Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Godspell Haiku

My second viewing
Jesus stars on Showtime’s Weeds
Good songs live, a joy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dems and Pubs and Creativity

Someone I am related to once said to me about gay marriage, “It just ain’t right.”

He eventually got over it.

He is a Republican.

But that’s not my point, sort of.

Things change, is my bigger point. And all that change comes from creativity.

What is so striking to me is when a gaggle of good Americans sits down to watch the Superbowl this weekend, they will feel as if everything is right in the world, that this game has always been and always will be, that this “Just is right.”

But football was invented.

The commercials are truly creative.

The mistaken exposed nipple incident inspired much creativity.

Everything comes up and is new.

If you are a Democrat, you often go with that flow. If you are a Republican, it lights up your fear center and you are terrified. They’ve done map brain studies.

It is hard to face what is new. It ultimately means that all that you know will expire. Nothing “is right.” It emerges, it changes, it falls down, it is replaced.

Some forms of government and religion have had some staying power. But these, too, will continue to change.

And there is nothing you can do to turn back the clock. And if you do succeed in turning back the clock, it will not last long.

The Constitution was just the beginning. Then there were amendments. There will be more. And maybe one day, a redo.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fuck a Little, Walk and Talk a Lot

There was a study. I read it on the Google and I simply can’t Google another thing so I am not going to find the link.

But it went something like this. They gave a lot of people pager-like things and then would randomly beep them. At that moment, the beepee would mark down what they were doing and how happy they were on a scale. After a year, this was all tallied up.

The happiest people were those having sex.

The second happiest were those who were walking and talking with friends.

Then, talking with friends.

The list went on and on.

At the bottom were things like domestic arguments, parking tickets, doctor visits, etc.

Not many surprises. But like most things in life, it is the number two position that can be harnessed to one’s advantage and indulged in regularly with not too much fear of someone taking it away from you: walking with friends. (And since the number one position cannot be indulged in for hours and days at a time, en principe, it cannot be chosen as frequently and is therefore useful in the extreme but not in the quotidian.)

I was with my friend, Todd, today walking and talking in the park. He posted a pic of us on FB. I got to talking about this study I remembered because it was such a nice day and walking and talking with a friend was proving to be, as usual, an enormous mood elevator.

And then I thought this—It’s just because we are monkeys on the plains with our bro’ monkeys, looking around for prospects. It just feels normal. This action reduces stress and elevates humor.

So much of what makes us happy is simple animal behavior. Being a simple animal is difficult for religionists and intellectuals to stomach. The middle class gets to it, at times, but it can often lack grace.

You know it when you feel it. Sometimes people will eat entire bags of red vines or scream at others all day long in search of altering their brain chemistry into joy.

Being a calm animal on the move, balanced with other safe calm animals, in nature, makes mortality seem less horrific, with the sunlight and trees allowing you to know it’s all forever.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Human Condition Never Ends Haiku

So many people--
China gives us iPads
Slavery all year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hooray for Good Things

Huge congratulations to my friends Tecia E. and John. H. for working on The Surrogate, which was a huge smashola at Sundance.

This is such great news. I can’t wait to see it.

Tecia is a world class script supervisor and John is always great in everything. And then there’s Helen Hunt, who I am glad to see is taking on a big sexy role. She has so often been cast as the angry brittle one. It was high time for this warm leap.

Keep up the great work you talented wonders.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mother China

It strikes me again and again that China, with its one party system, can decide what to do, do it and then do it some more.

As long as China subsidizes what it needs for material gain, we will always lose.

And we cannot stop them from doing what they are doing.

Some say it is getting more expensive to do business in China. How much more? Enough to bring manufacturing to Michigan and Ohio?

So here’s a mash up. In order for our aggressively capitalist U.S.A. to be competitive, it needs to go socialist on business development in order to truly compete.

While China acts as one nation of over a billion people, we are almost 400 million divided by ideological internecine fisticuffs—most of it in the form of obstructionist passive aggression by Republicans in the House and the Senate.

Stop your bullshit. You want something to focus on? Look at China.

If it’s so important to you to get your dopamine on by winning “the fight,” pick a different fucking fight.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Time to Laugh

The strange thing about recession is that thoughts become simpler. People are very much in survival mode which means there is not as much time for leisure, creativity and new ideas.

