Saturday, September 28, 2013

Writing to Live and Feeding F. Scott's Vampire Monkey

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

This article hit a little too close to home: Writing to Live in Hollywood.

I saw a few haunting parallels between Fitzgerald washing up in Hollywood and myself and Las Vegas. I sold out and ditched my original artistic prime directive in order to make a quick buck and earn easy money shilling online poker to essentially keep the party going.

Fitzgerald ended a long chapter in his life as a novelist in New York City and headed West to sunny California. One of America's premier fiction writers sold his soul to the suits running the big studios during the golden era of Hollywood. Fitzgerald wasn't stupid; he was a washed-up writer and following the money. They were printing so much money in Hollywood that even a neophyte screenwriter with zero experience like him had a crack at a few bucks, so he signed a contract with MGM and cranked out a bunch of crappy, passion-less screenplays. I think I read somewhere that Fitzgerland was making the equivalent of $1,000/week (in 2013 dollars).

Every week, Hollywood fat cats raked in millions and millions and millions of dollars from box offices all over America and flowing freely right back to the bank accounts of the major studios. Fitzgerald was not the only novelist who supplemented their income by writing (or ghost-writing) for the studios. William Faulkner was so far gone at that point in the twilight of his career that he was perpetually shitfaced so his assistant handed in his pages.

Fitzgerald was stalked by demons the majority of his adult life. Large mutherfucking demons with claws and roving band of starved, blood-sucking monkeys. He could only slay those beasts with the bottle. He wrestled with those fierce alkie demons and always lost. Night after night. The vampire monkeys jeered and shat in their hands and threw it in his general direction. It was an expensive war and cost Fitzgerald his health and dragged him deep into debt.

Fitzgerald died at the age of 44 of a heart attack, but he drank himself to death. Fitzgerald got caught up in a nasty cycle of abuse and self-doubt and could not escape. Quicksand. Instead of sand, it was booze. He headed to Hollywood because it was the only place that could pay for his rampant alcoholism (in addition to medical treatment for his bat-shit crazy wife Zelda), but being stuck in Los Angeles and struggling to write shitty dialogue for pathetic third-rate B-films drove him even more insane. He got stuck in a rut, which sent him into a deeper depression, so he drank even more. And more. And more. Poor fucker never had a chance.

I sort of turned to poker and Vegas to cover the tab for my addictions -- mostly travel and music. I felt as though I had to go through hell for 2 months every year so I could have a groovy 10 months. That was the sacrifice I made... but I was also selling out. I flocked to Vegas every summer to follow the money. It was the only place I knew where I could get paid rather well to write (and be myself) and I was stuck in that cycle because of lifestyle maintenance. It took me seven years, but I finally realized it wasn't worth it.

I got into poker by accident. I thought I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience covering the 2005 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. The plan was have one crazy summer and that was it then return to NYC and the dream would be over. It turns out I never went home. The dream continued... and continued. I headed out West and stuck around Vegas, like so many other innocent people who got seduced by the gambling scene, or sucked into the Vegas' black hole of depravity and immorality.

I bailed from Vegas before I became a full blown junkie or lost all my money betting on sports, and washed up in Hollywood of all places. I considered myself one of the lucky ones. I actually left Vegas with some money in my pocket. Most of the people I know who moved to Vegas chasing the Dream Americana either went broke, or went crazy, or got totally ambushed by a nasty addiction and fell prey to "The Sickness" which is full-blown immersion into a vice that totally sucks your soul dry. Pick one... a) drugs, b) alcohol, c) gambling, and d) sex. The Sickness comes in multiple choice form.

Fitzgerald passed away unable to fade depression  and demoralization and the lingering effects of hardcore alkie abuse. He arrived in Hollywood mostly forgotten as a novelist and dismissed as a "one-hit wonder." Even when he died, the critics were not extolling Fitzgerald's virtues like many college professors do today.

Check out Writing to Live in Hollywood.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wall Crickets

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The crickets chirp at all hours of the day. They were born in between the walls. Trapped. They live inside the walls until their death. Unable to get out. Unable to tell what time it is because of the perpetual darkness, so they chirp at all hours of the day and night and day. The outdoor crickets wait until sundown to sing and communicate. The wall crickets are trapped for their eternity, singing the blues at sunrise and sunset, and all hours in between. Sometimes it's as bad and disjointed as a Scritti Politti record, other nights it has the anger yet potent complexity of a Charlie Mingus symphony.

