Review: David S. Pumpkins – a Smashing Success

Finally something on SNL that wasn’t over-politicized crap 💩. See, the problem with blatant political humor, whether on the left or on the right, is that it often assumes that we are too stupid to get the message. That is SNL’s problem, it often becomes unfunny propaganda.

At any rate, for those of you who didn’t get the joke, it was very similar to Ren & Stimpy’s send up of stupid 1950s cartoons where cat chases mouse 🐁  and dog 🐕 chases cat 🐈  ad infinitum, in contrast to the rather sophisticated and humorous Warner Bros. cartoons that could be viewed on two levels: adult and child 👶.

The 1950´s cartoons were literally marketed to the lowest common denominator… or in other words: they were shitty.

Many of the traditional holiday 👶 children’s cartoon specials really were just intended to come up with some kind of a concept to get all the kids to tune in so that they could buy products marketed through the commercials.

Of course, it is a business and they have to pay 💰 their own freight 🚂 but the old holiday specials were just blatant merchandising with a sketchy cartoon premise.

I had the luxury of never seeing the previous David S Pumpkins skit, but I have since seen it. I didn’t even know that the skit or character existed. Thus, when I saw the special, on SNL, I figured I would give it a minute. It reminded me of the old SNL Smigel cartoons like Ace and Gary, the Ambiguously Gay Duo; and of course it was delightfully mindless and idiotic.

I got the joke regards David S Pumpkins 🎃 . In case you didn’t get the joke, you probably didn’t like the cartoon.

I thought it was pretty entertaining and I believe people will be talking about it for the next 30 years. Kids may even put their shitty sour raisins into pumpkins 🎃 in the hope that it will magically change into delicious 😋 candy 🍭.

The other thing I want to mention while I’m here, is what was up with all those Beatle albums which totally drowned out all of the vocals? It was some idiotic, failed attempt to make it work with quadraphonic stereo. We couldn’t hear 👂 shit. What were we paying for? Doo-doo?

A word to the wise – technologist 👩‍💻 s, whenever you try to be to clever or too tricky about your new technology, it invariably ends up being useless dog 🐕 crap 💩 . Lesson: don’t screw around and try to do stuff like Blu-ray.

Nobody wanted Blu-ray and nobody bought a Blu-ray, thank God. Were we really expected to examine every DVD label and every DVD player label to make sure it was compatible? Just no.

Blu-ray was one of the dumbest ideas of all time, just like the stupid drowned out Beatles vocals, just like New Coke,  just don’t do it, just do normal.

Bonus review. So the Danny Kaye album? I have no idea what this was. I knew of him more as an actor. Some kind of comedic songs. Mildly entertaining.

The Glen Miller LP was a collection of orchestral versions of Broadway 🎭 hits. I really hate Broadway 🎭  but this Album is easy to listen to while working out 🏋️.

The Sinatra 33 was actually excruciatingly boring. I’m not a fan of Sinatra, I’ll admit,  but this was really tortuously dull. The songs were all seemingly contrived for the sole purpose of writing a filler song.

P.S. Some record players can’t detect the size or speed of the record so you have to set 7-10-12 size for 45-78-33 speed.

”Hazelnut Latté?”

Peace be the Botendaddy

 

Advertisements

All music has a story: Mendelssohn’s Rondo Cappriccioso Opus Quattorze

It was on the 8-Track.

I never knew the name of the piece of music 🎶 until yesterday.

After all those years. I did not know what it was called.

Then I was listening 👂 to public radio 📻.

The music 🎶 was on. I waited until they announced it. ‘Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso Opus XIV’.

Rondo was written in 1830 by Mendelssohn. His motivation was basically experimental. He tried to have it published in Germany, but his price tag was too high. It may have been written for his first love: Delphine von Schauroth per Muswrite – Allan Beggerow. He eventually got it published in Austria and England. See Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Rondo capriccioso for piano op. 14 Also read John Palmer’s wonderful discussion at All Music dot Com

An ancient mystery was solved. I remembered being in the car 🚗 with my dad. I would shove the 8-track in and listen 👂 to my parents’ classical music 🎶.

They also had Bizet and a few I don’t remember now. I’ve been playing their old LP’s while I work out 🏋. Three albums at a time.

We had a good 😊 family while it lasted.

