a.k.a. Mousy Mouse, the House Mouse or Huismuis
This was not going to be a journal entry about mice and men--and how they relate to each other, but I could not think of a better heading for right now. My little roommate has only made occasional appearances since I first spotted him--and since there have been no babies so far, it must have been a him--but he has been reported to the authorities, who will supply me with some more glue paper to catch and forceably evict the intruder. I hope he gets the message and will butt out of my personal space and affairs, for I don't like to deal with such matters, except when pushed to the limit.
I have that in common with my friend Brahm, who--the very day I first wrote about my 'new roommate' seemed very nervous and anxious about something. It must have been a Jungian synchronicity, or what I'd call a minor pseudo-Hegelian 'Gleichzeitgeistligkeit' (yes, I know: not a scrabble word, even auf Deutsch--I just made it up) something in the flow of the time-spirit that we both caught that day--for he had been called by a tenant to catch a mus musculus, a mousy mouse or house mouse--een muis muizeke or huismuis, and while catching one--using glue paper--is not all that hard (except when your particular muizeke is as intelligent as my new roommate, for he seems to have been dancing around the gluepaper with great adaptive skills so far)--but to dispose of him in a humane manner--that is a problem. A mousy mouse caught in a glue trap cannot be easily extricated from his plight without causing permanent damage--unless you call in a skilled surgeon and they are quite expensive.
The heart of the little guy is racing a mile a minute, his eyes are bulging, he knows he is not in a good place and in the hands of a no good human being--an enemy of his race. While you are standing there with this poor creature, he finally seems to make peace with his maker, the great Grey Mouse in the Sky--and close his eyes in resignation--in the expectation of a just heavenly reward for good behaviour.
But for the human muscatcher that's when the problems just begin--like me, Brahm confessed he felt himself in a pickle of a quandry--what do you do with this captured enemy combative? Left to his own devices, the creature will simply suffer, wither away and die, so you can't just throw him out in the garbage--where there would be plenty of food for him, but where he could not move sufficiently to profit much from it. So a quick mercy killing would be more benign and humane.
I don't have a gas oven, so--the microwave perhaps? A drowning in the sink or flushing down the toilet? A crushing under your heel? Een hamerslag--un coup de marteau, a hammer blow? Extraordinary rendition to some neigbourhood cats? None of these options seem very appealing or in the least bit humane.
The handbooks on catching mice and disposing of them in a benign way envision you live on a farm or in some park-like environment, a nice suburb perhaps, where you can just release muizeken outside your place to visit the neighbors and let them deal with the problem--but a glue trap makes that kind of release pretty much impossible. Still, they are noxious little animals that can cause great fear and phobia to the human psyche and society as a whole. Who knows what pestilence they may spread. Ai, vies bah!, as my mother used to say, when we were little kids and did little kid stuff, like maybe pick up a bit of chicken poop or something like that--eww, dirty yech!
You can see why Brahm was so nervous that day I had been writing, still unaware of his quandry, about mine own--or is it my own? For reasons of privacy, I can't divulge to you and the larger public what either I or my friend Brahm did with our respective muizekens. It was not pretty. But Brahm, given the stressful situation, could not resist a tiny practical joke when he met a bevy of young ladies in the corridor of his office building: they were standing around the water fountain discussing their plight of the day--and he approached them with the innocent sounding inquiry 'if they had ever felt like they were trapped and just could not excape from some horrible situation.
Upon which they all sighed deeply and admitted that this was just what they had been discussing around the water fountain. Then of course Brahm showed them the little mouse trapped in the glue paper and they all shrieked like so many more muizekens--some even ran away, others looked for a chair, a table, anything to jump on and escape from the danger.
Both Brahm and I realized that this was probably not the most appropriate and respectful behaviour in the face of such suffering as we each had to inflict, but that little bit of gallows humor, galgenhumor, may have made our suffering perhaps a tiny bit more bearable--even if it didn't help the muizekens.
Oh well, after the muizeken maybe we could partake of a little Heineken, a little Hein or Henriet(te)--a Dutch Heineken does not automatically imply the feminine form, as does its usual equivalent French diminutive, although I think Henriet might be a proper, if rarely encountered male diminutive--anyway, a little brewski at a local pub might drive away any lingering negativity. Brahm just called and I am heading downtown for a mid-day break anyway. So what the heck, perhaps we can supplement the Java with something more Dutch.