There is also less humor. It is easier to goof when the larder is full.

I would rather be rich and funny than poor and serious.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feeling it Young

By the time I was four years old I knew something was up, that it was very important and unique and that somehow it was beautiful.

Not to be hokey or anything, but it was the understanding that I was alive and that other people were alive and the earth was really interesting and strangely, I could look at all these other people living, creatures that they were, and I was one of them. I was inside one of these creatures and it was me. I imagine this was the first moment of a bit of consciousness.

I liked that feeling and still do. It makes you very aware and it increases your connectedness to nature and to calm, deep joy. It can also make you feel very separate if other people are not noticing, “the miracle,” or harshing you about it, I say sort of in awe and sort of embarrassingly with a bit of tongue in the cheek (my tongue).

I am not religious, but I was thinking today, since death is the ultimate destination, the ultimate outcome of every story, that no matter how you slice it, this death idea figures quite large in our lives, in our identities, in our fears, in our time tables. No wonder people have built up big things around it. Institutions with architecture, even. Death is so powerful. It always wins. So let them be religious (and perhaps quiet about it so they can notice it all?) When I accept death, I feel very calm. When I do not, I thrash.

My hands have become lizardy. At times, I look at my waist and I think, “How different am I, really, than a gorilla who has been let loose for a long weekend in the Krispy Kreme warehouse?”

But even those things do not matter so much.

(Upon rereading, I noticed that I typed waste instead of waist. Another good reading of that sentence.)

I haven’t changed much since I was four. I often want to get back to the granite rocks with the schist sparkles, in this copse of trees on the edge of the property line of my house where I first sat with these ideas, alone. I was happy to do nothing but sit and be aware of what was around me. To know this was a rare event. (Even if there are zillions of other living creatures in the universe, it is still mathematically rare that there are human mammals and even more mathematically rare, still, that you are actually one of those beasts.) I felt like I was getting away with something, sitting there, not doing anything but noticing. I did not want to get caught doing that. I felt afraid that it was wrong. But deeper, I knew it was the greatest, most enjoyable thing. Perhaps I felt that it was wrong to feel so good, like when you first discover masturbation or chocolate mousse. Then you grow up and people insist on all these other stories, with guns and tits and pecking orders and wins and losses and so many other items. You hang onto them for dear life. But really, it’s just the awareness that lasts.

You can do it all. The action and the awareness. It’s just kind of tiring. But I have also been thinking lately, maybe it's okay to be tired.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wintry Mix

I remembered the term. Wintry Mix. Well, I didn’t remember it. Adam, my husband, read it out loud from “the paper.” It’s sleet, snow, rain, all combined. It’s very fresh. People freak out about winter. All I think about is how much I love Iceland. How much I like clean air. I’m all for it. Plus, you know, you can’t become allergic to precipitation. Is it cold? Sure. But in about a month, all the flower shops will be filled with tulips and daffodils. I mean, if Holland can get into spring by the end of February and pass that tradition onto us and we can benefit, and we have, how much can you complain?

Use Safe Copy. Use it. It’s only fifty bucks a year. It backs up everything on your hard drive to an outside server. All your docs, music, pics, vids. It makes so much sense. Plus, it backs everything up in the same folders that you have. So it looks the same when you check it out online. And you can access the info from anything. Other computers, phone, pads of all stripes. I’ve been with this outfit for over a year and I love it. Effortless. Safe and amazing.

Safe Copy

Governor Brown and his bullet train from LA to SFO! Thank you! Come on now. Let’s do it! I want a bullet from LA to NY. Please? Could we please? I’d sit for the fifteen hours. Fly through Kansas at 250 miles per hour. Read some. Be thanking Allah I was on the solid ground instead of bumping through the thin air. Plus, the more we fly, the more we warm up the air, the more the air gets unstable, the bumpier the flights get. It’s a negative loop of pain. Get me off that hell tube. Get me on that train.

Henry Wolfe, my friend and talented musician, check out his music. He’s writing new songs all the time. Go to his sight. Download his songs. Buy the tunes online. You can do a search at the iTunes Store under his name. I especially love Buzzards. When it comes up on my iTunes cycle, I stop everything and only listen to that and do nothing else.

