Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
The excitement is ludicrous.
First stop was a few miles south of downtown. This enormous cabinet place. They make beautiful custom cabinets for a price that is half most other places. All we had to do was get our asses there. Almost a full industrial city block of buildings sawing wood into future Trader Joe’s sundries holders, for the people.
Then, north up Alameda, through downtown, through Chinatown, up San Fernando Road to the Sears in Glendale to go appliance wild. Say what you want about Glendale---the whole city is worth the appliance department at Sears. One guy did the fridge. One woman did the washer/dryer. One fresh Armenienne did the stove, dishwasher and garbage disposal. Everyone was very friendly. And there was the big sale. Plus, we don’t have to pay anything until February of 2008. That’s a lot of free meals.
After ordering all this stuff and feeling elated with the purchases...all we got to go home with was the garbage disposal. It sits in the garage.
Walking the dog tonight and feeling the endorphins still pulsing, I heard the usual rustle at the corner near the opening of the storm drain. It was one of the friendly neighborhood raccoons who lives in the drain. He (or she) often pokes up to say hello when I’m with Louise. Raccoons, no matter how annoying, are very cute.
Lucky for Los Angeles. Lucky for the new kitchen stuff. Lucky for Louise and the raccoon.
I can’t wait to grind garbage in the bowels of my new sink.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
That Gehry is a true genius. The place is beautiful.
The front display pipes of the organ are at crazy angles. They look like huge cartoon tube worms.
The acoustics are so amazing that someone rustling his program from ten seats over and three rows down, sounded like he was right next to me. Spooky, really.
I have never been inside a room with this kind of sound. I loved it. Hearing such clear tones gave me that incredible brain clarity that fast, intricate music can give you. Lines you all up. You feel so smart, like you just ate two tunas.
The organ concert was Christmas and populist. At times silly and at times pretty great. I preferred the more modern, brave, dissonant pieces. A strange new introduction to Joy to the World by Craig Phillips and a funky variation on the eighteenth century French Noel by Dupre were my favorites. I really need to go back and hear a concert of Hungarian Twentieth Century composers. I love the modern Easterns.
Though not an amazing night of music, the beauty of the organ and of the concert hall---in soft wood and curving lines everywhere and the entire building---it was so worth the traffic snarl to get there. (If I had time, I would have taken the red line to Pershing Square.)
And the outside of the curvy, wavy nutty thing, way up high, has an aerial walkway between the curves. It’s like walking through a titanium cavern with occasional openings and wonderful views in the middle of Los Angeles.
I have never been in any building like this. I have never heard sounds like I heard sound inside this.
That wife-of-a-mouse-man really did something amazing. And soon---they're building an entire new downtown below it. Let's see how that turns out.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
They change. All the time.
Isn’t it time for a big change? One world religion? Just start paring them all down. Keep the best parts. Like a restaurant that serves the greatest foods of the world. (Mole from Mexico. Crepes from Brittany. Dumplings from China. Beer from Munich.)
Add it all up. Everyone feasts. Together. Same table situation.
Then, let it keep paring down. Keep focusing on eating the tasty things and let God creep out of the situation.
And all that is left is a bunch of people, eating. A spiritual food court.
The evolution of religious thought, heading in the following direction, is my vote:
Many fairy tales with many Gods. (Formed not long after consciousness/speech...the Cromagnon years)
Many distinct fairy tales with one God each. Each fairy tale, vain and hungry for supremacy. (Where we are right now and have been for two-thousand years)
One fairy tale with one God. (Maybe Bill Clinton can pull this off?)
One fairy tale with a diminishing God but a strong code of positive behavior. (Five-hundred years from now?)
One fairy tale with a strong code of positive behavior. (Soon after that)
A strong code of positive behavior. Worldwide. (By the year 3000)
And there we’ll be. Facing each other. As mysterious little mammals, embracing the mystery of life, taking good care of our big home, together at last as a species.
And death, well, it will be accepted as a simple end to all the good living. Sayonara.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
What a rip off! Is diary code for shoplifting. I remember stealing most of the things in the store in town, Mexico. It was a gift shop filled with Mexicrap. It smelled good.
I remember by sister’s Capricorn band---it was a bracelet, leather, with the word and the goat embossed. I still have a red version of Wendy’s blue pig. Wendy and Chris were my closest friends. Chris was a year older. Wendy was two years older.
I loved the Christmas specials.
Monday, December 11, 2006
And complete equality.
Let’s do the Buckminster Fuller thing---and have everyone start out with the exact same amount of resources, but in this case, it’s not money, but Carbon Allowance.
This could be very interesting.
So, each child is allotted 100 carbon credits per year. For personal use.
Each adult, at eighteen, is allotted 1000 carbon credits per year. For business use.
Credits can be sold, traded, used, stored, donated, etc.
What a great market it would be!
Now, what is a carbon credit worth?
I don’t know. But taking into consideration:
1) Total carbon on earth
2) The amount of carbon fixable by a leafy, full grown tree
3) The amount of carbon used in any given action (driving, raising cattle, flying, etc.)
4) What percentage of the total carbon on earth a particular country is entitled to---again, through bargaining within a carbon market based world.
5) How quickly carbon can be fixed by other sources
6) Anything else that has to do with the lifecycle of a carbon molecule.
One can come up with what a carbon credit is worth. The trick is, the credits used per person per year both personally and professionally all added together, must not exceed the rate that carbon is returned, fixed into living things. Of course, one can increase the amount of things that can fix carbon...which could lead to more trading.
It’s just math. And though there is much chaos on earth, we have managed to manage water. So why not waste?
There’s a huge game in all this. It can be thrilling. Have a baby, plant twenty trees.
Hate driving? And flying? Sell your carbon credits to someone who likes those activities!
Corporate welfare can spring up by buying out personal carbon credits every year.
Importantly, everyone must be allotted the same amount of credits to begin with each year. Basing the credits on total population and fixable carbon rates makes it a usable system—the gold standard.
For true regulation, one must measure. And it has to be a little bit of a challenge to keep our busy monkey minds interested.
Carbon—control it. Master it. Or it will choke us to death.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I hate the gym. They play rap music. The machines are dirty. I wonder if there is staph in the ducts.
But, the rain will come and I won't be able to do five mile walks outside. And the family-friends plan means I only have to pay nineteen bucks each month. Nothing really. One visit and a one Yoga class a month, I'm even.
But this is the thing---there's all these televisions playing videos. Now, I do recognize some of the girls---Lindsey and Jennifer. But man--they aren't kidding. It really is all about sex.
Not that I'm a prude. But like, if everyone is showing their stomach and wearing colorful dancer bras--doesn't it get a little dull?
I have to say, I've never been into soft porn. And, I'm really not into it in public. But ultimately, I guess these girls (and boys) really want to shake their shit and people really want to watch it.
Wild. I find it so dull. I would rather watch polka dancing. In fact, tonight I did. Our good friend Bradford gets high and watches Lawrence Welk. He has them all Tivoed. Friends, if you get a chance, you just have to. It's hilarious. And I wasn't even high. So joyful. And all that accordion music!
Ah. The innocence.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Congratulations are in order for Rebecca Waring, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner-Sister-in-Law, for two big things.
One, she submitted work into a Maryland Art show and this painting won first prize in the Oil and Acrylic category.
And two---It promptly sold for One-Thousand bucks!
Isn't life sweet?
Congratulations. What a joyful day it is.
Do what you want or a reasonable version of it. There's nothing else.
Monday, December 04, 2006
At first I was intrigued, like I am by all nuts. She was direct. Chatty. Ready to tell me whatever was on her mind. A journalist and political commentator, at first she seemed very informed and professional.
I mentioned Ebay and Claire went off on how Ebay collects information about me and how Americans need to rise up. The government has no right to invade our privacy like that.
