Friday, March 15, 2013

Time To Move On

I've been doing plenty of everything lately and have neglected this favourite form of expression, the no-holds-barred, 2,000 word essay. Prob is, time is money and I have precious little time. Thanks, Ma, for the big brain. Appreciate it. Really.

So, it's time to monetize this bitch a little better than what's being doing on Blogger*, hence, I'm planning to move this hole, excuse me, whole thing to a dedicated domain of its own and then, see how it goes. Sure. I have hopes and dream like any red-blooded American boy that yearns for adventure with a wolf or something, but I want to take it slow, okay? I mean, I really like you and, that's why. Okay?

Therefore, I'll need a little help. I need a name for the new site so that I can register it then Wordpress it up, y'all. I want you. To help me (silly!) choose a new domain name. Now, don't be annoying and register a name then try to sell it to me because I'm just not a-gonna do that, but DO send me your idea in the comment and if I select yours, you WILL get a $10 gift card to Dunkin Donuts. Hey. you don't even have to tip the poor immigrants, you cheap person, you.

"But you never publish the comments," you say. That's right, because I f*cking hate the spammy crap that comes in with the good stuff, but I read each and every one, so I know who's been naughty and who's been very naughty. Heh, heh.

Please. I am begging you. I need your help. I want your help. I desire and require it. Don't let me down, now. Gotta keep that Web Hand strong, yo.

Write it up.

(*Blogger is a superb vehicle for this kind of thing, but because of technical reasons, an independant domain is preferable, especially if I gonna get paid for noodling away tons of hours writing this highly entertaining sh*t f'y'all. Dig? I love Blogger, fo' sho' and why they haven't ported it to a Wordpress-like deployment is beyond me, but I don't have time to research it. Here's an idea - you research it, write a witty column about it and I promise I will feature you on the new site. No free coffee card, though. Sorry. What am I? Made of money? Peace out.)

What Goes Around . . .

A few years ago, I had a brief stint at a giant company that was, to put it mildly, a bad experience. Funny how things work out, though. So, I wrote this, meaning to appended it to the end of that shakily-written story:

"Epiloque, 2013 . . . Ha, ha, ha, ha! OMG! OMFG! Every last one of those people were fired, no notice, out cold. Some of them, I hear, have been out of work since the mass layoff, going on two years. As for me? No worries, mate. After penning that diatribe, I wrote up a wrongful discharge and defamation action, sent their house counsel a courtesy copy and got as follows: an apology, cash money, and unopposed unemployment benefits in exchange for F*CK YOU, you lying pack of criminals. Your country-club hoppoing, golf-addicted in-house didn't even bother to get a quash or even a release, so there's nothing, nothing at all, stopping me from telling this story over and over and over again, to whomever I like, as long as it's true and since your papa says it's true, it's true.

"You're all out of work now! Ah hahahah! Benefits running out soon, yes? House on the market in an immovable economy? Yes? One of your key people tried to stick and stay at my company and what happened? I found out about it, naturally. We used him up and spit him the f*ck out. Gone baby gone. Did any of you fine folks ever bother to find out who I knew in the industry and who knew and respected me? No? Next time, instead of behaving like arrogant, manipulative school girls, size up the "enemy" before you cobble together a downright stupid plan to maximize your overtime while exposing your company to enormous legal risk. You just can't lie and lie and expect to get away with it forever. Or, actually, you can throw up enough stuff on the walls and see what it gets you. You're lucky I was knee-deep in a divorce then. Today, I would personally enjoy having your attorney empty your bank account while I turned down each and every offer to settle and carefully and thoroughly wound my way through each case management conference and motion hearing, knowing that it was an excellent bet that I would prevail. See, I don't settle when it comes to my honour and to my reputation. I will NEVER deal from weakness - ever. Better to figuratively die on one's feet than live on one's knees, to paraphrase. And though it's not in my nature, truly, I promise that I will change your life forever the moment you bully mine. Your boss has been hiring lately - did you know that? Did you know that your boss will never hire back any of your idiots? Do you know why? He told me exactly why. Last week. At the club. It was a chance meeting. I swear."

