A Problem with Zorky

You'll have to forgive me. This story is in no way related to anything else on this blog, save my insanity. It was the summer of '99, I was a fancy free soon-to-be-high-school senior living a life of loafing at my parents palatial suburban pleasure dome in Westwood, Massachusetts (also known as The Westwood Center for Performance Art (Yoko wanted to be on our board but we turned her down.))

The summer was young, I had just returned from a grueling year at boarding school and was ready for a vacation of total decompensation. The first few days I lay in our pool reading Molloy and listening to Loveless. About a week into this splendor, I was invited, along with rest of my family, to a small celebration for my second-cousin, who had just graduated from high-school. It was no major interruption, as we had to journey but across the street to reach our destination.

When we arrived at their equally palatial, if more obscene because visible to the road, house (which has since been sold and hideously subdivided), a smattering of other guests had already gathered out back around the pool. One was a mutual friend of my father's cousin and my mom. One of her young children was swimming in the pool. The second guest was pro-football hall of famer and then-future-failed-gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann, who is I guess an old friend of my dad's cousin from college or something. But that isn't even close to the best part. Not by a long shot.

The next guest was my mother's friend's brother, Zoran, who was in town visiting from New York. He may have been with a girlfriend, and there may have been other guests at the party besides Zoran, or "Zorky" as he is known to friends, and the famous football star, but to be honest, I barely even remember that Swanny was there... From the moment of his introduction it was Zorky, and Zorky alone, who captured my imagination.

It is difficult for me to articulate exactly what it was, no, what it is about Zorky that I find so fascinating. He was of slightly below average height, around 40 years old. He wore his auburn (no doubt color-treated) hair at shoulder length, and as far as I can recall was wearing a pair of Levi jeans, with a silver-star belt buckle, a black t-shirt with an Eastern orthodox crucifix on a silver chain hanging around his neck. He may have also had a blue, Nautica jacket, but that could just be a false memory suggested to me during hypnosis.

In any event, my brother and I sat around the table beside the pool and talked with Zorky. We learned that he was a musician, a guitarist in fact who had made a living playing gigs in New York since 1980. Being a real music hound myself, I was of course desperate to hear any stories from the trenches Zorky might have to share. At first, he told us a story about coming across Jaco Pastorius, out of his mind, playing his bass in an empty fountain in Central Park as people passed by, not realizing who he was.

"Jaco was saying, over and over again, 'I'm the best bass player in the world,' and people were laughing at him, but I thought 'My God, it's true!'" Needless to say, we were eating this shit up, loving every minute of it. After the Jaco story, he paused, before suddenly interjecting:

"Are you familiar with the Paul Simon album Graceland?"

"Ummm, yeah. Sure. Why?"

"Oh, no reason, just wanted to mention that I've been playing some really great gigs with the African percussionists from that album lately. Those guys are unbelievable, the best, and their stories are so inspiring..." Zorky would then go on and sing the praises of these guys, say how great they were to play with, etc. This was all well and good, and actually kind of cool, if not for that fact that not five minutes later I overheard Zorky interrupting a conversation between our hostess and Swanny by saying:

"Excuse me, but I heard you mention Africa, and I was just wondering if you are familiar with the Paul Simon album, Graceland?"

"Sort of..."

Point by point he replayed the same conversation we had just had with him. It was incredible, such an outrageous act of repetition, egotism and self-absorption we couldn't help but admire him. The rest of the afternoon we followed Zorky around, hoping to overhear him utter what would become, for us, an immortal tag-line:

"Are you familiar with the Paul Simon album Graceland?"

And overhear we did! I kid you not, he said it at least four other times to different people, and near the end of the gathering we actually got him to ask us again by feigning interest in his current music project...

Zorky came back over to our house after the party was over and had drinks with our parents. He even came up to see our music room, where my brother and I were practicing. Much to our disappointment, he merely raised his glass to us, said nothing, and left. By the time we went down to hang out with the guests, he was gone.

