Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Client

Originally Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I spent a long time getting beautified last night, but I don't think it worked. After such an ordeal, one expects miracles in the morning. It seems to have been by and large a simple extraction of cash from the coffers. But for the first time in over a month, I did not suffer the pain of sciatica in the normally ferocious way. Is it a tradeoff? I wondered if there were some cosmic rule on this. I would have to take the freedom of pain over beauty, but must one choose? Those are the sort of mind games we must play simply because we are human. Internal queries such as these are inevitable, I think.

I've fallen into that bad pattern of staying too much alone again, bad for writing, I mean. I don't wish to become Knut Hamsun writing about endless internal miseries. I like external action and romance.

I did go for a drink and a demi-dinner with my beautician last night. She is a dark, gypsy-looking Russian Jew who says she is a mind reader. I'm sure she can read my mind. That should be easy. I've been trying to get her to read mine for years. But this was a misery tour, of sorts. She is leaving her husband or he her. It is a difficult call to make. But they have a child which makes it all the more so. We went to a very romantic restaurant I never go to, one where she knows the owner which is always best. In order to make it more interesting than romantic, of course, we sat at the bar. Over wine and many plates of hors d'oeuvres, she told me that she was already over the pain of the split. She told me that for over an hour. I agreed, of course. When the owner, who had been serving us, went home, the beautician introduced me to the bartender who took over. She felt the need to introduce me as "a client."

"Maybe you should clarify that," I said. Either way, though, I didn't care to be the fellow who must be introduced in such a manner. She was correct in many ways however. I ended the evening by picking up the check.

Introductions that cast you as something, as a category of thing, have always been irritatingly awkward for me. I think a name is enough. Why do people need to know some small sliver of your life upon meeting you? Is it for safety's sake? Are people that afraid of the unknown? I love a mystery. But maybe I should practice introductions and find my niche.

"Hello. This is Kathy. She's a really good cook. This is Joan. She really enjoys drinking. This is Fred. He's hooked on that new HBO series. This is Joe. He's a big fan of the rap music."

Why not? It could be good fun. . . for me. Just saying things like "the rap music" makes me laugh. Watching someone trying to talk his way out of such an absurd statement would probably cause me to pee my pants. Yes, my life is so boring, I promise to do this. I need to take my pleasures where I can.

Now it is time to prepare to meet the day. But now I have something to look forward to. I'm going to be busting at the seams waiting to make an introduction.


Originally Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The more I post, the smaller the audience the blog attracts.  Maybe I should post every other day or once a week.  It would be much easier and anecdotally, the blog should grow.  But in the long run, this is just a bleeding place where I can wheedle and whine.  It is an exhibit of consciousness, or of one, at least.  I wrote a journal for years that no one has ever seen (except for three girlfriends who read it surreptitiously and subsequently left me).  I was not looking for readers then.  But trust me--it was brilliant.  O.K.  It was honest. 

Posting as I do here and now, though, opens me up to some retribution, especially when I opine.  I try not to as I know it never sways someone who thinks differently, but sometimes it is just too hard to keep the old pie hole shut.  It is difficult to believe that people are too stupid to see what you see.  Selah. 

I've gone recently to some old blogs that used to be important.  They aren't any more.  Most are gone, others reduced or changed in format.  It is difficult to sustain a thing when its currency dies.  One must keep up with the times, one thinks, and all evidence shows, perhaps, that that hasn't been the case. 

My reasons for shutting down the old blog were different and personal.  Lately, however, I've thought of reopening it including all the posts that I have published here.  I've thought, too, of shutting this down and going public, shedding Batman's costume and stepping into the light for the public good.  O.K.  My good.  I think that I could be. . . dare I say it. . . ?  But I could only publish then what I could own up to as a. . . a what?  A real, honest to gosh person?  It would constrict me, for sure.  I would be a demi-politician.  I would worry about my personal reputation.  That seems awfully constrictive.  Perhaps in the long run, it would be better to re-open the other. 

