A Pleasant Surprise

I never thought I’d type these words but Red Bank, NJ was the place to be on this Friday night. Not Manhattan. There isn’t anything in the city that’s as smoking as the Red Bank Jazz and Blues Festival. An outdoor stage with the sun setting on the Navesink River as a backdrop, 2-Year Old Daughter showcasing her spastic dance moves to hot, hot, hot rhythm and blues and the summer’s first Italian sausage with grilled peppers and onions sandwich. How can you beat that? I wish I knew how to play guitar a hell of a lot better than I do. If those guys are a 10, then I’m a 2.

Close Call

CB and I saw Almost an Evening by Ethan Coen last night. Ethan Coen is half of Joel and Ethan Coen, creators of fine films like No Country for Old Men, Oh, Brother Where Art Thou and Fargo. Also, some mediocre films like The Hudsucker Proxy and The Ladykillers. Still, it’s an impressive list. This was his first foray into the theater. It was three short one-acts (no intermission). The first play was pleasant, the second was a dead fish and the third was the best by a long shot. Very funny, although incredibly vulgar. It’s not for sensitive ears or faint hearts. Some of the actors had to double-up on their roles. It always amazes me to watch an actor play a role and then, a few scenes later, disappear into a completely different role. It’s a trick. When it works, it’s a good one.

Beforehand we ate at Noho Star. It’s been there a long time and is an old favorite. I had the turkey schnitzel, which was okay. I ordered a Dewar’s and soda and they served it in a water glass. I just wanted a little nip to decompress from work but they served me a double mega dose. Why? They’re not stingy, baby. Of course, I finished it. What was I suppose to do? Throw it out?

I spotted a celebrity as soon as I walked in the door. Contemporary artist Chuck Close. I get an extra gold star because I identified him from the back of his head! Touché! He’s bald and in a motorized wheelchair, so it was a bit of a gimmie.

The High Life

My fellow train passenger sitting next to me has a problem. He just pulled a tall cup out of a brown paper bag. Then he pulled out a 12 ounce can of Budweiser, popped it open, poured it into the cup, put the empty can back in the bag, pulled out another 12 ounce can, poured half of it into the cup and then placed the half-full can of Bud on the floor between his feet. He takes a few gulps out of the cup and then replenishes it with the can on the floor. That he cannot get through his train ride without drinking is, to me, pathetic. I won’t make any new friends with this post, but here goes.

Alcoholism is not a disease and I resent it being treated as such. It’s an insult to people who are actually battling a disease. Labeling it as a disease makes it sound like something you could helplessly fall victim to. Something that’s unavoidable. Horseshit. You can’t quit cancer. You can’t quit leukemia. But you can sure as hell quit drinking. I’ve seen it done plenty of times. And I don’t know of too many diseases that will allow you to go out on a Saturday night, party your ass off and then drive head-on into a van full of kids. I’ve had alcoholics in my life and do you know what? They tend to be a bunch of big fucking babies. As soon as they stumble into a room, they have to be the center of attention and need to be indulged and mollycoddled and understood. Meanwhile, everyone around them suffers. Fuck ‘em.

My man here sitting next to me has a problem. We are only 16 minutes into our ride and he’s already downed 24 ounces of beer. He can’t get through this lousy commute without drinking. Boo hoo. Poor him. It’s likely that he will get behind the wheel and drive home from the train station. I sure hope he sobers up by then.

The Writing on the Wall

We have an interesting guest at Benevolent Dictators, Inc. this week. He’s a gentleman from India who owns a company that does the same type of work that my colleagues and I do. We are teaching him how to perform some of our more menial and repetitive tasks. He will, in turn, go back to India and instruct his employees how to complete these unpleasant tasks and take them off of our hands. Number One Benevolent Dictator insists that once we shed this unpleasantness, we will be free to concentrate on projects that are more interesting and creative.

Oh, and by the way, in addition to the more mundane tasks, the company that’s owned by the man from India has the capability to complete the more creative and interesting tasks as well. And for a small fraction of what we are currently being paid by Benevolent Dictators, Inc.

What could they possibly have in mind?

Recipe for an American Holiday

For the Memorial Day bank holiday, we went to the beach. I spend a lot of time bitching about not living in the city anymore (and will continue to do so, thank you very much) but being just a short drive away from the ocean is a nice consolation prize. We went to Sea Bright. Isn’t that the best name ever for a beach town? I hadn’t been to the beach since last fall when the weather turned cold and seeing the ocean again amounted to one of the best therapy sessions I’ve had in quite some time. I swear to God if I didn’t have to work for a living I’d split my time between the city and the beach. I have little use for anything in between. The water is still ice cold so we couldn’t swim. I am, of course, completely sunburned but, let’s face it, the stinging pain and long-term health risk is a small price to pay to look this good.

The weather was perfect all holiday weekend so we did the things that are expected. In addition the beach, we went on a picnic and I taught 6-Year Old Daughter how to throw a Frisbee. The obligatory weekend injury occurred when she missed a catch and it hit her right in the throat. No harm. We also went to a carnival; the traveling kind with creepy carnys, geeks, dangerous rides and bad (good) food. Have you ever heard of a deep fried Oreo? They exist. I was walking down the midway and saw a cotter pin on the ground and wondered which ride it fell off of. I grilled hot dogs (twice) and made grilled chicken with watermelon salsa. Also, a shitload of yard work.

For my overseas readers, Memorial Day is the holiday when we honor our veterans and fallen soldiers in past wars. I heard our moron President stumble through a few unintelligible sentences that, I think, praised our men and women in uniform and I almost wretched. This is the same shithead who used his daddy’s connections to duck out of military service when he was called. Don’t get me started on that fool.