We haven't seen him since, yet, in complete honesty, not a day goes by that I don't think of Zorky. Perhaps it's just the name. Maybe the tag-line. Maybe the hair? The detached, self-promoting egotism? As I said before, it's a very difficult thing to articulate.

Oh, and in case you're wondering if I've tried to contact Zorky, I have. Unfortunately, I don't know his last name, as my parents refuse to tell me what their friend's maiden name is and I have no other means of finding out... They have grown exceedingly sick of what they deem "that Zorky talk" over the past eight years. Internet searches for "Zorky Graceland" have so far yielded no results, and it seems the only guitarists named "Zoran" I can find are Serbian Classical musicians... But the quest continues, and I will locate him one day, if only in the hopes of telling him how familiar I've by now become with the Paul Simon album Graceland.

Iceland Review: Vikings

Poetry emerges from the very land on this isolated island like so many gusts of geothermal heat; in the countryside we came across this delightful shepherds croft built practically into the hill-side. A marvelous sight that only further increased our appreciation for the long line of Viking descendants who have for over a millenium peopled this mysterious place.

One of the other amazing features of Iceland is its amazing, almost lunar terrain. That rock is no meteorite, folks, its 100% pumice, which is to say, MAGMA.

I know this is a short and mostly pointless post, and that it's almost a year late, but I want to remind everyone of the glorious nation of Iceland, which has so many hidden treasures waiting to be found.

Blog Party Song--An Ecstatic Reverie

I think Rich may already have posted this on his wonderful site, but I thought I'd post it again just in case anybody missed the jocularity of our most recent blog party:

Amazing Story

This is a horrifying and incredible story, sadly appropriate for these grim pages:
A man pulled his estranged girlfriend into an elevator in the office building where she worked and set off a homemade bomb, killing them both, authorities and witnesses said.
Of what does this remind us? I found it incredible that the term "suicide-bombing" appears no where in the entire article, despite the fact that this killing was most likely inspired by the media's constant attention to every grisly suicide bombing with "homemade bombs" in Iraq, Israel, etc. I'm not saying suicide bombings shouldn't be covered, as censorship of the type employed by Bush and company (vis a vis dead soldiers) doesn't work at all, but that we should at least be aware of these (not so) peripheral connections between what is covered and what happens...

I have often wondered why we don't read more stories like this one, or have suicide bombings in America more generally. It seems there is no shortage of deluded and insane people here, but I guess the ready availability of fire arms makes shooting sprees more appealing. It takes a creatively deranged monster to actually pull of a stunt like this...

Yet another reflection from the flat screen back onto the flat screen,
Two lives shorn by media's ocular blade in between

He's Back!

Once again, great blog party last night, thanks to Dan, Rich, Tom, Kingspawn, Finnegan, and also to our non-blogging guests.

To celebrate the party, I have some very good news: Michael Jackson is back in the headlines, this time for greeting 3000 troops in Japan. I'm glad to see MJ's rep has been rehabilitated to the degree where he can do this kind of thing again. No one is more worthy of our love and support than Michael. NO ONE.


The only option:

Samara Bar Scene

Rod, you are a genius, we miss you, we love you. Many videos from the (very wonderful) blog party will be sent to you soon. But again, you are a genius, we love you, and your summation of "the Russian scene" has earned its place as the best Blog Post of 2006!

Hilarious Error

Don't you love it when you discover a mistake on a major website? Doesn't it make you feel all superior inside, like a glowing ember of dung?

I certainly love it. Take this example from a fine story on ESPN about Milton Bradley replacing Mark Kotsay in center field for Oakland. Be sure to look at the pictures here...

Did you catch that? Below Kotsay's picture, where it should say "Kotsay," it instead reads "Name"... Hilarious!!! I'm still laughing, and I noticed it ten minutes ago! So a Behemoth like ESPN.com uses a template for its web-design... Shocking. I can't believe it, it's unthinkable. And yet having noticed it I can't stop laughing!!!

