Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Easy As A B C, 1 2 3

UPDATED - see below

I dropped by the offices of the E! Entertainment universe today to see my editor friend, Giddy Golightly. I saw her in brief flashes as she zipped by, bouncing off the walls, running from desk to desk working on stories, videos and TV shows.

GIDDY: Oh. My. God. JohnnyB, this has been the most amazing week ever. Right? Do you know how many people have died?

ME: Quite a number. I just heard about a plane crash that …

She paused just long enough to give me a good look at a seriously sarcastic eye roll and cut me off mid-sentence.

GIDDY: Not people people, staaarrr people. Do you know how many stars have died?

ME: No, I’ve lost count.

GIDDY: A gazillion. (SIGH) And more every day. We can’t even keep up with the tributes and specials and interviews and updates on where to drop flowers and stuffed animals and news on how distant acquaintances are handling the grief and …

ME: Pretty weird how they are all bunched together.

GIDDY: I know. Right? I mean, we had plenty of time to cover David Carradine. Then we started in on Ed McMahon and he got pushed aside by Farrah – well, that’s no biggie; I mean let PBS or the History Channel cover the Ed, they’re his peeps. And then Michael Jackson and Billy Mays.

ME: I haven’t heard much talk about Gale Storm.

GIDDY: Oh my god, Gale Storm died? Who’s he? And what kind of name is that?

ME: It was HER stage name. Her real name was Tempest Typhoon. Here’s a photo of her. And now Fred Travalena died. Here’s a news story and a bio on him.

Giddy suddenly stopped her frantic racing around, gaped at me and sat down hard.

ME: It’s okay, Fred was getting old.

GIDDY: I don't care about Fred Tampolino or whoever. No, it’s just … the whole system is messed up,

ME: What system?

GIDDY: (ANOTHER EYE ROLL) The star death system. They are supposed to go in threes.
I mean, normally you just put names in a line and circle three at a time and those go together ..

ME: Like the way the ancient people picked a random clump of stars and just drew a picture around it and said, “look, a bear”, or “an archer” or whatever.

GIDDY: I know. Right? Wait, what? Don’t confuse me. The trouble is, we have 7 deaths.

ME: Eight - David Carradine. Ed McMahon, Sky Saxon (founder of the Seeds rock group), Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Gale Storm, Billy Mays, Fred Travalena.

GIDDY: How are we going to do our “Death Comes In Threes” feature? Golly, I can put Fawcett and Jackson your Seed man together. They all died the same day. Then …

ME: No Fawcett goes with Storm and Travalena. (GIDDY MADE A FACE). See Gale Storm and Farrah Fawcett were both pin-up girls. And Travalena once performed in a sitcom with Farrah. Now Saxon and Jackson obviously go together and, considering the way he died, you can link Michael with David Carradine. You know, "Jacks-on" and "jacks o…

GIDDY: But that leaves Mays and McMahon as a pair.

ME: Well, McMahon started out as a pitchman and Mays was a pitchman. All you need is to wait for another TV pitchman or announcer to die – or maybe a baseball pitcher. Celebrities are dropping like flies. You won’t have to wait long.

GIDDY: Ha. Ha. Coming up with another dead person is hard! You think it’s all just an easy joke.

ME: Oh no, you’ve got it backwards. Dying is easy, comedy is hard.

UPDATE 7/1/09
I just got a phone call
GIDDY: Guess what? You were right!
ME: Of course. About what?
Karl Malden pitched American Express!
ME: Classic commercials.
GIDDY: I know. Right? So, he just died! That completes the last threesome. Isn't it great?
ME: Giddy, you have a knack for making a positive out of tragedy. Don't leave home without it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Feel Just Like a Cog in Something Turning

Maybe it's the time of year, or maybe it's the time of man...

Up until a few years ago I was a young man. At least, in my head, I was still that guy I was in college. I was able to exert myself physically or consume excessive food and drink and still get up in the morning with minimal resistance from my muscles and internal organs.

Now, those problems don’t just follow the nights of excess, I get the same complaints when I get up in the morning every day, and each and every time I get up in the night to go to the bathroom. “No, honey, no one’s breaking in, that’s just my (choose one or more: hip, knee, back, kidneys, colon, excess phlegm) creating that racket.”

Up until recently, I could travel back from Ohio to my old SoCal beach home and feel like I still belonged. Now, even though I don’t sport the plaid shorts, dress shoes and black socks that marked them, I have become the pale, flabby, aged Midwesterner we used to make fun of. I still get in and body surf, but I tend to look more like I stumbled helplessly into the wave than like I know how to ride it. The young women approaching me are not attracted by my style, they are lifeguards checking to see if I am hurt or lost. Since when have they allowed such little girls to be lifeguards?

