Gregor’s Worry List

GregorGregor worries.

Neither his shock therapy treatments nor his shrink can give Gregor any peace. He continues to be troubled and wants to share his burden.

Chupacabras. Gregor is afraid of them. He was told that the chupacabra was invented by Al Gore, right around the time he fathered the Internet. Then, Gregor was told they were manufactured by one of Dick Cheney’s secret companies. Both stories can’t be true. Worst of all, Gregor saw a picture of one, once. Now, he worries all the time. What if a chupacabra comes sneaking around after midnight? Who could he call for help? Is there a chupacabra hotline? Or, should he just call the History Channel and get it over with? He’s written to Al and Dick. They just ignored him.

Toasters. Endless worries for Gregor. They start smoking sometimes and Gregor doesn’t like smoke in his house. Once, a toaster tried to eat his iPad. This was a critical time for Gregor. He didn’t know how to punish his toaster. Would you? Gregor fears that his iPad and his toaster may try to breed someday. Is that how chupacabras are made?

Politicians. Gregor just learned that politicians and pollution are different things. He thought they were the same. Now, Gregor’s worries that they may combine forces and invade his mind. He’s read about mind-control experiments. He knows about remote viewing because it happens to him all the time. But, what if politicians start remote viewing Gregor and try to control his mind? Will the bandages on his head protect him? Should he try a tin-foil hat? Others have suggested it.

Velveeta Cheese

Velveeta. Gregor can’t find it anywhere these days. What happened? Did Dick Cheney eat it all? Did Al Gore put it on the national doo-doo list? Is it illegal? Gregor never tried to smoke it. He just wanted it around as comfort food.

White bread. Gregor knows there is a plot going on, somewhere. All the bread he sees these days is 47 grain, weird colors, infested with fruity knobs, emblazoned with strange crusts, all kinds of bizarre stuff. Gregor wants his white bread back. Without it, he’s paranoid.

Free air at gas stations. Where did it go? How come it isn’t free anymore, if you can even find it? Gregor doesn’t know how to save air, so where’s he going to go for refills? Gregor is always broke. No one wants to lend him any air. He thinks this is downright un-American.

Anchovies from Sicily packed in salt at the Sa...

Anchovies. Gregor is aware that this tasty treat has disappeared. Why? How come you can’t get an anchovy pizza anymore? No anchovy pie. Did Al Gore interfere somehow? Did Dick Cheney banish them? Does anyone do anchovies anymore?

Dirty Martinis. Gregor is afraid of dirt but he likes dirty martinis. He wonders where the dirt comes from? Who cleans the dirt? Is it the dirt that makes his head hurt after a few martinis? Gregor sees faces in the olives, just like the faces on the Moon. Who are those people? How come they all look like Al Gore? Why can’t he get Velveeta with his martini?

Alien Abductions. Gregor has been abducted, many times. He used to be afraid but, these days, he looks forward to it. All those little gray guys have bandages on their heads, just like Gregor. They never use toasters and they give him all the white bread he can eat. All Gregor has to do is lie very still and chew the bread. The little guys take care of everything else. They told Gregor that they all worked for Dick Cheney back in the day.

Shrinks. Gregor doesn’t like his shrink any more. His shrink is always winking and wincing at him. Gregor doesn’t know what that means. Gregor babbles and the shrink just nods his head and winks. Sometimes he seems to be asleep. Gregor is concerned that his shrink is channeling Dick Cheney behind his back. His shrink also keeps a chupacabra somewhere in a back room. Gregor hears it grunting and moving around back there.

The future. Gregor wonders about the future. He can’t reach out and touch it. He desperately wants to know the future, just like Al Gore, Dick Cheney and his shrink. They all know what’s coming. How come this doesn’t work for Gregor? Is there a secret society that refuses to admit Gregor? Is it because of his lobotomy? Is Gregor the victim of prejudice or, worse, a world-wide conspiracy? Gregor wrote to the Skull and Bones Society but nobody replied. He tried the local Masonic Hall but it was closed. He plans on trying the Rosicrucians next.

