Saturday, January 9, 2010

Remembering the Wilton Hilton

After M— and I split up, The Kiddo generously offered to let me stay with him in the Van Nuys house in which he was taking care of a script supervisor friend’s Alaskan Malamutes while she was on location. He taught me some things about cooking I remember to this day, and we chased some skirts together, and it was generally bachelor fun a-go-go. I was doing enough running every night to not have to think twice about polishing off a quart of Alta-Dena’s sublimely delicious coffee ice cream as we watched The Dating Game, which, by this time, had entered its wonderful sluts-on-parade phase; its invariably spandex-encased bachelorettes all seemed to have been recruited from Flipper’s Roller Disco.

But then Ms. King returned from location, and I had to find somewhere else to hang my hat. Mr. d’Andrea, who'd played bass guitar in my band The Pits, said I could inhabit his room in a notorious art hovel on the western edge of LA’s Koreatown (or, for those wanting to sound very much posher, the eastern edge of Hancock Park) while he sought fame and fortune with Mr. Valentine, late of Blondie, in New York.

The house had once been a mansion, but obviously neighborhoods go to hell from the outside in, and the west side of Wilton Avenue at 6th Street was in accelerating decline. The big house on one side was noticeably being devoured by winged pests. On the other, a small army of swarthy foreigners of indeterminate origin (Egyptians, d’Andrea thought, though I detected no trace of pyramids or hieroglyphics) had moved in, causing the whole corner to reek of exotic spices. At the Mayfair supermarket a couple of blocks east, all the fish was labeled in Korean. (I assume the red meat was as well, but I’d stopped eating it two years before.)

Two artists -- a romantic pair -- occupied one of the downstairs bedrooms, and an alcoholic animator/illustrator the other. Upstairs, Grant Loud (of the famous American Family, as seen on PBS) had one of the bedrooms, and his very shy sister Michele another, though she surrendered it soon after I moved in to an electrician heroin addict, a nice guy who commonly supplied the household with fresh shark and swordfish. Several residents had ties to the artist Gary Panter, and thus to Pee Wee Herman. It was said that Matt Groening had lived there, and maybe even conceived The Simpsons there.

The d’Andrea room had a separate outside entrance via a stairway, and a view of the tableau of urban squalor the back yard had been allowed to become. I shared one of the two ballroom-sized upstairs bathrooms with Grant, who commonly got drunk with Tim, the alcoholic animator/illustrator from directly beneath me. The drunker they got, the louder and more obnoxious. D’Andrea, speaking on the phone from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, would urge me to try to be understanding about their need to let off steam, but it has always been my policy to encourage neighbors to annoy me as much as I annoy them, and the only time I ever annoy neighbors is when I urge them to stop annoying me.

I worked briefly for Larry Flynt Publications while living there, senior-editing Hustler’s much more genteel sister publication, Chic. My sexual charisma was peaking in those days, and I brought a few Century City beauties who’d succumbed to it home with me. I don’t think a single one failed to be alarmed by Grant-‘n’-Tim’s drunken braying. We had multiple shouting matches.

They threw a big Xmas party, passing out photocopied lyric sheets so everyone could sing along, tongue firmly in cheek, with Mitch Miller albums of carols, and the crème of the LA New Wave music and fashion scenes turned out in force. I got there late because I’d been at a Chic party down in Venice, where I’d abused multiple substances and drunk too much, but didn’t fail to notice the longing looks a variety of New Wave beauties in Betsey Johnson minidresses were awarding me from across the enormous downstairs living room. I thought I’d have a quick nap to clear my head, and then invite the loveliest of them for a slumber party.

Naturally, I didn’t awake until the following morning.

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

Friday, January 8, 2010

Getting From Here to There

I have no reason to believe I was late to walking, and as best I can recall mastered the tricycle pretty quickly too. The trouble started when it got to be bicycle time. My bike (that which my dad, posing as me, had won in the ThriftiMart coloring contest) was too big for me, and thus intimidating, and my remarkable lack of equilibrium unveiled itself with a flourish. Nearly 50 years later, a videotape of the Ministry of Humour’s final performance in London would show me, sober as a judge, nearly falling off stage at one point while doing my best to remain still.