When I return I hope to be able to write on more elevated topics.
OK folks, I am back--after hearing the somewhat boring news about Bears Stearns and the like--boring for me, in any event, for I am neither invested nor affected by any of that news. And what doesn't affect you, what you are not invested in, well, that tends to bore the fecal matter out of you--am I not right?
So muizekens, after all onze muizenissen, our worries of this morning, let's go on in search of more interesting fodder for my journal entry, shall we--for there is plenty.
For instance, last night I happened to come across the local channel 11 program called Jazz with Frankye, Eddycam-TV "Jazz with Frankye" discussion with Rolando Morales and I was immediately impressed with the quality of the music--not the one from the above link, but something from a later broadcast--produced by two young brothers from Oakland with the melodious names of Renzell and Benzell Merritt. Renzell is a 9th grader and his brother Benzell a 6th grader at the Oakland School For the Arts , founded by a former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown--who was, prior to holding that post, a former Governor of California--as well as a former boyfriend of the lovely cantatrice Linda Ronstadt--you can hear her sing on: YouTube - Linda Ronstadt - You're No Good- The 70s --I guess that's what she told Jerry in private.
As an aside: we seem to have a growing tradition of high state officials turning to the mayoralty--Speaker Willy Brown became Da Mayor of SF, Governor Brown (clearly no relationship) turned to Oakland--and that muscular, mousy Governator we have today, der Arnold himself, in hoogst eigen persoon, is considering exchanging offices with the Mayor of LA eventually.
And as an inside aside to this aside: It must be obvious by now that the Romans thought we had musculi, little mice, or mousies, muizekens for biceps, etc. Der Arnold must have had rats or raccoons for muscles! The female counterpart of male mousy/muscle models like der Arnold are mannequins from the Dutch for mannekens, little men, or models--and they too seem to be developing more muizekens on the treadmills of excercise salons who are doing such booming business today.
But back to Renzell and Benzell, two very serious and gifted musicians, Renzell on the saxophone and Benzell on drums--both definitely into pursuing careers in music, perhaps Julliard or the New School in NYC, or something like it. Like I said, I was immediately very impressed--even before I realized just how young they were. So keep an eye and an ear out for these fine youngsters.
And when Obama emphasizes how important early education can be, better believe it, folks. I was stunned at the level of these youngsters performance of a very complex piece of Coltrane's they played. That could not have been achieved without that excellent school in Oakland Jerry Brown started.
Coltrane happens to be a local saint in the St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane Church, San Francisco about two blocks away from my old Hayes Street Building, the one I deeded to Thomas Bonde, one of my forty tenants, when my affairs took a down-turn. Biggest mistake of my life, for that Bonde character turned out to be one pathetic boor of a human being--but at least he did pay off that second mortgage my father held on the property. So in that sole respect it was perhaps worth it.
The church has since moved from Divisadero to 1226 Fillmore, nearby. I have always wanted to go there, to that particular church--two of my other tenants, in the Broderick apartments, were members of that congregation as well, one even the son of the local bishop I think--though I would have gone primarily for the sake of the music alone. Never made it so far, however--and now that Baby Bush and his misguided followers have been pissing in the communion wine, I must admit I'll have to overcome a lot of scruples before I will ever grace the inside of a Christian Church again. Bedankt Bush, but I think I will pass that cup over to Cheney and the rest of your gang! Not that I am against Christ, just against the way he has been portrayed, misrepresented and theologized by most Christians. I think he himself would be against it too, I venture-- at least that's my own modest but well-educated opinion.
