The Unbearable Banishment: August 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Last Gasp

I wanted to read one more quick, easy book before summer came to a close so I impulsively grabbed a copy of Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, which was just released in paperback. I had read Shopgirl a few years ago and was amazed at how well written and compelling it was. Born Standing Up was published about a year ago and received some favorable reviews. I’m happy to report that it’s a very enjoyable read that doesn’t make you work very hard. A perfect adios to summer. It’s a bio. He had problems with his father. I think daisyfae might be the only person I know who had a strong relationship with her dad. Lucky girl, she is.

Mr. Martin and I have a shared interest. He collects rare books, too. Like him, I also had some daddy issues. We are almost the exact same person, he and I, except that he has an overabundance of talent and cash and I do not. Do you know who else collects rare books? TVs Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michele Gellar! I was at a book fair here in New York a few years ago and walked into a dealer’s booth to peruse his stock. She walked up next to me and examined an incredibly rare Shakespeare folio. How hot is that?

* * *

The more I see how happy the evangelicals are about Sarah Palin’s VP nomination, the more creeped-out I am. My experience has taught me that the evangelicals are not to be trusted. Anything that they get all hopped-up about is probably not going to be healthy for the rest of us.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Names for Sarah Palin's Kids


Friday, August 29, 2008

Just A Heartbeat Away Pt. 2

I just read a brief bio on for Sarah Palin, the GOP VP nomination and I have to be perfectly honest and say that, but for her inexperience, she sounds like a solid candidate. Maybe in another 10 years she'll be ready. What I can’t abide by are the comical names she chose for her children, to wit:


You have GOT to be KIDDING me! If we had had a Bristol in my high school, he would have spent a lot of time stuffed in a locker and Track would have gotten a daily wedgie.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I, Pundit

Have we finally moved beyond Hillary Clinton? She did it to herself, folks. And don't be mad at Obama. Two years ago she had a double-digit lead against her rivals for the nomination and a gazillion dollar war chest. What happened? She blew it. Her campaign was so poorly managed that not only did she lose the nomination, she burned through all that money and had to dig into her own pocket and is now in debt. Thank God she and Mr. Bill took the high road out.

This election is a gimmie for the Democrats. If the Democrats find a way to blow it (they still might) they should be force to disband and the new political party that rises from its ashes should not have any familiar faces at the helm.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Letter to England

Dear London: Mrs. Wife and I will be in town from September 11-15. Does anyone know where I can get a pair of tickets to see Piaf at Donmar Warehouse? The entire run is completely sold out. If you have any ideas, please post. Feel free to suggest alternatives. We are big fans of the Gypsy Kings and have already booked tickets to Zorro with Bob and his entourage. Olé!

* * *

They are setting up in Bryant Park for fashion week. It’s a pretty big deal out here.

I have ambiguous feelings about clothiers. Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry that pumps a steady stream of much-needed revenue into New York City coffers. But it makes its money off the vanity and insecurities of (mainly) women. It sends out a terrible message, i.e., wearing a specific label will validate you and repair your self-esteem. Runway shows look like gussied-up teen beauty pageants to me, which I also don't understand. Modeling should be declassified as a profession and reclassified as a form of child abuse.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Once Had A Girl

I’m just finishing Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Everyone but me has known since 2000 that it's a contemporary masterpiece. I’m always late to the party, but I usually show up sooner or later. Have a taste:

“Now get this straight, Wantanabe,” said Midori, pointing at me. “I’m warning you, I’ve got a whole month’s worth of misery crammed inside me and getting ready to blow. So watch what you say to me. Any more of that kind of stuff and I’ll flood this place with tears. Once I get started, I’m good for the whole night. Are you ready for that? I’m an absolute animal when I start crying, it doesn’t matter where I am! I’m not kidding.”

I nodded and kept quiet. Ordering a second whisky and soda, I ate a few pistachios. Somewhere behind the sound of a sloshing shaker and clinking glasses and the scrape of an ice maker, Sarah Vaughn sang an old-fashioned love song.

