Sunday, March 30, 2008

The posts have been few and far between, haven’t they? I have found that once I get out of t habit of posting it becomes very difficult to come up with topics. If you are a regular reader of this blog than I’m certain you would agree that the topics are never that well thought out to begin with. If I can’t equal the my conversation with a crackwhore topic I think you would agree that the well is truly dry.

I scoured my memory for some writing exercise fodder and I realized that I hadn’t told you about my run in with a super model last month. That’s right, it doesn’t top the deep and lasting friendship that I’ve developed with Pete Townsend after spending some time with him in the South of France but this woman was clearly better looking and I will pick beauty over talent any day of the week.

Anyway, I met Jessica Stam. You probably don’t know who she is, I didn’t either but a quick Google will show that she is the 15th highest paid model in the world and has a handbag named for her, the "Stam Bag" by Marc Jacobs. As you may recall I am the 14th highest paid super model so the meeting was awkward, as you can imagine. I tried to break the ice by relating the story of the fan letter I sent to Brook Shields after she appeared in The Blue Lagoon- the Citizen Cane of 13 year-old boy fantasy movies. Unfortunately, this did not break the ice but caused her to laugh nervously and back away without making eye contact.

Modeling is a competitive field but I really feel that we super models should be able to break bread and vomit it back up without all the petty acrimony.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Paris vs. Toulouse vs. Me

Last night I went to my first rugby match, Paris vs. Toulouse. I went with a guy that was writing a story for a newspaper. I was going because I have an extraordinary amount of time on my hands and he gave me a ticket. He explained the rules of rugby as he jotted down notes in his professional journalist notebook. Not to be out done I began jotting notes of my own on scraps of paper in my coat pocket. One of my quickly written reminders was, “Man, it’s cold out here.”

The second note I wrote was commenting just how pink it all was. The Paris team colors are pink and pink. The flags they wave are pink, their outfits are pink, the lays around the fans necks are pink, even the track around the stadium is pink. It’s all very…pink. Their rugby shorts might have been pleated, I couldn’t tell.

The opening entertainment was straight out of Vegas- there were blowup dragons and green sleezaks on stilts. An elephant, draped in a pink costume, was led around the pitch. Appropriately enough everyone saw the elephant and knew it was there but no one mentioned it. The players ran to the field, a loud pop was heard, which wasn’t a gun and streamers were dropped unto the field from the sky. The gold and silver streamers covered the playing field and the game began. “Very messy, poorly thought out” I noted on my piece of paper.

There is no break in the action. American football has a lot of stopping and starting, which can get a bit dull. That is not the case with rugby; with the non-stop action these guys don’t get a break. An injured player dropped to the ground in pain the medic ran out onto the field- while the ball was still in play. He dodged players and treated the injured player. It was like war but with no death and the soldiers dressed in pink... a lot of pink. I furiously scribbled down my clever observation.

There was a penalty called. A remote controlled car came out to the field with the ball stand. The kicker took the stand and prepared the ball. He did not seem at all surprised that it was a remote controlled car that brought it out to him and that the guy operating it is a grown man. My journalist friend mentioned that in New Zealand they trained a sheepdog to bring the stand out but the noise of the crowed freaked the dog out and he would run away. “Now they use a remote controlled car.” He explained this as he jotted a few more notes in his notebook. I too made some notes. “63,000 people in the stadium, 10 train cars on the metro how long will it take to get out of here? It’s sooooo cold. Dogs are cool. I miss my kitty.”

A few other observations.

-When the ball is kicked into the stands the fans actually throw it back instead of taking it home and enclosing it in Plexiglas and telling me the story of how they got it every god damned time I go to their house.
-They play disco during half time and people in the stands actually dance to it. I danced because that's how I express myself.
-Chicken kabobs are tasty.
-Don’t say “oopsy daisy” when the ball is fumbled, that sounds queer in any language.
-You can bring your children to watch the game- the fans are very respectful. There were no drunk, obnoxious, shirtless, fat men screaming obscenities at the refs – except me, of course, I was representin’.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My memory is probably faulty, but I seem to remember searching for Easter eggs and then having to eat all the hard-boiled eggs that we found. Easter evening turned into a surreal “Cool Hand Luke” scene with my brother screaming, “Nobody ever eat fifty eggs before” and me, lying catatonic on the ground, surrounded by dyed eggs shells, mumbling something about “anything so innocent and built like that just gotta be named Lucille." Kids have it easy today.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I had a very peculiar dream a few nights ago. I hate hearing other people’s dreams so feel free to skip this entry.

