Couple Local Chuckles From the “Brookline TAB”

From “Police Incidents”

First, a classic Students Are Back muck-up:

“At 11:13 AM, a caller reported that a couch was stolen from outside their apartment door. Later in the day, the caller reported finding her couch in another apartment. The resident said his roommates must have brought it in and the caller insisted it was her couch, according to the report.”

Next, some Street Surrealism:

“At 4:30 PM, a caller reported that a man approached the caller and her friend, asked to use their cell phone and said he needed to speak with Herbie Hancock, the jazz artist.”

Oddities Noted on Today’s Workout Walk

Baffling Slogan of the Year (so far):

BRICKHOUSE MOVERS — “You Won’t Believe What We Do.”

Then why on earth would I ever hire you?

Lesson Taught by Age: Although I’d seen it several times before, today I understood with a new profundity why a specialty medical-shoe store would be right next to a large retirement complex.

Real Estate Developments I Pass Every Day

I think it was Anthony Bourdain who noted that certain business locations can become, well, cursed. No matter what opens in the space, it quickly goes out of business. This can last for years (maybe even forever), but it can also end.

This one corner spot on Beacon had been a superb convenience store for ages and ages. Then it got kinda outta touch and closed. The location became cursed and about four different operations tried to make it work;. The two I recall were the bad Asian gift shop with a misspelled word in its sign and a store that offered a strange mixture of plants and make-up products and never seemed to have staff that knew nearly enough about either. The spell broke when the space changed direction entirely and became a tres-hip Yoga center that won a Best of Boston award.

Only a block away was a very chic bicycle store that had a cool display of bikes on the roof (I don’t ride myself, so I never went inside), but seemed to do next to no business in the winter. It closed and has been replaced by a crushingly mediocre liquor store (that claims to have gourmet foods and cheese but I sure as hell didn’t see any).

Finally a salute to my late, great friend and editor at the Phoenix and Boston Globe, John Ferguson. The deeply authentic Irish pub where we held his Official Wake has been torn down to make way for another faceless glass tower. Especially sad because it helped me think about him many days when I drove past. He’s been gone for more than 13 years now. He was only 52.

Aztec and Eclipse

I cannot resist the notion that the first across-the-USA total eclipse was a sign of evil times. But the happier chips of me left take comfort in one of the huge benefits of science, in this case astronomy, in making a reasonably predictable universe. Otherwise, the sun going out could be the beginning of freakin’ anything, including that it would not come back.

The Aztecs had a particularly creepy mythology associated with eclipses: the sun was under attack from the stars you could see around it when it turned black. These are the female deities/demons Tzitzimime, quite the monsters.

Some images:

TZI 1

TZI 2

TZI 3

TZI 4

TZI 5

TZI 6

The Queen.

Trick Magic Moment

I used to have at least one every summer. Maybe two or three if I was lucky.

Hot, sun-flooded day driving the car on some not-too-serious errand or trip, listening to terrific tunes that are hitting me like never before. I would be filled with the feeling that, just for this one long moment, the whole world was happy, every human being was at peace. I would enjoy the magic even more if I shared with with someone sitting next to me.

Last summer was the first one I can remember when I did not have any such moment. A lot of things had gone wrong already in 2016, in particular I was mired in the aftereffects of the car collision. And by the end of the year, we had all passed into an unprecedented shadow.

One passage on Anderson’s Heart of a Dog that grabbed me with its wisdom yesterday was her recounting of the Buddhist teaching that one must learn “how to feel sad without being sad.” Know the negativity without being conquered by it. I knew this morning I was having a real snap of depression because while I experienced the circumstances that trigger a magic moment, all I felt was downbeat. My attempt at redeeming the time is to describe what happened.

The heat, the sun, the driving, all in place. The music was Chet Baker singing “Grey December”. I had already thought, Geeze, “Let’s Get Lost,” with lines like “Let’s defrost/In a haze” was weirder than I remembered. But I suddenly realized “Grey December” was way weirder than that, outright spooky, with memories of love like ominous ghosts. It was written by one Frank Campo, who also arranged the strings with Marty Paich and Johnny Mandel. And that’s all I know about Campo, other than the brilliant judge of tunes Ran Blake did a solo-piano version in 1995. (we’re going to go see Blake perform with singer Dominique Eade on Saturday — maybe I’ll shoot out a request.)

Friday Funnies: Outta-Control Comics Covers from the ’60s

Mainstream comics, that is.

Kona

Suicide Squad

(Exceptionally well designed plot and illustrations for this forgotten comic. Starting at $77.00 on Amazon, so I ain’t crazy.)

Suicide Squad 2

All downhill after this cover, though.

Kona 2

Kickass cover — extremely freaky comic (in Pt. Two esp.)

Suicide Squad 3

I tried to hide everything offbeat I had from my Mother. Left this comic out by accident and she burned it. Not just tossed in the trash: ritually burned in the back yard. (It was more to do with the name — which did seem to have a lot of lasting power — and less with the image.)

Memorials

A tough ceremony. I haven’t always socially remembered the passing of friends. A best bud from high school died tragically in a car wreck but (a) we had been out of touch since the teen years — and in your mid-20s that can seem like a long, long time and (b) I was too broke to travel back to MT more than once a year. Another dearest friend was just not the memorial-havin’ type. A merciless disease too soon and suicide generate the most agonizing rituals.

Oddly, I’ve had the same superstitions as this writer, that cataloging every near-death experience I can remember might trigger a terminal event. But, while we can debate the triteness of the idea, I do buy the notion that, as long as somebody remembers you, evokes you even in their mind, you are not entirely gone.