David Roddis, 2019. Original web page. Ephemeral web text on random monitors of various resolutions. Make me an offer.
I start my day by waking up, today not an entirely pleasant surprise, fully-clothed and irradiated by quasi-nuclear levels of overly-enthusiastic morning sun. Give us a break, Mr. Insufferable Fireball of Happy! My first act before full consciousness is to resume my position facing the computer monitors, which I manage easily by sitting up in bed and turning 90 degrees to the right.
Beside the left monitor is a large manila envelope filled with my bank statements from 2013 through 2016. I look at the envelope. And I whine a bit.
Like this: WHHHHIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNE.
This is my “warm-up.”
Then the debate: cigarette or vape? Vape or cigarette? This is a two-day-old problem, and, honestly, to call it a debate is just silliness. Seriously? I’m lighting a cigarette, the vape makes me cough.
But I need java before any meaningful decision-making or full-throttle whining can happen, so I stagger to the kitchen to discover that the bread dough I mixed at 2:30 AM has completely overflowed the two-liter measuring jug and has started to form a leathery crust. It looks like a sad, deflated baker’s hat, or the skin on a pork shoulder, or a cross between a Jeff Koons and a Claes Oldenburg that you can bake and eat, thereby pre-empting any world-record-shattering sales, and then shit out again as a one-off iteration. Put that in your catalogue raisonée!
I divide the dough in half and tuck both pieces into loaf pans, like two plump little newborns, just barely catching myself before I mist them with “Go Green!” all-purpose household cleaner instead of oil. I cover them tenderly with plastic wrap.
I pour boiling water over the grounds in my French press, French press it, fill a mug with it, and whisper to the mug of it that, somewhere, as unlikely as it seems, milk exists.
Back at my computer,
I Begin My Day, which on this Tuesday, March 21st of 2019 means that I resume watching Act One of a stunning production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute on YouTube, with steam-punky, mysterious animated set designs by the South African artist William Kentridge.
I look up Kentridge in Wikipedia (The Encyclopedia You Write Yerself!™) and find we’re exactly the same age! Also, he’s a serious world-class artist, the son of activist lawyers who represented victims of apartheid.
I reflect on my current condition as an aging, unknown blogger teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, the son of a helmet-haired narcissist and an alcoholic itinerant shoe salesman with a secret second family, then I write a grandstanding, pretentious, but actually pretty good review of the production. You can actually read the review, if you can suffer the grandstanding.
My only reservations are that the production appears to have been staged at the Théâtre de la monnaie, which seems to mean “Theatre of the Small Change;” and that the audience has either been instructed not to clap or even move because the production is being filmed, or they have all drunk cyanide-laced Kool-Aid and are actually dead.
OK, right now it’s 2:08 PM, and I think of my friend who is helping me with the taxes even though it makes him behave like he’s smoked a pipeful of crack and makes me want to huddle in a corner and scream, “Why can’t you just help me THE WAY I AM?? Why do I have to IMPROVE the way I behave?”
Even imagining this scenario fills me with dread, because it’s substantially a new “you heard the vinyl, now see the live show” version of the time he cut me out of his life. I already owe him two-hundred eighty bucks for the copies of my book he purchased so I could approach Indigo, the bookstore, and that I gave away to feckless casual acquaintances who won’t even read it because I’m scared to approach Indigo and even more scared of the acquaintances.
I can still redeem myself and start on the taxes NOW! I can! I CAN!
Ha! Fooled me.
It’s time to have a quick gander at the New York Times. I read an in-depth piece about antisemitism in Germany, and how it’s never really gone away, just lain low for its chance to flower again. Young Jews are advised not to advertise their Jewishness, bullying of Jewish kids at school is ignored, and the furthest-right political party uses Islamophobia to drive a wedge between Muslims and Jews, so that everyone’s suspicious of the wrong people, the inherent, centuries-old antisemitism of Christian Europe is ignored and the whole problem can be attributed to radicalized immigrants, which is a handy way for antisemitic Germans to deny that they are the problem.
Kind of like how this post is a handy way of ignoring my problem, which is procrastination and owing the tax man forty-thousand dollars!
Yes. My problem with back taxes is exactly the same as Jews who actually join an antisemitic, German right-wing political party because they’ve been hoodwinked, distracted by their vulnerability to the antisemitism of a few unrepresentative immigrant Muslims.
