Time for This Blog’s First Movie Review

One reviewer famously–or infamously–called Bobcat Goldthwait’s 1991 directorial debut Shakes the Clown “the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”  Well, Dr. Willard Glice’s directorial debut Endoscopal Detection of Gastrointestinal Abnormalities in the Elderly is the comparing Shakes the Clown to Citizen Kane of three hour and forty-five minute Internet downloads that feature footage taken inside geriatric patients of hiatal hernias, fundic gland polyps, stromal tumors, and so on, meaning self-styled cinéastes bored with The Room and 9/11 footage will sarcastically derive humor from Dr. Glice’s unforgivably ingenuous and pop-culture free medical presentation, though the patients undergoing endoscopies in this download fail to find their situations amusing for some reason.  I suppose I should insert a winking emoticon here.  Has anyone even seen Shakes the Clown?  Robin Williams has a cameo in it as a talking mime.  I repeat, Robin Williams has a cameo in it as a talking mime.  He should have quit acting after this pinnacle.  I suppose I should insert another winking emoticon here.

Copyright © 2015 David V. Matthews


Flash fiction (a hundred words or fewer) #3: Slimepit

When I found myself watching the latest camera-phone video showing that latest pop strumpet’s latest drunken altercation at the latest hot L.A. nightspot, I knew I’d grown old, knew I’d aged out of the snarky pop-cultural slimepit due to my having exerted actual effort to avoid aging out—and worse, due to my showing actual sympathy for that spoiled, vacuous strumpet, who would likely enter rehab and spend the rest of her career starring in cheap, purposely-campy, sci-fi cable movies that reference her past debauchery, permitting her to continue earning far more that I, the more-or-less lifelong teatotaller, do.

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(Written on the spot)

Copyright © 2015 David V. Matthews

The Faux-Scruffiness

I dated a white man for two years and never told my family.  Of course, this was during the early Nineties, before the arrival of the Internet—before a stray picture on Facebook or wherever could destroy your privacy.  Also, I spoke very rarely with my family back then, maybe a few phone calls a year, for reasons I still don’t understand.

Anyway, I met him in a coffeehouse in 1991, right after the Gulf War had begun.  As I sipped my double cappuccino, I overheard someone at the table behind me call the war “corporate welfare for the bad guys in G.I. Joe.”  I turned around to say “Amen, brother!”  (I’d heard of G.I. Joe but had never seen it.  I still haven’t.)  He sat by himself, scribbling something into a spiral-bound notebook, the type with holes and blue-lined pages.  He had short, dark blond hair, almost like a mullet; and he wore the most neatly-pressed flannel shirt I’d ever seen. He smiled at me a little nervously.

“Sorry—sometimes I what I’ve written aloud to hear if it works,” he explained.

“Did that line work?” I asked.

“Do you think it works?”

“Uh-huh.  It’s funny, but it makes an important political point.”

“Yup, it sure does, but I still don’t think it works.  Dropping the ‘corporate welfare’ part and saying that ‘the bad guys in G.I. Joe’ are running the war would, like, make the comment more accessible.”

“Accessible to whom?”

“Why—people who don’t converse with me, that’s whom.”

I laughed.

In retrospect, that inaugural conversation featured a few things I would increasingly find problematic about him: the faux-scruffiness (that mullet), the fussy appearance (that crisp flannel shirt), the barely-jovial superciliousness (that comment about not associating with presumed idiots).  But at the moment, I found him captivating, much more captivating that the pretentious creeps in my poetry classes.  Now that I think about it, I don’t know why I never shared my poetry with my family, either.

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(Fiction written mostly on the spot)

Copyright © 2015 by David V. Matthews

Doonesbury Meets Cabaret

I think most people knew President Reagan had Alzheimer’s as early as his first term. He couldn’t remember anything, couldn’t string two words together without a script, and couldn’t distinguish between fantasy and reality.  Yet in 1984, the Democrats never made an issue of his mental fitness, thus helping him win reelection that year in a landslide.  My mother, a lifelong liberal, compared him that year to a community crafts project: an ugly, garish, Popsicle-stick-and-Elmer’s-glue ashtray everyone—Democrat and Republican, male and female, rich and poor (well, mostly rich)—had helped build and had to pretend represented something worthwhile, otherwise someone’s self-esteem would suffer.  My mother died of a heart attack in 1987 at age fifty-eight; I still miss her, but I particularly miss the political talks we’d have at her apartment, during which I’d feel a little guilty about knowing I’d use her observations, often word-for-word, for the comic strip (think Doonesbury meets Cabaret) I drew for the local weekly queer paper, a pretty radical rag, complete with socialist politics and gay porn reviews.  I never told her about the comic strip, nor did I ever tell her my sexual orientation, though she had probably inferred the latter due to my lifelong bachelorhood; most of my male classmates from high school (class of ’70) had already married, divorced, and remarried.  After her death, I abandoned cartooning and went into real estate. I haven’t drawn since, not that I’ve denied the world much in the way of artistic talent, though I suppose flipping houses in this economy takes talent of a sort.

(Fiction written on the spot this afternoon)

Copyright © 2015 by David V. Matthews

Flash fiction (a hundred words or fewer) #2: Ornithology Versus Etymology

“Hey, an Eastern bluebird,” I announced as I sat alone on my patio.  My first wife was an amateur ornithologist.  Whenever we saw a bird, she’d go into detail about it sweetly but a little pedantically.  She knew almost everything about almost every bird.  I could still remember some of what she’d told me.  The bluebird walking near my patio was female—grayish-blue on top, orangish-brown on the chest.  I hadn’t seen my ex since the divorce twelve years ago.  “Hey, ‘bird’ is old British slang for ‘girl,’ ” I added, wishing my etymological knowledge could save me from loneliness.

Copyright © 2015 David V. Matthews