December 20th, 2008

Happy Birthday Rome Girl!

I'm doing everything in my power to get you what your want for your birthday and christmas!

And I miss you desperately!

You are my fucking reason for making myself better every day - one day I want to be honestly good enough to deserve you.

I love you so fucking much!

Cleaning Up

So, my combined birthday/Christmas present to Rome Girl is a cleaning woman to come in once a week for the next few months.

The always wonderful Hannah Cole helped me find the woman and negotiated the price for me. It will be 13 euros an hour. Our apartment is pretty small, so I don't think it will be that much money.

Thank you Hannah! This is why I will always be one of your bitches!

The only thing I'm unsure of is that I have to provide the cleaning products.

Any idea what I should go buy today?

If you guys had a cleaning woman what would you supply her with?

Wow.

When I told my shrink this week that my ex wife used to call sex "Doing the taxes" she immediately blurted out, "Wow. Really."

Then, she was silent for a few minutes while she seemed to be collecting her thoughts.

"That's very utilitarian," she finally said.

Roar!

"Marco got me rock star accessories for my birthday," Rome Girl said. "On the box it says it will make me look more like the Cheetah Girls but I don't know who they are or why I should be like them."

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Aslan

In the International Herald Tribune yesterday one of the columnists was writing about how every Christmas she re-reads The Chronicles of Narnia - particularly The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Now, don't get me wrong. I fucking love Narnia (except for Aslan who is a useless, pointless git.) Seriously, Reepicheep, Caspian and even Edmund for the win.

But, I can't think of anything that reminds me less of Christmas than the Narnia stories.

For one, Aslan is killed by the White Witch in LWW and then comes back to life. To my mind that's a fucking Easter story, not a Christmas one!

Sure, Father Christmas makes a very brief appearance, but he doesn't give the kids toys - he gives them weapons, which they then use to kill a shitload of "people". Again, not the typical Christmas message.

Finally, the entire goal of LWW is to make the fucking snow go away and to make Spring happen, which, again, is Easter shit.

The rest of the books don't even come near to talking about Christmas. They talk about the Crusades and they certainly get into The Apocalypse and the Book of Revelation - but, again, what the fuck does worshiping a false idol and the death of every living creature have to do with Christmas?

I just don't get it.

Scrubbing

I started straightening up the apartment today so that when the cleaning woman comes for the first time on Monday she doesn't run screaming out the door.

I've done three sinks of dishes and filled up four large garbage bags (mostly with empty coke cans, cigarette boxes, take out food containers and albacore tuna cans. Squirt likes the albacore.)

Also, I discovered that we do own a broom.

Who knew?

The Cold Six Thousand

I just finished re-reading The Cold Six Thousand the sequel to one of my favorite books, American Tabloid.

In American Tabloid three low level mob hangers on slowly, over the course of several years, get manipulated into a position where they have no choice but to kill John F. Kennedy. What makes Tabloid wonderful is that James Ellroy makes it obvious from the start that this is where the book is going. That means that you look at every fuck up they make and every rogue operation they get sucked into differently than you would otherwise. You are able to see how they are slowly brought to doing something extraordinary even though they are very ordinary people.

The Cold Six Thousand begins that day in Dallas roughly a half hour after Jack's been shot. Oswald is still on the run, Hoover is instructing agents to make sure a "lone gunman" theory sticks and our protagonists can't really believe they pulled it off.

Fairly quickly the mob eliminates everyone connected to the hit, except for two of the characters from American Tabloid. They are told that they are being kept alive because they might be "useful" in the future.

They have no idea what that means, but as a reader you know that a couple years later two more people who pissed off the mob were taken out by "lone gunmen" and that the mob probably figures they need to keep people who know how to pull of that kind of job around.

So, again, the book takes you through the darkness of inevitability. When they brush shoulders with Martin Luther King and Booby Kennedy we, the readers, know they'll eventually kill them. The characters don't know this, so we are forced to helplessly watch their path of doom.

What sucks is that at some level and at different times they sorta like MLK and Bobby. But that can't stop fate.

Along the way they'll spend time in Vietnam running heroin back to Las Vegas, try to run guns and right wing militants into Cuba to "chop off The Beard", will enforce mob rules in Las Vegas and for a while get sucked into both sides of the Civil Rights Movement (various events have them both starting their own for-profit KKK clans and also working with the FBI to clamp down on KKK activity.)

Nobody comes off well in The Cold Six Thousand. Whether it's Hoover secretly videotaping MLK with young white women, or Sam Giancanna running to Mexico because he's scared of the grand jury or even Bobby Kennedy, who deep down knows the mob killed his brother, but doesn't have the balls to do anything about it.

The Cold Six Thousand is the second book of a trilogy dedicated to these people and this era. It ends with Bobby's death and the next book has yet to be published. It's hard to imagine what they will be doing in it - though I suspect they might be heading to South America since the CIA has noticed their abilities to get things done.

All in all it's a wonderful book. It's not as tight as American Tabloid, but it does have more ground to cover. It can't be easy to write a book that makes you like and admire men who killed JFK, MLK and RFK.

Ellroy also does amazing and bizarre things with grammar, language, syntax and spelling. It reads more like dark poetry than a crime novel.

And it certainly doesn't leave you cold.

Deep Thoughts

It would amuse me if, one day, they discovered that one of the major causes of global warming is making people smoke outside instead of in bars.