Then it all went to hell. Empires Fall. The Magnificent Ambersons. The Fall of the House of Usher.

As the poet Frost said:

‘Nothing gold can stay.’

Peace be the Botendaddy

Review: The Best of Joan Baez – Squire Records 1963 LP

I was working out in the basement, when I saw the stack of records that I retrieved from my mother’s apartment after she had died.

I played the Simon and Garfunkel, The Moonlight Sonata, The Herb Alpert Whipped Cream and other Delights (On my list of the top 10 American albums of all time).

I love the grainy sound, the rhythmic, repeating, scratching of the vinyl LP.

I love to start sentences with ‘I’ because I don’t follow anyone else’s rules of style. I’m not a writer, I’m a critic. I can do whatever I want.

I pick up ‘The Best of Joan Baez Album’ from 1963 and I take it out of the Album. I place it on the spindle with great care. Then I go to ‘auto’ so I don’t scratch it.

The Best of Joan Baez Squire Records 1963

I don’t talk about my mother often. She was a feminist, old school New Deal, JFK, Gene McCarthy, liberal, Unitarian. She sat in the lunch counter protests in North Carolina back in the late 50’s. But, she came by her beliefs sincerely.

I remember my mother and dad putting on these great dinner parties for the other professors at the University. My dad was chairman of his department. He was a WWII Veteran. They all revered him. He started out as an Archeologist/Paleontologist before he drifted into Anthro and Sociology. My mom was an Anthropologist. Sure Soc. and Anthro. were irrelevant until we started screwing around with other cultures we couldn’t comprehend, then Soc. and Anthro were suddenly relevant again. Oh Well.

I say, at any rate, we had a great family, like the Magnificent Ambersons, The House of Usher, Rosebud, you get the picture, Empires Fall. And when my dad died, we fell. The entire extended family imploded along with it. We were cast into the world on many dark passages and bright days, but that Joan Baez album survived:

I remember my mother singing ‘On the Banks of the Ohio’ when I was a little boy in Cooperstown, Oneonta, Ithaca. Joan Baez has such a crystal-clear, haunting, brilliant voice in this rendition. She’s much better than you can ever imagine if you have not yet heard her music.

I remember listening to this very same album ‘Oh! What a Beautiful City’. I hadn’t heard the song since forever. It brought me back to those idyllic days when we were a respected united family with a great upstate New York house.

I must mention finally, ‘So Soon in the Morning’ with Bill Wood. It brings away all the despair and hopelessness we have from time to time. I wish I had listened to it more often and I wish I had remembered my mother more fondly before it became too late.

I wonder, will my daughter have some memento of me many years in the future? Will she remember me fondly? I don’t know.

I sit here in my musty basement gym, listening to the final grainy rhythmic scratching as the Album comes to an end.

Peace be the Botendaddy

Movie Review: Soylent Green and the Great Dystopian Epics of the 1970’s

Soylent Green

Heston, Robinson.

“I love you Sol.”

“I love you Thorn.”

More gay subtext then ever seen before or since in a non-gay film.

Two dudes living together in harmony.

Gayest outfits ever seen. Like stonewall meets 1920’s Bolsciewieckz.

Gay cop outfits with little scarves.

Gay old dude with phony live in girlfriend.

Gayish Chuck Connors bodyguard.

Gay assassin.

Most icky, stinky girlies are known as ‘furniture ‘ that come with the apartments.

Call boxes but no cellphones. Everyone has hardline phones. Cops have old revolvers.

But books have all but disappeared, not due to computers but due to lack of paper.

The epic peaceful death scene of Thorn with Classical Music and the epic pictures a natural world that no longer existed because of macho, jingoistic, running dog, kapitalist, sex-crazed, patriarchal, racist, sexist, over populating polluters…

The people scooper scene.

The meal scene.

The conveyor belt scene.

The stairway scene.

People… see the f@&king film.

Anyone who is not blind or clinically mentally retarded doesn’t think this is a brilliant four star film? It still stands up in 2017.

“Soylent Green is People!”

“It’s a cookbook!”

Silent Running

Huey Dewey and Louie the duck- like robots and a psycho Bruce Dern. Evil sex-crazed, fascist kapitalists destroy the environment. The last vestiges of the environment are sent into space to be saved. (See Starlost – rather awesome series actually)

Andromeda Strain

Awesome early Crichton

“Caper One this is Vandal Decca.”

