Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sacré Bleu!

I have to admit it. I'm terrible at hating the French. Because I just love way too many of the things they have contributed to Western Civilization. Seriously? Can you imagine life without Brie? Without Chanel perfume or Dior gowns? Without the realization that food is so much better, by golly, slathered in butter, doused with cream, and sprinkled with bacon and that, but of course! you can refusé to become a slave to culinary puritanism?!?!

Can you imagine, life without Alain Delon?

(I tried to come up with a suitable double entendre to accompany this photo, but apparently, there is only so much Babelfish can handle before blowing a fuse.)

I can't even imagine expressing myself properly without the French. Hardly a week goes by that I don't trot out an avant garde here or agent provocateur there. Fashion without prêt-à-porter, a meal minus a la mode, or, God forbid, life itself without laissez-faire? Perish the thought.

Perhaps my most favorite French word of all, however, is louche, which means something along the lines of having questionable taste or morality. Americans use it mainly in a sartorial context, i.e., "Those see-through silk hip hugger pants by Alexander McQueen are tres louche."

It is also the first word that comes to my mind when trying to describe Miami. A place that is at once First World and Third, high and low, discrete and obvious, elegant and piss-in-the-gutter vulgar. In other words, just my kind of town.

Still, I simply must ask. In a place so fired up sunny and golden skin glowy, why on earth does the car of choice among the upper crust seem to be this?

I'm sorry, I know I'm going to offend more than my usual share of folks when I say this, but has there ever been put into production a more butt ass ugly car than the Porsche? It totally makes sense that this is what the Germans came up with when tasked with developing their very first sports car. Because it looks exactly, as Lewis Grizzard once so succinctly put it, like a fat lady wearing a tutu.

Driving a Porsche in Miami to flash your wealth makes about as much sense as preventing sunburn by wearing a Michelin Tire Man outfit. If I've learned anything in life it's that, first and foremost, one must learn to choose the right tool for the right job.

Which means if I were wheeling around Miami in all my louche glory? I'd do it in this:

You know who the Germans stole this from? That's right: the French.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ant Music

This isn't technically a Moi's Adventures in Miami post, but it is related. Almost everyone who knows me well knows I'm afraid to fly, and as a result have crafted for myself a notebook-full of self-soothing behaviors of the kind that probably only make sense to me, a handful of behavioral therapists, and Duc Kwan, counter clerk at the liquor store down the road. Unfortunately, I don't get to visit Duc all that much anymore, now that the NTSB has made it a major no-no for me to hip flask my favorite cocktail through security. Stupid NTSB.

So now I'm down to positive affirmation and visualization techniques culled from a variety of self help books and therapists so earnest, I'm beginning to fear that if I actually fully take these exercises seriously ("envision angels, sent from heaven, pouring golden light from a crystal urn through the top of your head, flowing through your body, and banishing all the bad, purple light") I just might be set on the path towards full blown New Age Hippiedom, and Lord, none of us wants to see that happen.

Still, what to do with sweat-slicked palms and jive jumping heartbeat?

Luckily, this time around, I got through on my way out thanks to utter exhaustion (I was up at 3:30am to meet a 6am flight) and my way back home thanks to a cute, young F-18 pilot who animatedly explained to me with that peculiar-to-the-military mix of ego and humility that it is, in fact, quite possible to survive almost any kind of plane crash. Well, except for those that involve a mid-air explosion . . .

However, after said cute, young marine disembarked in the ATL leaving me to my eventual fate pinched in the middle between two people who prompted me to wonder if perhaps hitting the booze before noon is not such a great idea after all (yes, I said it), I was left to my own devices.

Which, roughly translated, means: reading a stack of magazines I wouldn't ordinarily be caught dead reading at any other time except at my hairdressers, the Jiffy Lube, and emergency panic situations. So you'll forgive me if I happen to know that Camilla Parker-Bowles nearly tossed herself off a bridge at the prospect of bonnie Prince William hip-butting her precious Charles from the throne. I know, huh? Poor Camilla. Always a bride's maid . . .