What would happen if there was infinite darkness? Eventually humans would evolve to see in the dark. Like cats and other nocturnal hunters that adapted for millions of years.

The promotional machine is a hungry creature. Constantly starving yet purposely drowning us in sensory overload. The vanity empowers those on the fringe of the culture. The undercurrent is a toxic stream of desire and uncloaked greed masking as ambition.

What is the cultural function of the media again? Wasn't it supposed to be the watchers watching the watchers kinda of thing?

It used to be the watchdog that protected the people from any nefarious doings by the powers that be. These days, the bulk of the media is owned by the powers that be, which is why the majority of what passes as "news" is thinly veiled celebrity gossip and very little concrete information that keeps the public informed about what's really going on.

The who, what, when, and how no longer apply to the deeds of politicians, rather, it's to fill in answers to vapid questions like who is fucking who. What drugs is the starlet du jour taking. When is the next hyped film coming out. And how much longer do we have to wait to get devoured by yet another celebrity scandal.

The primary objective is something out of Sun Tzu or Machiavelli. Most of what I see coming out of the media pipe is nothing but noise to confuse and intimidate us by overloading on fearful things or sentimental things. Sometimes they press the proper buttons -- fear of losing something sentimental.

Some day the masses won't be shy anymore and finally wake up. At least, that's my sincere hope that these doldrums finally pass. And like the crickets banished to life in between the walls, our only choice is to sing anyway in the perpetual darkness. Some day, we'll come together as a unified and animated front and unmask out true emotions. That will be the day when the entire culture breaks down what seemed to be impenetrable barriers that the charlatans constructed to keep us as far away from them as possible.

All and all, we're just another cricket stuck in the wall.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Everything I Know About Politics, I Learned From Watching the TV Sitcom "Benson"

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Everything I learned about politics, I learned from TV. Specifically sitcoms. Fucking Hollywood, always trying to brainwash American children. So I grokked everything I know about politics from a sitcom called Benson, which aired on ABC from 1979-1986. It was a spin-off of Soap, where Robert Guillaume played a butler employed by the crazy Tate family. Guillaume fell into a stereotype role of the "wise-cracking black guy."

In Benson, the show was centered around Robert Guillaume, who is no longer a butler and instead he works in the governor's mansion with some random title. The Governor is a bumbling goofball who can barely tie his shoes, let alone run New York. I assumed he was the Governor of New York, because that's where I grew up, which meant that Benson lived in Albany at the Governor's mansion.

The real reason I watched Benson was because of a budding infatuation with the Governor's daughter (played by Missy Gold, the older sister of Tracy from Growing Pains). I had a semi-crush on her, so I got sucked in by the blonde. But along the way, I learned about how politics worked then and still works to this day.

In every episode, there was some sort of crisis because the inept governor was incapable of getting the job done. It was obvious that he was an airhead, or puppet propped up by the machine (or big business). Whenever the shit hit the fan, it wasn't the smarmy and sketchy governor's aides in cheap suits who solved the problem. Most of the time, they were the problem. Week after week, Benson would swoop in during the third act and save the day. Benson was a deus ex machina and "mythical magical negro" combined in the same character.

Benson always butted heads with Gretchen Kraus, the head of the kitchen and a scary German woman who always fondled a sharp knife. Yes, there was some sexual tension between the two and dare I say there were always S&M undertones in the banter. If any freaky sex parties went down at the mansion, I'm sure Gretchen was involved in some capacity as a dominatrix. But once again, Hollywood was beating a horse to death with an unfavorable stereotype of Germans as a humorless, dry, yet disciplined, orderly, and neat stickler for details.

At some point, Benson got a promotion to Lieutenant Governor. In the last season, he ran for governor... but against the ex-governor who was running for a different party. The season ended with a cliffhanger and we never found out who won. During the summer... ABC axed the show. Yes, Benson got cancelled and we never found out if he won or lost.

Here's a random episode from Season 1 which touched on Cold War relations between the U.S. and Russia...

Sitcoms were created as low hanging fruit and catered to the the lowest common denominator, but regardless of the corniness or simplicity, sitcoms are a sure-fire way to tap into America's consciousness. Regardless of the outcome, Obama needs to thank Benson for helping pave the way for a black man to hold a a high-profile elected position.

So what did I learn from watching Benson?
1. I always had a thing for blondes.

