Monday, July 27, 2009

I don't know it's name, I just know the sound it makes when it LIES!!!

"If I stub my toe, that's tragedy. If you fall down a manhole and die, that's comedy."
--Mel Brooks

So far, I don't like anything Danny McBride has done as star, but he had some of my favorite lines in Tropic Thunder. Makes me think he has to have something more going on under the surface. I am, no doubt, destined to be dissapointed.

Today's lunch is Ramen noodles with boiled egg, shallot, Cholula, malt vinegar, cracked green peppercorn, Celtic sea salt, and, the real secret weapon, Jack Link's Spicy Thai Beef Jerky. If you look closely, about 11 o'clock in the bowl, right next to the egg quarter, you will see a piece. The jerky didn't completely rehydrate, so it's still a little chewy, but still. Yum, dude.

Today's movie is not Who The @#$% is Jackson Pollock. One, for rednecks dissing Pollock. You don't dig Pollock, fuck you. Sorry, but that's how I feel. Second: it's not a Pollock. It just isn't. I mean, it's close, in a way, like someone tried real hard to approximate-- not copy, but approximate by technique-- No. 5, 1948. But it is not a Pollock. It just isn't.

Secondly, I hate faked forensics. Forensics can be fixed, just like anything else, and you have to recognize that. I didn't finish watching it because I was getting goddamned sick of these supposed experts "authenticating" the lady's painting by the tiniest, pickiest little bit of crap that could have come about any number of ways, or, for that matter, been utterly faked. True, the art world people are annoying as well, as is the lady, but when you get to that level, what am I supposed to do? Root for my favorite fucking annoying group? The only one in the whole thing I think I could stand to be in a room with for more than four minutes is the lady's son in law, and we would have to change the fucking subject.

Pollock's are darker. More . . . angular. This is too thought out. Too deliberately random. Pollock is effortlessly angry. This is too clever by half. Just like the lady.

Back to Danny McBride: I have not seen most of what he has been in: Heartbreak Kid and Pineapple Express both got good, solid efforts at veiwing before I gave up. In both cases, I got why they were supposedly funny, but I had a hard time working up sympathy for character who basically brought all their woes on themselves before handling them very, very badly. Now, if they had all fallen down a man hole and died . . .

Eastbound and Down I watched the first episode of before letting Nabin take over the viewing duties, and just following his weekly summaries. It went almost exactly where I thought it would, which was next to nowhere, and although I could see why it could be seen as funny, again, all people I would LOVE to have seen fall down a manhole and die. And I have not yet seen Foot Fist Way, because, actually, I knew that asshole, and in addition to not being funny, he was a pain in the ass. So maybe someday, but the circumstances would have to be pretty copacetic. Yet still, I see where McBride is going with his social satire-- yeah, I know it's not all him, but he seems to be picking his bits pretty carefully-- and I seem to think there's something there besides petty, crusde cruelty humor.

Then again, we are living in the age of Jud Apatow, so I guess I ought to expect the fun to get wrung out of just about everything these days.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

We Named The Dog Indiana

TODAY's lunch is brought to you by a general sense of desper-ation. Of the several options I was faced with, none of which were gaining any kind of moral traction, what I ended up with is what I am electing to call the Doggie Club: grilled cheese and turkey, with both white and yellow American cheese-- the real stuff this time, not the plastic-wrapped cheeze variety-- and two different kinds of mustard, both my beloved yellow Plochman's and the ubiquitous Grey Poupon. The only thing about the sandwich that is at all strange, though, really, is that the turkey I used is the stuff we buy for our dog as a nightly treat. Not that there's anything wrong with the turkey-- it's Oscar Mayer Organic, which we get for the dog on the grounds that it has a lower volume of sodium than other varieties-- it's just kind of strange to know that I am eating food we bought for the dog.

The beer is not just a mistake, it's a cruel joke, and insult, a big, flacid slap in the face of a fake beer. I sampled the stuff about a year ago at a beer and wine emporium we never go to, and it didn't seem that bad. On pouring a whole bottle, and specifically on the third or fourth gulp, it was clear that mischief was afoot. A cursory examination of the neck band revealed that Blowing Rock Ale is made for the Boone Brewing Company (both places in the North Carolina mountians) in Wilkes Barre, PA.

That was yesterday. Today's revelation? This stuff is McSoreleys. Plain and simple. Boom, like dat. I got two more of the things to cringe through before I am done, and at least they're not horribly, horribly bad if you more or less bolt them, gulp by gulp. At least they were on sale.

