What distinguishes the non-random thought from the random one? Only its hubris, I’d be inclined to say. Each can be powerful. Each can be sexy. But it is the random one that carries with it the kind of innocence one encounters too infrequently in life. Ah yes, consider that tender, beautiful hand that steers your own away from its goals during those frenzied youthful grapplings. In those cases the real value of the thought increases with the passage of time until it becomes legendary within the heart. The nonrandom thought is always precipitated by some other thought or occurrence or directive and is thereby burdened by the worrisome weight of an agenda. Only when it can break free of that weight has it a chance to expand to good or bad or anything in between, but it usually ends up wishing it had been random all along. The career of Mary Hopkin comes to mind…
What’s this? Hose, the heavyweight philosopher all of a sudden?
Of course not. Aside from being a certified lightweight and a philosopher of no weight at all, I have no interest in diverting your mind from the writings of my esteemed colleague to the right of this page; the thoughts of a man from whom you will never fail to learn is one of the chief values of this too-inexpensive-for-its-own-good paper.
No, it goes deeper than that… In my own field (the one way, way out there) I pride myself for possessing an instinct that has never failed me: the ability to size up and acknowledge my betters when I happen to encounter them. To honestly say that I’ve yet to meet even one would betray a singular loneliness too maudlin to reveal yet too obvious to deny, but say it I do.
Yet throughout my longstanding pain, there have been those sweet occurrences that, random or not, recharge my will to go on:
• The parlor game to prove that the worst miscreants among us are always known by three names: think John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacey (big opportunities for Lees and Johns), Jack the Ripper, George Doubleyou Bush, Sir Han Sirhan, Billy Ray Cyrus and, even worse are the cretins whose Christian name is denoted by a single letter, among whom only A. Whitney Brown may be absolved.
• News of the forthcoming remakes of Brokeback Mountain. The first, to costar Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp, sounds good enough for a choking titter or two, but a rival studio’s own update set to feature Naomi Watts and Diane Lane exhibits enough horse sense to have me chomping at the bit. It’s an image ah jus cain’t quit.
• Unlike Cox Cable, which I did quit years ago, after they blacked out an HBO special in San Diego. Yes (and let history ne’er forget), they refused to allow subscribers to view, as the rest of this great land of ours was able to, a true crime documentary that happened to feature that McMassacre down near the border. Justifying their actions at the time, they claimed that “San Diego doesn’t need to be reminded” of the tragedy. So I reminded them I had paid for HBO and didn’t enjoy them deciding what I needed or didn’t need to be reminded of, that I’m fully capable of being in charge of my own eyes and ears.
Further comment, I feel, is needed at this time concerning the tribulations of Kicking Cable. Cold turkey was no picnic, to be sure. The void that John Stewart, Steve Colbert, up-to-date Eric Cartman, and state-of-the-art softcore porn would most certainly be filling tonight has been soothed, tended to, and agreeably occupied by some new kids on television’s block – non-cable stations like 69.2 and 69.3, whose old programs and movies can be a hell of a trip. However, I’m at a loss when it comes to understanding the wisdom of the executive responsible for bleeping out the word “jackass” from the wittiest, wisest scene in a recent airing of The Brides of Dracula, a witty, wise, profoundly beautiful l960 vampire fantasy that has never been bettered. The best of all my recent channel discoveries is 8.2, aka Me TV aka Memorable Entertainment Television. It shows a mind-boggling array of complete episodes of many of TV’s cherished classics – time compressed in a way that’s truly fascinating to witness! Listen to the wildly varying tempos of the background music during scenes without dialogue – speeding up and slowing down all over the place as the notes themselves remain in pitch, just some barely audible click-jumping there to betray the surgery; it can frequently be breathtaking. Through channel 8.2, I’ve come to realize just how darn bad the last season of “I Love Lucy” really was… and how schizophrenic and expensive the old series “Daniel Boone” was, and how excellent it could be. That series had two episodes featuring the elusive David Peel, the vampire of The Brides of Dracula, portraying authentically British characters. My heart sank when I realized too late that I had missed the first of his episodes when it aired on Thursday morning this past January 5th. Anyone out there tape it? It concerned the theft of the Liberty Bell, I believe, and I’d be happy to liberate any belle who can come up with it; random or non, that’s no idle thought. Now one final example of good stuff in the wind:
• An appreciative letter from someone whom I’ll cautiously call a fan. She’s obviously a fan of the Troubadour – all the way from Berlin, where she is attending John Lennon High School (really!) and has such a love and appreciation for the Beatles that it brought me close to tears. No, I’m not doing the crying for John or George (or am I?), it’s for others her age, perhaps, who haven’t been properly exposed to the Great Ones and may never be, and who could be destined to absorb and promulgate a music that isn’t really music at all, but a narcissistic bundle of beats (devoid of melody and harmony) that is ever threatening to become the soundtrack of their lives, their directions to the future. Nina, I’m glad to have been alive to see you living. That’s no random thought – not on your life, sweetheart, and my apologies that it had to come from the unworthy head of Hose A. Sinatra.
Jose Sinatra, a late arrival to technology you all take for granted, now has his own site on YouTube. God save us all.