Muscular, sexist, homophobic, sex-crazed, patriarchal Kapitalists get bio weapons from outer space.

Smart Doctors and scientists save the universe.

A Clockwork Orange

“There was me that is Alex, and my three droogs, Pete, Georgie, Dim, .”

Evil, jingoistic, running-dog Kapitalists ruin the world by trying to put violent sociopaths in prison.

Awesome Russian used as slang. Tolchok, ultra-violence, razooka, devotchka.

The killing the filthy old Simka with the penis statue scene.

‘Come and get one in the yarbles!’

The Molokai Vellocet milkbar scene.

The ‘can you spare some cutter me brothers’ scene.

Billy Jack

Fake Indian, Special Forces, Kung Fu Master defends the Bolsciewieck freedom school against the sex-crazed, raping, patriarchal townies and Kapitalists.

“One Tin Soldier rides away!”

Logan’s Run

Some kind of future dystopia with Michael York.

Omega Man

Zombie Apocolypse caused by jingoistic, hegemonic, Kapitalists spreading disease. Heston dies again.

Westworld

Kapitist running dog oppressive chauvinists destroy the world with evil robots. Awesome Yul Brynner role.

Sleeper

Kapitalists destroy the world of the future (see Idiocracy for reference)

Planet of the Apes

Revenge of the races repressed by the Kapitalist hegemonic slavemasters with even more racist ape metaphor and Heston dies.

Slaughterhouse Five

Brilliant adaptation of Vonnegut’s novel.

“Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time.

Peace be the Botendaddy

I hate TED Talks

“I just hate them, yon Botendaddy. They are an insult to my intelligence. I hate even more when someone tells me I have to watch them. They are stupid, condescending drivel.”

It was the Stalker. We were at the gym. She was pretty, successful, intelligent. Her body was spectacular, lithe, glistening, firm… you get the picture. Too bad she was insane, like a Ted talk.

“I’ve stopped doing sit-ups. I don’t know why, I just don’t do them anymore. They seem meaningless, like Ted talks.”

I lay on the floor, not wanting to do a sit-up.

img_5395
The Gym

“Your photos are stupid, they have nothing to do with the articles most of the time, they are irrelevant and mindless, and likely out of date, like Ted talks.”

I pondered for a moment, still without doing a single sit-up.

“My photos, yon *hot* stalker-girl? Who told you to hang out with me? It’s your own fault, really. Even I don’t like me. I’m like a Ted talk, stupid, condescending, irrelevant, mindless, doesn’t deliver on promises, boring and when you are done, you wasted ten minutes of your life that you will never get back.”

I thus quod.

”Botendaddy, when you were a kid, was there something that you thought was novel and cool 😎 and then something else came along that made you disdain it, yea embarrassed that you ever liked it in the first place?”

I pondered in a literary way.

”When I was a kid 🧒, I loved Mad Magazine, I thought 💭 it was funny, irreverent, cutting-edge, then I discovered National Lampoon. Lampoon was crude, vicious, unrepentant with no mincing of words in It’s ugly humor. After that, Mad Magazine looked like a stupid comic for little kids and I didn’t love it anymore. Like TED talks. Once you realize how juvenile and what an insult to our collective intelligence TEd talks are, you will never watch them again.”

I robustly pontificated.

img_5428
Even ducks hate Ted talks

“I do sit-ups, it gives me more definition on my girlie-abs. Do you like what you doth see, old man? Do you want some of this. Do you want this bod-y? Do you want this sexy bodd-eeeeee?” She was shouting in a sing-song voice.

I looked around, everyone had their stupid earbuds in, drowning out the world. But none of them were listening to music, they were all listening to Ted Talks! Oh the horror! Is there balm in Gilead?

2016-03-18-14-23-15
Lincoln hated Ted Talks

The Stalker came over and straddled me on the filthy gym-mat while I was still thinking about situps.

“You could f&%k me right here, yon Botendaddy and no-one would even notice with their ear-buds in. They are cut off from the world.”

“Iced Vanilla Latte?”

Peace be the Botendaddy

Tesseracts and the Fourth Dimension

I was sitting on a bench overlooking Montreal from on top of Mont Royal. The Adirondacks loomed in the distance.

