Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sit Back and Get Ready for the Reverse Flow

This recession is a correction. It had to happen because the money was all going in the wrong direction. It had to be stopped.

There’s a regrouping, a great swell of creation going on. The economy isn’t set up to pay for creative time. But it sure is set up for selling time. Soon, there will be so much to sell. And it will be the right things. And cash will flow again.

Time to endure the discomfort for the greater good. This all had to happen.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

These Tectonic Plates Mean Business

While lying in bed at 11:47 AM with my cancer ridden dog reading Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem, a cold eyed view of young hippies hanging around 1967 Haight-Ashbury, the house started to shake like it does when there is an earthquake.

I got out of bed, naked, and went to the door of the bedroom. I am always naked during earthquakes. During the big one of ’94, which was truly terrifying, I was standing naked in the doorway of the hall with Adam and just three thoughts went through my head:

1) How long is this going to last and is it going to get even bigger?

2) What is going to fly off the wall and chop off my mandate?

3) At what time does the U-haul place open because I am moving back to New York immediately?

Today, which experienced a much milder quake, but not just a tremor but a real earthquake, I thought:

This is not so bad but it is lasting a long time. The house seems to be taking it very well.

Louise, the pooch, didn’t even stir. No cracks in the walls. Nothing moved.

It would have been interesting to open the refrigerator to watch the olives dance in their juice.

Earthquakes can be enjoyable. They certainly get your adrenalin pumping. And who doesn’t like a little adrenalin every now and then?

After it was over, I finished the Joan Didion piece. Phone lines were busy. The weather was perfect.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bus Driver Hypothesis

A theory: People do the job they most need to learn. So, a bus driver (like the one for a theatre tour I was on years ago) might be a good driver, but what he really needs to learn is a sense of direction. Our bus driver got us lost constantly. He needed to learn how to find his way around, so being a bus driver was perfect for him.

Moving on.

I believe Democrats, in many ways, are really Republicans and vice versa.

Democrats want everything to be fair. But usually, Democrats are at the opposite ends of the economic strata. New York City is incredibly Democratic and one of the most class conscious places in the country. So, most Democrats are living out their very individual experiences, ultimately based on their “hard work” or “lack of hard work” or “luck”. Democrats are almost libertarian in how they are living their lives. They are Democrats in ideology, but Republicans in action.

And the damn Republicans, why, they are living in bands of religious hives, bringing each other covered dishes, scratching each others’ backs with Jesus back scratchers. They are practically communists, albeit with a Christian crunch.

So, the Democrats need to learn to be better with communalism. The Republicans need to break free of the church and become more like true individuals. This is what they need to learn. I, as a self motivated person, relying on no group that says, “You are all equal in the eyes of God,” really behave very much like the definition of a Republican, so I need to learn how to be a Democrat, so I am one.

Moving on.

Freedom. We all scream about freedom because we are the least free people on earth. We are prisoners to capitalism and churchy righteousness. Similar to the bus driver who needs to learn a sense of direction, Americans need to learn a sense of freedom. That is why we are here. We are not free. We need to learn to be free.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stop Complaining. This Might Help.

I do complain (silently to myself) when I run out of soap. I have to leave my small bathroom and go to the big bathroom to get a new one. Why would I grumble about that? Why not be grateful there’s more soap in the house, soap that I don’t even by. It just shows up. And all I have to do is walk about thirty feet to get it?


So, every minute, it’s time to pay attention and be amazed.

Speaking of, if you are in New York, you must go see [title of show], which is amazing and stage managed by my friend, Martha Donaldson. Broadway at its most hip and intimate.

If you can’t get there, then just have a good time with the next clip. It’s out of control. It’s like something you’d see at the Nuremberg Parade Grounds. Mickey’s all over the place while Judy steps light and easy. And there are choreographed gun shots.

I Got Rhythm from Girl Crazy with Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, staged by Busby Berkeley, played by Tommy Dorsey:

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Summer Vacation

It was time to push back away from the computers. Though we get a little obsessive with our careers around here, you do realize that it is summer, the Pacific Ocean is all over the place, and you really should go sit by it. This morning, I received The Global Rich List
from Megan and when I went to the sight and plugged in my number, I saw that I was one of the richest people on earth, so no worries! Orange County here we come.

