The Unbearable Banishment: December 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Unbearable message to an unbearable decade

Dear 2000, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9:

Bugger off.

All of you, you dirty, rotten, no good, low down, two-timing, yellow-bellied, double crossing, back stabbing, snakes in the grass.

I didn't think 2009 could be worse than 2008 but do you know what? It was! It just goes to show you that it's never safe to set your expectations. I don't use this forum to vent my troubles. I choose to leave out the dreary stuff. Plus, I was raised to pretend that everything is okay, even when it's not. Don't talk about it and perhaps it'll just go away.

[Ms. Daisyfae, do you think that's an Ohio/Midwest thing? I've always considered that mine was a problem of geography.]

But take my word for it, 2009 was no picnic for me or the people around me.

Ten years ago, Mrs. Wife and I welcomed the new decade wile dancing at Bruce Springsteen's New Years Eve party. It's one of the top five nights of my life. Tonight we're in the family room wrapped in the red blanket and watching Ed Harris tear his guts out as Jackson Pollock.

Okay. As Mr. Bukowski put it, scramble two.

Happy New Year to my readers. Your attention is a gift to me.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Very bad parenting skills

We visited the Cleveland Science Center. I've never been a big science center kind of guy but when you're in Cleveland in December, you either have to find indoor activities for the kiddies to burn off their energy or suffer the consequences.

There were some really cool exhibits. They had a working Theramin. That's the device that makes weird spacey sounds when you wave your hand near it. It's featured in Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. They also had a plasma tube. There's an electric current running inside and if you touch the side of the glass, the current attached itself to your fingers.

How neat is that?! I called 3-Year Old Daughter over. I wanted a picture of her grasping the tube. I thought it would make for a nice blog photo. She reached up and lightly touched it with the tip of her index finger. I wanted her to have a better connection so I pressed her palm against the tube.


WAAAHHHH! Daddy you PINCHED ME! AAaaagghhh! I want MOMMY!

Do this, don't do that,
can't you read the signs?

Five Man Electrical Band

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Teach your children well (about Romanburgers)

I introduced 8-Year Old Daughter to one of Cleveland's finer culinary offerings. This... a Romanburger. As of this writing, you cannot buy one in either New York or New Jersey. You have to go to Cleveland and get them at Mr. Hero.

You take two cheeseburgers made from beef of questionable quality, lay them side-by-side in a soft Italian roll on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes and onions, gently sprinkle on some of Mr. Hero's Italian "oil'n spice," slather it with their "special recipe" mayo and then (here comes the game-changer) you lay on some grilled Genoa Salami and Italian Luncheon loaf.

That's right. It's a cheeseburger with grilled lunch meat. Pure genius. You want to lick the screen, don't you? It's trademarked, so don't get any ideas.

Mrs. Wife said, "That looks gross." 8-Year Old Daughter approves. I rest my case.

* * *

Random observation: Drivers in Cleveland signal their lane changes about 80% of the time. A big gold star for you guys!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Try not to let this happen to you

When visiting my family in Cleveland, we always stay in a hotel. We are certainly welcome to stay at my sibling’s house, but nobody really has the room to accommodate a family of four and staying in a hotel makes life much easier for everyone. The first few times we did this, I think my mother was insulted that we didn’t stay with her in her tiny condo. But as the years passed, she eventually agreed that it made sense.

We usually get a suite at the Hampton Inn. It has a separate living room, bedroom and small kitchen. The Daughters can go to bed at their usual early hour and we can shut the bedroom door, which allows us to stay up for a while and gossip about the day’s events.

There’s a free breakfast served in the lobby and we’ve been coming her for so many years that the two elderly breakfast hostesses, Peggy and Loretta, know us and make a big fuss when they see The Daughters. They’re like two junior high school lunch room grannies. Two days ago, Peggy seemed so genuinely and weirdly overjoyed to see the girls that Mrs. Wife and I were a bit taken aback.

