James – At The Drive In

A few days before my birthday, I get a text from James. “What are you doing tomorrow at 6pm?”

Of course I’m doing nothing but working on my new book, Below the Wheel. Just like everyday. “I’m free, dude. What’s going on?”

“Just be ready.”

I think I know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m super excited.

It was the Thursday before my birthday. James rolls up to my house at 6pm. I hop in the car and we’re off to parts unknown. (Known!) He drives his Kia Soul over the Walt Whitman bridge over to Jersey. Traffic is light and we’re making great time. It’s another rare, cool night during this heatwave. We drive down to Vineland, NJ. He’s got his navigation on and we get to our destination in no time. Plus, we’re always chatting up a storm so time flies by.  We’re both hungry and we decide to stop at a Wawa that’s nearby. We ordered some sandwiches, snacks and drinks and were back in the car in no time. We head down a long road and come upon this.

The Delsea Drive In is still a thing! OMG! I haven’t been to a drive in movie in 35 years!

https://www.delseadrive-in.com/

James had gone online, found the place, bought tickets, and a food pass. If you buy a food pass that gives you the right to bring in your own food from outside. Back in the 80’s when I used to go to the drive in in Rio Grande, NJ we never brought our own food in, but we certainly brought beer in! Like myself, James is a great planner. Behind my seat in the car is a cooler loaded with beer and spiked seltzers. (Yes!) I didn’t know what to expect but we pulled in and handed the necessary paperwork to the nice lady manning the ticket booth, and we drove on in.

It was early, and the show wouldn’t start until it got dark. We had some time to get parked in a good spot and get the lay of the land. It’s a great drive in movie theater. There are two screens playing different movies. Screen 1 is movies geared to grown ups and screen 2 is for families and kids. Which is great because then you know going into it, all of the noisy kids would be a hundred yards away at a different park facing the other way.

We devour our sandwiches, and are happy to have arrived safely without incident. There were a few vehicles around but they weren’t near us. Of course there were a lot of rules. Everybody must wear masks, if you want anything from the snack bar you have to order it online using your phone, and then go get in line to pick it up. Also, if you brought beach chairs you have to set them up in front of your vehicle, not next to your vehicle. Social distancing, people!

I tell James that I brought a small flask of bourbon and some party favors. (weed) Neither of us drank any whiskey or smoked pot deciding we weren’t there to get messed up. Especially since he was driving. I just brought it in case he wanted a little nip or a puff or two just to enhance the experience. But we decided against it. Didn’t need it. My daughter Lorelei had rolled a custom fatty for him, and I ended up giving it to him as a gift at the end of the night for…later!

I noticed that most of the vehicles that were there were sport utility vehicles. I forgot how popular they were. There are more sedans in the city, but in rural Jersey, it seems like everybody drives SUVs. I also noticed that most people backed their SUV’s or pick up trucks into their spots. They’d open the back hatch and sit on the edge of the bed, or sit in the bed of their pick up trucks. It was mostly groups of young people, couples, or parents with teenage kids.

Things haven’t changed much in regard to the drive in movie experience. The metal poles are still in the ground that once held the little drive in movie speakers you’d affix to your car window to hear the film’s audio track. The old metal weather resistant speakers are long gone. Now the metal poles only serve as markers as to where to park in this elegant anachronism.

Baby Boomer Memory Lane: Those Drive-In Movie Speakers

You now tune your FM radio to 90.5 and the sound comes through that way. It’s actually so much better because James has a thunderous sound system in his car. Thank you technology!

Darkness began to descend on the drive in. I was excited to feel what I once felt as a youth at the drive in. It was a cool night, so we sat with the windows down. There were happily no bugs. Mosquitoes can ruin any night out in the country. But as i sat there in his car I let myself lean into the experience. It was quiet. People were chill and the place wasn’t that crowded. More vehicles entered the park as showtime approached.

It was exhilarating to sit comfortably in the safety of my friend’s car. The place is surrounded by woods, so all you can see is night sky and trees all around you. Living in the city I am surrounded by glass, stone and steel all the time. Everyday I am surrounded by the city’s sounds and presence. But here was so different, especially after being locked in quarantine for four months. Now I was parked quietly in a park surrounded by nature. All I could hear were the sound of crickets, then the chirp of frogs and the occasional call of a bird. It was lovely and peaceful.

When the movie started, James handed me a cold one from the cooler. As I sipped my beer and puffed on my Juul, I felt a sense of bliss wash over me. That feeling is rare, but I love that feeling. I think we all do. When you’re someplace different, but you feel safe, with your friend and a movie about to start on a giant screen in the woods. It’s a wonderful feeling. Bliss.

It didn’t even matter at this point what movie was playing. Oh, drive in movies always show double features which I dig. I feel like I’m getting more of the thing I love. I wanted to get some bad drive in movie food, but the idea of ordering online and having to stand in line outside to wait for it just didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Besides, my belly was full from our Wawa dinner.

The first film was called The Rental, and was typical drive in movie trash. The second one was called, She Dies Tomorrow, which felt like a student art film. Both trash, but that’s what’s expected at the Drive in. I want bad cinema. Something light, scary and fun. It’s easy to follow and it’s all part of the experience. There’s even an intermission between each picture so you can get out, stretch your legs and hit the head. It brought back so many great memories from my past adventures. But I was so happy to be making new ones with my friend, James. Someone who would appreciate the drive in experience and enjoy it as much as me.

Snack bar and projection booth on the second floor.

Playing on the other screen was Shrek and the new Doctor Doolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr. James saw it before and he told me it is unwatchable! Ha ha.

It was a great night and brought back so many great memories. It wasn’t my actual birthday yet, but it certainly felt like it. I’m so grateful to have James in my life. He’s a good friend and knows what i like. I’m so glad I could revisit this lost piece of Americana with him. I get the memories and he gets a new experience that we got to build together.

Thank you James! You made my birthday awesome!

 

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My Father’s Chair

It was 1984. I worked in a video store in Northfield, New Jersey.

I was back from California. I failed as a musician in Los Angeles. The angel that rose up in Philly in 1979 as a singer, then a guitarist in Wildwood was cast asunder. It was over. I was back in Wildwood. The place I left in 1982 that I never wanted to return to I sadly came home to. I was back living in my parents house. The first of many failures in my short life. Like Icarus who flew too high, my wings melted and I fell back to the Earth.

Making the transition to being back at home with my parents was brutal. I remember at first I was welcome, but in time my father was filled with disdain for me. Why hadn’t I ever written a letter to my mother while I was away? I don’t know. Maybe I was too busy having the time of my life for a few years without any of you. I learned about life, and how to cook and look after myself. All the while struggling with severe anxiety and depression.