Shit, man, I’ll never be able write like that. The excerpt probably isn’t that impressive taken out of context but it knocked me on my ass when I read it on the train tonight. I went back over it three times.

I met Murakami once. He made a rare public appearance at a book signing here in New York. He had two cute Japanese assistants with him who each had two wooden chock stamps. When he signed a book, one of the assistants would stamp it. Mine is a picture of two intertwined fish. I asked him if New York frightened him. He and the cute Japanese girls laughed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Conjunction Junction

I was reading the comment section on someone else’s blog and came across something that really horrified me. The commentator took the blog owner to task for a misplaced apostrophe. Are you kidding me?! Do I need to worry about stuff like that? That’s too much pressure. I barely know where to place a comma. I have no idea what a prepositional phrase is.

Sometimes I reread my old posts or the comments I’ve left on other blogs and they are fraught with mistakes. At least on my blog I can go back and correct the gaffes (which I occasionally do). A comment left somewhere else is forever. If it’s incoherent or improperly punctuated, tough shit. It’s a good thing my laptop comes equipped with spell check or I’d really be in trouble with the grammar police.

Last week I read posts on at least three different blogs that all said, “It’s really slow and I don’t have anything to write about.” If I don’t have anything to write about, I don’t write. Please, please don’t let blogging turn into a goddamn job. I’ve already got a goddamn job and one’s enough. This is for fun, right? Or is this yet another one of my responsibilities that I’m taking too lightly?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dream A Little Dream

Yesterday morning 6-Year Old Daughter said, “Dad, I had a dream that I was in the Disney store with all my friends. You bought me a Tinkerbelle doll that could talk, but only the person who owned her could hear what she was saying. We brought her home and she sprinkled some pixie dust on me and we could both fly.” Isn’t that sweet?

I had a dream yesterday morning, too. I was in the house I grew up in in Cleveland. It was overrun with spiders whose bodies were about as big as your fist. I took a can of insecticide and sprayed it into their eyes. They writhed around in pain. Some of them died and others turned into human zombies. Lots and lots of really angry zombies. They chased me up the wooden stairs to the attic. I only had one can of insecticide and there were so many of them. Mrs. Wife was in the attic and I yelled, “Please help me!” Then I woke up. That was my dream. I wish I made that up.

* * *

I was driving to the supermarket and the local college radio station played the Louis Armstrong classic What A Wonderful World as interpreted by The Ramones. Absolutely heartwarming.

* * *

Again, I am lamenting the end of summer. On Saturday, we went down to Asbury Park. We walked the boardwalk, looked at the ocean and got some ice cream. 6-Year Old Daughter and I played 18 holes of miniature golf. I beat her 42-80. I was merciless. Those summer afternoons are numbered but autumn has its charms. All-day pots of hot coffee. Roast beef and mashed potatoes with gravy. A change of wardrobe. Football. Hut-hut.

* * *

Joe Biden is a brilliant pick for VP. For all the evidence you'll ever need, please take a minute to read David Brook's op-ed piece that ran in the Friday New York Times. This was written on the eve of Obama's announcement. Brooks is a conservative (although not a radical) so the fact that this level-headed argument for Biden comes from the "other camp" counts for plenty.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Is That All There Is?

Do you realize summer is pretty much over? We had such a great season here in NY/NJ. I’m sorry to see it come to an end. Mrs. Wife and The Daughters got a lot of pool and beach time in. I spent many an evening in the city. When the weather is cooperating, there’s no place I’d rather be on a summer night than in Manhattan.

Friday after work I popped down to Chelsea for dinner and a few glasses of Dewar’s. The West Village use to be the epicenter of the gay community in New York but years ago it migrated about 15 blocks north to Chelsea. There’s no doubt about it: gay men keep themselves in tip-top physical condition. I almost wish I had passed through a period of bisexual experimentation when I was younger. I’ve had a rather staid sexual past and it would have made it more robust and given it some depth. Living in the city as long as I did, I had plenty of opportunities but it never appealed to me. If there’s one issue you can’t force, it’s sexual preference. It is what it is. I like girls. Always have. Men? Not so much.

