Monday, November 30, 2015

A Modest Proposal

   The Anglo-Irish (a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were mostly the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy) satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (one who creates or distributes pamphlets), poet and cleric, Jonathan Swift, would have been 348 years old today, if he hadn’t had the bad luck of dying in 1745, at the ripe old age of 77 (the average life expectancy at the time of his death being approximately 43.13 years), so old that at the time of his death he was suffering from tremendous physical agony, and was gripped in the throes of madness.
   His masterpiece, “Gulliver's Travels,” was a book I had the pleasure of reading when I was in my late teens, and has influenced me to this day.
   In honor of Swift’s person and talent I humbly submit the following, a modern rendition of one of his best known shorter works. I sincerely hope he would have approved.   

"You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield...” Exodus 23:10

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10

                              A Modest Proposal

For Effecting a Strategy Allowing the Nation’s Infants and Domestic Beasts, to Cease Being Burdens on Their Country, Thereby Making them Beneficial to Society

   It is a very sorry state of affairs (one could almost say melancholy) indeed to recognize the magnitude of the poor and necessitous within the boarders of this great nation. I myself live in an area of one of the country’s largest cosmopolises, and am subject to look upon rows of makeshift dwellings fabricated of various grading of binder’s board, assorted apodemes of mackinaw, and semisynthetic aminoplastic praetoriums, as far as the eye can regard, and am constantly astonished at the brobdingnagian aggregate of children affixed to them. How is it possible for those who cannot seem to manage themselves to be expected to contend with their prodigious and helpless offspring.     

   It has been estimated that there are some twenty millions of urchins within the boarders of this magnificent country of ours that are younger than five years of age, whose upkeep utilizes a great amount of time and resource of their mothers, and quite often their fathers, which subtracts from the useful production parents can potentially provide toward the common good. Not only are these juvenile tots not contributing to the general economy, the tendency remains that they absorb as many resources as is possible for those so small.

However my intention is far from being restricted to just the children of the poor, it is of much greater issue, concerning all children of the working class who draw upon society without benefit of contribution to it, as there is no indication whatsoever that these supernumerary, inessential and wholly pathetic waifs  add to the entirety of our body politic.

For my own part, having considered the myriad complications involved in all aspects of this serious dilemma we find ourselves ensconced within, and having navigated the countless  tributaries of my conscious in regard to the moral imperative which guides my steady hand, I have found  the existing state of affairs severely wanting. It is true that the nestlings in the midst of our focus may subside with direct communion with their mothers for an indefinite period, perhaps longer, with little else required of the general surrounding environment, it is still of question as to the subsistence of the entire family unit itself! Hence my proposal be seen as a unique and novel solution that will place little burden on every imaginable party involved to ensure a successful resolution to elevate the leagues of piteous and demoralized parents that cannot seek considerable recourse otherwise.

If indeed my proposals are met with favor and adopted forthwith there will be other ancillary consequences of a beneficiary and precise nature, namely a stringent reduction in the need to terminate deduced pregnancies as the advantages to baring to term will become advantageous and wholly obvious, to the point wherein that detested practice be eliminated entirely and without regret.

The total assemblage of this commonwealth is calculated at three hundred and eighteen point nine millions as of the most recent reckoning. Of this, a goodly number, one hundred million, six hundred and fifteen thousand, or more or less thirty five per centum, above one third of the entire republic, depend upon the grace of the majority in the form of accommodations from the ruling authorities. Of the total I surmise the existence of thirty nine million and a half of reproductively active couples consisting of men and women, the later being of an age to bear progeny. Of that issue I subtract six millions who bear the resourcefulness to maintain their own nippers without benefit of public support, although that number may prove to be liberal in nature due to the general dysfunctionality of the nation as a whole, which is no doubt in direct proportion to the malfunctionality of the nincompoops occupying the legislative branches, which of course is a notable derivative of the nature of the occupant of the executive. If I follow directly, that leaves thirty three point five millions who actively breed. I once again subtract ten million, seven hundred and forty four thousand who will inevitably miscarry or lose their children by accident, forgetfulness, or disease within the year. Twenty two millions, seven hundred and fifty six thousand are left to us who are pathetically poor per annum. And of that almost four millions of infants come into the world that require subsistence. The question is this, how will these children be paid for?

I am assured by those who examine the economy that adolescents entering their second decade have amassed a considerable debt and therefore will be remanded to various forms of servitude on order for society as a whole to be reimbursed, entering vocations such as the dispersion of printed media on a daily basis, periodic siphoning of precious fluids, and military conscription being just a few of possible ventures.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been told by a knowledgeable Irishman, an acquaintance of long standing, that young infants of good health, who have been well fed and looked after, can produce prestigious amounts of organic plant food if left to themselves to wander or crawl about in specified environments, such as plantations, sowed fields,  or tilled paddies.

The above example being only one of many possible that may be suited and applied to those who would normally be a hindrance not only to their parental arbitrators but to the nation that supports both of these units of what in normal circumstances would be adjudicated as a nominal family, but in the larger percentage of modern instances does not exist in this time frame, and thereby providing some measure of relief to both structures. It is recognized that a certain small percentage of those put to this measure will be damaged to a miniscule degree due to certain circumstances contingent with the vocation. Therefore a breeding stock should be maintained that is pure and free from mischief. I suggest that out of the four million children already mentioned, that one fourth of the highest caliber of physical and mental purchase be excluded from sustenance duties and directed toward the goal of stock repletion, with a ratio of one male to three females, which should, in my estimation, be equal to the task.

Well fed newborns evacuate roughly six to ten times a day, therefore a well conditioned crop  should be able to fecundate a land parcel within an hour. 

There exists a strong possibility of controversy regarding this strategy as baby feces are not normally prized for their nutrient value as compared to other sources. Yet the availability and cost shall recompense.

In addition to the obvious benefits of additional nutrient value such a strategic employment would allow for, the natural momentum of said participants would address tilling requirements that would normally be provided for with a prestigious amount of uncalled for manual output. Infants allowed to plow  unhindered throughout daylight hours will not only furrow the nation’s one hundred and sixty plus hectares of fertile regions. Indeed, to facilitate this added employment simple mechanical devices could be devised that can be attached to each individual unit in order to maximize the fluid movement of the thousands of babies employed in such a noble endeavor. 

The cost of simple maintenence of said stock on a unit basis of indigent (in which I include the issue of day laborers,  pedagogues, diversion contestants, the arthritic, drug addled, infirm, and of course acutely feeble minded), otherwise useless offspring is approximately forty eight centimes per twelvemonth, rags included, which considering current market conditions could be charted out at two dollars and forty pennies, for a walloping advantage to the genitor of one dollar and ninety two cents! Since the annual output of each participant on average equals at as many as eight to ten movements a day, is approximately one hundred and two glorious pounds. The advantage of such a system is wholly obvious.

