Friday, September 13, 2013
All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up, the only place on the "internet" that combines entertainment with the entertainment all-stars! Let's get things started with our first juicy tidbit! Okay! Halfway through that newish movie of ON THE ROAD, up pops Peggy from MAD MEN in the thankless role (in the movie, the book, and life itself perhaps) of Galetea Dunkel. When we first see her she's on the phone to Sal Paradise, complaining, "These people are mad! They're mad!" And I wanted Sal to reply, "Would you describe them as... MAD MEN?" But he didn't. (See also.) Bewilderingly, the movie did not include the scene from the novel in which Sal looks through the window of a Buick dealership and sees Jerry Colonna (pictured). Buddy Ebsen is in THE LOVE OF THE LAST TYCOON, by the way. I wonder if he ever sat around on the set of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES bragging about how he was in Fitzgerald's final, unfinished masterpiece. Probably not. He seemed too nice to brag. But hey let's talk about something else. That movie I don't like (though it's rude to say as much) keeps coming on TV all the time. Now I have seen the part where the younger woman gives the older man (who wrote and directed the movie) a "mix tape" of "classical music" and he walks around listening to it and looking at buildings and then writes her letters about it which are quoted from at length in his voice-over narration while she sprawls out dreamily in a moony daze, grinning in a helpless rictus of joy as her shining eyes caress his profound and touching words, such as, "When I listened to the overture you sent, I suddenly realized I had hands... AND LEGS!" And in defiance of Billy Wilder's famous rule, we see exactly what he is narrating as he narrates it: the man who wrote and directed the movie staring at his own hands in childlike wonder as he listens to his "classical music." He also says, "I echo your sentiment about the Beethoven: Whoa." I know what he's doing there. With false modesty he is undercutting his sense of grandeur to seem real cool or something. I do it on this "blog" ALL THE TIME. Wait, this movie I claim to hate just made me realize it's myself I hate most of all. So let's talk about something else! McNeil sent me a 25-minute youtube clip (see also) because Johnny Carson's name appears on a marquee at 5:08, and I understand that! And McNeil understands that I understand that. The marquee is for one of Carson's early hosting gigs, a game show called "Do You Trust Your Wife?" That may bring us back to the oppression under which women like Galetea Dunkel labored, I don't know, sure, let's say it does. It's a MIKE HAMMER TV show, and I was surprised at the opening when Mike Hammer turned toward the camera to reveal that he is played by Darren McGavin, who is far too zany and lovable to play Mike Hammer. In an email, McNeil agreed. "They try to play the whole thing like a comedy it seems to me," he said, making a few more observations on various subjects before concluding, "what a fairy land goes on in my head." Mike Hammer drops his napkin on the floor of a restaurant to get a surreptitious look at a suspect, which is just about broad and cornball enough for the real Mike Hammer to do, but not in the vaudeville style McGavin does it. The suspect closely resembles Wimpy from the Popeye comic strip. He fiddles with his derby and makes funny faces. In conclusion, I guess nothing is good enough for me. That's it for today's All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up! Until next time, keep "reaching" for the "stars"! And go to hell.
Monday, August 12, 2013
I felt like a regular Kent Osborne, ha ha! He loves chicken! I stopped at a buffet restaurant in or around a town called D'Lo, Mississippi. Isn't that an odd name? According to a section of wikipedia with zero footnotes, there are a few theories about the origin of the name, including this one: "old maps from 16th-century French explorers show that they labeled the D'Lo area around the Strong River with the words 'De l'eau sans potable.' This translates as 'bad drinking water.'" That's what it says on wikipedia! So I chose chicken and green beans and macaroni and cheese with peach cobbler for dessert, and I also threw in some fried chicken livers at some point, or so I thought, in honor of Dr. Theresa, who loves chicken livers but was not there, but I am not sure after all that those things I put in my mouth were chicken livers. I just don't know what they were. The consistency was mysterious. Everything else was great, though! Every table had a napkin holder on it, and to every napkin holder was affixed a homemade ad for stun guns you could buy out of somebody's house! All right, let us move on to this photo that McNeil sent me. Look, it is me being young in that dumb hat I told you about, of which I was so proud. And there's McNeil, proving his existence once again. "I'm actually rosy-cheeked here," McNeil notes wistfully.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Friday, July 13, 2012
Caroline is in town! We took her to Snackbar. And our server brought to the table an eye dropper, delicately displayed on a a linen napkin resting on a little china plate. "Drew [the manager] wanted you to have this," she said to me. What was it? Two precious drops of vintage Woodhue, Dean Martin's cologne! I happily dabbed it on my neck and an excellent dinner commenced - a dinner during which I smelled like Dean Martin! Now that's what I call service. I do not hesitate to declare that there is no other restaurant in the world where such a thing happened tonight.