She then went on and on about the internet, credit cards, banks, etc. I agreed with her. But the emphatic nature of it eventually lead to Claire telling me that she truly felt we are living in a fascist state. No irony. No seeing the moderate side. She meant it. She also did not seem to be someone who was open to any reasoning since she seemed to have a hard time believing in anything other than the thoughts in her head.
At one point, making a joke about how ready I was for something new in my life, I said, “We don’t know what we are going to do next. Maybe go to Nepal?”
Claire told me why it was not a good time to go to Nepal. Above all, the weather this time of year. The commercialized cities. The bad government. I even explained to her that I was just making a joke. And she continued about the problem with Nepal. Odd duck.
She was either heavily medicated or had a mild form of autism. She told us she was a journalist, but left her latest job because she was having trouble with them. I asked her, “What is your outlet? Where can I hear you?”
She vaguely mentioned a podcast. So, I imagine she is doing her “show” or her “column” from her home. (No judgment there...)
So, I figured she was just this wacky type, like me, sending out opinions and blurbs on the internet to a small audience. But oddly, she had an intern. An assistant, who was there at the birthday mix, too. A young woman. This was her first “cocktail party.” She wasn’t drinking because she was too young. And, it appeared to me she was the driver for the night.
Such an odd relationship. This young woman hitching her wagon to this wacky, older loon. The assistant was cute. She had a little purple hair action growing out. She seemed sort of normal. But I think the hair was the tip of some odd iceberg. I didn’t get to talk to her too much. But, she did seem disaffected by her short past. Who knows!
The interesting thing about Claire, like many nuts, is that she was very intelligent. And she did say something I found very fascinating. “You and I are nice people. We think everyone else is that way. We don’t think there is evil out there. But there is. Both families that Bush comes from, the mother’s side and the father’s side, have been involved in war profiteering since the middle of the nineteenth century.”
From the mouths of nuts---comes the truth. I like meeting these kinds of nuts.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
I had this little thing on my nose. And if you went at it like a pimple, it would bleed for over an hour...
And after doing some reading online about skin cancer, well, I figured I had a touch of skin cancer. This did not freak me out, but I assumed it was so. I decided I would get it removed and like so many other people who get things removed, I'd be fine with the change.
Life would continue. I'd be cancer free. The sun would keep beating down on me, but I would forever be protected by Sea & Ski SPF 50. And though the aging process cannot be halted, I would fare well against future cancer. I would add the application of sun block to the rest of my keep-the-future-corpse-shiny scheme---flossing, trimming, sacrificing grilled cheese sandwiches.
I went to the dermatologist in the Mt. Sinai medical tower. Dr. Mekelburg (a name that demands to be said out loud with a clownish accent and a dada tilt of the head toward the ridiculousness of unknowing and the resignation to omniscience) and I waited for an hour with all the others who trekked to Beverly Hills to have their lumps examined. And then I got into an examination room where I waited again.
And though he wasn't wearing floppy shoes and a red nose, that joyful Mekelberg came at me, took one look at my nose lump and told me without a clown tone and with one-hundred percent assurance that this thing was not cancer and that he would have it off in a jiffy if I wasn't wary of possible scarring.
I told him to have at it.
Which he did do. The thing to be excised was just some sort of keratin buildup...but it did have its own blood vessel supply in there and this is the reason I thought it was cancer. Novocain, Snip, Gone, Ointment, Bandage, Melanoma check, out the door just two hours after I had arrived. Not an altered DNA cancer cell in sight.
My advice to myself: I think I need to stop the self diagnosis. And, I think I need to assume that most things are not cancer. This new approach should serve me well.
And every now and then, just to lighten things up, I will say Mekelburg like some sort of deranged clown.
Every day, the format for something changes and we have to adjust to it.
Every hour, another bill enters the mailbox and it's just wrong. Almost never in your favor.
And you get mad, and you call, and you try to get back that $2, that $8.95, that $157.50. It's infuriating, but if you were a big company who could steal from people with a shrug and never have to pay any consequence, wouldn't you try to do it, too?
Sure. Fine. Thieves. America. Fine.
But what I can't stand in all this....what just makes me nuts...is at bottom the actions of the game are simply: attack, compete, destroy, grab and head back to the castle. And everyone is happy to play along.
While already very unhealthy, poor people eat KFC. Still beaten down, women die of breast cancer, daily, from the poison in our environment.
And no one is outraged?
Sometimes, I think my anti-virus program is the virus.
Sometimes, I think the drug companies are drugging us.
Sometimes, I think the banks are taking our money.
Sometimes, I think the ads are selling us things and we pay for the selling.
Paranoid? Me? I gave up weed over a year ago.
I love the variety of the big city. With everything there is to see. But does it all have to be for sale? And Rupert Murdoch always gets the vig?
While everyone gets richer, everything becomes more expensive.
I like nice sheets. However---
I wish the spam would stop. I wish the credit card offers would stop. I wish I could meet one person who did not have issues around money. I wish the sausage was fresh and the cheese more creamy.
But then, I'm a romantic.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I guess I was visiting my cousins in Washington, D.C.-- We often went there for Thanksgiving. I remember seeing the Watergate Hotel. And how odd it was that it was simply a hotel. The term Watergate seemed much larger than some building.
The Cathedral must have beenThe National Cathedral. It had the moon rock in one of the stained glass windows.
I am sure I did not piss in my pants. Just an overwrought expression.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Why do people get oil rights? And why do they get to keep the profits from such a thing?
I guess I don't understand how someone can own a part of the earth. I mean, don't we all own it?
And if that's a naive idea...fine...but if the swiftest and the greediest can claim they own the rights to something under the ground (oil, diamonds, what-have-you)-- then simply enough, we live in a world based on school yard bullying.
The strongest kid with the greatest will just keeps getting more.
Obviously, this cannot continue. This cannot be the future for the species.
I wish I had a fix for it.
All I can come up with is---INTENSE OVERSIGHT AND REGULATION AND ENORMOUS TAXATION.
Time for a change, friends.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Tomorrow marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.
That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.
And we haven't even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn't even include a friggin' helmet.
Is this utter failure the fault of our troops? Hardly. That's because no amount of troops or choppers or democracy shot out of the barrel of a gun is ever going to "win" the war in Iraq. It is a lost war, lost because it never had a right to be won, lost because it was started by men who have never been to war, men who hide behind others sent to fight and die.
Let's listen to what the Iraqi people are saying, according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland:
** 71% of all Iraqis now want the U.S. out of Iraq.
** 61% of all Iraqis SUPPORT insurgent attacks on U.S. troops.
Yes, the vast majority of Iraqi citizens believe that our soldiers should be killed and maimed! So what the hell are we still doing there? Talk about not getting the hint.
There are many ways to liberate a country. Usually the residents of that country rise up and liberate themselves. That's how we did it. You can also do it through nonviolent, mass civil disobedience. That's how India did it. You can get the world to boycott a regime until they are so ostracized they capitulate. That's how South Africa did it. Or you can just wait them out and, sooner or later, the king's legions simply leave (sometimes just because they're too cold). That's how Canada did it.
The one way that DOESN'T work is to invade a country and tell the people, "We are here to liberate you!" -- when they have done NOTHING to liberate themselves. Where were all the suicide bombers when Saddam was oppressing them? Where were the insurgents planting bombs along the roadside as the evildoer Saddam's convoy passed them by? I guess ol' Saddam was a cruel despot -- but not cruel enough for thousands to risk their necks. "Oh no, Mike, they couldn't do that! Saddam would have had them killed!" Really? You don't think King George had any of the colonial insurgents killed? You don't think Patrick Henry or Tom Paine were afraid? That didn't stop them. When tens of thousands aren't willing to shed their own blood to remove a dictator, that should be the first clue that they aren't going to be willing participants when you decide you're going to do the liberating for them.