On the other hand:
I forgot to download the free stuff from Creative Whatsit, the site that offers me free stuff that I don’t need every Monday. So I download two fonts:
which are both display fonts for which I have no real need, and an assortment of botanical vectors. Check out these members of the Myrtle family!
Still wandering, confused and dazed, in my metaphorical bathrobe down the wrong lane of the online expressway, past the off-ramps marked “Completed Tax Returns and Happiness, next seven exits! Bear right!”, I’m suddenly distracted by oncoming traffic, that you might also enjoy sidebar listing other New York Times articles that you should be reading instead of the one you already are, and I’m torn. Should I find out why Game of Thrones was a disappointment, which I knew anyway without viewing it because, hello??!! Fantasy! Meaningless drivel! or should I read about Robert Mnuchin, father of Steve?
Robert is an art dealer and a Democrat and tears up as he refuses to talk about his son, and he is also the man who purchased the Jeff Koons stainless steel bunny rabbit sculpture recently, on behalf of a mystery buyer, setting the record for the price of a work of art by a living artist.
The sculpture sold for $91 million.
This is the sculpture, with Jeff Koons himself, back in 2009, processed with FotoSketcher:
Jeff Koons is kinda hot, or is it his billions? He is definitely kind of kinky looking. I would like to fuck around with Jeff Koons and I would even pay him for the privilege. I would like to be lying naked on a pile of banknotes, in the middle of his gigantic California King-sized bed in the master bedroom of his penthouse. Jeff Koons has got to have a penthouse, right? Do you have the phone number of his gallery?
That takes the fuckin’ CAKE. Can you believe the nerve of Jeff Koons taking MONEY from ME? What a scumbag! Yeah, go out and oppress another sexually profligate, delusional, gold-digging POOR PERSON, OK?? Mr Ninety-one Million Dollar Bunny that no one can even afford?!??!!
Mr Koons is also basically the same age as me! I reflect for a moment about Jeff Koons, and the devastating shiny subversive simplicity of his art.
And I reflect on me, who doesn’t owe Revenue Canada forty-thousand dollars, but try, just try, telling them that. Revenue Canada is apparently staffed by extremely mercenary, shallow people, thugs, really, who do nothing but look at my extremely complicated situation and its missing six years of back taxes.
Maybe me, Jeff Koons and Bill Kentridge should all get together at Harvey’s, the Hooker Harvey’s at the corner of Jarvis and Gerrard, across the park. Jeff could make a stainless steel replica of a burger and sell it for $100 million; Bill could knock off some quick, socially-relevant charcoal drawing animations of the hookers who hang out at Harvey’s and make it into an opera set; and I could cry.
Because like they say: Stick with what you know.
The Robert Mnuchin article leads me to an article about 80’s superstar gallerist Mary Boone, who made Julian Schnabel’s name, and who is currently serving a thirty-month prison sentence for tax fraud.
They made an example of her.
In an article bristling with dropped names of the art world, one anecdote stands out. It concerns Larry Gagosian, he of the legendary gallery. Gagosian for a brief time lived in L.A., sharing his house with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, with whom he’d become friends in New York.
This was around 1981. Also sharing the house was a singer Basquiat was dating, who had a record contract and, because Gagosian had lost his license and his buddy Mr B. couldn’t be trusted behind the wheel, who also doubled as their driver.
“Hey, Madonna,” they’d say to her. “We need to get to Sunset.”
Madonna. Abso-fuckin’-lutely true.
Currently eating fondant icing with a
Yes, I did a video of me eating the fondant icing. The recipe is: A bunch of icing sugar in a bowl, a little milk, then mix it up. I think you should probably cook it, for the full fondantje, as they say, but I didn’t because that would have delayed the onset of the eating.
Eating the fondant icing was the point, not nit-picky accuracy or food safety. Take a chill pill, Little Miss Pauline Kael with a finger in the pie of Julia Child!
I made the video with Filmora, a video editing app which is way more fun that Adobe Premiere Elements but just as powerful. It costs $59 USD, which I don’t have, so I used the free version that slaps a big watermark on it. But I don’t mind. Ever since CIBC forgave my credit card debt in exchange for me tattooing their logo around my anus, I’m pretty amenable to being a brand ambassador. Anything that gives a great, big, sloppy “Dirty Sanchez” to Adobe is fine with me!
I used a number of effects, and the learning curve wasn’t too bad. The bit that looks like bad VHS tape or a TV on the blink is an intentional effect, so make sure you don’t get annoyed and toss your monitor across the room! Heavens! That I should be the cause of, etc etc.!