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Kelly Hogan put the funky theme song to the kids show VEGETABLE SOUP on her twitter the other day ("click" here to hear it). And that made me think of this other show I used to watch as a kid. It was called MAKE A WISH, and as you can discover by "clicking" here, the host, constantly checking his guitar frets, advises in the opening theme, "a piece of glass, a redwood tree, anything you wanna be, that's what you're gonna be!" That's really the way we thought then. And just to prove his point, he flies away! (See also.) And now I am remembering how another calm, psychedelic kids show theme ("click" here) freaked me out a little bit with its insistence that "the world's a big blue marble when you see it from out there." OUT WHERE? WHERE AM I? THE ENDLESS ABYSS? And then kids are knocking a marble around. Hey, that's the EARTH! It's NOTHING! It could just disappear at any moment! Or some smaller planet could crash into it and knock it out of the solar system! Like a marble! Which was not the point at all. Speaking of no point, I know you are not "clicking" on these "links" and I forgive you. "Blogspot" has now given me the capability to see how many times people have "clicked" on any particular "link" and NO ONE HAS EVER LOOKED AT THIS "POST" about how President William McKinley used to throw a napkin over his wife's face whenever she had a seizure at a state dinner! For shame!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Ha ha I fooled you! I was not in town nor near my computer yesterday, yet somehow yesterday's "blog" advent calendar entry mysteriously appeared. I figured out with my little brain how to prepare it a day in advance and have it "post" at the proper time, using the powers of technology available to us in our modern times we have these days. I did not want you to go without your daily seasonal treat. NOR did I want you to know I was gone so you could rob my house! Not that you would. There's nothing you would like here. What's that? Where was I? NEVER YOU MIND! But I can report that the cocktail napkins at the French 75 Bar have a quotation from Joe E. Lewis on them, a fact I had never noticed before.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Here is some photographic evidence (by Sonia Weinberg Thompson) that Tom Franklin and I indeed shucked oysters at Snackbar on Thursday night, as advertised. Look closely and you will see a telltale fleck of shell on the oyster knife that I am hoisting aloft. In fact, I shucked a full dozen for noted sportswriter Wright Thompson, who was extremely patient with the pace. How out of shape am I? At one point, Wright had to lean across the oyster bar and dab at my brow with a napkin, like the nurses used to do for Hawkeye on M*A*S*H.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
... so if David Strathairn is ever giving me his contact information and I'm writing it down on a napkin and he goes, "That's S-T-...," I'll be able to stop him with a casual wave of the hand and say, "That's okay, David Strathairn, I've got it!"