Coat of the Vatican Secret Archives

The Vatican. This is the sum of all fears for Gregor. He understands that all knowledge is buried in the secret archives. He’s heard that both Al and Dick got to visit and page through all the interesting stuff. Gregor knows there is a file on him down there, down deep in the catacombs. How come he can’t get in there and see it for himself? Why doesn’t the Freedom of Information Act work on the Vatican? Gregor keeps writing but nothing comes back to him. Gregor doesn’t trust the Vatican. Would you?

Gregor lives here.


Gregor Spanks the History Channel

GregorGregor is very upset with the History Channel. He thinks they deserve a good spanking.

Gregor understands the concept of “history.” He suffered through the subject many years ago in school, back in the days after the automobile was invented. Gregor knows that history is fraught with errors, like Columbus discovered America. He has always sought the truth behind history, the real meaning of things past. Sadly, the History Channel didn’t fill this need. In fact, it has made Gregor more frustrated than ever.

Gregor points to these gaping history holes never filled by the alleged History Channel.

Giorgio Tsoukalos Ancient Aliens

Ancient Aliens. Gregor knows all about aliens. He lived with one for many years. He’s been abducted, tested, sent through time, bred and otherwise maltreated by aliens. None of this is history. It’s current events. It belongs on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News. Worse, Gregor objects to the belief that our ancestors were too stupid to build nice structures and beautiful temples. Gregor’s ancestors were not stupid. He isn’t stupid. If it wasn’t for his lobotomy, Gregor would certainly have been a noted historian. Gregor is not pleased that the History Channel makes his ancestors look like a bunch of Neanderthals.

Swamp People. What’s this obsession about people who live in swamps? Why pick on alligators all the time? Where’s the history in that? Gregor thinks this is not historical, and not even particularly interesting. He believes the History Channel is creating history, not imparting it. He knows that swamps have been around a long time. He understands that alligators are frightening. He even likes Cajun food. But Gregor believes this is a silly way to fill-in the blanks between commercials. He thinks one show would have been enough to cover the history of swamps and alligators. Gregor wants the History Channel to get out of the swamps.

The Bounty Hunter (K-9)

Big Bounty Hunters. OK, so there are bounty hunters running around. They show off their muscles and use all kinds of alleged tactical tactics to chase people all over the countryside. It’s the overused good-guy bad-guy thing regurgitated as history. Gregor has seen many Westerns in his time. He thinks the six-gun packing bounty hunters were a lot more fun. They didn’t need to show off their muscles or tactical prowess. They just shot the bad guys mano-a-mano. How are these new guys historical? Aren’t they just copycats? Gregor says once is enough. Cut down on the filler and get back to history.

American Pickers. So what if some guys can pick out good junk and make money doing it? How is that history? Shouldn’t this be on the Yard Sale Channel?

Life After People. Now, Gregor has to put up with history in reverse. History is supposed to look back, tell us about the good old days. But, no! This series looks ahead to a time when we’re all dust and history-less. Gregor liked the graphics, and he was very happy that all those animals survived our stupidity. But what has that got to do with history? It belongs on the Future Armageddon Channel.

Armageddon. Yep, they stole this one away from the Future Armageddon Channel. Gregor has seen the 4,354 ways we will all go to hell in a hand basket. The History Channel has made it clear that everything is doomed, destined for oblivion. OK, so how’s that history? By the time it happens there won’t be any history any more. That means the History Channel will also go away.

Gregor wishes the History Channel would just get down to business and do the right thing. These shows have nothing to do with history. They’re all over the map, showing Gregor all kinds of stuff that may or may not happen, that probably or likely did not occur, that titillate but not inform, that speculate but never hit the bottom line. Gregor believes the History Channel may be nothing more than a profit-oriented operation that has lost its historical roots. He worries that he will be co-opted and lose his links to the past.

Gregor will continue to spank the History Channel until it gets things right. In the meantime, he will try the Home Shopping Network, where real history is made.

Gregor lives here.

Gregor Curses Doomers, Makes Prediction

Grigori Rasputin, the famous Russian mujique (...

