Before some limp wristed Brit comes in to accuse me of “whingeing,” a word that sounds to me like fingernails on a blackboard, I want to explain that the previous post was tongue in cheek. (Billy Idol has a whole video devoted to tongue in cheek.) I don’t mind if you’re fatigued, worn down, dozing, half dead with boredom or despair, and unable to summon even an ounce of piss and vinegar. Not at all.
I don’t need an audience. All these books I’ve been publishing all of a sudden? Kept them to myself all these years. Writing them was the point. Not taking a bow on stage. So go on about your business. I’ll be fine right here. Dancing with myself.
When you dance with yourself, there are no critics.
Age and experience make writers more economical with words. I did this thing called The Boomer Bible a quarter century or so ago and it was 800+ pages long.
Now I’ve done this.
My race against death continues.
Two Bibles in one book, totaling less than a hundred pages. Of course it helps that the first one was about the Boomer generation, who had at least been to school when there still was such a thing. These two are about the X-Gen sad sacks and the utter losers known as millennials. It doesn’t take many pages to capture absolutely everything they know about everything. But laughs can be involved.
The pic is of our first proof copy. Thought some of you might want to know. Just saying. You know what I mean?
Andrew Kane and I have been swapping Air Force stories and now navy and infantry stories, which misses the point. Those old guys gave everything, wherever they were, whatever their specific duties were. I have a shoebox stuffed with letters from the Western Front of World War I, 1918. From a captain of infantry in the Rainbow Division. Should (MUST actually) make a book out of them. He was literate, observant, an Ohio State engineer, and as close to fearless as you can be in a landscape that looks like this.
my grandpa moved through dooms of dooms — ee Cummings.
But I find my hand shaking when I reach for that box. He knew why he was there. Suzanne Littel thinks it was the gubbamint. I think it was that my grandpa knew the time had come to kill some Germans. He should know. His ancestry was more than 75 percent German. And a hundred percent American.
So tired of all the poseurs, the grievance mongers, the phony ethnicities, the whores of their own private causes. Only now are we deciding that American soldiers are victims. Bunch of PTSD time bombs about to go off or go down to drugs and drink and violence, which is to do them or us no honor. The ones who volunteered chose to put their lives on the line. Now and ever, all the way back in time. My dad had screaming nightmares after the war. He got over them. Go figure.
Funny how life works. I was actually living in Dayton when the DOD decided to honor my dad’s Twelfth Air Force with a memorial at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The old man came out for the ceremony. We found ourselves standing side by side in front of this.
88 combat missions and survivor’s guilt up the wazoo. If you lived, you see, you were somehow less brave than the ones who died.
I thought it would be bigger. It looked small and frail, despite its heavy armor. Just like my dad. I got into into the cockpit. Tiny. My dad just stood and stared. Giant little old man. I wanted to wrap my coat around him.
But he wouldn’t have understood if I had.
I was saying, though, that life is funny. My later adventures took me to the very plant where my dad’s plane was built. Whirlpool was using it to build air conditioners. I was a consultant advising them on how to build air conditioners better. But the plant was a nightmare. It was never built to manufacture air conditioners. It was built to assemble P-47 fighter planes. Dark, twisty, massive, just big enough to shove the carcasses of man killing machines through, on their way to the blue skies of Europe.
Never seen a P-47? Most people haven’t. Why this story was so intriguing.
According to some, the greatest film director of all time.
Call it noblesse oblige. From time to time those of us who have had the privilege of attending the nation’s finest schools have a responsibility to prove that we did not snore through the obligatory marathon of art history and the subsequent ordeal of “film” history. Now it’s my turn to show all you proles what half a million dollars at Harvard buys you.
I have to admit, I did snooze through Fritz Lang’s “N” and “The Cool Bidet of Dr. Evan Cooligarry” by David Marmot. But that was the old-fashioned stuff. We were led to believe that the fireworks would start to go off with Felloni (La Dolly Goombah”) and then the master of masters, the great Swedishist director Ingemar Johansson.
