Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Saturday, December 16, 2006


It was just another fabulous Hollywood Christmas party, this time at the home of Jeff Goldblum. I was in the kitchen with Michelle Pfeiffer, snorting lines of something that looked and smelled suspiciously like Comet cleanser, when Leonard Nimoy passed a jewel-encrusted jeroboam my way. Bracing myself, I took a generous swig. Never had I tasted anything quite as delicious as this 20-year-old Vulcan moonshine, and I quickly made myself Leonard’s shadow for the evening. After a few belts, every shred of inhibition fell about me in shards on the carpet. Snatching the karaoke mike from Tony Bennett’s hand, I climbed the Christmas tree and belted out a stirring verse of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” while the machine played the conclusion of “White Christmas.” Grabbing Faye Dunaway by the hand, I led her in a ribald Tarantella, as Leonard beat out a pagan rhythm on Martin Scorsese’s chest. Ordinarily, such behavior would have been frowned upon, but so exhilarated were we by our intergalactic hooch, that our performance dazzled even this crowd of jaded Hollywood veterans, and instead of being frog-marched to the street, we were treated to a standing ovation and cries of “Encore! Encore!” The last thing I remember was Leonard suggesting we check out the scene at Reese Witherspoon’s bash in Sherman Oaks.
At eleven o’clock the next morning, I was awakened by hot, foul breath on my face and a crushing weight on my chest. I slowly opened my scalding eyeballs and waited for them to adjust to the daylight. The closeup visage of a sleeping Great Dane eventually materialized from the fog of my throbbing hangover. Mustering what little strength I had, I pushed the gargantuan hound off of me and wobbled to my feet, leaning on a second Great Dane for support. Where was I? The outdoor pen was filled with the huge mutts. I assumed it was some kind of veterinary kennel, as all of the dogs had taped and splinted ears. But what had happened to Leonard? I scrambled about the kennel, and finally found him snoring sweetly, his head resting in a bowl of kibble. Leonard’s ears were taped and splinted, just like the dogs. They’d gotten him, too! In horror, I reached up to feel veterinary bandages on my own freshly-cropped ears.
With a bit of trouble, I roused Leonard, explaining the situation to him. He suggested our best option was to head for the North Pole and apply for worker’s visas as elves. He then hailed a cab for an appointment at the William Morris Agency. And from the taxi he cried, as it drove out of sight, “MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!”

Friday, December 15, 2006


Later today, in a special ceremony in Washington DC, Donald Rumsfeld will be frog-marched down the front steps of the Pentagon. In the month since he announced his retirement, my initial glee has eroded to a mere stump. The resignation of the disagreeable Defense Secretary, along with the quieter disappearance of the hardcore neocon architects of the war gave hope for a moment, and the results of last month's midterm election and the formation of the Iraq Study Group heralded a possible change in policy. Since then, the same complacent congress that acquiesced to our harebrained Iraq scheme has buttered up and squeezed the obsequious Robert Gates through the Senate Arms Services Committee, and unanimously approved him to replace the disgraced Rumsfeld. It appears that the old Secretary is little more than a convenient fall guy, and it's looking more like a return to business as usual, with the administration continually postponing any announcement of a “new strategy,” meanwhile diverting blame for the current state of affairs on Rumsfeld and, especially, the Iraqis. Bush seems reluctant to shoulder any responsibility for a plan that was doomed to failure from the beginning, and maybe that's as it should be, for the region will surely see no shortage of volunteers to cast blame our way for the aftermath of “Iraqi Freedom” for decades to come.
RUMSFELD CARTOON watercolor & ink 7" 9"

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Tomorrow evening, the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, New York will host an opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30pm for Birds In Art, the well-known annual touring exhibition of avian-oriented art organized by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. The exhibition includes 60 pieces of sculpture and flatwork, including my own "Malaysian Rhinoceros Hornbill" (above). Some of you may recall my whining last spring about being rejected by this year's jury, and wonder what my work is doing in Elmira. This is actually the final venue of the 2005 touring show, which, after premiering at the Woodson in September '05, visited the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Wyoming and the Museum of the Red River in isabel, Oklahoma before making this final stop.
MALAYSIAN RHINOCEROS HORNBILL (2003) acrylic 30" x 18"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It's upon us again: that time of year when the thoughts of all good Americans turn to ancient Middle-Eastern mysticism, crass commercial consumerism, and, of course, the birth of Jesus H. Jimmie-Bob Christ. Look around—the legendary spirit is ubiquitous. Earlier this week, a friend was called upon by an enterprising young financial adviser who, filled with the spirit of giving, offered to buy lunch for her and fourteen friends at a trendy delicatessen. Of course, she didn't know anyone with fourteen friends, much less have fourteen of her own, so we drove down to the local hobo park and enlisted a dozen Bob Cratchits to join in our bounty. Our guests listened politely as the event's benefactor explained the importance of a well-diversified portfolio, without a hint of irony in his presentation. Afterwards, we each filled out a form of contact information, filling each blank with a bold dash, then enjoyed a splendid, if premature, Christmas dinner.

But the giving spirit doesn't end with this story! No, dear readers--as a special holiday gift to each one of you, here is a very special mp3 that embodies all of the love and warmth that make this time of year so special. So don your gay apparel, click the link, and everybody sing along!
LONE DROMEDARY (2000) acrylic 22" x 30" (digitally vandalized today by me)