Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

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I’d Walk A Mile On A Camel

Hey, how’s it going?

“Me, man?”

Not you, Garcia.

“Are you talking to me? Because I have a great story about Coach Wooden and the difference between lava and magma.”

Not you, either, Bill Walton.

“MRRRAAAAAAGHCCCCHHH.”

Not you, camel.

“Is me?”

Yeah. How you doing?

“Okay, mister.”

What’s your name?

“Idir.”

Howdy. I’m TotD.

“TotD? Is not name.”

It’s a nom de plume.

“Okay.”

A pen name.

“Okay.”

You’re just saying “okay” and smiling, aren’t you?

“Okay.”

Awesome. So, what’s the deal with this? You lead tourists around for a living?

“Naam. White people come. Put on camel. Walk around. White people down. Eat. Very exciting them.”

You like your job?

“Is a living.”

Sure.

“Most money on side.”

What do you mean?

“Hashish.”

Right.

“Beard man and friends good customers.”

I bet.

“Who they?”

The Grateful Dead. They’re a band from California. You know what California is.

“Jews and whores on beach.”

Yeah, that’s it. They play choogly music.

“Please. What is jooooguhl?”

Choogle.

“I no can say. Move past.”

Sure.

“Why band in Egypt?”

Because the pyramids are sacred and geomantic power and ley lines and secret histories and the Illuminati.

“Is white bullshit?”

Yes.

“Okay. Why is mustache man punch camel in dick?”

Oh, that’s Billy. He does that.

“Camel get mad.”

I would imagine.

The People Themselves Must Be Their Own Constitution

Teddy Roosevelt: SJW.

Didn’t sound like you thought he would, did he?

This Fucking Guy Right Fucking Here

“This guy right here is the guy.”

“No, folks. Don’t listen to Bobby. He’s the guy.”

“Aw, no. Too kind. So much bliss. So, uh, Josh: I heard you went out with William Bendix.”

“Almost. I had my appendix taken out.”

“Oh, sure. Well, that’s better. I hear Bendy had quite the problem keeping his hands to himself.”

“Okay.”

“You feeling all better?”

“Nearly at 100%. Another couple days and I’ll be right as rain.”

“Hey, at least you yoinked a pair of scrub pants out of the deal.”

“These are not scrubs, Bob.”

“Hey, hey, hey: I’m not calling you a scrub.”

“Bobby.”

“I would never accuse you of hanging out the passenger side of your best friend’s ride.”

“Bobby.”

“Would that be Andy Cohen? Or me? And, you know, if I’m gonna be your best friend, then you need to know I already have one.”

“My best friend is Jimi Hendrix.”

“They’re not scrub pants, Bobby. They’re Visvim, and they cost four grand.”

“Uh-huh. Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did you spend that much money on trousers? I don’t know if we’ve ever officially had ‘the talk,’ but you’re kinda the Bobby now. You don’t need to dress up to get laid.”

“It’s not about getting laid. I have an appreciation for fashion.”

“Y’know, if you added up the cost of every single piece of clothing the other five guys onstage are wearing, I don’t think you’d hit four grand. I don’t know if you’d hit four figures.”

“Oh, I’m sure that everyone’s outfits add up to a thousand bucks.”

“Nah. Every tee-shirt but yours was yoinked.”

“Yeah, true.”

“My pants are from Costco.”

“I thought I spied the world-famous Kirkland hem.”

“Billy stole his new hat from a scarecrow.”

“Okay.”

“One of us, uh, doesn’t even own shoes.”

“You might be right.”

“Well, anyway, I’m just glad you’re all right.”

“Gee, thanks, Bobby.”

“Oh, and there’s a $50,000 deductible on the show-cancellation insurance, so that’s gonna be on you. Maybe you could sell some of your robe-thingies.”

“They’re called toppermosts.”

“I’m not saying that word, and you can’t make me.”

“Fair enough.”