Another advantage to this scheme is the allocation of labor by the lessing need for maternal assistance daily that would otherwise employ those who would better benefit society at large by seeking gainful employment.

Infant labor formalities can and should of course be circumnavigated altogether by simply reimbursing said parent rather than the literal entity which provides the actual output, if you will, of specialized labor, thereby negating the statutory issue of maintaining an instance of baby drudgery simply by not supporting direct defrayment.  

An acquaintance of high character, known to me through associates I have intertwined through business enterprises throughout the years, has suggested that due to the current hoopla regarding the exodus of huge amounts of cohorts from various realms to the south of our great republic, assorted impediments be established along said perimeters to impede their steady progression, in a bold and dramatic fashion, including the use of electrified barriers, fields of buried explosives, snares, stake pits, and similar devices, with the goal of arresting this nonsense once and for all, and in their place utilize the services of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work due to the generally low economic conditions we currently suffer; to  be offered by their remunerated parents, if available, or by guardians, the direct consequence being the freedom of these innumerable custodians to discover steadfast employment, while the adolescents be put to good use in diverse applications, not a few of them being the resupply of the commonwealth’s liquid bodily substances, urchins of the specified age quite capable of being harvested thrice or more weekly, or for use in any number of significant and valuable endeavors, such as markers in sporting venues, noxious fume indicators in mining activities, or as decoys in the relocations of assorted beasts, such as large aquatic reptiles, or land based carnivores.

However, in order to vindicate my friend’s posture, he did admit to me that this sentiment was introduced to him by Rafael Cruz, a native of the province of Alberta, a portion of the great out reaches of the north, who came from thence to our capital above forty years ago, and while earnestly chatting to my friend mentioned that in his country those who do not earn their keep, no matter of what persuasion, they were permanently cast out, and sent to the socially ubiquitous confines below, to be henceforth that nation’s burden of which they seem tolerant and disposed to coddle. This man informed my friend that it was his determination, and that of his fellow political allies, to undermine our countries apathy towards these useless vagabonds, and put them to good and productive use, as mentioned above. Furthermore, inclusive not only to necessitous infants and striplings, but all domestic creatures, of all varieties and classes, upon which there exist multitudes, that have historically been little but parasitical upon our general good nature. 

I know that is of great concern to some of a strict value that the vast numbers of the poor, indolent, antediluvian, and antiquated within our confines, who do not participate in substantial productivity due to their advanced and repellent qualities, need to be steadfastly administered in an efficient and thorough manner. I maintain that this position should be of piffling priority considering the naturally occurring demise of said individuals advances at a common and undeniable rate upwards of six thousand, seven hundred a day. Even in a nation as large and propitious as ours, it is only a small matter of patient continuance before this difficulty rids itself of bearing, our lands becoming whole and clean and prosperous to the utmost of it’s capabilities. Of course any and all resources that had been previously allocated to these creatures would be free to sustain the productive and fertile. 

I have strayed from the ardent signification, and must return to accentuate the many obvious rewards our social order will reap upon the implementation of the aforementioned proposal, which are of the utmost importance.

The first and most dramatic consequence of tactical implantation would be to lower the total amount of the offending party, which has been a thorn in the side of true patriots and God fearing loyalists since the great founding. Considering those of a like mind to the Pretender Hussein incline to be the heartiest breeders, the total lessening of their stock will be wholly beneficial to our beloved land as a whole, making the population of expanding blackamoors, Castilians, orientals, esquimau, and their ilk, within manageable boundaries.

Of second import will be the effect a steadfast revenue achieved, possibly as a matter of precedent, can be afforded the opportunity to recompense their debtors, to the satisfaction of all concerned, especially those who hold their daily accommodations.

Thirdly, of the four million tiddlers of a necessitous nature aged two or more which have been previously equated, whose maintenance toll cannot fairly be calculated at less than one thousand dollars per annum, excluding nutritional subsistence, the country’s inherent value will increase by four billion yearly, not discounting the noble and primary services provided by said infants, which benefit the nation and it’s rightful leaders and upper stratum directly insomuch as to alleviate what was once an intolerable burden.

Of the fourth advantage, those impoverished who reproduce readily, inclusive of the monetary rewards earned by the merchandising of their progeny, will likewise see their respective freedoms advanced due to non encumbrance.

Fifthly, services rendered to those conscripting aforementioned labor will naturally benefit greatly, in  personal and business terms, increasing the value of their own enterprises, and lessening the burden of their operating expenditures, savings that can be passed on to their own expenders, or not, according to their nature. The country itself will be to advantage, as to be expected, by both an aroused economic outlook, plus the reaping of elevated assessment.

Sixthly, the affect of the high state of eudaemonia due to the innate advantage put upon society as a whole function of said plan would be an inducement towards a holy union between close partners involved with the enterprise, as is their civic duty. Those sanctified couplings which bear fruit will be productive in bearing, and the maternal instinct abide with a huge incentive to care for and nourish their offspring, no matter what persuasion or bent, knowing full well their advancement will be favorable for all involved, a bonus rather than a burden. Indeed, matrons shall compete with each other to see who it is that can bring the youngsters of the most prodigious nature to market. Men will have interest in maintaining a glad household, rather than abandon it, as too often the case.

There are many other advantages to be harvested, not only to our glorious realm, but the entire biosphere of this world. Considering that humanity, in it’s wisdom, a magnanimous gift from our Lord, has decreased the total fauna aggregation by half from just four decenniums, the result attributing to ninety two percent less nutrients being deposited globally since the last Great Cold. Offerings of current livestock, which remain the greatest source of massive beasts, will not suffice, as they are penned, and do not roam. The contribution of millions of meandering babies cannot be understated.

It has been accorded the amount of wholly productive farms of said nature have degenerated from the times of the Great Communicator from two millions and forty eight thousands, to two million and eleven adduced just  three years  previously, derives a largely apparent decline in our nation’s ability to remain self sufficient, making the advantages of said proposal obvious.

