In his new movie, Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino extends the Indiana Jones quip in The Last Crusade (Nazis . . . I hate these guys) into a tense, rich, satirical, funny, gory, violent and extremely entertaining two and a half hours-- the movie has nothing to do with WWII, it is a thinly disguised Western, with the Jews as John Wayne and the Nazis as Liberty Valence . . . and though the best performance comes from Colonel Landa, The Jew Hunter-- polyglot Austrian actor Christoph Waltz-- Brad Pitt delivers the best line, when he's told, "You'll be shot for that!" and he replies: "No . . . more like chewed out . . .and I've been chewed out before."
Part six: so I'm telling my wife about all the new-found knowledge I've learned while reading Born to Run, and I'm especially amped because I've been training barefoot for a few months now (mainly on the basketball court at the gym) and my experience coincides with Christopher McDougall's-- my feet feel better-- and so instead of talking about the book, I'm making grand proclamations about how I'm not going to buy running shoes any longer and I don't really want our children to wear sneakers because I've been observing them while we play soccer on the grass at the pool-- which we do barefoot, of course-- and their running mechanics look very natural and although I think I am making some sort of logical sense, in retrospect, I now realize that what my wife is hearing is: let's send our kids to school without shoes! humans should never wear shoes! humans that wear shoes are stupid! and I'm sort of reinforcing this by saying things like, "Well, you didn't read the book so you can't argue about it, all you can do is listen to me" which is not only an asinine statement, but it is also very poorly phrased (the theme!) and so we had a "discussion" on how I was presenting my ideas and then I apologized and I tried to objectively explain the ideas in the book and I also told her that I hadn't finished it yet, which makes me think I'm insane because I was making all these grand statements and I hadn't even read the end of the story . . . but now I have, and I highly recommend the book and I'm about to go for a run over to the track, where I will ditch my shoes and see how I fare.
Alex swam the width of the pool a few days ago in the four foot section (which is over his head) and he used the dog paddle to breathe and the breast stroke to propel himself-- it's as close to drowning as swimming can possibly be, his main problem is lack of body fat . . . if he's not moving forward or paddling furiously, he sinks like a stone; in other news, Alex can ride a two wheeled bike fairly proficiently . . . I have to RUN to keep up with him in the park-- I'm thinking by next summer the kids are going to be on their own in the water and on the land.
Part five: Born to Run espouses a less is more approach to running footwear, and makes some well researched and valid claims that bulky expensive running shoes lead to more injuries than running with cheap flimsy shoes or with no shoes at all . . . I'm not going to get into it, if you're a runner you should read it, the theme of this serial edition of The Sentence of Dave is: I need to phrase things better.
Example number four: after I read The Omnivore's Dilemma, I had a meltdown about all the products we were using with corn 2 in them; I freaked my wife out and made her life even more difficult and made her doubt the safety of much of the food we were giving our children . . . and I must admit, I probably went a little overboard . . . especially since there's no way we could feed the entire bloated population of the earth without corn 2 and factory farming, nor can we even afford to switch our entire diet to organic and local stuff, and still have money for the important things in life, like guitars and electronic gadgets.
Sorry to break the flow of the serial story, but here's the quick report on the Lecompt Show at the Springfield Inn: 1) we got to hang out with him for a while before the show, he talked about the Phillies and their unassisted triple play and how when they play in Avalon they have to lighten up their set and how he plowed into someone while using his cell-phone, among other things (in fact he talked so long we wanted him to stop and get up and play, the drummer was waiting) and Dom said he sounded "slow" while Rob said he "sounded like a million other musicians" 2) Lecompt's brother was in town from L.A.-- he is a studio drummer there and he looks to be about fifty five, so Lecompt's claim that he played with Miles Davis might be true, and he played an insane version of "Wipeout" and the regular drummer joined in-- it was like nothing I've ever heard 3) another special guest took the stage (among many, a local cop sang "War Pigs" and some chick sang "Bobby McGee") and the band actually played "Freebird," and when the solo started the special guest, who we later learned played in Lecompt's band Tangiers in the 90's, played the solo in perfect lock-step with the normal lead man . . . and the band did their usual and played until 2:30 AM, and they are playing again Friday night-- so perhaps one more time before school starts?