I was well into my ninth year before I figured out that one propelling himself forward on a bicycle with sufficient gusto is unlikely to fall over. Once having done so, what an avid cyclist I became. I pedaled back and forth each day to Orville Wright Junior High School as I entered puberty, and my calf muscles, which I still have, went BOING! I gave it up only on realizing that the cool kids all tempted fate by hitchhiking.

I thought I would never get my driver’s license. Trying to parallel-park the family Buick Le Sabre was approximately like trying to parallel-park an aircraft carrier. At my second failed test, I huffed and puffed and dripped sweat trying to achieve exactly the right angle at which to back in until the examiner asked with a chuckle if I didn’t think I’d better turn the engine back on; I’d no idea I’d stalled. I finally passed, barely, on my third try, which I had the perspicacity to take the day before Xmas.

The first time my parents let me take the Buick out alone, I drove up to a playground in Pacific Palisades to hit tennis balls against a wall. Leaving, I managed to leave a big dent in the car beside me, but beat a hasty retreat, a karmic miscalculation that would result in lots of fellow motorists damaging my own cars — successively, a VW microbus, a Porsche Super 90, an Austin Marina, a Renault LeCar (my favorite of the lot!), a Toyota Corolla, a Toyota Camry, and the present Subaru Forester — over the years, and leaving no notes.

I’ve never been in a bad accident, but oh, have I come close. Shortly after the Pacific Palisades tennis episode, on a then-lonely stretch of Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu Canyon, it occurred to me that it would be hugely droll to pull up alongside and then remain right beside another car at 70 miles per hour. If I’d noticed a millisecond later that someone was stopped up ahead in my lane, waiting to make a U-turn, someone else would be delighting you with these reminiscences.

A dozen years later, my band The Pits rehearsed out in Calabasas. One afternoon, speeding thither in the fast (diamond!) lane of the Ventura Freeway, I got into an animated dispute with one of my passengers, either bass player R. d’Andrea or girlfriend M—, only to realize that everyone had suddenly stopped ahead of us. Between my stomping the brake pedal and our coming to rest approximately a centimeter behind the plumber’s van ahead of us, I relived my entire life to that point, and not pleasurably.

I picked up my daughter one Friday night in Santa Rosa in 1996, and was driving her home to San Francisco in Nancy’s Toyota MR2 when it began to rain vengefully in Marin County. At the foot of the Waldo Grade (leading up to the Rainbow Tunnel and then the Golden Gate Bridge), we hydroplaned into a 540-degree spin, winding up facing oncoming traffic in Highway 101’s fast lane. Attention, adrenals: Secrete! Secrete! Shaking like, you know, a leaf, I somehow got us turned around and over to the shoulder of the freeway, where I observed that God seemed to have plans for us. My daughter would reportedly go on to become a born-again Christian, I to compose and record Sorry We’re Open. Product placement!

When I’d begun courting Leslie, who would become my first wife and Brigitte’s mom, she lived in Santa Monica and I in one of the upstairs bedrooms of an art hovel on the western edge of LA’s Koreatown. With calf muscles all a-bulge, I would pedal my bicycle 12 miles down Wilshire Blvd., commonly enjoying music on my Walkman (The Clash, for instance) that I have never been able to enjoy while stationery.

Flying terrifies me, but my fear never keeps me off the plane.

[Hear Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Well Behind Warren, But Without Regret (Not)

If his biographer’s computations are accurate, I’m very far behind Warren Beatty in terms of beauties bedded, but I have few regrets. My having had over 12,700 fewer lovers than Peter Biskind thinks Warren’s had owes in large part to very long stretches of monogamy, during which I, as a one-gal guy, was pretty content.

Who am I kidding? I’ve probably got as many regrets as Warren’s had redheads. I regret having gotten off to a very late start (19!) because of debilitating shyness. I regret having been rough the first time with the first major girlfriend of my adulthood, because I was an idiot and thought women equated roughness with virility. I regret having allowed cowardice (I couldn’t bear the thought of the look in her eyes when I said we were done) to keep me in the second major relationship of my adulthood long after I’d realized it would come to nothing. And God knows I shudder with embarrassment recalling a few of the partners into whose arms loneliness has shoved me at various points in my life.

