Options Aerial View: Playlist from April 14, 2015 Options

Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me. (Visit homepage.)

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Options April 14, 2015: The (Sour) Grapes Of Wrath

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Tonight: The (Sour) Grapes of Wrath
"I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this."John Steinbeck
Today marks the 76th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck's stinging indictment of Capitalism, the1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, one of my all-time favorites. I can't remember when I first read it but I know it was after I saw the 1940 film starring Henry Fonda. The book is a far more bitter pill, yet I find myself going back to it again and again in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown.

In its day The Grapes of Wrath was derided and debated, banned and burned. Steinbeck was branded a Socialist and far worse. The book went on to win the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize and is considered one of the most important novels of the 20th century. But it wasn't until 1996 that it was available in Steinbeck's hometown library in Salinas, California (now home to the National Steinbeck Center). 

The novel remains relevant because discussions of Steinbeck's central theme - economic injustice - are ramping up these days, especially with a presidential election on the horizon. The Grapes of Wrath was an eye-opener for me, the first time I grasped that dispossession is not something that just happens to you. It's something brought upon you via forces usually beyond your understanding and certainly beyond your control. It has to do with the consent of the wealthy amongst themselves and the shell game of "Who's to blame?" that sends your attention constantly to the wrong culprits.

As America continues its move in the direction of a "makers" vs. "takers" future, it's important to remember the simple truth Steinbeck showed us: there's more of us than there are of them. But we also need to be clear about who the true villains are and what real solutions exist to put some sense of fairness back into our economic system.

Tonight, inspired by The Grapes Of Wrath, I'm asking:
  • Ever watch while a bank bulldozed your house?
  • Ever have to fight so you could eat?
  • Ever get beat up by a cop?
  • Do you yell when you get mad?
  • What's the longest you've gone without work?
  • Do you believe the "free market" is the answer?
  • Does the coming presidential election interest you at all?
  • How do you feel about Collective Soul, the band and the phenomenon?
Unsheath your terrible, swift sword to dial 201-209-WFMU tonight!
Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, The Grapes Of Wrath, 1940.
"Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’—I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry n’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build—why, I’ll be there. See? God, I’m talkin’ like Casy. Comes of thinkin’ about him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes."
And don't forget "The Grapes of Mud" from SCTV!
Last Week: Aerial View Auto Show
Thanks to everyone who contributed to last week's first-ever Aerial View Auto Show.

Here's a sampling of the ton of comments on the playlist:
  • Hate the auto show - I hate waiting to check out a car while some guy has his little kids jumping around in it and they break all the knobs and levers off. and there's always guys who ask the models"'do you come with the car?"
  • I sold my '94 Honda Accord since I moved from NNJ to (non-hipster) Brooklyn a few months back, and it's just more trouble than it's worth. I like the subway. Why not rent a car if I want to go for a long jaunt to a non-transit-accessible town? I miss the tape deck though.
  • Don't get a car. I would say.
  • The cosmic cruiser: 1997 subaru legacy L. The custom moonroof is no more so water comes right in. Once the stereo was shorted out and wouldn't turn off!
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Insomnia, Parts 1 - 4
I've been asked these questions about the writing in this newsletter: "Is it yours?" and "Will you put it out somehow?" The answers are "Yes" and "Yes".

This is a piece pulled out of a journal from long, long ago. I wish I could tell you what year but I kept a journal for many. If you like this stuff, there's PLENTY more.

 
PART 1: THE SONS OF REAGAN
 
Insomnia again. It has gone on a full month now. Up until four or five AM every night.
 
I hate my job - maybe that's the reason why I can't sleep. I can't go in there anymore, can't wave "hello" and smile at my overlords, these Sons of Reagan who pay themselves six figures and tell me I can't have a raise because "these are lean and mean times" and "we have to all tighten our belts" and "profitability is not what it should be".
 
