Monday, May 29, 2023

Nestled Together

I'm rusty at the old jotting game. As you know, it used to be that when I went on a trip, I jotted everything for you in one of my dear old jotting books. Everybody was simply crazy about that! But then I stopped "blogging," and the last time I went to Los Angeles, why, I hardly even mentioned it. But since then, I quit social media, and as a result, I no longer have anything to do aside from the ocassional jot. Bearing that in mind, I shall now attempt to make you one of those lists that I used to make that everyone adored so much. 1. I asked a question at the front desk of the hotel and the desk clerk said he knew my voice! He said, "Are you Root Beer Guy?" I screamed back in his face, "YES!" That has never happened to me before (being recognized as Root Beer Guy, I mean; I have screamed enthusiastically into many faces), and, I dare say, never will again. (Full disclosure: on a later date, I overheard him telling a coworker "Did you know that guy is the King of Root Beer?" So maybe he didn't have the solid grasp on my character that I thought.) 2. I don't usually use conditioner on my hair. In fact, I would almost go so far as to say I never do. BUT! I figured, what the hell, this hotel conditioner is free. I'm going to put it on my hair! What's the worst than can happen? I also cleaned out my wallet. 3. Rode around with Richard, the chillest Uber driver in the world. If you're ever in California and need a ride, ask for Richard! 4. Remember the drugstore where I famously bought my expensive brush? And, let me double check, did I buy an expensive comb there? Once again, I scream, "YES!" Anyway, that drugstore is gone now! It's just not there. How could they have gone out of business? They must have been raking in a fortune on brushes and combs alone! All kidding aside, I miss you, fancy drugstore. Go with God! 5. I had steak Sinatra two nights in a row, once at Dan Tana's and once at The Smoke House. (I think I have erroneously called it "The Smokehouse" a few times in the past, but their official signage separates the smoke from the house.) I may have formerly insisted that Dan Tana's steak Sinatra is superior to the steak Sinatra at The Smoke House. On this ocassion, however, I must advance the opposite claim! The old Smoke House waiter stood and mixed the spaghetti in with the steak and peppers right at the table, but not with showy theatricality, no, just in the background, in a workmanlike fashion, getting the job done without undue fuss, which, of course, did not add to or subtract from the toothsome nature of the dish in question... OR DID IT? The result, in any case, was delectable. 5. I had stars in my eyes whilst consuming my steak Sinatra that night, for across the table from me sat Jesse Moynihan and his brother! Now, I have never met Jesse's brother before, and, as I have often boasted (most recently a few seconds ago), I quit social media. The only thing I miss about social media is "Pickle Minute," a thing that Jesse and his brother and some of their friends do on Instagram. I'm a big "Pickle Minute" fan! And there, at The Smoke House, I felt I was in a live episode of "Pickle Minute," as Jesse's brother took a photo of me pointing at a fried pickle. For, yes, having spotted fried pickles on the menu, how could two of the hosts of "Pickle Minute" resist placing that order? They could not. 6. Also at dinner, a guy named Joe I met at a party in 2012 and haven't seen or talked to since, but I remembered him, because you meet so few people you can talk about Anthony Braxton with! 7. Had a meeting scheduled at the Bob's Big Boy restaurant where David Lynch used to go every day. It turned out that Bob's Big Boy was too crowded to host the meeting, to my deep chagrin, as I thought it a wonderful coincidence that Lynchian muse Laura Dern was at Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, whence I had come, at the very same time! 8. After the meeting, I walked around the neighborhood with a person who had been in the meeting with me. We wandered about, talking about the meeting, and what it meant, and sharing our regrets about the salad place across the street from Bob's Big Boy, where we had ended up. Finally, in our circular perambulations, we saw Bob's Big Boy looming before us. "Should we?" said the person. To which I again screamed, "YES!" By now, its lunchtime rush concluded, Bob's Big Boy was quite accommodating. The person ordered a slice of strawberry pie, because the Bob's Big Boy menu stated that the strawberries were "nestled together." When the pie came out, this person observed joyfully, "They ARE nestled together!" The person went on to declare the strawberry pie at Bob's Big Boy "maybe my favorite piece of pie." 9. I brought some Henry James to read on the airplane. I always found him tough going in the past. Anyway, this time, his characters were making lots of wisecracks and I was getting into it. 10. Well, I have left out many of the nice people I saw on the trip, and interesting events, but my jotting is not what it used to be. Special mention must be made of Hanna K Nystrom, who was flying in from Sweden just as I was about to fly back to Mississippi. She thoughtfully made time for breakfast in the brief Sweden-Mississippi overlap we enjoyed. We talked about how cold and gray it was. (Los Angeles was chilly and gray for the whole of my stay, once again lending some weight to the Lorenz Hart lyric.) Hanna said it was colder than Sweden!

Friday, May 19, 2023


It brings me no pleasure - or maybe it does; I can't tell - to report that I found a typo on page 369 of this edition of Mann's DOCTOR FAUSTUS. It's an "it's" for an "its," truly an all-timer of a typo, a typo for the hall of fame, must be one of the top 10 typos in English. I'm looking at you, Vintage International paperbacks!

Monday, May 08, 2023

What a Great Time

Lsst night Dr. Theresa and I were watching the Hitchcock movie FAMILY PLOT, and the bad guys were going to release their kidnapping victim, but he (the victim) said "I haven't finished my chicken yet." To which I hilariously responded "Who did they kidnap, Kent Osborne?" Because he loves to eat chicken! Only in our house could that line get a laugh, though, come to think of it, Dr. Theresa did not laugh. (See also.)

Monday, May 01, 2023


I was reading the Thomas Mann novel DOCTOR FAUSTUS (though it seems to be on pause now) and there were a lot of allusions to LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, so I did what anyone would do and picked up a copy of that Shakespeare play at good old Square Books. Thumbing through the introduction, I read about a 1978 production in which a "genuine owl" from outside the performance area, in the trees somewhere, joined in on the final song. Now! I thought to myself, will I have to put this on my big list with an asterisk, as I did once before for a volume with an owl in its scholarly introduction, hedging my bets as to whether that really counts? But it seemed to me that I knew just where to peek to find out whether the play itself contained the necessary owl. Knowing that LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST concludes with two absolute bangers ("click" here for more information about how I started using the term "bangers"), and reading closely the commentator's verb choice in observing that the owl in question "reinforced" the songs, I concluded that there might be an owl at the very end of LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST. And there is! "When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl/ Then nightly sings the staring owl." You know how it is!