I had a big plate of pad Thai noodles at Regional Thai on 7th Av and 22nd. Delicious. You can’t screw up pad Thai noodles. You just can’t! Later in the evening, R Esq. told me, “That’s what white people order in Thai restaurants.” It was a bit hard to take coming from a pale NYC lawyer who was born in Oregon. I secured a table on the sidewalk so the dinner entertainment was the unending parade of humanity down 7th Avenue. It never gets old.

Met aforementioned R Esq. at Peter McManus, which is a glorious shithole of a bar. He and his lovely bride C Esq. work lawyer hours, which is to say, a hell of a lot. He went over their annual billing cycle and it’s pretty intense. I couldn’t do it. I lack the intellectual wherewithal and, much worse, the drive.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sweet Home Bryant Park

Each morning before work I sit for a spell in Bryant Park. Bryant Park is a beautiful patch of grass located right behind the big library on 42nd St. and 5th Ave. I'll either read the paper or bang out a blog entry or watch the pretty office drones parade by in their summer dresses. On Fridays, my peace is compromised by the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series with Diane Sawyer (sponsored by Listerine mouthwash). A stage is set up and a different band plays each week. Not long ago by bliss was ruined by Miley Cyrus. This morning it was Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock.

When I was in Junior High School, a humungous lump of dumb named Greg Schopell use to take my lunch money away from me whenever I couldn't run fast enough. He was a big Lynyrd Skynyrd fan. He always wore Lynyrd Skynyrd tee-shirts (that smelled) and had a Lynyrd Skynyrd belt buckle that was the size of a sewer lid. Do you know what? FUCK Lynyrd Skynyrd! Their music suuuuucks. It’s repetitive and it fed the violent tendencies of Greg Schopell. But I like Kid Rock. He's great.

* * *

I am employed by Benevolent Dictators, Inc. It is an asset management firm. They manage pension funds, endowments, foundations and, my favorite, High Net Worth individuals. I recently discovered that there’s a tier above that. They are called Ultra High Net Worth individuals. Can you believe that!? Even if you're High Net Worth, you’re STILL not the top of the food chain. This gives me a whole new benchmark for my own mediocrity.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just a Heartbeat Away

We’ll get the Demo VP pick this weekend. Do you remember the good ole’ days when it didn’t make a damn bit of difference who the Vice President was? Poppy Bush didn’t get a lot of respect. Dan Quayle was a punch line. Al Gore was a totem pole. That was all before Darth Cheney was hired to head the Vice Presidential search committee for Bush II and wound up nominating himself. What chutzpa! He co-opted the Presidency from a lazy, intellectually challenged puppet head and in doing so has made the Vice Presidency very relevant. We’d better pay close attention from now on, particularly to whoever gets the GOP VP nod. I have a lot of respect for John McCain, but he’s a geezer and doesn’t look like he’s long for this world.

Eat n’ Rub

Mrs. Wife and the Daughters were down at the shore with another member of the Mommy Mafia and her brood when I got home from work last night so dinner was not on the table, as is usually the case. Not a problem! I had an evening massage appointment scheduled and didn’t have time to stand in front of a hot stove so I leapt into quick-feed mode. Dinner consisted of:

1 peach
1 slice of bread with peanut butter
1 tall glass of cold milk
Some Wise potato chips
1 orange
1 “fun size” bag of M&Ms
A second (larger) serving of potato chips
1 Klondike ice cream bar

Sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it? I lived alone for the better part of two decades and can’t recall eating so erratically. I think my dinner-making skills were severely compromised somewhere along the matrimonial way.