My father got me a job in a video store. It was one of his accounts at the bank. He knew the principals of Home Video Centers in Northfield and Vineland. It wasn’t a little mom and pop video store that used to exist back in the 80’s. It was a massive store, with 500 titles on VHS and Beta and all of the other things you needed to have your own home movie experience. (Does anybody remember rear projection big screen TVs? What an abortion of an idea that was.)

I was hired as a salesman. I remember when I got my first business cards. It felt good. But I used the name Chaz, and my father didn’t like that. I should have my proper name on my cards. Now it feels like my father might have been part Asian based on the amount of shame in my life growing up. (No offense to the Asian culture, but it is a patriarchal society, and honor and respect are paramount. Hence, much of their porn, like Germany is all about shame and humiliation) But I digress…

I liked the job and the people I worked with and for. We were all a bunch of young guys and girls working in a relatively new retail industry. We had the massive rental business, but also sold VCRs, TVs and video cameras. When I think about it now, the technology was so heavy and clunky back then. Massive machines that weighed a ton. Video cameras that almost seemed absurd, because of all of the gear you had to carry just to make a video of your family at some outing. When I think of all of the set up my father did a decade before all of that when I was a kid to shoot home movies on 8mm, super 8, and eventually 16mm, it boggles my mind.

Now it’s all in our phones. Not much bigger than a deck of cards in our pocket. You can do all of that and better now. Better technology but the content hasn’t really changed. You can just stream it now.

I remembered I saved up for my own VCR. I wanted to take movies home from work and watch them for free. I loved movies. My father taught me about film as a young lad. He even dabbled in making his own creative films for  awhile when I was a kid. I’ll tell those stories in a future post.

I loved movies, and having grown up in an age where you could only watch what was on TV at a specific time or go to a movie theater. So home video was king to me. Now I could take a movie home and watch it when I wanted.

So I purchased a used, refurbished Sanyo Betamax top loader VCR from my company for about $300 which was a fortune back then. Maybe it was $250 but who knows? But I thought it was cheap for what I got. I didn’t care. I was so happy to bring it home and attach it to my little 13 inch Sony TV in my bedroom and watch all the movies I was dying to see as a kid. They were all mine now! I had the keys to the kingdom.

There were two formats back then. Beta and VHS. Sony invented both formats. But Beta was the better format. Better picture and sound. They kept the superior format for themselves and sold it to who they wanted, mostly other Asian electronics companies. Sanyo, NEC, etc. They sold the VHS format off to I think RCA or Sylvania. I actually have no idea. But what happened was, more companies made the VHS systems. VHS machines were more accessible to the general public and the inferior system actually won as the victor of what people watched movies on. Beta died. It was sad to see the superior format lose to the inferior format. But there is simply strength in numbers. Those sort of statistics hold up today. If you have enough money and guys, you can crush you competitor. I’m sure Sony didn’t really care because they probably made all of their money back on patents. (And now look at them!)

Anyway, my dad would ask me about some of the films we had at the store. (video rentals) He would ask if we had specific films and wondered if I could maybe bring them home and we could watch them together.

I leapt at this idea, because for most of my life with my father things were strained. Here was an opportunity for us to hang out on neutral ground, and do something together that we both loved.

I don’t remember what the first film was that I brought home. Maybe 3 Days of the Condor, Straw Dogs, or Kelly’s Heroes. My dad would give me a list and I would let him know what was on tape. He would always pick them because he had a history of films in his head that surpassed my brief life. He would pick these amazing films that I would never have known about without him even thought of.  I worked in the store with 500 titles but there were so many great films now on tape that had been silent for years. Video tape brought them all back to life. It was an exciting time. The humble beginnings of all access, all the time, that we enjoy today.

Let me tell you what it was like.

I would come home from work at the video store with a film. He had already set up the night we were going to watch it.

Now let me give you the lay of the land here.

We had this giant house at the shore. My dad had this cool space that was his upstairs in the front of the house. This was his man cave long before man caves were a thing. This space worked for him, because he could have his own little world in there.

This is a guy who worked his whole life to build a life for his family. He worked in a bank as a manager, had four kids; three daughters and one son. His wife never worked and was a full time homemaker. Yea, things were different back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. But the man needed his space and he built the shore house to create his own little private space there. In our old house in Philly, the basement was his space.

He loved Christmas so much he would have his own tree up there in the apartment. Yes… he would buy two really good Frazier Fir trees and one would be the family Christmas tree downstairs and he would have his own tree up in his little lair. He even ran a string of mini lights down the hallway. So basically upstairs was always Christmas in our house. Not weird, just his happy thing.

So, I would come home and we’d set up our night. I would set up a little TV snack table next to his television. I would carry my VCR from my bedroom and wire it up to his TV.

Let me describe my dad’s cave. He had a living room. a bedroom with an attached bathroom and a kitchen with ocean views. Amazing space. He even had a Franklin stove in the corner of the living room. I always wondered why he had that, and then one time the power went off during a storm and he tossed some wood in that thing and it heated the whole second floor of the house. Genius.

So, we’ve got everything set up, and I would sit at his kitchen table and chat with him while he cooked a special dinner for the two of us. I would drink a beer and so would he. Normally we both liked light crisp lagers or pilsners. He would give me a little fresh bread to munch on but not too much because you never want to eat to much before dinner, because you never want to spoil your appetite!

The windows would be open and the fragrance from the sea would waft in. The air is just so fresh and cool by the sea. I love living in the city but there is nothing like it.

He would get a head of fresh lettuce and cut it up. Simple. That was the salad. just lettuce. He would mix and make his own Russian dressing. Thousand Island? Is that ketchup and mayo?  Whatever it was… it was delish. I was with my dad having a beer and noshing on french bread and for once… he wasn’t mad at me.

He had bought two fresh Delmonico steaks. Bone in. Apparently if the bone is in, the meat is sweeter and more savory, because the marrow in the bone lends itself to the flavor. There is nothing in the world like an amazing steak. My daughter is vegan and I respect that, but there is nothing on Earth like men ripping into grilled steak and devouring the fired flesh of those who would devour us if we weren’t such killers. Hell bent on being number one on the food chain to the point where we kill so much we are no longer in the food chain… but again, I digress…

He would have these inch and a half thick delicious steaks. He would put them in the broiler in his oven and cook them there. I know before he put them in he did something with some secret seasoning that include garlic and some other potions not revealed to me. While the steaks were cooking, and it didn’t take long, I would go quiet. I don’t like anyone talking to me when I’m cooking, so I knew my father needed silence to make his food art for us.

