78

Passing Behind Our Backs

Edward Curtin

I never met the great basketball player, Bob Cousy, the man known as “the Houdini of the Hardwood,” yet he somehow influenced my life in ways I never knew, or to be more accurate, in ways I didn’t reflect upon except in superficial ways.

He was the guy who brought professional basketball into the modern era with his bag of fancy tricks that included no-look and behind-the-back passes, uncanny dribbling, and a magical court sense that made the fast break into an exquisite art form.

The captain and point-guard of the Boston Celtics from 1950-1963, Cousy led the Celtics to six NBA titles, made thirteen all-star teams, and changed professional basketball from a stodgy, boring, and slow game into a fast-paced spectacle, entertainment as much as sport.

He was a wizard with a basketball and set the stage for Guy Rodgers, “Pistol Pete” Maravich, Bob Dylan, Magic Johnson, and Steve Nash, among other tricksters, modern Hermes.

Over the years I have written a great deal on a very wide-range of topics, but it wasn’t until a friend from high school recently sent me Gary Pomeranz’s fascinating book, The Last Pass: Cousy, Russell, the Celtics, and What Matters in the End, that something clicked for me.

A few weeks previously, as the weather had turned spring-like, I had started to shoot hoops at our basket in the driveway.

The warm air, the feel of a loose flowing freedom as I dribbled and shot, brought me back to the days when I spent so many hours playing in the Bronx schoolyards of my youth, perfecting my skills in what I can only call a fanatical way. Rushing to the schoolyard after school and on Saturday mornings to be the first there, to command the court, to compete with the older guys and beat their asses.

Traveling around the city’s best basketball neighborhoods to play and make my mark. The endless hours in gyms. The search for perfection. The adrenaline rush, the thrill, the joy of the perfect pass, the sweet swish of the net from a shot you had practiced a thousand times. From the age of eleven until twenty-three, basketball was central to my life and identity. It was my passion.

It was during these recent days shooting around that I started to have almost nightly dreams of my younger years, playing basketball in high school and then in college on a Division I scholarship. They were very vivid dreams, and at the time, I didn’t understand why I was having them. And they were starting to annoy me, as persistent and weird dreams can do. Begone, dread spirits! Yet I knew they were telling me to heed their tales told when no one was looking, only this dreamer in the night.

While this was happening, I wrote an article about Bob Dylan and his recent release of “Murder Most Foul,” his powerful song about the assassination of President Kennedy, wherein he brilliantly accuses elements within the US government and intelligence forces of killing the president in cold blood, while framing Lee Harvey Oswald for the deed.

I had written about Dylan before, loved his music, and found him an intriguing if enigmatic character, a Houdini of song.

“Murder Most Foul” seemed to burst out of Dylan after decades of avoiding straight-forward political themes. It struck me that with this song he had ripped off the masks he had been wearing for decades, as if he were Odysseus at the end of The Odyssey, shrugging off his beggar’s rags and announcing to the suitors of his wife Penelope that the gig was up and they were going down.

It seemed to me that Dylan was coming full-circle, as if he were coming home to take revenge on the killers who had scarred his youth, as they did mine and so many others’. “Like a musician, like a harper, when/ with quiet hand upon his instrument,” Odysseus lets the arrow sing, Dylan reaches back to sing:

The day they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly, so quick, by surprise
Right there in front of everyone’s eyes
Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done

Slowly it dawned on me that everyone’s life has a shape, as if it were a drawing or story or song. And that if we pay close attention and see through all the snares and temptations meant to divert us from our true paths, we will find our beginnings in our ends and without directions we will find our way home.

It is very hard to explain to someone who didn’t know you once upon a time long before you met, how important certain activities were to you, what they meant and still mean in the deepest recesses of your psyche. How they shaped you, or better still, how you used them to bend your life when you strung your bow so effortlessly to hit the target that you aimed for. Or thought you were aiming for.

My life in basketball shaped the man that I became, but my wife only knows the aftermath since she met me when I had taken a long twenty-five-year vacation from basketball.

Like Cousy, sitting and talking with Pomeranz, or Dylan sharpening his arrows and letting them fly in his new song False Prophet, I could say:

You don’t know me darlin’ – you never would guess
I’m nothing like my ghostly appearance would suggest
I ain’t no False Prophet – I just said what I said
I’m here to bring vengeance on somebody’s head

While I am half-way through reading the Cousy book, I get its drift, where it’s heading. In conversations with Pomeranz, he is hoping to be inspired to understand the journey that has left him, an old man, frightened, alone, and approaching death in a large house in Worcester, Massachusetts, trying to understand, not only his fraught relationship with his black Celtic teammate, Bill Russell, but what his life has been all about, the court wizardry and cheers, the years on the road, the applause and awards, the championships and the price they exacted. He went to the basketball wars and won, came home, but now wonders what home really means.

Unlike Odysseus, he only has ghosts to slay. His wife is dead, and no suitors occupy the great house of shades. There is no one to kill except his regrets.

My friend, Wayne, who sent me the book, spent three years in high school with me studying Greek, and over the course of those years, we translated Homer’s The Odyssey line by line. We were also basketball teammates.

Odysseus, of course, was the ultimate trickster, the man of many wiles and disguises, what the nymph Calypso, who held Odysseus captive for seven years on her island Ogygia, called “a rascal.”

Like Houdini, Odysseus was able to escape this phantom island with the help of the messenger and trickster Hermes.

Like Cousy, Odysseus was the Houdini of the ancient world, the hero who could escape any trap and thread an arrow through the smallest space to defeat the enemy. Cousy’s fierceness on the court is legendary; his poker face hid the killer instinct, like Odysseus with his wily habit of standing with downcast eyes to disguise his intent. Cousy could thread a pass between an opponent’s eyes without them blinking. They often never knew what hit them.