After looking it over, I thought that it seemed trite and very angry and not particularly clever. I like being clever, especially when it takes the form of stream-of-conciousness writing. I truly get hoots when I read back old essays, sometimes shaking my head and muttering, "Now, that's really f*cking funny."

There's a bird that's taken up residence at Chaos Manor II. He's a cockateil named Ozzie.His crown has tall yellow feathers done up in London Punk fashion, circa 1977. And he has a punk attitude to match. I had a similar hairdo during my brief rise to musical obscurity in the early '80s.

Sure, he was nice enough at the store, but now? I didn't know that birds could hiss. When I put my hand into his cage to change the water, it's full-on Assault On The Humans. The dog is mostly bored, but somehow, secretly, mildly amused. I can take his pint-sized pecks, but the anger . . . it hurts, okay?

Is it because I purchased him for money, like I might a slave? Perhaps he's angry because I tore him from the warmth and bosom familiarity of his brood. But maybe he's just angry. Just because.

So, he can bite me. I've made that vow. The world's been sympathetic to my wiring, so I should return the favour. Chomp away, little bird. Dig in.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Identity Crisis

I've been seeing a lot of ads on TV lately for Vistaprint. They're a printing company that I would have to say revolutionized the marketing and on-line printing of small-quantity business goods. I get about ten e-mails a week from them with incredible offers for printed hats, cups, pens, lawn signs and refrigerator magnets. Since I've been seriously considering re-branding myself, I jumped at the chance to get 250 PREMIUM (that's right, not the crappy ones they apparently usually sell) business cards for the ridiculously low price of ten bucks. Can't buy much for ten dollars these days. Even the liter and a half of cut-rate Zinfandel that counts as the house swill around here tops up at eleven bucks. So, spending a Washington less than that to improve my image with my adoring public is kind of a no-brainer, which is good, since I'm fairly brainless.

One of the best things about Vistaprint is that they make ordering printed stuff very easy. There's an online interface that allows the user to select a design, enter whatever they want to and click to order. In olden times, like ten years ago, to order business cards, one would go to a local printer, choose a layout from a big, dusty book on the counter, fill out a 3 x 5 card with the desired information and a few weeks later, receive a box of cards. Typically, the local printer did NOT print the cards in-house as they're a pain in the ass to print, most people would want raised lettering which uses special thermal ink that bubbles up when heated which required an oven with a conveyor belt which most local printers had no reason to own, as well as a business card slitting machine. What? You though some refugee sat around with a pair of scissors, snipping each one of your precious cards from a giant sheet of them? Or that the cards were printed one at a time on tiny little sheets of paper? Huh. Really.

Anyhow, Vistaprint has thousands of designs available online, obviously created by Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates with massive college debt. With so much choice, it's not easy finding the "look" that best represents me -ME, dammit. Using their search tool, I looked up ME - no luck: I was prompted to upload my own design. Sure, as a person with massive mad design skilz, I could mos def do that, but it kinda defeats the porpoise, though why anyone would want to battle such an intelligent and friendly creature is beyond me.

So, I tried a different search, starting with my best qualities and interests, since I don't have a specific business to promote. I mean, how can I boil down all that I am into a single function? Impossible. So, let's see . . . my best feature is that I'm incredibly sexy. This is what I got:
Mmmm . . . a red head, just like the sumptuous Joan Holloway character from Mad Men. Good start, excellent, in fact. Is that a love potion she's pouring onto her palm? It must be, since there are little hearts floating skyward. GAH! This is a card design for a sex worker! I'm not a sex worker. Wait. No, definitely not. And as it turns out, there's a whole page of similar designs. Two pages if you enter "sex worker" in the search box. Hey, listen, there's jobs that need a-doin' and I ain't no hayter. Yo.

