29 octubre 2003

From the "Things That May Only Interest Me" File

Alyssa Milano is rumored to be dating Florida Marlins pitcher Carl Pavano, meaning that if they get married she'll be Alyssa Milano Pavano.


Check Your Local Listings

Things Not To Be Missed:

The O.C. (FOX, 9 PM ET):

After a playoff-induced hiatus, tonight "The O.C." returns to television will an all-new episode. Turn off the phone, lay out the snacks and curl up with a loved one as we sneak a quick peek at what awaits us in the insular world of Newport Beach.

Our protagonist, Ryan, is warned to stay away from the impossibly thin waif-next-door Marisa by her deliciously evil mother Julie. Meanwhile, geek-turned-hipster god Seth Cohen finds love in the form of the new girl in town. Is that Summer eyeing them with a touch of envy? Can someone say "love triangle?" I can!

What else will go on with our favorite over-indulged, Hilton-esque friends? Check it out tonight. This is not to be missed!

Mister Ed (TVLAND, 3 AM ET):

It's a horse. That talks. And only one guy gets to hear him. All of his friends and family think he's crazy. Do you see the potential for action-packed, gut-busting, piss-in-your-pants hilarity?

Tonight, Ed decides to open a juice stand. A horse with a juice stand! You see? It's funny!

Things To Be Missed:

Orlando Magic at New York Knicks (ESPN, 8 PM ET):

Get ready for another exciting season of New York Knicks basketball, as the Knickerbockers employ the least mobile 7-foot black man in the history of basketball, coupled with an overpayed, injured shooting guard and the least clutch forward in the game today.

Knicks basketball! That's not excitement that you smell!

Do yourself a favor and watch something else until the Cavs game comes on.


Life Imitating Art

Is it just me or is life just incredibly cartoonish?


28 octubre 2003

It's Like A Fairytale

[Courtesy: IMDb.com]

"Movie legend Robert Duvall has hinted he is finally ready to marry his Argentinean girlfriend of seven years, Luciana Pedraza. The Apocalypse Now star met Luciana - who is 41 years his junior - in Buenos Aires in 1996 over their mutual love of tango dancing, and now Duvall has hinted they be about to walk down the aisle. He muses, 'Why not get married. Maybe we should. I've been thinking about it. I had been to Buenos Aires many times. I love the city, and I've seen a lot of pretty women there. But she was something special. We clicked right away.' Of the huge age gap between the 72-year old star and his 31-year old belle, Duvall says, 'The age difference has never bothered her. We go everywhere and do everything together. It's like we've always known each other.'"

Two people, drawn to each other by their mutual love of tango dancing, embark on a whirlwind romance despite the huge gap in their age. In between, they fight the enemies of their forbidden love with the aid of Moreno, a dark-haired gentleman with a slight limp that is a longtime friend of the woman's family. After his tragic death at the hands of the sinister Señor Contigo (the man who opposes their marriage because of his desire to take over the woman's father's business), the two lovers vow to avenge his untimely demise by taking on Señor Contigo and his evil empire. After seven long years of tango dancing to take down the insidious Señor Contigo, the two wed in a modest ceremony at the man's sprawling Beverly Hills home. Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola attend. Marlon Brando does not.

I have sold this script to Miramax. It will be in theaters Christmas, 2004.


27 octubre 2003

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well, it finally happened. The stupid person across the hall from me that plays the Carpenters three times a week has finally infected my brain. As such, I present to you a Señor Wences special. Each piece of commentary will be introduced by a lyric from a Carpenters' song. [Carpenters lyrics appear courtesy A&M Records] All links will be from CNN.com [links courtesy CNN.com]. Sr. Wences's wardrobe courtesy Botany 500.

"Don't you remember you told me you love me, baby ..." -- CBS has put the kibosh on David E. Kelley's Brotherhood of Poland, NH show. If you are like me, you have to be concerned about the fate of Randy Quaid. Maybe he can hit Dennis up for some cash.

"I'm on the top of the world, looking down on creation ..." -- The World Series is over. Mercifully, another baseball season has come to a close. Kudos to the Florida Marlins for outclassing the New York Yankees. But am I the only one who thinks that the baseball season is way too freaking long? This baseball season was slower than listening to Ashton Kutcher trying to read a passage from War and Peace in the intensified gravity of the planet Jupiter. Am I right, babe? Haaaaa.

"We've only just begun to live ..." -- Scientists have found a brand new bird species! (YAY!) But we've already destroyed its natural habitat. (BOO!) So this is what's come to at this point folks? We've known about the damn thing for 30 minutes and we've already ruined its crib? It's almost like the planet is a hotel room and we're The Who.

