9 American and 1 Canadian, 10 Memoirs From the Last 50 years

NY Times had a thing on the best 50 memoirs of past 50 years.
Here’s my selection. Arbitrary and in no order. Blurb/summary from Amazon page.

Duff McKagan – It’s So Easy: and other lies
In his New York Times bestseller, Duff McKagan, founding member of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, shares the story of his rise to fame and fortune, his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, his personal crash and burn, and his life-saving transformation via a unique path to sobriety.

Belinda Carlisle – Lips Unsealed: A Memoir
The women of the iconic eighties band the Go-Go’s will always be remembered as they appeared on the back of their debut record: sunny, smiling, each soaking in her own private bubble bath with chocolates and champagne. The photo is a perfect tribute to the fun, irreverent brand of pop music that the Go-Go’s created, but it also conceals the trials and secret demons that the members of the group—and, in particular, its lead singer, Belinda Carlisle—struggled with on their rise to stardom.

Henry Louis Gates – Colored People: A Memoir
In a coming-of-age story as enchantingly vivid and ribald as anything Mark Twain or Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., recounts his childhood in the mill town of Piedmont, West Virginia, in the 1950s and 1960s and ushers readers into a gossip, of lye-and-mashed-potato “processes,” and of slyly stubborn resistance to the indignities of segregation.

Leonard Michaels – Time Out of Mind: The Diaries of Leonard Michaels 1961-1995
The critically acclaimed author of The Men’s Club shares a collection of observations, meditations, and confidences drawn from more than thirty years of journals that capture the inner world of a man struggling to balance his diverse roles as husband, friend, lover, father, and writer.

Anatole Broyard – Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir
What Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast did for Paris in the 1920s, this charming yet undeceivable memoir does for Greenwich Village in the late 1940s. In 1946, Anatole Broyard was a dapper, earnest, fledgling avant-gardist, intoxicated by books, sex, and the neighborhood that offered both in such abundance. Stylish written, mercurially witty, imbued with insights that are both affectionate and astringent, this memoir offers an indelible portrait of a lost bohemia.

Tobias Wolff – In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War
Whether he is evoking the blind carnage of the Tet offensive, the theatrics of his fellow Americans, or the unraveling of his own illusions, Wolff brings to this work the same uncanny eye for detail, pitiless candor and mordant wit that made This Boy’s Life a modern classic.

Bill German  – Under Their Thumb: How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up with the Rolling Stones (and Lived to Tell About It)
As a teenager, Bill German knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life: chronicle the career and adventures of his favorite rock band, the Rolling Stones. And in 1978, on his sixteenth birthday, he set out to make his dream a reality. Feverishly typed in his Brooklyn bedroom, and surreptitiously printed in his high school’s mimeograph room German’s Stones-only newsletter, Beggars Banquet, was born. His teachers discouraged it, his parents dismissed it as a phase, and his disco-loving classmates preferred the Bee Gees, but, for German, this primitive, pre-Internet fanzine was a labor of love. And a fateful encounter with his idols on the streets of New York soon proved his efforts weren’t in vain.

Paul Shaffer – We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin’ Show-biz Saga
Paul Shaffer—born and bred music junkie and longtime leader of David Letterman’s Late Show band—opens up in this candid, endearing, hilarious, and star-studded memoir.  From playing seedy strip joints in Toronto, to being the first musical director of Saturday Night Live and helping to form the Blues Brothers, to being onstage every night with David Letterman and playing with the greatest musicians of our time, Shaffer has lived the ultimate showbiz life.  Now—dishing on everyone from John Belushi and Jerry Lewis to Mel Gibson and Britney Spears—Paul gives us the full behind-the-scenes story of his life, from banging out pop tunes on the piano at the age of twelve to leading the band every night at the Sullivan Theater.

Mark Salzman – True Notebooks: A Writer’s Year at Juvenile Hall
In 1997 Mark Salzman, bestselling author Iron and Silk and Lying Awake, paid a reluctant visit to a writing class at L.A.’s Central Juvenile Hall, a lockup for violent teenage offenders, many of them charged with murder. What he found so moved and astonished him that he began to teach there regularly. In voices of indelible emotional presence, the boys write about what led them to crime and about the lives that stretch ahead of them behind bars. We see them coming to terms with their crime-ridden pasts and searching for a reason to believe in their future selves. Insightful, comic, honest and tragic, True Notebooks is an object lesson in the redemptive power of writing.