Right - moving on. In what I write, which is often a distillation of my persisitent mental noodling also know as obsessive thought patterns, if you want to get all clinical about it, despair, regret, lament, sadness, mortality with just a hint of death are just a few of thirty-one flavours of depression I neurotically feature. Naturally, I searched "death" and this is what their search engine suggested:
Yikes! Is that . . . yes, it is: it's a person dressed in what seems to be an Army uniform, in a flag-draped casket. The very first thing that popped into my head is how the Westboro Baptist folks might find this card design eerily appropriate. So, how did this design come about? Is that actually a dead serviceman? Is it a model? If it's a model, how does this shoot figure into his portfolio? What would the company name of this business be? Slogan? "Back From Iraq, Stiff Yet Slack" Oh, my. I'm going to heck. Sorry. Not the card for me. Time to get a little religion:
Um, I searched "Buddhist" and this is what I got. Religion, death - yeah, I can see how it all ties together. I could also see that some designer somewhere was in a hurry to get out the door some Friday in the past and decided to PHONE IT THE HELL IN.


Naturally, this whole process is spinning me downward, and I don't make it a habit of adding scotch to my corn flakes, which are, by the way, both excellent inventions on their own but are far too sad-making to be consumed together. So, I search for "drug dealer." Nothing. "Pills" gives me predictable designs with pharmacist-looking characters with mortar and pestle logos and colourful pills - it's a wonderland of apothecary. Drugs - I want drugs! Which gives me:
The actual name of this design is "drug addicted female." Not my words. I could see how this card could also be used in the sex worker category. Clever bifurcation of purpose. But I've spent far too much time trying to find a design that represents all that I am and all that I could be. With thousands of layouts available, is it really possible that I can't find anything, or is it that I'm not looking in the right place, which ALWAYS seems to be the gol-derned case. Finally, after almost twenty-nine hours on the site, with blood clots having already formed in my legs, my shoulders more sore than a five-dollar hooker on payday, I succeed. Herein you will find my new calling card, designed to fully represent me in the best possible light. Enjoy!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Riddance

I'm going to extend the lyric, "So this is Christmas, and what have you done?" and point it at New Year's Eve and myself. What have I done this year? I've been lost.Upheaved. Uncertain of where I should be going, at my fine, ripe age.

I had this experience once before. Such is the penalty for living longer than one should, probably. In the arc that was my twenties, I found myself lost, almost unable to speak, every circumstance an opportunity for awkwardness. I was independent, labouring under the illusion of absent obligation. Somehow, I couldn't manage to form the right words, to be the right person, to make any difference. So, I quit. I started again. Now, I'm in the same exact spot. Perhaps this is cathartic evolution, how it's done. The difference is that today, I don't care. I won't be writing a song about it or waxing philosophical. It's enough that I understand even when no one else does, or knows or cares.
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to simply say f*ck it. Not enough to insult, but enough to not allow anyone or anything to stop the force of survival from defining one's direction. I just don't have enough time left to thoroughly analyze whatever "it" is - such analyses serves no real purpose except mental masturbation, in the end.

I spent the last month sorting through what turned out to be 27,000 images spanning seven years. I've been taking pictures since I was ten years old, but those are all lost, except for one picture on my daughter eating a giant cotton candy when she was about two. It's a very good picture. It's all I have of her from that time, having lost all my other work to her mother's uselessly vindictive nature. That's fine, I guess, since it would have been another 30,000 pictures to go through. I also have a few snapshots that had been tucked into a book of me and the band in Berlin, thirty-some-odd years ago. It was a shock to seem them so young compared to how they look now: grey, greying, a creased reminder of the road I did not choose, out of fear, mostly, though I coated that over with bravado and the faux maturity twenty-somethings are sometimes wont to project. Those images remind me that the accumulation of experience is ongoing as long as one has the cognizance to do so and that the past, though lamented, should not be lost to memory alone.

Tonight, I spend New Year's alone, quietly sorting through the last of my most recent shooting expeditions, drinking an inexpensive California Zinfandel in conservative quantities, and I realize that I have found a path and that is that I don't have a soul but that I am one. All the things that I am and all that I have done haunt me but are me and will no longer be denied. It's not so bad being alone tonight. I have my thoughts, for now, and I have my dreams and my memories. I remember you and you and you, too. It's quiet here, very quiet, except for the dog occasionally rousing himself, huffing at the door despite my reassurance that there is no one there. I open the door to show him, but he seems unsure. I understand. He sees what I see - ghosts and hopes and time trodding steadily past, one sullen footfall following another, whether there's anyone to hear. I pat him and calm him and he goes to his bed. I wait and work, no longer expecting the phone to ring, no champagne to pour, nor drunken drivers to avoid. It's okay. It's meant to be. It's better this way. I'm fine. Really.

