Sunday, October 31, 2010

Late autumn, Catskills

Sneak preview of my vacation time, which I stupidly delayed until November. Cold, windy, bleak, and the Esopus, which has an extended season through Nov. 30, was still running Yoo-Hoo after the flooding a couple weeks back.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How To Avoid Talking Politics

I find most political discussions dreary and pointless, and I have devised a cunning strategy to get out of them. This cunning strategy is top-secret but I will let you, all 16 devoted readers of Coiled Pleasures, in on it.

At a party or gathering, A. approaches me and starts nattering about whatever it is. I listen politely and wait for a break

Then I jump in with something like this: "Of course, all this is just a smokescreen, a diversion created so you and I won't notice that the people running everything are either nine-foot tall shape-shifting reptiles from another galaxy, or their human-lizard hybrid accomplices."

Stunned into silence, A. slowly backs away, muttering something about losing his eyeglasses or getting another watercress sandwich, and soon the word spreads. Which leaves me free to find the one other person in the room who would rather talk about something —
anything — else.

I absolutely guarantee this secret method.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Plus One = No Sympathy

Jean-Luc Godard's One Plus One (aka Sympathy for the Devil) is a big pile of merde.

About half the film is of the Rolling Stones working their way through what eventually became "Sympathy for the Devil" on Beggar's Banquet.

The other half is, to be nice about it, incomprehensible revolutionary gibberish.

It's only an hour and a half but it seems like forever.

The revolutionary bits are so self-conscious and so... stupid, yeah, that's the word — I half expected the Monty Python guys to pop out of the abandoned cars in berets, striped French sailor shirts and elaborate mustaches. "Un, deux, trois!"

About the Stones: "Sympathy" started out as a folky, bluesy thing, and it seems Keith Richards worked up that little loopy bass line for Bill Wyman. Brian Jones is shown playing away at an acoustic, but they don't seem to have turned his microphone on.

Thank God for the fast-forward button. Two coils.

Utter Madness

A young guy I work with was pondering buying a blazer. "You've got one, right?" he asked.

Now there's a loaded question. I have 10 on hand, in fact.

So how many blazers does a guy need?

The litany:

Two Brooks hopsack three-button sack blazers, 3/8 lined (whatever that means besides not a full lining). One's sleeves are slightly shorter than the other, so I wear them with the appropriate shirt.

One Southwick version of the Brooks. A little bigger in the chest, and a little more shoulder. I'll use this with a sweater or odd vest.

One "Lacrosse for Lewis of Hilton Head, S.C." two-button sack with pewter buttons and a full lining. This one has the best shoulder of the lot.

One mystery maker black two-button sack. I have this in case I need to look like a hipster, which never happens.

One "Bozzano" English cut two-button, darted, with twin vents and full lining. Also plain silver buttons, which I vastly prefer to those ersatz crests on RTW blazer buttons. Heavier fabric, goes well with pleated flannels and weaters and other colder-weather gear.

One unstructured cotton LL Bean jobber, inexplicably darted but great if I know I'm going to be stuck in a meeting that will get progressively hotter.

One Brooks linen darted two-button, which should be a summer coat but with the full lining really isn't.

One Burberry 6 x 2 double-breasted with twin vents, in case I need to look like some yachting wanker.

I also have a heavy flannel or camel hair, I can't remember, Brooks blazer still in storage.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

If that Esquire contest had gone the right way...

...this might not be so far-fetched.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

School Colors

I interviewed the new principal at our local high school today, and for the occasion trotted out this Lands End overstocks tie — in Housatonic blue and gold.

Not that Lands End knows that. Just sayin'.

Lots of LE here today — shirt, socks and gabs all come from there. Shoes are thrifted Church's cordos, and the jacket an eBayed Southwick sack.

A Farewell to Drips

And goodbye to the explosions, cracked carafes, faulty timers and other impediments to gracious living typical of the automatic drip coffee maker.

I got an electric percolator from Cuisinart. yeah, I know, lah-de-dah, but I have a food processor/blender and a coffee grinder from them and neither one has ever given the slightest trouble.

This thing works like a dream. I set it up the night before. Yes, yes, I realize the beans must be kept at a steady 54 degrees with 87 percent humidity and Guatemalan nose flute music playing to keep the chi of the beans intact, and the beans must be ground just before making the coffee, etc.

But what Postmodern Coffee Fiend Dogma fails to take into account is my personal morning fog. (See that phiz in the photo? The look of utter cluelessness?)

I am very clumsy in the morning. I drop things. I break things. I misplace things. I put my underwear in the refrigerator, and my wallet in the bathroom cabinet.