I was reminded of this as I was rereading bits of Bob Dylan’s fascinating and poetic memoir, Chronicles: Volume I, and came upon his memory of hearing the news of the death of “Pistol” Pete Maravich, the greatest scorer in college basketball history and a magician without par on the court. Maravich was Cousy’s heir, and the bloodline connects to Dylan also, a Houdini with words. It was January 5, 1988:

My aunt was in the kitchen and I sat down with her to talk and drink coffee. The radio was playing and morning news was on. I was startled to hear that Pete Maravich, the basketball player, had collapsed on a basketball court in Pasadena, just fell over and never got up. I’d seen Maravich play in New Orleans once, when the Utah Jazz were the New Orleans Jazz.

He was something to see – mop of brown hair, floppy socks – the holy terror of the basketball world – high flyin’ – magician of the court. The night I saw him he dribbled the ball with his head, scored a behind the back, no look basket –
dribbled the length of the court, threw the ball up off the glass and caught his own pass. He was fantastic. Scored something like thirty-eight points. He could have played blind.

Pistol Pete hadn’t played professionally for a while, and he was thought of as forgotten. I hadn’t forgotten about him, though. Some people seem to fade away but then when they are truly gone, it’s like they didn’t fade away at all.

He goes on to write that after hearing the news of Pistol Pete’s sad death playing pickup basketball, he started and completed the song “Dignity” the same day, and in the days that followed song after song flowed from his pen.

The news of one creative spirit’s death gave birth to another creative spirit’s gift to life. (I am reminded of Shakespeare writing Hamlet after his father’s death.)

It’s like I saw the song up in front of me and overtook it, like I saw all the characters in this song and elected to cast my fortunes with them …. The wind could never blow it out of my head. This song was a good thing to have. On a song like this, there’s no end to things.”

No one wants to end, to fade away. To not be recognized. To die and be forgotten. To fail to make their mark. Not Dylan, Cousy, Maravich, me, nor you. We all wish to become who we feel we were meant to be. To fulfil the creative dreams we had when young and not to waste our lives in trivial pursuits. Years pass and people often ask with Dylan in “Shooting Star”:

Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of me
If I was still the same
If I ever became what you wanted me to be
Did I miss the mark or overstep the line
That only you could see?
Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of me

I keep thinking: who is you for you? For me?

When I was a young boy, I wanted to stand out, to be exceptional, to be one-of-a-kind, an individual. Basketball became my obsession and Bob Cousy my idol. I wanted to be a shooting star, a dribbling star, a passing star. I watched him on television, studying him. His every move inspired me to imitate it.

I would spend hours every day practicing behind the back passes, first right-handed, then left, against the wall where I had marked an x in chalk. I worked on my peripheral vision, so I could see the whole court and control the show.

In the hidden recesses of my basement, I used tape to mark spots on the floor where I spent hour after hour dribbling behind my back, first this way and then that, past imaginary opponents. I made dribbling glasses with black tape out of my mother’s old sunglasses.

Worked on circling the ball behind my back either way. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year, I devoted myself to perfecting my basketball skills as a point guard. Being like Bob Cousy. Being the one whose magic feats were the talk of the town the following day.

One day, I met and talked with Paul Newman on the street after high school basketball practice. When I was leaving, he called me Fast Eddie, which to my mind added to the mystique I felt as a trickster on the hardwood.

I felt fast and loose like Paul’s character Eddie Felson in The Hustler when he was on a roll with his cue stick, “You don’t have to look, you just Know. You make shots that nobody has ever made before. I can play that game the way…. Nobody’s ever played it before.”

That was my goal and the impetus behind my fanatical devotion to practice. I loved it, there was joy in it, but there was also a driven quality to my quest.

For whom? Only you?

I was easily bored by conventional life and conventional basketball. But the conventional world surrounded me. It was in school, church, the way people talked and walked; it seemed like people were straight-jacketed, which they were. Blake’s mind-forged manacles. I sensed people were dissemblers, and that lies were the essence of social life.

Nowhere was this truer than on the basketball court in high school and college where the coaches had their systems and their rules and discouraged innovation, as if it would reveal them to be artists in disguise, weird, less-than-manly men who couldn’t run a tight ship.

They always rewarded those who obeyed them and kept within the strict rules of the system. Creativity frightened them. The old ways sufficed. It was just like society, and though Cousy had broken through and been idolized for doing so, he had retired from the Celtics in the spring of 1963, while the high school and college programs were stuck in the past.

I felt imprisoned. I wanted to bust out and play free. Be free. It was like the classics that I studied in school: the lesson was always that the exploits you read about were things of the past, and now we were civilized gentlemen who must learn the rules of the game and play by them. Tradition. But the rules were suffocating me.

The rules of the game had almost brought the world to an end during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. The rules of the game had created a system of war and racism that was badly broken, resulting in the savage killing not only a President who had undergone a radical spiritual conversion toward peace-making, but four little black girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday September 15, 1963, a year to the day after I started college with my trivial young man’s dreams of being the Cousy of college hoops.

The rules of the game would soon be violated by Dylan at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, when he would shock Pete Seeger and others with his song, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” a radical break with strictly political songs in favor of pure dazzling poetry in song. That was a Cousy moment, poetry in motion, Houdini out of the locked box, dancing “beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free.”

Bob Dylan, whose life and career follows Odysseus’ trajectory, ended his 2017 Nobel Award Lecture with the first line of the Odyssey: “Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story.”

My friend Wayne and I, together with all our high school classmates, had memorized those lines in Greek. They were ingrained in us for life, as they have been for Dylan.

But tell what story? For whom? Only you?

Dylan has told so many. Here’s one I have for you, one you never heard. Here are the opening lines; let’s call it Book I, not that a Goddess intervened, but it was, in Odysseus’ words, the beginning of the end of my “clean-cut game.”

A month after the Cuban Missile Crisis, I played my first college basketball game. In those days, all freshman were required by the rules of the game to play one year of freshman basketball before playing varsity. This was the day I had been waiting for since the sixth grade when my dedication to basketball began.

My blood was flowing fast, I had no fear, and was ready to use all the skills I had spent years honing. The stands were packed. My proud family sat a few rows up behind our bench, my parents and four of my sisters, two of whom were quite young at eight and eleven years old.

