Booking

we went out of town last weekend ..... we packed the boys in the car and drove off to mammoth, which is three hundred and sixty miles away and at nine thousand feet ..... great skiing, you know, what with the unprecedented rains we've had in california this year ..... but you'd be a fool and a communist dupe to ascribe this to anything like global climate change which is, as we all know, another theory, like evolution, that has no basis in corporate--or republican--reality ....

putting fifteen-month old twins in a car and forcing immobility on them for close to eight hours isn't any kind of walking meditation, if you know what i mean ..... i think of this as "the great mammoth death march," what with the babies shrieking on the drive and then, uncomfortable in the thin air of nine thousand feet, shrieking through the night ..... there was so much shrieking and so much distress that i kept thinking of the republicans, frustrated in their attempts to "privatize" social security ...... spoiled, whining, importunate; greedy, grasping, and contemptuous of others; snivelling, whining, bitching and moaning; weeping, wailing, gnashing of recapped teeth .....

etc., etc., etc., etc. ..............................

it's funny how you can be "out-of-touch" with "the world" and still know what's going on ..... except that i missed the decision to use "small nukular weppons" on iran because "our intelligence" shows them to be a "threat to "national security ...."

like i say .... you can go away and when you come back, it's like deja vu, all over again ..... i mean, haven't we been here before? didn't we .... mmmmm ...... see how the last round of fear, anxiety, and manipulation; deception, badinage, and horseshit; lies, damn lies, and the same tired old cast of evil duplicitous lying characters came out last time?

i guess not ...... today's "aol news" "headline" is "Trapped Kitty Finally Rescued!"

jeeziz ..... i couldn't make this shit up, you know? the good news is, the kitty survived two weeks in a wall before the military used a seven-hundred ton explosive device to disintegrate the wall and free the kitty who, aside from being dead, was quite all right and all's well that ends well .....

i made that up .....

the good news is, what with the kitty being saved and all, no coverage is being given to pooter libby's disclosure that his leaks were authorized by his bosses, who just happen to be the president and the vice-president, and who knew that what he was leaking was untrue .....

thanks, kitty ..... here, america ..... have some catnip ..... here's a little jingly ball that you can bat around the floor ..... here's some milk with BGHT in it ..... you'll grow up as big and as strong as barry bonds ..... it's a good thing that we take baseball and its cast of characters far more seriously than we do our government and its propensity to ...... oh, you know where i'm going with this, so i'll stop now .......

meow meow meow ......

by now you're saying, what's the point, doctor pete? what's the fucking point?

the point is, i didn't want to write about any of this shit ..... the point is, you go away for a couple of days, people start talking about dropping nukes, and there's not a ripple of concern, of distress, of alarm ..... lthere's no shock, horror or dismay ..... just bidness as usual, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave .....

and another teen's gone missing .....

there's so much to be thankful for: thank god for no birth control or sex education; that way we'll never have a shortage of teen girls who go missing and distract us from more important issues .....

like kitties in walls .....

oh .... i forgot the coterie of retired generals who now sugggest that rumsfeld's ...... mmmmm ..... usefullness? might be over and that he should resign .....

good thing they waited until they were retired .....

now .... can i go on, please? can i talk about something other than our stupidity, arrogance, idiocy, and chronic sphincterism? can i talk about ....... books?

oh, yes, doctor pete! oh yes! won't you please please please please please talk about books?

thank you ..... i will now proceed:

the last couple of weeks i've been buying books for the boys .... there are and have been some wonderful books written for children, you know ..... the ones i like are illustrated; seriously now, how can it be a book for children unless it's illustrated? and, as someone who wants to fit into george w. bush's america, i like books that have large pictures and few but simple words ..... no seriously, now: i love illustrations and illustrators and abhor the computer generated or xeroxed culls mandated by the vicissitudes of the market place ..... would robert lawson or howard pyle or arthur rackham, would they be able to do books today? could they afford to meet their publisher's deadlines and do artwork, by hand? each line, each color, done by hand?

the old-fashioned way?