I don't know.  We shall think upon that more.  For now. . . here is some music you can listen to while reading "The Wet and the Dry."  Selah.


The Storm

Originally Posted Monday, July 29, 2013

I should be working on "art," but I am transfixed.  It has been a painfully hot day, and I have been full of lassitude.  My back will not quit plaguing me, and now it is making me more than lazy.  I have taken Advil today, something I never do, butI had to have some relief.  I was going to work on art today.  I was.  But as I say, there was the oppressive heat, and then I was hungry and went to brunch.  I ordered only a small mimosa with my eggs benedict, but then, after the barman had made it, I changed my mind.  "Give me a large one," I said, and then I watched him simply pour the little one into a big wind glass and top it off with the cheap champagne they use on Sundays.  I wasn't sure if he thought he was doing me a favor or was pissed, but the big glass of cheap champagne was not welcomed on my end. 

I saw a friend across the bar, and when I had finished eating, I went over to sit with him.  He is not a friend in the strict sense of the word.  We do not visit one another's houses.  It is an odd relationship, really, but he has always been a cool kid (though he is in his forties now).  I once dated the most beautiful woman in town.  Yea, I know, but it is true.  You can ask anybody.  It is not the treat you might think it to be, and as a matter of fact, it is just next to a curse in the encyclopedia.  But I was younger and she was a child and so we made our mistakes like we were the first who had ever made them.  After she and I were through many years later, he was just coming of age, and she bedded him.  He told me so today.  I, in turn, began going out with his girlfriend, though this was some time later.  When we got divorced a decade hence, she began to date his uncle.  Oh. . . it is a wicked little town of inbred socialites. 

But he and I have never had a problem and have truly enjoyed one another's company on many, many occasions.  He is the n'er do well son of a wealthy family, and is not an outcast barely invited to Christmas dinners.  For most of his life, he lived on a trust fund, but now the money has dried up.  It is a long way to go, a hard place to land, but he has done it with good humor and grace while maintaining the tastes and manners of the upper class. 

After drinking with him, I went to the grocers to buy the things I must prepare tonight for my mother who is coming to our traditional Sunday dinner.  When I got home and had put all the groceries away, I sat on the couch and read through a book about the processes I had planned to experiment with today.  But the heat and the cheap champagne had gotten me, and I closed my eyes and fell asleep.  When I woke, the sky was about to break.  And break it has, as now I am watching what amounts to a tropical storm outside my big, three-sided dining room window.  It is something out of a movie.  The lightening is so frequent and intense that the cat is plastered to my leg.  I have unplugged my laptop from the wall in order to keep from being electrocuted if the house or power wires are struck.  It is rain and wind without end.  There will be no artwork today. 

And so I pour a scotch.  It is medicinal, really, as my stomach has been upset today.  I ate dinner at a fish shack that used to be wonderful but which has changed owners about four times and was last night not even average.  I woke this morning bloated and irritable.  Maybe it wasn't the fish, but I figure whatever it is, the scotch will see it through. 

I am not longer sure why I sat to write this now, but I think it was just an impulse to tell a thing while having a drink.  Alone.  The storm will pass in another fifteen minutes or so, and then I can think about making dinner.  My mother will come, we will chat, and perhaps I'll buy some pay-per-view movie for us to watch.  There is work tomorrow and the whole week long and the prospect has already begun to depress me.  This rain, though is spectacular.  It is lovely.  It is the sort of monsoon you get here this time of year in the sub-tropics.  It is India.  It is Vietnam.

Fanatic Ritual

Originally Posted Sunday, July 28, 2013

Here is one of my experiments.  I'm trying to transfer images from an inkjet print using gum arabic.  So far--close, but no cigar.  I may try again today, but I am feeling lazy already and I just got up.  I've been lazy for days.  Summer, maybe.  Maybe that is a convenient excuse. 

