Tag Archives: hollywood

The Pursuit of Brunch

I once left for Paris, but ended up in the desert talking to a man dressed like Captain Jack Sparrow who wanted to sell me a knife.

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I bought the knife and moved to Hollywood to make my fame and fortune and flip weekends with weeks so I could eat brunch more frequently and work less. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy a black three or five series BMW, but I got to the dealership and that’s all they sold. This was before the Prius. I’m showing my age.

After Hollywood, but before San Francisco I relocated to Mexico City. Kidnapping was all the rage. This was shortly after that Denzel Washington film where the black guy gets killed for the little white girl who likes to swim. In Mexico City, there was nothing to kidnap. My taxi, which was airport certified, took me to a part of Mexico City that looked like every financial district in the world. Some people were skinny. Others were fat. They all wore ill-fitting suits and sweat when they walked, but it was summer so I reserved judgment—about the sweat.

With nothing to kidnap in all of Mexico, I went back to the airport where I ate totopos. Totopos are chips. I also drank a beer. Then I got on a flight to San Francisco. On the flight I drank many more beers. All of them were Heineken, which is from Holland and notably popular among African American men.

Once in Holland, before San Francisco and Mexico City, I bought a bike for ten euros at three in the morning somewhere in between the red light district and the Van Gogh museum. The Van Gogh Museum is not worth visiting. I rode the bike to my hotel, left it outside and it was gone when I woke up. This came as a surprise although it shouldn’t have.

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I landed in San Francisco, worse for a few Heinekens—Heinekens that I didn’t enjoy but drank anyway in protest of red wine and liquor. As you may have heard, San Francisco has many hills. To avoid them take a cab. I took a cab to Nob Hill. There was nothing in Nob Hill so I left.

I rented a U-Haul in the Mission. The Mission is home to many coffee shops and many connoisseurs of coffee. In the Mission, people only talk about coffee and micro-brewed beer and how there used to be a lot of Mexicans in the Mission. I can only assume all the Mexicans moved out of the Mission because they didn’t want to talk about coffee. I rented the U-Haul and I bought a coffee. It was 4.5 ounces and cost $7.23, but it was worth every penny because the barista was dressed like an extra from “Boardwalk Empire.”

In the U-Haul, I pumped up the a/c and drove south on the I-5. On the I-5, it’s almost impossible to know where you are because it all looks the same. I stopped for gas. I went into a market and looked at mini-powdered donuts, which always seem to be available in the middle of nowhere, but I’ve never seen anyone buy one. Donut-less, I left the middle of nowhere because my tank was full.

On the freeway, I kept my eye on my phone because there was nothing to look at on the road. I watched YouTube videos about an Asian casting director in NYC. Some were funny. Life on the road is hard and boring. Don’t believe anything Jack Kerouac said. There are no drugs on the road, or at least none that are as readily available as powdered donuts. And there are no poetry readings. Unless you count Drake. I listened to a lot of Drake. He spends a great deal of time talking about modesty or false modesty. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that he’s Canadian. Canadians wear practical clothing and love “outdoor” things. I would live in Canada, but I don’t like buying my clothes at R.E.I.

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I drove through various counties and past a lake. Eventually, I had to stop. Now, I’m back in Hollywood. The plan, as it always was and always will be, is to flop my weeks with my weekends. In order to do this, I must invent an app or TV show or a TV show loosely based on an app. If it gets syndicated then I’ll be set. Syndication for a TV show is kind of like a savings account or a CD only instead of making $11 a year in interest on something already own, you make about $750,000. Which isn’t that much when you consider how expensive it’s going to be to eat brunch five days a week now that I’m famous.

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It Takes A Village

The idea of raising a child with my neighbors has crossed my mind. Going off of what Oprah said—that bit about a village raising a child— I recently assessed my neighbors, my village.

There are between six and seven of us that would comprise this village. The floater is named Ted or Theodore. I’m not sure if he actually lives in the building or if he just hangs out on my porch and asks for beer. Ted, who may or may not live in apartment 201, is friends with a man who does whose name I do not know. I’m not even sure if they’re friends, but they’re both black and Ted spends his days sitting in front of apartment 201 so I assume he knows the person who lives there.

I’ve never been inside apartment 201, but in the time I’ve lived above it I’ve come to hate all of its residents. First there was a harem of Romanians, aged sixteen to sixty. They were loud and they moved to Temple City. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were in jail or dead. I never knew any of there names. We were neighbors for about a year. After the Romanians headed east a Korean-American girl from the Bay Area moved in.