2012 can go to hell and all the rest of it, too. Re-do, just like 1965. Happy New Year, bitches.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Theo stepped through the doors of the Warsaw Hotel and onto a wet sidewalk. He didn't think it had rained and looking up the street, he realised it hadn't. They must have hosed down the sidewalk. He was supposed to meet Alexander Vadimovich at seven. Theo's internal clock insisted it was time for a late lunch, not breakfast in this strangely familiar place. It could easily have been New York or Boston. Still, it was different, he knew, and he suddenly felt very alone even though he knew he was only a cell call away from any one of a dozen people who could make him again feel at ease.

Theo felt stupid for not arranging to meet Alexander in the hotel lobby. He had thought it would have been easier than forcing Alexander to park his car and then come and get him, though he could have called when he pulled up. Are they even allowed to have cell phones in their cars? he wondered. He also felt foolish in his green Land's End parka. Somehow, he expected hills of snow and ice to greet him and instead found the cold threat of a Moscovian winter yet to be fulfilled. He took off one of his brown leather gloves to check his watch - only five after. A Maybach pulled up, but it wasn't Alexander, at least, he didn't think so. This was made clear when the valet starting loading luggage onto a cart from the trunk of the car. The valet then opened the passenger door and out stepped a tall woman wearing a knee-length sable coat and sunglasses. Her hair was a perfect platinum, cascading in lazy waves over the brown fur of her coat, her eyes invisible behind large Chanel sunglasses. She said something to the valet who then leaned into the car. Theo could see he was saying something to the suited driver. She walked toward the lobby door and Theo stepped aside to let her pass. She smiled at Theo and he reflexively smiled back, awkwardly reaching for the door when the valet injected himself between them to do the same. Theo realised he was getting in the way and stepped backwards. "Hey!" Theo spun around, surprised at the sound. "You are Theodore Ruhm?" A man, a few inches taller than he, dressed in a peacoat and scarf, was smiling at him. "Um, yes." Theo answered haltingly, in Russian, burst suddenly from his reverie. "Good. I am Alexsander. Let's go." Alexsander turned and started to walk toward the metro entrance down the street. Theo seemed stuck. Alexsander turned and said, "Well?" He waved Theo toward him."Come!" Theo followed and glanced over his shoulder to see the hotel door closing and the woman gone.

"Hello, Alexsander. Hello!" Theo skipped a bit to catch up to his host. "Where do you have your car?"
"My car? I do not have a car."
"Doesn't the firm give you a car?"
"I do not need a car in Moscow. We have the metro."
Theo was surprised at this. After all, their agenda involved travelling to several places today alone.
"Excuse, Alexsander. Wait - could you walk more slowly please?"
Alexsander stopped abruptly and faced Theo. "Okay. What is bothering you?"
Theo tried to form the idea and translate it into Russian. "I want to ask if we are following the plan for today?"
Alexsander smiled and nodded that they were. "Okay? We can go?"
Theo had found his footing since of the Alexander's sudden appearance. "Let us go to somewhere to discuss the plan so that we are thinking on the same way. Good?"
"Of course. Let's walk, okay?" Only "okay" was in English, but Alexsander sounded as if this was something he said all the time, at the end of every sentence. "We go this way. Come." They turned right and crossed the cobbled street toward an alley.

