Monday, December 17, 2007

Task to Be Who I Am

I'm ordered out to a big hump of stone as if I were an aristocratic corpse from the iron age.
The rest are still back in the tent sleeping
stretched out like spokes in a wheel.
In the tent the stove is boss,
The big snake that swallows a ball of fire and hisses.
It is silent out here in the spring night amongst the stones waiting for the dawn.
In the cold I start to fly like a shaman to her body, some places pale from her swimming suit
the sun shone right on us, the moss was hot
I brush along the side of warm moments
But I can't stay here long
I am whistled back through space;
I crawl among the stones
Back to here and now.
Task: to be where I am.
Even when I am in this solemn and absurd role
I am still the place where creation does a little work on itself.
Dawn comes, the sparse tree trunks take on color now
The frost-bitten forest flowers form a silent search party after something that
has disappeared in the dark
But to be where I am and to wait.
I am full of anxiety, obstinate, confused
Things not yet happened are here and now
I feel that—they're just out there—
A murmuring mass outside the barrier
They can only slip in one by one.
They want to slip in.
They do one by one.
I am the turnstile.

Tomas Tranströmer (b. 1931)


I'm going to go ahead and say that they are actually better at this than I am...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007


: (ri-'spekt; Latin) 
" From respicere -- the act of looking back,
regard, the act of giving particular attention,
consideration, esteem."
                          • Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Respect is not fear and awe; 
it denotes, in accordance with 
the root of the word (respicere), 
the ability to see a person as (they are), to be aware of (their) unique individuality. 
                  • Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

Thursday, November 29, 2007

And your first born child...

and any sense of autonomy and free choice you might have imagined you actually had.

Since the elections seem more and more a sham, Why don't we just let Simon, Randy and Paula Abdul decide the outcome of this upcoming one, folks?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Would-Be Michelangelo

At the bar on Friday, I point out to my friend, Joe K., that the esteemed sculptor of David was gay, a notion he fights a bit. I tell him my first such inclination was when I saw how he rendered women - as muscle-bound burly men - and the idea was supported by allusions to his "infatuations" with pretty youths in historical accounts. Don't know that Vasari touched on that aspect, but the proof's in the work, People, if you're asking me.

In any case, he is impressed by the sculpture, and rightly so. Though I had little care for the decor of The Vatican when I saw it in 2001, The Pieta was positively stunning, and one of the few pieces of art that has provoked tears from me (Guernica's another, funny as I've never seen the original and I don't particularly care for Picasso). For that matter, I'm not really fond of Christian art generally, but the power of the gesture in the mother holding her dead child is something to see.

Joe, who is some kind of quirky artist, turns to me and says, how do you go about making something like that? "Well Joe, you get yourself a big hunk of marble, some tools, and about a decade of apprenticeship to a master..."

Joe interjects, "Naw, I'm goin' right in there!"

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Epistle of Adam, v. 1

I'm quite sure I've told you about him, the lank boy from Santa Cruz who wore a fly-fisherman's hat and oversized oxford cloth shirts, as he slothed about campus. Wooden, implacable, sensual, withholding, and impossibly bright, he would positively hate that I am reprinting any of his words here. If I didn't trespass against him, this would never see the light of day. Maybe that would be better.

Here's a letter, written when Adam was maybe less than twenty:

I'm sure I never told you about my one attempt to speak to Robert Kim. Perhaps you remember Robert -- Korean, moon-faced, obscure--but you may not know that he was my near neighbor for several years. I never saw him at home, and never spoke to him at school, but we both knew of our proximity. During my sophomore year, before you and I met, I suffered periods of despair and panic; I lost my reason and my calm. During these attacks I would cast round wildly for relief, believing at times that remedy lay in drugs, sleep, exercise, meditation, study, art, or philosophy. Once, while afflicted, I was sure that Robert Kim was a sage of sorts, wise in the Oriental tradition, and that he could ease my turmoil and teach me the way to peace. I do not exaggerate. I remember imagining his vast greasy face with an expression of composed bliss, one finger raised as he spoke: "The key to happiness is organization." That maxim was all I could hear in my reveries, but he delivered it as an earnest of more to come, if I would only hearken. I have said that my reason, and my shame, deserted me at those times, so I saw no absurdity in the idea: I was to find Robert Kim and beg his tutelage. That organization was the key to happiness made sense, and I knew that his room would be organized. I walked down the street to his door and knocked, without preparing myself for an introduction or rehearsing any explanation for my sudden visit. His mother answered the door, and I asked for Robert. He was not at home, so I left, and gave up the whole business immediately as rank folly and idiocy. What if he had been there? What if I had gone to his room--I imagined it as upstairs--and tried to tell him why I had come? What if a classmate whom you did not know came to your door, told you he was abject and hopeless, and asked for your teachings? I was quite addled in those days, and many knew it. For example, I had two acquaitances (sic), John and Bobby, whose surnames I can't remember. You would recognize them: John used to stride across the front lawns at lunchtime wearing headphones, and Bobby rode a large motorcycle to school. They didn't look much alike, except for their short hair, but one day I confused them and called John Bobby, and thereafter I could never get it right. If one approached I would get giddy, and loudly hail him with the wrong name, and laugh foolishly. There was no malice behind it, and I was red-faced each time, but I couldn't help myself. For a while they corrected me glumly, then they stopped acknowledging me. And I was friendly with a girl named Cayenne, who had a small yurt dome in her back yard where she held parties. One night, after a party, I was walking home up the Laurent hill when the sky turned white and I watched a fiery meteor fall into the bay. I may have mentioned that before now.
I have never told the Robert Kim story, and I can't decide whether my condition today owes more to the meteor or to Robert. I have told almost everybody I know about the meteor, though no one really believes it. I have never told anyone about Robert, and Robert himself probably doesn't know.
Thank you for sending the list of lines from songs. The first eight were easy, but then I began to falter, and ended having named only forty percent of the songs. The Cyndi Lauper quote reminded me of of one more event, perhaps significant. You might have shared a class in our freshman year with a girl named Beth Z. She was small and blonde, very pretty, and remote, well outside our orbit. On hot days she wore bathing suits to her classes. One Saturday morning my stepfather and I drove to the Long's Drugstore at the corner of, what, River and Soquel. Does Soquel Avenue keep its name as it approaches Pacific? You know the place, next to what is now a Zanotto's market. Is it still a Zanotto's market? I will never be an historian. We parked far from the drugstore, near Erik's Cafe, and the car stops, the radio is playing the Lauper song, "Girls Just Wanna, etc." I looked across the wide parking lot to the opposite side, where the river runs and the park begins. A dyke, or a raised bank, follows the roadway there, and I saw a figure walking atop it. You might say, because of the great distance, that I "barely descried" a figure: a blur, a flash, a mote--that sort of sight. In an instant, however, the facts flooded me, and the scene resolved itself as if seen through powerful magnification lenses. The figure was Beth Z., she was returning home from a night spent at a guy's house where she had been ravaged, and her stride was in the song's time, and all of it stung me like a just reproof. Whoa, was I indolent and slothful and halt. Girls just wanna, even Beth Z., especially Beth Z., and the years ahead would be full of dark hours and rent garments and bloodied noses, and shouting and glaring lights and beer. Quite an epiphany, in a moment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Usually I am strictly repulsed by clowns (I know this is a banal claim, yet they truly unnerve me), but this is hilarious and absurdist enough to smooth down the usual piloerection, er, horripilation (you know, the jimjams, the willies), that clowns normally give. That's not to say it isn't a bit scary -