The best sex I’ve ever had? In first place, miles ahead of all else: extended (and we’re talking kisses that lasted 45 minutes here) petting with my first girlfriend in the back seat of my Dad’s Volkswagen Variant in the hills high above northernmost Malibu. Forgive me, but: OMG. Tied (with riding bicycles one particularly glorious spring day in Golden Gate Park with my nine-year-old daughter, and sitting with Claire on a mountaintop in Monchique, Portugal) for the purest joy I’ve ever experienced, that.

My second-best sex? An umpteen-way tie between the first (or subsequent best) times with a lot of girlfriends. “Making love with you,” my late friend Mike Hazlewood wrote in The Hollies’ The Air That I Breathe, “has left me peaceful, warm, and tired.” I’ve experienced that exact pleasure thousands of times — and likewise that of feeling as though shot out of cannon or dropped out from an airplane. But I will not deny one-night stands their due. There was an extended stretch when I would go to the Starwood or Rainbow in Hollywood two or three evenings a week with the express purpose of inducing impressionable maidens to commune with Little Elvis. A lot of those trysts did indeed leave me feeling lonelier, just as it says in all the books and magazines, but there’s no denying the exhilarating pleasure of that first moment of capitulation.

My worst sex ever? I’d been flown to a film festival in Spain by a British PR firm desperate for warm bodies, and become friendly with one of the firm’s junior publicists. We hit it off a treat, but going to bed with her was a dreadful miscalculation, as no part of the attraction was physical. Did I learn from my mistake? I did not. Eight years later, while working as a word processor jockey for San Francisco’s biggest fascist law firm, I allowed an attorney who didn’t hugely appeal to me to lure me into her bed, largely because I liked the idea of impaling one of the tormentor class on Little Elvis. She had lipstick of a most unbecoming shade on her front teeth, and I remember the experience with revulsion.

Oddly, it was during the period when the world seemed to be mistaking me for Warren Beatty that I got laid least. I’d show up for medical or dental appointments in those days and every female member of the staff, if not the building, would find reason to come out to the waiting area for a gawk at me. At work, an endless succession of female fellow employees slinked into my office and offered themselves to me. But they were invariably the wrong women. Ms. Tomasina Lewis, the one in whom I was most interested, didn’t seem to know I was alive, and others, who’d have sufficed handsomely, seemed to think the only way to the heart of one as brazenly sought-after as I was to feign disdain.

I’ve never had sex with another guy. There was a night in 1978, at the Hotel Clyde in north London, when I was horrified to find myself greatly attracted to one of the Australian cameramen with whom I was working on a music special for sale to American TV, but I didn’t let on. There was another night, ten years later, when my best friend at the time — a strikingly handsome fine artist who, with his incongruously plain and censorious wife, had provided refuge for me in the face of my first marriage’s collapse — made very clear that he thought we should go into the darkroom and see what developed. I am very proud to report — he said self-mockingly — that I was able to demur.

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In Love With Her Genius

Three girls and three women (over 21, you see) have broken my heart, and two of those heartbreaks weren’t romantic. One of the girls was my daughter, who stopped speaking to me in 2002, and one of the women Ms. Wendy Lucas, whose obscurity confirms that we don’t live in a fair world. In a fair world, Wendy Lucas would, at the very least, be making specials for HBO. In an even fairer one, she’d be Sandra Bullock or Kate Hudson or Kathy Griffin.

My last year in Los Angeles, I read the Playboy interview with Robin Williams in which he confided that making a roomful of people laugh was better than sex. By the standards of the day, I’d grown scandalously long in the tooth for rock and roll, and resolved that my future may have lain in making roomfuls of people laugh. I recruited two fellow members of the Dialects for Actors extension class I was taking, because linguistics fascinate me, at UCLA, wrote a bunch of sketches, and found that I really enjoyed that kind of performing and that kind of writing. It was like music in that everybody had a specific part to play, and we all had to listen to one another. It was unlike music in that audiences seemed friendlier to those trying to make them laugh than to those trying to wow them with their sexual charisma.