If there be some form of critique inherent in this proposal, or any one expostulation towards hindrance, I can not fathom it, other than perhaps it currently is not in accordance with local or even national standard of law. However, history has proven time and time again that erstwhile jurisprudence has been formed at the behest of the timely circumstance that our great nation must face at any especial point of time, and is therefore more elastic in nature, as fits the particular need required, as it should in accordance with condition at hand, rather than a fixed and unending statute which may never be amended. And please, let’s not forget that the objective of this exercise to promote the utmost common good for the entire populace; to reduce the tendency of indolence, laziness, idleness, shiftlessness, and general inactivity in our young; and to instill the valid virtues of servitude, thraldom, industriousness, diligence, determination, assiduousness, concentration, and ardent work ethics that will no doubt be of great value to those participating for their entire existence on this planet. And please consider, dear hopeful adherents, the smashing advantage our single republic will own in comparison to those entities that are to timid to not make use of the populations in such a manner, particularly in this age of globalization in which we find ourselves. Bearing in mind the much less expensive disbursement of labor cost in most societies, this proposal shall give to us the advantage economically for once, while at  the same time advance a robust sense of purpose within the assemblage of the entire country, lasting as long as this scheme is put to use, a supreme benefit that can not be counted to it’s full measure.   

And so forth I reiterate, let no personage espouse or disconfirm to me, until at least they have endeavored in a favorable manner, to a great degree of substantial and sincere fortitude, a goodly effort to engage this notion.   

I have to admit that I have spent a sizable continuum in assorted endeavors of a wholly unique and yet visionary quality, or so I have considered it, yet regrettably as of this moment none have taken hold and prospered. As to why I cannot grasp it. Perhaps the deeper import is lost to those without the proper fortitude to apprise the, to me, obvious advantage and chance to profit in large range. Indeed, at various times I have been met with a certain degree of discourtesy and offense. To these fatuous individuals I invite them to haphazardly fornicate with their person with outstanding fortitude and vigor.    

Yet now that I have come upon this calculation, it is with great anticipation that it will bear no ill critique, and advance wholeheartedly once the idea has taken hold, it’s virtues multiplying after implementation to the point of exponential explosion culminating in a majestic benefit to our entire nation. Still, I am not so entrenched in my own estimations that if others offer dissimilar proposals that overshadow the rewards of mine, at the same or lesser cost to the common, then of course they must be fairly reviewed. But before other schemes are considered for effectuation, I humbly ask those who adjudicate to deliberate two essential points. Firstly, as things now stand we are hounded by the throes of millions of urchins who are altogether unavailing, who require constant care and nourishment, by those who can least afford to provide such. How will any alternative arrangement alleviate this sordid condition? Second, in what substantial manner will other mechanisms provide those it would influence the sense of pride, decency, independence, sustainability, and responsibility in those who at one time deemed themselves helpless and victims of happenstance, those who had no sense of cohesion, toward their own person, their biological collaborators, and community. Those who looked on as a burden, as indeed society at large in fact deemed them to be? These points must be addressed before serious regard be given upon any alternate course of action. And action, my friends, must be set in motion, for the occasion we presently find ourselves experiencing must be curtailed in some significant manner, through moral obligation, and economic necessity.     

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.

The End 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Skid Row Diary 46

4   December     2003      Thursday      Day 145

   I had an 8:30 appointment with Kenny Johnson, my new case manager. I got up at 8:00 to prepare myself to face the inevitable onslaught of his rapier like wit.
   He was talking to someone else when I arrived at his office exactly at 8:30. I made my presence known and waited patiently outside, where two other guys were waiting for him.  They were there first, but I had the appointment. After 10 minutes I stuck my rugged head inside and asked him if he wanted me to come back a little later. He asked me to wait 5 more minutes. I told him to go fuck himself and stormed off.
   Just kidding.
   I finally got in there. His office was certainly arranged for his own personal comfort... plenty of space on his side of the desk, very little for the one chair allowed for visitors.
   He looked me up on his computer and stated that his only concern was that my stay at the Weingart was to have ended November 30th. He asked me if I was looking for a place to stay, and I told him to fuck off and stormed out.
   Kidding again.
   I reminded him of the form I had given him to fill out.
   “Are you on some kind of waiting list?”
   He said he’d have Ms Sandry talk to me. I told him I’d be happy as hell to talk to her.
   He seemed pleased that I had applied for SSI. I let him know I hadn’t heard anything back from them yet, and that DPSS had shorted me again. I told him of my involvement at the VA, which also made him happy.
   I made his day.
   He said he’d see me next week, and that was that. Very good.
   I used the computers in the day room briefly, then cleaned my lonely room.
   I listened to Venus Hum, wrote, and cooked some eggs.
   Kathy was ill today, so the group was run by Dr Lo. I gave him the form I had gotten from SRHT. He filled it out and gave it back to me at the end of the meeting.
   During the meeting an interesting subject came up, one that Kathy had brought up several weeks ago, one which I found intriguing.    
   She had stated that addicts relapse frequently, or use again, despite having the certain knowledge that there would be dire consequences, because they are afraid of the unfamiliar. Using drugs and alcohol, despite the pain and havoc it creates within their lives, are familiar to the addict, so they keep running back to it, with the knowledge that life would be much easier, better, and worthwhile while clean and sober.
   This simple premise answers so much, not only for alcoholics and addicts (I’m loath to distinguish the two, alcohol being a drug, but do so in order to adhere to conventionality... which I’m also loath to do), but for everyone. The mentally ill that ramble on the streets of Skid Row and refuse any kind of help offered to them do so because a roof over their head and supervision would be unfamiliar to them and frightening. Nations wage war because historically war has been the key to solve diplomatic difficulties, or ambitions. To seek other solutions would be unprecedented, and politically disadvantageous. A housewife uses “Cheer” detergent for 30 years because she is afraid that others would not keep her families clothes clean, despite overwhelming  evidence from Consumer Reports that “Tide” is infinitely better. Christians believe in a God there has never been any empirical evidence for because they were instructed to as children, that belief being reinforced by all of their peers, and to entertain any notion to the contrary would be frightening for them beyond belief, even to the extreme point that the knowledge of other and different religions that existed could not be tolerated, at times causing destructive wars and massive loss of life. Peter Pan refused to grow up because he only knew how to be an obnoxious little boy that could wear tights and fly.
   Fear has much to answer for.
   Of course this is a very simplistic explanation, as most of mine are, as my education is inadequate, as the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation has so helpfully pointed out to me. However I sense the heart of the premise comes close to the truth. The happy point of this position is that fear can be dealt with if one has the will, knowledge, patience, and determination to do so. That is how some addicts do manage to stay sober. That’s why some wars have been avoided. That’s why there are so many, many different brands of detergent. And that is why there is freedom of religion in most parts of the world today.
   Peter’s screwed though.
   We’ve come a long way since the Spanish Inquisition, but there’s so much more to do. So much fear and ignorance... wrapped in a pretty convenient easy to carry package called the Republican Party.
   It’s so sad. I sat in the meeting and cried thinking about it.
   I dropped off the forms Dr. Lo had given to me to the Skid Row Housing Trust office, then walked to the library.
   I checked out the video of the movie “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” starring Barbara Eden, Walter Pidgeon, and Peter Lorre. I watched it in the evening.
   The film has a special significance for me because when it was first released in 1961, I saw a trailer of it on television, and forced my parents to take me to see it. We did it that very night, at a drive in, in the San Fernando Valley.
   It’s one of the two movies I remember seeing with my father, the other being “Thunderball,” which we saw at the famous Cinerama Dome, on Sunset Bl., which looks like half of a giant golf ball sticking out of the sidewalk.
   My dad was a big James Bond fan.    
   My mother and I saw many films together. It was a way of escaping our intolerable relationship. After my father’s death I dragged her to as many films as I could get away with.
   I watched the movie “Traffic,” after Voyage, which starred Erika Christensen, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Catherine’s husband was in it as well.
   Afterwards I read from “Tai-Pan," then went to sleep and dreamt I was receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House, from President Bush, along with the beautiful and talented actresses Erika Christensen, Olivia Hussey, and Jacquelyn Smith.
   The ladies were all wearing bikinis, and I was wearing kilts and holding a Great Highland Bagpipe, which at the time I thought rather odd as I’m Irish and not Scottish.
   Uilleann pipes would have been more appropriate.

