The Great Plotnik

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Isabella's National TV Debut! Flash! DOH!

Baby Isabella has just had her National Theatrical Debut this morning at approximately 9:13AM. It seems that this woman


a Producer of Note for the Today Show (who just coincidentally happens to have been a fellow student with The Great PD at the Annenberg School), had heard about the extraordinary acting talents and sheer knockout beauty of this woman


shown here having just set eyes upon her Mommy, the Employee of the Month at The Great FiveHead Catering Service.

Shawna put Isabella into a baby montage which played on a screen in back of the set where a vapid bubblehead and a total nutcase were talking alien nonsense about understanding baby's cries.

Isabella WOULD have saved this segment, perhaps even saved the show, and Shawna's future employment, IF Plotnik's camera hadn't flashed when it wasn't supposed to flash. AIIIIII! This is why you are now looking at a baby with a laser beam across her nose.

Still, a debut is a debut. Isabella's Agent, Mr. Arf Mischief, is not upset at this not so cool photo of his client. He looks happy. He always looks happy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hitler's Back. The World Ended This Morning. More Baby Pictures.

Hitler is back and he buffed up this time. Don't care.

Kim Jong-il's head exploded this morning. Don't care.

The Great Plotnik ate his first hamburger in fifteen years in Santa Monica. Don't care.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

There is More to Life than Baby Pictures

OK, it's time to begin the weaning process for those of you whose sun does not shine without another baby picture.
We all have to get our lives together and once again become fascinated by The Great Plotnik's career as a Restaurant Photographer
and chronicler of Saint Plotniko's Grand Views. After all, there is more to life than, you know, baby pictures. Sheesh, you'd think you'd know that by now.

Monday, November 27, 2006

So Now it's Christmas (M.I.L.K.)

So now it's Christmas. The Great Plotnik listens for Muzac with a song or two of his playing in the background. In the early days (before December) his heart overflows with cheer. It won't last for long.

Muzac, by the way, is very nice. It plays in that exact spot where you don't even know it's there, but you do know it's there, see. Kind of like baby pictures posted on a blog that have nothing to do with what's written on the blog, but they do have something to do with it, see.

The suggestion has been made that I.L.K. is beginning to look like an Indian politician. That could possibly make her a Mahatma. If so, then she becomes Mahatma Isabella Louise Konecky which works out to M.I.L.K. Some things are just meant to be.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More Thanksgiving

Of course you wanted to know about Thanksgiving Dinner...

...and you all want to see The Big E (Before)
...and The Big E (After)

And, of course, Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a basketball game.

I mean, life has got to be more than baby,,

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Baby I's First Thanksgiving

She slept a lot, but not always when she was supposed to. Baby Isabella Louise turned two weeks old and two days later went on her first outing down to the Hotel Ric for Thanksgiving.

Sometimes she slept in the bassinet, so Dad and Mom could get something to eat, but most of the time she hung out in her sling. Even with all the family gathered around for the raucous holiday feast, Baby I. barely made a tiny peep.

This was the first year the Garza family came to Thanksgiving Dinner, because Emilio and Cousin TwoNames FINALLY got engaged. Mr. Garza and Little Bearnik enjoyed several tequila shooters before everything got going.

Carving a turkey is fun. The whole point is to have some left after everybody runs up and steals most of it before it even hits the platter.

Think about this: Cousin Lila, who is in her 70s, believe it or not, was the flower girl in Mummy Plotnik's wedding, in 1936. The two lady cousins are still best of buddies.

Good looking people, don't you think? Cousin TwoNames, The Big E, The Great BZWZ, Plottie and Nefnik.

Another Baby picture? Why not?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Only 365 More Shopping Days Until Next Thanksgiving

It went down like this: Turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potato yummy mushy stuff with some kind of nutty things on top, creamed spinach, a mold that tasted like a 50-50 bar, a mold that had red beets in it, mashed potatoes, stuffing that cooked inside the bird and stuffing that cooked outside the bird for vegetarians, and also dressing, though nobody knows what the difference between stuffing and dressing is, and green beans, and an orange-an-olive salad, and a sort-of salad with broccoli and other things, and that may do it for the first course, which was followed by pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, brownies, cookies, and, best of all, flan.

