Wednesday, August 30, 2006


This animal based need to survive. Goats do it without a god.

Consciousness has brought us much. But as our three sections of brain,
Reptilian-flight or fight, Mammalian emotions and instincts, Human intelligence, struggle to make sense of each other, one notices a force that unites these disparate working areas.

The go between energy.

It can guide well if it’s well developed. I don’t know what develops it.

I think if it is well developed, it gives rise to more creativity. The section of the mind that harnesses these three forces—is the same section that creates.

Those who use it and are not afraid of it can be more than just functional. A joyful pace of pleasure can arise with its humming.

Those who are afraid of it must name it as something outside of themselves.

So, they call it god or give their natural power away, this force of three brains working together. It is not surprising, the religious trinities that form---as a projection of the triumvirate brain.

Evolution raised us up, but left our very mixed brain trio. And since it all evolved together, it somehow works. It is a miracle.

And then you die. And that’s okay.

The more one can ride the brain’s go-between courier, the easier and more wonderful and more powerful and more vibrant everything becomes.

We must risk delight, We can do without
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must
The stubbornness to accept our gladness in
the ruthless
furnace of the world.

-- Jack Gilbert

August 30, 1974

Well we saw the last game Hank Aaron ever played in New York today. The Mets won. We’re leaving for the Poconos tomorrow. Well I’m a going now so I’ll be a saying Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Like Spike

We disked the Spike Lee, When the Levees Broke and watched it.

You know, I had an interesting reaction to Katrina. I have such a deep loathing of George the Chimp and it became immediately clear that this was his Waterloo, so Katrina brought me an odd mirth.

And though there was so much suffering, I was happy. I like when the truth becomes hard and undeniable. I love when people are rendered mute by what is real.

With that being said, it was definitely time to revisit this disaster from the comfort of my dry living room to catch the human element. And Spike Lee really brings it on home. Completely worth the four hours. Actually, I’ve only watched about two and a half hours so far. We’ll hit the rest of it tomorrow.

It’s mostly talking heads interspersed with footage, like lots of documentaries. But of course, these people are so colorful and articulate and pained and forthright, it makes for the case that humanity should actually be loved and appreciated.

Listening to that witch, Babs Bush, in the Astrodome was enough to make me think, “Who needs the generational heft of the 1960’s? People of all ages should rise up and storm the castle.”

I’ve been to New Orleans about five or six times. I never liked it. I only ever saw it as a few blocks of extreme wealth and tourism (mixed with alcoholic puking) surrounded by complete poverty that was accepted as the norm. It always seemed like a heartless, awful place to me. It seemed cynical in its ossified class system. And there are many cities, especially in the Southeast, that have this feeling. It is truly pathetic that we have this extreme division of experience.

What is so difficult about our nation is if you are not ambitious and acquisitive, you suffer mightily. If you are sick or poor or disabled in any way, there is not much there to soften your path. This is Bush country. Conservative Compassion.

I can’t wait to watch the rest.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Join Freecycle Today

Join Freecycle Today and help the planet even more than you already are! It’s so cool. (Thanks Jeff)

From their site:

What Freecycle is about:

It is about keeping things out of the landfill.
It IS about giving away something that has no use in our life anymore to someone who could extend its usefulness a little longer.
It IS about giving gifts to people while clearing out our own clutter.
It IS about creating, building, and sustaining an environmentally aware community.
Offering Items We No Longer Need to Those Who Need Them

I’m all for this. Often, people scratch their heads in wonder when they see me driving my 1992 Geo Prizm with 147,000 miles on it with no end in sight. But my feeling is, the beast gets good gas mileage, I try to drive as little as possible, I park it on the road so why not have a heap, and the energy to build a Prius has to be more than the gas I would save by exchanging this perfectly good car for a new, more efficient one. Though, I don’t know how I could run the math on that one.

Until further notice, I’ll drive my bomber. And when I’m done because they’ve come out with a car that runs on waste, I’ll either drive the sweet old thing down the Baja and hand the keys over to someone who needs it and take a plane home. Or, I’ll list it on Let someone enjoy another 100,000 miles.

Send your totally good stuff out to those who want it. Slow down the economy. Be thrifty. Give to those who would appreciate your old gift.

It’s a good world. There’s just a whole lot of people who need to know more things about it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

August 25, 1980

Today was cool sort of. I got up pretty late. B came over. I went to the bank to send my money up to Boston. I came home, ate. Me and B had great sex. So she left. Sarah came over, I talked about my arrest. Well—mom found out via Glen Wilson (Fireman) > Lisa Wilson > Sally > Mom. Shit. Mom and Dad were pissed, really pissed. I talked to Johnny Walsh. He said my case should be laughed out of court. The cops are stupid and that any lawyer could get us off. Anyway, Bruce came over, left. Me and B went to the movies – “Prom Night,” It really sucked. We ate at Denny’s, came home. This arrest shit sucks.