* * *

I could never be a masseuse. To me, it's an intimate act that requires you invade someone’s very personal space. Generally speaking, if I’m giving a massage, I want it to lead to something else. And I don’t mean sore hands. How do they do it? According to Jenna, the inflicter of pain (she uses her elbows!), it’s just a job. I had other questions that needed answers and she obliged.

I asked her if they charge extra for people who are morbidly obese (they don’t), how they deal with an exceptionally hairy man (lots of oil) and if a client has ever made a pass at her (all the time). She said she can see passes coming a mile away. Typically, men will pollinate by over-tipping and eventually move in for the kill. One particularly frisky client whipped off his towel, grabbed her hand and…well…yea. She ran out of the room and got the manager. Do you know what they did to him? They canceled his membership. Pardon me, but, isn’t that sexual assault? Did he get away with something? I asked what she does if a client starts to get a little too flirty. Her favorite road block is to steer the conversation into her exercise program, which includes lots of kick boxing and Tae Kwon Do. She’s got the shoulders and strength to prove it! Clever girl.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Judge

I did some design work for a Vice President at Benevolent Dictators, Inc. I like her enough and she’s pleasant, but I never really took her seriously. She seems a bit mousy and even though she’s in sales, she doesn't talk a good game (which is a necessary tool of the trade). I work in an open-architecture environment and I overhear her cold calls. She lacks confidence. I’ve never heard her take command of a conversation. She appears to be of average intelligence.

Yesterday, I stumbled across her bio. She has a B.A. in molecular engineering from MIT. You’d never know! When am I going to stop judging people without first checking under the hood? How many times do I need to be taught that lesson? What a dolt, I be.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I have great news! This fall on Broadway, not only are they mounting a production of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow with Jeremy Piven and Raúl Esparza, but they’ve also just announced a revival of American Buffalo with John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer. With apologies to Mr. Mamet: holy fuckety-fuck! Can you fucking handle that?

I use to have a first edition of Sexual Perversity in Chicago inscribed by Mamet thus: From that foul mouthed chronicler of contemporary America. I sold it for what is now a long-forgotten reason. I have regretted it ever since. I’ve sold many of my rare books for some terrible “need” that I can now no longer recall. But I remember the books, alright. I stopped making that mistake years ago.

The Worth of Your Father

6-Year Old Daughter paid a visit to the city last week. She is obsessed with all things Chinese (and this was before the Olympics!) so she and Mrs. Wife had lunch in Chinatown. She brought home a string of small illuminated paper lanterns which I had been promising all week to hang in her bedroom. Sunday morning came rolling around and I still hadn’t gotten around to it, so instead of sitting on my patio with the Sunday New York Times, a cup of coffee and two Hostess Ho-Ho’s (which is what I really wanted to do) I got out my shitty little tool kit and hung her lanterns.

I finished and took a step back to admire my handiwork. It looked pretty good! I started to imagine the look on her face when she crossed the threshold into her bedroom to see it for the first time. I knew how happy it was going to make her and I got a bit choked up. Then I got that familiar reminder that my father never did anything of this ilk for me or my siblings. That guy lived inside of his own head and to this day I’m not entirely convinced he was aware of my existence.

This is not an exercise in self-pity and I’m certainly not looking for any sympathy. We all hang on a cross for something. It’s merely a cautionary tale. If you’re reading this and have a kid or two, for Christ’s sake, pay them some attention. And don’t make them feel guilty about it, either.

Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
A long time.

Fun fact: When I got married, I gave up my last name and took Mrs. Wife’s. There was a span of 22 years that I didn’t see or hear from my father so I felt a bit detached from the name, to say the least. Also, the name was a terrible albatross while growing up. My last name use to be Polack which, as you know, is a derogatory term for someone who is Polish. My uncles Americanized it by changing the spelling to Pollack, making it sound more like the painter Jackson Pollack’s. My father, a proud idiot, decided that we would keep the original pronunciation. We went through elementary, junior high and high school with that moniker. Thanks, Pop.