2. Politicians are dumb as fuck old white guys who can't even make a sandwich, let alone run a state.

3. Germans are frightening disciplinarians and fascists who are hiding secret Nazi ties or bizarre domination sex addictions.

4. The savvy black man saves the day. Always. Yet the "Man" always gets the credit.
For more about Hollywood's infatuation with mythical negro, check out my half-baked thoughts on Bagger Vance.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2AM: No Expectations

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Nancy Mumford

Rampant proliferation of false friendships. Never underestimate the capacity for manipulation and the willingness to create distractions. The non-events becoming "the" event.

Saturated by advertisements before noon. Perceived images of doom and gloom.

"News is not the same as truth," Chris Hedges once said in a lecture. He was worried that our culture was being dominated by the lowest common denominator. Hence the Snookification of the world.

The celebration of image over substance. What a perverted ethos. Tranquil, yet vivid memories. Nostalgia color filters. Reverence for the things in the past that brought us the most happiness. Crowded memories. Flashing neon. Thumping bass. Glasses breaking the the background.

In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes. Supposedly. The lowest form of conceptual art is reality TV, but there's lots of dough in it. Commerce intertwined with art. Vice versa. The faint whispers intoxicated everyone and even long after the congregation departed.

Disdainful ignorance but beguiled by the simplicity of the newest activities. The sensation of euphoria and inert broad range of experiences are contradictions, like two trains headed into the station at the same time.... on the same track.

Shy, redemptive and instructive. Meticulous emptiness. Gazing upon stale neurotics and electrified gentrification. Surrealistically animated dissertations. Simplicity of the revelation of the American Dream.

Affectionate visions of sonic textures. The stale kaleidoscopic. And the dying tradition of the neighborhood backyard BBQ.

Ecstatic falsetto. Peculiar chord progressions. Unknown syllables and mostly jive talk. Lots of streetcorner jargon. Old junkies of folklore.

Environmental propaganda. Romanticized cabal of tree huggers. Unable to diffuse the apocalyptic future of what they had no clue was public domain.

The solemn trance from a string of red lights. I find discomfort watching overweight tourists, yet nobody is paying any attention. My keen eyes disappear into the distance.

Keen eyes everywhere, except where they should be. Including a semi-famous microbiologist who squandered his money on finding the Lord during a gin-induced conversation.

The sullen bustle but with the grace of a ballerina. We all need allergy medicine. But we found a broken watch that used to keep time on infinite spaces is a broken memento.

Dusty sky. Stars burning the night. Unwritten postcard to Grandma. Vulgar sidewalks in front of the bars are all the same cluttered with cigarette butts.

Mambo musicians on the prowl. Several of them have the same nervous twitch. So instead, it's a night of drinking would end up in a brawl.

That's what the night does to you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lefsetz's Slanket (Fiction)

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Coffeshop. Santa Monica. 10am. Two guys sat in a booth. One, former A&R guy at a major record label, is loosely wearing a suit. The other one, an actor, looks like he just woke up.

"I was up early," said the actor as he shoveled a ham and cheese omelet into his face. "I had an early audition. Crack of dawn. Fast food commercial."

"Was it for breakfast or something like McMuffins?"

"Nah, flatbread sandwiches. National campaign. If I land that, I can finally pay off my credit cards and I can go home and visit family for Christmas. But right now, all I care about is getting the call back. The next few days are going to be torture. Hey, I'm in the wrong biz. The music industry. That's where it's at. I should have been more serious when I was nine and took piano lessons."

"The music industry? No way. Just as bad if not worse than acting. It's like the worst wrung of show business."

"Even worse than reality TV?"

"Reality TV brings in more dough than scripted TV. Nah, music biz is up there with infomercials and politics. I should say, it's down there with infos and those talking heads."

"Really? Music biz that bad? Worse than infomercials?"

"At least people, albeit stupid people, will buy something they see on an infomercial. Whether its a Snuggie or Ginsu knives... doesn't matter... it's a real, physical product that you can't steal from the internet. They ship products that kids can't steal via the internet."

"You can buy knives and slankets on the net."

"Sure, you can. Maybe it's cheaper too. Maybe not. But you still have to pay for it in a traditional business transaction. It's not like kids today stealing 99.9% of their music. When was the last time you went to a record shop and bought a CD?"

"God. I don't know. I think I bought a Beatles Greatest Hits once at a gas station when I was on a road trip up to Maine and the rental car at Logan had a CD player but no AUX ports or satellite radio."