A country can HELP another people overthrow a tyrant (that's what the French did for us in our revolution), but after you help them, you leave. Immediately. The French didn't stay and tell us how to set up our government. They didn't say, "we're not leaving because we want your natural resources." They left us to our own devices and it took us six years before we had an election. And then we had a bloody civil war. That's what happens, and history is full of these examples. The French didn't say, "Oh, we better stay in America, otherwise they're going to kill each other over that slavery issue!"
The only way a war of liberation has a chance of succeeding is if the oppressed people being liberated have their own citizens behind them -- and a group of Washingtons, Jeffersons, Franklins, Ghandis and Mandellas leading them. Where are these beacons of liberty in Iraq? This is a joke and it's been a joke since the beginning. Yes, the joke's been on us, but with 655,000 Iraqis now dead as a result of our invasion (source: Johns Hopkins University), I guess the cruel joke is on them. At least they've been liberated, permanently.
So I don't want to hear another word about sending more troops (wake up, America, John McCain is bonkers), or "redeploying" them, or waiting four months to begin the "phase-out." There is only one solution and it is this: Leave. Now. Start tonight. Get out of there as fast as we can. As much as people of good heart and conscience don't want to believe this, as much as it kills us to accept defeat, there is nothing we can do to undo the damage we have done. What's happened has happened. If you were to drive drunk down the road and you killed a child, there would be nothing you could do to bring that child back to life. If you invade and destroy a country, plunging it into a civil war, there isn't much you can do 'til the smoke settles and blood is mopped up. Then maybe you can atone for the atrocity you have committed and help the living come back to a better life.
The Soviet Union got out of Afghanistan in 36 weeks. They did so and suffered hardly any losses as they left. They realized the mistake they had made and removed their troops. A civil war ensued. The bad guys won. Later, we overthrew the bad guys and everybody lived happily ever after. See! It all works out in the end!
The responsibility to end this war now falls upon the Democrats. Congress controls the purse strings and the Constitution says only Congress can declare war. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi now hold the power to put an end to this madness. Failure to do so will bring the wrath of the voters. We aren't kidding around, Democrats, and if you don't believe us, just go ahead and continue this war another month. We will fight you harder than we did the Republicans. The opening page of my website has a photo of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, each made up by a collage of photos of the American soldiers who have died in Bush's War. But it is now about to become the Bush/Democratic Party War unless swift action is taken.
This is what we demand:
1. Bring the troops home now. Not six months from now. NOW. Quit looking for a way to win. We can't win. We've lost. Sometimes you lose. This is one of those times. Be brave and admit it.
2. Apologize to our soldiers and make amends. Tell them we are sorry they were used to fight a war that had NOTHING to do with our national security. We must commit to taking care of them so that they suffer as little as possible. The mentally and physically maimed must get the best care and significant financial compensation. The families of the deceased deserve the biggest apology and they must be taken care of for the rest of their lives.
3. We must atone for the atrocity we have perpetuated on the people of Iraq. There are few evils worse than waging a war based on a lie, invading another country because you want what they have buried under the ground. Now many more will die. Their blood is on our hands, regardless for whom we voted. If you pay taxes, you have contributed to the three billion dollars a week now being spent to drive Iraq into the hellhole it's become. When the civil war is over, we will have to help rebuild Iraq. We can receive no redemption until we have atoned.
In closing, there is one final thing I know. We Americans are better than what has been done in our name. A majority of us were upset and angry after 9/11 and we lost our minds. We didn't think straight and we never looked at a map. Because we are kept stupid through our pathetic education system and our lazy media, we knew nothing of history. We didn't know that WE were the ones funding and arming Saddam for many years, including those when he massacred the Kurds. He was our guy. We didn't know what a Sunni or a Shiite was, never even heard the words. Eighty percent of our young adults (according to National Geographic) were not able to find Iraq on the map. Our leaders played off our stupidity, manipulated us with lies, and scared us to death.
But at our core we are a good people. We may be slow learners, but that "Mission Accomplished" banner struck us as odd, and soon we began to ask some questions. Then we began to get smart. By this past November 7th, we got mad and tried to right our wrongs. The majority now know the truth. The majority now feel a deep sadness and guilt and a hope that somehow we can make make it all right again.
Unfortunately, we can't. So we will accept the consequences of our actions and do our best to be there should the Iraqi people ever dare to seek our help in the future. We ask for their forgiveness.
We demand the Democrats listen to us and get out of Iraq now.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
We have to start believing we can get back to what is smart, good, clear about this country.
OR---is the truth that this country was founded by insane, religious Injun killers?
It would be so great to have a real understanding of what this country is really made of.
I fear it might truly be about greed and guns and hatred.
But I think we can create a reality that is based upon shared risk, clean air and some form of love. Even if the love is something as simple as mutual respect for people.
We did kill a lot of aboriginals to get this amazing piece of real estate. I wish that wasn't the case.
Some return to something good...something good. Sit back for one minute and let the earth breathe. Let yourself breathe.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
We revile it in ourselves because we know it cannot stave off death.
We do, however, put up with our own vanity and secretly adore the hit for in its most delicate form it is the colorful, romantic expression of our consciousness.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
On the street side of the two vehicles were presumably the two owners of the cars. An old white guy and a middle-aged Hispanic guy. The latter was clearly stronger than the former.
Though I couldn’t see any damage to either vehicle, something went down and these two guys were yelling at each other. I approached the scene as the Hispanic guy was saying, “Go ahead. Go ahead,” egging the old white guy on to make good on his threat to hit him.
And you know what the stupid old white guy did? He hit him. But kind of old and girlie. And the Hispanic guy hit him back. And then they started kicking and punching each other. In turns.
What was wild about it was neither one of them were punching or kicking to win. (I am not a fighter. But the few times I have hit someone in my life, I have tried to make it a one punch done deal.) So this almost comical fight was going on. Odd half kicks. Half punches. Each guy getting out their aggression, but not hitting hard enough to cause any serious damage.
And there I was in my car and I did think, “This is serious enough so that it should be stopped. Two grown, civilized men. They should not be trying to kick each other’s asses.”
And though I had an impulse to get out of my car to break it up I thought, in my racist way, “What if the Hispanic guy has a gun?”
But then I thought, “The way he is fighting, with almost politeness, I am sure he doesn’t have a gun. And isn’t this fight, still, so oddly controlled in its amplitude?”
But being civilized myself, I felt like I had to do something to stop this fight. And traffic had come to a complete halt, everyone watching this. So I did what anyone who wanted to help but didn’t want to help too much would do. I leaned on my horn...like crazy. To cause, I don’t know, a distraction to the pugilists?
Immediately, all the cars around me started honking their horns with the same kind of cadence that said, “Stop the fighting, you two. You know better. Stop it right this instant.”
And then more horns joined in. And the two men, knowing that they were being watched and judged and honked at, stopped their fighting and got back into their cars.
I loved how the fight had this weird intensity that never got dangerous and how people honked it out of existence.
I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.
Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.
Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:
Dear Conservatives and Republicans,
I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:
1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.
2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.
3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.
4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.
5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.
6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.
7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.
8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.
9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.
10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.
11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.
12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.
I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Miss Sliffman was the teacher who was the advisor to the senior class government. I was friends with many of these people. There was a train link of subset crossover between student government/honor society/theatre/choir. It was a lot of good students/geeks/Jews/fags and not many jocks or burnouts.
I was rehearsing for the play Murder on the Nile.
I played the embittered communist.