We are only second generation Americans and I have a theory that when my grandparents immigrated from Poland and passed through Ellis Island, some wiseguy with a rubber stamp said, “Oh, you’re from Poland? You’re name is Polack.” We’ll never know the truth.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Here, Kitty Kitty

Here’s my favorite line from Manohla Dargis’s New York Times review of Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona. In regards to Scarlett Johansson’s performance, she writes:

She isn’t much of an actress, but it doesn’t terribly matter in his films: She gives him succulent youth, and he cushions her with enough laughs to distract you from her lack of skill.

Meeeyowww! Women do NOT like Scarlett Johansson! I had a friend who once told me she and her girlfriends use to sit around and take turns saying terrible things about poor Miss J. Call me crazy, but I think she has tremendous appeal. She is the antithesis of Nicole Kidman. Ms. Kidman is a classic beauty who doesn’t project an ounce of sexuality. The Ice Princess. That’s not a good thing if you’re an actress. My Scarlett, on the other hand, has an ordinary look about her but radiates animal magnetism. Yum! Do you know who else use to be like that? Susan Sarandon. Not a great beauty but I’m pretty sure she could rip me limb from limb. In the good way.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Is 7 Too Young For Psychotherapy?

Are you following this Olympic nonsense? Adorable 9-year old Lin Miaoke was chosen to sing the Chinese national anthem at the opening ceremony last Friday. Just look at that face!

The trouble is, her father knew right away that it wasn’t her voice everyone was hearing. It turns out that although 7-year old Yang Peiyi was a fine enough singer, the Communist Party didn’t think she was “cute” enough to represent China, so they used her voice but not her face.

“The reason,” they claimed, “was for the national interest.” Holy shit! Wait until poor Yang is in her awkward teenage years and is constantly being reminded by mean girls that billions of people all over the planet were told she wasn’t cute enough and had bad teeth. Apparently, the body-self image dilemma isn’t a purely Western notion. (See previous post.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Gym Membership Can Wreck Your Body

Several months ago I noticed a new member at the gym. She was as cute as can be and to my eye she was already in tip-top condition. She had some nice, feminine curves and a softness about her. As far as I could tell she was in perfect health and was there just to maintain her wellbeing.

After about a month, I noticed one of the trainers, a hulking XXL mound of muscle, go up and talk to her every time she was on an elliptical machine. I think it was a combination of flirting and fishing for a new client. Apparently, he must have had a pretty good rap because soon thereafter, she was exercising under his tutelage each morning. The regime looked brutal—far more extensive than what I subject myself to—but that’s what you get when you hire a trainer.

As the months peeled away, I could see a noticeable change in her physiology. The results were dramatic and, to me, tragic. She is now solid and cut—pure muscle—but not in a good way. She lost all of her femininity and the aura that made her so beautiful has vanished. I believe it even changed her face. She’s not—and I know this sounds awful—as pretty as she use to be. Her face now has some angles and a tautness that do not flatter.

There’s a cautionary tale in there somewhere

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Wonder What’ll Happen If I Sneak Up Behind This Bear and Kick Him In The Nuts?

Are you following the mess out in Georgia? Russia might annex part of the country and the whole thing is Georgia’s fault. They provoked Russia by trying to seize control of secessionist South Ossetia, which has a Russian majority. I think everyone agrees that Russia’s response has been a little over the top, but my father-in-law summed the whole thing up very succinctly:

What’d they expect?

* * *

Overheard on the 10:42 p.m. train from a loud, boisterous female cell phone-user. (My jammer was dead. Curses!) All dialog is guaranteed verbatim:

By the South Amboy station? Them mutherfuckers got the best chicken salad in the worl (sic). I lie not. I’m constipated. I can’t take a shit. Gimmie my damn soda (to her young daughter). What’s the name of that place again? The Honeymoon Motel? I’ll punch you right in you gotdamn head. Hey! How you? You alright? Be safe, you mutherfucker!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Day Without Obligations

Every year for my birthday I blow off work for a day and drive down to Atlantic City alone to shoot craps. I always pick a weekday for this blessed annual event because on the weekend the city fills up with fancypants people who are only interested in drinking, going to clubs to chase tail, eating in the better restaurants and make a show of themselves with their expensive, tacky wardrobes. If you go during the weekday, you are more likely to rub elbows with degenerates, professional gamblers, the broken and the destitute. In other words, my people. There is also a heaping helping of senior citizens. The corridors are choked with wheelchairs, walkers, canes and oxygen tanks being towed on little hand carts.