I suggested we drive down to San Onofre. There’s a nude beach. It’s a little over an hour away. How Hawaiian. Let’s do it! We would stop at San Clemente for lunch, get to the beach by 2:30. Okay. We got as far as San Juan Capistrano. There were warning signs. “Big accident ahead, 57 miles.” Would we get to San Clemente before 57 miles? Yes, we would. The accident was further south, along the middle of Camp Pendelton. Problem is, the traffic started to severely back up in San Juan Capistrano, swallows or not. So, we aborted our plan, since sitting in a very long, thin parking lot for an hour or more did not sound like much fun.

We U-turned it and went Laguna. Always a good choice. Completely beautiful. The way it always is. Strong pounding surf. Read a New Yorker. Watched some volleyball. Took a walk.

On the way back north, we stopped to take a look at The Crystal Cove Cottages. Eh. Kind of cramped. The ones at top are in serious earshot of the very noisy Route 1-PCH. Many of the cottages down below are close to the restaurant. If you ever stay there, I suggest staying in one of the cottages as far south as possible. They are below a noise blocking bluff and far away from the restaurant. However, I think those cottages might be two family upper-downers.

We then drove to Newport Beach. What hilarity. White mall people living in the Matrix. We ate at Muldoon’s Pub at Fashion Island (a big circular mall). Imitation Irish pub. Quite pretty, actually. Food was fine. But you could feel the puppet master shoving the Erin Go Bullshit down your gullet. Orange County is a strange beast of a place.

But what better location to see Mamma Mia? Oh, my friends, if you like Abba, as did most of the two-ton Tessies over fifty in the audience, apparently, and you feel like having a hen night at the mall, go check it out. Frankly, I thought it was a big ol’ mess. But the actors are all so game (even the ones who aren’t the strongest singers), and the Aphrodite vibe is fabulous, everyone getting into their sensuality and love for each other. Beautiful colors, sea, people. Best number was Dancing Queen, followed by Meryl’s full blown The Winner Takes it All. Fun having a real “Greek chorus”. Ending the evening on a beautiful Greek island was a good idea.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama's Field of Hope

Of course, I’m voting for Obama. Not that it matters in California. He’ll get the 55 electoral votes without batting an eyelash, I mean, without bumping a terrorist fist jab.

But what about his logo? I think it looks like something you’d see on a cold cereal box.

His slogan should be, “Barak Obama, He’s not just for breakfast anymore!”

Gay in the Writer's Room, Fine in the World

Sometimes, I think Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, is just right on. He was interviewed for this piece, (Second page): Gay in the Writer's Room.

Bravo on his take. He didn’t get all polemical. He didn’t get all victimy. He didn’t get all, “We gays, we gays, oh how hard it is for we gays.” He just talked about working.

I have had this problem lately---and I think it comes from some leftover 1960’s-70’s stuff. There was a time when the very common mantra, “The Personal is Political,” was being said and written everywhere. It had its place. It was necessary.
Eventually, that mantra disappeared, but the attitude stuck, much how the Romantic era ended toward the end of the nineteenth century but still exists in popular culture. It’s hard to shake a way of thinking, even if it has already been played out. Even if the words are gone, the sentiment-philosophy remains.

I am among the generation for which “The Personal is Political” still seems to be sticking. The younger generation, thank Yahweh in the tuna casserole, seems to have dumped it.

Lately, during these trying times, there has been a lot of complaining. People want their fair share. They feel they are not getting their fair share because they are gay, brown, female, whatever. But it is so clear that almost no one is getting their fair share. How can people single themselves out as victims? Furthermore, why would you WANT to single yourself out as a victim? Seems strange to me.

I have to say, and I say this honestly, I have always felt that being gay (as an adult) has never held me back. And I am happy to live with someone who, it seems, feels the same way.

If the personal is political, then what I have to say is, “I personally feel I am no worse off politically than anyone else. These days, everyone is a hated minority. Good luck to all. Pass the salt. For some reason, I always like a little extra salt. And that’s not a problem either.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Let's Pause for a Little Joni Mitchell, 1970

California on the dulcimer

Both Sides Now

The disaster at Isle of Wight

Monday, July 21, 2008

Batman's New Clothes

I do not care for Wookies, the Middle Earth, Unicorns or yore.