Or that I revisited my punk musical adolescence with the current issue of Uncut, which at first I thought would be way too esoteric por Moi, but which actually turned out to be almost as cool as the dearly departed Creem and nowhere near as yawn-inducing as Rolling Stone. Hefty features on Captain Beefheart, the Stooges, and Adam Ant are what got me through. Unfortunately, they also reminded me what a tragically neurotic adult I've grown to become. If the former Pink Mohawked Moi could meet today's Quaking in Her Peep Toes counterpart, she'd have quite a sneer. Although perhaps reach an understanding over their mutual, everlasting love for Adam Ant. Seriously, Party People. Dude was über hot.

Friday, April 23, 2010

April Showers

This might be the best of both worlds?

* * *

How awesome is it to live in a country so far-flung wide that you can leave one place at noon in sub-tropical heat and arrive at another at six in a snowstorm?

It's good to be home. But I got a piled-high plate of work in front of me and likely won't resurface for at least 2-3 days. Still, tell me: what's new and unusual in your world?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Could Live Here! Uh, Nix That

Hola, beeches! It is I, Juan Carlos Miguel Jose Garcia Mendoza.

Eye carumba
, joo are saying to jorselves right now, that eees one hell of a beeg Palmetto bug!

But I am here to tell you now, that no. I am not a what you call Palmetto bug. I am La Cucaracha, and don't you forget eet, beeches. I am the biggest, baddest moh'fuhker of a bug in the entire universe and am so bad that right now I have just crossed zee line of hospitality with Mees Moi by running across her hotel room floor, making her jump onto zee bed faster than joo could get her to run to a feefty percent off sale at Gucci.

Eye! I say to her, so what? Am I not also a creature of God?

NO! She say to me, NO! And she run hell bent for zee leather downstairs to the desk clerk who must to come up here right now and dispose of me. Or she will 'ave to move.

And I laugh at that, hee, hee. Because where is she going to go in this entire goddamned city where there isn't a leetle tentacled brother or uncle or seester-in-law or cousin twice removed on mi madre's side that isn't going to greet her at the door? Hola! We always say, waving our tentacles.

And desk clerk? He jus' smiles hees island smile at her and nods, 'kay, 'kay crazy white lady, I come up and get reed of heem. You go walk on the beech and calm your nerves.

But I know better. I am as he speaks getting ready to do the Samba in the suitcase of the Swedish family who jus' check in next door. I think they bring candy, too.

So, buenos noches, beeches! See joo later!

Signed: Juan Carlos, the biggest mofo-ing cockroach that exeests in the universe.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesdays: Best Rainy Day Movie

For me, it's Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. A big ol' candy colored bubble gum pop of a movie with a fantastic soundtrack and a message of love, hope, change, and fashion. J'adore.

To see how everyone alleviates the rainy day blues, hop on over to Boxer's Place.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where Neon Goes to Die

That's, right, Party People. I'm headed to Miami. For a ten-day book project with a deadline so tight it doesn't squeak, it roars. But that's okay, because it's, well, Miami!

Which I assume is a good thing. La Diva, who lives la vida loca close by to where I'll be staying, assures me it is. So I'm going with that.

Now, let's hope for on time flights, safe baggage arrival, plenty of time to run and workout (because when I'm not working I'm going to be stuffing my face with Cuban food), time to hang with La Diva, and at least one day to spend all the money I haven't yet earned at the shops at Bal Harbor (10 minutes from Moi!). Kidding. I only have room for a couple pairs of new shoes.

Now, if only I could figure out how to get Gloria Estefan's voice out of my head . . .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Alive in the Superunknown

* * *

Dear Tucumcari, New Mexico:

Did you know that whenever someone road trips it along I-40 and their adventures take them through New Mexico, that the forces of the universe are such that they are compelled to exit at Tucumcari? Just as Andy Warhol predicted everyone will get at least one 15 minute shot at fame in their lifetime, so too does one historian posit that we are all fated to spend at least one night in Tucumcari. Which could seem a little bit spooky, since your name supposedly means "dark place" in the Kiowa language. Still, I choose to honor your light. Once a bustling bastion of travel amenities in the golden age of Route 66 travel, there is perhaps no better echo of days gone by than Tucumcari's neon lit roadside motels and cafes. And when you're there, be sure to snag yourself a Blake's Lotaburger breakfast burrito.