Henry Wolfe

I was making a reservation on the phone for a hotel today. I couldn’t tell if the person on the other end was at the hotel or a booking agent. I asked him to just tell me who he was. I was concerned because, you know, it was a random phone number and I could be handing over my credit card info to anyone. Plus, three different windows popped up for the same hotel in comparison. You know, that whole internet assault. So he tells me who he is. I could tell he was lying. Said he was with the hotel. I was annoyed that he was lying so I said I was going to call the hotel directly. I was cheerful and low key but I hung up. He called back and left me a message. He said, “Fuck you asshole. I’m watching you.” It was a threat. What small outfit was he the booking agent for? Expedia. Yes, Expedia, that little travel concern we’ve all heard of. I emailed Expedia to tell them what happened. I got a form letter apology within three hours. Onward. People are in distress these days. And Expedia, even, doesn’t care. Sad world. What next? I ask someone at Citibank to check on a fraud claim and they tell me to go fuck my mother?

Speaking of fucking your own mother…wouldn’t you have to actually get erect for that? What on earth would have had to have gone down in your sexual imprinting that made it so you could get an erection for such a journey?

I am doubling down on the piano and learning all the Gershwin Preludes. They are really beyond my level…but I am using whatever piano lesson techniques I have under my belt, my ease of reading music, along with my O.C.D. to repeat and repeat and repeat the fingering until it’s so in my hands, there’s no way I CAN’T play it. Interesting, playing an instrument. Great place to shove a lot of energy. Clears the mind. And it’s not really creative. It’s tasky. When you finally learn it and you add some feeling to it, that’s a creative thing. But more instinctual than anything else. I dig it. Plus, if you’re learning Gershwin, you can’t really say you are wasting your time.

I am doing so much career stuff right now that there’s little time for writing. (Coordinating. Selling. Yep, it’s like having a booth at the craft fair…except people don’t buy little things all day long. They wait forever and ever…and then finally, there’s one big sale.) Need to write more. I have to mix it up better.

Starting this horrendous habit of small pads with chicken scratch all over them all over my desk. Can apartment chickens be far behind?

If you really want to feel like you did when you were a kid…like all free and like it’s all new and fun, you just have to let go of everything. What made it so fun to be a kid was that you didn’t have a ton of experiences and a mountain of knowledge to weigh you down. You just lived. Of course, assuming you are an adult reading this, you can’t be irresponsible and chuck it all. You have to take care of things as an adult using experience and knowledge. Pretty much. And instinct. But any short or long periods you can steal for yourself to forget it all, you will find yourself laughing a lot and having a good time.

It’s January 20. Ground Hogs are getting nervous.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



These controlling loons.

Free speech. Lots of it. This is why we’re here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Movies that Begin with M

I really liked Moneyball
and Melancholia.

First, Moneyball.
Don’t you love getting screeners? This one came from S.A.G. And there we sat.

This is a movie about, primarily, looking at things in a new way and having the bravery to give that a shot in the midst of a group-think entrenched culture. Secondarily, it is about math. Baseball figures into it, too, of course. But that’s not the main thing here.

It’s sort of a dorky, nerdy movie with Jonah Hill pulling the statistics to teach Brad Pitt how to win by using pure formula. (Sort of cynical, sort of great strategy.) But what the deal is here…it’s the acting, the smart script, the directing. And isn’t that why you go to the movies? I know, many people go to the movies for fun and the script does not have to be that smart. Fine. Sure. But for the adults in the room, it is pleasant to have something well thought out.

With screenwriters Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, and director Bennett Miller (Capote), you have a good helm going on.

The movie is purely enjoyable. Well done. Suspenseful. And I am, you know, no big baseball fan. But now, I sort of am. Maybe.

Brad Pitt made some crazy pact with some crazy devil. He’s about my age and he still has all that hair? How?

Brad Pitt’s acting really is great. But when you have had a life looking like that, being what he is, no matter how bad things get for your character, you always sort of look like people are probably looking at you and so you’ll probably be fine. Extremely good looking people have a great resource, themselves. We all know people hand things to people like that. This is a prejudice, I understand. And underneath the symmetry and the eyes and the nose and the pout and the thick follicles on the pate, maybe real pain lurks. But it’s hard to take it too seriously. Strange how beauty conceals or deceives or who-knows-what.