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy All Saints Day!

And Happy Woulda Been Seventy-Fifth Birthday, to my Pa!

Still Sick! Didn't stop me from distributing germs as well as candy to all those kiddies, and then going out last night. David Thewlis stopped by with tots in tow. That was almost as cool as meeting Julian Sands on my porch two years ago. Yum. Ok. back to bed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It's my favorite holiday! And I have the flu! Yay!! But y'all enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

India Ink

I'm having difficulty writing about my travel experience. It probably doesn't help that people ask me quite often some version of, "Did it change your life?" Because, you know, seeing that kind of poverty inevitably causes a complete restructuring of one's world-view and overhaul of the sensibilities and psyche.

Or not. Or maybe.

India was, for me, an insistent and intense crushing wave of a whole lot of humanity. It was sweat, perfume, stench, chaos, color, disfigurement, pathos, bathos, traffic, gastro-intestinal devastation, percussion, must, garbage, beauty, waste, beauty, sewer, beauty, strife, beauty, beauty, beauty... India was your nose pressed into every curious, ruleless, ruthless, inspired, loving and cruel moment a human being is capable of all at once, all the time. It was very tiring, but I Romanticize a bit, I suppose.

Specific things?

They use mothballs as air freshener and in all the linens. I think they put them in the air vents in one of our hotels - all our clothing reeked of paradichlorobenzene when we returned to the US, even the items that never made it out of the suitcase. In another hotel, they placed two mothballs in the sink trap, so the water would activate the aroma, I guess. It was horrible to breathe. I guess they don't know it's carcinogenic.

The India Times (I didn't expect everything over there to be in English; it was shocking, really) front page related a survey: apparently 52% of Indian women think it's okay for a man to beat his wife. Lord.

Indian hospitality is everything I imagined it would be, and more. "The guest is God," or so the saying goes. We did surmise that is was (therefore?), impossible to run a wedding without offending someone. Our hosts spent better than $150,000, an outrageous sum in any currency, in my estimation. But then, I couldn't see spending over five grand, unless yo daddy's a Rockefeller.

That much non-stop curry and spice makes my intestines feel like a mean little man's been stomping around my duodenum in wooden sabot while he pounds the walls with his angry little fists. I can't face it again for ages.

I have never seen so many beautiful faces in one place in my life. They are just that good-looking.

The amount of garbage laying about everywhere is shameful, and any idea of cleaning it up seems hopeless. I imagine before the advent of plastics, the problem was far less, and that was probably the most significant "white guilt" feeling I had on the trip. Anyhow, the lack of interest in containing it seems a cultural problem of their own making, not one the West brought over, but I do wish the animals and street urchins weren't ingesting it so much of the time.

This brings me to the toilets on the Air India, which were positively filthy within an hour and a half after leaving JFK. I asked my friend Sameer about it. He said, "Affluent Indians are used to having servants for everything, so they don't see why they should have to maintain or clean up after themselves in a facility like that. It's awful." It was just nasty, and all the sinks were clogged as well. I don't get it.

I have never been stared at so much in my life. The children in the rural villages would either giggle or gape in stunned silence. Outside Agra at one of the various Moghul forts we visited, I was repeatedly asked to pose for pictures with Indian families and young men. Many Indian women handed me their infants and toddlers to hold in frame. Sometimes the babes took one look at me and cried. I managed to slow down the insistent mothers long enough to soothe the children before I took them in my arms - you know, hold out a hand, let them tough me first so they knew I wasn't made of fire or something dreadful. It was a pleasure to hold strangers' children, an honor really, though I couldn't really figure out what they wanted it for.

Everything I saw was 15th c or younger, which disappointed me some. This is partly due to the rampaging muslims who came in and tore down the religious whatnot of the various groups who had been coexisting for eons. The Moghuls were rather confused by the general uninterest in fighting back on the part of the Hindus, which apparently cooled their passions sufficiently that they built amazing monuments like the red forts and Taj Mahal. Still, I will have to go back sometime to see the really old stuff.

I didn't know dragonflies came in those colors, and I hadn't seen so many fireflies since I was eight and in Kansas. That evening was pure magic.

More later.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Missing Bombay

That I made it over there at all seems something of a miracle. In the first place, India has long been the foremost travel destination for me. If ever there were a culture for which I have, at the very least, an undeniable aesthetic affinity, it is that one, so the wish has been there for quite a long time. Then last Spring, my very dear old friend from college, Stephen, asked me to go with him to a wedding. He would pay the airfare. So there it was, a free trip and a dream realized. We would meet in Minneapolis, fly to New York for a day and night stop-over, then a twelve-hour layover in London (where I've never been, but plenty of time to get into town and walk about), then on to Mumbai, Goa, Delhi, and Agra.

I confess to some reluctance in me, fear even, about going, once the opportunity actually arrived. I was uncertain principally about how well Stephen and I would get along (because he is the only person in the world I really fight with, and we fight a fair bit - quite like siblings we are), but there was some obscure and inscrutable element blocking my excitement for the trip. It's fairly unusual for me not to know what I'm feeling, but there it was, a grey area.

Maybe it was the unconscious foreknowledge that there would be a very serious impediment - one that jeopardized the entire trip - namely, Ambassador Travel, the passport expediting service that executed neither speed nor reasonable accommodation. I paid for a 48 hour rush turnaround for my India visa, and instead ended up in suspense right past the day I was to fly. On the morning my visa was scheduled to arrive, a Friday, I phoned the service to inquire about the tracking number for the FedEx envelope I believed was about to land on my doorstep. They didn't seem to know what I was talking about really. I had completed my paperwork and signed the credit card slip in their fancy high rise Westwood office on Monday, all by 10:30 a.m. The Indian consulate in San Francisco was closed Tuesday for Gandhi's birthday, but I should have it Friday. Saturday would be the absolute latest. Not exactly 48 hours, mind you, but alright, so long as I had it in my hands Saturday, because I would fly to NY on Monday at noon.

