The Great Plotnik

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Heat Fantasy

They say that water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Plotnik knows for a fact that at approximately 211 degrees, which is how hot Mummy P.'s house feels this morning, your skin does not detach itself from your bones. Almost, but not quite.

It's Halloween. Plot and Duck will be back in S.P. tonight on time for Trick-or-Treaters, and Plotnik has decided that his costume will be something involving sweat.

The only time Plot and Duck ever go to the movies is when they take Mummy P. They always pick the wrong movie, and yesterday continued the trend. They saw "The Town" with Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper and every old Irish mobster character actor in the world. It was pretty darned entertaining, but Plot can never stop asking himself, while cars are careening all over the screen and a hundred cops are battling four robbers, all firing away indiscriminately with automatic rifles, why nobody can ever seem to hit anybody else? Also, how can you acquire a car that can roll over, smash into buildings, buses and highway pylons, then fall into the ocean off a cliff, and still drive right out unmarked and in perfect running condition?

And why would an Irish mobster drink Bud Lite?

And how did the young woman, who had been taken hostage in the bank, and seen the tattoo on the back of one of the robber's neck, not recognize that tattoo when she saw the guy again the next day?

And why does the preview for Due Date with Robert Downey Jr. and Zack Galwhateverakis look SO funny?

Another ball game today. 2-1 Brain Deads. The Duck is a convert, if you can believe that. She wants to see every inning and agonizes over every pitch. The litlle Trick or Treaters are not gonna see much of D.D. GiantFan this evening until the game is over, and if the Giants lose the kids are getting razor blades in their apples. Just kidding.

GOD it's hot in here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Princess Jasmine Trumps UPS Man

Isabella was the world's cutest UPS man last Halloween but this year Princess Jasmine has proved to be a more alluring costume.

The Great Five Head sent photos from B-Bone's Halloween Parade at her school yesterday. It's hard to imagine cuter kids.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Driveway that Isn't and Zelig

The above old Victorian is on Addison Street in Berkeley, shot when Plot and Duck were trying to take long walks in between the Afghan marathon last Friday. Berkeley still has haunted houses in between all the student housing and tacky apartments.

A woman walked up while Plot was taking this picture, and upbraided a guy who had just parked his car in front of the house. "Don't you see the driveway?" she said. Plot and the car parker looked down -- there was no cutout for the driveway, the driveway itself had a beat up old clunker in it that hadn't been moved in thirty years, and grass had grown over both the driveway and the supposed spot of sidewalk the car would use to exit if it still had a motor.

Amazingly, the man apologized and moved his car. Waddayatalkinabout? thought Plottie, but said nary a word.

And Suzanne Harell is right that that shot taken with Juan Marichal from yesterday's post makes it look like Plottie is Zelig.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Take My Hand, Juan, and We're Halfway There

So who is this standing with Juan Marichal? Why, it looks like The Great Plotnik! It is! It's The Great Plotnik standing and talking with Juan Marichal!

Oh, Domin-Nik, really! Who is he? Only the leader of a rapidly growing Minor Western Religion. Oh, the other guy?

The greatest Giant pitcher who ever lived. Noe Valley Sal knocked on the door half an hour ago and told Plottie to put on his shoes and hurry up. They drove down to the local school where Jeremy Affeldt and Juan Marichal were making an appearance. Plot missed Jeremy but he talked to Juan. What did Plotnik say to Juan Marichal? He said "Gracias, patroncito! Que te vaya bien!" "OK, amigo, gracias," said Juan Marichal.

Plottie did not mention Juan Marichal breaking the bat over Johnny Roseboro's head some 50 years ago. It just didn't seem like the time.

Meanwhile, last night Plot and Duck saw the premiere of the new road company version of West Side Story, and it's fabulous. What music. What dancing. What singing (most of it). What SONGS! You probably should not be writing a musical and go to see this one, because you'll want to eat your pencil and trade in your piano on a baseball bat to knock yourself over the head.

Plot took a few pictures last night -- no Giants souvenirs at the West Side Story gizmo counter but one woman wearing a Giants scarf and a few others in orange. They did announce that the Giants had won, to the dismay of all the people DVRing the game.