---This was the summer before my first year of college. I guess I opened a bank account beforehand so my check would clear. Ah, and B was my girlfriend, Barbara, and from poking around the pages of that 1980 summer, B and I had a lot of sex. But I think, Bruce came over, left is also code for sex. If I remember correctly. Johnny Walsh was a lawyer and he was married to Barbara's sister, Donna. Johnny was a true hippy turned professional, a Fordham graduate and extremely pompous. Donna was the prettiest sister in Barbara's family of six girls. Johnny and Donna were huge potheads. They lived across the street from me in the second story apartment. Barbara's grandparents owned the buildng, Maple View Apartments, a slate gray, rundown fourplex with a stone basement with a dirt floor. The Luarcas used to live in one of the bottom units and John Luarca and I made a movie in the basement called, "Crack of Dawn," about vampires. Like the other movie that I made, about a lemon-ade stand, the film didn't turn out. The Luarcas had a cute maltese named Toby.

The arrest happened the night before. I lived in a neighborhood that was sandwiched between train tracks, woods, a river, a water treatment plant and the municipal shed that stored all the trucks that salted the roads. Behind that shed was a green picnic table where we used to build small fires and smoke cigarettes. The cops came and we ran away. I was with my brother, Greg, Matt Poole—who was only fifteen years old and so he wasn’t given a ticket---and Holly, a very close friend.

We had to go to court. We were actually charged with Disorderly Conduct. But the cops said we got off easy because we could have been charged wtih arson.

From August 26, 1980:

I came home, got ready, picked up Holly, and me, Greg and Holly went to court. At first it was held in a parking lot ‘cause the judge didn’t have a key, then we got inside. The court clerk wasn’t there, so the judge didn’t have a record of what we did. He was real nice to us. I really think the whole thing is gonna be dropped. We went home. Holly left. Me and B walked to the black bridge. I was ultra-depressed. We both cried, we left, then went home. I felt a lot better, and me, mom, dad and Greg stayed up and watched “The Uninvited”- 1937. It was cool.

I think B and I cried because I was leaving for college.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Democracy Means Never Having to Smell Those Awful Flowers

Please leave your smelly flowers at home. Sure, we live in a free society and if you want to buy flowers that smell like a sugar cane factory in August, by all means, do so. But please don’t bring them to work!

What a headache.

The original idea of democracy was that each individual would be free, sure, but in addition, each citizen would do their best to take responsibility for a decent society. Do people forget this?

As my friend Jeff K. says, “We’ll all get along and we’ll all be okay if everyone agrees to be just a little bit unhappy.”

Not everyone can have their way:

1) Rich people like Tom Cruise should not be allowed to set up Scientology Tents while on the set of War of the Worlds. Ironic, since L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer. So Tom doesn’t get what he wants. Doesn’t he already have enough?

2) People who like smelly flowers or sweet perfumes should live in Antarctica. Enough said.

3) Industrialists should not be able to glean profits off the cancerous breasts of millions of women. Women should not put up with having their chests lopped off in the name of yellow dyes and plastic reagents. Industrialists should not be in the business of bodily mutilation.

4) If the United States government does not want Iran to make a nuclear bomb, it should just give Iran a few of the extra ones they have, and then Iran won’t need to make them. Wouldn’t Iran change its tune if we gave them such an expensive gift? We’d be a little less happy, but the tension would dissipate.

5) If rational people of the United States cannot hoist off the yoke of repression brought upon us by the Religionists with their fear-based, ignorant fairytales, then a civil war (hopefully employed without weapons) might be the only answer. Rational people are a little bit unhappy living with all these nuts, but we deal with it. Religionists should give us the same courtesy. If they continue this way, on their 4,000 year old planet, then perhaps they need to be deported to Antarctica with the bad smells.

My street savvy mother used to always say, “Play to win.”

Maybe playing to win in the current world is to pick some uncomfortable middle and then fight to the death to defend it. Taking a strong stand to one side in any relationship is the recipe for a failed relationship. Standing together in the middle, though annoying, depressing, disappointing and dream crushing, is far more workable.

And if your mate does not like flowers and you do, maybe you can agree on a different, more neutral decoration, like a river rock.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Something tells me you could watch this all day.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A huge congratulation is in order today for my friend, Dan Kaufman.

He made the choice to spend more on his electric bill which will increase the percentage of renewable resources for electricity to Los Angeles by a huge percentage.

Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power

So, all it takes is money to fix the world? What a novel idea. How hard is it to move money where it is needed? What blocks it from happening? Only inertia? Special Interests? Fear?

And one more question about money and power:

Who the hell is going to pay for this war in Iraq? Have you seen the bill lately?

The Cost of War

Monday, August 21, 2006

I Can't Get Enough of Those Mother Fucking Snakes

On that Mother Fucking plane.

Look, there has been so much written about this movie that there is not much I can add to it except this:


It’s frigging hilarious. It is honest in its simplicity. And no matter what anyone says, it really is a parody. In fact, my first reaction after the credits rolled was, “That sure was arch.”

It is times like these when we need really smart movies about stupid shit, like snakes on planes, with great actors like Samuel Jackson screaming the title of the movie with the perfectly pitched sprinkling of two motherfuckings.

The creative sum of the flatness of a Gilligan’s Island episode, with the effects of today, well acted by a very savvy cast, filmed crisply, directed with a light/heavy hand, all played out in a ludicrous send up of a disaster movie makes me give this snake filled B flick two rattles up.

Because we need a little ridiculous.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Say Hizbollah, You Say Hezbollah

No matter how you parse it, the Lebanese are into Hizbollah.

Or is it Hezbollah?

There is a faction of Arabs that want Israel to disappear. And the leader of Iran does have a point, “If the Holocaust problem was in Europe, why don’t the Jews have a place there?”

And then there is the understandable Zionist thing going on about the homeland. Stubborn, hard working Jews are modern, happening people and they laid claim with the help of Merry Old England. Fine.

But all histories and grudges aside, Israel is a nation recognized by the world. And truly, this really is quite a tiny bit of sand we're talking about.
Why not just let it be?

It seems like that would be too easy. Furthermore, it appears to the average eye that there is an Arab culture of discontent and war, even if it’s just a subculture. And Arabs all get it. And so they embrace, in their two-faced way, Hizbollah (Hezbollah?). And no matter what the leaders say, we all just have to admit that they are lying. They will not chase Hezbollah (Hizbollah?) away. Because no matter how funkyfucked they are, they are “one-of-us”. Oh, and they have a lot of cash.

I hate clans. Ethnicity. All of it.

My opinion? Why can’t both teams drop their precious traditions and resentments and just live together? And why do they all have to identify so strongly with their cultures and their religions? Or am I just a na├»ve American fool for thinking this way?

Give me atheist mutts any day.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Middle Line

Some say Life is the thing that happens to you while you’re busy making plans for other things.

I think that’s a bit too simple and puts one out of the equation, in a way.

I think there is this mental idea of your life (usually idealized) and then there is the reality of your life and these are Vectors zipping along, obviously dynamic, sometimes volatile, but usually, heading in their own directions pretty steadily. I think Life is the Line between these two lines.

I would imagine, ideally, that one might want all three lines to be one line.
I think, at best, the two outer lines come closer together, making the center line as strong a Vector as possible.

I think the center line is the point of power. It is the place of action.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Here's the Scoop

We saw Scoop tonight.

It’s so silly! But I say that in a good way. It was as light as a popover. Miss Scarlett was funny and cute. Hugh Jackman is ridiculously attractive, all tall and handsome. Woody is jittery as ever, but these days, he seems to have a frozen left eye. Something’s up. Maybe he’s just really old?

The story is a whodunit kind of thing. Nothing new in the terrain. The set up is fun, what with a dead top reporter coming through the magician booth to give clues. And both the London scenes and the countryside scenes throughout are quite beautiful. The cinematographer does a great job. The very dated, bad special effects and the bad costume of death with the sickle only add to the silly charm. And wait until you hear the bad puns. One involves a sandwich and a great artist. You can guess.

Is Scoop one of Woody’s greats? Aw hell no. But at least it’s Woody. He seems less able to come up with complicated stories with nuanced characters as he ages. But at least he started high, so his sinking isn’t so bad. You can see the sketch he’s made. And it’s pleasing, if not fully realized.

And he still rips off other movies, shamelessly. In Point Blank, with its high class girl/low class girl problem and with this movie, the rowboat scene at one point, you get the feeling that Woody Allen loves A Place in the Sun more than he even knows.

Honestly, there’s not much else out there at the plex. So, this was a good choice. And I think for Woody Allen, in the late autumn of his career, it’s not a bad idea to release his trifles during the summer when the adults have nothing else to see anyway. You get the sense that even he knows the gig is up...but he kind of layers that point into the film, too. He’s honest, this guy. You might not like that he has shacked up with his daughter, but as an artist he’s a good one. He uses himself and his understanding of life quite cannily even in something as stupid and fun as this flick.

