There used to be a small, tranquil town, two mountain ranges over. It was supported by a steady stream of goods from local traders and the secondary economies that one will find in rural mountain burgs: a drug store, a diner that served delicious cakes, a cloth shop, and so forth. After November, the snow blanketed this little community, and because motor traffic was light, the town would remain as white as linen until the spring thaw several months later. It was a festive little village and the holidays were a time of great joy and celebration for its denizens. What I’m getting at here is that Christmas was a big deal in our idyllic township.
As the eldest child, at the start of every school year, I received a new pair of boots, and the older ones were passed down to my first younger sister, who handed hers down to our brother, and on they went down the line. The same descending transaction occurred with coats and nearly every other item that we owned. But Christmas was a different matter. Mother made a small economy out of selling goose fat to the larders, and that money went into a tin that once held Royal Dansk Cookies all the way from Denmark. Continue reading
After negotiating the weekend parking menace for ten minutes, I meet him out front. I don’t notice right away that our shirts are nearly an identical match, but it’s early and people are sober. Two pale white men of a certain age wearing lightly checked button-downs in a Cuban cigar bar isn’t the kind of thing likely to go unnoticed for long.
I scan the room; Jeffrey gawks. I tell him to occasionally allow his eyes to drift off target and not to move his neck and torso when he wants to have a better look at someone. “It’s rudimentary field craft,” I joke without much enthusiasm. He follows the instructions, but his movements are slow and mechanical, giving him the appearance of a particularly pervy automaton. He becomes distracted by the cigar case, and it’s like a jolt of electricity speeds up his moving parts. He draws the attention of an attendant, asks a few questions while pointing an index finger at the glass, and selects something that isn’t Cuban, but is probably passable. Continue reading
Whether allowing a gunshot wound to heal, recovering after a day fraught with eleventh hour heroics and narrow escapes, or just lying in the shadows so that he may go unnoticed as the past that’s been trying to catch up with him drifts by, the Highly Imposing Man ™ will often seek the refuge of a familiar place surrounded by his formidable trappings. The size and location of this sanctuary are not the most significant factors—although, the size should be comfortable and the location convenient. More importantly, the space should be appointed with a measured balance of utilitarian and totemic items that strongly identify with its denizen. Although luxuries will be present in the imposing man’s dwelling, they are never in overabundance lest they soften his resolve to rejoin the fray. To be clear, an imposing man’s solar is not a “man cave,” and should never be referred to with that ignominious designator given to those closets to which housewives consign slovenly husbands on game night so that they won’t make little messes—similar locking a cat in the utility room with a bowl of food so that the odor from the litter box doesn’t cause offense to the company. Continue reading
RS+CH Home (Personal Objects Studies), 2014, Pigment Print
As an undisputed novice in the realm of visual arts, my tendency has always been to gravitate towards artwork—paintings and photographs usually—that immediately reward the viewer with a beautiful array of colors; a scenic, purposeful image; or just some explosion of excitement that makes one think, “That would look great in my living room hanging behind the television set. Yeah, it’d really brighten up the drab in that old rumpus room, it would.”
When I first became aware of Bushwick artist Lauren Pascarella’s body of work, I noticed that while compelling, it possessed few of the aforementioned qualities. With some notable exceptions, Pascarella’s art consists largely of stacks of common items, calmly disassembled human beings, and structures featuring faintly warped angles and distorted shapes. Continue reading
I was sitting around my office smoking unfiltered Lucky Strikes, re-reading old newspapers, when an alert came over my phone notifying me that a friend of mine had updated his Facebook status. Being a man of few friends, I’m not one to take these matters lightly, so I yanked the device out of the desk drawer, flipped it open, and scanned for the new information.
I guess I don’t have a head for business, because if you gave me all the tea in China I’d be like, “What the @#% am I supposed to do with this?!”
I started to leave an angry comment: “Well, guess who does know what to do with it, mother fucker?” but instead of posting, I just sat there fantasizing about what it would be like to be a tea baron presented with the entire supply of a precious commodity that’s coveted by a thirsty nation with semi-porous trade barriers. Sometimes, a little thing like that can get a guy’s gears spinning. Continue reading
Yesterday was my twentieth anniversary of being a cop, and while that might sound like it should be a big deal to me, nothing really changes. Tomorrow, I will drive the same car in the same uniform that I have been wearing for most of those twenty years. Since very few things in this world last this long, however, I suppose that a twentieth anniversary is still worth noting.
To be honest, I’ve done zero reflection. My shift was busy, and while I had realized that the date was approaching, I didn’t notice when it finally arrived. It can be easy to get distracted.
There’s a restaurant near my work that still has a smoking section—if you can believe such a thing still exists. I don’t smoke, but I guess knowing that there are still a few places that spit in the face of the establishment and break the rules appeals to my rebellious streak. In addition to being one of the last bastions for tobacco enthusiasts in the city—maybe even the state—it is one of the only restaurants I know of where you can still get authentic German fare prepared and served by a staff of traditionally trained Black Forest gnomes. Continue reading
The following article is not a metaphor for anything. Neither the items that you are being told to collect nor the bag in which you are to put those things are symbolic and do not “represent” anything in your life. If you are not at all concerned about the very real possibility that you may have to get up at a moment’s notice and flee some very real danger, then you can just click the fuck out of this page, compadre. Continue reading
I learned not five minutes ago from a New York Times alert that actor Leonard Nimoy has died. Being the idiot that I am, my initial reaction was to try to post the absolutely most hysterical Star Trek reference about the passing of the iconic sci-fi star that the interwebs could ever possibly conceive. I have a number of hilarious friends and I know that the competition to make the most poignant, funny, yet tasteful joke will be in full swing by—well, it’s probably going on right now.
But man when I was a little adolescent punk back in the Disco-Gas Line Era of the late 1970s, reruns of the original Star Trek were a mainstay. Cable hadn’t expanded our channel base, so television content was limited to PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, or the two UHF channels, one of which showed Star Trek reruns every day after school. I was a nerd in a nerd neighborhood with nerdy friends, so we talked A LOT about Star Trek, space exploration, teletransportation, advanced weaponry, warp drives, green women, photon torpedoes vs. phasers, phasers vs. sonic disruptors, phaser one vs. phaser two, Klingons vs. Romulans, and occasionally the importance of tempering emotion with logic and reason. Continue reading
When the chief editor of DMC, Todd Gleason, approached me about reviewing the Universal Pictures high budget film adaptation of the EL James book Fifty Shades of Grey, I believe I responded with something like, “Are you kidding me? That’s going to be one of the worst pieces of shit in the history of filmmaking. Of course, I’ll do it.” I might have said, “fuck yeah,” but I think he had already disconnected. Continue reading