It was reading period. For those of you who don’t know how higher education sort of happens in Cambridge, Harvard has a full three weeks of classes and a scant four weeks of drinking and cramming period. A tough, rigorous regime. I did my part. I succeeded in tearing down the rotted hundred year old drapes at Locke-Obers and awoke in a final club halfway house. It was then that I finally subjected myself to the greatest of all modern films, “The Seventh Enswell.”
Which, to be honest, I had resisted somewhat. To the point of telling my roommate that if he ever caught me watching an Ingemar film, he had leave to blow my brains out on the spot. When I awoke I accused him. “J’accuse,” I said “Je very pissez off avec vous.” Like most close friends at Harvard he didn’t care. “I aimed carefully,” he said. “Your brain proved a tiny and elusive target.”
So. Finally. Trapped. At the very end of Drinking and Study period, I watched the Great Movie.
It’s about chess. Big bruisers who think they can bully life playing chess.
You train. You think you win by punching hard. When you get knocked down you rely on the mythological “Enswell,” what you think of as God’s gift to the injured and in need.
The Enswell. Man’s brass knuckles against the heavyweights of Fate. Well, it reduces swelling between rounds. Not bad, considering the overall level of punishment. Right?
But all the Enswell does is reduce the swelling. On the board, God and his bishops and his merciless cloying queen just knock the crap out of you.
In movies I am simple. I throw under the bus every person I knew. They tried to me throw under the bus first. — Ingemar Johansson.
Life teaches you, two hours and forty minutes in, that the Enswell works pretty well. For six times anyway. Enough to give you that I can survive anything and what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger skitsnack.
What they don’t teach you, and only Ingemar can, is that you do finally get knocked on your ass and can’t get up.
The seventh Enswell is a death knell.
The Great Bitch will always get you. After all, she’s always in color. Unlike Ingemar.
I think her name is Liv Ullman. What they taught us at Harvard anyway.
Whatever her name is (or names are) she’ll get you.
Why we Swedishers have a nearly operatic view of life and the Enswells. We even have our own sweet sounding Erinyes.
Oh those Swedskis. Cooler than life itself. Thank you Ingemar. And thank you, $1/2 million worth of Harvard. I must be the Man.
Oops. My wife just told me that the films I’m supposed to be showing off about are by Ingmar Bergman, not Ingemar Johansson.
P.S. My Harvard education cost nowhere near a half million. More like $25-30k, including my final club bar tabs. Consider mine the Target of Harvard degrees. And you can see I got my money’s worth.
Found this clip for a comment on another thread. But it’s my favorite ever scene from a Spielberg movie. I’m putting it here just because the P-51 is a beauteous predator in every way, its looks, power, agility, deadliness, and above all its symphonic sound. Turn the volume up as high as you can stand it. I don’t mean to insult anyone by pointing out that the waggling wings you see before the closeup are the pilot’s greeting to the schoolboy prisoner Christian Bale. Enjoy.
Maybe we’ve been looking at this too politically. Let’s cast all the religious contention aside (or better yet, chuck it into the nearest beach trash bin) and think about the esthetics. I mean if we’re going to pass laws about what people can wear Oceanside, and let’s face it, we’ve done that forever***,then there’s an argument that some people really should be required to wear the Burkini.
Back in 2000 I covered the emerging feminist insistence that men should be required to love fat female bodies as much as thin female bodies. About the time when plus-size fashion models began to be thrust upon us. I imagined the predictable mass media response:
Hot Mega-Babes are Here!
“They’ve been telling us for quite a while now that men have to stop lusting after the ectomorphic rarities which predominate in advertising and show business images of women. Part of the solution is to start showing us images that are more, uh, real. Now we have the premier issue of the first high-fashion mag for women who buy their clothes in factors of X: 2X (2 times normal size), 3X, etc. The time has therefore come, gentlemen, to start learning how to lust for LARGE. The swimsuits featured in this publication may or may not represent an effective first step. On the plus side, it’s probably safe to say you have never seen more exposed skin on a bathing suit model. On the other hand, it’s kind of daunting to realize (pun intended) that there really might be such a thing as too big a breast. You be the judge. Maybe after a cruise through these pages, you’ll start wishing that Candy Crawford splinter could gain a few hundred pounds and start looking good for a change. Maybe not. But be advised. Somewhere in this great nation, some politician is already drafting legislation that would make it illegal for a male to refuse to be aroused by a real-sized woman…”
Well, that’s that. Oh. About my asterisks…
***Purely by accident, yesterday I stumbled across this incredibly scandalous bathing suit from 1907. People were outraged and hastened to ban it. It took 20 more years for popular mores to catch up. What do you think?