"When was the last time you paid for a full album on iTunes?"

"I think I bought The Strokes new album Angels a couple summers ago."

"That was two albums ago. Why didn't you get the last one? Because you streamed it on Pitchfork, like everyone else, right?"

"Yeah, I did... it was free. I got to listen to it for free."

"But you didn't pay a cent to the band, or the record company. Sure, you boosted the traffic to Pitchfork, and they probably cut a deal with the band to stream it exclusively, but for the most part the majority of people listening to the new Strokes album are not paying for it. How much of your iPod is filled with pirated music? 50%? 90%? Kids today in highschool? They never paid a dime for music in their lives."

"I'm starting to sound like one of those old farts. When I was a kid, blah blah blah. But it's true, when I was in college, we still had dial up so I couldn't download music. In high school I blew money on music and movies. CDs. DVDs. Movie tickets. Concert tickets. Gas money. A little grass and cheap six packs. That's why I worked at the fucking Blockbuster in Nashua. I fucking hated it, but I got free rentals and it paid for music I really wanted badly."

"You worked hard to earn money and then spent it on music. Nowadays, kids just go online and download that shit for free. They have no semblance of what it means to pay for art."

"What ever happened to 'You get what you pay for?'"

"In this case, kids have access to an entire encyclopedia of music -- the entire history of music from Bach to the Beatles, from Beethoven to Beiber. And with access to all that rich history, what kinda of music is selling now? Fucking dubstep. Robots fucking. Douchey, uncircumcised Swedish dorks with laptops. That's today's 'rock' stars. No more Ziggy Stardust. No more Robert Plant. No more long haired dudes drinking whiskey, toking grass, and lighting up the garage with the loudest music they could. It was happening in the 60s. In the 70s. Event in the 80s and then the 90s, and then just stopped at the start of the 00s. Now, no one is trying to form bands with their friends. Instead, it's solo solitary dudes with their laptops. Sitting in the dark in their mommy's basement. Alone. Mixing. Mashing. Cuisinarting all these hooks and drops that these dopey fucking kids with zero taste think is straight up dope. It's dope. Dope for dopes. And they're blowing tons of cash on this dope. Electric Daisy and shit like that. Sure, I fucking hate the Eagles and it's the epitome of corporate rock and roll, but at least there's some bit of art in it. Albeit watered down, there's still a bit of soul in there. This glitch hop is soulless. I cannot believe what's going on."

"The drugs are getting stronger and the music is getting worse."

"Zombies shoving Ecstasy up their asses and in their coochies.No wonder we're doomed. All this new shit lacks any sort of edge. It's too narcissistic. Totally lacks a sociopolitical edge. Punk was political. It was about the have-nots rallying together to fight the man. Dylan was inspired by protest singers from the first half of the 20th Century. The earliest days of hip hop were all political. Jay Z said hip hop was like CNN for black communities. It's how they got their news. Then it all became about material pursuits. Bling. Dealing drugs. Hoochie mamas. And this electronic dance music craze? Where's the politics in that? Sounds more like static. Loud static. Feed kids enough drugs and they'll dance to anything."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Joan Didion Knows Her Shit

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I saw this needle in a haystack. Somehow, a link to an interview with Joan Didion somehow stood out from the rest of the static on Twitter. The Paris Review features a series called the Art of Fiction in which they engage in deep discussion with fiction writers about their craft. I came across an outstanding interview conducted with Didion circa 1977.

Check out Joan Didion, The Art of Fiction No. 71.

Didion dishes on the intricacies of writing and explains some of her daily routine. She kicks off the interview with explaining how writers have a hostile relationship with readers.
It's hostile in that you're trying to make somebody see something the way you see it, trying to impose your idea, your picture. It's hostile to try to wrench around someone else's mind that way. Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else's dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream... [ more here]

Excellent series about an excellent writer that appears in an excellent publication.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Obey. Consume. Watch TV.

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Jonathan Lethem wrote a book about the cult classic film They Live. It was as though Lethem live-blogged the film, but in book form. The book is short but we get his take on John Carpenter's film -- scene by scene -- because it's layered with tons of symbolism both overt and covert. I was kind of cool experience to read a few chapters, then watch the film for a few minutes, and go back and read a few more chapters and watch a little more of the film, etc etc etc.