Get the Scoop. Why not?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


What compels people?

I had a Reike treatment today...It would be so much fun to make fun of if it didn’t work.

I have been running around town for weeks (okay, months) getting my show up on its feet, starting a new theatre company (The New Theatre) and now, we have a presence and tickets are for sale:

The Fat of the Land My Space
Fat Tickets

Being a producer takes a lot of work. First, we had to raise about twenty-thousand dollars, which we have almost done.

And while that has been going on, we needed to staff up. Staffing is actually the enjoyable part because you get to meet people and you get to host them kindly and you just sit back and see what they have to offer. We had four principal players, but we needed a director, a stage manager, two other actors (who we cast after much gathering and auditioning), an entire design team (Scenic, lights, sound, costume), friends to man the box office, a free-lance publicist, a graphic designer and parking attendants. And who knows who else in the near future.

This, after a couple of months of searching for space, signing a contract, getting the insurance together, having a garage sale and, oh yeah, and still working on raising that twenty k.

You know, I like being busy. And I am super pleased that everyone is off in rehearsals and from reports, I hear they are all having a very good time. We chose talented people who did not have personality problems. It’s so great, really.

But I noticed, in order to get this all going, I had to ramp it up to a pace that was outside my comfort zone. Good, that’s good, we need to do that. You have to jump out of that plane, sometimes. Glad to jump.

But I got tired. So, I called the Reike guy. He came over with the folding, padded table, set it up, started with the Buddhist gong and realigned my chakras. Sure, I twitched a little. And when the Reike Master opened up my heart chakra, I felt complete joy and laughed a lot. But the most amazing thing was the release of energy in the kidney area. Apparently, the kidneys are your “batteries”. I imagine this ancient Chinese idea has something to do with the modern knowledge of electrolytes and adrenal glands. In any event, people who drive hard do a number on the kidney area. And after the treatment, I felt like someone had given that entire kidney area permission to just go slack.


After the treatment was over, I felt like I had been vacationing in Hawaii for ten days.

Why, to get things done, does it take this big push? Couldn’t one do a big push without grinding the kidneys to a pulp?

And furthermore, if the goal of all action is for fulfillment (creative, monetary, emotional, social, etc.)—could it come to a person without having to use such adrenalin? Could a person do what they needed to do, what they wanted to do, without the kidney push?

I’m going to try to head in that direction. Hopefully, it doesn’t mean I have to live in a cave and subsist on jute and worms. But at the same time, being productive is essential. Finding the balance is tricky. But then, isn’t that why we have Californias?

In the meantime, make a reservation, relax, sit back and enjoy the show.
Fat Ticks

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Powerful Point Worth Reiterating

This is one of the EASIEST ways to save energy:

Go to your entertainment area. Are all your boxes plugged into a power strip? If not, go to the store and get one for under ten bucks.

Then, once you are sure all your boxes and your television are plugged into the power strip, shut off the strip.


(You may want to keep your cable or dish box out of this scenario since some rely upon remote programming and special timers.)

Components when they are off, yet plugged in, use a load of electricity. Yes, the official quantitative amount is A LOAD.

So take a few minutes to reconfigure your plugs into a power strip and after you are done watching, listening, enjoying your good self, shut it all down. It’s takes just the flip of a switch to help us move toward energy independence.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world. I, the Prime Minister of Israel, am speaking to you from Jerusalem in the face of the terrible pictures from Kfar Kana. Any human heart, wherever it is, must sicken and recoil at the sight of such pictures. There are no words of comfort that can mitigate the enormity of this tragedy. Still, I am looking you straight in the eye and telling you that the State of Israel will continue its military campaign in Lebanon.

The Israel Defense Forces will continue to attack targets from which missiles and Katyusha rockets are fired at hospitals, old age homes and kindergartens in Israel. I have instructed the security forces and the IDF to continue to hunt for the Katyusha stockpiles and launch sites from which these savages are bombarding the State of Israel. We will not hesitate, we will not apologize and we will not back off. If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Kfar Kana, we will continue to bomb Kfar Kana. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
Here, there and everywhere. The children of Kfar Kana could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time you understood: the Jewish state will no longer be trampled upon. We will no longer allow anyone to exploit population centers in order to bomb our citizens. No one will be able to hide anymore behind women and children in order to kill our women and children. This anarchy is over. You can condemn us, you can boycott us, you can stop visiting us and, if necessary, we will stop visiting you.

A voice for six million citizens. Today I am serving as the voice of six million bombarded Israeli citizens who serve as the voice of six million murdered Jews who were melted down to dust and ashes by savages in Europe. In both cases, those responsible for these evil acts were, and are, barbarians devoid of all humanity, who set themselves one simple goal: to wipe the Jewish race off the face of the earth, as Adolph Hitler said, or to wipe the State of Israel off the map, as Mahmoud Ahmedinjad proclaims.

