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A panel truck in Oakland.
October 28th, 1999

The Music's Better
I received an email describing an old safe that was installed behind a door in the back hall of a large house that had been divided into apartments. The name of the long dead owner of this house was inscribed on the front of the safe in gilded letters: Thoney Pietro. My reader said that in the early seventies "My friend who wanted to dye herself, not just her hair, purple, took a razor blade to the letters one night and reduced them to honey Pie". I can imagine that, living in that apartment, honey Pie writ large whenever you passed the door.

When I came to San Francisco in 1969 I lived at the Rip Off Press which was then located in a condemned building that has long since been torn down and replaced by something (I assume) more useful. In addition to a toilet we had a cold water sink and an old white enamel refrigerator. One day a couple showed up at the Press, a young woman maybe 19 or 20 and her similarly aged boyfriend who crashed for a while. I seem to recall it was the boyfriend who painted a picture on the refrigerator door in a Sgt. Pepper style swirl of color, a Horn of Plenty. The image on that refrigerator has travelled with me since.

A trite Horn of Plenty rendered in a doubly trite Mr. Fhooey at the Solano Stroll. Peter Max pastel color, nothing we would have appreciated at the Press, yet I remember it still. Maybe it was because the artist was hungry when he painted it, I remember he and his girlfriend hanging out for a while with a guy twice their age who had money. Very hip, of course, hanging with these two young hippies, buying them dinner, letting them crash at his house and, well, fucking the girl was just the friendly thing to do, don't you know, two years after the Summer of Love. So the boyfriend put his heart into the Peter Max style pastel color Horn of Plenty image on the Rip Off Press refrigerator door and maybe that's what gave the image its power.

So I'll make a little jump here, honey Pie and Horn of Plenty, images that live way down in the lower parts of the brain where the alligators live, connecting that time and defining that place, images that rise to the surface in dreams and fevers and late night reminiscences. Food, shelter and love (if you're lucky), hanging on as best you can, late night coming down walking down the hall under honey Pie, hitting an old enamel refrigerator for one last bottle of beer. I think I like Thoney Pietro better, truth or fable. The music's better.

This marks one year of journal keeping, 322 entries since October 29th, 1998.
The banner photograph of the side of a truck was taken in Oakland somewhere out there in the downtown perhaps a month ago. Mr. Fhooey, a balloon sculptor, was captured at the Solano Stroll.