You can read the SF Theater Blog review of West Side Story here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ponce, Here I Come

Yesterday was the perfect day and Plottie isn't too sore this morning. He had been saying for years he wanted to play basketball on his crooked number birthday and sure enough last night was Tuesday night. Tuesday nights some of the old gang has started playing b-ball in the gym at the middle school where we all played, outside on the asphalt courts, for fifteen years.

But Plottie hadn't run full court on a full-sized court in a long time and he was a little bit apprehensive about if he'd be able to keep up.

The good news is he could.

The bad news is things hurt this morning that he's never felt before, like the fronts of his feet where his laces tie. Walking home last night was a lot harder than playing ball. But no problema. It was so much fun that he's going to do the Ponce de Leon now, hoping to find the fountain of youth somewhere to get his skills back. Last night was just about survival and now that he's done that he's ready to actually play well again.

Happy Birthday to Plottie.

Lunch yesterday with the Mushes was beautiful, at Lulu in SOMA. The dessert you're looking at was Meyer Lemon and half a cow's worth of heavy cream. With cream on top.

Plot checked his blog archive yesterday to realize that the Plotniks and Mushniks have been doing birthday lunches for at least six years now. He also discovered that he used to be a lot wordier in his blogs. We live, we learn.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Name Is Doug

My name is Doug and it is my birthday today. It is a crooked number.

I am taking stock today but not too much stock.

The forecast is sunny and bright with the inevitability of disaster.

My name is Doug and it is my birthday today. There's a 5 on the end but it could be worse. It could be a 0.

I am the guy in the Hawaiian shirt who looks like the Russian mobster on vacation. Hair does not appear to be my problem.

And that fine looking woman let me marry her. You never know.

I am a modern man; however I am addicted to certain reasonable superstitions.

If I sit in the back of an airplane I will survive a crash.

If I spill salt I can defeat the Evil Eye by throwing some of that salt over my shoulder and spitting.

If I cross my ankles and stare at the TV without blinking, the Dodgers will win the pennant. It doesn't work every year. In fact it never works.

But I keep believing anyway. And I also believe if I'm a good boy I will live forever and when forever comes it will look pretty much like San Francisco this glorious morning.

My name is Doug and it is my birthday today. Life is good. I'm also superstitious about that.

I recognize the irony of the above picture, taken in Runyon Canyon in LA, after I waxed poetic about how beautiful San Francisco is.

I cannot BELIEVE how old I am. But my brother is older. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Get this: I am still younger than the median between my father's age and my mother's. I can't believe I think about stuff like that. But I do.

I also cannot believe that God can't bat better than .275 with two hundred strikeouts.

The things I love best are mostly the same things I have always loved, though some I came to later.

I love being married.

I love having kids to cook for and worry about.

I sound like my own grandmother.

I love listening to a fabulous song (but it's better to have written it).

I love listening to horn players. How do they do that? And drummers. How do they do that? And bass players. How do they do that?

I love digging holes in dirt. Planting things in the holes. Watching the plants grow up. Picking the flowers and the fruit. I love the gentleness of the whole process.

My name is Doug and it is my birthday today. I have a few faults, though compared to Hitler or Nebuchadnezzar these don't really amount to all that much, do they?

Sports on TV. I watch too much, but I love my teams. I hate your teams.

Little hairs. They grow in the stupidest places and the older you get the more there are.

That's about all I can think of right now.

My name is Doug and it's my birthday today. Here is what I believe:

I believe that there is a commissioner of the galaxy and his name is Bud and he lives on Budstock and there’s an Umpire in charge of the Earth and the Umpire welcomes babies and when the babies are welcomed they sing and when they sing Bud hears them.

I believe I am one of those babies.

And so are you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Go Hurricane! Go Matt Cain! Go Herb Caen! Go BrainDeads!

Thanks to Tejas Pedro, Plotnik has been tuned into the fabulous political drama taking place in our town this week, with a little baseball tossed in for flavor.

Does everyone realize that the San Francisco Bleeding Hearts (whom we call the Braindead Caribbeans, because ex-manager Felipe Alou, himself a Dominican, once referred to his team as a bunch of brain dead Caribbeans because they couldn't stop swinging at pitches they couldn't hit, and this comment got him fired. Good thing that PC kind of stuff doesn't happen any more) are playing the Arlington, Texas Running Dog Fascist Pig Boot Lickers?