She worked at Petco and had a Pomeranian. I’ve never considered myself a violent man, but I often thought of throwing that little dog off of a building to get it to shut the fuck up. The Korean-American girl with the terrible dog was gay, in a very closeted way. She had a black girlfriend from Richmond, which is the most dangerous city in California. Her black girlfriend liked to sit on the porch and sing Dave Matthews songs. She once asked if I was a musician, and when I told her I wasn’t, she scoffed and went back to singing about rain or whiskey or South Africa. Or maybe all three.

Then apartment 201 was dormant, which was great because I have hardwood floors and love to tap dance. I never practice my tap dancing when I’ve got a downstairs neighbor; I’m far too courtesy.

After the dormancy, came the man who lives there now. He burns incense and watches Law & Order all day. He’s either a veteran or disabled or just has a really nice hustle, which allows him to drink beer and smoke blunts all day. He doesn’t own a car. I’ve never seen him go farther than the porch. He has a lot of guests, like Ted, who I think might be his friend or roommate. His guests must go to the grocery store for him. They must buy his beer and his weed. They must do his laundry. I once peeked into 201 and amidst the plumes of incense I saw a McDonalds trash can and an arcade era Pac Man. This nameless man would probably have to take on the bulk of the babysitting for our village since he doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t leave his apartment.

Next to 201 is apartment 202, which has a rotating list of tenants. At the helm is John. John is from Florida. He used to be a teacher, but he cashed in his pension at fifty and moved to Hollywood to pursue the dream of becoming wildly rich and famous. That was about nine years ago. He’s currently working on a novel, which he wants to adapt into a play. He’s also writing an album.

John spends his days at the library on Ivar where he has become friends with the local transient population. One local bum is named Nancy. Nancy is his girlfriend. Sometimes she comes over to “watch movies” with John. Nancy spends her days hobbling around mind-bendingly drunk. I once saw her pee on my lawn the way a dog would. A female dog. She just squatted and peed while I was checking my mail. She wanted to know what I was looking at and I told her, I’m watching you pee on my lawn. It was difficult to ignore. I apologized for watching her pee on my lawn in the middle of the day.

She pulled up her sweatpants and hobbled down to Pla-Boy liquor for another fifth of vodka. John knows how to pick them. Or maybe Nancy does. Either way, they’re the oldest and only couple in the village so they’d be the grandparent figures to the baby. If no one else was around—which is impossible because 201 never leaves—Grandma Nancy and Grandpa John would watch the baby. They’d probably spoil the baby with things the rest of us “village parents” disapproved of like bananas dipped in mayonnaise, and moscato.

Above 202, and across the hall from me is the lady with the painted face and her son or grandson. The lady with the painted face is a very sweet old lady who sometimes wears a Carlos Gardel hat. She does not have a job, but she manages the recycling for everyone on the block. She’s not afraid to jump into a dumpster for a few of Nancy’s bottles of vodka. She’s also not afraid to tell other recycling hunters to beat it. She’s very territorial.

The lady with the painted face has a long face with meticulously drawn eyebrows. Her eyes are enormous and brown like a horse’s. Her hair is has a slight wave to it and because she’s black, I think this means that she either wears a wig or she has “that good hair” which I’ve heard so much about from black comedians and rappers. Yes, the lady with the painted face has that good hair. She also has a son or a grandson.

The lady with the painted face looks to be about one hundred so I can’t imagine anyone knocked her up recently. Besides the kid’s only about three and we’ve been neighbors for four years. At no point was she ever pregnant, but one day there was a child. Of course, there were men. Men who wore wife beaters and stared me down as I unlocked and locked my door. But these men never stuck around or introduced themselves. This was fine by me. I’d hate to include one of them in our village raising group only to find out they can’t really commit to child-rearing due to previous obligations.

I think the painted lady will be the crazy aunt. I mean, she is crazy. She’s into voodoo and has tarot cards tattooed on her forearm. She also occasionally dresses up as a geisha or in a power suit. She doesn’t have a job and she is reliable… I think. Her son or grandson will be the brother to the baby. It’s a big commitment, but he has no say in the matter because he’s three or so and he couldn’t be reached for comment at the time of printing.