People think Bobby Darin owned this song. Only because Sinatra was out of town at the time. Called one hit versus a hundred. Go figure..
Every Broadway smash has the “it” song. This one’s to the tune of Mack the Knife, which I just kindly racked up for you. Sung by Robert Davi. Is all this plain enough for you?
“Oh, the snark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And the Vegans are so wintry white
Bean with Bacon has new menus, babe
And we keep them, ah, brightly bright
Ya know when that Bacon bites the bean, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy bowls, oh, wears old Beans, babe
So there’s never, never a trace of meds
Now on the sidewalk, huh, huh, whoo sunny morning, un huh
Stands a body just oozin’ life, eek
And someone’s sneakin’ ’round the corner
Could that someone be Bean with Bacon dude?
There’s a rowboat, huh, huh, down by the river don’tcha know
Where some Rolaids just a’drooppin’ on down
Oh, those Rolaids is just, it’s there for the weight, dear
Five’ll get ya ten old Bean with Bacon’s back in town
Now d’ja hear ’bout Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe…”
So we’re talking long legged dancing girls, Sinatra fedoras, and all the glittery stuff Broadway is so good at. Bound to be a few Tony’s in the mix for everyone involved. And then Davi can ride hilariously into the sunset.
They say if you kill yourself God punishes you by flinging you right back into life. Instanter. Sounds awful, I guess. But I was thinking, if that’s the punishment I could put up with it if there was any negotiating room. I could stand coming back dumb as dirt after doing myself in with a service revolver when Hillary gets elected. I wouldn’t need a brain. Box of hammers? Fantastic. All I’d need would be the voice of John Vernon, Alexander Scourby, or, saints be praised, Leonard Graves.
Yeah. That would be heaven. However you want to define it.
I just offended a one-time supermodel named Yoella Wells.
She was hot.
Well, let me back up a bit. I had occasion to communicate with her about a website she signed me up for because she’s an advocate of Israel, as am I. Here’s the message that started the contretemps.
Hmmm. Okay. But I’m thinking she’s not a spring chicken anymore. She regularly posts pics of herself trying to upstage her lovely daughter by moueing at the camera.
She’s, you know, of an age, like many of us.
Still glamming, after all these years.
So, with my wife urging me to let it go, I didn’t let it go.
Which led to the following outburst.
Then she unfriended me before I could post my response, which was this:
ME: I know a lot about you. What FB does. It shows more of you than you think. You were a beautiful young model and the world was your oyster. Since then, you still crave attention but you don’t accept grownup responsibilities. And right now, you’re ranting at me, about whom you know as little as you claim I know about you, because tantrums are and have always been your way. Don’t play this game with me. You will lose. Guaranteed.
btw. I have a life. What started this? Your site. Europeans fighting Anti-Semitism. Someone befouled it. And you have a migraine. Get a conscience.
I don’t know about her refugee credentials but I’d be surprised if there weren’t cameras around at the time. I wish Yoella well. But blowing off people who earnestly care about what you say you care about is kind of reckless. You could at least thank people for caring. Unless you’re still hoping for another shot at the cover of Life Magazine.
I retired officially today from the flat-ass old guy wearing jeans to look younger than he is farce.
Now I have cargo pants. With pockets in the legs. And not peg leg pants either. Why I waited so long. Straight legs. I look like a grownup (or grown old) American slicked out with a London Fog windbreaker.
My wife gave it to me. London Fog. More pockets than I can count up to at my age.
