It is the very little things in life, that make me smile.  It may be hard to see, even if you enlarge the picture, but the quote that is crudely scribbled onto the “blank” space of this subway ad location reads, “The memory of you is never lost upon me”-Elbowtoe. 

  Now, it is nothing insanely profound or new, but there is something about sitting on a train, feeling down because I am heading to work stuck in a sweat box with a bunch of other miserable people and looking over to see something that is ultimately, the sweetest, yet,  most pointless thing in the world, to bring a smile to my face.

  Of course, it is not only something that was meant to be serious or profound that can do it.  I admit it, even the stupidest of subway humor is enjoyable to me.  For instance: 

  Nothing smart here, in fact this is very childish, but it still makes me smile and I still think it is brilliant.  I like to think I have a creative mind, yet, I would never walk past a bunch of, “Wet Paint” signs, and think of doing this.  I know the type of person who did this, they are in the station stop all the time.  On most day-to-day terms I would probably despise and ridicule this type of person, but on the day they did this; genius.

  There really is nothing more behind this post, I just wanted to share the fact that there is plenty of magic left in the NYC subway system.  For people who don’t think so, feel free to paint my wet taint.


  If you haven’t seen it somewhere on this blog already, I am a film snob.  This doesn’t mean I only like arty films that no one understands, it really just means that I take in a whole lot more than just the visceral side of films.  So I won’t like a film just because it is action pack or has a lot of cool special effects.  I pick movies apart.  A lot of people see movies as just entertainment as if the movie is not trying to say something, like a book would.  I completely disagree of course and unless I am watching a bad spoof movie, I always look for what a film is trying to tell me, you know; a theme.

  I think it is great that “The Big Lebowski” gets so much praise from the general public.  I am a huge Coen Brothers fan and like to see them do well.  However, the fact that “The Big Lebowski” is seen by most everyone as just some funny comedy about a stoner, bowling and missing toes, does bother me a bit.  I mean, they even have Lebowski fests, where rabid fans dress as their favorite characters and watch the move in a bowling alley and recite lines along with the movie; ala, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  I wonder if any of these people looked further into what this movie truly is about; The death of the ideal of the traditional Western/American hero.

  Before the film was completed, the Coens said, they were filming their Western and that is what “The Big Lebowski” is.  But of course, The Dude, is the new age cowboy.  There is a reason the film takes place in Los Angeles, there is a reason why there are so many Gulf War/Saddam Hussein references, there is a reason the film opens up with a tumbleweed through the desert and LA landscapes, there is a reason there is a mysterious stranger/cowboy that The Dude meets at bar, or should I say saloon.  These elements are not put in just for comedy, they all have a point.

  I’ll try to make this short and not sum up each little piece of the movie in a 50 page essay.  The point of the movie is that, once America was all about the cowboy, who would come and save our skins from some terrible force and then ride back off west into the sunset, of course more precisely into the western land, symbolizing the western hemisphere’s dominance in the world.  As times changed, we idolized our solders, fighting overseas to keep the world safe from communism and other threats to personal freedom.  But in the world of The Dude, these people are no longer worth being idolized.  Cowboys are long gone in the way they are seen in out eyes and our solders are off fighting for oil, not freedom.

  This is where The Dude comes in.  The new heros of our land are the common man, who will out of nothing more than a good conscience go and aid a man who looks poorly upon the common man, with his kidnapped wife.  The Man who will help out a woman, who is practically a complete stranger, (whom had a very large man punch you in the face) conceive a child.  The man who will still stand by a friend who constantly provides the common man with poor misguided advice that spirals him deeper into a Kafkaesque world of  absurdity.  The man who will take the time in the middle of all this ridiculous crap to hold up the promise of seeing his land lord’s, one man interpretive dance performance.  The Dude.

  But there is another message layered in here.  This is a story about how we have forgotten our past/bastardized it.  Driving his car after it is retrived from being stolen, The Dude finds out that it was a high school kid who stole his car, via some poor homework he discovers within the vehicle.  The Dudes friend Walter, informs The Dude that this kid’s father was the Creator and Author of over 150 episodes of the TV Western classic, “Branded”.  When they arrive at home of, Arthur Digby Sellars, they find him to be dying, encased in an iron lung.  So here, in front of these men, is a man that they view as a legend, a man who wrote about the great western period America, no matter how embellished it may have been and not only he is being kept alive by a massive contraption that breathes for him, but his son can not even write a passing grade worthy paper, on American History.  Our past is dying, if not already dead and we are letting it wither away.

  Of course though, The Dude himself, is not perfect and is, in his own way, guilty of warping the past.  When The Dude, meets the character or   The Stranger, he is treated to an old American Proverb.  Now, I don’t want to assume that everyone  in the world does not know what is being said, but from talking to people about this, I believe most people hear this, “Sometimes you eat the BAR and well sometimes, the BAR, well he eats you”.  Of course, the real saying has the word, BEAR, in place of the word Bar.  It is simply The Strangers accent that makes you hear it one way instead of the other.  And when it comes time for The Dude to use this saying himself, not only does he say BAR, but he can’t even complete the phrase.  Now, this is also there to illustrate this movement from an older hero to a new one, but it is still a bastardization of what, once was.