Gregor is tired of the doom and gloom. He has had his fill of end-of-the-world nonsense. Instead, Gregor makes his own, bold prediction:

Tomorrow will happen. You can count on it.

While recovering from his last round of shock therapy, Gregor had the opportunity to review some recent and future world-ending forecasts. He noticed that no one, so far, has gotten it right. The proof is self-evident. All these misses make Gregor very skeptical, which is bad medicine for his mental stability.

However, Gregor has a good reason for making his own prediction. Consider these recent and future developments:

May 27, 2012. This date was selected by Ronald Weinland, founder of the Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God. It is affectionately known as COG-PKG to its friends. Gregor wonders why Mr. Weinland didn’t choose a less officious name for his church. Gregor also wonders about the financial affairs of the organization, and what they may have to do with the end of the world. In June 2012, Weinland was found guilty on several counts of tax evasion and sentenced to 42 months in the clink. Gregor notes that had the world ended when Weinland predicted, he would never had spent one day in jail.

June 30, 2012. Jose Luis de Jesus announced that the entire world economy would collapse on this day. However, he noted that his own followers would be spared. Devotees would also be granted the ability to fly through the air and walk through walls. Gregor discovered that de Jesus claimed to be both the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and the Antichrist at the same time. Although Gregor admires such multi-tasking credentials, he points out that de Jesus missed on everything he ever predicted, batting an admirable 1000%. Gregor has tried flying through the air but to no avail. Membership has its rewards, apparently.

December 21, 2012. OK, so everyone in the Universe predicted this one. Even the History channel co-opted entire societies with their endless fiction. Gregor wonders what will happen with all those TV re-runs. Were they destroyed on December 22, 2012? Gregor refuses to be co-opted by the History Channel. Gregor will attempt to address ancient aliens someday, assuming the world doesn’t end before he gets around to it.

This is a picture of Warren Jeffs, which was t...

December 23, 2012. Gregor knows you’ve heard of Warren Jeffs, right? He made this prediction. President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, alleged prophet and jailed for child sexual assault, how could anyone ignore his credentials? Woops. Gregor notes that the name of his alleged church is too pretentious, just like COG-PKG. Gregor wonders if this is a pattern?

December 31, 2012. Hard to believe but it was Warren Jeffs again, spewing his doodle from jail, again. Gregor wonders about just how large cajones can become if you’re a prophet. Gregor is sure that Jeffs will get it right someday, if he just keeps on trying. In the meantime, our kids are safe.

OK, let’s look ahead a bit. Gregor wants to remain open-minded, for a minute.

August 23, 2013. Yep, it’s that bizarre guy the History Channel obsesses about, the Mad Monk of Russia, Rasputin. Gregor thinks this guy was really kinky. Worse, he had a greasy beard. Who wants to snuggle up to a guy with a greasy beard? Who would take that kind of guy seriously? Gregor suggests we ignore the Mad Monk. At least he didn’t have a church with a funky name.

The Jeane Dixon Museum

2020 (sometime). This is from the mind of Jeane Dixon, former astrologer and psychic to the stars. She actually has a small museum and library in her name in Virginia. Gregor has learned that it is not among the most popular destination points. Oh, it’s important to remember that Dixon also predicted the world would end on February 4, 1962. Unlike Warren Jeffs, she had enough common sense to wait a while before repeating the same prediction mistake. Anyway, she no longer walks among those of us who need to worry about the future.

2021 (sometime). Conceived by one F. Kenton Beshore. This fellow took a shot at the end of the world in 1988, blew it, and blamed bad mathematics, etc. His affiliation with the Mariners Church in California, and his solid academic credentials, make Gregor wonder about his prognostications. Gregor also finds his math a bit slippery but, heck, why dump on the guy for trying? Everyone else has taken a shot.

The Singularity Is Near

2045 (sometime). This one is a bit different. According to Ray Kurzwell, a “technological singularity” will occur in 2045. Gregor isn’t quite sure what this means. However, it seems that all of our technological doo-doo and doo-dads will collapse upon us in a final blow-out of techie Armageddon. Gregor will miss his laptop and iPad if this happens. No church to blame for this one. Gregor wonders if his toaster will be spared.

