Friday, August 29, 2008

All's Well for All

Why Rejoice?

Obama was ballsy and he's ready to fight.

My computer died after having not backed up anything for three months. (Why did I take a break from Being Anal?) And nothing was lost. They just had to pull the hard drive out and hook it up to something else and all the data was there.

The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, the dog, I have to say it, healthier.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Hello Friends.

How will you be spending your labor day weekend?

I hope it is something extraordinary.

I woke up this morning, turned on the computer and got the dreaded signal at the DOS prompt "Press Ctl-Alt-Delte to Start"

And when I did so, it just wouldn't start and the same message reappeared over and over "Press Ctl-Alt-Delte to Start". So, off to Best Buy to drop off the doorstop of a computer at The Geek Squad. One hopes they can get the bastard to boot up. If not, it's off to their signature location in Santa Monica where they will exhume the hard drive and charge me obscene amounts of money for a data recovery (I have not backed up in three months).

Sadly, my latest play of 132 pages is on there (I have not backed up in three months).

And all I ever do is tell people, YOU MUST BACK UP, ALWAYS! (I have not backed up in three months).


Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Let Me Out of Here!

Here I sit at Jeff's house. It's his birthday, you know. Straight across from me is the McCain lawn banner I pulled out of someone's bush. I am an adult, and yet I couldn't help but vandalize, if you can call it that.

How, on earth, can someone put a McCain sign in their bush?

I didn't even think about it. I just ripped it out and brought it as quarry.

All this talk about Obama not being ready to lead, or Obama being black-as-trouble or Obamaramadingdong, whatever. A pangolin could do a better job than McCain. Imagine if someone came along right after Herbert Hoover and said, "Let's do what Herbie was doing."

I feel a surge of energy. I'd do anything to keep these freaky lunatics out of the White House. The best I could come up with was yanking out this sign.

But truly, and I am not a warring person, I would go to war to secede. Chile's a skinny little country on the Pacific coast and does quite well. I can see a one-hundred mile wide strip up and down the whole west coast becoming its own nation. The Northeast can easily be another sovereign entity, comprising New York, New Jersey and New England. I'd fight for both of these nascent democracies.

Why is the union so important? Furthermore, if South Ossetia wants to be part of Russia, go for it. Who cares! People who can't stand to be lumped with other people, let them part.

The world map needs some changing. People have decided who they are and they are taking sides. Let them. I would happily isolate the middle of this country. Let their main artery to the world be the deranged and filthy Mississippi River. Let them eat all their soy beans and corn. We'll eat greens and decent cheeses.

Oh, to secede! To secede!


What happens when two past-their-prime dancers and a mute dressed like Nijinsky duke it out for a solo spot on the teacup stage at the North Hollywood fundraiser, FEED THE CHILDREN?

It involves a seal.

By Don Cummings
Directed by David Narloch
W/ Michael Vincent Carrera, Emma Hawley, J.C. Henning & David Narloch

A one act play, part of The Summer Sizzle One Act Play Festival.
Series A (And you get to vote)

Friday 9/5, Saturday 9/13, Friday 9/19 @ 8PM and Sunday 9/7 @ 3PM

The Chandler Studio Theatre
12443 Chandler Boulevard
North Hollywood CA 91607

Tickets: The Production Company
or 1-800-838-3006

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Monday, August 25, 2008

From the Sort of Sublime to the Pretty Ridiculous

Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, sang at Disney Concert Hall today during a matinee performance with The California Philharmonic. It was exciting. The program was called Beethoven, Bernstein & Bolero. A big section of West Side Story selections followed by Bolero comprised the first act. The second act was selections from Bernstein’s Candide followed by Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from his 1824 Symphony No. 9.

The choir sang in act two. Especially moving was the piece Make Our Garden Grow from the finale of Candide. It’s a stirring, wonderful piece of music. I hate music writing so I will keep away from it. Just listen to it when you have a chance. But what was quite something else was watching and listening to the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth. It’s really quite complicated with overlaying movements going on. I have never heard it live, before. A treat. And even though the French horn section was weak (especially obvious during Bolero), the whole concert came off exceptionally well.