Adam Carolla – Not Taco Bell Material
Funnyman Adam Carolla is known for two things: hilarious rants about things that drive him crazy and personal stories about everything from his hardscrabble childhood to his slacker friends to the hypocrisy of Hollywood. He tackled rants in his first book, and now he tells his best stories and debuts some never-before-heard tales as well. Organized by the myriad “dumps” Carolla called home—through the flophouse apartments he rented in his twenties, up to the homes he personally renovated after achieving success in Hollywood—the anecdotes here follow Adam’s journey and the hilarious pitfalls along the way.

Philip Larkin on Some of his Readers

Of Philip Larkin’s many ostentatiously ‘less deceived’ accounts of family life, among my favourites is the soaring riff that concludes his introduction to All What Jazz (1970), a collection of mainly unimpressed reviews of John Coltrane, Miles Davis et al that initially appeared in the Telegraph. ‘Sometimes I imagine them,’ he muses of the readers of his monthly column,

sullen fleshy inarticulate men, stockbrokers, sellers of goods, living in thirty-year-old detached houses among the golf courses of Outer London, husbands of ageing and bitter wives they first seduced to Artie Shaw’s ‘Begin the Beguine’ or the Squadronaires’ ‘The Nearness of You’; fathers of cold-eyed lascivious daughters on the pill … and cannabis-smoking jeans-and-bearded Stuart-haired sons whose oriental contempt for ‘bread’ is equalled only by their insatiable demand for it… men whose first coronary is coming like Christmas; who drift, loaded helplessly with commitments and obligations and necessary observances, into the darkening avenues of age and incapacity, deserted by everything that once made life sweet. These I have tried to remind of the excitement of jazz, and tell where it may still be found.

Here you are talking about duck again, Mark Ford

Ascribing Meaning to Experience, Alfred Adler Quote

“No experience is in itself a cause of success or failure,” he wrote in his 1931 book, What Life Could Mean to You. “We are not determined by our experiences, but are self-determined by the meaning we give to them; and when we take particular experiences as the basis for our future life, we are almost certain to be misguided to some degree. Meanings are not determined by situations. We determine ourselves by the meanings we ascribe to situations.”

A Psychology of Change, Gina Stepp

Andy Warhol’s Philosophy on Coke (Coca Cola)

WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT THIS COUNTRY IS THAT AMERICA STARTED THE TRADITION WHERE THE RICHEST CONSUMERS BUY ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THINGS AS THE POOREST. YOU CAN BE WATCHING TV AND SEE COCA-COLA, AND YOU CAN KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT DRINKS COKE, LIZ TAYLOR DRINKS COKE AND, JUST THINK, YOU CAN DRINK COKE TOO. A COKE IS A COKE, AND NO AMOUNT OF MONEY CAN GET YOU A BETTER COKE THAN THE ONE THE BUM ON THE CORNER IS DRINKING. ALL THE COKES ARE THE SAME AND ALL THE COKES ARE GOOD. LIZ TAYLOR KNOWS IT, THE PRESIDENT KNOWS IT, THE BUM KNOWS IT, AND YOU KNOW IT.

Andy Warhol
THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANDY WARHOL: From A to B and Back Again
(found in The Readers Catalog)

The Genius of the Place and Moment, Stevenson Quote

The sight of a pleasant arbour puts it in our minds to sit there. One place suggests work, another idleness, a third early rising and long rambles in the dew. The effect of night, of any flowing water, of lighted cities, of the peep of day, of ships, of the open ocean, calls up in the mind an army of anonymous desires and pleasures. Something, we feel, should happen; we know not what, yet we proceed in quest of it. And many of the happiest hours of life fleet by us in this vain attendance on the genius of the place and moment.

A Gossip on Romance, Robert Louis Stevenson

Film Grammar

Furthermore, screenwriting involves more than mere dialogue and plot. The choice between a cut and a camera movement or a close-up and a long shot, for example, may quite often transcend the plot. If the story of Little Red Riding Hood is told with the Wolf in close-up and Little Red Riding Hood in long shot, the director is concerned primarily with the emotional problems of a wolf with a compulsion to eat little girls. If Little Red Riding Hood is in close-up and the Wolf in long shot, the emphasis is shifted to the emotional problems of vestigial virginity in a wicked world. (To cut back and forth between the two characters is to emphasize their conflict; to enclose them within a circular camera movement is to emphasize their complicity.)

