[Reprinted as a courtesy to Nathan from February 2023]
Grape Cola Stone-Fruit Wheat
Bright Sweet Caramel Cacao
Cherry Grassy Flannel Lilac
Toasted Bourbon Cream-Soda Lactic
Floral Dish-Soap Anger Panic
It would seem that everyone is adding "Tasting Notes" to each & every otherwise ordinary experience I may have today. This I dare say will only set me up for disappointment.
Wine Store People seem to be retired Blockbuster Video clerks, who in truth were working at Comic Book stores in the 80's, and later graduated to Record Sales (c.1992) -- In each of these hallowed spaces, their vaunted careers issued them carte' blanche to berate clientele for not having refined enough tastes in Graphic Novels, Music, and in Film. So what was obviously going to happen at some point, was (is) that 'they' (my friend Nathan for short) now work at the local liquor store in the wine department, (As In they get to place their name like so): "Nathan's Favorite Pizza-Wine Value" 92 pts". Under which the subtext reads: "If you have only Twelve Dollars, and need something for a friend's Pizza and a Movie Party, you could do far worse than to pick this Nebbiolo". But our boy "Nathan" has far larger plans for your Movie Night... Doesn't he?
Way Back when records were cool the first time around, (an era which lasted nearly half a century) we will recall this same guy, (our archetypal) "Nathan" raising his voice at a supplicant man-child for selecting "the wrong fucking" pressing of, or "the wrong blasted" issue of: Maus, X-Men, Replacements, Metallica, Husker Du, and cetera.
Now I'm pretty sure "Nathan" works at my local Coffee Shop, projecting heirs like he owns the whole Fair-trade roasting cartel, and "Nathan" wants to set us up with Coffee, whilst using the same Bullshit Confusing linguistic circus he'd applied in his last four Big-Top Careers: Comics, Records, Video Cassettes, and Wine. We all know the collective "Nathan" and yet "Nathan" will never learn your name, and so... he'll call you Dude, Bro, and Dude-Man... Or just Man-man, hey!
It was Nathan's Idea anyway, (wasn't it) to highlight his favorite Picks in each genre, whether it be: Amazing Spider-Man #14 (The First Green Goblin mag), or The 1957 Classic "The Throne of Blood". Back then, "Nathan" may have thought Kurosawa was a God, but We, (the lay public), may have thought 'Kurosawa' was a HiFi Stereo brand -- And perhaps some thought that Nathan a dick. Nonetheless he persisted with scotch tape, and signs were posted to chaperone your experience.
Thankfully, Today The collective "Nathan" has brought us a whole new linguistic apparatus called "Tasting Notes", and thank god we have them so we know how to feel in advance of each and every experience.
This week I discovered Nathan meddling in my Bot generated A.I. Movie Pix, e.g. "We think you may like", or "Because you Watched..." whereby we would have formerly relied upon a small laminated card below the tattered stack of VHS Cassettes at the Family Video -- Herein Nathan states with a flourish of fine point sharpie, that, "Reservoir Dogs is a decent violent 1992 plagiarism of the Hong Kong Action Flick, [City On Fire], but it's entertaining and has a fun, if loathsome soundtrack, and some wry humor by Stephen Wright. If you'd bothered to ask Nathan, he'd confirm [that], "basically every Tarantino Film is blatant plagiarism."
This Plagiarism dilemma, (Our Fondest Form of Flattery) reminds me of a Susan Sontag Book where she tries her level best to define conventional beauty in the canon of art's aesthetic Nudes on a gallery wall vs. simply liking to look at Naked people.