I think Free Wheelin was some odd jazz fusion band or something like that. I guess I should mention at this time that the first real concert I ever went to was Chuck Mangione. It was in Chatauqua, New York, a spiritual retreat settlement. While Chuck played there was a lot of knitting going on.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I knew I would eventually meet her. She eats lunch at The Daily Grill in Brentwood almost every day. I thought I could catch her there, but I didn’t want to be a stalker. I figured—let our paths cross naturally.
My friend Jeff and I were walking down La Brea a month or so ago and we saw that there was going to be a Joni art exhibit. I got on the list.
Green Flag Song. Joni was going to be there. And so, I went. Friday night.
I had some friends come, too. Bart understands my love for that open chorded lady. He came with me, took pictures, and paid for dinner afterward. Mild mannered Steve, from my writing group, was quite aggressive. He really wanted her autograph. It was his assault that gave me the courage to talk to her. I felt bad for Joni. Most of the scrum there attended much for the same reason I did. Joni sallied in and out of the VIP room and faced the plebian gallery crowd for short bursts.
She looked beautiful. Old. Uncarved. Jowly. Big gorgeous teeth. Watery eyes. But very alert and present.
Of course, I was sensitive to her position. She was there to be with her art. To sell her art. Like any other artist in a gallery wanting to sell her work. Most of the public was there to gawk at the Joni Mitchell they love. The Joni that they play to get through life, breakups, work, anything.
After Steve got his autograph, I pushed in with a gaggle of women talking to her. And others were pushing all around me. It was tight. Very hot in the place. I am sure they exceeded the maximum allowable occupancy, at least with regard to the air conditioning system.
Three women engaged Joni in conversation about this work, Green Flag Song. Triptychs of news images of the war, printed in large green, grainy photos. Joni told the women how she had this flat screen television and she turned it on and just recorded Ted Turner’s news channel, then had images photographed using a paper camera. I have no idea what that is...but I imagine it's some sort of box with photo sensitive paper. And then she had the images printed into these triptychs. In green. She talked about how she does art for herself, that she never really wanted to get into the art racket. Very human. Very humble. Very vulnerable. She went on about the war images. She said, “It would be so much better if the men just went into a field and used bow and arrows in the open air. You know? It would be so much better.” And I jumped in with the need to engage, “Or big arenas where they can play out their war games.” Joni acknowledged me in agreement.
After she did a couple more autographs, and I could still feel our miniscule connection from the comment that I made, I pushed forward, put my CD booklet from Turbulent Indigo in her face and said, “I know your being swamped with people tonight. I just want to say I'm a big fan and I’ve listened to your music almost every day for twenty-five years. It's great to be here. Would you sign this?” She said, “Wow,” in a tone that was pleased yet a bit dismissive. Then I thought, "Well, I haven't really listened every single day for twenty-five years. Oh Man."
She signed it, To Don, from Joni Mitchell. And there it is.
Now, I am no autograph hound. In fact, this is the only autograph I have from anyone famous. But there I am.
In the end, I always knew if I ever met Joni it would be less than thrilling. First of all, I have this whole experience with her, in my room. And that’s kind of personal. And why would she want anything to do with that? My relationship is to her creations, obviously, and not to her. I think the only truly satisfying experience I could have with Joni would be to pull out the guitars and sing songs together. But that’s not going to happen.
So I settled for talking to her a bit about her art, getting an autograph and being happy that I got to say hello.
You know, the stuff that comes out of her comes out of her. That’s it.
And I get to enjoy it. That’s it.
And Joni will never know who I am. And that's it.
Unless I start plotting. Could happen.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Worth every dollar you spend to get in.
Sure, you may not like the Jackass humor and the naked ass-in-face wrestling. But the idiot-clown shining a klieg light on the petty, small Americans of 2006 will be a historical postcard to future generations who want to know what in fuck’s name we were up to.
Beyond laughing, I sat, shocked, wondering how they could have possibly filmed this movie. Pamela Anderson getting a weeding sack pulled over her head. Crazy Pentecostals speaking in tongues. A bear riding and pooping in the back of an ice cream truck. The gay bashing rodeo guy signing a release form...”Sure, let the world know I’m a Nazi.”
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
What was so interesting about tonight’s returns was watching the happy faces on CNN and the glum ones on Fox News.
You know, Democrats are humanists and Republicans are greedy slobs. So it seems. To watch those newscasters on Fox get all glum because the satiation of their bottomless appetites will soon be thwarted, you just want to say, “Go home and overeat, you pigs.”
This greedy nature of conservatives disguised in Calvinist righteousness is so sour and so sickening. I do understand that human nature becomes very big animal behavior in the den of unconscious men. The cloven-hoofed, curly-tailed oinkers can’t help themselves. They are such fearful swine. They even sanction murder in the name of war so they can drive their huge cars. And truly, they are just responding to some lizard portion of their brain—aching for an endless feast of crickets. It’s pathetic and it needs to end. Good riddance.
The new setup is heartwarming.
I can’t wait to watch that prick, Bush, squirm. And that spitfire Pelosi is just the happening babe to hook that worm.
Go back to Crawford, idiot. And take Cheney Cow and Rove Sow with you.
We are done with you. You made us all smaller, older and sadder. You were a tyrant. And now your party is over. Go wash your filthy, bloodstained dress.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Will they intimidate the colored folk from votin’?
What will these animals try to do this time?
They are so drunk with power, so addicted to righteousness, they act justified in their illegal shenanigans. They must be stopped. They must be voted out. It’s time.
The idea of George Bush flapping his wings around the oval office like the greasy lame duck that he is will be such sweet revenge. Let’s only hope that true elections occur.
And we’re counting on South Dakota to help with the gay cause. An unlikely place. But life is full of warm surprises.
Why not grow some food on your front lawn? You own the land. Now eat the fresh food!
Eat Your Yard
Then, you can go visit your friends and bring them some of your extra carrots in your nonpolluting car.
LA Electric Cars
This company, among other ones, puts up this enticing website. But where’s the store? I can never seem to find the electric car dealership.
And on a more ridiculous note...Eyes are opening. Many citizens of The United States are discovering that millions of men choose men when it comes to sex time. So one would think this country would simply calm down about the whole thing and just shrug their collective shoulders in disinterested acceptance and then with the next shrug agree to equal rights. South Dakota seems to be getting it. They are not leaning toward a same sex marriage ban. Many members of Haggard’s church were not outraged when they heard he was whooping it up with drugs and a male whore. They merely accepted it as a little bit o’ sin. Frankly, the Pastor Haggard may not be gay, but he sure does look and sound like a lot of musical theatre guys I’ve known. Whatever the case may be, why not just enjoy the day and love one another in the name of Christ and Cash?
Let’s get on with it. Gay men, straight men, bi-women (because all women are bi) and Trannies--- grow your yard food. Drive your 0 emissions cars. Get out of Iraq and don’t come back. It's time for something else.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
But then, dogs fight over bones and monkeys fight each other to the death. This is done over a lack of consciousness and a perceived lack of resources.
This warring condition is still in full force during the modern era. With human beings.
Since we know the perceived lack of resources ends in coercion and war, it seems to me the way to stop war is to stop the perceived lack of resources.
Since we know we have this predilection, is it not incumbent upon us to limit the conditions that foment war?
At all costs?
It would be so much cheaper and less traumatic if we would insist upon the awareness that resources are not limited. And if resources do become limited, wouldn’t it make sense to decrease the birth rate until a newer, more plentiful resource is discovered?
Or is full blown war, fought over things like salt, oil, land, gold and slave labor the natural condition of a very stupid species?
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The boss assumes power over the actions of the employees, including objectives and schedules. The money moves upward to the boss, owners, too, which makes them more powerful.
And people seem to like this structure. It must be inherent in the biology of the pecking order.