I will not bother you with all the turmoil, wrangling and ridiculousness that ensued, but after badgering (which is not something I do), them all day (because they didn't know shit, they were avoiding me, failing to return calls when they promised, and generally just plain lying), I learned that they did not in fact have my visa issued but would do everything they could to get it on Monday and then would fly it to me anywhere in the U S of A. I asked for odds that this could happen at all, because obviously it was not worth flying across the country only to be disappointed.

I must say I contained my disappointment and stress remarkably well. Perhaps part of me was a little concerned about being apart from Tex for two solid weeks, especially as we had undergone quite our share, thank you very much, of strain over the preceding months. And there was the unexplainable reluctance in me about the trip. Could it have been fear that my dream would be a disappointment? "Paradise Lost?" as my Indian friend Vwani put it to me upon my return. I do know that once I got the thumbs down from Ambassador on Friday, I took a deep breath and told myself that if the entire mission failed, I really would be okay with it. And I think that was the truth. Maybe I was a little relieved.

Doing the crossword puzzle that evening, a onetime daily habit which had probably not been indulged in at least six months, a clue read, I kid you not, "Missing Bombay."

"Tex, It's a sign."

"It's not a sign," he said.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Return of the Prodigal i-Dotter

I'm so tired I can't tell if that title will make any sense, but I'm too sleepy to care. I have been away, far away, in India. I will be writing about those travels soon, once I've finished Marco Polo's superior tales of those environs, as well as E.M. Forster's classic* novel of lust, class, race and betrayal, so I can cut and paste together something of reasonable literary merit.

A teaser: The most surprising thing about India? The mothballs. I'll explain later.

I've missed you all!

(Actually, this is a lie. I've read all but one of his novels to completion, save, The Longest Journey, which I'd never heard of before today. I love his work. Also, he was a complete tosser.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Empty Closet

It's no "Lazy Sunday," but I appreciate the LL Cool J tones here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Steal This Movie

Last night, my band played at LACMA before a screening of the new Sean Penn film, Into the Wild. You need this movie; there won't be a better one this year. It just might be an all-time favorite. Really. I mean it.

Not everyone will feel this way of course. The same stories don't speak in precisely the same tones or at similar amplitudes for all people. I have always been loved the "coming of age" genre, the bildungsroman, which concerns itself with young men taking that journey into manhood. Despite the fact of my femaleness, my old friend, Steven B., would say my attraction here is caused by the thirteen-year-old boy he feels is trapped inside me. My psychologist friend would add that it's an unresolved puer aeternus complex. Same diff.

In any case it's no matter, the film is just great in about every way, but make sure you go in well hydrated.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Superpowers II

This is the best evidence I've seen that we are all going to be just fine. I mean it, click here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Since the muse has been on vacation (or maybe I wasn't honoring her enough, so she's enacting a trial separation, I'm not certain - I must remind myself to lay some flowers on her doorstep), I must direct you to another, for whom that particular relationship is full on.

This is not the most current entry, rather the 'next to,' but definitely read Mimi Smartypants on things superheroes say. Till next time, I will try to get this chain of kryptonite lifted off my chest, so that I can wield a pen and tap at the keyboard again, for a change.

Then again, there is the current entry, Cautionary Fable, because even if Mimi's humor is, as she claims, "desperate and lame," it's still funnier than television.

All truth passes through 3 stages.

First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Who is better than you, Emmylou?

and singing one of my favorite songs, Pancho & Lefty. Back in 1977. Thank God for You Tube.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And then God smote me...

Me, laughing at life's misfortunes. Like Grant Miller does.


Friday, August 17, 2007

"Without Breath"*

My next door neighbor died last Saturday in the early morning. He was 26. It was a tangle of sirens and diesel engines, but not so big as the last early morning, back in November, when there were six fire trucks and multiple EMT rigs, because they had such a heck of a time getting this big man down the steep and narrow staircase, and off to the hospital, where he was treated for a respiratory infection.

Both times his young wife, Zoë, awakened to find him blue. This time she couldn't get him breathing again.

I was dreaming of Tex being shoeless in the car and a fire truck, which obstructed my path and was digging a hole in the street I was trying to drive on, even though I was on the passenger side. Because naturally, fire engines are equipped with back ho buckets. Perfectly logical. Maybe it was the consideration of that oddity that knocked me into consciousness, just before the emergency vehicles pulled up out front.

I've written before about this, but had no heart to post it - I feel so much and so little about all this, all at the same time. What I mean is, there is a lot of feeling about it, and even for them, but it's not a personal loss in a sense. Most of what I feel might be strictly selfish, about the fear it creates in me, about my dismay at people who won't take care of themselves, or worse, about people who are in relationships who don't seem really to want to stick around. It's not a condemnation, really, it's a sadness. When you bind your life to someone else, isn't part of your duty to them one of preserving your health the best that you can, to prevent undue suffering? Adam was young and in pretty poor shape. Overweight, chain-smoker, no evidence of other substance abuse, and as sweet and polite a guy as any other I've known from a distance. Adam had a problem with sleep apnea. Maybe it was "his time to go," as people like to say. Maybe he could have chosen a different path. It's not my place to say, and I wish him well on his next journey.

Some teachers of mine have instructed me that we have spiritual contracts with all the individuals we encounter in our lifetime. Sometimes there is an agreement that such a loss will occur. I know it is a valuable lesson, I've been schooled in it several times, but failed to graduate to the level of non-attachment. I'm not certain that's the goal I have in mind.

Of course, this isn't really about me, which is why I've demurred the post for almost seven days now. I can tell you what it was like to watch her looking shell-shocked as they loaded his body into the coroner's van, how she let me hold her hand, and hug her, just like last November, and how his mother was wailing and one of the daughters looked embarassed about it, and the cop who was quite kind, but more interested on talking to me about my massive dog and how I should buy him some "Pawsicles," because they are healthy ice cream for canine pets. Everyone deals with grief and the proximity to death differently.

And just now a knock has come on the door, it's Jo, the friend from England, letting me know about the funeral, services and the state Zoë's in, which is no state at all, it seems.

I've meant to post this photograph for some time, now. I took it on my coastal trip last December. It's from a memorial for some fishermen lost on the Oregon coast, some time ago. We live in a desert here, but it seems appropriate to me, all the same. It is not credited, and I cannot discover the author.