A High Honor

For Your Consideration

Those are three important words in Hollywood, Enthusiasts. There’s “I love you,” and “Where’s the coke?” or “Ronan Farrow called,” but “For Your Consideration” has ’em all beat. They are a mantra of supplication, your opening bid for immortality (or a temporary version of it); those words are a magical incantation, Enthusiasts. Say it once: tuxedos; say it twice; gowns; say it three times, and Jack Nicholson’s sitting up front wearing his sunglasses inside. But if you say it juuuuuuust right, then your asking price quadruples.

Long Strange Trip, Enthusiasts, is up for an Oscar, sorta maybe. The acclaimed documentary has been placed on the Short List for Best Feature Documentary: out of 170 films, the voters picked 15 for further perusal and another round of ballots. On the 23rd (1/23/17, if you insist), the final five nominees will be announced and then the winner gets…excuse me, the Oscar goes to one of ’em in the dead middle of a four-hour show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Now, you and I and the Academy all know that LST is much better than those other 14 pieces of dogshit, but this is Los Angeles and “the movie actually being good” is only one of the interlinking qualities a film must possess to win the coveted golden tchotchke. (Fun fact: neither Chachi nor Greta Schacchi has ever been nominated for a golden tchotchke.) Winning an Oscar requires three avenues of attack:

  1. Quality.
  2. Bribery.
  3. Schmoozery.

Let’s take LST‘s artistic achievement as a givenand move on to number two: bribery. It takes a shitload of cash to win an award worth about $400 in gold plating. “For Your Consideration” really is a bit of a magical phrase: you have to slather it all over full-page ads in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety to let the town know you’re serious about being considered. You can’t just send out a mass e-mail or post on your Instagram account, nuh-uh. Full. Page. Ad. At least once a week in both rags from now until voting is over, and that’ll run you.

And parties. Gotta throw a party or two for the Academy. Cocktails for the rank and file, maybe host a dinner party for the influential folks, and this ain’t some Milwaukee kegger, no: this is a Hollywood party with extra expenses. Cocaine, and orifices, and alibis have to be provided.

You have to throw these parties because they are where you schmooze. Cajoling, wheedling, dealing from the middle of the deck, buttonholing, hollering, strategic negging, rumor-spreading, blackmailing, flirting, nipple-tweaking, negotiating in shaky faith, bullshitting, horsetrading, bird-dogging, begging, threatening, fetching the universe from within your ass, insinuating, massaging the facts, accusing the messenger, assaulting the bartender, and–if you feel it won’t hurt–just being yourself.

You know: schmoozing.

What we need, Enthusiasts, is a solid plan; a path to victory. (I won’t lie to you: I need this one. I think an Oscar can fill an Al Franken-sized hole in my heart. Let’s start out 2018 right.) Luckily, I have such a plan, and here’s what the key players need to do:

Amir Bar-Lev, Director You know what show biz is, Amir? It’s a game of inches. You win by inches, you lose by inches, and sometimes if you want something bad enough, you take some inches. Or give some. Basically what I’m saying, Amir buddy, is that you’re gonna have to fuck your way onto that stage. God gave you those blue eyes for a reason, and now you’re going to fulfill your destiny. Men, women, Martin Landau’s corpse: doesn’t matter what you think, pal; if they give you the green light, take your dick out.

(WARNING: this is the single worst moment in American sociopolitical history for a straight white man to try to fuck his way to the top. Nevertheless, I believe in you. Fuck for all of us, Amir. Fuck us up that mountain.)

Eric Eisner, Producer Eric, you need to call your father, Michael Ovitz, and have him do something.

Justin Kreutzmann, Producer Justin, you need to call your father, Bill Kreutzmann, and have him do nothing.

Ken Dornstein, Producer Ken, I don’t know you, so you’re going to be the tech guy. Every team needs a tech guy. You’re like Ving Rhames in the Mission Impossible movies, but–I am assuming–not an enormous black man. Or, if you wish, the one guy in Ocean’s 11 who wasn’t famous or Chinese. You get a van with all sorts of knickknacks and doodads, and you get to deliver tense, whispered dialogue like, “You’ve got twenty seconds,” and “I’m in!”

Alex Blavatnik, Producer Martial arts expert.

Nick Koskoff Master of disguise/help Justin keep his dad out of the process.