My brother and I were huge WWF fans when we were kids. Roddy Rowdy Piper was billed as the bad guy and every Saturday morning we'd see some of his douchebaggery. The best moment? He beat up Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka with a coconut. We were excited to see a movie with a wrestler in it. This was still the late 80s before wrestling really blew up and it helped propel their top stars like the Rock into the real big leagues -- Hollywood. The Rock was able to become a true crossover star from deflecting metal chairs to his head to carrying a big budget Hollyweird film. But with They Live, Roddy Piper was able to get top billing in a B-film that flirted the line between cult sci-fi fantasy and campy straight-to-video fodder. We watched it a bunch on videotape and thought it was a cool flick about aliens featuring a favorite wrestler.

Watching They Live as an adult is mind blowing because the cheesy factor of the plot (not to mention how bad it really was) really covered up the incendiary subversiveness of the film. Simply put, according to Carpenter we've been brainwashed by the powers that be. As a result, we're a nation of TV addicts, which is we're either slaves, sheep, zombies, doped up, or sleepwalking through life. The glowing box in the living room is truly the opiate of the masses and we're all complicit by participating in the culture of consumption, even though we want to break out of that dreadful cycle.

There's a documentary called They Live We Sleep, which is a much more tin foil hat version of Lethem's book. But it's short (thirty minutes) and an eye opener.

They Live We Sleep is a nice companion piece to Lethem's book and the actual film. At this point, whenever I watch the film, I'm purposely looking for different pieces of hidden symbolism. Sort of like those maniacal fiends who comb through Kubrick's films frame-by-frame.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I caught Salinger, a documentary on America's most famous reclusive author J.D. Salinger. Still processing it all. The images. The story. The sadness of solitude. The idiocy of a self-adsorbed twat. Screenwriter Shane Salerno (Armageddon) directed this film so it was slightly different than your regular documentary structure. It took nine years to complete the doc and he conducted hundreds of interviews in search of the story about Salinger. What was Salinger doing for decades while hiding out in a small town in New Hampshire and raising a family, or at least trying to before his maniacal devotion to writing fractured his relationship with his wife and daughter?

I read Catcher in the Rye when I was in the 8th grade. Salinger's Holden Caufield did not impact me as much as he probably should. I read it the same year I saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off fourteen times. I found Ferris far more heroic than the whiny Holden Caufield and his ducks. But by then, I was already a jaded kid and knew that adults were mostly full of shit hypocrites. I first heard about John Lennon getting killed on 72nd Street through the TV. It was huge news everywhere. for days and days. A barrage of media coverage. Outrage and mourning. During the weeks after the murder, I heard more details about Lennon's crazed assassin, a fan who was fond of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. When President Reagen got shot, his would-be assassin took a shot at ole Dutch Reagan because he was inspired by Catcher in the Rye. I simply associated Catcher in the Rye with bad vibes and insane murders. When the Pope got shot, I immediately wondered if the shooter read Salinger's book too?

It might surprise you, but I enjoyed Franny and Zooey more than Catcher. Nicky had a copy and I re-read most of it in one sitting. Salinger's best shit? His short stories. Mostly from New Yorker circa the late 40s/early 50s. I highly recommended Salinger's Nine Stories, which includes A Perfect Day for Bananafish. That fiction absolutely blew the minds of New Yorker readers. Then there's For Esmé -- With Love and Squalor, which deals with the unspoken affliction of PTSD (called shell-shock during that era) that GIs struggled with while assimilating back into society post-WWII. 

Salinger's writing with inspired and driven by his PTSD. His experiences -- from landing at D-Day all the way to hunting Nazis -- deeply embedded itself into Saligner's writing. His demons were exorcised by his characters. He spent decades in seclusion while marinating in the carefully constructed worlds in which his intricate characters lived. He could control that (fantasy) world... the world of the Glass and Caufield families. The real world, ruled of phonies, was beyond his control, which is why he detached himself for long periods of time. 

Hiding out. Salinger grew up on Park Avenue and after the financial success of Catcher in the Rye, he could have lived anywhere in the world, but exiled himself his bunker deep in the woods of New Hampshire. Salinger donned a peculiar uniform when he wrote, like a jumpsuit, or something a house painter or telephone repairman would wear. He had a smaller cottage behind his house and he hung out in his office. Hiding from the world. Hiding from his family. Ducking the fog of war which followed him from the Belgium forest to small town America.