This brings up one of my all-time favorite ideas that I have ever had. I intend to name my first child, regardless of gender, Name. Can you imagine the confusion that would cause? "What's your name?" "Name." "Yes, I asked you your name." "My name IS Name!" It would be hilarious, even more hilarious than the above error that I still find so g.d. funny!

See you all at our Time Capsule Party Tomorrow night. And if you can't make it, you are officially square, no matter how legit your 'scuse.

Separated At Birth

Not to bury the divine Nostradaman content, but I thought I'd try my hand at this age-old custom.

Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee

The Tootsie Roll Pop owl
Tarde y noche en la ciudad de México

Al terminar la tarde, después del trabajo, caminé por algunas calles de esta inmensa ciudad. Viaje en el Metro -tren subterráneo-.

Cuando salí a la superficie ya había oscurecido. Los anuncios luminosos se adueñan de esta ciudad, reproducen sus imágenes emblemáticas, como el Angel de la Independencia. Las exposiciones de arte también inundan con sus anuncios esta noche.

Detras de todo lo que veo, está la Luna, la más luminosa de las luces. En la ciudad de México también se ve la Luna.

The Zodiac

On Friday, opening night, L and I went to see Zodiac. It was amazing. Best film I've seen in years, so f'ing worth it.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Zodiac Killer, I recommend taking a peek at this Wikipedia Page, where you will find the basic information on his 5 confirmed murders as well as his other suspected crimes. The image on the left is from his infamous attack at Lake Berryessa, where he bound and stabbed a couple out on a secluded island before carving a kill list into the couple's car door... How fucking crazy is that costume? I mean if you and your significant other were enjoying a delightful picnic on a secluded lake and were approached by a cat dressed like that how terrified would you be?

David Fincher's movie is awesome, wonderful in its attention to detail. It does an excellent job with a variety of threads and narrative arcs, and ends nicely for a film about an unsolved crime...

Zodiac is especially relevant to these pages on account of his obsessive letter writing to both police and the SF Chronicle... The guy has the audacity to send evidence and taunting clues, and even with the advent of DNA he still can't be identified...
He was in it for attention clearly, and I sincerely doubt he was traditionally insane. Deranged, perhaps, but not insane. Unlike the Jack the Ripper case, these letters are pretty much consistent with each other in terms of grammar, handwriting etc...

As far as suspects, I can't really believe it was Arthur Leigh Allen... Something about a pedophile also being a serial killer (of adults) seems really unlikely to me. I guess, as with the JFK thing, we'll never really know...

But the characters in this film are really enticing, and Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Rupert Murdoch, and Mark Ruffalo all do just great things, great things. Just kidding about Rupert Murdoch being in the movie. To my knowledge he has nothing to do with the California Zodiac killings, but I do believe his NY Post covered the New York copycat, whose reign of terror lasted from 1990-94, and was really pretty awful... Anyway, the movie is worth seeing, and more analysis of the Zodiac Killers will appear on these pages very soon...

Said Slow March Ends!

Amazingly Anna Nicole's funeral and burial seem to have gone off without a hitch. Now that she's at last properly buried we can finally get on with our own lives and stop thinking about that unfortunate bombshell. Oh wait, this is America, and the point of burial is traditionally where the fun begins! I'm getting ahead of myself, first, the funeral recap:
When the onlookers saw Arthur arrive at the cemetery, they booed. They cheered when Birkhead stepped out of his limo. The guests disappeared under a green tent that covered the gravesite amid tight security. Smith was being buried in a tiara and custom-made, beaded gown, said organizer Patrik Simpson of Beverly Hills, Calif.
Right on crowd, Virgie is a total fame-mongering hag, and plus, she dissed your beloved homeland, what the Germans (who couldn't possibly be evil) call Das Bahamas. I have to admit, the tropical island vibe in this whole story is a definite plus to an otherwise sordid affair. I'm not sure why, but I find stories set in tropical "paradises" really really really cool. I like that they cheered for Birkhead. Of all the people in this awful mess, he really strikes me as being pure of heart. Sincerely!