Yesterday, a particularly tenacious Herring gull, attempting to impress the coaches and secure a place on the 65 man roster, blocked a barefooted punt by yours truly, which knocked him into a tailspin, but the scrappy bird recovered gracefully, and was able to continue flying . . . and his effort severely affected the trajectory of the punt, making it land far short of its target.
My son Ian, who loves the water and has a different swimming stroke for every animal (the caterpillar, the whale, the shark, the squid) often stays in too long, until his bladder is about to burst, but the kiddie bathroom is a bit dirty for his taste, so he insists on putting his crocs on before he goes, which makes for some good comedy . . . watching a kid who has to pee put shoes on, and yesterday, while we watched, Catherine yelled some encouragement: "hold it, hold it" and Ian looked at her and followed her instructions, literally, and grabbed his crotch.
I needed to take a break from the sardonic wit of Infinite Jest, lest I hang myself like the author did last year, and so I started (and finished, I raced through it, ha) Christopher McDougall's Born to Run: it is the exact opposite of David Foster Wallace's post-modern masterpiece . . . it is non-fiction, it is inspirational, it is clearly written, it is mainly about the Tarahumara, a tribe of Indians isolated in Mexico's trackless Copper Canyons who are notorious as fantastic distant runners, but it is more philospohical than anything else, and I would highly recommend it, especially if you are mired in the self-reflexive meta-futility of post-modern art, as the ideas in Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen will allow you to mentally transcend your body, instead of dwelling on its slow decay.
62% of the way through Infinite Jest, which is set in the near future, when each year has its own corporate sponsor (Year of the Depend Undergarments, Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland, Year of Glad) and there is a revolutionary new meta-treatment for cancer, the doctors feed the cancer lots of processed food products, encourage the cancer cells to smoke cigarettes and consume loads of Diet Soda, and voila, the cancer gets cancer and dies . . . but the treatment doesn't work on AIDS, because AIDS is a meta-disease . . . and I'm getting sick of reading meta-fiction: I may have to take a break and read something else-- something short and easy-- before I finish.
When you want to play darts, the standard operating procedure at The Corner Tavern is to trade your driver's license for them-- and hopefully at the end of the evening, you're sober enough to remember to trade the darts back . . . but what if when you ask for your license back the youngster who took it says she can't find it?-- do you get to keep the tattered darts as compensation?-- do you leave, without your license?-- or do you watch the staff search for a while?-- or does someone finally realize that you should take a look at the license they do have . . . which turns out not to be you, but your wife, because she put her license in your wallet two weeks ago on vacation and never removed it, so you handed the bartender THAT license without realizing it, and then when you tried to trade the darts back, she looked for a guy's picture but could only find female license's . . . and so she was worried for her job and you were worried for your license . . . and who solved this mystery anyway, I don't think it was me . . .
I debuted as a music producer this weekend, and although I wanted to channel the genius of Paul Martin or Brian Eno, or at least wave a gun around like Phil Specter, I ended up mainly getting stir crazy sitting in a chair clicking buttons, but in between the socializing, a diverse crowd (Whitney, Eric, Liz, Mary, Mose, John, Chantal, Keith) laid down a diverse number of tracks: violin, spoken word, melodies, harmonies, screaming, etc. and the final product should be available by Christmas.
I had a very interesting dream the other night: I was in a car with some college friends and we got lost near the Philly Zoo and then got involved in a jewel heist and had to bury some loot in an industrial zone in what looked to me like Secaucus, but when I tried to describe this very interesting dream to my wife, she silenced me with my own words . . . she said, "Aren't you the one that always says nothing is more boring than hearing someone else's dream?" and I said, "Yes, but this is my dream" and it was a very interesting dream and she's the one who missed out.