Martin ScorseseExecutive Producer Please don’t get accused of anything in the next few weeks.

Bob Weir, Bob Weir Bobby, put the guitar in the Tesla, drive to LA, and sing some cowboy songs for fancy people in a living room off Benedict Canyon. You’re our secret weapon. If you could bring Josh with you, so much better.

All right, everybody got their assignments? Okay, “Grateful Dead” on three. One, two–

Jackass!

–three. Yes?

Did you think to, perhaps, congratulate Amir and the rest of the team on an incredible honor?

Is that not what I’ve been doing for 800 words?

No. Not at all.

Well, that’s what I meant. Hollywood types are smart enough to read between the lines.

Something something cocaine joke.

Barry, Crown

“Psst. Hanks.”

“Yes, sir?”

“Queen’s hammered.”

“You don’t mean ‘blitzed?'”

“Nice one.”

“Thank you, sir. You sure? She seems okay.”

“Positive. No one, uhhhh, holds their liquor like royalty. Watch this. Your Majesty, how are you?”

“I own India.”

“See? Out of it.”

“Wow.”

“You got no idea how much these people drink.”

“Well, you know, sir: they don’t have jobs.”

“Oh, no. They have a ton of responsibilities. There’s, uhhh, the waving.”

“She accepts a lot of flowers.”

“Right. That’s a tough gig, man. Sometimes, there’s thorns.”

“Boy, howdy. Can’t have the Queen prick her finger.”

“No. That’s how fairy tales start.”

“Every time. Whose job is better, sir, yours or hers?”

“You kidding? Hers. Not even a close call. You know what she does in the morning?”

“Cross-Fit?”

“The woman gets up at nine, takes an hour-long bath, and then looks at her messages until lunch. Meanwhile, I gotta talk to Rahm Emmanuel before the sun comes up. If you’re given the choice between being President and being Queen, choose ‘Queen.'”

“Toddies! Toddies or off with all your heads!”

“Yes, Your Majesty. Steward? Steward?”

“Yes, Mr. President?”

“Bring the table a round of toddies.”

“What?”

“Just heat up some booze and put it in a glass mug.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Toddies are coming, Your Majesty.”

“We must crush the Irish.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Psst, Mr. President.”

“Yeah, Tom?”

“If you can slip out for five minutes, I brought you a present.”

“Can you smoke it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’m not asking any more questions. Let’s go, Forrest.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“Gotcha. Hey, Tom. Let’s, uhhh, not sexually harass anyone on the way out.”

“Oh, no. That would break everyone’s hearts.”

Francois’ Tower

Ah, gay Paree.

“I dunno about the gay part, but it’s definitely Paris, man.”

Tower gives it away.

“Yeah. It’ll be nice when they finish it.”

What now?

“Shh. We’re trying to convince Bobby that it’s half-built.”

It does look a bit naked.

“Well, yeah, man. It’s French.”

Speaking of which, how you guys doing with the ladies over there?

“Ah, man. You thought hippie chicks were hairy? Come to Europe. Billy gave up and started developing a relationship with his bidet.”

Clean, but sensual.

“You said it.”

Banjoteil

What in God’s name is that?

“Bassjo.”

Why?

“Mash-up, baby. I love mixing instruments up. Ever seen my fluba?”

Fluba?

“Flute/tuba.”

Ew.

“I also got a pianoboe.”

Piano/oboe?

“You’re catching on quick.”

I do that.

“And a Jew’s harpsichord.”

Is that a Jew’s harp mixed with a harpsichord?

“No, it’s just a harpsichord. But I bought it from a guy named Murray.”

If I give you money, will you buy a pair of grown-up shoes?

“Absolutely not.”

Just checking.

Why, Yes, I Would Like To Funk

Sylvester: teaching all the Funkateers about consent.

 

We’re Guilty Of The Same Old Thing

You may be Saturday’s child all-grown
Moving with a tinge of grace
You may be a clown in the burying ground
Or just another pretty face

P.S. I know this woman. We were friends a lifetime or two ago. She never struck me as a fibber.

A Land Of Plenty

Good for you, Australia. Love is love; may it not fade away.

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