And he has that wife…

But really, best acting Brad’s done, seems to me. The cast, all around, is solid and interesting. Jonah Hill is clear and has almost no false moments. Growing up, our little Jonah.

Moneyball, see it. Today.

I loved Melancholia and I don’t care who knows it.

This thing is poetic, doesn’t make exact sense, is a bit over the top, has a mix of Brits and Americans and other European Whiteys at an upper class wedding that makes it all seem like the U.S. and G.B. are one nation. Parents from one country have children from another. This just slips along.

But the bigger picture might be, “IF THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END, WHO CARES ABOUT ACCENTS!”

Wagner, two sisters of differing bad temperaments (Kirsten Dunst is a depressive, her sister, Charlotte Gainsbourg, the anxious one), Lars von Trier directing magnificently as a bright blue planet is about to swallow up the earth?

By the end, I wanted to kill myself. You will, too. You have to see it.

It’s so beautiful and bleak. Who cares if the first part of the story is a bit unbelievable. (The wedding.) Or that you don’t understand how the super depressed main character, Justine played by Ms. Dunst, could ever land a good looking seemingly normal lad like Alexander Skarsgard or be promoted to director level at her ad agency considering what a mess she is.

Is she just a mess, now, because everything has nastily come together? Realizing she doesn’t like her job or her husband and the world is coming to an end? I don’t think so. It seems like she’s been like this for a long time. So, you know, it’s sort of hard to swallow.

But Lars von Trier (Nazi or not?) is going for full romanticism here. Let’s let him have it.

You don’t get to see things like this that often, if ever.

I didn’t recognize Keifer Sutherland until the credits. But I do that. I knew he was Kevin Bacony, but I knew it wasn’t Kevin. One gets dim with time…

But Kirsten Dunst’s breasts will wake you up. They could have called this thing Melons Cholia. (I tap my mike. Is this thing on?) It’s wonderful to see someone so beautiful in so much pain. She did a great job. With an insane witch of a mother (Charlotte Rampling) and loser nut father (John Hurt), divorced and seething, you could easily see how these two sisters ended up how they ended up.

There is this intense isolation. The world is ending and these simple rich people are all alone. And they have to face it.

I once worked for a man who had me open his mail during the whole Anthrax scare. He was very wealthy. The one percent of the one percent. He said, “I guess it doesn’t matter how much money I have, I could still be killed.”


But even better: When the world is about to end, the truly mad turn sane. The vibration finally suits them.

Visually arresting. Emotionally reaching into poetic truth. Go.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Opinions Requested: Husbands, the Series

Do you like this?

I’m feeling fencey.

Husbands The Series

I mean, in my marriage, I’m the tall cute Mormon one. But still…

I watched all episodes. They’re short. Funny, smart, good mood switching back and forth. Full negotiating. Light. At times even vulnerable. Shallow but more on that later. Shallow might be the new deep. Because deep is so often self serving.

My thumbs want to go up. They are tentative thumbs. Am I old?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interesting Hell

I’m the kind of person who is very sensitive to drugs. If I take a regular dose of Nyquil I’m out for 14 hours. If I take just one small red Sudafed, I stop eating for six hours and lose a pound. It’s sort of freakish.

This does not make me a good candidate for addiction, however, I have always liked to smoke stuff and so I have to not do that, so I don’t.

On Monday, I went in for a little procedure, no biggie, but it required that I take two Percocet, which is, of course, oxycodone and acetaminophen. The latter enhances the former, which is an opiate. I took two 325 milligram tablets.

Eight hours later, I took two Tylenol.

Then I stopped all that.

This is where the trouble came in.

When I take an opiate, like most people, I am high as balls and walk around wondering how the world ever got so pleasant. It’s like all the sights and sounds with none of the worry. Basically, it’s like living in a movie. Fine. That lasted about two hours.

Then, the nausea, then the come down, then the four hour nap.


Then ten hours of sleep.