"Just like me they long to be close to you ..." -- W., you've been bad. Give me those papers. You don't want me to call your father now, do you? The papers are very sensitive. Read: "there's things that I don't want you to know written in them."


23 octubre 2003

A Fine Mess

First things first, some minor changes in the look and feel of the site. I've moved the font from "15pt. Arial Helvetica," a blocky, somewhat ugly, default sans serif font to "12pt. Georgia," a classier, font with serifs and named after a state where Rednecks like to cornhole drunks. Welcome to the family, 12 pt. Georgia!

Also, I've abandoned the "Señor Wences and ..." format for the titles of these posts. I need the creativity that comes with being unfettered to a standard title format. Look at the title up there. That's goddamned creative, ain't it?

Now onto business:

From Thomas Friedman on the New York Times Op-Ed page:

Republicans seem to think they don't have to think when it comes to Iraq. They only have to applaud the president and whack the press for not reporting more good news from Baghdad — and everything will be fine. Well, think again.

I opposed the war in Iraq and I still do, but the fact remains that we are there now and we have to clean up this mess. Friedman's suggestions for Iraq are all valid, but the salient point is that there isn't a single Democrat around to step up to the plate and challenge the President on this one. Someone needs to step forward and farm these complaints to the White House. Then, they need to demand results. The President has bullied everyone into thinking that questioning the White House's policy on Iraq means questioning the President's patriotism and abandoning your own, when in fact, the exact opposite is true. No one doubts that W. loves his country. He certainly says it enough. But it's time to try something else because what we're doing just isn't working.


22 octubre 2003

Señor Wences and a Forehead Slapper

Really? No shit. Good thing I don't have the President blowing smoke up my ass.

Oh wait.


Señor Wences and Some Things of Note

1) Um, Dave. If I could have a minute. Thanks. Um, I don't know how to say this. Hmm, well, let's just say that I always liked that you were weird and quirky and all that good stuff. It makes for some kick ass flicks. But what the hell is this about? You're fucking insane. You know that right? [Link courtesy: Whatevs.org]

2) Abraham on Klosterman. Seriously. I loved the book but where the hell did this guy come from?

3) Anyone else sick of this term? Another jackass defending his manhood because the shrivled little dink between his legs isn't enough. Batten down the hatches, folks. The gay backlash is just beginning. [Link courtesy: TMFTML]


Señor Wences and Some Reflection

Elliott Smith has died.

I am not the world's biggest Elliott Smith fan. I enjoyed his music, but I guess not enough to go out and buy one of his albums because I can't find a single one in my collection. I had to take a look at his profile just to get a feel or some memory of what his music was.

I always admire musicians more than I should and am more affected by their deaths than I probably should be because I am always impressed with the ability to craft melody. I am a music lover but it is a love that I maintain from a distance, because I don't have the ear, the knowledge or the gift to be able to enjoy it on a deeper level than pure visceral feeling. It's very difficult for me to describe why I enjoy music the music that I do, other than a) I just do or b) there's an important or formative memory attached to it.

But a musician can appreciate the art of music on a far deeper level than I can and I am deeply envious of that. Every attempt at learning a musical instrument has been just barely attempted or aborted in its early stages because I simply don't have the talent and my frustration level rises with each failed attempt. Musicians have a feel for the notes, the key, the movements, the pace, the meter and countless other terms that I either don't know or of which I refuse to botch the meaning.

For years when I was younger, I always figured the Challenger disaster to be the most significant event of my childhood, the one where people were going to ask me where I was when it happened. In April of 1994, a guy named Kurt took a shotgun, pulled the trigger with his toe and I instantly had a new one.

I don't think that Elliott Smith's death will be as significant to me, as I said, I don't even own any of his music. But he was a musician, a damn talented one and, as it turns out, a deeply troubled man with some terrible demons that he just couldn't shake. A self-inflicted knife wound and, just like that, he was gone. He was a young man, only 34 years old.

Every time something like this happens, I'm brought back to my friend Rob's house, sitting in front of the TV, watching the news cut in to tell us that a young man that we'd all annointed as the voice of our generation was gone. He was dead at the age of 27, which is too young to die no matter what's going on in your life.

I'm stting here listening to some tracks that I've gotten of Elliott Smith's music. His lyrics and his music are full of passion. He's part-folk/part-punk. I'm enjoying this because I just am and for some reason I keep coming back to these lyrics from the song "Miss Misery" from the Good Will Hunting soundtrack:

"To vanish into oblivion
Is easy to do
And I try to be but you know me
I come back when you want me to.
Do you miss me, Miss Misery
Like you say you do?"