If we are to accept human nature, then perhaps this needs to be accepted, too. However, this setup makes so many people so unhappy. And, it gives the power class too much, well, power. And frankly, most of them do not use it for the good. They seem to use their power to try to insure even greater power for themselves and for their genetic line. The ultimate expression of greed is devastation.
So couldn't we accept this pecking order, this paying-it-upward model since people seem to want to do it anyway? But then really see it for what it is and control and regulate the hell out of it? Based upon the greater health of society and the planet?
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The 1980’s music. One does wonder why. It did not hurt it. But at times, I did feel like I was watching an Annie Lennox video. Waiting for someone to go walking on broken glass.
Kirsten, lovely enough.
Schwartzman, kind of hilarious.
All those court ladies, tart and witty.
The vanity, terrifying.
The little doggies were very cute.
The costumes, clearly, were made for this movie. They were not rentals. I can only imagine what percentage of the budget went into their realization.
I have been to Versailles a few times. It really was a bad idea to leave Paris for such a locale. This really helped put the royalty out of touch, being at such a remove. Location, location, location, again, shows its supremacy.
The most intriguing thing to me about the movie? What form of energy did they use to make the fountains work in the Versailles gardens?
Monday, October 30, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Can you imagine?
What history books will say about this man: A war monger who used gay marriage as the domestic terror of a country clearly heading in the direction of equality.
My hate for him is so complete. I think it is not too strong for me to say: I only wish him dead.
On a lighter note, my play is closing Sunday night. Tonight, we had almost a full house. It was lovely to hear the response. If you are reading this and you have not yet seen the play, please do come. If you have seen it (and you probably have), thanks for coming!
The Fat of the Land
The Highest compliment one might pay to Don Cummings’ alternately hilarious and heartrending new play, The Fat of the Land, is that it has its Chekhovian moments....His modern day play is driven by witty, ultra-contemporary banter...His fragile mix of tones in this bittersweet portrait of characters in transition works effectively to illuminate a rich tapestry of mini-dramas that are woven into a satisfying whole. With some judicious tinkering, Cummings’ gripping serio-comedy could have an illustrious future. – Les Spindle, IN MAGAZINE
Using the same tart wit he displayed in his one-man play, American Air, Cummings subtly sets the artists’ self-absorbed creativity against their neighbors’ artless bluster and destructiveness — all with a sorrowful Chekhovian languor. – Steven Leigh Morris, LA WEEKLY
Put all this together, shake it out, and you have the world premiere of The Fat of the Land, writer Don Cummings' dark comedy, with interesting characters, good dialogue, and some zinger lines. Director Kelly Ann Ford manages to keep all the drama and high jinks moving at a crisp pace. The amiable cast gives 100 percent. Gantzos and Miller, as the odd couple, add sturdiness, even as they question their own future; McBride portrays Beverly with a neediness that is, oddly, both tolerable and annoying; Wilson's endearing innocence as Robbie makes us hope a casting person will love him as much as he loves himself; Bader's Tom vies with a snake in the grass for stature; and Alemshah's Claudia is very fitting as the lady in waiting. - Dave DePino, BACKSTAGE WEST
Cummings’ flair with dialogue is fluid and he has some wonderful laugh-out-loud lines. – Dave DePino, BEVERLY PRESS
The Fat of the Land
Thursday, October 26, 2006
What got me today was, I was thinking about Republicans and what popped into my head was the lyric...To carry the weight of all that Greed. It's from Joni Mitchell's song Shades of Scarlet Conquering on the album, The Hissing of Summer Lawns.
I think the lyrics sum up the Repbulican party perfectly.
Shades Of Scarlet Conquering
by Joni Mitchell
Out of the fire like Catholic saints
Comes Scarlett and her deep complaint
Mimicking tenderness she sees
In sentimental movies
A celluloid rider comes to town
Cinematic lovers sway
Plantations and sweeping ballroom gowns
Take her breath away
Out in the wind in crinolines
Chasing the ghosts of Gable and Flynn
Through stand-in boys and extra players
Magnolias hopeful in her auburn hair
She comes from a school of southern charm
She likes to have things her way
Any man in the world holding out his arm
Would soon be made to pay
Friends have told her not so proud
Neighbors trying to sleep and yelling not so loud
Lovers in anger Block of Ice
Harder and harder just to be nice
Given in the night to dark dreams
From the dark things she feels
She covers her eyes in the x-rated scenes
Running from the reels
Beauty and madness to be praised
'Cause it is not easy to be brave
To walk around in so much need
To carry the weight of all that greed
Dressed in stolen clothes she stands
Cast iron and frail
With her impossibly gentle hands
And her blood-red fingernails
Out of the fire and still smoldering
She says "A woman must have everything"
Shades of Scarlett Conquering
She says "A woman must have everything"
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Shit, I mean, when you get in a cab in Spain, a civilized nation, it's the only way they conduct business.
But corporations? Especially lately when it seems like they can do anything they want while they exploit the masses, I just have to say, "I'm onto you, you dirty pigs. And I will fight you like the street peasant that I am."
First of all, there was the Verizon Cell Phone service that did not work in our house. We switched to Cingular, which does work. Verizon insisted on charging us an early termination fee of $175 per phone. I insisted upon not paying this since we've already paid for months of service for phones that only work when you stand
on the toilet in the back bathroom while wearing an aluminum foil hat. The customer service took off one phone fee because, "You weren't in contract with the one phone, so we will only charge you one early termination fee."
And when I asked, "How did I get charged for two early termination fees, then?"
The answer, "It was a mistake."
And I said, “So if I didn’t call you, I would have had to pay for this mistake?”
I then asked to talk to someone higher up because I was in no way going to pay the early termination fee for the other phone since we didn't get service. After being on hold forever, a rep came on, his name was Brad, and one of the first things he said was, "Mr. Cummings, you should know that we've already given you credit for the one early termination fee."
And I said, "I was out of contract."
And he said, "No you weren't."
And I said, "The lady just told me I was."
And Brad said, "She made a mistake. But I'm not going to fix her mistake, I'm going to let you have the credit."
"How kind of you," I flatlined.
Next, I said, "Well you should all get your stories straight. You sure she wasn’t just lying to get me off her back...figuring you could get at least $175 bucks out of me instead of $350? What’s the game here?”
“It’s no game. She just made a mistake.”
I said, “Okay. I'm still not going to pay for the early termination fee on the other phone. I'm just not."
And after a while, Brad told me the only way I could get out of paying the fine was if he turned on my phone again, with a different cell number so as not to disturb my Cingular Service which now has taken over my original cell number, and to then go through a series of tests with the phone and if it is determined that the series of tests show there is a problem, then they will issue a trouble ticket and a technician would come out and check the area to see if the cell service is spotty.
I told Brad, "But Brad, if Verizon is the decider of what is satisfactory cell phone service, won't they choose in their own favor?
And Brad chuckled, "Of course not."
So, he reinstated my old phone with another number and said he'd call back the next morning to do the testing. He called back the next morning to tell me it wasn't up and running yet and that he would call me the next day. He was churning me like butter. I dug my heels in.
When the phone was finally up and running, he did get a technician on the line to do reprogramming crap. It didn't help. (I also made sure I was standing in the worst location in my house.) So, a trouble ticket was put in place and some Verizon guy is going to come to my house, in the front yard, and test the signal. And from that, they will determine if the signal in the area is okay and if it is okay, then I am still responsible for the $175 early termination fee.
The guy has not come yet. And apparently, I won't even know when it is that he'll have visited. Brad will call me with the results. And I will tell Brad, "No matter what, I won't pay. Send it to collection."
You have to pay hardball. And I’ve had a tiny bill go to collection before. I never paid it. It doesn’t do anything to your credit rating.
