The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Everything has a price.
I’m not giving away anything really tangible here.
Everything has a cost. In this case the cost is your time. I hope that it’s time well spent.

There’s fabulous and maybe not so fabulous this Friday.

What’s fabulous?
Vaccine, and plenty of it. Bloomberg is predicting that there will be enough of the precious juice squeezed out by the drug companies to vaccinate 130 million people by the end of March and 200 million by the end of April.

Based on Pfizer and Moderna predictions, Politico estimates that 3 million doses per day could be available by April.

Not so fabulous?
CNN continues to hammer away with bad news about variants, and persists in interviewing experts who prescribe a bitter concoction of conflicting theories and predictions. All of this is squashing elation over the vaccine news, while fueling depression, frustration and confusion. While we’re at it, I’m over it with Sanjay Gupta.

What’s fabulous?
My wife got her first vaccine dose. She got the Pfizer. Since I got the Moderna I guess we’ll be reacting differently when we pass the 5G towers and we probably got different microchips implanted; George Soros? Bill Gates? Microchips notwithstanding I’m just delighted and can’t wait for her to get her second dose.

What’s fabulous?
Nomadland is a new release by director, screenwriter, and producer Chloe Zhao. The film is about the growing phenomenon of American nomads, people who find themselves out of work, out of resources and down to the last resort of living out of a van or camper.

Between 1923 and 2011, United States Gypsum operated a mining facility in the barren land just east of the Reno/Sparks area of western Nevada. USG built a small company town called Empire, which provided housing and services for the USG workers.

A casualty of the Bush recession, USG closed its Empire facility in 2011. USG allowed the residents to remain until June of that year and then closed Empire, essentially leaving it a ghost town. This part is all true.

In Nomadland, Frances McDormand plays Fern, a former USG employee who, finding herself out of work and out of prospects, refurbishes an old van that becomes her home. Fern drifts from place to place around the western United States.  There are some beautiful scenes of the countryside and there is one particularly dramatic scene that takes place at a rugged, wind and wave lashed Pacific Coast shore.

Fern finds work where she can, temporary menial labor, enough to get by until the next destination and the next stint of drudge work. Every holiday season she returns to do seasonal labor at an Amazon fulfillment center in western Nevada.

This docudrama features real life nomads in the characters Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells.

Nomandland is an indictment of America’s failures; a middle class that’s shrinking into ever growing poverty along with a national dearth of affordable housing.

The film is both depressing in depicting the sad results of the failure of capitalism, and uplifting in its depiction of the resourcefulness, resilience and community spirit of the unique American nomad society.

At one point in the movie I remarked to Cora, “You know I could see doing that for a year as a sort of adventure. But my god, as a life? With no end in sight? How could this be America?”

I’ve driven around that area east of Reno/Sparks to photograph wild mustangs. Blazing hot in summer and bitter cold in winter, it’s a harsh, barren land where bands of wild horses meander between the many vast flat warehouses and distribution centers that dot the landscape.

For more about the area and the wild horses click the link to my post, The Land of the Mustang, which describes the area in words and photos.

What’s not so fabulous?
Poet and social activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti passed away at the age of 101. Ferlinghetti was a San Francisco institution who had a significant influence on the formation of the Beat Movement.

For me Ferlinghetti particularly resonates for having had Norman Mailer in his orbit and for having helped found the groundbreaking City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.

City Lights should be part of any San Francisco itinerary. An Irish Coffee at a the iconic bar, Vesuvio, and then a walk across the alley to City Lights to browse, read and buy. Or vice versa; buy a book and then read it at Vesuvio. In the end, Ferlinghetti, City Lights and Vesuvio are all exquisitely fabulous.

Vesuvio is a bar that sits across an alley from City Lights Books. Photo is of the mural on the side of City Lights. The image was taken from inside Vesuvio.

Pity The Nation was written by Ferlinghetti in 2007. It’s been referred to time and again over the past four years for being frighteningly prophetic.

Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.

Gary Moore is fabulous (though tragically deceased)
My last post talked about my relationship with an old friend, Rick. Thinking back recently about Rick I recalled a time when we were driving, when and where to is unimportant. I was playing a Gary Moore CD at the time and when Moore’s Still Got the Blues came on, the two of us started singing passionately along. To those in passing cars we must’ve looked like a middle aged version of Wayne’s World. I just hope we weren’t playing air guitars.
Yesterday, still thinking about Rick, and Gary Moore, I played some of Moore’s songs and came across one of his signature songs, Parisienne Walkways. I’ve been struggling mightily lately, writing a post that’s personally touching me, and this song went straight to my soul; a dagger and a feather.


4 thoughts on “FABULOUS FRIDAY FREE STUFF: Vaccine, Nomadland, Ferlinghetti and a Little Moore

  1. eden baylee says:

    Hi Paul,

    Firstly the good … no wait, the GREAT news … Cora got her shot, YES! I think it’s wonderful you’ll both have had your vaccinations by the time spring hits. It’s a big milestone. Time to exhale. 🙂

    I was sad to hear of the passing of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I watched a short documentary about him and just loved him more. His fight for Ginsberg’s HOWL set a precedent against so-called obscene literature. What he fought back in the 50s gives me and other writers the freedom to write today.

    As for Gary Moore, amazing! I only knew of him vaguely, as part of the later version of Thin Lizzy. He plays very much like Jeff Beck, whom I really like and have seen at Royal Albert Hall. Thank you for sharing — that video is fabulous.

    Wishing you a great Friday evening,

    1. Paulie says:

      Good Saturday Morning Eden,
      At 101 Mr. Ferlinghetti lived a good life and left an important legacy. I was in the area of City Lights Books the day after he passed. I should’ve stopped by.

      I think I suggested once that you would enjoy City Lights and the surrounding area. I recall that you were taken by a photo I posted once, of a row of al fresco tables. That restaurant is just two or three blocks from the bookstore. That district is alive with al fresco dining. Those tables will be occupied again.

      I was on my way to The City when Parisienne Walkways came on my Spotify list. As I was walking through Downtown and Chinatown the song left an impression. My Spotify version is the studio version. This live one is MUCH better.

      Below is a link to City Lights. Maybe one day you can do a book signing there.

      1. eden baylee says:

        Good morning Paul!

        For a moment, I thought I landed on the wrong site. It’s much brighter here today, haha! Nice colours. 👍

        I hope to see City Lights Books one day, sounds like a vibrant neighbourhood with lots of history. A signing would be great; I never say never.

        I’m hooked on Gary Moore now. The sustain on that one note – my gawd … to say he held me in rapt attention is an understatement.

        It’s bright and warm for February, 6C or 42F. I need to go out for a walk later as I never know when the weather can change for the worse.

        Enjoy your day and thanks for the link. 😀

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