We will have to give up YouTube, I think.  It is too full of Google, too many ads, too much information required.  If you know of a better serving site for music and videos, let me know.  YouTube needs to go with FaceBook to a dictator's grave.  Free the internet. 

Speaking of dictators, Osborne's "The Wet and the Dry" has done a better job of explaining the Moslem world than anything I've read.  It is a matter of survival for him.  Know the fanatics.  When reading the news now about Arab Springs and revolts in Syria and demonstrations in Cairo. . . well, I just deleted all my opining since it is informed in the main by the information I've gotten from a well-spoken drunkard.  But I am going to have some more substantial conversations with my Moslem friends.  They will not like me as much in the end, I am pretty sure.  But I've always played softball with them in a way I never have with Christians.  No. . . they will be mad at me from now on I'm certain.  I will be especially careful if they have a mustache or a beard, though. 

O.K.  I have my Sunday morning pastry waiting for me.  I have one on Sundays after I write my blog. It is what I have in place of fanatic ritual (though some people have that, too). 

Strange Interlude

Originally Posted Saturday, July 27, 2013

Some things never change.  Smooth jazz, for example.  For some reason, Michael Franks popped into my head while I was showering.  I found myself saying "sanpaku." I wasn't certain what it meant, but it seemed apropos of. . . nothing.  When I dried off, I Googled Mr. Franks.  I wondered what his music sounded like now.  Whoa!  It was 1975 all over again.  Here is one of his latest songs (link).  Not one lick seemed different.  I had liked "The Art of Tea" when I heard it and even bought some of the subsequent albums.  But holy smokes, Franks makes Burt Bacharach and Herb Albert sound like rappers.  His tribute to Jobim strips all of South America away.  All I could think of was the cheesy lounge band "Sausalito" in "Lost in Translation" or when Griffin Mill takes June to the spa resort in "The Player." 

By the way, sanpaku is kind of creepy (link). 

I guess we have to blame smooth jazz on Wes Montgomery and maybe even The Crusaders, but Chet Baker may have something to do with it as well.  Not when he was playing trumpet (link), but maybe when he sang (link).  I like Baker, but he may have started a tsunami of easy listening.  And suddenly, I'm hearing the soundtrack to "The Long Goodbye" in my head.  But no, Jack Sheldon is a million miles from Michael Franks.  Shit, this song still sounds good (link).  Still. . . I don't know into which category of music if falls. 

O.K.  This was just a strange afternoon musical interlude from Radio Selavy.  Thank you for tuning in.


Originally Posted Saturday, July 27, 2013

This photograph is by Pierre Louys.  You can read about him and see more of his work here (link).  As the article states, there is something about his images that remind us of E.J. Bellocq. . . but more so.  The images seem so contemporary perhaps because so many photographers have tried to replicate the look.  They do, of course, remind me of mine.  I am a thief and will steal as much as I can from Louys' work.  It is strange and mysterious and something your mother wouldn't appreciate.  She might, of course.  I am using the figurative mother, not yours in particular. 

I am always stealing.  I told a model once that I wanted to shoot her in the manner of a Hopper painting.  I can't actually, of course, without shooting in a house filled with morning light somewhere in the Northeast.  And truly, that is something I would love to try. But stealing does not have to be literal, and so the figurative thieving that I do is from an influence, but I think it is still my own.  When I sent one of the images from the shoot, the model wrote back:

Wow you werent kidding lol almost the same photo except placement of the hands but even in looking at this she has the same body structure as me. Pretty cool thanks again for an amazing experience and photos :)

She had looked up Hopper who she had never seen before and included this image. 

I like that she found Hopper and enjoyed his work.  I don't think the value of my photographs is diminished in any way by my pilfering any more than is my prose.  That is true mostly because there is so little value in either that the embezzlement is not worth prosecuting.  It is a minor crime. 