The game was close, back and forth it went. With about a minute and a half left, we were leading by two points. The other coach called a time out with the ball in their possession.

In the huddle, our coach assigned me to guard the opponent’s best player, a six-foot-four inch jumping jack who was highly acclaimed and a very good player by the name of Albie Grant. I was five-foot-eleven, and beside my offensive skills, was a tough and tenacious very well-conditioned defender who took pride in sticking to an opponent like glue.

They threw the ball in and screened for Grant. He got the ball and I got in his face. He went up for a jump shot from about 20 feet out, and since I was not going to block his shot, I did what all good defenders do, I got my hand in front of his eyes. But he made the shot anyway, and the referee called a shooting foul on me. But I never touched him. It was a terrible call, but I could do nothing about it.

Behind my back, I could hear my coach cursing me out with every name in the book – you fucking bastard, you shit, etc. He could be heard throughout the arena. The crowd went silent. He kept cursing me out and my already sweaty, red face must have turned purple. I felt on fire. He took me out of the game, a game I had played throughout. He kept cursing at me.

I sat away from him on the bench and he came down and stood over me, calling me every name in his limited vocabulary, you fucking this, you fucking that. I looked at him in rage.

The game continued. Grant made the free throw and we lost by one point.

As we walked off the court to the locker room door at the end, he kept screaming invective at me. I could feel my rage swelling. My family was descending from the stands and could hear it all. I noticed others staring in disbelief.

To say it was humiliating barely captures what it felt like, but just as I played the game fiercely, I was not one to take such abuse. But I kept telling myself to control myself. It was the coach who was making a fool of himself.

Then, when we entered the locker room, he let loose at me again, you fucking idiot, you fucking bastard….when I snapped and grabbed him by his shirt and tie, my hands around his neck, I threw him up against the wall and let him have it, screaming that I’d had enough of his shit and I would kill him if he ever did it again.

All hell broke loose as people were pulling me off him, and my father, who was outside the locker room, came rushing in to intervene.

Years of passionate dedication to becoming the best basketball player I could, came to this. I had reacted in fury to being humiliated “in my own house” in front of my family.

I think now of Odysseus when he stood on the broad door sill and killed AntÍnoös, the worst of the suitors of his wife, Penelope. “Odysseus’ arrow hit him under the chin/ and punched up to the feathers through his throat.”

How dare he take revenge and defend his honor, came the shouts from the easily offended but secretly guilty. The other suitors screamed at him: “Foul! To shoot at a man! That was your last shot.”

It wasn’t mine, but that is the rest of the story. My craft changed in the following years. I no longer tried to imitate other tricksters like Bob Cousy or Bob Dylan. They have their own tales to tell and dwell upon. Their words are not mine.

Now I play with words in my own way.

But like Bob Dylan, “I return once again to Homer who says, ‘Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story.’

Our stories often happen behind our backs where we can’t see them. Telling them is the trick. You need to turn around and see what’s behind you to pass them around.

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Gary Steven Corseri
Gary Steven Corseri
May 26, 2020 5:15 AM

As I’ve written before, and am apt never to tire of saying, when one starts a Curtinesque story, one is never quite sure where one is going and how things will end. One can be fairly certain that one will be different at the journey’s end: changes may be subtle, they may be remarkable. Whatever the degree of change, one will be grateful for the transformations–as Odysseus was grateful to hear the sirens’ songs: though they tempted him with destruction, he learned what he could bear. In this life-excerpt, Curtin opens the curtain on his own early struggle–which is everyone’s struggle–to be someone, not to fade, to be recognized for one’s skill, one’s talent, one’s decency, physical prowess, mental acuity. In his earlier days (and daze) Ed’s passion to excel turned on a spinning basketball–passed behind his back, passed unerringly, like his hero Bob Cousy could pass it round the… Read more »

John Ervin
John Ervin
May 28, 2020 8:39 PM

To topically update the famous film caveat of the Great and Powerful Oz, at least just this once: “Pay no attention to the Ed “behind the Curtin”!

mikael
mikael
May 25, 2020 11:29 PM

Sorry, dont know much about basket, but instead I will give you what I think is the best Bob D. song, and keep my self short and go for the song.
Forever young.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frj2CLGldC4
Nothing more to add.

peace

Doctortrinate
Doctortrinate
May 25, 2020 10:39 PM

howl at the moon….brush teeth, bound through the snow, but picture it all from far faraway, distantly related, feeling the bond tickle the essence of the choral chords. If not, I guess it would only be, bordering on chasing your tail around.

Charlotte Russe
Charlotte Russe
May 25, 2020 9:49 PM

DOES IT MAKE A SOUND? “Then, when we entered the locker room, he let loose at me again, you fucking idiot, you fucking bastard….when I snapped and grabbed him by his shirt and tie, my hands around his neck, I threw him up against the wall and let him have it, screaming that I’d had enough of his shit and I would kill him if he ever did it again…….” In just seconds a coach, mentor, or parent are capable of annihilating a child’s passion derived from the satisfaction in achieving a skill. There must be endless circumstances where natural proficiencies are stomped-out and not nurtured. Genius, which could benefit the entire world often never surfaces because of a series of unfortunate events halting its development. With more than seven billion humans on this planet “luck” takes precedence over skill. Being special is NOT enough when so many other factors… Read more »

Aldous Hexley
Aldous Hexley
May 25, 2020 6:29 PM

A commenter below in this thread talks about “mithering,” and the need to get off it (does sound a bit self-righteous, tho, and slams Off-G while at it with sour tones and frowning) plus admonishes that we should just go ahead and celebrate, or something–so my apologies up front for this. Plus what’s “behind me” is actually what I’m having some difficulty with. A moment ago I wouldn’t have believed people in general would allow, as with today’s news, new employment ops for snitches in Ohio to help undercover agents in bars and restaurants etc. keep track of social violations, or mandated aps that track your every contact possibility, or that the state can “legally” vaccinate anybody it wishes, or that suddenly “the one indispensable nation” and “the exceptional nation” (whoa! Barack! such rhetoric!) would and could turn into Nazi Germany just like that with Lockdown Iteration #2 on its… Read more »

Willem
Willem
May 25, 2020 6:35 PM
Reply to  Aldous Hexley

In NL barbers are obliged to wear face masks. All barbers that I could see from the street (quite a few) did it in the week of re-opening their shops. This weekend I looked again. Not one of them was wearing the mask.