Today's film ended up being The Eiger Sanction. I caught this more or less by accident when I was in college, and today it just happened to turn up about the time I was starting to consider lunch options. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a pretty good movie about mountaineering sandwiched around a pretty bad spy flick. The truth is, I learned subsequently, that the novel was meant as a satire of the whole spy book genre, and the movie plays it right down the middle: if you are a fan of spy movies and buy into all the cold war bullshit, it's a pretty good spy movie. If you hate spy movies and understand that all the cold war, spy vs. spy bullshit is bullshit, it's a pretty good satire. Problem is, I love spy movies because I know all the cold war stuff is bullshit, so to me, it is still a pretty good mountaineering movie sandwiched in a pretty bad spy movie. This isn't near so satirical as some of the mid-age Bond movies.

Scratch that. Great mountaineering movie. And really, how many of them are there? Besides that, see where it says GEORGE KENNEDY in great big letters at the bottom? This is really a great George Kennedy movie. Really, he takes a while to come in, but he really takes the thing over. It's a beautiful thing, so long as you like George Kennedy. Which I clearly do.

So do I recommend it? Eh. Fly by your own lights. I like it well enough to watch it when it comes around, which so far proves to be every five years or so. Don't eat your dog's food, unless your dog is so spoiled that it demands to be fed people food. And the beer I wouldn't wish on my dog.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009


SO THERE are three obvious, blatant, visual contra-dictions here. First is the cheese doodles, which are not actually Cheese Doodles, or Cheeto's (which, come to think of it, are not actually O's). These are Utz brand Cheese Curls, which are actually on the far end of the doodle spectrum: where the Cheeto's puffs are lighter and fluffier, the Utz specimen is more chewy and substantial, with the Wise varietal falling right in the middle.

The first contradiction is, obviously, you don't have cheese doodles and beer. And when I say you, I mean you. I, obviously, have cheese doodles and beer.

The second contradiction is the beer, in that I followed the Pale Ale with the Black Forest. Or maybe that's just more a non-sequitur. Shoulda done it the other way around.

The third contradiction is the television/background shot. Of all the still images I might have captured from the movie/ridiculous waste of time and money Smokey and the Bandit, this might, in fact, be the least interesting.

The film itself is something of a contradiction. Partly meant to be a celebration of 1970's Deep South heavy trucking culture, it works hard to insist that trucking culture was/is a vast melting pot of men and women embracing the same basic sexist biases. Also meant to be a celebration of American car design, it vastly mislead an entire generation of middle-aged men-- this being the class of Americans in that age able to afford to buy the new generation of "Sport Muscle" cars-- about the build and ability of the Pontiac Trans Am, which finally turned out to be a hunk of Detroit steel that ran and handled well enough for six month before turning into, well, a Pontiac.

So I don't recommend cheese doodles and beer, following a pale ale with a black Bavarian, or watching Smokey & The Bandit while eating a tuna salad sandwich, but they all three worked for me.

I do recommend The Chris Farley Show.

Not the series of SNL sketches, which, I recently discovered, you can get as a DVD from the SNL series, and although I did not investigate it thoroughly, it appears they have collected all of the "The Chris Farley Show" bits from the series and run them end to end, which just doesn't sound like a very good idea to me. The book, though, which I deliberately took with me on the plane to California, on the grounds that it might be something of a slog. And while, indeed, there were some sections which turned tedious under the burden of recollection or seemed frustratingly light due to the falibility of memory, I can heartily rcommend this book. It is not for the faint of heart-- show biz can be ugly, people can be unfair, fatigue takes its toll on the friends of junkies, and when the horse went down, it went down with a cold, hard thud-- it is also, at its core, a very sweet book. The basic structure is a biography interspersed with recollections by those who knew Farley best, and loved him most. A couple of the reviews I read complained that there were parts of the book that were contradictory, and that David Spade is an asshole, but I read the contradictions as being deliberate, not only part of the narrative, but a fact of life: people see things diffrently, and things are not always as they appear. And David Spade is not an asshole. He just plays one on TV from time to time. I think. And I can't be sure.

As for the promised pictures of California, I am still thinking that over. On downloading the pics I took, I came to the conclusion that I have not decided how many of them are worth sharing, or if I oughta just throw up as many pics as Blogger will let me, which is pretty much what I did last time (see archived posts from August '06, if you'd like.) I didn't even take the camera to Big Sur this time. It's Big Sur. I don't need to have pictures. Big Sur is in my heart.

BIG SUR, JUNE 21, 2009

“Why would Big Sur inspire anyone to write? It’s so peaceful.”

--Christopher P. Fuckin’ Nagel,
ten and three quarters years previous

We come here every time, to this place
That breaks my heart, every time. Surf, sun, sand,
Verdant hillsides that steal the eyes heavenward.
This place that makes me want to say stupid things,
Like “Love is in this land,” or
“God lives here.” Nothing
Some other idiot hasn’t said already,
But stupid things nonetheless.
Makes me want to sing and dance, this place does, and yet
It strikes me dumb.
So we come, and invite ourselves
To this broad beach, this breach
Between the ocean and the land, this fissure
In consciousness, and sit
Toasting the solstice, which will occur
Whether we toast it
Or not.


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