Yesterday Ali and I went to see The Master. Each of us paid $5.00 which is a bargain thank you PJ Cinemas but Ali should have heeded the owners warning when Ali saw him on Friday. Not that good he said. How bad can it be? This is one man’s interpretation. Yet we had these high expectations, critics seemed to like it. What movie were they watching? Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour
Hoffman were both over acting and trying to upstage the other. What was worse? Mr. Phoenix and the irritating way he spoke, what the fuck? His spoke through the side of his mouth with clenched teeth more often than not, mumbled his lines like they were ingredients of the industrial intoxicants which he abused - enough to kill most men. The opening scene was…disturbing. He’s in the Navy on the beach on leave, mixing pollutants into cut coconuts. A woman is made out of sand lays with legs open on the beach and he has sex with it. Then with his back turned he finishes the job into the sea. What were we watching? Then he’s a photographer in a department store and mixes the chemicals to drink. Fights one of his customers, ends up a migrant worker, mixes chemicals and kills a man who reminded him of his father. Running to freedom he is on the docks and finds a party on a yacht which takes off and he is wakes up to meet Mr. Hoffman as The Master. Hoffman refers to Phoenix as Boy, you’re just a boy. The man has grey hair, was this a miscast? And he has a girlfriend who is only sixteen? Seeing them on the bench - this older man with a girl was…creepy. Lord help me. None of the characters in this movie were appealing; they were either suffering from delusions of grandeur, misanthropes or sexual deviants. We should have gotten up and left, eventually we did before the ending. The movie had no plot or reason except to waste brain cells and time. I hate wasting time in a movie theater, especially when there is an old fart a couple of rows back snoring out loud. At least he enjoyed a dream. Avoid this movie. Who could give The Master three stars? Unless they were paid off.
I sent an email to my manager that I’d like to take the day off. The reaction from most is, I hope everything is all right. Granted I worked from home on Monday since Ali was fatigued the night before and I felt it was better to work from home. In fact I hope to talk to Karen about working from home more often, but that is not the theme for this entry. I put in for the day since I jotted down in my calendar it was the Mets last home game of the season and they were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. The decision was sealed since it was RA Dickey’s attempt at winning 20 games. Hope everything is all right…even though I took some calls and answered some emails, I took the day off. I even went back to sleep after dropping off the kids around 9 since I could. Ali went in for radiation. When I got up I took a long shower, shaved and dressed and went to the barber. My hair needed a cut as well as my goatee which is staying put for as long as I hear how good it looks. Thank you. John the barber has a new born at home and I was his only patron at that time. He looked tired. We bull shitted for awhile, but in any conversation there comes the time when there should be a lull even silence. I always give him some ideas to promote his business. I repeat the same thing each time I’m there. He likes the ideas. He has hired another barber, but I can hear behind his optimism some dread that business may not improve. Then he catches himself, like a cycle, his revolves from bad to good and spurts something positive. I don’t like when anyone says, maybe God has something against me. Don't be dramatic. He adds,just when I think business is good, it’s not. Onto baseball. Earlier in the baseball season I read RA Dickey’s book. I can’t recall if I reviewed in my blog, but if I did here is how I feel about the man. RA Dickey has taken his share of abuse, both physically and mentally. He was sexually abused by a babysitter as well as an older boy in his neighborhood. My heart went out to him since his depiction is similar to many others, although their lives are deeply traumatized and scarred. Dickey did not let these incidents define him. He didn't seem to dwell in the trauma. As he grew up he was a solid pitching prospect, but after a physical it was determined he was born without an integral ligament in his pitching elbow, this is why his arm can never straighten itself. He almost had a professional contract but after the physical it was taken back and he lived the hard life of minor leaguer trying to raise a family. His faith is strong and this brought him through some tough times…so briefly this is the Cinderella story we all dream about. Good guy who lives though tough times but makes it. So he makes it the Mets and last year was a break-out season for him. The Mets fans love him, but more he is a knuckle-ball pitcher. Their pitches are difficult to hit when their pitch is on, but when it’s not – it could be home run derby. Yesterday he pitched quickly through the first, I noticed he had little patience for the batter, he would set up and then have to take a break and wait and then set up for the pitch. Most of the time when I'm at a game,I like when the fans, who are strangers start to talk to one another, sharing their opinions and memories and even giving one another high fives as if they are on the team. I don’t like when the opinions become conversations. Keep em to yourself. In New York we all have opinions and can talk to anyone within seconds. I came to this game to see a game not to listen to you. I turn around and face the field where the action is. Baseball is all about sequences and position. The perfect competitive match is between a batter and pitcher, trying to figure out what each other has and waiting for the pitch. Dickey was hit fairly hard in the second and it appeared he may lose the game. That was until Ike Davis hit a home-run to right. He is another success story who made an