Sunday, February 28, 2010

What was Jack Kerouac doing on this date in 1948?

It's the last day of February 2010, and something is spurring me to post a blog entry here on The Daily Beat. But, I don't really have anything in particular to say. What does a writer do in such cases?

Well, one could always point to a previous post, say the one I posted one year ago on February 28, 2009. But that's lazy.

How about some research?

One could surmise about what Jack was doing on February 28 some particular year. How about 1948, a few months after the California trip that was the source of the beginning of On The Road? As best I can tell (given that someone has yet - to my knowledge - to put together a day-by-day account of Jack's whereabouts and activities [NOTE TO SELF: book idea!]), Jack was living in the Ozone Park apartment in Queens, NYC (see picture above) with his mother (his father had lived with them there but died in 1946; Jack met Neal Cassady in 1947).

According to Douglas Brinkley's Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 (2004, p. 56), Jack wrote on this date:
I'm going to write ceaselessly about the dignity of human beings no matter who and or what they are, and the less dignity a person has the fewer words I'll use. It's the sheer humanness of a man that comes first, whether geek, fag, 'Negro,' or criminal, whether preacher, financier, father, or senator, whether whore, child, or gravedigger. I con't care who or what -- and that I should have cared before is an insult to Dostoevsky, Melville, Jesus, and my fathers. Wrote 1000-words and typed out 2000-words, and on Saturday night too(!).

Some time in early 1948 - maybe on this date? - according to Gerald Nicosia in Memory Babe (1994, p. 212), Allen Ginsberg "met . . . [Kerouac] in the subway and asked Jack to beat him up!" Shades of Fight Club: maybe Chuck Palahniuk borrowed his whole storyline from the Ginsberg-Kerouac relationship!

Well, I've written myself into the proverbial corner and don't know how to get out. February. 1948. Ozone Park. Dostoevsky. Chuck Palahniuk.

Okay, I'll finish with this. Jack used to hang out at the bar across the street from the Ozone Park walkup. Maybe he was in there this very day in 1948. Then it was called the Doxey Tavern. Now it's called Glen Patrick's Pub. It's located at 133-10 Cross Bay Boulevard and looks like this:

You'd better believe it's on my list of Kerouac pubs to visit!

Do you know what Jack was doing this very day in 1948? Let us know your thoughts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Huffington Post gets it wrong about Jack

This article about Tiger Woods (about whom I care not a penny farthing) claims that Jack Kerouac was a Buddhist. I was forced to sign up as a user of this insipid blog in order to correct the record. Jack did not consider himself a Buddhist. He studied Buddhism. He wrote about it. But he considered himself a Catholic.

That's my understanding from the ton of reading I've done. Anyone disagree?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Famous Literary Drunks & Addicts

Click here for a Life magazine piece that lets you scroll through 44 different literary figures and a brief statement about their favorite intoxicant. Burroughs is represented, as is our hero Jack. Even our friend Ayn Rand (who I think, as my regular readers already know, had an affair with Kerouac) is represented. Did you know old Ayn was a speed freak?

Bring on the booze and get writing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Amazon screws up big time

Imagine you're me. You self-publish a book with BookSurge (an Amazon company) in 2008. To date, according to your author account, 52 books have sold on Amazon. 29 of those books sold in 2009, accounting for less than $150 in royalties. Now imagine getting the above W9 from Amazon along with 16 other W9s - in separate envelopes - from various Amazon subsidiaries totaling over $300,000! Yeah! Only $299,850 too much reported to the IRS!

It turns out it was a computer error. That's fairly obvious from the bogus social security number, but still - it gave me quite a start until I investigated.

Amazon says it has corrected the error in its records, hasn't reported the faulty information to the IRS, and will be re-issuing correct W9s.


P.S. If you want to toss me an actual royalty, my book is available at The Beat Handbook.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jack Kerouac and the Super Bowl

One of the best Super Bowl commercials this year was a Google Search Story called "Parisian Love." Clever! Click here to watch it.

Did you know there are other Google Search Stories, one of which is a tip of the hat to our favorite author, Jack Kerouac? Click here to watch "Mad to Live," featuring what I assume is the only recording we have of Jack reading his most oft-quoted words, "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live . . . ." Awesome!

By the way, this is not the first time I've written about Jack and the Super Bowl. See my post from last year here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"And when I die . . .

...and when I'm dead, dead and gone
There'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on"

Always loved the Blood, Sweat, & Tears version of this and just learned it was written by Laura Nyro. I was thinking of it when I read that Canadian folksinger Kate McGarrigle just died and they read from Kerouac's On the Road at her funeral. Click here to read the article.

So I guess I'm compiling a list for my "funeral." Not that I even want one; I'd prefer - when my time comes - that anyone who's left that gives a shit just get together and have a big old drunken bash at whatever my favorite watering hole happens to be at the time. But at whatever event takes place, read some Kerouac, play the BS&T song above, play some bluegrass music, and lift a glass of Bushmills (21-year-old single malt) in my memory. If anything else comes to my mind, I'll be sure to let you know.

You can tell a lot about a person by their funeral. Kate McGarrigle, I'm sorry to admit I wasn't clued in on your work while you were living, but now I want to check it out. You must have been something else.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Beat Handbook author on TV

Dear Daily Beat fans and visitors,

If you want to see a video of yours truly appearing with his bluegrass band, The NitPickers, on TV last Friday night, click here.

The connection to this blog's professed topic? Why, the banjo player wrote a book about Jack Kerouac! How's that for a connection?