Thursday, June 14, 2007

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I'm thinking The Doors aren't working here. Leonard! Rescue me here. Save me with one of your ( not too ) sad songs.

( Fade to black )

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See. He's saying, " Ya gotta turn the lights DOWN. Not out. Here's a much more upbeat version of the song.

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Well, that last drop of paint wasn't exactly what I had in mind. The scene was written by Michael Herr who wrote the best book ever written about Nam: Dispatches.

But that's way too dark an ending for me.

Take 2!

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I'm taking a break, or as they say in Hollywood, a hiatus from writing the Off The Fence Post. I may start it up again. Maybe not. Yesterday I bid farewell to a writing class I've piloted for more than four years. I always encouraged them to try different things. Move on. Take risks.

This isn't the end, really. It is, I hope, a beginning.

And by the way, don't read too much into the video clip. I'm not Martin Sheen. But I may be, like the character he plays...

Waiting for a mission...

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NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was on MSNBC's " Morning Joe " this morning. From what I've heard from Williams in these situations - his appearances on Imus come to mind - he has a sense of humor. And a Jack Benny, Johnny Carson knack for timing.

I never watched one episode of The Sporanos. But I'm getting interested in that final episode, about which so many writers are writing this week. Joe Scarborough asked Williams what he thought of the way David Chase chose to end it.

Williams' answer was thoughtful. He started talking about how the painter Jackson Pollack worked. How did Pollack know, Williams asked, what drop of paint should be the last drop? When did a Jackson Pollack work in progress, at which precise point, did the canvas say, " That's it. Done. "

When does a work of art become a work of art. How and where does the process end?

What drop of paint is the last drop, and how does the painter know?

The comments Williams shared with Joe were, I thought, so much more thoughtful than were those of, say, Maureen Dowd. Dowd, in her column in The Times yesterday, likened Chase to a film school amateur.

What does she know about film school? A lot less, it appears, than Williams does of art school.
The pages of the New York Times this week have been thick with wrist watch ads. Cartier. Rolex. Movado. Tourneau. Omega. Asprey. Tag Heuer. Swiss Army. It's Father's Day Sunday. The message this week: Buy dad a wrist watch.

I have a lot of watches, including the Witenauer my father wore. I also have the pocket watch that belonged to my grandfather, my mother's father, Charles.

The first watch I ever owned was an Omega Seamaster DeVille. It was given to me by my Aunt Del and Uncle Ed on the day I graduated from high school. On May 29, 1970 ( I don't remember what time it was ) I purchased another Omega, a Chronostop. I bought it in a shop in Cambridge, England.

I still have those two Omegas, and I wear them often.

In June, 1984, I celebrated being promoted to creative director of the ad agency I was working for by buying a Rolex, a stainless steel Datejust with one of those classic Rolex oyster cases.

After leaving the ad business, I started working as a counselor on a psych unit. I never wore the Rolex there. A couple of years ago I decided I didn't want the Rolex anymore. Donna advertised it on E-Bay and sold it.

Soon after that happened I bought a Tag Heuer watch. A Formula 1.

I've had a lot of Casio watches, the ones that tell you the time, the date, how fast you're running, what your blood pressure is, how much you weigh and how much longer you have to live.

I made that last one up. Casio doesn't have a watch with that count down feature. Yet.
It's one of those weeks. Had to rush our dog, Grace, to the vet this morning. She started trembling, couldn't walk and her eyes were darting back and forth like crazy. We have a great vet, Dr. Crook ( This is Rhode Island, where nobody can honestly say, " I am not a crook - even pet care angels like our vet ) ...

Where was I?

I had to carry Gracie into the car, but by the time we got there, she was walking, albeit like a drunk slips out the back door of a tavern. Dr. Crook asked me what had happened, took a look at how Grace was presenting. Gracie has a history of seizures. She's on meds and hasn't had one in about two years. To me, this looked like one. The vet said we could get the million dollar workup, CAT scan ( Or, in our case DOG scan, or PET scan - I'm trying to keep my sense of humor here ) MRI, X-Rays, neurological testing, etc. A " mass " in the brain would be one of the things they'd be trying to rule out. Oh great, I thought. Gracie might have a brain tumor.

This workup stuff, if we chose to have it done, wouldn't be done today, or in her office. She mentioned Grafton, Massachusetts. Grafton?

How much would a million dollar workup cost?

" Around four, five thousand dollars, " Dr. Crook said.

Oh great. Just what I need to hear on the day I'm calling the state to see if they're going to give me the money I've been trying to get for the past three months.

Then the vet looked into Gracie's ears. Said it looked like what she was experiencing was Vestibulitis, which is an ear problem. Fluid build up. The eye thing is symptomatic of this, she said. The trouble walking is related to dizziness. By the end of this emergency visit, it was feeling like less of an emergency. Gracie was given a shot. They gave me some pills. ( For Gracie, not me ) . I thanked Dr. Crook and her assistant. Gracie and I stumbled out the door.

Having had dogs for a long time, Donna and I know that eating's the key thing. If the dog's not eating, it's time to worry. I got home and gave Gracie her new pills. With some food, which she ate.

She's eating, I said to myself. Thank God she's eating. The dizziness can last up to two weeks, Dr. Crook said. So Gracie'll be like I've been all week. In somewhat of a daze. Stumbling, trying to find my way.

But hey! I'm eating. Thank God, I'm eating.