Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Then & Now… When did "hip" replace "hep"? And were there "rap" lyrics in the 1940s?

When did "hip" replace "hep"? And were there "rap" lyrics in the 1940s?

Let's start with the first question. What led me to write about this today was a comment an email friend wrote about his mother who was born in 1921. He commented that she was pretty hep. I realized he was using that old slang term because it was in use during her era. But it made me wonder just when and how the term "hip" replaced "hep". Would that be a hep replacement? (Sorry. Bad joke.)

When I was a kid back in the late 50s, I remember reading about the "beatniks", especially those involved in the jazz scene. They were known as "hep cats". I can even remember using the word "hep", myself, to mean something or someone was really "cool". Of course just using the word made me cool, too. (chuckle) But when did it change? And who changed it?

It's not really possible to know for certain who first used the word "hip", much less who first used the older word "hep". But, during my search for an answer, I stumbled across some information about a Caucasian jazz pianist in the 1940s by the name of Harry Raab. He grew up in the predominantly Black communities of Harlem. He became known as "The White Negro". (Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Gibson).

Gibson claimed to have coined the term "hipster" sometime between 1939 and 1945 while he was performing on Swing Street. That's also when he gave himself the stage name of Harry "The Hipster" Gibson.

To say Harry was a wild man, is not an exaggeration. Some of you are old enough to remember the wild performances of rock-n-roll legend, Jerry Lee Lewis, in the late 50s and early 60s. If you haven't been around that long, see the video below. You'll see why I posted this video in a moment.

Now take a look at this clip of Harry "The Hipster" Gibson. Looks to me like Jerry Lee must have been heavily influenced by ol' Harry.

Harry had a pretty good little career going as a live performer for a while but then he wrote and recorded a song called Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine? and he was suddenly blacklisted by the music industry. I'm guessing this lyric in the song may have had something to do with that:

She drank a cup every night
And ooh, how she would dream.
Until somethin' rough got in the stuff
And made her nipples scream.

Here's Harry performing that song:

Regarding these lyrics:

She drank a cup every night
And ooh, how she would dream.
Until somethin' rough got in the stuff
And made her nipples scream.

It occurred to me that the last line may actually be:

"And made her nipples cream."

Without seeing the lyrics in written form, there's no way to know because, when spoken (or sung), they both sound the same and maybe even makes more sense. In any case, it still retains its humor…. albeit in a crude sort of way. Not unusual at all, considering the raw lyrics of a lot of (now obscure) blues songs of the 20s and 30s. But, let's get back to the "Hep" vs. "Hip" conundrum and the question about whether or not "Rap" music existed in the 1940s.

Well, turns out Harry wrote a song called It Ain't Hep and, although I couldn't find a recording of the song, I did find the lyrics. If these lyrics don't read like rap lyrics (allowing for the era in which they were written), I don't know what does. Check it out:

Hey you know there's a lot of talk going around about this hip and hep jive. Lots of people are going around saying "hip." Lots of squares are coming out with "hep." Well the hipster is here to inform you what the jive is all about.

The jive is hip, don't say hep
That's a slip of the lip, let me give you a tip
Don't you ever say hep it ain't hip, NO IT AIN'T
It ain't hip to be loud and wrong
Just because you're feeling strong
You try too hard to make a hit
And every time you do you tip your mitt
It ain't hip to blow your top
The only thing you say is mop, mop, mop
Keep cool fool, like a fish in the pool
That's the golden rule at the Hipster school
You find yourself talking too much
Then you know you're off the track
That's the stuff you got to watch
Everybody wants to get into the act
It ain't hip to think you're "in there"
Just because of the zooty suit you wear
You can laugh and shout but you better watch out
Cause you don't know what it's all about, man
Man you ain't hip if you don't get hip to this hip and hep jive
Now get it now, look out
Man get hip with the hipster, YEAH! Got to do it!
be hip not hep, coz hep is not hip
so just be hip and pray you dont slip!

