December 2015

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Thing about rare birds. They fly away.

Thing about rare birds. They fly away.

Rare birds everywhere, you know. Twice in the last week I’ve seen a great blue heron on our road, once on the shoulder and once on a concrete county bridge. Noticing them makes them fly away.

For about a dozen years we’ve had our own rara avis here at my various blogs, a lovely creature from Hawaii. Now, suddenly, she is gone, taken wing in a fright never intended.

But that’s how it goes with the rare ones. You have to be grateful for the moments you had watching them and appreciating their beauty. When those wings unfold and soar away, it’s too late to convince them you meant no harm.

So you’re just grateful and sorry to have so startled them. God be with you, B.D. We will miss you always and never stop loving you.

Okay. On a question where there is no actual right answer, there is no wrong answer either. Harvey likes the staircase dancing in the Gay Divorcee. By an amazing coincidence we do too.

My namesake grandfather in his elder years used to turn down invitations to dance by declaring that he only danced The Continental. You can see why he would take such a position. The ladies loved him anyway.

Happy New Year, Harvey.

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Pot roast on thick sliced Italian bread with mayo. She didn’t make me one. Because all I did was go to McDonalds and get burgers for all the dogs and some nuggets for our gimpy greyhound. I understand. I got myself an egg mcmuffin and FOUR apple pies for her. I understand. Sure I do.

We’ve narrowed down all of Fred Astaire’s dance routines to the two best. Don’t argue. We know best all the way up to this point, where we disagree. My better half (usually) says the one up top is the best because Ginger’s dress weighed 400 pounds or something and as we all know she was always loud about saying she did everything Fred did only backwards and in high heels loaded down with feathers or in this case with a half ton of gold dress.

My pick, on the other hand, is what is widely acknowledged as the best movie dance routine ever, featuring the incomparable Cyd Charisse. No more needs to be said.

So vote in the comments. I know how it will go. Because I can always fix the outcome after the fact, just like they do at NBC.

Cyd Charisse

Cyd Charisse

Speed is compression of time. Why we want it so much.

Speed is compression of time. Why we want it so much.

Just to set the mood.

Tom and Rachel are in love. Don’t you envy them?

Bet you do.

They should be on Broadway.

My mother had a crush on Ezio Pinza.

And there’s always Sinatra.

P.S. So Pat and I had our own thoughts.

Mine:

Hers:

Ours (Amadeus means beloved by God, eh?):

Love is. What we do is up to us. What we don’t is up to God.

My mother. Found her picture.

My mother. Found her picture. Made my year.

In no particular order and with no particular intent. What I remember. Mainly.

I made a friend for life on the Internet. No kidding. Name of Tom Zampino. An Italian married to a Jewish beauty, so now he sounds like Woody Allen at Catholic school.

Harvard won a share of the Ivy League football title. Meanwhile, the rest of the Ivy League was making a laughingstock of itself with political correctness, microaggressions, safe spaces, and other kinds of fear and trembling. Harvard doesn’t need safe spaces. They rule the world regardless.

Got Rush Limbaugh children’s books about American history for two of our grandchildren. My wife’s 45 year old son walked out of the room when he saw what we’d given his son.

Published two books of our own too. One print, one an ebook. (Okay, okay. “The Lounge Conversations” at Amazon. “Why Is There a Boomer Bible?” On Kindle. More to come.)

Commented to my wife about a longtime friendly commenter that “she’s a dirty old woman.” To which my wife responded, “Just like you.” How unfair I thought. Then, when I was searching for one specific pic in my files, I realized how many pictures of naked women I’d collected in just the last year. My wife was right. And wrong too. The year has been full of third wave feminism, rape culture, and other women’s nonsense. I was quietly building a dossier proving that women really, always, want to be naked in public. Starkers if they can get away with it. Performing, protesting, posturing, and ultimately preening with every little bit and nip exposed. But I rarely make lewd jokes.

TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! The most fun I’ve had in seven years of the mummy king. Everybody in establishment Washington hates him, and everything he says and does bumps him up in the polls. Americans have a sense of humor. Reality TV has proven we are a coarse and vulgar people. Why are the stuffed shirts so suddenly astounded that a coarse vulgar candidate would resonate with a populace sick to death of being ruled by oppressive regulations and smarmy, patronizing liars in buttondown shirts?

The greyhound thing. We have a new old boy named Rikki Tikki Tavi. He looks like a deer. Right now he has a cut foot. How we measure time here. We plan on celebrating New Years with him.

We lost our last feral cat this year. Her name was Cassie. Like several of our cats, she bonded with me. (The one who was supposed to be mine, Izzie, bonded with my wife instead. No accounting for these things.) we’ve been looking for a black cat to rescue. No luck so far.

Got defriended a few times on Facebook. People don’t like it when you object to their pronouncements with logic and no use of profanities or obscenities. Which is their definition of ad hominem attack. Completely revolting. Like a wrestler who can’t figure out where to get a hold. The only possible response is to stomp off the mat and hurry to the locker room.

Raebert has spent the whole year being Raebert. Scottish deerhound afflicted with a human size brain. He knows that I know that he understands everything I say. We spend a lot of time staring at each other. He’s spent a lot of time this year developing his moaning and groaning vocabulary. By 2016 he’ll qualify as a humpback whale in good standing.

Anybody know how to make that happen? Do everything you can. Please.

Until that message arrives, all the rest of us can do is put our backs and shoulders behind this song.

Heave, everybody, heave. And make all the calls you can think of.

P.S. Everybody knows I have a dog in this hunt. It’s called, this time, Winter.

“Wrap my coat around ya.” So many wanting to do that.

Sheila. Please let her meet Paul.

Sheila. Please let her meet Paul.

Don't tell Facebook. It's on Kindle.

Don’t tell Facebook. It’s on Kindle.

You won’t get answers about the end. You won’t even get answers about the beginning. But there was a punk writer movement in Philadelphia. They defeated the Pagans and ruled South Street. They moved invisibly through the city, on motorcycles that could not be heard. They wrote their own Bible, about the elders who had corrupted and fouled their education. They rewrote writing. And then they disappeared into quantum unreality. Don’t tell Facebook there’s a Kindle book. They will punish.

Here are the first two paragraphs of a book that’s got no (well, some) writing in it but mostly an exhaustive criticism of 20th century writing. Who wants to hear that? You maybe. A complete demolition of 20th century fiction writing? Horrors:

The package was wrapped in old burlap and smelled of rotten hay. It was tied up with four knotted-together railroad bandannas that disintegrated under my fingertips when I tried to loosen them. The fabric that had been crumpled inside the faded brown knots still glowed red, like artificially preserved flowers. And inside the burlap bag was the object I had spent almost almost three years looking for — not one but two manuscripts of the fabled Boomer Bible. At times over the many months of my search, I had almost given up hope of ever finding it, and even when I held it in my hands, I almost couldn’t believe it really did exist.

That day, I promised myself I would see it published, even if I never made a nickel out of it, because here was proof that the punks of Punk City had done what the stories said they had. It was all true. A bunch of born losers had tried to write it all down they way they saw it and heard it from the Baby Boomers.

Bandannas of the Shuteye Train. What was left after they were murdered and disposed of by the Shuteye Train.

Bandannas of the Shuteye Train. What was left after they were murdered and disposed of in the snow by Philly’s Pagan motorcycle gang in the eighties. Shammadamma.

And then the story began. Shammadamma.

All red, all gold. Aren't they cute?

All red, all gold. Aren’t they cute?

We were trying to watch Thursday Night Football. But hey. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were wearing red from top to bottom and the St. Louis Rams were wearing gold from bottom to top. My wife was inclined to overlook it. Not me. When life gets completely silly, you have to call it out. How many Rams can you put in a row?

Not all gold. Times when they're actually football players, not gold diggers.

Not all gold. Times when they’re actually football players, not gold diggers.

The best possible NFL owner these days would be Busby Berkeley. If he’d had Technicolor, he’d have been a trillionaire.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

I know women like to see butts. But men like to see legs more than women like to see anything.

