Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Gift of the Magi......O Henry

The Gift of the Magi

ONE DOLLAR AND eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.” The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, the letters of “Dillingham” looked blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling—something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation—as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value—the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends—a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn't kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do—oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two—and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again—you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say ‘Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice—what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you.”

“You've cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn't look for it,” said Della. “It's sold, I tell you—sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year—what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don't make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs—the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims—just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let's put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderfully wise men—who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why we fight......Part V

Yeah, well.......

It is beginning to feel a bit.......

Actually, like......



I have spent the last ten days opening envelopes......mostly bills. Paying bills. Trying to send some bills for all the expensive parties we have done this year.....and hoping the people still have some money to pay the caterer.

When Denny Levett's chauffeur and car detail guy called me for work......because two of Denny's hotels had NO GUESTS whatsoever in Carmel last week......I got busy.

Opening nine months of bills is really depressing.....which is why I wait until winter to do it, and it is the first time we have any time. Stock up on the Wellbutrin and fish oil and go for it. We won't talk about the Vicodin and champagne.......

In the midst of all this there were some envelopes from my friend Doug the wine sales guy. Our wines get dropped off at Rancho Cellars, and the invoices always get lost and I never know what I am supposed to pay. Doug mails me copies. Yeah, Doug.....I got those two invoices, I don't need to open them right now (he mailed the last batch in late October).

I have known Doug for a million billion years. He was one of the orginal wine geeks back in the day when we were all fired up and full of passion. He is still a wine sales guy because he is the consummate professional.....and he is still fired up and full of passion. He knows his stuff, knows his line-up, he knows his customers.....and he doesn't bullshit anyone into buying anything just for the sake of making a sale. Well, most of the time....he is a pro, after all.

Being a wine sales person is right up there with the worst jobs in the world. There are thousands of them out there. Most of them are straight out of school or divorce or the failed restaurant......and don't know shit.

Owning a restaurant is also right up there with the worst jobs in the world as well. Most restaurant people don't know anything about wine, but often think they do. They tend to treat the legions of wine sales people like dog if driving all over hell and back and waiting for hours, often in a line, to push product to folks stupid enough to have opened a restaurant to begin with. They beat the sales folk up for tastes and free samples, lunches and dinners and tastings.....and then order wine that doesn't get paid for when the place goes belly up.

Unfortunately, Doug and I have the same problem: we love what we do. Doug loves wine. He loves the vineyards, the grapes, the smell of the soil, the wineries, the barrels, the tanks, the hoses.......He loves opening bottles, pouring wine, the sound of the glass filling; he loves the glassware and all the sizes and shapes and how it affects everything; he loves infinite variety of colors, aromas, sensations......and most of all he loves the politics involved in all of the above.

He is hooked, poor bastard.

I know the feeling.

And there ain't no money in it.....really. Mostly there is just love of the craft.

You do your best stuff because that is what you do.... and just hope that the client leaves at least carfare on the dresser in the morning.

Especially now.....when the shit has hit the fan, and the same folks who have been knocking themselves out to show their all their friends their food and wine erudition for the last few years of The New Golden Age....... are falling back on Costco and Two Buck Chuck.

The lamp posts of Carmel will soon be strung with the dangling bodies of suicidal restaurateurs. Luckily it is winter, so they don't stink so much.

The wine salespeople, on the other hand, tend to just suffocate themselves quietly in their cars......Suicide is painless. If you go with carbon monoxide, that is.

Well, anyway.....Tuesday I opened Doug's envelopes...... finally.

The first two had invoices that I had actually paid.....eventually. Whatever.

The third was a personal note.....and a check. It was dated just before the election.

"Times are tough, but obviously tougher for some than others.

"Enclosed is $100. Choose five people in need from your blog and hand them a twenty. Not much, but I hope it helps."


Oh.......NOW I remember why we do this thing that we do. Real restaurant guys.....and this includes the wine guys.....are running at the most basic level of existence: sustenance. We may be bitter, but we are generous. I think our game is played very close to that big beating heart we can all hear in the background.....