It's Brown versus Whitman. The Pinkos versus the Pigs. The Smoke Tea versus the Tea Party. Red (the Boot Lickers' uniforms ARE red) versus Blue...well not exactly blue, orange. But not red.

Rod Beck versus Glen Beck.

You couldn't dream up a better scenario, unless (wait for it) the Pinkos have the Gay Men's Chorus sing "God Bless America" in the seventh inning. They're really thinking about that. The Boot Lickers will respond by replacing the grounds crew with George Bush and his father riding an Iraqi tank around the infield.

Cliff House versus Cliff Lee.

The latte sipping liberals serve sushi at this ballpark. In Arlington you get toxic sludge on a bun and you better love it.

It's Extra Virgin Olive Oil versus Houston Crude.

The Pinkos are gonna win. They've got to. Nobody cares about baseball in Texas, it's football football football. Three yards and a cloud of dust. It's the dust bowl.

It's The Salad Bowl versus the Dust Bowl.


OK, the admission: Plotnik hates the Giants, always has. But that is only in relation to the Plotzers. When it's California versus Texas the choice is easy. It's like rooting for that hurricane to land on Crawford, Texas.

(We don't, really.)

But still: Go Hurricane! Go Matt Cain! Go Herb Caen!

Go BrainDeads!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Let's Plant Houses."

"Y'know, Cyrus, we could grow a lot o' turnips down there!"

Which great American city do you think you're looking at? How could either of those two guys, standing in 1900 on those little hills south of what is now the Hollywood Freeway, staring off at Los Feliz and the Hollywood Hills, imagine that L.A. and Hollywood would cover all that empty farm land within just a few decades?

"Nah, let's plant houses."

Here's the same view in 1920.

These photos are part of an amazing photo collection of old Echo Park/Silver Lake put together by Paul Furlong. The link was forwarded to TGP by his SEP (Son of Echo Park).

Here's that great school bus picture, taken on Baxter Street at Alvarado. Plot saw a moving van once in the same exact position -- shouldn'ta come up, canna get down.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Great Marathon

The Great Plotnik and Great Ducknik participated in a marathon yesterday, not unlike Mr. and Mrs. NotThatLucas. The difference is that the NotThats train for theirs, whereas Plot and Duck just showed up at the theater at 11:15am to see the new Afghanistan Trilogy. The first show began at 11:30, second at 3:30 and third at 8pm.

There were many people helping the marathoners, including the Turkish restaurant on Shattuck at 2:30 and the Persian restaurant at 7pm. You could receive hydration (white, red or champagne) after the final show.

Both Plot and Duck were able to finish the marathon, though Plot needed to be slapped awake at the finish line. He dropped off a few times earlier, but was able to continue the competition without losing a step.

There were several brilliant and memorable moments in two of the three shows, but overall it was a little like being in Traffic School with the lecturer giving you two conflicting lessons: "Don't Drive Drunk!" and "Here's a glass of scotch."

In the case of Afghanistan, the conflicting messages received, after eight hours of theater, were:

1) Don't run out on Afghanistan in 2011.

2) However, run for your lives as fast as you can.

Plotties's favorite line was: "The Taliban has time. America has all the fancy watches."

Also: "Is America on its Ninth Year in Afghanistan or its First Year for the ninth time?"

Yeah, it's just a play. Not reality. Nuh nuh. Nope. Nothing at all to worry about.

You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog review of "The Great Game: Afghanistan" here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here is a piece of fiction. Any relationship between persons in this story and other religious leaders, or agents, alive or dead, is purely coincidental.

"The plane is late. I’m sitting against a wall at Gate One at LAX. There are large framed photographs in this walkway that connects Gate One with the rest of the Southwest Boarding Area. They change the wall art frequently. I haven’t seen these photos before. They are abstracts. I have no idea what they are. They’re curly. They may be vaginas…but they may be hose valves.

They’re not real, that’s for sure. Nothing is real in this town. Sitting six feet away from me, on the floor, is a woman who is obviously some kind of agent. She’s talking on her cell phone. The conversation goes like this.