I am tired of being taken advantage of by these bastards, these pricks who had parents who cared, parents with money enough to send them to colleges where they got their MA's in Fucking Over. They learned (and well) how to get us to pay for their fucking in-ground pools and their new German luxury sedans ("Silver Mist for the wife, Blue Metallic for the mistress, Hunter Green for me.") and the six bedroom, five thousand square-foot mansion on ten acres and the membership at the Maison Blanc Country Club and the fucking silk ties and the fucking Italian suits and the fucking lobster tail lunches and the fucking private school educations for their own horrible little rotten fucks, who will, of course, grow up and head off to Wharton to repeat the cycle.
 
What sets these people apart beside money and the fact that they've always had some? Yeah, they'll lie through their perfectly straight pearly whites and tell you about how they "brought themselves up" and how they're "self-made men". But the truth is that there was always some scratch floating around somewhere. Maybe the old man didn't do so bad at that sales job after all. Maybe an Aunt passed away and left a little pile. Maybe they got married young and got a nice nest egg from all those well-stuffed envelopes at the wedding ñ I don't fucking know. I don't know but that these motherfuckers got their seed money somewhere. They got a leg up. I got shit.
 
My father was a fucking mechanic. The height of his success consisted of his own Gulf Station. Not really his own. The one he ran with his brother, that no-good infamous Uncle who - family legend has it - stole so much from my father that the Gulf station went under. My dad, Respectable Service Station Owner, was reduced to my dad, Schmuck Who Works For Someone Else, teaching young fuckwads how to repair internal combustion engines.
 
I visited him once at his new job, after my Uncle made his grab and set himself up in the forklift business. My dad was wearing pinstriped overalls with a huge embroidered patch on the back that read Lincoln Automotive School and under that For Fifty Years. It seemed like a sentence, imposed on my father by his naive willingness at dealing with his own flesh. Really - who would be stupid enough to trust someone like my Uncle except my dad?
 
Bored with our visit, my two older brothers and I (whom I wouldn't trust with my lunch money) threw old tires off the roof of the Lincoln Automotive school until my dad came out and told us to knock it off or he'd lose his job.
 
My fucking job. My fucking job. I can't sleep and my fucking performance fucking evaluation fucking review is tomorrow. Fuck. These tightwad scum-sucking pieces of shit are going to sit in judgment of me, tell me how I'm doing - make me squirm for my lousy five-percent raise. (I'll be lucky if it's that much). By the way, please excuse me if I'm rambling but I haven't eaten today (that's not true - I had two Devil Dogs and a cup of coffee at noon) and it's four in the morning (that's not true either - it's four oh three in the morning) and I am jonesing for a cigarette (that's True). See, I am broke.
 
The thing is, when I say I am broke it doesn't mean that I have money somewhere that I can't get at. It doesn't mean there's a few dollars socked away in the bank. It doesn't mean there are nickels and dimes and maybe a quarter in the change dispenser in my car. It means I am fucking broke. It means I don't eat again until payday (two days away). It means I may not get to work tomorrow morning because the gas needle is below "E" and the car often runs out of gas when the needle goes below "E". And there is really nothing more embarrassing then hiking to a phone and calling a friend to say you've run out of gas and could use not only a ride to a gas station but a couple bucks for gas. That is really a tough one to pull off. I've done it before and tomorrow morning will mean sharpening that set of skills again.
 
Jesus, I just realized - I'm not broke! I've got this mayonnaise jar one-third full of pennies! There's got to be at least two bucks, maybe two-fifty in there! So I'll just scoop them out and count them up and stick them in some wrappers. Shit, no wrappers - and I thought this was a well stocked home. Do I have balls big enough to take the jar and myself to the nearest filling station and ask for the equivalent in gas? I don't think so. Not yet. Such days are not far off. As of right now (4:14 AM) I just can't see myself pulling into some gas station and coughing up pennies.
 
