Two and a half years ago Tatyana and I got married on La Piedra State Beach, which is way out in western Malibu and about a half-mile from the Trancas shopping center. Today we re-visited the exact same spot for old times sake, and did a little roaming around. We ran into a U.S.-born Russian woman named Irina, and she agreed to take a few shots.
Early today I was reading Owen Gleiberman’s 11.30 essay about the late John Simon. An honest assessment, if on the unkind side. I was thinking how we’re not allowed to be kind to guys like Simon in death, lest we be cast into the pit and stoned to death ourselves. We’re not even allowed to be fair-minded, for the most part. Then again there’s a money quote in Gleiberman’s piece, and when I read it I thought “Jesus, Simon actually said that?” I’m sure he thought better of that remark the next day, but God, what a horrific aspect of his personality. An erudite, dapperly dressed, old-world Hungarian vampire with a certain taste for derision and at times dismissive cruelty. He could have done with less of that, obviously, but then again that was Simon, warts and all. His venom truly was his brand. Take that away, and you have a smart but rather stuffy middlebrow critic who we wouldn’t even be talking about today.
I’ve been visiting Malibu’s Paradise Cove cafe since the ’80s. It’s never been a sophisticated place, but I’ve always liked the ramshackle vibe. For decades it’s been serving basic blue-collar meals to Joe Schmoe family types. There are always kids running around, and almost everything you order comes with an animal-sized pile of fries. Apart from the pleasant beachside setting, the upside has always been that the food prices were generally tolerable.
Well, no longer. Now it’s an overpriced ripoff (or my idea of one). It’s still the same noisy, schlubby restaurant, but now you have to pay at least $10 or $12 more per plate than they used to charge a decade ago, and on top of that you have to pay through the nose for parking.
Earlier this evening Tatyana and I dropped by Paradise Cove for a fish-and-chips plate plus a Coke. (It was actually me doing the ordering — Tatyana refused to order out of a general distaste for the atmosphere.) When all was said and done the bill was $43 ($38 for the grub + taxes + $5 tip). And then we had to pay $10 for parking, and that was with a validated ticket — it would have been $15 if we hadn’t ordered.
53 bills to eat an oily fish-and-chips plate at a no-great-shakes, down-at-the-heels meathead restaurant with sand on the floor? There’s no way I paid that much when I last visited here, sometime around a decade ago. Right now everything on the menu costs at least $10 or $12 more than it should. Tonight’s tab should have been $30 or $35, all in.
I don’t mind paying top dollar for an elegant eating experience at a place like Angelini Osteria on Beverly or Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica Canyon, but I expect lower pricing at a mongrel family joint like the Paradise Cove cafe.
The profit-hungry parties are Paradise Cove owners Bob and Kerry Morris.
This may sound like some kind of needlessly harsh, extreme prejudice dismissal, but it’s not intended to be that. I’m just honestly confessing that my primary reaction as I watched this Rise of Skywalker trailer this morning was “again?” How many more fierce light-saber duels am I going to have to watch? How many more scenes of evil Kylo, intense Rey, grumpy Luke, dutiful Finn, heroic Poe Dameron, demonic Palpatine, chubby Rose Tico, gender-fluid Lando Calrissian, etc.?
I’ve had it with this whole thing. I just don’t feel it anymore, and I was feeling it somewhat with The Force Awakens and to a slightly greater extent with The Last Jedi. But I’m all tapped out, man. My heart is spent. The legend has run out of gas.
I think it was that idiotic Last Jedi finale when Luke hoodwinks Kylo Ren with some of kind of projected film-flammery. At that moment something snapped inside. Or collapsed. I think I said from my seat in the Chinese, “Ahhh, fuck this noise.”
The big media-screening day is on Tuesday, 12.17. The commercial opening is on Thursday, 12.19.
There is “easy listening” music (generally derided, in some quarters spat upon) and then there’s your tart but gentle Sunday morning playlist. I’m talking about a certain kind of adult-minded song, simply sung and accompanied by low-key, non-strenuous instrumentation, one that’s best appreciated around 9:30 am on a Sunday morning, preferably at a mid-range volume and over your first cup of strong coffee.
Backstreet Girl is definitely one of these. Partly because the song isn’t describing a mellow, kindly, “life is beautiful” situation. It’s basically about cruel discipline. A song that says “restrain your emotions and stay in your place.” Or, more concisely, “don’t push it.”
The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” and “Carolina In My Mind” are nice Sunday morning-ers also, agreed, and they also sound great when you’re driving late at night on the 405. But they don’t have that Rolling Stones-y edge. Without that this post would make me sound like a gelatinous softie.
“Warren/Sanders: If you combine the support of the two billionaire-bashing socialists, they lead the field. You might consider vacationing in Venezuela before committing to them or they could run together as the End of Days ticket.
Biden/Bloomberg: Like Bloomberg, Biden has been forced to grovel and renounce all past career accomplishments on crime prevention.
Harris/Booker: They’re having trouble lighting the spark, even with some black voters.
Klobuchar/Buttigieg: They are the two least crazy people in the field, which means they have absolutely no chance.”
Kevin doesn’t hate Pete!
This is what’s known as an “obiter dicta” — words in passing that give the game away. Amy hasn’t a prayer so Kevin is basically saying Pete is the only credible Democratic contender who doesn’t make him throw up. Being called one of the “two least crazy people in the field” is another way of saying “Pete isn’t my guy but he has certain half-tolerable qualities, including a respect for people of faith.” You could take Kevin’s expression of limited support and turn it into “I guess if Pete won the Presidency, it wouldn’t be an absolute catastrophe.”
This implies that tens of thousands of other conflicted Trump fans out there might feel the same way. Think about that.
I’ll always be flummoxed by how a guy who had this kind of ruggedly mystical, two-steps-back, accepting-the-complex-wonder-of-it-all view of life, not to mention a guy with one of the most glorious and enviable gigs imaginable (touring the globe in search of great food, wise and wonderful people and organic, non-corporate culture)…how does a guy with this much access to the sublime joy of so much varied and nourishing experience (not to mention being well paid) hang himself in a bathroom?