The flan was the best part of all. Now that the Garzas are on the Thanksgiving Team and Maria Garza makes wonderful flan, we can count on flan for years to follow.

Pictures to follow. Sadly, not today. Baby I was the star.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Yurt with Four Wheel Drive

Back in the early Spring, when Plotnik and Ducknik were galivanting on Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala, it appears that discussions of a sort, nudge nudge wink wink, were underway that would lead to the beautiful and now two-week-old Baby Isabella, whose NEW photos you would be looking at right now were it not for TGP having forgotten his ethernet cable.

Traffic is backed up in both directions in Stiletto City, no matter where you are going or coming from. The Great Plotnik is thinking of building a mobile yurt that can be taken onto the Freeway. That way, passengers can lounge inside, smoking a yak and having philosophical discussions while the driver stares out at highway speeds of 2 mph in every single direction.

Observe the traffic in the above picture.

Today is Tourism Day for the Big E. BZWZ and he are going first to the Chinese Theatre, to see just how small Judy Garland's footprints were, then to the La Brea Tar Pits, then down Sunset Blvd. through the Strip and Palisades to the beach, then up the coast to Malibu, then back down to a favorite burger spot in Santa Monica, and then possibly to the newly renovated Observatory in Griffith Park.

Duck and Plot will find someplace to hike. They need to push themselves out of the yurt.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No Digital Camera Cable!

See all the fabulous photos!...oops. Plotnik forgot the cable from the computer to the camera. And what you're all missing! We'll try to remedy the situation this afternoon. It's hot down here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

No Baby Picture!

...technically this is a Great Grandma Picture. Today the Plotniks leave for Stiletto City where lives the source for All Things Cute, as well as turkey and pecan pie and a basketball game, about all of which more will be written later on.

Plot is taking his camera and Duck's computer. Every person in Mummy Plotnik's neighborhood now has wireless. Plotnik could probably blog from the shower. There should be little letup of Cute Shots.

Yesterday, Plot took another raft of restaurant photos. Once again, the Indian restaurants smell the best, the Japanese restaurants look the best, and an easy way to charge 'way more than you should is to add 'fusion' to your title.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Three Nice Smelling Restaurants and a Baby Photo

One of the more enjoyable parts of The Great Plotnik's job for OLI is reviewing restaurants and taking pictures of them. Yesterday it was camera time, so TGP went into a dozen eateries in the Fillmore, Marina, North Beach and Downtown. Of the twelve, only two passed the Would I Eat Here? test. Those two were: Chutney, on Jones Street in the Tandoor-loin, and Cafe Mediteranee on Fillmore Street near California.
Both smelled delicious, had waiters who were actually smiling and were filled with diners who were also smiling.
One other restaurant looked promising: Ristorante Franchino in North Beach, but it didn't have any customers so it couldn't pass all the tests. Smelled good, though.

You may wonder what this baby picture is doing here. Page views, bro.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saint Paul Putzola has Resigned his Commission.

The Great Plotnik hopes that America has finally come to see that it got what it wanted: a pompous, shallow, self-satisfied President whose view of the world is the definition of The Unexamined Life. After six years of watching one misstep after another, yesterday clinched it for TGP.

George is in Veet-nam. When asked what message he drew from seeing the prosperity of the new Hanoi, Bush said "What Vietnam tells me is that in Iraq, if we don't give up, we're gonna win."

Saint Paul Putzola, the Patron Saint of Blithering Idiots, has been looking over Bush's shoulder for six years, but yesterday he handed in his resignation. The President of the United States looks at the prospering capital of a country that kicked America out so that it could rule its own people and take care of its own business, and now has an economy that is the second fastest grower in Asia, and the message to GWB is that we should stay in Iraq?

In other words, if we had stayed in Vietnam a little longer, we could have...won? Won what? They're doing great. They're not our enemy any more. We did win. We got out.