If I lived near the highway in one of those states that pumps gas on the honor system (those dicks!) I could gas it and go, like I did that time I was driving back from Chicago and had twenty bucks to my name by the Ohio border. I got pretty good at gassing it and going. Okay, so I'll admit it was also a cheap kick. I worked it out so I'd pull up to a pump the furthest from whatever pimply-faced yokel was manning the indoor cash register (all the modern interstate gas stations now have those little convenience stores built into them with cute names like "Stop & Shop" or "Fill 'Er Up" or something equally insipid - there are idea men all over this great land of ours right now trying to think up ever-more catchy and clever names for the pump-side convenience store and making more money a year than I'll ever see in a lifetime), fill up my car with premium, hop in and take off. The thing about filling a tank with stolen gas is that you can begin enjoying your theft immediately. As soon as your boot tip hits the accelerator the satisfaction begins. And in my case, it'd last for two hundred miles or so.
 
I'd spend the first fifty miles anxiously scanning my rearview and concocting explanations for my brazen daylight gas thievery. My favorite one was "My girlfriend was supposed to pay. See, we had a big fight and she stormed over to the "Stop & Shop" and I assumed she'd pay for the gas but then I saw her get into a Camaro, you know, one of those IROCs, and she flipped me the bird and the Camaro peeled out. So I took off after her and was just about to catch up to her when you guys pulled me over. She has my license and everything because I gave her the whole wallet. Shit, she must be really mad at me. Didn't you guys get a report of a speeding Camaro?"
 
I savored every turn and twist of what came to be known as the "Maybelline" story. I actually thirsted for the opportunity to press my underutilized thespian skills into service. I pictured myself toe-to-toe with some Ohio state trooper, actively embellishing the story as it went on, playing to his sympathies (it has been my experience that most if not all state troopers hold extremely conservative views and have troubled marriages) while upping the ante with something like, "She said she was going to get an abortion and I said 'Over my dead body' and that's when she got out of the car and stormed off. With my wallet and everything. Shit. What am I going to do?"
 
I never did get to use "Maybelline".
 
A cigarette would go over real nice right now. Did I tell you I have this performance review tomorrow and it's coming up on 4:45 in the morning? I keep saying "tomorrow" and I guess I mean today.
 
And I never did explain why I am broke, did I? See, I said I was rambling. Most white males my age, thirty-three, are not broke and so I owe you an explanation. Except I can't explain it. I'm smart. I'm funny. I'm good at all that shit business folks love: problem solving, working well with others, intuitive thinking - all the shit they'll be gauging me on tomorrow. I know all the computer programs and can be really productive when I like.
 
I guess I just wasn't shown the way when I was growing up. I had for my model Mr. "Lincoln School Automotive" and Mrs. "Vodka-should-be-in-the-freezer". Yes, mom and dad were fuck ups. But I ain't playing the blame game. I am way beyond that. It's what they call a "skill set" that I didn't get from my parents. They just didn't have it to pass on. They agonized constantly over money - there was never enough. With "five little fucks" (a term of endearment my mother would haul out when the "Majorska" - $6.99 a half-liter this week only at the Liquor Barn - drained to half empty - to feed, clothe and shelter it was no wonder my parents were always broke. The five little fucks really put a crimp in their caviar-gulping lifestyle.
 
Shit, did that come off as bitter? I really didn't mean for it to. I forgive my parents, after all. I don’t blame them. I understand the pressure they were under and how their hands were practically forced to deliver all that physical and mental and verbal abuse. Hell, any two people would've done the same under similar circumstances, right? So forgive and forget, all is well, I love you mommy and daddy.
 
But my boss: he has to die. That miserable son of a bitch has had it coming to him for quite some time. I am going to kill him tomorrow at the performance evaluation. It'll be just him and me. He'll coat me with that fetid Marlboro breath of his and hunker down with me and use his gravely "I-understand-just-what-you're-going-through" voice and when he slides the pen across to me for my signature I'll put out my .25 caliber Charter Arms automatic and shoot him in his pockmarked, bewhiskered face. I have no problem with that. My biggest problem is: Should I let him see the gun first? Should I let him have that little moment of realization? Should I give myself that perfect dot of joy? That widening of the eyes, that incomprehension flashing through the features, that "Oh shit - what's this?" Should I?
 