My first marriage didn’t survive the diaspora to northern California. I moved down to San Francisco, felt that old familiar isolated, alienated feeling that’s been my most faithful companion, and, as much to try to make a couple of friends as anything else, put together another trio. I briefly tried standup (in a conceptual, Andy Kaufman-esque way, going on stage as The Rev. Billy Pulpit), but found I didn’t enjoy it as much. I resolved to write a revue that, in addition to the sketches I was writing in profusion now, incorporated several of the wry songs I’d written over the years, such as (Everywhere You Look) It’s Yom Kippur. Envisioning a five-person company this time, with three women singing and dancing when they weren’t acting, I recruited the guy who’d played Roosevelt to my Churchill in a San Francisco City College staged reading of something whose title I’ve forgotten, and then went looking for some gals.

Auditions consisted of cold (that is, unprepared) readings of several of my sketches. My character-driven sketches, mostly about the ways in which people hurt and embarrass one another, are written to be played perfectly straight; I’ve always told my actors that they should leave it to the audience to recognize the situations as absurd, but to have no inkling themselves. Wendy Lucas got this immediately. Her characters were vivid and credible, and from about the third line she read in the first sketch, I had to bite my lip to keep from blurting, “Never leave me!”

I came to understand that she’d auditioned to be in an apparently highly rated sketch comedy show that’s an Arizona State University institution and quickly become its artistic director or something. When she agreed to be in my little company, which I decided on a whim to call The Spandex Amazons, it was as though the dreary seaside neighborhood in which I lived with the San Francisco Zoo’s koala keeper was suddenly drenched in buttery sunshine.

We did a show at a little South-of-Market hole-in-the-wall called the Bindlestiff Theater. Because it was July, I called it The Spandex Amazons’ Xmas Spectacular, and had Nat King Cole crooning about chestnuts roasting on open fires when people came in. Being on stage with Wendy Lucas made me a 50 percent better actor instantly in the same way that most of the 2004 Cleveland Cavaliers would probably have told you that being on the same court with LeBron James made them better basketball players. Being around greatness makes you want to be great too.

She wasn’t my type physically, but she was a young local substance abuser’s, and they became romantically entangled. I hoped that her asking for and my providing advice about how to deal with him made our bond stronger, but it didn’t seem to. When I would drive her and another member of the company home, I would always drop the third party off first so that we had a moment together. Off stage, though, we were mostly awkward around each other. I think she may have worried I was in love with her, rather than with her genius, and that it was untoward for me to be so, given the wide gap between our ages.

The cast of The Xmas Spectacular went for a post-show drink together, and I floated the idea of our attempting to gain a local reputation that would eventually inspire the Comedy Channel and others to offer us a show. The high-strung Flo, who loathed me, wasn’t having it, and was replaced by a gorgeous young BBW type, Kathryn, with a glorious strong singing voice and some significant mental health issues. We did a couple of shows at a prestigious SOMA theatre whose name may come to me before I post this, and may not — Free Airfare to Wherever We Fly With Every Ticket Purchased and Free Microwave Oven With Every Ticket Purchased Subject to Availability. (We were a theater company, not an airline, and had no microwave ovens available. Let the buyer beware!) We performed as part of a city-wide theatre festival at a bar on Geary Street for an audience of two lesbians who stormed out indignantly halfway through the song Gay Friends, which they’d thought mocked gays, rather than benighted breeders’ conceptions of gays. Kathryn claimed to be friendly with a local impresario, with whom she said she could get us an audition. We performed one night for an audience composed entirely of four British tourists, and it was the best audience I’ve ever faced; they positively screamed with laughter in all the right places.

I had Major Surgery. Dr. Curtis Kiest replaced my excruciatingly arthritic right shoulder with a lovely new titanium one. None of the cast saw fit to drop by the hospital, or even to phone. I got sort of an unloved feeling. Wendy Lucas's indifference hurt most. I had hoped her genius might send a bouquet.

