Rasslin’ with my dad

I can’t speak for its literary merits but this is the most fun I ever had writing a post. It deserves a reprise.

One of the few places my dad took my brother and I when we were kids was the professional wrestling matches in the old, now demolished, Cleveland Arena on Euclid Avenue. The Cleveland Area was the site for Alan Freed’s Moondog Coronation Ball, which is considered to be the first rock and roll concert. The show was oversold and ended in a near riot (of course).


A snowy night at the Cleveland Arena

The Arena might’ve had historical value but by the time we were going there for wrestling matches it had become a broken down hulk in a terrible neighborhood. One night, we saw some poor guy get hit by a car that must have been going 60 mph down Euclid. It happened right in front of us. He was knocked high into the air and was spinning with his arms and legs spread out like a pinwheel. He was carrying a box of popcorn and he never let go. He hit the street and the popcorn flew everywhere. My dad said, “Do you guys want to go have a look?!” We said no thanks, dad. I knew he wanted to.

My brother and I were big wrestling fans. We watched Championship Wrestling on channel 43 and Big Time Wrestling on channel 61.Going downtown to see our heroes do battle in the flesh thrilled my tiny 10-year old bones to the very marrow. I had NO IDEA the matches were fixed and the outcomes predetermined and I was embarrassingly old when I finally realized it.

This was Bobo Brazil.


A massive black man. A face. (That‘s what they called the good guys.) During one match we attended, Bobo’s head was smashed into the turnbuckle by the heel. (That‘s what they called the bad guys.) While he was shaking his head and regaining his senses, the heel snuck a metal folding chair into the ring and smashed Bobo over the head a few times. The ref didn’t see the chair. That should’ve been my tip-off that something was up.

A huge black woman sitting behind me started crying hysterically. Real tears and weeping! She stood up and started screaming at the top of her lungs, “Git up Bobo! Git UP!” Our seats were so far away that there’s no way he heard her.

Of course, Bobo got up. (They always got up.) And, boy, was he upset about the folding chair. Every wrestler had a signature closing move that got him out of a jam and Bobo’s was the Coco Butt. It’s an exotic name for a head-butt. He applied a few Coco Butts to the heel and the woman behind me started laughing and shouting, “That’s RIGHT Bobo! That’s RIGHT! KILL him! KILL HIM!” It was fantastic.

This hairy bastard was Wild Bull Curry.


A heel. During one match at the Arena, someone about 20 rows up held up a big, cardboard sign that said, “BOOOO! FAKE!” I was incredulous. What do you mean fake!? Wild Bull was even angrier. He climbed out of the ring, ran through the crowd, up into the stands, grabbed the sign and ripped it to shreds. In hindsight, I think it might’ve been a plant but it was genuine drama to me at the time.

This was my favorite heel. Pamparo Firpo, the Wild Beast from the Pampas.


When he appeared on TV, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. He had a voice like gravel and would punctuate his sentences with, “Oohhhh YEAAAAHH! He would drool into his beard. He’d taunt his opponents while petting a shrunken head (shown above). His closing move was the Claw Hold. He would clamp his big hand on the top of his opponent’s skull and squeeeeeze. His opponents would howl in pain. God, I loved it.

This was Johnny Powers, The Man of the Hour. He was the biggest face in Cleveland. A pretty boy. A star.


His closing move was the Power Lock (shown above). He’d get his opponent’s legs all twisted up and they’d be in so much agony they’d tap out. But then, disaster struck. A heel (I forgot which one) discovered a COUNTER MOVE to the Power Lock. (You roll over.) It was a sad Saturday afternoon when that happened.

Power’s arch nemesis was Reginald Love. He and his brother, Hartford Love, were The Love Brothers.


They were the heel’s heel. They dressed in hippie beads and psychedelic wrestling tights. I later discovered that they weren’t actually brothers. And Reginald and Hartford weren’t even their real names. They said they chose those names because they “wanted to sound like snobs.”

Once on Championship Wrestling, Powers was admiring a wristwatch that’d just been presented to him for his birthday by the Cleveland chapter of the Johnny Powers Fan Club. Reginald walked into the studio, made fun of the watch and called Powers “a donkey.” Powers said, “I have something you don’t have…fans.” Reginald countered with, “Well, I have something you don’t have…A HAMMER!” He pulled a hammer out of his back pocket and smashed the watch to bits. They started wrestling on the studio floor. Excellent! I read in a Powers interview years later that he had no idea Reginald was going to do that. It was completely unscripted. He was genuinely angry that the watch had been smashed.

This was more than a decade before Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and the rest of those pussies showed up. It lost something for me when it became stadium spectacular. The only wrestler from that era worth a damn was Brutus the Barber Beefcake. His closing move was to knock his opponent out with a sleeper hold and give them a really shitty haircut. That took balls.

One evening on the way home from the matches we stopped at the L&K Diner for sundaes. My dad started flirting with the much younger waitress. She asked how he wanted his coffee and he said, “Blonde. Like you.” and winked. I was embarrassed.

Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams


October 7, 1991

The people below me are fighting again. They’re so loud that I can understand what they’re saying without laying down and pressing my ear to the floorboards, which is what I usually have to do. It’s not as bad as last time. Last time I heard them wrestling and throwing things at each other. Stuff was smashing against the wall and furniture was toppling over.

Oscar is stuck with a horrible boyfriend. Everyone tells him he should walk out. He hangs on because he says he too homely to find someone else. I wonder if that’s how I’ll end up? I invited Lucy to a movie preview tomorrow night. It’s at the Warner Brothers screening room up on 6th Avenue. I’m hoping it serves as a powerful aphrodisiac.

