Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chocolate Shakes, Prime Rib Carts & Senatorial Hijinks: "Johnny, You're Grounded!"

From Paul Levine...


1. Men's Health says the large Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Oreo Shake (2600 calories, 135 g fat, 263 g sugar & 1700 mg sodium) is the "Worst Drink in America." Great! My White Russians must be okay.

2. When I hear Diana Krall sing "Besame Mucho," I want to kiss her. A lot.

3. I think Michael Jackson's $25,000 customized solid bronze, gold-plated casket looks like the prime rib cart at Lawry's in Beverly Hills.

4. Michael Jackson may have named the Moonwalk, but he did not invent it. (Many thanks to music impresario Jim Jimirro for this one).

5. Google is soooooooo yesterday. I switched to BING about a month ago. Now, I learn I haven't been using half its features. The New York Times explains.

6. Ala carte menus tee me off. If you spend 75 bucks for a New York strip at "Bourbon Steak" in Miami (as Jim Born does), shouldn't they throw in the freaking potato? Nope. The "salt-baked" potato is 9 bucks, but big whoop, it includes creme fraiche. I remember when you could buy Idaho for 9 bucks.

7. The current Paris Review has a great inteview with Gay Talese, one of the stars of the "New Journalism" of the 1960's and 1970's. (Many thanks to Penn State QB coach Jay Paterno for pointing out the article). Here's an excerpt:

"I didn’t have great confidence in myself because I had nobody, really, who had confidence in me. I always think of John Updike, who had tremendous confidence in himself because his mother said, You’re the greatest little shit in the world. You’re so wonderful, wonderful, wonderful—and he believed it. David Halberstam too—his mother told him he was the greatest shit in the world and he believed it. He had a tremendous sense of self. In his mind he was Charles de Gaulle. My mother never told me I was the greatest, my father never did either. They were very critical. I felt that I had to prove something to them. Neither they nor anyone else gave me the sense that I was gifted."

When did you realize that you had talent?

TALESE:Never. All I have is intense curiosity. I have a great deal of interest in other people and, just as importantly, I have the patience to be around them.

Talese puts on a coat and tie each morning before descending to his study, then changes into an ascot, or other fancy duds to write. So does Jim Born.

8. You're grounded, Johnny! Isn't Sen. John Ensign a little old to have his parents pay off his girlfriend? And does the Nevada senator really exist? If you ask me, he's Mr. Peterman from "Seinfeld." See if you can tell who's who.

Paul Levine


  1. 1. Makes beer seem positively health.
    2. Ditto. And all over.
    3. There’s an image for you.
    4. Another myth debunked.
    5. Tried it. Google still works fine.
    6. I can point you to a Mexican place nearby where for $75 you can feed about 6 people with drinks thrown in and the tortilla chips are free.
    7. I always suspected Jim of that.
    8. I suspect you’re never too old to have your parents pay off your girlfriend. Especially if you’re a politician.

  2. 1. No wonder it tastes so good.
    2. With a Brad Pitt face mask, maybe.
    3. Or a chichi space capsule.
    4. Makes me want to dust off my tap shoes.
    5. Google sounds naughtier.
    6. Just order the potato. Save room for #1.
    7. I can so identify.
    8. Old career: GOP presidential contener. New career: celebrity impersonator.

  3. 8. That's presidental CONTENDER.(I need more coffee so I can type.)

  4. Yes, Jim writes while wearing an ascot, but no pants.

    Christ, I couldn't even get my parents to help pay for college, let alone pay off a mistress.

    I'm doing something wrong.

  5. Love the YouTube dancing clip, thanks!

    And I think you're right, it is Mr. Peterman.


  6. James O. Born7/14/2009 11:36 AM

    Aside from being a great post you have struck a nerve in the Born household. Just yesterday I heard this phrase from my wife, "Are you gonna put on some pants, or what?" I did, in fact, have on a pair of gym shorts, but apparently the honeymoon is over and those no longer constitute "pants".

    I have several friends who are writers who insist on maintaining an office away from their house. They have schedules and commute just like anyone else. I have never had that issue. As long as I'm in a comfortable chair or ever I'm sitting is my office. And whatever I'm wearing is good enough to write in.

    Unless my wife tells me it isn't.

    Jim B.

  7. Hey Jim,
    My hubby paints and does his email in his underpants...aside from being way too much information, he does manage to put on shorts or jeans for the rest of the house and out of doors. Has to keep his pants on since we now have an external studio and we don't want to freak out the neighbours. :-D

    Mind you, were they silver lame gym shorts you were wearing when you wrote your SF novel? :-D

    BTW, Jim: if we're at an SF convention together and you want an intro to Harry Turtledove, I'll do the honours. He's a friend. His whole family is scary intelligent but absolutely nice folks. :-D Is there anyone else you'd like to meet?

    Great post, Paulie! I love a great chocolate shake, but that one at sounds deadly. Urk.

    Tequila Rose and milk is my current fave tipple - about the same as your white russian...


  8. Marianne,

    Harry Turtledove is my ex-brother-in-law. We haven't seen him in years but we were very sorry when he left the family.


  9. Marianne,

    Harry Turtledove is my ex-brother-in-law. We haven't seen him in years but we were very sorry when he left the family.