“You know, Librarian, you can’t explain an abnormal situation to people who are used to normalcy.”

It was cold but dry. I liked the cold, she did not.

“What in the hell are you talking about?”

“Let’s say you work somewhere that your boss is literally insane, a psycho, they torment you every day. If you try to explain the situation to someone who works in a normal environment with sane, professional people, your friend will give you advice that only works in a normal place.”

The Librarian looked through one of the 25 cents pay-magnifiers.

“OK, example…”

“OK, in the Army we had this commander who ran the unit like a cult, never gave anyone any free time, micro-managed everything down to the lowest level, demanded inane time-wasting reports and asked mindless questions about idiotic minutiae. Not an evil person, but either OCD or quite insane. So if you explained it to someone from another unit, they cocked their head like a dog who doesn’t understand human speech.”

I put my jacket around the Librarian because she looked cold.

“Maybe I get it, I don’t know.”

“Like in Bosnia, I could be walking side by side with the Canadian and I would get threatening look or even verbal threats. The Canadian had no awareness at all because it wasn’t directed at him. Or the psycho boss I had at work who timed how long I spent in the bathroom and every time I asked for direction she would say I shouldn’t have to tell you your job, and we would have to guess the agenda.”

img_5426
Ducks have no idea what you are saying to them

“And?”

“Like in Twilight Zone when the little girl went into the Fourth Dimension or when the officers of the Caine went to visit Admiral Halsey. You can’t explain the inexplicable to people who only have normal as a reference. You can’t go over your crazy boss’ head if his boss or HR thinks your boss is wonderful.”

“Maybe…”

“OK, a tesseract is a cube in the fourth dimension. You can’t describe it to a person in the third dimension. It would be like explaining a cube to Flat Stanley, there is no frame of reference.”

“Conclusion?”

“It’s about advice. The person who lives in normalcy always tries to give advice to the person who lives in crazy world. The advice giver doesn’t understand that the rules are totally different. If you’ve never worked for an irrational boss how can you give advice to the person who works for a crazy boss who is supported by even crazier management? If you’ve always been thin, how do you give weight loss advice to someone who has always been fat? If you run a five minute mile how do you give advice to someone who just started running, has bad knees and runs a thirteen-minute Mile?”

“I get it, crazy world has a totally different set of rules. Roberts Rules of Order don’t apply to street gangs, terrorists don’t follow the Geneva Convention and there is no Marquis of Queensberry Rules in a bar fight. You can’t give advice if you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.”

“Correctamundo, hence the tesseract.”

“Shut up and f@&k me, you useless f&$cking idiot.”

Latte?

Peace be the Botendaddy

Restoration of a 45 degree Leg Press and a Leg Curl Leg Extension Machine

So I ran that fast 5k yesterday.

I ran a 10k trail run a couple of weeks before that.

I’m still watching what I eat.

But I need to improve my leg strength.

I need that lower body work to get the extra kick I need to get my 5k down to 27:00 by year’s end.

And yes, I need to get my BMI down to normal, but I’m close.

IMAG0062
Original Botendaddy Central Park Photo

A good leg routine for me is:

  1. Squats
  2. Deadlifts of some sort
  3. Calf Raises
  4. Leg Press
  5. Leg Extension
  6. Leg Curls

I sold my old leg press and leg extension about three months ago.

My home gym was lonely and melancholy.

I found an ad on an {unnamed site} where a guy was selling a rusted-out old leg press/leg extension machine and an old-school, rusty 45 degree leg press.

Costs and supplies are as below, you could obviously do it cheaper, but whatever.

Purchase price for both: $180.00

$60.00 for delivery.

Paint: 12 cans of white primer and white gloss: $48.00 (Home Depot, Walmart™ and Lowe’s)

image
Leg Extension/Curl after initial cleaning

Friction tape and foot grip strips (Lowe’s): $10.00

Plastic 2″ end caps (Sears™), washers and brass flanges (Sears and Lowe’s) (expensive but keeps the bolts from riding against the bare metal frame): $80.00

image
The primer on the leg extension/curl

Sandpaper, Clorox™ cleaning cloths, WD-40™, Brillo™ pads and wooden dowels $25.00 (Lowe’s™ and/or Home Depot™)

New 3-1/4 caster wheels from Grainger™: $70.00

image
Painting the frame of the leg press

One inch collars from Dunham’s™: $3.99

OK, roughly $500.00 total

image
Almost the final step

Long story short: TL;DR

Order the parts needed, buy the supplies needed.