I arrived early yesterday morning and had my customary 10:00 a.m. bloody mary to get my groove on. I had to spend a little time on the boardwalk airing out because my customary bloody mary was unusually powerful and I got a little loopier than I like to be when I’m bellied up to a crap table.

I. Love. Craps. Shooting craps seems like a terrible waste of time until the money starts to pour in. Then, I can assure you, it’s a brilliant way to spend an afternoon. I give it my highest recommendation. Blackjack is boring. Roulette is dignified but a bit too quiet. Slots are for old ladies and lazy people. Bill Bennett, conservative author of The Book of Virtues was found to have a gambling problem. At the same time he was telling everyone how to live a moral and virtuous life, he lost an estimated $8 million in casinos. Do you want to know how he lost that money? Slots! What a little girl! I could almost forgive him if he had done the hard work and lost it at the racetrack or a crap table or a baccarat table, but he poured all that money into slot machines. I’ll bet he was wearing a frilly dress and a bow in his hair at the time.

For lunch I ate at the coffee shop. Casino coffee + casino eggs and sausage = nature’s laxative. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Please Don’t Feed the Animals

Mrs. Wife has had a bee in her bonnet for quite some time about taking the kiddies to the Bronx Zoo. It’s not that far geographically, but it's a treacherous ride because of the traffic and all the complex twists and turns you need to take once you exit the George Washington Bridge. I successfully evaded the subject for six years but she finally won out and we went on Saturday. Well, I was right, and that doesn’t happen too damn often. We sat in August summer traffic for almost two solid hours. At times we were at a dead-stop. My righteousness filled the car and turned it into a pressure cooker. Yay me.

The Zoo was lovely but the common theme that ran through all the exhibits was how mankind is destroying the animal kingdom. I ended up feeling personally responsible for mutilating the habitats of all the fuzzy animals in the world. I just wanted to look at a stupid giraffe, not be lectured to about how there is a direct link between myself and the extinction of certain species. Outside of the tiger exhibit they set up a “poacher’s truck” so you could see what the tools of the tiger poaching trade look like. Tiger traps, nets, pelts, etc. Mrs. Wife had to explain to 6-Year Old Daughter what poaching was. Fun.

Zoos are no longer a place where animals sit in cold grey cages. They live in areas that replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. That’s lovely and humane, but the problem is that the animals are able to stay very well hidden. More often than not, you have to settle for a quick peek of a swish of a tail from behind a mound of grass.

We stopped for lunch. I didn’t expect the healthiest cuisine, and I was right. The menu contained a lot of fried junk and sandwiches with melted cheese dripping off the sides. I was walking to our table and thinking that people really should start eat healthier (myself included) and I turned a corner and saw this:

Holy mother of Jesus! Hide the children! Now, ain’t that America? I momentarily felt bad about taking the photo, but I got over it pretty quickly. They should throw her in the lion pen. We’d finally get to see some wildlife and she could certainly use the exercise.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Expecting Nothing. Discovering Treasure.

July and August is the dead zone for the theater in Manhattan, which is a bit of a drag for me because it’s something I really enjoy. It sustains me through the long commutes and endless hours spent chained to a desk. There are very few theatrical openings. The fall season won’t begin in earnest for another month. Next up: Jeremy Piven in Mamet’s Speed-The-Plough. How do you like them apples?