I know it's a remnant of the agrarian calendar and it fuels tourism, but financially speaking, school recess should be in the winter, not the summer, as it is generally far cheaper to air condition a building (you usually only need to lower the temperature ten to twenty degrees to make it comfortable) then it is to heat a building . . . where in the Northeast you're talking about raising the temperature in the building between 30-60 degrees (I hope this happens for selfish reasons-- then I wouldn't have to pay for air-conditioning and I would also do a ton of snow-boarding).
Anticipating a weekend of recording music with Whitney, I partied like a rock star in South Amboy last night with Ed, Stacey, and Quackenbush (you heard me right-- his name is Quackenbush . . . and oddly enough-- and I'm just realizing just how odd this was-- we had a lengthy conversation about pet ducks and not once during the conversation did I make the connection between the content of what we were talking about and his name) and three things of note occurred: 1) a random guy told me he liked my new glasses and that I look good in them and that he wore the same pair for two years-- not that there's anything wrong with telling a random guy that you like his glasses and he looks good in them-- but still, it's a strange way to strike up a conversation with another dude . . . although when I mentioned this to my wife she called me a homophobe 2) I karaoked "Don't Pull Your Love," a song by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds that's known for its melodic chorus and three part harmony, but, unfortunately, I am neither known for singing melodically nor for singing harmonically . . . and so I butchered it, but it was 2 AM and although I was pretty embarrassed by the time I was through "singing" it, I'm not sure anyone even heard me 3) when I walked to the Hess Station to buy a tin of chewing tobacco, I walked past "Bourbon Street," which is apparently, judging by the girls standing outside, a strip club and as I walked into the convenience mart an absurdly large breasted stripper walked out, so on my way back I tried to take a closer look at the girls, but while I was ogling I was also climbing over the metal divider between the parking lots and I banged me knee really hard on the top edge but I didn't even look down to see if I was bleeding because I didn't want to look like a wuss in front of the strippers, so I pretended like nothing happened until I was behind the dumpster and then I checked my knee for a large gaping flesh wound, but it was only scraped.
For no other reason than it has come up in conversation twice in so many months, here is my list of the top ten Montreal Expos:
1) Tim Wallach-- for his comment on summer in Canada: "I went 0 for four";
2) Gary Carter-- for the perm;
3) Tim Raines-- because doing a little blow won't keep you off this list;
4) Andres Galarraga-- for his nickname, El Gato;
5) Andre Dawson-- for being a triple crown contender year in and year out;
6) Otis Nixon-- like I said, a little blow won't keep you off this list;
7) Pete Rose -- he wasn't there long, but he did get his 4000th hit in Canada;
8) Al Oliver-- for the mustache;
9) Jeff Reardon-- for the beard;
10) Vladimir Guerrero -- for the talent and the Hispanic-Slavic name.
It's sick, but I've had David Foster Wallace's lengthy tour de force novel Infinite Jest lying around my house for years and years, and I've started it once or twice, but it's daunting, both in style and size (1000 pages plus end notes) but I've become more motivated to read it since he committed suicide last year-- I'm not sure why, but that's the fact-- and now I'm 43% of the way through (easy to compute because it's out of a 1000 pages) and once you get into the groove, kind of like Gravity's Rainbow, the book is a lot of fun: I just finished the tale of Eric Clipperton, the junior tennis player who played all his matches with a Glock 9mm pressed to his temple and threatened immediate suicide if he ever lost a match . . . the kids always let him win.