The best part of staying in a hotel is that we can leave the room in the morning with beds unmade and towels in heaps on the floor and when we return in the afternoon, it’s as though elves came in and waved magic wands and restored the room to it’s pre-wrecked condition. Do you suppose that would happen if I stayed at my sister’s house? Nay, I can assure you, it would not.

The sad part of this happy scene—the part that breaks my heart every time we come here—is the couple who provide the maid service. They are an elderly man and woman who, I believe, are husband and wife. And when I say elderly, I mean that they look to be in their 70s. The man walks hunched over and they both always look so beat and tired. They shouldn’t be working at all, much less going from room to room making beds and cleaning toilets. I can only assume they do this because they have to.

Nobody should have to live like that when they’re septuagenarians. What’s wrong with this country? The hotel is part of the Hilton chain and when I consider the fact that that nitwit Paris Hilton, who does nothing and is nothing, is living indirectly off of the labor of these two, it makes me wretch for the injustice of it. I can’t stand bumping into them but I always do.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Bar That Time Forgot

We are in lovely Cleveland visiting family. This is the first holiday season without mom around. I thought it potentially could have been a sad and dreary trip but it’s been none of that. Quite the opposite, actually. I am happy to report that my sister has nailed my mother’s marinara sauce recipe. When I close my eyes, I could swear it came from mom’s kitchen. It tastes like home.

One of my best friends who I grew up with got involved with drugs and ended up in jail for a short while. This nonsense didn’t occur until he was in his 40s. Prior to that, he had never been in any kind of trouble. It was a shock when it happened. He was divorced but he has a son, a solid job and friends and family.

Then he met a woman who was devastatingly attractive, extraordinary in bed (by all accounts) and, unfortunately, a drug addict. A lethal combination.

Many a good man has been put under the bridge by a woman.

Charles Bukowski

We met for drinks. He told me a few funny stories about his parole officer. He had a hard time finding work after jail but eventually he did, and his life has stabilized. He’s a smart guy and I can’t imagine him relapsing.

We met at a pub that turned out to be packed. There were no seats at the bar. I hate that. It was Saturday night so we should have expected it. The older you get, the more you grow to appreciate an empty bar. There’s a direct correlation between how crowded a bar is and the ratio of patrons who will inevitably annoy you. Multiply by a factor of 5x if there’s a TV showing a sports event. This equation does not apply if there's a live band playing.

He said, “You want a bar stool? I know where we can get a bar stool.” We drove to a bar whose exterior looked like painted cinder blocks. There were two cars in the lot and I’m sure one of them belonged to the barkeep.

We walked into a massive cloud of cigarette smoke. Like most major cities, Cleveland has a ban on indoor smoking, but I was told that nobody cares what happens in this place. It fell off the map. There were only six other people sitting at the bar and they were all chain smoking. A few of them were there alone and sported mullet haircuts. It’s a Cleveland bar that's stuck in a time warp. You can bet your ass we got seats at the bar. I ordered Budweiser because I was afraid to order anything fancier than that.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas eve mishap

The night before Christmas I was reading The Night Before Christmas to The Daughters (as I am wont to do on the night before Christmas). I found this beautiful oversized hardbound edition with illustrations by Christian Birmingham.

I'm not sure what medium Mr. Birmingham used for the illustrations. They're either pastels or chalk or something of that ilk.

The drawings have an eerie nighttime quality. I love them.

I got halfway through the book and found a glaring typo! They left out a word! The fourth line should read: "With THE sleigh full of toys—" I checked it against other copies of this story we have and it's definitely a gaffe.

Mrs. Wife thinks I'm making too big a deal out of it but I am astonished that this could happen. Do you know how many eyes see this before it's sent to print? It was printed in China so maybe they did it.

It's one thing if they leave a word out of, say, Joyce's Ulysses. Who would even notice?! Or care!? But if the entire page only contains 19 words and you leave one of them out, people are going to pick up on that. Even a dunce like me could spot it. (Yes, I'm fully aware the my blog entries are often riddled with grammatical and spelling mishaps.) I'm thinking of going back to Barnes & Noble to try and get my money back. Just to see if they would do it.

