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Remembering the day John Lennon was murdered

John Lennon was my first real hero. He was imperfect and messy and at times ridiculous and he understood that and embraced it. He was also brilliant and beautiful and genuine.

I was sitting in my room in Monsey, NY listening to what I believe was a Jets game on the radio when the announcer cut in and said John Lennon had been shot and wounded and rushed to the hospital. I turned my dial to WNEW and spent the next several hours listening to Beatles and Lennon’s music on the radio as the reports got grimmer and finally the worst news of all. I for some reason had the presence of mind to stick a cassette tape and record the news reports and music.?

I think I still have that tape. I brought it to school the next day and one of our teachers, I can’t recall who, had set the day aside to talk about what happened. I think it’s the first time I cried openly in front classmates and friends. I couldn’t stop. I brought the tape with me and had it in class. Someone asked me why the hell would I think to tape such a thing and I replied “Because this is important.” I didn’t really understand how so, but I knew it was. I was also called a faggot for crying. Something that I was already used to for other reasons.

Part of my soul shattered that day and it is a sadness that I have held and will die with. The world went from what was already a scary and unpredictable (Energy Crisis, Iranian Hostages, etc) to being terrifyingly so for me, 15 years old and madly in love with John and the Double Fantasy album. I remember biking down to the record store and buying it as soon as it came out. I still remember the feel of the cellophane as it peeled off the album cover John and Yoko kissing. I wanted my life to be that life– incredibly interesting and prolific and artistic and crazy and doing good things and what I wanted and all the time in love.

That evening Scottso (Scott Muni) played a recording of when John had stopped by the WNEW offices a few years earlier (I believe) and spun some of his favorite music– mostly obscure R &B and Be Bop tunes. It dawned on me that were was so much I didn’t know about Lennon or anyone for that matter. A complexity of life started to reveal itself to me.

I can still touch the exact feelings of horror and incredible sadness when the doctor at St Luke’s Roosevelt pronounced his death. My heart caves in upon itself, I feel the world spinning uncontrollably about me and I find it hard to breathe and see through tears.

The world broke that day. What I’ve learned since is that it never really worked right in the first place.

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this might take a while to work out…

screen from Kurt’s site vonnegut.com

notice the favicon

vonnegut.com

and just when i thought I was all cried out…

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Vonnegut reading the passage that changed my life

from Slaughterhouse Five

I wept for what seemed like an eternity after reading the passage of the WWII movie going backwards for the first time. I couldn’t see the pages and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. My heart had burst with an elation of freedom and love and thought- “When the bombers got back to base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating day and night, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again”

This passage alone shattered my world and opened a million windows and gave me something that even at the age of 13 I had little of.

Hope.

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Goodbye Kurt

Kurt (Source A.P.) I know death is inevitable, but I am crushed. Discovering Kurt Vonnegut was like discovering taoism or breasts for me- it was revelatory and life-changing and I never looked at the world the same ever again.

I met Kurt once-I should say I drooled on him once as it’s more accurate- back in 1988 when he spoke at the Boston public library and met with the crowd afterwards. He decided to read a commencement speech that he originally gave to MIT students I think it was- which wasn’t well received at the school since he was trying to tell these engineers to make sure they put their genius to work for the betterment of humankind- and the realized that most of them were already signed up with G.E. and Dow and Marietta-Martin. So he thought maybe we might appreciate the speech more.

Afterwards, I stood in line clutching my copy of “Bluebeard” and thought of all the things i wanted to say to him- how much I loved his works and his fucking HUMANITY- How reading his fiction and essays taught me that nothing has to be as it is or how it’s supposed to be- that nothing is black and white and that there is humour even in the darkest and worst aspects of everything.

Instead- when it was my turn- I approached the desk where he was sitting and looked up smiling– deep soulful eyes behind glasses and hair everywhere and I said “Mr Vonnegut- i just wanted to say…” and a huge gob of saliva fell from my mouth which i promptly tried to catch with my right hand, splashing everywhere and finishing with “… thank you. I love you- thank you. can you sign my book?” and I extended my hand and he stopped- and looked at my hand and extended his own and gave me a full firm handshake and said “You’re welcome- what’s your name?” and signed my book with an asterisk next to his name (re: Breakfast of Champions) and I walked away and my fiancee turned to me and said “You just drooled on Kurt Vonnegut”.