“Hello, Mrs. Marks, my name is Francesca di Bonnano. I understand you are interested in booking Edward la Scala for your holiday party. Yes, I represent him. I said I represent, no, not resent him. No, I do not resent, Mrs. Marks I am not in his band, I…yes, he is my client.”


“Well I certainly hope so too. Ha ha ha. I have a few questions for you, if I may. Now, how many hours would you like to engage Mr. la Scala…yes, he can either play with live musicians or with prerecorded tapes. He…yes, live musicians, yes, musicians who are alive. No, Mrs. Marks, this just means that…yes, for example, a pianist or a violinist. Yes, you would have to pay for them too.”


“Ha ha, no, well if they were dead you could get them for next to nothing, ha ha.”


No, Mr. la Scala doesn’t play an instrument while he sings. Yes, ha ha ha, oh no I am not laughing at, no I only mean that…Mrs. Marks, I am simply trying to say that…well, of course, pre-recorded tapes would be more cost effective.”


“Well, perhaps you could give me your budget…no? Ah ha. But if I only knew how much you were able too…I see. No, I do not think you were born yesterday, Mrs. Marks.”

Well, then, why don’t I call Mr. la Scala and make sure he is available on that date. Yes, I am rather certain of his availability but I would like to verify with…no, you are not obligated to…no, Mrs. Marks, there is no charge for, I will phone you back shortly, I don’t know exactly, it will depend on, yes, your hair dresser, uh huh, well, fine, I’ll call you then. Thank you and…yes, thank you and…no, Mrs. Marks, I do not play accordion. Yes. No. Good bye.”

She sets her cell phone down on the floor, puts her head in her hands. She picks it back up and dials another number. She becomes a different human.

“Hey, Eddie, Frankie Bones here. I got a live one for ya, two hours, a few guys, zip zip zip, nothing to it, December 15, in town no travel. How much do you guys need? Fifteen hundred? Really? That much? I don’t know if she’ll…no, no budget, she wouldn’t tell me…say you’re not coughing are ya? You’re not gonna get sick on me again this holiday season, you know what I’m…yes, OK I’m just sayin’. OK, I”ll call the broad back, letcha know, see ya Eddie.”

She holds her finger down a few seconds, dials another number, drops her voice one octave. Miss Culture is back.

“Hello, Mrs. Marks, this is Francesca di Bonnano once more. I spoke with Mr. la Scala and he has given me the ballpark figure of $2,500. “

She pulls the phone away from her ear. A sharp noise has come from the receiver, loud enough that people from across the aisle have looked up and are now staring at her.

“No, well I…no, you see, well there are…no, I understand. That’s why you are laughing, of course. No, it’s not funny…that you’re laughing. Only that…I see. I said ballpark figure, we can always…no, not the Vatican, just any old ballpark, an idea…no of course, as I said before I don’t think you were born yesterday Mrs. Marks. “

“I see. You wish to spend under a thousand dollars. Well under, you say. Uh huh. Now we do have alternatives. Mr. la Scala would be willing to…no, he does not play accordion, Mrs. Marks, but if you wish an accordionist, we are able to offer you a package with…no, Mrs. Marks, yes Mrs. Marks, Mr. la Scala is Italian but he does not play accordion. No, he does not play mandolin either. He sings. Yes, Mrs. Marks? No, Mrs. Marks?”

I am now staring at the agent, who is leaning against the wall, under the abstract vaginas or hose valves, with her legs crossed in front of her. She wears a long plaid skirt and a stylish scarf in the same colors as the skirt. Her blouse has an extra fashionable wave of fabric at the top, as if the fabric and her head were one piece. She looks ill. Mrs. Marks has hung up. So Frankie Bones hangs up too, shaking her phone like it was wet.

She looks over at me. “These people,” she says, with a wan smile.

She doesn’t realize to whom she’s complaining. And now she’s started it.

I say “$2,500 bucks for two hours at the lady’s own house?”

The agent stares at me.

“And your boy, Eddie, told you $1,500, right? An extra thousand for yourself. You guys just can’t help yourselves, can you?”

