Archive for May, 2010

But on a decidedly more ominous note, I had a vision a couple of nights ago, and after only one of my standard Kuban Koffees(c). I am at a loss to describe it. If it was an hallucination it was a cracking good one. It goes like this: I’m doing my compulsive late evening scan of the old blog site to see if anyone is actually reading my stuff. I find myself rereading one of my recent entries. It starts in a familiar fashion, but I begin to notice irregularities. The irregularities occur with increasing frequency and I begin to realize I am reading an edited version of my text which reads more smoothly, is funnier, more insightful, and seems to contain veiled threats (that only I would recognize).

At first I was excited to think that anyone had even read my material, much less taken time to actually improve it without credit. This phantom editor even made better captions for my drawings and photos. I checked out quite a few more entries, proceeding backward chronologically, and all were altered, some subtly, some drastically, all for the better. Strange, yes, and humiliating for The “Writer”.

I got such a spooky feeling from this experience that I eventually felt compelled to shut down the computer and to try, without success, to process the implications of this “hallucination”. Was I the target of some Illuminati spell or mind control beam? Was it possible for someone to hack into, and change, the content of my blog? Had I actually been given a sneering rebuff from the Ills’ crack Literary Retaliation Squad?

After about fifteen minutes, as the crow flies, my blog episodes resolved themselves into the same tired and true text which characterizes the “Writer’s” genuine originals. It was a shattering experience, even if it was an hallucination or lucid dreaming or just me releasing my inner Carlos Casteneda.

Of course I had to check again the next morning. But no changes, no evidence of last nights’ skullduggery. Reality reins supreme. Jeez, what would you do if you were the “Writer”? I guess real superheroes are no strangers to this kind of Psychic Repulsion or whatever I experienced. I am feeling violated and a little shaken right now, but I will continue, for I am the “Writer”.

With all this on my mind it was no wonder that I completely forgot to address the fact that I was now engaging in telepathic conversations with my dog.

Was it something I ate, or vice versa?

Baby Gojira

Gojira has been bugging me for more time in the developing storyline of the “Writer”. I’m sure he envisions himself as the spunky little sidekick, who’ll take your side in a fight, create a diversion when necessary, and guard the perimeter 24/7. I tell him that he should expect to be treated fairly. I have totally conquered my erstwhile tendencies to hyperbolize about my loved ones and heroes and am firmly committed to a “fair and balanced” treatment of all those who voluntarily seek character hood, and those whom I deem it necessary to draft to achieve my goals. “Il n’est pas de rose sans epine, little Ewok”, I tell him.

“Master The ‘Writer‘”, he yaps, “you should realize that current research indicates that blogs with five or more E.C.Rs (Extended Canine Reference) per entry, maintained traffic levels 50% higher than non-pet text environments. With graphic content (your great drawings, photos, videos of me freaking out at myself on TV) your traffic gets another 15% boost. Frankly, Master, with what game you have shown to this point, I believe you need all the canine charisma you can get. Just try including me a little at first, then gradually increase the dosage till they can’t get enough of m.., us. “

How he could come up with convincing facts and figures so quickly and still carry on his busy life barking at every freaking thing that moves, I’ll never understand. But he presented such a strong case for himself I was quite proud of the little dragon-dog chap. I’ve agreed to come up with something for him, a plot wrinkle, a photo or sketch; he really thinks he comes off well on video ( and goes on at great length about a first cousin in some Jack Nicholson movie), but I’ve told him that video is not fiscally feasible at this juncture. We’re thinking about trying three or four ECRs for a few weeks and using Brussells-Griffon, Stupid Pet Tricks, Stupid Interspecies Tricks, Cute Li’l Rascal, Quasi Ewok, Mini-Chewbacca, as tags to see if this succeeds in bumping up traffic, which has been underwhelming.

And he said right off the top, he has no privacy issues, full frontals, not a problem. He’ll always throw in a free humpty to the select few. And he went on in this vein , till I felt it necessary to further delineate his role as sidekick. Things got a little heated. A lot of barking from both parties ensued, and Gojira has been sulking for the last few days, only showing his spunkitude when his Mistress* gets home.

I’m sure we’ll work out some kind of arrangement for increasing his part, and I think he deserves it. But I had to draw the line at his suggestion of an R-rated subplot with him carrying on with his Pug Buddy, Mazda. I will not knowingly appeal to the doggie porn demographic, this early in the game.

