Secret Pop

Feb 28, 2007

Oh, you and your ever-present camera.

Yes, I always have my camera with me, and I should have insisted we stop the other day when driving past the Wilshire Theatre, where the marquee read, "JAMES TAYLOR SOLD OUT." I read it out loud and laughed. But I missed the photo opportunity. And then, at the Oscar party on Sunday, when James Taylor and Randy Newman were playing Randy Newman's song, I said, "James Taylor sold out!" And Valerie said indignantly, "How did he sell out?" And I told them all about the sign, and everyone laughed. I love The Oscars.

2007. It's all about me.

It's the Year of the Pig. Let's hope I get what's coming to me.

Sarah and I were watching The Night We Never Met the other night, and she said, "Hey. There's that fat, angry comic." And sure enough, it was Lewis Black.

Rob and I watched Little Miss Sunshine last night. I hated it. I wasn't entertained once that I can remember. It was National Lampoon's Vacation being retold by a guy pretending to be Wes Anderson, and I didn't buy it for a second. What did everyone love so much about this movie? The big yellow poster?

Which reminds me that I was recently talking about Morgan Freeman and thought, when's the Easy Reader movie coming out? It's time.

Don't read Henry Miller. And if you do, have someone tell you the page numbers of the dirty passages. He talks about his prick so much that even when he uses the word erection to mean a building, you immediately assume you're reading something you shouldn't. Now, I say this, because I assume you -- like most people -- think that Henry Miller books are full of sex and smut. Which is why you shouldn't waste your time, unless you get someone to make up a little crib sheet for you so you don't get bogged down in all of the other things he has to say while you're trying to romance your lap.

I learn from Henry Miller that employability may be inversely correlated to a sense of being better than everyone around you. If this applies to me at all, this is probably my biggest failing and also my greatest triumph. (I'm not better than everyone, but I've worked for a few superlatively unfortunate douchebags.) Miller couldn't keep a job. Bukowski kept a post office position for years and years. Interesting juxtaposition.

I don't know why I wrote down the phrase "porkchops of marriage."

I remember the days when the anger hadn't yet turned to sadness. But I can't tell if I miss them.

Feb 16, 2007

Bone Sincere

Sally Field is pimping Boniva, an osteoporosis-prevention medicine that positions itself as being better than other similar medicines because you only have to take it once a month. Sally was just saying that her girlfriend told her that she has to set aside time once every day to take her osteoporosis medication, so when she learned about the once-monthly regimen of Boniva, she was like, "I can handle that."

I hate being lied to. Especially by people who are being paid to try and trick me into thinking they're sincere and real. Nothing about Sally's story rings true. Her "friend" never seems to have a name. And frankly, how does Sally tolerate a whiner who thinks taking a pill once a day is too time-consuming to be endured? How about the time this friend wastes talking about how much time it takes? It's not a very powerful marketing message. Not being a hunchback is much more compelling than having thirty extra seconds every day. And I'm also assuming that if you're old enough to be worried about being a hunchback, you're probably taking other pills every day, too. You know, the pills that keep your heart from stopping willy nilly. And the pills to keep your sciatica from flaring up. And the pills to keep your trick knee from going tricky. So just throw your osteoporosis pill in with all the others. Amortizing the pill-taking time across all of these other medications makes it virtually negligible. Unless osteoporosis medication comes in a really complicated bottle. In which case, I suggest to the makers of Boniva that designing a bottle that's more like a Zip-Loc bag might also be a nice way to go, product development-wise.

Sally Field, don't drink coffee into the camera and tell me you care about your friends and their bones. I don't buy it for a minute. And I'm pretty sure that's not your kitchen either.

Feb 13, 2007

You and Your Water

Dexatrim Max2O

Dexatrim Max2O (that 2 should be subscripted, but go jump in a lake, will you?) runs these spots on television encouraging you to sprinkle this stuff in your drinking water and thereby become thin and energetic and wonderful all around. "Gives me and my water a boost!" says one chipper young fellow before taking an enthusiastic draught from his water bottle. And the voiceover instructs you to "max out your water" with Dexatrim Max2O. It may be inappropriately old world of me, but this only makes me think of urine.

I vaguely remember an interview on, I think, This American Life but certainly an NPR program. It was a Jewish fellow who is famous for something now. I don't remember what. He may be a musician. He and his sister visited Israel when he was a boy, and their knowledge of Hebrew was sometimes jeered at because of how formal their diction was. He gave an example of excusing himself to use the restroom and saying something essentially to the effect of begging someone's leave so that he might go make water. I think. I really don't remember this memory well enough to recount it, I'm realizing.

Anyway, so I know of this phrase "to make water," and I know that it was once said to mean "to go pee pee." And as a result, hearing about your water or my water or even someone being described as "a comedienne of the first water" (as was just done on a page of Henry Miller I read last night) generally makes me cringe. I'm evolved enough to know that this is my problem and not Dexatrim's or Henry Miller's for that matter. But I'm self-centered enough to complain about it publicly. So there you go.

You and your water go do what you need to, but please don't do it near me. I have a thing about other people's pee.

Dog-Eared Pages and Missing Zeroes

When I first moved out on my own at the unfortunate age of 19, I was poor. I didn't live like I was especially poor, but that's what helped make me really poor. When I finally ran out of cash and ran out of credit and never managed to scare up the ingenuity to pull off a major heist, I often spent time flipping through pages of catalogs and marking the things I would in theory buy. For some reason, the mere act of choosing partially sated my desire to actually have. And in a way I could go around feeling as if I already owned these things. I had pointed at them. Circled them with a pen. They were mine.