Somewhere over the past very few years, I got old – I mean, I started feeling old and I don’t like it. And THIS is not helping:

Steven Reineke conductor
Jeans ‘n Classics, guests
featuring guitarist Rik Emmett from Triumph

Cincinnati. Pops. Orchestra. Doing the music of Woodstock. God, take me now.
I get melancholy enough, seeing the original artists from Woodstock (those that are still upright and breathing) doing their own hits.

My god, that picture just makes you think of a PBS tribute to the Big Band Era, does it not?
“We’ll get back to our Prehistoric Rock Revival right after this pledge break. Buzz your assisted living attendant and ask them call our number and make a pledge for you. WE SAID, BUZZ YOUR ATTENDANT AND … Oh, nevermind, you probably dozed off anyway.”
So, I don't need to see the Pops turn them soft and bland.

A pops orchestra tribute to Woodstock. SIGH. But, by golly, they made it hip, what with it being called “Woodstock: A Flashback”. Flashback … like in LSD flashback. See, because, if you remember the 70s, you weren’t really there. Well, um, yeah, when I was young, some people used drugs … but only for the purpose of ending the war. The Viet Nam War. Yes, the one you just studied in history class. SIGH.

I don’t want to see sad old men performing their hits badly. I sure don’t want to see the Pops playing those songs with orchestra instruments. I would much rather go home and listen to the original songs on my vinyl albums. Vinyl albums – the big round flat discs – look like licorice pizza and you put them on a turntable. Part of a stereo. SIGH

Thursday, June 25, 2009

South Carolina Leadership on Hold

Last night “Dr. Strangelove” was on TMC. The premise is that a rogue general sends bombers to destroy the USSR and hilarity ensues. It came out in 1964, as did the very similarly premised “Fail Safe", which disappoints, as it fails to find the comedic angle on the nuclear bombing of Moscow and New York.

Thinking about these movies and the fun we had under the constant fear of nuclear war with Russia, and also watching the news yesterday, I became nostalgic about a couple books I read back when the world was young and the war was cold.

One was “Vanished” about some Presidential advisor who vanished and got everyone’s shorts in a wad until it turned out he was off solving the Cold War (if I remember correctly). (Oh my god, looking at the cover just stimulated the memory of my teenage response to the hot sex going on in the story - but I cared only for the political intrigue. Right.)

There was also “The President’s Plane is Missing”, by Rod Serling’s brother, in which the President disappeared and got everyone’s shorts in a wad until it turned out he was off solving the Cold War (if I remember correctly).

With these memories in my head, I had high hopes for a n intriguing revelation about where South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was for the past week. But, no, he had not gotten Korea to stop their nuclear program nor overturned Iran’s fraudulent election. He was just off violating his marriage vows with some hot tamale, the way so many other ordinary American dads spent their Fathers Day.

He stood up there and did the obligatory confession/apology; however, he did not force his wife to join him. Why? Because the confession/apology with the loyal wife on the side has become a cliché.
Cliché: noun
3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.
Scandal laden politicians, caught doing the evil deeds they have previously denounced, have become so redundant they have to change up the obligatory public expiation just to hold audience interest.

Mark Sanford’s tale did have some appealing aspects: the fact that he was missing for a week, the story about hiking miles on the Appalachian Trail turning into a story about humping Maria, some Argentinan tail and the obvious jokes about crying for that country.

I was moved enough by all that to try and call Sanford and ask him how he got himself into this. This is all I got:
You have reached the office of the Governor of South Carolina. Your call is very important to us. But not to the Governor, just like he doesn’t care about his job or family. He’s off God knows where. Please hold and listen to our musak.
I cried to leave Argentina
I broke my promise
Can't keep my mistress.
You have reached the office of the Governor of South Carolina. The Governor can’t come to the phone right now, he’s on another woman. Please hold and listen to our lovely muzak.
I've just nailed a girl named Maria,
And suddenly the name
Of my wife escapes my brain
Who's she?

You have reached the office of the Governor of South Carolina. Your call will be answered in the order in which you were deceived. Please dangle on the line we are feeding you and listen to our musak.
How do you get your freak on with Maria?
How do you slink away to party down?
How do you get it up to do Maria
While screwing your job and family back in town?