For a lark, I got a ticket to a production of Around The World in 80 Days at the Irish Rep. Honestly, the story didn’t interest me at all—I’m not a big Jules Verne fan—but the Irish Rep is sure-fire and I had read a few nice notices. What I hoped would be a pleasant diversion and an excuse to avoid the Friday evening city exodus was actually an amazing display of stamina and dedication. There were only six people in the cast and four of them covered over a dozen roles. They worked their asses off. They made it look easy. And fun. You wouldn’t think that they could do justice to such an expansive story on such a small stage and with only a few meager props but they were pretty amazing. The audience was great. They laughed in all the right places and you could see how the actors fed off of that. I love a good sneak attack.

* * *

Two posts ago I spewed my stupidity all over the Olympics. I bad-mouth China. Said I didn’t care. Well, I caught the opening ceremonies and guess what? I softened my heart a bit. I am still no fan of the oppressive government. I cringed while watching the goose-stepping military regiment and Chinese corporations continue to strip Africa of her natural resources. But the opening ceremony was a breathtaking spectacle. Lord, they have a beautiful culture and people, don’t they?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Further Evidence that Fashionistas Are Idiots

According to a New York Times Article:

It’s No Boo-Boo: Bandages as Fashion Accessories

WHEN Nicholas James Brown prepares to go out for cocktails at the Tribeca Grand or to a clambake in the Hamptons, he sticks on a few boldly patterned Band-Aids by the Brazilian fashion designer Alexandre Herchcovitch.

… the colorful strips are an important accessory, and he’s careful to coordinate them with his Kris Van Assche sweater or his Balenciaga bag.

Do I need to just lighten up? You can tell me. I won’t be offended. But they seem take this very seriously, which feeds my nausea. Sometimes I wonder why I still live here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kiss Somebody

Are you familiar with I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry? Sure, you are. I liked it enough the first few times I heard it but it has worn out its welcome for me. Do you suppose if it were a guy singing I Kissed A Boy it would have been as big a hit? Of course not. Not a chance. Why is that, I wonder? Why is one image acceptable to the masses and the other not? It shouldn’t make a bit of difference, right? Personally, I’d much rather imagine two girls kissing, but that’s just me. If you’re a guy and you kissed a boy and you liked it, then have at it. There’s plenty where that came from. I hear.

* * *
Do you care that the Olympics are about to start? Not only am I not interested, but I’ve actually developed some antagonistic feelings towards the Olympics. The integrity of the games has been compromised because of all the doping—some countries do it, others don’t—and I don’t think China is an deserving host. There’s a picture in today’s New York Times of the U.S. athletes arriving in the Beijing airport and they’re all wearing surgical masks because, apparently, the air is so foul and polluted they’re concerned it might negatively impact their performance.

The Chinese government has selectively blocked internet access for visiting journalists. Oh yea, and they torment people. I’m happy that New York lost out on an Olympic bid. No, thanks. Lotsa’ luck, London. Hosting the Olympics is the road to both civic glory and fiscal ruin. Get outta’ town, Bob.

* * *
Also in the Times today is a really compelling and harrowing article about the recent deaths on K2. Mountain climbers always seem like a brave and heroic bunch to me until something goes awry. Then you look into what went wrong and they end up looking like a bunch of bumbling idiots. This group tried to ascend the most challenging peak on the planet—more difficult than Everest—using shoddy, second-rate equipment. Jaysus.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

At Last, My Right Arm Is Complete Again!

My replacement cell phone jammer finally arrived from Hong Kong. Once again, I control the cell phone frequencies on my commuter train. Mrs. Wife said that my mother- and father-in-law think there’s “something wrong” with me and to not mention it around them again. But don’t all of the best gadgets have a whisper of corruption in some small way? Remember, Goldfinger was just 0:07 seconds away from contaminating all of the gold in Ft. Knox by detonating a thermonuclear device. They said there was “something wrong” with him, too. And what was his sin? He supported an unpopular gadget. Just like my cell phone jammer.

No cell phone for you, you yappy Barbie Doll.