I hate it, however, when I see that other photographers have stolen from me.  You might find this laughable, but I do find it, and I am appalled at how horribly it turns out.  They are talentless bastards (usually men) whose meretriciousness is grisly. 

Totally unlike my own. 

This is absolutely not what I intended to write this morning.  I wanted to write about the effect of reading "Wet and Dry."  It is wonderful prose and quite terrifying.  I have decided I want to be "moist" rather than either "wet" or "dry."  We are a moist crowd.  "Moist," actually, is my friend's correction of my original intention to say "damp."  We met at a beautiful bar on the Boulevard yesterday afternoon for a gin and tonic.  I arrived first and ordered. 

"Which gin do you want me to pour?" asked the beautiful barmaid.

"I don't know.  I'm not a gin drinker.  Which one do I want?"

"Hendrick's," she said. 

"Hendrick's it is." 

I looked toward the door to keep an eye out for my friend.  The bar was dark and cool and a wonderful escape from the brutally moist tropical heat outside.  A couple sat two seats down, she in a tight coral dress that rode high on her lovely thighs.  Her hair was in a professional bun pinned on top of her head.  She wore fashionably nerdy glasses.  She was five stars, something off the set of "Mad Men."  It was early still and the bar was mostly empty. 

The barmaid brought me the drink. 

"I figured this is the perfect drink on a day like this, right?  Keep away the malaria and all that?" 

The glass was big and cold and filled my hand.  I took a sip.  Gin.  I am not a big fan. 

"I never drink gin," I said. 

"Really?  I love it," said the young, beautiful tender of bars. 

"It's bad for your stomach," I said.  "It will give you ulcers." 

"I'm pretty sure all of it will," she said with a laugh. 

"Yea, I guess you're right." 

I glanced at the door again and again waiting for my friend, watching the woman in the coral dress.  She had perfect posture, the kind they used to teach in typing classes and secretarial schools.  How had she cultivated that look?  That fellow she was with, I wondered--does he know what a lucky fellow he is this afternoon?  They had probably just come from Merrill Lynch or maybe from one of the big, corporate banks. 

When my friend arrived, he sat down on the wrong side of me so that I had to look toward the kitchen to talk to him.  Suddenly his eyes popped. 

"Look at that!"

"I can't now.  You took the wrong chair."  It was a minor torture, truly. 

In the spirit of things, he ordered a Hendrick's and tonic, too.  He has talked about going to some Middle East countries for years.  He has had a thing for Lebanon.  I told him that I thought of him when reading about it in Osborne's book.  And that is when I said I wanted to be damp.  I have clever friends.  They can turn a colorful phrase, most often better than mine. 

"I like that," I said.  "I'm stealing that." 

We thieve from everywhere, don't we?  We all do steal the clever and beautiful things.  That is why I won't feel bad for my own minor forms of plagiarism. 

We ordered a second, or rather I did as my friend switched to vodka so he could eat olives stuffed with cream cheese.  What else was there to do?  The bar was beginning to fill up.  There was a blonde in an LBD (I swear to you that I coined the term back in the late '70s) and a string of pearls sitting across the bar.  She had to be twenty-one, I guess, but barely I assumed.  She kept looking our way.  My friend and I argued, of course, about which one of us she was looking at. 

"Probably you," I said.  "She's afraid you are going to do something hideous.  She's watching you out of fear."  But it wasn't true.  She was enamored of me, I knew.  There could be no other explanation. 

The women from Mad Men got up to go to the restroom giving us a chance to watch her walk in that wonderful beauty pageant way, feet crossing, ample hips swaying.  And then we watched her come back, her face a mask, passing us without a glance, her boy standing, they walking out the door. 

"Well. . . that's that," I said, and looked across the bar to the blonde.  Her place was empty.  The barmaid came to see if we wanted another round. 

"No point," I said, and we took the check. 