Won’t stand for you calling me an old fuddy duddy. I’m with it, current. Even if I don’t sport the huge white sneakers all you other old farts wear everywhere with your flat-ass jeans.
How can I make such a claim? Here’s why I’m smarter than all the ancient billionaires of the world. Incredibly good looking and slim as I still am, I know better than to think young women don’t prefer young men. They do. Wine them, dine them, shower them with gifts from Tiffany and Cartier, and they will still sneak out to a rendezvous with your paid faithful limo driver.
Why I have no interest in them. Young women who have ten years or less mileage on their tits have no character at all. They’re just little screwing machines with a shopping list. Why old men should stay away. But they never do.
Actually, young men should too. They will do, say, be anything they have to to procure items on that shopping list. Later on, there may be some chance of sanity descending, unless a psychotic break suggests new ways to further acquisitions from the list.
Have you — all of you — ever thought about what’s involved in being a prostitute? Sex ten to fourteen times a day. Without turning a hair. And just how many runaways and other girls right on up to law school students pay their way to the good life through prostitution? If they were men having sex so many times a day we’d call them sex addicts or sexual predators.
Old age is the intercession of wisdom via physical frailty. Why I’m happy about my dockers and London Fog disguise. And, yes, I still maintain I’m still with it. Just today, I was listening to WMMR in Philadelphia (the world’s oldest progressive rock station) and heard this hot new rock song from 1993. Something about a million miles away. The way I am from the baby strumpets who are now practicing up for the escort business by requiring signed permit forms (the only way left in a culture of gutter coarsitude to play hard to get) from every john at state college who wants to get into their panties.
I have something the ancient billionaires wish they had and can never buy. Romantic memories.
WAPO’s idiot-savant Jennifer Rubin is licking her lips and rubbing her hands in glee at the thought of Trump’s concession speech. That any news organization would hire this woman or write her a paycheck is almost as incomprehensible as the possibility that the American people would elect Hillary to be president.
Still, it’s worth taking a look at what the first hundred days of a Hillary presidency would look like. With the help of Chief of Staff Huma Weiner and Secretary of State Sidney Blumenthal. We can count on George Stephanopoulos to do the first Oval Office interview.
Hey, Hillary! It’s me. George.
Well, aren’t you looking fine today, your highness.
I mean, at this point, what difference would it make? Jennifer.
Excuse me. Don’t see the Allard in front anywhere in this clip.
The funniest road test I ever read was in Automobile Quarterly. You could call it a balls to the wall conservative car publication. For example, they were the ones who revealed that a 427 Cobra could do zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds. (And so could a Pontiac Bonneville of the same year. Had one of those. Awesome.) Then they ran a road test of the J2 Cadillac Allard. Funniest piece of automotive writing in my recollection.
Guy takes delivery of his Cad-Allard. Takes it for a spin. Acceleration exactly as described. Then he tries to change direction for a corner. Meets instead every weed, bramble, mud hole, flotsam, jetsam, and other detritus encountered by a car that is totally incapable of changing direction at speed ever.
I give you both political parties. Hideously exotic and expensive, overpowered, impossible to control, and doomed to self destruction no matter how expensive the bodywork.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I give you the U.S. Congress, and the horse they rode in on.
As compared to Trump.
Something wrong with the lighter? Can get it fixed. For cheap.
The Hillary medical questions are smoldering underneath the headlines. But it’s something ordinary average flyover Americans can relate to. Ill health is the Great Leveller. You can’t buy or bribe your way out of dementia or death. Ask anybody.
So forget the FBI. Forget her blaring klaxon voice. Imagine electing FDR to a fourth term when he was dying all the time.
Howard Roark of The Fountainead spoke eloquently about ego and the creative impulse. Roark was an architect. He refused to compromise and destroyed his own greatest work.
Roark was right and he was wrong. When he talks about the uniqueness and importance of individual creative vision, he is right. When he is prepared to cut off his nose to spite his face in the name of selfishness, he is wrong. It took many compromises for the much maligned, arrogant, and egocentric Trump to create this architectural legacy.