I particularly liked watching Bolero being performed. Seeing the instruments being added in bit by bit, you could actually watch how the piece was composed. Fascinating.

And of course, the sound at Disney is legendary. The visual of the French Fries organ is a bit distracting, but also playful. California is just playful. It’s Googie. No way around it.

Disney Organ

Problem with going to concerts, one can get a little sleepy. My good friend Anne took a bit of a cat nap during Bolero. I must admit, I succumbed for about three minutes during the Beethoven. Maybe we need music to soothe us to sleep? I don’t know.

After a large meal in Chinatown, we went to see Tropic Thunder. Tom Cruise as a big money-worshipping, hairy Jew? Robert Downey Junior in blackface? Ben Stiller sucking on steaming guts?

Look, I’m not very P.C., nor am I queasy. I guess this kind of movie is simply not for me. I can’t say it was the worst movie I've ever seen or anything. All I can say is, I’m old and have no interest in this sort of offering. Years ago, we walked out of There’s Something About Mary. Not because it was offensive, but because lack of wit in a comedy just seems like a waste of time. Could there be a way to do this kind of thing without such worn out ideas and poundingly monstrous ham fisting? Is the money-worshipping Jew, played by Tom Cruise, the personification of Ben Stiller himself? A guy who makes the exact fare that he knows will extract maximum dollars from possible movie-going wallets? I would not have dared to write something so offensive before today, but Tropic Thunder begs one to tread in this territory, mercilessly, so hopefully one can shame (and lets go all the way here, the way the movie does) the offending Jews who gave their Jew money to make this tacky Jew movie. Isn't that funny the way I kept writing Jew?
Dying is easy, comedy is hard. True. Movies are made, but mostly not for me, boobala.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Give Us Brilliance

While people sit around poking each other on Facebook, robbers run around my Melrose neighborhood, gun in hand, taking money off innocent walking people.


And now Russia’s all pumped up, full of oil money, rattling their sabers.

There are two big problems for American voters right now. The economy has slipped and the world, especially east of Berlin, is still loaded with ancient animosities, many people picking up weapons, looking to kill.

So. Bad economy. Bad warring world. Typical.

If Obama wants to win this election, he better get a serious grip on his world view. You hate to admit it, but it better be pretty hard assed. And if it isn’t hard assed, which is what Americans seem to want, then it better be strategically and philosophically brilliant. And the brilliance needs to be immediately understandable to Joe Q. Pennsylvania.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Vicky Cristina Barcelona or what I like to call Kristy McNichol Barcelona, is a very entertaining movie once Penélope Cruz arrives about halfway through. She plays the madwoman psycho ex-wife of Javier Bardem, the central lothario of a foursome. Cruz is the only actor who really comes to life. Every other actor is sort of trapped in a semi-neurotic, semi-travelogue escapade of uncertain lust and love. But truly, the lust part isn’t all that steamy and the love part isn’t at all believable. It’s just a bunch of people barely connecting. I can understand it. Maybe the pain of watching this movie is caused by the relentless underpinning of the impossibility of true romantic love. A couple of marriages do survive by the end of the movie, but they are marriages of inertia, one old, one new. Certainly not romantic.

The movie is worth seeing for the setting, which is certainly gorgeous, and for Penélope Cruz. But don’t be surprised if you can trace bits of every other W.Allen film ever made in this one. Which is too bad. You want him to take a leap. Why keep rearranging the same old characters, the same old stretched fictions? One wishes he would slow down and make fewer, but better movies.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Secret

YouTube has shown it to me. Life really is a cakewalk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Greek Lesson: Obama's Running Mate

To win the swing states, Obama’s obvious choice for a running mate should be a blastula.

Just a little ring of cells, a few days after conception, to take on foreign policy and the like.

Or maybe he should take on a high level Exxon executive or Clarence Thomas?

If McCain is going to reach across and perhaps choose Lieberman, then Obama should have no trouble reaching across and asking Cheney to do it all over again.

Though millions of disgruntled voters would like to see Hillary Clinton on the ticket, it seems unlikely given that she is Hillary Clinton. It will be difficult enough for an intelligent black man to win this election, never mind an intelligent black man and an intelligent woman together. If he wants a woman on the ticket, he needs to go for a more folksy dame, someone people might want to have a beer with. How about Britney Spears? Or, let’s face it, that great campaigner, Paris Hilton? They drink beer.

