Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Aftermath and Consequences

Our old friend Leño used to joke that Frankie’s e-mail address was igotgame@buticantclose.com, because on several occasions over the years, Frankie has talked to a girl to the point where she basically threw herself at him, but he hasn’t closed the deal. Friday night, Melissa’s friend Jenna was just the latest in a long line of girls that Frankie didn’t close under eerily similar circumstances. Our friends have already joked about how the old Frankie is making a comeback. I have to say, Frankie’s got much more control over his libido than I do, but that’s not a bad thing. Just because one can do something doesn’t mean one should do something. Truth be told, I don’t know that I would have shown the same restraint that he did.

I spoke with Missy on Sunday, and she told me that Jenna had been distraught, and had broken down in a drunken-crying “why didn’t he want me” episode after we dropped them off at Missy’s house. After Melissa consoled her, Jenna promptly drove home, and Missy let her . . . leading me to question both their judgment in general, but that’s another story. Melissa also told me that Frankie actually made “the right decision,” since Jenna had a tendency to be “clingy.” And then she told me that Jenna was also trying to get over the guy from the Tropi-Christmas party that she hooked up with (stealing him away from our good friend Samantha in the process). Evidently he never called Jenna after that night. Now, ladies, here’s a lesson that they must have left out of the book they gave you in middle school, but I’m happy to impart: the random guy that you blow in the spare bedroom of your friend’s house while the party’s going on after having met him about a half-hour before is probably not going to call you, and you shouldn’t be expecting any sort of love connection out of the encounter. I’m not saying don’t blow the guy at the party – all I’m saying is that you should know what you’re getting into. At 35, Jenna’s still not gotten the hang of that principle, I guess.

Light Blogging (I think)

So I'm off to Sacramento for work today through Thursday, then I'm flying home to see the folks for Christmas on Friday, though I will return on the 25th, and will likely have a wholesome entry or two reflecting on the season or something like that. At any rate, I won't have the internet access that I typically have for the next week or so.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life is very long.

Upon hearing of my Friday night ignominy (blogged at length at Frankie’s place), Meno made me feel better with the following words:

The way I see it, sooner or later everyone’s the grenade at sometime in their life.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jack Gordon's Official Christmas Special

For the most part I don't do the whole "meme" thing, since they're usually too time consuming, but I couldn't help answering the questions to this one in my head as I read them over on Andi's blog. Plus, as I said in an earlier post, I try not to be a complete grinch. So, in the spirit of Christmas, I broke down and took the time to answer the following twenty questions:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Neither. I’m lactose intolerant and both make me ill. I stick to the hot cider, or better yet some mulled wine or hot buttered rum.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
This is a real chicken or egg question, and I've never pondered it. I expect he has the Chinese kids in the sweatshops where the presents are made wrap them for him.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I had several traumatic experiences with Christmas trees as a kid, and my annoying neighbors have driven me to boycott decorating my house. If anything I’d go with a Festivus pole.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
I've never done it, mostly since I live alone, but I’m not opposed to anything that might help me score.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Going to deliver presents to friends and family with my dad.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was born a cynic, and my parents didn't really believe in lying to me, so I don’t really remember. I don’t know that I ever actually bought into the whole Santa thing. I was more of a “happy birthday, Jesus” kind of kid. Santa creeps me out: an old dude dressed in red velvet that watches me sleep and wants me to sit in his lap? Ewww.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yup. I’m an impatient mofo so Christmas Eve is when I open most of them.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
See answer to Question 3, above.

11. Snow: love it or hate it?
For the most part, I hate the cold and snow. I used to make an exception for snow on Christmas eve, until my uncle slipped, fell, and dislocated his shoulder during a snowstorm on Christmas Eve in 1997 and I had to take him to the emergency room. Strangely, Christmas Eve is about the best time to ever go to the emergency room, as it turns out. But I can do without snow now.

12. Can you ice skate?
I've done it twice in my life, and was OK at it.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Yes. My mom gave me a very nice dopp kit when I was in high school, and I loved it. In December 2002 a baggage-claim belt at Chicago's Midway airport mangled my garment bag and destroyed the dopp kit. I was very sad. In fact, I secretly suspect that I broke-up with my girlfriend at the time in large part because she wasn't thoughtful enough to have bought me a replacement for Christmas – especially since she knew how much I loved that dopp kit and that I thought it was the greatest Christmas gift anyone had ever given me.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Spending time with my folks.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Hickory Farms' summer sausage. I know it’s not a dessert, but I just I love it so much that I'm sticking with it.

16. What tops your tree?
See answer to Question 3, above.

17. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Giving. I don’t really need or want anything, but I enjoy buying shit for people.

18. What is your favorite Christmas song?
I fucking hate Christmas carols. I especially hate that I’m forced to hear them every day starting after Halloween these days. I wish someone would come up with new ones.

19. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Probably Trading Places.