Then, a depression so severe, a hopelessness so profound, I had to go, “Oh man…this is clinical depression. This is the end. I am bipolar. They say online here if you’ve been putting everything in order, that’s even a sign of suicidal tendencies.”

Then I thought, “I’m always putting things in order. Plus, that’s what I always do at the end of the year.”

So, I’m sitting on the brown sofa and I’m thinking, “You’re just super duper depressed and it’s probably the Percocet. So let’s do a little experiment here. No need to panic, like this is forever. Do what you do when things are simply awful.”

And this is what I did. Instead of panicking, thinking I was going to be depressed forever, because that’s what depression does to you, I just accepted it. I accepted that I was completely miserable and that my brain was in a state of hating itself and that the only thing I could do was to just be with it.

Within five minutes it was gone.

I have noticed, in general, that all things once accepted, dissipate. And now even things caused by narcotics? I guess that works, too, accepting away your chemically induced misery.

This is a powerful notion, acceptance. And though Western culture is pretty much held up by the three tent poles of goals, drive and acquisition, I guess you can do all those things accepting as you go along.

It can make even the worst opiate induced depression lift.

Learning to accept the unacceptable is a brilliant counterintuitive action.

Accept everything you loathe and it will go away. Perhaps.

Doing the exact opposite of what you are naturally inclined to do always brings about an interesting new twist. It wakes you toward the other side. You don’t hold on and, zwoom, you are somewhere better.

If you hate this blog entry, accept it, and very soon you will no longer see it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ten More Months

So, as Mitt wins and gets this thing sewn up, we then have to face this creature for ten more months.

He’s craven.

The Republicans are getting the candidate they deserve---a slick, greedy guy who would sell off his own mother.

I do not know why I wake up every day surprised by what most people desire: endless wealth.

Along the way…look, we know the morality tales…

I am very interested in hearing the insider cash stories that Mitt hath lived.

This is not because I am against big chunks of cash, exactly. I don’t care so much how rich someone is. I am usually more jealous about fame. Plus, I’ve never been hungry or unclothed or unhoused.

I look at greed in a way that is curious. Like, why would you want to be bothered with all that stuff? It seems like a huge responsibility.

I’m in my middle years and I often look around and wonder how I can get rid of the stuff I own now. It’s all a nuisance and gets in my way.

Politics seems a big fight about how money is controlled. Will it be a sharing game or a might-makes-right game? Or to give the Right their point of view, Will it be a merit game or a lazy-tries-to-take-it game?

I don’t understand, since this country is so divided right down the middle, why both sides can’t just agree that this-this-and-this we’ll share and this-this-and-this will be full-on free market stuff.

But then again, societies get more complex over time, not simpler. So drawing it up and saying, “Yeah, we’re going to settle on these two lists and move on to other things. Like solving energy problems and population problems.” Besides, people like to fight. Anything for a fight. Maybe it’s an adrenalin surge followed by a dopamine surge that people live for and the money is secondary.

A lion licking its paws after taking out a wildebeest.

I try to stay out of the way.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Tree of Life

We sat through it. We had the WGA screener.

It won best damn picture at Cannes. It is visually incredible. Its narrative…honestly, it’s silly.

Let’s let The Atlantic do the work for me because I can’t even…

Review of The Tree of Life by someone else

Friday, January 06, 2012

My Third Fight

My first fight was unremarkable in that I did not fight, but was choked, because it was seventh grade and I had a crush on D’s girlfriend and he did not like this. Additionally, he was living a mean streak at that little point in his life. I was tricked into going down to the woods to hang out, “Come on, Donald, everyone’s going”—and I was ambushed. What he did was, he choked me. And kept choking. Why choking? I don’t know. But it was terrifying and undeserved. He kept yelling at me that N was his girlfriend. Not mine. He wanted to choke that truth into me. I agreed. Okay. N is not my girlfriend. I’ll stop following her around. I left crying. I have seen D since. I do not recall him ever apologizing.

