Howard Shaft

Howard Shaft

A Musical

by John Presco

Copyright 2022

“Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt!”

The strange Ayn Rand dynamics lurking in the relationship of Ginni and Clarence Thomas that caused “The Kraken” to be released on our Nation’s Capitol.

Play videos at same time.

Ayn Rand, Justice Thomas, & The Fountainhead

John Aglialoro, the producer of the movie Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 (2011), recently announced that due to bad reviews and poor box office, he is abandoning the plans for parts two and three of the story. As someone who read Ayn Rand’s long book Atlas Shrugged many years ago, I was interested when I heard they were making a movie version. But when I saw the trailer, the movie looked terribly boring, so I am not among the few who have seen it. I might have watched it on DVD when it came out, but now that I know it may leave me hanging without any resolution, maybe not. Yet, some recent reports indicate the second movie still may be coming out next year.

Justice Clarence Thomas

One person who might be disappointed if the sequels are abandoned is Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court. In the book The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (2007), Jeffrey Toobin (p. 119) wrote that Justice Thomas often requires his law clerks to watch the movie, The Fountainhead, which is based upon another book by Ayn Rand and directed by King Vidor. That one sentence in Toobin’s book jumped out, raising questions about the connection between the movie and Justice Thomas’s judicial philosophy, and what it means for America.

Ayn Rand incorporated her philosophy of Objectivism into her novels. The philosophy has several parts, but she described one of the basic tenants this way: “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”

One may debate the value of a philosophy of self-interest. A number of conservatives have embraced the philosophy as connected to laissez-faire capitalism, so one might understand why the conservative Justice Thomas admires Ayn Rand’s work. In his memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, he wrote about reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and how the books affected him: “Rand preached a philosophy of radical individualism that she called Objectivism. While I didn’t fully accept its tenets, her vision of the world made more sense to me that that of my left-wing friends.” (p. 62) A website devoted to Ayn Rand’s fiction writing, The Atlas Society, has more about Justice Thomas’s connection to Ayn Rand.

Still, The Fountainhead (1949) is an odd movie choice, even though it features excellent actors like Gary Cooper, Raymond Massey, and Patricia Neal. One reviewer summed it up as “one of the strangest and most florid pictures of its time, possibly of all time.” The Fountainhead is about an architect named Howard Roark (Cooper) who has his own vision and does not want to compromise his beliefs and art to popular ideas. When the people who hired him to create a public housing building do not let him do it his way, he blows up the modified building. And he’s the hero of the movie. Okay, I get the idea about not compromising, but isn’t blowing up the building going too far?

One might wonder why Justice Thomas loves this unusual movie so much that he has the recent law school graduates who work for him watch it. And one might speculate what message the new lawyers take from the self-interest theme of the movie regarding one’s lack of compassion for the poor and underprivileged.

Considering Roark’s destruction of the building in the movie, and in today’s atmosphere of terrorism, I hope Justice Thomas has selected another movie. Maybe watching the new Atlas Shrugged will lead him to opt for another movie to show his clerks. And he could even stick with films featuring Republican and anti-Communist Gary Cooper. If Thomas wants an excellent movie that teaches about the importance of the individual and duty, he might select High Noon (1952). Or if he wants to go further, he might choose Cooper in Frank Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) or Meet John Doe (1941), both which would give the new lawyers lessons on the importance of common people and the corrupting influence of power.

Off-Broadway Radicals

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Royal Rosamond Press


“Dec 10, 2013 – Belle Burch, 23, shares her sentiments about needing a place to sleep during a rally for the…..”

So, Belle Burch had no problem telling the real new media what it feels to be homeless. Why wasn’t this, reporter, informed? Did she fear I would ask her to come sleep with me?

Before our, Bohemian session, I begged Belle to allow me to turn on my camera, set it down, and record us, because;

“This is a historic meeting between muse and artist that needs to be put on record without extrapolations.”

But for the fact Belle concealed her true identity, it was an amazingly beautiful experience! One of the crucial subjects we HAD to tackle was our age difference. Was I a Dirty Old Man? If I was a young Bohemian Radical under thirty, there would be question I would want to get in her pants, and she mine! Young Bohemian Bolsheviks are famous for this. After doing a very beautiful dance around this topic, Belle agrees to be my muse, after she lays down the law.

“We are not going to have sex!”
“That’s true, because after my treatment for prostate cancer, I am not the man I was.”

This made Belle, flinch, and I wondered if it was because her hold, her hook in me, was not nearly as strong as she built it up to be!

If the truth be known, the day before our Bohemian Boo-Ha-ha, I asked my beautiful young pharmacist how much a Viagra pill costs.

“That much! I’m not sure if it will work. Dr. Estrich said he would give me a sample months ago, but he forgot.”

When I walked out of the Target, I stopped in my track, and asked;

“What is wrong with you? You’re within ten years of death (if you’re lucky) and you are going to pass up a very slim chance to make love to a very beautiful young woman – for the last time – because Viagra costs $30 dollars a pop?”

