The Life Extenders from Hell’s Kitchen

Inner Babe

A Fate Worse Than Death

I’ve taken my grains more often by shot glass than breakfast bowl. But a boot needs powering up and a trail needs hiking. So it turns out the time had come to cook barley and rye, whole grains, into a porridge.

All this virtuous behavior rattles my self-destructive nature. As I stand here I’m not so much aiming for immortality as merely extending some honest to goodness mortality.

They’ve already rescinded my soap box privileges. Nobody that knows nothing about the sanctity of life would even allow me a shot at a church pew or petri dish.

Happily married and duty bound to uphold my part of the bargain has provided an opportunity to seek out affairs of another kind. Oatmeal has been my baseline morning mistress since I saw my first day without French toast. After a spell putting oats on the stove was a heartless dreary unsatisfactory form of foreplay with a new day.

Homework was required to extract myself from this gustatory dead end affair. First, the new fling had to be organic. Second, the new girl had to be the real thing,  she could not be a genetically modified organism. Rice drink would replace bovine produced milk. Agave sweetener would substitute for refined sugar. Chopped fresh fruit was approved by my quorum-posse-tyranny of life extension advisers.

All that barley, rye and agave put me within spitting distance of an altogether more adult activity than turning me into some sad transsexual version of Little Bo Peep. If this was still a democracy you can bet the election would have come out in favor of the other guy. The voting machines are rigged in this household. Why in hell do Kellogg’s cornflakes keep winning every morning of the week?

The main thing to know is that eventually we’ll all be forced to find an appetite for something other than Pigs in a Blanket, deep-fried-Snicker’s Bars, or Jimmy Dean’s pure-pork-sausages. You’ll be thinner, walk faster and feel like you are starving half to death after having engorged yourself like a tick on a leafy green kale salad.

new hat

All Hat Nearly No Cholesterol

Before death nearly everything held dear including our favorite hunting dog will turn and bite us in the ass. I’m going for a hike with the vipers, this diet is venomous enough. From here on out and back its nothing but bug spray, sunscreen and a handful of fruits and nuts. Save me from the lettuce and lemon juice, how about giving me a sip of that filtered water before death by desire comes show me exit door.

 

The Invisible-Glorious-Full-Stop

DTLA-Arts District

Start from Where You Find Yourself

Here on the rotisserie in LA it is expected to go triple digits. For one hot second I’d deluded myself into believing the autumnal equinox had passed, summer was over and that Trump would have folded like a cheap piece of patio furniture by now.

As far as trifecta’s go I’m a raving savant.

The future is akin to a plane on autopilot. Doors locked, we can’t get in, there’s a mountain dead ahead. Believe me I’d rather be on a beach listening to Kenny G, reading my GQ while sipping on my first extra dry-stirred not shaken- Sapphire martini.

Is it just me? Yes, it is evidently just me. Everyone else I know wants beachfront property, doesn’t believe in tsunami’s and dismisses the reports of Antarctica’s demise as premature. Even displaced polar bears sighted south of their ancestral range turns out to be attributed to nothing more than advances in ecotourism.

Even my chakra’s, all seven have told me to just take a chill pill, stop worrying, it’s all coming to an end, but it’s a great ending without the Koch’s, Trump’s or Murdock’s surviving any of what they’ve so fervently wrought.

Today my car still starts, radio works and I know where the hell I’m going for at least the moment. Having been a pilot of the prairie, the daring-do-dude of the desert I can unplug the plug-in-hybrid and go. Blinkered, emotionally bombed out- gutted like a cathedral under renovation I can take my sorry-to-have-to-do-this-to-you-self out into the vast emptiness of the terrifying void where I’ll try to find a can of start-over.

So, there you are and here we go. To the barricades. Helmet on, optimism thermostat turned to full on. The scout will sprint ahead looking for a plausible path through the impasse. Probably to be found under a rock, at the counter of a country store, or maybe locked inside my heart of hearts. I haven’t looked there in a while. Must be a key to my soul somewhere.

 

sign

The Sign I’ve Been Looking For

 

 

Do Not Enter

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Blueberries on my mind

My lifestyle caught up with my hairstyle. Black Monday’s deep dive has nothing on my temporal skyline. While I haven’t physically resorted to the comb-over there is a forensic team searching the empty corridors of my courage for suspicious activity.

My bandwagon finally collided with my chow-wagon. With my hair going full on canary in the coal mine and my fondness for renewables being what they are I thought I’d head on down to the corner plasma testing center for further guidance.

That of course led me to the door I didn’t want to walk through. The door you don’t want to walk through is the same door, located in the same place like right in front of your freakin’ face, carried with you the entirety of your life on earth. It may be locked, unrecognized, invisible, squeaky-hinged, or have a sign posted warning you to Do Not Enter. Trust me eventually you’re going to have to open the door.

