Saturday, January 31, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
I used to work at the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library. It was a great job and I met a lot of great people. Not the least of which was my wife. That alone made it a great job. We worked in the circulation department together. One day at work, I look up and see a guy who looks like Adolph Hitler. Exactly like Adolph Hitler. This was not accidental, " Hey, you kind of look familiar..." No, this guy was shooting for historical accuracy. The face, mustache, and hair were all Hitler. His clothes were vaguely militaristic, there were no swastikas, no helmet, but he did wear army boots with the pants tucked in them. The look could best be described as Nazi casual. He was one of the regulars. He'd come in and check out books on Hitler and the Nazis. (doesn't he own these already?) One day he checked out a book on embalming. You can't not check it out to him, that would be censorship. But do I have a legal obligation to alert the authorities? Is it like gun sales? Should I have him sign something? Is there a waiting period for guys who look like Hitler to check out books on embalming? He checked it out and I made a mental note to talk to a lawyer. Lawyers in the Library was usually on Tuesday nights. It was always interesting to watch people's reaction when they saw him. People would either avoid eye contact, or look right at him like, "I've seen better Hitler's". or "Big deal, I saw Gandhi buying tires the other day". Most people would kind of ignore him when he walked by, but after he passed they would say "What the fuck was that?" or "Did I just see what I thought I just saw?" Yes, you did. That is Adolph Hitler hanging out in the Magazine section.
As if having Adolph Hitler wandering in the stacks wasn't enough, another one of our regulars was a guy who look like Abraham Lincoln. Seriously. He looked exactly like him. He didn't wear a Top coat or a Stovepipe hat, but he was the same height and the beard was perfect . Once, when he was checking out another book on Lincoln I said "Anyone ever tell you..." I thought Lincoln had a sense of humor.
Another regular patron for awhile was a woman who looked like Betsy Ross, and of course this being downtown Berkeley, every other guy that came in looked like the Unabomber. Which makes perfect sense since he spent part of his pre-manifesto days at Cal. He never would've gotten picked out of a lineup in Berkeley. Ted could've bought himself another couple of years on the run if he had just stayed put.
The library had a lot of Community and Arts and Music programs, anything from reading time for kids to jazz concerts, tax help for seniors, to the aforementioned Lawyers in the Library. There were meeting rooms where groups could meet and discuss the various issues of the day. The Toastmasters had a standing date every Monday night.(It was always the same three people, two older homeless looking guys and a blind kid in his 20's.) My wife Denyse and I curated a reading series at the library along with the Art and Music librarian called "Limited Conviviality" that was a great success. Culminating in the biggest event in the library's history at that point (maybe still), a standing room only reading with Alice Walker. I was thinking about all this one day at work. Just for the heck of it why don't we round up some of these people and have a Historical figures night at the library? We've already got a hell of a lineup. Hitler, Lincoln, Betsy Ross, a whole bunch of Unabombers, a friend of mine looks like Henry Kissinger, shit if we can come up with a wheelchair and a horse, we've got two of the Roosevelts in the reading room right now! It'll be great.
About this time I was at the return desk, and a woman came up to me and said "I just thought you should know, there is a naked woman on crutches singing the blues in the woman's restroom"
We just found our Headliner.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Words I do want to hear at the dentist:
- Stop insulting me with these perfect teeth.
- I should be paying you.
- I wish my teeth looked this good.
Words I do not want to hear at the dentist:
- Infected area.
- Loss of teeth.
- I'm lonely.
- Gum disease.
- Hold me.
- When I touched it pus came out.
- I almost graduated.
- Cancerous growth.
- I hate my life.
- Bend over.
- We ran out of novocaine.
- Have you met your lord and savior?
- Highway to Hell playing on the radio.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Still shopping for a used car. I stopped by Dads Auto Sales on Broadway. Dad couldn't have been nicer. When I told him what I was looking for he started showing me cars that were nice, but when I told him how much I really had to spend (less than $2,000) he showed me what he really had in that price range. It was at the back of the lot. The car I'm looking for is always at the back of the lot. Almost an afterthought, "Well, I wasn't going to sell this...", it's covered in hay, the airbags have been deployed and there's something living in it. "We can move the cat. Unless you want a cat". I'm good. Or it's on the street, marked for quick sale. No questions asked.( But I have a couple of questions. Maybe this place isn't for you.) Dad's not like that. He got Henry to move the three cars so we could get the car out, so I could get a better look at it . It was a Ford Contour, a 98, with 150 k miles on it. ( this is what you get for that kind of money) They were both excited when it started right up. This is also what you get with this kind of money, the highwire thrill of, will it or won't it start. I asked if I could take it to our mechanic, Dad said sure. Which is not always the case. I've had people tell me it's not worth it for them to let you check it out."What do you want for this kind of money?" Dad's not like that. I didn't end up getting the car. Between the burning oil smell, the check engine light that never went out, and the constant high pitched whirring sound, that brought to mind incoming artillery fire, I decided to pass. As I was leaving I said to Dad, Are you the same people that used to be Dads Convenient Store? He said,"I thought you looked familiar".
