Category Archives: Friday Night Follies.

Friday Night Follies: With apologies to Steve Buscemi

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

June is a fun month filled with frumpy old men mowing lawns, ice cream trucks selling frozen sugar on sticks, children hurling water balloons at unsuspecting victims and sporadic oppressive heat waves which make me want to crawl up in a cool cave somewhere until it blows over. I don’t actually want to sleep in a cave I just thought it went nicely with the rest of the sentence. For the better part of my life I preferred the brisk air of winter but after several weeks of shoveling slush I long for springs resurrecting touch when trees rain down pollen and sprinklers waste drinkable water hosing down sidewalks and everything else except our grass. After summer bumps spring out of the picture for awhile we look forward to fireworks and  and laughter of good friends cracking expensive beer and throwing away perfectly good chicken thighs because one or two managed to hit the ground. I don’t know what the big fuss is about they are perfectly edible. I love how the sun ricochets of the tops of barbecues while hotdogs burn and cheese melts underneath its scorching roof. Dogs barking in the distance. Kids jumping in pools. More ice cream being sold. More water wasted. It is a wonderful time to relax on our loungers and fall asleep while trying to catch some sun before it retreats behind the surface of the earth. Make sure you set an egg timer or something you really don’t want to burn.

After a few weeks of humidity and eating macaroni salad people start complaining about the heat. I am grateful to have lived with all four seasons. Funny how we grumble when the sun scorches us, we moan when frosty sneezes and turns the earth into a frozen wasteland, we can never seem to get our stories straight. June clouds remind me of Florida. At the risk of sounding corny I would say they are happy clouds. Bright and puffy, like someone took a bag of marshmallows and put it in a microwave for thirteen minutes and waited for it to explode in one cataclysmic orgy of white froth. It’s a good time to be young and single with my kick-ass van and a full tank of gas. I don’t know little things make me happy, even if only for a moment. The road before me holds mysteries too great for me to know, and the clouds which I spoke so highly of, hang high above me as if to protect my noggin from unseen pieces of space junk. The Mets game screeches from my radio, I think someone hit a home run but I’m not sure it could have been an advertisement for suntan lotion or a million other trinkets one needs to survive summertime madness. Fly swatters, for instance, can be extremely valuable, especially if you neglect to eat the rest of your rice pudding. American flags to show your patriotism, music to cleanse your soul and pictures to capture memories in the making and remind us of summers long gone and those yet to come. Some of us remember the intimate moments spent under a warm night sky with a girlfriend. Remembering how her eyes glowed, like two emeralds sitting among diamonds. Hair falls softly over her face in one poetic motion.  Yeah, June is a good month with family birthdays and calming breezes.

I had the pleasure to watch a friend of mine play softball yesterday. She executed perfectly on both sides of the ball, even did a little line judging. I sat in the bleachers with sweat dripping from my snoopy-like nose and watched grown adults run around a field of dirt trying to prove something. I rather enjoyed sitting there with Bella hanging off my neck and you can refresh those naughty thoughts because Bella is my camera. Looking at the perfectly manicured lawn and towering spot lights I began to ponder why we all run in circles. Like a bunch of nuts in a Marx Brothers short, we play games to impress other people. We sit in bleachers and watch live competitions to ignite something within ourselves. We watch parades to inspire our sense of community. We ramble on blogs so someone will notice.  We just keep on running around the mountain till someone comes along to make us stop acting like puppets, little puppet people playing with puppets. I want to find the puppeteer, push him aside and cut the strings attached to my own back and make my own kind of music. When you are a part of something bigger than yourself, like these ball players, you gain a sense of belonging in a world so bent on pushing people away. I thought about all this and watched some old guy on the opposing team hit a pop up and run for all he was worth. I think I heard a knee pop before the ump called him out at first. It’s great how we all come together and just run in circles. I am in need of a new track to sprint around because this one has become worn and nonproductive.

Steve Buscemi in Grown Ups
Happy Madison Productions 2010

Other than watching Grown Ups for the first time and finding it extremely comical, I had no real explanation for putting this photo in the article. But if you look closely it really does have the capacity to put a smile on your face so maybe I did it on purpose. I like Buscemi because he’s brilliant plain and simple.  I appreciate talent when I see it and this guy has proven himself multiple times over. Whether playing gangster or jokester, Steve makes watching movies a little less of a burden because you can only expect the best. Only two actors can do this. The other is Nicholson. Anyway, I hope all of you enjoying this heat wave stay calm and cool. Stop trying to run circles around everyone and everything. You will only tire yourself out and if you do, you will never make it to home plate. Cheers.