20. What would be the best gift you could receive this year?
A bottle of premium booze always warms my heart. I'm easy.

I'm pretty sure I only have like six readers these days, and Andi's already tagged me, but for the rest of you, have at it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Mad Shoeshiner Moment

I ran “shoeshiner” through YouTube today, and came across this bizarre commercial. No detail on it, no country of origin indicated, but it looks like there are a whole series of “Kiwi Express” commercials featuring these strange little stick figure cartoons. The Boss’ reaction in this one captures my first reaction, as well. A little on-line research led me to adsoftheworld.com, which informs us that this little gem came from Hong Kong, and that:

A SHOE SHINER is urban slang for a brown-noser. Since Kiwi Express is a ridiculously fast shoe shiner, this humorous campaign shows a brown-nosing employee shamelessly sucks up to his boss – in no time whatsoever.

Clearly not American urban slang. Great. Now I’m going to be insecure about the title of my blog every time I see some random foreigner on sitemeter. For the record, there is a real Mad Shoeshiner. He used to work in the lobby of La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Perhaps he still does. He shined my shoes once many years ago and was clearly insane. He did, however, drop several pearls of wisdom that stuck with me to this very day, and I still quote the guy on occasion. Among his observations:
You buy an electric toothbrush and then you have to buy a house that has electricity.
Think about that one for a while. There was a definite method to his madness. As an aside, if you ever get shoe polish on your clothes or upholstery, your first order of business should be a spray-down with WD-40.

Fifty First Dates

As a follow-up to my last post, another piece of clothing that the other ten percent have completely hijacked and that I think kicks ass is the striped boat-neck shirt: totally not historically gay. I don’t own one, but only because I’ve never found one in my size that I like. Picasso made the style famous, and I’d wager that he crushed more ass than Sinatra in his day.

So Frankie and I went to the Fulbright scholar’s cocktail party last night. She was still a little cold – despite the fact that she invited us to the party. It wasn’t like we crashed it or anything, even though that’s not beyond us at all. In fact, we brought a bottle of Junipero gin as a gift, and shook up a couple of killer martinis. For the first hour or so following our arrival, there were only two other guests there. They were, however, a completely cool husband and wife who were totally interesting and engaging and a pleasure to talk to. In fact, if I were to have a party at my place, I’d track them down and extend an invitation, though, I’m ambivalent about whether or not I’d invite the Fulbright scholar at this point. I probably wouldn’t.

I had pre-soaked with two vodka sodas before we arrived, and was three Dos Equis lagers into the party by the time the other guests began showing up. The highlight of the night hit early, as the fifth guest to arrive was a woman that Frankie had made-out with for a while at Melissa’s Tropi-Christmas bash. We realized this immediately before she did, and called an audible: feign complete ignorance of who she was. It helped that when she approached Frankie, she said something to the effect of “Don’t I know you? Isn’t your name Bert?” Of course, Frankie’s name is not Bert, and he had proof of that, so when we both told her that we’d never met her before she had to believe us. She was looking pretty good, and we talked with her for a while. Whoever said you never get a second chance to make a first impression never plugged alcohol into the equation.

By the end of the evening, around 11:00, there weren’t many people left at the party. Some engineering type who was talking about – I am not making this up – how the elements on the periodic table got their names ended up cornering our new friend out on the patio. We thought about running the cock-block on him, which would have been easy, but decided, instead, to just slip away into the night . . . . we had succeeded in being good, interesting (I think), and memorable guests at the party, and we had made our positive impression on the crowd. Like the gambler, Frankie and I have learned that the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep – ‘cause every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Winter wardrobe

I guess I haven’t mentioned that the Fulbright scholar invited me and Frankie to a little cocktail party at her house this evening. Which is funny for many reasons, including the fact that we met her at Melissa’s party and Melissa didn’t get invited. Melissa’s thoughts on that:

I don't know who this beeotch is, but tell her thanks for coming over to my house and drinking my liquor and enjoying the outside heaters and pleasant company. Then tell her to write the check out to: Melissa "I invite people to my parties" Sorensen. I'm not bitter.

Further excerpts from the e-mail chain among me, Frankie, and Melissa yesterday afternoon and this morning:

Frankie: Jack’s masculinity is always an easy target....can you convince him not to wear turtlenecks?
Melissa: The turtleneck is a key part of the gay uniform. Frankie, apparently, you’re the other part. Have fun at the party I wasn’t invited to!!

Jack: The turtleneck is one of the most flattering things a man can wear. Seriously, it puts your head on a pedestal. Just to spite you, I'm wearing one tomorrow. Cashmere.

Frankie: People already think you are my gay lover, so just don’t wear the turtleneck . . .

Fuck him; I’m wearing a black cable-knit turtleneck today. A note to heterosexual men everywhere: I think it’s time to take back the turtleneck. Since when did it become "a key part of the gay uniform"? Seriously, some of the straightest men to ever walk this Earth were fans of the turtleneck. Two words for you: Steve Fucking McQueen. Just look at the stills from Bullit, and tell me he looks like he’s light in the loafers in his black turtleneck. Or how about this picture of Ernest Hemingway, the man who single-handedly defined the paradigmatic American male for most of the twentieth century? Nobody would ever have called Hem a poof for wearing his turtleneck and gotten away with it. It’s a damned shame that our cultural notions of masculinity have ebbed so much in the last half-century. I yearn to somehow reclaim the core and code of manhood that men like Hemingway so carefully described and tried to obey (but certainly did not invent). Dressing like a man should not be solely the province of the homosexual because they have more fashion sense. That’s all I’m saying.

