Acid Heroes

December 11, 2017

Moo Cat is one tough feral cat

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 11:03 pm

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Moo Cat the feral cat almost died last winter. It was a rough winter. Rainy and cold. 37 inches of rain and the weather often near or below freezing. Which is tough to deal with if you’re a feral cat living outside with no home.

For several months Moo Cat had this weird hooping cough. When she breathed — every time she inhaled she had this loud rattling sound coming from her diseased lungs. I could tell Moo Cat was really sick. When your lungs are rattling and wheezing with every breath you take, you know it’s trouble.

All I could do was hug her and pet her and make sure she had plenty of good food and water. I’m not a doctor or a vet. All I knew was that Moo Cat’s lungs were rattling and wheezing with every breath she took for 2 months straight during the brutal winter weather. And plenty of feral cats wouldn’t survive the brutal wet cold winter of 2017.

But Moo Cat survived it. Moo Cat is 9 years old. Which is pretty ancient for a feral cat.

She’s a tough bitch.

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Sunday evening on Telegraph Avenue

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 10:56 pm
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I’m sitting at the window seat at Pappy’s drinking a pint and watching the Telegraph street vendors pack up and feeling nostalgic. When this guy comes in the front door and shouts:

“ACE! ACE! HOW YOU BEEN?”

“I’m doing alright,” I said. “How are you doing?”

“I’M FINE. I’M FINE! MAN I HAVENT SEEN YOU IN A LONG TIME!”

“That’s life,” I said.

“SO HOW YOU BEEN DOIN’?”

“I’m still alive.”

“ANY DAY YOU’RE STILL ALIVE IS A GOOD DAY! BECAUSE WHEN YOU’RE 6 FEET UNDER THATS A GRIM DAY!”

“That’s for sure.”

“MAN I HAVENT BEEN IN THIS PLACE IN AGES. I BOUGHT A LITTLE HOUSE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. JUST ON THE BORDER OF OREGON BUT STILL IN CALIFORNIA. USUALLY THE FARTHEST SOUTH I GET IS SANTA ROSA. BUT I THOUGHT I’D COME TO BERKELEY FOR THE CHRISTMAS STREET FAIR.”

“You can’t beat the Telegraph Christmas Street Fair.”

“TOMORROW I MIGHT GO TO SANTA CRUZ FOR THE CANNABIS CUP FESTIVAL. THEY’LL BE GIVEN OUT ALL KINDS OF FREE WEED. I COULD REALLY LOAD UP!”

“Can’t beat that.”

“SO HOWS YOUR HEALTH HOLDING UP, ACE?”

“I’m healthier than I have a right to be.”

“I JUST TURNED 59. HOW OLD ARE YOU, ACE?”

“I’m 61. Respect your elders.”

“WE’RE OF THE SAME GENERATION, ACE. BONANZA AND THE RIFLEMAN AND ALL OF THAT. HEY! IS IT OK IF I LEAVE ALL MY STUFF HERE BY YOU? I WANT TO ORDER SOME FOOD.”

“I guess it’s OK.”

He goes up to the counter to order his dinner

I’m embarrassed to admit I have no idea who he is.

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December 10, 2017

PALIMPSEST: A Memoir” by Gore Vidal

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 10:47 pm

Published in 1995.

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This is one of the most wide ranging — and most oddest titled — memoirs I’ve ever read.  Palimpsest??  It’s written in the vein of “the private lives of public people.”  And Gore Vidal — with his sharp eye and relentless, and often caustic, but always amusing, wit — skewers the foibles of the rich, the famous, and the powerful.

This memoir covers a hell of a lot of ground. His work in the early days of television (Vidal was baffled why one of his fellow TV screenwriters seemed to resent him, until the director Sidney Lumet explained why: “You weren’t Jewish, and this was our game.”).  His adventures in the Hollywood of Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, and Charlton “Chuck” Heston (who he got to know more than he would have liked). His forays into politics (he ran for Congress). His close friendship with the playwrite Tennessee Williams, a zany and fun-loving guy who Vidal nicknamed The Fabulous Bird, and who died one of the more peculiar deaths (zonked on alcohol and pills, he woke up in the middle of the night and swallowed what he thought was a sleeping pill but was actually the plastic cap to the bottle, which he choked on). His ground-breaking gay novel The City and the Pillar (“We all read that,” said Allen Ginsburg. “Because of the sex. Nobody had gone that far then.”)  His association with The Beats, who he was interested in, but didn’t particularly admire (succinctly as ever, Vidal summed up the relationship between the three principal Beats: “Bill is infatuated with Allen, who is in love with Jack, who is in love with Cassidy.”)