Marriage and fam’ly you told us should be sacred
Clinton lied and you took a moral stand
How do you go get laid
And piss on your Fathers Day
How can your moral compass be your gland?
I miss the cold war.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Selling an Apple a Day Means the Doctor Gets Paid

Did Steve Jobs’ wallet help cut transplant wait?

Now you say you’re before me
In the transplant queue
Well I can buy me a liver, buy me a liver
I got a liver over you

I can’t say that I’m sorry
The health system's askew
'Cause I can buy me a liver, buy me a liver
I got a liver over you

Need to move up on the donor list? We've got an app for that!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

If You Need Someone To Count On ...

Iran's electoral body, the Guardian Council (sworn enemies of the Justice League) has acknowledged that there may have been some hijinks in their recent election.
"(The Council) found voting irregularities in 50 of 170 districts, including vote counts that exceeded the number of eligible voters."
The number of total votes was possibly 3 million more than the number of eligible voters. They attribute that to good-natured ballot box stuffing by some over zealous fans of the beloved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "like your American baseball all star voting."

I am no political scientist, nor even a rocket scientist, but it seems that, if you are going to have voting fraud in plain view of the entire world, and you clearly know the number of eligible voters, you would announce results which are under that number. I think that is covered in poli-sci 101.

The Council declared there was no "major fraud" and that "the discrepancies ... were not widespread enough to affect the outcome." Do they presume that the protesters in the street, the defrauded masses, the ones rocking the vote with real rocks, will just shrug and say, "Thank you for admitting your lying, cheating, mockery of the Democratic process. As long as you assure us it had no impact on the actual outcome, we are happy. Oh, and if you don't mind, could you stop shooting us?"

How can this inept band of rulers be expected to carry out a successful clandestine development of nuclear weaponry, if they can't rig an election and get away with it?

I see this as an opportunity for the US to help Iran and change their opinion of us from "meddling critic" to "valued consultant". We send over Katherine Harris, Ken Blackwell and Antonin Scalia to teach them how to properly engineer a victory.

Our Republicans may not be able to manage a war or a natural disaster, but they can put out an electoral manipulation that will stand up to scrutiny. If we we send them to Tehran, we could open a dialogue with the ruling regime and, if we charge what they are worth, aid the ailing US economy. It's a win/win situation. ("win/win" refers to a situation where your side always prevails regardless of the merits of the argument or number of votes on the other side.)

Some of you may feel bad for the Iranian people who oppose the current leaders. What they need is more effective populist propaganda. We can also send over Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to explain to the Iranian people what imbeciles they are and why they ought to shut up and be good patriots, supporting their fairly elected President despite his lack of leadership abilities and basic mental skills.

The upside for us is those guys would be out of here for a while.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sex, Nude Beaches, Schwarzenegger,

exploding ketchup, Mennonite secret agents, romance and an old woman with a dead cat and a bottle of vodka: my new movie will have it all.

While in L.A. I needed to get a hamburger, fries and some iced tea because I had a headache and that is my secret remedy. We went to a coffee shop in Santa Monica where I was sure I could get real iced tea. You would think that is something easy to find, but in California, it is not.

All the way down the coast, at every restaurant we went to, Karen would ask for plain brewed iced tea. “Sorry we have only mango (or “paradise” or raspberry or passion fruit or avocado or salsa) flavored tea.”

The Santa Monica coffee shop was the one with “paradise” iced tea. Regular, caffeinated tea being the key to the headache cure, we ordered hot tea and a glass of ice. That’s when the waitress brought over the sabotaged ketchup. The bottle had been filled to make it look fresh and new, but the ketchup inside was spoiled and was building up botulism or e coli or some kind of bio-hazard gasses.

I don’t know which of us the assassination attempt was meant for, but it was Karen who picked up the bottle first, taking the bullet like James Bond’s girlfriend. She twisted off the cap and the gasses exploded, propelling sour ketchup across her purse, her clothes and her lunch. The waitress quickly disappeared, probably to go into hiding and avoid telling her bosses that she had failed to stop us from drinking real iced tea.

As I munched my French fries and watched Karen clean herself up and get a new plate of food, I started to wonder: Why does California not want us to drink iced tea? Are the Mennonites who are following us actually agents of the state in disguise? If Karen gets sick, what are the net assets of this coffee shop worth and how would I change the menu after we own it (besides adding real iced tea.)?

It was then I began to formulate my idea for a screenplay. A couple, celebrating their 30th anniversary, drive down the coast of California searching for real iced tea, as creepy, albino, Mennonite, state secret agents attempt to stop them.

