Busking 5

I’ve been busking around Washington Square. Since I can’t sing or dance or play an instrument, I’ve been offering the following, to make a little scratch:

1. A light trim ($1)

2.  Manicure with sparkly polish ($2)

3. Pedicure with fungicidal sparkly polish ($3)

4. Look to the left and cough ($4)

5. Full pelvic (Free) (Spectators: $5)

Life in Hollywood: prosecuted compelling equivocal removal favorable

There is a producer, Isaac, with whom I have worked at Universal for years. Isaac has prosecuted a successful career in the industry, with many compelling films to his credit, and few that were equivocal. He’s never faced abrupt and ignominious removal from his office and from the lot, like so many of his peers. His  future prospects are favorable, if not sparkling.

Isaac called me into his office the other day and asked me to do a treatment of an idea he had. Or he had had. Or that he had had. He paced behind his desk.

“The nation is filling up with geezers,” he said. “Even I am becoming a geezer. Let’s cash in on the demo.”

“Sure,” I said.

“E. T.,” Isaac said. “His race, out there in space, they age faster than us. He comes back to Earth, he’s old. He’s a wizened little f**ker. He comes back to find Drew. You remember that other movie Drew was in, where some guy has a Barrymore fan club and he just wants to have lunch with her, and when she finds out, she has lunch with him? Well, with E.T. in this movie, I’m thinking, she doesn’t find out that he’s back and she doesn’t have lunch with him. See, E.T. always had a yen for Drew. Anyway, Universal lets him stay on the lot but he can’t get a meeting, not with Drew, not with Spielberg, not with nobody, nothing, nada, zilch. He’s old news. Nobody cares from this guy. Eventually, he gives up with a broken heart, or whatever he has in there, and walks out the gate. Or gets kicked out. He ends up on the street with Will Smith in that homeless violin movie. Or was that Jamie Foxx? So then E.T. has some street  adventures, you dream up something for him, and meanwhile Drew hears what’s happened and she goes out looking for him. She’s depressed. Maybe she’s not over that breast-reduction she had. She didn’t realize how much she was going to miss them.”

“Geez, Isaac, I don’t know about this.”

“Shut up. Put in a little sex. Howard the Duck got it on in his movie, didn’t he? Did Spielberg show the little guy’s thing at all? E.T. comes back, he’s old, but he’s still human, you know what I mean?”

“Couldn’t he be regular age, maybe six feet, like in Avatar?”

“What, are you crazy? Nobody wants to see Drew shtup a six-foot lizard. What are you thinking? But now, if he’s old and creaky, it’s a Mother Teresa thing. And even old, he could be hung. The geezer demo can still operate. Don’t make this Coccoon. It’s more like The Wrestler meets Thelma Schoonmaker.”

He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a personal checkbook. Scribbled me a check.

“Keep it to yourself,” he said. “These sharks around here, they’ll steal your balls out of your boxers, you let them.”

Life in Hollywood: moment, woman, grand, reassembled, misunderstand

Harry likes to call me on the spur of the moment. He’ll have a woman and his poker buddies waiting for him in Vegas at the MGM Grand and I’ll drive him over from L.A. When we arrive, I’ll find the boys reassembled in Harry’s suite, ready for action, and the girl sitting at his wet bar. I always grumble when he asks, but don’t misunderstand. I never regret helping him out.

Just to be clear, Harry is not Willie Nelson. Harry is an older, grizzled star like Willie. Harry sings like Willie. He spends time in Hawaii like Willie (who lives there). Harry smokes cigars and a lot of weed. He loves poker, like Willie. Willie, however, focuses on life and poker in Paia with the other members of his rat pack there: Don Nelson, Owen Wilson, and Woody Harrelson. Harry lives up on Mulholland Drive. The poker rooms in their homes, Willie’s  and Harry’s, aren’t so very different, though.

Harry doesn’t like to fly and he doesn’t like to drive his own car. I’ve been his gofer on a number of movies over the years and he’s happy to ride shotgun with me behind the wheel. He insists that I be sober both ways, so our little road trips provide me with an opportunity to dry out a little. When the traffic is reasonable, the trip takes five hours, more or less. On this latest occasion, I told Harry that I had to be back on set in two days, no matter what. Harry said we wouldn’t be gone that long.

He seemed unusually excited this time around. He ran off at the mouth all the way to Nevada. His arch enemy Sid was coming to the game, and Sid always got Harry going. Harry and Sid are the best of an excellent group of poker players. They’ve taken a lot of money off the others in the group, and Sid has taken a lot of money off Harry. This time, Harry said, he had a secret weapon. He wouldn’t say more.