But the most fascinating parts to me are his up close and personal accounts of the Kennedy family.  Gore Vidal, after all, was raised in Washington DC, amidst the rich and powerful.  His grandfather was Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, of the Al Gore lineage (hence, the odd first name of Gore). And Jackie Kennedy Onassis was his cousin who he grew up with (“Selfish and self-aggrandizing beyond the usual, Jackie was still a slyly humorous presence.”).  And he knew John F. Kennedy when they were both 20. So Vidal got a very close look at all these characters behind the screen of their famous public images.

Vidal, the Fabulous Bird, and JFK.

Vidal liked and admired Jack Kennedy, who he found charming and witty and basically a decent guy. But disliked the rest of the Kennedys (“I thought even then that, excepting Jack, the family was pretty deplorable, while the father belonged in jail, along with his close friend Frank Costello. In fact once a week, until Joe’s stroke, the boss of the Mob and the president’s father had dinner together in the Central Park Kennedy apartment. Of course Joe made no secret of his underworld connections, unavoidable for a man who had cornered the Scotch whiskey market.”).

Though Vidal liked Jack Kennedy, he had no illusions about Kennedy’s fitness as the leader of the free world. He knew that, left to his druthers, Jack would have preferred the life of a playboy lay-about, and only ended up forced into politics because of his hyper-ambitious father.  Their conversations together mostly consisted of Kennedy plying Vidal for the latest “Hollywood gossip” (basically Kennedy wanted to know which young Hollywood starlets were presently available for him to have sex with). During one particularly intense period when the Kennedys were considering declaring war on Russia, Vidal wrote: “I have a vivid memory of the two furry heads together (Jack and Bobby, who he particularly loathed), a  lamp back of them, as they murmured to each other in silhouette. It is chilling to think that all our lives were in their callow hands.”

Though Kennedy’s public image was that of youthful vitality, Vidal said that up close and in person, Kennedy mostly looked sickly, with “yellow-tinted skin,” and was virtually a cripple due to his back injury — which, contrary to popular opinion, wasn’t the result of a war injury but a touch football injury.  As ever, there was the huge disparity between the Kennedys public image, and the actual reality.  Fitting of a clan who’s father, Papa Joe, considered the family motto to be: “It’s not who you are, but who the public thinks you are, that counts.”

Gore Vidal and friend.

Papa Joe was no doubt helplessly horrified from his stroke-ridden bedside, when Bobby Kennedy — in his self-appointed role as vain/glorious do-gooder — started arresting and imprisoning  numerous mobsters.  Many of whom were life-long friends and/or associates of Papa Joe.  And some of whom Joe had called on to help swing the presidential election of 1960. While others were hired by John Kennedy to try and assassinate Fidel Castro.  So it wasn’t surprising when Mob boss Sam Giancanna was caught on an FBI wire-tap discussing with another mafioso the possibility of whacking Bobby Kennedy.  Though they ultimately concluded: “If you chop off the snake’s tail, the snake still lives.  But if you chop off the snakes head, the snake dies.”  Which is why they decided to whack John Kennedy instead.  Which effectively ended Bobby’s career.

At any rate, after awhile you start getting slightly dizzy reading Gore Vidal’s memoir.  As one famous person after another rushes by the pages.  “And then Eleanor Roosevelt said this . .  .” “And then Hillary Clinton said that . . .” “And then that weasel Truman Capote showed up. . .” “And I’ll never forget the look on Kerouac’s face on the pillow as I  . . .” “And speaking of Anais Nin and Greta Garbo . . .”

But one thing’s for sure.  Gore Vidal certainly lived out a good deal of the political and cultural history of America over the last century.  Recommended.

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December 9, 2017

The raccoons almost get me again

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 10:21 pm

 

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A look of complete innocence.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night at my campsite to the sound of “dragging” sounds. I figured it was nothing and rolled over on my side to go back to sleep.

But then I thought: “HEY WAIT A SECOND. WHERE THE HELL IS MY BACKPACK??” I realized a bastard raccoon had stolen my backpack and was dragging it down the hill.

I quickly put on my shoes and chased after the bastard raccoon in the pitch darkness of night. Cursing loudly as I staggered onwards.

I followed the trail of my stuff that the bastard raccoon had pulled out of my backpack. My transistor radio. My battery charger. My tooth brush. Marveling at the raccoon’s deft little fingers, that he could unzip my backpack and pull the individual items out of my pack.

The trail led me to my backpack. And there was the raccoon. Cowering up a tree on a tree branch about 10 feet above me.

I momentarily considering picking up a branch or a rock and hurling it at the raccoon. Knocking him out of the tree.

But then I realized. That was just the raccoon’s nature. Their instinctual animal nature. To be desperately scrounging for food. The theivin’ bastards. Plus. My throwing arm, my aim, is so lousy. I probably would have missed the raccoon anyways. Even from point blank range.

So instead I just lectured the raccoon at the top of my lungs.

“DON’T DO THAT!! DON’T DO THAT!!”