Elliott Smith is dead. And it really, really sucks.

S'OK? S'awright.


14 octubre 2003

Señor Wences and the Greatest Rivalry in Sports

New Yorkers do very little with subtlety. We drive fast and recklessly (on bald tires down a one-way street). We work hard. We play hard. And we love our sports teams. Our media is relentless when it comes to the coverage of our local teams. They are quick to praise hard work and good results. They are equally quick with criticism when things aren't going so well. That's the way we like it. This town is entirely a "What have you done for me lately?" locale. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

With apologies to all of the other sports teams in the area, this town (especially in October) is for the most part the domain of the New York Yankees. Like them or not, I am a shameless Yankee fan. Amy Blair of the Black Table's Week in Craig put it best. We're fans. We didn't ask or tell our team to spend the money that they do. We have been given a team. They are our team. They are who we root for. And I refuse to apologize for rooting for them.

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have engaged in a bitter rivalry that even the most casual of sports fan is familiar with. Beginning with the sale of babe Ruth by Boston owner Harry Frazee to the New York Yankees before the 1920 baseball season, they have battled each other on the field (and sometimes off). The results are overwhelmingly in favor of the Yankees. 38 American League pennants and 26 World Series titles for our Bronx Bombers. The Red Sox have not faired as well. Zero championships. It helps that the New York Yankees have (since 1973) an owner that not only has deep pockets, but a hatred for all things red and the scruples of a feudal warlord. He has systematically outbid and outdueled the Red Sox at almost every turn in his tumultuous tenure. In fact, the Boston Red Sox have finished second to the New York Yankees each of the last 6 seasons.

Saturday's game spilled over into some interesting happenings, none more bizarre than Pedro Martinez tossing a charging 72-year-old Don Zimmer to the ground. Admittedly, I probably laughed a little too hard when I actually saw the event go down. But the circumstances leading up to the event are really no laughing matter. Pedro Martinez holds in his hand a solid object that he throws in the general direction of another person at speeds ranging from 80-95 MPH. If that object is in the upper ranges of his potential speed and strikes someone in the, oh I don't know, head, it could do some pretty serious damage (note -- speak to Roger Clemens re: Mike Piazza). There is little doubt that a frustrated Pedro took aim at Karim Garcia. Pedro is known for throwing inside. I have no quarrel with that. It's part of the game. But you have to take a serious look at a guy that's developed a reputation for being a headhunter. I realize what I'm saying, but Roger Clemens is finished after this year and he should have been looked at also. And Manny, relax. As Roger said, "If he was throwing at you, you would have known." I digress.

ESPN.com printed an article today by Bob Klapisch (of New Jersey's Bergen Record) where he spoke with Goose Gossage, former relief pitcher with the New York Yankees, and Graig Nettles, former third baseman. Both finished their careers with other teams but were centerpieces in the Yankees last great dynasty prior to this one and two men who are no strangers to the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry. The two teams battled for pennants in each of the years from 1976 to 1981. Both men have not played a game of baseball with the New York Yankees in 20 years.

The two teams have an intense hatred for each other. There is no denying this fact. As soon as a player joins one of the teams, the fans embrace that player (Yankees fans, please see: Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens) and the player develops a distaste for the other team. There are other rivalries around. Rivalries where players have a really strong disaffinity for other team, where the fans spit at the mere mention of their rival's name. This is all available elsewhere. But the greatest rivalry in sports? That exists among men who feel so strongly that 20 years after they played their last game, they speak as though they were out on the field, jaws clenched, loosening up and ready to battle.

That, dear friends, is a rivalry.


13 octubre 2003

Señor Wences and the Big Easy, Take 2

Things To Do In New Orleans When Attending A Friend's Wedding

- Ask local where Jimmy Hoffa is buried
- Try to identify exactly from where the overwhelming stench of urine originates
- I know there's a "gumbo/penis" joke here somewhere. E-mail me if you can think of one.
- Go up to man wearing a lot of beads. Tell him, "Goddamn, you must have a small penis."
- Take a ride in a mule-drawn cart. Ask driver to point out "all of the places that Brando got laid down here."
- Add humorous Cajun-style "uh huh huh" to the end of everything you say.
- Sit in hotel room to watch major national college football game. Fall asleep.
- Laugh hysterically every time someone says "Tchoupitoulas" (CHOP-it-toolus)


Señor Wences and the Big Easy

I went to the Big Easy for wedding this weekend. A close friend of mine married a fantastic girl from the area, so we all descended on the city for varying lengths of time. I got down there on Friday and stayed until midday Sunday.

