Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I got a hermit crab. A hermit crab is a little crab that chooses its shell instead of having a shell that grows on it. You can put a few shells in with one, and it'll change shells after a while, and that's pretty cool to see. I named him Glen, but I don't really know if it's a boy or a girl. I try to make him feel safe and warm and happy. His plastic cage is pretty small right now, but I'm going to save up aned get him a bigger one and maybe a friend. Until then, I take him out as much as I can and let him crawl around the floor. I think his pet store food must get pretty boring, so I let him have some lettuce today. Tomorrow, I'm going to see if Glen likes peanut butter.And I always talk to him and make him feel good. I say I love you Glen. I'm so glad you're here. I think you're the best. I know it must make him feel good.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Things for Which Beckett Gives Thanks

1. Divine retribution (the wrath of Khan)
2. The color pink
3. The sun
4. Coffee
5. Sex
6. The riches he been snatchin from you bitches
7. Stephen Hawking
8. Lawyers
9. Cats, dogs, and all things cuddly
10. Salt mines
11. Sleep
12. LASERS (the car & the beam)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pain Jar

I had an existential feast this weekend, seeing "Thom Pain, Based on Nothing," at DR2 Theater on 15th St. on Saturday night, and then, on Sunday afternoon, "Jarhead."

Neither was perfect, but both were thoughtful and provocative.

Thom Pain has been extended several times, and now T. Ryder Smith has replaced James Urbaniak as the show's sole performer. He's an engaging presence as he tells the discursive story of a boy, his dog, the dog's electrocution, bee stings and a failed relationship. The script, by Will Eno requires him to trip back and forth between the narrative and discursions and asides. He doesn't know if he's good enough. For life, for this show, for love. Life is pain for Mr. Thom. It's a smart-alecky, knowing treatise, shot through with real feeling, and Smith is generally up to the challenge. He fills the earlier moments of passion with genuine feeling, and several moments achieve the sublime. But, toward the end, as tears and sobbing are required of him, he doesn't seem to quite have it in him, and is forced to go through the forms of feeling, ending the evening flatly. My heart goes out to Smith. The show is performed two times a night, at six and nine, in order to maximize sales from the small DR2 theater, I presume. And the performance I witnessed was peopled largely by TKTS (a discount ticket booth) who were probable expecting a play of some sort, or at least some kind of attempt at spectacle. Not the best audience for a performer to have to bare himself before. I, myself, had brought four people along: my aunt, her wife, and two friends of theirs. I was accutely aware once the show started that it was a poor choice for tourists. Smith must have been aware of this, too as he fought his way to the end.

As for Jarhead, there is no shortage of writing on this Hollywood offering, so I'll keep it short. It is not nearly so hollow as many reviewers would have you believe. And it is well worth seeing for an askew view of the Marines, as well as some incredibly haunting visuals. It also happens to be funny and interesting the whole way through without ever dragging. It even manages a few moments of genuine pathos. Peter Sarsgaard and Jake "Beefcake" Gyllenhaal are great, and Foxx does his job competently.

Both works ask not just "Why?", but "Why bother?", and because the question is more important than the answer, do not, cannot answer the question more fully than with a "Because." True to life, but "Because" does not make for a dramatic ending. Reality doesn't follow a conventional story arc, and neither do "Thom Pain" and "Jarhead." Which is fine, but as audience members we've been trained to expect catharsis, and I was disappointed at the fizzles that capped each show, even as I left the theater deep in thought. Sure, it's smart, it's honest, but how bout a just one big old bang? Please? No? Okay. Stinking art.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tomorrow Tomorrow

I'm sitting here with headphones on, absolutely transported by a musician I thought I'd become complacent with, and it's just overwhelming to me in this moment how impossiby beautiful Elliott Smith's music is. The melodies, the harmonies, the build and flow. Every song is well crafted, meaningful and moving. I've heard "X/O," which I'm listening to at the moment, dozens of times before, yet I'm delighted as each song starts again as if the first time I'm hearing it.

There's nothing quite like the beauty of tragedy and depsair. Misery, sorrow, fear, and longing become profundity in the right artist's hands. I'm glad I can again revel in his music. Since his knife-through-the-chest suicide, I'd been too disturbed by the reality of his demise to escape into the music. And, just as every single Alice in Chains song is about heroin, every single Elliot Smith song treats with depression, low self esteem, self loathing, and addiction. Sounds horrific, but no, in fact, it does not sound horrific. It sounds heartfelt. It sounds true. It sounds sublime.

Check out his profile at allmusic:

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


The Smoking Gun can always be counted on for items which will make you tremble in fear for the fragile future of this planet.

Yes, it's for real.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Another pun for a title as I follow the example set by my collaborator Glen's posts. I am a new man today. A fresh and bold individual, facing the world with renewed confidence and vigor. Because I, after at least two months, purchased for myself a hair cut. It's a good cut. Short, low maintenance. I begin to understand the traditionally female fascination with the stylist. It really does make a differenc in one's outlook. Wheeee!

When I was a child I had blonde hair. I was proud of it. I loved it. Adults consistently complemented my downy locks. Then my hair got browner. And greasier. And browner. And greasier. By the time I was in junior high, I had a greasy, cowlicked tangle of bland brown hair. But this year, I've noticed my hair becoming lighter. And when I've described its color as brown, folks have dissented. I'd like to think that what is occuring is a magical reblonding. But the white hairs that have appeared here and there tell a different story. And today, as I examined my shorne hair in my lap, I was able to pick out a fairly large number of crackers. Never have I witnessed so much unabashed honkey-ism in my hair color. So it begins. I am now undoubtedly on the (hopefully) long descent into white hair.

There is a silver lining to this loss of color. I have a young face, and a bit of greying may do a little to give me that distinguished look. Yeah, that's it!

One more thing: I went to a place with a semi-pretentious name like David Concept Studios. Here in the city the predeliction for punny salon names seems less prevalent than in the suburbs, where one always has a choice between Hair Today, E-clips, and A Cut Above. I wonder if any of the owners who decided to go with "Hair Today" considered the ill favor of its implication: "Gone Tomorrow."