Halfway through, he would slide out the tray, and reach for two shots of Remy Martin cognac he had sitting on the counter. He would douse both steaks with a flash of brandy, and they would both ignite in flames as he pushed them back into the broiler. He told me that this would sear in the juices and glaze the outside or something. (It worked!)

I always wanted this part to go on longer than it ever did. I liked sitting peacefully in my father’s kitchen just chatting with him. We talked about everything. Work, life, music, films, girls, everything. Whatever was going on in the moment we would cover. But as some of you know, when it comes to steak, your window for chatter before dinner is always fleeting.

We would sit at his table and eat the steaks and the little brown bowls of salad. He said that we shouldn’t have a potato because he wanted the focus of the meal to be on the meat. He was completely right. They were some of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten. They were cooked to perfection, and I loved every bite. He always served an amazing cabernet with every meal. But more than that, my father and I were sharing one of the oldest rituals in history.

We’d put on some cool classical dinner music. My dad was a master of classical music and opera. He owned so much of that and loved it so much. I think he heard his own passion, pain and triumph in that music.

A father and son breaking bread together. Like in times of old, the father sharing the day’s kill with his only son. He would tell me stories that were only for me. Tales that were only for men. Things and deeds that my sisters or my mother could never hear.

I felt so close to him then.

After dinner, we would retire to the living room. I would fire up the Sanyo top loader and the film would begin. I’d make whatever adjustments were necessary so that the film would play properly, and off we’d go. (Does anybody remember tracking?)

For the next two hours we’d disappear together into the film. A world we could both control. Two completely different guys that somehow got thrown together in this life, and we got along. We found our thing.

He had a really nice padded wooden rocking chair in the room. He liked to sit in a hard chair as he called it, because it felt better on his back. So, I got to sit in his comfy rocking chair to watch the movie with him. I loved it!

There were times we’d both feel so much emotion that we’d both tear up a little bit during a movie. Terms of Endearment worked on both of our hearts! There were times he would reach over and grab my hand as we both felt the pain of the characters in the film. It meant so much to me that I was this connected to my father in this moment. Brought together by a film we both loved. I know whatever was happening on the screen was a feeling we had both felt in our own lives.  Even though we were sometimes worlds apart, we connected in that moment.

After the wine, we would  dabble in a bit of the cognac, and he would offer me a bit of bittersweet chocolate from Rauhauser’s Candies in Ocean City. It was the best damn candy in the world. The butter cremes were like kissing the face of god.

I remember during Straw Dogs one night I thought the snifter of cognac would burst in my hand from the suspense. My dad could really pick the films that rocked!

My father said that those were some of his fondest memories of me. He said for a brief time when I was between women in my life we spent some wonderful, simple times together.

I think maybe at some point my dad realized I was really different than him. I was more like his wife and her side of the family. I know I disappointed my father so many times. I’ll never know what it was like for him to grow up in the world he was born into. A world he never made, or could control. I can’t imagine the grinding frustration of his life with so much responsibility, all in the name of maybe finding peace of mind. That, and trying to build a family the only way he knew how from the ashes of his own fractured childhood.

 

At the end of his life, I convinced him to let me set up a Netflix account for him. There were so many films I wanted to share with him. After some reservations, he finally let me. We had a few years there where he let me to pick all of the movies and shows for him to watch.

So I guess it went full circle.

I’m grateful for all of our conversations about all of those great movies.

I think my dad found peace of mind eventually when he settled things with my mom and they both got along.  But I know once she was gone he lost some of himself.

I’ve been thinking about him lately, and felt compelled to write this.

I like when my dad occasionally taps on the window of my mind and asks me to let him in. He’s always welcome.

 

Thanks for letting me sit in your chair, Dad.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

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Tales of Rock: ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Rocketman’ are pop-music fantasias that never touch the greatness of their subjects

Lily James and Himesh Patel in a scene from “Yesterday.” (Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures via AP)

Of all the here’s-a-cool-way-to-make-a-pop-biopic! ideas floating around in “Rocketman” that work better in theory than they do onscreen, one of the most pivotal was the decision to have Taron Egerton do his own singing. That almost never happens in music biopics (Rami Malek lip-synched in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Jamie Foxx lip-synched in “Ray,” Marion Cotillard lip-synched in “La Vie en Rose”). Media voices have cooed over Egerton’s vocalizing as if they were the proud parents of a kid vying for championship of a karaoke competition. “Look, he’s really doing it! And he sounds just like Elton John!”

Except that he doesn’t. In the ’70s, the fluky flavor (and power) of Elton John’s voice was connected to the contrast between the way he spoke — incredibly posh and rounded English tones — and the bluesy down-home American idiom that he infused into nearly every sung syllable. (Even in a song as mellow as “Your Song,” he would sing, “And you can tell everybod-eh.”) What you hear, in almost every line of his phrasing, is the ebullient theatrical muscle it took to make that reach. Taron Egerton can sing, but it’s exactly that aspect that his voice doesn’t have. The songs in “Rocketman” sound “good” as far as it goes, but they’re stripped of Elton’s distinct vocal personality. According to the film’s topsy-turvy logic, though, this somehow renders them old but new again. To put it bluntly: They can now be resold.

Everybody knows, because it’s a cornerstone of modern movie mythology, that two fabled films of the 1970s created the blockbuster mentality: “Jaws” (1975) and “Star Wars” (1977). Actually, I’ve always thought that two additional movies were part of that story: “The Exorcist” (1973), which tapped and shaped the up-and-coming appetite for overexplicit sensationalism, and “Rocky” (1976), which brought back the feel-good ideology of happy endings and, in doing so, helped to usher in the age of Reagan.

Yet even if you include those two, what isn’t nearly as remembered now — thought it marked a fundamental change in the aesthetics, and business, of movies — was the revolution wrought by “Saturday Night Fever” (1977). The movie’s soundtrack, one of the greatest ever, was beyond huge — it was a disco volcano that kept erupting. “American Graffiti,” or the films of Elvis Presley, might have paved the way, but what kicked off with “Saturday Night Fever,” in the corporate Hollywood that was coming into being, was the perception that the movie and music industries could effectively merge. Movies could be vehicles for creating and marketing pop soundtracks, and pop soundtracks could be vehicles for creating and marketing movies. This led directly to the age of “Flashdance,” “Footloose,” “Top Gun,” and a thousand lesser titles, from “Thank God It’s Friday” to “D.C. Cab,” that were conceived and packaged to piggyback on their MTV-and-radio-friendly soundtracks. Films and music would now be tails wagging each other, which created a new form: the movie as synergistic tie-in musical.

