29 June 2019

The Author Here Discusses JD Salinger, a New Sherlock Show, Dinner Attire and More

A few nights ago I had a dream in which I was in Moe's Bookstore in Berkeley (one of the great bookstores in the world) browsing when I came across JD Salinger sitting in a sofa on the bottom floor. The bottom floor is where Moe's has new fiction, mysteries, children's books, sale books, new non fiction and music and film books. Actually there's probably other types of books on the bottom floor but I can't be expected to remember everything. Anyway I sat down next to JD Salinger who was by himself seemingly just gathering wool. He was quite happy to talk to me about his novel, Catcher in the Rye, which you may have heard of if you're over ten years old. I don't recall any details of the conversation except that Salinger said he didn't like the end of the book and always wished he could go back and change it. This surprised the hell out of me, even though in the dream I couldn't remember how Catcher in the Rye ended. Before he could go into any detail or I could ask him any questions, someone interrupted us. That's all I remember about the dream.

The next day I decided it was time again to read Catcher in the Rye which, if I made a top ten -- or any other number, for that matter -- list of my favorite all time novels would be right toward the top. Maybe I could have saved time by saying it's one of my five favorite novels. Next time. However I couldn't find my tattered old copy -- I've read the book about seven or eight times -- perhaps because it got too old and tattered when I last read it. So I went ahead and bought a copy at a local independent bookstore (I like to brag about patronizing local independent bookstores like Moe's, in this case I shopped at Pegasus on Shattuck here in Berkeley another fine indy store). Since then I've started to read it and it's better this time than any of the however many other occasions I've read it. Great books, like great films, are like that. My favorite line in the book is: "Sensitive. That killed me. That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a goddamn toilet seat." God that's great writing.

This is the first line of a new topic. This is the second line, it will be followed by the new topic itself. I think there should be yet another iteration of the Sherlock Holmes story, this one in which Holmes and Watson are in grammar school. Little Holmes' catchphrase would be: "it's elementary school, dear Watson." Thoughts? You like it or love it? Be brutal. This topic is no longer new and is in fact ending.

Much to the resounding joy of people everywhere, I've hardly been writing on this blog at all recently. I've explained before that my writing time is occupied these days by work on a novel. I'm within days of finishing the proofreading of it and will the commence trying to foist it off on some publisher. I welcome your wishes of good luck.

The missus and I celebrated our wedding anniversary last night by dining out (I know, how original). I realize that gentlemen no longer dress up for dinner (when I was a child men wore ties) and that more casual attire than that of previous generations is accepted. But. But there was a young couple sitting at the table next to us, the woman was wearing jeans which given that they were clean and new is perfectly fine in this day and age, but her date was -- I'm not making this up -- wearing sweat pants. No, seriously. Fucking sweat pants to a restaurant. What's the next step? Are men going to show up in their underwear? It seems no line has been drawn. I wish I knew who to ask to draw one. Any line-drawers out there? We could really use you on this one.

Why do conservatives try to make people believe that Democrats are fiscally irresponsible when it is the right that has given enormous tax breaks to the wealthy that will bankrupt our nation? And how do these bastards have the nerve to say we can't afford this that or the other while we're giving enormous tax breaks to the wealthy? Just who do conservatives care about besides the wealthy, corporations and gun owners? They are one heartless group of people and the fact that evangelicals support them tells you everything you need to know about the religious right or as I call them, the biggest fucking hypocrites on the planet.

Speaking of planets, my favorite is Earth. Ya know why? Well for one thing, unlike all the others we know of, it's habitable. Also it's the only one I've been to -- so far. I'm still hoping to check out Neptune sometime or maybe Saturn and no, I'm not about to make a joke about Uranus.

I'll keep in touch.

09 June 2019

I Had a Typical Saturday

Ms. Charlize Theron with whom I had a tryst.
I thought it might be interesting for you dear reader, if I shared a typical Saturday in my life. If that is in fact the case, read on.

