Monday, April 23, 2018

10,759. RUDIMENTS pt. 294

RUDIMENTS, pt. 294
Making Cars
Even as a kid, I was never
convinced of Reality being
real. I felt events could be
influenced and changed. I
used to have a theory that
if I could 'picture' something,
I could make it happen. These
are outlandish ideas, even
though now people make
millions from them in the
vast totemic industry now
arisen, as 'self-help.' Books,
lectures, New Age recordings
and pep-talks. Crazy as ever.
When you come right down
to it, I was crazy as a loon.
One day I was thinking about
x-ray vision  -  from Superman
comics or something  -  and
I realized all you'd see was
bones, nothing at all to do
with seeing girls beneath
their clothing. See what I
mean? Talk about 'if I could
picture something.' I was part-
time idiot and full-time jerk.
Mostly. I wonder how much
of it was like that for others;
I never knew.  My friend,
across the street, Donald, and
his brother, they had a treasure
trove that  -  once I found out
about  -  bowled me over. I was
never a comics books kind of
guy  -  never liked the colors,
the way the cheap paper absorbed
and killed the tints and hues so
that your eye got the 'idea' OK,
better than black and white, but
without any semblance of a good,
book-quality paper. I didn't like
the words on thought-bubbles or
whatever they were called, and
the whole superhero thing, I felt,
was pretty lame. I always preferred
a book  -  Robinson Crusoe to the
Three Musketeers. Anything.
But, in their attic, these two guys,
on a large, planked open-floor
area, had a stash of probably
a thousand+ comic books. All
sorts, and many dates. At 7 cents
each, I think it was back then,
I guess it was pretty easy to get
a bunch of them going quickly.
Once we got into them, one
Summer, Donald and I were
gone. I think I read 600 comic
books that Summer. Maybe I
was 9, perhaps. I can't really
remember. There are writers
now, Brooklyn and New York
guys, like Jonathan Lethem,
who often weave this whole
comic-book reference thing
into their tales and stories of
those days. I've got to be honest
here, and say it never works for
me, comes off as lame and as
immature, and seems kind of
Mam's-Boy, Jew-Boy stuff from
1950's Brooklyn. It's the sort of
thing that's way to easy to make
work; carrying as it does half the
weight for the writer already, the
nostalgia, the innocent naivete,
the looking back without honor
or harm. Reading a comic book
is about as one-dimensional as
you can get. I stand by that, even
though I already know there's a
large cohort or people ready to
take arms in defense of today's
'graphic-novels' as they now
put it. Ho-Hum. Not for me,
thanks. I demand more.
In any case, I felt the need to
at least think I was in control
of what I wanted. It was all crazy
stuff. Like maybe I'd drunk too
much of that Jim-Jones kind of
Kool Aid that rips your head into
believing the old Walt Disney
Show crap about when you wish
upon a star, your dreams come
true. Sickly, cloying tune. The
realist within me wants to say,
'how'd they get away peddling
that crap to kids back then?' while
the other part of me  -  right-brain
hemisphere stuff  -  nods in a form
of intuitive advancement and
approval. The only thing my
childhood ever taught me was
that the most of what we see is
pure hokum  -  dumb effects, and
made up crap advancing a cause.
That's how reality is made.
Physicists these days, and I've
known a few through my time
at Princeton : they're a weird,
talkative lot, especially about
imponderables  -  would be none
too careful about filling me in
about the non-representational
aspects of reality; of things not
being what we think, or even
where we think they are. Rather,
by appearances here, they could
actually be there, or twinned with
another variant of themselves
being made manifest in another
location entire, and often with
an alternative outcome  -  some
rendered force of local color
having affected enough the
'realism' that comes forth. Shades
of being two things at once, all
of this. I think maybe this whole
