Gingerbread Bars Through the Ages

t sure is true that the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club is more than just a place to drink. I was wondering the other day if that were true for other licenced public houses, and, since I never go out anywhere else because of my crippling agoraphobia, social anxiety, and gruesome disfigurement, I thought I would ask around. Well, from what I could gather, with the exception of Crazy Mike, the people who come in to the Yacht Club during daylight don’t really “shop around” or “play the field” or whatever you call it, and in a surprisingly high number of cases this loyalty sprung up from one positive encounter here, at the EAYC, or a lone negative episode elsewhere. It’s amazing how many people told a slight variation on one of two stories. Story one: “I went to bar X and there was hardly anyone there, but the bartender just stood watching TV or eating chicken wings, and finally I left, disgusted, and came here where I was served promptly, despite Hippy’s attempts to get the bartender to serve someone who hadn’t even sat down yet. Story two: I came into the Yacht Club one day instead of going to Bar X where I usually go and I got waited on immediately and then shot the shit with the bartender who was super friendly/ funny/ sexually stimulating and so I have come here ever since.

Now, as tempting as it is to toot my own horn (my horn being the Yacht Club’s horn, since in this instance I am representing the bar and everyone who works there) and claim that all non-Yacht-Club bartenders are thoughtless and inconsiderate, I am more inclined to think that maybe the day that our future regular first encountered them, they (the enemy bartenders), were just having a bad day. (I know, I know, I am not sticking up for them or anything. God knows, if you choose as your occupation making people happy and comfortable the very least you can do is acknowledge their existence and see if they want something to drink.) But say I (now speaking only for myself) was to get up on my high horse and proclaim my virtues and mock other bartender’s shortcomings (instead of offering constructive advice such as put a little effort into at least seeming that you care which I could then back up by pointing out that the first ten people in the Yacht Club every single day, again with the exception of Crazy Mike, are either homeless people wanting to use the bathroom, or people looking for a job, your job.) what I would inevitably discover, almost immediately, is that every afternoon, The Five Spot, The Porter, and El Myr are filled with people who came into the Yacht Club and were ignored by GINO, not to mention that they would all be wearing t-shirts attesting to their experience, and, of course, Hippy would be with me. Now, I don’t mean to come off terrified and cringing (as the general manager makes a lot of money to cover those responsibilities) but, whenever I get up on my high horse I am instantly rewarded with a trip to nightmare world. I would, however, be willing to bet that if anyone donned a disguise and went around doing empirical research, that I would at least tie anyone else in the neighborhood for most attentive. I can hear you laughing, but bear with me. I have traits that set me apart from the rest of humanity. First of all, I am honestly, genuinely and maybe even a little sadly, disinterested in television (and not the way everybody says they are). Secondly, I don’t eat. And finally, I am absolutely certain that Thomas Pynchon is going to walk in The Yacht Club someday, and I don’t want to miss him. And since nobody knows what he looks like (he satisfied my need for a mysterious hero when Kiss took off their make up), I have to assume every man woman and child who comes in could be wearing a clever disguise. And, truthfully, there is a fourth reason, and I have buried it way at the bottom of this already-too-long paragraph in the hopes that not many people would read it upon publication and that it would get around more by word-of-mouth at first, thus softening the belly blow I am about to deliver, and that is that my personality is, in fact, dubbed. It isn’t actually my personality that you encounter when you enter the Yacht Club. It is more of a homogenized blend of several notably personable celebrities from the 19th and 20th centuries. Yes, it’s very expensive. No, I won’t tell you where you can have the procedure done. And yes, I think it is responsible for my perceived sexual attraction to small, shiny objects.

Speaking of which, I was talking to Hippy the other day and he was telling me about this series of books by Spider Robinson called Callahan’s Cross Time Saloon which not only is the most profound, postmodern example of time-traveling plagiarism I’ve ever encountered, but also birthed the most fun question since “If you were on a desert island, what blah blah blah would you yada yada yada?”

