The Great Plotnik

Friday, October 31, 2008

Maybe Something Will Get Done Today?



Ah, the glorious rainy season is here. The only problem is that Todd The Saxophonist/Carpenter and Joseph the Recording Engineer/Carpenter have not finished their jobs and they can't work in the rain. This means J-Whack the Painter can't paint the new wood because the new wood is still on the sidewalk. This means when the Plotniks go to The Big Shmapple next week they will have to decide whether or not to suspend the project. Either way they will have to pay to keep the scaffolding an extra month. This probably means the job won't get done even by...oh., stop it. Construction gets done when construction gets done. It will not be hurried.

But it's nobody's fault but the homeowners. If they hadn't changed their mind and ordered new windows, there would not have been a five week delay. The new windows are installed and they're very nice. But there you have the reason behind the delay.



Also, who knew there is so much labor involved in putting together Victorian moldings? Plot and Duck have been following Todd and Joseph around, watching how precise their saw cuts have to be and how many there are. They are basically doing finish carpentry, the kind of work you'd do on fine cabinetry, and applying it to the front of a house. It's beautiful to watch. But it takes a long time.



The sun just came out. Plotnik looks outside, thinking...maybe the carpenters are here? Maybe the painter is here? Maybe something will get done today?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yesterday's Poll...Fiorello LaGuardia Has Tied Emiliano Zapata



Yesterday's lunchtime poll was conducted at Dante DeBenedetto's Sotto Mare on Green Street in North Beach. The question was amended slightly from the previous day's query, due to the existing preponderance of an Italian demographic in the polling situation.

The question asked was: "In the upcoming election, would you prefer Fiorello LaGuardia, Marco Polo, Barack Obama, John McCain or Ralph Nader?"

Of those polled, these are the results: LaGuardia 2, Marco Polo 0 (despite obvious international travel experience), Obama 1, McCain 0, Nader 0, Undecided: 1

Yes, friends, there was one undecided voter, or at least he or she refused to divulge his or her preference in the poll. He or she may or may not have ordered the sand dabs.

There was a pike or a pickerel or a very skinny swordfish on the wall.




One of those polled agreed to have her photo taken and to smile:



Then, to complete the day's polling, Plotnik's old best buddy Brother Street arrived in town for a few days. He and Plot spent 15 years or so driving back and forth to Endless Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Corporate Shindigs and Anniversary Celebrations, so they had a lot of time to talk. Brother Street was smart enough to vote in advance, so Plottie couldn't talk him out of anything. Bro' Street supports John McCain, primarily because of the military angle. The numbers in this poll seem to support the belief that many people with a military background will rally to John McCain. McCain now has the same amount of support as Undecided.



So, to sum up the day's polling:

Fiorello LaGuardia receives the lion's share of the voting, with 2 votes to 1 for Obama, 1 for McCain and 1 Undecided, or at least keeping his or her opinion to him or herself. Thus far, yesterday's and the day before yesterday's raw polling data seem to support a LaGuardia/Zapata ticket.

This afternoon's lunchtime poll will be analyzed tomorrow.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Results of Taco Truck Poll #1



The Great Plotnik's friends and family have been working hard for Barack Obama, traveling to other states, working on phone trees and the like. Plotnik feels shamed.

So he went out yesterday afternoon and conducted his own poll at a new taco truck, El Gallo Giro on 24th and Shotwell. Participating in the poll, which was conducted in Spanish, were the lady in the truck serving the tacos, and a gentleman ordering his.

Before giving the results of this poll, two considerations should be mentioned.

1) The gentleman ordered 11 tacos! Eleven! And he said they were not all for him, but he did not order them to go.

2) The taco truck has an OBAMA/BIDEN '08 sign in the window.

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The Question was: "Are you voting for Obama, McCain or Nader?"

Results: Of those polled, Obama received 3 votes, McCain 0, Nader 0.

However, when the question was phrased: "If you could, would you rather vote for Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa, Barack Obama, John McCain or Ralph Nader?" the tally changed to Zapata 2, Obama 1 (me), Villa 0, McCain 0, Nader 0.

Zapata therefore displayed surprising strength vis a vis his long time rival Villa.

More importantly, the gentleman with all the tacos said he travels all over California and that every Latino person he knows is voting for Obama, except for the Central American evangelicals, who are voting for McCain. And Latinos are all voting.

Then he said something very interesting: he said neither candidate has said one word about any subject that this gentleman cares about, especially about Latin America, but he lives here now and he is going to vote for the person who will be the best for this country, not any other country. And that person is Obama.

The Great Plotnik really liked hearing that.

We shall poll again all week, at different taco trucks in San Francisco. This poll is funded by TACO (Taco Action COmmittee), which is, basically, me. The Great Plotnik approves this message, and also the carne asada.



It should probably also be mentioned that this car was parked next to the taco truck, and always is. This suggests that aliens work nearby, and that they are not being polled. Further research is necessary.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yo, Tin Man, Telephone Call for You...



Thanks to K.A. for this great team photo. Barack looks ready to lead, Sarah is cute in her pigtails, Joe will roar on command and John has managed not to catch his pants on fire yet. You don't want to know who's behind the curtain.

Have you gotten your robo call yet? We are not liketly to receive them here in Shmalifornia, but they've probably already started in Florida, in Missouri, in Ohio, in Pennsylvania. Phone rings, you say hello, and a ghetto voice gives you this message: "Yo! We homies loves our Barack Obama! We needs yo vote! When we wins, we's gonna git even!"

Chubby Checker said it: How low can you go?

No, The Great Plotnik does not believe Osama bin Laden killed John Kennedy. No, he does not think aliens landed in Arizona in 1953 and propogated with local jackrabbits. No, he does not think the US Army created AIDS.

But anything is possible, when leaders of a country have an evangelical zeal. Maybe America isn't Iran, or Israel, or China. But when those in power believe their vision has been handed down on stone tablets by God Himself, anything is possible. Any means, regardless of how corrupt or indefensible, is justified in order to remain in power, to stay the course.

It's not a good sign when someone as level headed as TGP is ready to believe the Republicans would do anything at all, short of a military coup, to retain power. He would prefer to think the way he used to, which was that all governance is a matter of compromise and that each side will always bend a bit here, sway a bit there, and in the end come up with a method the entire country can get behind.

But Plotnik lives in America, not Oz. So expect the robo call. How low can you go? There appears to be no bottom.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Beautiful Women



Wow!

The Great Plotnik has been blessed to live his life among beautiful women. He's got The Great Ducknik, he's got The Great BZWZ, he's got Mummy Plotnik (certainly leading the league in the Above 94-Category), and he most certainly has The Great FiveHead and The Gorgeous Belly Bone. Look at these two!

Beautiful people just do better in life, you know? This morning Plottie read a great editorial by Kathleen Parker about how being totally smitten by Sarah Palin is the only thing that can explain John McCain's irrationally fatal choice. But guys do irrational things when confronted by beautiful women. And if the gals are smart too, then, boys, we are powerless. Admit it.

There is probably some genetic sense to be made of man's hormonal folly -- if we fight a stupid war over a pretty face, which is probably why most wars truly do get waged, then civilization must reap some benefit. Can it be that war is good for us? That stupid idiots serve a purpose in our evolution? That self-serving evangelical morons like Dubya are actually helping us evolve into greater beings?