Shit, I really wish I had a cigarette so I could mull this over properly. All my best thinking is done on the exhale. I wish I could focus on this.
 
You are wondering why I'm broke, why I've been broke for my entire working life, why I am always in debt, why I am $10,000 in debt now, why they will shut off my phone soon and my cable and my gas and electric. The best I can make of it is that I am just no damn good. That I don't try hard enough, just like my teachers would comment on my report cards: "If only Chris would apply himself". They must know.
 
If I could just apply myself, buckle down. If I could just set my nose to the grindstone, tighten my belt. If I would just take another job and work hard at that. If I would just stop blaming everyone else for the mess I'm in.
 
Shit, I'm not going to shoot my boss. I don't even own a Charter Arms .25 automatic. I saw once in Modern Handgunner magazine. They sent me a complimentary copy once because I bought some cold-weather boots from a military-outfitter catalog and they sold my name to every right-wing yahoo in the USA. To this day, my mailbox overflows with all manner of para-military mail-order catalog, angry form letters from the NRA, postcards from the local Republican candidate asking me to "Join in my Pro-life Crusade" and flyers advertising bizarre deer-slaying accouterments (“Deer Co-Cane: just leave it on a salt block and drive the bucks crazy!”).
 
Don't get the wrong idea… if I owned a gun I'd be shooting myself right now. Instead, I'm rooting through my Graceland ashtray looking for smokeable butts. Shit. Nothing. (Mental note: First thing I do when I get that paycheck is stock up on butts and food and stash some smokes for emergencies.)
 
Okay, it's five oh five AM and I really should be thinking about sleep. After all, I do have that performance review. And maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe all I really need to do is have a good talk with myself and re-commit my energy. Like my last girlfriend was always saying: "Why don't you meditate?" So maybe I'll do a bit of that and then lie down to sleep. And if I'm lucky Lucinda will come to me in my dream.
 
And that will be fine as long as I remind myself not to look her in her chest when she says “Hello!” to me tomorrow at work.
 
PART 2: THE DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
 
Christ, I wish I had a cigarette. The little clock on the phone/answering machine says it's 3:36 and I am nowhere near bed. I am jonesing for a smoke. I would kill your mother for a cigarette. And there is nowhere I can get one at this hour.
 
I stopped smoking for three months, probably the fourth time I've done that in the ten years I've been puffing. I know it is one of the worst things I can do for my health, a foul, horrible habit that will lead to fluid-filled lungs and a missing voicebox. But god I want a cigarette. And why should I do anything life-affirming now? Anything like giving up smokes?
 
In my case, and I might be rationalizing here - cigarette smoking is not about nicotine. The few times I've quit have been cold turkey and I swear to you I've never felt any effects of nicotine withdrawal. I've never had classic symptoms like cravings and irritability and so on. When I want to stop I tell my mind that cigarettes have no hold on me, that they now mean nothing and from that point on I don't have any. And it's okay.
 
The larger problem, I suppose, is that I rarely feel like being good to myself these days. I don't exercise. I am overweight. I am losing my hair. I am losing the fight in me. I am pretty much ready to succumb to what killed both my grandfathers and just about every other male relative I had: a heart attack. My father had one too, maybe twelve years ago, but he lived through his. He is tall and thin. Everyone else who took part in assembling my genetic code was a short, roly-poly man who smoked non-filters incessantly and defined physical exertion as popping the cap off a Ballantine Ale.
 
I sometimes put my right hand to where I think my heart is and try to feel something - what, I don't know. A palpitation, a murmur, a problem of some kind, something out of the ordinary? Then I get scared and pull my hand away. I want to go suddenly and quickly. I am one of those cowards for whom lingering in death is not an option. I do not like pain.
 