(*apnea - Latin, from the Greek, apnoia, Indo-Euro root: -pneu. Adam was the first man, but "red man," literally translated. Zoë means "life.")

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wild Child

This sort of thing is my dream to experience. Evidently, these blokes raised the cub until he was too big to keep, so they turned him out where he could join a pride. This is their one year reunion. I think I could die happy if a lion gave me this sort of welcome.

Or, say, the kiss from the dolphin to Yang-Yang, but we already covered that.

Then there's Hippo Jessica. She makes a nice house guest, and my dog would just want to hug the stuffings out of her.

And no, I do not wear sweatshirts with kitties, lionesses or Pooh Bear airbrushed and spangled on them.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Napoleon Palindrome

Can any one suggest a reason why at least five different people have arrived at my blog by Googling, "Able was I" and "who said able was I"? Something cultural afoot that has resurrected The Short Man's Lament?

And did Napoleon actually say that after he saw Elba, or is it like Young George's cherry tree proclamation? Some sites say the source is anon.

Dig in, armchair historians.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Be Free*

I saved a hummingbird that was trapped in my laundry room the other day. I like to think it's the same one that was coming each and every day, several times a day, to my study window and peering in at me. I kid you not. He spent a fair amount of time looking in, is why I think that. Or maybe he just envied the wood panelling, all that vinyl and all those books. So anyway, I put up one of those syrupy red feeders, because what else could he possibly be asking for? Then I stopped sitting there; it's hot in the summer in the SW corner of the house. A few days ago I heard loud buzzing in the laundry room and the bird was pressing itself up against the interior windows, the way moths and flies get when they can't realize there is no passing through the glass. I picked up a box to try and gently trap it, which didn't happen, but pretty soon after it perched on the edge of the cardboard and remained completely still until I walked it out the back door. Away it flew. That was a good day.

(*And please don't sue me, Mr. Photographer)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Jurassic Genocide?

Dinosaur Mass Grave Discovered in Switzerland

See, the land of my father's people ain't so neutral after all.

This jogs a memory of second grade, when my know-it-all friend Auralee, whose daddy was a scientist, convinced me that there were two unearthed dinosaur eggs in her side yard. On reflection, I think they might have been decomposing squash, but I was a pliable sucker for years to come. I do recall arguing with her about it, but being an overall trusting sort of child, who was foolishly incapable of lying myself and therefore utterly solipsistic in my view of the potential mendacity of others, I caved. Later on I think she mocked me for my gullibility. She claimed to share some disease with The Bionic Woman, which must also have been a lie, because the only thing I could find noted about the woman who portrayed Jamie Sommers was dyslexia. Or maybe the actress involved herself in a related charity which benefitted folks similarly afflicted to Auralee. Actresses like to do that, you know. Anyway, TBW had lived in our area, and had written the ailing youngster her condolences. Consequently, Auralee had a signed picture of Lindsay Wagner (who, according to a few misguided people, I allegedly resemble. I don't think so, but there's a list like that, which is probably too embarassing to recount), which gave her extra credibility, of course.

It should be noted that my favorite dinosaur word is Diplodocus, which is phonetically as close a representation of the awkwardness of my movements in the subsequent years of grammar school, as any other cumbersome word you could find. I'd enjoy it if you could suggest a few more - sort of the opposite of our past lyric searches. To say I was all legs would be an understatement, and one would be overlooking The Feet. Odd that with platforms like that I should have toppled so easily. Sigh.

More Dinosaur facts? Don't really have any, except I used to know a founding member of the band, Dinosaur Jr., and that always reminds me of my friend and onetime roommate's old Lab mix, Dog, Jr. Dog, Jr, who quite possibly had the best dog name I've ever heard, was a sweet old man, and was terrified of the telephone. We never knew why. Despite his kindly disposition, he did abuse a drunken house-guest most terribly once. She had passed out on the sofa and he ate a hank of her hair off as she slept, right down to the scalp.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Even More Evidence That I Am Quite Like an Eisenhower Era housewife

I think this is what is known as "house proud."

I've scrubbed out the inside of my refrigerator, and I can't stop opening the door and peering in at the pristine perfection. (This is quite hard on the electric bill, by the way, much like what those flies suffered last summer.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's Good to Be Bad Grammar*

Exchange between erstwhile roommates:

David - You know that tv show, America Has Talent?

Me - I think so, but I almost never watch t.v...

Steven - It's, "America's Got Talent."

David - But I refuse to call it that, because the grammar galls...

Me - Then call it, "America Gots Talent"

David - Ooh, I like that.

*(uh, poor.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

My First Interview: Five Questions from Grant Miller

Grant Miller vs. Grant Miller: who do you prefer?


Believe it or not, as a child I used to interview myself constantly, because that's the kind of narcissist I am. Or, maybe it was all those hours with no one to talk to. But seriously, I had things to say.

These days, I no longer have to bounce my musings off the walls like a formerly crazy person, as I have been graced with the interest of Grant Miller Media! I think I guilted him into it. Regardless, finally my deep thoughts will be circulating the internet like another banal Paris Lohan Ritchie rumor for whatever the cumulative jailtime actually is.

The Interview

GM: We're both Led Zeppelin fans. If you were Robert Plant would you use a tube of toothpaste, a wadded up sock or the customary wad of paper to highlight your package?

KFC: That admission makes me feel so close to you, Grant. As for the frontman, an ironic term for a guy who wants to be your backdoor man, not sure he needs any embellishment. When I attended the screening of the Royal Albert Hall concert film, shamelessly wriggling about in my seat like a submissive pup, while gushing about how HOT he was at 22, mi amigo, Billy, turned and said "You just want to crawl up in his lap, DON'T YOU?" Well... So, maybe he could tie one of those protective red Kabbalah strings around it, but beyond that it would just be gilding the lily.

amigo Billy

GM: If you wrote a song about Alex Chilton, would you title it "Alex Chilton?"

KFC: Almost. You see, I went down to the crossroads recently, and now I have a pact to keep. So I think I'd call it "Alex Chitlins." He'd like that; he's southern.

GM: If Grant Miller Media reignited its blogwar with The Company Bitch, whose side would you chose?

KFC: Hmm, that's a tough one, Grant. You know, as much as I revere GMM, I really do love that Bitch. It's all so he said/she said - don't really want to get caught in the middle. I think I'd choose Unremitting Mike's side. Or maybe Mimi Smartypants. I'm a lover not a fighter.

GM: You represent a band in Los Angeles. What the most rock and roll thing you've seen them do?