What the hell is wrong with this man? Who does he think he's talking to?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mrs. Brady Dies and Ray in a Suit

These are The Great Plotnik's neighbors, Ray and Pat. Pat has lived on the block for better than 60 years, and Ray, her husband, moved in when they got married after he got back from the Korean War.

The Great Plotnik saw Ray and Pat walking up the street the other day. He had never seen Ray wearing a suit, so he stopped and took a picture, and in doing so he noticed a motorcycle cop parked in the middle of the street on the corner, channeling people down Randall Street. When Plotnik asked Ray about it, he found out about a San Francisco Irish tradition.

Old Mrs. Brady died last week. She had lived here even longer than Ray and Pat. The funeral was yesterday at St. Paul's (the church where they filmed 'Sister Act') and afterwards everyone came back to Mrs. Brady's house. Actually, it's more accurate to say 'drove by' Mrs. Brady's house, because the Irish custom is for the deceased to be driven by her house so she can see it one last time, before they put her in the ground. Everyone who came to the funeral follows the hearse.

Since one of the Brady boys had once been a cop, the motorcycle cop volunteered to guide the traffic past Mrs. Brady's house. After the cars passed the house, they all continued on into the Sunset to the Irish Cultural Center for the reception.

We all forget this city was once owned and operated by Irish and Italians. Add in the Chinese and nothing has changed. Everyone still has all their customs, and if you're doubtful, head down to the Wharf next Spring and watch the Priest bless the fishing fleet.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A More Perfect World for Baby I

This photo should be called: Happiness.

What a lucky baby Isabella is. She's got two adoring parents, a raft of devoted family members, and there is every likelihood that she's been born into the best of all times for a little girl in America.

How did she get here, anyway? Her great-great grandparents on her dad's side all were born in Eastern Europe, in a bondage of despair and hatred. Many of her mom's forebears, for no one is sure exactly how many generations, came to America in chains. Though they have been in this country far longer than her dad's antecedents, her mom's family has had to maneuver across a longer and infinitely more rutted road.

I mean, think about that. Imagine your street an African village. A man walks into your house and grabs you and the rest of your family, ties you up, throws you in the back of his vehicle and takes you down to the ferry. Maybe you think you're going to...Oakland. But no. Many difficult weeks later you find yourself a prisoner in a hostile, new land where you and all your descendants will remain.

Or change location. Make your street a Russian shtetl, a tiny village. A different man, along with a bunch of his friends, tear through your village on horseback, brandishing sabres and whips, decapitating and raping every person they can find. After this happens year after year, your parents decide to leave everything they own and flee to another harbor, and another boat, and the next thing you know you too are in a hostile, new land where you and your descendants will remain.

Of course, maybe you're luckier: maybe you came here because you wanted to, and your skin is the same color as others in your new country, so you are not marked. It won't take as long for you to find your way to freedom.

Why does the Great Plotnik prattle on about any of this? Why does it matter? Because, as you may have noticed this past week, he has his new Scrumptious Grandbaby Isabella.

As far as Baby I is concerned, it's all good. She gets to be part of two rich traditions. To tell the truth, Grandpa Plotnik is a bit jealous of the fun she's going to have.

But that's only because the times they are a-changing. Right now, at 9:38AM November 16, 2006, it's possible to feel confident about the future, about the rest of the 21st Century.

But shit happens. Times can change back, too. People in power don't relinquish it without a fight. If a door can open, it can also slam shut.

So TGP asks himself, and he asks Baby I's loving family, and his friends and readers, wherever anyone is at this precise moment: How bad do we want it? How much do we want to see all babies, not just our own babies, but all those other babies too, even the funky ones with the distended bellies and flies whirling around their faces, the babies who will grow up at the same time as Baby Isabella, wax strong with a chance to prosper?

OK, take away 'all.' 'All' is just too hard to contemplate. How about 'More?'

Wouldn't every one of us love to see more babies, let's just say more than now, get to feel as safe and secure as that little Pumpkin in The Great FiveHead's arms above? We're allowed to feel selfish about it. Wouldn't that do more to assure a more perfect world for Baby I than any amount of scared soldiers, or new jails, or walls built high to keep out the Devil?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Edward Scissorhands. But First, This Message From Isabella Red Hat

All right, all right, this is not Edward Scissorhands. It's Isabella Red Hat. But if they keep sending pictures like this, what is a poor Plotnik to do?