When I discovered Belle was arrested, and was possibly homeless, I had to change my plans. I was going to exchange my blue woman’s bicycle for ten hours of modeling, not all at once, but when Bell had the time. I did not want to get caught with my pants down, an old man lusting after a woman younger than my daughter – especially when she may be at your mercy. This exchange gave rise to other concerns, such as being a pedophile with a bag of pretty candy. This confession is proof not all men think with their penis. However, when you are old you are typecast – so shut up already!

My muse of forty four years had filed stalking charges on me. She lied to me about being married to a man she divorced fifteen years ago. And you thought being an artist and a writer was sissy-shit! I’m in fucking trouble here! If I had known she has a gang of anarchists backing her up, who might want to come to her rescue, I would still have that bike….that I informed Belle I named after her……….BLUEBELLE! Ouch!

I think Belle was wearing a wire in that handkerchief, and when she got back to Communal headquarters, Little Lord Flaunteroy was on pins and needles to hear it.

“Yeah! He’s a cop. He didn’t get no cancer treatment. He’s got a hard-on for you till next Friday!”

During our, parlay, I showed Belle a site about Marilyn and her radical family. Here is Marilyn’s daughter reading Rena’s poem while her stepfather’s Jazz band accompanies her. Niesha played in the Gavelan group Belle’s mother founded when she attended the UofO. She looks like Belle and Heather.

Nieshas aunt co-wrote ‘Fela – This Bitch of a Life – and lived in Paris. Her son and I got along famously when we met at Christmas. I presented Marilyn the portrait I did of her. Fela is a musical on off-Broadway. Belle mistakenly thinks I am going to whisk her away to the Big Apple to see a show on Broadway. Who does she think I am – her sugar daddy?

The first questions I asked Belle was if she had a car or bicycle. She said she had no car, but had a bicycle. Why then was she on skateboard. When I gave her Bluebelle she exclaimed;

“How did you know I needed a bicycle?”
“A little birdy told me!”

Homeless Belle loves being a “real person” off the Broadway Triad , where in Luckys, she is shoving dollar bills into a Juke Box – and tripping the lights fantastic. I asked for a rewrite of her poem!

I asked Belle Burch in an e-mail if I can call her BB, the nickname of Bridget Bardot, the French Sex Kitten. At our little table she proved to me she could speak French – quite well. Where’s my little pill?

Not a peep…………or a chirp! Gone is my bird. Farewell… my joy! I had my Bohemian fun!

If this was a French Art Movie made in 1966, it would be titled (in English subtitles)

‘My Beautiful Blue Bicycle’

I see BB riding down a narrow street in the South of France with little boys running after her, and old men at the outdoor tables, giving her a whistle.


What I was asking Belle in that e-mail, was if this dancer would want to help choreograph ‘Love Dance’ an idea that has inspired me for five years. Did Belle wonder if I was gay? No! Why?

If you want to make sure a Bohemian chic never lays you, tell her she writes bad poetry. Why, why did I do it!! I did it because Belle sleeps in the gutter with bums, winos, and mad men, and not one of them did she inform they were out of the running! Why me?

One answer can be, she was beginning to like the cut of my jib, and, she understood I was in love with her. I admit in a e-mail I sent yesterday, that I fell in love with Belle within seconds of beholding her. And, now, after our Bohemian session, she has to admit, as I have to admit………we were/are everything we ever wanted in a Bohemian other, accept for our age. This is a great Bohemian Story! Perhaps the last one of our age.

The Last Bohemian Muse

Jon Presco

Copyright 2014

To Me
Jan 20
The picture of your Muse looks like Christine. Your email – to me – below refers to Stefan and Chris (!), I thought the end of your autobiography might be you actually visiting New York and joining me and Chris having a magical time. How about it? After all: you found your muse! Tootle-oo!
Stefan Eins

Belle Burch
To Me

Apr 19 at 9:41 PM

Hell yes I want to see a dance show on Broadway. I’ve always wanted to see a Broadway show. I’ve been in NYC twice but failed both times to get overpriced tickets to any Broadway shows enough in advance to make one. Why do you ask?

On Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 6:59 PM, John Ambrose wrote:

Belle, my big project in Love Dance, a Broadway musical based upon the music of LOVE. Bryan was my best friend in HS. He was a roadie for the Byrds when he was 17. We hung out in a coffee shop in LA in 1963.

I about choked when you told me your were a dancer! Belle! You ring all my belles and set off all my whistles. It is just the way it is.

I want to see the hippie dance extravaganza on Broadway! How about you?


America in 1969 was at the peak of its Civil Rights movement. Fela met and fell in love with Sandra Smith (now Sandra Isidore), whom was to leave an indelible mark on him. She introduced him to the ideologies of the Black Panthers, the reform of the Civil Rights activists and gave him books written by Black radicals. Fela has said of this indoctrination, “Sandra gave me the education I wanted to know. She was the one who opened my eyes.”

The Empty Canvas

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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