I have been interested in Erik Satie (1866- 1925) ever since I tried to visit his living/ work studio in Montmartre. It is billed as the smallest museum in the world- but has been shut down for an indeterminate time. It measures 10 square feet (3 sq m) -about the size of a single bed. He lived and worked here for 8 years in the late 1800’s referring to it as his cupboard (placard). Satie earned his living playing piano in the Montmartre cafes while he wrote his concerts. The minimalist music he composed is beautiful. (I tried to put one of his pieces on the post but was unable- anyone have any suggestions?)

OK so back to my dream. I dreamt of a possible character in a story. This person tries to live his life in the same minimalist way that Erik Satie composed his piano pieces. He takes the minimalist approach so seriously that he refuses to learn the language of his adopted country because he wants to eliminate all conversations feeling they are extraneous- there is no small talk or superficial pleasantries. He purchases what he needs by pointing and when annoyed grunts like an animal. He is unable to make any friends, but that is all part of his plan to live a minimalist Satie life. When in a train he is surrounded by the many conversations, which are just rhythms and beats but there is no coherence. The meaningless sounds remind him of an orchestra warming up before a concert that will never be performed.

While I was sleeping I kept thinking, “Wake up this is great.” I woke up, wrote it down, and re-read it a few days later. “hmmm, this is crap.” I thought. Isn’t that funny how dreams work? I wrote a little story about it anyway but I don’t think anything is there.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sorry about the lack of posts lately- I've been on a writing streak at the American Library and haven't devoted much time to the blog. I also bought Season 2 and 3 of Lost, which hasn't helped.

I have been reading some Henry Miller these last few weeks- “Quiet Days in Clichey and “Tropic of Cancer”. Flipping through a biography about him yesterday I noticed that on his to do list he had written, “Steal good books from the American Library”. I showed it to the librarian at the American Library in a sad attempt to connect with her; she laughed but it did nothing to help my standing. Sometimes I read a celebrated author and can’t help but wonder what people see in him. Henry Miller is one of these authors. Granted I haven't read much and will continue but what I gather from these two books is the main subject matter seems to be a 40 something-year-old balding man writing about his sexual conquests in Paris. But if he's paying hookers, or not paying them, as is often the case, it is hardly a sexual conquest. I find the whole topic fairly depressing- it seems to be the subject matter for a 16 year-old boy's fantasies than that of a middle-aged man. I've heard Henry Miller described as Celine- but I'm not seeing it.

I acknowledge that I know only a small amount of his work but so far the only thing I learn from his writing is that if Henry Miller can get laid in Paris than pretty much anyone can.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My parents arrived in Paris this week. They are renting an apartment for two months and everyone is very excited. This will, of course, begin the mass family visits. My 10-year-old niece arrives on Wednesday. Here is my letter to her and her response. It seems clear that neither one of us has a firm grasp of reality- but she has fewer misspellings than me, which makes me sad.

Dear A-

Your Grandma and Grandpa arrived in Paris yesterday. The Brussel Sprouts (nickname for our family members living in Brussels) came in town to surprise them. We hid in your Grandparents new Paris apartment and shouted, "surprise!" when they walked in. They didn't seem very surprised- I guess they are old enough that nothing surprises them anymore.

I mentioned before that Grandma and Grandpa live next to the Louvre
where the Mona Lisa lives. Last night the Mona Lisa had a birthday
party for Venus de Milo and it was so loud that Grandma marched over
there, banged on the door and told Lisa to "Keep it down!" Winged
Victory was there but she was so mad because she couldn't eat any
birthday cake because she has no head- very sad. Venus de Milo was
also mad because she couldn't open her presents because she doesn't have
any arms. It was a poorly planned party.

Can't wait to see you this Wednesday.

Love Uncle Misplaced

Hi Uncle Misplaced! It's A. I just set a trap for a leprechaun to get trapped in. I heard that they like shiny things, so I put a spoon, knife, aluminum foil, and coins in the old- fashion box trap. Smart me! I wrapped the stick that you hold it up with in aluminum foil! Just in case you don't know what that box trap is, I'll explain it to you. It's when you put a stick by the edge of the inside of the box, and put the catch of the day's favorite thing inside the box. When they come, they'll knock down the stick and... BOOM! You've got you're catch of the day! (Your "catch of the day gets trapped inside the box)Well, that's that. I'm DYING to see the Mona Lisa! C ya there!

Friday, March 14, 2008

There is no way to write this without appearing to be an old man. But the simple truth is I don’t understand kids these days.

I have three college students, in their early twenties staying with me this week. One of them is the daughter of a family friend. She’s doing her junior year abroad in Strasburg. She and her friend called and asked if they could stay in our guest room. They brought flowers. The third is P- my cousin’s son from the State of Washington. Do you want to feel old? Spend 10 minutes with people in their early twenties and compare how you were in your twenties to how they are. I did not fair well in this comparison. First of all I never would have had it together enough to visit Europe. It was a major undertaking for me to get to Florida for spring break one year- and, of course, I blacked most of that trip out and ended up with third degree burns on my sun-blistered arms and kissing some dentally challenged girl that might have been in town for the tractor pull or maybe she was a carnie

So I mentioned to these 20ers that I don’t have alcohol in the house but if they wanted to pick up some wine or something that they should feel free to do that. None of them were interested. I was baffled. And so I mentioned it again to my cousin’s son, P- and he said….get this.

“I don’t really do that.”

I kept my amazement to myself so as not to scare off this strange alien creature.

“Really, never?” I queried subduing the urge to shake him by the lapels and scream “ARE YOU INSANE!”

“No if it’s an interesting beer I might try it just to experience it.”

I had to reach for the guardrail to keep myself from tumbling into the street. Have you ever heard of such a thing? If I was in Paris during my early twenties s the wine would be flowing like…well, like wine. Which, of course, explain why I don’t drink anymore. When did these kids get so healthy and wise? I’ve also heard rumors that these kids don’t think smoking cigarettes is cool. What a difference a decade makes. I still think smoking is cool- I think the only thing that would have made Fonzie even cooler, and yes he was cool, would be to have a cigarette dangling from his mouth as he had his arm draped over a buxom Pinky Tuscadero.

P- came home last night at 1:30- he was late because he and a bunch of people “closed down the Eiffel Tower”. He wasn’t in a bar room brawl and he didn’t need to get bailed out of jail. Before he went to bed he cleaned up my cat’s vomit. I don’t understand kids these days.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This morning I was rudely awakened by the front door buzzer. It was the postman with a cylindric package from Barcelona. Inside was a large, large box of Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal- the slow cook kind. I love oatmeal- I especially love oatmeal raisin cookies- directly out of the oven. Taped to the bottom of the oatmeal box, like drugs, were 5 CDs- A Stephen Sondheim collection-"Into the Woods", "Sweeney Todd" (2 disks), "Sunday In The Park With George" and "Company"

And so, tonight I will be baking cookies and singing along with musicals. I know very little in this world but I know for a fact that the Marais got just a little bit gayer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Let us continue our Montmartre tour as we move on to Le Bateau-Lavoir. We're walking people, walking.

It is said that modern art was born at Le Bateau- Lavoir. This former piano factory was modified to house artists that could live and work there. It got it’s nickname for the Laundry boats that once traveled the Seine. One tenant described it as “…a weird squalid place filled with every kind of noise: arguing, singing, bedpans clattering, slamming doors and suggestive moans coming from studio doors.” It was here, between 1890 and 1920, that some of the most talented writers and artists of the day lived and worked. My pal Modigliani did his time here before moving to Montparnesse, as did Braue, Juan Gris, Van Donges Marie Laurencin and many others.

In 1904 an unknown Pablo Picasso moved in here and in 1907 painted Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon which is regarded as the painting that began “Cubism”. I would disagree with this, as my great, great grand uncle was painting ‘cubie’ ladies in his little cottage in the western part of Ireland in the late 1800’s- I don’t wasn’t to suggest that Picasso stole the idea from poor ol’ Uncle Shamus, but it seems pretty apparent that he did. By the time that Picasso moved out of the Bateau-Lavoir the thieving Spaniard was famous- but later he said, “I know one day we’ll return to Bateau- Lavoir. It was there that we were really happy- where they thought of us as painters, and not strange animals. oh yea, and thanks for the idea Sucka'...I mean Shamus.”

Le Bateau-Lavoir burned down in the 1970’s and was later replicated. I believe it is still used to house artists- but the charm is lost when you realize that it is a reproduction. Perhaps one of the current artists will bring it back to its former historic glory. Uncle Shamus died penniless, but not before doing a little time for his "special drawings."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We have had friends visit us in Paris. The visits are great until we get to Montmartre. I have absolutely no knowledge of this area. I can walk you to Sacre Coeur and afterwards take you to the crepe place I like. The tour goes something like this.


It’s pathetic and painful yet I continuously drag people through this crap. Well not this time- I’m ready for visitors. I have a slew of family coming in town over next two months. My mom and dad are renting an apartment near the Louvre from March through May – and so for two months all my siblings, their spouses and kids (I have 12 nieces and nephews under the age of 16 will be traipsing through Paris, and I am ready to tackle the big hill. I have mapped out an excellent tour of Montmartre- it includes everything murder, transvestites, hookers, gypsum mines, revolution, theft, hearts entombed in catacombs, and we will finish off with the order in which animals were eaten during the Paris Siege starting with dogs through cats and finally to the rats. There will be some art because- well, their parent will question the other things I’m teaching their children, but then we will roll right into alcoholism, drugs, and insanity of the local talent.

If I have done my job these kids will have nightmares of a drunken Toulouse-Lautrec chasing them through the streets of Montmartre dressed as a woman.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

What is wrong with this guy- does he post anymore? It sort of seems like he's been "phoning it in" lately. Remember that time he couldn't think of anything to write and then he just reposted an old post- lame and pretentious. I hope he doesn't do that again. Have you noticed how he always talks about how great his hair I used to think he was joking but I'm beginning to think he's serious. Someone ought to tell him it isn't that nice- kind of ratty really. "Yo misplaced, the 1970's called- they want their hair back!"- Ha ha sucka'... and what's up with him always talking about meeting Pete Townsend? Pathetic.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Someone recommended, I don’t remember whom, that it would be a good idea to write about what I do all day. I suspect that whoever suggested this was in fact saying that they know I don’t do anything and I’d better start proving that I’ve got something going. So this is my day.

As I mentioned, Kelly is off to Fez today for school. She and her fellow female classmates at the American University of Paris are, more than likely, on their way to being sold into white slavery and will undoubtedly end up in an arid land serving coffee to a Sultan in a Princess Leah slave outfit. We had our tearful goodbyes and I asked her to send money if the Sultan should happen to throw her a buck or two and then she was off. Emotionally drained, I immediately went back to sleep. After my fitful rest I went to the post office to mail out the short stories that I had been working on. I’m hesitant to say this, but I have never waited in a line at a Paris post office. I’m certain that I am jinxing myself by saying this but, once again, I was immediately sent to the front counter and was patiently waited upon by an incredible friendly French fellow who delighted in my butchering his language. My letters to New York and Barcelona were ready to go within 2 minutes and I was back on the street.

I passed an American TV star but could not think of his name- he was heading into the crepe restaurant on Francs Bourgeois. This is the second time that I’ve seen famous people and yet they look only faintly familiar to me- it’s important that I watch more American television.

The last time Kelly went out of town I shaved my beard into a goatee- as you will remember, the female readers were quick to write that they absolutely love goatees on men and that that fashion will NEVER get old. What else could I do now that Kelly is gone? I went to the BHV and bought a cheap hat to go with my goatee. My green hat, which looks like a beret but isn’t, was lost in Granada (probably pilfered by a Carcassonian on vacation).

After I bought a hat at the same place that sells lamps and electrical outlets, I did something I have never done before in my life. I wrote a fan letter to an author*. I finished “Our Paris” by Edmund White and loved it. One of my all time favorite books is also by him called “The Flaneur.” I've written abou tthis book before, reading “The Flaneur” reminds me of an exchange I had with my father, who is a sculptor. We were walking though an exhibit of Degas sculptures and I said, “Seeing these makes me want to take up sculpting.” My father replied, “Seeing these makes me want to quit” That’s how I feel when I read people like Edmund White- I will never be able to get there in my writing and it’s a little disheartening. Anyway a few hours later, still wearing my hat, of course, Edmund White responds to my email. He suggested a bookstore that he likes near my neighborhood and asked what I’m doing in Paris. I don’t mean to brag but that’s a pretty good day.

Still basking in the glow of my email and hat I began making a compilation CD for my niece in Brussels- I’m more than a little concerned at the crap she listens to so I’m doing my duties as an Uncle and pulling together some good music- but keeping it somewhat modern. So pleased was I with the CD I burned one for my sister and father-in-law.

So, as you can see, I’m keeping most busy and life is pretty grand. I will miss Kelly but of God feels she should be a white slave than who am I to disagree.

* I did write a fan letter to Brooke Shields when I was a young lad (17 years old- God I wish I had been younger) but that was before she wrote her book it was more in response to her excellent work in The Blue Lagoon....and I was 17.