIFs and JPEGs of, uh, "busty beauties" and the like. But,
then again, I would have felt squeamish even if the place were empty -- my
interest is in the actual nuts and bolts of how the sites are done; the
oft-raunchy pix just bring out (further) the prude in me.
My source of entertainment during all this text-manipulating, aside from trying to craft
regexes that can do the heavy lifting, is looking at the names of the clubs,
places like Jiggles, Twin Peaks (or Twin Peeks in some cases), the Playlate
Club (get it?), Knockers, and C.R. Fannie's, stand out from the mostly-generic
I remember going into a couple of the North Carolina places on the list,
during my brief stints as a cab driver, in search of customers who'd called for
a ride home (mainly my job was dispatching, managing, and customer-service -- I
rarely had to deal with clubs in person). As a musician, I'd played in one or
two of the places on the list, either before they were strip clubs, or on
non-strip nights. I'd never choose to set foot inside any of these places --
you'd have to pay me, which was the case, actually.
Last night was the first night of the Republican Party convention. Party
conventions are now elaborate, maddening infomercials, and I'm glad the
broadcast television networks have cut back their coverage in recent
election cycles -- they should go a step further and make the parties pay for
the airtime. The last good convention may have been the Democratic Party
convention of 1972, when unruly political fireworks could still occur and
keep things going well into the night; by contrast, the GOP convention in
Miami Beach that year was perhaps the first modern one -- all tightly
scripted and happy-face, a made-for-TV coronation/infomercial. Feh.
This year's fête is the first one I've experienced as a Republican. When
I first registered to vote (in 1984), I was in North Carolina, and there was
no escaping voting -- we needed to oust the twin scourges of Ronald Reagan
and Jesse Helms, and my girlfriend's mother was in charge of registering
new voters. To end the questions of "When are you gonna register?" (in a
strange Bavarian/Carolina accent), I registered, but as a Democrat, but I
vowed (to myself) that I'd register Republican, should I find myself back in
the New York/New England area again. I passed up on my first chance, but now
I've gone and done it, while I applied for my driver's license.
But there isn't really anyone to vote for in "my" party. As a kid, there was
Rocky, and NYC Mayor Lindsay, and several others, but
those people either died or changed parties over the years. Or both. The one
Republican I voted for in North Carolina (a Wake County official) switched to
the Democrats as well, a couple of years ago, so while I've been true to my
1984 vow, there doesn't seem much point in doing so. Ralph Nader is the
Green Party presidential candidate, and Al "Grandpa" Lewis is the
senatorial candidate, a couple of folks I admire greatly, but the old "don't
waste your vote (this is your conscience speaking)" adage rings
through my head when I consider pulling the lever ("lever"? I guess they don't
have those any more) for them. No amount of cheerleading by the great and good (though sometimes wrong, if not wrongheaded) Marvin Olasky can convince me that W isn't talking out of both sides of his mouth (with his fingers crossed behind his back) when he utters anything in "compassionate conservative" mode. And if you have to go such lengths to affix the adjective "compassionate" to your spiel, maybe something's wrong with your spiel to begin with.
What's the Compassionate Conservative Death Count up to now?