The Beatles and Elton John are hardly typical subjects for a pop-music film. They are gods among giants. As such, they deserve — I would say demand — a kind of big-screen treatment that exudes transcendence. Yet “Yesterday” and “Rocketman” aren’t jukebox musicals that send you out on a cloud of rapture. They’re synergistic tie-in musicals that are out to rebrand the Beatles and Elton John for a new generation. Maybe that’s why neither movie comes close to touching the greatness of its subject.

In recent weeks, I’ve had more than a few conversations about “Rocketman,” the biography-in-a-blender Elton John musical that, I confess, absolutely drove me up a wall. On the surface, at least, the film couldn’t be more different from “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was a conventionally middlebrow push-your-buttons biopic. That one really was a Bryan Singer film, though it was finished by Dexter Fletcher, who directs “Rocketman” as if it were a Baz Luhrmann movie staged as a badly lit, thinly scripted Netflix throwaway. Yet when people talk about “Rocketman,” they sound a lot like they do when they talk about “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There’s a fan-service reductionism to the whole megillah, and to the way that the chief sentiment you hear always comes down to the same thing: “I loved hearing those songs!” Well, yes. Who doesn’t?

Early on in “Rocketman,” when Egerton’s Elton, having stalked offstage in his outsize orange devil costume, is sitting there in a support group, looking back on the life that brought him to this moment, the line “I was justified when I was five” is used to spin the action back to his childhood and the film’s first musical number, “The Bitch Is Back.” I watched the sequence that follows never having the faintest idea of why this song would apply to thissituation. Like everyone else, though, I enjoyed hearing the killer hooks of “The Bitch Is Back.”

Yet if hearing those songs were all it took to make a good musical, then the legendary 1978 Robert Stigwood debacle “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” starring (yes, starring!) the Bee Gees in their post-“Fever” prime, might be a spectacle of high-kitsch joy, instead of one of the most atrocious movie musicals ever created. “Rocketman,” with its slipshod staging and “stylized” chronology (i.e., the events of Elton John’s life seem not just out of sequence but seriously out of whack), is a bubbleheaded travesty of the musical biopic that Elton John should have had. (And had that movie been made, it would have been twice the hit.)

That said, I’m seriously shocked that more people aren’t more disappointed by what a botched opportunity “Rocketman” represents. The movie has been hyped in such a way to make it sound stodgy if you complain about its iPod-random chronology. But when Elton shows up for his fabled American debut at the Troubadour in L.A. in 1970 and plays “Crocodile Rock,” I’m sorry, that’s the equivalent of making a biopic about the Beatles in which they launch their Shea Stadium concert in 1965 with a cut off the White Album.

Elton John’s music and image developed radically over the first half of the ’70s, but the way “Rocketman” tells it, he simply touched down in the world as this nerd glam prince with a hundred pairs of glasses churning out sublime synthesizer earworms. In the movie, we almost never see Elton discovering who he is — as a musician, or as an image of pansexual flamboyance. Maybe that’s why the movie, in its greatest-hits-ripped-out-of-context way, wobbles around the kicky splendor of the songs. It uses them as musical bullet points, but there’s scarcely a moment when it figures out how to sit back and catch the lightning majesty of what Elton John created.

If “Rocketman” is at least guilty of a certain operatic overreach, “Yesterday” revives the Fab Four by reducing them. The movie, which opened Friday, is a what-if? trifle, an attempt to turn a world without the Beatles into a happy-face “Twilight Zone” episode that becomes a fantasy of rebooting the Beatles. As I said in my review, the most telling aspect of “Yesterday” is that it presents the Kate McKinnon character as a music-business manager of snarky corruption, yet her master plan to market the Beatles is treated less as satire than as the film’s own fantasy of selling the “ultimate” supergroup. You could say, “No, the movie isn’t really on the side of that.” But I would suggest that the pop commodity fetishism of “Yesterday” is wound right into the movie’s blandly iconic, number-one-with-a-bullet song choices (“Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Help!,” “All You Need Is Love”). It’s as if the PR department had nixed the notion of doing anything more adventurous or offbeat.

One could argue that we live in the real world, and that it’s impossible to make an expensive movie about the Beatles or Elton John without treating those songs as marketing hooks. Fair enough. Yet the problem with “Yesterday” and “Rocketman” isn’t that they sell the Beatles or Elton John out. It’s that, in devoting so much of themselves to imagining how these incandescent artists might appeal to audiences today, the movies never fully remember — or capture — how they appealed to audiences back then, when all that selling seemed so far away.

 

 

Tales of Rock – Kris Kristofferson

This is one of my all time favorite Tales of Rock posts. It’s just such a great story! I love it!

 

Among all of the thousands of rock artists who have recorded a song, talented Kris Kristofferson probably has the most impressive background.

 

Kris is the son of a retired U.S. Air Force Major General. In high school Kris was Class President, honor student, and football star. He was a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford University. He has authored several books and won first prize in a collegiate short-story contest sponsored by the Atlantic Monthly. In school he played football and was a Golden Gloves boxer.

In Vietnam he was a helicopter pilot. He was an Army Captain and attended flight school. As a civilian, he flew helicopters and served as a janitor at the Nashville Recording Studio. He is a Grammy winner and has appeared in numerous movies, including A Star is Born, playing opposite Barbara Streisand.

He has also composed such hit songs as Me and Bobby McGee and Help Me Make It Through The Night.

Now that, is an impressive resume and a fantastic life!

 

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Ambria – Chapter 11 – Movie Rendezvous

It was Monday, which is Ambria’s Saturday, because she works at the hospital Wednesday to Sunday. Make sense? So on Mondays I can shift a few things around and spend the afternoon with her. I have tickets for the Big Red Bus. It’s a bus that tours around the city and you can get on and off as much as you want for 12 hours. It sounds pretty cool, and I already have the tickets, but we’ve decided to go to the cinema again. I love film as you know, and so does she. We also both love a quiet matinee on a hot summer afternoon.

I send her some titles I like, and she decides on “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” It’s an excellent and heartfelt documentary. It tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.

Last week we saw “My Cousin Rachel,” and now this week we’re seeing another terrific film! Two in a row. We’re on a roll. I get there first and buy the tickets and take the escalator downstairs next to the Bourse Building to the actual theater. I like this cinema. That cool underground theater tucked away from street level in the heart of the historic district at 4th and Market.