Oh, I'd throw in a subplot about “rekindling the magic” or some crap like that, so there would be exploding condiments for the guys and smarmy love stuff to bring in the female demographic. The lead characters would have some Harry-Met-Sally-romantic-comedy sort of repartee, like debates about whether it’s “iced tea” or “ice tea” and is it “exploding ketchup” or “exploding catsup”. There would not be a lot of sex in the movie because, while we enjoyed it, the video aspect of 30-year anniversary sex is probably not a big box office draw.

Who would play me? I’m thinking John Cusack, who, according to imdb “is, like most of his characters, an unconventional hero. Wary of fame and repelled by formulaic Hollywood fare, (he plays) underdogs and odd men out--all the while avoiding the media spotlight” which describes me to a “T” and he looks exactly like me. My wife would be played probably by Andie McDowell, who could be her twin, though I could see Helen Hunt or Jodie Foster in the role. But I’d have to give a screen test to Penelope Cruz, Megan Fox and some other younger women just to be sure I had the right person.

I won’t reveal the surprise ending where we find out what the state is up to, because I haven’t figured it out yet, but it involves a showdown with the Governator himself and a mad car chase on the L.A. freeways. But we will wind up, as in real life, at the tavern where we had dinner with my dad the last night of our trip. It’s in L.A. and he’s been eating there for at least 50 years. The waitresses, I am quite sure, are the same ones who first served him back when Eisenhower was President and they serve real food and real iced tea. So, we wrap up this flick with something about returning to our roots and the basics of life and yada, yada, yada, we go home happy and headache free.

I figure I can bankroll this feature with the settlement from the coffee shop, if only Karen would agree to fake near-death from food poisoning

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Endlessly Infinite Coincidence

Last Summer, while on vacation, I experienced the musical/literary coincidence of hearing the title line in the song “I Was Looking For a Job When I Found This One” at the exact moment that I read that sentence in an unrelated book.

My recent Spring vacation now has its own musicliterary coincidence, though this is more of a stretch.

While we were in Carmel, we stumbled upon a quaint little restaurant (they really need to repair the sidewalk outside their front door). We went in to check it out and I was surprised to see, on the hostess stand of Carmel’s “most romantic restaurant”, CDs of the soundtrack from “The Endless Summer” for sale.

Now, the name “The Endless Summer” may sound romantic but, if so, you are confusing it with “A Summer Place”, a sappy soap opera of a film that teen girls watched while their boyfriends were fantasizing about riding waves around the world instead of their girlfriends.

I was pretty young when both of those came out – still learning about love and sex from New Yorker cartoons - but while my older sister mooned over Troy Donahue in “A Summer Place”, I developed a crush on global beaches. For a major milestone birthday I had a couple years ago, I put my “Endless Summer” DVD on repeat during the entire party.

I am not sure when we saw "A Summer Place". Our mother would not allow us to go to "Gidget" or the "Beach Blanket" films or any movies involving co-ed teens in bathing suits because Parents Magazine did not approve of them. I have digressed, but I added this in the interest of full disclosure, which is what I think Parents and my mother were afraid was happening in those bikini movies but was not.

Back to the coincidence: The Casanova restaurant was opened by Belgian, Walter Georis, who wrote the music for “The Endless Summer” along with his brother Gaston. (The surf music tradition is now carried on by Nico and Max).

Okay, we get the serendipitous music discovery, JohnnyB, where does the book part of this musicliterary coincidence referred to in your Endless Blog Post come in?

Hold on!

Upon returning from our trip, my sister put up a post about “Infinite Summer”, which challenges people to read some book called “Infinite Jest" over the Summer. Get it? “Infinite Summer” = “Endless Summer”, right? What? I told you it was a stretch.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

I apologize for the long break, followed by an even longer post about books. My mind was on vacation but now we're back

You will recall the Mennonites on a Plane incident from the start of our trip. The Mennonites did not leave us in San Francisco, they followed us down the coast. I saw them in Monterey and spotted them at various places we stopped throughout Big Sur. What would a peaceful religious sect want from us? And why would a group that never shaves worship a specific brand of shaving products?

I never found an answer to those questions, but I think a clue may be in this story. If the Amish are moving west to Colorado, why wouldn't the more progressive Mennonites move all the way to the coast? They are probably buying up beachfront property and opening family-style seafood restaurants with big bowls of all-you-can-eat, German-style clam chowder.

