Thursday, December 18, 2014


Besides being the other vacuum sold door-to-door, 'Kirby' was the street name I misheard when arranging a job interview, as a car salesman, actually it was 'Corby Lane', correctly learning before boarding the bus there, Santa Rosa's Auto Row.  Attired in a dark Armani suit and a black t-shirt, got some ribbing from the crew there, "Look, it's 'Infiniti Man'," a reference to the Infiniti car ads, hosted by Patrick  O'Neil, smart, sophisticated, very euro.

Recall being shown a brochure on the new retro VW Beetle, years before it ever appeared in US showrooms.  And, as it happens, not long before Patrick Wisdom O'Neill passed away (1994).

He appeared in an episode of 'Outer Limits' [APR 1959], 'The Return of Mitchel Campion', an American visiting a Mediterranean island for the first time, though recognized and greeted by residents and staff, they saying he being there not long before.  Countering with proof he was in a US hospital at the time, they show a photo of him with a local woman.

So connecting with a woman on CL, meeting at SFMOMA for a Frida Kahlo exhibit, Zuni's, and follow-up date, hopping a ride from North Beach, she turning on her back, legs spread, telling the cabbie, "I drive an Infiniti."

There's an Infineon Raceway south ot the Town of Sonoma, originally Sears Point, a Jim at the 3rd Step working at the Russell Racing Driver School there, before being transferred to Las Vegas not long after.  Had heard Infiniti was vying to draw Formula-1 (F-1) racing to its track.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Happening by Vesuvio in North Beach, the quintessential architecture for Bohemian lifestyle, bistro café at ground level, home-in-studio above, close to everything, touring with Kim, she had just come West from DC, first flying to AR to pick-up a car from her adopted parents, driving non-stop by way of LA, guiding her via cell phone into SF.

Sharing a room at Shannon Court, not making the connection at the time, the in-room movie, 'American Beauty' mirroring her nubile presence?  Before she departing in the morning for Venice Beach, coffee at Café Prague.

A prior stay, with Cindy, found the hotel overrun with Japanese tourists, she remarking, "Asian girls, they all look like little dolls,"  that night, catching a play at the Kensington Theater, the trials & tribulations of Oscar Wilde.

Strange, first arriving in Santa Rosa, found a commercial space to stay, a long narrow room with a single window, situated high on the back wall, lying there on my futon, gazing out at the cloudless afternoon sky, spotting an object resembling a mylar balloon, though not, perhaps an orb, caught in the wind currents, it seemed to dance.  Over the credits for 'American Beauty', runs a shot of a plastic bag, caught in the updraft of an alley, doing the same dance.

Have known Kim (last name Windland) since Biltmore Place in DC, lending a hand watching TV, around her appearance in SF, going by Kirby, later Joy.  Visiting her in her new locale, Venice Beach, she taking a plastic bag from some purchase, meticulously folding it into a little square, before putting it into a drawer.


Would have preferred the Caribbean, though opted for the Catskills for a honeymoon, probably for the better, was the week Hurricane Agnes came ashore.  Crossing the Bronx, en route to the Nevele in Ellenville, spotting the Mercedes carrying Mrs Jay (David's mother) & Mr Rheingold, on the shoulder, a flat, stymied by the German jack, a road crew eventually to the rescue.  Rheingold summing-up owning a Mercedes, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."

Once there, discovered the resort host venue to a Motown music special, to be taped and aired at a later date, the arranger, standing-out in spite of his small stature, only to recognize him years later when SNL debut, Paul Shaffer.  Just happened to be sitting-in while the Platters were auditioning, the lead singer having difficulty with some high notes, recalling they being Althea's favorite singers.

A break in the rain afforded a tennis game, then fresh from the courts, entering an art auction, promptly bidding on a Charles Bragg piece that wasn't moving, SOLD, a lithograph titled 'Ship of Fools', a political cartoon, no bearing on Stanly Kramer's grim 1965 film, recommended by Rene, Leland's mother, after seeing it in the theaters.

An evening show spotlighted a woman singer, her outfit soon showing signs of perspiration, between her breasts, she stopping to in time to comment, "And it's a custom made dress," the show went on, without much more thought.  Later flashing on a grade school memory, PS61, Mrs Blanar, asking the class places on the body people most like to sweat when hot, when my turn, offering "chest?", she glancing down at her boobs momentarily before dismissing it with an awkward look. Had i, in time, been validated?

Frank Lemongello, a Tom Jones spin-off, and the 'Jewish Cowboy' (Kinky Friedman?) rounded out the entertainment for the rain-soaked week.  Paul Shaffer eventually leaving SNL for David Letterman, who got his start as a weatherman.

Perhaps though, what made the week memorable was what didn't happen.


