JANUARY 18, 2007; NOON
. . . . Last night I went up to Malibu, just to lend some sort of support. They didn't ask me to come but I felt I should go. With the slaughter of the Alabama Baptists just two weeks ago, I thought a lot of the parents might be kinda nervous, so I thought I should see what I could do. Some TV producer opened up his house with a sendoff party for the kids and their families. It was a big BBQ with a circus theme. A coupla fighter jets from Vandenberg did a fly over tribute which produced a rabble rousing rebel yell from the pre-teens. The kids were rolling up their sleeping bags, packing, praying and saying their good-byes. There were a lot of tears but the priests kept the enthusiasm high with their dogma and sense of mission. This one is mostly a Catholic group. Someone told me that Mel Gibson had financed it. (What? With profits from 'The Passion of Christ' and 'The Passion 2: Ascension'?)
It was hard to keep a smile, looking at all those young, eager faces and knowing the hell they are about to go through. Driving home down the coast, I had to pull over and throw up. It turned out I barfed on Barbara Streisand's beach-or that's what the security guard said as he chased me off the property. Ever since Gov. Schwarzenegger sold the beaches to pay off the state debt in his second term, you can't lay down a towel (or vomit) on a grain of California sand.
It's noon. I guess the Malibu Children's Crusade should be getting on the plane to Baghdad right about now.
Last night, to make it worse, the Sixth AME Church Gospel Choir was there singing and clapping. It felt like a kick in the stomach but I kept my mouth shut. This just isn't the time to point a finger at another hypocrisy when there's so much of it going around. The Malibu group had formed a sister crusade with the church of another denomination from the ghetto. The Sixth AME Children's Liberty Lions have been in Al Agog, ahead of the Malibu group, for two weeks now. I haven't heard of any fatalities yet. This isn't the first time in history that good intentioned rich people have sent better-intentioned poor people to 'test the waters' and to 'take the temperature.'
I am glad I went last night. Although, I don't know how reassuring I was -- with the not-so-subtle one arm and all. Nothing like a stark visual reminder of the danger. But many seemed grateful to see me. Thankfully. Since the Vanity Fair cover, I'm recognized now and that hasn't been so good. Yesterday, some fucker spit on me in the market. I was gonna deck him but I didn't want to drop the gin bottle I held in my only hand. A lot of people truly blame ME for VI! [Volunteer Iraq!] And just think, I was only trying to be lighthearted.
JANUARY 24, 2007
Ain't it odd how your life can turn on a dime? One cannot ignore the capriciousness of chance.
JANUARY 26, 2007
Justin Timberlake's "We'll Show You How It's Done" has topped the charts for 162 weeks. My ears are bloody. You can't find a god damned radio station that isn't playing the patriotic tearjerker.
FEBRUARY 2, 2007
I look back on the last four years and, and - Hell, at least all of it gives me a real reason to drink.
The mail brought another 'Innovator Award' from some 'Good Deeders Club.' What do I say? Nothing except "uh, thanks." If I had known then, that an amusing notion would become national policy, I'd have never All I can do is shake some hands, take the plaque and go home to spill tears into my shotglass.
FEBRUARY 9, 2007
Nasty, scary clown bar-b-que story on the news. Some guy, a volunteer from Oregon, was part of the Bozo's Birthday Brigade, armed with the good intention of sharing America's love of clowns. He got a gasoline shower and a match for a towel. It seems his clown suit had a Middle Eastern flair and the horrified villagers of Amen Awe thought he was mocking Mohammed. That's a birthday some little kid'll never forget.
FEBRUARY 16, 2007
Had a helluva great weekend. Martha Stewart got some sort of conjugal-visit-hall-pass. This is her first time back in the States. She's here to persuade Ethan Allen and IKEA into opening stores over there. She flew me out to Manhattan, all expenses paid, just to thank me for keeping her out of jail. Yeah, it was a big media event and I was being pimped but I didn't mind; all expenses paid make me a glad-hand-never-mind. None the less, I was a flattered that she wanted to see me. After the reporters left and we were alone and a little drunk, she asked me if that column was meant to be serious or funny. I don't answer that anymore.