I started my day by going to an early morning seance. (I kind of like getting them out of the way early.) We contacted the spirit of Harpo Marx who, as you are no doubt aware, is a chatty fella. Harpo shared his perspectives on such matters as calendar reform, animal rights, the next NLF season and the poetry of Jim Morrison. We all had a grand time and Minne Sterncastle brought some of her homemade scones for our snack break which, along with the usual fare of bear claws, donut holes and raw cabbage, made for a most enjoyable interval. Next we communicated with the spirit of Lance Peters, a recently deceased ex-Marine and decorative magnet salesman. Lance wanted to let us all know that he was doing well and very much enjoying the after life. After he signed off we all wondered who the devil he was.

From there I joined a few other family members with whom I performed an autopsy on our Uncle Earl. Imagine our surprise when, half way through the proceedings, we realized Earl was not actually dead. Were our faces red! Turned out that he'd just been asleep. In retrospect the fact that he'd been breathing should have been a clue. Earl was quite understanding about the whole thing, especially when we gave him a bottle of plum wine. Of course first we had to stitch him up as best we could, sadly none of us are particularly good at replacing organs once they've been removed. But we managed. Bygones were bygones especially as Uncle Earl made short work of the wine. We said our goodbyes and off I went on the next errand of the day.

My next chore was to help my friend Frederich Gustav Abdul-Aziz pick out a floral pattern for his new abattoir. Joining us were some recently escaped federal prisoners who happened to be in the neighborhood. Minnie Sterncastle popped by with more of her homemade scones so we all indulged. The escapees were especially hungry so Frederich made some bouillabaisse for the lads. But only after the work was done.

I made my excuses and headed for the Ritz where I had a rendezvous with Academy Award winning actress Charlize Theron. The details of our three hours together in her suite shall not here be revealed in deference to our privacy, but suffice to say a good time was had by all, that is the both of us. And how.

Finding myself a bit peckish after the vigorous activity in which Ms. Theron and I had just engaged in, I headed home for a late and large lunch. My personal chef, Knuckles, was kind enough to prepare a five course meal consisting entirely of locally grown produce and fish caught in my pond. I'm quite proud of my pond and am next thinking of constructing a river to connect to it. I'm leaning toward one with rapids. Dessert was a highlight as Knuckles served two scoops of vanilla ice cream swimming in melted caramel sauce with a dash of donut sprinkles. As I told Knuckles at the time, "yummy for tummy." High praise, indeed, replied my erstwhile chef.

After a ten minute power nap I met my friend Barnard JX Pettibone at the local gladiatorial arena where we watched a series of brutes ravage one another. I made a small fortune wagering on the outcomes. I will here reveal my secret: I always placed my money on the armed gladiator. I've recently come to understand that some people find gladiatorial battles to be cruel especially inasmuch as one of the participants is always put to death. For the life of my I don't know what people are on about. Seems a quaint enough activity to me. But no matter. Barnard and I had a ripping good time.  We repaired to a favorite watering hole to consume copious amounts of Thunderbird Wine. There we met some old friends from our days at the The Academy of Irrelevant and Useless Studies. Needless to say we all began reminiscing. A few old wounds were opened up and a some of our group settled old grudges by garroting others. All in good fun.

By now it was evening so I took a rickshaw home to prepare for the coming revelries. My valet Nixon had laid out my tuxedo earlier that day so after a sauna, shower, shave and colonoscopy I was ready to paint the town any number of colors. My first stop was a favorite restaurants, The Salmonella Greasy Spoon, where I was joined by on and off girlfriend, Murgatroyd. We had a sumptuous meal of stir fried blue whale and bottle after bottle of Ripple. Before leaving we slipped into a broom closet to sate our lust. The brooms helped.

The rest of the evening is a blur. I do recall a waltz, snorting heroin, working on a jigsaw puzzle, skinny dipping in a dried up creek bed and a balloon ride. It was sometime after 4:30AM when I returned to my humble abode with four strippers, three dance girls, two scullery maids and Murgatroyd in tow. We slept comfortably in my ultra super deluxe king bed although sleeping wasn't the only activity taking place in the boudoir. (Hint, hint.)