And finally, just for fun, check out this old black & white clip of Harry "The Hipster" Gibson in a movie called Keep The Beat where he's teaching a high school class about "the beat". Pretty funny. Seems silly now but was undoubtedly considered outrageously "cool" at the time. You'll get a kick out of this:

So, there ya go. Now you're hip to the hep.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Synchronicity! What is it? Have you ever experienced it?

While there is some academic debate over just what distinguishes "synchronicity" from "coincidence" I would suggest there is no difference of kind in this matter. I think it's more likely a difference of degree. Rather than a dichotomy it's a continuum; something like a thermometer that measures one thing, degrees of temperature. The temperature is either hotter or colder. Our hypothetical "thermometer" might read COINCIDENCE on the low end and SYNCHRONICITY at the high end. What determines where an event might fall along this continuum would depend on at least two things:
(1) the degree of perceived meaningfulness of the event and
(2) the odds against the event even happening in the first place.
You're welcome to twist or tweak that analogy any way you like or dismiss it altogether but it works for me. Having said that, however, I'm not sure which of those two factors carries more weight; the "perceived meaningfulness" factor or the "odds" factor. The reason I say that is because of some events I've experienced personally which, because of the high "odds factor",  I felt were more than just coincidence but, on the other hand, the "perceived meaningfulness factor" was pretty low. Unless I was just too dense to pick up on their deeper meaning! Let me show you what I mean. The following are actual experiences I've had with this phenomenon.

    It was the summer of 1975 and I had just spent several peaceful days at a cabin in the Methow Valley on the eastern side of Washington state. I had also just finished reading a book called INCREDIBLE COINCIDENCE by author and psychic researcher Alan Vaughan. The book is a collection of truly incredible coincidences in people's lives. The last part of the book is a discussion of the concept of synchronicity. The author informs us that after reading the book, the reader may very well experience some rather remarkable coincidences, simply from having been made aware of the fact that such things do happen.

    All too soon it was time for me to make the four hour trip back to my home in Seattle; a trip I had taken countless times. I had gone about two miles down the North Cascades Highway with the sun shining and the thick forests lining the roadside when I noticed I was speeding along at about 70 miles per hour. This was not unusual. What was unusual was that I suddenly thought to myself, “I really should slow down. A deer could run out in front of me”. In all of the many times I had driven that stretch of highway I had never seen a deer on the road and I had never even thought about it before. But no sooner had the thought crossed my mind, as I rounded the bend, sure enough a deer came running out onto the road in front of me. Fortunately I was slowing down and was able to avoid running into it. Okay, that was pretty cool but there was more to come.

    After about an hour's drive I came to a favorite spot where a river runs along the highway. There is a nice little roadside park at that point so I decided to pull over and enjoy the view for a few minutes. I got out of the car and went to light up a cigarette but noticed that I had left my lighter back at the cabin and the lighter in the car didn't work. Then I noticed a campfire smouldering about 50 feet away from where I stood. I thought I could light my cigarette from the hot coals so I began to walk over there. As I approached, I noticed there was some camping gear and other personal items around the fire, including a woman's purse. The campers were down at the river and saw me walking toward their campsite. I decided rather than arouse their suspicion and disturb their activity I would just turn around and walk back to my car. About halfway to my car I looked down and noticed the sun gleaming on something that was mostly hidden under a small bush. I bent down to see what it was. I reached out and picked it up. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a brand new Bic lighter.



    I was standing at the magazine rack in a local department store, looking through a book of Time-Life photographs. As I flipped through the pages there was one photo that especially interested me. I looked at it for a minute and continued on through the pages to the end of the book. Then I wanted to take one more look at that particular photo but I couldn't remember what page it was on. I also forgot the title of the photo but I thought if I looked through the index I might recognize the title when I saw it. I turned to the index and, starting at the top, I ran my finger down the list of titles. When I saw the title I was looking for I ran my finger across the column to see the page number. At the exact instant, the precise moment that my eyes saw the page number, 128, a child, in the adjoining aisle, separated by a six-foot tall shelving partition, said in a loud voice, “One twenty eight!” I just blinked my eyes and shook my head and thought to myself, “Wow. That was weird.”