And you - just as you did not take those words seriously then, you are ignoring them again now. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world, will not happen again. Never again will we wait for bombs that never came to hit the gas chambers. Never again will we wait for salvation that never arrives. Now we have our own air force. The Jewish people are now capable of standing up to those who seek their destruction those people will no longer be able to hide behind women and children. They will no longer be able to evade their responsibility.

Every place from which a Katyusha is fired into the State of Israel will be a legitimate target for us to attack. This must be stated clearly and publicly, once and for all. You are welcome to judge us, to ostracize us, to boycott us and to vilify us. But to kill us? Absolutely not.

Four months ago I was elected by hundreds of thousands of citizens to the office of Prime Minister of the government of Israel, on the basis of my plan for unilaterally withdrawing from 90 percent of the areas of Judea and Samaria, the birth place and cradle of the Jewish people; to end most of the occupation and to enable the Palestinian people to turn over a new leaf and to calm things down until conditions are ripe for attaining a permanent settlement between us. The Prime Minister who preceded me, Ariel Sharon, made a full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip back to the international border, and gave the Palestinians there a chance to build a new reality for themselves. The Prime Minister who preceded him, Ehud Barak, ended the lengthy Israeli presence in Lebanon and pulled the IDF back to the international border, leaving the land of the cedars to flourish, develop and establish its democracy and its economy.

What did the State of Israel get in exchange for all of this? Did we win even one minute of quiet? Was our hand, outstretched in peace, met with a handshake of encouragement? Ehud Barak's peace initiative at Camp David let loose on us a wave of suicide bombers who smashed and blew to pieces over 1,000 citizens, men, women and children. I don't remember you being so enraged then. Maybe that happened because we did not allow TV close-ups of the dismembered body parts of the Israeli youngsters at the Dolphinarium? Or, of the shattered lives of the people butchered while celebrating the Passover seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya? What can you do -that's the way we are. We don't wave body parts at the camera. We grieve quietly.

We do not dance on the roofs at the sight of the bodies of our enemy's children - we express genuine sorrow and regret. That is the monstrous behavior of our enemies. Now they have risen up against us. Tomorrow they will rise up against you. You are already familiar with the murderous taste of this terror. And you will taste more. In a loud and clear voice. And Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza. What did it get us? A barrage of Kassem missiles fired at peaceful settlements and the kidnapping of soldiers. Then too, I don't recall you reacting with such alarm. And for six years, the withdrawal from Lebanon has drawn the vituperation and crimes of a dangerous, extremist Iranian agent, who took over an entire country in the name of religious fanaticism and is trying to take Israel hostage on his way to Jerusalem - and from there to Paris and London.

An enormous terrorist infrastructure has been established by Iran on our border, threatening our citizens, growing stronger before our very eyes, awaiting the moment when the land of the Ayatollahs becomes a nuclear power in order to bring us to our knees. And make no mistake - we won't go down alone. You, the leaders of the free and enlightened world, will go down along with us.

So today, here and now, I am putting an end to this parade of hypocrisy. I don't recall such a wave of reaction in the face of the 100 citizens killed every single day in Iraq. Sunnis kill Shiites who kill Sunnis, and all of them kill Americans - and the world remains silent. And I am hard pressed to recall a similar reaction when the Russians destroyed entire villages and burned down large cities in order to repress the revolt in Chechnya. And when NATO bombed Kosovo for almost three months and crushed the civilian population - then you also kept silent. What is it about us, the Jews, the minority, the persecuted, that arouses this cosmic sense of justice in you? What do we have that all the others don't?

In a loud clear voice, looking you straight in the eye, I stand before you openly and I will not apologize. I will not capitulate. I will not whine. This is a battle for our freedom. For our humanity. For the right to lead normal lives within our recognized, legitimate borders. It is also your battle. I pray and I believe that now you will understand that. Because if you don't, you may regret it later, when it's too late.


Editor Don's Note: This is quite a speech. And Israel is there...they should be able to live peacefully.

My extreme idea of the day: We should either leave Iraq, or completely colonize it.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Joey: But I’ve served this state, my country for three terms. How could this happen to me?

Hadassah: Get ready. It’s going to be a great service tonight, boobala.

Joey: I can’t go to the temple. Look what happened last night in London! Are the citizens of the great state of Connecticut so blind that they don’t see that we need to stay the course in Iraq? Don’t they know we have to stand behind the president so he can be strong and make democracy in the Middle East?

Hadassah: Joey, honey, you lost. Does my hair look like a wig?