Until I am caffeinated and nicotined, and have had a chance to contemplate the world a bit, I cannot function — much less perform the relatively complex chore of grinding coffee and setting up the gizmo.

Dean's Beans is one of these outfits that coffee snobs go on about. A 12-oz. bag is a hearty $8 at the local grocery store, which generally takes it out of my range.

But online Dean's various Beans sell for a far more reasonable $7 per pound, or even cheaper if you buy huge bags. (That's one for you adrenaline heads.)

I don't know what this has to do with Ahab, or Melville, or Moby-Dick, but it's damn tasty and has a good kick, no question.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Booze memoir here

My 16 readers tune in for clothes and bad movies, not my hazy recollections of a wasted life. So the Great Booze Memoir now has its own home...


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sports shirts

I've been trying to incorporate sports shirts into the look. I dislike the open-collared dress shirt approach — to me it appears the guy forgot his tie, or had to ditch it because he got soup on it.

And while a dress shirt with a buttondown collar looks okay sans tie (oxford more so than pinpoint or broadcloth), it still seems wrong somehow.

I have picked up a number of sports shirts from thrift shops and guys on the clothing sites. This plaid from the Bros. Brooks arrived today.

Since I attacked the gym with renewed vigor a couple of weeks ago I can now wear this lightweight McGeorge sweater again. It is very unforgiving to anyone with a gut, and mine is somewhat less pronounced than it was. And getting smaller.

(Not that it will make the slightest bit of difference. The only women who find me attractive are either insane or on Social Security.)

Lands End grey jeans — two points about these. The cut allows those of us with no rear end to at least avoid having acres of superfluous cloth flapping around back there, and if you dislike jeans, which I generally do, having them in colors other than blue makes them less objectionable somehow.

LL Bean Signature mocs. I like them, they are comfy and sturdier than you'd think.


I'm aware of breast cancer.

I'm also aware of: prostate cancer, bullying, cyberbullying, cyberbullying of gay kids, leukemia, AIDS, testing of chemicals on animals, HIV (Latinos' awareness of); domestic abuse, the earthquake in Haiti, straw bale construction, green technology, and athlete's foot.

I am NOT wearing a pin, ribbon or a little wristband to prove my awareness of a particular subject or issue.

I believe that most people get involved with these causes out of genuine desire to make a difference.

And I believe just as firmly that a certain percentage are buttinski do-gooders with the primary goal of making themselves feel good, and the unspoken, secondary goal of nagging their neighbors.

Which would be fine if they weren't so self-righteous about it.

I'm a small town reporter. I cover these awareness-fests all the time, and the organizers always hand me the ribbon, which I decline to pin on the lapel of my expensive — albeit thrifted — suit or sports jacket. (Is the cause going to pay for the repairs?)

This policy earns me squiggly looks. I'm mostly concerned about the jacket, frankly — start poking holes in worsted wool and pretty soon you've got a problem — but I resent the implication that if I don't wear the ribbon or change my Facebook page to pink, then somehow I am in favor of breast cancer or puppy mills.

I also ask questions, such as "How much of the money you are raising along with the awareness actually goes to stray dogs or research laboratories, and how much goes to keep charity execs in nice digs and their pampered offspring in prep schools?"

I don't put it quite that way, but that's the gist of it.

I'm sorry, but I am all awarenessed-out.

I am, after all, a professional at not giving a shit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

So Easily Amused

On this wet, chilly, windy evening (very Burgess-like, flip chill bastard though certainly not dry) I am glad to have these unworn Brooks Bros. pajamas, obtained from an assiduous thrifter in New Jersey who goes by the i-moniker of "Tweedy Don."

TD has deep, deep closets. I've picked up any number of things from him.

Combined with a Viyella bathrobe I snagged from yet another collector, and feet tucked into a pair of Minnetonka slippers that were being given away, a cup of "Yogi-Lude" tea and the always pleasant sight of the New York Yankees getting their asses kicked...

Yes, I am easily amused.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ignore the Stretchy Bicycle Panties

Tim Durrin's a young guy I've known for a few years now. He served in Iraq and now he's trying to do something in the peace department.Link

Despite the fact he wears stretchy bicycle panties, he's OK. Better than OK, in fact, and if you can throw a few bucks his way for what I think of as "Bicycling to Cambodia" it will not be in vain.

Here's his blog with an explanation of what he's doing: Cambodian Adventures

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There — I Said It! (stupid pants version)

The "droopy drawers" phenomenon is at least a decade old by now, and just as tedious.

Sorry, but when I see someone wearing their pants that way I immediately assume he's a brainless twat.

There — I said it.

(Thanks to KFW for alerting me to photo)

Monday, October 11, 2010

There — I Said It! (finger version)

I slammed my finger in the laundry room door about six weeks ago. The dried caked blood is only now starting to disperse.