    Apparently, he and another child were arguing about something and “one twenty eight” had something to do with their own private conversation.  I had been so involved in the book that I hadn't even really been aware of their presence until his voice echoed what my eyes were seeing. It was like being awakened out of a dream. When you think about it, the odds against that happening, at that exact instant, must be astronomical.



    One day while browsing through a copy of Reader's Digest, I read a humorous little anecdote about a road sign someone had seen at the entrance to a small bridge. It read:


    The next day I happened to stop at a small new-and-used book store which I had never seen before in an area of the city I seldom visit. I spied a small cardboard box full of old books on a table and decided to have a look. The first book I pulled out (published nearly twenty years ago, by the way!) was called Funny Road Signs. On the cover was a cartoon illustration of the same sign I had just read about in Reader's Digest twenty four hours earlier!

    Before reading the anecdote in Reader's Digest, I had never heard about that silly road sign. Then, BAM! I get hit with it twice in less than twenty four hours. What are the odds of that happening? It was totally weird and I'll probably never run across anything about that road sign again. Or will I?


    Now, this one is really strange. I was driving down the road one Saturday morning on my way to Lynnwood, a  neighboring Seattle suburb. As I was driving, I was listening to the news on the car radio. The newscaster was relating a late breaking story about a robbery which had taken place at a convenience store located on a corner in Lynnwood. The robber had fired a gun at a police car and the bullet shattered the driver's side windshield. The policeman was not injured.

    By now I had just entered into the Lynnwood area and as I was listening to the news story, I glanced out my window and noticed a policeman standing in the small parking lot of a 7-11 store on the corner. I noticed there was no police car in the parking lot and that seemed odd; just a cop standing there without a car.

    Traffic was moderately heavy and moving slowly. As I drove past the store, the cop appeared to be staring directly at me. It was strange. Only at that moment did it occur to me that this must be the store in the news story that I was listening to at that very moment. Wow, I thought, what a coincidence!

Then about two blocks further down the road I passed a police car parked on the side of the road in front of a row of small shops. A couple of these shops are auto repair businesses and one was an auto glass repair shop. Well ok, I thought. That explains why the cop at the store had no car. This was his car at the auto glass shop. The news report said the window had been shot out.

It was weird to be seeing the elements of this story appearing before me as they were being told to me by the newscaster. But I had to know for sure if this was all what it seemed to be. I decided to check it out. I would go back to the 7-11 store and ask the cop if this was the store in the news story and if he was the cop whose window was shot out and was that his car up the street at the auto glass shop?

    I turned the car around and was back at the 7-11 store in less than five minutes. Four minutes, tops. But when I got there the cop was gone. I went inside and asked the clerk if this was the store that had just been robbed and where the cop car had its window shot out. She had no idea what I was talking about! I asked her about the cop who was standing in her parking lot a few minutes ago.  "What cop?" she said. "There wasn't any cop out there."

    Like I said, this was a strange one. I just figured I must have passed through the Twilight Zone.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Since early in the 1980s there have been hundreds of sightings of huge triangular-shaped UFOs around the world. Their size, shape, and flight characteristics do not match any known conventional or experimental aircraft. I'm one of the lucky few who have seen one.

 The following is a true and accurate account of my “close encounter” in Seattle, Washington in 1993. I believe it was in the month of November. It was a Sunday night about 9:30. I often had occasion to be driving north about that time of evening on Sundays and I usually took the I-5 freeway.

This time, however, I knew the freeway, northbound, was jammed up due to an accident. So I took an alternate route which eventually led me to what I think was East Marginal Way, right next to the main Boeing Aircraft facility in Seattle.

As I was traveling, northbound, I noticed three red lights low in the sky ahead of me and to my right. They were moving in unison, very slowly across my field of vision from east to west. At first I thought they must be the lights of a low flying plane, perhaps about to land. Then I thought, no, they must be helicopters because a plane, even if it was landing, wouldn't be moving that slowly. The trouble was, I couldn't actually see the craft or crafts that the lights were attached to. They were, maybe, a half mile ahead of me, about 30 degrees to my right.