The insomnia I've been living with this last month has its roots in my fear of death. Closing my eyes and laying myself down brings on this fear that I will go in the night, that there won't be a chance for a 911 call, a shot at some paramedics who will know what they're doing. I fear I will die in bed and my scumbag landlord will discover me when I don't cough up the rent. I will be decomposing and smell horrid and my landlord will take things of mine that I wish for other people to have.
 
I am not sure about many things but know that I don't want to die. I don't believe in an afterlife and can't fathom eternal nothingness, the void, and would rather not face for it for some time. It's true that my life is not what it should be. I am not healthy. I am not what you'd call attractive. I do not have money or a woman that loves me. I spend most of my time alone and bored beyond belief. And wishing for a cigarette.
 
It's always a woman who brings me back to those "tubes of delight", as Dennis Potter called them. Some daughter of the American Revolution, the one that set them free from the likes of second-stringers like me.
 
If I am seeing a woman and it is not going well, I will begin smoking to calm me, fill gaps in the conversation, have something to do. If I am seeing a woman and it is going well and she smokes then I will, too. If I am seeing a woman and it is going well and she doesn't smoke then I will stop for the duration. And take it up again with a vengeance when the relationship self-destructs. "Up in smoke" right?
 
But this insomnia and the smoking. And drinking beer at home. And not going out. And not being able to pass a mirror without feeling incredible disappointment in myself: not a good combination. It tends to get me down, as you might well imagine.
 
I think about death at these times and the relief it would bring from this agonizing cycle. I think about my family and how we don't know each other at all and how we never will. I think I'd like to call my father and talk to him but there is too much water under the bridge. I think about my mother and how she has her own problems. I think about my brothers and sisters and how we were never close. I want a cigarette.
 
I wish I could have a nice smoke and then go off to bed. I wish I had followed my own advice and bought a pack to stash somewhere. I wish it were tomorrow so I could march out to the store a block away and buy a pack.
 
I don't want to die, despite what the craving and the insomnia have to say. Despite how I suffer. I have learned a very valuable and simple lesson over the years: life is short and death is long. And it’s better to make others suffer. That’s why I now have “The Plan”. God, you should see it. You would kiss me on the forehead.
 
Shit, I need some sleep.
 
PART 3: TALKING WITH INANIMATE OBJECTS
 
Hello, bed. Whadda ya say, whadda ya know? No, I won't be coming to you anytime soon. I have things to do, places to go, people to see. All in my mind. I have to figure things out before I sprawl under your covers again. I have to figure a way out of this mess. I have to figure out how to be happy with myself, how to go to bed another night by myself. And wake up again by myself. I have to adjust to that all over again.
 
I have to soothe myself, somehow. Stop the fear in me that I am dying constantly, endlessly. I have to keep my hand away from my head, stop feeling for the hair that is no longer there. I have to keep my hands from my belly, stop wishing there wasn't so damn much of it. I have to stop reaching for that next cigarette, knowing they are killing me and it is what I want. I have to get some fucking answers, bed, before I see you again.
 
Bed, at this point, I'd settle for lies. But good ones. I will settle for the lie that I am not a failure, that I have not turned my life over to descent, that I am capable of climbing out of this deep, narrow pit, the one with sides coated in black grease, the one with a pinhole of light dimming at the top. I'd accept the lie that tomorrow will be a better day than this one was. I'd accept the lie that I can remake myself yet again, that I am the captain of my own ship, that happiness is waiting for me, that there is a woman waiting for me, for me to say "hello", for me to make her laugh, make her cry, make her come to you, bed.
 
Because I hear you mocking me. And I don't like it. I hear what you say. Your full-size mouth is jeering; "Yes, that's right - lay down on me, have a nice dream. Let's get all cozy together and I'll ignore your heavy snore, I'll ignore your tossing, I'll ignore you curling into a ball, hands over head, your pleading for rest." Bed, you don't like me anymore, do you?
 