thing can best be summed up with
that old adage about 'If a tree falls
in the forest but there's no one
there to hear it does it make any
noise? Today's answer might be,
'No one there to hear it? No tree.'
I grew up in a wasteland, and I
made it my own. I still claim
ownership to it. What it was 
was a post-logical way of thinking,
one in which I had to first convince
myself that what was underway 
was OK. I was never a 'normal' kid,
or at least not after the train wreck
brought me back from something
more or less indescribable and
without duplication. (Here's a rub:
Scientists often say that any form
of experimentation that cannot be
duplicated, laboratory conditions
or not, is invalid. I'll, right now,
take volunteers, thanks, for people 
to leap in front a train....). And
I'm not now a normal 'adult,'
by any conventional terms. The
weirdest and hardest thing right
now is to see how the leapfrog
effect has come into play  -  one
in which religion leapfrogs 
over science and then science 
over religion and then again 
and again. They keep trading 
places and end up pretty much
 the same. The unspeakable,
incontrovertible fact is that it 
all comes down to language. 
And even as a kid, I saw that. 
Werner Heisenberg said 
'Atoms are not things.' Neils 
Bohr said, 'There is no 
quantum world, only an 
abstract quantum description.'
The world only jumps into 
existence when we try to 
measure it. The conceit of 
Mankind is that, first, there 
is something to measure, 
and second, it presents its mass 
and matter to us willingly. That 
may be, but only because it first 
accepts our 'willingness' to 
believe. It doesn't really change 
anything in terms of what we 
call reality. When we want to 
find out where an electron is 
in space, its 'position' - we 
find it. It's a particle. When 
we then go to measure that 
particle's velocity in the 
cosmic-consideration we 
helplessly call 'space/time' 
we can't  -  it's a wave, an 
energy flow that doesn't 
coalesce into anything at 
all until we measure it. By 
all this the world exists? 
Nothing exists until we 
measure it, until then it's 
all potential. Only? So 
what is that table you're 
resting your things on 
anyway? You remember 
that comic-book x-ray 
vision thing I mentioned? 
Sure, she was a 'vision,' 
until I tried really seeing 
her. (To put it in comic 
book terms).
I hope that little bit helped. 
A Cornell University physicist, 
David Mermin, said : "We now
know that the moon is demonstrably
not there when when nobody looks."
In other words, observers create
reality by carrying out the act of
observation. Until we look for
it, it doesn't exist. At Princeton, 
a group of those guys were hard
at work with the Cern Accelerator
experiment, deep underground 
in Switzerland or Italy or 
somewhere. Smashing atoms,
or their evidences anyway, at
extreme velocities to break them
apart, to blow matter sky high, as 
it were, if it were. To find the
mysterious 'dark matter' of the
universe  -  which is the multiverse
out beyond our universe, where all
'things' have ended, but also have 
 not ever begun; and all that
exists in energy, the energy of
all possibilities, multiple versions
of everything that could, did, did
not, or could not, be  -  or its
alternative, not be. That, my friends,
we are finding, is 'God.' Every version
of every event. Past, and future, all
as one. They invited me to go there
with them (true story). Princeton 
has the accelerator for six months 
at a time every so often. Deep
underground in Italy, miles.
And miles of accelerator tubing
and velocity equipment too. I'd
have to quit my job, or at least
get a six-month leave, depart
from home and family, and live 
there, with that group. No
guarantees over what might 
occur. And after six months, 
it would be over. I'd have to 
re-integrate into my old society 
and ways, until maybe next
time. Maybe not. If I existed,
if I made it back. If anything
was really there anyway.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