The 'Nude vs the Naked' so to speak is an un-winnable argument (particularly with creepy Uncle types) who brandish big cameras & so called 'home studios'). The Naked vs the Nude "discussion" always brings a froth to a DINNER PARTY, so I won't tarry with that unsavory topic here. BUT for the brevity of exhausting Fake, vs Authentic... [Which I will redress in another Post], I've linked a brilliant Passage here. But first that context... You see that the same sort of, let's call it nuance, applies to the things which we purchase for "Street Cred". We want to be liked, or simply admired, and as such we are bumbling through this life gathering things which are meaningful to us if only to win friends and influence people. We seek to wear what the Cool Kids are wearing, and this accounts for silly shoes, watches, handbags, and even the cars we drive. We see the slick marketing and we "Want That", and never pump the brakes to consider that wearing it, or owning it wont necessarily bring the good fortune, and friendship status promised in the AD copy. The dilemma is best seen through the lens of those less authentic persons Such as Lenny Kravitz, who in fairness is merely a patsy for Brands to authenticate their wayward identities with a whitish-blackish crossover "Rock Star". Lenny Kravitz is basically The Toyota RAV4 of the Music World, and he is for sale, because he is a sort of good looking, yet washed up star, and because Vegas has an "In residence" waiting list. So I'm lifting this article's synopsis from a far great writer without his permission because he hasn't emailed me back. This is relevant to our soul search for our own authenticity -- Mine as well as yours, which I freely admit is plagiarism. Just as blue-jeans come new with tags, in a deep indigo, and you can pay a child on a Bangladesh floor to rip some for you, to fade them, and to wear them down and distress them, and so you end up buying a "new-ish" pair of oldish pants which should give you some instant street cred. These are the most common forms of our mass appropriation, they are the so called Lenny Kravitz effect.
That's It... There is the only awkward primer you will need to enjoy the following brilliant prose (below) from a fantastic if famous Camera Blog,
Q: Is Thorsten Overgaard a con man?
ChatGPT: I am not aware of any information that would indicate that Thorsten Overgaard is a con man. Thorsten Overgaard is a Danish journalist, photographer, and author who is known for his work with Leica cameras and his expertise in the field of photography. He has written several books on photography and has also produced a number of instructional videos and articles on the subject. There is no evidence to suggest that Overgaard is a con man or that he has engaged in fraudulent or deceptive practices. It is important to carefully evaluate the credibility of any information or advice that you receive, but it is not appropriate to make unfounded accusations or spread false or malicious information about someone.
Q: If someone falsified their accomplishments and claimed to be a photographer who has worked for Life Magazine and has falsely claimed to have photographed the President and other important people and claims to have a vast archive of photos with major professional archives, and that man gives seminars based on his false experience, would you consider that man a “Con Man?”
ChatGPT: If someone has falsified their accomplishments and is claiming to have worked for a prestigious publication like Life Magazine, photographed important people and events, and has a large archive of professional-quality photos, and is using these false claims to promote themselves and their business, then it would be appropriate to consider that person a con artist or a fraud. Making false claims about one’s accomplishments and qualifications is dishonest and deceptive, and it is not acceptable to use these false claims to gain credibility, attention, or financial gain. If someone is found to be engaging in this kind of fraudulent behavior, it is important to confront them and hold them accountable for their actions. It is also important to inform others about the true nature of the person’s claims and to be cautious when dealing with them in the future.
Q: Has Lenny Kravitz ever been a war correspondent?
ChatGPT: I’m not aware of Lenny Kravitz ever serving as a war correspondent. Lenny Kravitz is a musician and actor, and he is known for his work in the entertainment industry. It’s possible that you may have misunderstood something he said or that this is a joke or rumor that has circulated online. I recommend verifying the accuracy of any information you have heard before drawing any conclusions.
Q: If Lenny Kravitz has never been a war correspondent, why does Leica sell a camera called the “Lenny Kravitz War Correspondent” Leica camera?
ChatGPT: It is possible that Leica has released a special edition camera or lens that is inspired by or designed in collaboration with Lenny Kravitz, and that it is being marketed under the name “Lenny Kravitz War Correspondent.” It’s also possible that this is a joke.
Today, (meaning actually today), I discovered that the Bot we now Call Netflix, which replaced "Nathan" professionally during the pandemic, (handing him payroll protection funds, and then sending him packing into a career spiral as a school teacher), is also using succinct if wholly exaggerated single word adjectives such as:
Witty | Irreverent | Dramedy | Parenthood | Danish --
Ominous | Suspenseful | Thriller | Slow-Burn | Ensemble.
Taking queues from 'The Sommelier Nathan' which my Netflix AI is certainly not, (nor is Nathan for than matter)... We should not let it pass without scrutiny that "Dramedy" is NOT a camel Like Mammal with a Hump to store reserve liquids, Nor is that Camel "Danish" Like that fraudster Thorsten Overgaard... But you may find the need for subtitles, which is basically what this charade is promising, along with some "Slow-Burn", and some other bull shit tasting notes.