"Your Russian, it is very poor."
"I studied Russian language in college. It is very difficult language."
"You have accent. This will not help you. Why do you come here? To Moscow?"
"My friends, my bosses, I want to explain, think I will be good help for the company here."
"They are your friends or your bosses?"
"My bosses, I spoke wrongly."
The young Russian switched to English.
"You won't help them so much with your Russian. I can't imagine that your Russian is more bad than my English, so we talk English, okay? Good for me, better for you."
He gave a brotherly smile and Theo smiled back. "Okay. That would be easier for me. Thank you."
"Okay!" He clapped Theo on his back. "Come. We get coffee. Starbucks?"
"Starbucks? Okay. Sure." Theo was surprised and then reminded himself that this was the Moscow of McDonald's, Pearl Jam and billion-dollar oligarchs that no longer resembled the ten-year-old history his professors had taught. They talked about a contemporary Russia that was closer to Stalin than to Putin, based on their own sabbatical travels even further back in the near but dim times of a country whose evolution continued to be explosive. They walked down the alley, passing inscrutable storefronts with a couple of floors of apartments above. The sky visible through the slit formed by the opposing buildings on both sides of the narrow street was grey and bright against the dirty stone facades. Mercedes, BMWs, Mazdas and Toyotas were parked at jagged intervals on both sides of the street, straddling the curb and blocking the sidewalk, so that the narrow road could barely accommodate a single passing vehicle should the driver be either brave enough to attempt it or callous and powerful enough to simply not care. The alley opened onto another boulevard, busy with cars, delivery vans and an electric bus tracing slowly down the middle of the street with its catenary sparking the wires above and it lumbered silently along. "It's not far.", Alexsander said. Alexsander was a fast walker and Theo needed the encouragement.

"I don't like because it is American. I like because it is good. Yes? Make sense?" Theo nodded. He truly thought Russians only drank tea. There wasn't a samovar anywhere in sight, though. In fact, this Starbucks was indistinguishable from the Shepard Street Starbucks in Boston, right down to the wooden stirrers and ubiquitous branding except that the music was Russian new-age soft-pop and the girlish barristas were athletically tall, blonde and apparently none-too-friendly. The coffee was hot, certainly, but far too strong and far too sweet. It coaxed a memory of Cuban coffee he'd had in Miami one morning when he traveled there with a bunch of his frat brothers on Spring Break. They had spent the night drinking on the beach, talking up likely females from BU and Yale, finance majors and pre-med all, without much luck. It felt like that had been just a year or so ago, but it had been three years, almost four since he finished school and passed the Bar. And now, here he was, in Russia and it seemed almost more American than America. "So . . ." Alexsander broke into Theo's wide-eyed distraction. "I'll explain the plan, okay?"

Alexsander tapped out a cigarette from his pack of Winstons and lit it with a wooden match. Theo looked at him inhale and asked, "Are you sure you can do that in here?" Alexsander looked at him through the curl of smoke and said, "What? Smoke? Who will stop me? Everybody smokes in Russia. You never heard this? Okay, look: down to business." Alexsander reached into his coat and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. "Okay, Theo. Good to call you Theo?" He looked up and Theo nodded. "Okay. In one hour, you have to go to meet Alexi Alexisovich at Sberbank. I am not in this meeting and I will wait, okay? Then, there is lunch. You do not have lunch with him. I explain why later. Okay?" Theo nodded. He had given himself over to Alexsander again. "Okay. Then, we go to see planning people at Lukoil by fourteen hundred, then to meet counsel at Gazprom. So, we have full day, Got it?" Theo nodded, "Yes, that's the plan I have." Theo took out his iPhone to verify. "Hey, Theo . . ." Alexsander gestured vaguely at the phone. "Put it away. C'mon. The jacket is bad enough." He motioned to the paper. "This is alright, okay?" Theo looked around nervously and put the phone back in the pocket of his parka. "Don't worry. They don't need the phone. They want the information, see? My phone is shut off." Alexsander pulled his Blackberry half way out of his shirt pocket. "Identity theft, okay? Big problem. Don't worry, it will be okay." Theo sipped his coffee. "So, uh, we are the same?" He tried again in Russian. Alexsander shook his head, bemused. "Yes, we are the same, but more same in English." He emphasized the last word and they both chuckled. "Like you, I went to University, study five years, finished, I am hired by Bowson, like you. Then I went to King's College on a fellowship for two more years and worked in London. This was very good. And now, no more school, but no more life, only Bowson. This is correct?" Alexsander smiled his camaraderie and patted Theo on the arm. "All work, no play? Okay?" "Yes," said Theo, 'That's it."