We checked into the Grand and in no time at all Harry had a blond bimbo on his arm, his girl for the trip. He squired her around, showing her off to hotel staff and punters he knew from all over. Harry’s wife never made the trip.

The poker game, once it started, progressed as it often does when Harry and Sid are after each other and in top form. By the time the sun came up, after no more than twelve hours of play, the two of them were alone at the table in the suite. The rest of us were spectators. Once head-to-head, they switched to seven card stud exclusively. Old school. After an hour of play, Harry was already on the rocks. He sat back in his chair.

“I don’t feel so good,” he said. He gestured toward the house phone. “Get the doc down here.”

A young Asian physician appeared, gave Harry a onceover, and told him to stop playing.

“I won’t stop,” Harry said.

“Don’t be an idiot, ” Sid said. “I’m not playing a sick man.”

“Then forfeit your chips,” Harry said.

“You ain’t that sick.”

Harry rubbed his face. He groaned.

“Let my girl take over for me,” he said. “Just until I get myself back together.”

Sid’s eyebrows shot up. He looked over at the bimbo. He looked back at Harry.

“Who is she?” he said.

“That’s Reba,” Harry said. “Reba, come over here.”

Reba came over. I pushed a chair forward and she sat down at the table next to Harry. Sid stared at her.

“Harry, you dog,” Sid said. “You’re throwing in a ringer. You think she’s better than either of us? Or is she a mechanic?”

“Look at her,” Harry said.

She was not prepossessing.

“Take off the dark glasses,” Sid said to her.

She took off the glasses.

“Take off the wig,” he said.

She looked at Harry.

“Go ahead, Baby,” he said.

She took off the wig. She had a mousey little noggin.

“You know her?” Harry said.

Sid shook his head.

“If she were any good, you’d know her?” Harry said.


“Well, then. Play cards.”

“Watch her hands,” Sid said to the rest of us. “Watch her like a hawk.”

Mort had been dealing for Sid and Harry. Sid tossed his ante into the center of the table and motioned to Mort.

“I’ll explain the rules to you,” Harry said to Reba, “but then I’ve got to get my feet up on the couch for a little bit.”

Sid barked a laugh.

“Right,” he said. “She don’t know the rules.”

Apparently, she didn’t. The game progressed in fits and starts. Reba truly seemed ignorant of the game, not to mention of any strategy or tactical subtleties. She played a conservative game and Sid took her money slowly, shaking his head and rolling his eyes as he did so.

Harry had moved back to a sofa from which he watched the action. And slowly, strangely, Reba began to win. The pots got bigger. Mort handed over the cards to Jacob, but Sid’s luck did not change. By lunchtime, he was wiped out. Reba was modest in her success but Harry wasn’t. He crowed and then he crowed some more.

“I know I’ve been snookered,” Sid said. “Tell me how and it’s worth it to me. She didn’t cheat. I’d bet on that.”

“She didn’t cheat,” Harry said. “She’s a sweet kid and a freak of nature. I’ll let you stew until next time and then I’ll explain what happened.”

Sid fussed, but he had a story to eat out on and a revelation to look forward to. On the way back to L.A., Harry told me about Reba.

“Did you ever  play that game with a little kid where you put your hands behind your back and put a penny in one of them, and then you hold your hands out in front of you and the little kid tries to guess which hand has the penny? Sometimes they get it and sometimes they don’t but if you want them to get it, you can sort of move that hand closer to them and they’ll pick it. And then it’s their turn and they hold their two hands out and you start to point and they’ll sort of move the empty hand toward your finger, so you always choose the empty hand if you’re not a complete schmuck? You ever do that?”

I shrugged.

“Well, if you play that game with Reba, she’ll always pick the hand with the penny and you never will. It’s not telepathy. She can read body tells by instinct, without thinking, instantly. You hold your hands out and if you want her to pick the empty hand, she can tell just by your tiny movements which hand you want her to pick. Like you were that little kid. We keep doing the same thing when we grow up, only just, you know, a tiny little bit. Of course you’ve got to care or it doesn’t work. When she holds out her hands, you’ve got to want to pick the hand with the penny, and if you do, she’ll get you to pick the empty hand, again, sort of like the kid does, by signalling which hand is empty, and then you go along without even knowing it. Or if you want to pick the empty hand in the first place, to score point with her by letting her win, because you’ve got designs on her, you’ll keep finding that damn penny every time she opens her hand, with her grinning at you and saying My aren’t you the lucky fellow, I guess I just can’t win. Do you follow me?”