However, if Obama is to choose a woman (and not someone from Kansas, please), my vote would be for Athena. She’s a warrior goddess. This will aid the Obama team since swing people like a good war. But even better, Athena was the virgin patron of Athens, which built the Parthenon (Parthenogenesis: to be born without having to copulate, like some worms and lizards) in her honor. And we all know Americans hate sex but love battle. Athena, the sexless goddess of war. Obama needs to choose Athena.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Transcendence: Closing the Loop

All religions, or most religions, deal with pain and suffering in some way. I like the tradition of good works in the name of fellow beings (though I keep mine at a manageable quantity) and the idea of transcendence.

Everyone wants to transcend. We need to escape the mundane, repetitive realities of having dinner, chicken yet again, or the polite acknowledgement of people’s fears, which are as petty as your own but seem pettier in their hands.

So we transcend. Because we must. Because the monkey in us got too smart and figured so much of it out, which hemmed us in. The monkey in us got too tame. It would be so much better to swing violently through trees. But violence can lead to trouble in organized society.

Lately, I have noticed that transcendence needs a target or else it leads to dissipation. Banging on the piano for hours on end can lead to an unquenchable excitability (though one should maybe bang even longer, to exhaustion). Of course, drinking too much alcohol leads to headaches, fatigue and gastric distress. Pious, all-day closet cleaning proves satisfying, but only because there’s a target.

The people with God have a target. It’s all done for Him. I understand the need. I have no God, but I do have respect for the mystery of the miracle. Perhaps the target is that. To stay in proportion to that mystery while actively transcending the pettiness of the quotidian rabble. Without a target, there is no upper limit. Without an upper limit, there is extension beyond capable extension.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Like a Plump Woodchuck

Last night at book club, there was three-quarters of a leftover Yankee Blueberry Buckle. There are all kinds of buckles out there, most of the ones I've eaten (and I've eaten plenty) are not much different than cobbler. This Yankee Blueberry Buckle, a guilt offering proffered by Anne who bailed on book club because she got free Etta James tickets to the Hollywood Bowl, was more in the coffee cake family, loaded with blueberries, and is the best buckle I've ever tasted. Of course, no one wanted to take the leftover buckle because carbs are like something out of satan's ass, but I kind of like satan. I lugged it home. In a brown bag. Walking.

So, I've been snacking on it all day long. Anne, who is an amazing baker, with her oven always on full blast over in Silver Lake, needs to have her own snack line, made my sweet day. But I am also resentful. So I wrote this poem, kind of like the woodchuck could chuck wood thing. It's vulgar, but you try rhyming with buckle!

How much buckle

Can a fat fag shovel

From a Silver Lake

Fag Hag Fuckle?

Thursday, August 14, 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. Come on.
Like ten bucks.

Always New Songs. Always.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So Long Screwy, Remember ol' Saint Louis

Max Boot, the hard ass right wing Op-Ed guy in the LA Times, cries for weapons from the West for Georgia and a hard line against Russia, because Russians are just outrageous and could be trying to reinstate their empire, just like HITLER did when he invaded Czechoslovakia! Oh my. And then there’s Maureen Dowd (okay this is off subject, but still an example of extremity) in the NY Times bashing Hillary Clinton whenever she gets the chance. She just hates Hillary so much. Jealousy? What is it with you, Maureen? You seem kind of out of your mind.

It’s great to close the papers and see what’s happening in the world, away from opinion.

We see Sarkozy cozying up to both the Russians and the Georgians like a good Frenchman does. Because, babies, it isn’t black and white out there. It’s all about diplomacy. Let’s remember Saint Louis IX (Yes, St. Louis, Missouri is named after him). He was loved partly because he listened and brought people together. He was also quite a Catholic. I guess one of the good ones, because they turned him into a saint.

Why are Americans so strident and unyielding? At least in newspapers? And why can’t we all just be a little more French, like Sarkozy and Saint Louis? Sarkozy knew this skirmish was mere breakaway trouble—like Glendale trying to escape the tyranny of Los Angeles County bureaucracy. He smiled, carried legal documents between foes and acted like a calm adult.