It's a great excuse to flip someone off. "Hey, seen my injured finger?"

And offhand I can think of one primo candidate for this. Hope you're checking in, dear.

There — I said it!

There — I Said It!

Ogden Nash was a better poet than T.S. Eliot. At least Nash didn't inspire the Lizard/Dingbat King, Jim Morrison.

Plus Nash rhymes and you don't need a degree in comparative religion to get the jokes — if there are any in Eliot.

There — I said it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall Back

Tweeds. Wool socks. Extra hankerchiefs — for blowing, not showing.

Wool ties. Viyella shirts. Question becomes "which sweater," not "sweater?"

Moleskins, corduroys, flannels. Breeks! (ideal for wearing with long socks under breathable chest waders for you late season fishermen — unlike pants, they don't ride up)

Odd vests. Heavy oxford cloth shirts. Hats.

I'll be heartily sick of it soon enough but for now it's fun to be in transition.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Top Ten

Many people say to me, "Hey Sully, what are the best exploitation flicks of all time?"

And I reply, "It's the same list as the worst exploitation flicks of all time."

These films are, by definition, awful. They may be poorly made. They might deal with taboo subjects. They might have been made for $11.87 by a couple of Armenian Jews in Mexico.

If you're lucky, you'll get all that and more!

Remember, "exploitation" is an elastic term. It may refer to the exploitation of women (a common feature of schlock). It could mean the exploitation of a touchy subject — just run the lesbian vampire sub-subgenre by the gals at the next feminist symposium you happen by on your way to the track.

It always means the exploitation of you, the moviegoer — because you, like a chump, bought a ticket, or rented the DVD (a sad feature of our lax post-modernist, post-drive in society).

So here we go:

10. I Spit On Your Grave. Made in Kent, Conn. for the above-mentioned $11.87. A valiant, doomed attempt was made to recast this as a feminist film, because the grave-spitting is done by the female lead, with good reason. Nice try.

9. Make Them Die Slowly. The ultimate "Stupid White People in the Jungle" flick.

8. Deathstalker II. Sword and sorcery epic, with an evil warlock who looks like Gloria Swanson.

7. Freaks. Tod Browning's 1931 circus geekfest anticipates reality TV and gave the Ramones their "Gabba Gabba Hey" chant.

6. Basket Case. A "Freaks" for the 1980s that also captures pre-Disney Times Square.

5. Zombie Lake. This gets the nod over "Shock Waves" in the underwater Nazi zombie category with its tender love story and nekkid volleyball.

4. Bloodsucking Freaks. The flick that gave us the deranged midget Ralphus and a renewed appreciation for the techniques of modern dentistry.

3. Evil Dead II. In which the hero, with a new group of dopes, goes to the exact same cabin and reads the exact same words out of the exact same Book of the Dead — and is then surprised when the forces of Hell are unleashed. Again.

2. Night of the Living Dead. For pure horror nobody has ever come close, certainly not director George Romero in his innumerable rehashings of the subject.

1. Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS. If you wish to alienate someone forever — someone normal, that is — make a big tub of Jiffy Pop, pop open a couple of Dr. Peppers and settle in for this monstrous epic.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

And So It Came to Pass...

And a Voice said "Go forth — well, sit down in your underwear and write a Devil Movie; be sure to include a choir singing gibberish Latin and take freely from the Revelation of my servant John, for there is plenty of material the heavy metal groups have not appropriated."

And the scribe did as instructed, for the Voice was terrible and he was sore afraid, and also he was hung over and had not the energy to argue.

He wrote for forty and two nights and on the 43rd night the Voice asked him "Have you written my Devil Movie?"

The scribe held the script above his head, and it vanished.

The Voice did not speak, and the scribe got sore afraid again. Then the Voice said "Lose the zombies, they clutter it up, and nix on the sex scene between the padre and the nun, nobody's shocked by this kinda stuff anymore and we won't get the PG-13. Nice job otherwise, kiddo."

With his advance the scribe, who was middle-aged, fat, bald and not too bright, and was thus scorned by the young women of the city, bought a fine new robe, an even finer pair of sandals, a sleek racing chariot and an even sleeker horse to pull it, and took to spending long hours in the cafes, calling strangers "baby" and buying lavish meals for the women.

It didn't help.

44 and a Half Just Won't Do

But it will have to, as that's the temperature outside this morning.

And the Lord said, "Let There Be Tweed!"

(He added: "Thou shalt NOT go outside in cargo shorts and a t-shirt in October, thou blithering idiot.")

And wool socks and sturdy shoes and hefty trousers and hats and scarves and odd vests and sweaters etc.