The Great Plotnik

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life Is Good

...but The Great PD leaves tonight on the red eye. Tomorrow morning Plot and Duck hop down to Stiletto City again for Mummy P.'s birthday.

It doesn't feel like PD was here for three days, it feels like three minutes. Yet Plot finds himself thinking three more nights in Stiletto City seems like a lot. But things are what they are.

Right now BZWZ and PD are talking on the phone. Duck's working out and Plot got back from his Plotzkicycle workout carrying bagels. Refer to title.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ms. FiveH, Mr. and Mrs. T. and the Plotzer Braindead Non Rivalry

The Great FiveHead has been absent from these pages for awhile. Thankfully, there are I-Phones to send photos. For another view, refer to yesterday's posting.

And then we get to NotThatLucas and Mrs. NotThatLucas in their new guise as Eliminator and Eliminatrix of Couch Potatoes everywhere. Mr. and Mrs. That are in such great shape now that they do a marathon on Saturday and a walkathon on Sunday and then NotThat races CalTrain to work on Monday (soon he'll have to give the train a one station head start).

Which is to say it's possible, and here's proof.

The Plotzers are here for a three game series with the Braindeads and Plotnik doesn't give a dog. It's over, over, over. He watched his worthless boys lose to the Piffles on TV yesterday and the Piffles are an inferior team but 'way better than the Plotzers.

We'll always have Kobe.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


The Metroplotnikan Museum of Art (MMOA) has announced its first acquistion, after three-plus years of negotiations with the artist Isabella Van Bellybone.

The painting, entitled "Daddy, Mommy, Me and Mischief" is representative of the Brooklyn Minimalist School. The artist, who received a grant (a Mr. Softee cone) from her grandfather the last time he saw her, is currently working on an entire series, tentatively entitled "More Cool Stuff."

We see Daddy on the left, with a curiously bald head; Mommy next, with what one long sideburn but could simply be the dreadlocks she doesn't have any more; and the artist herself, whose brain is shown to be on the same level with her parents except her legs aren't as long. Oh, and Mommy's shoes.

Mischief Puppy sits to the side, a wistful look upon his face, or perhaps he's just hungry.

Here, in closeup, we can observe Ms. Bellybone's brilliant use of line, color, theme, visualization and attention to detail.

MMOA acquired this new work only last night and is currently deciding whether construction of a new wing will be necessary to house the collection, or perhaps a refrigerator with a larger display area. Purchase price has not been disclosed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Those Bastards

Yesterday Plottie went down to Sammy's to pick up some good kalamata olives and fresh pita to wrap around the lamb kebabs he had in mind for dinner.

Sam, the shop owner, as always, was staring at his grainy television set. Sam's name ought to be "Those Bastards." Every time you go into the store he's raving about "those bastards," by which he generally means anybody on the news.

He really hated Bush. He loved Obama but now he's not so sure. Yesterday it was the mayor of Bell, in Southern Shmal, who is earning $800,000 a year while laying off library workers. This guy really pissed Sammy off.

"Those bastards," he said.

He was also furious at BP for giving Tony Hayward an $18 million golden parachute.

"Eighteen million!" he screamed. "Those bastards!"

Plotnik has been coming in to Sammy's for fifteen years and he and Sam always exchange pleasantries as well as talk politics. But this Lebanese merchant, who has been in America more than fifty years, and whose very nice and well-stocked store is one of several Lebanese/Palestinian shops in a row in an otherwise Latino section of the Mission, has never before said anything nasty about the Israelis except "Those Bastards."

Until yesterday. Somebody on the news had said something honest about Israel again and was forced to apologize for it, as always. Plotnik doesn't remember who it was but Sam was livid.

"Those bastards," he said. "When people call all Arabs murderers and suicide bombers, they don't have to apologize for it, do they?

"No," Plotnik said. "Americans are not exactly in love with Arabs these days."

"How could they be? All you see in the paper about world news is car bombs in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Do you really think this is the only news in the entire Middle East?"

"Probably not," Plotnik had to admit.

"Well, the newspapers don't have to apologize, do they? So why does anybody who says that the Israelis do awful things too have to apologize for it?"

He walked over to a shelf next to the salted pistachios (four different kinds) and pulled out a news photo of Helen Thomas.