I thought we might get rich by providing entertainment for big corporate wingdings, and hired (by the hour), a videographer to shoot a music video of Gay Friends and a couple of sketches. Kathryn turned up airily 90 minutes late, and didn’t fail to miss that I wanted to strangle her. The morning of the audition for her impresario friend, she phoned, with Wendy on the other line somehow, to say that she’d changed her mind about calling her favor in, and was quitting the group, taking Wendy with her. I felt as though someone had dropped a small building on me.

I regrouped. In consecutive years, I formed two entirely different versions of what I now called the San Francisco Hysterical Society. At their auditions, a few young women had me hoping I’d found someone as good as Wendy Lucas. Fat chance. That I’d done no such thing always became clear within a couple of rehearsals.

I moved to London and there, in consecutive years, assembled The Ministry of Humour, The Clear & Present Rangers, and another version of The Clear & Present Rangers. There are some awfully good actresses in London, and some of them wound up in my companies. There wasn’t another Wendy Lucas.

She must be around 38 now. A Google search reveals only that she’s teaching (Spanish?) at a posh private elementary school in Oakland. We could have been the new Nichols & May, Wendy Lucas and I. We could have moved mountains. It ain’t a fair world.

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Memories of MacWorld, Fond Ones!

The news that Apple is about to introduce another revolutionary product that I can’t afford has made me remember how much, at this time of year, I used to look forward to MacWorld at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. Acres of Mac-related products as far as the eye could see! You’d walk around loading huge, colorful department store-style bags bearing this or that software company’s logo with free magazines, free floppy disks, free whatsits and trinkets beyond counting. You’d ooh and aah at demonstrations of dazzling new software, and sip complimentary beverages. You’d buy more memory.

Whole legions of badly dressed, often rat-faced former members of their high schools’ ham radio and audiovisual clubs buzzed and vituperated like callers to talk radio sports shows about What [Steve] Jobs Was Gonna Say at his big State of the Mac address. And you should have seen them when a software demonstrator made known that he’d be tossing free T-shirts into the crowd. Their pupils would dilate. The dark spots under their arms would expand, and appear damper. They’d moan, and tremble. Their tics would become more pronounced. Free T-shirts, just for correctly answering the demonstrator’s questions! Free T-shirts!

One year, it was as though you’d be arrested for using the word software; everything was a…solution. You wanted to lay out a brochure on your Mac? Well, Company A had a desktop publishing solution. You wanted to figure out how much you owed Uncle Sam? Company B to the rescue, with an accounting solution. It was really obnoxious! I related the phenomenon to the celebrated columnist Herb Caen, and he put it in his San Francisco Chronicle column, but without attribution, though I did get a nice signed note that I proudly archived beside my Pete Townshend, David Bowie, Tipper Gore, and Vin Scully letters.

I think that was the same year one software company hired a bevy of lithe young beauties to hang around in front of its exhibit in luminous latex catsuits. I spent a lot of time investigating their various…solutions; oh, did I! I am reluctant to plug The Onion, which, whenever I've suggested that I join their writing staff, sniffily inform me that they’re not looking for anybody, but I absolutely must share with you the funniest thing I’ve ever seen related to the Mac!

One year Kai Krause, namesake of the Kai’s Power Tools suite of Adobe Photoshop plugins, made an appearance. The crowd couldn’t have been more excited if he’d been Elvis, returned from the dead and carrying a naked Marilyn Monroe in his arms. Kai revealed during his presentation that he had 256 kilobytes of RAM on his own computer, and I, who had six, and a 40MB hard drive, very nearly fainted with envy; the iMac on which I’m writing this has 2GB of RAM, around a billion times more, by my calculation!

These are wonderful times in which we live, and I am using a great many explanation points today, but just try and stop me! The Lexapro may finally be working!

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

Monday, January 4, 2010

Son of What's In a Namath?

Watching NFL football, as I do entirely too much, I often wish that every stadium employed a few snipers to pick off players who, after doing something notable, reflexively point up at the sky as though to cede some of the credit for their touchdown, interception, or fumble recovery to God. I believe that everyone is indeed entitled to his or her own spiritual beliefs — except childishly literal ones, such as that God is watching a meaningless game between two teams that won’t make the playoffs, and guiding the ball for the greater glory of True Believers.