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Friday Night follies: Bookworm

After my shadow split the sliding glass doors like the Red Sea a blast of lukewarm air smacked my face to make sure my attention was no longer divided but focused on the bargain bonanza displayed all about me. From Hemingway to Stoker and Dickinson to Hugo the king sized tables of oak and cherry stood gallantly like mute waiters holding up small treats to hungry masses before showing them to the main dining hall for supper. Short of taking my cap and coat, a pretty associate of Barnes & Noble smiled and continued on her way to heavImageen knows where but the Fish & Tackle periodical stuck between her arm and, um, bosom, led me to the conclusion she was on her way to put it back in its’ respective place alongside Guns & Ammo and MADD magazine which, by the way, is as dull as Saturday Night Live and has been for several years.  I shuffled in the general direction of Starbucks to retrieve my fix before heading out to get lost in a maze of books made of paper and bound with whatever it is that keeps them together and readable in my hands. It’s the smell of paperbacks mixed with the soft white ceilings and random cartoon drawings of authors strewn about the place which keeps me coming back to this old haunt year after year. I looked around to see other cool cats arriving in style on this late spring Friday night. If you never spent a Friday night at a bookstore then you my friend are missing out, so for your own benefit, I’d advise you to put it on your Bucket list underneath  ‘Find out what it’s like to be the epitome of dull’.  I stepped on the escalator and began my ascension with suppressed hope of catching someone doing something bizarre beneath me on the first floor. Ever catch someone making a silly face or filling their gullets with food and wish you had a camera to capture the moment?  There is little to think about on escalators so I just zone out if nothing is happening down below. I nodded my head like an idiot after a group of teenagers waved at me for no apparent reason. I am sure they moved along to throw eggs at unsuspecting bus riders or skateboard along the newly placed sidewalk or whatever it is those crazy bastards are calling fun these days. As for me, I headed to the second floor to grab Henry James off the shelf, not wanting any trouble from the wild looking gang sitting in the corner I made a quick beeline to the escalator and leaped down the steps three at a time and made it safely to the cashier. I love this store and all the crap inside of it. From the overly priced and useless trinkets, to the leather bound journals waiting to be filled with inventive thoughts, I enjoy the hours spent here in a multitude of good people, brilliant writers and melodramatic music.

The other day I was sorting through the collection of books and random magazines I had acquired over the years because I am moving across country shortly and I wish to take them all with me. Alas, it will not be feasible because I have other items to store in my van, like food, survival gear and courage. I hate the idea of having to part ways with my library even on a temporary basis. Some people adopt animals, others collect cuckoo clocks. I shell out a few spare shillings when I can on the written word. It’s just something I do. I admit my assortment of novels has become priceless to me and to give them up for a time is akin to forcing me to put one of my lungs on EBay and the way I smoke Pall Malls, they wouldn’t fetch much.  Granted I am in relatively good shape mind you. But the lung is and will always remain used goods no matter how many miles I run or mountains I manage to climb. Unlike my organs, the literature collecting dust on the shelves of my barren walls become more valuable as time moves forward and only serve to prove the printing press will never be put out to pasture by handheld gadgets and gizmos. We coffee drinking, readers of paperbacks and lovers of sexy librarians are stuck in a world filled with wicked contraptions such as Kindles and Nooks and other mechanical piranhas looking to tear apart the paper between our fingers and put many librarians out of work. I am not being cute I would hate to see any of them standing on the bread line, especially without a book to keep them company.

My family purchased a Kindle for me this past Christmas and it sat on a pile of clothes for about a week before I took it back and told my mom I just couldn’t bring myself use it. I guess some habits are hard to shake and as preposterous as it sounds I felt like I had committed adulWe musn't allow this to happen.tery by picking up that horrible machine. Some will call the electronic device convenient and portable. Rubbish I tell you. Balderdash! How big is a book? Put it in your pocket and boom, you’re good to go. Set to travel the world armed with something to do if the monotony gets out of hand and as a bonus, you gain a little bit of renown in the intelligence department. A touch of sophistication women tend to take notice of. If nothing else she will walk away knowing you are literate and from my experience this is a good place to start.