Directors, How Personal Can You Get?, Andrew Sarris
Confessions of a Cultist: On the Cinema, 1955-1969

Point of Order! Review by Andrew Sarris

The strange ironies of history aside, the star of the show is still the late Joe McCarthy — and what a performer he was! One can recall his jowly menace and five-o’clock shadow, but it is shocking to rediscover his nervous giggle and his showbiz personality. There was a strangely populist appeal working for McCarthy as the last apostle of direct democracy unsullied by all the confidential “arrangements” of the well born and well educated. When Ike plugged up his keyhole after throwing Stevens to the wolves outside the door, McCarthy was finished. Even the Trotskyists, who had toyed with the idea of using McCarthy as their golem against the Stalinists, were soon bored by Joe’s ludicrous inexactitude. Curiously, Joe’s medium was neither television nor radio, and he was hardly a Huey Long out on the stump. With succinctness as his forte and fear as his gospel, McCarthy may have been the first and last demagogue of the wire services.
—Village Voice, January 16, 1964

Andrew Sarris reviewing, Point of Order!, by Emil De Antonio and Daniel Talbot, from the book, Confessions of a Cultist: On the Cinema, 1955-1969

Mortgage Payments in US Cities

In Minneapolis, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,228, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $49,122. The average price of a home in Minneapolis is $250,779.

In Denver, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $1,725, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $68,983.
The average price of a home in Denver is $352,172.

In Boston, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $2,384, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $95,344.
The average price of a home in Boston is $486,752.

In San Francisco, in order to afford the city’s median monthly mortgage payment of $5,052, homeowners must earn a minimum annual income of $202,094.
The average price of a home in San Francisco is $1,032,732.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-you-need-to-make-to-afford-mortgage-salary-2019-6

The Moon in the Daytime – Proust Quote

Sometimes in the afternoon sky the moon would pass white as a cloud, furtive, lusterless, like an actress who does not have to perform yet and who, from the audience, in street clothes, watches the other actors for a moment, making herself inconspicuous, not wanting anyone to pay attention to her.

Proust, Marcel. Swann’s Way (In Search of Lost Time) (pp. 162-163). Lydia Davis translation

1970 review of Elton John at the Troubadour – Los Angeles Times

Beyond his vocals, melodies and arrangements, there is a certain sense of the absurd about John as a performer that is reminiscent of the American rock stars of the mid-1950s.

Only someone with that wild, uninhibited view of his music would dare ask the audience to sing along — something that is almost never done anymore — or drop to his knees, like Jerry Lee Lewis used to do, in a rousing piano finale on “Burn Down the Mission.” It worked wonderfully well.

Robert Hilburn, LA Times

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-elton-john-1970-at-the-troubadour-hilburn-20190523-story.html

Consciousness metaphors – Desultory Quotes

“The central metaphor of these four chapters is that the mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant. The rider is our conscious reasoning—the stream of words and images of which we are fully aware. The elephant is the other 99 percent of mental processes—the ones that occur outside of awareness but that actually govern most of our behavior.”

Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 
“That ability would seem to be at odds with early epiphenomenalism, which according to Huxley is the broad claim that consciousness is “completely without any power… as the steam-whistle which accompanies the work of a locomotive engine is without influence upon its machinery”.

Epiphenomenalism @ Wikipedia

 
“when I woke in the middle of the night, since I did not know where I was, I did not even understand in the first moment who I was; I had only, in its original simplicity, the sense of existence as it may quiver in the depths of an animal; I was more destitute than a cave dweller; but then the memory—not yet of the place where I was, but of several of those where I had lived and where I might have been—would come to me like help from on high to pull me out of the void from which I could not have got out on my own; I crossed centuries of civilization in one second, and the image confusedly glimpsed of oil lamps, then of wing-collar shirts, gradually recomposed my self’s original features.”

Proust, Marcel. Swann’s Way (In Search of Lost Time) (pp. 5-6). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
(alternate translation – “would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being”. See that quote @ goodreads)

 
“But let us go further. Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate! It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when actually it does not.”

Jaynes, Julian. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (p. 23). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

The Madman – Chesterton quote

“If the madman could for an instant become careless, he would become sane. Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.”

Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

Union Station, Denver

20190612_0722457291208925044505917.jpg
Union Station, Denver, CO. June 12, 2019

A union station (also known as a union terminal and, in Europe, a joint station) is a railway station at which the tracks and facilities are shared by two or more separate railway companies, allowing passengers to connect conveniently between them. The term ‘union station’ is used in North America and ‘joint station’ is used in Europe.

In the U.S., union stations are typically used by all the passenger trains serving a city, although exceptions exist. For example, in Chicago, the Illinois Central and Chicago & North Western depots coexisted with Union Station, and although most Metra commuter trains (and all Amtrak services) continue to use Union Station today, some lines depart from other terminals, such as Millennium Station.

The busiest station to be named “Union Station” is Toronto Union Station, which serves over 72 million passengers annually.

wikipedia

List of Union Stations