As I write this it is shortly after noon and all my overnight guests have departed save one of the scullery maids who I find quite fetching. She is currently sitting beside me reading Proust.

Anyway that was my yesterday, which as you can see, extended into my today. I know it was all rather dull stuff but it gives you a snapshot of my mostly ordinary life. Perhaps next time I'll share a more interesting weekend.

03 June 2019

A Poet's Birthday, Time Travel, Killing Hitler, The Gym Again, Working Again, Commencement, Also Etc.

Allen Ginsberg born on this day in 1926.
It is the 93rd anniversary of the birth of my favorite poet, the gentleman pictured above, Allen Ginsberg. He has been one of the great influences of my life not only for his poetry but for the admirable life he lived.

People often say that if they had a time machine they'd go back and kill baby Hitler. How awful! Killing a baby?! Me, I'd go back and kill teenaged Hitler. He must have been a particularly obnoxious teen and offing him would probably seem a relative pleasure compared to killing an infant.

Speaking of time machines...(dot, dot, dot) besides killing Hitler people often speculate about other deeds they might do when time traveling, many of which would change the present. Hogwash. You cannot change the past because it has already happened and we have a record of it. If you could go and change something in the past it would be changed now too. I thus can only conclude that if time travel ever becomes possible voyagers would only be able to view events and not interact. Perhaps we will -- I'm talking hundreds of years in the future, most likely -- be able to witness past events. Imagine solving all those ancient mysteries, murders and conspiracies. The truth revealed at last. How cool would that be? (I'm going to go with pretty cool.)

Check out these lyrics from the Mamas and the Papas song, Monday Monday:

Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
A-you can find me cryin´ all of the time

Is that the most EMO shit you've ever seen? I mean, dude, crying because it's Monday? Get over it. I can see being a little bummed at the return of another school or work week, but if you're crying one out of every seven days, you need help. Plus, this sucker is a singer. It's not like he's a working stiff for whom Monday means the start of another arduous work week. You're a singer, you can sleep in on Monday. Hell, you're pretty successful, you can take the damn day off. Crying about it? Gimme a break.

I've complained ad nauseam about people who can't tear themselves away from their cell phones even while working out at the gym so it shouldn't surprise anyone that I'm on that topic again. Recently I saw a woman working out who wasn't looking at her phone between sets (as many do) but stopping to look at it and text between reps! (I believe that was worthy of an exclamation point.) My god, can you imagine the mindset? The level of addiction? I saw someone yesterday on the elliptical machine stop and get off and look at a video for a couple of minutes before resuming his workout. Madness.

Another gym behavior I've noticed is a male thing. I often seen men get on gym mats (communal spaces, mind you) and spread out horizontally taking up space that two other people could occupy instead of being considerate human beings and taking up a vertical space. Last week, for the first time I saw a woman spread out horizontally. No gender is perfect, I suppose. Some people are so self possessed they think of no one else, like those jackasses who blast music out of their cars so loudly you can hear it in the confines of your own home.

I started working again today after 93 days of retirement. I hasten to add that I am now teaching but one class a day -- in the mornings -- and whereas I used to have a commute totaling one hour and twenty minutes one way, I now have a 15 minute walk to my place of work. I don't know how long I'll keep the job, two months minimum and after that we'll see. As it is it's paying for a trip to New York in October for me and the missus.

I saw that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was commencement speaker at Harvard recently. Good get. When I graduated from Chico State (aka the Harvard of the west) we had a German sausage maker speak. I'm totally kidding, I've never gone to any of my college graduations, truth to tell it never crossed my mind to. I have attended my daughters' and as they are both starting graduate school in the Fall it looks like I have a couple more to enjoy.

I see in the news that there was another mass shooting and once again the NRA has forgotten to apologize or put forward a restitution plan. My but they've got a lot of blood on their hands as do Republican members of Congress. The latter group is, by the way, saving their resources to have spine implants. It won't be a moment too soon. A bigger group of cowards is hard to imagine.

Well I've damn near finished with another novel and wish me luck because within a month's time I'll be trying to interest someone in it. I'll say this for me, I don't give up.