* * *

My favorite James Joyce joke: James Joyce is sitting at a table weeping uncontrollably. Ernest Hemingway walks into the room and says, "What the hell's the matter with you this time?" Joyce says, "Ernest, I wrote eight words today!" Hem says, "What are you crying about?! For you, that's pretty good!" Joyce says, "Yes, but I don't know what order they go in!"

* * *

Fun fact about The Night Before Christmas: The actual title of the poem is A Visit From St. Nicholas, but those words never appear in the story. The opening stanza became so popular that they officially changed the title. It's like The Who's Baba O'Riley which is often misidentified as Teenage Wasteland.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Christmastime in the city pt. 4: 5th Avenue

I took a cold winter stroll up 5th Avenue. The upper-tier stores were all adorned with holiday lights so I whipped out my camera to create a virtual walking tour for those of you who can't make it this year. Hope you're looking at these through a bright monitor!

These are the big snowflakes on the façade of Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store. If you stand directly in front of the building and squint your eyes, you get the illusion that they're floating in mid air.

Here's the entrance to Cartier. These lights are a lot more twinkly in person.

I think I posted a pic of this last year, as well. The lights make the building look like a big, beautifully wrapped box. The ribbon contains small strobe lights, so it sparkles. In retrospect, I wish I had waited until that MTA bus had passed by!

Here's Fendi's flagship store. The building seems to be held together by two huge, sparkly belts. Again, with the strobe lights. I first saw the strobe effect on the Eiffel Tower. Now, everybody copies it.

This is the Bergdorf Goodman and Van Cleef & Arpels. All they ever do is put a bunch of wreaths in the windows but I love it. It's a quiet, elegant touch, especially when compared to the visual noise that precedes it.

And, finally, here is a festive holiday street meat cart. Many of the street food vendors, especially those who cater to the tourist-choked midtown area, decorate their carts with lights and ornaments.

This is probably my last post until after Christmas. I hope everyone gets a little happiness and joy in their stocking this year (except for that shithead Bernie Madoff). Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Christmastime in the city pt. 3

I made my annual pilgrimage to the Morgan Library to view my two favorite pieces of holiday ephemera; the original handwritten manuscript for A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and a first edition that includes the hand-colored plates. They display a different page from the manuscript each year. Interestingly, the original manuscript makes no mention of whether or not Tiny Tim lives. That line was added at the printers.

Much to my complete annoyance, the first edition was NOT on display this year. I asked the docent what the dillio was and she had no answers for me. But the manuscript is pretty cool. He wrote that story in a six week burst of creativity and panic. He was near bankrupt and needed the money for Christmas and to maintain his lavish lifestyle. It was a commercial venture.

Here’s my favorite plate from the first edition. It's Mr. Fezziwig's ball. I hope those idiots have the good sense to put it back on display next year.

If you click here, you can see high resolution scans of the manuscript. The handwriting is barely legible. (Seems to only work with Internet Explorer. Move your cursor over the post-it note and the written text is interpreted for you.)

I also visited Morgan’s Gutenberg bible. It's the first book ever printed on movable type. Prior to that, it was all quills, ink wells and parchment. There aren’t many of Gutenberg bibles left (perhaps 50) and the Morgan Library has three! Over the centuries, many of the copies were disassembled and the pages (leaves) were sold. After the Morgan Library, I walked up 5th Avenue to the New York Public Library on 42nd and guess what!? THEY had a Gutenberg bible on display as well! That means that FOUR Gutenberg bibles are within six blocks of one another. Is this a great town or what?!

