Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Zoe Bernard 

This shouldn't be that much of a surprise. Personally, I think it was an odd nomination and obviously a favor for Rudy Giuliani. I have no idea what kind of a job he would have done, but his life was too messy, too much like yours and mine. There were fuzzy patches and gaps. I shudder to think of what would come tumbling out in the catastrophic event of my being nominated for a prominent position. It wouldn't surprise me if this nanny business wasn't the real reason. The thing that bothered me in all the profiles of him this week was the constant theme of his ambition and his loyalty. They made that sound like a bad thing. This guy came from nothing and really bashed his way up. I got the feeling that people thought that somehow the fact that he had to struggle disqualified him. I think he was born about forty years too late.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Free! Free! Absolutely Uncostly! 

I'm posting a link in the upper right hand corner, just under Spirit of America, to my novel Asbury Park. Its a detective novel, featuring the Jersey Shore. I wrote it a few years ago and had some luck interesting a few houses, but they were never quite interested enough. I'm going to do some revisions and will probably post the them as I go along. There's not many of you who visit here regularly, but you're smart. If you like the genre or if you're a Jersey Blogger and want to see if anyone gets killed in your town, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Slippery Slope, Ho, Ho, Ho 

I'm sure I'm not alone in finding the "Holiday Season" a chance to get in touch with my inner curmudgeon. I'm the only one I know, and much, much more importantly, the only one Grace knows, who doesn't have his tree up already. We always put it up Christmas Eve. I'm not saying it's better that way or that there is anything decadant in putting it up before the turkey in the tupperware turns to naugahide, I'm just saying that's the way I've always done it and I like it that way.

Retailers have made the decision that Christmas starts around 6:30 am the day after Thanksgiving, and that's fine. Except that they make it very hard, especially for a house containing a seven year old, to make a different decision. This year we're putting it up on the weekend before Christmas and I can't say I'm happy about it. The only upside is that the tree sellers, sensibly enough, follow the lead of the retailers, and waiting until December 23rd may leave me with a grim sense of satisfaction, but it also leaves me with a selection of nasty, sorry-assed, browning stumps. The up side for my family is I'll probably shut up about this as soon as we get our tree.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Give Til it Helps 

Posted by Hello

The Spirit of America is a non-profit organization operating a number of projects in Iraq. Your tax-deductible contribution goes 100% to the project designated. They include such things as sewing machines for women in Ramadi, re-equipping Iraqi universities, partnering US and Iraqi schools, irrigation, Iraqi bloggers, libraries, supporting elections, The Iraq Democracy Project and others there and in Afghanistan. I've been contributing for the past year and, aside from money, there are a number of other ways to help. Take a look at it. If you can throw them $5 or $10 or more, do it. You can contribute through Sluggo Needs a Nap by clicking on the link in the top right hand corner. I should mention that they are running a blogger challenge starting December 1st and I know you want to see SNAN climb the charts. When you get to the Spirit of America website click on the Blogger challenge button and see how we're doing. I'll be repeating this entry every few days for the next month or so. I just can't imagine a more worthy cause. Give to the Salvation Army and to The Spirit of America and Santa will be very, very happy.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Jersey Style 

Check out PoliticsNJ.com for Steve Kornacki's story of the breath of fresh air Jon Corzine is bringing to the political scene. Hmmm, smells like Hague.

The gist of it is a kind of flow-chart on the deals that are being made and rumored to be being made and may possibly be made between Corzine, Codey, Mendendez and Andrews to slice up the state-wide offices in the 2005 election cycle. Who hates who, but will do business with who. We live in a smoke-filled kindergarten.

My favorite item on the page was the link to eBay where someone is auctioning off corzine2005 domains. As of now, with four and a half hours to go, the bid is up to $142.00. I have the feeling the seller thought he would be doing a lot better than that, given the senator's deep pockets.

Update: $430 with an hour and 20 left.