What Theo knew about Alexsander was that he graduated at the top of his class from Moscow State University and was in Bowson Legal's sights since his third year. Apparently, Alexsander didn't want to work for Bowson or anyone else in business law, for that matter, only study and then teach, perhaps help in public sector pro bono work. But the economic reality of the changing face of Russia must have tipped the scale somehow and as the fourth year started, Alexsander suddenly switched to business and international law from criminal and civil law studies. It seemed odd to Theo that a student would make such a radical shift since, at Harvard, anyway, this would have meant a murderous double-time switch, studying to make up for lost ground as a 2L, not at all an easy feat for even the best students. Something motivated Alexsander away from public service. Probably money, thought Theo. Bowson was well known for competitive compensation when the hiring committee had a special need. In that way, law firms tended to behave like sports teams, nabbing the potential out from under their competition so that they could continue to win, win, win.

Theo could feel his phone vibrating. He pulled it out. It was Rose. Alexsander sat back as Theo took the call. "Hey, kid. How's it going?" Rose sounded as if he'd decided to have another. "It's fine, Paul. I'm here with Alexsander, starting the day." There was a delay as the signal made its way across twelve thousand miles of network. "Ah, good. He's a good guy, Alex is. Smart, too. Try to listen to him, okay?" Theo was non-plussed by Rose's fatherly tone, "Sure, I'm counting on him," Theo said. Rose continued, "Look, I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page." He waited for Theo, who said okay. "All we need for you to do is to get a feel for the intangibles here. They're doing the same thing, you know." "Who? Who's doing the same thing?" said Theo, not understanding what Rose was getting at. "The Russians. The oil people and the bank people. They're not stupid, you know," Rose said. "No, of course not. I'll . . .," he paused, "I'll keep my eyes peeled. Okay?" Silence on the connection had Theo believe Rose had gone, but he then added, "And trust no one, right? Stranger in a strange land and all that, right? Call me in the morning - my morning. Good luck, Theodore. Take it easy, kid. Oh, and don't forget to put everything up on Clio so Frank can see it. I don't want him breathing down my neck this week." The call ended.

"Rose, yes?" Theo nodded. "Ahh, well. Okay, we better go. It will take a while to get to the Sberbank meeting. No, no, don't leave a tip. I know her." The barista stared down Alexsander as he got up. She shouted out the next order up, but more loudly than the last. The place had filled up a bit since they had come in. "Girlfriend? Ex-girlfriend?," Theo whispered conspiratorially. "No, not quite. C'mon," he tapped Theo on the chest with his folded gloves, "Let's go, okay?"

Rose had been good to Theo. On the other hand, Theo was a catch for Bowson's. He graduated third in a class of fairly brilliant people, half of whom went on to Wall Street firms, the other half, more or less, into government spots. They felt, to each other, like scholars, like winners, like they had raised the bar for the next graduating class and consequently, for the entire discipline of The Law. And he had made many great friends at school, both at BU and at Harvard. His father would have been proud. Rose somehow seemed to feel that his role should come to be that of a mentor, a father-figure, to Theo, but Theo found that approach more than mildly creepy. Nevertheless, he was respectful, as a smarter, more worldly child might be to a doting and relatively clueless parent, just to keep the peace.

They walked through the patio area of the Starbucks on the way to the street. The tables had been left out but the chairs and umbrellas seemed to have been put away in honor of the coming six months or so of winter. Just outside the fenced-in area of the patio stood a man of substantial build, probably in his early fifties, dressed in a leather jacket and slacks, who seemed to be waiting for someone in particular. He followed Alexsander and Theo with his gaze. Alexsander looked straight ahead and kept walking after noticing the man and momentarily losing the rhythm of his step. As they passed, the man spoke to Alexsander in Russian, "What do you want me to tell him, huh?" "Tell him what you want." Alexsander said dismissively, over his shoulder. "Hey!" The man didn't mean for Alexsander to get away that easily. "You owe him. You owe a lot of people. You don't want me to make something up, something that will hurt his feelings, right?" Alexsander stopped and turned, hands out in an expression of exasperation. "Look, I don't know what to tell you. I'm working now. See? This is my colleague from America." He pointed to Theo and narrowed his eyes. "Understand? I'm doing the best I can. Tell him to call me tomorrow. Or I will call him. Okay?" The okay was in English. The leather-jacketed man seemed to relent, but said, as if in warning, "Alexsander - do not disappoint him. It will be bad. Understand?" "Okay, okay." Alexsander shook his head in frustration, then looked up at the man. "Okay?" The man shrugged, nodded and turned around and walked away. "What was that? Who was that?", Theo asked excitedly. "No one, nobody. Something I need to take care of. Forget it, okay? Let's go." They headed to the metro entrance and disappeared into the earth.