In Santa Barbara I did get to sit with my feet in the sand and eat fish tacos: a life-long dream realized. We also visited the winery where our niece works to supplement her income while she completes her PhD in psychology. She quite knowledgeable about and quite fond of wine, a relationship of which her mother and I both approve. She told us "I almost never drink hard liquor anymore, except I have a bottle of vodka in the freezer, but only because I got it from a woman whose cat died." That is an excellent opening line to some kind of novel, which should perhaps be written while drinking copious amounts of wine.

Another highlight of our journey down highway 1 in CA was the nude beach. Here we see a couple blatantly engaging in PDA in the nude, not caring who sees them.

Friday, June 12, 2009

5 Things I hate About Facebook

That would be the next 5 Facebook challenges that anyone tags me with.
My sister took one Facebook challenge and made it a blog entry, so it is sort of like a “meme”, which is another thing I hate times 5.

However this one is about books and we Bs are a book-lovin’ family so SusanB and JohnnyB can not resist. However, Susan nonconformed and took it outside Facebook. Me, I defied the instructions to do 15 books in 15 minutes and not think too hard. The Bs are rebel book lovin’ people who question authority. We get that way from reading books and learning stuff. That’s why ignorant people burn books, because they fear that knowledge will change their little world. (Read more about questioning authority and burning books in “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, available in your public library.)

So here’s my list (I resisted the urge to provide a link for each book – it takes too long. Even longer than it would take to read this entry, which is way too long)

1. Little Bear and the Beautiful Kite – Painfully shy Little Bear was the first literary character I identified with. He overcame his shyness and became a hero (I won’t spoil the plot by saying how) and I knew that one day I would do that and win the affection of some girl (though at the time I had no idea why I wanted to).

2. The Cat in the Hat –I spent a lot of time playing by myself and making up imaginary characters, so I liked the Cat. That beat out the Cowboy Andy series of books I enjoyed. I had a bromance going for Cowboy Andy, but I was able to quit him early on.

3. New Yorker Cartoon Collections – You can read here about how the New Yorker cartons taught me about history, American culture and sex. Yes, I read these not long after I was reading Cat in the Hat. I was precocious.

4. Catcher in the Rye – Read here about how J.D. Salinger taught me profanity and giving an “in your face” to adulthood and my grandmother.

5. Fanny Hill – This early porn book was found in someone’s trash when I was 13 or 14. I learned more from this book than from Catcher in the Rye. Talk about "coming of age"

6. Hiroshima – okay, nothing funny here. Another good book about the horrors of WWII is Night by Elie Wiesel. Makes you wonder why we would drop The Bomb on Japan but not Germany. Because Hiroshima is far removed from our allies but Berlin isn't or because the Japanese are more "different from us”? I'm just asking.

7. And Then There Were None – Got me interested in mystery books. I read all the Agatha Christies because I had a crush on Miss Marple.

8. The Big Sleep – I then read all the Raymond Chandlers and learned that American pulp fiction was better than British drawing room whodunits (that is “who-dun-it”, not “whod-unit”, which is how I read it as a teen) and the dames that Marlowe meets are sexier than Miss Marple.

9. The Martian Chronicles – All of Bradbury is beautifully written. I read every one.

10. Breakfast of Champions – Also read all of Kurt Vonnegut, who combined the silliness of Suess with the fantasy of Bradbury and the adolescent anti-social attitude of Salinger.

11. Canterbury Tales – a book I enjoyed as opposed to the books from high school lit that “stayed with me” in a bad way (e.g. The Red and the Black – Worst. Book. Ever.) Canterbury Tales is bawdy and features farting.

12. Without Feathers – Woody Allen taught me about writing humor and more about philosophy than Nietzsche’s The Stranger or any other existential authors I enjoyed.

13. The Source – The only James Mitchner book I really, really enjoyed. I imagine that when James Mitchner was a boy and his mom asked how he got his clothes so dirty, he would start out, “Well, Mother, in the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth will be a recurring character in this narrative. So, then …”

14. The Bone Collector – by Jeffrey Deever - Or I could list Rules of Prey by John Sanford which got me interested in becoming either a twisted homocidal killer or a brilliant but flawed detective. I guess I'd go with the detective - they have more normal sex than the killers.

15. The Torah and 15 books of The Bible – More sex than even Fanny Hill and murder right in the first chapter. In fact, they have elements of every other book on my list.