At the Morgan, there was also an exhibit of Jane Austin first editions, manuscripts and letters. I tried to take it in but I was never interested in her books so the exhibit fell flat for me.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Big birthday blizzard blowout

Today was 7-Year Old Daughter's birthday. Henceforth, she will now be known as 8-Year Old Daughter. She had big party plans but, unfortunately, she woke up to 18 inches of snow that began falling the previous day. There were no cars on the road. Outside was the the bright white light and muffled quiet that only a major snowfall can provide. It's a singular sensation.

Of course, the party had to be scuttled. The roads were impassible and I doubt anyone would have come. It would have been irresponsible to go out driving in this mess for anything other than an emergency. So instead of having a party with her friends, she sat down in snow drifts.

She did not take the postponement very well. What 8-year old girl would? Her reaction upon hearing the news:

This is the worst birthday ever!

I don't know about that. Years from now, she might remember it as being one of the most memorable. She'll discover that birthday parties are a dime a dozen, but powerful storms that force you to live in the moment are a far more rare and valuable treat.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Christmastime in the city pt. 2

I visited the holiday window displays at Lord & Taylor. Lord & Taylor was the first retail store to create special holiday window displays that didn't include merchandise. In these cynical days, it amazes me that they still do it.

The flagship store on 5th Avenue and 39th Street opened in 1914 and has been designated a New York City landmark. It's a beautiful building but it's one of those stores, like Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., that I stay the hell out of because of the intimidation factor.

Here are a few shots of the 2009 displays. Click on one or two of them. They're pretty impressive. There's a lot of old-world slow-moving animatronics. The work is miniature and finely detailed and I believe it has true artistic merit, but I think a lot of kids in this day and age would find it kind of dull. It's a shame.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Christmastime in the city pt. 1

I was arguing with myself over whether or not I should do any holiday posts this year. I got all wrapped up in trying to gauge whether or not anyone is interested in reading this stuff but ultimately I decided to do what I've always done—write whatever the hell I like and hope it amuses. All pics are click-able.

* * *

Here's the beautiful Bryan Park skating rink, all up and running. The building in the background is the back of the big New York Public Library on Madison and 42nd. The front of the building is guarded by two stone lions, Patience and Fortitude. Unfortunately, the statues are so old and frail that they can no longer hang big wreaths around their necks.

If you look in the upper left, you'll see the neon-lit point of the Chrysler Building. The structure on the left is a 2-story restaurant/bar. You can get drinks and a not-too-cheap meal while watching skaters either glide gracefully or fall flat on their asses. It's dinner and a show.

Here's the rink from another angle with the Empire State Building bathed in red. Come to Manhattan and you, too, can ice skate in the shadow of two of the most important architectural landmarks in the city.

Behind these hallowed doors below the wreath you won't find a bigger collection of thieves, vipers and swindlers. I've spent most of my career working for these clowns and I feel very different about them today than I did 18 months ago. 18 months ago I wouldn't have referred to them as clowns. Santa will, inexplicably, be very good to them this year.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Vibrator Play

Yes, it's a play about vibrators. Sort of.

In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play is Sarah Ruhl's hysterical new comedy. Its true-to-life premise is a subject that's begging for closer study by Nursemyra.

In the 1880s, shortly after electricity was brought into homes, doctors had the bright idea to use a newly invented medical device, the vibrator, to treat women for their hysteria. I'm not kidding! This really happened! The treatment, causing an orgasm, was looked upon as a purely medical procedure that had nothing to do with sex.

Ms. Ruhl cleverly and believably imagines what it must have been like for the early pioneers of orgasm creation in repressed times. The good doctor's wife listens by the door as treatment is applied and begins to wonder what those strange sounds are coming from the female patients in the next room. And why do the female patients steadfastly insist that they are not getting any better and need the treatment to continue?

Ms. Ruhl's habit is to name her plays exactly what they're about. I saw her last play, Dead Man's Cell Phone (a woman picks up a dead man's cell phone that's ringing) that starred my pretend girlfriend, Mary-Louise Parker. That one wasn't nearly as satisfying as The Vibrator Play, but I was in the second row for Dead Man's Cell Phone and almost jumped on stage to ask my Mary-Louise out for a drink.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For a good time, click here

Tim Hall is, by my estimation, a writer who is deserving of a larger audience. He writes from the gut and has the scars to prove it. If you’re looking for some new literature to light up your holiday and make you laugh, you’re in luck. From now until the end of the year, you can get his books at 50% off. Click here and scroll down.