But you don't have things to figure out, do you? You don't have to figure out how the world seemed limitless when you were young, how it shrinks every day, how your movements become smaller and your head bows. You don’t have to figure out how to keep your head down. Some philosophy to carry you through life, eh bed? You old bastard. You cradle, you grave you.
 
PART 4: BEING ALONE
 
Being alone is hard. It never gets easier. You tend to talk to yourself too much, rely on your own opinion, get set in your ways, establish unbreakable routines. Take me - my appearance has gone to hell. I've stopped shaving and cutting my hair. I think it was that documentary I saw on Einstein. I'm not much on brains but tonsiorally I bet I can give old Alfred a run. Grooming is something you do when you think the opposite sex might be looking. The opposite sex hasn't pitched an eye my way in a month of Sundays. Yeah, they all feel like Sundays now, Sunday evenings more specifically - that horrid summing up point of the week when you look over the days just past and feel the squander acutely. I'm throwing them away with incredible fluidity, these days. Sitting and growing still.
 
I tell myself I miss companionship but what it really is, what is really is (shit) sex. I miss sex. I miss a warm body in bed. I've been too picky, is my problem. I've kicked women out of my life on the flimsiest of pretexts: this one is a space cadet, that one is boring; this one has madness in her genes. I mean, who am I to be making these pronouncements? What am I, fucking Prince Charles? I'm a deeply flawed and mediocre man and it's high time I owned up to it, high time I saw the handjob on the wall, woke up and smelled the sheets. It's no place for cowards.
 
There is this pain in me and it won't subside. It frightens me. I feel on the verge of something: death or a breakdown or something. I am so disappointed in myself, in the way I am, what I've become, what I've been, what I will be. I suppose it's mostly my health - it is horrible. I am eighty pounds overweight. I don't exercise. I don't eat well. I smoke. I drink. Lately - I don't know - lately I've had this feeling that my heart is failing. It's nothing particular I can point at, nothing like pains or tightness or anything. It is my family history and my poor health catching up with me. I am so scared. I want to tell someone, I try to tell my shrink when I see her on Wednesday nights, when I lie on her couch for fifty minutes. But I always end up talking about money and the fact I never have any. And can't seem to make any. Or we talk about women and how I have no success with them because of my weight, how I continually seek out ones who will reject me in the end and confirm my own worst opinion of myself. I talk about many things but never this fear that I am slowly, imperceptibly dying - okay, so I know we are all slowly, imperceptibly dying - but I mean prematurely. I am afraid I am prematurely, slowly, imperceptibly dying. And then I think about something my shrink said once: "You do know that all fears embody a desire?” Sounds like bullshit, right? But I thought about it and I would have to admit that I don't want to grow old. I don't want to be decrepit and a fat invalid incapable of shitting or pissing or washing himself. I don't want someone else caring for me that way.

One of my first jobs was in this bakery in my hometown, Cieslak's Modern Bakery, owned by these two sisters in their fifties. One of them, Ruth I think, lived above the bakery with her husband and her elderly mother. This women had to be ninety. We called her "Grandma" and she was just skin and bones, like an Auschwitz survivor (which she no doubt was owing to the fact that it was a Polish Bakery), couldn't have weighed more than ninety pounds. She was so frail, her arms and legs were as thin as the handle of the broom they gave her to keep her occupied when she came into the back of the bakery. She mumbles incomprehensibly in Polish and sweep at nothing. She was, I suppose, not mentally well but the daughters, unwilling or unable to put her in a nursing home, treated her like an idiot child and cared for her as one. They were always wiping something off her face, demanding her to "Look at me! Look at me, damnit!" while Grandma flopped her head around, looked anywhere but straight ahead.
 