I doubt my lecture made much of an impression on the raccoon. But at least I got my backpack back before he did any real damage.

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“This is another fine mess you’ve gotten me into, Yoko.”

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:39 pm

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December 6, 2017

Women

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:37 pm

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This one friend of mine — who was a really hot chick back in the day — once said something that really amused me. She said:

“When I went out on a date with some guy, I usually would have decided from the first time I saw him whether or not I was going to have sex with him.”

So, during the course of the date, she’d sort of be laughing to herself. As the guy did his big act, his big performance, to try and impress her, to try to win her over. That whole preening “cock rooster” act that guys do to impress the chicks. To convey the impression that they are very impressive male specimens that she would surely want to have sex with.

And she’d be laughing to herself. Because the whole big act, the whole exercise, was futile. Because she had already decided a long time ago. Ha ha.

So that taught me something crucial about the female psyche.

So then for awhile I was hanging out with this other hot chick. And in the course of our friendship she said:

“The thing I like about you, Ace, is that you’re not like all the other guys. You don’t try to impress.”

And I said:

“Yes, but that’s just my act. I try to impress by trying not to impress. And see? You were impressed by it.”

Ha ha.

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Dreams

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:32 pm

 

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DREAM #1

 

I remember one of the scarier dreams I had when I was a kid.

I was lying on my bed in my bedroom. And there was a window in my bedroom directly across from my bed. So I fall asleep. And I started to dream. But suddenly I woke up. Somebody outside in the darkness was opening up the window in my bedroom. And then this man climbed in through the window. And he started walking towards me. Real slow. And right when he was standing right over me. And about to reach down and grab me!!! I woke up from the dream.

So now I’m lying there on my bed in my bedroom. Sort of shivering from the dream. The nightmare. And I’m staring at the window across from me. And the window is open.

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DREAM #2
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One of the weirder dreams you can have is when you dream that you’re dreaming.

I remember this one night at my campsite I had this really weird dream. Then I woke up the next morning. Got up. Fixed my feral cats their breakfast. Then I packed up my campsite. And headed down the trail.

But then I woke up a second time. Realized the previous stuff had just been a dream

So I got up. Fixed my feral cats their breakfast. Then I packed up my campsite. And headed down the trail.

But as I’m walking down the trail I’m wondering: “Did I really wake up this time? Or am I still dreaming?”

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December 3, 2017

The action never stops at the Berkeley Public Library

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You get the feeling with some people, their reputation precedes them. . .

This afternoon I’m at the library. And the Berkeley Library can often resemble an open air mental ward (needless to say I feel right at home). This guy is on one of the computers, listening to headphones. Black guy, about 30, with bleached blonde hair. He’s got his back to me, so I can’t see his face. But I can sure hear him. Everyone in the room can hear him.

He’s making these loud, wailing, anguished crying, sobbing sounds. Then he starts laughing hysterically, this loon laughter. Then he starts babbling to himself in this loud, discordant voice. Then he goes back to crying. Back and forth like that. Non-stop. For quite some time.

So I’m wondering why one of the librarians doesn’t go over there and tell him to be quiet. Then I notice these three guys standing about 20 feet behind him by the railing. Staring at him intently and talking into walkie-talkies.

About 5 minutes later three cops show up. They walk up to him very cautiously. Sort of surround him — one cop to the left, one to the right, and one right behind him. The cops tell the people sitting at the computers nearby him that they need to get up and leave. Then one of the cops softly says;

“Excuse me sir, you’ve got to get up and leave the library.”

The guy ignores the cops. Continues to babble away on his headphones.

The cop repeats: “You’ve got to leave.”

“No no, it’s all right,” says the guy.

You can see the cops stiffen. For a LONG solid minute it looks like a stand-off and that he’s going to resist the cops.

Finally, he stands up. And they surround him and quietly escort him to the stairs and out of the building.

You get the feeling they’ve had previous dealings with that guy.

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The gods are fucking with me for sport.

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 9:35 pm
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That lasagna was fated to be from the beginning of time!

 

Sometimes I think the gods are fucking with me for sport.

All morning I was craving lasagna. So I go to this Italian place on Durant around noon. But the place is jam-packed. Fuck it. So I come back around 4. The place is still pretty crowded. And I’m really claustrophobic. But I REALLY want some of that lasagna. So I brave the hordes. Wait on a long line. Finally get to the cashier. Order my lasagna. “Sorry we’re out of lasagna.”

Maaann!!

So I trudge to People’s Park with that “it-never-works-out-in-this-damn-life” feeling. Hate Man is sitting on a bench with the other street people. Says: “This guy just dropped off this big tray of leftover lasagna from this catered event.”

Go figure.

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November 26, 2017

That’s Show Biz!!

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 10:27 pm
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The Tommy Turkey character was never very popular. So Disney decided to discontinue the character.

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