Sunday, December 07, 2008
How did I spend my weekend, you ask? Oh, I don't know. Just hanging out with Laura Lippman and David Simon, that's all! I do not believe it would be too unseemly or gossipy to report that I dined with them at City Grocery and Taylor Grocery (not to be confused with City Grocery) and the Ajax Diner, at the latter of which I had the privilege of hearing a disagreement between them over the meaning of a specific line of dialogue from THE WIRE. And in my head, I was like, "Wow! I'm having the privilege of hearing a disagreement between Laura Lippman and David Simon over the meaning of a specific line of dialogue on THE WIRE! I have never been happier and also I am freaking out!" But on the outside, I was all, "Hmm. Interesting point." But I didn't say it with words! I used the method of concerned and thoughtful nodding. (I will also mention that at the City Grocery bar, David Simon wrote down something John Currence said on a napkin!) We went to Rowan Oak as well, where we were allowed to manhandle Faulkner's personal possessions with obscene abandon. For example, I found a copy of the Italian literary magazine BOTTEGHE OSCURE, which at one time was edited by my friend Eugene Walter. I opened it up and sure enough there was Eugene's name on the masthead. I showed it to Tom Franklin (who also knew Eugene, and who was hosting Lippman and Simon for the weekend) and we stood there and marveled for a minute and thought about deep stuff. I can't speak for Tom but he was probably thinking something like, "Isn't life interesting!" (though he is not inclined to use exclamation points). Hey, do you know someone else with whom I went to Ajax and Rowan Oak? Neko Case, that's who! Remember, she took a picture of me sitting at Faulkner's typewriter? Read all about that, and more, in the brand new Oxford American 10th Anniversary Music Issue, which should be at your local newsstand right now. I could not possibly list all the fine writers and musicians paired up in this extraordinary package of wholesome goodness, which has a great cover photo of Jerry Lee Lewis (not to be confused with Jerry Lewis) looking as if he's on the set of the final episode of TWIN PEAKS. So what I will do is just list any musician or writer in the issue who has been mentioned on the "blog" before. There are lots of musicians and writers in there that I SHOULD HAVE mentioned here before, but to list them now would be cheating, and anyway I do not want to spoil the fun of discovery. But here, let me whet your appetite for the brand new Oxford American 10th Anniversary Music Issue by tossing out these names: Roy Blount Jr. -- William Gay -- Elvis Presley -- Greil Marcus --Peter Guralnick -- Kevin Brockmeier (wait until you read his piece!) -- Michael Martone. Well, I don't know what to say. That's not too many, and nearly all writers. May I cheat and mention just three perennial "blog" "faves" that have never been mentioned here before? Mose Allison, Little Walter, and Love....With Arthur Lee. And there are so, so many more. So many you won't believe it! Many you and I will hear for the very first time and with whom we shall fall in love. And I believe I forgot to mention that a double CD comes with the magazine so you can hear all the music you've been reading about. Down below, Jerry Lee. Up above, Love. (But not the same Love. It's complicated! Read the magazine.)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I have just returned from the City Grocery Bar, where I witnessed a bartender as she turned some uncrushed ice into crushed ice before my very eyes. What she did was wrap the ice in a linen napkin and smash it against the bar of beaten copper in a violent and exhilarating way. A profound methodology! It served to remind me that I was right about ice. If I were to write a slogan for the American Ice Council it would be, "Nothing beats the great taste of ice!"
Sunday, August 24, 2008
This morning while I was sleeping (another excellent technique for putting things off), Theresa was out in the yard, picking up an assortment of the napkins and white paper bags, pellucid with grease from the fried treats served up at the Chevron station on the corner (actually quite delicious; I'll "blog" about that some day), damp with dew, trash with which happy-go-lucky college students tend to liberally deface our lawn every night as they bellow and rant and shriek along their merry way down the sidewalk in front of our house after the closing of the bars while we are tucked up shivering with fear in our bed for all the world like an elderly couple upon whom a strange new world is encroaching... where was I? Oh yes. This morning, Theresa was in the yard, muttering under her breath about environmentalism and such, perhaps cursing, she admits, and picking up litter, when she glanced up and saw a deer standing by our front window, ten feet or less away. Theresa moved closer. The deer did not seem frightened. In fact, it appeared oblivious. It took a second for Theresa to register that she was looking at a deer. The first image that popped into her head, she said, was the Hound of the Baskervilles. The general gloom of the cloudy, windy morning contributed to this impression, she reported. The deer remained unconcerned. It slowly walked across the road. Theresa walked behind it, still picking up paper. The deer vanished. The street was quiet. "It was a long moment," Theresa said. (Pictured, Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes in a publicity still from the Hammer films production THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES.)