Joey: But I’m the man! I’ll run an independent campaign that will knock down these ignorant doves. Like smashing through the walls of Jericho!

Hadassah: You and what army, Joe-Joe?

Joey: Our army, Hadassah!

Hadassah: Connecticut doesn’t have an army. Did you get the candles that I like?

Joey: Those extremists. Those damn devils. We have to exterminate them!

Hadassah: You’re getting a little Bergen-Belsen on me, booby. Put on your tallis and get over here.

Joey: But, Had, those Arabs, we have to change them. We just have to. They’re fanatics.

Hadassah: Did you have a B.L.T. today? There’s tomato on your collar.

Joey: You know I don’t eat bacon.

Hadassah: You better not.

Joey: I would never.

Hadassah: It isn’t right. Especially when there’s so much chicken.

Joey: We have to make those Arabs see it our way!

Hadassah: They never will.

Joey: I’m flying to London. I’m going to stand in the middle of Heathrow with all the cameras on me, and I am going to make it known that Joe Lieberman will stay the course! No matter what!

Hadassah: You can’t fly. It’s the Sabbath.

Joey: This is an emergency.

Hadassah: Don’t stretch it, Joe-Joe. Scotland Yard took care of it.

Joey: But the world needs me!

Hadassah: We’ll have the fish you like.

Joey: I won’t be eating fish. I’ll be in London. I always find a way to win. I always cover my ass. I always have a senate seat ready in case I lose. I have to. I know what’s right for the world. I know what’s right for this country. I know what’s right for the Middle East. God is on my side! The world absolutely needs me.

Hadassah: My little gray schmuck, no it doesn’t.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sometimes, the Head Just Pounds

Last year, when I suffered from a bout of anxiety, brought upon by spending too much time alone, smoking weed, worrying about my book and facing mid-life worries, I became obsessed with my health.

It was not pretty.

I did calm down. I just had to be with people again and I had to cease the weed and I did the ol’ “think good thoughts” thing and I was back on my feet in a great, productive way.

Now, whenever I feel funky about my stomach (which has never been the greatest) or my allergies (which have always plagued me. As a kid---I once went into a coma from a bee sting, another time, they had to put a needle through my chest and into my heart because of some bad reaction)--I simply say, “Well, at least it isn’t Cystic Fibrosis.” I let myself know that what I have isn’t lethal, and, the thing does pass, and I’m back with the greedy and the ambitious, trying to take over the world.

And I am glad for this grateful way of looking at things.

However, sometimes, I just feel like crap. And it so often has to do with the weather...
I’m like a barometer for bad air quality. And I have to say, the air is getting worse.

Every year.

So, I do all these things (Steam, salt water, some drugs) in order to be able to handle it. And I’m not even worried about it. I just take care of it. But I have to say, like the canary in the coal mine, something is up out there.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Only Sane Thing You Can Do Right Now

Stop everything.

Go in your backyard.

Pick a global-warming ripened tomato.

And make a B.L.T.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Visiting America

I have many friends who work at Disney. It’s just part of the collateral damage of living in Southern California. And though they suffer (having to be at work at 8 a.m., having to work the day after Thanksgiving, having to work Christmas week)—the manager and higher level employees get a bottomless free pass to the theme parks.

When California Adventure opened a few years ago, I thought, “A new theme park...just what the world needs. Oh wait, there’s a ride where you sit in this chair and fly over the major sites of California in an IMAX sort of situation, but all up close and freaky and the chairs tilt and sway in the direction of the movement of the flick so you feel like you are hang gliding over the ocean, desert, Yosemite, San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles, mountains and housing tracts while little vents across from your face blow air at you that smells like where you are—the pine scent worked best—and everyone says it’s pretty cool? Okay, take me! I wanna go on Soarin’ Over California!”

We went there. Today. Mary and Bardo, our friends who both work at Mouseschwitz, came by at noon in their Hybrid vehicle, Disney Silver Passes in hands, and we drove down to Anaheim in Hellish I-5 traffic, parked the car, took the very long, cool looking escalator down from the parking structure, got on the tram to the main entrance of Disneyland and California Adventure which are right across from each other, and smacked our lips in fun anticipation. You know which one is California Adventure by the huge cement free standing letters that spell California about twenty feet from the entrance.

First thing we did, we went over to Soarin’ Over California in the Golden State section of the park and got ourselves fast passes. These are basically reservations to get on the ride at a prescribed time so you don’t have to go through the line.