I text her that I have arrived and she’s on point. She tells me she’s also arrived. I tell her to come downstairs and that the tickets have been acquired.

Within a minute she appears and we lean in for a smooch. She orders me a small popcorn with butter and a medium diet coke. That’s my go to movie food. She pays $11 for the treats (Movie prices!) and I ask her if she wants anything. She said she fine. We head into the theater and sit in the back. There are only 3 other people in the place. I love when a matinée is empty! We sit all the way in the back in the very center.

We watch what seems like 15 minutes of coming attractions. I like trailers though. It’s fun to get the first glimpse of the new exciting picture that’s coming soon!

Ambria snuck her own snacks into the movie. That’s her movie food. Then she pulls out a box of M&M’s Peanuts and hands it to me. Last week I mentioned that was my favorite movie candy. She remembered and bought me a box and brought it with her today.

Good memory. Listens to me. Love is in the air!

Another great thing that happened, was she let me own the armrest. Right guys? I had the one on my left and she let me have the one on the right. I’m like a king on a throne and I own this experience. Sure there was some hand holding and touching but these armrests are mine! You gotta love that in a girl at the movies. I’m just sayin’.

The film was great and heartwarming. I loved the Sung family by the end of this film. I recommend you go see it. Phicklephilly gives it two thumbs up!

When the film was over we headed west on Walnut street. I like Walnut. It’s just a little nicer than Chestnut and Market streets. I probably should have stayed in the theater for a little bit so I could make out with hot Ambria but I didn’t think of it. I regret that now.

It’s a beautiful day, so we walk all the way back to center city. We settle on Locust Rendezvous which I love. She tells me she loves bars like that and that makes me happy. “The ‘Vous” as some people call it, is a small bar down around 15th and Locust.

Locust Rendezvous was established in September of 1989. Surviving in an ever-changing neighborhood, they have withstood the test of time. Many establishments have come and gone, not sure what they wanted to be when they grew up. Fortunately, they learned early on that they were just a great bar with good food — nothing more, nothing less.

Their goal, as always, has been to make all of their customers feel welcome. You’ll find when you come in regularly that there are many familiar faces. Their customers come from far and wide, remembering the great service, comfortable atmosphere and reasonable prices from their first venture through our front door. Repeat business is their mainstay, and all new are welcome.

I love a good tavern. The food is cheap, it’s tasty, and the beer is cold. I order a Yards Pale Ale, and Ambria gets a cocktail. We order a pair of tacos and Ambria asks for a basket of fries. Perfect.

We’re sitting at a table away from the bar and the moment belongs to us.

I love being with Ambria. She’s beautiful, fun and easy. Not easy sexually. I know that’s coming. I’m trying to stave that off. I know romance is paramount in any relationship. We could have jumped into bed after our second date. But I know better. Get to know her. Be sure. Grow together. Feel the force. Build the desire for the celebration. It’ll be so much better. Too many people just leap out of desire. I’ve seen this a hundred times. It’s a slippery slope that can easily end in disaster.

My experience guides me. If she’s the one, I’ll be present, myself and careful. Not so much for me, I’ll be fine, but for her heart. I need the glue to stick, the cohesion to happen and then when we finally come together it’ll be magic.

Most men rush in for the hasty close. I’ve been in sales all of my life. I love and know women. It simply doesn’t work that way. Set the trap. Go slow. Build the myth. Create the romance. Take it to a level that is so high there is nowhere else to go once you reach the top. There’s so much joy between the two of you, there is nothing left to do but make love.

She wants that. You want that. It should have happened eight chapters ago, but give it value. Make your memories now. Make them valuable. Make them truly memorable so when you get down to the ‘you and me’ it’s amazing.

Anybody can do the old “In and out” like John Lennon used to call it, but build something elegant and celebrate together with the only possession you came into the world with.

Share. Celebrate. Together.

The food comes, and it’s magic. We’re happy. Ambria says she loves this place again. We’re going to get along just fine. It’s obvious at this point. Her hand moves the basket and comes across the table top like a soft welcomed spider. She takes my hand and we entwine like old lovers.

The staff is great, and we learn our server is the GM and we dig that she’s on point.

After the little meal we decide to hit the next place. It’ 5pm and I remind her that Dan Dan’s happy hour starts at 4:30pm. She’s ready to roll too. We’ve done this place and it’s time to go. I think the real reason we go is, that we’re both thinking about the film we saw today.

She pays the bill, (Hooray!) and we head out with many thanks for the sweet repose. This has been the perfect stop and I’m glad I chose it.

 

 

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Ambria – Chapter 10 – Matinee Day – Part Two

I have the tickets. I’m ready to roll. I don’t want to see this film at 4pm. Uber, be earnest in your trek.

I go outside and smoke a cigarette because I’m stressed. I can’t be late for anything, especially not a film.

I’m out there standing in the courtyard looking out on 2nd street. There is a tap on my shoulder, and it’s Ambria. She’s here!

I grab her and usher into the theater. The girl tells us the movie is just beginning but we can go in now. We scramble town the dark hallway and into the theater.

“Tonight on Dealbreakers”  I say.

Ambria gets a fit of laughing because she gets the joke. The bit I just said is my father talking. It means, if you are late for a film I may dump you and date someone else. But I’ve done it in an ironic sarcastic way, and baby loves it. This way Ambria is such a good match for me. I can rip and she is tantalized by my jokes. She gets it and giggles for 10 minutes straight.

I climb into the darkness to find some seats in the back. There’s 5 people in the theater and I love it so much. I love film and cinema so mush when I am in a theater and It’s empty I am so turned on.

It’s quiet. You can sit wherever you want. No children. Empty. Just that beautiful presence in the dark that unfolds before you and who you’re with.

A handful of film lovers or old people who will remain quieter during the film. No cell phones. No texting. Just watch a big beautiful movie in a theater and feel the power of the art in the darkness. It’s glorious. I wanted this with Ambria.

She loves it. She’s ready. We’re up in the back. I don’t know what this film is about bit I don’t care. It’s Monday. Everybody is at work hating their lives and we are about to watch a great film together and we’re off.

Off.

Off is so good. She’s so sorry she was late and I’m a very forgiving because I like her and it’s not her fault and she killed herself getting down here. I ask her if she wants anything. she says she has some sort of spicy crunchy snacks which is awesome if you’ve snuck chow in. she asks me I’d want anything and I tell her I would love a small popcorn with extra butter and a medium diet coke. I’m checking and wondering and she says she’s going to get it.