I smile at her and she lobs the smile back at me, like an end-of-the-world game of death tennis. If looks could kill I would be dead but if disgust could drown I would have overwhelmed her with tsunami-level waves.

I worked for these scheming hose valves for too many years. I don’t have to anymore. Her client, who does all the work, will not get this gig because the agent jacked up the price without telling him. She, who managed to screw everybody with just a few phone calls, won’t either.

So I win. For now. She gets up and walks away but she’s gonna be on my plane.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From PPCCSC Back to GPWH

Back behind the Nerve Center Console (NCC) at Great Plotnik World Headquarters (GPWH) after two days at Perfect Pitch Command Central Stiletto City (PPCCSC). Plotnik put down voiceovers for The Umpire, his colleague Angel, their astrocab driver Duke of Earl and the announcer Brother Virgil, as well as ironing out some technical issues and playing some piano parts.

Meanwhile, photos from Eastern Correspondent GPD were received from the bike trip last weekend. Top photo is of our two reporters storing up energy with cleverly disguised protein consumption. Next come shots along the trail.

These are such picturesque little towns, with absolutely nothing to do in any of them, except now they can repair bicycles. Lots and lots of bicycles.

And when the ride is done, so are you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vitamin Y Negative

It's overcast and rainy in Stiletto City, but it's Nefnik's birthday today so last night he, Little and Big S, Little Bear and Shmeckl, Mummy P. and Plotnik went out for the typical Ventura Boulevard dinner, which means a waiter who tries hard, valet parking you don't need and food that tastes like the movies -- the plot lacks meat.

Plottie is here in S. City only until tonight. This was a short one, he came down very early yesterday, Blue picked him up at LAX and then brought him to Mummy P's at the end of the work day and will reverse the process today. He'll be home by 8pm, perhaps in time to see the G-Force take care of the Phoolz.

It does Plotnik SO much good to see the Yankees lose! It's Vitamin Y-Negative. Take one of these days during every game and you'll feel fabulous in the morning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

GPD Reports From Rail Trail

A slick weekend from Great Plotnik World Headquarters Brooklyn Correspondent GPD. He and buddy Chris ("Wanna Go Bowling in the White House?") met near Cumberland, Maryland and took off along a bike trail that has been built alongside the old C&O Railroad right of way. They rode for three days and camped along the way, having been careful to pack all the correct gear including a tire patch kit and a bottle of scotch.

The October countryside was spectacular. They were mostly in southern Pennsylvania, a country Plottie remembers as being rural and beautiful, but poor. By the 70s, when Plot and Duck would pass through periodically on their way to or from Auntie Melba's home in southern Kentucky, from the farm in Cat's Whiskers PA, most industry the region had ever had there had long since been removed, first to the Carolinas and now probably overseas. People were barely getting by and land was cheap. That's how Plottie and Ducknik could buy their beautiful little twelve acre farm in 1970 for $8,000.

The local towns, many of which were once thriving railway depots or farm goods shipment centers, especially if they were on rivers, had fallen into disrepair or been abandoned.

What's happened now? Well, the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail, for one. GPD reports that every little town now has a bike shop or two, and the area is swarming with young cyclists who all need camp grounds or B&Bs to stay in, breakfast and dinner to eat and stuff to buy. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a special butcher (got to bring home some scrapple). Maybe a real estate agent?

Of course, the locals are probably tea party-ers who wail about government intervention, while they patch that tire of the bike belonging to that rider who rode in on the trail the government built, but hey.

This really sounds like fun. Their first day was up -- mildly, GPD says, but he also says his quads have never been so sore -- but days two and three went down. They ended up in McKeesport, PA, fifteen miles outside of Pittsburgh.

Plot is thinking about his own aging quads this morning and wondering about it...Hmmm.....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Martinis, pizza and Pickle

Yesterday was a great day for the ghosts of Mel Ott, John J. McGraw and also for Chef Pickle. In the afternoon their favorite matzoball maker with the glistening smile had her first local book store stop to plug her new cookbook "The Wild Table."

Sarah's co-author is in the green sweatshirt. Plotnik knows neither woman will be in love with this photo but the store was so crowded it was impossible for Plottie to get them to pose, so this is all we got. The cookbook itself is lovely and is filled with Picklish recipes, as long as you have access to wild chanterelles, ramps or sea beans.