Gregor is completely tired of all this gloom. He is sure that the world will end, someday. With all these folks making guesses, it’s a bit like the lottery. Someone, someday, might just get it right. It won’t be Gregor. He still believes that tomorrow will happen. In fact, he guarantees it. If he’s wrong, there won’t be anything you can do about it anyway.

Gregor lives here.

Beat Generation Rollover of 1965

Caffee Trieste BackIt’s one of the lesser cosmic mysteries but still an interesting one. When did the San Francisco Beat Generation disappear?

Beat G was going strong in 1963. That was self-evident. By 1967, the hippie counterculture movement was everywhere in the City and the Beats were gone.

So, when did this rollover really happen?

It wasn’t a light-switch deal. But it also wasn’t a slow morphing. The change was farily swift by usual social standards, and the Beats were forever scattered, absorbed, whatever. Many of us geezers who are still around like to think of 1965 as the year the world changed.

In fact, we can even pinpoint the month and the day. It was Friday, December 3, 1965. The event was Bob Dylan’s San Francisco press conference at the KQED studio just prior to his five concert tour of the Bay Area.

Well, maybe this is a bit too precise for anal-retentive historians. But many of my fellow geezers will tell you that Dylan’s press conference was an hour of transition that stood squarely between Beat G and hippie counterculture. The seasoned Beats sometimes look at that event with swampy eyes. Beat G was morphing very fast, even before Dylan’s arrival in the City. After his press conference, Beat G seemed to vanish, forever.

KQED Studio

KQED was the City’s educational channel. It started broadcasting in 1954 from an old truck warehouse on 4th Street. The station was a completely volunteer effort, down to the second-hand furnishings. It also grew up with the Beat Generation and was an early, progressive voice for the arts of the time. If you were City Beat G, you knew and loved KQED because it gave you a voice and a vision. By 1965, the station was well established in the City, although it still struggled financially. It had become locally legendary for innovation in broadcasting and spoke to the artsy side of life in San Francisco.

Dylan was the musical voice of Beat G prior to his City press conference. But he also had a keen eye toward a future counterculture. His words were clear enough to those who would listen carefully. It was all about change, the same message that Beat G loved to hear and express. But it was just a little askew. Dylan’s album, Highway 61 Revisited, had a massive impact on Beat G as well as the new, still-forming counterculture movement. He spoke both languages and was constantly re-defining himself quicker than the rest of us could keep up. It was his December 1965 press conference that laid it all out most clearly, in plain English and in the City.

Dylan Press Conference

Looking at Dylan during the press conference paints the picture of Beat G, but just a tiny bit twisted out of shape. His music and words went beyond the aging message. It was clear that he was looking farther than the established limits, signaling something that transcended our localized art message. Dylan seemed to be calling for a more dramatic, universal view of the world that we had never envisioned. He was different, in nearly every way. Yet, for the Beat G folks, his message was also familiar.

Dylan was the essence of enigmatic, even for Beat G. He left us dangling, uncertain, and he seemed to thrive on the process. Was he just pimping the press or was he carving out a new direction? In December 1965, we weren’t sure. Within a year, we were all certain about it. Looking back, it seems obvious.

Check out a few of the press conference exchanges:

Press: Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or poet?

Dylan: Oh, I think of myself as a song and dance man, ya’know.

Press: Why?

Dylan: Oh, I don’t think we have enough time to really go into that.

What! That was definitely not a traditional Beat G answer. Who was this guy who was not a poet yet wrote great poetry, was a lousy singer but created unforgettable music, and set himself up as a “song and dance man?” He was claiming a path that none of us expected, none of us could quite figure out.

Press: What poets do you dig?

Dylan Press Conference GleasonDylan: Rimbaud, I guess; W. C. Fields; The family, you know, the trapeze family in the circus; Smokey Robinson; Allen Ginsberg; Charlie Rich – he’s a good poet.