Well, we don't want to think so, but it HAS been going on like this for a long time.

(And a note to The Great Dance-nik, currently winging her way to a dance convention in Cuba: Beautiful women also paralyze us. The problem might be the $17 martinis.)

(One further note to Dance-nik: To Hell with Cuban dancers. We need FOOD PICTURES!)

(Last note: this leader of a minor Western Religion does not find Governor Palin to be 'hot.' She's the female Joe The Plumber. No thanks. OK, she's prettier than Lady Bird Johnson and Bella Abzug. But hot? Please.)

Jeez. All they did was send Plottie this gorgeous photo and look where it took him. 5H and B-2, you are spectacular. Over and out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Else Would you Want to Do on Your Birthday?

At the ball court this morning, Plotnik told one of his friends it was his birthday. "Great," the friend said. "What are you going to do for your birthday?"

"I'm already doin' it," Plottie answered. And that's the truth. A sunny day, a ball game, phone calls from back home, out to dinner with the Duck tonight, maybe even a World Series game to watch. Plot is not a hard man to please.

How's this for a birthday present? When The Chief died, Plotnik could bring himself to take only one of Chiefie's things: his old leather jacket. The Chief wore that leather jacket everywhere, and it kind of fit Plottie. Except...it had gotten really ratty. The lining was ripped, the pockets were trashed, the zipper didn't work.

But when Plot woke up this morning, Duck brought him his present, which was The Chief's leather jacket, repaired, tailored and looking sharp. How cool! Now, we only need some cold weather.

Later, 5H and PD called to sing a paricularly, uh, euphonious Plottie Happy Birthday on the phone. Then Isabella woke up from her nap. The Great FiveHead kept trying to get her to say "Happy Birthday, Papa."

"Do you want to wish Papa Happy Birthday?"

"Why?"

"Why" is plenty good enough. And it's just two weeks until the Plotniks are Brooklyn and Providence bound. Good deal.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Lamest Harvest Festival in the World




The Snowy Valley Harvest Festival is the lamest harvest festival in the world, and the reason is we don't have enough Republicans. You can't allow Democrats to be in charge of both the Board of Supervisors AND the Snowy Valley Harvest Festival. This is what happens.

For one thing, no one understands that the word 'harvest' means 'pulling food from the ground,' 'cutting food from trees' or making something edible out of something you actually, you know, like, 'harvested.' A Harvest Festival can not be sponsored by the Buddhist Day Care Center. You can't have the real estate agent sign be larger than the hay you're gonna use for your pumpkin patch. Judging by the booths, you'd think the principal crop in Snowy Valley was nursery schools, preschools, Parochial schools, early child learning centers, baby 'n me classes, on line reading groups and massage therapy. And you'd be right.



Oh, Plotnik did see one person almost selling food, kind of. He took organic honey and made it into cosmetics. Mmmm. Clover mascara.

Christ, you can't have a Harvest Festival without church groups. You need the Ladies Auxiliary for the Church of Jesus Peanut Brittle Stand. You need rosy cheeked kids dragging their pet hog down the middle of the street towards the Al's Abattoir truck. A corgi/daschund mix will not do.

You need hand-scripted biblical verses thumb tacked onto trees -- Genesis:43: 4: 8: 9: 3847: verse 493. You don't need Lyndon LaRouche and you don't need Barack Obama dressed up as an ear of corn. (OK, we didn't really see that but we didn't stay all that long either.)

And please. No jazz. If you're going to play jazz, please go to the Mission Street Harvest Festival. We need endless bluegrass ditties about loves long dead and buried, with high voiced flannel-shirted castrati singing 'Aoo-ooo Mama's daid an ah miss her so-o-o-o-wo" while plucking on out of tune banjos.

Oh, that's at 3pm? Ok then.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Song and a Dream

Last night, Plottie took his newest song to writer's group. He KNEW they would love this one, because it's perfect. Wrongie Dongie.

It points out the bane of every songwriter Plotnik knows, and maybe every other writer too: the ones you love the most, nobody likes, and the the ones you hate, everybody loves. Why IS that?

It must have something to do with process -- nobody really cares about all your craft and the way you folded that rhyme around that piece of melody, what they care about is do they get it and do they love it?

In writing, as in life, it's about economy. Keep the melody simple. Keep the lyric flowing. And never write your chorus last. Plotnik knows these rules. Hell, he teaches them. Doesn't mean he has to listen to himself, does it?

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Meanwhile, in the middle of the night The Great Plotnik had his first panic dream of the election season. In the dream, McCain and Palin know the voting machines are rigged and that the election results are already tabulated, with the Republicans eking out another victory. Everybody blames it on race, but it's really yet another Republican fix.

That's the part of the dream that shakes Plotnik's limbs after he wakes up. Americans will be perfectly willing to believe racial issues are the cause of Obama's defeat, when the truth is race has little do do with it. What it is is another coup d'etat by the powers that be. Race is the perfect cover for them. They did it in 2000, maybe or maybe not in 2004 and now it's 2008. They've perfected their technology.

Man, this dream really shook Plotnik up.

In the dream, after the announcement of the impossible Republican victory, there is civil insurrection in every large city of America. Bush brings home thousands of troops from Iraq to protect him and his family.

For everyone who is deciding not to vote or to vote for a third party candidate as a protest, or for whatever reason, bear this dream in mind. Every vote we don't register means one less they have to bother changing. If you truly don't care, cool. But if you do, at least think about it. Republican dirty tricks are not fantasy.

Dream or no dream, Plotnik promises that if this happens, he will be marching in the middle of the insurrection, carrying the tallest banner. At least, he'll finally get out of bed to do something.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz



The Plotniks went to see 'Russian on the Side' Tuesday night and really loved it, maybe even loved it more than it deserves. If you want to read a Four Star review you can read the San Francisco Theater Blog Review here, but you'd better do it fast because the four stars may go down a tiny notch.

Come to think of it, the rating is probably going to stay right where it is because of the cell phone. When you read the review, pay attention to the two people who Plot has placed on the end of the aisle. In fact, they were sitting directly in front of Duck and Plot. Plot does not know where the man of the couple had stashed his wings during the show. Also, be informed that in the middle of the One Act performance (no intermission), Ducknik needed to use the facilities. One more factoid: When Plotnik turned off his cell phone before the curtain went up, he noticed it was out of juice. He had forgotten to charge it up.

So here's what happened. Plotnik got home from the show and, as he always does, went to hang up his leather jacket, first removing his cell phone from the front breast pocket. The phone was not there. He then did the Plotnik version of the Cell Phone Fandango, the one we all do -- frantically checked his pants pockets, the table, the closet floor, went out to the car, moved the seats forward and checked on the floorboards, then retraced his steps in the darkness from the street to the house, and then did the whole procedure one more time: no phone.

So he and Duck drove back to Marines Memorial Theater, which is also a hotel. The desk manager called the night watchman, who let Plot and Duck back into the now empty theater, and they looked in the aisles and under their seats: no phone. The nice custodian led them to the Lost and Found box, which had a cell phone in it, but not Plotnik's. "The box office opens tomorrow at Noon. Try calling back tomorrow. Maybe someone will turn it in," the night watchman said. Plot and Duck drove home.