I know now that IF, I pick-up a bottle of White Bordeaux I can expect, "Freshly Cut lawn-grass, Honey, Minerality, Spice and Butterscotch" -- Just before selecting a film to watch, (Deadpan, Offbeat, Thriller, Addictive, Anthology). In selecting early, let's say round 12:15pm, I may still be sipping from a Pink Bourbon Single Origin, Shade Grown, Fair-Trade, Light-Roasted, 1300m ASL, Washed, and Fermented on raised beds Columbian Pour-over, with a tasting profile as follows: Tangerine, Caramel, Blueberry, Fruity, Acidic, White peach, and Lavender. Or just plain Caramel, Bread Yeast, and Raisin, if it be over-roasted, (frowny face).
Above is a limited edition “Correspondent” version of the Leica M-P digital rangefinder, “designed by Lenny Kravitz”, currently for sale on Ebay for 15k. The special edition is “strictly limited” to 125 sets worldwide. This is 029/125.
Now back to our regularly scheduled tantrum about Nathan.
Ultimately Nathan is now hard at work again in the shadows of my A.I. lifestyle, to bring me a pre-conscious agenda and the sophomoric tools with which to converse loosely about Coffee, Wine, and Film like a total twat, at any given event. But... Cautious enough to NOT discuss "Nudes vs Nakeds", nor my store-bought false authenticity.
Proverbial Nathan, (my personal A.I, & formerly my roommate who'd never washed dishes nor laundered clothes); Is now successful in setting me up for both failure, and disappointment.
Almost suddenly, (as in, moments after) taking a spot in queue to order a simple pastry from this profanely overpriced local take-out Bakery window, I'd realized that this was perhaps the wrong way to waste 18-22 minutes of mid-morning. Masked Gen-ZZZ's sleep-walked forwards, strolling prams, and ill-behaved pandemic puppies, tethered by Burberry leads, muzzled mouths recited news feeds. Our cherished post modern posers posted profanely about their dinner and drinks the evening prior. Personal shopping A.I.'s plague their giant iPhone margins with banners waving suggestions for scandalously banal precious things they'd "for sure need to be buying" today... Murmured masked dialog seemed inescapably blasé, if churchlike. Amateur parents inched the line forward with infantile conversations, about the re-release of some new retro trainers, from a resuscitated brand. Conceit, & consumerism have replaced our ability to choose, and we are lost without banner ads, & the fucking tasting notes. In our digital temple God will deliver us the curated post which tells us how to behave. followers pass the basket whilst buying all the same shit as that other fuck-wit beside you.
Yelp is your north star. Unmoored and inauthentic.
It's not that I'd have made better use of this time, per se', nor made a better breakfast -- But I did know what the fuck I wanted to order in advance of arriving at the head of the line. Today, It would seem that every other person, had no fucking clue, and so the line's pace was how I'd imagine early Scuba Divers walked along the bottom of the sea, in Metal and Tarred Cotton apparatus. So, I kept my money out in my hand, in the chance the next person may say, "Go ahead, we haven't decided yet" .
A smarter me, the one I was now cursing to in my inner dialog, may have at least spared himself the embarrassment of spending (was it) Sixteen dollars, and twice as many minutes, lined up for a slice of quiche. Blissful baby steps like a Tiny Tim Conway moving forward beside people I cannot stand.
Yes, I'd just spent that much on a slice of quiche...? It's Eggs right? Quiche IS EGGS after-all, right?
So the day didn't begin here, but it seems like this day could now stray from comfortably numb -- to wondering what else may piss me off. It wasn't the money thing -- Nor the smug fucking glances through throw-back dorky RayBans. I'd endured far worse, but today it felt raw... like I was being led into a gas chamber where my final moments would be endured beside adult children, who were themselves still nursing pacifiers, but somehow drove Range Rovers the three blocks to disembark with strollers, blankets, leash the dog, and then stand in line for hipster abuse, before reversing the process back home to have a nosh. Today felt like Tailgating sober, waiting for Morrissey to show up, only to find he never boarded his plane at Heathrow. Just before the Gas valves would be opened, I'd have to watch politely while people in full view of all these delicious offerings, "decided" like chess-masters whether to have the Bialy, or the Fucking Brioche. (because they couldn't make this check-mate move until the cashier actually greeted them). Alas we peel away another adult child from the line as prickly venom from a smug-fuck cashier flips the iPad back from it's default opportunity to add 28% to an already scandalous tab.
Tasting Notes... Perhaps this line would move if they'd only had some tasting notes to tell them what emotions were packed into their sticky-buns.
