Your horrible success

“It can get a little boring,” he said softly over coffee at the Four Seasons hotel here…
Actor Robert Patterson on fame in a June 20th New York Times fluff piece titled His Cross to Bear.

Oh, boy. Here we go again. I got a Slowly I Turned* moment first thing on a Monday morning. Longtime readers know that nothing pushes my buttons more than listening to someone complain about their success. The success that they actively pursued, by the way. It’s always some young, 20-something, clueless, dope who has an underdeveloped sense of struggle.

For instance, this Patterson shithead. So. Your popularity is a cross to bear, is it? (Ha-ha. Get it? He plays a vampire.) This morning I took the 5:35 a.m., sat in the middle of a three-seater and the weight-challenged construction workers on either side of me fell asleep and used me as a pillow. By the time I pulled into New York, my thighs were moist from their sweat. They, on the other hand, seemed refreshed. I’ll bet that never happens to people who sip coffee at the Four Seasons.

My favorite example of clueless ingratitude is from boring lite rock droner Nora Jones who was quoted as saying:

“On the first record I was everywhere, and it was, like, the worst time in my life.”

Equally boring one-note actor Michael Cera said:

“I don’t really want to be famous, and I’m kind of scared that might be happening.”

And, finally, Emily Blunt, who starred in the bomb Young Victoria said:

“It’s just never been important to me to make a big splash and I don’t care for it.”

The people who finance your projects will be happy to hear that, Emily. Don’t you want to just smack every one of them upside their empty little heads? I sure do. The last time I did one of these rants I posted an example of how it’s done. Brad Pitt is quoted as saying:

It’s so tough being an actor. Sometimes they bring you coffee and sometimes it’s cold. And sometimes you don’t have a chair to sit on.

See? Isn’t that just so much better?

* “Slowly I Turned” is the most common name associated with a popular vaudeville sketch whereby words are used as the trigger, which then sends the unbalanced person into a state of mania.

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I’m actually not much of a ranter but here’s a quick bonus rant.

The Harry Potter Theme Park opened in Orlando last week. Daniel Radcliffe and Michael Gambon were on hand for the ribbon cutting. The success was beyond Universal’s wildest imaginations. The wait was SIX HOURS just to get IN! They interviewed some guests as they exited the Park and here’s my favorite quote:

Blythe Passantino, 21, followed with a tearful admission of her own: “I really wanted to live here; it was so much better than our real lives.”

Doesn’t that sound terribly childish for a 21-year old? Our real lives should be like a theme park? Parenting fail.

Good morning, everyone! Welcome to the working week!

…only the echos of my mind

UPDATE: I just found out that the extraordinarily talented, dangerously attractive Everyday Goddess tagged this post as part of her Toasting the Posts of the Week. She follows over 250 blogs, so this is no small feat. Many thanks to her.

I can assure you that no money changed hands as a promotional consideration.

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Here are a few random bits that are not long enough for a proper post, so I’ve lumped them together. Kind of like the medley at the end of Abbey Road.

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Mission Control
This is my desk where I’m consulting. Isn’t it ridiculous? It looks like I’m about to launch the missiles. I thought technology was suppose to set us free but I’ve never been more plugged in. I’m a prisoner! It’s a good thing we’re not having any more children because being surrounded by all these electronics will probably shrink my testicles to the size of raisins.
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An ex-colleague has asked me to recommend her sister for a position at the company where I’m working. I know nothing whatsoever about her sister—I’ve never met her—but my colleague has been a tremendous help to me in the past, so I feel somewhat obligated. Am I obligated? When you recommend someone for a job, you’re putting your own reputation on the line. What if she’s incompetent? The whole thing makes me very uncomfortable.

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During Congressional testimony this week, top executives from the four largest privately held oil companies assured everyone that the BP oil spill was “an aberration” that couldn’t happen again.

Whew! That’s a relief! When corporate executives raise their right hand and swear that nothing can go wrong, you can take that to the bank. We should just leave them alone and let them go about their business. They know what’s best. For all of us.

Do they think we’re stupid?

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Grim-faced and forbidding
their faces closed tight
an angular mass of New Yorkers.
Pacing in rhythm
race the oncoming night
they chase through the streets of Manhattan.
Headfirst humanity
pause at a light
then flow through the streets of the city.

Isn’t that just beautiful? All those well-placed verbs! I walk east on 42nd Street and turn left on Lexington Avenue with that pounding in my earbuds. The soundtrack of my life. This town is under my skin for good. Have a good weekend.

Career opportunities

Currently, I’m a consultant on a project that should stretch through summer. I’d prefer a nice, cushy staff position, but this is the best I can do for now. In the meantime, I keep my eye out for other opportunities. Towards that end, I receive job-post emails on a fairly regular basis from a number of different sources. Here’s a prospect that I’m considering:

Temporary workers for Gulf Coast

Shamrock Environmental Corporation (Shamrock) has been contracted to provide support personnel to assist with the oil spill clean-up throughout the Gulf Coast. All workers will require OSHA 40 hour Hazardous Waste Operator Training (WE WILL PROVIDE). The hours will vary but expect LOTS of overtime.

RATE OF PAY: $13.00/hour straight time. $19.50/hour overtime (after 40 hours/week)

PER DIEM: $26.00/day for meals

LODGING: Provided

Work may include, but is not limited to, manual labor associated with removing crude oil from impacted beaches, rocks, boom, or any other items that have come in contact with the oil. Work Environment may include working on or near water, in marshland, beach and estuary locations in hot and humid conditions day or night.

