Mick Foley and Synchronicity

For me, “two is coincidence, three is synchronicity.” I mean this in the Jungian, not The Police, way. Today’s synchronistic phenomena comes courtesy of Mick Foley, the World Wrestling Entertainment legend-turned-author and raconteur.
First came the emailed press release for an event at which Foley will appear, called Eternal Con, which purports to be a Long Island-based comic book convention but sounds like a synonym for “endless scam.” Next, I spied a poster for the wrestlers’ upcoming August appearance at Petaluma’s Phoenix Theater, at which he’ll apparently unleash a “blend of wit and wisdom, wildness and warmth…” and presumably other words beginning with W.

Finally, I was at Treehorn Books in Santa Rosa, perusing the used stacks only to find Foley’s toothless grin beaming back at me from the cover of Foley is Good And the Real World is Faker than Wrestling. I’m not sure if that’s even grammatically correct, but then, he’s a New York Times bestseller and I’m not (thus he handily wins the “descriptivist” versus “prescriptivist” linguistic debate). Now, I’m inspired – nay, compelled! – to score an interview. I’ll print it here if it transpires.

Meanwhile, whilst researching “Foley,” I discovered this: Folie à deux (French for “a madness shared by two, or shared psychosis) is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another.” And so it begins …

Jonah Raskin, poet, nudist

Sonoma County?s own cartographer of the NorCal soul, Jonah Raskin, forever changed the local lit scene last week when he doffed his clothes whilst performing his poetry. The 71-year-old was cheered on during the BUMP Wine Cellars event. The striptease was, in part, inspired by Allen Ginsberg, about whose Howl?Raskin wrote the brilliant history American Scream. I found a bit about the nude Beat in Michael Schumacher?s bio, Dharma Lion, that recounts Ginsberg showing down a heckler by showing him the goods.

?? Allen left the stage and approached him. He accused the man of wanting to do something brave in front of the audience and then challenged him to take off all his clothes. As he walked towards the drunk, Allen stripped off all of his clothing, hurling his pants and shirt at the now retreating heckler. ?Stand naked before the people,? Allen said. ?The poet always stands naked before the world.? Defeated, the man backed into another room.?

Raskin wasn?t challenging anyone ? more like whipping them into a frenzy of adulation. In fact, before his briefs came off, a female fan inserted a dollar into the waistband thus making him the highest paid poet in Sonoma.

Herb Caen Never Had to Make an Em Dash on a Chromebook

Those of a certain generation may recall Herb Caen, the erstwhile?San Francisco Chronicle?columnist who anchored the Macy?s ad next to his daily forays into what he called ?three dot journalism.? I never met Caen but my mother, when a bank VP, retained his services as an on-call personality. This was during the rollicking ?90s when on-call celebrity earned a five-figure appearance fee to cameo at a company party. My, times have changed. The last time I profited at a party was when someone sent me on a beer run at the?I-T?holiday party, then promptly locked the doors.

Caen didn?t know how good he had it. No one did in the ?90s. For example, this column earns me the same dough the Chron paid when I last filed for them a decade ago. Rates in this market had peaked. I?m not complaining. Given the state of the industry, it?s a small miracle and frankly, since words are free to anyone here in the U.S., my markup is criminal.

And since I?m in in a felonious mood, permit me to steal from Caen himself as I attempt a bit of three-dotism myself. It?s not an homage. It?s because ellipses are easier to type on a Chromebook than my beloved em dash ? literally, three periods versus CTRL+SHIFT+U+2014 ?

Monkey Videos That Rock

Galdikas

This month, primatologist, conservationist and author Birute Mary Galdikas turned 68. Best known for her work with orangutans in their natural habitat, Galdikas is one of two surviving members of the so-called “Trimates,” Jane Goodall being the other (Dian Fossey was murdered in Rwanda in 1985 whilst studying gorillas).

As a hat tip to Galdikas and her groundbreaking work with the flame-haired great ape, I present you with three monkey-themed flicks — trimates if you will — all made by Sonomans and each using our closest animal cousins to represent the best and worst of human nature.