Last month, my new landlord.....a retired Christian minister.....gave me the news that Dave's trailer has to go. Dave is a quintessential Cachagua person....without any form of visible income for decades. Amanda loves Dave because Dave loved Store The Store takes care of Dave.

We finally....after five years of carrying the Dave on Social Security. He now has a life.....he can hold his head up, and even pay for food and Coors and Camels.

Dave has a trailer on the property that I bought from a burglar. He is attached to The Store by extension cord....and uses our laundry, baths, etc. We have battled Officer Phil, we have battled Monterey County Environmental health to at least turn a blind eye to a quasi legal guy......with nowhere else to turn. Dave is a grey area.

Anyway, the Nouveau Regime will not abide grey areas. The Great State of California now inspects us......and Dave does not fit in any categories. Dave must go, saith the new landlord.

"Well......If I pull Dave's trailer away he will be homeless. He has nowhere else to go."

"Michael, there are homeless people everywhere. There are hungry people everywhere.....but you don't feed them for free in your restaurant, do you?"

Well......actually, we do.

Constantly....and with dignity. We have codes we have worked out. Nothing needs be said. No thanks necessary. We understand what the end of the month means. Especially 31 day months.

My restaurant godmother was Momie Hilde. She was a restaurateur in Berlin before and during World War II. She was actually the first woman chef in Germany....but that is another story.

During the endgame and the massive bombing of Berlin by us...she kept her apartment building going. It was near the Tiergarten......which is German for zoo. That is all I will say about that.

After the Allies arrived, she instantly had a good job at the VierJahresZiet......The Four Seasons.....

Evenings.....a young couple she had known earlier would come to the back door of the hotel, starving. Momie would commandeer soup and bread for one would stand in her way.

Years later, Momie wound up in Carmel......Highlands Inn, the Marquis, Sans Souci, Petite Marmite, Fernand's in The Village where Corkscrew is. The young couple she saved were here also......he was Peter Steuber, who became manager of the Mark Thomas Inn (now the Hyatt), and later Latitude 36 (46?) and divorced his German wife to marry a bimbo....who of course worked for us eventually. Peter never acknowledged Momie or the help she had given him in Berlin. He would snub her in public.

Momie didn't care. "Bah......Micha, it doesn't matter. You still have to feed the people. We don't chose. This is what we do, mensch."

Old School.

My friend Doug is Old School. Getting Doug's note and check rings a big bell.

Beats the hell out of Wellbutrin, as anti-depressants go......

So, here is Doug's twenties.......

A good new toy for Cachagua Fire to distribute from the engine on Christmas Eve.

A village worth of dinner for Bill Sullivan and the Bulisa Project to distribute in Uganda in January.

A twelve pack, two quarts of milk and some dog food for Nike's dad.....fighting a lonely battle to save his house......and family.

A tickle for Rich from Heller's assistant winemaker......fucked to the wall with no health insurance and kidney stones after fifteen years hard service on the mountain.

And twenty bucks for Tor tourists means no money......$54 in two support our original Carmel literary and spiritual landmark. Last Tuesday the sweet docents gave my apprentices (a gang guy from the Eastside and a Spain kid) a tour at sunset.....and changed their lives.....

Anyway....thanks, Doug.

Old School guy with just the right touch at the right time......

Like all Old School guys.....

Happy Holidays......

I can do this.

Shoe fly pie.....

I know everyone is running this, but I cannot resist.

As the shoes fly ( an ultimate insult in Islam is just to flash the bottom of your shoe......flinging it is Richter), the journalist is shouting: "This for all the widows and orphans, motherfucker!"

Our Fearless Leader does a pretty good job of ducking. My really over the top friend, Jesus' General (The General is not a homosexual) posting that this is a disgrace to democracy. The shoes miss the President and hit the flag!

Old George would have taken the hit to protect The Flag if he were a Real American.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hoover Zombies Attack

Grace a Austin Cline.