5          December         Friday        Day 146

   I woke early at 7:00. I don’t know why. I hadn’t gone to sleep until 3:00 reading. I also hadn’t signed in for 3 or 4 days, so went down to the front desk and got that done, then returned to bed and dreamed of having the lifeforce zapped out of me by Mathilda May, the genuine space vamp from the film “Lifeforce,” and many other fine French and American films.
   When I woke again near 11:00, I continued reading from “Tai-Pan,” James Clavell’s epic historical drama concerning the founding of Hong Kong in 1841. It’s my favorite of his novels, and is a prequel to his book “Noble House,” which also takes place in Hong Kong, but in the 1960's.
   I suppose one could rightly say “Noble House,” is a sequel to “Tai-Pan.” Which ever you prefer.
   He wrote the screenplay for “The Fly,” you know. The first one. And “The Great Escape.”
   I wrote in the afternoon. Ron McCree stopped by the lobby at around 4:00 to let me know he wanted to go back to Trimar tomorrow. I told him fine, as long as he stopped bitching about everything. He said he would.
   I don’t believe him.
   He asked me how my Thanksgiving was, and I told him. He told me his Thanksgiving consisted of watching 19 consecutive episodes of “The Cosby Show” on channel 56. You have to admire his endurance.
   I first got into “The X-Files,” during a 1998 Thanksgiving Day marathon, on the FX station, while withdrawing from alcohol poisoning.
   Those were the days!
   Even if I did have cable, FX wasn’t showing any “X-Files,” these days... the Fox bastards.
   I read from the Times Book Section of the murder of 13 year old Mary Phagan, and the lynching of  Leo Frank, the man convicted of murdering her. Apparently the lynching was carried out by some of the leading citizens of 1913 Marietta, Georgia, including a county judge and a former Governor. 
   Seven members of the lynching party were later selected to be on the grand jury investigating the lynching.
   Unfortunately for all involved, especially Leo Frank, it turns out they killed the wrong man.
   Southern justice. Quick, brutal, self-satisfying, and totally unjustified. Interestingly enough, Frank was white, and the suspected real murderer was black. I don’t know if that is ironic or not, but it is interesting.
   I watched “TV’s Naughtiest blunders from Around the World,” a blooper program. I’m never going to say anything against Australia, but most of the show segments were taken from down under.
   I love shows like this. I could watch them for hours and hours, especially while withdrawing from alcohol poisoning.
   “I saw your banana in the dressing room,” said the pretty TV news anchor.
   “It’s a big one, isn’t it?”
   “Yeah! That was the biggest banana I’ve ever seen.”
   Humongous fruit.
   Later on I watched the first half of “The Ring,” starring the lovely and talented Naomi Watts, a British transplant from Australia (no banana jokes please), who plays an American.
   She’s very good, and the movie is very good. I paid actual cash, U.S. dollars to see it twice last year, taking John Manzano with me the last time.
   It’s based on a  true story I’m told.
   I only watched half because I began to get tired and fell asleep.
   I dreamt I was about to be lynched by an angry mob, when the lovely and talented Dutch star of four of the seven “Emmanuelle,” films, Sylvia Kristel, rode up on a white horse and shot everybody with a big shotgun, except me. I got up on the horse and we rode to Miami, and were never seen or heard from again.