Strangely, on the way home from that episode, a guy a year younger than me, M, got in my face on the street. He said I called him a faggot at the carnival the week before. We had these carnivals that came through town. They set up in the ball field. My house was only two blocks away. Exciting times. And I was at the carnival every night. So M said I called him a faggot. I said I didn’t. Truth is, I never talked to him my entire life. I had always seen him around. He was pretty cute. In fact, D, above, was very cute. So two good looking kids on the same day decided to pummel me. So as M was trying to pick this fight with me in the street, about me calling him a faggot at the carnival, he steadily pushed toward me, backing me into a parked car along the curb. I was pretty pissed off because I had already been mangled by D down in the woods less than thirty minutes ago. So there I was backed up against a car and I decided to just haul back and pop this M right in the face as hard as I could. I hit between his eye and his nose. It took him by total surprise. He was so much bigger and stronger than me. I knew he’d kill me if he started to beat me. So I had to end it quickly. He cried. I ran. I saw him a week later in school. He said that it wasn’t me that called him a faggot at the carnival. He didn’t say he was sorry. But he sort of did. I had this feeling that no one would ever mess with me again.

But I was wrong.

D was tall and lean, with rock and roll hair. M was crew cutted and muscular, a much scarier person to face. And then there was M.A. My third and very brutal fight.

I guess middle school is the age when boys just want to pummel each other. About a year or more after I did not call M a faggot and D had choked me into tears, I was walking along, shopping or what-have-you, in downtown Suffern, my town, at that time a fine town of middle class things like banks and a stationary store. I was acting a little tough because that’s what I did a little bit at that time of my life. Then this not-good-looking kid, A., a year younger than me, who wore stained T-shirts, kept his hair cut like it was the early 70s when it was the late 70s, smoked cigarettes right in front of adults, and got terrible grades, you know, a dirtbag, he decided to pick a fight with me. It was along the lines of, “Hey, you’re a faggot,” in the 70s meaning of it, meaning, you’re square and uncool, like how M. thought I used the word on him at the carnival. By this age, I was well established in middle school, liked, and almost a foot taller than this A., who was one of the shortest kids in his class. I did not understand how he did not understand how futile this attack on me would be.

In addition, A. was at one time best friends with someone who I used to be best friends with. There was really no reason to fight. But clearly, A. wanted to kick some ass and for some reason he thought I was kickable. So he’s calling me a faggot and telling me he’s going to kick my ass and I’m thinking, “You’re a mouse. Just stop this.” Then I thought, “He can’t be for real. He’s a pipsqueak. Oh my God, does he have a knife? Is he going to try to knife me? Did he save up for a knife and he just bought it and now he needs to try it out on my flesh?” But he did not pull out a knife. He did keep up with the aggression. It was bizarre. He was friends with friends and he knew my younger brother well, he was, basically, in the ally sphere of my life. This whole thing was ridiculous. So I said to him, “A., stop it. Right now.” I said it like his older baby sitter, like a wise person who was setting someone straight. I even had this older brother compassion for him. I wanted to say, “Don’t be silly.” I didn’t say that.

I could not, in my rational world, understand why the hell he was doing this. And then he started kicking me. I ran away, toward the bank. It had a long hedge about three feet tall in front of the solid concrete. Solid building with columns. Almost romantic. I was laughing at how silly A. was being. Like a Chihuahua coming after a beagle. But he persisted. And he came around the bushes and he started grabbing my hair and then I started grabbing his hair. Total girl fight. (Sorry, girls.) Okay, professional wrestling? Anyway, we are grabbing each other’s hair and because he is so short, all he can do is kick me. This was no longer funny and I was no longer interested in being some sort of understanding big brother. And he keeps kicking me in the shins. It hurt like hell. But because he’s my brother’s age and friends with so many of my brother’s friends, I can’t help but think of him in this brotherly way and I keep saying, “Stop, stop or I’m going to put an end to this that is going to be awful.” And he wouldn’t stop. He was determined to give me as much physical pain as he could. (What the hell happened to him that day at home? What was wrong with him? I don’t know.)

So then, I gathered my strength, with his head of hair in mine, and I gave him one last warning, “You gonna stop?” And he said no and kept kicking. A little dirty mutt, tobacco stained fingers, hair flying.

So I took his head and I smashed it into the bank wall. Just once. But very hard. I meant it. This had to end. It must have been very painful because he stopped. And he cried like a little boy. He couldn’t believe I did what I did. I left him holding his head on the lawn. He was so pathetic and I felt so bad for him. But I had to move on. He lived. It was unfair fighting.