I reside across the hall from the lady with the painted face. I will teach the child many things, but I will not be around often because it’s important that the most important person in any baby’s life is less of a person and more of a caricature of one. That way, the baby will not know how deeply flawed I am and will instead strive to be impossibly perfect. Every couple weeks I will swing by to take the kid skydiving or teach it how to order bull testicles in Japanese. The child will think I’m perfect.

However, I will make one mistake during my time living and raising the baby in our village. I will seek the hand of a Filipina mail-order bride name Bouri. Bouri will hate the child because my love for it will be strong and predate the credit card transaction which brought Bouri to America. Bouri will be a very jealous woman.

One day, while I’m out planting avocado trees in Alta Dena, Bouri will steal the baby from right under John and Nancy’s boozy noses. The man who lives in 201 will see all of this happen, but he’s sort of like Rapunzel, trapped in his first floor apartment with no way out. He’ll yell to Ted for help, but Ted won’t help because there’s no beer in the deal. The lady with the painted face and her son or grandson will watch from the window as this happens.

The lady with the painted face will pull from her drawer a stolen lock of Bouri’s hair, her passport, a pillowcase and nail polish remover. The son or grandson will boil onions with mangos from Manilla and cough syrup.

Bouri will run with the baby to Studio City. She will end up across the street from Universal… so maybe she’s technically in Universal City not Studio City… there’s no way to know. But there is a bridge and it looks down on the L.A. river. Fifty feet below water will slowly trickle in an eastward motion. Just a couple of inches boxed in by graffiti and concrete. Bouri will raise the baby above her head.

And suddenly, out in the avocado fields I’ll have this weird sensation that something’s wrong. “The baby!” I’ll say. Everyone around me will look at me like I’m crazy, but I’ll take off running. I’ll run like Zola Budd or some other famous Kenyan runner. Barefoot, fast, without passion.

The lady with the painted face will fill the pillow with Bouri’s hair and passport. Her son or grandson will spoon the onion, mango, couch syrup concoction into the pillowcase.

On the bridge, Bouri will be struck by a small shower of acid rain. It will sting then burn, finally melting her skin.

The lady with the painted face will ask her son or grandson for more, Bouri will be drenched with the voodoo elixir.

The baby will fall to the ground, wrapped in whatever Moses was wrapped in when they sent his ass down the Nile. Bouri will melt into a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West. This is will eliminate my need to have to pay her alimony. This will eliminate the need for the man in 201 to come forward as a witness for the prosecution in the People Vs. Bouri St. Germaine. Next to the puddle formerly known as Bouri is where I will find my son or daughter, which I will raise to be the next John Roberts or Richard Brautigan or Michael Phelps. We, as parents, don’t really have much say in this matter, do we?

In thirty years, John and Nancy, Ted and the guy who lives in 201, the lady with the painted face and her son or grandson and myself will go on talk shows telling harmless anecdotes about the time a village in Hollywood raised a child. Another All-American success story.

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Richard Roe +1

You become acutely aware of your place in the world when you’re the +1.

Your name isn’t on the list. You don’t even have a name. You could be anyone. They’ve could’ve brought someone else.

But there I was, a +1, on the end of the Sunset Strip at a lounge named after a street a few blocks away in Beverly Hills. Oh, those crafty club owners. Nothing drives up the value of your venue like associating it with a wealthy residential street… But I can’t really talk. My name wasn’t even on “the list.”

Outside, as they say, was a meat market. Or more aptly, an Iranian meat market. Persians lined the streets waving money at zombie-like bouncers. Turns out they hit capacity two weeks ago and haven’t let anyone in since. We were free to stand outside as long as we liked though.

Naturally, I was drawn to the longest line where I expected to wait until we decided that the place sucks and left. I moved towards that line only to learn that each of the forty people had informally committed to bottle service. There they were, patiently standing in line, prepared to spend a thousand bucks on a hangover. Clearly, that wasn’t the line for us.

We were guests! I was a plus one! And by god, I refused to mingle with people who have more than my networth between the folds of their wallet. After about a minute we found our man: Tall, black, void of emotion. We assured him our presence was needed inside. He agreed.

We were escorted through the backdoor. We walked through a kitchen. I accidentally mistook the walk-in refrigerator for a bathroom. Eventually, we reached our destination. Smiling young people with bright teeth and clear eyes. Yes, we had arrived. Yes, it was an open bar. Things were starting to make sense. One tequila, two tequila… yes, things were crystal clear.