I got very, very drunk at Dorothy’s dinner party but I didn’t make a fool of myself (so I’m told). She did a very sweet thing. We were discussing caviar. I told her I was a virgin and wasn’t going to try any until I could get my hands on black Beluga. I wanted my first taste to be the best, most expensive stuff there is. The conversation was a while ago and I’d forgotten all about it.

When I got to her apartment no one was there. It was a half hour before anybody else arrived. I took my coat off and sat down. She went to the kitchen and brought out a tin of black caviar on a silver tray. She served it with plain crackers and hard boiled eggs. We spooned it with a tiny, delicate silver spoon. She opened a bottle of champagne, too. I liked it.

Randy Brecker lives across the hall and was there. We spoke for a long while but I didn’t bring up music or his career or let on that I knew who he was because I thought it would’ve been tacky. I don’t think anyone else knew who he was. We stood in the kitchen and talked trash about the people at the table.

After a few drinks I wasn’t so concerned about being tacky and told him I had Heavy Metal Be-Bop, but I lost it when I moved from Phoenix to New York. I didn’t lose ALL my albums. Just SOME of them, including that one. He offered me a replacement and was nice enough to go across the hall and fetch a CD for me. I told him his trumpet on Springsteen’s Meeting Across the River and Rundgren’s Hello It’s Me is the best part of those songs. And I wasn’t blowing smoke up his rear. I really feel that way. A nice guy. Afterwards, Dorothy told me he fights with his Japanese wife. Everyone fights.

After dinner we moved the furniture, blasted her stereo and danced like crazy people. I was completely soaked with sweat. I felt bad for the people I talked to because I held a folded paper towel and was constantly blotting my face, neck, arms, etc. Disgusting. There were some single women there and it was fun to flirt but I didn’t leave with any phone numbers. One girl was really drunk and really forward and I didn’t love that.

I finally got home at 3:00. Went to bed and had terrible bed spins so I got up, sat in the living room and watched the cats fight. For some reason, I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen and was buckled over with hysterics. I almost threw-up.

“Daddy, can you help me with my math homework?”

“Sure, honey.”


I blanked out. I had no idea how to solve this. I didn’t know how to begin. Do you know how humiliating it is to not be able to help my NINE YEAR OLD daughter solve her 4th GRADE math problem? I sent it to my best pal, the accountant. He said it was a tough one but he figured it out. She hasn’t asked me for help since. I hate my lack of education.

Meanwhile, in 8th grade science:



Old. New. Borrowed. Blue.

Something Old


May 31, 1991

Karen called to torment me. She moved out of her parent’s house and broke off her engagement. She asked for restaurant recommendations because she’s coming to New York with some guy. [She lived in Philadelphia.] She told me they’re staying at the Omni Berkshire. I have no idea why she included that tidbit. She said she’s been thinking about me and wants to get together. Afterwards, she went outside to burn up ants with sunlight and a magnifying glass and pour table salt on garden slugs, that whore. I think I love her.

Landis called me into his office. He told me to call the animal hospital where his dog is and ask for the nearest pharmacy. Then I’m supposed to call the pharmacy and see if they stock the medication his dog needs. If they do, I’m instructed to arrange to have it delivered to the hospital. If the pharmacy doesn’t stock it, I’m to call all the area pharmacies until I find one that does and arrange delivery. And what does any of this have to do with graphic design? As if I needed another reason to hate dogs more than I do already.

I went back to my desk and stewed in my loserdom for about :20 minutes. Then I walked back into his office fully expecting to be fired and told him I’d prefer to keep what little scrap of dignity I have left and not be an errand boy for his FUCKING DOG. I didn’t say fucking dog. I just said dog. He said, “Oh. Okay.” And that was the end of it.

Gerri said she can’t wait to get married because she’s sick of being lonely. She said there are no men in her life and it’s driving her crazy. All of our nights out and the numerous dinners I’ve cooked mean nothing to her. All she needs to do is look across the table. I’m going after Karen. She might sleep with me. Gerri never will. Valerie said to be patient. She said that in time, everything will be revealed to me through divine provenance. She’s very religious.

Well, I’ve been down so Goddamn long
That it looks like up to me

Last month, I submitted a sample for a writing workshop and when I read the acceptance letter I got all choked up. My assumption was that there were so few entries that everyone was accepted or that mine was accepted in error. The class is only 12 people.

On the first day I asked Glenda, the woman running the show, if my piece was selected by default or if there were actually more than 12 people who applied. She said there’s a waiting list of people hoping for cancellations and many more who were never considered. She said the fact that I think so little of my abilities is an important first step in becoming a published writer. Very funny. She asked if I intended to stay in class this time. I didn’t think she’d remember. I’m going to have to grind it out. Nine weeks. Ugh. I read an article about the woman who wrote Thelma and Louise. She didn’t know anything about the mechanics of writing a screenplay so she bought a “how to” book and banged the whole thing out in only six months. Six months!

Something New

When visiting PetSmart to load-up on supplies, 9-year old daughter always selects a new chew toy. Recently, she came home with this:


Seriously? I’ll bet the boys back in the molding plant are having a jolly chuckle. Living in a house full of women isn’t emasculating enough. I have to look up from my reading chair and watch this:


Something Borrowed (from Charles Boukowski)



In other words, as you lose the desire to create, the mundane takes over. I’ve trashed a half dozen blog posts that just sat there like dead lumps of nothing. Bored by the sound of my own voice.

Something Blue

This is Left Bank Books on 8th Avenue in Greenwich Village. Rare, second-hand and out-of-print books. Heaven on earth.


Or, rather…it was.


Once again, Jeff Bezos has blood on his hands. The Catullus quote means “Hail and Farewell.” This gave me the deep blue blues for days.