And I do not have any interest in comics, dark worlds, super heroes or men who can fly.

Of course, there really is no reason for someone like me to be sitting in the audience of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight.

I bought into the hype and there I went. Longish film.

Heath Ledger. Sure. He might be dead, but he can act. Of course, the Joker is the best part of any movie and one would expect the most from whoever plays this sort of role. Lovely work, Heath. Rest easy.

Poor Aaron Eckhart. He gets burned.

Christian Bale? Does not seem appropriately blue blooded to me. But solid hairline. Wooden really. But who can blame him?

What is most interesting to me is Batman does not have super powers. He’s just a guy (Bruce Wayne of "The Waynes") with a lot of cash who uses his largesse to make nifty crime fighting gadgets and machines. Boys do like this kind of thing.

Lots of nihilism in this movie. This is being praised. I believe Warner Brothers, DC Comics, the press and the world bank got together and made the largest and most expensive performance art installment on earth. The movie is made for a budget that would feed Darfur for a couple of years. The press reports that The Dark Knight is some sort of masterpiece. This publicity is a crafty, printed refraction of the movie’s nihilism, fooling the people of Gotham (that would be us) that this is exactly the kind of world we live in so we must embrace it and must go see the movie. There we are, reading the reviews, paying for tickets and sitting in the audience, all of these actions as empty and meaningless as the movie itself. Actually, what a brilliant worldwide performance piece with all of us who choose to be in it, in it.

Lastly: Today’s blow ups are tomorrow’s has been styles.

I would recommend waiting for the DVD. You can watch the first few minutes, then fast forward to Heath Ledger’s scenes.

Or better yet, take nine minutes for a little POW! WHAM! OUCH!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Airwaves over New England

An old high school friend contacted me. He's a dj on a bunch of radio stations in the northeast….

So, I get a call to be on his show--as the talking guest on the phone (for about an hour and a half duration, with breaks). It was an classic pop-rock music show and he just kept egging me on to promote I’m Really Different (Now) among other things---like writing, performing, etc. On the air, I mentioned something about me being a bit of a creative platypus. I have always felt the best time to discuss monotremes is during evening broadcasts when people are feeling misty and romantic under the pink and purple clouds and less judgmental toward extreme evolutionary tricks.

So—all of central Massachusetts (notably-Worcester) and southern Vermont and New Hampshire—know about what I’ve been up to for the past thirty years. And, if they decide to come to LA for a little vacation (which the host kept talking as if such a thing was possible for his audience), they very well could choose to come see the Largo show, which I plugged at least seven times. I was actually spelling out Largo during the interview. L A R G O- which I don’t think was too “talking down to the listeners," being that that part of the world is mostly known for mill closures.

Before the interview began and then while talking, I discovered a divergence within my vain self:

1)I hated the idea of having to do a radio interview because I’ve never done one before. I got cranky about it. I was insecure. I yelled at Adam five minutes beforehand, “Stop clanking around that kitchen. You KNOW I have a radio interview coming up!” I really resented the idea of doing it.

2) Once on the air, I found talking about myself to be quite a pleasant experience, one I plan to repeat often. It’s also great that one can doodle and surf the internet during commercial and song breaks.

How strange to talk on your phone at home and be beamed all around central New England. And this is such old technology. Imagine how surprising it will seem to me when I'm broadcasting from up in the space station--

Come to LA, Worcester! We’re waiting for you!

Yours in all media,


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Dying Dog Show: Encino

There is only one place to get a special drug for my dying dog. It’s in Encino, a dense suburb about thirty minutes away from Hollywood. This drug is a combination cough suppressant and narcotic. The name of the drugstore is Valley Drug and Compounding. Compounding means this place mixes together their own drugs.

I arrived at 1:30 PM. The West Valley is hot. Felt about one-hundred degrees. Maybe it was ninety-eight. I was extremely hungry. I saw Johnny Rocket’s, in no mood for burgers. I looked across Balboa Boulevard and there, in a strip mall, just north of Ventura Boulevard was Salads Galore . How couldn’t I eat there? I had a spa salad, which was basically a bunch of shredded white meat chicken, grilled red peppers and zucchini over a poured out bag of mixed spring greens. It was fine. The place was lively. Lots of old people in there. Had a deli vibe.

