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20 Minutes Into The Future: Do My Kisses Burn, Baby?
The Meandering Vicissitudes of Crispin Sands
I'm very seriously toying with the idea of moving to Portland, OR. On balance, it's pretty much what Seattle was 10 or 15 years ago, before runaway Californication and gentrification set in. Portland also has a magnificent history of civil rights, particularly free speech; the city opted out of joining the US government's Joint Terrorism Task Force out of concern for constitutional rights violations. Portland also has a mighty healthy arts scene, a strong microbrewery presence, and a significantly easier pace of life than Seattle. Portland is, compared to Seattle, a much weirder city: The Velveteria Museum of Velvet Paintings is located there, as well as the 24 Hour Church of Elvis, the World Naked Bike Ride and the Zoobomb cycling festivals, and the Portland Urban Iditarod. There are also an abundance of true dive bars, a phenomenon that has almost ceased to exist in Seattle, and I do love me my dive bars.

We'll see. The next month will tell. Big things are happening with your humble narrator, almost none of them good, and this proposed move seems like my best option right now. Time will tell.

Noise: Mazzy Star · Into Dust

4 Rants or Rant
Mam'selle Evie Takahashi and I merrily lunched upon burgers and Stella Artois at Julia's on Broadway this noonday. We took seats by an enormous plate glass window that overlooks Seattle's most bohemian of its many bohemian boulevards, contentedly watching an endless promenade of drag queens, starving artists, black-clad anarchists both young and old, hipster crackwhores with multiple piercings and weeping contusions, she-males, perambulating tattoo canvases made of sallow flesh, satanists, macrame-toting latter-day hippies majoring in humanities at Seattle University, and a multicolored galaxy of gay and lesbian life.

This happened to be my first stop at Julia's, at least in its present iteration. Lady Takahashi is a little too young to remember the place in its earlier, hoarier manifestations—and she's always been more a denizen of Chinatown than Capitol Hill, at any rate. But I have fond memories of that little sliver of real estate in its original form: Ernie Steele's, arguably the sleaziest dive in the history of this city—even at a time, back in the 70s and early 80s, when Seattle was nothing but a simmering welter of dives, strip joints, pool halls, low-rent brothels, and oceans of skittering rats. Before gentrification, you know. Before the fucking Californians invaded and drove the price of everything through the ceiling.

Ernie Steele's drew every reject from a Charles Bukowski or Bill Burroughs novel that you could possibly imagine. The house beer was Rainier: 50 cents a glass. If you didn't have the price of a schooner, you could swing by an AA meeting on your way to Ernie's and pick up an anniversary coin; one of those could always buy you a brew. Some of the harder-core alcoholics at Ernie's preferred Mad Dog or—if treading in high cotton—Wild Turkey. The jukebox featured Hank Williams, the Troggs, and Marianne Faithfull's whiskey-soaked voice. The cigarette smoke was so thick in Ernie's that you could barely see your drink, and a melange of odors running from piss to vomit permeated the joint.

Now, the place is a moderately upscale Eurotrash eatery. Not a bad place, but it's no Ernie Steele's. Nothing of the old establishment remains; even the ghosts have fled. While I enjoyed my burger, I nevertheless found myself pining for Ernie Steele's. You can't make dives like that; they can only evolve of their own accord, and once they're gone... well, there's no reclaiming them. Seattle, in general, was a sassier city in those days, embracing its sin and corruption like a cherished lover, and Ernie Steele's was king.

Dark Alley: 47.61322°N 122.3465°W
Noise: Alva Noto · Transvision

1 Rant or Rant
Heard of those Nigerian con artists who send out e-mails promising great financial rewards in exchange for monetary investments by the marks? Well, it seems that a group of them, operating a phony car sales Website, hired an Australian woman by the name of Sarah Jane Cochrane-Ramsey to open a bank account in her moniker into which the Nigerians could funnel their ill-gotten gains. She was promised 8% of the proceeds for her efforts, but—in an act that would've made my very talented grifter of a mother proud—she managed to siphon off two entire payments totaling $33,350 for herself, thereby denying the Nigerians their filthy lucre.

However, sadly—from my perspective—the authorities in Brisbane charged, and ultimately convicted her, of aggravated fraud. She's going to be sentenced sometime this month. I truly and dearly hope that they treat her generously, and give her maybe nothing more than probation. It was the Nigerians who defrauded innocent rubes who—all things being equal—probably deserved to be deprived of their money on the basis of sheer stupidity. All Sarah Jane did was defraud the con artists, and I'd like to personally give her a pat on the back for that. If my mom, Coco Saavedra, was still alive, she'd undoubtedly want to do the same.

Mom was a con artist throughout most of her teenage years, while I was but a mere tad often acting as her shill, until she put together enough money to start opening up nightclubs. She was damned good at what she did, only cheated rich and/or stupid people out of their money, and was never so much as arrested for anything. Once she developed enough sophistication in her technique, she frequently grifted other con artists (always outside our home city of New Orleans) who were easily taken in by her singular whisper-thin Spanish/French-Canadian charm and beauty. Had these greasy Nigerian fraudsters been active during mom's heyday, she would've taken them to the cleaners.