I tell her it’s ok but she insists because she says she was late and I paid for the tickets. Ambria is so hot I don’t give a shit about any of that. But… greasy buttery popcorn and soda would be pretty awesome right now.

she insists and goes to the snack bar. I sit back and try to absorb ‘ My Cousin Rachel” (Great movie by the way)

Baby returns with a small buttery bag of popcorn, a medium dite Coke which is so huge I can’t lift it and a straw and napkins. I’m going to go ahead and say good girlfriend at this junction.

If you’re having any doubts about Me Cousin Rachel, let me tell you the film is amazing. Great story that will leave you guessing. So good you’ll watch it and not molest your date during it.

After the film we walked up to Market street and I showed her the Independence Beer Garden. Best beer garden in the city.

Check it out: http://www.phlbeergarden.com/

Yea… it’s God.

I showed it to her but didn’t want to hang.

Don’t worry, I’ll meet up with her there in the next episode.

The weather wasn’t murder so we walked back to center city to find a cool spot to stop.

Of course we stop at Square 1682 on a Monday, because my boy Roman is there and I know we’ll be secured. I of course go with chardonnay with a side of ice and Ambria goes with something from the cocktail list that is light.

We’re tight at the bar, chatting, laughing and talking to Roman. But when she had to go to the Ladies room, I had the opportunity to show her where is was. We went up the back stairs that brought us two the second floor. I took her into the front banquet room which is empty and dark. This is was just an opportunity to make out with her like a teenager.

I knew it would it would be empty and quiet an I knew I could rip into my love.

Her lips are that of a girlfriend. Her tongue of a lover. Yt’s like our mouths were made to kiss each other.

I can’t get enough of her. Ambria is hungry and ready, I know I have to wait. But the kettle is about to explode.

 

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My Young Life: Star Wars – 1977

I remember seeing the trailer for it on TV and my friends and I getting really excited about how cool it looked. I was 14 years old and my dad said he would take me to see it. He was working at a bank down the shore back then and my sisters and I lived in Philly with Mom.

When I look back on it now it’s like they got separated but wouldn’t get divorced. According to my mother she didn’t want her kids ending up a statistic. Mom could chill in Philly and dad would live at the shore house in North Wildwood, NJ. Then he could carry on his affairs and go fishing with his buddies.

The good thing about that arrangement was life was more peaceful at home. I didn’t have to deal with the tension of having dad around all the time and it was greatest hits on the weekends.

Ninth grade in middle school was up to that point, the worst year of my life. I’ve faced far worse years in my adult life but up to that year 1976 – 1977 was by far the worst. I’ll just give you the quick and dirty:

Puberty, Glasses, pimples all over my face, chest and back, terrible student, picked on by kids at school in school, on the way home from school, and after school. It was like I was walking around wearing a target. I loved girls but they all hated me, but when you think of all the shit that happened and was done to me, it’s wrong, but I brought nothing to the table. All I had was a few friends, my music, my art and my comic books. Life sucked.

I remember seeing the previews for the a new movie coming out called Star Wars one day on TV and went buck wild. I had to see that movie. All of the boys in the neighborhood were talking about it. It looked super cool.

I talked to my dad about it and he said he would take me. A little father and son time. Even though I was afraid of him back then I probably still loved him.  I believe it was opening weekend for the film.

We got on the train and went downtown. There was a line waiting out front to get in! He bought us hot dogs and cans of soda from a street cart and we ate them while waiting in line. This was a brilliant move, because then we wouldn’t get hung up in a concession line inside waiting for overpriced popcorn and drinks. We’d get right in and find a pair of seats. Could have been good planning on the part of my pop. He was always a great planner. That’s the good side of having high anxiety and OCD.

The movie starts and the rest is history. We loved it! It was probably the greatest movie I had ever seen in my life. Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was brilliant and is to this day still my favorite movie of all time. The special effects in 2001 set the standard for how science fiction films looked forever. But Star Wars was a fun, funny, exciting fable and adventure story. It blew my young mind.

It was an unforgettable afternoon with my pop and a landmark moment in film history. I went on to see it eight more times that summer!

But that’s another story!

 

 

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Wildwood Daze – 1974 to 1975 – Jaws

I was in Fels Junior High School.  My time at Fels was the worst time of my young life. I was entering puberty. I had greasy hair, braces, zits all over my face, glasses and weird clothes. I don’t know what my mom was thinking when she bought my wardrobe back then. I wore black dress shoes that had buckles on them. Kids would make fun of me and called them Pilgrim shoes. I was a total mess. If I had been a good student or an athlete all would have been forgiven but I was just a total loser. Low self-esteem, depression and anxiety didn’t help. But I was a smart kid. But that doesn’t help when you’re a total failure. I remember my mom later saying she wished she could have just put me to sleep and woke me up when I was 18.

The school of thought back then was you didn’t have to love your kids. I remember my mother later telling me that she didn’t love me during that time. I get it. But you don’t tell your child that. You don’t ever say those words to a little kid.

I loved to read. My father taught us all how to read before we ever went to school. He would spend time with us with books on how to sound out words and vowels and consonants. I will say when it came to educating us kids my father was amazing.

He would read us The Hobbit at night before bed.

I was a deadly reader long before my peers. I have instilled the same in my daughter growing up.  I may say no to you for another toy but I’ll never say to you if you want a book. I’ve bought plenty of both for Lorelei but she has always been an avid reader like her dad. I love that about her!

 

I was sitting in the auditorium after lunch one day doing study hall or whatever and this little Jewish ginger kid named Eric Dorfman gave me a paperback he had just finished entitled Jaws.

I loved sharks, dinosaurs, barbarians, superheroes and horror movies and everything like that so I was interested.

“You should read this. You’ll like it.”

I had never read an “adult novel” until then. I had only read science books, text books for school and most of all, comic books.

The book opens with a strong hook. Just like the opening of the film that would later premiere. I remember being drawn into the story immediately. My dad told me that the author Peter Benchley was the grandson of the author Robert Benchley.

Robert Charles Benchley was an American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper columnist and film actor. From his beginnings at the Harvard Lampoon while attending Harvard University, through his many years writing essays and articles for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and his acclaimed short films, Benchley’s style of humor brought him respect and success during his life, from New York City and his peers at the Algonquin Round Table to contemporaries in the burgeoning film industry.

His grandson Peter Bradford Benchley was an American author and screenwriter. He is known for the bestselling novel Jaws and co-wrote its subsequent film adaptation with Carl Gottlieb. Several more of his works were also adapted for cinema, including The Deep, The Island, Beast, and White Shark.