incredible switch from a slumping player about to be called down to the minors to a power hitter with more than thirty homeruns this season. But the Pirates came back and once again it looked like The Mets would lose. The crowd cheered for Dickey, each time he was up at bat or had a strikeout, yesterday he had 13 which tied his highest in a game. After he walked off the field in the seventh, with more than a hundred pitches it was assumed he was out of the game. Not Dickley, he walk out to the field with his heavy bat and hit a slow roll to third which died in the grass as he ran full steam to first and was safe. That's one of the pictures. This meant he was coming out to pitch in the eighth. It was amazing since most pictures are pulled when they reach 100 pitches. By this time I moved down from the heights of jets that were landing at LaGuardia to field level, back among the living crowd who concentrated on history. We stood back as RA struck out the first two Pirate batters but after a 0 and 2 and then a full count he walked the third batter…and Terry Collins the manager took him out. Dickey gave the fans everything he could and so did Collins who moved Dickey up in the rotation to pitch yesterday. He wanted to give his pitcher the opportunity to seal his incredible 20th win in front of the home crowd. So we left the stadium and were jam packed in the parking lot, the smiles faded as cars barely budged. Even as we rolled into rush hour traffic among the obnoxious drivers those twenty to thirty thousand who were at the game enjoyed the day off from their lives and for a few hours shared this New York moment.
Yesterday I drove to Pennsylvania. The plan was to meet Dave in Plymouth Meeting where I’d leave my car and he will drive us to Hershey Park. We were pulling out of the parking lot. His car was making a strange sound from the front, as if something was loose on the left wheel. I imagined the tire flying off as we headed west on 76. We turned around and I drove. Not something I wanted to do, but weighing the options, dying or seeing the concert – it was my car and living. The drive was not bad. I expected once we pulled into Hershey, traffic would come to a crawl. Only when we approached the parking fields, it was then we could see the crowds. There was the beer drinkers tossing footballs and playing the ring toss games. The air was warm. The sky held the menacing threat - grey clouds - a storm. We found our seats, 9 and 10 aisle C section 30. I assumed it was not a sellout. It was a sellout. Our seats were far back from the stage, the performers were small and faint from the distance. Thankful we had the huge screens. I could not believe the immense crowd. Most of the young adults were rural type. One kid had a mound of tobacco wedged behind his protruding bottom lip. His teeth were stained yellow and he murmured his words to his girlfriend. They wore cowboy boots, but there was one blonde beauty who looked like a drunken country Paris Hilton. She’d hang on her friends. I curiously looked over my shoulder and saw her sprawled out on the bench – her dilated eyes were open and a spreading puddle of vomit was on the floor. Some tried to clean it up, by putting thin napkins over it. That didn’t stop one guy from glancing at the vomit, after they hauled Paris off, and continued to chew into his dinner. He didn’t care. The drinking and smoking escalated and yet we all got along, though the girls behind us stood and danced on the bench next to me, holding up themselves by putting their hands on my back. I’m sorry she’d day. No worries. She’d say, I have to tell Kim – FUCKIN - Jack Johnson is next. I love him. Jack hit the stage and his sedated demeanor was a bore. He referred to his wife twice as if he was trying to make up for being a banal performer. Kenny Chesney was next and Paris was assisted back to her seat cause she wanted to see him through her blood shot eyes. There an opportunity to get a beer fairly quickly. I went down and got two and came back to my seat. Kenny was a better performer than Jack, but his songs were superficial…beer, football and Mexico. Get off the stage. Paris was hauled off as if she was crippled and we were all told all they wanted to see was FUCKIN Kenny. The heavy John Cougar paraded slowly on the stage, but he kicked some ass. I have to give him credit, he told a funny story about his grandmother who had him praying about going to heaven. Hold on a sec granny, I got to rock. When the walls…Come tumbling down. Dave Matthews who went on before John was tremendous. The man knows how to share drinking, and a slurred banter - reviving the crowd with an acoustic set that was mesmerizing. Neil Young and Crazy Horse was worth the stench from the drunken Paris Hilton. I moved down and got as close as possible to see Neil, but was still far away, fifty yards and straining to see. Last was Willie Nelson who played his worn out acoustic with perfection…Whiskey River, Crazy, Mama Don’t Let your Baby’s grow up to be cowboys. The key was when he played a song with his son, which Dave told me is a Pearl Jam song. Farm Aid created an important event that reminded all of us, to eat locally. Support the local farmer instead of the corporations who are polluting the earth with GMO and pesticides. Eat organic. I need to add before closing this out. This facility (Hershey stadium) was too small for this event. To get anything to eat or drink the wait could take forty minutes. More frustrating was the beer lines - which were different from the food lines. Are you serious? Was it worth the trip? Yes. I have not been to a large concert venue like that in a long time. Being outside watching the sun set, smoke drifting over the BBQ pit, cigarettes and pot, as the sky grew dark the lights from the stage blazed vibrant colors. It was different from the small venues. All of the performers were there on their own dime. I respect that. And when Willy closed the show, the winds ripped up the empty beer cups down the empty aisles…time to call it a night.