Did I mention it was a birthday party? The birthday girl: a lanky blonde, marginally famous, a model by trade. She once drank a bottle of sauvignon blanc on my couch. She didn’t remember me. She did however remember the gentleman whose plus one I accounted for. He brought a gift. That suave bastard! Maybe if I had brought a gift she’d remember slaking herself in my domicile. I doubt it.

My friend, let’s call him GENTLEMAN CALLER and the BIRTHDAY GIRL embraced, exchanged pleasantries, etc. Here’s what followed:

GENTLEMAN CALLER: I got you a present.

BIRTHDAY GIRL: You’re so sweet! (Another hug, she looks longingly into his mahogany eyes and finds the meaning of life).

Keep in mind, said present is nowhere in sight. In fact, it’s in the car.

GENTLEMAN CALLER: Guess what it is.

BIRTHDAY GIRL: Give me a hint. (winks)

GENTLEMAN CALLER: It’s something you do everyday

BIRTHDAY GIRL: Drugs!

The gift was a bottle of wine.

No one laughed.

Inside, I smiled. My heart was full.

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Dental Hygiene and Scripted Demolition

The consequences are grave. If I write this scene and this thing gets made, I’ll be responsible for masterminding the demolition of the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood.

I will not have worked alone.  I was bankrolled. There were specific instructions. There was a suggestion. In a lot of ways it feels like an act of terror. A cultural genocide.

EXT. AVALON THEATRE – NIGHT

I’m supposed to blow the place up. And everyone inside. The idea of taking human lives doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it’s incredibly human. People do it all the time. And in this particular scenario, I’ll be killing actors. Prosthetic limbs will fly through the air. Severed heads shall roll. The screams will be rehearsed, but the explosion must be real. It would be unacceptable to outsource this to the world of special effects and postproduction. No, if I’m going to do it, it’s gotta be the real thing. Now, it’s time to address the repercussions.

I’ve been a part of good times at the Avalon and it’s adjacent lounge, Bardot. I’ve also been there for many an awful show, but I’ll try to focus on the positive.

Scratch that. I want to talk about that party they do on Saturday nights. It starts at 2:00 a.m. and ends at 7:00 a.m. Naturally, it brings in a wild-jaw crowd who couldn’t care less that they stopped serving because they’ve got enough ecstasy to jump-start a lifetime of paranoid schizophrenia and/or complete mental collapse.  Of course, there’s cocaine. There’s always cocaine.

Anyway, the crowd is a bit bizarre—and dedicated—incredibly so.

For the recession price of $30 a head you can mingle in the venue among white men with dreads, Bulgarians who haven’t slept since the fall of the Berlin Wall,  and chicks who are wearing more from the knee down than the knee up. There are also a lot of guys who are grinding their teeth and trying to befriend you for reason, which are unclear.

If you’re having a good time[1], you’ll be amazed at how much you have in common with these people: you both were alive in the 90s, sometimes you eat, and your favorite part about Burning Man is all the chicks are total sluts. Oh yeah, and the psilocybin.  Fast friends. All this transpires while something that sounds like a failed root canal plays on the sound system.

By now, I’m sure you see where I’m coming from. Why would I want to end such a terrific gathering of like-minded people?

Talk about being proactive, none of these guys are going to live long enough to collect the social security that they’re pay into. Here we are, in or between or in the aftermath of a recession and these guys are fueling an economy that they’ll never live long enough to see fully recover. But they’re not thinking about that. They’re thinking about Joseph’s.

There are only two things that I’m afraid of: Gypsies and Joseph’s. I can only pray that they never collaborate.

I claim to know a thing or two about afterhours, but Joseph’s is a different beast. It isn’t a bender that casually drifts into the predawn hours. It isn’t the culmination of too many drinks and a few bad decisions. No, Joseph’s is a lifestyle choice. Joseph’s is reserved for the gnarliest. What I do, looks like churning butter with the Amish to the crowd that frequents Joseph’s.

They’ve got a saying, “Nobody said doing copious amounts of drugs after an evening of drinking too much and bobbing to Romanian house music was going to be easy. Nobody said it was going to be fun.”

