Dinner and a double feature

I'm still feeling lousy, but I'm always up for film noir, and the movies I want to see are playing tonight only at the UC, so I met Josh for dinner and a double feature. The food was good ay Hong Kong Villa, but I didn't have enough appetite to finish it. Been a long time since that's happened.

The first feature was 5 Against the House (1955), based on a novel by Jack Finney. I love Finney — he's maybe my favorite author — but I haven't read the book.

The movie is half a wise-ass college comedy, half a bloated melodrama about a casino caper the frat boys are planning to pull during spring break. None of it's very believable or interesting, the elaborate can't-miss plan for the heist is more quaint than clever, and the whole story screeches to a halt while Kim Novak sings a few nightclub numbers. The finale, set in a hydraulic-lift parking garage, is overwrought enough to be fun, and the garage is cool.

The second feature, Murder by Contract (1958), is a minor masterpiece, following a hit man through his career, starting the day he applies for the job. Vince Edwards (later Dr Kildare) is outstanding as the ice cold but earnest young man whose calling is to kill, and his internal tension makes the audience an accomplice to the crimes. A simple but snappy six-string guitar is the soundtrack, and the cinematography is shady and angular. The script is deliciously viscous, and your mind won't wander.

After the movies, Josh drove us home, and he mentioned something about the January issue. "All those people who've read your zine and come up to you on Telegraph Avenue when you'd rather be left alone — for what it's worth, I say, why not just say hello and give 'em a chance?"

"Nah," said I. "I hate meeting people, hate being sociable, making small talk, and it's worst when it's unexpected." 

"Yeah," he said, "but the people who come up to you on Telegraph aren't ordinary people. They've read your zine, and liked it. Maybe that makes 'em worth talking to."

"Maybe," I said after twenty seconds or so, and thinking it over the next day, I still think… maybe. 

Some people have wandered into my life only because of the zine — Josh, for example, and Jay, and Judith, and Sarah-Katherine. Josh's point is that when someone's read the zine, and liked it, maybe I shouldn't be so quick to reject them. And… well, maybe.

So as an experiment, as a maybe, maybe the next time someone approaches me on the Ave and says "Are you Pathetic Doug?" maybe I won't deny it. We'll see.

That said, if someone's read the zine and liked it and wants to meet me, I'd still much, much, much rather that they contact me by mail or voice mail.

From Pathetic Life #22
Wednesday, March 6, 1996

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


  1. Testing the Googs. Comments weren't being accepted on the previous post. Bastards.


    1. I got blocked yesterday too. Sorry for the hassle.

      It's impressive how much Google doesn't care.

    2. Google cares a lot, and they're about to hire Phil Mickelson to persuade you that they rarely actually murder people. LIV and be well.


    3. I had to Google Phil Mickelson. The golfer?

      You got me curious, and in an hour or so I'll start my nightly surf cycle and probably find out why Google wants a golfer on the payroll.

    4. I was too oblique. Google probably wants Phil on the payroll, but Saudi Arabia got him first. National leader and murderer Mohammed bin Salman hired Phil and dozens of other golfers from around the world to compete in a new golf tour, the LIV. It is funded entirely with Saudi oil money, and it was created to improve Saudi Arabia's image. The only course I know of that they've played on so far in the US is Trump's Dump in New Jersey, but there will be others because LIV has an unlimited budget. A few golfers from the PGA have been lured to LIV by "appearance money" (money you get for just showing up at a golf tournament). The PGA, who aren't usually the good guys, have banned any golfer who participates in this whitewashing of Saudi's sponsorship of global terrorism and murdering of journalists.

      As I implied, the PGA has been racist and elitist for years. Tiger Woods changed some of that, but in this battle the PGA is against whitewashing terrorism, so, briefly, I'm all for them.

      Trump and his mob have been in cahoots with bin Salman for years, and have a number of business ties with Saudi Arabia.

      If you're interested, there's a current piece on Politico, one of my regular stops. It's here:



    5. I know nothing of this except what you've told me, so I'll give the article a read.

      PGA's motivation, of course, isn't about doing the right thing, only about kneecapping a rival tour.


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