And this is only week 2 since barbers re-opened.

jrsm
jrsm
May 25, 2020 10:19 PM
Reply to  Willem

In Portugal both the barber and the customer have to wear face masks, and this is zealously enforced. I went for a haircut today, and had to partially remove my mask five times, which most likely defeats the purpose. Interestingly, in restaurants only the waiters have to wear masks, but if there were a way to eat with a mask on probably they would make it mandatory.

John Ervin
John Ervin
May 28, 2020 10:41 PM
Reply to  jrsm

“Interestingly, in restaurants only the waiters have to wear masks, but if there were a way to eat with a mask on probably they would make it mandatory.” That’s E~Z. Just make all restaurants world-wide have mandatory liquid alternative versions of every menu choice, and special single use masks with sealed straw attachments at the entry. PROBLEM SOLVED! And since this is so Global, get China to mass produce and ship them everywhere. Just not from Wuhan, please. And now for something completely different (yet more on topic, in some deference to the memoirist)…. When (and if ) The (aka “My”) Lakers resume play (they say without fans in attendance) this “season” … will they be wearing masks? That would be suggestive of cultic Hardwood Houdinism. At least whenever revisited by Posterity, if out of proper context. I’m not yet prepared for everything. Like the C&W song croons, “I’ve got… Read more »

Willem
Willem
May 25, 2020 6:01 PM

Some observations from the workplace 1. Today I had a meeting for teaching purposes with 2 other teachers: a pediatrician (P) and a statistician (S). And since P and I are every workday in the hospital, I convinced S (who lives 2 blocks away from the hospital, yet hasn’t been in hospital since 13 March) that she should also come to the hospital. Nothing to worry, free coffee, no Covid case in weeks and that it would be nice to see each other again… Success! Or so I thought, because P mailed us yesterday that he didn’t like the prospect of meeting in the hospital since teaching was not directly patient related, and that we needed to social distance because of safety for the patient… And so S self-isolated again and we had this horrible videoconferencing this morning instead. And I just thought: ‘why are we so ‘well-behaved’? – especially… Read more »

Aldous Hexley
Aldous Hexley
May 25, 2020 7:06 PM
Reply to  Willem

In my experience (US) people are mostly “putting up with” and “going along with” the rules without serious convictions that any of it is actually serious or meaningful. In the early stages two months ago I thought this meant it would soon pass. I suppose now that conformity, herd conformity, is the reason that even a mob could develop, as I read today, to drag a woman out of a supermarket because she was not wearing a mask. That is, the politics is defined by a faux self-righteousness. We’d better be “lookin’ good here” is a political stance (versus anything principled, as based on a constitution), to replace meaningful political action, and this now goes back clear to the falsities of George W, which only became worse in subsequent years to the point we now have no effective people’s political system left. I spoke with several neighbors the other day… Read more »

Shruti
Shruti
May 28, 2020 6:00 PM
Reply to  Willem

These sorts of behaviors in the workplace would drive me crazy. People need to stay out of other people’s business.

I like your analytical approach.

paul
paul
May 25, 2020 5:31 PM

I’ve never understood the Americans bigging up pathetic games like basketball and baseball.
These are just games for little girls, exactly like netball and rounders.
Why can’t these fairies play proper men’s games, like rugby or cricket?
That’s what I want to know.

John Ervin
John Ervin
May 28, 2020 1:59 AM
Reply to  paul

Excuse me: I played Rugby at the first western U.S. high school that had it, 1960s, and it’s a great game.

But Basketball 🏀 is a religion.

Phil Jackson wrote a book about that, “Sacred Hoops”.

But that’s OK if you can’t tell the difference. I took a lot of shots to the head, too.

As a wing.

Jim McDonagh
Jim McDonagh
May 25, 2020 2:53 PM

“Passing the buck behind our backs” , would have been a better title for this fluff piece?

Jim McDonagh
Jim McDonagh
May 25, 2020 2:48 PM

This article struck me as an Onion like spoof aimed at its readers? Comparing a guy who played basketball for a living with one of the mythical sackers of Troy and a 20th century American folk singer, song writer with limited appeal , just seems laughable . But then I’d just read the article on the dismal state of education these days?

Willem
Willem
May 25, 2020 3:23 PM
Reply to  Jim McDonagh

Well, I liked the story.
And who cares to whom a person wants to compare himself with?

Some authors compare people with a summer’s day and get away it.

http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/18

Mishko
Mishko
May 26, 2020 1:52 AM
Reply to  Jim McDonagh

And the reverence for Bob D, The Dylan.
Really a generational thing.
Aye, culture was created, even culture running counter to culture.
Not saying ye aulde Bob was a black magician, but the effect he had
on his loved ones was dark. Dark as in narcissistic total cunt dark.
Total and utter cunt but still more agreeable than todays
wannabee topdog suave manager political types.
Then again, the bar is set so very low.
What is our treshold?

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 25, 2020 1:27 PM

I don’t know Mr Curtin. I wonder if you maybe do Dylan a disservice?

I rather consider “Murder Most Foul” to be a metaphor for the death of the American Dream.

Howard
Howard
May 25, 2020 3:29 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

I sincerely hope “Murder Most Foul” is not “a metaphor for the death of the American Dream.” This, because the object of Bob Dylan’s “murder” is portrayed as someone or something eminently worthy of life. Whereas the American Dream, besides being a sham from the start, was always based on the spoils of US plunder of the Third World trickling down to give Americans a sense of affluence. As such, it deserved to be murdered.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 25, 2020 9:37 PM
Reply to  Howard

The “American Dream” may be a sham in your eyes Howard, and it’s certainly an illusion in my eyes, but not in the eyes of millions of Americans.

