The Letter Carrier

Bukowski, the Skid
Row Hero Who Did Try

Charles Bukowski would’ve been 95 today. But it’s doubtful he’d have like it. In fact, the writer who reluctantly embodied the outsider, hardly ever noticed by the literati world, spent his life as if he didn’t give a damn about much. But he actually did.
‘I have met more men in jail with style than men out of jail,’ wrote the on and off postal worker and regular menial job specialist, who had bouts with the FBI and the draft board, and developed a not quite accurate reputation as a drinker.
Heinrich Karl, who was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. in 1923, could’ve fooled anyone as just another destitute drunk, who didn’t belong anywhere or cared about having a career. On the outside, he seemed content with a bottle of cheap wine and a whore or two.
But despite his epitaph – Don’t Try, in a reference to advice he once gave to young writers – and fortunately to us, he did care enough to create a vigorous body of work, existential, visceral and deeply American, just as one of his heroes Henry Miller had done.
50 years ago this Aug. 22, Miller wrote Bukowski, ‘I hope you’re not drinking yourself to death,’ echoing concerns shared by his handful of friends and former lovers. He needn’t to worry that much: Bukowski died of Leukemia in 1994. He’d been sober for several years.

But there’s no misreading about his characters, a sore collection of cynical barflies, dirty hotel room dwellers, despised by anyone who loved them. Consumed by self-loath, they longed for (more)
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Fall Caturday

The Good, the Bad
& the (Quasi) Ugly

It seems that for every animal-related good deed humans manage to accomplish, two other either selfish or borderline despicable are always ready to pop up. Abstracting judgement, though, the end result is pretty similar: pets never fail to fulfill their kind side of the bargain.
All cats featured in today’s post, for instance, show a gentle willingness to play along, regardless if they’re two or they’re many. But of all the people who appear here, there’s just a single human who’s at par with their example. As it’s often the case in life, it had to be an old lady.
The original Life Magazine caption for the 1965 picture (below) of a San Francisco mathematician and his cat mentions that he ‘takes a trip on LSD with his cat, who is on the drug too. He does this every other week.’ Dangerous Minds’ Marc Campbell, who republished the photo, struggles to understand why this guy had to submit his friend to the same whims of his inquiring life. It bothers us a great deal too.
Just a few years before, Life’s Ralph Crane photographed a group of women who brought their mostly black cats for a Hollywood audition. As the leashed felines wait with Zen-like patience, we almost lose ours, just wondering what they did to deserve to go through such an ordeal, besides being beautiful. Also, what movie they were trying to pimp their pets for? And finally, why the hell they were all women?
That’s why 87-year-old Misa, and her friend Fukumaru stand above everyone else. The bi-color-eyed stray has adopted the old lady several years ago, and they’re since inseparable. According to Myoko, her photographer granddaughter, he spends the day side by side with Misa, who still works the fields of her backyard in Japan.
In fact, her story is so moving and multifaceted, that we’re including another one of Myoko’s pictures of these two, the only one that’s not black & white on her Website. There you have it; just four photographs, but you’d need much more than the whole weekend to count all the stories they’re telling. By the way, enjoy your break.