Friday, November 9, 2012

What Tha . . .

Been away.

Been thinking about life. And about pepperoni in particular.

Did you know that pepperoni is the Number One pizza topping in America? No? Where have you been?

Pepperoni. Hot, it's greasy and peppery, vaguely tasting of what is probably some unspeakable part of a cow, otherwise known as All Beef Cold, that is, refrigerator-cold, it's still peppery but with a consistency like edible leather. I just chewed some, and washed it down with some almost chewy Lindemann's Australian swill, distinguished only in the way that it, too was red and cold.

Sigh. What a life. Beats death, I guess. But, who's to say, until you've tried it. Which reminds me of a homosexual proposition I received when I was a scant twenty years of age. There was likely pepperoni involved there, too. And crappy red wine, probably. Fortunately for me, those were oddly more sober days, filled with work that wasn't, since all I had to do was exercise my immense, ahem, talent, and all fell into place. So, why settle for the moist discomfort of a hairy paramour when a dozen, nay, half-dozen suitably slutty, and far smoother females awaited their appointment with my destiny, For them. C'mon. It was the Eighties. Geez.

Anyhow. Pepperoni. Good going in. Not so good on the other end. But, who am I to argue? Rather more to the point, who am I?

Landed gentry? No. Landed. yes, but like most others, beholden to some WASPish shylock, so, only sorta. Creative? Yeah, kinda, but now frequently bound by the fear of impending dementia and death, ever always reminded that up-and-coming is reserved for the young and hungry. Wise, but appropriate for my years, so, not terribly impressive. Educated? More to my own interests and less so academically: a polymath, meant to be a peer more to Jefferson than to Zuckerberg. Literate? Offensively so, by today's standards, but that says little, by today's standards.

Roast beef, pepperoni, liverwurst, cappacola, haggis. I am, like those various sausage-modes, some expression of the need for society to consume me, as long as there is some variety in the way I am ground up and served.


Friday, August 24, 2012

I See Dead People

Lots of famous Hollywood folk have been kicking the bucket in the last few weeks. Ernest Borgnine, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Marty, bought the farm in the beginning of July. Phyllis Diller, the famously blue comedienne who rose to pop culture prominence in the '60s, went permanently horizontal on 20 August. Both of the foregoing stars were quite ancient. Tony Scott, however was not.

Scott, the famous brother of the equally famous Ridley Scott, was merely 68 when he forthrightly tossed himself off a bridge in San Jose, California. Mr. Scott wasn't a nut, however. He discovered he had inoperable cancer and decided that a long goodbye just wasn't his thing. So, he made a decision.

Running up to his swan dive, Mr. Scott directed some monumental movies. The Hunger, The Fan, The Last Boy Scout, Enemy of The State. Top Gun. Yes, that Top Gun. Plus, he produced tons of television that you have probably watched in syndication, like The Good Wife and Numb3rs. And he directed Quentin Tarantino's first script - True Romance.

True Romance is loaded to the gills with giant talent, including a monumental turn by Gary Oldman of Dracula and Tinker, Tailor fame as a white Detroit pimp and murdering drug dealer who thinks he's black. Also in this lesser-know flick is Samuel L. "Motherf*cking" Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper and, forget it, the list goes on and on. The movie stars Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater who are basically second fiddles to this immense stable of talent. Plus, the script drips Tarrantino, which is a major tribute to Scott's appreciation of that vision.

So, as a sign of respect for a major Hollywood talent who knew how to make a mind-boggling range of winning movies,  how to snag A-list friends and to stick to his singular conviction about his life and how it should end, watch True Romance. Do it now, please.