KFC: Those guys are nerds. Good-looking nerds, but nerds all the same. Let's see... karaoke at Smogcutters, which I understand is staffed by Thai trannies. That strikes me as somewhat Glam, though the GLs aren't that, either. Nathan almost took a gig with the BeeGees. There's nothing rock-n-roll about them. Clark produced a few of the Dandy Warhols albums, but just how "rock-n-roll" are they, really? It's tough, because the whole genre might just be a thing of the past. Still, our primary drummer, The Rev. Derek Brown, is pretty dope (I only use such terms when I'm doing band stuff). He's going on the road with Earlimart soon - they are cool, but still pretty el sensitivo. Then again, Robert Plant was in love with Joni Mitchell, so you know... But back to Derek, there's a Harley in the picture and he had this ZZ Top beard he was sporting for awhile, because he was still playing with The Eels, so he definitely increases our R&R cachet. Recently he shaved it way down, and now he just looks really rugged-handsome. Come to think of it, they all wear beards. I renamed them The Hairy Listeners for my own amusement. Actually, Billy's probably more Rock&Roll, 'cuz he hangs with zombies and Jodorowsky and stuff, but he's not in the band. But seriously, I love those guys and they are really talented, but as far as acting out goes, they truly disappoint.

GM: Why should people read your blog?

KFC: It's probably best that they don't, it only encourages me.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Calling All Cars

The Los Angeles based band I represent is preparing to write their third album and shoot an accompanying documentary film, and we have quite a wonderful but simple concept. We need the assistance of other musicians and people of taste to complete a national search for talent.

We are looking for approximately ten musicians of any age (maybe even a preference for older folk) and genre who are extremely talented, possibly with a unique or eccentric aspect to their music, who have given up on trying to "make it" in favor of a more normal life. We want "coulda/shoulda beens," not "has beens," with whom we can write and record a song in their town or city, while documenting it on film, and telling their personal story.

Can you think of someone exceptional you have encountered in the last decade plus, someone who really should have been recognized nationally, or attained a "musician's musician" status, someone you can't believe didn't make it? If you are willing to share their name and/or contact info, we would be most obliged.

Maybe you can link me to other recording professionals, small radio stations, club owners, artists in your area or society whose tastes are discriminating and would be willing to help find these people?

I think this can be a really beautiful project.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

“Three things

cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Sick Rose

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

- William Blake

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Wit is Dead: Requiem for a Blogger

Caveat & Disclaimer - my thoughts on the following, while calm, are muddy, inchoate, incomplete. But, I am sober as a judge. I imagine I will return to this subject in the days to come:

I had been wondering at the abrupt end of posts at The Wit of the Staircase, which was surprising, as the authoress generally apprises her readers of trips and other absences. Then today, stopping by Gazpachot, I learned the tragic news that Theresa Duncan had killed herself last week, an apparent overdose of pills washed down with alcohol. The stories have remarked on her last post, but I have been more interested in this quotation she put up the day before:

"Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
Of blankets...."

~Rupert Brooke, The Great Lover

and the day before that, 7/8:

"A child in the dark, gripped with fear, comforts himself by singing under his breath. He walks and halts to his song. Lost, he takes shelter, or orients himself with his little song as best he can. The song is like a rough sketch of a calming and stabilizing, calm and stable, center in the heart of chaos. Perhaps the child skips as he sings, hastens or slows his pace. But the song itself is already a skip: it jumps from chaos to the beginnings of order in chaos and is in danger of breaking apart at any moment..."

--Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

Still, nothing in the overall tone of her writings (on 7/9 came the title, "Wit and the Warrior Heart"), choices, musings, suggested a deflation of spirit. Her intermittent yet characteristic whimsy and blitheness were present. That, and she was scheduled to travel in the upcoming weeks... Had she intended a permanent departure just two days prior, and meant this as an ironic post, I imagine she would have made this one a perverse last, artful as she was. So what happened?

To add to the loss, on Tuesday, July 17th, her longtime companion and world-reknowned artist, Jeremy Blake, seems to have left a note, along with his clothing and shoes on the shoreline at Rockaway Park. His body has not been recovered.

Why do people go naked in the water to die? Is it a return to the natal state in utero?

Whatever you felt about the opinions of Theresa Duncan, posted here on June 1st, 2007, her seeming paranoia and "conspiracy theory" bent (interestingly, the papers are whitewashed of any mention of the harassment Wit claims she and her longtime lover suffered.*), I found her an extremely intelligent, artful, bold and beautiful woman. I did not always agree with her manner, and was often uncertain of her point of view (which is in no way meant to denigrate it, rather as an expression of my own ignorance and anlage opinions), I held her in very high esteem.

The loss of Jeremy Blake to the culture of art is a grave one. As quoted in the New York Times today, "Roberta Smith, writing in The Times about a 2005 exhibition by Mr. Blake in New York, said that his work had “given the stream-of-consciousness narrative, so long a part of modern literature, a time-based visual equivalent” and that he was moving past predecessors like Ed Ruscha, William Eggleston and Raymond Pettibon into new artistic territory."

This couple, darlings of the art world and, by all accounts, very much bonded and in love, and graced with so much talent, intelligence, activity, seem to have had everything to live for. No doubt, suicide is possible even at such great heights, but seems an antidote to life administered more rarely. What happened?

Madame Wit will be sorely missed. Very few people have such an abundance of cultural learning right at their fingertips and, I imagine, their lips. It is a pleasure to read the musings of someone with such a thoughtful, tense and synthetic mind. I am always enamored of people this curious about life, and was regularly inspired. To Gazpachot, I am of a like mind:

" many, I was stuck on her ability to make you yearn for a world as vibrant and original as hers - A secret Lunar Society, a great home in Venice, a well turned phrase, a great picture choice, a coveted item, a sapphic celebrity crush**, a flare for stylish elitism. Honestly, her sometimes haughty voice, like most haughty voices, seemed put on, and often made me wonder what (kind of pain) she was trying to cover up. Anyhow, I'll miss her passionate assertions and I hope she's found some peace."

Jeremy Blake, Century 21, 2004

God Bless the both of you, your families, friends, and all you have inspired. God bless anyone who might have thought to or tried to harm you, even if it is you yourselves, most of all. If they exist, they need blessing all the more. You will be missed.

ADDENDUM (7/30): Their friend, Glenn O'Brien, has posted on Theresa's blog, The Wit of the Staircase today.