I still feel that “Murder Most Foul” might be a contemporary metaphor for the “death” of this illusion.

John Ervin
John Ervin
May 29, 2020 12:06 AM
Reply to  Howard

Too true, but I think he was referring to the other one, that dream of “one who tried”: MLK and his “I have a dream today.” March on Washington, August 1963. And he went on, “…and it is deeply rooted in the American Dream.” You now might need to call it “The Other American Dream”! Wouldn’t hurt. Yet both exist. The standard one, the majority dream, has always been a Halloween Nightmare on Elm Street. In better clothes than Freddy Kruger, that’s all. But as long as there is a Dreamer there will be a dream. I give Dylan props for keeping The Eternal Flame of JFK alive, and agliw, a bit more, with his newest release, despite a STILL growing industry to daily snuff out that candle. Just when the murderers, 55 years later! think they can finally retire him, the memory of JFK comes bursting through their deep… Read more »

Mishko
Mishko
May 26, 2020 1:59 AM
Reply to  John Pretty

Murder most foul. The Phoenix Program was just that, and so much more.
A perpetuum mobile, gift that keeps on giving.
Blood for the blood gods, skulls for the skull throne.
(Programmed To Kill, by the late Dave McGowan)

John Ervin
John Ervin
May 28, 2020 11:42 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

What’s up with the Zimmerman these days, doing ads on TV for “Watson” of IBM. Aslouch on a couch, talking with his Madison Avenue shades on to AI? I think they aired one during the Super Bowl. As if he’s gotta be pimpin’? Let’s be clear: “Watson” is named after Thomas Watson of 1930s IBM when he worked for the 3rd Reich, and International Business Machines got a lucrative contract from Hitler and Co. to make numbered punch cards to tabulate the populations under their control/occupation. A #6 card was for Jews, and was an unequivocal Death Card. It’s not surprising he would be the 1st folksinger to get the Nobel Prize… Michael Parenti wrote a great piece, available at his site, “The Nobel Peace Prize for War” and makes a point of some of the shocking recipients, Kissinger, Begin, Obama and many others far worse, even. Since the Prize… Read more »

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 25, 2020 1:02 PM

Universal basic income is on the way. This is the final attack on small business creating complete dependency. In the Democratic states they have rigged the unemployment compensation so that it is 30% more than people were making at work – so they won’t want to go back to work. After the election the Democrats are planning to convert it to a UBI. The money creators can contract the money supply at will and cause depressions. That happened in 1920, 1929 and its happening now. In 1920 was about crushing farmers, 1929 was about crushing industrialists and this one is about crushing small business. It’s not that they can’t print all the money they want – they can. They just don’t want you to have it. It’s a power grab. I could have told Jeffrey Epstein he was a dead man once they passed FASAB 56 because the government can… Read more »

clickkid
clickkid
May 25, 2020 1:50 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

If it is UBI, then those concerned can work in order to gain money on top of UBI. In which case they still have an incentive to work.

What distinguishes UBI from conventional social security is that is it universal or unconditional – ie everyone gets it – and that it is basic – ie you can earn on top of it, without losing any of it.

If these conditions are not met, then it is merely conventional welfare, with all of the problems of administrative costs and of thresholds that that implies.

I am not a proponent of UBI – or of any other cargo cult 😀

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 25, 2020 12:14 PM

All very entertaining but…something else was happening at that time. In 1961 it was JFK in his inaugural address who raised up the Prussian principle of the state when he lectured, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” By 1996 Time magazine could state that, “Democracy is in the worst interest of national goals. The modern world is too complex to allow the man or woman in the street to interfere in its management.” The same year Johns Hopkins university stated that since the 1960s the American economy had grown massively but workers’ real disposable income had not… “Indeed, after inflation was factored in, purchasing power of a working couple in 1995 was only 8 percent greater than for a single working man in 1905.” (Fat and Mean, David M. Gordon, 1996) Real education was restricted to less than 20… Read more »

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
May 28, 2020 9:23 AM
Reply to  Moneycircus

Utter cobblers. For most of the 20th century China was riven by civil wars, war-lord rule, Japanese occupation and genocide, more civil war, land reform, social upheaval, Western blockades and subversion continuing to today, and more civil strife in the Cultural Revolution. Then the greatest economic and social leap in history. ALL, for good and bad, accomplished by the Chinese people, NOT Rockefellers or any other Western ubermenschen. If you are your own ‘priest’ I’d bet it is Elmer Gantry.

sunset
sunset
May 25, 2020 11:53 AM

The original wave of self-analysis of the so-called ‘holocaust’ (the *real* holocaust was the judaic- muslim/jewish/modern christian- industrial scale slavery of black Africans) by jews after WW2 concluded that the jewish response to the rise of the nazis had been the same type of self-deluding ‘liberal’ dribble seen in the article above, rather than a sane program of analysis that actually took the threat seriosuly, and generated proper action and opposition. Off-guardian seems determined to lull you all to sleep while ‘wave 2’ of the SARS2 false-flag is readied for the end of Summer. There is nothing clever or worthwhile is pseudo-intellectual, typical NYT, verbal diarreha. This style of awful writing fills the magazines of America read by the dim-witted chattering classes. Here’s a clue for the clueless. Wanna read some *real* ‘big brained’ writing. Well every novel from the 19th century is out of copyright so try some of… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
May 25, 2020 1:58 PM
Reply to  sunset

Sunset… Strongly agree with some of the things you’ve said, both here, and in other comments you’ve made, but, to be fair, the last two + months at OffGuardian has been almost wall to wall articles on the panicdemic virus.
Lately I’ve come to the conclusion, like you, that there’ll be a second wave – with a lot more deaths this time. And the measures taken next time will be even more draconian than now.
And almost certainly snuff out all genuine resistance to the agenda being rolled out. And yeah, you’re right, they are monsters.
Good luck with your life.