I found an exercise bike waiting. Long walks were there. Extra time on the cushion meditating was there. There were old pictures of how I used to look hanging on the walls. New dietary guidelines. Admonishments especially slanted to the mind altering penchants and predilections of a certain person whose door this is. The self destruct Google Maps app especially designed to not know the directions to every single saloon within drinking distance was there. There was an enhanced Vegan Diet from Carnivorous Hell, smoothies made by retired showgirls, and a fine Pop-up Wheat Grass Beverage Cart all arranged to catch what’s left of my eyes.

Having spent two months on the other side I can tell you for a fact that Sinatra was absolutely spot on when he said.  “I feel sorry for people that don’t drink, because when they wake up in the morning, that is the best they are going to feel all day-” And that’s true, besides who wants to call the greatest dead saloon singer of all time a liar?  No, I’m here to figure out how to put some numbers up on the big board that won’t frighten a cardiologist or get my life insurance canceled. I’m living proof that at some point no matter how you cut the deck or keep a lock on that door eventually you’ll find out that what life is really all about is located somewhere between having less hair and eating more leafy greens.

There are no secrets to life just unopened doors.

 

 

 

How’s That Change Thing Working Now?

good-luck

SMOKING HOT BLAME YOU CAN BELIEVE IN

Signed up for the National Park Service going rogue Facebook page this morning. I owe much of my souls most healed aspects to the unfettered, unfiltered quiet time the parks have gifted to my life.

To imagine what we need to do is liquidate these national treasures is to fail to take up our responsibility to leave future generations a glimpse of the paradise we are all born into.

It seems bizarre to me to stand up and shout out in anger that we are going to sell these assets off, exploit their natural resources and squander these last untrammeled parts of our nation.

I can tell you without looking at specific polls that nobody wants the parks sold off, defunded or opened up to mining and logging. There is no majority advocating to take healthcare away from citizens. There is no clamoring among the restless masses for corporate tax cuts. We don’t want to start a war with China. We want social security and Medicare to be there for all Americans. Vast swaths of the population want the EPA to keep our water pure and air clean. There is nowhere in this country citizens urging Congress to repeal Dodd-Frank.

But,  if you vote for people and ignore what they say, what they stand for? Because you don’t believe they would ever do what they say they are going to do? That’s just off the rails. We’re in the midst of a climate crisis. We have work to do. Instead a feeble, disorganized, incompetent group of mostly Caucasian’s with money, have gone to Washington to discover they haven’t a clue how to run anything as complex and as vital as the government of the United States of America. They are in total chaos. Spare our National Parks the trouble.

 

Bachelorhood as Infrastructure

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To Have Anything You Must Give Her Everything

     “You peeling down into your French lingerie and your slick high-heeled cowgirl boots, I swear on a stack of Gideon’s, you don’t want a fair fight… Trying to ensnare me in my own weaknesses…. I know your kind; you’ll have nothing and nobody to blame but all those temptations you’re trying to weaken my will with.”

Fletcher McCrea from Hot Spring Honeymoon

 

The majesty of a seduction is something special. At the scale of infrastructure it isn’t just special it is monumental.

A good piece of public policy that works toward the common good of the entire society seems to have become illusive. It is as if the transmission mechanisms for making good choices have been clogged.

It isn’t too hard to understand. We weaken the will of an otherwise sensible person by buttering them up with legalized bribery. This is known as a campaign contribution.

This will work until it doesn’t and right now failure is looking truly global, as in global climate change.

This human foible, this human sickness of being incapable of preventing our politics and economics from destroying mother earth is in full view for all to see. It isn’t a secret. It is tragedy and like any audience we know what is going to happen and yet we are unable to stop it.

Well, one way or another it will end. Like a good love affair sometimes you have to give one thing up to get the pleasure of another.

“If I was you, Fletcher McCrea, I’d start washing my hands and combing my hair. End of your bachelorhood’s not even fifty yards away.”

Glenna Goddard reply… from Hot Spring Honeymoon

 

Your One Night Stand on the Front Page

Fletch's cabin small

 

Imagining Hot Spring Honeymoon

Where Love Has Come to Play

“Emptiness does not differ from form. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness,” This ambiguous quote comes from Buddhism’s great teachings contained in The Heart Sutra.

Caught in this paradoxical world of here and now, the fiction writer slashes through all the chaos that we know as life on earth and proposes a pathway for human beings to arrive at a moment of clarity. It happens by chance in a parking lot, on a night like no other, in the arms of a perfect stranger, then a kiss and the answer to a question, and a plunging off into the night together… I see patterns in all this human behavior. Yes, I see taller women with shorter men, but not so often as the other way around.

Ultimately the world is more spiritual than physical, but what would we do if a writer of fiction was trapped in a literary form that had to remain nameless and shapeless? Where would the reader grab hold? We know the answer to that question. The reader would attach to the spirit leaving out the physical earthbound parts of the story. This is the literal neighborhood of life that characters press with their eager lips so they may enter into the ethereal realm. If relationship and love were formless and nameless the reader would be denied the pleasure of imagining characters groping through the delusion and into the beyond of where love’s located. Think of this as loves enlightenment experience, a non-judgmental elixir for the lustful, if such a kind of human pleasure might be allowed to be experienced, beyond the boundaries of conscience. This is where the sauce of love is to be simmered over passions stove.