No one, if you ask Plotnik, should be required to look at a photo of Helen Thomas, the ancient and now-retired member of the White House Press Corps, but he did not voice this observation because Sam was already fuming.

"Helen Thomas," said Sam, "said the Jews are causing all the problems in the world. Helen Thomas said the Jews should have to go home to Poland or Russia."

"That wasn't a very nice thing to say, was it?" Plotnik said. "Do you want to go back to Lebanon?"

"No, but she meant it. And then she had to apologize and resign. Why? This is what she feels, right or wrong. If she said it about Arabs nobody would care. Right?"

"You're probably right," Plotnik said.

"Well, then?" asked Sam.

Plotnik stared at the bulgar (extra fine, fine, coarse) and zhaatar mixes (Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian).

"I'll take a package of that whole wheat Lebanese pita, with the sesame seeds," Plotnik said.

Sam nodded, took the pita out of a square bin, all the while shaking his head back and forth. "Those bastards."

"But the Jews are not causing all the problems in the world, Sam. Neither are the Arabs nor the Hindus nor the Christians. Some of them, yes. We're all responsible for the mess we're in."

"Yes, but you don't have to apologize for it."

"Sometimes we should, don't you think?"

"That's true."

"I think," said Plotnik, "that the news, and Fox in particular, should take responsibility for some of the lies they spew."

"AHA!" screamed Sam. "You see? Fox! JEWS!"

"Fox? Nahh, Dude," Plotnik said. "Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch. He's Australian, probably Catholic."

Sam stared at Plotnik and Plotnik stared at Sam.

"Those bastards," they both said.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Pride of Pleasanton

The very nice people who bought Leslie and Dana's house have two small children, and the eldest had her birthday on Sunday. Avanna is five. Her parents hired a clown to come and make Plotnik scream for mercy.

What IS it about kids' entertainers? They are trying SO hard that you want to strangle them. Just fold the stupid balloons into dogs and ponies and tell really awful and vaguely double-entendre jokes and then ask for your check and go home. Please. We DON'T want to hear about your marital problems and all the the traffic you'll face driving home to Pleasanton.

Pleasanton! Haah!

Plotnik has to say that those kids are really impressive. At three and five they've crossed the country from Philadelphia to start new lives in a new city and they seem unconcerned, just plugged in and happy. It's a credit to their folks, for sure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Belly and Cian

The Belly Bone and her friend Cian, who has moved to Washington DC.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Farmer Sam, Chef Pickle and The Quilt

Yesterday Plotnik and Ducknik got to share in The Good Life, Northern California Division. Wow. Farmer Sam and Chef Pickle deserve the top photo for the astoundingly good party they threw at Sam's Blue Tooth Ranch in Napa last night, under the full moon. Sam does this every other year and it's the party whose date you find yourself pointing towards from the next day after the previous party -- and that's today. Shoot. Two more years 'til the next one.

But we'll get there in a moment.

Look at these three women on the left in Manhasset, Long Island, New York:

Now switch 'em around, left to right, and fast forward fifty summers to B.R. Cohn Winery, Glen Ellen, California:

That's The Great Ducknik on the left in the first photo and right on the second, Molly Martindale in the middle both times and Shirley Spencer on the right in one and the left in two. See the date?

The five initials stood for Barbara Jenkins, Molly Martindale, Shirley Spencer and also Linda Bailey and Lynn Adams, who couldn't make it yesterday to the 50th Reunion. But Shirley brought the quilt.

In the first summers after High School, Ducknik and the four others got together periodically to 'do their mending' which meant hanging out and having fun. The quilt took them two summers to complete and other people helped out too.

Only one guy from the class showed up yesterday in Glen Ellen, the rest were women and all were very nice people. Plotnik had a great time and, of course, after wine tasting he brought home two very nice pinots.

The reunion broke up around four in the afternoon, so Plot and Duck hopped into the Plotzmobile and took off over Trinity and Dry Creek Passes and crossed over into Napa Valley.

It's not too far from there to Blue Tooth. There was no doubt that this was the place from the minute they turned into Sam's long lane, lined with fruit trees (bulging with apples, peaches, plums) and also with doggerel. Did we mention that Sam is a dentist?

The party was just getting going. Stunning Pickle met them as Plottie was taking photos of the empty tables that wouldn't stay empty for long.