Then, we thought we’d kill some time and go ride on the Grizzly River rafting company. Big attraction, center of the park. You know, that ride where you sit in a big round raft and go up a hill and then through water slides and such. The company that makes it can set it up anywhere and you can cover it with whatever you like. This one was a kind of Sierra Nevada thing. The plantings were great. They got the trees right—pine and oak. And the fake mountain and streams and waterfalls were pretty cool in that, “Sure, it’s all plastic, but I’m in the mood...” kind of way. We were on line for about forty minutes. Five minutes away from getting on, and the whole Magilla broke down. We waited while repairmen scratched their heads, started it up again for a bit and then it stopped again. In the park for over an hour and all we did was stand in that line. Cranky. I looked at the kid with the C.I.A. printed T-shirt that announced and stood for “Christ is Alive,” and I wondered, “Can he fix this thing?”

We left because our fast passes were ready for using. And use them we did. The Soarin’ over California was cool and pretty much like I described it above. Glad to have done it. Worth the drive down. The cool pine scent. The dizzy heights. The grand California scenery.

After our visual ride experience, we figured we’d go on the huge roller coaster over in the Paradise Pier Section, the other big ride in California Adventure. This area was kind of the best looking part of the park. It was simply a remake of a boardwalk. Like Santa Monica or Santa Cruz. And the rides were very carnival. We got to the entrance of California Screamin’, the coaster, and it, too, like the Grizzly Rafts, was broken.

So, the two biggest rides were busted. We left the park.

We went to Downtown Disney, the open shopping mall connected to the theme parks, with a movie theatre, stores, Disney stores, and ridiculous theme restaurants. We ate at The Rain Forest. The one where every half hour there’s a rain storm and the plastic gorillas and elephants move and make a lot of noise? They must have one in Nanuet by now.

You can imagine how delicious the food was.

It was here, in the Rainforest, where I discovered the most abundant (excepting rodents) American mammal: The humanoid cow.

Now look, none of us are thin any longer. And ten, twenty, even thirty extra pounds on someone isn’t so awful. If you ever get cancer in that condition, you might get a few extra weeks of life. But these people, these people were all between sixty and a hundred pounds overweight. All those planes that flew in all these monsters from all across the land! It was like a horror movie.

And there they were, gorging on huge plates of corporate food that all tasted like sugar and oil, in a plastic Rainforest, swallowing their disappointment for all the broken rides. Can you imagine spending your life savings to take your family to Anaheim and all you get to do is wait in line and then leave because the rides are all broken? And then the consolation prize is heaping mounds of imitation food?

Everyone was enormous. Those poor children! Drinking high fructose corn syrup out of plastic cups that actually flashed with electric rainbow strobe jewels.

After the ogita slather, we escaped from the jungle. Bardo had to go into the Disney store to use his discount to buy a present for a relative. Adam and I waited outside. We sat on a benchy-wall of a planted area and at our feet was a small, round vent about six inches in diameter. And rising up from the slits was the foulest smell of half treated sewage. We had to move over. Who manages the sewage treatment that it actually wafts up into the middle of the Disney food court? Goofy?

When we all piled into the tram and back to the parking structure, the cool looking escalator that we took down was broken, too, so the Disney visitors had to walk down a three story high, stopped escalator. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the broken escalator was only the beginning.

Can you imagine being from some burb-o-America, slathering your enormous, mis-shapened body into a jet only to land in Anaheim where you will spend what little money you have on entrance fees to a theme park that is broken down and then eat terrible food that does nothing but make you sadder so you then have to work even harder at Walmart so you can save more money to take another dysfunctional, plastic vacation filled with corn syrup?

If Christ is Alive, why the hell isn't he doing something about all this?

God bless America? Raze it.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?


Today was my birthday. Do I get a day off from blogging?

I’m sitting here, with a bit of a headache from drinking wine at the Farmers Market. I have this yearly party in the food court. It’s cheap. It’s easy. And you can buy bottles of alcohol at the wine bar. California is a wine friendly state. With my closest friends. Sitting near the raw meat of a butcher shop. Mostly chicken.

Very spirited. Very fun to be 44. Yes. 44.

I mean, who are they kidding?

I am listening to Eva Cassidy (who is now dead) singing Who Knows Where the Time Goes? Nice.

When I die, if I have a tomb stone (which I won’t) but if I do, it would read, “My sinuses never felt better.”

What I want for 44 is better air, lower temperatures and more people laughing and talking to each other on street cars. Maybe go listen to more live music.

Happy Birthday to everyone.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Buy This Book: Coming to My Rescue

How often can one say, "My Recognized-by-the-State-of-California-Domestic-Partner's Mother wrote a book and it has just been published!"