Salinger eventually stopped publishing in the mid-60s. He couldn't handle the slings and arrows from critics. He couldn't handle the backlash from the public and the biting jealousy from his peers. He couldn't handle the pressure knowing that whatever he wrote would not satisfy the critics, his contemporaries, the readers, and the publishers. He decided to keep it simple and withdraw from the machine, but write for himself. He supposedly wrote every day until his health interceded, but he was writing into his late 80s. Sure, it's easy to drop out of the publishing world when you're financial secure and 60 years after its first publication, the novel still sells 250K books a year and you can live off of those royalties. I'd love to go off the grid. I have fantasies about walking away from the virtual world and ditching social media. Alas, I don't have a choice. I need to keep my foot in the door because I need to sell more books down the road. This is the only way I can make a few bucks to keep a roof over my head, yet I often dream about unplugging and not worrying about chasing the shadow of the ghost of my former self.

A couple of parts of the Salinger documentary disturbed me particularly the concentration camp scenes. Salinger, an army intelligence officer, supposedly was among the first wave of American troops to walk into a concentration camp. Those horrors stuck with him the rest of his life.

Then there's Salinger's questionable fascination and infatuation with young girls. Like around 16 years old. Sure, when he was 21 and he dated Eugene O'Neill's 16-year old daughter and that was sort of acceptable. But the older he got, his penchant for young girls grew increasingly uncomfortable. Sure, he was fond of writing letters to young women, but he was an episode of To Catch a Predator waiting to happen. Supposedly all of those relationships were platonic and he simply enjoyed the attention of young girls. He's flirting a dangerous line. There's laws set up in place to keep leering old men away from precocious teenage girls. But when you can dangle Holden Caufield in front of impressionable young women... well, it's pretty easy for them to fall under his spell.

There was always an urban lit legend that Thomas Pynchon was actually J.D Salinger and he created "Pynchon" as a pseudonym so he could publish anonymously after he removed himself from the literati in NYC. Of course, that isn't true. Pynchon is alive and well on the West Coast and published not one but two books in the twilight of his career.

And then there's the stories that keep the tin foil hat crowd whipped up in a frenzy. You know, the one about Salinger being in the CIA? It's easy to link him with WWII spooks who formed the agency post-war. Salinger was a counter intelligence officer during the war and hunted Nazis after Germany's surrender. But this is where it gets sketchy...Salinger married a known Nazi and got away with it. He claimed he and his German wife had telekinetic ability and could communicate with each other without speaking. German vixen seduces American army officer with a literal mind fuck? That's something out of a Philip K. Dick speed-induced short story. But seriously... how the hell was Salinger able to pull off nuptials to an ex-Nazi without getting court martialed (marriages to German nationals were illegal for a couple years after the war)? That brief marriage really screwed him up. Emotionally destroyed him. First he got shunned by Eugene O'Neill's daughter who dumped him for Charlie Chaplin, and then he got his heart shattered by an ex-Nazi temptress. I always suspected she duped him in order to avoid execution by bloodthirsty Cossacks seeking retribution. Then again, maybe Salinger was really a spy? And the marriage was a sham in order to extract more vital information about where Nazis hid their loot (specifically gold and classic paintings), along with the concealed locations of top Nazi aerospace scientists/engineers -- otherwise known as Operation Paperclip in which the Yanks were race against the Russians to find and scoop up as many Nazi scientists and academics in order to gain a quick edge in the first wave of the Cold War -- bigger nukes and faster planes and rockets that went farther.

You don't even have to follow the conspiracy forums on Reddit to know that there's always been a rumor that Salinger was contracted by the CIA to write Catcher in the Rye as a manual to determine potential assassins. Or rather, the government used Salinger's work as a litmus test to determine if the recruit is primed to smoke out any phonies if they gave him a sniper rifle and pointed the out to the biggest phony?

Then again, if I wrote a book that was associated with one murder, let along two (or three as the doc film alleged about Catcher in the Rye), the last thing I'd want to do is write another book.

At the end of the documentary, they revealed that the Estate of J.D. Salinger authorized the release of two novels in 2015 and 2020, with other pieces to be published at a later date. Also part of the deal, is that the Estate will NEVER authorize film version of Catcher in the Rye. I read an article somewhere that said he had something on the shelf that would not be published until 70 years after his death. Man, 2080? I wonder if America is still a country then? And will people still be reading books? I'll be 100+ years old. I doubt I lie another decade or two, but will we become a nation of illiterate zombies crocked on Big Pharma's sedatives?