Wow! If you were Beat G, this came right out of left field. Who among us would have considered Smokey Robinsion and Allen Ginsberg in the same sentence? We were obviously hearing something very new here. We never gave much thought to the trapeze family, nor to W. C. Fields. In fact, we shunned the circus as much too square to be of consequence. W. C. Fields would never have been considered cool. That was pure heresy.

Press: If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest, which one would you choose?

Dylan: Ladies garments.

Press: Mr. Dylan, I know you dislike labels and probably rightfully so, but for those of us well over thirty, could you label yourself and perhaps tell us what your role is?

Dylan: Well, I’d sort of label myself as “well under thirty.” And my role is to just, ya’know, to just stay here as long as I can.

Dylan Press Conference PaperPress: Do you consider yourself a politician?

Dylan: Do I consider myself a politician? Oh, I guess so. I have my own party though.

Press: Does it have a name?

Dylan: No. There’s no presidents in the party – there’s no presidents, or vice presidents, or secretaries or anything like that, so it makes it kinda hard to get in.

Press: Is there any right wing or left wing in that party?

Dylan: No. It’s more or less in the center – kind of on the Uppity scale.

Uppity? My Lord of Beat! What is this guy trying to say here? Uppity is OK?

Press: Do you think your party could end the war with China?

Dylan: Uh – I don’t know. I don’t know if they would have any people over there that would be in the same kind of party, ya’know? It might be kind of hard to infiltrate. I don’t think my party would ever be approved by the White House or anything like that.

Press: Is there anyone else in your party?

Dylan: No. Most of us don’t even know each other, ya’know. It’s hard to tell who’s in it and who’s not in it.

Press: Would you recognize them if you see them?

Dylan: Oh, you can recognize the people when you see them.

Where is this guy heading? He’s a party of one! That’s about as anti-Beat G as you can get and still be a credible artist. Unheard of! So, the message is clear – art is about the individual, not the collective. Politics for one is good. Commercialsm has its place. Who needs Beat G anymore?

Press: Mr. Dylan, when would you know that it was time to get out of the music field into another field?

Dylan: When I get very dragged.

Press: When you stop making money?

Bob Dylan performing at St. Lawrence Universit...

Dylan: No. When my teeth get better – or God, when something makes a drastic – uh – when I start to itch, ya’know? When something just goes to a terrifying turn and I know it’s got nothing to do with anything and I know it’s time to leave.

OK, that’s the bottom line. There it is. You go your own way, on your own time, on your own dime. That’s a different message, for sure. No Beat G here, boss. It’s a world of one. Where have we been lurking all these years? Individualism was the word from this poet, and he had a loud voice.

By the time of this press conference, Dylan was already a prominent figure. He had influence, followers, Beat G’ers who gave him love. But he also embodied something that Beat G missed – unabashed, unashamed individuality. Dylan was going to go his own way, regardless. He was breaking new ground with each song, each appearance, each of his enigmatic one-liners. It was a zig-zag road trip, nothing familiar or comfortable. This was fresh stuff.

When Dylan spoke, it was with his own, unique voice. Willingly or not, he pointed out the fatal flaw with Beat G. We spoke mostly to ourselves, to our art, and not to the bigger world. For Dylan, it was all about finding his unique path and having no fear of playing it out in public throuh his art. He had walked away from the beloved folk music to folk-rock (although he denied it) and had a vision that could not be shared, or even understood at times.

By December 1965, it was clear enough that Beat G needed to move on, somehow. We each had to find our own path and could no longer live within the comfort of a small enclave, no matter how talented or ground-breaking its members.

Like Dylan, we had to change our game. There were no other options. Dylan finally broke our collective backs, probably without any awareness of the meaning. We had to be ourselves to be real, just like him.

Looking back, he did us a big favor. His legacy and his word-lessons were good.

You can read the entire Dylan press conference here, thanks to Rolling Stone. Thanks to Kripes ProBoards for the Dylan press conference images. Thanks to KQED for all they’ve done over the years, and for having the insight to bring Dylan to San Francisco.