Take apart the equipment by removing the pads and every part that can be unbolted and disassembled.

1. Step one: Remove as much rust as possible from the frames, footpad, rocker arms and bars with a power sander, sandpaper sponge and a sandpaper hand tool. Jam Brillo through the tubes with the dowel a few times. Doesn’t need to be perfect, just done. Then wipe it down with the Clorox cloths.

2. Step two: Any nuts, bolts, Allen bolts, washers etc., that are rusty, throw in a pan and cleanse with WD-40. Screw and unscrew all bolts when you are done, so they thread smoothly.

3. Step three: in a very ventilated area with exhaust fans, use the white primer until the frames and other painted parts are white everywhere. Spray into the tubes as much as possible. Top, bottom, inside, outside. Wait until dry, repeat with white gloss or flat paint. Hand paint instead if you like.

4. Step four: Once it is solid white everywhere, wait for it to dry. Next, clean the leather as much as possible. My finishing touch will be to restore the leather – clean and repair tears. I’m going to buy leather cleaner. Maybe in another post I will tell you how it went. I only cleaned the leather with Clorox cloths and I removed the biggest splotches of paint. I washed the leg curl/extension pads with soapy water. I cut off the padded hand grips as they were too tattered to be saved.

IMAG0171
Awesome ‘Jack Reacher’-style urban Pittsburgh machine-age street scene

5. Step five: reassemble. Use bronze flange bearings so that the bare bolts of the smaller casters don’t rub against the bare metal holes on the leg press frame. Get all the casters on in the correct place on the foot pad. Make sure everything moves smoothly.

6. Step six: use friction tape on all hand grips. Use the grip strips on the leg press foot pad in a symmetric pattern so that it looks professional gym-quality.

7. Step seven: Insert all the end-caps where you can. Put plates on each machine. Put the one inch collars on the leg extension/curl plates.

image
The corrected leg extension/curl

Step eight: don’t screw up the reassembly like I did.

I’m using the machines right now.

The leg press was super-smooth.

The leg extension was ‘slown’ down by the paint, but it should be OK in due time. I may put some graphite in to smooth the motion.

IMAG0057
Manhattan Winter Solstice

Peace be the Botendaddy

 

Chris Dean – “Speaking in Tongues” at Krausegallery – Review by Rochibauld Sachse-Heutelier

Krausegallery is a fascinating gallery located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan on 149 Orchard Street South near Delancey Street. it has depth, encapsulating the nature and feel of the Manhattan brownstone itself, yet with bold clean interior lines, remarkable in their simplicity, so as not to drown the artwork in macabre, tasteless décor. The gallery blends in perfectly with the neighborhood. I highly recommend you visit. However, step quietly and lightly. For god’s sake don’t make a scene of yourself.

The current exhibition is by one Chris Dean of Detroit City, with a display of what is known as lenticular art, where there are optic layers viewed through a special lens that may depict different scenes depending on the lateral position of the viewer in relation to the artwork.

I popped my head in on the 20th of June in the early afternoon. I always attend at the very precise moment of the opening, before the gallery can be too contaminated by the sad 30-40 something, single Manhattan cat-women that Rochibauld so despises. yes, I asked my dear friend Rochibauld Sächse-Heûtélièr to join me for a visit to the Krausegallery and give me his critique of the exhibition. Here is his typically cynical, caustic and occasionally ja unglaublich cruel, satirical DDR Kritiker.

Ja, it is a delicious gallery as it were, Mann can walk in right off the street. It exists as a Ground level entry. Also, I must point out to the so-called reader that it was daytime. I am Krank of walking into some pretentious gallery in some disappointingly re-purposed cliché warehouse on eine beschissen horizontal double-door work elevator to walk past impossible self-involved fashionista waifs in their jejeune black outfits at some evening soiree, whilst some foppish twit in a half-tuxedo hands you a champagne and some hideous hors-d’oeuvres and then rolls his eyes because you are a bear and lack a Schwimmerkörper.