Job-Killing, Country-Killing Weasels

These......motherfuckers......all voted FOR the $700 billion no-strings bailout of the banks......and against the $15 billion dollar loan to American car builders.

Here they are by name:

Bob Bennett, R-UT
Richard Burr, R-NC
Saxby Chambliss, R-GA
Tom Coburn, R-OK
Norm Coleman, R-MN
Bob Corker, R-TN
John Ensign, R-NV
Chuck Grassley, R-IA
Judd Gregg, R-NH
Orrin Hatch, R-UT
Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX
Johnny Isakson, R-GA
John Kyl, R-AZ
Mel Martinez, R-FL
John McCain, R-AZ
Mitch McConnell, R-KY
Lisa Murkowski, R-AK
John Thune, R-SD

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Little People......

In Ireland we believe in another world......well, several....that co-exist with that which we see before us.

Saint Patrick's Day brings out the friggin' lephrechauns.....prove positive that racism thrives in America.

But we also have the sidhe, pronounced "shee", the most famous of which are the ban sidhe...the female spirits. Banshees.

Then there are the Tuatha de Danaan.......And the underground pre-historic giants who link up with the Greek gods......

Before you laugh at any of this......come by my place on a full moon in summer.....preferably during the Perseid meteor shower.

My first date with Amanda was during the Perseid meteor shower thirteen or fourteen years ago. Ignore the fact that her birthday is right around there.....and I try not to think about meteors hitting Earth and Kryptonite and all that.

We walked up the mountain in the moonlight.....blissfully ignorant of our resident mountain lions....until we got up on top at Bob McDonald's old ranch. The view south was of ridge upon ridge climing up to Elephant Mountain, to Uncle Sam Mountain, and all the creeks, washes and valleys that fall into the Carmel River watershed.

My favorite episode of Twilight Zone (Rod Serling was an Ithaca guy) was the one with the stopwatch. A guy finds a stopwatch, and when he clicks it.....all time stops except for him. He can walk around, swipe stuff, peek in underwear, etc.....and when he clicks again, life starts again.

On the mountain that night, I felt like I had that Rod Serling stopwatch. When we reached the high meadow at Bob's ranch....the hills to the south were actually gilded in silver from the giant full moon. It was almost more reminded me of altar boy days, when there was stuff you weren't supposed to look at to protect your mortal soul....and you did anyway.

Regardless of the searchlight moon.....the Perseids were firing all around us. It was like being attacked by Stellar Mosquitos.

Boys are way better than girls at making all those whizz bang sounds. Pow! Whoosh! It is our only skill when push comes to shove.

This was: Whoosh! Pow! Zzzzzzsssss......Slam!

I was already in love.....and now the wound was cauterized. I was fucking DONE.

And, then.......despite the Searchlight Moon, and all the WhizzBang shit firing all above us.....we sat on the dry crinkle grass up on top of Bob's hill and looked south into the mountains and valleys of the Carmel watershed....

And realized that the light was not coming from was radiating up, out of the valleys and canyons and filling the sky. It was cities of busy folk all lost in the crooks and crannies of the wilderness of Big Sur.

I turned around to double check against the Salinas light (Cornell engineer, mind you). Salinas paled by the light of our busy little fairy valleys.

So.....don't talk to me about alternate universes.

Tonight, after a long day on the road, I got an email from Nike's social worker thanking me for whatever it is we do for her.

A public servant, at the public trough....much vilified by the Republicans......emailing me at 8pm on a Thursday night. I am a Union guy, and 8pm is long after work rules if you start at 8. I emailed her back that we did not need thanks, we were just smart enough to know when the the rainbow started at our house, and the little people actually left a pot of gold.

I walked outside to check on our Ould Dog.....and immediately the Other World was right on me. It was a nearly full moon, clear skies......and it was raining all about me. The leaves rustled, the ground stirred, the trees shook, and......

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

But, there were no clouds......and no obvious source of the rain.......

It made no sense.......

Then, I came inside, and saw on my computer that despite a 57-40 dominance of the US Senate, the loan bridge to the US auto industry had failed.

GM will now go down the tubes......