Sexual farce unmasks the libidinous scaffolding where not such adorable human nature is delineated. This is not where we live, but for many of us it is a place we have once visited, some more than others, plenty having stayed long after they ought to have moved on. Human sexuality as comic farce pokes at uncomfortable truths as well as fallacies. We get into love and out of love by some odd gateway that is both physiologically ornamental and optically invisible.

A good farce is ridiculous, the whole human condition is absurd, but facts are facts and for reasons that can appear to be almost completely unfathomable our human nature urges many of us to find partners that we will want to enjoy intimate sexual behaviors with. There is the revelation, nudity, and all manner of peculiar yet popular physiological maneuvers associated with this part of the story. They must be wildly popular as people the world over repeatedly perform these very same stunts. More often than not this behavior provokes not just bodily desire, but love and the quest for relationship. What these provocateurs do about all this sex is the stuff of comedy and tragedy.

In Hot Spring Honeymoon I tipped the scales of human experience in the direction of laughter and amusement. I dared to explain loves whereabouts as in the proximity of lust, perhaps it is not the prettiest place we might locate this noble human hearted phenomena but certainly one of the more ordinary and naughty places. Maybe that’s sexual farces greatest fun is that it seduces the virtuous reader. And just when we had thought so much of our better natures we find ourselves having to hear the remnants of this other less wholesome and skillful side we all have resting in repose within us.

There is fortune in impulse control, glorious wisdom to be earned by tamping down the error of our own ways. Many of us grow up and get a life, find love and a reliable partner. Because of our lack of fame and notoriety we have not had our most salacious miscalculations splattered across the front pages of the National Inquirer for the whole world to see. Instead if we’ve lived long enough, we’ve quelled this perfectly human aspect of how we have been designed, and now from the lofty heights of at long last knowing better we slip back into our other self and enjoy the guilty pleasure and a good romp through the jungle from where we once prowled. We pass through this life at times tangled in this whole affair to discover we are part prey and at other times we have been shocked to discover inside of us is part predator. Or perhaps, as my wise friend gently urges, “You who are nobly born, remember who you truly are?”

 

Left Coast Lifter

October 27, 2011 Building a Bridge for All the People

Here at work is the Left Coast Lifter. Left Coast a right wing epithet coined to characterize the voting habits of California, Oregon and Washington. We are reliably Liberal. Yesterday was a classic Indian summer day on the San Francisco Bay. This gigantic crane is preparing to hoist into position the last piece of the new Oakland-San Francisco  Bay Bridge. It is a two million pound piece of steel fabricated in Shanghai, China. Ironically the largest public works project in California history turns out to be not quite what it seems. Yes, it will be the largest finished public works project, but it is the largest public works project ever fabricated in another country. I am not sure how that decision was made, but it doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate that if we had fabricated within the United States we might well have employed more people and had more revenue flowing into the community where this fabrication was taking place, paying workers and the factory, and then the workers and the factory would have revenue to pay taxes with and as they say a virtuous cycle might have been enjoyed by the cities, counties and states that all of this activity might have taken place. This is what we our supposed to be electing and appointing leadership to do. In downtown Oakland last night there was a candlelight vigil for Scott Olsen the Iraqi War veteran injured earlier this week when Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan ordered the Occupy Oakland protestors removed from the park they had been encamped in. Here is life, this rich, complex, diverse, multi-faceted stew of all of us mixed up all together and trying to build something that will work better for all of us. I have a suggestion. First, if you are a Mayor forget about removing protestors from your parks. Embrace our right to free speech, to peaceful assembly. Second, if you want to empty the parks of the protestor’s maybe get the big things right, like policy, for example building bridges. Maybe, the cheapest possible price for a bridge part built in China isn’t really the bargain it seems. Perhaps making those bridge parts here might have put food on the table and kept roofs over the heads of our own citizens. Yeah, I’m all for the Left Coast Lifter, I just want it to be lifting the right thing, like the people in this country who need a hand up.

BANKRUPT HEART                                   THE SECOND NOVEL

Ry walked a footpath out to the edge of the bay, a
jetty jutted first south then turned hard to the west forming a breakwater for
the marina. Ry hiked on the trail above the rip-rap. Out on the point where the
jetty turned a woman stood alone in front of an easel. Ry took in the brisk
cool air of morning from behind the watercolorist. She faced the cracking sun
rising from behind the hills in the East
Bay. Next to her was a
portable folding table, sponge, tubes of paint, vase of water, and an
assortment of brushes. She was in no hurry. She stood motionless watching the
horizon. Then, as if coming out of a trance she turned and smiled at Ry. She
had a kindness in her eyes. She was silent, focused. She turned her attention
back to her watercolor.

            “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you
out on the jetty before.”

            “I’ve never been here before.”

            “I know the old Cambodian fisherman,
I call him Bok Choy. He calls me his little pain in the ass.”

Bankrupt Heart Copyright © 2011 by Dana Smith