I recommend starting off with Full of It, the thinly veiled fictional story of the rise and fall of a Lower East Side underground newspaper and Half Empty, the story of a Brooklyn hipster who struggles with women and booze. Get ‘em.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beautiful Radio City Music Hall

A few weeks ago the whole clan came into the city for the big Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Guess what? It was spectacular! If you surrender yourself to the spirit and leave your pretentious idiot self outside on 6th Avenue (as I did), you can really enjoy the show. Especially if you have a bunch of kids it tow. Their joy is infectious. And if you don't want to relinquish your cool quotient, you can always appreciate the show from a design/production standpoint. It's amazing to see what can be done with a big budget.

The show before the show is Radio City Music Hall itself. It's the cathedral of art deco architecture that opened in 1932. These photos [all clickable] do not do it justice. Here's one of the lobby staircases leading to the mezzanine.

At the top of the staircase is this grand mural. It works in concert with the murals created throughout all of Rockefeller Center. [Fun fact: Nelson Rockefeller had the Diego Rivera mural destroyed because he slipped the image of Lenin into it!]

Here are two shots of the cavernous interior. How do you like that lighting? The spotlight is on one of the two "Mighty" Wurlitzer pipe organs on either side of the stage. As you walk to your seats, you are blasted with Christmas carols. You can feel the notes in the lower registers in your chest.

Outside in Rockefeller Center, people flock to see the big tree. But by focusing on the tree, they risk missing the smaller touches, such as this stature of a beautiful (and, dare I say? erotic) naked nymph above the skating rink.

Her hair has a distinctive art deco pattern to it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stinking rotten happy ketchup face

I was sitting at the counter of a diner reading the New York Times and waiting for my patty melt with bacon. Before my burger was ready, the waiter brought my plate of fries. In addition to the fries, this is what he placed in front of me:

It defies commentary. I didn't know what his game was but you can bet your ass I kept my eye on him for the remainder of my lunch. Fucking creep.

[EDIT to comments: It's a joke, people! I don't think he's creepy for making a smiley face with ketchup. Jeeze! That sure fell flat. I thought I was being sarcastic and witty. I guess I'm no David Sedaris.]

* * *

Do you like Sam Shepard? Well, if you have the money to do so, starting next month at the Atlantic Theater, you can see Ages of the Moon, the U.S. premier of the new Sam Shepard comedy/drama starring Stephen Rea and Seán McGinley. It played at the Abbey Theater in Dublin to superb reviews and a sold out run.


You can see a revival of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind directed by Ethan Hawke and starring Laurie Metcalf, Josh Hamilton and Keith Carradine.

If you have the money. Shit.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sex sells. Am I just being prudish?

This week, this Calvin Klein billboard was erected in Times Square on the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway:

Here, in one of the busiest intersections on the planet, we have two "models." The girl, who is so emaciated that she's repugnant to look at (she looks like a spider who's missing half her legs), is tugging at this gay guy's shorts, presumably, to get to his cock. Is it my hyperactive imagination or is she suppose to be jerking him off high above Times Square? Lookout below!

The problem I'm having is that this is the peak of the holiday season. The area surrounding Times Square and the Bryant Park skating rink, which is just a block away, is choked with families who are visiting the city. Tell me if I'm being a tool here, but there are little kids everywhere who I don't think should be exposed to this stuff.

Isn't there some kind of faceless city board who approves ads in public spaces? Am I finally too old for the city?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday in New Jersey

Here's our favorite New Jersey diner all gussied-up for the holiday. Warm wishes from the Garden State! I'll post some holiday pics of the city in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Cult of the U.S.A.