Don't forget to check out Salinger's Nine Stories.

Trailer for Salinger documentary is here:

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Seinfeld Sci-Fi Tangent and Futuristic Grey Overalls

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Seinfeld joked about uniforms in the near/far future. How all the sci-fi books and movies envisioned post-dystopian humans clad in a drab jumpsuit or some sort of other bleh uniform. Like out of 1984, or something that makes everyone look like a mechanic at Pep Boys.

The way the job market is going in America, by the time the "Roaring 20s" roll around there will be zero media jobs available (news anchors will be replaced a naked pornstars reading Tweets). So we'll all end up a slave to the Man and stuck in the service field humping a horrible min-wage McJobs at McDonald's or Starbucks or IKEA. Unless you want to work the oil fields in the Dakotas, you're shit out of luck and stuck asking shithead customers if they want to supersize their order or add whipped cream. At those McJobs (pick any fast food joint or big biz coffee chain like Starbucks or Coffee Bean), the "uniform" includes some sort of polo shirt with a big-ass logo to make you feel like a loser and to remind you who is the real boss. Oh, and how could we forget about the humiliating name tag? Just in case the laughable pay and the never-ending line of surly customers and the awkward-looking clothing did not drag  you down to the lowest rung on the self-esteem ladder, they have a giant name tag to finish off the job. The name tag is to confirm the fact that you really are a cashier at Starbucks which some of the more successful classmates and kids you grew up with has suspected but wasn't 100% sure because you ignored their FRIEND request on Facebook.

Whenever I see someone with a name tag, I have this weird compulsion to use their real name as quickly as possible during the interaction. Part of me wants to humanize the transaction, instead of it being impersonal and ice cold. There's a percentage of workers who appreciate the fact that someone in the real world is recognizing them as a person instead of a min-wage flunkie. At the same time, I'm sure I pissed off an even greater number of service workers who went apeshit bananas whenever someone tried to call them by their name from the name tag. Sure, they might be polite and shine it on, but underneath it all they are cursing you under their breath and secretly plotting how they can drop a couple of boogers into your Iced Mocha.

The universal uniform could be cool in the future because it eliminates the difficult decision-making process of trying tof igure out what to wear. The older I get the more paranoid I get that I'm going to lose my edge in the fashion department and that my clothing style and wardrobe will stop evolving and become frozen in time for the rest of my life. It happens to everyone old guy, which is why old dude in Florida are wearing Leisure suits and Members Only jackets. The grey jumpsuit will eliminate a daily struggle that I have... what will I wear? This is problematic as a freelancer who does not have to get dressed up to work in an office-like setting. For me business casual is putting on cargo shorts instead of free balling it.

Since I'm on a Seinfeld sci-fi tangent, I'm waiting for every household to get its own robot. Sort of like Rosie from The Jetsons or Twinkie from Buck Rodgers or CP30 in Star Wars. Except I would program mine to crunch spreadsheets and sports stats so I could have a live-in sportsbetting guru, who runs a million simulations a second. I already have a special spreadsheet that spits out a projected outcome for almost every major pro sport, but that is like using counting blocks for 3 year olds compared to a computer system on board a  NASA rocket.

So the jumpsuits... they come in one size fits all?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Silky Back Roads

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Miles Davis was freaked out by technology. New musical instruments in the early 80s really sent him into a frenzy.

"If you don't match those social sounds in the air like synthesizers," warned Miles in his raspy, sand-paper voice, "No one wants to hear it."

Miles could walk through walls. But he was spooked.

Yes, he could walk through walls. Like the hosts. Through them. Materializing on the other side. defying psychics. Like Star Trek kind of shit.


Dylan wanted to be known as a "song and dance man."

Heavy speculation on the transformation. After the crash, Dylan was a changed man. Fourteen times over. Maybe fifteen?

"You do not want to go where I have been."

The champions of change are inspired to rush forward, but still prepared to throw down in a bloody brawl against angry lynch mob of hooligans, fueled by the bitter backlash.

Living in the past is cool until somebody gets hurt.

The fragile ones demand that their heroes remain suspended in time. Never to move forward, or take three leaps forward without their permission.


In the early 60s, Jerry Gracia bummed around Palo Alto. He was banging Standford chicks and sponging odd rich college kids, who kicked him down jugs of wine and cigarettes. He held different odd jobs with older derelicts, drunks mostly from the other side of the tracks. He befriended a black guy who sometimes ran dope for gangsters in Oakland. He's bring Jerry along with him to these black bars all over the Bay Area. Jerry would play a few songs for the old black junkies, who got a kick that this goofy white boy knew how to play the blues.