After poking around the commercial publishing world, Judith took the matter into her own hands (rescuing herself again, having done so two other times, first, by surviving, second, by writing this book) and self-published. And here it is. You can buy it today. I particularly love the memoir pieces about growing up in the difficult 1930's and 1940's. Judith was half orphaned as a child but might as well have been completely abandoned. She survives to tell the tale. There are incredibly touching chapters about her relationship with her Aunt, the only adult who really cared about her. A particularly heartbreaking section about Judith visiting her before she died will make you want gentle, real love in your life.

I also very much liked the sections about Judith moving to Connecticut and trying to fit in, going to college and trying to fit in, marrying into a "family-with-lineage" and trying to fit in and never really fitting in.

Interwoven throughout the book is a call to a retro-feminine role of women as caretakers. Some hardass babes may wince at these sections. I found the philosophy pretty clear headed and refreshing.

Coming to My Rescue is about growing up. A young woman comes of age with hardly any support, and flails and sputters in the twisted world of Yankee coldness and survives by the warmth in her own heart and by seeing the warmth in others, especially innocent children. Check it out. Buy a copy for yourself or for your mother or for your favorite aunt or for your local library. This is a touching tale by an author who has examined her life. Published in the newfangled style.

Coming to My Rescue by Judith Malin Waring

This novel is about Mildred Cabell, a woman who, in late middle age, realizes she has always felt “too little”. In trying to understand why, she opens “a place in my head where I’ve kept all the sadness.” There she finds childhood memories of the thousand daily cruelties of a hurting family that has been passing its pain along for generations.

Mildred begins to feel a tenderness towards herself, as well as an anger at the culture for its ongoing blind disregard of the emotional needs of not only its children but also its entire citizenry.

And so her rescue begins.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Find the Cost of Freedom

Okay for me, it was all about David Crosby. Yeah, Neil Young still fashions himself as a rock star. And the unifying theme this evening was anti-war, freedom of speech, etc. and that was supposed to be powerful, and it was in a group cheering/short lived kind of way. But basically, when I go to a CSNY concert at the Hollywood Bowl, I’m only interested in the music, how it sounds.

Though I consider myself a protester, I don’t love protest songs.

But I did love Long Time Gone and Find the Cost of Freedom.

But really, it was all about Crosby. His voice. His cool guitar chords with the intricate picking. His solid stance, no bullshit, just playing music and singing really well. With his Yosemite Sam hairdo and his “I’ve been around, man, I’m just going to do this straight up as best I can,” I was blown away. Almost Cut my Hair. Shit.

When he and Graham Nash did Guinnivere, with only the guitar and the two of them singing, come on, it was frigging relgious. Crosby sings with full command of his voice. Up, plaintive and clear. The guy really is the Poppa Dadddy with the talent.

He was amazing.

But did I say, so was everyone else? The big deal about this concert tonight was really how good these guys still are. All of them. Sure, at times when the set switched to focusing on Stephen Stills or Neil Young, you could just hear the scratch of lawyers pens going over contracts that relegated performance time allotment. But hell, these guys did it pretty smoothly and with great ease and no ego. They took turns backing up the featured guy when he was the lead singer of his song.

Neil Young seemed to be the most preening. But he is a solid lead guitarist and maybe this is what is required to get this leadership thing across. Plus, it takes some good, solid Canadian balls to write a song about impeaching the president for being a liar. When he ended the night with Keep on Rockin’ in a Free World, with no encore, people were truly rocked out, even if we all were over forty.

Stephen Stills is still this blues guy. And he was greatly appreciated. Not my thing, but he was solid as hell and from what I can tell from looking around, he got to the bluesy heart of people in a very direct way.

Graham Nash, well, I mean, he’s amazing filler/sweetness.

Thirty-thousand people on a Monday night in the Hollywood Bowl. It felt like a very important event, what with the Iraq footage and network call letters at the bottom right in a font that looked quite cable TV authentic, the call letters being LWW, “Living With War”.

Exiting was difficult. There were so many people, it was kind of crushing and oddly suggestive of a refugee scenario. We survived.

We are in a redo of the late 1960's---in a stupid mess.

But this time around with this war and this terrible president, there is not the upswing of youth protesting. It’s just old people sitting around complaining and going to a concert on a Monday night for fifty bucks. And then exiting like cows in funnels.

But hell, we’re tired. The kids have to do it. They need to push back from their computers and their Blackberries and save the planet. There needs to be a huge swell. A real one.

It cooled off nicely outside. I was thinking... How great Los Angeles can be. Thinking...What a ridiculously special setting, this Hollywood Bowl. The oaks up on the ridge. The mountains all around.

Knowing...What a fucking amazing day it was when Mamma Cass was swimming in Peter Tork’s pool with these guys in the hills and suggested the formation of this band because she thought they’d do well together.