So I wait to sign in. Yes, I detest waiting. I also detest listening – blah, blah, blah, will you please shut up for Himmels Willen! But, I digress. Some, I imagined, miserable, self-loathing, yet typically vain New York (by way of god knows where) girl who is probably a top lawyer or investment banker, single of course, reeking of shitty cats, small apartments and utter despairing loneliness. She clearly knew I was standing behind her, waiting to sign the guest book and to review some description of the Kunstausstellung. She slowly read some sort of leaflet, but instead of standing aside, she, whilst noting my presence, proceeded to delay as long as possible, making me languish in delicious, yet furious Angst-Qualen. I hated this icky Girl, she needed a muscular spanking from the stern, calloused hand of the bold, unyielding Kommander. I was forced to remain stoic due to my  old Europa breeding. Finally, after interminable delays, and constantly looking back to ensure that I was adequately suffering, she deigned to step aside leaving a hideous scent of fermenting feline Katze-bauell movement.

I viewed each artwork, as it were, from many different perspectives and angles. Apparently, according to the artist, who I found quite personable and yes, very professional, almost may I say Hanoverian? The art was designed in vertical split-space, so that the height of the viewer did not affect the perception of the artwork, however distance allowed one to more clearly see the underlying thema in each of the works. Some refer to this I would call it eine modern psychologischen optischen tryptich. Wherein the tryptich becomes subsumed into the lenticular Kunstwerk. It could be considered, the Exhibition as a whole as a return to Op-Art and Pop-Art movement of the 1940er und der 1950er Jahren, with a hint of Warholianism, but without the pretension. I found some subtle traces of Lautrec Art Nouveau, softening the lines of some of the works, with a dash of Pollock due to a few vertical drips of paint? Although some may credit the sadly self-named ‘Freak-out’ genre, I found more a taste of impressionism with the nature and animal content than I would say that I discovered any morsel of a Peter Max.

I found all of the lenticular pieces in the upstairs gallery to be expertly-crafted and composed, but I didn’t linger long enough to see all the meaning in many of them, other than some delectable homoerotischen Inhalt which of course is known when animal content is revealed in Rohrshach inkblots (aside from the obvious semi-nude male figures). Number 5 was tasty, with more than a dash of Ludwig Meidner. Ah Meidner! who passively writhed and groveled deliciously nude beneath the apocalyptic, mind-scape of violent, muscular Pickelhauber preußischen Generals. However Piece number 4 was utterly hideous. It looked like the ghastly disembodied female leg lamp from the trite ‘Christmas Story’ movie which only reminds me of the past horrors of my country’s darkest period. I’m glad that it apparently sold whilst I was there to some, I fancied, savage, lonely, female cat-companion. The absence of this terrifying piece will bring up the overall quality of the collection dramatically. I do like Dean’s commitment to his work, evident in the level of detail. There are no imperfections to be found.

The basement was a rather eclectic blend, but once again the starkness and cleanliness, yea minimalist? quality of the gallery allowed the viewer an honest appraisal of the art, for which the gallery owner must be commended. I was immediately struck by the derivative homage to Lichtenstein, but nonetheless transcendental in the clever application of colored dowel pieces to the surface of the canvas. Here, the dots from the comic-book newsprint style of the Lichtensteinischen Kunstwerk were actually made with the surface discs of the  colored dowels, making the expressive effort of the artist of great consequence despite the obvious pastiche.

The explosive elephant piece was disturbing, yet lovable. However, my favorite piece in the basement, although I am at a loss to say how to hang it in a contemporary Manhattan apartment, was the somewhat out of place ‘Jordan Eagles’, true mystical op-art, aber meine geliebten Gott, I hope it was not made with human blood. Haven’t our sensibilities suffered enough?

At any rate, this is all I care to write for Botendaddy. He sickens me. He delights me. Botendaddy is a completely self-involved megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur, fixated at the pre-oedipal stage of psycho-sexual development with obvious homosexual panic and extreme transference and projection-reaction. I hate Botendaddy, I love Botendaddy.

Mit äußerster Demut, R.S.H.

If you would kindly permit me, your humble editor, my dear readers, to apologize for Rochibauld’s excess.

The Botendaddy

Great Books of the 70s

If you truly wish to understand the generation who came of age in the 1970s, you need to know the world as it stood at the start of that decade.