Willem
Willem
May 25, 2020 3:29 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

I wouldn’t buy into the fear porn of sunset (what’s in a name…)

And in terms of prediction of what is going to happen: it’s difficult to say, especially because it concerns the future.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
May 25, 2020 4:03 PM
Reply to  Willem

Thanks Willem. I appreciate your recent comments also, and, yes, I know, you’re more at the ‘coalface’ so to speak than nearly all of us here. Mentally these are very challenging times for many millions of people.
Hope your week is okay✌️

Martillo
Martillo
May 25, 2020 6:09 PM
Reply to  Willem

The future is seldom what it’s made out to be… but when YOU are the glitch in the matrix… it seems obvious in retrospect.

Terrible tails of terror in the time of plague fatigue

https://www.bitchute.com/channel/ZofFQQoDoqYT/

https://www.bitchute.com/channel/DkNYbFJKDPpX/

https://www.youtube.com/user/gcelente

https://www.youtube.com/user/GregVegas5909

https://www.bitchute.com/channel/msOrGRqxxZ7S/

Tony
Tony
May 25, 2020 9:35 PM
Reply to  Willem

It’s all about trying to take our knowledge and justifiable suspicions deep down the rabbit hole. If they can drag enough of us down there, it’s easy for them to cause mayhem and wreck our discussions.

Martillo
Martillo
May 25, 2020 6:03 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

And almost certainly snuff out all genuine resistance to the agenda being rolled out. And yeah, you’re right, they are monsters.

Mithering is hard to shake….but through positive thinking… still hard to beat.

Andy
Andy
May 25, 2020 4:52 PM
Reply to  sunset

Good point about the Tony Blair evil eye. This is not just daft nonsense the eyes really are the windows to the soul and reveal negative qualities like cruelty, sarcasm, sociopathy etc. Gretchen Whitmer also definitely has it, in spite of her sexuality.

Martillo
Martillo
May 25, 2020 5:59 PM
Reply to  sunset

Meanwhile, on Zerohedge, in the comment section, you can watch the deep state ultra-zionists lay down the predictive propaganda for what comes in Autumn.

Never clip the hedge when the birds are brooding.

ame
ame
May 25, 2020 6:17 PM
Reply to  sunset

another version of propaganda & reverse psychology brilliant pr & marketing fro idiot to buy into, the med company and eton orintary parasite politckian piolcvatical class use in debate session in posh school example I don’t believe in nonsense like gods, or heaven/hell, yet at the same time the evidence I have witnessed across a lifetime tells me that strange sh-t does exist. I have no doubt Tony Blair willingly integrated with a demonic soul when quite young- people who ignore the significance of the Blair Demon Eye posters then he she use zero hedge like a source of real information and the comment section is years in front, what crap !! the idiot behind zero hedge isnt informed nor in the know clue less about the basic’s. he fit the regurgitate agenda he she sshit shine sunset storm mentions sshit shine sunset storm also remind us that there is… Read more »

Martillo
Martillo
May 25, 2020 11:38 AM

Yaaaaawwwn. There’s enough here to keep Pseud’s Corner in bilge for the next 5 years and as for Zimmerman and his garbled disjointed dissonant muse musing…where was he when the JFK RFK MLK Malcolm X etc etc etc murders “most foul” were actually done, when the Lucky Larry Silver$teen towers were pulverized, when the Palestininas were being genocided (still are) to make way for imported khazars? He sure wasn’t on the front line leading the peasants’ revolt singing anything other than non sequitors or flinging molotovs.

Aint gonna work on maggot$ farm no more, no way bob.

“Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully”

zio bob aint talking about the ziotards
https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-f-brown/bob-dylans-embrace-israels-war-crimes

bob
bob
May 25, 2020 11:02 AM

nevermind what’s behind you – who’s this coming out f the fridge?

https://twitter.com/i/status/1264648526719565824

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
May 25, 2020 1:31 PM
Reply to  bob

Let me guess… Its gotta be Matt Lucas. Correct?

Paul Downey
Paul Downey
May 25, 2020 10:49 AM

Oh, and the Cuban Missile Crisis? I was 15 in 1962. Everyone was taken in. The churches were packed, millions on their knees praying to the god(s) but on reflection was it not all just pure theatre. My first degree was in Structural Engineering so I knew as the first tower in NYC seemed to fall down that it was a piss take (it was well over a dozen years till someone pointed out to me that it looked like they blew away. So as one realises it is really all just theatre, from Dealey Plaza to WTC to Salisbury to this bizarre locking -up of several billion people. To be a leader you have to well, eh, lead. What more fun for Kennedy and Khrushchev to stage the CMC and remind everyone just how important they are and have a good laugh at just how stupid/terrified their populations were.… Read more »

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
May 25, 2020 3:01 PM
Reply to  Paul Downey

Paul – I was 10 years old when the Cuban missile crisis took place and can quite vividly remember the times. You comment (“Everyone was taken in”) – please share your evidence or sources for why you think the missile crisis was simply – “theatre” – if you would since I’ve lived and read plenty to think otherwise. Your suggestion that Dealey Plaza (the JFK assassination) was also theatre is also a bit of a head scratcher I must say. Especially having watched the “theatrical” bone chilling “sequels” to that “production” unfold with such regularity in the form of the very public assassinations of MalcolmX, MLK and RFK all with five years of JFK. Arguably the entire top tier of progressive leadership in the nation publicly murdered within 5 years of each other. One would think that given the plot lines common to these “theatre” productions (9/11 & Salisbury included)… Read more »

Tee ell
Tee ell
May 25, 2020 10:27 AM

TL;DR This guy used to play basketball and likes Dylan.

George Mc
George Mc
May 25, 2020 10:13 AM

It’s odd that you mention Paul Newman in an article mainly about Dylan. I recall Paul’s role in “The Long Hot Summer” where he played a drifter and I linked him with the Dylan persona.