The biggest guy in this prison-yard
is just a muscle-bound jerk doing time.
Pay him no mind. He's tried to make
it work : Reading Bibles, taking the 
Lord, inking prison-tattoos, even 
singing the blues. Amazing what 
guys will take up as hobbies,
and the things they will do
while paying their dues.


When I get home to where I'm
going I may give you a call : To
see if the card-sharks are still around
and those guys with the souped-up cars.
To see if the tall oaks are gone now, 
and just more paving and just more
grounds. People seem to swarm now,
If I get home , to where I'm going,
I'll send you a card when I set out  -  
so you know to expect me. I want a 
block-party and a street-fair put up in
my name. I can throw some money 
here and there; find me a cause  -  but 
something not too dear. I've had enough
of those pink-ribbon ladies and crippled
vets. Make it simple. Food banks, etc.
After I made my first five-million, I
still kept thinking of home. The girls I left,
that strip of houses by the brook, the
little woods were we used to sit. It's funny
how things stay in your mind. This Califonia
crap no longer makes it - agents and guides,
managers and designers. Cars that go 185.
To where, and by whom? That's really all
we ever need to now. I'll be home soon.

10,756. RUDIMENTS, pt. 293

RUDIMENTS, pt. 293
Making Cars
My new piano teacher, after the
train wreck, was a Mr. Novack,
on Hillside Avenue, up above
Rahway Ave., at the driving range.
I didn't know anything about him.
My parents had met him one night
somewhere, as his little band was 
playing at some dance or Legion
party or something. The story went
that my father had started talking
with him and one thing led to another,
the subject went to piano lessons
and he said, 'Yeah, I do that too.'
He was also an accountant  -  tax
returns and CPA stuff. So they 
made some kind of a deal, shook 
on it, and after maybe a year and
a half I was back at piano lessons.
Last thing I wanted. And to my
chagrin, it always seemed no one
ever asked me about this stuff.
Kind of common courtesy, I'd have
thought, especially after my last
bout of piano lessons ending me 
temporarily dead and pushed into
a pretzel-shape by fourteen tons of
locomotive (guessing). I mean,
what's up with this? I should
have just said 'take your own
damn piano lessons,' but then
I had to remember that both my
parents were missing a finger.
Really. My father had sawed off 
3/4's of his thumb with a band 
saw in the furniture/upholstery
shop at work, and my mother, 
long ago, during the war (WWII)
had, as a Rosie the Riveter type
of stateside female industrialist,
lost her middle finger in some
sort of machine shop accident.
So, like who ever heard of a
Piano Sonata for Nine Fingers?'
To compensate, I guess they 
were determined that their little 
Gary Ten Fingers would learn to
play piano for them. Sounds like
a good American Indian
name anyway.
My previous piano teacher, over
at Claire Avenue, Woodbridge, which
is from where I was leaving when the
train hit us, was a 'Miss Frank'  -  oddly
enough Anne. I don't know if there was
an 'E' on the end or not. Just assuming;
you know those silent 'E' types.  Her
and her mother lived together in a
nice little house all the way down the
end of Claire Ave., which was a white,
(color, not race), concrete street.  I
always liked that - large, seamed slabs.
They kept a very traditional, Jewish
home, and it was always absolutely
perfect, quiet, and clean. When I
was in there, it was scary. After the
train accident, long into my recovery,
a frightfully distraught Miss Frank
came to visit me, at home, a few times
as I recovered.  I made sure to show 
her I'd not lost any fingers. She
wasn't good at jokes. Then she
moved away, together with her
mother, to the old Atlantic City,
where she'd taken a position in a
music school. Thus, Mr. Novack.
This Mr. Novack fellow was some
sort of high-standing Woodbridge 
guy. His place is still there. I go 
past it now and then  -  the little 