6         December          Saturday            Day 147

   I got up at 6:15 to meet Ron. I could feel the beginning of a cold coming on, or the flu everyone’s getting. The top rear of my mouth was all soft and hanging down, a sure sign of infection.
   Grilled cheese and bacon for breakfast. Ron arrived at 7:05
   “You’re late,” I told him.
   “Yeah, late.”
   A man nearby didn’t want his breakfast and gave it to Ron, who only ate the cold cereal. I gave him my bacon, and we dropped it off, our bacon and his grilled cheese, at his house before heading to Trimar.
   Ron was talking about past school assignments while we were on the Red Line to North Hollywood. He told me about a film he saw concerning an annual event held in a rural town in which one member of the local community was stoned to death after losing a drawing.
   “The Lottery,” I said.
   “The Lottery?”
   “Yeah. By Shirley Jackson. I had to read it in high school. It’s a short story. You saw it as a film?”
   “Yes. Anyway, I was saying...”
   He went on about how he wrote a paper on the film maintaining the point of the story was actually about population control.
   “Population control!?”
   “Yes. It sure is.”
   “Don’t you think blind faith to convention, and adherence to ancient and barbaric rituals is somewhere in there too?”
   “Population man. I’m telling ya.”
   “What grade did you get on your paper?”
   “An A plus.”
   “A plus, huh? Wow, that’s pretty good. Was it an English class?”
   “English one oh two.”
   Ron didn’t bitch about anything today. Empty pockets had humbled him. By chance we were placed on adjoining couches, and watched Ang Lee’s “Hulk,” starring the extraordinarily beautiful and talented Jennifer Connelly, and a computer which generated images.
   “Start any trouble buddy,” I told him, “and I’ll have you put out. I’ve got connections here.”
   Aurica stopped by to say hello. I introduced her to Ron, then she went away.
   My weight today was 185 pounds, blood pressure 110/70, pulse 80, penis length 30.48 centimeters. No sign of fever despite my oncoming cold.
   On the way back we stopped at the 99 Cent Store in Van Nuys. I bought some pre-popped corn to take to the movies, and some cake frosting, butter cream chocolate. I’ll eat that later. Very decadent.
   I left Ron at the Red Line Universal City Station, and took the tram up the hill to Citywalk.   
   I wanted to see “The Last Samurai,” Tom Cruise’s new film. By this time I was hungry, so I had a cool chile dog from Tommy’s before going into the theater.
   “The Last Samurai,” was okay, but just okay. I’ve been spoiled by Clavell in all things Japanese.
   There wasn’t much to the story really. Ex-Civil War Union officer down on his luck and paid to scout for Indians in the Wild West, is hired by the Japanese government to train it’s soldiers in western warfare to quash a rebellion. Said soldier is captured by said rebellion (fortunately for the soldier the leader of the rebellion, the last samurai, happened to speak very good English), is subsequently turned, and starts fighting for the rebellion, learning sword play, martial arts, and the native language along the way. It being a Tom Cruise movie, he is the only surviver of the final battle. And that’s it! One ninja battle, one big battle, one pretty Japanese girl. In the end, it looked like a bunch of Hollywood people making a film of what they thought 19th century Japan might be like. It displays approximately one fifteenth the action, intrigue, romance, and exposition that Clavell’s “Shogun,” does.
   I returned to my room and listened to the 6:00 broadcast of “The Prairie Home Companion,” this week emanating from New York City, where all of the salsa comes from. Randy Newman was on, and I taped him singing, “Drop the Big One and See What Happens.”
   “We’ll spare Australia, don’t want to hurt no kangaroo...”
   And a touching tribute to the late John Lennon.
   I get so misty every time I hear or sing “Imagine,” feeling influenced by a combination of the raw truth and beauty within the song itself, and an aching sadness remembering his life and tragic passing.
   Later, at about 8:00, I taped the 8:00 broadcast of “A Christmas Carol,” starring George C Scott. I love George, but he looked like he had OD’ed on valium throughout this performance.
   After that I taped “The Man Who Wasn't There,” written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, an almost perfect movie, starring Scarlett Johansson and Frances McDormand, and filmed in glorious black and white, just like real movies, none of that fake color stuff.
   A story of blackmail, adultery, and ambition. Billy Bob Thornton plays the title role, but he’s not there most of the time, and James Gandolfini provides one of the most compelling death scenes I’ve ever seen. Through his performance I now know what it must feel like to be stabbed in the throat, and what thoughts one must have while you feel your life flowing out of you.
   I fell asleep before the film ended though. I’d finish watching it tomorrow. It now ranks right up there with “Miller’s Crossing,” as my favorite Coen Brothers movie.
   I dreamt I was walking with Scarlett Johansson, the lovely and talented Kandi Barbour, star of “Pandora's Mirror,” “Bon Appétit,” “That Lucky Stiff,” and many other fine films, Frances McDormand, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono, on December 8th, 1980, and about to enter their apartment building, The Dakota. It was 10:50 pm, and John passed a young man standing in the shadows.

7       December         Sunday            Day 148

   I stayed in bed until 11:00 reading from “Tai-Pan.” I was feeling a little under the weather I guess.
   I got pissed at myself for wasting away the day, so finally got up.
   Today is my sister’s birthday. She’s 45 years old today, if she’s still alive. She was still smoking like a chimney when I last saw her three years ago, and showed no inclination to stop. 
   Happy birthday Cheryl. I wish you well. Sorry we didn’t get along.
   I had lunch with John and told him I might place an entry in the writing contest the Levi Ctr was having. Submissions are limited to 3 pages in length (but 4 in width, and 7 in depth, and 12 in the fourth dimension of time), which places a sort of Haiku structure on it, which I find appealing.
   I told John the idea I had for the subject. He thought about it a minute, laughed, and said he wanted to steal it from me. That’s encouraging.   
   I bought a paper at the 5th st. market. Clyde Foster was hanging out at the corner and borrowed a dollar from me. That’s pretty sad as he’s got a job and I don’t.
   I could see where he spends all of his money, as he’s been chasing some girl... sorry bastard.
   I spent the rest of the day writing, cleaning my room, and reading the paper. I finished watching “The Man Who wasn’t There,” and watched a 4:00 broadcast of “No Way Out,” because Sean Young is in it... until that fucking Gene Hackman killed her... sorry bastard.
   National lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation,” aired at 8:00. I taped it. Now it’s mine, forever and ever.
   I’ve noticed there certainly are a lot of Christmas themed films on lately.
   I put in a video intending to watch John Houston’s “The Maltese Falcon,” starring Humphrey Bogart at his grimacing best, but there was a long documentary inserted before the film about how Warner Bros. publicized the movie when it first opened in 1941, with trailers that showed a great deal of Humphrey from “The Petrified Forest,” and “To Have, and Have Not.”
   One day I’ll have to see “Return of Dr X,” Bogart’s science fiction movie.
   “He’s returned from the dead to seek revenge!”
   I got tired after watching the trailers and went to sleep, having a dream concerning the lovely and talented actresses Beverly D'Angelo, Mandy Moore, and Lisa De Leeuw, star of      “Springtime in the Rockies,” “Sorority Sweethearts,” “Too Naughty to Say No,” and many other fine films, and with four and a half pounds of rich, creamy, soft butter, a B83 nuclear bomb, six bananas (big ones), 8 twelve pound bags of goose feathers, a cheese grater, 8 skipjack tunas, a battering ram, 6 bowling balls, 6 Clambroth marbles, a jackrabbit, 5 gallons of Whip’en Chill, 1 copy of “The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe,” 1 ice cream scoop, a Batman costume, a white rhinoceros, and a trampoline.

8     December        Mon         Day 149

   “What does it look like to you, eh?! Five marbles, that’s what!” I’ve got another one in my pocket. That’s six marbles! I’m looking for marbles all day!”   -Ensign Pulver