Some ten years ago, there was a Paul Fournel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia here as the Directeur of the Alliance Française, where I am busily typing--making too much noise according to my neighbour and he may be right, mostly because I type too fast and furious, so I am trying to slow down to accommodate him as much as I can--any way, that particular director, Paul Fournel, was a poet and kind of a friend of mine (not real close, but we were friendly, or 'amikaal' in Dutch--from amicus/amicalis in Latin)--and he wrote a number of poems about SF, including some about the Coltrane Church, which I liked. I remember writing about him and even translating some of his poems into English for my limited readership. Of course I didn't have a web site at the time so I can't access that writing anymore--it must have disappeared from my old hotmail gegevensbestand, 'givens-stand' or data base-- a long time ago and the paper printouts, if they are still around somewhere, must be in a sad state of decay by now--in any event not worth retrieving, but maybe some day I will revisit his poetry. Paul eventually moved on to the Alliance in Cairo (Egypt, not Cairo Illinois) and we got this guy from the Alliance in London, I think, but he didn't last too long either.
Ah yes, zee times zay are a-changing.
OK, next topic--this is a sort of pot pourri--a rotten pot, een rottepot believe it or not, Potpourri (music) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and I am not referring to anything rotten Bill Clinton claimed he never inhaled, or Bill Buckley admitted he once smoked outside the territorial waters of this blessed country. No, I am referring to a pot pourri in the sense of a hodge podge or hutspot of various items that simply float into my mental awareness as I am writing. Some people may want me to tone it down--but that would take all the fun out of it for me--and for the readers as well, I imagine, for then it would just become an ordinary boring piece of prose, lacking in that je ne sais quoi, that element of surprise and freshness, or deviousness others might claim, with which I hope to entice the reader's interest and attention--even if occasionally drawing their ire as well--but then, some of my readers can be real sourpussies, believe it or not, a humorless bunch, who are still fulminating about Voltaire, for God's sake! I guess you just can't please every one.
But perhaps I am beginning to sound like Batavus Droogstoppel myself:
"The devil! Why must indignation and sorrow so often masquerade in the motley of satire? The devil! Why must a tear be accompanied by a grin, in order to be understood? Or is it the fault of lack of skill on my part, that I can find no words to probe the depth of the wound that eats into the body politic of our State like a cancer, without looking for my style in Figaro or Punch?" (from Max Havelaar, by Eduard Douwes Dekker )
Now Bill Buckley YouTube - William Buckley Vs Gore Vidal--yeah, that's more like it-- a truly sophisticated conservative, still very misguided in his theology of course, mais soit, so what, que faire?-- but with a great sense of humor and an innate wit anyone could appreciate--even though he does come across as a bit pompous at times, but that must be his Jesuit Catholic upbringing--John McLaughlin (from the famous weekly Feeding Frenzie) is kind of like that as well--except not as friendly--quite a bit nastier, in fact, but still--I love to hate him while I watch his show. Even that crazy Pat Buchanan on the show is interesting--and often has a cute smile--though he can also be quite a bit of a sourpuss.
Anyway, muizekens mine, I saw this documentary on the beat generation, interviews with Alan Ginsburg, Bill Burroughs, Kerouac and Cassidy, etc. with mostly an emphasis on Alan and his family. Ginsburg père was also a poet, but not as avant-garde as his son, and far more respectable in his appearance. His brother too looked more like a banker--though I am not sure what he did for a living. Alan himself was a hopelessly awkward, shy kid, and that didn't change until he met Burroughs and then Kerouac at Columbia. And the story is that all three of them eventually fell in love with Lucien Carr--who unfortunately happened to be the only totally straight kid in the bunch and sadly ended up in jail for killing someone who made a pass at him. He must have been an adorable but unattainable boy. The incident was described in the biography of Jack Kerouac Carr and the others are also referenced in the following obituary link on Ginsberg himself:
Allen Ginsberg, Master Poet of Beat Generation, Dies at 70 - here's a blurb:
At Columbia he [Alan Ginsburg] fell in with a crowd that included Jack Kerouac, a former student four years his senior, Lucien Carr and William Burroughs, and later, Neal Cassady, a railway worker who had literary aspirations. Together they formed the nucleus of what would become the Beats.
Ginsburg's most famous or infamous poem was Howl --but anyway, the Ginsburg family lived in Newark NJ when he was born, then moved to Paterson--and they seemed to have reconciled themselves quite well with the notoriety of their son and probably with some of the money he must have made--although his sister said she thought Burroughs seemed "to old" for her brother and Burroughs thought that Ginsberg père considered him a jaded, spoiled, rich millionaire's kid--which of course he was. But to Ginsberg, he and Kerouac and the other members of that early beat generation were like his family, the kind of family you can confide in, rely on and people you can feel close to and who make you feel loved.