To my knowledge, none of the combatants on either side of the Trump War have ever posted anything like the picture above. No, they talk about how he could have invested his inheritance and made more money. They don’t want you to see what his visionary investments created. Whole fields of more valuable real estate than existed before a Trump building went up. What trust fund kid can claim credit for the thousands and thousands of jobs huge construction projects and the businesses they house engender? Steel and concrete trades, plumbers, electricians, interior designers, desk clerks, blackjack dealers, parking lot attendants, waitresses, chefs, not to mention hotels, casinos, and the architects, structural engineers, and city planners and union workers who derive income from same.
Not to mention what appears to be a unifying esthetic. Sleek, aspirational, glittering. You can hate it if you like, but personally I compare it favorably to the brutalist architecture of Le Corbusier — the Boston City Hall, FBI Headquarters, and mysterious MI-6 enclaves in London.
Boston City Hall
Office block in concrete near High Holborn in London. MI-6? You tell me.
Ah, but if you write a couple of snide columns a week for National Review, you absolutely must be superior to Trump’s architectural and economic record. You incline to the Brutalists. They’re your bread and butter. No bare tits. Just the stacks of stacks of money the establishment controls, along with the force to command obedience. What your wife the lobbyist can bring home. That’s the concrete of your foundation.
Except that Trump is not Howard Roark. He built all this stuff along the way. He does not drink. He does not smoke. He loves women, and regardless of our envy they seem to love him. Alpha male.
Now, when he could be degenerating like Hugh Hefner or Roger Ailes or Bill Clinton into a grasping senile grabber of asses, he puts his life very considerably at risk to be president of the United States. If I were Kevin, I would never have thought about this. The man would have to take a reduction in his standard of living to be president. He already has his own version of Air Force One. Is it possible he loves the country he tried to decorate with his buildings and other largesse? Is it possible a lifetime of experience with the rich and powerful has made him a new age Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. That with old age sometimes comes a character and wisdom we never saw in the youth? That it’s actually his intention to serve?
No, no, no, no, no, no. He’s vulgar. He went to Wharton but not Harvard or Princeton. His wife is beautiful. He talks like a drunken sailor, no mind how many Annapolis grad admirals also talk like drunken sailors. Strikes One, Two, and Three. He is not one of us.
Therefore, we are prepared to hurl the United States into a simulacrum of the fifties Soviet Union.
You know what? Fuck you.
There was always a time when a revolution was required. It’s only the stuffed shirts of every persuasion who ever disagreed.
She came in a wooden box. From Ireland. A West Highland White Terrier.
All these years later, we’ve had a Scotty. They’re supposed to be the feisty ones. Take it from me. Westies are feistier. She would snarl and snap when my mother tried to groom her. It was a clown show. My mother used her tail like a jack handle, just as rough in her own terrier way as Pacey was.
Actually, The only one she had any use for was my mother. White is a relative term. Other terms would be greyish, yellowish, dull whitish, brownish, mild charcoalish, and glum.
I once nearly killed her. Guilt things you don’t get over. A longish story with a short punchline.
We were all in First Class. Big mistake for a Scot.
So we went to France on the Queen Elizabeth. Dogs had to be housed on the upper deck. With the other noble breeds. Pacey fell in love with a French Poodle. Nobody knows how the anatomical considerations could have been worked out, but she was in full Audrey Hepburn mode, and the poodle was doing a commendable Louis Jourdan impersonation. Thing was, they were feeding all the critters pure chicken, and it made Pacey sick.
By the time we got to our apartment in Nouilly, Paris, she had stopped eating altogether. She was the same size as Muffy, but now she was listless and sickish. They don’t have vets in France. So we searched out broths she might eat. Found one she seemed to like. Put it in a bowl in the kitchen. Where you know who managed to trip over it and spill it all on the floor.
Inconsolable ten year old. They tried to console me. Tell me that Pacey’s inevitable death wouldn’t be my fault.
Looking back, it might be that Pacey heard the talk of her impending death as a challenge. She recovered swiftly and lived to the ripe old age of thirteen.
Never what you’d call a “nice girl” though. She spent her last four years in virtual silence. The terrier curse.