Incidentally – when is Bob going to release Chronicles Vol 2? (Or is “Vol 1” just one of his little jokes?)

Paul Downey
Paul Downey
May 25, 2020 10:05 AM

I was born a nerd. The only language I’ve ever had any interest in was mathematics. All I did in my teens and 20’s was work on increasingly difficult problems in Physics. Absolutely no cheering crowds encouraging me on. My day job (late 60’s) was modelling the UK’s future motorway network so looking up to 40 years ahead. From an entropic point of view I was unable to make the UK economy “work” much past 2010. Was it important? My boss thought the 2010’s might be “a bit tricky” (1960’s British understatement for horrendous). Who should I tell? I gave a bit of thought to self-immolation (becoming quite fashionable due to the Vietnam war) but with no close family or friends I didn’t really count as I would be written off as just a lonely nerd! As a total outsider it didn’t take me more than a few years to… Read more »

nick weech
nick weech
May 25, 2020 9:48 AM

mileswmathis.com/dylan.pdf

Another Side of Bobby …
‘I am not askin’ you to say words like ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ / … I’m just breathin’ to myself, pretendin’ not that I don’t know”

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 25, 2020 10:17 AM
Reply to  nick weech

It Ain’t Me Babe… Like complete unknown…

“The interview is supposed to have lasted 90 min, only about 10 were included in the CBS show 60 Minutes broadcast 6 December 2004. Another 10 min are circulating among collectors.”

https://alldylan.com/bob-dylan-the-classic-60-minutes-interview-with-ed-bradley-19-november-2004-video/

nick weech
nick weech
May 25, 2020 11:18 AM
Reply to  Moneycircus

EB: Why do you still do it? Why are you still out here?
BD: Well, it goes back to that destiny thing. I made a bargain with it, you know, long time
ago. And I’m holding up my end…
EB: What was your bargain?
BD: …to get where I am now.
EB: Should I ask who you made that bargain with?
BD: [laughs] With the chief commander.
EB: On this earth?
BD: [laughs] In this earth and in the world we can’t see.

gordon
gordon
May 25, 2020 1:47 PM
Reply to  nick weech

no diss intended but
zimmerman is just a bad act
a talmoodick twatter
a tavistock office project

if he had any power
he aint got the power anymore

a desiccated ghoul
a golem waiting in line
for satans calling

a tool a liar an actor
burn baby burn

bob
bob
May 25, 2020 9:38 AM

It was Bob’s birthday yesterday 24th May, born in Diluth 1941, that makes him 736 according to Neil Ferguson

Here’s a birthday tribute courtesy of Steve Forbert & Co, live streamed at 1.0am today in UK

Meanwhile I’m off to find what’s behind me
Enjoy

George Mc
George Mc
May 25, 2020 9:54 AM
Reply to  bob

that makes him 736 according to Neil Ferguson

Perfect!

Brian Sides
Brian Sides
May 25, 2020 9:28 AM

The ancient Maya ballgame called pitz was part of Maya political, religious, and social life. Played with a rubber ball ranging in size from that of a softball to a soccer ball, players would attempt to bounce the ball without using their hands through stone hoops attached to the sides of the ball court. I have always like Bob Dylan’s music. Just listened to Murder most foul it is quite long. Maybe I will try to listen again without anticipating it. There is much he could have said about John Kennedy . He portrayed him self as a family man while being a notorious womaniser some say also gay. He was elected with the help of the MOB. Then he got his brother Robert to go after the MOB. Was it all for show. Did it cost both of them there lives. Bob Dylan wrote some great songs only a… Read more »

George Mc
George Mc
May 25, 2020 9:57 AM
Reply to  Brian Sides

“Only a Pawn In Their Game” was covered recently by, of all people, Morrissey. I think that release fell foul of the PC crowd who reckoned that the lyric attempts to excuse the white killer. A perfect example of how identity politics obscures the whole point.

nick weech
nick weech
May 25, 2020 8:38 AM
Edwige
Edwige
May 25, 2020 7:54 AM

Basketball, invented by the freemason James Naismith at McGill University where Ewen Cameron later ran his MK Ultra experiments and from where Zbigniew Brzezinski and Justin Trudeau graduated. It’s not the only US sport to bear a masonic stamp – baseball is played on a diamond and American football on a gridiron (see the name of the inn where modern masonry was supposedly formed).

“he brilliantly accuses elements within the US government and intelligence forces”.

Really? He accuses no-one. The listener can walk away from the song thinking it refers to the Mafia or anti-Castro Cubans if he wants. He manages to name check Stevie Nicks but not Allen Dulles.

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 25, 2020 11:16 AM
Reply to  Edwige

Kobe Bryant – Larry Gaiters

John Goss
John Goss
May 25, 2020 11:16 AM
Reply to  Edwige

I agree. I like Dylan’s music but never saw him as being one who shoved his head above the parapet, unlike Kit Knightly, the author of this piece.

His idol was Dylan Thomas, from whom he took his name. Dylan Thomas was a gifted and melodious poet who wrote some magical words but he too never got seriously political. Perhaps “The hand that signed the paper” comes nearest. Even that fails to name anybody specifically.

They could have learnt something from the young Percy Bysshe Shelley who had no compunction in naming Lords Castlereagh, Eldon and Sidmouth in “The Mask of Anarchy” shortly after the Peterloo Massacre and calling Castlereagh an ‘oppressor’ and ‘tyrant’ in “Lines written during the Castlereagh administration”.

nick weech
nick weech
May 25, 2020 11:24 AM
Reply to  John Goss

Rise like Lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number –

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you –

Ye are many – they are few.

John Goss
John Goss
May 25, 2020 11:57 AM
Reply to  nick weech

A rousing call at the end of the Mask of Anarchy. Thanks for reminding us Nick.

John Goss
John Goss
May 25, 2020 11:23 AM
Reply to  Edwige

It’s a bit ambiguous on re-reading my above comment. I did not mean that Kit Knightly sees Bob Dylan as “one who shoved his head above the parapet” but that Kit Knightly is not afraid to do so himself.