Or more aptly: “He who licks the knife will eventually cut his tongue.” – Eugene Hutz

I’ve walked by Joseph’s at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. as late as two o’clock on Sunday[2] and every time I’m frightened by the rancid techno playing in broad daylight. I’m frightened by the emaciated white girls who can smoke a cigarette to its filter in sixty seconds. I’m scared of all the black dudes with bleached hair smiling ear-to-ear. I’m scared of the Bulgarians who are still wearing leather jackets even though it’s ninety-five degrees outside. And what do everyone of these partygoers have in common? Fucked up teeth.

I’m deathly afraid of hygienically unsound teeth.

Can you imagine what it looks like inside? Can you imagine what they’re all doing? And if they’ve been partying since last night, when was the last time they brushed their teeth…?

After being given the task to blow up the Avalon these were the challenges, which I faced. Great mental anguish was endured. It’s not the history that I worry about. It’s the cultural loss that Hollywood will suffer. If I blow up the Avalon, where will Los Angeles go to make horrible decisions between 2:00 and 7:00 a.m.? Who will sustain this crowd until Joseph’s opens? Thai Town doesn’t go until 7:00. Glass noodles must be made! The Thai have shit to do on Sundays. Plus at any given time, there are more people consuming drugs in the Avalon’s numerous bathrooms than there are people hanging in all of the Thai Towns afterhours spots combined.

And by the way, is it technically afterhours if you’re only halfway through at 7:00 a.m.? It seems like a bit of an understatement.

At least now you understand my dilemma. This is why I’ve decided to switch my scripted explosion to the Kodak Theater. Because honestly, who gives a fuck about that place?

Tourists and the Academy.


[1] Read: indulging/over-indulged

[2] No doubt, headed to the Farmer’s Market a block away for dozen of their finest kumquats.

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Financing Scripted Sex With Amber Heard

Big day.

First email: a link to a documentary on the horrors of the sex slave trade in Bulgaria. This came courtesy of my progenitor[1]. I may have cried for Slavic hookers everywhere.

Second email: Amber Heard accepted my friend request on Facebook. Very big news. As an actress she reminds me of a tan, sultry, ridiculous attractive, nowhere near as talented version of (insert name of unattractive yet talented actress).

Naturally, I’m off to deconstruct the deeper meaning of the morning’s first emails. I quickly lose interest. Instead of analyzing and interpreting their latent significance, I decide to check out Amber Heard’s Facebook pictures.

Surprisingly, her pictures are markedly similar to every other girl I know. In fact, she looks like about 31,458 girls who I “studied” journalism with at the illustrious Arizona State University.

I’m in the depths of some profile picture, which is a passive political statement on same sex marriage when it hits me. I’m struck with pangs of guilt. She’s vaguely Eastern European looking, not particularly Slavic, but Croatians can have a pretty diverse look… Naturally, I have to wonder:

What if Amber Heard is a victim of the sex slave trade? Sold to CAA by some Yugoslavian fleshmonger during the Bosnian War? What if, I say!

Recently, I forfeited USD to see The Rum Diary[2]. Which can only mean one thing: I may have directly contributed to the Eastern European sex slave economy. South Slavic pimps get rich on my dime while someone’s daughter shakes that ass for the 99%.

With nowhere to run, I seek solace in literature. I stumble upon a conversation between Richard Tull and Gwynn Barry. They’re talking about pornography. Barry, the wildly successful novelist disagrees with it.

Tull: Pornography

Barry: I would never watch that stuff

Tull: Because?

Barry: … Well, for one thing it objectifies women. It turns them into objects.

Tull: It’d be a handy way for you to check on changing sexual styles. Whither fellatio, and so on. Actually you can never see anything because there’s always some wine bottle or flower bowl in the way. It turns women into objects. Such as silicone.

Barry: What’s the matter with you?[3]

No one wants to be Richard Tull.

No one likes him. No one wants to identify with him. Yet here I am. Here I am, financing women like Amber Heard to be hustled from the Balkans and subjected to scripted intercourse with pirates twice her age and Aaron Eckhart’s freshly waxed chest.

It’s just not fair. It’s not fair to Amber and it’s not fair to me. I’ve been duped. No one would believe me. It wouldn’t hold up in a court of law.

Any day now, I expect to be shackled then publicly tarred and feathered at Hollywood and Wilcox. Shortly thereafter, I’ll be guillotined at the jail where Lindsey Lohan has thrice stayed long enough to be photographed.

But not me. There will be no pictures. Just a slow, painful, and public death. A death fit for the man who financed Amber Heard’s kidnapping and encouraged her sale her into scripted orgasms. I’ll remain taciturn.

I regret it. I really do.