While Jerry was not  bumming smokes off college kids, he sometimes moving furniture for $20 a day. His pal Ken Kesey was eating mushrooms and acid and reporting his findings to CIA... and getting paid to do so. Not quite the Burning Man experience. Rather a bunch of square, humorless, serious-looking scientists in lab coats and clip boards. Plus the occasional suit and spook in a black suit.


Diluted lemonade is what the Man hopes to pass off as the real thing. Water the fucker down. Sweeten it up. Whatever it takes. More dilution equates to increased quarterly profits.

A tinge of sadness hung over the toothless cowboy sitting in the corner and lamenting over the smarmy show business types who screwed him over.

The choices were being at the center of the hurricane or utter seclusion. Exile or a suicide mission?

He chose self-imposed seclusion. The silence made him deaf.


The evening was dominated by art school rejects. Lots of skinny black ties and silver pinky rings. Stark collection of vented up anger. Visionary malcontents. Short-haired lipstick lesbians with tambourines and purple jorts.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

2AM Thoughts: Michael J. Fox and Fake Plastic Friends

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

A quote from Joan Jett about fake friends has been doing wind sprints in the hallways of my mind. Bouncing back and forth and forth and back.

I know. It's weird. Someone was actually quoting Joan Jett?

But I couldn't tell if it was a song lyric, or something she said. I want to say its a song title, but I'm not familiar with her vast catalog. I know the Rocky Road song and I Hate Myself for Loving You. I have a vague recollection of a bad film that Joan Jett did with Michael J. Fox during the height of his popularity int he 80s, when he was a box office mega star and a popular sitcom actor. Back then you were one, or the other. But not both.

I'm waiting for someone to reboot Family Ties. Or how about an updated version in which Alex Keaton spawned a bunch of hippies kids who hate his Republican ass? Maybe one of them got pepper sprayed at an Occupy rally and Alex had to bail them out of jail, but Skippy is the cop on duty.

I can't shake the image of Michael J. Fox as a cokehead from the disappointing version of Bright Lights Big City that was a huge bust. Needed more sex and blow. The film version never did any justice to Jay McInerney's novel about cokeheads in NYC in the post-disco era. That was back in the early 80s when Hollywood was obsessed with young novelists who wrote detail stories of privileged, coke-addled, self-indulgent, 24/7 party people, just like you'd read about in B.E.E.'s Less Than Zero.

 The Joan Jett quote didn't rhyme, so I assumed she spouted it off to a rock critic or something. Maybe it really is a song title? Then again, who knows if she actually said it. It could have been one of those misquoted quotes. Like the majority of the most famous quotes in the world were not actually said the way we think, or at least, in the way we're led to believe. And even when someone points out the error... it really doesn't change anything because the masses will continue to spread that false disinfo.

Joan Jett. She's no Sun Tzu. But she said something which I am unable to shake. Joan Jett talked about how no one ever misses losing fake friends. I assume she's touching on her grizzled experiences in the shady music biz and recording industry, or perhaps she's explaining the perils of living in Los Angeles. Tons of fugazzis everywhere you look.

But then again, as fake as LA is... I never had more fake friends than I had in Las Vegas. That entire city is... fake on top of fake. No culture. Nothing original. Just a million vapid shitfaced, degen gamblers and overweight addicts stuffing themselves silly on cheap-ass food. Vegas was... just a tiny spec on the map in the middle of the fucking desert. But today, it's fabricated concrete, glass, plastic and other manufactured shit that helped create a thriving city in the middle of the desert on the fringe of Death Valley.

Maybe Joan Jett was talking about Vegas? Make LA? Maybe NYC? Maybe everywhere? How the fuck would I know anyway? A quote is a quote. I'm too lazy to Google it. And I'm not that big of a music nerd that I'd know the deep cuts from Joan Jett's discography. Besides, I'm too spaced out to remember where I saw it (someone's Tumblr from the other day) and not feeling ambitious enough to go look for it.

In the meantime, I'll just have to let Joan Jett's quote about fake friends finish running through the hallways of my mind. Eventually that fleeting thought will disappear and I'll be pestered by another quote or earworm.

Then again, I think of Michael J. Fox and I can't help but hearing... Huey Fucking Lewis.