Driving into the Brooklyn as night crept up into the sky. Eleven years after the attack. The sky yesterday was clear blue and similar to that morning when we were in a collected shock. Two erect ghostly beams of light shredded into dim stars. This is where we lost loves. This is where souls collected in the city and rose like the lights into heaven.
What a difference a night makes for a band. Compared to their performance at Ollie’s Point the night before, We Were Promised Jet Packs kicked it into full gear. This was the last show of a shortened US tour. There was an opening band from Indianapolis and I hope they get someone who can sing instead of a pouting and a somber ho hum murmured clown. A drummer and guitarist and a sound board with licks from the eighties, hey that sounds like The Cure, no sounds like Joy Division, it’s something. No it’s nothing. It was a forgettable opening act. The crowd, roughly three hundred, maybe closer to five hundred by the time We Were Promised Jetpacks walked onto the stage. The Bell House is an open vast venue, tucked in an industrial section of Brooklyn, with two fine bars and a little food section. This place has class; it has chandeliers, cement floors and a dignified crimson curtain. I’d like to get back in there and discover more corners. The band played an extensive set. Adam joked that he didn’t want anyone come up to him after the show and complain why they didn’t play something else. The crowd sang along, screamed out like a chorus of saints. It was amazing to be so close and look back and watch the responses, pumped fists…I’m curious if they are working on their next album. The band has the repudiation for their live shows, but it’s almost a year since they released a new album. I found out last night’s show was being recorded…maybe it’s a live album? I wish Amanda was there. Today she is 18…as I left the venue I pulled a poster promoting the show…a gift for my Mo Cheeks…
Last night, the Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks played in Amityville at Ollie’s Point or if you want to be more ashamed of being a Long Islander search for the place on Google which will lead you to Club Loaded. What kind of name is this? Sort of the title one would strive for when one is begging to convey a violent atmosphere or a Heavy Metal in your face - sexual connotation. It also has another alias, Revolution - another hint at the potential angst that some frustrated promoter has. I have to confess we did not pass through the doors of this darkened establishment till WWPJP’s were into their third song. In fact I heard their music as we drove past the dark place with my car windows rolled down. Shit, we’re late. You can easily pass the place. There are times when I was to kick my GPS down a flight of stairs and jump on top of the beast. Revolution your Club Loaded GPS. Anyway, saw Chris and Kathryn and bought a beer for me and a Coke for Ali. There must have been approximately fifty cool mofo’s who decided to witness an incredible act. The stage is set back into a corner, a flimsy curtain covers a wall and a shabby window and in another corner is where the band would walk down and into the backstage. The sound was not over powering which can be problem is a small venue. The band were dressed very casually, shorts/ T-shirt/ basketball sneakers - Adam Thompson (guitar,vocals) Michael Palmer (lead guitar) Sean Smith (bass) and Darren Lackie (drums and vocals) Last October they released their second album, In the Pit of The Stomach on Fat Cat Records, which was a strong follow up to their freshman release, These Four Walls. This group plays very tight. They have been friends from high school who have travelled the world. Yes, the mood last night was sort of semi professional. I felt like I was at a practice more than a show; although they did not stop and repeat any of the songs. Not sure what triggered the mood. Maybe it was the scarce crowd, the dark somber settings in the room? The band had serious trance like faces as if they were going through the motions of the music. This is the third time I saw them. The first was last fall at Webster Hall in NYC and last May in Philadelphia …Last night the show ended with Thunder and Lightening a sweaty red faced Adam turned his back on the gathering, looking at the drums, with mic in place he screamed the last lines in a fierce rage which shook our bones. In an hour - I’ll head into Brooklyn to see them play their last night in the US before heading back home. If you get an opportunity to see them – you need to do yourself a favor and go. They will blow you away. Either at Club Loaded or Revolution or any place other than Ollie’s in Amityville. After the performance, we had a chance to meet Sean and Michael and I asked them a huge favor to wish Amanda a happy birthday. Not a problem…went outside, called her on our cell and handed the phone to Sean. There you have it. Making another claim so my daughter thinks I’m the best Dad ever…