Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lenny Bruce: Dead and Well at Bowery Poetry Club, April 20th

Lenny Bruce is back. The controversial comic, writer, social critic and satirist returns to earth and the stage to inhabit the body of writer/performer Peter Carlaftes. And Lenny sure has plenty to talk about. His hilarious afterlife perspective gives hima knowledge of all that came before, as well as all that's destined to happen in the future. For instance:

-- Who really killed JFK? The answer is finally revealed--and it will shock you for the rest of your life!

-- What really happened on 9/11. For safety reasons, Lenny can't reveal the whole story, but he does have insider information that no one else has been courageous enough to talk about.

--The dinosaurs are coming back. No one knows why. No one knows why they left, either.

--What's really behind global warming?

Lenny knows the hierarchy of heaven. And because no one can persecute him anymore, he's got a new attitude and tons of new material that takes its cue from such Lenny Bruce classics as "Religions, Inc.," "How Hitler Got Started" and "To Is a Preposition, Com Is a Verb."

New York native writer, actor and director Peter Carlaftes fully embodies the essence of the comic genius. The SF Weekly nailed it, saying, "Carlaftes IS the reincarnation of Lenny Bruce." His comic timing is impeccable, and his material never fails to inspire.

Opening for Lenny is the Downtown Fave R&B-sters THE JD's featuring Bob & Jake Musial. For reservations and more info, contact

LENNY BRUCE: Dead and Well
written and performed by

Sunday, April 20, 2008
6:30 pm
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
Admission: $10

In Memoriam

In Memoriam: James “Jim” Edward Georges, 76
Aerospace Engineer, Youth Sports Coach

Georges, James “Jim” Edward, an aerospace engineer and youth sports coach, passed away on April 11, 2008 following a long illness. He was 76.

Born February 11, 1932, in El Paso, Texas, Jim initially studied Physical Education at Texas Western College (now University of Texas, El Paso) because of his love of coaching youth sports. To pay for his education, he worked as a coach at the El Paso YMCA. But Jim also had a passion for science, leading him to switch his major to Physics, in which he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1953.

Jim soon obtained a position with Sperry Gyroscope Company (later, Sperry Rand) as an electronics engineer, and relocated to its Great Neck, NY location where he met his future wife of nearly 54 years, Gwendolyn Frances (Wicks) Georges. They were married on May 16, 1954 in Mineola, New York. Six months later, Jim was drafted and served as an engineer in the U.S. Army at its Chemical Biological Center in Edgewood, Maryland, aiding in the development of products to speed detection of deadly chemical and biological agents after the Korean War.

Following his return to the civilian workforce, he worked as an engineer with American Bosch Armor Corporation, which transferred him to its China Lake Test Range in California’s Mojave Desert in 1957. In 1959, he was hired as an aerospace engineer, by North American Aviation (Autonetics division, later Rockwell International), where he worked on the Minuteman Missle project, among other programs, for 36 years until his retirement in 1995 as an engineering manager at their headquarters in Anaheim, CA.

Throughout his life, Jim maintained his interest in youth sports. In Mission Viejo, he was well-known and respected as a coach for many sports including softball, baseball and basketball. He was a fierce competitor and one of the first youth sports coaches to use computers to analyze opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. Some of his Bobby Sox, Little League and Youth Basketball League teams won pennants; all of his teams learned to understand the importance of hard work, pride, dedication, and, most of all, good sportsmanship. As a fan, Jim was an avid supporter of the USC football team, attending home games for nearly 40 years. He was also a phenomenal bridge player, who, with Gwen, played with the same bridge group for over 30 years.

In addition, Jim enjoyed horticulture, painting, and the outdoors. During the course of his life, he and his family traveled to nearly every state in the country—making an adventurous summer trip to Alaska before the Alaskan Highway was paved, and an extensive camping trip from California to New York and back during the nation’s bicentennial.

His love of science continued outside of the workplace as well. He nurtured scientific interests in his children, from chemistry to geology to physics. Above all, he and his family shared a deep interest in space exploration. On summer nights he taught his children to identify constellations, then expanded their home space laboratory by building (from scratch) a six-inch reflective telescope to better study the planets and stars.

Jim is survived by his loving wife Gwen, their five children, Wendi, Patti, Kathi, Jim and Jason, and eight grandchildren, Jacob, Ariel, Abbey, Olivia, Aleksander, Daniela, Sophie and Clara, as well as his brother, Gerald Georges of El Paso. A funeral mass will be held within the month at St. Killian Catholic Church, 26872 Estanciero Drive in Mission Viejo, followed by interment and rite of commital at El Toro Memorial Park.

In Jim’s memory, contributions may be made to Hospice Care of California, 23521 Paseo de Valencia, Suite 108, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 (

Monday, April 7, 2008

Death by Blogging--Poor, Poor Things

The NY Times ran a front page article on Sunday "In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop." It details how the really serious bloggers--those who get paid for it--work such long, hard hours that they are ruining their health. In fact, two prominent bloggers, age 50 and 60, recently died from heart attacks which the blogging world attributes to their "oh, poor me" lifestyle of working long hours, eating poorly, and not getting paid enough. Why some only sleep 5 hours a night, and one--interviewed in the article--confesses to having pulled the occasional "all-nighter." Many, just out of college, are getting paid for piecework, and get bonuses for the more hits their blogs get. They "only" earn about $30,000 a year starting out, though some make $70,000 and many earn in the six figures. But at such great risk to their health! 

Poor things...No, really, I feel bad for them. Imagine sleeping only 5 hours a night! and making only $70,000 a year! Such watch! For all the bravado that you see in the most popular blogs, these poor little critters are really just the rest--scared little people as obedient to the master as those they mock. 

Pipe down, bloggers. Better yet, take a vacation. At least a nap.

Feeling Mortal? See a Circus, Eat Pizza, Read Eliot

With people dropping like flies lately, I've been feeling oh so mortal. So what, do I turn vegan and hire a personal trainer, start investing in second hand spirituality books? Nah... I just went to John's Pizzeria, inhaled a couple of slices, and had that wondrous feeling that, if every moment I've got left can be as perfect as their pizza, I'll be ready to go when my time is up. The flowers on the trees and the sound of birds singing helps out as well, but--damn!--that New York pizza really does the trick, especially from John's. The best!

My California nieces visited recently. One's six, one's ten. Beautiful girls. Very insightful. Took them to the Ringling Bros. Circus and got another shot of vitality. The ultimate spectacle; the guaranteed method to be "distracted from distraction by distraction." You could get lost in it. Afterwards, took the girls for pizza at an Upper East Side Ben's. Not a great slice, but decent. Said the astute 10-year-old, "Where I live, in California, the best pizza is Domino's. I think it's pretty good. But this pizza is much, much better." Ahh, from the mouths of babes...

The distraction line is from one of my all-time favority poems, T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton. The whole piece is one hell of a way to be distracted permanently. Here's an excerpt from part II:
from Burnt Norton, by T.S. Eliot (part II)

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.


Oh yeah, one other form of therapy: The ultimate uplfiting song about the inescapability of mortality, Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready. The other day, I tracked down 9 versions on YouTube, and each one is performed with individual soulfulness. Performers include: the original by The Impressions; Curtis Mayfield with Taylor Dane (live); Al Green (live); The Chambers Brothers (live); Eva Cassidy (live); Ziggy Marley (live on Letterman); Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart; Jeff Beck (live), and--perhaps the most unique version of them all--Vanilla Fudge (live, from a Bonn, Switzerland concert during their 2004 reunion tour). They're all in the little player below. Which one's your favorite?