Afterwards, the Geez beat the Phoolz. It's destiny.

Last night, the Plotniks saw a very entertaining new play in SF Playhouse's Sandbox series. The play is called "Seven Days" and is well worth seeing (you can read the SF Theater Blog review of "Seven Days" here), but the best part of every show in this series is the small stage and audience packed right on top of all the action. The Plotniks enjoy B room shows here almost as much as the A room productions next door. And it's always entertaining to talk to the playwright and actors and production team after the show, which last night included martinis and pizza.

Martinis, pizza, new show, Pickle, G'z win. OK, Plotnik is not jumping for joy about the Giants, he can't make himself care that much about it, but he does like seeing the Phooliez lose. The other stuff was great.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Explanation

"Well, hi everybody. This is Brother Virgil, announcer of the Perfect Pitch.

Now, I need you to pay attention.

There is an Umpire in charge of the Earth. He welcomes babies. That's just the way it is. The Earth has an Umpire and he welcomes babies.

When the babies get welcomed, they sing. That singing turns into beautiful music.

Earth is just one planet in a motley collection of planets, rocks, asteroids and twinkling stars that make up the Collective Cosmos. Every chunk of finite real estate in the entire galaxy has a different sports official in charge. Most of them are soccer referees but Earth loves baseball so we've got an Umpire.

Everybody works for the Commissioner. The Commisioner’s name is Bud. Bud lives on Budstock. And you do not mess with Bud!

In ancient days Bud used to be a fierce and terrible boss, prone to temper tantrums that could shake the very heavens -- until the day he discovered music. Music calms Bud down. As long as Bud is listening to music, everyone in the Collective Cosmos can breathe a little easier.

And where does this music come from? Earth. Earth is the only planet that has it. If you want to listen to music you've got to tune into Earth. As long as the Umpire can keep welcoming his babies, they will make music. As long as Bud hears that music the universe will hum along at the perfect pitch.

OK? Umpire. Babies. Music. Bud. Peace. Perfect.

What could go wrong?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hard Working People

Plotnik got up early, put his gloves and black trash bags into the car, took out all the usual trunk stuff and set it in the house, and then, car empty, took off for Tunnel Avenue to bag up another load of free compost.

When he got there the one thing that stood out is the steady if ragged line of trash pickers, almost all of them elderly Asians, who pulled enormous loads of (one assumes) recyclable goods behind them, or pushed the load in front with both arms outstretched, weaving down the street from the neighborhood half a mile in the distance. Who knows how long they walked to get here, or how little they'll collect for their efforts.

Yeah, those immigrants, just a bunch of lazy no-work good for nothings.

It's hard work and it was hot, but Plottie managed to get eight large bags of compost into Fritzbomb. Here's the detail of the job, if you care to apply next time: 1) Shoveling the stuff into the bags; 2) Lifting the bags into the car, 3) Lifting the bags back out of the car back home; 4) carrying them into the back yard from the street and 5) pouring the compost onto the prepared ground where you've already removed all the bulbs and rhizomes, severely pruned the lavender and turned the soil over a couple times.

But it only takes a couple hours and the results are well worth it. You'll notice that Plotnik's neighbor did NOT murder the bougainvillea this spring, in fact it probably looks better now that so much of it died off. These are hardy plants and tough to kill, thankfully.

There is probably a notice posted on the Neighborhood Cat Website alerting the troops to the nice new, soft, warm spot for a leisurely, uh, stroll at Great Plotnik World Headquarters.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Few Theological Notes on Fan-dom

It's not that The Great Plotnik REALLY believes that JJ-aka-PP's comment IN PRINT in the bottom of the 6th Inning last night (see yesterday's Plotnik comments), with her team AHEAD by one run, had ANY effect at all on her team being ushered out of the playoffs. No, no.

And Plotnik's wearing the purple and yellow Laker hat on his head was of NO consequence to the Shmlakers defeating the hated Whineatics of Boston last year, EVEN THOUGH they lost when he wasn't wearing it.

And the fact that the other team NEVER scores when you cross your legs, put both hands on your head and stare at the screen without blinking is NOTHING but coincidence.