Anyway, more on the funeral:
Hundreds of islanders and tourists crowded behind steel barricades outside the church. Rock guitarist Slash, formerly of Guns N' Roses, was spotted going inside.
Right on Slash. Got to pay tribute where tribute is due. How's Velvet Revolver going, anyway?
"Her soul is at rest now. I am satisfied," said Tanisha Grant, a local restaurant owner who was friends with Smith. For the funeral, Grant wore a short black cocktail dress that Smith had given her a few months ago, telling Grant it no longer fit her.
Good for you, Tanisha. I, however, will not be satisfied until later this week when the Broward County Medical Examiner finally announces his findings in the Anna Nicole autopsy, and until Dannielynn's custody has been firmly granted to the lovable and good-hearted Larry Birkhead.

BTW, I can now confirm that "Christie Rathgaber," is "a 59-year-old nurse from Columbus, Ohio." So her royalty comments were as sacrosanct as I implied. Whatever sacrosanct means.

The Slow March to the Grave Begins

At long last, thanks to continuing front page/top-link coverage from all major news services, we have learned that Anna Nicole Smith's corpse will finally be buried!
The body of Anna Nicole Smith was carried into a Bahamian church Friday in a mahogany coffin covered by a rhinestone-studded pink blanket as hundreds of people gathered outside to mourn the former Playboy Playmate and reality TV star.
Damn those are some spicy details, especially the bit about the "rhinestone-studded pink blanket." Great choice, home-girl, or Howard Stern, or whoever... I was surprised by the decision to go with mahogany. I would have thought alabaster, or perhaps stucco, a better choice for the eternal casement of such a peach. More details:
Moments earlier, Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, arrived in a white stretch limousine with an entourage of about 10 people. She wore a black dress and waved to the cheering crowd outside. There appeared to be fewer than 100 guests overall, even though an organizer said about 300 - including an "Entertainment Tonight" camera crew - had been invited to the private ceremony.
Now that's what I'm talking about. Damn! Virgie is rolling with a posse now, a crew, an "entourage" if you will. And the waving to the crowd, I can just see it in my mind, her cracked melanoma ridden lips smiling beneath an hideous pair of spangled glasses, her bust all-too-visible in the bright Bahamian daylight... Horrifyingly beautiful, in a sickening way. I want to take this moment to remonstrate the people of the Bahamas for not turning out en masse; a crowd of only 100? Please, this is pathetic. A special scolding goes to Christie Rathgaber, a tourist, for this blasphemous statement:
"She's got a presidential kind of media frenzy going on," said the 59-year-old nurse from Columbus, Ohio, who happened by the scene while waiting for nearby shops to open. "I'm just incredulous at all the fuss. She was not a world figure. She was not a queen. She was not a president. She was not anything ... It's just way over the top."
Over the top? This is Anna Nicole we're talking about, Christie. This isn't even slightly over-the-top, if anything I have been underwhelmed be the attention lavished on the above-ground corpse of Anna Nicole. So this would be appropriate if she had been a queen, eh? How un-American a sentiment, you should be ashamed of yourself, Christie. In America we have no royalty, you should know better. If you do happen to be American that is, which I have no way of confirming. Anna Nicole is as much our queen as Jackie O, or Oprah, or Ronald Reagan Jr. In my estimation she is at least twice as important as the late Princess Diana. Perhaps thrice. But, for now, until a proper retrospective can be hatched, we must part with Anna Nicole with this image in our hearts:
Smith will be buried in a tiara and custom-made, beaded gown next to her son, said Patrik Simpson of Beverly Hills, Calif., who helped organize the memorial.