Arts & Culturewilliam orten carlton ort

William Orten Carlton = ORT

Even idiot-savants have their brilliant moments, else they would just be classed as idiots and let go at that. I am no exception. There sometimes seems to be a shortage of people who will take me seriously, but these folks may have an axe to grind: perhaps they see themselves in me, or me in themselves; and, interested in correcting the fatal flaw within themselves and unable to do it, make a transference to me instead. Not necessarily the why, but a good hypothesis. Well, folks, sometimes I don’t take myself so seriously, either. A lot of people make the mistake of taking themselves TOO seriously TOO musch of the time, and the result is the chaos you see out there that’s wrong with Mankind: too much time spent chasing after money and possessions and status, and not enough time spent blowing dandelions or looking through old cemeteries (to heck with whether you know anyone there or not) or being silly and putting on old clothes and playing in a creek. Many folks see these as childish things for adults to do, but perhaps we need to look deeper: childish, if done when there are responsible things waiting; childlike if done in perspective, when the work is done or at least under control. I’ve been thinking about the whole thing of childISH versus childLIKE all afternoon, and have jelled it down to these words. Reread them just as I am about to and draw your own conclusion(s).

There being no ready dandelion to blow, I continue to write, wishing for one.

This is a catch-up column, written ahead of the game, whatever that is. Tonight is Thursday, February 7th., and would have been my late Dad’s 79th birthday. He dies in 1973, so he isn’t here to celebrate it, but I amin print here and now. I had a dream about him last night: we were tromping through a cemetery in the country. It was about 5:15 on a cloudy February weekday afternoon. There being nobody in this dream space, The Corner Point Evangelical Universalist Cemetery, to write into the family history, we left. I still have the redyellow mud on the shoes of my mind. Please don’t mind if I refuse to ever clean them.

Last night, The Yams opened for Jonathan Richman. I spelled his name correctly, too. He is a truly nice guy: unassuming, andlike a true guru-of-sortsdoes not consider himself one iota different from (or is it “different than” instead?) anyone else. None of the fliers mentioned the opening act, if there was to be one, so imagine my surprise when I waddled in and THERE WERE THE YAMS!!!!! It’s a little disconcerning to look up there and see Bob Hay hammering away on a drum kit and Ken Starratt just – singing; but especially wonderful to see Al Walsh back playing bass, smoking his pipe, and bopping up and down just like he did in the greatest days of The Squalls. The Yams obviously play for the fun of it, although they make money here and there. I wish more bands here were like that. Go back and reread paragraph one. I’ll wait. Okay, lemme make a point again: we need money to survive, for God’s sake, but the real priority here in Athens should be playing music for the ART of it and the HEART of it! We can do it in Athens: it’s a lot cheaper to live here than most other cities, and there certainly is excellent support for music among the people here. Try doing the type of music that Athens eats up in the likes of Tuscaloosa (another city where the rents are still reasonably low) and you’ll see why Club Wig has had to struggle to survive there to these years. If you make music for the ART and the HEART of it (and people can pick up on that), you can survive in Athens: I’ll stake a bushel of carrots on it. I don’t think I know everything, so I try to stick to what I know about when writing these columns; even then, I’m often wrong and am willing to admit it when such time comes. I don’t imagine I’ll have to cruise to Criswell’s for carrots anytime soon.

People have been asking me about the new postal rates. Here is my understanding of what’s what: postcards have gone from 15¢ up to 19¢, so go to the post office in Farmington, where the guy the has been stuck with a huge quantity of 19¢ Sequoyah stamps for forty forevers: he’s in luck now, yessir. The letter rate has climbed from 25¢ for the first ounce or fraction up to 29¢: they have made a 29¢ stamp for years, but I had to order it: seems to me, without looking, that it’s Old North Church, part of the 1976-era Bicentennial series. Each additional ounce is now 23¢, up from the previous 20¢. A two-ounce letter, formerly 45¢, is now going to be 52¢, likely forcing them to issue a new stamp of that denomination. A three-ounce first class mailout will jump from the previous 65¢ up to 75¢, necessitating the issuance of another new denomination of stamp. Myself, I wondered why there never had been a 75¢er before: perhaps this is their excuse to hire some scoundrel to design a coupla new stamp issues. I’m still stuck with half a sheet of John Harvard 56¢ stamps (from when the rate was 56¢ for three ounces) and some 37¢ ones (I forgot who’s on ’em) from when that was the two-ounce rate. They have, currently available, every denomination of stamp from 1¢ up to 25¢. There is no 26¢ nor 27¢, but Sitting Bull graces 28¢ (replacing the Bicentennial Blockhouse 28¢). Then there is a 29¢, a 30¢, a 35¢, a 37¢, a 39¢, a 40¢, a 45¢, a 50¢, a 56¢, a 65¢ (General “Hap” Arnold), and then nothing up to the next ones: $1.00, $2.00, and $5.00. There is a $2.40 Priority Mail stampcritter (that’ll prob’ly go up, too), plus several odd airmail sizes (like 44¢). Yeah, the Junipero Serra Airmail is that amount, i think. My favorite oddsize stamp has to be either the Chester Carlson 21¢ (he invented the copying machine, didn’t he?) and/or the Mary Cassatt 23¢ (she was an American Impressionist painter who died in Paris about 1926 at age 86 or so: as ripe a Potential Stamp Personage as one becomes, methinks). I venture out to Arnoldsville about 4:30 of an afternoon to order such queer denominations as these: Mrs. Ash, the kind postal lady there, manages a fill in excess of 90% through some means that must involve a Higher Power assisting in the string pulling, which happens more often than we give it credit. She has quit asking “You want a sheet of WHAT?!?” when I saunter in, five minutes short of closing, and beg for Mary Cassatt 23¢ers or Chester Carlson 21¢ers or Sequoyah 19¢ers or Chief Crazy Horse 13¢ers or Abraham Baldwin 7¢ers or Alden Partridge 11¢ers or Flag 18¢ers or a host of potential others. All I know is, tonight I’m going home and will pull out plenty of Father Flanagan 4¢ stamps to put in my wallet so I won’t run out, and will actively await issuance of the first commemorative 29¢ stamp, so I can give the plate block(s) to Melanie and Jerry and then use one of the stamps to mail something wholly creative to my friend D.J. Hack.

There. I think I’ve written enough. See you in awhile, crocodile.