The next morning, at 11:45 or so, Plot was talking to Davey Blue. When Davey Blue gets excited he talks without breathing, meaning that when Plot's Call Waiting was beeping Davey Blue didn't notice it. Being polite, Plot tried to wait until Davey Blue took a breath so he could say "Wait a sec, Blue, I have to get the other line." Never happened. Plot never could get to the incoming call. Then he forgot about it.

An hour or so later, he checked his phone messages. It was Mummy Plotnik who had called while he was talking with Blue. Her message said: "Did you lose your cell phone? I just got a call from a man who found a cell phone that is probably yours. He looked in the address book and found a listing for "Mom." He says he always looks for "Mom" when he finds a lost cell phone. He called me. He sounds like a nice man. You should call him, Honey."

But Mummy P. is almost blind. She can't read telephone numbers that have been written on a piece of paper, especially if she's the one who has written them down. So Plot waited for Lillian, Mummy P.'s helper. Lillian read Plot the phone number, which had a 408 area code.

Plot called it. The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz answered the phone. His wife had found The Great Plotphone. Together, Plot and The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz pieced together what had happened.

When Ducknik had inched past Plotnik's seat he had to scrooch up in his seat to give her room. His jacket was on his lap, and the pocket's velcro strap doesn't close tightly anymore.

(Actually, it would still close tightly except Plotnik has started using the jacket's only pocket to store all the theater tickets Duck and he are given to see all these shows. There is also a handkerchief in there. Don't ask. Anyway, the cell phone used to tuck down sweet and easy in the bottom of that pocket, but now the pocket bulges outward like Plot is hiding a pistol to protect himself from deranged theater producers. The velcro snap doesn't close at all these days.)

So the phone must have fallen out as Plot raised up in his seat. It fell on the floor, and probably got kicked downhill to the floor under the seat in the next aisle in front.

The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz and The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz's wife were sitting in those seats. It was they Plot had written about, the man loving the show and the woman a little unsure. It turns out that The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz and The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz's wife and The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz's daughter all have the same phone that Plotnik does.



(This is not particularly surprising. It is the Nokia Skinflint-e-o 3000. It has no features. It barely even rings. But you get it for nothing when you renew your contract. Lots of people have this phone.)

When the show ended and the wife got up to leave, she found the phone on the floor and figured it was hers. She stuck it in her purse.

While Plot and Duck were looking for the phone the night before, Ducknik had suggested she call the phone from her phone: ooops. His phone was dead. Worse yet, anyone who happened to find the phone wouldn't be able to access the address book because the phone would not turn on. Oh, crap.

But The Glorious Family of the Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz all had the same phone and therefore the same phone charger!! Booo-Ya! So when wifey got home and discovered she had two phones instead of one, but one was dead, she was able to charge up the strange phone using her own charger! In this way, The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz could access Plot's address book and locate Mummy Plotnik.

All that was left to do was for Plot and Duck to drive over to the very very top of the Oakland Hills last night, walk in to a lovely home with a view of the entire Bay Area, shake The Heavenly Hands, take the phone and drive back home with many thanks.

So here's why the extra 1/4 of a star stays on Mark Nadler's rating: The Heavenly Angel Steve Horowitz's wife is a good friend of the director. Hey. You scratch my wings and I'll scratch yours.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crunchy Red Apples and Waggly Dog



Last weekend in Kingston, New Shmork, the Plotnik East family went apple picking. Plot and Duck did that too, probably in 1970 or 1971, and they've never forgotten it. Eastern apples are apples. Western apples are large prunes. Those Cortlands, Empires, McIntoshes -- man, there is nothing like them, especially the first morning after the first night frost, when you walk out onto a carpet of fallen apple leaves and pick the cold, ripe apples off the ground.



But October (and November, according to The Great Dance-nik) are Eastern months. It's pure season-changing romance until, say, December 28, and then a few weeks after that Mud Season starts. Of course, Belly doesn't know that yet. She's never had sore ears and stinging fingertips from cold. She just loves that beautiful crunchety apple.

The Hound is very Happy on the Hudson.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monica and Moe are Half as Old as Isabella



Monica and Moe have been married exactly one year, so Frank, Monica's Dad, flew into town and took a bunch of us out to dinner last night at Chenery Park. The food was really good, far more delicious than Plottie had expected since he and Duck had eaten at Chenery Park the night the restaurant opened and been less than blown away.

But that was a long time ago, way before Monica and Moe tied the knot in Georgia last September. Plot and Duck missed that wedding, as it was in the middle of Their Year of Many Weddings and they just couldn't travel to them all. So, to make up for not having had Plotnik and Ducknik at the wedding, Frank actually called the man in Georgia who made Monica's wedding cake and paid him to bake it again -- the top piece. Frank then (somehow -- not sure exactly how he pulled this off) brought it with him on the airplane and had the restaurant plate it up for dessert last night.

Plotnik is astonished that the wedding cake, known in TSA Circles to be a commonly-used terrorist implement, didn't end up in an airport locker along with all the Al-Queda fingernail scissors, Mullah Omar emery boards and large tubes of Crest "Waziristan Formula" Toothpaste.

ALERT TO CHEF PICKLE: Monday night at Chenery Park is now Fried Chicken Night. Plotnik and Ducknik both agree that the fried chicken at Chenery Park is the best they have ever eaten in a restaurant. Better than the Hard Knox. 'way better than Mavericks. Better than The Front Porch. Even better than at Maudie's on Lennox Avenue in Harlem. And for $16 you get mashed potatoes, greens, yuppie slaw and three large double-battered, yummy, oh man, pieces, with a vinegary undertone and rich, moist, succulent, you know, wow.



Sorry, NotThat, as always. Hope you had a late breakfast.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's Magic

Closer, closer. The Great Plotnik and Davey The Blue are back working on the Perfect Pitch, now that enough time has passed since the Nashville Burnout Disaster. Kids keep showing up to help on this project, and they all know magic tricks. The new Kid Out of Town is a website/flash designer in North Carolina named Derek. You are looking at a cropped prototype of the website logo. The website is turning into something really fun to browse through, like The Umpire Meets Where's Waldo. Project is scheduled to be completed between the end of this year and the 22nd Century.



It's pretty easy to catch the drift here -- the earth is a baseball, whose seams are beginning to unravel. In the flash version, a hand tosses the ball and the ball itself continues to rotate as the Earth's continents remain in one place. Like Plottie told you, it's magic.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's 6-2, With 4 Even, but Isabella is There



The West Coast is preferable to the East Coast in January, February and March. April, May and June are wonderful everywhere. The East sucks in July, August and September because the humidity can knock you to your knees. And November is a toss-up. The score, so far, is 6-0 with 4 even, favor the West Coast.

But nice as October is in Saint Plotniko, The East Coast takes October hands down. The further Northeast you get, the sooner the leaves change from green to gold and red and orange with the first icy breath of winter. The air has the crispness of a newly ripened apple. If you're lucky to get out in the country, the ground begins to crunch as you step on it; even in the city there is a shivering sense that it's time to get out the coats and mittens and slow everything down until Spring. You don't have to read about it, you feel it in your bones. And it's a strangely welcoming feeling.