Later in life, Benchley came to regret writing such sensationalist literature about sharks, which he felt encouraged excessive fear and unnecessary culls of such an important predator in ocean ecosystems and became an outspoken advocate for marine conservation.

By 1971, Benchley was doing various freelance jobs in his struggle to support his wife and children. During this period, when Benchley would later declare he was “making one final attempt to stay alive as a writer”, his literary agent arranged meetings with publishers. Benchley would frequently pitch two ideas, a non-fiction book about pirates, and a novel depicting a man-eating shark terrorizing a community. This idea had been developed by Benchley since he had read a news report of a fisherman catching a 4,550 pounds (2,060 kg) great white shark off the coast of Long Island in 1964. The shark novel eventually attracted Doubleday editor Thomas Congdon, who offered Benchley an advance of $1,000 leading to the novelist submitting the first 100 pages. Much of the work had to be rewritten as the publisher was not happy with the initial tone. Benchley worked by winter in his Pennington office, and in the summer in a converted chicken coop in the Wessons’ farm in Stonington. The idea was inspired by the several great white sharks caught in the 1960s off Long Island and Block Island by the Montauk charter boat captain Frank Mundus.

Jaws was published in 1974 and became a great success, staying on the bestseller list for 44 weeks. Steven Spielberg, (He was only 26 years old when he directed Jaws!) who would direct the film version of Jaws, has said that he initially found many of the characters unsympathetic and wanted the shark to win.  Book critics such as Michael A. Rogers of Rolling Stone shared the sentiment but the book struck a chord with readers.

Benchley co-wrote the screenplay with Carl Gottlieb (along with the uncredited Howard Sackler and John Milius, who provided the first draft of a monologue about the USS Indianapolis) for the Spielberg film released in 1975. Benchley made a cameo appearance as a news reporter on the beach. The film, starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, was released in the summer season, traditionally considered to be the graveyard season for films. However, Universal Studios decided to break tradition by releasing the film with extensive television advertising. It eventually grossed over $470 million worldwide. George Lucas used a similar strategy in 1977 for Star Wars which broke the box office records set by Jaws, and hence the summer blockbuster was born.

Benchley estimated that he earned enough from book sales, film rights and magazine/book club syndication to be able to work independently as a film writer for ten years.

I remember being terrified reading the book in my bed. I think about that now, and it seems silly. How could a monster who couldn’t leave the ocean even get me in my bed. But I was young and this was a grown up scary story. One of the things that I noticed about the book that was different from the movie was this: In the book Hooper is having an affair with Brody’s wife, and in the end he dies. In the book he’s in the shark cage and the shark smashes through it and eats him.

There was so much hype about this film when it came out. It was the summer of ’75 and we were down the shore in Wildwood. (Which is a resort/retirement community somewhat like Amity in Jaws) There were five movie theaters around the island and they all had the posters for the movie up. But another brilliant piece of marketing they had going were these other posters called “Shark Facts.” They had the Jaws logo at the bottom, and then a list of facts about sharks. My favorite one was “Most shark attacks occur in 3 feet of water.” I knew this scared the hell out of everyone.

After seeing Jaws you really never saw people just running down to the ocean and jumping in. It was more like, walk to the water’s edge, stop, peer out into the ocean and then step into the water.

One of our neighbors took his daughter Stacy to see it. (Which I thought was inappropriate, because she was too young to see a film that violent and gory. But that was just my opinion) Of course her dad Steve always did stupid stuff. The scene at night when they’re underwater investigating the wreck of a boat. Hooper sees a hole in the hull and pulls out what appears to be a Dorito chip sized shark tooth from the wood. As he does this a dead person’s head pops out. It is one of the most startling moments in the entire film. Well, Stacy jumped, the popcorn went flying and was stuck in her hair as well as her father’s hair! (They both had dark curly hair)

I remember a group of us went to see it. I’m pretty sure my sister Janice was in that group. I remember during the opening credits, which is a camera cruising underwater through the seaweed, I started having anxiety. I knew we were in for some real thrills and chills. The film is so well done. Even though the shark by today’s special effects standards looks so fake, it’s still hold up as a great movie.

While filming Jaws they had so many problems with “Bruce” the mechanical shark, that they couldn’t show him as much as they wanted to. But this worked out really well. You’re always more afraid of what you can’t see than what you can see. And that music! Brilliant score by John Williams. Probably the most iconic two notes in history.

It’s just a great story about three very different men, thrown together in a small space in a very dangerous place, up against a massive marine predator.

I’ve watched the film again recently. I watch it every summer. Last year it came on TV at my favorite bar, Square 1682, and the bartender passed out bowls of their delicious and savory truffle popcorn. It really made the moment and brought everyone together at the bar as we watched this landmark classic film.

Jaws invented the Summer Blockbuster!

 

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Cherie – Chapter 5 – Be Careful What You Wish For – Part I

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

Saturday arrived. I woke up relatively early. Philly had periods of showers but the rain was supposed to stop around 1pm, so that was good. I didn’t want another rainy day date with Cherie. But actually I was looking forward to seeing her so the weather didn’t really matter.

I stopped by the salon to drop off some detergent and bring my friend Trish some fives for the register. She was hung over from a night of Jameson at Tattooed Mom’s with her friends on South Street. She stopped drinking alcohol about a year ago, because she said she didn’t like how she behaved on it. Said it made her angry. Trish is angry anyway and I can only imagine what a nightmare she is on booze. That’s probably part of the reason she can’t function without smoking marijuana everyday and drinking oceans of coffee just to get through the day. I’ll be writing a chapter about her in the near future but for now I’ll stick to the events of today.

I give Trish the fives and she hands me a twenty out of the register. I’m walking across the lobby to take a seat and chat with her for a bit when she says. You have a hole in the back of your pants. I’m like, “Stop checking out my sweet ass.”

“Seriously dude. You have a huge hole in your pants. Don’t you feel that?”

I reach back and sure enough, there is a pretty good-sized hole there.

“I didn’t want you going out on your date today with a big old hole in your pants, dude.”

I joke that maybe I could guide Cherie’s hand to it in the movie theater for some cheap thrills.

“It’s the 3rd date!”

“I hate that shit!”

I tell her I agree. I don’t know if you all know this but a lot of young people are under the impression that the 3rd date equals sex. Which I find stupid. In all seriousness I would rather get to know someone and if there is a mutual attraction, the sex should just happen as a celebration at some point. There should never be a deadline related to intercourse. That almost sounds predatory.