  There is so much more to go into when it comes to this movie, but as I said, I am trying to write a blog post not an essay.  If would love to discuss this further with anyone else and would hope everyone out there really digs deep into the true meanings of the movies they see.  I am sure I already made no sense in my condensed explanations of this particular movie, but hey, sometimes you eat the bar…

  In the USA, forward progress isn’t a given as it is with time.  Here in America, we bitch and moan about change until it’s crammed down our throats, only to be buffered by some idiot whining about how large the government is (which by the way didn’t bother his simple ass when Georgy was spending billions to blow up someone a few skin tones darker in Iraq.)

  Now let’s get this straight, I never liked Arizona.  Sure, they say you can find some organic food in Flagstaff and the weather is always awesome, but the arid and sterile vibe of places like Phoenix make me feel like I’m nearing the peak of an awkward mental setting, spurred on by a bad batch of psilocybin.  It’s a place infiltrated by chain stores and pretense. In any event, I’m not risking anything by vouching for Arizona’s secession from our stagnant and grumbling union. The recent law which will become a reality in a few months unless the Feds find OBVIOUS LEGAL PRECEDENCE for counteracting said immigration enforcement, is blatantly racist.  Basically, if a police officer suspects that someone could be illegal, he can pull them over, and if anything, at least find some contraband, or any other puny reason to justify the fact that this person was pulled over in the first place.  

  My question is, unless you saw someone drive right across the border from Mexico, how the fuck can you “suspect” they are illegal, other than profiling them because they appear to be Latino? Even if they are Latino, there are millions of Latinos living all over the USA, who have gone through the appropriate channels to obtain legal citizenship, and don’t deserve to be hassled.

  In any event, I don’t buy into illegal and legal immigration.  It makes no sense.  Was there a list they had to put their name on at the border? Our corporations pillage towns all over Mexico, dump waste in their rivers, and then wonder why they’re fleeing the hell of border towns to seek a place where their family can find so much as potable drinking water. AS LONG AS NAFTA RAPES MEXICO, PEOPLE WILL COME HERE. This law is a farce, and is more representative of the current American social climate, as well as our history, than anyone wants to admit.

  I’m not gonna write some bullshit about how we are a country based on fairness and rights and freedom, and all this crap. We’re not. Blacks had to be beaten in the streets of Selma and have firehoses unleashed on them in Memphis, before our government was willing to concede that as human, blacks also should have the right to vote…..much less sit wherever the fuck they want on a public bus. I’m sick and tired of this “land of the free, home of the brave” shit. American historical synopsis: Some white dudes said “fuck it” to paying taxes and armed themselves to the teeth so as not to be forced into taxation. These knuckleheads, “OUR FOREFATHERS,” (not really my forefathers) were slave-trading, tax-evading, aristocratic, hypocrites. You can wax freedom-shpeal all you want, but that’s all just lip service being paid to the amelioration of real freedom, and most people’s need to paint the USA as some benevolent power.

  Grammar school history textbooks have robbed you of your brain. America’s racist social landscape is born out by laws like the one just passed in Arizona. We look back on the Civil Rights Movement as some final hurdle we got over, as if the need to encourage a more tolerant society is no longer there; as if the entire slate was wiped clean by what was essentially a PR disaster for the American government.  The Natives had their land taken, the Panthers had their leaders shot for providing community resources in black neighborhoods, and the plight of the immigrant in America is demonized by an entire population of American’s who follow in the footsteps of their xenophobic ancestors.

  I’ll be fine if I never go to Arizona again, but I hope the Feds are able to stop this one in its tracks. Racism is played out America. Come out from under your chicken fried steak to experience the world outside the confines of racial groupings, language barriers, and the me v.  them attitude employed in every aspect of our society, from public schools to geopolitical policy.

  You might not be as scared anymore…until then, AZ is just on more reason for secession.

  I am not a very religious person.  I am one who feels that organized religion was/is/will be what causes the ultimate end of our world. 

  I was raised Jewish, went to Hebrew School and had a Bar Mitzvah.  After that was over, I gave it all up, only to make sure I was respectful on the holidays when I was with my family.  I often say I am Jewish, for two reasons.  One, it is a hilarious thing to say out of nowhere when no one is talking.  Two, because some how, some where, there is some crazy rule that if your mother is Jewish, then you are Jewish.  I don’t understand that one bit, it is just a religion.  I have no problem if someone wants to follow their faith, no matter how critical I may be of their beliefs.  Just don’t try to push your beliefs on me and I won’t do it to you; to a point.

  Now as I stated, I am not religious at all, but I am bothered when people are extremely ignorant and will fall back on my semi-judiasm, if needed.  For instance, if I am out in the month of December buying something from a store and the clerk tells me to have a Merry Christmas, it bothers me.  Why would you assume that everyone who walks by you, buys into your way of thinking.  But I digress, because the purpose of this post, is to tell you all about a little incident that happened to me at work this afternoon.