The East wins December too, because a white Christmas is so much better than a green one.

So, thanks for the picture, Punky-D. Maybe the West Coast wins the war, but the East Coast wins a few battles a year. And Isabella is there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another Round of Callback



Plot's filmmaker friend Eric Wolfson produced and co-wrote "Callback: The Unmaking of Bloodstain." Plottie saw this wonderful movie a few months ago in a private screening, and again last night at its opening at the Lumiere on California Street.

Earlier in the day, Plot read the review in the Birdwrap: Little Man Snoozing. This is the equivalent of a low C. Plot read the critic's review -- from what Plot remembered, the critic completely missed the point. It's SUPPOSED to be campy. It's SUPPOSED to be crazy.

Ooooh, but Plotnik is very sensitive about critics and he knows that they (and he) sometimes think they are more important than what they are reviewing. A critic's job is to be objective and that's not easy when your son's best buddy, and your friend too, is the film maker.

So Plot thought about all that as he watched the movie last night, except he forgot about it two minutes into the film because he was convulsed in laughter. He remembered his favorite scene -- when the actor, a horrible actor who is mugging people for a living (he is also a horrible mugger) while he awaits scoring a role in a film, is chasing his victim down the street and he passes a theater with one of those little tear-off sheets up on the wall: "Call this phone number for an audition." The mugger runs by the tear-off sheet, then doubles back and grabs one for himself, then continues chasing his victim, who by that time has gotten away.

Jeff Parise plays two parts in the film -- an absolute schloomp of a mousey little guy who has just been released from a mental institution, and his alter ego, an ego-fueled loudmouth. When the scared little man somehow scores an audition for 'Bloodstain,' he can't possibly pull it off, but his Pacino-loving alter ego is perfect for the gig. Parise is really brilliant, going back and forth between nebbish and Scarface.

But, wo! This is not a review, this is a blog. This is the man who used to review movies and restaurants and now reviews theater, and who wants to figure out how he can ensure that he avoids missing the point completely too, when he reviews a new show. This film is at least Little Man Clapping, if not Little Man Jumping Out Of Chair. On Sf-TheaterBlog, Callback would be Three Stars with a BANGLE of Praise.

Or is he blinded by friendship? If any of you see it this week, and you really should, Plottie hopes you'll share your opinion with him.

Oh, memo to Wurufuson-san for the credits: Your Costume Director spells her name The GREAT FiveHead, not The GREATE FiveHead. But you know that already.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fritz Has His Face Fixed and Sam the No Plumber



Fritzbaum, the Official Vehicle of The Great Plotnik World Headquarters, has had some work completed on his pretty face. His VW medallion is back on, and that's good, but not so good are the new bumper, hood, radiator, quarter panels and whatever the hell else they decided to replace, and all this because of a tiny 3 m.p.h. bump of another car while parking a few weekends ago.

The good thing is the medallion was actually stolen off the car six months ago and would have cost close to $500 to replace all by itself. So it can be said that the tiny fender scratcher came in handy.

But why did the Plotnik's insurance company, Twenty First Prudential Farmers ScumSucking Bastards, decide to replace all that other stuff? True, the hood needed a little dent pounded out, and then you have to paint it. But the radiator hadn't been touched. Had it?

Plotnik's paranoid guess is that the more 21st Scumsuckers charges itself on top of his deductible, the more they will be justified in raising his insurance rates from here on out. He hates insurance companies. He hates them even more than he hates C and C Cable (Confusing and Confounding Cable Company).



But you have to be careful with how you express your disagreement, especially in a political year. Yesterday Plottie said he would never again have to mention the words Joe, The and Plumber, in that exact order. But he was wrong. This consummate b-s artist is aggravated at having to pay taxes, so he managed to get his twenty seven minutes of fame out of fooling both Obama and McCain. It turns out that Joe the Plumber, who John McCain was convinced was the 'voice of the common man," is not a plumber at all and his name is not Joe. He's just a right wing kook who wanted air time.

"Just because I earn more, why should I have to pay more taxes?" he said on Good Morning, America yesterday morning. (Ask yourself: WHY is this man on national TV?) The host didn't reply "Joe, have you ever heard of the graduated income tax? Do you think you should pay the same taxes as Warren Buffett?"

It's not her fault, she's a bubble head. But it turns out Sam, I mean Joe, the Plumber, I mean No Plumber, owes $1200 in back taxes to the state of Ohio, hence his dismay at the American system of taxation.

Plotnik's problem is that he hates the tax system too. Yes, it's true. He hates paying taxes to bribe Iraqi politicians and pay off Wall Street greed even more than he hates paying Confusing Cable and 21st ScumSuckers. But he also likes roads and schools and streets cleaned and cool sculpture on the waterfront. He doesn't like paying his cable bill but he likes HBO and his DVR. He doesn't like paying the insurance company but doesn't Fritzbaum look nice?

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pick Me a Winner, Raffy. Then Sleepy and Grumpy.



Well, he's the best in the business. Nobody comes close. He makes $10 million a year to do this. The camera panned in on him too, as if to say, well, Champ, let's see what you've got. And Rafael Furcal did not let them down.

He had his glove on his left hand, so he had to use his right index finger to pick his nose. And this was no casual, minor-league, rookie-unused-to-the-limelight nose pick, this was a prime-time, nightly news, hefty bag, wriggle it on up there, pause at the eyebrow and then keep digging nose pick. If he had had a fish hook on his finger it would have come out his ear.

Then, he walked over to coach Larry Bowa and gave him a hug, first wiping his hand on Bowa's shoulder. You can see how much Bowa enjoyed this exchange.

OK, the sharing part is a lie. But not the TV coverage of Furcal's expedition into his nasal mine. Somebody should have had a heart -- but the camera just lingered and lingered. Plotnik can hear the director in the truck laughing his ass off and saying "Camera B, don't move, don't move....oh God oh God, did you see that? No for Chrissake don't you dare move..."

This pretty much sums up last night at the ol' ball park. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was watching the Phoolies run around the bases. That's the image of the Plotzer season we will have to carry with us into Spring Training in '09.

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Meanwhile, the, uh, debates. Two of the Seven Dwarves showed up, Sleepy and Grumpy. What a colossal bore. Obama was barely conscious. McCain had Sarah Palin trying to burst out of the left side of his face. Both candidates answered every question with stock answers that didn't make any sense six months ago and are just criminally simplistic now.

Plotnik changes channels. Back to the game. Furcal is picking his nose. Back to the debate. McCain wears the Dr. Kumquat Evil Smirk. Back to the game. Furcal tosses one into the stands. (A baseball, that is, not...you know.) Back to the debate. Obama has a chance to say something truthful about Sarah Palin but remembers God told him not to pronounce her name out loud.

Back to the game. The Phoolies are doing the macarena on the Plotzers' face. Back to the debate. McCain says the Two Deadly Words: "President Bush." The CNN Rate-o-meter plummets through the bottom of the TV set and blasts a three foot hole in the floor. Dick Chaney crawls out of the crater. His heart is beating wildly but the bastard just won't die.

Back to the game. OH GOD it's Craig Sager in a crushed maroon velvet suit! This guy dresses so gay he couldn't possibly BE gay. Back to the debate. It's over. We see Obama's teeth, all 493 of them. There is Cindy McCain. That is one angry dame. Or maybe her back really hurts.