"Live, from Santa Rosa, it's Saturday Night!', opening the SNL meeting each week, there one evening, the crowd milling about beforehand, recognizing Laurie in a circle of girl friends, had heard her story, from Santa Cruz, daughter of an architect, worked as a bartender at Spanky's in Cotati, surviving a false positive scare with AIDS.  Odd though, from the back could see her hair in pigtails, and attired in little girl clothes, when, suddenly she turning on a dime, staring directly in my eyes.  Didn't know what to make of it, though didn't give it much thought over the years.  Laurie went on to secretary 'Happy Trails', the outdoor walking meeting, and coordinating the Christmas Alkathon, recently spotting her there.

Oddly enough, Roy Rogers is a local blues slide guitarist and record producer, named after the singing cowboy, seeing him once, with the Trailer Park Rangers, at an English Pub on 4th Street, the Old Vic.

Took time to make the connection, recalling, stopping by to see Victor Lama, in Buffalo, just prior to heading West, he going-on about 'being an old man', at the time, thinking it a bit strange.  His protégé, Michael, bringing-up Dan Akyroid on SNL playing Julia Child, "First you take the liverrrrr," actually he kind of resembling the matron French chef, who served with the OSS in WW II.

And Debra, who couldn't carry a tune, often reciting "...trailers for sale or rent, ...", lyrics to Roger Miller's 'King of the Road', once surprising her on a date, window shopping for trailers.

The Old Vic has since been replaced by the Russian River Brewing Co., lines forming around the block around Valentines Day, on the release of their custom beer, 'Pliny, the Younger', namesake of an ancient Roman scribe, authoring epistles on the the Christian Religion, and witnessing the eruption of Vesuvius, where his uncle, the Elder, died.

A grade school class trip had us visiting the Buffalo Museum, artifacts from Pompeii featured, frozen in place, and in time, by ash of Mt Vesuvius, thinking, as fast, if not faster, than a speeding bullet.

Friday, December 12, 2014

not-ready-for-prime time

John Belushi appearing in 'Animal House' formed a nexus between National Lampoon and TV's 'Saturday Night Live' (SNL), Lorne Michaels producer, premiering OCT 11 1975 (coinciding with my birthday that year), though not without confusion, since another network was running 'Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell' at the time, a short-lived bomb, both with critics and viewers.  In fact, reading where the 'Not Ready for Prime Time Players' so named as a counter gesture to its less successful rival's, 'Prime Time Players', in spite of Bill Murray and Christopher Guest in the cast.

National Lampoon went on to produce 'Vacation' movies with SNL's Chevy Chase, recalling amused when first hearing the moniker, aware of its play on a place name.  Had spent a night in Chevy Chase, Debra, myself, and housemates Joel and Susan, driving all night to attend the 'May Day Rally' (1971) in DC.  Tired, hanging-out on the Georgetown U campus, there Susan pulling an index card from a file, local hosts volunteering accommodations, ours in Chevy Chase.  Directions took us to an impressive tudor property, not far off the Circle, a student greeting us as the door, parents out-of-town.  Inside, TV's stacked and piled all over, in every room, retrieved, so told, from his father's DC hotel, it had recently gone bankrupt.

Oddly enough, it was 1975 when, Debra and I by then married, residing outside Silver Spring, were walking around Georgetown one afternoon, running into Michael, he and Joel housemates when renting a flat on Lisbon (in Buffalo, 1969), he had gone on to Georgetown pre-med.  Debra & I ultimately divorcing, she in Buffalo, I had relocated to DC, getting custody of our 2 cats, Eli & Boo Boo, called to the Chevy Chase Motel to pick them up.

And it was, for awhile, at the Chevy Chase Grill, on Connecticut Ave just below the Circle, would dine weekly, after work, with William, originally a co-worker of Debra's, both social workers for PG County at the time.  Had to be 1984, Bill & I at our regular place near the bar, spotting, of all people, George Will, at a nearby table, with a younger female protoge, a copy of 'Wired', at his side. Always thought it a bit of a stretch, someone with a career based-on inside-the-Beltway-politics, Bob Woodward being the one to author a book on the wild drug-induced life & death of John Belushi.  Recall news video of Dan Ackyroid, maneuvering his motorcycle through traffic, attending the funeral.

William and (wife) Mary, ultimately buying a house in Chevy Chase, I stopping by there, first on bike, again on motorcycle, with gf Christina, then crashing there for a night not long before leaving DC.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

animal house

The signature line 'EAT ME', an inscription, in frosting, on the cake float in National Lampoon's 1978 'Animal House', wreaking havoc on Faber College's Homecoming Parade,  launching movie career of John Belushi, of SNL fame, as 'Bluto'.  It's funny, 'Animal House' centered around Greek Houses, and recall seeing their tables around the fountain at my UB orientation, overhearing one pledge at a local pub (Beef & Ale?), telling of being kidnapped and blindfolded, left in the middle of nowhere, having to make his way back, thinking maybe this is their way of bonding.