Not to be too sentimental.....but GM follows another hundred, thousand, ten thousand.....businesses that the Republicans have forced out of business by outsourcing, and selective "free" market practices..

At first blush......200, 000 GM jobs gone. All union.

The residual.........Two million.

That is the direct effect.

I am no fan of the US carmakers. I have been a foreign car guy since 1967........a year after I got my license. GM, Ford, etc continued to make giant, stupid, inefficient beasts until.......well, last week.

When we go to Spain every year, we rent an Alfa Romeo 147. Diesel. Gets 60mpg. Costs around $24k. Five door, five speed, goes like a bat out of hell, and has nineteen if any airbag designed by man could save me in a collison on a Spanish highway. But in Spain they don't have torts, either . You fuck up, your problem. In Spain, they don't have body bags.....they have body boxes, which neatly double as coffins. Hey.....don't fucking crash, OK?

GM meanwhile spent the last 40 years and millions and millions of dollars lobbying against the exact kind of vehicles that the public and the planet wanted. There was an actual cry of victory last year when the Viagra dependent Democrats supposedly in charge now crowed about getting a new CAFE standard of 35 mpg in like 2025.

35 mpg? That is a giant, armoured limo in Europe......With large dudes hanging over the top with big machine guns. Caterpillar D9's get 35 mpg in Europe.

GM put their chips on the red when the ball landed on black.

So fuck GM. Well, actually....fuck GM management.

GM workers.....full on Union guys....are now paid less than Toyota and Nissan folks in the deep South where the Republican Senators live who just torpedoed America's last, best hope.

GM marketing and sales guys? Obviously the best in the world....since they have been selling us shite we didn't need for decades.

So, GM is going South.

The Market Speaks.

Bankruptcy will be good for them....... It will force them to reorganize.

Yeah, when was the last time you shopped at K-Mart....who went through Chapter 11?


America is about winners. We don't patronize bankrupt fucks. We all go to Target, at best. K-Mart? Puh-leeze.

Like GM......

This is what the Republican Senators don't get........

Their own states have been giving away tax benefits to encourage car companies to build plants in their states.....and costs go to typically $200,000 per job. The locals defend this practice because the jobs will be permanent, and two hundred grand amortizes out over generations......

Fifteen billion dollars is less than one month in Iraq.

Fifteen billion dollars works out to around 75 grand for a permanent direct job, at GM only. It works out at around two grand a job for all the ancillary businesses that will go broke around GM.

Bumfuck, Egypt would pay that in tax incentives for a new whorehouse, much less a hundred year old manufacturing enterprise.

Who, by the way, actually saved the Free World on a number of different occasions through their energy, efficiency, loyalty, dedication......workers, management, the whole magilla.

The last disaster of this magnitude that I know about....indirectly by eight years....was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My grandpa was the marine surveyor of Honolulu Harbor......and he was pissed.

Correct me if I am wrong......didn't we drop an atom bomb on those fuckers?

Look out, Alabama. Look out, Tennesse.

Grandpa is even more pissed off now. He was a Chevrolet/Auburn dealer in Portland in 1930. And he will definitely nuke your ass, you dumbass Republican Senators from Southern states with Toyota and VW plants trying to fuck with GM.

But it goes beyond that.......GM, and cars, and gas stations, and repair guys, and body shops, and parts houses, and delivery folks, and sales folk, and financing folk.....are a central part of our culture.

My oldest and best client is a GM guy.....Donny Brascoe. He has a dealership in town that dates back to the origins of the auto industry. He is the grandson of the founder back in Kansas.....and his son and my son tread the same trails and fight the same psychic battles.

Donny B is further to right than Attila the Hun.....and I am further left than Ozzie Osborne's cavemen ancestors would tried to figure out the junction of rock and stick.......and we deliberately don't talk politics so that we can still be friends.

Still.....twenty five years ago, when I mis-stepped and wound up laying on the ground in the rain with police pistols at my head......and lots of terrible headlines....