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Yes, I know I have sworn off "blogging" for the "rest of June." But something unusual has happened: the transmission of a new edition of Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner IN PERSON! And I have to write it down before I forget. Okay. First, on Wednesday evening in NYC, I was happy to participate in Amanda Stern's reading series down on Broome St. There is always a musician involved - in this case, a Mr. Jamie Barnes, hailing from Kentucky, who introduced one of his songs by announcing that it was "about the assassination of William McKinley." I had lunch with Mr. Ward the next day (he works in the city) and told him about the song. You know how he loves his presidents! So Mr. Ward said, "I bet it had this line in it: 'Be careful how you tell her.'" I was astonished! I said, "Yes, I believe that was the first line of the song. How did you know?" And Mr. Ward explained that President McKinley said as much after he was shot, referring to his wife, who was prone to seizures. Then Mr. Ward went on to tell me that sometimes, in the middle of a state dinner, Mrs. McKinley would have a seizure and the President would reach over and place a napkin over her head! The purpose was to keep people from being distracted by her contorted features! But it seems to me that a napkin over her head would be something else to notice. Then again, I am not the President of the United States!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Hey, over at Esquire magazine they changed the "link" at which you can gaze at something I wrote on a napkin. I'm guessing that the old "link" probably doesn't work anymore, so I thought I would provide the new one in case you want to see something I wrote on a napkin but why would you, really?
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Dinner at the home of Kimb and Mark Osborne the other night in L.A. Turns out that Mr. Osborne is an avid reader of the "blog." He had a suggestion: More entries about our intriguing and energetic upstairs neighbors. We are taking it under consideration, Mr. Osborne! He had, also, a reasonable request, which was for a clarification of our recent "post" titled "Napkin." I really should have explained that the napkin was part of a larger project, and I certainly should have mentioned that "Blog" Buddy Jim Ruland was also invited to participate in that project. To paraphrase a wise old song, "'Blog' Buddies are Doing It For Themselves!" Finally, Kimb (the enchanting and endlessly creative bride of Mr. Osborne) offered me some Lady Grey tea, to the shameless laughter of all present. Yes, my own "blog," by revealing all my terrible and private weaknesses, had worked against me! But it was all in good fun and many homemade cookies were consumed in a spirit of fellowship. (Click here to see an Academy-award nominated film by Mr. Osborne!)
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
No sooner do we declare our intention NOT to look for men with cigarette holders than the universe begins littering our path with them. Isn't that always the way with cigarette holders? I couldn't sleep last night. I turned on the television and happened to flip directly to a documentary about Hunter S. Thompson, particularly the way he has been portrayed on film. And what did I see but Bill Murray, as Thompson, with a cigarette holder and no shirt. There followed a few stills of Murray with cigarette holder. Then a clip of him doing push-ups with a cigarette holder in his mouth. There was also a clip of a woman holding a donut in a napkin, but I want to make it clear that I'm under absolutely NO SICK MENTAL OBLIGATION to report every donut I see. Just cigarette holders. Specifically, men with cigarette holders. We're not getting Auntie Mame and Cruella deVille into this or I'd never stop "blogging." And that became the fear last night, of course. By the time I saw Bill Murray in a life jacket, lei, and cigarette holder combo, I started freaking out. I had to change channels. I had only been watching the show for about five minutes and I could already imagine the horribly long "post" I would be forced through my various compulsions to write. But then, like William Shatner peeking out the airplane window in that TWILIGHT ZONE episode, I was compelled to flip back. And there was Johnny Depp grinning at me, a cigarette holder clenched in his choppers. I did not see Hunter S. Thompson himself with a cigarette holder, thank God. There was a photo of him with a pipe in his mouth, the bowl of which had been fashioned into a skull. But that doesn't count. I flipped away before any other cigarette holders could be viewed.