I wiped the balsamic off my bouche and went across the street to the drug store to pick up the doggy pills at Valley Drug and Compounding. The place smelled like a 1970’s main street drug store. Sort of humid and carpety.

There were apothecary bottles on shelves and a very helpful staff who had the pills all ready. Large drug companies are trying to shut down compounded medicine locations. Check it out.

These pills work so well for my dog, I really do feel we need to save compounded drugs, even though I didn’t know what they were until today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Latest Technology: Wood Putty

I often adapt within a year of the latest technology. So when ATT knocked on my door and insisted I order U-Verse, the fiber optic high speed internet line and DVR television service that can record up to four shows at once, I said, “Sure.”

I dreaded install day. Today it happened.

Look, how hard is it when you say to someone, “Drill the one hole you have to drill in the floor, right here, right next to this desk leg, here, just to the left of the leg, right in this spot?”

I came back five minutes later to see the guy had moved the piece of furniture next to the desk, a flat-bottomed wooden file cabinet, and drilled the hole over there. Being flat bottomed, there was then no way he could push it back against the wall. I asked him, “Oh, I’m sorry, wasn’t I clear? Okay, well, you can’t have the cable come up there because the filing cabinet will never again be able to move back against the wall. Please, I will fill the incorrect hole, please drill over here just to the left of the desk leg.”

I came back five minutes later. He had found a different hole in the floor molding that already had some cable coming up, about four feet away. He tapped into that, stapled cable going across the molding, which then turned up, right at the place where I wanted him to drill the hole. Then, I was stunned, “Okay, I don’t know why you can’t understand this. I want you to drill the hole right here. Right in this spot, right here. I do not want extra cable stapled along my wall. I do not want to add to the mess of wire at my feet. I want you to drill the hole just to the left of the desk leg and run the cable up from there. Please. This isn’t difficult.”

He did not respond. I left again and returned. He drilled the hole to the right of the desk leg, very close, which still would be a problem for the file cabinet that he pulled out. He snipped the plastic little skirt that goes around the cable at the floor so the file cabinet next to the desk could be pushed back in. It was not ideal, but it did fit.

He simply would not drill where I asked him to drill.

Basically, the guy did not want to be told what to do. He certainly didn’t want to move the desk a few inches away from the wall so he could make room for his four foot long drill.

When he finished the installation he just left, never saying goodbye, leaving behind another guy who took two hours to trouble shoot all sorts of connection problems.

Can you imagine going into someone’s house and just drilling wherever you please?

I filled the two extra holes. The new service is spectacular, even though the installer was a twisted, aggressive man, lumbering and sneering around my house for five hours.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Bank News? Not Really.

It's vague out there. I can hear the scrambling of little feet running to the vault, but then, the head attached to those feet (by a trembling body)is left with no real instructions.

Friends, these are trying times. People went ape shit in the greed department and now we have to worry about our banana futures.

Not everyone can be rich. It is still puzzling to me that so many poor people voted for a man that did not care about them, at all. (Stalin called these people useful idiots. George Bush calls them __________.)

I am still optimistic about the future as is my nature. People are very creative. Corrections occur. The discomfort is real, but it's only discomfort. Like a sinus headache. It will pass.

There are rumors of all kinds of runs on all kinds of banks. If people get too nuts about it and start pulling out their money, en masse, then the banks will surely fail.

Of course, I'm not adverse to trading in labor, coconut shells or sacks of flour. It could be empowering and interesting. However, that's all very inconvenient.

Of each dollar that has floated around the economy over a period of one recent year, I wonder how much of it has been eaten up by the oil war effort.

It is a lack of creativity, hardened with fear, that brought us into this mess.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Forecast: Hot with a Chance of Bubbles

Standing in front of the NASDAQ board in Times Square, I was with a friend who had most of his inherited money in tech stocks. With a wild look in his eyes, he said, “This is the future. It will just keep going up.”

His jittery fear and greed all balled up into absolute knowledge, it being 1999 and all, I just thought, “Well, it won’t hold. But who am I to burst someone’s bubble?”

