gall and gumption

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Richard Pryor

You know how from time to time you find yourself wondering why the wonderful people die young while the vicious and stupid just won't go away? I know I ask myself that.

Isn't it great, then, that Richard Pryor is still so very much among the living?

He can't talk. He can't walk. He has to listen to people talk about him in the past tense. It looks like he can handle it, though.

Jason Byrne: You talk about Muhammad Ali in your latest DVD and how frightening it was to be in the ring with him. But do you reckon you could beat him now that the two of you shake like maracas?
RP: That's your fuckin' question?

Monday, August 02, 2004

Soon enough you will be dating several girls at once...

Is it just me, or am I right in thinking that any likely customer for this product is past all help it or anything could possibly offer?

GirlFriend X manages your love life from A to Z; with over 320 data fields GirlFriend X can hold every piece of information about your GirlFriend. With the reminder, you will never forget another birthday or anniversary, or dinner with her parents (for the last one, with a 48 hour reminder, you will have plenty of time to tell her you will be “working late.”) Your GirlFriend X will give you the best date ideas that match her tastes and your budget, and finally your GirlFriend X will be more honest than your friends. If she isn’t worth it, the yield calculator will tell you to ditch her and move on....

Now, friends, this is where it gets interesting. You have all your girls in the same place, all their information is in your GirlFriend X, your dates with each girl are set up, and you have reminders for each, you have hardly lifted a finger. Soon enough you will be dating several girls at once, and GirlFriend X will make sure all goes smoothly, equipped with an excuse file, you will always have a way to back out or postpone if the case need be.

By the way, they need a copywriter. I'm not just saying that, they advertised. Apply to Don't tell him I sent you, whatever the case need be.

Goodbye To Nevis

I lived for two years almost exactly, from June 2002 to May 2004, in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, a small two-island country in the Caribbean with a population of less than 50,000. I worked there as a newspaper editor, first for the St. Kitts-Nevis Observer, then for a much smaller paper, the Leewards Times.

I'm back in California now, living North of San Francisco, with the little dog that I brought back with me. I kept a blog while I was in St. Kitts and Nevis, but for a number of reasons I stopped it and pulled it down. Although I'm living and working here and doing the usual blogatelles, I have this two-year sojourn to digest and rethink and integrate as experience -- and I'll be doing some of that here so you have been warned.

This blog is called "gall and gumption" because of a conversation I had with my friend Caroline, when she read me a bunch of academic grant proposals in the humaninites that she had to review for a committee on which she was serving at the University of California. (I ought to mention that before I became a journalist I also taught literature for several years at the University of California.) One of them I remember was a proposal to create a bunch of small embroidered pillows stuffed with shredded copies of texts of Emily Dickinson's poetry. There was the inevitable proposal that wanted to fund the presentation of a paper based on a computer count of the number of times some word was used in the collected works of some poet -- can't remember the word or the poet's name and don't see that it matters at all -- and there were a few others all of that ilk. When she finished reading them I said to Caroline, "The trouble with you and me is that we don't have the gall and gumption to pitch this sort of crap at people, and that's why we don't get on in the world."

And that, of course, is saying a mouthful. The consituent parts of that mouthful will be examined here as well. With gall and gumption.