It seems to me that New Orleans is a city of gross contradiction. Every street that I walked down and every corner I turned, I kept expecting Ignatious J. Reilly to pop out with that green-felted ear-flapped hat atop his head and scarf swung around his neck, bellowing "O Fortuna!" at the top of his lungs and pushing a hot dog cart. The town is so steeped in history and culture, from Spanish to French occupation, from Cajun to Voodoo culture. The architecture is so beautiful and complex. All of the buildings have balconies, with wrought iron railings shaped into intricate patterns. The food is magnificent. I was lucky enough to have a couple of local "ins" so I found some of the smaller, lesser known joints that local folks go to get their food.

At some point though, historic turns to histrionic. Revelers (a group, I hasten to admit, I was a part of) scream tawdry and degrading things from the overhanging balconies. Among the things that I overheard (and/or yelled myself):

Hey, honey. You've got bombs!
Come on, let the dogs out!
Hey girls, you suck cock?
Why don't you ditch that guy and come up here for the hot beef injection?
Tengo lo cinco mucho cacahuetes! (my Spanish is limited at best, embarassing at worst)
Check out my tits! (said by Lou)

I think the best part about all of that is that not a single person turned their heads to look at the idiots and degenerates that were screaming at them. They kept walking and, if they heard, didn't even react. The streets are packed and rowdy well into the night, so much so that when my group tired around 3AM on a Saturday night, we had to fight our way through a still mobbed Bourbon St to get back to our hotel, located conveniently in the French Quarter.

The best part of the whole weekend was watching my friends get married, watching their friends and family celebrate. At one point, I took a step back and just took it all in. I absorbed the scene and remarked to myself that there has to be something right about it, about the sheer joy of the scene, about the love felt among a group of tightly-knit people that get together from time to time, under the auspices of celebration, to share with each other. It just felt right. Then, my friend got into the middle of a circle of people, danced exuberantly and swung his wife around my the waist, lifting her dress and showing everyone her ass.

Now that is good times.

S'OK? S'awright.


09 octubre 2003

Señor Wences and Some Gratitude

A quick note of thanks to Matt Tobey of Haypenny for giving me a little love on his bold-with-a-hint-of-whimsy blog. To the person reading this, go enjoy Matt's stuff also.

Another note of thanks to Claire Zulkey for giving me a little "hey hey hey" on her marvelously pithy yet somehow overwhelmingly verbose website. Guy or gal reading this, go check her out.

S'OK? S'awright.


Señor Wences and the "I'm Sorry, What?"

I think that I did history's first quintuple take when I read that Pamela Anderson has rushed to the side of PETA in the Seigfried and Roy spectacle.

Paul Fisher of WWKAD?, Haypenny and this week only sitting in for Neal Pollack has done the best job of dressing down PETA that I've seen so far, so I'll leave that alone.

Hey Pam, when I need adivce on what to do about my horrific boob job, I'll come to you. If I want to know how to color my hair so people know, without question, that it's fake, you'll be my first call. If I'm on Millionaire and the question is "Which of the following disgusting, white-trash rock stars has a tattoo on his penis?," you're my lifeline. No question about it. But let the grown-ups handle the big stuff, OK? Thanks.

S'OK? S'awright.


Señor Wences and a Disturbing News Article


Leaving aside the obviously disturbing news that teenagers are being infected by AIDS at an alarming rate (also leaving aside that I use Yahoo! as a credible news resource), this article addresses a startling stubbornness. AIDS is a horrible epidemic, one that could reach global catastrophe in the next 50 years. We're not talking about geologicial time here. This is not glacial movement. This is in many of our lifetimes. And yet, there's a significant unwillingness by a large hunk of the population to recognize the very clear and present danger facing the human race.

The good news is that someone who is in a position to be heard, in this case the UN Population Fund's executive director Thoraya Obaid, advocates education rather than a complete, iron-fisted mandate of abstinence. Her quote:

"I would like to stress that giving young people this information is safe, it doesn't lead to promiscuous behavior, as some people say," she said. "On the contrary, it empowers young people to take positive action in their lives and may save their lives as well."