Bubbles, like amniotic sacks, break. For how else can we welcome the newly born?

I thought I would write about how awful it is that bubbles are allowed to occur and that the government should really regulate prices in order to maintain some peace of mind in markets (in much of Europe, food and energy costs are highly regulated). But frankly, why not let the markets go hog wild? It gives people a chance to check their greed.

When my tiny house was tipping at 1M in street value, I sat, sort of smug, on my plastic-bottles-recycled sofa and thought, “It’s so nice to be rich.” But then I thought, again, “This won’t hold. It can’t.” And it hasn’t.

When things got so bad at IndyMac Bank in Pasadena that the Feds had to take it over, I thought, “It should never have to come to this.” But, people only understand grand gestures in The U.S. after much pain. It's a Christian thing. To have cut this off any sooner, there would have been a howling.

So, suffer little greedy children, and then come unto me. Those bubbles, back away from them. They are the blob and they will eat you. In the future, perhaps awareness of bubbles will correct them more quickly. The market is a reflection of thinking. Why people have such strange, uninformed thoughts is beyond me. Oh, wait, no, it’s because no one wants to pay for education. And fantasies are the better sell. The United Sell of America.

Pass the Ramen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Music to my Ears

Anger is fuel. Without it, what would you use?
Attraction to what is outside of you? A challenge like that--

I have been working on music lately and it reduces anger, reduces stress, pretty much reduces everything but joy. The only motivation is to get the sound just right, to freely get into it physically. It must be pleasure that is the motivating force. Certainly, there is no conflict.

A fine way to spend time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dying Dog Show

Louise, our dog, has cancer. We’ve known since March 7. Attached to her heart, a tumor is growing.

For months she has had a cough because the tumor has pushed into her trachea. During the same period of time she was bloated because her hepatic vein (from the liver) was getting backed up because the heart wasn’t working too well.

During the last few weeks, she has lost her bloat, stopped coughing and seems to be her old self. I kept saying, “She’s in remission, or something.”

We went to Mexico, returned, and the pooch looks even better. Like nothing is wrong, at all.

While sitting next to her, I was petting her neck and I felt a lump and then I grabbed the lump and it was about the size of a large plumb. And it had a beat.

It’s the tumor. It has fallen. It’s this big lumpy tumor that you can grab and hold onto and feel her hearting beating right through it since it is attached there.

How great is it to have your huge tumor fall forward and then you stop coughing and your liver can work again and you feel so much better?

These are times to celebrate. My dog’s tumor has fallen.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Largo: I'm Really Different (Now)!

I’m Really Different (Now)!
A Musical Performance Piece, with comedy by Karen Kilgariff and Music by Don Cummings. And a guest.

Tuesday, August 19, 9PM.

The Little Room at the New Largo

366 N. La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles 90048

No Reservations. Sixty Seats. Air Conditioned. Another New Song. Come on.
Like ten bucks.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mexi-Tourist Saying


A family that travels together, haggles together.
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Mexico and More


Something about going to Mexico... The most important thing, of course, was the celebration of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. The entire family jumped on jets. Eleven people. A mixture of relaxation and adventure. No big tensions. Lots of margaritas, snorkeling, eating, beaching, visiting Mayan ruins, these kinds of things.

What is bizarre about the Yucatan is until the 1970's it was not a tourist destination. Now, it certainly is. The Mexican government and the local Mexican people built hotels and houses, erected fences with entry fees around beautiful lagoons, jungles and ruins, all of them well worth experiencing.

It can be very relaxing in the tropics. Mexico is a strangely wealthy country with questionable infrastructure. Truly, everything works well in its fashion. The people approach life at a slower pace than those of us north of the Rio Grande, but their laid back steadiness is appealing. I love getting close to new plants and animals. Strange rodents, iguanas, huge fish, sting rays.

Why they still haven't figured out how to deliver potable drinking water is beyond me. Mexico is a rich country. Why not use some of that great billionaire money down there to really separate the drinking water from the water that comes out of people's asses?

My memory is that Mexico uses human waste to fertilize, which is admirable? It clearly has drawbacks.

I could snorkel for months.
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