They had just missed the Vietnam War and the draft, they missed the hippie era, the economy was falling apart and there was no future.

No cell phones, no internet, no personal computer, no email, no cable, no smart cards, no credit cards, no smart cars. But we knew it was all coming. All of these things. None of this surprised us when it arrived.

If you are under thirty and jaded and you think you know everything and that my generation is too old, please stop reading here. You didn’t follow our path and you never could have. You won’t even understand what I’m talking about.

It wasn’t just Jonestown and Malaise and the Hostage Crisis and Kent State and Disco. It was a little bit more.

But wait, if, just if you start reading everything on this list, listen to the music I mentioned, see the movies, you can get a hint of it.

But still we imagined this wonderful future…

I was 12 in 1974 and I vividly remember these books on my parents’ and everyone else’s parents’ bookshelves. We read these books or saw the movie or talked about them and these books and their companion movies the way we saw the world.

Believe it or not a 12 year old could read these books and clearly understand them. Today’s kids? Not a chance. Even the A students. They are less perceptive than we were. We expected the draft to continue, we expected to go to Vietnam, our heros were The WWII generation. Kids my age read Vonnegut.  We saw the steel Mills shut down and a generation put out of work, flee the northeast for Oilfields in Texas and Alaska. We saw the rust belt communities collapse.

We talked to the guys coming back from Vietnam and they shared with us what they would never share with adults, we were ambivalent to Watergate and Politics, we listened to Lynnrd Skynnrd and Zeppelin and Jim Croce and Elton John and The Sweet and especially Smoke on the Water.

We didn’t just talk about hippies, we knew them, they shared their philosophy we went into head shops and smelled the incense and sat on the water beds.

This was the Freak generation. They blamed us for not caring. We did care, there was just nothing we could do about it and no-one listened to us. We had no War, we had no politics we had no purpose and we had no future.

We gave up on Mad Magazine and Cracked so we could read National Lampoon. We saw Patton, 2001, Clockwork Orange, Hang em High and Enter the Dragon at the Movie Theatres.

Long story short, young people. If our generation – the first Post-Baby Boom Generation that got all of the blame and none of the benefits, we are the ones who persevered and made this world possible. Yeah, we weren’t special. We were on our own. And yes, you’re Welcome.

Alive – Piers Paul Read 1974

This may have been the first book for adults that I ever read. For that reason, I have a deep connection to this work. Everyone in 8th grade was talking about this book. I only read it out of morbid curiosity because it was about cannibalism, but Read’s writing was so vivid, he literally put us on this plane. Every event, every up and down of hope and hope lost had me on the edge of my seat. We felt the same shame when one of the passengers yelled at the injured crying woman to shut up. We felt the same fear and revulsion about what they had to do to survive. We asked ourselves, if we had been there, could we have done it? I was able to make all the connections even though I was only 12 when I read it. The act of holy communion, the religious significance giving a hint that it was OK to break one of the most forbidden taboos. The book was mesmerizing up until the very end. I literally could not put it down. The book actually inspired me in many ways. It gave me an interest in mountains, in aviation in South America, although I have yet to visit. We fell in love with Canessa and Parrado in a spiritual sense. The book had a profound affect on us to let us believe that with faith in the almighty and our fellow man we could accomplish anything.

Papillon – Henri Charrière 1969

Another story of Survival, like the Old Billy Preston Song ‘Let the bad guy win every once in a while’. We liked Papillon. We liked Degà. Once again, as we read the book, we are living the same predicament as Papillon as if we are in prison and we must escape with him. Sure they were bad guys, the guards weren’t even bad, they were just doing their job, like in Cool Hand Luke.

Future Shock – Alvin Toffler 1970

One of the great futurists of all time. While his view of the future was scary, it was also intriguing. Boy did he ever predict what is happening now. Runaway technology, government snooping, mass social networking, even gay marriage and the networked home.

Helter Skelter – Vince Bugliosi 1974

Riveting, terrifying, written in the style of a mystery novel. We never know the outcome until the very end. It taught us that there was evil in the world and every now and then the good guys can win if they are determined enough.

Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut 1969

I got the book because my Dad was a WWII Vet. That generation was actually quite cynical and Vonnegut was their voice. I never understood this book until I came back from Iraq and I too have become unstuck in time.