Sigh.

Sigh.

And this is where it all started to go wrong. I began thinking about rows of things, which is no way to go. You can be benign at first.

Still time to make it all okay.

Still time to make it all okay.

And you can think about rows of beauty.

Lots more handsome than Rams.

Lots more handsome than Rams.

But then it turns out you’re just a guy, and you have all these thoughts that go from bad to worse.

They're all perfect when you put them in a row.

They’re all perfect when you put them in a row.

And you’ve got this search capability that lets you look for rows.

Athletes are cool. Heard they got in trouble for these outfits. Can't think why. But then I'm a guy.

Athletes are cool. Heard they got in trouble for these outfits. Can’t think why. But then I’m a guy.

That’s about the point where everything goes all to hell. Because we’re guys and we want to see stuff.

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And we want it to be exotic and beautiful. Because we’re just completely awful.

We want them to be ineffable. We're idiots.

We want them to be exotic and ineffable. We’re idiots.

Sorry. As I said, how a good idea goes wrong.

Two productions almost 30 years apart. But each time a ray of light. Why I’m happy. Back in 1987 Raising Arizona was a delight. The only fatality was a horrifying bounty hunter. This year, the second season of Fargo was, against all odds, a tribute to life despite dozens of bodies shot down in a Byzantine plot.

I don’t usually do superlatives. I’m going to now. Kirsten Dunst.

Best acting I've ever seen her do. Gorgeous work.

Best acting I’ve ever seen her do. Gorgeous work.

Amazing performance. Jean Smart. Same. Nick Offerman. Same. Bokeem Woodbine. Same. Ted Danson, exceptional. Meaning same.

The single best miniseries I’ve ever seen. The writing was glorious, the acting was way beyond expectations, and the content was ultimately inspiring. I liked the state trooper. He was brave and his wife will live.

And then we watched Raising Arizona on demand. My wife laughed so hard we had to give her a sticky bun to keep her from seizing. Kidding. It was oatmeal raisin cookies. But she’s fine now.

Where was it going? You knew? Did you? I did.

Where was it going? You knew? Did you? I did.

Fifteen years ago I dreamed of the UnderNet. Where you could do anything your heart desired.

Here’s your entry point. My wife says it’s demonic. I say you just have to be smart and patient and then you will find the infinity of the UnderNet.

I grant it’s not easy, this underground offshoot of Shuteye Town at Hackerz Station. Even I have to puzzle my way through. But it can be done. It can be done. Here’s one of the signs you’ve made some headway.

Find her.

One of the icons of the UnderNet. Can you find the center?

One of the icons of the UnderNet. Can you find the center?

Time Out

Markell hoists her Gurkha.

Merkel hoists her burkha to show us what’s up there. Not much.

So she’s changing up her mind, even if it leaves her ass hanging out a little.

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy has attracted praise from all over the world. Time magazine and the Financial Times newspaper recently named her Person of the Year, and delegates applauded her for so long at her party’s convention on Monday that she had to stop them.

“The speech that followed, however, may have surprised supporters of her policies: “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’ ” or a sham, she said, before adding that Germany may be reaching its limits in terms of accepting more refugees. “The challenge is immense,” she said. “We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.”

“Although those remarks may seem uncharacteristic of Merkel, she probably would insist that she was not contradicting herself. In fact, she was only repeating a sentiment she first voiced several years ago when she said multiculturalism in Germany had “utterly failed.”

Uh, we knew that already. Another laurel for female politicians. Hasn’t been one since Thatcher and, before her, Meir.

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Okay. So who really has the worse hair?

That huge question aside, how did CNN do? Pretty well. Nicely done apart from the early assault on Trump, which was inevitable. Bush was a chump. Cruz was good. Rubio didn’t mess himself in the boy’s room. Rand Paul was there, wasn’t he?

Christie could have been president if he hadn’t hugged Obama.

Was anybody else there?

Well, I wasn’t there. I’d’ve fucking killed them all.

Challenged my wife to name the best five songs of the eighties. She nailed it with her third choice. My own are great but not in the running with this, which sticks up for Jersey in the rockingest way possible.