So, I hope that dear little Sarah Jane fares well down in Oz. I'd hate to see her pull any prison time for robbing a bunch of thieves.

Noise: CocoRosie · Black Poppies

2 Rants or Rant
Seattle is, of course, a city of whores and con men, sleazy millionaires with the morals of rabid badgers, greedhead developers wrecking everyone’s view of Elliott Bay, and pot-addled hippies alongside more junkies per square mile than any other municipality in North America. It’s also a port town in the grand traditions of Jack London and John Steinbeck: horndog merchant marines cruising the makeup-heavy working girls of Pacific Highway; sailors from the Sixth Fleet duking it out with soldiers from Fort Lewis; white trash Puget Sound Debs angling for the man of their dreams at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

We are graced with loons and dangerous drunks, hustlers and pedophiles and crackwhores, shoplifting immigrants with handguns tucked under their armpits, and shimmering half-wits who molest large dogs. Our roach-ridden residential dumps are top heavy with Level III sex offenders, the largest per capita such population in the world. Any licit or illicit drug ever synthesized can be bought at Third and Yesler, and the acrid scent of rock cocaine dominates the atmosphere of Belltown. In my own building, our county medical examiner pays a visit three or four times a week—mostly to distinguish the murders from the suicides.

Speaking of suicide, Seattle once more leads the nation—17.6 per 100,000 residents. In hard numbers, this represents 216 successful suicides a year, and 870 hospitalizations for attempted suicides. Some chalk it up to seasonal affective disorder, citing our nine months of rain and dark, sunless skies. Others suggest that it has to do with our lopsided population of manic-depressives, schizophrenics, and bankrupt millionaires. Self-euthanasia takes many forms here: leaps from the Space Needle, the Pike Street overpass, and the Aurora Avenue Bridge*; hanging, wrist-cutting, and gassing; blowing one’s head off with .410 bores and suicide-by-cop amid countless other ways—some ineffably creative.

Yet, nothing compares with the devastating beauty of our Puget Sound region, and some of the world’s mightiest mountains brood over this city. Seattle has its share of hipsters—some you simply want to strangle; but it also has a delightful coterie of eccentrics, liquor-crazed artists, and disreputable punks like me. Jack London once declared that Seattle is the city men go to for the purpose of rewriting their lives. They’ve been pushed to the northwestern edge of the continent by communities that can no longer stand their various brands of craziness. Seattle is a community of rejects and escapees, madly running from the Boulevards of Broken Dreams. And she welcomes the world’s rejects and refuse with loving, open arms.

C’est toi, ma ville—Seattle!

*The city, in its well-intentioned but sadly misguided concern, has recently installed very high barriers on both sides of the Aurora Avenue Bridge in an effort to reduce suicides. But, it won't work. I have no doubt that, one day, some extremely determined suicidal is going to defeat the barrier and fall an even greater distance to his or her death. And anyway, even if the bridge is no longer practical, there remain countless ways to do yourself in hereabouts. That silly damned barrier isn't going to make one whit of difference.

Noise: múm · Grasi Vaxin Göng

2 Rants or Rant

For some reason, as I slowly and indelicately slouch toward cranky old man status, I no longer care much for either coffee or beer. I'll indulge in either one if that's all that's available, but I never have more than one cup of coffee or one schooner of beer; neither substance does much for me anymore. I used to drink pints and pints of either one in the course of a typical day. But no more. I'm just disinterested.

Now, martinis--that's a whole different monkey. Give me a vodka martini, very dirty and extra dry with three olives, and I'm one happy camper. My taste for Stoli martinis has, if anything, grown exponentially during the past few years. There's something so ineffably romantic about a fine martini, especially if it's shared with a lovely but irretrievably corrupted creature like Evie Takahashi or Coco Solis.

And so, my personal decadence continues unabated.

Mahalo, my friends!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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I've just found a podcast, through iTunes, that features episodes of the late and great CBS Mystery Theater. The show ran, for many years, on the CBS radio network, and your humble narrator was hopelessly in love with its positively gothic creepiness. The program featured all kinds of radio play dealing with everything from ghost stories to murder mysteries and on toward creature features. I'm absolutely crazy about such stuff, so I'll now mix a vodka martini, lean back in my easy chair with Delilah on my lap, plug in headphones and relish a number of dandy little tales o' terror.

Mahalo, my loves!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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Howdy, gang--long time no post, eh?

Welp, my bi-yearly contract with Sprint was renewed last Friday, and--as a bonus--I received an iPhone 4s to replace my Blackberry Curve. And, so far, I find it ab fab. It has a metric ton of available apps, many more than the Blackberry. I recommend the iPhone emphatically!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Dark Alley: The Hoary Wrinkles of My Brain
Noise: Annie Lennox · A Whiter Shade of Pale

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Tree Sweaters
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So far, Australia's best export to the United States has been Strictly Ballroom.

Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias.
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