I'll not order gin again, I think, unless someone has a splendid concoction for me to try.  I prefer vodka for clear drinks.  And besides, I like the olives, too.


Originally Posted Friday, July 26, 2013

(prettiest woman on the planet)

Talk about bad girlfriends.  O.K.  Maybe she wasn't a "real" girlfriend, but still, she's gone all Kardashian.  I'm talking about Sydney Leathers.  No?  O.K.  Here (link). 

How old is Weener?  That he can still send naked pictures of himself is impressive.  I sure as hell can't. But people are, and I encourage it.  It is a celebration.  "Look at me!  Look at me!"  And why not?  Thankfully, the people who sext most are younger, but that is to be expected as they are better with the technology.  I am almost of the opinion that it should be required, especially of politicians.  Like Diogenes, we are in search of an honest man (or woman). 

And according to a Gallop poll, sexting is on the rise:

Sexting between adults, both married and single, is on the rise. Nearly one in five adults in the U.S. says they use their smartphone for sexting, sharing explicit photos or text messages with others, says Lookout Mobile Security, which sponsored the Harris Interactive poll of 2,097 adults.

The biggest age groups for sexting are 18- to 34-year-old men (32%) and 35- to 44-year-old women (25%). Even baby boomers are getting into the action, with one in 10 people age 55 and older sexting. All those parents who are admonishing their children about the dangers of sexting? Well, they speak from experience: The Harris survey found that 30% of parents with children under the age of 18 have also sexted.

Like it or not, we have become a sexting nation, which may explain why some voters are willing to forgive politicians caught up in sex scandals and give them a second and even a third chance.


I read an op-ed piece yesterday written by a woman who chastises Huma Abedin for standing with Weener in public.  Well. . . the world is weird, but who is to say what is to be forgiven and what not?  Everyone wants to play god.  Weener talked dirty and sent pictures.  Oooooo.  And what did you expect?  Clinton presided over the Weener/Abedin wedding ceremony. 

I don't really care about any of it, though I assume that Weener should probably be running for Mayor of Deadwood instead of NYC.  I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of Abedin.  I could stare at her forever.


Originally Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013

This is the first page of Lawrence Osborne's latest work, "The Wet and the Dry."  Read a review here (link).  I just downloaded the book to my Kindle.  After doing a search for all of his work on Amazon, I have decided that I will probably read everything by him.  You have now read all that I have read, so my opinion is very subject to change.  But I will begin tonight. 

I am completely nonplussed right now.  That is not the right word exactly, but I like it.  Flummoxed, one of its synonyms, may be more correct, but it hasn't the sound I am looking for.  All relationships have soured or gone somewhat south.  This blog is not attracting a crowd.  Models, once enamored of my work, have developed a Jersey Shore attitude.  I still have sciatica and am walking like Fred Sanford, so I am not able to defend myself and my artistic virility as I should.  My summer drinking is becoming problematic.  I am diluting my good whiskey with Belgian Ales 1:1.  The only woman showing interest in me is young and crazier than I.  She is able to provide good drugs, though, for she has a "shrink" who writes prescriptions without analysis.  She can give me things that supposedly paralyzes my brain. Selah. 

I have just been interrupted and had a long, disjointed conversation with Q.  We may "hook up" next month in Yosemite as my other California friend called today to tell me he is going to be gone for a week in August and that I can have his house.  Q is ready to rumble, it seems.  I don't know if I can get away then, though.  To be seen. 

Now I am ready to take to my bed and read some of Osborne's book.  It would have been better earlier when I was still sober and more lucid.  I may make three or four pages now, and not remember them in the morning. 

I will probably update then.  Ciao. 