Friday, December 7, 2007

'Tis the Season

Wine is fine, but liquor is quicker.” If you read deep enough into this blog, you’ll find a bit of drinking going on, and you may note that I’m quite the liquor snob. I really enjoy a martini made with quality gin, for instance, and I don’t shy away from a premium vodka on the rocks when I really have to take the edge off. I’ve been known to spend good money on bottles of whiskeys from around the world (if the world consisted of Canada, Kentucky, and Ireland), and if I were stranded on deserted island, I’d be OK, so long as I had a never-ending supply of cold beer. But wine . . . I’ve never been able to get into wine, much to my chagrin. I’ve tried. Really I have. For what it’s worth, I tried to get into opera once, too. Some things just never “took” in the Jack Gordon repertoire. The finer points of wine appreciation are completely lost on me, and I have to say that my favorite bottle of wine, if I’m going to be cracking one open at home to share with a lady friend, is a Chilean Merlot called Casillero Del Diablo that I can pick up for under $10.00 at Cost Plus. When all is said and done, though, I typically won’t drink wine if there are alternatives available.

One thing that I do like to drink around the holiday season, however, is a good mulled wine. I keep a tin of mulling spices in my pantry, and at least once each December, I’ll buy a bottle of the cheapest burgundy I can find at the supermarket, fire up the stove, and make a batch. I may not have a Christmas tree or a Festivus pole up, and my house may look pathetic next to the Clark Griswold-esque decorating efforts that my neighbors make, but nobody will ever be able to label me a complete grinch.

in memoriam

My fifth grade teacher's daughter was born on December 7th. He named her Pearl, in memory of Pearl harbor. A pretty cool gesture, I think . . . . One of my oldest childhood friends is engaged to her now, which is sort of strange to wrap my head around, because when we were in fifth grade, she was just a goofy five year old that we'd see now and again. I saw them not long ago, and it's weird to see her in her as a woman in her twenties. But there's no denying we're all grown-ups now.
December 7, 1941 did become a day that lives on in infamy, and as I try to do on Veteran's Day, I want to take this opportunity to thank those vets that served so that I could enjoy my freedoms as an American.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Frankie keeps pressing me to e-mail the Fulbright scholar from Saturday’s party. He’s always been an overeager type – to a fault sometimes. I’ll do it, I just need to hold off a little, given her initial coldness. Apropos of Frankie’s haste, however, I shared this classic anecdote with him:

Two bulls are standing on a hill. Off in the distance, they see a group of cows. The young bull excitedly nudges the old bull and says, “Hey! Hey! I know! Let’s run over there and fuck one of those cows!” The old bull looks at the young bull, then turns and takes a long look at the cows. He turns back to the young bull and says, “I’ve got a better idea, son, let’s walk over there and fuck ‘em all.”
I know the games we have to play suck. Hell, you think I like those games? But I’ve blown more opportunities than a lot of guys will ever have by trying to pretend that there weren’t a set of “rules” that women play by. As I’ve said before, I have a sneaking suspicion that in middle school, when they separate the boys from the girls for sex-ed, they give the girls a little book (complete with concordance and FAQ section) that explains exactly how to deal with and respond to men. What do guys have? Bawdy anecdotes passed via oral tradition. It’s just not fair.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Season's Greetings

I went to the first holiday party of the season last night – the annual “Tropi-Christmas” extravaganza at Melissa’s house, complete with Tiki shot luge, beer bong, and an officiated beer pong tournament (yes, we are in our thirties). Around 11:00 there was an infusion of about fifteen new people to the party, all of whom were dressed in suits and cocktail dresses. They had all just left a corporate holiday party of some sort and were keeping their festivities rolling at Melissa’s. I spotted one of the hotter women immediately and approached her to break the ice, with Frankie as my wingman. She was a little stand-offish, and that didn’t really change much as we interacted. She expressed an inordinate amount of interest in the fact that Frankie’s parents immigrated to this country from Sardinia (yes, sardines are named after the country, and yes, it has four Moor’s heads on its flag). She also quoted Thomas Mann twice. During our conversation, I learned that she had been a Fulbright scholar in Mexico with the sister of one of my college buddies – a girl who, incidentally was also Laz’s sister’s college roommate. Small world, no?

Another highlight of the Tropi-Christmas bash was when a woman approached us to chat. I recognized her from last year’s party, at which she had been totally uncool with me for no reason whatsoever, but she clearly did not remember me at all this year.

She: “Hi, I’m Katie.”

Me: “Yeah. I remember you from last year. You’re originally from Montana. I called it a ‘big square state’ and you corrected me, saying it was a rectangle, not a square. Are you going to be a bitch again this year, or do you wanna start with a clean slate?”

She (visibly stunned): “ . . . . I am from Montana . . . . . . . . . . and it is a rectangle”

Me: “Move along.”