Meanwhile: Drive-Time Music: ‘Hopalong’, While reading the Paltry Press.

This Instrumental saved us on a ‘Southern-Tier Tour. Anyone know how muggy Alabama nights can get?
I’ll always remember ‘Che’ Cartafalsa‘, the Italian-Catholic drummer, satisfyingly self-taught. We used the tune as an ‘intro’, an ‘outro’, and also, in extremis, a ‘metro’, when he sensed that we had lost connection with the audience, and needed a band-huddle’ to plot resuscitation strategy.
Working title was ‘Hopalong Casualty’, but he just announced into the mike: “Hop! a-one, two, three, four and…”
That’s about it. No words, so I don’t need to psychoanalyze my intentions. Enjoy!


PALTRY PRESS: ALIVE and, well, alive at least..

The Paltry Press, that brave little publication, is still struggling to tell its readers what’s coming and going. TRY-ing to PAL-indromize the news.
Here are some highlights from recent editions:

In its ‘Forum’, ‘Ed‘ asks an innocent question about the experimental band ‘Ghoti’s Moebius-inspired format:


‘ITS AN A’!’ writes a commenter whose screen-name is ‘Anasti‘, adding her opinion of Ed:

Enter Al, (screen-name ‘LASTI BASTION’) , who disagrees:
‘NO, ITS A ‘B’! and adds; ‘IT’S ‘AL’.


“An ill-manered military-liason drone, assigned to ‘Stellar-Observer’, a small-scale satelite launch at Vandenburg, a project worked-on for almost a year by high school students all over the US and Canada, took advantage of his access to add his own clay ‘rabbit?… (pig?) to the precious space in the capsule allocated for ‘thin paper drawings’ from schools around the world, meant to journey into space and of course cement today’s youth’s connection with science and adventure.
The space-craft, having been dynamic-balance spin-tested four days before the launch, of course developed a serious and fatal ‘wobble’ just seconds after being released from the nose of the 2nd-stage booster.
The villian, Cpl Jay Drumt Jr. of Carbondale, PA, caught on CC camera footage, and oblivious to the broken-hearted children, could only mutter while being dragged away by MPs: ‘So when do I get my ducky back?’ (It was a ‘duckie?)”
The sad headline reads:


‘Tech News’ reports:

“Start-up ‘alternative’ airconditioning venture NCH (Nature-Cool Housing) is reeling after faulty programming in their units resulted in several fatalities. Their devices, using as the refrigerant ‘home-grown amonia’ (“Cool with your own urine! Pays for itself in your lifetime!”) tragically reversed the end-product synthesis goal, resulting in HCN.

And in more pleasant news on ‘better living through chemistry’, ‘HOOCH-I- COOCH’, the hit drink this summer in many parts of the world is still working on revising the formula of their organo-metallic ‘Iodized Alcoholic Cooler’ offering in order to have it read the same in both directions. ;Scientists agree’  that by doing so, the nutrients will better ‘synch with the quantum vibrations of the human chakra’. Some scientists at least…

Paltry is also following food fashion:

“Prof Ian Dublin might have been wise not to use his real name in a post decrying the “deleterious effects of ‘undigested DNA’ in human’s diet”. A ‘novel‘ contention. (nice word for ‘wing-nut’, ‘wacko’ or ‘nut case’)
The avant-guard Berlin-based nutrition ‘collective’ “Es und Essen”, in their on-line journal, wasted no time slamming him and his ‘theory’… unto calling it ‘alconoci’, a pejorative Japanese term implying ethanol-induced delusional thinking. The headline:

And finally, an op-ed from the Paltry Press ‘In Our View’ column.
Chief Editor Nukio ‘SnoocCardiova does a typically hot-headed takedown, making marsupial road-kill of the recent fad: ‘Bonsai stamina.’
You’ve probably seen the You Tubes: they surreptitiously record a victim’s every move in a day, then post a ‘Before’… and ‘After’, having edited out all the small exertions the poor fellow made which they loftily deem ‘non-essential’. Some unlucky souls suffice to merely  get out of bed, eat a quick meal, then retire, in their judgement.
‘Snooc’ calls the perpetrators, ‘Animatsia-snobs’. He goes back to the original implication of the word ‘animated’ meaning, like, ‘moving around and, like, doing shit!’
“Let he who has not wasted a second of his life (in his Mom’s basement?) pick up the first stone, judge its aerodynamics, calculate the trajectory, and wing it blithely toward real movers and shakers who are well aware, thank you, that a certain percentage of their moves and shakes will be judged, retrospectively, as ‘wasted stamina.”
(Snooc, in his research, somehow unbelievably located the Tel Aviv cinematographer who ‘edited-down’ her raw footage of my own three-year restoration project in Jaffa. Yes, the ‘cutting floor’ was littered with scenes of redundant effort, but in the final analysis, a jewel and ‘must-see’ tourist attraction was preserved for history. ‘Twas personally gratifying to see my name in print, and I graciously subscribed for another year of ‘symmetrical stories’.