still, maurice sendak is working, isn't he? and he writes and illustrates, by hand, books that don't pander to children ..... gosh, what a topsy-turvy world we live in, where our kids can't get sex education but can watch endless violence, or whose fare is linked inextricably to some sugar-packed cereal, guaranteed to give ritalin the heebie-jeebies ..... still, kids are resilient, and kids are able to handle words and themes and concepts way above and beyond "dick and jane ..... run, spot, run ..... puff eat spot" or "run down and buy disney's latest plastic toy made by slave labour in china ....." or "tell your mommy to buy you a big 128 ounce box of sugar fuckies or you'll fall down on the supermarket floor and start screaming, i wannit i wannit i wannit i wannit ......"

the digital age is a slippery slope ..... even as i sit in a digital studio and make appalling noises, books with little chips in them now make appalling noises, under the guise of music, or nature sounds, or kiddies' songs ..... these screechings are way worse than rap, honest to god they are, and i don't want my children exposed to them ..... first of all, in my world books don't make noise: in my world you make the appropriate sounds in your head as you read--it's called imagination .... second, i'd rather listen to a grizzly bear ripping his claws down the ur-blackboard of the world than listen to the kind of mutant noise that digital technology and small batteries have brought into the world .... you can't get wooden blocks any more, and all the new generation of toys talk to you ..... you can't shut them up ....

i'd rather eat my flesh, with no knife and fork and without catsup, honest i would, than listen to the shrill meepings, cheepings and chitterings of these grotesque monstrosities .... there's not an iota of verisimilitude in these sounds, and my fear is that an early exposure to such flat and lifeless noise, synthetic sampled sounds made by computers for people who cannot play a musical instrument, who cannot carry a tune, and whose primary candidacy for stardom is being photogenic and neurasthenic, while going through dance steps that your average french poodle could master, will make my boys think that something like rap is ..... perish the thought ..... music ......

as for me, i still like going to bookstores, the smaller and the more independent the better .... i like to sit down in little wooden chairs and put a stack of books out on a little wooden table and start reading, checking out candidates for my kids' library ..... the books that i buy? well, i read them, then i reread them, then i stare off into space ..... and then i set them aside ...... in another four or five years, i'm sure my boys will be reading them without ripping the pages to animal laboratory bedding, as they're doing right now .... kalevi in particular shows fascist and fundamentalist tendencies in how he dismembers books; soon it'll be insects and small animals, won't it? daniel, on the other hand, is showing new behaviours (as they both do each and every day now): he sits cross-legged, puts a book in his lap (it's generally right side up), starts turning the pages, and makes his own peculiar daniel speech, as though he were reading out loud, which i guess he is ......

i still have books that were given to me by ben and vera, my mother's mother and father, as i have books given to me by my parents .... and i still enjoy reading them .... (oh, you can probably guess that i was reading to myself at an alarmingly early age ....) it's funny, but i think that the things that give the most meaning to my life have such miniscule monetary value ..... and these books are, in retrospect, some of the most cherished possession from my life: they open the door into summer, a summer with my mother and father, a summer with maple trees green under warm sun, with sprinklers tossing diamonds into the air over green lawns, with me running through the glittering drops of water, and into the worlds that each and every book creates ....

i still love visiting those worlds; i wonder if my children will, too ... will they keep their books? and will they remember me?

these are, of course, moot questions ......

the problem, of course, is, how does one inscribe books to twins?

next: dr. pete saves the kitty

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PETER KAUKONEN, San Francisco Bay Area guitarist, has played, toured, and recorded with Black Kangaroo, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Johnny Winter.

1 Comment

Steve Shaw says:

You are so right about books. Funny the things you remember about them, unlikely books that you have read decades ago. But still, all these years later the memory is precious. I was fortunate enough to take art classes at a local university while only 14. There I met a young gal who turned me onto the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Big, Big turning point in my life. One of my favorite authors. As a pseudo artist, I say that because there are so few really talented illustrators out there. Art and writing have indeed changed. And what is passed as artwork is similar to what is written and what passes for music nowadays...as I was saying (time to take some ritalin myself) I have seen great illustrations in books pass by the way and crap art be used instead. I hope that whatever you can find your sons is as good as is out there. I fear that quality will slip even further by the time they are adults. It is a shame that books are becoming a thing of the past. Damn shame!

Submitted by Steve Shaw on Thu, 07/17/2014 - 13:55

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