shaken, not slurred

Hats off to some good advice

HumphreyBogartHumphrey Bogart made it look too easy.

If you’re too young for the reference, let’s just say that George Clooney and Ben Affleck probably spent a good deal of their boyhoods looking in the mirror and imagining that Humphrey Bogart was looking back at them. And unlike our contemporary masters of cool, Bogart didn’t have to try. He just was. Cool.

But what I’m talking about in this instance are hats. The ones that populate the neighborhood of Fedora’s, Trilby’s and Stetson’s. Old school and yet new age cool shit. Or so I was thinking.

Bogart wore hats the way Malibu wears sunshine. Easy and true and all day long.

So this past week I tossed my proverbial hat in the ring- it was a figurative transgression with literal intentions behind it. On Monday, it was going to happen. On Tuesday I had forgotten all about it. On Wednesday, I remembered, Then I asked my girlfriend for her thoughts. She was like ‘Why not?’ and ‘Cool, babe’, but I’m thinking it was the champagne talking and that cool had nothing to do with it. It was a bad idea to ask her, since she’s legally blind to my fashion disasters on account of the fact she’s sleeping with me. On Thursday I went shopping for hats. Okay, not really. I happened to be out and I saw some hats in the clearance section of the men’s department. It was a cheap date. So cheap that I decided to hold off until I could consult an expert on haberdashery.

As it turns out, I ain’t got friends in the haberdashery business. Who does? I mean, that would be like knowing someone who darns socks. Or uses a flip phone. As it turns out, my hat bill came up for a vote over lunch with my pal Felicia.

“I’m thinking about wearing a hat.” I said.

“For what?”

“What do you mean ‘for what’? To wear a hat, yanno . . like around?”

Her reply came via a snorting giggle.”Chyeah . . right. You’re not serious.”

“Well . . now I’m not. But I was serious when I brought this up fifteen seconds ago.”

“Halloween’s over.” More of the snorting giggle.

“Okay, I get it. You killed the idea, you murdered it. The whole hat idea? It’s a closed casket funeral thanks to you.”

“I’m just saying.”

“You were mostly just snorting and giggling, at the same time.”

“What does Tara think about it?”

“Doesn’t matter . . she’s sleeping with me, so yanno . . she’s got the blinders.”

“True. What about your kids?”

“No way in hell I ask them. You know the shit they’ll give me?”

“Hey, it’s your call. But there’s no going back once you wear the hat. You can’t just stop wearing it once you start. You become a hat guy. And once you start, people are going to expect a collection. You can’t be wearing the same hat every day, you’re gonna to have to change it up.”

“Shit, you’re right.”

“Hat guys are pretty fashionable, too. So it’s going to affect your entire wardrobe.”

“Sonofabitch, I didn’t think of that.”

“Hat guys can’t go back . . .” She said, as she finished off her Caesar salad.

This is why Felicia is my point person when it comes to these kinds of things. She doesn’t include rainbows or unicorns in her assessments. I had never contemplated the ramifications of becoming a hat guy. I guess I was blinded by the interchangeable nature of baseball caps. Michael Moore doesn’t count, since I’m pretty sure he was born with a baseball cap affixed to his head.

As it turns out, hats are the fashion equivalent of Harry Reid’s political career, The Simpsons, really bad Adam Sandler flicks, really good Cristopher Nolan flicks and Brad Pitt’s amazing sex life. Hats are forever. And I’m not willing to make that kind of long term commitment to something I can’t smoke or drink or have sex with my own damn self.

Maybe I’m going to have to revisit the tat idea . . .

Back when I first started watching The Walking Dead, I was giddy with the thought of zombies as television stars. I imagine if George Romero was dead, he would have been so proud to see his vision go water cooler. The dead as a  de rigueur accessory to weekly planners and Sunday night get togethers . . what’s not to love about that?

To paraphrase Charlton Heston, the living couldn’t wait to pry the starring roles away with their warm, living hands. As zombies have come to learn over the last four seasons of what was supposed to be their show . . human beings are way scarier when they’re coming at you from ninety eight degrees strong.

While Merle, Shane, the Sons of Anarchy, the Governor and Gareth are all about crafting Sun Tzu to its worst measure, zombies? They just gotta eat.

Cayman Thorn’s Walking Dead Thoughts: 

The story arc is moving faster than Artie Lange in a buffet line. Terminus is toast and Gareth is deader than the Yankees offense. I ain’t complaining, but I am ‘lil dubious as to where we can go from here with more than eighty percent of story still left to be told on this camping trip of a season. And Tyreese is pissing me off in a BIG way. You CANNOT let that douchebag from Gareth’s Eat Club make it out of that cabin alive . . not after he threatened to kill Judith, you cannot. He’s a bigger liability right now than Gabriel. On a positive note, I love this Rick and I love this gang. I love Carol and I love her Daryl. I’m just hoping Beth is channeling the Governor upon her return.

 

Anyhoo . . . I asked myself, “Self? Which character from TWD would you be most like in a zombie apocalypse?” And self answered with “Get the fuck out of here! Zombie apocalypse?! You can’t even handle a line at the grocery store without having a conniption!” 

Self and me, we don’t always see eye to eye. This poses a huge problem when it comes to dinner, voting and romantic entanglements. But that’s another story for another zombie apocalypse.

Cayman’s World Series thoughts: Going in, my girlfriend’s expert opinion was that Madison Bumgarner had a great ass, and that he should pitch every game of the World Series since he’s the Giant’s best pitcher. I’m, uh, not going to touch that first thought. But I have to say, she just about nailed the second one. When no less an authority on October baseball than Curt Schilling tells you he’s never seen that kind of pitching performance before? You realize how close the Royals were to having Kevin Costner write their love song of a season into a sequel to ‘Field of Dreams’, if not for number 40. 

As for the zombie world (The one that has absolutely nothing to do with Fox Sports), I thought maybe I could be a Rick type, but then I thought again since I can’t garden to save my life. Glenn? He’s too reasonable, Herschel. He was too religious. Abraham is too redheaded. The Governor loved aquariums (I don’t). Gareth was into eating people (I’m into eating with people.) And then it hit me! Daryl . . yeah, definitely. Earning his loyalty takes time, but once you have it, you’re good. He’s his own man within the group dynamic, which so describes me. I can be an awesome teammate, but I’m just as apt to go off by myself with a bourbon and a smoke so’s I can settle the day on my own terms.

Okay cool, “Hey Self! I’m Daryl!”

“Chyeah, you’re Daryl. And I’m the Pope’s landlord. Who you kidding? . . .The only reason you want to be Daryl is because of Carol . . .”

Self knows me all too well. I would ask him to move out, but . . yanno.

Cayman Thorn’s favorite line from “Four Walls and a Roof”: I knew when I told you, it would become all about the end. And I really like the middle . . . (Thanks Bob. And sorry about the leg. And about you dying.)

Okay, a few yins and yangs to throw in my suitcase for the big dead reveal. These here are some personality characteristics that make me the ideal- or less than ideal- partner to pair up with at the end of life as we know it.

Positives: I’m fiercely loyal, but I’m not blind to it. I’m organized, methodical and efficient. I have big energy. And while I’m not the murderous type, I will go Banshee if you fuck with me or mine in the Zombie Apocalypse.

Negatives: My OCD would be a hindrance. My mood would fluctuate between sandpaper and barracuda if I wasn’t able to procure a reasonable store of whiskey and smokes for the trip to nowhere. My decision making skills when it came to forming a gang would be flawed. I’d take musicians over soldiers, since I would need me some music to pass the time and I can’t play a lick. And hygiene, man . . it’s everything to me. I would be spending all my time scouring for soap and toothpaste.

Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed my Halloween post. I want to send out one more shout to the brilliant lovelies who invited me to their zombie party this month. They’re excellent peeps, and I hopes to hell I can be in their gang when the dead requisition our morning show existence, because they kick ass in the literal, figurative and most soulful of senses. Mama Mick, Jennie, Christy, Mary . . . you are rock stars squared.

And this here is my official Halloween anthem. I’m dead serious.

 

 

I don’t consider myself a writer so much as a guy who scribbles his thoughts into cocktail napkins and then reformulates them for sale. It sounds more mercenary than literary, I know. Which is why this blog will remain anonymous for as long as I feel like coming here and venting on something or other.

This blog ain’t nothing but a thing.

A beautiful, fantastic thing. A mess of a thing. A guided missile rant of a thing that coats my stomach on late nights and early mornings when the want is mightiest. A thing to which secrets and spells and songs gather and fester and march. To their own drum, at their own speed. Like me.

Cayman’s TV Crush #1: Gotham

My son talked me into it, and I must have done something right because this is my DVR happy place (like tonight). Donal Logue plays Det. Harvey Bullock and he is my favorite character on this young season. But seriously, everyone is spot on. Det. Jim Gordon and his main squeeze Barbara are the sexiest of sexy couples. Robin Lord Taylor is the best penguin since like, ever. Sean Pertwee is a Daniel Craigish version of Alfred (Trust me). David Mazouz makes me okay with child actors, which is no small thing; he’s terrific. And now they are just piling on the good stuff with Frank Whaley making the scene (He, of Vacancy fame. And yeah, it’s fame to me . . solid flick, to which I’ll have a few thoughts shortly.) And this isn’t even mentioning (’till now) Camren Bicondova’s amazing rendition of the toughest of tough girl roles as Selina Kyle. And if I ain’t sold you on all that? Then watch Jada Pinkett Smith’s turn as Fish Mooney, and then tell me you don’t get this genius idea of a TV show.

There was a time- a few of them, actually- when I tossed with making this blog what my last blog looked like. Brand it, shop it, go podcast and bring in writers and make money. And then I remembered how miserable I was with all the bullshit I attended to on a daily basis. Editing, networking, dealing with IT guys who spoke a different language. The only humanity to the venture was a girl I met along the way. She was mercury with a pen, tell you what. If Mary Shelley and Charles Bukowski decided to have a baby . . yeah. If you’re looking for an inspiration to this blog, she’s it. Really. Holy crap, that’s a future post! See? Even I don’t know how these posts are gonna go until they start happening . . .

Cayman’s Quick Movie Thought: If you haven’t seen Vacancy, it’s not a bad Halloween fix. I told you I would explain the Frank Whaley reference, so here it is. I loved the ’70’s-ish opening title. But it kept me plenty interested after that, and Whaley? He’s a brilliant crazy man.

This blog is this blog. I brought it back to where the thought was and that is where it stays until the end of it. No strategy outside of the thoughts spilled. That’s what I love about the place . . the fact that it serves no better purpose than to shoot into the clouds, and then scream like Butch Cassidy and then run like the Sundance Kid. Letting hell trespass only makes things more interesting, the ways I sees it.

Cayman’s Gone Girl Preview: Saw the screening. Holy Cannoli Batman! Frank Whaley ain’t in it, and neither is Jada Pinkett Smith . . and somehow, it still does some kind of crazy good stuff. And if you just figured out that this entire post is a subliminal love letter to Ben Affleck (Who is gonna be a terrific Batman in my humble opinion), then you are smoking WAY better shit than me. So, send me some. USPS will do. Don’t worry about the feds, they’re busy blaming each other for the latest White House home invasion.

There’ll come a day when I’ll skip town. Hey, the Empire State Building ain’t forever. Nothing is. But that’s what makes it so much more beautiful. Knowing that it’s a piece of well used change, rolling the pockets of denizens inside of the now. For them. For here. For you. And for me.

Cayman’s TV Crush #2: 4th and Loud

I made fun of it . . until I checked it out. Watching Gene Simmons bitch about product . . I can tune into that shit all day. Football is just a bonus.

As for as Drinks Well, its end is a while off. There’s no rush.

Because there are no stats to belabor. No bells to answers, no eggs to fry. No means, no averages, no flowcharts or invoices or deadlines to sweat about. Drinks Well is just a here thing. A love thing. A peace and love and soul thing.

And the best part of the deal is? I met you.

PS- The Royals and the Pirates have to make it a World Series. Please?

A Walk into Mercy’s Arms

New York City, October 2001: We walked from Central Park to the church on 21st. This church, like all the others in a town built on Runyan and Warhol, bleeds upwards to the sky in an ageless chiseled portrait of fight against the gallivant of a town whose purchase is an ageless sin. 

Our walk was ceremonial, respectful to the invitation which had been proffered, but with no intention of acceptance. We had come to the agreement that we weren’t gonna broker those mighty steps up into the insides of that church and its sacred gathering. That service, it was about the faces and the names who had shared in the lives of those taken, and we . . . we were not a part of that. We were tourists. Not of a company or a precinct, and certainly not of that brotherhood lost. Our hosts had been gracious in the offering, but we didn’t merit entry into that church and we knew it. 

We had trudged back from Central Park after breakfast, burning off the nervous energy of three days spent as volunteers at the 13th precinct inside the down under of mid town. The boys in navy blue, crisp and tucked firm, had invited us to a memorial service for the fallen.The city was ripe with memorial services in the days and weeks and months after September 11th. We knew we had to go, there. If not inside, we had to go there. So we did, and then we stood and watched, outside that church on 21st. We watched the advance of kilts and bagpipes, and then we watched the sea of navy blue uniforms, crisp and tucked firm, as they followed the music inside. Into a closure whose full degree was never going to come. 

Once the procession had moved inside, our group decided on heading back to the hotel to rest up until dinner. The idea of rest wasn’t working for me, so I told the group I would meet up with them later. I had to walk. 

I walked north, with ideas on Central Park. I found a corner grocery and I bought a pack of smokes to keep me company. And then I walked, hard and long and for the length of an afternoon that was heavy on clouds. I walked uptown and then I walked back downtown, stopping at intervals for a drink with strangers at one place and then another place after that. The undertaking felt ridiculous and the results sublime; to take part in the same old same of a carnival atmosphere while stuck in the middle of such a hellish proposition as the one that had been tendered. But I had to. I had to let the city still be the city to me. The city I grew up inside of. The city I left. The city I came back to. Again and again and again. 

My walk whittled until the hotel was within sight, and that’s when I looked at my pack of smokes and I counted up. There were seven left. I had crunched thirteen into memory as I sewed my legs into concrete across a city’s afternoon. I stopped right there to celebrate the occasion by lighting up one more. And that’s when my ears grabbed onto a Mamas and the Papas spill that was screaming from deep inside the bowels of a souvenir shop chock full of red and white and blue. And so I stood there and I tugged hard at my last bit of ridiculous until the feeling went sublime.

I prayed. Not sure what for, not sure what to. But the feeling was upwards. And the mercy was true, and my legs, they were tired enough to let it go at that. 

 

 

Riding Shotgun to the Moon

It was early morning, in the middle of spring. The memory is more than five years old but its ability to nurture me is a timeless thing. I had called a friend of mine, to vent. I was feeling ready to just pack the fuck up and leave town. In the movies, that kind of impetuous act looks like some really cool shit- seeing as how the backdrop is someplace sexy and the soundtrack is someplace cool. Difference is, real life muddies your feet into a more intricate set of steps, where each foot of space is thickly committed to the next. There’s kids and there’s work and there’s french toast.

Some people stay put out of fear, and some people stay put out of the realization that breakfast always tastes better where you’re from.

We can’t all be David Carradine. Walking the earth ain’t gonna solve the bills that come due inside your soul. Staying in the place you know can be a plenty cool thing in its own right. So, in lieu of walking the earth and leaving my forwarding address with a well placed middle finger, I placed a phone call to a friend.

I reached out to a voice I knew could settle me. She’d proven quite adept at framing my personal catastrophes in these neatly wound ribbons full of sweetly placed quotes and sage-like curse words. It had been that way since the night we met.

It was a holiday party and I had gone solo since my girlfriend lived in another town. And that’s when Sheryl Crow’s wickedly sexy sister showed up. She was funny, charming and most importantly of all . . she was taken. Her partner in crime was a pert and possessive little dame who only gave her five minutes peace when she went out for a smoke. We made good time of those five minutes, several times over and more as the drinks got silly and the party got stoned. We kept solvent and we learned each other, as best as two people with respective sleeping arrangements can learn each other.

We kept in touch, best we could. And it was her that I reached out to one morning, middle of spring, five years ago. She had a way about her that I knew I could lean on. And I leaned, going from zero to Fifty Cent as I bitched about my romantic troubles and I bitched about myriad obstacles and I bitched about consequential roadblocks and I even bitched about bitching.  I didn’t come up for air until I’d squeezed my Shakespearean tragedy into a comedic, rambling mess. Her professional advice sliced the fat away, it was fucking beautiful.

“She’s possessive and she’s insecure. You stay with her because she has amazing legs and you love to argue every bit as much as she does. And I don’t feel the least bit sorry for that kind of shit.”

It was free advice, which means to say it was priceless. I had romanticized things into a Lucy and Ricky equivalent. I had fallen for a town- Chicago- and room service nights and writing riffs and gin Martinis and yeah . . I had fallen for legs. The two of us had shown up like Paris in the showroom, but the sticker price was a lonesome, argumentative ride.

When it occurred to me that the voice on the other end of the line had a life of her own happening, I asked her about it. And then she told me how she’d broken it off with her girlfriend. She was picking up the pieces with champagne baths and piano lessons and books and Bowie and moon watching. The moon is a great lesson in the efficacy of silence, because it moves the oceans without saying a word.

And then getting out of Dodge didn’t feel like such a hot idea. Because, Dodge was kicking with things to do and dreams to meet up with. I stopped feeling sorry and I started taking the steps to some place else, without ever leaving my driveway. And then I called that voice again. And then, we tossed some Bowie onto a turntable and let him kick the night onto a porch swing. The wine and candles took care of the rest.

Marriage ain’t a thing we’re looking to have, seeing as how white picket fence ideas went rear view for us a long time ago. If we happen to make it to a more deliberate age and we’re still kicking Bowie into a police call, then maybe we’ll try some David Carradine on for size. She’ll teach me some French and I’ll educate her on why Willie Mays was the greatest ballplayer of all time. And then we’ll grab breakfast in some middle of nowhere joint.

If it tastes like home, we’ll wait on the moon.

 

photo 4 (1)I imagine that my next life will be lived as a dog.

I will have no concern for the complicated math of semantics.

Sun will mean running and Moon will mean blissful sleep.

Life an endless playground. Love an endless proposition. 

Woof

 

That there is Tebow, my house guest last month. He is currently loving life in a home with a yard the size of Yankee Stadium. Cause Foster Daddy wasn’t having it any other way. I might loves me some apartment living, but that don’t mean I’m not looking out for my boy when it comes to permanent living arrangements.

His new family sent me some pics and I just thought I’d share up the handsome boy and his amazing eyes. He’s doing just dandy and he’s being spoiled up to such an extent that I’m wondering if maybe . . just maybe . . his family might consider adopting a forty seven year old man.

SophiaAs for this beautiful young lady to your left, her name is Sophia and she’s Tebow’s sister. I stopped by the Humane League after work this evening and I took one look at her and I just knew . . .

“Hey! You MUST be related to Tebow . . .”

After verifying my hunch with a staff member, I learned that Sophia is being adopted this week. All six of the brothers and sisters now have homes.

So . . . one of the perks of being a Humane League volunteer is that you can walk into the place and just grab a four legged friend for some social time. So . . . I did.

Sophia is such a lovely little lady. She fetches (Like her brother). She gives great kisses, (Like her brother) mixed with playful bites (Yep, like bro). And she can just chill in your lap for however long you want to hold onto her (Okay, Sophia has it all over her brother on this count).

I sat with Sophia in the BARC Room for a spell. I called my daughter and put the phone on speaker and we just chilled, together. It was a sweetly satisfying end to our time with a four legged family that stole our hearts.  Me and Ari got to know three of the six kids- Riley ( a girl with BIG attitude), Sophia and of course . . Tebow.

In my next life, I want to be just like them.

 

You have all these plans when you become a new parent. They begin with perfection and they get sillier from there. You imagine that you will become the paradigm to the way things were done before and the way things will be done forever after. You imagine that you will tap Robert Young on the shoulder to let him know . . I got this.

Baby makes the scene, and all that planning explodes into tiny little pieces made up of feeding schedules and perpetual diaper changes and doctor’s appointments and doting relatives who understand (a little too well) what it means to stay up all night for baby and clueless friends, who have no idea whatsoever. You find yourself working taxi in the middle of the night for a cranky cough that ends up being colic, and you’re thankful to lose sleep just for knowing it’s not more serious than that.

Report cards and skinned knees and school plays and concerts and sports and pain in the ass little friends with absentee parents and snotty noses . . they’re making the scene before you have a chance to repaint the kids room.

Before you know it, middle school is happening and you’re thinking to yourself “I am NOT this fucking old”. And you’re really not. It’s just that, the time has morphed into this vacuum whose suction has taken you from delivery room to first crushes in the blink of an eye and you? You are just not ready to concede to what the Cosmos are dealing up. This doesn’t mean that life stops happening. All it means is that you were never given a chance to hold on for the ride.

By the time the kids get to High School, you have re-invented yourself. Again. You’re uncertain as to whether this latest incarnation works as well as the last, which didn’t feel all that silky smooth on account of the fact that your head and your eyes were telling you one thing but the mirror was saying “Uh uh, Boo Boo”. And sure, you still look pretty and you still feel ready to tell the world how things work. You take immense comfort in knowing that forty is the new thirty and you don’t worry yourself with what fifty looks like because that? Like everything else to this point, has seemed a galaxy away.

And then you get to forty seven years of age and you still look pretty and you still feeling like running a marathon and the world is still attached to a mobile of your liking. And hey, maybe the mirror is lying some of your pretty, but that’s okay. And hey, maybe that marathon ain’t feeling even remotely possible when you crook your feet onto the floor, and that’s okay too.

You’re well aware of the fact that perfection was never gonna happen, and you laugh at the idea that you really, really tried for such a thing. And for a good long while. Alas, you didn’t come close to the paradigm. A perfect parent? You weren’t even close, and that’s okay. Because Robert Young? Was an actor. And life? It don’t give a crap about working the script.

So you log out of Skype with your baby girl after going three hours solid, talking on music and dogs and reality shows and the cat and Tebow and writing and art and food and her big brother and Lois Lowry and work and school and every other thing that ever meant anything to the both of you . . . and that’s when you realize the very best part of the mess you done made.

Perfection was never going to feel this beautiful.

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