But man, why should Verizon get $175 of my money (Originally $350) when they have all this money, already? And why do they get to decide these charges based on their own testing? These pigs need to be put down.
But here's a worse one. I looked at my landline phone bill and I got charged two months of a service charge from OAN...some sort of phone service agency. Turns out, OAN is a scam and they are able to charge your phone bill and collect from your phone company and you have to pay it. Unless you catch it...which I did...and then the phone company calls OAN and reverses the charge. Simply enough, my landline phone company (ATT) immediately did agree to reverse it but said, "By law, we have to accept a phone charge that comes to us."
And I said, "You know this OAN thing is a scam. It's all over the internet. How could you let it be charged on my bill?"
And the rep said, "We have to follow the law or we'll be closed down."
“So the law lets OAN charge anyone? It's ludicrous.”
And ATT said, “This is how it is. We are your local phone company and we have to accept charges that come on your bill.”
And I said, “Well, reverse them.”
And she said, “I already did.”
I called OAN over the weekend. All I got was a message machine. I left a detailed message that ended with, "And get your fucking paws off my phone bill."
Then, I called them again today and I got a person. And I said to the guy, "This is such a scam. Why are you charging my phone bill?"
And the guy said, "We are just a billing company for a music club."
I said, "I didn't join any music club. What are you talking about?"
And he said, "Sometimes people don't know it when they join. But if you got a Wal-Mart gift card, you are automatically enrolled in this music program."
And I said, "I never go to Wal-Mart. This is bullshit. Reverse it."
And he said, "Do you want to opt out of the program?"
And I said, "You mean you would keep charging me $16.40 per month forever on my phone bill if I hadn't called?"
And he said, "Yes."
And I said to him, "Cancel right now. And get your fucking hands off my phone bill."
People who run oil companies, utilities, telephones...they get so much money and all they want is more. And companies are so powerful these days, we are all getting bullied. And you have to fight to hold onto your cash. It’s disgusting.
Keep your eyes peeled. Watch those bills. Because even though it's a nightmare to get on the phone to have to talk with a customer service person, unless you stay on top of these greasy pigs, you are training them to continue their swinish behavior.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
I look at sunflowers and the small pumpkins on my mantle. The outcome of nature is beauty.
And you can always trust that what is true and good will prevail---
What is true happens because it is the truth—nature likes maximum efficiency.
What is good happens according to our perception of what is good: which is what is good for us. Which is again, maximum efficiency.
There is nothing moral here. Invading Iraq, letting people die in New Orleans, these were not necessarily wrong actions. They were just against truth and goodness. Against efficient use of energy and resources.
So, calmly, I see the beauty on my mantle. Which required almost know planning, just acceptance of what is beautiful. And I know this is the future. There is nothing to worry about.
The natural oddity remains curious. Barbara Bush’s energy is clearly that of a mammal who eats its young. One wonders why she didn’t snack on this particular child.
Friday, October 20, 2006
The price of housing will decrease. People will rise up and insist on health coverage. Bigotry against gay marriage will go into the closet. Many, many more countries will have nuclear weapons (not necessarily a bad thing).
France will continue its Gallic pragmatism. Tony Blair will happily pipe down. Italy will change governments. Germany will become even more xenophobic.
Ms. Rice will simmer down into obscurity. Hillary Clinton will make a bid for the presidency. Civil war will break up Iraq---or---a new dictator will rise up to unify the warring factions.
Afghanistan will continue to supply most of the world’s heroin. South America will rise up, for good. Africa will only get worse.
And people like me won’t ever shut up.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Oh my gay friends, why were you ever members? Like Jews joining the Nazi party, your actions had to be propelled by some self loathing, self destructive vector.
I don’t blame the Republicans for wanting you out. Who would want nuts like you around? Let the pure schism take place. Let the Republican Party stand for bigotry and backward thinking. Save yourself and run! The Democratic Party is ready for you. Come on over. We’ll take care of you. But please, leave your delusions at the curb. The Republican Party will never change. And they will use you as cannon fodder for votes. And even if you are smart enough to know it’s all an act, why would you want to be used in that way?
So sorry if they tricked you. They are a snaky bunch.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I was informed today by the head of GLAAD that my play, The Fat of the Land, is getting high marks. And I was instructed to send him as many pictures of the show as possible for an official presentation.
So I could get nominated. It would be nice.
When I was a kid, I remember thinking about my gayness, “I will never tell anyone. I will get married to a girl and die with the secret.”
And now, by no grand design, I’ve written a play that turns out to be good for the gay community. Lovely really.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Everyone wants to be a star. Or, they’re addicted to crack. Or both.
Okay, perhaps living in Los Angeles, I have a terrible view of the social order.
But where will we be if we aren’t all moving toward the middle? Oddly, and I hate middlebrow stuff, but oddly, moving toward the middle is very stabilizing for any culture. And the more people are moving toward the middle, the more stable things get.
I would like to see us, as a nation, move in this direction.
I need to visit Missouri or somewhere else like that. Maybe it happens there. It isn’t happening here.
On another note---There were only ten people in the audience tonight for
The Fat of the Land. It went over so well. The actors were relaxed and had such a good time. The ten people were laughing out loud. And so, one must be grateful. "Isn't it amazing how everything works out?"
Thursday, October 12, 2006
For World Premiere reviews, most of the attention is on the writing. Which is sort of an awful position to be in if you are the writer. The reviews, in general, are often forgiving to the actors and the director. Hell, it’s a new piece and if they come off at all okay, then all goes well for them. The thing under scrutiny, truly, is the play. And sometimes it slides in a positive way toward the writer, sometimes not. This is how it should be. And if you put your big wordy ass out there, you have to take your lumps.
Today, I saw a preview of the LA Weekly review and at its best it states this:
Using the same tart wit he displayed in his one-man play, American Air, Cummings subtly sets the artists’ self-absorbed creativity against their neighbors’ artless bluster and destructiveness — all with a sorrowful Chekhovian languor.
The very next sentence:
Unfortunately, the play is at least half an hour too long with three endings.
The rest of the review flatly retells the general story points of the play. Which is never a good thing. And the underlying tone of disapproval is palpable throughout. True, Steven Leigh Morris saw the play on a night with just a handful of people in the audience. (My publicist had a one hour warning that a reviewer was coming) And the play was quite pokey that night. But the actors did do their best under the sepulchral circumstances. And the audience just kind of didn’t care. There it is. 99 Seat theatre at its least affirming. Getting a snarky review is always disappointing.
I did get quite a glowing review in IN LA. Which was affirming, though less distributed:
The Highest compliment one might pay to Don Cummings’ alternately hilarious and heartrending new play, The Fat of the Land, is that it has its Chekovian moments....His modern day play is driven by witty, ultra-contemporary banter...With some judicious tinkering, Cummings’ gripping seriocomedy could have an illustrious future.
Again, these world premiere reviews really go at the writer.
One cannot live and die by the press. It’s too schizophrenic and masocistic. But one does anyway. It’s a professional communication that takes place. And though it is harsh, it is necessary.
The only thing to do in these cases is to have date night.
Adam and I went to the movies. We saw The Queen. Helen Mirren was outrageously good. The story was so delicate and so ambivalent and so well told, you have to wonder if the masses will go see it. Truly, a lovely movie. Helen Mirren is Oscar bound. Surely.
Now, I go back to The second half of the run of The Fat of the Land. Audiences do seem to get a lot out of it. I did get an important agency that loved it. I did set out to write a big, long play with lots of stuff in it. One takes a chance. And I stand beside my choice.
I have decided to keep looking forward. Always forward. To dust oneself off after the bumpy ride is essential. And to get back in the seat. And to proceed. Joyfully. This was made in joy. I am grateful that it is out there. I will continue with joy.
And I am learning. Because that's how it works.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Kind of like how one best endures a relationship: To be grateful for the ultimate disappointment.