Normally, I wouldn't have paid much attention to this because I'd been making that Sunday night drive past Boeing (although via the freeway) for twelve years. This is also not too far from the Sea-Tac Airport. In all that time I'd seen plenty of airplanes and helicopters flying low in this area. But something was different this time. It took me a minute to realize what it was.

It was the fact that the lights weren't blinking. I thought that was odd. It seemed to me every airplane or helicopter I've ever seen flying at night had blinking lights. I squinted my eyes as I drove toward the lights, trying to see just what I was actually looking at. Although I was now only about two blocks away from being directly under the flight path of these lights, I still could not make out what they were attached to. However, from their slow, steady movement, in unison, I was pretty sure all three of them were attached to a single object rather than being independent of each other.

By the time I was directly in line with their flight path, they were about to enter the airspace above Boeing Field to my immediate left. At this point I was convinced it was a single, low-flying craft of some kind and I knew there was something very odd here.

I pulled my car off to the side of the road and rolled down the window to get a better look. But the craft was now directly overhead so I had to get out of the car to see it. I opened the car door and stepped out. Craning my neck to see the craft as it passed slowly directly over my head at an estimated altitude of less than 500 feet (Note: at the actual time of the sighting my impression was that the craft was perhaps only about 150 feet above me) I could see it was a gigantic black triangle.

There is no other way to describe it because that's precisely what it was; a huge, black, triangle; not just "sort of" triangular shaped, like one of those stealth jets I'd seen photos of. It was just one big, three-sided, cookie-cutter-straight-edged, black, geometric shape; a triangle with one large, round unblinking red light at each of its three corners, flat up against the underside of the craft.

There was a high, gray cloud cover that evening, subtly lit by the Seattle city lights in the distance. I could clearly and unobstructedly see the object like a huge, dense black silhouette against this gray ceiling. I stood there almost not believing what I knew I was seeing. I actually said to myself, “Ok. What, exactly, are you seeing? You're going to want to remember every detail of this! Just the facts, now. What, exactly, do you see?” I made a mental inventory:

Black triangle.
Red light on each corner, flat up against the underside of the craft.
They don't blink. (Note: at this point it has proceeded on past me and was now over Boeing field)
It looks like it's about seventy-five to a hundred feet above one of the main Boeing hangars.
It's moving very slowly. Maybe five miles per hour.
It's heading west.
It appears to be about the size of a football field.”

Suddenly I realized, as I stood there in the dark on this quiet empty street, the object didn't make a sound! Maybe more than anything else, that's what made the whole thing so eerie. Something that huge, that close, moving through the air at a snail's pace should be making some kind of a sound. A hum. A rumble. Anything. But, no. It just moved across the sky like something out of a Steven Spielberg movie with the volume turned off.

I looked up and down the street to see if anyone else was witnessing this silent event, but the street was dark and empty in both directions. It occurred to me, however, that the thing had just passed directly over hundreds of cars on the freeway which was only a few miles east of where I was standing.

I looked up again at the mysterious craft now blending into the dark horizon. I watched it until I couldn't see it anymore and then it was over. I got back into my car and closed the door. The window was still open and I took another look. Nothing was there but the gray night sky, softly aglow from the distant city lights. It was as if nothing had happened. But believe me, it did, indeed, happen.

••• Addendum: The weekend following my sighting, I told my ex-wife about it. We're on good terms and I was either picking up my son for a weekend visit or returning him. I can't recall which. In any case, her response to what I told her was rather shocking but it may be significant to note that she has no interest in the UFO phenomenon and is not prone to making up such stories "off the cuff".

She was working as a cocktail waitress and often had conversations with many people during the course of her work. She told me that one of her customers, a Boeing employee, told her that there was an underground manufacturing facility located somewhere on the Boeing property where they were building a huge, triangular craft. Supposedly this was a "secret" underground facility that no one was really supposed to know about.

I asked her what else he told her but, having no real interest in such things and being very busy that evening, she didn't bother to ask any questions or in any way follow up on the conversation. As I recall, she didn't know who this fellow was as he was apparently not one of the "regulars".