Work is available IMMEDIATELY.

Whaddya think? I’m particularly looking forward to working in hot and humid conditions (+ oily w/ Looziana swamp creatures) in the middle of the night.

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One of our clients is in need of a proofreader last minute for a catalogue (sic) spot. Must be fluent in Danish.

WTF? I don’t know how to proofread (as regular readers of this blog can attest to) and I sure as hell don’t know nuthin’ about speakin’ no Danish. Why was this sent to me? Next.

A secret New York City place

Governors Island is a little drop of land in New York harbor. If you draw a triangle between the southern tip of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn, the island is floating in the middle. It’s a small miracle. There are quiet, tree-lined streets, a 9-hole golf course, historic forts and spectacular, panoramic views of the city and harbor.

It was off-limits to the public for decades because it was, first, an Army base and then a Coast Guard base. I lived there for a few years while in the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard abandoned the island years ago and now, thanks to populist mayor Michael Bloomberg, the island is open to the public on summer weekends. It’s accessible via a (free) short ferry ride from either Manhattan or Brooklyn. No motor vehicles are permitted. Just bikes. Here is 3-Year old on the (closed, unmaintained) golf course. That’s Manhattan in the distance.


There are events and concerts all summer long (check the above link). This past weekend, the annual Figment Festival was held. It’s an arts/music festival. Lots of big, outdoor, interactive installation pieces and sculptures. I love the impermanent nature of the festival. The stuff goes up for one weekend and that’s it. I went a bit overboard with the photos but here’s a sampling of some of the better pieces.

Inside the dark tunnels underneath old Fort Jay were two light and sound installations. This one allowed users to control the color and movement of the light by holding an orb containing a sensor. As you tilted the orb, the light and sound would pulsate and change color. I regret not having taken a video of this. It scared the hell out of 3-Year Old and she ran out screaming.


The other end of the tunnel featured a luminescent floral display. The sounds of frogs and crickets were piped in.

gi+a gi+3

There was a 9-hole miniature golf course. Each hole was a sculpture. Honestly, they functioned a lot better as sculptures than they did miniature golf holes. Some of them were impossible to navigate, even for a seasoned mini golf pro like myself. This one was based on The Wizard of Oz. There’s the Wizard’s balloon, the yellow brick road and, on the right, the Wicked Witch’s feet protruding from under the house. Hole 7 was done in a cool Andy Warhol/Edie Sedgwick/Mona Lisa motif.


This was a bed of roses. An artist who works as a florist brought a dozen garbage bags FILLED with rose petals and spread them out on the ground.


There were a few large inflatable sculptures. 3-Year Old had the odd inclination to pummel this one with her fists and then give it a few solid head-butts. What’s with the aggression, I wondered?


8-Year Old was in more of an absorption mode.


This one had a free-standing end that could be picked up and toss around. After I took this photo, I pushed her aside and made her give me a turn. It was fun!


This was a star sculpture that you could crawl underneath and get inside.


Once inside, there were thick pieces of different color chalk that allowed you to draw all over the interior.


I would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been some bad art. This was a hill of molding bagels with an old TV and bicycle wheel. I think they were inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s playful Readymades but it was CRAP-OLA.


We packed a picnic and listened to some talented musicians while eating lunch in the grass. Leah, you should take a day and visit. You can rent bicycles. All you have to watch out for are the maintenance crew golf carts. And it’s never crowded! I don’t understand it! I don’t think many people know about it. When you’re on the Island, it doesn’t even feel like you’re in New York City anymore.


Professional wrestling/theater mash-up

149806In honor of tonight’s Tony Awards, I’ll do a theater post, although this play is very, very far removed from what’s being shown tonight.

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is a hard title to remember but, Jason, I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this show. It’s a look at professional wrestling. The stage consists of a wrestling ring and you are treated to a match or two. It’s a satire on how wrestling is a crash of economics, race, ego and ambition.

It’s a comedy and I laughed my ass of from opening until final curtain. A great piece of theater. And don’t just take my word for it. The play was a finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize and lots of folks, myself included, think that the only reason it didn’t win was because it was still playing in Chicago when the prize was awarded. New York theater is unfairly favored. It’s a fact!

Regarding the fakery and predetermined outcomes of wrestling, a very good point is made. It is, after all is said and done, a performance piece. Aside from the content, is it any different than seeing Hamlet and knowing exactly how it’s going to end? Not so much.

The last time I saw a wrestling play was Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Fly Trap (1983) starring Andy Kaufman and Debbie Harry. Kaufman played the ring referee. Harry played Tanzi, who had a special deadly hold: The Venus Fly Trap. For real.

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Here’s a fun article from The Wall Street Journal about a self-described Manners Enforcer. He’s a dapper, bow tie-wearing gentleman in his 60s whose mission in life is to get folks to behave in a more civilized manner when in public. His weapon of choice? The cell phone jammer, of course! Here’s the photo from the article. It’s the exact same model I employ! We are brothers in the same war.

Additionally, here’s a card that was posted to PostSecret today.


I’m hoping an army of us arises to take back our peace quiet. Simply put, people who abuse their cell phones in public are assholes and deserve to have their service cut off. Sometimes I think that cell phones are a greater threat to Western civilization that Al Qaeda.