* * *

The title of this post is a line from a movie/play. Can you name it?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


Monday, August 4, 2008

Demolition Men

I saw The Police and Elvis Costello at an outdoor venue on a perfect summer evening but the REAL show took place in the parking lot before a single note was played.

I was part of a pack of five suburban couples who met early to tailgate and relax before going in. It seemed like a harmless enough activity. Some food. Some beer. You know the drill. I knew two of the couples just slightly and the other two I had never met before. It was getting close to showtime so we started to pack up our chairs and gather the hundreds of empty beer bottles that were scattered around us and, unbeknownst to me because of the beer and weed induced haze I was in, a fight broke out.

One of the wives went up to one of the husbands and said that she has become increasingly alarmed about his brother’s drinking habits (his brother and sister-in-law were also with us and standing off to the side). Even though we were about to walk into the concert, she felt it was critically important for us to hold an intervention RIGHT THIS MINUTE, in the middle of the parking lot. I barely knew these people! I don’t want to sound callous, but I didn’t want to miss the opening act. I like Elvis Costello.

Brother #1 walked up to his sister-in-law and said, “You put her up to this, didn’t you?” “No, I didn’t.” “Yes, you did. You’re a two-faced liar and I can’t stand you.” “Fuck you!” etc. It escalated. Brother #2, the supposed alcoholic, got angry, said, “We’re not going in!” and ripped his and his wife’s tickets into tiny bits and threw them into the breeze. Shout. Shout. Shout. Yell. Yell. Yell. People stare. Brother #2 got into his car with his drunken, red-faced shouting wife behind the wheel and drove off into the evening.

There was an apology offered afterwards and a lot of talk about ruining the concert and unwittingly dragging us into a family drama. I graciously accepted their apology but I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I thought the entire episode was tremendous fun to watch. I wish I could hit rewind and watch it again because I missed a few lines of dialog.

* * *

Sting, Schming. Stuart Copeland is the ninja grand master of the fill. They could have kept the camera on him throughout the entire concert. That would have been fine with me. Sting came out and sang Alison with Elvis Costello. It was a nice moment.

Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Little Perspective, Please

Last night Mrs. Wife and I saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It's the true story of a man with "locked-in" syndrome. He can't communicate with the outside world, but is completely aware of what goes on around him. It sounds like an awful premise, but it's filled with hope and beauty.

I'm gong to hire someone to follow me around 24-hours a day. His (or her) job will be to smack me aside my head every time I complain about how DIFFICULT and DREARY my life is. Even if I'm in the middle of a dream and start mumbling negativity in my sleep—pow. I'll walk around with a swollen face for a while, but perhaps I'll eventually realize how fortunate I am. How many times do we need to be taught this lesson before it finally sinks in? Eh?

* * *

Tonight, The Police and Elvis Costello at an outdoor venue. I saw both of these bands separately early in their careers. They're older, I'm older and the tickets are considerably more expensive this time around. It’s the middle-aged spread tour.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Free Tips From the Buddah 5

Real peace will arise spontaneously
When your mind becomes free
Of attachments,
When you know that the objects of the world
Can never give you what you really want.


Friday, August 1, 2008

My :15 Minutes

Once upon a time, I got involved with printing a limited edition chapbook that combined an essay by British author Nick Hornby and the lyrics to Thunder Road by music guy Bruce Springsteen. The only way we were able to secure permission to use their work was to agree to donate all the profits to a charity, which we were happy to do. We didn’t give a shit about the money. It was for art’s sake (it’s okay to laugh). We were going to split the donation 50/50 but Springsteen’s “people” deferred to Mr. Hornby, so all the money was to go to TreeHouse, a school in London for autistic children.

Long story short. After visiting Mr. Hornby in his London office and having him sign many, many pages that were to be bound into the book (a signed book can be sold for more than an unsigned one, thus generating a larger donation) the project crashed and burned horribly. It cost me a friendship. Mr. Hornby writes about this sad episode today in his blog.