   I got up at 6:00 to meet McCree, but he never showed. Since I was downstairs and dressed and all, I had breakfast. Scrambled eggs and a slice of pressed turkey. Very good.
   I walked  up to 5th St. and bought a paper, returned to my room, drank some coffee, and listened to Mark and Brian.
   Mark had been ill last week, taking three days off. Brian took the same days off in sympathy.
   Siamese Twins.
   Did Kelly, Frank, Priva, and Sky Lord get a day off? Oh no. Did I get a day off? I’m sick too.
   My life is a day off.
   It’s unusual for me to get sick twice in one year. Is this what I have to look forward to in old age?
   I better do more yoga, and strive toward being able to pull a tub boat in San Pedro Harbor like Jack Lalanne.
   I was watching Despierta America while listening to M & B. It’s always good to multi-task, if possible. Life is so short
   My ex-wife wanted to play the trombone and piano at the same time.
   Giselle Blondet, at one point put her beautiful, lustrous, raven colored hair into pig tails, and and sat on Santa’s lap.
   I got jealous. 
   And aroused.
   This would be the high point of my day.   
   I don’t know if it was the real Santa she was sitting on. There’s so many fakes around.
   Probably not.
   Lucky Santa bastard.
   At 10:00, when M & B, and Despierta left me, I read from “Tai-Pan.” Then got tired from reading so hard and took a little nap. I dreamt I was Santa, and Barbi Benton, the beautiful and talented actress and Playboy Playmate, was sitting on my lap and telling me what she wanted for Christmas. She had her hair in pig tails. I woke up after she asked me why my lap was so lumpy.
   I read the last two chapters of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle," where Bokonon turns into Ice-9 while flipping off God. I listened to Venus Hum while reading.
   Then I watched “The Maltese Falcon.”
   Dashiell Hammett’s book is staring at me from my bookshelf as I write this. It wants me to read it.
   John Houston’s was the third screen adaptation of the book, which is a tribute to Hammett’s popularity turning the 1940's.
   The plot is fairly simple, though the story is extremely complex, and Houston uses dialogue to bring the audience up to speed on what’s taking place, something unheard of in this day and age. Today, the less story and more explosions the better. I wonder though at the audience’s reaction to the film when it first came out. Were they able to keep up? Or were they just intoxicated by the snappy lines, like:
   “You’s always got a smooth explanation for everything, eh?”
   “What do you want me to do? Learn how to stutter?”
   It was difficult even for me to keep up, and I’ve got an 8th grade education.
   Whatever, the Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Humphrey Bogart combination seemed to work as they were in several films together... until  Lauren Bacall came along and messed everything up that is.
   I had two hot dogs and one bun for dinner. I checked the oncoming weather with Jackie Guerrido, then watched “The Simpsons,” “That 70‘s Show,” a guy eating a cod eye sack with ants on it on “Fear Factor.” That was certainly worthwhile.
   I meditated.
   Before the evening was up I watched “Mr. Roberts,” Starring Betsy Palmer, Nick Adams, and Granny Goose.
   For my younger readers, the reference to the goose above refers to a potato chip commercial one of the actors in the film later appeared in, wherein he declared that his name was Granny Goose.
   “You may not believe this, but my name is Granny Goose.”
   I doubt strenuously that his real name was Granny Goose.
   I think James Cagney, Henry Fonda, and Jack Lemmon were also in the movie. The quote at the beginning of this entry was from Jack’s character, as he attempts to prove that he is indeed capable of and trying to prove his intention of one day performing a great dead of meaning, courage, stamina, and heroism to Fonda   
   I hope to one day be able to do that to.
   I went to sleep and dreamt of rowing in a canoe with Betsy Palmer and Cheri Taylor, the lovely and talented star of “Taylor Made,” “Tales by Taylor,” “Cheri Taylor Is Tasty and Tight,” and many other fine films.
   We rowed through glistening Polynesian waters, past coral reefs, toward the huge setting sun.
   “Ever hear of Bananafish?” I asked them
   “That’s the worst line I’ve ever heard,” Betsy said.
   “No, really, there is one,” I said. Then I told them all about a man named Seymour Glass, and Sybil Carpenter, his last friend.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Skid Row Diary 45

30   November     2003     Sunday       Day 141

   I listened to subversive leftist radio this morning. The Cuban economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe discussed the Clear Skies Act. Slavery in Walmart, and the accountability of it’s executives were discussed by the lawyer James Lindsey. Ciudad Juarez by Ian masters, and the religious conservative right buying it’s way into power, and how democracy in this country is dysfunctional because people don’t vote.
   Accordingly tacos were served for lunch. I thought I saw Matthew from Pasadena at another table. He had been looking at me, turning his head when I focused on him. I wasn’t prepared to confront him at the time. When I’m sure it’s him I might.
   I bought a paper and spent the day reading it and writing.
   One half of a sliced turkey sandwich for dinner.
   Siskel and Roeper both liked “Bad Santa.”
   Although the theater I was in when I saw it was well attended, and the film well received, “Bad Santa,” did not make it to the top five grossing movies over the weekend.
   Richard didn’t like Ron Howard’s new movie, “The Missing,” which I didn’t have time to see.
   Word has it Ron was crushed.
   I made some chicken Top Ramen with extra chicken, and finished watching “Marty.” The T.V. guide from the paper told me that there was absolutely nothing worth watching for the entire week. Even “Frontline,” and “Nova,” were preempted for programs I had no interest in. For just a moment I was ashamed to own a television.
   After “Marty,” I popped a bag of corn and read the paper while listening to “The Simpsons,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” and “Arrested Development,” wherein frog torture was highlighted.
   I meditated. I couldn’t find KMZT on my radio, so listened to the other classical station that was playing the whole “Carmen,” opera. It was very nice.
   I turned on “The Impact Program,” with Frank at midnight. Jerry Rubin, the peace activist out of Santa Monica, was his guest. Frank played “Give Peace a Chance,” by John Lennon, and “My Sweet Lord,” by George Harrison, which I recorded.
   After Frank’s screener drove Jerry home, because like me he doesn’t own a car, I made a nice turkey sandwich using some garlic cheese I found at the 99 Cent Store near Macarthur Park. It’s guaranteed to deflect 87% of the vampires in your immediate vicinity if eaten regularly.
   I ate that sandwich while watching the first part of “Lord Jim,” starring Peter O’Toole, based on the book by Joseph Conrad, a book I have somewhere around here. This film has revolving villains, which is always interesting. First there was Eli Wallach and Curt Jurgens, then James Mason, Curt Jurgens, and Akim Tamiroff from “A Touch of Evil.”
   Poor Peter had quite a time dispatching all of them, but was still done in by the end... by his friends, which just goes to show it’s always something!
   I didn’t finish watching the film though. I fell asleep way before the end, and dreamt of Pattie Compton, the girl who deflowered me in my own bed when I was way younger than I am now. I don’t remember how old I was to be honest, 14 or 15 maybe. She said she loved me, but I didn’t return her love, but took advantage of her physically. She didn’t seem to mind.
   Her father once caught us in her brother’s bedroom after I had taken off her pants. I was very lucky to get out of there alive.
   We lost each other for many years, but met again at the court building in Van Nuys. I was taking care of some legal matter, and her boyfriend was in jail, but appearing in court. He remained in jail, and I went home with her an spent the night. That was the second to last time I ever saw her.
   I love her now of course. She was in fact, and is, the second greatest love of my life, and I’m so sorry if I ever caused her any pain due to my stupidity and disrespect.
   I wish her well.
   In my dream I was making love to her on the floor of her small apartment, that last time, when I looked up to see Ernest Borgnine sitting in a chair across the room, looking down on us.
   “That’s right,” he said. “I’m still here buddy. You don’t need to worry about that. And I’ll be here long enough to see you buried and long forgotten.”
   I kept on doing what I was doing.
   “I’m going... to be... cremated...” I told him.
   “Whatever.” He got up and walked out the front door.
   “Who... was that!” Pattie gasped.
   “Ernest... Borgnine.”
   “Never... mind...”