Update: In the last two minutes of bidding the price slammed up from $500 to $1,247.22. Not bad.

Oro y Plata 

In my middle twenties I washed up in Montana. That's not too dramatic a way to put it, I don't think. Various troubles and woes left me feeling drubbed and defeated by New York City and a friend of mine (a show girl who wound up marrying a NY State senator) suggested an out. She was from Helena and knew the owners of a summer theatre and said she would fix it up for me. I was through the Lincoln Tunnel in a heartbeat.

There are some places that ping something in you the instant you're there. I could live in Italy. I knew that the moment I set foot in it. But Montana is the place I belong. When I got married I wanted to move there and the Goddess wanted to stay in New York. We compromised and moved half a mile out of the city.

My friend's father even put me up for a couple weeks before the season started. He was the agent in charge for the FBI in Helena. I started seeing a young woman they had taken in. The first time we went out we were driving down a remote road when I decided to stop at a little store for cigarettes. As I walked up to the counter to pay the phone rang. The clerk answered it and handed it to me. "It's for you," he said. My friends father said "Maybe you can do me a favor and bring a quart of milk home." I don't know how he did it, but I got the message. And I hope they still have guys that good working for them.

I did two summers at the Old Brewery Theater of one-week stock. I stayed an extra year traveling around in Idaho and Eastern Washington. I worked in a logging camp and in a state facility for the mentally retarded. I was in charge of a ward of thirty-five adult non-ambulatory women. None of them could brush their teeth. When I say I was in charge, I was the only one on the ward for eight hours. I was a cab driver, a stage hand and a short order cook at a joint on Last Chance Gulch. I worked in a cabinet shop and even for a couple weeks for a private investigator.

I suppose I love Montana partly because of the shape I was in when I got there and the growing up I did there. But it's mostly the place itself. My sister had enough of the city eight years ago and moved out to Sante Fe. She feels the same way about New Mexico -- she belongs there. I'm telling you, the sky is big in Montana and that does something to you. Vermont is beautiful, West Virginia is beautiful. There are beautiful spots in New Jersey. It's probably the size that does it to me. The massiveness of perspective, the weight of silence and the presence of the far distant.

The Old Brewery was pretty much the last stop out of Helena on Last Chance Gulch. If you continued on the road for four or five miles and then trekked in about half a mile you get to what the locals call the Glory Hole. It's an abandoned silver mine. The mouth of it was like an amphitheatre, a hundred yards wide with an orchestra filled with scree. To get into the mine you had to climb up onto a flat shelf just under the canopy. It looked just like a prehistoric proscenium. You could safely clamber back quite a ways, but I'm from western Pennsylvania and leery of shafts. Mostly I would go there to sit on the shelf, imagining the biggest audience in the world while working on my lines.

I can't imagine that it's still there, at least with such free access. That's not the way we do things today. The Old Brewery went down the year after I came back east. Somebody told me they tore it down for an entry ramp, but the highway it was entering must have been built after I left as well.

As much of a man as I am, Montana made me.


Monday, December 06, 2004

I Got the Sun in the Morning . . . 

I think one of the best buys in town is the New York Sun. Just two bits. If you exclude the weekend Times it has the best cultural coverage in town. The sports page is coming up although it's dominated by sabermatricians who sometimes go a little too far inside baseball. The editorial pages are what make it invaluable, though. Intelligent, aggressive right of center commentary. It's a platform this town has needed for half a century. Yes, there is the Post, which has some very good people and there is the News which flips back and forth, but it is healthy for the city to have a conservative broadsheet.

I always read the EMT Diary (not available for non-subscribers). An EMT named Eugenia Klopsis presents fascinating weekly peeks into the people and situations she runs across in her work. She writes very well.

They also have a weekly column (Trump-o-Nomics) on their business page explicating the previous week's episode of Trump's The Apprentice. I've already admitted to watching the show, but I'll miss that column more than the show when the season is done.
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