Song: ‘Cocoa Beach’

The doggie in this tune chases a car faster then he can run. Or worse ‘fly’


Not much more to add; I do like the realization here that multiple lovers ‘add like fractions multiply’. You can know the bare formula, but to remember to apply it in real life..?
(And there is a slight volume-level ramp-up part way through. Sorry for that. We’re working on it; back at the Institute.


V 1
Met a woman, out on Cocoa Beach
She looked familiar; kinda out of reach
Then it hit me: she’s at the Institute
I got to have her, but I got to buy a parachute

I had my Ph. D in Gravity
She works in Magnetism, over me

She’s a pilot flying at the speed of light
First I get a lock and then she’s out of sight
I get the number; I hear the girl say:
“You can lick the envelope, but the puzzle’s still there…”


‘Where you will lose it on the battle-line
It’s a kiss of ether and analine.’


I know your elevation and rate of climb..
But how can you be two places at the same time?

I got two lovers; now I wonder why:
They add together like fractions multiply
And all the action is shifted out of reach
‘Science Fiction’ it’s just a figure of speech


I know your elevation and rate of climb..
But how can you be two places at the same time?

Instru- and fade-out


‘Gonna Blind Anybody (who gets in my way) – Short Song)

Wrote this one waiting to pump gas at a station. Ran home early that day and recorded it in 8 hours. Guess it shows? No second verse was ever really in the cards after I threatened to murder any competitors!

Happily, no one ‘got in my way’. Must’ve scared ’em off, and going on 17 years now. Time to apologize for being kinda hot-headed?


Only a girl
(But this is my girl)
Only one night
(But it’s tonight)
Only a kiss
(But for a kiss like this-)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way


I got a girlfriend
Love her all the time
Nothing come between us
I’m hers and she’s mi-i-ine

Only a girl
(But this is my girl)
Only one night
(But it’s tonight)
Only a kiss
(But for a kiss like this-)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way


What you gonna do ?
You wanna talk to somebody?
Think you got a problem.. (well, maybe?)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way

Only a girl
(But this is my girl)
Only one night
(But it’s tonight)
Only a kiss
(But for a kiss like this-)
I’m gonna blind anybody who gets in my way


August 21: The great American Eclipse…um ‘Foodfight’

With sorrow and a bit of embarrassment I officially announce the death of my Dream: to watch the up-coming total solar eclipse in person.
In fairness, fantasies have their value, even if never fulfilled. So at least there’s that..
My ‘plan’ was to fly to the Untied Snakes (Philadelphia), gas and oil my ’91 Subaru stored out in the barn for 23 years, (last run 5 years ago), buy a few road maps, and drive south to, oh, Kentucky. Find some deserted spot to park, watch my watch and the Sun, and quietly enjoy the spectacle.
Several cold hard facts, compounded by credible rumours, (please do read the excellent Wash Post article linked below; she might have written it for me specifically) have awakened my inner Rip Van Winkle’s reverie.
Transatlantic airline flight-price high-season;  6000 shekels, individually extracted from anal-retentive Israelis, would be required, merely in order to find myself trapped like an automotive rat on the freeways and byways (impromptu parking lots?) toward my destination. With a better than 50% chance of staring at the underside of a cloud bank during the big event, cursing my fate.
I still recall considering turning around on the grid-locked 2-lane road to the Woodstock festival. Half a million ‘Sears- ‘poof, yer a hippie’ impostors flashing peace signs. This new-version ‘event-of-a-lifetime’ promises a 50X volume of traffic, and without even Jimi Hendrix. I am, of course in favour of public awareness of celestial events, and applaud anyone deciding to weather the anguish to see ’em.
 More prosaic concerns include” Who’ll feed my cats, water my crops? And I’d need to buy a new pair of shoes, buy dollars for incidental expenses, sit inside airplanes for 14 hours without a smoke break or a beer, and worry myself silly about whether I’d left the gas on.
On the other hand…um… ‘I have different fingers’. No, seriously, what to tell the grand-kids?