3 Monkey Videos for a Trimate

Raymond Daigle’s Replica is a night-in-the-life of copy shop employees in which everything goes wrong — including the arrival of an irate customer in a gorilla suit who complains about the color quality of his copies (ironic since gorillas are color blind).

Monkey’s Nephew is a meditation on evolutionary psychology patched together by Daigle and I one drunken afternoon at now long-defunct FilmArt3 (monkey videos and champagne do not a business model make). Our technique has since evolved.

Monkey Scratches, the most recently created and entertaining offering, was directed by Pascal Faivre, guitarist of Static People, for whom the music video is the first for their new album Rare Creatures. It dropped earlier this month and features a dystopic aesthetic that recalls both 2001: A Space Odyssey and the fashion sense of DEVO (don’t strain your monkey mind trying to reconcile the notions, just watch the video).

Cruising in Camo, Lost in American Graffiti

When I first arrived in Petaluma in the early 80s, “cruising” was P-town’s favorite past-time. Within a couple of years, anti-cruising laws kiboshed the circuit and the teens-n-machines scene had little left to turn to but drugs and Satanism like the rest of the era’s youth.
Though I was too young to cruise myself, I do recall being struck by the ritual of it. Every Friday night Petaluma Blvd. became an infinite loop of teen automotive angst, that moved with the subtle flow of the tidal estuary it paralleled.

Years later, I’d become familiar with one of the enduring rituals of Italian evening life, “la passeggiata,” literally “the walk,” in which locals do a dusk-time promenade through the center of town. For some it’s merely cardiovascular exercise, for others it’s a form of display behavior, honed over millennia and baked into evolutionary biology.

Auto Erotica

Cruising is America’s version of the promenade with a particular emphasis on the (typically male) display aspect as well as our cultural proclivity for consuming resources, producing pollution and flouncing laziness.

Peacocking

But the cars look damn fine. At least that was the case with the annual park and ride known as Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti: Imagine classic cars parked the length of the boulevard accompanied by some low and slow cruising cannily disguised as a parade.

Naturally, the event is also a hat tip to the car-culture-coming-of-age-flick from which it takes its name, whose most memorable scenes were shot in Petaluma. It’s also an excuse to indulge in a nostalgia for another era through which one may or may not have lived. In this case, I think it was the 90s, which was the last time this slice of Americana reared its pompadoured head. It was the late 70s and early 80s before that (Back to the Future, for example, set men’s haircuts back a quarter-century).

I went to the Salute to American Graffiti — I ogled, I thought of George Lucas and the amount of transformation his creations have wrought upon the culture and wondered if someday we might regret his influence. I don’t suppose we’ll know until we catch a time travel and read his hit list. We’ll know if “Lucas” is on it after “Hitler” but before “Mickey Mouse.” (Time travelers alphabetize everything since chronology is meaningless to them. Think about it.)

Just to up my carbon monoxide intake for the day (beats smoking), I later ventured to Petaluma Speedway, the shadier, easier sister track to the tony Sonoma Raceway, a few mile further east. Between the acoustical assaults of Winged 360’s, Spec Sprints, Dwarfs and Mini Stocks, this was the thought I could hear myself thinking, “What’s with all the camo?”

A disproportionate amount of men, women and children were donned in camouflage duds, from hats to spats (no, really, spats), crop tops to muffin tops. Between both auto-themed events, there was enough camo to outfit a small guerilla war. It was like some cargo cult that conflated wartime fashion and the black liquid that makes the cars go round. If they wear it, the cars still go vroom (the spilled blood and climate change notwithstanding).

Check out this dick.

This sounds more patronizing than I mean it to be. Say what I might about the sorry sartorial state of my seatmates, the fact is I looked like a total ponce, wearing, as I am wont to do at all times and in any weather, a black blazer. It’s my “action figure outfit” but for a cool three bills I would upgrade to a Ralph Lauren Desert Camouflage Sport Coat just to blend in a bit. Or more likely find my well-dressed corpse hanging from a speedway flagpole. Just what I need: An excuse for my colleagues to park an “auto-erotica” gag in my obit.

Daedalus Howell drives a Mini Cooper to compensate for the size of his ego at DHowell.com.