garage on the side, which had 
been converted to a tax-office, 
also held a nice 'upright' piano  
-  which is where our lesson-hour 
took place each week. The main 
problem was, he smoked big
cigars, constantly. Now, maybe
that was OK if one was, say, 
Gruocho Marx, or George Burns.
They were two guys back then
with big fancy-ass TV careers,
part of whose shtick, each,
was their looming, big, phallic
cigar. But he wasn't them. Ugh!
The stench was atrocious. The 
piano keys were yellow, and even
his breath smelled. A piano teacher
often shares the bench with the
student. So basically I'd eventually
get to breath his expelled air. Oh
joy. I never could say anything 
though. He'd be talking to me,
walking words through a piece,
while clipping and working the
end of his next cigar, which 
he'd then light and go to the 
bench to play the 'offending' 
piece, or some portion of it, so 
I'd get to hear what it was 
supposed to sound like and 
then I'd get my turn to torture 
it like he tortured me. Real
progress, at all times.
Other than that, the place 
was all nice enough and the 
lessons went well. I'd bicycle 
there, and back. The only 
problem that ever brought
was passing this one house on 
that hill, heading up to his 
house. There were always 
some three or four kids there
just waiting for me and they'd 
begin winging stones and 
pebbles at me as I both 
approached and passed. No
real damage ever, but a bit of
fear each time, and humiliation. 
I'd occasionally use a different 
block to ride up, but this one
was by far the best and most
direct. I just really hated those
stupid kids. Why they had to
do that was beyond me; and
what, if anything, annoyed 
them about me, I never found 
out. They all died one day in 
a plane crash. OK, NO, not
really; but that's how I felt.
When I said before that I still
occasionally go by the house;
I really do  -  it was a small,
stone-finished cottage type
house, facing one street, with
the detached garage/piano studio
facing another. Around the corner 
but still on the same property. I
didn't know a thing about his
home life or his family, but out
that window by the piano I
could always watch his yard,
where there was one of those
free-standing clothesline things,
the kind people used to have;
multiple lines on a pole, like a
square of clothes  -  not the long,
single clothesline. These things 
aren't around much anymore, 
but he had one and he also had, 
about maybe 5 years older than 
me, a daughter. A daughter who
was quite attractive, and finished
off quite well. She'd often be 
there hanging wash. I'd watch.
It was worth it.
He never got any other phone 
calls or any other business stuff 
while I was there. I guess he had
no-call hours or something. It 
was a little strange, for I always 
figured there'd be SOME sort 
of interruption. But, no, that 
never happened. One time,
oddly enough, I remember
my father coming to pick 
me up (I guess he had driven 
me there as well), and once 
inside the two of them started
talking, graphically, about
birth control. Huh? Picture 
me, at 10 or whatever I was,
having to listen to all this.
Cigar smoke too. Grown men
talking about weird stuff. My
father had had five kids with
my mother  -  six of you count 
the 1956 one that didn't make 
it  -  and this Mr. Novack guy is
somehow instructing my father
on the proper procedure for 
having the 'loop' inserted 
properly, describing this thing
'shaped like a loop and a cup,
but squeeze it right as it goes
in and be sure it's set'. And 
he wasn't talking about my 
father. I still don't know 
exactly what was going on,
but it hardly matters. Once
back in the car, my father
turns to me, like nothing 
mattered, and says, 'Did you 
understand what we were talking
about in there?' In there? I thought.
Uh oh  -  not wishing to sound
stupid (?) I muttered, 'Oh, yeah,
sure, yeah.' And that was that.
Sometimes I think adults torture
kids just for the fun of it, or
just because they can.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