More game? More debate? No más, please. No más.

At least we don't have to listen to any more stories about Joe Plumber. Now one of these guys gets to lose and go home, while the other poor bastard has to try to stay in his seat while congress drives his truck over the cliff.

January 2009: New president. Good luck.

February 2009: Spring Training!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We're a Lot More Together Than TV Thinks

There is a lot of talk about the so-called Bradley Effect, wherein white people can't make themselves vote for a black man. This talk is making Plotnik sick to his stomach. Plotnik's mailbag has been filled with notes from friends and family who feel the same way he does. Watching the wonderful Donna Brazile video that Grandma Joy sent today is the icing on the cake. ( Here it is.)

Plotnik wonders why people talk endlessly about mindless divisiveness, but we don't hear about common sense, about the way we all live in the real world?

Sure, there are plenty of people who live only amongst others who look and talk and believe exactly as they do, but most of us live in the 21st Century. This is America. We're the ultimate mixed up mongrel nation.

That doesn't mean everybody has to get along. But most of us do. Right? Why? Because it's easier that way, for God's sake. It's more fun. It's better.

Now, when you stick your nose into someone else's culture, you see stuff you don't like too. In every culture, there is closed-minded hateful behavior. Nobody has a monopoly on fear. In every family there is an Uncle Vern.

Uncle Vern seems to be the object of both Obama and McCain. They have convinced themselves that their faithful will vote for them anyway, so they've set their task to reach the last noncommitted group: idiots. And, more specifically, white, blue collar men. Uncle Vern.

But guess what? White, blue collar men are not idiots. 99% made up their minds a long time ago. And they had good reasons. So here's the question:

When will we hear one of these two candidates talk about the power of getting together with others? How about burying the discussion of how white people are secretly planning to vote for McCain because they 'just can't pull the handle for a black man' and instead talking, like Donna Brazile, about how we have all come a long way, as a nation, yes, but more importantly as individual people?

There are white people who will vote against Obama because of color and black people who will vote for him because of color. If color is the reason you vote for President, this election is really a simple one for you.

But for those of us who are old enough to remember the ways things used to be, and who have known people a generation or two before us who were the ones who blazed the trails, we refuse to go back to the old ways. The Good Old Days were not all that good.

The Great Plotnik grew up with attitudes about people that made sense to his grandparents but did not match the world he lived in. Those beliefs are repugnant to him. Plotnik's strong feeling is that there are more people out there like him than there are those who want to go back to their grandparents' day, with black people in menial boxes, Jews being called Christ Killers and women having no value except to breed.

Our job is to find the best in every culture and move in with it. Avoid the crud, expect resistance, but embrace the beauty. Perhaps our leaders will get the negative garbage out of their mouths and start the dialog that will help move the nation to the place where most of us already live.

So News Flash: Plottie is an elitist. He has a birthday coming up. He doesn't have time for idiots.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's All Plotnik's Fault


It's all Plotnik's fault. He thinks he made the right decision, but in the end it is he who is responsible for those two home runs in the eighth. Plotnik and Plotnik alone.

The game was going great, but Ducknik was in Minnesota. Plot promised he'd pick her up at the airport, because that's what you should do. She said 'don't worry about it, I'll take a cab,' but Plot wasn't about to let her do that.

So, from his Lucky Chair, with the cushion pointed at exactly a 45 degree angle to the tv screen, the remote control on his right thigh and his right hand grabbing his left wrist, the Plotzers ploughed on, falling behind in the first but going ahead 5-3 in the fifth and keeping it that way until the eighth. Plot figured he could get through until the ninth inning before he had to leave.

But the plane was early! Early! The blasted plane was early! Ducknik called from the tarmac. "Hi honey, we're here!" she said. "I'm on my way," Plotnik answered, glancing at the screen to see Ryan Howard coming to bat for the Phoolies, against Hong Shi Kuo who was blowing away every other Phoolie batter.

He figured he was safe. He set the DVR to record, and ran out of the house.

The game was on the radio, but he didn't listen.

Duck was waiting.

When she got in the car, though, she said this: "I was walking past some sports bar and a bunch of people started screaming."

"Oh, Christ, I'm screwed," Plotnik said. He knew it right away. Sports bars in Saint Plotniko, even in the airport, are filled with people who hate the Plotzers. No one would be cheering a Plotzer victory. Cheering in a sports bar at Saint Plotniko International could mean only one thing.

He brooded all the way home, ran into the house, looked at the TV -- Phoolies 7, Plotzers 5. He was right. It's his fault.

The Phoolies had rallied the minute Plottie left. They waited for that plane to land, and then they rallied. They knew they couldn't do it while The Great Plotnik was sitting in his Lucky Chair and thwarting their evil plans.

But the Lucky Chair only works if you don't get up. Once you move, the spell is broken and the team is on its own. Every sports fan knows that.

And that was that.

An interesting sidelight, though, is that though Plotnik left for the airport in the top of the Eighth Inning, and drove twenty minutes there, and picked up Duck and her suitcase, and drove twenty minutes back, it was still only the top of the Ninth when he got home. This is why so many people can't stand baseball.

Plotnik doesn't care for it all that much right now either. And he's the one to blame.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fire in the Middle of the Night



The Great Ducknik is still in Minnesota, so at 3am when Plotnik was roused from sleep by the smell of smoke, he was on his own. Remembering last month, when the smell of wood beginning to smoulder had come from under the redwood siding of his own house, and when J-Whacky, the painter, had discovered it in the nick of time, Plottie was wide awake in an instant. He walked outside to the front of the house, and the smell of smoke was stronger yet. He walked back through the house and out onto the back deck and the smell was there too, but somewhat less strong.

Could the siding be burning again from the use of that heat gun to help prep the old redwood for painting? It didn't seem likely, since J-Whack hadn't worked on Sunday, but Plottie couldn't get the thought out of his head. So he went back downstairs, put on some shoes, and walked up to BZ's room, ripped the protective blue masking tape off her window, opened it and leaned out the window to the upper level of the scaffolding. He shined his flashlight up against the eaves. No smoke visible. Sniff -- nope. Snnifff? - nope. Should he climb out the window onto the scaffolding? Sniffff? No, doesn't seem like anything's burning.

So he went back downstairs, walked around the perimeter of the house, shining the flashlight, sniffing like a basset hound. He walked around the neighborhood in his pajamas, trying to locate where the smell was strongest. After half an hour, he gave up and went back to bed. But not to sleep -- how can you sleep when your house is burning down?

It was 7:30am almost immediately. Today is when Todd the Carpenter arrives, and the new windows are scheduled to be delivered. When Plottie walked out to greet Todd and J-Whack, both men immediately told him they had been up during the night too, thinking their houses were on fire, trying to figure out where the smell of smoke was coming from.

You can't see Angel Island from World Headquarters. As The Great Mushnik has reported this morning, it turns out there is a big brush fire out there, across from Alcatraz out in the Bay. Because of cutbacks, there was no crew to man the one fire engine on the island, so they had to wait until early this morning to bomb the fire from the air. They'll contain it today -- nobody but campers ever stays out there, and Plot imagines when Duck hears how the campers were rousted from their sleeping bags by burning brush that will be one more enormous lag bolt into the coffin of Plotnik Camping.