After a few more drinks, she got weepy, sloppy and confidential. It seems she'd prefer a Sing-Sing Cellblock Matron to a Mullah. An American jail is a lot cooler than the desert heat. Redecorating Iraq isn't as glamorous as a manse in the Hamptons. But it's a lot more patriotic. The stock price of her company is back up, the magazine is in the black again, her new reality show "Martha Makes Over" is getting good ratings and she has never been more popular. Many times (too many to be funny) she stood up on wobbly legs, raised her glass in a toast and slurred, verbatim, the part where I suggest that her sentence be commuted to government service. Sit down Martha, let me pour ya another one!
We were up till 4 in the morning. I got her to lighten up a bit, making fun with job titles: the Governor of Gaudy, the Viceroy of Vulgar, etc., but the laughs didn't last long. She stayed maudlin and depressed. I guess some of Uday's old decorators have put a price on her head and she didn't think it was enough. She says the Iraqi's are resisting color, harmony and subtlety. I mean, the poor thing has got to put up with a preference for overblown gauche and a century of misinterpreted French flava. None the less, she's got eight more years to go. She doesn't think she can make it. She said she's going to lobby President Hillary for a pardon. I had to ask, "What would that do to your stock price and your new, phoenix-like success?" She started to sob. Man, I thought I cornered the market on self-pity.
FEBRUARY 18, 2007
Interesting news in the paper today. The Coagula Art Journal sold for $16 million. Oh, really! Hadn't heard a prior peep about it. Publisher Gleason sold it to the quarterly 'Art Forum in America News.' I wonder how the last remaining art mag could afford the price tag. I immediately called Mat but his cell phone started to act up and we lost connection. I'd like to chat with him. A little dough should be coming my way. It was the "Volunteer Iraq!" piece in '03 that put Coagula on the greater world map. If it wasn't for that, Coagula would have never gone glossy.
FEBRUARY 22, 2007
The Libertarian Party asked to use part of the VI! piece as a slogan for the upcoming election. They want my 'call to arms' about Iraqi Reconstruction needing the great integrity and competence of the American small business owner (the salt of the earth) over the head-butting military and the bureaucrats in triplicate. I mean, for Christsakes, the whole world is watching.
FEBRUARY 28, 2007
A reporter (unpaid intern) from 'Art Forum In America News' called. To hype the Coagula acquisition, they want to chronicle the chain of events. But that's been done to death. I told her it'd be more interesting to focus on Bush. Who knew he read Coagula? How did he take the column seriously? How did it become national policy? I think that'd be more interesting.
MARCH 19, 2007
Business Week devoted the whole March issue to the ice cream wars. It seems Haagen Daas, Ben and Jerry's, Desert (Dairy) Queen, etc., et al, are duking it out for market share. Business is on fire. It seems ice cream is the only American pleasure that a mullah might approve of.
The travel agencies must be dying. All of those expensive ad campaigns and no one is going. I wonder if their lobbyists are pushing for a Mandatory Vacation Act or something. Al Amok is no Waikiki.
MARCH 31, 2007
Called Gleason and caught him in the car. As he was telling the story of how he took a big chance on 'Genuflect', risking his reputation, and how he went out on a limb to publish something as idiotic as my column, he drove into a tunnel and we lost the connection. I'd like to talk to that guy. My rent is due tomorrow.
APRIL 2, 2007
Tom Cruise is going to play 'Mohammed The Messenger' in a remake for Paramount. This will surely compound Baz Luhrmann's musical version for Fox.
APRIL, 22, 2007
Oops. The Feminist Forum of Freemont (CA) was making some headway in Al Begon until they went too far with a village-wide Burkha Burning. Three days later, a Saudi Wahhabe Morals Mob came in and wiped out the American volunteers and the town's womenfolk. Societal changes take a little time, gals.