10,755. MILEPOST 100

This all rolls by so quickly. 
One minute here, and another
we're somewhere else. Maybe
they call that relativity too,
but my uncle's nowhere to be 
seen. I feel idle, and singular.
Yet we're all in this car as one.
Blue water, and crescent ice.
Off to the right, some radar
conning tower like it was 1960
and the Soviets were on our heels.

10,754. RUDIMENTS, pt. 292

RUDIMENTS, pt. 292
Making Cars
The only certainty left  - and it's
a large certainty, is death. But
before that, along the entryway
to something, stand recollection
and memory. When someone calls
it 'nostalgia,' which happens now
and then, I want to gently disagree.
I consider 'nostalgia' to be a
recollection with desire for that
recollection to be back. I'm not
there at all. I really wouldn't
wish to return to anything past - 
all this life is just too much of
a rigorous turning. What  I can't
figure out is a balance or a value
system for why all this must occur,
and run through and past us, and
then just go away, peter out,
sicken or slow down, and die.
Something's wrong and that can't 
be right.  I have many difficulties.
When I was a kid, at St. Andrew's,
the priests there that I knew were
fairly vapid about everything. It
was like an Avenel trait almost, to
be goofy and react to most everything
with some weird form of joyful
pleasure  -  like the local idiot
politicians here do today. It's a
form of turning the attention away
from anything of substance. Old St.
Andrew's had a fine, country-style
church, right in the middle of what
little passed for a town. Trees, grass,
curbs and a real nice atmosphere. It
at least made you WANT to pray for
something good and positive. It sort
of echoed the things they were trying
to teach us in school and church  - those
smaller, American-style local virtues.
What then do they go and do? Tear it
down and destroy any vestige of it,
while erecting in its place, using a
completely different geographic
angle for it, facing kind of east/west
instead of north /south as it had, 
a larger, new, 'church.' The new
configuration, whatever its reason,
(perhaps some odd form of Vatican
feng-shui) threw everything off and
made no sense. Besides the fact that it
was ugly, plain and boring, AND
surrounded by an acre or two of
macadam. It was a travesty. Yet no
one faced it off, none of those priests
ever even issued the words of it as
perhaps being a controversy or an
issue. The big deal, instead, was
the newness, the prosperity, the
growth. What that had to do with
anything, I never understood  - 
and it certainly had nothing at
all to do with the essence and
feeling of the 'religion' supposedly
imparted. It was soulless and
barren. Yet, it was all part and
parcel of the sort of thinking
which was slowly taking over.
As I said, at no level was there
any deep-talk, sense, or meaning
about anything imparted. I never
understood what they thought they
were doing. It was a medievalism
with just the pomp, and no Black
Death. There were better times
at the Woodbridge Drive-In.
When a gestalt or whatever begins
to change, it's a gradual affair as the
society around it begins to adapt
and take new form. Meanings and
approaches change. But, here,
nothing really happened. The
conservative aspects remained
conservative, while the breakaway
and the leading-factions, the
ecumenicals and the council
followers, made their moves.
Everything lost shape and
everything lost sense.
Some family I knew  -  I actually
forget the last name now, but it
may been the LaHoda family,
they died, in Ideal Trailer park,
from an asphyxiation in their trailer.
Two parents and two boys, carbon
monoxide of some sort, though I
forget what was faulty. But anyway
it was a quick, flared-up scandal,
horror. Sad for an hour and then
everyone forgot about it. But how
do you figure for things like that?
It was extremely weird to be in
school or catechism class, I
forget which it was, and find 
out the news. They were just gone.
I remember sitting on the little
wooden bleachers they had in the
old, de-commissioned St. Andrew's,
before it was torn down, and we 
were using it once or twice a 
week for one or another of those
silly after-school religion by 
memorization things they run,
a complete waste by the way,
and noticing the vacancy where
he used to sit. I guess that's when
it really hit me  -  that there were
things to face up to; that instances
happened, and were going to 
continue to happen in this same 
manner, for the remainder of 
my life. It somehow all seemed
OK then, even if it was horrid,
because I envisioned nothing but
all that long expanse of my life,
stretched out before me. Now
that's all gone. It's over. 
I'm finished.
Whatever one wishes to make out of 
that, it's fundamentally the same
for each of us. I have to admit, I'm
sad and sorry, and I wear this
collar only lugubriously. There
are things around me that's
I'll continue to hold until I die,
and people and memories too. What 
else can I do? As I live and breath,
everything else has been taken from
me  -  and by scoundrels. What's
left is someone else's really poor
version of what once may have been
ordinary, everyday, life.  No
longer : it's  now a bad medley, sung
out of tune, and by people who
can't really sing at all.