Wednesday, September 29, 2004


As a multi-lingual, international man of mystery, I have great affection for all things foreign. French films with their deafening hours of silent exchanges between sleepy, esoteric characters, Italian literature, oversexed and overly descriptive, stewing and saucing over the creases on the skin of an olive, a prune, or a woman. Asian Cuisine, African Line-Dancing, South American Botany, Canadian Fauna, all bring a certain sense of I'm-so-Damn-Enlightened to my etre.

To the extent that I am a citizen of the world, I revel in the finer points of exotic culture, recoil at isolationism, and tout the better aspects of my own cultural identity. Unfortunately, my world view has been shaken, by the unfortunate arrival of certain foreigners into my global scope.

I was not aware of Armenia....I lie. I recall (Maybe incorrectly), that the women in The Merchant of Venice dressed as Armenian doctors. Although it may have been been in Cosi Fan Tutti... Regardless, I think we can agree that the women of Italy were prone to disguising themselves as men, at least during the renaissance and spilling into the enlightenment. That however, is neither here nor there. The existence of Armenia, their cuisine, their noodle-like alphabet, their music....Wait! Wait! Weren't the girls of The Merchant of Venice JUDGES? So it WAS Cosi Fan Tutti. I know we'll all be sleeping better.

Armenian..Right, sorry.

So Noah's ark is rumored to have gotten stuck on Mount Arrarratt (+ or - a "T") , which is why half of Armenian businesses are named precisely that. The other half of businesses are split into two groups.

Avakian's and Armenian

Avakian's Deli
Armenian Music
Avakian's Music
Armenian Deli
(etc. ad nauseum)

So why the info on the Armo? Well, they're not very friendly. As is often the case with close knit communities of people that have been persecuted by Turkey so they were forced to relocate to Southern California, they are inherently distrustful of strangers. By strangers of course, I mean neighbors, friends, family, and anyone who they had not planned on seeing at that immediate moment. I can't seem to really connect with my Armenian neighbors despite my own abundance of body hair, which is treasured in their culture . My inability to make any headway with a people who live so close to me, to the point that I have to dodge spit (I'm not sure if it's directed at me or if spitting is a cultural thing), has sent me into a horribly violent and downward spiral in regards to cultures that have been on the fringe of pissing me off.

After my Armisery, I began lashing out. I have recently met a guy who claims to be of the !kung people of the kalahari. For those of you who are not familiar with the !Kung they are the guys who talk in clicks and gurgles . Hence, !(click) Kung (Gurgle). I don't care how sweet and nurturing they are to an impala in the kalahari, and what sort of fancydance they skidoo to whenever it rains in their hell-hole, these people are total dicks when in the setting of a Hollywood dive-bar. I for one will never drink with a kalahari bushman again, unless of course I'm dying of thirst in the Kalahari. Then I'll take whatever droplets from a gourd that they can offer. But dammit! Not at a bar. I bet Johnny tribesman was a little !hungover, after his rally. Being part of the most rudimentary tribe does not give you carte blanche to be a sloppy drunk.

And what's with the Japanese? I know it's very hip to be Nip since Sophia Coppola gave us her very interesting rendition of Jet Lag. But seriously guys...There are some things that should NOT BE HAPPENING . I dig your part in the world stage, the colorful clothes, the whole Kill Bill/ Yugi Oh thing, but good grief! The cartoon porn has got to stop! I think I'm watching a cartoon and suddenly a Samurai princess gets gang Raped by Ninja Fairies. Let's keep it hip, ok?

As for me, and my slight doses of xenophobia, I plan a trip abroad. Nothing cures me of intolerance more quickly than a sharp reminder of how disliked an American abroad can be.

Friday, September 10, 2004

There's No Business Like Zoo Business

Letters from LA LA

I'm like a proud father. Today is my last day in the mailroom, and I see my fledgling agent chickies begin to sprout the wings that will eventually lead them out of the Mailroom nest and into the wild blue yonder that is the Biz of Show. Sure, right now they're all fighting for whatever offerings the assistants may regurgitate and feed their scrawny featherless beaks, but inside beats the heart of an eagle, or maybe a duck, in some cases a cassowary. A giant lumbering oafish creature with razor sharp claws and a pea-sized brain. The strange thing about cassowary females is they are attracted to human male phermones, resulting in the hilarious accidental humping of unsuspecting men in the Australian bush. Truly, it is a marvel to see the similarities between our avian friends in the wild, and our boys and girls in the pits of the south building.

Cute and feathery as the world of the mailroom may be, and forgive me as I get Attenboroughesque, there is nothing quite as bizarre, grotesque and glorious as the marsupial world of the assistant. Mammals that lay eggs, Marsupials,
(From the Latin "Marsu", meaning "what the" and "Pial" meaning "Fuuuuck?")
range from the toady, and slightly venomous Echidna, to the Large and graceful Red Kangaroo. And so do the sorry assistants. Overworked and underpaid, these poor accidents of nature have adapted to suit the harsh environment. Surrounded by the most taxing circumstances, many of them have evolved in bizarre ways, almost contrary to nature. With claws, feathers, fur and whiskers , one could almost call the Marsupial a link between Man and Reptile.

One thing I've realized as I take my next step, is that despite the bizarre and sad world the assistants may inhabit, the Mailroom, is for the birds.

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