(* Her theories about the death of Jean Seberg, who she feels was pushed to suicide are interesting to note:

The declassified "Cointelpro" FBI document requesting permission to smear the actress and Black Panther activist Jean Seberg. J. Edgar Hoover sent letters to the Los Angeles press claiming that Seberg's pregnancy was the result of an affair with a Black Panther. Seberg, who was married to playwright Romain Gary, subsequently miscarried due to the stress of the scandal. She and Gary buried their child in a glass coffin to prove that the dead child was Gary's, and to show the public that they had been lied to. Seberg suffered mental health problems for years afterward, and eventually succeeded in commiting suicide after many attempts. Seberg was gorgeous, one of kind. She can be seen in "Breathless" "Bonjour Tristesse" and Otto Preminger's "Joan of Arc."

**he is most assuredly referring to her obsession with Kate Moss.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Going to California

I have to say, if I haven't before, that I understand people who dislike Led Zeppelin about as much as people who don't like dogs (exclusion clause for those of you who were bitten as children; that I get).

Tonight I'll be here:

At The Egyptian Theater

Wednesday, July 18 – 7:30 PM
West Coast Premiere! Long-Lost 1970 Led Zeppelin Concert!
LED ZEPPELIN LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, 1970, Contemporary, 108 min.

Peter Whitehead shot this rarity in color when the band performed at London's Royal Albert Hall in January 1970 - just after the release of Led Zeppelin's second album, and it's the finest example of the band's early days at full-throttle. No flashy camera-tricks - just pure Zeppelin. "Whole Lotta Love", "Communication Breakdown", "I Can't Quit You Baby" and a 15-minute version of "Dazed and Confused"! The film has never been screened theatrically in Los Angeles. This will be a great night for Zeppelin fans! With the Egyptian's 60 foot widescreen - and the 60-surround speakers pumping out 30,000 watts - prepare for a Whole Lotta Zep!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I can't stop

listening to Thirteen by Big Star, written in 1972.

The lyrics reflect the age they describe, simple, unschooled, which makes it even more sweet and heartachy. The tune is for all time.

Rolling Stone magazine:

"Chilton wrote this acoustic ballad about two kids in love with rock & roll, featuring the deathless couplet, "Won't you tell your dad to get off my back/Tell him what we said about 'Paint It Black.' " It's simple musically; as Chilton said, "I was still learning to play and stuff." It never came out as a single or got any radio play, but "Thirteen" is one of rock's most beautiful celebrations of adolescence."

Won't you let me walk you home from school
Won't you let me meet you at the pool
Maybe Friday I can
get tickets for the dance
and I'll take you
Won't you tell your dad, "Get off my back"
Tell him what we said 'bout 'Paint It Black'
Rock 'n Roll is here to stay
Come inside where it's okay
And I'll shake you.
Won't you tell me what you're thinking of
Would you be an outlaw for my love
If it's so, well, let me know
If it's "no", well, I can go
I won't make you

I searched high and low for an mp3 or video of the original recording, but came up empty-handed, until I happened across this blog, which I linked above to the song title. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy of the album (pictured above). I did find a recent acoustic version of Thirteen with Alex Chilton on You Tube, but was disappointed. I feel it lacks luster. So here is a very barebones and heartfelt version by Elliott Smith. The footage contains recognizable spots in south-east Portland.

I also found a young man with a remarkably good voice, who seems to reside in Iowa - Nick Lind. It's worth a listen if you're a fan of the song.

But ain't nothing else like the original.

Sweet dreams.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.

- Aesop

The Leader of the Band

The things you don't know about the bandmates until they tell you... This is the lead singer of the band I manage, back in '99 when he was at the helm of Lowcraft, back in Portland. Could they be bigger 80s Anglophiles? Just shows you how much Portland and the Oregon coast have in common with the British Isles. Of course, having a tea-timing director doesn't hurt. We might be working with this guy again, soon. I sure hope so, he's really talented.

Anyway, Nathan and the music could not look and sound more different these days. I also love the traces of that great old English thriller, Don't Look Now, which you should endeavor to watch if you've not already.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Two Typos of Note So Far Today

Baba Ram Sass
Laundry Deterrent

And one I found online soon after:

"Quote the Raven nevermore..."

(I agree, that use of that phrase was hacking Poe's knees.)

Where I am now

Lately I am very uninspired to write. No words are coming my way. I think I've mentioned that sometimes this happens to me when there's too much to say. Often, that's when it is best to be silent and let music speak for me. Love to you all.

(does Ray Lamontagne follow Baba Ram Dass?)

and have you heard him cover Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hot Steaming Dose of Cellulose

I always wondered why the food in Beijing tasted so bland.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Speed of Sound

A simple observation about music:

I do not find that listening to Skynard as I drive on the freeway helps me to observe posted speed limits.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Why I've been away so long...

tree huggin', and stuff.

7 bands. 10 dollars. And a whole lotta love.

(but I'm very tired. wish me luck.)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Girl in the Photo

No one wants to know who that chére bébé below is? Or even guess?

Anne Frank.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What with the recent slew of birthdays

I feel it's only fair to mention that mine was on Tuesday. I am sorry to report that while I am, indeed, another year older, I am not one whit the wiser.

(I'll be seriously impressed if you can name the person in that photo.)

While I did have a nice dinner with Tex, and an even greater conversation with him later that evening (that is, after I awakened from a brief sofa coma, induced by two glasses of wine and one ill-advised post-dinner cocktail), I can't say it was the most auspicious of days overall. First off, that morning I dreamt I was four months pregnant, and upon waking was disappointed to realize it wasn't true. I should have been relieved, as it really is for the best. Still, I had a protracted moment of grief over my childlessness. Mercifully, that is an emotional visitation which happens only occasionally - I've rigged the snooze button on my biological clock for longer increments between alarms.

Then there was the incessant stress over this hare-brained fundraising event that I've been planning, which has, of late, been nothing but obstructed, and I've wondered at the wisdom of doing it at all. My frustration is such that I'm moments away from pulling the plug, which only gives rise to greater feelings of self-doubt. And all of it is ridiculous, because it's supposed to be worthwhile and fun. Think the Uni is trying to tell me something?

Later that afternoon, I was seriously encumbered by the inappropriate gift of the husband of one of my employers, who accompanied the earrings he bought in India with a note confessing his long-standing crush, which he hoped would remain our secret. It should have remained his. The wife is my friend and confidant, and I have yet to decide the most appropriate course of action. She left me a card with a certificate for a Thai massage. We give each other lots of things. She trusts me, and I her. She's in Paris for a while, and he joins her on Friday, so I have some time. Fortunately, I haven't actually seen that sucka of a husband, he simply left the offending objects for me to find when I came to work in their home. Hours later emailed me all in a fluster of anxiety because he knew he was indulging in risky behavior.