The book I never read that stayed with me is the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem which we had to read and translate in my 4th year of high school Latin. I actual did read it, just not when I was supposed to. I would work on translating each day’s portion during lunch, right before Latin class. I would go to the library where I could find my Latin classmate, Lori Fuglaar, whom I had a crush on and who was smarter than I – I have always been attracted to smart women. She was a remarkably cute girl of Nordic descent who was also very religious. I know this because every time I called to ask her out, she had something to do at church that conflicted with the proposed date.

But at lunch I was able to enlist her help in doing my homework. I know she felt uncomfortable helping me get away with not doing the assignment. So I was able to corrupt her morals … just not in the way I wanted to. If only I could have climbed a tree and saved her kite, I might have won her affection. Oops! Now I spoiled the Little Bear story.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Down In Monterey

Today we went to the Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, which is a boardwalk held together by a row of alternating gift shops and restaurants. You may be aware that my life revolves around food and the restaurants on the pier had clearly been informed of that. They must have had word that I was coming because they all tried to entice us into their restaurant so that they could advertise that I had eaten in their establishment.

What each restaurant had done was to set up a table with samples of their clam chowder. As we sampled each one, the person manning the table gave us a coupon for a free appetizer or a discount at the Earring Barn. They acted like they did this every day for everyone who walked by, but I’m sure it was set up for me.

Cabo’s Cafe had really done their homework. As we downed the clam chowder sample, the young woman serving it up informed me that they had 2-dollar draft beer. Seeing that she had set the hook, she yanked the line to try and pull me on board: “and we have deep fried cheesecake.”

If you have been paying attention, you remember the lesson on cheesecake: being that it is round and has a crust, it is actually a dairy pie that has been improperly named. Deep. Fried. Pie. Believe it or not, we went on to check out the other places before we went back to Cabo’s.

We learned later that Fisherman’s Wharf has a whale watching tour and sailboats and pelicans and sea lions. But cruising for clam chowder and “Carmel Corn” was enough for us. (We assume that Carmel Corn was named for the city of Carmel as opposed to being named for caramel, which it is made with).

When we returned to our hotel, we decided that we needed to make use of the private balcony and watch the sun go down. It was frigidly cold but, damn it, we paid extra for this balcony and we were going to use it. Sometimes the sun is just … really … slow. After a while we decided we had enjoyed the hell out of our balcony and we needed to go inside and appreciate our fireplace that we paid extra for.

Today we are off to Santa Barbara where we will search for a restaurant at which I can stick my feet in the sand while eating fish tacos and drinking draft beer. And, it is hoped, eating pie.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Travelling Man

Everyone at some time has gone to the grocery store and gotten the cart with the one rogue wheel that goes in a different direction from the other three. What you probably have never seen is the team of researchers who steal those carts and take them off to the lab for study. Their job is to clone those mutant wheels in a larger size and attempt to develop a hotel luggage cart with 4 wheels that go in four different directions. So far they have only been able to breed carts with two coordinated wheels and two randomized wheels. These carts have been distributed to every hotel chain in America (except the ritzy ones with bellhops whom you pay to give your luggage a ride on the Lexus of hotel luggage carts).

You might guess that we are on vacation. We have survived the rollicking trip in and out of the elevator and down the hall with two luggage carts in two hotels. We are in California working with Arnold and Maria to solve the budget crisis. Currently we are staying in Carmel, visiting Clint Eastwood.

We spent our honeymoon in Carmel 30 years ago and have returned to see what they have done with the large sums of money we spent back then. They apparently added more galleries. The place is beautiful but it’s hard to imagine living in this town unless you long to spend your final years eating in expensive restaurants and shopping for jewelry, artwork and t-shirts every day. Where do these people buy hardware, Slim-Jims and Slurpees?

But we are tourists and we are having a good time. Highlights of today:
Sat out on our balcony early in the morning watching the fog swirling around over the ocean and listened to the garbage trucks working through the town. But I didn’t mind – I also smelled wood smoke that held the promise of grilled meat.
We went to the beach and I walked in the frigid water.
I parallel parked on a hill in one shot.
We went to the bakery and had giant rugelach nuts and sweet stuff that is wrapped in pastry to make it remarkably similar to pie.

I am writing this in the lobby of our hotel because the internet does not work in our room. Therefore they gave us a big reduction in our rate. In addition our rental car turned out to cost 15% less than we had been quoted originally. We have taken these savings and immediately plowed them back in to the local restaurant industry so that we don’t have to carry the extra weight of the money home with us. When we return in 30 years we will see what they have done with our investment.

While I am in vacation mode, the humor in this blog will be much more relaxed as you can see. Now I’m off to enjoy the day.