No, because that would suggest that The Great Plotnik, grandson of a Russian woman so superstitious that she taught Plottie the trick about spilling the salt and avoiding the evil eye, were not a thoroughly modern and forward-thinking leader of a minor Western congregation.

In truth, TGP is proud to welcome phollowers from all phaiths into his phlock. He understands that there are Plotzatarians among us, as well as Braindeadolics. There are a few Reformed Knockahomas, for certain several Latter Day Mariners and perhaps even the occasional New York Met-hodist.

But dear Brethren. Under the umbrella of Plotnikkie theology there are no puddles. We are all brothers and sisters and cousins and, like, other family groups, here. So if any one in this cyber-tabernacle should feel that any Phooladelphia Phooly fans out there can take a hike, The Great Plotnik adds "may it be a nice hike."

(And also, may your greasy-ass cheesesteak never enter my digestive system.) But that's in parentheses so he didn't actually say it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Through the Fence

JJ-aka-PP is having the same problems lucky baseball fans have this time of year, except for those of us whose teams were so bad they couldn't even make us tense in September, let alone October. A diehard Brave fan from Atlanta, today she writes: "I may have to give up on baseball as my heart can not take such trauma."

Anybody heard this kind of lament before?

Having a team to root for is not really all that fantastic because you suffer through every pitch and then, win or lose, you don't get a day off. You're already worrying about next year.

But what it is, aside from the joy (and pain) you get while they're playing, is the chance to have something else to think about each day, to look forward to, to program the DVR for or set your alarm so you won't miss the first pitch that afternoon. You can shmooze on Facebook. You can think about your lineup and about the other team's defense.

Then the game comes, you're ahead the whole way and BAM the other guy hits a home run in the bottom of the 8th and you're crushed. The whole season, all the effort you put in, has just gone into the dumpster. Meanwhile, the other guy is hyperventilating with unexpected joy! Ohmigod we're gonna win! Oh! Oh!

Then the other team falls apart in the ninth and you win after all.

(You): Oh! Oh! Happy! Joy!

(The Other Guy): Oh! Oh! Dirt! Death!

Plotnik feels your pain, my friends, but he'd really rather be in either of your shoes right now, with all the angst, than staring through the fence with nobody to cheer for. Or against. It's easier to root against the Phillies than the Yankees. The whole world is upside down.

Don't anyone tell Bellybone -- that NY Knicks #4 shirt she's wearing? That was Nate Robinson. They traded him to Boston.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Empty Seats

Friday night, Plot and Duck went to their favorite playhouse to see a show they didn't much care for -- bleak, 'way too bleak. The interesting thing was that the show was fighting the Geez game against the Tomahawk Choppers -- this is what the house looked like just a few minutes before curtain. The theater ended up with a half-full audience, which is pretty good considering the competition.

When Plot picked up his tickets the woman behind the desk had the Geez game running on her computer. "We're up 4-0!" she exulted, and others in the room nodded knowingly, because with a 4-0 lead and Matt Cain pitching, the Giants couldn't lose.

Wrong. Plot got in the car after the show, turned on the radio and was surprised to hear the game still on. At that point the Tomahawk center fielder hit a home run in the eleventh inning to win the ballgame. So all those people who wasted their time at the stadium could have come to the playhouse if they just wanted to get depressed.

Last night was Tracy Letts' new show "Superior Donuts," written just after "August: Osage County." You can read the SF Theater Blog review here. It's pretty good.

The Geez play again this afternoon. You never dare give up on these guys. They win when they should lose and lose when they should win. They'll take 2 out of 3 though, and that's all they need this round.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Cane and the Coffee

Waddayaknow, a picture of Nefnik, Shmeckl and Dominant Force where they are all smiling at the same time. This was taken at Mummy P.'s 96th last August, clearly right before the Cane Mutiny.

The great thing about the Cane Mutiny is that everyone who was there will be talking about that for as long as we talk about the Chief's Fifth Cup of Coffee.

This one's a little blurry but Plottie's in it along with his bro' and two nephews. It's a different day, but Nefnik is still wearing that cap.

Thanks for these two, Little Bear-Nik.