At least fifty? More? main courses, topped by Chef P.'s incorrigibly incomprehensibly scrumptious meatballs and mac-and-cheese-Napa Style (blue, manchego, gruyere). Paella. Turkeys. Beef Tenderloins. Ribs and barbecue. Pulled pork. Fawgeddaboudit.

At least forty? More? salads and side dishes. At least forty? More? desserts, including Ducknik's Napa Valley Coffee Cake Tower Plus Outbuildings.

But most of all it's the farm, the grape vines, the garden, the fields, the moon, the old house, the roses, and everything and everyone in the best and most gracious moods possible.

Places like this don't really exist, not in the first world, not in our world. And people who get to live on pieces of paradise are rarely as generous as Farmer Sam. As Ducknik said to Plottie, as they were taking their biennial walk through the fields down to the Napa River (which they can never find): "People like Sam deserve to own places like this, because they know how to live and how to share. Sam knows what counts."

And the man does know how to throw a party.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Party Dress

Sandals or shoes? This is Plotnik's only decision.

Someone We Know has a High School Reunion this afternoon, before the Blue Tooth party in the evening. So that person has been trying on clothing combinations and asking Plottie for his opinion, which he is happy to render.

She looks great, no matter what she puts on. True, one blouse might expose a little too much of this and one pair of pants a little too little of that, but Plotnik keeps reminding her that every woman in the place today will be the exact same age she is, and he will take 100 to 1 that Someone looks at least ten times better than any of 'em.

Someone We Know works hard at it, but not that hard. She walks everywhere now. A few miles that way? Fine. A few more miles this way? No problem. A hill or two in the way? Pshhhh.

Plot and Duck put exactly 900 miles on their car in six months.

All the women from North South Muppetplucket High are asking their husbands questions like these. All the men from her class are probably trying to force themselves into their old high school sweaters too, but when it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

Plotnik has carefully layered on a few pounds himself. But even the ladies at TIAPOS haven't noticed, and this isn't his reunion today.

"So what are you going to wear?" Someone calls from the other room. Plotnik just smiles and mutes the remote control.

"Pants," he says. "A shirt. Sandals? No, shoes."

Friday, July 23, 2010

From My House I Can See Fresno

The Southwest LuvLiner flew over three other airports on the way to Shmurbank the other day. The first was when it banked over SFO after taking off to the North from Smokeland. That's what you see here, and no more than five minutes later San Hozay International passed under the wing, a few thousand feet further below. When we got close to Shmurbank the plane flew low over Van Noise Airport, which actually looks like a substantial place now, not the little cowpath it was when Plotnik was growing to full and proud manhood not too far from there.

It's easy to forget that between Saint Plotniko and Stiletto City are mostly rocks. Rocks and dirt. From the air you can see all the quaint meth plantations on top of the rolling hills as well as the bucolic bulldozers scraping terraces down the mountain to haul away the mining residues and toxic minerals. What a state!

The Duck is busily baking cakes for the Biennial Blue Tooth Party tomorrow, held on Sam's vineyard, where each guest is required to bring the absolute best potluck dish he or she knows how to make. It'll be a tough night -- hundreds of dishes of the best food you've ever tasted, home made wines from neighbors, many of whom make their own vintages from their own grapes, a walk around the most glorious piece of property in Shmalifornia and then dancing in the barn afterwards. Yes, life up here in the wilderness is difficult, but we manage to manage.

Great PD, we wish you were coming out a little earlier. It's been four years since you made this party. And BZ and 5H-- some day soon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unchanged in 25 Years

Plottie spent two fruitful days working on the Perfect Pitch in Stiletto City and two pleasant nights sitting on the sofa with Mummy Plotnik. She is doing well and the musical is back on track. Plotnik can safely say that while it may not be impossible to work by email and telephone alone, he can't do it. Davey Blue and Plottie got more done in a day and a half than they've accomplished in a year of long-distance attempts.

Plus email! It's screwy! You say things to each other when you're sitting right there and it's all over in a second. Collaborators argue, it means nothing -- and it also means a lot because it signals a spot in the show that must be dealt with. You deal with it.

When you try that by email and snap out a hissy note to someone it is never over, because that note engenders an equally hissy response and by the time you sort it through you're furious and he's furious and for what?