Things that annoy me about Trump today: He threatened Fox News because they had Pete Buttigieg as a guest. He said that Fox would have some ‘splainin to do, which is kind of what the Nazis said in Munich, just after the Beer Hall putsch, when they shut down the last free press.
Imagine the POTUS being so threatened by someone who doesn’t even have the Democratic nomination yet that he posts this embarrassingly sulky Tweet:
They asked Liz Warren to go on Fox, too, and I’m quite disappointed that she got all snippy and declined. She thinks that would legitimize them, but in fact, like Pete’s publicist said, you have to meet the people where they are. She missed an opportunity to win over hearts and minds of people who I suspect would really have been open to her message of economic social justice. But I guess she was too busy scrubbing the Ovaltine mustaches off her local constituents’ faces with a moist napkin. Take the friggin’ pickle out, will ya, Liz!?
Trump is pardoning war criminals. He has already pardoned a soldier who killed an Iraqi detainee, which the ACLU has called “endorsing murder.”
Like most things he does, he’s keeping just barely within the law and/or his rights as Prez, so you have to squirm a bit to complain about this. He probably thinks that Iraqi’s don’t count as people, much like he condoned roughing up “criminals” by the police, because, well, because they’re criminals and in his mind they have no rights.
Melania has added an extra padlock to her bedroom door.
It’s 5.25 PM and I started this piece at around 1 PM.
Reading about Jeff Koons, and figuring out whether he might get all dom and alpha-male and have raunchy, round-the-world artist-sex with me if I bribed him, leads me to his website. There I find an extensive list of his works, including a version of a drawing by Fragonard. All he does is stick a big, convex blue mirror in the middle of a print of the Fragonard, so here’s the original Fragonard.
It is NSFW:
“Gimblette” referred to a donut-shaped biscuit, but it salaciously refers to quite something else in this piece, which umistakeably, pornographically portrays a little girl pleasuring herself with her spaniel’s tail. Art historian Patricia Simons explains:
Lazy entitled white heterosexual German males from the former East Germany are mad at the brown immigrant people who have taken all the jobs. Except the brown immigrant people have done nothing of the kind. Lazy entitled white heterosexual German males from the former east Germany also have been deserted by their females, who under Communist rule at least bettered themselves, gained independence, then got the hell out when the Wall came down. So now the guys are wondering who is going to find us wives?
(I’m back to the New York Times. This article click-baits me into thinking it’s blaming Angela Merkel for the malaise of East German males.) Lazy entitled white heterosexual German males from the former east Germany are a noisier, more infantile version of males everywhere these days. Germany, like the U.S., like Canada, needs immigrants right now. Who will pay the taxes to support social democracy otherwise? Who will take the jobs everyone else is to high and mighty to take?
So these disgruntled man-boys are, of course, all voting for extreme right-wing, anti-immigrant parties, because that worked so well in 1938.
I decide I want to comment on the article:
“Build a wall and save democracy from toxic masculinity, from the invasion of lazy, entitled white heterosexual males!”
but I discover that the comments for the article are closed.
The Angela Merkel angle? She’s a self-made woman, an East German who bettered herself, in spades, and got out. And as Chancellor she was a daily affront to the East German males, a slap in the face. If she can do it, why can’t you?
Who will find me a wife?
It’s now 7:29 PM, I’ve spent six hours on this post and I’m feeling really guilty, which is usually the sign that I’m going to buckle down and do what I’ve been putting off doing all day, i.e., my six years of delinquent taxes.
When I go to the kitchen to make coffee I discover the little loaves of bread sunk in the pans, because during the ten hours of being abandoned they have risen, lost hope and collapsed.
I’m horrified, like the protagonist in a Barbara Gowdy short story who’s left her kids to suffocate in a locked car as she runs off to fuck some stranger in a motel room. And after a long, summer day of grappling on a chenille bedspread, bathed in the hot, slippery juices of my self-centered lust, I’ve returned to the appalling tragedy and resulting insanity that are the fruits of my life’s single, unforgivable lapse.
I think I’m going to make those cinnamon rolls from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice,” which means I’ll need to whip up a big batch of fondant icing. Except this time I’ll cook it like you’re supposed to, and since Loblaw’s is still open and it’s a beautiful spring evening I can walk there, and maybe even buy a vanilla bean.