Friday, October 08, 2010


“I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said. Also, I take this opportunity to apologise to the deputies involved for my belligerent behaviour. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself.”

--Mel Gibson, Ex-Properties Acquisitions Chairman, Great Plotnik World Headquarters

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Plant a Scallion Get a Scallion, Not a Pennant

The rest of the city has Baseball Fever but Plotnik is calm and collected. He rode his Plotkicycle (recently repaired) down to City Hall Farmer's Market yesterday to buy ingredients, several of which turned into a Wolfgang Puck-inspired tomato-less shiitake mushroom sauce.

The first stop was at Economy Restaurant Supply down by the 280, to buy a few more bottles for the finished Louisiana Hot Sauce with and without garlic. (The little circles are the ones with the garlic.) The sauce finished up by itself while the Plotniks were back East and yesterday went into bottles and then on top of the mushroom sauce and pappardelle.

BrainDead caps are everywhere. Homeless people have 'em. Shopkeepers have 'em. They're on Valencia Street and they're on Market Street. Even some flowers are orange.

(Sigh). But for Plotnik it's all about vegetables. Flowers. Wondering why the Plotzers didn't get Halladay or Oswalt or Sabathia or Jonathan Sanchez when they could have had him cheap. I guess it's all sour grapes. Sweet potatoes. Beets. Whatever.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Sittin' on Lebewohl Square..."

Stuyvesant Square isn't Stuyvesant Square anymore, even though the title of The Great Plotnik's song about it isn't about to change. The corner of 10th St. and 2d Avenue in the East Village, once filled with hobos drinking Purex-and-water, is now equally filled with hipsters drinking espresso from the coffee and cookie truck parked in the bus zone. Two of those hipsters are Plotnik and Brooklyn Bellybone.

Plotnik chased Belly around the fountain in the darkness, lit up by hundreds of taxi headlights and street lamps and the the general brilliance of ambient New Yorkiness. "Come on, Papa," she cried and Plotnik chased after her, one way and then the other. "Papa!" she called. "What's keepin' yuh?"

For a safe spot, where Plotnik couldn't capture her, she would stand on the plaque that honors Abe Lebewohl. He would have liked that. Abe Lebewohl didn't have safe spots in his life for a long time.

Here is his story:


"Lebewohl was born in Kulykiv, Ukraine, in 1931. When the Soviets occupied western Ukraine, Abe’s father was arrested and exiled to Siberia, and Abe and his mother were banished to Kazakhstan. The family was reunited and traveled to western Ukraine and then to Poland. They illegally escaped Poland, and made their way through Austria to a refugee camp in Italy, where they spent five years before immigrating to America in 1950.

"For a few years, Lebewohl worked as a waiter at a twelve-seat coffee shop on Second Avenue and E. 10th Street. In 1954 the family purchased the property, and gradually expanded it into a 250-seat restaurant, the Second Avenue Deli. The deli became famous for its extensive menu of Ukrainian and Jewish delicacies and its stupendous sandwiches. Customers included such luminaries as Joe DiMaggio, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Mason, Bob Hope, Joan Rivers, Raoul Felder, and Milton Berle.

"Abe (also known as Abie) endeared himself to the East Village community with his deep humanity and unflagging generosity, and he often provided free food to homeless people, striking workers, and neighborhood events. In tribute to the Yiddish theaters clustered on and around Second Avenue, Lebewohl created a “Walkway of Yiddish Actors” at the restaurant’s entrance.

"On March 4, 1996, Abe Lebewohl was fatally shot while depositing his daily receipts at a nearby bank. More than 1,500 mourners attended his funeral at the Community Synagogue on East 6th Street. In tribute to his memory this park was named Abe Lebewohl Park.

"This triangular space in front of the St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery Church dates to 1799. It was originally acquired, along with the triangle at East 10th and Stuyvesant Streets, for street purposes and was developed as a sitting area in 1938. The park is host to a greenmarket and a summer concert series. It contains a memorial flagpole that was dedicated in 1944 by the Ukrainian American Society."

So Isabella Louise, herself the great-great-grandaughter of at least two Ukrainians, stands on Abe Lebewohl's plaque in The Big Apple and calls herself "safe." Plotnik likes this a lot.