My mother is a fish, but Cousins is not a monkey

This bit, a new prologue three weeks later, is lifted from the wikipedia entry on David Shields’ “Reality Hunger” my manifesto: Shields also discusses, at length, the distinction between memoir and fiction–a distinction that, Shields argues, is mostly imaginary. Because writers of fiction implement a great deal of material directly from their lives, and because writers of memoir must rely on memories that don’t necessarily reflect the truth of what occurred, it would seem absurd to hold the two different kinds of writer to such different standards. “Anything processed by memory is fiction,” Shields writes, indicating that anything written by a writer supposedly doing memoir has necessarily already been fictionalized; thus, determining whether certain events in the book actually happened or not is not the correct way to determine the book’s value. The scandal surrounding James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” figures largely in one chapter, as Shields argues that Frey’s mistake was not lying in his so-called memoir but apologizing about it afterwards…




Mark Twain has nothing to do with basketball minus the fact that some schools banned this book for having a lead named Nigger Jim

BLUF (bottom line up front) I wrote this as a tribute to AK in my writing class, who worked for Mr. Rogers but is influenced by Thich Nhat Hanh and A Tribe Called Quest. Tribe was the subject of an article in The New York Times today.  >>> to wit

(I’m thinking about fixing this so there is a big capital B here)

“Boogie-woogie” is a word in my trusted Webster’s Ninth. “Ooga-booga” is not, although “oomph” is and there is a word regarding gender or genitalia that is on the same page with a similar spelling. I had the misfortune or lack of discipline to use the word “ooga-booga” in an email to friends, a propos of an incident of racism from our undergraduate days, at Dartmouth, in the 1980s. I wish I had said “racially insensitive depiction in a drawing” rather than what I said. (And I was surprised by what I found sussing that word or phrase on the search-injuns – come to think of it,  I should stop saying “search-injuns”)

The Warriors have a new player named DeMarcus Cousins who is 6 foot 11-inches and  apparently is known as “Boogie”.

I’d like to explore this in more depth.

I, in a related matter, to me at least, bought a $6 copy of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain at Barnes and Noble in San Mateo.  I read it for 20 minutes — about the Duke and the King and their fake-testifying scam — and then donated the book to my favorite local pop-up library shelf. Gee, I hope scammers are not raiding that shelf and selling the crop to Bell’s Books. I also recorded myself reading the opening lines of Huck Finn (by the way, my professor James Melville Cox warned us against buying an edition that used the article “the” in the header, which I broke here).

You don’t know me without you have read a book, Adventures of [Tom?] Sawyer by Mark Twain. But that ain’t no matter. He told the truth, mainly. There were some stretchers. But that is no matter. I ain’t seen nobody that lied. Except maybe Aunt Polly. Tom’s Aunt Polly and Mary and the Widow Douglass. Which is in that book. Which is mostly truth with some stretchers, as I told before. Now the way the books winds up is this: Tom and Me found the money, that the robbers hid in the cave. And it made us rich. It was an awful side of money when it was piled up. Then Judge Thatcher he made us put the money in a bank for interest. He made us put it out at interest and it fetched us a dollar each per day, all year round, more than a body would know what to do with (Editors note: not to reveal why, buy I am fixing to go to see the Warriors, tonite versus the 6ers, for the first time in four or more years, and it costs more than a dollar, I’ll say!) The widow Douglass she took me for her son and tried to Civilize me but it was tough living

in her house all the time, how dismal and regular it was. And I lit out, and got into my old rags and my sugar-hogs-head and I was free and satisfied but Tom he hunted me and said he was going to start a band of robbers and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable, so I went back. The widow she cried over me and called me “a poor lost lamb” {ed: note to self to look up that blogger guy who sometimes writes about the homeless but also about Marin Catholic Football and maybe he has posts about Jared Goff of the Rams who I am rooting for if or not if I take the train to Santa Barbara to watch at Kenny Switzer’s famous party house, lord willing and the wife don’t mind} and she called me a lot of other names too but she never meant no harm by it. She put me in them new clothes {and by the way, on my birthday Monday Terry, TMW, (Terry My Wife] bought me a replica Steph Curry jersey, (which should not remind me of the bad Keanu Reeves movie I snuck out to the other day in honor of our Stanford doctor and former Gunn classmate Matt Porteus, “Replicas” which is a bad Frankenstein necrophilia movie) and I couldn’t do nothing but sweat and sweat and feel all cramped up. But then the widow rung a bell for supper and you had to go in on time and you had to come to time.


b/w (“backed with”) I bought the Times today for a picture of Jackie Robinson who is 100 today but it was actually a whole section on him. Also there is a review of a new and noteworthy book, nearly a memoir, about A Tribe Called Quest, which I take especial interest in in that there was a lady in my memoir Lynn Stegner class just last night that was writing about her time two years with Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and she also claimed to be influenced by Thic Nhat Hahn and Fugazi and A Tribe Called Quest. I did not listen to them in real time, although I did along with Brian Moore and Gabrielle Brown and a friend with a lighter shade of blackness — and we discussed this, or almost, post-film — went to see “Do The Right Thing” in the theatre in SF, maybe slightly stoned and I think I saw “She’s Gotta Have It” with my parents at the Fine Arts on Cali Ave, which is now a Zombie Runner below and sort of a Muslim Mosque above, but maybe Sufis — but after the recent documentary came out — and Phife Dog passed away, to diabetes — and sometimes I think of him when I urinate — for a minute there I would, even at a public hearing start with “yo, microphone check one two what is this?” which went over the heads of anybody who might have heard my voice and I was, I admit, posing.

and1 back to the poorly mock-remembered and poorly transcribed 2 minutes 49 of me reading this begining into my cellphone and it is probably worth going back and set to fixin’ or trying again and really memorize it: $6,000 apiece, all gold….decent the widow was in all her ways…I was free and satisfied…and she called me a lot of other names too but she never meant no harm by it. She put me in them new clothes again and I couldn’t do nothing but sweat and sweat and feel all cramped up. But then the one thing commenced again, the widow rung a bell for supper and you had to come to time [ed: that’s one of my favorite instant phrases, “come to time” like “put to interest” above] but when you got to the table you couldn’t go right to eating, you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the vittles [ok, “victuals”] tho there wasn’t really anthing the matter with them, nothing only everything was cooked by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends, it is different. things get mixed up and the juice kind of swaps and the things get better.