A few other articles on San Francisco Beat G:

Soppy Writer Nostalgia and City Lights Books

The 1963 Novelist

Cool Beat G in 1963

The Small Soul of Beat G

Allen GinsbergHistorians regularly pump out alluring swamp gas that lacks even a feather of genuine worth. Opinions become facts, mole hills are made into mountains, important events are forgotten or overlooked, individuals are swept aside, everything gets depersonalized. Geez. I suppose the History Channel is here to stay, so why bother to delve deeper? Well, because there’s always another face to history, a human face.

Let’s take it a little deeper, down to a very personal level of American history.

I’m talking about the Beat Generation here. Gagging up a few words about how the historians got it all wrong, all the way down the line. How they forgot why Beat G came about in the first place. I’m thinking about the human side of past times, the heart of the story that may actually make sense to real people.

Remember, it’s an individualized tale, shared by a few but usually overlooked by the history spinners or media dancers.

The word art of the Beat Generation evolved from personal encounters with a small soul. From the San Francisco point of view, looking back, it wasn’t a movement at all. In fact, the essence of Beat G eschewed the very concept of a movement, in the formal sense. And it certainly wasn’t an entire generation, or anything close. It was a small collective, centered on two opposite coasts, whose members did a lot of traveling and made lots of noise. The essence of Beat G was tiny, a bare whisper yelling out from a crowded, faceless, enormous stadium.

To be Beat G back in the day was to search out your own small soul, to touch the only point of reality of which you could be relatively certain. It was never much more than a primal personal journey. But, for whatever reason, it left its footprint across our literature and social landscape. Beat G infiltrated the national consciousness, which was never intended or even seriously considered. A personal journey turned into a “movement” because history deemed it so. The historians made it happen but they missed the boat long after it had already left the dock.

City Lights BeatBeat G was very much a 1950s protest of the most personal kind. It was a re-invention of the timeless “dark night of the soul” that every serious word artist knew and eventually confronted. What made it more pressing, more critical, is that the entire world seemed to be teetering on the edge of that same dark night. What we felt on a deeply personal level was also threatening the entire planet, and doing so without good reason or common sense. That was our view. That was our shared pain.

The 1950s were ugly and frightening in so many ways. Materialism was rampant. The Cold War threatened the entire planet. Segregation kept us apart from each other. McCarthyism proved that fascism was alive in our own, historically free country. Censorship was everywhere, promoted and fostered by our own government. All the promises of renewal from the horrendous sacrifices of WWII were squandered. It seemed as though America was asleep in the 1950s, unaware of how far we had strayed from our traditions of individualism, personal freedom, and a willingness to reach out to those beyond our immediate family. As a society, we had closed ourselves off, become fearful and paranoid, unwilling to even hear an alternative point of view. No one wanted to rock the boat, unless it was to blow up the planet.

There were big issues, everywhere. Too many to confront, too complex to even understand. The only reasonable way to deal with them was on a deeply personal level. To find a way out by finding a way in. We would start with the basics. We would start with our own small souls. This was our home turf.

We were a fractured generation back then but generally insisted that all was going along according to some grand, undefined plan. It was a time when dissent was simply not allowed, not tolerated. Questions were not to be asked, especially if they challenged the prevailing opinions of the sea of sleepers of the 1950s. It was a time to keep your head down, figuratively and literally. If you didn’t, there was always some Joe McCarthy out there ready and willing to lop off your brow.

City Lights BookstoreWell, that just wasn’t the way we viewed our country, or ourselves. We saw America as having a long, honored tradition of pursuing individuality, exploring, exercising our right to free speech, experimenting, moving ahead and taking risks. This was our communal history and there was no reason to put it out to pasture in the interests of comfort and conformity. But, for many reasons, the 1950s shunned all of this, turned these courageous urges into something dark and threatening. We didn’t appreciate that point of view. In fact, we felt beaten down by it. That was the essence of Beat G, from a soul-deep point of view.

We wanted to re-evaluate the entire mess, to re-draw the borders through our own experience and knowledge. It made no sense to tow a party line that was poorly defined, depersonalized, dangerous, obviously not working for our country, and that clearly disregarded the primal concept of individual freedom. It was us, each as individuals, who had created our country. It was not America who created us. We needed to re-discover that truism and do it as unique individuals in search of our own souls.