Amber, if you’re reading this, I will totally understand if you decide to defriend me. But you have to admit, we had a good run. You were great. You really were.


[1] What does it all mean? Do my forebears know something I don’t? Am I genetically predisposed to frequenting hookers? Or turning tricks? Or sympathizing with those who do?

[2] My first mistake. I know.

[3] The Information, Martin Amis

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Sir Richard Branson: A Call For Resignation

Richard Branson—ever met the guy? Me either, but I’ll fill you in on what I know: Richard Branson hates Spaniards.

The following was gathered via experiential research.

Richard’s stateside brand, Virgin America, tries to style itself as a hip, young airline catering to people who like jetsetting whilst mainlining internet. Part of their ploy includes offering undersized mini-bottles of booze. Yes, I noticed my bottle of vodka was small—even for a small bottle of vodka. But I can’t blame Richard. I won’t blame Richard. He’s a capitalist. He runs on dough. He needs it like your uncle Marty needs his peritoneal dialysis. Plus, it was a cheap flight. They always are with Virgin. So I can’t blame Richard for trying to squeeze out a few extra bucks—what with the necessity of a second drink, the offer of more legroom at $35 an inch or the opportunity to pay to view some Daniel Craig movie that was only released in Asia.

But the movies and the compulsory surcharges are neither here nor there. But I am. There I am in row 23, minding my own business, throwing back $7 Blue Moon in a can and breathing in the  towelly smell of my neighbors’ marital discontentedness when the pilot brings my attention to the monitor.

Now the guys at Virgin think they’re slick—very fucking slick—so they put on this video. It’s basically like a ‘we’ll level with you. No one pays attention to these for-your-safety videos, especially not patrons of Virgin who are undoubtedly intelligent, and fantastically cultured jetsetters with better things to do, but bear with us.’ In the video, the cartooned passengers are incredibly skinny; just like our peers at lower altitudes. The video features pretty girls, disgruntled dudes and douche bags. You recognize all of them and identify with none unless you’re a pretty girl. I’m not so I don’t. The requisite video finally gets to the “seatbelt bit.” Oh these Vestal Virgins, cocksure as they are, say something like, ” for the point .000009% of you who have never operated a seatbelt…”

And folks, this is when it gets ugly. This is when Virgin’s humor regresses to the U.S. Immigration Act of 1924 which was championed by Adolf Hitler. The gist of that document was America could always use some tall, blond northern Europeans, but when it comes to Asians, Southern Europeans, and anyone hailing from near or below the equator… “Sorry, Bub. We’re all full. Try Canada.”

To my great dismay, the guy, who Richard pinned as the .000009% of people who have never used a seatbelt, was a Spaniard. A torero to be exact. Matador, if you prefer the Mexican word.

Richard, who is decidedly blond and English, could’ve ordered his advertising lackeys to go about this a myriad of ways. Instead, Richard picked a Spaniard.

It just so happens I have a friend who’s Spanish and also a torero. His name is Ivan. When I last saw Ivan he gave me a parting gift. It was the horn of bull he had slain one dusty afternoon while I stood somewhere in rural Spain and slammed Mahou Clasica in the company of pals and paisanos. As Ivan handed me the cuerno he said something along the lines of, “to remember me by.” It was a beautiful moment. You should’ve been there.

Fast forward to the present day and I may have lost that bull’s horn, but I certainly haven’t forgotten Ivan. Which is why I am sure it comes as no surprise to you that on behalf of all toreros, I’d ask Richard Branson to remove his racist F.A.A. approved safety video. Then I would like a formal apology addressed to toreros, toros, and their fans. Finally, I’d ask Richard to tender his resignation and name yours truly as his successor. (Somebody’s gotta run the show.)

Do forward this along to Richard. Somewhere along the way, I lost his personal contact information.

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“A Man and His Mustache”

Remember when I said this?

A year later: Fruit and Labor. Labor of fruit. Or Fruit that’s been labored. Whatever. You get the idea. Watch this teaser and tell me how much you love it and you can’t wait to see more.

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Poolside and the First Person Plural

We believed in our undergraduate degrees, our gluten-free pizza and our covered parking space at work. Some of us believed in anti-aging creams while others avoided sunlight, stress, family members and rush hour. Some of us didn’t believe in any of it, but all of us knew none of it worked.