So then I thought I’d just top her completely.

Life is too short for fooling around.

First heard the death knell in 1967. Now the bell tolls for thee and me. Never thought they’d beat me. Now, nearly forty years later, I’m not so sure.

Stones tried to warn me too, more gently.

But I didn’t listen. My greatest fault. I don’t listen to the darkness. Why I continue to laugh, unless it’s more of a sneer. Take your pick.


One guy thought something was wrong when everyone else agreed otherwise. He was right. Hmmmm.

Of course the planet is happy they had a global warming conference in Paris. The planet is always cheering us on, unless they’re just laughing up their gigantic sleeve about how important we think we are.

Earth very concerned and frightened about human bullshit.

Earth very concerned and frightened about human bullshit.

Anyhoo, the fat boys of the western nations got theirselves a agreement. Like you know. What everybody can sign onto after a thousand bottles of champagne and enough gooseliver to make every old man bloat up to Zeppelin size.

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Geez. $200 million and 200 pounds plus. Way to slim down for salvation of the earth. And there are still starved little coeds who think he’s a hero. Why Tipper is still seeing her analyst every day of the week.

One touchdown already.

One touchdown already.

He enlisted in the army in 1827. He’s been red-shirted as a football player for 88 years.

The Telltale Heart. All we have on,our side.

The Telltale Heart. All we have on our side.

Enough of the nearly napping BS. Okay?

Enough of the nearly napping BS. Okay?

Elli-OTT!

I’m not trying to be cute here. I’m attempting a kind of exorcism. You know how a song gets stuck in your head? Usually it’s accidental, unbidden. This one I did to myself. It occurred to me while I was wool gathering a week or so back that the name of my cat, Elliott, rhymed with Camelot. Gave me a grin. Until I woke up every morning hearing Camelot in my head. So now I’m trying to offload it onto all of you. Sorry.

*******

It’s true! It’s true! The cat has made it clear.
The climate here is perfect all the year.

A law was made four years ago here:
July and August will not be too hot.
And there’s a legal limit to the snow here
For Elliott.
The winter is forbidden till December
And exits March the second on the dot.
By order, summer lingers through September
For Elliott!
Elliott! Elliott!
I know it sounds a bit bizarre,
But with Elliott
That’s how conditions are.
The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For hunting-snoozing-fighting-eating
By Elliott.

The King.

The King.

Elliott! Elliott!
I know it gives a person pause,
But For Elliott
Those are the legal laws.
The snow may never slush upon the hillside.
By nine p.m. the moonlight must appear.
In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
For Elliott.

*******

In case you need a palate cleanser, here’s what I regard as the definitive version of the real thing.

There. I feel better now. How about you?

The Concrete Charlie Honor.

The Concrete Charlie Honor.

Life works in a big wide circle. So this year, finally, another Philadelphian wins the Chuck Bednarik Award. His name is Tyler Matakevich. He’s beloved in the City of Brotherly Love. And he will go in the first round of the NFL draft. He’s a Temple Owl. The alpha of a parliament of owls. And he also seems to have the wisdom that is supposed to coincide with parliaments. His teammates look up to him. He is charming and funny and humble. He lights up local TV when he consents to an interview. It’s never about him. Always about his team and his family. An anachronism.

But make no mistake. He is a fearsome defensive player. He was named the best defensive player in the country. He won the Bronco Nagurski Award. Now the Bednarik. Also the Walter Camp Award and the AAC player of the year. He had 481 career tackles and is ninth all time on the NCAA career list. He is the seventh player all time to have four seasons over one hundred tackles.

What in the new lingo of our city is called Temple Tough. How this beleaguered team finally surmounted dozens of years of tragic history and thumped the hell out of the thugs of Penn State. (Don’t cavil. I was there just before the Paterno implosion when Penn Staters at the Link were screaming “nigger” at Temple players in their annual game.) Tyler is a Catholic boy. He said nothing about the Nittany bigots. He just did them in this fall. Thoroughly.

Chuck would be proud. We are too.

Chuck would be proud. We are too.

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