But though I settled into a very happy place today, with my numb nose and my sore jaw, I still found the time to loathe three things about human beings.
1) The vanity. I mean, it is so amazing that Albert Einstein did what he did. But why do we worship the odd man instead of simply marveling at his unique brain? It seems that we want to celebrate particular human beings for their name and their achievements. To me, it seems enough to celebrate achievement.
2) Insurance. It should be discontinued. This constant bartering, in a tri-group...with the most powerful member of the group not present, but merely laying down what it will or will not pay is complete larceny. Not to mention pure evil. As citizens of the Western World we need to strike. We need to cease paying into insurance companies. We need to make it collapse. Then, I can negotiate with my dentist directly. And if I get hit by a car or bitten by a poisonous raccoon, the government is just going to have to pay for it.
3) Human Error. No matter the transaction, someone always makes a mistake. For instance, while at the Cingular store this weekend, a very lazy twit of a girl kept bothering my sales rep. She wanted him to do her work. Having a speech impediment and a lack of dashing looks, the sales guy indulged her. While indulging, he forget to set the MMS messaging on my phone. So I can’t send pictures. Can you imagine the horror?
I can’t imagine how airplanes remain in the air with the amount of human error out there. I have rarely met a person who actually tries to make sure that what they do is correct. Remember checking your work? Is that a quaint idea that died during the Carter administration?
One tries to remain positive. And frankly, my mood is quite upbeat. But I still cannot help noticing what is dreadfully wrong.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I remember this night very well. John was a huge pothead from Cleveland. Dorian was from New Jersey. I worked with her at a 7-Eleven the summer before I went to college. She was a year older than me and had all sorts of friends. I went down to BU to see her a couple of times. Turns out, she was such a huge drug fiend, I couldn’t keep up.
The hilarity of that night, though. I mean, what really happened was the tracks for the trolley weren’t even there...it was really these grooves in cement where the tracks should have been. John made a left into the tracks. He was stoned. The tires of the car fell into the grooves of where the tracks should have been. And the chassis of the car just fell flat onto the cement slab. When you hit the gas, the wheels just spun in the track grooves.
And of course everything just kept getting worse with the passing of joints and time.
Monday, October 09, 2006
We bought new, groovy phones at Cingular (We finally tossed Verizon. Service in the house was down to one bar)
And we had brunch at Vienna Cafe with our closest friends.
Soon after, we ate chocolate at Boule on La Cienega.
My play, The Fat of the Land, ran for four nights to pretty full, appreciative houses.
And I got drunk at Trunks with John for his birthday
Followed by a huge plate of tacos at Taco Bell. I ate five tacos. #8
Life is beautiful.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Cherry Jones is something else. To see her do this thing that she does, go.
The play, I don’t know. The conceit seems to eat up the humans. A bit too constructed for me. But then, I’m in transition right now. The dialogue...incredible. JP Shanley has an amazing ear.
The director, Doug Hughes, a perfect touch.
If you live in LA, go see it. Honestly, there is so much power. Kind of hit-you-in-the-stomach stuff.
Again, Cherry Jones...
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
The Fat of the Land has been a success, even though we’re still waiting on a lot of press. About one-hundred plays opened in Los Angeles this fall. Rough. We are working on this problem and we’re still running four more weeks so much can still be achieved in this area.
The good news: My Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, Adam’s agent from Paradigm (bigass place)- came to see the play, loved it, and is taking me on as a television writer...provisionally (I have to write an original pilot). A little hoop jumping is in my immediate future. Ten years ago this happened to me with ICM with my one man show and I did not take the bait to become a television writer.
Now—I’m older and wiser. A good creative job with a big fat paycheck seems like a great idea. I can still write my plays and stories. Shit, Joan Didion wrote all sorts of crap. And I weigh more than she does. So, I’ll just have to do everything. And working in television, successfully, will give more business weight to my plays, my book, etc. Plus, television is better these days.
This is a great coup for my career. My new pilot is already outlined and it’s going to be textured and character driven and hilarious. I’m feeling very confident.
Now the problem remains. Sixteen more shows with one hundred seats to fill and still Nine-Thousand Dollars in the hole. I need 1,600 asses. Give me your ass. And bring extra ass with you.
Use Promo Code 008 for half-priced tickets.
It was so cold today. I froze my rearendoff. Well I'm going to sleep now. School was fun, blah, blah, blah. Goodnight.
October 3, 1980
Today was truly shitty. I had my physics test--I bombed. I had calc. No prob. So this afternoon I read chem, then had dinner. I have bad allergies. I feel shitful. My exploration went to the Ballet---but not me--here it is Friday night and I go to the library. I'm so behind. I'm doing chem right now and then bed--Today sucked.
So, I got to thinking. Was it really that cold on October 3, 1974 that I would have actually frozen my rearendoff? So, I did a little research and I found that October 3, 1974 was a record low temperature for New York in the Twentieth Century.
Record Cold for October 3
Click on Averages and Records.
I got to thinking about Tufts. Perhaps majoring in engineering for a semester and a half was not quite right for me.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Something about the jazzy background music and the simple downward chromatic melody.
And the amazing background singers. More than just a great song, it's also wry commentary. The clinging together of these empty, drab lyrics against the virtuosity of understated, yet showy musicianship. The touch is perfect.
Good 2AM, bring it on down and get to bed kind of song.
Nick Drake Bio
Friday, September 29, 2006
My mother thought I was retarded. Dr. DeBart said that if I didn’t show signs of life within the next few weeks, they were going to take me in for testing, to see if I was, in fact, retarded.
My mother, twenty-four years old, was very upset and went crying to her mother, my grandmother, better known as Nanny.
When my mother sobbed, “And Dr. DeBart thinks he might be retarded and he has to get tested...”
Nanny said, “Give him to me for the weekend.”
By Monday, I was crawling, cooing, involved with the earth.
My mother asked, “What’d you do? Is he okay?”
Nanny said, “There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s just lazy. When he wouldn’t sit up, I wacked him. When he wanted to eat, I made him get it for himself.”
I have a natural propensity toward autistic behavior. I’d rather get off on a color or a sound for hours on end. I have to fight it. Though pulling in for some repetitive, enjoyable sensory experience seems preferable to social interaction and gives one a sense of control...it is anything but that. We do rely upon others and being separated from people for extended periods of time causes anxiety.
One must find the balance if one likes those little trippy times, all alone, smelling lavender and listening to a suspended chord while staring at the sky. Man cannot live on happy, firing neurons alone.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
It was so much fun. Sometimes, when you are very busy and everything on earth seems at stake, it is so important to stop and hang and drink with your friends.
Though I understand the importance of a healthy thrust for living, I also know that one must let loose every now and then, or one gets very uptight.
You have to let your hair down. Because tomorrow is, for sure, another day.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I said no, since I already receive the LA Times. He then rattled off his “How about a donation” speech. And I just had to say no again.
For three reasons.
1) I don’t think children should be selling door to door.
2) I hate having to transact on my front porch.
3) Soccer uniforms should be paid for with tax money.
Though I do believe in the free market, I am disgusted that schools do not get the money they need and so children must go begging. It’s terrible. And, it teaches children at a very young age that the collective does not care about them, so they must push for every silly little item in life, including clothing for a game.
This kid was so flat and shut down. Is this what we want? A generation of saleschildren?
Is it not enough that the adults in our culture are all shut down in the name of money? Must we destroy the children now, too?
Or, maybe I’m really off...and we’re doing these children a favor by making them understand that in order to get anything in this life, you have to beg for it.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
And there was a big joyful spread--the opening night lobbby party. And now it's 3:53 AM and I'm celebrating...dancing around the office room...Nick Drake's Poor Boy--I's so fucking sad and beautiful and ironic. I Love this song. And it's 6:08 seconds. Which is so ballsy. The length alone says, "We're going to sit with this for a while...because we need to."