Did we go too far? Yes. We pushed the limits all the time. Many of us killed ourselves in the process. We broke the law left, right, up and down. Some of it was justified, some was just silly. We were doing an inside-out search for ourselves. If it stirred in our soul, if it had any direction at all, we chased it in the real world. It wasn’t so much that we held a deep disdain for the social norms of the time. It wasn’t that simple. We just didn’t find any sense in putting artificial restrictions on a life that should be led as genuinely as possible. We wanted to know life and know it truly, not as defined for us by others.

The Beat Generation

It wasn’t that we hated all rules, just the rules that broke our backs. Just the rules that kept us separate from each other, unable to speak freely, and unaware of ourselves. Our leaders were not taking us down a healthy path. That was obvious. Mutually Assured Destruction was, from our point of view, complete insanity. Censorship by the federal government was taking a reasonable concept much too far. Turning in your neighbor as a suspected communist brought us right back to the Nazi Party atrocities of our parents’ generation. Our parents suffered and died to ensure this craziness could never again happen, anywhere. Little of America’s behavior made sense on either a personal or grand scale. Hadn’t we learned from the horrors of WWII? Why were we going down this dangerous, deadly road yet again? Looking around, we found the dominant society fearful, tired, bored, over-fed, segregated, isolated, complacent, sometimes dangerous and just plain comatose. We didn’t want any of that for ourselves.

No, Beat G was never a movement in the classic sense. It was a journey of discovery, a search for the little soul within. The big questions became personal issues of a frightening, painful kind. That was the only way they could be handled. We could never be free if we were incapable of dealing with how the problems of our day impacted our personal lives. And, if these issues were so personal, so critical, they must also be vital to the larger society. We could not accept being separated, manipulated, so often the target of politics and lies when the stakes were so high.

We didn’t plan to be renegades, upstarts, doo-doo disturbers, or anything of the kind. We just wanted to be in touch with our small souls and, in doing so, touch the large societal soul that seemed to be struggling with itself.

Did we go too far? Sure. We paid a heavy price.

Did we make some good art along the way? You bet we did.

Did we change the world? Of course not.

But we did make a dent in our own small souls.

DC Stunner! Gregor New Weeper of the House!

Former Weeper John Blamer

Former Weeper John Blamer

In a stunning overnight development, Weeper of the House, John Blamer, has been overthrown by Gregor. The House of Overlords met in a secret session and announced their decision shortly before dawn. Blamer refused to return calls or make any public comment.

Gregor’s meteoric rise to Weeper took pundits by surprise. He was never considered a power broker among the Overlords or anywhere in DC. Known best for his strong stance against self-lobotomy, Gregor was narrowly elected to the House last year. He attributed his victory to the insight and loyalty of his dozens of supporters.

When asked for a comment after the late night session, Gregor said,”Yes, thank you. I’m now the Weeper and it feels wonderful. This is a testament to my fellow Overlords, who clearly understand the difficulties of overcoming a failed self-lobotomy.”

Back in his home State, word spread quickly about Gregor’s victory. Nearly two dozen of his strongest supporters gathered at the Frankliin Fart Pub to celebrate. The mood was predictably euphoric.

Gregor is the man!” they chanted. “He’s been there for us and we’ve been there for him!” Drinks were on the house, courtesy of Franklin Fart, pub owner and Gregor’s half brother.

New Weeper Gregor

New Weeper Gregor

Gregor had long pushed a tight and simple agenda for his fellow Overlords. He advocated doing away with all votes and placing decisions in the hands of the Weeper. Now, that responsibility is his. It seems as though the House of Overlords found their new leader and have placed their complete trust in his abilities.

When contacted for a comment, Gregor’s Thief of Staff shed a few tears, something that Gregor, himself, promised would never happen on the floor of the House.

I’m so sorry,” said Thief Gregor Jr. “This is a dream come true for all of us. It’s a new day for our Country. No more Blamer, no more arguing, no more voting. I feel that, as a Country, we’ve finally arrived. Gregor will set things right.”