And what other kind of family is there, really?
Anyway, at some point in an interview with Buckley--included in this documentary--Alan turned around, bent down to the floor and began to search busily through his papers, almost like one of those bag ladies you see on the street sometimes, saying, "the best way to tell you what the sixties meant and what LSD did for us is to read you some of the poetry I did on LSD. "
Sensing Buckley's famous eybrows rising a notch behind his back, he hastily added: ''legal poetry."
To which Buckley, signally relieved, responded: "Ah--I didn't know you had any."
"Oh yes," said Alan, ''legal poetry".
"But," Buckley countered meekly, or perhaps hopefully: "written under the influence of LSD?"
And Ginsburg: "Oh yeah, under the influence."
Whereupon he read some truly wonderful lines that made quite clear what LSD does to your sense of reality, and your recognition of the oneness of everything. I don't recall the exact lines, or what poem they might have been from but they were good. And Buckley, smiling his most charming, if somewhat disingenuous smile, the smile he is so famous for--said: ''Very nice."
To which Alan shot back--"Yeah, even a Bircher like you and a faggot individual like me--we're the same."
Buckley had the last shot saying: "Oh Alan, you are so politically naive."
And he was, of course--as politically naive as Buckley was spiritually naive--but I dare say, in a hundred years, Buckley will be "Buckley Who?" and Ginsberg will still be known the world over as one of the great poets and visionaries of the Beat Generation and perhaps even remembered as one of the Fathers of the New Enlightenment that came about as a result of their experimentations. Even today, if you check the internet, there are already more than three times as many entries for Alan Ginsberg (1,400,000) as for William Buckley (438,000)--but who is counting?
Anyway, muizenkens, it is time for me to retire myself to my private diggs and watch what the world has been coming to since J.P. Morgan raised their offer for Bear Stearns from, what was it--$2 to $10 a share or whatever. Oh my Lord! Maxima calamitas--as Winnie ille Pooh once said when he could not find the honey pot his head was stuck in: maxima calamitas--abest pretiosa vas! What horror--my precious pot is gone! Damn that rotten pot. Oh man! Never stick your whole head in it dude--it will make ya blind.
And besides the financial mishaps to the very rich and the inordinately wealthy--there is of course the news about how many more people in Iraq got killed after the announcement of yesterday's milestone of 4,000 war dead on 'our' side of course, and many more--but who is counting--on the other side.
Oh, am I being too negative and too bitter again, excusez moi, les muizekens, mais c'est la vie--et la mort--n'est-ce pas? Somebody has to say or write something about what is wrong, we can't just all leave it to the old Prophet and that nasty Reverend Jeremiah alone, or to Rupert Murdoch, the Wall Street Journal or even the New York Times?
Let the grass roots speak and write for the dead and the permanently impaired.
Perhaps some of you might want to watch that new movie (when it comes out in the theatres) by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donohue, called Body of War--and ask yourselves a few questions before you start in on me again.
Questions about how many trillions we need to spend before we discover that, lo and behold, there is a connection to what is going on with the economy and the cost of the war, in dollars and in blood, in the way the world sees America and in the way Americans treat each other. And then perhaps we can all go to bed listening to Eine kleine Nacht Musik, right? Sweet dreams everyone.
But you know what, muizekens, watch out, for If I Had a Hammer ...I'd be hammering in the morning, I'd be hammering in the evening--hell, I'd be hammering all night long--yes I would...if I only could--for I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail, or a hammer than a nail--get it muizekens? But if you don't, well then I wish you all welteroesten--I wish you all well to rust--that's to say: rust well.
But as for me, I, and many people like me, we've been rusty nails for too long to shut up anymore. We are tired of being hammered by society, the church and the establishment. Time for a change, muizekens and sing along with the old time lovers, SIMON AND GARFUNKEL - EL CONDOR PASA (IF I COULD) LYRICS
I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would ...
Si, se puede, muizekens of the world, yes we can--the time has come.