Anyone who possesses male genitals might want to stop reading now . . . last week my son Alex was climbing a tree and he learned a hard lesson when both his feet slipped at the same time, and he fell, crotch first, onto a rough branch and then slid down it-- he bruised the tip of his member, bruised it purple, the sight of it nearly made me pass out, but the doctor said as long as he could urinate, it was fine . . . and this incident reminded me of something that happened to me a few weeks ago that was so painful and embarrassing that I guess I repressed it-- because I didn't tell my wife or write a sentence about it, but describing what happened to my son reminded me: I was in my boxers in the bedroom and I leaned over the dresser to look at something on my face in the mirror, and a drawer was slightly open, and this drawer was groin height, and the tip of my member must have slipped out of the fold in my boxers and into the slightly open drawer, and when I leaned in to look at the mirror, I shut the drawer on the tip of my member, and it really hurt and made a little bruise-- and it makes me wonder about two things . . . one, is this punishment for vanity and two, were Member's Only jackets really intended only for those who possessed a member?
Chris Anderson-- chief editor of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail-- has written a new book called Free: the Future of a Radical Price; it's about how the cost of many products and ideas is essentially moving towards zero, and that the most effective way to deal with this is to round down-- think Facebook, Google, pirated music Ryanair, drinks at Casino's, naked women at strip clubs, Linux, many web applications, and often, even commodities once they become overly abundant-- and not charge people at all, and then make your money in other ways; this interests me because I write this blog for free, of course, and I'm also often hard at "work" making digital music, which I also distribute for free . . . I do it it for the fame (pretty minor) and because it's fun to have a creative outlet that connects people, but I'm also driving the price down of entertainment people pay for, because people have limited time and there is pretty much an unlimited amount of entertainment, so if you're choosing to read this sentence or listen to a Greasetruck song rather than read or watch or listen to something you have to pay for, essentially you are making those people figure out how to compete with FREE, and the only way to compete with FREE is FREE, and make your money elsewhere . . . e.g. you're famous and everyone pirates your music, so you don't make it there, but you can sell out venues that you never could because you're music has become so popular, the trick is to offer FREE product in a market that has been driven down to FREE and then figure out how to make your money elsewhere-- and this sentence has gone on too long, but you can read Anderson's book for FREE on-line, although I recommend doing what I did-- taking it out for FREE from the library (and, of course, FREE isn't always completely free, when you take a book out of the library, it has been paid for by tax dollars, but again, when you divide the price of the book by the number of tax dollars paid by East Brunswick residents to run the library, it's close enough to FREE that our brain just rounds down to zero, and Anderson, who has experience as an economist and a physicist as well as a writer, explains all this much more coherently than me . . . and he's not constrained by a single sentence).
There comes a time, when you are older and grayer and your metabolism has slowed, that you need to look in the mirror and level with yourself . . . you need to take a deep breath and say: "I need to shell out some cash for a bigger skim board, as the one I have is too small."
You know you had a few too many the night before when you go to pour a cup of fresh brewed coffee and it's way too weak-- in fact, it's completely clear, because you ground the beans, but never transferred them from the little grinder into the coffee machine . . . and so, in essence, you made yourself a nice steaming container of hot water.
Some bad band names: 1) tonight in Sea Isle City at the Ocean Drive Bar (Fun Food and Music), "Burnt Sienna" is playing-- I suppose their name is in the same genre as Maroon 5, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Goldfinger, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Green Day, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Silverchair, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Crowes, Yellowcard, etc-- but I think they went for too obscure a shade 2) the other night at the Springfield Inn, Mike LeCompt opened with "Don't Pull Your Love," a groovy song from the seventies by a band that no one could properly name, and so I looked it up . . . and I can see why a one-hit wonder band who knew they were going to be a one-hit wonder band would want every member to get his or her due-- but it's not like they could predict the future, although with the name they chose they pretty much insured their future, but still, you'd think that the band would be more optimistic and at least try to come up with something catchier than Hamilton, Joe Frank, Reynolds & Reynolds (and though the second Reynolds isn't included on the youtube video, it is included on the Itunes MP3 version, which my cousin happened to have on his Ipod).
