Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Saturday, December 14, 2002

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
--H. L. Mencken

Friday, December 13, 2002


My telephone rings. When I answer, a disembodied, electronic voice says: “Will -- you -- accept -- a -- collect -- call -- from . . .” and a hearty, all-too-real voice completes the sentence: “Buford A. Chase!”

“Oh, hell,” I mutter. “I guess so.”

“Young David!” the voice booms. “How are you this fine evening?”

“I’m all right, Buford,” I say. “But since when do political candidates call constituents collect?”

“Since I announced my candidacy for president,” Buford says. “Politics on a shoestring, my friend. Tight ship, and all that. Show the voters their next president knows how to operate within a budget. Besides, you’re not a constituent. You’re a newsman.”

“Buford,” I reply. “I left the newspaper business years ago. Why can’t you get that straight?”

“You still have your contacts among pointy-headed intellectual reporters and editors,” Buford assures me. “I know you continue to be a journalistic force to be reckoned with. Besides, The Oregonian won’t accept my calls.”

“Okay,” I say with a sigh. “What can I do for you?”

“I am organizing a publicity coup, and I wanted you to be the first to know.”

“What kind of a publicity coup?”

“Well, you saw the other day where one hundred celebrities issued a resolution urging President Bush not to go to war with Iraq?”

“I saw a gossip-column headline about it, yeah,” I admit. “I didn’t read the story.”

“Martin Sheen, Kim Basinger, Helen Hunt, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins,” Buford says, “all these leftwing pinko commie types -- they signed it. Lily Tomlin, Jonathan Demme, Elliott Gould. Matt Damon. Even musicians -- Michael Stipe of REM, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Yarrow. Hell, I thought Peter Yarrow was dead!”

“Nah,” I reply. “That’s Puff the Magic Dragon. He died in ‘69.”

“What’s that, boy?” says Buford. “Magic Johnson? I didn’t see his name on the list.”

“Never mind,” I answer. “What’s this got to do with you?”

“I have the names of one hundred celebrities who see things differently from Mr. Sheen, Ms. Basinger and their mewling crowd. One hundred celebrities who instead will endorse my plan for a Texas Death Match between George Dubya Bush and Saddam Hussein. Mano a mano in a caged wrestling ring at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, tickets on sale for $10 million a pop. No pussyfooting, but no armies, either.”

“Really?” I ask. “These people have agreed to back your idea?”

“They will.”

“They will? When?”

“When I ask them.”

“What makes you think that?”

“A sophisticated analysis of their careers by my Greed and Indifference Party staffers demonstrates these celebrities hold opinions akin to mine. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have filmed the films they filmed, sung the songs they sang, written the words they wrote, chosen the career choices they chose. They are a resource waiting to be tapped.”

“Give me some names,” I suggest. “Who do you have that compares with Matt Damon?”

“I knew you’d be interested, son,” Buford says. “All right, here we go:

“Russell Crowe, Eminem, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan, Dr. Dre, Mickey Rourke, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, George A. Romero, Jim Brown, The Rock, Tonya Harding, Bobby Knight, Alice Cooper, Wesley Snipes, Quentin Tarantino, Sam Raimi, Hulk Hogan, Jenny McCarthy, Hunter S. Thompson, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Chuck Palahniuk, Vin Diesel, Clint Eastwood, Roger Clemens, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Chris Cooper, Lee Ermey, Joe Eszterhas, Jesse Ventura, Danny DeVito, Sean Connery, James Caan, Charles Bronson, Ike Turner, Ozzie Osbourne, Charles Barkley, Strongbad, Peter Weller, Ja Rule, Rasheed Wallace, Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, Jack Nicholson, Tommy Lee Jones, Pete Rose, Don Johnson, Peter Stormare, Bucky B. Katt, Barry Bonds, Pat Robertson, Nick Nolte, Raoul Duke, John Daly, Jean Reno, James Spader, Cher, Johnny Knoxville, Mike Tyson, Jeff Kent, Courtney Love, David Fincher, Ray Lewis,Homer Simpson, David Lynch, Dennis Hopper, Shelley Winters, Eric Cartman, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kevin Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Nick Cave, John Carpenter, Chuck Norris, Stephen Seagall, Lance Henriksen, Jackie Sherrill, Tim Burton, Laila Ali, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Kermit Washington, Todd Bodine, Mark Wahlberg, David Caruso, Angelina Jolie, Warren Sapp, Tim Roth, Jackie Chan, Meat Loaf Aday, Oscar De La Hoya.”

