Category: This shit don’t write itself

Talking Bout My…

I ran across an innocuous-yet-aggravating-anyway argument on the Twitter machine this week.1Say not so! In this instance, a member of one so-called GenerationTM took offense at someone from another GenTM who claimed that theirs was indeed the best of all possible GTMs – because look at all the wondrous innovations theirs could claim – while the other GTMs were a bunch of wankers due to their inclination to war, racism, laziness, lousy taste in music/film/etc., and other particulars. The exchange was lively, generally pointless, and, as these things do, escalated into name calling of all sorts. read more


The Further Adventures of Stanwyck – Your Necessary Diversion from the Ascension of Il Douche


Hello legions. It’s been a while.

Today marks a transition. Obama to Trump. This is a damnably bitter pill to swallow.

I barely slept last night. When I did sleep, I dreamt of a three-headed beast terrorizing me and my family. A little too on the nose, really.


Here’s a mild palliative, a little something something that might amuse you. Bitter Southerner ran my piece about the Art Basel Miami Beach fair last Tuesday. It was nicely received, with a fair amount of enthusiasm about my trusty sidekick, Stanwyck. (If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead on: you have even more good fun to distract you from reality.)

Here’s an outtake, a part of the tale that did not make the final cut. Consider it lagniappe. Hope it makes today’s harsh medicine easier to take.

The All American Event Attenders

At the lower end of Ocean Drive are hordes of easily recognizable rubes from away – like me! – prime targets for aggressive shillery. Smart people walk down the beach side of Ocean Drive relatively unmolested, but the landward sidewalk is a treacherous gauntlet of garish sidewalk cafes, each with its own bass-heavy soundtrack, volume set to stun, and a stadium’s worth of neon and LED lights programmed to trigger seizures, all the better to help the customer realize how much fun she is or should be having. Employees – buff and exhibitionist – entice innocent wanderers with touts for two-for-one specials and all day happy hours. Thus did I find myself in front of a half-gallon of something that tasted vaguely like after-shave. It was delicious.

At this other end of the barfly spectrum, we found our bliss in a bucket-sized liver-ripper called the CoronaRita. It is apparently a favorite of some creature named Snooki.

What’s in it? So glad you asked. Dump a can of citrusy soda, a can of frozen lime concentrate, and 12 oz. of crap tequila in a plastic fishbowl. Garnish with two upended bottles of Corona and a couple of jumbo straws. This drink makes the Hurricanes on Bourbon Street seem quaint.

Judgement: 12 shots of tequila and two beers in one serving, the CoronaRita is the ugliest enticement to vomitous excess I have ever seen.

I ordered one immediately.

The Bourbon Street analogy is apt. There is equivalent desperation at play among both employees and their marks. The vendors occupy some of the most expensive real estate around, and even at $42 for a jumbo fruity liquor drink, survival hinges on serving vast amounts of event-attenders vast quantities of near-toxic comestibles. The marks are themselves determined to have fun, dammit. The exchange is relentlessly logical.

Stanwyck ordered a martini, naturally, slightly dirty. Eighteen bucks. A bargain. It came in a red plastic martini glass. She was Not. Fucking. Amused.

“Drink up,” I slurred cheerily, certain that her ether stash was close hand.

Stanwyck glared. If looks could kill.

“You drink it. I got my pride,” she says. And she does, you know. She does. She dumped her plastictini into my drink bucket. “When are we gonna see some art, anyway? Watching you drink that thing might be performance…but it pure sure ain’t art.”

Everybody’s a critic. I went to work on my fishbowl – with martini booster – straining to ignore the glare of sheer hatred Stanwyck was throwing my way. It was Kigali all over again.

The rest of the night was a blurred swirl of Bosch-like hallucinations. More. Bigger. Louder. Splashier.

There was the Corona Electric Beach Party, with special guest DJ Matoma (yeah, I don’t know either), just steps from our café. Security looked lax. I crawled atop The Clevelander Hotel’s poolside roof to join the shimmy-shimmy dancers in their matching yellow spandex outfits.

The crowd roared approval, but the bouncers frowned on my lithely gyrations. Cazart! Miami Beach might have a reputation as a fun-loving place, but the choke holds from those ruffians tell another tale.