Binra
Binra
May 25, 2020 11:42 AM
Reply to  Edwige

So what was the freemasonry in the foundation of the USA? Is freemason a meaning in and of itself fixed, defined and by association with acclaimed ‘ill-doers’? There is a science and a narrative. The narrative mind is mythic, and at its best creates story as the reflection of qualities of being – set in the frame of unfolding meanings – lived out and shared in – but framed in mortal forms that fade or pass or are betrayed by false calls or evil fates. The identity in narrative is the ‘me and mine’ of judgement seeking validation – and when denied, vindication. We can so set our heart on an image of fulfilment that it becomes a reality of itself – to which our world of actual relations becomes a pale or unworthy copy; a fallen nature, a world gone wrong. That it was never true is lost to… Read more »

Figaro
Figaro
May 25, 2020 7:43 AM

Just one thing about ‘Murder most foul’ lyrics: Dylan says ‘if you want to remember you better write down the names’, meaning that you have to focus on the long list of artists names to find what this song is about, and in this list there are all the great american musicians apart for The Who and The Queen, wich are British and out of the context (the Beatles too, but it seems they are more an historical reference). The Who recall the World Health Organization as The Queen is a reminder for the Corona (crown) virus.

Thom
Thom
May 25, 2020 9:12 AM
Reply to  Figaro

Excellent observation. It’s a fascinating song. Could the relevance of The Beatles be in the particular song Dylan references ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’?

Thom
Thom
May 25, 2020 9:32 AM
Reply to  Thom

Oh, and another thought. The Queen song quoted in Murder Most Foul is Another One Bites the Dust, and Freddie Mercury died as a result of a virus – HIV/Aids.

Nixon Scraypes
Nixon Scraypes
May 25, 2020 1:23 PM
Reply to  Figaro

I’ve never heard of Curtin but it was good to hear someone talk about murder most foul like he’d really listened to it.” It burst out” he says,yes it sounds spontaneous and unrevised. To my mind Dylan’s never pointed the finger more accurately. For recreation I read a lot of the reviews of the song and no one got it or with an eye on future work prospects looked no further into it than listing the songs and artists mentioned. Have they never heard of the three wounds to Hiram Abiff ,the three bums who did it. How come he watched the Zapruder film 33 times? Why did they blow out the brains of the king on the altar of the rising sun like a human sacrifice?Three shots from the sixth floor, thirty six hours past judgement day? It all adds up to a bit more than arithmetic to me.… Read more »

Figaro
Figaro
May 25, 2020 4:26 PM
Reply to  Nixon Scraypes

Oh there’s a lot more in ‘Murder most foul’. Just to say one: if you count the lines of text, line 33 is the line on where he is talking’ about masons: ‘Stack up the bricks, pour the cement’.

Nixon Scraypes
Nixon Scraypes
May 25, 2020 9:35 PM
Reply to  Figaro

I didn’t notice that one, let’s hear some more.

Willem
Willem
May 25, 2020 6:59 AM

What a story Edward. Thanks for sharing

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 25, 2020 5:58 AM

O/T Guardian Fails segment should be a pinned thread so that new visitors can understand why it’s a no-read — and if you do scan the site, to not forget the sunglasses from They Live. After all, the first steps of critical thinking are as frightening as they are exhilarating. Helping people is like taking them horse riding on a mountain pass. It’s bloody nerve wracking and they’ll scream all the way – which is why we so rarely do it and often give up. It does hurt people to encounter information that destroys their world view – and we should acknowledge that. I was reminded of this while listening to Norman Dodd talk about the Reece Committee, in which Congress tried to expose the activities of the Rockefeller and Carnegie family foundations. One of Dodd’s assistants was the lawyer Kathryn Casey. As a legal analyst on the Special Committee… Read more »

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
May 25, 2020 5:58 AM

We learn, we live, we Love and then we die.
Twas ever thus, unless we make it otherwise.
Thank you Edward.

Caleb Crabtree
Caleb Crabtree
May 25, 2020 4:47 AM

Nice writing. I liked your tie-ins with Dylan and Homer. Soulful and Cousy was magic.

Caleb Crabtree
Caleb Crabtree
May 25, 2020 4:44 AM
S Cooper
S Cooper
May 25, 2020 4:28 AM

Ones favorite story about Bob Dylan– by his own account– was this. “Dylan said about his girlfriend Suze’s [Rotolo] mother: “Mary, though, who worked as a translator for medical journals, wasn’t having it. Mary lived on the top floor of an apartment building on Sheridan Square and treated me like I had the clap. If she would have had her way, the cops would have locked me up. Suze’s mom was a small feisty woman-volatile with black eyes like twin coals that could burn a hole through you, was very protective. Always make you feel like you did something wrong. She thought I had a nameless way of life and would never be able to support anybody, but I think it went much deeper than that. I think I just came in at a bad time. She glared at me, cigarette in her mouth. She was always trying to goad… Read more »

George Mc
George Mc
May 25, 2020 10:11 AM
Reply to  S Cooper

I loved Dylan’s account of how he made the infamous “Self Portrait”. It went something like, “I just threw everything at the wall. And I took the stuff that stuck and put it in. And then I gathered up the stuff that didn’t stick and put that in too!”

Howard
Howard
May 25, 2020 3:25 AM

One has to wonder if this is truly auto-biographical or some kind of sociological experiment. A couple things suggest ambiguity: the emphasis on recent dreams and, most of all, the description of the writer’s family at the basketball game. Four of his sisters were in attendance: one aged 8, the other aged 11. What about the two sisters not identified? Were they still in the process of acquiring an age? Were they yet to be born twins? This is intriguing.

Howard
Howard
May 25, 2020 1:46 PM
Reply to  Howard

Added note: I should have re-read the entire article herein. I first read it in Global Research, then on Mr Curtin’s website; but the thing with the two sisters has now been corrected. Sorry about the mix-up.

JoeC
JoeC
May 25, 2020 3:23 AM

Thanks Edward.