Hey, when there's a full moon, and the sky is bright, and it's the middle of the night, and it smells like smoke, it can seem perfectly plausible that your house could be on fire. At least Mush could see the flames.

Thanks to Jay Gonzalez for that photo.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

KDP is not in the snow! She's in the desert!



Ain't this a hoot? Niece KDP (formerly Britty the J, now Kazakh Desert Princess), is in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. If you look at the map, bearing in mind that Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world (we will take the quiz in a moment), you will notice that Shymkent is not far from Tashkent, which is in Uzbekistan.



There appears to be a road between Shymkent and Tashkent. Look a little further and you'll find there is an Osh not far from Tashkent, so hardware should be no problem, though Osh might be in Kyrgystan.

And don't forget Jeffkent, though Jeffkent is rarely seen these days.

Tashkent, with its fellow Silk Road city Samarkand, are two of the world cities that Plotnik would most love to visit. Now that Niece KDP will be in Kazakhstan for two years in the Peace Corps, what better reason could there be to go there? You've got to love cities named Qyzylorda and Uchqudug.

----

OK, eight countries in the world that are larger than Kazakhstan. How many can Plotnik name?

Go. Russia. China. USA. Canada. Australia. We're sure those are right. France, maybe? Indonesia, if you count all the water? And, uh...Iran? How big is Iran? India, maybe? Ukraine? How big is Ukraine? Oh, Brazil of course. Argentina? How're we doing?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Brooklyn Belly Photos and Enchiladas and the Poor, Poor Phoolies



A beautiful bagel-ly bike ride-y Saturday morning in Saint Plotniko has been made even sweeter by the arrival of two photos of Brooklyn Belly. These appear to be taken on the stoop of their apartment in Park Slope. What we know for sure is The Great PD took them with his I-Phone -- Plotnik did not realize the quality of I-phone photos was this good.



Yesterday, The Great FiveHead phoned to ask about a recipe for Plotnik's Green Oaxacan Enchiladas. In talking through the recipe, Plot realized there are only two things they haven't been able to find yet in The Brapple of the Shmapple that are imperative to make proper Green Oaxacan Enchiladas. The most important is the smoked chiles, several bags of which Plottie brought home to Saint Plotniko from the Indian market outside Puebla. He'll have to act like his grandmother, only heading East this time, and bring chiles to Brooklyn next month.



The other missing link is fresh epazote, an herb that is common in Mexican sauces and easy to find here, but probably only available in a pure Mexican neighborhood in Brooklyn. Are there any? Got to be. You can substitute cilantro, but cilantro tastes like cilantro. Epazote doesn't taste like anything except Mexico. Plottie can't describe exactly what that means.

Good, fresh tortillas won't be available, but they can get tortillas in packages there, and since the enchiladas cook in the sauce they should be OK.

Plotnik isn't mentioning the Queso Oaxaca, which is a stringy white cheese that makes these Enchiladas even more special, but hey. Mozzarella will do. Ya gotta when ya gotta.

--------------

Yesterday's Plotzer game comment: In today's Morning Birdcage there was an article about the poor Phoolies, about how their poor manager's 87-year-old mother died yesterday, as did the poor granny of the poor center fielder -- the center fielder whose excellent play won the game for the Phools.

Now Plot asks ya: If you offered either of those two players another day for Mom and Granny along with a loss to the Plotzers, or keeping things just the way they are, which is to say the Phools are ahead 2-0 in the series and Mommy and Granny are stone cold dead, does anyone think either of these two men would choose a little more time around the hospital bed?

Poor Phoolies. As Plotnik's own dear old Grammy P, dead for 25 years, would do right now if she could: Pttt-t-t. (She just spit over her own shoulder, muttering something nasty about the Czar. And the Plotzers are still behind.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Scaffolding and Lentils



The scaffolding is up and Ducknik is in Minnesota at a family reunion. She phoned last night to say she had a burger with blue cheese on it for dinner. So we know she's not here, or she'd have been eating lentils.

Plot loves lentils, especially French lentils made with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. Or, at least, he thinks he loves lentils. He would probably rather be eating a burger with blue cheese, but lentils are good for him. PLEASE tell Plotnik lentils are good for him, and also good for the Earth, you know, cows eating up most of the rain forest and all that.

The important part is that Duck can't stand lentils and refuses to touch them, so the lentils remain in the bag until Ducknik's gone. She also doesn't care much for licorice, or anything that tastes even remotely like it, like fennel or anise or tarragon, so that lets out Chinese Five-Spice Powder. And very hot food. Duck likes a mild burn, whereas Plotnik's taste buds seem to have been burnt off in recent years. He goes for enough chile to make him sneeze.

So tonight's dinner will probably be Vietnamese Roasted Five Spice Chicken, French Lentils and maybe a Mauritian Shrimp Curry. That's enough food to last the four days until she gets home.
He can sneeze as much as he wants and no one will know. And one more Brazilian cow can dance the Samba of Life.

Of course, that's the plan right now, but the Plotzers are playing the Phooladelphia Phools at 1:30 this afternoon. If the good guys don't manage to pull this game out today, Plot may just go drown his sorrows at the local burrito shop.

(THE OFFICIAL LINE is that The Plotzers will probably lose this game and every other game from now until 2014.)




There's a nice view from the top of the scaffolding, but nothing looks particularly different than it does from down on the ground. It's just higher. You can't say that about the stock market. Things look a lot different, the further down you go.

In the end, though, there is little we can do. It's the price we pay for living in a capitalist system where the winners get in and get out. We'd have done it too, if we knew how. They knew how.

Plotnik's high school classmate Mike Milken used his Big Brain to accumulate many fortunes on the backs of the people whose life fortunes he ruined. He went to prison for it, and now he's out and he's doing good things. Society doesn't survive without people doing good things. But why do they have to mess things up so badly first? Where are the good thoughts and contrite feelings when the system is being bilked?

You ask how did we get into this mess? It's more than greed, and big brains, and fancy-talking people who thought they were too smart for the room. We're all guilty. We all loved climbing the ladder when our houses became worth double or triple what we paid for them. And now?



Lentils, my friends. Ummm mmmm mmmm. You betcha!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

First It's Carne Asada. Then You Hit the Harder Stuff.



Something is happening to The Great Plotnik, and that something is taco trucks. Although he promises he will never attempt to do what his idol Bandini did for several years running down in Stiletto City, Plotnik understands the lure of the loncheria, the siren song of the asada, the miracle of the masa and the jappiness of the jalapenos.



Is this how addictions get started? Do a few harmless tacos al pastor always lead down the never ending road -- to blogging about them? And from one or two days a week to every day of the week, to every taco truck in Saint Plotniko, and then why only Saint Plotniko? What about Smokeland and Beserkely and Palo Shmalto and Mill Valley? OK, forget about Mill Valley.

And, anyway, what's so good about a taco truck?

For one thing, the tacos are cheaper than in a restaurant, though they're also almost always smaller. Of course, the restaurants are furious, because taco trucks don't have to comply by the same tough standards as restaurants do, and there's never any way to really know what you're eating, and you're not going to question the guy serving you because he's got half a dozen earrings and more tattoos than the Mexican Navy. On the other hand, the consumer doesn't have to pay for the restaurant's rent and health care plan.