Alex has discovered the artifice of modern art, and while he claims that his younger brother Ian draws "real things," he now only works in the realm of the "abstract"-- and it's my fault for teaching him the word-- so while his vocabulary is increasing , his art skills are regressing toward the primitive (and he's quite happy about it).
Some things you don't see every day: 1) two dudes running at a decent clip down the beach, each dude juggling three balls as he runs-- and occasionally, every three steps or so, one dude flips a ball to the other and the other dude does the same, so there is a mid-air juggling exchange, and this occurs without any break in their collective strides, which is quite impressive . . . but I'm not sure if this was flamboyantly gay behavior (not that there's anything wrong with that) or just a couple of circus clowns trying to keep fit 2) a sweaty mesomorphic and hirsute Italian man (yours truly) decides that he wants to swim after his run on the beach, to get near some dolphins, and he decides the beach is deserted enough that he can strip off his shorts and swim in his spandex . . . this was definitely flamboyant behavior 3) the same sweaty hairy man (but with his shorts back on, thank God, but shirtless) walks into the wrong condo unit because he's tired and thought he climbed three flights of stairs when it was only two, sees someone much younger than his wife on the couch, says "Sorry" and quickly retreats.
Cheers to the chatty old optometrist who gave me an eye exam last week-- when I told him I hadn't gotten new lenses in eight years, and that I had gotten the lenses in Damascus, he said, without missing a beat, "Did the son check your eyes?"-- which is a reference to the fact that Hafez Assad's son, Bashar, who took over the job of supreme honcho just as we arrived in Syria, was originally trained as an ophthalmologist; now perhaps I shouldn't be so impressed, because maybe all optometrists know this little tidbit, as Bashar Assad may be the only oppressive dictator who was first trained in optical medicine, but still, this guy delivered the line so effortlessly (and he was pretty damn old!) that it was almost as if he had been waiting all these years for someone to mention Syria and optometry in the same sentence (this can't be typical conversation, right?) and so I am giving him the coveted Sentence of Dave Off-Handed Quip by Someone You'd Never Expect to Make a Joke Award, which has previously been awarded to no one, because most of the stuff people say (myself included) is drivel.
Up until 2:30 last night watching the greatest cover band in the universe, fronted by Mike LeCompt, play their usual summer Sunday gig at the Springfield Inn: they played too many songs to list-- Beatles, Stones, The Who (Baba O'Riley, Pinball Wizard, Love Reign Over Me, Behind Blue Eyes) Bruce, Elton John (Levon-- who covers that?) Billy Joel, La Grange, Hamilton, Joe frank and Reynolds-- Don't Pull Your Love, Brandy, You're So Vain, So Lonely, Tom Petty, Styx, Maggie Mae, Suspicious Minds,and many others, unrecoverable because of the alcohol, but I figured out their trick-- they play every song faster, heavier, and better than the original-- I don't like Elton John, but I like LeCompt covering Elton John.
Although Ipods, Itunes, file sharing, MP3s and digital music are vastly superior to compact disks in so many ways-- storage, accessibility, categorization, etc.-- there's still something to be said about making a snap judgment about someone's entire character from the glimpse of a couple of CD's in their car or on a shelf in their living room: Fine Young Cannibals? Lynch Mob? Steely Dan? Jethro Tull? Yanni?
Some music commentary: 1) I am wondering if this is the demise of Wilco, though their new album is pretty cool, they get all eponymous and use their name in the first track-- and unless you're a hip hop artist, where dropping your name is de rigueur, this could be a bad omen 2) Charlie Mars alludes to my theory of why Pink Floyd has sold 7.7 copies of "Dark Side of the Moon" . . . on top of it being a great album, it's also a favorite with druggies and stoners, who often lose it while under the influence and then have to buy another . . . because what aficionado of psychedelia can do without it?-- and so the song goes, "If you want to come over, come over and get high, we can listen to the Dark Side of the Moon" but there's nothing in the lyrics about searching to find it while high, which would be a much better and more realistic song.