“That’s a hundred?” I ask.

“Indeed it is,” replies Buford.

“You realize, of course, that some of those names don’t belong to real people. Bucky B. Katt, for instance, is a cat. And a comic-strip cat, at that.”

“What are you, boy? Some kind of cat-ist?” Buford fires back. “You don’t think cats have a right to political opinions? And some of our finest literature has come in the form of comic strips. Little Abner! What about Little Abner? A milestone in American culture!”

“Okay, okay,” I say. “Bucky Katt is entitled to his opinion. But that still leaves one question.”

“What’s that?”

“Why should I care what some celebrity thinks about war with Iraq or any other political issue?”

“God knows, son,” Buford responds. “I sure as hell don’t care. But somebody must, or we wouldn’t see this crap in the newspaper and on TV about Kim Basinger’s position on international affairs.”

“I’ve got to go, Buford,” I say. “ ‘West Wing’ is about to start.”

“Okay,” he says, “just remember my slogan: Ask not what Buford can do for you, but what you can do for Buford.”

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


This just in from T-Model Tommy Goodloe:

Yo, Peoria Dave!

Cosmo Iacavazzi. Do names come any better than this?

I was pumped earlier this week when I read old Cosmo has been inducted into the college football Hall of Fame. And I figured you’d be glad to hear about it, in case you missed the news, in light of your recent screed about girl jocks’ names. If you’re intrigued by sports-page monikers, you gotta love Cosmo Iacavozzi.

Cosmo was an All-American running in 1964, back in the days when an All-American running back could be white, 185 pounds and a student at Princeton. He was the captain of an undefeated Princeton team and led the Ivy League in rushing. This came on the heels of a 1963 season in which Cosmo led the NATION in scoring (14 touchdowns, 84 points) and Princeton tied for the Ivy League title with an 8-1 record, the only loss coming by a single point.

Cosmo Iacavazzi was one of my first sports heroes. Eight years old, I searched the Sunday sports section every week to find the Princeton game story and read about him. I loved that name -- Cosmo Iacavazzi scores three touchdowns against Yale, Cosmo Iacavazzi runs for a hundred yards against Harvard. There were plenty of pictures, too, because Cosmo was famed for spectacular, high-flying dives over stacked defensive lines into the end zone.

I mean, you can have your players like Stephen Jackson and Derek Anderson of Oregon State. Who can keep guys with names like that straight? Is Stephen the middle brother of the old Jackson Five singing group? Is Derek the father of bimboid Pamela? But Cosmo Iacavazzi! There could be only one Cosmo Iacavazzi. And he could play!

He was no dumb jock, either. Coming out high school in Pennsylvania, Cosmo was recruited by Notre Dame and Big 10 schools, but he chose Princeton because he loved airplanes and he wanted a hotshot education in aeronautical engineering. He was named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete for getting good grades at Princeton, and graduated in 1965 with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He played a little pro ball, but quit to work as an engineer for Boeing, then went into investing. At age 58, he’s president of a real estate consulting company. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame he had to be deemed a “worthy citizen,” and he more than qualifies. Cosmo Iacavazzi doesn’t scratch up bucks by selling his own autograph at a card table outside the LA Coliseum like Southern Cal’s Anthony Davis (All-American running back in 1974) did during the Trojan-UCLA game a few days ago.

They don’t make ‘em like Cosmo Iacavazzi any more. His was a name (and a talent) to be reckoned with.

Hasta banana,
T-M Tommy G.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002


An Iraqi vice president offered an unusual suggestion Thursday for solving the U.S.-Iraq standoff: Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush should fight a duel to settle their differences and spare their people the ravages of war.
--Associated Press

Press Release
Greed and Indifference Party
Dec. 10, 2002

Contact: Buford A. Chase (1-800-727-3998)

DUFUR, OR -- Buford A. Chase, Greed and Indifference Party candidate for U. S. President in the 2004 election, today endorsed what he called “an innovative proposal” for resolution of American-Iraqi tensions.

“I like this camel jockey vice president’s idea of a duel between his boy Hussein and our boy George Dubya,” Chase said.

