1/10/03, 8:30 AM

Back on the R train after a sick day. I got this sore-throat-fever-congestion-stuffy-head-coughing-forgot-the-damn-Ny-Quil crap last Friday, & kept thinking I was about to kick it. Then Wednesday I found myself drifting in & out of consciousness at work, talking to magic flutes & such. Not like I'm operating heavy machinery or anything, but who can guess the repercussions in the fashion industry if Moneygrubbin' Bastard Manclothes orders 6,000 more units of the Distressed Cotton Popover than the factory in Eet No Bhouti can produce by market date? Saints preserve us.

Feeling much better today, which I uncharacteristically attribute to daytime television. Honest to Pete, I was shocked into upright position by the sudden realization that I was watching EXACTLY THE SAME DAYTIME PROGRAMS as I could 20 YEARS AGO.

Click. It's Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, though a relatively recent one from 1994, wherein we learn to use the potty. As involved as I am with potty humor on a daily basis, I was rather surprised to find how very soothing and relaxing it can be to talk about using the potty. And the drain? Completely safe. It's a sign of my warped adult mind that I actually flinched when he began to walk into his own restroom to "show you something." Silly matthew. Mister Rogers doesn't show people his wee-wee. Except perhaps his wife. Damn, flinched again.

Click. Wow, Bob Ross. Happy little trees, boop, boop, boop. Here is a man whose talents were wasted in the art studio. His true genius was the ability to exude relaxation in a nearly weaponized form. It is completely impossible to watch Bob Ross for more than two minutes without your muscles going slack and a wine-drunk smile spreading across your face. If they'd sent him to Vietnam with a paintbrush and easel, the war would've been over in two days. You can't kill people when you're watching Bob Ross.

Click. Oh, my God, The A-Team. George Fucking Peppard in an extremely cheap Castro getup. And Starbuck--I mean "Face"--walking around looking like a useless dumbass. He was good at that. "Howlin' Mad" Murdock. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but I still love him. And a man who is probably still the record-holder for Most Conspicuous Man In Any Crowd, Mr. T. What the hell good is it if 3/4 of your team dollies themselves up to infiltrate the Local Bad Guy's hideout, but brings along a mohawk-and-gold-chain wearin' muscleman freakshow? They might as well bring a Klingon. A Klingon on an elephant.

I've been doing a lot of research on my Six Day War book lately, but couldn't face ponderous moral events in my sickened state. And the last place one would look for references to world history is...well, probably The A-Team. Or so I thought. Because of my delirious state, I'm not even sure I really heard George Fucking Peppard say, "You know, they told Moshe Dayan he couldn't win a war in six days." Huh? Who did, the Arabs? What? Like I said, I was kinda pooped.

I thought I was gaining a bit of weight back, too. A whole belt notch, even. Great, I thought, I've finally replaced all of my fat clothes, and I gotta steal 'em back from the Goodwill people. But then, last night my wife & I were shocked to find an old friend in our bed. He hasn't bothered me since I started on the Atkins diet, but something about the common cold brought him out as surely as the beacon brings out Batman. Yes, we're talking about Fartolini The Magnificent.

And man, was it magnificent. One for the books, actually, which is saying something. Ask anyone who's known me for any length of time. I actually got a little nostalgic, though the Wifely wasn't so smitten. Party pooper. I mean, me & Fartolini used to clear rooms with this stuff, striking fear into the hearts of my co-workers and friends. My favorite was band gigs. Three other guys onstage who couldn't go ANYWHERE when Fartolini fired up his magic sulfur lamp. Ah, the memories. But dig this: Upon his return, I went down a whole belt notch THAT NIGHT. Thanks, Fartolini. Don't be a stranger.