At Plot and Duck's favorite taqueria restaurant, El Taco Loco on Mission and 29th, the carnitas are incomparably good, better than any taco truck's carnitas (so far), and you also get half again as much meat and can choose from three delicious salsas, plus rajas, rabanos and even fresh carrot juice if you want. Plotnik LOVES the carnitas at El Taco Loco. $5 for two.

You couldn't eat more than two, because they're large, and carnitas don't have good cholesterol or bad cholesterol, they have Carnitas Cholesterol. Eating three carnitas tacos from El Taco Loco would be like swallowing rubber cement and then rubbing it on your carotid artery. Even addicts must be sensible.

But El Ploto also LOVES the pastor at El Tonayense Taco Truck Number One. $4 for two. You could eat three.

The grilled chicken is delicious at El Tonayense Taco Truck Number Two. $3.50 for two. Three would be no problem.

Nothing stands out at Los Compadres Taco Truck Number 4, but what would you expect? It's next door to City Hall. You think Mayor Newsom knows the difference between buche and tripas?



Los Compadres is very economical, though: $3 for two but NO jalapenos. That's the cheap part. But you get to sit at an outside table on a comfortable chair across the street from City Hall, listening to the, ah, street merchants attempting to make America strong again by blatant commerce.

"(hic) You wanna...these watches...you wanna...(hic)?

"Go away."

"These are (hic) Two thousand dollars...watches! You can (hic) have all three for (belch) ten bucks."

"I geeving you five."

"OK."

So the three guys at the table next to Plotnik each get a taco and a watch. The taco was a buck and a half and the watch was $1.67. You don't get a deal like that at El Taco Loco. Plus, America is back on its feet.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'd Vote for Her



Two months ago, Belly went with her folks to Chicago to attend the wedding of one of The Great FiveHead's best friends. Many thanks to Grandma Joy for sending a bunch of beautiful photos of that weekend.

Mummy Plotnik's take on the debate last night: "Ehhh. The same thing over and over again." Plottie agrees with her, as far as what they said. But words are not what people are listening to anymore. What they are looking for are the unspoken clues, the intangible guidelines. It seems to Plotnik that what was true six months ago is even truer today -- what we saw at last night's debate was a painfully stooped, cynical old man trying to fend off a ramrod straight, unflustered young man. This has always been what this election is about and appears to be staying true, at least so far.

If John McCain looked more like Isabella, he would have an easier time. Criminy, Plotnik might even vote for him. Put The Great FiveHead on the ticket and it's a landslide.



But what James Carville, one of the Democratic Talking Heads, said after the debate really stirred something up inside Plotnik. Carville, who admittedly looks like he was abducted by aliens and then they threw him back, posited about what might happen if the election predictions show Obama ahead the day before election day, by his current margin of 6 to 8 points, which is to say an insurmountable polling edge, but then McCain actually wins? What will it say about America?

It might say that people like McCain more. But it might also point out a more sinister and more frightened side of the American people that they would never admit to pollsters, or worse yet, even realize themselves until they are about to pull down the lever. It might be a little bit of both.

All the current Democratic self-congratulatory chucklers ought to wake up and smell the Budweiser. Even though Plot thinks this election stopped being purely about race after Hillary failed to make it so, the country will still need to trust a black man (who is not Colin Powell) as commander in chief in troubling times. And be assured that we are in for 29 days of constant Republican hammering on that subject, and there is always the possibility of a terrorist attack somewhere in the world that Fox can blame on Obama.

In reality, people realize by now that Barack Obama is not Tupac. (A shame, really, from a musical standpoint.) He does not scare people; quite the opposite, there is nothing more frightening than self delusion, and that was brought home last night by hearing John McCain call himself 'the firm hand at the tiller.'

John McCain: Financial deregulation. 100 years of war. Sarah Palin. Firm.

Still, what we think we know with certainty often turns out to be our own self deception. What should happen, based on the past eight years -- a total victory of Democrats in every election across the land -- will not happen, and if it did we should really be frightened. Democrats will become as drunk with power as Republicans have proven to be. Power breeds corruption. We have been here before.

So it's not over. Plotnik hopes people vote not for Democrats but good Democrats, not for Republicans but good Republicans. If we have ever needed vision, we need it now.

But coming back to the beginning of this posting: there is nothing as intoxicating as self confidence. Plotnik hopes Isabella grows up to be as sure of herself as Sarah Palin seems to be, as Hillary Clinton seems to be, as Barack Obama seems to be. Self confidence can move the world. You just have to put yourself on the right side.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dr. Goldovitz and a Full Rack o' Ribs

Yesterday morning, Doctor Goldovitz had Plotnik take off all his clothes to receive his first Entire Body check. Now that Plottie has had one basal cell carcinoma removed from his face, he has to look out for more. This checkup will have to be repeated every year from here on out.

"Lift up your scrotum," Dr. Goldovitz said, "so I can check underneath."

"You can get skin cancer under your balls?" said Plotnik.

"Turn around and bend over," he said.

"There too?" Plotnik said.

Apparently basal cell carcinomas have no pride, they'll grow anywhere. But Plottie is clean this time. He received his lecture about wearing sun block, which he is sure to ignore most of the time, and then he got to go home.

Plotnik likes Dr. Goldovitz. He says "Yes" or "No," unlike Plotnik's regular doctor Dr. I Dunno Wadda YOU Think?

The thing is, The Great Plotnik is a Southern California kid. He grew up with everyone telling him the sun was the greatest healer on Earth, and he still kind of believes it, even though the sun is taking a lot of heat lately. Heh heh, get it?

No, it is. Now everyone's afraid of the sun, and at the same time they're afraid of their food and their water. Food, water and sun, scary. This doesn't add up.

But Plotnik doesn't want any more skin cancers, even though, as cancers go, this is the one to get. So he asked Dr. Goldovitz the obvious question.

"Do you wear sun screen when you go out?"

"I wear a hat," Dr. Goldovitz said.

Yeah, right. How are you going to tell your dermatologist, a man who looks kind of like you do but has less hair, that wearing a hat when you walk down the street marks you as an aging baldie? The only people who wear hats outdoors are either gangsters or old Jews. You can almost always tell the difference.

In truth, Plotnik does not believe the skin doctor about avoiding sunlight any more than he believes the dentist about flossing three times a day or Dr. I Dunno Wadda YOU Think? about cholesterol.

(Plotnik has good good cholesterol and good bad cholesterol, but his bad cholesterol could be gooder than it is, but only because they changed the guidelines last year. "We need to get this under 100 now," Dr. I Dunno says.)

("Why?" says Plotnik.)

("I Dunno. Wadda You...")

("I think this makes no sense. It was fine last year and it hasn't changed but it's not fine any more this year? I think it's just numbers," Plotnik says.)

("OK," says Dr. I Dunno. )

("What do you think about wearing sun screen?" Plotnik asks him.)

("Just wear a hat," he says.)

Yesterday, on the way home from the dermatologist, Plotnik stopped at Lilly's BBQ for a combo platter that he and Duck could share for lunch. Ribs, chicken, links, beans, half hot and half regular sauce, yum.