“My proposal, in honor of Dubya, is a steel cage Texas Death Match,” Chase said. “We lock the opponents in a wrestling ring enclosed by metal bars so neither can chicken out and run off. We put them in jockey shorts, handcuff them together by a wrist and let them beat on each other until one of them goes toes up. Stone Cold Steve Austin could referee.”

“We could hold the match at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas,” Chase continued. “Sell spectator seats at ten million dollars a pop. Every head of state and movie star in the world would buy a ticket. Split the gate 60-40, winner take the bigger chunk. That could simultaneously reduce the federal deficit and buy a new towel for every head in Baghdad.”

“Doesn’t that sound better than spending billions to bomb some desert hellhole that wouldn't look much different after you bombed than it did before?” Chase asked. “Doesn't it sound better than killing off thousands of Americans and Iraqis who weren’t smart enough or rich enough to stay out of the army?”

Chase said if he is elected on the GIP ticket in 2004 to succeed George W. Bush as president, he would continue a policy of mano-a-mano duels to settle international disputes.

“I’ve been pumping iron,” he said. “It’s a cast-iron German beer mug. Fully loaded, it must weigh five pounds. I lift it as far as my mouth fifty or sixty times a day. By the time I take office, I’ll be strong enough to face off with Fidel Castro or Yassir Arafat or any of those clowns. And all I expect as reward is half the U.S. share of gate receipts.”

“Remember my slogan,” Chase said in closing. “Ask not what Buford can do for you, but what you can do for Buford.”

Monday, December 09, 2002

I see Chardonnay Poole got an assist for Santa Clara in its soccer game against the University of Portland Sunday. This tickles me.

I am a connoisseur of girl jock names. After I’ve finished reading the serious news in each day’s sports section of the daily paper (who WON -- that’s the serious news), I entertain myself by studying the box scores and statistic lists to pick out intriguing names of female athletes.

Mostly I collect amusing ones, like Chardonnay Poole. I mean, what’s the deal -- did her parents decide to memorialize the white wine they spilled during dinner the night she was born? Some names I like because of the images they evoke, such as Ashley Storms, Serenity Ragone and Lindsay Admire. Others ricochet off each other in nice ways. Did Angie Sun ever play basketball against Sarah Moon? I’m also big on alliteration and rhyme; consider Lisa Lee, Betsy Barr, and Katie Hayworth. Gender bending can be cool, too. Sammy Smith is a female basketball player. And some names, for reasons I can’t explain, attract me, make me think I could love a girl with that name. I never see these athletes, or rarely see them, at any rate, because they tend to play soccer for LaPine High or basketball for Chemeketa Community College, but something about their names makes me think they must be good-looking, or perky, or smart or -- something. Such as Heidi Drummond. She may be a two-legged rottweiler in real life, but her name says to me small, cheerful, dark-haired, pretty. Everybody’s buddy and cute to boot.

I enjoy this pursuit so much, I once wrote a poem about it. I’ll share it with you lucky folks.

In the Names of Love and Laughter

I get a kick out of reading
the names of girl jocks
in the newspaper. Some have
a mystique. Kendall Beaudry.
I could love a girl named
Kendall Beaudry. Or Meg
LeBlanc. A possibility, definitely.
Other names stir a smile, or go
from eye to ear with an interesting
clunk. Liz Guppy. Amber Mountain.
Aspen Grant. Brianna Pratt. Katie
Krupicka, Abby Buck and Jill
Postlewait. Destiny Johnson. Now,
there’s a name! That Johnson
girl could be my Destiny.

Kendall Beaudry may stand
six feet tall, weigh ninety-two
pounds, sport kinky red hair,
buck teeth and crossed eyes,
but I’ll never know. I’m captive
to her name. And Liz Guppy
may amount to the second
coming of Ingrid Bergman,
but I’ll always see her as
a girl with fish-lips kissing
the side of a sweaty glass tank.
A Liz Guppy by any other name
might be Ilsa smiling at Rick
with Vaseline teeth, but
I’ll take my chances.
Her name makes me giggle.

Such is the tenor of our
media-driven times. Brooke
Carrigan, I think I love
you. You, too, Allison Hanna,
Elizabeth Carr and Jennifer
Lane. But you, Berdie Wermy,
gather laughter instead of love.

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