Archive for March, 2008

Paradise Wednesday

Posted in wordings on 15 March 2008 by stephen wayne

Paradise Wedneday. Quiet still. A few idlers laugh between martini sips. A couple against the wall hold a quiet conference on the ideology of republicisms. Two employees in the wine room exchange gossip from an illegal rave at some father’s mansion and no – he was not out of town. He was the life of the party.

Joe is guest bartending for Bruce who is skiing with the family in tahoe. I expect an explanation when he returns. One to the tune of : my wife made me go.

Joe recommends a book he is enamored by: “The Blood Meridian”. His enthusiasm for the novel has convinced me. I’d run to Borders but my New York with sautéed spinach is on  its way.

The time. We divide everything into measurable bits and then struggle to stave off accumulating them. The dollar amount spent each year, believing the tally will be reduced. But why?

Our belief in the reduction only increases our consumption.

The end of the day. Night falls. Darkness descends. Our small existence migrates under the cover of stars. To and Fro. That’s what I need to do. Migrate. To change existing conditions to my image of what I believe they should be.

I would like to set up shop somewhere: Venice, Seattle, Mendoza. And write. Even if I had nothing really to say.

And visit Bhutan, and Iran and tell the locals it is not my fault. That he is the most unpopular president in history at the moment. I would like to hear how the people of Kabul speak of their new rulers.

And the wine makers in Ukraine. How different are they from you or me.

And then we get a drunk at the bar in a white collared shirt starched to the point of suffocation yelling and slurring and cursing about how the Yankees lost a playoff game 5 years ago. 5 years! How small is his life? How empty? And then there are a series of baseball enigmas going back 20; to when he was a child and still he is upset with the calls, the players, and the seats he had.

We do not relate stories of playwrights or novelists anymore. There is not enough cable to cover them.

Long ago the media learned that controversy sells. The state does not want you to go to bed happy. Then you might concentrate on the problems that attempt to govern life; your elected officials, the environment, hell, even your child’s inadequate education.

So the media throws at you phrases like steroid testing. The Cruise Break up. Illegal border crossings. And emphasizes: You are not safe.

There are not enough moments left in the day to worry about global warming, to contemplate the destruction of our natural resources, let alone how we hate our job, friends, living environment. Or how unfulfilled we feel.

And if we do, there are always the malls with their Louis Vutton, Prade, Coach stores. And an convenient bar to help erase our guilt from purchasing the equivalent in two hours equates to  a Nigerians Lifetime salary.

The James & Madalena Meter

Posted in wordings on 15 March 2008 by stephen wayne

The James & Madalena Meter

Some explanation must be presented regarding the James & Madalena Meter. It was devised one evening when a series of unlikely events took place. The first was of course my decision to part from their entertaining company to partake in what I assumed would be an even more amusing evening. Madalena turned to me and asked what on earth could drag me from their presence. It was at this moment I suggested to her that I should devise some type of indicator or scale to weigh the array of social functions using J & M as a basis against which all else would be judged.

Now, the obvious tool used most commonly by such giants as R. Parker, and J. Laube is the 100 point scale. For equally obvious reasons I discounted this immediately feeling too constrained by the absoluteness of this system. If an event of such magnitude merited a ..perfect.. 100, who is to say that there would never be, down the road, an event or person of even greater intensity that might merit a ..102.. or even ..103..? And at the single digit end of this system, who is to say that ..0.. is the absolute pittance of social functionality? Could not some unforeseen event, some comedy of errors, merit a ..-7..?

We racked our brains for hours, oblivious to the Bill Evans tunes James hammered out on his Baldwin in the lounging facilities at Hotel Andalusia. While Madalena suggested a grade card of sorts, I suggested using a system more in line with that which Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz proposed in his 1684 mathematical paper which appeared in the journal Acta Eruditorum.

And while his paper involved differential calculus, as opposed to integral calculus (which he actually did not commit to paper until 1686), I proposed to simplify his rather mind boggling (at the time) equation of slope = change in y divided by change in x = rise divided by run, by eliminating the slope altogether, replacing it with a social parabola and a harmonizing secant line. This way, as our point ..or social event- moves along the parabola, the associated secant line is rotated toward a close approximation of the tangent line herein revealing that which had troubled myself and Madalena for the past few hours: what was actually paramount.

Of course to make an accurate calculation once must have access to a highly powerful computer and while I do travel with a dual core processor laptop with 4 gigs of memory, most evenings out on the town I tend to leave the 9 pound paperweight at home. With this in mind I decided to oversimplify by using a sliding scale from 3 to 115.

Measuring all previous evenings out in the company of James and Madalena I arrived at their benchmark on this scale: 99. So in order to abstain from their company an event or person must arrive at or exceed 99. Now one must keep in mind that 99 is an average of sorts. On many occasions these two gems of human existence flat-line at 115. It is at this point where it may seem impossible to be introduced to anyone or anything of interest. But thankfully the 3-115 (pronounced ..three-one-fifteen..) scale is a fluid one and it is quite possible, however unlikely, that while J&M are at the high point on this scale, an event or person might merit a 119. Thus, the scale would have to be ..and happily I might add- redrawn.

Now conditions can be met wherein a person or event might average a 99. It is in these unusual circumstances that the following may be applied:

If during the first 26 hours this person or event reaches approximately two-thirds of the way to the James and Madalena benchmark, an additional 22 hour probation period is granted. If however after 48 hours an average less than 99 is obtained then, with regret, I listen carefully as Madalena tells me ..I told you so.., and I return to the lounge in Hotel Andalusia where James is still playing variations of Evans on his grand.