August 2, 2004

If you close the door, the night could last forever

* Walking with Jesus may not be the perfect prescription. Capitol Hill Blue reports that Bush is using drugs to control depression and erratic behavior. excerpt:

"President George W. Bush is taking powerful anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

"The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the President’s mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis, administration aides admit privately.

"'It’s a double-edged sword,' says one aide. 'We can’t have him flying off the handle at the slightest provocation but we also need a President who is alert mentally.'

"Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.

"'Keep those motherfuckers away from me,' he screamed at an aide backstage. 'If you can’t, I’ll find someone who can.'
...
"One long-time GOP political consultant who – for obvious reasons – asked not to be identified said he is advising his Republican Congressional candidates to keep their distance from Bush.

"'We have to face the very real possibility that the President of the United States is loony tunes,' he says sadly. 'That’s not good for my candidates, it’s not good for the party and it’s certainly not good for the country.'

* Robert Ebert, in a 1987 article, talks about a day spent with Charles Bukowski around the time of "Barfly." [via tim thompson] excerpt:

"'We were drinking in here the other night,' Bukowski said. 'There were still real bar people in here. It was open for business. It's kind of a rough bar. We were lucky we got home.'

"I looked carefully at Bukowski and saw, not anger, not weariness, not confusion or bitterness, not any of the things I expected to see, but a kind, open face to go with a gentle voice. The drinks hadn't killed that.

"A million guys start out to get drunk and become great writers, and one makes it. Now a million more guys are probably getting drunk, trying to figure out how Bukowski did it. He isn't a survivor. He's a statistical aberration. In one of his novels, called Women, he describes the face of his hero, who is obviously based on himself: 'The scars were there, the alcoholic nose, the monkey mouth, the eyes narrowed to slits, and there was the dumb, pleased grin of a happy man, ridiculous, feeling his luck and wondering why.'

"I couldn't improve on that.

"`For a long time,' Bukowski said, 'I had a heavy suicide complex. I went to bars to try to fight, try to get killed. It's a funny thing. When you walk in looking for trouble, you usually can't find it. Mickey Rourke, in this film, he's looking for trouble. He's doing a good acting job. I didn't really expect him to be so good. I did some drinking with him, a couple nights. He doesn't drink as much as I do. Nobody does, unless it's Linda. She used to match me, drink for drink, calling for the next bottle.'

"'Where'd you meet him?' I asked Linda, who was a sweet-faced brunette with the touch of a hippie about her.

"'At the Troubadour on Santa Monica, about 12 years ago. He was reading his poems.'
...
"'He didn't even see me,' she said. 'He was blind drunk and in the arms of another woman.'

"'Several other women,' Bukowski said. 'I was doing research for my novel, Women. I had to go through a lot of gymnastics.'

"'What I felt,' Linda said, 'was, I stood there and looked at him and felt that I was seeing him for the first time, but I had known him since beyond time. I didn't think about it or plan it. It was just a fact.'

"'A rapport of souls,' Bukowski said. 'We finally got married about two years ago.'
...
"'At the first, I was a starving writer. I went from 190 pounds down to 130. Everything I put in the mail came right back to me. The Atlantic, Harper's, the New Yorker, they rejected everything. I threw it all away. I started out again, selling to the porno mags. What I used to do was write a good story and throw in some goddamn sex. It worked. I only got one story rejected - it had too much sex! They draw a fine line. Bukowski, the editor wrote me, nobody on earth screws that many women in a week and a half! It was my own true story. The guy was haunted by jealousy.'

"'The porno mags were all published over on Melrose Avenue. They paid $230 to $290 a story. I could write one in a night with no problem. And I had a great landlady. She'd have these quart bottles of East Side, and we'd drink them and sing old songs. That was in the beginning. I have been a whore ever since. So now I'm translated into 18 languages, and I'm just as modest as I ever was.'"

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