I am downright grateful I didn't actually acquire the majority of things I once thought I wanted. I no longer have the mountains of mail-order literature stashed away, but I carried a lot of those rags around with me for years mostly as a result of bad filing. They would end up in a box that was filled primarily with magazines with some amount of keepsake value, and I would run into them some amount of time later and think, "Poo. Why would you want to wear that thing?" or "What an absurd upholstery choice." So allowing some time for incubation is probably the most critical factor in staving off bankruptcy for me even now.

Cut to yesterday afternoon when I received Anthropologie's new catalog in the post. It's called print, and it is now my nemesis. With the exception of a few of the furniture pieces and a dumb handbag, I literally want every single thing in this catalog. Maybe I'll outgrow the want. Maybe the colors will grow garish. Or the platform wedge sandals will seem clunky and dated*. Maybe I will join a militant political group and never wear anything but camouflage. But at this very moment, with my current opinions and my current tastes, this catalog is a lesson in the things I don't have. Happily, this retailer isn't a purveyor of more metaphysical items. Or I'd be able to carrot that sentence with the word "all."

This will be the death of me.

Anthropologie Print Volume 1 Issue 1

*No way. That shit never goes out of style.

Syntax Error

I was sorting through my email inbox. There's mail in there from 2004 gunking the place up. It's hopeless. But I found this, and it made me want to show it off:

im the guy who from malaysia want to know u..i like style of take photo.. hope to see ur picture as long as i still alive...

Feb 12, 2007


Sugar Ray Robinson Stamp

I gave my mom a sheet of Sugar Ray Robinson stamps to give to my father. At first, she was livid. She thought I had made the stamps myself. The Christmas before last, I had some custom stamps made at with a photograph of me and my two sisters, and I gave the stamps to my family members, and my mom was both grateful and angry, because it costs more than twice the face value of the stamp to have them made. And apparently, that's not worth it. So, she looked at this sheet of Sugar Ray Robinson stamps and was all prepared to disown me, until I explained that I bought these stamps at the U.S. Post Office and paid exactly what they say they cost. Then she was pretty nice about it. What's most amusing to me is the idea that I would have spent money to design and print a Sugar Ray Robinson stamp.

My father emailed me a couple of days ago thanking me for the stamps, and also said the following:

Ray Robinson was one of the greatest boxers and champions at a time when you had to be great to be a champion. I was watching ESPN's Sports Classic Channel last night and they showed a short clip of a knockout when Ray took back the championship from another classy champ who was more like Joe Frazer in his style. ESPN had interviewed him recently and he said after Sugar Ray knocked him down and he was counted out they carried him back to his corner. When he came to he heard everyone screaming and asked his trainer what round it was. He didn't even know he had been knocked out. My memory is bad so I can't remember his name but he was from Utah.

We also discussed the Mosley-Collazzo fight, which we both watched. My dad said, "Sugar Shane gave him a 'whoopin' as Mohammed Ali would describe it."

"Another classy champ." How great is that. My dad couldn't not be awesome if it was required by law. To not be awesome. Admittedly, this statement lacks clarity.

I've never liked the word "morsel."

This man and I were on a bridge
He told me he'd never been to Rome
We both jumped
But the ocean was never the ocean
And we landed instead in a field
There were flowers everywhere
And children with kites
And I wondered how one ever gets a kite to go
As I have never managed to

Is it wrong to want what dreams promise?

Feb 5, 2007

Wraith Pinned to Commercial Success

I am a fan of Of Montreal, but I was so disappointed when -- a few months back -- I heard their song Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games in an Outback Steakhouse commercial. Not only did they license the song to that awful restaurant, they even recorded an original version of the song with new Outback Steakhouse lyrics. Leaving me to seethe. The only positive spin I can put on it is that in the original song, the lyrics "Let's go Outback tonight" are supplanted by the lyrics "Let's pretend we don't exist," which may be a comment of its own.

Obviously, I've forgiven them. I went to see them last week, and I didn't boo or anything. They're still one of the feel-goodiest bands there is, and their outfits rule. I just hate that hearing that groovy little bass line should ever make me think of a Bloomin' Onion instead of an acid trip.

Feb 4, 2007

"Usted nunca encontrará una colmena más desgraciada de la espuma y de la villanía."

I turned on the TV this morning, like you do. And I flipped to the programming guide and saw that Star Wars was on again. So I tuned to that. It was the cantina scene. I was about five minutes in when I realized I was watching the Spanish language broadcast. Like I had the movie playing for a good three or four minutes with Han and Luke and Obiwan dubbed in Spanish, and I didn't notice it at all. Weird.

Mayo la fuerza esté con usted.

Feb 2, 2007

Dakota Fanning is the creepiest thing ever born from a human womb.

My friend Michael forwarded me a link last week wherein Dakota Fanning said that she hoped people weren't let down by her rape scene in Hounddog, which was apparently less bombastic than fans of childhood rape might have been hoping. She told EW the day after the Sundance premiere, ''I think people were expecting something more controversial, and it's like, 'Oh, that's it?'''

Judging from the reviews and the lack of announcement of a distribution deal, I guess it's possible I will have to rely on my imagination to inform my fantasies as to how big of a deal Dakota's non-consensual debut might have been. And that's not all bad. Because in my imagination, she endures a modest raping, delivers an unbearably precocious monologue through her mostly missing baby teeth, and then Tom Cruise throws peanut butter sandwiches against the kitchen window. And how can you blame him. Baby teeth are hideous to look at. Jagged calcium deposits in a field of misshapen gum matter. Gross. If rape is the only way to prevent a follow-up monologue, I say rape on, independent film world. Rape on.

I'll be goddamned if I know.

I love Walter Matthau so much that watching Plaza Suite is too painful and disappointing to bear. While he's Sam, anyway. And then when he becomes Mr. Kiplinger and he says "9" in that duosyllabic way, I guess I can bear it after all.