Well said, Madam Executive Director. It takes a woman to make that much sense. And if you could get even 1% of the world's important people to listen to you, we might begin to make some headway. I'm going out on a limb here but I think that your organization's report is going to meet some resistance. China is too busy mandating its population to have only one child (and, by that measure, only have sex once in their entire lives, I'd imagine.), leading to the orphaning, abandonment and/or death of 1 million Chinese girls. Most of Africa is too busy forcibly removing the clitorises of 80 million their female population to eliminate the pleasure of sex to prevent them from cheating on their husbands. Religion only complicates the matter further.

China's going to send people into space? The United States wants to find extra-terrestrial life? I'll bet the Intergalactic Space Council is setting our place as we speak. They're probably really excited to meet us.

S'OK? S'awright.


08 octubre 2003

Señor Wences and a Good Rock Band

These guys released a new album not long ago and it's pretty damn good, considering what they tried to pass off as their last album. It's nowhere near as good as this, which is bloody brilliant (as we all know, bloody is the best kind of brilliant). If they were touring anywhere within 500 freaking miles of here, I'd go see them. Maybe they're near you. If they are, find your nearest ticketing retailer and purchase one for yourself and one for a loved one.


Señor Wences and the Mysterious Disappearance

The disappearance to which I refer is the collaborative fiction website. The good Señor's good amigo Josh has a bit to say about it and the good Señor tends to think he's right. There is nothing wrong with the one-man-show, easy-to-maintain, easy-to-update blog (though I'm getting more and more disaffected with the term each and every day). In fact, there are several that I make it a habit to visit as often as I possibly can. And the blog has made it very easy for the aspiring writer (sadly, I count myself among this motley crew) to have an outlet to get his/her work out to the masses (and by "masses," I mean "the dozen people that accidentally discover it") or just a voice to the voiceless. To be fair, there's isn't only nothing wrong with that. There's everything right with it.

However, as our good friend Mr. Newton informed us in his landmark book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And without cramping the words/style of Josh, the reaction in this case is the demise of the collaborative fiction website. I know it's not easy to maintain one. I know from firsthand experience (go visit YPR). Josh, Nick and I are constantly brainstorming new ideas for stories, articles, features and general childish stunts that will provide fleeting fame and/or a small mount of notoriety. I understand why these folks moved onto greener pastures. It's just not something that I'm enjoying. Which makes Haypenny all the more remarkable. Two years and they haven't missed a single day. Go caress their cheek and whisper sweet nothings in their ears.

Josh made the call to arms and I'd like to make a similar one. It's not that I don't like hearing about the intimate details of your lives. I do. It's not that I don't want to hear your thoughts on the world, politics, gardening, literature or anything else. I do. It's just that I also want to read your fiction. You want to write something short and sweet? Do it. Then send it here. You want to write something long? Sign up here. Then do it. You want to brainstorm ideas or help editing or to discuss anything epistolary at all? Send it here. I'm more than happy to listen.

S'OK? S'awright.


07 octubre 2003

Señor Wences and La Vieja

The elderly woman who sits outside of my building wasn't there today. And I'm very sad.

Let me explain a little bit.

The good Señor moved not too long ago, as outlined on these pages (for those one or two people who haven't been turned off by my astounding lack of ability to keep a consistent weblog). On the first day that I commuted to work from my new apartment, I noticed that there was an old woman who sat across the street from my apartment building. Each morning, she brought a small chair and a workstation to the corner. She opened up her small case and removed some paints and a small piece of canvas board to work on. And she painted. The same painting over and over again. It's a picture of the Statue of Liberty, with an inscription (the exact words of which escape me at the moment), and when she finished one, she'd just start another.

On that first morning, I walked across the street and I stopped to watch her paint for a little while. She didn't even look up to acknowledge me. She just kept painting. I thought about saying hello, but I didn't. I didn't want to interrupt her. And I was pretty sure that she took note of my presence, even if she didn't speak to me. Each morning, she'd paint and each morning, I'd take a minute or two just to watch her. It's pretty remarkable to me. This woman is old. How old is impossible for me to say, but she is no younger than 80. Her skin is deeply wrinkled and her body is frail. Her eyes are deeply set into her skull, despite the fire that undoubtedly burns behind them. To be fair, her paintings aren't very good. I mean, her rendering of the Statue of Liberty is probably better than anything I could produce. But the colors are smudged and the paints are weak. The lines are blurry. But, she keeps paints. And I admire that. I think it's really fucking cool.

Her hands are not firm and steady. In fact, they shake pretty vigorously. But she works delibrately and she never tires. Most of all, she always shows up.

And now she didn't.

And I'm very sad.

P.S. I've struck elsewhere again. Look right to read "Out On The Town With John Lithgow" at Opium Magazine


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