What’s your favorite fictional bar? (Support your local post office or lose Saturday delivery forever! Send your replies to: 1768 Pennington Place, Atlanta GA 30316)

One of my favorite Yacht Club extracurricular activities, and it turns out that many others love it as well, is the gingerbread-trailer-park contest at Christmas in which contestants purchase a beer-case-sized lot and build a trailer out of edible materials. This is one of many brilliant, fun ideas conceived by Chantelle and the Grateful Gluttons. We have done it three years in a row now, and, while far from being bored with the concept, I shot around the idea of supplementing the trailer theme with that of building gingerbread bars. More specifically, challenging people to recreate their favorite fictional watering holes entirely from edible material. The first two people I asked about it gave such howling resounding negatives that I all but forgot about the notion. Then, in an oddly twisted variation on a game I like to play called “Get them to think it was their idea” I was talking to three totally different people at totally different times about their favorite fictional bars when, with as little manipulation from me as possible (considering my programming) they all hit upon the idea of a contest to build models of their bars. All I’m saying is, if people are going to build models anyway, they might as well make them edible and give the poor sods in the trailer park somewhere to get a tasty beverage, among other things.

To be continued . . . .

Desperation Spawns A New Era

The question I have been asked most often since I took over writing this online “log” from Robert Holland in May is “Hippy, why can’t you just interface your thoughts with the cloud? Why do we have to wait days, or even weeks between entries? Why can’t we enjoy a ten minute read of new stuff every evening with our tincture of laudanum?” To which I respond (after going over my answer with Michel and Meredith) that, first of all, laudanum is a tincture of opium, and as far as I know you can’t have a tincture of a tincture, and second of all, what was the question again?

From where I’m lying the problem is that people like Steve Jobs (and to a lesser extent anymore, Bill Gates) are paid tremendous amounts of money to function (as long as their health holds) as shunts or resistors between what could be built and what is actually built and marketed to you, the gorging, lazy schlock of whiney consumers who stand in line to buy a new I-phone because it has an “app” that makes it feel like your finger is being nibbled by a virtual Koy when you touch the pretty picture on the screen. Forget that you can’t get reception if you are holding the device in the bottom left-hand corner . . . what do you think it is, a phone or something?

Let me tell you a little story. In August of 1996, I was sitting at home playing solitaire on the brand new, top-of-the-line computer (this badboy had a one gig hard drive!) my mother had bought me for Christmas when the phone rang. It was a Mr.Chang, and he asked me if my roommate Daryl Habberstad was in. When I told him, “no” he left a message to the effect that he had gotten his company together and wanted Daryl to come out to San Francisco, along with their other MIT dropout buddies and get to “chopping wood”. When Daryl came home after a long hard evening of waiting tables at Bones restaurant I beckoned him out onto our patio, shared a smoke with him, and then gave him the message. We then spoke about how ridiculous it was that your television, telephone and internet were three different things.

When I woke up he was gone . . . as in, on a one-way plane to California. He left his clothes, books, records, pets, girlfriends, respirator, everything. Anyway, the possibility-timeline for phone/internet/TV was 1998 at the latest (I fucking thought of it and believe you me I am no genius) but where did that leave all the snails actually making stuff? Comcast, Bellsouth (at the time) etc? In the ensuing years they made billions of dollars off high def, highspeed cable, and now the grand finale of your raping . . . 3-D TV. Had I taken a fifteen year technological hiatus then, I would be coming out of it now with the ideas I had in 1996 only a year in the future. Brilliantly they foresaw that and made having a cell-phone as important as having a driver’s license.

And now for something completely different, for those of you on a spiritual quest. Shortly after Daryl going off to San Francisco, I was moving into a house that was under construction. I ordered a salad to be delivered from Savage Pizza. When it arrived they had no silverware, and, after tipping the delivery person handsomely, I asked for some. He had none. I asked if maybe on his next run he could bring me a set. I was told no. Fast forward 15 years. Into the Yacht Club comes a harried young man. “I am on a delivery for Savage Pizza, and I don’t have any to-go silverware, can I get some from you?” “Of course you can!” I don’t know what instant means, but I know what karma is. (And no it wasn’t the same delivery person . . . sheesh) C’mon people, act right! Be nice! Don’t be a mopey pathetic loser who will swear that their obsessive compulsive actions dictated that the barrel of the pistol be placed in their mouth just so.

In summary (and it turns out that a summary is from the Latin Sum which means everything but was most specifically used by Plato and Socrates to mean “here is what I would have said in plain words if I hadn’t been beating around the bush trying to make palatable something that I knew you were going to choke on) to paraphrase Sponge Bob, “Hold your peanuts! I have come to reveal . . . the truth! They say that truth and honesty will be rewarded by trust and forgiveness. Well, I’m here to prune the branches of deception from the tree of life . . . to shave away the unkempt sideburns of deceit from the face of truth! Mother of pearl!!!”

Starting on July 19th there will be available a knuckle crableg plate! For $5 you can get one crab leg and all the bread you can eat! WOOT!!! Now go spank yourselves and say ten Hail Marys.