Totally reorganizing everything…there were far too many words to keep on one website and even I was getting confused. So I set up a new site called brickpicks.com that covers broadly cultural things. It’s me in my critic persona. There’s another new site called brickspolitics.com that is my shill site, in Bernie-speak, though I thought shills got paid. Brickshistory.com is about the past. Bricksscience.com is about (or vaguely about) things scientific. Bricksbrain.com is about brains (mine, yours, anybody’s). There might be another site to come. Meanwhile, this here old site, brickwahl.com, will emphasize my usual storytelling and pretty writing that makes the ladies roll their eyes.
For a couple weeks now all the people Facebook thought I might know were deeply cleavaged babes of enormous pulchritude who would never, in fact, know me or admit they knew me. Today, suddenly, I am getting all these dangerous looking types the first of whom, either coincidentally, eerily or providentially, is a dead ringer for Rasputin. Either Facebook read my last post, or Zuckerberg is trying to tell me something. In any case, that is one fucked up algorithm.
I’m getting bombarded by ads on Facebook for women who want to marry me or date me or just fool around. And not only Facebook, it doesn’t matter what the website is I’m looking at, there’ll be ads with smiling ladies who want to marry me, right next to news about massacres and plagues and billionaires gone wild. It began as mostly Russian women but now the Chinese have joined in. There are a lot of lovely mature Chinese women looking for love, they tell me. They smile sweetly. My Facebook page shows me as married so I have no idea how I slipped into a lonely aging male database. Or an aging my wife doesn’t understand me database. Actually, though, I think they only want me for my money. But I don’t have any money, I’m a writer. And charm only goes so far.
Whatever happened to the charming Filipina girls who were dying to meet me? And for a while it was hot blooded Latina women, I remember. They looked fiery and exciting, but they must have gotten tired of waiting because it was back to the Filipinas soon enough. Filipinas are much more patient, apparently, than those hot blooded Latinas. In the meantime, though, I must have crossed some magic age line and now they’re all Russians and Chinese. No matter, I just went into Google and found a profile I didn’t know I had and put down my status as married. Way married. That should take care of all those girls. Now they don’t have to get all hot and bothered.
Michael Feinstein’s interviewing Barry Manilow on the radio. He introduced him as the man who wrote the songs that made the whole world sing. A minute ago they were playing Thelonious Monk. Now they’re playing Barry singing Nature Boy as a five year old.
It was shit like this that turned me into a punk rocker. But I’m old now, and sophisticated, and all I can do is turn grumpy. So get off my lawn, Barry Manilow.
But I don’t have a lawn. It’s one of those days.
It’s National Hug Day? Really?
I’ve always gotten a lot of hugs, though I never got more hugs than I did when I was writing for the LA Weekly. Apparently being a jazz critic means lots of hugs. I don’t know why, but then I never did understand jazz. And in a jazz bar, it’d be open season on me, hugs came in waves, big smooshy hugs, a lady’s entire anatomy pressed into mine. Sometimes I couldn’t make my way across the floor to the bar without a series of powerhouse hugs. After a while I took to staying seated and ordering from the waitress, and after she gave me a big hug, she’d take my drink order. But sitting down didn’t entirely work, the hugs would still come, just in a more cumbersome fashion. One time, sitting down, I took a lady’s iron clad bra right in my eye. I could feel the mesh, like medieval mail, jabbing my eyeball. I saw stars as she said how glad she was to see me. I said I was glad to see her, though I couldn’t see at all. I was wondering if I was going to get a shiner. I didn’t. Didn’t the next time either from a different lady, I believe steel plated. More stars, more pain. Again, no shiner. But I learned quickly, and when a lady approached with the gleam of a hug in her eye, I stood up, quite genteel, and took it like a man.
Still, I’m staying home today.
Oy, hockey. What a blow out. Can’t believe I wasted three hours watching the Kings get their asses kicked five zip. Ouch. Not just for the score and humiliation, but for the time utterly wasted. You only get so many three hours in a lifetime, and that one was totally wasted. Sigh….
I switch channels. Wow. Huell Howser. I haven’t seen a Huell Howser since he died. He’s at Musso & Franks Grill and it’s 1995. I recognize all the help. Huell steps out of the kitchen and bumps into Benny Carter. I yell wow, loud. Benny Carter. One of his favorite places, Benny says. I really miss Benny Carter, and I never even met him. Some people you just miss because you might have got to meet them, but didn’t. Huell turns around and there’s Charles Champlin. Another wow. They’re talking about the old days. The Algonquin Round Table West, someone says. Wow, I say. Back when jazz and writing were going concerns. Then it’s Dr. George Fischbeck. Wow. I’m awash in multi-layered nostalgia. Nostalgia for this show which I never knew I’d have, nostalgia for the people he’s meeting who in turn are waxing nostalgic about times past that I’m nostalgic for even tho’ I was never there, or even could have been, chronology being what it is. Maybe it’s nostalgia for a world where writers and jazz musicians were something, and journalists had class. A pre-internet world, basically, I type in electrons. Waxing nostalgic for a hard copy world in the ether, when back then none of you would ever even see this. It’d be notes on paper in a box in my closet. Now everyone reads it and I complain. Some people just can’t be satisfied.
I type a whole other paragraph, think about it, hold down the back space key and watch it disappear, like it never was. On paper it’d still be there, a big line running though its length. Later I could read what I was thinking. Here I’ll never know. That’s language in the digital world. There one minute, gone the next.
Musso’s, though, is analog as it gets. On Christmas Eve my wife left a card for me under the tree…how about dinner at Musso’s? it said. Soon, I said, soon. I love the place. You need cash to do it right, and it’s too soon after the holidays to think about it now. But soon. We’ll sit at an old table and drink martinis and eat pot pie and oysters on the half shell and a crispy iceberg wedge with crumbles of blue cheese and I’ll imagine Bogie at the bar, not in the best of shape, or Orson Welles talking and talking and never shutting up. Or earlier, even, and there’s Charlie Chaplin, and I’m too scared to go up and say you’re Charlie Chaplin because he is Charlie Chaplin.
Old Hollywood, classic Hollywood. Funny that we’ve been here a third of a century now. I remember our first time at Musso’s, and looking at all the old people and listening in on their tales of the silent screen. They’re all gone now, long gone, and we have our own tales of a long gone Hollywood. In Musso’s all that blends together, a century’s worth of Hollywood. You can feel it. Close your eyes and you can see it. I wish I was there right now. I’d go there every week if I could, assemble a little Algonquin West. We’d eat and drink and laugh ourselves silly, then repair to the parking lot for cigars and whatever. The whateverers would giggle, the cigar smokers would blow long plumes of Cuban smoke. Flasks would pass around. See you next week, we’d say, and head off into the city looking for music, live music, and life, real life. Memories. Seeking out memories, and creating new ones.
I wrote this long beautiful piece on an endless party at the Cafe NELA last nite. It was gorgeous, that piece. Then Facebook froze and the words dissolved into electrons so fuck it. Good party though. Great even. One of those parties that will flash before your eyes.
I will vote for the candidate who promises to standardize the color coding on milk cartons, I think to myself, as the wife complains I got skim milk instead of 2% again. Oh well, last time it was 1%. At least I’m heading in a healthier direction, I said, it could have been half and half. It could have been chocolate, she said. I thought about making a soy milk joke, but she’s from Wisconsin.