Donny B made a special trip to our kitchen after we made bail. He walked in, all 5'11" of Stanford trained business dude in perfect Brooks Brothers attire.....and made a mesh of the fingers of both hands and peered through it.

"Jeez, guys......I didn't recognize you without bars in front!"

And booked a party......when no one else in Christendom would even meet our eyes on the street.

So......tonight when I hear that a handful of Republican Senators from the South....who hate Unions.....have decided that The Market rules, and GM must die.....

Not just GM....but all that GM means and GM stands for......

I think back to Amanda and I on the mountain back on that magic day.....and the light from the fairies shining up from the valleys of the Big Sur wilderness.......

Which is more real........Fairy light?.....or whatever these douche bags are pushing?

Fuck these guys.

Give me the fairies every time.

I don't know what I can do. I think I am gonna go downtown and try to buy a car.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not Faded Love.....

Sorry, folks.

Just emerging from a two-week battle with the Resident Weevil. The bug that is.

As a Person Without Spleen...I do the flu-shot, decline random hand-shakes, etc. But, it gets you in the end.

I have a month of posts whirling around my brain, only slightly dented by a bunch of grams of real Sudafed. As many as Long's will give people from Cachagua with two forms of ID, because.......well, you know how we are.

In my first lucid moment in a month, let me just share this:

When I realized that I could see and think and process thoughts without fog and pain.....I reached for a very cold half bottle of Gruet to.....celebrate? It evaporated before it hit my palate.

Just before turning in tonight, I poured myself an additional teaspoon of a 1973 Bas Armangnac I keep in my bookshelf......the Police Procedural bookshelf (we have a lot of bookshelves......most double stacked).

Randi Rhodes was going off today about Auto Execs with bars in their offices, and how wrong that was.

Well, Randi......the teaspoon of 1973 Bas Armagnac really hit the a deductible sort of way. It did not rise to the level of the '62 over on the Irish bookshelf, grace a Carolynn; or the backstop '49 over in the poetry bookshelf, nestling in next to the Robert Frost tomes on an evening when our in-house temperature hovers around 59 degrees, despite two raging woodstoves.

I have been writing all night about unions and meatcutters.....more research necessary before posting. Stay tuned. As I fade to black and pour my teaspoon of Armagnac, I notice the wooden box holding the bottle is resting on top of a check.

A Screen Actors Guild check, by way of 20th Century Fox, for Amanda for her role in "Nine Months" with Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Robin Williams, etc. 1995.

Amanda was the Praying Mantis, if you missed the shoot.

$65.60 gross.......$39.72 net.

A note attached to the check:

"It takes an actor to understand an actor's struggle. Please consider donating small dollar amount residual checks directly to the the Screen Actors Guild Foundation and the funds will go to helping fellow actors in their retirement at the Screen Actors Guild Home........."

Of course, Amanda does this. She sends part of her $39 monthly check to the needy actors.

In the middle of an insanely hectic day with two parties......with no staff, since everyone has the flu..... I get in the van to drive to town to try to put out the fires.

There is a sticky note: "Please Do Not Disturb This Spider". Smiley face. Exclamation point. Hearts.

There is a spider web growing between the dash and the mirror of my twelve year old van with 250,000 miles that has sat quiet for the last two weeks of flu and inactivity in the midst of our National Depression.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that both SAG and I have been stalking Amanda since 1995.

I point out the sticky note to my co-pilot, Nike......who has been through a living hell in the last few weeks that will only be captured by a half dozen of the missing posts....

"Oh, yeah. We tried to figure out a way to protect the spider with tape and cardboard.....but we thought it would be hard for you to drive and see......Isn't it a beautiful web? Can you see it in the light?"

Meanwhile, we had to hire a lawyer for $300 an hour to stop the Sheriff from tapping the till at The Store for some random, wrong lawsuit for some random Michael Jones that may or may not be me.

I love you, Amanda. I love you, Nike.


Hence, my favorite quote of the last month......

Napoleon Bonaparte, echoed by Winston Churchill:

"If you win, you deserve Champagne.

If you lose, you need it."