Monday, January 12, 2009
I underestimated the physical toll starting a blog would have on my carpal tunnel. Yet bravely I soldier on...
I was driving by Douglass Loop on Saturday and I saw a big group of people on the corner near Heine Brothers, protesting something. Holding signs, waving at cars. A car would honk, a shout would go out. I may have even heard faint sounds of "We Shall Overcome". I'm not sure. I had the radio on. Sitting there, waiting for the light to change, just watching the crowd, (it was a pretty good turnout, especially in the rain), I've got to say it brought back memories of all those years of living in Berkeley. In Berkeley you couldn't go a week without somebody protesting something. There are people in Berkeley still protesting the Korean War. At this point I'm still not sure of what they're protesting. Heine Brothers?, The Loop? The switch to digital television? Maybe they were protesting the big, hulking, wildebeest like woman who worked at Breadworks, who was a real bitch to me a couple of years ago. I am not completely unsympathetic to her plight. It is sad when they take an animal out of it's natural habitat. What underfunded, unregulated zoo did she walk away from? And then there is the added problem of trying to anthropomorphize a wild animal. At some point they will turn on you. Ask Roy. Actually she reminds me of something you'd see boxing a Kangaroo in a Mexican Circus. Maybe that's why she's pissed, She knows I bet on the Kangaroo. "Hell No We Won't Go!" By the time the light changed, I still wasn't sure what they were protesting. Although as I was turning, I saw part of a sign that said "Be Brave". It's got to be her. This protest has her hoof prints all over it. "Be Brave" indeed. But next time you go in there, just bring a stun gun and some raw meat and you should be o.k.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The headline in the New York Times said "Conversations with God" Author accused of plagiarism.
I'm confused.What part's not true? The conversation never happened, or there is no God? Or there was a conversation, it just wasn't his? So it was "Secondhand Conversations with God"? Or was it "Things I heard God say to someone else but it sounded good so I'll say he said it to me"? Maybe"Rumor and Innuendo, A Chat with God"? Or maybe "Things God would have told me if I was listening, But I wasn't so I had to make it up"? Where does that leave Margaret, from "Are you there God? It's Me Margaret" Did he not take the call, or is she full of shit too? And, Oh, If your "Arms are too Short to Box with God" does he just kick your ass?
Get back to me.
p.s. Was"Agnes of God" seeing someone else?
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I've been looking to buy a good dependable used car with low mileage for under $2,000 for over a month, and it's wearing me out. For some reason I thought it would be easier. I haven't owned that many cars, and the ones I have bought were usually
from a friend, or from someone who knew someone. I've been very lucky. Have I used up all my good car karma? Sorry. This is what it's driven me to. Sorry. Stop me before I pun again. I've been mentioning it to everyone I know, and most people suggested craigslist, and the way they say it, it's a no brainer. You get all the success stories, "I sold my house on craigslist", "I found a plastic surgeon on craigslist", "I had the hardest time finding a donkey, until I went on craigslist". Sounds great, this should take no time at all. This was over a month ago.
Everything sounds great at first, then you get a little more information. " It leaks a little oil, back door sticks, no a.c., and it has a slight, a slight, tendency to catch fire".
"I'll throw in the extinguisher".
I drove one car around the block and the neighbors thought I fogging for mosquitos.
I was going to meet one guy, a 90 Volvo with 104k miles, only 2nd owner, Yes,Yes.
But he called me 15 minutes before we were going to meet, the car wouldn't start.
"This has never happened before. It might be the battery". We went to look at it anyway, if it's just the battery we can handle that. He tried to start it. It wasn't just the battery.
I've been from Crestwood to Shelbyville, from 3rd St to 4th St. I've gone from Dixie Highway to Preston Highway. I've talked to Bucky, I've talked to Sonny, I even talked to Jeff from Jeff. Nothing. I talked to one guy and in the course of talking about the mileage he asked me how old I was. It kind of threw me for a second, did I accidently answer one of the missed connection listings? Is this m4m "Tight t-shirt in Target" or is it w4m "need help with your erector set ?". I checked out a car from a self described "dwarf sized" guy, who was looking for something smaller. Nothing.