After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bullrushers. And I was in a sweat to find out all about him but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable time (ed: Stop. I would like to take this moment to think about Moses Malone, one of the all time greats of basketball who played for those same 6ers of whom I am fixing to see tonite and he also briefly dated an ex of mine also in Philadelphia he stopped her or stopped her car, Mercedes, in the parking lot of Whole Foods and asked her out but she said he mumbled plus was too old for her but I fantasized actually about befriending him and coaching him on how to win her charms so to speak in exchange for if he would fly out here and give a presentation for our fundraiser fantasy pipe dream or caught in turnaround jumpshot for our teammate who had died too young. Goodbye Moses. Go down, Moses. Get down, Moses, Boogie on, Reggae brother. We all cousins, deep down, if you dig back far enough} Twain:

So that I didn’t care no more about him because I don’t take no stock in dead people.


Moses Malone (1955-2015)

andand but not Anand: this is pretty random but while trying to find the article online I had rad tactile-like, old school, about A Tribe Called Quest which was a starting point for this rant but not, like Curry a starting point guard — although one of them is wearing a Syracuse jersey in the photo — i stopped on Catherine Cohen a 27 yo funny singer and then got 2 minutes with her manager Cati Taylor in New York who was not meanwhile or erstwhile or any such whiles interested in knowing more about Columbia Barnard senior Eden Arielle Gordon who is more earnest than funny I think and or wrote a play with five original songs about female beats such as Joyce Johnson and Elise Cowan (and Diane DiPrima) but I also had the chutzpah to ring her at Brillstein on the memory of Marsh McCall speaking of dead people to take no stock in who I cannot picture doing much “boogie woogie” although he probably knew a  couple Warren Zevon songs — is that an allusion or am I tripping? – and knew a bunch of the Beatles. Songs. And Shaun Cassidy (the doo ron ron dude) was his buddy, I spit you negative. Maybe Marsh and Moses are shooting hoops in heaven.

THE THING THAT WON’T DIE:  I’m still sussing back for the online version of the A Tribe Called Quest review and link I bought at CVS for 12 zuzim but found, my brother Marlon, this:

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?

Huckleberry Finn, because after all the years he is still the fictional character who charmed me the most. Sula, not because I like her — in fact, she would have been to me what she was to everyone, best friend and mortal enemy at once — but her simple statement, “Show? To who?” (in response to ex-friend Nel asking what she had to show for her life) changed everything for me. The idea that my life’s purpose was not to gain other people’s approval never occurred to me until I read that book. After reading that novel I literally rose and walked differently.

This is getting curiouser and curiouser.

So I am tapping out and admitting that it is Long John Baldry 1971 at 1:45 of this 6 minute video who misprounces to comic effect the key word — and Webster’s word — of this headline and I hope I do not regret this link or embed:

You know, I remember a few years ago

Some funny things used to happen to me

About 1956, 57

At that time there was no blues scene

Or not really any kind of scene in London

I used to go out and play my guitar in the streets

And sing things with passing my hat down

I remember one particular night

I was playing the guitar in a little alleyway

Just off of Wardour Street in Soho

And I got busted by the police

This policeman come up and dragged me and my guitar

And my hat full of pennies off to the police station

Anyway, the next day

I had to appear in Marlboro Street Police Court

And it was quite a day

Police officer giving his evidence

I was proceeding in a southernly direction, m’lord

When I heard strange sounds

Coming from Wardour Place, m’lord

A sort of “boogie woogie” music was being played

On further investigation, I saw the defendant

Standing there with a guitar and an old hat

On the floor collecting pennies

Well, I decided that he was contravening

A breach of the peace there, as there was

A traffic jam about five miles long down Wardour Street

Wondering what all the fuss was about

So then I arrested the defendant

Ah, just one moment, officer

Well, what is this “boogie woogie” music

Here we’re talking about?

“Oh, well, m’lord”, said the officer

Getting out his notebook, obviously

Been doing up his homework

It’s a kind of jazz-rhythm-music

Peculiar to the American “Negro”

Oh, and what was the defendant doing

Playing this kind of music there in Wardour street?

Anyway I got off with a caution

A years conditional discharge

But I’ll always remember that policeman

And his “boogie woogie” 


there’s also a guy named Marcus Delyric giving a piano lesson on Warren Zevon that Google mislead me to, and he also does Boogie Wit a Hoodie playing April 4 at Fillmore and 18M views of original. Number 32 in 2016 best rap songs in Rolling Stone, oh brave new world. And a weird funny not racist moving ad for SquareSpace featuring a boxer with a Brit accent and a woman posing for photos, preceding these Youtubes.

This is a nice and helpful lady at the DMV in RWC whose name is Jackie, like the baller who is 100 today:


personal to LS and AK aka MDK: I don’t do memoir, “lyric essay” is where its at.

edit to add: his “here” was perfect: ah-hoooooo.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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