I have to give Bushy a little extra French credit. He played both sides. And friends, that’s what diplomacy is all about. Give Bush a discount at Galaries Lafayette.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Dying Dog Show: The Photo


This picture, taken on Sunday, is Louise after a homemade haircut. She can no longer go to the salon because her shots are outdated. And why would we give her shots at this point?

Notice how the picture captures her movement. Is she moving away from something or toward something?
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Tell No One

Tell No One is not a taught thriller, but a big sloppy French thriller-mystery with so many twists and blind alleys and wrong turns and lies and lies unearthed, that when the whole thing is over, you just feel sort of irritated. And I like France.

Look, it’s much better than much out there. The acting is, truly, sublime. The shooting is so beautiful and suspenseful, without being jumpy, that you just want to thank someone for your set of eyes. And what is this bluish-gray filter they’ve been using lately for everything? I like it. There is a chase scene through an open air market in a low end neighborhood on the edge of a highway that is thrilling. The acting, I have to say it again, is perfect, all across, everywhere.

The story, well, okay, so a woman gets killed. But eight years later, maybe she’s not dead. And the cover ups. And the families that are linked. The power plays. The thugs. The lake. The beatings. But who beat who? The horses. Paris. The lesbians (of course!). A Versailles hospital. But one man, one doctor in fact, just really misses his wife and he wants her if she is still alive. But then, who is it that wants her dead if she is still alive? And why are the cops all so stupid? Except for one?

Oh, mes amis, it’s a web of treachery and racing against the clock and some very life threatening misunderstandings.

Every story idea from every whodunit you’ve ever seen is packed into this one. Did I mention raped orphans? Well, there are raped orphans, too. Why not!

If an art house nearby is playing this film and you’re sick of cribbage and the small screen, you might as well go see it. It’s August and it’s really quite a show for adults who can handle it. Superbly executed in every way. The story, well, if you have the mind for this kind of thing, which I clearly lack, you will just love the puzzle within the puzzle within the lie within the double crossing. Did I mention cut up faces and dead cats and dogs in ditches next to murder victims by a serial killer? Yeah, that, too. Woof. Meow. Screech.

Tell No One

Friday, August 08, 2008


On this day, I wish you a very joyful 08-08-08.

Whether you live in the United States, Europe or anywhere else, you are probably writing or typing 08-08-08 on everything.

If we can all agree on 08-08-08, why not much simpler things?

I mean, the calendar is pretty complex. 7 Days? 12 Months? 52 weeks? What the heck! Weird bunch of numbers. Yet, everyone, okay not everyone, but almost everyone is on board.

Or on, bored.

If there was no conflict on earth, maybe people would simply fall asleep at the wheel?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Amoebas and Punishment

There are times when I mosey along thinking, “What am I going to blog about tonight?”
Today, while strolling to my allergist’s office for shots, I thought, I should write an entry entitled:

What Makes a Conservative

And the one line entry would be:

Someone who believes in punishment for all mistakes, except financial ones for the rich.

I have to admit, that line does not have much ring to it. But I do believe conservatives are a vengeful bunch.

But then, I read something in the paper tonight that really snagged my attention. It was that damn Brain Eating Amoeba that sometimes comes around and, well, eats someone’s brain. Some poor kid swam in Lake Elsinore out in Riverside County and got infected with the deadly Naegleria fowleri amoeba and it ate his brain and killed him.

The amoeba swims up your nose in warm fresh water lakes, travels along the olfactory nerve into your brain and then eats your olfactory bulb and brain, which has the side effect of killing you.

Not unlike what George Bush, conservative, tried to do to the entire population of the United States of America.

Eh, not such a great tie-together at the end there.

Let’s just say this: Conservatives are odd people, often noncreative, who like things to remain exactly the same and to punish those who venture outside their picky little lines.

Brain Eating Amoebas are just awful creatures that are only doing what they were born to do: They eat your brain.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Frozen River

Sometimes around our house, we declare a Monday Night at the Movies or a Tuesday Night…which we did this evening. At the Sunset 5 (which I used to believe was the center of Los Angeles) we saw Frozen River.