I shrugged again.

“Sid cared. On every hand,” Harry said. “He wanted to take her money.”

“But wouldn’t she still make dumb bets?”

“That’s the beauty of it! In the beginning, with small bets, she could afford to play like a beginner, which she was, because that allowed Sid to judge her ability and informed his behavior in subsequent hands. After that, Reba didn’t play her cards. She played Sid, always doing the opposite of what he wanted her to do or hoped that she would do. Sid kept trying, harder and harder, raising the bets higher and higher, but he was actually beating himself by telling Reba how to bet the opposite of what he wanted. Because he’s a hell of a player and if she bet his way, he was going to win for sure.”

“How’d you meet her?” I said.

“She’s a shrink at a rehab clinic in Woodland Hills. Spend a week with her and you’re off your jones for a month. A week for a month. Keep her in mind. Sooner or later, you’re going to need her.”

Busking 2

I’m still back east and busking on weekends in the city, now at 6th and 43rd. Come on down and watch me if you like. We can have a meet-up.

I don’t sing or dance, so now I present you with a list of personal interactions. For $1, I’ll act out the interaction of your choice for 2 minutes. (Your money back if I break down halfway through, laughing or sobbing.)

My current list of choices for you:

Praise you

Fawn over you

Kiss your ass

Order you to kiss my ass

Insult your mother and the horse you rode in on

Open my eyes wide, lick my lips, and otherwise flirt with you in a creepy manner

Plead with you to forgive me

Absolve you of all sins, within reason

Act as if you stink, or if you do stink, just go with it

Ignore you, but take your money anyway

Throw a screaming fit, tell you that we’re through, through, you scheming, slimy, two-timing bastard! Get out of my sight! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you (sobbing). (Drops to knees.) Forgive me, Baby. Please, I didn’t know what I was saying, you make me crazy, Baby. When I was screwing him/her I was thinking of you, it was all a horrible mistake. Baw. (Grovels, time permitting.)

Treat you like a chicken

Busking 1

I’ve been visiting back east and busking on weekends in the city at 7th and 42nd. Come on down and watch me if you like. We can have a meet-up.

I don’t sing or dance, so I present a list of mental illnesses and for $1, I’ll act out the illness of your choice for 2 minutes. (Your money back if you can guess which illness on the list I actually have.)

My current list of choices for you (subject to change without notice, or with an insane cackle):

Reasonable paranoia

Schizophrenia (you choose the voices that I hear in my head)

Alzheimer’s (please don’t keep the money when I give it back to you; that’s part of the act)

Hysterical blindness (50% off: anxious myopia)

Threft palate

The yammers

Wandering eye

Uncalled-for behavior

My mother warned me about men like you

Crab walk

Crab cakes

Lobster tail

Acting like a moron

Impersonating Robin Williams

Turrets (todays featured word: f**k)

Chinese A-string syndrome

Nigerian inheritance mania

Bipolar (each pole for one minute; extra poles, 50 cents per; bipolar-curious, a 3$ bill)

God’s Dog 2

I posted a few words about God’s dog the other day and was met with a firestorm of reader protest. Everyone’s an expert. The French believe that God’s dog is a poodle. The Southern Baptists believe that God keeps hounds in a kennel out behind the house, cared for by an angel named Rastus. PETA has some crazy idea about a neuter and spay clinic just inside the pearly gates.

I realized pretty quickly that no human could answer my questions on this matter, so I spent one year figuring the thing out for myself. 365 days in a row, I took a different dog down to St. Canisius on Main Street. All possible breeds, sizes, colors, and conformations. Watered and well-fed. Each day I locked a dog in and left it there for 24 hours.

Only one dog did not soil the church. If you want to know which one, in case you ever need to pray to Him or Her for some pet-related reason, send $100 cash or money order to my P.O. box in Keokuc.

A hint: at the command to speak, this dog goes arf, not woof.

God’s Dog 1

Does God have a dog? Yes. Just a dog, though, not a cat or a bird or a goldfish or a gerbil or a ferret, and he’s not one of those nuts who keep a goddamned cheetah in their house. God has assigned all of his pets, other than the dog, to Noah, who is good at taking care of disparate animals.

When cat lovers arrive in Heaven and find out that God has a dog but no cat, they feel anger. If their anger registers too high on the heavenly anger meter, they’re sent directly to Hell.