Dear Amarillo, Texas:

What's with the smell? Sniff, sniff? Cow pattie? Diesel exhaust? Stale fryer grease? Okay, so you're a cow town. At some point, the wind is going to remind us of that. But do you have to look like it, too? Where's the Crying Indian when we need him? Y'all, littering is sooooooo early 1970s, and I'm not sure in which era it was ever okay to let loose upon the roads troops of linebacker-built women maneuvering dually trucks while balancing a cell phone in one hand, cigarette in the other, and a 32-ounce Big Gulp god-only-knows-where. Sweet Jesus. They all decide to daydream for one second, and I-40 comes to a screeching halt from Flagstaff to Memphis.

Dear Panhandle, Texas:

Hello? Tap, tap. Anyone home? Your sign says, "People of Pride and Production," but I don't see evidence of either. What on earth would one produce in a place so fallen down and given up, except maybe a whole lot of lonesome and the occasional murderous rage?

Dear Tulsa, Oklahoma:

I finally know what God did on the eighth day. On the eighth day, He woke and thought, "Now it's time I play a practical joke." And then He waved His hands over northeast Oklahoma and created a place so ridiculously pretty, with air so sweetly smelling and hills so softly rolling and red buds so brightly blooming, it brings a hitch to my throat and sting to my eyes to look at it. And everywhere the cows! Cud-chewing thoughtfully against a laconic azure sky punctuated only by the occasional marshmallow dollop of cloud, a bovine paradise right up until the time comes to turn them into dinner and a quality handbag.

And then the city itself, an amazing construct of 100 percent American-engineered blood, sweat, and oil monied tears with its whack Deco architecture and groomed parks and elegant neighborhoods, all underlain with just a hint of funk and plenty of tragedy.

Still, something's got to give, and sure enough, it's the wind. The great gusting breath of a billion avenging angels coughing, constant and steady like the persistent whine of a steam engine never fading, like all the world's an asthmatic gasping for breath, like the last effort to pry apart the grip you have on your sanity could very well be an Oklahoma wind. And the one thing that prevents me and S.B. from packing up the dogs and moving lock, stock, and barrel to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Dear Charles Russell,


(Digital reproduction cannot even begin to do this painting – or the hundreds of others like it we were lucky enough to see at the Gilcrease – justice. It cannot even begin to capture a fraction of the brilliance of the color or the catch-your breath drama of story and event, but believe me when I tell you, what Charles Russell put down on canvas with some paint and a few brushstrokes is some of the most astonishing work in all of art history. Click on the image to enlarge and study the Indian dude in the foreground. Look at his posture, at the foreshortening of his left leg and foot, at the movement of his hair and loincloth, the tenseness of his muscle. Holy you-know-what. How on earth did Russell DO that?)

Dear Lake McMurtry Trail Run,

Thank you for reminding me that one should never take a 15-mile run for granted. Much less one along a narrow, rooted and rocked, muddy-as-hell path carved out of Oklahoma clay. Thank you for allowing me to play leap frog the last four miles with a 67-year-old man who told me that he and his wife have been running together for 42 years, starting with the first day of their honeymoon. Thank you for reminding me that when most things in this world conspire to drain your heart, running is one of the things that helps to fill it back up. Oh, and thanks for also reminding me: regardless of all the touchy feely stuff, I nonetheless need to work harder so as not to embarrass myself at Valles Caldera.

Dear Google Maps:

You are the reason I still move myself through this universe the old fashioned way: with an ATLAS. That is all.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesdays: Best Use of Alcohol

Were there ever two more gorgeous creatures together in one film? I don't think so.

Check out more sudsy action over at Boxer's Place:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Livin' On Tulsa Time

For a few days. To run a race, tour the town, and maybe have a Peeps moment. Hopefully also have time to scout out Cain's Ballroom. Tulsa's a seriously rockin' city. Seriously. Eric Clapton knew. Because he went there in the late 70s to dry out from a heroin addiction. Which, if you know anything about Tulsa, is pretty ironic. I'm not much of a Clapton fan, but I do love his version of this song: