Thursday, February 08, 2007

(Angostura) Bitter(s)

I think I'm becoming a bitter man.

Did you know that if you soak a wedge of lemon in angostura bitters, then dip it in sugar, then eat the pulp, it will stop your hiccups?

But back to the original statement. I was rereading my screed about not trusting people who invest too much energy in the advertisements during the Super Bowl and although I believe every word, I've decided that the tone was decidedly bitter. Particularly the line that went:
You do the math, sucker.
Manomanoman. I think it's time I stept back and smelt the flowers. The fact that it's ten degrees in northwestern Virginia, the basket of the Civil War, doesn't help. Maybe that's why I'm bitter. No flowers to be smelt.

Or perhaps it's because I want to paint like William Faulkner (dark and dank, rich with meaning like a stump rotting in the Mississippi swamp) and I feel like I'm writing like that guy who writes the Spenser books.

The obvious literary reference would be:



Oops, that's not it. But you have to love this picture. The stuff they make actresses do before they get to play Allie McBeal. Honestly.

No. The obvious literary reference would be:
The guilefull great Enchaunter parts
The Redcrosse Knight from Truth:
Into whose stead faire falshood steps,
And workes him wofull ruth.
Of course, from The Faerie Queene. I love when Bogie kisses that shakey girl for the first time, then they blow up the German steamer.

Anyway, here I sit in my father's solarium (which is really just a glassed-in porch on a 12 storey building full of old people), staring across the Potomac River, towards Maryland. Towards Pantops Mountain. Towards Sharpsburg...and Gettysburg. Antietam.

Which is what I said the first time my now ex-wife cooked pork chops for me.

"Can't eat 'em."

This, of course, is not true. But it does make me laugh.

Anyway, back to Spenser. Here I sit in my father's solarium, staring across the Potomac River, towards Maryland. Towards Sharpsburg ... Gettysburg ... Antietam. And I feel like I'm painting like that Spenser guy, not like Faulkner. Pathetic. I was staring at the guy's picture on the dust jacket of one of these Spenser books. He's about 60, he's got his foot on the lowest rail of a wooden fence, he's wearing a leather bomber jacket and his hair is slicked back. His character, whom he so desperately tries to make interesting by giving him a charming dog and a less-charming girlfriend, is an unlikely magnet for women of every kind. But he tosses them aside like unused Kleenex. In truth, its the pathetic re-living of an otherwise failed life through the fiction. Hell, if I was going down that road, I'd rather paint like the guy who writes the Travis McGee stuff.

But not Carl Hiaason.

Nooo. I'm not that fucked up yet.

But I do feel like the work of late, with the possible exception of my boy, Cramer, has been workmanlike. Uninspired. And I'm seeing, perhaps, the market reacting to the work in the same way. That is to say, they're not buying.

Which makes me bitter. You think this shit is easy? It's not like the bad ones just roll off the stick. You gotta sweat them too.

Another thing that makes me bitter, as long as we're just laying it all on the table? I always stay tuned when the voice-over says: "Stay tuned for more scenes from Friday Night Lights." Or 24. Or Dirt. Or Men In Trees (for which I apologize). Or The Hills (for which I don't apologize).

I always stay tuned, even though I realize that the same evil forces that impell me to watch Super Bowl advertisements are at work here as well. So who's the sucker now?

A couple of quick notes:
  1. The SISSI hits the newstands next week.
  2. Dealbreaker and CrossingWallStreet.com both carried the YouTube clip of me talking about Big Jim I, albeit too late to stimulate the market. In either case, if you want to see it, you gotta scroll down a ways.
The first note makes me think: hmmm, I haven't lost my sense of timing.

The second one makes me bitter.

I'm thinking of Eric Burden. And the Animals.

I can see the Mason Dixon line.

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