Perfectly imperfect and truly great. The grand jury prize winner of Sundance, this is the big Indie Film of the summer and in a world of flying bats, men made of iron and forty year old stoner boys, it is a great relief.

The acting, superbish. Melissa Leo and Misty Upham pair up to smuggle people across the Canadian border. They drive right over the frozen St. Lawrence River into Canada on tribal land to do it (Misty Upham as Lila is a Mohawk Native American).

All this to buy a double wide trailer? Yes! You may never make a trailer joke again. Melissa Leo as Jay makes the need for a double wide so basic and so upwardly mobile (she lives in a single with her two boys) that everyone can relate!

Lovely film. The plot turns on very human needs. Okay, I’ll say it—on the basic needs of caring for others (fucking women, why can’t they just stop caring for others?, especially their own children?)-- See? What a world we live in? I actually was a little thrown that the story had something to do with caring for your kids in this primary way.

Oh, and the scene with the Pakistanis. Well, I can’t write anything about it. Don’t want to ruin anything.

Trailers burn. Cops get involved. Christmas is coming. So is the Repo man. Anything for money in a desperate frozen land.

I’ve been all around up by Plattsburgh, New York. There are really only two things to do up there:

1) Make a movie


2) Get the hell out!

Frozen River. I give it three and a half out of four Pangolins.
(All units of measure are random. Let’s face it.)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Burger Meister


Sometimes you get lucky and someone is there on your birthday to cook the burgers and wienies. Thank you, Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, for all these years of great cooking!
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Slouching Towards Bethlehem -- Joan Didion

California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things had better work here, because here, beneath that immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent.

--Notes from a Native Daughter, Joan Didion

“On nights like that,” Raymond Chandler once wrote about the Santa Ana, “every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.”

--Los Angeles Notebook, Joan Didion

Friday, August 01, 2008

A Soft Clean Rain is Coming. Clean Out Your Gutters.

As the economy clears out all that needs to be cleared, it’s a great time to do the same thing at home. Why not have life imitate life imitating life? While, of course, caring for the planet:

1) Unsuscribe to all that crappy email that comes at you that you don’t need. Sure, it doesn’t take much energy for Macy’s to send you an email about its latest sale. But it does take SOME energy. And it certainly takes SOME time and effort for you to delete it every time, for the rest of your life. So, next time an email comes you are sick of seeing, scroll to the bottom and click unsubscribe. You don’t need it. I no longer needed John or Writers Digest and a whole bunch more. Within one week, my inbox has been less stuffed. I wish I had advice for how to deal with spam. I do not. Just delete it as it comes in.

2) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You MUST use Catalogue Choice. This is an amazing service. At Christmas, when most catalogues arrive, we collected a pile, a very high pile, of all the wretched catalogues that come to our house. Then, we went to this site and opted out, one by one. It is such a relief. Now, we get almost none. Do it. You’ll be thrilled. Let the catalogues collect every month in a pile. Then take twenty minutes to go online so you can GET RID OF THEM. You save yourself the agony of facing them every month in your mailbox. You save the mailman the agony of having to lug them around. You save the planet by NOT wasting paper (these catalogues are hardly ever printed on recycled paper) and by NOT wasting the fuel to have them transported only so you can throw them in the recycling bin, or worse, the trash.

3) Go around your house and collect things that you no longer use, especially old electronics, and sell those useless items on Ebay. They will be useful to someone else. I have even sold a BROKEN, crashed imac on Ebay. I listed, “This item is broken. It is only good for someone who wants to use it for parts.” It sold to someone in Long Beach for about 150 bucks. My latest cell phone (a 3G Samsung Blackjack) ultimately saved me money. When I sold my old phone and all the accessories that went with it and put that toward the purchase of my new phone, I came out ahead $80. If Ebay isn’t your thing, then just GIVE your STUFF away to a thrift store. If that still isn’t for you, then save up all your old electronics and go to your local electronics recycling location and drop them off. Of course, you can sell almost anything on eBay, or give almost anything away. Just do it. These are clearing times.

CLEAR IT OUT. A soft rain o’ plenty is on its way. And these things are going to be green and lovely. Make room on your shelves. Make room in your life.