What kind of dog does God have? What breed? Does God love the pit bull? He won’t commit on the pit bull. You can’t pin Him down. A guy told me that he (the guy, not He) was out for an evening once with Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and Bruce, and Him, and when it got late and they were all a little impaired, God did whisper something to them about pit bulls – to all of them but Uriel who, ironically, was off urinating. But none of them will tell me what He said.

Anyway, God has a Jack Russell. He has always been partial to fox hunting and this active terrier is ideal for the sport. Of course, God doesn’t use actual foxes. Satan turns souls currently burning in Hell into faux foxes. They’re glad to be out, sort of like Nick Cage in “Drive Angry,” even if they are being chased through the woods of Heaven by a pack of terriers. It’s actually just God’s dog, named Jamie, chasing them, but he seems like a pack. Heaven is full of that sort of thing.

Of course, sadly, you can’t talk about religious matters for more than a minute without sex coming up. I apologize for that in advance, but I didn’t create the Universe. You Know Who did. Having said that, what does Jamie do for “relief.” Yes, he mounts God’s leg and that’s a really cute sight, in a scary sort of way. (Did I mention that Jamie can talk and the sermon on the mount began with this?)

But it’s not enough. Jamie needs a bitch. God tried having Satan send up faux bitches. Some of them hated that duty but others sort of enjoyed it. Jamie wasn’t satisfied. His partners would scream or shriek or beg for mercy or moan in delight, depending, but none of them howled like, well, you know, like a bitch in heat. So God asked Noah to send over the real thing. Her name was Ethel and she was prime stuff. But she didn’t take to Jamie. Every time he sniffed her, she’d turn and lift her lips up over her considerable canines in a snarl, with fire blazing from her big beautiful liquid dark eyes. Jamie was beside himself.

“You’re God,” he barked at his master. “Do something.”

“With your breath, I don’t blame her,” God said. “Let’s change your devine kibble.”

For the denouement to this tale, look up “God’s Puppies” in the Book of Enos (brother of Elvis).

No subject is terrible if the story is true and if the prose is clean and honest

“You can’t prove a negative.”

Some guy said that. Plato? Jesus? Einstein?

Whoever it was, I’ve got to believe it, whatever it means.

Is the title of this post a negative? It’s got a “no” right at the start. Sounds negative to me.

But hang on. “You can’t prove a negative.” That’s got a “can’t” and a “negative” in it. So you can’t prove that either. QED, as my old Economics teacher would say. What a nut that guy was. He got hit by a car in the student parking lot, but he was OK. That could have been a terrible subject if he’d been killed or something.

Do you ever think that some of these wiseguys who dream up stuff like “No subject is terrible” are just sitting around bullshitting us? Go have a drink in a bar around Bunker Hill in L.A., the financial district, and the bullshit just piles up. These guys. “In a pig’s eye,” Mickey Spillane liked to say.

Hey, I don’t have to prove anything. Name me one terrible subject where the story is true and the prose (writing, that means) is clean and honest, and don’t name my wife haha.

I’m thinking of about ten terrible subjects right now, but they’re not clean, if you know what I mean. You keep them clean, you’ll come up with a million boring subjects, but that don’t make them terrible. You might have a terrible time reading them but that’s your problem, moron. I’ll give you an example. You’re sitting in church and the reverend is going on and on, you think you’re going to lose your f**king mind. So you pull the program out of the hymnal holder in the bench in front of you and you start to read the announcements on the back of it. These things are worse reading than the side of a cereal box but the deal is, you’re so f**king bored that the terribleness of the program somehow helps cancel out the terribleness of the sermon. Get it? It’s the silver lining in the cloud.

Let’s go right to the source of terrible: Hitler. You’ll read or hear that the first person to mention Hitler in an argument loses. Wrong. Think of something terrible that Hitler might have done. He kicks his dog. He’s doing it with Eva Braun and he gets off and leaves her unsatisfied. Something like that. Then you write about it, using some big words like “kudgel” or “rectified” to make it prose. How terrible is that? The Bible’s got Judas and the soldiers who crucified Our Lord a la Mel Gibson. That’s terrible and it’s in the Holy Scriptures. What with all the Jews and Muslims around these days, I should also provide examples from the Torah and the Koran, but my Hebrew and Arabic are non-existent. I do know a kid studying for his Bar Mitzvah, but he’s too busy with that to help me, even if I throw a couple of shekels his way.

Guest Post: Sister Ildephonsus

I’m often asked whether nuns have a sense of humor. I have many answers to this. For example:

– If you had a sense of humor, would you be a nun?

– Two nuns and a dwarf walk into a bar. You’re probably familiar with this thigh-slapper.