You gotta love the guy. He refers to himself as the reincarnated result of a freakish breeding incident which happened in a magic moment during the Chinese New Year Parade on the streets of San Francisco in 1944. An animal of indeterminate species, with certain reptilian features, and bearing tags that bore an engraved “Property of F.M. Chu”, consorted by chance and inclination with the Brussells-Griffon bitch of actor James Cagney, and the rest is his story. “Now that’s the kind of crap that will up your literary ante, Master The ‘Writer’”, said that extra-spunky pup. Then he barked meaninglessly for what seemed like an eternity but at the very least was way too long.

When I tell him this is not helping his chances he gives an asthmatic snort and walks away. “We could have been the Pre-Apocalypse Dog and His Boy, cheerfully debunking spurious signs of the end times. Perfect for a Discovery Channel reality show. How about “Dog-ma-ha-ha” , spanning the globe for fundamentalist humor? So much potential, so little time. He’s getting older, slower and dumber every day, but he’s my human..” I can hear him muttering, as I am sure he intended.

Gojira, AKA Aldo

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mssrs. Waitz, Kinge and Crumbb. It verges on geeky fanboyishness and slavish imitation, this respect I have. So I regard the letter purportedly expressing the opinions of these gentlemen about my work as nothing more than an Illuminati-scripted warning, using the animatronic replicas of these celebrities as high-tech messengers…again.

I believe the Ills may think they’ve let the djinn out of the bottle with my particular failed experiment in superhero manipulation. They think using mind games and robot “Mentors” will intimidate me into conforming to secretive schemes designed to perpetuate the power of their inner elite.

They are right to fear me. I admit that my initial, desperate response to the Ill’s wild promises of good fortune, good looks, good health. and frequent sex cast me in a bad light. But I’ve never, for a moment believed in the powers of the “Black Pencil”, the L7 R. Crumbb Pilot Pen, the “C” Harp, or any of that stuff. I’ve been wise to this line of jive since “Dumbo” figured out the magic feather was a scam. In a zen-metaphorical way they may have helped the “Writer” attain mastery of his Craft, but the raw talent was always mine, for better or worse. And now that I know how to use it, I advise the Illuminati and their robot henchmen to leave me and my family (including Gojira D. Dogg and The Cat With No Name) the freak alone!

I will continue to use my powers for the advancement of causes to which I am sincerely dedicated and to prevent the further encroachment of Darkness, and occasionally for just plain silliness, if I feel like it. But I’ve got to use them to make some money in the near future, because my unemployment will be running out soon and the integrity of my dignified retirement status will be severely compromised.

To that end, I will be marketing (in plenty of time for the Holidays) the first The “Writer”(c) T-shirt. It will be a fund-raising effort for me and the Mayans. As you may have heard, the Mayan Calendar runs out in 2012, and with these tough economic times, they’re gonna need a little helpfrom us if they hope to get another one made before then. So two dollars of each $27.50 (plus shipping and handling)T-shirt cost will go to making the Mayans a wonderful new Calendar, every bit as good as the one that lasted them for so long. The rest will go to provide a sustainable source of cash energy for the “Writer’s” dignified retirement.

Here’s an artist’s rendition sneak peak! Stay tuned for more details on the T-shirt, and the official The “Writer” Mayan Calendar Day Planner Ap for all popular electronic devices, due in the Summer of 2011!”

Start saving now for The "Writer's" Mayan Calendar Benefit T-shirt! In stores before the Holidays!

Dear Senile Superhero, AKA The “Writer”, The “WC”, or whatever moniker your gone-geezer gourd has cooked up for the day,

Have you ever had someone make a character out of you, put unapproved words in your mouth; had an approximation of your good name used to attract attention to a no-talent hack’s attempt at blog humor? Speaking for myself (Tom Waitz) and Mssrs. R. Crumbb and S. Kinge, we are not amused! If the Illuminati existed other than as a plot staple for third rate thriller writers, I’m sure they would feel the same.

Since we have determined that a lawsuit would only bring further attention to a “writer” who will no doubt languish in deserved obscurity we will temporarily refrain from litigation. However, members of our clerical and legal staffs will continue to monitor your efforts. If the reader response to your lies and innuendos exhibits significant numbers to indicate that serious attention is being paid to your negative fabrications, we will be foirced to take the actions necessary to make sure that you cease and desist posting fictions that continue to demean our copywrighted bodies of work, our personalities. or our physical appearances.

Wise up, “WC”. You have been warned!