The Winds of War – Herman Wouk 1971

I never read this book. My Dad was reading this on his deathbed as he was slipping away from Leukemia. I never understood the man and I have a superstition that if I read this book I will die too.

The Day of the Jackal – Frederick Forsyth 1971

Really cool political intrigue. Made no sense to me, but it made me want to travel around Europe.

The Anderson Tapes – Lawrence Sanders 1971

Great book. Super cool movie. Fascinating. Riveting. Freaky and covered the idea of covert government surveillance – of the wrong people.

The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton 1969

Possibly the most riveting intro in the history of Speculative Science Fiction. I actually used the call signs Caper One and Vandal Decca through out my military career. This book got me interested in Science.

Deliverance – James Dickey 1970

This movie put a cork in wanting to travel and see America.

“Squeal Like a Pig!”

Midnight Express – Billy Hayes 1977

This movie put a cork in wanting to travel and see Europe.

“We…are the bad machines!”

Catch 22 – Joseph Teller 1961

A cynical tribute to the World War II Generation. No-one read it until the 1970s.

Yossarian was so cool.

Ball Four – Jim Bouton 1970

Destroyed the image of our sports heroes forever, or at least until Roberto Clemente made us believe in heroes again on New Year’s Day 1972.

Stark Naked: A Paranomastic Odyssey – Norton Juster 1969

Juster was famous for ‘The Dot and the Line’ and for ‘The Phantom Tollbooth.’ This was a bizarre cartoon book made up entirely of plays on words. Influential on my sense of humor. Got it from my Dad’s bookshelf at work. He was a college professor by then. Everything provocative and interesting was on his bookshelf.

Some memorable characterts were:

“Yetta Nother”,  a haggard mother with about twelve children.

“Ellis Dee”, a drugged out college student.

National Lampoon 1970- May 1975

This is the magazine on which the modern generation of humor is based.  Got it from my Dad’s bookshelf at work. You can find it online as a complete set.

==================================================

Not on the List:

The Godfather – Mario Puzo 1969

Boring. I didn’t get it. It’s so heavy. Everyone wears black.

Anything by Stephen King

Please don’t ask me again. You know I find King’s work to be ultimately derivative. He writes in 900 pages what Poe wrote in 9 pages. Overblown over-dramatic drivel. Ooh Carrie, high school revenge story, ooh it’s so original. Please. I liked ‘Pet Sematary’ the first time I read it when it was called ‘The Monkey’s Paw’.

Anything by Philip Roth

This isn’t going to sound right. It’s  going to sound anti-Semitic, but of course I can get away with it for the same reason that black people can call each other ‘n1994’. I hated Philip Roth. I viewed it as pretentious elitist New York Jewish intellectual tripe about whiny wimpy men. Then I realized he may have been making a parallel to Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ that is for you too slow to pick up on it, The paitient in the Psychiatrist’s  chair as Cockroach on its back. I don’t know. He’s probably a wonderful guy.

How Elevator Buttons Work

As we all know, The Botendaddy is an Engineering Genius. Often people ask me, ‘Botendaddy…how do elevator buttons work? If I push it more often, will it arrive faster?

That is a wonderful question for a budding young scientist.

The answer is a resounding YES!

You see whenever you push an elevator button, as you angrily wait for it to arrive, the following events are set in motion:

1. The Button Press sends a signal ‘High Power’ recognized by the Elevator as  ‘1’ as opposed to ‘Low Power’ or ‘0’.

2. The Button Press or ‘1’ is recorded in a series of electronic registers, one for each floor.

3. Your particular Button Press is duly recorded in the register for your floor.

4. Each time you Press the Button, the number is incremented or increased, from 1 to 10 to 11, to 100 and so on and so forth.

5. Every time you press the button your priority for the elevator to arrive at your floor is increased.

6. If you press your button more than anyone on any other floor, your register will have the highest number.

7. The elevator is constantly checking or ‘polling’ each register in a circular pattern, when it finds the highest number for button presses, it sends the elevator to the floor number for that register first and so on to each floor in sequence based on highest to lowest number of button presses.

8. So yes, Virginia! Press that button – again and again and again and the nifty elevator will get there a lot quicker!