I am preparing to become a grandfather; Joanna’s due date is early April, 2016
“Driving to the World Series of Rodeo in Oklahoma City while listening to the Eagles over the radio” might be considered an eccentric way of saying, “My elder daughter Joanna is pregnant. The due date is April 2016. I am counting down the months ahead when I will be handing out cigars–chewing gum, chocolate and real tobacco cigars while announcing, “I am a Zeyda.”
In my culture Zeyda is all the title required to command respect for my wisdom, sagacity, and mindfulness. [Yes, there are the parents Joanna and Jade to consider.]
With a grandfatherly purpose (which will be revealed) I write about the 1972 World Series of Rodeo with deliberate intent. The appearance of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is deliberate.
“Keep on Trucking,” especially in this R. Crumb rendition, is a lifetime motto although as I prepare to become a Zeyda my mind turns to 1972 and the Gusher Club in Oklahoma City
The news that I am about to become a grandfather has been occupying all lobes of my brain.
Except, like Donovan’s Brain, my brain has expanded to prepare for Amelia and Javier’s wedding August, 2016, Chapel Hill, NC where I will be giving away the bride to Javier Blanco a sergeant in the Spanish Army. Amelia and Javier live in Toledo [not Ohio]. The wedding will be officiated by my friend Adam Phillips.
You Tube Note:
When I came to the emergency room a week ago Thursday, a massive infection swept through my body. On my site, I will provide a list of names of the physicians who saved my life. I will also tell you about my doctors, the staff–wonderful staff–who paraded in and out my room. When I arrived, I was so infectious that I could not kiss you [whoever you are.]
Now you can kiss me. Toward the end of my stay only hospital workers had to wear gowns when entering my room. They also had to shed gowns immediately upon leaving. Visitors did not have to wear gowns. The gown-precaution was to reduce the remote chance that the oncology patients on the forth floor might catch a germ from a hospital worker.
Immediately after this film, my physician in charge walked in without a gown and shook my hand without a glove. Yesterday, Dr. Salmon Haroon told me that it is safe for me to visit my daughter Joanna who is pregnant with my first grandchild.
This video will be the first of future efforts to work with hospital architects and maintenance administrators to make Mt. Nittany hospital rooms more accessible while at the same reducing costs. In February I plan to publish an academic technical report for the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center on this subject.
In 1972, after flying back from the New York courthouse where I obtained an annulment from Vicki, I became a legal resident in the State of California. After living with a good friend, I decided to live alone which also pleased Hadley.
On the flight from the annulment, Mary, a California-raised nurse then living in New York, was on vacation. A brief conversation about the fact that she was wearing yellow glasses may have contributed to our arranging to sit next to each other. Deer hunters wear yellow glasses to better kill their prey trying to hide behind trees. Why Mary was wearing yellow glasses from JFK to San Francisco airport….
I explained to Mary that I had a lot of business ahead of me:
–Renting an apartment
–Traveling to REMOTE Northern California where I had spoken to legendary cartoonist R. Crumb by phone in NYC, but whom I wanted to see in person
–Preparing to drive from San Francisco to Lubock, Texas and then take a bus to Oklahoma City where I would be lodged at the World Series of Rodeo headquarters hotel, drink with cowboys and cowgirls and the author of Dallas North 40 in the Hilton’s Gusher Club and cover bull riding and the other events three hours a night for five nights and several blurry early mornings.
Mary said she would spend her vacation helping me find an apartment. She said helping me generally sounded like fun. However, first we had to go on a helicopter ride.
We flew from the San Francisco Airport to the Oakland Airport where Mary had reserved an automobile. She called her sister whom she had been planning to visit. It was a private call. Then, she drove to the house I shared with Hadley on Bernal Heights. http://www.datapointed.net/2010/02/more-steeps-of-san-francisco/bernal heights
“I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” Less than 12 hours after delivered his I Have Been to the Mountaintop speech (excerpted below), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed.
I have been to the mountaintop
It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us. The pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with on the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”
And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.
And I don’t mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
“If, when you have entered the land that the Lord your God has given you, and occupied it and settled in it, you shall be free to set a king over yourself… Moreover, [the King] shall shall not keep many horses or send many people backed to Egypt to add to the horses. ‘You must never go back that way again. ‘”
–Deuteronomy, 17:14, Jewish Publication Society translation (2)
I am musing over the idea of being a grand father. Grand father.
Amelia Altalena Solkoff (r) with Javier Blanco. The couple will be married August 2016, Chapel Hill, NC
Observations on my maternal grandfather
My San Francisco Noe Valley apartment was like living in San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House
Winslow, Arizona. Yes, the radio was playing “Well, I’m a standing on a corner/in Winslow, Arizona/ and such a fine sight to see…” just as I picked up a hitchhiker
“Take It Easy” by the Eagles, lead singer Don Henley
tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on
Two that want to stone me; one that says she is a friend of mine.
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
we will never be here again
so open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy
my load, got a world of trouble on my mind
lookin’ for a lover who won’t blow my
cover, she’s so hard to find
don’t let the sound of your own
wheels make you crazy
come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me, oh oh oh
We oughta take it easy,
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy
Flashback Three Weeks Earlier: Mary and I drive to R. Cromb’s remote hermit-like retreat
The “side trip” to Crumb’s kitchen in the woods took place before Mary returned to NYC. Also, the visit took place before I obtained a car stopping at Winslow, Arizona en route to Lubbock, Texas where I dropped off the car and took a bus to Oklahoma City.
