Archive for the Books Category


Posted in Books, Movies with tags , , , , , on 08/18/2010 by not cliff

         Sterling Hayden  was a great actor & author of the late 50’s and 60’s. He was in many movies including Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing, General Jack Ripper in Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Captain McClusky in Coppola’s The Godfather. Before those major roles, he left his small time acting job and joined the military during the beginning of WWII. Upon arrival of training camp the 6’5″ cadet was moved to officer training. He skyrocketed to such high levels he was put in the OSS at its forming stages, a precursor to what we now know as the CIA. Sterling was a covert spy parachuting behind enemy lines and running guns to local militias in Germany! After the war, he returned to do his greatest work in the acting field. During the Red Scare period that followed WWII with Senator Joseph McCarthy, Sterling made some sympathetic Communist comments in a dinner conversation and came under heavy fire with the House Un-American Activities Committee. After which he fell amost entirely out of the public eye. He also during his life wrote several books, all involving nautical themes. He always detested acting and said he only acted to pay for his sailing endeavors. ‘Wanderer’ was his most highly praised book.


To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

Hunter’s earlier quote reminded of this gem…


American Music – Annie Leibovitz

Posted in Books on 08/11/2010 by Cliff May


American Music
by Annie Leibovitz


“Our music is family unrelated by blood. As Whitman might say, it contains multitudes. The purity of a child in her Sunday-go-to-meeting dress. The chaotic debauchery of a rock-and-roll star’s hotel room. The emotional  and physical release of gospel and R&B. It is the sound of the hill country, impoverished and free. It is the transient whistling his way through a sad, postindustrial terrain. It is the internal landscape of John Coltrane. The sensuous agony of Etta James. It is three chords into hell. Our music grants us a coat of invulnerability, a spring in which we bathe with abandon, methods of response, moments of respite, and a riot of self-expression. It is the porch song. Plunging youth. It is thick-veined hands squeezing clusters of notes from an equally thick neck. It is the Les Paul. The tenor sax. It is a platter spinning in space, etched with the words “Tutti Frutti.””

 -Patti Smith (taken from an essay in Annie Leibovitz’s book  titled, “American Music.” Check it out, great photos and several good essays by Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, Beck, etc.) Continue reading

Ruins of Detroit

Posted in Books with tags on 08/10/2010 by not cliff

Thinking of a fall getaway with the misses…

The Ruins of Detroit ($125) is a 200-page photographic tour through some of the city’s now-decrepit landmarks, interspersed with looks at near-downtown residences that have been trashed, abandoned, and in some cases destroyed completely. It’s quite sad, but on the other hand, it provides plenty of hope for the possible PS3 title Fallout: Detroit 2015.