Dinner at Og’s
It was 10,000 B.C. On what is now Manhattan, a powefully built man named Og stood over a large boar—actually, a peccary.
He had killed the beast after much effort. The blood on his spear’s chert-stone tip was the same as the blood gushing out of the creature’s neck.
Just then Og heard a stirring in the bushes. He turned around, on his guard. Through the vegetation came someone who was known to Og. It was a skinny man called Ak.
Ak looked at Og with an expression that seemed to say, “Nice peccary.” Then Ak’s expression softened, as if to say, “I have had no hunting luck this morning.”
Reverse Crank Call #6 (The Con Edison Bill). Who is responsible for the Con Edison bill?
Reverse Crank Call #5 (Amish Country Gazebos)
Reverse Crank Call #4 (My Name Is Megan). Megan has an offer. I am not really that interested.
Reverse Crank Call #3 (Diner’s Club). A man calls with a credit-card offer. Another man hits record.
Reverse Crank Call #2 (White Teeth!). A new dentist has an offer. Then Grandma gets on the phone.
Reverse Crank Call #1 (Central Research). Remember, you called me.
Dylan’s Last Hit
Oh I would guess it was some time in 1971. Bob Dylan was driving around, somewhere in Arizona, on those twisting roads. He had been out of touch a while and he heard it on the car radio, “Heart of Gold,” the Neil Young song, a big hit single from all those years ago, and if I remember the story right, Bob Dylan had to pull over, because the song affected him so strongly. In a way, it got on his nerves. It seemed like a ripoff. “Shit, that’s me.” But he also rebuked himself when he heard it – “If it sounds like me, it should be me” – because it was now clear and stark, to him, how far he had drifted from the path.
I can only laugh when people hate the hit single. Give me Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” over “Scentless Apprentice.” But you want to prove your love to a band or an author and so you decide, “I hate the hit.” There are Charles Portis fans who deny the greatness of “True Grit” merely for the
Here’s a new Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin music video.
We filmed it on tour in Japan.
A Skyport Stop
I flew to Europe and was glad to see — I hadn’t read about it — that the Skyports were open high above Greenland. Our plane refueled up there, which seemed a lot better than how it used to be, when pilots had to race against the clock (and the gas) to get to Golden Bay, where they did the refuels in the years when the Skyports were closed. I got out of the plane and even looked over the edge during our stop (had to pay $15 to rent the suit for 30 minutes but figured it was worth it). It hit me, too, the strange temptation to leap into the blue and “go to cinder” but not too strong. There were about a dozen signs filled with anti-suicide warnings in many languages and a guard rail — but thank God no high fence that would have blocked the view. An old man told me that the exact same number of people die each year jumping off Skyports as died in the days of the occasional jumbo jet’s not quite making it and crashing in those awful fields near Golden Bay. So the people who run things figured it was better to have the Skyports open again and allow people who want to go to cinder to go to cinder than to have more of those poor crash victims who had no deathwishes, and I guess I would agree with that. Now and then we get things right. A minute or two after he told me I saw the flash of a body going over the rail. I looked over the side and saw (must have been a thousand feet down) the body go bright and then go crisp and then flutter upward as an ash flake.
Went on the bike this morning to City Island, The Bronx. There’s a Dept. of Correction sign attached to the high fence because this is the dock where Riker’s Island prisoners — under the watch of Dept. of Correction officers — shove off for Hart Island, which is close by, in the New York City portion of the Long Island Sound. The prisoners go to Hart Island to bury unclaimed bodies, or else the corpses of those whose families cannot afford funerals, in the large potter’s field. It amounts to roughly 1,500 bodies a year. And also — all the limbs amputated in city hospitals are buried there, too. For more on this, check out the terrific “The Other Islands of New York City” by Sharon Seitz and Stuart Miller.
In the top picture, actor Alexander Skarsgård, in boxing trunks, poses for photographer Matthew Brookes during a shoot for M magazine. Below, Skarsgård, getting into it, throws himself into a corner as if he has just been walloped. It took place about a month ago, in Los Angeles, at Fortune Gym, which is run by former boxer Justin Fortune, who somehow fought heavyweight although he stands five foot nine. I post these pictures here because the issue of M with Skarsgård on the cover is about to come out.
Skarsgård, best known for his work on True Blood, is in three movies that are in theaters now: Disconnect; What Maisie Knew; and The East. I interviewed him the same day as the photo shoot — during the photo shoot, in fact. He was a nice guy. I felt like he is a decent person who is not hiding much.
He grew up in Stockholm the son of lefty peaceniks. Then, at 19, he got some separation from his family when he joined the Swedish military. His father is the gamey actor Stellan Skarsgård, who is getting richer and more famous (as a continuing character in the Pirates of the Caribbean and Avengers movies) as he ages into his 60s.
Alexander Skarsgård drove a Porsche. Unlike many movie/TV actors I have interviewed, he did not travel in the company of a publicist. His arms were like braided ropes and he kept doing pull-ups during the photo shoot’s downtime, but when I asked him what his workout routine was, he just said, “I run a little.”
He wasn’t so revealing about himself, so for the story I called up Henry-Alex Rubin, who directed Disconnect, which really is a terrific movie. Rubin said a lot more about Skarsgård than Skarsgård would say about himself.
What Maisie Knew is also a good movie, and Skarsgård does nicely in it, playing a sweetie (a change from his other roles).
I had the highest hopes for The East — it stars and was co-written by Brit Marling, who did the same thing for Another Earth and Sound of My Voice, both of which I loved. The East is about a group of eco-terrorists. It is a Marling movie with what appears to be a bigger budget than the last two, and its concerns match up with the political moment. But it seemed a little goofy to me. Let’s just say it wasn’t so bad, but it failed the Homeland test (meaning it’s a political thriller that isn’t as exciting as the average episode of Homeland).
Skarsgård told me that Tarzan will likely start filming next summer (with him in the loin cloth). Warner Bros. has big plans for that one and I bet they’ll get it right (or close enough to have a big summer hit with it).
It occurs to me that I must apologize to the great photographer Matthew Brookes, especially for the second photo, above. Photobombing refers to the act of sticking yourself into someone else’s picture — but it really should mean this, what I’ve done here — when you piggyback on someone else’s elaborate setup!
One World Trade Center, almost there after seven years of construction. On the same bike ride, about eight miles later, I came upon a cricket match on Randall’s Island. The field is near the Hell Gate Bridge, a train bridge that was built from 1912 - 1916 and is considered the most durable bridge in New York City.
Live poultry, Manhattan, Tenth Ave. near 210th St.