That’s how I fight…never. Or completely unfair.

That was the last time someone tried to have a fight with me. I don’t think A. went around and told everyone, “Don’t pick a fight with Donald Cummings, he’ll smash your head into a bank wall.” But I do think that once you do smash someone’s head into a bank wall, people sort of sense it and they leave you alone.

A. became a huge stoner and I do not believe he finished high school. Whenever he saw me in the halls at school, he just glared. I used to smile back at him. I felt sorry for him. And I was confused because he was such a skanky little ruffian and he had this regal sister.

You see, strangely, his much older sister was a big Broadway sensation at the time in a revival of a very famous musical. She was the lead. Everyone went to see her. In fact, it was the first Broadway play I had ever seen. And she is still in Broadway musicals today. It made no sense that this woman, who was basically doing something very close to what I wanted to do, had this sad little stoner, dirty brother. And I thought that if A. knew how much I thought of his sister, how into her and the musical she was in I was, he never would have gone after me that day. Maybe. And I wondered why his sister, with her success and her grace, did not come back to Suffern to fix this kid up.

Maybe she escaped the family with her great singing voice and was glad to never return? Maybe A. was her half brother or something?
What was wrong with these people? I never found out.

That third fight was the end of all that ugly middle school boy stuff. The skull against cement sound, just thinking about it, it makes you wince. Whenever I see that bank, or one like it, I do wonder if there was something wrong with me for having done what I did. It was outsized, to crack his head into the wall, and I could have maybe figured out something less severe. But I did not want a protracted painful engagement. I was improv-ing. I was expedient.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Gender and Desire

I went to the Brooklyn Museum today with my brother-in-law to see the exhibit, “Gender and Desire.”

It was okay. Some enjoyable art. But this is the deal---when you lump a bunch of paintings together to make some sort of sociological point, it might be good for the museum, but is it good for the artists?

This collection, put together originally at S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, was someone’s idea. And that’s nice.

But is that idea bigger than the idea of each individual piece of work, so much so that the work is experienced in a compelling way? Were these the paintings that happened to be available and sort of “fit the bill” so they were procured?

I don’t know…

Will It Ever End?

Don’t Vote For this Boob, ever.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Don's Early Home Movies

Happy New Year and how fat are you?

The last few days around here have been celebrated by eating multi-grain healthy waffles from Trader Joe’s, covered with coffee ice cream, chocolate syrup and crumbled walnuts. Why? Well, hell, when you’re all in for the holidays, why the hell not?

And now, like everyone else, I am going to repent and starve and get a little cranky.

But this is the good news…New Year’s makes me want to clean out everything. Closets, inboxes, files, you name it. We dropped off a huge load of old clothes and things at the Housing Works Thrift store on 9th Avenue.

And I had this other thing on my mind. A cousin of mine wanted some pictures of his dad, some pics that I had from my aunt…and so it was time to get that finished, too. And then I thought while I’m at it, I might as well upload the precious ninety minutes of ancient footage I have that includes lots of extended family members…so my forty-five cousins and aunts and uncles and everyone else could always have access…you know, they’re in the lobby of some overdone hotel in Dubai and they can pull out their smart phone and go, “See that? There? That’s me in 1968. Some called it the summer of love. I called it the summer of diapers.”

Much of the footage is wonderful. Much of it is water damaged or light damaged or both. Most of the shots focus on my older sister, my younger brother and me. (I’m the slightly taller boy with the bigger skull.) The white haired lady on the rocking horse is my mother’s mother, also known as Nanny. In big family get togethers, the ones with the more dolled up hair are from my mother’s side, the Italian Porcellos and DeFranzas. The Americana looking ones from casting central are from the Irish side, the Cummings.

It’s all very sweet and looks very innocent to me.

Note to everyone, just fast forward as you go. This is not high art.
To extended family: If you take some time and fast forward, you will surely find footage of you from back in the day. Before Watergate, before Iran Contras, before Monica’s blue dress, before the Interwebs…(This is the same footage from the DVD’s some of you have.)

Happy Days are here again.


Don’s Early Home Movies