1    December     Monday          day 142

   I had left my radio on all night. When I woke at about 7:00, Mark and Brian were prattling on about something. Today was Mark’s 48th birthday, the old geezer. He probably plays golf.
   Since I was up so early I went downstairs to partake in breakfast. Boiled eggs, diced turkey with onions. I discarded the egg yokes since my cholesterol is so high and all. Yokes don’t taste good hard anyway.
   Giselle was wearing a smashing black skirt split on both sides, with a red embroidered top.
   I took a walk up to Skid Row Housing Trust Tenant Services to remind them I had an application there. After the receptionist made sure to take care of everyone who had arrived after me, I was given two forms to have filled out by my case manager and my doctor.
   I returned to the Weingart and wrote a letter to John Manzano, in which I essentially invited myself up to his mom’s house, where he was staying, for Christmas. I also tried to see Ken Johnson, my new case manager, but he was going to lunch. Another time perhaps.
   Two insipid hot dogs for my lunch, without benefit of condiments. I gave Kathy some fresh and pungent urine after the ASAP meeting. I also asked her to write a letter for me that I could take to City Hall to get a street merchants license. She said she’d look into it.
   I checked my mail and visited the library. I finished watching “Lord Jim,” after it got dark.
   Much later I accidentally watched an episode of “The Drew Carey Show,” which guest starred the actress and former Playmate of the Year, Jenny McCarthy.
   She’s not bad looking for a Playmate, and very funny. The producers of the show used her mercilessly to act out several favored male fantasies of which I’m not at liberty to discuss at the present time.
   When I went to sleep tonight I dreamt I was being held captive at a slumber party filled with attractive teenage girls in pajamas. Christa Miller of “The Drew Carey Show,” was practicing how to kiss with Kirsty Waay, the beautiful and talented star of “The Girl Next Door,” “Blindfold,” “The Tongue,” and many other fine films, when my friend’s mom came in, Jenny McCarthy.
   She watched the girls work me over pretty good, then said, “That’s not how you do it, let me show you.”
   And she proceeded to show them.

2    December      Tuesday        Day 143

   “Of course, if I had a choice, which I dinna, because their is only one God... I’d prefer a Chinese God. They do not want their devotees to slaughter other Gods, or dead all people who dinna kowtow. But the Christian barbarian God, who is alone and only God, seems to me, as a poor, simple woman, werry blood thirst and difficult to get along with, but of course I believe in him. There!” she had finished emphatically.
   “There nothing!”
   “I think your Heaven is one hell of a strange place, Tai-Pan. Everyone flying around like birds, and everyone with beards. Do you make love in Heaven?”
   “I denna kin.”
    “If we canna make love, I’m not going to your Heaven. Oh no, absolutely. True God or no true God. That would be a werry bad place. I must find out before go there. Yes, indeed. And another thing, Tai-Pan. Wat for the only true God, who is therefore fantastical clever, say only one wife, heya, which is terrifical stupid? And if you are Christian, wat are we as husband and wife when you already got wife? Adulteratiousness, eh? Werry bad. Wat for you break so many of the Ten Commandments, heya, yet still werry all right call yourself Christian?”  -Conversation between Dirk Struan and his mistress May-May, in James Clavell’s “Tai-Pan” 1966

   I got up late and had to rush around for the rest of the day because of it. I had a computer reserved at the library for noon, and had an hour and a half to pick up my GR check and food stamps.
   I used $4.00 in food stamps at the 99 Cent Store, and made it to the library with ten minutes to spare.
   I printed out a page from Odalys’ website. Today I would spend one third of my available income to become an official member of her fan club. I would have done this eventually, but wanted to do it now in the hopes of getting some info on her current health and wellbeing. Odaga Corp. doesn’t seem to want to talk to me otherwise. Odalys comes before joining Amnesty International or The Planetary Society.
   Oh the pangs of a trembling and lovelorn heart that prompts me to such arduous extremes.
   I’m certain that if Odalys herself knew I was looking for her in order to ascertain her physical condition following her car accident she would contact me right away. I’m positive it is the over protective, evil minions of Odaga Corp. who are keeping us apart.
   I bought a money order for $164 to give to Johnson, not realizing that DPSS had screwed me once again for $23, giving me $198 instead of the $221 I was entitled too.
   Well, we’ll see about that!
   75% of 198 is only 149, so I had deposited $15 into my Weingart account than was required of me. No matter. I’ll get it all back soon enough.
   I stopped at the indoor mall at 6th and L.A. and bought VCR tapes of “Solaris” (last years version) and “The Ring,” for $14. There were a couple of other tapes that I was interested in, but those will have to wait.
   One must be economically viable.
   And thrifty.
   A note was quietly waiting for me in my box when I returned to the Weingart. I now had an appointment to meet with Kenny at 8:30 Thursday morning. I can’t wait.
   I busied myself by writing in the afternoon. The only thing on T.V. this week that was half way interesting, besides “That ‘70s Show,” was the premier of a new reality program on Fox. “The Simple Life,” in which Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie (Hilton Hotel heiress, and daughter of Lionel Richie), two spoiled rich kids, agreed to live and work on a farm in Arkansas for 31 days, without cell phones, money, or credit cards.
   I don’t know how wealthy Lionel Richie is, but Paris is worth millions. Neither girl has held a job, or worked, for that matter. It was quite amusing watching them try and adjust to one bathroom, bugs, and milking cows.
   I have nothing against these girls, but they have no existence other than the money their parents have provided for them. Or at least that’s my impression. I condemn their parents for allowing them to grow up without learning the skills necessary to become self reliant and productive... like me.
   I meditated, and read from Clavell’s “Tai-Pan,” before going to sleep.
   I dreamt I was on a farm in Arkansas along with the beautiful and talented former Miss Chicago of 1948, Lois Nettleton, who became an actress and starred in “Echoes of a Summer,” “The Man in the Glass Booth,” “The Love Boat,” and about a million other fine films and television shows, and Alecia Beth Moore, who some know as the singer, song writer, Pink. We were participants in a new reality show entitled “City Slickers in Hell.” We were to spend the next 31 days in the farm doing what farm people did without any cell phones, money, or credit cards. We were all wearing overalls and were busy slopping the pigs when Gauge, the beautiful and talented star of “Double Parked,” “Calamity,” the immortal “Psycho Pussy,” and many other fine films, came up to the muddy pen we were working in. She was actually from Arkansas, and would be our boss for the next month.
   “Alright you city slickers,” she said. “That’s enough for them old hogs. We don’t want them getting to fat now do we?”
   “I’thought that was the whole point in...” I started to say.
   “Shut your mouth boy!” Gauge quipped. “I don’t need no back talk from you.” She looked at the two girls. “Lois, Pink, your suppers ready. Go on and get some before it gets cold.”
   The girls took off.
   “Hey,” I said. “What about me. I’m hungry too.”
   “Shut up boy! I still got some work for you that needs a doing. Did you clean out the barn like I told you to?”
   “Yes Ma’am. And I milked the cow. Got a whole bucket full. I didn’t know milk tastes so good when it’s warm.”
   “Milked the cow?” She said, thinking. “We don’t got no cow. You mean our bull, Zaccaria? How could you have...”
   I felt sick. “Never mind,” I said.*
   I then told her I couldn’t take farm life anymore, and ran off into the hills and pastures to the north, never to be seen again.
   Some say I’m dead, and that my spirit roams the countryside, and can sometimes be heard, screaming in the night.