I saw the young(ish) and talented Mike Daisey perform his latest monologue at The Public Theater, The Last Cargo Cult. I love The Public Theater. I fell in love there on two separate occasions!

This time around, Mr. Daisey visits an island in the South Pacific that's purported to be untouched by money and commerce. He juxtaposes this against last fall’s economic meltdown and gives a pretty sobering assessment of the stranglehold the Investment Banking community has on this nation. Yes, there are lots of laughs, but you do end up feeling like the victim of white collar crime. Which you are.

He employs the best gimmick I’ve ever seen in a show. As you walk in, ushers hand out money in various denominations to the audience. I got $10! As you can imagine, everyone was in a pretty good mood when the show started, although the people holding $1 were wondering why they weren't given $20.

It comes to pass that the money handed out is Mr. Daisey’s pay for that evening. At the conclusion of the show, he places a crystal bowl on stage and you have to decide whether not to give it back. He makes it abundantly clear that he needs the money for the rent and the audience means very little to him in a fiscal sense because, as he points out, we are a faceless mob sitting in the dark who will be replaced the next night. Brilliant! I gave my $10 back. I would love to find out how much he recovered.

He takes an unnecessary detour out to the Hamptons to tell a side-story about a paid appearance for a mega-wealthy audience. (“My annual salary is a rounding error to them.”) It was amusing but it momentarily took me out of the matter at hand. I wish I had a tape of the entrance music.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bukowski on beauty

beware women grown
who were never
anything but

I had two requests for that poem. It's short but it really hits the mark, don't you think? Part of what I like about Bukowski is his brevity and economic use of words. Here's a classic. This one got me through many a lonely night.

oh, yes

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it's too late
and there's nothing worse
too late.

* * *

We decorated the house and put up the Christmas tree on Sunday. It's great having little kids around when Christmas approaches. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

I was assembling my gift list and realized that I don't have to buy a gift for my mom. She passed away in May and this will be our first Christmas without her. I'm glad I'm going back to Ohio. I don't get to go every year and I really want to be there. I hope my sister can replicate mom's marinara sauce. The rumor is that she can pull it off, but I'll believe it when I taste it. It's no small matter to copy a master.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The sound of one hand clapping in New York City

Last week I had one of those rare perfect moments that Spalding Gray spoke of so eloquently in Swimming to Cambodia. These moments, which only occur a few times in your life, are brief interludes whereby you are living in that precise moment in a state of perfect bliss and nothing else exists.

I had some time to kill before a play started and I found myself wandering around the East Village on a balmy evening. I had spent a sizable chunk of my life living down there but hadn’t realized how long it had been since I visited or how much those streets mean to me. Those were among the best days of my life and I got all goopy.

I wandered into St. Mark’s Books and looked at all the small press chapbooks and art books. It’s the kind of stuff that you can’t find in retail book stores. And I’m not slamming the chains. There’s just not an audience for it. I love the smell of that place. It smells like paper and glue and dust.

I took a slow walk down 9th Street, right on 2nd Avenue and then right on St. Mark’s Place. It’s the heart of the neighborhood. I stopped at Mamoun’s falafel joint for a bite. It was so nice out that I ordered a scrumptious falafel platter and took it outside and ate al fresco—not something you can typically do the first week of December out here. My platter—six falafel balls, salad and two pita—cost a measly $5.

I had dinner and watched the grand parade. The NYU students. The misfits. The artists and the malcontents. I don’t fit any of those microcosms and don’t know how it came to be that I felt so at home there for so many years.

Aside from the great food and the ambiance, Mamoun’s has very agreeable hours: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., 365 days a year.

I know what I'm needing
And I don't want to waste more time
I'm in a New York state of mind

Billy Joel


Friday, December 4, 2009

The New York Post’s sensitive handling of the Tiger Woods affair

Here's the front page from yesterday's New York Post:

People, if you don't have a muckraking, bottom-feeding, Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid in your town, you don't know what you're missing. You take one trashy story, some cheap Photoshop effects and the next thing you know, you have journalistic gold.