– I’m married to Jesus Christ. Dude doesn’t laugh much.

I’m writing this guest post to address the issue of God’s Wife. “God moves in mysterious ways.” I believe that. I’m not married. Does that make me God? The priest at Saint [—–] is not married to those young boys of his. Is he God?

I could have been a wife to some normal guy, you know. In high school, the boys were after me like I was a bitch in heat. I’m not saying that I wasn’t, but even then, I’d only do it in the apse, or out back in the graveyard. Please, no jokes about nuns and their bad habits.

Actually, forget about God’s Wife. That older generation. Who cares about the grandparents? What about Jesus? Is he married? If so, what does his Wife make of all us nuns claiming to be married to Him (except for the superannuated Sister Gerd, the seriously bent Sister Bruce, and the butt-ugly Sister Angelina)? Does Jesus’ Wife laugh it off or does She have it in for us? Are we pathetic? You know, like “I want to marry my daddy when I grow up”? Is She a nun, or an ex-nun? Jesus has got to have some kind of relationship going up there. Of course, there’s the long hair and that dreamy look he’s got in the pictures. The flowing robes. Light on his feet? Jesus, I hope not! Father Brutus says that Jesus and Satan have been spending a lot of time together and that they’ll come out of one of those anterooms to Hell with shit-eating grins on their faces pardon my French.

I’m in one of those tough orders where you shave your head and spend the day washing dishes and scrubbing floors and shelling peas. And for what? I don’t even have some lout sitting in his favorite easychair drinking beer, eating peanuts, and scratching his hairy chest through his wife-beater, ignoring me till he’s hungry or horny or both. What’s the point? This is the twenty-first century. Nobody shells peas anymore. We’ve got an army of undocumented Catholics up from the south to do that.

It says right there in the Book of Something or Other – I can’t keep the damned things straight – that, yes, God has infinite wives. Infinite, meaning numberless or without number. Doesn’t that mean by simple mathematical calculation and proof that I’ve got to be one of them? If it’s infinite, don’t you have to count me in there at some point? So God, please raise the freaking red lantern.

God’s Wife 3

Does God have a wife? What do you think? He’s God, for Christ’s sake. Of course He’s got a wife. And, He hasn’t got a wife. Get it? That’s how God rolls. He’s got infinite wives. The universe is 4 billion years old and, at the rate of one per night, or no, two or three per night, you know, a “two-fer” or a “three-fer,” say, God has still got a lot of wives that He hasn’t even seen yet, much less “known.” He could pass one of these women in the street and go, hey, what a babe, and unbeknownst to him, she’s His wife! He don’t even recognize her! And these aren’t dogs we’re talking about. There are so many babes around (speaking for Hollywood anyway) that even Satan has babes. The bad ones! He doesn’t marry them, either. He’s the Devil. He goes trolling every night. But I’m getting off track here.

So let’s get to it: Mrs. God. What’s going on with this Supreme Deity? Or Supreme Deitress? Well, She’s not some gay male wife or trophy wife young enough to be God’s daughter, I’ll tell you that. She rocks. What does she do? Is she like the First Lady, in charge of prayers from all the orphanages, and flowers blooming in the Spring, and rainbows? Or is she edgy like Hillary, with a large staff, always angling to become head of the World Bank or suchlike?

There are only two ways to find out for sure, of  course: prayer and the holy scriptures.

Go ahead and try prayer first. Every so often somebody gets up in the morning with their answer, although it’s usually about what color to paint  the guest bathroom or something like that.

As for the scriptures, you’ll come up short in the Bible, but fortunately there is also the Pseudepigrapha, available used from Amazon in hardcover for less than $100, which is one hell of a deal.

There’s also the Apocrypha, but it’s got nothin.

The Pseudepigrapha is a gold mine when it comes to stuff like Mrs. God. The title means “falsely attributed” in Greek, but don’t let that put you off. For the dope on the big Wife, check out especially the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (the Wife gets mad), Cave of Treasures (yes, that “cave”), and Sword of Moses (yes, that “sword”).

Some facts gleaned from these scriptures:

– There are four hundred billion galaxies in the known universe, two hundred billion over there and two hundred billion over here. Mrs. God prefers the two hundred billion over there.

– She’s an ethnic.

– She’s not jealous but she will kill off a million or two of her Husband’s favorites if He pisses her off, just on principle.

– She likes to fingerpaint.

– She’s had more than four trillion babies and suffers from a touch of prolapsed uterus.

We’ll take up the question of Devine Abortions in a later post.