3   December    Wednesday     Day 144

   I was up at 7:30, to keep my appointment with Dr Perry, of Downtown Mental Health. I need him to fill out the doctor’s form for the housing trust, to truly prove to them what a sick bastard I am. I also wanted to discuss a possible decrease in the medication that was being prescribed to me. I wasn’t taking any of the medication, but I wanted it officially documented that I was taking less of it for some reason. I don’t know why. It really doesn’t matter I guess.
   I never got a chance to talk to him because he didn’t show up. The appointment was for 8:00 as I’ve stated. I sat in the crowded waiting room with the other drooling loonatics until 9:25 before I asked the receptionist what was up.
   “He’s not here yet,” she told me. No apologies. No offer to let me see someone else. No explanation. He just wasn’t there. He was supposed to be there, but he wasn’t. She wouldn’t have minded at all if I simply sat back down and waited 4 or 5 more hours. I once actually sat in this lobby for 6 hours waiting to see a case manager who hadn’t been informed I was waiting to see her. It was only when the staff was getting ready to leave for the day that they noticed I was still there, at which point I was attended to.
   What a bunch of douches.
   Unfortunately today I had other plans that did not include sitting around for an unspecified amount of time for a doctor who had missed his appointment. I tried to see my case manager Anthony, but when I got tired of waiting for him, I took off and went to the movies.
   This ended my association with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
   I returned to the Weingart and popped a bag of corn and made myself a pig foot and beet sandwich, then headed off to Citywalk.
   I watched “Bad Santa,” again, laughing just as much as I had the first time. Then I accidentally walked into the theater showing Ron Howard’s new film, “The Missing.” I was so tired at this point from laughing that I had to sit down for awhile.
   Want to know how to piss off Ron Howard, besides calling him Opie? Tell him “The Missing,” is kind of like John Ford’s “The Searchers,” arguably the greatest western ever made (I have a weird feeling that the American Film Institute will in a few years declare it just that, the greatest western ever made... we shall see), even though it wasn’t nominated for any Academy Awards. It was certainly John Wayne’s best character and performance, way better than that silly “True Grit,” thing.
   “The Missing,” is a good movie, and I’m glad I saw it. And it really isn’t very much like “The Searchers,” the only similarity  being the kidnaping of a young girl by Indians, and her eventual rescue by her family members. Other than the basic plot of the entire film the two movies aren’t alike at all. “The Missing,” was shot in color, and “The Searchers,” well it was in color too, Technicolor VistaVision (in color with high resolution) in fact.
   Two men spent years looking for poor, abducted Natalie Wood in “The Searchers,” one of them holding a deep, unrelenting hatred for Indians. A man and a woman and her little girl spent a week looking for Evan Rachel Wood, with the man wanting to be an Indian. That’s certainly different.
   However, in both films the kidnaped females were saved, which I have to admit is a striking similarity.
   Oh yeah, in “The Missing,” there is one particularly nasty villain, a male Indian witch (and pretty much everyone knows how vicious those assholes can be, just ask Carlos Castaneda), and poor Tommy Lee Jones dies while killing him.
   Good old John Wayne didn’t die in “The Searchers,” and in that movie the whole Indian nation was the enemy (they resented white people stealing their land from them and acted in a disagreeable manner), not just the witches.
   As I said I liked the film, although I can see why Roger Ebert didn’t. There was a mystical element in it that was both distracting and unnecessary. Tommy Lee continues to play the same enigmatic character he’s played in a zillion other movies (in almost every film I’ve seen him in he has at least one scene in which he detects another’s presence, acknowledges them, has a complete conversation without looking in the other’s direction), and he seems especially tired in this movie, and the girl hostages had an annoying tendency to sabotage their own rescues.
   But “The Missing,” was entertaining, and the beautiful and talented Cate Blanchett starred in it, one of the best actresses working today.
   I had a nice Tommy’s Cheese burger after leaving the theater. Then a slice of pepperoni pizza when I got back downtown.
   I was very hungry.
   I watched the second installment of “The Simple Life,” in which Paris and Nicole get fired on their first day at work in a dairy farm.
   I have just one criticism concerning the structure of this show, and that is that the girls are perfectly aware they will only by doing this for 31 days, and thus don’t really take it seriously, so this program turns into a half hour of the ladies just mucking about.
   My interest is wanning.
   I meditated, then watched Steven Soderbergh’s version of “Solaris,” the third film adaptation of Stanisław Lem’s novel.
   It was released last December, and was the last film John Manzano and I went to see together. At that time I was living at the Cecil Hotel in full blown relapse mode.
   “Solaris,” is an interesting film. An unusual science fiction movie concerning an planet sized astronomical object that seems to be sentient, and which has the ability to create facsimile humans, or a  physical human simulacra, from the memories of those sent to study it, the purpose being to mess with their minds.
   Or not. Who knows the true intention of Solaris. I certainly don’t.
    I read from “Tai-Pan,” before retiring, and dreamt I was on the space station anchored over Solaris. I was sleeping in my dream, and while I was sleeping the entity that was Solaris took my memories of Cate Blanchett from my mind, and created her double for me.
   She was wearing a red dress, so I got up and put on a CD of Ten Years After’s “One of These Days,” to which we danced the simulated night away.  

*Thanks to Barry Fanaro and Mort Nathan for the bull joke