“Yeah, I missed it. Couldn’t get it together. Life wuz tough back in those days. Go look it up on YouTube.”

So there. Carly Simon’s embarrassed to even know me. Not ‘vain’ enough to be worth a song. Back when I was a success-story, I’d have walked, uphill both ways, a hundred miles… for a partial Lunar eclipse!
Only consolation, other than the unspent 6K shekels, is that ‘Angela’ will understand. I’ll always love her for the critical heads-up in her article. I count of the kindness of strangers lately to save me from my fantasies. Read it yourself:

Oh, and NASA’s live TV link is here:



“Hurry! Only {1} Seat left at this Price!” Yeah, and I won’t be on it!

How stupid do you think I am?? Ok, don’t answer that.
But seriously, scrolling through dozens of flights and airline-prices on the host of ticket-search sites, a smart guy like me can’t help but wonder whether the ‘Wolf!’ being cried about is truly lupine, or in fact an ad-agency mouse dressed up to scare shoppers.

Coincidence(?) that 95% of the jet-rides from here to Philadelphia are just waiting for one last passenger (sucker to be born?).
In truth, my reason for delaying my trip-of-the-century to Drumpf-ville is mainly financial:
Current prices TLV to PHL center around $1400. A month from now they drop to a more affordable $900. Presumably because the cost of jet fuel, pilot salaries, and economy-class peanuts will magically plummet after Sept 15.
I’d love to claim that I “refuse cuz of the ruse.” A principled and obstinate objection to being played for a fool by the web-site click-lickers.
Were I of like mind, I’d warn here: “Hurry: only one (1) reader-view left on this post” !

Anything for a buck. But I do put my money close to where my mouth is by refusing to brand my squeaky-clean pesticide-free sweet corn as ‘Organic‘ in order to command a higher market price. (As if the competition’s ears have ‘No Carbon-based molecules inside!’ Or worse “No Chemicals!” What, it’s sold in empty vacuum-sealed Dewar flasks?

At any rate, I probably have time now to buy a ticket after the ‘rush-hour’ subsides. A learned art, weaseling that last seat on Air Canada. Before they raise the price 50c and again cry ‘last seat at this price.’

The End of the ‘Bonobo Experiment’… (and now cue Trump)

    I watched the gang’s final day transpire, lucky to be on the ‘safe’ side of the one-way floor-to-ceiling feces-splattered glass in the converted cinder-block building Bethesda, MD which had housed the now-truncated but still-instructive Project.

I’d been brought in at the last minute to confirm (after excruciating hours speed-reading almost a tera-byte of meaningless text) that no, none of the ‘output’ from the bonobo monkey whom the hard-working staff had eventually nick-named ‘Donnie’ contained any hidden wisdom after being transliterated to Hebrew.
Not that Susan Weinberg, the inspiration for the NSF project had any great hopes for such. (Her widely-praised paper in the esteemed ‘Journal of Primate Cognition’ was titled, optimistically: “A novel and cost-/ time-effective approach to the ‘Million Monkey’ Conjecture”)
And so she was a natural to head the team for the trials.
The Abstract, though written in that ‘peer-review-friendly’ argot with which we are all familiar, said basically that, statistically, given a modestly-robust sample-size, the data from a single subject could be extrapolated into statistically-significant conclusions, sparing the need for millennia and massively-parallel Remingtons.