*     *     *     *     *     

I made it three or four pages and don't remember them this morning. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Originally Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Morning.  Rising late, knowing the problems that this will create.  Still. . . coffee, the news.  Somehow a pain in the literal neck from sleeping wrong.  How does one sleep wrong?  Is the body completely clueless in sleep?  Stiffness of joints, an overall puffiness, another declaration to drink less alcohol, more water.  The morning is suddenly old and then this--it is time to write.  Clueless as to what might be in mind, discovering there is nothing but the practicality that must be navigated for the next many hours.  Life measured by successes and disappointments, the latter tipping the scales.  No time, really, for the question "who am I" thank god.  Not today.  Deciding to take off the stubbly beard cultivated and worn the past few weeks as a sign or symbol of something internal.  Perhaps.  Not yet ready for definitive decisions.  Reading Raul Castro's complaint about Cuban culture now educated but not enlightened, inconsiderate behaviors like petty criminals dominating daily life, thinking how much worse it is here.  Perhaps the apocalypse approaches after all.  Needs and desires that must be suffocated in order not to risk more disappointment, not to let the scale get too unbalanced.  Avoiding the final decree. 

What if you are not enough for yourself, you wonder?  That would be a terrible tragedy.

What Do You Look Forward To?

Originally Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2013

(Back to Instant Film--Fuji)

Easy question: what are you looking forward to?  It is a defining question, I think.  Rather, the answer is defining.  It will help to ferret out those people you want to spend time with from those you'd rather not.  I asked this of myself mere moments ago.  The answer didn't please me.  No. . . not the answer, but the lack of one.  I used to look forward to things with such passion that I would make myself ill with anticipation.  Travel was always one thing that could do that.  A trip just about anywhere was like meth for me.  Travel and romance were almost always hand in hand.  I'd play the home version, too.  A lunch with a desirable woman in some cafe.  A walk down unknown streets.  Just to get out, to get away. 

I don't know what happened for sure, but I suspect that it is as much external as internal as the world becomes more and more homogenized.  I am having lunch today with an attractive young woman who has made her amore well known, but it will need to be close to the factory.  Vague pronoun reference there, "it" referring to the lunch, not the amore, though neither would benefit from the proximity though I am thinking as I write this that the passion might benefit from the danger if it were close enough to be illicit.  Jesus--have I come to that?  What, dear lord, does it take to stimulate me now? 

But I lose my way in sentence structure and associational thinking.  The question was what does one look forward to?  To what does one look forward?  Look forward to what does one?  There.  I managed not to end the sentence in a preposition.


Without passion. 

Perhaps it is an illness brought about by making fancy, from making pictures of a time and place that never existed but now exists more vividly than Sanford, Florida.  In case you've not paid attention, that is the home of George Zimmerman who is looking forward to traveling, I'm sure.  But Loneseomeville is real as is Lady Brett, aka Brett Ashley, or Daisy Buchanan, both of whom are as real as anyone who has walked the planet.  Even as I try to get my hand out of the cage, as I try to move out of Lonesomeville, there are models who want to go there before I leave, models who want to put down roots, so to speak, in that most lovely time and place.  Eventually there will be t'shirts that say, "I've been to Lonesomeville."  Maybe I should cash in. 

To what do I look forward?  Jesus.  Tonight I will watch "Newsroom."  It is shameful.  I really look forward to that.  I look forward to the return of "Boardwalk Empire" and of "Girls." 

And if you haven't watched, "Ray Donovan," you might want to.  John Voigt's performance is pure magic.  He has nailed this character.  I'm convinced he is a crazy son of a bitch.  He is that good. 

I look forward to next week's show. 

Is it that the world has become too difficult, too toxic, too ugly?  I'm going to spend the next few days asking people what they look forward to.  I will ask people of all ages and ethnicities and genders.  I will see if it is me or if it is going 'round. 

But summer is running away so quickly.  We are headed toward those dog days when it is difficult to move, Faulkner's time in the old south where weather means someone's going to be lynched or go missing in a well.  Mean ass summer.  Maybe I'll look forward to some escape to a better clime.  But where will the money come from (there's that preposition again)?  Perhaps I will have to sell off pieces of Lonesomeville.