I’ve been remiss, not keeping this webpage current. I’ve received a good number of comments and complaints about my perceived torpor. I had no idea people paid attention to such things.
I admit I am easily distracted. As a frightfully myopic fat boy with ADD, I regularly ignored a grade school chalkboard I could barely see and directed my attention to a nearby window where, if I was lucky, I would sense the flutter of a pigeon, or turned to worship the delightful knees of Karen Broadhurst as I dropped my pencil for the tenth time in order to amplify my fantasies concerning the icon perched a desk away. I have not improved a whole lot over the years.
But, no, this time I can’t exclusively blame distraction for the absence of new material posted on Siberia With A View.
Well, perhaps to a degree, in that I’m compelled to make a twice or thrice daily visit to certain websites — the New York Times, the Guardian, Arts and Letters Daily, XHamster, the Denver Broncos, and Lobstertube. There is important information available at each site, and I need to stay abreast. What utterly idiotic thing is our president going to say and do next? How many molecules of honor and intelligence do the greedhogs in the House and Senate have left to sacrifice? What kind of impossible recipe will Yotam Ottolenghi come up with? How on earth do you overthrow a wide-open, 6’ 7” receiver on a sure touchdown strike? Why do so-called “Milf British housewife lesbians” always seem to be professional sex workers? Isn’t that false advertising? But, then, aren’t the president and his Republican meat puppets such as the desiccated reptile Mitch McConnell constantly engaged in whoring and deceit? I need at least a couple hours each day to satisfy my curiosity.
The other reason I’ve neglected Siberia With a View is that I have been working on a new play. Sort of.
Desperate for money, I committed to another play for a noted regional theater company. I can shout “I’m working” from a locked room in the basement only so many times with no show of monetary gain before I lose credibility.
My credibility had long expired, so inspired by the success of an effort last year (sold out houses, extended run, ego-boosting comments at the grocery store, anonymous messages left on my answering machine by callers using untraceable cell phones, and a bit of money) I lost touch with reality, again, and agreed to the proposition that I make another go of it.
I thought: When I flash the cash earned with this gem, Kathy will stop coming to the basement to rattle my “office” door and say things like, “I know what you’re really doing in there. Back away from that porn site, get your ass upstairs, and paint the bedroom.”
The play has been announced, and has been promoted. It is set to open in February.
The theater folks are getting nervous.
Apparently actors, directors, and their consorts need quite a bit of leeway in order to prepare a production. Their anxiety puzzles me, given how much time they spend asleep, brushing their dancing shoes, loitering in bars, or pretending they like well-to-do old people in order to curry favor and milk the gullible fools for funds and food.
Here’s the problem: I set to work in July with a full head of steam —a lot of steam, and very few ideas — and drilled a dry hole, as my oil field friends are fond of saying. I have a number of such friends, from east and west Texas, and Oklahoma, who share a love of barbecue and industry-related bon mots. My favorite describes many of the execrable and wealthy retiree newcomers to my fine mountain community: “All hat, no cattle.”
I came up with the title for a play and sent it on to the theater for use in promotional work. The title: “Cerebrotini.”
The producer asked for a brief description of the play, in order to induce potential patrons to buy tickets up front. Theater owners crave up-front money.
I wrote: “A madcap romp in the Intensive Care Unit that poses the question, ‘Are there cocktails in the afterlife.’”
So far, so good.
Problem was, that was all I had.
I attempted to provoke a creative leap by amping up my intake of southern Rhone reds, gin, and my pal Joe’s special elixir.
I doubled up on consumption of mold-riddled cheeses and shellfish, as well as on my daily dose of allopurinol in order to minimize the risk of gout.
I increased the amount of garlic in my diet twofold, and began cooking a pasta dish three times a week as well as something, anything, that included Hatch chiles at least two times per week. I added a significant amount of the revered Chimayo red from Romero’s in Espanola to whatever I cooked, whenever possible.
I ceased eating Kathy’s beloved chard and kale, defending my denial with the fiction that digestion of these mundane greens produces chemicals that block key neural pathways. I detest chard and kale. Not good for a playwright.
Nothing worked. I was as blocked as Donald Trump after his fourth Big Mac.
Finally, as I sat in my dark “study” watching a ball-gagged, grossly overweight man whipped by an equally obese middle aged woman wearing a frayed bustier and Batman mask, a line popped into my head.
“There are few things as sad as an old man with a boner.”
That did it! The touchstone! I was off to the races!
I whipped out a two-act play in two weeks.
Then I read it.
Dry hole. There is no way a play that mentions Martin Heidegger four times, and recounts rumors about Ludwig Wittgenstein during his years as a secondary school teacher is going to catch on with people who leap teary-eyed to their feet and applaud wildly following high school productions of “Our Town.”
I sent it to the digital dump.
I went back to work, huddled at ground zero, struggling with a second play.
I stopped responding to the increasingly tortured pleas e-mailed from the theater. I instructed Kathy to meet all inquiries with a standard line: “I believe he’s gone on a retreat at that monastery west of Ghost Ranch with his friend, the Episcopal priest who’s writing a second book on the foods Jesus ate. I know for a fact Karl shaved his head and purchased six cases of distilled water before he disappeared. I’m sure both the priest and he are hard at work, following vespers or communal bath time, or whatever they do at a monastery. I’ll let you know when I hear from him.”
I believe I now have a credible first act complete — enough so that, when I’m sober and do an edit, the half that survives will suffice.