My experience with R. Crumb took place in 1970 where I worked for Scanlan’s Magazine where Crumb published two covers–illustrations that so dominated the front cover critics in New York City (for personal reasons unwilling to provide coverage to Scanlan’s) could not help but provide us with coverage because Crumb’s work is so startlingly good and mind bending.
In addition to being research director at Scanlan’s and co-author of a cover story on Russian pornography, my job was to get in touch with Crumb when we needed him. Wikipedia’s account of Crumb’s whereabouts is incorrect. He was not in the South of France, as reported. Rather, Crumb and his wife lived in a community so remote that it made calling him by telephone extremely difficult and time consuming. I figured I might get enough to pay the rent if I interviewed Crumb. I also greatly admire Crumb and Ralph Steadman. Here is Ralph Steadman.
[Note from this site’s lamentably non-existent Protocol Editor who regrets the confusing manner in which this posting is being put together and who wonders about the relevance of my becoming a grandfather to a story involving R. Crumb, the World Series of Rodeo, Martin Luther King, Jr. and virtual reality in the construction industry. This is an elaborate way of saying that I may come back to this side-trip to R. Crumb or I may focus my attention on the fashion show put on by the wives of rodeo cowboys. This posting is coming together. However, I have not reached a conclusion–in my mind Yes; in practice Not yet. Please be patient. Festina lente.]
Shocking bull riding footage
“Sometimes it is prudent to know when to give up.” In February, 2011 I published these words plus the following two paragraphs on rodeo. I was writing a column on a subject totally unrelated to rodeo. Rather than get to the point immediately, I wrote about the rodeo. No relevant reason explains why I decided to write about the courage (perhaps misguided courage) of a cowboy who was waiting to ride a very angry bull. The hold of my now 43-year-old experience with rodeo still emerges when I least expect it. The relevance of rodeo to my prospective grandfather hood indicates….
The handler applies the fully charged cattle prod to the rear of a bull bred for ferocity. The cowboy—Slim really is his name—holds onto his hat with his left hand. In his right hand are the reigns, two strips of leather held on tightly at first, but capable of falling apart to help the rider jump away from the bucking bull to safety after the regulation eight second ride is complete.
The maximum score is 100 points; 50 for the rider and 50 for the bull. A mean angry bull is the most desirable because he gives the rider the opportunity to make the most money. This bull is mean. When the bull jumps higher after the cattle prod, Slim smiles with optimism. The gate leading to the ring fails to open. Historically, when the gate sticks, a confined maddened bull has been known to break both legs of a rider. Slim, who attended rodeo schools, is aware of the danger.As a reporter at the World Series of Rodeo at Oklahoma City (before it moved to Los Vegas), I am sitting next to the handlers on the inside wooden planks of the chute. It took considerable effort to get permission to be this close to Slim—close enough to watch his pupils dilate into huge ovals displaying a fear he cannot disguise. The lead handler asks Slim if he would like to wait 20 minutes before beginning the ride. Slim nods him off. The gate opens.
Six-time World Rodeo Champion Larry Mahan guided me through the inside world of professional rodeo
Peter Gent, former receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, provided me with detailed comparisons between professional football and professional rodeo
I convinced Peter to report on the fashion show in which cowboy wives exhibited the latest style–the layered look. The two of us were the only males in a large room filled with women drunk on cold duck, describing their lives, disclosing names of the women cheating on their husbands, providing up-to-the minute cancer reports on a friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Nothing bonds two journalists together like sharing exclusively a mind-altering view of life on a seemingly different planet.
[Note: This video from Gent’s movie version of North Dallas Forty contains language not suitable for minors and others who like English expressed without non-stop obscenities. Note required on what is fit to publish and why,]
“Peter Gent, a receiver for the Dallas Cowboys of the 1960s whose best-selling novel “North Dallas Forty” portrayed professional football as a dehumanizing business that drove pain-racked players to drug and alcohol abuse, died Friday in Bangor, Mich. He was 69.
Gent (pronounced Jent) never played college football — he was a basketball star at Michigan State — and he caught only four touchdown passes in five seasons with the Cowboys.
But he achieved an enduring niche as a writer, most notably with “North Dallas Forty,” his first novel, published in 1973. He contributed to the screenplay for the 1979 movie of the same title in which Nick Nolte played a role drawing partly on Gent’s career.
—The New York Times, Obituary by
Everything that I’ve got is just what I’ve got on.
When that sun is high in that Texas sky
I’ll be bucking it to county fair.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo I’ll be there.
Lost my wife and a girlfriend somewhere along the way.
Well I’ll be looking for eight when they pull that gate,
And I’m hoping that judge ain’t blind.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s on my mind.
Everything that I’ve got is just what I’ve got on.
I ain’t got a dime, but what I got is mine.
I ain’t rich, but Lord I’m free.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s where I’ll be.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s where I’ll be.
“A long long time ago/when we were young and pretty,/we ruled the world, we stopped the time, we knew it all, we owned this city/Running with the crowd, carefree and proud I heard somebody say/….”