Double Bill From Heaven

I attended this show. I was absolutely obsessed with both bands and thought, if anything, the B-52’s stole the spotlight. (Though I was reduced to quivering atoms by the end of the evening.) I launched a furious campaign to review the second B-52’s album for the Boston Phoenix and it was as much pure pleasure to write as anything I had experienced up until then. Biggest surprise — a reminder how the earliest B-52’s were insanely stripped-down and full of punk-pop events at the same time.

R.I.P.: Warren Hinkle

I really tried to dismiss the self-aggrandizing a-hole, but couldn’t. Ramparts and Evergreen Review were the mags I could ferret out in Livingston MT that made me wanna be a journalist as much as a novelist or poet. With the vibrant graphics, these were disruptive comics for grown-ups. National Lampoon was a serious step down.

The Single Stupidest Bad Habit I Picked Up as a Kid

I mean, it’s distinctive and frustrating enough I remember doing it as a child.

I’m easily distracted when I’m entering or leaving my place of residence. If I remember some quick task I should do right after I come in or just before I take off, and I’m carrying a book or a CD or any small object I want to take with me, I will set the object on the nearest flat surface and immediately forget where I put it. I’ll do the task and be out in the car or whatever when I think “goddammit, I misplaced the CDs again!” And will have no clue, other than looking in all the obvious places, where to find the items. And more often than not, I’ve set them down in some quite bizarre spot. I sometimes haven’t been able to find them for days and even weeks. If it’s something I’m trying to write about, I can fly into a full-on frenzy.

I’ve developed a “sane spot” in every room where I try to set things down every time. But the “bizarre spot” habit is surprisingly hard to break — not a little because I’m unaware of doing it when it happens.

Attica Endures

A review that, not least, makes the case that we need a fresh look at the catastrophe. It took every bit of mental strength I had as a new adult to read Tom Wicker’s A Time To Die: it was that wrenching. Obviously, there were layers of horror not revealed at that time. The biggest distortion I remember is that Attica was supposed to be a uniquely decrepit hellhole. I do also remember good reporting that explained the takeover had happened almost by accident and the avalanche of bungling and impatience that led to the massacre. Of course, the racial element went virtually unmentioned. (One of the most valuable correctives in the Wicker book.)

Incidentally, I would argue that the Cuban Missile Crisis is the mother of all such tense negotiation situations. One of the saddest things I can think of is that gettin’ tuff and savin’ face — though it never works out in the long run, ever — remains such a prime option for so many of the powerful.