It's been a surreal week all around, since I'm kind of in musical limbo until my recording unit gets out of the shop next week. Had a strange urge to see Episode II: Attack of the Monastic Spoon-Benders again, and I did. It's really not half bad, if you know when to hit 'Mute'. I've resigned myself to the fact that I cannot fully condemn anything with the name Star Wars on it (Holiday Special doesn't exist, Holiday Special doesn't exist...), that I WILL see these movies at least ten times apiece, that I WILL help George Lucas buy the bits of Marin County, California that he doesn't already own, and that I WILL like it. I was born in the '70s; free will has nothing to do with anything when the lightsabers come out.

Speaking of birthdays, I realized with a sense of alarm that I have only 4 days left to be 28 years old. And after that, I have one more year to be in my twenties. Holy mother of fuck.

I mean, I know it doesn't really mean anything. In fact, if I were on another planet, it would have no meaning whatsoever. I would be 7 1/2, or 359 even. But it is a bit of a milestone in the industry I am attempting to make my way in. 30-year-old debut artists do exist, but they're rare. Leave it to me to be the weirdo. And besides, I've wanted to be an old man for a long time so that I can do more theatre. I never want the parts that are available for men my age; I always want to play the crusty old bastard. I played these parts all through high school to rave reviews, and was brought up rather short when I found that you actually had to be an old fart to play Grandpa in the legit theatre world. Gimme 30 more years, man. Wilford Brimley ain't shit.

It was mentioned to me that I hadn't done a 2002 Year In Review for the Letter From NYC, and I must admit that I've just been a lazy, apathetic lump during my musical hiatus. So now I did one, in the form of an updated Archives page. It's somewhat interesting to look back a bit and see how much of 28 I spent cursing and griping about anyone different than me. Here's looking forward to 29. I guess.

My boss, Abby, laughed in my face when I told her I was concerned with turning 30. I refrained from laughing in her face as she was listening to the All-Broadway Station on her clock-radio. I swear to Pete this atrocity exists. Nothing but Lloyd-Webber and Fucking Tim Rice as far as the ear can flee. I did manage to switch it back to Classic Rock while she was in the can. Did you know Q104 in New York is the official Blinded By The Light station? Well, it is.

Actually, Abby was curious about my Atkins regimen, and was horrified by the absence of bread. "I mean, what's a Queens gal without her bagel?" I honestly don't know.

Speaking of Broadway (weren't we?), I'm looking at seeing a real deal Off-Off-Broadway production for my birthday. Theatre, thank you very much, not a musical. But also not "Theataah," of which there is plenty. For instance:

THE DEVILS OF LOUDUN - "International group Dzieci performs a movement-theater piece using Grotowski's methods." Umm...no, I don't think so. 'Grotowski's methods', indeed.

MEAT IS FLOATING BY - "Company members hole themselves up in a performance space where they drink, scream, and torture themselves to the accompaniment of amplified sound and video." Dang. What? Sonic Youth?

So we're still looking. Isn't anyone doing Our Town, for Chrissake?

Approaching 14th Street now. Just a few stops to go. It is becoming more clear to me that I may not want to raise our hypothetical future children in this city. They just grow up so brazen. I'm shuffling through the turnstiles with everyone else at the 45th Street station the other day and this little fucker behind me says, "Come on, Bob Saget."


It stunned me to such an extent that the little bastard was gone before I could work up a weak retort and embarrass myself further. Bob Saget? I'd rather he called me John Walker Lindh than Bob Fucking Saget. And it ain't like anyone else in my neighborhood station could be mistaken for America's Most Useless Video Show Host. Bob Saget?

I mean (here comes the old fart bit), I cannot IMAGINE what could've ever made me actually speak that way to an adult when I was a kid. But then again, I can't imagine what could've ever made me say ANYTHING to an adult when I was a kid. But still, I'm sure it means something immensely disturbing to the moral fabric of the Homeland and the future of the American Dream. Really. Strom Thurmond would never have allowed it.

Speaking of the American Dream, I'm trucking off to the march in Washington next weekend for to ride the peace train. Wish me luck. Or a flat tire, whichever way your political flag flaps. Keep an eye on the news January 18th, you may see Bob Saget nancing around the Capitol using Grotowski's methods. The horror...



© 2002-2006
the matthew show