Why does this have to be my problem? I did nothing to encourage any such advance, I swear on my life. I toil in their home, fixing broken windows and door handles, and painting rooms. Sometimes I tend to their child*, I am friends with her and friendly to him, a man I almost never see. They offered me an administrative job running the office of his new internet company, which I declined. They have been very good to me. So now I have to choose between a complicity of silence and a brutal honesty that will disrupt everyone's life. I'm leaning towards returning the earrings with a strong slap on the wrist, because I cannot accept any gesture that requires my complicity in something I know will hurt her, but will remain silent about the matter until such time as he trespasses again. And what kind of present is it to entangle someone in something that has absolutely nothing to do with the beneficiary? He should have given the earrings to her; I will never wear them. It's all so perverse, and it gave me a major meltdown as I was trying to dress for my dinner date, because I am practically incapable of not taking such things personally, or deflecting guilt, even when none of it is mine to bear. I was so angry, which almost always registers in tears, because I'm not the lashing out sort, though I should learn to be. Oh, Bother. Happy Birthday. Don't go looking for drama, drama will find you, Children.

What would you do, my dutiful readers of the Blogosphere?

Finally, birthdays are always a reminder of the anniversary of my father's death, which is this day, right here. While I don't feel a conscious grief, I do wonder at the significance of having that loss attached so near the day that is supposed to be a celebration of my own life. Perhaps there is no meaning there at all, but I am always reticent to celebrate my birthday. It could be the pall of that spectre, or it could be the wet blanket tradition, established on my twelfth birthday by my mother, who picked a fight with me every year after the cake was cut and the tinsels had hit the floor. I do believe the first time stemmed from my protest against the notion that I should clean the house after the guests were gone, as it was my birthday, after all. Her peculiar pugilistic habit lasted for the duration of high school, though the reason shifted from year to year, as did her convenient forgetting of the date of my father's passing. I was intended to forget, as well.

Life is full of sun and shadows and fog. I had a great date Tuesday night, and lots of friends phoned and wrote, and flowers were delivered. I felt loved, and I'm grateful for that. It was a good day, after all.

(*I didn't really say that to him, only wanted to.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spurious Claims of Nativity Aside...

Happy Birthday, Peteski! When we are betrothed, I hope it plays like this:


ps - thanks for encouraging me to turn my blog into an "adult" site. Lord.
Oh, and my birthday was yesterday.
And as for you, Stitch, naked shout-outs are cold in December!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Citizen H!

May love, joy and peace find you this new year.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Midsummer's Eve

"Though western iconography usually called the sun male and the moon female, archaic Oriental tradition spoke of a female sun. Japanese ruling clans traced their descent from a supreme Sun Goddess, Omikami Amaterasu.

The Hindu Great Mother took the form of the sun as the Goddess Aditi, mother of the twelve zodiacal Adityas, spirits who would "reveal their light at Doomsday." The Mahanirvanatantra said the sun was the "garment" of the Great Goddess: "The sun, the most glorious symbol in the physical world, is the mayik vesture of Her who is 'clothed with the sun.' " The same goddess, identified with Mary, appeared in the Gospels as the "woman clothed with the sun" (Revelation 12:1).

Tantric Buddhism recognized a precursor of the Middle-Eastern Mari, or Mary, as the sun. Her monks greeted her at dawn as "the glorious one, the sun of happiness..."

Among the ancient Arabs, the sun was a goddess, Atthar, sometimes called Torch of the Gods. The Celts had a sun goddess names Sulis, from suil, meaning both "eye" and "sun." Germans called her Sunna. Norwegians called her Sol. In Scandinavia she was also known as Glory-of-Elves, the Goddess who would give birth to a daughter after doomsday, thus producing the new sun of the next creation. The Eddas said: "One beaming daughter the bright Sun bears before she is swallowed by Fenrir; so shall the maid pace her mother's way when the gods have gone to their doom."

The Sun Goddess Sul, Sol, or Sulis was worshipped in Britain at the famous artificial mountain in the Avebury complex of megalithic monuments, now known as Silbury Hill. Here she gave birth ti each new Aeon from her great belly-tumulus, over 130 feet high and more than 500 feet in diameter. "The influence of the British goddess, Sul, aextended over the greater part of south west England, and her worship appears to have been conducted on the tops of hills, overlooking springs. Thus near her springs at Bath we have the isolated hill called Solsbury, or Sulisbury, probably the seat of her worship." At Bath, Romans identified Sul with Minerva and set up altars to her under the name of Sul Minerva. "

(This text was lifted from Barbara G. Walker. So sue me.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


This woman is a heroine of mine. I endeavor to practice what she preaches. Even at awards shows. (wink)

Pema Chödron clip.

Pema Chodron: The bodhisattva vow has something to do with going cold turkey, naked, without any clothes on into whatever situation presents itself to you, and seeing how you hate certain people, how people trigger you in every single way, how you want to hold on, how you want to get in bed and put the covers over your head. Seeing all of that just increases your compassion for the human situation. We're all up against not finding ourselves perfect, and still wanting to be open and be there for others. My sense of what it means to be a bodhisattva on the path, a student-warrior-bodhisattva, is that you are constantly caught with "don't know." Can't say yes, can't say no. Can't say right, can't say wrong.

...Trungpa Rinpoche used to say that the first step in the training of the warrior, which is to say, one who is cultivating their courage, is to place them in a cradle of loving-kindness. And this is really true. In the Buddhist teachings we talk about cultivation of maitri or loving-kindness toward oneself. This does seem necessary in order to have the willingness to work with all the messy and delightful parts of yourself. Real safety is your willingness to not run away from yourself. In terms of creating a safe environment, you want to create a space in which people can look at themselves and where that's going to meet with approval and it's going to be safe to do that. No one is going to laugh at them for crying or falling apart. Now that's the first stage, because, what you're really talking about is how to live in this world where people do ridicule and laugh at you. And so we don't just want to create a lot of practitioners who can only exist in a "safe" situation where there is no insult, where there's no roughness. The cradle of loving-kindness is not about getting stroked. It's more about developing a friendship with yourself in a more complete way. The real sense of safety that people need is that things aren't going to be hidden.

...Certain practices dislodge a lot of emotional material-for instance, tonglen. Tonglen is a practice where you work with your breath. You breathe in suffering and connect with it fully-yours' and other people's. It's a willingness to feel what hurts, not to shy away, not to reject it. You're willing to take on suffering and develop compassion for it and even relax with it. And when you breathe out, you give away joy, a sense of inspiration, delight. So what you're usually attached to and want to keep for yourself, you get used to sharing, giving. It's very advanced practice when you start working with other people because it shows you every place that you shut down, hold back, every single place where you close your heart. If you're a practitioner of the dharma, you want to see that and make friends with it. I think if you really want to become enlightened, somehow you've got to put yourself on the line. If you're already a student and want to wake up fully, then you're going to get the tests and challenges you need, and they're all going to come from other people. Safety becomes wanting to avoid all that.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cause I know I don't belong, here in Heaven...

There's a lesser known Circle of Hell reserved and engirded with a red-velvet v.i.p. rope for unrepentant name droppers, and that is precisely where you will find me when I palm some coins off on the ferryman. Alright, I'm mixing mythologies, but the point is that star-gazing is fun! and that's precisely what I got an eyeful of this last Saturday night.

The band played a song at the 34th Annual Vision Awards, a benefit for blindness and award show for visionary work in the arts and sciences. Yeah, I'd never heard of it either. Nonetheless, it was held in The Beverly Hilton which, while famous for many reasons, is mostly known to me via the Merv Griffin Show, as "Friends and guests of the Merv Griffin Show..." always stayed there, capping the end of his talk show. I watched that all the time as a kid, and it's a wonder that my tastes developed as they are, in spite of that particular influence. That, Lawrence Welk and Dinah Shore. Anyway, The Hotel is inextricable from the idea of Merv Griffin and all he represents, as Merv once was from Eva Gabor.

Needless to say, an odd venue for the band, but conscious as we were of the sense of dislocation, we were happy to be there. After all, the amusement factor was first rate. There was that tiny gal on the parking elevator whom Tex is sure was Renee Zellwegger, and look who's on the red carpet... Charles Durning and Dick Van Patten! And there's Matthew Modine and that tall chick from That 70s Show! And the B-list just keeps getting longer.

Once you entered the doors to the lobby of the auditorium/dining room, you saw the endless display of ticky-tacky auction items - most of them poorly matted and framed film and sports memorabilia. Notable was a heavyweight championship belt, with photos of past winners, the most remarkable of which (for me) was the presence of Ken Norton, who broke Muhammed Ali's jaw in '73, and then went on to star, two years later, in the titular role of a trashy plantation drama, Mandingo. Tex, my friend, Billy, and I just saw it at the Egyptian Theater. Later, when the stage auction was happening, and they sold the old USC helmets belonging to the few that were Heisman Trophy winners, the auctioneer called out their names, skipping right over the photo of O.J. Take THAT!

But sports were not what really interested me about the evening. What did interest me was walking up to the bar and standing near Robert Evans. Robert freakin' Evans, people. Even if you aren't aware of his illustrious producing career (Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, Godfather, Marathon Man, Urban Cowboy... ring a bell?), or his famous romance with Ali McGraw, before Steve McQueen got his hooks into her, you might have a notion of his imitably slick presence and hedonistic lifestyle. If you haven't seen the "documentary" biopic (I shackle it with quotation marks, because it isn't typical convention to have the subject narrate his own filmic biography.), The Kid Stays in the Picture, don't hesitate to rent it.

Then there was Wes Craven, who received an award, and whose speech was the very best of the night. Truly a thoughtful, intelligent, witty, slightly mischieveous, and sweet man, hardly what you expect from one of the biggest horror masters in film. I want him to be my dad. A friend informed me today that he has a master's degree in philosophy, and his oratory reflected that. He was very polite when we met him, and his wife was very sweet, also. I reminded her not to forget his award, which they left on the table. Actually, quite a few people forgot their little statuettes. I doubt that happens so much at Oscar time, but I think it was Meryl Streep who left on of hers in the bathroom.

Mr. Craven (talk about a great ironical name - 'craven' means 'cowardly'), told a great story about being at a dinner party at Robert Evans' home sometime in the last few years. "Bob turned to me and said, 'I think I'm having a stroke.' " So they phoned the fire dept., which was at the other end of Evans' property. Before they arrived, Evans said, "I promised you an exciting evening, didn't I?" Then, as they were rolling him away to the ambulance he pleaded, "Please, stay and enjoy yourselves!" Kid's got nerve.

Dare I mention the tense and hilarious moment in the Green Room when the hostess, who is, er, sight impaired, was throwing an absolute fit and came out yelling at a woman who must have been her assistant? In self-defense, the beleagured lady entreated, "Please don't blame me, I'm only doing what I'm told." To this the Grande Dame if the evening roared, "You NEVER do what you're told!" It was straight out of Mommie Dearest. Then, as they were headed for the exit, the elder lady walked right into the door. I'm just sayin'. I was holding back the tears, one more reason why I'm taking the down escalator after I croak.

Andy Garcia's acceptance speech revealed that his first "break" in Hollywood was employment as a busboy in the very same hotel. He pointed out that his former captain was still working there that night.

The strangest moment for me occurred when Linda Blair was onstage talking about the honored scientist whose ocular research on Abyssinian felines has restored their sight, which will assist human macular regeneration. Surrealing, I turned to a friend and said, "I feel like I'm in an episode the Simpsons right now." On cue for the stage departure of Miss Projectile Vomit, the orchestra struck up the theme from "Cats." I kid you not. John turned to me and replied, "Well, that just sealed it."

Standing a foot away from Stevie Wonder was pretty great, as is the man himself. I never guessed he was that big! He made a surprise performance for the second song of The Blind Boys of Alabama, who have been doing this for over 60 years, and simply must be heard. After they sang "Amazing Grace," set to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun," Stevie got up there with them for "Higher Ground." Phenomenal. Could I love him more?

Tex and I recently just rewatched Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, Barry Lyndon, a personal favorite for us both, so it was exciting to speak with Leon Vitali, who played Lord Bullingdon, or "Lord Bowling Balls" as he was dubbed on set, or so he told us. He was also Kubrick's right hand man for what I believe was nearly twenty years, though he had slipped into virtual obscurity as an actor. He looked terribly sickly and had been left out of the big prizes, so I gave him one of the pieces of swag intended for the band (a really amazing roller suitcase that positively SPINS!). While I defended myself to our lead singer, who happens to love that film too, Nathan looked at me for a hard second then forgave my choice. "I like your style," he said.

Perhaps the best celebrity encounter came when Nathan recognized an aging rocker, to whom I slipped both of the band's cds. He wished us good luck, through his impenetrable mop of hair and dark shades. Nothing so notable about the actual interaction, but after all, it was Jeff Lynne. We were pissing ourselves.