Enter ‘Donny‘, on loan from the Philadelphia Zoo. Along with his keeper, ‘Bunksy’, a down-to-earth farm-boy willing, as you shall see, to venture well past his job description. The creature had even been ‘vetted’ in a 3 day trial back in his cage; given a mock keyboard to peck at and thrown rewards for ‘typing’.
James ‘Jimmy’ Kuiper had been on-board since the inception, sixteen months earlier. A blessed combination of theoretical smarts and construction skills, he worked early-on with Bunksy on The Room. Only later dubbed the ‘White House’, it offered its primate occupant nearly everything a monkey could dream of monkeying around with. Only the rear wall was painted a washable white, out of photographic concerns. The rest featured jungle scenes and later, larger-than life photos of ‘The Donny’ himself, for his narcissistic amusement. (The photos fared better during the course of the experiment than the full-length mirror installed in front of the bonobo’s ‘work-station’. Cleaning the mirror, with its un-re-touched portrayals, of tossed excrement taxed Bunky’s “will to live”, as he put it in exasperation.
Now, you ask, what of the data collected?
Well, as I discovered, ‘data abounded’.(!)
The ‘subject exhibited a gratifyingly-diligent dedication to pecking almost night and day on the keyboard.
‘Keyboard-s’ might be a more appropriate term: after exhausting their ‘private stock’ of thrown-away Microsoft ‘boards, Jimmy and Bunksy took turns buying replacements, often out of pocket when the funding checks were late.
We do need to address one ‘shitty‘ part of this ‘pure-science’ endeavor: Donny’s penchant for ‘poop-splattering’.
Technically, the ‘offal’ gummed up the keys on his keyboard, which led to more-and-more frequent failures of the ‘Reward’ electronics. Readers can perhaps identify with having laboriously typed ‘War and Peace’ only to face the horror of… um… No Food Pellet! I myself have been tempted in that case to piss on the keyboard. Donny, not restrained over-much by culture, went further. And often.
Splatters on the one-way glass needed also to be cleaned almost daily.
And not only because the staff decided to ‘correlate’ Donny’s output with his incessant Bannon-esque ‘self-pleasing’ habits.
While at first the monkey masturbated principally in the corner, facing one of his favorite portraits, he abandoned quickly all decorum and began ‘jerking-off’ at the desk, center-stage. Obviously more work for Bunksy’s cleaning regieme. “Glad you’re not using King Kong!” Bunksy joked, ever the patient scientist.
 Finally, the meat of the test; the texts:
Ok, in fifteen months and 28 days, the proto-author did not, (as was predicted by chance) re-write Hamlet. His output did contain 457 three-letter combinations found in the Oxford dictionary.
However, I must mention here the famous ‘WOW signal (!)
On a random Tuesday morning, like any other day, in October 2016 he was recorded typing more forcefully than usual. Watching the monitors, Susan and her assistant saw him type: “mINe FUroR”
Pandemonium, as one could guess erupted in the observation deck!
Everyone had, as is encouraged in real science, his or her own conjecture:
‘Mackie‘ a dewy-eyed youngish grad-student whose looks belied her recent Johns Hopkins degree, immediately cited the caution: ‘Statistically improbable, yet eminently possible’.
Bunksy, with an understandable grudge by now, looked at the print-out and declared “I knew the fucker was a closet Nazi!”
Janie Stewart, the daughter of an influential Republican Maryland legislator and who stopped by only once a week to check the computer functionality, when pressed, ventured gamely that perhaps the quirky ‘outlier’ was a reference to ‘noisy’ coal mining, or the cacophony of the US election campaign then becoming heated. With that reference, she passed the mic to the Boss…

And so it fell to (Dr.) Susan Weinberg, after all the Name on the Funding-ap, and initiator of the whole project, to have the last (temporary) word, after finessing a brief hush from the excited crowd:
“As above, so below!” she intoned with a playful mock-gravity.
Respectful as always, her team awaited the ‘translation‘. And not in vain:
Understand; Susan had been following the disintegration of facts-as-facts, the trailer-trash’s hopes for knee-capping anyone with a modicum of scientific expertise, and the perverse descent of even the English language into a tool frightfully incapable of resisting rot from the head. Prescient already in October ’16, she fore-saw the parallel between an illiterate fecal-projectile ‘ape’ in the project’s microcosmic ‘White House’ and the unthinkable prospect of having the entire United States of America which she loved being turned into a phantasmagorical experiment gone horribly wrong.
Almost in tears, she could only add, uncharacteristically graphically:
“Shit hits the fan here, Bunksy to the rescue. Someday he won’t be able to keep up with it.
Our ‘Donny’ types word-salad and we we forgive him; Someday soon, with a different ‘Donny’, ‘forgivness’ will not even be an option.”
The project was declared a ‘guarded success’ three months later, and cancelled on Susan’s recommendation.
From her residence at the Canadian McGill University where she received a welcome full professorship, she told me later by phone:
“Yes, you guessed it right, my friend. Reading the news daily, I’m borne back ceaselessly into the past; As was below, now so above. Just hoping this American tradgedy is a one act charade. Or less..”
Final Note: My role in the project was almost less than minimal; the ASCII text-files, mutated into Hebrew, showed no more evidence of an active mind at work than our current failed Buffoon/Orangutan-in-chief’s embarrassingly-misspelled Twats.
Oh, and ‘Bunksy’ hasn’t responded to e-mail requests. Wonder why?