I awoke near dawn amongst the other rough sleepers in Lummus Park. I was no more than 75 feet from my hotel. My pockets were emptied and my shoes were gone. This was where Stanwyck had left me to my fantods. Damn her.

While Your Narrator slept, Stanwyck claims that Heidi Klum dared her to arm wrestle Venus Williams at the Miami Beach Magazine gala. She sipped bubbly out of Pitbull’s slippers at the Dom Perignon bash. The Bombay Sapphire Gin shindig, the Perrier party, the Perrier-Jouët soirees. She says she got into them all.

I sez she’s a liar. She smiles quietly to herself. Over a breakfast of eggs, sausage, and, for me, another CoronaRita, she flashes her phone. Pics of Stanwyck and Paris. Stanwyck and Sarah Jessica. Stanwyck and Madonna! She knows a move or two, that Stanwyck.

One more. Stanwyck and Clooney.

Damn her.


A Typically Hackneyed End of Year Sum It All Up Post

Hey kittens! It’s been far too long since I dropped some knowledge here in the bloggy vineyard. The wait for knowledge will, alas, continue, but there are a few things to talk about as we wrap up the 2016 calendar.

First off, and maybe biggest: we’ve (you and me) amassed a little more than $4000 towards my travel expenses for the Uganda/RUTF project. Massive gratitude to everyone who donated, and big props to pal Doug Blackburn who put together a terrific piece for the Tallahassee Democrat to give this project wider exposure.

As of last week, we are targeting mid-February for the journey. We had hoped to go in October, then November. We are at the mercy of the NGO we are traveling with and the conditions on the ground in Africa. I am about to crawl out of my skin with anticipation.

please click here
and drop a little coin in the kitty.
Fully tax-deductible, and all for a good cause.
You’ll feel so much better if you do.

It’s been quite a year in the vineyard, even though the blog frequency has been, uhm, infrequent. Mea culpa. Life has been full, and I’ve had the great luck to place two pieces in The Bitter Southerner in 2016, one of them included in their Best Stories of 2016 roundup. Attention ho that I am, I am extremely proud and honored, especially when you think of the consistently amazing writing they serve up all year long.

The ridiculously long piece on

New Orleans and the Panorama Jazz/Brass Band read more

I Like Big Books

A quick update to my pining legions.

The Reader is on a roll. Seventeen books read since Christmas, and almost every one of them a real corker. Two more underway, plus a fourth sojourn through Infinite Jest.1Somebody come pull me out if you don’t hear from me for a while. I’ve tied a rope around my waist just in case. Here’s a quick consumer guide to fuel your bibliophilistic indulgence.

I’ve already told you about Jane Mayer’s superb Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. I’ll say this again: if you hope to understand the current political divide in the U.S., you have to read this book. For example: if someone introduces himself as the Distinguished Professor of Prosperity and Individual Freedom2Which I actually experienced recently. and your Koch-radar doesn’t start ringing alarm bells, you need this book. Desperately. Just read it already.

Alert fans of the blog have also “enjoyed” my take on the latest Don DeLillo, Zero K. His best since Underworld.

Given the drought of original thoughts in my head, you’ll get a chance to “enjoy” my musings about many of these books in the coming weeks. Here are the potential victims of analytical spasm:

Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James

All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell

The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson

The Dream of Perpetual Motion, Dexter

The Invisible Knight, Italo Calvino

The Sellout and Tuff, Paul Beatty

If Beale Street Could Talk, James Baldwin

Wind Up Bird Chronicles, Haruki Murakami

Essays, Wallace Shawn

Creative Clash/Rise of the Creative Class: These were homework for my super-secret work as a double-naught. Provocative, but who cares about neo-urbanism?

Sense of Ending, Julian Barnes

First up will be On Immunity: An Inoculation, by Eula Biss. I just finished this one, and it sent me scurrying back to the shelf to pull down and re-read Woolf’s On Being Sick and Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor. Biss’s meditation begins in the vax/anti-vax conflict and moves outward into broader ruminations on how the ways we think about disease – and the language we use to describe it – have implications that go beyond physical health itself. It fits in well in the long lineage of which Woolf and Sontag are a part. Look for this one later this week.

And yeah, sure, a naggling concern about illness and disease is probably also connected to Your Narrator’s incessant propulsion towards decrepitude, disintegration, and senescence. Get off my lawn.



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