We bleached our teeth, straightened our hair, lifted little silver weights in front of mirrors and ran for hours without going anywhere. We counted calories, went on juice fasts, tried liquid diets, and even braved the Master Cleanse for a few days before passing out in the stairwell at work. Why? It’s embarrassing to take the elevator and get off at the second floor. (Oh, why do the Master Cleanse? Living on lime juice and paprika came recommended.)

We bought dogs and said we’d saved them just hours before they were to be euthanized. We gave them names we thought were clever. English Bull Dogs named Winston, miniature Poodles named Rhonda, Pit Bulls named Justin Beiber—just kidding, nobody got a Pit Bull.

We vowed to drink less and to train for a marathon. We bought the shoes, signed-up online and sat on the couch until it was too late and it wouldn’t be safe to run. Everyone agreed it wasn’t worth getting hurt because of our pride. We applauded each other for our modesty and celebrated it with drinks. In barroom corners we shared our faith in one another and each of our pending, interwoven successes. The next day we’d whisper wearing dark glasses over coffee about how so-and-so was losing it. Then we’d switch to a Bloody Mary.

We upped our dosage and felt better until we felt worse again. Then we’d wonder if what we were doing was worth it. We contemplated the meaning of life and health insurance. We thought about desolate islands in the Indian Ocean and how we could live off of coconut juice. We went to Home Depot looking for a good machete and we ended up leaving with seedlings. This year we’d try to grow tomatoes. We didn’t know anything about agriculture, but we ate organic kumquats and hadn’t smoked a cigarette in two weeks. How hard could it be?

We knew the importance of believing in ourselves. A blind man had climbed Mount Everest. Some days our girlfriends and wives called and asked us how to get home from across town. We’d tell them to Mapquest it.

The Neapolitan Mastiff

Speaking of believing, check out this track by LA based Poolside

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The Hospital: According To The Neapolitan Mastiff

Everyone is dying, but it’s best to die at home. Or on a cruise ship. Or on a city bus. Or at your favorite shoe store. Or in the parking lot of Home Depot. It’s better to die anywhere than the hospital. When and if you do die at home, be sure to ask your son to drag your carrion from the kitchen floor up a flight of stairs to your bed so everyone will be able to say “at least he died in his sleep.” Only your son will have to carry the burden of knowing his father passed while raiding the fridge for half of a leftover Philly cheese steak.

What I learned in “The E.R.”

If you want to wash your hands, you have to use a pedal.[1]

The guy retching in the communal bathroom is in fact a Visitor, not a Patient.

Avoid direct contact with the high-powered sanitary napkins, which have the ability to kill HIV and type 2 herpes. They will burn the skin off of your fingers.

The man who draws your blood loves to talk but is difficult to understand. His name is Jorge.

The girl who needs your credit card for the co-pay isn’t flirting with you, is she? She might be. You’re dying so you can’t be sure. Her name is Yessi.

The EMT who comes around to tell you ‘you’re fine, but legally I’m not allowed to tell you that’ wishes she was vaccinating Somalian orphans instead of talking to you. Her name is Justine, but she doesn’t really care what you call her because you’re not an African baby.

The guy you came to see has biceps that bulge through his lab coat. He also has more important things to do—like bicep curls. And interns. And internists. He’s really into his online dating profiles. Plural. His name is Doctor, MD.

There are no maps just a red line on the floor that leads somewhere presumably scary.

There are no vending machines. While visitors stuff themselves with Sun Chips and Smart Water the patients are on an involuntary hunger strike.

Everyone looks like their dying or should be dead. The staff looks bored. By the time you leave, you’re bored too. Dying is boring.

Parking is expensive[2], unless you’re dying. Then you park for free.

P.S. Megalomania is not particularly popular in the E.R. (will pay the psych ward a visit next time.)

P.S.S. I am happy to be alive. I am proud to be an American. Can I borrow five thousand dollars?

-The Neapolitan Mastiff


[1] Speaking of pedals and petals. There were no flowers or flower vendors in sight. There also weren’t any rabbis (maybe because it was Passover) or priests (it was close to happy hour). I did however spot a Scientologist or a Delta flight attendant. They look so similar—I can never tell one from the other.

[2] Dying can also be expensive. Ways to avoid an expensive death include suicide and police-assisted-suicide (Waving a phone/keys/comb/taco/beard trimmer/Barbie doll/newborn/college transcripts/popsicle/parking ticket/ID/Orangina in front of the L.A.P.D.)

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