Stiletto City, The Great Plotnik's home town. A walk down any street in Stiletto City is one new episode after another in your favorite soap opera.

But you wouldn't believe 'em -- the Cossacks at the window? The penile implant and the pot store? The old recording studio from 25 years ago in Hollywood having been torn apart and reassembled in Aspen and then torn apart again and this time faithfully recreated in the same bedroom David grew up in?

Plottie hadn't seen Dave's Dad in more than 25 years. Leo is 90. He walked into the studio, paused at the door and then walked right up to Plotnik and said: "How many years is it! You look great, you haven't changed!"

Leo is a lot smaller than he used to be, but he has the same big smile. Plot told him he looked great too.

Later on, Dave told Plotnik that Leo is practically blind. He only knows where you are when he hears you talking. So this episode would be called: "The One Where Leo and Plotnik Pretend Each Other Hasn't Changed a Bit in Twenty Five Years."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Victor's on the Wall and it's 116 degrees in the Sun

Plotnik decided to walk yesterday instead of using his Plotkicycle, and it paid off in an unexpected way. He has noted that he sees things on his bike that he doesn't see from his car, and the same is true walking. How many years has Plottie been driving or pedaling past the Bernal Heights Library and never noticed the drawing and song of Victor Jara painted on the side of the building? How long has that been there? Looks like a very long time.

Plot and Duck heard from The Great BZWZ yesterday who is finally home, after yet another airplane fiasco. This time, after her 12 1/2 hour flight from Amman, Jordan to JFK, American Airlines canceled her flight to Boston. She had to stay in a hotel overnight once again, just like on the outbound flight, and didn't get home until noon the following day.

As always, the international flights operate flawlessly. It's American Airlines who can't seem to figure out how to serve their passengers without infuriating them in the process.

But BZ is not complaining. She had a very memorable week in the Jordanian desert, visiting some sites that are 10,000 years old. She also hit a heat wave at the Red Sea -- it was 116 that day and the water in the Red Sea is not only hot, but so salty you can't sink. You can't even get your feet to touch the shallow ground below you. Overweight people get into trouble because if they try to lower their knees they end up doing a face plant. And it was hot. Hot. Hot.

Not like here.

Plottie will be in Stiletto until Wednesday doing some work on the Perfect Pitch. It's supposed to be broiling down there too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Time It Isn't Just Water

The Great Plotnik has been elsewhere all week, he only just realized it now when he saw he hadn't been reading his friends' blogs or taking care of any of his usual business. It is the usual culprit: a new song.

And not even a new one. His song "This Time It's Water," about Katrina, had to be rewritten and re-recorded, because this time it isn't about water. The song is now called "Water, Fire and Oil" and it took a lot of thought and painstaking re-recording and he's still not done. When Plottie goes into one of those zones he is here but he isn't here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Don't Get Tied Up

Plot and Duck sent a text to their favorite scientist, currently working in the Middle East:

"Digging around in the ruins? Found any clues?"

They got this answer:

"Just dug in a tomb. Pretty cool. Though I believe most of it was dessicated goat sh__."

We should have some real photos before too long. Amazingly, her trip to Jordan, if it's still on schedule given the hassles of arriving, appears to be ending tomorrow. It seems to us like she just got there and it must feel like double to her. She's probably just getting settled in and wham it's over.

But all's well that ends well.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Apples Reach the Deck

After ten years or so of careful pruning, Plotnik has finally gotten his apple tree to bring its apples up to his lunch spot on his deck. Now that he has accomplished this, he has to make them start to taste better.

Perhaps those pruning lessons he got from the old guy on the farm in Pennsylvania, after Duck and Plot planted the fifty fruit trees, have finally paid off. "Bud, the trees they wants ta close up. Youse got to leave 'em opens in the middle."

Two problems: The apple tree now blocks Duck's view of -- well of little, really but the bottom line is she doesn't like the taste of the apples. Yet.

The other problem is this vine we call Safeway Vine, planted by Plottie's ex-neighbor, which gives off a gorgeous blossom but is invasive. It has now climbed all the way up the apple tree and will have to be eliminated after it stops being pretty.

The obvious analogy to actresses in Hollywood will not be stated here, unless Mel Gibson starts doing a celebrity column.