One time Grandma got loose and came downstairs naked. I was the only one in the kitchen, I was washing dishes, and Grandma began mumbling to me in Polish, not aware of her state, not aware of the day or the month or the year or the decade. I was transfixed by her shriveled body, couldn't believe someone so old and worn out could move under her own power. I was afraid, actually, because Grandma was coming toward me, advancing with each sentence (they seemed to be sentences, the inflection rose on the end). She was a foot from me when I yelled for one of the girls who worked up front behind the counter. She looked back and saw Grandma and yelled for the daughter upstairs. The daughter bustled down the stairs that emptied into a hallway between the front of the bakery and the rear. She saw Grandma and let out a shriek then went back upstairs for a blanket. I stood there dripping dishwashing liquid from my yellow rubber gloves onto the battered wood floor until a large puddle formed. Ruth scolded me as she led her mother away.
 
The worst was when Grandma had to shit. The sisters would take her to a bathroom, which was alongside the stairs, and they'd be in there usually for an hour. Grandma apparently had great difficulty shitting, it caused her tremendous pain. No amount of volume from our puny little radio could cover up her shouts of "You're killing me! - the only thing I ever heard her say in English. Over and over at the top of her petrified lungs she'd yell "You're keeeling meeee!  You're keeling meee!"  There was no escape from it, unless you could stand an hour in the walk-in freezer.
 
I hear her now, Grandma. I hear her every time I sit down on the bowl and want a shit. I hear her every time my feet ache and swell or my back goes stiff or I think about the heart attack to come. I think about her every time I think about my advancing decrepitude.
 
Can anyone understand, can I make anyone understand how cheated I feel? How I sit here wishing this wasn't me that is sitting here?
Upcoming Chris T. Stuff
WFMU Rec Fair Icon
Saturday, May 2
I'll be selling records, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, books, old paper and lots of interesting collectibles at the WFMU Record Fair, this year in BROOKLYN!

The WFMU Record Fair runs Friday, May 1 to Sunday, May 3 and features hundreds of record dealers from all over the planet selling a ton of vinyl and music in every conceivable format, plus posters, magazines, books - you name it. And lots of onsite programming, too!
Asbury Punk Rock Flea Market Icon
Saturday, May 30
I return to the Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market with whatever's left over from the WFMU Record Fair!

Held in the historic Asbury Park Convention Center, the Punk Rock Flea Market features a live DJ spinning actual 45s and lots of comic books, T-shirts, collectibles, antiques, vintage clothing and - of course - vinyl. The Asbury Park boardwalk is a short stroll away, with great food and shopping.
Obligatory Throwback Pic
My Mom, on the stoop with a beverage.
Me and my red bike. Circa 1969.
How To Hear Aerial View
OVER THE AIR: Every Tuesday night, 6 PM Eastern time on WFMU in the metro NY/NJ area at 91.1 FM and on WMFU at 90.1 in the lower Catskills, Hudson Valley, western New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

ON THE WEB: Streaming audio in several formats is available at wfmu.org.
ON DEMAND ARCHIVES: The Aerial View Archive page features archives going back to nearly the beginning of the show in RealAudio and MP3 format.
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Artist Track Year Format
Unknown Chris T.  Red River Aerial View Valley   Options 2015  CD 

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:02pm Greg from Bloomfield:

Damn you, CD Player 1!
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:03pm Marcel M:

Ohhh some sort of free form improvisational noise thing for the intro tonight!
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:05pm Marcel M:

Hi Chris and Friends.

Hi Greg!
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:06pm Greg from Bloomfield:

Oi Marcel!
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:07pm Ken From Hyde Park:

In an hour or two, we'll have mostly forgotten the skipping CD. What's the phrase they use in film making? "Fix it in post!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:09pm common:

hey!
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:13pm P-90:

Her book finally came out in 2004.
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:15pm P-90:

"The Grapes of Wrath Test" sounds like some horrifying survival course...
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:15pm Mutant:

Collective Soul?
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:16pm P-90:

Rose breastfeeding the starving man is "porny"?
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:16pm Mutant:

It's a comedy act
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:16pm dale:

i always thought the movie was earlier than 40 just from the fact that the contrast in the black and white was so huge.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:19pm dale:

cannery row is really a comedy. drunks who can't get away from the company store. or bar.
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:25pm Mutant:

Cannery Row is my favorite
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:25pm Marcel M:

That story reminds me of how Tolstoy almost named his book war what is it good for
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:26pm P-90:

When Steinbeck's wife addressed him as "Hey, Schmuck!" she usually meant it affectionately.
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:26pm Mutant:

I agree we are doomed
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:28pm Listener 102365:

Before 2008 I had never been unemployed longer than 6 months, and that's when I took a months vacation.
Then I went 3 years with hardly any work. By the time I got a full time gig in 2011 the house & the savings were long gone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:29pm Mike East:

yeah, Cannery Row is great. Never actually read Grapes of Wrath. I remember my sister's HATED it in HS and that kind of kept me away from it for years. Then I saw the movie and said, "why haven't I ever read this?!"...and I still haven't.
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:29pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I've heard of the book, but haven't read it or even seen the movie. The South Park episode "Over Logging" kind of parodied the Okies going to California in search of internet access.
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:31pm Eddie:

Never understood the lesser of two evils as the only choice. If everyone voted for anyone other than the two party system, there would definitely have change, good, bad or indifferent, it would be change.
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:31pm Ryab:

man id call in for sure but im busting my ass at work.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:32pm dale:

enjoy yourself, it's later than you think. what was that a commercial for?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:32pm dale:

some cheap beer, i think.
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:33pm cklequ:

I read pretty much every Steinbeck book while working as a collection agent at a sweltering Goodwill trailer one summer. The Grapes of Wrath is the only one that really stuck with me.

Lots of Steinbeck ends up donated to Goodwill.
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:33pm Mutant:

Grapes could be renamed California 2016
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:35pm Ryan:

serious though what about the overpopulation problem.
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:36pm Cheri Pi:

Tortilla Flats is my fave, but I love all of his writing.
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:38pm Old Dave:

The Red Pony. 7th grade. It was my intro to this great author, and I share your love of "Grapes," Chris!
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:39pm P-90:

Pretty much ALL of the "Founding Fathers" strongly opposed the idea of multi-party system in this country, for all the same reasons that it has since turned into such a disaster. They knew, all the way back then.
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:42pm Greg from Bloomfield:

The writers at cracked.com talk about that a lot– the myth of the individual American genius succeeding in a vacuum. Most of those stories turn out to be vastly misleading.
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:42pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Our class also read The Red Pony. I remember the vulture at the end...yarf.
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:43pm P-90:

It's BARRY Sanders who should run for president...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:48pm dale:

the guy who sang 'the green berets?'
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:50pm V Priceless:

Screw banks and insurance companies. Biggest criminals on earth. Hiya Chris!
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:52pm V Priceless:

Read about how Nixon sabotaged Johnson's attempt to end 'nam in '68.
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:55pm Greg from Bloomfield:

Thanks, Chris!
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:56pm Old Dave:

Hah! I got jury duty on the 30th. No kidding, stay calm, do your duty.
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:56pm LES:

Great show ChrisT
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 6:57pm Cheri Pi:

What they all said Chris!
Avatar Tue. 4/14/15 6:58pm Mutant:

We all is Joads
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:58pm hot bar:

You don't need to go to jury duty.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 6:58pm dale:

i'ma tryin' to......
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:59pm Shel:

Best FMU talker=Chris
  Tue. 4/14/15 6:59pm Old Dave:

You don't need to vote, but you damn well should.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 4/14/15 7:00pm Mike East:

I just filed my taxes! Anybody else a serious procrastinator like me?
  Tue. 4/14/15 7:01pm VSA:

hot bar is the kind of asshole that keeps the country stuck
Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 4/14/15 7:13pm Ken From Hyde Park:

@Mike East - I owe money, so I'm also waiting until the end.
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