My college friend Tommy Hanlon once lamented for the Rastafari “What do you do when your god dies?” in reference to Bob Marley succumbing to cancer.

The answer is you learn to live with a heart-wrenching profound sadness that sits beside the omnipresent glow of joy that god brought into your life.

My heart aches, my world just grew a little darker; but the universe just grew a little richer.

So it goes…

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i fucking hate people

i’m cereal…

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Nov. 19

My Mom would have been 71 years old today.

I thought I’d lose it again- I didn’t. Everytime I start to, I can hear her voice in the back of my head telling me to shut the fuck up- and then laughing.

Death sucks.

Happy Birthday Mom- I miss you.

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My Mom, Iris

My Mom, Iris
Current mood: sad

passed away this afternoon at 3:30 pm eastern time. I was holding her hand and my father and brother were right next to us. She went peacefully. Her two year ordeal is over. She was tired of being sick and tired of being in pain.

She got to spend a week with her granddaughters this summer. She told me she loved them so much she couldn’t stand it. I know how she feels. She got to spend time with my brother last week- they hung out and watched a movie together. I talked with her on the phone a week and a half ago. Our last words were I love you.

My mom was a stubborn lady. When she fell ill two years ago, the doctor’s did not expect her to survive. In fact, when she emerged from the coma, the doctor said he had never seen anyone that sick live through the ordeal.

She stood by her convictions- even taking a fight to the New York Supreme court. She told a couple to “go fuck themselves” when they were whispering and pointing when we were having dinner in a fancy restaurant in Suffern New York with friends of the family that were black.

One night- when I was 16 and going on a date with a cute girl for the first time, my mother said as we were leaving the house “If you’re going to have sex, use a condom!” Suffice to say, I didn’t get any that night.

She was a brilliant talent- people would invite themselves to dinner just to have her french fries. Every year for my birthday as a child, I got to choose from a book of cakes shaped like dogs and frogs and elephants and whatever I wanted, she would make and it looked EXACTLY like the picture and was the best cake I ever had. Her needlepoint and cruel work won awards and she was asked to speak at events. She as a nurse for over 20 years. She taught at a nursing school for several years. She would run into a student every now again years later and they would tell my mom what an amazing influence and teacher she was.

My mother was one of the most difficult people I have ever known and also one of the most compassionate and loving. Even when we fought at our worst, I never felt unloved.

She gave me my moral base, my drive for truth and conviction of beliefs. She helped me to think objectively and critically at the same time.

I makes me incredibly sad to know that I will never again be able to flick peas at her during dinner and have her call me an idiot. Or see tears in her eyes when she talks about my daughters and how much she loves them and is proud of them.

I was wanting her to meet her great grandchildren. When she went through 10 hospitalization since June, I was going to settle for a week at thanksgiving. I am certain if she could have made it that long, she would have.

I held my mother’s hand today as her heart stopped beating- there was a moment about 20 minutes before the nurse came in to pronounce her were I felt something intrinsic change. It was not long after we had said our goodbyes to her- she was in a semi-coma, totally non-responsive; but I did feel something change.

I would like to believe that that was her being at rest, saying goodbye, finally letting go; shaking the mortal coil and back to whatever it is that makes us, and everything, what we are.

I’ll miss you so much mom. Thank you for everything.

Your son,

Kip

Iris Silverman

1935 – 2006

 

(Note: yahoo, the fuckers, wont allow me to link directly to my pictures. I will publish to my web site and re-edit this post when I have a chance. Below is a picture of a pictire of my mom, dad an daughters from a few years back and the rest are examples of her artistry)

 

Mom with Soraya

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Dignity, Grace, Intelligence

Dignity, Grace, Intelligence

Coretta Scott King died last night at 78 years of age. Coretta was the epitome of everything positive a human being could become while trying to make the world a better place. Always standing in the shadows of Martin; Coretta was the bedrock for her husband, her children and the peaceful change civil rights movement. The assassination of Martin if anything, made her stronger and more of a force to be reckoned with. In the nearly 40 years that have followed, Coretta has built an intellectual empire dedicated to non-violent change, championed civil rights globally and still; amazingly; stayed in the background and nurtured her family and friends and community.