Yours Threateningly,

The League of Defamed Gentlemen,

Tom Waitz, R. Crumbb, Steven Kinge

 

Touch the flaring hood of the rampant reptile if you dare!

 

As the “Writer” shook his Pilot Pen in the face of the Waitz-like entity with his left hand, his right hand surreptitiously sought the lethal, brass-headed, Jack Daniels Worlds Fair Memorial Walking Stick that he kept in the umbrella bucket just behind him.

“Are you the real Tom Waitz or just a literary swamp gas manifestation in my blogosphere?” As he spoke the “Writer” punctuated his speech with carefully placed blows to the head and shoulders of the cringing pseudo-celebrity. Gojira’s mad yapping intensified the chaos.

The hallucinatory entertainer reacted appropriately to the “Writer’s” bludgeoning attack: yelling in pain, lifting his arms to defend himself, backing up, cursing.

“F**K, man. Cut it out! Dammit, quit! Jesus, stop! Listen. Ow! I’m not a freaking hallucination. I’m Tom Waitz. You know I live in Sonoma County.  I used to come into your old toy and gag store in Occidental. With the kids, remember? Come on now, Pop. Put that thing down.”

The “Writer”, suddenly drained of energy, slumped limply into his wooden chair. “I’m sorry. This is just getting to be too much for me to get my head around.”

The Waitz being rubbed a swelling knot on the back of his head, bent over to pick up his jaunty hat, then reached into his jacket pocket to withdraw something small and shiny.

“I’m just here to give you this “C” harp. The big boys want you to add a little more music to the mix. They say you’ll know what that means and this will help.” rasped Waitz.

“And, just a friendly word of advice to a Western Sonoma County brother: You might want to tone down the Illuminati/ Bohemian Club conspiracy crap a bit. Man, they know where you live, and your little dog too. If you turn this “opportunity” into some kind of muck-raking manifesto, something unfortunate might go down. Can’t you just relax and master your tools and talents, before you start throwing down with the Powers That Be?”

As the “Writer” felt consciousness slip away, he could barely hear the tinkling toy piano solo at the end of “The Ice Cream Man”. He could briefly feel the cool, hard metal of the harp in his hand and he could hear the last words of the Waitz-thing as they fell down a long, dark tunnel to another level of The “Writer’s” own private Wonderland.

“Keep the Funk alive, brother!”

The "C" Harp

On the hit parade of peculiar happenings the “Writer” could remember clearly, nine of the top ten had occurred in the last three months. Whether this should be attributed to memory loss or a localized spike in weirdness was debatable but the fact that he had begun to question his sanity was not. Had he really embarked on an odyssey to gain the use of magical super powers by undergoing an Illuminati-sponsored training regimen? Did he really believe he could eventually go rogue, free himself of obligations to the inscrutable Illuminati agenda and devote his time to his own much more scrutable agenda: effecting positive change with a dollop of self-gratification and family fun? If he answered yes to either of the above, there would no longer be a need to question his sanity. He’d be hip deep in the Chattahoochie for sure.

However, this particular morning, in a rare moment of what passes for Meditation in his behavioral repertoire, the “Writer” is considering the savage beauty of the thorny, red, wave of roses now breaching the low wall between the “mobile mansion” and the “big house”, and surging straight for his eyeballs He doffs his weathered leather cap to the savage beauty, takes another sip of his specially blended Kuban Koffee©, and heads for his favorite old wooden chair. If it had a name it would be Birkenstock for the way it had cosmically taken on the shape of his butt over the years. With an exaggerated sigh, he settles in, closes his eyes, and is soon beginning to feel the warmth of the sun penetrate the leather of his ancient Teevas (product recognition kickback ?) to thaw the icy gnarl from his ancient toes.

A smile deepens the grooves of his charmingly ravaged features for a moment as he tunes in to what’s playing on the CD Player/ Boom Box. It’s Tom Waitz rhapsodizing (my computer does not let me say “rasp-o-dizing”) his one and only contribution to any of the “Writer’s” play lists, “The Ice Cream Man”. The smile does a U-turn rather abruptly at the realization that the vocalist sounded close enough to deliver a playful bip on the bicep

“Hey, Pop. Let’s make this short and sweet. I looked in your file and saw you aren’t a big fan of my work so I intend to fulfill my obligations to a friend, whose husband owes some money to some Illuminati gentleman, and nothing more. It’s Tom Waitz, and I am Mentor #3, which ain’t nearly as cool as it sounds.”

