At my most recent meal in the neighborhood Italian restaurant the owner went aural wall-to-wall playing Frank Sinatra. That night maybe he had an urge to remember his hairline and when his wife still had a waist.
The proprietor didn’t play one song on a loop. Instead, he tailored his listening preference after those Buenos Aires parrillas which nail their tuners on the endless Carlos Gardel, all the time radio station. Diners who appreciate Sinatra were even luckier.
Rather than limit our listening pleasure to the crooner’s exhausted anthems (no “New York, New York,” thankfully) or the straight/no chaser/whole fifth downers (the entire In the Wee Small Hours album comes to mind) we ate while sampling the maestro’s oeuvre. Mostly mid-tempo selections personifying happy to be alive with my baby zest.
The post-Ava canon. Continue reading Ring-A-Ding-Ding!
(*Names changed in order to speak freely.)
My colleague *Perdu is the sort of woman who disturbs dreams. Clever, charming, at times nervy. Unlike women who instigate nightmares, one can lust after Perdu without worrying about a future involving boiled bunnies, knives or elaborately devised revenge schemes against friends and family members.
Nonetheless her adherence to rationality borders on psychosis.
After five years of serving at Mugwump*, our dying place of employ, Perdu’s just come around to acknowledging the daily waste, absurdity, and futility contained within its walls. Her acceptance of survival cynicism has been exciting to behold.
For the longest two hurdles kept Perdu from seeing how our enterprise had become an asylum. Continue reading Perdu Is Lost
Most of us should be supporting the protesters involved with the Occupy Wall Street actions. If not taking to Lower Manhattan streets, breaking our arches and straining our voices alongside them.
Naturally money compels the protest’s basis. One would’ve preferred more purely motivated impulses. Yet as the late Reverend Ike preached, “Money makes the world go round.”
Since life and death barely budge us from our daily numbness, it must be money. Continue reading The New Brickburners
Despite the sad circus my place of employment has become, there’s still work to be done.
On what would’ve been singer-songwriter Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday I kept an appointment in Saratoga Springs. While I wished we could’ve met at the horse track, preferably between educated selections of The Racing Form (a publication whose pages are prayed over more than any evangelical’s Bible), alas, the clients preferred wagering on whether our company could fulfill their request.
One puckishly hopes we labeled the Saratoga Springs job “Longshot” and not “Out of the Money.” Continue reading Down the Line
(Names changed to protect the innocent. And me. Others in this post enjoy the courtesy because they’re too stupid to be embarrassed.)
*Ruta died the next to last day of August 2011. Her illness was short but the final phase was acute. Whether deserved or not she suffered at the very end. Instead of palliative hospice care, she died at home surrounded by her things.
On the cusp of 80, Ruta is survived by a husband and my boss *Blowhard, their son *Skip, and two daughters, *Loca and *Fea. Another son and daughter, *Speedball and *Borracha, predecease her.
One imagines Ruta’s family will miss her.
Here respect for the dead and the bereaved ends. It’s more they would’ve extended and will extend themselves. In reality Ruta leaves behind the shell she married, their issue who either chose alienation or became pieces of human wreckage, while she herself wasted life experiences to promote positive contributions.
Like Palestinians, the Mugwump family never missed a chance to miss a chance. Continue reading Green Venom
Earlier this month real life made its usual appearance. Sudden and nasty.
Kovacs, a kommilitone from university, announced he was divorcing his wife Penny. These days, with every second nuptials falling flat, his split shouldn’t be stupendous news. Nevertheless it is.
The motivation behind the Kovacs sundering is rending. It is the obverse of a particular coin discussed within a rarefied sphere and under fine conditions.
Five years ago in Paris (Is that not a magical phrase or what?) I dined with the only future grandmother I ought have lusted after. Of course when I should have desired her she had yet to become a parent. Or wife of her first of two husbands. Through what would have been my nights of wrestling with impure thoughts, she charmed deadbeats in Losers Lounge. Continue reading His Bed’s Too Big Without Her
Strange. The fiscal shenanigans across these weeks involving the federal budget and stock market have silenced the usual yammering about privatizing social security.
Right now you’d need Sherpas, guide dogs, map, compass, and Diogenes to find one Jim Jones favored Kool-Aid drinker who’d demand plumping the stock market with social security money.
I wonder where they’ve all gone. Maybe gravity scared them away.
Given the market’s seemingly unceasing rise, I guess they’d forgotten a basic physics tenet as applied to economics: what goes up must come down.
August’s thud and splat must’ve been one harsh remedial lesson. Continue reading Making Hash
Several years ago, the Brooklyn Museum extended the bounds of good taste by exhibiting pulp magazine covers. For those too young, pulps supplied literary thrills and adventures from the late 1920s into early 50s. Labeled “pulps” because the editions guts were printed on coarse paper, the appellation could’ve extended to the covers as well.
Although glossy, the wraparounds didn’t bother teasing prospective readers about the contents. Rather, lurid covers promised all sorts of dicey situations filled with malevolence. Be assured rare was the denouement that promoted uplift and redemption.
Some chapters might’ve aspired to The Four Feathers, but none ever neared that level of daring-do.
The stories were turgid and churning. The covers reflected that assiduously. The Manhattan-based Society of Illustrators just wrapped up its own retrospective of pulp magazine covers. Dames in distress, gunsels, hop heads, fortune seekers, and space aliens were displayed.
Unlike our contemporary criminal chronicles which mine present-day fears, those long ago entertainments made no effort to hold mirrors against then-society.
Skip reflection or deep-seated introspection. Just the thing committed for the basest reasons. Which is why I’m so enamored with Argentine crime. Continue reading Fulfilled Women, Empty Men
(*Names changed to spare me yet trouble the wicked. This continues “Crazy Quilt.”)
The family line descends through the father.
*Blowhard, my boss and chief of *Mugwump, the family-held company for which I’ve toiled two dozen years, has rapidly deteriorated into decrepitude. A little under two years ago he was a sharp 80-year-old man. Today, enfeebled mentally and physically, he’s a ghostly figure peeking out from tired flesh.
He’s lost muscle mass. His acuity wanes more than waxes. Despite the obvious infirmities, no family member has yet summoned the compassion to tell him “enough.” Instead of compelling their father to see reason and retire, Blowhard’s surviving daughters *Loca and *Fea, whose management has sapped their patrimony, still let him commute to the office, and defer to him although his mind is shakier than theirs.
The Mugwumps are not a compassionate bunch. There’s plenty they aren’t and have never bothered being. The Turk needs to come around and collect all their playbooks. Continue reading Bad Biographies
Marcello Mastroianni got name-checked in my last post. He, perhaps with Steve McQueen and Robert Mitchum also at the apex of their celebrity, possessed the easy to notice but nearly impossible to attain quality of cool. Continue reading A Cool Digression