Now then, Edward Scissorhands. Duck and Plot saw the Premiere of Matthew Bourne's stage adaptation last night at the Orpheum Theater. Here is an excerpt from The Great Plotnik's Theatre For Morons column:

"Two eyes are not nearly enough to take in the chaotic masterpiece that is Edward Scissorhands. Devised, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, the large Orpehum stage is filled constantly by a cast of 25 dancers, split into groups, each group remaining firmly in character and each demanding your undivided attention. Add into the mix Edward himself (played on Opening Night by a very likeable Sam Archer), who in place of each hand sports five long and apparently razor-sharp blades, that he snaps open and closed to convey emotion and to give salon haircuts, as he dances from one group to the other, and you end up with a dazzling spectacle fit for at least two more eyes than you already have.

"Fortunately, you can check your brain at the door. Edward Scissorhands is neither tragedy nor comedy, though it has a little of the former and a lot of the latter, and it's dance, not theater -- there is not one spoken line of dialogue. The themes don't add up, and the premises don't make much sense. A distraught father sews his son back to life and gives him scissors instead of hands? Sure. A suburban '50s community welcomes a kid with weapons for hands into their 'hood? No problem. She likes him? No, she doesn't? You're confused? Stop whinin'.

"Go now. In its U.S. Premiere before heading East and eventually to Broadway, where it is certain to be a megasmash that brings kids as well as dowagers into the theater, the Orpheum's wonderfully unselfconscious production is sharp and cutting edge now. Go before they polish it too much, and don't forget a cheer for the live orchestra. Bravo for Edward Scissorhands."

All right, all right again. So it isn't an excerpt, it's the whole thing. You're so picky this morning.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

31 Years Between Photos

The caption on the back of this photo reads: "Piano Lesson. Pops 30. Dan 5 months."

The caption on the back of this photo, if photos were still photos and captions could still be written on them, might read: "Nap. Pops 31. Isabella 4 days. Mischief 11 X 7 years."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Building the Travel Family

The rainy season has arrived -- the deck is wet, the city has disappeared into the fog. It'll be blah for the next four or five months.

Also, The Baby Isabella Cuteness Report was just given over the phone -- she had her first outing today, to the pediatrician. All seems well down there and it's raining up here. So -- it's time to think about The Travel Family.

Traveling is all about meeting new people in new places and building a Travel Family is the best way to go about it. Last night, Plot and Duck met Jorge and Mabel, one a filmmaker and one an antrhopologist, who both work at UCLA but are from Buenos Aires. Jorge and Mabel have invited Plot and Duck to come to Buenos Aires in March, when they return home. Naturally, Plot and Duck have reciprocated the invitation to Jorge and Mabel, and since the two are living in Stiletto City and Stiletto City is Plotnik's home town, he and Duck have much to show them there.

Last night Plot also sent a letter to Irmy and Geri in Munich, informing them about Jorge and Mabel. Irmy and Geri have been in the Travel Family since they met Duck and Plot in Capetown and showed the Plotniks the wonders of Munich three weeks later. This means Irmy and Geri now have access to Jorge and Mabel in Buenos Aires, and then there's The National Treasure in Oslo, and Joy, FiveHead's Mom, who will be in Johannesburg next summer, and Luke Angel, PD's good friend and travel agent, who is in Capetown. All these people have Plotnikkie privileges at World Headquarters and at all other Travel Family stops.

Who else is out there? Perhaps The Great Dancenik, who could cover The Big Shmapple (especially when she buys her house in Brooklyn); certainly The Great PD, 5H and Baby I in Stiletto City; certainly The Great BZWZ wherever she settles down; more people in more places are needed, particularly: Madagascar, India, the Seychelles, Santiago de Chile and Potosi, Bolivia. Another name in Buenos Aires couldn't hurt, and then there's the entire nation of Paraguay.