76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th & 81st PORTRAITS

Just now on the radio someone said that the Republicans have launched a fuselage of criticism against the Obama administration. So apparently the GOP doesn't have a corner on lexicographicalarian clumsiness. I don't think it's necessary to have the word "fusillade" in your vocabulary. We can't all be pointy-headed intellectuals. But we could sure do with fewer poseurs. I say this in full humility, because I once, as I have no doubt Catherine is poised to remind me, mistook misogynist for misanthrope, a moment which will forever cause me to awaken shaking and sweating in the middle of the night. That, and the image of Sarah Palin with her hand on a Bible being held by Chief Justice Roberts.


I wish I had a nickel for every Fourth of July I've seen. Then I'd almost have enough for a Whopper. Here's the memory of the Fourth I've brought forth from misty distances: someone would hand me a sparkler and I'd run around in aimless circles in the backyard until it went out. That's it. Is it any wonder children have such poor reputations among humans, second only to oldsters? Running around in circles in the growing dark, holding frail sparks of light. And pretending to be careful not to put an eye out, which in those days was the primary concern of mothers. If there seems to be a surfeit of two-eyed people careening about today, we can thank mothers for that.


It's 150º out (I rounded off) and people are dropping like flies out there. The flies, however, seem to be doing fine. One of God's annoying little ironies. And I'm really hungry and desperately trying to think of what I can whip up without having to go to the store. I have a little milk, and some salt. I'm wracking my brain, but so far I haven't come up with anything besides Salty Milk, which isn't my favorite. I know I should have stocked up, but I discovered that stocking up requires money. Man, they could have just told me instead of involving the authorities. 


You can not-comment to your heart's content, it's not going dissuade me from posting these portraits. You all think you're so smart. Tell you what, I'll post portraits in one hand and shit in the other, and we'll see which one fills up first. Wait a minute. Portraits in one hand.....shit in the other......see which one......well, I'm confused now, but you see my point, right? If you do, maybe you could take a moment and explain it to me. I had one when I started, I'm almost sure of it.


This is Natalie, a good friend. We go way back, to my early blogging days in the 1950's. You young punks don't have a clue how lucky you are. Back then, it took three days to upload a blog entry, and we had to do it on giant room-size computers with names like Univac and Gigantor, which all too frequently went berserk and tried to take over the world, at which point the hapless young woman caught in the room with them would get her blouse torn open and then have to call the Army on her rotary-dial iPhone, and the Army would send over a handsome major who would unload his pistol into Brainiac's vacuum tubes and save the day. Natalie calls herself Augustine in the mistaken belief that she is the reincarnation of the explorer St. Augustine, who discovered the west coast of Florida, the east coast having been discovered by Ponce de Leon, who imagined that Florida extended around the globe to the vicinity of the Azores, and who was really annoyed at St. Augustine's discovery that Florida was but a puny appendage dangling down from the mainland like a you-know-what. He never got over the deflation, and died years later a bitter young boy (having in the meantime discovered the Fountain of Youth), or so he was pronounced by the cannibals who devoured him. And that's the story of my friendship with Natalie.


There are those who would say, "No need for the 'portrait-drawin'' qualifier there, friend-o," to which I would respond, "Friend-o? Did you just call me friend-o? You're modeling yourselves after a sadistic fictional serial killer?" To which they would retort, "You're putting words in our mouths! At least we think you are. We don't even know who we are." To which I would rejoin, "And you call me a fool! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"


Mention of Firesign Theater down there somewhere reminds me of the time I met Phil Proctor at a recording studio in LA. We had cast him in a radio spot for the Virginia Lottery. And that's the sum total of my memory of that little clod of nostalgia. I have no recollection of the radio spot, or what I might have said to Phil Proctor, and what he might have replied, and whether that reply was made with disdain or pleasure or shock. My brain, a ruthless triage nurse, has decided to retain the bare fact that I met a minor celebrity, and that's that. Nothing I can do about it. I'm the captive of that fissured pulsating blob, and there's no point in looking out my eyeholes and screaming for help. He'll just shut off my vocal cords and slacken my facial muscles so no one outside my little hell has a clue what's going on. Remember all those old sci-fi B movies where a character {usually a beautiful woman scientist with her white scientist uniform shirt casually unbuttoned to reveal her heaving bosom--you know, the way scientists usually dress) accidentally knocks a beaker filled with questionable steaming substances onto the floor, and on impact the toxic stew begins to coagulate into an undulating lump, the whole business reminiscent of a Scottish cooking class? Well, it's no coincidence that this gray alien writhing lump with bad intentions is a dead ringer for the human brain! Somewhere deep in our subconscious we're aware of the insidious conspiracy of these monstrous organs which exert such maleficent control over the poor slaves encased in our ::&%$@O*:Mfwmoi48qry BIU#GRMK Hi folks, I'm so glad you could visit my blog. It makes me happy to think I might be giving pleasure to you fine people. You all have a nice day now. Bye-bye!



This afternoon in Naro Video I overheard a man say to a woman, "When you say 'exactly', I'm not sure exactly what you mean." This was one of those perfect combinations of words that serendipitously poke my brain in such a way as to cause flowers and rainbows and Sgt-Pepperish things to flow out and remind me vividly of yesteryear, when you could spend an afternoon at the laundromat watching the spin cycle as if you were watching Real Housewives of New Jersey in 3D and THX. Or watching Peter Fonda watching the washing machine that way, I forget. But you get my drift. For those of us of a certain age, there are hidden triggers laying in wait, ready to flash us back. For my own self, it's the glowing inside of Richie Havens's mouth in Woodstock or one of the Firesign Theater guys saying "Why, he's no fun, he fell right over" or eating McDonald's french fries, which will forever cause me to imagine I'm eating human fingers. Which, the first time it happened, didn't bother mel, it was kind of interesting. Didn't bother Mel! That's another trigger, accidentally saying "didn't bother Mel." Triggers abound. Good times. If there's one thing I learned from those days, it's this: if you're in a state such as I've been alluding to, don't go into a White Castle, because you will almost certainly be hungry, and your sense of proportion will have run off the road and be lying in a ditch, moaning. One night in Columbus, Ohio, in 1971, I ordered 34 White Castles. Yep. I shit you not, as Ruben Fletcher would say.


You know those segments on the Today show, where somebody takes the host through a long table laden with cute new electronic products, or tasty low-carb dishes or whatnot, and there's never enough time to make it the whole length of the table, and the presenter-person talks faster and faster and skips over some things and the host says we have to go to commercial, we'll have to invite you back another time? Well, that's what life is like to me these days. I stagger through my days, leaving everything half-finished and flawed as the superimposed calendar pages flip by, like in a thirties movie. I want to go back and finish things, do them right, or in some cases avoid even beginning them, but that's against the rules. There's no going back in life. There's only the headlong propulsion down a rock-strewn hill that's just too steep and you're lucky just to keep your feet under you. Wouldn't it be great if we could go back a week or two and say: erase that, wipe the slate clean, let's do a do-over, and take whatever time is required to do it right. And things would get finished, and mistakes would be unmade, and people wouldn't die, and everybody would be happy. But that's not how it works. If my brain hadn't stopped maturing beyond the age of fourteen, I would appreciate the necessary enrichment of experiencing the pain of every last goddam sharp pointy rock in the headlong tumble down the rabbit hole of life, but it did, and I don't.