I’ve been involved in civil rights and constitutional justice efforts since I have been a teen and at every turn; whether campaigning for the end of Apartheid, going to a civil rights march in Forsythe County, GA, or working with human rights and peace activists; Coretta Scott King was always in the fray in one way or another. Her name constantly popped up as did the King Library and endowments.

Whether or not you agree with the politics, I think it would be hard to disagree that the goal of equal rights for all is flawed in any way.

It would take an army of people to carry on the torch that she has left for us. So at least take an hour or two a month from your life—maybe stop playing that silly video game, and do something good to carry on the movement. Volunteer in a local reading is fundamental program. Donate some money to Unicef. Get involved locally with a women’s shelter or a food bank. Educate your children, your parents your neighbors that every person regardless of ethnicity, religion or sex has the unalienable right to life, liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness*.

Goodbye Coretta, I hope you can finally find some peace.

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That N******* Crazy! (Goodbye Richard)

I got home this afternoon after shopping and paying some bills and went to do my pre-WoW activities- fresh glass of water, make sure cold beers are in the fridge, make sure the cell phone is within arms reach and check cnn.com front page just to make sure- ya know- like the east coast didn’t blow up or there isn’t a meteor headed to demolish the earth etc. when I saw the headline

Comedian Richard Pryor dies at 65

and a wave of sadness fell over me just as it had when I was living in New York when I was 15 listening to the Jets game on the radio and heard that John Lennon had been “shot and wounded” or when I heard Charles Bukowski had died without my knowing—like months earlier, or just recently when HST decided he had enough life and took his own- going out in a bang as was Hunter’s style; a deep soul-rattling sadness.

I spend a lot of hours weekly playing and fighting alongside and/or against many of you and many are around my age (I’m 19 of course) and one of the reasons I think we do this almost nightly besides wanting phat lewt is because there’s a friendship that has developed across the miles and countries between people that enjoy each other’s company and words and ideas and know that we’ll back each other up when something happens- whether it’s in-game or in real-life. There’s something that connects us all and the primary thing is who we are- the humour and the decency and the not so politically correct moments of sheer insanity that we can create together.

I know that Richard’s comedy was a [i] huge [/i] influence in my life from listening to his albums “That N’s Crazy” a personal fav; or movie gigs with Gene Wilder, the whitest of white men on screen; Richard pushed the boundaries of everything until they broke open and let everything come flooding in or smashing outwards. Nothing was off-topic from fetid crotch smells to the KKK to doing his own lit match joke about himself he was just funny as fuck; but even more importantly he showed us how fucking insanely stupid all the societal walls we’ve built for ourselves are. Whether it be white vs. black or jew vs. arab or men vs. women he obliterated the idiotic precepts and gave humanity an unadulterated look at it’s own stupidity and made you laugh so hard until you peed a little doing it. ROFLPAL…

It’s been a weird year- Just a couple days ago was the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination, a few weeks ago Rosa Parks passed away; now we’ve lost Richard Pryor.

The world’s a little darker and a little sadder today- but it’s a fuckload lot funnier because of him. Goodbye Richard, I genuinely hope you’re in a better place.

Moo

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Namaste

“I honor the place in you where Spirit lives
I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace.
When you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
we are One.”

With all the video and the sermons and sabre rattling and the threat of further impending war, we here at Too Much Good Air would like to remember all the innocent people that lost their lives before, on, and after Septemeber 11, 2001 by abhorrent and violent means and recognize the countless thousands that regardless of skin color, religions or belief; to this day strive to better the lives of the less fortunate, selflessly help those who are hurt, hungry or in need, and work towards a common goal of peace and equality amongst all peoples on this world of ours.

We suffered a tremendous loss a year ago at the hands of a few hateful self-righteous bastards. We are no longer immune, The United States is not an Island. We are a nation of a proud and determined people; and we join the ranks of of dozens of other nations of proud and determined people. We have a choice whether to take our pain and suffering and use it as a justification for vengenance and war or as a means to understand the reasons horrific events like this happen and to take positive actions to eliminate the support for people that would cause violence and harm by taking innocent lives and creating terror. As a global Super Power, the choice is ours. And the whole world is watching.
Namaste

The editors

(from toomuchgoodair.com 2002)

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