MAY 29, 2007
The Hard Rock Café lost half it's roof and half it's customers from a bomb that went off just five minutes after ABC had finished taping "Brittany! Live from Baghdad!" Spears escaped and is hiding in Bermuda. Her dumbshit agent is trying to get her out of the next four concerts of her obligation. Smart move if you want the IRS all over your ass for a lifetime and a half.
MAY 30, 2007
Wow. A precedent. A shopping mall developer is suing the Feds to get out of the MCVA [Mandatory Corporate Volunteer Act.] No one's tried that yet, fearing a PR backlash. The developer is claiming "undue harm and threat" because they have an exclusive leasing contract with Victoria's Secret AND Hooters for space in all of their malls. It sounds thin, but I agree. Those two chains won't translate well.
JUNE 1, 2007
Tony "Kill The" Messenger came by to see me. He's looking better; it's been a slow recovery. We had old stories to tell again. My old pal from the LA art world is the ass who screamed, "You came up with the fucking idea, you better fuckin' go!" He was the first sculpture hire on my Halliburton Arts crew. He lost his legs in the same attack that I lost my arm. Tony had a 'leg-less sculptor' limerick but it wasn't as funny as my 'one armed painter' joke. He said it's a good thing I'm not a wallpaper hanger. I told him, that in many ways, I am. All painters are.
JULY 6, 2007
When I was asked to give the music rights of the VI! article to the government, I retained artistic control in case they wanted to set the lyrics to a polka or something. I just got a cassette of the song 'Sandy Grassroots' for my approval. On it, the same words were set to a county western epic, a pop ballad with an unnamed boy band and a sweeping orchestral movement sung by a low budg Celine Dion type. I sent it back asking for a dance track with no less than 15,000 beats per minute. That should confound them for a while.
AUGUST 27, 2007
The Il Duce of the HyperReal, Umberto Ecco, sent me a very nice letter! He hadn't read the VI! piece until a month ago and was impressed with the way it had pegged the aggressively altruistic American character. He liked the "Makeover Madness: Helping You Is Helping me" bit. Wow! Ecco! I have arrived!
NOVEMBER 21, 2007
I just got an early Xmas card from the Jerseytown Volunteers. They all signed it. I guess everyone (!) got back safely to their small town in Pennsylvania after a six month tour. An 80-year-old grandma even baked me a batch of cookies. (The old gal came back with an Iraqi husband she calls her Big Bag-Daddy-O.) They had some success in Dukrit and Ash Al Uver. Of course, all of the non-religious groups are faring better. You eliminate the 'conversion factor' and life is a little easier in Iraq.
NOVEMBER 22, 2007
I saw Gleason at a MOCA opening last night. I tried to catch him but it was too crowded. Damn.
DECEMBER 25, 2007
Did you know there is not one Jew on the Iraqi-Hollywood Film Alliance? The Muslim Motion Picture Studio is equally bereft. Who's left makin' the deals?
JANUARY 12, 2008
This might get a little hairy. The VVI [Veterans of Volunteer Iraq] want me to come to Washington for some banquet. I don't think I should go. Too much risk and too flagrant. If this here poster boy showed up at that hallowed event, some snaggletooth might be galled enough to spill some beans. Ridge and the Homeland Security Boys are working for me, just like they did for Jessica, but somewhere, someone has that nightvision videotape of me, the Halliburton Arts 390 and too much Deflower of De Desert. I'd prefer my Discharge to stay Honorable. Natch. Plus, I don't wanna jeopardize my VI! pension. I'll call Tom to see if I should go.
JANUARY 17, 2008
Tried to call Gleason again. Damn. Screw Verizon. You'd think a high flyin' new multi-millionaire could afford a better cell phone.
FEBRUARY 18, 2008
Christ. I just read that some French Crusade (Old School) is going to WALK to Iraq in a homage to the past. The lazy, fuckin' cowards. By the time they get there, the whole country will have either self-immolated into charcoal or been turned into a Disneyland.
GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based painter. His visual and literary work can be found at www.gordygrundy.com.