While waiting for his bbq, Plottie picked up a newspaper called The Saint Plotniko Post. It's a black weekly. Plot read an article by a man named Benjamin X. Benjamin X believes the downfall of black men is white women. When Obama defeated Hillary, Benjamin X thought Obama's problems were over, but now comes Sarah Palin and the Alaskan Winkie is throwing a monkey wrench into everything. We feel your pain, Benjamin X.

There was a large man in the bbq shack, also waiting for his food. He ordered a full rack of ribs, a full order of links, and two large sides, one of beans and one of potato salad.

"Tell me you're not going to eat all that food yourself," Plotnik laughed.

"Yep," the man said, without a smile, as if to say "What the Hell do you THINK I'm going to do with this food?"

Plot thought about that rack of ribs, and all those hot links, and then he saw his puny few rib tips and a few slices of hot links and a little bbq chicken. And the thing is, this guy will probably live to be 100, won't wear a hat, won't get skin cancer under his balls and won't spend ten seconds worrying about cholesterol. He probably won't go to a doctor until he's ready to die. Then he'll go home and eat that whole rack of ribs. Life is so unfair.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cuz Seattle Was There! And Three New Plays

First off, please scroll down to yesterday's blog comments (Oct. 5 - "Corey, You The Man!") to read Cousin Seattle's fantastic review of last Saturday night in Stiletto City. Cuz, if you get tired of rocks, you've got a bright future in unpaid journalism. Beautifully done.



Meanwhile, The Great Plotnik and Great Ducknik went to three plays this past weekend. One was terrific, one very good and the other pretty good, if too short and a bit corporate.

As always, every live performance brings something new to the table. The key seems to be: can the performer carry you from your seat onto the stage and into the action. With Conor McPherson's "Shining City" the answer is yes, much of the time. You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog Review of "Shining City" here, but if there's any scaffolding outside the theater, walk around it.

With Mark Kenward's "Towle's Hill": Maybe. The show itself is well written and performed. But before you go, read the review of "Towle's Hill" here.

Now, let's enthuse about Wayne Harris. He's only doing his "May Day Parade" on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons at the Marsh for a few more weeks, and if you love a great yarn, terrific actor and some foot-thromping drum beats Plottie encourages you to head down to the Mission. Harris is a fantastic story teller and a musical dynamo, but you'd better be prepared to move your feet.

Let's put an age range on this one: 8 to 94.

You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog Review of Wayne Harris's "May Day Parade" here, figgidy diggidy shu bop bop she bop.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Corey, You The Man!



Cousin Seattle called before last night's Plotzer game to say that her boyfriend Corey, who obviously really knows how to treat a woman, had scored Plotzers/Cubs tickets for last night. Obviously the two of them were good luck charms for the Good Guys, as the Plotzers took their third game in a row and knocked the Cubs back to Chicago for the year.

Corey, you the MAN! Cuz Seattle, hold ON to this genius.

At the same time, Cousin John in Illinois wrote Plot to announce that he was about to throw himself off the bridge, that there was no point in living anymore. It's been 20 years since the Plotzers won anything, so Plotnik knows just how John feels. But he doesn't feel sorry for the Cubs. It's good to be on the winning side for once.

You may wonder what the above has to do with the taco truck from El Tonayense. Well, that was just to fool those of you who would normally turn elsewhere as soon as you see what SHOULD have been on top, you know, ugh, sports:



But it's not entirely a fabrication. Yesterday Plottie discovered the taco truck parked under a tree at 19th and Harrison. He ordered two tacos, one of carne al pastor and one of carnitas. They were as good as tacos can get -- tasted just like they do in Mexico. Oh, man.



This feels good. For one day. Tomorrow, Plottie starts worrying about the Phillies. Not today.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ballgames and Food



Plotnik knew there was something about Andre Ethier that he loved. Look at the way the boy handles huge plates of food. Better yet, look at all that food. Plot is wondering if the Plotzers eat like this after every game.

Looking at this picture took Plottie back to being 10 years old, after a Little League game, when the coach would say: "OK, everybody, hot dogs at the snack booth!" That was the best part of the game, when a couple of the kids' moms would be behind the little counter and everybody lined up for a soggy hot dog with pickalilly relish and a cup of some kind of red-dye punch. Mmmmm, delicious! I'll bet that snack tasted every bit as good to us as the Plotzer buffet.

Nine, Cousin Brother Two, nine. But one at a time, no?

Friday, October 03, 2008

She Didn't Fall Over and Start Drooling!



The Great Plotnik was somewhat involved with the Plotzers' 5-run second inning last night, which he was "watching" on the computer while the tv was occupied with the debate between Senator Biden and Governor Dipwad. But he heard plenty, enough to look forward with glee to the Talking Heads' comments afterwards, since what Plotnik had heard issue from the Governor's mouth was little but "gee, gosh darn and golly, say it ain't so, Joe!"

But then his jaw dropped to hear people he respects, like David Brooks and Marc Shields, comment that the Governor had done well and probably positioned herself for a run in 2012.

This morning Mummy Plotnik called, to tell Plottie she was going to the dentist later on today. He asked her if she'd seen the debate last night. "Of course," she said. "I thought Sarah Palin did very well."

Maybe this is why Plotnik loves baseball. You win or you lose, and it's done. Nothing else matters. If you were expected to end up in last place but you managed to end up in fourth place instead, you still lost.

People were afraid for Sarah Palin. They thought she might embarrass herself, that she could fall off the podium into a puddle of drool. That she didn't, even though the only question she actually answered was the one she'll have to take back about supporting the civil rights of gay couples, and even though she slobbered and stammered continually about her glorious "Maverick," she is said to have done well.

Or: since she didn't drop dead, she is still alive. This seems to be enough for Republicans. And Mummy Plotnik. And all the news columnists. And maybe you too.



Plot really does like Joe Biden. It's easy to see why -- he's bright, well spoken and has been around many blocks many times. Plot liked Biden more than he liked Obama, at the beginning, though Plottie will admit this photo makes ol' Joe look like an official at Forest Lawn.

But since Sarah Palin showed up on the scene, after that first night at the Republican convention when even Plotnik had to admit the woman has refreshing spunk, she has really gotten under his skin. Since the whole Hillary/Barack conversation of only a few months ago is still fresh in his mind, Plotnik has had to do a little self-investigation, to ask himself why he dislikes Sarah Palin so much?

Guess what? Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton. Hillary was mean but brilliant. Sarah Palin is just plain mediocre.

This is what drives Plotnik crazy. How can a country settle for mediocrity, AGAIN? Do we learn nothing? It's not that she's dumb, she's just not terribly bright. John McCain is a very loose cannon. He needs a brilliant sidekick, not a spunky Sancho Panza who thinks John McCain is a glorious knight on a white horse.

It's not that she's a soccer mom, it's that governments don't play soccer. Yes, she can see Russia from her house. Plotnik can see The @#$#@! Big Dipper from his house. So @#$#@! what?

OK, it's her voice too, you betcha. But the other things are more important.

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But let's keep our eyes upon the larger prize. There are two bites out of the bratwurst. That last one will be the hard one to get, but we're hungry. We're hopeful. And if we lose to the Cubs, we can't say we won. No one will believe us. We will have to go home.

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