I don't know if his story has any merit or not but I did find it very curious, especially coming from her, and especially since I did see the craft cruise slowly, directly over the Boeing manufacturing plant.

Also of interest is the fact that Boeing made big news in 2002 when a story hit the press that they were experimenting with anti-gravity propulsion. Later, however, they denied it. I recall, however, that some researcher (I think it may have been Bill Hamilton) claimed he'd actually seen a 45-page document from Boeing pertaining to the anti-gravity research.

It occurred to me at the time of the sighting that the craft seemed much too big to be able to cruise that slowly without just falling to the ground. In fact it's more accurately descriptive to say it was "floating" rather than flying.

In any case, as stated previously, my ex-wife not only has no interest in such matters, she's also not one to come up with such imaginative tales on the spur of the moment. She was quite serious when she related this incident to me.

So just what did I see? Was it an alien craft? A secret military craft? I don't know. We'll just have to file it into the "Gray Basket" as UFO researcher, Stanton Friedman, is fond of saying.

Additional note of interest: My affidavit attesting to the details of my sighting accompanied about 30 others which were offered into evidence in attorney Peter Gersten's lawsuit against the U. S. Department of Defense in the 1990s. It was an FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) suit attempting to acquire any documents the DoD might have in their files related to this particular type of UFO. Gersten presented a favorable argument and the judge ordered the DoD to search for and present any such documents. Of course the DoD claimed they had nothing and eventually the judge went along with the government on this one. Gersten was instrumental in forcing the government to release hundreds of UFO documents in the late 1970s/early 1980s - files the NSA and FBI previously claimed didn't exist.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy this creepy trailer for my supernatural crime chiller, ASH: RETURN OF THE BEAST

"Rivals the best I've ever read by Stephen King, Peter Straub, or Dean Koontz. Hell, Clive Barker would be proud of this one. Yes, it's that good." - Jeff Whelan •

ASH: Return of the Beast is a modern-day supernatural crime chiller, a tale of revenge steeped in the occult. The story is a work of fiction inspired by a little known factoid about the death of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), the notorious occultist whose favorite number was 666 and whom the British press once labeled as "The Wickedest Man In The World". Crowley’s body was cremated but the unexplained 1947 disappearance of the urn containing his ashes has remained a mystery… until now.

• "An ending you will never see coming!" - Lila L. Pinord •

This diabolical tale propels the reader through a series of curiously interconnected events spanning the years from 1947 (and the death of Aleister Crowley) to the 1990s and the coming-of-age (and eventual stardom) of a "death-metal" rocker with the unlikely name of Rodney Duckworth.

• "Brilliantly conceived and executed. I couldn't put it down." - Rai Aren, author of Secret Of The Sands, Destiny Of The Sands •

The time-line shifts to the present day where Brian Kane, a gruff and gritty street-worn Seattle Police Detective, reluctantly teams up with the mysterious Rowena Ravenwood, an attractive and rather unconventional female FBI agent assigned to a most unusual investigative unit. Their task is to figure out why good, healthy, God-fearing preachers in their fair city are suddenly dropping dead... one at a time... exactly nine days apart.

• "It threw me for a literary loop, and I could NOT put this baby down!." - J. Wall •

What is the meaning of the strange symbols branded onto the bodies of these hapless victims? Are they all part of some bizarre cult? No eyewitnesses. No fingerprints. Is it really murder? Where’s the evidence? And what is the disturbing secret that Detective Kane is holding so close to his chest?

• "The character creation is fabulous." - Christina M. Condy, goodreads.com reviewer •

The investigation catapults Kane and Ravenwood headlong into life-threatening situations as they feel their way through the strange, dark labyrinth of the world of the occult and find themselves battling for their lives against the powerful forces of ritual magick.

"Filled with magick... at times drawing one into the evil." - Ellen In Atlanta, amazon.com reviewer •

A bloody carnage of unimaginable horror is about to be unleashed upon the world as the offspring of the fabled “Old Ones” are awakened from their ancient slumber.