The second act will have to wait: my sister and brother in-law are due to arrive any moment. They have determined they will stay two days. They promised to bring morels and heirloom tomatoes and Asian pears from Oregon. Perhaps some chanterelles. If they arrive empty-handed, I will refuse them entry to the house, claiming an unexpected outbreak of Cholera. They know we don’t keep the house spic and span, as do so many inauthentic, anal-retentive Baby Boomers, so the excuse might play out.
Given that all is well, however, I plan to cook chicken in a morel and/or chanterelle, mustard, tarragon, garlic, shallot cream sauce. I’ll serve it with fingerlings roasted with shallots and rosemary, steamed young asparagus (probably grown in Myanmar and harvested by captive Muslim children) with lemon butter, and a simple green salad, dressed with a sprightly garlic vinaigrette.
I don’t do dessert. If my sister suffers from sugar withdrawal, she can haul her ass to the store and find an industrial fix.
Tomorrow, I will force them to take me to breakfast where my favorite cook, Chef Taylor, will produce a masterpiece: a hand battered, fried hunk o’fowl on a freshly baked biscuit (the man is from the Deep South, and knows his biscuits) with a slice of cheese, and a fried egg – the tower smothered with the most amazing bacon/green chile gravy yet created. I will request a side of the gravy, which Taylor’s lovely mate serves up in a small plastic container. My last visit to the establishment, I requested a drink cup full of the high-cholesterol brew, and a large straw. She refused. Not out of stinginess or because of a gravy shortage; I believe she was truly concerned about my well-being and my ability to drive home following a massive stroke.
Tomorrow night, after a few tugs on Joe’s elixir bottle and a couple gin and tonics (I don’t drink brown spirits until the season’s first snow) I will prepare enchiladas ranchero – a four-tortilla stack per diner, with ample asadero and cheddar, a garlic saturated sauce (see Chimayo red from Romero’s, above) hot enough to drive off all but the most durable and sophisticated eater, topped with a poached egg, the gooey yolk set to run in rivulets down the sides of stack, there to meet a pool of red, combining with it to create a nectar for the gods.
If my Instantpot decides to operate properly (it is so profoundly computerized that it does, indeed, think) I might whip up a pot of Anasazi beans. The pot gave up the ghost the other night after laboring on a 4-pound grass-fed beef chuck roast given to me by my pal Amber, one of the device’s vents or another likely clogged by a wealth of aromatics. The avocados these days are good for little else than breaking windows, so guacamole is out. Regardless, I purchased five of the rock-hard fruits, since the neighbor down the hill who flies the huge American flag day and night, seven days a week, has begun to annoy me. His home has an abundance of windows.
But, we won’t need more than the enchiladas. The sole problem is that no wine can carry the load, so I’ll have to browbeat my brother in-law into making a trip to the liquor store for tequila.
If my relatives survive to the next morning, I think another trip to see the chef is in order. Same order, same fine results. Of course, with two infusions of Taylor’s gravy in two days time, I might need to visit the Urgent Care Center on the way home.
Once my guests back out of the driveway and are on their way, I’ll get back to the play. I’m thinking about working in a depiction of a real-life event. Twenty or so years ago I debated a Thomas Jefferson impersonator (though, since he wore shoes with goofy, big buckles everywhere he went, I believe the fellow was demented and forgot he was playing a role). We tangled in front of several hundred librarians at their national convention. When I accused Tom of being a hypocritical slave fucker, all hell broke loose — an unusual occurrence if you consider librarians and their normally subdued manners. When several hundred librarians boo, it sounds like a herd of Angus in a distant pasture, bidding one another good night as the sun sets.
While I continue my labor as a playwright, I will make an effort to post some older pieces in order to maintain the interest of you few readers.
Eat well, friends. If you don’t, I’ll have to do it for you.
(An aside. I have recently received several notices from my website security firm that a sign-in lockout was put into effect due to an unacceptable number of attempts to decode my incredibly complex password and gain access to the site, no doubt with the goal of wreaking textual mayhem and tinting my essays with ideological nonsense.
This is, no doubt, the work of acne-plagued Russian teens, practicing their skills at aged, stainless steel computer terminals in the basement of a GRU-operated hacker academy located in downtown Novosibirsk. The kids’ handlers train their charges with tasks like the destruction of my insignificant site in order to prep them for more important work: fucking with the voter registration systems in Davenport, Iowa, inserting alarming reports of assaults on the elderly by people of color in senior center newsletters, and providing new material for Fox and Friends, and Sean Hannity.
Over the years, I’ve received and rejected an astounding number of User requests from Russian URLs, no doubt because the title of my site attracts entertainment and nutrition deprived natives of the actual Siberia who assume they will be able to refresh their stultifying, permafrost anchored existence if given a chance to participate in my merriment. Perhaps some of them want to find out whether or not there is an actual “View” in Siberia.
This latest assault is altogether different, however — it is sinister in it’s intent. I am not surprised. I have never trusted Russians since their national hockey team faced the magnificent 1960-61 University of Denver Pioneers, the surly skaters from the Steppes sulking off after the college lads handed them a humiliating 4-4 tie. The Russians are small-minded, sore losers, unelevated despite the best efforts of Dostoevsky, Chekov, Turgenev, and Nabokov (in absentia).
Now, the Slavic churls have set their adolescent digi-pawns on my trail.
Rest assured, I will not succumb. I am a child of the Sputnik scare, the product of weekly air raid duck-and-cover drills, hardened by repeated exposure to black and white films showing fake houses and trees blasted away at the Nevada test site by a terrifying post-nuke shockwaves.
With the 1 percent, their Republican lapdogs, and pseudo Commies all pursuing nefarious ends, our freedoms and souls are on the chopping block. I will remain strong. You do the same.)