When asked about Gregor’s next step, Jr. smiled and offered an approving nod.

Gregor will be taking a few days off. He’s earned it. He’ll be in Iowa resting and taking a few shock therapy treatments. By next week, he’ll be on the job, working hard for all of us.”

Gregor lives here.

Baby Boomers Screw the Pooch

English: A schizophrenic patient at the Glore ...

I’m a baby boomer, born just after the end of World War II. You’re technically a baby boomer if you were born between 1946 and 1964, so I made it just under the wire. I was among the first in an enormous wave of boomers who screwed it all up, who left too much wreckage. So, let me start with an apology.

We didn’t intend to screw the pooch, to make it all so difficult for the rest of you. We did it naturally, without any forethought and, mostly, without malice. In fact, we never gave it much thought, which was the whole problem. Nonetheless, when it comes to screwing up everything that followed in our wake, we did the job.

We were born and raised schizophrenic. Most of us enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle and full bellies, along with a daily infusion of nuclear threats, pervasive paranoia, suspicious and self-serving politicians, and parents who were just lagging behind the times. We had it easy, we had it hard. For the most part, we just had it. We had an itch on our communal backside that was driving us nuts. We knew it was there but we just couldn’t reach it, make it go away. We weren’t sure where it came from or what it meant. We just wanted it out of our lives. We had to blame somebody because that was the mode of the day.

Throughout the 1950s, life was stuck in this la-la land of schizophrenia. We spent, we worried, we watched too much of the new-wonder TV, and focused exclusively on ourselves. We were selfish and denied it. We scared our parents because it worked, scared ourselves because we were bored, and scared each other because it felt so good. The world was divided into two camps; those who got bullied and those who were doing the bullying. Naturally, we all wanted to be on top.

We were also amazingly creative, but in a selfish sort of way. Our music reflected this egocentrism. So did our writing. So did most of the media. We were the “Me Generation” long before that term became commonplace. Predictably, we denied it. In reality, we invented it. In subsequent years, our leaders would jam it down everyone’s throats.

We found a world that was in chaos and blamed everyone else, a country at war and blamed others, a generation that was feeding on itself and we blamed the earlier generations. It wasn’t long before we created powerful rebel hero-figures who embraced and embodied all of this chaos. Many of them died young. Too many. That just served to make them legendary, which was a generational imperative of the time.

OK, enough of the doom and gloom part of the saga. Here comes the love story.

As I mentioned, we were also creative. Too creative, much of the time. We stretched out like no generation before us. Maybe it was because we shared a sense of world doom that was the red meat of the era. Maybe not. Maybe it was just a new incarnation of that sense of self-discovery common to each new generation. However you define it, we were creative. We left our mark in the arts and across the country and the world. We were also short-lived. Most of our art disappeared. What has lived on is mostly a legacy of nostalgia. Yes, it was art, it was our own, but it wasn’t great art, for the most part.

Suddenly, we found a universe of love, sort of. At least, we thought so.

In the 1960s and into the 1970s, it was common to hear us chant about changing the world, working hard to create a new paradise on earth. Ah, that was all swamp gas. Sure, we believed it, a little bit. But, at its core, this was self-serving. It was a nice wrapping for experimentation, spreading our wings, trying on the new clothes of a new generation. Like us, the whole idea was short-lived. It was an exercise in self-marketing.

At the extremity of the youth journey, we probably left things worse than we found them. We still made war, ignored the rest of the world, centered everything upon ourselves, and continued to feed a general indifference towards most everything we encountered. We promised to be truthful but we lied. We guaranteed that we would care for others but we forgot the commitment. We assured the world that we would change it for the better but, in the end, we left it mostly the same. We were windbags.

So, to the generation that followed, please accept my apologies. I, for one, wish I had done a better job. Like the other boomers, I was a product of my era and never took the time to look at things more closely, with more intent. Now, I’m old, but the wisdom of years came too late. I’m hoping that you will pick it all up where we dropped the ball.

If you remember us at all, remember us for our art. It was our best legacy.