• "If you are a fan of Stephen King, you would like this occult thriller." - John C. Stipa •

The survival of the entire human race hangs in the balance and the clues to help solve the case are in desperately short supply. Worse yet, so is the amount of time left to stop the mysterious killer's reign of terror before all Hell breaks loose. And – according to Special Agent Ravenwood – that’s not just a figure of speech.

• I was hooked by the end of the first chapter and literally unwilling to put it down!" - Nikki, book blogger •

KINDLE (U.S.) $3.99 - http://amzn.com/B006J6HRGE

KINDLE (U.K.) £2.64 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006J6HRGE

PAPERBACK (U.S.) $12.95 - http://amzn.com/1478314192

PAPERBACK (U.K.) £9.95 - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1478314192


"Rivals the best I've ever read by Stephen King, Peter Straub, or Dean Koontz. Hell, Clive Barker would be proud of this one. Yes, it's that good." - Jeff Whelan, author of Space Orville

"It threw me for a literary loop, and I could NOT put this baby down!. The characters are very realistic... the plot is amazing. The twists in this story were terrific." - J. Wall, photographer, photographer

"Brilliantly conceived and executed. I couldn't put it down." - Rai Aren, author of Secret Of The Sands, Destiny Of The Sands, Lost City of Gold

“The writing was flawless, and the plot was so clever and enticing, that I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys occult mysteries. A riveting story.” Sandra Carrington-Smith, author of The Book Of Obeah

"A page turner... dragging you into a world where few authors have successfully gone... to the Gates of Hell and back! The thrill ride alone is worth the purchase." - Valerie Bowen, author of the Mind of a Madman series

"Wow...Dan Brown fans watch out! It's gripping, tantalizing... I was hooked by the end of the first chapter and literally unwilling to put it down!" - Nikki, book blogger at Close Encounters With The Night Kind

“I wasn't so much reading the book as being sucked into the story with very little effort and seeing the story unfold in my mind through spectacular imagery...” Michelle Parkins, South Africa

"The character creation is fabulous. I loved how [the author] pulled me into the world of demons, devils and the rock stars on their path to revenge." - Christina M. Condy, goodreads.com reviewer

"A good break after all the boy-meets-girl plots. Good writing... interesting concepts... a riddle and some clues to solve... I was reminded of Dennis Lehane. Very different from other horror fiction stories... even gave the whole Necronomicon tale a new spin." - Cyma R. Kahn, goodreads.com reviewer

"A close-the-drapes-and-hang-onto-your-seat-read. Highly recommend it." - Meredith Wright Hutchins, attorney, Olympia, WA

"An ending you will never see coming! Highly recommended!" - Lila L. Pinord, author of In Time, Min's Monster, and Skye Dancer

"Filled with magick... at times drawing one into the evil." - Ellen In Atlanta, amazon.com reviewer

"Plenty of atmosphere and a compelling narrative. A worthwhile roller-coaster ride." - Bob Freeman, author of The Descendant

"What a great story – fast paced and exciting, right to the end." - Roxanne Bland, Of Werewolves And Other Strangers

"Excellent read! Exciting, really moves right along & a wee touch of romance. You wont be sorry!" - Sue McRae, Stanwood, WA

"If you are a fan of Stephen King, you would like this occult thriller. It's not quite explainable and you can't tear yourself away." - John C. Stipa, Virginia

"A tingly, spine-chilling little entry that belongs in any true horror aficionado's collection." - Wendy Potocki, author of The White Lady Murders

“The narrative takes a different approach to the run-of-the-mill Satanist storyline.The action builds nicely and we are drawn into the web of evil and dark revelations as the story progresses.The narrative is rich with details on magic, mystical cycles, and ancient gods and goddesses. For those readers interested in Crowley, dark magic, Satanism, and demons, Tenuta delivers. He avoids many of the cliché elements of Satanism narratives and gives us an action-packed story that moves along well.”Drake Morgan at Horror Novel Reviews

"Although this is fiction it makes you wonder whether there is some truth behind the whole story. Who knows? Suggest that you read it with an open mind. Anything can happen since the ashes of Crowley have not been found. A real page turner."Anthony Cessar, Gudja, Malta