  I was sitting and eating lunch when a co-worker, who will remain anonymous, came over to me and asked me, “What Jewish holiday is on the 20th”.  She, it is a woman, knows I am not a religious person, but I guess suspected I would still know the answer.  Now, unless it is Passover, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashannah or Chanukah; I do not know, I don’t even know how to properly spell them.  So I told her, “I really don’t know”.  Her response was, “Yeah you do, it is one of their crazy ones“. 

  It took every last inch of whatever will power I had in my body to remain civil, as this is a place of business.  I could have easily stood up and said, “Oh yeah, the crazy one; is that where everyone hides eggs and worships rabbits?”, as I so wanted to.  Or maybe, “Is that the crazy holiday based on a book where somebody lives inside a whale for a week?”  It should be noted I chose those two examples as this person is Catholic.

  I am a cynical bastard, I know it.  But can you really fault me for being bothered by this?  I mean, this is not the first run-in I have had with this person, dealing with many issues.  But, I am always respectful and won’t let things get out of hand.  But everyday, on a grander scale, the world is being devoured by religion and it has to stop. 

   I would keep writing, but you all know what I want to say already.  I just wanted to relay this story to you all.  Now that I got that out of my system, I think I am going to read a book, I heard this “Dianetics” thing is a good read.

  The “Sleeping on the train” Gods were looking down on me this week.  I have a whole bunch of new additions:

  If you know me, you know of my love for, “The Mars Volta” and most, if not all of the work of the group’s songwriter, guitarist and conductor; Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. 

  His first film to see the light of day to anyone other than his friends, and third to be filmed, “The Sentimental Engine Slayer” had its U.S. debut this past week in NY, as an entry in The Tribeca Film Festival.

  Following the exploits of  Barlam, played by Rodriguez-Lopez himself, “The Sentinmental Engine Slayer” is the story of a young man, who is just trying to better his life.  In doing so though, he can’t help but just ruin things even more, for himself and his family.

  The film is told in a pieced apart, non-linear style that frankly would confuse mainstream audiences, however, the film never really gets as far out of hand as one might expect.  It is a valiant first effort, or third effort I guess, for Rodriguez-Lopez who shows tremendous promise in the category of being a film maker.  The film looks polished enough that if i told you it came out of a small independent film house, you wouldn’t think twice.  In reality, shot at the end of 2007, the film was made by Rodriguez-Lopez with the aid of his friends and family and nothing else.  Shot, only so he can learn about the process and experience it, the cast and credits roll looks similar to what would appear as someone’s, summer BBQ guest list. 

  Through-out the film I can pin-point two specific scenes, both featuring Rodriguez-Lopez’s, Barlam, with the character of Oscar, played by Nomar Rizo, that are absolutely fantastic and show off the true film making talent that rests inside Omar.  Beyond the fact of how well these small personal scenes were put together, along with the film as a whole, they illustrate what I found to be the biggest surprise watching this film.  Omar Rodriguez-Lopez also has acting chops.

  I am not getting ready to hand him a best actor award or anything, but I was really impressed by the job he did.  Maybe it is more because, as a fan of all his work, I know the type of over-energized and nervous personality Omar exerts on a day-to-day basis.  It is sort of the same feeling I get from Woody Harrelson.  Knowing how much of a space cadet Harrelson is in real life, even his goofy character of Woody, on “Cheers” is a triumph.  Even if you don’t know the typical Omar mannerisms compared to those of his character Barlam, he still turned in a solid performance that was noteworthy.

  As I stated earlier, “The Sentimental Engine Slayer” is not a film for everyone.  If you are looking for something different from the typical churned out Hollywood fare/you are a fan of Omar’s work, then I would suggest seeing it if you have the chance.  If something more family themed was your idea, you missed out, the fourth installment of Shrek was only showing during the opening night of the festival.

  Let me preface this rant by saying…..I have no problem with nudity. In fact, I am known for wearing the least amount of clothes that I can possible get away with. I’m the fool, who at the beginning of every summer, states that I will not wear a shirt unless the particular place in question can be logically referred to as, “an establishment.” That’s right, if I don’t think your spot is classy enough, I could very well show up shirtless…or worse.

  In this vein, I must make a commentary on nudity practices in Mens Locker Rooms across the nation.

  For the sake of being didactic, in addition to oddly opinionated, I must clarify a few things…..

  Nakedness is alright, in this case, it’s totally acceptable, except in the following cases:

A) You weigh 400 lbs and your penis is obscured by your(self).

B) You have a huge ball sack and no penis.

C) You desire to stretch obscenely near the bench next to the steam room,  prostrating your ass in the face of every unsuspecting passerby…

D) You’re holding yourself while looking to see if anyone else in the locker room is interested.

  Now don’t you bastards start saying, “What the hell?” I respond with a defiant, “What the hell to you, maaaaaaaan?” I know I’m not chiseled from stone, which is why I don’t stretch bare ass naked in front of you, or any other poor son of a bitch.  Have some self-respect….

  In reference to the quasi-homosexual approaches, weird eye games, and tugging on thy(self)….take it to the gay club y’all.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that;  just not in a private locker room at a health club.

  In conclusion…no matter who you are….put your balls away, dude….

– Ellis Deee

  …put your balls away, dude….