I might be willing to make an exception for players with wonderfully wacky given names, my own favorite this week being D’Brickashaw (Ferguson, Jets offensive right tackle), with Plaxico (as in Burress, the currently incarcerated New York Giants wide receiver) residing perpetually in my personal Hall of Fame.

I’m amused by how many NFL stars’ invented names — LaDainian Tomlinson’s and Lavernues (don’t try to pronounce it!) Coles’, for instance — begin with what in Spanish, Italian, and French is the feminine definite article. Hats off to LeBron James’ mother — only 16 at the time! — for getting it right.

Before my daughter’s birth, when her mother and I thought she would be our son, I wanted to name him Nimrod, after the mighty Mesopotamian ruler credited with having built the Tower of Babel, and mentioned in a Bonzo Dog (Doo Dah) Band song I liked. Leslie argued that to do so would be to condemn him to relentless persecution on the playgrounds of his childhood. I didn’t believe that then, and I don’t believe it now. My guess is that D’Brickashaw Ferguson wouldn’t have been taunted much even if his name had been Lace Petticoat, whereas those who wished to torment me simply ignored my very commonplace given name and reworked my surname in an endless variety of wryly cruel ways. It’s not a child’s ordinary name that precludes his persecution, but his size and temperament.

Having come to understand that one of the NFL's most unusually named white stars, Peyton Manning, habitually contributes to the campaigns of Republicans, including George W. Bush, I think I will root henceforth for whomever the Colts happen to be playing against on any given week. For all I know, though, the opposing coach or quarterback or offensive coordinator might have a Palin in 2012 sticker on the bumper of his Hummer or Escalade. If a team were really interested in my support, it would arrange for a couple of key players reveal themselves to be gay or bisexual, and for none of their teammates to express distaste, in the manner of Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas’s fellow Cardiff Blues. But my guess is that anybody who thinks The Lord helped him recover a fumble is going to take Leviticus 18:22 pretty seriously.

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Still Snobbish After All These Years

For one as given to self-loathing, I remain a frightful snob. When I first got to Beacon, I attended a meeting of a writers group in spite of my dreadful experience at the one in Wisconsin. I just wanted, and knew I needed, some social interaction beyond nodding at the guy at the gym who’d gone over my paperwork with me. I became friendly with one of the group’s organizers, in spite of her having been preoccupied with her laptop before reading some pretty feeble poetry. We even agreed to start a business together, teaching local kids a whole range of creative skills. I exulted in having made a better friend in Beacon in five weeks than I’d made in Wisconsin in 10 months.

But then she found out that I number among my most cherished friends a couple of professional dominatrices, and that was the end of the friendship. She’d found and been horrified by the Website of a dominatrix in San Diego, trading under the same domme name as my friend, who specializes in videos of her crushing insects underfoot. “I’m sorry,” the writer of feeble poetry declared, her voice chilly with Righteous Indignation, “but I just don’t want to be around that sort of energy.” It didn’t matter to her that neither I nor my friend knew this woman, much less condoned her actions.

Then, several weeks later, another member of the writers group, J—, phoned to invite me over to meet her domestic partner and some of their friends. The stories with which they regaled one another had them all laughing delightedly, but struck me as weirdly lacking in payoffs or punchlines. There was no mistaking, though, that J— was a major sweetheart — kind, generous, welcoming, cheerful, an all-around delightful person, but she didn’t do mordancy, or even irony.

And an all-around delightful person whose subsequent invitations I, horrid snob that I am, have found myself concocting excuses to have, with the utmost (professed) regret, to refuse. Being around them made me feel lonelier, rather than less lonely.

But on to more pleasant concerns. I woke yesterday morning with an idea that will surely make someone a fortune. Even in Times Such as These we all need to keep eating, and recent events have surely served to increase Islamophobia among those prone to that sort of stupidity. Behold: Infidelicatessen, Proudly Non-Halal. Can you imagine the, uh, concept not being a big hit with the Let’s Kick Their Ass and Take Their Gas bumpersticker crowd? Forget that he or she probably thinks Halal is a brand of cough drop. (I, the well-traveled snob, remember the word from my years in London, where you see it everywhere, and even, with the intellectual rigor that is one of my halalmarks, just looked it up on Wikipedia.)

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]