Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Occcasionally, over the years, like most people, I have bumped into a celebrity, running about on my errands, dining out, gigging with my old rock band, maybe at a sporting event. Such was the case, in about 1993, while I sat in a Portland restaurant, the old “Vat and Tonsure”, sipping my Gamay Beaujolais, perusing my menu, when suddenly, I looked up to see, several feet away, after he had shut the restaurant door behind him, movie star Timothy Hutton, who was in town filming “The Temp”. Our eyes met, he managed a friendly “How ya doin’?”, and moved on. I didn’t lay eyes on him again, but we could hear him above the restaurant noise, later, laughing heartily, no doubt trying to keep up with my own unrestrained wine drinking. The restaurant was abuzz with the news of his attendance. I could see waiters and waitresses fawning about his table, and even our own waitress reported his presence to us as we began to dismantle our rosemary stuffed game hens.

Other celebrities I claim to have had brief encounters with are Gore Vidal, Desi Arnaz, Dick Cavett, Willie Nelson, Trini Lopez, Jim Morrison, Pia Zadora, David Ogden Stiers, and Joanne Worley, who, when I met her, bestowed upon me her signature wail, which was used unsparingly on the old “Laugh-In” TV show.

For some reason, I have never been given to hero worship, and though these sightings and encounters have stuck with me, I guess I am not that impressed with celebrities, or rock stars, the famous. Maybe if I knew them personally, had some idea of what kind of person they truly were, you know, what kind of parents they are, if they are kind to others, if they pay their bills on time, if they have any truly respectable talents, like carpentry, or computer skills, I mean, besides landing a part on a TV show, or headlining on the gossip rags of America.

Once, strolling my Old Portland Neighborhood with a former spouse, who shall remain nameless, we stumbled upon a local female news anchor, who was having a glass of wine with a neighbor on his front steps. We were introduced, and I could see that my former spouse was beside herself with glee and tension, as she stood red faced, tripping over her every word, and exclaiming amazing and embarrasing hero worship like statements, as in, “Ohmigod, it IS you!” I don’t get it.

So you can imagine my astonishment, as I digress into a mouth breathin’ gawker, standing in the grocery checkout line, reading the front covers of magazines and periodicals, touting the latest news about famous couples, like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. This most fascinating union has been conveniently shortened by The Gossip and Paparazzi Industry to “Brangelina”, such that we can all use the abbreviation, to save our breath, when we are gabbing for hours on the phone and in the coffee shops of America about their relationship. Apparently, their impending marriage has been cancelled, since the cover photo of Angelina and her full lips is accompanied by the headline, “Wedding Is Off”. Godammit! I thought they were so right for each other.

Earlier couple couplings included “Bennifer”, a fitting and advantageous shortening of Ben Afleck and Jennifer Lopez, but, sadly, she dumped him for Mark Anthony.

Standing in my checkout line, I also saw that Whitney Houston is back on dope, and, judging by the photo they got of her, this time, it’s pretty bad. Ever since she got together with that damn Bobby Brown, she’s just been goin’ downhill. This time, her ”Shocking New Cocaine Binge” could finally spell disaster. Oh Whitney! As soon as I finish reading the Laci Peterson pregnancy diary, I am gonna figure out how you can get rid of that asshole.

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