Tiger Woods is in the middle of a major life crisis and what does the Post do? They mark up a photo. It's juvenile. I approve!

I especially like how they inserted a 5-iron, her weapon of choice, into his wife's hand. There's something perverse about it. Hitting Tiger with a golf club is like Bruce Springsteen's wife hitting him in the nuts with a guitar or Stephen King's wife smashing a typewriter over his head. Tee-hee.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New York's Finest puppies

I was passing through Grand Central Station at 6:45 in the morning and stumbled across a photo session in progress. The New York City K9 corps were having their portrait taken. The dogs were astonishingly well behaved. I'll bet they can get real fierce real quick. These are cheap-o cell phone pics.

The nice officer on the end was shooting me a look so I pocketed my cell phone and moved on.

* * *

I called in "sick" yesterday (kak-kak. So sorry. kak. Can't make it in.) and went on a job interview. I'm looking for a better life. It wouldn't take much. The interview was in the morning and it went well. Afterwards, I went for a nice long run. Then I sat in a coffee shop and wrote some emails to friends and read the Times. In the evening I was able to have dinner with my family which is something that, thanks to Benevolent Dictators, Inc., hasn't occurred for many, many months. Why can't I live like that all the time? I don't think it's asking for too much.

* * *

Epilogue: Part of my last post was a rant directed at Eva Mendes for some idiotic comments she made while on a press junket for a movie. She takes herself a bit too seriously, in my estimation. Well, honey, let Brad Pitt school you. This is from a People Magazine article that ran a few months ago. He was asked about the difficulties of being an actor.

It's so tough being an actor. Sometimes they bring you coffee and sometimes it's cold. And sometimes you don't have a chair to sit on.

THAT'S how you do it. Class dismissed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time for a lightening round

Eva Mendes was recently on a press junket promoting the the film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans with Nicholas Cage. Get a load of this. And I quote:

I’m not looking to be a—very dirty word—“celebrity” or “movie star.” Dirty words, again. I’m an actor. I go to acting class. I study my craft. (Emphasis hers.)

What an idiot. Listen, you insufferable bore. You're not playing Ophelia. Just hit your mark and remember your lines. And forget acting class. You either have it or you don’t. Ms. Mendes can be seeing honing her craft in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror and Urban Legends: Final Cut.

* * *

It's the holidays and once again the airwaves are flooded with commercials that implore you to give a BMW as a gift. It's always the same. Hubby leads wife out to the driveway with his hands over her eyes, he uncovers her eyes and there's a shiny new BMW with a huge red ribbon sitting perfectly on the roof. This is an other-worldly proposition to me. Who gives a brand new BMW for Christmas!? Or gets one!? Have you ever? No one in my world.

* * *

I love the mess that Tiger Woods is in. I can assure you that the cut on his mouth isn't from that 3 mph car crash into a tree. It's from that golf club his wife was swinging.

He marries a stunning Nordic Princess. A perfect physical specimen. And here he is years later tom catting around Vegas with a casino hostess. Christie Brinkley is as beautiful as they come and she has had five men marry and leave her. Proof positive: you had better have some substance if you want to hold onto your spouse. That goes for both men and women. Charles Bukowski has a great poem about how you should beware a woman if all she's ever been in life is beautiful.

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Back in 1998, Cher had a big hit with Believe. In it, she used Antare's Auto-tune software to modulate her voice. It was a fun gimmick that had not been used before. Today, people with marginal vocal skills use it as a crutch. It's almost 2010 and just about all of the top five songs on the Billboard pop charts use this. Enough is enough. If you use Auto-tune software, your song sucks and you suck.

Do you know who else sucks? Rappers who hire women who can actually sing to do all the heavy lifting while they mumble a few lines and then repeat "yea, yea, yea" while the meat of the song is being performed. You guys are talentless suckasses, too.