I have long admired the body of his work in film and he seems like a nice enough chap, attentive Dad. Nothing at all like this humble sketch of an uncredited photo, -Dewey Hafta

 

Why do I prefer this to Bohemian Club Variety Shows? Read on.

It is said that every year certain members of the elite male Bohemian Club engage in what has been described as a ritualized burning of “Care”. This is evidently carried on in a pseudo-solemn , fraternity boy style complete with Klannish kloaks of anonymity and the sacrificial ignition of a youth size bundle in front of a looming (and I do mean looming) owl totem the size of Kong himself.

Having engaged in similar rituals in my youth as an undercover writer/ philosopher/ drunken samurai frat boy, I am still processing the psychological motivations and moral implications of this kind of behavior and why in hell I chose to participate in some of the shenanigans that seem so daft to me now. In my defense I was young and very intoxicated. Bohemians are powerful, wealthy grown-ups who make decisions that effect us all. Why would men of such distinction choose this form of entertainment?

The burning of “Care” suggests itself as a ritualized incineration of that still, small voice that keeps telling you that your success and power are borne by the suffering of others. Burn, Jiminy Cricket, burn! It takes a potent, alcohol-stoked , ritual like this to melt away the guilt of a busy year full of nefarious plans and accumulation of wealth at our expense, I suppose.

But, putting this suspicious cultish behavior aside (although it would get most of us arrested if we chose to do it in our homes) the Bohemians do provide coin for the coffers of local educational facilities, non-profits, and yes, in some cases, certain religious groups. They do this by staging an annual entertainment for the masses that inhabit the lower bowel of the Russian River. It is aptly called “The Bohemian Club Variety Show” and consists in large part of the talents of actual Bohemian Club members.

A lot goes into the production of this event. Many energetic community members pitch in to set up the stage, baked goodie tables, chairs, lighting and such. Great care is taken to create an environment of comfort for the 45 to infinity set who throng together to hear comfortable music and comfortable comedy for a good cause. This crowd prefers their music on the Welkian side and they don’t mind a few misogynistic mother-in-law jokes or mild ethnic slurs in the humor mix.

Although I usually choose alternate ways to contribute to local causes. I have been an unwilling spectator to these shows for many years. The amphitheater on the Monte Rio Union School grounds was the site for the show during the nineties and that’s scarcely a block away from my residence. Hey, I love free entertainment as much as the next guy, but I prefer seeking it out on my own terms. When I want to hear a fully articulated, showboat , overgrown boy tenor , MacArthur Park rendition of “Oh, Danny Boy” on Marshall amps in my face at 10:30 PM, I’d prefer it to be in a small Italian bar in the Bronx, anywhere but in my front yard on a work night.

But comfort was provided on a large scale to the folks who attended these events if the riotous response to the questionable humor and mostly mediocre music was any indication. An extremely good time was had by all. A virtual Woodstock of good intentions and merriment for all, unless you lived in the ‘hood, got home from work and found that you had no place to park in front of your own house.

Art Linkletter (or an animatronic version of the beloved raconteur/emcee*) served as host intermittently over the years, welcoming such household names as Dennis Day, George Ratzenberger, and Phil Harris to the stage. And there have been special guest appearances by such rock luminaries as Steve Miller, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart, or at least rumors of their appearances persist to this day. I myself never attended any of these legendary events, but I am currently undertaking a fact-finding mission to find personal testimony to corroborate these claims.

Just last night I was able to verify more recent quality talent sightings of the Country and Western variety. A friend attending last year’s show saw both Clint Black and Zack Brown. I hear they’ve booked Avery Bitasbad for this year, so maybe the shows have improved since they moved the venue out of my hood, thank you, Jesus.

If you like your entertainment a little less whitebread and more soulful I heartily recommend attending the Russian River Blues/Jazz Festival, usually held in September on Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville. Due to my fiscal restraints as a retired person on a fixed income I must view the proceedings from a distance on the opposite side of the river. From my vantage point high atop the hill above the river bank I sit in my truck enjoying Cuban smoothies and barbecue, watching the likes of Etta James belting out “Something’s Got A Hold On Me”, or Poncho Sanchez popping out a Latin version of “Knock On Wood”. It ain’t Bohemian, but it’ll have to do.

* Art’s life-long association with Walt Disney has spawned speculation in recent years as he approaches 100.

Wop-bop-alu-bop-a wop-bam-boom to you and yours this festival season.