So, I would say, put on a great song, one that's kind of particluar, and dance--to get the idea.
Isn't it great that we're just animals?
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
It’s so infantile. The primacy of the struggle is very interesting.
Why does one want it to be so good? I mean, at the end of the day, if the play isn’t good, well then, it’s just that all the elements did not come together.
My plays are hard to perform. In fact, it takes quite a bit of concentration and long arc pushing to really go through one of my stories. I’ve seen so much failure when it comes to presenting my material.
At times, the actors on the stage get it. They have these moments of fantastic poetic need. They show the vulnerability of living.
And at times, they bang through it with lead feet, saying what they have to say just because it’s time.
When a few actors can pull it off, together, the more confident I become.
One wonders, after having logged in close to 800 hours on a project, if it was worth it.
It remains to be seen.
I found myself looking toward the ceiling this evening. I was all, “God, help me.”
There is a great fantasy that there is someone out there who cares.
But at the end of the day, it’s the wanting of the caring that is suspect. At the end of the day, the result does not matter. The fun fight to get it all done, that was the joy.
Now, I listen to Debussy’s The Girl with the Flaxen Hair and I am very happy.
And though I hold all things unseen suspect, I imagine there must be something great, cool, bigger than us...but of course, this is nothing more than my need to be more than I am.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
All this in a small rental theatre in Hollywood.
The Fat of the Land Tickets and Information
And tonight, I made my director cry and I had a fight with my producing partner.
I attacked my director for being too slow with fixing problems.
I attacked my producing partner for talking to me like a servant.
In the end, I had every reason to be conerned about the behavior of the director and the producer. But ultimately, I don't like it when I get ugly.
When the wretched bile of living builds up, how does one respond gracefully?
I am not there yet.
Friday, September 15, 2006
One must pick an energetic, committed path. It’s the only way. I am not earnest but I do want to feel connected to living in a pretty big way.
I like the idea of simply riding in a street car and seeing a tree and being thrilled for the seeing.
And I don’t think you can feel that way unless the overall circumstances of your life are fully energized.
When I was in my twenties and I was spending my time with other twenty year olds who were in the throes of trying to figure out what the hell their lives were about, every now and then someone would ask me what I thought a person should do, in general, to be happy and I would simply say: Fucking Pay Attention. The rule of F.P.A.
I think all is given to the person who fucking pays attention. To everything.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I think Joan Didion understands California completely. Given these conditions, one is forced to work hard. Because after you have run out of continent, you are left with just yourself. And you realize, after all the running, that YOU have to do it. No one else can. So when you choose to live in California, you are saying, “There is nowhere else to go. I have to do it. I have to be me, now. And it has to work.”
Of course, it doesn’t work for many. But oddly enough, it does for so many others.
And I am going to admit this right now and I fucking say it in all earnest pride: I like Schwarzenegger. The guy has the ability to learn. He is socially liberal. He is silly yet hard working. I think he’s perfect for right now.
And, though I am from the East and I love it so, I think the West is wide. And Joan, well, go read Play It As It Lays.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
I wish it was still 1973 and I was in a rock-folk band and the world was evolving into love, understanding and socialism and that we all felt calm and equal and safe. But in actuality, the gap between the rich and the poor is only getting larger and I have fallen in with the people with money and all I feel is plain lucky. And a part of me is disgusted. And a part of me always knew it would be this way.
The Bel Air Hotel is lovely. It is on the west side of Stone Canyon above Sunset Boulevard not far from UCLA. The grounds are covered with incredibly old trees. California Sycamores and Redwoods. It looks like Topanga, even a bit like Yosemite. It’s truly gorgeous. There is a fake, yet nice stream filled with white swans the size of pigs.
There are pink bungalows and stone walkways.
The rooms go for about $500/ night.
And there we were for the wedding. Adam, my Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner, works on a sitcom called Two and a Half Men. It stars Charlie Sheen.
One of the creators was getting married. A tall, older Jewish guy. His wife, Iraqi American. The master of ceremonies/pastor? Ben Vereen. He acknowledged the Jewish-Arab harmony. He also sang.
It wasn’t so sad that Ben is no longer acting and instead officiating weddings, but actually surprising.
I mean, Ben was a big black deal in the 1970’s. I saw him on Broadway, in Pippin. “Join us, leave your Fields to Flower. Join us, leave your cheese to sour. Join us, come and waste an hour or two. Doodle-di-do.”
His spiel at the wedding was half new age, half revival, and overall, unfocused.
The television writer who was getting married occasionally did bits, pretended to have a conversation on his cell phone during the nuptials and generally hammed it up for the crowd.
His Iraqi-American wife was beautiful, has a degree in spiritual psychology (perhaps this is what brought in Ben?) and also makes films.
Who knows what the hell this couple is up to. I mean, they do seem happy. So that's great. And I was happy to be hanging out at the Bel Air Hotel.
The food was lovely. The crowd was privileged. The setting was Los Angeles swanky. I sat at a great table with lively, interesting people who were very funny and present in mind and character. Charlie Sheen was there in his violet sunglasses.
I got drunk.
And so did a lot of other people. The conversations ranged from, “That was a weird ceremony. Half Ben Vereen spiritual, half comedy,” to “We are so lucky to be here. Look at us. Our biggest problems are whether or not they have the size we want of a shirt we like at Fred Siegel. How did we get to be here?” to “I don’t know about these belly dancers.”
People snuck out without saying goodbye.
I think at one point I told Ben Vereen that I saw everything he ever did in New York when I was a kid, when of course, I didn't. He walked away from me politely and quickly.
Tune in next week when we go to a wedding in Malibu. I found out today that it will be officiated by Marianne Williamson. Will this be a return to love?
Sometimes, I think about the smell of the brakeshoe plant, the dog food factory and the water treatment facility that surrounded my neighborhood growing up and I think, “Yeah, I knew it would be different when I got older and I like rich, white people who are extremely liberal and beautiful, but when the bottom falls out, where will I be able to find the thick ankled grandmothers in the house coats with the good pots of soup?”
Friday, September 08, 2006
Louise, the poor little pooch.
During the last week, Louise has been keeping us up at night with lots of scratching and chewing herself raw and matted. Yesterday, I looked at one of her little front paws, and one of the toes has blown up enormous behind the claw. Like a pink grape.
So, we went to the vet. La Brea Pets. (Don’t throw my doggy into the tar pit!)
Our amazing doctor, Kate Monroe Zapata, said two things:
1) Louise has allergies. That’s why her skin is so awful. This has been the worst allergy season for dogs since she has been a vet.
2) Her little toe is infected and needs treatment. Separate issue from the allergies.
She shaved Louise’s chewed up, nasty parts and her swollen paw and gave her a big shot of antibiotic. Right between the shoulders. And then she told me what I had to do.
So I left the vet’s office with a bag of medicine (Hexadene, Betadine and Lincocin) and instructions to buy Benadryl tablets.
I bathed Louise with the Hexadene medicated shampoo, rubbed it into her skin and let it soak for twenty minutes. Then I rinsed her off. I cut a tablet in half and gave her 12.5 grams of Benadryl.
Later tonight, after Adam walked her, we gave her another dosage of Benadryl and then soaked her paw in a Betadine solution for ten minutes.
Tomorrow, she gets three dosages of Benadryl, a morning and evening dose of Lincocin (an antibiotic) for her paw and at the end of the day, the Betadine paw soak. This must continue for fourteen days with one more medicated bath thrown in next week.
September is never a great month in Los Angeles. It’s hot. It’s dry. And dogs suffer.
I love my pooch.