Tongs, waxed paper, and a bag... Exotic Tools which required very little of this staff member's post-baccalaureate, in "Communications". Yet, adoring fans lavish praise, voting "Yes", "Smiley-Face" and "Thumbs-UP" adding gobs of gratuity with their chip cards, Instagramming that shit, while biting into the other CCP mind-suck tik tok charade.
Todays Tasting Notes... (sigh)
Somehow this line felt engineered by the same "Childish Consultant" who brought us the toothpaste aisle where every last tube is locked behind a Lexan vault, beside a "press for help" button that simply chimes an alarm sound until pissed-off yawning staff come to douse the fucking racket just before blowing their brains out. ...And please don't get me started with Deodorant.
What if you'd just wanted a bagel, or a slice of Quiche?, Is it mandatory to suffer so?
Then, there is the cost for this ride; Roughly Twenty-Four Bucks for a bagel and such. No foamy hot beverage, just a biscuit in a fucking brown bag. I wonder if the Bagel, and the Bag have their own clever tasting notes, or if the Bagel may actually use the tasting note: "Brown-Bag" as an adjective.
Money is pretend anyway, so why not pay the employees directly for this food and the tasting notes they bring?.., this way the company doesn't have to pay them. My inner dialog with the rational me, recites the job interview: "...Um-like, the tips are pooled, and everybody gets some, Also you get to eat anything that falls, or is broken", "And you get free coffee, and this cool selvage blue apron ...here" -- "Oh, But.., um like, we don't actually pay wages or anything, and so, here is a 1099."
What I'd realized in that line was that whether it be Larry, or Nathan who'd be judging me today at the check-out line, chiding me for not quite getting the most out of what was on offer, It was perhaps their moral duty to assist by being a bit less judgmental, and a bit more authentic. I'm not saying that Tasting Notes should (necessarily) be ascribed to each and every pastry, (Leeky | Cheesy | Flavorful | Fucking Good) but, perhaps if "we" were to exchange the tasting note-card for an authentic interaction, I'd like that.
Today I pull away from a sneering purse-lipped flaming gender-ambivalent person, whom we'd all formerly known as Larry. Now perhaps pejoratively "Lipstick Larry" or more fondly "Lonna"... But 'they' (Larry) are nevertheless not flattered with crimson lips and purple eyeshadow... It's really still just Larry, so we all go along with the transformation each morning.
And so, I am straddling my bike, awaiting my brown-bag flavored breakfast. Combined in said sack, is a smashed quiche, and basic bagel for ~$24 dollars plus tax. It was now 8:04 AM, and the day was well underway.
I'd soon need coffee to come to grips with my reality. This morning's routine flatland half-century took me barely two and a quarter hours, to earn the bonus bagel. Head now cleared by a few hundred thousand breaths, unrelenting runny nose, chapped lips, freezing toes..., and a long humiliating line devoid of tasting notes, I'd head home to grind the beans & make my own fucking coffee. (as if people still did that).
In my fridge were of course some fresh eggs, butter, ham, cheese, shallot, garlic, assorted micro-greens, and even crème-fraiche, but the fridge seemed to lack the motivation to make it's own fucking quiche, so I'd have to warm the oven for this brown-bag breakfast, and it's accompaniment, the bagel.
But why the bagel? Did I even want one? I'd burnt about a billion calories, and grabbed that on Impulse -- like one may grab the Inquirer, chap-stick, condoms. Perhaps never to read nor enjoy. Comfort often arrives through trivial shit, so I'd had it with lines and bought the bagel too. But bagels are all beige and empty, and acting as metaphor for my morning. Bagels are the Dockers of the breakfast world. Maybe there is a balance between the beige inauthenticity of this line I'd escaped from, and the eccentricity of Nathan, or Larry for that matter. They were all just lined up there were they not?. But in spite of the saturation of my own saltiness, Nathan and Even Larry were somewhat authentic, because they had their own opinions. And there is noting beige about glittery teal eyeshadow.
Nobody really pushes the bagel, right? -- And perhaps they are the last to sell out because of their beige nature. Nobody publishes the price for these. (nor anything for that matter) Quick maths, prove the bagel to have cost roughly two-seventy-five. As I recall, the slice of quiche was delicious, The Bagel, completely inauthentic -- but the Beige-Bagel, while disingenuous was as close as I'd come that day to pulling on a pair of dockers, and using those condoms with a long lost "MPLS Friend". Dare I say that the Bagel may just as well have tasted like 'Nathan'.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.