So I head back to my apartment to put on another pair of jeans. I grab a pair and realize I haven’t worn them in a while. Like two years. They are a 36 waist. I now wear a 32 waist, but can do a 34 with a belt. They’re just too big and I look ridiculous. I grab another pair. Another hole in the seat. What’s going on here? Did I wear out the seat of two pair of jeans? I know I see the occasional mouse here in the building but what sort of butt munching rodents do we have around here?

I find a pair that are in decent shape with no holes in the seat, and put them on. This will have to do. I go downstairs and summon an UBER. While driving down to Columbus Boulevard to the multiplex, I chat with my driver, Hanna. She asks me what movie I’m going to see. I tell her the lady I’m taking likes scary movies, so we’re seeing, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil.’ Some how she gathers from our conversation that my date is younger than me. She asks, and I tell her she’s a little younger. She tells me about a male friend of hers, who is 50 something and was dating a woman in her 40’s and just wasn’t happy. He said that women his age were all carrying all the same baggage. He’s now dating a woman around 30 and says that younger women are just more fun. I say that I agree, but when you date younger women they all eventually want to get married and have kids.  She says that her friend is always up front about that sort of thing. Maybe I should have been clear about that in my last 3 failed relationships. And here I am being driven to what could possibly be a 4th similar destination.

She lets me out and I go into the lobby and get in line for tickets. The movie starts at 1:50 and it is now 1:30. I get the tickets and as I turn to wait for Cherie, she appears. On time. Early. I like that. It’s really nice to see her. Even though it’s only been four days since our last encounter.

Her hair is up in a bun, exposing her lovely slender neck. makes me think about how I kissed that neck on Tuesday. She’s wearing a yellow blouse, and light brown slacks. They cling to her shapely legs.

We are about to enter our auditorium and we notice the floor is really sticky. Someone must have spilled a soda there, and they tried to mop it up but didn’t get it all up. Now I’ve been to plenty of movie theaters in my time, and have jokes about the sticky stuff and detritus that is on the floor of the theaters, but this was really sticky. I had to laugh out loud. I practically had to curl my toes to keep my shoes from being pulled off by that sticky floor. Just a classic ‘out at the movies’ moment.

We go in and decide that we both like to sit in the back of the theater. I ask her if she wants anything to eat. I suggest some delicious buttery popcorn. She says it’s ok but doesn’t like how it can stick in your teeth. She says she likes chocolate, but not dark chocolate. I tell her I love dark chocolate. She smiles and knows what I mean. I really do prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but I also love the color of her skin. I go and mortgage my house at the concession stand on exorbitantly expensive snacks. Medium popcorn, medium cherry coke, bottle of water, and a bag of snickers minis for baby. $21. The food was as much as the tickets. The kid behind the counter even told me I could upgrade to a large popcorn and a large soda for $.50 more. I compliment him on his up-sell, but politely decline.

I get back to Cherie. I get all of our snacks and drinks squared away and sit down. “How did you know I loved Snickers?” she asks. “Well I’m funny and you like to laugh, so I figured, Snickers. she smiles and we settle into the previews. There aren’t many people in the theater. I like that. There’s also no late arrivals and no one is sitting in front of us. I love that as well. People are getting seated and chattering a little but that’s acceptable during the previews. We’re whispering closely. Then we kiss. It’s really nice. I feel like a teenager. I haven’t smooched in a movie theater in years. It was so sweet to hold hands too. She rubbed my arm and caressed my hand, and I was even so bold as to rub her leg and knee. It was all very gentle and romantic. What a refreshing difference from the crap women I went on dates with a few months ago. But I’m really enjoying this elegant romantic odyssey.

There is one rub that I have to mention. It’s happened a few times since then. We call it the C-Block, or the CBs. Cherie and I are in the very back row of the theater. All the way in the aisle to the right against the wall. There is only one way out. Doesn’t some pair of fucknuts sit at the very end of the aisle? This couple just sort of drops it there. One row down would have been fine. But they are right now, in OUR aisle. They could have sat anywhere. There weren’t that many people in the theater. It’s just a human thing. Homo Sapiens are such social animals they have to be together all the time. I can tell Cherie doesn’t want them there and neither do I. But there’s nothing we can do. Nothing but make a bunch of trips to the snack bar and the bathrooms. This way we can thrust our delicious firm buttocks right in their stupid faces.

Oh, never mind. It’s just annoying, we just wanted some private time to neck in the back of the theater!

The movie was a pretty by the numbers horror flick. I’d give it a solid three and a half stars. Demon possession, scary children, and good sudden frights do make you jump. We shared the popcorn and the candy. It was lovely. I was happy to be there sharing this Halloween treat with her.

After the film, we went outside. The sun was out and the rain was gone. It had been warm during the week, but had suddenly turned chilly in the last couple of days. Cherie always has trouble finding a place to park in the city, but down by the movie theater there is always loads of parking spots. We walk over to her Saab, and hop in to get out of the chill. We’re chatting about our next move, (which I have already planned) and more kissing ensues. She tells me she was hoping I would agree to sit in the back of the theater so we could neck. It appears this girl really likes me. She says she likes how soft my hands are. It makes me think of Captain Quint when he grabs Matt Hooper’s hands in the film Jaws, and says “You’ve got city hands, Mr. Hooper, from counting money all your life!” That, and the scene in Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” when one of the men on the farm puts petroleum jelly in his one glove to keep is hand soft for when he touches his woman. I don’t know why my mind flashed to those two images but for a moment they do.

I suggest we go over to Dave and Buster’s to go play games together. She likes the idea. I will say this about my lovely neuroscience major. She is very bright and quick of wit, but extremely laid back and easy-going. She’s from California, and this chick is chill. I always compliment her about her sweet disposition, because I really like that about her. Peaceful is good. She tells me, that between her two jobs, going to class, and taking care of her son, she has to make many decisions every day. She says she likes how I take charge, and just tell her where we’re going and what time it’s happening. I always have a plan and take the lead. She finds that attractive. So take note male readers, many women like to be told what you’re doing with them and where you’re taking them. Women are great negotiators and communicators, but when it comes to picking a lunch spot, just tell them pizza or sushi or just take them somewhere they serve different stuff and go. I have to give thanks here to my late father in regard to the clock. If he told you something was going to happen, or we were going to be somewhere at a specific time, it happened without error. He taught me that your word is your bond, and always be punctual. Like Beau Bridges says to Michelle Pfieffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, “Punctuality is the first rule of show business.” Life itself is like a giant long series. You’re the star of your own show. Make it a fun, exciting show if you can. To sum up: Girls like a take-charge man.

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

 

 

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