A film frame from the scene,  noticing a sign on the building façade -'COAST TO COAST STORES', an all-night radio program of the same name a source for news of UFO sightings, alien abductions, and the paranormal, first turned-on to it by Gary Larson, an HP cohort, not the 'The Far Side' cartoonist.

 Originally hosted by Art Bell, now George Noory fills in, a caller recalling that classic Twilight Zone episode, the boarding passenger, about to disembark on the UFO, alerted by a frantic staffer beyond the gate, "Mr Noory, Mr Noory, Don't get on that ship! The rest of the book, 'To Serve Man', it's a cookbook!", even playing an audio tape of the scene, George commenting it inspired him to put together his own recipe book.  Strange, now see (Wikipedia/YouTube) where the passenger's name is 'Mr Chambers', unless the radio spot was all a spoof. 

Though prior to that, script has Patty, a staff US Government cryptographer lead by Chambers, assigned to decode the manuscript  left at the UN by the Kanamit spokesman:

"I'm still working on that book.  You know, deciphering that title, well, it's been of no help, because the capital letters are different from the other signs they used, just as ours are, but it's starting to fall into place now.  I think i'll get the answer eventually."

As it happens, Patty is played by a Susan Cummings, and the one writer/poet renown for creative use of lower & upper cases, ee cummings, an early influence on me with his free form style.

Further inspection of that same film frame from 'Animal House' shows another float, inscribed with 'CAMELOT', large bust, with Jackie O-like models in pink outfits adorning each corner, suggesting a memorial to JFK, it would fit the period.  And an omega sign on the front.
In light of the growing peace movement, campus fraternities, and sororities, all but disappeared, perhaps deemed irrelevant, though in a time of political opinions and bumper stickers to match, had found only 1 decal deemed subtle enough of putting on my VW bug, that being a Greek letter, Omega, the symbol Ohm for resistance.  As it happens, one regrettable act of resistance, in a car parked outside Clement Hall, Debra's dorm, garnering her response, "You must think i'm an animal."

Not to be overlooked, the 'WELCOME ALUMNI' banner, in the film frame, strangely poignant, since movie's release date same year returning to UB, to continue academics, Debra & I finding a flat on Bidwell Place.

Friday, December 5, 2014

minnesota mining & manufacturing

New to HP, stepping outside on a smoke break, joined by a pair of co-workers, a study in contrasts, Jasmine, a dim blonde blue-eyed pony tail cheerleader-type, and Los, latina short stout streetwise, when Jasmine promptly drops & rolls back as if in an aerobics class, legs outstretched, with me in the crosshairs, doing scissor jacks.  She had a 4WD SUV, I heard, used to drive back & forth to the mall, once getting stuck in a ditch, calling AAA for a tow.

Near to the end of my HP tenure, passing Jasmine's cubical, her screensaver an image of a UFO, with the message- 'I Want To Believe', thinking there's a whole generation out there, where Star Wars and X-Files has replaced mythology and religion, and what's up with David Duchovny (aka Fox Moulder) checking into rehab (08-28-2008) for sex addiction?

In the exasperating job search following, found myself filling-out an application at a corporate park offices for 3M, then the tour, leaving the quiet soft lit cubicles of the front office, through a door to the back area, a maze of narrow hallways, storage drums, the wailing of large format film rolling machines, guided by overstretched laborers in what seemed to be a toxic noisy messy process, and there in a windowless vending area that served as a lunchroom, Los appears.

Once hearing an interesting story on the radio around some 3M employee, while singing in the church choir on Sundays, using little pieces of torn paper to mark places in the hymn book, only to see them fly about at the slightest breeze.  Consulting a 3M co-worker in Product Research with the problem, initiated testing into the right mix of glue resins for the tacky touch, seen now in today's 'Post-Its'

" 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast,' it is said," it says.

Must have been in the '90's, standing around the bar at Adams Morgan's  (other) Cosmos Club, Spike bartending, he resembling Adam Carolla long before 'The Man Show', later the 'Adam Carolla Project', with friends, renovating a childhood home, co-host Jimmy Kimmel marrying Sarah Silverman. 

So out-of-the-blue, Spike offers his choice for personalized license plates- '3M TA3', pointing-out, in the rear view mirror, is seen as 'EAT ME'.  Cute, though hardly worth a mention, save for the appearance of  '3M', and not to be overlooked, followed by 'T' & 'A', bounded by '33', if some Bible Code, dished-up by some HP.